October 14, 2006

Today, 75th Anniversary of the Christ the Redeemer on Corcovado Hill, Rio de Janeiro


Read an article about the statue from an online art news website.
Click HERE for it.

AURORA BOREALIS, or Northern Lights

A rare, enormous, spectacular array of multi-colored light occuring as curtains, sheets or rays seen in northern regions of the earth, caused by charged particles from the sun interacting with molecules in the earth's atmosphere.

Heavenly video slideshow with music.


Video with scientific explanation and time-lapse photo "movie"


October 13, 2006

A mother whose child died in the Columbine shooting has written to an Amish grandmother

"I can't stop crying. Your babies' deaths
have burst my heart. But your words of
forgiveness felt so calming that many of
us fell to our knees."
Click HERE for it.

Rod Dreher has left the Catholic Church for the Orthodox Church

As for Rod Dreher, what will he do when Orthodox clergy scandalize him? What then?

Jesus was a scandal. A real man. Blood, sweat, tears. Son of God? Blasphemer? Breaker of the Sabbath? Messiah? His flesh is real food? His blood is real drink? Giver of eternal life? A crucified criminal?

After the absurd claims of the Divine-Human Incarnation, the Eucharist, the Death, the Resurrection, the Ascension ... the sins of the MERELY human members of the Church are nothing.

It is the Church's mission to continue the scandal of Christ.

Mere sinners who wield the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Mere sinners who have the authority to bind in heaven from the earth. Mere sinners who have the authority to grant God's forgiveness to other sinners.

Sinners who receive Baptism and become sons and daughters holy to God. God's baptized holy ones who continue to be sinners.

Sinners whom God forbids to remain silent in announcing his Holy Word.

As a priest, should I be scandalized by hearing the confessions of lay Catholics and knowing their sins?

Should I leave the Catholic Church hoping to find the Orthodox laity more faithful, more holy, less of a scandal?

I would have been less displeased by Rod Dreher's choice if he had simply said, "I just like the Orthodox Church."

Read Mr. Dreher's own testimony.

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UPDATE. Friday, October 13, at 3:37 P.M. I had originally published the above with a link to Dreher's testimony. His testimony, however, has since vanished from its site. My opening question above touches upon Dreher's having been scandalized by the lack of integrity among members of the Catholic clergy.
- - - -
SECOND UPDATE. Friday, October 13, at 4:54 P.M. Dreher's testimony is up again.
- - - -
Click HERE for it.

October 26 to 28: GodBlog Conference 2006

To discuss with some of the blogosphere's greatest minds how best to bring the truth and power of Christ into a culture withering from lack of truth, goodness, and beauty.
Click HERE for it.

While American military personnel risk their lives in Iraq, many of their spouses and children here lack food and basic necessities.

I am sad, angry, and afraid over this.

This touches me personally.

Because my father was in the U.S. Navy, I spent my childhood in U.S. military family housing.

The local San Diego newspaper today has an article about the poverty of families on Camp Pendleton, the U.S. Marine base that is my own monastery's next door neighbor.
[READ THE ARTICLE BY CLICKING HERE]

My monastery's northern fence is the southern fence of the backyards of family homes on the base.

Prince of Peace Abbey, my monastery, helps administer the nearby "Brother Benno Center" (named after one of our own deceased monks who served the poor).
[READ ABOUT THE BROTHER BENNO CENTER BY CLICKING HERE]

The Center provides cooked meals and many other forms of assistance to those in need— many of whom are families from the Marine base.


Monks are morally accountable to local Christians. Local Christians are morally obligated to see that monks stay on track.

Here’s what St. Benedict writes in the sixty-fourth chapter of his monastery regulations.
May God forbid that a whole monastic community should conspire to elect as abbot a man who goes along with its own evil ways.
But if it does,
and if the bishop of the diocese
or the abbots or Christians in the area come to know of these evil ways to any extent,
they must block the success of this wicked conspiracy,
and set a worthy steward in charge of God’s house.
They may be sure that they will receive a generous reward for this,
if they do it with pure motives and zeal for God’s honor.
Conversely,
they may be equally sure that to neglect to do so is sinful.


October 12, 2006

It's gone now.

The Amish schoolhouse in Nickel Mines, Pennsylvania, after the shooting of several Amish schoolgirls.


The same place after the schoolhouse was torn down before sunrise today.


The Amish hired a non-Amish company to demolish the building.

In its place grasses and clover have already been planted to create pastureland.


Top photo: AFP/Getty Images/File/William Thomas Cain
Bottom photo: Reuters/Tim Shaffer


France now makes it a crime to deny that Turkey killed 1.5 million Christians in 1915

Today, France's lower house of parliament approved a bill making it a crime to deny that Armenians suffered genocide in 1915 at the hands of the Ottoman Turks. Read about the legislation by clicking on HERE.

My previous blogpost, immediately below, is about the genocide itself.


We know you're Eastern Orthodox, not Catholic. But if your church doesn't demand that the Pope apologize to Muslims, we'll behead your priest.

So now the decapitated body of Father Iskender of St. Ephrem Orthodox Church, in Mosul, Iraq, was found on Wednesday evening.

The tragic story.
Click HERE for it.

St. Benedict’s method of vocational discernment

[Abbot Benedict]: Who’s at the gate?

[Brother Gatekeeper]: Some guy says he wants to join.

[Abbot Benedict]: You know the drill. Lock him out for a few days.


+ + +



No vocation director, no psychological evaluation, no letters of recommendation.

Writing his “Rule for Monks” (book of monastic regulations) back in the sixth century, here’s what St. Benedict really had to say.

Chapter 58. The Procedure for Receiving Brothers

Do not grant newcomers to the monastic life an easy entry,
but, as the Apostle says,
“Test the spirits to see if they are from God.”
Therefore, if someone comes and keeps knocking at the door,
and if at the end of four or five days he has shown himself patient in bearing his harsh treatment and difficulty of entry,
and has persisted in his request,
then he should be allowed to enter and stay in the guest quarters for a few days.
After that, he should live in the novitiate,
where the novices study, eat and sleep.

A senior chosen for his skill in winning souls should be appointed to look after them with careful attention.
The concern must be whether the novice truly seeks God
and whether he shows eagerness for the Work of God, for obedience and for trials.
The novice should be clearly told all the hardships and difficulties that will lead him to God.

If he promises perseverance in his stability,
then after two months have elapsed let this Rule be read straight through to him,
and let him be told:
“This is the law under which you are choosing to serve.
If you can keep it, come in.
If not, feel free to leave.”
If he still stands firm, he is to be taken back to the novitiate, and again thoroughly tested in patience.
After six months have passed,
the Rule is to be read to him,
so that he may know what he is entering.
If once more he stands firm,
let four months go by,
and then read this Rule to him again.
If after due reflection he promises to observe everything
and to obey every command given him,
let him then be received into the community.
But he must be well aware that,
as the law of the Rule establishes,
from this day he is no longer free to leave the monastery,
nor to shake form his neck the yoke of the Rule which,
in the course of so prolonged a period of reflection,
he was free either to reject or to accept.


Did you go to World Youth Day Cologne?





There's a survey for you.
Click HERE for it.

They’re not nuns. Iranian policewomen!



October 11, 2006

We read that monks should not drink wine at all...

. . . but since
the monks of our day
cannot be convinced of this,

let us at least agree to drink moderately,
and not to the point of excess.
That's what St. Benedict said back in the sixth century, and it sounds like he had experience with stubborn monks and drunken monks.

He actually spelled out how much wine he would allow.
We believe that a half bottle of wine a day is sufficient for each. But those to whom God gives strength to abstain must know that they will earn their own reward.
"National Catholic Register" has an article about Catholic bloggers and wine.
Click HERE for it.

Pope says "to use technology to spread the good news"

Read all about it.
Click HERE for it.

October 10, 2006

MONASTERIES ARE NECESSARY FOR THE LIFE AND GROWTH OF THE CHURCH

Luke 10:38-42
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village; and a woman named Martha received him into her house. And she had a sister called
MARY, WHO SAT AT THE LORD'S FEET AND LISTENED TO HIS TEACHING.
But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things;
ONE THING IS NEEDFUL.
MARY HAS CHOSEN THE GOOD PORTION,
WHICH SHALL NOT BE TAKEN AWAY FROM HER."

Acts 6:1-7
Now in these days when the disciples were increasing in number, the Hellenists murmured against the Hebrews because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution. And the twelve summoned the body of the disciples and said, "It is not right that we should give up preaching the word of God to serve tables. Therefore, brethren, pick out from among you seven men of good repute, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may appoint to this duty.
BUT WE WILL DEVOTE OURSELVES TO PRAYER
and to the ministry of the word." And what they said pleased the whole multitude….
AND THE WORD OF GOD INCREASED; AND THE NUMBER OF THE DISCIPLES MULTIPLIED GREATLY IN JERUSALEM, AND A GREAT MANY OF THE PRIESTS WERE OBEDIENT TO THE FAITH.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 927
All religious … take their place among the collaborators of the diocesan bishop in his pastoral duty. From the outset of the work of evangelization,
THE MISSIONARY "PLANTING" AND EXPANSION OF THE CHURCH REQUIRE THE PRESENCE OF THE RELIGIOUS LIFE IN ALL ITS FORMS.
History witnesses to the outstanding service rendered by religious families in the propagation of the faith and in the formation of new Churches: from
THE ANCIENT MONASTIC INSTITUTIONS
to the medieval orders, all the way to the more recent congregations.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2687
MANY RELIGIOUS HAVE CONSECRATED THEIR WHOLE LIVES TO PRAYER. HERMITS, MONKS, AND NUNS SINCE THE TIME OF THE DESERT FATHERS HAVE DEVOTED THEIR TIME TO PRAISING GOD AND INTERCEDING FOR HIS PEOPLE.
The consecrated life cannot be sustained or spread without prayer;
IT IS ONE OF THE LIVING SOURCES OF CONTEMPLATION AND THE SPIRITUAL LIFE OF THE CHURCH.

Catechism of the Catholic Church, 2691
…. In regions where
MONASTERIES
exist, the vocation of these communities is to
FURTHER THE PARTICIPATION OF THE FAITHFUL IN THE LITURGY OF THE HOURS
and to
PROVIDE NECESSARY SOLITUDE FOR MORE INTENSE PERSONAL PRAYER.

Vatican Council II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10
THE LITURGY IS THE SUMMIT TOWARD WHICH THE ACTIVITY OF THE CHURCH IS DIRECTED;
IT IS ALSO THE FONT FROM WHICH ALL HER POWER FLOWS.


MaterCare International

MaterCare International is an association of health professionals dedicated to improving the lives and health of mothers and their unborn children throughout the world, through new initiatives of service, training, and research, in accordance with the contemporary teaching contained in the Encyclical "Evangelium Vitae" (the Gospel of Life).
Click HERE for it.

THE HOLY GOSPEL ACCORDING TO PAUL

THE TRUE FIFTH GOSPEL

The first reading at Mass today was from the Letter of Saint Paul to the Galatians, 1:6-12. The following translation is the Revised Standard Version.
I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting him who called you in the grace of Christ
and turning to a different gospel --
not that there is another gospel,
but there are some who trouble you
and want to pervert the gospel of Christ.
But even if we, or an angel from heaven,
should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you,
let him be accursed.
As we have said before, so now I say again,
if any one is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received,
let him be accursed.
Am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God?
Or am I trying to please men?
If I were still pleasing men,
I should not be a servant of Christ.
For I would have you know, brethren,
that the gospel which was preached by me is not man's gospel.
For I did not receive it from man, nor was I taught it,
but it came through a revelation of Jesus Christ.

Paul did not receive the Gospel through Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. Not through Peter, James, Andrew or any other apostle.

Paul received the Gospel directly "through a revelation of Jesus Christ." Where can we find this "fifth" Gospel? It isn't laid out anywhere as a literary fifth Gospel in one piece. However, we can piece it together or absorb it by reading the letters of Saint Paul.


October 09, 2006

... and he's off ... WITH his head


St. Denys had his head cut off, he did not care for that,
He took it up and carried it two miles without his hat.

St. Denys was beheaded with some other
martyrs in the neighbourhood of Paris.
"They beheaded them ... in that mountain
which is at present called 'Mons Martyrum'
(Montmartre), the Mountain of the Martyrs,
in memory and honour of them;
but after they had martyred them,
there happened a wonderful miracle.
The body of St. Denys rose upon its feet,
and took its own head up in its hands,
as if he had triumphed and carried in
it the crown and token of its victories.
The angels of heaven went accompanying
the saint, singing hymns...
and ended with these words,
'gloria tibi, Domine alleluia;'
and the saint went with his head in his
hands about two miles,
till he met with a good woman called Catula,
who came out of her house;
and the body of St. Denys going to her,
it put the head in her hands."

SAINT DENYS (or Denis), Bishop and Martyr

October 9 is his memorial.

More information.
Click HERE for it.

"Bart and Homer can't go Catholic" (or "Protestant Heaven versus Catholic Heaven")

Another one to credit to Dean the Fanatholic!



October 08, 2006

The anointed sacerdotal scribe of The Hermeneutic of Continuity has posted his Sunday sermon.

I haven't noticed that he posts his preachings with any regularity.

The pertinent Sunday Gospel was about marriage. The anointed scribe managed gracefully to show the role that angels have in our homes. Don't get me wrong. The scribe did not preach that husbands and wives are angels. Nor are children.

Go fly off and read the good sermon yourselves!
Click HERE for it.

"For the Martyrs"

a painting by Morteza Katouzian [Click on it to see a larger version.]


Information about the painter
Click HERE for it.

“Out from Under: Getting Clear of the Wreckage of a Sexually Disordered Home”

The title of this post is the name of an upcoming book by Dawn Stefanowicz, who grew up in a “homosexual” household during the 60s and 70s in Toronto and has seen first hand the self-destruction of her father, his partners, and herself. Her father eventually died of AIDS in 1991. Dawn has a website with resources for children, adult children, family, medical, research, and ministry. Her website is welcomed by Father John Harvey, the founding director of Courage International.
Over two decades of direct exposure to these stressful experiences caused me insecurity, depression, suicidal thoughts, dread, anxiousness, low self-esteem, sleeplessness and sexuality confusion. My conscience and innocence were seriously damaged. I witnessed that every other family member suffered severely as well.

From a young age, I was exposed to explicit sexual speech, self-indulgent lifestyles, varied GLBT subcultures and gay vacation spots. Sex looked gratuitous to me as a child. I was exposed to allinclusive manifestations of sexuality including bathhouse sex, cross-dressing, sodomy, pornography, gay nudity, lesbianism, bisexuality, minor recruitment, voyeurism and exhibitionism. Sado-masochism was alluded to and aspects demonstrated. Alcohol and drugs were often contributing factors to lower inhibitions in my father’s relationships.

My father prized unisex dressing, gender-neutral aspects and a famous cross-dressing icon when I was eight years old. I did not see the value of biological complementing differences of male and female or think about marriage. I made vows to never have children since I had not grown up in a safe, sacrificial, child-centered home environment. Due to my life experience, I ask, “Can children really perform their best academically, financially, psychologically, socially and behaviorally in experimental situations?” I can tell you that I suffered long term in this situation, and this has been professionally documented.
As Dawn and other children of same-sex parents have discovered, men who struggle with their own masculinity cannot affirm femininity and vice-versa. Those with the opinion that children raised by same-sex parents are well adjusted, have no idea what they are talking about, since they have no way of getting inside of the minds and hearts of those who were raised in way, which contradicts natural law.

- - - -

I copied this post from the blog known as "Cosmos-Liturgy-Sex".
Click HERE for it.

I wish I had known of it.

I saw this at Roman Miscellany.


OCTOBER 7 DESERVES IT
Click HERE for it.

It's in the City of "Peter" (as the French say), but it isn't Rome.


The truth?
Click HERE for it.

HONESTY IN SEX, MARRIAGE, AND CELIBACY-- without reference to God, the Bible or the Church!

This Sunday's Gospel reading, Mark 10:2-16, is about marriage, and I have posted a homily on that Gospel.

Furthermore, some months ago I wrote a post about honesty in sexuality.


Fun with the Pope

There has been a custom of buying the Pope a new zucchetto (the "beanie"). You pass it to him (or get his secretary to pass it to him), and they give you the one he was wearing. Souvenir! I believe that's what's happening in the second photograph. There is at least one shop in Rome, right next to the Vatican, where I have seen zucchetti available for purchase.

Now, if they'd only do the same thing for his capes!