A Catholic Blog for Lovers

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

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?
Saturday, July 27, 2002
Yeah! Sure, Dick. Yeah! Sure Rod.
"Left" and "Right" both don't get it

''He is not the same man he was a few years ago and he doesn't have the same kind of drawing power.'' (Rev. Richard McBrien)

"If the glory days of this papacy have faded into a troubled twilight, so, it seems, has World Youth Day." (Rod Dehrer, National Review)

No great drawing power??? Troubled Twilight??? P.S. It was raining!!!! And the largest ever gathering in Canadian history, larger than any gathering on Pope's previous visits to Canada in 1984 and 1987

The Dutch Church
The cost of "renewal and reform"

The Dutch Catholic Church was considered by many a model of progressive renewal and reform. Perhaps the most poignant comment on the success of this effort is in the article I quoted in full below and here only give the relevant section:

"Many pilgrims, like Jennifer Boedhoe of Holland, had World Youth Day passes dangling around their necks but chose to wait outside the grounds along the car route, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Pope.

"It seemed like the Pope was crying," said the 18-year-old math student, who managed to snap 18 photos while getting elbowed in the back by the crowd.

"It's great to be with so many young people who share the same faith because in Holland you don't see that," said Boedhoe, who admitted the experience moved her to tears."

I recall the late Father Henri Nouwen, writing about a visit to Holland some years ago, sadly commenting that none of his neices and nephews knew Christ and that Christ was even fading from the memory of the Dutch Catholics (which had been a strong, vibrant Church at one time, giving to the world many zealous missionaries).

To those pushing "renewal and reform" according to anything similiar to the Dutch model: BEWARE.


P.S. I do believe there are oases of hope and new life in the Catholic Church in Holland. Pray for the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Dutch Catholic Church.

Friday, July 26, 2002
Better and Better

World Youth Days seem to get better and better. This evening's long, dramatic, moving Stations of the Cross were the best I've ever seen - and it was indeed a "sight" to see! The text and the prayers (written by our great Pope), the music sung, and action of each Station built to a magnificent climax. I truly believe this was a moment (maybe 4 hours!) of prayer and worship and of evangelization as well. The treasures of the Church were opened up for the young and for all who had eyes to see and ears to ear.

Simply, it was MAGNIFICENT.

Thanks to all who worked so hard to put it together and "pull it off" so seamlessly; and thanks to Mother Angelica that I was able to watch this memorable event in my own home and could pray along with the thousands upon thousands in Toronto.

A great gift for this evening. I hope you saw it or catch the encore and watch it on the internet. I think you, too, will be moved to tears as I was, more than once.

As they sang this evening after each prayer: Amen (said) Amen (said louder) Amen (sung). Alleluia!

P.S. If I remember correctly. it was after seeing the Way of the Cross done at the Denver World Youth Day in 1993 (with its female "Christ") that Mother Angelica "protested" by going back to the traditional habit of her Order. It seems we've come a long way since then, thanks be to God. (And Mother Angelica, too).

For those with eyes to see....

To see the faces of the young as they see the Pope blasts to pieces the constructs of the critics - Catholic and others

Thanks to Steve Matson for pointing me to this good article.

Some wept

World's youth greet pontiff with smiles


CROWD PLEASER: The arrival of Pope John Paul II in his Popemobile electrified the thousands of pilgrims at the CNE yesterday.

Some cheered and waved flags

Like an electric flash - sharp and powerful - Pope John Paul II connected instantly with hundreds of thousands of young people yesterday.

In that moment of recognition as the Popemobile passed through Exhibition Place, they laughed or wept or bowed their heads in prayer. Some fell into each another's arms.

"Papa John is in the house," a young voice cried out.

While many shrieked with delight, others sat silently, a rosary in one hand and a tissue in the other to wipe away tears.

It was an intimate encounter on the shores of Lake Ontario, although World Youth Day estimates put the huge crowd of young people from 170 countries, speaking dozens of languages, at more than 375,000.

They were calmer when the Pope spoke to them for an hour in a passionate appeal to follow the teachings of Christ -- to be peacemakers, love the poor and be pure of heart.

John Paul also spoke indirectly of Sept. 11.

"Last year we saw with dramatic clarity the tragic face of human malice. We saw what happens when hatred, sin and death take command."

He concluded with a prayer to Christ: "Look upon them with love and listen to their young hearts, ready to put their future on the line for you."

Nicolas Pappalardo, who's from Toronto and works for World Youth Day, thanked the Pope. "You are a compass when we need guidance. You are our luminous beacon of hope in a world of darkness."

The pontiff spoke in English, French and a smattering of other languages, and then -- playfully and with a sweet smile -- he said in his native Polish, so it rhymed: "Long live the Pope, long live youth."

They loved it. They loved him.

John Paul said he loved them dearly, too, and it was clear by the way he looked at them. "Even without having met you, I commended you one by one in my prayers to the Lord," he told the pilgrims.

The Pope was tender with the young - caressing their heads, holding their hands and letting them pour out their hearts as they fell at his feet at the end of the two-hour welcome on the stage at Exhibition Place.

Peter Richards, from Halifax, broke down in tears when the Popemobile passed a few metres in front of him.

"I'm just so overcome with the power of his presence," he explained.

A group from Louisiana travelled three days in a bus for this moment. They were about a half kilometre from the stage.

Was the trip worth it?

"Yes, ma'am. I'd do it again in a heartbeat," said Marcus Harper, 17.

"Maybe I can get closer," said a woman in the crowd as she struggled to see the Pope.

"It's not time to be stupid, it's time to enjoy the moment," advised her friend Marie Dinatolo, an Etobicoke occupational therapist.

The moment was powerful for her: "As Catholics, we have to be responsible to promote unity and justice, regardless of creed."

She added: "I hope all this sacred joy is not just a moment and then disappears."

This was the Pope's first visit to Toronto since 1984, the same year he inaugurated World Youth Day -- a festival of faith held every two years in cities around the world. Back then he was 64 and still at the height of his physical prowess.

Pawel Zuchniewicz, a Polish journalist, recalls meeting John Paul at World Youth Day in Denver in 1993. "He was very robust. I remember his grip, which was very strong, and I was weeping like a small child."

Now 82, and troubled by arthritis and symptoms of Parkinson's disease, the Pope moves more slowly, his expression is more muted, his delight in the young is seen in small gestures.

"I have heard your festive voices, your cries, your songs, and I have felt the deep longing that beats within your hearts: You want to be happy," he told the crowd.

But he warned them not to be enticed by money, success and power. Turn instead, he urged them, in his deeply spiritual address, to the beatitudes, which begin, "Blessed are the poor in spirit."

He called them "the Magna Carta of Christianity."

There was a festive, almost medieval fair feel as young men and women walked the pilgrimage routes to the Exhibition grounds and waited for the Pope to arrive. There was the smell not of incense but of pizza.

There was a German brass band, Poles with tambourines, a striped beach ball being tossed through the air, and cool-looking monks in sunglasses and bandanas. The rainbow flash of flags showed their origins: Oklahoma, Texas, the Calgary Stampede, Poland, Lebanon, Vietnam, Nigeria, Colombia, Mozambique.

Brother Simon Dankoski, 26, from New York, juggled as he waited. He decided to join the Franciscan Friars of Renewal -- whose members beg for food for their community - after World Youth Day two years ago in Rome. It was there he met the Pope. "He said to me, coraggio, courage. In my heart, there is a lot of fear - fear of the future, fear of rejection."

Dankoski, with his perfect teeth, frizzy beard, gray habit and juggling balls, looked anything but fearful, as the old Monkees tune, "I'm a Believer," roared from the loudspeakers. He looked peaceful, which is how he described life with the Franciscans.

Further on was a foursome from the Ivory Coast. "It was very, very difficult to get here," Sister Assumpta Igwe said. " We were supposed to be five and the Canadian government refused categorically to give the fifth visa. We heard that Canada was a very welcoming country. Why are they afraid of communicating with other countries? The Africans are missing here."

When the Popemobile first made its way along the route toward the Princes' Gate, throngs of people dashed to press closer against the barriers, or scurry to the nearest pole or tree to climb.

Clusters of pilgrims started chanting, "We love you, John Paul Two," the unofficial cheer of World Youth Day.

As the Pope passed, waving at the tearful welcomers, pictures were furtively snapped.

Many pilgrims, like Jennifer Boedhoe of Holland, had World Youth Day passes dangling around their necks but chose to wait outside the grounds along the car route, hoping to catch a glimpse of the Pope.

"It seemed like the Pope was crying," said the 18-year-old math student, who managed to snap 18 photos while getting elbowed in the back by the crowd.

"It's great to be with so many young people who share the same faith because in Holland you don't see that," said Boedhoe, who admitted the experience moved her to tears.

Watching the ceremony with the Pope on a huge screen in Coronation Park was Paul Charlebois, 61, of Saskatoon, sitting in his wheelchair.

"I didn't have any faith before the accident," Charlebois said, referring to the 1968 auto wreck that left him paralyzed from the chest down.

For him, this pilgrimage isn't just about seeing the Pope; it's a celebration of life.

"What I thought was life before the accident - drinking, women, carousing - wasn't. Only afterwards was I able to appreciate the true beauty of life, to see God's creation. Before, my life was going nowhere and now I have peace," he said with a smile, as his wife Cecile gave his shoulder a gentle squeeze.

After the welcoming ceremony, Charlebois continued to stare at the screen, unaware of the people standing up and making their way to the barrier to see the Pope leave.

"It was great," Charlebois said at the end of the ceremony. "He's right on. We need to live the beatitudes."

Some, including the Pope, smiled

With a Sad Heart

I added this to my webpage, "That All May Be One" this morning:

Nota Bene (7/26/02): This page was written over a period when I was convinced there was some real hope of unity between the Orthodox Churches and the Catholic Church. Today that hope is completely shattered on the human level.

This is based on what I have seen and heard on the "international' level as well as what I have seen and heard on the more "local" level (and that includes experiences on the internet).

Personally, too, while I count some Orthodox as friends and brethren in Christ, I have experienced deep pain from Orthodox persons who have, at least as I experienced it - let me be blunt - savaged me over and over on various mailing lists and boards (and seemingly doing it often enough to the applause of the Orthodox multitudes, though here and there a voice of protest might be raised.). This has, to be sure, contributed to my hopelessness and brokenheartedness.

Of course, I have not been perfect in my dealings with others and ask forgiveness for any hurt I may have caused. My enthusiasm and love for my own Church has been seen by so many, it seems, as an attack on them or a negation of their own cherished Tradition. Much of this was shared as I responded to people who were puttng forth inaccurate and false statements about Catholicism and Catholic faith. At times I was playful and feisty and had some fun even! But, I hope and pray, I never overstepped boundaries into personal attacks and harsh and cruel judgments about others (and, sadly, I found this being done about me over and over and over).

I have wondered many times now: what are young Orthodox or new Orthodox taught about the use of the tongue (keyboard) and about the sins of detraction and slander? From my experience many seem not to have been taught what I was taught as a Catholic, and what is set forth in The Catechism of the Catholic Church. (Of course, Catholics offend too but I have found that these are "checked" by other Catholics who can present the clear norms of the Catholic Church in these areas).

I have noticed much over my years on the internet: in general, Catholics are much "kinder" to Orthodox than Orthodox are to Catholics. And by "kindness" I include reverence and respect and the simple human virtues of civility and decency.

To any Orthodox offended by these words, I realize there are "blessed exceptions" and some of the finest Christians I know are Orthodox. But more and more I wonder how they do it and how they manage to keep open and truthful (and, sadly, some I know are unable to be honest and fully open with their fellow Orthodox, and they "walk on eggshells" in their own ecclesial home - and yet can be freer and open with Catholics!!!!!).

And, I might add, all of this has given me a deeper than ever appreciation for the Catholic Church. Thank you, O my God, for the gift of Catholic faith!

As an exercise of the theological virtues of faith, hope and of charity I leave this page as it is - and ask the Lord to heal my hurt and give me deeper holiness - and ask your prayers as well. God richly bless you! Come, Holy Spirit!

Thursday, July 25, 2002

I just watched the celebration of WYD in Toronto on EWTN. Wow! Words fail. Images to fill the mind and soul. Beauty. Love. Joy! Joy! Joy!

A "declining papacy?"

Watch the encores on EWTN for your answer.

O my God, thank you.

Tears of joy!

JOY! His youth is renewed like the eagle's - Psalm 103

Smells and Bells at Santiago de Compostela
Clouds of incense for the Feast today of St James the Apostle

Let my prayer rise before you, O LORD, as incense in your sight - Psalm 141:2

If you are anything like me, you love incense and the sweet aroma that fills the air and the entire church. Until I smell the incense I don't feel my whole body is involved in worship. Then the sweet aroma comes and I feel caught up fully in the adoration of the Triune God. And, for me, the more the better! (I know some can't take the smoke due to illnesses, etc.).

I am fortunate to belong to a parish that uses lots of incense every Sunday. I have already "sung the praises" of my parish, Saint Benedict in Baltimore MD. (and if Blogger was working now, I'd link to it - and may do so later if things are up and running).

Well, for any incense lovers, the place to be today (and other days too), The Feast of St James, Santiago, is Compostela, Spain: the place of the great pilgrimage going back to medieval times. I have few friends who have made the pilgrimage recently and it sounds not only difficult but filled with beauty, prayerfulness, an expression of deep longing and faith. In the great basilica of Santiago (with the burial tomb of St James), there is what must be the world's largest censor: the botafumeiro. This incredibly heavy "censor" is swung by ropes through the entire nave of the cathedral, filling the air with the sweet aroma of incense.

Ready to swing botafumerio through nave of the church

Incense or no, a blessed feast to all!

Wednesday, July 24, 2002
Let God arise!

Challenge the Church "reform" group distributes condoms at World Youth Day in Toronto

Let God arise and let his enemies be scattered!
Let those who hate him flee before him.
As smoke is driven away, so drive them away; as wax melts before the fire, let the wicked perish before God.
But let the righteous be joyful; let them exult before God; let them be jubilant with joy.
Sing to God, sing praises to his name; lift up a song to him who rides upon the clouds -- his name is the LORD-- be exultant before him.
(Psalm 68: 1-4)


I just read this on the Touchstone "blog" (which doesn't allow for comments from the rest of us):


Reading the incredible harping, negative comments of Leon Podles on your website has brought me to a difficult decision: I will not renew my subscription to Touchstone (and will ask others to do the same).

It just gets very old. Of course, there are problems. And it can be good to discuss them.

But too much ain't good for the soul. It saps the faith of joy.

Podles is a nay-sayer and comes across to me as incredibly self-righteous.


I will take Touchstone until my subscription runs out.

But never after that until there is a change in editorial tone.

That letter is familiar to me since I wrote it.

Here's Mr Podles' reply (in part) - for full reply go to Touchstone Comment Section.

This reader does not like the negative tone of Touchstone’s (and in particular, my) recent articles. The topic of the day is child abuse, and I find it hard to discover anything positive in child abuse. Perhaps the reader could suggest a lighter take on the raping of children who then commit suicide.

As Paul Fussel said, what the authorities don’t want published is news; everything else is public relations. Some readers are comfortable in a PR universe, in which the sun is always shining and authorities never make mistakes or are corrupt. I prefer living in a real universe, which has both light and darkness.

Not so, Mr Podles.

First of all, I was not aware that Touchstone is now a journal about sexual abuse. Of course, this is a topic under discussion in many circles (my own included). BUT LIFE AND THE CHURCH ARE NOT LIMITED TO OFFENDERS AND FOOLS AND THOSE NOT LIKE YOU. If anyone were to read your contributions in the Touchstone blog one might indeed get the impression you are obsessed with sex and sin. And that you hate your own parish. Deeply. (I have only seen comments about the bad guys you've had as assistants there; are there any at least decent priests there - or at least those who have not offended sexually? If so, tell us about it, please.).

Secondly, I never suggested there should be anything positive about child abuse. How dare you seemingly suggest I do not care about the victims who have committed suicide???? How dare you????

Thirdly, the world you seem to inhabit does have light and darkness and in the darkness it seems are most bishops, priests, and laity. In the light are you and perhaps a few other editors of Touchstone.

For an editor of a respected journal, you're response is quite pathetic really.

Of course, you like that phrase "PR" "public relations." You say your own parish invited people to confession at the beginning of Lent and that no one showed, not even the priest, only you and your family. And then while bemoaning that "confession has evaporated" you say it was all nothing but "PR."

That incident, to me, points out that the world you live in is not quite the real world. But a darkened, sinister world of evil ones lurking in every rectory....... a wacko world where even John Paul II is a "feminizer" of the Church, along with Hans Urs von Balthasar (but at least these have never been stationed in your despised parish of the Cathedral of Mary Our Queen in Baltimore's Roland Park upper class district).

I think you could have done a lot better, Lee.

And I am still waiting for you to at least mention some of Our Lord's warnings about the danger of riches....

Or have you demythologized them?

PS I would never speak like this if you showed some compassion and a little heart.

Real Work of World Youth Day
Catechesis Sessions a vital part of WYD celebrations

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick giving a catechesis to young Catholics at WYD

No comment....

Rumor Mongering

Even today on some blogs the old rumor of the practicing "gay" Cardinal is finding expression. See the comments by Rod Dehrer in Amy's blog.

I just talked with a good priest-friend of mine who is very knowledgeable about "things ecclesiastical" (and lots else). He teaches at a well-known seminary. I asked him about these rumors. He said "you mean about McCarrick?" I said, "yeah, that's the one they seem to think it is." He said: "well, they are old rumors but he was investigated by the Holy See and they found nothing amiss here."

I asked my friend again: "are you sure?" He said: "yes."

I believe him.

That may explain why the media, not afraid to expose the sins of the well known and especially of Catholic hierarchs, hasn't said anything. Nothing to report. NADA.

But I don't expect any retractions either...... sad to say.

My priest friend, believe it or not, asked me if I read Leon Podles latest on the Touchstone blog. I was amazed he asked. He said: wow! what a trashing job on his own parish and school and poor Sister Eileen. He agrees with me that Podles is a "self-righteous prig" who enjoys trashing others and spreads negation and gloom. It is amazing he is so cherished by Touchstone. Maybe they're afraid to join his list of "enemies" and "feminizers" like Pope John Paul II and Hans Urs von Balthasar?

By the way, I am not "rumor" mongering here: read Podles' comments on The Touchstone Blog and judge for yourself.

Taking No Chances at World Youth Day

Nuns being checked for hidden weapons such as Rulers for smacking a few knuckles

Brilliant suggestion for simple folk


Anyone who wants to ease into the spirit of the Liturgy of the Hours without any prayerbooks can try this three-step method:

If your memorization skills are up to it, you can throw in a Miserere Friday mornings and a Te Deum Sunday and feast day mornings.

Oh, and a Visita, quaesumus, Domine following the Nunc Dimittis as you lay you down to sleep is also liturgically correct.

The only added suggestion I would make: to add in the morning and early evening the Our Father and at bedtime a Marian prayer, such as the Salve Regina, or simply the Hail Mary..

Thanks, Tom, for a wonderful, wonderful suggestion! (Or should I say: thanks, John?).

"Left" meets "Right" in agreement: decline of JP II's papacy

''He is not the same man he was a few years ago and he doesn't have the same kind of drawing power.'' (Richard McBrien)

"If the glory days of this papacy have faded into a troubled twilight, so, it seems, has World Youth Day. There are dramatically fewer young people to greet the pope in Toronto than there have been in 18 previous World Youth Days." (Rod Dehrer, National Review)

To both I reply:

Thank God for JP II and for the miracle of World Youth Day today. The best is yet to come.....

Haven't We Heard This Before?
When did McBrien first say this: 1990, 1995, 2000, 2002?

From article in Boston Globe:

''Anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear can tell how debilitated he is. I don't think the pope could possibly be in meaningful day-to-day charge of the administration of the Catholic Church,'' said Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a theologian at the University of Notre Dame. ''He is not the same man he was a few years ago and he doesn't have the same kind of drawing power.''

McBrien says the Pope doesn't have the same kind of drawing power he once had..... I wonder what he will say about the crowds in Mexico or what "excuse" he'll have for the millions gathered. Oh yeah, he'll just say:

''He is not the same man he was a few years ago and he doesn't have the same kind of drawing power.''

One thing we can safely say: Richard McBrien is saying the same things he said all those years ago. If nothing else, his dissenting, negative voice is very consistent and very predictable.

Same old, same old.

The Youthful Heart

An Offering for World Youth Day
Long - but worth any effort - words of deep wisdom

by Yves Congar, O.P.,

Revue des Jeunes, January 1935

A YOUTHFUL HEART. IT IS A FRIENDLY THING, with an irresistible power of attraction. We can all recognize it and point it out. But we have probably never thought of defining it, and it may be salutary to make the attempt.


There is youthfulness of years, bodily youth, and there is also youth of soul. These are not identical (one can be a little old man at twenty, or on the other hand, retain a youthful soul for ever). There is, of course, a resemblance; the same word denotes them both. The epithet 'young' seems applicable to those who in spirit possess the characteristics of the young in years. What is this latter youthfulness?

It is something flexible and robust, something fresh and thriving; life in abundance, overflowing life. Consider nature in the spring; a young plant, a young animal, is a living being whose reserves of life have not been drawn on, but are fluid and ascending and eager to spend themselves.

Primarily, youth means this abundance and exuberance of life's energies. Its outward signs show a particular brilliancy, games are freely played with agility, singing preferred to speech, running to walking. An inner vitality seems to demand an outlet. The same idea seems to be true of youthful institutions; their fullness of life controls their form; their material elements are still flexible, and have not hardened; they are still wholly adaptable and ready to flow into fresh channels.

Youth exists, therefore, wherever there is an unused store of energy, unpiped and still ascending. The most recognizable feature of a young man is the absence of fixed decision. He represents virgin energy untapped for any particular purpose. As yet he has pushed nothing aside, and every direction seems equally attractive.

One of the reasons why, at present, we hear not merely of young men, but of 'teenagers', not only of a new generation but of a proud self-conscious youth, as such, is probably due to the fact that the rising generations seems to be equipped with unprecedented spiritual resources ready to serve causes that everyone realizes are completely new arid decisive. Never before has 'youth' and 'not yet thirty' been so discussed, because there has never been so many spiritual resources for the young to utilize in preparation for the unsettled but decisive tasks which we all realize lie ahead.

The young and the under-thirty have never been confronted with so many possibilities; with a tomorrow so loaded with fresh tasks and with the unknown. Youth, indeed, is marked by the possibilities open to it and the events of tomorrow; by implicit disinterestedness combined with a readiness to adventure, and a sense of commitment. Hence its zest for danger and adventure, its love for original undertakings, for everything which means a fresh start.

A young man is one who welcomes anything really new, who is looking for and is directed towards some compelling activity, eagerly striving for something original, struggling in hope towards a better world; the spirit of the springtime and of life ascending.

Why is youth superabundantly alive, tense with expectation? Because it is meant to grow up and be fertile. It has been compared to a flower not merely because it is bright and fresh, but because it is on the way to a fully developed life and promises fertility. Childhood does not contain the brilliant originality which makes adolescence so attractive; on its slender and less robust stalk, buds are only germinal and flowers remote. Real youth presupposes a more immediate hope; not merely towards possibilities, the accent of original energies, but a move towards direct fertility and the most developed and active forms of life. Youth is life ascending with untapped energies to a life that is perfect and fruit-bearing.

On the other hand, everything which obstructs, which uses up vital energies, and, in using, specializes and so impoverishes or immobilizes them, is tending towards old age. In an ancient tree the sap's ascent is lower every year, until only a single branch receives the remnant of its vitality.

In a worn out institution, with its arteries hardened, its ideal is no longer giving life to its administrative apparatus, but the apparatus is somehow supporting enfeebled convictions. In a declining body that has lost its strength and energy, so settled in a single groove as to be unable to turn to any other without excessive difficulty, the mind becomes mechanized and rusty, slowed down and practically incapable of attending to any new ideas. This is old age in different forms.

It is true that other very worthwhile qualities - easier to enumerate because they are possessions - may have replaced those of youth that cannot be catalogued or given a name. To the spiritual qualities of youth - not yet possessed but belonging to the future, not so much an acquisition as a possibility - new qualities have come into being, the fruits of experience, peace and contemplation.

We should be careful not to underestimate these additional gifts of God, summed up in a fine phrase by Rene Bazin: 'With old age the customary things depart, but God arrives'. It is not, however, old age of this stature that we have been discussing. Moreover when it does possess this loftier spiritual quality it shares, ceteris paribus, in what we find most attractive in youth; its fresh approach to reality, its openheartedness. But that is a matter of the youthful heart, something independent of youthful years, though closely related to them.


It is marked first of all by the spirit of adventure, of joy, by a kind of impetuosity, often even by easily aroused enthusiasm, a carefree confidence, an exuberance that seems to indicate inexhaustible strength. 'God of those who sing, 0 Jesus Christ'; with these words Clement of Alexandria concludes his Pedagogue.

Then we note a certain lack of prudence and diplomacy, a disregard of obstacles. Youth has little interest in the possible; not that it is unacquainted with reality, but the power of the ideal and of sincerity of heart appears able to accomplish anything and removes the word 'impossible' from the dictionary. (A child looking at a horse galloping in a cloud of dust, said to me, 'I could run as fast as that, if I wanted to.' And he believed it. A child finds it hard to accept that something wanted wholehearttedly may not be possible of attainment. He is amazed by what he can do, and imagines that nothing is impossible).

Since compromise is unknown to them, frankness is one of their notable traits; it is evident in their straightforward look, their open, welcoming faces. They enjoy the high privilege of being able to communicate their convictions and to render them acceptable: they believe that truth has power. They believe that everything is worth sacrificing for truth's sake; they would give up a position in life rather than cast off a friend. They believe in friendship and its values; they believe in love.

'In time of peace politicians fear these disinterested creatures whose lives have not yet been controlled by any political label; they can't get a grip on them. Most modern men have lost the faculty, but the young can still treat some things as despicable. They are capable of indignation and hatred, and what they consider to be true they serve intensely.' (F. Mauriac)

It is due to this that they reject so much, a rejection that deserves a smile rather than a rebuke. It is sometimes irritating because they will accept no compromise and take no heed of the actual circumstances or of any accommodation that may be necessary. But even in its excess, youth's openheartedness is a testimony to the absolute nature of truth, to the compelling power of what is right, to what may be called the sacred character of innocence. These are priceless realities.

Youth also despises petty details, conventional attitudes that are safe and involve little expenditure of energy, but are useless for real creativity. Childhood is hardly behind him when a young man begins to take up a personal attitude to life, and soon conformity and mere tradition lose all power over his behavior. His father comes to feel that although he has not lost the confidence of his son, he is no longer everything to him.

The adolescent does not look to his father or to his schoolmaster as his guides to life, but to the give and take and fellowship of his friends who sympathize with his dreams and hopes. He works out a kind of common programme or doctrine. He discovers and shares something that would never be accepted if dictated.

Or if he does commit himself to a master it will be a master of his own choice whom he believes accepts his own ideals and to whom he attributes youth. It is a spontaneity, more ultimate than the slightest acceptance by his adaptable personality of any conventional attitude that might imply willingness to adopt the worn out customs of his elders.

This is true at least of those who are authentically young. For it is a fact that among those who are less than twenty, many cross from childhood without a break to the serfdom of institutions. It may be that the stern law of standardised work absorbs the best of their youth, stifling initiative, allowing no spare time for intellectual pursuits.

Or they may accept without resistance the pitiless and easy fashions of modernity, all the interests, the dreary interests, of the teenage world which are practically the same at Buenos Aires, New York, Paris or Lisbon. All of them infallibly destroy the young in heart.

That youthfulness can only be preserved, or rather can only be unendingly renewed (for youth cannot be preserved) by a continuing victory of the spirit over the rigidity of conventional attitudes. Any position taken up through conformity or tradition is regarded as a sign of senility. A youthful soul disregards the security and comfort offered by routine; it is enamored by danger and by decisions that are really its own; it creates, with utter sincerity and spontaneity, its own way of life.

This is not due to a mere spirit of independence and even less to a narcissistic attitude (although youth can become a theme for literary exploitation). For the ultimate truth about the young is their capacity for admiration, attachment and self-giving. It is this that alone makes sense of their other characteristics; their joyfulness and openheartedness, their contempt for mere conventionality. All this, without self-giving is no more capable of making the heart young than good deeds without charity can make a Christian. But whenever self-giving exists, the essence of youth is present.

The ability to wonder and to be enthusiastic are qualities natural to youth. Every youth movement counts on this; they succeed because they demand great things; and the most successful are those which ask for everything. When Christ asked the young man to sell all that he had and to follow him, he was offering him the worthiest opportunity of his youth. Unfortunately, however, he began to balance the impulses of his heart against his bank balance and went away sadly; he had lost what was best in him: his youthful heart.

Youth is life ascending and abounding; it needs to spend and give itself; it hears the call of the absolute, of the total demand, with all its implications of enthusiasm and disinterestedness and chivalrous fidelity. At twenty, death is less important than at fifty.

What ultimately makes a youthful heart is the power of believing in an ideal and of surrendering completely to it. Not to be merely an owner without ambition, only interested in enjoying an easy life, but eagerly looking ahead, fascinated by an ideal, mastered by it, allowing it to dictate one's actions, subordinating money and comfort to its demands, this is to be young in heart.

Youth - at any age - means the upspringing of new energy seeking an outlet in beauty and fertility. It has no room for the sterile monotony, the placid indifference of those without an ideal, that unhappy privilege of those whom nothing moves, nothing attracts. Youthfulness remains so long as a man does not fall into self-absorption, but still allows his life to be sustained by faith in a better future when the sun will shine more brightly.

The aged soul, on the other hand, turns inward on itself and makes disillusionment a virtue. Enchantment is over, the arteries of the heart and mind harden; nothing new is welcome; there is no accommodation for fresh ideas. Reality has come to mean a dull acceptance of the amenities of life, emptied of every truly generous impulse.

Unfortunately it is not only those of advanced years who join the ranks of the disillusioned. For among the young there are many who find no joy in meeting together to speak of our Lord or their country with childlike spontaneity. These old men of twenty do nothing without some reservation; they are always thinking about what can be got out of it, or what impression they are making, their forehead is always furrowed.

Their look has lost its frankness; their lips, lips that can be as revealing as a look, lips that once smiled and welcomed, have now tightened, permitting only 'a thin and melancholy gleam'. 'They find it an effort', says Lavedan, 'to remember that they once laughed and ran and climbed trees.... Their cold haughty gaze, darts at a man, takes his measure, clothes and unclothes him, and turns away.' This disillusionment, reticence and prudence bear witness to the loss of all power of wondering and self-giving.

We have to admit that all life involves some servitude, some fixation, some ageing. And yet we can escape from these restrictions; we need not confine our soul within the boundaries which our profession or social conformity demand; we may establish ourselves elsewhere, filling our hearts with a spiritual treasure in a realm where 'neither moth nor rust can corrupt' (cf. Mt 6: 19-21; Lk 12: 33-4).


The last word on this matter is this: a soul's youth or age is the age of itsheart, and the years of a heart are measured by what it loves. 'We are as old as our sins,' says Mauriac, 'we are spiritual usurers.'

Intrinsically, a soul is neither young nor old; intrinsically it is outside time, and identically the same at the end of a heavily burdened life as on the morning of its baptism. When I speak of a soul as young or old I am not trying to import chronology into something that is outside time. That is impossible. What I am discussing is the soul as a psychological reality. This demands an explanation.

Our actions have their origin in ourselves and yet they shape us; they dispose us to act this way or that, they create an inclination, a personal way of forming a judgment. And as the result of such judgments and choices and basic preferences provided they are often enough repeated and fit in with each other - a spirit, a mentality becomes a reality within us.

Some of these features inevitably predominate and form our character. These dominant features constitute a soul. We are the makers of this soul, having created it or allowed it to be created by early decisions which we could have modified or controlled.

It is thus that the interests in the foreground of our consciousness, in which our other interests are subordinated, generate in us a spirit, a mentality, a character, a soul. A man devoted to acquiring money has a mercenary soul. A man for whom life means nothing more than the enjoyment of gross and brutal pleasures has a bestial soul. It is even possible to speak of a priestly, apostolic, military, revolutionary soul, by observing the predominant interests and activities of any given individual.

The rule is always the same: external reality bores its way into us and enters our lives. It does so through knowledge and love. The mere knowledge of sensual things does not make a man sensual, but if he loves them, then gradually his soul becomes sensual. The mere knowledge of the evolution of a gentleman does not make a gentleman, but if we make his ideal our own we gradually become one. So, when we describe anyone as young in heart or otherwise, it is these formative factors that determine the answer.

When we give our heart to some reality of this world in order to possess and enjoy it, we cease to be children, poorly equipped and unattached, eager to develop, able to offer ourselves for any purpose, and to offer our whole being for that purpose; we cease to be generally serviceable, an ascending and joyful energy. We become involved, attached; the reality we sense holds us and forms us in its image. It contains the moth and rust that invade our treasure and corrode it.

This does not imply any Manichean deviation, any false asceticism. But there can be no doubt that there are things in this world that provide the most intense satisfaction and yet clog our soul and end its youth; how many human lives, for instance, are dwarfed by the lust for gain and pleasure.

Let us not deceive ourselves: these things seduce; they seem to offer unending possibilities, and this gives the illusion of life and growth. But it is not really the soul that is renewed; on the contrary, as one activity follows another, as collectively they become more engrossing, as numbers become the only thing that matters, as pleasure becomes increasingly repetitive and recondite, the soul becomes proportionately emptier, and any new and genuinely youthful effort is a rare event and a feeble one at that.

The youthful heart has no more deadly enemy than these possessive attitudes or these pleasures; they stifle every generous impulse, and reduce our immortal soul to contentment with a scrap of soil.

Even spiritual realities cannot prevent us ageing if we set ourselves up as their masters. They could keep us young, they could maintain a spirit of enquiry in us, but they may also distort us, twisting us into respectable teachers, revered masters, or scholars of renown.

The adversary lurking for a youthful heart is the verb 'to have'.

Youth is poor and knows it. From its point of view everything that tends to make a man an owner decreases his stature. And it is surely true that ownership does work against the youthful spirit, against its carefree joy, its contempt for mere routine and the compromises that make life easy, its willing devotion and disinterested self-giving. I have become a self-satisfied owner of mediocre trivialities, and I have lost youth's essential aptitude; the power to welcome great ideals that can command a lifetime's service.

Ideals, yes, but is it not true that there is only one ideal, the living God, that can perennially rejuvenate our youthful energy? Is it not also true that it is the saints alone who have made every aspect of the youthful heart a practical reality? It is those hidden depths that we must explore if we are to find the phoenix of perpetual youth.

St Augustine of the burning heart has the phrase we need: 'Quaerite, 0 juvenes, Christum, ut juvenes maneatis'. 'Young ones, if you would remain young, seek Christ.' (Ad fratres in eremo. Sermo 44).

Tuesday, July 23, 2002
Faith! Hope! Love! Joy!
The Youthful Church

And lots of color too!

another sign of hope!

Welcome new members of St Blog's
Hard to keep the List up to date!

Sed Contra - Dave Morrison
Blog Goodform Blog - Tom Abbott
Flos Carmeli - Steven Riddle
The "Roesch" of the Story - Michael Roesch
reversal>> blogger - Sissi Smith
mirabilis.ca - christine

Letter to Touchstone Journal

Just sent this unpolished letter to Touchstone online:

Reading the incredible harping, negative comments of Leon Podles on your website has brought me to a difficult decision: I will not renew my subscription to Touchstone (and will ask others to do the same).

It just gets very old. Of course, there are problems. And it can be good to discuss them.

But too much ain't good for the soul. It saps the faith of joy.

Podles is a nay-sayer and comes across to me as incredibly self-righteous.


I will take Touchstone until my subscription runs out.

But never after that until there is a change in editorial tone.

P.S. Wish I had remembered to include in the letter that I was going to remove all links to Touchstone on my various websites - and that I have already done! (Yes, I can be a bit compulsive).

The Trash begins to flow already...
"Teen" Jamboree attracts fewer this year due to sex scandal?????

Fewer Young Catholics Going To See Pope

Hundreds of young Boston-area Catholics attended a morning Mass led by Cardinal Bernard Law Tuesday, preparing for a trip to Canada and a visit with Pope John Paul. But there are fewer of them this year than in the past.

NewsCenter 5's Ann Dufresne reported that the pope first began the teen jamboree in 1985 and for six days Catholics aged 16 to 35 from 170 countries will celebrate their faith, pray with the pontiff, attend concerts and cap it all off with an outdoor Mass next weekend.

Two years ago the largest U.S. delegation to the event came from the Boston archdiocese. Eight hundred teenagers, led by Law, joined 2 million teenagers from across the globe in Rome. This year, however, that number is down by some 200 teens locally and only 200,000 teens total registered to go to this year's event. Organizers said that was because it was unclear whether the pope would be well enough to attend.

But church leaders also said that the clergy sex abuse scandal has had an effect on the turnout for the youth jamboree, and many of the teens going to Canada said the issue should and will be debated when the young Catholics gather in Toronto.

"It's important for everyone to know about and to get through it all together," said Kelly Winslow of Norfolk, Mass. -------

How many mistakes or assumptions or innuendos or omissions can you find in the quoted sections above?

Alleluia! It's Under Way Now!
One of the Pope's most daring pastoral initiatives continues to bear rich fruit

World Youth Day Cross carried to WYD celebrations in Toronto

Thank God! We Catholics need a shot in the spiritual arm, so wearied by bad news, negativity, and genuine care and concern. What a glorious event: hundreds of thousands of young Catholics from all over the world gathering yet again to celebrate their faith, deepen this faith, and be with the Successor of St Peter. I am watching some of it now of EWTN and already I get a sense of the joy that permeates these WYD celebrations since they were begun so daringly by Pope John Paul II.

Of course, the negations will be hurled forth from all sorts of quarters: even from Catholics! The crowd is smaller than expected (what? to gather a quarter of a million youth today isn't a miracle?), the young people don't agree with the Pope (but many do, and I know some of them!), nothing good will come out of this "carnival" etc. etc. etc.

Get thee behind me Satan!

Rejoice! Christ is Risen. He still draws youthful hearts to Himself! The Church, despite it all, lives!

"Quaerite, O juvenes, Christum, ut juvenes maneatis."
"Young ones, if you would remain young, seek Christ."
(St Augustine)

New Primates - but not Monkeys!
Anglicans and OCA elect new Primates

Archbishop Rowan Williams with his wife, Jane

The world-wide Anglican Communion has a new Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams. I don't know much about him but the reports so far seem to indicate this might be a good choice. Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, head of the Catholic church in England and Wales, welcomed the appointment of Dr Williams in what he called "challenging times" for Christian leaders.

"As a theologian of distinction, a man of deep spirituality and a gifted communicator he will, I have no doubt, prove to be a force for great good in this country and throughout the Christian world," he said.

May the Lord bless him and the entire Anglican Communion.

Archbishop Herman of Philadelphia now Metropolitan of OCA

The Orthodox Church in America (OCA) has elected a new Primate: Archbishop Herman. Apparantly the full OCA Council voted for Archbishop Seraphim of Canada, but the Synod of Bishops decided to elect +Herman. An OCA priest-friend of mine says that means "more of the same." We'll see.

God bless him and the OCA.

One and the same crowd?

The more I read about Voice of the Faithful I get the impression that its shock troops are mostly the same old Call To Action gang. If that is the case, then it won't grow for long. Remember how CTA backed the petition for Church reform a few years ago, promising to deliver 1,000,000 signatures. And after extending the deadline over and over, came up with only 36,000! VOTF has, they say, almost 20,000 members now (I wonder about that). But that means there's about 16,000 more out there and then it will cease growing.

If I read the papers right, the organizers of VOTF wanted to raise a half million dollars at the convention; but so far have only gotten $10,000.

I am glad the Boston Archdiocese is refusing to take their contributions bypassing the diocesan organization. I hope this will show how hurtful some of the "keep the faith, change the church" sloganeering might actually be as VOTF is highjacked by the CTAers. Notice, too, the unbiased title given to this article by the ever so balanced NYT!

I may be wrong, of course. But sometimes I'm right!

And I can't help hoping.....

Monday, July 22, 2002
Thanks, EWTN!
What would we do without Mother Angelica?

WORLD YOUTH DAY Coverage (All Times Eastern)

Tues, July 23 1:00 PM LIVE! WYD 2002:
The Pope Arrives in Canada (60:00)
Tues, July 23 4:00 PM LIVE! WYD 2002:
Opening Mass in Canada (2 hrs)
Thur, July 25 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
The Pope Arrives in Canada (60:00)
Thur, July 25 3:30 PM LIVE! WYD 2002:
Arrival, Procession And Opening Festivities (3 ? hrs)
Fri, July 26 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
Opening Mass in Canada (2 hrs)
Fri, July 26 7:30 PM LIVE! WYD 2002:
Way of the Cross (3 ? hrs)
Sat, July 27 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
Arrival, Procession And Opening Festivities (3 ? hrs)
Sat, July 27 8:00 PM LIVE! WYD 2002:
Procession, Vespers And Papal Speech From Downsview (3 hrs)
Sun, July 28 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
Way of the Cross (3 ? hrs)
Sun, July 28 9:00 AM LIVE! WYD 2002:
Procession And Holy Mass From Downsview (4 hrs)
Mon, July 29 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
Procession, Vespers And Papal Speech From Downsview (3 hrs)
Tues, July 30 1:00 AM ENCORE! WYD 2002:
Procession And Holy Mass From Downsview (4 hrs)

May the Lord richly bless those gathering in Toronto: especially the young people, and keep them from evil and harm. May the Lord richly bless this great Pope who has blessed his pastoral vision for the youthful Church. May the Lord disrupt the plans of the dissenters and sowers of discord and joyless faith (and those distributing condoms - may the Lord smite them and bring them to their knees).

I hope to watch as much of WYD as I can and hope to be there "in spirit." Long live the youthful Church! Long live the Pope!

One last invitation:

"Dear young friends, Toronto is waiting for all of you who can make it! In the heart of a multi-cultural and multi-faith city, we shall speak of Christ as the one Savior and proclaim the universal salvation of which the Church is the sacrament... Come, and make the great avenues of Toronto resound with the joyful tidings that Christ loves every person and brings to fulfillment every trace of goodness, beauty and truth found in the city of man. Come, and tell the world of the happiness you have found in meeting Jesus Christ, of your desire to know him better, of how you are committed to proclaiming the Gospel of salvation to the ends of the earth!" Pope John Paul II

Feast of Saint Mary Magdalene: Forgiven Much, Loves Much*
A blessed feast to all in need of forgiveness!*

icon of St Mary Magdalene, written by a friend, Sheila Pritchard

Litany of Saint Mary Magdalene
written by a friend, Lisa Basarab - for private use only

Lord I am not worthy, hear me
Lord I am not worthy, heal me
Lord I am not worthy, have mercy on me

Saint Mary Magdalene, pray for us
Saint Mary Magdalene, servant of Jesus, pray for us
Saint Mary Magdalene, chosen by Him, pray for us
Freed from the slavery of possession, pray for us
Vessel of sincere repentance, pray for us
Gifted with a grateful heart, pray for us
Eager student of the Word, pray for us
Devoted companion of the Lord, pray for us
Participant in His Passion, pray for us
Comforter at the crucifixion, pray for us
Mourner at the borrowed tomb, pray for us
Preserver of the Body of Christ, pray for us
First witness to the triumph over death, pray for us
Proclaimer of the good news, pray for us
Steadfast in your fidelity, pray for us
Constant in your love, pray for us
Humble in your acceptance of mercy, pray for us
Beacon of hope for holiness, pray for us
Bonded in His unity, pray for us

Saint Mary Magdalene,
reassurance for us sinners,
sister of our souls,
sign of His forgiveness,
Saint Mary Magdalene,
lead us to Him
Saint Mary Magdalene,
show us to Him
Saint Mary Magdalene,
present us to Him
Saint Mary Magdalene,
lover of the Truth and consoler in His pain,
be our patient guide+

* I am of the "old school" who believes the Magdalene is the penitent woman in Luke's gospel, chapter 7.

Sunday, July 21, 2002
"We Are Church" Joins Efforts at World Youth Day
And THIS is reform???????????

Group hands condoms to arriving pilgrims
Catholic reformists: 'Don't leave it up to your Guardian Angel,' World Youth Day participants advised

Saturday, July 20, 2002

A Catholic youth group distributed condoms to World Youth Day pilgrims at Pearson International Airport yesterday because it was concerned the delegates would not follow the Church's teaching of abstinence during next week's religious gathering.

"I think abstinence is a great thing for everybody who can manage that. But it doesn't work for everyone. It's not reality," Tobias Raschke, spokesperson for the International Movement We Are Church, said yesterday.

The group seeks to revitalize the Catholic Church by reforming its doctrine.....

For more.....


Kyrie Eleison!

Voice of the Faithful Raises Its Voice
But is it faithful to Catholic Teaching?

The first large gathering of VOTF took place in Boston yesterday. Read the article I link to in the heading of this post. Along with some good and helpful suggestions, it contains what appears to me as seeds of dissent and disunity. I did not notice any mention of a call to holiness at least as reported in this article. Let the final paragraph speak for itself:

Despite concerns by some Voice of the Faithful leaders that the Archdiocese of Boston might attempt to bar them from celebrating the central ritual of Catholic Christian faith, the group closed its daylong convention with a Mass said by the Rev. William Kremmell, a diocesan priest who serves as chaplain to Regis and Framingham State colleges. Kremmell was clearly unafraid of any repercussions - he opened the Mass by noting that 25 years ago any Catholic convention of this size would have tried to persuade a bishop to celebrate Mass for them - prompting laughter from the crowd; he said that in 25 years, ''hopefully,'' a married woman might be presiding over such a Mass; and he allowed laymen and women to join him in reading the Gospel, a task normally reserved for priests.

Now, if this report is accurate, that is very disturbing to me. And I thought VOTF wasn't taking sides in controversial issues!

But there may be some good news too:

At yesterday's gathering, thousands of men and women, many of them in late middle-age or older, swarmed through the halls of the Hynes Convention Center, wearing buttons saying ''Survivors First'' and attending workshops on topics such as '' Creating a sexually safe parish,'' '' Who and what will shape the future church,'' and '' The authority for lay participation in governance.''

Kyrie Eleison!

Search WWW Search praiseofglory.com Search blogforlovers.blogspot.com