Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Holy Father's refection on his US visit

" The Holy Father said that during his visit, he had encouraged the American bishops "in their difficult task of spreading the Gospel in a society marked by no small number of contradictions." More specifically, he reported that he had encouraged the bishops to protect family life, especially by helping young couples to recognize "the sacrament of marriage as a gift and an indissoluble commitment between a man and a woman, the natural environment in which to welcome and educate children." The Pontiff went on to say that he had encouraged efforts to provide children with a "solid moral education."

Let's pray and work to live this important reminder of our call to be salt and light to our society.

Marriage will bring world peace

A new analysis carried out by myself and Joshua Baker entitled Pope Benedict XVI on Marriage: A Compendium and published by the Institute for Marriage and Public Policy on the eve of Benedict's historic U.S. visit, finds that in less than three years of his pontificate, Pope Benedict XVI has spoken publicly about marriage on 111 occasions. His pronouncements connect marriage to such overarching themes as human rights, world peace, and the conversation between faith and reason.
Over and over again he has made it clear that the marriage and family debate is central -- not peripheral -- to understanding the human person, and defending our human dignity.

Read the entire article here.
HT MercatorNet

That's why I was SO proud of my friend, Connell Friel, President of the Long Island Chapter of the American Family Association, who was on a News 12 debate on homosexual marriage. He was pitted against Lee Nissensohn and Daniel Pinello (seen here) who staged an event at Oyster Bay Town Hall where they went looking for a marriage license they knew they couldn't obtain, along with a few sign-carrying protesters and TV crews. They had the TV News station in their pocket, due to the biased questions asked by interviewer Lea Tyrell, and the fact that 3 out of 4 callers were pro-homosexual marriage. Nisselsohn quoted statistics saying that children are better off living with homosexual parents, and the interviewer didn't question the source of his statistics. Pinello, a professor at John Jay College in New York, tried to use that fact to stop discussion; his opinion was law, according to him.

Connell held his own in these difficult circumstances, and calmly quoted all the right statistics which prove that marriage was made for the procreation and raising of children, and this is THE best way to raise a child. He did well, considering the completely hostile environment which was slanted to make him look like a hate-monger.

I tried to email and call in, but my efforts were in vain. The agenda was set. News 12, like all other news outlets besides Fox News, has bought on to the gay agenda.

Planned Barrenhood's chicken's are coming home to roost

from Tony Perkins at Family Research Council
The charges are mounting against Planned Parenthood. First came the revelations that Planned Parenthood clinic employees were caught coaching a 14-year-old girl on how to avoid triggering statutory rape reporting requirements against her 22-year- old boyfriend who impregnated her. Now, Planned Parenthood employees have been tape recorded accepting donations from an avowedly racist customer who asked, specifically, that his money be earmarked for the abortion of an African-American baby. The caller even stated that he wanted "to lower the number of black people in America." Seven clinics were called, and not one of the Planned Parenthood employees contacted even objected to or balked at taking donations targeted for the abortion of African-American babies.
You are not being asked about your donations to Planned Parenthood. Did you know that over $300 million of your tax dollars go to Planned Parenthood each year? A group of black pastors and pro-life activists held a press conference in front of the Planned Parenthood offices in Washington, D.C., last week demanding a congressional audit of the organization. The group wants an investigation of the alleged pattern of racist practices, funded by taxpayers, at Planned Parenthood abortion clinics.
We are confident that the majority of Americans would not choose to invest in a company that turns a blind eye to sexual crimes against children and accepts racially motivated donations. Please join the tens of thousands of citizens who have already signed the petition to President Bush, which FRC will deliver to the White House on May 7, asking the President to approve new Title X regulations ensuring that no taxpayer money subsidizes the abortion facilities of groups like Planned Parenthood. Ask the President also to ensure that legitimate clinics are not forced to refer for abortions.

Is Planned Parenthood a Wise Investment?

Monday, April 28, 2008

A Taste of Heaven

I am discerning whether to buy a home within a mile of this wonderful place. Watch the video montage of the Traditional Mass at the Friary of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Griswold, CT.
Can you understand why?

Cardinal Egan rebukes pro-abortion Guiliani

“The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God. Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind. Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion. I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.”
Tim Drake on Pope 2008

Holy Father impressed with faith of America

At his Sunday audience on April 28, Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) remarked that his trip to the United States earlier in the month he found “great vitality and commitment to live and bear witness to the faith.” The Pope added that his trip had renewed his hope for the future of the Church in America.
HT Spirit Daily

Bravo Italianos!

There is concern among the adherents of the Culture of Death in Italy that an increasing number of Italian Obstetricians won't do abortions. They thought they were in the baby business, imagine that!
HT Genetique

Obama defends the indefensible: Partial birth abortion

How does one justify late term abortions which are done for convenience?
Barack Obama defended his "nay" vote on the Partial Birth Abortion ban to Planned Parenthood, one of his big supporters here.
Just watch him lie, using the old "life of the mother" canard. Barbara Boxer has taught him well.
Are there any Catholics out there morally bankrupt enough to vote for this man?
HT Life News

Why Muslims convert to Christianity: it's up to us

" we Christians especially need to guard our emotions so we can be a good witness to Muslims—a caution raised by Dr. Dudley Woodberry, professor of Islamic Studies at Fuller.
Woodberry, aware that throughout the world Muslims have been turning to Christ, was curious about the reasons why—especially in countries where the cost of converting is so high.
To find the answer, he created a detailed questionnaire. Over a 16-year period, some 750 Muslims from 30 countries filled it out—and the results are eye-opening. The number one reason Muslim converts listed for their decision to follow Christ was the lifestyle of the Christians among them. "

“When Christ’s love transforms committed Christians into a loving community, many Muslims [identified] a desire to join such a fellowship.”
Woodberry’s research shows that when the Church is being the Church—witnessing to the love of Christ and of His transforming power—Muslims are drawn both to us and to Him.

"Read the rest here.
Chuch Colson, Breakpoint

This brings to mind what Mahatma Ghandi said about Christianity, he was intrigued by the teachings of Christ, but never saw it practiced. That's because he missed Mother Teresa. What a duo those two would have been! They could have converted the entire nation!
But that doesn't leave us with an excuse. We are the only Bible our Muslim neighbors might read. Do we "let our light shine before men"?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Cardinal Rigali: teach seminarians the Latin Mass

Cardinal Rigali: St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is offering a course for priests who wish to be educated and trained in the proper celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII to ensure competence in the Latin language and the rubrics of the extraordinary form. Prior to engaging a "practicum" experience, the theology behind the liturgy and the "motu proprio" will be studied.

I have encouraged any priest who may wish to learn to celebrate this liturgy to seek such educational opportunities so that the liturgy may be celebrated in a prayerful and reverent manner.

Another sign of the New Springtime.

HT Catholic Online

Tsnami of Vocation Inquiries at Dunwoodie

Pope Benedict's visit to Dunwoodie has already borne fruit, in only one week; reports say that St. Joseph's Seminary which was built to house 300 seminarians, and has a mere 23, had been flooded with applications. "It's been like a tsunami, a good tsunami of interest," said Father Luke Sweeney, the Archdiocese of New York's vocations director. “I've been meeting people all week and have a lot of e-mails I haven't had the chance yet to respond to. It has been incredible.”
For the first time in 108 years, the seminary had been preparing for a year with no students. Only 23 seminarians are expected to be ordained for New York City over the next four years. A study carried out by Catholic World Report claims the archdiocese’s ratio of priests to congregation members is among the worst in the country.

Praised be Jesus and Mary!
Just look at the sea of black here at the Rally. This is what the New Springtime will look like. Cassock wearing, holy young men, familiar with tradition, firm in their faith, burning to share that faith with others in the priesthood in an often hostile world.
And they're smiling!

My impressions of the Papal Youth Rally at Dunwoodie

Are in an article I published at Catholic Exchange.

Shocker: Pope Benedict's not a Republican!

Being a Catholic requires something usually absent in politics. Humility.
Howard Dean has a point, McCain should denounce the anti-papal comments of Tom Tancredo.
Dean Said. "If McCain believes, as he has said, that 'these are God's children,' he should not stand by silently as Tancredo or anyone else in the Republican Party continues using immigrants as scapegoats or playing politics with immigration legislation."
Former Republican candidate Tom Tancredo, like Lou Dobbs, was offended by the Holy Father's embracing of the Hispanic Catholics in the USA, and accused him of inviting illegal immigrants here to bolster the Catholic population here. It was a shock to some of my anti-immigrant Republican Catholic friends to see that Pope Benedict hasn't read Republican talking points. Or the rantings of Pat Buchanan. I imagine that Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly aren't thrilled either, but they have more class(hopefully) than to come out and criticize the Pope. I once debated Sean on his radio show about immigration and told him how unjust it was to deny visas to those immigrants who are already here. He conceded the point that visas are only granted to immigrants who have many countrymen already in the US with political clout. Like the Irish. The rule of law only applies when the law is just. God's justice trumps the Justice Department.
I have to tell this to those Catholics who have viciously attacked me on this blog for saying that legal status of a person does not diminish their humanity, and that President Bush was right to try and bring a humane solution to the scandal the exploitation of illegal immigrants, who already have jobs and want to be able to feed their families.
Did you know that, according to Fr. Benedict Groeschel illegal immigrants pay millions into a Social Security System they can never collect from, since they are working with invalid SS cards. We, the wealthiest nation on earth, can afford to admit them legally and as Catholics, we must acknowledge that they are our brothers in Christ, and welcome them. They will comprise half the Church in the USA by 2030. Either welcome them or lose them to the sects.
Pope Benedict knows this, happily embraces Hispanics, and speaks beautiful Spanish. You should have heard all the enthusiasm of the Legionary priests in the Seminary crowd. Most of them are Mexican, and more orthodox, on fire priests cannot be found. We are fortunate to have them among us. They will replace our aging liberal priests bringing renewed vigor into the Church. We will remember the Marian devotion of our European immigrant ancestors.

May God forgive us for our materialism which makes us reluctant to share our wealth with the neediest among us. Remember the Rich Man and Lazarus. The undocumented man seeking work on the corner is his modern day equivalent. Let him have papers so that he is no longer exploited by rich contractors. My husband who is from El Salvador made $100 a day making cement sidewalks for his Italian boss. A $20,000 job took one week, and cost the boss $2,500 in labor, the same in materials, and he earned a profit of $5,000 a week, for setting up the job, a few minutes of supervision each evening, and collecting the money when the job was done. His five undocumented employees did the backbreaking labor for only $100 a day. Where's the justice in that?
Just because Republicans are pro-life, it doesn't mean we Catholics are supposed to adopt the GOP Party line across the board. Being a Catholic means that we have no home politically, just temporary abodes.
Don't get me wrong, my Italian grandparents were Democratic committeemen, and I have never voted Democrat because of the abortion issue, and cannot until abortion is illegal and traditional marriage is constitutionally protected. But I am a Catholic first and a Republican second.
HT World Net Daily
Some of my favorite Catholic blogs are abuzz on this issue. Go to Pro Ecclesia and follow Jay's links
A friend has alerted me to some substantive posts over at Rorarte Caeli with quotes from the popes of the past 50 years to support my position that Catholics must welcome the immigrant, and help meet his needs.
“'the Church in America must be a vigilant advocate, defending against any unjust restriction the natural right of individual persons to move freely within their own nation and from one nation to another. Attention must be called to the rights of migrants and their families and to respect for their human dignity, even in cases of non-legal immigration”.
Pope John Paul II

Saturday, April 26, 2008

How to save children from inner-city schools

If loving the poor means you want them to escape the cycle of poverty, and a good solid Catholic education means that poor children will be able to do so, why aren't liberals in support of school vouchers:
answer: because they are double-talking hypocrites who pander to the poor while offering programs which merely perpetuate the cycle of poverty. IF they wanted to end poverty in this nation, THIS is the solution. I taught in some of the most benighted schools on Long Island, and if those children could be taught by conservative nuns like the Dominicans of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, or the Sisters of Charity of Mary, Mother of the Church, they would learn character traits and knowlege which would save them from their terrible neighborhoods.

Kudos to President Bush for supporting this, I'm afraid, like Ronald Reagan, he will not be appreciate until he's out of office. He is a true friend of the poor.

Bush urges vouchers for Catholic schools
By LEDYARD KING • Gannett News Service • April 25, 2008

WASHINGTON — President Bush sees two major problems with inner-city education: Children trapped in low-performing public schools can't afford to go anywhere else, and religious schools are closing because they lack students.

Bush wants to address both problems by offering low-income parents federal aid to send their children to religious and other private schools he says provide academic hope.

At a White House Summit on Thursday called Inner-City Children and Faith-Based Schools, he renewed his call for spending $300 million on "Pell Grants for Kids," a voucher program fashioned after the popular federal Pell subsidies available to college students.

"In neighborhoods where some people say children simply can't learn, the faith-based schools are proving the naysayers wrong," Bush told a friendly audience of religious leaders and school choice advocates. "One way to make sure you don't lose schools is you have people that are able to afford the education sustain the cash flow of these valuable American assets."

Bush proposed vouchers when Republicans controlled Congress, but the idea went nowhere. With Democrats now in charge, prospects are dimmer.

But the summit, combined with the recent U.S. visit by Pope Benedict XVI, is drawing new attention to the plight of Catholic schools. Enrollment nationwide has declined for decades, largely because rising tuition has made the schools less affordable.

Large cities in the Midwest and Northeast have seen the steepest drops, with enrollment at Catholic schools in places such as Detroit, Newark and Rochester, N.Y., falling more than 30 percent over the past decade, according to the National Catholic Educational Association.

In New Jersey, the resulting school closings have come quickly over the last couple of years.

The bishop of Trenton merged four elementary schools in 2006 and created a new regional school in Willingboro.

In 2007, the Camden Diocese closed schools in Woodbury and West Deptford and consolidated them with a school in Deptford.

And this past winter, the diocese announced that it was losing nine elementary schools -- closing one and merging eight into institutions at other parishes. The consolidations affect long-established schools in Bellmawr, Blackwood, Cherry Hill, Glassboro, Lindenwold and Westmont.

Conversely, enrollment has risen in the South and West of the country, with dioceses in Atlanta, Nashville, Tenn., and Phoenix among the leading gainers.

Association President Karen Ristau, who attended the summit, applauded the proposal.

"Every parent should have a choice as to where they want to send their children," she said.

Vouchers provoke strong reactions.

Teachers' unions and many civil rights groups oppose them, saying taxpayers' money should be used to improve already underfunded public schools. Choice advocates and some parent groups say vouchers give poor children the same economic footing as middle-class families in choosing a better school.

Cities such as Milwaukee, Wis., Cleveland and Washington, D.C., have used vouchers, but researchers don't agree on the success of those programs, and they continue to be the subject of fierce argument.

Reach Ledyard King at

Send a letter to the editor

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Earth Day

The Holy Father said at the Youth Rally at Dunwoodie, "the whole earth groans under the weight of excessive consumerism and greed".
So Benedict is green!

Earth Day fanaticism

On Earth Day: Al Gore, Population Control and Hypocrisy

Last year, the Nobel Committee saw fit to award its Peace Prize to radical environmentalist and depopulation advocate Al Gore. Nothing so clearly indicates this Committee's complete lack of understanding of peace, the very condition it seeks to promote. Gore is an unabashed champion of death and believes that "Third World nations are producing too many children too fast... it is time to ignore the controversy over family planning and cut out-of-control population growth."

Gore and other depopulationists see human beings as the ultimate threat. At the same time, they seek to protect the natural environment at the greatest expense. Like ancient nature worshipers, they demand human sacrifice-- literally. Abortion, euthanasia and contraception are their rituals, essential to appease the nature deities and forestall their wrath: global warming. Of course, these neopagans possess an inverted view of the world, fully at odds with Judeo-Christian tradition and, what is especially ironic, the natural moral law. Indeed, they abide by another law-- that of the jungle, the very foundation of today's culture of death.

All this speaks to the hypocrisy of depopulation advocates. After all, if human numbers must be reduced, why don't Gore and his fellows lead by example and offer up themselves? No; it appears they're leaving that for the rest of us. '

John Francis Borra, SFO "Used with permission."

Great post on Dunwoodie by Yale blogger Stephen

I am working on my posts, but meanwhile, enjoy this brilliantly done post about Dunwoodie from Stephen.

Text of Pope Benedict's speech to Catholic Educators

There were so many amazing speeches given by Pope Benedict last week, I watched this one late one evening, however, Benedict's talks require careful rereading, and are well worth the effort.
Is there a chance that the Catholic Educators he addressed this talk will do this?
Here's a quote on the Catholic identity of a school.
A university or school's Catholic identity is not simply a question of the number of Catholic students. It is a question of conviction - do we really believe that only in the mystery of the Word made flesh does the mystery of man truly become clear (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 22)? Are we ready to commit our entire self - intellect and will, mind and heart - to God? Do we accept the truth Christ reveals? Is the faith tangible in our universities and schools? Is it given fervent expression liturgically, sacramentally, through prayer, acts of charity, a concern for justice, and respect for God's creation? Only in this way do we really bear witness to the meaning of who we are and what we uphold.

Benedict gives a plug for the Catholic Channel

Listen here. It's amazing how many things he was doing in the 'down time' between major events.
HT American Papist

Pope Benedict has an email address

Read about it here. It's
HT Fox News

Great Obama cartoon

Is here by Michael Ramirez.

"Et tu?": Reason, wonder and Pope Benedict XVI - The diary of a former atheist

"Et tu?": Reason, wonder and Pope Benedict XVI - The diary of a former atheist

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Fr Neuhaus on "The Week that Was"

I love watching the papal coverage of EWTN, and one of the reasons is the playful intellectual banter between Raymond Arroyo and Fr. Neuhaus.
Here's his take from his magazine, First Things.

EWTN has best news roundup of Holy Father's visit

If you missed parts of the Holy Father's visit, or want to read his wonderful speeches to delve into them more deeply, go to EWTN for comprehensive coverage of the Papal Visit. And, while you're there, wish Mother Angelica a belated 85th birthday with a donation. It would make her day!

Lou Dobbs redeems himself


On his CNN show last night, Lou Dobbs hosted a discussion about Pope Benedict XVI's trip to the U.S. Unlike previous nights, his panelists showed nothing but respect for the pope; Robert Zimmerman and Ed Rollins were particularly fair. But the biggest surprise came from Dobbs. Here is an excerpt from the discussion:

Rollins: "I thought the pope saying illegals should be treated in a humane way is not saying that they should stay here. I think he's basically saying you shouldn't mistreat them when they are here. Send them home, but don't mistreat them."

Dobbs: "You know, I could sign on with that".We're going to have to take all this in. I like Pope Benedict XVI, is what [the conversation] just taught me here".By the way, I can close this out with one thing. He [the pope] changed the minds of a lot of priests around the country I believe."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue was pleased with this outcome:

"To his credit, last night Lou Dobbs pivoted away from his previous remarks about the pope and conducted himself in a most professional manner. What cannot be picked up from the transcript was the sincerity of his comments. In doing so, he put to rest any concerns we may have had. This case is closed."

Cardinal Trujillo Dies

Cardinal Alfonsed Lopez Trujillo was a stalwart defender of human life in all it's stages, he considered that scientists who do embryonic stem cell experiments are morally equal to abortionists (and they are) and must be barred from Holy Communion.
His prophetic words here have an eerie ring of truth to them:
The Colombian cardinal said in an interview in 2006 that liberal attitudes to abortion in western society could one day lead to the Catholic Church facing legal action for its opposition to the practice.
"I fear that faced with current legislation, speaking in defence of life, of the rights of the family, is becoming in some societies a crime against the state, a form of disobedience of the government, a discrimination against women," he told the Catholic Italian weekly Famiglia Cristiana.
HT New Oxford Review

Monday, April 21, 2008

The Official Source for stories of Pope Benedict's vist

Is the USCCB's website. Let your bishops know how you enjoyed the Holy Father's visit.

My Montage of the Papal Rally at Dunwoodie

View this montage created at One True Media
Papal Youth Rally 4/19/08

Lou Dobbs is at it again!

from Bill Donohue of the Catholic League


Over the weekend, CNN host Lou Dobbs lashed out at Pope Benedict XVI again; his first rant was on April 17. Here is a selection of what Dobbs said over the weekend:

· "Well, he's [the pope] mixing religion and politics on his first trip to this country. We'll tell you how the pope is blasting our society, our immigration policy and a little more, as well."

· "Here he is, I guess, in many ways insulting our country, talking about the need to be welcoming, taking up the issue of illegal immigration without any comparison to the rest of the world."

· "Well, he's in America, partner. And you know what, when we're in Rome, we'll do as Rome does. But when Rome comes to America, how about a little salute and stay out of our politics."

· "I don't care if he listens or not, but I'm going to send him the message [of staying out of politics] because I really don't appreciate the bad manners of a guest telling me in this country and my fellow citizens what to do."

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

"If the pope is so accusatory of the United States, how can Dobbs explain the cover story in Time magazine (which is the flagship publication of Time Warner, the parent company of CNN as well)? It reads, "Why the Pope Loves America." And if Dobbs is right about the pope blasting America, how come no one else agrees with him? certainly not me, I cheered his encouragement to end the "false dichotomy of faith and religion". We need more Catholic faith in politics, not less. There'd be no abortion if we did that in the sixties.

"Someone needs to give Dobbs a copy of the First Amendment: it guarantees freedom of religion and freedom of speech, two rights that apply to the clergy as well as the laity. Was Rev. Martin Luther King sticking his nose into the political affairs of the U.S. as well? Or does Dobbs just hyperventilate when bishops address immigration issues?

Pope Holds Mass at Yankee Stadium

Just a few moments of magnificence of that glorious Mass!

The Holy Father's speech at Yankee Stadium

Is available from the Vatican's website. I watched the Mass twice because the music was heavenly, such a contrast to the Mass at Nationals Stadium in DC! This is what Heaven must sound like, Beethoven, and Panis Anglecus, Gregorian Chant and Latin.
Kudos to the Archdiocese for an outstanding job organizing the music! Here's a list of the music performed from First Things.
Two of my blogger friends went, you can read one's impressions here and see another's wonderful photos here.

My spiritual director has a blog, of course!

His name is Monsignor Michael Mozia, and he is a Moral Theologian in a seminary in his native Nigeria. He is aslo a prolific writer,and I am reading the book, "Why Work?" and am trying to make it available in the USA. Monsignor has much to teach Americans about the dangers of materialism and secularism, a theme emphasized by Pope Benedict in his recent visit.
Here is his new blog, Monsignor Mozia, Praise God.

Pope strong on Life Issues

Despite the wishful thinking of some in the media who were hoping to garner support for their favorite Democrat politician from Catholics before the Pennysylvania Primary Tuesday, the Pope has NOT gone soft on those who support the killing of the unborn.
Just because Nancy Pelosi, Ted Kennedy, and Rudy Guiliani had the audacity to defile the Holy Eucharist at the Papal Masses they attended, doesn't mean it was sanctioned by the Holy Father. According to Canon Law, t is incumbent upon the minister of Communion to make that decision, and none of them had the nerve (or the tickets) to receive Communion from the Pope.
He spoke out strongly on life issues several times, especially at Yankee Stadium, where his comment was met with sustained applause. "They are the truths which alone can guarantee respect for the inalienable dignity and rights of each man, woman and child in our world - including the most defenseless of all human beings, the unborn child in the mother's womb," he said.
HT Life News

SSPX decides not to reunite with Rome

This is sad news, particularly on the heels of the triumphant Papal visit to the US. I am particularly sad for those friends of mine who became involved in the Society of St Pius X because of their love for the traditonal Latin Mass. Now there are more opportunities for attending this Mass, and a reform of the Novus Ordo Mass, yet still their hearts are hardened.
If they don't recognize an ally in Pope Benedict, then there is no pope who will please them.
They will be in my prayers.
HT Spirit Daily

Vote in NY Post Poll on Pope's Visit

The question is "How did the Pope's visit affect you, positively or negatively?" so far 70% have said "positively". Vote here.
HT Spirit Daily

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Official Text of Holy Father's Words to Youth and Seminarians at Dunwoodie

Saint Joseph Seminary, Yonkers, New York

Saturday, 19 April 2008

Your Eminence,Dear Brother Bishops,Dear Young Friends,
“Proclaim the Lord Christ … and always have your answer ready for people who ask the reason for the hope that is within you” (1 Pet 3:15). With these words from the First Letter of Peter I greet each of you with heartfelt affection. I thank Cardinal Egan for his kind words of welcome and I also thank the representatives chosen from among you for their gestures of welcome. To Bishop Walsh, Rector of Saint Joseph Seminary, staff and seminarians, I offer my special greetings and gratitude.
Young friends, I am very happy to have the opportunity to speak with you. Please pass on my warm greetings to your family members and relatives, and to the teachers and staff of the various schools, colleges and universities you attend. I know that many people have worked hard to ensure that our gathering could take place. I am most grateful to them all. Also, I wish to acknowledge your singing to me Happy Birthday! Thank you for this moving gesture; I give you all an “A plus” for your German pronunciation! This evening I wish to share with you some thoughts about being disciples of Jesus Christ ─ walking in the Lord’s footsteps, our own lives become a journey of hope.
In front of you are the images of six ordinary men and women who grew up to lead extraordinary lives. The Church honors them as Venerable, Blessed, or Saint: each responded to the Lord’s call to a life of charity and each served him here, in the alleys, streets and suburbs of New York. I am struck by what a remarkably diverse group they are: poor and rich, lay men and women - one a wealthy wife and mother - priests and sisters, immigrants from afar, the daughter of a Mohawk warrior father and Algonquin mother, another a Haitian slave, and a Cuban intellectual.
Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton, Saint Frances Xavier Cabrini, Saint John Neumann, Blessed Kateri Tekakwitha, Venerable Pierre Toussaint, and Padre Felix Varela: any one of us could be among them, for there is no stereotype to this group, no single mold. Yet a closer look reveals that there are common elements. Inflamed with the love of Jesus, their lives became remarkable journeys of hope. For some, that meant leaving home and embarking on a pilgrim journey of thousands of miles. For each there was an act of abandonment to God, in the confidence that he is the final destination of every pilgrim. And all offered an outstretched hand of hope to those they encountered along the way, often awakening in them a life of faith. Through orphanages, schools and hospitals, by befriending the poor, the sick and the marginalized, and through the compelling witness that comes from walking humbly in the footsteps of Jesus, these six people laid open the way of faith, hope and charity to countless individuals, including perhaps your own ancestors.
And what of today? Who bears witness to the Good News of Jesus on the streets of New York, in the troubled neighborhoods of large cities, in the places where the young gather, seeking someone in whom they can trust? God is our origin and our destination, and Jesus the way. The path of that journey twists and turns ─ just as it did for our saints ─ through the joys and the trials of ordinary, everyday life: within your families, at school or college, during your recreation activities, and in your parish communities. All these places are marked by the culture in which you are growing up. As young Americans you are offered many opportunities for personal development, and you are brought up with a sense of generosity, service and fairness. Yet you do not need me to tell you that there are also difficulties: activities and mindsets which stifle hope, pathways which seem to lead to happiness and fulfillment but in fact end only in confusion and fear.
My own years as a teenager were marred by a sinister regime that thought it had all the answers; its influence grew – infiltrating schools and civic bodies, as well as politics and even religion – before it was fully recognized for the monster it was. It banished God and thus became impervious to anything true and good. Many of your grandparents and great-grandparents will have recounted the horror of the destruction that ensued. Indeed, some of them came to America precisely to escape such terror.
Let us thank God that today many people of your generation are able to enjoy the liberties which have arisen through the extension of democracy and respect for human rights. Let us thank God for all those who strive to ensure that you can grow up in an environment that nurtures what is beautiful, good, and true: your parents and grandparents, your teachers and priests, those civic leaders who seek what is right and just.
The power to destroy does, however, remain. To pretend otherwise would be to fool ourselves. Yet, it never triumphs; it is defeated. This is the essence of the hope that defines us as Christians; and the Church recalls this most dramatically during the Easter Triduum and celebrates it with great joy in the season of Easter! The One who shows us the way beyond death is the One who shows us how to overcome destruction and fear: thus it is Jesus who is the true teacher of life (cf.
Spe Salvi, 6). His death and resurrection mean that we can say to the Father “you have restored us to life!” (Prayer after Communion, Good Friday). And so, just a few weeks ago, during the beautiful Easter Vigil liturgy, it was not from despair or fear that we cried out to God for our world, but with hope-filled confidence: dispel the darkness of our heart! dispel the darkness of our minds! (cf. Prayer at the Lighting of the Easter Candle).
What might that darkness be? What happens when people, especially the most vulnerable, encounter a clenched fist of repression or manipulation rather than a hand of hope? A first group of examples pertains to the heart. Here, the dreams and longings that young people pursue can so easily be shattered or destroyed. I am thinking of those affected by drug and substance abuse, homelessness and poverty, racism, violence, and degradation – especially of girls and women. While the causes of these problems are complex, all have in common a poisoned attitude of mind which results in people being treated as mere objects ─ a callousness of heart takes hold which first ignores, then ridicules, the God-given dignity of every human being. Such tragedies also point to what might have been and what could be, were there other hands – your hands – reaching out. I encourage you to invite others, especially the vulnerable and the innocent, to join you along the way of goodness and hope.
The second area of darkness – that which affects the mind – often goes unnoticed, and for this reason is particularly sinister. The manipulation of truth distorts our perception of reality, and tarnishes our imagination and aspirations. I have already mentioned the many liberties which you are fortunate enough to enjoy. The fundamental importance of freedom must be rigorously safeguarded. It is no surprise then that numerous individuals and groups vociferously claim their freedom in the public forum. Yet freedom is a delicate value. It can be misunderstood or misused so as to lead not to the happiness which we all expect it to yield, but to a dark arena of manipulation in which our understanding of self and the world becomes confused, or even distorted by those who have an ulterior agenda.
Have you noticed how often the call for freedom is made without ever referring to the truth of the human person? Some today argue that respect for freedom of the individual makes it wrong to seek truth, including the truth about what is good. In some circles to speak of truth is seen as controversial or divisive, and consequently best kept in the private sphere. And in truth’s place – or better said its absence – an idea has spread which, in giving value to everything indiscriminately, claims to assure freedom and to liberate conscience. This we call relativism. But what purpose has a “freedom” which, in disregarding truth, pursues what is false or wrong? How many young people have been offered a hand which in the name of freedom or experience has led them to addiction, to moral or intellectual confusion, to hurt, to a loss of self-respect, even to despair and so tragically and sadly to the taking of their own life? Dear friends, truth is not an imposition. Nor is it simply a set of rules. It is a discovery of the One who never fails us; the One whom we can always trust. In seeking truth we come to live by belief because ultimately truth is a person: Jesus Christ. That is why authentic freedom is not an opting out. It is an opting in; nothing less than letting go of self and allowing oneself to be drawn into Christ’s very being for others (cf.
Spe Salvi, 28).
How then can we as believers help others to walk the path of freedom which brings fulfillment and lasting happiness? Let us again turn to the saints. How did their witness truly free others from the darkness of heart and mind? The answer is found in the kernel of their faith; the kernel of our faith. The Incarnation, the birth of Jesus, tells us that God does indeed find a place among us. Though the inn is full, he enters through the stable, and there are people who see his light. They recognize Herod’s dark closed world for what it is, and instead follow the bright guiding star of the night sky. And what shines forth? Here you might recall the prayer uttered on the most holy night of Easter: “Father we share in the light of your glory through your Son the light of the world … inflame us with your hope!” (Blessing of the Fire). And so, in solemn procession with our lighted candles we pass the light of Christ among us. It is “the light which dispels all evil, washes guilt away, restores lost innocence, brings mourners joy, casts out hatred, brings us peace, and humbles earthly pride” (Exsultet). This is Christ’s light at work. This is the way of the saints. It is a magnificent vision of hope – Christ’s light beckons you to be guiding stars for others, walking Christ’s way of forgiveness, reconciliation, humility, joy and peace.
At times, however, we are tempted to close in on ourselves, to doubt the strength of Christ’s radiance, to limit the horizon of hope. Take courage! Fix your gaze on our saints. The diversity of their experience of God’s presence prompts us to discover anew the breadth and depth of Christianity. Let your imaginations soar freely along the limitless expanse of the horizons of Christian discipleship. Sometimes we are looked upon as people who speak only of prohibitions. Nothing could be further from the truth! Authentic Christian discipleship is marked by a sense of wonder. We stand before the God we know and love as a friend, the vastness of his creation, and the beauty of our Christian faith.
Dear friends, the example of the saints invites us, then, to consider four essential aspects of the treasure of our faith: personal prayer and silence, liturgical prayer, charity in action, and vocations.
What matters most is that you develop your personal relationship with God. That relationship is expressed in prayer.
God by his very nature speaks, hears, and replies. Indeed, Saint Paul reminds us: we can and should “pray constantly” (1 Thess 5:17). Far from turning in on ourselves or withdrawing from the ups and downs of life, by praying we turn towards God and through him to each other, including the marginalized and those following ways other than God’s path (cf.
Spe Salvi, 33). As the saints teach us so vividly, prayer becomes hope in action. Christ was their constant companion, with whom they conversed at every step of their journey for others.
There is another aspect
of prayer which we need to remember: silent contemplation. Saint John, for example, tells us that to embrace God’s revelation we must first listen, then respond by proclaiming what we have heard and seen (cf. 1 Jn 1:2-3;
Dei Verbum, 1). Have we perhaps lost something of the art of listening? Do you leave space to hear God’s whisper, calling you forth into goodness? Friends, do not be afraid of silence or stillness, listen to God, adore him in the Eucharist. Let his word shape your journey as an unfolding of holiness.
In the liturgy we find the whole Church at prayer. The word liturgy means the participation of God’s people in “the work of Christ the Priest and of His Body which is the Church” (
Sacrosanctum Concilium, 7). What is that work? First of all it refers to Christ’s Passion, his Death and Resurrection, and his Ascension – what we call the Paschal Mystery. It also refers to the celebration of the liturgy itself. The two meanings are in fact inseparably linked because this “work of Jesus” is the real content of the liturgy. Through the liturgy, the “work of Jesus” is continually brought into contact with history; with our lives in order to shape them. Here we catch another glimpse of the grandeur of our Christian faith. Whenever you gather for Mass, when you go to Confession, whenever you celebrate any of the sacraments, Jesus is at work. Through the Holy Spirit, he draws you to himself, into his sacrificial love of the Father which becomes love for all. We see then that the Church’s liturgy is a ministry of hope for humanity. Your faithful participation, is an active hope which helps to keep the world – saints and sinners alike – open to God; this is the truly human hope we offer everyone (cf. Spe Salvi, 34).
Your personal prayer, your times of silent contemplation, and your participation in the Church’s liturgy, bring you closer to God and also prepare you to serve others. The saints accompanying us this evening show us that the life of faith and hope is also a life of charity. Contemplating Jesus on the Cross we see love in its most radical form. We can begin to imagine the path of love along which we must move (cf.
Deus Caritas Est, 12). The opportunities to make this journey are abundant. Look about you with Christ’s eyes, listen with his ears, feel and think with his heart and mind. Are you ready to give all as he did for truth and justice? Many of the examples of the suffering which our saints responded to with compassion are still found here in this city and beyond. And new injustices have arisen: some are complex and stem from the exploitation of the heart and manipulation of the mind; even our common habitat, the earth itself, groans under the weight of consumerist greed and irresponsible exploitation. We must listen deeply. We must respond with a renewed social action that stems from the universal love that knows no bounds. In this way, we ensure that our works of mercy and justice become hope in action for others.
Dear young people, finally I wish to share a word about vocations. First of all my thoughts go to your parents, grandparents and godparents. They have been your primary educators in the faith. By presenting you for baptism, they made it possible for you to receive the greatest gift of your life. On that day you entered into the holiness of God himself. You became adoptive sons and daughters of the Father. You were incorporated into Christ. You were made a dwelling place of his Spirit. Let us pray for mothers and fathers throughout the world, particularly those who may be struggling in any way – socially, materially, spiritually. Let us honor the vocation of matrimony and the dignity of family life. Let us always appreciate that it is in families that vocations are given life.
Gathered here at Saint Joseph Seminary, I greet the seminarians present and indeed encourage all seminarians throughout America. I am glad to know that your numbers are increasing!
(a great roar of joy went up from them)
The People of God look to you to be holy priests, on a daily journey of conversion, inspiring in others the desire to enter more deeply into the ecclesial life of believers. I urge you to deepen your friendship with Jesus the Good Shepherd. Talk heart to heart with him. Reject any temptation to ostentation, careerism, or conceit. Strive for a pattern of life truly marked by charity, chastity and humility, in imitation of Christ, the Eternal High Priest, of whom you are to become living icons (cf. Pastores Dabo Vobis, 33). Dear seminarians, I pray for you daily. Remember that what counts before the Lord is to dwell in his love and to make his love shine forth for others.
Religious Sisters, Brothers and Priests contribute greatly to the mission of the Church. Their prophetic witness is marked by a profound conviction of the primacy with which the Gospel shapes Christian life and transforms society. Today, I wish to draw your attention to the positive spiritual renewal which Congregations are undertaking in relation to their charism. The word charism means a gift freely and graciously given. Charisms are bestowed by the Holy Spirit, who inspires founders and foundresses, and shapes Congregations with a subsequent spiritual heritage. The wondrous array of charisms proper to each Religious Institute is an extraordinary spiritual treasury. Indeed, the history of the Church is perhaps most beautifully portrayed through the history of her schools of spirituality, most of which stem from the saintly lives of founders and foundresses. Through the discovery of charisms, which yield such a breadth of spiritual wisdom, I am sure that some of you young people will be drawn to a life of apostolic or contemplative service. Do not be shy to speak with Religious Brothers, Sisters or Priests about the charism and spirituality of their Congregation. No perfect community exists, but it is fidelity to a founding charism, not to particular individuals, that the Lord calls you to discern. Have courage! You too can make your life a gift of self for the love of the Lord Jesus and, in him, of every member of the human family (cf.
Vita Consecrata, 3).
Friends, again I ask you, what about today? What are you seeking? What is God whispering to you? The hope which never disappoints is Jesus Christ. The saints show us the selfless love of his way. As disciples of Christ, their extraordinary journeys unfolded within the community of hope, which is the Church. It is from within the Church that you too will find the courage and support to walk the way of the Lord. Nourished by personal prayer, prompted in silence, shaped by the Church’s liturgy you will discover the particular vocation God has for you. Embrace it with joy. You are Christ’s disciples today. Shine his light upon this great city and beyond. Show the world the reason for the hope that resonates within you. Tell others about the truth that sets you free. With these sentiments of great hope in you I bid you farewell, until we meet again in Sydney this July for World Youth Day! And as a pledge of my love for you and your families, I gladly impart my Apostolic Blessing.
* * *
Queridos Seminaristas, queridos jóvenes: (So many of the seminarians were from Mexico, and there were so many Hispanics in the crowd, that there was a great cheer when he began his address in Spanish)
Es para mí una gran alegría poder encontrarme con todos ustedes en el transcurso de esta visita, durante la cual he festejado también mi cumpleaños. Gracias por su acogida y por el cariño que me han demostrado.
Les animo a abrirle al Señor su corazón para que Él lo llene por completo y con el fuego de su amor lleven su Evangelio a todos los barrios de Nueva York.
La luz de la fe les impulsará a responder al mal con el bien y la santidad de vida, como lo hicieron los grandes testigos del Evangelio a lo largo de los siglos. Ustedes están llamados a continuar esa cadena de amigos de Jesús, que encontraron en su amor el gran tesoro de sus vidas. Cultiven esta amistad a través de la oración, tanto personal como litúrgica, y por medio de las obras de caridad y del compromiso por ayudar a los más necesitados. Si no lo han hecho, plantéense seriamente si el Señor les pide seguirlo de un modo radical en el ministerio sacerdotal o en la vida consagrada. No basta una relación esporádica con Cristo. Una amistad así no es tal. Cristo les quiere amigos suyos íntimos, fieles y perseverantes.
A la vez que les renuevo mi invitación a participar en la
Jornada Mundial de la Juventud en Sidney, les aseguro mi recuerdo en la oración, en la que suplico a Dios que los haga auténticos discípulos de Cristo Resucitado.
Muchas gracias.

Sun Times picks up my post on Pope Benedict

I wrote a provocative post on Pope Benedict's overtures to Muslims, and it was picked up by the Chicago Sun Times.

Pope Benedict's Prayer Rally at Dunwoodie

Just a sneak preview. I worked very hard today getting interviews and photos for a variety of perspectives on the Holy Father's visit.

Tomorrow, after Mass, I'll start writing on this amazing day.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Mr Blue Sky"

Here is the review of Mr Blue Sky which is now available on DVD here.
Sometimes the girl next door holds the keys to your happiness.
Three neighbors, Andra, Bonnie and Greg, grow up across the street from one another. When tragedy strikes, causing Greg's mother to lose hope and take her own life, Andra sends him a drawing of "Mr Blue Sky", as she calls the sky to console him. Her mother has told her that he is present even when the clouds block him out, and he will come out again someday. When Andra is mocked and bullied at school, because she has Down Syndrome, Bonnie and Greg come to her aid, and they form a close bond. Andra's mother fears for her daughter's future; her father had abandoned them at birth, and so many of her classmates reject her calling her stupid, only Greg and Bonnie stand by her, so they become known as the three soulmates. The girls vow to be 'friends forever'.
Fifteen years later,we see Bonnie as a successful lawyer, dating Greg now an elementary school teacher, where they all attended school. Andra attends community college, and her mother approaches Greg for tutoring help for Andra as she nears graduation.
Something in Andra's kindness to him as a child, and her sunny optimism gives Greg pause, making him look beyond his shallow relationship with Bonnie, and his father's deep alcoholic depression since his mother's death. Could it be love? Does Greg dare to defy social convention and listen to his heart?
Emotional impact is key in this story of friendship ripening into love, and rich performances by Ashley Wolfe and Chaney Kley win over the skeptics about this heretofore unheard of relationship. What was once unthinkable; a love relationship between a woman with Down Syndrome and a 'normal' man, captures your heart, challenging old stereotypes. This film was fresh and engaging, with stirring performances by Chaney Kley and Ashley Wolfe, who in her first movie shows promising talent. Richard Karn of "Home Improvement" is Greg's dad, and Ken Rosier is Mr Hounsou, the school principal.
Look to this site for news about future screenings, and a possible release date.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Gabriela and I will see the Holy Father at St. Joseph's Seminary in Dunwoodie, today!

We will be taking in everything in order to share it here, and elsewhere. We have PLENTY of batteries for the camera, and lots of tapes for the tape recorder.
All we need is sleep.

Some thoughts from Fr. Corapi

As most of you know, the Holy Father is now visiting the United States. This has been a great blessing in many ways. First of all, the very presence of the Successor of St. Peter and Christ's Vicar on earth is pleasing to God, and we certainly can do with some pleasing of God for a change in this poor nation. The Holy Father brings the presence of Jesus in a very real and powerful way wherever he goes. He is indeed a sign of God's love and mercy, manifesting the hope we have in Christ.
On the other end of the equation, the most gracious and grand manner that President Bush and the country welcomed the Pope is most edifying, for a change. This is a beautiful witness, and a sign of great hope, when a secular leader of the President's stature welcomes our Holy Father so wholeheartedly. This president has frequently shown such respect and Christian goodness in the course of his tenure.
In recent years Catholic leaders weren't always so universally welcome. The image of Mother Teresa of Calcutta receiving the highest honor this nation bestows upon a civilian, the Medal of Freedom, still sticks in my mind. She was given this prestigious award before a joint session of Congress. I was in Washington D.C. at this time, preaching at the Basilica of the Immaculate Conception. The entire Senate and House rose to their feet and gave her a rousing ovation. The only two people I could see in the room who didn't were the former president and vice-president. There were others of their persuasion and political party who no doubt felt the same. This is unquestionably because Mother Teresa constantly and courageously gave witness for life, from the moment of conception to the last moment of natural life. She was a 'gadfly' and a reproach to their conscience. She was the enemy of abortion, euthanasia, and other such crimes against humanity. Some powerful politicians promoted such things. Some of them called themselves "Catholic."
The Holy Father and those faithful to him and to the Church Jesus built upon the Rock, which is Christ, with Peter (Rock) grafted into Himself, represent a sure and solid sign of the constancy and solidity of what we love and believe; the Truth! Often this world is like a desert with a sandstorm howling. Everything is blown about by the winds of mere personal opinions and false philosophies and ideologies.
The Pope, as the visible Head of the Church, is indeed a rock grafted into the Rock who is Christ himself. This is solid. This is constant and unchanging. Humanity craves the certitude of faith, not a torrent of doubts and fears. This is what the Holy Father brings wherever he goes. Let the storms blow and rage. Our house is built on solid Rock, and will stand fast throughout the changing times until Jesus our Hope comes again in glory.
God bless you,
Fr. John Corapi

President Bush spoke at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

He said, "it's been a big week for Catholics (laughter) and not a bad one for Methodists either!(more laughter)" Read the rest of his speech here.

Add another anti-Catholic bigot to Bill's list

Yesterday, after first addressing the Catholic Church's failure to act responsibly in handling the sex abuse scandal, Pope Benedict XVI addressed the social context in which the scandal took place, asking, "What does it mean to speak of child protection when pornography and violence can be viewed in so many homes through media widely available today?"
He's right, we have an indecent, fiflthy culture, with very few taboos left, and they keep changing, so it's hard to remember what sins society disapproves of. Homosexuality with a 16 year old is fine, but at 15 years, 364 days, you get put away. What hypocrisy!
On his CNN show last night, Lou Dobbs made the following comments about the pope:

"I don't want to put you [addressing a guest] in jeopardy of either perdition or Hell itself. But, so I will gamble this, may I? The idea that the pope would come here and criticize the United States this way is, I think, first of all bad manners. I don't care if you're infallible [sarcastically] or not. So it's bad manners. Number two, it is absolutely out of all proportion with the world scale. This is the most welcoming nation, the most generous nation on the face of the earth. And for this pope to have this attitude and to make these comments is, in my opinion, absolutely repugnant". I'm on my way to Hell". It seems to me that if one is going to reach to the level that he did, you have to have some moral standing for it. And what has been happening to this church for the last decade, seems to leave open his standing, cleaning up his own house. I don't know if there is a scriptural reference there, but it seems to me that, glass houses, stones. Whatever it may be, it's just bad manners."

Responding is Catholic League president Bill Donohue:

"What the transcript doesn't reveal is the tone of Dobbs' remarks. He was sarcastic and insulting throughout. Dobbs can either apologize for his offensive remarks, or he can invite me on his show to debate him. Enough is enough"this guy has crossed the line big time."

Pope Benedict's speech at the UN today

Pope Benedict XVI Addresses UN General Assembly
By Samantha Singson

(NEW YORK — C-FAM) Today in New York, Pope Benedict XVI became the third pope to address the United Nations General Assembly. The pontiff spoke before the packed assembly that included representatives from all 192 member states and hundreds of representatives from civil society. On the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Declaration), Pope Benedict addressed the audience in both English and French and called on the UN to be “an instrument of service to the entire human family.”
Pope Benedict emphasized that “The promotion of human rights remains the most effective strategy for eliminating inequalities between countries and social groups, and for increasing security” and that “efforts need to be redoubled in the face of pressure to reinterpret the foundations of the Declaration and to compromise its inner unity so as to facilitate a move away from the protection of human dignity towards the satisfaction of simple interests, often particular interests.”
At the United Nations, the Holy Father faces an international body that does good work around the world in peacekeeping and in providing aid to those who are suffering. But it is also a body which Benedict said last year often falls into relativism. While the Holy See is classified as an observer state at the UN, the Holy See enjoys nearly full participation at UN meetings and negotiations and has continuously worked to overcome ideas and practices that violate the teachings of the Catholic Church, including contraception and abortion. In his speech to the General Assembly, Pope Benedict cautioned that the rights enshrined in the Declaration “cannot be applied piecemeal, according to trends or selective choices that merely run the risk of contradicting the unity of the human person and thus the indivisibility of human rights.”
Pope Benedict XVI not only spoke of the UN’s need to promote and protect human rights, but also spoke of the responsibility of the international community to use scientific research and technological advances in a way that does not violate the “order of creation, to the point where not only is the sacred character of life contradicted, but the human person and family are robbed of their natural identity.”
Pope Benedict is on his first and perhaps only trip to the United States as pontiff. He landed in Washington D.C. on Tuesday and was met by President George W. Bush at the airport, an honor never before bestowed on any visiting dignitary by any president. During the D.C. leg of his trip, Benedict met with President Bush at the White House and held a prayer session before answering questions with an audience of American bishops. Benedict also spoke to the students at Catholic University of America and held an inter-religious dialogue at the John Paul II Cultural Center and held a huge public mass at the new baseball stadium.
The Holy Father’s New York visit will include a mass for priests, deacons and religious at St. Patrick’s cathedral, a visit to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center Site and ends with a public mass at Yankees Stadium on Sunday.
Don't forget a Youth Rallly at St. Joseph's Seminary at Dunwoodie in Yonkers! I'll be there less than 24 hours from now!

Sick of Bill Maher's picking on the Holy Father?

Sign the American Life League petition to have him fired. Last night on the O'Reilly factor it was said that "the Catholic Church is always fair game, because there are no consequences for picking on it". Let's make certain that this is no longer true, that our beloved Holy Mother Church is at least as respected as a college basketball team.
UPDATE from ALL's Michael Hichborn:
The response is SO huge right now that the internet traffic to our petition site is actually overloaded the media temple.
We are working hard at fixing it, but please ...

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Esther from A Catholic Mom in Hawaii

She invites you to pass it along!
Only two days to go, I can't wait to see him!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Two views on Pope Benedict at Newsweek

The first , "Why Benedict Doesn't Connect", says Benedict puts feelings before intellect in one part, and calls him a cold fish in another. This is what happens when you are moral relativist with no attachment to logic. The media said the same negative things about Pope John Paul II, he was out of touch with twentieth century values, he was too rigid in adhering to Church doctrine, and he was not going to connect with American Catholics. They never admitted how wrong they were during his lifetime, and only praise John Paul in order to bash Benedict.They are useful idiots for the Culture of Death.
George Weigel, on the other hand, has a more cohesive take on the papacy of Benedict. He cites Pope John Paul II's June 1979 visit to Poland which ignited Solidarity and brought down Communism. The New York Times was skeptical.
The different personalities of John Paul II and Benedict XVI sometimes mask their shared (and unshakable) conviction that religious and moral ideas can redirect the course of human affairs. And that, in turn, suggests the possibility that Benedict XVI may have had his own "June 1979 moment"—a moment that was missed, or misunderstood, at the time.
That moment was the most controversial episode in Benedict XVI's pontificate: his Regensburg Lecture on faith and reason, delivered at his old German university on Sept. 12, 2006. (isn't that exactly five years after 9/11/2001?)By quoting a Byzantine emperor's sharp critique of Islam, Benedict XVI drew worldwide criticism. Others, however, including significant personalities in the complex worlds of Islam, took the pope's point about the dangers of faith detached from reason quite seriously. And over the ensuing 19 months, there have been potentially historic tectonic shifts going on, both within Islam and in the world of interreligious dialogue.

I refer to these tremors in this post, picked up by the Chicago Sun-Times. This shows amazing courage on the part of the elderly intellectual. I am burning to know what the Holy Father will discuss with President Bush in their private 45 minute conversation tomorrow.
HT Newsweek

Our Shepherd is coming today!

"The human race—every one of us—is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; he cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of Heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon his shoulders and carries our humanity; he carri bes us all—he is the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep."

Benedict XVI Inauguration as Pope, April 200

Monday, April 14, 2008

USCCB Papal Visit Blog

Here's the link.

The NYTimes map on where Catholics are in the USA

Is here. Interesting, the more Catholics in a state, normally the more pro-abortion politicians represent that state. Shame on us!

The Holy Father's itinerary in the USA

Fox News had a wonderful special with Chris Wallace on the Holy Father's visit. Here's the Pope's itinerary in the US. Click here.

Our tabernacle is now front and center of St. John's Church!

Here is what parishioners saw upon entering our church. Many came 30 minutes early, wanting to get strategically placed seats, myself included. I needed quick getaway for my restless daughter as well as a good angle for photos. I saw Patrick Archbold on the other side of the altar, so I recommend his blog for another perspective. (I've just been to Creative Minority Report, and his photos are far better than mine).
The atmosphere was charged, yet hushed as the parishioners awaited Bishop Murphy on the day he was to re-consecrate our lovely tabernacle in this new location in the center of our church. Our former pastor, Monsignor McDonald, who built this church in 1999, was not permitted to place the tabernacle in the center of the church as he wished, by diocesan liturgists(this was before Bishop Murhpy's time) so he built a magnificent chapel for Jesus on the side, where the tabernacle would still be visible to the faithful, and made a point of genuflecting towards it whenever he processed in for Mass.
Today, the tabernacle was in place, awaiting Our Holy Saviour, and the entire church seemed breathless in anticipation.
Bishop Murphy processed into the Church with the entire priestly coterie of St. John's Pastor Joe Coscignano, Pastor Emeretis, Fr. Corcoran, Fr. Tom, and our deacons. Bishop Murhpy, in his homily quoted Pope John Paul II who said, "in God's world, there is no coincidence, only the Divine Plan". Bishop Murphy reminded us of the upcoming visit of Pope Benedict, and his visit on Good Shepherd Sunday. He said he hoped that we would place Christ at the center of our lives as He is in the center of our church, and accept His call to follow Him to eternal happiness.
After communion, the choir sang, "Pange lingua, gloriosi" as the Bishop holding the Blessed Sacrament in the ciborium wrapped in the humeral veil, accompanied by the priests and deacons, processed around the church, with the scent of incense wafting through the air. It was an emotionally powerful moment as the tabernacle received Our Lord, and the bishop knelt in prayer for our parish.
Parishioners responded with the powerful "The Strife is O'er, Alleluia" by Palestrina, and rose, to great their shepherd who has restored Our Lord to His rightful place at the center of our parish church. As you can see, despite a bit too much chatter in the sanctuary after mass (ingoring the new signs reminding us to be silent) the day was perfect!
I invited friends to witness this event, and we met the bishop in the auditorium afterwards to thank him for being a good shepherd.
We anticipate the next church whose tabernacle will be replaced. Ask your pastor, and pray that this blessing may come to your parish.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The bedrock of Pope Benedict's papacy

According to the National Catholic Register, there are basic principles on which Pope Benedict, as immutable as his predecessor, Peter, the Rock on which Christ's Church is built. They are: doctrine, peace, education, liturgy, and interreligious dialogue.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Pope Benedict XVI

Welcome, Holy Father, we are praying for your safe and successful visit. Only one week to go.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Reading the Basilica for the Holy Father

Some natives of my husband's country, El Salvador, are preparing the Basilica for the upcoming visit of the Holy Father. I thought Hispanics need some good press for a change.

Has SSPX hurt the Latin Mass?

Patrick Archbold has a thoughtful and respectful post at Creative Minority Report about the Society of St. Pius X and the resurgence of the Latin Mass, particularly here on Long Island. In it, he gives credit where it is due, to Monsignor Pereda, whose loyalty to the Latin Mass AND the bishop have recently borne rich fruit in our diocese. And earned him some rather uncharitable criticism from SSPX members.
The more time I spend with members of this group (my daughters attend art classes at the local SSPX church) the more I agree with a commenter, that SSPX are like Anglicans who pick and choose what parts of the Church they want, and suffer from the corrosive effects of pride. Some of them DO think they are more Catholic than the pope, especially Pope John Paul II.
That being said, I love them as brothers in Christ, and pray for their full unity with Rome. A priest friend, now in residence with SSPX, told me when Pope Benedict was elected, "He is the one who will be able to bring SSPX back into the Church".
I certainly hope so, my dear friend Mary who died over two years from cancer, offered her sufferings up for this very intention.
Rorarte Caeli describes the diocese of Rockville Center, the seventh largest in the nation, as one with an exceptionally high interest in the Latin Mass, yet sadly with a number of completely schismatic Latin Mass chapels. I never realized this made us unique. Perhaps it's because, for many years we were one of the most liberal dioceses in the USA with rampant liturgical abuse, heretical teachings in catechism and the Pastoral Formation Institute, and clericalism which protected both for decades.
The 40 years of living in the desert are coming to a close,as we saw recently at the High Mass in Uniondale, thankfully, and as a sign of this, Bishop Murphy will be replacing our tabernacle to the center of the reredos in our parish this Sunday at the noon mass. Deo gratias.
If you live on Long Island, and love tradition, come and give Bishop Murphy support, there are countless tabernacles here which still need to come home to the center of their churches.
We have only begun the restoration. It's time to stop complaining and join in.

A bilingual message to America from Pope Benedict

Dear Brothers and Sisters in the United States of America,

The grace and peace of God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ be with all of you!
In just a few days from now, I shall begin my apostolic visit to your beloved country.
Before setting off, I would like to offer you a heartfelt greeting and an invitation to prayer. As you know, I shall only be able to visit two cities: Washington and New York. The intention behind my visit, though, is to reach out spiritually to all Catholics in the United States. At the same time, I earnestly hope that my presence among you will be seen as a fraternal gesture towards every ecclesial community, and a sign of friendship for members of other religious traditions and all men and women of good will. The risen Lord entrusted the Apostles and the Church with his Gospel of love and peace, and his intention in doing so was that the message should be passed on to all peoples.
At this point I should like to add some words of thanks, because I am conscious that many people have been working hard for a long time, both in Church circles and in the public services, to prepare for my journey. I am especially grateful to all who have been praying for the success of the visit, since prayer is the most important element of all. Dear friends, I say this because I am convinced that without the power of prayer, without that intimate union with the Lord, our human endeavours would achieve very little. Indeed this is what our faith teaches us. It is God who saves us, he saves the world, and all of history. He is the Shepherd of his people. I am coming, sent by Jesus Christ, to bring you his word of life.Together with your Bishops, I have chosen as the theme of my journey three simple but essential words: "Christ our hope". Following in the footsteps of my venerable predecessors, Paul VI and John Paul II, I shall come to United States of America as Pope for the first time, to proclaim this great truth: Jesus Christ is hope for men and women of every language, race, culture and social condition. Yes, Christ is the face of God present among us. Through him, our lives reach fullness, and together, both as individuals and peoples, we can become a family united by fraternal love, according to the eternal plan of God the Father. I know how deeply rooted this Gospel message is in your country. I am coming to share it with you, in a series of celebrations and gatherings. I shall also bring the message of Christian hope to the great Assembly of the United Nations, to the representatives of all the peoples of the world. Indeed, the world has greater need of hope than ever: hope for peace, for justice, and for freedom, but this hope can never be fulfilled without obedience to the law of God, which Christ brought to fulfilment in the commandment to love one another. Do to others as you would have them do to you, and avoid doing what you would not want them to do. This "golden rule" is given in the Bible, but it is valid for all people, including non-believers. It is the law written on the human heart; on this we can all agree, so that when we come to address other matters we can do so in a positive and constructive manner for the entire human community.

Dirijo un cordial saludo a los católicos de lengua española y les manifiesto mi cercanía espiritual, en particular a los jóvenes, a los enfermos, a los ancianos y a los que pasan por dificultades o se sienten más necesitados. Les expreso mi vivo deseo de poder estar pronto con Ustedes en esa querida Nación. Mientras tanto, les aliento a orar intensamente por los frutos pastorales de mi inminente Viaje Apostólico y a mantener en alto la llama de la esperanza en Cristo Resucitado.

Dear brothers and sisters, dear friends in the United States, I am very much looking forward to being with you. I want you to know that, even if my itinerary is short, with just a few engagements, my heart is close to all of you, especially to the sick, the weak, and the lonely. I thank you once again for your prayerful support of my mission. I reach out to every one of you with affection, and I invoke upon you the maternal protection of the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Que la Virgen María les acompañe y proteja. Que Dios les bendiga.
May God bless you all.
HT Rorarte Caeli.