Friday, March 27, 2009

Ordination of five new Franciscans of the Immaculate

Archbishop Raymond Leo Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, on March 25 celebrated Pontifical Mass in the usus antiquior and ordained five priests for the Franciscans of the Immaculate (FFI) in the church of St. Francis in Tarquinia (a small town in Latium). H/T NLM

British Museum finds relics of 39 saints after 100 years

There is a wonderful video on the Guardian site showing that the British Museum has found relics of 39 saints after 100 years
Discovery made by curator when 12th-century German portable altar was opened for the first time.
Recommend this.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Obama’s Embryonic Stem-Cell Order: “Cannibalization of Human Beings”

Judie Brown, President of American Life League, responding to President Obama’s executive order releasing federal funding for embryonic stem-cell experiments, said, “It is a tragic day for America, for preborn children and for the entire pro-life community. A president who once claimed he wanted to reduce abortion has exposed his hypocrisy over and over again.

For the first time in American history, the federal government will now encourage the cannibalization of human persons for science. Obama’s bloodthirsty hunger for aborting preborn babies has reached a new low.

This grisly biotechnological assault on preborn children will only end with a ban on in vitro fertilization—the root of a problem that today became more horrific than ever”.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Harvard AIDS Expert Says Pope is Correct on Condom Distribution Making AIDS Worse

Edward C. Green, director of the AIDS Prevention Research Project at the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, has said that the evidence confirms that the Pope is correct in his assessment that condom distribution exacerbates the problem of AIDS.

"The pope is correct," Green told National Review Online Wednesday, "or put it a better way, the best evidence we have supports the pope's comments."

"There is," Green added, "a consistent association shown by our best studies, including the U.S.-funded 'Demographic Health Surveys,' between greater availability and use of condoms and higher (not lower) HIV-infection rates."

Green said that the Pope was right and that the best evidence that we have supports his comments because condoms have not proved effective. Greater availability and use of condoms leads to higher, not lower HIV-infection rates. He explains:

This may be due in part to a phenomenon known as risk compensation, meaning that when one uses a risk-reduction ‘technology’ such as condoms, one often loses the benefit (reduction in risk) by ‘compensating’ or taking greater chances than one would take without the risk-reduction technology.”

Or, as we might put it simply, the promotion of condoms leads to promiscuity. Green also said,

I also noticed that the pope said ‘monogamy’ was the best single answer to African AIDS, rather than ‘abstinence.’ The best and latest empirical evidence indeed shows that reduction in multiple and concurrent sexual partners is the most important single behavior change associated with reduction in HIV-infection rates

Source: March 19, 2009 (

Russian Patriarchate support Pope on condoms stance

The Russian Orthodox Church supports the position of Pope Benedict XVI rejecting condoms including in order to prevent HIV infection.

"It is incorrect to consider condoms as a panacea for AIDS," the deputy chairman of the Moscow Patriarchate Department for External Church Relations Archpriest Vsevolod Chaplin told a round table in Moscow on Friday, commenting on the international row concerned with the pope's statement in Africa.

AIDS can be prevented not by contraceptives but by education and a righteous life, the priest said.

"If a person lives a sinful, aimless and senseless life, uses drugs and is lewd, some disease will kill him one day, neither a condom nor medicine will save him," Fr. Vsevolod added.

Currently some organizations speaking on AIDS are seeking to simultaneously preserve the ideal of sexual freedom and the fight against AIDS, he said. It is impossible to reconcile these things, he said.

Vatican liberates Traditional Latin Mass in Killala

A high-profile Vatican office has ordered Bishop John Fleming to make provision for the traditional Latin Mass in his Killala diocese.
The move, from the powerful 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission comes after the Killala Council of Priests decided that no provision should be made for the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

In July 2007, Pope Benedict's letter, Summorum Pontificum, eased restrictions on the pre-Vatican II Mass, the so-called Tridentine Rite and established that any Catholic priest can celebrate the traditional Latin Mass without first seeking the permission of his bishop.

Prior to the coming into force of Summorum Pontificum bishops had the right to restrict access to the Latin Mass.

Initially, the Killala Council of Priests, an advisory body made up of both elected members and priests appointed by Bishop Fleming, advised that no provision should be made for the Latin Mass pending a request for clarification from the Vatican on aspects of the Pope's letter.

This advice was accepted by Bishop Fleming and an announcement made that the Mass would be unavailable in the Killala diocese.

However, The Irish Catholic has learned that the matter came to the attention of the Holy See as a number of people in Killala wrote to the Vatican to express their frustration at the lack of provision.

The Irish Catholic also understands that a number of diocesan priests who believed the decision countermanded papal legislation, contacted Bishop Fleming to register discontent.

The 'Ecclesia Dei' Commission, headed by Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos, then wrote to Bishop Fleming insisting that the restriction was forbidden under Church law since Pope Benedict had made universal provision for the availability of the Mass in the extraordinary form.

In its letter, the Commission insisted that neither Bishop Fleming, nor the Council of Priests, had the right to place a restriction on a right approved by the Pope.

Bishop Fleming has now designated the Church of the Assumption, Ardagh, Crossmolina, Co Mayo as the centre for the traditional Mass in the Killala diocese and the celebrant will be Fr John Loftus, a priest of the diocese. [source: IC]

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

No granny killing - Church's opposition to euthanasia

"End of Life Care - Ethical and Pastoral Issues"

Irish Bishops' Committee for Bioethics


Palliative Care avoids two extremesAdvances in medicine and in technology mean that the taking of decisions about appropriate care for peoplewho have advanced and progressive illness have become more complex.

The document says that, in caringfor people who are dying, there are two extremes to be avoided:

a. Trying to keep people alive at all costs, even when it is clear that death is imminent
b. Deciding to end the life of a person on the basis that his or her life no longer worth living. (pp. 5-6)

Palliative care avoids both of these extremes "in that it upholds absolute respect for human life, and acknowledges human mortality and the dominion we have over life" It is about "maximising the quality oflife remaining, while enabling patients to 'live until they die.' (p. 7)

Euthanasia is not acceptable
Euthanasia is any action or omission, which is deliberately calculated to end the life of another human being,with or without that person's consent, on so-called health grounds. (pp 7-8).
Euthanasia is morally unacceptable not only because it "would mean the introduction of a qualitative judgement on what is determined to be a worthwhile life or existence," but also because it "would have an enormous effect on theethos of healthcare provision." (p. 12)

"The Catholic Church absolutely rejects Euthanasia as a response to chronic or serious illness. This rejection is rooted in an understanding of the human person as someone who is called into life by God, and the ultimate meaning of whose life is to be found in relationship with God. " (p. 19)

The Rights and Responsibilities of Healthcare Professionals

The document points out that healthcare professionals, although they act on behalf of the patient, are not just functionaries who are required to do whatever they are asked to do. They have a right and a duty to choosewhat is good, and to reject any course of action which conflicts with an informed judgement of conscience, even if this is requested by the patient or by the family." (p. 13)

Appropriate Pain Relief is not Euthanasia

The document uses the traditional Principle of Double Effect to explain that necessary pain relief, even if itsometimes results in an unintended and unavoidable reduction in the length of life is not euthanasia. Thedegree to which life is shortened must not be out of proportionate to the benefits which come to the patientthrough pain relief.(p. 9)

Euthanasia is not Necessary

The document points out that requests for euthanasia frequently coincide with a bad period of symptom control, even a clinically treatable depression.(p 10) The solution, in part, is to improve pain control. In the vast majority of cases unbearable pain can be avoided. Some distress is not directly related to physical pain, but has its roots in issues such as "fear, anxiety, loss ofcontrol and loss of independence. "

Good counselling, which is an integral part of palliative care "allows thepatient, the family, and others who are closely involved to discuss these fears. " (p. 15) Sedation maysometimes be required to deal with high levels of anxiety, but it should not be a first resort. While it cancertainly help to reduce the experience of emotional stress, it also reduces the capacity of the patient torespond freely and deliberately to what is happening in his/her life." (p. 15)

(Sedation is not the same as physical pain-relief; sedation deals with emotional distress).
The Provision of Resources

The document makes a very strong case for the provision of adequate resources for palliative care,not only in hospices, but in general hospitals and in the community."The inadequacy of such resources impinges directly on the quality of care that can be provided to those who are dying, and may be a contributory factor in the level of demand for euthanasia. (p. 16)

Spiritual and Sacramental Ministry

The document points out that "a comprehensive approach to healthcare must take account of the spiritualneeds of the patient. " (p 20) All the key moments of life, including sickness and death, have the capacity tobring our relationship with God into sharper focus. Poor communication is an obstacle to spiritual care,because patients are often discouraged from even mentioning the possibility of death.

By contrast, the ethos of sensitive but honest communication that is part of palliative care greatly facilitates the spiritual and sacramental care of those who are dying; the patient's questions are welcomed and answered appropriately.Talk of death and dying is not taboo. This means that if people pray with the patient, they can pray more honestly too.” (p.21)

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cardinal Pell urges faithful to defend religious freedom

Here is a summary of Cardinal Pell's lecture last week to the Oxford Newman Society: Varieties of Intollerance: Religious and Secular, courtesy of CNS.

Confronting religious intolerance regularly and publicly is among the "crucial tasks" of Christians in the 21st century, said an Australian cardinal.

Cardinal George Pell of Sydney said the Catholic Church's freedom in the Western world was under pressure from a new and dangerous trend of the use of anti-discrimination laws and human rights claims to attack the role of religion in public life and individuals' right of conscience.

In a March 6 lecture titled "Varieties of Intolerance: Religious and Secular," he said Christians needed to "recover their self-confidence and courage" if they were to counter the problem.

"Put simply, Christians have to recover their genius for showing that there are better ways to live and to build a good society," he told the Oxford University Newman Society.

"The secular and religious intolerance of our day needs to be confronted regularly and publicly," he said. "Believers need to call the bluff of what is, even in most parts of Europe, a small minority with disproportionate influence in the media. This is one of the crucial tasks for Christians in the 21st century."

As his primary example of mounting intolerance, Cardinal Pell cited the treatment of U.S. Christians and Mormons who supported Proposition 8, the constitutional amendment that reversed California's gay marriage law in November.

He described how churches and temples were subjected to violence, vandalism and intimidation, and how some supporters of the amendment were forced from their jobs and blacklisted.

"We should note the strange way in which some of the most permissive groups and communities, for example, Californian liberals in the case of Proposition 8, easily become repressive, despite all their high rhetoric about diversity and tolerance," he said.

"There is the one-sidedness about discrimination and vilification," he said, because anti-Christian "blacklisting and intimidation is passed over in silence."

Cardinal Pell added that in a healthy democracy people should be free to discuss and criticize each other's beliefs.

Reciprocity, he said, was essential to this but "some secularists seem to like one-way streets," seeking to drive Christianity from the provision of education, health care and welfare services to the wider community.

The cardinal predicted a "major escalation in the culture wars" if President Barack Obama signed into law the Freedom of Choice Act, which would sweep away restrictions on abortion and deny medical practitioners and hospitals the right to conscientiously object to participating in abortions. As of March 10, the act had not been introduced in Congress.

"Clearly there is an urgent need to deepen public understanding of the importance and nature of religious freedom," said Cardinal Pell. "Believers should not be treated by government and the courts as a tolerated and divisive minority whose rights must always yield to the minority secular agenda."

He explained that the effect of the rising intolerance of modern liberalism was to "enforce conformity" and to strip Christianity of the power of its public witness.

"There is no need to drive the church out of services if the secularization of its agencies can achieve this end," he added.

The pressure against religion in public life, he said, stemmed mainly from a misplaced belief in "absolute sexual freedom."

He said that as sexual freedom became a driver of consumption, people could see the "re-emergence of slavery in Europe and Asia, the booming exploitation of pornography and prostitution, and the commercialization of surrogacy, egg donation, and the production and destruction of human embryos and human stem-cell lines."
H/T Fr Ray Blake MM

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Linz priest who opposed bishop's appointment admits living with girlfriend

The Austrian Diocese of Linz has a certain notriety for its own interpretation of the Catholic faith, the was news last week of a priest who blesses gay couples and does conjuring tricks during Mass, and now this week...
An Austrian priest who helped rally opposition to the Pope's appointment of an auxiliary bishop for the Linz diocese has admitted that he keeps a mistress, the German-language news service has revealed. Father Josef Friedl, one of the 31 deans who said they would refuse to accept the episcopal ordination of Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, told a public forum that he opposes the discipline of priestly celibacy and lives with his girlfriend; he said that his parishioners have no objections. According to the daily Der Welt, Friedl is one of several deans of the Linz diocese who lives openly with a woman. Meanwhile another Austrian prelate, Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz, said that Father Wagner-- who has withdrawn from the episcopal appointment-- had "traumatized" the Austrian public with his public statements of opposition to homosexuality and insistence that God punishes sin.
Catholic Culture HT MM

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Saturday, March 7, 2009

French Cardinal wins macho award

French Cardinal Andre Vingt-Trois: Macho of the Year
A much-admired French Cardinal named Andre Vingt-Trois is being celebrated in France by feminists, who finally bestowed upon him the coveted ‘Macho of the Year’ award.
The feminist group called Les Chiennes de garde (The “Guard Bitches”) gave Cardinal Vingt-Trois the grand prize for remarks he made about female participation in the Catholic Church.

“The hard part is finding women who are properly trained. It’s not enough to have a skirt, you have to have something between your ears as well.”

Andre Vingt-Trois is quite correct in a literal sense.

Second prize went to a comedian named Fabrice Eboue who uttered the following quip on national TV:

“Feminism is not just for authoritarian or sexually frustrated women — it’s also for lesbians”.

When they aren’t giving awards, Les Chiennes de garde is the sort of yahoo activist group which runs around throwing pies at people.

French Cardinal wins macho award

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Mary's Perpetual Virginity

Watch this video clip of Fr. Angelo who addressed the confusion of many regarding Mary's Perpetual Virginity in the film "The Nativity."
Fr. Angelo M. Geiger is a priest of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. He is a well sought retreat master and conference speaker in North America and has written numerous articles on Franciscan and Marian topics. He is currently serving as the regional superior of the Franciscans of the Immaculate. He is currently residing in our friary in Griswold, CT.

Now we got the Francisans: Biggest jump in priests saying TLM in decades

Absolutely fantastic news. A new religious order with 500 members, the Francisans of the Immaculate have announced that they shall prefer to celebrate the TLM from now onwards. A letter to the editor of the Italian newspaper La Stampa by the Procurator General of the Order, Fr. Alessandro Maria Apollonio gave the order's reasons:
The Franciscans of the Immaculate avail themselves, with joy and grateful appreciation, of the initiative taken by Pope Benedict XVI with the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum. [...] The choice to predilect the "extraordinary form" corresponds to a legitimate internal choice of the religious family, as foreseen in the same motu proprio, in a Catholic spirit of fidelity to the Pope and to the liturgical tradition of the Order founded by St. Francis of Assisi. [...]

The spirit of St. Francis, in fact, tends to the greatest possible glorification of God through the good and beautiful things of the world and has always led us to seek what most helps to elevate the mind and heart to the "Most High, Almighty and Good Lord" to whom alone are due "praises, glory, honor and all blessing"(Canticle of the Sun). The extraordinary form of the liturgy of the Vetus Ordo - which is accompanied by that of the Novus Ordo (Missal of Paul VI) - offers, indeed, the happy possibility to live more intensely the vocation and mission of St. Francis of Assisi, within the universality of the Church and its wealth of expressions.

As I write the Nuns of the order in a new house in Corwall, England are changing community life to center around the TLM and 1962 Francisan Breviary. The Latin Mass Society of England and Wales has a fine article which tells us:
the nuns at Lanherne have been using the 1962 Mass Rite on a daily basis since June 2008. Their chaplain - one of their own Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate - and a US citizen had no prior experience of celebrating the rite but is doing very well with the 1962 Missal. The Conventual Mass is sung daily - the Masses are open to the faithful.

As Carlos Palad said: "The implications are immense. The FFI, in one blow, has just become the largest Order dedicated to the 1962 Missal in the whole world. They have a large number of convents and missions all over the world. The reach of the EF has just been practically doubled."

Now in the TLM, they can kneel alongside their Franciscan forefathers from the past many centuries and offer the Holy Sacrifice to God without a difference in form of expression.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

An argument for celibacy

Take two clergymen, a Catholic and a Protestant, both genuinely holy and devout men.

The Protestant is a family man with a job for which he receives a stipend. He has a wife to console and children to nurture. Because of human nature, his flock and even his job will always take second place after his family.

The Catholic on the other hand has no wife to comfort him and no children to bring him satisfaction. He lives on charity and has foregone an earthly family in order to be wedded to his Church. He puts this into practise by devoting all of himself to his parish community which becomes his family, and that is why he is called "father".

H/T to Anthony at Holy Smoke

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Christian faith in God, rational basis for Science

I came across an article by Fr Stanley Jaki on the history and underlying philosophy of science today and it brought to mind the Christian basis - the belief that God has created a rational order of physical laws in creation that can be observed as the basis for the development of science in Christian countries.

Fr Seamus Murphy also takes this thought up in a letter to The Irish Times some months ago:

Science and the Catholic Church

Madam, - Martin Kinsella's claim that the Galileo case proves Church hostility to science won't stand up and ignores too much (September 23rd 2008).

First, it assumes that Galileo and his opponents understood their clash as religion versus science. But that interpretation dates only from the late 19th century in J.W. Draper's History of the Conflict between Religion and Science(1875) and A.D. White's History of the Warfare of Science with Theology(1895).

Galileo, who died a Catholic, didn't see it that way. Nor could the institution that, 40 years earlier, produced the Gregorian calendar we still use be described as "anti-science".

Second, while Newton's work in the late 17th century vindicated Galileo decisively, it was not obvious in the early 17th century that Galileo was correct. One could reasonably think differently, as did the Danish scientist Tycho Brahe.

Mr Kinsella ignores the long list of Christian scientists, and nobody has ever demonstrated that their faith obstructed their scientific achievements or that they were viewed by their church as "bad" Christians.

Johannes Kepler in astronomy, Michael Faraday and James Clerk Maxwell in physics, and Asa Gray and Theodosius Dobzhansky in evolutionary biology are obvious examples.

As for clergy, Fr Georges Lemaître was one of the first to develop the Big Bang theory in the early 20th century, and the 19th-century "father" of genetics was the Augustinian Gregor Mendel. There are also some 30 craters on the moon named after Jesuit astronomers.

Finally, the Judaeo-Christian view of the world as (a) real, (b) not evil, and (c) not divine indirectly facilitated the emergence of science. Further, it held that the physical world is the product of a rational mind, thus supporting the faith of the scientist that the universe is intelligible and that the sciences can yield knowledge. - Yours, etc,
Senior Lecturer in Philosophy,
Milltown Institute,
Dublin 6.