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, April 24, 2004
Cardinal cautions Catholic politicians

"..One of Kerry's top campaign surrogates, Senator Edward M. Kennedy, weighed in yesterday during a stop in Boston, contending that Arinze's comments only reflected the view of "one member in the Vatican circles."

"He's a prominent figure in the Vatican circle, but he's not speaking for the pope," said Kennedy, whose brother John was the only Catholic to be elected US president. "That's a major difference..."

Today in Christian history

April 24, 387: On this day, Augustine of Hippo writes in his autobiographical Confessions, "We were baptized and all anxiety for our past life vanished away." The 33-year-old had been a teacher of rhetoric and pagan philosophies at some of the Roman Empire's finest schools, but after great influence by his mother, Monica, and the famous bishop Ambrose, he turned to Christianity. His baptism by Ambrose, on Easter Sunday, marked his entrance into the Church.

April 24, 1581: Vincent de Paul, founder of the Lazarist Fathers and the Sisters of Charity, is born in Pouy, France. The Catholic Church named him patron saint of all works of charity because of his charity work during the Wars of Religion.

April 24, 1944: In "United States v. Ballard," the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that no governmental agency can determine "the truth or falsity of the beliefs or doctrines" of anyone—even if the beliefs "may seem incredible, if not preposterous to most people." But the court also reiterated its position that while freedom of belief is absolute, the freedom to act on those beliefs is not.

Friday, April 23, 2004
Cardinal Says No Communion for Pro-Abortion Politicians

VATICAN CITY (AP) -- A top Vatican cardinal said Friday that priests must deny communion to Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, but stopped short of saying whether it was right for John Kerry to receive communion.

Cardinal Francis Arinze spoke at a news conference to launch a new Vatican directive clamping down on liturgical abuses in Mass which bars lay people from giving sermons, non-Catholics from taking communion and rites of other religions from being introduced in the service.

The document restated church teaching that anyone who knows he is in "grave sin'' must go to confession before taking communion....

Redemptionis Sacramentum

On certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist

The long awaited document on "liturgical abuses" from Rome. I am just now scanning through it and will probably comment on it later.

A Morning Prayer

Father, thank you for the gift of a new day.

Thank you for the sleep which refreshed me and the chance to begin life again today as you give it - one day at a time.

I welcome this new day as your gift to me and in its first moments offer myself to you.....

Today in Christian history

April 23, 1073: Hildebrand is elected pope, taking the name Gregory VII. The first pope to excommunicate a ruler (Henry IV), Gregory was driven out of Rome in 1084. "I have loved righteousness and hated iniquity," were his last words, "therefore I died in exile."

April 23, 1538: John Calvin and William Farel (whom Calvin was assisting) are banished from Geneva. The day before, Easter Sunday, both had refused to administer communion, saying the city was too full of vice to partake. Three years later, Calvin returned to the city he would forever be associated with.

April 23, 1968: The Evangelical United Brethren Church joins with the much larger Methodist Church, forming the United Methodist Church, the largest Methodist group in the world and America's second-largest Protestant denomination (after the Southern Baptist Convention).

April 23, 1993. Lay Catholic Cesar Estrada Chavez founded and led the first successful farm workers' union in U.S. history. When he passed away on 23 April 1993, he was president of the United Farm Workers of America, AFL-CIO.

Thursday, April 22, 2004
Together for Europe

Christian Movements Poised for a Key Gathering

ROME, APRIL 22, 2004 (Zenit.org).- Christian movements of various churches and ecclesial communities will meet for the first time to offer their contribution to the building of European unity.

The meeting May 8 will gather some 10,000 people in Stuttgart, German, in addition to 100,000 connected by satellite from more than 150 cities. Organizers outlined the plans for the event at a press conference today in Rome.

Gathered under the motto "Together for Europe" will be representatives of some 175 movements, communities and Christian groups, as well as 25 Catholic, 14 evangelical, eight Orthodox, and two Anglican bishops, and 30 parliamentarians from 10 countries.

The program features addresses by founders and leaders of movements and communities, including Chiara Lubich of the Focolare Movement, Andrea Riccardi of the Community of Sant'Egidio, and Orthodox priest Heikki Huttunen.

Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, and Bishop Johannes Friedrich of the Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Bavaria will be interviewed on the contribution of the movements to Europe.

Andrea Riccardi said that the idea of the meeting first emerged at the ceremony of the signing of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification of the Catholic Church and of the World Lutheran Federation in October 1999.

"The Christian roots of Europe are not something that forms part of the past," said Riccardi, who is a university professor of history. "Personally I lament the failure to present with greater clarity the Christian history of Europe in the Constitutional Treaty."

"I lament that it was not said that the European Union, basically, began with the failure of Auschwitz, and that no mention is made of anti-Semitism. This memory of the evil that Europe lived through, gives us an orientation for the future," he said.

May 8, the date of the meeting, is the anniversary of the end of World War II in Europe. It also celebrates the enlargement of the European Union to 10 new countries, which will take place a few days earlier.

Speaking on behalf of Chiara Lubich, Gabriella Fallacara explained that "Stuttgart is a point of arrival but also a point of departure; it will be the first of other events, which perhaps will be carried forward by others."

"The united Europe is a Europe of the market, a geographic Europe, which also hopes for a spiritual contribution," added Fallacara, director of the Centro Uno for the promotion of ecumenical dialogue.

"John Paul II said it in Madrid: 'I dream of the Europe of the spirit,'" Fallacara added. "This passion has led several Movements to discover in themselves the possibility of making a concrete contribution to the building of a united Europe in the spirit."

The Regina Coeli

[To be said standing, during the Paschal season, in place of the usual Angelus]

O QUEEN Of heaven, rejoice! Alleluia.

For He whom thou did merit to bear, Alleluia,

Has arisen, as He said, Alleluia.

Pray for us to God. Alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary. Alleluia.
R. For the Lord has risen indeed. Alleluia.

Let us pray.

O God, Who through the Resurrection of Thy Son our Lord Jesus Christ, did vouchsafe to fill the world with joy; grant, we beseech Thee, that, through His Virgin Mother, Mary, we may lay hold on the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

Some reactions to The Passion of The Christ in the Arab media

Islam denies that Jesus was crucified based on the Koran's account. And it is not unexpected, perhaps, to see some selective viewing of the film regarding "the Jews."

Today in Christian history

April 22, 1418: The Council of Constance ends, having finally ended the Great Western Schism. When the schism began nearly 40 years earlier, three men had reasonable claims to the papacy. The council deposed all three and elected Martin V. (Martin then turned around and rejected further councils' right to depose a pope.)

Aoril 22, 1451: Queen Isabela of Spain, the patron of Columbus, was born on this day in 1451.

April 22, 1724: German philosopher Immanuel Kant, a pivotal figure in the history of modern philosophy and theology, is born in Konigsberg, East Prussia.

April 22, 1864: The motto "In God We Trust," conceived during the Civil War, first appears on American coinage.

Wednesday, April 21, 2004
City gives tentative OK for Muslim prayer calls

In recent years, the city -- once known for its large population of people with Polish ancestry and Catholic faith -- has become increasingly Islamic..."

Islamic call to prayer stirs tension

Diocesan headquarters sold to BC

The Archdiocese of Boston, seeking to pay off the staggering financial cost of sexual abuse by priests, has agreed to sell most of its headquarters in Brighton to neighboring Boston College for $107.4 million..."


Some may be disappointed it's not a Catholic bishop. I post it not to shame the Orthodox (God knows we Catholics have enough of our own problems and shameful deeds), but to show that the Catholic Church is not alone in some of her problems.

Let's pray for Bishop Demitri and all bishops of the Church, that they become, more and more, true successors of the apostles of Jesus Christ.

Franciscan friars petition Gibson

Franciscan friars have asked Passion of the Christ director Mel Gibson to make a movie biography of the founder of their order, St Francis of Assisi.

The letter-petition of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal to Mel Gibson.

Today in Christian history

April 21, 1109: Anselm, archbishop of Canterbury and one of the most profound thinkers of the Middle Ages, dies around age 76. He attained fame for his argument that faith is the precondition of knowledge ("credo ut intelligam"), his sometimes named - and sometimes caricatured - "satisfaction theory" of the atonement and for his ontological argument for God's existence. Von Balthasar says that the writings of Saint Anslem: "are radiant and perfectly balanced."

April 21, 1142: Medieval French philosopher, teacher, and theologian Pierre Abelard dies. Though well-known for his writings on revelation and the relationship between faith and knowledge, he is probably most remembered for his passionate relationship to Heloise, and the love letters written to her when she had become a nun (wrapped in mystery!).

April 21, 1649: The colony of Maryland, founded by and for Catholics, passed an act calling for the toleration of religions.

April 21, 1897: A.W. Tozer, devotional writer ("The Pursuit of God" and "The Knowledge of the Holy") and influential pastor in the Missionary Alliance Church, is born.

Tuesday, April 20, 2004
What a day!

I hope you are having as beautiful and pleasant a day as we are here in Maryland. It is simply "perfect." I went out to get the mail (I hobble and rest but do it most days in good weather), and just couldn't come back inside. I sat for over an hour and a half and "vegged" for over an hour. Nothing much going on in my mind for most of that time - but I just took it all in. I don't do this enough!

I also did a bit of prayer. My daily decade of the Rosary and a sense of gratitude for the forgiveness of sins. Yesterday I was out with some friends and I came face to face with my own weakness and lack of perspective and lack of living faith. I got angry over a minor inconvenience. How could I lose perspective so quickly when I am "a brand plucked from the fire" and have been given a second chance at life itself? Kyrie Eleison.

Every once in a while my old sins come back and I still find it hard to face them. But I do entrust them and my entire being to the infinite Mercies of the LORD, and, thank God, do not go under. In fact, for the most part, life is good and I do "better than I deserve." Forever I will sing the mercies of the LORD.

Just a thought or two on a gorgeous spring day filled with the seeds of hope and joy.

Happy Birthday, Mother!

Today is Mother Angelica's 81st birthday. Her story is one of the most remarkable in the annals of American Catholicism. What she has accomplished - by faith, prayer, determination, and good instincts. Amazing!

Mother is still unable to speak well enough for TV though she leads a mean rosary on EWTN with her sisters, who look as radiant as ever. Mother looks good! How wonderful if she can once more be on screen - maybe with an appearance with Father Benedict Groeschel (and I can be in the audience!).

Happy Birthday, Mother Angelica. Thank you and thank God for you!

The root of the schism: worldly thinking in the Church

An interview with Bartholomew I, Ecumenic Patriarch of Costantinople

An interesting and quite blunt interview with Bartholomew I from the English language online edition of 30 Days.

It is followed by a sort of "response" by Father Bruno Forte, a renowned theologian, The Bishop of Rome and the unity of Christians.

Thanks, Ignacio, for the tip!

Easter and the Poor

By Dorothy Day

The Resurrection from The Catholic Worker newspaper

On Holy Thursday, truly a joyful day, I was sitting at the supper table at St. Joseph's House on Chrystie Street and looking around at all the fellow workers and thinking how hopeless it was for us to try to keep up appearances. The walls are painted a warm yellow, the ceiling has been done by generous volunteers, and there are large, brightly colored icon-like paintings on wood and some colorful banners with texts (now fading out) and the great crucifix brought in by some anonymous friend with the request that we hang it in the room where the breadline eats. (Some well-meaning guest tried to improve on the black iron by gilding it, and I always intend to do something about it and restore its former grim glory.)

I looked around and the general appearance of the place was, as usual, home-like, informal, noisy, and comfortably warm on a cold evening. And yet, looked at with the eyes of a visitor, our place must look dingy indeed, filled as it always is with men and women, some children too, all of whom bear the unmistakable mark of misery and destitution. Aren't we deceiving ourselves, I am sure many of them think, in the work we are doing? What are we accomplishing for them anyway, or for the world or for the common good? "Are these people being rehabilitated?" is the question we get almost daily from visitors or from our readers (who seem to be great letter writers).

One priest had his catechism classes write us questions as to our work after they had the assignment in religion class to read my book The Long Loneliness. The majority of them asked the same question: "How can you see Christ in people?" And we only say: It is an act of faith, constantly repeated. It is an act of love, resulting from an act of faith. It is an act of hope, that we can awaken these same acts in their hearts, too, with the help of God, and the Works of Mercy, which you, our readers, help us to do, day in and day out over the years.

On Easter Day, on awakening late after the long midnight services in our parish church, I read over the last chapter of the four Gospels and felt that I received great light and understanding with the reading of them. "They have taken the Lord out of His tomb and we do not know where they have laid Him," Mary Magdalene said, and we can say this with her in times of doubt and questioning. How do we know we believe? How do we know we indeed have faith? Because we have seen His hands and His feet in the poor around us. He has shown Himself to us in them. We start by loving them for Him, and we soon love them for themselves, each one a unique person, most special!

In that last glorious chapter of St. Luke, Jesus told His followers, "Why are you so perturbed? Why do questions arise in your minds? Look at My hands and My feet. It is I Myself. Touch Me and see. No ghost has flesh and bones as you can see I have." They were still unconvinced, for it seemed too good to be true. "So He asked them, 'Have you anything to eat?' They offered Him a piece of fish they had cooked which He took and ate before their eyes."

How can I help but think of these things every time I sit down at Chrystie Street or Peter Maurin Farm and look around at the tables filled with the unutterably poor who are going through their long-continuing crucifixion. It is most surely an exercise of faith for us to see Christ in each other. But it is through such exercise that we grow and the joy of our vocation assures us we are on the right path.

Most certainly, it is easier to believe now that the sun warms us, and we know that buds will appear on the sycamore trees in the wasteland across from the Catholic Worker office, that life will spring out of the dull clods of that littered park across the way. There are wars and rumors of war, poverty and plague, hunger and pain. Still, the sap is rising, again there is the resurrection of spring, God's continuing promise to us that He is with us always, with His comfort and joy, if we will only ask.

The mystery of the poor is this: That they are Jesus, and what you do for them you do for Him. It is the only way we have of knowing and believing in our love. The mystery of poverty is that by sharing in it, making ourselves poor in giving to others, we increase our knowledge of and belief in love.

Fritz Eichenberg's Christ of the Breadline

- Dorothy Day, The Mystery of the Poor, from Dorothy Day: Selected Writings, edited by Robert Ellsberg, published by Orbis Books, 1983.

Monday, April 19, 2004
Cathedral may see return of Muslims

Centuries after Christian building was put at the centre of Cordoba's mosque, Vatican hears Spanish appeal to allow Islamic worship there

I wonder what the Muslims will do to reciprocate?

Pro-life teachers angered by march

"Thousands of pro-life teachers and school staff required to belong to the National Education Association across the country are offended by the union's co-sponsorship of a pro-choice march in Washington this Sunday..."

Interview with one of my favorite choices for the next Pope

For those who don't wish to register (it's free!) for The Tablet, the person interviewed is Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna.

Today in Christian history

April 19, 526: Justinian I is crowned Roman Emperor in Constantinople's magnificent cathedral, Hagia Sophia. Attempting to restore political and religious unity in the eastern and western empires, he created the Code of Justinian, a massive restructuring of law (including much regarding the relationship of church and state) that would be the basis of legislation for nearly a millennium.

April 19, 1529: At the Diet of Speyer (Germany), princes and 14 cities draft a formal protest of Charles V's attempt to crush Lutheranism, defending religious freedom for religious minorities, e.g. those involved in the Reformation movement. From then on, the Reformers were known as "Protestants."

April 19, 1560: German reformer Philip Melanchthon dies. The leader of the German reformation after the death of his friend, Martin Luther, Melanchthon composed the Augsburg Confession of 1530. Much more a peacemaker than Luther, he called for Lutherans and Zwinglians to put aside their differences for the sake of the reformation of the church.

Sunday, April 18, 2004
Finding faith, finding himself

On the verge of ordination, a priest-to-be reflects on the long road to his new life

A long article in The Baltimore Sun about a soon to be ordained priest. But I must admit to some uneasiness to words like these:

"He's an exceptional man," says (Msgr) Armstrong. "He's going to be one of our stellar priests. ... I would be surprised if he isn't one of the young leaders in the church."

May be true and all.

But in such matters I suspect it's best to keep silent and hope and pray. Too many stars have fallen from the heavens to make comments such as these. At least as I see things... But it's a nice article and God bless the new priest!

The Octave Day of Easter

Rise, Heire of Fresh Eternity

Rise, Heire of Fresh Eternity,
From thy Virgin Tombe:
Rise, mighty Man-of wonders, and thy World with thee
Thy Tombe, the universall East,
Natures new Wombe
Thy Tombe, fair Immortalities perfumed Nest.

Of all the Gloryes Make Noone gay
This is the Morne.
This rocke buds forth the fountains of the streames of Day.

In joyes white Annals live this houre
When life was borne,
No cloud scoule on his radiant lids no tempest lowre.

Life, by this light's Nativity
All creatures have.
Death onely by this Dayes just Doome is forc't to Dye;
Nor is Death forc't; for may hee ly
Thron'd in thy Grave;
Death will on this condition be content to Dy.

- Richard Crashaw

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