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Monday, December 25, 2017

And the Guy's Not a Cook???

e's also a member of
The Latin Patriarch of Jerusalem Pierbattista Pizzaballa arrives to the Church of the Nativity, built atop the site where Christians believe Jesus Christ was born, on Christmas Eve, in the West Bank City of Bethlehem, Su
nday, Dec. 24, 2017. (AP Photo/Majdi Mohammed)

By the way, it's Bishop Pizzaballa - he's archbishop of Verbe.  He is also  Pro-Grande Prior of the Equestrian Order of the Holy Sepulchre of Jerusalem.

Islamic Outreach, Part CIII - Peace on Earth Edition

From an earlier post on this blog:

Pope Francis spoke to the diplomatic corps and amongst other things, said, "Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.",


CAIRO (AP) — Hundreds of Muslim demonstrators attacked an unlicensed church south of Cairo wounding three people, an Egyptian Coptic Christian diocese said on Saturday, in the latest assault on members of the country’s Christian minority.
The incident took place after Friday prayers when dozens of demonstrators (that is, Muslims) gathered outside the building and stormed it. The demonstrators chanted hostile slogans and called for the church’s demolition, the diocese in Atfih said. The demonstrators (again, Muslims) destroyed the church’s contents and assaulted Christians inside before security personnel arrived and dispersed them.

The church in Giza just outside of Cairo is yet to be sanctioned by the state but has been holding prayers for 15 years. The diocese said it had officially sought to legalize the building’s status under a 2016 law that laid down the rules for building churches.
Local authorities often refuse to issue building permits for new churches, fearing protests by hardline Muslim. Christians sometimes build churches illegally or set up churches in other buildings.

Egypt’s Christian minority has been targeted by Islamic militants in a series of attacks since December 2016 that left more than 100 dead and scores wounded. The country has been under a state of emergency since April after suicide bombings struck two Coptic Christian churches on Palm Sunday in an attack that was claimed by the local affiliate of the Islamic State group.

Thursday, December 21, 2017

Cardinal, Can You Spare a Dime?

The Pope met with Cardinals today and went on the attack:

 Here let me allude to another danger: those who betray the trust put in them and profiteer from the Church’s motherhood. I am speaking of persons carefully selected to give a greater vigour to the body and to the reform, but – failing to understand the lofty nature of their responsibility – let themselves be corrupted by ambition or vainglory. Then, when they are quietly sidelined, they wrongly declare themselves martyrs of the system, of a “Pope kept in the dark”, of the “old guard”…, rather than reciting a mea culpa. Alongside these, there are others who are still working there, to whom all the time in the world is given to get back on the right track, in the hope that they find in the Church’s patience an opportunity for conversion and not for personal advantage. Of course, this is in no way to overlook the vast majority of faithful persons working there with praiseworthy commitment, fidelity, competence, dedication and great sanctity.

Huh....who would do that?

When he finished reading the inquiry drafted by the apostolic envoy he himself had sent to Honduras last May, Pope Francis’ hands went up to his skullcap. He had just found out that his friend and main councilor — powerful cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, a staunch supporter of a poor and pauperist Church and coordinator of the Council of Cardinals after he appointed him in 2013 — had received over the years from the Catholic University of Tegucigalpa around 41,600 US dollars a month, with an additional 64,200 dollars bonus in December. Bergoglio had yet to learn that several witnesses, both ecclesiastical and secular, were accusing Maradiaga of investments in some companies in London topping a 1,2 million dollars that later vanished into thin air, or that the Court of Auditors of the small Central American nation was investigating a flow of large sums of money from the Honduran government to the Foundation for Education and Social Communication and to the Suyapa Foundation, both foundations of the local Church and therefore depending on Maradiaga himself.

"The Pope is sad and saddened, but also very determined at discovering the truth," people of his entourage at Santa Marta, his residency, explain. He wants to know every item of the investigation Argentine bishop Jorge Pedro Casaretto conducted in Honduras, on top, of course, of the final destination of the jaw-dropping sums of money obtained by the cardinal. Just in one year, 2015, as shown in an internal university report L’Espresso obtained, the cardinal received almost 600,000 dollars, a sum that according to some sources he collected for a decade in his capacity as "Grand Chancellor" of the university. However, some other rather unpleasant items account for the rest of the sums he received according to Bishop Casaretto’s report. The pope’s trustworthy person put down on paper the serious accusations many witnesses brought forward (the audits totaled around fifty witnesses and included administrative staff of the diocese and of the university, priests, seminarians and the cardinal's driver and secretary) also against the Auxiliary Bishop of Tegucigalpa, Juan José Pineda, among the most loyal in Maradiaga’s inner circle and de facto his deputy in Central America.

I Understand the USCCB Better Now

I was on the St. Sylvester Church website (In Brooklyn, NY...I was baptized there) and came across this photo:

It made no sense until I saw this:

Clowns carry a portrait of the Virgin of Guadalupe as they pay homage to Mexico's patron saint, Our Lady of Guadalupe, at the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City, December 14, 2017. The streets of Mexico City burst with sound and color as hundreds of clowns went on their annual pilgrimage. (Edgard Garrido/Reuters)

Read more at:

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

The Patron Saint of Hospitality

During the final few days before Christmas, everybody seems to be busy with last minute preparations for their Christmas parties. Whether the party is elaborate or simple; for family or friends, the goal is to be a hospitable host, facilitating an event that will be enjoyed by all present.
St. Meinrad is a perfect intercessor for such an occasion, known after death as the “martyr of hospitality.”

Born in Switzerland to a noble family in the 9th century, Meinrad felt called to dedicate his life to God. At first he joined the Benedictine order and was ordained a priest, later becoming a teacher. It is there that he learned the Rule of St. Benedict, who instructed his monks on the proper way to welcome guests.
All guests who present themselves are to be welcomed as Christ, for he himself will say: I was a stranger and you welcomed me (Matt 25:35). Proper honor must be shown to all, especially to those who share our faith (Gal 6:10) and to pilgrims. Once a guest has been announced, the superior and the brothers are to meet him with all the courtesy of love … All humility should be shown in addressing a guest on arrival or departure. By a bow of the head or by a complete prostration of the body, Christ is to be adored because he is indeed welcomed in them.

However, Meinrad felt called to a life of deeper contemplation and seclusion and became a hermit after the example of the Desert Fathers. He was a hermit in the Black Forest, but his holiness became widely known and visitors flocked to his little hovel in the woods.
Then on January 21, 861 Meinrad welcomed a pair of thieves. He received them with all dignity, sheltering and feeding them, even though their appearance was suspicious. When they realized Meinrad did not have anything worth stealing, they decided to kill him. His death was viewed by the local people as a “martyrdom,” even though he didn’t die directly for his belief in Christ.

Gaudete Sunday with Cardinal Burke in Minneapolis

On Gaudete Sunday of 2017 All Saints celebrated the Anniversary of the Moto Proprio Summorum Pontificum, and the new parish status, with solemn vespers on the Saturday and Pontifical Solemn Mass celebrated by His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke on Sunday the 17th. The accomplished choir and schola, led by Mr. Jacob Flaherty and Mr. Benjamin Blackhawk, sang Palestrina's beautiful Missae Papae Marcelli polyphonic setting. Both Archbishop Hebda and Bishop Cozzens and many visiting clergy and seminarians participated. There is much to celebrate here at All Saints and, given the specific charism handed on to the FSSP by Pope John Paul II and then Cardinal Ratzinger, to promote and nurture the traditional liturgical forms. 

Monday, December 18, 2017

Hey! Who's in Charge Here???

This... monstrosity... is in St. Peter's Square in Rome.It's a nativity scene (quick! Find Mary and Joseph!). The other people loitering around the creche represent the corporal works of mercy. Get it? Me neither. 

Hey! I know this one! Bury the dead!

The naked guy on the right is probably being clothed.  Is the guy front and center comforting the sick? What's the guy on the left up to?

The guy in the red vest has something in his hand. Did he steal to hurt guy's watch?

You what this nativity needs? GIANT PUPPETS!

Thursday, December 14, 2017

From God's Mouth to Your Ears

.- While fires in southern California continue to threaten thousands of homes, Archbishop Jose Gomez of Los Angeles reflected that God can be found even amidst the violent flames, if we just listen for his message.
“Always it is the same question: Where is God to be found when natural disasters strike and bad things happen to good people?” he said in a Dec. 12 column, published at Angelus News, the archdiocese’s multimedia publication.
“God is speaking in every moment, in every circumstance. But sometimes he speaks in a whisper. He asks us to listen, to have ears to hear.” 

 Hello, Heather. This is God. I am talking to you now...."RUN! RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN! RUN LIKE SOMETHING IS CHASING YOU!"

From Buffoonish to Dangerous

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Well, Thanks for Clearing THAT up!

Today, from the Catholic News Agency:

 .- The controversy regarding Amoris laetitia has come to an end, according to German cardinal Walter Kasper. What is more, he has affirmed that the admission of remarried divorced persons to the sacraments in individual cases is, in his view, the only correct interpretation of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation.
Writing in an op-ed for the German language section of Radio Vatican, the prominent prelate asserted that “with the official publication of the letter from Pope Francis to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, the painful dispute over the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia is hopefully over.”

Also today, in National Review:

Must faithful Catholics now give a ‘religious submission of mind and will’ to Francis’s teachings on this issue? Last week, Pope Francis made another move to advance his teachings on Communion for the divorced and remarried. In September 2016, the pope sent a private letter to bishops in Buenos Aires to clarify his teachings on the issue, which he had expressed in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia. Now, the pope declared this letter to be his “authentic magisterium,” which means it is one of his official teachings.
Questions surrounding divorce and remarriage have caused controversy over the past few years. The perceived ambiguity of Amoris Laetitia led four cardinals in September 2016 to sign the dubia — Latin for “doubts” — which consisted of five questions asking Pope Francis for clarification on his views. After being ignored by the Holy Father, one of the signers, Cardinal Burke, said the cardinals will have to issue a formal correction of the pope. A year later, in September 2017, more than 60 Catholic scholars signed a filial-correction document, which took a much harsher approach than the dubia. The filial correction alleged that Pope Francis committed seven heresies regarding his teachings on divorce and remarriage and moral relativism. One of the signers of the filial correction, Anna Silvas, told me via email that Francis’s decision to put this letter to the Buenos Aires bishops in the authentic magisterium shows that his intention is to breach “the moral and sacramental truth of the faith.” She added, “You cannot obey the disobedient,” referring to Francis.

 Cardinal Kasper seems to be saying," Nothing to see here. Move along".

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

So You Think You Know What Hannukuh Is All About?

Interesting stuff from Yid With a Lid:

At Sundown Tuesday Night 12/12 Jews across the world will be lighting the first candle in celebration of the  first night of Chanukah. What most people (even Jews) know about Chanukah is either wrong, half the story, or laden with nice legends. Despite what you may have been told,  the meaning of the holiday is not “let’s come up with a holiday around Christmas time so Jewish kids have something to do at the end of December (although a liberal Rabbi once unsuccesfully tried to convince me that was true). Neither is the meaning of Hanukkah “lets come up with a holiday with many different English spellings so we can drive the Gentiles crazy.”

Read the whole thing.

Monday, December 11, 2017

The Our Father and Leading Into Temptation

So the Pope opines that the Our Father says something that sounds in Italian like God the Father leads us into temptation, which doesn’t right.  In English we have something that sounds a little like that: “lead us not into temptation”.
The Pope says something. People go bananas. Huzzah! Another chance for us to find out what the prayer really says! right?
Matthew 6:9–6:13 and Luke 11:2–11:4 are our GREEK biblical texts which are the foundation of the Our Father as we say it in Latin and in English. The Greek of the line in question, from Matthew, is “καὶ μὴ εἰσενέγκῃς ἡμᾶς εἰς πειρασμόν”. Frankly, the Greek is tricky. Read in a straight forward way, it says what we say when we say the Lord’s Prayer. So, what does it really say?

Here's what he said (from the Catholic World Reporter):

 “This,” i.e. the Italian, non ci indurre in tentazione (“…lead us not into temptation”), “is not good [as] a translation,” Pope Francis told don Marco Pozza, host of the program. “The French have even changed the text now, with a translation that is: ‘let me not fall into temptation.’ For, I am the one, who falls into temptation,” Pope Francis explained. “But it is not He, who tosses me into temptation, in order to see then, how I fall – no – a father does not do this. A father helps [one] to get right back up. The one, who induces you into temptation is Satan,” the Holy Father continued. “That is Satan’s office.” 

The Pope is right about the language, by the way: the now obsolete French translation, which read, ne nous soumets pas à la tentation – “do not submit us to temptation” is – was – pretty awful. One French parish priest, Fr. Emmanuel Schwab, was quoted in the National Catholic Reporter as saying, “The version, ‘do not submit us to temptation’, made some people think God threw banana peels in front of people to see if they would slip and fall, but that is absolutely not the biblical view of God.”
It was perhaps this idea – this misconception – that Pope Francis was addressing, though one does wonder who ever really had the idea, not to mention how Pope Francis got to the catechetical concerns of grunt priests in the pastoral trenches of Paris by way of the long-standing Italian version of the world’s oldest and most recognized Christian prayer.

Their conclusion:

 In defense of Pope Francis, his theological point is sound, even if it does belabor the obvious and needlessly heap abuse on an innocent straw man. God does not toss us into temptation to see how we fall (though there are reliable accounts that have Him allowing Satan to do his nasty work on righteous men, in order to prove a point – once, we’re told, to win a bet).

You Use That Term A Lot...I Don't Think It Means What You Think It Means

CNA/EWTN News).- The U.S. bishops are encouraging Catholics to observe the upcoming Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe as a day of solidarity with immigrants.
In the nation’s capital, a 12:10 p.m. Mass at St. Peter's Church will mark the Dec. 12 feast day. The Mass will be celebrated by Auxiliary Bishop Mario Dorsonville of Washington, D.C.
Additionally, more than 55 events – including prayers services, Masses, and processions – will be held throughout the U.S. this month. These events, the bishops’ conference said, will honor Our Lady of Guadalupe and will “seek to honor the accomplishments, hopes, fears, and needs of all families who have come to the U.S. seeking a better life.”
“As we enter the Advent season and Christmas approaches, we are reminded of the unique role and importance of Our Lady of Guadalupe, a unifier and peacebuilder for communities,” said Bishop Joe S. Vásquez of Austin, chairman of the migration committee at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

MEANWHILE.... how's that whole "peacebuilder for communities" working for our neighbors to the south?
Cathedral of the Lord in Villahermosa

ACI Prensa).- A diocese in one of Mexico's most violence-ridden states has indicated it will avoid scheduling Masses for Christmas and its octave at “high risk” times. It has also asked the state's police to protect parishioners.
“With respect to the problem of insecurity, for the most part the established schedule has been kept, but we are trying to avoid scheduling certain times that could be high risk,” Fr. José Luis Compeán Rueda, vicar general of the Diocese of Tabasco, said at a Dec. 3 press conference in Villahermosa, capital of the Mexican state of Tabasco.
 The Catholic Multimedia Center released a report in August showing that Tabasco is one of the most dangerous states for priests, and that Mexico is the most violent country for priests in Latin America.

Jesuit Logic

The radical governor of California–who signed bills legalizing assisted suicide, allowing non-doctors to be abortionists, and forcing pro-life pregnancy counseling centers to notify clients where to access free abortion (now before the Supreme Court)–has brought the Lord into his critique of Donald Trump. From The Hill story: 
"California Gov. Jerry Brown (D) says President Trump’s stance on climate change demonstrates that he does not appear to fear the “wrath of God” or have any regard for the “existential consequences” of his environmental policies. “I don’t think President Trump has a fear of the Lord, the fear of the wrath of God, which leads one to more humility … this is such a reckless disregard for the truth and for the existential consequences that can be unleashed,” Brown said in an interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” which is set to air on Sunday.
 Glass houses and stones. Pots and kettles. Pick your idiom. 
But hey! He was trained by Jesuits! He is applying Jesuit logic to the situation!
In 1955, Brown entered Santa Clara University for a year and left to attend Sacred Heart Novitiate, a Jesuit novice house, intent on becoming a Catholic Priest.Brown resided at the novitiate from August 1956 to January 1960 before enrolling at the University of California, Berkeley where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Classics in 1961.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Give the Guy a Hand!

Ottawa, Canada, Dec 5, 2017 / 07:00 pm (CNA/EWTN News). While he was alive, St. Francis Xavier never got to ride in an airplane. They would not be invented for 400 more years after his death.
But now, his severed arm will get to take a trip across Canada in its very own seat.
The relic of the Jesuit missionary, ordinarily kept in the Church of the Gesù in Rome, will be making a cross-country trip through Canada this winter, as part of an initiative from the university group Catholic Christian Outreach.

 Angèle Regnier, co-founder of Catholic Christian Outreach, told CBC radio that travelling with the saint’s arm will be "like doing a road trip with a friend."
"I mean, I know it's bones, but connected to that is a living friendship with St. Francis Xavier," she said.
In the Catholic Church, relics are physical objects that have a direct association with the saints or with Jesus. The arm of St. Francis Xavier is considered a first class relic, which is the body or fragments of the body of a saint. The practice of venerating relics has been a Scripture-based tradition in the Church for centuries.
Regnier will be accompanying the saint’s arm on its trip from Rome to Canada, where the relic will make a month-long tour through much of the country.
The fragility of the relic, which is encased in a gold and glass reliquary and has its own padded duffle bag, necessitated that it travel in its own seat on Air Canada.
"We can't put it underneath. We can't even put it in the overhead bins. Like, he has to have his own seat," she told CBC radio.
"You're trying to explain this to Air Canada. We need to book a seat. He is a person in a way, but it's not a person, it's an arm."

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Remember The Status Quo!

Vatican City (AFP) - Pope Francis Wednesday defended the "status quo" of Jerusalem, hours ahead of an announcement by US President Donald Trump in which officials said he will recognise the disputed city as Israel's capital.
"I cannot silence my deep concern over the situation that has emerged in recent days. At the same time, I appeal strongly for all to respect the city's status quo, in accordance with the relevant UN resolutions," the pope said in his weekly address.

The Argentine pontiff's call came a day after he spoke by phone with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, the Vatican said without elaborating.
"Jerusalem is a unique city, sacred for Jews, Christians and Muslims," he said, adding that it was home to sites deemed holy by followers of the three major monotheistic faiths.
Jerusalem, the pope said, holds a "special vocation for peace".
"I pray to God that this identity is preserved and reinforced, for the sake of the Holy Land, the Middle East and the whole world, and that wisdom and prudence prevail," he said.
The pontiff added that maintaining the status quo was important "in order to avoid adding new elements of tension to an already volatile world that is wracked by so many cruel conflicts".

Yes, the status quo. The status quo is working well for Christians in the Middle East and for the Rohingya. And the growth of Catholicism.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

LOL Out Loud!

From James Lileks:

 Hip, With-it Jesus understands how you feel about cracking up dad's car. In fact Jesus thinks it's actually kinda funny, when you think about it.

MA! The Bishops Are Being Mean To Me!

CNA/EWTN News).- In a newsletter issued earlier this year, the U.S. Catholic bishops addressed questions regarding whether Sunday and Holy Day Mass obligations can be fulfilled with a “two-for-one” Mass attendance at Christmas this year.
In a “relatively rare” situation which last occurred in 2006, Christmas Day this year falls on a Monday.
Because Catholics are obliged to attend Mass for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation, some have asked whether a Sunday evening Mass on Christmas Eve would fulfill both the obligation for a Sunday Mass and the obligation for a Christmas Day Mass. T

The U.S. Bishop’s Committee on Divine Worship has said the faithful should attend two Masses to fulfill their Sunday and Christmas Mass obligations.
Since the mid-twentieth century, the Church has allowed for Catholics to attend vigil, or anticipated, Masses for Sundays and Holy Days of Obligation as “a convenience for many of the faithful.”

In the case of two consecutive days of obligation, as at Christmas this year, the “prevailing view of many canon lawyers is that each obligation must be fulfilled with a separate Mass,” the bishops said.
“Thus, when consecutive obligations occur on Saturday-Sunday or Sunday-Monday, the faithful must attend Mass twice to fulfill two separate obligations.” 

I thought this was resolved. I read it in

 Washington, DC–A spokesman for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops announced today that beginning tomorrow on the Feast of the Ascension of the Lord, every holyday of obligation listed on the Liturgical Calender, including Sundays, would from here on be deferred to Easter. The announcement came as welcomed news to many Catholics who found the near-impossible obligations imposed on them by their bishops simply too difficult to fulfil. Spokesman for the USCCB Sister Maxine Howard told the press this morning that the removal of nearly every obligatory holyday was a long time coming. “This will most certainly come as a relief to many Catholics who were falling into sin because of unfeasible Church requirements.” One Catholic we spoke to outside the Church of St. Mark said that he agreed with the decision, and was relieved to know that he would no longer have to sacrifice any more of his time. “It’s not that I don’t like going to church…it’s just that I don’t like going to church days after I just went. And to think that from now on I’ll only be obliged to go once a year? It’s just too kind our bishops. They’re always looking out to make sure we don’t over-burden ourselves.”

Missisng Yet Another Opportunity to Shut Up

CNA/EWTN News).- A Senate tax reform bill passed Dec. 2, like its counterpart passed earlier by the House of Representatives, has “fundamental flaws,” according to a statement from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.  
The bill-reconciliation process, begun in Washington today, offers an opportunity for legislators to address the bills’ shortfalls, the bishops say.

“Congress must act now to fix the fundamental flaws found in both bills, and choose the policy approaches that help individuals and families struggling within our society,” said Bishop Frank J. Dewane of Venice, Florida, chairman of the U.S. Bishops’ Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development, in a statement released Saturday.

Dewane added that the bishops are reviewing the Senate’s final version of tax reform legislation. They will provide analysis and comments on key improvements they think are necessary to include in the bill’s final version. 

Let's look at Bishop Dewane's biography for more info about his tax background:

After high school graduation Bishop Dewane attended the University of Wisconsin where he earned a bachelor’s degree in Social Sciences. He then earned a Master’s Degree in International Administration from The American University in Washington, D.C.
Prior to entering the seminary, he worked for the National Broadcasting Corporation (NBC) in Moscow, Russia, and then for a subsidiary of PepsiCo in New York City.
Bishop Dewane began his studies for the priesthood at Notre Dame University in South Bend, Ind., where he completed one year of philosophy. He then studied theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University in Rome. While in Rome, he also completed advanced studies in canon law at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas.
On July 16, 1988, Bishop Dewane was ordained to the priesthood and appointed to the Diocese of Green Bay as assistant pastor. He also worked for the Diocesan Tribunal.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mother Mary

A mechanic got a call one day to fix the AC in the main sanctuary in the local cathedral. He’s climbing around in the rafters when he sees a nun walk in. She gets down on her knees in front of the altar, closes her eyes, and begins to pray, “Mary, mother of God…” The mechanic decides to have some fun. In a deep voice, he says, “This is Jesus. What is it you ask?” The nun prays louder, “Mary, mother of God…” Slightly confused, the mechanic replies again, “This is Jesus. What is it you ask?” Still louder, the nun prays yet again, “Mary, mother of God…” Once again, the mechanic says, “This is Jesus. What is it you ask?” Finally, the nun opens her eyes and turns her head towards heaven. The mechanic shrinks back to be sure she can’t see him. The nun, in an irritated voice, says “Will you be quiet? I’m talking to your mother.”

I Wonder Which "Catholic Leaders" He's Talking About?

With 1.3 billion Catholics worldwide, the Catholic Church is potentially one of the most powerful centers of resistance to Islam. It certainly has been in the past. Unfortunately, that’s not the case today. What are those 1.3 billion Catholics doing in regard to the struggle with Islam? Well, essentially, very little. Many of them are just standing on the sidelines.
Why is that? The chief reason is that Catholics are receiving little guidance about Islam from their leaders. And what little information they receive is misleading. The hierarchy is still sticking with the message that Islam is a religion of peace which has recently been given a bad name by a tiny handful of terrorists who misunderstand the beneficent nature of their faith.
Meanwhile, while Catholic leaders have been pedaling this rosy picture of Islam, 90,000 Christians were murdered for their faith in 2016. Between 2005 and 2015, 900,000 Christians were martyred. In most cases the executioners were Muslims.

That tiny handful of extremists must be extremely busy. Either that, or the extremist ideology is actually widespread and the bishops have been woefully mistaken in their assumptions about Islam. As Islam gobbles up more and more of the geographical and cultural landscape, the latter possibility seems most likely. The Catholic leadership has been dead wrong about Islam and, as a result, a lot of Christians who were put off their guard by clerical reassurances, are dead, period.
Before 900,000 becomes 9 million, the Church’s hierarchy needs to engage in an agonizing reappraisal of its Islam policy. What is required is not simply a change of mind, but a change of heart. Cor, the Latin word for heart, is also the source of the word “courage.” And it will take considerable courage to abandon the familiar and comfortable narrative about Islam, and chart a new course.

A Note From the Grave for Pope Francis

How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries!

Besides the fanatical frenzy, which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries. Improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture, sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of the Prophet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement; the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong to some man as his absolute property—either as a child, a wife, or a concubine—must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Moslems may show splendid qualities. Thousands become the brave and loyal soldiers of the Queen: all know how to die. But the influence of the religion paralyzes the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proseltyzing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science—the science against which it had vainly struggled—the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Today in History

On November 27, 1095, Pope Urban II makes perhaps the most influential speech of the Middle Ages, giving rise to the Crusades by calling all Christians in Europe to war against Muslims in order to reclaim the Holy Land, with a cry of “Deus vult!” or “God wills it!”

By the end of the 11th century, the Holy Land—the area now commonly referred to as the Middle East—had become a point of conflict for European Christians. Since the 6th century, Christians frequently made pilgrimages to the birthplace of their religion, but when the Seljuk Turks took control of Jerusalem, Christians were barred from the Holy City. When the Turks then threatened to invade the Byzantine Empire and take Constantinople, Byzantine Emperor Alexius I made a special appeal to Urban for help. This was not the first appeal of its kind, but it came at an important time for Urban. Wanting to reinforce the power of the papacy, Urban seized the opportunity to unite Christian Europe under him as he fought to take back the Holy Land from the Turks.
At the Council of Clermont, in France, at which several hundred clerics and noblemen gathered, Urban delivered a rousing speech summoning rich and poor alike to stop their in-fighting and embark on a righteous war to help their fellow Christians in the East and take back Jerusalem. Urban denigrated the Muslims, exaggerating stories of their anti-Christian acts, and promised absolution and remission of sins for all who died in the service of Christ.
Urban’s war cry caught fire, mobilizing clerics to drum up support throughout Europe for the crusade against the Muslims. All told, between 60,000 and 100,000 people responded to Urban’s call to march on Jerusalem. Not all who responded did so out of piety: European nobles were tempted by the prospect of increased land holdings and riches to be gained from the conquest. These nobles were responsible for the death of a great many innocents both on the way to and in the Holy Land, absorbing the riches and estates of those they conveniently deemed opponents to their cause. Adding to the death toll was the inexperience and lack of discipline of the Christian peasants against the trained, professional armies of the Muslims. As a result, the Christians were initially beaten back, and only through sheer force of numbers were they eventually able to triumph.
Urban died in 1099, two weeks after the fall of Jerusalem but before news of the Christian victory made it back to Europe. His was the first of seven major military campaigns fought over the next two centuries known as the Crusades, the bloody repercussions of which are still felt today. Urban was beatified by the Roman Catholic Church in 1881.


 From Father Z:

This morning at Mass, I observed two or three people receive the Host in the hand, and then walk over to the extraordinary minister of the chalice, dip the Host in, and then put it in their mouth. I was cantoring at the time, and at our church the cantors have to stand up front, so this is why I noticed this so clearly. I have always understood that, even in parishes which practice intinction, it’s not allowable for communicants to do it themselves. I was obviously unable to say or do anything in the moment it happened, but do you have any thoughts on this? Should I let my pastor know? Should the EMHC’s [Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion] be trained in how to avoid this situation in the future?

Self-intinction is wrong because the Church does not permit it. That should be sufficient argument, but we can go a bit deeper.
Self-intinction contradicts the Church’s understanding of what is being done at Holy Communion. We are being fed by Our Lord with His Sacred Body and Precious Blood. We receive Holy Communion. Reception is a passive thing, not an active thing. In a position of humility (best exemplified by kneeling, in my opinion), we allow the Lord to feed us. Holy Communion is given to us, we do not take it. We do not take the host from the ciborium. We do not take the Precious Blood from the chalice.
If there is to be intinction (and it is one of the acceptable forms of distributing Holy Communion according to the General Instruction), the minister takes the host, dips it in the chalice, and places the dipped host directly on the tongue of the recipient.  That’s it.

It is worth noting that the General Instruction limits the distribution of the sacred species by intinction to the priest. Another minister holds the chalice, but it is the priest who intincts the host in the chalice and places it in the mouth of the communicant.
“287. If Communion from the chalice is carried out by intinction, each communicant, holding a Communion-plate under the mouth, approaches the Priest who holds a vessel with the sacred particles, with a minister standing at his side and holding the chalice. The Priest takes a host, intincts it partly in the chalice and, showing it, says, The Body and Blood of Christ. The communicant replies, Amen, receives the Sacrament in the mouth from the Priest, and then withdraws.”
Yes, I think you should let your pastor know about what you saw.  Put it into his hands.
Yes, I think that EMHCs should be TRAINED.
That said, I think we should move away from
  • the dreadful practice of Holy Communion in the hand,
  • the risky practice of Holy Communion under both kinds,
  • and also the exaggerated emplyment of EMHCs.
Soooo many problems could be avoided.  Moreover, I believe that returning to traditional practices will also foster greater reverence for… heck, at this point… BELIEF in the Eucharist.

And Then He Announced The Haitians Were Welcome to Move to Vatican CIty

CNA/EWTN News).- One of the Vatican's top diplomatic voices has criticized U.S. President Donald Trump's recent decision to end the Temporary Protected Status of thousands of Haitians taking refuge in the U.S., saying the country isn't yet ready for the influx after a slew of natural disasters devastated the island nation.
“That's a sad decision, because the Haitian population in the U.S. that arrived after the earthquake and after the storm that destroyed half of the island, cannot go back to a situation that still is very difficult,” Archbishop Silvano Tomasi told CNA Nov. 24.

 Of course, we COULD wait until Haiti is out of difficulty. Like, forever...

 Currently the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere, with close to 60% of the population living under the national poverty line, Haiti’s GDP growth rose to 5.5% in 2011 as the Haitian economy began recovering from the devastating January 2010 earthquake that destroyed much of its capital city, Port-au-Prince, and neighboring areas. However, growth slowed to below 2% in 2015 and 2016 as political uncertainty, drought conditions, decreasing foreign aid, and the depreciation of the national currency took a toll on investment and economic growth. 

 Investment in Haiti is hampered by the difficulty of doing business and weak infrastructure, including access to electricity. Haiti's outstanding external debt was cancelled by donor countries following the 2010 earthquake, but has since risen to above $2 billion as of December 2016, the majority of which is owed to Venezuela under the PetroCaribe program. Although the government has increased its revenue collection, it continues to rely on formal international economic assistance for fiscal sustainability, with over 20% of its annual budget coming from foreign aid or direct budget support.

Wednesday, November 22, 2017

The Mission Temple Fireworks Stand Guy was Right!

" He said, "Fireworks are dangerous, they can blow up in your face
So you better read the instructions, light the fuse and get away
These things are made in China, so it's easy to see
How a man who worships Buddha ain't got no guarantee"

China was responsible for the most ocean plastic pollution per year with an estimated 2.4 million tons, about 30 percent of the global total, followed by Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Egypt, Malaysia, Nigeria and Bangladesh.

The United States was the only rich industrialized nation in the top 20, and it ranked No. 20. Coastal EU nations combined would rank 18th.

Tuesday, November 21, 2017


We all know the Patron of beekeepers is St. Ambrose...

And we know the story of St. Modomnoc bringing the bees to Ireland...

One of the best known stories regarding Saint Modomnoc concerns his work as a beekeeper. Bees were kept both for their honey and the production of mead. Modomnoc was given charge of the bees in a sheltered corner of the monastery garden where he planted the kinds of flowers best loved by the bees.He talked to the bees as he worked among them and they buzzed around his head in clouds as if they were responding. He would walk among the hives in the evening and talk to them, and the bees, for their part, would crowd out to meet him. He was never stung. When the time came for him to return to Ireland, three times the bees followed in great swarm and settled on the mast. St. David perceiving this occurrence to be a good omen allowed Modomnoc to bring the bees to Ireland.When he landed, he set up a church at a place called Bremore, near Balbriggan, in County Dublin, and here he established the bees in a garden just like the one they had in Wales.

Here's a new bee story...about the latest American to be beatified, Father Solanus Casey.

One day, Fr. Groeschel and another friar were visiting the beehives kept by the friars, when the bees started swarming angrily.
Fr. Groeschel was instructed to get Fr. Solanus, who started talking to the bees and calming them when he arrived.
"He started to talk to the bees. 'All right now. Calm down. All right,'" Father Groeschel recalled in a story to Our Sunday Visitor. "And they started to calm down and go back into the hive.... I was absolutely in total shock.”
Fr. Solanus recognized the problem - there were two queen bees in the hive - and without the standard protective gloves or netting, stuck his bare hand in the hive and pulled out the second queen without getting stung.
He was also known for calming bees by playing his harmonica, which is now on display at the Solanus Casey Center in Detroit.

Monday, November 20, 2017

Islamic Outreach, Part CII

From an earlier post on this blog:

Pope Francis spoke to the diplomatic corps and amongst other things, said, "Hence it is important to intensify dialogue among the various religions, and I am thinking particularly of dialogue with Islam.",


Just a few days after circulating a propaganda poster depicting a jihadist driving toward the Vatican, a pro-ISIS media group today released another poster depicting Pope Francis beheaded.

In the image from the Wafa' Media Foundation, a jihadist stands over the orange-jumpsuited body of a prisoner with his hands behind his back, chest-down on the ground on a dirt street. The terrorist, clad in khaki with a white scarf covering his face, holds a knife in one hand and touches the head that looks like Pope Francis -- propped on the back of the body -- with his other hand.

"Jorge Mario Bergoglio," the pope's name, is written next to the head.

Quitters Never Win

It's already that time of the year when streets light up and shops are starting hard sales of gifts that should be given to celebrate the birth of Jesus, traditionally evoking many Christians to say, "put Christ back into Christmas."

But a priest in Northern Ireland is saying Christians should stop using the word Christmas because it has been hijacked by "Santa and reindeer," the Belfast Telegraph reports.
Father Desmond O'Donnell, who has a congregation in Cleenish Parish near Enniskillen, has urged Christians, no matter the denomination, to accept that the term 'Christmas' had been shorn of any sacred meaning.
"We've lost Christmas, just like we lost Easter, and should abandon the word completely," he argued.

"We need to let it go, it's already been hijacked and we just need to recognise and accept that."
O'Donnell, a member of the Catholic Oblate order, said in his interview he is not a Scrooge, and does not wish to deny non-believers their festive celebrations.

"I am not seeking to take anything away from anyone, I am simply asking that space be preserved for believers for whom Christmas has nothing to do with Santa and Reindeer," he noted.
"My religious experience of true Christmas, like so many others, is very deep and real - like the air I breathe.
"But non-believers deserve and need their celebration too, it's an essential human dynamic and we all need that in the toughness of life."
O'Donnell is a biblical scholar and psychologist, he even quoted from the Psalms to argue that a little bit of wine makes the heart rejoice.

"I'm all for Christians choosing to celebrate Christmas by going out for meals and enjoying a glass of wine, but the commercialisation of anything is never good," he said.
He said that, "secularisation and modern life will continue to launder the Church.
"It will start to institutionally break down, I've already seen it happening around the world in Malta, Poland and Uruguay, and it's starting to happen in Ireland.
"It's like watching the same movie over and over again - the Protestant Churches are battling too."
The priest, who is based in Dublin, added: "For many people God is just a word representing someone to blame in their calamity or a crutch to lean on in a time of distress, and the reality is that 'Christmas' no longer means Christmas."

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Shut Up, He Explained

CNA/EWTN News).- On Wednesday Pope Francis called out the common habit of chatting with people around you before Mass, stressing that this is a time for silent prayer, when we prepare our hearts for an encounter with the Lord.
“When we go to Mass, maybe we arrive five minutes before, and we start to chit-chat with those in front of us,” the Pope said Nov. 15. However, “it is not a moment for chit-chat.”
“It is a moment of silence for preparing ourselves for dialogue, a time for the heart to collect itself in order to prepare for the encounter with Jesus,” he said, adding that “silence is so important.”Continuing his new catechesis on the Eucharist, the Pope recalled his message the week prior, that the Mass is not a show, but a place where we encounter the Lord. In this encounter, he said, silence is what “prepares us and accompanies us.”

And may I add no chatting DURING Mass, nor after Mass until you have left Church. And during Communion. Especially. 

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

The Longest Journey Starts With a Single Mansion

.- Dialogue to foster conversion of hearts is the goal of the U.S. bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, said the group’s chairman in his first address to the bishops’ conference Monday.
“Our faith gives us confidence that Christ wishes to break down the walls created by the evils of racism. He wants us utilize us as his instruments in this great work,” said George V. Murry, SJ of Youngstown, Ohio.
This call is embedded in the Gospel message, he said, as we respond to those who even today continue to suffer from racism in the United States.
Bishop Murry spoke at the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ fall general meeting, held Nov. 13-14 in Baltimore.
He gave an update on the conference’s Ad Hoc Committee Against Racism, which he leads.

Archbishop Wilton Daniel Gregory of Atlanta emphasized that the fight against racism must be viewed as a long-term battle.
Hearts and minds will not be changed overnight, he said. However, the ad hoc committee raises the issue to the level of attention it merits and allows the bishops to offer a more comprehensive response.
Throughout the decades, Gregory said, the U.S. bishops have issued statements at key moments, including the 1957 Little Rock School Desegregation, the 1968 assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the 1979 pastoral letter Brothers and Sisters to Us.
While these statements have allowed the bishops to take an important stand in reaffirming Catholic teaching, the creation of the ad hoc committee will allow the conference to do more than just speak, he said.
He compared racism to abortion, saying that both issues require active involvement in efforts to evangelize, catechize, and educate in order to change minds and hearts.
“Racism is never going to be conquered by speech,” he said, “but only by actions.”

Actions like...

ATLANTA - Archbishop Wilton Gregory seems to have gotten the pope's message about modest living.
Days after Pope Francis permanently removed a German bishop for his lavish spending on a renovation project, the Atlanta archbishop apologized for building a $2.2 million mansion as his residence. He bowed to criticism from local parishioners and said he'd consider selling the new home in Buckhead, Atlanta's toniest neighborhood.
In letters, emails and meetings, local Catholics told Gregory the price tag was outlandish, especially in light of Francis' frugality. The Tudor-style mansion, stretching nearly 6,400 square feet, includes two dining rooms and a safe room. The archbishop said the new pope has "set the bar" for church leaders and others, and Gregory said he hadn't looked at the project's cost in terms of his own "integrity and pastoral credibility."

The Bishops Take Time Out From Fretting About Illegal Immigratioon to Take a Vote.

BALTIMORE—The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops chose a conservative archbishop for a key post Tuesday, signaling resistance to Pope Francis’s vision for the church among the Catholic hierarchy in the U.S.
Archbishop Joseph Naumann, of Kansas City, was elected chairman of the committee on Pro-Life Activities. In a vote of 96 to 82, he defeated Cardinal Blase Cupich, of Chicago, who is seen as a liberal in the church and a close ally of the pope. 
 Archbishop Joseph Naumann 
 The vote breaks a longstanding tradition of the position being held by a cardinal—an unusual lapse of deference in a highly rank-conscious body—and suggests that Catholic leaders in the U.S. remain largely resistant to the changes Pope Francis is trying to bring to the church.
Some experts said that the slim margin of the vote shows growing support for Pope Francis’s agenda; others said it mostly reflected the tradition of a cardinal holding the post.
Like all the bishops, Archbishop Naumann and Cardinal Cupich are both strong opponents of abortion and euthanasia. Archbishop Naumann said that he would keep the committee focused on those two issues, as it has been in recent years.
Cardinal Cupich, meanwhile, indicated that he would have broadened the committee’s focus to include other issues like the death penalty, health care and poverty—a list more in line with the priorities Pope Francis advocated for.

Cardinal Cupich - maybe you can start caring about "life" issues in Chicago and work your way up. Or maybe by showing some gumption and canning Father Michael Pfleger.

Notre Dame Decides on a Name Change

 From now on, we shall call them the University of South Bend.

In a stunning reversal, the University of Notre Dame has retreated from its decision to stop providing contraception to students and faculty through the university health-care plan. This decision is just the latest evidence to suggest that the Notre Dame administration is less committed to its Catholic identity and mission than it is to conforming itself to the demands of popular culture and societal pressure. In 2013, the university brought one of the most high-profile lawsuits against the Obama administration in the wake of the Health & Human Services contraception mandate, which required all employers — regardless of religious or moral objections — to provide birth control and abortifacient drugs to employees free of charge.
In late October, Notre Dame announced that it would end contraceptive coverage for faculty and students after receiving this exemption. The reaction from most quarters of the media, and from small groups of left-leaning Notre Dame graduate students, was exactly what one might expect — general shock and horror over Notre Dame’s “War on Birth Control,” magnified by the university’s status as the largest employer (so far) to eliminate coverage. But these brave birth-control warriors needn’t have troubled themselves. If they had paid any attention to the controversies brewing at Notre Dame in recent years, they would’ve had plenty of evidence to reassure them that it’d only be a matter of time before the university managed to find a way to reconcile its Catholic convictions with its desire to blend in among its Ivy League peers. And critics wouldn’t even have had to wait very long. It took no more than week for Notre Dame to announce that it would, in fact, not be ending contraceptive and abortifacient coverage for its employees and students, after all. Very conveniently, the university’s insurance provider, Meritain Health, graciously agreed to continue funding contraception indefinitely.

Notre Dame alumni group Sycamore Trust perhaps put it best in a bulletin announcing this latest flip-flop: The decision to continue providing contraception and abortifacients is a “breathtaking repudiation of [the university’s] judicial representations” and a move that “has set the precedent for this sort of insurance system for surgical abortion, sterilization, and any other procedure that has a significant constituency in the university community.” We need not get into the ugly history of the recent controversies that have led many to believe that Notre Dame grows less committed to its Catholic mission by the year. It is enough to say simply: Notre Dame has once again shown itself to care more about the verdict of powerful cultural influencers than about upholding the convictions of the faith it purports to represent.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

The Shakesperean Feast of St. Crispin and St. Crispinian, October 25

You didn't think I would forget, did you?

Movie Review

From a review of a new movie, "Novitiate" on the National Review site::
What caused the ranks of these women (nuns and sisters)of deep devotion so rapidly to diminish after that 1965 peak? American life certainly started changing rapidly in the 1960s, but factors such as the sexual revolution, the explosion in drug use, and the Vietnam War didn’t apply so much to the Catholic sisters. What did apply to them — what tore the foundations out from under them — was the 1962–1965 work of the Second Vatican Council, known as Vatican II, which ordered several steps meant to moderate and modernize Church practices. Henceforth, Mass would be celebrated in English or any other contemporary language rather than Latin, by a priest facing the congregants instead of standing with his back to them. And nuns learned that they could no longer consider themselves closer to God than anyone else. Their lifelong devotion to sacrifice seemed to be rendered moot.

I Imagine It's Been A While

A Capuchin dies and goes to heaven, humbly knocks on the door, and is let in without any fanfare. One day, a long time later, he notices lots of commotion. Flowers are arranged, all the candles are lit, and a red carpet is rolled out. He asks an angel what's going on, and is told that they are preparing to welcome a Jesuit into heaven. Perplexed, he asks St. Peter, "I always thought there would be justice and equality in heaven, with no one receiving preferential treatment. Why are you going to such great lengths to welcome a Jesuit, whereas you hardly took any notice of me when I arrived?" St. Peter tells him in reply, "Don't you see? Another Capuchin enters heaven almost every week, but you can't imagine how long it's been since we welcomed the last Jesuit up here!"