Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Fr. Michael Pfleger

Father, have you no sense of shame? What went wrong in your vocation?

The pastor of St. Sabina Church in Chicago has made a bizarre and shocking statement in public. Please pray for Cardinal George, the head of this diocese. There is only one thing for him to do. May he have the courage to do it.

St. Athanasius, pray for us.
St. John Vianney, pray for us.
St. Pio, pray for us.
St. John Bosco, pray for us.
Fr. Solanus Casey, pray for us.
Blessed Andre, pray for us.
St. Louis deMonfort, pray for us.
Servant of God, Archbishop Sheen, pray for us.
St. Therese, you went to Carmel to pray for priests, pray for this one and for us.
Oh Jesus, model of the priestly heart, have mercy.

Monday, May 28, 2007


One of the pics on my St. Joan post came from a copyrighted source. I got it from just typing in St. Joan and images so I didn't realize where it came from so I've deleted the entire post.

Rest in peace.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

The church in need

Last night Rocky and I watched a program on EWTN. It was about the Catholic Church in Ukraine. I was moved to tears by these people's courage. When the Soviets destroyed their churches they simply hid their priests in their own homes and sneaked them from house to house to say Mass each Sunday. Imagine getting up and in the middle of the night and quietly walking miles to slip into someone's back door so you can secretly meet with the priest for confession.

We Catholics in the West are so blessed and we don't even appreciate it. I was also impressed by their vocation surge. They showed a convent and a monastery that are literally overflowing with applicants-- all young and and all filled with incredible spirit. There's a lesson in that for us Western Catholics. The next time their is a collection for the The Church in Need please give what you can. It goes to helping these people build churches, bookstores, schools, convents and monasteries.

Happy birthday

It's Pentecost, the birthday of the Church. Rejoice!

God bless you Mr. Wilson

He may be an athiest (pray for him) but he's done more for Catholic schools than 90% of the rich Catholics in New York. Parochial schools were a saving grace for me when I was a child. Thanks to Mr. Wilson other poor and working class inner city kids will get an education in a safe environment and will be exposed to the Faith.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Santus Belle.

Eight things about me that you really don't need to know

1. What do you hope to accomplish with your blog? Nothing really. This blog is my half mad thoughts about the Church, my diocese and my great love and thankfulness for the mercy of God.
2. Are you a spiritual person? No. That's New Age crap.

3. If you were stranded on a deserted island, what three things would you want to have with you?
A cell phone.
Packaged food and water for two months. If I were Bear Grylls I could hunt and gather but I'd rather have MREs.
A gun and lots of ammo. I know that's more than three things but what's a gun without ammo?
4. What’s your favorite childhood memory? My mother making what seemed like endless stacks of pancakes one frosty December morning while I sat wrapped in a blanket and watched.
5. Are these your first (tagging) memes? No

6. Eight random facts about me.

I love German food.

My favorite place in the whole wide world is Williamsburg, Virginia.

I don't like sitting with my back to the door in public places.

I make incredibly good baked macaroni and cheese.

I used to run a cake decorating business from home.

I wanted to be a nun or an opera singer when I was a girl.

I think Star Wars could be a neat little metaphor for what happens with a priest gets pulled away from his vocation.

I'm passionately fond of bird watching.
I tag anybody who wants to play.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

A visit to All Saints in Manassas Virginia.

Rocky and I continued our tour of the diocese this week with a quick stop at All Saints. It was appalling. We saw no crucifix on or near the altar. To be fair, they might have had a small one lying flat on the altar but there was nothing for the folks in the pews to see. Above the altar they had a huge watercolor painting of Jesus doing ballet. They had Him standing on tip toe looking as if He was just about to do a grande jete . I felt something stir in my stomach. We backed out and went to the restrooms which stank and needed a hospitality minister -- er, I mean, a cleaner's attentions. The restrooms were next to the cry room. A little girl frowned at Rocky and said, "This is the cry baby room". Rocky replied that he didn't want to cry and was headed back to the main church as soon as his wife was out of the ladies room. We walked back to the natrex, looked at that hideous painting and Rocky remarked that on second thought crying would be a good idea after all.

We actually found three good things at All Saints. They had a large Pieta statue, a tiny Infant of Prague and an adoration chapel. There were six people in the chapel and they were the only folks we saw who were praying and not dressed in jeans, tank tops or shorts. The tabernacle looked more like a holy water font but since the red candle was next to I must assume it contained the Blessed Sacrament.

We left as soon as we said a prayer in the chapel. All Saints is currently holding a building drive to replace their monstrosity. I hope they don't take that revolting painting to the new church.

Monday, May 21, 2007

The first time I went to a Tridentine Mass

There was a time in my life after high school when I drifted away from the Church. My college years weren't holy by any means. After Rocky and I married I began to recover my senses. One day I decided to go to a Tridentine Mass. I'd been doing a lot of reading about the Faith and the Mass described by the pre-Vatican II books I found talked about a Mass that seemed very different from the guitar and joke telling priest Mases that I was used to.

I checked the diocesan paper and saw that St. Mary, Mother of God had a 9:30 Tridentine Latin Mass. I took a bus and a commuter train to get there. St. Mary's is a very old church in the Chinatown section of Washington, DC. Chinatown is hot right now but back in the 90s it was not a good part of town (The problem was not the Chinese, it was young black men, I'm sorry to say)and I walked very fast to and from the church.

St. Mary's somehow survived wreckovation and retains its altar rail and magnificent altar. Although it badly needs restoration it's still beautiful in the way that your elderly mother is beautiful. I was overwhelmed by that Mass and there was something else.... I wept tears of wonder, and tears of joy.

When I was a kid someone told me that the Novus Ordo and the Tridentine were exactly the same except that the NO is in English. That was obviously not true. If the Mass were a car, the Tridentine would be a Maybach and the NO would be a Toyata. They're both cars but they aint the same. Before anyone gets huffy let me point out that I've seen Toyotas that were quite nice and I've seen dull, ugly Toyotas that were nothing more than a means of transport.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

This photo just makes me smile

Doesn't the cardinal look like he's about to bust a move on the dance floor? American Papist gets the funniest photos.

Saturday, May 19, 2007

I'd make a lousy apologist, I guess

A few days ago someone I know made a crack about the Church. She had recently seen the movie "Breach" and thought foolishly, that she now knew all about Catholicism. This is the third or fourth time she's make such remarks in my presence. Enough was enough. I leaned forward and politely but firmly let her know that the movie used a lot of artistic license (lying to make the storyline juicier) and that she should take what was portrayed with a grain of salt.

There must have been something in my face becasue she looked surprised and changed the subject. I have a sense of humor but crack on my Faith and I'm as serious as stage four cancer. I could come up with about 100 jokes about this person's religion but being a mannerly sort of woman I would never dream of saying any of them in front of her and certainly not at work. I simply ask the same of her. The next time she makes a remark like that I will visit the personel office at my job and make a complaint.

Hey You! Be a Man!

I think a lot of Fr. Scalia. He's a young priest and he's rock solid. He's a lion in the pulpit and a lamb with pepper jelly in the confessional and when he get's excited about something his preaching is awesome. He celebrates the Novus Ordo--- (The Diocese of Arlington allows the Tridentine Mass in only two churches and his isn't one of them) but does it with as much reverence, beauty and solemnity as can be had. You can listen to his Theology on Tap talk here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Pope's new book

In honor of the publication of the Holy Father's new book there was a panel discussion at the John Paul II Cultural Center. Rocky and I decided to go at the last minute and I'm glad we did. Raymond Arroyo sat next to me for a short time. He's actually handsome in person and is quite charming. Arcbishop Sambi, the Papal Nuncio was the first speaker. He was adorable, like your favorite uncle. I'd love to have dinner with him. He talked about how personal this book is to the pope, how much it is an intimate peek at his heart and his own intense search for the Lord.

The next speaker was Bishop Lori (not a bad speaker) and after him came George Wiegel. As a speaker, he's dry as graveyard dust but hey, everybody can't be entertaining. What he had to say was quite impressive though. Finally John Allen spoke. Allen is tall, very thin and as pink as a newborn piglet. I think he'd make a good college professor. His talk was lively and informative. He's also very funny.

There were numerous priests in attendence and we saw three different orders of nuns. If you're ever in DC do visit the John Paul II Center and make your way to K Street to visit the Catholic Information Center which sponsored the event.

I have just started reading the book. It's different. It is not lyrical like an Archbishop Sheen book, it's not full of meaty historical details like The Life of Christ by Ricciotti. It's a lot like sitting on your teacher's lap in kindergarten after falling down and scraping your knee. Sr. would speak very kindly and get you stop crying while explaining that if you hadn't been running around like a wild pony or trying to do that flip or skipping with your eyes closed the fall never would have happened.

The pope was a school teacher (okay college) and with this book he is talking directly to us in a tender, simple way about the Lord. Interesting and surprising.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Fr. Scalia explains why we need to fast before Mass

I read this in a church bulletin this week. It was so good I had to post it.
Duc in altum (Lk 5:4)The Eucharistic Fast

Growing up you may have heard mom say, “Don’t eat right now — you’ll ruin your dinner.” To us boys especially it made little sense. We ate like horses, so we could not understand how eating at 4:30 would possibly prevent more of the same at 6:30. But mom knew. She knew that if we were filled with junk food we would certainly not finish a healthy dinner. But she understood something more important still: there is a difference between eating and dining. If she allowed us to graze through the kitchen any time we wanted, then we would miss the human, civilizing nature of a family dinner. We would come to the family dinner as animals approach feeding time: just another occasion to stuff our faces. We would ruin our dinner.

Mom’s admonition is a good way to understand the Eucharistic fast. Mother Church requires that we abstain from food and drink for one hour before communion (including candy, breath mints, gum, but not water and medicine). She does not want us to ruin the Lord’s Supper. Perhaps this was clearer years ago, when the fast obliged us for three hours before communion or from midnight the night before. Even with today’s modest requirement, the purpose remains the same: we have to make some sacrifice and separation from the world before we approach the Lord’s Table. If we do not, we will rush in and out of Mass and the reception of Holy Communion, just fitting it in to the rest of our errands and outings on Sunday. To prepare us for a meal fundamentally different from any other, Mother Church has us fast.

And just as moms do not want their children coming to the table with an already full stomach, so Mother Church understands the spiritual danger of approaching the Eucharist with a sated belly. When we are physically satisfied, we lose sight of our deeper, more profound spiritual hunger. The Eucharistic fast seeks to provoke a physical hunger to remind us of our spiritual hunger and the insufficiency of the world’s food. After a 10:30 Mass at one parish, I heard a husband say to his wife, “Let’s go eat breakfast.” I expressed surprise that they had not eaten anything yet, since they certainly had plenty of time to do so before Mass. He responded, “Father, how can you hunger for the word of God on a full stomach?”

The Eucharistic fast also helps us understand the purpose of fasting in general. We do not fast because the created world and/or the body are evil (as some heretical sects have believed). Rather, we fast to detach ourselves from created goods so that we can strive for spiritual, eternal goods more freely. We have all experienced the competition between the body and the soul. As the soul strives for holiness and virtue, the desires of the flesh (as Scripture calls them) lead us in the other direction. Fasting is a way of disciplining the body — again, not because it is bad — but so that it will be more peacefully subject to the aspirations and directions of the soul.

We typically associate fasting only with Lent. And, of course, we do fast particularly during that sacred season. But we should integrate some form of fasting into our lives throughout the year. In this regard, all Catholics should know and observe the discipline of the Friday mortification required by canon law. Every Friday throughout the year we are required to perform some act of mortification or self-denial. On Fridays during Lent it must be abstaining from meat. On Fridays during the rest of the year we may eat meat provided that we offer some other sacrifice — e.g. abstaining from alcohol, sweets, TV, etc. In this way we associate ourselves with our Lord’s sacrifice and we cultivate that interior freedom from the world’s pleasures that enables us to seek more generously the Kingdom of God.

— Fr. Paul Scalia

Saturday, May 12, 2007

One of the best books I ever read

One of the best books I've ever read was "A Right to Be Merry" by Mother Mary Francis, a Poor Clare nun. She was a beautiful writer and this is a marvelous peek into the extraordinary life of the Poor Clares.

francis beckwith

All the big time blogs are buzzing about Francis Beckwith and his reversion to the Catholic Church. I didn't even know who Beckwith was---(he was the president of an Evangelical group) and I was taken aback by his rather apologetic tone about the whole thing. I just hope that he is happy and doesn't start up some quasi Protestant "ministry". We have too many wanna be priests running around already.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Motu Proprio

I hope I'm wrong but I don't think the Motu Proprio is really coming. At least not in the way many of us are hoping for. We may get a universal indult BUT I suspect it won't have any strength. The bishops will either ignore it outright or the Vatican will give them a face saving loophole of some sort so they can ignore it politely. The other possibility is that the Tridentine Mass will be changed to suit non Catholics and Romanized Protestants. (Catholics in name only). The faithful will be told to accept this new version of the Tridentine or take a hike-- driving the hard core Traditionalists even further away.

At any rate, don't assume that the Motu Proprio will be the great fix to the Church's problems. It's been bad for decades and it's not going to change overnight barring a miracle.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

one terrific blog

I have fallen in love with The Walled Garden, the blog of an former firefighter from Alaska who married a Scotsman and lives on a farm now. She's a whirlwind of activity and has excellent insights on the great vocation of being a wife and homemaker.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Scott Hahn makes some unhelpful comments

I'm really surprised by this. I thought Scott Hahn was smarter than that. I loved his book, The Lamb's Supper and I enjoyed A Father Who Keeps His Promises but lately I've been disturbed by his teaching that the Holy Spirit is maternal (In order to be maternal musnt' one be female?) and since he teaches at Franciscan U and teaches seminarians what Scott Hahn thinks is important. I will be less likely to buy any new books by Prof. Hahn in the future.