Sunday, February 28, 2010

Pope Benedict: The joys of life are not the final goal...

From Zenit:
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 28, 2010 ( The joys of life are not the final goal, but rather lights on the path to an eternal destination, says Benedict XVI.

This was the conclusion the Pope came to at the end of a reflection today on the Transfiguration, which he called an "extraordinary event" that is "an encouragement in following Jesus."

Before praying the midday Angelus with those gathered in St. Peter's Square, he noted that the three disciples who witness the Transfiguration were asleep: "It is the attitude of those who, although spectators of divine prodigies, do not understand them. Only the struggle against the torpor that assails them allows Peter, James and John to 'see' Jesus' glory."
"As Moses and Elijah depart from Jesus," the Holy Father said recounting the Gospel account, "Peter speaks, and while he is speaking, a cloud covers him and the other disciples with its shadow; it is a cloud that, although it conceals also reveals God's glory, as happened for the people of Israel on pilgrimage through the desert."

"The eyes can no longer see," he added, "but the ears can hear the voice that comes from the cloud: 'This is my Son, my chosen one; listen to him!'"

Benedict XVI explained that suddenly, "the disciples are no longer before a transfigured face, nor before a dazzling garment, nor a cloud that reveals the divine presence. Before their eyes there is 'only Jesus.'

"Jesus is alone before his Father as he prays, but at the same time, Jesus is everything that is given to the disciples of all times: It is what must suffice on the journey.

"He is the only voice to listen to, the only one to follow, he who, going up to Jerusalem, will give his life and one day 'will transfigure our miserable body to conform it to his glorious body.'"

"The Transfiguration reminds us that the joys sown by God in our life are not the destination," reflected the Holy Father, "but they are lights that he gives us on the earthly pilgrimage, so that 'only Jesus' is our Law and his Word the criterion that guides our existence."

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The abortion funding that is "not in the bill" which is in the bill

60 second clip and right on...

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!

Please encourage post office on Mother Teresa stamp; atheists attempting to derail

A group called the Freedom from Religion Foundation is now spreading lies about Blessed Mother Teresa accusing this holy nun of having a ‘darker side,’ and calling her a ‘polarizing Roman Catholic figurehead.’

That’s why we decided to act swiftly and make sure this anti-Mother Teresa campaign doesn’t gain any more momentum.

The groups now protesting the new stamp never protested other stamps honoring Gandhi, or even Martin Luther King, Jr. who proudly understood his fight for civil rights to be rooted in his Christian faith.

What is plain is that these groups not only dislike Mother Teresa, they despise the Catholic Church. They simply cannot stomach the thought of the United States Postal Service honoring a Catholic nun who spoke out against abortion, contraception, and against the atheistic materialism of the west.

In her famous 1994 speech at the National Prayer Breakfast, Mother Teresa closed with these words:

“From here, a sign of care for the weakest of the weak - the unborn child - must go out to the world. If you become a burning light of justice and peace in the world, then really you will be true to what the founders of this country stood for. God bless you!”

Please go to here and sign the form to encourage the Postmaster General to stand by his decision. 

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!

March 14th, 2010: Opera Highlights at Assumption Grotto

Ok - so it's not exactly the Assumption Grotto gymansium....but hopefully, you get the idea

On March 14, 2010 in the gymnasium of the school attached to Assumption Grotto, there will be a "night at the opera".  It is a fundraiser for the Knights of Columbus.  The Assumption Groto choir will be singing a couple of hymns (quite beautiful), and there will be music and aria's performed by others. 

The cost of tickets is $20 for adults and $10 youth (8-18), and there is secured parking. 

It will begin at 4:00pm with an Italian hors d'oeurvre buffet!

Now, choir members, of which I am one, were each given tickets to sell.  So, I know all of my readers who want to support this K of C fundraiser will see me after the 9:30am Mass, and I may still be lurking after the Noon Mass.  Tickets will be available next Sunday, as well. 

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!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Fr. Pavone on frozen, aborted babies found during investigation of clinic: Those Babies Deserve a Decent Burial

People in metro Detroit may remember when Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life came to Assumption Grotto in 2008 to bury aborted babies found in a dumpster. My parish has many aborted babies buried at the stone memorial in the cemetery that were found in garbage bags and in dumpsters. I photographed the event.  See my photostory of that event, when 600 came to mourn their loss .  (see note below about the Mass so that there is no confusion when viewing those pictures). The associate pastor fielded a frequent question for me and I posted it here, with other info:

The Mass intention on that Friday was for atonement for sins of abortion, not the souls of the unborn. However, since they were human beings with an eternal soul, we perform the corporal act of mercy of burying the dead. The Mass offered on that Friday was not a funeral Mass—it did not use the funeral prayers or rites in any way.

Now for this latest story, which is sickening.
By Kathleen Gilbert

STATEN ISLAND, New York, February 24, 2010 ( – Fr. Frank Pavone, National Director of Priests for Life, said today that the 24 or more bodies of dead babies found in the freezer of a Philadelphia abortion clinic should be given a reverent burial as soon as possible. Such a burial should be a public event where people can mourn the loss of life, he said. 

“The disrespect that the abortion industry has for the human body is seen not only in the fact that they kill these children, but also in how they treat their bodies after death,” Fr. Pavone explained.

“It is time now for the bodies of these children to be honored with a dignified burial. It should be a public event, so that our nation will have the opportunity to see that abortion is not an abstraction, and so that people can make up in some fashion for the disrespect with which these children have been treated.”

While investigating the abortion-related death of a woman at a Philadelphia abortion clinic last week, local reports say officials uncovered a macabre collection of frozen bodies of unborn children preserved in jars. Some were reportedly thought to have been preserved for as many as 30 years.

Abortionist Kermit Gosnell's license was suspended soon after the raid, following a suspension order citing "deplorable and unsanitary" conditions in his office, where officials found blood stains on the floor.

Fr. Pavone has conducted a number of funerals around the country for children whose bodies were recovered from abortion facility trash dumpsters.

“Next to killing the children, there’s nothing that the abortion industry wants more than to keep the violence hidden. Our responsibility is to expose it,” Fr. Pavone concluded.

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!

Taylor Marshall: Seven Reasons to Go to Confession this Lent; and his new book: The Crucified Rabbi

Taylor Marshall, whom I heard on Kresta in the Afternoon on Ave Maria Radio today on my way home from work, has a great blogpost up for Lent. They were discussing his new book, The Crucified Rabbi: Judaism and the Origins of Catholic Christianity

You'll be able to listen to the interview in the Ave Maria Radio archives for the Kresta show - just go to February 24, 2010.

But, on another subject, this blogpost by Taylor is a good read:

Go read:

Seven Reasons to go to Confession during Lent

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Excellent Post for this First Sunday in Lent at the Sacred Page

I have referred you previously to a blog co-authored by several Catholic biblical scholars. 

John Bergsma has a good post up today, worth reading in it's entirety.  I'm going to start you out here, then follow the link...

The Temptation, Kings, Nuns and Priests

The Gospel reading for the first Sunday of Lent is the temptation of Christ in the desert according to Luke.

Christ is tempted in three ways: through his physical desires (hunger for food), through his eyes (being shown all the glory of the kingdoms of the world), and through the temptation to pride (to stage a magnificent stunt that would win him fame throughout the nation).

This threefold temptation of Christ corresponds to St. John’s warning about the “lust of the flesh, lust of the eyes, and the pride of life” in 1 John 2:15. This threefold categorization has been known in the Church as the “threefold concupiscence,” the unholy Trinity of temptation.

Eve was tempted in the same way. She saw that the fruit was “good for food, pleasing to the eye, and to be desired to make one wise.” “Good for food” is lust of the flesh. “Pleasing to the eye” is lust of the eye. “Desired to make one wise” is a temptation to pride—Eve wants to be wise like God.

Thousands of years later, the king of Israel was commanded by Moses to restrain himself from the temptations of the threefold concupiscence. Deut 17:16-17 forbids the Israelite king from multiplying horses (military might), women (sensual pleasure), and gold/silver (greed/avarice) for himself. These three items correspond to lust of the flesh (women), lust of the eyes (gold), and pride (self-aggrandizing military build-up).

Continue reading: The Temptation, Kings, Nuns and Priests at The Sacred Page

Also, Michael Barber discusses Lent, from a biblical point of view with Patrick Coffin at Catholic Answers Live.  It took place just before Ash Wednesay, but is great to listen to any time during this season.  I'm listening to it now.

Audio:  Michael Barber discuss Lent at Catholic Answers

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Archbishop Vigneron on Ash Wednesday, Lent, and First Friday Devotions

We have several things by Archbishop Vigneron released of interest:

Archdiocese of Detroit Lent Resource Page

Also, in the latest edition of the Michigan Catholic (not yet uploaded), one of the front page stories is entitled: First Fridays - Archbishop seeks renewal of devotional practice. 

When it's available online, I'll post on it.

Brick by brick.

Now that you have read about Archbishop Vigneron - please click the link in my sidebar for Rosary fo the Bishop and offer a rosary for him on a regular basis, even if you can only squeeze it in monthly.  If you are not from metro Detroit and want to pray for your own bishop, you should be able to find him by clicking on the same link and using a search function.

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!

Medjugorje: Louis Bélanger responds to comment...

In a post just recently made, in which I advertised an upcoming discussion on Medjugorje to be on Catholic Answers Live (March 24), hosted by Patrick Coffin, with Patrick Madrid, someone with the "handle" "LoverofLife" suggested, in the comment box, that I was sowing division with my "continued cynicism".

Louis Bélanger decided to address LoverofLife, in a series of comments left in that thread.  A reader emailed me, suggesting that I make a post of those comments combined into one blogpost, and I was in agreement after seeing the details he provided.  He also raises some questions for dialogue, and I want this comment box to be for those who actually read his entire entry and want to engage in discussion on specific points.  I won't reject objections, but those objections need to be based on something specific, not generalities. 

Who is Louis Bélanger? 

He is the editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje (originally in French under the title: La face cachée de Medjugorje- a 419 page book, copyrighted in 1989, containing 16 original transcripts).  Many other books on Medjugorje written in recent years point to this book, which is more like  a text book in terms of the documents and notes it contains (over 200 pages).  These include a recent hot-seller: Understanding Medjugorje by Donal Anthony Foley, and an online book by Michael Davies:  Medjugorje, After 21 Years (free for download since the author passed away before it went to print). 

More on Louis:

Louis Bélanger was born in Québec City in 1941. After his studies in political science at Laval University, he pursued his research in the fields of psychology and parapsychology at Freiburg University in Germany. Since 1975, he has been conducting the study of paranormal phenomena at the University of Montréal's Faculty of Theology. He has also written Psi, au-delà de l'occultisme [Psi: Beyond the Occult], published by Québec-Amérique, and has presided over film-lectures of the motion picture version throughout Québec, Europe, and French speaking African countries. He has been scientific consultant and researcher for the production of 55 film documentaries on paranormal phenomena and controversies in science. Louis Bélanger is the editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje.
The author of the prospective Volume II (Observations of an anomalist) visited Medjugorje, filmed the visionaries during four of their «ecstasies» and explored various physical and psychological hypotheses to explain both the luminous phenomena and visions as not supernaturally caused. He illustrates the sequences of a spontaneous test done during an «apparition» and analyses their consequences. He invokes the testimony of critical witnesses, as well as the opinion and work of expert specialists. From the matrix of his special interest in altered states of consciousness, he proposes his own experimental counteranalysis of the «scientific and medical studies.» For example, an «ordinary» student is shown doing a laboratory reproduction of the «ecstatic electrophysiological parameters» identical to those recorded in the young Yugoslavian visionaries. Important sociopolitical, ecclesiastical, and economic factors, as well as the high stakes for Marian propagandists and the overt manipulation are introducted and explored. In all, Louis Bélanger provides readers with a complete overview of Medjugorje's apparent anomaly: on a fine June day in 1981, two teenaged girls, moved by the sincerest hopes, incited a collective drama which has drawn millions of believers in search of tangible expressions of the spiritual dimension.

Who is the author of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje (Volume I)?  Fr. Ivo Sivric.

Father Ivo Sivric was born in Medjugorje in 1917. After completing his studies in philosophy and theology in Mostar, he was ordained in 1941, and then went on to complete his postgraduate studies in Zagreb and Rome where he received his doctorate in Sacred Theology in 1947. Father Sivric emigrated to the United States, taught at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, and has also written several works, including Bishop J. G. Strossmayer - New Light on Vatican I (1975), The Peasant Culture of Bosnia and Herzegovina (1982), both published by the Franciscan Herald Press in Chicago, and Temelji krscanstva C.S. Lewisa [The Christian Basics According to C.S. Lewis] (1988), published by Teoloska Biblioteka in Sarajevo. After becoming a U.S. citizen, Father Sivric made eight extended trips to Medjugorje. He served as director of Croatian Franciscan Publications and he worked as a parochial vicar of a parish serving the Roman Catholic Croatians in St. Louis, Missouri. Father Ivo Sivric passed away October 28, 2002, at age 85.

Louis Bélanger responds...

I have emboldened a few names and other things to draw attention to them.  I have also broken up large paragraphs which may have been difficult to read, into smaller paragraphs in a few places.  The pictures were added, similarly.

"LoverofLife", targeting Diane, wrote :

I feel so sorry for you and your continued cynicism that seeks to divide rather than unite.

Not you, but your allegation seems to me rather cynical : it implies a «general distrust of the integrity or professed motives» of Diane.
You invoke good fruits and I am all for them. In fact, I subscribe entirely to a balanced spiritual diet : good raw fruits --- not processed --- and high-quality proteins of truth...

Let me quote an anecdote concerning Prospero Lambertini (1675-1758). He held the office of Promotor Fidei --- paradoxically called advocatus diaboli --- for more than 20 years, before rising to the papacy (Benedict XIV) in 1740. The Pope of Scholars strongly encouraged freedom of research and opinion. He thought and testified that science is not a threat to faith, but rather a means of catharsis that helps to get rid of artifices, or crafty expedients and deception . His treaty --- a rare monumental work in many tomes --- is entitled De servorum Dei beatificatione et Beatorum canonizatione (Bologna, 1734-1738, 4 volumes, published as he was Cardinal of Bologna). This treaty has been integrated in the first edition of his complete works in 12 volumes (1747-1748) as he was Pope Benedict XIV. Renée Haynes evoques this interesting anecdote in her book Philosopher King - The Humanist Pope Benedict XIV - London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson, 1970, p. 29-30 :

«When the young lawyer was about twenty-four, one of the Auditors of the Rota, a fellow Bolognese named Alessandro Caprara, chose him as his assistant, and enabled him to learn among many other things the intricate and painstaking procedures involved in canonization. As Caprara also served as a consultant to the Congregation of Rites, he was able to give his junior colleague access to numerous records of past canonizations, records of which Lambertini made the utmost use in his own work. Sighinolfi tells an anecdote of this stage of his career which, though no source is cited, is so much in character as to deserve quotation.

«It concerned an old nun noted for her austerity, who was said by her convent to be able to live without eating. The Cardinal Protector of her Order believed the tale, and Pope Innocent XII, who died in 1700, deputed Caprara to investigate the case. He went to the convent, taking his assistant with him, and examined and cross-examined all the sisters and lay sisters 'from Prioress to kitchen maid'. Their evidence seemed to confirm that the old nun had in fact eaten nothing for a month. She herself was questioned last of all, and her replies seemed entirely satisfactory. Lambertini then asked his senior if he might inquire about a matter that had not yet been raised, and on being given leave to do so said point blank, 'Mother, do your bowels open every day ?' Though much taken aback at this indelicacy, she answered firmly, 'Yes, of course.' He pointed out that this would be impossible if she had nothing in her stomach, the inquiry was re-opened, and the story was shown up as a complete fabrication, intended to give the convent publicity and alms. » Cynicism of the young Lambertini ? Or discernment ?

What if the Lambertinis of this world, experts of three Commissions and the 20 bishops of the ex-Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference have found artifices that led them to the non constat de supernaturalitate ? That meaning what it is : the supernaturality of the so-called apparitions and revelations has not been proven. In other words : it has not been proven that a supernatural being has appeared and is appearing (the Virgin Mary, Jesus, Satan, angels...). At best, according to the Zadar declaration, one could say that the six visionaries have had more than 40 000 visions of undetermined non-supernatural entities. Cynicism of so many qualified experts and bishops ? Or discernment ?

Let me lift the veil of some artifices examined by the members of the Commissions [emboldened -- DK].

The end of the «apparitions», announced for and on July 3, 1981. According to the Croatian visionaries' tape recorded declarations, the «Gospa» announced, on June 30, 1981, that she would appear to them three more times. On July 3, ten days after the beginning of the happenings, the visionaries all confirmed, before five adults, three of whom were priests, that their meetings with the entity were once and for all over. However, almost 30 years and more than 40 000 visions later, the encounters with the entity continue to attract millions of pilgrims. What has happened? This anomaly demands an explanation.

From the outset, some renowned experts furnished their versions of the facts in a «basic book» which quickly became the 1984 runaway bestseller on Medjugorje. The French mariologist, Father René Laurentin, and the Croatian exegete, Father Ljudevit Rupcic, O.F.M. signed «the gravely serious evaluation of these apparitions, guided by spiritual observation and a scientific method.» Nevertheless, contradicting their own estimate, the professional historian and the Franciscan exegete omitted informing their 85,000 readers of the existence and content of documents and testimony bearing witness to the 1981 announcement and confirmation of the end of the apparitions. This, with full knowledge of the case.

The indulgent observer might probably forgive the isolated ethical breach, but what could he say about the chronic repetition of the offense? A distressing illustration of this can be found in a central source, the first part of the Diary of Vicka, one of the visionaries. Readers will be able to compare the complete reprint (in Appendix 4 of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje) with the theologian's touched-up version disseminated in his Chronological Corpus of the Messages. Thus, for the dates August 22 to September 6, 1981, twelve entries out of sixteen of the Corpus have been altered by the suppression of more than 1,100 words relative to the communication of the entity, and to its context. The references to the three entries of August 31 and September 5 and 6 have been totally omitted.

Why has Father Laurentin indulged himself in such extensive expurgation of this fundamental archival document ? His Medjugorje chronicle offers neither explanation nor warning. Only an analysis of the suppressed content can reveal the intention of hiding the mediumistic or magical content of some of the visions, of questions without answers recorded in Vicka's Diary, and of «Mary»'s affirmative answers to questions asked by the visionaries. Analysis of the suppressed content seems to reveal both the intention of avoiding the dissemination of an entity peddling gossip and threats, and a prophetess of God's punishment. [emphasis in bold -- DK]  Follows the description of 16 suppressions of which I give an example : The driver of a car is asked by a bleeding man (Jesus) to throw a blood-soaked handkerchief into a river. Later, a woman (the «Gospa») begs the same driver to give her the same handkerchief, an act which would prevent the end of the world. The entity confirms the truth of the alleged facts as well as the persons' identities. (September 4, 1981). The entity insists: «The other day, [you were] a hairsbreadth away from destruction. I saved you, in one minute, [from destruction].» (September 5, 1981)

The entity has even approved the work of Father Laurentin :

«That he who undertakes [this work on Medjugorje] do so in prayer. It is there that he will find inspiration

«Make the priests read Father Laurentin's book and proclaim it

Well, these are a few of the fully documented facts that have been considered by the members of the first enlarged Diocesan Commission and the last one that has lead to the Zadar Declaration. Bishop Pavao Zanic has found himself enmeshed in polemics with Father Laurentin and some of the Medjugorje Franciscans, since he first drew attention to their manipulative outbursts. Has not the expert-historian to bear responsibility for his mockery of history and his keeping secret the «chaff» he separated from the wheat ?

Two theologians have also had a voice in the matter: Father Petar Krasic, vice-provincial of the Herzegovina Franciscans, and Father Ljubo Lucic, a professor in Sarajevo [emphasis in bold -- DK]. Some time after the dissolution of the first Commission of inquiry on which they had sat, these two Franciscans freely expressed certain major difficulties which had moved the majority of the members to decide against the supernatural character of the events under analysis. The Commissioners had brought up some of the «evident contradictions» between the different versions of the entity's messages given by the visionaries, the incompatibility of certain messages with the New Testament, and «thirteen apparent cases of deliberate and conscious lying» on the part of the visionaries. These declarations, coming as they do from Franciscan members of the first Commission, are important, since they contradict the fallacious explanation according to which «the principal cause of the Bishop's change of opinion» (and, by extension, of the negative vote of the Commission members), would be «the complex interferences of an old diocesan conflict with the Franciscans.» The «Herzegovina case» is certainly one of a number of factors which could bear on the events in Medjugorje, but it has nothing whatsoever to do with the courageous testimony of the two Franciscans, who, in collaboration with their secular priest confreres and the Bishop of Mostar, have taken into consideration the above cited objections in light of their own value.

Well, my sensus laïci tells me that I should respect the rules to which the experts and the bishops of the former Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference conformed in examining the case of Medjugorje, rules established by Benedict XIV and still valid today. Consequently, in writing on Medjugorje, I should rigourously use the word vision instead of apparition and entity instead of Gospa or Blessed Virgin Mary...

Sensus episcopi (Peric) : The bishop of Mostar who has authority on Medjugorje, in collegiality with his predecessor, has already made and published his own discernment on the case, as it is his prerogative, [rules by Benedict XIV] with the help of almost 40 members of three different commissions and 19 bishops of former Yougoslavia who have arrived at a non constat de supernaturalitate in 1991. That discernment is the last and only one in force until today, confirmed by the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Sensus cardinalis (Schönborn) : The visionaries, their counselors and pastors, some bishops and cardinals seem to not respect the rules and the spirit of that decision. The visionaries travel outside of their diocese pretending that their visions are of supernatural origin. Some bishops and cardinals, like Cardinal Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, spent days recently in Medjugorje, without even informing the Ordinary or asking for his permission, and said, wrote and preached, even in televised interviews, that these visions must be of supernatural origin, because they last since almost 30 years without being «condemned» by the Church.

As far as I can understand what Card. Schönborn wrote in the truncated fax published by Msgr Peric on his diocesan site and on Diane's Blog, the so-called excuse is an inference, not a proven fact, and it is what troubles me most.
"Es tut mir leid, wenn Sie den Eindruck haben, meine Wallfahrt nach Medjugorje habe dem Frieden geschadet. Sie können sicher sein, dass das nicht meine Absicht ist"… "I regret that you have the impression that my pilgrimage to Medjugorje has harmed peace. You can be sure that it is not my intention…"
Again, it would be Bishop Peric's fault to have misinterpreted Cardinal Schönborn's "pilgrimage" in the diocese of his colleague… No excuse there, rather a provocation, a coup de force. Please note : the translation in English that has circulated ends with the following words : «… You can be sure that it was not my intention. » In fact, he writes : «… that it is not my intention.», two weeks after his «private»/public pilgrimage to Medjugorje». What seems important to him is not the punctual past event --- his pilgrimage, a word deliberately chosen --- but rather his state of mind, his actual position on Medjugorje which, I submit, is in discordance with the Zadar Declaration.

It is to be confirmed if he will persist in the United States, and back to Vienna, with his indiscreet devaluation of the Zadar Declaration. What is really the «intention» of that intelligent prelate ? I don’t know. But that public confrontation perplexes me very much : I cannot but observe the similar behaviour --- ejusdem farinae --- as the one of the visionaries and of some Franciscans. Sensus cardinalis contra sensum episcopi [Peric] et episcoporum [20 members of the former Yugoslavian Episcopal Conference] ? What kind of discernment is concealed under that behaviour ? Does that depreciation of the non constat enlighten the faithful ? The stakes are high and it does not surprise me that it takes so much time to end the drama. [emphasis in bold -- DK]

Let us meditate what Cardinal Ratzinger said to the journalist Vittorio Messori in 1985 (cf Ratzinger Report, p. 112 – translated from the authorized German manuscript) :
«One of our criteria is to separate the aspect of the true or presumed «supernaturality» of the apparition from that of its spiritual fruits. The pilgrimages of ancient Christianity were often concentrated on places with respect to which our modern critical spirit would be horrified as to the «scientific truth» of the tradition bound up with them. This does not detract from the fact that those pilgrimages were fruitful, beneficial, rich in blessings and important for the life of the Christian people. The problem is not so much that of modern hypercriticism (which ends up later, moreover, in a form of new credulity), but it is that of the evaluation of the vitality and of the orthodoxy of the religious life that is developing around these places.»
My heart is pounding in front of these terrible choices : «vitality» or «hypercriticism», «fruits» or «truth». It appears that Cardinal Ratzinger was more appreciating the «vitality» than the «modern hypercriticism» in that short paragraph. I may err. But I remember that Cardinal Ratzinger confided the dossier of Medjugorje to the Yugoslavian Bishops Conference one year after The Ratzinger Report. The «hypercriticism» of the Second enlarged Commission didn’t seem to shake his decision as Prefect of the CDF to refer the case to another level. All of this is a matter of appreciation which I have no time to develop here. But I would be very interested to read commentaries of Diane and her readers.

In the meantime, we observe that on the one side, the authority of the local Ordinary supported by Commissions, experts and bishops of the land where these events occur is publicly disputed by a prelate who is magnifying the so-called good fruits. And yet, on the other side, the rules seem to be very clear in that instance as expressed by Bishop Henri Brincard to the whole French Episcopal Conference in 1999 :

« We would like to say nothing about the doubtful or even bad fruits. But the truth obliges us to say that they exist. Let us quote, as examples, the calling into question, even to the point of defamation, of the Local Ordinary as well as the disobedience with regard to his legitimate authority; the exacerbation of the Herzegovina 'question' following the words attributed to "the Gospa", words in favour of the Franciscans and against the Bishop.
« In conclusion, allow me to make the following reflection: I have no authority to pronounce any ecclesial judgement whatsoever on the events of Medjugorje. I am therefore the first to have to give an example of obedience, notably in respecting the pastoral decisions of my confrere of Mostar and in complying with joy to his wishes.
I do not see how I can go to Medjugorje without giving my support, by the very fact of my having come there, to the events who's discernment and assessment rests henceforth with the Episcopal Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina. Such support would fly in the face of a traditional teaching of the Church, recalled in Lumen Gentium and applicable to all the successors of the Apostles : «Individual bishops, in so far as they are set over particular Churches, exercise their pastoral office over the portion of the People of God assigned to them, not over other Churches nor the Church universal.» [emphasis is mine = Louis Bélanger; these strong words have been expressed 10 years before Cardinal Schönborn's "pilgrimage" to Medjugorje !]
My wish, which I share with you, is to be able to further in my diocese a real renewal of Marian piety, in having frequent recourse to the habitual means which the Church puts at our disposition and which the Holy Father does not cease to recommend to us.
Bishop of Puy-en-Velay
Accompanying Bishop of the Association of Marian organisations.
[From the official bulletin of the French Episcopal Conference [SNOP], No. 1,064 printed in Documentation Catholique of 7 January 2000. Translated by Jim Gallagher.]

As an ordinary layman, I would tend to side with Bishop Brincard instead of Cardinal Schönborn concerning the correct attitude to adopt in such a situation : not participating to an activity or organizing one that would encourage rebellion against the legitimate authority.

And this is precisely the message that Diane is delivering with courage and perseverance in her Blog since many years. It seems to me appropriate to acknowledge her untiring devotion to discernment. Yes, in a way, you are right, "LoverofLife", she «separates», actually not people but objects of thought, truth from lies, the wheat from the chaff, in the line of Benedict XIV's heritage. This is the proper meaning of discernment which is not «only» the prerogative of experts, bishops and «even» cardinals, as the sensus fidelium --- understood as sensus fidei --- implies and permits.

Indeed we are not separated and should not be divided : From now on, no more lying : that each one speak the truth to his neighbour; aren’t we members of one another ? Ephesians, 4, 25.

Louis Bélanger [February 17, 2010 - DK]

With regards to getting copies of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje (Volume I), you won't find it at popular outlets, and if you do it will cost you one arm and on leg (some are charging as much as $250 for, used).  I've watched the price climb from $70, to $100, and now to $250 in used versions because it is hard to get. 

However, I believe you will be able to get The Hidden Side of Medjugorje, new, in the not to distant future at a much more reasonable price, so stay tuned if you are interested in a copy.

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!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's Ash Wednesday - Get thee to Church today!

" Dust thou art, and into dust thou shalt return."
Gn. 3:19

The choir will be singing at the 7:00pm Mass at Grotto tonight.  As it will be tonight, and throughout Lent, very reserved, often without organ.  The silence is a reminder that this is a penitential season. 

I hope you will find time for God today, and if your work or school schedule permits, get to a parish for Mass, if there is one scheduled, or at least ashes.  

Also, keep in mind that today is a day of fasting

At the start of the Lenten Season, EWTN offers this reflection on Ash Wednesday

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!

Oregon: Bishop Vasa Severs Church's Ties with Hospital over Sterilizations

Bishop Vasa, whom I have given his own label, has taken serious action in the Diocese of Bend, Oregon, severing times with St. Charles Medical Center over sterilizations.  From LifeSiteNews (bold is mine):

By Patrick B. Craine

BEND, Oregon, February 16, 2010 ( – The Catholic Diocese of Baker, Oregon announced yesterday that it has severed ties with St. Charles Medical Center, in Bend, because the hospital has adopted practices that violate Catholic teaching and will not back down on them.

"It is my responsibility to ensure the hospital is following Catholic principles both in name and in fact," said Bishop Robert Vasa.

The hospital, founded by the Sisters of St. Joseph 92 years ago, became a community non-profit organization in the 1970s. A statement from the diocese explained that the hospital continued its relationship with the Catholic Church and has voluntarily followed the U.S. Bishops' Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives for Health Care Services.

The hospital has insisted on interpreting the directives in its own way, however, which has involved, in particular, performing tubal ligations, which is a form of sterilization for women and is thus in violation of Church teaching against such procedures.

"It would be misleading for me to allow St. Charles Bend to be acknowledged as Catholic in name while I am certain that some important tenets of the Ethical and Religious Directives are no longer being observed,” explained Bishop Vasa.

The bishop discovered that the hospital was performing tubal ligations after he asked it in 2007 to account for its compliance with the directives. ABC News reports that approximately 200 of the procedures were being performed every year.

James Diegel, president and CEO of Cascade Healthcare Community, which runs the hospital, explained in the diocese's statement that they were “saddened” by the decision due to the historical relationship the hospital has with the Catholic Church. He defended the sterilizations, however, by insisting that the hospital has “an obligation to provide comprehensive health care services to our patients while remaining true to our values of compassion and caring for all.”

Diegel says that the hospital will continue to use the directives, and will be adopting their own version soon. As a result of the decision, Mass will no longer be celebrated in the hospital's chapel and all Catholic articles will be removed, though the name will stay the same and a cross will remain on the roof.

Despite the separation, Bishop Vasa has encouraged the hospital to remain true to Catholic principles of health care. "St. Charles has gradually moved away from adherence to the requirements of the Church without a clear knowledge that it was doing so," he said. "Unfortunately, that distance is now too great to sustain a formal sponsorship relationship but I believe that using the Church's Directives as a basis for their local ethical guidelines is a good idea."

Contact Information:

Bishop Robert Vasa
Diocese of Baker
P.O. Box 5999
Bend, Oregon 97708-5999
Fax: (541) 388-2566

The bishop is probably going to get plenty of flak, so consider sending him a note of encouragement with a promise of prayer for him and his diocese. 

At the Diocese of Bend website, you can read a full statement from Bishop Vasa himself, which gives even more background. This was not a decision made when he got out of bed one morning. 

Click my label below this post for Bishop Vasa and  you will see a bishop filled with holy boldness. 

Also, go to the web page at Life Site News for the above article and scroll to the bottom where they have additional coverage of some of his past actions. 

I think I'll create a new label going forward called Holy Boldness in Action!

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!

Great Catholic Watering Hole: Institute of Catholic Culture

Thanks to reader, Neil, I am reminded about this website, and the institute to which it is connected.  It is in northern Virginia, so those who live in that area can attend many live conferences with reputable speakers.  But, there is information there accessible to anyone in the world in audio form from the lectures, so stick with me....

Here is the beginning of a review done by Dr. Jeff Mirus of Catholic Culture (which is not related to the institute as he points out):

I’ve been generally aware of the Institute of Catholic Culture for some time, and have heard from many quarters of the good work it does. I admit that my first reaction (call it the reaction of the natural man) was that somebody had stolen our name. Another part of me pointed out that one of the reasons we had chosen the name for our web site in the first place was because nobody, not even the official institutional Church, has a monopoly on Catholic culture. Still, pouting does produce an exquisite sense of misunderstood righteousness.

Eventually I got around to doing what I should have done in the first place. I took a close look at the Institute’s program. This consists primarily of an ongoing lecture and seminar series capable of drawing hundreds to each session. The quality of this series is outstanding, and a good deal of it is available in audio files on the Institute’s web site for those who cannot attend in person—or for those who, quite rightly, do not wish to forget the message.

The Institute of Catholic Culture was founded by Sabatino Carnazzo, a Christendom College graduate who also earned a Masters degree in Systematic Theology at the College’s Notre Dame Graduate School. Now, as a founder of Christendom College who left to start Trinity Communications when Carnazzo was, well, about three years old, I take full credit for all of his achievements—and, by the way, for the achievements of any intelligent Catholic throughout the world who can spell “Christendom” properly. (This is even better than pouting.)

More seriously, Carnazzo’s Institute and our own Trinity Communications are cut, intellectually and spiritually, from the same cloth. Carnazzo’s dream began in 2006 as an educational outreach program of Saint John the Beloved Church in McLean, Virginia. Under his leadership and with the support of well-known pastor Rev. Franklyn McAfee, STD, the program began drawing so many people from beyond the parish boundaries that last year Carnazzo spun it off into a non-profit corporation with the current name. The Institute is fortunately located in an outstanding diocese (Arlington) and near the nation’s capital, and so has ready access to a large number of brilliant Catholic scholars and speakers, whether resident in the area or passing through. Here’s a very short list of past and future presenters and their topics, chosen almost at random:
Continue reading more details about the Institute for Catholic Culture in Dr. Mirus' interview.

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!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Catholic Apologist Patrick Madrid to discuss Medjugorje on March 24th - Catholic Answers Live

Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Bertone (left) on Bishop Peric (right), while in Mostar on January 23,2010 for the Consecration of Archbishop Petar Rajic:

 "With sincere sentiments of gratitude, we pray to the Good Lord that this Church of Mostar, harmoniously inserted in the communion of the Churches of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in full communion with the See of Peter, may grow ever more in unity and holiness. The more it is faithful to its Catholic identity and to the apostolic tradition, of which the bishop is guarantor, the more it will grow in its own internal unity, and will know how to contribute to building up concord among the diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural elements of the complex society in which Providence has called it to live and to work in conformity with the mandate of the Gospel. "

  Some of my readers may wonder why I post on Medjugorje, which is what organizational psychology would call an "undiscussible".  In a nutshell:  I was led into scandalous contempt for the local bishop by misinformation and calumnies found on some of the leading pro-Medjugorje sites.  I did not have access to the bishop's point of view.  In mid-2005, I discovered Bishop Zanic's statement online from 1990:  The Truth About Medjugorje.  After that, I began my hunt for other diocesan documents, which I have studied closely since then.  Very quickly I saw that the contempt I had in my heart, especially given the reasonable objections of the diocese, was incompatible with what would be pleasing to Mary, (Jn 19:26-27), and to God.  Such contempt, even if it is only interior, is incompatible also, with the Gospel (Luke 10:16). 

My motivation is simple:  I want to prevent others from being led into the same kind of scandalous contempt.  It pains me deeply to know that innocent people, drawn to the pious nature of things on the surface, are then led down a path to have a disdain for the local authority because he won't approve this alleged phenomena.  The Holy See remains solidly behind him, as we have seen in a 2007 faxed letter by the Bishops of Tuscany to the priests of the diocese on Medjugorje.  In his 2009 homily, Bishop Peric stated that he was told by Cardinal William Levada that all inquiries coming into the CDF now are being handled this way. 

I just learned from the combox over at Mark Shea's blogpost on Fr. Manfred Hauke's recent interview on Medjugorje in a comment left by Patrick Coffin who hosts Catholic Answers Live that Medjugorje will be discussed on March 24th.  Patrick writes:

Markus von Sheavicus:
An fyi that may be of interest to thy com box denizens, on Catholic Answers Live (radio show, for those on planet Zorkon) I will be discussing Medjugorje on March 24, 2010, with Patrick Madrid, who has a solid handle on the story arc of Medjugorje as well as on the levels of acceptance-or-rejection of private apparitions as they apply to the phenonema there. One aspect of this story should be obvious to a) pro-Medjugorje Catholics; b) non-pro-Medjugorje Catholics; c) anti-Medjugorje Catholics; and d) anyone else who can read, is the unsettling spirit of division and rancor that attends the entire project. The M word is the new third rail. Let's at least include this biggie among the "fruits of Medjugorje."
Whether the Holy See will follow the trajectory begun Bishops Zanic and Peric (and the Zadar Declaration of 1991) and finally condemn the apparitions, or whether they will be approved in the end, many have forgotten that no Catholic is required to accept even *approved" private revelation.
So thump that gourd, roll that stone away, and tune in to (you can find out if we're on in your city via the radio link) or channel 160 on Sirius Sattellite Radio. Or iTunes podcast. That's March 24. Plus, before then, many other interviews and Q&A Open Forums to delight and tantalize the discriminating radio listener.

And, the division is not just amongst the laity. While our bishops and cardinals have much more etiquette in discussing delicate topics such as "M", there is visible division even among them.  One example, is the difference of opinion of Cardinal Schonborn, author of the CCC and member of the CDF ("My seminaries would be empty without Medjugorje") and Cardinal Saraiva Martins, former Prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of the Saints, and one who was close to Sr. Lucia ("There is no comparison between Medjugorje and Fatima"). 

With regards to the statement made by Cardinal Schonborn about seminaries, I would like to raise the question: Why rely on an alleged apparition - one which, at no level of the Church, has been officially deemed worthy of belief - to fill seminaries.  Is it the alleged apparition which fills the seminaries?  Or, is it the graces which flow from authentic expressions of the faith:  Mass, Confession, Adoration, Rosary, fasting and other forms of mortification, as well as sermons which preach the fullness of the faith?  

If these things are fostered enthusiastically, and generously by Cardinal Schonborn, his fellow bishops, and priests in Austria, his seminaries will fill well, and he won't be relying on a questionable apparition to do it for him. 

EDIT:  A comment left in the combox by "LoverofLife" prompted the Editor of The Hidden Side of Medjugorje to respond with a hearty rebuttal.  That string of comments over several boxes was copied and pasted into a new post.  I will shut down this comment box and ask for discussions to flow into that post. 

See the post: Medjugorje: Louis Bélanger responds to comment...
Recent Interviews and Noteworthy Posts
Recent Diocesan Releases:

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!

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Book by Msgr. Charles Murphy: The Spirituality of Fasting

Just in time for Lent, comes this book by Msgr. Charles Murphy on Fasting. I heard an interview with him on Teresa Tomeo's Catholic Connection this morning about the book and I highly recommend it. He goes through the history of fasting in Christianity.  You can listen to Teresa's interview of Msgr. Murphy in this audio Catholic Connection archive at Ave Maria Radio for February 15, 2010

Every now and then, I hear someone say, "Vatican II did away with fasting". It's usually the same people who tell me that Vatican II did away with Confession and the Sunday Mass obligation. That was wishful thinking. According to Msgr. Murphy, fasting is good for us from a spiritual standpoint. I have to agree with him because much of what I heard him say about fasting, has been preached from the pulpit at Grotto, and at our conferences. Msgr. Murphy encourages fasting even outside of the two required days of Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.

What I remember as a kid, growing up, was the catechism teacher telling us that we didn't need to give things up (using the old line that such things were for children, not for older kids and adults). The line of reasoning was that we give up other things, like arguing, or we do some form of service in place of giving something up.

Msgr. Murphy addresses these things. How is it different? Consider that Christ himself fasted, and he encouraged fasting. How can we not want to imitate Our Lord's example?

Now, if you are diabetic the last thing you want to do is fast. Follow your doctor's recommendations to maintain your blood sugar level. However, watch more diligently your portions.  Do you prefer fried fish?  Eat baked fish, even if you don't like it.  If you prefer to have beef over chicken, eat the chicken.  If you don't like leftovers, eat leftovers - get it?  Do you put artificial sweetener or milk in your coffee or tea? Give it up.  Change the meal plan up a bit to things that are less desireable, but will still keep the blood sugar in check. There are lots of things diabetics, and others with food related problems can do, if fasting is not an option. 

There is also fasting from music, from television, the internet, and other things.  Since there are so many spiritual things available through the web, and on Catholic TV stations like EWTN, and programs on Ave Maria Radio which will focus on Lent, perhaps you give up the secular stuff

Here is an excerpt of a review at Our Sunday Visitor. (emphasis mine in bold; comments in red)

How fasting fuels spiritual growth, charity
The ancient practice has fallen out of fashion among Catholics, but it helps us detach from the material world and creates an empty space for God to fill
Fasting and abstinence were once staples of Catholic life. There was a time not so long ago when you could spot Catholics in a restaurant simply by looking at what was on their plates on a Wednesday or Friday.

But with changes in Church rules and individual mindsets, fasting slowly began to fall out of fashion. Today, in popular Catholic culture at least, fasting is often considered a quaint practice of days gone by, something that pales in comparison to doing charitable works.

And yet fasting is one of the three pillars of Lent, equal to prayer and almsgiving in the trilogy of practices for the season. In fact, fasting is woven into the fabric of many of the world’s religions — Judaism, Islam, Buddhism — in one fashion or another.

Why is fasting so important? Because learning to do without, especially when the sacrifice is made on behalf of another, helps to free our bodies and spirits from the worldly desires that threaten to pull us off our spiritual path.

Undercurrent of prayer
In fasting, we open up a space, both literally and figuratively, and allow God to squeeze in among all the other things that lay claim to our attention.

“Food is an obsession in our culture, and I really think we need wisdom from the Church about eating,” Msgr. Charles M. Murphy, author of “The Spirituality of Fasting: Rediscovering a Christian Practice” (Ave Maria Press, $12.95), told Our Sunday Visitor. “It’s a basic human activity, and there is wisdom in this whole tradition of fasting, which is focused on God and not on ourselves.”

Msgr. Murphy said it’s important to distinguish fasting from dieting and medically supervised programs because fasting is not about fitness or “right eating” or ecology. [a point I have heard Fr. Perrone make often].  Just as almsgiving without prayer is simply philanthropy, fasting without prayer is simply a strict diet. Prayer must be the undercurrent that supports fasting or it becomes one more self-centered act designed to make us more appealing according to worldly standards, not godly standards. Fasting is first and foremost an act of humility before God.

“It’s creating an empty space for God to fill. It’s also penitential; it’s an expression of our desire to be converted from sin and selfishness and to remove the effects of sin in our life,” said Msgr. Murphy, explaining that there are two forms of fasting: total and partial. A total fast is eating nothing and drinking nothing for a designated period of time. A partial fast involves giving up specific things for a specific period of time “to undo the effects of sinful patterns, habits, and mindlessness that may have inundated our

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

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Consecration of Archbishop Rajic; Cardinal Bertone on Bishop Peric

Archbishop Petar Rajič (foreground), following his consecration by Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone (background).  Cardinal Vinko Puljić, the Archbishop of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Bishop Ratko Perić of Mostar-Duvno were co-consecrators. (Photo: Diocese of Mostar-Duvno)

"Behold, I come, Lord, to do thy will" (Ps 40.8).....
The consecration of a new bishop, actually - an archbishop, took place on the other side of the world in the small country of Bosnia & Herzegovina (BiH) on January 23, 2010.  It's an interesting story of one man's journey through the priesthood, in the Vatican diplomatic corp, and now the episcopacy.  On it's own, it is a great vocation story for the Year for Priests.

What had me interested in the elevation of Archbishop Rajic, was one small thing we had in common:  We are both of Croatian descent and we both pursued a vocation in BiH, and we did so at nearly the same time.  His parents were born in the region, and he was born in Canada.  I was born in the US to a father of Polish descent and a mother of Croatian descent (their parents were born overseas). 

After two years spent there, illness brought me out of the novitiate and back into secular life back in 1983 - a sign that it was not God's plan for me to be there any longer.  I don't consider it wasted time, and feel those were some of the best years of my life - in community.  I learned many lessons applicable today.  God's plan for Petar Rajic, however, was to follow through there.  At every step of the way, he gave his "fiat" - his "yes" to God's will for him.  The lesson for all of us in his life's story, is that receiving graces is never enough.  We must act on them, as he certainly has.

Someday, I hope to learn more about what took him there, and if our reasons were similar.  It appears we were both active in Croatian ethnic parishes here in North America in our youth. As I watched events unfold in the last few weeks with the new Archbishop, I couldn't help but wonder if some years from now, he will be back in BiH to lead in some capacity after even more seasoning in cultures which are predominantely Muslim.


On December 2, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Msgr. Petar Rajic as Apostolic Nuncio to Kuwait, Bahrain, and Qatar.  As a Nuncio, he was made an archbishop.  He is a Canadian, born of Toronto, but of Croatian descent.  He was ordained by Bishop Pavao Žanić at the age of 28, and incardinated in the Diocese of Trebinje e Mrkan (now with Mostar-DuvnoThe blog of Canadian Catholic Television station, Salt and Light, provided some background:

Monsignor Petar Rajic was born in Toronto in 1959. He attended Michael Power/ St. Joseph High School then went on to the University of Toronto. After completing his B.A. he entered the seminary in Sarajevo. He has been in the Vatican’s diplomatic service for the past 15 years and served in Senegal, Iran and Lithuania before being posted to the Secretariat of State’s office in Vatican City and to the Prefecture of the Papal Household. With his new position Monsignor Rajic becomes the Pope’s ambassador to Bahrain, Qatar and Kuwait, and will be elevated to the rank of Archbishop.
There were some gaps there that needed filling in, and I managed to find some.  Like, how did he get to Mostar, from Canada?  Here is a touched up google translation of an article from the Cathedral's website

Feeling the call to priesthood from God himself, Peter, in 1982 asked the Bishop of Mostar, Msgr. Pavao Žanić to receive him as a candidate in theology in Trebinje bishopric. The bishop had intended to send him to study in Rome, but he expressed a desire to go to Sarajevo to study the Croatian language and getting to know the local situation and even the Church among the Croats.  He finished philosophical and theological studies in Sarajevo and was ordained a priest in the Cathedral of Mary Mother of the Church in Mostar, on June 29,1987. 

From there, Fr. Rajic was sent back to Toronto, Canada, to an ethnic Croatian parish where he was chaplain at Our Lady Queen of Croats. He was there from 1987 - 1989, when Bishop Zanic decided to send him to Rome to study Canon Law.  He resided at the Pontifical Croatian College of St. Jerome.  In 1991, the Holy See decided it wanted him for diplomatic service and, with the consent of Bishop Zanic, he was transferred to the Pontifical Academy that year.
Bishop Peric explains during an interview with Crkva na Kamenu (Church on the Rock) in 2006, following his ad limina visit with Pope Benedict XVI, a little more about some of what Msgr. Rajic did at the Vatican (I give the original question and full answer to put it in context):

Cnak: What were your impressions after your first meeting with the Pope?

Bishop Peric: - It was my first encounter with him as Pope but not the first with Joseph Ratzinger who previously was the Cardinal Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. There were many previous such encounters, especially alongside Bishop Žanić regarding the problems which are still burdening this diocese. One of the Prelates of the Pontifical AnteChamber [papal living quarters]or Assistants for the Pope’s private audiences is our priest Msgr. Petar Rajič, whose parents are originally from Doljani, the parish of Dračevo, in the diocese of Trebinje-Mrkan. He guides visitors through the entire protocol: entry, greeting, photographs, conclusion and departure. Each bishop is given about 15 minutes for his personal encounter. I personally handed over to the Holy Father a written “pro memoria” on a single page which contained 3 joyful and 3 less joyful to sad events and occurrences. He read the original text and referred to certain points by asking questions and making comments as well.
This article (google translated from Croatian) stated that Msgr Rajic, in 1993, became "the highest ranking Croatian within the Vatican walls" (important to note for those who do not know that Bosnia and Herzegovina are made up of three major groups:  Ethnic Croatians (Catholics), Serbs (Orthodox), and Muslims.  Pope John Paul II made several trips to Croatia, and to Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), accompanied by Rajic. 

The Arrival of Cardinal Bertone

Cardinal Bertone, with the soon-to-be Archbishop Rajic to the left.

At 9:30am, on January, 23, 2010 a small jet landed at the Mostar airport with a delegation of eight from the Holy See, headed by Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarciscio Bertone.  These, along with the Archbishop of BIH - Cardinal Puljic, Apostolic Nuncio for BiH, Archbishop Alessandro D'Errico all met at the Bishop's residence.

The Cardinal was greeted by politicians from Mostar, Sarajevo and Banja Luka, with the Orthodox and Islamic representatives and diplomats: the ambassadors and consuls.  At the Bishop's residence, Cardinal Bertone, had an opportunity to meet with family members of Msgr. Rajic.  Bishop Ratko Peric is seen in the center of the photo below, enjoying a moment with some of his visiting brother bishops.

Consecration of Archbishop Rajič

The consecration took place at the Cathedral of Mary, Mother of the Church in Mostar.  During the war in 1992 the cathedral was heavily damaged, along with the Bishop's palace, and a library of 50,000 books.  In 1994, it was bombed again.  It was rebuilt after the war. 

According to the diocese, attendance at the Episcopal consecration included: 3 Cardinals (Cdl Bertone, Cdl Puljic, and the third was Cardinal Josip Bozanić, of Zagreb) 30 Arch/bishops, 200 priests, 150 religious sisters, 50 major seminarians and 45 minor seminarians, 20 Ambassadors and Nuncios.

In his homily, Cardinal Bertone reflected (google translated with some touch up):

....Dear Msgr. Peter, at this moment the Lord reiterates His call: "Whom will I send and who will go for us?" And you answer: "Here I am, send me" (cf. 6.8). In this dialogue between God and the prophet, there is all your life. Here is the beginning of your priestly call, in Toronto, when you're full of youthful enthusiasm, you accepted the Lord's call to follow him closely.  You then wrote to the bishop of Mostar and were accepted and in theology as a candidate for the Diocese of Trebinje, the Church of origin of your parents.  Your priestly ordination was the June 29th, 1987 in this same cathedral.  For the priesthood you chose the motto: "Behold, I come, Lord, to do thy will" (Ps 40.8).....
He went on to summarize each of the times that Msgr. Petar Rajic said, "yes" to Gods will for him with each new assignment, including this one which will take him to the Middle East as the Apostolic Nuncio for Bahrain, Kuwait, and Qatar, as well as the Apostolic Delegate for the Arabian Peninsula.  Cardinal Bertone elaborates later in the homily on this last title: "but the role of apostolic delegate, represents the relations between the Holy See and a separate state, on the official level, that is, the diplomatic level, with the rank of ambassadors."

The concelebrated Mass was in Latin, with some Croatian.  And the Mostar Symphony played.  Here is video taken during Holy Communion with the symphony playing.

More video can be found here.

Additional Reading (through Google Translate from  Croatian to English)
The Diocese of Mostar-Duvno has posted many photos from the day in three links (all photos in this post are from this collection).  It won't let me provide the individual links (at least in an easy way, but as of this posting, it's the three near the top.

This ends the segment on Archbishop  Rajic, whose path we will track again at some future date, when he says, "yes" to the next assigment.  Please pray for him in his new assignment.  Ad multos annos!

EDIT: On March 26, Zenit reported that Archbishop Rajic has now taken on two more: Yemen and United Arab Emirates

Cardinal Bertone on Bishop Perić

The next subject is contained here because the content comes from an address given by Cardinal Bertone at the luncheon which followed. I want to pull out a portion of that address and focus on a few words.

A joyful mood for the glorious occasion is clearly seen on the faces of Cardinal Bertone and Bishop Peric

Something Cardinal Bertone said at the end of his luncheon address is noteworthy:
We cannot fail to thank the Bishop of this Church, His Excellency Ratko Perić, for having offered us the occasion to live, here at Mostar, the very beautiful and solemn liturgical celebration of this morning, and then to reconvene convivially in such a beautiful and welcoming inn.

With sincere sentiments of gratitude, we pray to the Good Lord that this Church of Mostar, harmoniously inserted in the communion of the Churches of Bosnia-Herzegovina and in full communion with the See of Peter, may grow ever more in unity and holiness. The more it is faithful to its Catholic identity and to the apostolic tradition, of which the bishop is guarantor, the more it will grow in its own internal unity, and will know how to contribute to building up concord among the diverse religious, ethnic, and cultural elements of the complex society in which Providence has called it to live and to work in conformity with the mandate of the Gospel.

Here is the full address with auto-translate [Croatian] [Italian]

My first thought on what I have emboldened, is that the war may have ended over a decade ago, but there are still ethnic, political, and religious challenges. Catholics, in the minority.

If there is disunity within the local Church, then it will be more difficult to create unity with peoples of other religions and ethnicity.  There is disunity in the local Church and the Holy See has had to intervene several times.

In the Diocese of Mostar Duvno, there are priests dismissed from the Order of Friars Minor by the Superior General in Rome, and suspended a divinis, (confirmed by the Holy See), who continue to operate in the diocese unlawfully (meaning, there are many invalid sacraments taking place).  Parishes, which were to be handed over to the bishop for transfer to diocesan priests, according to a 1975 Decree - Romanis Ponticibus, were usurped by the men, and held, still today (with ongoing invalid sacraments). 

This has roots that go way back (truly, one needs to go back to around the 14th century and work forward from there), and it's so deep that it would require a separate post in itself, which I won't rule out in the future.  However, suffice it to say for now that anyone wanting to blame the bishop, must also blame the Holy See, which sided with the Diocese in the case.  No matter how it is sliced, God's will for the diocese and those parishes, was handed down by decree. 

In addition to those 9 who were dismissed from the OFM, there are over 20 names listed of OFM priests without faculties in the diocese (scroll down here) - most for refusing to sign a form declaring their intent to obey the bishop (an act prompted by the General Superior in Rome to try to bring about order in the region).

Since 1975, the provincial has been appointed by the central Franciscan authority in Rome, and they have been without the ability to elect their own provincial.

This whole matter has been under the watchful eye of the Congregation for the Evangelization of Peoples, and the Vatican Secretariat of State.

How is this connected with Medjugorje?  In at least two ways:
  1. The "Gospa" defended some of those disciplined by the Superior General in Rome; or faulted the Bishop with the problem. (see point 23 in The Truth about Medjugorje by Bishop Zanic)
  2. The "Gospa" who has given over 40,000 "messages" has said nothing about the invalid sacraments taking place in close proximity to Medjugorje, including 700 invalid Confirmations at the hands of a fake bishop brought in by some of the priests in the usurped parishes (see point 7 in Bishop Peric's January 2, 2010 statement on Cardinal Schonborn's visit).  Invalid sacraments are very serious, and one would think that the "gospa" would be very concerned about this - enough tomention it. 

Here are some interesting quotes to consider, in light of what Cardinal Bertone said.  They are from St. Ignatius collected at this Wikipedia page:

  • "Plainly therefore we ought to regard the bishop as the Lord Himself" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 6:1.
  • "Therefore as the Lord did nothing without the Father, [being united with Him], either by Himself or by the Apostles, so neither do ye anything without the bishop and the presbyters." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 7:1.
  • "Be obedient to the bishop and to one another, as Jesus Christ was to the Father [according to the flesh], and as the Apostles were to Christ and to the Father, that there may be union both of flesh and of spirit." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Magnesians 13:2
  • "In like manner let all men respect the deacons as Jesus Christ, even as they should respect the bishop as being a type of the Father and the presbyters as the council of God and as the college of Apostles. Apart from these there is not even the name of a church." — Epistle of Ignatius to the Trallesians 3:1.
  • "follow your bishop, as Jesus Christ followed the Father, and the presbytery as the Apostles; and to the deacons pay respect, as to God's commandment" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans 8:1
  • "He that honoureth the bishop is honoured of God; he that doeth aught without the knowledge of the bishop rendereth service to the devil" — Epistle of Ignatius to the Smyrnans 9:1. 

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!