Friday, March 05, 2010

How the Vatican plans to save marriages

Cardinal Ruini heads investigation on apparitions in Medjugorje

12 Claims Every Catholic Should Be Able to Answer

. “There’s no such thing as absolute truth. What’s true for you may not be true for me.”

People use this argument a lot when they disagree with a statement and have no other way to support their idea. After all, if nothing is true for everyone, then they can believe whatever they want and there’s nothing you can say to make them change their minds.

But look at that statement again: “There’s no such thing as absolute truth.” Isn’t that, in itself, a statement that’s being made absolutely? In other words, it applies some rule or standard to everyone across the board — exactly what the relativists say is impossible. They have undone their own argument simply by stating their case.
Read the rest here

H/T to Catholics Come Home Blog

Group Wants Boys Town Founder Canonized

The Rev. Edward Flanagan founded Boys Town nearly 90 years ago, and today his mission lives on. Now those who have studied him believe Father Flanagan should be a saint in the Roman Catholic Church.

Flanagan founded the Orphanage for Boys in 1917. Since then, his organization has touched the lives of thousands of children. It’s a legacy that some believe makes Omaha’s best-known priest worthy of sainthood.
Read the rest here

H/T to Priests' Secretary

Father Jay Flaherty Speaks Plainly to His Parishioners

It started with this reporting by Deacon Greg regarding Jack Chick tracts being passed out by a Baptist minister in Tennessee. One of Father Z's reader's alerted him to the following letter to the editor of the Diocesan newspaper in Knoxville regarding Father Flaherty, the priest interviewed in the original story.
Father Jay Flaherty, the pastor of Holy Cross Church in Pigeon Forge, gave a heartfelt message on Jan. 2 so profound that it’s worth repeating. He said “I am no longer Father Jay, but Father Flaherty.”

He began by explaining the Catholic Church’s rules for Mass and the Eucharist, and addressed parish volunteers. He reminded us of God’s presence in the tabernacle. There’s a family-life room for visiting, eating, and unruly kids, with Mass on TV.

He spoke of growing disrespect for the host, such as the time one was found with a cough drop stuck on it. One must fast for one hour from food, drink, or chewing gum before taking Communion, Father said. “And if I or the eucharistic ministers see any of this, that person will not receive Communion. Don’t leave early; stay until Mass ends!”

Father addressed respectful attire, especially for ushers and those on the altar: ties, long pants, dresses, and no shorts. Latecomers must wait outside until after the homily, because “I do not use notes, and I get distracted.”

He ended by saying, “If you don’t like these changes, you can go worship elsewhere. You can complain to the bishop or go all the way to the pope.” As a priest, Father Flaherty is accountable for how he leads his flock to God. You could have heard a pin drop during his homily, but the congregation applauded at the end in agreement.

He had hit the nail on the head. I hope his message resounds throughout the diocese.

—Nancy Stutts Knoxville

H/T Fr. Z


The Curé of Ars - On The Sacrament of Confession

The Sacrament of Penance by Nicholas Pouissin

Saint John Vianney's Catechism on Confession is too important not to be shared here in its entirety.
My children, as soon as ever you have a little spot upon your soul, you must do like a person who has a fine globe of glass, which he keeps very carefully. If this globe has a little dust on it, he wipes it with a sponge the moment he perceives it, and there is the globe clear and brilliant. In the same way, as soon as you perceive a little stain on your soul, take some holy water with respect, do one of those good works to which the remission of venial sins is attached – an alms, a genuflection to the Blessed Sacrament, hearing a Mass. My children, it is like a person who has a slight illness; he need not go and see a doctor, he may cure himself without. If he has a headache, he need only go to bed; if he is hungry, he has only to eat. But if it is a serious illness, if it is a dangerous wound, he must have the doctor; after the doctor come the remedies. In the same way, when we have fallen into any grievous sin, we must have recourse to the doctor, that is the priest; and to the remedy, that is confession.

My children, we cannot comprehend the goodness of God towards us in instituting this great Sacrament of Penance. If we had had a favor to ask of Our Lord, we should never have thought of asking Him that. But He foresaw our frailty and ourinconstancy in well-doing, and His love induced Him to do what we should not have dared to ask. If one said to those poor lost souls that have been so long in Hell, "We are going to place a priest at the gate of Hell: all those who wish to confess have only to go out," do you think, my children, that a single one would remain? The most guilty would not be afraid of telling their sins, nor even of telling them before all the world. Oh, how soon Hell would be a desert, and how Heaven would be peopled! Well, we have the time and the means, which those poor lost souls have not. And I am quite sure that those wretched ones say in Hell, "O accursed priest! if I had never known you, I would not be so guilty!"

It is a beautiful thought, my children, that we have a Sacrament which heals the wounds of our soul! But we must receive it with good dispositions. Otherwise we make new wounds upon the old ones. What would you say of a man covered with wounds who is advised to go to the hospital to show himself to the surgeon? The surgeon cures him by giving him remedies. But, behold! this man takes his knife, gives himself great blows with it and makes himself worse than he was before. Well, that is what you often do after leaving the confessional. My children, some people make bad confessions without taking any notice of it. These persons say, "I do not know what is the matter with me"... They are tormented, and they do not know why. They have not that agility which makes one go straight to the good God; they have something heavy and weary about them which fatigues them. My children, that is because of sins that remain, often even venial sins, for which one has some affection. There are some people who, indeed, tell everything, but they have no repentance; and they go at once to Holy Communion. Thus the Blood of Our Lord is profaned! They go to the Holy Table with a sort of weariness. They say, "Yet, I accused myself of all my sins... I do not know what is the matter with me." There is an unworthy Communion, and they were hardly aware of it!

My children, some people again profane the Sacraments in another manner. They have concealed mortal sins for ten years, for twenty years. They are always uneasy; their sin is always present to their mind; they are always thinking of confessing it, and always putting it off; it is a Hell. When these people feel this, they will ask to make a general confession, and they will tell their sins as if they had just committed them: they will not confess that they have hidden them during ten years – twenty years. That is a bad confession! They ought to say, besides, that they had given up the practice of their religion, that they no longer felt the pleasure they had formerly in serving the good God.

My children, we run the risk again of profaning the Sacrament if we seize the moment when there is a noise round the confessional to tell the sins quickly which give us most pain. We quiet ourselves by saying, "I accused myself properly; so much the worse if the confessor did not hear." So much the worse for you who acted cunningly! At other times we speak quickly, profiting by the moment when the priest is not very attentive to get over the great sins. Take a house which has been for a long time very dirty and neglected – it is in vain to sweep out, there will
always be a nasty smell. It is the same with our soul after confession; it requires tears to purify it. My children, we must ask earnestly for repentance. After confession, we must plant a thorn in our heart, and never lose sight of our sins. We must do as the angel did to St. Francis of Assisi; he fixed in him five darts, which never came out again.
Source: Day 17: March 5th, 2001

Thursday, March 04, 2010

Book Review - No Turning Back: A Witness to Mercy

"Amid the fiery splendor of all the glorious seraphim, Mary was crowned Queen of heaven's Angels and Saints.  But she is the Immaculate Queen of earthly sinners as well.  The world is full of her prodigal sons who scorn their Mother's house and waste their substance in riotous living, feeding their souls on the husks of sin.

Meanwhile their Mother "watches from afar off," praying endlessly for their repentance.  If they take one step only toward her, she runs the rest of the way to meet them.  The grace of repentance, which Jesus won for sinners, is given to them through Mary.

Habits of sin can be broken in Confession-if I have real sorrow.  I should ask Mary for it often."

From Father Patrick Peyton's 5th Glorious Mystery reflection in Rosary Prayer Book.

The above reflection could have been written by Father Peyton with the young Donald Calloway in mind.

By now, just about every Catholic should be familiar with Father Donald Calloway's incredible...actually, miraculous story of conversion. 

Some have referred to Father as a modern-day St. Augustine.  In actuality, even at his worst, St. Augustine could not have been as bad a boy as then Donald Calloway was.

I first heard Father Calloway's story on a DVD.  Then Father came to personally give testimony on his conversion at two Divine Mercy Conferences on Oahu.  In fact, when Father introduced himself to his audience, he noted that he did not think anyone had ever heard of him.  My son and I were thinking "not true, Father, not true".  At both conferences I asked around for his book on his conversion.  Surprisingly, at that time, there was no book on his conversion!

Father Calloway finally wrote about his conversion story in his new book No Turning Back.

Let me tell you: this is no run of the mill conversion story.  This is not a preachy conversion story with lots of scriptural references.  Although I appreciate other converts' stories like that, I personally find it a bit boring.  Father Calloway's book or story is not by any means boring!

More than half of the book's 262 pages are filled with Father's past life and bad experiences.

Right away Father starts off describing in vivid detail his infamous arrest and expulsion from Japan as a mere teen.   As I read this part of the story, I was thinking to myself...."He would have been so punished, if he were my son!" 

Father Calloway has a writing style all his own.  He writes as he speaks.  He writes as if talking one on one to a friend.  The book is an easy read not only because of the writing style, but because of Father's riveting life story.  I had to keep reminding myself all his experiences happened before he was even 20 years old!

Sometimes, Father's shares something that would just crack me up because I found it to be very funny.  I am not sure whether or not Father meant it to be told in a humorous way, but he really had me laughing and sharing some parts with my whole family, which then had them laughing.  Because I have heard Father speak in person, I am guessing he is naturally funny.  The part I am referring to here is his time in jail in the United States.

Another thought I kept having as I read the book is "I can't believe the guy in this story is a priest!"

Although Father did not shy back when sharing his intimate details, he carefully used his words for the reader so as not to offend but I appreciated Father's candor throughout the book.  Father really wanted to be quite honest and open in portraying his past.  This fact will make his conversion even more meaningful and will really impact the reader, especially if you are not familiar with his story. 

Divine Mercy is so evident in the life of this now famous priest.  It can only have been through God's Divine Mercy and of course, through Mary, that tough little guy, anti-Christian Donald Calloway, fully repented and gave his life to God and His Mother.  Father Donald continues to spread the necessary and important message of Divine Mercy wherever he is or wherever he goes.

It was at the first Divine Mercy conference that my son asked Father if he can now return to Japan.  At that time Father said he did not know.  For Japan's sake, I hope he can go back.

For more information on Father Calloway or to order his book please check out his website here.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The Curé of Ars - On Pride

I was going to write on the topic of pride.  Instead, I am sharing what St. John Vianney has taught with regard to pride.

Pride is that accursed sin which drove the angels out of paradise, and hurled them into Hell. This sin began with the world. See, my children, we sin by pride in many ways. A person may be proud in his clothes, in his language, in his gestures, even in his manner of walking. Some persons, when they are in the streets, walk along proudly, and seem to say to the people they meet, "Look how tall, how upright I am, how well I walk!" Others, when they have done any good action, are never tired of talking of it; and if they fail in anything, they are miserable because they think people will have a bad opinion of them... others are sorry to be seen with the poor, if they meet with anybody of consequence; they are always seeking the company of the rich... if by chance, they are noticed by the great people of the world, they boast and are vain of it. Others take pride in speaking. If they go to see rich people, they consider what they are going to say, they study fine language; and if they make a mistake of a word, they are very much vexed, because they are afraid of being laughed at. But, my children, with a humble person it is not so... whether he is laughed at or esteemed, or praised, or blamed, whether he is honored or despised, whether people pay attention to him or pass him by, it is all the same to him.

My children, there are again people who give great alms, that they may be well thought of – that will not do. These people will reap no fruit from their good works. On the contrary, their alms will turn into sins. We put pride into everything like salt. We like to see that our good works are known. If our virtues are seen, we are pleased; if our faults are perceived, we are sad. I remark that in a great many people; if one says anything to them, it disturbs them, it annoys them. The saints were not like that – they were vexed if their virtues were known, and pleased that their imperfections should be seen. A proud person thinks everything he does is well done; he wants to domineer over all those who have to do with him; he is always right, he always thinks his own opinion better than that of others. That will not do! A humble and well-taught person, if he is asked his opinion, gives it at once, and then lets others speak. Whether they are right, or whether they are wrong, he says nothing more.

When St. Aloysius Gonzaga was a student, he never sought to excuse himself when he was reproached with anything; he said what he thought, and troubled himself no further about what others might think; if he was wrong, he was wrong; if he was right, he said to himself, "I have certainly been wrong some other time." My children, the saints were so completely dead to themselves, that they cared very little whether others agreed with them. People in the world say, "Oh, the saints were simpletons!" Yes, they were simpletons in worldly things; but in the things of God they were very wise. They understood nothing about worldly matters, to be sure, because they thought them of so little importance, that they paid no attention to them.

Source: Day 15: March 3, 2010

What the Popes Have to Say About Socialism

Anyone who examines the ideology of socialism will see the contrast between the socialist doctrine and the doctrine of the Church.

All the same, it is not out of place to review the condemnation of the popes starting with Pius IX and ending with Benedict XVI. Thus, we present what the popes have to say about socialism as they condemn the socialist doctrine thoroughly and entirely. This is not a comprehensive compilation, but just some samples...
Click here to read the Rest.

Shared by my good friend, Lois.

Novena of Grace in Honor of St. Francis Xavier Begins March 4th

St. Francis Xavier - St. Francis Church, Kalaupapa

Photo by Esther G.

Louise shared the following novena with me. It is a new novena for me and I urge you to join in starting tomorrow. Thank you Louise.  I found the Novena in its entirety over at Sacred Spaces where they posted it last year.
We invite you to join us and pray the Novena of Grace in honour of Saint Francis Xavier over the next nine days. It is traditional to pray the Novena for a particular intention; to ask for what you desire from God. Pray for your own needs, those of your loved ones, or the needs of the world. You can keep a note of your intentions and have them appear in your Novena Prayer by using the link on the right.

The days of the Novena will appear here, beginning on 4 March...

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Father Peter Rookey's Healing Ministry

Although I have never seen nor heard Father Rookey in person, I am familiar with him and associate him with Catholics in Hawaii.  That is because the St. Michael's Center for the Blessed Virgin Mary would invite father to come to Hawaii for the Marian Conferences, etc.
Father Peter Rookey Being 92 years old, he does not travel much anymore. He does take phone calls if you want him to pray for you over the phone. The phone number is 708-748-MARY.
Phone: 708-748-6279--Fax: 708-748-0234
Fr. Rookey Address is,
International Compassion Ministry Servite FR. Peter M. Rookey Our Lady of Sorrowa 3121 W. Jackson Blvd.Chicago, IL 60612
Thanks Ed

Incredible List of Catholic Books....Many Classical Spiritual Books

Check out the complete over at Vivificat.


"Answer the Call, Young Man..."

...because God Himself has called you...Fr. Corapi

H/T to Padre Steve

Urgent Prayer Request--Dominican sisters in Iraq

Read the prayer request over at Ed's blog

The Brown Scapular and Venerable John Paul II

I know just about every Catholic blog is or has posted this story of John Paul II's instructions to the medical personal, after he was shot and was waiting surgery.

I am sharing it with you because it reminded me that when my father was dying, my mother gave the doctors and nurses repeated instructions to not remove my father's brown scapular, no matter what. My father died with his scapular on. It is almost a year since I  shared the story of my father's happy death.  He was not what one would consider to be a devout Catholic because he did not attend Mass nor did he go to confession in a long time. His dying with the Brown Scapular along with the anointing of the sick gave my mother and his children, the reassurance we needed and prayed for over the years, that our beloved husband and father would one day be in Heaven through the infinitely divine mercy of God.

I shared the story of Pope John Paul II's instructions of not having his brown scapular removed, with my husband and mother yesterday. My husband told me that his dying father, who died two months after my own father, thanked the medical personal for letting him keep his Brown Scapular on. Unlike my own dear father, my father in law, was a devout Catholic. Yet, my husband too was very comforted knowing his father died with his Brown Scapular on.

H/T to Padre Steve


Talk given by the archbishop of Denver on the evening of March 1, 2010, at the Baptist University of Houston:
by Charles J. Chaput

One of the ironies in my talk tonight is this. I'm a Catholic bishop, speaking at a Baptist university in America's Protestant heartland. But I've been welcomed with more warmth and friendship than I might find at a number of Catholic venues. This is a fact worth discussing. I'll come back to it at the end of my comments. [...]

I need to offer a few caveats before I turn to the substance of our discussion.

The first caveat is this: My thoughts tonight are purely my own. I don't speak for the Holy See, or the American Catholic bishops, or the Houston Catholic community. In the Catholic tradition, the local bishop is the chief preacher and teacher of the faith, and the shepherd of the local Church. Here in Houston you have an outstanding bishop – a man of great Christian faith and intellect – in Cardinal Daniel DiNardo. In all things Catholic tonight, I'm glad to defer to his leadership.

Here's my second caveat: I'm here as a Catholic Christian and an American citizen – in that order. Both of these identities are important. They don't need to conflict. They are not, however, the same thing. And they do not have the same weight. I love my country. I revere the genius of its founding documents and its public institutions. But no nation, not even the one I love, has a right to my allegiance, or my silence, in matters that belong to God or that undermine the dignity of the human persons He created.

My third caveat is this: Catholics and Protestants have different memories of American history. The historian Paul Johnson once wrote that America was “born Protestant” (1). That's clearly true. Whatever America is today or may become tomorrow, its origin was deeply shaped by a Protestant Christian spirit, and the fruit of that spirit has been, on the balance, a great blessing for humanity. But it's also true that, while Catholics have always thrived in the United States, they lived through two centuries of discrimination, religious bigotry and occasional violence. Protestants of course will remember things quite differently. They will remember Catholic persecution of dissenters in Europe, the entanglements of the Roman Church and state power, and papal suspicion of democracy and religious liberty...
Read the entire transcript of the archbishop's talk HERE

Thanks to my good friend Lois for sharing this article.

Curé of Ars - On Sin

"...We come to confession quite preoccupied with the shame that we shall feel. We accuse ourselves with hot air. It is said that many confess, and few are converted. I believe it is so, my children, because few confess with tears of repentance. See, the misfortune is, that people do not reflect. If one said to those who work on Sundays, to a young person who had been dancing for two or three hours, to a man coming out of an alehouse drunk, "What have you been doing? You have been crucifying Our Lord!" they would be quite astonished, because they do not think of it. My children, if we thought of it, we should be seized with horror; it would be impossible for us to do evil. For what has the good God done to us that we should grieve Him thus, and put Him to death again – Him, who has redeemed us from Hell? It would be well if all sinners, when they are going to their guilty pleasures, could, like St. Peter, meet Our Lord on the way, who would say to them, "I am going to that place where you are going yourself, to be there crucified again." Perhaps that might make them reflect..."
Read this in its entirety HERE at Day 14, March 2, 2010

Sunday, February 28, 2010

St. John Vianney on Sunday, the Lord's Day

This is not directed at anyone who finds that through their own circumstances in life, and through no fault of their own, MUST work on Sundays.
"...Sunday is the property of our good God; it is His own day, the Lord's day. He made all the days of the week: He might have kept them all; He has given you six, and has reserved only the seventh for Himself. What right have you to meddle with what does not belong to you? You know very well that stolen goods never bring any profit. Nor will the day that you steal from Our Lord profit you either. I know two very certain ways of becoming poor: they are working on Sunday and taking other people's property..." 
Source: Day 7 February 23rd, 2010