August 30, 2011

What are the Historical Roots of the Mass?

In Spain, Pope Calls Young People To Express True Love in Marriage

Pope Benedict XVI warned in a speech to more than one million pilgrims in Madrid that marriage is between a man and a woman and cannot be dissolved.... "The Lord calls many people to marriage, in which a man and a woman, in becoming one flesh, find fulfilment in a profound life of communion," he told the young pilgrims.
 A Vatican spokesman said on Sunday as many as 1.5 million pilgrims had gathered to hear the pope. Marriage was a project for true love, deepened by sharing joys and sorrows, and marked by "complete self-giving", said the pope.
"For this reason, to acknowledge the beauty and goodness of marriage is to realize that only a setting of fidelity and indissolubility, along with an openness to God's gift of live, is adequate to the grandeur and dignity of marital love."

World Youth Day 211

We are Catholic because our religion is one of love, the one, true Church that Christ established, whose joy and strength is manifest in her youth, as in all her members.

August 28, 2011

Blessed Mother Teresa Novena

(From Priests For Life)

Mother Teresa was called from this world on September 5, 1997. As we approach the anniversary of her death, I invite you to say this special prayer each day:

Father of Life, You always defend the poor and oppressed. In Blessed Teresa of Calcutta, You raised up a voice for the voiceless and a friend to the poorest of the poor, the unborn child. She brought women away from the despair of abortion clinics to the hope of a loving community that cared for her and her child.

She spoke the truth to men and women of power, asking them how we could tell people not to kill one another while allowing a mother to kill her own child.

Father, as we honor this humble and faithful woman, we ask you to give us the grace to follow her example. May we be bold in word and generous in action to love and serve the unborn and to awaken our world to know, as Mother Teresa said, that the greatest destroyer of love and peace is abortion.

Fill us with love, bring us peace, and let us share your life forever. We pray through Christ our Lord. Amen.

August 21, 2011

Pray for World Youth Day and Receive an Indulgence

World Youth Day 2011 runs from August 16 through August 21 in Madrid, Spain. Pope Benedict XVI will arrive on Thursday, August 18, and will celebrate a special public Mass on August 21.

While tens of thousands of young people from around the world are expected to converge on Madrid, many, many more are not able to attend. But now they, and indeed all Catholics, can participate spiritually in World Youth Day, and receive an indulgence for doing so.

On August 11, the Vatican announced that Pope Benedict has authorized two indulgences, one plenary and one partial, for those who take part in World Youth Day (WYD). According to the official WYD site,

•The plenary indulgence is granted to the faithful who devotedly participate at some sacred function or pious exercise taking place during the XXVI World Youth Day in Madrid, including its solemn conclusion, so that, having received the Sacrament of Reconciliation, and being truly repentant, they receive Holy Communion, and devoutly pray according to intentions of His Holiness.

•The partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, wherever they are during the above-mentioned WYD, if, with a contrite spirit, they will raise their prayer to God the Holy Spirit, so that young people are drawn to charity and given the strength to proclaim the Gospel with their life.

So, while those who participate directly in World Youth Day can receive a plenary indulgence (full remission of the temporal punishment for their sins), any Catholic in a state of grace who is repentant of his sins and offers a prayer to the Holy Spirit on behalf of those participating in World Youth Day can receive a partial indulgence.

It's a wonderful opportunity for those of us stuck at home during World Youth Day. You can take advantage of it by praying one of these prayers to the Holy Spirit, or by offering a prayer in your own words.

Pope tells 1.5 million youngsters to spread gospel at world youth day

Pope Benedict urged 1.5 million young Catholics at a Sunday mass in an aerodrome near Madrid to spread the gospel to others seeking better values than modern society offers.

"We cannot encounter Christ and not want to make him know to others. So do not keep Christ to yourselves! Share with others the joy of your faith," he said in a sermon as part of the activities of the Roman Catholic Church's World Youth Day.

The pope, closing a four-day trip to Spain which has been marked by protests, told pilgrims from around 190 countries that they have been given "the extraordinary task" of being missionaries of Christ in other countries filled with young people looking for better values.

"And, because their heart tells them that more authentic values do exist, they do not let themselves be seduced by the empty promises of a lifestyle which has no room for God."

Hundreds of thousands of young people, bearing flags from their countries and wearing hats to protect themselves from the sun, prayed, applauded and cheered during the service.

The pope read his sermon seated on a white throne under a stylized golden tree, with Spain's King Juan Carlos and Queen Sofia looking on. A choir and orchestra dressed in blue and adorned with white lilies accompanied the mass.


Benedict led a prayer vigil at the Cuatro Vientos aerodrome on Saturday evening, but heavy rain prevented him from reading a prepared speech in which he had made a veiled criticism of Spain's legalization of gay marriages and abortion.

An electric storm followed a day of sweltering heat in Madrid, and wind during the night damaged tents, injuring seven people, emergency services said.

Emergency services helped more than 1,500 young people during Saturday's vigil, most with heat-related complaints.

But hundreds of thousands again packed the aerodrome on Sunday to join the Mass, the highlight of the WYD jamboree.

"When you're at home you just think you're alone in your faith, but when you pray with over a million people it just changes things," said Katharina Eisen, 18, from Germany.

The cost of the pope's trip to Madrid has angered some Spaniards struggling with recession and high unemployment. Heavy security has surrounded the pontiff, with roads cut off to traffic and thousands of police on the streets.

World Youth Day organizers say the pope's visit costs the taxpayer nothing. Critics have put the cost at about 100 million euros, mainly in security expenses.

Benedict's trip has reignited criticism by Los Indignados (The Indignant Ones), a group whose mainly young members occupied Madrid's Puerta del Sol square in May to protest against high unemployment and government spending cuts.

(Reporting by Judy MacInnes and Sonya Dowsett; additional reporting by Brenton Cordeiro; editing by Alistair Lyon)

August 18, 2011

Homily: 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time, Year A

The sound of a gentle breeze’

Elijah had gone to the cave trusting and waiting for the Lord to reveal himself to His prophet. He prayed that he would be given the wisdom to be able to hear the call and to recognise what it was that the Lord was asking of him. The conventional wisdom of the Old Testament and for us is that God always shows Himself in a material and physical manner. He is the Almighty, He has created the world and He works miracles and shows His powerful arm therefore it would have been very proper for them to have recognised the Lord in the mighty wind, the earthquake and fire - all of which Elijah witnessed. However it was in the gentle breeze that Elijah knew the Lord was present. He covered his face with his cloak and went out to be with the Lord.

Somehow we always want God to come to us and to speak on our own terms, in our own language and for us to be in control. In our pride we want to have confidence that our exchange of conversation and information with God must be in ways that we can control and manipulate.

In the last few days there has been news of another economic crisis and as some of us were talking about this it seemed as though all institutions, so important for the functioning and well being of society, are made of straw. The police, the media, the Church, the world of politics and the financial sector are all falling apart. These albeit on a large scale also reflect the drama of our own spiritual lives.

Peter wanted to be in charge, he was the leader, he was the one who always had the answers and as the Lord came walking on the water towards him Peter wanted to lead from the front. He got out of the boat, started walking towards Him and then as he felt the full force of the wind he began to lose courage and sank. He was afraid. Peter was unable to give himself complete in trust to the things of God. Perhaps it was that he couldn’t let go of his pride, this was how he understood and saw God and prayed and this was how he understood the role of leadership. What we hear is that the full force of the wind caused him to take fright which is a lesson to us that it is all very well to have God on our terms, almost as a fair weather friend, but if we are not prepared to give ourselves completely to him then we do not truly understand what the relationship with God should be.

We need to ask of ourselves, what stops me from trusting – what are the things I will not let go of? Do I stick rigidly to my way of perceiving and understanding God? Am I attached to materialism or are there perhaps relationships which are not of God that I am not prepared to give up?

If we do not have eyes for Christ in the middle of the storm then we have eyes only for the world. Christ wants us to come into communion with Him, remember how it was at the beginning of the Gospel; Our Lord went into the hills to pray, to be alone with his Father indeed one could say that he was obsessed with the life of prayer and with being with the Father. He then came back to encounter his disciples and to encounter us. What does this say to us about our need to be alone with God, to be people of prayer and to be like Elijah and encounter the gentle breeze?

H/T St Patrick's Soho

August 14, 2011

August 15th, 2011, Feast of the Assumption

By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ, of the Blessed Apostles Peter and Paul, and by our own authority, we pronounce, declare, and define it to be a divinely revealed dogma: that the Immaculate Mother of God, the ever Virgin Mary, having completed the course of her earthly life, was assumed body and soul into heavenly glory

NPR Spotlights Detractors of Papal Visit To Spain, Omits 428,000 Planning to Attend

Matthew Balan

NPR pretended that there wasn't a single supporter of Pope Benedict XVI in Spain on Friday's Morning Edition, choosing to devote an entire report on the "many people are grumbling at the cost" of the upcoming papal visit to the country. Correspondent Lauren Frayer not only failed to mention the 428,000 people from around the world who are registered for the World Youth Day event with the Pope, but also omitted the leftist bent of the protesters who are organizing a boycott.

Host Steve Inskeep, after delivering the "grumbling" line, highlighted how "local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services." Frayer then explained at the beginning of her report that "more than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit."

Actually, these corporations aren't covering the bulk of the cost of Benedict XVI's stay in Spain. As the Catholic News Agency reported on Thursday, "the young people attending World Youth Day in Madrid will pay 70 percent of the total costs of the event."

The NPR correspondent later used a oft-used liberal talking points about the tax breaks "mean the already-ailing Spanish government takes a hit," and added that "the Pope's visit is expected to cost taxpayers roughly the same as the amount just slashed from Madrid's education budget." She played a clip from a local nurse who questioned the timing and the cost of the papal visit, but failed to include a sound bite from a supporter during the segment.

Near the end of her report, Frayer noted that "riot police are already on guard in Madrid's central square, where until recently, protesters angry about the economy had been camped out for months. Banned from the streets, the so-called 'indignados' have taken their campaign to Facebook instead, recruiting demonstrators to boycott the Pope's sponsors."

What she didn't mention is that a large contingent of these "demonstrators" are "dozens of liberal and left-wing organisations demanding a fully secular state," as reported by the Financial Times on Friday. Something that the Financial Times report also mentioned is that "428,000 people have registered to attend" World Youth Day, a detail also omitted by Frayer. It also quoted Yago de la Cierva, executive director of the WYD organizers, who pointed out that "It [the papal visit] creates employment and is attracting tourism. It also proves Spain can host a large-scale event which puts it in good stead for the 2020 Olympic bid."

The full transcript of Lauren Frayer's report from Friday's Morning Edition:

STEVE INSKEEP: Let's go next to Spain, where many people are grumbling at the cost of a red carpet welcome plan for the Pope. Benedict XVI will visit Madrid next week for the Catholic Church's World Youth Day. Local priests, though, have issued a rare complaint. The Pope's visit will cost Spain millions, at a time when the government is also slashing public salaries and public services.

Lauren Frayer reports from Madrid.

LAUREN FRAYER: More than 100 priests from Madrid's poorest barrios posted a letter online, saying they disagree with the cost and style of Pope Benedict's visit. Father Julio Saavedra says it's unfair how the Spanish government is giving tax breaks to companies like Coca-Cola and Santander Bank for sponsoring the visit. (clip of Father Julio Saavedra speaking in Spanish) 'It's become an opportunity for companies,' he says.

None has rejected the sponsorship, because it amounts to extra money for them. Sponsorships save the Vatican from paying the full cost, but the tax breaks mean the already-ailing Spanish government takes a hit. The Pope's visit is expected to cost taxpayers roughly the same as the amount just slashed from Madrid's education budget.

Chusa Gallego is a nurse who just took a 15 percent pay cut. She questions the timing of the Pope's visit, given the cost.

CHUSA GALLEGO: Why now? Now that everybody is living with 500, 600 euros per month?

FRAYER: Riot police are already on guard in Madrid's central square, where until recently, protesters angry about the economy had been camped out for months. Banned from the streets, the so-called 'indignados' have taken their campaign to Facebook instead, recruiting demonstrators to boycott the Pope's sponsors. Benedict arrives in the Spanish capital on Thursday. For NPR News, I'm Lauren Frayer, in Madrid.

August 10, 2011

Prayer for the Canonization 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.

August 9, 2011

‘Pregnancy is not a disease’: Bishops slam Planned Parenthood push for free birth control

WASHINGTON, D.C., July 20, 2011 ( - After the Institute of Medicine (IOM) this week publicly backed government-mandated birth control coverage, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is standing in the breach against what would prove a massive victory for abortion giant Planned Parenthood.

The birth control question has sparked a rare spectacle as the two most influential lobbies on sexual health forcefully butt heads over an issue many other interest groups consider secondary.

Planned Parenthood immediately cheered the IOM report Tuesday, the result of a study commissioned by U.S. Health and Human Services (HHS) and a critical leg-up for the abortion giant’s campaign.

“We’re so close to a monumental victory that will change the lives of millions of women,” wrote Planned Parenthood on Facebook, where the group simultaneously posted a new video of “Pillamina,” the foam-flanked mascot of the free birth control campaign.

The report recommended that artificial birth control, including the abortifacient morning-after pill and “ella” drug, would be counted as an essential “preventive service” that health insurers would be forced to completely cover under the new federal health care law.

Such a mandate would likely provide a major funding boost to Planned Parenthood, one of the nation’s leading birth control providers, especially as the group struggles against numerous state-level defunding efforts this year.

“Half of all pregnancies that happen in the U.S. every year are unintended, and if we could prevent an epidemic of this proportion, that should be justification enough that contraception is preventive care,” said Deborah Nucatola, Planned Parenthood’s senior director for medical services in a report on NPR’s health blog.

However, a statement from a leader in the U.S. bishops’ conference strongly challenged Planned Parenthood and the IOM report on the same day, criticizing the notion that sexual activity’s normal result is a malady in need of cure.

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo“Pregnancy is not a disease, and fertility is not a pathological condition to be suppressed by any means technically possible,” said Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, chairman of the Committee on Pro-Life Activities of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Tuesday.

Like other conservative leaders, the USCCB pro-life chairman noted that the mandate would violate the conscience rights of Americans morally opposed to birth control, and objected to coverage of “emergency contraception” such as ella, a chemical functionally identical to the abortion drug RU-486.

But the cardinal’s challenge did not stop there: DiNardo noted that the IOM report was so radical as to have indicated interest in recommending full abortion coverage as well. The report stated that, “despite the health and well-being benefits to some women,” abortion was outside of the project’s scope given federal legal restrictions.

“But most Americans surely see that abortion is not healthy or therapeutic for unborn children, and has physical and mental health risks for women which can be extremely serious,” wrote the cardinal, who noted the celebration of Planned Parenthood, “the single largest abortion provider in the United States,” over the report.

“I can only conclude that there is an ideology at work in these recommendations that goes beyond any objective assessment of the health needs of women and children,” he said.

August 7, 2011

Assumption Novena

From August 7 to August 15, Priests for Life invites believers to pray the Novena in honor of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Lord Jesus Christ,

You have conquered the power of death
And opened for humanity
The hope of eternal life in body and soul.

You granted your Mother
A share in heavenly glory,
And did not allow decay to touch her body.

As we prepare for the Feast of the Assumption,
Grant us new confidence in the victory of life over death,
And renewed reverence for the human body.

As we honor Mary, Assumed into Heaven,
May we proclaim the hope of Your Gospel:
That you want every human life seated on your throne.

May that hope strengthen us to protect every life here on earth.
You live and reign forever and ever. Amen.