Saturday, November 24, 2007

Ever hear a homily that claimed Jesus did not really perform the miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fishes? I did once, and Mark Shea brilliantly summarizes everything wrong with this at InsideCatholic:

Lying About the Loaves and Fish

"Then Jesus took the loaves, gave thanks, and the crowd, so moved at his warm fuzziness, started to share their own lunches with each other and sing, "Wind Beneath My Wings."

"In countless parishes all over the United States this Thanksgiving, some variation on this rubbish will be the theme of the homily as, once again, this tired naturalistic exegesis is trotted out to bore parishioners, confuse the young, irritate the theologically informed, and insult the ancient Jews it so casually caricatures."
Pope Elevates 23 New Cardinals

The above links to the Associated Press story on the consistory held in St. Peter's Basilica. Important highlights are:

The first Cardinal in the south of the USA (Dinardo of Houston) which reflects the growing population of Catholics down there.

The first Cardinal in Iraq (Emmanuel III Delly), which reflects the suffering of the people of Iraq, especially Christians who are being slaughtered almost out of existence.

Less important, but very good to hear, is the description of the vestments worn by the Pope:

"Wearing resplendent golden robes and a 19th century gilded bishop's hat once worn by Pope Pius IX"

"Benedict's vestments were particularly ornate: He donned a long, golden silk cape, embroidered with scenes from the life of the saints that was held up by two altar servers as he processed down the main aisle."

This is the another sign that the era of "Marini I" is over, and the era of "Marini II" begins. For those not familiar with the background of this Good Marini/ Bad Marini stuff, click here to read about it on

Or to put it simply:

Marini I -

Marini II -

I just added RealChoice to the blogroll, after finding it while searching for more info on Francisco Leonardo Fletes Sanchez. The most information seems to be in this article:

Man Behind Effort to Legalize Abortion in Nicaragua Gets 30 Years for Step-Daughter's Rape

"MANAGUA, November 21, 2007 ( - Francisco Fletes Sanchez, who covered up his sexual abuse of his stepdaughter "Rosita" in 2003 with the help of international pro-abortion organizations, has received the maximum sentence of 30 years in prison for his crimes."

"Fletes achieved notoriety in 2003 when he cooperated with a coalition of pro-abortion feminist groups in Nicaragua to secure an abortion for his nine year old stepdaughter, whom he falsely claimed had been impregnated by a Costa Rican neighbor while the family was living and working in that country."

"The abortion prevented authorities from identifying Fletes as the perpetrator."

"Fletes continued to rape his daughter for four more years, and ultimately fathered a second child, who was not aborted. When the media discovered the child, Fletes confessed to the rape, resulting ultimately in today's sentence."

From Lifesite via The Hermeneutic of Continuity

Friday, November 23, 2007

Just when we are giving thanks, another thing to be thankful for regarding Msgr. Eugene Costa of the Diocese of Springfield:

Springfield's Monsignor Kicked Out Of Priesthood
Move Made Directly By Pope Benedict XVI Over Sexual Misconduct Claims

"Costa was once chancellor of the Springfield diocese. His problems began when he was beaten by two young men in a park in December of 2004. It was later alleged that he had solicited the two for sex.

Subsequent investigations by the diocese and the U.S. Attorney's office revealed a pattern of sexual misconduct. "

News accounts do not mention Roman Catholic Faithful and its leader Stephen Brady, who is recovering from a motorcycle accident. Brady and RCF have been exposing the corruption of the Springfield Diocese for years. The Diocese was one of the most corrupt in the USA, and its former bishop Daniel Ryan was exposed by RCF for paying teenage male prostitutes.

10/24 update: Questions remain: Does Daniel Ryan still get some sort of pension money from the Diocese? How exactly did Costa become a Monsignor, and who was involved in getting him that honor? Who else in the Diocese covered up for Ryan, Costa, and the other perverts? Do any of these men have anything to do with the unsolved murder of Fr. Kunz, who was helping RCF expose corruption? Have the people who attacked Stephen Brady and RCF in the past apologized and admitted RCF was right?

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Great news from Newsday:

Stem Cell Breakthrough Defuses Debate

"Scientists have created the equivalent of embryonic stem cells from ordinary skin cells, a breakthrough that could someday produce new treatments for disease without the explosive moral questions of embyro cloning.

Research teams in the United States and Japan showed that a simple lab technique can rival the complex and highly controversial idea of extracting stem cells from cloned embryos.

It was a landmark achievement on all fronts, defusing one of the most divisive debates in modern medicine and religion. It was lauded by scientists, ethicists and religious groups."

The best line in this very positive story is this:

"An official of one group fiercely opposed to destroying embryos saw things differently, saying scientists should thank "pro-life voices" for pushing them to find alternatives."

Just check out the archives of LifeSite regarding stem cells to see how true this is.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Please Don’t Pray at Mass!

Fr. Vin, the pastor of Our Lady of Grace in West Babylon wrote this in this week's bulletin, and it is published online at the parish's website. The main point he makes is an good one:

"Please don’t “pray at Mass”; instead, Pray the Mass."

Unfortunately, to make his point he does the "tradition bashing" that has been so common for 35 years:

"People who grew up with the Mass in Latin couldn’t “pray the Mass”: It was incomprehensible. So instead, we were encouraged to “pray at Mass.” The priest “did his thing” with his back to the people, murmuring (as instructed – people weren’t supposed to hear some of the prayers) in a foreign language. Rather than be bored silly, lay people brought things to do – rosary beads to pray with, booklets of devotions, English-language “missals” that had translations to follow. And well-meaning instructors told people to conduct their own private devotions in the context of the time they spent at Mass – not a good solution, but the best that the times allowed."

I was not around to experience any of this first hand, but many Catholics have said that the general thrust of this argument is incorrect or exaggerated. I do know a few things however: That at the couple of dozen traditional latin Masses I have attended, none of the things described above occurred. In fact, I have found that those attending the Mass in the "extraordinary form" tended to be more prayerfully following and yes, praying the Mass than the seemingly bored people at the local parish Masses. Many at local parishes do not pray any of the prayers aloud. I have also found that the traditional Mass is very comprehensible, and the more I attend the more I learn.

I also know this: that when I attend the traditional Mass I use my Dad's 1943 Missal that I found in a box in the attic. The very first printed words in the Missal are: Pray the Mass. I remember seeing this for the first time and thinking it was stunning. Somehow I did not imagine that phrase being used in 1943 but there it was. I think that for those who want Catholics to pray the Mass today, in either form, it is better to point out positive things rather than talk about how bad things were years ago. For example, I learned by attending the traditional Mass that we genuflect during the Incarnation lines in the Creed: "By the power of the Holy Spirit, He was born of the Virgin Mary and became man." The present rubric is to bow during those three lines, which I started to do only after attending the traditional Mass, and I found it to be better than genuflecting. So, this is a positive change that is found in the Mass today. If things were really as bad as some say up until 1970, and the new Mass revisions were so wonderful, then there would be no reason for the huge drop in the numbers of Catholics who attend Sunday Mass from before 1970 to today. People would be flocking to parishes in order to attend a Mass they can understand, to see a priest face the people, to pray in their own language, to join together in prayer. This is simply not what happened, in fact the opposite occurred. So, although I totally agree with Fr. Vin's commentary and hope Catholics "Pray the Mass" either in the normative or extraordinary form, I think his reliance on the old argument of "things were bad before the changes" does not help the case at all. And now, here are some scans of my father's 1943 Missal, please note the first page:
- Click to enlarge

"And then there were these three woodsmen...but only one of them talked"

Karen Hall at Some Have Hats mentioned the TV show Newhart which I enjoyed. She reveals her ex-husband was one of the creators of the characters "Larry, Daryl and Daryl". This caused me to remember the show's final episode. Forget the Soprano's fade to black,the final episode of Newhart was the best finale to a show ever!