Thursday, November 30, 2006

Insightful commentary

Same Lyrics, Different Tune
by Father Jonathan Morris

Istanbul, Turkey — If the Vatican had hired a high-profile New York public relations firm to help Pope Benedict XVI establish meaningful dialogue with Islam and move the world toward peace, it might have suggested a one-two punch: first Regensburg, then Turkey...,2933,232820,00.html

Holy things for the holy

Pope Benedict XVI and His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Batholomew I at Divine Liturgy of Saint John Chrysostom in the Patriarchal Cathedral Church of Saint George, Istanbul, Turkey, on November 30, 2006, the Patronal Feast of Saint Andrew the First Called Apostle.

The top photo shows the reception of Holy Communion by a server from the Patriarch.

Elfin humor

Santa's elves are just a bunch of subordinate Clauses.


Rather than another Far Side, Dilbert or Garfield desk calendar for the mother-in-law this year, may I be so bold as to suggest Benedictus, an elegant volume of meditations for each day of the year taken from the exhortations of Pope Benedict XVI. Published by Magnificat and Ignatius Press, the book contains 416 illustrated pages with 721 details of sacred art: well worth the US$19.95. Visit to order.

Saint Andrew, pray for me.

Today is the Feast of Saint Andrew the Protokletos (First-called) Apostle. I took the name Andrew at Confirmation decades ago when Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles + John Ward of blessed memory sealed me with Sacred Chrism and tapped my cheek proclaiming me a soldier of Christ. I knelt before him in the same spot in that tiny parish church where many years later I would be ordained a priest of the same Lord by the hands of Auxiliary Bishop + Carl Fisher of blessed memory.

Of historical interest: In 357 the Emperor Constantine (son of Constantine The Great) ordered that the body of Saint Andrew be re-interred in the Church of the Holy Apostles in Constantinople [modern Istanbul.] With all the magnificence and honor of the Byzantine Empire and the Great Church of Christ at Constantinople, Saint Andrew was returned to the City that had first heard the message of Jesus Christ from his lips. Thus he became in death, as well as in life, the founder of the Great Church of Christ in Constantinople. His relics are in Constantinople along with the Apostle Luke and Timothy, the disciple of Paul, in the Church of the Apostles.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Can you say brrrr?

We've had an unseasonal cold-spell this week in AZ. It's perfect weather for some good Mexican hot chocolate or albondigas. It must be a one-dog-night because Oreo, my whippet mix, has calmed down from his usual hyper-self and decided to snuggle up to me to keep warm. Who's keeping whom warm? Wish I had time to head up to Northern AZ where it's snowing.

Ad Multos Annos

A word of felicidades to the Most Reverend Daniel Flores who was ordained earlier today as auxiliary bishop of Detroit.

A priest of Corpus Christi, TX, the former monsignor served as vice-rector of Houston's St Mary's Seminary for four years, as well as episcopal vicar for vocations in his native diocese.

Is it just my eyes, or is there a bit of a resemblance between the Bishop and that odd little fellow in the profile picture? Same ears.

Ave Maria Gratia Plena

Pope Benedict XVI kneels in the Chapel at 'Mary's House' near Ephesus, Turkey, where the Virgin Mary is reputed to have lived and died.

Taking good care of our Papa

Papal Visit Slideshow Update

Tuesday, November 28, 2006


Papal Visit Slideshow 1

Naughty or Nice?

The Naughty And Nice List
Which Companies are Allowing a "Merry Christmas"

ORALANDO, FL, November 27, 2006 ( - As part of the Friend or Foe Christmas Campaign, Liberty Counsel has created a "Naughty and Nice" checklist (available online in pdf or MSWord) which catalogs retailers who either censor or recognize Christmas. The list was compiled from information gathered by Liberty Counsel supporters.

Partial "Naughty List"

Lowe's - Employees cannot say "Merry Christmas" to customers. Lowe's corporate advised that only when customers initiate a "Merry Christmas" greeting can employees respond in kind.
Toys 'R' Us - "Holidays" are in, "Merry Christmas" is out.
Banana Republic - Web site has "Holiday Gift Guide" with no mention of Christmas.
Bed Bath & Beyond - No mention of any holidays.
Barnes & Noble - Web site says "Gift Guide," "Holiday gift baskets," "Holiday sled," "Holiday delivery," but no Christmas. Stores not allowed to put up Christmas trees, and employees are not allowed to say "Merry Christmas."
Best Buy - Web site says "Unique gifts for the season," "Holiday gift ideas." Spokesperson said the use of "Merry Christmas" is disrespectful.
Dick's Sporting Goods - Web site says "gifts" and has images, but no mention of Christmas.
Eddie Bauer - Customer service would not recognize Christmas, they "don't want to offend Jews, those who celebrate Kwanza and those who have no religious preference."
Gap - "Holiday Survival Guide" with no mention of Christmas.
Home Depot - Web site says "Holiday Store" and "Holiday Lighting" and only at bottom of site says "Make your Christmas decorations complete." Stores have "Holiday Home Accents."
K-Mart - Selling "Holiday trees" and "Holiday wreaths."

Partial "Nice List"

Dillard's - Advertises "Christmas Catalog."
JC Penney - Web site has "Christmas Shipping Countdown."
Joann Fabrics - Offers Christmas and Holiday fabrics.
Kohl's - Christmas is all over TV, print and radio ads.
L.L. Bean - Advertises and distributes "Christmas Catalog."
Linens 'N Things - Has a "Christmas Shop" and "Christmas Checklist."
Macy's - "Merry Christmas!" on its home page.
Michaels - Web site has a Christmas section.
M&M-Mars Candies - Will have red and green candies with pictures of Christmas trees and angels among other images.
Target - Web site says "Christmas Decor," although the physical store has "Holiday entertaining." TV ad says "Merry Christmas."
Wal-Mart - Has a "Christmas Shop," plays Christmas carols, and employees can say "Merry Christmas."

Mathew Staver, Founder and Chairman of Liberty Counsel, commented: "Every consumer should make a list and check it twice, stop patronizing retailers which are naughty and shop at those which are nice. Retailers which seek to profit from Christmas while pretending it does not exist should realize they have offended the vast majority of Americans who enjoy Christmas. Customers have a choice and they will not patronize corporate Scrooges."

Naughty and Nice List in PDF format

Naughty and Nice List in MSWord format

Anti-Santa Campaign

Santa Claus is being banned from Christmas markets in Germany and Austria.

Anti-Santa campaigners claim Father Christmas was invented by Coca-Cola and detracts from the true spirit of the festive season.

Austria's biggest Christmas market is in front of the Vienna city hall where thousands of visitors march past stalls offering everything related to Xmas - except Santa.

The only Santa to be seen is the one in the middle of the occasional 'Ban Santa' stickers.

A Vienna city hall spokesman confirmed: "There are rules governing what stallholders can do and one of them is to agree not to use the image of santa as a condition of being able to trade there.

"Santa is an English language creation, people who want to see him should go to America where I am sure Coca Cola will be happy to oblige."

The move in Vienna has been followed by Christmas markets across Austria and Germany where St Nicholas is the traditional bearer of Christmas gifts.

Bettina Schade, from the Frankfurter Nicholas Initiative in Germany, said: "We object to the material things, the hectic rush to buy gifts, and the ubiquity of the bearded man in the red suit that are taking away from the core meaning of Christmas.

"The Christian origins of Christmas, like the birth of Jesus, have receded into the background. It's becoming more and more a festival that is reduced to simply worldly gifts and commerce." --

Piero? Is that you? or People Look East

Found at the Vatican website:

“The Byzantine Divine Liturgy, like that of all the Eastern Churches, is celebrated facing East. The priest and all the faithful look to the East, whence Christ will come again in glory. The priest intercedes before the Lord for his people; he walks at the head of the people towards the encounter with the Lord. At different moments the priest turns to the people: for the proclamation of the Gospel, for the dialogue preceding the anaphora, for the communion with the holy gifts, and for all the blessings. These symbolize moments in which the Lord himself comes forth to meet his people.” – From the Office of Papal Liturgical Celebrations | Apostolic Journey of His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey | November 28 – December 1, 2006 | † Piero Marini

Will wonders ever cease?


Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto Decimo Sexto

Monday, November 27, 2006

November 27, 2006 Vision

In the Presence of the Blessed Sacrament while meditating on, “Nothing that happens to us is contrary to the will of Providence, and everything that is sent to us by God is for our good and the salvation of our souls. Even if it does not seem beneficial at the present moment, we shall understand later that it is what is willed by God, and not what we ourselves desire, that is useful for us.” (Saint Nilus Sorsky), the Lord afforded me this vivid image:

I took a huge cross to my chest and placed it upon my right shoulder. Its weight and roughness dug into my flesh. I murmured, complaining about the pain. I then looked to the right, noticing that the majority of the cross didn’t even touch me. I bent to embrace its coarse bulk. With that embrace, my entire being easily accepted the discomfort. At that moment a hand gently touched my left shoulder. I sensed Who it was. I nodded, affirming His Presence, understanding His will.

Papal Visit to Turkey

EWTN Special Programming (All times Eastern USA)

Arrival in Ankara and Visit to the Mausoleum of Ataturk

Tuesday November 28 6am Live / 5pm Encore

Meeting with President of Religious Affairs

Tuesday November 28 9:30am Live / 8pm Encore

Meeting with Diplomatic Corps

Tuesday November 28 11am Live / 11pm Encore

Holy Mass from the House of Mary in Ephesus

Wednesday November 4:30am Live / 9pm Encore

Meeting with the Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew

Wednesday November 29 12pm Live / 11:30pm Encore

Divine Liturgy at the Patriarchal Church of St. George

Thursday November 30 2am Live / 2pm Encore

Visit to Saint Sophia Museum

Thursday November 30 10am Live / 10pm Encore

Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit

Friday December 1 1:30am Live / 11am Encore


Friday December 1 5:30am Live / 10pm Encore

The House of Mary in Ephesus

Most scholars agree that the Virgin Mary lived for a time in Ephesus. The evidence in favor of Mary having spent her last years in Ephesus is both factual and logical. There is no dispute among historians that John, after the death of Jesus, went to Ephesus. While one might argue that Mary would not leave her homeland, with all its memories of the Apostolic life of her Son, it is much more plausible to believe that when the persecutions broke out against the Christians in Jerusalem her safety would be paramount and that she would obey the command of her Son and follow John to Ephesus.

The third Ecumenical Council of the Church was held in Ephesus. This council, which met in a large cathedral known as the Double Church of St. Mary, was primarily called to formalize the doctrine known as “Theotokos”, Greek for “Mary, Mother of God.” In a letter from the Council Fathers, addressed to all the clergy announcing this doctrine, it added that the Council was conducted in Ephesus “in which place John the Theologian and the Holy Virgin Mary, Mother of God were.”

The house of the Virgin was first discovered in 1881 by Abbe’ Gouyet, of Paris, through the use of Anne-Catherine Emmerick’s descriptions. His discovery went unpublished and was generally discounted. Ten years later, inspired by the detail of Emmerick’s accounts, a group of explorers again followed her descriptions to relocate the Virgin Mary’s home. The explorers were amazed how closely their discoveries conformed with the description of Emmerick.

The Nativity Story Trailer

Please refer to previous post for review and comments. Also, comment here if you wish.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

The Nativity Story

Head over to Fr. Zulhsdorf's blog for his post after viewing the premier of The Nativity Story at the Vatican's Paul VI Audience Hall. His best observation, I believe, is found in the comments where he responds so wisely, "...this is a movie, not a theological treatise."


I'll post a trailer tomorrow.

Doctor! Doctor!

A man rushed into the doctor's office and shouted, "Doctor! I think I'm shrinking!" The doctor calmly responded, "Now, settle down. You'll just have to be a little patient."

10 Commandments of Catholic Llife

Father Wade Menezes, CPM, discusses the guide for christian husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, children and teens to live a more solidly Catholic and virtuous life according to their duties of state as found within the context of the family unit.

(EWTN All times Eastern)

Monday November 27, 2006 3:00 AM & 6:30 PM
Tuesday November 28, 2006 3:00 AM & 6:30 PM
Wednesday November 29, 2006 3:00 AM & 6:30 PM
Thursday November 30, 2006 3:00 AM & 6:30 PM
Friday December 1, 2006 3:00 AM & 6:30 PM

Benedict XVI in Turkey

What Pope Benedict XVI will say in Turkey

Archbishop Dominique Mamberti, the Vatican's secretary for relations with states and de facto foreign minister, was doing advance work for Pope Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to Turkey in a recent interview with Avvenire, a Catholic daily newspaper. According to Archbishop Mamberti, in his major address the pope is expected to express his appreciation of Muslims and voice his wish for cooperation between faiths for the good of humanity. The pope will also emphasise the need for freedom of faith in Turkey. -- hü

Saturday, November 25, 2006


"STRESSED" spelled backward is "DESSERTS".

Vocation Video

Fishers of Men

Viva Cristo Rey

The Feast of Christ the King was created by Pope Pius XI in 1925. He created it to fix the way people were living like Jesus Christ didn't exist. The feast proclaims how Jesus Christ is royalty above people, communities, nations, and governments.

The feast establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men:

1) Christ is God and holds high power over everything;

2) Christ is our Redeemer, He made us His by His blood and now we belong to Him;

3) Christ is Head of the Church,

4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as his special possession and dominion.

We also learn that Christ's kingdom is for everybody who wants to be with Him, and it's endless. Most importantly, Christ's kingdom is not this world.

Prior to the Roman calendar reform in 1969, this feast was celebrated on the last Sunday of October. –


Always remember that you're unique. Just like everyone else.

Prayer of Surrender

Found at Adoro te Devote blog.

Lord Jesus Christ, I ask the grace to accept the sadness in my heart, as your will for me, in this moment. I offer it up, in union with your sufferings, for those who are in deepest need of your redeeming grace. I surrender myself to your Father's will and I ask you to help me to move on to the next task that you have set for me.

Spirit of Christ, help me to enter into a deeper union with you. Lead me away from dwelling on the hurt I feel:

to thoughts of charity for those who need my love
to thoughts of compassion for those who need my care, and to thoughts of giving to those who need my help.

As I give myself to you, help me to provide for the salvation of those who come to me in need.
May I find my healing in this giving.
May I always accept God's will.
May I find my true self by living for others in a spirit of sacrifice and suffering.
May I die more fully to myself, and live more fully in you.

As I seek to surrender to the Father's will, may I come to trust that he will do everything for me.

With Ecclesiastical Approval. Aadapted from the spiritual teachings of Rev. Walter J. Ciszek, SJ.
The Father Walter Cizek Prayer League, Inc.,
Official Organization for the Promotion of the Cause of Canonization
231 North Jardin Street
Shenandoah, PA 17976
(570) 462-2270

Friday, November 24, 2006

Pope John Paul I: Pray for me.

I found this interesting bit of information in the Advent/Christmas 2006 issue of Latin Mass Magazine:
... A miraculous healing, attributed to the intercession of John Paul I, is being studied in Altamura-Gravina, a diocese in the southern Italian region of Puglie. Prior to his election in 1978, the Patriarch of Venice was being contested in his diocese by liberals who had gone so far as to ask the Vatican for his removal.
It seems I am in good company! (I wonder if they gathered signatures on a petition.)

"Out, damned spot! Out, I say!"

Catholic Aristocrat Plans to Change Perceptions of MacBeth

By The Universe: A Catholic aristocrat is trying to rehabilitate the memory of one of Scotland’s Kings, claiming that he was the nation’s greatest ever monarch.

Lady Angelika Cawdor, from Cawdor Castle near Nairn, wants to honour the memory of Macbeth, whose good reputation she claims has been destroyed by William Shakespeare’s 1606 tragedy.

“The story of Macbeth is known throughout the world but it’s historically inaccurate,” said Lady Cawdor.

“Everyone thinks he was this ghastly character but it’s completely untrue. Macbeth was arguably Scotland’s greatest ever king and his 17-year reign was a golden age for the country. I hold Shakespeare in great esteem but his play ruined Macbeth’s reputation.”

Last year was the 1,000th anniversary of Macbeth’s birth and this year marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s world-famous literary work.

“It would be nice to do something to mark these anniversaries,” explained Lady Cawdor.

“Shakespeare has been great for Cawdor Castle but I believe it’s our duty to try to improve the image of Macbeth. I have a clear idea of what I’d like. I’d love a beautiful Caithness slab carved with a tribute to Macbeth.”

She added: “We tell visitors to the castle he was nothing like the man portrayed in Shakespeare’s play.

“People also often presume Macbeth murdered Duncan in Cawdor Castle but this was not the case in either the play or real life. Macbeth’s reign lasted 17 years, which was unheard of in those days, and he was extremely popular. I think it would be wonderful to erect a monument to him in Cawdor which acknowledges the fact he was a great king.”

"In restless ecstasy. Duncan is in his grave;
After life's fitful fever he sleeps well.
Treason has done his worst; nor steel, nor poison,
Malice domestic, foreign levy, nothing,
Can touch him further." (Act III, Scene 2)

Hail Britainia

"Your Holiness, remember Britain was once a Roman province."
"Yes, Archibishop. By the grace of God, it shall be again."


Luke 19:27

verumtamen inimicos meos illos qui noluerunt me regnare super se adducite huc et interficite ante me – Latin Vulgate

But as for those my enemies, who would not have me reign over them, bring them hither, and kill them before me. – Douay-Rheims

Thursday, November 23, 2006


For every action there is an equal and opposite criticism.

Prayer request

Let us add the needs of our Australian brothers and sisters to our prayer.

Australian Christians pray for rain

Leaders of all the main churches in Australia have called for a national day of prayer for rain this Sunday.

Many parts of the country have been stricken by a severe drought. The proposal for a National Day of Prayer was made at a national meeting of Christian leaders.

Speaking on behalf of the Australian bishops, Adelaide Archbishop Philip Wilson told the Sydney Morning Herald: "We should remember the many people on farms and in small businesses who are suffering, often in a deeply personal way."

"Local churches are already providing practical and personal support, and will continue to do their utmost," he said.

Anglican Archbishop Phillip Aspinall said: "We invite all Australians to express their solidarity with those who are suffering by taking a few moments to pray or to join a local worship service where prayers will be offered."

The church leaders also called for prayer for "commitment to responsibly care for all our natural resources".

-- Independent Catholic News 2006, by Claire Bergin, November 23, 2006, Sydney, Australia

Tiber-Thames Talk

Look both ways

Why did the turkey cross the road?
It was the chicken's day off.

The Eucharistic Feast and Feasting

In April of 1541, [Catholic Conquistador Francisco] Coronado, with a group of soldiers and some missionaries … headed north-east and crossed a section of [what is now] northwest Texas (the Panhandle). In encountering some of the local Indians the missionaries found that the natives were immediately open to receiving the Gospel of Jesus Christ. After a few weeks of instruction, members of the Jumano Indian tribe converted and received Baptism. The expedition then arrived in Palo Duro Canyon where, on May 29, Father Juan Padilla, O.F.M., offered the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. … A thanksgiving feast followed. It consisted of game that had earlier been caught. The feast was celebrated in thanksgiving to God for His many blessings and for the recent converts. This event is the first actual Thanksgiving Day celebrated in America by Christians. – from the soon-to-be published Journey America: Pathways to the Present by Andrew S. Miller, Marian Publications, Inc.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Il libro del Papa

“No Piero. You have it all wrong. It’s about our relationship with Him; the vertical intimacy between us and God, not a horizontal exchange among men, that is of primary importance.”

CITTÀ DEL VATICANO - Benedetto XVI ha terminato di scrivere il suo libro da Gesù Cristo. Si intitola «Gesù di Nazareth. Dal Battesimo alla Trasfigurazione» ed è una sorta di summa teologica sulla figura di Cristo. L'annuncio dell'uscita del primo dei due volumi dell'opera, che sarà stampata dalla Rizzoli nella prossima primavera, è stato dato dalla sala stampa vaticana. –

Thanksgiving Day Prayer

On this Thanksgiving Day, Lord, we Thy people count our blessings, which Thou hast given us. With joyful gratitude, we raise our voices in praise of the Author of Creation.

We thank Thee for the gifts of life, free will, and good health of both body and mind.

We thank Thee for the bountiful food we eat, the warm clothes we wear, the shelter of our homes, the love and comfort of our families.

We thank Thee for gainful and challenging employment.

We thank thee for a free country, made prosperous by Thy grace and the effective exercise of our free will.

We thank Thee for the rights to earn our bread, speak our minds, elect our leaders, choose our friends, protect our families, and worship Thee.

We thank Thee for those who make our freedom possible: EMTs, doctors and nurses, firemen, policemen, soldiers, airmen, sailors, marines, Coast Guardsmen, agents, analysts, and national leaders.

We thank Thee for the sacrifice of so many brave young men and women who have given the last full measure of devotion, and for all who have served, so that we may live free in this land Thou hast provided for us.

We thank Thee for the gift of Faith which helps us to understand that we shall transcend all difficulties through Thy grace.

We thank thee for Thy Church here on earth, divided as it is, troubled by sin, beset by Satan, yet ultimately triumphant.

Most of all, Lord, we thank Thee for Thy Sacrifice on Calvary, which opened the gates of Heaven to us, giving us the promise of eternal life.

We adore and thank Christ, Oh Christ, and we praise Thee, because by Thy holy cross, Thou hast redeemed the world. Amen.

Consecration to the IHM

This prayer—originally written in 1959—was once again offered on Saturday, November 11, 2006 at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C. by U.S. bishops. I believe it is appropriate for Catholic families to offer the same on the day we give thanks to God for the abundance set before us.

Prayer for Renewal of Consecration

to Our Patroness of the United States of America,

the Immaculate Conception

Most Holy Trinity: Our Father in Heaven, who chose Mary as the fairest of your daughters; Holy Spirit, who chose Mary as Your spouse; God the Son, who chose Mary as Your Mother; in union with Mary, we adore Your majesty and acknowledge Your supreme, eternal dominion and authority.

Most Holy Trinity, we put the United States of America into the hands of Mary Immaculate in order that she may present the country to You. Through her we wish to thank You for the great resources of this land and for the freedom, which has been its heritage. Through the intercession of Mary, have mercy on the Catholic Church in America. Grant us peace. Have mercy on our President and on all the officers of our government. Grant us a fruitful economy born of justice and charity. Have mercy on capital and industry and labor. Protect the family life of the nation. Guard the precious gift of many religious vocations. Through the intercession of our Mother, have mercy on the sick, the poor, the tempted, sinners — on all who are in need.

Mary, Immaculate Virgin, Our Mother, patroness of our land, we praise you and honor you and give our country and ourselves to your sorrowful and immaculate heart. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, pierced by the sword of sorrow prophesized by Simeon, save us from degeneration, disaster and war. Protect us from all harm. O Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary, you who bore the sufferings of your Son in the depths of your heart, be our advocate. Pray for us, that acting always according to your will and the will of your divine Son, we may live and die pleasing to God. Amen.

Saint Cecilia, pray for us.

Roman martyr, patron saint of music. According to legend, St Cecilia was a Roman Christian from a patrician family who lived in the 2nd or 3rd century. She had decided to remain single and devote her life to God, but was forced into an arranged marriage. While the wedding guests danced at her wedding, she sat apart singing only the psalms. Valerian, her husband, turned out to be very understanding and respected her vow of virginity.

He and his brother Tiburtius were both so impressed and attracted by Cecilia's graces, eventually they were both baptised. The family devoted themselves to charitable works including obtaining the bodies of martyred Christians and giving them decent burials. When the prefect Almachius found out what they were doing, he had them arrested and tried to force them to make sacrifices to the pagan gods. One of the soldiers who had interrogated them, a man called Maximus, was so struck by their conviction, he became a Christian too. The three men were put to death together.

St Cecilia buried them in the cemetery of Praetextatus. Then she turned her home into a place of worship. When her religion was discovered Almachius ordered her death by suffocation. She survived. Later a soldier came to behead her. Three blows failed to kill her and, according to legend, it took her three days to die. During that time, she was surrounded by friends and comforted everyone by singing praises to God.

Her house was later dedicated as a church by Pope Urban. In 1529 her tomb was opened and her body was found to be incorrupt. The sculptor Maderna made a life-size marble statue of her lying on her bed. A replica of this statue is on the site of her supposed tomb in Rome at the catacombs of Callistus.

Since the 16th century, St Cecilia has been patron of musicians. The traditional account of her life can be found in Chaucer's Second Nun's Tale. The Academy of Music in Rome chose her for their patron in 1584.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Liturgical music under evaluation

List will try to put Catholics on same page of hymnal
Tuesday, November 21, 2006
by Ann Rodgers Copyright © 2006 AP Wire

BALTIMORE -- Although their words about sex grabbed the headlines at their meeting last week, the nation's Catholic bishops also spent some time on singing.

Acting under Vatican orders, they approved a plan to check the theological orthodoxy of all songs sung at Mass.

They also agreed to compile a core repertoire of 60 to 100 songs that would be included in all Catholic hymnals, along with a variety of other songs approved by individual bishops. "Music is an essential ingredient in a Mass celebration.

I see it as extremely important in catechizing our people," said Bishop Donald Trautman, of Erie, Pa., chairman of the committee in charge of the project. He said the bishops would consult with music experts in choosing the core songs.

The focus is on choosing doctrinally sound lyrics. While they worked to get Catholics to sing the same songs, the bishops were not always in tune with one another. Behind their lopsided votes on hymns and other issues lay sharp exchanges, as those who wanted strict enforcement challenged those who favored a more welcoming approach to Catholics who don't follow church teaching.

In the music debate, some bishops wanted a central office to create the list of approved hymns. Instead, the endorsed plan, which has to be approved by the Vatican, leaves it to each bishop to approve songs published in his diocese. Cardinal Sean O'Malley, of Boston, would have preferred a list of approved songs.

"The only way we are going to have real community participation in the liturgy is if we have a corpus of hymns that most of our people know by heart," he said. The core repertoire is supposed to serve that purpose. Trautman suggested "Holy God We Praise Thy Name" and "Silent Night" as two classics that would certainly be included, but he would not speculate beyond that.

There are quarrels in the church between those who prefer contemporary music and those who advocate time-honored hymns and chant. Some traditionalists complain that modern songs are theologically and musically insipid.

Turkey gravy

What did the mother turkey say to her disobedient children?
If your father could see you now, he'd turn over in his gravy!

The Presentation of the BVM

Presentation of the Virgin at the Temple
Vecellio Tiziano
Gallerie dell'Accademia, Venice
Mary’s presentation was celebrated in Jerusalem in the sixth century. A church was built there in honor of this mystery. The Eastern Church was more interested in the feast, but it does appear in the West in the 11th century. Although the feast at times disappeared from the calendar, in the 16th century it became a feast of the universal Church.
May I suggest the Protoevangelium of James as an intro to Marian study.

Monday, November 20, 2006

"Offer it up"?

Dr. Philip Blosser offers this insightful post on his Musings of a Pertinacious Papist blog:

“I once privately related to my priest my frustration when trying to recollect myself before Communion and focus on Christ when eight Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion regularly file up from the ranks of the laity and self-consciously stand about the Altar looking a bit like nervous community theater actors auditioning for a part. We have a healthy, able-bodied priest at each Mass, and at least one deacon (sometimes two) on hand. The priest's attitude toward my complaint was very sympathetic, but his counsel was to "Offer it up."

“His counsel keeps surfacing as an unresolved question in my memory. "Offer it up"? Why offer this up? I could understand offering up the pain of arthritis, or the anguish of the death of a loved one -- something over which one has no control and can do little but pray. But if someone was, say, suffering from a troubled conscience because he was having an adulterous affair, would the priest counsel him to "Offer it up"?

“The problem here is that the sort of thing being permitted in our parish and parishes across the country are in direct violation of Vatican's published liturgical laws. The Vatican Instruction, Redemptionis Sacramentum, expressly forbids our current practice:

[158.] Indeed, the extraordinary minister of Holy Communion may administer Communion only when the Priest and Deacon are lacking, when the Priest is prevented by weakness or advanced age or some other genuine reason, or when the number of faithful coming to Communion is so great that the very celebration of Mass would be unduly prolonged. This, however, is to be understood in such a way that a brief prolongation, considering the circumstances and culture of the place, is not at all a sufficient reason....

“In view of this, I struggle to make sense of my priest's counsel. It is not that I wish to be a doctrinaire knit-picking stickler about the letter of the law in these matters. In my view, the letter of the law is not the primary thing. The law is always a means in service of an end, which here is the purpose of liturgy: divine worship. What is of primary importance here, in my view, is the amplification of whatever faciliates divine worship, honors God and elevates and edifies the human heart, and the elimination of whatever does not.

“Yet perhaps there is one sense in which I can understand my priest's counsel. For whatever reason, circumstances are what they are. Whether the reason is because he may be afraid or unwilling to go against the tide of institutionalized liturgical abuses and make the mandated changes may be beside the point here. Given the status quo, I may lodge my objections with my priest and bishop, but then what? Have I any alternative but to "Offer it up"? My priest, perhaps despite himself and the Church's failure in self-administration, may have a point.”

Visit his blog to read the comments.

Theology on Tap

ROME (CNS) -- Not even raucous laughter could wake up Mike Sweeney's jet-lagged toddlers who slumbered angelically in their strollers at his feet while he entertained and inspired his audience during his Nov. 17 Theology on Tap talk in Rome.

(photo caption needed)

Roman-Anglo relations

Saint Edmund

King of East Anglia. On Christmas Day 855, at the age of 14, Edmund was declared King of Norfolk by the ruling men and clergy. In the following year, Suffolk also declared him to be their king. For the next 15 years he ruled over East Anglia with Christian dignity and justice. Edmund was noted for his piety and often recited the psalms during Masses.

When the Great Army of the Vikings, under Ingwar, invaded the country, they captured Edmund and tried to force him to reject his faith. He refused and according to tradition was killed with arrows, beheaded and offered to the Viking gods at Hellesden in Suffolk.

His body was buried in a small wooden chapel nearby. In 915, it was found to be uncorrupt and was transferred to what later became Bury St Edmunds.

When Danish invaders arrived at Ipswich it was taken to London for safety, but eventually returned to Bury.

A great cult formed around St Edmund during mediaeval times. More than 60 churches in England are dedicated to to him and he features in many church murals and paintings.

The exact whereabouts of his remains now is not known. One story claims they were taken by French solders to Toulouse in 1215. In 1912 these relics were offered to Westminster cathedral, but the authorities decided not to accept them as they were not sure whether they were authentic. Many claim he still lies in Bury St Edmunds.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Turkey Penance

Ducking into confession with a turkey in his arms, Brian said, "Forgive me, Father, for I have sinned. I stole this turkey to feed my family. Would you take it and settle my guilt?"

"Certainly not," said the Priest. "As penance, you must return it to the one from whom you stole it."

"I tried," Brian sobbed, "but he refused. Oh, Father, what should I do?"

"If what you say is true, then it is all right for you to keep it for your family."

Thanking the Priest, Brian hurried off.

When confession was over, the Priest returned to his residence. When he walked into the kitchen, he found that someone had stolen his turkey.

Secular press reports:

Requiescat in Pace

Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson
News Release
November 18, 2006

Most Rev. Manuel D. Moreno, Bishop Emeritus of Tucson, died Friday, Nov. 17, at his home in Tucson in the presence of his family and close friends. A friend who was present said he died at about 10:25 p.m. His youngest grand nieces and grand nephews were at his bedside, singing the hymn, "Come to the Table of Plenty," when the Bishop slipped peacefully away.The Bishop's bed had been placed near the small chapel of his residence.

At the wishes of his family, Bishop Moreno was transported to Tucson Friday afternoon by private ambulance from Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center in Phoenix where he had undergone surgery Monday night to relieve pressure in the brain caused by bleeding.Although the surgery was successful in relieving the pressure, on Wednesday night doctors informed the Bishop's family that there had been renewed bleeding as a result of the prostate cancer that had spread. After consultation with the doctors, the Bishop’s family determined that no further medical treatment was advisable.

Bishop Moreno was admitted to St. Joseph Hospital in Tucson last Sunday after complaining of a severe headache. A decision was made to transport him Sunday night to Banner Good Samaritan Medical Center for further diagnosis and treatment.Bishop Moreno retired for reasons of health in March of 2003. At that time, he revealed that he was suffering from Parkinson disease and cancer of the prostate. He began chemotherapy for the cancer several months ago. Bishop Moreno was 75.

In consideration of the Thanksgiving holiday, the public liturgies (services) of the Rite of Christian Burial will begin on Monday, Nov. 27, and will take place at St. Augustine Cathedral, 192 S. Stone Ave., in Tucson.

Monday, Nov. 2710 a.m. -- Arrival of the body at the Cathedral, followed by visitation. 11:30 a.m., 1:30 p.m., 4 p.m. -- Recitation of the Rosary 7 p.m. -- Vigil (Evening Prayer), followed by visitation until 10 p.m.Tuesday, Nov. 2810 a.m. -- Mass of Christian Burial, followed by burial at Holy Hope Cemetery.

Bishop Moreno is survived by sisters Pilar (Ray) Santana and Juanita (Paul) Updegraff of California and brothers Raymond (Margarite) Moreno of California and Fernando (Nora) Moreno of Marana and by nieces, nephews and grand nieces and grand nephews.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Sites of Note

Change is in the air

Pro multis means "for many," Vatican rules

Vatican, Nov. 18 ( - The Vatican has ruled that the phrase pro multis should be rendered as "for many" in all new translations of the Eucharistic Prayer, CWN has learned.

Although "for many" is the literal translation of the Latin phrase, the translations currently in use render the phrase as "for all." Equivalent translations (für alle; por todos; per tutti) are in use in several other languages.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has written to the heads of world's episcopal conferences, informing them of the Vatican decision. For the countries where a change in translation will be required, the cardinal's letter directs the bishops to prepare for the introduction of a new translation of the phrase in approved liturgical texts "in the next one or two years."

The translation of pro multis has been the subject of considerable debate because of the serious theological issues involved. The phrase occurs when the priest consecrates the wine, saying (in the current translation):

...It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.

The Latin version of the Missal, which sets the norm for the Roman liturgy, says: ...qui pro vobis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum.

Critics of the current translation have argued, since it first appeared, that rendering pro multis as "for all" not only distorts the meaning of the Latin original, but also conveys the impression that all men are saved, regardless of their relationship with Christ and his Church.

The more natural translation, "for many," more accurately suggests that while Christ's redemptive suffering makes salvation available to all, it does not follow that all men are saved.

Cardinal Arinze, in his letter to the presidents of episcopal conferences, explains the reasons for the Vatican's decision to require ["pro multis"]:

The Synoptic Gospels (Mt 26,28; Mk 14,24) make specific reference to “many” for whom the Lord is offering the Sacrifice, and this wording has been emphasized by some biblical scholars in connection with the words of the prophet Isaiah (53, 11-12). It would have been entirely possible in the Gospel texts to have said “for all” (for example, cf. Luke 12,41); instead, the formula given in the institution narrative is “for many”, and the words have been faithfully translated thus in most modern biblical versions.

The Roman Rite in Latin has always said pro multis and never pro omnibus in the consecration of the chalice.

The anaphoras of the various Oriental Rites, whether in Greek, Syriac, Armenian, the Slavic languages, etc., contain the verbal equivalent of the Latin pro multis in their respective languages. “For many” is a faithful translation of pro multis, whereas “for all” is rather an explanation of the sort that belongs properly to catechesis.

The expression “for many”, while remaining open to the inclusion of each human person, is reflective also of the fact that this salvation is not brought about in some mechanistic way, without one’s willing or participation; rather, the believer is invited to accept in faith the gift that is being offered and to receive the supernatural life that is given to those who participate in this mystery, living it out in their lives as well so as to be numbered among the “many” to whom the text refers.

In line with the instruction Liturgiam Authenticam, effort should be made to be more faithful to the Latin texts in the typical editions.

Silent prayer

Una Voce offers assistance

Friday, November 17, 2006

Traditional Latin Mass Video

Solemn High Mass of the Feast of the Sacred Heart

Note: One-hour video.



Vocations: Alive and Well!

Pictured is the 2006 Novice Class of the

Scripture, Tradition, Magisterium

Secular press editorial

Latin Mass would restore mystery by Steve Gushee, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer, Friday, November 17, 2006

The Mass in the vernacular was a noble experiment that didn't quite work. The Latin Mass might soon be back, and that could be a good thing for the Roman Catholic Church.

Pope Benedict XVI plans to make it much easier for churches to use the 16th-century Latin Mass. That could help deepen faith and unite an American church whose members speak a veritable babel of languages.

The Catholic faith is, at its heart, a mystery. The Christian religion is best known in community. The Latin Mass enhanced mystery and created community for more than a thousand years and might again. The Mass in English has done neither.

The Roman Catholic Church only began to use English in worship in the mid-1960s following the Second Vatican Council.

English might have helped the English-speaking faithful understand what worship was about, but explaining a mystery in any language is an oxymoron. The use of English in the church's central act of worship turned a profoundly moving and, yes, mysterious experience into a dull, pedestrian meeting with little power to stir the spirit or motivate the faithful.

St. Paul argued that the people should be taught in a language they understood. Sermons, instructions and teaching should be in such a language, but worship is another matter.

The faithful offer worship to God who is not bound by any language. The soaring majesty of the Latin Mass served the church well long after few if any of the faithful understood the words. They knew the liturgy, the rhythm and the power of the service.

Latin words accompanied the action of worship but were essentially unnecessary. Everyone knew what was happening. With English, however, the words demand attention. The faithful attend the language rather than the mystery of redemption unfolding before them. Latin creates and preserves mystery. English dilutes it.

Latin also creates and preserves community. Any unfamiliar language will tend to bind together those who use is as a kind of tribal glue.

One of the most important tools Charlemagne used to unite his dispirited empire in the early ninth century was the Latin Mass. Alcuin, the emperor's liturgical genius, enforced the same worship everywhere in Charlemagne's vast realm, imposing a religious conformity that served to hold the empire together.

Catholics in America today speak countless different languages, including English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Polish, Portuguese and many more. The Mass in Latin might once again serve to create community even as it hallows mystery.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Time for the Counter-Reform?

Please allow me to quote Bede at his Mundus Tranquillare Hic blog:

"There seems to be a certain ... something in the liturgical air. Anyone who has read Pope Benedict's book on the liturgy knows him to favour more traditional liturgies than what generally passes for Sunday Mass in most parishes in the United States. Some Traditionalists have been upset that he hasn't moved quickly (or perhaps at all) in correcting a whole host of dodgy practices and outright liturgical abuse that has infected the Church, particularly in the US, lo these thirty years.

"And yet, the new ICEL translations seem to be getting off the ground, certains bishops are now at least challenging the prevailing "wisdom" on liturgical music, and Cardinal Arinze at least is pushing Latin:

"In an hourlong, often humorous, address that received several standing ovations, Arinze suggested that, in order to give Catholics options, large parishes offer the Mass in Latin at least once a week, and in smaller, rural parishes, at least once a month.

"Rumours of a "universal indult" to liberalize the Mass of St. Pius V (the so-called "Tridentine" or "Latin" Mass) have advanced enough that the French Bishops have begun to panic. Rumours abound that the Anglican Use will be extended, in part I assume to prepare for an influx of traditionalist Episcopalians into the Tiber.

"Even Gregorian chant seems to be making a comeback of sorts. Not in my parish, of course, where I'm currently on strike from the music of Häagen-Dazs Haugen and Haas. I haven't sung a hymn in two weeks. When I talked with some of our choir about this, I was told that nobody wants to go back to the "old music" because "it's hard to sing" and "we don't want to dictate, like they used to". The fact that they were dictating was lost on them."

Bede's astute observations, comments and post title, have me considering myself a "Counter-Reformationist." I like the sound of that. The bishops at the Council of Trent, Saint Pius V, and Saint Charles Borromeo, all Counter-Reformationists, would be appalled at the liturgies of today.

Please continue prayers

Magherita Occhiena

John Bosco's Mother Is Decreed "Venerable" Margaret Occhiena, Co-founder of Salesian Family

VATICAN CITY, NOV. 16, 2006 ( The prefect of the Congregation for Saints' Causes read a decree recognizing the heroic virtues of Margaret Occhiena, mother of St. John Bosco, as well as her reputation for holiness. Cardinal José Saraiva Martins read the decree Wednesday in the chapel of the Salesian community in the Vatican. On hand were the rector major of the Salesians, Father Pascual Chávez; the postulator general, Father Enrico dal Cóvolo; the prefect of the Apostolic Vatican Library, Father Raffaele Farina; the director general of the Vatican Press, Father Elio Torrigiani; and the members of the religious community.

After the reading, Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone came to offer his greetings and his blessing. The Congregation for Saints' Causes, at the invitation of Benedict XVI, promulgated the decree Oct. 23. At the end of the brief ceremony the rector major, Father Chávez, said: "This is a memorable day for the Salesian family which sees Mama Margaret take a further step toward the altars. "It is an event the whole Salesian world has been waiting for and for which it has been preparing with many initiatives in honor of the mama of Don Bosco. We entrust ourselves to her so that she may intercede for the whole Salesian family and for the congregation as it prepares to celebrate the 26th General Chapter in 2008."

Widowed Margaret Occhiena was born on April 10, 1788, in Caprigli, Italy. She lived at home until she married Francis Bosco. Later she moved to Becchi. After her husband's premature death, Margaret, 29, had to raise her family alone at a time of starvation. She took care of her husband's mother and of the latter's son Anthony, while educating her own sons, Joseph and John. She supported her son John in his journey toward the priesthood.

At age 58, she left her little house of Colle and followed her son in his mission among the poor and abandoned boys of Turin. There, for 10 years, mother and son united their lives in the beginnings of the Salesian Work. She was Don Bosco's first and principal cooperator. She contributed her maternal presence to the Preventive System. Thus she became the "co-founder" of the Salesian family.

Margaret was illiterate but full of a wisdom that helped so many street boys. "For her, God was first, so she consumed her life in the service of God, in poverty, prayer and sacrifice," explains a biography issued by the Salesians. She died on Nov. 25, 1856, in Turin at age 68. A throng of boys, who wept for her as for a mother, accompanied her remains to the cemetery.

More Conference News

BALTIMORE (CNS) -- The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops Nov. 14 approved a statement on the pastoral care of homosexually inclined persons. The 26-page statement reiterates church teaching that all homosexual acts are morally wrong but affirms the dignity of those with homosexual inclinations and says that having such an inclination is not in itself sinful.

Celibacy for the Kingdom reaffirmed

Bishop's document exerpt

From Happy are those who are called to His Supper

Prayerful Recollection - We should prayerfully recollect ourselves prior to coming to Mass. We should strive to arrive on time, allowing ourselves to prepare our minds and hearts for the liturgy. Upon entering the church, we should maintain reverent silence so that we and those around us are able to pray before Mass begins. This will ensure that we are at peace within ourselves and with others. Such recollection helps to eliminate distractions and allows us to focus more easily on the great mystery of the Eucharistic celebration in which we are about to participate. A prayerful and reflective reading of the Scripture selections for the Mass of the day will help make our hearts and minds ready to receive God’s Word more deeply.

The Eucharistic Fast - We are required to keep the Eucharistic fast, that is, refraining from food and drink (except for water and medicines) for at least one hour prior to receiving Holy Communion. This fast demonstrates reverence and respect for the Body and Blood of Christ that we are going to receive. It also teaches us to hunger for Jesus in Holy Communion.

Appropriate Attire - We should also come to the sacred liturgy appropriately dressed. As Christians we should dress in a modest manner, wearing clothes that reflect our reverence for God and that manifest our respect for the dignity of the liturgy and for one another.

Emphasis mine!

Saint Gertrude the Great

St. Gertrude the Great is invoked for souls in purgatory and for living sinners. Our Lord told St. Gertrude that the following prayer would release 1000 souls from purgatory each time it is said. The prayer was extended to include living sinners as well.

"Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the Holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen."

Gertrude was born January 6, 1256, in Eisleben, Thuringia, Holy Roman Empire. As a young girl, she joined the Benedictine monastery in Helfta. She dedicated herself to her studies, becoming an expert in literature and philosophy. She had various mystical experiences, including a vision of Jesus, who invited her to rest her head on his breast to hear the beating of his heart. She died 17 November, 1301 or 1302. Although never formally canonized, Pope Clement XII inserted her name in the Roman Martyrology in 1677. Her feast is November 16.