Monday, November 30, 2009

Te Deum Laudamus - Wall for November 30th

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Requiescat in pace: Fr. Robert J. Fox

Fr. Robert J. Fox, known well to many followers of Fatima, died on Thanksgiving Day.  Here is the obituary.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Novena for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (December 8th)

The Immaculate Conception
by Martino Altomonte (1719)

Today we begin the 9 Day Novena for the Feast of the Immaculate Conception on December 8th. 

There are many forms of the novena.  EWTN has a page dedicated to it (be sure to click on the proper day for the entire prayer).


Just received in my inbox from EWTN:

If you’re still deciding what to do for the great season of Advent, which began yesterday, why not consider listening to a great EWTN homily each day? You can find it by going to our home page,, and looking down the right hand side for “Today’s Mass: Readings and Homily.” When you click on that, you will see an icon at the top of the page that says “Today’s Homily.” You can listen or watch on your computer or download the homily to your MP3 player. If you already go to Mass, you can drag the cursor along the bottom to get past the readings and go straight to the homily. If you can’t attend, then you may want to listen to the readings as well. What a great way to lift your mind and heart to God this Advent!

Today begins the traditional novena to St. Andrew, which begins Nov. 30 and runs until Christmas. EWTN’s Father Joseph gave an awesome homily about this novena today, His great, great uncle, who had been declared legally blind, said the short novena prayer some years ago and received his sight back on Christmas Eve. Here is the prayer, which should be said 15 times a day from now until Christmas:

“Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.”

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Te Deum Laudamus Wall for November 29th, 2009

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The First Sunday of Advent

"See the fig tree and all the trees: when they now shoot forth their fruit you know that summer is nigh; so you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand"

MISSA: Ad te levavi

Introit (Ps. 24. 1-3)
To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. -- (Ps. 24. 4). Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me: and teach me Thy paths. V.: Glory to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Ghost, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. -- To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.

Epistle (Rom. 13. 11-14)
Brethren, knowing that is is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Gospel (Luke 21. 25-33)
At that time Jesus said to His disciples: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves: men withering away for fear and expectations of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved. And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And He spoke to them a similitude: See the fig tree and all the trees: when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away: but My words shall not pass away.

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

George Weigel: The Natural Law = Bigotry? Please.

Excellent read over at the Denver Catholic Register by George Weigel.   I'll start you out here and you'll have to follow the link to finish the article:

The Natural law= bigotry? Please.

On Nov. 3, Ken Cuccinelli was elected attorney general of Virginia in a landslide. His 15 percent margin of victory strongly suggests that Old Dominion voters were unimpressed by a shrill Washington Post editorial published on Oct. 30, which opined that Mr. Cuccinelli “would likely become an embarrassment for the commonwealth” as his “affability and quick wit … have tended to mask his extremist views.”

What, you ask, were those “extremist views”? Well, the Post’s indictment—in an editorial titled “Mr. Cuccinelli’s bigotry”—centered on the fact that candidate Cuccinelli had described homosexual behavior as contrary to “natural law” and had further suggested that natural law was a useful guide to public policy. Mr. Cuccinelli did not propose to prosecute, much less jail, every gay and lesbian between the Potomac River and the North Carolina border, and no sane person thought he intended to do so. Yet the Post’s anonymous editorial writer described Mr. Cuccinelli’s appeal to natural law as a “retrofit (of) the old language of racism, bias, and intolerance in a new context.”

Baloney. What’s being retrofitted here is old-time anti-Catholic bigotry, tarted up in the guise of tolerance and extended to those who think there are moral truths built into the world and into us—truths that we can grasp by reason.

Ken Cuccinelli is a serious, practicing Catholic. He’s also a sophisticated politician who knows that you don’t argue public policy in the public square on the basis of uniquely Catholic theological premises. Rather, you make your arguments in a public vocabulary, accessible to all. That’s the grammar and vocabulary of the natural moral law: the basis on which Thomas Jefferson argued the case for American national independence, Martin Luther King, Jr., promoted the civil rights of African Americans, and John Paul II passionately and effectively defended the religious and political rights of all.

Was Jefferson a bigot when he staked America’s claim to independent nationhood on “self-evident” moral truths derived from “the laws of nature?” Was King a bigot when, in his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” he argued that “an unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal law and natural law”? Was John Paul II a bigot when, at the United Nations in 1995, he suggested that the truths of the natural moral law—“the moral logic which is built into human life”—could serve as a universal “grammar” enabling genuinely cross-cultural dialogue? Please.

Continue reading George Weigel's article at the Denver Catholic Register

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Classic Cardinal Arinze on Pro-Abort Catholic Pols and Holy Communion

H/T to LifeSiteNews

In related news, you may want to look at the analysis Fr. Z has done of some content on the website of "Catholic Democrats".  Question: If a Catholic bishop speaks out against the position of a Catholic politician on the matter of abortion, is it fair to say that the bishop is just siding with the Republican party?  Read Fr. Z and find out: “Catholic Democrats” … “Sycophantic Toadies”… take your pick

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Coverage of prayer vigil led by Archbishop Vigneron....

This weekend, the Michigan Catholic featured a front-page story on the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan prayer vigil held out in front of two abortion clinics on 8 Mile Road on the Detroit/Eastpointe border. 
Catholic News Agency has now picked up the story.  I'll offer one clarification.  There were up to 700 at the vigil Mass which began at 7:30am.  We estimate that about 550 were out processing after the Mass, and about 350 came back for Benediction.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Pope Benedict gets a new pastoral staff....

H/T to NLM and Fr. Z

Tonight starts the season of Advent. Pope Benedict will begin with Vespers which is airing on EWTN at 11:00am Detroit time.

In use will be what Pope Benedict's Master of Ceremonies describes as a new pastoral staff for Pope Benedict. 

Tomorrow Pope Benedict will celebrate Pontifical Vespers as the first Vespers of the first Sunday of Advent, which also marks the beginning of the new liturgical year.

On this occasion, the Holy Father will begin to use a new pastoral staff. As Msgr. Guido Marini, the Papal Master of Ceremonies, tells tomorrow’s edition of the Osservatore Romano:

Similar in shape to the ferula of Pius IX so far in use this can be considered to all intents and purposes the pastoral staff of Benedict XVI.
Like the ferula of Bl. Pius IX in 1877, the new staff is donated to the Pontiff by the Circolo San Pietro, a Roman association founded in 1869 in support of the papacy. It is slightly smaller and lighter than the ferula of Bl. Pius IX.

On the front side of the new ferula is depicted in the centre the Lamb of God, and on the four points of the cross, the symbols of the four Evangelists. The arms of the cross are decorated in a net-like pattern which evokes the fisherman whose successor Pope Benedict is. On the backside there is in the centre the Chi-Rho, the monogram of Christ, and on the four points of the cross, four Fathers of Occident and Orient, Augustine and Ambrose, Athanasius and John Chrysostom, the same who also carry Bernini’s cathedra. On the top of the shaft is the coat of arms of Pope Benedict XVI.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Friday, November 27, 2009

The Manhattan Declaration: Many voices become one voice!

By now you have probably heard of the Manhattan Declaration.  If you haven't, then you will want to read this and consider signing it.  I have already done so myself.  I believe this unprecedented coalition is going to prove to be a powerful force. 

Before you suggest that it is undue influence by Christians on the government, consider that each individual is an American with a right to be heard.  It is difficult to hear them individually, but when individuals with like values band together, it gives them a greater voice in the public square.  It's no different than other groups who for a single voice through many who come together.  What is interesting about this is that it probably the most cohesive effort amongst Christians in America. 

It's not about fighting for what is right for us as Christians, but for the good of all.  The "common good" must include the vulnerable: The elderly, the unborn, the disabled, and others who have no voice.  The US Constitution provides for freedom of religion, not freedom from religion  Individuals, businesses, and institutions ought not be forced to participate in those things which are contrary to their conscience, as some hospital care workers have been forced to choose between their job and participating in an abortion.

A good read on the web on the Manhattan Declaration comes from the distinguished Italian journalist, Sandro Magister.  I'll start you out here and be sure to follow the link to continue reading it at his blog.

The "Manhattan Declaration": The Manifesto That's Shaking America

ROMA, November 25, 2009 – On the other side of the Atlantic, the news passed almost without notice: the news about a strong public appeal in defense of life, of marriage, of religious freedom and objection of conscience, launched jointly – a rarity – by top-level representatives of the Catholic Church, the Orthodox Churches, the Anglican Communion, and the Evangelical communities of the United States.

Among the religious leaders who presented the appeal to the public on Friday, November 20, at the National Press Club in Washington (in the photo), were the archbishop of Philadelphia, Cardinal Justin Rigali, the archbishop of Washington, Donald W. Wuerl, and the bishop of Denver, Charles J. Chaput.

And among the 52 first signatories of the appeal were 11 other Catholic archbishops and bishops of the United States: Cardinal Adam Maida of Detroit, Timothy Dolan of New York, John J. Myers of Newark, John Nienstedt of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, Joseph F. Naumann of Kansas City, Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Thomas J. Olmsted of Phoenix, Michael J. Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Salvatore J. Cordileone of Oakland, Richard J. Malone of Portland, and David A. Zubik of Pittsburgh.

The 4700-word appeal is entitled "Manhattan Declaration: A Call of Christian Conscience," and takes its name from the area of New York in which its publication was discussed and decided last September.

The final drafting of the text was entrusted to Robert P. George, a Catholic professor of law at Princeton University, and to Evangelical Protestants Chuck Colson and Timothy George, the latter a professor at the Beeson Divinity School at Samford University in Birmingham, Alabama.

The other signers include Metropolitan Jonah Paffhausen, primate of the Orthodox Church in America, archpriest Chad Hatfield of the Orthodox seminary of Saint Vladimir, Reverend William Owens, president of the Coalition of African-American Pastors, and two leading figures of the Anglican Communion: Robert Wm. Duncan, primate of the Anglican Church in North America, and Peter J. Akinola, primate of the Anglican Church in Nigeria.

Apart from the bishops, the other Catholics who signed the appeal include Jesuit Fr. Joseph D. Fessio, a disciple of Joseph Ratzinger and founder of the publisher Ignatius Press, William Donohue, president of the Catholic League, Jody Bottum, editor of the magazine "First Things," and George Weigel, a senior fellow of the Ethics and Public Policy Center.

The "Manhattan Declaration" has not emerged in a vacuum, but at a critical moment for American society and politics: precisely while the administration of Barack Obama is pushing hard for passage of a health care reform plan in the United States.

Continue reading Sandro Magister's excellent overview at his english language blog:

Here is the an abbreviate summary of the 4700 word appeal:

Manhattan Declaration Executive Summary

November 20, 2009

Christians, when they have lived up to the highest ideals of their faith, have defended the weak and vulnerable and worked tirelessly to protect and strengthen vital institutions of civil society, beginning with the family.

We are Orthodox, Catholic, and evangelical Christians who have united at this hour to reaffirm fundamental truths about justice and the common good, and to call upon our fellow citizens, believers and non-believers alike, to join us in defending them. These truths are (1) the sanctity of human life, (2) the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife, and (3) the rights of conscience and religious liberty. Inasmuch as these truths are foundational to human dignity and the well-being of society, they are inviolable and non-negotiable. Because they are increasingly under assault from powerful forces in our culture, we are compelled today to speak out forcefully in their defense, and to commit ourselves to honoring them fully no matter what pressures are brought upon us and our institutions to abandon or compromise them. We make this commitment not as partisans of any political group but as followers of Jesus Christ, the crucified and risen Lord, who is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.

Human Life

The lives of the unborn, the disabled, and the elderly are ever more threatened. While public opinion has moved in a pro-life direction, powerful and determined forces are working to expand abortion, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, and euthanasia. Although the protection of the weak and vulnerable is the first obligation of government, the power of government is today often enlisted in the cause of promoting what Pope John Paul II called "the culture of death." We pledge to work unceasingly for the equal protection of every innocent human being at every stage of development and in every condition. We will refuse to permit ourselves or our institutions to be implicated in the taking of human life and we will support in every possible way those who, in conscience, take the same stand.


The institution of marriage, already wounded by promiscuity, infidelity and divorce, is at risk of being redefined and thus subverted. Marriage is the original and most important institution for sustaining the health, education, and welfare of all. Where marriage erodes, social pathologies rise. The impulse to redefine marriage is a symptom, rather than the cause, of the erosion of the marriage culture. It reflects a loss of understanding of the meaning of marriage as embodied in our civil law as well as our religious traditions. Yet it is critical that the impulse be resisted, for yielding to it would mean abandoning the possibility of restoring a sound understanding of marriage and, with it, the hope of rebuilding a healthy marriage culture. It would lock into place the false and destructive belief that marriage is all about romance and other adult satisfactions, and not, in any intrinsic way, about the unique character and value of acts and relationships whose meaning is shaped by their aptness for the generation, promotion and protection of life. Marriage is not a "social construction," but is rather an objective reality – the covenantal union of husband and wife – that it is the duty of the law to recognize, honor, and protect.

Religious Liberty

Freedom of religion and the rights of conscience are gravely jeopardized. The threat to these fundamental principles of justice is evident in efforts to weaken or eliminate conscience protections for healthcare institutions and professionals, and in anti-discrimination statutes that are used as weapons to force religious institutions, charities, businesses, and service providers either to accept (and even facilitate) activities and relationships they judge to be immoral, or go out of business. Attacks on religious liberty are dire threats not only to individuals, but also to the institutions of civil society including families, charities, and religious communities. The health and well-being of such institutions provide an indispensable buffer against the overweening power of government and is essential to the flourishing of every other institution – including government itself – on which society depends.

Unjust Laws

As Christians, we believe in law and we respect the authority of earthly rulers. We count it as a special privilege to live in a democratic society where the moral claims of the law on us are even stronger in virtue of the rights of all citizens to participate in the political process. Yet even in a democratic regime, laws can be unjust. And from the beginning, our faith has taught that civil disobedience is required in the face of gravely unjust laws or laws that purport to require us to do what is unjust or otherwise immoral. Such laws lack the power to bind in conscience because they can claim no authority beyond that of sheer human will.

Therefore, let it be known that we will not comply with any edict that compels us or the institutions we lead to participate in or facilitate abortions, embryo-destructive research, assisted suicide, euthanasia, or any other act that violates the principle of the profound, inherent, and equal dignity of every member of the human family.

Further, let it be known that we will not bend to any rule forcing us to bless immoral sexual partnerships, treat them as marriages or the equivalent, or refrain from proclaiming the truth, as we know it, about morality, marriage, and the family.

Further, let it be known that we will not be intimidated into silence or acquiescence or the violation of our consciences by any power on earth, be it cultural or political, regardless of the consequences to ourselves.

We will fully and ungrudgingly render to Caesar what is Caesar's. But under no circumstances will we render to Caesar what is God's.

Additional Reading:

The Manhattan Declaration

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Have a Blessed Thanksgiving Day

Norman Rockwell's Thanksgiving

To all of my readers, I wish a blessed Thanksgiving Day.  There is so much to be thankful for.  First and foremost, I thank Almighty God for the gift of life.  I thank Him for the gift of His Son, the Blessed Virgin Mary, all the angels and saints, and for Holy Mother Church.  Last, but not least, I thank God for family and friends, for a good job, a roof over my head, and food on my table. 

If you cannot offer thanksgiving with Our Lord today in the  Eucharist, then at least make a spiritual communion with thanks in mind.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Bishop Tobin badgered in lecture billed as interview on MSNBC's Hardball

MSNBC billed it as a Chris Matthew's interview of Bishop Tobin over the Patrick Kennedy matter.  It turned out to be a badgering lecture cloaked, as well as a Klingon warship, as an interview.

What happened to the days when dignified, professional journalists like Tim Russert would ask a question, then sit back and let the person answer?  A true interview will involve very few words for the interviewer in contrast to what the person interviewed will offer. 

Using the transcript from MSNBC, I filtered the word count for Chris Matthews, then Bishop Tobin.  Chris Matthews spoke about 1530 words and Bishop Tobin managed to get in just over 700.   It was disgraceful and insulting to the intelligence of viewers, as well as to the bishop.

Bill O'Reilly was suppose to have Bishop Tobin on tonight at 8:00 (re-airs at 11:00), but I missed it.  I'm sure we will pick that up on YouTube, as well, tomorrow.

Here is the interview interrogation:

Here is an interview that CNN did which, although imperfect, was an interview which gave the bishop a chance to speak:

EDIT:  Here is a good read over at Catholic News Agency

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Medjugorje: Cardinal Puljic affirms authority of local bishop

Note: There are some foreign language links here for which you can get a rough translation with the use of Google translation tools.

I have been tracking this story in it's various forms since it emerged in the paper of the BiH Bishop's Conference (Bosnia and Herzegovina).  However, the piece was not available in English and it was chased with, fairly quickly, an interview by Zenit on the same subject this past Friday, but only in Italian.  I figured it would be out on Monday in English and it was.  I'll be excerpting this and commenting in between. Emphases mine in bold.

By Chiara Santomiero

ROME, NOV. 23, 2009 ( The president of the Bosnian episcopal conference has been in Rome, but not to discuss the controversy surrounding Medjugorje, as some reports have contended.

Instead, Cardinal Vinko Puljic participated last week in the plenary assembly of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, which focused on St. Paul and the "new areopagi."

The cardinal did talk to ZENIT about Medjugorje, affirming that the reports of apparitions there and the consequent popularity of the site for pilgrimages is a matter dealt with by the bishop of Mostar, Ratko Peric, and the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
"As an episcopal conference, we await suggestions and proposals on how to proceed, and I believe the Holy See wants to carry on in this way," he added.

I want to stop here for a minute because this is an important point.  The Cardinal affirms the authority of the local bishop.  Why is this important? The bishop of Mostar is treated like an enemy by the Medjugorje movement because of the very solid doctrinal position he takes against authenticity (see part 1 and part 2 of his September 26, 2009 statement). 

The bishops of Mostar have been calumniated, and jabbed at with great disrespect by those promoting the apparitions.  These subjective inuendos are then treated as fact by followers and repeated to others.  The end result, sadly, is "seers" vs. bishop, or more accurately, "seers" vs. Church, for whom the bishop speaks. What we are left with is a complete lack of filial reverence for Bishop Peric, and his predecessor, Bishop Zanic.   It serves only to discredit this apostolic successor. 

It has also manifested itself in broad disregard for the bishop's orders to not propogate "messages" (see 1996 homily), among other orders that are not followed ("messages" still appear regular on the website His Excellency identified in his most recent list of prohibitions).  Consider that each message received is obtained through a deliberate act of disobedience on the part "seers" and close associates releasing it.  There can be no justification for this. 
Back to the Zenit piece (links are added by me; bold is mine):
The 64-year-old cardinal referred back to a 1991 statement from what was then the Yugoslavian bishops' conference. That declaration notes that "nothing supernatural could be confirmed in what was happening, [and] affirmed the responsibility of parish priests and local bishops to pastorally assist all those who go there to pray," he recalled.
There are three possible positions the Church can take.  It is noteworthy, that after 28 years, nothing can be found to suggest that anything supernatural is occuring.  However, the decision does leave the matter open for further study.  While pilgrimages were permitted privately, the cultus was not.  Had a cultus been approved, we would not have seen a prohibition against anything related to "Our Lady of Medjugorje".   The title Queen of Peace - already in the patrimony of the Church, has been in use.
"I hope that the Holy See will give indications on confessions and Eucharistic celebrations," Cardinal Puljic added. "And perhaps also on the establishment of a commission that will follow the phenomenon, recording the contents of the apparitions and of the messages, keeping in mind that up to today there are more than 30,000."

With regards to that last statement, there is no other Church approved apparition that even came close to this.  Any study would indeed compare what is happening in Medjugorje to what we know about authentic apparitions already approved. 

With regards to the Cardinal's statement about a commission, there has been considerable waffling over this issue.  What he says now is almost a reiteration of what he said in 2006.  In June of 2008, in response to talk of a commission in a local paper, Don Ante Luburic, chancellor of the diocese published a statement (if you think he sounds testy at times in this, you have to understand the severe challenges the region is dealing with in the aftermath of war in the fledgling nation, where the Christian minority is enduring certain forms of persecution - something the Italian version discussed, but omitted in the English version):

After reading this, even a more than average reader of “Večernji list” will not know: has the formation of a Commission only been pre-announced or is it really being established? Will it finally become a reality and when? Will it be established at all and when? Will it be under the jurisdiction of the Holy See and in which form? Will it override the competency of the Bishops’ Conference of B-H but not the jurisdiction of the local bishop? The only thing that is certain in all of these media announcements, journalistic fabrications and Radio-Medjugorje guesses is that the local bishop of Mostar knows nothing about it at all!

In December of 2008, a Brazlilian piece in Portugese made the following claim, which is pretty detailed (this is a crude translation from Google):

Three years ago, formed a study group, whose core is composed of thirty people, lay and religious, to examine the veracity of the phenomenon. Driven by the Pontifical International Marian Academy (Pami), an institution linked to the Vatican, are at work in secret and are expected to end until the end of 2009. It's extremely remote the probability that the verdict be in favor of the apparitions in Medjugorje," says one of several consultants Pami. The conclusion of the study group is a key to a final position of the Holy See in relation to the visions of Medjugorje
Is it possible that this is why we are getting news of a commission at work, followed by a denial - because it is not a true commission, but a study group?  There have also been reports of CDF involvement, then denials.  If PAMI is handling the study, then this may explain the confusion.

The timing stated above, goes along with the blogpost by Adam Tanner of Reuters in which he claims to quote Cardinal Puljic as saying:

“We are now awaiting a new directive on this issue....I don’t think we must wait for a long time, I think it will be this year, but that is not clear… I am going to Rome in November and we must discuss this.”

The BiH Conference news site (my first link in this post) specifically denies this claim by Reuters.  Perhaps it was the result of a language barrier, or perhaps it was a denial of certain aspects of the post. Cardinal Puljic pointed out that he is not expecting any document from the CDF. 

Back again to the Zenit article:
When Benedict XVI's secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, was secretary of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, he wrote a letter backing the 1991 Yugoslavian episcopal conference letter. That was more than a decade ago.

Then, in his book on the apparitions in Fatima, published in 2007, Cardinal Bertone reiterated that the Church has not made an official decision on the site, and that while official pilgrimages are not to be organized, private pilgrimages to Medjugorje are acceptable. Certainly Medjugorje continues to attract thousands of pilgrims, acknowledged Cardinal Puljic.
And, in his 2007 address, Cardinal Bertone also said:
Even if at times the behaviour of diocesan Bishops and their collaborators may be wanting, it is essential to steer clear of the risk of a "Church of apparitions", diffident of the Hierarchy of the Church, as a variant of the well-known opposition of "charismatic Church - institutional Church". In this case, of course, we find that rather than facing a definite ideological position we are up against an attitude lived out and influenced by a somewhat superficial religiosity, a weakened ecclesial communion and a rather shallow faith in need of miraculous signs.
There you have it -  "diffident" [or distrustful] of the Hierarchy - which includes the local bishop and a "weakened ecclesial communion".  There are many erroneous claims out there that the "bishop was removed by the Holy See from the case" or that he was silenced.  This is ludicrous and without foundation.  Cardinal Puljic clearly reaffirms the authority of Bishop Peric.

Further, Monsignor Henri Brincard, speaking on behalf of the French Bishops in 2000, wrote:
Let us recognise that it is not easy to apply faithfully this recommendation. How, in fact, to organise a private pilgrimage without it being motivated by the conviction that the events of Medjugorje are of a supernatural origin? Since this conviction is at the origin of the pilgrimage, does not this latter not become de facto "an authentication of events in course which still necessitate an examination by the Church"?

It is just this difficulty which Cardinal Kuharic and Bishop Zanic foresaw in their joint declaration of 9th January 1987
Msgr. Brincard then cites the case of the Mariavites of Poland as worthy of study.

"It's not a sin to pray," said the cardinal with a smile. "There are many beautiful presences that have generated conversions and priestly or religious vocations. They are the fruits of prayer: Wherever man prays with faith, God gives the fruits of his grace."
This is all true. What is interesting is that all of these converions and vocations are attributed by the movement to the alleged apparition, as opposed to the sacramental grace coming from the Holy Eucharist and confession.  The Cardinal himself attributes them not to the alleged apparition, but to prayer.

"To pray in Marian shrines is part of the identity of our Catholic faithful," the Bosnian cardinal affirmed. "In the course of the problematic events of our history, our people have met repeatedly in the different shrines of the region to ask for consolation, light and hope, and the Virgin is a sign for our faith."

Some are also now spinning that last paragraph in such a way as to suggest that the Church is getting ready to give "shrine status" to Medjugorje.  It is unlikely that this would happen given that such status at the site of a purported apparition does not come until after it is fully approved.  In fact, it is a level of approval.  To give "shrine status", is only second to the visit of a sitting pope, which is considered the highest level of approval the Church can give. 

Medjugorje has not gotten past the stage in which "events" are judged.  Events are always judged before fruits for a very simple reason.  If an appartion claimed that there were eight persons in the Trinity, would we attribute vocations and conversions to such an apparition? If we were to study some of the major condemned apparitions we wil see that there too, were good fruits.  But, God makes good things come from bad (fraud or diabolical influence).  One of the best case studies is that of Magdalen of the Cross.

Te Deum Laudamus! Home
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Photostory: Archbishop Vigneron Leads Pro-life Prayer Vigil in Detroit

Yesterday, the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan held it's fourth and final prayer vigil of 2009.

Holy Mass
It began with 7:30am Mass at St. Joan of Arc in St. Clair Shores, celebrated by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron of the Archdiocese of Detroit. The parish children's choir had practiced for weeks to provide the music.  On this Feast of the Presentation of Mary, the archbishop told the roughly 650-700 in attendance that Mary, "stands with us in our work to serve the gospel of life".  At the conclusion of Mass, Archbishop Vigneron told the crowd how proud he was of the witness people were giving by coming to the Mass and vigil. 

Rosary Procession
Following Mass, those who were able, commuted a few miles to St. Veronica's parish and assembled there for a Rosary procession under the banner of Our Lady of Guadalupe to the 8 Mile Road boulevard.  This was believed to be the largest procession ever in the 10 year history of the local Helpers apostolate. 

One count had it at 460, but another group handing out pro-life materials said that 475 bags were given out, and not every member of every family received one.  Consensus was that the number in procession was closer to 550.   The massive crowd prayed all 20 mysteries of the Rosary during the procession and while standing in front of two abortion clinics about a block apart from one another on either side of 8 mile.  Before leaving each clinic, most went to their knees for a moment of silence. These are some of the most profound images of prayer in the slideshow below.

There was a group of young men from Brother Rice High School, easily identified by the banner they held.  I'm told there was a group of young women there from Regina.  If there were any other groups of students there, please give us a shout out in the comment box and talk about your experience.

Others who were in attendance are also encouraged to offer comments. Was it your first time? Will you come back in the future?

Adoration and Benediction
Following the procession, about 350-400 people went back to St. Joan of Arc where Monsignor Bugarin offered Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.  The Eucharist and been on the altar in a monstrance following Mass until Benediction where some who could not go on the walk remained in adoration

As an aside, at the conclusion of benediction, Monsignor Bugarin pointed out that a priest in residence at St. Joan of Arc, Fr. Gerry Bernier, who had just been hospitalized days earlier with double-pneumonia, was now on life support for therapeutic reasons. He asked for everyone's prayers.  A page at Caring Bridge has been set up to allow people to follow his progress (scroll for latest updates). Please keep Fr. Gerry in your prayers.

After a long morning, the crowd assembled in a large meeting area where refreshements were offered.  President of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan, Dan  Goodnow, explained that this year there were some 800 "turns" as a result of the work of counselors and prayers warriors. 

It's important to note that women who choose to have their babies are guided to organizations that can help them financially and materially before and after the birth of their babies.  Some come back to those same sidewalk counselors and happily show off the baby that was saved on account of their work.

Volunteers Needed
Dan stressed the need for more volunteers.  While these massive vigils are held four times yearly, the Helpers work is taking place daily and weekly.  He stressed the need not only for sidewalk counselors but for more prayer warriors - people who pray on a regular basis for the success of sidewalk counselors.  Prayer warriors also pray for those who come to the clinic seeking abortions, for family and friends of the women who may be coercing or persuading the women to have abortions, and for the workers inside the clinic.  The key to all of this is genuine christian love for all involved, not anger or hatred.

The Helpers offers training for sidewalk counselors which is advised even for those volunteering in other capacities, such as prayer warrior. 

Other volunteering opportunities include helping to distribute flyers for upcoming events at parishes and Catholic schools.  Local bloggers and webmasters can get the word out, as well.  People are needed for data entry, envelope stuffing, mailing and other administrative tasks.  In fact, Dan said he could really use a personal secretary to help with his load.  This is a man who does it all - sidewalk counseling, regular adoration, and administrative work, so it's no joke that he needs administrative assistants. Specifically, I'm told, he could use someone skilled in shorthand, transcription, and someone who can type fast. 

Dan's request for a volunteer to develop a bona fide website for Helpers of God's Precious Infants had someone step forward.  We will need people to put information into electronic form for him.  Feel free to contact me on this if you can help.

Call Dan Goodnow for more info on training and volunteering at 313-530-4539.  If you have difficulty reaching Dan, you can write me at and I will try to get your request to someone within the organization.

You can start the slideshow from the beginning by placing your cursor over to the left on the filmstrip and an arrow should appear. You can also change the speed. I recommend "fast".  There are other viewing options below the slideshow.

Below is a link to my Smugmug gallery on this event.  Bloggers and webmasters are free to use the images, but I ask for a courtesy link back to this blogpost (permalink is found in title or timestamp).  Images may be cropped, but not altered.  For professional use in print, contact me at


Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Photos are coming....Helpers of God's Precious Infants Prayer vigil with Abp Vigneron

Photostory coming, along with a low-quality movie taken with a small hand-held camera of the crowd, the largest yet. 

Stay tuned....probably some time tomorrow morning or early afternoon.

In the meanwhile, read the November 20, 2009 joint letter to the US Senate on health care reform by Bishop William F. Murphy Diocese of Rockville Centre (Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development), Cardinal Daniel DiNardo (Committee on Pro-life Activities), and Bishop John Wester (Committee on Migration)

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

22,000 Youth in Massive Eucharistic Procession

Catholic Key has the scoop! and many  more pictures. 

Cardinal DiNardo gave the keynote at today’s session of the National Catholic Youth Conference in Kansas City, while Kansas City, Kansas Archbishop Joseph Naumann led Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament and Benediction at Sprint Center. Kansas City – St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn then led 22,000 High School students through his See City from Sprint Center to the Kansas City Convention Center. At some point, I should probably explain why there is an Archbishop of Kansas City who isn’t the Bishop of Kansas City. Here are some pics – story later....

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Helpers of God's Precious Infants Prayer Vigil with Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron

The next prayer vigil with Helpers of God's Precious Infants will be led by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron on Saturday, November 21, 2009. 

Helpers rotates it's Mass location so that others may experience a peaceful way of working to end the horror of abortion one soul at a time.  You will also notice that those leading the vigils are leaders within the archdiocese.  This is not a protest, but a prayer vigil. 

Participants will begin with 7:30am Mass with the Archbishop at St. Joan of Arc at 22412 Overlake St. in St. Clair Shores.  People will then meet at St. Veronica's in Eastpointe where they will be led in a Rosary procession about 6 blocks to the 8 Mile Road boulevard (see pictures below from past events).  Following the vigil there will be Benediction back at St. Joan of Arc parish.  A meeting with refreshments and update on how the day went will take place before it all ends, usually around 10:30/11:00.

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Condemned "apparition" in Cleveland is going into grand mal

This is laughable.  It reminds me of when Toto exposed Oz. Since the Bishop of Cleveland condemned the apparition claims associated with Holy Love Ministries as "not supernatural", the messages have been crashing the discernment meter.   Here's today's message. 

I'm way past my bedtime. Lest our less catechized readers be scandalized by this message, please offer catechesis via combox which exposes the many errors in this message. I'll moderate comments when I can so please be patient.  If several people point out the same errors, that's ok. 
St. Thomas Aquinas says: "Praise be to Jesus."

"I spoke to you recently about 'blind' obedience. Today I'd like to explore with you the term itself - 'blind' obedience."

"Blind means without vision, as you know. 'Blind' obedience, then, means the soul obeys without insight, as to the why or as to the consequences of his actions. He obeys out of supposed respect for title or authority he is under. Sadly, today much authority is compromised on a human level for love of money, power and control. 'Blind' obedience does not take this human factor into account."

"In the Church itself, the Pope is infallible, but no one else. This is where human error comes into play. People often do not realize that they have a choice. They do not realize that not everything is infallible. They do not realize the graces they are missing for themselves and the world through 'blind' obedience."

"I have come today so that the world might see again the joys of the fruits of the Holy Spirit and open their hearts to the Truth of Holy Love."
The seizure started yesterday after days of tremors (click to enlarge)

See my original post from yesterday: Condemned Apparition Goes Spastic

The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Condemned "Apparition" Goes Spastic

UPDATED Nov 18, 2009 @10:00pm (scroll down - jabs at the bishop)
UPDATED Nov 18, 2009 @10:50pm (scroll down - the "apparition" is about to start spinning it's head)
UPDATED Nov 18, 2009 @11:00pm (scroll down - purity of water and the meltdown)

Talk about fruits....

Last week I shared the decree issued on November 11th, 2009 by Bishop Lennon of Cleveland in which the alleged apparitions associated with "Holy Love Ministries" was condemned.  The bishop stated that the Holy See had directed him to make a definitive decision.  The Holy See does not get involved with these things, unless for example - events transcend diocesan boundaries, as it has with Medjugorje.  Holy Mother Church drives decision making down to the lowest level - the local Ordinary.  The local bishop's decision, becomes the decision of the Church.

I was curious as to how the "apparition" itself would respond to being condemned as "not supernatural" (constat de non supernaturalitate), but figured I would wait a few days.  Sure enough - the "apparition" associated with Holy Love is having a major spasm.  Here is the "message" from November 13th:

'Jesus is here with His Heart exposed. He says: 'I am your Jesus, born Incarnate. My brothers and sisters, tonight confusion may have entered your hearts concerning certain statements from the diocese. I have come to ask you some questions to help you to think like citizens of Heaven, not of earth. Does it not say in Scripture, 'You should not stifle the Spirit' (1Thess 5:19). Did I not state in Scripture, 'Where two or more are gathered in prayer, there I am in their midst (Mt 18:20). My brothers and sisters, you must not place OFFICE and AUTHORITY and TITLE above the TRUTH. Tonight I am blessing you with My Blessing of Divine Love.''
Run! Run very fast if you are involved with this, in the other direction.

Matt C. Abbott just wrote on this. He quotes excerpts from some of the hate-email received by Wendy Cukierski (after she informed readers at her website of the decree).  Needless to say, they came bearing their fruits (we'll color it for the occasion):

'You disgust me and you are sick people. Jesus is Holy love. It's about love.'
'You'll be sorry.'
'Get your facts straight. The bishop doesn't know everything.'
'Take me off your mailing list because you are not the kind of people who are loving to print things like that.'
'We will no longer continue to visit your apostolate since you chose to point out the bishop's decree. Obedience to God before the bishop!'
One woman wrote a comment which I promptly rejected in which she defended Holy Love by asking what was so wrong about praying a Rosary.  Well, there is nothing wrong with praying a Rosary, and the bishop is not telling people not to pray a Rosary.  Rather, he is admonishing people not to pray their Rosary at Holy Love Ministries.  I would ask those who insist on disobeying him, why they would not want to pray their Rosary in Church, before the Blessed Sacrament.  Now there is a Miracle!  Our Lady is always pleased when we are led to her Son through our prayers.

People wonder why the Church doesn't just leave these apparition sites alone, even if they are not authentic.  After all, people pray Rosaries there, they convert, they head to confession, and go to Mass (all the while crediting their life's changes to the "apparition" rather than to the Sacraments). 

Here's the simple answer.  You are seeing the consequence of it in the aftermath of the condemnation of the apparitions associated with Holy Love.  In a word: Schism.  That's right.  People become their own pope and their own magisterium. It's based not on faith and reason, but on feelings and experiences.  Instead of giving their fiat, they are in essentially saying, "non serviam".

He who hears you hears Me (Luke 10:16).  That's what Our Lord told the apostles.   The Bishop of Cleveland is an apostolic successor, whose lineage can be traced all the way back to the first Apostles.  Unfortunately, supporters of Holy Love who reject the Bishop's decree hear only themselves.   

This is why Holy Mother Church exhorts us to use caution when it comes to any private revelation not approved.  There is a real danger of getting attached to it, so much so, that if a negative decision comes down, it is too difficult to give up.  This is precisely why the Angel of Darkness will appear as an "angel of light" (2 Cor 11:14).  Why would he show himself as the  monster that he is when it would drive people to run the other way?  Rather, it is to his benefit to appear beautiful (all the while flawed in some way as he can never be perfect).  He likes people to convert and go to confession, and use the Sacraments if he knows that he has those people in his pocket when the Church condemns the associated events. 

This is not to say that the alleged apparitions of Holy Love are demonic.  The bishop does not tell us whether they are believed to be of demonic origin or a fraud.  However, engaging in fraud, and associating with fraud, especially while rejecting a decree by the bishop, and thumbing one's nose at him is a good way to open the door to satanic influence.

I strongly believe we are going to see a chain of definitive decisions coming forth from many dioceses in the coming months and years to bring about closure.  It's time for, "Apparitions Anonymous"

Please pray for those who have rejected the decree, and for those currently assessing their position.  May God grace them with humility and obedience - the virtues exemplified in Our Lady.

UPDATE November 18, 2009 @10:00pm:

Here is the message for November 14th, 2009 which again attacks the bishop all the while trying to lure followers away from Church (my emphases in bold; comments bracketed in red - and I don't have time to take each sentence apart, as I should):

I see a great Flame [I'll bet] - that I have come to know as the Heart of the Father - rise up behind the Eucharist. God the Father says: "I Am the Eternal Now." As He speaks, the Flame seems to pulsate.

"I have come to issue forth this Decree of Truth [Bishop issues a decree condemning the "apparition" as not supernatural and the "apparition" issues it's own decree]. The Holy Spirit is alive and well here at this apparition site. Indeed, Heaven and, I Myself, have taken possession of this property [like I said, run quickly away from this place]. No one can prove otherwise no matter his distinction in the world."  [That was a jab at the bishop.  In other words -a pretty clear, "non serviam"].

"My Beloved Son, His Immaculate Mother and a multitude of angels and saints appear here and give witness to the Truth. Do not despise the Spirit of Truth that heals hearts and opens the way to salvation and personal holiness through these Messages [and "we don't want to lose the cash from our operations, so please don't go away now that the bishop has condemned it"]. Do not deny the Truth out of envy or pride [and Truth is with the Church, not outside of it]. To do so is to place your soul in jeopardy." [by following condemned "apparitions" which cause you to break communion with your bishop - the apostolic successor of your diocese].

"Just as I, The Eternal Father, have inspired this Mission, so through the Spirit of Truth, I inspire souls to continue in their prayer effort here. Let no one discourage you [jab at the bishop again] or tell you in falsehood you are not allowed to come here." [now it accuses the bishop of lying] 

"I, your Eternal Father, call you here. * This Mission stands for the truth of the gospel message of love. The error is in hearts that oppose the gospel and the graces which support it here."  [opposing the bishop on a matter in which he has jurisdiction is opposing the gospel (Luke 10:16)]

"Just as I made the tongues of all those who detract against this Ministry [I suppose the manufacturer of this message - the one who is worried about lost income, is speaking about folks like me, along with the bishop], I also created the tongues, the souls and spirits, of those who come here to pray despite man's dictates and opposition [oh, whichever "spirit" this is talking, didn't create any tongues, but it may indeed be moving the tongues of those creating this bunk]. Listen to Me. I need every prayer." [you need every prayer alright]

UPDATE November 18 2009 @ 10:50pm

Here we go, the "apparition" should start spinning it's head any time is today's "message".   Now it suggests that the bishop is Satan.

St. Catherine of Siena says: "Praise be to Jesus."
"Please realize that Satan is actively opposing this Ministry [actually, it's beginning to look like Satan is driving this bus, however - with some forms of fraud, Satan can ride comfortably in the bench seat at the back]. He is trying to transform belief in the truth of these Messages into a forbidden act of disobedience [He who hears you, hears me (Luke 10:16 - again)]. Do not be tricked, but realize that Heaven is offering abundant graces and [poisonous & forbidden] fruits here to those who will open their hearts."

This is not harmless stuff people.  It opens the doors to the demonic, if it hasn't already. 

Edit November 18th, 2009 @11:00pm:

That's it.  I can't take anymore.  With his decree of condemnation, the bishop has essentially poured pure water over something evil and we are witnessing a meltdown.

Further reading:

  • Holy Love Ministries - Maureen Sweeney-Kyle at Maranatha Spring (Apparition Deceptions)

  • Condemned apparition in Cleveland is going into grand mal (Te Deum)
  • "Adorot Te Devote" analyzes the 11-13-2009 "message".
  • 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions (Theotokos)

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      The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!