June 28, 2009

Common Ground On Abortion?

Bill Donohue

The terms “dialogue” and “common ground” are innocuous enough, and may even convey something benign. But when selectively invoked by ideologues as a political vehicle, they are worse than vacuous—they are devious. Such is the case with the latest effort by RHRealityCheck.org.

RHRealityCheck.org may have been able to persuade reasonable persons like Steven Waldman of Beliefnet to join in this effort, but too many of the announced participants are hardened pro-abortion activists. Moreover, the website demonizes a number of religious conservative groups by labeling them “far right” organizations...

Bad as these aspects of the project are, they are nothing when compared to the vicious denunciations of Crisis Pregnancy Centers. If giving young women an alternative to abortion is considered taboo, then the entire Common Ground project is destined to be an abysmal failure. It also shows that their alleged interest in adoption is a ruse.

June 23, 2009

Fatherhood in the Time of Christ

We're a little behind in our posting. The following was intended for Father's Day. Still, better late than never. In keeping with the theme of fatherhood, we thought we would consider a father's role and responsibilities at the time of Christ.

In addition to providing and protecting their families, fathers had vitally important ceremonial roles. I use ceremonial in the solemn, not the perfunctory sense. In a ritual recalling the Israelites flight from Egypt and the taking of the first born (Egyptian) male children, every Jewish father would go to the Temple and "redeem" his first son. Presenting his son to the Priest he would say (to his infant son) "I redeem thee," three times.

After the first born son was redeemed he was circumcised. Circumcision was a sign in the male flesh of the Covenant which God made with the nation of Israel. Every Jewish male was circumcised. The father was to ensure this.

Finally, the father was to lead the Passover meal commemorating God's generosity and protection of the Jewish people before, during, and after the Exodus.

June 20, 2009

Happy Father's Day

This post is dedicated to my Father and to fathers everywhere. Icons represent and make present spiritual realities beyond us. Fatherhood is a special icon of God's love. My Dad's fatherly care has sustained our family. Because of him it is easy to believe that God is loving.

June 17, 2009

Vatican bans sect's ordinations

The Vatican has banned a small group of breakaway traditionalist Catholics from ordaining more priests and deacons.

The Society of St Pius X (SSPX), which split from the Vatican in 1970, plans to ordain more than 30 men in June.

But in a statement, the Vatican said sect members were not entitled to exercise their ministry and that any ordi- nations would be "illegitimate." ...

SSPX was founded by a French archbishop, Marcel Lefebvre, in 1970 as a protest against the Second Vatican Council's reforms on religious freedom and pluralism.

It claims to have almost 500 priests as members and says it is active in more than 60 countries.

From the BBC

Year of the Priest begins June 19, 2009

On March 16, 2009, His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, announced a special "Year of the Priest" which begins on June 19, 2009, the Solemnity of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus, and continues up to that same date in 2010.

In his letter to all bishops throughout the world about this prayerful observation, issued on April 3, 2009, at Vatican City, His Eminence, Claudio Cardinal Hummes, Perfect of the Congregation of the Clergy wrote: "The Year of the Priest represents an important opportunity to contemplate once more and with grateful awe the work of the Lord, who, 'on the night He was betrayed' (1 Cor. 11:3), willed to institute the ministerial Priesthood, linking it inseparably to the Eucharist, the source and summit of the life of the whole Church." [ ... ]

June 16, 2009

Let Us Pray

Anima Christi

This well known Catholic prayer dates to the early fourteenth century and was possibly written by Pope John XXII. Anima Christi means "the soul of Christ." It is popularly believed to have been composed by St. Ignatius Loyola who put it at the beginning of his "Spiritual Exercises." However, the prayer was in manuscripts written a hundred years before his birth.

Soul of Christ, sanctify me.
Body of Christ, save me.
Blood of Christ, inebriate me.
Water from the side of Christ, wash me.
Passion of Christ, strengthen me.
O Good Jesus, hear me.
Within Thy wounds hide me.
Suffer me not to be separated from thee.
From the malignant enemy defend me.
In the hour of my death call me.
And bid me come unto Thee,
That with all Thy saints,
I may praise thee
Forever and ever. Amen
This prayer may be variously worded depending on its translation from the Latin.

June 15, 2009

Second Pro-life Ad Banned by NBC, CNN

Here is the second pro-life ad rejected by NBC and CNN that was to run during the 2009 Super Bowl:

June 14, 2009


Fr. Rene Butler

Catholics are sometimes disturbed by the claim that in receiving the Body of Christ they can be called cannibals. The reasoning goes: Catholics (and Orthodox, by the way) take literally the words of Jesus, “This is my body,” and “Unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you do not have life within you,” so they must be cannibals when they take Communion.

Such reasoning is based on the failure to understand the sacraments. Jesus is present in all the sacraments. This sacramental presence is real, and not merely symbolic; but it is likewise not merely materialistic.

For example, when the minister of Baptism pours water and says the words, Jesus is really – not symbolically, not materialistically, but sacramentally – present, cleansing the soul of all sin. The Eucharist is different in that Jesus is present in the bread and wine, whereas we do not say that He is present in the baptismal water. How can this be? Over 900 years ago theologians came up with the best explanation to date: that which makes bread bread or wine wine, its substance, becomes, really, that which is Jesus Christ. This is the Church doctrine of Transubstantiation. It is theological and academic in form, but it speaks to the heart as well.

Cannibals materially eat human flesh. We do not. We receive the Body and Blood of Christ really and truly – sacramentally.

Faith and Reason: A Theological Marriage

(This blog is dedicated to the proposition that faith and reason are complementary not contradictory. The following is from the"Theology of the Person, Part One," a series of essays by Father Robert Papi. The first essay deals with Theology as a marriage of faith and reason. We will discuss the "Theology of the Person" more in later posts.)

Fr. Robert Papi

This series, of which the following will be the first essay, is a work of reflections on Pope John Paul II's Theology Of The Body. I offer it as a means of understanding, and joyfully accepting, our reality as persons. We are persons created, redeemed, and sanctified by the Blessed Trinity.

The classic definition of theology, ascribed to St. Anslem is: "Faith Seeking Understanding!"

The Concise Oxford Dictionary defines theology as: "Rational analysis of a religious faith."

For the Fathers of the Church Theologia (theology) "refers to the mystery of God's innermost life within the Blessed Trinity" (Catechism of the Catholic Church # 236).

Pope John Paul II reminds us that: " Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to contemplation of truth; and God has placed in the human heart a desire to know truth - in a word, to know Himself - so that, by knowing and loving God, men and women may also come to the fullness of truth about themselves." (Opening statement of the encyclical FAITH AND REASON).

A Theology of the Person then is a search for understanding of the 'who I am' and 'why I am' of personal existence. It is an exploration of personhood as a unique individual, and as one who is like, therefore in relation to, others like ourselves.

June 13, 2009

Pro-life Commercial Banned By NBC, CNN

For your information here is the powerful pro-life ad rejected by NBC and CNN that was to run during the 2009 Super Bowl. President Obama's support of abortion is ironic since a disproportionate number of the victims of abortion are female and minority babies.

June 12, 2009

Fátima and the Immaculate Heart of Mary

The Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as the Sacred Heart of Mary, is a devotion of Roman Catholics that venerates Mary’s maternal love for her Son, Jesus Christ, and her compassion and love for all people.

The Immaculate Heart has also been involved in Marian apparitions such as those to Saint Catherine Labouré in 1830. On the Miraculous Medal, the Immaculate Heart is pierced by a sword. The Sacred Heart of Jesus also appears on the medal, next to the Immaculate Heart, but is crowned with thorns, rather than being pierced by a sword. The M on the medal signifies the Blessed Virgin at the foot of the Cross when Jesus was being crucified.

Our Lady of Fátima asked that, in reparation for sins committed against her Immaculate Heart, on the first Saturday of five consecutive months the Catholic:
  1. Go to Confession (within 8 days before or after the first Saturday)

  2. Receive Holy Communion

  3. Recite five decades of the Rosary

  4. Keep me company for fifteen minutes while meditating on the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary
She promised that, whoever would ever do this, would be given at the hour of his death, the graces necessary for salvation.

June 11, 2009

The Three Secrets of Fátima

The First Two Secrets

(See original Fátima post here.) The first secret was a vision of Hell, which Lúcia described:

"Our Lady showed us a great sea of fire which seemed to be under the earth. Plunged in this fire were demons and souls in human form, like transparent burning embers, all blackened or burnished bronze, floating about in the conflagration, now raised into the air by the flames that issued from within themselves together with great clouds of smoke, now falling back on every side like sparks in a huge fire, without weight or equilibrium, and amid shrieks and groans of pain and despair, which horrified us and made us tremble with fear. The demons could be distinguished by their terrifying and repulsive likeness to frightful and unknown animals, all black and transparent. This vision lasted but an instant. How can we ever be grateful enough to our kind heavenly Mother, who had already prepared us by promising, in the first Apparition, to take us to heaven. Otherwise, I think we would have died of fear and terror."

The second secret included Mary's instructions on how to save souls from Hell and convert the world to the Catholic faith, written in 1917:

"You have seen hell where the souls of poor sinners go. To save them, God wishes to establish in the world devotion to my Immaculate Heart. If what I say to you is done, many souls will be saved and there will be peace. The war is going to end: but if people do not cease offending God, a worse one will break out during the Pontificate of Pius XI. When you see a night illuminated by an unknown light, know that this is the great sign given you by God that he is about to punish the world for its crimes, by means of war, famine, and persecutions of the Church and of the Holy Father. To prevent this, I shall come to ask for the consecration of Russia to my Immaculate Heart, and the Communion of reparation on the First Saturdays. If my requests are heeded, Russia will be converted, and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions of the Church. The good will be martyred; the Holy Father will have much to suffer; various nations will be annihilated. In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph. The Holy Father will consecrate Russia to me, and she shall be converted, and a period of peace will be granted to the world."

The Third Secret

The third secret, a vision of the death of the Pope and other religious figures, was transcribed by the Bishop of Leiria and reads:

"After the two parts which I have already explained, at the left of Our Lady and a little above, we saw an Angel with a flaming sword in his left hand; flashing, it gave out flames that looked as though they would set the world on fire; but they died out in contact with the splendour that Our Lady radiated towards him from her right hand: pointing to the earth with his right hand, the Angel cried out in a loud voice: ‘Penance, Penance, Penance!' And we saw in an immense light that is God: ‘something similar to how people appear in a mirror when they pass in front of it' a Bishop dressed in White ‘we had the impression that it was the Holy Father'.

Other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women going up a steep mountain, at the top of which there was a big Cross of rough-hewn trunks as of a cork-tree with the bark; before reaching there the Holy Father passed through a big city half in ruins and half trembling with halting step, afflicted with pain and sorrow, he prayed for the souls of the corpses he met on his way; having reached the top of the mountain, on his knees at the foot of the big Cross he was killed by a group of soldiers who fired bullets and arrows at him, and in the same way there died one after another the other Bishops, Priests, Religious men and women, and various lay people of different ranks and positions. Beneath the two arms of the Cross there were two Angels each with a crystal aspersorium in his hand, in which they gathered up the blood of the Martyrs and with it sprinkled the souls that were making their way to God."

June 10, 2009

Dumb Ox


Regular readers of this blog will notice that I haven't been posting of late. I was away from the "blogosphere" for a while. Starting Thursday, June 11th, I'll be submitting several new posts each day.

Thank you for your patience.

June 7, 2009

Homily – Trinity Sunday, June 7, 2009

Excerpted from Father Michael J. Woolley's Trinity Sunday homily. Read it in its entirety here:

[ ... ]

And so today we celebrate this wonderful and central mystery of our Faith: that the One True God is a community of Persons, Father Son and Holy Spirit.

The Bond of Love that Unites these Three Persons into One is like a Triple Linked Chain that nothing could ever break.

This Strong Love of the Most Blessed Trinity has been poured into our hearts at Baptism. And so long as we remain united with the Trinity through loving God and loving our neighbor, even now in this life we get a foretaste of that Love we will abide in forever in Heaven.

But while chains of Love uniting the Persons of the Holy Trinity with each other are unbreakable, the chains of Love which unite us to God are not.

As the saying goes, a chain is only as strong as it’s weakest link. And when we commit sin, we may break only one link in the chain that binds us to God, but that one link can make our whole relationship to God come crashing down like that one link in this chain almost made our Cross come crashing down.

On this Trinity Sunday, may we examine each link in the chain which unites us to Jesus crucified and through Him to the Father and the Holy Spirit. May the Blessed Trinity help us to strengthen any weak links and repair any broken ones, that we may receive fully into our hearts the Love and Power of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

June 6, 2009

Twelve Ways to Know God - By Peter Kreeft

Jesus defines eternal life as knowing God (Jn 17:3). What are the ways? In how many different ways can we know God, and thus know eternal life? When I take an inventory, I find twelve.
  1. The final, complete, definitive way, of course, is Christ, God himself in human flesh.

  2. His church is his body, so we know God also through the church.

  3. The Scriptures are the church's book. This book, like Christ himself, is called The "Word of God."

  4. Scripture also says we can know God in nature see Romans 1. This is an innate, spontaneous, natural knowledge. I think no one who lives by the sea, or by a little river, can be an atheist.

  5. Art also reveals God. I know three ex-atheists who say, "There is the music of Bach, therefore there must be a God." This too is immediate.

  6. Conscience is the voice of God. It speaks absolutely, with no ifs, ands, or buts. This too is immediate. [The last three ways of knowing God (4-6) are natural, while the first three are supernatural. The last three reveal three attributes of God, the three things the human spirit wants most: truth, beauty, and goodness. God has filled his creation with these three things. Here are six more ways in which we can and do know God.]

  7. Reason, reflecting on nature, art, or conscience, can know God by good philosophical arguments.

  8. Experience, life, your story, can also reveal God. You can see the hand of Providence there.

  9. The collective experience of the race, embodied in history and tradition, expressed in literature, also reveals God.You can know God through others' stories, through great literature.

  10. The saints reveal God. They are advertisements, mirrors, little Christs. They are perhaps the most effective of all means of convincing and converting people.

  11. Our ordinary daily experience of doing God's will will reveal God. God becomes clearer to see when the eye of the heart is purified: "Blessed are the pure of heart, for they shall see God."

  12. Prayer meets God—ordinary prayer. You learn more of God from a few minutes of prayerful repentance than through a lifetime in a library.

Unfortunately, Christians sometimes have family fights about these ways, and treat them as either/or instead of both/and. They all support each other, and nothing could be more foolish than treating them as rivals—for example, finding God in the church versus finding God in nature, or reason versus experience, or Christ versus art.

If you have neglected any of these ways, it would be an excellent idea to explore them. For instance, pray using great music. Or take an hour to review your life some time to see God's role in your past. Read a great book to better meet and know and glorify God. Pray about it first.

Add to this list, if you can. There are more ways of finding and knowing God than any one essay can contain. Or any one world.

Beauty, Goodness and Truth

According to Aristotle, man's thought entails three types of inquiry. (There may be others but none are more important.) They are making, doing, and knowing. "making" is thinking about how to make things and the actual making of those things. Aristotle calls this "productive" thinking because it is about the production of things.

A second type of thinking "doing," involves how we are to act, what is right and what is wrong, vice and virtue, and how we ought to live. Aristotle calls this "practical" thinking because it concerns itself with moral choices.

The third kind of thinking Aristotle highlights is "knowing" Aristotle calls this "theoretical" thinking - acquiring knowledge for the sake of knowledge.

The object of productive thinking is making something that is beautiful or, at the very least, something that works well. The object of practical thinking is virtue or goodness. The object of theoretical thinking is seeing things as they really are or truth.

June 3, 2009

Too Many Catholics?

According to a recent survey, Catholics comprise 25% of the American population. As things stand, the Supreme Court is currently home to five Catholics: Antonin Scalia, Chief Justice John Roberts, Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito, and Anthony Kennedy. If Sonia Sotomayor is confirmed by the United States Senate it would mean that six of the nine justices or 66% would be Roman Catholics. Some people think that's too many.

June 2, 2009

Genesis - "In the beginning" Part III

As we discussed last time, Adam's sin was his failure to protect his wife Eve. Following the first sin, Adam and Eve are banished from the Garden. Barely had man transgressed, however, when God warns the serpent: "I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; He will strike at your head, while you strike at his heel." (Genesis 3:15)

This is the Protoevangelium or “first gospel” in which God promises to send a redeemer to save his people from the slavery of sin. The "woman" is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Her "offspring," (sometimes translated as seed), is Jesus Christ. He (Christ) will strike and ultimately defeat the serpent/evil. The forces of evil will attack Christ culminating in His passion and death.

Fortunately for us, Christ is Resurrected, defeating death and overcoming sin. His victory is our victory. His Resurrection is our hope and our salvation.

Campaign to Discredit Pope; Attacks on Holy Father Mount

Over the past few months, it has become increasingly evident that a large-scale campaign against Pope Benedict XVI is being waged by his critics. The issues that his adversaries have seized upon include his relations with Muslims and Jews, and his opposition to embryonic stem cell research, abortion and gay marriage. The latest firestorm occurred when the pope questioned the utility of condoms to check AIDS.

On his flight to Cameroon in March, Benedict XVI was asked about the Catholic Church’s position on fighting AIDS. He said, in part, “One cannot overcome the problem with the distribution of condoms. On the contrary, they increase the problem.” Despite the uproar this caused, the facts support the pope’s position.

Last year, Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, wrote that “In every African country in which HIV infections declined, this decline has been associated with a decrease in the proportion of men and women reporting more than one sex partner over the course of a year—which is exactly what fidelity programs promote.”

As for condom use, Green said, “Many countries that have not seen declines in HIV have seen increases in condom use, but in every country worldwide in which HIV has declined there have been increases in levels of faithfulness and usually abstinence as well.” No wonder that when Green was asked about the Holy Father’s remarks, he said, “The pope is correct, or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope’s comments.”

The Catholic Church, we pointed out to the media, has been the most active of any institution promoting the very programs in Africa that Green touts. It also operates more hospitals and related medical centers for AIDS patients than any other private institution in the world.

[ ... ]

From the May edition of Catalyst. Read entire article on the Catholic league website.

Catholic Q & A: What is a Doctor of the Church?

The Catholic Church bestows the title “Doctor of the Church,” to persons of "eminent learning" and "great sanctity," whose writings have benefited the whole Church as affirmed by a papal proclamation or an ecumenical council. This honor is given posthumously, after canonization. No ecumenical council has proclaimed a Doctor of the Church, only popes.

The original Doctors of the Church; Saint Ambrose, Saint Augustine, Saint Jerome, and Pope Gregory I. were named in 1298. They are known as the Great Doctors of the Western Church. In 1568 Pope St. Pius V recognized the four Great Doctors of the Eastern Church, John Chrysostom, Basil the Great, Gregory of Nazianzus, and Athanasius of Alexandria. To date, thirty-three men and women have been designated doctors of the Church.

St. Theresa of Lisieux (1873-1897), pictured right, is a Doctor of the Church.

June 1, 2009

Canticle of Simeon (Nunc Dimittis)

Lord, now you let your servant go in peace;
your word has been fulfilled:

My own eyes have seen the salvation
which you have prepared in the sight of every people:

a light to reveal you to the nations
and the glory of your people Isreal.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son,
and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now,
and will be for ever. Amen.

Who is Simeon the Righteous?

Simeon the Righteous (pictured) is the man who, in Luke 2:25-35, met Mary, Joseph, and Jesus when they entered the Temple in Jerusalem to fulfill the requirements of the Torah forty days after Jesus' birth. Holding Jesus Simeon says the Nunc dimittis prayer also known as the Canticle of Simeon. Simeon prophesied about Christ’s future crucifixion.

The Canticle of Simeon is said during complin or night prayer as part of the Liturgy of the Hours of the Catholic Church. The Prophecy of Simeon over the Infant Jesus is the first of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin.