At the Gate Called Beautiful: A Picture of the Church and Our Spiritual Journey

At the Vigil Mass of today’s Feast of Saints Peter and Paul was read the story of a paralyzed man whom Peter and John encounter just outside the Temple at the Gate called “Beautiful.” This paralyzed man’s story is our story and as we read it we learn something of our own spiritual journey to the Lord and to heaven, symbolized here by the Temple. Let’s look at this moving story which is not merely an event of 2000 years ago but is our story. (N.B. The Beautiful Gate is the gold plated doors in the foreground of the picture).

Read more

Christianity has endowed Western Civilization with a priceless heritage. To lose this to a mass amnesia in the culture, would be an inestimable loss…

It does not take the training of a professional sociologist to realize that a major cultural shift regarding faith, morals and the place of Christianity is under way in Western Civilization. And this has nothing, really, to do with some haphazard lightning strike in Ohio.

Consider the following, which is a mere sampling of recent efforts to undermine the place of faith in the public life of Western democracies:

– The European Union’s insistence that neither God nor the Christian Church be mentioned in its Constitution, despite the clear historical role belief in the form and the institution of the latter played in the formation of Europe.

– The litany (if you will excuse the pun) of coarse jokes, cheap shots and outright viciousness directed specifically at the person of Christ or the Christian faith on TV and which are passed over by the same people who would readily file hate crime charges against their promoters if addressed to any other religion.

– The subtle but clear shift in language away from “freedom of religion” to “freedom of worship” on the part of the current administration, retaining only one dimension of religion (worship) while setting the stage to curtail its public witness. It is freedom of religion, not merely worship that has been venerated since the American founding.

This is not mere paranoia. Numerous other examples exist, but these should be sufficient evidence of a trend that is attempting to foster an entire cultural shift which would reject Christian revelation’s role in the forming of American and Western civilization.

Read more

Priest: I am Catholic because I believe it is true (the best reason for believing anything!), and, to quote GK Chesterton, to get my sins forgiven.

I was walking in Leeds with my friend Martin, when we were surrounded by a gang of Asian youths, who looked neither friendly nor sober. This was about 15 years ago, when I was a student at the university there. I assumed they were going to make trouble because Martin was (and remains still) white. “Stick with me, homie,” I joked. “I’ll protect you.”

As it turned out, the lads were more interested in me, the Asian out of the two of us. Then it came. His words, and he left me in no doubt how seriously he meant them, were, “Is you Muslim or Hindu, yeah?”

I had the flabber taken out of my gast. I thought, Gosh! How do I answer this one? I couldn’t tell if they were Muslims or Hindus themselves, so who could tell what they thought the right answer might be.

But I remembered the words of the Lord, Whoever denies me before men, him will I deny him before the Father. So, honesty being the best policy, I stammered: “I-I-I’m a Catholic.”

His friends had to pull him off me as he raged (I remember there was a lot of spittle going on): “Why? Why the f— are you a Catholic??!”

Should I tell him, Because the apostle St Thomas came to India 2,000 years ago and converted my ancestors, or, Because this is the church Jesus Christ, true God and true man, established on the foundation of the apostles.

In the end, a quick getaway seemed more expedient, for I had reason to believe he was not truly interested in inter-religious dialogue.

Read more

Some Highlights of Elena Kagan’s Record as Dean at Harvard Law School, 2003-2009

  • Kagan accelerated and legitimized the GLBT “rights” concept and law studies at Harvard Law School and in the larger university community.
  • Kagan encouraged Harvard students to get involved in homosexual activist legal work. At a time when she as Dean pushed students to engage in “public interest law” and to get “clinical” legal experience, the Harvard Law School established the LGBT Law Clinic. How could a “Justice Kagan” on the Supreme Court be impartial involving cases brought by “gay” legal activists — when she so openly advocated for homosexual legal goals and integrating homosexuality into legal studies and practice at Harvard?
  • Kagan recruited former ACLU lawyer (and former ACT-UP member) William Rubenstein to teach “queer” legal theory. Few Americans can comprehend the radical nature of “queer” academics. Rubenstein described one of his courses as the taking up of “newer identities (bisexuality, trans, gender[f**k]).” as well as involving “polygamy, S&M [sadomasochism], the sexuality of minors.”
  • Kagan promoted and facilitated the “transgender” legal agenda during her tenure at Harvard. In 2007, HLS offered a Transgender Law course by “out lesbian” Professor Janet Halley and Dean Spade, a transsexual activist attorney, both of whom she recruited. (Halley’s extremism and contempt for natural gender boundaries is illustrated by her calling herself a “gay man.”) Kagan also brought in Cass Sunstein (currently Obama’s regulatory czar) who has written in support of polygamy and other free-for-all marriage relationships.
  • Kagan engaged in ongoing, radical advocacy opposing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and demanding an end to the ban on homosexuals serving in the military. Her highly partisan actions are unbecoming of a future judge – especially one who would be called upon to adjudicate such weighty and divisive matters.
  • Even after Kagan and Harvard lost their legal campaign to ban military recruiters and Harvard Law School was forced to let them back on campus, she encouraged ongoing student protests against them — deputizing the radical Lambda group to come up with ideas of how to harass the recruiters legally. Kagan’s actions blatantly disrespected our military and exposed her as the out-of-touch, socially leftist academic that she is.
  • Kagan attended functions of radical homosexual (GLBT) groups at Harvard University, absorbing and apparently agreeing with their goals.
  • Kagan followed the wishes of campus homosexual organizations — within a month of meeting with a Harvard GLBT student group, she was agreeing with their demand to ban military recruiters on campus.
  • Radical “trans” activism at Harvard: Kagan’s active promotion of the GLBT agenda at Harvard likely accelerated the campus environment that was becoming so “tolerant” of homosexuality and gender confusion that there was even a campaign during her tenure to make the campus “trans inclusive” — using Harvard’s “gender identity” nondiscrimination policy (in place since 2006). This included discussions between GLBT student activists and the law school administration (i.e., Kagan) “to make our restrooms safe and accessible for people regardless of their gender identity or expression.” (Read: allow men who identify as “women” to use female restrooms and locker rooms, etc.)
  • As a likely result of Kagan’s activism, Harvard has become so committed to radical transsexual activism that its health insurance policy now partially covers “sex-change” breast “treatment” for transsexuals – either men taking hormones to develop breasts, or women having their healthy breasts removed to become the “men” they believe they are.  Where does Kagan stand on transgenderism and transsexuality and the law today?

Link

Pro-Lifers Push Back Against Chicago “Bubble Zone”

Planned Parenthood may have gotten the Chicago City Council to enact a Bubble Zone around the abortion clinics, but time and time again they’ve found that they didn’t get the law they wanted.

This week was another excellent case in point.

Pro-Lifers Take Time To Counsel Mid-Week

Pro-lifers David and Darlene went to the Planned Parenthood location on Division and LaSalle to pray and counsel last Thursday. This location performs abortions six days a week, but usually pro-lifers are only there on Saturdays. This means the “clinic escorts” (”deathscorts”) are also only there on Saturdays. Coming mid-week, then, means pro-lifers can have uninterrupted conversations with clients.

David sent us his account of the day and of the police department’s efforts to “enforce” the Bubble Zone:

Read more

“Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the number one cause of death in the African American community is abortion.”

… Bishop Perry quotes African American Auxiliary Bishop Martin D. Holley of Washington, D.C., who noted, “Since the Roe v. Wade decision, the number one cause of death in the African American community is abortion. We have lost 13 million lives. To put that in perspective, that is one third of our present black population. 1,452 black children are lost each day to abortion!”

Abortion, said Bishop Perry in the statement, “is a topic essentially kept hush-hush in the black community,” while “The right to abortion is quietly spelling the decimation of the black community in our society.”

Bishop Perry encouraged parish pro-life activities. “In parishes and in dioceses all over the country Catholics consider the subject of abortion one of the chief witnesses of our modern times for which we are pledged to continue to raise awareness about alternatives to abortion, particularly, to let women in trouble be aware that they have other options,” said Bishop Perry in “Abortion and its Impact on the Black Community.”

Read more

Why marriage is and can only be the union of one man and one woman

WASHINGTON — The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops’ Ad Hoc Committee for the Defense of Marriage has launched a new initiative for the protection of marriage, entitled Marriage: Unique for a Reason. The initiative is to help catechize and educate Catholics on the meaning of marriage as the union of one man and one woman.

The launch comes with the release of the first of five videos. The first video is called Made for Each Other and includes a Viewer’s Guide and Resource Booklet. It explores sexual difference and the complementarity between man and woman as husband and wife in marriage. Later videos will treat the good of children, the good of society and what constitutes discrimination, religious liberty, and issues particular to a Latino/a audience.

Read more

Young priest says he knows the promise of the spirit is true, because he’s experienced reconciliation in his own life.

Father Rob Spaulding, a new priest in the diocese of Cheyenne, Wyoming, was a seminarian when his life was changed forever. After having a few drinks with three fellow seminarians, Rob was nominated to drive the group home — but he lost control of the car and crashed, ultimately killing two of the passengers, Jared Cheek and Matty Molnar.

It’s a terrible story that is sadly too common, but what happened next is anything but:

Read more at Inside Catholic

Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair…and there’s even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.


A teenage boy had just passed his driving test and inquired of his father as to when they could discuss his use of the car.

His father said he’d make a deal: ‘You bring your grades up from a C to a B average, study your Bible a little, and get your hair cut. Then we’ll talk about the car.’

The boy thought about that for a moment, decided he’d settle for the offer, and they agreed on it.

After about six weeks his father said, ‘Son, you’ve brought your grades up and I’ve observed that you have been studying your Bible, but I’m disappointed you haven’t had your hair cut.

The boy said, ‘You know, Dad, I’ve been thinking about that, and I’ve noticed in my studies of the Bible that Samson had long hair, John the Baptist had long hair, Moses had long hair…and there’s even strong evidence that Jesus had long hair.’

His father replied, ‘Did you also notice they all walked everywhere they went?

Link

Teen Driver Safety Site

The Grinch Who Stole Ecumenism

Cardinal Kasper, with his ode to dialogue, certainly means well and his remarks are certainly worth contemplating.  Dialogue and interpersonal relationships built on mutual respect certainly play a role in any successful ecumenical endeavor.  We are human after all.  But such continued emphasis on dialogue over everything else seems permeated by a fermenting gassiness without the pleasure of beer as the end product.

It is worth noting that the most monumental ecumenical gesture in generations was not produced by such dialogue ad nauseum.  Scant was the old school “dialogue”, it emerged from consideration of the differences between faiths, the real needs of souls today, and its required generosity of action.  I refer of course to Pope Benedict’s inspired offer of a Catholic Ordinariate for Anglicans who seek union with the Church but would like to retain their Anglican traditions.

When the announcement of this great ecumenical offer came, Cardinal Kasper was a thousand miles from the nearest microphone and was apparently only informed a few moments before the rest of us were.  The rest of the old school ecumenical movement were equally surprised and uniformly aghast.  How could this be?  Where was the dialogue?  The multi-faith committee meetings?

Read more

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.”

The Letter of St. Paul to the Colossians consists of only four short chapters, but it covers a lot of “ground”. In fact, there’s much that today’s Christians might learn from it.

For one thing, St. Paul makes it clear that Christians are no longer bound to the Old Covenant (Mosaic) system of things, which has been totally replaced by the New Covenant … which is a much, much better “deal”.

For those who still prefer to believe that the sabbath day observance is limited only to Saturday, and/or that Christians are somehow obligated to observe any of the Old Testament feast days (or other requirements, like circumcision) St. Paul teaches clearly to the contrary:

Colossians 2:16
“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a sabbath.”

Seventh Day Adventists, Jehovah’s Witnesses (and many other Christian denominations) would be wise to consider the full impact of St. Paul’s clear teaching, which remains at odds with their beliefs and practices, while Catholics should understand what St. Paul obviously did … that Jesus wasn’t kidding when he gave the Catholic Church (alone) the awesome and virtually unrestricted power of binding and loosing, on Earth and in Heaven.

Read the referenced Bible text

Read the corresponding Haydock Commentary

More about the sabbath

On June 6th, Bishop J. Peter Sartain ordained five men at the Cathedral of St. Raymond for the Diocese of Joliet.

From left to right: Father Stephen Eickhoff; Father Raed Bader; Father Josh Miller; Bishop Sartain; Father John Lindsey; and Father Jason Stone.

Please remember to pray for our new priests (and for our bishops).

Link

Writer insists that adding luminous mysteries to the Rosary was a mistake

Ecclesiastical tradition precludes “creativity,” since the very notion of tradition—traditio— involves handing down what one has already received. Nor was it “courageous” for the Pope to change the Rosary, since courage is “the state or quality of mind or spirit that enables one to face danger, fear, or vicissitudes with self-possession, confidence, and resolution; bravery.”  John Paul II was not facing any danger, fear or vicissitude that required him to change the Rosary. On the other hand, if the danger or fear arises from the change itself, precisely because the Rosary has been “a signature method of Catholic prayer for centuries,” then are we not dealing with an act that is reckless rather than courageous?

Read more

History of the Rosary

Same-Sex Marriage: Not a Universal Right (According to European Courts)

The Associated Press (via Salon) reports that the European Court of Human Rights “has ruled that countries are not obliged to allow gay marriage, rejecting a bid by an Austrian couple to force the state to let them wed.”

Link

“The Ecumenical Vatican Council II: A Much Needed Discussion,” Msgr. Brunero Gherardini.

“It is absurd…to even think that modern and contemporary culture–that which is understood as having its beginning in the Enlightenment and which today finds expression in ‘weak thought,’ or materialism, or indifferentism and relativism–can be recognized as a natural development of ancient Tradition.”

-From a book on the 2nd Vatican Council, by Msgr. Brunero Gherardini: Canon of St. Peter’s Basilica, a secretary for the Pontifical Academy of Theology, a professor emeritus at the Pontifical Lateran University, and the editor of Divinitas, a leading Roman theological journal.

Link

Various addresses for writing complaint letters to the Vatican


When one is writing the Vatican to alert them to heresy, errors and abuses, the protocol to follow is usually to send originals letters addressed to some or all of the following. When reporting abuses, heresies, violations of Church law, etc., it is of critical importance that the sender include original backup documentation. This is much more important than documentation received via the Internet. Originals (not photocopies) of articles from newspapers or other publications, church bulletins, or other documentation that is published and distributed by official Church bodies, is really essential. (updated 11/23/09.)

[For mail to Rome, use a $.98 stamp for a letter/envelope weighing up to 1 oz.; use $1.82 stamp for a letter/envelope weighing from l oz. to 2 oz.]

[For more info on individual responsibilities and duties for each Curia office, go to: www.catholic-pages.com/vatican/curia.asp
and www.catholic-hierarchy.org/diocese/dxsta.html

Visit the site

Catholic scholar corrects errors of alleged “Jewish Catholic” group using authentic Catholic teachings

There’s enough misinformation and heresy going around about Israel and the Jews to fill an entire encyclopedia (or two).

There’s no shortage of evangelical Christian groups who support the the nation of Israel, even over other Christians (and especially, Catholics).

There’s a seemingly huge number of prominent Catholics and other Christians who erroneously think that the Jews enjoy a separate, saving covenant with God. (They don’t.)

There are many, many people of various faiths who think that the modern day state of Israel (purely due to a divine mandate) still holds title to the Holy Land, and that the Catholic Church supports that claim. (Neither is true.)

Perhaps you think that all of this has gone on for way too long, and is no longer of any interest to you. If so, skip it.

If not, take some time to read the following document by theologian and scholar, Robert Sungenis. It’s in an easy to follow Q&A format … it covers a number of very important topics … and it just may open up your eyes to the (authentically Catholic) truth.

Read the document (PDF file)

Editor’s note: A “rebuttal” to Robert Sungenis, published by Catholics for Israel is available on-line, but it merely serves to restate their original erroneous position on these things, shedding little or no “new light” on the matter. In this, Sungenis clearly has the truth on his side, along with almost 2000 years of authentic Catholic teachings and tradition.

In short, Catholics for Israel (along with some of their more ardent contributors) appear to be more loyal and supportive of Israel and the Jews than they are of the Catholic Church and other Christians. In their misguided zeal, about the only thing they can do is try to discredit Sungenis.  But that tactic simply doesn’t work, since it’s clear that Robert Sungenis had it right, all along.

Writer (correctly) claims that Jesus was a model citizen … and proves it with scripture.

1. Jesus loved His country, “His own country” (Mt. 13:54, 57).

2. He kept its laws, refusing to be made a king or start a political revolution (Jn. 6:15; and at his Triumphal Entry, Mk. 11:1-11).

3. He recognized the right of taxation (Mk. 12:17), and paid taxes
(the temple tax, Mt. 17:24-27).

4. He was loyal to national institutions like the temple and synagogue.

5. Jesus recognized first claim of His country (Mt. 10:6; Lu. 24:47).

6. He warned it of its perils (Mt. 23:37-39).

7. Rebuked its officials (Mt. 23:1-36).

8. Jesus wept over its sins and impending doom (Lu. 19:41-44).

Our nation could be changed quickly if every leader elected to serve in our nation’s capitol and all our state capitols would read and obey these words of Jesus about citizenship.

Link

Seen on the web: Evidently, a few good Catholic Jesuits still remain

Posted By Liam | Saturday, June 26, 2010 09:31:35 AM

In 2007 I was in the neighborhood. Through volunteer work with New York Cares I found myself in the basement of the Church of St Francis Xavier one Sunday morning preparing food for a portion of Manhattan’s hungry, and, lo and behold, caught a glimpse of that good fellow Jesus. Shortly thereafter I saw him again in the upper room (Xavier’s Mary Chapel), somewhere in the warmth of the small group of parishioners gathered for 7:45 a.m. weekday Mass, in Fr George’s sharing of Arrupe’s prayer, ”Fall in love, stay in love, and it will decide everything” and of Rahner’s understanding of the fundamental option, somewhere also in Fr Rocco’s dynamic preaching, and later still in the quizzical air of Fr Peter’s narrow-eyed response to my desire to confess and live as a Catholic: ”Well, how evil have you been?” You must watch out for these Jesuits. You see, they will help reel you in from the deep and plant you in a new field, and in Xavier’s case, plant you in very good company.

Introduction to the Catechism of the Catholic Church

The latest edition of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, revised by a committee headed by His Holiness Benedict XVI, contains the teachings of the Roman Catholic faith between its two covers. Though this nearly 800 page work may appear daunting, its rich history, essential information, and easy reference guide make it a must for anyone curious about the Roman Catholic Church.

What is a Catechism?

“Catechism” originates from the Latin meaning “to teach by word of mouth.” The term “catechumen”, also a derivative, means “one entering the Church.” Though the term “catechumen” has been a part of the Church’s tradition for over two millennia, the term “catechism” is much more recent in the life of the Roman Catholic Church.

The term “catechism” came into common usage in Europe during the Protestant Reformation, when many considered heretics by the Church began to teach and preach their own Christian creeds, known as catechisms, in question and answer format.

Read more
View the Catechism