Friday, November 30, 2007


To those in the diocese operating under the erroneous belief that a Crucifix cannot be on the altar...

2007 Mass of Christ the King at St. Peter's
Note - this is NOT the extraordinary form, but the ordinary form of the mass.

Against the trivialization of error

There is a school of thought, not confined just to protestantism, which holds that it if faith in Jesus that is important and dogmatic adherance to a creed is not. Setting aside for a moment the contradiction between being saved by a faith in which the contents of said faith don't matter, what has Scripture to say?

And consider the patience of our Lord as salvation, as our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, also wrote to you, speaking of these things as he does in all his letters. In them there are some things hard to understand that the ignorant and unstable distort to their own destruction, just as they do the other scriptures. Therefore, beloved, since you are forewarned, be on your guard not to be led into the error of the unprincipled and to fall from your own stability. 2 Pt 15-17 (Friday, OOR, 34th week in Ordinary Time)

It seems clear that as faith is necessary for salvation, one can follow error into destruction. Hence the necessity for the Church's infallibility; for we are judged in adherance to Truth, and thus we must know with certainty what that Truth is. A restatement of;

I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live: And that thou mayst love the Lord thy God, and obey his voice, and adhere to him (for he is thy life, and the length of thy days,) that thou mayst dwell in the land, for which the Lord swore to thy fathers Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob that he would give it them. Dt 30:19-20

Hear his voice, for faith comes by hearing. Rm 10:17

He that heareth you heareth me: and he that despiseth you despiseth me: and he that despiseth me despiseth him that sent me. Lk 10:16

What can I say? see what he says: SPE SALVI

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Situation in Pakistan

This just received from:

Dominican Sisters International

November 25th 2007

Feast of Christ the King

Dear Members of the Worldwide Dominican Family,

Dominicans live and minister in 101 of the world’s countries. Many members of our Family are present in countries plagued by economic poverty and conflict. During recent weeks, we are especially aware of the people of Pakistan and our Dominican Family members among them. We stand in prayer and solidarity with them during this time of crisis.

The crisis in Pakistan exists because the President of Pakistan, General Pervez Musharraf, declared a State of Emergency on the 3rd of November. As a result, the Constitution of Pakistan is suspended, the citizens of Pakistan are deprived of their basic human rights, dozens of Supreme Court and High Courts Judges and Chief Justices are under house arrest, and people do not have access to local independent television channels or to international news channels. Hundreds of journalists, lawyers, and key political leaders are either under house arrest or in jail. The Christian community feels very insecure and threatened. The bishops and major superiors of religious in Pakistan are extremely alarmed about the deteriorating situation in the country.

We urge the government of Pakistan to lift the State of Emergency, restore the suspended Constitution, guarantee full civil rights for all, free from jails all political leaders, journalists, lawyers and also all judges and their families who are under house arrest. Give the people of Pakistan free access to the national and international media. A return to constitutional democracy will improve the image and position of Pakistan around the world.

We urge all Dominicans throughout the world, to continue to pray for the people of Pakistan. Dominicans, in countries whose governments may be able to influence the government of Pakistan, we ask you to urge your governments to directly contact General Pervez Musharraf, President of Pakistan, insisting on a return to constitutional democracy in Pakistan, that basic human rights are assured, that the judiciary is restored, and that people are not deprived of access to media whether local or international. As people of faith, we find the consequences of the current State of Emergency and the suspension of the Constitution unacceptable.

Mindful of our Father Dominic, who wept for the suffering, and our sister Catherine, who influenced the civil leaders of her day, we are your brother and sister:

Carlos Azpiroz Costa OP

Master of the Order


Marie Fabiola Valesquez Maya OP

International Coordinator of DSI

Convento Santa Sabina (Aventino) – Piazza Pietro d’Illiria, 1 – 00153 ROMA
+39 06 579401 - FAX +39 06 5750675

Going around (the) Bend

Back this morning after a few days in Bend, Oregon; daughter back to school at Central Oregon Community College, stayed with in-laws, and was delighted to be able to attend daily mass with Most Reverend Thomas Connelly, Bishop Emeritus of the Diocese of Baker. Bishop Vasa treated me to a tour of the Powell Butte property which he is hoping to turn into a retreat center and move the diocesan business office there. The location is breathtaking, and from the property a rare view was afforded of the sunlit peaks of Mt. Hood, Sisters, Broken Top, and Mt. Bachelor. Of course I forgot to bring the camera. So, here is one of his pictures of the "barn" and an aerial shot of the property.

There are more pictures here

On this trip I also managed to finish "A Concise History of the Crusades" by Professor Thomas Madden, and read "Many Religions, One Covenant" By Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger. The first was a recent recommend by "The Curt Jester" which I'll second, and the second, well, speaks for itself. Specially delightful; an explanation of the meaning of Exodus 15, sweet desert to a great trip.

15:8. But he said: Lord God, whereby may I know that I
shall possess it?

15:9. And the Lord answered, and said: Take me a cow of
three years old, and a she goat of three years. and a ram
of three years, a turtle also, and a pigeon.

15:10. And he took all these, and divided them in the
midst, and laid the two pieces of each one against the
other: but the birds he divided not.

15:11. And the fowls came down upon the carcasses, and
Abram drove them away.

15:12. And when the sun was setting, a deep sleep fell upon
Abram, and a great and darksome horror seized upon him.

15:13. And it was said unto him: Know thou beforehand that
thy seed shall be a stranger in a land not their own, and
they shall bring them under bondage, and afflict them four
hundred years.

15:14. But I will judge the nation which they shall serve,
and after this they shall come out with great substance.

15:15. And thou shalt go to thy fathers in peace, and be
buried in a good old age.

15:16. But in the fourth generation they shall return
hither: for as yet the iniquities of the Amorrhites are not
at the full until this present time.

15:17. And when the sun was set, there arose a dark mist,
and there appeared a smoking furnace, and a lamp of fire
passing between those divisions.

15:18. That day God made a covenant with Abram, saying: To
thy seed will I give this land, from the river to Egypt
even to the great river Euphrates.

Both parties in an Oriental covenant passed between the divided sacrifice, invoking both promise and curse; that if either party did not fulfill their part, the fate of the sacrificed animals would befall them. The Greek philosophers believed it impossible for God to enter covenant with man, because God was immutable, man mutable, there being therefore no grounds for equality, hence "Testament" and "Law" from master to vassel. Yet, here we have a theophany where God binds himself to the faith of man, and the oath is fulfilled in Christ.

I also have many thanks to offer Anita (V-For Victory) for her perserverance in shepherding the power installation to completion!

Never thought one of those green boxes would be such a delight to lay eyes on!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

On the eve of Christ the King

Today’s Office of Readings ends with the Responsory (from 1 Cor 13:12):

My knowledge now is imperfect;
Then it shall be as perfect as God’s knowledge of me.

The above, in the fuller context, taken from the Douay translation:

We see now through a glass in a dark manner; but then face to face. Now I know in part; but then I shall know even as I am known.

Here we have the summation of the famous First Corinthians 13; as well as the summation of St. Francis de Sales’ Treatise on Divine Love, and going back further, St. Augustine’s De Trinitae (On the Trinity).

We are made in the image of the invisible God, but Jesus IS the image of the invisible God. In the analogy which St. Paul has used, we look at this image in a dirty mirror and receive a very distorted view; the mirror being none other than us. In Jesus, the image is clear, because He IS the image. Now, the all-knowing God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, know us fully. Psychology and psychoanalysis ask us to enter into ourselves to know ourselves, but this is a doomed exercise (for all but the purpose for which it was created; see E. Michael Jones’ “Libido Dominandi”), which will not produce the object of the search; rather, it ends in the nothing. It makes more sense, that in order to “know thyself” one would look where the knowledge resides, which is Jesus Christ, the Wisdom and Knowledge of God. We will know ourselves fully in the life to come, but not fully in this life, unless the Lord so grant us to, through Himself. Meditate on the above, it will become clear.

also, Mike Turner O.P.L. writes:

Today is the memorial of the Martyrs of Vietnam. The second reading of the OOR is in the Supplement, a letter written by St. Paul Le Bao Tinh in 1843. If you have Father George's book about the martyrs, St. Paul Le Bao Tinh has a short bio on page 71. He was a diocesan priest.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

the Triumph of Love

Tom at Disputation recently had a brief post with the exhortation to "Love the Church"

Three little words

I was recently reminded of the following bit of advice:
Love the Church.
It seems to me that it's particularly good advice for people who are discerning a religious or clerical vocation. A priest or religious who doesn't love the Church will bring grief upon everyone, themselves most of all.

And by "the Church," I mean the Church as she is, holy and without blemish and filled to the gills with sinners.

Today's reading from D.I. ties into that and expands on it.

DIVINE INTIMACY by Fr Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen O.C.D.
#368 The Triumph of Love

The love of a soul completely surrendered to God is truly pure love, because it has been purged of the least affection for creatures and of all return on self; it is pure love because it goes straight and swiftly to God through all the circumstances of life, without stopping at anything created. The soul makes use of every happening, all its duties, all its actions to love God, which simply means that it gives itself to Him by serving Him in the way most pleasing to Him. It no longer needs to apply itself, as formerly, to the practice of this or that virtue, since it has acquired all of them in a perfect manner, and "whether its commerce be with temporal things or whether its exercise be concerning spiritual things, a soul in this case can ever say that its exercise is now in loving alone" (John of the Cross, Spiritual Canticle, 28,9). The soul no longer has need of the spur and stimulus of an exterior law to guide it, because its law is now the great love it bears within itself, which impels it in all things to seek and to will the divine good pleasure. "Love and do what you will," said St. Augustine; "For the just man there is not law," wrote St. John of the Cross at the summit of the Mount of Perfection. Far from implying that love dispenses from the observance of the law, from duties and obedience, these words signify rather, tat love, when it is truly perfect, replaces and completes all law, having in itself the power to draw the soul to the highest perfection.

Of this perfect and most pure love, which concentrates upon God all the powers of the soul without anything being able to draw them away; of this love which wounds the heart of God directly, passing beyond all that is of earth, St. John of the Cross writes: "A very little of this pure love is more precious, in the sight of God and the soul, and of greater profit to the Church ... than are all these [other] works together" (Spiritual Canticle, 29.2).

"O Jesus, I do not ask for riches or glory, not even for the glory of heaven. ... I ask only for love. One thought is mine, henceforth, dear Jesus, it is to love Thee! ... I love Thee, I love my Mother the Church, and I bear in mind that 'the least act of pure love is of more value to her than all other works together.' But does this pure love really exist in my heart? ...(Teresa of the Child Jesus).

So often we hear disobedience justified as the placing of love above mere rule. Yet, such is a deception, as the spiritual writers point out, that love united to the Lord our God will make anything but the perfect fulfillment of the rule unthinkable, for do oppose rule would be to oppose God. But what I primarily have keyed on is the connection of love, the summit of the contemplative life, and the Dominican charism of preaching. That a drop of this pure love would be of more value than all the preaching done by Dominicans of all time, it places the work of St. Dominic in a perspective I've not thought of before. The two saints, Dominic and Francis, we think of as having done so much for the restoration of the faith; yet, based on the above, it was their prayer life that accomplished and made this possible; their union being of greater value than their works. Perhaps this stands to reason, and is obvious to most and I am a little slow to perceive this, but in the analogy of knowledge of the mother, father, and child, this knowledge has moved from the "known by him because she said so" side to the "known by her because she did so" side.

Those "least acts of pure love" overflowed in Ss. Dominic, Aquinas, Ferrer, Hyacinth, Catherine, little Margaret, and so many others. Ours is an Order which asks that we "share the fruits of contemplation," let us renew our efforts to enter into the Divine Life, for without Him, we can do nothing; or worse.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Why what is represented in art matters

I'm reproducing whole an article from Sandro Magister. I do so for the reason, that in the post yesterday, which compares heretical art with a photo, there is a profound reason for rejecting the former in favor of the latter. Even the heretics seem to know this quite well.

How to Paint a Homily, with the Brush of Luke, Evangelist and Painter

A book by Timothy Verdon comments on the readings for the Mass with the masterpieces of Christian art. It is a "preaching through images" that blossomed for centuries in the Church. And the current pontificate wants to revive it

by Sandro Magister

ROMA, November 20, 2007 – Next Sunday, the feast of Christ the King, brings the liturgical year to its conclusion. And the following Sunday, the first Sunday of Advent according to the Roman Rite, begins the new year: the first in the three-year cycle of readings from the Old and New Testament, with pride of place given to the Gospel of Matthew.

The widespread practice among parish priests is to prepare the homilies with the help of books of commentary on the readings of that day's Mass. There are many of these manuals for sale. But that's not how it was long ago.

From the sixth century on, the lectionaries that collected the Gospel and Epistle readings for the Mass did not need any separate commentaries. They were, in themselves, an illustration of the pages of the Sacred Scriptures, a visual guide to understanding them.

These lectionaries explained the Scriptures with images that were placed alongside the texts – for example, the splendid miniatures of the medieval codices. These images served as guides and commentaries for a clergy and a people already accustomed to seeing the events and personalities of the Sacred Scriptures depicted upon the walls of their churches.

And now, just before the first Sunday of Advent, a book has been published in Italy that gives new life to this tradition. It is a commentary on the lectionary of the Sunday and feast day Masses of year A – the volumes for years B and C will follow – made up of images from great Christian art. Images more eloquent than many words.

The author is Timothy Verdon, a priest and art historian, professor at Stanford University and the director of Florence's diocesan office for catechesis through art. He is also the author of important books on Christian art and on the role of art in the Church's life.

The idea of this book came to Verdon from the synod of bishops on the Eucharist in 2005, at which he participated as an expert consultant, at the invitation of Benedict XVI.

In the post-synodal exhortation "Sacramentum Caritatis," pope Joseph Ratzinger dedicated one paragraph, number 41, to religious iconography, which, he writes, "should be directed to sacramental mystagogy," toward initiation into the Christian mystery through the liturgy.

The book is a direct response to this summons. For every Sunday and feast day of the liturgical year, Verdon selects a masterpiece of Christian art related to the Gospel of the day. It is art as the guide to entry within the mystery that is proclaimed and celebrated.

To present this book to the public in Florence just a few days ago, Verdon enlisted a priest who is in complete agreement with this approach: theologian Massimo Naro, the rector of the seminary of the diocese of Caltanissetta and the younger brother of Cataldo Naro, bishop of Monreale until his untimely death one year ago.

The cathedral of Monreale, in Sicily, with its interior completely covered with twelfth century mosaics, is an absolute masterpiece of Christian art. The Christ Pantokrator reproduced above dominates the apse.

But Christian art lives within the liturgy, and for the liturgy. And its language is visual inspection, contemplation. This is what the Italian-German theologian Romano Guardini, one of the current pope's great mentors, understood in visiting the cathedral of Monreale during Holy Week of 1929.

Guardini wrote an account of this visit. Observing the men and women crowding the cathedral of Monreale and participating in the Easter liturgy, he wrote:

"All were living in the gaze [original German: Alle lebten im Blick], all were rapt in contemplation."

Bishop Cataldo Naro reproduced the entire page of Guardini's account in his last pastoral letter to the faithful, to guide them to contemplate and love the Church.

And his brother Massimo cited it again while presenting Verdon's book to the public, in this section of his remarks:

"One must not only believe, confess, profess; one must also 'look upon' the faith. Jesus is the one who has 'seen and heard' his Father. In him is the union of word and image; he is Logos and Eikon (cf. Colossians 1:15). It is no accident that, since the fourth or fifth century, the legend grew in the ancient Church that the evangelist Luke had also been a painter. To this legend may be added the anathema of the second council of Nicaea, according to which 'If anyone does not accept the artistic representation of scenes from the Gospel, let him be excommunicated.' Painting the face of Christ, of Mary, of the saints is another way of writing the Gospel, and thus also of passing it on, proclaiming it, permitting it to be read, meditated upon, and understood by the faithful. In Nicaea, in 787, Church teaching incorporated the legend and gave it the dignity of doctrine, including within the deposit of tradition not only written and oral tradition, but artistic tradition as well; not only the writings of the Old and New Testament and the books of the Church Fathers, but also the images that translate into full color the black ink of the sacred writers."

The works of art selected by Verdon to illustrate the Mass readings of year A are found in churches and museums all over the world. Many of them are in Italy, and a few in Florence, so Florentine priests have a special incentive to make use of this commentary.

But the important thing is the method, which is valid for everyone. Verdon's book teaches an "artistic" interpretation of the biblical texts used in the liturgy. It restores to priests and faithful the fruits of a "preaching through images" developed in the Church over a millennium and a half, and today in danger of withering away.

Because there is an unbreakable bond among Christian art, theology, and liturgy. Just as the cross and the resurrection are the foundation for the composition of the Gospels and the New Testament, and just as Easter is the keystone of the entire liturgical year, so also the Crucified and Risen Jesus is at the genesis of Christian art.

In presenting Verdon's book, Massimo Naro said that he had come to understand "the centrality of the resurrection in Christian art" precisely by examining the mosaics of the cathedral of Monreale, where his brother was the bishop. And here's how he explained this:

"I became convinced of this when I saw, at the top of the arch across from the vault of the main apse where Christ Pantokrator is depicted, the mosaic design of the Mandylion, placed in symmetrical correspondence with the face of the Pantokrator, as if to say that the splendid and glorious Pantokrator is the development of a 'negative' of the face of the Crucified Christ.

"The Mandylion, according to ancient legends going back to the eighth and ninth centuries, was a cloth imprinted with an image of the face of Jesus, bloodied by the blows inflicted upon him during his passion.

"According to some, the Mandylion was the napkin that Veronica used to wipe his face along the road to Calvary (cf. Luke 23:27-28).

"According to others, it was the sudarium that Peter spotted inside the empty tomb on the morning of Easter (cf. John 20:7).

"In that case, this image of Jesus would be one 'not made by human hands,' but rather through divine intervention: the imprinting upon the sudarium of the face of Christ, who in the light of Easter stands again as the Risen One.

"This image of light is, therefore, according to the legend of the Mandylion, the true icon of Christ, the archetype of every image and every work of Christian art.

"In this perspective, it is the light of the resurrection that makes it possible to depict the Crucified Christ of Golgotha, and, in Him, God himself. Only in the light of the resurrection does He who was violently deprived of all human resemblance remain forever as the true and unique image of God.

"It is in this sense that the resurrection stands at the beginning of iconography and Christian art. No distinctively Christian work of art can, therefore, ignore the essential event that transformed creation and redeemed history."


You will find the complete account of Romano Guardini's visit to Monreale, at Easter of 1929, in this article from www.chiesa:

> “Holy Week at Monreale,” the Author: Romano Guardini (12.4.2006)


The book presented on this page, which is planned for translation into other languages:

Timothy Verdon, "La bellezza nella parola. L'arte a commento delle letture festive. Anno A", Edizioni San Paolo, Cinisello Balsamo, 2007, pp. 378, euro 43,00.


Almost at the very same time, a book of art was published in Italy as commentary, not on the readings of the Mass, but on the articles of the Creed. The volume has a preface by Timothy Verdon and an afterword by Ryszard Knapinski. The author teaches at the "Veritatis Splendor" theological institute in Bologna, and is the secretary of cardinal Giacomo Biffi:

Roberto Mastacchi, "Il Credo nell'arte cristiana italiana", Cantagalli, Siena, 2007, pp. 208, euro 23,00.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

All at the table

incompatible views of "inclusiveness" - the first is from the women's ordination movement, the second, well, you ought to get the point.

If the first image offends you, you do well.
If the second image offends you,
don't let the door hit you on the way out.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Just cause...

standard, power, and beauty; Standard, Power, and Beauty

With war, politics, and conflict with evil all around us, here is the standard for the One which will overcome; it is easy to forget;

Finally, brethren, be strengthened in the Lord and in the might of his power.

Put you on the armour of God, that you may be able to stand against the deceits of the devil.

For our wrestling is not against flesh and blood; but against principalities and powers, against the rulers of the world of this darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places. Ep 6:10-12

Yesterday morning here is what I saw at the chapter house in preparation for installing a power line!

At the close of a beautiful day, Anita captured these shots of the glorious evening we were treated to, from the Owyhees, clear and present in the evening, to a beautiful sunset which filled the entire sky.

Friday, November 16, 2007


When I first saw this word, Mathetes, I read it as "Mathletes," but apparently it is not a recognition of my (previously unknown to me) prowess in math! All things considered, it was kind of Athanasius contra mundum to drop this upon me, and I will pass the credit up and the award on.

Mathetes is the Greek word for disciple, and the role of the disciple (per the Great Commission) it to make more disciples. I'd like to take the opportunity to award five other bloggers with this award and badge for acting in the role of a disciple of Christ. These five all share the message in their own creative ways, and I admire them all for what they do.

In the spirit of this award, the rules are simple. Winners of this award must pick five other "disciples" to pass it on to. As you pass it on, I just ask that you mention and provide links for (1)this post as the originator of the award (Dan King of management by God), (2) the person that awarded it to you, and then (3) name and sites of the five that you believe are fulfilling the role of a disciple of Christ. If you know of other deserving recipients of this award, and would like to start a new string, then please post a link to where you've started in in the comments to this post. I would love for many deserving bloggers to be blessed with this recognition.

For He who has made us disciples, has adopted us as sons. That in and of itself is a reality before which we fall down on our knees and give thanks for such an unwarranted and undeserved gift. Yet, there you have it, and there it is. In particular, I'd like to pass it on to some of the young men who are responding to the call to vocation, may God continue to give you strength to persevere in living out the vocation of love and may He give you spiritual children by the thousands!

With particular gratitude, Obi wan,
who is not blogging, he can be found on the DCF forum

Next, to Zach

and Viking, who is discerning a vocation

Then there are the not so young who are not headed for orders, but have giving their life in service to our Lord.

in particular, Mike and family at Idaho Hicks in Austria

and following the greatest disciple of them all, Aussie Coffee Shop (who has already received the Mathete), and the others on the DCF Ladies web blog ring, especially Lowdenclear, because you have to love a blogger who can come up with this!

A couple of things

From the General Instruction of the Liturgy of the Hours:

The Apex and Souce of Pastoral Activity

18. Those then who take part in the Liturgy of the Hours bring growth to God's people in a hidden but fruitful apostolate (VII, Perfectae caritatis, 7), for the work of the apostolate is directed to this end, "that all who are made sons of God through faith and baptism may come together in unity, parise God in the midst of the Church, share in the sacrifice and eat the supper of the Lord"(VII, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10).
Hermeneutic interpretations of Vatican Council II
by Agostino Marchetto

The Magisterium has now clearly indicated the correct way to interpret Vatican Council. For this we are profoundly grateful to the Lord, and to the pope.
Hermeneutic interpretations of Vatican Council II
by Agostino Marchetto

The Magisterium has now clearly indicated the correct way to interpret Vatican Council. For this we are profoundly grateful to the Lord, and to the pope.

Archbp Ranjith: opposition to Summorum Pontificum “beneath the dignity of a shepherd”

Again Archbp Ranjith: opposition to Summorum Pontificum “beneath the dignity of a shepherd”
Mons. Ranjith criticizes the insubbordination of bishops over Latin
"No to dances, ditties and sermons of a socio-political nature"
Rome 16 Nov. (Apcom) –

Read Fr. Z's translation and commentary at What does the prayer really say?

"we may not play roulette with a human life"

Even in trying times, we can't cast aside innocent life
E-Column by Bishop Robert Vasa

BEND Some weeks are easier to select topics for consideration than others and I must admit that recent events make this duty a bit more challenging this week than many others. I have already mentioned the death of my mother and though this continues to affect me I do not wish to make this personal event the subject of another consideration. Instead I think it is important to address another of the life issues, namely that of emergency contraception or Plan B.

Most Catholics, even those who wrongly maintain that artificial contraception is not immoral, usually recognize the necessity to respect and preserve newly conceived human life. This becomes the central question in evaluating the moral acceptability of emergency contraception in the case of sexual assault. Catholic principles do allow for the treatment of victims of assault, including treatment with those mechanisms required to impede the progress of sperm or the process of ovulation in order to preclude the conception of a child. Once conception has occurred then the duty to protect and preserve new innocent human life is exactly the same as that duty to protect and preserve new innocent human life conceived in the context of a mutually consensual relationship. This is necessary because otherwise we would be changing the value of the life of a child depending upon the circumstances in which a child was conceived. Once the existence of a new human being has been established then the life of that human being must be absolutely respected. Thus the use of a mechanism which is exclusively contraceptive presents no dilemma for emergency rooms including those in Catholic hospitals. In fact, there would be no difficulty or controversy at all if there were a mechanism which could be employed which was, in fact, exclusively contraceptive. Unfortunately I am not aware of any such mechanism and I believe that I am unaware of any such mechanism because such a mechanism does not exist.

Since there is no procedure or medication which can be given which does not simultaneously impede ovum, sperm or conception and the implantation of the newly conceived human being great care must be taken to determine the presence of an innocent human being, even one not yet attached to the womb of his or her mother, before the administration of the "contraceptive." It is here that clarity of language is so very important. While the mechanism is described as "emergency contraception," clearly indicating that preventing conception as a result of sexual assault is the goal, the truth is that "Emergency Contraception" prevents a lot more than "conception" understood as the union of ovum and sperm. This product, if used subsequent to conception and prior to implantation, impedes or even prevents the newly conceived child from making that first of essential attachments in its mother's womb. Using a bit of verbal engineering allows the proponents to assure us that the product prevents "conception" and does not disrupt "pregnancy." A closer look reveals that when proponents of Plan B use terms like conception or pregnancy they almost always mean an already implanted, growing baby in the womb of his or her mother. Most proponents of Plan B would maintain that pregnancy begins at implantation whereas it is much more honest to affirm that pregnancy begins at conception. Thus, though the language is the language of protecting a woman from a pregnancy as a result of sexual assault the truth is that the desire to protect a woman from such a pregnancy extends even to destroying the newly conceived child if necessary.

Nothing is to be done which impedes the natural progress of a child already conceived. This principle, at least in the ideal, is understood and practiced in Catholic hospitals. There is a huge difficulty with Plan B. If a pregnancy is confirmed by way of a standard pregnancy test then Plan B is neither warranted nor needed since such a readily identified pregnancy would not be the result of a very recent sexual assault. If the standard pregnancy test returns a negative for pregnancy then this only proves that the woman was not pregnant prior to the assault. The critical question, which must be answered with very great care, is whether the assaulted woman has already conceived a child as a result of the assault.

The answer to this question may not be able to be given with certainty and I maintain that it must be given with certainty in order to proceed with Plan B. The utilization of Plan B without this certainty runs the unjustifiable risk of destroying new life while ostensibly intending to prevent the assault from engendering that life. It turns an uncaring eye to the new life which may have already begun.

Some would maintain that since the intention is to prevent a pregnancy which may result from the unjust aggression of the assault it is legitimate to use Plan B even if the remote possibility of a pregnancy has not been absolutely eliminated. They suggest that a lesser degree of certainty of absence of pregnancy suffices. They suggest that even if a pregnancy does in fact exist the lack of knowledge about that pregnancy and the sole intention to prevent a pregnancy and not destroy one eliminates moral wrongdoing. They fail to recognize that we may not play this kind of roulette with the existence of a human life. It is illegitimate, even with good motives, to directly cause the death of a pre-born child. Intervention with Plan B without ascertaining with certainty the absence of an existing pregnancy is a direct attack on the life of that child and this is morally illegitimate.

There is no doubt that the intention of trauma treatment is to protect the woman who has suffered an assault but this must not extend to the destruction of an innocent child.

There is certainly a lack of respect in our country for pre-born human life but we in the Catholic community and our Catholic health care facilities must not in any way condone or cooperate in that promotion of the culture of death.

Book of Daniel and the "white hot furnace"

In the Liturgy of the Hours we have recently read of the three young men thrown by an irate monarch into the flames:

3:20. And he commanded the strongest men that were in his
army, to bind the feet of Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago, and
to cast them into the furnace of burning fire.

3:21. And immediately these men were bound, and were cast
into the furnace of burning fire, with their coats, and
their caps, and their shoes, and their garments.

3:22. For the king's commandment was urgent, and the furnace
was heated exceedingly. And the flame of the fire slew those
men that had cast in Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago.

3:23. But these three men, that is, Sidrach, Misach, and
Abdenago, fell down bound in the midst of the furnace of
burning fire.

3:24. And they walked in the midst of the flame, praising
God, and blessing the Lord.

I spoke with a young man who is in the Nat. Guard and had served with the 116th in Iraq in 2005. He told of visiting the site of the white hot furnace, a holy site for Christians, Jews, and Muslims near Kirkuk. I was surprised by the existance of this site, but shouldn't have been. Here are some pictures I found on the net.

Hat tip to the Virtual Tourist

Thursday, November 15, 2007

On not enjoying prayer

An old post from the English Dominican Studentate blog, GODOGZ

Bede Jarrett OP writes about 'unattractive prayer':

There is some incompatibility in the inner life between sensible devotion and the depth of love. It is suggested to us that only when the sensible devotion has died down, gone out, will the real spiritual life come into its proper relationship to the whole man. Man, therefore, needs the fusing into one of his whole being. So long as he retains his devotional fervour in its physical sense, he has little chance of being able to hold to the Spirit. His upper surfaces are too engaging for him to be able to realize his lack. All goes so well with him that he does not see how ill it all is. There is the danger of mere externalism, the child's spirit of prayer that cannot hold out against the pressure of life and its stings ...

We accept it, then, as a principle of the life of the soul that it is expedient when the merely emotional side of religion gives way to something deeper, because only with the dying down of the emotional side can the other be liberated - the advent of the Holy Spirit. That this should be so in the world of the spirit is natural enough, for here above all we need to guard against the intrusion of self and of self-complacency. Now, it is abundantly clear that, if we did enjoy prayer always, we should be with difficulty persuaded from praying always, and yet our motive in so doing might very easily be not supernatural or unselfish but human and selfish. We might easily give ourselves to prayer because we enjoyed it. That would be a poor motive, for we would be seeking not God but self.

One can see the parallel between prayer and marriage; when the sensible attraction goes, do we continue or quit? This is to teach us about ourselves; must we get something in return, as a hired hand, or, are we willing to truly love, which means the will to give with no expectation of anything in return?

Fr. Later, God rest his soul, used to say he never married anyone who was truly in love (rather, they suffered from a homonal disorder), but he'd blessed many at their 50th anniversary who were truly in love.

On faith


"To reject any article of the faith is to reject the faith itself. This is like pulling one stone out of an arch; it is like putting one hole in the hull of a ship. The whole arch tumbles down; the whole ship sinks. A man who has the faith, accepts God's word. Now, God's word has been set up the Church as man's infallible teacher and guide. If a man, therefore, rejects one article of the faith, and says that he believes all the other articles, he believes this by his own choice and opinion, not by faith. Rejecting one article of the faith, he rejects the whole authority of the Church, and he rejects the authority of God which has set up and authorize the Church to teach truth. Hence, it is entirely incorrect to say that a man may have lifeless or formless fith in some articles of the Creed while he rejects others; such a man has not the faith at all, living or lifeless.
Thomas Aquinas, Summa, IIa IIae, Qq 5

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Outdoor Stations of the Cross

received an email with pictures of an outdoor Stations of the Cross, reportedly near Amarillo Tx.; rather remarkable!

Hat tip to Kathleen Schuck OPL

Archbishop Chaput on Citizenship and Evangelization

A must read...

"We're Better Americans by Being More Truly Catholic"

NEW YORK, NOV. 5, 2007 (Zenit) - Here is the address Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver delivered Oct. 26 at St. John's University School of Law in Queens, New York. The talked is titled "Church and State Today: What Belongs to Caesar, and What Doesn't."

read the rest here

hat tip to Doc

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Submission to the Church by Faith.

BY REV. CHARLES COPPENS, S. J. IMPRIMATUR. S. Ludovici, die 19. Aug. 1903.
†JOANNES J. GLENNON, Coadj. Adm. Dioceseos S. Ludovici.


Submission to the Church by Faith.

117. According to all that has been explained and proved so far, the Catholic Church claims and makes good her claim, to be the Church that Christ has established, the continuation of the Apostolic body that Christ commissioned, saying: “Going therefore teach ye all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; teaching them to observe all things whatever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world” (Matt. last verses); “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark XVI, 16). Every one to whom this claim of the Catholic Church is properly presented is obliged in conscience to accept her teaching (n. 73), with the alternative that, if he do not, he shall be condemned.

The evidence of this obligation is so strong that, to an unprejudiced mind, a fully sufficient motive is thus presented for yielding assent. Such assent is therefore highly reasonable, and the refusal to yield it is a refusal to accept the properly accredited messenger of God. When a messenger comes from an earthly sovereign, even though some doubt should rest on the genuineness of his credentials, it is not the part of wisdom to begin by rejecting him, and refuse him entrance into a city or state: the presumption is in his favor; and he is to be treated with honor, while everything is done that is possible to remove the doubt. Thus also, if any reasonable doubt remain in the mind of an earnest inquirer concerning the claim of the Catholic Church to be the Heaven-appointed teacher of religion, it is his duty--in this case an all-important duty--to pray for light, and seriously to investigate the matter till all reason of doubt be removed. To wait till the evidence of the claim become of its own power so overwhelming as to compel assent, is like asking for a special miracle, or Divine manifestation, as the Jews and as Herod did of Christ, and did in vain (Matt. XII; Luke XXIII, 8). Faith is a free assent; else it were not meritorious; it does not require sight, as Christ declared to St. Thomas, “Blessed are they that have not seen and have believed” (Jo. XX, 29). It is much to be feared that many to-day, in our own land, are repeating the mistake made by the Jews in the days when Christ was upon earth; they wait for special signs, and refuse to accept those given to all the world (Matt. XII, 39).

118. “Without faith it is impossible to please God” (Hebr. XI, 6): All forms of Christianity agree in recognizing the supreme importance of faith; but they differ very much, one from another, in the explanations that they give upon the matter (n. 361, I, II).

The English word “faith”, representing almost invariably the Greek πιστος and the Latin fides, occurs very frequently in the New Testament. The meaning of these words and of their derivatives is constant, and is equivalent to “certain judgment”, either in general, or, more specially, “certain belief on the testimony of another”; when this other is God, we have Divine Faith. It is an act of the intellect, not excluding the influence of the will. The Vatican Council says: “Faith is a supernatural virtue, through which, by the influence and with the aid of the grace of God, we believe that the things which He has revealed are true,--not because of their intrinsic truth seen by the light of reason, but on the authority of God Himself, who has given the revelation, who cannot be deceived nor deceive”.

A variety of erroneous meanings have been attached to the word “faith” or “belief”; many Protestants confound it with “confidence”, especially in connection with their doctrine on justification. True it seems we might substitute “confidence” for “faith” in some texts, as in St. Matthew XV, 28, “O woman, great is thy faith”; for her confidence was the outcome of her belief in Christ's goodness and power. But in other texts the meaning of confidence is wholly out of place; for instance in the words of St. Paul: “If thou confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and believe in thy heart that God has raised Him up from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. X. 9).

119. Since faith is a supernatural virtue (n. 118), an act of faith requires the aid of Divine grace, both to give further light to our intellect and strength to our will, and also to raise the act to a supernatural dignity, capable of attaining a supernatural end. But all men receive, either proximately or remotely, the grace necessary to attain their end, and therefore the grace to believe. When this is obtained and complied with, the act of faith is commanded by the will and elicited by the judgment, both will and judgment being elevated by grace. “I believe, because I will to believe; and I will to believe, because I have realized that it is reasonable and right to believe.” Inquiry as to the motive can go back no farther.

After the act of faith is duly elicited, there results the certainty of faith. This certainty is much greater than would naturally result from the motives of credibility that were considered before the assent was given; for it is strengthened by the Divine light of grace, which enables us to accept the formal motive of faith, the authority of God speaking to us. The certainty of faith is the greatest that man can have in this life; in the next life it will be changed into vision. Nor is it necessary that the motives of credibility possess in themselves great logical force; the grace of God can supply the want of evidence. The nature and weight of these motives will vary infinitely with the variety of ability and attainments of different men. Whatever one sees to be sufficient to remove prudent misgivings from his mind is enough for him; it makes the matter credible. The rude and simple, and the young readily believe what is told them by those whom they trust.

When doubts occur regarding the faith, the Catholic, on his own principles, is not at liberty to suspend his belief, even provisionally, in order to institute an inquiry; for he can see no solid reasons for doing so. But one who is not a Catholic is bound to inquire when he sees reasons to doubt; and even to embrace a new doctrine, when he understands that this is the safer course.

120. In thus submitting to the teaching of the infallible Church, we do no injury to our reason. On the contrary, reason itself has helped us to find the Heaven-appointed guide, who is commissioned to instruct us further. By believing, we only acknowledge the limitation of our reason, and our need of God's aid to refuse to do so would be the sin of pride. Such refusal is indeed against the dictate of reason. For even in natural matters, all men habitually guide their conduct by their faith in mysteries, which neither they nor their fellows understand; for instance, no man on earth can explain fully how a message is carried by electricity; how much less can we understand the hidden things of God? All students of natural sciences accept the teachings of their professors, while some of them disdain to receive the teachings of the infallible representative of God. Faith assists reason by supplying it with many safe points of departure, useful in its study of natural knowledge; and reason assists faith by investigating the “motives of credibility”, and clearing up cases of apparent conflict between revealed and naturally acquired knowledge.

Moving is progressing!

I've been in the new place for a week, and have continued to reduce the rubble-pile in the middle of the main room...

I may even have a fully functioning kitchen by the end of the week, although, with a coffee maker, electric skillet, rice pot, and frig, I'm not doing bad at all!

Tuesday, November 06, 2007


BY REV. CHARLES COPPENS, S. J. IMPRIMATUR. S. Ludovici, die 19. Aug. 1903.
†JOANNES J. GLENNON, Coadj. Adm. Dioceseos S. Ludovici.

72. Yet this importance attached to the true doctrine by Christ, by the Apostles, and by their successors throughout all ages, would be unintelligible and unreasonable if we had no certain means of knowing what the true doctrine is. Now we cannot have such means unless the Church be endowed with infallibility in her teaching (n. 99). Therefore she must be infallible. For no one can pretend that the Scriptures are so clear as to decide all doubts concerning the faith, even on matters of the gravest importance; for instance, on the necessity of Baptism for infants, or on the meaning of the words, “Amen, amen, I say to you; Except you eat the Flesh of the Son of man, and drink His Blood, you, shall not have life in you” (Jo. VI, 54). And who is to decide for certain what is and what is not of importance? Is every one to judge for himself? If so, why the words of St. Peter warning us that in the Epistles of St. Paul there are “certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Pet. III, 16)? The fact is, those who pretend to draw their faith from the Scriptures are divided into more than three hundred sects, and in each sect there is much difference of opinion;--some members of the English Church call that holy which others in the same Church call an abomination. All this shows that the Scriptures are not sufficient to guarantee the truth of doctrine. Some Protestants suppose that the Holy Ghost teaches each pious reader of the Bible the true meaning of the inspired pages. If this were so, not two such readers would disagree; their faith would be concordant, which is not the case.

Besides, we have shown most clearly that the provision made by Christ for the perpetuity of His true doctrine is the institution of His Church (nn. 44-46). Therefore she must teach without error. Let us briefly sum up the proofs of her infallibility.

1. God could not bid us hear the Church if she could decide against the truth; and yet He bids us hear her (Matt. XVIII, 17).

2. He could not condemn a man for refusing to believe a false doctrine; and yet He says, “He that believeth not shall be condemned” (Mark XVI, 16). Therefore the doctrine which we are to believe cannot be false.

3. Christ promised to be with His Church till the end of time. Now this expression “to be with” occurs in ninety places in the Scriptures, and uniformly means “to give success;” but for a teaching body to err in doctrine would not be success but failure.

4. The Spirit of truth is to teach her all the truth and to abide with her forever (Jo. XIV, 16; XVI, 13).

5. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against her” (Matt. XVI, 18). If she erred, the gates of hell would prevail.

6. St. Paul calls her, “The Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of truth” (1. Tim. III, 15).

7. The Church has claimed infallibility from the beginning; for the Council of Jerusalem issued its decree as proceeding from the Holy Spirit: “It has seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us” (Acts XV, 28). Nor should it be supposed that this claim was made in the name of the Apostles only; for it is distinctly stated that the decree proceeded from the Apostles and the “Ancients” (πρεσβυτεροι), which name designated the bishops and priests.

8. It has ever been the practice of the Church to separate from her communion all who refused to believe her doctrine; and this separation has always been considered as the greatest evil, so that St. Augustine said “A Christian ought to fear nothing so much as to be separated from the Church of Christ; for if he be separated from the Church of Christ, he is not a member of Christ.” All this certainly supposes that the Church cannot teach a false doctrine, and this is meant by saying she is infallible (n. 99).

To answer objections against the holiness of the Church, we must remember that an institution is to be judged by the effects of its action on those members who are imbued with its spirit, not on those who are impervious to its influence. (88)

November Chapter meeting day is moving.

After 10 years of meeting on the third Sunday of each month, the Bl. Margaret of Castello Chapter of the Third Order of St. Dominic will meet on the third Saturday, November 17, 2007 (at Our Lady of the Valley, Caldwell). This one time change will be made permanent if it works well for members.

(and I'd be posting more, but I'm moving too...)