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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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Posted on Sep 29, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Today is the Feast of the Archangels—Michael, Gabriel and Raphael. The feast reminds me of my experiences as a pastor of two parishes in the rural Philippines. Both of them had parish churches in towns located on the coastline of their respective island. St. Michael the Archangel was patron of the parish on Maripipi Island. St. Raphael was patron of the parish in the town of Kawayan on Biliran Island. These two parishes are separated from each other by about ten miles of ocean.

St. Michael Parish has a statue of its patron saint, depicted with a spear which Michael runs through a demon. In the book of Daniel and in Revelation, St. Michael defeated the power of Lucifer and the angels who joined him in revolt against the Lord God. Michael means “who is like God?” In the rural Philippines during the nineteenth century there were Moslem pirate raids conducted from sail boats that came into the central Philippines and stole, raped and kidnapped. The only defense was for everyone living on Maripipi to flee into the interior where the jungle provided cover and where the mountainous terrain and its poisonous snakes discouraged pursuit. St. Michael was invoked as a powerful patron and defender against the pirates.

St. Raphael Parish depicted its patron with a fishing pole dangling a fish hooked on Raphael’s line. Recall the book of Tobit and how Raphael became the companion of the young Tobiah on his journey to obtain the money his father Tobit had deposited in Media. Raphael also helped Tobiah find a wife and overcome the widow-making demon that plagued her. Raphael instructed Tobiah how to heal his father’s blindness by using the gall bladder of the fish. So, the name Raphael means “God heals.” The parish had frequent celebrations of the Eucharist which included Anointing of the Sick. Everybody who came to the church for the healing Mass wanted to be anointed.

Both Michael and Raphael, are symbols of God’s mercy and care
for his people in their time of need.

As a pastor, my missionary parish gave me new insights into the meaning of these archangels as I joined the people in celebrating the feast of the archangels. It struck me that Michael and Raphael had more impact on the people than Gabriel who announced the coming birth of Jesus to the Immaculate Virgin Mary. On this Feast of the Archangels, reflect on what the three archangels mean in your life of faith. Here’s my starters::

  • I recall a prayer to St. Michael recited after Mass in the 1950’s with the line, “St. Michael be our defender in battle.”
  • I remember a friar with the name Raphael who had strange sense of humor.
  • When I think of Gabriel I recall his role in announcing the birth of Jesus to Mary. I think of Br. Gabriel in my community–a gifted musician with a booming bass voice.

Credit: Photoxpress

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Pondering Francis...

Posted on Sep 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I have been trying for a while now to get my head around what Pope Francis might really think about economics and markets and so forth.  I have been puzzled by a few of his remarks. I think I am not alone in that.

I saw in interesting interview at Real Clear Religion with Rocco Buttiglione, who played a role in the economic views of St. John Paul II.


RCR: Does Pope Francis have the same kind of philosophical heft that Wojty?a had?

RB: No. He is a different man.

RCR: Is that problematic for the Church?

RB: I don’t think so. We have had a pope who was a great philosopher, we had a pope who was a great theologian, and now we have a pope who has a great pastoral spirit. The Church needs all. I dare say that after those two popes we surely need a pope like Francis because the Curia is a mess and you need someone who has the capacity of clearing that mess.

RCR: You’re often credited for bringing Wojty?a to free market ideas, especially in the context of Centesimus Annus. How did you seem to persuade him?

RB: I would not put it that way, but I was a friend. As Don Ricci had done with me, I talked to Wojtyla about my friends and the things I saw in the world. Sometimes he asked me to do this or that for him, and that’s all.

RCR: Do you think Pope Francis needs a similar education on economics?

RB: Well, you had a pope from Poland who came to understand and love North America much more than anybody could imagine. Now you have a pope who comes from Latin America and in dialogue with him, we must try to explain other things. He is a pope that cannot be only Latin American, but he has to enlarge his horizons. How will he do that?

One of the first things John Paul II did when he became pope was go to Latin America. There he gave a series of homilies, which are a kind of regional encyclical. This encyclical is not against liberation theology, but it is an encyclical that says: We want a theology that is from the point of view from Latin American people. Fine. We want a theology that is written from the point of view of the Latin American poor. Even better! You think that you can produce this theology by using Marxism? That’s wrong. You need a different instrument to approach socio-economic realities from a point of view of a true liberation theology.

I remember one day Don Ricci and I were in Lima, Peru and we were talking with a group of liberation theologians. It was the day of the feast of Señor de los Milagros, and all the people were in the streets. I told the theologians: You talk about the people? Please open the door and look on the streetsThey are the people! They are people who are not Marx’s proletariat; they are a people of culture and religion.

Then we started working in Latin America to create groups that wanted to make a true liberation theology. Some wanted to condemn all liberation theology, and there was the first instruction from the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, which was very harsh.

I went around visiting different countries and when I came back, John Paul II invited me to one of his “working dinners.” In the end, he asked me: There is the theoretical side, but how is Gustavo Gutiérrez as a man? Does he say Mass? Does he pray the Rosary? Does he confess people? Yes? Then we must find another solution.

After that came the second instruction on liberation theology, which made a distinction between true liberation theology and Marxist liberation theology.

RCR: Which liberation theology is Francis influenced by?

RB: He is not a Marxist. Politically, he is a Justicialista. Westerners might call it populist. Justicialismo in Argentina has been a tremendous movement, giving for the first time to the people the idea that they have dignity. They are anti-capitalist and anti-Marxist. There is an Anglo-Saxon model of capitalism, which is the “self-made man.” That’s American. But that’s not capitalism in Argentina. Capitalism there is where a few people use the contracts given by the state without taking the risk of the market make an enormous amount of money and oppress other people. It is a capitalism created by the State.

If I could suggest to Pope Francis the reading of a book, I would suggest he read Friedrich Hayek’s The Counter-Revolution of Science: Studies on the Abuse of Reason. This might help him.


Justicialismo…  good grief.  Who of us up here in the North can grasp what on earth has gone on in Argentina?  The more I read about the place, and its modern history, the less I understand.  Do you have be Argentinian to get it?  Does anyone understand Perónism, with all its layers and bands along the ideological spectrum?  I’d be pretty skeptical were someone to make that claim.  Take a look on Google for something on Justicialismo.  There is nearly nothing useful in English.  I read Spanish, but… sheesh… this has been entirely ignored.

I recently heard a talk about Pope Francis with a South American journalist who is the head of CNA and ACI Prensa, Alejandro Bermudez (whose background is, in part, Argentinian).  He clarified a few things for me and proposed some others.  In no particular order….

Concerning the Argentinian view of capitalism, I think I now better grasp the Holy Father’s (and that of whoever was doing some ghostwriting for him) dim view of capitalism, especially of so-called “trickle down” economics.  You will recall that that Francis mentioned this in his Post-Synodal Exhortation Evangelii gaudium and that there was controversy about the (bad) English translation.  To simplify: if up here in the North we think of “trickle down” as wealth pouring into a cup and, when the cup fills, it overflows and runs downward to the next level, thus helping to raise others up from poverty, in Argentina there would be a different view.  There is no “trickle down”, because as the wealth pours into the cup, the cup gets bigger and bigger so that nothing escapes over the edge.  This is the Argentinian experience.  And so in the matter of personal economics, we individuals and families with our little economies might go off the rails of charity when we say something like “I’ll help the poor after I get my second boat.”  As we gain wealth, rather than than overflow our boundaries, we expand our boundaries into more personal stuff.

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 playing attention, Francis seems to use the word “periphery” a lot.  This not quite the same thing as “margin”.

Alas, we in the North have in general paid scant attention to what’s going on intellectually “down there”.  Thus, I have no idea who Alberto Methol Ferré and Rubén Darío are.  I guess I had heard of Sorokin, but I know little to nothing about him other than he explored a cyclic theory of societies.   A lot of us in the North are a bit crippled when it comes to ferreting out what Pope Francis is up to.

I had read that, while Pope Francis is a staunch opponent of Marxist-based Liberation Theology, he did embrace a kind of “liberation theology” that flowed from the devotion of the people.  If I (and others I talk to, and Buttiglione and Bermudez) are right about these things, then I may be getting closer to understanding a key element of Francis’ of economics, the North, etc.

Lastly, it could be that Francis, who has been placed on a pretty steep learning curve, now has an opportunity to learn something about the North and its ways and views.  It may be that his time in Germany, his only experience of the North aside from occasional visits to Rome, tainted his view of all of the Church in the North.  In Germany he would have experienced a Church with a lot of money and fewer and fewer believers.  I suspect that when and if he makes his first North American visit, he many encounter something that he hasn’t yet experienced.  It could be also that, as he meets representatives from North American Catholic organizations and hears about what they do, he is gaining a new insight into the Church in the wealthy North Western Quadrant.


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The post Pondering Francis appeared first on Fr. Z's Blog.

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Signs, Seasons, Days and Years — 5...

Posted on Sep 27, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Isabella Breviary was given to Queen Isabella I of Castile (Isabella the Catholic) as a gift on the occasion of the double marriage of her children.  It was composed in the late 1480s in Bruges in the Dominican style.  Here is an extract from the Wikipedia article on the Isabella Breviary:
A page from the calendar of the Isabella Breviary.  Note the Zodiac sign of Virgo in the top right of the page. 
“Besides the feast days, the calendar contains also the computistical entries necessary to determine the day of the week corresponding to a given calendar date. In the first column one can find the golden number and in the second the Dominical letter. In the third column the date is expressed in the according to the Roman calendar with kalendae, nonae and idus. Also the date on which the sun enters a zodiacal sign is indicated in the calendar.  In the heading for each month the number of days and lunar days is given and the length of day and night is indicated.”
Again notice the miniature illustration of the Zodiac sign of Sagittarius in the top left corner, as well as the indication of the date on which the sun enters the sign of Sagittarius: Sol in Sagittario.

As noted above, the highly Catholic Isabella Breviary notes the date on which the sun enters each constellation of the Zodiac, just as the Papa Stronsay calendar does. See the image of the 2015 Papa Stronsay Calendar below to witness over 500 years of Catholic tradition in action!

 In the Papa Stronsay Calendar, the date on which the sun enters each constellation of the Zodiac is marked: Sol in Sagittario.

Keep watching this space for more great examples of the Catholic Church using the Zodiac constellations through the ages!

“And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” Gen. 1:14

You can order the Calendar right here and now:


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Your Attention, Please...

Posted on Sep 26, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

In an ongoing quest to become more efficient and effective at life, I am reading a book entitled The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload by Daniel J. Levitin.

Levitin’s approach to the subjects of organizing ties it to the neurological structures of the human brain. He finds a host of surprising insights. We are built to organize, it turns out. It is inherent in our DNA. This is not a quick and easy book for dummies on the subject with bulleted lists of things to do but finds its insights from deep within the heavily footnoted research listed in the back of the book.

Our brains have evolved into two modes of operation: the “mind-wandering” mode, which is actually the brain’s default mode, and the “central executive” or “stay-on-task” mode, committed to focusing on tasks and completing them. We learn to navigate between these two modes by experience, encoding successful experiences with one or the other to form a typical mode of operation.

The phrase “paying attention” is quite literally true. There’s a cost to attention. When we are paying attention to one thing, we are taking it away from something else. With the deluge of information coming at us these days, our “attentional filter” (another concept from the book) has to work overtime to separate the essential from the spurious. No wonder we feel overloaded, pressed for time, and exhausted.

Attention, according to Levitin, is a limited-capacity resource. While we may intuitively know this, it’s good to have it backed up neurologically. What this means to me is that if I want a close relationship with a person, a group, or God, I am wise to invest some of that limited resource.

To that end, I’ve learned to invest in a page-a-day prayer or meditation resource to bolster my relationship with God. Some examples that come readily to mind are Yes, And… by Richard Rohr, Sisterhood of Saints by Melanie Rigney, The Joyful Spirit of Padre Pio by Patricia Treece, or Thirsting for God by Mother Teresa. Someone has already performed the central executive tasks of researching, organizing, writing, and editing the material.

My only job is to find a few moments to access it directly from my early morning mind-wandering default mode and be rewarded with reflection and insight. It’s a great deal for me.

Photo: Marc Dietrich/PhotoXpress

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A New Look, A Trusted Voice...

Posted on Sep 25, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

I’m excited about the new logo and new tag line for the Servant line.  Ever since the late 1960’s Servant has been publishing books and other products that celebrate the best of Catholic life.  Stemming from its early roots in the Catholic Charismatic Renewal, Servant has always looked to bring all the riches of Catholic teaching, devotions, sacraments, liturgy, and tradition to modern readers. Our new logo reflects that fire of the Holy Spirit that has been our inspiration all these years.  The tag line reflects our unwavering devotion to the teaching of the Church and our firm commitment to speak with that one voice, in union with the voice of the Church.

Servant, Your Trusted Catholic Voice

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Signs, Seasons, Days and Years — 4...

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Ancient astronomers and keepers of time divided the annual course of the Sun across the 12 Zodiac constellations into 12, 30 degree segments. In a year, the Sun moves across the Zodiac to complete a 360 degree circuit. The Sun takes about a month to move from one Zodiac constellation to the next. A reason why a year is divided into 12 months. The Moon takes 29.5 days to complete a cycle from Full Moon to the next. Another reason why a month, on average, is 30 days.
The Zodiac therefore is not a superstitious method of predicting the future by looking at the stars, but rather a perfectly wonderful, God-given method of telling the time and calculating the date.  By looking at the image, you can see that you could just as easily say Pisces as you could March; after all, March is named after the Pagan god of war, Mars.

Keep watching this space for some great examples of the Catholic Church using the Zodiac constellations through the ages!

“And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” Gen. 1:14

You can order the Calendar right here and now:


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Dr. St. Hildegard...

Posted on Sep 24, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Last Wednesday, September 17, was the feast of Hildegard of Bingen, named a saint in May 2012 and a Doctor of the Church in October of that same year. Known as the Sibyl of the Rhine, she was a Benedictine abbess, theologian, mystic, artist, musician, poet, and doctor (and who knows what else; this is what we know from her extant works).

Back in the 1980s, I attended a talk by Matthew Fox (still a Dominican in good standing with the Church at the time), on Hildegard, which focused particularly on the Scivias, her book of visions. I was not aware of Hildegard to this point, and was at the talk because of a project I was doing for a community of IBVM sisters sponsoring Fox’s presentation.

Suffice it to say it was a game-changing afternoon for me. From the moment I first saw the slides of Hildegard’s artwork that Fox projected onto a screen, I was hooked. After the talk, I ordered several of Hildegard’s books, then published by a small company in New Mexico called Bear & Co., and read whatever I could about her in subsequent years. She became for me a patron saint.

As of this month, I am happy to say that Franciscan Media has its own book in which Hildegard is featured as a woman Doctor of the Church, along with Teresa of Avila, Catherine of Siena, and Therese of Lisieux: Accidental Theologians, by Elizabeth Dreyer. Rather than focus strictly on the spirituality of these four women, Dreyer highlights their particular theologies — the work that merited their consideration in being named Doctors — in a way that is accessible, engaging, and thoughtful. They are referred to here as “accidental” theologians because none set out to be one, yet the Church, in its wisdom, has deemed their work to be worthy of consideration as such.

Savor this quote from Hildegard’s Scivias:

For the Holy Spirit is a burning and shining serenity that will never be depleted and which kindles fiery virtues so that, by the Holy Spirit, all darkness is banished.

Do yourself a favor and get to know Hildegard and the other three esteemed women Doctors of the Church. Each of them is a visionary for our times, with theologies that engender a deep and lasting experience of God.


Photo credit: Cancelled stamp with an image of Hildegard, by Boris 15 (

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SSPX officials met with Card. Müller, Prefect of ...

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

As crazy as it is may now sound, perhaps Pope Francis is the one who can reconcile the SSPX.

I’ve floated this idea before.  I don’t have any illusions that Francis likes much of anything about the SSPX.   The other day I had a chat with a South American journalist who agreed with my suspicions that then-Card. Bergoglio’s impressions of the SSPX in Argentina were not favorable in large part because of Bp. Williamson and Bp. de Galaretta.  Not hard to believe at all.

But… just maybe… could Francis be the one to get the job done?

I saw at VIS that SSPX Superior General Bp. Bernard Fellay met with Card. Müller.

Vatican City, 23 September 2014 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office has issued a statement to confirm that this morning from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a cordial meeting took place at the premises of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith between Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and Bishop Bernard Fellay, superior general of the Society of St. Pius X. The meeting was also attended by Archbishop Luis Ladaria Ferrer, S.J., secretary of the same Congregation, Archbishop Joseph Augustine Di Noia, O.P., adjunct secretary and Archbishop Guido Pozzo, secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, along with two assistants from the Society of St. Pius X, Rev. Niklaus Pfluger and Rev. Alain-Marc Nély.
During the meeting, various problems of a doctrinal and canonical nature were examined, and it was decided to proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time in order to overcome difficulties and with a view to the envisioned full reconciliation.

“Gradually and over a reasonable period of time” can mean anytime between now and the Parousia.  But this is not nothing.  Indeed, given the spectacularly hostile treatment shown by Pope Francis’s Prefect for Religious, Card. Braz de Aviz, to the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate, the meeting caught my eye.  But, hey, Pope Benedict brought Braz de Aviz to Rome, not Pope Francis.

Could Francis be the one – defying all expectations – to extend an olive branch to the SSPX?

In my recent interview with Amerika Magazine I was asked:

If you could say one thing to Pope Francis in person, what would it be?


Pretty much everything that comes immediately to mind is cliché. I suppose there is one thing. I might ask him to celebrate a Pontifical Mass in the Extraordinary Form, or at least be present at its celebration by someone whom he would designate. Catholics who have what St. John Paul II called “legitimate aspirations” and for whom he commanded by his Apostolic Authority that respect must be shown, have over many decades experienced great suffering and disrespect and even persecution, even by priests and bishops.  They have suffered because they are faithful, and at the hands of their shepherds, which is shameful.  Quod Deus averruncet!  They can, at times, admittedly be a challenge to work with, but these good people love Christ and their church and their popes as much as any Catholics ever have throughout the millennia. They would go to the wall for Pope Francis, even though sometimes he does things that make them scratch their heads.  These people need some TLC.  A little love in their direction could bring about great healing.  It’s the next step.  And were he to do it, this pope rather than the more obvious Benedict … imagine what a magnificent healing moment it would be.

I can picture a Pontifical Mass celebrated by, say, Card. Burke in the Vatican Basilica, coram Pontifice Romano, but without all the flabella and what His Holiness would surely see as frippery of the long-defunct Pontifical Court.  I can also envision Pope Francis sitting there for most of the time wearing his Grumpy Cat face.

The Holy Father seems to have two modes.  He is either beaming jovially, or he looks like a man at the gallows.  Yes, I exaggerate, but I do think he uses his outward mien tactically.  For example, he was all smiles during the first part of Pres. Obama’s visit.  Then, as you watched the video coverage, when it was time for the official posed photo out came Pope Grumpy Cat, like switch being thrown.  The Holy Father was clearly not pleased to be standing there, but he endured it.  That’s what Popes do.  Paul VI met with Idi Amin Dada.  That’s couldn’t have been bubbly and light-hearted.

Popes do all sorts of things they don’t like personally.

Which leads me back to the dream of having Pope Francis be present at a Traditional Roman Pontifical Mass at the faldstool, perhaps with seminarians of the SSPX as the servers.

I wouldn’t mind if Francis yawned and kept checking his watch during the whole Mass.  I wouldn’t care if he fell asleep and loudly snored, provided he was there.

It would be more than Benedict did, God bless him!

Pope Francis believes – if I get him right – that a remedy for the Church’s interior malaise must come from our “peripheries”.

Keep watching for this word in his discourses.   For Francis, the “periphery” brings back to the core something that is vital, necessary.  The problem is, how to preserve at the core the best that the core has always possessed while at the same time reaching outward to the “peripheries”?  The danger is that the core will be forgotten, that a hole or vacuum will open up at the core and we will abandon and forget vast swathes of our identity and identity shaping patrimony.

The SSPX is simultaneously the doughnut hole and the doughnut.  They are at the same time the core, preserving tradition and patrimony, and they have become a “periphery”.  They are in danger of becoming irrelevant to the rest of the Church, and therefore they have to put their best foot forward, too, to make what they have to offer attractively useful.  (Frankly, their “Eternal Rome” versus “Modernist Rome of the Curia” schtick is a bit tiresome. It makes them sound like the Fishwrap or LCWR types who moan about the “prophetic church” versus the “institutional church”.  Both approaches, if pushed too often and too far are pretty noisome.  No, let me revise that… the Fishwrap and LCWR thing is just plain wrong, whereas there is some kernel in the SSPX thing.  But I digress.)

So, I continue to hope for the reconciliation of the SSPX.  I know exactly how I would do it.  No one has asked me lately.

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The Secret to a Good Marriage...

Posted on Sep 23, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

My youngest sister gets married in less than a week. I am a very sentimental person, so I have been reflecting on words of wisdom I have to offer her after my almost ten years of marriage. Here it is: There is no secret to a good marriage. Marriage takes work and commitment—and that is no secret!

Dr. Ray (my favorite expert) says this, “The secret of a good marriage, for the most part, is that there are no secrets, only commonsense, time-tested ideas practiced by countless others who have done it well.”

In fact, much of the advice I could offer is stuff you’ve learned your whole life, starting from when you were very young. The “knowing” it is the easy part; harder is to put it into practice—every single day. Take the example of “say you’re sorry.” How many times in your life have you heard that? There has likely never been a more important person to say it to than your spouse. (And it’s never as easy as that sounds.) That’s the work of marriage—doing things you may not want to do, such as apologizing; the commitment is repeating that over and over throughout your life, even when it’s hard.

The good news is that when you practice these skills, it gets easier (notice I didn’t say easy). The best news is, when you both love each other and are committed, it is absolutely worth every bit of effort you put into it.


Being in love is a good thing, but it is not the best thing. There are many things below it, but there are also things above it. You cannot make it the basis of a whole life. It is a noble feeling, but it is still a feeling. . . . Who could bear to live in that excitement for even five years? . . . But, of course, ceasing to be “in love” need not mean ceasing to love. Love in a second sense–love as distinct from “being in love” is not merely a feeling. It is deep unity, maintained by the will and deliberately strengthened by habit; reinforced by (in Christian marriages) the grace which both parents ask, and receive, from God. “Being in love” first moved them to promise fidelity; this quieter love enables them to keep the promise. It is on this love that the engine of marriage is run; being in love was the explosion that started it.     ~C. S. Lewis


****Photo: Shutterstock/Karen Grigoryan
Quotes taken from:
Marriage: Small Steps, Big Rewards by Dr. Ray Guarendi
Love Never Fails: 120 Reflections by Debra Herbeck

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Signs, Seasons, Days and Years — 3...

Posted on Sep 21, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

During a moon-cycle, the Moon moves across the 12 Zodiac constellations. The first astronomers divided the monthly orbit of the Moon into 28 different sections called ‘lunar mansions’. Each ‘mansion’ is approximately one day of the lunar cycle, or about 12.2 degrees of the Moon’s 360 degree circuit. This 28 division of the Moon cycle can be divided into four phase periods of the Moon. How 7 days was determined to be a week, correlates with the 7 day moon phase division of 28.
This is important as is demonstrates that the constellations of the Zodiac are not the same thing as astrology.  They are simply part of the intricate calendar designed by God.  This is why, in keeping with the ancient tradition of the Church, the Papa Stronsay calendar tracks not only the sun’s progress through the constellations of the Zodiac, but the lunar calendar as well! Order your Papa Stronsay Calendar below.
More to come, so watch this space!

“And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” Gen. 1:14

You can order the Calendar right here and now:


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The Queen’s Message...

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II
Portrait taken at Balmoral

Message from the Queen following the Scottish Referendum

After many months of discussion, debate, and careful thought, we now know the outcome of the Referendum, and it is a result that all of us throughout the United Kingdom will respect.

For many in Scotland and elsewhere today, there will be strong feelings and contrasting emotions – among family, friends and neighbours. That, of course, is the nature of the robust democratic tradition we enjoy in this country. But I have no doubt that these emotions will be tempered by an understanding of the feelings of others.

Now, as we move forward, we should remember that despite the range of views that have been expressed, we have in common an enduring love of Scotland, which is one of the things that helps to unite us all. Knowing the people of Scotland as I do, I have no doubt that Scots, like others throughout the United Kingdom, are able to express strongly-held opinions before coming together again in a spirit of mutual respect and support, to work constructively for the future of Scotland and indeed all parts of this country.

My family and I will do all we can to help and support you in this important task.


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Signs, Seasons, Days and Years — 2...

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

The Papa Stronsay Calendar is out now to order, and it can be purchased at the bottom of this post.  In the promotional video, also found below, the sun’s course through the constellations of the Zodiac is mentioned as being marked on the calendar.  The Zodiac is these days associated almost entirely with superstitious astrology, but the Zodiac is not astrology.
Timekeeping was devised by identifying and measuring the movement of the Sun and Moon across the Zodiac constellations.  A 360 degree system plots and times the course of the Sun in a year. The coordinate system can be easily divided by 60, 30 and 15.  A minute has 60 seconds. An hour 60 minutes. One day of 24 hours divided by 2 is 12.  The stars move towards the west one minute in distance, every minute, or one degree every four minutes.  The sun and stars move fifteen degrees in one hour.  Fifteen degrees multiplied by the four which it takes to complete one degree gives us sixty minutes.  Thus the very time which we daily read from our wrist-watch is determined by tracking the motion of the sun and stars across the sky.
More to come, so watch this space!

“And God said: Let there be lights made in the firmament of heaven, to divide the day and the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years.” Gen. 1:14

You can order the Calendar right here and now:

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Digital SAM: Grace on the Go...

Posted on Sep 19, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Did you know that St. Anthony Messenger is now available in digital format? We’ve come a long way! First published in 1893, the magazine grew into one of the principal Catholic family magazines in the United States. In its publishing history, the magazine has featured interviews with prominent Catholics, and includes educational, inspirational, and informative articles and columns each month.

St. Anthony Messenger now offers a digital edition each month—FREE to its print subscribers—which can be accessed via a computer, iPhone, iPad, Android, or Playbook. What’s so fun about putting together a digital edition each month is that the editors are able to infuse the pages with rich, additional content: videos, audio samples, and links to other products from Franciscan Media.  learn-more-digital-devices-

Now is the perfect time to check this out. Our October issue is filled with terrific, faith-enriching content. In the issue you’ll find:

+ A special section devoted to the Synod of Bishops on the theme “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization”

+ A look at how St. Francis can help us put God in the center of our lives

+ An article about “Mary’s Meals,” a ministry that seeks to wipe out hunger around the world

For print subscribers who want to learn more about their digital edition, click here.

If you’re interested in a digital-only subscription, click here.

Photo: olga/

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Card. Kasper accused other Cardinals of attacking ...

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

Card. Kasper, the proponent of the “tolerated by not accepted” solution, has been reacting all over the Italian secular press today.  He is “surprised” at the appearance of the “Five Cardinals” Book™.

His Eminence is flummoxed that he should be taken to task for what he has publicly proposed.

In English you can read at CNS:

“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” the cardinal (Kasper) said. “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”
Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes.”

This is untrue.

I have seen the book. It was sent to me by the publisher. What Kasper said is untrue. The only way in which His Holiness is mentioned in the book is favorably. The Pope is praised.

Noooo…. the target is Card. Kasper. And he knows it. That’s why he is hiding behind the Holy Father’s skirts.

Specifically, the Pope is praised for his talk to the International Theological Commission when he reminded them that sensus fidelium had nothing to do with opinion polls. Francis is cited in the book, when he reiterated in April 2014 to the bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland that marriage is between one man and one woman and it is indissoluble. Francis in that same address praised St. John Paul’s Familiaris consortio as the basis for marriage instruction in these African countries.

The “Five Cardinals” Book™, if it is anti-Kasper at all, can only be described as anti-Kasper Lite.

If you want something weighs in more heavily, in a way directed far more pointedly at Card. Kasper by name, try the other new book coming out from Ignatius on marriage, divorce and Communion called The Gospel of the Family: Going Beyond Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal in the Debate on Marriage, Civil Re-Marriage and Communion in the Church by J. J. Pérez-Soba and S. Kampowski with a foreward by Card. Pell.

Click to PRE-ORDER

I am reading this book now.

Here, for your edification, is a quote from Pell’s foreward:

This book is important for many reasons. A courteous, informed, and rigorous discussion, indeed debate, is needed especially for the coming months to defend the Christian and Catholic tradition of monogamous, indissoluble marriage — focusing on the central elements of the challenges facing marriage and the family, rather than being distracted into a counterproductive and futile search for short-term consolations.

The health of an organization can be gauged by observing the amount of time and energy devoted to the discussion of various topics. Healthy communities do not spend most of their energies on peripheral issues, and unfortunately the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive Holy Communion is very small indeed.

The pressures for this change are centered mainly in some European churches, where churchgoing is low and an increasing number of divorcees are choosing not to remarry. The issue is seen by both friends and foes of the Catholic tradition as a symbol — a prize in the clash between what remains of Christendom in Europe and an aggressive neo-paganism. Every opponent of Christianity wants the Church to capitulate on this issue.

Both sides in this discussion appeal to Christian criteria, and everyone is dismayed by the amount of suffering caused to spouses and children by marriage breakups. What help can and should the Catholic Church offer?

Some see the primary task of the Church as providing lifeboats for those who have been shipwrecked by divorce. [Kasper uses this image... "naufragio... zattera"]

And lifeboats should be available for all, especially for those tragic innocent parties. But which way should the lifeboats be headed? Toward the rocks or the marshes, or to a safe port, which can only be reached with difficulty? Others see an even more important task for the Church in providing leadership and good maps to diminish the number of shipwrecks. Both tasks are necessary, but how are they best achieved?

The Christian understanding of mercy is central when we are talking about marriage and sexuality, forgiveness and Holy Communion, so not surprisingly, in this excellent volume the essential links between mercy and fidelity, between truth and grace in our Gospel teaching, are spelled out clearly and convincingly.

Mercy is different from most forms of tolerance, which is one of the more praiseworthy aspects of our pluralist societies. Some forms of tolerance define sin out of existence, but adult freedoms and inevitable differences need not be founded on a thoroughgoing relativism.

The indissolubility of marriage is one of the rich truths of divine revelation.


Order the book and the read the rest!  Right now its 24% off.

If Card. Kasper needs a copy, I hope he’ll use my link!


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The post Card. Kasper accused other Cardinals of attacking the Pope appeared first on Fr. Z's Blog.

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Signs, Seasons, Days and Years — 1...

Posted on Sep 18, 2014 in Blog | 0 comments

There has recently been a question regarding the Papa Stronsay Calendar, which you can purchase at the bottom of this post.

The question regards the signs of the Zodiac which are marked on the calendar.  The Zodiac does not mean astrologyAstrology is a superstitious system of divining which is condemned by the church.  With the signs of the Zodiac we simply track the sun through the constellations of the Zodiac during the year.  The sun takes very nearly one month exactly to transit one constellation.  Thus it is simply marking the months.  Nothing whatever to do with predicting the future.

It is a venerable method of time-keeping and has been used by the Church since the beginning.

“In the fifth century there was a controversy between Rome and Alexandria about what the latest possible date for Easter could be.  According to Alexandrian tradition, it was April 25.  Pope St. Leo the Great (440-461) criticized this very late date by pointing out that, according to the Bible, Easter should fall in the first month, and the first month did not mean April, but the time when the sun is passing through the first part of the Zodiac — the sign of Aries.  The constellation in the heavens seemed to speak, in advance and for all time, of the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world (Jn I:29), the one who sums up in himself all the sacrifices of the innocent and gives them their meaning.  The mysterious story of the ram, caught in the thicket and taking the place of Isaac as the sacrifice decreed by God himself, was now seen as the pre-history of Christ.  The fork of the tree in which the ram was hanging was seen as a replica of the sign of Aries, which in turn was the celestial foreshadowing of the crucified Christ.” – Pope Benedict XVI, The Spirit of the Liturgy, p. 99-100

Scholars show Pope Gregory XIII a chart of the Sun against the Zodiac to indicate the location of the Sun throughout a year.  This great pontiff was responsible for the reform of the calendar into form we have today.

The Zodiac is profoundly bound up with Catholicism.
More to come, so watch this space!

You can order the Calendar right here and now:

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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."