April 14, 2007

Activists tell Pope to stop wearing fur

Maybe as a sign of goodwill the activists will listen to the Pope and stop using latex.


The activists are the leaders of the Italian "Anti-Vivisection League."

The League that has exhorted Pope Benedict XVI in this matter has long debated with Catholicism in Italy.

In particular, AVL members employ a philosophy that, in order to highlight the so-called “rights” of animals, minimizes the actual rights of human beings, especially those humans who are the weakest: the comatose, the handicapped, the elderly, children, the unborn.

Among the “inspirations” and sources of AVL thought, one finds dependence on the writings of Peter Singer, also an animal activist, who actually proposed the killing of children born with deformities. In “Practical Ethics,” Singer says that "to kill a newborn with malformations is not the same as killing a person and, very often, it is not even an error."

Singer holds the same in regard to those who have suffered irreversible brain damage, or who are comatose:
"their lives are deprived of intrinsic value."

Peter Singer declares:
"the doctrine of the sacredness of life is a product of Christianity. Perhaps the time has arrived to think of these questions (abortion, infanticide) beyond the framework of Christianity."

The Anti-Vivisection League has issued their statement on their website, www.infolav.org, which is in Italian.

You can read about the Anti-Vivisection League's exhortation to the Pope in an English article about the event.
Click HERE for it.


Click on the image to watch an eight-minute video of Catholicism A.D. 1951.

I saw it at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.
Click HERE for it.

"Ad orientem": the Papal Altar in St. Peter's Basilica

Here is the floor-plan of the basilica. The position of the Papal Altar is marked with a cross (+). The facade and doors of the basilica are on the east.

A represents the Papal Altar.

B is to the east of the Papal Altar and is the opening in the floor that leads to the confessio, the niche over St. Peter's tomb.

C is literally towards the east on the compass, literally ad orientem -- towards the people and the main door.

In the following photograph you see the confessio. The golden "knobs" on the railing are oil lamps.

In the following photograph you see Pope Pius XII celebrating Mass ("Tridentine") at the Papal Altar. He stands on the western side of the altar, and he faces literally, physically eastward, ad orientem -- and towards the people. You can see the oil lamps of the confessio to the east of the altar (the right side of the photograph).

Today, at a papal Mass, the Vatican sets up a platform over the western end of the confessio, nearest the papal altar, so that the pope can walk all the way around the altar as he incenses it. You can see the platform with white steps in the following photograph.

Because many of the ancient basilicas of Rome have a confessio immediately in front of the high altar, it is not possible to celebrate Mass at those altars without facing the people.

In discussing which way the priest ought to face when he is at the altar, we must be mindful that the original sense and intention of the ad orientem position is to face literally eastwards, that is, towards the rising sun as a symbol of turning to the Resurrection of Christ. Originally, the priest's ad orientem position has nothing to do with intentionally turning either away from or towards the people. It has everything to do with looking to the rising of the sun as a cosmic sign of the Resurrection of Christ.

The Hallelujah Nuns

April 13, 2007

April 13, 2007, President Bush Speaks at the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

“Of the 56 men who signed our Declaration of Independence, only one was a Catholic— Charles Carroll. In 1776, Carroll was one of the wealthiest men in America. But because he was a Catholic, he could not vote or hold public office in his native Maryland. John Adams noted that Carroll's wealth and patriotism marked him for special vengeance if the Revolution were to fail.”

Click HERE for the full text of the president’s speech.

Near the end of his speech, he said:
“Finally, to realize the promise of America, we must have comprehensive immigration reform that enforces our laws and upholds the dignity of every single person in the United States. And now is the time for the United States Congress to get a bill to my desk that I can sign.”

What is the official teaching of the Catholic Church about immigration?
Click HERE for it.

The Mass in English: new and improved

Fr. Tim Finigan's blog, "The Hermeneutic of Continuity," gives credit to Fr. Sean Finnegan's blog, "Valle Adurni."
Click HERE for it.

… cloister, monastery, nun, monk, hermit, solitude, silence, prayer, worship, community, work…

Why do it?

Why spend your life enclosed in a monastery?

Why spend a solid part of each day in ritual worship and personal prayer?

A few days ago I blogged about the Carthusian order depicted in the documentary, “Into Great Silence.”

I commented:
Basically everyone on earth works out some sort of living, eats, sleeps, and then always eventually dies.

The Carthusians have “streamlined” the same journey (without shortening it), but have “voluminously” focused the journey on its inevitable end: every single soul shall stand face to face with God.
Every single soul.

What are you doing to get ready?

Priests, birettas, cassocks, ice skates, beer

[I put up this commercial last September. The theater where I watched "Into Great Silence" last Tuesday played a different commercial for the same beer. I recalled this one, so I'm again posting it.]

Click on the image to watch the video.

I saw it at The Shrine of the Holy Whapping.

More about the filming online.
Click HERE for it.

Which way did he go? Which way did he go?

Don’t ask the secular media!

The Associated Press
11 April 2007

. . . but then . . .

Voice of America News
12 April 2007

The two-way traffic of sensationalism concerns the pope’s newly-published German-language book, Schöpfung und Evolution (“Creation and Evolution”).

An article in “Scientific American” displays more common sense and intelligence in its discussion of the pope’s book.

Um Gottes willen!

You news-folk just don't get it,
do you?

Read my lips!

Rabbi Neil Amswych . . .

. . . said:
"I don't eat hot cross buns for two reasons. One is that it is a Christian custom and the second reason is that I am on a diet. But I don't see why they shouldn't be available. After all, we're in a Christian country and the state religion is Christianity. They shouldn't be force-fed, but there is no reason why they shouldn't be available."
Click HERE for it.

April 12, 2007

Will you let an atheist win the title of "Best Religion Blog"?

[UPDATE. It's now 8:21 P.M., that is, eight hours after I posted this. Several Catholic blogs have since appeared, are now in the forefront behind the original atheistic blog, and one Catholic blog went from zero to first place in four hours, leaving the atheist behind. Once you sign up to vote, you can vote for as many blogs as you like, and in any category.]

An atheist is presently winning in the category of “Best Religion Blog” in the Blogger’s Choice Awards.

Go and vote for some Catholic Blogs.

Here are some of the ones that are most popular among Catholics

A few of those are already nominated. You can nominate others if you wish. Once you are signed on to vote, you can vote for as many blogs as you wish.

Go for it!
Click HERE for it.

to sink . . . to decline . . .

A great civilization is not conquered from without until it has destroyed itself from within. The essential causes of Rome's decline lay in her people, her morals, her class struggle, her failing trade, her bureaucratic despotism, her stifling taxes, her consuming wars.
From Caesar and Christ: A History of Roman Civilization and of Christianity from Their Beginnings to A.D. 325, by William James Durant, 1944

Since private and publick Vices, are in Reality,
though not always apparently,
so nearly connected,
of how much Importance,
how necessary is it,
that the utmost Pains be taken by the Publick, to have the Principles of Virtue early inculcated on the Minds even of children,
and the moral Sense kept alive,
and that the wise institutions of our Ancestors for these great Purposes be encouraged by the Government.
For no people will tamely surrender their Liberties,
nor can any be easily subdued,
when knowledge is diffusd and Virtue is preservd.
On the Contrary,
when People are universally ignorant,
and debauchd in their Manners,
they will sink under their own weight without the Aid of foreign Invaders.
From a letter of Samuel Adams to James Warren, 4 November 1775

For news of interest to Catholics

The “Easter Hymn” from the opera, “Cavalleria rusticana,” by Pietro Mascagni

Inneggiamo, il Signor non è morto.
Ei fulgente ha dischiuso l'avel.
Inneggiamo al Signore risorto—
oggi asceso alla gloria del Ciel!

Let us sing hymns, the Lord is not dead.
Shining, He has unsealed the tomb,
Let us sing hymns to the risen Lord—
ascended today to the glory of Heaven

Now … here’s a film version (directed by Franco Zeffirelli) with the addition of the “Regina caeli” that preceeds it in the opera. It appears to have been filmed in an actual Catholic village, with all the “props” being real religious cultural items used for village processions on Easter. It has the looks of a real procession with some real piety rather than “staged”.

One more version.

Watch all three.

I looked for the second and third clips on YouTube.com.

That was after I saw the first clip on “Idle Speculations.”
Click HERE for it.

April 11, 2007

The first response to the first public sermon of the Church after the resurrection of Jesus

The Acts of the Apostles, Chapter 2

And Peter said to them,
"Repent, and be baptized every one of you
in the name of Jesus Christ
for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is to you and to your children and to all that are far off,
every one whom the Lord our God calls to him."
And he testified with many other words and exhorted them, saying,
"Save yourselves from this crooked generation."



The following is a touched-up version of what I left on another blog whose owner was looking for comments on this topic.

The way I spiritually approach the “Crowning of Mary” is by way of its “scripturo-theological” content, rather than by way of its “literal” sense.

I see the notion of “queen” as archetypal “mother”.

From the injunction of Jesus at the cross to his disciple (therefore to me), John 19:
When Jesus saw his mother, and the disciple whom he loved standing near, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

The disciple takes her manner of discipleship and testimony (as the Gospel reveals at Cana) into his own life, and lets that manner of discipleship mother or rule his own discipleship.

According to Luke-Acts, Mary has her “pentecost” at Nazareth, and by the power of the Spirit conceives the Son in physical flesh and blood; later, Mary is present in the upper room (the “womb” of the Eucharistic flesh and blood of her Son) where the Church now has its Pentecost, and the Church is manifested as Christ’s Body also emerging from the Eucharistic womb fully empowered to preach publicly the death and resurrection of Christ. The testimony of Luke-Acts is:
(1) that Mary keeps the mysteries of Jesus, and ponders them in her heart (Luke reports this at Bethlehem and at the finding in the temple);
(2) that the Church receives power from the Spirit by prayer together with Mary in the Eucharistic womb of the Church.
Mary’s example at Nazareth, at Bethlehem, and at the finding in the temple, serves to show how the Church is to respond to God’s annunciation and Spirit, how to keep and ponder the mysteries of Jesus in one’s heart; Mary’s presence and example serve to “midwife” the Church’s manifestation on Pentecost.

This one is more mysterious. Luke 2 testifies that Simeon under the inspiration of the Spirit says to Mary personally:
“Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising [Greek 'resurrection'] of many in Israel, and for a sign that is spoken against, AND A SWORD WILL PIERCE THROUGH YOUR OWN SOUL ALSO, THAT THE THOUGHTS OF MANY HEARTS MAY BE REVEALED.”
Jesus is to be a sign destined to be opposed. The Spirit-inspired testimony of Simeon joins to the destiny of Jesus the eventual piercing of Mary’s soul. The piercing of Mary’s soul will be instrumental in the revealing of the thoughts of the hearts of the many.

Whatever the full and real meaning of that Spirit-inspired testimony might be, it affirms that the piercing of Mary’s soul in association with the opposition that Jesus would suffer is to play some causative role for others, for their resurrection, for the revealing of what’s in their hearts.

According to the Spirit-inspired testimony of the Gospel, clearly the Anointed (Messiah), the King, has an associate: Mary. Call her “queen mother” if you will.

By joining her in prayer through the Rosary, we repeat the obedience of the Church of the apostles and disciples that gathered together with Mary in the Eucharistic Birth-Chamber of the Church to hold the mysteries of Jesus (Joyful, Sorrowful, Luminous, Glorious) in our hearts, pondering them, and prayerfully asking to receive the power of the Spirit from on high.

“Handmotions in Heaven” . . . one too many church youth conferences!

I saw it on the blog, “Letters from a Young Catholic.”
Click HERE for it.

April 10, 2007

"Into Great Silence"

I saw it this afternoon, the movie about life in the birthplace of the Carthusian order.

The auxiliary bishop of San Diego, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, was there with his mother. Rosalind Moss of Catholic Answers was there too.

Throughout the movie I kept wondering what others in the audience thought.

The slow, deliberate, repetitive and regular rhythm of Carthusian life was very clear.

Basically everyone on earth works out some sort of living, eats, sleeps, and then always eventually dies.

The Carthusians have "streamlined" the same journey (without shortening it), but have "voluminously" focused the journey on its inevitable end: every single soul shall stand face to face with God.

"Into Great Silence" . . . I might subtitle it "Into Stark Intimacy."

(All of the following remarks are from two previous times that I blogged about the movie.)

That is the title of a three-hour, mostly silent documentary about life in one of the monasteries of the Catholic Church's "strictest" monastic order, the "Carthusians".

Wherever it has played, audiences have packed the theaters.
... deep in the postcard-perfect French Alps, the Grande Chartreuse is considered one of the world’s most ascetic monasteries. In 1984, German filmmaker Philip Gröning wrote to the Carthusian order for permission to make a documentary about them. They said they would get back to him. Sixteen years later, they were ready. Gröning, sans crew or artificial lighting, lived in the monks’ quarters for six months—filming their daily prayers, tasks, rituals and rare outdoor excursions. This transcendent, closely observed film seeks to embody a monastery, rather than simply depict one—it has no score, no voiceover and no archival footage. What remains is stunningly elemental: time, space and light. One of the most mesmerizing and poetic chronicles of spirituality ever created, INTO GREAT SILENCE dissolves the border between screen and audience with a total immersion into the hush of monastic life. More meditation than documentary, it’s a rare, transformative theatrical experience....
For the movie's website, click HERE.

For a list of where and when the movie will be opening in U.S. theaters, click HERE.

For the official website of the Carthusian order, click HERE.

Here's a trailer (four and a half minutes in length) for "Into Great Silence". Be patient. It's full of silence. What else would you expect?

(The following remarks are from the first time I blogged about this movie.)

The European Film Academy has picked “Into Great Silence” as the best European documentary of 2006. The E.F.A. jury chose the film over seven other nominees.

In January this year at the Sundance Film Festival, “Into Great Silence” won a special jury prize.

The 162-minute movie has been playing to packed audiences in Europe. It will be released in North America by Zeitgeist Films.

It focuses on the Carthusian monastery of hermits near Grenoble, France, showing their daily prayer, work and community life.


This icon in the Neo-Coptic style of Egypt is the work of Stéphane Renée, and is from First Image Icons.

Have you ever heard the term "Covenant Thursday"?

Preserving a good sense of the mind of Jesus concerning his Eucharistic Body and Blood, the Coptic Church calls Holy Thursday "Covenant Thursday".

Although we don't include the Rite of Renewal of Baptismal Promises at other Masses throughout the year, nonetheless, every Sunday Mass is a rite of covenantal vows to God, by virtue of both the Creed ("Profession of Faith") and the Eucharist itself.

and the Structure of the Sinai Covenant
From Mount Sinai God gives his words to his people: Exodus 20 through 23.

At the foot of Mount Sinai the people give their word to God.
Exodus 24:3
"All the words which the Lord has spoken we will do."
Exodus 24:7
"All that the Lord has spoken we will do, and we will be obedient."

Exodus 24:6
Moses took half of the blood and put it in basins, and half of the blood he threw against the altar.
Exodus 24:8
Moses took the blood [in basins] and threw it upon the people, and said, "Behold the blood of the covenant which the lord has made with you in accordance with all these words."

Exodus 24:11
They beheld God, and ate and drank.
Every Sunday Mass has those four elements that make up the rite of the Sinai Covenant. The Mass does not have the structure of a Passover Supper. At every Mass, we hear the words of Jesus himself invoking his Eucharistic Blood as "The Blood of the New and Everlasting Covenant."

Two of my grandfathers

"Get thee behind me, Satan!" (in other words, "Get out of my sight!")

And stay there!

I saw it on the blog of Fr. Jay Toborowsky.
Click HERE for it.

April 09, 2007

His father died this morning, Easter Monday.

He asks our prayers.

I don't know his name. From comments he has left in the past on other blogs I recall that he is a teenager. You will be astounded by the breadth and depth of his writings about Scripture and St. Thomas Aquinas on his blog.
Click HERE for it.

Fr. Erik Richsteig is leading a pilgrimage to Rome next November 26 to December 3

Get the information through his blog.
Click HERE for it.

The true story of how the Easter Bunny became part of the Feastday

. . . burp . . . !

Did more than 150,000 adults become Catholics on Holy Saturday in the U.S.A.?

In 2005 in the U.S.A., 154,501 adults received full initiation into the Catholic Church through the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation and the Eucharist. The universal moment for their reception would have been at the Easter Vigil on Holy Saturday night.

The tallies are not yet published for 2006 or 2007.

However, you can read about the initiations on the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.
Click HERE for it.

"In Italy, Pope Benedict is making a huge splash."

That’s what Fr. John Zuhlsdorf says.
In Italy, Pope Benedict is making a huge splash.
Since he was elected, the left-wing has gone nearly insane with confusion and rage.
The main-stream press is waging a bitter campaign against him and the Church.
The problem is that he is hugely popular especially among young people who are beginning to ask questions of their teachers and others about things they are not supposed to question (the left-wing agenda).
Since the education system in Italy has been run by Communists for decades, this question asking trend is a very bad development.
And… it is the Pope’s fault!
If John Paul captured the imagination of young people and drew them in, they are now listening to Benedict with rapt attention.
He is the only great public figure saying anything new or that makes sense.
While the secularists are all shrieking about "thinking outside the box", the Pope is the only one really doing it.

Benedict XVI is handling a great number of very difficult issues both in Italy itself, in larger Europe, and within the Church.
There is huge tension now because he just isn’t doing what every splinter group thinks he ought to be doing.
Instead the Pope is being the Pope.
Fr. John Zuhlsdorf writes his blog from Rome.
Click HERE for it.

Of course a room in a Roman convent costs less than one in a Roman hotel!

Interested in looking into it?
Click HERE for it.

New Credit Card benefits Church’s work for the poor

"Paying for an item with the new World Missions Visa Card will now allow shoppers to take everyday purchases and turn them into help for Catholic Church programs in more than 1,150 mission dioceses in the world's poorest countries."

Read about it.
Click HERE for it.

SAINT MICHAEL’S INSTITUTE for the Psychological Sciences...

"... a national alliance of mental health professionals devoted to integrating the teachings of the Catholic Church with the discoveries of psychology and psychiatry, for the health and happiness of individuals, marriages, families, organizations and communities."

"... Mother Teresa said in her letter to SMI, ‘Today, Jesus relives his passion in so many who need the help of mental health professionals loyal to Christ and to the Holy Father.'"

The website of the Institute has links to a few articles, among which are the two following.

"The Firemen of September 11th and the Meaning of Masculinity"

"The Father Almighty, Maker of Male and Female"

There are also links to other good resources and organizations on the website.
Click HERE for it.

A strange and illegal anti-burial

From an obituary published in the Los Angeles Times yesterday, April 4, 2007

"Larry's ashes will be unceremoniously sprinkled from the pockets of his loved ones on the rocks of the San Pedro Ports O' Call Village some time in the near future."

April 08, 2007

The Mission of the Wounded

Click on this to see it larger.

The special significance of sundown on Easter Sunday

John 20
ON THE EVENING OF THAT DAY, THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK, the doors being shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, "Peace be with you." When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were GLAD when they saw the Lord.
Though he appeared to individuals throughout this day, this hour is the first time he appeared to the gathered apostolic Church. This is the hour that closes the Easter Triduum, an hour for gladness among the disciples of the Lord.

The Church's ancient Easter prayer hymn at sundown throughout the Easter season

This is a poetic translation of the version Benedictine monasteries have sung for centuries.
Unto the feast spread by the Lamb
We come in robes of white,
And for the Red Sea’s passage sing
To Christ, our King of Might:

Whose Body, offered on the Cross,
As food he deigned to give,
And as our drink his Precious Blood,
That we for God might live:

Protected on Passover Eve
From the destroyer’s blade,
And rescued from the galling chains
That Pharaoh’s fear had made.

Christ is our true Passover Lamb
Whose Blood for sin was shed,
Whose Body, too, was offered up
As pure, unleavened Bread.

O truly worthy Offering,
Who shattered hell’s dark might,
Who brought release to captive souls
And entrance into light.

As Victim from the nether world
And tomb we see Christ rise;
He puts the tyrant into chains,
And opens Paradise.

We ask thee, Author of all things,
Throughout this Easter glee
To guard thy faithful flock, and it
From death’s attack to free.

All glory be to thee, O Lord,
Arisen from the dead,
To Father and the Spirit too
Be thanks forever said.

Jerusalem ... Emmaus ... Jerusalem ... CHURCH

A homily for the first afternoon of the Resurrection
Click HERE for it.

On Easter Sunday be sure to join the risen Christ in eating fish!

Luke 24:36-42

As they were saying this,
Jesus himself stood among them,
and said to them,
"Peace to you."
But they were startled and frightened,
and supposed that they saw a spirit.
And he said to them,
"Why are you troubled,
and why do questionings rise in your hearts?
See my hands and my feet,
that it is I myself;
handle me, and see;
for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see that I have."
And when he had said this,
he showed them his hands and his feet.
And while they still disbelieved for joy, and wondered,
he said to them,
"Have you anything here to eat?"
They gave him a piece of broiled fish,
and he took it and ate before them.


I go to the tomb and find it empty.

I run to tell the disciples.

I run back to the tomb with the disciples.
They see the empty tomb and leave.
After they go, Rabbouni— risen from the dead— comes to me.
He tells me to go tell his brothers to meet him in Galilee.

I run back to the disciples and shout,
"I have seen the Lord!"

To run the victory lap with me click:  HERE!