April 28, 2011

A John Paul II Beatification Catechism

By George Weigel

1. Has the beatification of John Paul II been a rush job, as some have charged?

No one said that the beatification of Mother Teresa was rushed, despite the calumnies against her work and reputation promoted by Christopher Hitchens. This process hasn't been "rushed" either. The only procedural exception Pope Benedict XVI made was the same exception John Paul II made for Mother Teresa: He allowed the investigation to begin without the normal five-year waiting period.

The investigative process produced a massive, four-volume study that offers far more detail into the life and accomplishments of Karol Wojtyła, Pope John Paul II, than the American electorate was offered about the life and accomplishments of Barack Obama, or the British electorate was offered about the lives and accomplishments of David Cameron and Nick Clegg. The people complaining about a "rush" are typically "progressive" Catholics who never had much use for John Paul II because he didn't turn Catholicism into another liberal Protestant denomination; or ultra-traditionalists who lament the fact that he didn't restore the French monarchy, impose the Tridentine Mass in Latin on the entire Church, and burn dozens of German theologians in the Campo dei Fiori; or ill-informed journalists who can't stop playing "gotcha" with the Catholic Church. Their criticisms are not taken seriously by serious people.

And in any case, the people of the Church spoke on April 8, 2005, with their chants of Santo subito! ("A saint now!"). The official judgment of the Church is now catching up with that spontaneous popular acclamation. It's rather ironic to see people who are usually clamoring for "more democracy" in the Catholic Church complaining in this case about the verdict of the Church's people.

2. How did the beatification process assess John Paul II's life? How does his record as pope bear on that assessment?

The purpose of this beatification process, as with any such process, was to determine whether the life under study was one of heroic virtue. Over 100 formal witnesses were consulted and the four-volume study includes their testimonies, as well as a biography of the late pope and an examination of what were termed "special questions"—issues that arose during the beatification process itself, such as the charge (likely planted by former Stasi operatives) that young Karol Wojtyła had been involved in the assassination of two Gestapo agents during World War II. The charge was ridiculous, and it was refuted.

Evidently, the overwhelming judgment of those responsible, including Pope Benedict XVI, was that this was indeed a life of heroic virtue. I think that judgment is correct. It doesn't mean that, as pope, John Paul II got everything right. No pope does. The question is whether he made his decisions prudently, according to his best judgment, and without fear or favor. In The End and the Beginning, the second volume of my biography of John Paul II, I explored that question over some 90 pages. My judgment is that John Paul consistently used his best judgment, without fear or favor, even in decisions I think he got wrong.

3. What were the chief qualities of John Paul II? What were his principal faults?

John Paul II's radical Christian discipleship, and his remarkable capacity to let that commitment shine through his words and actions, made Christianity interesting and compelling in a world that thought it had outgrown its "need" for religious faith. He was a man of extraordinary courage, the kind of courage that comes from a faith forged in reflection on Calvary and the murder of the Son of God. He demonstrated, against the cultural conventions of his time, that young people want to be challenged to live lives of heroism. He lifted up the dignity of the human person at a moment when the West was tempted to traipse blithely down the path to Huxley's brave new world of manufactured and stunted humanity. And he proclaimed the universality of human rights in a way that helped bring down the greatest tyranny in human history.

He was, like many saintly people, too patient with the faults of others. His distaste for making a spectacle of anyone, and his willingness to give people a second, third, and fourth chance, were admirable human qualities that arguably worked against the efficiency of his governance.

4. Has the Church been making too many saints since John Paul II changed the process?

First of all, the Church doesn't "make saints"; God makes saints, and the Church recognizes the saints that God has made.

Second, I don't quite understand how there could be "too many saints," since sanctity is what the Church is in the business of fostering.

John Paul II was convinced that God is profligate in making saints, and that the Church should recognize that. The world always needs examples of men and women who have lived their lives nobly, courageously, generously. The world especially needs such witnesses today, when a thick fog of cynicism hangs over the West. What's wrong with lifting up such lives and celebrating the grace of God that makes such saintly people possible?

5. Is Pope Benedict XVI beatifying John Paul II as a way of vindicating his own record as John Paul's successor?

No, he isn't. Benedict XVI has, after all, done some things differently, although there has been an essential continuity of teaching. But that was to be expected, as both John Paul II and Benedict XVI are teaching the faith of the Church, not their own opinions.

I think Benedict XVI was wise not to accede to requests for an immediate and virtually spontaneous beatification or canonization; I also think he was wise to waive the normal five-year waiting period for the process to begin. He worked with John Paul II for more than two decades, and he knows the qualities of sanctity that John Paul II exemplified.

6. What about John Paul II and the sexual-abuse scandal? Does the fact that this broke into public view during John Paul II's pontificate raise serious questions about his heroic virtue?

In 1978, when Karol Wojtyła was elected pope, the Catholic priesthood was in terrible shape: More than 45,000 men had left the active ministry, in the greatest wave of defections since the 16th century, and seminaries were, in more than a few cases, zoos. Over the next twenty-six and a half years, John Paul II became one of the great papal reformers of the priesthood, and in several ways.

First, he was the greatest vocations director in history, inspiring tens of thousands of young men to give their lives to Christ and the Church through the demanding vocation of the priesthood, in an exercise of the priesthood's unique form of spiritual paternity. The priests whose vocations he inspired are very unlikely to be the kind of men who would abuse anyone.

Second, John Paul II recovered the essential idea of the priesthood in the Catholic Church, which has long believed, but had begun to forget, that the priesthood is a matter of iconography rather than functionality: According to the Church's understanding, Catholic priests are men who act in persona Christi ("in the person of Christ"), making the power of the incarnate Word of God present through their preaching, making the body and blood of the Lord present through the Eucharist, and making the mercy of Christ present through the sacrament of Penance. In recovering this idea of the priesthood as a sacred vocation, rather than a bureaucratic career, John Paul II gave heart to priests who may have begun to flag in their commitments, as he did by writing an annual letter to priests every Holy Thursday and by inviting the priests of the world to share with him his 80th birthday in 2000.

Third, seminaries today are in far, far better shape than they were in 1978, thanks in no small part to John Paul II's 1992 document on seminary reform, Pastores Dabo Vobis ("I Will Give You Shepherds").

That is the proper historical context in which to evaluate John Paul II's pontificate with regard to the priesthood. Now, having said that, it is also true that, as I wrote in the 2002 book The Courage to Be Catholic and more recently in The End and the Beginning, John Paul II and the Roman Curia were four months behind the information curve during the 2002 crisis in the United States, thanks to a remarkably inept performance by the Vatican nunciature in Washington. This allowed critics to promote the image of an uncaring pope, on which a lot of the media and the usual opponents of John Paul's pontificate have been gnawing ever since for a variety of reasons. Yet the fact remains that when the pope finally knew, in April 2002, what he should have known in January 2002 (when the Boston crisis first broke), he took decisive action and made clear, as he put it to the American cardinals that month, that "there is no place in the priesthood for those who would harm the young."

7. What are we to make of John Paul II and the sordid case of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, a man whom the late pope supported and who turned out to have been a pathological personality?

As I wrote in The End and the Beginning, John Paul II was clearly deceived by Maciel, who was a master deceiver. The relevant questions here, in terms of John Paul II's beatification and its judgment that he lived a life of heroic virtue, are whether John Paul II's failure to see through Maciel's deceptions was willful (i.e., he knew about Maciel's perfidies and did nothing about the situation), or venal (i.e., he was "bought" by Maciel), or malicious (i.e., he knew that Maciel was a sociopathic fraud and didn't care). There isn't a shred of evidence that would sustain a positive answer to any of those questions. To even think that such could be the case is to utterly miss the character of the late pope.

To focus so much attention on Maciel at the time of John Paul II's beatification, as if his case offered a privileged window into a 26-year pontificate that changed the history of the Church and the world, is rather like obsessing on the disastrous raid on Dieppe and the bombing of Dresden at Winston Churchill's funeral. It's grotesquely disproportionate, from any serious historical point of view.

Review: Divine Mercy - A Guide from Genesis to Benedict XVI

Dr. Robert Stackpole, STD, a university professor and expert on Divine Mercy, addresses questions such as: What exactly is God’s mercy? Where do we find it in Sacred Scripture? What is the basis for it in the life of the Church? He takes the reader on a tour of God’s mercy in Scripture and Church history. In Divine Mercy: A Guide from Genesis to Pope Benedict XVI, journey from the Garden of Eden to the Hill of Calvary. Discover God’s mercy in the writings of the Church’s great theologians, as well as in the life and teaching of many of its most preeminent saints. Learn of St. Faustina’s call to spread The Divine Mercy message in our time and Pope John Paul II’s legacy of mercy, which has influenced Pope Benedict XVI.

The Divine Mercy is more than a devotion. It is a veritable attribute of God. Dr. Stackpole has included study questions and a discussion starter at the end of each section in his chapters. I found this volume enlightening and would recommend it for individuals, small groups or parish wide studies. Every Catholic should be familiar with its contents.

To purchase this book click here or visit the Catholic Company for similar items.

Divine Mercy Novena 2011

This Easter season, I’ve been praying the Divine Mercy Novena that started on Good Friday and leads up to Divine Mercy Sunday. I’m enjoying praying this novena and I’d like to invite everyone who reads this blog to join me in praying for God’s Divine Mercy.

There are thousands of people praying through this novena website and there will be millions praying around the world.

+ Sign up for handy email prayer reminders here: Divine Mercy Novena
+ If you have a website, post about it there!
+ Email your friends and family and get them praying too!

Let’s get all the Catholics we know to pray this novena together. If there’s anything we all need more of it’s God’s Mercy

April 27, 2011

Indisputable Medical Evidence - the Unborn Baby is a Human Being

Time Magazine and Rand McNally's Altlas of the Body states, "In fusing together, the male and female gametes produce a fertilised single cell, the zygote, which is the start of a new individual."

The Official Senate report on Senate Bill 158, the "Human Life Bill", summarised the issue this way: "Physicians, biologists, and other scientists agree that conception marks the beginning of the life of a human being - a being that is alive and a member of the human species. There is overwhelming agreement on this point in countless medical, biological, and scientific writings."8

Everything that determines the individuality and originality of a person is established at conception. The first single cell contains the entire genetic blueprint in all its complexity.

* The heart starts beating between 18 and 25 days.

* Electrical brainwaves have been recorded at 43 days on an EEG. If the absence of a brainwave indicates death, why will pro-abortionists not accept that the presence of a brainwave is a confirmation of life?

* The brain and all body systems are present by 8 weeks and functioning a month later.

* At 8 weeks, the baby will wake and sleep, make a fist, suck his thumb, and get hiccups.

* At the end of 9 weeks, the baby has his own unique finger prints.

* At 11-12 weeks, the baby is sensative to heat, touch, light and noise. All body systems are working. He weighs about 28g and is 6-7.5 cm long.

He is fully developed before his mother's pregnancy is even noticeable. This is the age of baby, that the government is saying can be killed for any reason whatsoever, without a waiting period for the mother to consider her decision.

From conception, the new person conceived is as deserving of the full protection of the law as any other person.

From the article "10 Arguments Against Abortion."  To read all ten go here.

Created for Love

The following is taken from Theology of the Body for Teens:

Have you ever wondered why the subject of sex is part of nearly every TV show, advertisement, song, and movie? And the sex shown or sung about is usually glorious—with no pain inflicted on those involved.

Rarely do we see the pain that comes, for example, from selfishness. Did you ever think about what society would be like without selfishness in relationships?

If everyone simply loved the other as he or she wished to be loved, we would have virtually no pain, no problems in relationships. Imagine, for example, if marriages never ended in divorce. Think about the pain that both parents and kids would be spared.

Confusion reigns, and it is leading to some seriously broken hearts. People today seem more confused about the meaning of love and the purpose of sex than perhaps ever before. Many people are searching for the meaning of life and love but don’t realize that the answer is actually right in front of us; the key to finding that love we’re all looking for (even if we don’t know it) is hidden in God’s original design of our bodies and souls. Yes, you read that correctly. This Catholic curriculum is stating that God has actually hidden in our design as “male and female” a key to the secret of love.

Here’s a quick explanation. You’ll notice that this theme repeats itself many times throughout the Theology of the Body for Teens curriculum. If you can grasp this early, you’ll understand the lofty (but awesome) concepts in the pages and discussions ahead. Here goes: Our sexuality is a gift through which we can choose to be generous or selfish. Society has flipped the idea of “self-giving” on its head. In fact, many “love stories” portrayed in the modern culture could more appropriately be called “lust stories.” Why is this important? Because “love” involves being generous —like God—while “lust” is sexual desire that is selfish—apart from the love of God. Not to be confused with sexual attraction (which is good), lust is almost purely self-seeking. As renowned youth leader John Crudele succinctly says, “Love seeks to give; lust seeks to get.”

Are You Obsessed, Too?

Many people in the world think that the Catholic Church is obsessed with the topic of sex, saying that it has all these “rules” about it. In reality, it’s our culture that is obsessed with sex. Think about it. The next time you’re in a supermarket, look at all the magazines near the check-out counter. Virtually every one will be dominated with headlines about sex. Or, better yet (maybe, worse yet), think of the various shows on primetime television on any given night: they are loaded with sexual content that is either explicit or implied. The view of sex put forth by much of the world actually robs humans of dignity. The real problem, though, is that we often come to think about sex as the world does, instead of in the way that God intended.

The Call to Love as God Loves

We humans are called to love one another. We are not called to dominate or oppress or use others, but to respect them as persons made in God’s image and likeness. This call to love is actually “stamped” into our very bodies. The physical union of man and woman in the sexual act (also called the “marital act” because it is intended to express marital love) is actually meant to be a foreshadowing of the union that we will all experience in heaven. That heavenly union is not a sexual one, to be sure, but it is real—more real than anything we have (or will) experience here on earth. It’s a perfect union between God and mankind—for eternity.

This union was also foreshadowed in the book of Genesis, the first book of the Bible. In it we read about God’s original plan for unity with our original parents, Adam and Eve. But confusion reigned and there was a rupture—a breaking—between God and man. Because of this rupture, lust became a reality. A “twisting,” if you will, took place in our hearts. Instead of seeking the good of others, we desire to seek our own good, often at the expense of someone else’s dignity.

Yet God created us for union with Him. He gave us an “echo” in our hearts of the love that He intends for us all. Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body is an attempt to identify and find that love that God intends for us. If you seek, you will find it. It simply takes work on our part along with God’s amazing grace...

April 25, 2011

Easter Homily by Father Butler

He is Truly Risen

Fr. Rene Butler

Have you ever noticed how repetitious the Psalms sometimes are? For example, Psalm 117 is only two verses long and the first verse says the same thing twice, in different words: "Praise the LORD, all you nations! Give glory, all you peoples!"

Here is another example from Psalm 27: "The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom do I fear? The LORD is my life's refuge; of whom am I afraid?"

This same kind of repetition occurs often in the Prophets.

The reason is simple: this is poetry, and one of the most important aspects of poetry in any language is the imaginative use of language to say the same things in many different ways. Here are some examples from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet: "She doth teach the torches to burn bright!","What light from yonder window breaks? It is the east, and Juliet is the sun."

Shakespeare gives Romeo numerous opportunities to say, "Ain't she gorgeous!" but always in different words.

At Easter each year the Pope gives Easter greetings in many languages. Most of them say much the same as in English: "Happy Easter." But there are two others that say it differently.

The Polish version is "Wesolego Alleluja!" which means, [I wish you a] "Happy Alleluia!" How beautifully this expresses the spirit of the feast.

The best, however, is the Greek: One person says, "Chrystos aneste," and the other answers, "Alethos aneste." This means: "Christ is risen - He is truly risen."

At Christmas we are often reminded that "Jesus is the reason for the season." Easter reminds us that Jesus is the reason - period! The reason for everything that we say and do as Christians, the reason for the magnificent music and beautiful flowers, for our coming together to worship. All this is for one reason and one reason only: Christ is risen! He is truly risen!

Prayer for the Beatification of Pope John Paul II

O Blessed Trinity,
we thank You for having graced the Church
with Pope John Paul II and for allowing
the tenderness of Your Fatherly care,
the glory of the cross of Christ,
and the splendor of the Holy Spirit,
to Shine through him.

Trusting fully in Your infinite mercy
and in the maternal intercession of Mary,
he has given us a living image of Jesus
the Good Shepherd, and has shown us that
holiness is the necessary measure of ordinary
Christian life and is the way of achieving
eternal communion with You.

Grant us, by his intercession,
and according to Your will,
the graces we implore...,
hoping that he will soon be
numbered among Your saints. Amen.

Network Plans For The Beatification Of John Paul II

While the U.S. networks have big plans for next Friday’s royal wedding (or hadn’t you heard), a mere 48 hours and 1,100 miles away in Vatican City another big event will unfold: the beatification of Pope John Paul II. Beatification is the first step to Sainthood.

•FNC will carry the Beatification Mass beginning at 4amET Sunday, May 1. Jamie Colby and Eric Shawn will anchor the Mass from New York while religion correspondent Lauren Green will report from Vatican City. Rome-based correspondent Greg Burke will report and FNC analyst Father Jonathan Morris makes a return to Rome to contribute.

•MSNBC’s Chris Jansing who will be covering the royal wedding, travels from London to Rome Saturday morning and will begin appearing on MSNBC Saturday. Jansing will anchor live coverage of the Beatification Mass beginning at 4amET. She’ll be joined NBC’s Vatican analyst and author George Weigel and Vatican Art Historian Liz Lev. Jansing covered the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of Benedict XVI in 2005.

•CNN/U.S. and CNNI will broadcast the Mass Sunday with Jon Mann anchoring. Jim Bitterman will be the correspondent at the Vatican and author John Allen will provide analysis. CNN en Espanol will cover with Jose Levy.

•ABC’s David Wright is the correspondent for TV and other platforms. ABCNews.com will live stream the Mass with ABC News San Francisco-based producer Ariane Nalty reporting. (Interesting note: Nalty’s brother is Monsignor Christopher Nalty who worked at the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy. Ariane’s father-in-law is Charles Zewe a former correspondent for CNN).

•NBC’s Anne Thompson and CBS’s Allen Pizzey will report for their networks.

Who is Saint Faustina?

Helena Kowalska was the third of ten children, born August 25, 1905, in Głogówiec, Poland. At fifteen she left school to help support her family. Helena felt called by God to a religious vocation. In 1925, she entered the Congregation of the Sisters of Our Lady of Mercy, taking the name Sister Maria Faustina of the Blessed Sacrament.

This simple nun with only three years of formal education lived a short but consequential life. Through her, God reveled His compassion, His desire to forgive sins, and reconcile mankind to Himself. She endured great hardships in carrying out this Divine mission.

Sister Faustina received visions of our Lord, in which, Jesus instructed her to tell the world of His infinite love and mercy. She kept a diary of these visions; later published under the title Divine Mercy in My Soul: The Diary of St. Faustina. Read it online here.

Sister Faustina was thirty-three when she succumbed to tuberculosis. Following her death her writings were met with skepticism. After the Second World War, the Church would revisit them. The Archbishop of Kraków, Karol Wojtyła (the future Pope John Paul II), reopened the investigation into Faustina's life and writings and approved devotion to the Divine Mercy, including praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet.

In 1993 Faustina was beatified, the last designation before sainthood. On April 30, 2000, Pope John Paul II canonized her a saint and established the second Sunday of Easter (the first Sunday after Easter Sunday), as Divine Mercy Sunday.

Her Vatican biography is here. A PDF on praying the Divine Mercy Chaplet is available here.

April 24, 2011

Placing ourselves on the side of Reason, Freedom, & Love

An excerpt from the Easter Vigil homily of our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI:

[. . .]

In the opening words of his Gospel, Saint John sums up the essential meaning of that account in this single statement: “In the beginning was the Word”. In effect, the creation account that we listened to earlier is characterized by the regularly recurring phrase: “And God said …”

The world is a product of the Word, of the Logos, as Saint John expresses it, using a key term from the Greek language. “Logos” means “reason”, “sense”, “word”. It is not reason pure and simple, but creative Reason, that speaks and communicates itself.

It is Reason that both is and creates sense. The creation account tells us, then, that the world is a product of creative Reason. Hence it tells us that, far from there being an absence of reason and freedom at the origin of all things, the source of everything is creative Reason, love, and freedom.

Here we are faced with the ultimate alternative that is at stake in the dispute between faith and unbelief: are irrationality, lack of freedom and pure chance the origin of everything, or are reason, freedom and love at the origin of being? Does the primacy belong to unreason or to reason?

This is what everything hinges upon in the final analysis. As believers we answer, with the creation account and with John, that in the beginning is reason. In the beginning is freedom. Hence it is good to be a human person.

It is not the case that in the expanding universe, at a late stage, in some tiny corner of the cosmos, there evolved randomly some species of living being capable of reasoning and of trying to find rationality within creation, or to bring rationality into it.

If man were merely a random product of evolution in some place on the margins of the universe, then his life would make no sense or might even be a chance of nature. But no, Reason is there at the beginning: creative, divine Reason.

And because it is Reason, it also created freedom; and because freedom can be abused, there also exist forces harmful to creation. Hence a thick black line, so to speak, has been drawn across the structure of the universe and across the nature of man.

But despite this contradiction, creation itself remains good, life remains good, because at the beginning is good Reason, God’s creative love. Hence the world can be saved. Hence we can and must place ourselves on the side of reason, freedom and love – on the side of God who loves us so much that he suffered for us, that from his death there might emerge a new, definitive and healed life.

[. . .]

H/T: Whispers

April 23, 2011

Easter Homily - The Lord is Risen Alleluia!

Fr. Michael J. Woolley

The Lord is Risen, Alleluia! This is the Church’s message to our troubled world tonight (this Day) and for the next 50 days: He is truly Risen!

He is Risen, despite the treacherous greed of Judas which stripped Him of all He had,

He is Risen, despite the cowardice of His Apostles who in the hour of darkness found themselves powerless to aid Him,

He is Risen, despite the blindness of His own people who preferred the sham Barabbas to the true Messiah,

He is truly Risen, in spite of the excessive beating the Romans gave Him,

He is truly Risen, in spite of the four sharp nails that were driven into His Sacred Flesh,

He is truly Risen, in spite of the death He truly underwent as a man, in spite of the three days His cold and lifeless Body spent in the tomb.

No, not greed, nor cowardice, nor rejection, nor beating, nor crucifixion, nor death itself could overcome Jesus Christ. He has overcome them all, He has trampled them underHis pierced Feet.

The Third Day has dawned. His Body rises from this fallen world, glorified, incorruptible, no more to die.

My brothers and sisters in Christ, may this Easter celebration impress deeply upon our hearts and minds and bodies and souls that Jesus our Lord is truly Risen from the Dead.

And as St. Paul reminds us, if then, we have died with Christ in Baptism, we believe that we shall also live with our Glorified and Risen Jesus.

The greedy of this world may rob us of all we have,

We may be abandoned in our time of need,

We may find the world to be against us as Christians,

We may be beaten down by our past sins and by the world and the devil,

But no earthly trials, not even crucifixion or any other earthly death is able to crush our Hope for Resurrection in Christ Jesus our Lord.

May Christ fill you with Resurrection Faith this Easter Day, and all the 50 days of this Easter Season, and may the Joy of the Resurrection renew your family, our parish, and the whole world, for the tomb is really Empty, and Our Lord has truly Risen!

Click here for more homilies by Father Woolley

Earth Day instead of Easter?

Some Catholics are concerned with what they see as an attempt by environmentalists to hijack Easter for their own Earth Day purposes.

In a letter dated April 1 to churches across the country, the environmentalist group Earth Day Network encourages priests to remember Earth Day Sunday, even though Easter is that same Sunday.

“This year we again invite you to celebrate Earth Day Sunday and share with your parishioners a story of creation care that will impart to them the importance of protecting a nurturing the planet that was provided to us,” the letter reads. “Earth Day Sunday is a great way to bring your parish together through community building and sharing the faith with those in the community while improving the world around us.”

The letter does add that if priests want to celebrate Easter instead, they could consider delivering a climate change sermon on the following Sunday. Michael Voris of REAL Catholic TV, however, is not buying it, calling the campaign a push for a “pagan takeover of Easter”

“Earth Day 2011 falls on Friday, April 22, which is Good Friday so on the following Sunday, which is two days later, the Earth Day Network wants Catholic priests all over the country to devote their homily to Earth Day. Slight problem, the next Sunday, the one after Good Friday, is Easter,” Voris said. “Imagine going to mass to hear about the Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead only to be told to go clean up a park.”

“I can tell you that for many years we have worked with Evangelicals and all faiths who have been involved in this movement,” a Earth Day Network spokesman told TheDC. “My understanding is that the letter really says the opposite, it says celebrate Easter and some other time do something for Easter and let us know what you are doing.”

Either way, Voris does not approve of the environmentalist group’s meddling.

“This is what happens when church leaders do not stop this insanity dead in its tracks. Global warming is a scam. Its intent is to limit population growth through abortion, contraception, and sterilization,” said Voris.

The letter also includes a list of celebrities who comprise Earth Day Network’s global advisory committee. Among those listed are Al Gore, Leonardo DiCaprio, independent Vermont Sen. Bernard Sanders, Barbara Streisand, and Ted Turner.

Courtesy The Daily Caller

April 22, 2011

Christ's Last Words on the Cross

The gospel writers record seven statements uttered by Jesus while he was on the cross:

"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do."[Lk. 23:34]

"Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise."[Lk. 23:43]

"Woman, behold, your son!" [Jn. 19:25-27]

"E′li, E′li, la′ma sa‧bach‧tha′ni?" [Mt. 27:46] [Mk. 15:34] (Aramaic for "My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?"). It is also a quotation of the first line of Psalm 22. The latter refers to piercing of hands and feet, and has been interpreted as a reference to Crucifixion .

"I thirst."[Jn. 19:28]

"It is finished."[Jn. 19:30]

"Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!"[Lk. 23:46]

Good Friday

April 21, 2011

Luke's Ressurection Narrative

No one knows exactly when Christ’s resurrection took place only that it was sometime between his burial late on Friday and the discovery of the empty tomb early Sunday morning. There were no eyewitnesses to describe the Resurrection itself. Instead, there are descriptions of appearances of the Risen Lord after the Resurrection.

The account of the Passion is one continuous narrative, very similar in all four Gospels. Not so with the narratives of the Resurrection appearances. These are isolated scenes and, while there are some similarities, each Gospel has its own stories to tell.

Luke’s Gospel account can be divided into five episodes, all taking place on Easter Sunday:

1) the finding of the empty tomb at dawn,

2) the appearance of the Risen Christ to two disciples walking to Emmaus,

3) the appearance to the disciples gathered in Jerusalem,

4) the commissioning of these disciples to witness and preach in his name,

5) the end of the visible appearances as Christ is carried off to heaven on Easter Sunday night.

One of the most familiar phrases in the Apostles’ Creed is: “We believe in the resurrection of the body.”

“Resurrection” is not the same as “resuscitation” (the act of reviving from apparent death or unconsciousness). In resurrection, this human existence isn’t simply continued. It’s transformed. This human existence, which for some may not have been so good at all…which may have been plagued by mistakes or just bad breaks…this human existence, is transformed into something magnificent. The seed blossoms into what it was meant to be.

That’s why the crucifixion means so much. The body that was put in the tomb was a wreck-broken, beaten, bloody, ruined. But Jesus went through death to a new, transformed, impossible-to-describe human life. On Friday he was a wreck, and on Sunday this broken body was glorious

Thought of the Day — Pope Benedict XVI on Judas Iscariot

Judas is neither a master of evil nor the figure of a demoniacal power of darkness but rather a sycophant who bows down before the anonymous power of changing moods and current fashion. But it is precisely this anonymous power that crucified Jesus, for it was anonymous voices that cried, "Away with him! Crucify him!"
-- Pope Benedict XVI

Another Easter Prayer

Heavenly Father,
You lifted your dear Son from the grave and
made Him a beacon of hope for all mortals.
By overcoming sin and death and hell, may
He take us by the hand and lead us into
the land of bliss and glory where we shall
enjoy forever the company of the whole
heavenly host.
May we trust with all our hearts in His
glorious wounds by which He ransomed us
for everlasting life.
Blessed be the name of Jesus, now and forever.

April 19, 2011

An Easter Prayer for Life

Lord Jesus Christ,
You are the Author of Life,
Who died and now lives forevermore.

May we who work and pray
That children in the womb may be protected
Always draw strength, confidence, and joy
From Your victory over death,

For you are Lord forever and ever. Amen.

April 18, 2011

Homily for Palm Sunday, 2011

Father Rene Butler

We are so used to the story of the Passion of Jesus that we forget that each of the four Gospel accounts contains material not found in the other three.

Unique to Matthew is the scene where Judas brings the money back to the chief priests and then hangs himself, and the chief priests buy the potter’s field. Likewise, there is the moment when Pilate’s wife sends him a message to have nothing to do with Jesus.

Most troubling is the verse which reads: “The whole people said: ‘His blood be upon us and upon our children.’” It is troubling for two reasons: First, because it was a terrible thing to say. Second, and most important, this verse has historically been used – abused – to justify hatred and persecution of Jews over the centuries. We forgot what Jesus said in Luke’s Gospel, as he was being crucified: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

In the Old Testament, we have the image of the saving blood of the paschal lamb, the blood which was applied to the door frames of the Israelites at the first Passover, to preserve them from the destroyer.

Moses sprinkled the people with the blood of the sacrifice and said: “This is the blood of the covenant.”

In the New Testament this imagery continues, applied to the blood of Jesus.

“This is my blood of the covenant. It will be shed for you and for many.” No one is excluded. We are “purchased with his blood.” We are “justified by his blood.”

We have “redemption through his blood.” He has “made peace through the blood of his cross.”

The blood of Christ is “more effective” than that of goats and other animal sacrifices.
Jesus “sanctifes the people with his blood.”

His blood “cleanses from all sin.” “We overcome the enemy (the accuser, Satan) by the blood of the lamb.”

The Christian understanding of the blood of Jesus is surely not what his enemies intended when they said, “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” Those words expressed in typically emphatic language the depth of their anger toward Jesus and their frustration with Pilate.

But that does not matter now, and really shouldn’t matter to any Christian. The fact is that Pilate was not “innocent of this man’s blood.” Neither are we. As St. Paul wrote: “All (Jews and gentiles) have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Our salvation lies in the the blood of Jesus. His blood is “upon us” – all of us – for all generations: not as a curse, but as blessing

April 14, 2011

Margaret Sanger the Greatest Sin is Children

Wow! is all I can say

H/T Big Blue Wave

Prayer to Defund Planned Parenthood

Lord of Life and Truth,
Your Providence guides the course of history.
You have conquered death
And have made us the People of Life.
You call us to fight the evil of abortion
And the forces that promote it.
We therefore ask you to grant wisdom and mercy to our nation.
Give our government leaders the courage
To put an end to the funding
Of the largest abortion business in the world.
Give all of us the courage to insist
That public funding only be used
For the protection and promotion of life
Rather than for its destruction.
Give us hopeful hearts and joyful spirits
As we continue to proclaim, celebrate, and serve
The Gospel of Life.
We ask this through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Courtesy Priests For Life

April 11, 2011

What the Pope Said about Condoms

This is just to revisit what the Pope said about condoms from noted Catholic apologist and Catholic scholar extrodinare Jimmy Akin. He appeared on an addition of Catholic Answers Live to explain that Benedict did not change the Church's position on condoms as was widely reported by the media at the time.

April 5, 2011

The Meaning of Life

Have you ever wondered what life is all about? What's the point of it all? For Catholics the short answer is Heaven. We are all called to be saints. A saint is someone who resides in Heaven. At the end of time all those who live in the company of God for all eternity will be saints. This is what paradise is all about. In the meantime, we are pilgrims here on earth. After our earthly journey we will go to Heaven. Hell, or Purgatory. The souls in Hell are destined to be there for all time. The souls in Purgatory are destined to go to Heaven; their salvation is assured. We can pray for the souls in Purgatory.

It is the earthly part of the journey that concerns us now. What must we do to go to Heaven? The answer is diseptively simple: live in the moment. This is what all saints did to perfection. They didn't concern themselves inordinately with the past. The past is in a very real way dead to us. The future is a mystery that has yet to be revealled. We must live in the moment because that is all we can control. Think about it for a second. All we can control is now. Mother Teresa did this as well as anyone. It is the one thing that all saints have in common. 

When we pray do we pray to live in the moment? Do we focus all our energies, emotions, and talents on God? Do we allow momentary setbacks and disappointments to distract us from God and our ultimate goal - Heaven? Focus is key. Prayer, the sacraments, the Church, sacred scripture, and the example of other faithful Catholics can help us keep our focus on what is truly important. This is easier said than done but think about all the spiritual aids God has given us to achieve salvation. Christ, first and foremost, died for our salvation. We must not forget that the grace of God is greater than all the spiritual aides put together. The grace of God can sustain and strengthen us on our spiritual journey no matter how difficult it may become.    

Pope Benedict's Prayer for the unborn

Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you.

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of the maternal womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
render fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children.

Console the married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Charity,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.

H/T Discover Happiness