Thursday, June 30, 2011

Major document on evangelization issued in Geneva

Brethren, this according to the Catholic News Service:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The Vatican and other Christian representatives have issued a series of recommendations for evangelization in multifaith societies, rejecting aggressive or coercive methods but defending the right to profess, propagate or change one's religion.

The principles were outlined June 28 in a document titled, "Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World: Recommendations for Conduct," issued jointly by the Pontifical Council for the Interreligious Dialogue, the World Council of Churches and the World Evangelical Alliance.

"Christian witness in a pluralistic world includes engaging in dialogue with people of different religions and cultures," the document said. It added that while every Christian has the duty to witness to Christ, "conversion is ultimately the work of the Holy Spirit."

"If Christians engage in inappropriate methods of exercising mission by resorting to deception and coercive means, they betray the Gospel and may cause suffering to others," it said.

The document was the product of five years of consultations by some 40 experts in ecumenical and interreligious dialogue. Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the head of the Vatican's interreligious council, said defining the principles was "not easy" but that the final text was important and should now be studied by Christian communities around the world.

"It's very important that religions, especially Christianity, appear not as a source of division but a source of solidarity and communion," he told Vatican Radio. An essential point, he said, was that witnessing the Gospel cannot be an "aggressive campaign."

The document strongly emphasized that exploitation of situations of poverty and need has no place in Christian outreach.

While education, health care, relief services and advocacy of justice are an integral part of witnessing to the Gospel, it said that "Christians should denounce and refrain from offering all forms of allurements, including financial incentives and rewards, in their acts of service."

Among the document's 12 major principles for evangelizing were the following points:
-- In all aspects of life and witness, Christians are called to follow the example and teachings of Jesus Christ.

-- Christians are called to conduct themselves with integrity, charity, compassion and humility and to "overcome all arrogance, condescension and disparagement."

-- Christian healing ministries should be carried out with discernment, "ensuring that the vulnerability of people and their need for healing are not exploited."

-- Christians are called on to reject all forms of violence or the abuse of power in their witness. They should also reject any form of violence or discrimination by any religious or secular authority.

-- Religious freedom is an essential human freedom and includes the right to "publicly profess, practice, propagate and change one's religion." Where religious persecution occurs, Christians are called to engage in prophetic witness denouncing such actions.

-- Changing one's religion is a decisive step that requires sufficient time for reflection and preparation.

-- Christians should be careful to acknowledge what is good in other beliefs and not to "bear false witness concerning other religions."
The drafters of the document said the text should now be studied by churches, national and regional church structures and mission organizations, especially those working in interreligious contexts.

They said those organizations should encourage Christians to strengthen their own identity but avoid misrepresenting the beliefs and practices of people of different faiths and should call on governments to ensure that freedom of religion is respected.

Father James Massa, executive director of the U.S. bishops' Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, was a participant in the consultations.

In their histories with one another, the three Christian groups issuing the guidelines have had instances of denying each other's religious freedom or using coercion, he said, but their ecumenical dialogue over the past 50 years has "allowed us to look at mission work with fresh eyes."

Additionally, he said, Christians' experience of limited religious freedom in some parts of the world today also prompted renewed reflections on the essential need for full respect of an individual's conscience and freedom to express his or her faith.

Respect and proclamation "are not mutually exclusive. One can be committed to the proclamation of Jesus Christ and also committed to respectful dialogue," he said.

The "core principle" in the new guidelines, Father Massa said, is that "it is the nature of faith that it be a free response" to God's call. "A coerced faith is not faith," he said.
Read Christian Witness in a Multi-Religious World Recommendations for Conduct.

Commentary. This is a watershed document that should be studied by every Christian. In 2,000 years of Christian history there has not being anything like it. I will adopt these principles myself as guidelines for my own evangelistic efforts.

Hopefully the Muslim ummah will come up with their own similar document soon. Barely anyone cares at their aggressive, often destructive missionism is places with substantial Muslim populations.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Haiku to the Shire



Outremer-Mordor
As the Orcs meet their death - How
I pine for the Shire!



Today we observe the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul

Today's my name day!

From today's Office of Readings, from a sermon of St Augustine

The martyrs had seen what they proclaimed

This day has been consecrated for us by the martyrdom of the blessed apostles Peter and Paul. It is not some obscure martyrs we are talking about. Their sound has gone out into all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world. These martyrs had seen what they proclaimed, they pursued justice by confessing the truth, by dying for the truth.

The blessed Peter, the first of the Apostles, the ardent lover of Christ, who was found worthy to hear, And I say to you, that you are Peter. He himself, you see, had just said, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God. Christ said to him, And I say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church. Upon this rock I will build the faith you have just confessed. Upon your words, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, I will build my Church; because you are Peter. Peter comes from petra, meaning a rock. Peter, “Rocky”, from “rock”; not “rock” from “Rocky”. Peter comes from the word for a rock in exactly the same way as the name Christian comes from Christ.

Before his passion the Lord Jesus, as you know, chose those disciples of his whom he called apostles. Among these it was only Peter who almost everywhere was given the privilege of representing the whole Church. It was in the person of the whole Church, which he alone represented, that he was privileged to hear, To you will I give the keys of the kingdom of heaven. After all, it is not just one man that received these keys, but the Church in its unity. So this is the reason for Peter’s acknowledged pre-eminence, that he stood for the Church’s universality and unity, when he was told, To you I am entrusting, what has in fact been entrusted to all. To show you that it is the Church which has received the keys of the kingdom of heaven, listen to what the Lord says in another place to all his apostles: Receive the Holy Spirit; and immediately afterwards, Whose sins you forgive, they will be forgiven them; whose sins you retain, they will be retained.

Quite rightly, too, did the Lord after his resurrection entrust his sheep to Peter to be fed. It is not, you see, that he alone among the disciples was fit to feed the Lord’s sheep; but when Christ speaks to one man, unity is being commended to us. And he first speaks to Peter, because Peter is the first among the apostles. Do not be sad, Apostle. Answer once, answer again, answer a third time. Let confession conquer three times with love, because self-assurance was conquered three times by fear. What you had bound three times must be loosed three times. Loose through love what you had bound through fear. And for all that, the Lord once, and again, and a third time, entrusted his sheep to Peter.

There is one day for the passion of two apostles. But these two also were as one; although they suffered on different days, they were as one. Peter went first, Paul followed. We are celebrating a feast day, consecrated for us by the blood of the apostles. Let us love their faith, their lives, their labours, their sufferings, their confession of faith, their preaching.

- Source: Universalis.com

Monday, June 27, 2011

Canonical consequences NY Governor Cuomo may face for supporting same-sex marriage

Brethren, Canon Lawyer Edward Peters (pictured right) commented yesterday on the consequences Governor Cuomo could face if the bishops of New York choose to hold him responsible for his supporting same-sex marriage:

I am already on record as believing Cuomo ineligible for holy Communion on the basis of his improper living arrangements with a television celebrity, a relationship I characterized as “public concubinage” and which characterization no one has yet canonically challenged, let alone rebutted. See generally Edward Peters, “The Cuomo-Communion Controversy”, Catholic World Report (May 2011) 33-35.

But in almost every relevant way, Cuomo’s protracted actions in regard to “gay marriage” are even more brazen.

Cuomo’s concubinage gives prominent bad example against marriage, but his official actions in regard to “gay marriage” have changed the very definition of marriage in the populous state under his care; Cuomo’s living arrangements are of immediate canonical concern to only two of New York’s eight arch/bishops, but his political actions in regard to “gay marriage” negatively impact the pastoral mission of every Catholic bishop, parish priest, deacon, and lay minister throughout the Province of New York; finally, while most of the bishops of New York said little or nothing about Cuomo’s living with a woman not his wife, his long-standing actions in regard to “gay marriage” were challenged repeatedly, directly, and forcefully by the Archbishop of New York and by all his seven suffragans.

In light of the foregoing, I see no way, absent a public reversal of his public conduct, that Andrew Cuomo may present himself for holy Communion (per Canon 916), and, if he does present himself, I see no way that a minister of holy Communion may administer the sacrament to him (per Canon 915). Indeed, the only question in my mind is whether the ordinaries of New York should lift from the shoulders of individual ministers the burden of reaching this decision, by making a determination to this effect themselves and, assuming they do reach this conclusion, whether they should announce it publicly or in a personal letter to Cuomo. (Personally, I think a public announcement more befits the markedly public character of Cuomo’s conduct and responds better to the danger of scandal presented to the faithful by his actions).

Read it all here.

Commentary. Well, and I am also on record rejecting any politician who leaves his or her Catholic conscience at home in order  to legislate or campaign in favor of things such as same-sex marriage, euthanasia, or abortion. Shame on them for spitting at the Gospel of Life. May they repent and convert soon.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Today’s the Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ

(in the U.S. Archdiocese for the Military Services)


Alleluia! sing to Jesus! His the scepter, His the throne.
Alleluia! His the triumph, His the victory alone.
Hark! the songs of peaceful Zion thunder like a mighty flood.
Jesus out of every nation has redeemed us by His blood.

Alleluia! not as orphans are we left in sorrow now;
Alleluia! He is near us, faith believes, nor questions how;
Though the cloud from sight received Him when the forty days were o’er
Shall our hearts forget His promise, “I am with you evermore”?

Alleluia! bread of angels, Thou on earth our food, our stay;
Alleluia! here the sinful flee to Thee from day to day:
Intercessor, Friend of sinners, Earth’s Redeemer, plead for me,
Where the songs of all the sinless sweep across the crystal sea.

Alleluia! King eternal, Thee the Lord of lords we own;
Alleluia! born of Mary, Earth Thy footstool, Heav’n Thy throne:
Thou within the veil hast entered, robed in flesh our great High Priest;
Thou on earth both priest and victim in the Eucharistic feast.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Haiku: Outremer Sandstorm


36


The wind blows the sand
dimming the sun of its rays
while my spirit shines.

“Why I Oppose Same-Sex ‘Marriage’”

Brethren, my blogging colleague Dan O’Connor wrote this post on his blog which I think is pretty good, and reflect my feelings exactly:

Why am I strongly opposed to same-sex “marriage”?

Because it is an offense against the institution of marriage? Yes, but not really: that institution has already been demolished by our modern Godless society.

Because it will most likely wind up forcing me, as a citizen of this nation, to in some way participate? Yes, but not really: I am ready and willing to be persecuted for my beliefs.

Because this is a democracy and most Americans oppose same-sex “marriage”? Yes, but not really: I support many things that most Americans oppose and oppose many things that most Americans support.

Because it is a slippery slope that may lead to legalized polygamy, incest, etc.? Yes, but not really: that would be like opposing abortion because it could lead to condom use (Sodomy is the greater evil)

Because it will likely lead to more disease and economic devastation in our nation? Yes, but not really: those are fleabites compared to my real concerns

Rather, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because I love homosexuals. Because I do not want to see just another enticement (which is what this would be: a legal endorsement of that behavior) for them to remain in that wayward lifestyle and for young people to join that lifestyle. It is a lifestyle that tears apart their souls, makes depression rampant, and motivates suicide to an astronomical degree. For the government to bless their unions with same-sex “marriage” is to say “Come and partake of this banquet, for there is nothing wrong with it. Come and appease your passions and give in to your temptations, we will bless your efforts. Come and reap the fruits of your actions, that you may spend eternity with us.” In other words, I oppose same-sex “marriage” because it turns the government into the very mouthpiece of Satan.

Is this “theocratic” of me? In violation of “separation of Church and state”? Label me as you will. My stance here is a stance of love, in obedience to the Almighty through His Church, and it will never change.

As for myself, I don’t give a hoot how many from the gliteratti, the elites, Hollywood, government in all three branches give their secular blessing on this so-called same-sex “marriage”. Call me what you wish, I will never set this lie above the Truth.

"My God And My All"

Brethren, these are the lyrics of a song by singer/composer/liturgist John Michael Talbot which I have been humming to myself a lot lately. It's how I've been feeling lately, deep in my heart, my soul, my spirit.
My God and my all
I should like to love You
and give You my heart
And give You my soul
And so I will yearn for You
In the depths of Your passion

Show me the way to love
Show me the way to give my life for You
Show me the way to love
Then we will surely rise

To fly like an eagle through the wind
To find in Your dying Lord
We both shall live again
So fly

So I will weep with You
In the depths of Your passion
I will not be ashamed to travel the world
Weeping out loud for love
Weeping out loud for joy

Show me the way to love
Show me the way to give my life for You
Show me the way to love
Then we will surely rise

(Thanks to Mercy for these lyrics)
My God and my all
I should like to love You
and give You my heart
And give You my soul
And so I will yearn for You
In the depths of Your passion

Show me the way to love
Show me the way to give my life for You
Show me the way to love
Then we will surely rise

To fly like an eagle through the wind
To find in Your dying Lord
We both shall live again
So fly

So I will weep with You
In the depths of Your passion
I will not be ashamed to travel the world
Weeping out loud for love
Weeping out loud for joy

Show me the way to love
Show me the way to give my life for You
Show me the way to love
Then we will surely rise

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Divine Praises

I just feel moved to say ‘em, that’s all:

Blessed be God.
Blessed be His Holy Name.
Blessed be Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
Blessed be the name of Jesus.
Blessed be His Most Sacred Heart.
Blessed be Jesus in the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar.
Blessed be the Holy Spirit, the Paraclete.
Blessed be the great Mother of God, Mary most holy.
Blessed be her holy and Immaculate Conception.
Blessed be her glorious Assumption.
Blessed be the name of Mary, Virgin and Mother.
Blessed be Saint Joseph, her most chaste spouse.
Blessed be God in His angels and in His Saints.
May the heart of Jesus, in the Most Blessed Sacrament, be praised, adored, and loved with grateful affection, at every moment, in all the tabernacles of the world, even to the end of time. Amen.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

A quote by Blessed John XXIII: In cursing Jews, we crucified Jesus anew

"The mark of Cain is stamped upon our foreheads. Across the centuries, our brother Abel was lain in blood which we drew, and shed tears we caused by forgetting Thy love. Forgive us, Lord, for the curse we falsely attributed to their name as Jews. Forgive us for crucifying Thee a second time in their flesh. For we knew not what we did." — Pope John XXIII

George Weigel: Maureen Dowd’s Catholic Problem

Brethren: another outstanding piece by one of my favorite Catholic writers, over at National Review Online. Here’s an excerpt:

Ecclesiastes notwithstanding, there is something new under the sun in the annals of American anti-Catholicism; and that something is the rise of the anti-Catholic Catholics, self-described Catholics who make a career (or at least part of a career) out of mounting endless attacks on the Church, its settled beliefs, its leadership, and its people. Like the Nast/rationalist anti-Catholicism of the past, today’s Catholic anti-Catholicism is a left-of-center phenomenon that, in secular guise, often reflects the critiques of the Church mounted by so-called “Catholic progressives”: The Church is hopelessly sexist; the Church is hopelessly sex-obsessed; the Church is cruel to women and gays; the Church is hypocritical. And, of course and most recently, the Church is a global criminal conspiracy of child rapists and their abettors, which “fact” validates the other charges in the standing indictment just cited.

Read it all here.

Comments. Mr. Weigel goes on to explain how NYT house Catholic Maureen Dowd fits the description perfectly. I think that Maureen is getting more strident in her mature years to compensate for her dwindling influence and growing irrelevance. She’s come to epitomize to me the worst aspects of the Me Generation. I pray for her prompt retirement so that she could see the consequences of the anti-culture she has helped bring about upon her grandchildren.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Happy Priest on Being a Serious Catholic:

How to Keep Your Sanity in an Insane World

Author: Fr. James Farfaglia | Source: Catholic.org


CORPUS CHRISTI, TX (Catholic Online) - The following is an excerpt from Get Serious! A Survival Guide for Serious Catholics, a new book by Father James Farfaglia.

"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way - in short, the period was so far like the present period, that some of its noisiest authorities insisted on its being received, for good or for evil, in the superlative degree of comparison only."

Charles Dickens' words at the beginning of A Tale of Two Cities can describe most periods of human history. His words certainly apply to the times that we live in.

Only the blind and the apathetic would assert that our times are not challenging. We do live in a time of upheaval.

It is easy for many to become discouraged. However, this is not a possible response for those who call themselves true disciples of Jesus Christ.

Serious Catholics are overwhelmed by the meltdowns around us. Many are alarmed by the ever increasing collapse of the Catholic Church in this country. In some parts of the country parishes are closing at an alarming rate. Clergy scandals continue and the dwindling ranks of priests are replaced by foreign priests that nobody can understand.

A Muslim extremist wipes out a room full of American soldiers while our bravest men and women continue to fight a war that has no exit strategy or clear plan for victory. National politics has become alarmingly polarized as radicals attempt to change our great nation into a European-style socialist state.

Meanwhile, the country continues to morally spin out of control because we have forgotten God. British historian and philosopher Arnold Toynbee (1889-1975) once said: "Civilizations die from suicide, not by murder."

Nevertheless, within all of these challenges, there are many signs of hope and renewal.

Please, continue reading here.

Commentary. I offer this take as a counterpoint to what I said earlier today. I may not like the headlines, but my faith is on Jesus Christ, who protects his Church from the powers of hell and of death.

Celebrate “Attack the Church With Pride” Month

Men dressed as twisted versions of nuns, calling themselves Brethren, judging by the headlines I got this morning, this is the month of heaping charge after charge, accusation, and criticism against the Catholic Church. It's due in part to the "Gay Pride Month" festivities. How you noticed how these secular festivities have become occasions to attack the Church? I am sure that the media will still refer to the crass and blasphemous "Gay Pride" parades as "colorful" and funny too. As these secular festivities and celebrations become more accepted, expect a proportional increase in the amount of blasphemy - against God of course - and profane, ridiculous language against the Church.

However, criticism against the Church has come from another unexpected quarter and that's from the ex-Father Corapi. I believed him when the accusations against him first came forth. I still think he's innocent until proving guilty. But, who's his boss? Where's he incardinated, really? Although I know people who have been mistreated thanks to lackadaisical attitudes toward canonical processes by ecclesiastics, (and for that I wish to give Corapi the benefit of the doubt) really, his ego trip is unbecoming. Suffering quietly for the Lord is always the best course of action. His criticism is now part of the mix of vile and vitriol I receive in my news streams this morning, along with "Secrecy, Sophistry And Gay Sex In The Catholic Church", "As I See It | Crimes from inside Catholic Church demand secular punishment" and "NY Marriage Coming Down To The Wire As NOM, Catholic Church Continue To Lie".

Sin, corruption, deviancy, lies and libel against God, his Christ, and his Church reign in our public spaces today and get wide applause. But this is only on the surface, for the war grows in its scope in the spiritual realm.

Let us pray for the Church, my brothers and sisters. Which is to say, let us pray for ourselves as the Body of Christ. Let us arm ourselves for spiritual combat. Let us pray for our bishops and priests and deacons and consecrated religious. Let us be the holy leaven again to reclaim our poor, agonizing culture. Let us pray without ceasing, in Jesus' name: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. Amen.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Prayer to the Holy Trinity (Repost)

Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity

O my God, Trinity whom I adore; help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, O my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.

O my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You...even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to "clothe me with Yourself," to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior.

O Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. O my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.

O consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me," and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, O Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; "cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased."

O my Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Today We Contemplate the Mystery of God in Unity and Trinity


Moses_Burning_Bush_Bysantine_Mosaic
Brethren, today we contemplate the mystery of Unity and Trinity of the One God. We can arrive at the knowledge of the existence of One God from natural reason, and attain the certainty through faith.

That there is one God we know from Scripture:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)

We also know from Scripture that God is Father:

9This, then, is how you should pray:

Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, 10your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven. 11Give us today our daily bread. 12Forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. 13And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (Matthew 6: 9-13)

From the Scripture we also learn that the Word of God, who took flesh in the person of Jesus Messiah is God:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. (John 1:1)

Scripture reveals the deity of the Holy Spirit:

3Then Peter said, “Ananias, how is it that Satan has so filled your heart that you have lied to the Holy Spirit and have kept for yourself some of the money you received for the land? 4Didn’t it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn’t the money at your disposal? What made you think of doing such a thing? You have not lied to men but to God.” (Acts 5: 3-4)

And yet, the first Scripture we started with remains eternally valid and binding:

Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. (Deuteronomy 6:4)

The Father, the Son, and the + Holy Spirit share the same divine Name:

19Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:19-20)

The same revealed to Moses as the unique name of the one God of Israel:

13Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14God said to Moses, “I am who I am.b This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I am has sent me to you.’”

15God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, the name by which I am to be remembered from generation to generation. (Exodus 3”13-15)

This divine sharing of Three Persons in one single Divine Essence is what we call the Holy Trinity, whom we celebrate specially today but whom Christians who respect the Bible and who reverently receive this teaching from our Christians ancestors, address in prayer and worship every day.

Outside of this faith in the Triune God, except by special dispensation of God who condescends to our not-guilty ignorance (He is Love, after all [1 John 4:8]), no one can be saved.

And no one can be saved without this faith because in the Consuming Fire that the Triune God is we find the Eternal Love, of Love Loving and Being Loved in return, who alone can satisfy all our longings. It is to His vision that we were created for and salvation for us means this direct vision of God as He is, Father, Son, and + Holy Spirit.

May He indwell us and makes us sharers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4)


Traditional Orthodox Icon of the Holy Trinity

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Foundation for a New Society

Fr. Nicolas Schwizer

How will the construction for a new society take place? Based on new men. Without the interior change of the human being, there can be no real change in the exterior structures. Man and his behavior is the basis of society; therefore, it is urgent to transform man so that he may have a new spirit, a new mentality, and new attitudes. How can this take place?

There enters grace and the transforming power of the Eucharist. Because, what happens at the Consecration in Mass? The priest, in name of the Lord, converts bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ. Bread, a natural nourishment, becomes a supernatural nourishment. And what is the meaning of our participation at Mass? The meaning is that at the Offertory, we ourselves – with all we have and are – offer ourselves to the Father along with the bread and wine. The meaning is that we place ourselves as an offering on the paten and in the chalice.

So, what happens then at the moment of the consecration? There God wants to also work in us the same miracle of transformation which takes place with the bread and wine. He wants to divinize us, transform us into Christ, in an increasing way. The goal is to some day be able to say with St. Paul: “I no longer live, it is Christ who lives in me.” What tomorrow’s society needs is man transformed into another Christ. It needs woman transformed into the little Mary since the Virgin is the most faithful reflection of her Son Jesus.

Now, so that the transforming power of the Consecration can be active in us, we need to prolong the Eucharist in our daily life. That process of conversion of the new man must continue throughout the entire week because the new society is built – from Sunday Mass – into the activities of each day.

Therefore, the Eucharist cannot end at the altar. It is made to prolong itself in life – throughout the day and the week – until the next Eucharist. It means that the Mass, according to the last Council, is “The source and pinnacle” of our entire Christian life.

The Christian must be a man who lives in a permanent Eucharist. We should live from Mass to Mass. In this way, this is how Sunday Mass becomes a Mass of life.

“From the altar to the arena,” the first Christians would say, referring to the arena of the circuses where they would be martyred. And our arena is daily life; our entire life, and especially our daily effort to transform ourselves into new men should be a prolongation of the Eucharist.

This mission to convert our entire life into a prolonged Eucharist is expressedly given to us at the sending forth of the Mass. There Christ sends us to transform ourselves into his reflections and witnesses. There He also sends us to transform the world around us.

He wants that through our work, our daily effort becomes a new world, a world which should be more human and that belongs more to God. He wants that, in the transforming power of the Eucharist, we build a new society.

What Christ asks of us when he sends us anew into the world is that everything we do during the week be a contribution to the construction of a renewed society: our work or our studies done well; our married and family love; to forge the new community in our environment; to form ourselves and educate ourselves to become new men. What Christ asks of us at the conclusion of Mass is that we fulfill in our daily environment what we have lived with Him in the Eucharist, becoming the anticipation of a new world and a new society.

Questions for reflection

1. Do I attend Mass as a routine?

2. When I arrive home, do I remember something of the sermon?

3. Am I aware that something should transform me at each Eucharistic celebration?

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Well, they now know at the Vatican that Fr.Kimel left us…

Brethren, note the second entry on my site tracker below:

image

They know it back at the Holy See now! Heads will roll! (Not).

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Father Al Kimel joins the Orthodox Church

imageBrethren, according to the blog Titus One Nine, hosted by the Reverend Canon Doctor Kendall Harmon, Fr. Al Kimel, who once was an Episcopal priest, and then was received in the Catholic Church, has again moved and this time to Eastern Orthodoxy. Apparently he was ordained last Pentecost Sunday as a Western Rite priest in the Russian Orthodox Church Outside of Russia (ROCOR). Father Kimel was a frequent commentator and a guest writer here in Vivificat,and once had his own, highly-regarded blog. The news comes as a shock to many of his admirers, Catholic as well as Episcopalian. (I am also shocked to learn that the ROCOR has Western Rite parishes, but that’s another subject). I hope that Fr. Kimel let us know his reasoning in the future by whatever means he chooses. I wish him well, pray that he has found what he was looking for, and mourn his exit from the One,Holy, Catholic, Apostolic Church built over Peter and his unique successors in the Roman See.

Womyn Priests Yearly Simulacrum

Brethren, it happens every year about this time and I always have something to say about it: The “catholic” organization, “WomenPriests,” held their yearly simulation of the Sacrament of Orders in a Protestant Church in Maryland. (I have no objections that the simulacrum took place in a Protestant Church because that’s where they belong). Observe yourselves:

 

The folks at GetReligion did a good analysis from the journalistic viewpoint on a post titled What makes someone a ‘Catholic priest’? of an obsequiously shoddy NPR report on the event.

But to me, the bottom line is clear and in black-and-white in the 1983 Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1024 A baptized male alone receives sacred ordination validly.

What this means is: No woman can be ordained validly; no woman can ordain another woman validly for she was not validly ordained in the first place. Not even the Pope can validly ordain a woman.

These WomynPriests events are mere simulations in which nothing is granted and nothing is received. Nothing more, nothing less. They are spectacles in which schism, heresy, and disobedience are disguised under false appeals to prophetic actions and a thirst for media attention, and celebrated.

Yet the media keeps paying a whole lot of attention to nothing. It's the nature of the beast.

Nothing happened there. Nothing that deserved attention or reporting.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On How St. Francis of Assisi converted the Sultan of Babylon

Brethren, according to the Wikipedia, the Little Flowers of St. Francis (Italian Fioretti di San Francesco) is a florilegium (excerpts of his body of work), divided into 53 short chapters, on the life of Saint Francis of Assisi which was composed at the end of the 14th century. The anonymous Italian text, almost certainly by a Tuscan author, is a version of the Latin Actus beati Francisci et sociorum eius, of which the earliest extant manuscript is one of 1390 AD. Luke Wadding ascribes the text to Fra. Ugolino da Santa Maria, whose name occurs three times in the Actus.

Written some time after the death of Francis of Assisi, the text is not regarded as an important primary source for the saint’s biography[1]. However, it has been the most popular account of his life and relates many colorful anecdotes, miracles and pious examples from the lives of Francis and his followers (such as Saint Juniper). These poetic stories shed much light upon the genesis and development of the following of Saint Francis. Indeed, some stories contained in the Fioretti can be found in much earlier works; for example, Saint Francis preaching to the birds was described by Fra. Masseo, and written of by the Englishman Roger of Wendover, in 1236.

One of my favorite stories, a story that has become relevant suddenly to me, is the one On How St. Francis of Assisi converted the Sultan of Babylon, which I reproduce below, courtesy of EWTN.

 

St. Francis meets the Sultan

St Francis, urged by zeal for the faith of Christ and by a wish to suffer martyrdom, took with him one day twelve of his most holy brethren, and went beyond the sea with the intention of going straight to the Sultan of Babylon. They arrived in a province belonging to the Saracens, where all the passes were guarded by men so cruel, that no Christian who passed that way could escape being put to death. Now it pleased God that St Francis and his companions should not meet with the same fate; but they were taken prisoners, and after being bound and ill-treated, were led before the Sultan. Then St Francis standing before him, inspired by the Holy Spirit, preached most divinely the faith of Christ; and to prove the truth of what he said, professed himself ready to enter into the fire. Now the Sultan began to feel a great devotion towards him, both because of the constancy of his faith, and because he despised the things of this world (for he had refused to accept any of the presents which he had offered to him), and also because of his ardent wish to suffer martyrdom. From that moment he listened to him willingly, and begged him to come back often, giving both him and his companions leave to preach wheresoever they pleased; he likewise gave them a token of his protection, which would preserve them from all molestation.

At length St Francis, seeing he could do no more good in those parts, was warned by God to return with his brethren to the land of the faithful. Having assembled his companions, they went together to the Sultan to take leave of him. The Sultan said to him: "Brother Francis, most willingly would I be converted to the faith of Christ; but I fear to do so now, for if the people knew it, they would kill both me and thee and all thy companions. As thou mayest still do much good, and I have certain affairs of great importance to conclude, I will not at present be the cause of thy death and of mine. But teach me how I can be saved, and I am ready to do as thou shalt order." On this St Francis made answer: "My lord, I will take leave of thee for the present; but after I have returned to my own country, when I shall be dead and gone to heaven, by the grace of God, I will send thee two of my friars, who will administer to thee the holy baptism of Christ, and thou shalt be saved, as the Lord Jesus has revealed to me; and thou in the meantime shalt free thyself from every hindrance, so that, when the grace of God arrives, thou mayest be found well disposed to faith and devotion."

The Sultan promised so to do; and did as he had promised. Then St Francis returned with his company of venerable and saintly brethren, and after a few years ending his mortal life, he gave up his soul to God. The Sultan, having fallen ill, awaited the fulfillment of the promise of St Francis, and placed guards in all the passes, ordering them if they met two brothers in the habit of St Francis to conduct them immediately to him. At the same time St Francis appeared to two of his friars, and ordered them without delay to go to the Sultan and save his soul, according to the promise he had made him. The two set out, and having crossed the sea, were conducted to the Sultan by the guards he had sent out to meet them. The Sultan, when he saw them arrive, rejoiced greatly, and exclaimed: "Now I know of a truth that God has sent his servants to save my soul, according to the promise which St Francis made me through divine revelation." Having received the faith of Christ and holy baptism from the said friars, he was regenerated in the Lord Jesus Christ; and having died of his disease, his soul was saved, through the merits and prayers of St Francis.

The highlight is mine – which I want you all to read. The death sentence for apostates of Islam was as binding back then as it is today, according to these Islamic traditions:

"Allah's Apostle said, "The blood of a Muslim who confesses that none has the right to be worshipped but Allah and that I am His Apostle, cannot be shed except in three cases: In Qisas for murder, a married person who commits illegal sexual intercourse and the one who reverts from Islam (apostate) and leaves the Muslims."Sahih al-Bukhari, []

"Whoever changed his (Islamic) religion, then kill him" Sahih al-Bukhari, 9:84:57

Read more about Islam and capital punishment for apostates in the Wikipedia.

What do we do in these circumstances? Do we have St. Francis’ courage to preach the Gospel in deeds – and using words when necessary – despite the threat of death?

What would you do? How would you share Christ with a Muslim? Or wouldn’t you?

Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Feast of Pentecost: An Eastern Christian View

Author: Father Alexander Schmemann (1974) | Source: OCA Webpage

O heavenly King, the Comforter; the Spirit of Truth.
Who are in all places and fill all things;
Treasurer of blessings and Giver of life,
come and dwell within us and cleanse us from every blemish
and save our souls, O blessed One!

In the Church's annual liturgical cycle, Pentecost is "the last and great day." It is the celebration by the Church of the coming of the Holy Spirit as the end - the achievement and fulfillment - of the entire history of salvation. For the same reason, however, it is also the celebration of the beginning: it is the "birthday" of the Church as the presence among us of the Holy Spirit, of the new life in Christ, of grace, knowledge, adoption to God and holiness.

This double meaning and double joy is revealed to us, first of all, in the very name of the feast. Pentecost in Greek means fifty, and in the sacred biblical symbolism of numbers, the number fifty symbolizes both the fulness of time and that which is beyond time: the Kingdom of God itself. It symbolizes the fulness of time by its first component: 49, which is the fulness of seven (7 x 7): the number of time. And, it symbolizes that which is beyond time by its second component: 49 + 1, this one being the new day, the "day without evening" of God's eternal Kingdom. With the descent of the Holy Spirit upon Christ's disciples, the time of salvation, the Divine work of redemption has been completed, the fulness revealed, all gifts bestowed: it belongs to us now to "appropriate" these gifts, to be that which we have become in Christ: participants and citizens of His Kingdom.

THE VIGIL OF PENTECOST

The all-night Vigil service begins with a solemn invitation:

"Let us celebrate Pentecost, the coming of the Holy Spirit, The appointed day of promise, and the fulfillment of hope, The mystery which is as great as it is precious."

In the coming of the Spirit, the very essence of the Church is revealed:

"The Holy Spirit provides all, Overflows with prophecy, fulfills the priesthood, Has taught wisdom to illiterates, has revealed fishermen as theologians, He brings together the whole council of the Church."

In the three readings of the Old Testament (Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29; Joel 2:23-32; Ezekiel 36:24-28) we hear the prophecies concerning the Holy Spirit. We are taught that the entire history of mankind was directed towards the day on which God "would pour out His Spirit upon all flesh." This day has come! All hope, all promises, all expectations have been fulfilled. At the end of the Aposticha hymns, for the first time since Easter, we sing the hymn: "O Heavenly King, the Comforter, the Spirit of Truth…," the one with which we inaugurate all our services, all prayers, which is, as it were, the life-breath of the Church, and whose coming to us, whose "descent" upon us in this festal Vigil, is indeed the very experience of the Holy Spirit "coming and abiding in us."

Having reached its climax, the Vigil continues as an explosion of joy and light for "verily the light of the Comforter has come and illumined the world." In the Gospel reading (John 20:19-23) the feast is interpreted to us as the feast of the Church, of her divine nature, power and authority. The Lord sends His disciples into the world, as He Himself was sent by His Father. Later, in the antiphons of the Liturgy, we proclaim the universality of the apostles' preaching, the cosmical significance of the feast, the sanctification of the whole world, the true manifestation of God's Kingdom.

THE VESPERS OF PENTECOST

The liturgical peculiarity of Pentecost is a very special Vespers of the day itself. Usually this service follows immediately the Divine Liturgy, is "added" to it as its own fulfillment. The service begins as a solemn "summing up" of the entire celebration, as its liturgical synthesis. We hold flowers in our hands symbolizing the joy of the eternal spring, inaugurated by the coming of the Holy Spirit. After the festal Entrance, this joy reaches its climax in the singing of the Great Prokeimenon:

"Who is so great a God as our God?"

Then, having reached this climax, we are invited to kneel. This is our first kneeling since Easter. It signifies that after these fifty days of Paschal joy and fulness, of experiencing the Kingdom of God, the Church now is about to begin her pilgrimage through time and history. It is evening again, and the night approaches, during which temptations and failures await us, when, more than anything else, we need Divine help, that presence and power of the Holy Spirit, who has already revealed to us the joyful End, who now will help us in our effort towards fulfillment and salvation.

All this is revealed in the three prayers which the celebrant reads now as we all kneel and listen to him. In the first prayer, we bring to God our repentance, our increased appeal for forgiveness of sins, the first condition for entering into the Kingdom of God.

In the second prayer, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us, to teach us to pray and to follow the true path in the dark and difficult night of our earthly existence. Finally, in the third prayer, we remember all those who have achieved their earthly journey, but who are united with us in the eternal God of Love.

The joy of Easter has been completed and we again have to wait for the dawn of the Eternal Day. Yet, knowing our weakness, humbling ourselves by kneeling, we also know the joy and the power of the Holy Spirit who has come. We know that God is with us, that in Him is our victory.

Thus is completed the feast of Pentecost and we enter "the ordinary time" of the year. Yet, every Sunday now will be called "after Pentecost" - and this means that it is from the power and light of these fifty days that we shall receive our own power, the Divine help in our daily struggle. At Pentecost we decorate our churches with flowers and green branches - for the Church "never grows old, but is always young." It is an evergreen, ever-living Tree of grace and life, of joy and comfort. For the Holy Spirit - "the Treasury of Blessings and Giver of Life - comes and abides in us, and cleanses us from all impurity," and fills our life with meaning, love, faith and hope.

Today We Celebrate the Feast of Pentecost AD 2011


Come, Holy Spirit

Come, Holy Spirit, come!
And from Thy celestial home
Shed a ray of light divine!

Come Father of the poor!
Come source of all our store!
Come within our bosoms shine!
Thou, of comforters the best;
Thou, the soul's most welcome guest;
Sweet refreshment here below;

In our labor, rest most sweet;
Grateful coolness in the heat,
Solace in the midst of woe.

O most blessed Light divine
Shine within these hearts of Thine.
And our inmost being fill!

Where you are not, man has naught,
Nothing good in deed or thought,
Nothing free from taint of ill.

Heal our wounds, our strength renew;
On our dryness pour Thy dew;
Wash the stains of guilt away:

Bend the stubborn heart and will;
Melt the frozen, warm the chill;
Guide the steps that go astray.

On the faithful who adore
And confess you, evermore
In your sev'nfold gift descend;

Give them virtue's sure reward;
Give them Thy salvation, Lord;
Give them joys that never end.
Amen. Alleluia

Friday, June 10, 2011

St. Francis Preaches to the Birds

…And as he went on his way, with great fervour, St Francis lifted up his eyes, and saw on some trees by the wayside a great multitude of birds; and being much surprised, he said to his companions, "Wait for me here by the way, whilst I go and preach to my little sisters the birds"; and entering into the field, he began to preach to the birds which were on the ground, and suddenly all those also on the trees came round him, and all listened while St Francis preached to them, and did not fly away until he had given them his blessing. And Brother Masseo related afterwards to Brother James of Massa how St Francis went among them and even touched them with his garments, and how none of them moved. Now the substance of the sermon was this: "My little sisters the birds, ye owe much to God, your Creator, and ye ought to sing his praise at all times and in all places, because he has given you liberty to fly about into all places; and though ye neither spin nor sew, he has given you a twofold and a threefold clothing for yourselves and for your offspring. Two of all your species he sent into the Ark with Noe that you might not be lost to the world; besides which, he feeds you, though ye neither sow nor reap. He has given you fountains and rivers to quench your thirst, mountains and valleys in which to take refuge, and trees in which to build your nests; so that your Creator loves you much, having thus favoured you with such bounties. Beware, my little sisters, of the sin of ingratitude, and study always to give praise to God." As he said these words, all the birds began to open their beaks, to stretch their necks, to spread their wings and reverently to bow their heads to the ground, endeavouring by their motions and by their songs to manifest their joy to St Francis. And the saint rejoiced with them. He wondered to see such a multitude of birds, and was charmed with their beautiful variety, with their attention and familiarity, for all which he devoutly gave thanks to the Creator.

Having finished his sermon, St Francis made the sign of the cross, and gave them leave to fly away. Then all those birds rose up into the air, singing most sweetly; and, following the sign of the cross, which St Francis had made, they divided themselves into four companies. One company flew towards the east, another towards the west, one towards the south, and one towards the north; each company as it went singing most wonderfully; signifying thereby, that as St Francis, the bearer of the Cross of Christ, had preached to them and made upon them the sign of the cross, after which they had divided among themselves the four parts of the world, so the preaching of the Cross of Christ, renewed by St Francis, would be carried by him and by his brethren over all the world, and that the humble friars, like little birds, should posses nothing in this world, but should cast all the care of their lives on the providence of God.

Source: Little Flowers of St. Francis at EWTN.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

About the American “Catholic” Council

Brethren, I wish to share with you the advisory published by the Archdiocese of Detroit, in the person of its ordinary, Archbishop Allen Vigneron regarding the activities of the so-called American “Catholic” Council and their meeting to be held this weekend in Detroit. Read it, know it, and pass it along. Also, let us thank the Lord for his gift of an orthodox Archbishop in the Motor City, and pray, pray for him!

Archbishop Allen VigneronResponding to concerns raised by the faithful about an organization called the American Catholic Council (ACC), the Archdiocese of Detroit issued an advisory to its priests and parishes on October 12, 2010. The group has planned a national gathering in Detroit on the weekend of Pentecost 2011. Noting that the ACC and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the Roman Catholic Church, the advisory cautioned Catholics "...against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering." The advisory noted the goals of the ACC are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There are positions espoused by some of the speakers and organizers which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith. What follows are resource documents and a recent letter from Archbishop Vigneron to the priests of the archdiocese.

* Abp. Vigneron regarding American Catholic Council, June 3, 2011

* Archdiocesan Advisory, October 12, 2010

Questions and Answers
Regarding the American Catholic Council
Print Questions and Answers: Download pdf black & white | Download pdf color

1. The American Catholic Council is being held on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. Are the positions taken by the ACC consistent with the teachings of Vatican II?

Answer: No.
While the ACC upholds some general values affirmed by Vatican II, there are explicit departures from what the Council actually taught. For example, the Preamble to the ACC's "Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities [CBRR]" states that "distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary," but Vatican II teaches that "the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood differ from one another in essence and not only in degree."[i] The ACC's "Declaration for Reform and Renewal" seeks "reform of the governing structures of the Church so that they reflect the better aspects of the American experience" and "a democratic spirit." Vatican II, however, affirms the "perpetuity" of the hierarchical structure of the Church, which is realized in "the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff"[ii] and "the sacred order of bishops" who have succeeded to the place of the apostles "by divine institution."[iii] The ACC affirms an alleged "freedom to dissent" from Church teachings (CBRR, no. IV), but Vatican II instructs the faithful to manifest "faithful obedience"[iv] to the Church's Magisterium and "religious submission of will and intellect" to the teachings of the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.[v]

2. The American Catholic Council is being held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Call to Action Conference held in Detroit. Is the American Catholic Council in historical continuity with the original Call to Action conference held in Detroit, October 20-23, 1976?

Answer: No.
The 1976 Call to Action conference was sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops in conjunction with U.S. Bicentennial of 1976. During the conference, however, special interest groups began to dominate, a reality noted by then Archbishop Joseph L. Bernardin of Cincinnati, the president of the NCCB/USCC.[vi] Subsequently, the NCCB/USCC distanced itself from Call to Action. Some Catholics, though, formed an organization called "Call to Action," which continued without episcopal support. When a Call to Action conference was organized in Detroit in 1996, Cardinal Adam Maida issued a statement, which warned that "the overall climate of the conference creates the appearance of dissent from Church teaching and practice."

3. Do some of the invited speakers to the ACC conference hold positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
All of the invited keynote speakers have manifested dissent from Catholic teachings or support for dissenters. Hans Küng has rejected Vatican I's defined dogma of papal infallibility, and in 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that he "could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian."[vii] Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez endorsed a letter in support of Rosemary Radforth Ruether's appointment to a Catholic Chair at the University of San Diego, even though Ruether is a board member of "Catholics for Choice," an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on the grave immorality of abortion.[viii] Dr. Anthony Padovano has questioned the physical resurrection of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the need for an ordained priest to celebrate a valid Mass. He is also active in promoting an "ecumenical alliance" of various schismatic "Catholic" groups such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC).[ix] James Carroll is the author of the 2001 book, Constantine's Sword, which calls for a reconsideration of traditional Christology because affirming Jesus as the Messiah is, according to him, intrinsically linked to anti-Semitism.[x] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is on record as publicly opposing Catholic teaching against legal abortion, and she chastised the U.S. bishops for their determination to make abortion illegal "even if it derails health-care reform entirely."[xi] Sr. Joan Chittister is an open advocate of women's ordination to the priesthood in spite of the definitive Catholic teaching on this subject.[xii] She also supported the right of 23 women religious to endorse a 1985 ad in the New York Times opposing Catholic teaching on abortion.[xiii]

4. Are the participants in the ACC representative of the whole Catholic Church?

Answer: No.
In fact, the ACC requires those wishing to participate to fill out a form designed to attract only those who share its agenda. There appears to be no attempt to reach out to Catholics who fully support the teachings of the Magisterium, and Archbishop Vigneron was neither invited nor consulted about the conference.

5. Are there any valid aspirations of the ACC?

Answer: Yes.
All Catholics can agree with the general affirmations made by the ACC regarding the dignity of baptism, the beatitudes, and the sacramental celebration "of God's love and presence." These valid affirmations of basic Christian values, however, are obscured by the resistance of the ACC to the divinely constituted authority of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

6. Is the ACC fostering alienation from the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
Because a counter-structure of ecclesial authority is being set up that stands in opposition to the authority of the bishops, the Pope and the divine constitution of the Church as articulated by Vatican II.

7. What's wrong with talking about controversial issues that are on the minds of many Catholics today?

Answer:
There's nothing wrong with talking about these controversial issues. The question, though, is who has the authority to respond to these issues according to the mind of Christ and the Church. Vatican II states that "bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth."[xiv] Because the ACC affirms a right to dissent from magisterial teachings, those discussing controversial issues at the conference will be subject to confusion and misinformation about what Catholics can and cannot hold.

8. Why can't Archbishop Vigneron let people make up their own minds whether they wish to participate in this conference and the listening sessions being held in anticipation of it?

Answer:
Archbishop Vigneron is not taking away the right of people to make their own decisions. He has, however, issued warnings about the ACC because of his sacred responsibility to defend and uphold Catholic doctrine and guide the faithful with sound instruction. Like a good shepherd he is looking out for the well-being of his flock, and, as a faithful steward, he knows he must "one day render an account for their souls" (cf. Heb 13:17, Lumen Gentium, 27).


[i] Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10.

[ii] Lumen Gentium, 18

[iii] Lumen Gentium, 20.

[iv] Lumen Gentium, 12

[v] Lumen Gentium, 25.

[vi] Russell Shaw, "Call to Action Conference," in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010 (Detroit and Washington, D.C.: Gale Cengage Learning and the Catholic University of America, 2010) Volume 1, p. 191.

[vii] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, "Declaration regarding certain aspects of the theological doctrine of Professor Hans K?ng," Acta Apostolicae Sedis 72 (1980): 90-92

[viii] See "Letter to the University of San Diego Supporting Academic Freedom and Rosemary Radford Ruether" (found on: http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/211/42/ ). The letter was written after the University of San Diego withdrew its invitation to appoint Rosemary Radford Ruether to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-2010. Although Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez has been an invited speaker to Church sponsored events, her support for Ruether is troubling.

[ix] Documentation from the writings of Dr. Padovano and the website of Corpus can be supplied.

[x] See review of Constantine's Sword by Robert Louis Wilken in Commonweal (Jan. 26, 2001).

[xi] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, "A Call to Catholics," Newsweek (November 5, 2009).

[xii] In the summer of 2001 Sr. Chittister ignored admonitions by the Church that she not appear as a speaker at the Women's Ordination Conference held in Dublin, Ireland. See Patty McCarty, "Nuns Firm Under Fire - Women's Ordination Conference, Dublin Ireland," National Catholic Reporter (July 13, 2001).

[xiii] See Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B. "Joan Chittister: Disloyalty as Obedience," Catholic Insight (Jan./Feb. 2002).

[xiv] Lumen Gentium, 25.

Are American Mosques Preaching Hate and/or Islamic Supremacy?

The answer is yes: at least 80 percent of them.

Brethren, Mordechai Kedar and David Yerushalmi published a disturbing study today in The Middle East Quarterly that we should read and ponder. The article is entitled Shari'a and Violence in American Mosques.  This is an excerpt:

The conclusions to be drawn from this survey are dismal at best, offering empirical support for previous anecdotal studies on the connection between highly Shari'a-adherent mosques and political violence in the name of Islam. The mosques where there were greater indicators of Shari'a adherence were more likely to contain materials that conveyed a positive attitude toward employing violent jihad against the West and non-Muslims. The fact that spiritual sanctioners who help individuals become progressively more radicalized are connected to highly Shari'a-adherent mosques is another cause for deep concern.[26] In almost every instance, the imams at the mosques where violence-positive materials were available recommended that worshipers study texts that promoted violence.

The survey also demonstrates that there are mosques and mosque-going Muslims who are interested in a non-Shari'a-centric Islam where tolerance of the other, at least as evidenced by the absence of jihad-promoting literature, is the norm. Mosques where violence-positive literature was not present exhibited significantly fewer indicators of orthodox, Shari'a-adherent behaviors and were also significantly less likely to promote violent jihad or invite speakers supportive of violent jihad. These non-Shari'a-centric mosques may provide a foundation from which a reformed Islam and its followers can more completely integrate into liberal, Western citizenship.

The results of this survey do not indicate the percentage of American Muslims that actually attend mosques with any regularity, nor does it reveal what relative percentage of American Muslims demonstrate Shari'a-adherent or non-adherent behaviors. Moreover, although this study shows that imams at Shari'a-adherent mosques recommend studying violence-positive materials and utilize their mosques for support of violent jihad, it does not capture the individual attendees' attitudes toward religiously sanctioned violence. However, it is at least reasonable to conclude that worshipers at such mosques are more sympathetic to the message of the literature present at those mosques and to what is being preached there. A follow-up survey of individual mosque attendees would provide insight regarding the relationship, if any, between Shari'a-adherence on the individual level and the individual's attitude toward violent jihad.

Read it all here.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Haiku to the Lord’s Parousia


"Maran Atha" means
"Our Lord, Come." Yes, Don't Tarry
Come Lord Jesus Christ!

 

Monday, June 06, 2011

Haiku on Direct See-ing


Direct see-ing is
to see all beings as God does:
with infinite Love

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Spirit of the Cenacle

Fr. Nicolas Schwizer

To build a better world – the Kingdom of God on earth – we need the Holy Spirit. We are very few, and we feel very weak and helpless for such a great mission. More than ever, we need the power from Above. More than ever do we need to unite our smallness to the greatness of God. More than ever do we need the Holy Spirit, the enlivening and transforming Spirit.

A great moment in the history of the Church was the coming of the Holy Spirit on the apostles gathered in the Cenacle on the day of Pentecost. It was the power and the fire of the Spirit which cast us out to the four winds. It was that same Spirit which led them to consume themselves for their mission to change the world.

To revive the Spirit of the Cenacle

It seems to me that we would have to renew that great historic moment, we would have to revive that Pentecost happening and allow ourselves to be inundated by the Spirit of the Cenacle.

What is that Spirit? The Acts of the Apostles indicate it to us: “They all persevered in prayer, in one same Spirit, in the company of Mary, the Mother of Jesus.” The Spirit of the Cenacle is, therefore, a triple Spirit: a Marian Spirit, a community Spirit, a Spirit of prayer.

1. A Marian Spirit. As in the historic Cenacle, we also gather around the Virgin Mary, and especially by her powerful maternal supplication, will the Holy Spirit come upon us. Surely we know the words of St. Grignion de Monfort so often repeated by our Father Kentenich, founder of the Schoenstatt Movement: “The Holy Spirit wants to encounter the Blessed Virgin in our souls, wants to encounter Marian attitudes and spirit. And if the Holy Spirit finds Mary in a soul, there is no other recourse than to penetrate this soul with his gifts and work miracles there.”

And we all need miracles: miracles of understanding, transformation, conviction, enthusiasm, heroism.

2. A Community Spirit. We form part of a family, and as a Christian family, we must form a community of hearts and tasks.

A community of hearts: we are many and, therefore, it is more difficult. We are united by a great love for the Virgin. We want to be one heart and one soul. And the Holy Spirit is our great attachment of unity: we should be penetrated by his fire of love.

A community of tasks: in one way or another, we are the conductors of the community. The destiny of the community is in our hands. This should demand the greatest from us, but the homeland’s destiny also depends on us. In light of history, it is a very great responsibility.

3. A Spirit of prayer. All our activities are not only for reflecting and exchanging ideas, but also for prayer as community, as Family, like community…..to implore the Holy Spirit. The Spirit of God has to illuminate us, guide us, support us. Only then will we be able to understand what God asks of us, of our community, of our parish today. Only in this way will we be able to understand ourselves anew and with greater power for our great mission: to convert our country into a new world, into a Nation of God. And we have the Shrines, our Cenacles. There the Holy Spirit wants to fill us with his fire. And from there He wants to send us forth to change the world, like He sent the Apostles more than two thousand years ago.

Questions for reflection

1. Will the Holy Spirit encounter Mary in my heart?

2. How is my participation in the community?

3. Do I consider myself a person of prayer?

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Video: The Jesus Prayer, Sung by Sr. Tereza Vodjana

Brethren, please prayerfully enjoy this beautiful rendition of the Jesus Prayer in Slavonic, sung by Sr. Tereza Vodjana, of the Greek-Catholic Sisters Missionaries of the Most Holy Redeemer in Ukraine.

Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner

About the Jesus Prayer:

The Jesus Prayer, also called the Prayer of the Heart, the Prayer of a Single Thought, or simply The Prayer, is a short, simple prayer that has been widely used, taught and discussed throughout the history of Eastern Christianity. The exact words of the prayer have varied, from a simple form such as "Lord, have mercy" to an extended form:

"Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, the sinner."

The form most in use on Mount Athos is "Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me." It is particularly used in the practice of the spiritual life known as hesychasm.

It is, for the Orthodox, one of the most profound and mystical prayers and is often repeated endlessly as part of a personal ascetic practice. There have been a number of Roman Catholic texts on the subject, but its usage has never achieved the same degree of devotion as in the Eastern Church. A more elaborate version known to some Roman Catholics by the same name goes: "O my Jesus, forgive us our sins, save us from the fires of Hell, and lead all souls to Heaven, especially those most in need of Your mercy."

The prayer is most reflective of the lesson taught by the parable of the Publican and the Pharisee; in which the Pharisee demonstrates the improper way to pray by exclaiming, "Thank you Lord that I am not like the Publican." While the Publican in humility prays correctly "Lord have mercy on me, the sinner" (Luke 18:10-14). And likewise in the Gospels, Peter crying out as he sank into the sea, "Lord, save me."

In the Orthodox tradition the prayer is said or prayed repeatedly, often with the aid of a prayer rope. It may be accompanied by prostrations and the sign of the cross. As such, it is used as a means of finding contrition and as a means of bringing about humility in the individual; hence the words "the sinner" are sometimes added as if no other sinner existed but the person praying (though there is no indefinite article in Greek, thus leading to some controversy about whether the translation in English should be "the sinner" or "a sinner").

Monastics often have long sessions praying this prayer many hundreds of times each night as part of their discipline, and through the guidance of an elder, its practitioner's ultimate goal is to "internalize" the prayer, so that one is praying unceasingly there-by accomplishing Saint Paul's exhortation to the Thessalonians to "pray without ceasing" (I Thessalonians 5:17). The use of the Jesus Prayer in this way is the subject of the Russian classic The Way of a Pilgrim. For many, after a time, the Jesus Prayer enters into the heart, so that it is no longer recited by a deliberate effort, but recites itself spontaneously.

Source: OrthodoxWiki.

Friday, June 03, 2011

Video: Metropolitan Kallistos on Thomas Merton

Brethren, browsing through Youtube I found this video clip of Metropolitan Kallistos of Diocletia expounding on the “prayer of the heart” and using a quote from Thomas Merton’s Conjectures of a Guilty Bystander as a starting point. You may know Metropolitan Kallistos better by his name in the world, Timothy Ware and from his book, The Orthodox Church. Here’s the video clip:

Metropolitan Kallistos on Thomas Merton

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Haiku to the desert wind

Image source: https://newsline.llnl.gov/_rev02/articles/2009/jul/07.17.09-afghanistan1.php
The hundred-day wind
blows across the high desert
as the warrior watch's

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

A tough day today at camp

“That's what it takes to be a hero, a little gem of innocence inside you that makes you want to believe that there still exists a right and wrong, that decency will somehow triumph in the end” -Lisa Hand

clip_image002Today we remembered three soldiers who rendered the ultimate measure of devotion to our country last Sunday. They are a Captain, a Sergeant First Class, and a Sergeant. A gifted and well-respected translator also died, along with a K9 named “Hunter.” They fell in Kandahar Province, victims of an Improvised Explosive Device.

General Petraeus, ISAF Commander and US Forces Commander, Afghanistan, attended the service. He walked within inches of me as I stood in formation. He looked slightly stooped, his blue eyes blazing with a mix of sadness, fury, and determination. Other notables walked by but I didn’t catch their names.

When my turn came to pay my respects before the three upside-down rifles, each crowned by a Green Beret, the photos of the fallen ones before each weapon, and even the K-9’s collar, I rendered a slow salute, knelt, and kept quiet for a moment.

Then I asked myself, by what miracle do I get the privilege to stand in this forest of men made of steel?

Is this what you wanted to show me, Lord, the true price of war, the value of life, and the privilege to mourn with true heroes, I, am unworthy one? The sight of grown comrades crying and the tired look of a fighting general who has seen way too many of these ceremonies?

I am humbled.

The deaths of these heroes confirm me in my determination that I am at the right place, and at the right time, to serve my country and my neighbors in a worthy cause. Keep these heroes, and their families, in your prayers.

I will share their names with you later on.

* June 5, 2011 – Their names were: Capt. Joseph W. Schultz, 36; SFC Martin R. Apolinar, 28, and Sgt. Aaron J. Blasjo, 25. Also a K-9 handled by Sgt. Blasjo named “Hunter” and also a respected civilian translator.

More information here.