Saturday, December 31, 2005

(He means between a man and a woman, by the way)

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Benedict XVI remembered his beloved predecessor yesterday and again stressed the importance that a family based on marriage has "in the life of the Church and of society". Benedict's remarks, as he presided over an evening Vespers service on New Year's Eve, came as the Catholic Church opposed proposals to give legal recognition to unmarried couples in Italy.

Source: The Jamaica Observer

(How long will it take for somebody to piously point out that "marriage" is, indeed, readily available in Massachusetts?)

Thursday, December 29, 2005

South Park blasphemy curbed: Thank you, Catholic League

On December 7, the eve of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception no less, "Comedy (sic) Central" aired a "South Park" episode that did more than slap Catholics in the face.

(We can take that.)

It also slapped our Blessed Mother in the face.

(We can't take that.)

Catholic League and Bill Donohue stepped up to the plate.

Here's the result.

Warning, beautiful people. You don't wanna mess with our Mama. Ever.

To the Greatest Generation's soldiers: thank you.

"Before you go..."

So many WWII vets, I imagine, have left this world for the next. Here's a tribute to all of dad included.

(Thanks to Ed and to the "Marine in the Pew.")

P.S. Like you, I pray for peace. But you know? When somebody tries to kill you, to kill your freedom, to kill your right to worship, to eradicate you from the human's not a bad idea to fight back. God bless those who fought for us well over 60 years ago...and those who are fighting for us now.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Holy Innocents, abortion, and help for healing

In today's Gospel, Matthew tells us that the slaughter of the children two years old and younger by King Herod fulfilled the prophecy of Jeremiah:

"A voice was heard in Ramah, wailing and loud lamentation, Rachel
weeping for her children; she refused to be consoled, because they were
no more."

In the midst of grief, Jesus offers hope. If you, or someone you know, is living with the pain of a past abortion, please consider the healing services of Project Rachel.

(I imagine it's a coincidence that pro-abortion folks in Massachusetts choice today, of all days, to unveil proposed legislation to increase the "buffer zone" around the killing factories.)

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Saint John, Evangelist, Apostle

I love the fact that we celebrate Saint John's Feast during the Christmas Season, because I love the way he describes Christ's Incarnation. No "Messianic secret," for John! Right from the start, he tells us exactly Who Jesus Christ really is:

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God...and the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us."

Monday, December 26, 2005

While we're on "The Feast of Stephen..."

Let's not forget "Good King Wenceslas," subject of a Christmas carol that actually has not much to do with Christmas at all but extols the good king's love of the poor.

Good King Wenceslas looked out
On the feast of Stephen,
When the snow lay round about
Deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night
Though the frost was cruel
When a poor man came in sight
Gath'ring winter fuel.

Anyway, Wenceslas is linked to Stephen not just because of the carol, but because they share the gift of martrydom!

Words from today's Gospel (for the feast of Saint Stephen) really brings this home:

"Brother will hand over brother to death,

and the father his child;
children will rise up against parents and have them put to death.
You will be hated by all because of my name,
but whoever endures to the end will be saved.”

While Stephen wasn't killed by his blood kin (I don't think), he was killed by his own people. Wenceslas, was actually killed by his own brother while he adored Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament.

But wait! There's more!

As we know, Wenceslas was a king, but loved the poor. As we read in Sacred Scripture (Acts 6), Stephen was one of the first deacons of the Church. Why was the diaconate established? Why, to minister to the widows — the poor — while the first Bishops (the Apostles) preached the Good News.

I don't know about you, but I love stuff like this!

And I wish I could claim originality for these musings, but I can't...the priest at today's Mass talked about it in his sermon.

(I walked all the way home singing "Good King Wenceslas," drawing not
too many odd glances and even a smile or two.)

To sing or hear the whole Wenceslas carol, go here.

To find out more about the saint, go here.

Saint Stephen: one triumph after another!

I'm not sure why the Church fathers placed the martyrdom of Saint Stephen on the day after Christmas, but I've been thinking about it.

A friend reminded me that the manger where the Infant Jesus rested wasn't the cozy looking affair that I, for example, display in my parlor. No, it was rather a disgusting thing, filled, no doubt, with animal slops and filth. Hardly a fitting bed for a newborn King!

Yet, for His life here on earth, God-made-Man chose humility
from an abomidable "crib" at his birth to an ignominiously shameful death.

When Saint Stephen knew himself to be dying, he looked up and saw the glory of Jesus, sitting at the right hand of the Father. Like Jesus, he prayed not for vengence upon his murderers, but for forgiveness.

Saul cooperated in this martrydom by watching the executioners' clothing. Even today, it's hard for me not to be shocked at this scandal.

But Saint Augustine sees it far more wisely than I:

"If Stephen had not prayed to God, the Church would not have had Paul."

Yesterday, we recalled the triumphant birth of Our Savior. Today we recall the triumph of His first martyr.

It's good to be a Christian.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

Fall on your knees!

Tonight and tomorrow, we kneel at some incredible words of the Nicene Creed.

After professing: "For us men and for our salvation, He came down from Heaven:"

We proclaim an astounding truth:

"By the power of the Holy Spirit
He was born of the Virgin Mary
and became man."

While pondering — to say nothing of putting it into words! — this can we not fall on our knees?

Friday, December 23, 2005

Looks like the "Know Thy Neighbor" intimidation tactics are backfiring

Back in October, I wrote about a group of folks determined to publicize every Massachusetts citizen who signed a petition to define "marriage" as a union between one man and one woman.

The idea, of course, was to intimidate people.

It didn't work.

In fact, so many people signed the petition (over 120,000...easily double the number required to make it to the ballot) that the "Know Thy Neighbor" folks are having a tough time keeping their web-site in operation.

Evidently, folks (like me) are so eager to make sure their names are listed, the site keeps crashing. And the beautiful people in the upscale Manchester-by-the-Sea organization are actually begging for funds to help them in this broadband crisis.

Sorry, "neighbors." While I appreciate the chance to see who did — and didn't — sign the petition, you're going to have to look elsewhere for a handout.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

Sexual abstinence among youth: a "controversial" notion

Ya gotta love The Boston Globe.

Who else would label the simple advice of abstaining a "controversial method of teaching Bay State teenagers about sex"?

The proposal by the state Department of Health, quietly posted on its website earlier this month, would add an abstinence education program for 12-to-14-year-olds in an unspecified number of schools.

Egads! No wonder the Department of Health "quietly" posted this controversial plan! Why it's positively...radical!!!

More breaking news from Governor Romney's spokesman:

"'No one will disagree that there are other ways to prevent teen pregnancy, but the only method that comes with a foolproof guarantee is abstinence,' he said. ''

Now there's a revelation for you.

Gee, is there a chance, then, that abstinence prevents...Syphilis? Gonorrhea? AIDS?

I tell you, people: this is big news...very, very, BIG news indeed. It could change the world!

Sex education and government. Taking a back seat to common sense, one paragraph at a time.

Comment Policy

I just had to delete a comment and wasn't thrilled about it.

Since I started this blog, I'm been very happy that the comments it draws — even (gasp!) those in disagreement with me — are well stated, and more important, on topic.

The deleted comment was added after the last post (the one linking to Dom's picture of the Pope in a red furry cap). It had nothing to do with the Pope or his hat, but was a reprint of an article from a local Boston neighborhood newspaper.

If you believe you've got news of interest to readers of this blog, use the "email Kelly" button on the left to let me know. Or, find a blog with a post on the topic of interest and comment there.


You better watch out!

Dom's uploaded a cropped photo of Pope Benedict XVI wearing a camauro, making him look like that jolly old elf! ;-)

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

"Pro-choice Christian?" No such thing. (Today's Gospel proves it)

The Gospel reading of Wednesday, December 21, proves that to be Christian is to be pro-life. Period.

Keep in mind that when Mary visited Elizabeth, and the latter's baby "leapt for joy" at the encounter of Jesus. Jesus was probably, in human form, maybe 30 or 40 cells. (Remember: Mary "left in haste" to be with her cousin, shortly after the Annunciation.)

But He was alive! At the moment of conception, Jesus was a complete human being, just like us, in every way but sin.

Why do we celebrate the birth of John the Baptist?

Normally, saints are remembered on the day of their deaths. Two exceptions: Mary and John the Baptist. Mary, because she was conceived without the stain of Original Sin and therefore born sinless.

John was conceived in sin, but sanctified — in the womb! — by the unborn Jesus.

You cannot be a Christian...a believer in Christ...while at the same time condone human "choice" in the matter of whether or not to allow an unborn baby to live.

It's a no-brainer.

"Beside the Manger" reflection

Offered by my friends at TFP.

(Thanks, Patte!)

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

"Voice of the Faithful[TM] encouraging sin? Sheesh.

I've long held the view that one should be careful in labeling dissident groups as "schismatic" or "heretical." There's a difference between dissent and heresy and there's a big difference between dissent and schism.

That said.

A reading of a letter signed by members of "Voice of the Faithful(sic)" in Saint Louis, the dissident group — and it is a dissident group — makes it pretty clear that the group is crossing the line from dissidence to schism.

Archbishop Burke of Saint Louis had the unhappy job of informing the Board and hired pastor of Saint Stanislaus Kostka Parish that it, and he, were no longer in communion with the Roman Catholic Church. That they had, in fact, excommunicated themselves.

What are the ramifications of receiving, say, Holy Communion from a schismatic priest?

Archbishop Burke explains:

The faithful who approach a schismatic priest for the reception of the sacraments, except in the case of danger of death, commit a mortal sin. All of the faithful of the archdiocese should guard against any participation in the attempt to celebrate the sacraments or sacramentals at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. Also, they should caution visitors and others who are unaware of the status of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, lest they unknowingly participate in the schismatic acts.

Seems clear enough, doesn't it?

So what does VOTF in Saint Louis do? Encourage people to do the very thing they should not, must not do: commit a mortal sin!

From the letter, headlined "Solidarity with St. Stan" (you've gotta scroll down's the meat of it, though:)

The archbishop said Rev. Bozek's decision "causes further damage to the Church, not only here in St. Louis, but in the diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau." Father Bozek said he is here to serve "the people of God in need of a spiritual leader and a pastor." If there is "damage" to the church, it is not because of Rev. Bozek's decision, or the actions of the people of St. Stanislaus. It is the result of the failure of our leaders to resolve disputes with their flock in humility.

We hope that all Catholics in the archdiocese will honor Rev. Bozek and his new parish by joining them for 10 p.m. Mass on Christmas Eve.

Robert Kaintz

St. Louis

Carol Williams

St. Louis

Voice of the Faithful St. Louis

"But Kelly...maybe it's just a couple of cranks in Saint Louis???"

Maybe. But an article on the VOTF national site is troubling, to put the best face on it.

"We call upon Archbishop Burke to relate to St. Stanislaus parish within the traditional Catholic principle of subsidiarity, which requires that the smaller community decide on and administer all its own affairs for which it has capability."

There's more. Read it if you want.

The thing is, VOTF has, since its inception, pushed (among other things) the notion of parishioners choosing their own pastors.

This is what Protestants do. This is not what Roman Catholics do.

(And it's a silly idea, don't you think? Kinda like a lamb choosing its own shepherd or ...a kid choosing his own parents: the ones most liberal in the ice cream department)

"Voice of the Faithful. [TM]." Promoting mortal sin — whether they realize it or not — one Catholic at a time.

Monday, December 19, 2005

"Schism" is a dirty word. So is "Sin." Prayers needed for cleansing

The act of schism, committed by the board of directors of the civil corporation of St. Stanislaus Parish, was the hiring of a suspended priest, that is a priest who is not in good standing in the Church, for the purpose of attempting to celebrate the sacraments and sacramentals St. Stanislaus Kostka Church. The priest in question, Father Markek B. Bozek, a priest of the Diocese of Springfield-Cape Girardeau, has left his priestly office of assistant pastor of Saint Agnes Cathedral in Springfield against the explicit direction of his bishop, the Most Reverend John J. Leibrecht, and after Bishop Leibrecht had explained to him more than once the gravity of his action and its consequences.

— Archbishop Raymond L. Burke

It's impossible for mortal men to succeed — and therefore inadvisable to try — to delve into the souls of other mortal men.

Nothing, however, as we learn from today's Gospel (Luke 1:5-25) is impossible to God. Therefore, it's a no-brainer. Ask Him to help in this situation.

While you're at it, as always, I'd appreciate prayers for the Archdiocese of Boston...and for the Church Militant in general.

Thank you!

Source: St. Louis Review

Relax this week...and give great gifts!

We're blessed this year with a full, Fourth Week of Advent so we might as well take full advantage of it!

One way not to do this is to drive yourself bananas in the stores...or The Post Office.

(Yikes! Today I had to stop by the P.O. to drop a letter in the slot. I had to wade through a sea of frantic people to do it.)

If you haven't finished your shopping yet and haven't a clue as to what in the bleep you're going to buy for fussy Uncle Fred or crazy Aunt Clara, STOP. Take a deep breath, say a prayer, and don't worry about it. Instead of torturing yourself, consider giving them what my mom used to call a "Spiritual Bouquet."

It doesn't have to be an "officially" thing.

You know what I mean. It's wonderful to be able to send a card with a beautiful picture of Our Lady on it, enrolling the recipient in a Mass Novena by a religious order of priests. But if you can't, for some reason, do that, you can still give a "holy" gift. Last year, I received a handwritten note, telling me that ten Rosaries would be prayed for my intentions. I was thrilled!

Still don't have those cards mailed?

Consider "Epiphany Cards." As far as I know, "Epiphany Cards" aren't for sale, but that just means the ones you make and print off all the more unique...and memorable. Don't worry about it if you're not "artistic." You don't need to be! In this case, words are worth a thousand pictures. And a Scripture passage or two (check out, or example, Matthew 2:1-12) along with assurances of your prayers will be as appreciated — or perhaps more — than a standard, "store-bought" card.

Any other ideas?

Fire away...I'd love to hear them!

Friday, December 16, 2005

"Brokeback Mountain: review revisited

Somebody at the USCCB seems to be in a snit. The movie "Brokeback Mountain" has been reclassified from "L" to "O."


The review itself remains basically unchanged. But the change in classification reads, to me anyway, like a cross between an apology to the movie's producers and a slap on the wrist for all those "confused" folks who found the review and rating objectionable.

The new, opening paragraph:

"Brokeback Mountain," originally rated L (limited adult audience, films whose problematic content many adults would find troubling) has been reclassified as an O (morally offensive). This has been done because the serious weight of the L rating — which restricts films in that category to those who can assess from a Catholic perspective the moral issues raised by a moveie — is, unfortunately, misunderstood by many. Because, in this instance, there are some who are using the "L" rating to make it appear th Church — or the USCCB — position on homosexuality is ambiguous, the classification has been revised specifically to address its moral content."

Okay. So the USCCB now rates — albeit reluctantly and no doubt due to the folks who took the trouble to call or write — the movie "morally offensive." Fine. But the review itself still reads
like a breathlessly excited ad for it.

As in: "Sure we're forced to give it a `tut-tut'. (wink, wink) But heck, the films is sooooo...b e a u t i f u l !"

Do we really need a USCBB Film and Broadcasting Office?

Go figure.

Thanks, by the way, for making your viewpoint known.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

USCCB reviews "Brokeback Mountain." Sheesh.

Excerpted from the US Conference of Catholic Bishops Office for Film and Broadcasting:

"Except for the initial sex scene, and brief bedroom encounters between the men and their (bare breasted) wives, there's no sexually related nudity. Some outdoor shots of the men washing themselves and skinny-dipping are side-view, long-shot or out-of-focus images.

"While the actions taken by Ennis and Jack cannot be endorsed, the universal themes of love and loss ring true."

Here's the movie's website. You might want to take a look at the "stories shared" (along with the trailer). Then maybe you can tell me why the USCCB seems breaking its back to, in someway, justify not just the movie...but Catholics paying to see it.


To express your views on the USCCB review of this movie, here is the contact information:

Harry Forbes, Director
USCCB Office for Film and Broadcasting

and his boss:

Most Reverend William S. Skylstad
President, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
(509) 358-7305

Thank you, Father DiLorenzo

Father Tom DiLorenzo, Holy Rosary Church in Winthrop, Massachusetts, is not a priest known to mince words. The Boston Globe printed a letter from him today:

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

A good effort by George Weigel, but...

In today's op-ed section of the Boston Globe, George Weigel echoes the points many bloggers have made regarding the Menino/Catholic Charities fiasco.

Two questions remain in my mind.

1.) Why was the mayor honored in the first place?

2.) Why aren't the words of Weigel the words of the Archbishop...or at least his spokesman?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

Caught in the act!

Yesterday, after Mass, I chatted awhile with a couple of pals. Most, if not all, of our conversation concerned friends, mutual foes, people we knew, people we'd heard of, and people we didn't know squat about (which didn't stop us from speculating about them).

As we tromped through the snow, the name of a priest we hadn't seen for awhile came up. His mention sparked a lively discussion of the fellow's good points...and not-so-good points.

"He's a great guy, but a real rumor-monger."

"What do you mean? He's one of the most honest person I know!"

"Oh, I didn't mean he spreads lies. It's just that he really enjoys a good gossip."

"Yeah, I know what you mean. The guy's always talking about somebody else."

Suddenly an thundering silence fell upon us, and we each did everything humanly possible to avoid each other's eyes. After a few awkward moments, one of us made an inane — but altogether welcome — observation about the weather.

I'm amazed, and enormously grateful, that amid the din of our chatter about others, God allowed us to hear His gentle whisper about ourselves.

Saint Lucy

Today we remember the virgin martyr Lucy, whose name means "light." Of noble birth, Lucy was killed under the brutal reign of Diocletian circa 304.

Patroness of the blind and vision impaired, Saint Lucy is named in the Roman Canon of the Mass (my favorite.)

Monday, December 12, 2005

Psst...don't tell anybody about Roxbury...but...

As I might've mentioned before, I happen to live in the Roxbury section of Boston...probably the poorest neighborhood in the city.

I like it.

One reason I like it is that nobody pays much attention to us. This is evident from the public neighborhood park.

Every year at about this time, I'm amazed and delighted at the park's Christmas theme. Always, there's a manger scene.

Tonight I noticed something incredible. In typical Roxbury gleaming neon, in letters a zillion feet high (well, maybe a little shorter) are the words:


How we keep getting away with this stuff is beyond me. But keep it under your hat, would you?

And God bless us all.

Our Lady of Guadalupe...

...Patroness of the Americas, pray for us.

Sunday, December 11, 2005


Today is Gaudete Sunday. The word "gaudete" is the imperative, second person plural form of the Latin word "gaudare," which means "rejoice." And so, translated, "Gaudete" means" "Rejoice, all of you!"

(Or "Rejoice, y'all!" depending on where you live.)

And, despite the frequent gripes that spatter this blog, you and I have much to rejoice about.

Jesus is coming!

And in so many ways, He's already here! First and foremost, of course, in the most Holy Sacrament of the Altar. He's present in Sacred Scripture, too, hard as it is for me to remember and I ask you to pray that I do each person we meet.

So rejoice! And expect nothing but the best!

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Failing Mayor Menino

I read Mayor Menino's remarks at last night's gathering of the beautiful people to support the inappropriately named "Catholic" Charities with deep sadness...and not a little bit of anger at the people who applauded him.

"....what moves me most about being a Christian is what Jesus taught us about being religious," Menino said. "He did not give priority to piety. He didn't make holiness the big thing. And he did not tell us to go around talking up God, either."

In three sentences, the Mayor — as he has in the past by denying that the Church's teachings on abortion and homosexuality were "not doctrine" — openly displayed his ignorance of Catholicism.

And how did the Archdiocese of Boston respond to this?

Terrence C. Donilon, a spokesman for the archdiocese, applauded the speech. "Mayor Menino's remarks clearly demonstrate this is a person who loves his city and is dedicated to helping others," Donilon said. "We appreciate his many good deeds on behalf of the needy.."

Leaving aside for the moment that the Mayor's "good deeds" are funded by Boston taxpayers (I just got notice that my property taxes are increasing) Donilon — and by implication, the hierarchy of the Archdiocese — make it plain that the priority is not the salvation of souls. No, the priority is to do "good deeds." And to make bleeping sure that everybody knows that "good deeds" are being done.

I wish — I pray — that somebody points out the Gospel passage we hear every Ash Wednesday.

"Take care not to perform righteous deeds in order that people may see them; otherwise, you will have no recompense from your heavenly Father." (Matthew 6)

Even more, I pray that somebody — preferably the Archbishop, if not Mayor Menino's parish priest — pay attention to the salvation of Mayor Menino's soul, and those of all of us in this Archdiocese.

I pray that our shepherds gently but firmly correct the Mayor and all who hear him, and remind all of us that holiness, is, in fact, "the big thing."

Source: The Boston Globe

Friday, December 09, 2005

Saint Juan Diego

"Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything."

—Words of Our Lady to Juan Diego

"Conservative Catholics Demand": those labels again

If you, like I, had trouble getting to Dom Bettinelli's site this morning, it probably has to do with a front page Boston Globe article which ran today.

With a mix of traditional theology, cutting-edge technology, and deep determination, a group of Catholic conservatives has changed the atmosphere surrounding tonight's Catholic Charities annual Christmas fund-raising dinner from gaiety to guardedness.

See, I find labels like "conservative Catholic" and terms like "demand" and "force" disconcerting.

"They demanded that Archbishop Sean P. O'Malley withdraw from this most glittering social event of the local Catholic calendar..."

There was nothing "demanding" about either the letter or the petition to Archbishop O'Malley. It respectfully requested, with good reason, that the Archbishop absent himself from the dinner. The honoree, as has been noted endlessly, publicly dissents from Catholic teaching. It's a no-brainer.

"But they were unable to force Menino to step aside or to persuade Catholics to boycott the Christmas party in opposition to the mayor's support for abortion rights and same-sex marriage."

"Force?" Nobody held a gun to the Mayor's head! Again, the petition to the Mayor respectfully asked him to take the high road and decline the honoree's seat, given his public statements which deny Catholic teaching.

And the term "conservative Catholic" makes my teeth hurt. You're either a faithful Roman Catholic or you're not. This isn't a political's essentially a moral one. The rules are clear. The notion that following the rules makes one a "conservative" is as absurd as is the notion of breaking them makes one a "liberal."

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Her Immaculate Heart Will Prevail!

See the movie.

(Ask for the book!)

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Vatican: stop adoptions to same-sex couples

From the Boston Herald:

A top church official in Washington is urging Archbishop Sean P. O’Malley to stop Catholic Charities of Boston from brokering adoptions unless same-sex couples are excluded, a source close to the hierarchy in the capital told the Herald.

The recommendation was contained in a letter sent recently from the office of Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo Higuera, the papal nuncio, the source said on condition of anonymity.

The archdiocese, asked about the letter, issued a statement saying, “As a matter of course, the archdiocese does not comment on any private communications it might receive from the Holy See.”

This comment is ironic:

The chairman of Catholic Charities, Peter Meade, declined to comment. He said he wanted to speak with the archbishop first.

Good thinking on Peter's part. Because the last time he opened his mouth on this issue he put your foot in it. Let's pray his guardian angel is tapping on his shoulder...and that his Archbishop either instructs him or reinstructs him on Catholic teaching.

And the rest of us, as well.

For the Herald article, go here.

For background on this from the Pew Lady's perspective, go here.

For the Archdiocese of Boston, go to your room — or even better, before the Blessed Sacrament — and pray. Thanks!

Immaculate Conception Plenary Indulgence

At times like this, it's difficult to imagine anything better then being a Catholic.

Mary, Mother of the Church, thank you for your prayers.

Tuesday, December 06, 2005

Voice of the Faithful [TM] Misses the Point. Again!


Less than a month ago, disgruntled friends of ousted priest Father Walter Cuenin graced my parish church with their presence.

Now it appears that this Sunday their compatriots are following suit.

That's right, friends:

Voice of the Faithful [TM] is in a snit over the recent "instruction" from the Vatican regarding homosexuality in seminaries. And if you live in Boston, Fall River, Springfield, LA, Chicago, or Philadelphia, you can look forward to green-ribbon-bedecked protestors a'knocking at your door, this weekend.

Here's the email: (thanks to a me on this one, I don't subscribe)

We invite you on the weekend of December 10-11 to join in a national action to demonstrate the following:

* your conviction that a vocation to the priesthood is not and should not be restricted by one’s sexuality;

* your belief that excluding homosexuals from the priesthood is not a solution to the clergy sexual abuse crisis;

* and your support of Voice of the Faithful’s second goal – to support priests of integrity.

What can you do? Voice of the Faithful’s National Office invites you on Saturday and Sunday of December 10-11 to

* wear a green ribbon visibly displayed at the Mass you attend;

* forward this email to as many Catholics – and non Catholics – as you know, and ask them to wear a green ribbon that weekend to show their support;

* and, if you live in or near the following cities, join us on Sunday, December 11 for a prayerful candlelight vigil at the following locations to show your support for our priests. (Please bring a candle or small flash light.)

CA Los Angeles Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels, 555 W Temple St. 6:00 PM

IL Chicago Chancery Office, 155 E. Superior St. 7:00 PM

MA Boston Cathedral of the Holy Cross, 1400 Washington St. 7:00 PM
Fall River Chancery Office, 423 Highland Ave. 3:00 PM
Springfield St. Michael’s Cathedral, Eliot St. 7:00 PM

PA - Philadelphia Cathedral of Sts. Peter & Paul, 18th & Parkway 7:00 PM

As many Catholics have been aware since January 2002, our good priests have been under siege. In February of that year our fledgling organization pledged our support for those “priests of integrity” – we knew our servant leaders by their pastoral presence in our lives. We know them still.

The support of Voice of the Faithful for priests of integrity comes with no “asterisk” – in the wake of the recently released Vatican document on homosexuality in US seminaries, it is time to be demonstrable in that support. We invite you to join a National gesture of our conviction that a vocation to the priesthood is not and should not be restricted by one’s sexuality. As was quoted in the Tablet by Fr. Timothy Radcliffe, “We should be more attentive to whom our seminarians may be inclined to hate than whom they love. Racialism, misogyny and homophobia would all be signs that someone could not be a good model of Christ.”

We are told in Acts that the early Christian community was recognized when observers would say of them, “See how they love one another.” What better time to live that message?

We urge you to share this email with family and friends. The National VOTF office will follow up with a reminder later in the week.

I can hardly wait. At least, this time (one hopes) they won't disrupt the Mass. And...uh...I think I'm busy on December 10 and 11 at 7:00 PM. So folks? All I ask is that you place your Dunkin' Donuts trash in the receptacles provided, and don't leave your green ribbons behind. Tie 'em on your Christmas — excuse me, "holiday" — trees instead.

For more Voice of the Fuddled interpretation on the Vatican document, check this guy out.

Maybe somebody can explain to him the difference between celibacy and chastity.

Or even better? To the whole group the difference between fidelity and apostasy.

"The Most Sublime Charity"

Speaking of charity...

From my post below, a reader might assume that I don't believe in practicing the corporal works of mercy. This isn't true. I understand and embrace what Jesus told us about feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting the sick and imprisoned.

(Although this is not always easy, given the fact that I'm a cheapskate.)

My objection to Boston's "Catholic" Charities is rooted in my -- and I believe your -- passionate desire for salvation for everybody. The last time I looked, salvation isn't easily obtained by adopting out children to same-sex couples, or by publicly honoring people who -- whether they know it or not -- sin.

In today's Gospel (Matthew 18:23-14) Jesus speaks about "the lost sheep."

"What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them
has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the hills and go
in search of the one that went astray? And if he finds it, truly,
I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine that
never went astray. So it is not the will of My Father who is in
Heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

Back in 1979, Pope John Paul commented on this passage:

"Unfortunately we witness the moral pollution which is devastating
humanity, disregarding especially those very little ones about whom
Jesus speaks."

"What must we do? We must imitate the Good Shepherd and give ourselves
without rest for the salvation of souls. Without forgetting material
charity and social justice, we must be convinced that the most sublime
charity is spiritual charity, that is, the commitment for the salvation
of souls. And souls are saved with prayer and sacrifice. This is the
mission of the Church!" ("Homily to the Poor Clares of Albano," 14
August 1979).

Too often we hear that the "mission of the Church" is limited to feeding the hungry, and tending to the earthly needs of our brothers and sisters. Certainly this is a major part of our vocations, but it's not the be-all and end-all of our lives here on earth.

We need to be as committed -- even more so -- to saving souls.

Pray for me. I pray for you all the time.

Please sign a petition to Archbishop O'Malley

Yes, yes, I know. Yesterday, I asked you to sign a petition to Boston's Mayor Tom Menino, asking him to "take the high road" and bow out of his honoree's position at Boston's "Catholic" Charities annual bash.

Now there's an opportunity to ask Archbishop O'Malley to do a bit of clean-up work at the organization which insists on calling itself "Catholic" but then does things like honoring a prominent pro-abortion, pro "same sex marriage" fellow.

(Truthfully? I've long thought that the Archdiocese of Boston should just lose "Catholic" Charities altogether, but I'm not holding my breath for that to happen.)

Anyway, if you'd take the time to sign this petition, I'd appreciate it.

Saint Nicholas of Myra

Happy Saint Nicholas Day!

Here's an interesting site.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Filling Mary's Basket

I went to Confession today and got a surprise.

After confessing my sins, I told the priest: "I want to make a good Advent."
And this 80+ priest gave me a good suggestion. He called it:"Filling Mary's Basket."

Here's the point. As you all know, Advent is a time for preparation and repentance. Father V remembered from his childhood (he's about as young as an 80-year-old can be) "filling Mary's basket." Picture yourself helping Mary on her way to Bethlehem. No time to pack a bunch of stuff...and no stuff to pack anyway!

But fill a useful basket for her to take.

It can't be really big, because, practically speaking, she and Joseph don't actually have an SUV to carry stuff in.
Fill it instead with stuff that will please both Our Lady, her husband...and most importantly, her Son! Write it down, said my confessor!

What can you pack up for Mary as she's on her way to Bethlehem?

A vow to avoid altogether those near occasions of sin?
A plan to pray the Angelus every day? How about a promise to never gossip about another? The gifts we can put in our "Basket to Bethlehem" are endless. And fun!

Let's have some fun and give Our Lady a "Savior Shower."

Let's fill up a basket and give it to her. Ask your guardian angel for ideas...and share them with us!

Please sign a petition to Mayor Menino

On Friday, December 9, the Mayor of Boston, who opposes Catholic teachings on abortion and marriage, is to be honored at a fundraiser dinner by Catholic Charities of Boston. Please sign the online petition to Mayor Menino to respectfully ask him to withdraw.

Please don't consider this just an "Archdiocese of Boston" issue...stuff like this effects the whole Church.

Thanks a lot...and if you'd spread the word, it'd be appreciated.

Sunday, December 04, 2005

Time for another "spot the errors" game...

...only this time, Ellen Goodman makes it way too easy. Still, go for it! (The headline's a gimme in itself.)

thanks to commenter Grace

Saturday, December 03, 2005

Do you know anyone who takes "The Da Vinci Code" seriously?

I admit it...I borrowed Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code about a year ago. A friend thought I might be interested, given my interest in puzzles and all.

It was a disappointment, to say the least.

Oh, well, I knew beforehand that it was a bash on Catholic doctrine, and that it was filled with fallacies about the Church. So I figured I was forewarned and tried to concentrate on the enigmatic storyline, being, as admitted, a puzzle lover at heart.

What a waste. I wasn't even clever.

The title should've tipped me off.

But the error, irritatingly, repeated itself throughout the book. The characters kept referring to works like the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper as "Da Vinci" works. Nobody does that! They're known as "works of Leonardo."

"Da Vinci" wasn't Leonardo's last name, for Pete's sake...he was from a town called "Vinci." I kept thinking: gee...if I wrote a book or created a painting, what would this guy have called it? I'm originally from Detroit, Michigan. I live in Boston. Would my opuses be known as "Of Detroits" or "Of Bostons?" Duh. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about.

Others — more learned than I — feel differently.

Amy Welborn, for example, wrote a book called De-coding Da Vinci.

And my good friends at Tradition, Family, and Property are alarmed enough at the upcoming movie (and video game!) to have produced a book called Rejecting the Da Vinci Code.

If you know anybody who has, or may, take this ridiculous novel as historical fact, I urge you to arm yourselves with the information these books have to offer.

Thank you.

And thanks to new friend Patte for the nudge ;-)

Friday, December 02, 2005

Catholic Crossword Puzzle Update

I'm delighted with the response of folks interesting in receiving weekly crossword puzzles as described here.

Couple of minor points:

If you want to receive the puzzles, please do use the "Email Kelly" link at the left. Why? Thanks to ingenious approach to all things technical (I stole the code from somebody else), when you click on the link, the subject line is automatically in place. This keeps my aggressive spam filter from relegating email to the "junk" folder. So use the link and don't change the subject line.

(If you did write me and haven't received any puzzles — I sent Sunday's out today — try again and don't change the subject line. And please accept my apologies in advance.)

Please add me to your address book. Otherwise, your aggressive spam folder might keep me out!


Thursday, December 01, 2005

And so this ISN'T Christmas

Christmas is in the air!

But — uh — it isn't Christmas.

This is the season we call "Advent." The Christmas season starts after sundown on December 24.

I'm prompted to bring this up by two bloggers.

Amy's hosting an interesting discussion, prompted by a reader who asks how to keep the seasons — both of them — holy and Christ-filled. The suggestions are good and it's even worth reading all the comments, if you've got a spare quarter hour or so.

Then there's this ridiculous "Let's honor a pro abort in the spirit of Christmas" thing Boston's Catholic (sic) Charities is into up to its ears. Dom posted a letter to Archbishop Sean O'Malley, signed by about four-score and twenty people, asking him to see to deep-sixing the honoring of pro-abortion, pro-same sex marriage advocate (but open handed) Mayor Tom Menino on the organization's "Christmas" fundraiser. To be held on December 9 (which is before the third Sunday of Advent).

(I didn't sign the letter. Lest you think I am not in agreement with the signees, I hasten to assure you I wasn't asked to sign it. That's not my point.)

Anyway, seeing both these posts today reminded me of something that bothers me, year after year. To wit:

Why the bleep do Christians — especially Catholics — celebrate "Christmas" during Advent???

Advent is a holy season. Christmas is, too, of course, but Advent comes first. And it should come first! It's a time for preparation, for quiet reflection on our lives, for getting ready, not just to remember Christ's first coming, but to greet him worthily when He comes again for the second and most decisive time.

And how to we behave during this gift of a season? Too often, I'm afraid, like drunken sailors on a short leave. We shop. We decorate. We plan. We fight with each other in the shopping malls for a parking space, cursing each other out even as the words "happy holidays" slip glibly from our lips.

We go to parties. At the office, at our friends' homes. (At the Boston Harbor Hotel.) We do everything possible to feverishly cram inane activities into the very short amount of time we've got to prepare our souls for the coming of Jesus.

Don't get me wrong. I love Christmas. But I love Advent, too. Both seasons have their purpose. Both merit our attention. I'm starting to think the Grinch didn't steal so much Christmas, but the weeks of preparation needed before the blessed event.

I don't know...sometimes I think the next thing in store is an Easter egg hunt on Holy Thursday. You know what I mean?

Or am I being Kelly Scrooge?