Thursday, April 26, 2007

Bush Gets His Boogie On

Pope Benedict: "Hey, Thanks!"

After getting all your birthday greetings the Pope had a message for everybody:

The Holy Father was pleased to receive the greetings sent to him for Easter and for his anniversary celebrations.

His Holiness is grateful for the kind thought, which he reciprocates. In this holy season of Easter he invokes upon all people of goodwill abundant divine gifts of peace and joy, and cordially imparts his Apostolic Blessing.

Archbishop Leonardo Sandri

Substitute of the Secretariat of State

Archbishop Burke on Cardinal Glennon Benefit w Sheryl Crow


Here is a video Bishop Burke posted on youtube about this whole Sheryl Crow mishap. 

"Into Great Silence" DVD to be Released in US

The international hit movie/documentary "Into Great Silence" about the silent Grande Chartreuse monastery in the French Alps, head monastery of the Carthusian order will be released on DVD this coming October. Amazon.com is already pre-selling copies of the DVD as it currently ranks #612 in their DVD sales.

I have been following the story of this film for some time now and have greatly anticipated its release in the US. Many different publications such as Catholic World Report magazine and the National Catholic Register have done stories about the film describing its beauty and important message.
Here is an excerpt from a recent Register article:
The formal rigor of the finished 164-minute film, mirroring the ascetic strictness of the monks themselves, offers none of the didactic or expositional context associated with typical documentaries. No voiceover narration expounds the history of the monastery buildings or the Carthusian order. No captions introduce us to the events or rituals we see.
The result is more than a documentary of monastic life. It is a transcendent meditation on the human pursuit of meaning, on man as a religious and social creature, on the form and function of symbols and ritual and tradition; on the rhythms of work and prayer, day and night, winter and spring.
For all its asceticism, Into Great Silence is an exquisitely beautiful film. Precise compositions and splendid use of light at times overtly suggest the paintings of Vermeer, while stunning use of the natural beauty around the monastery may evoke Malick or Tarkovsky.
I'm very excited to see this movie and to see what sort of potential impact it may have. Our world hates silence. We are constantly being bombarded by media that our senses have become numb. We can't stand silence, it has become repulsive to us. Never before, I believe, would there have been any concept of "awkward silence." It's not the silence that is awkward, it is us.
This attitude has even seeped into the way we worship at Mass. There are very little moments of silence in the Mass any longer. When there is we get an antsy feeling someone should be "doing something." Pope Benedict has noticed this and wrote about the need for silence in his recent Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis. Here are some of the highlights:
(50) Furthermore, the precious time of thanksgiving after communion should not be neglected: besides the singing of an appropriate hymn, it can also be most helpful to remain recollected in silence.
(55) Active participation in the eucharistic liturgy can hardly be expected if one approaches it superficially, without an examination of his or her life. This inner disposition can be fostered, for example, by recollection and silence for at least a few moments before the beginning of the liturgy
We must learn to cultivate a spirit of silence within ourselves so that we can hear the voice of God in the "sound of a low whisper." (1 Kings 19:12) God rarely comes with trumpets blazing but prefers the silence of our hearts. If silence is awkward to us, will we hear the voice of God?

Orlando Diocese Investigates "Crying" Mary Statue

Orlando, Apr 25, 2007 / 10:31 am (CNA).- Officials of the Diocese of Orlando are expected to visit a local shop and verify a marble statue of the Virgin Mary that has allegedly shed a black tear.

Castle Designs, an Orlando business, received the reproduction of Michelangelo’s Pieta — the famous sculpture of the Virgin Mary cradling the dead body of Christ — two weeks ago from overseas.

The black tear was just recently noticed at the store and owners said it appears to be coming from inside the statue, reported WKMG Local 6 News.

"We started noticing that there was a small gray line every day that kept getting darker and darker," Castle Designs CEO Les Roberts said.

Store owners say officials from the diocese plan to come to the store and look at the statue. The business has also offered the diocese the option to display the statue.

Groups of people have already come to the store to pray before the statue, which has been roped off. Store owners have decided not to sell it.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Mexico Falls

Mexico City voted late Tuesday night to make abortion legal up until the 12 week. Catholic World News reports:

Mexico City, Apr. 25, 2007 (CWNews.com) - The provincial legislature of Mexico City has approved legal abortion through the first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

The vote-- which came despite heavy opposition from Catholic Church leaders-- would make Mexico one of the few countries in Latin America where abortion is legal. Pro-life activists have moved immediately to challenge the legislative action, asking for a referendum vote on the issue.

The proposal for legal abortion won easy approval, in a 46- 19 vote. The bill now requires only the signature of Mexico City's Mayor Marcelo Ebrard, who has already signaled his approval.

Legislators easily defeated a proposal to delay the vote until a popular referendum could be conducted. But pro-life activists said that they would continue to press for the referendum. Armando Martinez, a leader in the referendum movement, called the legislature's April 24 vote "a step backward for democracy."

The new law will make abortion legal only in the Mexico City region. However, women from around Mexico can now travel to the capital city to procure abortions. Thus Mexico will join Cuba and Guyana as the only Latin American nations allowing abortion on demand.

Reuters has coverage and so does CNA.

Thomas has been covering it and so has Amy. Still waiting to hear if Fr. Pavone has anything to say. If anybody knows of any statements he's made e-mail me or post something in the combox...

This whole debacle has been ripe for pictures:

On the left, prolife activists carry infant coffins protesting the decision while on the right pro-choice activists, dressed like clergy and nuns, celebrate the decision.

HELP!!!

Help me, please. I have the same amount of votes as a blog run by a witch. The blog description reads:

Leading pagan author, Lexa Roséan (Lady Venus) gives advice on magick, witchcraft, spells, and other occult matters.

Now, I'm grateful for the 6 votes I've received but please don't leave me tied with a pagan on the "Best Religion Blog" category.
You can vote here

North Dakota Passes Conditional Abortion Ban

The North Dakota Legislature voted Monday to ban abortion in the event that a future Supreme Court ruling makes such a move constitutional.

Under the ban, abortion providers would face criminal charges unless the pregnancy they're terminating is a threat to the mother's life or the result of rape or incest. Those found guilty of performing an illegal abortion would face a maximum penalty of five years in jail, a $5,000 fine or both.

Don Larson, a spokesman for Gov. John Hoeven, said the governor supports such a ban and will sign the bill.

The Bismarck Tribune has the rest of the story...

"Communion With the Church is Necessary to Foster Vocations"

Vatican City, Apr 24, 2007 / 11:49 am (CNA).- The Press Office of the Holy See made public today Pope Benedict XVI’s message for the upcoming World Day of Prayer for Vocations, which falls on Sunday, April 29th. The Holy Father referred to the theme of this year’s 44th Day of Prayer – “The vocation to the service of the Church as communion” – emphasizing the key role communion plays in the flourishing of vocations.

“Thanks to the work of the Holy Spirit,” Pope Benedict said, “all the members of the Church form ‘one body and one spirit’ in Christ. This people, organically structured under the guidance of its Pastors, lives the mystery of communion with God and with the brethren, especially when it gathers for the Eucharist.”

“This intense communion,” the Pope added, “favours the growth of generous vocations at the service of the Church: the heart of the believer, filled with divine love, is moved to dedicate itself wholly to the cause of the Kingdom.”

“In order to foster vocations, therefore, it is important that pastoral activity be attentive to the mystery of the Church as communion; because whoever lives in an ecclesial community that is harmonious, co-responsible and conscientious, certainly learns more easily to discern the call of the Lord,” the Holy Father encouraged.

To read the whole message...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Dr. Janet Smith Draws Crowd of About 200

Last evening Dr. Janet Smith, an internationally know speaker on bioethics and moral theology, spoke to a crowd of about 200 on the campus of Central Michigan University.

The topic of evening's presentation was "Pre-marital sex: for dummies." As she opened her talk she made it clear that she meant the "for dummies" to be for members of her generation, responsible for the sexual revolution of the 60's and 70's.

Dr. Smith proceeded to explain why what she calls "natural sex" (sex between a man and a woman in a permanent committed relationship which is open to having children) is more fulfilling, better for society, and psychologically healthier than sex before marriage.

The captivating presentation was, for the most part, enjoyed by those present and there were a few moments when Dr. Smith's humor drew laughter and applause from the assembly.

It was the second time Dr. Smith has spoken on campus, the first time being the spring of 2006 when she gave her famous "Contraception: Why Not" talk and drew a crowd of 600 - 700. Both speaking engagements have been sponsored by the Knights of Columbus and they plan on having Dr. Smith out again next year.

I need votes!

I've been nominated for two categories at the blogger's choice awards. I'd love to just say it's been great to be nominated but getting votes would be much better!

The nominations are for "Best Religion Blog" where I am sitting around 255th place on page 29, only two above the "Snoring Scholar." Please help, I don't want to be near a blog that is so bad the author himself is sleeping through it!

I'm also nominated for "Best Blog of All Time" where I am sitting at 193rd place on page 22.

Even though you may have voted before for another blog you can still throw a vote my way! Votes on either or both would most appreciated!
____________________________________________
UPDATE: I've moved up in the rankings...For Best Religion Blog I'm in 218th place with 3 votes and for Best Blog of All Time I'm at 130th place with 3 votes. Keep it up!

Bishop Nienstedt Named Coadjutor of St. Paul-Minneapolis

Well, if you want to know if there are any bishops moving around in the U.S. the best time to look is on Tuesday. This Tuesday brings us the news the Bishop Nienstedt has been named coadjutor of St. Paul-Minneapolis.

In case you are wondering what a coadjutor is, I found this at Catholic Encyclopedia:
"The titular bishop may also be coadjutor bishop when he is appointed to assist an ordinary bishop in the administration of the diocese. Sometimes he is incorrectly called auxiliary bishop. He possesses some powers of jurisdiction determined by the letters Apostolic appointing him. Often also, notably in missionary countries, the coadjutor bishop is named cum jure successionis, i.e. with the right of succession; on the death of the diocesan bishop he enters on the ordinary administration of the diocese."
Seeing that Archbishop Flynn will be turning 75 a year from now, it may be safe to say who the next archbishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis will be.

This appointment has a few local connections since Bishop Carlson is originally from the Archdiocese and was ordained a priest there. Also, Bishop Nienstedt was born and ordained in the Archdiocese of Detroit here in Michigan.

Pro-Life Group Blasts Philadelphia Inquirer's Anti-Catholic Abortion Cartoon

Thanks to Thomas over at American Papist for the scoop...

LifeNews.com reports:

Philadelphia, PA (LifeNews.com) -- The Philadelphia Inquirer newspaper is coming under fire for a cartoon it ran following the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the federal partial-birth abortion ban. The cartoon entitled “Church and State” features the five Catholic members of the high court wearing bishop miters.

Joseph Cella, the head of Fidelis, a leading Catholic pro-life group, says the newspaper, "has breached the line of reasonable editorial commentary. This cartoon is venomous, terribly misleading and, blatantly anti-Catholic."

"We call on the Inquirer to repudiate the cartoon’s anti-Catholic sentiment," Cella told LifeNews.com in a statement.
Cella says the cartoon suggests that the Supreme Court decision to uphold the ban on partial birth abortion was a result of the Catholic Church influencing the votes of the five Catholic Justices on the Supreme Court, who are portrayed as Catholic Bishops.

"The Supreme Court did not ‘follow marching orders’ from the Vatican or the Bishops in the United States. Instead, the Court deferred to deliberative judgment of the people's elected representatives protected by the Constitution,” Cella said.

“By exposing this outrageously intolerant cartoon, we hope to contain future attacks on judges of faith, particularly during any future confirmation hearings which will likely prove to be the most contentious in history," he added.

Cella said the Inquirer's cartoon resembles the attack on Judge Bill Pryor, who was mocked for having “deeply-held” religious beliefs as a Catholic. Pryor faced sharply abusive rhetoric before he was finally confirmed to the federal bench in 2003.

"The Inquirer’s insinuation that a Catholic judge cannot act dispassionately and apply the law is an affront to all judges of faith, and smacks of anti-Catholic bigotry and elitism of the worst kind," he concluded.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Around the Blogosphere...

Here are links to a few good posts around the "blogosphere..."

Cafeteria is Closed has some nice photo posts from Rome

Jimmy Akin has a nice post on limbo

Curt Jestor has a great post on the term "Abortion Doctor"

Thomas over at American Papist has comprehensive coverage on the Pope's trip to Pavia as well as posts begging for Blogger's Choice Award votes. I haven't even been nominated...Somebody nominate me!!!!!

Cosmos~Liturgy~Sex has a disturbing post on the sheep that is 85% sheep, 15% human...

and Propaganda Machine has random facts about this up comming May 6th

...check 'em out!

Decision on Limbo Causes Quite a Stir

Well, well, well, this whole limbo thing has caused quite a stir.

For those of you who are confused about what has been going on, a papal commission charged with the task of reviewing the small "t" tradition of limbo has returned with the opinion, approved by Pope Benedict, that "there are good reasons to hope that babies who die without being baptized go to heaven." Thus, in effect, canceling the idea of a "limbo of the children", not to be confused with the "limbo of the fathers": a place where the Old Testament Patriarchs and holy men and women waited for Christ to admit them into Heaven.

This decision is not necessarily coming out of no where. The idea of limbo has been in question in recent years as the church tried to comprehend God's universal salvific will (1 Tim 2:4) and the problem of abortion and children who die in non-Christian cultures who never get the chance to choose baptism. The Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska, home of bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, has a question and answer page from 1999 asking about the catholic belief in limbo. It states:
The Catholic Church never "believed" in limbo. The existence of limbo for unbaptized infants is not part of divine revelation, but rather was and is an educated theological "guess." The term was coined by St. Augustine of Hippo and literally means "fringe." This came about because God has not chosen to reveal what happens to deceased unbaptized infants.
In addition, the Catechism of the Catholic Church, which was promulgated in 1992, states this about children who die before baptism:
1261 As regards children who have died without Baptism, the Church can only entrust them to the mercy of God, as she does in her funeral rites for them. Indeed, the great mercy of God who desires that all men should be saved, and Jesus' tenderness toward children which caused him to say: "Let the children come to me, do not hinder them," allow us to hope that there is a way of salvation for children who have died without Baptism.
Not wanting to reduce the importance of baptism, the CCC follows this up by stating: All the more urgent is the Church's call not to prevent little children coming to Christ through the gift of holy Baptism.

Even though the idea of limbo has been suspect in recent years, some theologians seem shocked at the commission's opinion and Pope Benedict's approval. Rev. Richard McBrien, professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame stated after hearing the decision:
"If there's no limbo and we're not going to revert to St. Augustine's teaching that unbaptized infants go to hell, we're left with only one option, namely, that everyone is born in the state of grace,''
He goes on:
"Baptism does not exist to wipe away the "stain'' of original sin, but to initiate one into the Church,''
Fr. McBrien takes this a little too far obviously and his conclusion is, to say the least, extreme. All the commission has decided is that it is conceivable that God can provide an extraordinary means of sanctification. All it is saying is that we are bound by the sacraments but God is not and that, through God's Mercy and Justice, it is appropriate to hope that innocent children are allowed a place in the kingdom. Why is this so wrong and why is this so out of touch with our belief about original sin and the sacraments?

Now, granted, limbo is a long tradition, held since the time of Augustine, so it is understandable why some wish to hold tightly to the idea of a limbo. Yet, why it is so inconceivable that God could allow an extraordinary means of sanctification to those, who through no fault of their own, are not washed free of sin by baptism? This is not taking away the necessity of baptism but only taking into account the mercy of God. God is perfectly just and perfectly merciful and I don't think removing the idea of limbo is stressing mercy more than justice. Why isn't it a just thing to offer an extraordinary means of salvation to those who have the chance of baptism stolen from them?

I doubt the debate of limbo in theological circles will end based on the decision of this commission; it will remain what it always has been: a theological guess, what changes is what the Church's official "guess" is.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Bishop Carlson Applauds Supreme Court's Decision

Bishop Robert J. Carlson released the following statement regarding today's U.S. Supreme Court decision upholding the Partial Birth Abortion Act of 2003:
"Today's ruling by the Supreme Court to uphold the national ban on partial-birth abortion offers hope that our country’s leaders do understand their duty to protect the natural rights of all people – even the unborn. The majority was correct to recognize that the law 'expresses respect for the dignity of life' because all human life deserves to be protected, especially the lives of the most vulnerable.
"This decision rightly recognizes the fetus, partially delivered, is a viable form of life 'by common understanding and scientific terminology' and points to that fact that killing that baby 'just inches before the completion of the birth process' is unacceptable and inhuman.
"It is still a great tragedy, however, that more than 1 million abortions are reported to be performed in the United States each year, most of those taking place in the first 12 weeks of pregnancy. Those lives, sadly, still remain unprotected under today's ruling.
"The church has taught since its very beginnings that the killing of the unborn is intrinsically evil, murder, and can never be justified. In 1973, when the Supreme Court first interpreted abortion on demand as a constitutional right, the Justices failed to protect the lives of the most innocent and defenseless members of the human race. I pray that today’s ruling is one of many steps from our leaders in Washington to do more to protect the right to life of our nation’s most vulnerable citizens."

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Medieval helpdesk with English subtitles

For all of you who have had trouble with technology...

Clergy Most Satisfied

Firefighters, the clergy and others with professional jobs that involve helping or serving people are more satisfied with their work and overall are happier than those in other professions, according to results from a national survey.

“The most satisfying jobs are mostly professions, especially those involving caring for, teaching and protecting others and creative pursuits,” said Tom Smith, director of the General Social Survey (GSS) at the National Opinion Research Center at the University of Chicago.

The 2006 General Social Survey is based on interviews with randomly selected people who collectively represent a cross section of Americans. In the current study, interviewers asked more than 27,000 people questions about job satisfaction and general happiness. Individuals' level of contentment affects their overall sense of happiness, Smith said.

“Work occupies a large part of each worker’s day, is one’s main source of social standing, helps to define who a person is and affects one’s health both physically and mentally,” Smith states in a published report on the study. “Because of work’s central role in many people’s lives, satisfaction with one’s job is an important component in overall well-being.”

Here are the Top 10 most gratifying jobs and the percentage of subjects who said they were very satisfied with the job:

Clergy—87 percent percent
Firefighters—80 percent percent
Physical therapists—78 percent percent
Authors—74 percent
Special education teachers—70 percent
Teachers—69 percent
Education administrators—68 percent
Painters and sculptors—67 percent
Psychologists—67 percent
Security and financial services salespersons—65 percent
Operating engineers—64 percent
Office supervisors—61 percent

LiveScience via American Papist

Quality Post on the Virginia Tech Tragedy

Jimmy Akin's Blog has a great post on what our reaction should be following this past week's shooting.

Watch the Dennis Miller video as well...

Secret Plans Come to Fruition

Curt Jestor lets us in on the secret...

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Reactions Pour In

Drudge Report is gathering reactions:

HILLARY: 'Erosion of our constitutional rights'...

GIULIANI: 'I agree with it'...

OBAMA: 'I strongly disagree'...

ROMNEY: 'A step forward'...

MCCAIN: I'm very happy...

EDWARDS: 'I could not disagree more strongly'...


Interesting to see how the chips are falling...

Alleluia! Partial Birth Abortion Is Done!

WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court upheld the nationwide ban on a controversial abortion procedure Wednesday, handing abortion opponents the long-awaited victory they expected from a more conservative bench.

The 5-4 ruling said the Partial Birth Abortion Ban Act that Congress passed and President Bush signed into law in 2003 does not violate a woman's constitutional right to an abortion.

The opponents of the act "have not demonstrated that the Act would be unconstitutional in a large fraction of relevant cases," Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion.

The minority (man, that sounds good) has not refrained from giving their opinion on the decision:

"Today's decision is alarming," Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg wrote in dissent. She said the ruling "refuses to take ... seriously" previous Supreme Court decisions on abortion.

Ginsburg said the latest decision "tolerates, indeed applauds, federal intervention to ban nationwide a procedure found necessary and proper in certain cases by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists."

She was joined by Justices Stephen Breyer, David Souter and John Paul Stevens.


So, according to Justice Ginsburg the Supreme Court is infallible and can never be wrong. I think as long as she is quoting precedent she should look at the precedent the High Court has set at being wrong in its history. Like, um, I don't know, the time they told a slave that he had to remain a slave even though he was a slave in a state where slavery was illegal.

But whatever the case, babies can no longer be pulled out of their mother up to the neck and have their brains sucked out. Some people are upset at this ruling, I, on the other hand, am praising God.
________________________________________
UPDATE: The official Court ruling can be found here.

UPDATE 2: CNA has a great article and points out the pro-life response

Fr. Frank Pavone:

Fr. Frank Pavone, voiced the support of his group Priests for Life noting that “the United States Congress, and the vast majority of state legislators and American citizens, have made it clear over the last decade that this procedure - by which a child is killed in the very process of delivery - has no place in a civilized society.”

"We are grateful to all who worked so hard to pass this law and to educate the public about this unspeakably violent procedure," Fr. Pavone said.

Representative Chris Smith (R-NJ):

“Abortion methods either chemically poison a child to death or rip, tear, dismember, and vacuum the brain of the defenseless baby,” Smith boldly added. “ There is absolutely nothing whatsoever benign, compassionate, or just about a violent act that utterly destroys the life of a baby - it is a gross violation of human rights. Scrutiny must be brought to bear on the methods. The discussion of partial-birth abortion begins that process."


Dr. Paul Schenck:

"We are seeing a remarkable decrease of in the number of yearly abortions,” Newman said, “and an amazing increase in the number of closed abortion mills. In addition, polls are showing that America is becoming more and more pro-life, especially among the younger generations.”

“This is the first legal crack in the crumbling Roe v. Wade foundation, and is the first, necessary step toward banning the horrific practice of abortion in this nation,” he said.


I could post about this all day...and I just might...

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Benedict's Message to Virginia Tech

The Most Rev. Francis X. DiLorenzo
Bishop of Richmond (USA)

Deeply saddened by news of the shooting at Virginia Tech, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI has asked me to convey the assurance of his heartfelt prayers for the victims, their families and for the entire school community. In the aftermath of this senseless tragedy he asks God our Father to console all those who mourn and to grant them that spiritual strength which triumphs over violence by the power of forgiveness, hope and reconciling love.

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State

courtesy of Catholic News Service

Monday, April 16, 2007

Pope turns 80

It's taken me a bit to post this -- taxes due.

Remember when JPII turned 80? Everyone was waiting for him to die and asking how long it would be till he resigned his papacy and whether or not he had the ability to continue as he had before.

Now we witness a pontiff turning 80 and we are left to wonder if he is going to slow down any time soon. We have received two important documents in this two year papacy and a 448 pg book on Jesus Christ. The motu proprio is coming soon as well as WYD 2008. Then there is everything he has done with inter-religious dialogue. We are so blessed, we truly need to thank God for our Holy Father.

Yesterday, at the Mass for Divine Mercy, the Pope reflected on this important day:

Pausing a moment, the Pope thanked all those present as he celebrated a significant day, "I can look back over 80 years of my life." He especially noted the presence of the Metropolitan of Pergamo, saying that he "appreciate[s] that kind gesture and look[s] forward to a renewed Catholic-Orthodox theological dialogue."

Conscious that "the liturgy should not be used to speak about me," Benedict decided to focus on how "life itself can serve to announce the Mercy of God." Mentioning how much we owe to God the Father, the Holy Father noted that "at the same time, He trusts us because His mercy and goodness, with which He accepts even our weakness, always shine through His justice."

Viva il Papa!

Gunman Kills More Than 30 On The Virginia Tech Campus

The Associated Press released this about 5 minutes ago. This is just shockingly horrible:
BLACKSBURG, Va. (AP) -- A gunman opened fire in a Virginia Tech dorm and then, two hours later, in a classroom across campus Monday, killing at least 30 people in the deadliest shooting rampage in U.S. history, government officials told The Associated Press. The gunman was killed, bringing the death toll to 31.

There seems to have been mass confusion:

It was not immediately clear whether the gunman was shot by police or took his own life. Investigators offered no motive for the attack. The gunman's name was not immediately released, and it was not known if he was a student.

The shootings spread panic and confusion on campus. Witnesses reporting students jumping out the windows of a classroom building to escape the gunfire. SWAT team members with helmets, flak jackets and assault rifles swarmed over the campus. Students and faculty members carried out some of the wounded themselves, without waiting for ambulances to arrive.


What is so amazing about this rampage is how long it went on for. Sources report that the shootings began at 7:15 am and went on for another two hours over the 2,600 acre-campus.

One of the tragedies of this morning was that some of it may have been prevented. School officials failed to get the word out that a shooting had taken place in the dorm and thus students were not prepared for the second shooting.
"What happened today this was ridiculous," student Jason Piatt told CNN. He said the first warning from the university of a shooting on campus came in an e-mail about two hours after the first deadly burst of gunfire. "While they're sending out that e-mail, 22 more people got killed," Piatt said.

It now seems as if the authorities have everything under controll and are taking the precautions necessary to lock down the campus and provide parents a chance to meet up with their children.

We all need to keep the victims, their families, the gunman, and all those connected with Virginia Tech in our prayers...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Pope's 80th Birthday Is Tomorrow: Send A Birthday Greeting!


Pope Benedict XVI is celebrating his 80th birthday tomorrow, April 16th. The vatican.va has provided a link to a page where people can send the pope a birthday greeting. Head on over and tell your papa how much you love him...

President Bush Addresses National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

Interesting news from Washington:
Washington DC, Apr 13, 2007 / 02:51 pm (CNA).- United States’ President George W. Bush spoke this morning at the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast, at Washington’s Hilton Hotel, telling the crowd of Catholic faithful that the “promise of America” is in need of renewal and that such a renewal will come through a greater respect for human life and an active hand from religious groups.
The President had very encouraging words to say about Catholic Schools:

Bush noted the work that Catholic Schools do to educate Catholics and non-Catholic’s alike – especially in the nation’s poorest neighborhoods. “I appreciate the tremendous sacrifices that many dioceses are making to keep their inner-city schools going,” Bush said. “I am worried that too many of these schools are closing -- and our nation needs to do something about it.”

“I applaud our nation's Catholic schools. I will continue to work to help these schools reach more children in need, so that our children have the skills they need to realize the full promise of the United States of America.”

Finally, it's good to hear that some of our Catholic Leaders were in attendance:
In addition to several members of congress, Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts and Justice Sam Alito were also present at the event; as was current Secretary of the Department of Veterans Affairs and former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Jim Nicholson.

Friday, April 13, 2007

WHAT???

The Prospect of All-Female Conception

That's right, your eyes are not playing tricks on you, this is how an article in The Independent begins today.
Women might soon be able to produce sperm in a development that could allow lesbian couples to have their own biological daughters, according to a pioneering study published today.
The idea would be to take the stem cells from the woman's bone marrow and then produce sperm cells with it to fertilize the egg of the other woman.
Theoretically is it possible," Professor Nayernia said. "The problem is whether the sperm cells are functional or not. I don't think there is an ethical barrier, so long as it's safe. We are in the process of applying for ethical approval.
So, my question is: where do you seek ethical approval for THIS? Professor Nayernia states:
We are preparing now to apply to use the existing bone marrow stem cell bank here in Newcastle. We need permission from the patient who supplied the bone marrow, the ethics committee and the hospital itself.
So, I guess I don't see the woman or the hospital, who has so much to gain financially, putting up much of a fight and as for the ethics committee, which is more than likely filled with scientists and health professionals with the mindset of "if you can do it then do it," I don't see much of a road block there either.

Science devoid of God seem to always reaches for the unnatural and dare I say grotesque. How far do we have to go before somebody just stands up and says...WHAT???

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Einstein & Faith


I was reading an article in Time Magazine about Albert Einstein and his experience of faith. I thought the article was very good and I assume that it is painting an honest picture of the faith life and beliefs of the genius physicist.

As I was reading the article, two things struck me. One, that a man who was so very brilliant and so immersed in Science and Mathematics had no problem with the idea of God. And what enabled him to believe in God? He didn't let science snuff out his reasons for belief but saw in science the very reasons for belief. It was the beauty of the universe that told him there must be a God. Einstein:
"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness."
The conviction that a beautiful universe would have God as its creator led Copernicus to change the way we look at the universe and beauty is, I think, one of the best "proofs" for the existence of God. It isn't rational, it isn't something you can totally grasp or "figure out" and beauty always exists as a gift. When one beholds something beautiful in nature all one can do is simply receive.

However great Einstein's genius is in recognizing God and basically blowing the idea that an educated person (especially a Scientist) can't believe in God out of the water, I think his over reliance on his intellect is what eventually becomes his downfall. For all his recognition of mystery and beauty in creation as evidence for God he can't take that extra step and see God as a "personal God."

Whether or not God exists is not the question, nature supplies that for us. It is whether he cares and has an active role in the lives of His creatures that is the tripping point here; knowing God exists and knowing God are two totally different things. Nature tells us the glories of God but a "natural" faith can not take us into a relationship with him, only revelation can. If one does not open himself up to revelation all God can be for them is a "distant force" which determines their lives but ultimately doesn't really care - God in this sense is only an intellect and is incapable of love.

I, obviously, reject this view, not only because I believe in revelation, but also, because love itself touches upon that mystery and beauty that Einstein pointed to. A God who created love must be a loving God, a God who is interested in what he created, and through His mysterious, beautiful love gives love to the world as a gift.

A Christian would say that this gift of love is the person of Jesus. Einstein recognized the uniqueness of Jesus and stated:

"No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."
For me this quote betrays the tragedy of Einstein's faith. He experiences the person of Jesus through the Word, yet, he does not let himself be caught up in the faith-gift of revelation. He relies too much on the proof he can perceive and never seems to abandon himself to that deeper faith which is necessary for a personal encounter with the Trinity, and that, is where all the real mystery and beauty lies.

Dick Cheney Ruins Easter

This is just hilarious...

"Seminarians" Recieves Endorsement By Genius


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Fr. Z Motu Proprio Update

Fr. Z reports:

The Italian daily Il Tempo has published an unsigned article claiming in the headline that the Motu Proprio will be issued next Monday, 16 April, after the celebration for the Holy Father’s 80th Birthday.

He's got the full translation of the Italian Newspaper article here.

I think Fr. Z makes a good point in reminding everyone that the Latin language is not exclusive to the pre-conciliar rite but still remains the language of the Church.

It is sad to think that there has been so much divisiveness in the Church over our most precious treasure - the Mass, yet let's pray that the Holy Spirit guides our Holy Father in shepherding God's people into deeper communion.

WYD SYD 2008 - 'Dare You To Move' Promo Video

After posting on WYD 2008 yesterday I found this promo video and was simply amazed by a few of the shots. I can't believe how many young people go to these events. There are oceans of people! The Church is not dying...it is very young and is getting younger every day...

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

57,000 Registered So Far For World Youth Day 2008


In only one month of registration being open, 57,000 have registered to go to Australia in July of 2008 for World Youth Day. CNA reports:

Sydney, Apr 10, 2007 / 11:55 am (CNA).- Last March 2nd registration opened for World Youth Day 2008 in Sydney. After a little more than a month, more than 57,000 people have signup to attend the world event which will take place in the Australian capital in July of next year.

“The registration is going well. Although group registration is still not mandatory, it is a great help to know the number of pilgrims we are going to be welcoming, thus giving us the chance to welcome them better and be more organized,” WYD officials said

This will be my first World Youth Day, I can't wait!

Cardinal Rigali Urges Senate to Reject Stem Cell Bill

Washington DC, Apr 9, 2007 / 09:25 am (CNA).- Cardinal Justin Rigali has urged U.S. senators to reject legislation (S. 5), which would allow federal funding for stem cell research, including stem cells derived from the destruction of embryos. Senators are expected to vote on the bill this week.

In his letter to the Senate, dated April 4, Cardinal Rigali emphasized that the stem cell issue is not a matter of opposing progress. Cardinal Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia, is chairman of the U.S. bishops’ Committee for Pro-Life Activities.

“The question is whether our technical progress is guided by an equally advanced sense of the dignity of each and every human life,” the Cardinal wrote. He cited Pope Benedict XVI in saying that research, which relies on the intentional destruction of human life — including human life which is not yet born — is not truly at the service of humanity.

Story here, Letter here, Bill here,

There is also another bill up which describes its purposes as:

It is the purpose of this Act to--
(1) intensify research that may result in improved understanding of or treatments for diseases and other adverse health conditions; and
(2) promote the derivation of pluripotent stem cell lines without the creation of human embryos for research purposes and without the destruction or discarding of, or risk of injury to, a human embryo or embryos other than those that are naturally dead.

Skimming this bill (S. 30), it seems like a good direction for the Senate to be heading. However, it seems as if S. 5 (the bill on embryonic research) is everyone's darling. They can only approve one, lets pray it is S. 30.

It is scheduled to go up on the bloc later today...we need to pray.

Bishop Carlson's Easter Message 2007


Dear Friends in Christ,

As I celebrate my third Easter with you, I call to mind the words of the Memorial Acclamation from the Mass – "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again." St. Peter, the first Pope, captured this mystery for us in the Book of Acts, chapter 10.

Having been baptized by John the Baptist in the Jordan, Jesus was empowered by the Holy Spirit, and went out to proclaim the Kingdom of God by his teaching and healing of the people. He was put to death by "hanging him on a tree" and God the Gather raised him from the dead, and he appeared to Peter and John and Mary and all of his disciples. He commissioned them to proclaim the forgiveness of sins "through his name."

We call this the Paschal Mystery and we reflect on this today as we read John 20:1-9 and reflect on Mary Magdalene going to the tomb and finding it empty. She had seen Jesus die on the cross and knew where they buried him. Finding the tomb empty, she went to Peter and John and they too become witnesses. Today, we are invited, as people of faith, to see and believe!

Throughout the Easter Season, we can reflect on the Resurrection and all that this means for us in faith. Our loving and merciful God has saved us by sending Jesus his Son to suffer, die and rise. In confidence we proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord! We are blessed to meet the risen Lord in Word and Sacrament and in a special way through the gift of the Eucharist.

Just a few weeks ago, on February 22, 2007, our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, released the Apostolic Exhortation Sacramentum Caritatis (The Sacrament of Charity), in which he calls the Church into a deeper relationship with the Eucharist. The Pope reminds us that "the Eucharist is at the root of every form of holiness, and each of us is called to the fullness of life in the Holy Spirit" and that "this most holy mystery thus needs to be firmly believed, devoutly celebrated and intensely lived in the Church."

Just as Jesus made himself known in the breaking of the bread to those two disciples on the road to Emmaus that first Easter (Luke 34:13-35), today Jesus continues to reveal his body, blood, soul and divinity to us in the Eucharist. Indeed, like those two disciples, our hearts ought to burn within us knowing the risen Lord is near.

As Peter reminds us that we "know what happened all over Judea," we are reminded at each Mass that Jesus took bread, broke it and said, "Take this all of you and eat it. This is my Body."

It is in that spirit of encountering Christ through the Sacrament of the Eucharist, that I have called the Diocese of Saginaw to celebrate, in a special way as local church, a Eucharistic Congress on June 8, 9 and 10.

During that same weekend, God willing, I will ordain two men to the priesthood and five as transitional deacons for service in this diocese.

We have invited special speakers to visit our diocese, including Catholic entertainer Steve Angrisano, who will help lead an all-day youth rally and an evening family concert. There also will be opportunities for adults to enrich their own faith.

Every pastor and pastoral administrator has the information you need to learn about the Eucharistic Congress and the many events that have been scheduled. You also may click here to learn more about the event and register to be part of this great faith opportunity.

This Easter, may we be united in prayer with our Holy Father, Pope Benedict, that "through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, may the Holy Spirit kindle within use the same burning love experienced by the disciples on the way to Emmaus and renew our 'Eucharistic wonder' ... let us encourage one another to walk joyfully, our hearts filled with wonder towards our encounter with the Holy Eucharist so that we may experience and proclaim to others the truth of the words in which Jesus took leave of his disciples: 'I am with you always, until the end of the world.' (Mathew 28:20)."

Wishing you and your family a blessed Easter with hearts on fire for Christ,

Most Rev. Robert J. Carlson
Bishop of Saginaw

Sunday, April 08, 2007

If Nicholson Had Been Cast in the Role of Jesus and Not Caviezel

Props to The Curt Jester...

Benedict's Urbi et Orbi Message for Easter 2007

Dear Brothers and Sisters throughout the world, Men and women of good will!

Christ is risen! Peace to you! Today we celebrate the great mystery, the foundation of Christian faith and hope: Jesus of Nazareth, the Crucified One, has risen from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures. We listen today with renewed emotion to the announcement proclaimed by the angels on the dawn of the first day after the Sabbath, to Mary of Magdala and to the women at the sepulchre: “Why do you search among the dead for one who is alive? He is not here, he is risen!” (Lk 24:5-6).

It is not difficult to imagine the feelings of these women at that moment: feelings of sadness and dismay at the death of their Lord, feelings of disbelief and amazement before a fact too astonishing to be true. But the tomb was open and empty: the body was no longer there. Peter and John, having been informed of this by the women, ran to the sepulchre and found that they were right. The faith of the Apostles in Jesus, the expected Messiah, had been submitted to a severe trial by the scandal of the cross. At his arrest, his condemnation and death, they were dispersed. Now they are together again, perplexed and bewildered. But the Risen One himself comes in response to their thirst for greater certainty. This encounter was not a dream or an illusion or a subjective imagination; it was a real experience, even if unexpected, and all the more striking for that reason. “Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, ‘peace be with you!’” (Jn 20:19).

At these words their faith, which was almost spent within them, was re-kindled. The Apostles told Thomas who had been absent from that first extraordinary encounter: Yes, the Lord has fulfilled all that he foretold; he is truly risen and we have seen and touched him! Thomas however remained doubtful and perplexed. When Jesus came for a second time, eight days later in the Upper Room, he said to him: “put your finger here and see my hands; and put out your hand and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing!” The Apostle’s response is a moving profession of faith: “My Lord and my God!” (Jn 20:27-28).

“My Lord and my God!” We too renew that profession of faith of Thomas. I have chosen these words for my Easter greetings this year, because humanity today expects from Christians a renewed witness to the resurrection of Christ; it needs to encounter him and to know him as true God and true man. If we can recognize in this Apostle the doubts and uncertainties of so many Christians today, the fears and disappointments of many of our contemporaries, with him we can also rediscover with renewed conviction, faith in Christ dead and risen for us. This faith, handed down through the centuries by the successors of the Apostles, continues on because the Risen Lord dies no more. He lives in the Church and guides it firmly towards the fulfilment of his eternal design of salvation.

We may all be tempted by the disbelief of Thomas. Suffering, evil, injustice, death, especially when it strikes the innocent such as children who are victims of war and terrorism, of sickness and hunger, does not all of this put our faith to the test? Paradoxically the disbelief of Thomas is most valuable to us in these cases because it helps to purify all false concepts of God and leads us to discover his true face: the face of a God who, in Christ, has taken upon himself the wounds of injured humanity. Thomas has received from the Lord, and has in turn transmitted to the Church, the gift of a faith put to the test by the passion and death of Jesus and confirmed by meeting him risen. His faith was almost dead but was born again thanks to his touching the wounds of Christ, those wounds that the Risen One did not hide but showed, and continues to point out to us in the trials and sufferings of every human being.

“By his wounds you have been healed” (1 Pt 2:24). This is the message Peter addressed to the early converts. Those wounds that, in the beginning were an obstacle for Thomas’s faith, being a sign of Jesus’ apparent failure, those same wounds have become in his encounter with the Risen One, signs of a victorious love. These wounds that Christ has received for love of us help us to understand who God is and to repeat: “My Lord and my God!” Only a God who loves us to the extent of taking upon himself our wounds and our pain, especially innocent suffering, is worthy of faith.

How many wounds, how much suffering there is in the world! Natural calamities and human tragedies that cause innumerable victims and enormous material destruction are not lacking. My thoughts go to recent events in Madagascar, in the Solomon Islands, in Latin America and in other regions of the world. I am thinking of the scourge of hunger, of incurable diseases, of terrorism and kidnapping of people, of the thousand faces of violence which some people attempt to justify in the name of religion, of contempt for life, of the violation of human rights and the exploitation of persons. I look with apprehension at the conditions prevailing in several regions of Africa. In Darfur and in the neighbouring countries there is a catastrophic, and sadly to say underestimated, humanitarian situation. In Kinshasa in the Democratic Republic of the Congo the violence and looting of the past weeks raises fears for the future of the Congolese democratic process and the reconstruction of the country. In Somalia the renewed fighting has driven away the prospect of peace and worsened a regional crisis, especially with regard to the displacement of populations and the traffic of arms. Zimbabwe is in the grip of a grievous crisis and for this reason the Bishops of that country in a recent document indicated prayer and a shared commitment for the common good as the only way forward.

Likewise the population of East Timor stands in need of reconciliation and peace as it prepares to hold important elections. Elsewhere too, peace is sorely needed: in Sri Lanka only a negotiated solution can put an end to the conflict that causes so much bloodshed; Afghanistan is marked by growing unrest and instability; In the Middle East, besides some signs of hope in the dialogue between Israel and the Palestinian authority, nothing positive comes from Iraq, torn apart by continual slaughter as the civil population flees. In Lebanon the paralysis of the country’s political institutions threatens the role that the country is called to play in the Middle East and puts its future seriously in jeopardy. Finally, I cannot forget the difficulties faced daily by the Christian communities and the exodus of Christians from that blessed Land which is the cradle of our faith. I affectionately renew to these populations the expression of my spiritual closeness.

Dear Brothers and sisters, through the wounds of the Risen Christ we can see the evils which afflict humanity with the eyes of hope. In fact, by his rising the Lord has not taken away suffering and evil from the world but has vanquished them at their roots by the superabundance of his grace. He has countered the arrogance of evil with the supremacy of his love. He has left us the love that does not fear death, as the way to peace and joy. “Even as I have loved you – he said to his disciples before his death – so you must also love one another” (cf. Jn 13:34).

Brothers and sisters in faith, who are listening to me from every part of the world! Christ is risen and he is alive among us. It is he who is the hope of a better future. As we say with Thomas: “My Lord and my God!”, may we hear again in our hearts the beautiful yet demanding words of the Lord: “If any one serves me, he must follow me; and where I am, there shall my servant be also; if any one serves me, the Father will honour him” (Jn 12:26). United to him and ready to offer our lives for our brothers (cf. 1 Jn 3:16), let us become apostles of peace, messengers of a joy that does not fear pain – the joy of the Resurrection. May Mary, Mother of the Risen Christ, obtain for us this Easter gift. Happy Easter to you all.

Cardinal George Falls and Hurts Hip

Amy breaks the bad news:

Cardinal Francis George was hospitalized with a slight hip fracture Saturday after he apparently slipped and fell inside a Chicago church while blessing Easter baskets, archdiocese officials said.

George, 70, was at St. Ferdinand Catholic Church on the Northwest Side Saturday morning to bless baskets of food for Easter meals and slipped on some holy water that had splashed onto the marble floor, said Colleen Dolan, spokeswoman for the archdiocese.

Upon falling, the cardinal appeared to land squarely on his hips in a seated position and grimaced in pain. He did not lose consciousness and even continued with the blessing. But shortly after the service, the pain in his right hip grew more severe and he was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood in a private car.


For the rest of the Article:
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UPDATE: Cardinal George was released from the hospital on Easter Sunday. This is great news.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa Praises the Role of Women in Good Friday Reflection

The Vatican doesn't have an english translation up yet but CNA has this to say about the reflection Fr. Cantalamessa gave on Good Friday.

During his homily the Preacher of the Papal Household also emphasized the role of the holy women discussed in the Passion story, referencing the “new feminism” discussed often by Pope John Paul II.


This Good Friday also provides an opportunity to recall for today’s world, “the role of the women, who on Golgotha were the last to leave the dying Christ and that to whom the Lord was first revealed,” Fr. Cantalamessa said.


He pointed out that the holy women should not be seen “with a certain masculine condescension only as some ‘pious women,’” for they, “were truly ‘mothers of courage’ because they braved that danger which was presenting themselves publicly on behalf of one condemned to death.”


“In the past it was argued who desired the death of Jesus: whether the Jewish leaders, or Pilate, or both,” the priest said. “One thing is certain in every case: they were men, not women. No woman is involved, not even indirectly, in his condemnation even the on pagan woman mentioned in the stories, the wife of Pilate.”


I'll be sure to post a link to the whole sermon when it is available.

"As Anointed People, We Must Bring Christ To The World"

Its been a busy week. Thus the post on Tuesday's Chrism Mass on Saturday. Enjoy.

This past Tuesday marked the annual "Chrism Mass" celebrated as the day priests renew their vows and the holy oils are blessed and consecrated for use within the diocese. This year's Chrism Mass gathered people from all around the diocese to unite in prayer and remember who we are as the Church of Saginaw: a church of bishop, priests, religious, and laity bound together by our election as the people of God and the mission we have to "Go out to all nations..."

This message of election and mission which permeated the whole day manifested itself as we joined in the anticipation of our brother Andy and Jose's ordination to the priesthood and also in the sending of the oils to every parish in the diocese. It was a message given to those who participated in the Chrism Mass the first time and to those who participated in it for the last time. Bishop Carlson led everyone in a standing ovation for Kevin Bourassa, the diocesan associate for music, who will be leaving soon for a new position in Wisconsin.

Election and mission were the central themes of the Bishop's homily. He began by reflecting on the meaning of the oils in the Christian life by asking all those who were being received into the Church at the Easter Sacraments to stand and be recognized. After the applause had died down he related to the gathered assembly the experience of anointing over 100 people the night before with the oil of the sick and the joy the diocese had in preparing to ordain two men to the priesthood this coming summer.

In focusing on these three aspects of anointing in the life of the church, the Bishop prayed that the Holy Spirit would grace us with a deeper understanding of our faith. "If we are an anointed people," he said, "we need to be a spirit-filled people."

His homily then turned to the mission we have as the elect of God to lift up those who suffer, those who are often trodden under foot: the immigrant, the former prisoner, the homeless. The spirit-filled and strongly emotional homily brought forth acclamation from the assembly as they heard the words of a commission being handed on to them.

It was not a new commission, however, as all recognized in the message the mandate of Christ, to feed the hungry, clothe the naked and visit the lonely. It was a call to embrace that mission once again, some two thousand years after it had first been given, and thus bring the transforming love of Christ to this wounded world.


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UPDATE: CNA has a story on Pope Benedict's message for the Chrism Mass: Priests must put on Christ’s yoke of love

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Pope's New Book Due Out in Two Weeks

Volume I of the two volume work is set to be released soon...

Vatican City, Apr 4, 2007 / 11:17 am (CNA).- The Vatican announced this morning that on Friday, April 13th, Pope Benedict XVI’s first book will be released with a press conference. The book, titled “Jesus of Nazareth,” is certainly not the first written by the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, but the first released by him after his taking his seat on the Chair of Peter.

Starting on Monday, April 16th, which is also the Pope’s birthday, the book will be available in its Italian, German, and Polish editions. The English, Spanish, and French versions are expected to follow soon after.

[A]ccording to several sources including hints from the Pope himself, the book is primarily a historical and theological presentation of the figure at the center of Christianity, which draws on hundreds of works of modern research into the figure of Jesus Christ.

It consists of 10 chapters covering the life of Jesus from his baptism in the River Jordan to the 'transfiguration', when the Bible says his appearance changed and revealed his divine nature to his watching disciples.


Amazon already has a pre-sale going on this 400 page behemoth. It has already reached a sales rank of #216 which is really high for Amazon. Get yours before the mad rush!

The Simpsons - Homer and Bart convert to Catholicism

This Video is classic, I've got to watch the whole episode...

Monday, April 02, 2007

Do You Believe in God?

From Catholic Online:

NEW YORK (Catholic Online) – An overwhelming majority of American adults believe in God and feel that its political candidates should be believers, according to a nationwide poll released just before the beginning of Holy Week.

A poll commissioned by the New York-based newsmagazine Newsweek, revealed that 91 percent of U.S. adults believe in God, whil only 3 percent described themselves as atheists.


Read on...

Opening Day



Tigers lost 5 - 3 in the 10th...

Motu Proprio Expected Very Soon


Well, I've held out in publishing a story on this because I didn't want to get caught up in the hype and the rumor mills. However, it seems inevitable that Pope Benedict XVI is going to publish a Motu Proprio ("of his own accord") establishing wider use of the Pius V Mass under the rite of 1962. How this wider use will look is anybody's guess no matter what they may claim to know. One thing is certain though, it will be used more.

The USCCB run Catholic News Service has a fairly interesting story about the Motu Proprio:

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- Sometime soon, Pope Benedict XVI is expected to broaden permission to use the Tridentine Mass, a long-standing request of traditionalists who favor the rite used before the Second Vatican Council.

The move is aimed at ending a liturgical dispute which has simmered for more than 20 years. In the process, it could clarify how the pope intends to implement what he once described as a "liturgical reconciliation" in the modern church.

They then go on to explain how some have thought that this move is an attempt to reconcile with the followers of Marcel Lefebvre but clarify by saying that some Vatican officials believe that the attempt is more aimed at retaining the church's liturgical tradition.

They continue by explaining what Benedict's liturgical thought has been over the years citing his work Milestones: Memoirs 1927 - 1977 and Spirit of the Liturgy. They state:

The almost total prohibition of the old missal, which had been used for 400 years, was unprecedented in the history of the liturgy, he said in the book.

In effect, he said, "the old building was demolished" and a new one put in its place. Thus the liturgy ceased to be a living development and was treated as something manufactured by experts, which has caused the church "enormous harm," he said.

Even before he wrote those words, then-Cardinal Ratzinger had caused a stir when he said it made sense for the priest to celebrate Mass facing the same direction as the congregation, in the pre-Vatican II style, although he also said it would be confusing to turn the altar around once again.

Over the years, he has sharply criticized what he sees as a tendency for the worshiping community to celebrate only itself.

These thoughts of Pope Benedict have understandably led many to believe that he would enact sweeping changes in the liturgy but this opinion may be a bit too hasty. For those who believe that the Pope simply wants to abolish the Paul VI Mass and usher in the Pius V Mass, the article also included statements he made as Cardinal Ratzinger providing positive comments on the new mass and negative comments on the old.

he said he considered the new missal a "real improvement" in many respects, and that the introduction of local languages made sense.

In one revealing speech to Catholic traditionalists in 1998, he said bluntly that the old "low Mass," with its whispered prayers at the altar and its silent congregation, "was not what liturgy should be, which is why it was not painful for many people" when it disappeared.

The most important thing, he said at that time, was to make sure that the liturgy does not divide the Catholic community.

And that, I think, is the most important thing at this juncture. Whether or not this widened use of the Old Mass will take away divisions that exist over the liturgy in the Church is still to be seen. Needless to say, I will be interested as to how this all plays out.