Is Anybody There?

. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says Yahweh Sabaoth" Zach 4:6 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Dio di Signore, nella Sua volontà è nostra pace!" . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety." Ben Franklin 1759

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Just a Reminder


Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Harrowing of Hell

From an ancient homily for Holy Saturday
The Lord's descent into the underworld
Something strange is happening – there is a great silence on earth today, a great silence and stillness. The whole earth keeps silence because the King is asleep. The earth trembled and is still because God has fallen asleep in the flesh and he has raised up all who have slept ever since the world began. God has died in the flesh and hell trembles with fear.
  He has gone to search for our first parent, as for a lost sheep. Greatly desiring to visit those who live in darkness and in the shadow of death, he has gone to free from sorrow the captives Adam and Eve, he who is both God and the son of Eve. The Lord approached them bearing the cross, the weapon that had won him the victory. At the sight of him Adam, the first man he had created, struck his breast in terror and cried out to everyone: “My Lord be with you all.” Christ answered him: “And with your spirit.” He took him by the hand and raised him up, saying: “Awake, O sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
  I am your God, who for your sake have become your son. Out of love for you and for your descendants I now by my own authority command all who are held in bondage to come forth, all who are in darkness to be enlightened, all who are sleeping to arise. I order you, O sleeper, to awake. I did not create you to be held a prisoner in hell. Rise from the dead, for I am the life of the dead. Rise up, work of my hands, you who were created in my image. Rise, let us leave this place, for you are in me and I am in you; together we form only one person and we cannot be separated. For your sake I, your God, became your son; I, the Lord, took the form of a slave; I, whose home is above the heavens, descended to the earth and beneath the earth. For your sake, for the sake of man, I became like a man without help, free among the dead. For the sake of you, who left a garden, I was betrayed to the Jews in a garden, and I was crucified in a garden.
  See on my face the spittle I received in order to restore to you the life I once breathed into you. See there the marks of the blows I received in order to refashion your warped nature in my image. On my back see the marks of the scourging I endured to remove the burden of sin that weighs upon your back. See my hands, nailed firmly to a tree, for you who once wickedly stretched out your hand to a tree.
  I slept on the cross and a sword pierced my side for you who slept in paradise and brought forth Eve from your side. My side has healed the pain in yours. My sleep will rouse you from your sleep in hell. The sword that pierced me has sheathed the sword that was turned against you.
  Rise, let us leave this place. The enemy led you out of the earthly paradise. I will not restore you to that paradise, but I will enthrone you in heaven. I forbade you the tree that was only a symbol of life, but see, I who am life itself am now one with you. I appointed cherubim to guard you as slaves are guarded, but now I make them worship you as God. The throne formed by cherubim awaits you, its bearers swift and eager. The bridal chamber is adorned, the banquet is ready, the eternal dwelling places are prepared, the treasure houses of all good things lie open. The kingdom of heaven has been prepared for you from all eternity.

This piece of an ancient homily is the 2nd reading from the Holy Saturday Office of Readings for the Roman Rite Liturgy of the Hours. I never tire of reading it. It tells of Jesus' descent into the abode of the dead.  It is referred to in the in Apostles Creed where we say "He descended into hell". At that time hell (sheol) did not refer to what we consider hell, where the damned are condemned for eternity. It referred to the underworld where the souls of the righteous who had died before Jesus' death were awaiting the opening of the gates of Heaven. It was also known as the Bosom of Abraham.
Harrowing comes from the Old English word "hergian" that means "to despoil". By the sin in the Garden, Adam & Eve had given authority over all mankind to Satan. But that was not the end. By Jesus' death, Satan was defeated. As the old saying goes "To the victor belongs the spoils." Jesus is the victor. He despoiled hell, set free the righteous & brought them triumphantly into heaven.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Behold the Wood of the Cross

This is the crucifix I have hanging in my kitchen. I bought it many years ago after moving into my own apartment. I saw it at St Vinnie's & it reminded me of the one in my childhood home. (That one was a bit fancier.) There was 1 small flaw. If you look close, the nail in Jesus' left hand is obviously different. That is because the original was missing. So when I got home, I found the smallest nail I had & pounded it in. Obviously it didn't match, nor could I pound it in all the way. 
As I was pounding the nail, i couldn't help but be reminded that it was my sins that were responsible for Jesus' crucifixion in the 1st place. So whenever I look at it, I have a visible reminder of how personal what Jesus did was. He did it for me.
Which leads me to today's Good Friday liturgy. On Good Friday, as well as Palm Sunday, the Passion Gospel is read with the congregation reading the part of the crowd. So we say things like "We have no king but Caesar" & especially "Crucify Him!"  Again, that serves as a reminder for each of us there that it was our sins that put Him there, not just the crowd yelling. Each time we sin, as Father Parker pointed out in the homily, we again say "Crucify Him!"
But we must also remember that it is because of God's mercy that He was there to pay the price of those sins. Justice demands that a price be paid for even the smallest of our sins, either by us or someone who could pay the full price that we never could pay in full.
Eternity is not long enough for any of us, on our own, to pay the price of even 1 small sin against an infinite God. So God became man & died for our sins.
Our response is to repent & seek God's mercy. We do that especially through the sacrament/mystery of Confession. In confessing our sins, mortal &/or venial, the price is paid. But we still have an additional responsibility, we must repair the damage. For instance, when you steal, if possible you must return what was stolen. This is where purgatory & indulgences come in. Note, this is not a "get out of hell free" card. They are there to clean us up so that none of our sin nature will be there when we stand before the throne. C. S. Lewis saw it that way & said so. " Of course I pray for the dead. The action is so spontaneous, so all but inevitable, that only the most compulsive theological case against it would deter me. And I hardly know how the rest of my prayers would survive if those for the dead were forbidden. At our age, the majority of those we love best are dead. What sort of intercourse with God could I have if what I love best were unmentionable to him?I believe in Purgatory.
. . . . . Our souls demand Purgatory, don't they? Would it not break the heart if God said to us, 'It is true, my son, that your breath smells and your rags drip with mud and slime, but we are charitable here and no one will upbraid you with these things, nor draw away from you. Enter into the joy'? Should we not reply, 'With submission, sir, and if there is no objection, I'd rather be cleaned first.' 'It may hurt, you know' - 'Even so, sir.'
I assume that the process of purification will normally involve suffering. Partly from tradition; partly because most real good that has been done me in this life has involved it. But I don't think the suffering is the purpose of the purgation. I can well believe that people neither much worse nor much better than I will suffer less than I or more. . . . The treatment given will be the one required, whether it hurts little or much."C.S. Lewis, Letters To Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer, chapter 20
The devotion to the Divine Mercy revealed to Sr. Faustina is another tool to help us in cleaning up as well as helping those in Purgatory. Today starts 1 of the ways we can tap into that Mercy. I am referring to the Divine Mercy Novena. While it can be prayed any time of year, Jesus asked that it especially be prayed beginning on Good Friday. It ends on the Saturday after Easter, the day before the Church celebrates the Feast of Divine Mercy.
All the graces we receive from these devotions flows from what happened today, Jesus' death on the Cross.
Jesus told Sr. Faustina, the greater the sinner, the more he has the right to ask for my mercy. But great or small, we all need it.
So, if you haven't, repent, turn to Jesu & receive forgiveness. additionally, start praying the novena & participate in celebrating the Feast, receiving all that God did through Jesus, nothing less than the salvation of the world, salvation & forgiveness for all who will receive it.
As we proclaimed at one point in the liturgy today "Behold the wood of the Cross on which has hung the salvation of the world."
Come let us adore.

St. Mary's Catholic Church, E DBQ, after the Good Friday Liturgy
29 March 2013

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Nearing the End of the Lenten Race

(This is inspired by a reflection I heard yesterday while listening to Johnnette Benkovic on her EWTN radio show Women of Grace)

The following was a part of the 1st Reading from Tuesday's Office of Readings in the Roman Rite:
"With so many witnesses in a great cloud on every side of us, we too, then, should throw off everything that hinders us, especially the sin that clings so easily, and keep running steadily in the race we have started." (Hebrews 12:1)

The 2nd Reading was taken from St. Basil's book On the Holy Spirit:
"We imitate Christ’s death by being buried with him in baptism. If we ask what this kind of burial means and what benefit we may hope to derive from it, it means first of all making a complete break with our former way of life, and our Lord himself said that this cannot be done unless a man is born again. In other words, we have to begin a new life, and we cannot do so until our previous life has been brought to an end. When runners reach the turning point on a racecourse, they have to pause briefly before they can go back in the opposite direction. So also when we wish to reverse the direction of our lives there must be a pause, or a death, to mark the end of one life and the beginning of another."

Lent is almost over. The Easter Triduum begins tomorrow. So, how have you been doing?
For some of us, it has probably been an ongoing time in the dessert, for others it has been a time of great growth, for others, it hasn't been any different than any other time of year because they haven't taken advantage of the graces available, especially to repent & change the direction of their lives away from sin & towards Jesus.
Well, I have some good news. It isn't too late to get started. It is never too late until we are dead & standing before the judgment throne.
But wherever we are, all of us need ongoing repentance. Lent & Divine Mercy Sunday are 2 special times of grace to help us in this ridding of the sin that hinders us from running the race. But they also serve to remind us that throughout the year we must continually repent, throwing off sin.
Sin, small or big, is a hinderance. It throws us off course so that we are heading the wrong direction. It may be a slight divergence, or a complete running the wrong way.  But we are not heading towards the goal.
Small sins put us slightly off course. Throwing them off through repentance, especially through confession, enables us to be rid of those hinderances that slow us down. The graces we receive from confession enable us to run the race steadily.
The large sins, aka mortal, throw us completely off course. We are not running towards the goal, but away from it.  As St. Basil points out, repentance is especially needed here.
That repentance starts with a pause to change direction, just like a racer. But what is especially important is how quickly that is done. In a foot race, or a swim meet, the time taken for that turn around is what often determines whether the racer wins or loses.
In practical terms, that means we cannot presume that we will have enough time later to repent. None of us knows the moment of our death. It could occur before you or I finish the next sentence. So, the need to repent is urgent.
During the next few days we will see the Church's liturgies remind us of what Jesus did to enable us to be reconciled to God. It would take too long to go into detail, but I will point out a few things.
Holy Thursday, we see the institution of the Eucharist & the priesthood. Friday we commemorate Jesus' death. That death is re-presented at every Mass & Divine Liturgy. When we receive the Eucharist we are able to receive those graces Jesus won to enable us to repent as well as run the race as we should. Easter Sunday evening is when Jesus instituted the sacrament of confession. That sacrament gives us the assurance that we are forgiven. We can be assured of that because of what Jesus did on the cross. The priest is not the one who assures us of that. When he says "I absolve you" he isn't speaking of his own authority. He is speaking as the visible representative of Christ. (I admit this is a very poor summary of the sacraments/mysteries & what they do.)
As St. Basil points out, when we are baptized, we make that choice to change the direction of our lives. For those who are baptized as infants, we must make the decision to accept for ourselves that change in direction.
After baptism & confirmation/chrismation we have been gifted with the Holy Spirit to enable us to live the new life we are meant by God to live. That is what running the race means, living that life.
As I already pointed out, the other sacraments/mysteries are there to enable us to do so, especially when we stumble/sin.
But I want to point out one other thing that God has provided for us to help us in running the race, the cloud of witnesses.
Who are they & why are they important? Let's go back to what happens at a race. There are the runners & there are the spectators. The cloud of witnesses are the spectators of the spiritual race. In this case, the saints who have gone before us & are now in Heaven. Just like the spectators at a foot race or swim meet cheer on the racers, the cloud of witnesses is there cheering us on. They do so by praying for us, interceding for our needs. They are waiting for us to ask them. 
So, as I said before, it is still not too late, for all of us, to be sure we get all the graces God has for us this Lent & beyond. God has given us so much to enable us to do so. Look at your life. See what you need to cast off. Go to confession, attend the various liturgies, spend time in prayer & ask the saints to intercede for you. Then run the race, looking towards the goal.
God willing, I'll see you at the finish line.

Today is Spy Wednesday for 2013

Today is designated as "Spy Wednesday". No it isn't meant to honor any of these spies:

It refers to the opening from the Gospel at today's Mass:

Then went one of the twelve, who was called Judas Iscariot, to the chief priests, And said to them: What will you give me, and I will deliver him unto you? But they appointed him thirty pieces of silver. And from thenceforth he sought opportunity to betray him." Matthew 26:14-16
In short, Judas became a spy or double agent, hence the name.
Top to Bottom: James Bond, Man From U.N.C.L.E., Get Smart

Monday, March 25, 2013

Lifestyles of the Liturgically Screwed Up

Normally during Lent, the big thing you hear is how some liturgeist insists that the parish remove the Holy Water in the fonts & replaces it with sand, even with the Vatican making it clear that is a no-no. Additionally, the Holy Water has been removed from the huge container most Churches have so people can get some for use at home. The idea behind denying people the graces  associated with the sacramental was to make its absence a reminder that Lent is a desert time of prayer like Jesus went through. I have no idea why denying people access to graces helps a person better live their faith.  Fortunately that practice seems to be dying the death it so richly deserves.
Now it seems that the screwing up the liturgy has taken a well meaning, but just as liturgically wrong turn. According to The Pinoy Catholic, some priest in the Philippines decided that the only way to ensure the palm was blessed was to do this:

The ritual for the blessing of the palms calls for a prayer & then the sprinkling of holy water. No where does it say every frond has to have the Holy Water touch it, let alone those holding them get a shower.
If the need for the Holy Water to touch every piece of palm then somebody better tell the Pope he is doing it wrong:

& you thought using a super soaker at Mass was bad?

Which leads me to this question, what next, using a hose at the Easter Vigil & at other Masses where they use the sprinkling rite to ensure everyone is getting hit by the Holy Water?
I hope not, while it is nice to have some of the water fall on me if the priest is blessing the congregation, I still receive all the blessings & graces if I remain entirely dry. There is nothing in the rubrics that says everyone in the congregation has to be directly sprinkled, just the congregation as a whole. & as a whole we receive the blessings & graces, just as every palm frond is blessed even if it isn't one of those that has the Holy Water touch it.
I am sure this isn't the end of ridiculous ideas like these. Lord, deliver us from well-meaning but mistaken ideas like these.

H/T: The Badger Catholic

Sunday, March 24, 2013

From "Hosanna!" To "Crucify Him!"

Today marks the start of Holy Week. The special liturgies celebrated this week in the various rites, Eastern & Western, are the oldest in existence. They go back to the early years of the Church, especially the Easter Vigil. These liturgies are also my favorite ever since I started attending them as a child.
While the liturgies for the Triduum cover the events of that day, the liturgy for Palm Sunday covers the majority of the events. The liturgy opens with the blessing of the palms & a gospel reading about the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem. The joyous Hosannas ring out as we process into Church from where the blessing took place. Weather permitting that is, since the snow prevented that. But the basic symbolism is still there.
A few minutes later the entire mood changes as 1 of the 3 synoptic versions of the Passion is read. Also there are some differences between how the Passion Gospel is read today (& Good Friday). One of those is that rather than the usual greeting, you simply hear "The Passion of our Lord Jesus Christ according to. . . ."
But the biggest difference with this longer than usual Gospel is that it isn't read by the priest. Instead the priest reads only the words of Jesus, one person reads the narration, another the various things individuals say & the congregation reads the things said by a crowd.
While some PC modern liturgists have encouraged having 3 people take turns reading the Gospel, having the congregation read those parts has always served as a reminder to me of my part in why Jesus had to die, my sins had to be paid for. Of course that is exactly what those liurgeists don't want us to do. But enough about that.
For me another huge part of today that also serves as a reminder of my sins is what happens to the blessed palm when I get home.
Those branches start out like this:

What ends up happening to most of the fronds is that they are made into crosses.

I learned the art of doing this as a child from my beloved Italiano grandpa, Giovanni Stasi. In one sense, making them is simple, in another it does take a little skill.
But the point is, making the palm into crosses is an old Italiano tradition (as well as for others). It serves as a reminder of how easily we can turn from following Jesus to denying Him by our sins.
I keep a cross in my car. Additionally, I put a palm cross behind a religious picture in most rooms. With one exception. The crucifix I have in my kitchen

As you can see I put 3 branches behind it, one for each member of the Holy Trinity. Although at our house when I was a child we would put a cross & a palm basket made by another Italiano. But whatever way they are displayed, they all serve as additional reminder of how the only way the price of our sins could be paid was by the death of an innocent victim. Because our sins are against God, no matter how small, no sinful human could pay the price. So, in order for God's justice to be met, in His Mercy He sent His only Son, fully divine & fully human at the same time, to pay the price.
Which leads me to my main point. This whole week is a celebration of that Divine Mercy. Jesus died for our sins. He enables us to receive mercy rather than the punishment we deserve.
Jesus died for our sins. But we have to respond. The 1st response is in baptism, whether as a infant or an adult. At that point all stain of sin is wiped away. Original only for an infant. But actual sins as well for adults. Baptism causes an ontological change in us, making us the children of God.
For Catholics of the Latin rite, confirmation is supposed to serve as the saying yes to what was said as an infant for us. But whether confirmation or chrismation, that sacrament gives us the fullness of the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. With the Hoy Spirit we can receive the gifts He gives to live that life as a child of God we are meant to live.
Additionally, the sacrament of the Eucharist was given to us to nourish us spiritually  so we can have the strength to follow Him, among other things.
But we still fall. This is why we have the sacrament of Confession. Yes, we can ask God for forgiveness directly. But the sacrament gives us the assurance, if we make a good confession, that our sins are forgiven. Additionally, through that sacrament we are given the graces needed to help us reform & turn away from those sins. I could go on about the other sacraments as well. All of them are wells of God's mercy.  
But I want to get back to the main theme of Divine Mercy.  This week is a clarion call for us to tap into that mercy. We are reminded as at no other time of the year that God could have simply turned His back on us & literally let us go to hell.
Instead, He provided, as I pointed out, the way we can receive all the mercy we need.
Part of God's plan for helping us to do so is through the private revelations he made to St. Faustina. He called her to be the apostle of His Divine Mercy. One of the tools he gave was the Novena of Divine Mercy. The Novena begins on Good Friday & runs through the Saturday after Easter. The next day is the Feast of Divine Mercy 
There is not a single person alive who doesn't need God's mercy. I know how much I need it. Despite my best efforts, I still fall. I don't presume on God's Mercy to justify sinning. But when I do, I call on it.
From the beginning, through the time of St. Faustina, up to now, God keeps calling us to His Mercy, no matter how many times we fall, no matter how bad our sins. God still calls to us. I challenge you to learn more about God's Mercy, especially as revealed in the Divine Mercy devotion. In addition to the 2 links already provided, you can find out more here at the website for the Marians of the Immaculate Conception.

As an aside, the Rosary you see in the picture of my sick-call crucifix is the one I received 51 years ago when I received my 1st Communion. In my younger days, it saw its share of use. Now it is retired to a place of honor & a reminder to pray the Rosary as well as the Divine Mercy Chaplet regularly. 

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Is This What They Asked of God When They Prayed Together?

This morning (23 March 2013) Papa Francesco & Benedetto, Papa Emeritus, met at Castel Gandolfo. Part of that time was spent in prayer. I suspect this may have been a part of what they prayed.

Remember, Tomorrow is PALM SUNDAY!!!!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Papal Thought for the Day - 21 March 2013

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Why Do I Suspect the "Coexist" Wackos Wouldn't Want to Do So With This

H/T:  Dad29

Papal Thought for the Day - 20 March 2013

Could It Be, SATAN?????????????

On last Sunday's (17 March) episode History Channel series, The Bible the actor playing Satan bears an uncanny resemblance to President Obama.

That raises an interesting question about who Obama really is. Now I am not saying they are one & the same, but is this the real reason he hasn't come up with a birth certificate?
Actually, what I suspect is that they are just brothers like Phil the Prince of Insufficient Light & the Pointy Haired Boss in Dilbert:

Either way, it explains a lot about Obama's unrelenting attack on the Catholic Church, his radical pro-abortion stand & many other stands as well.

Photo source: Separated at Birth?

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The World's Second Love

(With apologies to Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen)

In 1952 Archbishop Sheen wrote a book about Mary called The World's First Love. He talks about how God had in mind, from before time, the perfect mother for the Son of God. In it he also devoted a chapter to San Giuseppe. & how God ensured that he would be the perfect spouse for Mary. That is why I have entitled this The World's Second Love. If Mary was first than to say San Giuseppe is the second is only logical.
St Lawrence of Brindisi in his writings on what he called The Incarnational Circle mentions Mary as being planned as the virginal mother. That meant there was also the need for a virginal father. That father was San Giuseppe. While I haven't read the work in its entirety, what little I know, as well as what I have read by Archbishop Sheen, Gerson, Suarez & others have been the inspiration for this reflection.
Mary was planned from before time by God as the perfect or ideal mother for His Son. So, here having the perfect or ideal spouse for her & earthly father for Jesus was also a part of that plan.
Since Mary was to be the biological mother of Christ, than her being immaculately conceived was only logical. All the other gifts she was given to enable her to fulfill that role & the Church extols are only logical. Joseph, on the other hand, was not the biological father, but that is the only sense in which he was not the father of Jesus. So that means that he had to be equipped with all the gifts & attributes to ensure he would be the ideal father of Jesus as well as the ideal spouse of Mary.
Additionally, by the angel telling Joseph to name Jesus, we see God giving Joseph a unique gift, a portion of His Divine Fatherhood. Joseph was able to exercise all the rights over Jesus as a father that His Heavenly Father would. Jesus had to submit to Joseph's authority as that of His Heavenly Father.
I am not saying that Joseph was immaculately conceived. That has never been taught. But what has been widely suggested, & I agree with, is that, like St. John the Baptist, he was freed from original sin in the womb. Also, like the Baptist, he was graced to be able to avoid sinning throughout his life as well.
All this was done, like Mary's conception, because of what Jesus did on the cross, not through any merits of their own. Mary & Joseph both had free will, they were both tempted & both rejected sin. I won't go into more about Mary as there is plenty out there about why this is true.
In Joseph's case I will point out that Scripture itself strongly hints at this by his being called a righteous or just man. (Matthew 1:19) That term is almost never used to describe a human. Instead we here Scripture talk about how humans usually fail to be righteous before God.
What we can be sure of is that this means Joseph was a man of prayer as well as familiar with what we now call the writings of the Old Testament. It also meant that he lived out his faith in a way that was only equaled to by Mary.
Like Mary, he was totally submissive to the will of God. Like Mary, he was humble as well. Like Mary, he also took a vow of virginity. (more on this later) We see that in how he handled the news about Mary's pregnancy. Many people think that Joseph wanted to divorce Mary because he thought she had violated her vow of virginity. But what is more likely is that he was aware she had conceived by the Holy Spirit. In his humility he felt unworthy for the role he knew he would have to play, so he tried to quietly bow out. If he thought she had sinned, his righteousness would have required he publicly divorce her.
I want to make it clear, as have many other preeminant authors on Joseph, that the marriage between Joseph & Mary was a real marriage. They were truly one. They loved each other perfectly. & in a sense, Jesus was the fruit of that union.
Mary's virginity was made fruitful by her bearing Jesus. In Joseph's case his fruitful virginity was the result of his taking the role assigned to him by God, to be Jesus' father. By the angel telling him he was to name the child Jesus, Joseph was told that he was being appointed to truly be Jesus father as the earthly image of the Heavenly Father. This means that what we see in Joseph's actions toward Mary & Jesus are a reflection of the love & care the Heavenly Father has for each & every one of us.
Scripture make's it clear in many places that nothing he did gave those in Nazareth any reason to doubt that he was the father of Jesus. That was because he exercised his role as husband, as well as father, exactly as a righteous man would.
He cared for Mary, he protected her & provided for her. Like any father, he protected & provided for Jesus' needs. He also taught Jesus what it meant to be a real man as well as the skills needed to earn a living. Part of that teaching included Joseph's living out his faith in word & example.
I honestly believe that wherever the Holy Family was, there was a small sampling of Heaven here on Earth. I say this for several reasons. The most obvious is that wherever God is, there is Heaven. Jesus is God. So He brought a bit of Heaven with him. Additionally, what we say in Nazareth was a glimpse of what we will see in eternity.
Mary, as the Queen of Heaven (seen in the Queen mother of Ancient Israel), is there at the side of Jesus. Where Mary is, then her spouse, Joseph, is bound to be. Many saints & mystics have held to this. While the Church has never ruled this to be a doctrine of faith, it has constantly allowed it to be acceptable.
The following is just my opinion. I have not seen this elsewhere, though someone else may well have said so before. When the mother of James & John asked that one be seated at His right, the other at His left, in the kingdom, Jesus said they were reserved from before time for those chosen by the Father. We can be fairly certain that one of them was for Mary as Queen. As I said, logically Joseph would be nearby. So might the other seat (throne) have been reserved for Joseph as the other part of the Incarnational Circle?
Also, since Jesus gave Mary to be our Mother, by His giving Joseph that share in His Fatherhood, Joseph is our Father as well. Think about it. Jesus is our brother. We are adopted sons of the Father. A portion of that Fatherhood eternally resides in Joseph.
That means that we can ask for his intercession, knowing that Jesus cannot say no to the requests of Joseph without being disobedient. We can also be sure that since both Mary & Joseph seek only the will of God & that their will is God's will, then we can be assured that Joseph will know what is God's will for us in all situations & make intercession for that will to be done. & we can be sure that request will be granted.
Another idea that I claim as only my own is that Joseph had to die before Jesus' public ministry. At that time Joseph's role as protector had to end. If he remained on Earth then he would have had to protect Jesus from even being crucified. Since he couldn't, he gladly accepted death at what was about 50 to 55 years of age so that our salvation would be assured.
But now that he is in Heaven, that role as protector has been extended far beyond the Holy Family to the entire Catholic Church. That is a truth we cannot deny as the Church has declared him to be the universal patron of the Church.
Some mystics have said that Joseph conversed with angels for his entire life, fromrly childhood on. That makes perfect sense when we look at the 1st time we hear of an angel appearing to Joseph. What was his reaction? He simply did as the ngel told him. It could only be so if he was familiar with his guardian angel, or angels as some mystics have said he had 2. As a man of faith he would have grown to know & recognize when God spoke to him through them. That is why we see his immediate obedience every time.
Mary too, accepted what Joseph said without question. She is a perfect example of Biblical submission to the husband by the wife. She knew Joseph wouldn't abuse his place as head of the household. So, if he woke Mary up & said that an angel said this, she would trust him to be telling the truth & abey him just the same as if the angel had appeared to her.
Finally, I would like to make a comment on the subject of Joseph's assumption. Again, the Church has never ruled one way or the other, but it does seem logical that given his unique role, he would have been taken body & soul into Heaven. I have no proof, but I suspect one of those saints mentioned as coming back to life at the time of Jesus' resurrection was Joseph. He was allowed a visit to Mary to encourage her. Then he was lead into Heaven by Jesus at the head of all those who had been waiting in the Bosom of Abraham for Jesus to open the Gates of Heaven.
As Papa Francesco said earlier today, Joseph is our perfect example of how to live as a follower of Jesus.
I pray that these poor efforts of mine may be of some use in helping you to better see why San Giuseppe is the perfect model. Also, that they may help increase your devotion to him. According to many mystics, this is the desire of Mary. & if it is what Mary wants, since her will is to do the Will of God, then you can be sure it is God's Will.
May San Giuseppe richly bless you this day with all the graces of Heaven so that you may grow in faith, die more to self & one day join him in Heaven around the Throne, eternally praising & worshiping God.


Note: I wish to make several things clear. 1st of all, nothing I said is to be construed as making Mary & Joseph equal to God. Everything the do is through the Holy Spirit & finds its ultimate source in God.
Next, I wish to remind everyone that the revelations to mystics are private revelations. So, even if they have been approved by bthe Church we are not required to believe them.
Finally, my opinions are just that, opinions. I submit them to the discernment of the Catholic Church. & if at some time the Church should decide something contrary to what I wrote, then I gladly submit to the Church's discernment & authority as the final say.


Papa Francesco - Take San Giuseppe As Our Role Model

Here is the homily of Papa Francesco from the Mass earlier today that was for the Inauguration of his Petrine ministry.  As I expected, he did speak about San Giuseppe.& called on us to imitate him. To hear the media however, you wouldn't know it or know what was really said. They make it sound like his emphasis was on the environment & the poor. Yes, he did bring up the environment & the poor. But what they totally miss is what he said about how we are to do that. They make it sound like it is by depending on our own power, when Papa Francesco makes it clear that we are really to do so as San Giuseppe did, "by being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God's presence, and receptive to God's plans."
That also means that abortion, euthanasia, gay marriage & birth control are right out since they go contrary to God's plans. Papa Francesco also made it clear we must reject these & all other evils, even if they weren't mentioned by name.
Naturally, the media tried to paint the direction taken by Papa Francesco as a complete change of priorities rather than being the same basic priorities that all popes have had. & that is only 1 part of the poor coverage that shows their lack of understanding of the Catholic Church as well as its rituals. It also shows their agenda as well. By creating this false division they are trying to divert attention from how Papa Francesco has lived out those words. In his speaking out against abortion, etc, as bishop & cardinal, Papa Francesco followed exactly the same direction as Papa Benedetto & Pope John Paul II.
Papa Francesco has called on us to take San Giuseppe as our role model.  That means we must defend the unborn as well as the elderly from the attacks our society is making on them. It means we must be good stewards of the environment. It also means we are to be a people of prayer, constantly seeking God's guidance in all things, learning what His will is. & then living it out. It is a hard path, but no harder than that of San Giuseppe, or any other true follower of Christ. & like them, if we seek God, He will gift us with all we need tyo do so.

Dear Brothers and Sisters,
I thank the Lord that I can celebrate this Holy Mass for the inauguration of my Petrine ministry on the solemnity of Saint Joseph, the spouse of the Virgin Mary and the patron of the universal Church.  It is a significant coincidence, and it is also the name-day of my venerable predecessor: we are close to him with our prayers, full of affection and gratitude.
I offer a warm greeting to my brother cardinals and bishops, the priests, deacons, men and women religious, and all the lay faithful.  I thank the representatives of the other Churches and ecclesial Communities, as well as the representatives of the Jewish community and the other religious communities, for their presence.  My cordial greetings go to the Heads of State and Government, the members of the official Delegations from many countries throughout the world, and the Diplomatic Corps.
In the Gospel we heard that “Joseph did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary as his wife” (Mt 1:24).  These words already point to the mission which God entrusts to Joseph: he is to be the custos, the protector.  The protector of whom?  Of Mary and Jesus; but this protection is then extended to the Church, as Blessed John Paul II pointed out: “Just as Saint Joseph took loving care of Mary and gladly dedicated himself to Jesus Christ’s upbringing, he likewise watches over and protects Christ’s Mystical Body, the Church, of which the Virgin Mary is the exemplar and model” (Redemptoris Custos, 1).
How does Joseph exercise his role as protector?  Discreetly, humbly and silently, but with an unfailing presence and utter fidelity, even when he finds it hard to understand.  From the time of his betrothal to Mary until the finding of the twelve-year-old Jesus in the Temple of Jerusalem, he is there at every moment with loving care.  As the spouse of Mary, he is at her side in good times and bad, on the journey to Bethlehem for the census and in the anxious and joyful hours when she gave birth; amid the drama of the flight into Egypt and during the frantic search for their child in the Temple; and later in the day-to-day life of the home of Nazareth, in the workshop where he taught his trade to Jesus.
How does Joseph respond to his calling to be the protector of Mary, Jesus and the Church?  By being constantly attentive to God, open to the signs of God’s presence and receptive to God’s plans, and not simply to his own.  This is what God asked of David, as we heard in the first reading.  God does not want a house built by men, but faithfulness to his word, to his plan.  It is God himself who builds the house, but from living stones sealed by his Spirit.  Joseph is a “protector” because he is able to hear God’s voice and be guided by his will; and for this reason he is all the more sensitive to the persons entrusted to his safekeeping. He can look at things realistically, he is in touch with his surroundings, he can make truly wise decisions.  In him, dear friends, we learn how to respond to God’s call, readily and willingly, but we also see the core of the Christian vocation, which is Christ!  Let us protect Christ in our lives, so that we can protect others, so that we can protect creation!
The vocation of being a “protector”, however, is not just something involving us Christians alone; it also has a prior dimension which is simply human, involving everyone.  It means protecting all creation, the beauty of the created world, as the Book of Genesis tells us and as Saint Francis of Assisi showed us.  It means respecting each of God’s creatures and respecting the environment in which we live. It means protecting people, showing loving concern for each and every person, especially children, the elderly, those in need, who are often the last we think about.  It means caring for one another in our families: husbands and wives first protect one another, and then, as parents, they care for their children, and children themselves, in time, protect their parents.  It means building sincere friendships in which we protect one another in trust, respect, and goodness.  In the end, everything has been entrusted to our protection, and all of us are responsible for it.  Be protectors of God’s gifts!
Whenever human beings fail to live up to this responsibility, whenever we fail to care for creation and for our brothers and sisters, the way is opened to destruction and hearts are hardened.   Tragically, in every period of history there are “Herods” who plot death, wreak havoc, and mar the countenance of men and women.
Please, I would like to ask all those who have positions of responsibility in economic, political and social life, and all men and women of goodwill: let us be “protectors” of creation, protectors of God’s plan inscribed in nature, protectors of one another and of the environment.  Let us not allow omens of destruction and death to accompany the advance of this world!  But to be “protectors”, we also have to keep watch over ourselves!  Let us not forget that hatred, envy and pride defile our lives!  Being protectors, then, also means keeping watch over our emotions, over our hearts, because they are the seat of good and evil intentions: intentions that build up and tear down!  We must not be afraid of goodness or even tenderness!
Here I would add one more thing: caring, protecting, demands goodness, it calls for a certain tenderness.  In the Gospels, Saint Joseph appears as a strong and courageous man, a working man, yet in his heart we see great tenderness, which is not the virtue of the weak but rather a sign of strength of spirit and a capacity for concern, for compassion, for genuine openness to others, for love.  We must not be afraid of goodness, of tenderness!
Today, together with the feast of Saint Joseph, we are celebrating the beginning of the ministry of the new Bishop of Rome, the Successor of Peter, which also involves a certain power.  Certainly, Jesus Christ conferred power upon Peter, but what sort of power was it?  Jesus’ three questions to Peter about love are followed by three commands: feed my lambs, feed my sheep.  Let us never forget that authentic power is service, and that the Pope too, when exercising power, must enter ever more fully into that service which has its radiant culmination on the Cross.  He must be inspired by the lowly, concrete and faithful service which marked Saint Joseph and, like him, he must open his arms to protect all of God’s people and embrace with tender affection the whole of humanity, especially the poorest, the weakest, the least important, those whom Matthew lists in the final judgment on love: the hungry, the thirsty, the stranger, the naked, the sick and those in prison (cf. Mt 25:31-46).  Only those who serve with love are able to protect!
In the second reading, Saint Paul speaks of Abraham, who, “hoping against hope, believed” (Rom 4:18).  Hoping against hope!  Today too, amid so much darkness, we need to see the light of hope and to be men and women who bring hope to others.  To protect creation, to protect every man and every woman, to look upon them with tenderness and love, is to open up a horizon of hope; it is to let a shaft of light break through the heavy clouds; it is to bring the warmth of hope!  For believers, for us Christians, like Abraham, like Saint Joseph, the hope that we bring is set against the horizon of God, which has opened up before us in Christ.  It is a hope built on the rock which is God.
To protect Jesus with Mary, to protect the whole of creation, to protect each person, especially the poorest, to protect ourselves: this is a service that the Bishop of Rome is called to carry out, yet one to which all of us are called, so that the star of hope will shine brightly.  Let us protect with love all that God has given us!
I implore the intercession of the Virgin Mary, Saint Joseph, Saints Peter and Paul, and Saint Francis, that the Holy Spirit may accompany my ministry, and I ask all of you to pray for me!  Amen.


Monday, March 18, 2013

Papa Francesco & San Giuseppe

When I had talked about praying to San Giuseppe for the next Pope in a post, one of the things I mentioned in it was that I would not be surprized to find out that the new Pope had a devotion to San Giuseppe. Well, it looks like I was right,
At the time of his election, I didn't pay much attention to the coat of arms that Papa Francesco had as bishop & cardinal. I should have.  But better late than never.
Today the Vatican released his official coat of arms as the newly elected Pope. Papa Francesco opted, as I expected, to keep the same coat of arms.
The symbol at the top is obviously that of the Society of Jesus (Jesuits) that he is a member of. It is on top of a sun that symbolized Jesus Christ. The gold star & the blue background are symbolic of Mary & his deep devotion to her.
But what is that other symbol in the lower left (your right) of the arms?  No, it isn't a bunch of grapes pointing the wrong way. It is a bit of spikenard (nard) in flower. Using spikenard to symbolize San Giuseppe is a part of Hispanic iconography. According to the Vatican,  in that tradition San Giuseppe is seen holding a branch of spikenard rather than the staff with lilies in bloom at the end.*
So our new Pope has a devotion to San Giuseppe. That is encouraging news to me. As I said in that post, the Catholic Church needs San Giuseppe's protection & guidance more than ever because of the attacks from within as well as without.
I also have to wonder if Papa Francesco intentionally opted for tomorrow as the day of his installation because it is the main feast of San Giuseppe. But whether he specifically chose it, or it was just the most optimal date, I have no doubt that he will talk about San Giuseppe in his homily. & in doing so, we will get a better sense of his devotion to the Padrone of the Universal Church. I am also sure that it will lead to a greater devotion to San Giuseppe by the entire Church as well.
For that reason, among others, I will be looking forward to what Papa Francesco will have to say to us tomorrow.

* The lilies blooming on the staff comes from the apocryphal story that there were 3 suitors for Mary. The temple priests decided to have each suitor leave his staff there overnight. The one that would burst into bloom would belong to man chosen by God to be espoused to Mary. San Giuseppe's was the one that bloomed. The traditional use of the lily was because it symbolized purity. This was to remind people that he, like Mary, had remained chaste as well as celebate throughout his life. It was also a reminder of how he protected Mary's purity as well.
I will have to do some more reseacrh in the days ahead to see how the connection between spikenard & San Giuseppe came about.


Papal Thought for the Day - 18 March 2013

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Buona Festa di San Patrizio!

Papal Thought for the Day - 17 March 2013

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Papal Thought for the Day - 16 March 2013

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Cardinal Dolan Schools CBS' Charlie Rose On Women's Role in Catholic Church

It shouldn't be surprizing that the Main Stream Media has quickly begun its attacks on Papa Francesco. Or that they are continuing to push their agenda to undermine Catholic Church doctrine, especially that on women not being allowed to be ordained.  The failure to allow that to happen is often painted by those inside as well as outside the Church as treating women as 2nd class members. A claim that rarely goes challenged because they usually don't allow a response to the claim.
 But when Timothy Cardinal Dolan was challenged on this point in an interview filmed last night by CBS'  Charlie Rose, he was quick to point out the real status of women in the Catholic Church.

Here is the text of that conversation:

ROSE: You do not expect to see, as you didn't with Pope Benedict or Pope John Paul II, doctrinal changes-

DOLAN: No, never-

ROSE: On ordination of women, on celibacy, on divorce.

DOLAN: Doctrine can't change. So, to use the word (sic) doctrinal changes, for a Catholic, is almost an oxymoron. There are things that a Pope can change that would not be doctrine, but more matters of Church discipline. Priestly celibacy is not a doctrine of the Church. It's a discipline in the Church. Do I expect him to change it? No. Could he change it? Yes – possible, yes; probable, no. But there's that distinction. Ordination of women – that's a doctrinal thing. That's not discipline. John Paul II-

ROSE: But how do you respond to the fact that this really is the century of women, and this is a Church that needs to have women as part of its-

DOLAN: Sure. Well, I'll tell you this: when we walked into the Sistine Chapel, we were saying the Litany of the Saints, all right? Now, the highest you can be called to, in the Catholic Church, is to be a saint, and of the saints that we prayed, more than half were women, so (laughs). The woman who – who is the greatest human being model for – the person who's the greatest human being model for us happens to be a woman [the Virgin Mary]. That's where the Church is at her best. That's where – that's where the Church has also been known for lifting women up, ennobling them.

Yup, the Catholic Church actually ennobles women, not treats them as 2nd class. A fact that the Church's enemies inside or outside of the Catholic Church ignores. Despite what Cardinal Dolan said, I am willing to bet that the media will continue to ignore the truth & carry on its anti-Catholic Church campaign.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Habemus Papam - Francesco

Annuntio vobis gaudium magnum;
habemus Papam:

Eminentissimum ac Reverendissimum Dominum,
Dominum Georgium Marium
Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalem Bergoglio
qui sibi nomen imposuit Franciscum

I won't deny that I was a bit surprized that  Jorge Mario Cardinal Bergoglio SJ,  now Pope Francis was elected the 266th Supreme Pontiff. But I was more surprized that it came as soon as it did. I honestly expected the election to go until Friday. But the Holy Spirit had other plans.
I will also admit that I know very little about Papa Francesco. I do like what I see however. It is clear he is strongly pro-life. In 2007, he presented the final final version of the "Aparecida Document". That document was a joint statement of the bishops of Latin America regarding the situation of the Church in their countries.  It had been approved by Papa Benedetto XVI in July 2007. Paragraph 436 makes it clear that abortion supporters are not to be allowed to receive communion. It said "we should commit ourselves to ‘eucharistic coherence’, that is, we should be conscious that people cannot receive holy communion and at the same time act or speak against the commandments, in particular when abortion, euthanasia, and other serious crimes against life and family are facilitated. This responsibility applies particularly to legislators, governors, and health professionals."
He was very harsh in his criticism of the recent forced abortion done on a mentally retarding woman during the speech at the presentation. He said "in Argentina we have the death penalty. A child conceived by the rape of a mentally ill or retarded woman can be condemned to death." He also pointed out that "the most mentioned word in the Aparecida Document is ‘life’, because the Church is very conscious of the fact that the cheapest thing in Latin America, the thing with the lowest price, is life." 
Additionally, he spoke out against euthenasia. "In Argentina there is clandestine euthanasia. Social services pay up to a certain point; if you pass it, ‘die, you are very old’. Today, elderly people are discarded when, in reality, they are the seat of wisdom of the society," he said, and observed that "the right to life means allowing people to live and not killing, allowing them to grow, to eat, to be educated, to be healed, and to be permitted to die with dignity."
During his time as head of the Buenos Aires Archdiocese, he was outspoken in defending the Church's teachings on marriage. He has called what has been pushed as same-sex marriage "demonic". He has also spoken out against the distribution of free contraception as well as the push for free artificial insemination. He also called adoptions by gays as being wrong, that it discriminates against children.
From this, it is very clear that we can expect some clashes between him & Obama as well as the pro-abort Catolics in his administration.
It is also clear that he has a strong concern for the poor & has been very pastoral in his approach as Archbishop.
He spoke out very loudly about how children are abused & exploited in Argentina.  "Children are mistreated, and are not educated or fed. Many are made into prostitutes and exploited. And this happens here in Buenos Aires, in the great city of the south. Child prostitution is offered in some five star hotels: it is included in the entertainment menu, under the heading ‘Other’."
He also stood up for the children who were born out of wedlock to be baptized. Talking to his priests he said "In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don't baptize the children of single mothers because they weren't conceived in the sanctity of marriage. These are today's hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it's baptized!"
In the days ahead, I suspect you will see the long knives come out because he didn't do all the left thinks he should of done in speaking out against human rights abuses during the time the country was ruled by a dictatorship/junta. But from what it sounds like to me, he did more behind the scenes just as Pope Pius XII did in WW II.
I find his choice of Francis very interesting. I have often wondered why the name wasn't chosen before. After all, there have been several Franciscans elected Pope. I will admit that sometimes in my wildest dreams, I thought I would take the name Francis if elected Pope.
Still, I doubt he chose the name because he sees St. Francis as a tree hugging hippie that the liberal Catholycs paint him as. Instead, like so many others have said, I think he is sending a clear message that, like his namesake, he is being called by God to "rebuild His Church." Francis did that by preaching the Gospel, being faithful to the teachings of the Church, as well as submissive to Church authority, esp the Pope.
I will admit that my only concern is that he was a Jesuit. But after seeing how solid he is, those concerns have faded.
The fact that he is 76, not much younger than Papa Benedetto was when he was elected as well as the fact that he does has some health issues, only 1 long since he had one removed as a teen, tells me that the Cardinals were more concerned with electing the right person than someone who met a specific age or health criteria.
Additionally, the fact that he is of Italiano heritage, his parents immigrated from Italia & that, like both my grandfathers & my maternal Italiano great grandfather, his father was a railway worker gives me some added affection for him.
Add to that the aforementioned devotion I have to St. Francis.
Another interesting thing is that he is ordinary for Eastern Catholics in Argentina who do not have a prelate. That means he has more than a passing knowledge of what Blessed John Paul II called the "other lung of the Church." So, you can be sure he will be pastorally sensative to their needs as well.
Overall, my 1st view is a positive one. I don't expect him to do everything the way I would. But I do believe that God has a purpose in his election far beyond what I can see at this point.
I ask that God bless Papa Francesco in all his efforts. May the Holy Spirit gift him with all he needs to do so. May Mary & Joseph guard & protect him. May his reign truly bring glory to God as he steers the barque of Peter.

Note: (2:33 pm 14 March 2013) I have gone back & edited out the 2 uses of I after Papa Francesco's name as the Vatican has asked that it not be used. Technically they are right. It began with John Paul I using it but even then it shouldn't have been. But with his short pontificate & his successor, Blessed John Paul II, taking the name, the issue was moot.


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

When Confronted With the Truth, Liberal Catholycs Attack With Lies & Personal Attacks

On 2 March, my latest letter to the TH on the heretical goings on involving the Sinsinawa Dominicans appeared. I wrote a post about it here. It didn't take long for the attacks to begin, not only om what I said, but me personally. Most of them were in the comments section of the letter on the TH website. But a few days later I got a letter in the mail. I suspected it might be in response to the TH letter when there was NO return address. When I opened it I found a clipping as well as a letter. I quickly scanned the letter to see if it was signed., As expected it wasn't. So I didn't bother to go back to read the letter or the notes made on the clipping from the Non-Catholic Reporter. I didn't bother with reading the article either. All I noticed was that the article was an attack piece on those who were involved with the LCWR investigation. I did notice 2 things as I scanned the letter. It was at the start where it refered to a "well known catholic newspaper". As I said, that paper was the Distorter that the article was taken from. The rest is from the last line where I was called judgmental as well as a coward if I didn't write something about the priests scandal as well.
I had to laugh at being called a coward. I am the one who stood up & spoke out. Yet she wasn't willing to sign her name. I say her name because I did notice she said that she & her husband would be watching me. Notice, it was worded in the form of a threat.
Well, the next Saturday, the next salvo came in the form of the following letter written in response to mine. Note: I am intentionally leaving his name out, even though I wouldn't have to. But I do wonder if it was his wife that wrote the unsigned letter.
"I was disappointed to read Allen Troupe's letter (March 2) demonizing Sister Donna Quinn's effort to modernize the current state of the Catholic Church.

It seems many young adults are presently turning away from the Catholic Church because of its refusal to update its ultraconservative views of the world.

Women still cannot stand in front of a Catholic congregation and say a Mass, even though they equally devote their lives to God. Last year, the pope railed against gay marriage. He stated his views may be "counter-cultural" to younger generations.

You know there's a serious disconnect between Church leaders and the fundamental principles of a Christian-based religion when the leaders call social justice and equal rights "counter-cultural."

And what is the basis for the Vatican not allowing social justice? "Tradition," of course.

Jesus modernized the Jewish faith by updating the rigid traditional rules set forth in the Old Testament, proving that the way we practice our faith and religion can evolve and change.

I will continue to support people such as Sister Donna Quinn and Father Roy Bourgeois, who devote their lives to fight for social justice based on the principles of Jesus Christ, even though their own Church ignores them.

It is 2013 and the new leader of the Catholic Church is going to be chosen by an electorate of old, white, ultraconservative men. Change is clearly not going to be coming from the inside, so how about we start supporting a change from the outside?"
 Since the letter was signed, I decided to privately respond to him. The letter is below. As you will notice, I pointed out he is the one who is actually doing the demonizing, not me. In addition, I pointed out that he lied about me stating my views were countercultural to younger generations.
That I was attacked & that he deliberately lied about what I said is no surprize. This same thing happened to me in January when my previous letter to the TH about the goings on at Sinisinawa appeared.
I honestly do not expect a reply from him. I have yet to hear a reply from that priest to the letter I sent him. These people do not want an honest conversation. They just want to destroy the Catholic Church. & they will do so by any means possible. However, as I pointed out, they will fail, as all attempts in the past have failed.
"I am writing this in response to the letter that appeared in the 9 March 2013 issue of the Telegraph Herald.
You began by accusing me of "demonizing" Sr. Donna Quinn's efforts. Over the years I have seen that when a liberal uses that term, it means that the person so labeled is actually the one being demonized. The reason for doing so is because that person has hit the nail on the head when it comes to telling the truth. Thus instead of admitting that what  he said is true, the speaker of the truth is attacked in an effort to destroy his reputation.   Since this is one of the big guns used by liberals & the left to do harm to the truth teller, I feel like I have arrived in the big leagues. I am humbled that God has so used me that I am attacked this way. This attack on me for speaking up is a blessing of the type   mentioned in Matthew 5:11-12.
I stand by my claim that what Sr. Donna is doing, aided & abetted in doing by the Sinsinawa Dominican leadership, IS heresy. Heresy is "the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith." (Catechism 2089). The Catholic Church has taught from the beginning that abortion is a sin, that marriage is only between a man and a woman & that only men (vir) can be ordained priests. These truths cannot be denied without falling into heresy.
By saying that she is attempting to "modernize" the Church you have also admitted that she is promoting the heresy of modernism that was condemned by Pope St. Pius X in his encyclical "Pascendi".
As for your claim that it "seems many young adults are presently turning away from the Catholic Church", the facts present a different picture. When I worked at a college, I saw a hunger for the truths of the Catholic Church, not a turning away because those     views were what you labeled "ultraconservative". They welcomed what the Church teaches. The huge number of young adults and teens at last January's March for Life is proof of that. Those facts were ignored by the pro-abortion media because it didn't fit into their agenda of attacking the Catholic Church.
Additionally, I saw an upswing in the desire for Eucharistic adoration among those college aged people.
As for vocations, unlike the Sinsinawa Dominicans, the numbers are up for those Women's religious orders that are supportive of the Church's teachings. Two examples, among many, are the Nashville Dominicans and the Ann Arbor Dominicans.
There is also an upswing in vocations to men's religious orders as well. These vocations are not only to orders that do the Novus Ordo reverently, but to groups like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter as well. Additionally the number of young men who have vocations to the diocesan priesthood is up as well.
I also see plenty of young adults at the parish I attend who embrace those teachings. Many of them are married with families of 3, 4, 5 or more children.
You out and out lied when you claimed I said that I stated in the letter I wrote that my   views may be "counter-cultural" to those young adults. I said no such thing, about young adults, or Catholics in general. The term appeared nowhere in my letter, in any context & you knew it when you wrote what you did. But, since you brought it up, may I point out that the Catholic Church has been counter-cultural from the beginning. It hasalways stood up, called sin. It has refused to bow to the dictates of those in charge, whether it be to worship the Roman emperor as a god or allow abortions.
You are right about one thing. The Catholic Church will never change from within. The Holy Spirit will ensure that, as well as protect it from attacks from without. That can be seen by the failed attempts of everyone from the Gnostics, to the Arians up to the modernists to do so from within. Additionally we can look & see the same result from those attacking from without, that includes people like Nero, Hitler, Stalin & many others down through the centuries.
Whether it is Sr. Donna or Ray Bourgeous or supporters of their heresies, like you, your actions are NOT based on the principles of Jesus Christ. In fact they are in opposition to them. Jesus' principles were based on the unchanging Divine truths He proclaimed. What you are doing is an attempt to destroy those principles as well as deny the truths behind them.
As an aside, I have a copy of the "Compendium of Social Doctrine of the Church" that  contains what the Catholic Church actually teaches on social justice. I have & will continue to devote time to studying that compendium as well as the "Catechism of the  Catholic Church" so I can grow in my knowledge of the magisterial teachings of the Church as well as more fully live them out.
Might I suggest you that you join a church that embraces your views? The Episcopal Church could use some new members as they have seen a huge decline of 1/3 of their  membership over the last 3 decades or so. A huge part of that decline has been because of their embracing the very things you want the Catholic Church to embrace. Many of   those individuals who left as well as many of the parishes have joined the Catholic Church because we still hold to those teachings you attack. This has happened not only  in America, but elsewhere in the Anglican communion as well. While we have yet to see a whole Episcopal/Anglican diocese seek to reunite with the Catholic Church, I   suspect the day where that happens is not very far off.
While there is so much more I could respond to, I will end by saying that I am praying   that the Holy Spirit will open your (& the Sinsinawa Dominicans) eyes to the truths He has revealed through the Church. Also that you will open your hearts, receive them & reject those heretical viewpoints you now hold. That prayer has included offering up the Mass I attended last Sunday as well as spending time at the 2 Adoration Chapels in the area praying for you as well.

Please pray for these people, that they will see & accept the truth, before it is too late.
Additionally, I am not writing this for any sympathy or glory. All I am doing is trying to educate those who are not aware of the liberal Catholics in Name Only tactics. Hopefully, I will also give you some ideas of how to respond in a respectful manner while standing up for the truth as well.

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