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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.

Self-Intinction

 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?
NO NO NO!

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

Bees

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.",

Meanwhile...



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.