Saturday, September 30, 2006

The Last of the LaSallettes

In New Hampshire. I made a youth retreat at the now closed school in the early 1970's, even then it was in decline--in some way I was surprised to hear that they still exist at all.

From The Concord Monitor:

The order was started after the Virgin Mary is said to have appeared before two young shepherds, a teenage boy and girl, in the tiny alpine village of La Salette, France, on Sept. 19, 1846. Mary, according to believers, came to the children weeping and lamenting that Christians had strayed from the word of God. She implored them to spread the message that believers had to return to the basic tenets and practices of Christianity, including daily prayer and worshipping on Sundays. After speaking to them, she walked up a narrow path and ascended to heaven.

After several years of investigation, the Catholic Church deemed the shepherds' claims to be true and in 1852 a bishop founded the order based on the message delivered to them. La Salette missionaries first arrived in the United States in 1892, settling in Hartford, Conn. In 1898, the order established a college seminary and, within a decade, had to build two additions to the Connecticut school.

In 1924, a center was opened in Altamont, N.Y., and three years later the order purchased Shaker land and buildings in Enfield. The shrine, a replica of the meeting between the shepherds and Mary, was built in 1951.

There are several centers and shrines across the country and many more around the world, including in Africa, India and Latin America, where the order continues to grow.

Father Leo Maxfield, who is 77 and came to the seminary high school in Enfield from Leominster, Mass., said that at one time there were about 100 boys enrolled in the high school and living in its dorm. There were about 15 priests who served as teachers and an additional 12 to 15 brothers - who take similar vows as priests but do not perform church rites and rituals - who worked on the order's farm and ran the household.

He said that shortly after he arrived in 1944, there were only two priests buried in the Enfield order's cemetery. There are now more than 80 La Salettes, as the members are known, buried at the site. He says he loves the Enfield shrine, which is bordered by Mascoma Lake on one side and thick forests on the other and is saddened by thoughts of its future.

Clintonesque Response of Bridgeport Diocese

Strange story as told by Joe Pisani:

Thinking our story was going to appear last Sunday, another pastor responded prematurely and put a column in the parish bulletin and on the Web site that said: "The recent article in the Stamford Advocate requires some response. While I can't answer every point in this brief piece, I would like to address some." But the points he chose to address were not even part of our story.

He wrote: "The paper's proposed solution to the present church crisis is that clerical celibacy be made optional or abolished." Where did he get that idea? Since the very beginning of our reporting, the issue of abolishing celibacy had never even been discussed.

The essay continued: "The Advocate article used this scandal as the springboard for marshaling every unhappy group or individual, whether ideologically Left or Right, Catholic or otherwise, to give vent to their vitriol against the Catholic Church and against the priesthood in general, and Bishop Lori in particular." Wrong again. This story was a result of the many calls, e-mail and letters we received from devout practicing Catholics who love the church. Clearly, it would have been wiser if he had waited to read the story before writing his impassioned response.

Contrary to the diocese's campaign of disinformation and demagoguery, the misrepresented and maligned story, which appears on Page One of today's paper, is not filled with "innuendo and gossip." It is not a "witch hunt." And it does not "name names." It is rather a story about concerned parishioners who are looking for answers and ecclesiastical accountability and who sincerely want every one of their priests to honor his vows. This is a fair story.

And just as it would be a tragic injustice for us, as a newspaper, to impugn the reputation of many priests because of the transgressions of a few, it would be an equally tragic injustice for the diocese to imperil the reputation of the many by ignoring the transgressions of a few.

Friday, September 29, 2006

Al-Qaida Weights in on Pope

From MSNBC:

“If Benedict attacked us, we will respond to his insults with good things. We will call upon him, and all of the Christians to become Muslims who do not recognize the Trinity or the crucifixion,” al-Zawahri said.

Feast of the Holy Archangels

Saint Michael being one of them, and the my patron as well as my son's.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

End of an Era 2

I used to work for Fr. Skehan, liked him a lot and I think he was well loved by his parishioners. Having said that this latest news is not a shock, and I think if similar accounting and audits were done others would find themselves in the same kind of hot water he finds himself in...I also think if he gets a good lawyer he will be able to beat this charge...because quite frankly people often say..."this money is for you Father, do with it what you want"...now they may mean one thing when they say that, but you could certianly take it at face value--an old time pastors did run their parishes like a little kingdom.

Police: Former Delray priests stole $8.6M from church

End of an Era

Saint Meinrad alum will remember the Shady Inn, for many it was something to be passed by in a hurry, but for others it was a frequent haunt--I was one of the "others." From its shoot the duck game on the wall, to the local workers at the book plant that hung out there after work it provided a dose of "reality" to some. The night Lenny, the owner pulled out his shot gun and shot a round for the roof to run off someone barred from the joint is ingrained in my memory forever.
Now it is gone--tore down for the television show Extreme Makeover--so a lot of people will get to see its demise, where only a few ever enjoyed its respite.

From the Saint Meinrad Alumni Newsletter:

One of the first projects Monday night was to tear down The Shady Inn,
which has sat unused for several years, to provide a larger building site. Many
alumni will remember this "hangout," which was located across the street from
the post office.


Once when taking a friend there on our way to Chicago, the owner's wife was heard to say to a patron (about ten times while we were there) "They don't call it 'shady' for nothing."

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Catholic Author and Soon to be Married Catholic Priest

Dwight Longenecker's blog I worked with Dwight on several of his early books (all excellent spiritual reading by the way) while he was still living in England. Then I put him in touch with a bishop friend of mine who will likely ordain him in the coming year(as soon as they receive final approval from the Vatican). Here are the books:

Pope on Saint Thomas the Apostle

From the Vatican:

The Pope explained that Thomas's personality is characterized by "his determination in following the Master" and gave as an example the Apostle's exhortation to his companions to accompany Jesus to Jerusalem, even knowing the dangers involved. This determination "reveals total availability in adhering to Jesus, to the point of identifying one's fate with His (...) Christian life is defined as a life with Jesus Christ, a life to be lived with Him".
Thomas also intervenes in the Last Supper when he asks Christ which is the way, because they do not know it, and Jesus responds "I am the Way, the Truth and the Life". The Holy Father said, "Every time we hear or read these words, we feel that our thoughts side with Thomas and imagine that the Lord speaks to us as He did to him. At the same time, the question also confers us the right, so to speak, to ask Jesus for explanations. This way we express the shallowness of our ability to understand, at the same time we set ourselves in an attitude of trust, like those who await the light and strength from the one able to give this to us".
The most well-known scene is the one when Thomas is doubtful, when the Apostle says to the Risen Jesus that he cannot recognize Him until he places his hand in the wound in His side. "In the end, these words demonstrate the conviction that by now Christ is recognized not as much by His face but by His wounds. Thomas believes that the qualifying signs of Jesus are above all, now, the wounds, which reveal to what point He loved us. As to this, the Apostle is correct".
Benedict XVI said: "The case of the Apostle Thomas is important for us for at least three reasons: first, because it comforts our insecurities; second, because it shows us that each doubt can achieve an enlightened result beyond any incertitude; and, finally, because the words said to him by Jesus remind us of the true meaning of mature faith and encourage us to follow, despite the difficulties, our path in adhering to Him".

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Review of Hunting for God...Fishing for the Lord

From the St. Louis Review:

The priest’s talent for storytelling comes through when he describes an
overnight fishing and camping expedition in March on a Mississippi island with a
friend and the friend’s father when the boys were high school freshmen. They
were awakened by an unexpected storm that turned from rain to sleet to snow. The
storm forced them to make their way off the island, paddling their boat with
two-by-fours after the engine wouldn’t start and they had lost an oar.

While that story was a bit harrowing, other times in the book he simply
tells of the solitude of nature. "I see the outdoors as a catalyst for getting
into the nuts and bolts" of spirituality, he said.


Review of Masonry Unmasked

From Spero News:

And so we are at this time when bishops accept awards from Masons and Catholic facilities are rented to them and Masonic emblems are on cars in church parking lots and few realize what occurs in this organization that some believe is similar to the Elks or Moose Lodge or even the Knights of Columbus when in fact it goes beyond that into the realm of dark mystery.

Such is brought into sharp focus by a powerful new book, Masonry Unmasked, by John Salza, a book worth mentioning not only because it is well-written and extremely informative -- a book that, without histrionics, or overwrought conspiracies, tells you everything you need to know about the Masons, their structures, and their beliefs -- but also because Salza, a lawyer, is a Catholic and also a former Mason himself.

Recommended? Highly. "An insider reveals the secrets of the lodge" says the subtitle, and indeed he is the first Catholic known to write a major book after leaving the secret organization.

Archbishop Milingo Excommunicated (automatically)

From the Guardian:

Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, the Zambian prelate who already had angered the Vatican by getting married in 2001, has been excommunicated for again defying the Holy See by installing four married men as bishops, the Vatican said Tuesday.

The Vatican said Milingo, 76, was ``automatically excommunicated'' under church law for the ordination of the men a few days earlier. The Archdiocese of Washington said Sunday that the installations were not valid.

Milingo is in ``a condition of irregularity and of progressive, open break with communion with the Church,'' the Vatican said in a statement.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Mel Gibson's Next Movie

Watch the trailer...Apocalypto

Pope to Muslim Envoys

I am pleased to welcome you to this gathering that I wanted to arrange in order to strengthen the bonds of friendship and solidarity between the Holy See and Muslim communities throughout the world. I thank Cardinal Poupard, President of the Pontifical Council for Inter-Religious Dialogue, for the words that he has just addressed to me, and I thank all of you for responding to my invitation.
The circumstances which have given rise to our gathering are well known. I have already had occasion to dwell upon them in the course of the past week. In this particular context, I should like to reiterate today all the esteem and the profound respect that I have for Muslim believers, calling to mind the words of the Second Vatican Council which for the Catholic Church are the Magna Carta of Muslim-Christian dialogue: "The Church looks upon Muslims with respect. They worship the one God living and subsistent, merciful and almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, who has spoken to humanity and to whose decrees, even the hidden ones, they seek to submit themselves whole-heartedly, just as Abraham, to whom the Islamic faith readily relates itself, submitted to God" (Declaration Nostra Aetate, 3). Placing myself firmly within this perspective, I have had occasion, since the very beginning of my pontificate, to express my wish to continue establishing bridges of friendship with the adherents of all religions, showing particular appreciation for the growth of dialogue between Muslims and Christians (cf. Address to the Delegates of Other
Churches and Ecclesial Communities and of Other Religious Traditions, 25 April
2005). As I underlined at Cologne last year, "Inter-religious and inter-cultural
dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra.
It is, in fact, a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends"
(Meeting with Representatives of Some Muslim Communities, Cologne, 20 August
2005). In a world marked by relativism and too often excluding the transcendence
and universality of reason, we are in great need of an authentic dialogue between religions and between cultures, capable of assisting us, in a spirit of fruitful co-operation, to overcome all the tensions together. Continuing, then, the work undertaken by my predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I sincerely pray that the relations of trust which have developed between Christians and Muslims over several years, will not only continue, but will develop further in a spirit of sincere and respectful dialogue, based on ever more authentic reciprocal knowledge which, with joy, recognizes the religious values that we have in common and, with loyalty, respects the differences.
Inter-religious and inter-cultural dialogue is a necessity for building together this world of peace and fraternity ardently desired by all people of good will. In this area, our contemporaries expect from us an eloquent witness to show all people the value of the religious dimension of life. Likewise, faithful to the teachings of their own religious traditions, Christians and Muslims must learn to work together, as indeed they already do in many common undertakings, in order to guard against all forms of intolerance and to oppose all manifestations of violence; as for us, religious authorities and political leaders, we must guide and encourage them in this direction. Indeed, "although considerable dissensions and enmities between Christians and Muslims may have arisen in the course of the centuries, the Council urges all parties that, forgetting past things, they train themselves towards sincere mutual understanding and together maintain and promote social justice and moral values as well as peace and freedom for all people" (Declaration, Nostra Aetate, 3). The lessons of the past must therefore help us to seek paths of reconciliation, in order to live with respect for the identity and freedom of each individual, with a view to fruitful co-operation in the service of all humanity. As Pope John Paul II said in his memorable speech to young people at Casablanca in Morocco, "Respect and dialogue require reciprocity in all spheres, especially in that which concerns basic freedoms, more particularly religious freedom. They favour peace and agreement between peoples" (no. 5).

Dear friends, I am profoundly convinced that in the current world situation it is imperative that Christians and Muslims engage with one another in order to address the numerous challenges that present themselves to humanity, especially those concerning the defence and promotion of the dignity of the human person and of the rights ensuing from that dignity. When threats mount up against people and against peace, by recognizing the central character of the human person and by working with perseverance to see that human life is always respected, Christians and Muslims manifest their obedience to the Creator, who wishes all people to live in the dignity that he has bestowed upon
them.
Dear friends, I pray with my whole heart that the merciful God will guide our steps along the paths of an ever more authentic mutual understanding. At this time when for Muslims the spiritual journey of the month of Ramadan is beginning, I address to all of them my cordial good wishes, praying that the Almighty may grant them serene and peaceful lives. May the God of peace fill you with the abundance of his Blessings, together with the communities that you represent!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Pope Lauds Christian Witness of Sr. Leonella

From Asia News Italy:
The “logic of Christianity”, that is, the giving of self to others, at times to the point of sacrificing one’s life, is testified to around the world by many Christians who “lay down their lives for others because of Jesus Christ, working concretely as servants of love and thus as ‘artisans’ of peace”, just as Sr Leonella Sgorbati did. The example of the missionary killed in Somalia was upheld today by Benedict XVI before 3,000 people in the internal courtyard of the Apostolic Palace of Castel Gandolfo.

Addressing the small festive crowd that applauded him warmly and vigorously called out his name, Benedict XVI made no other reference to a meeting set for tomorrow at Castel Gandolfo, with ambassadors of Muslim majority counties accredited to the Vatican and some Muslim religious leaders. Turning to today’s Gospel, Benedict XVI talked instead about the “logic of Christianity, which responds to the truth of man created in the image of God, but at the same time counters his egotism, a consequence of original sin. Each and every human being is drawn by love – that is ultimately God himself – but often makes mistakes in concrete ways of loving, and thus from a tendency with positive roots but often contaminated by sin, bad intentions and actions can emerge.”

Friday, September 22, 2006

Pope to Meet with Muslim Leaders

From Vatican Information Services:

At midday today, the Holy See Press Office made it known that in Castelgandolfo at 11.45 a.m. on Monday, September 25, the Holy Father will receive Cardinal Paul Poupard, president of the Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, and certain representatives of Muslim communities in Italy. Ambassadors to the Holy See from countries with Muslim majorities have also been invited to the meeting.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Benedict the Brave #2



From Asia News Italy:

“A particularly beautiful experience for me on that day was to give a speech before a large audience of professors and students of the University of Regensburg, where I taught as a professor for many years. With joy, I was able to meet once again the university world which, for a long period of my life, was my spiritual homeland. As a topic, I chose the relationship between faith and reason. To introduce the audience to the drama and actuality of the topic, I cited some words of a Christian-Islamic dialogue from the XIV century, with which the Christian interlocutor, the Byzantine Emperor, Manuel II Paleologos – in a way that is incomprehensible and brusque for us – presented to the Islamic interlocutor the problem of the relationship between religion and violence. This quotation, unfortunately, lent itself to possible misunderstanding. For the careful reader, however, it emerges clearly that I did not want to make my own in any way the negative words pronounced by the medieval emperor in this dialogue and their controversial content did not express my personal conviction. My intention was rather different: starting out from that Manuel II said later in a positive way, using a very beautiful word, about how reason should guide in the transmission of faith, I wished to explain that not religion and violence, but religion and reason, go together. The theme of my conference – in response to the University mission – was the relationship between faith and reason: I wanted to invite the Christian faith to dialogue with the modern world and all religions. I hope that on several occasions of my visit – for example, in Munich, when I underlined how important it is to respect what is sacred to others – my profound respect for world religions and for Muslims, who ‘worship the one God’ and with whom we ‘promote peace, liberty, social justice and moral values for the benefit of all humanity’ (Nostra Aetate, 3), is clear.”

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Benedict the Brave

From the Wall Street Journal:

This is not an invitation to the usual feel-good interfaith round-tables. It is a request for dialogue with one condition--that everyone at the table reject the irrationality of religiously motivated violence. The pope isn't condemning Islam; he is inviting it to join rather than reject the modern world.
By their reaction to the pope's speech, some Muslim leaders showed again that Islam has a problem with modernity that is going to have to be solved by a debate within Islam. The day Muslims condemn Islamic terror with the same vehemence they condemn those who criticize Islam, an attempt at dialogue--and at improving relations between the Western and Islamic worlds--can begin.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Turkey--A Tale of Two Novels

One Condemned..

From the Times online:

TURKEY’S faltering hopes of European Union membership look set to be dealt a blow this week when Elif Shafak, one of the leading members of a new generation of Turkish female novelists, faces charges under the country’s draconian restrictions on freedom of speech.
Shafak, 34, is being tried under article 301 of the Turkish penal code, which makes it an offence to insult “Turkishness”. Her alleged crime is that a character in her latest bestselling novel, The Bastard of Istanbul, describes the massacres of Armenians in the late Ottoman Empire as a genocide — an interpretation which, although widely accepted internationally, is still vigorously denied by the Turkish state.
Although other Turks have faced charges for referring to the events of 1915-16 as a genocide, Shafak is the first writer to be prosecuted for words spoken by a character in a work of fiction.


The other a bestseller (even before the current controversy)...

From Hot Air:

Benedict XVI is set to visit Turkey in November, for those looking to descry omens, here’s one that’s not terribly encouraging: A potboiler novel currently on bestseller lists in Turkey titled Papa’ya suikast (”Attack on the Pope”) predicts that Benedict will be assassinated.
Written by novelist YĆ¼cel Kaya, the book is subtitled, “Who will kill Benedict XVI in Istanbul?”
In a little more than 300 pages, Kaya manages to weave the Turkish Secret Service, the infamous Masonic lodge P2, and (of course) Opus Dei into his plot line. Inevitably, Mehmet Ali Agca, the Turk who shot Pope John Paul II in 1981, also makes an appearance.
All this might seem comical were it not for the fact that in the last seven months, three Catholic priests have been attacked in Turkey, beginning with the murder of Italian missionary Fr. Andrea Santoro on February 5.

I Support the Pope

Get yours here:

War Against the Cross

From The Conservative Voice:

Now, the Mujahideen Shura Council has issued the statement: “"We shall
break the cross and spill the wine! God will (help) Muslims to conquer Rome.
(May) God enable us to slit their throats, and make their money and descendants
the bounty of the mujahedeen!" After Pope Benedict XVI had said he regretted the
[Muslim] reaction to his statements, al Qaeda in Iraq called for a war against
"worshippers of the cross". Burning German, Israeli and US flags and an effigy
of the pope, protestors demonstrated in Basra chanting: "No to aggression! We
gagged the Pope!”


From the Holy Bible (RSV):

"I have said all this to you to keep you from falling away. They will put you out of the synagogues; indeed, the hour is coming when whoever kills you will think he is offering service to God.And they will do this because they have not known the Father, nor me. But I have said these things to you, that when their hour comes you may remember that I told you of them." John 16:1-4

Judging the Pope

With a Muslim mind...

I heard one Muslim expert speaking from Cairo last night who felt that what the pope said would have repercussions for years. In the midst of his reasoning he said something that I think was interesting. He said Muslims felt that the pope was sending a message to Christians...

Like a secret message. In other words, it wasn't what Pope Benedict actually said but rather in what he was secretly saying. To us, this seems crazy.

But in a world where some guy wrapped in swaddling clothes speaks a message where the CIA, FBI and Homeland Security pour over the message for weeks afterwards searching for some encrypted message that might be being communicated to the secret cells out there--I guess its understandable on some level. And of course this was the Pope's message--that Muslims and Christians are speaking the same language, so why should they be expected to understand what we mean?

We believe that Jesus has revealed what God is like--and we believe that God has revealed that we should turn the other cheek when struck--but we also know that when Jesus spoke this message of peace that he angered the religious figures of his day to the point that they joined forces with the hated Romans to seek his death. So why should we be surprised if a message of "there is no holy war" by a modern disciple of Jesus meets with a violent response?

Isn't that the witness of countless martyrs in the Church's history? People who were not attacking violently but people who were attacked violently for speaking God's truth.

Sorry Vol Fans

Florida 21, Vols 20

Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Pope Speaks--Apologizes to Muslims

From Asia News Italy:

“The Pastoral Visit which I recently made to Bavaria was a deep spiritual experience, bringing together personal memories linked to places well known to me and pastoral initiatives towards an effective proclamation of the Gospel for today. I thank God for the interior joy which he made possible, and I am also grateful to all those who worked hard for the success of this pastoral visit. As is the custom, I will speak more of this during next Wednesday’s general audience.”

“At this time, I wish also to add that I am deeply sorry for the reactions in some countries to a few passages of my address at the University of Regensburg, which were considered offensive to the sensibility of Muslims. These in fact were a quotation from a medieval text, which do not in any way express my personal thought. Yesterday, the Cardinal Secretary of State published a statement in this regard in which he explained the true meaning of my words. I hope that this serves to appease hearts and to clarify the true meaning of my address, which in its totality was and is an invitation to frank and sincere dialogue, with great mutual respect.”


Nun in Somalia Murdered
...

The killing of an Italian Catholic nun in Mogadishu on Sunday may well be linked to anger among Muslims about Pope Benedict's recent remarks on Islam, a senior source among Somalia's Islamists said.

"There is a very high possibility the people who killed her were angered by the Catholic Pope's recent comments against Islam," the source told Reuters.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Clarifications on What the Pope Thinks About the Muslims

From the Vatican Secretary of State on the Pope and the Muslims:
As for the opinion of the Byzantine emperor Manuel II Paleologus which he quoted during his Regensburg talk, the Holy Father did not mean, nor does he mean, to make that opinion his own in any way. He simply used it as a means to undertake - in an academic context, and as is evident from a complete and attentive reading of the text - certain reflections on the theme of the relationship between religion and violence in general, and to conclude with a clear and radical rejection of the religious motivation for violence, from whatever side it may come. On this point, it is worth recalling what Benedict XVI himself recently affirmed in his commemorative Message for the 20th anniversary of the Inter-religious Meeting of Prayer for Peace, initiated by his predecessor John Paul II at Assisi in October 1986: " ... demonstrations of violence cannot be attributed to religion as such but to the cultural limitations with which it is lived and develops in time. ... In fact, attestations of the close bond that exists between the relationship with God and the ethics of love are recorded in all great religious traditions".

- The Holy Father thus sincerely regrets that certain passages of his address could have sounded offensive to the sensitivities of the Muslim faithful, and should have been interpreted in a manner that in no way corresponds to his intentions. Indeed it was he who, before the religious fervor of Muslim believers, warned secularized Western culture to guard against "the contempt for God and the cynicism that considers mockery of the sacred to be an exercise of freedom".

- In reiterating his respect and esteem for those who profess Islam, he hopes they will be helped to understand the correct meaning of his words so that, quickly surmounting this present uneasy moment, witness to the "Creator of heaven and earth, Who has spoken to men" may be reinforced, and collaboration may intensify "to promote together for the benefit of all mankind social justice and moral welfare, as well as peace and freedom" (Nostra Aetate no. 3)

Friday, September 15, 2006

Pakistan Parliament Condemns Pope's Statement

From CNews:

Pakistan's parliament on Friday unanimously adopted a resolution condemning
Pope Benedict for making what it called "derogatory" comments about Islam, and
seeking an apology from him for hurting Muslims' feelings.



The comments in question?

The measure was adopted a day after the Vatican sought to defuse criticism of the pontiff's remarks, when he quoted from a book recounting a conversation between 14th century Byzantine Christian Emperor Manuel Paleologos II and an educated Persian on the truths of Christianity and Islam.

"The emperor . . . said, I quote, 'Show me just what Mohammed brought that was new, and there you will find things only evil and inhuman, such as his command to spread by the sword the faith he preached,' " he quoted the emperor as saying.

Masonry Unmasked Termed a "Blockbuster" by Spirit Daily

From Spirit Daily:


New blockbuster: secrets of Masonry by Catholic who was major Mason


Priest Arrested for False Imprisonment of Woman

In New Hampshire. One wonders what his homilies were like...

From the Manchester Union Leader:

A Roman Catholic priest who ministers to African refugees and immigrants in
New Hampshire is accused of sexually and physically assaulting a 27-year-old
city woman and holding her against her will over the last 11 months.

The Rev. John O. Lawani, 40, turned himself in to Manchester police
late yesterday afternoon after an investigation that began several days
ago.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Pope "My heart beats Bavarian"

A nice story in the Detroit Free Press on how much Benedict seems to enjoy being pope.

Coincidence? On the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross...Tropical Storm Helene

St. Helena found the true cross in Jerusalem, something today's feast commemorates. This storm may bear watching. Is it a sign or a mere coincidence?

Whatever may be the case it is important to remember that the follower of Christ sees the cross differently than the nonbeliever. For the nonbeliever the cross is defeat (this may explain the negative and positive reactions that Mel Gibson's The Passion received). In the midst of the 9/11 damage was the cross at ground zero--something that scandalized some and gave great hope to others. It is the same way today in the Church, on one hand the cross is everywhere and defeat seems to be winning the day--but at the same time a pope who speaks with great clarity is shining light on this darkness and holding the cross aloft as the sign of ultimate victory.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Kidnapped Priest Released in Iraq

From Asia News Italy:

Fr Saad Hanna Sirop, the Chaldean Catholic priest freed Monday evening
after 27 days in captivity, “was threatened and tortured”, another Iraqi priest,
a fellow student, told AsiaNews. “He is really tired and exhausted. He was
threatened and tortured. He’ll be able to talk about his painful and fearful
experiences later.”
Father Saad was preparing to leave for Rome when he was
kidnapped. He was coming to receive his university diploma after he obtained his
theology degree three years ago at the Pontifical Urbaniana University.
“He
is free and now is doing well. This is the only thing that counts,” said
Chaldean Patriarch Emmanuel II Delly. In expressing his joy for the “good news”
the patriarch thanked “all those who worked to get Father Hanna released”.
A
vast campaign was organised to get the clergyman freed. In addition to appeals
by Patriarch Delly himself and the Chaldean bishops, Pope Benedict XVI joined
the chorus of voices demanding Father Hanna’s release.

Thursday, September 7, 2006

Lessons Learned from a Five Year Old

JB: Don't mow the grass tonight.
Me: Don't worry, I just mowed it yesterday. But why?
JB: Because I have a sunflower growing that I planted.
Me: Really?
JB: Yeah and I didn't even open the seed, but it came out anyway.

This conversation stuck with me all night even becoming the subject of a vivid dream where I was giving an unsuccessful talk and then I used this conversation as an illustration and it worked. Then at Mass yesterday:

I planted, Apollos watered, but God caused the growth.
Therefore, neither the one who plants nor the one who waters is anything,
but only God, who causes the growth.
He who plants and he who waters are one,


Lesson: Plant the seed and don't mow down the results.

The Miracle Marlins

Two World Series...

Four No-hitters....

Twelve fans (including me)...


From The Chicago Sun-Times:


Anibal Sanchez stood behind the mound when the scoreboard caught his eye, confirming what he already knew: He was one out from a no-hitter.

He froze. For a couple of seconds, the Florida Marlins' rookie didn't move.

''I said, 'Wow. This hitter is the last one,''' Sanchez said.

Then he collected himself and, in this year of sensational rookies, finished the greatest performance yet.

Wednesday, September 6, 2006

Big News of the Day--Fashion at the Vatican

Not Katie Couric's performance on CBS evening news but this...




The Pope and his "hats"...this one is called a saturno after the Planet Saturn.

It actually reminds me of one of those little boy cowboy hats...I think the pectoral cross chain adds to that feel.

Around our house we call shadows "road people" given that they usually are seen on the surface of a parking lot we are walking across...here then is the road pope:



Attendees got a real show of style today as these Austrian women wear their finery for the audience:

Wednesday Catechesis-Philip the Apostle

"Come and See" "Show us the Father"

From Asia News Italy:

Benedict XVI started out from the gospel episode in which Philip exhorted the hesitant Nathaniel to get to know Jesus, telling him: “’Come and see!’ (Jn 1:46). In this reply, dry but clear, Philip shows the marks of a true witness: he is not content with making his announcement, rather he appeals directly to the interlocutor, suggesting that he himself undergoes the personal experience announced.” The pope continued: “We could imagine it is to us that Philip is addressing these two verbs, which presuppose a personal involvement. The apostle urges us to get to know Jesus close at hand. In effect, friendship requires closeness; in fact, it partly lives from this. Besides, we must not forget that, according to what Mark wrote, Jesus chose the Twelve with the primary scope that they should ‘be with him’; (Mk 3:14), that is, they should share his life and learn directly from him, not only his way of behaving but above all, who he was. Later, the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians would say that the important thing is to ‘learn Christ’ (4:20), that is, not only and not so much to listen to his teachings as much as to recognize him in person, his humanity and divinity, his mystery and his beauty. He is in fact not only a Teacher, but a Friend, no, a Brother. How could we get to know him deeply while keeping a distance? Intimacy, familiarity, habit lead us to discover the true identity of Jesus Christ. There: this is exactly what the apostle Philip is reminding us of.”

Benedict XVI then recalled the reply that Jesus gave to Philip when, during the Last Supper, he had asked him to show them the Father. ‘Have I been with you all this time, Philip, and you still do not know me? Whoever has seen me has seen the Father. How can you say, “Show us the Father”? Do you not believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me? ... Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me’ (Jn 14:9-11). Jesus refers to himself thus, implying that it is possible to understand him not only through what he says, but even more simply through who he is. To express ourselves through the paradox of the Incarnation, we could well say that God gave himself a human face, that of Jesus, and consequently, from that moment on, if we really want to know the face of God, we need to do nothing else other than contemplate the face of Jesus!”

Tuesday, September 5, 2006

Feast of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta

The Mother Teresa Center

The Mother Teresa Cause for Canonization

From the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal Site and Father Groeschel:

Today, although the world will hardly notice it, the Missionaries of Charity and their friends will be celebrating the new feast day of Blessed Teresa of Calcutta. September 5th is the anniversary of her death, and at present is acknowledged as her feast day. What a beautiful commemoration. Father Andrew and I had the great privilege of offering Mass for Mother Teresa the day before she went back to India. We knew when we said goodbye to her that we would not see her again in this world.

It was one of the most remarkable and memorable events of my life. Mother Teresa was filled with joy and happiness and even laughter. She was telling us how many convents and how many sisters and Missionaries of Charity fathers and brothers there were. It was a simple direct rejoicing. Always before that I had noticed that Mother Teresa was quite somber. I always thought she was thinking of the troubles of the world. I found out later that her soul was in spiritual darkness for many years, which others did not know.

Please join the Missionaries of Charity and the Franciscans of the Renewal in commemorating the passing of this holy woman, who is not only a saint in my eyes, but a prophetess. She has so much to teach us now.

Monday, September 4, 2006

Tropical Depression #6 Forms in Atlantic

Could become named storm by the end of the day...Florence

From Yahoo News:

At 5 a.m. EDT, the sixth depression of the season had top sustained winds near 35 mph and was moving toward the northwest near 12 mph, forecasters said.

The depression would be named Florence if it reaches tropical storm strength with winds of at least 39 mph. Forecasters said it could become a tropical storm by Monday or Tuesday

House of Mary

Based on Anne Catherine Emerich's visions this house was found in the 1900's by Germans. It since has become a shrine to the Blessed Virgin that includes a small Moslem prayer area. I visited the shrine in 1979 (I lived in Turkey from 1978-1979) and at that time Italian religious were in charge and covered up two of the women in our group who were wearing shorts.
This house in the last week was threatened by fire, but the fire stoppped when it reached the house. Miracle of Mary’s House in Ephesus, spared from the flames
Of course the visions of Anne Catherine Emerich were the basis for Mel Gibson's screenplay The Passion (I've always wondered how many evagelical Christians realized that?).

From the New York Times:

Whether this spot in Turkey was ever Mary’s house is indeed a matter of some controversy. It wasn’t until the early 19th century that anyone in the Church had any notion that Mary had once lived near Ephesus, and even then the first reports of the house came from a dubious source: the feverish visions of a bedridden German nun named Sister Anne Catherine Emmerich.

During her illness, Clemens von Brentano, a Romantic poet, began a vigil at her bedside and transcribed her visions and sayings, including a vision of Mary’s house near Ephesus. His notebooks remained unpublished for more than half a century. When they were finally made public in the 1880’s, a French abbot, Father Julien Gouyet, read them and found Sister Emmerich’s vision so compelling that he traveled to Turkey soon after to see if he could find it. With the help of local villagers, he found a small stone house that fit the poet’s description, geographically and architecturally.

It wasn’t until 1950, however, that the Church proclaimed the dogma of the Assumption of Mary into heaven and that the house on Nightingale Hill became an official shrine for pilgrims, although there are still scholars who doubt that Mary ever lived there. Over the years, stories have circulated that water from the well on the site has healing powers. At the entrance to the house there is a place for pilgrims to leave their crutches behind.

Sunday, September 3, 2006

Pope Gregory the Great Model for all Administrators

From the Sunday Angelus at Asia News Italy:
Benedict XVI emphasized the resistance of Gregory to becoming pope, perhaps also thinking back to his own election and, prior to that, his work in Rome as prefect for the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Gregory “sought in every way to avert his appointment, but at the end, he had to surrender and, reluctantly leaving the cloisters, he dedicated himself to the community, aware that he was carrying out his duty and of being a simple ‘servant of the servants of God’. ‘Neither is he truly humble, who understands how the good pleasure of the Supernal Will ought to bear sway, and yet contemns its sway. But, submitting himself to the divine disposals, and averse from the vice of obstinacy, it being already prevented with gifts whereby he may profit others also, he ought, when enjoined to undertake supreme rule, in his heart to flee from it, but against his will to obey’ (Pastoral Rule 1,6).”

Benedict XVI then outlined the commitments of St Gregory the Great in the field of liturgy, reform of the clergy, and efforts to integrate the Barbarian and Roman peoples: “With prophetic foresight, Gregory intuited that a new civilization was emerging from the encounter between the Roman heritage and the so-called ‘Barbarian’ peoples, thanks to the cohesive force and moral elevation of Christianity. Monasticism proved to be a source of richness not only for the Church but for the entire society. In poor health but of strong moral temperament, Gregory the Great undertook intense pastoral and civil activities. He left behind a vast body of correspondence, awesome homilies, a renowned commentary on the Book of Job and writings on the life of St Benedict, apart from numerous liturgical texts, famous for the reform of chant that was named ‘Gregorian’ after him. But his most celebrated work is doubtless Pastoral Rule, which for the clergy had the same importance as the Rule of St Benedict had for monks in the Middle Ages.”

Gregory the Great also inspired Vatican Council II: “The life of a shepherd of souls must be a balanced synthesis of contemplation and action, animated by the love that ‘rises wonderfully to high things when it is compassionately drawn to the low things of neighbours; and the more kindly it descends to the weak things of this world, the more vigorously it recurs to the things on high’ (II,5). The Fathers of Vatican Council II were inspired by this ever relevant teaching to describe the image of the Shepherd of our times.” The final prayer was to the Virgin Mary, “that the example and teaching of St Gregory the Great may be followed by Shepherds of the Church and also by managers of civil institutions.”

Time for the Annual Pilgrimage

To Florida Field to see the Gators take on UCF this Saturday. Back in the day I was there for all of them the big and the little games but now a days here in Big Ten country I'll take a dose of SEC mania whenever I can--and hopefully see a high scoring game is just right.
So leaving Notre Dame country, where the crowds are polite and orderly, I'll venture in to Ben Hill Griffin Stadium where the crowd will be frenzied and loud to see short time Notre Dame head coach George O'Leary take on Pope Urban's second year spread offense. It'll be a battle of unbeatens--the game of the century, #1 versus #2 in my pre-season poll (just as valid as the other fictions out there).
Pretty good seats this year too, from the UF athletic director Jeremy Foley. What's my connection? A friend who plays golf with a former Penn State classmate of Foley's (three degrees of separation).
So while the rest of you are watching Ohio State and Texas--I'll be immersed in Gator Heaven--hopefully seeing about 70 points scored by the good guys.
Yesterday's game, Steve Spurrier's appearance in the swamp and Mike Bianci's comments:

From the Orlando Sentinel:

The history books tell us that UF fielded its first team in 1906 with a coach named J.A. "Pee Wee" Forsythe, who doubled as the team's fullback and was paid a $500 salary that first season. A century later, Meyer makes $2 million a year -- and he doesn't even have to suit up. The least he can do is win a championship.
"Since I've left, the Gators haven't won an SEC title," Spurrier said recently when asked why UF fans still adore him. "When they win one or two, that coach will replace me."
But the thing is, if Meyer is to win a championship, he must go through Spurrier to do it. Spurrier was rightfully cheered Saturday on his return to The Swamp; he'll be booed when he brings his Gamecocks here Nov. 11. "South Carolina, that's my team," Spurrier said Saturday. "All my emotions are with South Carolina now."
On this day, Florida fans loved him as one of their own.
In two months, they'll hate him just like everybody else.

Thanks!

From a reader of The How-To Book of the Mass: Everything You Need to Know but No One Ever Taught You:

But not until after we'd both ordered a copy of "The How-To Book of the Mass," by Michael Dubriel -- also without previous consultation. Interesting...

The title of Dubriel's book sounds simplistic, but it turned out to be a Godsend. Dubriel explains in detail where every aspect of the Mass originates and why Catholics say the prayers they say, sing the Kyrie and the Gloria, why they sit-stand-kneel, bless themselves and respond at appointed times. He explains the proper forms of the "beating of the breast", the genuflection, the bow, the crossing of oneself, and the proper focus one should maintain for the duration of Mass -- with Biblical parallels and the words of the Early Church for support.

In the end, I'm glad we ordered two copies, because mine ended up with underlines and notes in the margins all over. Which meant that not only had the Mass been illuminated, but at the second service we attended, I wasn't lost. I knew what was happening and why. Highly recommended.

The Pope's Brother Speaks

From The Christian Post:

Looking forward to the pope's visit to Germany and his native Bavaria Sept. 9-14, Ratzinger said he understood the expense of papal travel meant limits on his brother's lingering in his old haunts, including the house the pope still has in Regensburg's Pentling suburb.

One day of the trip is reserved for private time for the two brothers in Regensburg, and for the pope to visit the graves of his mother and father, Maria and Josef, and his sister, Maria, in a local cemetery. Otherwise, the pope will celebrate outdoor Masses in Munich, Regensburg, Altoetting and Freising.

"It's actually just half a day," Ratzinger, 82, said. "Whether it's enough or not, that's all there is. I wish there was more, but a visit is an enormously expensive matter with so many people taking part and the resulting costs. Every second is valuable."

In any case, Georg Ratzinger said he was able to spend almost a month at the papal summer retreat in Castelgandolfo, Italy this year.

The pope, born Joseph Ratzinger, and his brother were ordained priests on the same day in 1951. While Joseph became a theology professor, cardinal of Munich, top Vatican official and then pope, Georg made his career in music, conducting the renowned boys' choir of Regensburg Cathedral.

Saturday, September 2, 2006

Catholic Sports Blog

After Amy suggested I start one, I discovered that somebody already had...interesting in that what makes it "Catholic" seems to be all the Catholic allusions used in sports.

The Daily Catholic Sports Blog

A Familiar Face Looking Back at Me

I doubt they have statues in this Orthodox church (another case of shoddy reporting)...

From the Norwich Bulletin:

Peter Dimas was sitting in the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church in Norwich several weeks ago when he looked up to the pale blue, stuccoed ceiling and saw a familiar face staring back at him.

Even though churches, especially Greek Orthodox, are known for their decor of religious images, the face of Jesus Dimas saw was not one of the statues or pictures that adorn other parts of the church. The eyes, hair, nose and mouth of Jesus are shaded -- though church officials say unintentionally -- into the domed ceiling repainted about eight years ago.

Friday, September 1, 2006

Pope Prays Before Veil of Veronica


From AGI:

"Let's seek the face of the Lord, together let's try to see the lord's face and, in him, find the path for our lives": with these words Benedict XVI explained to worshippers the spirit of his visit today to the Manoppello Sanctuary. "Dear brothers and sister - he said, greeting worshippers in the Sanctuary piazza - thank you for this warm welcome; I see many families from the Church gathered together here: where there is the Pope, this family united with great joy and I see all the beauty of the South of Italy in your faces. I especially greet those who are unwell: you are in our prayers - pray for each other also".