Monday, July 31, 2006

Curt Jester covers a new blog dedicated to....NOISY Parishes

Of course Curt Jester would find a new blog dedicated to Noisy Parishes. He is the Jester after all, and brings us "Punditry, Parody, Polemics, Politics and Puns from a Papist Perspective".

This is rather cute - let the Jester lead you into the new blog.

Go read Noisy Parishes at Curt Jester

Inspirational video: CAN

Talk about inspirational. I don't know whether I was moved more by the guy who pushed, or the man who provided inspiration through his presence. I see something greater than an ironman here - in both of these men! The next time you feel like complaining about something you don't feel like doing, come back and watch this video.

EDIT: Oh my! I just read that it is a father and his son! Even more incredible.

Click on the arrow in the center to make it play.

H/T to both Kevin Knight at New Advent, and Mark Shea

Rosary from the Heart: Prayers for our Archdiocese of Detroit Priests - a Calendar

I was at Ss. Cyril & Methodius for early morning Mass recently when I noticed a stack of calendars sitting on a side table. On that pamphlet which covered several months, there were two priests from the Archdiocese of Detroit listed for each day. This included not only diocesan priests, but priests from religious orders who are working in the AoD, as well, such as the Fathers of the Holy Cross who help out at Assumption Grotto.

This calendar, which is provided by Rosary from the Heart, encourages saying a Rosary for the priests listed, and gives other ideas how to pray for our priests. Just look at how the rosary meditations are broken down in light of the fact that it is targeting priests.

Don't underestimate just how much prayer can do. People think that physical activity is the only good help to provide. Nothing could be further from the truth. Prayer should be the root of all activity. By praying for our priests - including those whom we do not know, not only helps them, but it helps all with whom they have contact.

Consider glancing at the calendar daily and remember these priests in your prayer. Or, simply mention to the Blessed Mother, to include the day's priests in your intentions.

Many thanks to those at Rosary from the Heart, who put this beautiful calendar together. It must have been tedious. I also thank Assumption Grotto webmaster, Rick, for hosting the PDF files after I learned that I could not upload them to blogger.

August Prayer Request for Priests

I'll post September up a few days prior to the end of August, with Rick's help again.

Rosary from the Heart has an email contact:

Spanish Bishops: Progressive Theologians Behind Loss of Faith

Wow! Interesting article over at Sandro Magister's site, The Chiesa. I tried adding the photo he has in the beginning of a very sorrowful Blessed Mother, but as usual, nothing but problems with blogger photo uploading.

I have just started reading it and this is fascinating. It sounds like the era of ambiguous theology, and all that stems from it, is at an end. We must be patient because it is clear to me that the Holy Spirit is hard at work, and this new generation of bishops aren't buying the namby-pamby theology some in the previous generation have attempted to hand off. They fumbled the ball, and now Holy Mother Church has the ball - 1st and 10, on her own end of the field. It will take the team time to get it to the 50 yard line, then down field. There may be a long spectacular pass and catch here and there, but for the most point, I think this game is going to be won with a few short-yard gainers at a time. They just have to keep the ball moving downfield.

Oh how sweet it is to see bishops acting like bishops and exercising their teaching authority. We must pray for them, and for all who read and follow the nice work they have begun here. I look forward to reading the actual instruction when it is done.

I'll get you started here, and then you can continue there...

The Church in Spain Is Sick, but It’s not Zapatero’s Fault
The sickness is the loss of faith among the people, and the poor instructors are above all the progressive theologians. The accusation comes from the Spanish bishops. In a document coordinated with Rome, as a model for other episcopates

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, July 28, 2006 – The document was written by the Spanish bishops, and focuses on Spanish theology. But its horizon is much broader. It was planned in conjunction with the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, when this was headed by cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now pope. And it presents itself as a working model for the bishops of other nations. “L’Osservatore Romano,” the newspaper of the Holy See, is preparing to issue it with a significant publicity effort. In Italy it was published in its entirety in the latest edition of “Il Regno,” the influential magazine of the Sacred Heart Fathers in Bologna.

The document is in the form of a “pastoral instruction,” and is entitled “Theology and secularization in Spain, forty years after the end of Vatican Council II.” It is the outcome of three years of work, and was prepared by the commission for the doctrine of the faith of the Spanish bishops’ conference. But then it was examined by all of the bishops, who in two voting sessions, in November and then in March of this year, approved it by a margin of over two thirds. The bishops most active in promoting the document included the two most “Ratzingerian” cardinals of Spain, Antonio Cañizares Lovera, of Toledo, and Antonio María Rouco Varela, of Madrid, together with one of the latter’s auxiliary bishops, Eugenio Romero Pose, president of the doctrinal commission.

What prompted the instruction, and what are its aims? In an interview with “Il Regno,” Romero Pose said that with this document the Spanish bishops intend to indicate “both the sickness and the cure.”

The sickness is “the secularization within the Church”: a widespread loss of faith caused in part by “theological propositions that have in common a deformed presentation of the mystery of Christ.”

The cure is precisely that of restoring life to the profession of faith: “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God” (Matthew 16:16), in the four areas where it is most seriously undermined today:

– the interpretation of Scripture,
– Jesus Christ as the only savior of all men,
– the Church as the Body of Christ,
– moral life.

The instruction is organized under these four main headings. In each section, the document first presents the features of correct Christological doctrine, and then denounces the theologies that deform it.

It denounces the theologies, not the theologians. The instruction does not target particular authors, but limits itself to denouncing erroneous tendencies. The names found in the notes that accompany the text are simply those of theologians already marked out in the past by doctrinal condemnations and disciplinary sanctions by the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith or by the Spanish bishops’ conference.

Continue reading Magister 31JL06

Novena to St. John Vianney: Day 5 (Love for Sinners)

St. John Vianney, Lover of Sinners
O holy Priest of Ars, you spent many long hours daily in the confessional. People came to you for forgiveness of their sins from far-off places. Although you despised sin, you always received the sinner with much love and forgiveness. O holy confessor of the Lord, St. John Vianney, awaken in Father ____________________ a sense of his sinfulness before the eyes of God. By your Priestly example, grant him a love of the reception of the Sacrament of Penance. Obtain for him the understanding that it is in confessing his sins that God’s mercy is poured out upon him and he draws closer to Christ. Obtain for him a deep hatred of sin and the grace to resist temptation. Teach him the value of frequent confession, where he meets Jesus, our Savior, the source of all mercy and consolation. Contrite and forgiven may all those with whom he comes in contact act with that same mercy. Pray that Father __________________ always love the Sacrament of Penance. Pray that he may call sinners to repentance with his good example and lives in complete service to our Lord. Recite the Novena Prayer.

Novena Prayer
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___________________ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for Father ____________________ in a special way during this novena.


The Cure on Confession:

He was also a martyr of the confessionary. He used to spend hours and hours there hearing confessions and giving counsels. We don’t realize the tremendous penance it represents to spend long hours hearing the foul moral things people do. In the confessionary he applied the advice of St. Alphonse of Ligouri to not hurry through the confession, to be patient, to consider each penitent as if he were the only person to be heard and to help him conquer each one of his sins. So he entered battle against each sin, insisted on the practice of virtue, advised good behavior, and often he denied absolution. Yes, if he could not note a serious intent of amendment, he denied absolution to that person.


Sunday, July 30, 2006

Org Profile: FOCUS - Fellowship of Catholic University Students

I often get an opportunity to listen to Teresa Tomeo's morning program, Catholic Connection, via Sirius Satellite Radio, which carries EWTN, and ultimately, a small segment of Ave Maria Radio out of Ann Arbor, MI. Much of what she has centers on life issues, which have been very good. This is how I learned about Fr. Tad Pacholczyk and the National Catholic Bioethics Center. Each week she has on a steady crew of fine people, including Fr. Frank Pavone & Janet Morana of Priests for Life, and Moral Theologian - Pia de Solenni, PhD. Dr. de Solenni is also Family Research Center's Director of Life and Women's Issues.

Teresa often has other guests on, such as philosopher, Alice von Hildebrand, along with lesser known people like a young man named Jason, who represented an organization called FOCUS - the Fellowship of Catholic University Students. Jason was reporting either from Spain, or had just gotten back from an evangelization mission there and was explaining some of what they did.

Keep in mind that many of the usual missionary countries are not the only ones in need of evangelization. In many countries of the west, including the US, and especially true in Europe from what I hear, people have become indifferent to authentic Christianity. They have fallen to the world.


Jason and his peers spent part of their summer vacation in Spain, evangelizing through an unusual means and that is what caught my attention. I'll give you the flavor of it....

Take a dozen or two of college students, put them on a plane for Spain, armed with Rosaries, the Divine Office, Bibles, and sleeping bags, and you get in interesting reaction from the locals. Jason went on to explain what a routine day was like. I took some notes:

All of this was done as they walked or sat in public areas and people were interested in what they were doing.

They would rise early in the morning to pray the Angelus, which was prayed at 6am, noon, and 6pm, which is protocol for this devotion to the Blessed Mother.

They would hike through various areas, simply praying their Rosary, and some people would follow them, then inquire what they were doing after they were done. Some, who knew, would join them. Among those who followed them, were non-believers, whom they had a chance to share the faith with. People asked for help in learning how to pray the Rosary.

They would sit outside and pray the Liturgy of the Hours (LoTH), which for many apostolates includes Lauds in the morning, Vespers in the evening, and Compline at bedtime. I can't recall if they did all of these, or just Lauds. For those who do not know what is contained in the LoTH, you can get an idea at, which is an online subscription service. I subscribe, but I do know at one time, they provided samples if you clicked around. It's very scriptural. As with the Rosary, people were interested in what they were doing and they would explain it when they were done, being a testimony through example. According to Jason, there was strong, positive reaction to witnessing them pray the LoTH - thinking it was cool, and wanting to learn, just like with the Rosary.

Toward's evening they had a holy hour in front of the Blessed Sacrament, before the evening Mass - daily.

This is only some of what I was able to write down as Jason talked about the experience. As I listened, I couldn't help think of St. Francis and how he use to preach, without words, just by walking through town. Their presence was their testimony to the faith. In a like manner, it seems that FOCUS does something similar.

These are young people, and they are attracted to time-tested basics of the Catholic faith. Deep prayer life, Eucharistic and Marian devotion, and Scripture. They used their love for these things to attract others to the faith, and it sounds like it is working.

FOCUS was founded in 1998 by Curtis Martin. It answers the call of John Paul II to evangelize. Not only do non-believers need this evangelization, but so do Catholics who have lapsed or succumbed to the lukewarmness of which St. John Vianney speaks.

This group was invited to the Archdiocese of Denver by Archbishop Chaput, who is very fond of this organization, and its sucess in bringing Christ to others. It has bloomed well in such a short time and stats can be read at their website.

If you are a college student, you may want to check to see if there is a FOCUS group on your campus. If not, look into starting one. Here is that website once again:


Novena to St. John Vianney: Day 4 (Devotion to Blessed Mother)

St. John Vianney, Greatly Devoted to Our Blessed Mother

O holy Priest of Ars, your life was consecrated to the Blessed Mother. You prayed earnestly to her, entrusting your Priesthood to her care. You begged all the faithful to pray the rosary, the favorite prayer of Mary, our Mother. You summed up the reason for your great love of our Lady by saying: “We have only to turn to the Blessed Mother to be heard. Her heart is all love.” O great John Vianney, I ask you with all my heart through the merits of Jesus and the intercession of Mary, the Virgin Mother to make Father ____________’s life patterned after that of our heavenly Mother, full of love for God and his neighbor. Obtain for him a deeper love for our Lady and a filial confidence in her. She is the person to whom he can turn in times of distress when lonely or upset or in times of temptation. Inspire Father __________________ to consecrate his life to his Mother in heaven. May he know the powerful protection of Mary’s Mantle all the days of his life. Recite the Novena Prayer.

Novena Prayer
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___________________ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for Father ____________________ in a special way during this novena.

Novena Source

The previous link I was using which detailed the life of St. John Vianney, has been down, so I cannot go back to it and continue on some interesting facets of St. John's life. I may find others, but for now, there is a wonderful collection of online sermons given by St. John Vianney. I'll get you started with a sample here, and you can follow it.


In speaking to you today, my dear brethren, of the dreadful state of the lukewarm soul, my purpose is not to paint for you a terrifying and despairing picture of the soul which is living in mortal sin without even having the wish to escape from this condition. That poor unfortunate creature can but look forward to the wrath of God in the next life. Alas! These sinners hear me; they know well of whom I am speaking at this very moment.... We will go no further, for all that I would wish to say would serve only to harden them more.

In speaking to you, my brethren, of the lukewarm soul, I do not wish, either, to speak of those who make neither their Easter duty nor their annual Confession. They know very well that in spite of all their prayers and their other good works they will be lost. Let us leave them in their blindness, since they want to remain that way....

Nor do I understand, brethren, by the lukewarm soul, that soul who would like to be worldly without ceasing to be a child of God. You will see such a one at one moment prostrate before God, his Saviour and his Master, and the next moment similarly prostrate before the world, his idol.

Poor blind creature, who gives one hand to God and the other to the world, so that he can call both to his aid, and promise his heart to each in turn! He loves God, or rather, he would like to love Him, but he would also like to please the world. Then, weary of wanting to give his allegiance to both, he ends by giving it to the world alone. This is an extraordinary life and one which offers so strange a spectacle that it is hard to persuade oneself that it could be the life of one and the same person. I am going to show you this so clearly that perhaps many among you will be hurt by it. But that will matter little to me, for I am always going to tell you what I ought to tell you, and then you will do what you wish about it....

continue reading Vianney on Lukewarmness...

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Bishops Debate Lay Ministers


WASHINGTON — A document that names laity who work in the Church “ministers” has some bishops concerned that the Church may be giving in to the vocations crisis. Bishops in Washington for the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishop

Bishops in Washington for the annual fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 14-17 approved the new document on “lay ecclesial ministers,” titled Co-Workers in the Vineyard of the Lord. Their 190-49 vote Nov. 15 achieved the needed two-thirds’ majority and followed two days of debate in which several bishops desired to send it back to committee for additional work.

“I’m concerned that there’s this idea that we can’t attract priests, so there won’t be any priests in the future, and therefore we need to attract these lay ministers to perform various tasks,” Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Neb., told the Register.
Supporters of the document, including the National Association for Lay Ministry, say the document “affirms” more than 30,000 people working in Catholic lay ministry in the United States, 80% of whom are women.

“The big thing for us is the affirmation this provides because it’s recognition of our roles by the bishops,” said Chris Anderson, executive director of the National Association for Lay Ministry in Washington, D.C. “It also clarifies some of the structure involved in lay ministry and establishes guidelines for the proper formation of lay ministers.”

The document recommends, but doesn’t require, that directors of religious education, liturgy directors, general pastoral associates who assist the pastor in a wide variety of pastoral tasks, and lay parish administrators, have post-graduate educations. It calls for each diocese to professionalize the roles of lay ministers and the support systems they provide.

“We want bishops to establish standards, and this recommends that they do so,” Anderson said. “We want a professional cadre of ministers with good will. But it requires more than good will to work in lay ministry. A sophisticated background is required to deal with sophisticated issues.”

Bishop Michael Sheridan of Colorado Springs, Colo., told the Register the initiative can be helpful if it isn’t abused.

“I don’t want this to be taken as a way to capitulate to the so-called ‘vocation crisis,’ which says we’re not going to have priests so let’s put that aside and get busy preparing lay leaders,” he said. “At the same time, clearly the Church recognizes the important role of lay leadership in catechists, liturgical ministers and all sorts of areas that a couple of generations ago we wouldn’t have thought about. And if we’re going to do that, we need guidelines and mechanisms for adequate formation.”

Explosion in Vocations

A new study by the National Pastoral Life Center titled “Lay Parish Ministers: A Study of Emerging Leadership,” shows that in the United States, more than 30,000 men and women serve in lay ministry roles. In 1990, professional laity helped staff 54% of U.S. parishes; in 2005 they’re on staff at some 66% of all U.S. parishes. The study revealed that 74% of lay parish ministers work full time, and 80% are women. In 1990, religious sisters accounted for 41% of parish ministers; in 2005 they account for only 16%.

Common roles for lay ministers include parish associate, youth minister, and religious educator.

“I want both,” Bishop Sheridan said. “I want to see the Church cultivate religious vocations, and lay ministry. You can’t have a Church without both.”

Curtis Martin, founder and director of the lay ministry known as Focus —Fellowship of Catholic University Students — said he’s cautiously optimistic that bishops will work to direct and assist in the cultivation of more lay ministry in order to increase religious vocations.

“Certainly, there’s a danger in encouraging lay ministry,” Martin said. “Those who have an agenda to change the priesthood may be tempted to use this in that way. But with Focus, we’re finding that by engaging the laity in ministry we’re seeing an explosion in vocations taking place. If done right, lay ministry can increase vocations, because we have growing numbers of laity who are on fire and they can’t do their work without ordained priests and religious.”

Anderson agreed, saying, “If anything, a burgeoning lay ministry helps priests to continue in their sacramental ministries. There’s no such thing as a priestless parish, and there’s no possibility for that.”

In Denver, Archbishop Charles Chaput oversees an archdiocese known for attracting and building up lay ministries, such as Focus. He worries that the new document may be an effort to fix what isn’t broken.

“I don’t know that we need” the document, Archbishop Chaput told the Register. “There’s a huge amount of lay ministry that already goes on that’s well organized and well ordered, and I think this complicates matters. My biggest worry is that it might confuse volunteers about the roles they play, and it may lead to a certain kind of needless bureaucracy in the Church.”

In response to one question, Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, Ariz., chairman of the Subcommittee on Lay Ministry, who presented the document, pointed out that “ministry” was the term used to translateservitium in a 1998 Vatican document spelling out the differences between lay and ordained ministry. That document has been a significant point of guidance for Church authorities overseeing the development of lay ministries.

The new document says lay ecclesial ministry does not describe a new rank or vocation in the Church; rather, it is a generic term for a variety of positions held by non-ordained people who engage in substantial public leadership positions in Church ministry, collaborating closely with the ordained leadership and under their authority.Bishop Sheridan said he uses the term lay “leaders” rather than “ministers,” and he’ll continue doing so.

“I’m in agreement with those who question whether some other term would be more felicitous,” Bishop Bruskewitz remarked. “The term ‘minister’ means everything now. The janitor is the minister of the mop. It gets silly.”

Debate on Terminology

During debate on the issue, several bishops expressed concerns about use of the term “minister,” saying the word implies ordination in some Protestant denominations.


Domenico Bettinelli Jr. on the recent letter by Fr. Robert Altier

The other day, I provided the contents of a letter written by Fr. Robert Altier, who has been silent all along on his reassignment and related matters. He fired back, after diocesan spokesman, Dennis McGrath, made public accusations about the priest's behavior which were, in my humble opinion, out of line.

Domenico Bettinelli Jr., who had served as Editor of Catholic World Report until recently, discusses the issue on his blog...

Go to to read both letters and Dom's commentary....

Edited to update info on Bettinelli per comment section.

Novena to St. John Vianney: Day 3 (Adoration)

St. John Vianney, Adorer of the Blessed Sacrament

O holy Priest of Ars, you had such an overwhelming love for Christ in the Blessed Sacrament that you prayed for hours in His presence. You said that “when our Lord sees them coming eagerly to visit Him in the Blessed Sacrament, He smiles upon them. They come with that simplicity which pleases Him so much.” O Saint of the Eucharist, may your example enkindle in Father ____________ a deeper love for Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. By your prayers, never let him doubt Christ’s Real Presence, but obtain for him a firm faith rooted in the Eucharist. Help him not to be afraid to defend or preach Christ’s Real Presence in the Blessed Sacrament. Obtain for him the grace to approach our Lord with simplicity of heart as he lays his soul’s innermost thoughts before Jesus’ Sacred Heart. Keep Father ___________________ under your continual protection, that he may be supported by your example and assistance and be faithfully devoted to Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. May his life reflect the belief of our Lord’s abiding presence with us. O St. John Vianney, by the power of your intercession, give us Priests devoted to the holy Sacrament of the Altar. Recite the Novena Prayer.

Novena Prayer
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___________________ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for Father ____________________ in a special way during this novena.

(Note: There are "link" problems today where - some are working and some are not. If you click something and get an error, check back later). Hopefully, things are cleared up tomorrow.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Fr. Tad Pacholczyk: Catholic Church NOT opposed to Stem Cell Research

The more I hear this priest on Priest's for Life and on programs like Teresa Tomeo's Catholic Connection on EWTN Radio/Ave Maria Radio in the morning (990 local AM radio for areas that can receive it in Southeast Michigan), the more I like him.

His background, as reported in this LifeSite News article, includes a doctorate in Neuroscience from Yale University (ching), and he has conducted post-doctoral research at Harvard Medical School (ching). From what I understand, he then felt called to the priesthood and studied theology and bioethics in Rome. (cha-CHING!!!). Now that is a set of credentials!

He is also the director of the National Catholic Bioethics Center, which has a website containing a wealth of information, including the Top 10 Myths of Stem Cell Research. You'll get a taste of them in the full LifeSite News article.

Everyone should read those 10 myths and arm themselves with the truth. Fr. Tad has written them in very easy to understand ways. It is up to each of us to be prepared to crush the vast amount of falsehoods floating around in the media. Consider writing into your local paper when there is discussion of stem cell research and provide the link to Fr. Tad's top 10 myths.

Novena to St. John Vianney: Day 2 (Zeal)

If you are just discovering this novena, don't hesitate to jump in and do both Day 1, and Day 2 as we work towards the feast day of August 4. As I stated in my first post, this format found at Sacred Heart Parish in Dunn, NC gives us what is below so that we can use it to pray for a priest. One idea, is to give John the discretion of applying it to a priest who is in most need of the graces coming from this prayer.

St. John Vianney, Full of Zeal for Souls

O holy Priest of Ars, you taught men to pray daily: “O my God, come to me, so that You may dwell in me and I may dwell in You.” Your life was the very living out of this prayer. The divine life of grace abided in you. Your zeal for the salvation of souls was manifested by your total self-surrender to God, which was expressed in your selfless service to others. You gave of yourself unreservedly in the confessional, at the altar, in the classroom, in fact, in every action you performed. O great St. John Vianney, obtain for Father ________________ the realization that God also dwells in him when he is free of sin. Remind him that the salvation of his soul is the fulfillment of his existence. Awaken in him a sense of self-giving for the salvation of souls. Obtain for Father __________, by your intercession, a zeal for souls like your zeal. May he see that God dwells in him and in his fellow men. Obtain for him from our Lord the grace to lead all men to salvation. Let your prayer be his: “If you really love God, you will greatly desire to see Him loved by all the world.”
Recite the short Novena Prayer found in the first post.

Here is an excerpt from one of the longest and detailed accounts of his life I can find on the web. It is written by Bruce Marshall. There are some odd characters in my version of the webpage and they are carrying through here. I managed to figure it out. Just recall that he was also known as the "Cure d'Ars", or simply as "the Cure".

Soon the report of the Cur钳 holiness began to spread. People from the surrounding countryside came to hear him and he was asked to preach in neighbouring villages. He preached missions in Vilefranche-sur-Sa? Tr鶯ux, Montmerle, Saint Trivier, Saint Bernard, Savigneux, Mis鲩eux. At the forty hours? adoration at Limas he was embarrassed to find prelates and ecclesiastics assembled to hear him.

To the end of his life the poor Cur頣ould never understand the reason for his own fame. And to begin with, many of his colleagues couldn?t understand it either. An abb頂orjon wrote to him: "Monsieur le Cur鬠a man with as little theology as yourself ought never to enter a confessional." The Cur頯f Ars replied:

My very dear and respected colleague, how right I am to love you. You alone really know me. As you are good and charitable enough to deign to take an interest in my poor soul, help me to obtain the favour for which I have been asking for so long, so that I may be moved from a post I am unworthy to fill because of my ignorance and retire into obscurity to atone for my wretched life.

This long and awkward sentence was written without irony, but with humility, and its recipient was touched. Fortunately, M. Vianney had his bishop behind him. One day when a priest said to Msgr. Devie: "The Cur頯f Ars is looked upon as being rather uneducated", the Bishop answered: "I don?t know whether he is educated or not, but what I do know is the Holy Spirit makes a point of enlightening him."

The boozers in the cabarets also attacked him. Furious at the interruption of their pleasures, they spread rumours that the Cur钳 pallor was not due to asceticism but to the practice of vice. They sang lewd songs under his window at night. They spattered his door with filth. They said that he was the father of a prostitute?s child. These tales reached the Bishop, who felt obliged to send the Cur頯f Tr鶯ux to conduct an enquiry. Although the slanders were all disproved, the Cur頳uffered greatly.

More excerpts tomorrow from Bruce Marshall's piece.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Vatican official: Kneeling expresses meeting Jesus in the Eucharist

WOW! I don't think anyone could have captured it more beautifully.

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Kneeling during the consecration at Mass is the most appropriate way to express the fact that in the Eucharist one meets Jesus, who was bowed down by the weight of human sin, said an article by a Vatican official.

"The Lord lowered himself to the point of death on the cross in order to encounter sinful man, freeing him from sin," said the brief article published in "Notitiae," the bulletin of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments.

"If the Eucharist represents the sacramental memorial of the death and resurrection of the Lord, it seems appropriate that those for whom the Lord bowed himself down would bow down before this supreme mystery of love," said the article by Msgr. Stephan Hunseler, a congregation official from Germany.

The late-July article said that Christ's self-emptying "reaches its climax when the lord Jesus Christ takes on himself, as the lamb of God, all the sins of the world."

When people kneel during the consecration, it said, they not only are assuming a position of humility, but are bowing down to meet Jesus where Jesus has bowed down to meet them.

"Kneeling during the consecration of the Eucharist, therefore, becomes one of the most eloquent moments of meeting Christ the lord," who became man, died for people's sins and rose again, the article said.

The 2002 General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which provides guidelines for the celebration of Mass, said the faithful "should kneel at the consecration, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration."

The instruction, however, went on to say that it is up to a nation's conference of bishops "to adapt the gestures and postures described in the Order of Mass to the culture and reasonable traditions of the people."

The U.S. bishops' adaptation of that section of the instruction reads: "In the dioceses of the United States of America, they (the faithful) should kneel beginning after the singing or recitation of the Sanctus until after the amen of the eucharistic prayer, except when prevented on occasion by reasons of health, lack of space, the large number of people present, or some other good reason. Those who do not kneel ought to make a profound bow when the priest genuflects after the consecration. The faithful kneel after the Agnus Dei unless the diocesan bishop determines otherwise."



Cardinal George: Surgery completes removal of cancerous bladder & ureter

Cardinal George of Chicago has successfully gone through a most difficult surgical procedure to remove his bladder, and the lower 1/6 of his right ureter, which also showed cancer. He had noticed blood in his urine while on vacation just a short time ago.

We offer our prayers for a full recovery.

Go read about Cardinal George in the Chicago Sun-Times.

Fr. Altier wants retraction from diocesan official

The title of my post matches the title on Spero News, as the saga in Minnesota continues....

Thursday, July 27, 2006
Martin Barillas

Father Altier has written the following letter asking for a retraction from McGrath, saying that he is guilty of slander and calumny and that he has never publicly denounced his bishop

(Spero News) Father Robert Altier of the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-St. Paul, whose supporters say was effectively silenced by his bishop following an order to cease the distribution of his popular homilies, has called for a retraction from Dennis McGrath – archdiocesan director of communications.

McGrath had written a letter to Ken Fisher of Concerned Catholics of America in which he accused the priest of being critical of the bishop – to whom he is sworn to respect and obey....

continue reading Altier...

In all seriousness, lets please add Fr. Altier, and Bishop Flynn in our Novena to St. John Vianney. It's never too late, even if you come in the middle of the Novena. Those involved could use all the prayers they can get.

EDIT: Gerald has the original letter from McGrath, along with the letter by Altier at his blog. Go read it at The Cafeteria is Closed.

Novena to St. John Vianney: Day 1 (The Cross)

One of my favorites saints to study, is St. John Vianney, also known as the Cure d'Ars. I've never really figured out what makes him so special to me, but I think it has to do with his living out a strong priestly identity. He brought so many home to God through the basics: Solid prayer life, adoration, solid preaching, confession and simply reaching out to a community fallen into sinful ways. He truly bloomed right where he was planted. After this brief introduction, we'll begin the Novena towards the bottom of the post.

But first, I would like to direct your attention to an article well worth bookmarking and reading over these days leading to his feast day, August 4. I know there are some discerning young men reading this blog, and potentially some seminarians, and priests. If you read this article, or have read it already, consider giving a brief review of your own in the comment section so that others can read your thoughts. I would invite any lay people to do the same. Can we use some of his methods today?

While St. John Vianney is the patron saint of priests, as a lay person myself, I find him very interesting as a saint, as well as his writings. Click the link below to go to the article, but don't forget to come back here and give just 5 minutes of your time to pray the novena prayer for the day. Even if you don't see this until tomorrow (blogger was problematic all day), one priest recently told me that if we miss the first day of a novena, we should not give up. Just do day one in the morning, and day two in the evening of the 2nd day!

I'll get you started on the article here....

St. John Vianney’s ministry gives parish priests
a fundamental blueprint for a pastoral plan for any place and time.

St. John Vianney’s Pastoral Plan

By John Cihak

St. John Vianney (1786 1859) is regaining popularity among diocesan seminarians. After a generation of being ignored, if not ridiculed, the patron saint of parish priests is once again finding his way into the hearts and minds of seminarians and priests. The Church names him as patron because this humble priest, assigned to the backwaters of southeastern, post revolutionary France, reveals things perennial about the priesthood and priestly ministry. The pioneering Pope Blessed John XXIII even wrote an encyclical letter on St. John Vianney recommending him as a model for diocesan priests to follow. The new generation of American priests is not discovering St. John Vianney because it simply has nostalgia for what is old, rather because it has a hunger for what perdures. This article is the fruit of this search and the summary of a discussion I had with a group of transitional deacons on the cusp of ordination. By the time this article is published, these men will already be priests.

Their assignment was to examine the beginning years of St. John Vianney’s ministry in Ars through the lens of two questions: 1) What was the cultural landscape of his time? 2) What are the basic contours of his pastoral plan? How was it that within eight years of the Curé’s arrival to Ars many of the people who were living indifferent and nominally Christian lives became fervent and committed believers? Continue reading Vianney...

Ok - now how long can this take, once each day for the next 9 days? Just do it!!!

If you click St. John's picture in my sidebar above the vocation section, it will take you to EWTN's version. However, I found another version I like very much because it allows me to insert the name of a priest. I know of many priests names I will likely insert, but I will also ask that an unnamed priest be included - one whom is in most need of the graces from this novena. It is easy to pray for those whom we know and love, but those who need our prayers the most, may have no one truly praying for them. Consider doing this out of love for God. Help one priest and you help all those with whom he has contact - spiritually, and actually.

St. John Vianney, Who Accepted the Cross
O holy priest of Ars, as a young seminarian you encountered many obstacles on the road to the Priesthood, but you realized that to suffer was to suffer with Christ on Calvary, and so, if following our Lord meant taking up His cross, you lovingly embraced it. Your motto in life became loving while suffering and suffering in order to love. You did not get discouraged, but your strong faith united you closer to Jesus every day of your life. Oh great St. John Vianney, you know what is needed for Father _____________________’s salvation--a strong faith able to accept the will of God in all things. To serve Christ, he too must take up his cross and follow Him. By your prayers, obtain for him a heart full of courage and strength. Obtain for Father _____________________ that same courage and strength to follow Jesus wholeheartedly even if it means following Him to Calvary. Intercede for him before the Lord that he may do the will of God, obey the commandments, and loyally love the Church, the Bride of Christ. Recite the Novena Prayer.

Novena Prayer
O holy Priest of Ars, St. John Marie Vianney, you loved God and served Him faithfully as His Priest. Now you see God face to face in heaven. You never despaired but persevered in your faith until you died. Remember now the dangers, fears and anxieties that surround Father ___________________ and intercede for him in all his needs and troubles especially console him in his most difficult moments, grant him serenity in the midst of crisis, and protect him from evil. O St. John Vianney, I have confidence in your intercession. Pray for Father ____________________ in a special way during this novena.

I have more a little more on St. John Vianney in a post I made a week or two ago, mentioning this notable novena.

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Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Addition to Sidebar: Ask Father Question Box (AFQB)

For those of you who visit Catholic Online's forums, you know that Fr. Z (Zuhlsdorf) is the moderator. You probably also know that he has a connected website: . Fr. Z also has a blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say?", which is also the same title as the column he writes for The Wanderer. Fr. Z's computer signature is rather.....interesting. It's also copyrighted.


This website may not be one of the most dazzling in appearance, and even in functionality (on some days, at least), however, it is content rich. And, more often than not, you can post questions there. Sometimes it is disabled if there is no one there to answer the questions. No sense letting the pot fill up.

For this reason, when you go there seeking answers, look through the obvious categories and see if you can find something similar before contributing to the great backlog.

Even if you don't want to ask questions, the site offers plenty of reading to interesting - mostly anonymous questions (and very frank answers). Statements of fact made on the home page give you an idea of just how frank Fr. Z is.
You will find the AFQB - Ask Father a Question Box in my sidebar, but for now - just click on the pic.

Apologist Jimmy Akin talks about new Medjugorje Commission

Jimmy Akin is Director of Apologetics and Evangelization at Catholic Answers, a contributing editor to This Rock magazine, and a weekly guest on "Catholic Answers Live."

He has an interesting anlaysis up at his blog about the news on a new commission pertaining to Medjugorje. Go there and read it.

For those not accustomed to it, he uses a shortcut for Pope Benedict XVI as "B16" and I've seen some wondering elsewhere what this means. Now you know, before you read it.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Carmelite Slide Show - First Profession - Happy Faces

H/T to Gerald Augustinus for posting this link to a slide show of young Carmelite nuns making their first profession. Look at all the happy faces - including their folks.

This is an awesome slideshow. Hopefully, it works for everyone. Give it a few seconds/minutes to load depending on your connection, then just sit back and watch.

Bishop Vasa regarding his Vacation

Hat Tip to Amy Welborn on this one who gives us these extracts (full length article below)

Since the rectory there is largely uninhabited, I can move in without inconveniencing anyone. My presence there for three weekends allows the two priests at Nyssa to be given a bit of a break from the more than 90-mile weekly one-way trip and does allow them to alternate their own vacations without canceling Masses or seeking another substitute. Thus, while taking my own vacation, I can at the same time be of service to these priests.

Since the people in this remote corner of the diocese do not have the benefit of a full-time priest, it is my hope that my presence there, however brief, does let them know that I have not forgotten them and that I am concerned about the well being of the parishes. If the truth be known, the strongest draw is the fact that there is a body of parishioners there whom I genuinely like and enjoy. Even though I do not socialize a whole lot while I am there on vacation, I do like the folks there, and I do want to be of service to them. My life, at least in intention, is given over in service to the people of God. I do try very hard not to reserve anything for myself, and I am happiest and most “fulfilled” when I am living the life of a priest, a life most aptly described as “the life of a man-for-others.”

Source article

Magister: An Interview with Domenico Bartolucci - "Maestro in Perpetuo"

H/T to John B who originally sent me a tip on this story, which I had confused with the earlier coverage given by Sandro Magister here when Pope Benedict sat at the concert offered by Domenico Bartolucci. As Magister pointed out, this was very symbolic.

I will let Fr. Z walk you through this interview, and after you've read his end of it, be sure to read the entire interview at Magister's site. The link to Magister is below, but I recommend reading Father's coverage and then following that link embedded within his blog.

Fr. Z says...

There was a great interview with the former (if this makes sense) "Maestro in perpetuo" of the Sistine Chapel Choir, Mons. Domenico Bartolucci. In keeping with the usual practice of men who are over 90, lucid, expert, and thwarted, Bartolucci has something to say, and – oh my – does he say it. Sandro of Espresso has done us a great service to publish this frank interview here is are excerpts, but you must read it yourselves.

Background: Curial officials such as His Excellency Piero Marini (Master of the Pontifical Ceremonies) engineered Bartolucci’s downfall when the Pope was declining. The late Pope wasn’t too interested in the sort of music Bartolucci championed but he upheld it. I cannot fathom that had the Pope still been healthy anyone would have perpetrated the injustice done to Bartolucci. Also, recently there was a concert in the Sistina with Bartolucci which the Pope attended. Cardinal Ratzinger had been a lonely supporter of Bartolucci when he was being attacked. Ssay what you want about the quality of the music he produced, his ideas are spot on. His ideas are in harmony with the Pope’s position on sacred music. In what follows find my emphasis and [my commentary].

Continue reading Zuhlsdorf on Magister....

Monday, July 24, 2006

CNS News - New Commission on Medjugorje

H/T to Amy Welborn for finding the CNS story so quickly, and a thanks for referring people to my post on the translation of the Croatian article, which contains extended coverage.

Cardinal says commission to review alleged apparitions at Medjugorje

By Cindy Wooden
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Cardinal Vinko Puljic of Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, announced a commission would be formed to review the alleged Marian apparitions at Medjugorje and pastoral provisions for the thousands of pilgrims who visit the town each year.

"The commission members have not been named yet," Cardinal Puljic told Catholic News Service in a July 24 telephone interview. "I am awaiting suggestions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith" on theologians to appoint.

"But this commission will be under the (Bosnian) bishops' conference" as is the usual practice with alleged apparitions, he said.

The cardinal said he did not expect the commission to be established until sometime in September because of the summer holidays.

He said the primary task of the commission would be to review a 1991 report from the region's bishops that concluded, "It cannot be affirmed that these matters concern supernatural apparitions or revelations."

In addition, he said, the commission would be asked to review pastoral provisions that forbid official diocesan and parish pilgrimages to Medjugorje, while at the same time allowing priests to accompany groups of Catholics in order to provide the sacraments and spiritual guidance.

When asked if the new commission was the idea of the doctrinal congregation or of the bishops' conference, Cardinal Puljic said, "I would rather not answer that question."

Cardinal Puljic announced the future formation of the commission during the bishops' July 12-14 meeting in Banja Luka.

On June 25, thousands of pilgrims converged on Medjugorje to mark the 25th anniversary of the first alleged apparition to six young people.

The Vatican continues to monitor events at Medjugorje, where the apparitions apparently continue, but it has not taken a formal position other than to support the bishops' ban on official pilgrimages.

Officials from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith were not available July 24 for comment.



I am hoping that CNS will provide us with an update soon with a comment from the CDF. With the kind of buzz this is creating, I don't think it will be long before we see statements from both the Vatican and one of the diocesan websites there in BiH.

EDIT 26-July-2006: Catholic Apologist Jimmy Akin has his own analysis on this report over at his blog.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Medjugorje: Preliminary Translation of Croatian Article on New Commission

Well, after some picking and choosing from miscellaneous translations found, and doing some of my own translating to finesse it, I provide you with the following article now in English. I am open to corrections, if you would be so kind to put them into the comment box below, or email them to me.

One translation I found seemed somewhat embellished, but it's possible it those were translated from Dutch or German.

Here is what I have in English now:

15.07.2006 18:15


Holy See takes Medjugorje Phenomenon into its own hands
Author: Žarko IVKOVIĆ

The Catholic Church is establishing new commission which will review Medjugorje events. This given by Cardinal Vinko Puljic, president of the Bosnia and Hercegovina Bishops Conference and Archbishop of Sarajevo, to reporters at the end of the Bishops conference held July12-14, 2006 in Banja Luka. This announcement surprised many, because Medjugorje was not even one of the topics discussed at the meeting. Aside from that, it is well known that the Church will not take a definite position about the Medjugorje phenomenon while it is still going on, and even more well known is the position of the bishop of Mostar, who time and again has claimed that there are no apparitions of the Mother of God in his diocese.

Why, nevertheless, establish a new commission which would review the stand declared in 1991 by the bishops by which “it cannot be determined that anything supernatural is happening there”? From our information, the request for the establishment of a new commission comes from the Vatican, which can manifestly no longer close its eyes to what is happening in Medjugorje

Here is the original Croatian:

15.07.2006 18:15

Sveta Stolica preuzima međugorski fenomen u svoje ruke
Autor Žarko IVKOVIĆ

Katolička crkva osniva novu komisiju koja će ispitati međugorska zbivanja. Dao je to naslutiti kardinal Vinko Puljić, predsjednik Biskupske konferencije BiH, obraćajući se novinarima nakon završetka zasjedanja BKBiH održanog od 12. do 14. srpnja u Banjoj Luci. Izazvao je time i veliko iznenađenje jer Međugorja na dnevnom redu nije bilo. Osim toga, dobro je poznat stav Crkve da se o međugorskom fenomenu neće izjašnjavati dok on traje, a još je poznatiji stav mostarskoga biskupa, koji decidirano tvrdi da u njegovoj biskupiji nema nikakvih ukazanja Majke Božje.

Zašto se unatoč tomu osniva nova komisija koja bi trebala preispitati stav biskupa izrečen 1991., prema kojemu se "ne može ustvrditi da je riječ o nadnaravnim ukazanjima"? Prema našim informacijama, zahtjev za osnivanje komisije dolazi iz Vatikana, koji očito više ne može zatvarati oči pred onim što se događa u Međugorju.

All of this having been said, we are still looking for confirmation out of the Vatican, or out of the office of Bishop Peric in Mostar, or Vinko Cardinal Puljic -the head of the BiH Bishop's Conference. EDIT: Confirmation here

If this is truly happening, then I would raise some questions:

  1. If the Vatican was assuming such a commission would maintain status quo, then would they have wanted such a commission?

  2. Assuming the answer to number 1 is "no", then what other decisions could be handed down?

    The current position of the Church, handed down in the 1991 Zadar Declaration is:

    non constat de supernaturalitate (it is not established supernatural)

    I see two possibilities coming out of such a commission:

    1) constat de supernaturalitate (it is established supernatural)
    2) constat de non supernaturalitate (it is established not supernatural)

    This leads me to another question:

    Since the "visions" are ongoing, why set up a commission to "affirm" what is happening in Medjugorje?

    On the other hand, if Holy Mother Church sees some harm taking place - perhaps none-to-visible to the ordinary persons who frequent there, then She may feel inclined to act. There is, for example, a situation with the local Franciscans that was 400 years in the making, with many being expelled from the order since not long after these "apparitions" began. In one case, well documented, the "gospa" supported a priest who was in the process of being suspended "a divinis". He was later removed from the order, and now lives with his ex-nun wife and children somewhere around Medjugorje.

    The point is not the immorality of one priest and nun - clearly something between them and their confessors. Rather, it is the fact that the "Blessed Mother" in Medjugorje supported him, saying he was innocent, and that the Bishop was to blame (Bishop Zanic, the former bishop of Mostar speaks of it in point 2 in this document). Bishop Zanic goes on to point out back then, that this same priest who was defended by the "gospa" continued on with his priestly affairs with regards to the Sacraments, in defiance of his suspension. From a theological standpoint, it is unfathomable to think that the Blessed Mother would not know of the priest's immoral acts, and of his suspension, or impending suspension, when she allegedly defended him.

    Furthermore, in a 2001 homily, Bishop Peric states that out of 120 Franciscan priests, 40 refused to sign a statement reiterating their obedience to the local Ordinary. This was authorized by their Father General in Rome. While it is wonderful that 80 priests did the right thing, 40 is a significant number to be in defiance. (All of this can be read in the Michael Davies book with link below - page 167, and can be verified throug the Chancery of Mostar).

    Some would ask, "How can there be anything bad about conversions, high vocations, confessions, emphases on the Eucharistic and Marian devotion, fasting, penance, processions, etc.?"

    My answer is simple: There is nothing bad about these things. They are very good. In fact, we probably owe the rebirth of these things to Medjugorje. But, is it possibly just a solid example of how God can use just about anything to His advantage? The sacraments alone, and Marian devotion have proven to yield conversion and vocations.

    However, if the CDF believes Medjugorje to be inauthentic, then the ends can never justify the means. In other words, we cannot allow such a thing to continue just because of the good fruits it yields. As someone else recently pointed out, and I will paraphrase: A couple engaged in pre-marital sex can concieve a child. The child is a good fruit, coming from an immoral act. Because the child is a good fruit, it does not justify the pre-marital sex. (Whoever stated this may feel free to acknowledge this fact in my comment box, but you will have to forgive me for forgetting which blog I read it in).

    Setting this aside, there are indeed bad fruits coming from Medjugorje, for those willing to take a hard look. The French Bishops pointed these things out back in 2000. There are many other resources including the new book by Donal Anthony Foley called, "Understanding Medjugorje" (see my sidebar book section). Then there is the book by Michael Davies, "Medjugorje - After Twenty One Years" which is available online in its entirety (217 pages downloadable), along with two statements by Bishop Peric.

    Medjugorje has yielded many good things and if the Vatican were to definitively rule against it, we should not take this as an attack against Marian devotion. To the contrary, Marian devotion stands independent of Medjugorje, as does Eucharistic devotion. If Medjugorje has taught the Church anything, it is that people want to immerse themselves into a Catholic culture richly devout in such ways. They are, indeed, hard to come by, but I'm convinced after seeing so many devout young priests coming out of seminaries, this is changing. We must be patient and practice devotion regardless of whether the parish fosters it or not.

    Some say that those who don't believe in Medjugorje are anti-Marian or liberal, yet the vast majority of people I know who cannot believe in it, are very Marian, and very orthodox in their Catholicism. This means that those who support Medjugorje, and those who denounce it, have much in common......except for the notion that Mary is appearing to those particular "seers" associated with Medjugorje.

    If this commission is truly happening, we need to pray that those chosen will be guided by the Holy Spirit, the Blessed Mother, and the holy Angels, to follow through with the will of God in all things pertaining to Medjugorje. And, may they assist us in humbly accepting that outcome, whether it follows a position we take, or not.

    Related Posts:

    June 15, 2006 Homily of Bishop Peric in Medjugorje (full uncut text)

    What leads people to Medjugorje?

    Cardinal Puljic at 2001 Synod: Unity of Church is threatened by disobedience of local Franciscans

    International Coverage of the Croatian Article:

    CNS - Catholic News Service (US)

    Analysis of CNS Article by Apologist Jimmy Akin

    Article in CathNews (Australia)

    Original Croatian Article

    German Article from Kath.Net

    German Article from Kruez.Net

    Dutch Article

    Other Resources:

    2000 Analysis and Statement from French Bishops

    1978 Criteria for Discernment of Apparitions

    Websites to watch

    Diocese of Mostar-Duvno (Bishop Ratko Peric)

    Diocese of Banja Luka (Bishop Franjo Komarica)

    Diocese of Vrhbosna or Sarajevo (Vinko Cardinal Puljic)

    Te Deum Blog Home

    Saturday, July 22, 2006

    Surprise from the Vatican: Holy Throne takes Medjugorje phenomenon into its own hands

    That is how I translate the title of the news story out of the Croatian Newspaper, Vecernji List

    I speak limited Croatian and just received this article via email from Mark Waterinckx in the original Croatian. The other is a Dutch article which speaks about the one in Croatian.

    I am working several avenues for an English versions of this, but the headline says it all and it is in the title of my thread. In the meanwhile, for those of you who speak either language, here they both are. Feel free to offer your best stab at translations in the comment section, or offer a link to an English version should you find one before I do.

    What I'm getting out of the Croatian version is that a new commission is being set up, but given my weak Croatian, I could be wrong.

    I am offering the website of the Diocese of Banja Luka - the home of Vinko Cardinal Puljic. There are English translations of various things on this site and it might be the one to watch. I made a previous post having found a statement made by Cardinal Puljic back in 2001 pertaining to some of his thoughts on Medjugorje while at a Synod.

    Diocese of Banja Luka

    EDIT: Mark says he now has the article in four languages, but is awaiting confirmation out of Bishop Peric. Being the weekend, this could be a wait. In the same email from Mark, is this message from someone in Australia. It reads as follows and forgive the crude appearance as I do not have much time. I will continue to update this post with new information as I get it, so check back here.

    >> A link reading "New commission on Medjugorje" turned up on the Spirit>> Daily website last night (Friday), and what it linked to was in>> Croatian. The link has now disappeared (Saturday afternoon here). But>> attached is the text, in Croatian. I was next to a Serb at Mass this>> morning so I asked him to translate it. The article is headed>> "Surprise from the Vatican" The gist is that the Holy See has taken>> the Medjugorje "phenomenon" into its own hands and has appointed or will>> appoint a new commission. This was apparently announed by Cardinal>> Puljic at a congerence of the bishops of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Banja>> Luka on July 12-14. It refers, without naming him, to the Bishop of>> Mostar, as having disapproved as far as his own diocese is concerned.>> The second para recalls the finding of the previous commission in 1991,>> that there is nothing supernatural. You will no doubt be able to>> translate it more accurately. "Vijesti", the website name at the top,>> is a Croatian Catholic news agency, it seems. Nothing about this has>> turned up elsewhere that I can find, but I thought you might be>> interested.

    Vijesti (Vecernji List News)
    Hrvatska (Croatia)

    15.07.2006 18:15

    Sveta Stolica preuzima međugorski fenomen u svoje ruke
    Autor Žarko IVKOVIĆ

    Katolička crkva osniva novu komisiju koja će ispitati međugorska zbivanja. Dao je to naslutiti kardinal Vinko Puljić, predsjednik Biskupske konferencije BiH, obraćajući se novinarima nakon završetka zasjedanja BKBiH održanog od 12. do 14. srpnja u Banjoj Luci. Izazvao je time i veliko iznenađenje jer Međugorja na dnevnom redu nije bilo. Osim toga, dobro je poznat stav Crkve da se o međugorskom fenomenu neće izjašnjavati dok on traje, a još je poznatiji stav mostarskoga biskupa, koji decidirano tvrdi da u njegovoj biskupiji nema nikakvih ukazanja Majke Božje.
    Zašto se unatoč tomu osniva nova komisija koja bi trebala preispitati stav biskupa izrečen 1991., prema kojemu se "ne može ustvrditi da je riječ o nadnaravnim ukazanjima"? Prema našim informacijama, zahtjev za osnivanje komisije dolazi iz Vatikana, koji očito više ne može zatvarati oči pred onim što se događa u Međugorju.

    Here is coverage of the article in Dutch. I don't know if it is a direct translatio or a story on the article.

    Kerk stelt onderzoekscommissie Medjugorje in
    Geplaatst op 2006-07-21 21:44:26

    MEDJUGORJE ( – De katholieke kerk stelt een nieuwe commissie in de gebeurtenissen van Medjugorje moet onderzoeken. Dit heeft kardinaal Vinko Puljic, de voorzitter van de bisschoppenconferentie van Bosnië-Herzegovina, volgens een bericht in de krant Vecernji List tegenover journalisten bekend gemaakt. In Medjugorje zou volgens zeggen van de zieners sinds 24 juni 1981 Maria dagelijks verschijnen.

    Het onderwerp “Medjugorje” was blijkbaar een breed bediscussieerd thema bij de bijeenkomst van de laatste bisschoppenconferentie van Bosnië-Herzegovina. Uit kerkelijke kringen werd door het Duitstalige katholieke Internetportal vernomen dat de bisschoppen zich, ofschoon het niet op de agenda stond, meer dan drie uren met het thema hebben beziggehouden.

    Ook de Kroatische staatstelevisie berichtte over de beslissing van de bisschoppen in de nieuwsuitzending Dnevnik. Vecernji List meldde tevens dat dit initiatief voor de instelling van een nieuwe onderzoekscommissie werd ingegeven na aansporingen daartoe van het Vaticaan. Letterlijk staat er in die krant: “Volgens onze informatie komt het initiatief uit het Vaticaan die blijkbaar niet langer de ogen voor wat in Medjugorje gebeurt wil sluiten.” Volgens de bisschop van Banja Luka, Franjo Komarica, moet ook een lid van de commissie het Vaticaan vertegenwoordigen. Mogelijk zal de commissie direct door een afgevaardigde van het Vaticaan worden geleid.

    De Kerk heeft tot op heden nog geen definitief oordeel over Medjugorje gegeven en in de verklaring uit 1991 de verschijningen noch verworpen, noch definitief bevestigd. Medjugorje behoort inmiddels tot wereldwijd de grootste bedevaartsoorden. Alleen al in de maand juni van dit jaar bezochten honderdduizenden gelovigen en 4500 priesters het oord. (em)

    Related Post: Full Length Homily of Bishop Peric in Medjugorje on June 15, 2006

    Friday, July 21, 2006

    Italy Scientist Wants Excommunication Over Embryonic Stem Cell Research

    This article provides a good catechetical moment. My comments at the conclusion of the article.

    by Steven Ertelt Editor
    June 30, 2006

    Rome Italy ( -- An Italian cloning scientist wants to be the first excommunicated from the Catholic Church for engaging in embryonic stem cell research. A leading Vatican official said earlier this week that the church would begin excommunicating members who facilitated the research because it involves the destruction of human life.

    Professor Cesare Galli of the Laboratory of Reproductive Technologies in Cremona, the first scientist to clone a horse, condemned the Catholic Church's position. He likened the church to the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    "I can bear excommunication. I was raised as a Catholic, I share Catholic values, but I am able to make my own judgment on some issues and I do not need to be told by the church what to do or to think," Galli told the London Telegraph newspaper.

    "I will be, together with Elena Cattaneo [a scientist working in the University of Milan] the first to be affected by the excommunication," Professor Galli said.

    Earlier, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, head of the Pontifical Council for the Family, told the Famiglia Christiana, an official Vatican publication, "Destroying human embryos is equivalent to an abortion. It is the same thing."

    "Excommunication will be applied to the women, doctors and researchers who eliminate embryos [and to the] politicians that approve the law," the cardinal said in an interview.

    Galli and his team created the first cloned horse, a European breed called Halflinger. Scientists in Idaho were the first to clone a mule.

    Scientists at Italy's Laboratory of Reproductive Technology created the horse using a standard cloning procedure where DNA is removed from an egg, and the DNA from the animal to be cloned is inserted. The egg is then coaxed to start growing and then inserted into a surrogate mother.

    This kind of attitude reminds me of the not so holy Angels, who judged for themselves what was "good". Only God is capable of judging what is good and right. If everyone could judge good and evil, what is good to me, could be evil to you and vice versa. Hence, it's up to us to follow that judgment using the resources the Almighty has given us. How about a little catechesis from Fr. John Corapi....taken from an article written by him, appearing in the March-April, 2002 issue of “Michael”. (By all means, read the entire article in the link, but I will extract this much).


    Our business is to obey, not to disobey. Who was the original dissident? Lucifer was the original dissenter. Look it up in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “The Fall of the Angels” (n.391). God gave the angels a test. Some of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church say that He presented to them the reality of the Incarnation and Redemption.

    Now Lucifer — the word means “morning star” or “light of the morning”, once again a name is important — a very bright angel, brightness is analogous to intelligence; a very intelligent angel, blinded by his own light, chose darkness. When he heard the plan, he said, “Oh no! I don't like that idea of God.
    Non serviam. I will not serve! I will not accept Your plan. If You are going to assume a created nature, it will be mine, not that human dust. I am higher, I am better, I am more intelligent!”

    Jesus said, “I watched Satan fall from Heaven like a lightning.” And a third of the angels with him. That was the first sin, the fall of the angels: arrogance, disobedience, death, that then played out in the Garden of Eden. At the instigation of the serpent, what happened? Arrogance: I can be like God! Disobedience: taking the forbidden fruit. The result: death, as God said it would be. How does it play out today? How is it relevant for us?

    The truth is not something we make up as we go along. The truth is something we have received from God. It is a pearl of great price. The truth is a gift beyond the wildest dreams, for truth in its essence is God Himself. The teaching of the Church is the teaching of the Lord. It is in fact the Lord Himself.
    And, from the Encyclical Veritatis Splendor, penned by Pope John Paul II:

    It follows that the authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. This is so not only because freedom of conscience is never freedom "from" the truth but always and only freedom "in" the truth, but also because the Magisterium does not bring to the Christian conscience truths which are extraneous to it; rather it brings to light the truths which it ought already to possess, developing them from the starting point of the primordial act of faith. The Church puts herself always and only at the service of conscience, helping it to avoid being tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine proposed by human deceit (cf. Eph 4:14), and helping it not to swerve from the truth about the good of man, but rather, especially in more difficult questions, to attain the truth with certainty and to abide in it.

    Now we understand, in part, why Pope John Paul wrote this encyclical. A few too many disoriented theologians needed a roadmap on morality and His Holiness provided the map, and the directions. This is why I believe we are seeing so many young priests and seminarians who have their heads on straight. Some seminaries can keep it off the library bookshelf and curriculum, but they can't keep it off the internet.

    As Dr. George DePillo explained in the class he held two Sundays monthly, for several months on Veritatis Splendor (Splendor of Truth), the encyclical itself had a target audience of moral theologians. Therefore, if you have no background in introductory and moral theology, it can be easily misunderstood. He also pointed out that it helps to have philosophy, as well. So, for those of us without this background, we have this book by Fr. John Hardon. There's no image with it, but you can click the link and follow through to read about it. Fr. Hardon dissects Veritatis Splendor in his usual Q & A fashion, and its an easy read. It's a must for anyone seriously studying the faith and is a good compliment to a copy of the actual encyclical itself. The second book used by Dr. DePillo was written by Shamon.

    And, the encyclical itself, along with the book Catholic Matters, which includes discussion around Veritatis Splendor by Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, of First Things Magazine.

    Charlotte Church - Blasphemer???

    Oh, how heartbroken I am to read this, as I have several of her CDs. This is awful and it shows just how easily the young are influenced by popular culture.

    Publishing Company Discontinues Line of "Angelic" Catholic Artist Turned Blasphemer

    By Peter J. Smith

    LONDON, July 19, 2006
    ( – The latest blasphemous antics of Welsh pop-star Charlotte Church have convinced a Catholic publishing company to drop all the products of the girl with “the voice of a angel.”

    In a notice to all the customers of Ignatius Press, the company informed its customers that Charlotte Church’s recent statement and antics in the pilot for a new Channel 4 Television entertainment show, have forced Ignatius Press to discontinue carrying her products.

    The pilot for The Charlotte Church Show was recorded before a live audience on July 12 in London. During the show, the hostess Charlotte Church, dressed as drug-using nun, smashed open a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary revealing a hidden can of cider, and spoke about worshipping “St. Fortified Wine.” Along the same vein of comic blasphemy, the pop diva pretended to hallucinate while consuming communion wafers branded with Ecstasy smiley faces, and denigrated Pope Benedict XVI as a “Nazi”, even though she had performed for the late Holy Father, John Paul II, when she was a 12 year-old girl.

    In an official statement, Ignatius Press stated, “It is with regret that we do this; Miss Church possesses a great gift from God, and in the past she has used her talent often to offer praise and glory to our Lord.” While Ignatius Press praised the sacred music Charlotte had done in the past, they said, “We cannot stand by a young woman who uses her stature in the media to mock the Eucharist, slander the Holy Father, and denigrate the vows of religious women. Therefore, our catalogs and website will immediately withdraw all compact discs, cassette tapes, DVDs and VHS tapes that feature Miss Church. Please join us in praying for this troubled young woman.”

    Monkey Kingdom, the company producing The Charlotte Church Show, wants to hear from fans of Charlotte Church. According to a press release dated May 8, 2006, the Monkey Kingdom asks: “What have you done in the name of ‘The Church!’


    Lets pray for this young, disoriented soul, right along with "Madonna". It looks like the latter has had some influence. She needs to look to the real Madonna for direction.

    Spero News: The ongoing saga concerning Father Robert Altier

    This whole situation is a little odd and its hard to make any sense of it. This was just posted at Spero News, with a link from Desert Voice. It's important to note, as is at the bottom of the article, that Elizabeth Schwab also writes for Desert Voice.

    McGrath contends that Fr. Altier has not been unfairly silenced and that to suggest this or to say he is embattled is comparable to an urban myth

    Friday, July 21, 2006
    by Elizabeth Schwab

    Beginning with Archbishop Harry Flynn’s request that he cease all radio and internet ministries, followed by his sudden removal from the Church of St. Agnes in St. Paul, Minnesota where he served as associate pastor for 14 years, Catholics worldwide have witnessed an unusual series of events surrounding the well-known orthodox Catholic priest Fr. Robert Altier.

    The saga continues to unfold and public interest in Fr. Altier’s situation shows no sign of diminishing. The latest event concerns the reaction of Dennis McGrath, the official spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, to an article posted on Christian News Wire by Kenneth Fisher, the founder and chairman of Concerned Roman Catholics of America, an orthodox Catholic organization which has posted an online petition in support of Fr. Altier.

    McGrath contends that Fr. Altier has not been unfairly silenced and that to suggest this or to say he is embattled is comparable to an urban myth. The following facts will allow the reader to judge for himself whether it is a myth or not.

    For nearly three years, Fr. Altier appeared on Relevant Radio and was a popular guest and substitute host on the Drew Mariani Show, which is broadcast nationally. In fact, the radio segment featuring Drew Mariani and Fr. Altier became the most popular segment on the entire Relevant Radio network. Thousands of listeners, Catholics and non-Catholics alike, tuned in to hear authentic Catholic Church teaching and were able to call in and get reliable answers to some tough questions facing them in their lives. Based on the success of the program, Relevant Radio offered Fr. Altier the opportunity to be a permanent host on his own live call-in show five days a week, as well as a regular participant on shows focusing on spiritual direction and Catholic apologetics.

    Fr. Altier wrote to Archbishop Flynn seeking permission to continue his radio ministry. Instead, on Ash Wednesday, March 1, 2006, Fr. Altier was told to stop his activities on Relevant Radio and also that his homilies and other spiritual materials be removed from the lay-operated internet site which had posted Fr. Altier’s preaching for the past five years. Archbishop Flynn told the public that Fr. Altier needed more time to fulfill his duties at St. Agnes, even though the internet site had absolutely zero impact on his time, being operated by parishioners. Efforts on the part of the webmasters to get the decision reversed have been to no avail.

    Continue reading Altier at SperoNews...

    Update on the Desert Nuns

    Last night on EWTN's Life on the Rock, the Desert Nuns returned to pay a visit and provide an update on their progress on the outskirts of Phoenix, AZ.

    A cloister can only get so big before something needs to give. Typically, once a maximum number is reached, 4-5 nuns will leave the original motherhouse and create a new cloister. This is how an order grows. Well, Mother Angelica's order was bursting at its seams with young women called to a life of prayer. Soooooo, off they went - 5 sisters - out into the desert, where they were invited by Bishop Thomas Olmstead. This is one smart bishop and he understands that a bunch of women in a cloister is nothing to scoff at. It is a power house of prayer that can benefit the entire community, as well as the Church.

    From their website:

    Our Founding Monastery (Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Alabama) is overflowing with vocations. We were literally bursting at the seams with over 40 Sisters! And so, following the lead of Divine Providence and at the kind invitation of the Bishop of Phoenix, Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted, we have been blessed with the awesome opportunity to establish a Throne for Our Eucharistic King in the West!
    The sisters were answering questions about vocations and one question that always seems to come up, is how to make parents and friends understand. One of them replied that it is not necessary to make them understand, but in time many learn to accept and understand. Some soon realize they did not lose a daughter, but gained 40 of them.

    Something to ponder if you are in this situation, is something my father taught me from when I was very young.

    He would ask, "who do you love the most?"

    I would respond, "I love you and mom the same!"

    His response: "Wrong should always say you love God the most. Family comes second."

    Many parents do not understand and family can make it difficult. This can be the very first test and in the end it strengthens the character. He must be first in all that we do, whether it is following our hearts into a vocation, or raising a family, or living a single life.

    The sisters also recommended that young people discerning spend plenty of time in front of the Blessed Sacrament. This is so true. When you are stilled by the silence of adoration, and you go freqently, it is when God begins to really poor graces down that are needed. It comes in the form of strength to work through that which is difficult. It comes in the form of love and understanding for those who are struggling with your decision. You can listen to their concerns, and listen with a compassionate ear. Smile, pray for them, then go where your heart leads you regardless.

    They have a running photo section and I would encourage you to click the picture, go to their website and bookmark it for future updates. One young woman just joined them and they ask for our prayers for her as she goes through formation.

    Pope declares day of prayer for Mideast peace

    Jul. 20 ( - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has called for a worldwide day of prayer and penance for peace in the Middle East, to be observed on Sunday, July 23.

    In a statement released on July 20 through the Vatican press office, the Holy Father called upon "the pastors and faithful of all the particular churches, and believers of the world, to implore from God the precious gift of peace."

    The Pope's statement listed specific petitions to be raised during the day of prayer and penance:

    • for an immediate ceasefire,

    • for the opening of humanitarian corridors allowing the delivery of humanitarian aid, and

    • for reasonable and responsible negotiations to begin to put an end to objective situations of injustice that exist in that region."

    Pope Benedict also encouraged relief agencies to provide help to those civilians caught up in the fighting.

    The papal statement included a summation of the Holy See's viewpoint on the struggle:

    In reality, the Lebanese have the right to see the integrity and sovereignty of their country respected, the Israelis the right to live in peace in their State, and the Palestinians have the right to have their own free and sovereign homeland.

    Wednesday, July 19, 2006

    Bush Vetoes Federally Funded Stem Cell Research Measure

    Go read it at the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan Blog!!!

    Another priest to pray for: "Frustrated Priest Takes a Year Off"

    Gerald Augustinus brings us a story out of Pennsylvania with this opening....

    "Frustrated" Priest takes year off

    A very peculiar story from Pennsylvania - a Scranton priest takes a year off, citing among other things that the Church has become too rigid and that priests ordained in recent years are much more traditional. Here excerpts from the Times Leader article:

    Continue reading at The Cafeteria is Closed...

    I keep saying that the tide is turning, and this article is just more evidence. Solid, unambiguous Catholicism is returning to the Church, and it is coming from the grass roots.

    Lets pray for this confused priest - seriously. A priest is a priest forever as he bears the mark on his soul. May the Holy Spirit, and his Guardian Angel take him through a deep conversion. - A must use internet search tool!!!

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