Thursday, September 30, 2010

Matthew 7:1 - "Judge not, that you be not judged"

One of the most misunderstood passages in Scripture is Matthew 7:1.  People get passionate about this topic or that, and someone will invariably pipe in, "Judget not...".  It is then usually followed by a misapplication of the passage. 

But, what does it mean?  And, what does it not mean?

Fr. Ignatius Manfredonia of the Franciscans of the Immaculate does an excellent job of explaining this passage.  It's just under 8 minutes.  Go ahead.... let it run. 

For more video homilies from the Marian Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe, click here.

Veil-tip to Patrick Madrid who posted it on August 9, 2010, and whose post has a few comments to breeze through. 

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Blogger problems?

Is anyone else in blogger finding life "difficult"? 

I've been unable to upload images for a couple of days.  It tries to get me to log in, and even if I manage to actually get to tsee the window for logging in, I get nowhere.  It loads really slow. 

I've been having problems with staying signed in, as well.  It makes me repeatedly sign in for every little thing.  I'm all for added security, but this is ridiculous. 

I'm wondering if I have to change a setting. 


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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Amazon Kindle Question: Where Am I?!?!?

Each day on my lunch hour I try to spend about 15-20 minutes reading from my Ignatius Press Catholic RSV Bible, and from one of the Carmelite works (currently The Collected Works of St. Teresa of Avila, Vol. 1).  Sometimes.  I finally took the Kindle plunge so I could cut down on my book load.  Unfortunately, I discovered that non of Fr. Kieran kavanaugh's translated versions from ICS are available yet on Kindle for Teresa of Avila.  The The Collected Works of St. John of the Cross, is on Kindle now.  In fact, I emailed Fr. Kavanaugh who told me it will be some time before St. Teresa's works are available on Kindle.  I just have a strong preference for his versions over others I've viewed. 


I like the thing. I really do.  I do have a few bones to pick below, or really questions because I might just be stooooopid. 

I like how compact it is.  Granted, it is not as fancy as an Apple iPad.  The Kindle is black print on a graphite color background.  It's actually very easy on the eyes.  In fact, you can read it in full sunlight. Some, like a relative of mine found out the hard way that you can't just read it in low-lighting without a book light, or a cover with a built-in light, which is what I ended up buying. 

Also, the battery life on this particular Kindle is up to 1 month (but it can drain faster when using the cover's built in light, which feeds off of the device itself. I have not had to charge it more than once weekly, and I have just turned off the wi-fi, which I think might have been causing it to drain faster.  You can use the wi-fi at home, or in an wi-fi location (think coffee shop or fast-food joints which now carry free access).  The thing can hold up to 3500 books, without pictures (and pics are quite crisp, but black and graphite). 

The other good thing is that I'm not really big on best-selling secular books.  I'm a classical, and religious works reader, and I like reference books.  Most of these can be obtained either free, or darn close to it.  And,  you can search books using keywords.  Try doing that with a hard copy book when you remember a few words that you want to quote.  Being able to search is a big plus. 

I'm sure there are more good things I can tell you about - perhaps later.


For those of you who have a Kindle, or use Kindle on iPhone or other device, I have a key question:  When I'm reading the Bible, and I have it open to a location in one of the four Gospels, is there a quick and easy way to know whether you are in Chapter 15 of Matthew, Mark, Luke, or John?  I mean, it tells me which "location" I am in, like... 15437 out of 17349, or whatever!   What good does that do me.  You should have a menu option that says, "You are in Matthew, Chapter 15".  Or, it should tell you what book you are in at the top or bottom of the page. 

I had a bookmarked passage, but when I bookmarked it, did not identify the book it was in.  I could see I was in Chapter 23, but had no clue which Gospel it was. I literally had to finger my way back through 23 Chapters to see which book I was in!!!! 

This is a basic thing you would want to know. Now... I might just be stupid.  If it's there, someone please tell me - ROFL.   If there is not a way to quickly and easily identify this, then somebody dropped the ball.


I'm wondering something else about Amazon's Kindle now that I have one.  I know in the settings you can set the time.  But, where does it show the time?  In my professional work, I have to hunt and peck all the time through new software programs and updates.  I hunt and pecked quite a bit and could find no way to toggle on the time, so as I was reading, I could keep an eye on it.  Am I missing something here too?  What is the purpose for the thing to track the time if you can't see it when reading?

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Monday, September 27, 2010

Fr. Thomas Dubay: Requiescat in Pace

A spiritual giant has passed away.  Please pray for the repose of the soul of Fr. Thomas Dubay, SM known to many of us for his great spiritual works, and presence on EWTN.

From the Little Sisters of the Poor who cared for him
Rev Thomas Dubay, SM
RIP September 26, 2010

From Washington, DC:

This morning at 4:45, the Lord welcomed into His Kingdom Rev Thomas Dubay, SM, after suffering kidney failure and massive bleeding in the brain. Father’s frail health had been declining ever since his admission to the Little Sisters of the Poor home in Washington more than a year ago, but his suffering was even more noticeable in recent months. Despite this fact, Fr Dubay was just as witty as ever.

When Father’s superior, Fr. Bruce Lery, SM, called the Little Sisters on Sunday morning to tell them, he said, "We have a saint in heaven" –how true! Fr. Dubay was hospitalized about a month ago and then transferred to a rehabilitation facility for specialized treatments but his health was steadily declining. Yesterday he was re-admitted to the hospital with bleeding in the brain, and he was put in coronary intensive care. Although the ventilator was removed, he continued to breathe on his own.

Although he suffered from his loss of independence, he was happy to concelebrate Mass almost every day in the chapel of the Little Sisters Home in the shadow of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in our nation’s capital.

The Marist priests and brothers visited him almost daily, and Father depended very much on his superior, Fr. Bruce, who was always there for him. In a few words, Fr. Dubay literally practiced what he preached! Father was happy to give weekly classes to the Little Sister postulants –classes which he enjoyed as much as they! From his room, Father continued his spiritual direction with many persons who called on him and this also was extended to letter writing.

We can render prayers of thanksgiving for the wonderful support Father gave to religious communities spending a good part of his life giving conferences and retreats. Although his preaching and spiritual direction was delivered to contemplative communities, his teaching was not for them alone. Religious the world over benefitted of his spiritual wisdom and guidance for years. He will be sorely missed. May he rest in peace after leading so many souls to true spiritual peace during his lifetime! The opening prayer of today’s liturgy says it all: “Help us hurry toward the Eternal Life you promise and come to share in the joys of your kingdom”. [Source]

These are just some of Fr. Dubay's books...

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Sunday, September 26, 2010

Archbishop Nienstedt on the Definition of Marriage

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of St. Paul and Minneapolis is originally from Detroit, and was ordained an auxiliary bishop here in 1996, then took the helm in New Ulm, Minnesota prior to his current assignment. Many here in the Detroit area know of Bishop Nienstedt's orthodoxy. 

Here is a video he just put out (veil-tip to Terry at Abbey-Roads). It's part 1 of an educational package the diocese is putting out on marriage.

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Saturday, September 25, 2010

Should bishops permit "seers" of unapproved apparitions to speak in their dioceses?

There is a pretty hot discussion taking place over at the blog of Catholic apologist Patrick Madrid based on an earlier post I made in which I talked about the actions of Bishop Peter Sartain. 

The discussion is going on in two places: 

Patrick's blogA bishop's warning about the promotion of unapproved "apparitions"

Patrick's FaceBook account: This bishop makes a good point. What do you think?

I have made a single post at my other blog compiling something I was trying to convey over several comments at Patrick's blog:  Should bishops allow "seers" of unapproved apparitions to speak in their dioceses?


One only needs to look to the example of Holy Love Ministries in Cleveland and what has happened since the "apparitions" there were condemned as "not supernatural".  It was the Holy See which directed Bishop Lennon to, "make a definitive judgment".  Definitive means final, and the fact that he was directed to do so by the Holy See is evidence that his decision is the decision of the Church.

But, followers who became attached to the "apparitions" there, have placed their own discernment capabilities above those of the Church. In the meanwhile, the "apparitions" themselves have issued their own decree against the diocesan bishop (a sure sign of fraud or diabolical involvement), and have continued to suggest that people not pay any attention to him.  There are some priests out there, still scheduling pilgrimages to this very strange place.  Do not be led away by all sorts of strange teachings! (Hebrews 13:9)

Setting all of that aside, I have received emails from people defending Holy Love, some of whom have told me that they have a master's degree in theology and they see nothing contrary to Church teaching.  With all due respect, these people should ask for a refund if it was from a Catholic university.

Let me tell you, that only a cursory understanding of the Catechism of the Catholic Church reveals heresy in many of the "messages" coming out of Holy Love.  Ray Conte of Catholic Planet and I are on different planes with regards to Medjugorje, and perhaps some other things, but I do refer people to his analysis of some of the messages coming out of Holy Love. 

The Church urges caution, not promotion, of private revelations which have not been given approval for a cult following.  While private pilgrimages are permitted for Medjugorje (this means not organized by the diocese or parish), and on condition that they do not presuppose supernaturality, Medjugorje has never been granted such approval.  The 1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions staes:

b) Then, if this examination appears favorable, to allow certain public demonstrations of cult and devotion, while continuing to investigate the facts with extreme prudence (which is equivalent to the formula: “for the moment, nothing is opposed to it”).

There has never been a favorable examination of Medjugorje, not by two consecutive bishops, and not by the any of the three previous commission, the last of which, in April of 1991, voted 19-1 for the current status (it cannot be affirmed as supernatural).

Could the new commission on Medjugorje allow for a cult following in the future? Anything is possible, but this commission will need to overturn the decision of the the last commission, and answer the reasonable objections raised by the local bishop.  One such example, is what the bishop highlighted in a document entitled, "The Games Surrounding the Great Sign" in which he used the writings of Medjugorje protagonists to make his case against authenticity.

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Thursday, September 23, 2010

Another "slap from Vienna" as Cardinal Schonborn hosts Medjugorje "seers" at his cathedral

What is going on with Cardinal Schonborn?  He is not helping the cause for Medjugorje.  If anything, he is pushing the kind of ecclesial buttons that will force the Holy See into responding sooner than later.

In my last post I explained how Cardinal Schonborn is giving Medjugorje "seers" a platform at the Vienna cathedral - something which is out of harmony with tradition in the church on alleged apparitions.  It also causes confusion and disunity when the bishop of another diocese (and another country) allows promotion of a phenomenon in his cathedral which is prohibited in the diocese of origin, and forbidden on Church property anywhere within Bosnia and Herzegovina. 

By this action, Cardinal Schonborn, no matter how well intentioned, offers a "slap" from Vienna not only to the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, but to the entire Bishop's Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 
In a matter of minutes [event is now over, but screen shots and video links are embedded in this post], Mary TV will televise the event from St. Stephens Cathedral, including the "apparition" which Ivan and Maria are scheduled to have at Standard Apparition Time (SAT) of 6:40 p.m. (advertised here as 12:40 p.m.).  See here a FreezePage snapshot taken a few minute ago of the advertisement.

[Edit on Sept 27, 2010: English language viewers: can view the event which is uploaded now to MaryTV, and broken down into four parts (scroll when you get there) .... German language viewers can see edited clips at  Cardinal Schonborn speaks here], the Rosary and "vision" are here, and testimonial of Ivan and Maria from the St. Stephen sanctuary here, and the homily is here (Cardinal Schonborn did not appear to be at the Mass)]

Further, Bishop Ratko Peric of Mostar-Duvno is not some "spirit of Vatican II bishop", but a man of considerable orthodoxy, and a very good teacher of the faith. He has been vilified by the "Medjugorje Movement" to the point that there is a vein of contempt for him among devotees. Each time a brother bishop pulls a stunt like this in Vienna, it only deepens that contempt people have for this apostolic successor. The concerns he has raised consistently, as well as those of his predecessor are reasonable and he should be treated with more respect.

It says in the above:

September 23
(Padre Pio's Feast Day)

Medjugorje visionaries Ivan and Marija will be streamed live in English from Cardinal Schoenborn's Cathedral, St. Stephens in Vienna. (Kathnet will be streaming in German.)

10:00 AM EDT: (4:00 PM Vienna time) Testimonies from Sr. Elvira and the Cenacolo Community

11:00 AM EDT: Testimonies from Ivan and Marija

12:00 Noon EDT: Rosary

12:40 PM EDT: Apparition to Ivan and Marija

1:00 PM EDT: Mass

2:00 PM EDT: Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament

3:00 PM EDT: Adoration ends


  • At around 10:40 a.m. my time, Mother Elvira, foundress of Cenacolo Community, just addressed the crowd, using a short prayer with a title for the Blessed Virgin Mary which not approved by the Church when she said, "Mother of Medjugorje, pray for us".

  • 11:20 a.m. my time, Ivan Dragicevic and Maria Pavlovic-Lunetti give their testimony from the sanctuary of St. Stephen's Cathedral in Vienna about how "Our Lady" appears to them.
  • Things are going on according to schedule (not the printed schedule, but the "apparition" schedule.  I was trying to figure out why they would start the Rosary at Noon when it is well known that the "seers" of Medjugorje usually break mid-Rosary to have their "vision" at "Standard Apparition Time" (SAT) of 6:40 p.m. local time where ever they are.  It is now 12:12 here where I am, so I think we can pretty much plan on seeing the "apparition" right on cue at 12:40 p.m. if they delay things for another 5-10 minutes.

  • 12:22 Rosary underway.  I can't help but think how distracting these events are to the Rosary itself.  Are people truly meditating on the mysteries of the Rosary when a "seer" falls into "ecstasy" in the middle of it? Or, are they focused on the apparent vision which seems to be taking place.  Not to worry... the camera which is currently trained on a picture of the BVM (same one at top of post), will soon shift to the faces of Ivan and Maria as they have their "vision" in St. Stephen's cathedral.  Cardinal Schonborn has not been seen ... .yet.  A photo-op must be in here somewhere.  Wait for it...

  • The Rosary stops at around 12:40 my time so Ivan and Maria can have their vision. I think it was just about over.  Ivan nodding his head and smiling at 12:41. Maria now moving her lips. Ivan nods again.  Ivan moving lips.  Ivan smiling as Maria has a somber look on her face.  People gawking all around.  Ivan continues with big smiles as Maria holds a nearly distressed look on her face at 12:43 my time.  Ivan nodding again.  Camera pans away to people watching.  Deafening silence.  Camera pans back to Ivan and Maria.  Ivan and Maria's lips moving simultaenously. It all ends at 12:47 with the Sign of the Cross at 12:47.

Here is a shot of Ivan smiling and the serious look on the face of Maria.
  • At 12:48 the musicians begin playing the official "anthem" of Medjugorje.
  • Now they prepare for Holy Mass. 
As we wait for Mass to start, I have to ask:  Am I really suppose to believe that the Blessed Virgin Mary, a model of humility and obedience, would appear to "seers" in the Vienna Cathedral, when the bishop whom the 1991 Zadar Declaration states has authority for the pastoral care and attention "in Medjugorje and all connected with it" has prohibited such things on Church property?  Does it require a Cardinal in the Vatican to explain that if the "seers" are not permitted to have such public events in their home diocese, or in their home country, they ought not be given such publicty on Church property in any diocese? 

Are the "seers" disobedient for having "visions" in public?  If the same bishop has prohibited the release of "messages", then how does the world continue to get them if not by an act of disobedience? In 2006 the local bishop called these "visionaries" and those "behind the messages" to obedience.  In 2007, Archbishop Angelo Amato, then Secretary of the CDF, invited the bishops of Tuscany, Italy, to share with priests of the diocese that same 2006 homily (see fax in the link).  Archbishop Amato is now on the Medjugorje commission, and was also the one who authorized Bishop Peric to share the canonical status of Tomislav Vlasic who was being investigated by the Holy See "in the context of Medjugorje" (words of Abp Amato).  Vlasic then requested laicization.  In late 2009, Bishop Peric released a series of statements, which included more prohibitions (see "Part 3")

So, would the Blessed Virgin Mary appear to disobedient "seers" in the Cathedral of a Cardinal who is out of step with how unapproved apparitions are traditionally handled, and who disregards the matter of collegiality?  That this event would happen on the Feast of St. Pio of Pietrelcina is even more offensive, given his solid obedience, even in the face of persecution from within the Church.  He never wavered on that. 

Mass is underway.  More in a moment...

  • Cardinal Schonborn, if he is there, is not seen.  While I cannot warm up to tie-dyed chasubles and do not feel that guitars meet the appropriate standard for liturgical instruments for holy Mass, it was otherwise reverently celebrated.  The homily focused on St. Pio. 

  • Not only did this create a form of scandal among people in a packed cathedral, but for who knows how many millions watching it on (English) and on which broadcast it in German. 

  • At 2:42 Ivan is talking about his "apparition" which just took place earlier (this is about 8:42 local time in Vienna).  I did not catch the first part of what he said.  He is now talking about how "Our Lady blessed objects" and how she "blessed all of you priests".  I'm confused because the schedule shows this as a period of Adoration.  I was away for a time and was unsure if the monstrance was brought out yet or not.  If this is happening during Adoration, it ought not be.  I'm sure there will be a complete printout online of all that he said. 

  • OK - Adoration apparently has not yet begun.  Maria is asking people to stay for Adoration, "Our program is not yet done". Maria spoke only for a moment. 

Here comes Cardinal Schonborn to the podium.    He thanks Maria and Ivan for coming again.  He thanks them for their service.  He asks God to pay them back a hundred-fold for what they are doing tirelessly. 

Three things he wants to say (this part I cannot type fast enough to keep up with so we will look for a transcript for later).  Here's what I was able to capture...

  • He is talking about the depth of prayer which shows what Our Lady says at the end of her message "thanks for responding to my call". 

  • He is speaking about the "miracle of tears" and I did not catch who it was he was talking about from some centuries ago.  If someone heard it, drop in a comment.

  • The third thing I was able to catch part of because of how he told the story, pausing in between.  He now speaks of something he calls amusing. He's heard from so many witnesses from Medjugorje.  He says he took a train after his visit to Medjugorje and he felt a wink from Our Lady on the train to pray the Rosary and Breviary.  A very voluminous lady - he clarified as "fat" - sat next to him, and he was annoyed, saying "not virtuous".  She began to talk to him and he didn't like it.  She asked him where he is a parish priest.  He responded, that he wanted to read.  She asked him again.  Annoyed again, he replied that he was the Archbishop of Vienna.  She then apologized for disturbing him.  Then she explained that her husband was in Medjugorje, he climbed up the hill and after coming back down was never so friendly as he is now with her.  And she said, she wants to go to Medjugorje also now.  Cardinal Schonborn then said, "perhaps she will also be so friendly".  
Is it just me?  I don't find that amusing at all. We all suffer from human fallen nature and can experience such things, but they are better left for the privacy of a confessional.  I mean, what if this woman is watching the broadcast?  Good grief!

I'm signing off on this blogpost as they enter Adoration after which this all concludes. 

How long will it take for Cardinal Schonborn to get another private audience with Pope Benedict XVI?  While there are indeed good fruits coming from Medjugorje, which most would attribute to the unapproved apparition, rather than a return to the Sacraments, there are also many bad fruits.  Let's keep in mind that many fine men converted and heard the call to the priesthood through the Legionaries of Christ.  Yet, lurking in the background, were the abuses of the founder.  Maciel was a fraud.  One lesson we learn from the Legionaries - something to consider with regards to Medjugorje.  Good fruits can happen even where there is sinful activity and fraud. Where sin increases, grace abounds all the more (Romans 5:20-21)

Further reading:

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Medjugorje: A rupture in tradition as Vienna Cathedral hosts "seers"?

St. James in Medjugorje

EDIT: See my latest post with snapshots from the streaming event.

When the Church does not permit official pilgrimages at the parish or diocesan level to Medjugorje (an unapproved apparition) some may think the next best thing is to organize an official pilgrimage with some of the "seers" to the diocesan cathedral.  This is precisely what is happening in Vienna, Austria at St. Stephen's Cathedral tonight, Thursday, September 23, 2010 in the evening when Ivan Dragicevic and Marija Pavlovic-Lunetti will be hosted (see google translate version at the Archdiocese of Vienna here, or toggle it to "original" in upper right hand corner if you know German). 

It seems that Cardinal Schonborn will be there, lending yet another level of credibility to these alleged apparitions for supporters, above and beyond that which is being created  simply by the "visionaries" having such a platform to promote the phenomena. 

If it happens as it has with other instances around the world, the "gospa" will appear on demand at 6:40 p.m. local time. We might consider making an act of reparation for the disobedience of the "seers" at 6:40 p.m. SAT (Standard Apparition Time).  In a 2006 homily, the local bishop asked that these public manifestations cease.  In 2007, CDF Secretary, Archbishop Angelo Amato, now on the commission, fielded a question on Medjugorje by the Bishops of Tuscany, inviting them to read that same 2006 homily and convey it's contents to the priests of the diocese.  In 2009, Bishop Peric again called for obedience, amidst a growing list of prohibitions (see "Part 3" here)

If "visionaries" of an unapproved apparition are not permitted to have manifestations of such visions on local parish property by the diocesan bishop, should bishops in other dioceses give them a platform in churches within their dioceses, or in their cathedrals?  Let's examine this closer...

Where in the history of alleged apparitions do we see archbishops giving a platform to "visionaries" ahead of some form of approval within the Church, other than with Medjugorje?   What does this teach the faithful?  To the latter question I will answer simply that I believe it teaches people that they ought to discern things for themselves.  It also brings about contempt, even if only interiorly, for the local bishop.  If he is wrong in any way, the Church will sort it out in time. In the meanwhile, his admonitions should be followed humbly, and he should be given due filial reverence.

The "seers" of Medjugorje are not permitted to have "visions" on parish property in the parish of St. James in Medjugorje.  The 1991 Zadar Declaration, which upholds the local bishop's right to give liturgical and pastoral care, "in Medjugorje and all connected with it", remains in effect until the Church offers further guidance or decisions.  On March 17th, 2010, a new commission, headed by Cardinal Camillo Ruini was initiated.   The Papal Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico stated to the people of that country when the news was announced (emphases mine in bold):

From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message.
The Holy Father personally knows it very well and he has told me that several times - he is well acquainted with the whole phenomenon. He knows about the great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon.

Hence, Medjugorje remains "a question" to the Church - one which has indeed yielded "good fruits",  but which has also given rise to an increase in skepticism  among  notable  people.  The Holy Father notices these things and wants to "pronounce a clear message". 

Indeed, pilgrimages to St. James in Medjugorje are permitted, as long as they do not presuppose the supernaturality of the alleged apparitions.  [What does "presuppose" mean? Click here!] People may bring along a priest to handle their pastoral needs, but the Holy See has made clear, that pilgrimages may not be organized at the parish or diocesan level. Why? This would lend credibility to something which does not have approval at any level in the Church.

How does this square with the matter of collegiality, when the bishop in the diocese of origin does not permit public "speaking engagements" of "visionaries", public manifestations of visions and the like on local Church property, while bishops in other dioceses around the world give the "seers" a platform?  It should be noted that the "seers" of Medjugorje do not enjoy such publicity on Church property anwhere  in the country of Bosnia and Herzegovina, nor in Croatia.  It's not just a matter of collegiality with a brother bishop, but with entire bishop's conferences.

In April of 2009, Bishop Peter Sartain, of Joliet, Illinois, who was just recently appointed to Seattle, Washington, issued a memo to priests of the diocese which states, in part (emphases mine in bold; added emphasis in italics)

From time to time we are approached by parishioners who would like to invite speakers representing various alleged apparitions of the Blessed Virgin, private revelations or locutions, or others claiming to possess extraordinary spiritual gifts. My purpose in bringing this to your attention is to ask that you not issue such invitations. Whether the speakers would make presentations on we1l-known a1leged apparitions, such as Medjugorje, or lesser known private revelations, we must be extremely cautious about inviting or promoting them.

As you know the Church takes great time and care before declaring that an apparition is worthy of belief, and even then it never says that a Catholic must accept the apparition as a matter of faith. We must avoid giving the impression that alleged apparitions about which the Church has not made a judgment are somehow already approved. It is our responsibility to see that our parishioners are not led down the wrong path. That is not to say that those who ask us to promote these matters are doing so out of bad faith, but we must be extremely careful not to confuse our parishioners. Our greatest spiritual treasures are the Word of God, the Sacraments, especially the Eucharist, and the teaching of the Church, and our focus should always be there. Needless to say, these comments do not refer to apparitions such as Fatima, Lourdes or Guadalupe which enjoy the approval of the Church.
Bishop Sartain exemplifies the very behavior exhibited by bishops throughout the history of the Church by discouraging activity in his diocese which could lend credibility to the alleged apparitions, including those of Medugorje.  His actions are also very collegial in that his statement is also in harmony with the pastoral directives of his brother bishop. 

It's hard for me to fathom why a bishop or archbishop would knowingly permit (or invite) "visionaries" of unapproved apparitions to speak and have "visions" on Church property.  People develop attachments to such phenomena, which they believe to be real (we are not talking about approved apparitions like Lourdes and Fatima).  It is hard enough for some to give up this attachment if the Church condemns it as not supernatural.  This may be even more true, if a bishop's actions (or permissiveness), gave the thing even more credibility than it should have had.  I'm sure there are cases where a bishop is unaware that such activity is happening in his diocese.  But, when high profile diocesan staffers are involved - such as a vocations director - or the archbishop himself shows up to greet the "seers", it seems unlikely that he would not know what is going on.  I think the more likley scenario is that he is not well informed about the phenomena as he thinks he is.  In any event, a simple phone call to the responsible diocesan bishop, or even the CDF, rather than to favorite mariologist would seem prudent, and collegial.  If he is disinclined to speak to his brother bishop about the events, then this too is a fruit which calls for deeper examination.

Here are just a few examples of recent parish/diocesan organized, publicly advertised, "speaking engagements", "healing Masses" and "prayer with the Blessed Mother" (scheduled for 6:40 pm, SAT - Standard Apparition Time for Medjugorje visions)

These links take you to "FreezePage" snapshots of webpages I had taken at a point in time in the past year:

Ivan has had many "speaking engagements" (complete with "visions) around the world on Church property.  Here is a snapshot in time of his published schedule on February 17, 2010.

It is well known that Cardinal Schonborn of Vienna, Austria, made a trip to Medjugorje in January 2010, resulting in considerable confusion among the faithful, and seemingly prompting the intervention of the Holy Father after the trip and continued interviews by His Eminence were exploited very well by promoters of Medjugorje.  Just a few months prior, in September of 2009, Cardinal Schonborn permitted Medjugorje "visionary" Maria Pavlović-Lunetti to speak about her experiences.  Undoubtedly, tonights "visions on demand" at St. Stephan's Cathedral in Vienna, Austria, will also be exploited to the "nth" degree. 

Taking care to not to interfere with the Holy Spirit means more than just letting things flow in the face of what we see on the surface, such as conversions, devotions, confessions, vocations, etc.  We have learned from the Maciel/Legionaries scandal, that looking at good fruits alone can mask deeper, underlying problems. Unity subsists in truth. Disunity is seen when truth takes a back seat to a popular wave of enthusiasm.

Likewise, filial reverence for a bishop with reasonable objections to alleged apparitions in his diocese cannot be sacrificed for a popular wave of enthusiasm.  Unity in the Church is also a function of the respect one bishop shows for the legitimate authority of a brother bishop.  When the bishop in the diocese of origin of alleged apparitions calls "seers" into silence, orders "messages" and promotion of the phenomena to cease, other bishops ought to follow his lead, whether they agree with him or not.  To do otherwise is to trample on the charism of that other bishop and sow disunity among the faithful, who then feel they must choose sides. If the new commission needs much more time to study the case of Medjugorje, I pray that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith will consider ending this rupture of continuity in tradition concerning alleged apparitions among bishops and get back to basics. 

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Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A few photos and a few links...

Eucharistic processions happen each Sunday following the Noon Mass, weather permitting, from early spring until late fall.  The Rosary is prayed outdoors at the grotto, followed by Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.

Finding time to blog of late, has been difficult. In fact, finding time to do much of anything has been difficult - LOL.  I know... I'm single, I'm suppose to have all kinds of time.  Since I cannot blog on everything out there, I can lead you to some good articles.  So, I give you some photos in this post of our Sunday Eucharistic processions, and a few good links to read. 

Now, this Sunday, the Assumption Grotto choir is singing at St. Joseph's "Oktoberfest" in September. Beer, brats and ... lots of beautiful music with a handful of choirs.

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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!
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Monday, September 20, 2010

Bishop Schneider celebrating a Solemn High Mass in Vienna

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who has visited Detroit twice since 2008, is seen celebrating a Solemn High Mass at the parish of St. Charles in Vienna on September 13, 2010.  Bishop Schneider, who has a doctorate in patristics, is the author of the book, Dominus Est.  The book looks at the history of how holy Communion has been received and eliminates some common myths.  It also provides an interesting background on the life of His Excellency which helps readers to understand his profound devotion to the Blessed Sacrament.  He received his First Holy Communion in secrecy behind the Iron Curtain.  A look at what he and others have gone through will definitely give you an even greater appreciation for the Eucharist.

More links:

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Sunday, September 19, 2010

It's now "Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman"

John Henry Newman painted by Sir John Everett Millais, 1st Bt. (died 1896)

It has been such a pleasure to watch some of the coverage of the Pope's visit to England and Scotland.  It has been a real joy to see Catholics in the UK get such a shot in the arm.  I know by experience from when Pope John Paul II visited the US here in Detroit, and when Pope Benedict XVI came to the US what it did.  The UK will see an increase in vocations, as well as people in the pews, and still others more willing to cross the Tiber.  It seems to happen wherever the Holy Father visits despite the protests, the errant viewpoints coming from the media, and the attempts at downplaying how many will attend events, the faith strengthens and grows.

During his homily at Mass this morning, Pope Benedict XVI quoted Cardinal Newman using some words very relevant for us today.  The faith is something we must spread by informing ourselves well, and by good example.  This is Newman's way of telling Catholics not to be a clanging cymbal or a noisy gong (1 Cor 13).
 "I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it" (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390).

Here is the entire homily

The Holy Father now heads to the Birmingam Oratory for a private visit. 


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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!
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Thursday, September 16, 2010

Pope Benedict in the United Kingdom - Resources

Photo: AFP/Getty

If you are looking for papal addresses, homilies, solid Catholic commentaries on the Holy Father's visit to the UK, see my list below. 

I won't be able to keep up with it all from a blogging standpoint, so I encourage you to visit these sources which are going to be hopping.  I know I'll be reading. 

Also, watch my Twitter feed which I will try to update with interesting news stories and links.  Just click the bird in my sidebar to read the feed.

This may get updated.

Also, visit the Cardinal Newman Society's new blog in which they are giving frequent updates from the UK and will be discussing the beatification.

Photo: AP

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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!
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Blogroll Suspended for Time Being

I was getting emails from people telling me they were getting a malware warning that seemed to be related to Blogrolling - a third party feature in my blog sidebar which compiled many blogs.  This has happened before and is probably just an error of some kind.  Once I removed it from the blog, the problem ceased. I hope to be able to retrieve it after some time passes and it gets corrected.  If not, I'll have to build a new one from scratch and will be using the Blogger feature which now does this.  I had not updated the list in a long time and I do know that some had gone dormant or ceased to exist altogether.

I regret any inconvenience.

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!
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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Metro Detroit: Call to Holiness Benefit Dinner September 26



Go here to read the flyer, and for contact info, or to send donations if you cannot make the event.

Hear Steve Ray discuss Call to Holiness, his upcoming talk, and the dissident group which will hold a conference in Detroit in 2011.  Call to Holiness began in Detroit, in response to Call to Action.  Steve and Teresa give details. 

Catholic Connection archive audio for the first hour on September 14, 2010 (click here and the discussion begins about 25-30 minutes in)

Please support this event. Even if you cannot make this benefit dinner, consider sending some financial support. Fr. Z beat me to the advertisement, so I am copying from his post...

You may have heard of the Call To Holiness Conferences held [semi] annually in the Detroit area. These conferences serve as a faithful Catholic contrast to the dissenting Call To Action thing, which also started in Detroit.

There will be a benefit dinner to support the 2011 Call To Holiness Conference.

Benefit Dinner
Sunday, September 26, 2010
3:00 p.m.
Burton Manor, Livonia
27777 Schoolcraft Road

(I-96 Between Middlebelt & Inkster Roads)

Keynote Speaker: Steve Ray
Defending the Faith:
Facing the Challengers

Steve is an author and an international speaker, recently
returned from speaking engagements in Australia
and the Philippines. He is the producer of the
award winning video series, the Footprints of God,
filmed entirely in the Holy Land and is a regular guest
on Catholic Answers and Catholic Radio.

See my photopost of the 2009 Call to Holiness Conference.  Fr. Z was among the speakers.  (Don't confuse the benefit dinner for CTH with the actual event, which will take place in June of 2011).

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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!
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Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC, distributes holy Communion at the altar rail in Assumption Grotto during a 2008 visit to the parish. People at the parish choose to receive Communion kneeling, and on the tongue. Bishop Schneider is the author of the book, Dominus Est in which he takes a look at how early Christians received Communion, and shares a testimonial from his childhood where he had to make his First Communion in secrecy behind the Iron Curtain.

The Italian, Vatican journalist, Sandro Magister, has an excellent article in the English section of his blog on kneeling for holy Communion.  Here is his summary paragraph:

Why Kneel for Communion
Benedict XVI wants it that way, at the Masses he celebrates. But very few bishops and priests are imitating him. Yet this is one reason why churches were given ornate floors. A guide to the discovery of their significance

Go read Why Kneel for Communion at the blog of Sandro Magister

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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!
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Saturday, September 11, 2010

Abp Vigneron leads more than 500 in prayer vigil at abortion clinic

His Excellency, Allen H. Vigneron, the Archbishop of Detroit, led a prayer vigil  in front of an abortion clinic in Westland, Michigan earlier today.  More than 500 participated in the vigil which was organized by the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan.  It began with holy Mass at 7:30  A.M.  Archbishop Vigneron was the main celebrant at the Mass which took place at St. Michael's in Livonia, Michigan

See a related article by Joe Kohn at the new Michigan Catholic website.

I will embed some photos here in this post, but the vast majority will be viewable in a slideshow at the bottom.  Please note that using photos which are embedded in this blogpost for print, will likely result in low quality or pixelated photos. You will want to visit my SmugMug gallery for this account to get high resolution photos.  Pictures may be used for blogs and websites for pro-life purposes, but they may not be sold.  Please provide a courtesy link back to this blogpost so people know the origin of the work.

I had many strange problems with my camera today (everything from strange bleaching to blur, and malfuctioning card which kept telling me it wasn't formatted for use).  This affected the quality of most photos.  What you see has been corrected as best I could with a post-processing software.

First, we will start with photos from the Mass. 

The Mass at St. Michael's began at 7:30 A.M.

Archbishop Vigneron is seen during the homily.  I thought it opportune to get a photo of him with Our Lady of Perpetual Help looking over his shoulder, since he worked to foster devotion to her in the archdiocese soon after being installed.

In the photo above, with the archbishop, from left to right, is Deacon Gerald Smigell, Rev. Jack Quinlan, Rev. Don Lacuesta, Rev. Raymond Arwady, Rev. William Tindall (Pastor - St. Michael's), and Rev. Greg Tokarski. Off camera, and also concelebrating, was the archbishop's secretary, Rev. Charles Fox. Between funerals, weddings, confessions, and other obligations, it is often difficult for priests to break away for a few hours on Saturdays. I think it is often a challenge for religious sisters, as well, since Saturdays are usually a day to catch up on ordinary obligations.

Below, Archbishop Vigneron elevates our Eucharistic Lord and is seen in consecration of the Precious Blood. Read more about Catholic belief in the Real Presence, and it' biblical origins.

Above, a clinic worker takes video of the massive crowd assembling around the place and people took care to remain on public property.  At no point was access blocked (but I don't recall seeing a single "customer" while we were there).  The Helper's of God's Precious Infants is a model of peaceful, prayerful witness, so direct contact with clinic workers by those witnessing through prayer is discouraged. Trained sidewalk counselors work in front of some abortion mills, guiding the women, if necessary, to nearby crisis pregnancy centers which help them in many ways, and provide continuing support.

Below, Archbishop Vigneron can be seen leading the Rosary through a walkie-talkie.  Many hand sets were distributed among the many participants so all could hear and follow the prayers.

A few random shots

Something just seemed symbolic about the feet of this little guy with his shoe being tied by his dad.  How many of the unborn will never make it out of the womb to wear shoes?  I've inlcluded below it, a photo of the feet of a baby at 11 weeks

Before departing the abortion clinic to head back to the mustering area in prayer, a moment of silence is made.  Prayers are offered not just for the women and their unborn babies, but for the baby's father, those who may be pressuring the women into thinking abortion is the only way, as well as for the clinic workers.  The "Helpers" had nearly 700 "turns" last year, and that does not include those who may have changed their mind without any indication. 

Below, Archbishop Vigneron leads the prayerful crowd back to the lot where we parked, while praying the last set of mysteries (usually, all 20 mysteries are prayed with the Divine Mercy Chaplet recently being added).

With the archbishop at his side, Dan Goodnow, the President of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan addresses the crowd, and invites them back to St. Michael's for Benediction, refreshments, and a brief meeting.

His Excellency gives a blessing to all present. 

Bags were handed out with some pro-life material. 

Back at St. Michael's, Our Eucharistic Lord was waiting for the return of the people.

Father Raymond Arwady gives Benediction with the Blessed Sacrament.

Many went for refreshments and the meeting which followed

Here is a slideshow (I recommend setting it to fast). It contains the entire pic collection.

Here is a link to the gallery at Smugmug for this prayer vigil with Archbishop Vigneron, which has high resolution photos.  You can also click through them at your own pace here.


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