Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Whimsical President.

The safeguard of human liberty requires a constitutional process grounded on the Rule of Law.  It is a fundamental process engaged against those who would grasp at power by imposing their will by fiat--ignoring the Constitution and its processes as set up by the Founding Fathers.  

This due process protects the rights of all citizens, including the Church, against the whims of government and the tyranny of one or a few.  It is called the rule of law.

The executive order contemplated by the President today, Thursday, November 20, 2014, is far-reaching and it is meant to impact an entire population of illegal immigrants by the sweep of the President's pen.   This executive order is not meant to clarify an existing law or otherwise administer existing law according to the President's executive philosophy.  The breadth and width of this executive order and its impact is staggering: meant to impact as many as five million illegal immigrants.

The President's whim to impose his will to the point of legislating public policy and law of the United States by executive order is constitutionally, politically, and morally wrong. 

Further, his uncompromising attitude, not to give the new majority in the U.S. Senate and House the opportunity to work with him reveals a terrifying arrogance and frightening chasm between what is right and good and what is disordered and wrong.   I am praying for our President and for wisdom.

Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Novus africanus

I've been thinking about Cardinal Kasper's recent comments about the African bishops at the Synod.

How modern we have become, when we can exclude a continent, no longer for the race of the bishops, but rather for their strong and vibrant Catholic faith in word and practice! So the dominant culture once said that we should marginalize a group of people based on race...

...and now marginalization has a new face; the back of the bus is reserved for those whose faith is that of the ages with all the saints, rather than that of the moment with the culture.

So it seems a good time to embrace the back of the bus, and like those freedom marchers of the 60s, in a statement of solidarity with the new marginalization, declare myself to be novus africanus!

To those who support traditional marriage, today's novus africanus, well, some things don't seem to change.

Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.
- Saint Basil the Great

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Friday, September 12, 2014

God indeed is my savior, I am confident and unafraid. (Is 12:2)

On December 7, 1942, in a surprise attack on Pearl Harbor which resulted in the death of over 3000 Americans, the nation of Japan opened a war with the United States which ended on August 15th, 1945. On September 11, 2001, the Islamic group al-Qaeda attacked New York City and Washington DC, resulting in nearly 3000 deaths. The attack on Pearl occurred the day before the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, and that war ended definitively on the Solemnity of the Assumption.  The 911 attack occurred on the day before the feast of the Most Holy Name of Mary.
In the first instance, our nation was attacked by another nation; in the second instance, by a terrorist group. In both cases, the core principles of our nation were attacked by ideologies which are diametrically opposed.  In both cases, Providence provided a reminder that we have access to Divine assistance. Pray the Rosary for peace!

Remember Oh Most Gracious, Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to Thy protection, implored thy help or sought Thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence I fly unto Thee, Oh Virgin of Virgins, my Mother! To the do I come, before you I cry, sinful and sorrowful. Oh Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions but in Thy Mercy hear and answer me. Amen

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Statue of Bl Margaret - making progress!

Last week some of the chapter council members went to see the final version of the life size statue model before the mold is made for casting.

The artist, Michael Dente, has really gotten into his work!

Here's a bit of a close-up...

Friday, April 25, 2014

Br Peter's invitation: Ordination is coming!!

Dear Friends and Family,
I would be delighted for you to join me in my ordination to the priesthood in San Francisco this May 31. If you are coming from a long distance, we have limited accommodations at St. Albert's Priory. Please contact me (pjohannahop at gmail dot com) and I can inform you of possible space.

There will be a light reception following the ceremony at St. Dominic's, and then a luncheon on the back lawn of St. Albert's Priory beginning at 2pm. In addition to the mass attendance RSVP (on the main invite), please let me know by e-mail or phone if you intend to join us for the 2pm reception.

I am truly indebted to all of you for your support and prayers through the years. In this vein, it is a tradition for newly ordained Catholic priests to offer "masses of thanksgiving" at places that have spiritually formed them. Below is my current list of such masses/celebrations. You are invited to attend, according to desire (and geography!), any of them:

St. Albert's Priory, Oakland, CA June 1st, 9:30a 7th Sunday Easter
Carmel Mission Basilica, Carmel, CA June 7th, 5:30p Vigil of Pentecost
1st Presbyterian Church, Monterey, CA June 8th, 9a & 10:30a Pentecost
                                ("Thanksgiving Sermon")
Santa Catalina Chapel, Monterey, CA June 10th, 10a (Weekday Mass)
Holy Family Cathedral, Anchorage, AK June 15th, Holy Trinity Sunday
               9:30a (English)
               4:00p (Dominican Rite Missa Cantata)
St. Mary's Parish, Annapolis, MD June 19th, 8a (Weekday Mass)
Corpus Christi Monastery, Menlo Park, CA June 29th, 8a Solemnity of Sts. Peter & Paul

Chapter puts up new cross on Good Friday

On Good Friday, Mr Paul O'Leary OP brought out a team of volunteers to erect the steel cross which had been built for us.  The cross stands 12' above ground and is constructed from square box steel. It should stand much longer than our previous wooden crosses, which seemed to last about 2-3 years each.  This one was anchored with about a half ton of cement.

The day was gorgeous, the very earth bursting forth with new life in anticipation of our Lord's resurrection!

The cross against the skyline... a view we should see for many years to come!

Many thanks to Stephanie DeNinno for arranging for the cross to be built, and to Paul O'Leary who arranged for its delivery and installation!

Next item: The Bl. Margaret of Castello life-size statue is taking shape under the careful hands of sculptor Michael Dente.  Michael has a long history of sculpting for the Western Dominican Province; notably the statue of St Dominic which is at the Dominican Cemetery in Benicia, California.  It is fitting that Little Margaret will be here in our little Dominican cemetery in Idaho!

Thursday, March 27, 2014

David Adler's Idaho Statesman Piece on the Hobby Lobby case.

Check here for David Adler's questionable piece on the Hobby Lobby case:

David Adler: Women's rights at stake in Hobby Lobby case

Here is my response:


Thursday, March 27, 2014
Mr. David Adler
Andrus Center for Public Policy
Boise State University
1910 University Drive, MS1140
Boise, Idaho 83725-11140 

            Re:  Your Editorial, 03.27,2014, Idaho Statesman
Dear Mr. Adler: 

            Rarely do I find your opinion articles objectionable.  I may not agree with you in every case, but I do not find them objectionable. The referenced editorial flies in the face of good sense.
            The Hobby Lobby case was not an affront to the rights of women.  Your editorial politicizes the issue and read like a music sheet for the proverbial Planned Parenthood choir.  It falls short.
            Prior to March 23, 2010, the issue of contraception was a personal choice of men and women and a personal choice of employers to provide contraception insurance benefits.  Then, in accord with the President’s philosophy, the legislation was signed into law and used the force of government to convert these traditional choices upon the American people.  The law itself hid the agenda under the title of “preventive” medicine and turned it over to the Institute of Medicine to expand the definition of “preventive” medicine beyond its historical meaning and its application to pregnancy.  Returned to the U.S. HHS, the Secretary dutifully promulgated rules forcing employers to provide the contraception benefits.  The bait got magically switched. 
            Two points: (1) you are wrong: not all, but some of the contraception used are abortifacients and, by definition, rid the womb of an embryo; and (2) you are wrong about “religious liberty.”  The rights of conscience are at the heart of the case, a liberty so well grounded in natural rights that the American history and jurisprudence universally testifies to it—compared to what you call women’s rights granted by government and forced on employers barely four years ago.
            This issue is more about people than the corporations they inhabit and more about human dignity than forcing employers to pay for morally-objectionable benefits. 

John C. Keenan

Monday, March 24, 2014

From a dusty corner of the old noodle...

To be just, judge the Catholic religion on its effects on the man who has followed it, not the man who is impervious to it.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Day of Reflection with Fr Vincent Serpa OP








Romans 1: 5 & Romans 16:26

DATE:   Saturday, March 29, 2014
TIME:     9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.--With morning and afternoon sessions.
PLACE:  St. Mark’s Catholic Church
                7960 West Northview Street, Boise, Idaho.
LUNCH:  Lunch on your own; however, a no host lunch, will be served at
                12:00 noon at St. Mark’s, ($8.50 per person), if you want lunch
                 please R.S.V.P. in advance at the sign-up sheet at St. Mark’s or
                 call 375.2532 (RSVP message), or email
                 Please give your name and the number of people who will attend the lunch. 
INFO:      John C. Keenan, O.P.L.
                208.375.2532 or 208.867.6327

Monday, March 03, 2014

No, I've seen them praying to Idols!

No matter how many times a Catholic explains special devotions to those not familiar with nor friendly to the fullness of the faith, there comes back, again and again, a denial of truth vouchsafed by "I've seen them, on their knees, praying to their idol of Mary!"

Yes, my darkened brother, you have seen people on their knees; Is it not amazing how you know the secrets of their heart? Well, "Stop judging by appearances, but judge justly" (Jn 7-24).

For if the charge of idol worship could be so lightly laid and be true, what am I to think when I see you praying on your knees before your bed at night?

Should I assume, since you are kneeling before your bed, that you are worshiping and praying to your bed, and in spite of your protestations, reply "No, you worship idols; I have seen you on your knees praying to your bed!"

It would be nice if we'd have a little more smarts and charity than the glorified monkeys that the fans of Darwin would have us be...


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Fun in the Son

41st March for Life, Boise...

(Photo from Rick Hogaboam)

Fr Philip Neri Powell OP's photo of the folks from the Archdiocese of New Orleans who went to Washington DC for the national March for Life (Link)

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Petition to defend the status of the Holy See at the UN

Forwarded email from Fr Speekman in Australia...

Subject: Petition to defend Vatican at United Nations

Good morning everyone,

I encourage you to read this petition and then sign it.
Check out this site Help defend the Holy
See at the UN!

Yours faithfully,

Michael Palma

A few months ago the group “Catholics for Choice” launched a global
campaign to have the Holy See thrown out of the General Assembly.

The Holy See is the conscience of the UN as it is the only delegation
that does not have political considerations in how they negotiate. The
Holy See is a constant defender of life, faith and family at the UN.
Governments look to the Holy See for leadership on these issues. If for
any reason the Holy See is silent on an issue, others governments may
not speak.

From time to time it becomes necessary for everyday people to show
their support for the Holy See at the United Nations. That is why C-FAM
is calling all individuals and organizations of good will to sign the
Declaration in Support of the Holy See. Drafted by Professor Robert
George of Princeton and William Saunders of Americans United For Life,
the Declaration first gathered more than 4,000 group signatures more
than a decade ago when these campaigns first began.

The signers of the Declaration included the largest Protestant and even
the largest Muslim groups in the world. The document is for all men and
women of goodwill who understand the vital role the Holy See plays at
the UN. For the very first time, it has been opened for individuals to

C-FAM will present the signatories to the Holy See in New York, Geneva
and Rome sometime at the end of this year. The signatories will also be
presented to the UN. It is important to let “Catholics for Choice” know
that we are far stronger than they are, and all those who want to
impose child-killing on the world.

We are urged to read the Declaration in Support of the Holy See at and sign it. We are also requested to campaign
to get people and groups in our city and country to sign.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

News item from DSPT

The following message arrived by email:

Dear members of the Dominican Family:

I write to you to ask you to consider participating in an academic colloquium on the intersection of philosophy and theology,
scheduled for 16-20 July 2014

During his visitation of the Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Western U.S.A.), The Master of the Order asked our province and its center of studies, the Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, in Berkeley, California, to host a colloquium for the brethren on significant developments in recent philosophy. In response to this challenge, we have put together an event that we are now ready to announce - open to all who register. It is entitled:
What has Athens to do with Jerusalem? Dialogue between Philosophy and Theology in the 21st Century.
This event will bring together philosophers and theologians to explore the theological implications of current work in philosophy, as well as philosophical questions that arise in theology today. Plenary session presenters include Michael Dodds, OP, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology, Edward Feser, Pasadena City College, Alfred Freddoso, University of Notre Dame, John O’Callaghan, University of Notre Dame, Michał Paluch, OP, Dominican House of Studies, Krakow, Poland, John Searle, University of California at Berkeley, Robert Sokolowski, Catholic University of America, and Linda Zagzebski, University of Oklahoma.
Sponsored by the Dominican friars in the Western U.S., this is to be the first of triennial series (“Dominican Colloquia in Berkeley: Philosophers & Theologians in Conversation”) on the intersection between philosophy and theology. Note that there will also be a theologian responding to each philosopher.  While the plenary sessions focus on philosophy (and its theological implications), the submitted proposals may be primarily in either theology or philosophy, as long as the other discipline is addressed.
Details may be found in the attached flyers and Call for Papers, and on a page of our website at Registration will begin next week! Please forward this invitation to anyone who may have an interest in attending.

If you cannot attend, you can still participate by tuning in to videos of the event that we will make available from the colloquium webpage. We also ask for your prayers, that this colloquium may be fruitful.
Questions regarding the colloquium may be directed to me ( We hope that many of you will be able to join us.
In our holy father Dominic,
Fr. Bryan Kromholtz, O.P.
Regent of Studies, Province of the Most Holy Name of Jesus (Western Dominican Province, U.S.A.;
Assistant Professor of Theology, Dominican School of Philosophy and Theology (
2301 Vine Street
Berkeley, CA 94708-1816

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Thoughts on Francis, Evangelii gaudium, and the New Evangelization

Getting tired of being asked "So, what do you think of Pope Francis' endorsing gay marriage?" and that sort of mis-characterization? The questions come as barbs from marginal catholics who do support such aberations, from marginal protestants who just enjoy taking a jab, and from serious seekers who are truly hurt and scandalized in their search for truth by such nonsense.

To the former, who are not sincerly seeking Truth, the reply can be simple; a "Where did you hear that?" or perhaps even better, a "So what?" which might lead to a deeper consideration (but that is doubtful). the smug delivery of the barb is hard to overcome where Truth is not welcome.  It is the latter ones that the reply does indeed stretch to a new evangelization; putting in Truth so that the Way leads to Life rather than death.

I won't point the finger entirely at the media, although this is their specialty, they don't have to work nearly as hard to spin things as they did with Benedict XVI, who rarely gave them an opening (remember the hypothetical question about condoms when he went to Africa that was trumpeted to the world as a change in fundamental moral teaching?). No, our dear Holy Father seems to have a way with words, to the continuous delight of the media!

So it is that the Holy Father is very interested in the New Evangelization; enough to write an Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii gaudium.  It is here that I am in complete agreement with him; that infused and enthused by the Love of God, our efforts to share that Love should overflow from God's abundance! "The world loves a lover" is nothing new, love draws to itself, because we are made for love.   Jesus said, "when I am lifted up from the earth, I will draw everyone to myself." God's enemies in their turn love their vice and thus draw the weak away from grace.

In Evangelii gaudium we find:

35. Pastoral ministry in a missionary style is not obsessed with the disjointed transmission of a multitude of doctrines to be insistently imposed. When we adopt a pastoral goal and a missionary style which would actually reach everyone without exception or exclusion, the message has to concentrate on the essentials, on what is most beautiful, most grand, most appealing and at the same time most necessary. The message is simplified, while losing none of its depth and truth, and thus becomes all the more forceful and convincing.

But we have to balance this with Leo XIII's Testem benevolentiae nostrae, better known as the condemnation of "Americanism":

The underlying principle of these new opinions is that, in order to more easily attract those who differ from her, the Church should shape her teachings more in accord with the spirit of the age and relax some of her ancient severity and make some concessions to new opinions. Many think that these concessions should be made not only in regard to ways of living, but even in regard to doctrines which belong to the deposit of the faith. They contend that it would be opportune, in order to gain those who differ from us, to omit certain points of her teaching which are of lesser importance, and to tone down the meaning which the Church has always attached to them. It does not need many words, beloved son, to prove the falsity of these ideas if the nature and origin of the doctrine which the Church proposes are recalled to mind. The Vatican Council says concerning this point: "For the doctrine of faith which God has revealed has not been proposed, like a philosophical invention to be perfected by human ingenuity, but has been delivered as a divine deposit to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully kept and infallibly declared. Hence that meaning of the sacred dogmas is perpetually to be retained which our Holy Mother, the Church, has once declared, nor is that meaning ever to be departed from under the pretense or pretext of a deeper comprehension of them." —Constitutio de Fide Catholica, Chapter iv.

We cannot consider as altogether blameless the silence which purposely leads to the omission or neglect of some of the principles of Christian doctrine, for all the principles come from the same Author and Master, "the Only Begotten Son, Who is in the bosom of the Father."—John i, 18. They are adapted to all times and all nations, as is clearly seen from the words of our Lord to His apostles: "Going, therefore, teach all nations; teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you, and behold, I am with you all days, even to the end of the world."—Matt. xxviii, 19. Concerning this point the Vatican Council says: "All those things are to be believed with divine and catholic faith which are contained in the Word of God, written or handed down, and which the Church, either by a solemn judgment or by her ordinary and universal magisterium, proposes for belief as having been divinely revealed."—Const. de fide, Chapter iii.

Let it be far from anyone's mind to suppress for any reason any doctrine that has been handed down. Such a policy would tend rather to separate Catholics from the Church than to bring in those who differ. There is nothing closer to our heart than to have those who are separated from the fold of Christ return to it, but in no other way than the way pointed out by Christ.

So if we return to the work of Pope Francis in Evangelii gaudium:

39. Just as the organic unity existing among the virtues means that no one of them can be excluded from the Christian ideal, so no truth may be denied. The integrity of the Gospel message must not be deformed.

So in summary, I would say that The Way must include The Truth if it is to lead to The Life.

now, back to the reading... !