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Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Illinois Was Ahead of Its TIme

.- After a yearlong legal struggle, a federal appeals court has ruled that city contractors in Philadelphia must place foster children with same-sex couples, a ruling that threatens the future of the local Catholic archdiocese’s foster placement program.
“We’re disappointed that the court decided to let the city place politics above the needs of kids and the rights of parents, but we will continue this fight,” said Lori Windham, senior counsel at the legal group Becket, which is representing the Archdiocese of Philadelphia’s Catholic Social Services.
Becket noted that despite being hundreds of beds short of what is necessary to serve the children in the foster care system, the City of Philadelphia failed to renew the Catholic foster care agency’s contract.

One of those agencies was Catholic Social Services (CSS), an arm of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia that has been working with foster children since its founding in 1917. CSS serves about 120 foster children in about 100 homes at any one time.
City officials cited the group’s unwillingness to place foster children with same-sex couples due to its religious beliefs on traditional marriage, even though lawyers for Catholic Social Services argued that no same-sex couple had ever approached the agency asking for certification to accept foster children.
Catholic Social Services in its lawsuit sought an order to require the city to renew its contract with them, arguing that the city’s decision violated their religious freedom under the constitution. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit ruled against CSS in its April 22 ruling.
“The City’s nondiscrimination policy is a neutral, generally applicable law, and the religious views of CSS do not entitle it to an exception from that policy,” Circuit Judge Thomas Ambro concluded.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

News From the Monastero Di Benedetto In Monte

New Guardians for the monks

 A monk responds to questions about the decision to get dogs

 Q: Why did the monks decide to get dogs?

 A: The idea first arose once we realized how many stray animals, including wild boar, had started coming onto our property. They were especially coming onto our trail that leads to our little hermitage. Sometimes, because we walk at night or in the early, early hours of the morning, some of the monks have had close encounters with wild boars, myself included. It can be a frightening experience because boar can be dangerous. In Italy, there are special kinds of dogs that have been bred for hundreds of years to be guardians and protectors of property and livestock. So it wasn’t that the monastery needed pet dogs; rather, these are animals that can provide a service to the monks in the monastery. 

Q: How have the monks responded to the new “residents”?

 A: They are puppies right now, so everybody smiles when they see them. We’ve set them up in such a way that they don’t interfere with the daily lives of the monks. But this has been good for the puppies, because they are getting to know how the community functions while not being spoiled by the monks. One monk has been charged with the duty of looking after them, but the other monks see them as they go to and from prayers, for example, and when they do, they smile. 

Q: What breed are the dogs?

 A: The breed that we chose is the Maremmano-Abruzzese Sheepdog; it is claimed that it is one of the oldest breeds in the world of dogs. They have been raised here in central Italy for hundreds of years, if not back to the times of the Romans. They are large, white dogs, and they have this guardian, protective instinct built into them. They aren’t attack dogs and they don’t direct sheep, but they protect livestock. They naturally bond with animals or people or property and then they naturally want to protect those things from intruders. They are very smart and independent. 

Q: Is there a particularly Benedictine reason to have dogs? 

A: Monasteries have always aimed to be sacred places where, insofar as possible on earth, the disharmony between Man and Creation wrought by Original Sin is restored to harmony, because monasteries are places where men consecrate themselves to God. So monks really want to take care of their property, to make it look beautiful, to protect it. They want to make their land as fruitful as possible in terms of vegetables, fruits and herbs. In other words, all the things at a monastery should be oriented to serving their Creator. The Canticle of Daniel, the Benedicite, which we pray at Lauds on Sunday mornings, is basically a prayer commanding all living things to bless the Lord. So, in a little way, by having dogs and directing them to protect that part of Creation that is within our walls, as well as to aid us in our lives as monks, we bear witness to a restored Creation, which will only fully come to pass at the consummation of the world.

New Zealand and Sri Lanka

The seemingly unlimited supply of virtue-signalers who dominate our culture have assured us emphatically the recent terror attacks in New Zealand and Sri Lanka are equivalent, a kind of quid pro quod between races and religions.
Other than the fact that, tragically, a great many people died in both—more in Sri Lanka, but the numbers are horrific enough in NZ—-this is utter nonsense. They couldn't be more different.
New Zealand was the act of one aberrant or evil (call him either or both) racist individual motivated by rage against immigrants—Muslim "invaders"—he thought were ruining his country. Sri Lanka was a planned attack on multiple targets by a local militant group, likely with the aid of a yet larger group or groups (possibly ISIS) from outside the country, acting under the dicta of a highly-evolved ideology euphemistically referred to as fundamentalist Islam or Islamism.
That ideology—that seeks to take over the world—has hundreds of millions of adherents and sympathizers across the globe, vastly more than Nazism at its height.  Whether active or not, they consider themselves at war with Judaism and Christianity as well as all other religions (Hinduism, Buddhism, etc.) and seek to eradicate these others from the earth.

The conclusion:

 And Islam has plenty to criticize, not just the obvious misogyny, homophobia, and other aspects of Sharia law, including the primacy of religious law over state law, stonings for adultery, death for apostasy, thieves having their hands removed, etc. It is indeed Medieval. Unlike other religions, Islam has never been significantly reformed—indeed, resists reformation via, among several other things, that bogus accusation of Islamophobia.

Meanwhile, many more will die, the majority of whom will be Muslims, destroyed in their primitive internecine rivalries (see the link above to deadly attacks). Islamic cultures will remain backward and impoverished because the most logical explanation for their condition, in fact, the only one at this point unless you are racist, is Islam itself.

The rest of us in the wealthy and technologically advanced West and East will continue to suffer myriad indignities—restrictions and inconveniences to our travel, visits to concerts and museums, places of business, government buildings, etc.—while looking over our shoulders for the intermittent attacks that will continue for the rest of our and our children's lives. Soon you will have to be fifty to remember what it was like to get on a plane without having to go through security. 

Maybe it's already so.

Monday, April 22, 2019

Maybe He'll End Up at St. Francis De Sales

Father Z wrote about this fellow. Abbe Justin had created a Go Fund Me page for $5000 to help defray his seminary expenses. Father Z mentioned it, suggested he go for the full amount he owes, and....see below:

Dear Friends and Benefactors,
My name is Abbé Justin Ong (王) from Malaysia. I am currently in the 6th year of my seminary formation with the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest at our International Seminary in Gricigliano, Italy.

Here, in the beautiful hills of Tuscany just fifteen minutes away from Florence, I am blessed to live in a community of over eighty fellow seminarians from around the world.

During our seven-year-long formation, we are taught in the spirit of St. Francis de Sales (one of the Institute's patron saints) and prepared to be, God-willing, good and faithful priests who are one day able to preach the truth of Christ and His Church and to celebrate the Sacraments daily, especially the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. The liturgical life of the Church is the center of our daily lives throughout our formation here at the seminary.

I am writing to you today to ask you once again to support the Institute's International Seminary with your generous financial assistance. Our Institute does not reject any applicant for financial reasons.

Even if the families of many of our confreres are not able to pay the full monthly tuition of $1,050, all young men who are sincere in their faith and who want to serve Christ with all their strength, will be accepted. Please help the Institute allow this work of divine charity to continue.

Thank you for your prayers and financial support!


Easter Help

Well, I'll Be....

Have you ever wondered who actually owns Paris’ Notre Dame Cathedral?
While most might believe that the Catholic Church owns the cathedral, Notre Dame is actually owned by the French government. 

Here’s the history, according to a Catholic News Agency report:

“Due to France’s laws regarding secularization, the French government owns all churches built before 1905, including Notre-Dame.
“The government lets the Archdiocese of Paris use the building for free, and will continue to do so in perpetuity. The Archdiocese of Paris is responsible for the upkeep of the church, as well as for paying employees.”
Wow, that is definitely surprising!

Islamic Outreach, Part CX

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."


NY Times photo

.- At least 200 people were killed in explosions Easter morning, detonated in churches other sites across Sri Lanka. Hundreds more are reportedly injured.
At 8:45 a.m., explosions were detonated during Easter Mass at churches in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo, and in Negombo, a city 20 miles to its north. At the same time, a bomb exploded at a service at the evangelical Zion Church in Batticaolo, on Sri Lanka’s east coast.
 St. Anthony’s Shrine was the Catholic church targeted in Colombo, and St. Sebastian’s is the Catholic parish in Negombo.
Pews were shattered by the blast at St. Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, and floors and ceilings were covered in blood. The shrine is the most well-known Church in Sri Lanka, and is designated the country’s national shrine. The first chapel on the Church property was built during Sri Lanka’s Dutch colonial period, when Catholicism was mostly forbidden on the island.

 COLOMBO, Sri LankaSri Lankan officials believe an Islamist militant group was behind the Easter morning attacks on churches and luxury hotels that killed at least 290 people and wounded another 500, Health Minister Rajitha Senaratne told reporters.
Officials had said previously that another country had warned that the group, known as National Thowheed Jamath, was planning attacks in Sri Lanka, but the warnings weren’t specific enough to effectively act on and didn’t include hotels or tourist sites as potential targets.

I Wouldn't Be Surprised If It Wasn't Satire

VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has called for a time of mourning within the Catholic Church after the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris burned earlier this week.

The period of mourning is said to be a time of weeping for the extra carbon dioxide emissions let off into the air from the fires.

"It is so tragic to see this beautiful, 900-year-old building go up in smoke---smoke that will continue to change our climate, the most pressing spiritual issue for the church today," Francis said. "As I saw the flames leap upward toward the sky, all I could think of was the bleak future we are contributing toward as our kids only have a decade left on this planet."

"Hail Mary, full of grace. Please cool our planet," he then muttered in a heartfelt prayer.

Pope Francis has encouraged Catholics to purchase indulgences to help rebuild the building and buy carbon credits to offset the damage to the climate the fire caused.

"Whenever a carbon credit purchase rings, another soul from purgatory springs," he said.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Notre Dame and Vatican Council 2

The day after the night before at #NotreDame de Paris. The High Altar stands untouched with its gleaming Cross, and the Blessed Virgin weeping holding her dead Jesus in her arms. The modern Altar installed after Vatican II, lays under rumble from the collapsed roof. Pic: AFP

Is it a message?

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

The Mario Cuomo of New Jersey

.- New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy signed a bill to authorize medically assissted suicide into state law on Friday.
Murphy signed the Medical Aid in Dying for the Terminally Ill Act into law on April 12, as one New Jersey bishop pledged to continue to oppose the "dangerous" new law.
The act was passed by the New Jersey legislature in late March, with bipartisan support. The new law will allow those deemed by a doctor to have less than six months to live to request lethal medication to end their lives. The patient then must administer the medication themselves.
In signing the bill, Murphy, a self-described “lifelong, practicing Catholic,” remarked that while he was aware that the Church opposed assisted suicide he was signing the bill into law regardless.
“After careful consideration, internal reflection, and prayer, I have concluded that, while my faith may lead me to a particular decision for myself, as a public official I cannot deny this alternative to those who may reach a different conclusion,” said Murphy.

OK, then he won't mind me stealing his car. He may think it is wrong, but I have come to a different conclusion. 

At Least It Got Some Catholic Firemen Into Church

French Catholics Wonder What That Big Building Was
PARIS ( - According to the latest study of Catholics in France, the "Eldest Daughter of the Church" is almost dead.
A new sociological study conducted in France revealed that only 1.8 percent of the entire French population are practicing Catholics. The survey further determined that "French Catholicism has become a festive reality" for those who do practice their faith.
Results showed that most French Catholics who do go to Church only do so on certain major feast days and for baptisms, marriages or funerals. Just five percent of Catholics in France attend Holy Mass on a regular basis, according to the poll.
 Even though so few Catholics in France practice their faith, nevertheless, the poll found that 53 percent of the French population consider themselves Catholic. Roughly half of these self-professed Catholics classify themselves as "involved" in the life of the Church, "because they live out their lives differently." By that they mean they feel attached to the Church because of their donations, their families lives or their commitments.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

I Hold This Truth To Be Suspicious

CNA).- The bare, white marble of Rome’s ‘Scala Sancta,’ which are believed to be the stairs trod by Christ on the day of his trial and death, are exposed and visible to pilgrims for the first time in almost 300 years.
The stairs, encased in wood since the 1700s, will be uncovered for veneration from April 11 to June 9, the feast of Pentecost. During this time, pilgrims may ascend the marble steps on their knees.

 The Holy Stairs are held to be those which led to the praetorium of Pontius Pilate in Jerusalem, and which Christ would have ascended on his way to the trial before his Crucifixion.

They are HELD to be? Sounds iffy to me, but knock yourself out.

Dumb and Dumber

.- Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has criticized Vice President Mike Pence for his views on gay marriage, saying that his civil marriage to his same-sex partner has led him closer to God.
Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, contracted a civil marriage with his partner Chasten, in a June 2018 Episcopalian ceremony.
Before he became vice president, Pence was Indiana’s governor from 2013 until 2017. In that office, he supported an attempt to amend the state constitution to define marriage as between a man and a woman, and signed the 2015 Religious Freedom Restoration Act into law. The act was criticized by gay rights activists as permitting discrimination by religious organizations.
“My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man,” said Buttigieg, speaking April 7 at a fundraiser for the Victory Fund, an organization dedicated to electing homosexual political candidates.
“And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”
Buttigieg said that he wishes “the Mike Pences of the world would understand” that he was born gay and that he cannot change this. “Your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator,” Buttigieg said.

Both Pence and Buttigieg are baptized Catholics, but neither attends Mass. Buttigieg describes himself as a devout Episcopalian. Pence attends an evangelical church and has described himself as an “evangelical Catholic.”

Monday, April 08, 2019

Sister Strike!

.- A religious sister can expect that if she is faithful to her vows, fervent in prayer, and zealous in following Jesus, her face might someday wind up on the front of a holy card.
But few religious sisters expect ever to find themselves on a baseball card.
Sister Mary Jo Sobiek, OP, though? She’ll premiere on a Topps baseball card this summer.
The sister, a member of the Dominican Sisters of Springfield, caught attention from baseball scouts and casual fans last year, when she threw out the ceremonial first pitch at a Chicago White Sox game last August.
The sister bounced the ball off her bicep before delivering a strike straight over the plate.


Gluten Free Hosts?

Interesting article today at Father Z's blog:

From a priest…
I was at a church this week and this is the gluten-free stuff they’re passing out.  Look at the ingredients.  How can this be valid matter?

 Just so that you can see it more clearly.

NO!  This is invalid.
The pastor should be informed immediately.  If nothing is done, the local bishop and then then the Congregation in Rome.
This is serious.
The hosts “consecrated” are NOT consecrated.  Hence, sacrilege and idolatry are taking place.
Even if the hosts are low gluten, they must have originated from wheat.  Other flours are INVALID.

Read the follow up...

An Irish Priest Walks Into a Cowboy Bar...

.- “I am the last F.B.I.: foreign-born Irish,” Father Tom Sheridan, a retired priest of the Cheyenne diocese, told CNA.
Sheridan speaks with an Irish accent mixed with the slow drawl of a longtime Wyoming resident. The rural state is the least populated in the country. Its 570,000 residents, spread across the state, would reach a density of less than six people per square mile.
The 80-year-old priest is himself from rural Ireland, five miles outside Cavan town in County Cavan. He grew up just miles from the border with Northern Ireland, during the decades in which Ireland became self-governing and independent. He attended Cavan’s St. Patrick’s College, as did some 12 of the Irish priests who served in Wyoming.
Sheridan remembered from his childhood two priests who served in Wyoming but would return home to Ireland to visit.
“They’d come home when I was young, and take out a jug of whiskey and take my dad fishing,” the priest recounted.
“Needless to say, they didn’t catch any fish,” he quipped. “They were great men.”
About 34 Irish or Irish-born priests from different parts of Ireland have served in Wyoming. Three of them were Sheridan’s cousins.

Wednesday, April 03, 2019

Shut Up, I Explained


ROME, Italy, April 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Pope Francis criticized governments who make border walls, saying, “He who builds a wall will become a prisoner of the wall he built.”
The comment came in response to a question at the Vatican from Spanish journalist Jordi Evole. After thanking the Pope for the “privilege” of the interview, Evole asked, "What do you think of the proposals of some presidents, such as Donald Trump, to raise up a wall between the United States and Mexico to avoid the wave of migrants?"
The pope answered, “He who builds a wall ends up a prisoner of the wall he built. That’s a universal law. That is what happens on the social and the personal levels. If you build up a wall between people, you will end up a prisoner of the wall you raised up.”
Apparently responding to critics advocating for national sovereignty who say “‘Yes, but I am defending my autonomy,’” the Pope answered, “‘You’re defining yourself as mushroom.’ He’s a prisoner.”


CNA).- The Bishop of Cuernavaca, Mexico has encouraged Catholics to intensify their prayers for peace, after the publication of a report that 15 Mexican cities figure among the most violent in the world.
Mexico’s Citizen Council for Public Safety and Criminal Justice prepares each year a list of the 50 most violent cities in the world, on the basis of the number of homicides per 100,000 inhabitants. The March 12 report said that during 2018 the most dangerous global cities were Tijuana and Acapulco.

Victoria, Juárez and  Irapuato hold fourth, fifth and sixth place. Further down the list are Cancún, Culiacán, Uruapan, Obregón, Coatzacoalcos, Celaya, Ensenada, Tepic, Reynosa and Chihuahua.

Caracas, Venezuela, holds third place. Only eight cities are not in Latin America. 

God Speaks! Islamic Outreach, Part CVIV

.- Reflecting upon his recent apostolic journey to Morocco, Pope Francis said Wednesday that God desires a greater sense of fraternity among Catholics and Muslims as “brother children of Abraham.”
“Some may ask, ‘But why does the pope visit the Muslims and not only the Catholics?’” Pope Francis said in St. Peter’s Square April 3.
“With Muslims, we are descendants of the same father, Abraham,” he said. “What God wants is fraternity between us in a special way,” he added, noting that this was the motive behind his travels.
Pope Francis offered thanks to God that his trip to the Moroccan capital of Rabat March 30-31 was “another step on the path of dialogue and encounter with our Muslim brothers and sisters.”

.- A court in Cairo sentenced Saturday 30 men to between 10 years and life imprisonment. They were charged with planning to bomb a church in Alexandria, an attack which was not carried out.
Egypt has seen a number of attacks on churches in recent years, motivated in part by a call from the Islamic State.
Of the 30 men sentenced March 30, only 20 were in court. Ten remain on the run. Prosecutors said they had been trained abroad and were influenced by Islamic State.
They were also accused of joining an illegal group, possessing explosives, and planning to attack a liquor store, Reuters reported.
In February 2017 the Islamic State issued a call to target Egypt's Christians.