Tuesday, July 31, 2007

The life and death of religious life

A fascinating article, in contrast to the currently ongoing Dominican Friars' Chapter meeting in Bogata, where, if I understand the Master General's document, self destruction (as seen by Fr. Groeschel) of the order continues unabated. I've included a couple quotes which caused me to chuckle, but... follow the link and read the whole thing!

The life and death of religious life
from First Things Magazine
(June/July 2007)

We have only to look at the offerings of retreat houses run by some religious congregations to discover how silly people intending to be serious can sometimes become.

Finally, strange as it may seem, the ideas of Marxism, a philosophy that did untold damage to the lives of hundreds of millions of people, suddenly began to appear in religious communities during this era. I spoke to someone a few years ago who had attended the more avant-garde meetings of religious sisters. I asked what the main topic of conversation was. I was flabbergasted when I was told that it was the teachings of Friedrich Engels. (Poor Engels never thought that the last people to take him seriously would be Catholic nuns who had gone off the rails.)

Monday, July 30, 2007

The Church is more than a building...

Unless you are an environmentalist in Oregon who is determined to prevent the particular Church from expanding it's ministries!

Bishop Robert Vasa of the Diocese of Baker, Oregon, has written a few of his columns (here, here) on the thoughts, issues, and hopes surrounding the Powell Butte property acquired by the diocese for a retreat center. This land is zoned EFU, meaning Exclusive Farm Use. Under Oregon zoning law:

215.213. (1) In counties that have adopted marginal lands provisions under ORS 197.247 (1991 Edition), the following uses may be established in any area zoned for exclusive farm use:
(b) Churches and cemeteries in conjunction with churches
Thus, loosely, the state defers to the fact that the US constitution guarantees to religion the right to conduct it's business in the place and manner of choosing.

What is humorous in a sick way is that for all the verbiage we have heard spilled that "Church is more than/not just the building," here we have a case where pseudo-environmentalist lobbies are attempting to tell the Church that she is nothing but the building, simply because this alone is the word which appears in the code! If I see this correctly, the lawless who do not respect the letter of the law are insisting that the letter of the law does not mean what it means and that we must be held to their lawless interpretation, actual interpretation and precedent notwithstanding.

Please pray for Bp. Vasa's intention.

From inside wildfire management comes:

Q. How many Public Information Officers does it take to change a light bulb?
A. Let's go for a bike ride!

Friday, July 27, 2007


Anita at V-For Victory has named me for something called a Blogger Reflection Award. I still don't quite understand what it is or what it is for, so I decided it must be for a reflection on those web resources which have helped me on this particular journey in faith (why limit it to blogs, since I'm the blogger reflecting?). The first resource I want to recall is the now defunct St. Michaels Depot mirrored here. Not really a blog (there was no such thing in 1996, it was a collection of church resources (ie: encyclicals and councils) and essays which helped me in my journey into the Church. They added a discussion board just before vanishing from the net; periodically I check the old url, http://abbey.apana.org.au, but no answer. I miss it.

The second resource I recall perhaps had a greater influence on me than St. Michael's Depot, in the sense that it was what helped me find things like St. Michael's Depot. This was the now defunct ROMCATHL, a usenet listserve; ok, it predates not just Windows-based bulletin boards, but Windows! This is where hung out a group of the most dedicated Catholics who put up with my ignorant questions and pointed me to the documents of the Church rather than their own ranting opinions, to find the answers I was looking for. This was my real RCIA. I have the fondest memories of William Jorge Castillo y Reyes, whom I lost track of a few years ago, and look forward to meeting again in heaven, if not sooner. There also I met Manny Tuazon who for years put out the marvelous daily Navarre Bible Commentary (which I still receive), David Schimpf, who still posts from the Eastern Fathers (and who helped me diagnose problems with my old '85 VW Vanagon).

My third entry, Lane Core, whose View from the Core, which later became The Blog from the Core was the first "blog" I read on a regular basis. Lane did such a great job of gathering and offering digests of news, opinion, Catholica, and poetry that it was a great one-stop place to find out what was going on. Although the site is still up, Land doesn't post much anymore; God bless you for your efforts, Lane.

By reading Lane's blog, I discovered he had links to many other great sites. One of which was the Seattle Catholic, which, although it was discontinued in 2006, is still online as an archive. Much good stuff by many good writers! The last one I'd like to mention is Patrick Sweeney's Extreme Catholic. This was perhaps the first real blog in the modern sense I read regularly, and from there, well, one follows the links...

The point of this reflection, which has taken a few days of reflecting, was to reflect on "what has gone before" - all of these sites are, for all intents and purposes, no longer active. However, what I'd like to draw from this is that the truth of our faith is eternal, while we exist in time, we hand on what we have received, a chain which has come down to our day from the Lord who first handed it on. Unlike the chains of gossip which cannot bring a thought coherently through the human links, the Lord promised His Church that it would do so to the end of time, and this sensus fidei, which lives and move and has it's being in our Lord, can do what no mere human agency can do. By this, do not think that I am divorcing the sensus fidei from the Church's magisterium, rather, that we are guided by it and assisted one to another.

God bless,

General Chapter, Order of Preachers

Thanks to Tom at Disputations. Tom says: There will also be lots of pictures of Dominicans doing what Dominicans do" - looks familiar so far!

Thursday, July 26, 2007

This burden is light enough...

From today's Divine Office, in the fourth chapter of Second Corinthians, St Paul says:

We do not lose heart, because our inner being is renewed each day even though our body is being destroyed at the same time. The present burden of our trial is light enough, and earns for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison. We do not fix our gaze on what is seen but on what is unseen. What is seen is transitory; what is unseen lasts forever.
St. Paul elsewhere tells us that Hope is not hope if its object is seen. St. Ambrose tells us that:
[Christ] is the eternal splendor enlightening our minds and hearts. He was sent by the Father to shine on us in the glory of his face, and so enable us to see what is eternal and heavenly, where before we were imprisoned in the darkness of this world.
It is the eyes of the heart which see (ie: know), and for this reason we repeat "we lift up our hearts to the Lord," for as St. John says, "this is eternal life, to know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent."

Open my eyes Lord, that I may see, the wonders of Your love.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Today's reading in Divine Intimacy has an excellent meditation on the theological virtue of hope. Remember that St. Paul says that "hope is not hope if its object is seen." Our hope is in God's assistance to attain to salvation, the goal of our life. This hope is founded on a certainty, that His will is for our salvation, and that, provided we do not abandon Him, He will give us what we need to arrive at the goal (rather than the deformed certainty that we will arrive at the goal, which is not hope but presumption).

DIVINE INTIMACY, by Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.

1. We prove the firmness our faith by persevering in it in spite of its obscurity; we prove that our hope is strong by continuing to hope in spite of adversity and even when God seems to have abandoned us. As an act of faith made in the midst of darkness and doubts is more meritorious, so is it with the act of hope uttered in desolation and abandonment. The three theological virtues are the most appropriate and fitting means of uniting us to God; in fact, the purer, more intense, and supernatural are our faith, hope, and charity, the more closely they unite us to Him. To help us reach this point, God leads us through the crucible of trials. The story of Job is re-enacted in some way in the life of every soul dear to God; he was tried in his property, his children, his own person, deserted by his friends, and ridiculed by his wife. He who had been rich and esteemed, found himself alone on a dunghill, covered from head to foot with horrible sores. Gut if God is good, if it is true that He desires our good, why does He let us suffer? “For God made not death,” says Sacred Scripture, “neither hath He pleasure in the destruction of the living… It was the wicked who with hands and words invited death” (Wis 1:13-16). Death and suffering are the consequences of sin, which God has not prevented because He has willed to leave man free. And yet not only sinners suffer, but the innocent also. Why? Because God wishes to try them as gold is tried in the furnace, purifying them and raising them to a good, to a state of happiness immeasurable superior to the goods and the happiness of earth. Thus God permits the suffering of the innocent, and even uses the consequences of sins – wars, disorders, social and personal injustices – for the greater good of His elect. It is often true, however, that when we are undergoing a trial we neither see nor understand the reason for it. God does not account for His actions nor does He reveal His plans to us; therefore, it is difficult to endure in faith and hope – difficult, but not impossible, for God never sends us trials which are beyond our strength, just as He never abandons us unless we first abandon Him.

2. The least act of hope, of trust in God, made in the midst of trials, in a state of interior or exterior desolation, is worth far more than a thousand acts made in times of joy and prosperity. When we are suffering in mind or body, when we are experiencing the void of abandonment and helplessness, when we find ourselves a prey to the repugnances and rebellions of nature which would like to throw off the yoke of the Lord, we cannot pretend to have the comforting feeling of hope, of confidence; often we may even experience the opposite sentiment, and yet, even in this state we can make acts of hope and of confidence which are not felt but willed. The theological virtues are practiced essentially by the will. When they are accompanied by feeling, the practice of them is pleasant and consoling; but when the act must be made by the will alone, then this exercise is dry and cold, but is not for this reason of less merit; on the contrary, it is even more meritorious and therefore gives more glory to God. We should not, therefore, be disturbed if we do not feel confidence; we must will to have confidence, will to hope, to hope at any cost, in spite of all the blows God may inflict on us by means of trials. This is the moment to repeat with Job: “Although He should kill me, I will trust in Him.”( Jb 13:15). We must not deceive ourselves, thinking we can go through these trials without having to fight against discouragement, against temptations to distrust, and perhaps even to despair; this is the reaction of nature which rebels against that which wounds it. The Lord knows our weakness; He does not condemn us, he pities us. These feelings do not offend God, provided we always try to react gently by making acts of confidence with our will. Every time a wave of discouragement tries to carry us away, we must react against it by anchoring ourselves in God by a simple movement of trust; even if our spiritual life should be reduced, for certain periods, to this exercise alone, we will not have lost anything, but we will have gained much. It is precisely by going through these trials that we reach the heroic practice of faith and hope; an the heroism of the virtues is necessary for the attainment of sanctity.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

It's amazing...

"It's amazing what you can do
with an army behind you"

So said one of our Dominican Tertiaries, in a reflective moment, during the retreat of the previous weekend. Today he says that he doesn't know where that comment came from (although on the material level, as an officer in the US Army, it's truth is apparent enough to him).

However, on the spiritual plane, I believe it's meaning is captured by the cover of the Legion of Mary Handbook:

And if anyone is ever confronted with the usual nauseatingly condescending comments about celibate men (ie: priests) should not guides to the moral life of married couples, let Henri Lacordiare put the drivel to rest. After the group read Life of Mary Magdalene, there was hardly a dry eye in the house. If you wish to energize and revitalize your marriage (or avoid entering into a dead one), this is a book for you.

Pray, pay, and obey!?

Romano Amerio, in Iota Unum, demolishes the stereotype that the laity prior to Vatican II had no input in the church, but rather were expected to "pray, pay, and obey." He provides the historical context which demonstrates that this canard is a totally false representation, whose real presense is to introduce something else altogether; submission of the Church to the opinions expressed in the media (hardly the input of the laity).

I was struck by one example of the opinions of the laity having influence on the Church; Amerio reports that during the 17th century when French priests spoke out against the Immaculate Conception, the laity quite literally dragged them from the pulpit!

Any history buffs have a suggestion as to where to read more about this interesting bit of Church history?

BTW, Amerio names Cardinal Suenens as the originator of this canard; just googling the name and seeing the response, I am not surprised, as he appears to be one of the authors/promoters of "the hermeneutic of rupture."

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Litany of the Martyrs of Vietnam

Mike Turner OPL, of the Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter of the Third Order of Preachers, has composed a "Litany of the Martyrs of Vietnam."

Today I received the following from Most Reverend Michael P. Driscoll, Bishop of Boise:

We extend our thanks to our dear Bishop, and also to Mark Raper, Director of the Office of Canonical Affairs, whose assistance in obtaining this permission was instrumental in overcoming my ignorance of how to accomplish such a goal.

Here is the litany.

NOTE: the original post had images of the first and third pages, the second was missing. Follow the link now for the full litany. Apologies.

(We will also produce and distribute a suitable PDF version.)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

The mind of Christ; as expressed by His Church

An explanation of a point from the recently released CDF document, which clarifies for me what was contained therein, was made by Archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith. The full article can be read on the chiesa web site:

2. Knowing Who We Are Aids Dialogue

An interview with archbishop Angelo Amato, secretary of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith

Q: But why then - and this is the topic of the third response - didn’t the Council affirm precisely that the Catholic Church “is” the Church of Christ, and instead used the term “subsists”?

A: This change of terms is not, and cannot be interpreted as, a rupture with the past. In Latin, “subsistit in” is a stronger form of “est.” The continuity of subsistence entails a substantial identity of essence between the Church of Christ and the Catholic Church. With the expression “subsistit in,” the Council intended to express the singular and unrepeatable nature of the Church of Christ. The Church exists as a unique subject in historical reality. But at the same time, the phrase “subsistit in” also expresses the fact that outside of the structure of the Catholic Church there is not an absolute ecclesiastical void, but there can be found “numerous elements of sanctification and of truth . . . which as gifts properly belonging to the Church of Christ, impel towards catholic unity.”

the "hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture" had interpreteted "subsists in" as meaning that the Catholic church no longer "is" the Church established by Christ; thus enabling one faction to reject the pre-conciliar church, and an opposing faction to reject the post-conciliar understanding. What I see being being said here is that this "rupture" is a false understanding, and that "subsists in" includes the "is" of the former understanding, thus not being a substantial change at all. In this the holder to tradition is correct to reject the false interpretation of the "discontinuist," but goes to far if in rejecting the error he also rejects that which has been interpreted erroneously.

A garland of flowers can mean many things, but upon Mary's head, they become fixed. In like manner, the understanding of the documents of Vatican II must be placed on the full stature of the body of Christ, one and undivided through the centuries, rather than floating detached and lost in the polluted stream of contemporary thought.

Rome has spoken.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Prepare for the retreat...

Montée à la Grotte de la Sainte Baume

picture credit:

Provence Web,
Saint Maximin
La Sainte Baume

Life of Mary Magdalene - by H. Lacordaire

Chapter VII
Of St. Mary Magdalene at Sainte-Baume and at St. Maximin

Outdoor Stations of the Cross

On the Salve Regina Blog is a set of pictures of an Outdoor Stations of the Cross. This is something we've considered for our Dominican property, and it is nice to see one "in the flesh," so to speak.

Thanks for putting up the pictures.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Born on Friday the 13th

No, today is not my birthday, but I did grow up with somewhat of a stigma about the day on which I was born. Hence it was a real delight, on the last Friday the 13th to discover that this day was considered a very special day in a Catholic context; Friday being of course a reminder of the crucifixion of our Lord, who became incarnate to teach us about three Persons in One God.

A blessed Friday the 13th to you!

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Request for assistance

Ingrid was a dear friend of my wife, Gwen McGarvey OPL. Running this TNT marathon is a tribute to the power of a loving heart which sought to be conformed to our gracious Lord Jesus Christ, and sought with charity the conversion of all those who had passed through her life; so I am posting this for your consideration. Forgive me for this indulgence, for it is a strong witness that love is stronger than death.

June 28, 2007

Dear Family, Friends and New Friends,

I am going to run a marathon in Gwen McGarvey’s memory to raise money for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. Gwen and I worked together at the Idaho Department of Water Resources – many years ago – and maintained our friendship over the years. Gwen was diagnosed with a very rare, highly aggressive and always fatal leukemia on her birthday in 2001 and just a few years (2004) later she passed from this life. I miss her.

I joined a program called Team in Training (TNT) - which is the most successful fundraising program for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This is the world’s largest, non-profit organization dedicated to finding cures for leukemia, lymphoma and other blood-related cancers as well as improving the quality of life for patients and families.

This October 21st I will participate in the Nike Women’s Marathon in San Francisco and I have made a personal commitment to raise $3,800 (75% of all donations go directly to research or education). I need your help to meet this goal!! I encourage you to make a contribution – of any size – before August 31.

There are two ways you can donate:
• Go to the Team in Training secure web site (quick and easy to do; you can also print a receipt):
• Mail me a check (see address below), payable to Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

Thanks for making a difference in the lives of people who have leukemia/lymphoma and their families. Call or email if you have any questions. Thanks again.

Ingrid Sather
1428 E. State Street
Boise, ID 83712
elvesetter AT yahoo DOT com

Call to apostasy?

Anita at V-for victory and Fr. Z at What does the prayer really say have both commented eloquently on the histrionic rant of a certain disaffected dissident woman religious. Their comments are more than adequate, but what caught my attention was the closing of the rant with:

Now it's up to the laity to decide which church they really want -- and why. Which we choose may well determine the very nature of the church for years to come.
Perhaps she rightly perceives that there is a choice before her; just as Moses put a choice before the Israelites in the desert; the rebellion of Core (and Dathan and Abiron, Numbers 16) is still with us.

The truth which such individuals fail to grasp is that the nature of the church was established by Jesus Christ and as such is unchanging. Those who would improve it to their own ends have of necessity always left under the pretext of establishing their own vision of Christianity. They have and always will be swallowed up by the earth, for dust they are and to dust they have returned, being carnal. The father of these prodigals has always bid them sad farewell and awaited their return in humble repentance, a wait often futile, but one which gives rise to much rejoicing when it occurs.

That an individual such as this has been tolerated by the Church for so long is a testament perhaps less to mercy than to timidity, but nonetheless, her intolerance is a testimony to something else altogether. For my part, reading things like this always bring to my mind the old Dan Hicks and His Hot Licks tune:

How can I miss you if you won't go away?

Tuesday, July 10, 2007


Blogger won't let me title entries today for some reason, but Athanasius contra mundo at 50 Days After tagged me with a meme to list my favorite blogs.

My confession; I use the links on what I think of as "friends and family" blogs to run through my list; there are so many good blogs, I can't read them all, but these have touched me in one way or another.

So from the links at V-for Victory I hit the links for Father R's Orthometer, Bill's Is My Phylactery Showing? and paramedicgirl's Salve Regina. From there, I jump to Angela Messenger. From there I'll check in on The Crescat and always Mulier Fortis, which leads me to Fr. Tim at Hermeneutic of Continuity, and then to Fr Z at What Does the Prayer Really Say?. From there I'll check RORATE CÆLI, and The New Liturgical Movement. depending on mood, if serious, I'll drop in on Disputations, if not, The Curt Jester; for soothing, The Roving Medievalist (?), and round it out (?) with The Lair of the Catholic Cavemen and Simon-Peter Says. Somewhere in all this I usually peek in on Overheard in the Sacristy as well.

I'm also delighted to find two more Idaho Catholic bloggers, Athanasius contra mundo and Idaho Catholic, so now I have a bit more to be peeking in on!

/edit/ July 11, 2007
I forgot to tag anyone with this meme, so if your conscience tells you that you have been tagged, obey!

Also, greetings to my neighbor, Desert Dreamer, at A country girl's journal. Please consider visiting next weekend during the retreat!

update 7/13
Two more Idaho bloggers!

Into the Deep (of course, Mike!)


Truth to power by Briana LeClaire

Thanks Abe!

Jesus Christ, the same, yesterday, today, and tomorrow

We are all familiar with the number 666, which derives it's significance from 6 being short of perfection, 7, and the digit twice signifying something out of the ordinary, and three digits representing the fullness, in this case, of deficiency.

In like manner, the perfect number 7 represents perfection, two sevens represent an extraordinary perfection, and three sevens represents the fullness of perfection, something we are not as used to seeing (the corruption of slot machines notwithstanding).


Sunday, July 08, 2007


In a prior note posted entitled, “Social Justice must Serve the Truth,” an example was given regarding the Dominican Order at the United Nations.

As stated in that small tome, the website at www.un.op.org was reviewed carefully. Also stated as an example in that paper was the issue of abortion.

The current and archived documents at that website were reviewed. There was no mention with regard to the issue of abortion or like issues at the United Nations. This example does not discount other appropriate issues that the Dominicans at the United Nations may involve themselves. If the Dominicans at that level are involved in the issue of abortion, then I tip my hat. However, there is little evidence at their website of any such action or position.

As you know, abortion is the prominent issue of our day. If a Christian is to stand up for any issue—this is the one especially in a political arena like the United Nations.

However, right now at the international level, there is a dynamic issue involving abortion.

And, the Dominicans at the United Nations can make a difference.

The Idaho Lay Dominicans are asking the social justice promoter or her designee, to bring this challenge to the appropriate authority of the Order.

Last October, the Nicaraguan national Parliament passed a law unanimously modified its penal code to ban all abortions.

Prior to that vote, United Nations officials and representatives, including officials from UNICEF and the UN Population Fund tried to persuade the Nicaraguan government from voting on that issue.

That letter came from officials including European Union officials, the UN Development Program and others mentioned above hinting that foreign aid monies would be withheld if the abortion restrictions were passed by the Parliament.

In February of this year, Marc Litvine, a European Union [EU] liaison to Nicaragua was trying to pressure Nicaragua to reverse that law. Litvine had noted that the EU was “worried” about the criminalization of abortion and that the EU saw the law in Nicaragua as a backward step.

Most recently, Bert Koenders, minister of foreign affairs for the Netherlands threatened to withhold foreign aid to Nicaragua unless the nation reversed its law.

As reported by FreeRepublic, “Koenders wants the United Nations and the EU to both crack down on pro-life countries and ‘put women’s rights higher on the agenda.’” Nicaragua has been threatened before by other members states of the EU.

It is apparent that there is little respect for the sovereignty of Nicaragua by these member states.

The faith in Europe is dying. The population growth is as well. As noted by Raimundo Rojas, Hispanic outreach director for National Right to Life has said, “[T]he EU is bulling lesser developed nations into accepting their failed policies on abortion, … Europe is dying, many European nations are at a negative birth rate—they have in fact aborted themselves into this position.”

Americas for Human Rights Watch, a New York-based organization, has taken the new law to court in Nicaragua. That Nation’s highest Court will rule on that issue soon.

If the pro-choice people lose the Nicaraguan claim in court, then they will likely turn to the UN Human Rights Commission in New York or an autonomous organ of the Organization of American States known as the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights for political and juridical appeal.

This is where the Dominicans at the United Nations can step in. There are existing organizations at the United Nations that need help with pro-life help. These include the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute. (See link below).

The Dominicans could intervene legally, make a plea to the various UN commissions and non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and make a loud plea to the General Assembly to end this extortion of Nicaragua, and violations of its sovereignty, and rights as a nation.

Other concrete actions that could be taken by the Dominicans at the United Nations is to step alongside other international pro-life groups, write documents, intercede by prayerful intercession, as well as oral statements at the various UN committees and commissions and challenge the thinking that is so deeply rooted at the UN.

If the Order of Preaches picks up this banner in this day and age, and stands rightly in principle against any form of murder, mayhem, slavery, or other type of human rights violation, then we can and will make a difference.


1. www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1858126/posts

2. www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/feb/07020902.htm

3. www.euro-fam.org/scripts/spop/articleINT.php?&XMLCODE=2007-02-17-1207&LG=EN

4. http://www.c-fam.org/ (Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute).

5. copy of UN/EU/Canada letter to Nicaragua regarding reversal of the law (in Spanish):


Friday, July 06, 2007

New congregation of Religious Sisters

The Sisters of the Gospel of Life have entered the blogsphere here. The first new foundation of sisters to be planted in Scotland in over 150 years, may God grant this new congregation a growth and flowering of vocations as he has done with the Sisters of Mary Mother of the Eucharist! May He bless you for stepping out in faith on this wonderful adventure!

May Jesus Christ be praised.

Thank you, Mulier Fortis, for anouncing this!


Life of Mary Magdalene - by H. Lacordaire
Chapter III
Concerning the First Anointing of Jesus by Mary of Bethany (also known as Mary Magdalene)

She had profaned everything and she could only present the ruins of herself before God. Thus she enters without saying a word and leaves in the same fashion. Repentant, she will not accuse herself before Him who knows everything; pardoned, she will express no words of gratitude. The entire mystery is in her heart, and her silence, which is an act of faith and of humility, is also the last effort of a soul that is overflowing and can do no more.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Catholic Answers Radio program broadcast

The broadcast of Catholic Answers Live from the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist on July 3, Idaho's 117th anniversary of statehood, was an interesting experience. It was a delight to meet Jerry Usher; and to see how little he needs to do the show; a laptop, microphone & switch, and a phone cable! Many thanks to Fr. Carmona for his support, the Thomas Moore Foundation which has made this program possible over the years in Boise, and KSPD radio which has carried the broadcast, often picking up a portion of the cost.

There was a question which the first speaker, Fr. John Trigilio, co-author of "Catholicism for Dummies" fielded a question in which the topic of abortion gave rise to discussion of slavery and the American Civil War, the Holocaust and World War II in Europe.

What was interesting about this is that it sort of crystalized for me a thought related to John's post on Dominican involvement in politics, er, I mean, Social Justice. John's call for an examination brough responses ranging from "personally opposed" to "abortion is adequately covered by others" (referring perhaps to the maybe 3 out of the 2600+ NGOs at the UN, of which dozens are the spawn of Planned Barrenhood?), to "we must work on the issues that are promoted by the UN" (????). Pardon my incredulity.

Anyway, listening to Father during the broadcast it really struck me that the hatred for life, life made in God's own image and created for eternal beatitude in His company, it occured to me that the attacks on life, be it slavery, extermination camps, or contraception and abortion, are but a step in the chain from sin->war; I do not know enough of philosophy to articulate it in terms of proximate/remote cause, or material/efficient/formal/final cause, but it seems to me that as the Civil War was not fought over slavery, but would not have been fought if the institution of slavery had been dismantled, and as WWII was not fought over the extermination camps, but if there had been no extermination camps there would have been no WWII, in like manner today's war on the image of God through contraception/abortion, in like manner to previous manifestations of this war, will have its price in blood to pay in a war that will not be ostensibly fought over the very cause which created it.

Now the Catholic in general, and Dominican in particular, is charged to promote and extend the kingdom of God, the only key to peace being friendship with God as offered exclusively by Jesus Christ. However, as we live in in a world of fallen men, granted it falls to some to work in the secular arena. That is why, if Catholics in general and Dominicans in particular are to be active in politics, they must seek peace first and formost by opposing the the attack against life itself. That attack, at it's core, is an attack against God directly (ie: against His person and His mystical body, the Church), and indirectly, against the very image of God in which we are made; and we have been promised that this war against God will continue to the end of time.

If there are a sufficent number of NGOs working for life at the UN, which is but a handful against an immensity, and this is considered justification for not engaging the fight, then what justification is there for joing the immense number of NGOs clammoring for the environment, women's purported development, or AIDS? The very argument put forth for not being involved in a fundamental issue negates any argument for being involved in any other issue at all.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007


Life of Mary Magdalene - by H. Lacordaire
Chapter I
Of Friendship in Jesus Christ

Jesus Christ loved souls, and he has transmitted this love to us, which is the very basis of Christianity. No true Christian, no living Christian, can be without a fragment of this love that circulates in our veins like the very blood of Christ. From the moment we love, whether it be in youth or in middle age, as a father or as a husband, as a son or as a friend, we want to save the soul we love, that is to say, give it, at the price of our own life, truth in the faith, virtue in grace, peace in redemption. God at last, God known, God loved, God served, there is that love of souls that adds itself to all the others, and which, far from destroying them, exalts and transforms them until it makes of them something divine, however mortal they be in themselves. And, moreover, the love of souls leads to friendship when one has been, near a poor fallen creature, the instrument of the light that reveals her form and which gives back to her her own dignity, this sublime healing of a death that should have been eternal sometimes inspires in two souls an indefinable attraction, born of the happiness given and the happiness received. And if natural sympathy is joined onto this movement that comes from on high, there forms from all these divine chances into the same hearts an attachment that would have no name on earth, if Jesus Christ himself had not said to his disciples: “I have called you my friends.” This then is friendship. It is friendship such as God made man and dying for his friends conceived it. But still, amongst these souls with whom Jesus Christ lived and died, there was one who was especially favoured. He loved them all, but he loved some more than others. It was there, in this world, the summit of human and divine affections; nothing had prepared the world for it, and the world would only see again an obscure image in the holiest and most celestial friendships.

Third annual Mary Magdalene Retreat

The Dominican Laity of the Order of Preachers in Idaho is holding its third annual MAGDALENE RETREAT this coming Saturday, July 21, 2007 at the Chapterhouse in Homedale, Idaho. Formal program starts at 9:00 a.m, (although as usual there will be those who come on Friday, and those who stay until Sunday). We will discuss, have contemplative prayer, go to mass, and share meals together. Please join us as we consider the life of St. Mary Magdalene and her true role in the life of Christ as Apostle to the Apostles, as well as honor our departed brethren, Gwen McGarvey OPL (2004), James Schuck OPL (2006), and Janet O'Leary OPL (2007), may God grant them eternal rest.
The program is not firmed up yet, but last year's retreat and a map to the Chapterhouse are HERE. Please keep a watch here for further information.

Also, do not forget that the next chapter meeting (July 15) and the August meeting will be held at Our Lady of the Valley in Caldwell, at 11AM, after the 9:30AM mass.

Hey, Holy Apostles parishoners!

All that blank space is there for a reason... Here's an example of what the inside ought to look like. Let's finish the job!

hat tip for the picture to Fr. Tim at The hermeneutic of continuity

Monday, July 02, 2007

Summer fun!?*&#!

St. Augustine likened heresy in the Church to the mythical Hydra; lop of one head and two grow back. I have another candidate: Tribulus terrestris L. , an amazing little terror that one certainly can respect while seeking to eradicate it!

20 gallons of Round-up down over this last weekend, towards the goal of:

The ugly bug that looks like the answer, however.

But the faux-paws is cute, though.