Thursday, November 30, 2006

On "offering it up" for the souls in Purgatory...from Sister Mary Martha

The unflappable Sister Mary Martha answers a reader's question about "offering up" sufferings for the souls in her own inimitable style.
Read the whole thing, but I especially like this paragraph:

3. A a sacrifice for a soul in no good if it's given begrudgingly. You don't give your old Aunt Sadie a wad of wrapping paper with no tape, slung around a box of melted chocolate and say with you lower lip out, "here's your gift." Buck up, stop whining and dig up some enthusiasm.

Eighth Commandment revisited

In the combox in the blog on the Eighth Commandment, Jane M. raises some interesting questions. (Actually, all the comments are worth reading, but I figured this on deserved some space, given the nature of blogs.)
Jane M. writes:

Here's one I find hard. If several of us witness the same really bad behavior by someone is it okay to talk about it amongst ourselves? (It is true and nobody is lowering anyone else's opinion because we all saw it. But it gives me a squeamish feeling along with the human pleasure of venting...) But then, what happens when another member of the group who didn't see the offense is present for the talking. I think there's something wrong but haven't nailed it down. Here's another. What about talking about someone you know your listener will never meet? I have a friend who just always needs to talk about the behavior of her in-laws and it isn't pretty. But I don't know them and she wants to vent. I think this commandment is broken a LOT.

What do you think?

From Cody's Aunt Denise

Dear Friends,

I just want to give you a quick update on Cody. His life has certainly been up and down these last weeks in the hospital (5 now), and he seems to be on a somewhat "up" right now. He went in for surgery yesterday to remove some fluid build-up around his lungs and has two tubes to keep the fluid drained. The blood infection seems to be under control, but he now has an e-coli infection in his lung, along with the pneumonia. The doctors have him on antibiotics and hope to have that under control very soon also. He still remains very sick, but has been responding slightly by moving his finger on command, raising an eyebrow, etc. We are all grasping onto these small steps in hopes that they are signs of improvement. Please continue to keep Cody and his family in your prayers!! God Bless you all!!


Thank you!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Cody update

Cody, for whom many of you have been praying, underwent surgery today to remove fluid outside of his lung. His aunt, Denise, asks that we keep praying. I know you will. Thank you.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

And here I thought priests were forbidden to seek public office

Yet Reverend Raymond Gravel has been elected to the Canadian Parliment.

According to LifeSite, he got permission to run from his bishop —

— "Gilles Lussier of the diocese of Joliette — on condition that he cease priestly functions for the duration of his political career, and that he abstain from voting against the Church on issues such as abortion and homosexual marriage."

Couple of problems here, other than the obvious one (that being that the bishop's "permission" doesn't mean squat when weighed against the Vatican's mandate).

Father Gravel supports abortion.

In 2004, Gravel boasted to a radio interviewer, "I am pro-choice and there is not a bishop on earth that will prevent me from receiving Communion, not even the Pope."

Father Gravel also evidently supports same-sex marriage.

And Father Gravel doesn't have an exactly stellar record in keeping his promises. At his ordination, one presumes, he promised to uphold Catholic doctrine.

He hasn't been doing it. Not in public, anyway.

So how come Bishop Gilles Lussier thinks he'll do it now?

Enough to make your head spin, isn't it?

Please pray for all concerned.

Sources include:

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Spiritual Pilgimage with His Holiness Benedict XVI to Turkey

The Knights of Columbus is sponsoring a "Spiritual Pilgrimage" with Pope Benedict XVI as he travels to Turkey in the next few days. All Catholics are asked to pray daily for the Holy Father during his November 28 - December 1 trip.

Here is the prayer.

Friday, November 24, 2006

"Amazing! Life Really Exists Inside the Womb!"

Very cool pictures of unborn animals -- in this case, an unborn elephant -- from the UK's Daily Mail. After reading the article, you might want to look at the comments. (Hat tip to reader Tom for the link.)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Thanksgiving Call to Worship

The Church's supreme thanksgiving for blessings received is the offering of the Eucharistic Sacrifice, and in the Church's liturgy of the hours this Eucharistic praise of God continues through the different parts of the day. In this way the Church teaches us to maintain and live in an attitude of gratitude to God. Therefore let us now bless the Lord, who has once again bestowed on us the fruits of the earth. Abel offered his first fruits to God; let us also learn to share our blessings for the good of those in need, so that we may be true children of the Father, who bestows His gifts for the benefit of all the peoples of the earth.

A blessed and happy Thanksgiving to you!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Book shopping? Try Sophia Institute Press...soon!

I'm not one to rush the season but in this case circumstances may make it advisable. If you like giving faithful Catholic books for Christmas gifts, why not visit the folks at Sophia Institute Press...soon.

When you visit the site, you'll find that the publisher is in a spot of financial trouble (i.e., they might have to close down) and your purchase -- or dollar donation -- could make all the difference.

Thanks! (And thanks to reader Justin for the heads up.)

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Marinated mushrooms...the secret is revealed!

Tomorrow, God willing, I plan to embark on the concocting of a Thanksgiving delicacy which never fails to bring acclaim from those fortunate enough to experience this savory appetizer.

After much thought, I have decided to share the secret of this incredible masterpiece...only with my fellow pewsters. One word of warning: those who taste this sumptious treat will beg you for more...moreover, they will beg you for the recipe.

Be strong! Share this secret only with your closest I have decided to do with you.

For safety's sake, I am inserting "spoiler space" before revealing the secret. (You never know who might come along and unworthily confiscate it!)

And so, without further ado, those of you who are willing to scroll down the necessary length to obtain this treasure beyond price may do so...

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[almost there!]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[hang in there!]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]

[marinated mushooms spoiler]


Hi, there!

Here's what you do, the day or night before serving.

1.) Buy a bunch of mushrooms.
2.) Cover them with the cheapest bottle of Italian dressing you can find and seal in in a bowl.
3.) If it makes you feel more virtuous, give the bowl(s) a shake once in a while.
4.) Drain 'em in a colander, place 'em on decent looking plates, and modestly accept the compliments.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Examination of conscience: The eighth commandment

Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.

Does this mean that if my pal Joey really is, say, stuggling with an addiction, or truly is, say, an outrageous flirt it's okay to tell my pal Jody all about it? Because the information isn't "false?"

There are many ways to break this commandment. (And, to tell you the truth -- hint, hint -- this one speaks to one of my greatest weaknesses.)

How can it be broken?

Friday, November 17, 2006

PlayStation 3: it's a TOY, you idiots!

Long lines, short supplies -- and occasionally, violence -- greeted the initial purchasers of Sony's PlayStation 3 when the coveted console went on sale early Friday.

Do you believe this?

With shortages resulting from production problems, many had camped out for days without knowing if they'd be going home empty-handed.

Ah, if only that were the worst that could happen.

In Connecticut, two armed thugs who got wise to the PS3's high price and tried to rob a line of people waiting outside a Putnam Wal-Mart store at 3 a.m. One person who refused to give up the money was shot, state police said.

Two robbers shot Michael Penkala, 21, of Webster Mass., in the shoulder after he confronted them, police said. He was taken to the University of Massachusetts Medical Center in Worcester for treatment; there was no word on his condition as of mid-day Friday.

In Lexington, Ky., four people waiting outside a Best Buy were hit by BB pellets, though none was seriously injured, according to WKYT, whose own reporter was hit as she interviewed buyers.

In Boston, police were called to Copley Place Mall at about 5 a.m. after the security staff was unable to control a large crowd that rushed in to buy the new gaming system from a Sony Style store that opened early, police spokesman Officer Sharon Dottin said.

Unbelievable. Welcome to the "holiday season," sheesh.

Source: USA Today

Cody update: storming Heaven

Cody's aunt sends along another update. As you may recall, Cody was severely injured during a football game last October 20. See here and here. Many of us have been fasting and praying for Cody and his family, and that God's will be done.

From his aunt:

Dear Friends,

I just received some "good news" about my nephew, Cody. This is the first really positive news (except for the fact that he has been stable despite his many complications) that we have received since he was admitted to ICU 3 weeks ago. My brother called me a couple of hours ago to tell me that they have just removed Cody from the respirator. He has opened his eyes a couple of times and they are hopeful that this is "voluntary" and not "reflex". They have 4 doctors watching over him as I write this email to make sure he responds well and can continue to breath on his own. This seems to be a huge step for him and the next 24 hours promises to be very crucial.

I am so grateful that so many of you have been keeping him in prayer and I know that this has much to do with the progress that he has made. I just feel that the saints and guardian angels are surrounding him, his doctors and nurses and his family to keep him going and not letting any of them give up. Our family is starting a Novena to St. Jude tomorrow and would invite any of you to join the novena with your families in your homes. I have attached a couple of websites that explain the novena if you are not familiar with it. It should only take a few minutes a day, but is a powerful prayer to St. Jude, sometimes thought of as the Saint of Desperate Cases, but also the Saint of Hope.

I also add a prayer of Thanksgiving for the progress that Cody has made so far and for all of your prayers.

God bless you all!

Links offered by Cody's aunt:

Saint Jude Novena Explanation

Saint Jude Novena

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Baltimore Catechesis and contraception

Most married Catholics -- a whopping 96% according to the estimate of United States Bishops -- use artificial birth control.

In other words, most married Catholics are in the state of mortal sin.

That is, if they know that contraception is a mortal sin.

But do they?

'Happy Are Those Who Are Called to His Supper': On Preparing to Receive Christ Worthily in the Eucharist," is one of the documents issued by the US Bishops in Baltimore. The document states that any Catholic who "knowingly and obstinately" rejects "the defined doctrines of the church" or repudiates "definitive teaching on moral issues" would not be in communion with the church and therefore should not receive Communion.

In order to receive holy Communion we must be in communion with God and with the church," the document says. "If we are no longer in a state of grace because of mortal sin, we are seriously obliged to refrain from receiving holy Communion until we are reconciled with God and the church."

Examples of mortal sin:

Among examples of such sin, the document cites "committing murder, including abortion and euthanasia; harboring deliberate hatred of others; (and) sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult, or physical or verbal abuse of others that causes grave physical or psychological harm."

Other "serious violations of the law of love of God and of neighbor" listed in the document included swearing a false oath, missing Mass on Sundays or holy days without a serious reason, "acting in serious disobedience against proper authority," "sexual activity" outside the bonds of a valid marriage," stealing, slander or involvement with pornography.

Where's the mention of contraception?

Here's the thing. Until our bishops and their brother priests come down -- hard and publicly -- on the deliberate prevention of conceiving children, all the talk in the world about "respect for life" and "protection of marriage" isn't going to do squat.

Sources: CNS and the Boston Globe

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Memorial Acclamation 1: Why the third person use?

Priest: "Let us proclaim the mystery of faith."

: "Christ has died, Christ has risen, Christ will come again."

Two things I'm not -- a liturgist and a theologian.

And I know that this acclamation has been around for eons, and is a favorite.
I only have one question, though:


It makes no sense to me. That is, I understand the Christ's death, resurrection, and second coming is a mystery of our faith.
But why are we "acclaiming" it as if Jesus had temporarily left the room?

I went to a dinner in honor of somebody once.

I forget who. But I do remember that various people stood up to give kudos to -- let's call him Seymour -- in the third person.

"Seymour is one heck of a guy."

"Seymour did thus and so to the benefit of our community."

"Seymour's work will continue to benefit all of us."

Okay. But each toast ended with a personal statement to Seymour! As in, "Seymour, thank you, we love ya, keep up the good work, etc."
My question is, if we can address Seymour in the first person -- after all, he was sitting at the place of honor -- why can't, or don't we always, do this for Jesus? Acknowledge His Real Presence, I mean.

Am I being horribly picky?

Monday, November 13, 2006

Novena to Mary for Cody

A friend avidly suggested a Novena from today, November 13 through The Feast of the Presentation of Mary, November 21, for Cody and his family. (Scroll down to posts about Cody...Blogger is acting up.)

Fasting is recommended. In any case, please pray the Miraculous Medal prayer at least three times daily:

O Mary conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!

May I also suggest an Our Father...we do, of course, want His Will to be done.


Sunday, November 12, 2006

Elton John wants religion banned

From the "are you kidding?" files:

"I would ban religion completely, even though there are some wonderful things about it," the singer said in an interview with the Observer newspaper on Sunday.

"Religion has always tried to turn hatred towards gay people. It turns people into hateful lemmings and it is not really compassionate."

Not really compassionate. Really?

In May, he [John] launched an expletive-laden tirade against the press at the Cannes film festival, telling photographers: "You should all be shot."

In 2004, he was filmed shouting at Taiwanese photographers for surprising him as he arrived at Taipei airport, calling them "rude, vile pigs".

It's usually not a good idea to pay attention to the rants of "celebrities." However, it is a good idea to pray for them...and to ask that they may be granted Courage.

Now that's compassion.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Cody update

Updated condition of Cody, whose aunt requested our prayers:

Dear Friends (some of whom I don't even know),

The outpouring of prayers has just been incredible.

I returned from Indiana this week and want to give you an update on Cody's progress and to ask for your continued prayer. Cody was in a drug induced coma for a full week to try to give his brain a chance to heal. On Monday, the 30th, he suffered a cardiac arrest in the middle of the night, but was revived with CPR and the 'paddles'. He was taken off of the heavy sedation the next day and it took nearly a week for the drug to leave his body. He has, since then, shown very tiny bits of improvement. On Wednesday, he responded very slightly to a pinch under the arm, but also contracted a blood infection called sepsis, as well as pneumonia. He has undergone two days of dialysis for his kidneys, a blood transfusion yesterday to combat the blood infection and as of this morning he is showing more signs of improvement. They have removed him from the brain gauge and drain and are replacing his main IV line. He is still a very sick young man, but at least, as of today, he is showing more responses to stimulation and seems to get irritated when they are manipulating his feeding tubes, IVs, I guess those are all good signs. Thank the Lord for baby steps.

This will be a very long battle for him and for his family and they are in need of many fervent prayers. We are all imploring Mary's intercession, we ask that she go to her son on behalf of their son. He is a very strong and determined young man and we are all very hopeful that he will come out of this with full recovery. But, we also know that it will take "storming the heavens" with prayer. Also, please pray for all of his many doctors and nurses who have been so diligent and untiring in their efforts to bring Cody out of this coma and full recovery and please add a prayer of thanksgiving for the progress he's made so far.

Thank you all for your continued prayer and please pass the prayer request on to anyone and everyone that is willing to become a prayer warrior for this family and their son. God Bless You!!

And may God bless you, and Cody and his family.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

To the Massachusetts State Legislature: You have the right to remain silent...

Well, jeepers, Marc Solomon of MassEquality can scarcely contain himself having heard that the so-called "legislators" of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts spit in the face of the state's citizens by once again recessing the Constitional Convention without taking up an amendment which would define "marriage" as a union between one man and one woman.

"This is the right outcome," said Solomon. "Today, the Legislature sided with the majority of people in Massachusetts who believe that marriage equality is good for families and communities and that it's time for government to move on to other pressing matters."

Uh...Marc? If the "majority of people in Massachusetts" feels as you do, how come your group spent so much dough making sure the people of Massachusetts couldn't vote on the issue?

No surprises here, though. The law-makers of this state have not only thumbed their noses at their bosses -- the citizens -- but also at the Supreme Judicial Court which, nearly three years ago, ordered the august body to craft "new marriage laws" within 6 months of its infamous Goodrich vs. The Massachusetts Department of Public Health. It's pathetic.

In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, the law-makers evidently have no respect for the law.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Bishop Morlino message follow up

Bishop Robert Morlino's taped message didn't seem to have much negative fallout. For those of you who expressed interest, here's a report.

Of course, the story starts out with some guy walking out, but the headline says it all.

And the money paragraph:

For some Catholics, Morlino had gone too far by inserting politics directly into the sanctuary and by slapping a gag order on priests. But others cheered. Finally, they said, a tough- love church leader willing to state the obvious and herd a sometimes wayward flock back into line.


Tuesday, November 07, 2006

"...but deliver us from evil. AMEN."

I always enjoy Zenit, particularly Father McNamara's "Liturgy" answers. Today he addresses -- or rather answers a question -- that is near and dear to my heart.

"Why no `Amen' at the end of the Our Father?"

Why not, indeed? I'm not talking about the Lord's Prayer in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. There, as Father McNamara clearly explains, the "Amen" is said...after the Prayer for Peace.

But the reader isn't talking about Mass.

He's referring to the -- in my opinion -- rather awkward omission of the word "Amen" (roughly translated as "so be it") after the Our Father during, for example, the Rosary, the Divine Mercy Chaplet, in the Liturgy of the Hours, and so forth. This is wacky, although perhaps understandable. As Father McNamara puts it:

Our reader has made a very interesting point and illustrates an example of an unintended consequence of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council.


Still, omitting the "Amen" after praying the prayer that Jesus taught us isn't a good thing. If you're praying the Our Father with others, please remember to end it with the affirmation:


Thank you.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Bishop Morlino outta have his own blog!

From Bishop Robert C. Morlino's latest "Open Letter to Wisconsin Residents:"

The truth about the human person revealed by reason alone should be supported by the state and in some instances by law. It is a fact that our state law currently recognizes the truth that marriage is between one husband and one wife. But it is also a fact that legislators and judges in other states, with similar laws, have taken it upon themselves to change the definition of marriage - which they have no right to do. Because it is defined by the natural law, no one, not the Church and not the State, has the right to redefine marriage as anything but one man and one woman, one lifetime, with openness to children. By adding the definition of marriage to our State Constitution, we can protect it from being illegitimately altered by judges or legislators.

And you've gotta read his homily at the Rite of Election last Lent. Talk about warning incoming Catholics about what they're in for...and with such joy and hope!

When you receive your Baptism, and your Confirmation, and your Eucharist, you're not being strengthened by the Holy Spirit for nothing, you're not being strengthened by the Holy Spirit for a cruise, as nice as that is. You're being strengthened by the Holy Spirit to proclaim the truth with love, the truth about God, the truth about the dignity of the human person, and in a very concrete way in our country and in our state in the coming months, the truth about marriage. Dear Lord, please give every one of us the grace to take up our mission, and if we get a bloody nose along the way, give us the grace to take it and keep smiling. Praised be Jesus Christ!

Makes me even happier to be a Roman Catholic...bloody noses and all. Do read this Bishop's stuff!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Bishop: Play recorded homily on life or suffer "serious consequences"

MADISON, WI, November 2, 2006 ( - Bishop Robert C. Morlino is a man of courage. The 59-year-old who has been a bishop for seven years, serving the last three in the diocese of Madison, has taken steps to ensure that his teaching on voting in favour of life and family get transmitted to the faithful.

After hearing reports of "isolated cases" of priests refusing to convey, or even publicly contradicting, the bishops' messages on these important topics, he went to the extraordinary step of ordering all of the priests in his diocese to play a recorded message of his own at weekend Masses on November 4-5 in the place of the homily.

. . .

To demonstrate the gravity of the matter, Bishop Morlino warned of "serious consequences" for priests who would contradict the vital teachings of the church in these matters. "I must make it very clear that any verbal or non-verbal expression of disagreement with this teaching on the part of the priest will have to be considered by myself as an act of disobedience, which could have serious consequences," he said.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Happy All Saints Day!

A favorite day for me, and I hope for you, too. Get to know a saint and grab yourself a friend!

Enjoy, and may all the saints pray for you...and for me. Hey, we all want to be in that number!