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Just reminding erryone of my current location #rio #papafrancis #skyline #beautiful

Posted by on 7-22-13

El Jueves salgo para Puerto Rico y estare participando del JMJ en PR. Un Evento unido al JMJ de Brasil. Seran dias de mucha gracia, poder y misericordia. Contamos con sus oraciones! Para mas info porfavor visiten #jmj #jmj2013pr #brasil #puertorico #unasolaiglesia #jovenes #catholic #catolico #papafrancis

Posted by on 7-22-13

“Não tenho ouro nem prata.. Vim aqui transmitir o maior presente que recebi nessa vida: Jesus Cristo” – Papa Francisco, no Palácio Guanabara, na sua chegada no Rio de Janeiro

Posted by on 7-22-13

Nada mejor que coger cosas de los hoteles y encontrartelas un tiempo mas tarde #recuerdoson #abril2013 #antequera #campeonatoespañaporescuelas #catalunya #buenequipo #genialrelevo #granada #bocadecaballo #dientesdeleon #mojopicon #bananas #pasajeros #titofrancis #papafrancis #yayofrancis #quierovolver

Posted by on 7-22-13

El papa Francisco acaba de recitar: “Necesitamos santos sin velo, sin sotana. Necesitamos santos de jeans y zapatillas. Necesitamos santos que vayan al cine, escuchen musica y paseen con sus amigos. Necesitamos santos que coloquen a Dios en primer lugar y que sobresalgan en la Universidad. Necesitamos santos que busquen tiempo cada dia para rezar y que sepan enamorar en la pureza y castidad, o que consagren su castidad. Necesitamos santos modernos, santos del siglo XXI con una espiritualidad insertada en nuestro tiempo. Necesitamos santos comprometidos con los pobres y los necesarios cambios sociales. Necesitamos santos que vivan en el mundo, se santifiquen en el mundo y que no tengan miedo de vivir en el mundo. Necesitamos santos que tomen Coca Cola y coman hot-dogs, que sean internautas, que escuchen iPod. Necesitamos santos que amen la Eucaristia y que no tengan vergüenza de tomar una cerveza o comer pizza el fin de semana con los amigos. Necesitamos santos a los que les guste el cine, el teatro, la musica, la danza, el deporte. Necesitamos santos sociables, abiertos, normales, amigos, alegres, compañeros. Necesitamos santos que esten en el mundo y que sepan saborear las cosas puras y buenas del mundo, pero sin ser mundanos”. Amen!!!!!!! (Esta parte la dije yo) :) #santidadenjeans #santidad #PapaFrancis #Iglesia #yes #holiness

Posted by on 7-21-13

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Retrospect & Prospect...

Posted on Oct 30, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Retrospect and Prospect

October painted autumn’s awesome palette on the trees and hillsides of southern Ohio. For the past weeks the colors and the weather were spectacular. Gentle rains mixed with mild temperatures to bring about nature’s finest display. Certainly, it’s easy to find the transcendent in beauty, just as it is difficult to see God’s presence in powerful, destructive storms.

It is also difficult to find God manifest in the sufferings that currently plague civilization. October unleashed terrible threats. Ebola now frightens the world while the war against terrorism is bringing humanity to a new nadir. Beheadings and mass executions are primitive, insane forms of violence. Many believe these evils can only be stopped by unremitting, irresistible force. Sure, such action can change the world but usually it provokes more violence and plants the seeds of future wars and inhumanity.

It is important to keep faith alive in this time of cruelty and epidemic. But how do we go forward in this time of suffering? Some people have chosen to ignore the evil at loose in our world today. But it is impossible to ignore reality. It appears to be unchristian to bury our heads in the sand or to allow ourselves to be lured into the distractions that are so pervasive.

I am struck by the great realism in today’s reading from Ephesians (6:10).

“Draw your strength from the Lord and from his mighty power.”

To turn from violence, to love our enemies takes the great strength of character shown by Jesus as he endured his passion. Never forget, Jesus told Peter to put away his sword in the garden of Gethsemani (Jn 18:11). May God grace us with the strength to resist whatever evils come our way.

Photo Credit:  PhotoXpress

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Sr. Blandina, Pray for Lauren...

Posted on Oct 29, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Lauren Hill is a student at my alma mater Mount St. Joseph University. She plays on the basketball team. And she is battling inoperable brain cancer. Doctors have said she doesn’t have long to live. You can watch her story here:

But Lauren is determined to make the most of that time. On November 2, she is going to suit up for her first college basketball game when the Mount plays Hiram College. She will likely only be in for one play. But that is all she what–the chance to live out her dream and play at the college level, even just one time.

The Sisters of Charity, who sponsor the university, have asked people to pray a novena to Sr. Blandina Segale on behalf of Lauren. Sr. Blandina (see her story here) was a Sister of Charity whose cause for sainthood was opened this year. She is a storied figure from America’s Wild West. Raised in Cincinnati, where she joined the Sisters of Charity, she founded schools and hospitals for children in several states, including Ohio and New Mexico.

Here is the prayer. The sisters have asked that it be spread far and wide–for Lauren.

Sister Blandina, Servant of God, protector of children, we come to you today to ask for continued health and wellbeing for Lauren Hill. While struggling herself with a serious pediatric brain tumor, Lauren is focused on others, seeking a cure for this disease that has claimed so many young lives.

And so we pray…. Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory be [sic] the Father….

Sr. Blandina, we pray to you, confident that you will take our cause to our God to bring her healing. We also ask for blessings on her family and her friends who love her so much.

Sr. Blandina (see story here) is a storied figure from America’s Wild West. Raised in Cincinnati, where she joined the Sisters of Charity, she founded schools and hospitals for children in several states, including Ohio and New Mexico. – See more at:
Sr. Blandina Segale, a Sister of Charity whose Cause for Sainthood was opened this year, – See more at:
Sr. Blandina Segale, a Sister of Charity whose Cause for Sainthood was opened this year, – See more at:


Photo: tothzoli001/Shutterstock



Sr. Blandina (see story here) is a storied figure from America’s Wild West. Raised in Cincinnati, where she joined the Sisters of Charity, she founded schools and hospitals for children in several states, including Ohio and New Mexico. – See more at:
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Using Time Wisely...

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Today’s guest blogger is Nick Luken, a second-year student at The Ohio State University, majoring in English and minoring in professional writing. Nick graduated from Roger Bacon, a Franciscan high school in Cincinnati, in 2012.

College students like me are professional procrastinators. I’d never be able to count how many times I’ve thought to myself, “Hmm, I have homework. But I don’t want to do it. I’ll watch YouTube or play video games instead!”

Sometimes procrastination is pretty harmless. I often find myself procrastinating because I want to give my mind a rest after classes or because I want to go to events like Bible studies or church meetings. In these cases, procrastination is acceptable either because I end up having enough time to still do my work or because the reasons for my procrastination are legitimate.

But most of the time, procrastination does hurt me, even if I can’t tell it. Sometimes procrastination puts me in deep trouble, either by forcing me to cut down on study time for a quiz or exam or by making me miss assignments entirely. If I procrastinate on one assignment at the beginning of the week, that sets back my entire schedule for the rest of the week. Once I waste some time procrastinating, I can never get it back. I just have to sacrifice something else to make up for my lost time. The cycle of procrastination often builds until I’m staying up late almost every night to try to finish my work.

I don’t know quite how I’ll get out of this bad habit, but I know where I need to start: I need to remind myself that God’s gift of time is immeasurably precious. We often talk about time as if it belongs to us, saying things like, “I don’t have enough time for this” or “this is a waste of my time.” But saying that time belongs to us is ridiculous. Time is a free gift from God to us, and we need to honor that gift. I’ll keep working on breaking my procrastinating habits, and I’ll start by remembering that time is not mine, but God’s, and that I must honor God in the way that I use the time God has given to me.


Image: Vuono

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Pondering Francis: Part II...

Posted on Oct 28, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

A while back I posted an entry entitled “Pondering Francis“.  I am trying to get my head around this enigmatic man who is now the Vicar of Christ.  He sends mixed signals.  Surely there is a way to decode some of the puzzling things he says and does.  Or so I hope.

I had posted, back in September, about a long conversation I had with South American journalist Alejandro Bermudez of CNA. The concept of “peripheries”, which seems to be important to Francis.  Thus,

Furthermore, Bermudez spoke of the influence on Francis of thinkers such as the Uruguayan writer-theologian Alberto Methol Ferré, the Russian-American sociologist Pitirim Sorokin, and the pivotal Spanish-language poet Rubén Darío.  To condense wildly, it seems that Francis may breathe in a school of thought that sees a kind of “manifest destiny” for Latin America.  When cultures develop a interior decay, which they always do, revitalization of the cultures comes from “peripheries”.  For the larger Church, experiencing an interior decay, a periphery is Latin America.  Latin America, unlike any other continent, is unified in language (by far dominated by Spanish with related Portughese) and is/was unified in religion, Catholicism (though there is bad erosion).  With these unifying factors, Latin America has a critical role to play.  Also, if you are paying attention, Francis seems to use the word “periphery” a lot.  This not quite the same thing as “margin”.

I am paying attention.  Benedict has a few key concepts and code words by which he signaled key thoughts.  Francis seems to as well, and one of them is “peripheries“.

I now circle back to the Q&A period Pope Francis spent with members of the Schoenstaat movement, who met in Rome for their 100th anniversary.  That’s the talk in which Francis spoke about the family being “bastardized” these days.  HERE

Here is something from the report by EWTN/CNA on what else Francis told Schoenstaat:

True witness propels us out of ourselves and into the streets of the world, the Pope continued, repeating his common declaration that a Church, movement or community that doesn’t go out of itself “becomes sick.” [Shades of the "interior decay" mentioned above.]

“A movement, a Church or a community that doesn’t go out, is mistaken,” he said. “Don’t be afraid! Go out in mission, go out on the road. We are walkers.” [Who have a kind of "destiny".]

In answer to questions regarding how he can be defined as “reckless,” the Roman Pontiff admitted that although he can be considered “a little reckless,” he still surrenders himself to prayer, saying that it helps him to place Jesus at the center, rather than himself. [¡Hagan lío!]

“There is only one center: Jesus Christ – who rather looks at things from the periphery, no? Where he sees things more clearly,” the Pope observed, saying that when closed inside the small worlds of a parish, a community and even the Roman Curia, “then you do not grasp the truth.” [Christ looks at things from the periphery.  So, I suppose for Francis, to see things as Christ sees them, we have to go to the periphery where Christ is also seeing things.  Right?]

He explained how reality is always seen better from the peripheries rather than the center, and noted how he has seen some episcopal conferences who charge for almost every small thing, where “nothing escapes.” [HEY!  Pope Francis!  The Libreria Editrice Vaticana charges for use of your texts as well as Scripture.  Just saying'....]

“Everything is working well, everything is well organized,” the pontiff observed, but they could do with less “functionalism and more apostolic zeal, more interior freedom, more prayer, (and) this interior freedom is the courage to go out.” [There sure was a lot of going out, of missionary work, for centuries after the Council of Trent.]


There were a few other interesting things in that Q&A, but this underscores something I have been pondering about Francis.

If there is a malaise in the Church today, if there is an interior decay (and there is), then we should look to peripheries for that which can help to revitalize our identity, get us strong and healthy again.  We need what the periphery has to offer.

Traditional Catholics whose “legitimate aspirations” have been drawn to the traditional forms of our sacred liturgical worship, and who stick closely to traditional expressions of doctrine, are a periphery.   They have even been made into a periphery by the Church’s own appointed pastors.

It’s time to start listening to this periphery.

Benedict XVI sure thought so.  He put it in different terms.  He is focused on the idea of continuity.  By bringing the older, traditional forms of liturgy into contact with the present rank and file, we can renew our liturgical worship and, thereby, renew our Catholic identity.  This is a vital, urgent task to be undertaken in the face of the Dictatorship of Relativism.   My analogy of the Marshall Plan fits in here.  After WWII the USA rebuilt Europe so that it could be a good trading partner and a bulwark against atheistic Communism.  So too Benedict’s pontificate revealed what I call his own Marshall Plan, which had the three-fold task of renewing our liturgical worship (without which everything else falls apart), recalling how to read Scripture properly, and finding a proper interpretive lens for the Second Vatican Council.  All three of these are like structure that sustained horrible bombing, as during a war.  They have to be rebuilt.

Taking this a step farther, we might say that going to the periphery of the liturgical practice of the Roman Rite will bring the proper perspective to our liturgical worship of God.  There is a rot, a malaise, in our wide-spread, main-stream liturgical practice.  This must result in the enervation of every other aspect of the Church’s life.  We need what the Usus Antiquoir has to give and we need it NOW.  Priests and bishops must go to the periphery, learn the traditional forms, and begin using them.

Going on with the Franciscan periphery and Benedictine hermeneutic nexus, we must go to what has become over the decades another periphery, the Fathers of the Church.  They can teach us how to read Scripture again in a way that connects us to the insights of the ancient Church and the regula fidei.  The past seems to be a periphery.  Let’s go there to gain the right perspective.  Benedict explains what he means about the problems with modern exegesis in his Jesus of Nazareth (USA HERE UK HERE).

Finally, we might see the actual documents, the letter, of the Second Vatican Council as a kind of periphery.  Lots of people, especially on the catholic Left, focus on a chimeric “spirit” of the Council.  The media created it’s own Council, just as it did recently with the Synod of Bishops.  Benedict spoke poignantly of the Council of the Media just hours before he abdicated.  His famous address to the Roman Curia in 2005 was about proper interpretation of the Council, about continuity.  Let’s go to what has been set aside, shoved down to the end of the shelf: the Council documents, read in continuity with all the other Councils of the Church, which themselves have been shoved aside.  It is as if the history of the Church began in 1963.  Our forebears are a periphery!  We need Christ’s perspective from them.

At the beginning of Pope Francis pontificate, honestly disturbed by some of the signals the new Pope was sending, I really tried to get me head around what he was doing and saying by looking at what he was really doing and saying.  I used a quick phrase, “Reading Francis Through Benedict” because I saw some connections between the two Popes.  Those connections certainly were in matters of style.  They have sure not turned out to be similar in matters of governance.  When it comes to that, Benedict and Francis are both carbon-based life forms, but that’s about where it ends.  Still, rather than just thrown up my hands and turn my back on Francis, puzzled by what he is trying to accomplish (which isn’t clear at all), I think we can draw some lines between the way Francis thinks and what Benedict tried to do.  I wish we had had a few more years of Benedict but, hey, we didn’t.   Well, we sort of do.  His written remarks to the Urbaniana the other day were classic Ratzinger.  (Italian HERE) We must work with what we have, which is still helpful and valid today just as it was a couple years ago.  Francis makes it pretty hard sometimes to read him in continuity with his predecessors, but it can and it must be done.

Come to think of it, was there a better example of ¡Hagan lío! in the last few decades of the Church’s life than what Benedict XVI did on 7 July 2007?

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UPDATE: Did Card. Burke criticize Pope Francis? (O...

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Back on 17 October I posted a transcript of the now controversial interview Card. Burke did with BuzzFeed.  HERE  Those who read, can see what the transcript says.

But people don’t always read.

Dignitatis Humanae Institutute now weighs in about what Card. Burke really said and really didn’t say.  HERE  DHI gets into it because Card. Burke is on their board.

Take note.  I add my emphases:

 This is the now-notorious interview in which Cardinal Burke accused Pope Francis of having harmed the Church.  Only the Cardinal never said any such thing.

Here is what Cardinal Burke actually said:

“I can’t speak for the pope and I can’t say what his position is on this, but the lack of clarity about the matter has certainly done a lot of harm.” 

What BuzzFeed reported:

“According to my understanding of the church’s teaching and discipline, no, it wouldn’t be correct,” Burke said, saying the pope had “done a lot of harm” by not stating “openly what his position is.”

(Emphasis added in both cases).

Cardinal Burke was clear, in what he actually said, that in his opinion a general lack of clarity regarding the Pope’s position had caused harm to the Church.  BuzzFeed’s more sensationalist rearrangement of this text identifies the Pope himself as the cause of the harm.  The difference is of course important.

Benjamin Harnwell, the Founder of the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, said: “The DHI has no issue with the professionalism of the journalist who filed the original story, and we were willing to give BuzzFeed the benefit of the doubt to an ambiguously reported paraphrasing.  However, once it was made clear that this controversial paraphrase did not reflect what Cardinal Burke actually said, we expected a speedy correction.  Sadly, BuzzFeed management declined our repeated requests.

So, DHI has tried to clarify what was obvious in the interview, for those who read it, namely, that Card. Burke did not attack or criticize the Pope.  Fishwrap and those types with BDS prattle away about Burke constantly criticizing Pope Francis.  Not so.

However, to make the issue clearer, through DHI, Card. clarifies:

Statement of Cardinal Burke:

Speaking through the Dignitatis Humanae Institute, Cardinal Burke said:

“As a priest, bishop and finally a cardinal, I have only ever sought to serve Our Lord’s Church in humble obedience to the Magisterium and to the Holy Father. Needless confusion regarding my motives does not help me in this service, especially when substantial questions of principle are at stake.  I very strongly believe that one also serves loyally by expressing a contrary judgment, in accord with the pursuit of the truth, and that one only serves faithfully when one has dutifully and clearly spoken, in obedience to one’s conscience.”

I did not state that Pope Francis has harmed the Church.  Rather, as the now published verbatim interview reveals, I was perfectly clear that it was a lack of clarity about where the Holy Father stands on issues related to marriage and Holy Communion that had caused the harm.  It is precisely for this reason that I subsequently said that only a statement from the Holy Father himself could now remove this lack of clarity.”

“Sadly, confusion, such as that generated by this particular interview, has been used to portray those opposed to Cardinal Kasper’s thesis as motivated by a personal animus against the Holy Father.  This is just not the case, though it no doubt helps the cause of those with certain ideological axes to grind to make this appear so.”  ENDS

We might hope that this will settle the issue, but I doubt it.  Liberals are unlikely to be fair when it comes to Card. Burke.

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Remember the Date...

Posted on Oct 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

In his apostolic exhortation The Joy of the Gospel, Pope Francis says, “the believer is ‘one who remembers.’” And one of the ways we remember the important markers in our faith journey is by recalling significant dates—holy days, saints’ days, Christmas, Easter.

The pope often asks people if they remember the date of their baptism. Without even thinking about it, I could answer, “Of course.” October 22, eleven days after my birthday.” I also remember the date of my First Communion (May 17). Anniversary dates mark the key events in our lives. Some we share in common; others are quite personal.

In the midst of all the dates, though, it’s also good to remember that because of our baptism we also have one foot in eternity. We had a baptism at our parish yesterday and I was struck by the words, “When the Lord comes, may they go out to meet him with all the saints in the heavenly kingdom.” Today is two years since my mom died. The date has me looking back; my faith keeps me looking forward.

Image: (CNS photo/L’Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

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Pope Francis doesn’t have to “break the Church...

Posted on Oct 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Last summer during Acton University I had the chance to get to talk at length with Russ Douthat of Hell’s Bible (aka The New York Times… echo chamber of record for the liberal snob elite).  Douthat is a voice of sanity in a dry place.

He has a piece about the recent Synod, which you ought to read.  He got it right.

The Pope and the Precipice


SUCH a reversal would put the church on the brink of a precipice. Of course it would be welcomed by some progressive Catholics and hailed by the secular press. But it would leave many of the church’s bishops and theologians in an untenable position, and it would sow confusion among the church’s orthodox adherents — encouraging doubt and defections, apocalypticism and paranoia (remember there is another pope still living!) and eventually even a real schism.

Those adherents are, yes, a minority — sometimes a small minority — among self-identified Catholics in the West. But they are the people who have done the most to keep the church vital in an age of institutional decline: who have given their energy and time and money in an era when the church is stained by scandal, who have struggled to raise families and live up to demanding teachings, who have joined the priesthood and religious life in an age when those vocations are not honored as they once were. They have kept the faith amid moral betrayals by their leaders; they do not deserve a theological betrayal.

Which is why this pope has incentives to step back from the brink — as his closing remarks to the synod, which aimed for a middle way between the church’s factions, were perhaps designed to do.

Francis is charismatic, popular, widely beloved. He has, until this point, faced strong criticism only from the church’s traditionalist fringe, and managed to unite most Catholics in admiration for his ministry. There are ways that he can shape the church without calling doctrine into question, and avenues he can explore (annulment reform, in particular) that would bring more people back to the sacraments without a crisis. He can be, as he clearly wishes to be, a progressive pope, a pope of social justice — and he does not have to break the church to do it.


What a refreshing point of view… and prose style.  After all the smarmy rubbish I’ve read about the Synod from the catholic Left and the spittle-flecked zany stuff from the extreme right, this is a great cleansing of the palate.

There’s more.  Read and engage.  I don’t go with everything he wrote, by the way.  I am simply refreshed by a clear-eyed, well-written view.

And, in the balance, he got it right.

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Father’s job is to say “No.”...

Posted on Oct 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I have been saying for a very long time now that the Pope’s first job is to say “No.”

The job of bishops, priests, fathers in general, is to say “No.”

Whether your children are plotting to make a go-cart that should be able to sail off the roof  or your children are plotting to confuse the people of God with aberrant notions about the two natures of Christ (or Communion for the… well…), Father’s job is to say “No.”  And as the erring children insist more loudly, Father’s response becomes more firm.

Sometimes I have been in situations wherein I have have to challenged to perform liturgical abuses.  At first, I give them short answer: “No.”  As the ex-nun liturgy coordinatrix continues to insist that that’s-how-they-do-it-here, I lengthen my explanation to “Noooooooo!”

And so I turn to Fr Hunwicke (whose prose is delightful). He has a great piece today wherein in riffs on Pope Francis’s now famous “Who am I to judge?”  HERE

Here is a sample:

I feel supremely comfortable with these words; and I note that Newman is making exactly the same point as that advanced by Professor de Mattei. I have no problem with the idea of a pope who keeps anathemas under his camauro. A pontiff who issues a Syllabus of Errors seems to me a pontiff who is earning his paycheck. When Pio Nono, with the assent of Vatican I, issued his admirable negative, “The Holy Spirit was not promised to the Successors of Peter so that by his revelation they should reveal new teaching”, I would have applauded. Three cheers for the author of Pascendi Dominici gregis. Cardinal Ratzinger’s insistence that the Pope is but the humble servant of Tradition had me raising my glass to drink his toast. (Indeed, during his Pontificate I was rarely sober.)

I really wanted to post the whole thing, but I also want to force you over to his place to read the rest.


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Large gesture of openness toward SSPX!...

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Apparently one of the Francis Effects is “apertura”, “an opening up … openness”.

I have suggested elsewhere on this blog, and not too long ago, that Pope Francis could be the one to show TLC to the traditional side.  Benedict XVI was the obvious one to do so, but, after Summorum Pontificum - which was HUGE – he didn’t do too much more.

Could Francis be the one to say or be at a Pontifical Mass?  I somewhat facetiously suggested that in my interview with Amerika.  Somewhat facetiously, but not entirely.  Could Francis be the unexpected one to reconcile the SSPX?  That’s a long shot. It’s a loooooong shot, as a matter of fact, given what we have seen over the last few months. Still, I won’t denounce yet what I have written.

Now I read this.

Marco Tosatti, who has been doing yeoman’s work of late, has this at La Stampa:

Lefebvrians: “Rome doesn’t plan on imposing a capitulation

In an interview with authoritative French weekly magazine Famille Chrétienne, the Secretary of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, Guido Pozzo, discussed the state of relations between Rome and the Society of St. Pius X following Mgr. Fellay’s recent meeting with the Prefect of the Doctrine for the Faith. From the interview, it would seem that the Holy See does not intend to put any pressure on Mgr. Lefebvre’s followers but would like an agreement to be reached, although the timeframe for this is uncertain. [Some time between the opening of the 3rd and 4th Seals, perhaps.] What we are given to understand here, is that Rome intends to show greater flexibility on any aspect that does not regard doctrine. [But... isn't that pretty much what the SSPX are concerned about? The excommunications were lifted, so that's not a problem.  They are all suspended divinis because they have received ordination illicitly and do not submit to ecclesiastical authority.]

In 2009 Benedict XVI decided to revoke the excommunication of Lefebvrian bishops who had been illicitly ordained by Mgr. Lefebvre in 1988. This was a first and essential step toward the resumption of a constructive dialogue. Just a first step, however, because there were still some big doctrinal questions which needed to be addressed. The Ecclesia Dei Commission which has close links with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is the main instrument in this dialogue process. [And the dialogue is about doctrine.]

Perhaps the most interesting part of the interview is that which addressed the sticking points in said dialogue. Mgr. Pozzo underlined that “any reservations or positions the Society of St. Pius X may have regarding aspects which are not related to faith but to pastoral questions [Would that include illicit witnessing of marriages, without faculties? Receiving confessions without faculties?] or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium do not necessarily need to withdrawn or relinquished.” [Could this be going the way that I have always suggested?  I have always said that matters of religious liberty were really hard questions, that the Vatican Council's documents raised quite a few questions, and that there weren't easy answers.  SSPXers should have the right to raise legitimate questions.] Here Rome seems to be showing an attempt to alter positions expressed in the past: According to Mgr. Pozzo, the fraternity’s reservations are linked to “aspects of pastoral care or the prudential teaching of the Magisterium.” The monsignor’s statement suggests that since these criticisms and reservations are no longer labelled as “doctrinal” the Lefebvrians could legitimately continue to express them. [!]

This approach is expressed more clearly in the following part of the interview: “The Holy See does not wish to impose a capitulation on the SSPX. [!] On the contrary, it invites the fraternity to stand beside it within the same framework of doctrinal principles that is necessary in guaranteeing the same adhesion to the faith and Catholic doctrine on the Magisterium and the Tradition. ["framework of doctrinal principles"... The Creed?] At the same time, there is room for further reflection on the reservations the fraternity has expressed regarding certain aspects and the wording of the Second Vatican Council documents as well as some reforms that followed but which do not refer to subjects which are dogmatically or doctrinally indisputable.” [This is a pretty big deal.]

Finally, one other very important clarification was made: “There is no doubt that the teachings of the Second Vatican Council vary a great deal in terms of how authoritative and binding they are depending on the text. So, for example, the Lumen Gentium Constitution on the Church and the Dei Verbum on the Divine Revelation are doctrinal declarations even though no dogmatic definition was given to them”, [and yet those declarations are in Dogmatic Constitutions...] whereas the declarations on religious freedom, non-Christian religions and the decree on ecumenism “are authoritative and binding to a different and lesser degree.” [Bless my buttons.  This is what I have been talking about for decades now.]

It is unclear how long this process is going to take: “I don’t think it is possible to say yet when this process will conclude,” Mgr. Pozzo said. Both sides are committed to taking things step by step. “There will be no unexpected shortcuts; the clearly stated aim is to promote unity through the generosity of the universal Church led by the successor of Peter.”

Well well.

L’apertura SSPX?

I suspect the members of the SSPX these days, especially after the latest Synod, are having aneurisms and spittle-flecked nutties.  The SPPX has been going on for ever about “eternal Rome” v. “modernist Rome”.  The big move is going to have to come from the Holy See.

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A Quiet Pursuit...

Posted on Oct 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

For the past few months, I have been following the work of a previously unknown photographer, Vivian Maier. The story of the discovery and subsequent promotion of her work by dogged chronicler and historian John Maloof is portrayed brilliantly in a recent documentary, Finding Vivian Maier. It is the story of a woman, ostensibly “only” a nanny, who used her time off duty to create over 100,000 photographic images, primarily from the 1950s to 1970s, which remained unseen during her lifetime.

Since their random discovery by Maloof at an auction in Chicago in 2007, her images have been featured in gallery exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles, London, Germany, and Denmark. Some of the openings are cited by the gallery owners as the best ever attended in the gallery’s history.


Cover from the documentary “Finding Vivian Maier”

Why does this work fascinate us so much? Partially, it’s the sheer artistic quality of the Maier’s images. Maier always had her trusty, high-quality Rolleiflex twin-lens camera hung around her neck, as interviewees in the film attest, and snapped away continually.

The images capture cameo moments in the blur of passing time, exhibiting an impressive depth of field as well as Maier’s dexterity in capturing light. These cameos might not be appreciated at the moment they are happening, but when examined later in a print, they reveal a gritty beauty.

It’s a testament to Maier’s own belief in her work that the negatives even survive. Maier must have known she had captured something wonderful in her work, taking care to move her scores of suitcases and boxes of negatives and undeveloped film with her from one nannying job to the next. They are like photographic poetry of their time, a nonjudgmental eye viewing the human drama.

Viewing Maier’s work compels us to look again at the passing moments of our own lives. Vision refreshed, we can see in those moments an aching beauty and truth, sometimes for the first time.


Image: air/PhotoXpress

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Santo Subito!...

Posted on Oct 22, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Pope John Paul II hasn’t even been dead for ten years, and he’s a saint; amazing! How did this happen so quickly?

Today we celebrate his first feast day as a saint. When he died on April 2, 2005, the crowds that gathered throughout the Vatican shouted “Santo, subito!” — “Sainthood, now!” It seems certain their cries reached the right ears, for the canonization process moved swiftly for John Paul II, as it somewhat did for Pope John XXIII, although he had been dead for almost 50 years when he was canonized in April. Now Pope Paul VI has been beatified, also on the fast track to sainthood.

There is no doubt in my mind that Pope John Paul II was a saintly and gifted pope. The fact alone that he was instrumental in facilitating the fall of the USSR and in particular, restoring Poland to a state more resembling a democracy was a phenomenal achievement. By his many trips to countries around the world and time spent in actual contact with believers he showed that the pope could be a man of and for the people, and not an inaccessible figurehead. Many criticized his conservative ways regarding Church teaching and tradition, but to others he blended a modern response to the world with a unique sense of what the Catholic Church represented in that world.

Kerry Walters has written a brief biography of John Paul II — and one of John XXIII, as well — that will give you an IMG_0456excellent overview of Karol Wojtyla before he became pope, and of his many works during his time as Pope John Paul II. Here you’ll start to discover why this pope was on the fast track to sainthood, and what makes him an enduring figure for our times. Here’s a quote from the Introduction to that book:

“What makes a saint … is not ecclesial and worldly titles or unquestionable moral and spiritual purity, but a yearningly tenacious cleaving to the Creator, a heartfelt resolution to embrace in word and deed our own God-likeness despite the realization that we’ll often fall short, and a willingness to spend ourselves in loving service to God and one another.”

That certainly describes Saint John Paul II, a saint for our times indeed.


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Pope Francis, Pope...

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I have been, frankly, both exhausted and a bit disgusted after the last Synod and I have been trying to have a little RnR.  That doesn’t make for a lot of posting of edgy stuff.

So, here’s a little meat to chew on.

That closing address Pope Francis made to the Synod… interesting, no?  Forget about the part wherein he does a little, what can you call it, name-calling?  About “intellectuals” and “do-gooders”?  No.  What caught my eye is that middle section.

For the last year and a half, His Holiness has been downplaying his image as “Pope”.  He signs his name “Francis” without the other rigamarole which indicated the year of his pontificate.  He is simply been “Francis… Bishop of Rome” rather than than “Supreme Pontiff”.

But in the middle part of the closing address for the Extraordinary Synod, it was all Pope all the time.

And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.

We will speak a little bit about the Pope, now, in relation to the Bishops [laughing]. So, the duty of the Pope is that of guaranteeing the unity of the Church; it is that of reminding the faithful of  their duty to faithfully follow the Gospel of Christ; it is that of reminding the pastors that their first duty is to nourish the flock – to nourish the flock – that the Lord has entrusted to them, and to seek to welcome – with fatherly care and mercy, and without false fears – the lost sheep. I made a mistake here. I said welcome: [rather] to go out and find them.

So, Francis is more Pope now than before.

I think that, in the wake of the Synod, we may see some exercises of papal power.

How shall they manifest?   I’d like to see Pope Francis summarily reconciled the SSPX.  How about a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form?  How about … use of the fanon and ferula?  He would wear the items that the Roman Pontiff normally wears in the exercise of his duties.   And these things would now enhance, rather than detract from, his pastoral duties.

Finally, I think that His Holiness is starting to feel – in an intense new way – what it really means to be the Vicar of Christ, the Successor of Peter. His role is, in a special, way to affirm the brethren and the uphold the regula fidei … No. Matter. What.


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Speak Life...

Posted on Oct 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I was on a conference call with an author yesterday, when I was struck by a statement he made: we’re all struggling. I found myself getting lost in that thought because it’s one I’ve had pretty often myself. We’re all doing the best we can to get along, but often times we fail to see that others are in the same situation. So, we make quick judgments where we could offer encouragement; we’re too busy to lend a helping hand; we turn our head because we just don’t want to get involved.

What if instead we offered the encouraging word? What if we made time to help a friend—or a stranger—in need? What if we got involved and made a difference?

Every time I hear the Toby Mac song, Speak Life, it reminds me of the incredible opportunity I have to make a difference in someone’s life—every single day. Words can hurt or words can heal. We’re all just trying to get along in life, so why make it harder on our fellow humans?

We all have the choice to speak life—or not. What will your choice be?



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Our Language Matters...

Posted on Oct 20, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The recently concluded Extraordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family, preparing for next October’s Ordinary Synod on the same topic, reminds me of something that noted Jesuit historian Father John W. O’Malley has written about Vatican II. One of its greatest accomplishments was using a new type of language in Church teaching.

I had the great privilege of being one of O’Malley’s students at the University of Detroit in the fall of 1970.

He has written that the bishops at Vatican II decided to use exhortation more than condemnation. Exhortation will not stops wars, but it may have a better chance of being effective than stiff condemnation—no matter how much the person using condemning language is pleased at its clarity.

When Cardinal Peter Erdo gave the mid-session summary of the synod discussion during its first week, some participants inside (and outside) the synod complained bitterly that the synthesis did not sufficiently reaffirm the Church’s opposition to same-sex marriages, divorce, abortion, and all the other issues facing families today.

On the other hand, Vatican Information Service bulletins reported that several synod participants had observed that the Church needs to rethink the way it speaks to and about people in these situations.

I hope we can agree that zeal for God does not justify every type of language that people may employ to support their position. The final results of the 2015 synod are unlikely to win unanimous approval from its participants and from the larger Church, the People of God.

Cardinal Schoenborn, archbishop of Vienna and lead author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, noted during the controversy over Cardinal Erdo’s synthesis that real families can have very sharp disagreements!

The last word has not been written about the 2014 synod—even less about the 2015 synod. In the meantime, we would do well to remember that the word synod means “walking together.”

May all the Church’s members walk together with the openness that caused two disciples on the road to Emmaus to exclaim on Easter Sunday evening (Lk 24:32b), “Were not our hearts burning within us while he spoke to us on the way and opened the Scriptures to us?”

Our hearts cannot burn like that unless we listen carefully.

CNS photo/Paul Haring

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Confirmations in Christchurch, New Zealand...

Posted on Oct 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

On 18 October, His Lordship, 
the Right Reverend Bishop Basil Meeking, 
Emeritus of Christchurch, 
administered the Holy Sacrament of Confirmation
to five young people of our 
Latin Mass Chaplaincy in the Diocese.
After the Confirmations, His Lordship celebrated Holy Mass.
…and distributed certificates to those to whom he had imparted the Sacrament!
Deo Gratias!
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"And now let us begin this journey, the Bishop and people, this journey of the Church of Rome, which presides in charity over all the Churches, a journey of brotherhood in love, of mutual trust. Let us always pray for one another. Let us pray for the whole world that there might be a great sense of brotherhood.

I will now give my blessing to you and to the whole world, to all men and women of good will."

-Papa Francis quote

He does not know you, yet he prays for you.
He will most likely never meet you, yet he loves you.

This is your chance to show your love, for as the Bible teaches, "Whosoever therefore shall confess me before men, him will I confess also before my Father which is in heaven. But whosoever shall deny me before men, him will I also deny before my Father which is in heaven."