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, October 02, 2004
Praying Fan Barred From Contacting Gibson

MALIBU, Calif. (AP) -- Mel Gibson obtained a temporary restraining order against a man who allegedly showed up at his estate and the chapel he attends, demanding they pray together. Zack Sinclair, 34, was arrested Sept. 20 for investigation of disorderly conduct and loitering and remained jailed Friday on $5,000 bail pending an Oct. 6 court hearing..."

Rupture in U.S. Episcopal Church

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Since its founding in this affluent town 55 years ago, St. James Church has turned to the Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles 50 miles north to confirm its worshipers, ordain its priests and give it guidance. Now, St. James has decided to follow a bishop in Uganda, more than 9,000 miles away..."


Christian groups come to blows at site of Jesus' crucifixion

Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service / 01 October 2004
By Michele Green

Jerusalem, 1 October (ENI)--An age old dispute between Christian
denominations that share the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in
Jerusalem erupted into a brawl over the opening of a door during
a Greek Orthodox procession.

The incident draws fresh attention to the rivalry between the
Greek Orthodox, Roman Catholic, Armenian Orthodox, Ethiopian,
Egyptian Coptic and Syrian Orthodox denominations who rigorously
guard their sections of the church under a "status quo" law
passed in 1757 during the days of the Ottoman Empire, whose
leaders were Muslims.

The incident began during a Greek Orthodox ceremony on Monday to
commemorate the 4th century pilgrimage to Jerusalem of Helena,
mother of the Roman Emperor Constantine.

It erupted as a Greek Orthodox procession approached the door to
a Roman Catholic chapel in the church, traditionally revered as
the hill of crucifixion and the tomb of Christ's burial.

"The Catholic priest tried to stop them from going in," Aviad
Sar-Shalom, an Israeli tour guide, recounted. "The Greek Orthodox
monks beat the Catholic monk. He was badly beaten and then they
lifted him up like a sack of potatoes and threw him out of the
church," Sar-Shalom said.

Four Greek Orthodox priests were detained by police and at least
five people were wounded during the fracas, including several
policemen who raced to the scene and tried to separate the
warring sides.

Greek Orthodox clerics denied hitting the priest and blamed the
Franciscan order for the incident.

"This is supposed to be a festive time, but the Catholics, they
made problems," said Father Pandelemos, an Orthodox cleric.

Relations between the Christian groups that share the church have
been so tense over the centuries that the keys to the holy site's
main entrance have been entrusted to two Muslim families, who are
seen as neutral parties.

Today in Christian history

October 2, 1187: Muslim general Saladin captures Jerusalem from the crusaders after an 88-year occupation. The Third Crusade ensued, with Frederick Barbarossa of Germany and Richard the Lion-Heart of England as leaders.

October 2, 1904: The novelist and Catholic convert Graham Greene was born on this day in 1904. Among the works of his that I have enjoyed, "The Power and the Glory" stands out. I have read it several times.

Friday, October 01, 2004
Amazing Grace!

Jacques Fesch, Murderer, Convert, Contemplative, Mystic

On my own website I have a page devoted to a poignant and powerful witness to the Love of Christ: Jacques Fesch, who as a young man murdered a police officer, was imprisoned, and guillotined Oct. 1, 1957 at the age of 27. During his imprisonment Jacques had a deep and lasting spiritual awakening (not the usual "jailhouse religion" jag!), and nurtured an intense relationship with the Lord which passed, it seems, into a genuine mystical way.

I am delighted to discover that Cardinal Lustiger, Archbishop of Paris, has begun the process for opening his cause for beatification. Jacques is a vivid example of the reach of Christ's redemption and of the "copiosa redemptio" of the psalm "for with Him is plentiful redemption."

I hope some will take the time and read the rather long article on my website, and perhaps some might be interested in ordering this book as well:


Two Sisters in the Spirit
by Hans Urs von Balthasar

In this great book, the theologian of theologians, Hans urs von Balthasar, learns at the feet of two "sisters in the Spirit", the little Therese and Elizabeth of the Trinity, the rich doctrine of Christ and of St Paul. Both of these Carmelites, von Balthasar believes, were given to the Church with a special "theological mission" to open up the treasures of God's Word to ordinary believers like you and me. Here we can take a short cut into the riches of von Balthasar's heart as well - unlike so many other theologians, he seems most at home with the saints. This is the book that endeared me, beyond any ability to articulate, to St Therese of Lisieux and revealed why she would become a Doctor of the Church and Blessed Elizabeth of the Trinity, whose name in heaven, given her on earth, is Laudem Gloriae, Praise of Glory - one of the patronesses of my own website which is for "the praise of glory!"

You can order it from Amazon here: Two Sisters in the Spirit

Two years ago

On October 1, 2002, I wrote in this blog:

The Little Flower

"My mission - to make God loved - will begin after my death, I will spend my heaven doing good on earth...I will send a shower of roses" - Therese of Lisieux

Yet more tears. I just received, a little while ago, a magnificent bouquet of a dozen ROSES: and the card just says "from Therese".....

(I had prayed quietly for a rose from Saint Therese this morning - hoping against hope).

O my God! O my God!

One year ago

On Oct.1, 2003, I wrote on this blog:

These magnificent and meaningful roses "from Therese" were made into the most beautiful rosary I have ever seen or used, done by the Carmelites of Port Tobacco, Maryland. They still are fragrant with the scent of roses! I have prayed at least a decade on these beads almost daily since receiving them (and I remember especially all my benefactors and the "instrument" God used to send me those roses). They are not only a means of prayer but a sign of God's provident Love. The roses came to me during a devastasting season of my life as a surprise gift that helped me meet the challenges and, through the grace of God and the incredible love and support of so many good people, to come through to newness of life.

Thanks, Saint Therese!

This year I had the incredible privilege and blessing to be with Therese in Lisieux, to bathe in the radiance of her presence, and to touch my rosary made with the "roses from Therese" to a relic of this beloved companion of my soul. I was overwhelmed by the sheer size and loveliness of Lisieux's Basilica, aware that it honors someone so small and so "ordinary"! I was overwhelmed, too, to pray in the very chapel Therese prayed in with her sisters of Carmel. I sensed again what it means to speak of the spouse of the Bridegroom as "a garden enclosed."

A blessed feast to all.

A reliquary of Saint Therese of Lisieux in her Basilica

Thursday, September 30, 2004
Major development - prayers requested

One of the big "plusses" of my life is that I am happy with my living conditions. I love the house in which I have rented a room for over 9 years, I love the neighborhood, and I love (in Christ) the wonderful owner of the house, Sheila. Sheila has had many health issues these past years and has bravely and inspirationally carried on. Now, however, after another setback that took her to the hospital, Sheila will NOT be coming home. She will go a Nursing Home and then, God willing, off to live with a daughter in Pennsylvania, just over the Maryland line.

Which means the house will be up for sale (it already is). Which means that my own situation is very tenuous. I love this place since, with my limitations and physical disabilies, I have come to terms with this "space" and have adapted well to it. It seems perfect to me! And at first it seemed I would have to start looking for alternative lodging (very scary considering both my financial and physical conditions).

But amazingly two main contenders immediately appear on the scene and both have assured me that if they get the house I can stay "as long as you want." I find out, too, that Sheila has made it of "paramount importance" (to quote her daughter) that I be able to stay here. So right now I am not panicking and hope all will be well.

It may take some adjustments, of course, if either of these two contenders actually do buy the house. One is a thirtysomething couple, childless, and that would keep things quieter and more as they now are. The other is large family from Sheila's church: Holy Cross Orthodox Church, where Frederica Mathewes-Green is the priest's wife. I might appreciate the liveliness but not sure about "the noise" and action. The mom and dad have struck me as enthusiastic and committed Christians.

Either way I would be thankful since it would mean I can stay here. It is no small comfort to me that my beloved ONION is buried right outside my room. I will miss Sheila very much and hope we can get together at least occasionally. She is a special soul. Please keep her in your prayers that she makes a good recovery. And, of course, I ask your prayers too regarding my own living conditions: that they be within reach of my financial and physical resources, and that, if it is God's Will, that I can stay here in a "place" I truly love.

Thank you.

Today in Church history

September 30, 420: Jerome, translator of the Bible into Latin (Vulgate) and producer of Bible commentaries, dies while at work on a commentary on Ezekiel.

September 30, 1268: Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury dies. Langton was one of the chief theologians at the University of Paris prior to becoming archbishop. He developed the chapter divisions for the Bible we use today.

September 30, 1770: Having preached his last sermon the evening before, English revivalist George Whitefield dies. Regarded as the most striking orator to come out of 18th century English revivalism, Whitefield's last spoken words were: “I had rather wear out, than rust out.”

Wednesday, September 29, 2004
Negativity destroys

Mark Windsor closes his blog seeing how negative and judgmental and overly critical so many seem to be who inhabit the blogsophere. I think I understand what he senses. I hope my own efforts are more positive and upbuilding. I have found over the years that enthusiasm attracts and only love changes the heart.

Blessings on you, Mark. Pray for us!

Today in Christian history

I mistakenly posted this yesterday; republishing it now on correct date

September 29, 1803: The first Catholic Church in Boston was formally dedicated. (Catholics had not been permitted any religious freedom within this predominantly Puritan colony prior to the Massachusetts Constitution of 1780.)

September 29, 1978: Pope John Paul I was found dead after only one month of serving as pope.

September 29, 1979: Pope John Paul II became the first pope to visit Ireland.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Spain Church blasts gay marriage

"The Roman Catholic Church has attacked the Spanish government's plans to introduce gay marriage, comparing them to releasing a virus into society..."

Monday, September 27, 2004
Norway Aflutter Over Soccer Prayers

Norway's Minister of Culture and Church Affairs criticizes church prayers for soccer
Earlier this week, Lars Sperre, pastor of Trondheim, Norway's Tempe Church, told the national television network that he's praying for Rosenborg Trondheim, the soccer team that plays near his church. The team has dominated the league in recent years, with 11 straight titles. Now an Oslo team appears set to dethrone it.

"I have noticed that Rosenborg is struggling in the elite division and all who struggle need prayer," Sperre said. Besides, he added, when Rosenborg loses, his parishioners become very depressed, so why not petition God on such a matter?

Sperre may have been kidding, but his comments have elicited reaction from players, fans, theologians, fellow churchmen, and now even the government..."

Cruise Ship Chaplaincy Update

After I had posted this piece, "Dumb and Dumber", about an experience I had with Mass on a cruise ship, I was contacted by a priest who had some connections with the bishop involved in the Apostelship of the Sea. I was asked to inform the bishop of my concern. I sent a copy of my blog piece. I heard from the bishop who said he was forwarding it to some others who are involved. The other day I received this lengthy and encouraging reply, and since the writer asked me to "get the word out" I share it with you:

"Rev. Fr. John A. Jamnicky, the National Director for the Apostleship of the Sea asked me to contact you. Bishop Wenski forwarded to him, your letter of concern regarding a recent Mass on board a cruise ship. He sincerely appreciates the information and your concern.

Throughout the past several years, the Bishop's Conference has grown increasingly aware that there are abuses at sea. Sometimes these abuses are at the hands of real priests, but more often than not, these abuses are perpetrated by former priests, or charletains who are simply looking for a free cruise, and possibly at getting the collection plate!

Because of this, in April of 2003 the U.S. Bishops voted on a new program called the Cruise Ship Priest Program. They asked the Apostleship of the Sea to actually manage the program for them. (The Apostleship of the Sea is the official arm of ministry to the people of the sea for the Catholic Church. Traditionally we have served as Port Chaplains to merchant ships and to fishers and shrimpers.)

The Cruise Ship Priest program kicked off January 1, 2004. Already 600 priests have joined the program, which ensures daily Mass on board for Catholics, an Ecumenical Prayer Service on Sundays for non-Catholics, and Mass at least once a week for the crew. Most of all, it ensures that the priests serving on board those cruise lines contracted with us, are valid priests in good standing who have their Bishop's or Religious Provincial's permission to do this work.

At present, Celebrity Cruise Line and Holland America Cruise Line are on board with this program. That means that each one of their cruises has a valid priest, in good standing on board. It also means that the priest has ALL items, books, vestments etc, on board for Mass.

Though all cruise lines have been notified, many are slow to show interest. They often do not know, nor do they care about the difference between valid priests in good standing, and someone from an organization such as "Rent-A-Priest". (Yes, there is really such an organization. It is comprised of former priests, who no longer have faculties. These guys have really plagued many of the cruise lines. When they go on board, they take the opportunity to push their agenda on unsuspecting Catholics who believe them to be "real" priests.)

I must say that it may possibly be that the priest in your story, may have been a valid priest. He may not have had the necessary liturgical books and vestments at hand, and may have had to "make do" with what the cruise line provided for him. I have been informed by many priests that some cruise lines give them very little to work with, though they tell them "we have everything you need."

Another scenario may be that he was a valid priest who just decided to choose his own form for Mass. With this new program, we are addressing such "modifications" from the norm. We are working to ensure that not only is the priest valid, but that the entire Liturgy is in line with Church teachings and is the best it can be. The Liturgy should not be a time of chaos or a time for someone to throw in their own "personal touches".

The last scenario of course, may be that he was not a valid priest at all. However, you can help us to ensure that, whatever the scenario, such events will be eradicated from On Board Liturgies.

It would be very helpful to us, if you would share this information with the cruise line you sailed with. Let them know that, as a Catholic Consumer, you will choose, and encourage other Catholics to choose, Cruise Lines that care about the serious nature of the Liturgy.

We would be happy for you to share this information with your friends, family, church members and web users. I believe it will take individual Catholics calling the Cruise Lines and challenging them in order to get the rest of the cruise lines on board.

I apologize for sending such a lengthy message. But I felt I needed to be fairly thorough. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions or concerns.

Enjoy your day,

Doreen M. Badeaux

My original piece was not a harsh condemnation - in fact, I was taking myself to task for getting too upset and missing taking Communion as a result. But the situation need not have occurred at all if proper procedure for liturgy had been followed. I am glad I wrote what I did, glad that Father Chris contacted me, glad to have sent my piece to the bishop and glad to get this fine response. May things get better and better!

Missionaries attacked in India

Bangalore, India, Sep. 27 (UPI) - Indian police have arrested 15 people after three priests and six nuns were attacked in two separate incidents in the southern state of Kerala.

Two nuns from the Missionaries of Charity were attacked by a mob while bringing food to poor people of the Dalit, or untouchable, caste, in a slum on the outskirts of Kozhikode city, the BBC reported Sunday..."

Today in Christian history

September 27, 1540: Pope Paul III officially approves the Society of Jesus (Jesuits), founded in 1534 by Ignatius of Loyola.

September 27, 1660: Vincent de Paul (b. 1581) dies. After giving his life to serving the poor, he founded the first Confraternity of Charity in 1617, the Congregation of the Mission in 1625, and the Daughters of Charity in 1633 (the first non-monastic women's order completely given to care of the sick and poor). Canonized in 1737, he was named patron saint of all charitable works in 1885.

September 27, 1805: George Mueller, English philanthropist, is born near Magdeburg, Germany. Converted under the Moravians, he devoted his life to caring for orphans.

September 27, 1944: Aimee Semple McPherson, founder of the Church of the Foursquare Gospel and the most famous female evangelist of her day, dies.

Sunday, September 26, 2004
Today in Christian history

September 26, 1460: Pope Pius II assembles European leaders, then delivers a three-hour sermon to inspire them to launch a new crusade against the Turks. The speech works, but then another speaker, Cardinal Bessarion, adds a three-hour sermon of his own. After six hours of preaching, the European princes lose all interest in the cause; they never mount the called-for crusade.

September 26, 1760, French explorer and priest, Isaac Jogues S.J., was killed by Mohawk Indians near the settlement of Auriesville, New York. He was canonized in 1930. He is credited with being the first European to see Lake George in 1736.

September 26, 1897: Pope Paul VI, the 262nd Pope (1963-1978), was born on this day in 1897. Born Giovanni Battista Montini, he was ordained in 1920, named a cardinal in 1958, and in June 1963 chosen successor to John XXIII as Pope Paul VI.

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