Saturday, January 15, 2011

The Virgin Mary

Our Lady of Peace Cathedral - Honolulu, Hawaii

"In the restoration of the world, the entire Church and the perfection of saints were brought together in the Virgin; hence she may be called a microcosm of the Church. Whatever was outstanding in any saint was also found in her. - Saint Thomas of Villanova

Magnificat 2011 January Issue

Anglican Priests Ordained to the World's First Ordinariate

Three former Anglican bishops were ordained as Catholic priests today.
More details can be found at Idle Spectulations.

Congratulations to the three new Catholic priests. Our prayers are with them.

Catholic Culture: First Anglican ordinariate established in Britain

Friday, January 14, 2011

Seven Quick Takes: How to Foster Vocations

Check out 7 inspiring ideas for fostering vocations in our families.

The Practicing Catholic: Seven Quick Takes: How to Foster Vocations

Prayer for Unborn by Pope Benedict XVI

Feds Tell College: You’re Not Catholic

Cardinal Newman Society press release:

Immediately following today’s ruling that a New York Catholic college is not “religious” under federal law, The Cardinal Newman Society published an analysis from a top legal expert advising Catholic college leaders on ways to protect their religious freedoms by maintaining a strong Catholic identity.

“Federal and state laws are increasingly being used to coerce religious institutions into actions and commitments that violate deeply held religious convictions and moral principles,” warns Kevin Theriot, Senior Counsel for the Alliance Defense Fund, in the analysis entitled “Protecting Catholic Colleges from External Threats to Their Religious Liberty,” which is posted at

Theriot suggests ways Catholic educators can defend against laws that require health insurance coverage for contraception or employee benefits for same-sex couples.

“It must be noted, however, that any available exemptions for religious institutions will not apply if a college that was founded as a religious institution has become largely secular,” Theriot cautions. “It is therefore vital that Catholic colleges and universities maintain their Catholic identity in all of their programs in order to best protect their religious character and mission.”

Earlier today, January 11, 2011, the federal government continued its assault on the religious liberty of Catholic institutions when the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) ruled that Manhattan College could not prevent faculty from unionizing on the basis that it is a religious institution. Despite acknowledging that the College is recognized as Catholic by the New York Archdiocese, the NLRB reviewed College statements and course content, finding “that the purpose of the College is secular and not the ‘propagation of a religious faith’.”

“For decades since the infamous Land O’Lakes declaration, too many Catholic colleges and universities have straddled the line between Catholic and secular,” said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society. “While the Vatican and bishops have patiently encouraged the renewal of Catholic identity, state and federal regulators are increasingly demanding that Catholic colleges justify their claims to be religious. For all but a handful of faithful Catholic colleges, this is a difficult if not impossible task. The great danger is that colleges faithful to the Magisterium will have their religious liberties stripped from them and that the slow process of renewal at other Catholic colleges will be short circuited by the government.”

The Cardinal Newman Society has been tracking the pattern of government interference in Catholic higher education since 2009. CNS has raised concerns about new U.S. Department of Education regulations encouraging state intrusion into higher education, an Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling against faithful Belmont Abbey College for refusing to cover contraceptives in its employee health plan, and state-mandated contraceptive coverage in student and employee health insurance.

In November 2010, CNS hosted a closed-door meeting with bishops and presidents of faithful Catholic colleges to discuss ways to defend the religious liberty of Catholic institutions of higher education. At the meeting and in The Cardinal Newman Society paper released today, Theriot identified ten factors that federal courts may consider when determining whether a school is exempt from certain laws as a religious organization. Several of the same factors were used by the NLRB in its ruling against Manhattan College.

Theriot issues this chilling warning in the introduction to his paper:

“Catholic colleges and universities have an advantage over other religious institutions in that the Catholic Church’s Canon Law and the Apostolic Constitution Ex corde Ecclesiae lay out the requirements for a college to be considered Catholic. While Church law is beyond the purview of this paper, it should be noted that a college that does not faithfully adhere to and apply the Catholic Church’s own law might find it difficult if not impossible to convince a secular court that it is a Catholic institution deserving protection.”

Ten Most Important Facts about Repentance

"Repentance of St. Peter" by Guido Reni
Picture source
The following is just one of the facts listed by Father John J. (Jack) Lombardi in Saints: A Sinners Guide, or: Ten Most Important Facts about Repentance
...2. So Peter said: "No, wash all of me," indicating not only his body but also his whole soul and life: Do you have this insight, desire and realization? The Call to Conversion, though scary at first, is really a Call to a Love-Relationship with the Living Lord-and allowing Him to reign and rule in our hearts--desiringly. St Teresa of Avila, a beautiful rich young lady of sixteenth century Spain, originally egoish and worldly, but later, after conversion, selfless and divinized, described life as an interior journey of deeper prayer and mystical love by seeking and embracing the King-Jesus Christ-in the Center of the "Interior Castle." -our souls. He is like a "Mystical Magnet" who attracts by His splendor, Blissful Light and Divinizing Love. Remember: Like the Virgin and saints, you are meant to be like a "palace-hall" embroidered for, and embracing the Divine King and Crystalline Kingdom...
Shared by Sue Cifelli

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Father Gordon MacRae - The Scandal of Catholic Abuse of the Catholic Abuse Scandal

I am sharing Father's latest post with you here. It gets tiring when individuals ask  "Well, how do you know he's innocent?"  when referring to priests like Father Gordon.  It is only after these individuals read Father's story  and those he shares about other innocent priests that they start to believe that maybe there is more to the story than has been reported in the press.  Maybe, not all priests are guilty as charged. Well, it is progress, I guess.

The mainstream media and special interest groups like Voice of the Faithful may continue to ignore the truth about the "Priest sex scandal". But here at this blog, I will do what I can to get the word out about falsely accused and imprisoned priests like Father Gordon.

The Scandal of Catholic Abuse of the Catholic Abuse Scandal.

See also: Where's the Media? L.A. Att'y Declares Many Abuse Accusations Against Catholic Priests Are 'Entirely False'

Making Proper Preparation for Our Earthly Departure

"Death in a Sick Room" by Edward Munch

About a year or two ago my friends and I watched a beautiful Japanese film entitled Departures. Brielfy, it was about a young unemployed cellist who answers an ad for a job which he mistakenly believes is for a travel agency. Instead, he is to assist in the ritualistic preparation of the dead for cremation.

In the movie, the emphasis is placed on the dead body. The body is washed very carefully and with the gentle and graceful movements that only the Japanese culture can artistically do. It is then dressed and placed in a place of honor in the family home with incense burning, surrounded by the mourning family.

Finally, the body is put in the cremation oven and that is that.

Picture source.

Saint Francis de Sales wrote a letter to an elderly man to help prepare him for his earthly departure. (From Thy Will be Done published by Sophia Press). His words of advice was to help the man prepare his soul, by withdrawing from the world.  
Picture source
"We must slowly withdraw from the world."

"It is not possible...while living in the world, although we only touch it with our feet, we are not soiled with its dust. - St. Leo

As Abraham once washed the dust from his visitors' feet, so must we wash the affections of our souls, "in order to receive the hospitality of our good God in His Paradise."

Saint Francis reproaches individuals who reach old age without having prepared for their inevitable death. "Those who get ready before the alarm is given, always put on their armor better than those who, on the fright, run hither and thither for the cuirass, the cuisses, and the helmet."

His advice to the elderly man seems very harsh and unrealistic as you can see by his following words.  However, the goal here is to be worthy of getting to Heaven:
We must leisurely say goodbye to the world, and little by little withdraw our affections from creatures....And since from this miserable land we are to be transplanted into that of the living, we must withdraw and disengage our affections one after the other from this world. I do not say that we must roughly break all the ties we have formed...but we must unsew and untie them."

"Those who depart suddenly are excusable for not saying goodbye to their friends...not so those who know the probably time of their journey. They must keep ready-not, indeed, as if to start before the time, but to await it with more tranquility."

In order to help the said elderly man, St. Francis de Sales recommended to him the following spiritual books to read:

De bono mortis (On the benefit of Death) - St. Ambrose

De interiori domo (On the interior House) - St. Bernard

Certain homilies - St. John Chrysostom.

According to St. Bernard:

The soul should first go and kiss the feet of the crucifix, to rectify its affections and to resolve with firm resolution to withdraw itself little by little from the world and its vanities;

then kiss the hands, by that newness of actions that follows the change of affections; and

finally that the soul should kiss the mouth, uniting itself by an ardent love to the supreme goodness.

This according to St. Francis de Sales, is the true progress of a becoming departure.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

January 11, 2011 Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos' Birthday

From Mary Jane:
Don't be shy....ask him for a gift!!
O My God, I truly believe You are present with me. I adore Your limitless perfections. I thank You for the graces and gifts You gave to Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos. If it is Your holy will, please let him be declared a saint of the Church so that others may know and imitate his holy life. Through his prayers please give me this favor ... (HERE MENTION YOUR SPECIAL INTENTIONS)

Brothers from the Bronx take on a tough Irish town


H/T Sue Cifelli

Sunday, January 09, 2011