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This provocative question is the subject of an excellent posting on the Archdioceses of Washington website by Msgr. Charles Pope. Excerpts below, but the whole posting is well worth the read.

Some people put more faith in Tylenol than they do in Holy Communion. That’s because when they take Tylenol they expect something to happen. But many people don’t really expect anything to happen when they receive Holy Communion.


Sadly, expectations are very low among the people of God. The blame can begin with the clergy who have not often taught the faithful to expect dramatic conversion of any kind let alone from receiving Holy Communion. But the blame does not end with the clergy. The fact is low expectations can sometimes be developed as a kind of strategy by many who fear change and see authentic conversion and true holiness as a fearful thing or as requiring just too much of what they would rather not surrender. And so expectations remain low, perhaps out of ignorance or perhaps out of fear and aversion.

On this Feast of Corpus Christi, What do you expect from receiving the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Jesus Christ in Communion?

I am blessed to be part of a parish that began this feast of Corpus Christi with Mass at 5PM, followed by a Eucharistic procession through the streets of town in 90+ degree heat, followed by the start of a Novena to Saint Anthony. I would estimate that over a thousand people stayed through all three events. The leader of our Novena is a Redemptorist Priest who reflected on Saint John Neumann, concluding that “He was a short man, but I imagine he is jumping up and down with joy over the love shown to our Lord in the Eucharist.

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Take a few minutes to watch this five minute video.

It is an important reminder of what is most important at all times, our worst and our best!

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In a candid and wide ranging interview with the New York Post, newly installed Archbishop Timothy Dolan addresses many important issues of faith and morality facing American society.  Good commentary here from WTDPRS.

On the question of defense of marriage, the article describes:

Archbishop Timothy Dolan yesterday said advocates of gay marriage “are asking for trouble,” arguing that traditional, one-man/one-woman marriage is rooted in people’s moral DNA.

“There’s an in-built code of right and wrong that’s embedded in the human DNA,” Dolan told The Post in an exclusive, wide-ranging interview, a week after becoming the New York Archdiocese’s new leader.

“Hard-wired into us is a dictionary, and the dictionary defines marriage as between one man, one woman for life, please God, leading to the procreation of human life.

“And if we begin to tamper with the very definition of marriage, then we’re going to be in big trouble. We’re not anti-gay — we’re pro the most basic definition of marriage.

Dolan was asked about abortion, President Obama and the Notre Dame Scandal.

For example, while calling abortion “intrinsically evil,” Dolan cited the archdiocese’s Catholic Charities arm for advancing a “pro-life” message by operating a nursery for babies born to inmates at the Bedford Hills women’s prison in Westchester County, which he visited this week.

“That’s pro-life at its best, and that’s where we gain credibility for our message — if we are giving the kind of creative, life-giving alternative to what we call the ‘culture of death,’ ” Dolan said. “So it’s not just that we’re constantly condemning something, it’s that we’re proposing an alternative.”

Dolan and other bishops have criticized the University of Notre Dame for inviting President Obama — who supports abortion rights — to give this year’s commencement speech at the iconic Catholic school and accept an honorary degree.

But Dolan acknowledged he did not speak out against Notre Dame when President George W. Bush received the same invitation in 2001, despite Bush being an avid supporter of the death penalty and, later, of the Iraq War — two positions that deeply conflicted with then-Pope John Paul II’s views.

“On those two hot-button issues that I’d be uncomfortable with, namely the war and capital punishment, I would have to give [Bush] the benefit of the doubt, to say that those two issues are open to some discussion, and are not intrinsically evil,” Dolan said. “In the Catholic mindset . . . that would not apply to abortion.” (more…)

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Judie Brown of American Life League published this sermon by Father William Kuchinsky from Our Lady of Grace Catholic Church in Romney West Virginia.

Jonah began his journey through the city, and had gone but a single day’s walk announcing, “Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed . . .”

What should I say? What would you like me to say?

Would you like me to say that God is unaware and unconcerned that a president would sign an executive order so that, with the stroke of a pen, taxpayer money now will be used to kill babies in the womb; and your money and mine is now to be used to promote the evil of abortion throughout the world? Do you want me to tell you that the Word of God does not say the shedding of innocent blood cries out to Heaven for vengeance? It does. I cannot change that. I cannot withhold His warning. (more…)

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I really enjoyed Mike Huckabee as a candidate and though I haven’t seen much of him since he joined Fox News, I do enjoy him there as well.  The below is his Christmas message to his viewers.

Below is the transcript of the message. (more…)

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We’ve all seen many lists that start this way.  Here is a fun list posted on GodTube…

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The First Lady of California Maria Shriver in a recent interview cited in the same answer how she considers herself to be a “Catholic in good standing” and how she differs with the Catholic Church on many critical issues, including the sanctity of life and the the sanctity of marriage.   She goes on to describe herself as a cafeteria catholic, saying “I find that I don’t spend a lot of time trying to square my own daily life with the institutional ‘Church.’ I pick and choose.”

How does Shriver articulate her differences with ‘the institutional Church’ Holy Mother Church?  She says “I don’t believe in, you know, that if someone’s divorced they shouldn’t get Communion. I don’t believe that people who are gay shouldn’t be accepted into the Church. There are a lot of things like that.”

These statements in fact misrepresent the Catholic teachings on these issues.  With regard to divorce, the Catechism of the Catholic Church speaks only of remarriage with respect to withholding communion citing a direct quote from Jesus Christ himself on the issue.

1650 Today there are numerous Catholics in many countries who have recourse to civil divorce and contract new civil unions. In fidelity to the words of Jesus Christ – “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery” the Church maintains that a new union cannot be recognized as valid, if the first marriage was. If the divorced are remarried civilly, they find themselves in a situation that objectively contravenes God’s law. Consequently, they cannot receive Eucharistic communion as long as this situation persists. For the same reason, they cannot exercise certain ecclesial responsibilities. Reconciliation through the sacrament of Penance can be granted only to those who have repented for having violated the sign of the covenant and of fidelity to Christ, and who are committed to living in complete continence.  

1665 The remarriage of persons divorced from a living, lawful spouse contravenes the plan and law of God as taught by Christ. They are not separated from the Church, but they cannot receive Eucharistic communion. They will lead Christian lives especially by educating their children in the faith.

As far as homosexuals being welcome in the church, the Catechism actually calls them to Christ, but condemns homosexual acts as “contrary to natural law.”

2358 The number of men and women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. This inclination, which is objectively disordered, constitutes for most of them a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion, and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.

2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Only Shriver knows whether she is aware of the Church’s teaching on these issue or has deliberately distorted them.  Perhaps her catechism was missing a few pages.

Shriver doesn’t even bring up abortion, on which she is completely out of touch with the Church’s teaching until the interviewer brings it up.

I don’t mean to attack Shriver personally.  She is a very visible representation of millions of Catholics who don’t understand the teachings of the Church, but are willing to disagree with them in order to be politically correct or popular.  In the Mass I attended last week, the priest discussed the problem of cafeteria Catholics and this interview citing that to be Catholic means to follow 100% of the teachings of Holy Mother Church, and insisted that the cafeteria must be closed.

Remember that when it counts most, it doesn’t really matter whether we consider ourselves in good standing, but rather how we stand with God.

Here is the video of Shriver’s interview, courtesy of the Washington Post.

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Tradition tells us that this feast of appreciation and brotherhood begins with the Puritans. This article provides some interesting and little know information about the Holiday.  As the article points out, the traditional Thanksgiving feast in this country clearly is rooted in the protestant, puritan origins.  Nevertheless, it is an interesting read.

This history books will tell you that the first Thanksgiving was celebrated by the pilgrims in 1621. Not true.

An interesting bit of trivia is that the first American Thanksgiving was actually celebrated on September 8, 1565 in St. Augustine, Florida. The Native Americans and Spanish settlers held a feast and the Holy Mass was offered.

A second similar “Thanksgiving” celebration occurred on American soil on April 30, 1598 in Texas when Don Juan de Oñate declared a day of Thanksgiving to be commemorated by the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

The Catholic origins of Thanksgiving don’t stop there. Squanto, the beloved hero of Thanksgiving, was the Native American man who mediated between the Puritan Pilgrims and the Native Americans. Squanto had been enslaved by the English but he was freed by Spanish Franciscans. Squanto thus received baptism and became a Catholic. So it was a baptized Catholic Native American who orchestrated what became known as Thanksgiving.

Hat Tip to Deacon Greg Kandra.

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The student newspaper of Catholic University has published this article on a speech given by Cardinal Stafford last week.

His Eminence James Francis Cardinal Stafford criticized President-elect Barack Obama as “aggressive, disruptive and apocalyptic,“ and said he campaigned on an “extremist anti-life platform,” Thursday night in Keane Auditorium during his lecture “Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul II: Being True in Body and Soul.“

“Because man is a sacred element of secular life,” Stafford remarked, “man should not be held to a supreme power of state, and a person’s life cannot ultimately be controlled by government.”

“For the next few years, Gethsemane will not be marginal. We will know that garden,” Stafford said, comparing America’s future with Obama as president to Jesus’ agony in the garden. “On November 4, 2008, America suffered a cultural earthquake.”

Cardinal Stafford said Catholics must deal with the “hot, angry tears of betrayal” by beginning a new sentiment where one is “with Jesus, sick because of love.”

The lecture, hosted by the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, pertained to Humanae Vitae, a papal encyclical written by Pope Paul VI in 1968 and celebrating its 40 anniversary this year.

Stafford also spoke about the decline of a respect for human life and the need for Catholics to return to the original values of marriage and human dignity.

“If 1968 was the year of America’s ‘suicide attempt,’ 2008 is the year of America’s exhaustion,” said Stafford, an American Cardinal and Major Penitentiary of the Apostolic Penitentiary for the Tribunal of the Holy See. “In the intervening 40 years since Humanae Vitae, the United States has been thrown upon ruins.”

This destruction and America’s decline is largely in part due to the Supreme Court’s decisions in the life-issue cases of 1973, specifically Roe v. Wade. Stafford asserted these cases undermined respect for human life in the United States.

“Its scrupulous meanness has had catastrophic effects upon the unity and integrity of the American republic,” said Stafford.

Humanae Vitae (“On Human Life”) reaffirms traditional Catholic teachings regarding abortion, contraception and other human life issues. Pope Benedict XVI said in May it is “so controversial, yet so crucial for humanity’s future…What was true yesterday is true also today.”

Monsignor Livio Melina, president of the Pontifical John Paul II Institute for Studies on Marriage and Family, gave the opening address at the lecture and spoke about the importance of agape love to gain knowledge.
“Love itself is a form of knowledge, and this knowledge cannot be objectified,” said Melina. “It is a unique relationship between the believer and God.”

Stafford said the truest reflection of the love between the believer and God is that of the relationship between husband and wife, and that contraceptive use does not fit anywhere within that framework.
According to Stafford, the inner dynamic of a spousal relationship is much like the body itself, which ‘speaks’ in terms of masculinity and femininity.

“The experience of love introduces us in a specific way to moral knowledge,” added Melina.

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Well, the American people have spoken, and Barack Obama is now the president elect of the United States.  My congratulations to Senator Obama for his victory in a very hard fought campaign.  He will be my president just like everyone else’s.

It remains vital to this country that we  maintain (and strengthen) our collective moral compass and that all of us to continue the fight for the unborn.  In fact we must continue that fight with renewed conviction.  However, in our opposition, we need to afford President Obama the respect and dignity as president that has not been afforded President Bush.  While I must admit the gut instinct to respond in kind to the vitriol we have heard over the past eight years, as Christians we are expected to lead by our example.

We must all pray for this man and continue to pray for our country and all of our elected officials.   We also must pray and fight for the issues at the core of Catholic morality, particularly the sanctity of life, the sanctity of the family and the sanctity of marital relations.

As we hear very often from the campaigns “May God bless the USA!”

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