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, September 06, 2003
Miserable Catholics

Reading some of the comments made on some popular Catholic blogs makes me realize that there are Catholics who are miserably unhappy with the Church and her hierarchy. Failure after failure is pointed out, name after name is vilified. The worst is believed about any and all. They come across, in the words of Pope John XXIII, as dreary prophets of gloom. Misery!

Perhaps I shouldn't speak like this: but I really wonder why some of these just don't leave the Catholic Church and join Churches that might be more congenial and offer them at least a modicum of happiness. I think of some who might be happier in one of the Orthodox Churches. While not problem free, their smaller size and their general traditionalism makes them less prone to some more egregious problems seen in the Catholic Church. The Orthodox liturgy is heaven on earth.

I think of some who might be happier in the more lay-directed Churches, whose lay councils actually determine policy and can appoint or fire the pastoral minister. I think of some who might like the more liberal theology of the Episcopal Church (with its possibility for gorgeous liturgy), and most of the mainline Protestant Churches.

I think these critics who seem so unhappy, so fearful, so burdened, so crushed by it all might really do better in other communities. I would leave to the LORD any judgment on the state of the soul of any who might choose that sort of path. After all, misery is not what Our Lord wants of us (though to bear the Cross is His Way); He offers peace and the fulness of joy. Some find this in the Catholic Church even as she really is today; some do not.

I thank God that as a Catholic, I have been surprised by joy. And this is not said casually; this joy has been forged in the crucible of much suffering, pain, weakness, and written with my blood and tears (of much needed repentance). Nor am I but a casual observor or an untouched outsider when it comes to "the scandals." The crucible of experience: painful, humiliating, humbling, and learning anew about the Mercy of the LORD and the motherhood of the Church from the depths and from deep within.

And yet finally joy is over all and all is grace!

Maybe it's time for those who seem unable to find anything good to say about the Church in her reality to move on.

I probably shouldn't speak like this or think like this....


AARP magazine

For the first time I actually scanned the AARP magazine I am now old enough to get! Interesting, nicely written piece, by Tony Hendra, "Mass Appeal: A Latin lover laments the loss of magic and mystery in the liturgy of today's Catholic Church."

Closing paragraph:

"I've had it with the down-to-earth. I'm bored silly with common sense. As far as I am concerned Realistic Guy and Pragmatic Guy, the literalati of academia, the dreary Joe Fridays of political and scientific life, can also go to a nonexistent perdition. I want magic. I want mystery. I want to rub shoulders with the ineffable and unknowable. I watn ululating incantations in hushed candlelit places. I want sunlight striking through smoke as it rises like prayer into the shadows. I want a deep bell tolling in the dusk. I some some jumbo mumbo jumbo."

I think I can understand this yearning. I am not sure it can't be integrated with a degree of understanding and clarity and the intelligible, always tending to the ineffable and incomprehensible.

My own parish seems a good place for this coming together of intelligence and sense with mystery and, yes, its own magic. And we surely have the smoke and the deep bells tolling.

Married Clergy?

I have mixed feelings about the issue of the ordination of married men to the priesthood in the Roman Rite. I hesitate to alter such a long-standing tradition that has been, mostly, a great boon to the life of the Church (yet not without its own problematics). I hesitate especially to change it today with the zeitgeist and its faulty and often distorted vision of human sexuality.

But this discipline can be changed if the Church so decides. It is not fixed forever and ever and ever. But for now at least the Church has spoken quite clearly that this discipline is in place and will not be changed.

I do think some good things might come from a priesthood with celibacy as option. Marriage and family are the great schools of love and maturity for most human beings! Celibacy, ideally lived, is also conducive to love and purification of heart. But too often celibacy can perhaps be used less than ideally and can perhaps lead to a more comfortable and protected life, wrapped in selfishness.

Whatever the LORD determines through His Church! At this point it is a clear affirmation for celibacy for all priests of the Roman Rite (with exceptional cases allowing for married men to be ordained).

And this I know: if at any time the Church should decide to alter this discipline, this will be no panacea. For example, the Orthodox Church has always allowed for married men to be ordained priests (but not to be elevated to the episcopacy). Yet in my own area, with perhaps 15 or so Orthodox priests, at least 3 of these are (painfully and sadly) divorced. It is not at all easy to balance the priestly service with a family! Yet it can be done and when done well (which, of course, does not mean easily) it seems a particularly wonderful and beautiful reality.

Of course, the Catholic Church has the benefit of both disciplines in its universality. Each can complement the other in Catholic fulness.


I had the opportunity to watch Raymond Arroyo's interview with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger last evening on EWTN. I found Ratzinger to be utterly charming, solid, thoughtful and balanced, with a true Catholic sensibility. I felt at ease with him! I trusted him immediately. Most of all he came through to me as a real believer, an authentic Christian. And I agreed with his observations, comments, and insights into the situation of the Church today. I especially agreed with him about the hopeful signs among young Catholics as manfested in the great youth gatherings of these past years around the Pope.

I thought, too, of the numerous enemies of this good man. How puny and petty they seemed to me as Cardinal Ratzinger so graciously spoke of his own faith, hopes, and the challenges facing us. He is too old now, I suspect; but I would be happy to have him as my Pope.

Blogger Troubles

This is a test to see if Blogger is up and running, after a long period of being down (again).

Friday, September 05, 2003
EWTN To Air Exclusive Interview with The Vatican’s Cardinal Ratzinger

On this evening!

Irondale, AL (EWTN) – EWTN Global Catholic Network will air an exclusive interview conducted by EWTNews Director, Raymond Arroyo, in Rome with Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger as part of the international newsmagazine The World Over Live. The complete interview will air on Friday, September 5 at 8 PM EDT.

Building Bridges Between New Testament Studies and Moral Theology
By Daniel J. Harrington, S.J., and James F. Keenan, S.J.

In his review of the above book in the Jesuit journal America, William Spohn, Professor of Theology and director of the Bannan Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara University, Calif. writes (almost casually!):

"Especially insightful is Keenan’s treatment of sin as the failure to bother to love. “Few figures in the New Testament ever recognize their sinfulness.” He also commends a contemporary set of cardinal virtues: justice, fidelity, self-care and prudence. He moves closer to the cutting edge in arguing that the New Testament would have us respect all human life as sacred and inviolable, not only “innocent life.” This extension has implications for war, welfare and capital punishment that more limited versions of a consistent ethic of life have been unable to argue persuasively. His measured treatment of homosexuality as a not unnatural manifestation of human loving reflects an emerging consensus in society and in many Christian churches. He agrees with a number of Protestant ethicists and biblical scholars that it “is doubtful that Paul recognized that some persons were constituted in their nature as homosexual,” which makes the Pauline condemnations less universal than has commonly been understood...."

So much for Jesuit loyalty to the Pope and Thinking With the Church!

Free Gift from the Perpetual Help Center in Chicago

Ever zealous Redemptorist Brother Patrick Concidine has been, for years now, offering a free beautiful prayer card with an image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help to any and all who ask. Here's what he says on the Center's website:

"If you would like to receive a prayer card containing a beautiful image of Our Mother of Perpetual Help that is an exact reproduction of the original hand-painted artwork that resides in Rome, please write or email us with your name and address. We will be glad to send you this image of the original icon along with a powerful prayer on the back of it which asks for the intercession of Our Mother of Perpetual Help - "A Mother who always helps !"

You can request this gift by emailing Brother Patrick at: info@omphc.org.

Selling orthodoxy to Washington power brokers

Even the National Catholic Reporter can't ignore the work of Father C. John McClosky at the Washington Catholic Information Center! And enough information and quotes (if accurate) are presented in the article to show why McClosky has been so successful.

The author mentions that Opus Dei took over the Catholic Information Center from the Redemptorists. I knew the director of the center for many years, Father Jim Cohen. A great character and rather "liberal" as well. I sometimes wonder what Jim would think of the "transition" (which personally I think has been very good and needed).

Row Seethes in Bethlehem Over Keys to the Birthplace of Jesus

Bringing shame on the name and mission of Jesus Christ in the very place of his birth.


Update: Franciscan demand for key to the Holy Places

Pope to meet Anglican leader before crisis summit

The Pope is to meet the leader of the worldwide Anglican Communion just weeks before a crisis meeting will take place to prevent the disintegration of the Anglican Communion.

London's Catholic Herald reports the historic encounter between John Paul II and Dr Rowan Williams, the Anglican Archbishop of Canterbury, will represent the first time the two have ever met.

But the event on 4 October will be overshadowed by the impending summit of world Anglican primates in the wake of the election by the American Episcopalian Church of Canon Gene Robinson, a divorced gay man living with his same-sex partner, as Anglican Bishop of New Hampshire.

Catholic Herald

From the Catholic News website

Today in Christian history

September 5, 1997: Mother Teresa, winner of the 1979 Nobel Peace Prize and founder of the Missionaries of Charity (now with 712 missions in 132 countries) dies in Calcutta, India. Mother Teresa will be beatified by Pope John Paul II on October 19, 2003.

Thursday, September 04, 2003
New University in Israel to Promote Religious Peace

JERUSALEM, SEPT. 4, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A university dedicated to improving Arab-Israeli relations is scheduled to open soon, offering a glimmer of hope in the troubled Mideast.

The Catholic charity Aid to the Church in Need reported that when it opens in October, the Mar Elias University will become the first-ever Christian, Arab and Israeli university in the Middle East.

An initiative of the Melkite Catholics, the university will meet a vital need for a serious academic environment where Arab Palestinian Christians, Moslems, Druzes and Jewish Israelis will have the opportunity to study, plan and search together for a common future. International students will also be welcomed.

Father Elias Shakour, a Catholic priest who promotes better ecumenical relations in the Mideast, passed on the news of the school to the charity.

Official accreditation has been granted by the Council of Higher Education of the Israeli Ministry of Education. Courses will be offered primarily in English, with some courses offered in Arabic and Hebrew.

The provisional campus is in Ibillin, in the Galilee, where the Melkites already have an educational complex.

Debate Flares in Catholic Church as Priests Question Celibacy

"A debate that has simmered for years among Roman Catholics in the United States about whether the priesthood should be opened to married men is now on the front burner, pressed by priests concerned about their dwindling ranks.

Leading bishops today released letters defending mandatory celibacy for priests, while groups of priests in several dioceses are now considering whether to join the priests in Milwaukee who recently called for the requirement to be dropped...."

Archbishop Timothy Dolan's Response to the Letter of the Priests

Bishop Wilton Gregory's Response

Russian Church in gay wedding row

The Russian Orthodox Church has defrocked a priest for conducting the country's first reported gay wedding.

Wrestling with Islam

One of my favorite articles on Islam today, by David Warren. I found it on the web with a search and on David's website saw this, too, to my utter delight: Conversion.

His article on Islam, long but easy reading, opens up new insights for me; I am not sure he is correct when, towards the end, he claims that Islam isn't making many new converts but is expanding by birth rate; while Christianity is making new converts and expanding by birth rate (in some areas). Yet, regardless, the article is worth reading. And how good to have David Warren decide to become a Catholic.

Henri de Lubac: Mentor

Today is the anniversary of the death of Henri de Lubac, SJ, in 1991. De Lubac is without doubt one of the most formative influences in my own life. More than anyone, perhaps, he showed me the interior beauty of the Church, its "splendors", and gently led me to a deeper love of this "parodoxical" Mother, warts and all. Even after the Council he helped me: sharing with de Lubac some serious concerns about the direction of some post-conciliar "reforms" I was struck profoundly by a comment of his during this post-conciliar turmoil: "I love the Church in her massive effort of renewal" - and I realized that the Church, for all her mistakes and missteps, is on the path of renewal, with all its consequent upheavals and disturbances and ultimately, God willing, new life and new love. Even now! Not the least gift de Lubac shared with me was his ability to see the green shoots even now in what might seem a desert.

I have often said that the only theologians I listen to are those that speak the language of love.

Henri de Lubac is a lover par excellence: an incomparable and surpassing lover of Christ and His Church!

Memory eternal!

Perhaps the finest book ever written on the Church is de Lubac's classic The Splendor of the Church. I can't recommend it highly enough. A book for a life time!

The Church: From Paradox to Mystery

The above link takes you to a meditation on the Church by Henri de Lubac, and is perhaps the finest I have ever encountered. Here is a brief selection I love very much (and quote a part of it often):

"As our humanity grows it transforms itself; the Church must not lag behind in achieving its own renewal, using to do so its jealously-guarded heritage. But her rapport with Christ remains a constant. Her ability to give birth does not diminish. She does not retire into herself, fearful; on the contrary, she serenely opens welcoming arms, giving her all. And when more than her all seems called for, when the huge demands on her motherhood threaten to overwhelm her, then she confidently turns to her spouse.

She has her problem children: some take fright, some are scandalized; some, losing touch with her Spirit, declare that the time is ripe for a complete overhaul and present, for its accomplishment, their 'private blueprints -- revolutionary or subversive'. At such times it is the duty of all who recognize her as mother to demonstrate their unfaltering attachment and their anxiety, in St. Paul's words, 'to be made new in mind and spirit', that they may thereby accomplish her mission in a patience at once humble and dynamic. Because she carries the hope of the world.

It happens that men, blindly forgetting that all they have they owe to her, leave this holy Church. It happens too, as no one living in our age will deny, that the mother is attacked by those she is still nourishing. A wind of sweeping, mindless criticism is blowing through the Church and has not been unsuccessful in turning heads and alienating affections. It is a sirocco, sterile and hostile to the breath of the Spirit.

Contemplating my mother's humiliated face, I will love her only twice as much. Without trading polemic for polemic, I will take pains to show her my love even in her guise of slave. While others allow themselves to be hypnotized by the wrinkles that are only natural to the features of the old, how much more truly will love show me her hidden strength, her silent dynamism - in a word, her perpetual youth - 'the mighty forces issuing from her heart, finally ravishing all men’s hearts'. (9)

Today she is demanding - as she has rarely done before - a massive effort from all of us to gear ourselves to the reality of an age of change. If we respond seriously the result will surely be her 'new spring'. To accomplish the task it is vital to understand the conditions that will guarantee it. Openness and renewal, these are the key-words of the programme. Both are open to misrepresentation.

The openness must derive from strong roots in the essentials, the renewal from personal fidelity. 'Only the authentic Christian is a force for renewal in the world.' It would be sad indeed if, under the pretext of 'openness' and renewal' I was to adore, in Newman's phrase, the vague and pretentious creations of my mind instead of the Son ever-living in his Church. Sad, too, if I placed faith in purely human novelties whose life-span is brief and whose disappearance certain; or if I tried to go it alone, fashioning willy-nilly from the deep wells of truth some private credo, repudiating the offer of infallible wisdom bequeathed by the Spouse to his Betrothed. May God grant my continued understanding of one thing: attachment to the Church's tradition, far from being a stumbling block, is the principle of all effective audacity."

Today in Christian history

September 4, 1842: After a 284-year hiatus, construction of the Cologne Cathedral continues.

September 4, 1965: Albert Schweitzer, German theologian, organist, and medical missionary, dies in what is now Gabon. He wrote "The Quest of the Historical Jesus" (1910) received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1953.

September 4, 1991: Henri de Lubac, Jesuit priest, patrologist, ecclesiologist, all round Catholic theologian-spritual writer, dies. During his earlier career he ran into difficulties with some authorities in Rome, and was "silenced". He obeyed, studied, prayed and grew in love and wisdom. Eventually all restrictions were lifted and de Lubac was made a cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1983.

Wednesday, September 03, 2003
First Muslim School Opens in France

"...France, whose five million Muslims make Islam the country’s second-largest religion, created a special council earlier this year to maintain regular contact with its fractured Muslim community and integrate it better into society. Rigorously secular public schools have alienated some Muslims by barring headscarves, a growing trend among Muslim girls. About one-fifth of French pupils attend private schools, but the Catholic Church mostly runs them..."

"The Great" Popes

A shaft of light reflects off Pope John Paul II's watch during his weekly general audience at the Paul VI Hall September 3, 2003

So far two popes have continued to be known as "the Great" - Leo I and Gregory I (who became Pope today in 590). I am strongly convinced that this title should be attached to our current Pope, John Paul II. He towers over our times (and even as he is stooped over his shadow lengthens in its reach). A gift from heaven (and from Catholic Poland), with incredible talents and energy and dauntless faith. I love what a Polish diplomat said in a talk in Rome a few years back, that got a strong reaction: "John Paul, unlike many of his predecessors, actually believes in God." Or as Andre Frossard wrote to his people upon the election of Karol Wotyla to the Papal Office: "This is not a Pope from Poland. This is a Pope from Galilee!"

His critics are legion: from the "left" for his "rigidity" and "authoritarianism" and being "old-fashioned" and too "conservative." From the "right" for his "laxity" and "laisse faire" attitude and for his "modernism" and "liberalism." Both right and left continue to point their finger at this suffering, prayerful, hopeful, loving Pope and consider him complicit in the scandals of our day (when, when, when was the Church without scandal?). But I am sure this Pope can integrate that with his understanding of his discipleship of his Master and with his grasp of the Petrine Office - as Our Lord told Peter that "when he was old he would be girded by another and led to where he would not go - signifying by what manner of death he should glorify God."

Peter died crucified upside down!

But Peter served to the very end. This Pope of ours is the one about whom a well known "conservative"Catholic reporter wrote in 2002:

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

And a "liberal" priest echoed the same sentiment in writing about WYD in Toronto:

''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)

That WYD was a miracle and a "triumph" with hundreds of thousands of young people gathered in Toronto. The largest gathering ever in the history of Canada! The appeal of this Pope to the young might be enough to justify the title of "the Great!"

And I am now, hoping against hope, to watch JP II at Munich for yet another World Youth Day, in 2005. (I hope I live that long myself and can watch it on EWTN and not from "the other side").

Long live the Pope!

May John Paul II join Leo I and Gregory I in the appreciation of the Universal Church through the ages!

Today in Church history

September 3, 590: Gregory I ("the Great") is consecrated pope. Historians remember him as the father of the medieval papacy and last of four Latin "Doctors of the Church." He is the one for whom Gregorian Chant is named, and one of the main organizers of Roman liturgy and its music. He was also one of the prime promoters of monasticism.

September 3, 1752: This day and the next 10 never happen in Great Britain as the kingdom adopts the Gregorian Calendar (developed by Pope Gregory XIII in 1582) to replace the inaccurate calendar created by Julius Caesar in 46 B.C. Riots break out as Brits argue the government just stole 11 days from their lives.

September 3, 1894: American neo-orthodox theologian H. Richard Niebuhr, professor at Yale University and author of "Christ and Culture" (1951), is born.

Tuesday, September 02, 2003

The Blessed Sacrament

There you will find romance, glory, honor, fidelity, and the true way of all your loves on earth, and more than that ...

- J. R. R. Tolkien

More Dreary Words from Rod Dreher

In a comment on a Dominic Bettinelli's often gossipy blog, Rod Dreher, former senior editor of "The National Review", now reporter for "The Dallas Morning News", writes:

"This reminds me: A friend recounted to me being at a dinner party in NYC with an aging homosexual visiting from Rome. The Roman regaled everyone with stories about how he had been orphaned as a child, and taken into the Vatican, in some sort of custodial house for kids without parents. Some Vatican official made the boy his lover, and the boy went on to hold a series of Vatican jobs all his life, being passed from man to man. The old queen wasn't complaining; in fact, he was saying what a great life it had been, and how much great sex he'd had, and how high on the hog he'd lived courtesy of the Curia.

Again, this man was elderly. His corruption -- assuming the story is true -- began long before Vatican II. Can't blame this one on the council."

Question to Rod Dreher: Why should we assume the story is true? Did you research anything before spreading this scandalous tale? Did you try to determine if there really is a "sort of custodial house for kids without parents" in the Vatican (an orphanage of sorts, I suppose)?

There is plenty of evil in the Church and in each of us. But I wonder if you aren't just too ready to believe anything that would confirm your own dreary outlook on the "Vatican" and that, for you, the one you call "the old queen" was stating the truth of things (if the story is true at all to begin with).

Again, why should we assume this story is true?

Dogs dine in style at French hotel

ONION approves! (But deep down he rejects such wastefulness - a liverwurst sandwich would do just fine).

Art vs. Religion: Whose Rights Will Come First?

MOSCOW, Sept. 1 — It was provocative, as modern art often is. But few of those involved could have foreseen just how provocative it would become when the Sakharov Museum here opened an exhibition of paintings and sculptures in January under the title "Caution! Religion."

Four days after the Jan. 14 opening, six men from a Russian Orthodox church came to the museum's exhibition hall and sacked it, defacing many of the 45 works with spray paint and destroying others. "Sacrilege," one of them scrawled on the wall.

The police came and quickly arrested the men, but their actions — described either as heroism or hooliganism — began a highly charged debate not only over the state of freedom of expression in Russia today but also over the ever-growing influence of the Orthodox Church...."

Today in Christian history

September 2, 459 (traditional date): After spending 36 years on top of a pillar praying, fasting, and occasionally preaching, Simeon Stylites dies. At first he sat on a nine-foot pillar, but he gradually replaced it with higher and higher ones; the last was more than 50 feet tall. After his death, the Syrian ascetic—who had won the respect of both pope and emperor—inspired many imitators .

September 2, 1192: The Third Crusade, which had the mission of retaking Jerusalem (it had fallen to Muslim general Saladin in 1187), ends with the signing of a treaty. Though Christians had not won back Jerusalem, Richard I (later king of England) negotiated access to the holy city.

September 2, 1784: John Wesley consecrates Thomas Coke as the first "bishop" of the Methodist church by John Wesley. An indefatigable itinerant minister, Coke crossed the Atlantic 18 times, all at his own expense.

September 2, 1973: Scholar, writer, and devout Catholic J.R.R. Tolkien, author of "The Hobbit" (1937) and "The Lord of the Rings" (1954-55), dies at age 81. His works remain wildly popular and his triology has recently been made into highly acclaimed movies.

Monday, September 01, 2003
New Liturgical Year

For Byzantine Christians following the revised calendar, today is the beginning of a new liturgical year. Blessings to all celebrating today and throughout the new year!

Laboring Day!

Ah, our best laid plans..... spent hours today trying to get back Internet Explorer which died on me early this morning; tried a million things (even had a "computer geek" help me out) to no avail. Gave up and started adding IE favorites onto Netscape and then on a whim thought I'd give it another shot and clicked on IE and it opened and I'm using it now! Who knows anything about computers really? (Seems like IE knew I was moving to Netscape and fixed itself quick).

Vatican art show rivals Versace pomp

God willing, I hope to be viewing this exhibit on Wednesday, September 24th (spending day in port of Miami on a cruise to the Bahamas on The Norwegian Dawn).

Today in Christian history

September 1, 256: North African bishops vote unanimously that Christians who had lapsed under persecution must be rebaptized upon reentering the church. The vote led to a battle between Cyprian, one of the North African bishops, and Stephen, bishop of Rome, who disagreed with the vote. Cyprian yielded, precipitating a longstanding argument for the Roman bishop's supremacy in the early church.

September 1, 1159: Adrian (or Hadrian) IV, the only English pope in history, dies.

September 1, 1957: At a massive rally in Times Square, Billy Graham concludes his 16-week evangelistic crusade in New York City, attended by nearly 2 million people.

Sunday, August 31, 2003
A Priest and a Chemin Neuf Executive Are Mourned

CAIRO, Egypt, AUG. 31, 2003 (Zenit.org).- A funeral service was held here for a priest and an executive of the French ecclesiastical movement Chemin Neuf who both died following the rescue of a girl at sea.

The service was held Saturday in the Maronite cathedral here for Father Joseph Eid, a Lebanese-born priest of the Maronite rite, and Généviève Maron, according to the Misna agency.

The tragedy occurred Aug. 23 when a group of people led by Maron were visiting the resort of Marsa Matruh. There, a young girl went into the sea and was caught in an undercurrent.

The Chemin Neuf executive jumped into the water and, after several strokes, managed to reach the girl and save her. Seconds later, however, Maron herself was caught in the undercurrent. Father Eid, who was still on shore, jumped into the water to help Maron, but the current pulled the both of them under.

The tragedy shocked Egyptian Catholic circles. The apostolic nuncio in Egypt, the bishop of Greek rite, dozens of priests and two Coptic Orthodox bishops attended the funeral. At one moment in the Cathedral of Cairo, the young girl who was saved by the priest and Maron went up to the altar and burst into tears.

Chemin Neuf (New Way) is a Catholic community with an ecumenical vocation. It has 700 members on mission in 30 countries.

Today's gospel

Our Lord's teaching on "tradition" and what defiles a man. Here's a good summary of elements of today's gospel, from Church historian, Jaroslav Pelikan:

"Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living."

A Brigther Future?

The bishops of two scandal-torn dioceses embrace.
Bishop Gerald M. Barbarito, (R) is congratulated by the past bishop of Palm Beach, Bishop Sean Patrick O'Malley, (L) now Archbishop of Boston, at The Cathedral of St. Ignatius Loyola after the installation ceremony as the fifth bishop of the Diocese of Palm Beach, Florida, August 28, 2003.

Today in Christian history

August 31, 1535: Pope Paul II excommunicates English King Henry VIII, who had been declared by an earlier pope as "Most Christian King" and "Defender of the Faith".

August 31, 1688: English Puritan writer and preacher John Bunyan, author of "Pilgrim's Progress," dies at age 69. Though one of England's most famous authors even in his own day, he maintained his pastoral duties to his death, which was caused by a cold he caught while riding through the rain to reconcile a father and son.

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