A Catholic Blog for Lovers

A celebration of beauty, truth, and goodness, and, of course, love...and perhaps a little nastiness

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Saturday, June 14, 2003
Update on posting below

Rome's main mosque imam, Abdel-Samie Mahmoud Ibrahim Moussa, of Egypt, was suspended, after he delivered a sermon praising Palestinian fighters and calling for destruction of Islam's enemies during Friday prayers one week ago. (AP)

In Rome, a Muslim's Call for a "Holy War" Raises Concern

ROME, JUNE 13, 2003 (ZENIT.org-Fides).- A Muslim leader's recent call at the Great Mosque of Rome for a "holy war" was "insanity," says a Catholic expert on Islam.

"It is a matter of public order which the government must face," said Father Justo Lacunza Balda, rector of the Pontifical Institute for Arab and Islamic Studies. He was reacting to the plea for war made last Friday.

Imam Abdel-Samie Mahmoud Ibrahim Moussa exhorted those present to "annihilate the enemies of Islam and guarantee everywhere in the world the victory of the Nation of Islam," the priest recalled. The Italian newspaper La Repubblica published the imam's sermon the next day.

"There can be no place for people who encourage hatred and incite to kill," Father Lacunza Balda told the Fides news service. "This is insanity. It is a matter of public order which the government must face. To use institutional places, such as churches, mosques or squares to incite people to violence and war is inadmissible in a civil and democratic country."

An Oxymoron: Europe Without Christianity

Ken Woodward's opinion on the omission of any mention of Christianity in the proposed charter for the European Union.

For reference, here is the proposed section under discussion:


"Our Constitution is called a democracy because power is in the hands not of a minority but of the greatest number" (Thucydides II, 37).

Conscious that Europe is a continent that has brought forth civilization; that its inhabitants, arriving in successive waves since the first ages of mankind, have gradually developed the values underlying humanism: equality of persons, freedom, respect for reason,

Drawing inspiration from the cultural, religious and humanist inheritance of Europe, which, always present in its heritage, has embedded within the life of society its perception of the central role of the human person and his inviolable and inalienable rights, and of respect for law,

Believing that reunited Europe intends to continue along this path of civilization, progress and prosperity, for the good of all its inhabitants, including the weakest and most deprived; that it wishes to remain a continent open to culture, learning, and social progress; and that it wishes to deepen the democratic and transparent nature of its public life, and to strive for peace, justice and solidarity throughout the world,

Convinced that, while remaining proud of their own national identities and history, the peoples of Europe are determined to transcend their ancient divisions, and, united ever more closely, to forge a common destiny,

Convinced that, thus "united in its diversity," Europe offers them the best chance of pursuing, with due regard for the rights of each individual and in awareness of their responsibilities towards future generations and the Earth, the great venture which makes of it a special area of human hope,

Grateful to the members of the European Convention for having prepared this Constitution on behalf of the citizens and States of Europe,

[Who, having exchanged their full powers, found in good and due form, have agreed as follows:]

Why I Became a Catholic

Gilbert Keith Chesterton

The difficulty of explaining Why I Became a Catholic is that there are 10,000 reasons all amounting to one reason: that Catholicism is true.

As, for example,

(1) it is the only thing that really prevents sin from being a secret.

(2) It is the only thing in which the superior cannot be superior; in the sense of being supercilious.

(3) It is the only thing that frees a man from the degradation of being a child of his age.

(4) It is the only thing that talks as if it were the truth; as if it were a real messenger refusing to tamper with a real message.

(5) It is the only type of Christianity that really contains every type of man; even the respectable man.

(6) It is the only large attempt to change the world from the inside; working through wills and not laws; and so on..."

LA bishop criticizes Keating remarks

"...The Rev. Thomas J. Reese, editor of America magazine, a Jesuit weekly, said any move to depose Keating would be very controversial because he was chosen for his independence. ''He was never supposed to be under the bishops' control,'' he said. ''That was the whole point.

''All he needs to do is apologize and get back to work. The positive aspect of this story is that it clearly shows that Bishop Gregory appointed a committee that people could trust. They're not lapdogs of the bishops. And once they do issue a report, it's going to be very credible.''

Head of Priest Abuse Panel Draws Ire With Comments

"A remark comparing some Catholic church officials to the Mafia by former Gov. Frank Keating of Oklahoma, who is leading a national review board looking into the priest sexual abuse scandal, has infuriated members of his panel and prompted some to consider asking him to resign..."

Today in Church history

June 14, 847: Methodius, an Eastern church leader who fought vigorously for icons to be preserved and venerated, dies of dropsy. He had earlier survived seven years of imprisonment with a decaying corpse, as ordered by officials under iconoclastic Emperor Theophilus. Upon Theophilus's death his wife, Theodora, took Methodius's side, and he was named Patriarch of Constantinople.

June 14, 1936: English writer G.K. Chesterton dies at age 62. Authors from T.S. Eliot (who penned his obituary) to H.G. Wells, a longtime friend and debating opponent, expressed their grief. After the funeral, Pope Pius XI declared the rotund writer (a convert from Anglicanism to Catholicism) Defender of the Faith. He is known as "the apostle of common sense" and as a promoter of "the romance of orthodoxy."

Friday, June 13, 2003
Martin Buber

Today is the anniversary of the death of the Jewish philosopher/theologian, Martin Buber, in 1965. I don't know very much about him or his work but recall vividly his presence in my days in college and post-graduate work in theology. His book "I and Thou" was often referred to. I think I even had my own (unread) copy. So there is some "bond" I feel with this thinker. I like very much these quotes of his:

"One can believe that God is and live in his back, he who trusts him lives in his face." (Two Types of Faith).

"Trust is proving trust in the fullness of life in spite of the experienced course of the world."

At any rate, Buber is a figure worth remembering.

Requiescat in pace.

East and West in Pope's Croatia Visit

John Allen gives some thoughtful commentary on the underlying reasons for the Pope's visit to Catholic Croatia, especially in terms of Europe itself and the reconciliation of Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. John continues to amaze me at the deepening of vision from his earlier days; hey! even Richard John Neuhaus recently gave enthusiastic praise to John Allen's reporting from Rome!:

"John L. Allen’s “The Word from Rome” offers possibly the best reporting on the Holy See published in this country. He shares some of the leftist bias of his paper, the National Catholic Reporter, but is attentive to the various and often conflicting currents to be expected at the institutional and spiritual center of a community that is universal, as in Catholic."

And to make matters even more fun, recently John Allen recommended "Inside the Vatican" (a rather conservative journal)!

Bishops Uneasy on Whom to Protect

Interesting piece on the varying approaches of bishops to the priest sexual abuse scandal. It cites Cardinal Keeler whose example of publicizing a list of all priests accused, living and deceased, was not followed by other bishops. Keeler declined to be interviewed for this article. I was told, the other day, by a very well informed priest of the Archdiocese, that the Holy See was quite disturbed and displeased by Keeler's decision, which may explain why the list was removed from the Archdiocesan website shortly after it was posted in a well orchestrated media event.

The article also says that donations are "up" in Baltimore. That is not true. (Remember we're reading The New York Times!). The Lenten appeal fell short of its goal. Over 100 parishes of the 155 parishes in the Archdiocese collected less this year than last year. I am told that the diminished collections are most notable in the more affluent parishes, whatever that may mean.


Yesterday I pointed to an article about Protestants and the Heart of Jesus. Today I point to a similiar piece on the Eastern Churches. For me, it is always wonderful to seek what unites us to fellow Christians and to emphasize the commonalities rather than to focus on the differences (at times significant, to be sure). The Person of Christ is the great bond between believers; and the Heart of the LORD is a way to the Person. Thus it seems to me good to seek out common ground here in a special way.

I already posted one icon of the Sacred Heart by Ade Bethune; above is another from, I believe, Conception Abbey.

Today in Church history

June 13, 1231: Anthony of Padua dies at age 36. His mentor, Francis of Assisi, wrote early in his ministry, "It pleases me that you teach sacred theology to the brothers, as long as—in the words of the Rule—you 'do not extinguish the Spirit of prayer and devotion' with study of this kind." With this blessing, Anthony went on to a life of teaching and preaching, becoming the most popular and effective preacher of his day. Saint Anthony is a Doctor of the Universal Church and one of the most popular of Catholic saints. Many pray to him for lost items (e.g. Something lost/ can't be found/ dear Saint Anthony/ look around).

June 13, 1525: German reformer Martin Luther marries Katherine von Bora, 16 years his younger, having sneaked her and several other nuns out of their Cistercian convent in empty herring barrels two years earlier. Many viewed the marriage, which lasted 21 happy years, as a scandal.

June 13, 1893: Dorothy Sayers, English mystery writer and apologist, is born in Oxford, England. "Man is never truly himself except when he is actively creating something," she once said. One of my own favorite Sayers quote: "We have declawed the Lion of Judah and turned Him into a fitting household pet for blue-haired ladies and pale-faced curates."

Thursday, June 12, 2003
John Paul II Tells Why He's Traveled So Much

"I Heard the Echo of Jesus' Command: 'Go Into All the World''"

VATICAN CITY, JUNE 12, 2003 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II says his propensity for travel began with an inspiration he felt at the very start of his almost 25-year pontificate.

"Right from the day I was elected as Bishop of Rome, Oct. 16, 1978, with special intensity and urgency I heard the echo of Jesus' command: 'Go into all the world and preach the Gospel to all of creation,'" the Pope told a gathering today at the Vatican.

"I thus felt the duty to imitate the Apostle Peter who 'went here and there among them all' to confirm and consolidate the vitality of the Church in fidelity to the Word and in service to the truth; to tell everyone that the Church loves them, that the Pope loves them and, likewise, to receive from them the encouragement and example of their goodness, of their faith," he added.

The Holy Father received some 200 people who have collaborated in his 100 international trips. Among the guests were officials of the Vatican Secretariat of State, the Italian Transport Minister, directors of Alitalia airlines, Swiss Guards, and journalists who have covered the 100 papal trips abroad.

The festive atmosphere was underlined by an orchestra of young religious, Legionaries of Christ, who played the most typical songs of the countries visited by John Paul II.

"Through your work you have allowed the Pope to go and meet the men and women of our time in the everyday places where they live," John Paul II told his guests. "You have helped him in his ministry as an itinerant missionary, anxious to proclaim to everyone the word of salvation."

The Holy Father stressed that his trips allow him to carry out "a specific exercise of the ministry proper to the Successor of Peter, that is, 'the perpetual and visible principle and foundation of unity in faith and in communion.'"

"In all my trips, I have felt like a pilgrim visiting that special shrine known as God's People," he said. "In these shrines I have been able to contemplate the face of Christ, both disfigured as on the cross or resplendent in light as on Easter morning."

At the same time, John Paul II stressed the importance of sharing with bishops their problems and joys, of meeting the faithful, especially young people, "and knowing more closely the life of Christian communities on diverse continents."

The Pope also mentioned his meetings with the faithful of other churches and ecclesial communities, and the followers of Judaism, Islam and other religions.

"The great multicolor assemblies of the People of God, gathered for eucharistic celebrations, remain impressed in my memory and on my heart as the most meaningful and most moving memories of my visits," he said.

Welcome to St Blog's

Effectus Geminus - Double Effect - Anonymous Dominican Student
Adjutorium nostrum + in nomine Domini - John
monk -- Sir Monk's Sermons - a monk in the Order of St Benedict


Protestants and the Heart of Jesus

Some very beautiful words about the Heart of Christ were written by Robert C. Jenkins, Rector of Lyminge and Honorary Canon of Canterbury:

“The devotion to the Sacred Heart,” he wrote, “which in its symbolical meaning and as representing the love and tenderness of the Savior towards His children, had found its way into the hymns and prayers of almost every private form of devotion, and commends itself to the more enthusiastic of every communion, as the most touching of all those exercises of piety which cluster around the suffering life of Jesus ... The Heart of Christ, whether to Puritan devotee, to the member of the High Church in England, or to those who had outwardly separated themselves from the communion of both, was the temple of a common worship—the home of common love.” (Cf. The Devotion of the Sacred Heart, The Religious Tract Society, London, probably printed around 1876, pp. 8-9).

Both the Seals of Luther and Calvin contain the symbol of a heart:


The seal of Martin Luther features a white rose for faith and a black cross for mortification. One cannot help but notice the heart-shape around the cross. For those who apply it to a person’s heart, it is at least the heart of the believer. In medieval symbolism, a stylized rose with five petals stood for the Five Wounds of Christ, of which the most central was, naturally, the Heart of Christ.

The Seal of John Calvin contains his initials on either side of a shield with a heart held by a hand. A marginal inscription in Latin surrounds it: “My heart I offer thee, Oh Lord. Promptly and sincerely.” Symbolizing the person, the heart stands for Calvin.

For the month of the Heart of the LORD

Father of mercies and God of all consolation, You gave us the loving Heart of your own beloved Son, because of the boundless love by which You have loved us, which no tongue can describe. May we render You a love that is perfect with hearts made one with His. Grant, we pray, that our hearts may be brought to perfect unity: each heart with the other and all hearts with the Heart of Jesus... and may the rightful yearnings of our hearts find fulfillment through Him: Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.

- Collect from St John Eudes' Mass, Gaudeamus, 1668

Wednesday, June 11, 2003

Just tasted the first mulberries falling off the two large trees in our yard. Lots and lots more ripening - a bounty for so many living creatures and even me. Delicious!

New Life at Saint Michael Russian Catholic church in NYC

I was working on an update for Saint Michael Russian Catholic church and posted a number of recent photos of a baptism of a new catechumen, Viktor. I found the photos interesting and most especially this one of the baptism itself. Saint Michael's is a small but important community (and was visited by those like Dorothy Day and Thomas Merton).

God bless and sustain Saint Michael parish and its new member Viktor

I love my parish!

The Eastern Rite chapel inside Saint Benedict church in Baltimore

Doing some work on my parish website and I saw the photo of the Byzantine Chapel and realized anew just how blessed I am to belong to Saint Benedict parish in Baltimore. How special to have such a chapel, pointing to the wonderful catholicity and diversity in unity of the Catholic Church!

There seems to me to be a huge increase in Roman Rite churches in the use of icons and iconography (and most especially in Europe and Rome in particular). Many of the new ecclesial movements seem to use icons to a large extent. Hopefully this is a sign of the "exchange of riches" between east and west: both traditions having so much to offer to the other, and so much to learn from the other too.

Does your own church use icons at all?

What do you ask of God's Church? Faith!

Today is the anniversary of the baptism of Jacques and Raissa Maritain in 1905. This remarkable couple - whom some think canonizable - deeply influenced the Catholic revival in France, and both contributed to the intellectual, spiritual, and mystical dimensions of the Christian life. We are fortunate, too, to have Raissa's first hand account of this day of their baptism. This selection comes from the book "We Have Been Friends Together":

"Although the speculative debate was ended for us, we still had many feelings of repugnance to overcome. The Church in her mystical and saintly life we found infinitely lovable. We were ready to accept her. She promised us Faith by Baptism: we were going to put her word to the test.

But in the apparent mediocrity of the Catholic world, and in the mirage which to our ill-seeing eyes seemed to bind her to the forces of reaction and oppression, she appeared to us strangely hateful. She seemed to us to be the society of the fortunate of this world, the supporter and ally of the powerful, to be bourgeois, pharisaical, remote from the people.

To ask for Baptism was also to accept separation from the world that we knew in order to enter into a world unknown: it was, we thought, to give up our simple and common liberty in order to undertake the conquest of spiritual liberty, so beautiful and so real among the saints, but placed too high, we thought, ever to be attained.

It meant the acceptance of separation - for how long a time? - from our parents and the comrades of our youth whose lack of understanding we thought would be total (and indeed it was in many cases) - but then too the goodness of God was to hold many surprises for us.

Finally we already felt like the "filth of the world" when we thought of the disapproval of those we loved. Jacques remained, despite everything, so persuaded by the errors of the "philosophers," that he though that in becoming Catholic he would have utterly to forswear the intellectual life.

While the spectacle alone of the sanctity, and that of the beauty of Catholic doctrine had occupied our thoughts, we had been happy in heart and mind, and our admiration had grown by leaps and bounds. Now that we were preparing ourselves to enter among those whom the world hates as it hates Christ, we suffered, Jacques and 1, a kind of agony. This lasted for about two months.

Once, during those months, I heard in my sleep these words, said to me with a certain impatience: "You are forever seeking what you must do. You have only to love God and serve Him with all your heart." Later I found these words in the "Imitation", which I had not then read.

Leon Bloy had sent us to a priest of the Sacre-Coeur Basilica, "the very image of a child and martyr, whom you will love," he had written to Pierre Termier. Father Durantel awaited our decision.

Our suffering and dryness grew greater every day. Finally we understood that God also was waiting, and that there would be no further light so long as we should not have obeyed the imperious voice of our consciences saying to us: you have no valid objection to the Church; she alone promises you the light of truth - prove her promises, put Baptism to the test.

We still thought that to become Christian meant to abandon philosophy forever. Well, we were ready - but it was not easy - to abandon philosophy for the truth. Jacques accepted this sacrifice. The truth we had so greatly desired had caught us in a trap. "If it has pleased God to hide His truth in a dunghill," Jacques said, "that is where we shall go to find it." I quote these cruel words to give some idea of our state of mind.

I see in a letter from Bloy to Termier that on May 2Ist we had given him "complete assurance" that we would soon enter the Church. My sister was also ready; and I believe even that she had been so for a long time. Yet on June 1st, Bloy wrote Tennier that "nothing has yet happened with the Maritains."

Suddenly our decision was made. Purely for reasons of convenience - I had a journey to take - we chose the l1th of June for the Baptism of all three of us. And on June 8th Bloy was writing to Termier:

"The object of this further letter is above all to inform you that Jacques Maritain, his charming wife Raissa and the latter's sister, Vera, will be baptized at Montmartre on Monday, the 1lth, the feast of Saint Barnabas. My wife, Veronique, and I will be the godparents. You are among those who can understand the deeply hidden greatness and splendour of such an event.

It is something to think that when I die I shall leave, kneeling beside me and weeping from love, people who knew nothing of such an attitude before they met me. I am writing to the same effect to Brother Dacien.

I would like on this occasion to tell you something about Saint Barnabas, the apostle thus canonized by the Holy Spirit: Erat vir bonus, et plenus Spiritu Sancto et fide. When for the first time I read in the Acts of the Apostles, chapter xiv, the surprising fact that the Lycaonians, hearing with amazement the preaching of Saint Paul and his companion Saint Bamabas and taking them for gods in human form, called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercury, I was very much impressed.

It seemed very evident to me that this Barnabas, hebraice filius consolationis, who was mistaken by the pagans for the king of the Gods, must have been an infinitely mysterious and venerable personage. I decided then to venerate him and pray to him in a very special way, and in this I was not deceived. Saint Bamabas has done great things for me, and each year I await his feast with loving impatience. On the 11th of last June, the day ended without any sign of his great protection, and I was saddened.

But something more wonderful happened. As the 11th of June fell, in 1905, on the feast of Pentecost, Saint Barnabas' day had to be postponed to June 20th, and this was the very day when I received the first letter from the Maritains, who were then unknown to me. This year you see what happens! Perhaps other things will happen too. I know what I asked. I beg of you, my dear friend, to pay attention to these wonderful concordances. Each of us is at the centre of infinite and marvelous combinations. If God gave it to us to see them, we would enter Paradise in a swoon of pain and delight.

Yours, Leon Bloy."

On June 11th, unconscious of the significance of this date for our godfather, all three of us betook ourselves to the Church of Saint John the Evangelist in Montmartre. I was in a state of absolute dryness, and could no longer remember any of the reasons for my being there. One single thing remained clear in my mind: either Baptism would give me Faith, and I would believe and I would belong to the Church altogether; or I would go away unchanged, an unbeliever forever. Jacques bad almost the same thoughts.

"What do you ask of the Church of God?"


We were baptized at eleven o'clock in the morning, Leon Bloy being our godfather; his wife was godmother for Jacques and Vera, his daughter Veronique for me.

An immense peace descended upon us, bringing with it the treasures of Faith. There were no more questions, no more anguish, no more trials - here was only the infinite answer of God. The Church kept her promises. And it is she whom we first loved. It is through her that we have known Christ.

I think now that faith - a weak faith, impossible to formulate consciously - already existed in the most hidden depths of our souls. But we did not know this. It was the Sacrament which revealed it to us, and it was sanctifying grace which strengthened it in us.

We passed a heavenly day with the Bloys, our godfather's heart bursting with joy."


While it seems the media may have tired somewhat of "the scandals" involving the Catholic Church in the US, there are still stories and articles considered important enough to publish. Today in the New York Times there are at least two stories, and one in The Washington Times:

Louisville Archdiocese to Pay $25 Million Abuse Settlement

Egan Refuses to Reveal Decisions on Priests

Bishop admits making advances toward aide

LORD, have mercy on us all!

Tuesday, June 10, 2003
The Night of Mercy

Keeping Catholic Churches Open All Night

VIENNA, Austria, JUNE 9, 2003 (Zenit.org).- Cardinal Christoph Schönborn is all for keeping churches open at night.

"The Night of Mercy" is how the archbishop of Vienna describes the initiative to keep churches open round the clock so that the "faithful will have available at any time a place of silence and prayer."

He was referring to the International Congress for the New Evangelization and the Urban Mission.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Schönborn said he decided to implement the initiative, together with the archbishops of Paris, Lisbon and Brussels, noting that "the big cities is where man feels most the need of the Gospel and the search for God."

These innovative congresses -- the first ended here June 1 -- will take place in Paris (Oct. 23-Nov. 1, 2004), in Lisbon (in 2005), and in Brussels (in 2006). The idea came from the Emmanuel charismatic community.

"European capitals should take advantage of the treasure implied in so many beautiful churches full of history," the Vienna archbishop said. "To leave their doors open at night for the enjoyment of a place of silence and prayer might make possible an amazing experience."

These "nights of mercy" are a form of evangelization in the large cities, and they give priests the possibility to speak openly about the faith with the citizens, Cardinal Schönborn explained.

"The Church thus opens its heart to the wounded hearts of the people of today," he added. These moments "produce a great number of conversions."

In my own home parish, Our Lady of Perpetual Help in Brooklyn NY, our church was always open: 24 hours 7 days a week. And it would be a rare occasion when you wouldn't find someone in the church in some form of prayer, like adoration, or making the Stations, or praying the rosary, etc. It seems so sad to me that so many Catholic churches are locked up now except outside of services.

I hope this new (old) approach of the Night of Mercy takes hold!


The voice of Tradition has continually called on me to look up into the 'Heavenly Jerusalem' whose beauty has taken a daily firmer hold on me. But for all that, I have not looked to the heavenly city as one does to a dream; for I have not been looking for a sort of refuge from everyday monotony and the burden of existence, in some airy mirage or other.

On the contrary, to me that mother-country of freedom, with all its royal majesty and heavenly splendor, is something to be seen at the very heart of earthly reality, right at the core of all the confusion and all the mischances which are inevitably involved in its mission to men.

My love is for the Holy City not only as it is ideally, but also as it appears in history, and particularly as it appears to us at present; and I love it with an ever-growing affection....

Once you have got your eyes in focus you cannot miss the wonderful blossoming which goes on everywhere in the garden of the Church. And it does not matter where the causes of sorrow or worry throng in from, or how grave they are, or what their nature may be: joy is still triumphant, breaking through the most somber of appearances and flourishing on everything which should, humanly speaking, snuff it out.

Joy is over everything and the foundation of everything. So that the Church's children can boldly borrow the words of the Bridegroom in the Canticle of Canticles (which St Bernard says is 'the Holy Spirit's masterpiece') and say to their Mother, with a depth of feeling born of ever-increasing conviction: 'Thy voice is sweet and thy face is beautiful'.

- Henri de Lubac, SJ

Today in Church history

June 10, 1854: James Augustine Healy is ordained the first African-American priest in Paris's Notre Dame Cathedral. In 1875 he became the first African-American bishop in the Roman Catholic Church.

Monday, June 09, 2003
Love of the Church

'In the measure that one loves the Church of Christ, one possesses the Holy Spirit.' (St Augustine)

On Mark Shea's blog there was an extended discussion about this sentence of the great Augustine but due to troubles with the comment system it is not available now. Here is a contribution/comment on this augustinian maxim by Henri de Lubac, one of my "mentors" in the faith:

"''We receive the Spirit of God if we love the Church'. So the great St. Augustine tells me. 'We are assembled by charity if we rejoice to bear the name of Catholic and profess the true faith'. Few people have had the genius, the depth of experience and the strong personality of Augustine. Few men, if any, have explored the subjective consciousness as he did, so that for centuries the thinking of the West on the nature of man was shaped by him. On the other hand, few men have suffered as he did or were scandalized as he was by the sight of the Church 'in the guise of a slave'.

But individual greatness or individual spiritual gifts - no matter how great - he counted as nothing if they placed obstacles to the gift of God which comes to man through the Church. He knew that 'the freedom-principle in the Church is inseparable from her organized state' . He grew to understand this better and better. He realized also that no trial, however great, could break the bond of catholic unity. Nor would this unity ever depend on an individual: such a pretentious sacrilege could only come from a 'false lover of the Spouse.' The true 'friend of the Spouse' takes care to ensure in himself first of all the incorruptibility of the Spouse. What counted, he believed, was not superior knowledge or wisdom, but superior obedience and humility. He never tires of repeating this.

For himself, Augustine was content to be a man of the Church, indefatigably preaching the unity that triumphs over every division and by whose witness love has the last word. For him, as for Irenaeus, 'where the Church is, there is the Spirit of God'. 'In the measure that one loves the Church of Christ', he tells us, 'one possesses the Holy Spirit.' The overriding concern for the Church manifested by such statements will appear limiting only to those who have never understood the universality of the Man-God: 'The Church is the exact limit of the horizon of Christ's redemption, just as, for us, Christ is the horizon of God'.

- Henri de Lubac, SJ

Highly Recommended!

Get the daily readings of the Word of God for the Roman Rite Mass sent to you by email each day by subscribing at http://www.dailygospel.org. It has been a great help to me as I work away on my computer most of the day and into the evenings. Take a break and give some space to the Word of God. God's Word does not return to Him empty!

Interesting statistic about church going in Europe

From the Time article on Christianity in Europe referenced below

"According to the Third Wave of the European Values Study, a report by Tilburg University in the Netherlands that will be released to the public in July, only in Ireland, Malta and Poland do more than half the people go to church weekly."

I am somewhat amazed to read this. Amazed at that many still going to church weekly! In Europe!

John Paul the Great

Great because of his incomparable witness to Christ the LORD

Pope John Paul II waves to the crowd at the beginning of a ceremony in Zadar, Croatia, Monday, June 9, 2003, the last day of his five-day-visit to Croatia. (AP Photo)

Christianity in Europe

A wide-ranging essay in Time magazine about the current state of the Christian Faith in Europe. It covers a lot of ground, much of it of interest to me. It begins and ends at Chartres cathedral, one of the "places" I'd love to visit for exploration and prayer. It mentions Taize, a "place" dear to me since about 1962 (when I wrote Brother Roger and got a hand written return note, now lost and gone). It mentions the gatherings of millions of youth with the Pope for the WYDs - another reality I have found significant since the early WYDs in the 80s.

There is so much in the article; too much to comment on meaningfully. The gist of the article seems to indicate that there will be a much less "institutionalized" faith abiding in a minority in Europe and that the Faith will not be eliminated (as some might have thought). I don't think it spoke enough about the growing Muslim presence and some of the implications for Christians, but I think this is a very important phenomenon.

I thought, too, not enough attention is given to the "new communities" that have sprung up in "old Europe" which share, to some extent, the same blessings as Taize has experienced.

But, all in all, it seems a relatively balanced and well-thought out piece, even if some biases come through. And it is good to see the authors confirm what I have been seeing for some time: a resurgence of faith in many young people. My hope is that it is even more dramatic than the authors think it will be and that it includes, too, a real "orthodoxy" that captivates both mind and heart.

(Thanks to Father Victor S. for sending this article to those on his email list).

Good news for the New Liturgical Movement

More and more good things like this go on, bespeaking good news for Catholic Liturgy and a Catholic sense of Mystery and worship. Thanks to Amy Welborn for this hopeful link.

"Ordinary" Time

Liturgically it's back to "ordinary time" (which I hope will be full of "splendor in the ordinary" for you); and I hope that the Paschal Season, with its 90 days of Lent-Holy Week-Easter-Pentecost, has been a time of grace and growth for you. And already this morning I asked the LORD that, if it is His Will, I live to celebrate yet another Paschal Season with the Church on earth. I hope that for you too!

For all the graces bestowed and received during this year's Season of Grace:

Deo gratias!

Prayer of Pope John XXIII before Vatican II

Recited at all Masses throughout the world for about 9 months before Vatican II


Priest: May the Divine Spirit deign to answer in a most comforting manner this prayer which rises daily to Him from every corner of the earth.

All: Renew your wonders in our time, 0 Divine Spirit, as though with another Pente­cost and grant that Thy Holy Church, by uniting in single-hearted and mounting prayer, together with Mary the Mother of Jesus, and the shepherding St. Peter, may intensify the reign of the Divine Savior, the reign, of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen

Today in Church history

June 9, 597: Columba, Irish missionary to Scotland and founder of a monastery on the island of Iona, dies at age 76. Though more monk than missionary, he established churches that went on, in time, to evangelize the Picts and the English.

June 9, 1549: England's Act of Uniformity, passed by Parliament in January, takes effect. The act ordered that religious services be consistent throughout the country, using Thomas Cranmer's Book of Common Prayer.

June 9, 1784: Pope Pius VI names John Carroll, the first Roman Catholic bishop in the United States, as superior of the American mission.

June 9, 1834: William Carey, often called "the father of modern Protestant missions" dies, having spent 41 years in India without a furlough. His mission could count only about 700 converts, but he had laid a foundation of Bible translations, education, and social reform. He also inspired the missionary movement of the nineteenth century, especially with his cry, "Expect great things; attempt great things."

Sunday, June 08, 2003
At Muslim Prom, It's a Girls-Only Night Out

It will be interesting, I think, to see if the Muslim population, especially the new generation, can withstand the pressures of secularization. Our own have not perhaps done too well - with some blessed exceptions.

(Imagine a prom at a Catholic High School where there is a break to pray the Angelus!!!!).

Blogger's been down

....all day. Up and running now about 2:45 PM EST. Sorry for the delay in posting but better late than never!


Laeti bibamus sobriam ebrietatem Spiritus

Let us drink joyfully the sober drunkenness of the Spirit!

The Spirit's Name

Dove is the name of Him and so is Flame,
and Love can push aside all eager symbols
to be His peerless and His proper name.
And Wind and Water, even Cloud will do,
if it is heart that has the interview.

But when at last you are alone with Him
deep in the soul and past the senses' choir,
Oh, give Him then that title which will place
His unpredictable breath upon your face:
0 Dove, 0 Flame, 0 Water, Wind, and Cloud!
(And here the creature wings go veering higher)
0 love that lifts us wholly into God!
0 Deifier.

- Jessica Powers, Sister Miriam of the Holy Spirit

"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

A most blessed Feast of Pentecost to all!

Two Anniversaries

Today, June 8th, is the anniversary of the death of Gerard Manley Hopkins in 1889. Hopkins, a convert to the Catholic Church, entered the Society of Jesus, and burned all the poems he had written previously. Under obedience, he took up the pen and once again and wrote poetry. His corpus, rather slim, is remarkable in its flashing use of the English language and in the depth of its sacramental vision of reality. Hopkins is, by far, my favorite poet.

Today, in 2000, Monsignor Tom Wells, one of the finest priests I have ever known, was brutally murdered in his rectory. "Father Wells" had so many gifts which he used so well in his utter dedication to Christ and the Church and the priesthood. He always had time and a smile! And yet knew how to speak the truth! How many tears were shed by those who loved him so; and I can still weep as I think of his and his untimely death. Thankfully he is remembered on the internet!

Tom, I am sure, is praying for us and already at least one fine young man I know is in the seminary with a vocation awakened at the Funeral of Father Tom Wells. Requiescat in pace!

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