Monday, May 31, 2010

May 31 Bollettino: Apostolic Visititation for Ireland

St. Mary's of the Rosary Catholic Church, Nenagh

Just a quick note from the daily Bollettino at the Vatican's website for May 31, 2010:

Following the Holy Father’s Letter to the Catholics of Ireland, the Apostolic Visitation of certain Irish dioceses, seminaries and religious congregations will begin in autumn of this year.

Through this Visitation, the Holy See intends to offer assistance to the Bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful as they seek to respond adequately to the situation caused by the tragic cases of abuse perpetrated by priests and religious upon minors. It is also intended to contribute to the desired spiritual and moral renewal that is already being vigorously pursued by the Church in Ireland.

The Apostolic Visitors will set out to explore more deeply questions concerning the handling of cases of abuse and the assistance owed to the victims; they will monitor the effectiveness of and seek possible improvements to the current procedures for preventing abuse, taking as their points of reference the Pontifical Motu Proprio "Sacramentorum Sanctitatis Tutela" and the norms contained in Safeguarding Children: Standards and Guidance Document for the Catholic Church in Ireland, commissioned and produced by the National Board for Safeguarding Children in the Catholic Church.

The Visitation will begin in the four Metropolitan Archdioceses of Ireland (Armagh, Dublin, Cashel and Emly, and Tuam) and will then be extended to some other dioceses.

The Visitors named by the Holy Father for the dioceses are: His Eminence Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O’Connor, Emeritus Archbishop of Westminster, for the Archdiocese of Armagh; His Eminence Cardinal Sean Patrick O’Malley, Archbishop of Boston, for the Archdiocese of Dublin; the Most Reverend Thomas Christopher Collins, Archbishop of Toronto, for the Archdiocese of Cashel and Emly; the Most Reverend Terrence Thomas Prendergast, Archbishop of Ottawa, for the Archdiocese of Tuam.

In its desire to accompany the process of renewal of houses of formation for the future priests of the Church in Ireland, the Congregation for Catholic Education will coordinate the visitation of the Irish seminaries, including the Pontifical Irish College in Rome. While special attention will be given to the matters that occasioned the Apostolic Visitation, in the case of the seminaries it will cover all aspects of priestly formation. The Most Reverend Timothy Dolan, Archbishop of New York, has been named Apostolic Visitor.

For its part, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life will organize the visitation of religious houses in two phases. Firstly it will conduct an enquiry by means of a questionnaire to be sent to all the Superiors of religious institutes present in Ireland, with a view to providing an accurate picture of the current situation and formulating plans for the observance and improvement of the norms contained in the "guidelines". In the second phase, the Apostolic Visitors will be: the Reverend Joseph Tobin, CSsR and the Reverend Gero McLaughlin SJ for institutes of men; Sister Sharon Holland IHM and Sister Mairin McDonagh RJM for institutes of women. They will carry out a careful study, evaluating the results obtained from the questionnaire and the possible steps to be taken in the future in order to usher in a season of spiritual rebirth for religious life on the Island.

His Holiness invites all the members of the Irish Catholic community to support this fraternal initiative with their prayers. He invokes God’s blessings upon the Visitors, and upon all the Bishops, clergy, religious and lay faithful of Ireland, that the Visitation may be for them an occasion of renewed fervour in the Christian life, and that it may deepen their faith and strengthen their hope in Christ our Saviour.

[00805-02.01] [Original text: English]

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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!

Memorial Day: Some gave all...

Please remember today to pray for those who gave their lives in service to this country. May God grant them all eternal rest.

Assumption Grotto has, each year on Memorial Day a special Mass with the Catholic War Veterans which begins with a flag raising ceremony at 9:00. The Mass follows at 9:15. Some years, we are graced with the presence of several priests. Here are some photos from 2008, which I have been unable to surpass. I am copying my post from that year.

The visiting, hooded monk, is Fr. Aidan Logan, O.C.s.o, chaplain, US Naval Acadamy, and a good friend of Chris Kolomjec, who served a tour of duty in Iraq which ended in April 2007. Since 2005 when I first got to Grotto, he has visited the Metro Detroit area each Memorial Day, and once or twice in between.

I never did anything religious for Memorial Day until I found Grotto. The spiritual dimension - the praying for souls of fallen soldiers, as well as for the conversion of veterans and soldiers alike, it is worthwhile to assist at Mass on Memorial Day. I have found that aside from the usual "America the Beautiful" or other patriotic hymn, there are few places to really spend time in prayer for the our war veterans and dead soldiers.

I only recently learned more about my dad's older brother, Eddie, who died in WWII. He was a radio operator on a B-24G in the 741st Bomb Squadron, 405th Bomb Group Ceregnola Field, Italy. His plane went down just off the coast of Italy on May 24, 1944. He is listed on the "Tablet of the Missing" in Florence. Requiescat in pace!

If you want to learn more about your relatives who died during any foreign war, you can write to the American Battle Monuments Commission. They sent me, for free, photographs of my uncles name engraved on the tablet. I can even order flowers to be laid out on certain days. At their home page you can find a search function in which you can pick the war and type in the name.

This is a favorite view of mine, of the back side of Assumption Grotto Church from the cemetary.

And, one of the visitors down by the grotto itself.

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, May 29, 2010

Vocation Spotlight: The "Pink Sisters"!

Perhaps you have seen a religious sister in a pink habit and wondered about them.  Here is an opportunity to look at one such community through their website.  They are the Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters at Mount Grace Convent in St. Louis, Missouri.  And, they have a blog! (be sure to leave a comment and let them know you visited). There is a nice video when you visit the site.  Sit back and enjoy the scenes and music.  Click around the site and check in on the blog. 

In her email to me, Sr. Mary Rebecca, wrote:

The Holy Spirit Adoration Sisters (popularly known as the "Pink Sisters" because of our rose-colored habit) are a cloistered, contemplative religious congregation with 22 convents in 12 countries. Through our Perpetual Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and silent witness, we make the love of Christ known throughout the world. Mount Grace Convent, in St. Louis, MO is our house of formation in the United States.
If you are discerning a vocation to religious life, you might want to check out this order, especially if you are leaning in the direction of contemplative, cloistered life.  Along with intercessory prayers, they also pray for priests.  From their website:

We are especially mindful of our Lord's exhortation, “Ask the Lord of the harvest to send workers to his harvest,” and we respond with prayer and sacrifice for priests, a special obligation given us by St. Arnold. Conscious that the evangelization of the world cannot be realized without good priests who, in the spirit of Jesus, the eternal high priest, will lead the people of God, our intercession is offered day and night first and foremost for those engaged in the work of proclaiming the good news. During every hour of nocturnal adoration, the Sisters intercede for priests, living and deceased, by either praying the Marian rosary or another form of prayer.
Why pink?

We carry out our service in close union with the Lord, whom we follow in a life of poverty, chastity and obedience. The Papal enclosure that we observe is a special way of being with the Lord, its totality signaling our absolute dedication. Freed from distractions, our hearts expand to include every need and distress. Before the Eucharistic Throne, we adore God on behalf of our brothers and sisters throughout the world.

The rose color of our habits, which we wear in honor of the Holy Spirit, symbolizes the joy of our dedication to the Third Person of the Blessed Trinity. Our way of life witnesses to the basic truth that God alone is the true center of being and the goal of history, that he alone can satisfy the longings of the human heart, and that every good thing comes from him.

Here are a few pictures from the site.  This first is a photo of a perpetual profession with the new archbishop of St. Louis, Bishop Robert J. Carlson, formerly of nearby Saginaw, Michigan.

The former archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond L. Burke, now the Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura

And, a few more pics from among the many at the site:

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

Friday, May 28, 2010

Sandro Magister: Schonborn and Celibacy

Italian journalist, Sandro Magister, has an excellent piece up on clerical celibacy.  It was prompted by the many news stories still being discussed in Italy over the Austrian bishops, and their public push for a re-evaluation of celibacy.  However, as Magister notes, Pope Benedict XVI has been on a different path, one which has been aimed at strengthening celibacy.   

I will give you the beginning, then you can follow the link for the rest.  Note to my international readers: If you prefer Italian, French or Spanish, there are options in the left sidebar for you.  Magister publishes his blog in four languages.  Emphases mine in bold:
Sandro Magister
ROME, May 28, 2010 – Benedict XVI is preparing to conclude the Year for Priests, which he called in order to restore spiritual vigor to the Catholic priests at a difficult time for the entire Church.

Meanwhile, however, one famous cardinal among those closest to the pope, Vienna archbishop Christoph Schönborn continues to beat the drum of a "rethinking" of the discipline of celibacy among the Latin clergy.

Schönborn is a well-educated man, a former student of Joseph Ratzinger when he was a professor of theology. In the 1980's, he collaborated in the writing of the catechism of the Catholic Church. But as a man of command, since he has been at the head of a Church so off-kilter as the Austrian Church is, he has shown himself more attentive to the pressure of public opinion than to his leadership duties.

In mid-May, as soon as one of his fellow Austrian bishops, Paul Iby of Eisenstadt, said that "priests should be free to decide whether to marry or not" and that "the Holy See is too timid on this question," Cardinal Schönborn quickly commented: "The concerns expressed by Bishop Iby are the concerns of us all."

And this was only the latest – for now – of an unending series of similar statements. From Cardinal Schönborn and from other cardinals and bishops all over the world, not to mention representatives of the clergy and laity. "Moving past" the discipline of celibacy has long been the basso continuo of the music of the innovators.

In this music, just a couple of things are usually heard and understood.

The first is that the celibacy of the clergy is a rule imposed in recent centuries on the Latin clergy alone.

The second is that Catholic priests should be allowed to marry "as in the primitive Church."

The problem is that both of these things are at odds with history and theology.

Magister then goes on to qualify this last statement, and much more.   Continue reading Eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven. The Argument over Celibacy by Sandro Magister

Problems in Austria

Before leaving you with some links to qualify that which I have emboldened above, about the problems in the Austrian Church, let's look at what Pope Benedict XVI said to the Austrian bishops on their last ad limina visit in 2005. They are now up for their next ad limina.  Has their been any change?

Here are a few excerpts:

Grievous events are occurring today: the secularization process, constantly gaining momentum in Europe at this time, has not even been halted at the gates of Catholic Austria. Identification with the Church has been eroded in many of the faithful and with it, the certainty of the faith and reverential awe for God's law are lacking.


As you well know, profession of faith is one of the Bishop's most important duties. "I have never shrunk from announcing to you God's design in its entirety", St Paul said at Miletus to the Presbyters of the Church of Ephesus (Acts 20: 27). It is true that we Bishops must act prudently. However, this prudence must not prevent us from presenting the Word of God in its full clarity, even those things that people are less willing to hear or that never fail to arouse protests and derision.

Dear Brothers in the Episcopate, you are well aware that there are topics concerning the truth of faith and especially moral doctrine that are not being adequately presented in catechesis and preaching in your Dioceses and that at times, for example, in youth ministry in the parishes or associations, are not being confronted at all or are not being clearly addressed as the Church wishes.

I give thanks to God it is not like this everywhere. However, perhaps those responsible for preaching fear that here and there people might drift away if they spoke too clearly.

Yet experience generally shows that it is precisely the opposite that happens. Be under no illusion. An incomplete Catholic teaching is a contradiction in itself and cannot be fruitful in the long term.
The proclamation of the Kingdom of God goes hand in hand with the need for conversion and love that encourages, that knows the way, that teaches an understanding that with God's grace even what seems impossible becomes possible. Only think how the teaching of religion, catechesis at various levels and preaching can be gradually improved, deepened and as it were completed.

Please use zealously the Compendium and the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Ensure that your priests and catechists use these instruments, that they are explained in parishes, associations and movements, and used in families as important reading.

In the uncertainty of this time in history and of our society, offer people the certainty of the complete faith of the Church. The clarity and beauty of the Catholic faith are such that they brighten human life even today! This is particularly true if it is presented by enthusiastic and convincing witnesses.

The clear, public and resolute witness of Bishops, which can give a direction to all the faithful and especially the priests in your special care, and the courage to strengthen the faith through your own attitude, must be accompanied by many measures, often seemingly insignificant and unnecessary, which have a public effect.

Now, for some recent related links to this subject, and content which will qualify what Magister is talking about with regards to the Church in Austria being so "off-kilter".

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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, May 27, 2010

Twitter feed updated with news links

I've been running short on time this week.  In fact, I have not been able to get to the photos I took this weekend for the First Mass of Fr. John Dumas at Assumption Grotto and Fr. Michael Zuelch at Immaculate Conception in Lapeer.  I will get to those this weekend. 

I have been updating my Twitter feed with news on a regular basis.  Just because I'm not blogging on it, doesn't mean I don't know it's out there.  I try to update my feed a few times daily. 

Follow me here: @TeDeumBlog or click the bird in my sidebar any time to read the feed.

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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, May 25, 2010

Audio: Colin Donovan of EWTN on Medjugorje

Note: This post has been edited at the bottom to include a link which has the 9 minute segment isolated.

I listened to the Friday edition of EWTN's Open Line with Colin Donovan, the VP of Theology at the network on May 21, 2010.  The audio is now available online.

Every now and then callers will ask about apparitions, most often referring to Medjugorje.  I am only going to give you a few quotes and a lead in, leaving Colin to explain most of this through the audio.  I am leaving out some key things so that you can hear it from him.

This audio could get moved on Monday as a new show is uploaded.  I will probably have to change the URL, so if you are looking for the audio and do not find the right one (May 21, 2010), then drop a note in the combox and I'll update it from the archives.

In this two hour segment, if you slide the bar to 1 hour 28 minutes, the question will come in about with all the sin in the world, can one follow apparitions in these times if they find them compatible with the Gospel, and see nothing contrary to their own "faith and reason".   The woman begins by using Catherine Laboure as an example.  She also talks about how the people followed the children of Fatima before it was approved, and asks the question: How would there have been a "miracle of the sun" if no one had followed Fatima before approval? Colin gives a solid answer. 

He then discusses his thoughts on whether apparitions are happening "in these times".   He talks about holiness of the visionaries using Fatima and Lourdes as examples.   Further dialogue with the woman then prompts him to explain the difference between a mystic and a visionary, which was good because these two things do get confused. 

As the discussion progressed, and the woman pressed, still not mentioning Medjugorje, Colin admonished listeners to "keep their ear to the ground and listen to the Church and what she is saying about things because when she says 'no', we better say, 'no' because the Church will be right 99.9% of the times....and we will be wrong".

He then goes deeper into details of Fatima and it's approval, that it was headed in the direction of approval from the beginning because it was credible, was not opposed by Church authority, the children were humble and behaved as you would expect. He noted that it was approved just 13 years later. 

That's when the woman finally brings up Medjugorje.  She pointed out that Mother Angelica talked about Medjugorje in a positive light.  How did Colin respond?  You'll have to listen to find out.

Click here to begin the MP3 audio and use the slider bar to go to 1:28

EDIT May 25, 2010: Try this link for the 9 minute segment which has been isolated.

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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!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Local Canon Lawyer tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as a "Referendarius" of the Apostolic Signatura

Blogging canonist, Dr. Edward Peters, JD, JCD, is a father of six (which includes Tom Peters, the American Papist). He lives in southeast Michigan and is on the graduate faculty at Sacred Heart Major Seminary here in Detroit, where he was appointed the Edmund Cardinal Szoka Chair of Faculty Development in 2005.  He is also the author of Excommunication and the Catholic Church: Straight Answers to Tough Questions and Annulments and the Catholic Church: Straight Answers to Tough Questions.

It is truly a pleasure to know that Dr. Peters has been tapped by Pope Benedict XVI to serve as a "Referendarius" (Referendary) of the Apostolic Signatura (think "Supreme Court" of the Catholic Church).  In his blogpost on this, Dr. Peters writes (my comment in brackets):

As one of some dozen international consultants to the Church's highest administrative tribunal, it will be my privilege and responsibility to advise*, on an as-needed basis, the officials of that dicastery regarding matters impacting the administration of law and justice within the Church. [see his blogpost for the footnote related to the asterisk].

A number of persons have graciously conveyed their congratulations to me on this honor, and I am truly grateful for their kind words. But I want to underscore that I see this appointment not so much as an honor, but rather, as an invitation to serve more effectively the mission of the Church as the Speculum Iustitiae.

Even as I prepare, however, to place my training in canon and common law more readily at the service of the Church, I recall what Canon 1752 stresses, namely, that "the salvation of souls [is] the supreme law in the Church." Salvation is not, in the end, a work of law, but one of love. As such, it is a work toward which we all can, and must, contribute.

Ergo, oremus pro invicem! + + +

Here is the English version of the announcement from Vatican Information Service email (not yet on the web) of what appeared in the Bollettino for May 23, 2010:
- Appointed as relators of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura: Fr. Eduardo Baura de la Pena, professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of the Holy Cross; Fr. Paolo Giuseppe Bianchi, judicial vicar of the Ecclesiastical Regional Tribunal of Lombardy, Italy; Fr. Bruno Esposito O.P., professor at the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas; Fr. Luigi Sabbarese C.S., dean of the faculty of canon law of the Pontifical Urban University, and Edward N. Peters, professor of canon law at the Sacred Heart Major Seminary of the archdiocese of Detroit U.S.A.
American, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke is the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, which is much like a chief justice. 

We certainly offer Dr. Peters our congratulations.  However, I believe he would appreciate our prayers even more. May the Holy Spirit guide him with wisdom and prudence in this important work.

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

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Interview with Cardinal Saraiva Martins following the Holy Father's visit to Fatima

Below is a translation of an interview with His Eminence, José Cardinal Saraiva Martins, C.M.F., done by Gianluca Barile of the Italian Catholic site, Petrus (before clicking that link, know that there is a hymn which begins playing automatically, so if you are on a work computer turn off the sound - LOL).  Cardinal Saraiva, one of six Cardinal-Bishops, is the prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints. The interview was on Fatima and Pope Benedict XVI's visit last week.

I first read this interview through a google translator and thought it was worth having in English.  I turned to Richard Chonak of Catholic Light who has done many other translations from Italian and German at his blog.  After he translated it and sent it to me, I emailed it to Mr. Barile and asked for his approval to make it available to English readers on my blog, which he granted.

To my Italian visitors, and readers of Italian, you can find the original article here

Here is the translation of the interview in full:

Cardinal José Saraiva Martins recounts the journey of Benedict XVI to Portugal and describes the full meaning of the Third Secret of Fatima: "The Pope and the Church are destined to suffer for a long time"

by Gianluca Barile

VATICAN CITY - He is the Cardinal of Fatima. And not just because he is Portuguese. There is something more, in fact, that binds Jose Saraiva Martins (pictured) to the place where the Virgin appeared to three shepherd children. It is a relationship based on love: the Love, with a capital L, of a child for his mother. It's made clear in the exclusive interview which this illustrious Prince of the Church granted to "Petrus" on his return to Rome after having accompanied the Pope personally in his recent apostolic voyage to the land of Portugal.

Eminence, may we ask you for a summary of the visit of Benedict XVI to Portugal?

"It was an extraordinary success: universal, undeniable: a great event that deserves to be recorded in golden letters in the annals of Church history. An immense joy not only for Portugal but for all the world. On the other hand, Fatima is the altar of the world, even the Cathedral of the world, because the Madonna came to that place to be a messenger, by means of the three shepherd children, of timeless values and, moreover, of great relevance in this particular historical period. I am referring to her calls for peace, for conversion to God, to the centrality of the Eucharist, to devotion to Christ, to repentance. These are very beautiful themes, which the Pope has reaffirmed clearly and without hesitation.”

Portuguese Catholics have not failed to rally around the Pope in this particular historical moment.

"Absolutely. They have proved to nurture an infinite affection for the Pope, the affection of a son for his father. And their presence at each ceremony, was the best response to the campaign of hate based on slander, carried out against the Pope and the Church. "

By the way: the number of pilgrims has been exceptional: more than half a million faithful took part in the one Mass at Fatima. Was that expected for the vigil?

"Frankly, no. Even the Pope was not expecting so much warmth, and so he enjoyed and was even more grateful for the welcome from the Portuguese, who have embraced him so and supported him as a real father. In this way, the inseparable bond linking the Roman Pontiff and the Portuguese was confirmed, dating back to when Portugal was not yet independent and the Archbishop of Braga came to Rome to ask the Pope to agree to declare the independence of this people from the rest of Spain. So to speak, the influence of the Pope is in the DNA, in the history, and in the culture of Portugal."

In what spirit did the Holy Father address this pilgrimage in Portugal, a few days after the enactment of laws favoring abortion and recognition of unmarried couples by the Socialist government led by Prime Minister Socrates?

"With great courage and simplicity, touching these issues with clarity and force, the Pope spoke with great freedom of spirit, not afraid to defend the dignity of human life and the unique value of natural marriage between man and woman (not forgetting the fine words on the relationship between faith and culture handed down in Lisbon), urging the Portuguese to do the same. They were appeals that made everyone reflect a little."

In Italy people would have cried out against the Church's interference in public affairs...

"But the Church always has an obligation to reaffirm the 'non-negotiability' of Christian values, since they are the heart and summit of the Gospel."

The most significant step was, without a shadow of a doubt, that of Fatima. But as a gesture of Benedict XVI has it been consigned to history?

"I was struck, in particular, by two moments: the human and spiritual intensity with which the golden rose was laid at the feet of the Madonna, and the fact that the Holy Father, having just arrived at the heliport of Fatima, wanted to go immediately, without any intermediate breaks, to the Chapel of the Apparitions to pray, kneeling for a long time at the feet of the Woman brighter than the sun."

Benedict XVI has been the third Pope to visit Fatima, after Paul VI and John Paul II (who went there three times). Which do you think was the most important of these journeys?

"There wasn't one journey more important than the others, but all were equally important. The Church is incarnate in time and in history. And Paul VI and John Paul II and Benedict XVI himself have all succeeded to perfection in speaking to the hearts of their contemporaries. Anyone who did not expect that from Benedict XVI was fooling himself. They should have known, in fact, that Cardinal Ratzinger has always followed the phenomenon of the Marian apparitions of Fatima with interest and admiration, and for this reason in the past he also presided at a world vigil for May 13 at the Cova da Iria. Like John Paul II, Benedict XVI is therefore a 'Pope of Fatima', albeit for different historical reasons."

When the Pope said that the persecution against the church is caused by her own members, was he referring only to the scandal of pedophilia in the clergy?

"First, an explanation is called for. We know well that the Church is also made up of sinners; and the priesthood, however, does not confer immunity from committing sins. But if the presence of sin in the Church is a matter of fact, this does not mean that it extends to the levels that certain newspapers would have us believe. Having said that, the Pope's speech certainly includes the pedophilia, but not only that. It is a more 'general' speech. How could we not think, really, of the disobedience to the Pope, the 'careerism', the divisions among the people of God and its pastors?"

Eminence, let us come now to the core of the so-called 'Third Secret of Fatima'. Benedict XVI explained that the prophecy has not ended, and that it did not exclusively relate to the attempt on John Paul II, but rather meant that the Pope would suffer persecution in every age.

"In the vision of the 'bishop dressed in white' who is shot dead, there is a description of the Passion of the Church and of its pastor, the Pope. The attack on Wojtyla fits perfectly in this context. But the Madonna wanted to prophesy something else, namely that the Church and the Pope were subject to persecution, sacrifice, and suffering in every age. Indeed, we notice it in history: it was so in the past, it is so today, it will be so tomorrow. The Church, indeed, is none other than Christ himself, incarnate no longer in a physical body but in a community of faith, hope and love. So, if the Church is Christ, we have to present once again the face of Christ crucified and disfigured, but not yielding to despair but with joy and optimism, thinking that after the Cross there is always the Resurrection; after Good Friday, Easter always comes. Christ died to rise again, so the Church too must suffer in order to defeat the darkness. The blood of martyrs is the seed of Christianity. We must be aware, as Jesus warned us once: 'If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you'. But let us not forget, he added: 'Non praevalebunt', the gates of hell shall not prevail. With this ultimate promise, we can be sure that despite the sins of some of her sons, despite sufferings, slanders, persecutions, and the hate campaigns carried out by the media, the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ, will rise as the physical body of the Lord has already risen. We can be certain: the Church and the Pope will come out strengthened by the persecution."

After the Holy Father's words, some journalists and writers - Antonio Socci above all - have turned to the attack, claiming that the Vatican is hiding a fourth part of the mystery of Fatima in which the Virgin prophesies the apostasy of the Church. Can you give a direct testimony on the groundlessness of this theory?

"There is no fourth secret of Fatima at all, nor does the third refer to the apostasy of the Church. In 2000 I was assigned by John Paul II to see what was written by Sister Lucia and I can testify that there is nothing beyond what was made public in those years."

Another debate has been reopened about the consecration of Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

"Russia, as requested by Our Lady through Sister Lucia, was already consecrated by Venerable Pope Pius XII and John Paul II. So our Lady's wish has not been disregarded. It is true that Russia was not mentioned explicitly, but it is not perhaps part of the world? In consecrating the whole world to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, at the same time Russia was also consecrated to her."

I would like to express my thanks to Gianluca Barile for the interview itself, and to Richard Chonak for translating the article for use on Te Deum Laudamus! 

Further reading and links:
I regret that I do not have time right now for moderation of comments on this subject.  Therefore, comments are "off" for this post.

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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!


Mildorfer - Pentecost
(circa 1750's)

This is the second reading of the Office of Readings for today:

From the treatise Against Heresies, Book III, Chapter 17, by Saint Irenaeus, bishop
When the Lord told his disciples to go and teach all nations and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, he conferred on them the power of giving men new life in God.

He had promised through the prophets that in these last days he would pour out his Spirit on his servants and handmaids, and that they would prophesy. So when the Son of God became the Son of Man, the Spirit also descended upon him, becoming accustomed in this way to dwelling with the human race, to living in men and to inhabiting God’s creation. The Spirit accomplished the Father’s will in men who had grown old in sin, and gave them new life in Christ. Luke says that the Spirit came down on the disciples at Pentecost, after the Lord’s ascension, with power to open the gates of life to all nations and to make known to them the new covenant. So it was that men of every language joined in singing one song of praise to God, and scattered tribes, restored to unity by the Spirit, were offered to the Father as the first-fruits of all the nations.

This was why the Lord had promised to send the Advocate: he was to prepare us as an offering to God. Like dry flour, which cannot become one lump of dough, one loaf of bread, without moisture, we who are many could not become one in Christ Jesus without the water that comes down from heaven. And like parched ground, which yields no harvest unless it receives moisture, we who were once like a waterless tree could never have lived and borne fruit without this abundant rainfall from above. Through the baptism that liberates us from change and decay we have become one in body; through the Spirit we have become one in soul.

The Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and strength, the Spirit of knowledge and the fear of God came down upon the Lord, and the Lord in turn gave this Spirit to his Church, sending the Advocate from heaven into all the world into which, according to his own words, the devil too had been cast down like lightning.

If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God. Since we have our accuser, we need an advocate as well. And so the Lord in his pity for man, who had fallen into the hands of brigands, having himself bound up his wounds and left for his care two coins bearing the royal image, entrusted him to the Holy Spirit. Now, through the Spirit, the image and inscription of the Father and the Son have been given to us, and it is our duty to use the coin committed to our charge and make it yield a rich profit for the Lord.

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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!

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Seminarian with brain tumor and his spiritual journey

Fellow blogger, Philip Gerard Johnson, a seminarian in Raleigh, North Carolina, is in need of some additional prayers. 

I have followed the story of Philip since his blog was initiated back in November of 2008.  He was a young officer in the US Navy at the time when it was discovered that he had an inoperable brain tumor.  He had desires to become a priest.  Bishop Burbridge accepted him into the seminary as he was undergoing a medical discharge from the military.  He had asked for intercessory prayers to Rev. Thomas Frederick Price (1860-1919), whose cause for sainthood is behing advanced.  Bishop Burbridge put his imprimatur on the prayer card for the intercessory prayer that was written, which you can see and pray here for Philip.
Philip learned through an MRI the other day, that his brain tumor is growing once again. He is undergoing more aggressive chemo therapy aimed at reducing the tumor.   

Philip has one of the most interesting blogs. He has traveled the world, doing photoposts from , Ireland, France, Rome and many other places.  One of my favorite posts was when he went to the Holy Land and provided photos of Mt. Carmel!   He also has a nice photopost up about his mother coming into the Church on her first year anniversary.

In March, he was inducted into the Mercedarian Third Order.  (Order of The Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy). It's noteworthy that diocesan seminarians and priests may belong to secular branch of various orders.  Fr. Perrone of Assumption Grotto  is a diocesan priest who is also a secular Carmlite.  Philip writes: 

The Order of the Blessed Virgin Mary of Mercy is a Roman Catholic religious order established in 1218 by St. Peter Nolasco for the redemption of Christian captives from Muslim Spain. One of the distinguishing marks of the Order is that, since its foundation, its members are required to take a Fourth Vow to exchange themselves for another who is in danger of losing their Faith.

Johnson has also chronicled another journey on his blog - a spiritual journey with Christ through his suffering with cancer.  In this journey, he teaches us how to make God's will our will.  In reading his posts you will gain appreciation for the little things in life, but also for the gift of faith. 

Those men reading this blog that are considering the priesthood, and seminarians, should follow his writings very closely. His great love for the priesthood, can also inspire priests. May they treasure the gift of their vocation. This is a man who is not hesitating in the least to follow the call, and God's will for him. Learn from him!

Please keep Philip in your prayers (pictured upper left had corner). And, visit his blog, In Caritate non Ficta, to follow him on his spiritual journey. You will learn much.

There is a great story on him from May 2009 in the UK Catholic HeraldI can't live as if I am dead already.

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

Archbishop Vigneron to ordain 7 today; see their profiles

From The Michigan Catholic
by Gregg McIntosh

The Sacrament of holy orders will be conferred upon six men for the Archdiocese of Detroit and one man for the Archdiocese of Doula, Cameroon, Saturday at the Cathedral of the Blesses Sacrament, Detroit. From left, Deacon Benedict Bikoyogue Ehinack will be ordained to his native homeland in Africa, while Deacons Bernardo Cruz, Michael Zuelch, John Dumas, Adalberto Espinoza, Craig Giera and James Arwady will be ordained for the Archdiocese of Detroit
That intro comes from a lengthy article at The Michigan Catholic in which each of the men are profiled, indepth.  Read about their interesting backgrounds and journey to the priesthood, and their thoughts about the challenges facing the Church today. 

John Dumas is a parishioner of Assumption Grotto and he will celebrate his First Mass, in the extraordinary form, at the 9:30am Mass for Pentecost tomorrow.  This will be a Solemn High Mass.  The Haydn Paukenmesse will be featured by the Assumption Grotto Choir and Orchestra.

Last year, parishioner, Rev. Charles White IV celebrated his First Mass, also in the extraordinary form.  See the photostory of Fr. White's First Mass here.  Fr. White is currently assigned to Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth, MI

Please pray for the 7 men who will be ordained in Detroit today by Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron. 

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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!

Helpers of God's Precious Infants vigil - Saturday, June 19, 2010

The rector of Sacred Heart Major Seminary, Msgr. Jeffrey Montforton, will lead the next Helper's of God's Precious Infants prayer vigil in Detroit on June 19, 2010.  It will begin at St. Lucy's on Jefferson in St. Clair Shores with Holy Mass at 7:30am. 

Msgr. Montforton led the November 2008 vigil in the pouring rain.  See my photostory here.

More photostories from past Helper's of God's Precious Infants vigils in Detroit:


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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!

North Platte Nebraska - little lessons of love

Veil-tip to Patrick Madrid on this one:

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, May 20, 2010

Archbishop Vigneron to ordain seven men to the priesthood Saturday, six for Detroit

Archbishop Vigneron spoke on WJR Radio about ordinations.  You can listen here.

From a press release by the Archdiocese of Detroit:

Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron will ordain seven men to the Catholic priesthood, six of them for the Archdiocese of Detroit, at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 22, at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral, 9844 Woodward Avenue in Detroit. The public is invited to attend. Those being ordained for Detroit are Deacons James Arwady, Adalberto Espinoza, Craig Giera, John Dumas, Bernardo Ramirez and Michael Zuelch. Deacon Benedict Ehinack is being ordained for the Archdiocese of Douala in Cameroon. Following the ceremony, the newly ordained will greet family and friends at a reception on the cathedral grounds.

James Arwady, 37, of Sterling Heights is the son of Lester and Judy Arwady. His home parish is SS. Cyril and Methodius, Sterling Heights. He grew up attending the parishes of Our Lady of Victory, Northville; St. Thomas More, Troy; and Sacred Heart, Auburn Hills.

Benedict Ehinack, 27, of Douala, Cameroon, who graduated from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit, will be ordained for his home diocese, the Archdiocese of Douala. He is the son of Joseph and Marie-Salome Behina in Cameroon and grew up attending St. Antony of Padua Parish in Kumba-Mbeng and St. Joseph Parish in Bonaberi.

Adalberto Espinoza, 42, of Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas, Mexico, is the son of Stephen and Maria Elva Espinoza. His home parish is Our Lady of Guadalupe in Nuevo Laredo.

Craig Giera, 32, of Sterling Heights is the son of Dave and Sylvia Ann Giera. His home parish is SS. Cyril and Methodius, Sterling Heights. He grew up attending St. Rene Goupil Parish in Sterling Heights.

John Dumas, 48, of Oxford is the son of the late Joseph Dumas and the late Dorothea Dumas. His home parish is Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Grotto) in Detroit. He grew up attending St. Joseph Parish in Lake Orion.

Bernardo Ramirez, 41, of Guadalajara, Mexico is the son of Jose Guadalupe Cruz and Maria de Jesus Ramirez. His home parish is St. Gabriel in Detroit.

Michael Zuelch, 39, of Grosse Pointe Farms, is the son of Michael and JoAnn Zuelch. His home parish is St. Edward on the Lake in Lakeport. He grew up attending St. Paul Parish in Grosse Pointe Farms.

Nine other graduates of Sacred Heart Major Seminary also will be ordained this year. Eight who will be ordained in their own home dioceses are Javier Hoyos-Huaman of Cajamarca, Peru; Ted Mauch of Gary, Ind.; Sean Palas of Belleville, Ill.; Anthony Strouse of Lansing; Mathias Thelen of Lansing; Pieter VanRooyen of Lansing; Andrew Vogel of Winona, Minn.; and Thomas Wasilewski of Lansing. Additionally, graduate Anthony Kathawa will be ordained in Southfield for the Chaldean Eparchy of St. Thomas the Apostle.

Information from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops on the Priesthood Ordination Class in the U.S. in 2010 can be found at

Please pray for these men, and all priests and seminarians.

After he is ordained, the Rev. John Dumas will celebrate his First Mass at Assumption Grotto at 9:30am in a Solemn High Mass for PentecostIt will also be an orchestra Mass.  (Haydn's "Paukenmesse").

Men were also ordained this past week to the diaconate.  I'll have more on this later when I have specifics.  If anyone has some numbers and other details, drop a note in the combox for us. 

A  number of seminarians at SHMS are on pilgrimage in the Holy Land.  Check out their blog.

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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, May 18, 2010

Bishop Edward Slattery on Conversion

Who can forget the unforgettable homily of Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington DC.  Bishop Slattery stepped in at the 11th hour to take the place of Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos at a Pontifical High Mass which was three years in the planning. 

I have heard from people in the Tulsa area that Bishop Slattery's homily was pretty much on par with what they hear in that diocese on a regular basis.  Hence, I thought it might be worthwhile to mine the Diocese of Tulsa website now and then and see what His Excellency has to say. 

This is an excerpt from the May 2010 issue of the Eastern Oaklahoma Catholic (PDF):

When we realize that conversion, what the New Testament calls metanoia (that is a change of heart) then we begin to see that we are always being converted to the person of Jesus.

But this takes our whole life. That’s why we say ultimately that our conversion to Christ is a dynamic, lifelong process of allowing the Holy Spirit to form us into the image of Jesus.

Seen from this perspective, the “converts” who entered the Church at Easter are still on their road of conversion. What began in their Inquiry Classes or the Pre-Catechumenate stage of the RCIA, or perhaps even in those activities, events and situations which formed them as disciples of Christ from their earliest days, does not end with their reception of the sacraments. Rather, it enters into a new and more fruitful stage. How strange this sounds to those of us who so often think of conversion in terms of endpoints!

But, at the same time, what an enormous and wonderful challenge it places before us, since this understanding of conversion as a lifelong process demands of us a continuing struggle to identify ourselves with the personal style of Jesus Christ, Whose humility will lead us to simplicity, to poverty, to responsibility for others, and, above all, to a self-surrender worked out in love and expressed in the very real circumstances of our daily lives. If what we believe does not flow into how we live our lives, then we are Christians by name only, Catholics by claim only. And this cannot be.

Real conversion requires us to live a life in which there can be no differentiation between what we believe and what we do; no gap between the world of faith and the daily world of commerce or business, academics or medicine. We bear witness to the Lord, Whose disciples we are (and Whose disciples we still seek to become), not on Sunday alone, when we attend Church and receive the Eucharist, but on Monday and Tuesday and Wednesday night at soccer practice and Thursday when we take the kids to gymnastics and Friday when we treat the family to a movie.

And, as a further consideration, let me say, too, that a husband must live out this conversion to Christ by becoming more converted every day to his wife.

He must always seek to revise his actions toward her and the family in the light of Christ’s call to “love one another as I have loved you.” Of course, the wife, too, must be converted every day to her husband, so that aided bythe Spirit of Jesus and with a heart made true by frequent recourse to the Sacraments of Confession and Communion, she can truly become the living tabernacle of the domestic Church, which worships God in her home, the resting place of deep peace where her children can find the presence of Christ, and, in that presence, hear Him calling their names.

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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!