Last night, my wife and I went to Reconciliation at our parish. I like the fact that we as a parish can come together and confess our sins, I do not like the fact that the pastor has to schedule these communal reconciliations in order to make up for the lack of confessions he says on his scheduled day, Saturday. I would much prefer to have my confession heard once a week but this is a mission parish and it is not always possible.

One Sunday I announced the upcoming reconciliation and told the parish there would be a free gift afterward(1). The church was crowded on the day of Reconciliation. I don't know if they expected a pen or something, and I like to think it was my words that enticed the community to come but in any case they did crowd in. Father was happy.

The Gospel reading yesterday was from the book of John Chapter 8, Verse 1 through 11. I must say this is one of my favorite verses in the Bible for the Grace of Forgiveness. St John shows us the the worst of sinners, (adultery was considered by the Jews to be one of the worst sins a person could do, requiring stoning) yet even at the verge of her death Christ showed forgiveness and charity...

...AND Jesus went unto mount Olivet. And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came to him, and sitting down he taught them. And the scribes and the Pharisees bring unto him a woman taken in adultery: and they set her in the midst, And said to him: Master, this woman was even now taken in adultery. Now Moses in the law commanded us to stone such a one. But what sayest thou? And this they said tempting him, that they might accuse him. But Jesus bowing himself down, wrote with his finger on the ground. When therefore they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said to them: He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her. And again stooping down, he wrote on the ground. But they hearing this, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, and the woman standing in the midst. Then Jesus lifting up himself, said to her: Woman, where are they that accused thee? Hath no man condemned thee? Who said: No man, Lord. And Jesus said: Neither will I condemn thee. Go, and now sin no more. John 8:1-11 Douay -Rheims

I think some of the most pointed parts of this passage is that the woman was guilty. She was caught in the act. In accordance with the Law of Moses she could have been, should have been, stoned. Jesus never remarked on her guilt or innocence, he challenged the Pharisees, and asked which of them was without sin. This embarrassed them. As they left one by one he turns to the woman and asks her where are her accusers? He then tells her that he will not condemn her. He never asks if she is guilty, because being caught in the act she has condemned herself. The last thing he says is, "Go and sin no more..."

In the same way we are guilty of sin. At the last judgement it will be we who will condemn ourselves. At the sacrament of Penance we are absolved, and we are told go and sin no more. This is the mercy of God shown to us through his son Christ.

The most beautiful words I have ever heard spoken to me...

"God the Father of mercies has reconciled the world to Himself through the death and resurrection of His Son, and has poured forth the Holy Spirit for the forgiveness of sins. May He grant you pardon and peace through the ministry of the Church. And I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit."

Dieu le Roy!
(1) For those who are not following me, the gift was forgiveness.

Cowardly man

Carlos has entered this interesting and thought provoking article here...

Ian Hunter

Pontius Pilate was an appeaser; a man who preferred avoiding trouble even if it meant avoiding the truth; a man, sad to say, much like me.

Through 40 days of Lenten observance, Christians metaphorically follow the footsteps of Christ along the Via Dolorosa, the path from the Garden of Gethsemane -- where Christ prayed that if it were possible he might be spared the cup of suffering; "Nevertheless not my will, but thine, be done" -- to the place of a skull, called Golgotha, where what awaited Jesus was the cruelest form of execution the Romans had devised, a cross.

For Catholics, the path is followed by praying the Stations of the Cross, perhaps the most moving liturgy in all the Church. Whenever I read the passion narrative, or hear it read aloud, I am always struck by the ambivalent role of one man, the Roman procurator Pontius Pilate.

Pontius Pilate -- a name of infamy for two millennia. But what does Pilate really connote? The Church has had trouble answering that question.

In most provinces of Christendom, Pilate is reviled as a corrupt judge, one who despite Jesus' manifest innocence condemned him to death. But this has not been a universal view: The Coptic Church considers Pilate more favourably, while in the Abyssinian Church he has been canonized, Saint Pontius Pilate. Why these sharply disparate views?

In part because the Gospel accounts themselves differ. The earliest Gospel, Mark, depicts Jesus as mute before Pilate who perfunctorily hands him over to be crucified. Matthew depicts Pilate vacillating, particularly after his wife has a dream of Jesus and warns her husband to "have nothing to do with that innocent man." When Pilate cannot persuade the mob, he publicly washes his hands and tells them that he is innocent "of the blood of this just man." Luke's Gospel says that Pilate was so anxious to avoid condemning Jesus that, on learning that Jesus was a Galilean, Pilate "remitted the case to Herod." But Herod, "that fox," (as Jesus once called him) was not so easily outwitted; Herod questioned Jesus, scourged him and then sent him right back to Pilate.

But it is John's Gospel which gives the most detailed and fascinating portrait of Christ before Pilate. John describes a lengthy, civil discourse, in the course of which Jesus gives an extraordinary answer to Pilate's question: "Are you a king?" Jesus says: "To this end was I born and for this purpose came I into the world that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice." Jesus implies here that in all times and places, there will be a party of truth-seekers who will be drawn inexorably to his words. This is both a prophesy and an unassailable statement of fact. And Pilate, no fool he, then says: "What is truth?"

We do not know what happened to Pontius Pilate. We know that his procuratorship in Judea lasted from 26 to 36 A.D., and came to an end just around the time of the crucifixion. In his annals, the Roman historian Tacitus says that Pilate was later recalled to Rome.

Many fanciful stories have been spun about Pilate's later conversion, even martyrdom. But the truth is that Pilate just disappears from the historical record. I suspect that if, in later life, Pilate had been asked about Jesus of Nazareth he might scarcely have remembered him; only one crucifixion, after all, among many.

In Pontius Pilate we see not a stupid man (he asked the right question), not even a deluded man ("I find no fault in him"), but rather a cowardly man: a man who having glimpsed the truth (the prisoner's innocence) nevertheless yielded to political pressure. What will Herod think? What will the chief priests do? Will the mob riot if I don't give in? With such fears, rather than with the truth in mind, Pilate delivered up Jesus to be crucified.

How often we emulate Pilate, by preferring the politically correct to the true answer. Some churches even emulate Pilate. The church must not offend women; so hymnals and liturgies are ransacked in search of any word or phrase that might possibly give offence. The church must not offend homosexuals; therefore its historic teaching is suddenly stood on its head. The church must be open to change; and before long a new-age pantheism replaces worship of the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

What sort of man was Pontius Pilate? An appeaser; a man who preferred avoiding trouble even if it meant avoiding the truth; a man, sad to say, much like

Thanks and a tip of the beret to Carlos...

One last word, the words spoken by Jesus to Pilate were the foundation of my change of view to monarchism, "...Pilate therefore saith to him: Speakest thou not to me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and I have power to release thee? Jesus answered: Thou shouldst not have any power against me, unless it were given thee from above. Therefore, he that hath delivered me to thee, hath the greater sin. John 19:10-11 Douay Rhiems

Dieu le Roy!


Marie-Antoinette: The Artist Within

Elena-Maria offers yet another look at the Queen Martyr Marie-Antoinette. It is nothing less than amazing to me that other than portraits there is little left of the courtesans of her day, and while she has been placed amongst them, we see by the following that Marie-Antoinette didn't see herself as just a queen, she saw herself as a mother who just happened to be a queen. I leave it to you to consider which was the more important in her mind. One of her greatest qualities was her ability to weave her religion, family, country and household together. This ability was never more evident than in the Temple prison, ...but I digress...

Toronto artist Gabriela Delworth is hosting an online celebration of Marie-Antoinette in the arts this week. Please visit Gabriela's beautiful blog for a plunge into creativity from the past and present. I am honored to have been invited to contribute the following article about Marie-Antoinette and her needlework:

Too often the popular image of Queen Marie-Antoinette over the years has been that of a woman of few accomplishments, interested in nothing but clothes and jewelry. Such an image does a great disservice to a lady who among her many interests acquired a mastery of the art of needlework in her short life. Like all girls of aristocratic birth, Marie-Antoinette was taught sewing and embroidery as a child. One pastel sketch of the young Archduchess Antonia shows her “knotting,” a form of tatting in which a shuttle was used. Ladies often carried a knotting shuttle around with them just as they would carry a fan.

Dieu le Roy!

Ted Atkinson, the sort of chap

Robert Banaugh a many time contributor to this blog has sent me this article which I repost, The original may be found at the Remnant Newspaper. This type of thing will be happening here soon...

Martin Blackshaw REMNANT COLUMNIST, Scotland

(Posted 03/31/09 www.RemnantNewspaper.com) On March 4 this year, Catholic pensioner Ted Atkinson was imprisoned for 12 weeks for the ‘crime’ of sending pro-life material to pro-abortionists.

Unlike the national media furore sparked by Bishop Richard Williamson’s Holocaust reductionism, however, the Atkinson case was passed over in relative silence since the mass murder he deplores—the killing of babies in the womb—is generally supported by the media.

I will come back to the particulars of Mr. Atkinson’s case shortly. In the meantime a brief review of events leading to this latest injustice is appropriate

As a Catholic writer of many years, it has been obvious to me for some time that the secular press in Britain has all but silenced the Christian view on a good many moral issues. This has been particularly noticeable since New Labour took office in the late 1990s.

Where once I had numerous articles and lengthy letters published in defence of Christian morality, I now consider myself fortunate indeed to be granted an occasional few column inches. The general response to my contributions these days is editor silence and non-publication.

Nor am I alone in this experience for I have a number of Catholic writer-friends who have suffered, with great frustration, a similar censoring of their Christian work.

But it is not only newspapers that censor the Christian viewpoint and allow free reign to the opposition. Television watchdogs are just as bigoted, as my most recent experience with Ofcom proved.

Having complained to this body about the offensive remarks of Matthew Wright in Channel Five’s February 5th edition of ‘The Wright Stuff,’ remarks that were obscenely mocking of St. Agatha on the feast of her martyrdom, I received a dismissive response to the effect that these filthy, blasphemous comments were within tolerable standards.

Can we accept that Ofcom would have judged similarly if the following words of Wright had been used to describe the anniversary of the death of a Muslim or Jewish heroine?

…This Roman geezer came on strongly to her. He made a suggestion he’d like to hide a sausage with her help but the virtuous Agatha was having none of it so the fella whipped out a blade, cut off the poor old girl’s lady bumps, tied her to a stake and tried to burn her, as you did in those days. Agatha was saved by an earthquake and no, that’s not where we got the phrase ‘the earth moved for you.’ It’s a remarkable story and good to remember on this day.

No, Ofcom would have been very wary of the zealous outrage of Jews or Muslims had St. Agatha been one of theirs. We may reasonably conclude, therefore, that its findings would have been quite different, and rightly so since such insensitivity to the religious conscience of others can in no way be justified and considered tolerable.

Which brings me to legislation in “free, non-discriminatory Britain”. Surely the law, if not the media and press, upholds the rights of Christians?

On the contrary, it refuses Catholic adoption agencies the right of conscience to exclude homosexual couples from the adoption process. It has allowed for a nurse to be temporarily suspended from duty for the suspected ‘crime’ of sharing a Christian prayer with an elderly patient. It has allowed for a primary school secretary to be suspended for defending her five-year old child’s right to speak of Jesus, heaven and hell in the presence of her classmates.

In addition, it has allowed for the removal of a 16-year old Muslim girl from the care of her foster parents because the girl had chosen freely to convert to Christianity. It has also provided grounds for a local Council to send the police to threaten a retired couple with prosecution if they continued to question pro-homosexual Council policy.

I could rhyme off a catalogue of similar incidents which have occurred under ‘New Labour’ legislation, whose architects are becoming more arrogantly proactive in the forming of laws that are clearly intolerant to Christians and their beliefs.

Just how intolerant they have become is evident in the case of the aforementioned 78-year old Catholic pensioner Ted Atkinson.

While we all thought ASBO’s (Anti-Social Behaviour Orders) were introduced to help rid our communities of unruly teens, this government’s legislators had alternative uses in mind.

Mr. Atkinson was first issued an ASBO in 2006 for sending pro-life material to the Chief Executive of the Queen Elizabeth Hospital in King’s Lynn. He was subsequently barred from all but life-saving treatment at that hospital, a clear breach of his human rights.

Having continued to follow the dictates of his Catholic conscience, however, by sending further material to others who support abortion, Mr. Atkinson was summonsed to court again in March, found guilty of breaching his ASBO and incarcerated in Norwich prison for 3 months.

It is important that we understand that this is a man who has served in Her Majesty’s armed forces, paid his taxes and never committed a crime. He now suffers from diabetes, crippling arthritis in both hands and hips, inflammation around the heart, narrowing of the arteries and other associated health problems. He cannot walk unsupported, yet is imprisoned at a time when dangerous criminals are being let off with probation, community service or pitiful cash fines.

So it would seem that while our young children may be taught about sex at a young age in school, including graphic pictures of the male and female genital organs, and while they may be offered contraception without parental knowledge, or taught to condone the homosexual lifestyle and institutionalised abortion, Christians, even the elderly and infirm, are forbidden under pain of imprisonment to offer resistance to such evil in accordance with conscience.

So what has become of the freedom of British Christians? Well, it seems it has been stealthily taken from us in the name of Equality and Human Rights, of all things.

The noose of anti-Christian legislation has been firmly tightened around our necks and we may be assured that prisons will never be so overcrowded as to exclude future Christian moralists.

Such is the reality of living today in what Pope John Paul II referred to as “a culture of death.”

And why has it become a culture of death? Because the wise counsel of another Pope (St. Pius X) went unheeded by Christians: “Evil abounds because good men do nothing.”

So what can British Christians do to remedy the situation? Well we can use our free vote at the next election to send a clear message to all Liberal/Socialist political Parties that we will no longer tolerate this very real and determined persecution of Christ and His followers.

It is incumbent upon every Christian before God to weigh first the moral and spiritual tenets of these Parties before considering the less important temporal benefits they promise. Our freedom and indeed our eternal salvation depend upon it. We remain indifferent at our peril.

Thanks and I tip my beret to you Robert.



Henry IV, The Calvinist King Of France And The Catholic Society Of Jesus

At the end of the year 1594 French King Henry IV (A Protestant Huguenot, later reconciled with the Church) was reminded that there were other weapons in the armory of Spain and Rome besides those of open warfare.

It was believed that more than once already assassins had aimed at his life. On November 27, while the King was at Amiens, a young man called Jean Chastel, only eighteen years of age, attempted to stab the King as he was entering the apartments of his mistress, Gabrielle d'Estrees.

Henry stooped just as the blow was delivered. It struck him therefore not on the throat, as had been intended, but on the lip and gum. The wound was quite a trivial one, but it had some important consequences.

Jean Chastel had, it turned out, been a pupil of the Jesuits, and maintained upon his trial that he had been encouraged in his attempt by the theories of his Jesuit teachers. Consequently, after he had been put to death with the most shocking tortures, the blow fell upon the whole order.

Their constant hostility to the King needed no proof. They were expelled from France by order of the Parliament of Paris, and the decree of Paris was followed by similar orders from the Parliaments of Rouen and Grenoble. But these decrees were ineffective. The Parliaments of Aix, Rennes and Bordeaux refused to follow the example of Paris, and the Jesuits found therefore a refuge within their jurisdiction. more

Note: I have removed the links but you may go to Joseph's Site here and see them. His blog today and yesterday is replete with some very interesting articles. Joseph writes that while he was taught is Jesuit schools he pulls no punches when the Order strays from the message of St. Ignatius of Loyola. AMDG!

Thanks Joseph,

Ad Maiorem Dei Gloriam!

Jehanne La Pucelle

11 April 2009 will mark the 100th anniversary of the Beatification of Jehanne la Pucelle. Ben Kennedy author of Maid of Heaven has reminded me of this fact and has presented a glowing tribute to La Pucelle.

The official Beatification of Joan of Arc took place in April of 1909 when the Roman Catholic Church declared her to be Blessed. This was the second step on her path to being declared a Saint by the Church having been declared Venerable in 1904. The official pronouncement by Pope Pius X was issued on April 11, 1909, and a ceremony was held in St. Peter's Basilica at the Vatican on April 18, 1909. Below is a translation by Dylan Schrader of the pronouncement from the official Vatican record, Acta Apostolicae Sedis, for 1909.

For everlasting memory. The name of a young maiden of Orleans, noble for all time, that has already been given over to immortality and that will be inscribed officially among the blessed in Heaven, is a witness to divine power, which "has chosen what is weak in the world to confound what is strong" (1 Cor 1:27). For when in the year of our salvation 1428, civil upheavals and internal conflicts, not briefer nor less serious than a war with the English, pointed to the widespread and swift destruction of France, and no refuge or hope of rescue for the defeated seemed possible, God, who with a unique love constantly attended to this most noble of nations, called forth a woman "to free her people and gain for herself an everlasting name" (1 Macc 4:44). The whole life of the magnanimous and most patriotic Joan of Arc, called the maid of Orleans, seems to have been a fortuitous sign. Born in the town of Domremy, within the boundaries of the diocese of Toul, Joan would tend the sheep of her father near a shady grove that was once a sanctuary for the superstition of Druidism, but in that place, this uneducated and poor farm girl who had not yet completed her fifteenth year, beholding the wide view of the valley below, used to lift up her mind to him who furnished the mountains and the forests, the fields and the thickets, with such splendid adornment that they by far surpass any luxurious pomp and any lavishness of the royal purple. The only care of this girl, ignorant of the world, was to decorate the plain altar of the Virgin with flowers that she had picked, and the uproar of so terrible a war had barely reached her ears. But, when the siege of Orleans at its overthrow sapped both the town itself and the fortune of King Charles VII - for the nobles of the province of France had already yielded to the English invasion - it was, in these dire straits, to Joan attending to her usual duties in the family orchard, that the voice of Michael, the prince of the heavenly host, was heard, even as it once sounded to Judas Machabbeus, "Take up the holy sword, which is a task given by God, with which you will slay the adversaries of my people Israel" (2 Macc 15:16). This daughter of peace was roused to the things of war. At first, the maiden was astounded and afraid, but after the voices from Heaven continued, as if the divine spirit had been breathed into her, she did not at all doubt that she ought exchange the spinning wheel for the sword, and the shepherds' pipes for the sounding of trumpets.

Articles I have placed in my blog concerning La Pucelle may be found here...

The St Joan of Arc Center in Albuquerque NM. Virgina Frohlick. If is is to be known about Joan of Arc this woman knows it...

Ben Kennedy's book on Joan of Arc is listed on my blog at the bottom left hand side. Clicking his book will bring you to Amazon where it can be purchased. I highly recommend it.

As Jehanne is a Patron Saint of this Blog, I conclude with a prayer to her:

Priére de sainte Jeanne d'Arc, patronne de la France

Sainte Jeanne d'Arc, ton martyr est la grande victoire de Dieu sur nos ennemis. Intercède du Royaume des Cieux, pour que nous soyons préservés des guerres contre notre pays et des assauts contre notre foi. Que la France se souvienne qu'elle est la fille aînée de l'Eglise. Seigneur, nous te rendons grâce car Tu as béni notre pays en nous donnant Jeanne d'Arc. Suscite encore de nombreuses vocations pour garder intacte la mission apostolique de la France. Amen.

Prayer of Saint Jeanne D'Arc, patroness of France

Holy Saint Jeanne, your martyrdom is a great victory of God upon our enemies. Intercede with the Kingdom of Heaven, so that we may be preserved from wars against our country and assaults against our faith. What France remembers is that she is the elder daughter of the Church. Lord, we return to Your grace for You have blessed our country while giving us Saint Jeanne. Through Your mercy give rise again to many vocations to keep intact the apostolic mission of France. Amen.


Douce France

If one has a drop of French blood this will stir your soul.
Vive le Roy!

Le cygne, The Swan, Saint-Saens

I rememered this piece as I drove into work today, the geese were swimming in the lake.
This enchanting piece was performed as an encore after Yo Yo's Haydn Cello Concerto performance.
Please enjoy this on this spring day...

Dieu le Roy!


Waterloo teeth

This is a gruesome story. The genesis of this article started many years ago with my friend Alan Griffiths, a fellow historian, and a fabulous artist. Alan is a true dyed in the wool Englishman who hails from Staffordshire. We have had many long hours of beer drinking and discussing history especially the Napoleonic War. At the time I was a Bonapartist, (now I am a recovering Bonapartist.) During one of our discussions I remarked about the numbers of bodies left on the field after the Battle of Waterloo. Truly this time in the history of Europe was terrible because what had happened at Waterloo was just the final act in the European conflict known as the Napoleonic Wars. He related to me that after the battle of Waterloo that field in Belgium was literally covered in thousands of dead and in some cases dying men and horses. It is recorded that the population around the area went out, and gave the coup-de-grace to many a soldier from both sides as they robbed the bodies of valuables.

This was not the last indignity he told me that was performed on the men. Dentistry was in its first stages of development. Scavengers removed the teeth of the soldiers in order to form false teeth. It was obvious that the dead would not be using them, so removing them caused little if any amount of distress to the grave robbers.

All over England and Europe the Waterloo teeth were sought out for those whose dental hygiene was absent.

A web page concerned with this may be found here...

Dieu le Roy,

A New Blog

Matterhorn, owner of the Cross of Laeken has started a new blog to act as a bookend, it his called The Sword and the Sea, Tales from the Baltic. this looks good...
It may be found here or as a link in my blogroll...

Dieu le Roy,

Clinton Visits the Tilma at Guadalupe

This woman, who is reputed to be the smartest woman in the world went to Guadalupe for an unexpected stop on March 27th reports the Blog Living His Life Abundantly International, but I will let them tell the rest...

Clinton Visits Tilma at Guadalupe and asks “Who Painted it?”
By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS
Staff Writer

Only hours before receiving an award from Planned Parenthood, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited the tilma inside the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City and asked the rector, “who painted it?”

Clinton made an unexpected stop at the Basilica on March 27, the last day of her recent trip to Mexico, and brought a bouquet of white flowers to the Tilma “on behalf of the American people.” The tilma had been lowered from its usual altar for the occasion of Clinton’s visit. After observing it for a few minutes, she turned to the rector, Msgr. Diego Monroy, and asked, “Who painted it?” to which he responded, “God!”

Mrs. Clinton then went to the quemador – the open air area at the Basilica where the faithful light candles- and lit a green candle. As she left the basilica a half hour later, she told some Mexicans gathered to greet her, “you have a marvelous virgin!”

She is an embarrassment to the nation, and her lack of knowledge of the Catholic Faith shows how indifferent this administration is to the largest Christian denomination of millions in the world. I think someone on her staff could have at least picked up a tour guide for her. Once again for all you Catholics who voted for Obama, see what your vote has brought us.

Dieu le Roy,

A pretty baby!

Here is the first photograph of Umberto di Savoia, Principe di Piedmonte. Born on the 7th of March 2009 in Paris.

May the Blessed Virgin send you Angels to protect you, little Prince of the house of Savoy.

Dieu le Roy!


...Letter to Notre Dame President Rev. John Jenkins

Posted by Rev. Robert Sirico
on Friday, March 27, 2009

Dear Fr. Jenkins:

You are, no doubt, being inundated with letters, phone calls and emails objecting to the decision of Notre Dame to invite President Obama to give the commencement address this year and to receive an honorary doctorate from your university.

I feel compelled to write to you as a brother priest to express my own dismay at this decision which I see as dangerous for Notre Dame, for the Church, for this country, and frankly Father, for your own soul.

I have had the honor to speak at Notre Dame over the years in my capacity as the president of the Acton Institute. I recall the sparkling discussion and questions from the student body, notably from a number of the Holy Cross Seminarians. I have, in fact, been invited to your campus on a number of occasions and on my last visit I was given a statue of the Lladro Blessed Mother in appreciation of my speech. I was told the statue was blessed by Fr. Hesburgh. It has occupied a special place in our religious community since then.

Father, I have no degree or awards from Notre Dame to return to you to indicate how strongly I feel about this scandalous decision. So here is what I have decided to do:

I am returning this statue to your office because what once evoked a pleasant memory of a venerable Catholic institution now evokes shame and sorrow. The statue is simply too painful a reminder of the damage and scandal Notre Dame has brought to the Church and the cause of human life in this decision.

Moreover, I will encourage the young people from my parish and within our diocese to consider universities other than Notre Dame for their college career and I will further encourage other priests in my diocese to do the same. I will also discourage Notre Dame alumni to make donations to the University.

And you may rest assured that I will make this sentiment known from my pulpit and in other public outlets as the occasions present themselves.

This is not a matter of abortion (I presume we agree on how evil it is); nor is it about free speech (you could have invited the president to a discussion for that). This is about coherence. You no longer know who you are as a Catholic institution.

It pains me to write this letter to you. I ask that you go before the Blessed Sacrament and look into your soul – the soul of priest – and reverse this decision before more scandal is brought to the Church.

You and the students under your pastoral charge will be in my prayers and Lenten sacrifices.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Robert Sirico

I have but one word to Father Jenkins, "Resign" You have done enough harm to the Body of Christ. No amount of Jesuit rationalization can change that.


They That Hold Her Fast Shall Inherit Life -Ecclus. 4:14

Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus. Holy Mary, mother of God, pray for us sinners now and at the hour of our death. Amen.

Durandal has posted an excellent article about the most simple of all devotions, that to the Blessed Virgin. A 1 minute prayer recited daily is protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil. When my daughter at 4, would have intense nightmares to the point that I believed her to be tormented by an evil force I told her to recite a Hail Mary and sleep with her Rosary around her wrist the nightmares ceased. This is the Prayer that children should be taught first after the Glory Be...

I fly to my Mother, Virgin of Virgins,
Pray for me O Holy Mother of God.


Discours du Pape Benoît XVI / Address of the Holy Father Benedict XVI

Mon ami et collègue Carlos ont posté cette gemme sur son blog que j'extraient dans c'est l'entier, Remercie Carlos.


Paroisse de Santo António de Luanda Dimanche 22 mars 2009

Chers frères et sœurs,

« Ils n’ont plus de vin » - disait Marie en suppliant Jésus, afin que les noces puissent continuer dans la fête, comme il se doit : « Les invités de la noce pourraient-ils donc jeûner pendant que l’Époux est avec eux ? » (Mc 2, 19). Puis la Mère de Jésus s’approcha des serviteurs pour leur recommander : « Faites tout ce qu’il vous dira » (Jn 2, 5). Cette médiation maternelle rendit possible le « bon vin », prémonitoire d’une nouvelle alliance entre la toute-puissance divine et le cœur humain, pauvre mais disponible. C’est d’ailleurs ce qui s’était déjà produit dans le passé quand – nous l’avons entendu dans la première lecture – « le peuple tout entier répondit d’une seule voix : "Tout ce qu’a dit le Seigneur, nous le ferons." » (Ex 19, 8).

Ces mêmes paroles jaillissent du cœur de ceux qui sont ici réunis, dans l’église Saint-Antoine, édifiée grâce à l’œuvre missionnaire méritoire des Frères mineurs capucins, qui la voulurent comme une nouvelle Tente pour l’Arche de l’Alliance, signe de la présence de Dieu au milieu du peuple en marche. Sur eux et sur tous ceux qui collaborent et qui bénéficient de l’assistance religieuse et sociale qui y est donnée, le Pape invoque une bienveillante et encourageante bénédiction. Je salue affectueusement chacune des personnes présentes : Évêques, prêtres, personnes consacrées et, de façon particulière, vous, les fidèles laïcs qui accomplissez consciemment les devoirs d’engagement et de témoignage chrétien qui découlent du sacrement du Baptême et pour les époux, du sacrement du Mariage. En raison du motif qui nous réunit ici, j’adresse une salutation pleine d’affection et d’espérance aux femmes auxquelles Dieu a confié les sources de la vie : vivez et misez tout sur la vie, parce que le Dieu vivant a misé sur vous ! Avec reconnaissance, je salue les responsables et les animateurs des Mouvements ecclésiaux qui ont à cœur, entre autres, la promotion de la femme angolaise. Je remercie Monseigneur José de Queirós Alves et vos représentants pour les paroles qu’ils m’ont adressées, soulignant les préoccupations et les espérances des nombreuses femmes héroïques et silencieuses de cette Nation bien-aimée.

Je vous exhorte tous à une réelle prise de conscience des conditions défavorables auxquelles ont été – et continuent d’être – soumises de nombreuses femmes, en examinant dans quelle mesure la conduite des hommes, leur manque de sensibilité ou de responsabilité peuvent en être la cause. Les desseins de Dieu sont autres. Nous avons entendu dans la lecture que tout le peuple répondit d’une même voix : « Tout ce qu’a dit le Seigneur, nous le ferons. » (Ex 19, 8). L’Écriture Sainte dit que le Créateur divin, en examinant l’œuvre qu’il avait accomplie, découvrit que quelque chose manquait : tout aurait été bon, si l’homme n’avait pas été seul ! Comment l’homme seul pouvait-il être à l’image et à la ressemblance de Dieu qui est un et trine, de Dieu qui est communion ? « Il n’est pas bon que l’homme soit seul. Je vais lui faire une aide qui lui correspondra ». Et après que l’homme a cherché longuement dans la création sans résultat (cf. Gn 2, 18-20), Dieu se mit de nouveau à l’œuvre pour créer l’aide qui lui manquait, et le gratifia de façon privilégiée en introduisant l’ordre de l’amour, qu’il ne voyait pas suffisamment représenté dans la création.

Comme vous le savez, frères et sœurs, cet ordre de l’amour appartient à la vie intime de Dieu lui-même, à la vie trinitaire, l’Esprit Saint étant l’hypostase personnelle de l’amour. Or, « conformément au dessein éternel de Dieu – comme disait le regretté Pape Jean-Paul II -, la femme est celle en qui l’ordre de l’amour dans le monde créé des personnes trouve le lieu de son premier enracinement » (Lettre Apostolique Mulieris dignitatem, n. 29). En effet, en voyant le charme fascinant qui émane de la femme de par la grâce intime que Dieu lui a donnée, le cœur de l’homme s’éclaire et se retrouve en elle : « Cette fois-ci, voilà l’os de mes os et la chair de ma chair » (Gn 2, 23). La femme est un autre « moi » dans l’humanité commune. Il faut reconnaître, affirmer et défendre l’égale dignité de l’homme et de la femme : tous les deux sont des personnes, à la différence de tout autre être vivant dans le monde autour d’eux.

Tous les deux sont appelés à vivre en profonde communion, dans une reconnaissance mutuelle et un don de soi réciproque, travaillant ensemble pour le bien commun avec les caractéristiques complémentaires de ce qui est masculin et de ce qui est féminin. Aujourd’hui, qui ne perçoit le besoin d’accorder plus de place aux « raisons du cœur » ? Dans une civilisation comme la nôtre, dominée par la technique, on ressent le besoin de cette complémentarité de la femme, afin que l’être humain puisse y vivre sans se déshumaniser complètement. Il suffit de penser aux terres où règne la pauvreté, aux régions dévastées par la guerre, à de nombreuses situations dramatiques découlant des migrations forcées ou non… Ce sont presque toujours les femmes qui y maintiennent intacte la dignité humaine, défendent la famille et sauvegardent les valeurs culturelles et religieuses.

Chers frères et sœurs, l’histoire mentionne presque exclusivement les conquêtes des hommes, alors qu’en réalité une part très importante est due à des actions déterminantes, persévérantes et utiles accomplies par des femmes. Parmi de nombreuses femmes extraordinaires, laissez-moi vous parler de deux d’entre elles : Teresa Gomes et Maria Bonino. La première, Angolaise, est décédée en 2004 dans la ville de Sumba, après une vie conjugale heureuse, dont sont nés sept enfants. Sa foi chrétienne a été solide et son zèle apostolique admirable, surtout au cours des années 1975 et 1976, quand une propagande idéologique et politique féroce s’est abattue sur la paroisse Notre-Dame des Grâces de Porto Amboim, arrivant presque à faire fermer les portes de l’église. Teresa se mit alors à la tête des fidèles qui n’abdiquaient pas face à cette situation, les soutenant, protégeant courageusement les structures paroissiales et recherchant toutes les voies possibles pour que la Messe soit à nouveau célébrée. Son amour pour l’Église la rendit infatigable dans l’œuvre de l’évangélisation, sous la conduite des prêtres.

Quant à Maria Bonino, pédiatre italienne, elle s’est proposée comme volontaire pour différentes missions en cette Afrique bien-aimée, et elle est devenue responsable du service pédiatrique de l’hôpital provincial d’Uíge durant les deux derrières années de sa vie. Se consacrant aux soins quotidiens de milliers d’enfants qui y étaient hospitalisés, Marie dût payer par le sacrifice le plus haut le service qui y était rendu durant une terrible épidémie de fièvre hémorragique de Marbourg, finissant par être elle-même contaminée. Transférée à Luanda, c’est ici qu’elle est décédée et qu’elle repose depuis le 24 mars 2005. Demain, ce sera le quatrième anniversaire de sa mort. L’Église et la société humaine ont été – et continuent à être – grandement enrichies par la présence et par les vertus des femmes, en particulier de celles qui se sont consacrées au Seigneur et qui, en fondant leur vie sur Lui, se sont mises au service des autres.

Chers Angolais, aujourd’hui personne ne devrait plus douter du fait que les femmes, sur la base de leur égale dignité avec les hommes, ont « tout à fait le droit de jouer un rôle actif dans tous les secteurs de la vie publique, et leur droit doit être affirmé et défendu, y compris par des instruments juridiques lorsque cela se révèle nécessaire. La reconnaissance du rôle public des femmes ne doit pas diminuer pour autant leur rôle irremplaçable à l’intérieur de la famille : leur contribution au bien et au progrès de la société a là une valeur réellement inestimable, même si elle est peu considérée » (Message pour la Journée Mondiale de la Paix 1995, n. 9). Toutefois, au niveau personnel, la femme fait l’expérience de sa dignité non pas comme le résultat de l’affirmation de droits sur le plan juridique, mais plutôt comme la conséquence directe des attentions matérielles et spirituelles reçues au sein de la famille. La présence maternelle dans la famille est tellement importante pour la stabilité et la croissance de cette cellule fondamentale de la société, qu’elle devrait être reconnue, louée et soutenue par tous les moyens possibles. Et, pour le même motif, la société doit rappeler aux maris et aux pères leurs responsabilités à l’égard de leur propre famille.

Chères familles, vous vous êtes certainement rendu compte qu’aucun couple humain ne peut à lui seul, uniquement par ses propres forces, donner de façon adéquate à ses enfants l’amour et le sens de la vie. En effet, pour pouvoir dire à quelqu’un : « Ta vie est bonne, bien que je n’en connaisse pas l’avenir », il faut une autorité et une crédibilité plus grandes que celles que les parents peuvent avoir à eux seuls. Les chrétiens savent que cette plus grande autorité a été confiée à cette famille plus large que, par son Fils Jésus Christ et par le don de l’Esprit Saint, Dieu a créée dans l’histoire des hommes, c’est-à-dire à l’Église. Nous voyons ici à l’œuvre cet Amour éternel et indestructible qui assure un sens permanent à la vie de chacun de nous, même si nous n’en connaissons pas l’avenir. C’est pourquoi la construction de chaque famille chrétienne advient au sein de cette famille plus grande qu’est l’Église, qui la soutient et la serre sur son cœur, en garantissant que se pose sur elle, maintenant et à l’avenir, le « oui » du Créateur.

« Ils n’ont plus de vin » - dit Marie à Jésus. Chères femmes angolaises, prenez-la comme votre Avocate auprès du Seigneur. C’est ainsi que nous la connaissons depuis les noces de Cana : comme la Femme bienveillante, pleine de sollicitude maternelle et de courage, la Femme qui perçoit les besoins des autres et, voulant y remédier, les porte devant le Seigneur. Auprès d’Elle, nous pouvons tous, femmes et hommes, retrouver la sérénité et la confiance intime qui nous font nous sentir heureux en Dieu et infatigables dans la lutte pour la vie. Puisse la Vierge de Muxima être l’Étoile de votre vie ! Qu’elle vous garde unis dans la grande famille de Dieu ! Amen.

My friend Carlos has posted this gem on his blog which I extract in it's entirety, Thanks Carlos.

Meeting With Catholic Movements for the Promotion of Women

Address of the Holy Father Benedict XVI at the Parish of Saint Anthony in Luanda on Sunday, 22 March 2009

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

“They have no more wine,” said Mary, begging Jesus to intervene so that the wedding-feast could continue, as was only right and fitting: “As long as the wedding guests have the bridegroom with them, they cannot fast” (Mk 2:19). The Mother of Jesus turns to the servants and implores them: “Do whatever he tells you” (cf. Jn 2:1-5). Her maternal mediation thus made possible the “good wine”, prefiguring a new covenant between divine omnipotence and the poor but receptive human heart. This, in fact, had already happened in the past when – as we heard in the first reading – “all the people answered together and said: ‘all that the Lord has spoken, we will do’” (Ex 19:8).

These same words well up in the hearts of all gathered here today in Saint Anthony’s Church: a building which we owe to the commendable missionary efforts of the Capuchin Friars Minor, who wanted to provide a new Tent for the Ark of the Covenant, the sign of God’s presence among his pilgrim people. To them, to those who work alongside them, and to all who benefit from their spiritual and social assistance, the Pope imparts his blessing with warm words of encouragement. I greet with affection all those present: Bishops, priests, religious men and women, and particularly the lay faithful who consciously embrace the duties of Christian commitment and witness that flow from the Sacrament of Baptism and also – in the case of spouses – from the Sacrament of Marriage. Moreover, given the main purpose of our gathering today, I extend greetings of great affection and hope to all women, to whom God has entrusted the wellsprings of life: I invite you to live and to put your trust in life, because the living God has put his trust in you! With gratitude in my heart I also greet the leaders and facilitators of ecclesial movements that have made the promotion of Angolan women a priority. I thank Archbishop José de Queirós Alves and your representatives for their kind words and for drawing attention to the aspirations and hopes of so many of the silent heroines among the women of this beloved nation.

I call everyone to an effective awareness of the adverse conditions to which many women have been – and continue to be – subjected, paying particular attention to ways in which the behaviour and attitudes of men, who at times show a lack of sensitivity and responsibility, may be to blame. This forms no part of God’s plan. In the Scripture reading, we heard that the entire people cried out together: “all that the Lord has spoken, we will do!” Sacred Scripture tells us that the divine Creator, looking upon all he had made, saw that something was missing: everything would have been fine if man had not been alone! How could one man by himself constitute the image and likeness of God who is one and three, God who is communion? “It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him” (Gen 2:18). God went to work again, fashioning for the man the helper he still lacked, and endowing this helper in a privileged way by incorporating the order of love, which had seemed under-represented in creation.

As you know, my dear friends, this order of love belongs to the intimate life of God himself, the Trinitarian life, the Holy Spirit being the personal hypostasis of love. As my predecessor Pope John Paul II once wrote, “in God's eternal plan, woman is the one in whom the order of love in the created world of persons takes first root” (Mulieris Dignitatem, 29). In fact, gazing upon the captivating charm that radiates from woman due to the inner grace God has given her, the heart of man is enlightened and he sees himself reflected in her: “This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh” (Gen 2:23). Woman is another “I” who shares in the same human nature. We must therefore recognize, affirm and defend the equal dignity of man and woman: they are both persons, utterly unique among all the living beings found in the world.

Man and woman are both called to live in profound communion through a reciprocal recognition of one another and the mutual gift of themselves, working together for the common good through the complementary aspects of masculinity and femininity. Who today can fail to recognize the need to make more room for the “reasons of the heart”? In a world like ours, dominated by technology, we feel the need for this feminine complementarity, so that the human race can live in the world without completely losing its humanity. Think of all the places afflicted by great poverty or devastated by war, and of all the tragic situations resulting from migrations, forced or otherwise. It is almost always women who manage to preserve human dignity, to defend the family and to protect cultural and religious values.

Dear brothers and sisters, history records almost exclusively the accomplishments of men, when in fact much of it is due to the determined, unrelenting and charitable action of women. Of all the many extraordinary women, allow me to mention two in particular: Teresa Gomes and Maria Bonino. The first, an Angolan, died in 2004 in the city of Sumbe after a happily married life in which she gave birth to seven children; she was a woman of unswerving Christian faith and exemplary apostolic zeal. This was particularly evident during the years 1975 and 1976 when fierce ideological and political propaganda invaded the parish of Our Lady of Grace of Porto Amboim, almost forcing the doors of the church to close. Teresa then became the leader of the faithful who refused to bend under pressure. Teresa offered support, courageously protecting the parish structures and trying every possible means to restore the celebration of Mass. Her love for the Church made her indefatigable in the work of evangelization, under the direction of the priests.

Maria Bonino was an Italian paediatrician who offered her expertise as a volunteer in several missions throughout this beloved African continent. She became the head of the paediatric ward in the provincial hospital at Uíje during the last two years of her life. Caring for the daily needs of thousands of children who were patients there, Maria paid the ultimate price for her service by sacrificing her life during the terrible epidemic of Marburg Haemorrhagic Fever, to which she herself succumbed. She was transferred to Luanda for treatment, but she died and was laid to rest here on 24 March 2005 – the day after tomorrow is her fourth anniversary. Church and society have been – and continue to be – enormously enriched by the presence and virtues of women, and in a particular way by consecrated religious who, relying on the Lord’s grace, have placed themselves at the service of others.

Dear Angolans, since the dignity of women is equal to that of men, no one today should doubt that women have “a full right to become actively involved in all areas of public life, and this right must be affirmed and guaranteed, also, where necessary, through appropriate legislation. This acknowledgment of the public role of women should not however detract from their unique role within the family. Here their contribution to the welfare and progress of society, even if its importance is not sufficiently appreciated, is truly incalculable” (Message for the 1995 World Day of Peace, 9). Moreover, a woman’s personal sense of dignity is not primarily the result of juridically defined rights, but rather the direct consequence of the material and spiritual care she receives in the bosom of the family. The presence of a mother within the family is so important for the stability and growth of this fundamental cell of society, that it should be recognized, commended and supported in every possible way. For the same reason, society must hold husbands and fathers accountable for their responsibilities towards their families.

Dear families, you have undoubtedly noticed that no human couple, alone and on its own strength, can adequately offer children love and a genuine understanding of life. In fact, in order to say to someone, “your life is good even though you don’t know what the future will bring”, there needs to be a higher and more trustworthy authority than parents alone can offer. Christians know that this higher authority has been given to the larger family which God, through his Son Jesus Christ and the gift of the Holy Spirit, has established within human history, namely the Church. We find at work here the eternal and indestructible love which guarantees to each of us that our life will always have meaning, even if we do not know what the future will bring. For this reason, the building up of every Christian family takes place within the larger family, the Church, which sustains the domestic family and holds it close to her heart, giving it the assurance that it is protected, now and in the future, by the “yes” of the Creator.

“They have no more wine” – Mary says to Jesus. Dear women of Angola, accept Mary as your advocate with the Lord. This is precisely how we see her at the wedding-feast of Cana: a tender woman, full of motherly care and courage, a woman who recognizes the needs of others and, wanting to help, places those needs before the Lord. If we stay close to her, we can all – men and women alike – recover that sense of serenity and deep trust that makes us feel blessed by God and undaunted in our struggle for life. May Our Lady of Muxima be the guiding star of your lives. May she keep all of you united in the great family of God. Amen.

How Father Brown Led Sir Alec Guinness to the Church

There seems to be a bit of a dichotomy with the title of this blog and the next paragraph but there is not. Many times we find the strongest converts come to us from those who were non-believers or those who never felt the presence of God. Sir Alec Guiness is one of those... Thanks and a tip of the beret to Christine at Laudem Gloriae...

...At the age of sixteen, Guinness was confirmed in the Anglican faith, but he secretly declared himself an atheist. "Certain incidents or sayings in the New Testament," he wrote, "would pluck me back, from time to time, to something approaching belief, and I retained a constant interest in religious matters while being ignorant of any theology, but for the most part gave in to adolescent cynicism."... more...