31 March 2007
30 March 2007
St. Francis de Sales' classic spiritual guidebook, "Philothea, or Introduction to the Devout Life", begins with the following observation of the Christian soul:
"YOU aim at a devout life, dear child, because as a Christian you know that such devotion is most acceptable to God’s Divine Majesty. But seeing that the small errors people are wont to commit in the beginning of any under taking are apt to wax greater as they advance, and to become irreparable at last, it is most important that you should thoroughly understand wherein lies the grace of true devotion;—and that because while there undoubtedly is such a true devotion, there are also many spurious and idle semblances thereof; and unless you know which is real, you may mistake, and waste your energy in pursuing an empty, profitless shadow."
Now, many readers will already be familiar with this work, but I invite any sincere Catholic to read this book as soon as practicable. The Salesian spirituality, that holiness is possible in every state of life, and that the desire for holiness is a sign that God's grace will bestow the means for holiness, is a life-changing spirituality.
There are many Catholics today who would believe that such an attitude is an invention of the Second Vatican Council and some of the newer religious movements. Not so. St. Francis de Sales taught this roughly 400 years ago.
My spiritual director told me once that Christ wants to be the best friend of our souls. So much does He love us, that he waits for our free decision to give ourselves to Him. He will not coerce us in the slightest, but sends graces and consolations even before we respond to His call.
When we grow in devotion, we allow Christ to enter in and become our soul's best friend.
St. Francis urges the soul to give up sin, but also to give up the attachment to sin; this attachment makes our efforts to do good works, spiritual and corporal (what he calls the essence of devotion), feeble and inconstant. He then provides aids to grow in this devotion-- first taking the soul through a series of meditations to incite love of God and repudiation of sin, leading to a general confession with one's confessor, and then providing a series of chapters containing practical spiritual advice for growing in true devotion.
In honor of St. Francis de Sales, patron of the Oratory my family and I attend, and co-patron of the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest, I wanted to post this recommendation for the benefit of all who would read it. Easy to read, profound in content, eminently practical and effective in its advice.
The book can be bought at amazon.com, TAN books, and many other places. God bless.
28 March 2007
The Government suggests establishing 'universal checks throughout a child's development to help service providers to identify those most at risk of offending'
All children could face compulsory checks to discover if they are at risk of turning into criminals, the Prime Minister announced today.
The controversial proposal came as part of a wide-ranging review of crime and security policy published by 10 Downing Street. It said the checks could take place at existing important stages in a child's life, such as the move from primary to secondary school.
The Government's plan to prevent crime said: "Establish universal checks throughout a child's development to help service providers to identify those most at risk of offending. "These checks should piggyback on existing contact points such as the transition to secondary schools."
The document did not outline at what age the checks should begin, nor did it detail whether police or probation officers would be involved in the process.
It was also unclear whether the check would involve a personal interview with a child, or if it would simply comprise a review of school and police records.
26 March 2007
Since you have ALL that time to sit around all day and read blogs, with absolutely no responsibilities in the world, just content to be taken care of by husband and children....
you should check out a really good new blog by Augusta over in Kansas City, called, appropriately enough, Traditional Catholic Mom. I've added her link at the right side, but here it is: http://traditionalcatholicmom.blogspot.com/
What's that you say? My description of your easy lifestyle doesn't match reality? Wow. I am truly sorry. I guess I just based it on the blissful existence of my own beloved wife.
[ducks] OUCH!!! [unsuccessfully]
25 March 2007
Now scientists create a sheep that's 15% human
By CLAUDIA JOSEPH - 24th March 2007
Scientists have created the world's first human-sheep chimera - which has the body of a sheep and half-human organs.
The sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells - and their evolution brings the prospect of animal organs being transplanted into humans one step closer.
Professor Esmail Zanjani, of the University of Nevada, has spent seven years and £5million perfecting the technique, which involves injecting adult human cells into a sheep's foetus.
Chimera: sheep have 15 per cent human cells and 85 per cent animal cells
He has already created a sheep liver which has a large proportion of human cells and eventually hopes to precisely match a sheep to a transplant patient, using their own stem cells to create their own flock of sheep.
The process would involve extracting stem cells from the donor's bone marrow and injecting them into the peritoneum of a sheep's foetus. When the lamb is born, two months later, it would have a liver, heart, lungs and brain that are partly human and available for transplant.
"We would take a couple of ounces of bone marrow cells from the patient,' said Prof Zanjani, whose work is highlighted in a Channel 4 programme tomorrow.
"We would isolate the stem cells from them, inject them into the peritoneum of these animals and then these cells would get distributed throughout the metabolic system into the circulatory system of all the organs in the body. The two ounces of stem cell or bone marrow cell we get would provide enough stem cells to do about ten foetuses. So you don't just have one organ for transplant purposes, you have many available in case the first one fails."
At present 7,168 patients are waiting for an organ transplant in Britain alone, and two thirds of them are expected to die before an organ becomes available.
Scientists at King's College, London, and the North East Stem Cell Institute in Newcastle have now applied to the HFEA, the Government's fertility watchdog, for permission to start work on the chimeras.
But the development is likely to revive criticisms about scientists playing God, with the possibility of silent viruses, which are harmless in animals, being introduced into the human race.
Dr Patrick Dixon, an international lecturer on biological trends, warned: "Many silent viruses could create a biological nightmare in humans. Mutant animal viruses are a real threat, as we have seen with HIV."
Animal rights activists fear that if the cells get mixed together, they could end up with cellular fusion, creating a hybrid which would have the features and characteristics of both man and sheep. But Prof Zanjani said: "Transplanting the cells into foetal sheep at this early stage does not result in fusion at all."
I remember reading a few years ago that Chinese scientists reported they "successfully" paired human and rabbit chromosomes in much the same way. Peggy Noonan wrote what I immediately thought: if I were God, I would close the curtain on this sad world the day they created "RabbitMan". It goes without saying that we are all glad that I am not God; His plan is perfect and His wisdom infinite.
But how long can this go on, and how far will scientists go before we reap some incredibly horrible chastisement? If we, as faithful Catholics, do not speak out against this sort of abomination, how could we expect to escape the results?
Tomorrow is the feast of the Annunciation, when God condescended to become man so that man could share in the very life of God. May Mary intercede for us to the Father, and may we beg forgiveness for trampling this dignity under foot to mix with farm animals.
23 March 2007
But who am I to get in the way of dialogue?
22 March 2007
15 March 2007
Part of the appeals court ruling included a requirement for her parents, Hubert and Gudrun Busekros, to also be given state-sponsored psychiatric tests, and Joel Thornton, president of the IHRG said there was a high concern that the government will use those tests to remove the other five children from the family.
There also is the fear "Melissa will be returned to the psychiatric clinic system in Germany and 'disappear.' This would leave the family with no way to know where Melissa is or how she is doing. She could become a ward of the state and completely lost to her family," Thornton said.
"Christian activists say the case is an assault on religious liberties and the right of a Christian family to homeschool their daughter," said Speigel Online International's English-language edition.
"The case has been widely reported in Christian and conservative media in the United States, with some commentators comparing the authorities to Nazis. Activists are being encouraged to pray for the girl and petition German Chancellor Angela Merkel, while one Web site is even calling for a boycott on German goods," the report continued.
"However the German authorities deny that the case is an assault on homeschooling and say the decision to remove the girl from her family was motivated by concern for the girl's welfare."
The Spiegel report said a medical diagnosis for Melissa that was posted on the Internet reported she was suffering from "emotional disturbances" and "school phobia" and recommendation she be taken away from her parents.
In 1937, the dictator said, "The Youth of today is ever the people of tomorrow. For this reason we have set before ourselves the task of inoculating our youth with the spirit of this community of the people at a very early age, at an age when human beings are still unperverted and therefore unspoiled. This Reich stands, and it is building itself up for the future, upon its youth. And this new Reich will give its youth to no one, but will itself take youth and give to youth its own education and its own upbringing."
Experts believe American homeschoolers should be concerned because of the ease with which similar restrictions on free choice could be imposed in the United States.
Youth Welfare Office
13 March 2007
Controversial Former US Senator Names Abortion as Culprit in US Population Shortages
“How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years?” Miller asks
By Peter J. Smith
MACON, Georgia, March 12, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Former US Senator Zell Miller blamed abortion as the reason why the United States faces shortages of military manpower, the impending collapse of its social security system, and depends on illegal immigration.
. . .
“How could this great land of plenty produce too few people in the last 30 years?” Miller asked his audience. “Here is the brutal truth that no one dares to mention: We’re too few because too many of our babies have been killed. Over 45 million since Roe v. Wade in 1973.”
“If those 45 million children had lived, today they would be defending our country, they would be filling our jobs, they would be paying into Social Security,” the former Georgia governor said. “Still, we watch as 3,700 babies are killed every single day in America. It is unbelievable that a nation under God would allow this.”
Miller praised the number of cures developed through adult stem-cell therapies, and condemned embryonic stem research as abortion on a smaller scale.
"It is not a proper fate for a human being made in God's image...killing is wrong when it is called abortion and it is just as wrong when it is called research."
. . .
However, Miller made it clear he will not back down from his statements, and urged other Americans to take a courageous stand against abortion. “And sometimes in the life of a nation, a time comes when men and women of conscience and courage have to stand up and be counted and say, ‘Enough! No more, this cannot continue.’”
Zell, if you are reading this (ha!) and ever come through St. Louis, the beers are on me. I suppose it is just one more sign of the really lamentable state of affairs these days that there isn't a single viable pro-life candidate for President to yet declare. Sen. Brownback is pro-life, but as yet hasn't garnered much support. If you think European civilization is in its death throes and are wont to be complacent, consider these wonderful front runners in the Presidential race: Obama, Clinton, McCain, Giuliani.
Unfortunately, maybe that pro-life candidate we're looking for was aborted, and we'll never know.
For the full article on Miller, read here: http://www.lifesite.net/ldn/2007/mar/07031208.html
It is lengthy, and after I have had a chance to read it thoroughly, I will post my comments here. In the meantime, you can get the early take at Rorate Coeli or at Fr. Zuhlsdorf's site (links to the right of the blog).
09 March 2007
I am usually a little skeptical about government-hyped impending disasters, especially when the "inevitability" of such disasters allows the government to exercise extraordinary powers. Enter the so-called Bird Flu pandemic.
By Glen Argan2/16/2007
Canadian Catholic News - (www.cathnews.net)
EDMONTON, Canada (CCN/Western Catholic Reporter) – Since an influenza pandemic could be on its way, the Edmonton Archdiocese is out to make sure its ready for such a disaster.
If a pandemic hits, local Catholics will not receive Communion from the chalice and will not be able to receive the body of Christ on their tongues. There would be no confession in enclosed confessionals and confession would be held with the confessor and penitent sitting at least a meter (about three feet) apart, each wearing face masks.
Worst case scenario
In a worst case scenario, church services would be cancelled altogether.
. . .
Those are just some of the stipulations laid out in a draft of Archdiocesan Influenza Pandemic Planning Guidelines now being circulated.
"The only thing tougher than planning for a disaster is explaining why you didn't," said Rita Sandmaier, the pastoral-care minister who drew up the draft guidelines.
. . .
Gloves and masks
The distribution of Communion will be greatly affected under the proposed guidelines. Those who handle hosts prior to Mass will have to wear disposable gloves and masks.
Eucharistic ministers will have to wash their hands with a hand sanitizer immediately before and after distributing Communion. If the eucharistic minister accidentally touches a communicant, he or she will have to stop distributing Communion and sanitize their hands before resuming.
As well, there will be no blessings given to non-communicants.
Under the draft guidelines, the church may move to "alternate forms of worship" for Sundays. Parishioners will be reminded of the duty to keep Sundays holy. If public gatherings are banned, a simple Liturgy of the Word will be distributed to parishioners.
"Some of this sounds drastic to me,” Sandmaier told the group. “It sounds very science fiction; it sounds over the top."
A pandemic could last from a few days to several months, she said. "But the life of the church just can't stop for a year."
I am a little mystified at the readiness of the Diocese in question to end the normative practice of receiving Our Lord on the tongue. I don't understand how applying the Host to the tongue carries a greater risk than applying It to the hand. Both the mouth and the hand can carry germs and disease. There is no greater risk of the Priest touching the tongue than touching the hand. And, of course, none of this acknowledges the Presence of Christ and whether He would allow the spread of disease in this most important Sacrament-- the source and summit of the Catholic faith, according to the recent council.
As if this policy doesn't cater to our masters in the government enough, hey, let's just forget Mass altogether! Our handy pastoral assistants can hand out "liturgies of the Word". Why would we ever take risks for our faith? Why risk our health when all we get is the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of Christ? This, to me anyway, seems a far cry from the faith of the Middle Ages, the faith of the persecuted Roman Catholics in days of empire, and a far cry from the horrors faced by the faithful in China today.
Another mystifying part of this plan is the ending of blessings for non-communicants. I don't mind this theologically/liturgically, but it just makes no sense at all from the health perspective. The Priest doesn't even need to touch anyone to impart a blessing.
And of course, what a great idea to give ANOTHER reason to refrain from going to confession.
I would encourage anyone who reads this to contact their Diocese (preferably at the Vicar General level) to ask some questions about its plans for handling the dreaded Bird Flu.
Full story found here: http://www.catholic.org/international/international_story.php?id=23071
08 March 2007
Check out my son, who served as torchbearer at the Mass, scoping out the Mosaics instead of looking at the homilist. ;-). He is in the picture of the non-celebrating Monsignor, seminarians, and altar boys in choir; he is in front, in black cassock with surplice, and wearing glasses.
Pictures and story here: http://saint-louis.blogspot.com/2007/03/photos-of-institute-of-christ-kings.html
06 March 2007
Photo credit to Mark Scott Abeln at Rome of the West (link on the side)
05 March 2007
I wanted to post the link as soon as possible, because Msgr. Schmitz lays down a couple of small bombshells. I may update this post later as a result.
In the article, Msgr. Schmitz is quoted as saying that the Motu Proprio granting the so-called universal indult for all priests to be able to offer the Traditional Latin Mass is ready to be published-- that the "person who is responsible for it [in a Motu Proprio, that would be the Pope] does not want to discuss it any longer."
Also, the Motu will not affect the 1962 Missal, according to Msgr., thus laying to rest fears of some who were afraid that the traditional Missal might have been tampered with to further the Pope's desire for a "reform of the reform" of the novus ordo. What is interesting is that Msgr. Schmitz hints that the post-Synodal Exhortation we are expecting from the Holy Father will encourage ad orientem celebration with Latin language Canon in the novus ordo-- also very good news.
Finally, the Monsignor hints that Archbishop Marini, the Papal liturgist responsible for many, many, "interesting' Masses in his day will finally be replaced.
If I didn't have work to do, this story might be enough reason for a party.
Please, read the entire article here: http://www.envoymagazine.com/msgr_schmitz.htm