Wednesday, December 11, 2013

St Nicholas - tired of nonsense

From Michael Greeney at JustThirdWay blog:

[Dec 6] is the “Feast” of Saint Nicholas of Myra, the original Santa Claus, and patron saint of micro-lenders (i.e., pawnbrokers) and bankers in general. And of thieves, children, and unmarried women, so don’t read too much into the thieves and bankers coincidence. Pawning is, of course, a form of deposit banking, in which the borrower takes out a small loan at high rates of interest, leaving a “moveable chattel” as collateral. This is in contrast to “commercial” or “mercantile” banking in which the lender gives a promissory note for a bill of exchange issued by the borrower representing the present value of future marketable goods and services. Instead of “interest,” which can only be charged on existing savings, the lender accepts the bill at a discount determined by the risk and other factors. The difference between the face value and the discounted value (assuming the bill is redeemed or “paid” on maturity at the face value) is the fee out of which the lender meets his costs and makes a profit. If capital credit insurance and reinsurance is used to replace traditional collateral, classic commercial banking represents a feasible source of financing for widespread ownership using future savings instead of past savings. Thus, in a sense, Saint Nicholas could be called the patron saint of the Just Third Way. Oh, by the way, Saint Nicholas is also noted for punching out Bishop Arius for refusing to stop spouting nonsense during the Council of Nicea, A.D. 325. And Chesterton believed Aquinaswas thinking combatively. “Jolly Old Elf” my foot.

Fr Emmerich Vogt coming to Boise in January!

It is a pleasure to report that Fr Emmerich Vogt OP will be in Boise on Saturday, January 4, 2014. Fr Vogt will be at St Mark Parish to provide a parish mission.


Fr. Emmerich was born in New Britain, CT, the younger of two children. He entered the Dominican Order at St. Albert Priory in 1971 and was ordained a priest in 1978. He taught at Marist High School in Eugene, Oregon, Daniel Murphy High School in Los Angeles, and Holy Rosary College in Fremont, California. For many years he worked for Western Dominican Preaching, giving parish missions and retreats. For 24 years he has worked for Mother Teresa's Missionaries of Charity, giving retreats and seminars throughout the world. In January 2007 he was elected Prior Provincial and currently resides at St. Albert Priory in Oakland.

The 12-step Review: Christian Friends in Recovery, "Know the truth and the truth will set you free" - John 8:32,

Thursday, November 14, 2013

More Aquinas!

Just received this and thought it good to pass along to those who might be interested.
Dear Friends,

As many of you already know, The Aquinas Institute has continued steadily publishing the works of St. Thomas in highly admired hardcover English-Latin editions. We have completed the first phase of our publishing project with the following sets:

We are now turning our attention to the rest of the Opera Omnia -- and we need your help! We have kept and plan to keep the cost of our volumes low to make them widely available, but as a result we are able to do the initial print run of volumes as they are funded through donations. For a limited time, donors will receive a complimentary copy of the volumes they help fund.

Go to our website to use your donation as a vote for what will be printed next -- and to be among the first to receive a copy of that set. Once a volume has been funded, this offer of a complimentary copy will cease for that volume, and we will then sell it via Amazon.

We have editors and translators lined up for most of the works of Aquinas, but we will focus our efforts on the works that are most funded by you, our readers. Please spread the word by sending this email to any of your colleagues or friends who might be interested.
God Bless,
Peter Kwasniewski

Monday, November 04, 2013

New pictures from Cross of Remembrance

Bonnie Fitzpatrick has been working hard to finish the Cross of Remembrance project, and here are some new photos!

Looks much larger than it actually is. Here's another perspective.


Rather nice work. The center open space will be where the statue of Blessed Margaret of Castello, patroness of the unborn and unwanted, will be placed.  

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Concedo nulli

I ran across the phrase Concedo nulli in an unlikely place; unlikely in that why would I be looking at anything related to BSU Football? Actually, I wasn't, but happened to see it on an image when I was looking for something quite different. It seems to me that Concedo nulli (yield no ground), rooted in the old Roman God Terminus for the protection of boundaries, can be baptized and used as a synonym for the Catholic Magisterium in general, and Dominicans in particular.

And yes, I'll concede, it's a good motto for a football team!

Wednesday, October 02, 2013

+Memorial of Guardian Angels, October 2, 1013 


Requiem Aeternam dona eis, Domine et lux perpetua luceat eis:
Requiescant in pace. Amen.

My mother-in-law, Helen Chenoweth-Hage, died on October 2, 2006, seven years to the day--in a car accident just four months after her husband died of cancer on June 5, 2006.  She was ever gracious and kind to all she met especially her family and friends.  She is sorely missed.  I continue daily to pray for the repose of her soul, for her family, and for the principles and heritage that she passed on to so many.  Many remember her as an effective, articulate, truthful, and affable member of Congress from Idaho's First Congressional District.  Others know her from years before her service in Congress for her effective principled political work behind the scenes in Idaho. 
She had faith in Jesus Christ.  She had faith in Idaho's people and she acted on that faith before, during and after her six year tenure as Idaho's congresswoman.  When she was first elected in 1994, I gave her a copy of the Summa Theologica, translated by the English Friars.  It is a comprehensive edition setting out St. Thomas Aquina's conclusions as to each question.  She read it before she was sworn into Congress.  She often raised St. Thomas' many points-of-view from the Summa.  Dare I say she was a Thomist at heart. 
She was able to embrace intellectually the points made by St. Thomas yet she was not a Catholic.  She stood like a pillar on the standards of law and politics that have made this Nation great.  She would have gladly given her life for those principles.  She embraced life with joy, difficulties and stress with grace, and her family and friends with love.
Thank you for being a part of our lives! 

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

Fulton Sheen book - new edition of "Freedom Under God"

The following is a press release from the publisher...

In 1940, on the eve of the United States entry into World War II, the late Fulton J. Sheen (1895-1979) published Freedom Under God. This new, annotated “Just Third Way Edition” of a neglected classic includes an in-depth foreword, as well as a bibliography and index not included in the original.

While Freedom Under God addresses the loss of true freedom throughout the world, Sheen’s special concern was freedom of religion. This is under increasing attack today. Individual life as well as marriage and the family are also in grave danger as the State continues to expand its power to fill the vacuum left by the growing powerlessness of ordinary people.

Speaking to people of all faiths and philosophies, albeit from a “Catholic” perspective, then-Monsignor Sheen traced the rise of totalitarian State power in the first half of the 20th century to the fact that fewer and fewer people in America and throughout the world owned capital — what Sheen called “creative wealth.” As Sheen argued, agreeing with other great thinkers through the ages, “Power follows property, and they who own things to a great extent own persons.” Only widespread private property in capital has the capacity to restore the foundation of true freedom.

In conformity with the precepts of the natural law on which Sheen relied to develop his thought, CESJ adds that genuine economic reform must also comply with the three principles of economic justice: Participative Justice, Distributive Justice, and Harmonic Justice. Lawyer-economist Louis O. Kelso and Aristotelian philosopher Mortimer J. Adler first described these principles in Chapter 5 of their bestselling The Capitalist Manifesto.

Sheen’s warnings fell on deaf ears. Thanks to the near-global acceptance of Keynesian economics, the wagewelfare system within a State-controlled, inflationary, debt-ridden economy is the unquestioned model for economic development throughout the world.

The world needs the wisdom of Fulton Sheen now more than ever. The republication of Freedom Under God helps introduce the work of this pivotal thinker to a new generation of readers and students.

Fulton J. Sheen, Freedom Under God, ISBN: 978-0-944997-11-6, 264 pp., $20.00
Individual copies available from Amazon and Barnes and Noble, or by special order from many bookstores.

Bulk/Wholesale Order Information for Fulton J. Sheen’s FREEDOM UNDER GOD

This information is for bulk/wholesale orders of ten or more copies only. There is a 20% discount on bulk/wholesale orders. Additional discounts may be available for orders of 100 copies or more. To place a bulk/wholesale order, send your name, street address (our distributor does not ship to P. O. Boxes) and number of copies you wish to order (no less than ten, please) to:
We will get back to you with the full cost of your order (plus shipping) and payment details.


Monday, September 30, 2013

Lazarus and the Rich Man

On Sunday Fr Carmona made the insightful comment that the Lazarus' in our lives are usually much closer to us than we want to deal with; we'd rather do 'works of charity' at a distance, rather than live live the charity which God has prudentially given us opportunity to exercise; usually in the form of family and aquaintances.  It is here that we are called most clearly to share the abundance of our table, more often spiritually than carnally. What is that abundance? duh, Jesus in the Eucharist!

OK, I will have to say that in 17 years of being a Catholic, I have never heard a homily on this reading that echos St Augustin's explanation.  Before Jesus fed the 5000 with 5 loaves, he said "they are like sheep without a shepherd."  So the "rich man" is the Hebrew priesthood and educated caste, who posess evertything essential for salvation because they are the guardians of the Word of God. Lazarus represents the sheep without a shepherd, those who don't know God and are mired in their sins because they have not heard what they need to hear for their salvation.

And pastors today? We have this reading immediately following the long series in the Divine Office from St Augustin's Sermon on Pastors where he excoriates those pastors who feed on their sheep instead of shepherding their flock.

And we who are laymen; we are also members of the Royal Priesthood; our [priestly] sacrifice is a broken heart, a contrite spirit, but we are also surrounded by sheep without shepherds, Lazarus who is seeking God's assistance but starved for even a scrap, a drop of cold water.  Remember those springs of living water that are supposed to well up in us?

Oh yeah, dogs licking Lazarus' sores.  To a first century Hebrew, this final insult by an unclean animal would not be comforting, as it is easy for today's pet-saturated culture to imagine; rather this insult would probably be like you having an open wound and watching flies land on it and not being able to to anything about it; shudder! We may not have an appreciation of ancient Hebrew ritual cleanliness, but we understand that sort of physical uncleanliness!

Being a Dominican, it is hard to resist the temptation to assign to the dog the identity of bad or heretical preachers; their 'ministrations' to Lazarus are not only of no assistance, they drive him further from being saved.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Thoughts on Pope Francis' Big Interview

"We cannot insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods. This is not possible. I have not spoken much about these things, and I was reprimanded for that. But when we speak about these issues, we have to talk about them in a context. The teaching of the church, for that matter, is clear and I am a son of the church, but it is not necessary to talk about these issues all the time." - Pope Francis, Sept 30, interview in America Magazine with Antonio Spadaro SJ (Link)

Many of us have wondered where this church is that is so insistent only on these issues. We'd like to go there. Seriously, how many priests, parishes, how many statements of the USCCB or any other bishop’s conference, can be accused of this with a straight face? Yes, a few no doubt, but to color the entire Church by that? It strains credulity. So, what is Pope Francis telling us?

Perhaps the answer lies in not linking this paragraph to the one above, but rather, reading "we" in a different light than we are wont to.

Given this pope's persona of "humility" it is unlikely that he has used the term in the royal sense, as have so many popes in the past. No, we naturally jump to a reading where "we" becomes associated with the body of Christ, the Church. Passing beyond the "We believe" in the previous translation of the Credo to the current "I believe" for the collective voice of The Church, I propose that the context of "we" in this paragraph is the Holy Father and the members of the Media.

Where else, but the main stream media, can you look to find a shrill and insistent voice speaking endlessly about abortion, gay marriage, and contraception? This is the (un)holy trinity of the secular culture, and their evangelists, the members of the media, are mercilessly ramming it down our throats.

So when the Holy Father complains that this subject needs to be spoken of in context, what does the media immediately do, but quote (and misquote) him out of context!

So perhaps this strains your credulity as a way of reading this in the context of the interview. Yet, as successor of Peter, I think it not unreasonable to read his comments in this light.

Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said to them, "You know nothing, nor do you consider that it is better for you that one man should die instead of the people, so that the whole nation may not perish." He did not say this on his own, but since he was high priest for that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the nation, and not only for the nation, but also to gather into one the dispersed children of God. (John 11:49-52 )

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Br Peter's retreat talks now online

Last July the Chapter held the 9th annual Mary Magdalen Retreat with Br Peter Hannah OP as Retreat Master. His talks were recorded and are now available online at the following links:

Talk 1
Talk 2
Talk 3
Talk 4
Talk 5


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fr Rui Lopes is the New Promoter for the Laity

The following is a reprint from

Fr Rui Lopes is the New Promoter for the Laity

The Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré has appointed fr Rui Carlos Antunes e Almeida Lopes as the new General Promoter of the Laity. He is from the Province of Portugal. His appointment is for 6 years.

Fr Rui who was born at Harare, Zimbabwe made his first religious profession in the Order in 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood in 1985. He has a PhD in the Science of Documentation and Archives.

Before his appointment, he has been the Archivist and the Promoter of the Dominican Laity in his province. He was also a Military Chaplain, chaplain of the Sovereign Order of Malta and the Secular Institute of Caritas Christi.

Fr Rui succeeds fr David Kammaler, who after serving in the office for 6 years, will be returning to his home Province of Teutonia. He is going to continue to serve as the Assistant Promoter of the Dominican Family in his province.

 On behalf of the Master of the Order, fr Bruno Cadoré and the entire General Curia, we wish fr David the best in his future endeavour. (09 September 2013)

- See more at

Friday, September 06, 2013

New Cross for Homedale

Here's a CAD rendering of the new cross which is proposed to replace the wooden one which blew down the night of the Succor Creek fire (see post below). The cross that blew down has been getting shorter and shorter, each time it got blown down and re-planted! and it is not even the original, it replaced another Cross (series of crosses?)

The proposed cross will be made of structural steel in order to withstand the occasional stiff winds (65mph+) that periodically snap off our wooden crosses like match-sticks! Just for grins, here's the original from way back...

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Blessings of the Assumption to you!

I love this day, as I love the Catholic Faith which the Lord has given me. Yet, reading the Liturgy of the Hours this morning, I have to admit I was a bit confused by the intercessions, where I was praying to Jesus to ask Him to ask His mother to intercede to Him for me!

I thought that this must certainly be a very poor translation, as how could the original be this confused? Yet, when I went to the Universalis Liturgy of the hours site, I found:

Lord, may your mother pray for us. 

I don't know, it just strikes me as backwards; it smacks of a protestant fear of praying to Mary. But Universalis offers a nice feature; you can put up the Latin next to the English! So the above is suposed to be a translation of:
Plenam grátia intuére et exáudi nos.
OK, so I'm not a Latinist, but I'm rather suspicious that the above English is a more than a bit out to lunch. From my brief choral experience I can pick out "full of grace" and "hear us" but I still went to Google translate, which offered:
Full of grace, look down and hear us.
I am relieved that the Latin appears to make emminent sense, even if the English we struggle with doesn't. 
As a linguistic cripple, I had come to expect more from the translation at the Universalis site.  I expect far more from Holy Mother Church, of course.  All in due time, in spite of my impatience.
Glorious and dearest mother Mary, you whose life and assumption are the model of humble patience and endurance, pray for us.

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Schedule for the Retreat in Homedale, July 19 - 21, 2013


7:00pm Dominican Rite Mass

BBQ following the Mass - Chapter to provide the Salmon and Shrimp


Adoration ( maybe all night, we haven't decided yet )


8:00 - 9:00 Continental Breakfast (Chapter to provide)

9:00 - 12:00 Morning Prayer &Presentations

12:00 - 1:00 Lunch (Sandwiches - Chapter to provide WILL USE LEFTOVER


1:00 - ??

Evening Sunday Vigil Mass with Evening Prayer

Dinner - Pizza, Salad and Strawberry Dessert.

Wine and Star Gazing......


8:00 Morning Prayer




See you all there,


Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Succor Creek fire, upcoming retreat, Novice visit

It started with a run out to the Chapter House to pick up some things. A little tending the garden, right? A little of this, a little of that... and the day is gone. Going to Homedale is like that.

But the clouds rolled in (well, one really big one), the wind came up, and the lightening started over the Owyhee Mountains...

By late evening this was the view from the driveway last night at the Dominican Chapter House! Well, OK, we drove over to Succor Creek Road in Oregon, 3-4 miles away, to get a better picture.  Lightening and gusty winds combined to drive this fire over several thousand acres. It started around 9PM and driven by the wind had agressively traveled several miles north. around 1AM the winds died down and the fire with it.

We did not evacuate the chapel because there are two miles of irrigated crops between the fire and the Chapter House, so it should be quite safe. Really. According to Channel 7 news (who was on the scene last night), the fire is about 10,000 acres this morning.  If the BLM remains true to form, they will let it burn a whole lot more before they do much of anything about it. this is nature at work, cleansing the earth.

The following picture was taken at the Chapter House on June 10 of this year. The sunsets are marvelous, and it has been a great blessing to me to have been able to stay there for the last four months.

And thanks to Jennine Cressman's husband for the suggestion on repairing the pews! I know that our security is in the Lord Jesus our Savior, but it is also nice to sit in pews that don't threaten to dump you on the floor without notice!

John and I were recently in Oakland for the Lay Provincial council meeting, where we made sure Rev Brother Peter Hannah OP will be coming as our retreat master. We didn't have to twist his arm. much. (John had a pretty good grip on him here, you think?)

Seriously, Br Peter is an engaging speaker and a delight. And he'll be here with Fr Vincent Kelber OP! This is one dynamic duo! The July 19-21 retreat should be wonderful - see you there.

Yes, and don't forget that Fr Anthony Rosevear OP is coming with the novice class on July 11! There will be a potluck at the Chapter House at 7PM to greet these young men who will make their first vows on August 31. They will stay the night then travel to Seattle on the 12th.

These young men are signing up to light a different kind of fire, one that brings light to a world plunging into darkness. Pray that the Lord of the harvest send more workers into His vineyard.

May God grant eternal rest to the 19 firefighters who lost their lives yesterday in Arizona, and comfort to their families.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fetal Pain Bill.

It has been proven that a baby in the womb can feel pain.  If passed, this bill would provide some mercy to such persons in the womb.

House passes Fetal Pain Bill

Pope: Homily at Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day

Pope: Homily at Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day

Read it.  This has meaning for these crazy days here on Earth!
Pope: Homily at Mass for Evangelium Vitae Day [full text]

Wednesday, June 05, 2013

The key Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, Part I

            The key Principles of the Social Doctrine of the Catholic Church, Part I
            By John Keenan, O.P.(Lay)
            The foundation of Catholic Church’s rich social doctrine is expressed in the Holy Bible, in the writings of the Fathers of the Church, in the Church’s historical and saintly texts, e.g., St. Thomas Aquinas, and St. Augustine, and in its more “recent” A.D. 1537 papal encyclical entitled Sublimus Dei on respecting the liberty and property of the American Indians.   The body of the Church’s modern social doctrine starts with Pope Leo XIII’s Rerum Novarum which marked “the beginning of a new path.”   In the 19th Century, “events of an economic nature produced a dramatic social, political, and culture impact.”
            The Industrial Revolution changed centuries-old social structures which raised profoundly new questions about labor and capital.   The Church responded with the first social encyclical Rerum Novarum intervening in the social affairs of the world in a new way.  The Church prayed for and sought Wisdom “capable of finding appropriate solutions to unfamiliar and unexplored problems.”   The purpose was to explore the labor question in response to industrial laborers “who languished in inhumane misery.”   The Encyclical considers these issues based on principles found on revelation and on natural law and morality.
            Diligently, Pope Leo lists in his Encyclical the many errors that give rise to social ills. The Pope excludes socialism as a remedy.  He affirms in modern terms, “the Catholic doctrine on work, the right to own private property, the principle of collaboration instead of [the Marxist model of] class struggle as the fundamental means for social change, the rights of the weak, the dignity of the poor and the obligations of the rich, the perfecting of justice through charity, on the right to form professional associations.”   The key theme of the encyclical Rerum Novarum is—as every good Dominican would love—the “just ordering of society.”  Pope Leo XIII affirmed that modern social problems could only be dealt with by cooperative action between all social forces.
            With the grave economic upheaval of the Great Depression, Pope Pius XI published the Encyclical Quadragesimo Anno which commemorated the 40th Anniversary of Rerum Novarum.  The Pope expanded on Pope Leo XIII early work, and “reread the past in light of the economic and social situation which the expansion of the influence of financial groups, both nationally and internationally, was added to the effects of industrialization.”  It was written in the post-World War I period where totalitarian regimes were imposed on Europe while the propaganda of “class struggle [that found its intellectual (so to speak) beginnings in Karl Marx] was becoming more bitter.”
            Importantly, Quadragesimo Anno “warns about the failure to respect the freedom to form associations and stresses the principles of solidarity and cooperation in order to overcome social contradictions.  The relationship between capital and labor must be characterized by cooperation.”
            The Encyclical also confirmed that wages and/or salaries should be proportionate to the worker and to the worker’s family.  Another critical but overarching principle of the Encyclical is the idea that the State or government, in its relationship with the private sector and private action, should apply the principle of “subsidiarity,” which is the concept that is “fixed and unchangeable” that the government should not take from persons “what they can accomplish by their own initiative and industry and give it to the” government or to the community; “so also it is an injustice and at the same time a grave evil and disturbance of right order to assign to a greater and higher association what lesser and subordinate organizations can do.”  Pope Pius XI rejected the principle of “unlimited competition between economic forces,” confirmed the value of private property and recalled its social function.  The Pope promoted a concept of free association, an urgent application of moral principles to govern human relationships, “with the intent of overcoming the conflict between classes and arriving at a new social order based on justice and charity.”
            At the same time, two European totalitarian regimes came to power in Italy and in Germany.  Pope Pius XI protested against the abuses of power and of people by these fascist socialist regimes in his Encyclicals Non Abbiamo Bisogno relating to Italy and Mit Brennender Sorge relating to Germany.  In 1938, with the spreading of anti-Jewish sentiment and repression, Pope Pius XI affirmed, “Spiritually we are all Semites.”
            In his 1937 encyclical, Divini Redemptoris, Pius XI tackled the issue of the Church’s social doctrine and atheistic communism, describing communism as “intrinsically perverse.”   As he noted, in reflection on Scriptural, saintly, and prior papal writings, the best way for correcting the perversity and evils of communism “could be found in the renewal of Christian life, the practice of evangelical charity, the fulfillment of the duties at both the interpersonal and social levels in relation to the common good, and the institutionalization of professional and interprofessional groups.”
            During the reign of Pope Pius XII in World War II, the Pope used radio messages and other media, to teach and reflect on a new social order guided by “morality and law, focusing on justice and peace[.]” During that period of devastating war that ravished the world, “for millions of believers and nonbelievers, the social teaching of Pope Pius XII represented the voice of universal conscience.”
            “One of the characteristics of Pope Pius XII’s interventions is the importance he gave to the relationship between morality and law.”   The Pope asserted that the natural law is at the soul of any system both at the national and international levels.  Pope Pius XII’s teachings on social doctrine are considered as an immediate precursor of the Second Vatican Council.
            Twenty years later, Blessed John Paul XXIII read the “signs of the times.”  He noted that the social question was becoming universal and involved all countries; together with the problems of the Industrial Revolution, there were problems with agriculture, in developing countries, and the need for “global economic cooperation.”  The Pope connected economic growth to not only satisfying humankind’s needs but to promote its dignity.  In his encyclical Pacem in Terris, Pope John XXIII addressed it to “all men of good will.”  He called for all humanity to “tackle and solve problems of an economic, social, political or cultural character which are posed by the universal common good.”
            The Vatican Council II’s pastoral constitution Gaudium et Spes recognizes the Church’s solidarity with the human community and carefully examines the subjects of culture, of economic and social life, of marriage and family, of political life, and of peace and the community of people.  It notes among all of creation, that the human person “is the only creature on earth which God willed for itself” and that all structures in human life and development must focus on “the progress of the human person.”
            Another Vatican II document of pinnacle import was the declaration entitled Dignitatis Humanae where the right to religious freedom is proclaimed grounded on the dignity of the human person and that such “must be sanctioned as [a] civil right in the legal order of society.”  
            Pope Paul VI noted that the term “development” is a new name for peace and noted in his encyclical, Populorum Progressio of the integral development of man and the development of solidarity with all humanity.  Development, as the Pope asserts, is the “transition from less humane conditions to those which are more humane.”  This transition implies for each person a form of culture, respect for the dignity of each person, and that of the “highest good, the recognition of God Himself, the author and end of these blessings.”
            In the year the above encyclical was published, 1967, Pope Paul VI created the Pontifical Commission on Justice and Peace.  The purpose thereof was to promote justice and peace in the world and to advance the Church’s cause.  In 1971, Pope Paul VI raised the social doctrine of the Church as grounded on Pope Leo XII to higher levels, in his apostolic letter entitled Octogesima Adveniens.  He touched on the post industrial age and the inadequacy of ideologies in responding to modern social problems. This is no subtle point.  Many of the political ideologies formulated in the 19th Century came to fruit in the atheistic communism and national socialism of the 20th Century that resulted in the death of countless millions of human beings in the raw form of devastating war, revolution, oppression, tyranny, and abortion.
            Another hallmark of Pope Paul VI’s record is the encyclical Humanae Vitae (1968) where he foresaw the world we live in today.  He noted that the consequences of artificial birth control will create a “wide and easy road” to deteriorating social structures, the danger to young people, and the declining morality.  He noted that men, “growing used to the employment of anti-conceptive practices, may final[ly] lose respect” for women.  He posed the question, that without regard to the moral law, “[w]ho will stop rulers from favoring, from even imposing upon their peoples, if they were to consider if necessary, the method of contraception which they judge to be most efficacious?” Without observing the divine law that imposes limits on persons as well as governments, the social situation could “reach the point of placing at the mercy of the intervention of public authorities the most personal and most reserved sector of conjugal intimacy.” 
Pope Paul VI noted that people must live in accord with God’s law in governance over “his [or her] own body and its functions; limits which no man [or woman], whether a private individual or one invested with authority, may licitly pass.”   In the world today, from the legal commission of abortion, to the violence against women and children, and to the communist Chinese government’s harshly imposed one-child-per-couple policy (just to name a few) Pope Paul VI was prophetic.  Indeed, after Humane Vitae was promulgated, many clerics and religious and educational institutions within the Church rebelled against its teachings and principles—a rebellion sustained in our society today.
            John Paul II’s encyclical entitled Laborem Exercens was devoted to work, “the fundamental good of the human person, the primary element of economic activity and the key to the entire social question.”  Pope Paul II noted that human work must be understood noted not only for his objective and material sense, but as an expression of the person and its fulfillment. The Pope also noted the “growing awareness of every individual as a human being without any distinction of race, nationality, religion, political opinion, or social class[;]” but the modern irony is that this growing awareness cannot be reconciled “with the widespread attacks on human life and the refusal to accept those who are weak, needy, elderly, or just conceived?  These attacks go directly against respect for life[.]”
            In his next encyclical, Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, Pope John Paul II noted that true development is more than the multiplication of, or the possession of, goods and services, “but must contribute to the fullness of the ‘being’ of man.  In this way the moral nature of real development is meant to be shown clearly.” 
            In the next article, the remaining Encyclicals on the Church’s social doctrine will be discussed and summarized including John Paul II’s Centesimus Annus, and Benedict’s XVI’s Caritas et Veritas.  The next article will also review the key principles of this social doctrine and how it is applicable to the modern world.
            John Keenan, O.P.(Lay)

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

A reflection on peace

In the moral authority of the Papacy lies the hope of world peace. Not in Geneva, nor in Versailles, nor in the Kremlin, nor in Wilhelmstrassse, nor in the Quai d’Orsay in Paris, nor in any capital of the world is to be found the hope for the future. We of the Western world who claim to be so interested in justice and the rights of the minority have no scruples in entering into counsels with Hitler and Stalin who have been the assassins of Justice. Shall we scruple at heeding the counsel of [the Pope], the representative of the Prince of Peace? All other means of peace have failed.

Whence Come Wars, Fulton Sheen, 1940

Friday, March 15, 2013

Habemus Papam!

I'l liking the new Holy Father more and more, the more I read... And then there's the report of the Cdl. Bernard Law thing on day 1 at St Mary Major. encouraging!

From a 2012 interview with Andrea Tornielli at Vatican Insider (Link)

Can you tell us show the Roman Curia is perceived from the outside?
“I see it as a body that gives service, a body that helps me and serves me. Sometimes negative news does come out, but it is often exaggerated and manipulated to spread scandal. Journalists sometimes risk becoming ill from coprophilia and thus fomenting coprophagia: which is a sin that taints all men and women, that is, the tendency to focus on the negative rather than the positive aspects. The Roman Curia has its down sides, but I think that too much emphasis is placed on its negative aspects and not enough on the holiness of the numerous consecrated and lay people who work in it.”


Monday, January 14, 2013

Interior life of Elisabeth Leseur

From The Secret Diary of Elisabeth Leseur, The woman whose goodness changed her husband from atheist to priest

Sept 13, 1904

I am going to take advantage of a rare day of calm in my increasingly troubled and scattered life to make a serious examination of conscience and meditation. And first I want to write a little in this journal; it will do me good, for I feel a great solitude in my soul, humanly speaking, and a word of faith or of charity, falling from human lips, would bring warmth to my heart.

It is God’s will that, until my most intense wish is granted, I should walk alone in the path of suffering that He has shown us, and that He has made quite rough for me lately. And yet He is more than ever close to me and supporting me.

From the human point of view, no light is visible. Sadness in the present, anxiety for the future, frequent impediments in everything through my illness, the privation of all that could have transformed my life: good and fruitful work, reading – and this because of more immediate and humble duties. Absence of the consolation that contact with people of intelligence, faith, and truly Christian love always brings; physical discomfort – all these at present make a dull, sad atmosphere in my soul.

Today in recollection and humble prayer I will implore the divine aid I need so much, and plan out my life for this winter, such as it presents itself to me. First, I must firmly renounce the concrete visible good I would so much have liked to do; my duty to my dear invalids comes before all, and since I believe in the Communion of Saints, I will as God to apply to those I love and to souls the sacrifice of this inaction. I must learn to use stray moments to write and work. I must not neglect to meditate daily, for that is so necessary to me, and I will do it when and how I can.

To return to greater serenity, inner and outer; to struggle against absorption in beloved one’s suffering; to avoid speaking of my miseries, which is harmful to inner concentration. To be serene with myself and to try and acquire more indulgence for others.

Not to dwell upon the little wounds that my feelings and convictions perpetually suffer, but to offer them “manfully” to God. Not to give way to discouragement and a type of moral lassitude as a result of emotional sadness and bodily trials, but to keep alive in myself supernatural joy and the will to act, without any care to know the result of my action and efforts.

The Original Deep Fat Friar

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