A Catholic Blog for Lovers
Saturday, May 25, 2002
De Sancta Trinitate
Song of the Soul that is glad to know God by Faith
I know the fountain ever springs and flows
Even now in the night's hush.
Eternal, it will ne'er its tale disclose,
Yet well its hidden depths my spirit knows
Even now in the night's hush.
Dim is our life and sad, one truly sayeth,
And yet joy's water-spring I know by faith
Even now in the night's hush.
It origins I know not - who can know?
For from these origins all rivers flow
Even now in the night's hush.
I know that nothing can have purer grace.
Both heaven and earth drink deep and haste their pace
Even now in the night's hush.
Well know I that its deep no man can plumb -
To that profound abyss no spirits come
Even now in the night's hush.
Naught can obscure its sparkle diamond bright,
Its gleaming brilliance from whence comes all light
Even now in the night's hush.
I know its streams life and refreshment tell
To skies, to peoples, to foul depths of hell
Even now in the night's hush.
I know besides that still a new stream flows,
Brimming with almightiness, whence those waters rose,
Even now in the night's hush.
And from these mingling floods, I know another flow
Proceeds. Did these precede it, then? Ah, no!
Even now in the night's hush.
These three streams flow their eternal course,
Unrivalling and mutual in their force
Even now in the night's hush.
The eternal tide flows hid in living bread
That with its heavenly life we too be fed
Even now in the night's hush.
And here it calls to all, and here we will
Our craving voids mysteriously fill,
Even now in the night's hush.
This living stream for which I thirst and long,
Provides my sup, my surety and my song
Even now in the night's hush.
St John of the Cross
YOUR voice (the Church) speaks:
Great God of my life,
I will praise Thee on the three shores of Thy one light.
I will plunge with my song into the sea of Thy glory:
with rejoicing into the waves of Thy power.
Golden God of thy stars,
loud God of Thy storms,
flaming God of Thy fire-spewing mountains,
God of Thy streams and of thy seas,
God of all beasts,
God of all the cornfields and of wild roses,
I thank Thee for having awakened us,
Lord, I thank Thee to the choirs of Thine angels.
Be praised for all that lives.
God of thy Son,
great God of Thine eternal compassion,
great God of thine erring humanity,
God of all them who suffer,
God of all them who die,
brotherly God on our dark spoor:
I thank Thee that Thou hast delivered us,
I thank Thee to the choirs of thine angels.
Be praised for our blessedness!
God of Thine own Spirit,
flooding in Thy depths from love to love,
Seething down into my soul,
Rushing through all my chambers,
bringing fire to every heart,
Holy Creator of thy new earth:
I thank Thee that I may thank Thee,
Lord, I thank Thee to the choirs of Thine angels.
God of my psalms,
God of my harps,
God of my organs,
and of my mighty music,
I will sing Thy praises on the three shores to Thy One Light.
I will plunge with my song into the sea of Thy glory:
with shouts of joy into the waves of Thy power.
Gertrude von le Fort, Hymns to the Church
Pope Bent Over, Pope Slurs Words, Pope Frail and Sickly, Pope Uses Lift, Pope Shakes, etc. etc.
An interesting insight, perhaps, from the National Catholic Reporter's Rome correspondent, John Allen:
It is the dirty little secret of papal travel: the world’s press follows the pope around largely in case he dies outside Rome. No one wants to be at home if “the story” breaks in Baku, or in Sofia, or somewhere along the way.
As we waited to board on May 22, I chatted with a colleague who writes for one of the world’s major papers, who told me she had gone to the mat with Vatican personnel to get on the papal plane. They suggested that a charter flight organized for the rest of the press corps would work just as well, a possibility she strenuously rejected.
“What happens if the plane has to be re-routed to a hospital?” she asked. “I can’t afford to be anywhere else.”
This way of thinking can translate into an almost obsessive focus on the pope’s physical condition. As John Paul boarded the plane on May 22, for example, reporters craned their necks to scrutinize the special lift that brought him onto the plane, allowing him to avoid climbing stairs. (It was the first time the device, quickly dubbed the “pope-lift,” was used for health reasons.)
It’s a ghoulish feature of the Vatican beat, that so many journalists hang around John Paul in order to be in the right place when the end comes. Yet I suppose this is all part of the pope’s bully pulpit. He knows journalists will follow him wherever he goes, waiting for him to stumble, but in the meantime we’ll have to justify our presence by finding something to report. So he drags us to corners of the world many news organizations would otherwise never visit, forcing us to tell their stories. He is, in effect, a one-man agent of globalization.
So maybe we shouldn't be surprised when some media reports speak more of how the Pope looks and feels than about what he is saying (or at least having some one else finish reading it for him!!!!).
For more of the article by John Allen (who seems to me to have grown in his respect for the Pope since working the Rome beat).
HIS HOLINESS BILL O'REILLY DEFINES AND DECLARES
...that the pope is VERY unpopular and has no one to blame but himself.
Good to remember why I happily stopped watching O'Reilly a while ago.
His criticism seems the petty spin of a VERY petty man (compared to John Paul the Great).
Elizabeth of the Trinity: Laudem Gloriae - Praise of Glory
A contemporary of her better known sister in Carmel, St Therese of Lisieux, Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity seems also to have been given to us by God to announce the Good News of His Love, entrusted with what Hans Urs von Balthasar calls a "theological mission." In some ways, Elizabeth's vision fills out Therese's and roots it even more firmly in the Trinitarian Love of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Elizabeth loves Saint Paul and his Letters in a special way.
Like St Therese, Elizabeth died at a young age, and left behind a rather slim corpus of writings. But how rich they are! Filled out with many letters written to family and friends, Elizabeth opens for us especially the riches of St Paul and St John the Beloved Disciple.
Her most sustained writings are contained in notes she kept during two Retreats - and in these reflections we are given a glimpse into a soul completely given to the Praise of Glory - heaven on earth, the heaven of the soul.
Receiving on earth her new name in heaven, Laudem Gloriae, The Praise of Glory, Elizabeth points us to the Mystery of Christ in our own midst, and the indwelling of the Most Blessed Trinity.
May she intercede for all of us that we, too, may live for the praise of God's Glory - which is His Love that stoops so low to raise us so high. I have chosen Elizabeth as the patron of my website "A Catholic Page for Lovers" since she expresses so magnificently the hopes I have for those pages - that they may indeed by for "the praise of His Glory." (Eph 1:14) Thus my URL of "praiseofglory.com."
I give below two offerings from Blessed Elizabeth. For more you can order the magnificent book of Hans Urs von Balthasar on both Therese of Lisieux and Elizabeth of the Trinity, Two Sisters in the Spirit. Sorry that the bookmark doesn't seem to work so you will have to scroll down a good bit to find this book - but you may see some other treasures as well. If anyone knows the right code to put in, please let me know. Thanks!
Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, Praise of Glory, pray for us, for the Church, and teach us the way of self-emptying love, the way of praise of God's Glory. Amen!
A prayer of Elizabeth of the Trinity:
O MY GOD, TRINITY WHOM I ADORE
O my God, Trinity whom I adore, help me to forget myself entirely that I may be established in You as still and as peaceful as if my soul were already in eternity. May nothing trouble my peace or make me leave You, 0 my Unchanging One, but may each minute carry me further into the depths of Your Mystery. Give peace to my soul; make it Your heaven, Your beloved dwelling and Your resting place. May I never leave You there alone but be wholly present, my faith wholly vigilant, wholly adoring, and wholly surrendered to Your creative Action.
0 my beloved Christ, crucified by love, I wish to be a bride for Your Heart; I wish to cover You with glory; I wish to love You ... even unto death! But I feel my weakness, and I ask You to "clothe me with Yourself," to identify my soul with all the movements of Your Soul, to overwhelm me, to possess me, to substitute Yourself for me that my life may be but a radiance of Your Life. Come into me as Adorer, as Restorer, as Savior. 0 Eternal Word, Word of my God, I want to spend my life in listening to You, to become wholly teachable that I may learn all from You. Then, through all nights, all voids, all helplessness, I want to gaze on You always and remain in Your great light. 0 my beloved Star, so fascinate me that I may not withdraw from Your radiance.
0 consuming Fire, Spirit of Love, "come upon me," and create in my soul a kind of incarnation of the Word: that I may be another humanity for Him in which He can renew His whole Mystery. And You, 0 Father, bend lovingly over Your poor little creature; "cover her with Your shadow," seeing in her only the "Beloved in whom You are well pleased."
0 My Three, my All, my Beatitude, infinite Solitude, Immensity in which I lose myself, I surrender myself to You as Your prey. Bury Yourself in me that I may bury myself in You until I depart to contemplate in Your light the abyss of Your greatness.
For the Feast of the Blessed Trinity:
This feast of the Three is all mine; as far as I am concerned, there is none to compare to it. It is a feast of silence and adoration. Never before have I grasped the mystery and the entire calling that lies within my name.
A Grace-filled Feast of the Most Blessed Trinity to all! Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Alleluia.
Let's Be Fair, OK?
My impression is that the Catholic Blogs have been one good means for getting the word out about the failures and alleged sins of those in leadership positions in the Catholic Church, and for offering criticism and at times suggestions for solutions. It is good to let light shine on the darkness! But then upon reading some of the Blogs, including the best of them, I too often sense a certain unfairness and an overly critical appraisal of others (along with some deserved criticism and outrage).
For example, today on Michael Dubruiel's fine Annunciations, referencing the news that the chief fundraiser, a monsignor, was removed because of allegations of an offense some years ago, he says: "They are worried that the suspension of this priest is going to hurt the fund raising, good to know what troubles the successors to the Apostles"
Then Michael goes on to reference an article in today's New York Times and gives a snippet from it as well, in which the pastor (a Jesuit?) of Saint Ignatius Loyola church speaks of the monsignor's removal as a blow to the financial situation of the Archdiocese. First of all, I don't see in the article any words of any Bishop, who are usually the ones referred to as "the successors to the apostles" (priests, even monsignors, are bishops' collaborators but not successors to the apostles), Now Michael may know more than I do about the financial convictions of the bishops; but there is nada in the NY Times piece that could justify this assertion.
The quote, too, from the pastor, well, it could well be accurate. But does it reflect the totality of that priest's response to the allegations against the monsignor fund raiser? I doubt it very much. I don't think we should base too much judgment on articles in the media without checking more deeply into the various sources and quotes. Using such media sources, it seems to me, would call often for qualifiers and nuances. "If... what is reported is true or complete"....etc. I guess it doesn't make for as exciting a read... but there does seem to me to be an issue of truthfulness and authenticy and honoring the complexities of life and many persons. (I am not saying all this too well but will leave it as is - without the necessary qualifications and nuances!).
God knows, there is enough "bad news" already! We don't need to make it even worse than it already is!
That's why I ask, with a rather heavy heart, let's be fair, OK?
St Blog's continues to grow (even as sadly one of our "regulars" - Father Shawn O'Neal will be closing down his blog this coming Tuesay): and a warm welcome to new bloggers, Frank Palmer Purcell, Michael Shirley, and Mark Cameron. Thanks to Mike Hardy, I just found out about Pat Tyler. Note to Mike: thanks for identifying John Belushi as the second from the left in this photo I posted yesterday.
I am trying to keep my own listing of Catholic Blogs up to date but it ain't getting easier!
I also keep updating my "Scandals and Hope Page" but it is impossible to link all the articles being churned out on The Situation. However, I think I have a good amount of some of the "best" and what might be of some help to some, I hope.
Friday, May 24, 2002
My buddy, ONION, my 15 year old peke, seems to be bouncing back well now and is full of life once again. I am relieved and most grateful for any prayers you might have offered. There is just something special about a dog's wagging tail, isn't there? A signal of the love that moves the sun and stars.
Another Kiss of Peace
One of the most exciting developments of the last decades has been the rapproachment begun between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches. Pope John XXIII got the ball rolling (and I believe he was Apostolic Delegate in Sofia, Bulgaria), and Pope Paul VI carried this holy work forward, sometimes with dramatic gestures - such as the mutual lifting of the excommunication between Rome and Constantinople so many centuries ago, and the spontaneous kissing of the foot of the representative of the Patriarch of Constantinople upon the first meeting in Rome after so many centuries.
But it is our current Pope who has done more than anyone else in history to mend this scandalous schism. He has written the magnificent "Orientale Lumen" ,"Light From The East". He has met with a huge number of Orthodox persons of all ranks and of numerous autocephalous and autonomous Orthodox Churches. He has travelled to Orthodox lands, such as he is doing now in Bulgaria.
While there has been some mutuality, there have been many barriers as well, and much resistance. It is a long, complex story! But no one can say this Pope hasn't tried. God grant him many years (as they sing so beautifully in Orthodox circles).
I am blessed to have some good friends who are Orthodox. They love this Pope.
And so do I.
For May and Mary
A poem by my favorite poet of all, Gerard Manley Hopkins. Even Andrew Greeley confesses he can't read this poem without tears:
The May Magnificat
MAY is Mary’s month, and I
Muse at that and wonder why:
Her feasts follow reason,
Dated due to season—
Candlemas, Lady Day;
But the Lady Month, May,
Why fasten that upon her,
With a feasting in her honour?
Is it only its being brighter
Than the most are must delight her?
Is it opportunest
And flowers finds soonest?
Ask of her, the mighty mother:
Her reply puts this other
Question: What is Spring?—
Growth in every thing—
Flesh and fleece, fur and feather,
Grass and greenworld all together;
Throstle above her nested
Cluster of bugle blue eggs thin
Forms and warms the life within;
And bird and blossom swell
In sod or sheath or shell.
All things rising, all things sizing
Mary sees, sympathising
With that world of good,
Their magnifying of each its kind
With delight calls to mind
How she did in her stored
Magnify the Lord.
Well but there was more than this:
Spring’s universal bliss
Much, had much to say
To offering Mary May.
Bloom lights the orchard-apple
And thicket and thorp are merry
With silver-surfèd cherry
And azuring-over greybell makes
Wood banks and brakes wash wet like lakes
And magic cuckoocall
Caps, clears, and clinches all—
This ecstasy all through mothering earth
Tells Mary her mirth till Christ’s birth
To remember and exultation
In God who was her salvation.
(Gerard Manley Hopkins, SJ)
"The state and face of the Church are in these days so wretched that it is hard to think of a text one can decently apply to her. One, though, that comes to mind is the story of the Israelite's wife in the time of the judges who for a whole night was raped to death by the men of Gibeah. Her husband found her dead early the next morning, her hands stretched over the threshold. He placed her on his donkey and took her home, where he cut her body into twelve pieces, which he sent to the twelve tribes of Israel, stirring everyone to compassion and zeal for revenge....
Who is this woman, who left her father to be the wife of an Israelite, if not holy Church, who left her father (the devil or the world) to be joined in marriage to Christ? Just as the woman in the story often left her husband and returned to her father, so the Church, growing cold in her love for Christ, goes off to socialize with the world, or its prince, the devil, in the house of infidelity and immorality. But whenever that happens, Christ, her husband, calls her back, and through the mouths of pastors and doctors, by the infusion of his Spirit of love, he revives ardor within her, saying to her, as it were coaxingly, "Hearken, 0 daughter, and see, and incline your ear; forget your own people and your father's house. So shall the King desire your beauty" (Ps 44:12).
While the Church here below walks among proud and depraved men, she is violated by their proud and depraved ... doctrines and morals. And though the Church has many times suffered from wicked and depraved men, she has never been more shamefully subjected, so it seems to me to corruption than she is today with an unbridled gang of Simoniacs assaulting her chastity to satisfy their lusts. It is like the boats in the gospel: "Both were filled, so that they began to sink" (cf. Lk 5:7). They did not sink, but they were in danger of sinking.
In the same way, we can say of the Church that her corruptors are abusing her all night (the hour of darkness!) so much that she is dead, i.e., close to death. Yes, in many parishes, the vital fire of the sacraments, from which they could have drawn life, has been totally extinguished, just like the fire of the altar of the Lord, which was kept alight through so many years of the Babylonian captivity, is said to have been extinguished at the time when Jason and Menelaus were buying the priesthood."
[Gerhoh of Reichersberg, Syntagma de statu Ecclesiae 12; PL I94, 1458-59]
The Tridentine Priesthood vs Today's (or hopefully "yesterday's")
There was a rather corrupt clergy when the Council of Trent assembled and issued its decrees on reform. It took a while, but eventually these reforms were implemented (sometimes by bishops who were also saints). There were norms for bishops, priests, and seminarians. While nothing is perfect, of course, the results were remarkable. For some generations the priesthood blossomed with holiness, missionary zeal for souls, discipline and morality. Scandals there were still but these were the exception and rather rare, thanks be to God.
For myself, I was in the "seminary system" for a long time, beginning with second year of the minor seminary, and four years of college, a novitiate of one year, and four years of theology. I was with the Redemptorists. In all those many years, I never witnessed or heard of a single sexual indiscretion involving any priests or faculty. NOT ONE! I have talked with dozens and dozens of others and they report the same. My years of "formation" extended from 1958-1970. (Yes, I experienced the upheavals of Vatican II and I was even a "liberal" in those days. I can even recall reading glowing accounts in The National Catholic Reporter of "the street priest" of Boston, Father Paul Shanley).
Something changed as the Tridentine model was dismantled so quickly. Vatican II's directives are sound and sane but the implementation seems to me so shallow and so ultimately disastrous. Boundaries long in place (and for good reasons) were dismantled almost overnight. A false reckoning of human nature (I think) took hold - without the cautions and even asceticism necessary for true freedom. Sometime I hope to write more about this erosion of discipline and traditional helps such as silence.
Hans Urs von Balthasar once compared the Council of Trent to Vatican II. He said Trent took a Church that was in chaos and set it in good order. Vatican II took a Church in good order and brought chaos. The difference, he said, was the Trent was implemented by saints while Vatican II was implemented by bureaucrats. I tend to agree.
But today it does seem to be getting better. There seems some reappropriation of the lost traditions and a new sense of the need of a rich interior life of union with Christ and the Church. There seems a better discipline of life in seminaries. (Though I agree with Father Benedict Groetschel that most religious orders are dying and won't take the needed steps to be renewed and reformed).
Maybe it will take some generations before Vatican II is truly implemented. It took Trent some time too. But let's hope it doesn't take too long. Enough damage has been wrought already!
Saints Charles Borromeo, Philip Neri, Ignatius Loyola, Robert Bellarmine, Teresa of Avila, and all Saints who implemented Trent, pray for us.
The incalculable "cost" of scandal
Good Guy in White? Bad Guys in Black?
In the photo Pope John Paul II (in Azerbaijan) meets Aleksander Iscein (L), Baku's Orthodox Bishop, Semyon Ikhiidov (2nd L), President of the Jewish Community, Sheikh Allahshukur Pasha-Zade (R) of the Muslim community May 23, 2002 in Baku. Behind the Pope is Cardinal Angelo Sodano, the Vatican Secretary of State. All, I believe, "good guys!" (Maybe despite appearances to the contrary).
Thursday, May 23, 2002
Prayers for My Buddy
Before calling it a blogging day, one last thing. I have a pekingnese, named ONION, who is the joy of my life and my buddy. No way to speak of his impact on my life. ONION is over 15 years old and until now has been like a pup with his joie de vivre, his playfulness, even his delight in terrorizing teeny boppers on their skate boards and bicycles. Today there is something not right. When I came home from a wonderful dinner with an Orthodox-priest friend and his son, ONION gave me the usual greeting; then I looked away and when I looked back ONION was laying on the ground, on his side, and not moving and stayed that way for a few minutes - I thought he was dying. He has bounced back some and even played some with his favorite toy but something isn't right. Of course, any prayers for ONION would be deeply appreciated. Maybe through the intercession of Saint Francis of Assisi.
P.S. You haven't lived until you hear little kids saying: "Hi ONION!"
Do Words Mean Anything Anymore?
I just read through the settlement agreement between Archbishop Rembert Weakland and Paul Marcoux. I just kept wondering: do words mean anything anymore? I think the violation of promises in this case are perhaps as damaging as the offenses perpetrated. I may be missing something perhaps. I may be very old-fashioned. But words still mean something to me, such as:
7. As a condition precedent to the payment of the sum set out in paragraph 1, Paul J. Marcoux agrees not to publish and not to disclose to any third party, including, without limitation, any newspaper, any electronic media, reporters, and any other individual, or to release for publicity any of the allegations which he has made against the Archdiocese and the Archbishop, and the terms of this Agreement. Paul J. Marcoux understands and agrees that the confidentiality required in this Agreement is material consideration for the payment to be made pursuant to this Agreement, and in the event that he breaches this confidentiality requirement, upon such a finding by an arbitrator pursuant to paragraph 9 below, he will return to the Archdiocese all sums paid to him under this Agreement
So much for words and any trust we can have in them.
And I don't think many are the least bit outraged at this (they just seem outraged at the Archbishop).
Yes, I am saddened by Archbishop Rembert's failures.
I am sickened by Paul Marcoux's actions.
Habemus Papem: Pope Andrea Piersanti!
Andrew Sullivan and a few others have told us that the Pope has come down on the expensive crosses used as jewelry by some "stars." Thanks to Patrick Rothwell, here's the *real story* ---
Crucifixes are sacred symbols, not jewelry, says Vatican news agency
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- A crucifix is not simply a piece of jewelry, so wearing one should be accompanied by acts of Christian charity, said the Vatican's Fides news agency. "Wearing crucifixes made of diamonds and precious metals is a spreading fashion," said the agency in a brief May 21 commentary. "Stars of the world of entertainment and fashion have made it the mania of the moment," said the guest commentary by Andrea Piersanti, president of an Italian Catholic cinema organization. He pointed out that Jennifer Aniston, a member of the cast of the television program "Friends," wears a platinum crucifix decorated with diamonds. The model "Naomi Campbell has a collection of gigantic and very precious crucifixes" and the Italian designer Giuliana Cella "has more than 400." The actress Catherine Zeta-Jones "wears one of yellow gold and diamonds," he said. "It's an incomprehensible mania," he said.
Will Andrew Sullivan ever admit his boo-boo? I doubt it since he really wants to believe that the pope fiddles while Rome burns.
P.S. I think the critique of Piersante quite apropos.
Lower Than Low
How low do you go to give out "the news?" Giving over to the press and countless outlets a handwritten letter from over 20 years ago? I just don't get it. I am referring to, of course, the letter seemingly written by Archbishop Rembert Weakland to a Paul Marcoux, apparantly at one time a dear friend of Rembert's. How low can you get??????? I realize there may be indiscretions and more involved; perhaps a settlement, too, involving large sums of money. But to give over to the public a personal letter written by a one-time friend seems so cruel, cold, and sick. Who of us hasn't made our share of mistakes? Who of us is without sin to cast the first stone? I am disgusted.
The letter itself shows me a more human Weakland than I had ever known and while I have never been a Weakland fan (and have often disagreed with him), now my heart goes out to him as I catch in that letter a sincere love of the Lord and of His Church. May the Lord sustain him in this dark time for so many of us; and sustain any of those injured by him, by all of us, as well.
How poignant that Archbishop Rembert put that letter inside a card with this quote from George Eliot:
Friendship is the
of feeling safe with
a person having neither
to weigh thoughts
nor measure words.
- George Eliot
I guess one of the Archbishop's real "sins" was to trust Paul Marcoux as a friend....
Lower than low.
The Letter claimed to be written by Archbishop Rembert Weakland is in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinal Online.
After reading today's news and blogs:
"A wind of sweeping, mindless criticism is blowing through the Church and has not been unsuccessful in turning heads and alienating affections. It is a sirocco, sterile and hostile to the breath of the Spirit.
Contemplating my mother's humiliated face, I will love her only twice as much. Without trading polemic for polemic, I will take pains to show her my love even in her guise of slave. While others allow themselves to be hypnotized by the wrinkles that are only natural to the features of the old, how much more truly will love show me her hidden strength, her silent dynamism - in a word, her perpetual youth - 'the mighty forces issuing from her heart, finally ravishing all men’s hearts.'"
(Henri de Lubac SJ, The Church: Paradox and Mystery)
Let's OUT the bum!
A Defense of Slander or Detraction
On the excellent Annuciations Blog of Michael Dubruiel there is a defense of those who have speculated publically about the alleged active gay lifestyle of a current American Cardinal (though I have heard rumors it actually may be Cardinal Ratzinger - and I am serious about that).
My objection is not that it is wrong to speak about public sins of public figures if there is a sufficient reason. My objection is that there is no name, no verifiable data, nada - but gossip, innuendo, and a smear of possibly good and holy men who are cardinals of the Catholic Church in the U.S. If I read Michael correctly to begin with I was left with the distinct impression he was implicating Cardinal McCarrick of D.C.
Along with O'Reilly and Donahue, I know the identity of this Cardinal, as it seems everyone involved in the media in anyway also does. Yet no one seems anxious to mention him. Even more amazingly, no one has mentioned him online yet either. Neither will I. But I will say this:
Someone calling O'Reilly chastised him saying, "If you know the identity, then why not report it?"
And O'Reilly did in his answer (in a coy way). He said, "I know of this from secondary sources. The reporters working on the story have interviewed people and produced a dossier on him." He then said, "I expect the story to break any day now and I wouldn't be surprised if it isn't in the Washington Post."
O'Reilly's coyness seems to mean that the offending cardinal's locality is where the Washington Post originates (unless I miss something here and if so I am sorry indeed).
If people really know something either give a name or shut up.
Simple as that!
(Yes, here is that little nastiness I promised. I am ticked off!)
"As long as I have breath within me, I shall cry out: 'Peace in the name of God,"' Pope John Paul II said on arrival in Baku, Azerbaijan. The Pope stretches himself yet again (what a marvel he is!), and visits a predominantly Moslem country (there are just a few Catholics and only 2 priests), with that prophetic vision of his that is "global" and "universal", despite snide remarks such as those of Andrew Sullivan posted below. God grant him many years. May God richly bless his visit to Azerbaijan and his visit now to Bulgaria. Viva il Papa!
Andrew Loses It More and More
First this is an article I read yesterday, linked at a Catholic Blog I visit. It is, err, rather curious. It is from This is London website::
Crucifix fashion makes Pope cross
by Patrick Sawer
The Pope today condemned stars such as Victoria and David Beckham for sporting crucifixes as fashion accessories because they contradict "the spirit of the Gospel".
David Beckham has often worn a £20,000 Theo Fennell diamond crucifix.
The Vatican, which named Jennifer Aniston, Naomi Campbell and Catherine Zeta-Jones among the culprits, said: "Is it right to spend thousands on a sacred symbol of Christianity and then in a non-Christian manner forget those who suffer and die from hunger in the world?"
When I first read this I thought to myself: who could possibly take this as accurate, honest, authentic reporting? (I was surprised to find it linked at the Catholic Blog without some comment about its obvious untrustworthiness as "news"). Notice no reference is given to when or where the Pope spoke these words. I can't find them anywhere else! Notice, too, the naming of the culprits is totally out of character for the Pope; I have never seen him do anything even close to that. (But notice how the reporter now speaks of "the Vatican" and no longer of the Pope.....).
To me, this is obviously false reporting, sensationalized and provoking. And making the Pope look a bit ludicrous.
But it doesn't stop Andrew Sullivan from making these incredible comments:
"MORE PAPAL PRIORITIES: The Pope doesn't want to deal with the profound issues of priestly celibacy, ecclesiastical abuse of power and sexual morality that are wreaking havoc in the American church. He has far more important things to do - like complain about some celebrities wearing crucifixes and tend to his sparse flock in Azerbaijan. There are two priests in Azerbaijan. Two. This papacy is now descending into self-parody. While Rome burns ..."
Is that the quality of Andrew Sullivan's usual reporting?
More and more, I wonder.
And if anyone can prove to me that the Pope actually said these things and named those names, I will take them out to dinner at the restaurant of their choice and I'll even pay the bill! (And that includes you, Andrew!)
Wednesday, May 22, 2002
For the Octave of Pentecost
"Whoever is joined to the Lord becomes one spirit with Him" (1 Cor 6: 17)
"It is called 'unity of spirit' not only because the Holy Spirit brings it about or inclines a man's spirit to it, but because it is the Holy Spirit Himself, the God who is Charity: He who is the Love of Father and Son, their Unity, Sweetness, Good, Kiss, Embrace and whatever else they can have in common in that supreme unity of truth and truth of unity, becomes for man, in regard to God - in the manner appropriate to him - what the Holy Spirit is for the Son in regard to the Father or for the Father in regard to the Son through unity of substance. The soul in its happiness feels itself standing midway in the Embrace and the Kiss of Father and Son.
In a manner which exceeds description and thought, the man of God is found worthy to become not God but what God is, that is to say man becomes through grace what God is by nature."
(William of Saint Thierry, Cistercian Father, "The Golden Epistle")
St Blog's Bursting At Seams
So far today I have become aware of at least four new parishioners of St Blog's. Nice to have these new people and their unique blogs: Pompous Ponderings - Dave Pawlak; A Religion of Sanity -- Maureen McHugh; Ad Orientem -- Mark Sullivan; Xavier+ - Francis Mooney.
A warm welcome to each of you!
Between Rage and Tears
I was just reading the first "blog" I discovered some months ago: Andrew Sullivan's The Daily Dish. He links to an article in The Onion (I actually saw it referenced on a Catholc Blog yesterday, I think) "Pope Forgives Molested Children". And Andrew calls this parody "the best story yet." I checked it out at the Onion and my blood boiled and my heart broke to see there a photo of our beloved Pope with young children.
O my God, what are we coming to?
I am quickly losing my respect for Andrew Sullivan, whose columns I have mostly appreciated until recently. But to call this insulting story about our great Pope "the best story yet" betrays, to me at least, a sad lack of insight into what is really going on (and I don't think Sullivan is correct when he speaks of the "collapse" of the Catholic Church in the U.S.).
A Hero Dies
Today - 5.22.02 at 4 A.M. - Alexander Cardinal Todea fell asleep in the Lord, just before his 90th birthday.
Cardinal Alexandru Todea, the retired Byzantine-rite archbishop of Fagaras, spent 16 years in prison and 27 years under house arrest because of his allegiance to the Catholic Church and loyalty to the Apostolic See of Rome. (The Romanian Greek-Catholic Church was brutally surpressed by the communist regime and all her bishops were imprisoned).
In May of 1999, while the Pope was in Romania, he spontaneously went over to the aged and ailing Cardinal Todea in his wheelchair and bending down, kissed him. I can only imagine how many tears flowed at that "iconic" moment. Then a few moments later the Pope said:
This is the message that the Church proclaims to the world: Christ is our freedom, because he is the truth. Not an abstract truth, gropingly sought by ever restless human reason. The truth for us is the person of Christ. It is he who told us: “I am the way, and the truth and the life” (Jn 14:6). If the darkness of sin is defeated by the light of life, then there is no slavery that can suppress freedom.
2. You know this truth well, beloved brother Alexandru Todea, Cardinal of the Holy Roman Church, and you, Archbishop Gheorghe Guiu, because before you, as before Peter, the heavy door of slavery opened by itself and you were given back to your Churches together with many other brothers and sisters, some of whom we have the joy and privilege of greeting and spiritually kissing here at this Divine Liturgy in the Byzantine rite. Others were welcomed instead into the Father's embrace in the days of persecution, without being able to see basic freedoms restored in their country, including freedom of religion.
Beloved brothers and sisters, your chains and the chains of your people are the glory and pride of the Church: the truth has set you free! They tried to silence your freedom, to suppress it, but they did not succeed. Inwardly you remained free, even though in chains; free, even though in tears and privation; free, even though your communities were attacked and violated; but “earnest prayer was made to God by the Church” (Acts 12:5) for you, for them, for all believers in Christ whom deceit sought to destroy. There is no son of darkness who can tolerate the hymn of freedom, since it reproaches him for his error and sin.
In paradisum deducant te angeli. Requiescat in pace. Memory eternal! And, please, don't forget us!
Another Catholic Accused!!!!
-- of alleged holiness!
If you're anything like me, reading the news of the day can be awfully depressing especially these days (and the media reporting on The Situation seems to me to have gotten way out of hand and beyond the "helpful"). Sometimes maybe even some of us who love the Church passionately can overstep and make matters worse, not better. Of course, too, I don't believe silence and escapism are the way to respond! However, perhaps sharing some Catholic "good news" may not be a bad idea. As Catholics, we are blessed indeed, and, thankfully, not according to our sins does God deal with us but according to the multitude of His tender mercies.
So here's a bit about one of the great Catholic heroes of our days. How blessed we are to have him among us in our own times! I presume many of you already know of him; but, if not, how good to get to know a little about this outstanding Catholic:
"Our Church is the Church of the saints. He who approaches her with mistrust sees nothing, but closed doors and barriers... Our Church, however, is the Church of the saints. To become a saint, what bishop would not give up his ring, his mitre; what cardinal would not give up his purple, what pontiff would not give up his white dress, his chamberlains, his Swiss guard and all his temporal possessions?
Who would not like to have the strength to pursue this wonderful adventure? Because holiness is an adventure, and even the only adventure. He who has once understood this has entered into the heart of Catholic faith, and felt his mortal flesh shudder with a dread different from that of death, a superhuman hope. Our Church is a Church of the saints."
Tuesday, May 21, 2002
For the Octave of Pentecost:
Come, South Wind
"By south wind is meant the Holy Spirit who awakens
love.' St. John of the Cross
Over and over I say to the south wind: come,
waken in me and warm me!
I have walked too long with a death's chill in the air,
mourned over trees too long with branches bare.
Ice has a falsity for all its brightness
and so has need of your warm reprimand.
A curse be on the snow that lapsed from whiteness,
and all bleak days that paralyze my land.
I am saying all day to Love who wakens love:
rise in the south and come!
Hurry me into springtime; hustle the winter
out of my sight; make dumb
the north wind's loud impertinence. Then plunge me
into my leafing and my blossoming,
and give me pasture, sweet and sudden pasture.
Where could the Shepherd bring
his flocks to graze? Where could they rest at noonday?
0 south wind, listen to the woe I sing!
One whom I love is asking for the summer from me,
who still am distances from spring.
(Jessica Powers, 1954;1984)
Hard To Keep Up!
I have a listing of Catholic Blogs on my website and it's been hard to keep up. But I try! Now I am mentioning if a blog is **new**. Welcome to some new members of St Blog's: Todd Reitmeyer, a transitional deacon to be ordained in a few weeks, at Musings of a Catholic Seminarian; Father Jim Tucker, of the Arlington VA Diocese, at Dappled Things; and Chris Hudson at Chud's Miscellaneous Thoughts. Welcome to each of you and let's do lunch one of these days, OK?
Need a Break? Need to Refresh?
One possibility could be to watch and listen to the Divine Office sung beautifully by the monastic communities of Jerusalem in the church of Saint Gervase in Paris. This growing monastic community, in the heart of the city in the heart of God, is one of the signs of hope for our Church today, a real oasis of prayer and beauty. See/listen for yourself. Go to the website of KTO TV and click on "Voir le dernier office enregistré" for either Morning Prayer or Mid-Day Prayer. I think you'll be glad you did and you may even be refreshed.
For any St Blog parishioners - if your blog isn't showing up on the internet, if you go to your blog and post and publish a new post or one of your old pieces, all will be well. It worked for me. And for some others too.
For what it's worth...
A few moments ago I received a phone call from a good friend, who is pastor of a significant parish in Boston. Recently Cardinal Law came to this parish for a prayer service. After escaping the press happily gathered in the wrong spot, he went inside and before the service spent about 20 minutes in the House Chapel. When he saw my friend, the pastor, the Cardinal said: "N., I'm sorry to put you through all of this."
When my friend told me this, tears began to roll down my cheeks.
For what it's worth.....
GOOD NEWS ITEMS NOT WELL KNOWN:
Did you know that at the Easter Vigil celebrated in churches throughout the U.S. last month, over 187,000 adults joined the Catholic Church? Now that is good news! The number is up, I believe, from last year even, despite it all. ALLELUIA!
Did you know that a recent (results published in early May) Protestant survey (from Barna Research Group) indicates a growing Sunday Mass attendance among Catholics in these past months? As reported in Charisma News Service:
Overall church attendance among Catholics -- who comprise 25 percent of the adult population -- has risen 7 percent over the same time last year, the BRG study said. Among parents of children under 18, attendance rose by 10 percent.
This may be a bit surprising to many of us. I know it was for me.
Calumny and Detraction & The Situation
As I've already confessed, I am old-fashioned about some things. I still believe what I was taught as a child: that it is a sin (a serious sin even) to ruin the reputation of others, and to spread either calumny (falsehood) or detraction (the truth but damaging) about others without a sufficient reason. The Catechism of the Catholic Church reaffirms what I learned years ago.
In the world of communications it may be necessary to speak of negative realities about others (especially if the alleged "wrong-doings" are a matter of public record already). But it seems to me that even good Catholics go too far too often as we seem to forget traditional Catholic teachings in these areas of use of the tongue and how we speak about others. I think we must discuss "the Situation" and that will sometimes involve speaking of others in ways we would not if things were not so public and publicized already. I have a rather extensive and expanding page on my own website dealing with "the scandals and hope."
An example, for me anyway, of overstepping boundaries, can be found on the excellent and often inspiring blog of Michael Dubruiel when he spreads innuendoes about a Cardinal of the Catholic Church. Without any demonstrable proof of such allegations, the finger is pointed (and if I read things correctly, at a specific individual). I felt uneasy reading this and still think it not good and not in keeping with at least my own understanding of the virtues of justice and charity.
As Bill O'Reilly might say (even though I don't watch him anymore, see old entry below): "Where am I wrong?"
Am I just too old-fashioned?
Monday, May 20, 2002
To my surprise and utter delight I received this letter from Father Paul Weinberger, pastor of Blessed Sacrament in Dallas TX, after I wrote a few words about the wonderful report Rod Dehrer wrote about his visit to Blessed Sacrament, posted on Mark Shea's lively blog. I mentioned (check it out below) the "perpetual Mission" of Saint Clement Mary Hofbauer at St Benno's in Warsaw and Father Paul Weinberger seems not to have known about this great and similiar apostolate. And now he wants to learn more. (How wonderful if other priests would learn more about Blessed Sacrament!)
Oh the joys of blogging! Really it is so heartening to see such a response. May the Lord richly bless Father Paul Weinberger and his wonderful parish of Blessed Sacrament! (I hope to share more about the wonderful tradition of Parish Missions, largely lost now to our newer generations but a source of incredible renewal for past generations).
Here is Father's letter:
Your blog mentioned the concept of a "perpetual mission" at Blessed Sacrament in Dallas, TX. Congratulations! This is exactly what I intended.
However, sad to say, I was not familiar with St. Clement Hofbauer but I will begin to study his method and his writings with great interest. In so configuring the Daily Schedule of the Parish, my thought was that work and school schedules of the parishioners can vary greatly, the Church has to offer prayer and Confessions throughout the day. The Church must place herself at the service of her people, therefore, prayer and study need to be constant throughout the day.
Also, the Abbey of St. Benedict in Still River, MA was instrumental in my expansion of the regular, daily schedule. In 1999, during one of my retreats there I noticed that some people came to some, much or most of the monastic offerings of prayer, right up to and including Compline/Night Prayer. "It could be the same in Dallas," I posited. When I returned to Dallas, we began the public recitation of the Divine Office follow that monastery's lead in making the Liturgy of the Hours available to the laity throughout the day.
All of the above is combined with my experience of the Parish Mission as a kid. In the 1960's the Passionist Fathers preached tremendous, thought-provoking Missions with Confession lines wrapping around the block.
They had you laughing so hard that your side ached, then, when you looked down, you discovered that your side ached because they had again driven home the point...and got you right in the heart. It was a Mission Priest "fencing" with the Sword of the Truth. Ouch!!
Now, in 2002, we are tremendously blessed to have the Congregation from Kentucky, the Fathers of Mercy, for two, week-long Parish Missions each year (one in October, the other just prior to Lent). With Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament at Noon and also at Night (the parish IS named for the Blessed Sacrament!) and the classes offered in the "Center for Virtue and Learning" and the Liturgy of the Hours and prayers and devotions offered in Church (there is also a complete schedule of the same daily schedule and "Center for Virtue and Learning" in Spanish, not found on the parish website) the parish is ALWAYS offering continued formation in the Faith or an actual experience of the Church at prayer to those seeking to know more about the Life of the Church and Her teachings.
Then, when the Holy Father came out with his Letter "Novo Millennio Ineunte" at the close of the Jubilee Year, he gave us a homework assignment for the next 1,000 years. And, not surprisingly, Pope John Paul II's "New Evangelization" appears to be based on a "Perpetual Mission" model as well.
This "Perpetual Mission" approach is in direct contrast to the "Las Vegas type" approach to the Catholic Faith. Some people gamble at Vegas with "everything riding on 15-red" at the roulette wheel. In the same way, so many Catholics take a great risk and allow everything to "ride" on the one hour on Sunday. That is taking a tremendous risk, one I do not recommend.
Thanks again for your kind mention of our parish. God bless.
Rev. Paul L. Weinberger, Pastor
A little milestone for me (and probably not of any interest to others - but this is my blog and I suppose one purpose is to post little personal milestones now and again): yesterday my Guest Book entries on my website A Catholic Page for Lovers broke 1000. I am grateful and amazed.
Being old-fashioned in some things, like liturgical traditions, I still keep the Octave of Pentecost. Here's yet another Pentecostal Offering from Jessica Powers:
Night of Storm
The times are winter. Thus a poet signed
our frosty fate. Life is a night of snow.
We see no path before us, nor behind;
Our faithless footprints from our own heels blow.
Where can an exile out of heaven go,
with murk and terror in a trackless place
and stinging bees swept down upon his face?
Or what is else? There is your world within.
and now the soul is supplicant: 0 most
wretched and blind, come home! Where love has been
burns the great lantern of the Holy Ghost.
Here in His light, review your world of frost:
a drifting miracle! What had been night
reels with unending eucharists of light.
(Jessica Powers, 1939)
What Is Possible Even Today!
Thanks to Mark Shea for letting us know about a great parish in Dallas TX, Blessed Sacrament. He posted a letter from Rod Dehrer who had an awe-inspiring experience at Mass in this parish. I looked the parish up on the internet, and, WOW, I could hardly believe what I was reading. Check it out at the parish website and go to the Schedules of the Sunday and Weekday Services.
This full rich schedule reminds me of the Perpetual Mission established by the Redemptorist Saint, Clement Hofbauer, at Saint Benno's in Warsaw, Poland. Since the preaching of Missions was forbidden by the government, Clement Hofbauer determined to have a continuous Mission, then, at his own church. You can read about this innovative and creative pastoral phenomenon of renewal (at a time of great scandals and laxity in the clergy), at: Caritas Christi Urget Nos. Saint Clement could serve as a good patron of the New Evangelization, along with Saint Philip Neri. The pastoral "plans" of these two saints came from the Holy Spirit and not from any committees or documents (even papal ones!) but from burning hearts and transformed wills - and from self-denial and much prayer. On this first day of the Octave of Pentecost, which I still keep from the old days, Veni Sancte Spiritus!
Yesterday at my parish we had the annual collection for the seminarians of our Archdiocese (Baltimore). This means the collection would mostly benefit St Mary's Seminary in Roland Park. Now this seminary has not been among my favorite Catholic institutions, unlike our other local seminary, Mt St Mary's in Emmitsburg MD (one of the jewels of the Catholic Church in the United States). I never would have thought I'd actually give money for this collection.
And yet I did! And perhaps if I had given more it might even qualify as a major miracle!
What happened is this: years ago I used to go to St Mary's to use the library and was not impressed by what I saw in those days (though I did chat with seminarians who impressed me positively at times). I had heard several priests I love and reverence speak of St Mary's as "The Pink Palace" and that truly saddened me to think it had come to this for this impressive structure and institution.
But... our own parish has been blessed to have several seminarians join us for the summer. Wow! I have been very very impressed. These fellows have been well-informed, orthodox, even devout, and very "normal" (if that means anything). I was gravely ill all last spring and summer and hospitalized for five months. Two of these seminarians visited me occasionally, spent good time with me, and really cheered my saggings spirits. I will always be grateful for this gift.
And so when one of these very men said a few well-chosen, even touching words (yes, it moved me to tears, which isn't hard since I've been sick and in a good recovery now), I reached in and took out a few bucks. And sensed it is a minor miracle for me and perhaps a major miracle for our Church. These seminarians have told me how much better things are now at St Mary's and how it has turned around these past few years. And how it is again a place of faith, prayer, and fidelity (and while I am sure these qualities were never completely abandoned even in "the bad old days", they were not always easy to discern amidst the weeds and cockle).
These new seminarians really seem a gift of God (I sometimes say: "where do these fine young men come from anyway?"). A greatly needed gift! And I get a similiar sense when I read the musings of our St Blog seminarian, Steve Mattson.
Now if the collection had been for Mt St Mary's in Emmitsburg it would have been no miracle at all if I had given. The Mount has always been one of my favorite places and Father Michael Roach, who teaches Church history at the Mount, is one of my favorite priests (he is a veritable fount of "insight" into everything and everyone ecclesial, and loads of fun). The Mount just added a new wing to its seminary! Bursting at the seams. And, of course, there is a website for The Mount.
So there are many miracles around us even today. A lot of bad news, yes; but plenty of good news too.
Sunday, May 19, 2002
I'm impressed! When I began my listing of Catholic and Orthodox Blogs, I wrote to a good number of parishioners of St Blog's informing them of my link and asking for a link to my website, A Catholic Page for Lovers. Then I wrote to announce my new blog. I heard from so many, so quickly. The parishioners of St Blog's seem among the friendliest, most responsive I've met anywhere. I hope this continues and that I can live up to this good spirit. (And it is nice to see similiar sentiments expressed by our seminarian, Steve Mattson).
Another St B's!
I am blessed indeed to belong to a wonderful parish, Saint Benedict on Wilkens Avenue in Charm City (Baltimore, of course). One of the greatest gifts of St B's is a rich liturgical life, filled with beauty and joy. A festival of sound, sight, smell, to the glory of the Triune God. God willing, I hope to share more about St B's as we go along.
Today was, as always, wonderful. The church was aglow with pentecostal red. St B's really celebrates the Feasts and seasons (and today I wept at the Gloria with its paschal ringing of the bells which we do every Sunday of the Easter Season; I wept bitter-sweet tears of gratitude and farewell till next Easter season). I took along my digital camera today and got a few fairly decent shots. Here's one I took and it may show, inadequately of course, something of the beauty of holiness and the holiness of beauty I experience every Sunday at dear St B's (and maybe you can almost smell a bit of sweet aroma from the cloud of incense arising like a sacrifice of praise!):
Happy Birthday, Holy Catholic Church! Ever since I was a child I was taught that Pentecost is the "birthday of the Church." Since then, I have learned, too, that in some ways the Church was mysteriously born at the piercing of the side of Jesus on the Cross and in the flow of water and blood. But Pentecost seems to be a real birthday, too, where the Church is given her "birthright," her "pledge" -- the gift of the promised Holy Spirit.
On today's beautiful Feast of the Coming of the Holy Spirit, how wonderful if the following words of the Second Vatican Council become more a reality in my and your life! Veni, Sancte Spiritus!
"When the work which the Father had given the Son to do on earth was accomplished (cf. Jn 17: 7), the Holy Spirit was sent on the day of Pentecost in order that He might forever sanctify the Church, and thus all believers would have access to the Father through Christ in the one Spirit (cf. Eph 2: 18). He is the Spirit of life, a fountain of water springing up to life eternal (cf. Jn 4: 14). Through Him the Father gives life to men who are dead to sin, till at last He revives in Christ even their mortal bodies (cf. Rom 8: 10-11).
The Spirit dwells in the Church and in the hearts of the faithful as in a temple (cf. 1 Cor 3: 16). In them He prays and bears witness to the fact that they are adopted sons (cf. Gal 4: 6). The Spirit guides the Church into the fullness of Truth (cf. Jn 16: 13) and gives her a unity of fellowship and service. He furnishes and directs her with various gifts, both hierarchical and charismatic, and adorns her with the fruits of His grace (cf. Eph 4: 11-12; I Cor 12: 4; Gal 5: 22).
BY THE POWER OF THE GOSPEL HE MAKES THE CHURCH GROW, PERPETUALLY RENEWS HER, AND LEADS HER TO PERFECT UNION WITH HER SPOUSE. THE SPIRIT AND THE BRIDE BOTH SAY TO THE LORD JESUS: 'COME!' (cf Rev 22: 17).
Thus, the Church shines forth as 'a people made one with the unity of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit' (St Cyprian)."
(Lumen Gentium, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Vatican II, no.4)