Thursday, April 28, 2011

Finally Pfleger is Suspended!

Finally Cardinal George acts to suspend Fr. Pfleger. We will see how it all pans out however. Read the full story here.   Watch the video here. 

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Fr. Calloway Weighs in on Harry Potter

There has been quite a bit of debate on whether or not it is OK to read Harry Potter. I have never been remotely interested in the books or the movies so I have little direct knowledge about them. I did read awhile back when the first books came out that the exorcist of Rome, Fr. Gabriel Amorth found it to be demonic. In 2002 he said, "Behind Harry Potter hides the signature of the king of the darkness, the devil." That seemed to be pretty strong language, yet many laughed him off. (More here and here) Another priest, Fr Donald Calloway recently commented on it, and the video below lets you in on his opinion.

Venerating the Epitaphios

Yesterday on I attended the Great Friday Vespers and veneration of the Epitaphios at Epiphany of Our Lord Ukrainian Catholic Church in St. Petersburg. Although I usually spend much of my time down south where I live in Sarasota at Christ the King, I miss attending the parish of my own Rite, which is Ukrainian. So I had the day off and decided to make the longer drive yesterday to St. Pete. The Great Friday Vespers and veneration is one of the most solemn and yet peaceful days of worship in the Church, and has always been one of the most memorable for me. The veneration of the shroud and tomb of Christ is an ancient one, and it seems to have prospered more in the East than the West, yet you may not know that venerating the tomb of Christ was quite popular in England in the middle ages as well. Instead of venerating the burial shroud as is done in most of the Eastern Rites, they instead used a constructed tomb or chest called a sepulchre. In the English practice they would crawl on their knees up to the crucifix and venerate it, and then it would be wrapped in a shroud and placed in the sepulchre, which could then be venerated through Holy Saturday. It seems that this practice died in the West due to the heinous and radical iconoclasm of the Protestant heretics which swept over England like a plague in the 16th century. Most in the Latin Rite know little about this practice. You can read more about it here.
In the Ukrainian liturgy after the Vespers are sung on Great Friday, we have a procession around the church with the Epitaphios and then we solemnly enter into the church and place it on an altar that is constructed in the front of the nave. There we chant the words “The Noble Joseph, taking Thy most pure body down from the Tree and having wrapped it in pure linen and spices, laid it in a new tomb.” Then everyone prostrates before the shroud each time it is chanted. After this starting with the priest, each person crawls on their knees up the nave of the church to venerate the wounds of Our Lord on the shroud, and then kissing the Gospels. This is certainly a most moving experience since it draws you into the very Gospels that were just read, and you are moved to enter into that very Friday two thousand years ago when Our Lord’s body was taken down from the cross and carried to His tomb. You are able to transcend time in a limited sense, and walk in the footsteps of St. John the Evangelist or the Blessed Virgin as they carried Our Lord, venerating His precious body which was given up for each and every one of us. If you are ever near an Eastern Rite Catholic Church during Holy Week you should not pass up the opportunity to attend the Great Friday Vespers and veneration of the burial shroud.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Venerating the Crucifix and the Burial Shroud

Today is Good Friday and we contemplate Our Lord's sacrifice on the cross. In one of my trips to Italy I was amazed by the crucifix painted by Giotto, which hangs over the altar in the church of Santa Maria Novella, in Florence. Below is picture of it. No matter where you are today you can contemplate Our Lord's passion and death by venerating a crucifix. In the Eastern Church we not only venerate the crucifix, but we also venerate the burial shroud (Epitaphios) of Our Lord. Below the crucifix is a burial shroud used for veneration in the Eastern Catholic Church. Have a blessed Good Friday. 

Priest Weighs in on Youth Catechism

Fr. Finnigan over at the "Hermeneutic of Continuity" blog has weighed in on the new YouCat. He says, "The composers of Youcat have made a classic mistake in their attempt to appeal to young people. A question and answer such as 421 above, looks like an attempt to put things diplomatically: to water down the teaching of the Church in case it is too difficult." Before you run out and waste your money I would read the entire article here. I had a chance to look at one of these masterpieces yesterday, and if my memory serves me correctly, Luther is quoted on page 200, and Neitzche on page 252. Other notable quotes in the side margins include the actor Peter Sellers, the Protestant Dietrich Bonhoeffer, as well as a Chinese philosopher. There many other non-Catholics quoted, but these are the ones I remember off the top of my head. Why they would include a quote by Peter Sellers is a mystery. He did attend Catholic school for awhile in his youth, yet never became Catholic. Yet, I doubt many of our youth these days even know who he is. While they were at it they could have quoted the Fonz from 'Happy Days.' That would have been just as relevant no? "Exactamundo"

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The L'Osservatore Romano now has an English website.

For those interested in the Vatican news, the L'Osservatore Romano now has an English website. It is free for now but will apparently require a subscription after August 31.

Our newspaper is launching its new website.
At the beginning of the seventh year of Benedict XVI's Pontificate, on 19 April 2011, L'Osservatore Romano launched its new site. The various editions are now accessible (in addition to the Italian daily, the weekly editions in Italian, English, German, French, Spanish and Portuguese, and the monthly in Polish).
For those who have never read L'Osservatore Romano or who have only occasionally leafed through it, this is a chance not to be missed.
From today until 31 August everyone who visits the new site will be treated as a subscriber: for more than four months, anyone will be able to read the edition straight from the press, to download the PDF files and to consult the electronic archives.
Even before the newspaper arrives at the kiosks, it will already be on your computer.
As well as the activities of the Pope and of the Holy See's institutions you will find in the daily special attention to international news and the world economy, to culture and to religious information, not only Catholic.
We publish what others overlook and we ignore a lot of what others publish.
Here you will find news that you cannot find elsewhere, free of charge until 31 August.
April 21, 2011

Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer-A Journey Through Eastern Monasticism

I have recently purchased the book and companion DVD titled “Mysteries of the Jesus Prayer.” If you are in any way interested in the Eastern monastic traditions of the Desert Fathers, and those that continued on in the East afterward, then you will enjoy this book and DVD. An Orthodox priest the Very Rev. Dr. John McGuckin and Dr. Norris J. Chumley take you on an enlightening journey, providing superb and rare film footage from within desert monasteries such as St. Anthony’s, and St. Catherine’s on Sinai. There is also excellent photography and audio taken from their visit to Votopedi monastery on Mt. Athos. You will also be treated with many other beautiful images such as the Meteora monastery which is perched high atop a rock formation in Greece, then onto Romania where you will visit secluded monasteries and hear the words of spiritual wisdom on the Jesus Prayer. The journey continues on to the Ukraine, and finally ending in Russia where you are given a rare glimpse of the Russian Patriarch Kirill, celebrating the Divine Liturgy on the Feast of the Holy Trinity.

The DVD contains many brief interviews with monks as well as film footage of the Divine Liturgy and the monks at prayer. The video moves along as a travelogue, peppered throughout with nuggets of knowledge explaining the development and expansion of Eastern monasticism. It is not overly doctrinal and focuses equally on the historical and biographical elements of the monks and monasteries as it does on the “Jesus Prayer.” The spiritual messages given throughout apply to Catholics as well. The first being that we all need to devote time to silence, where we can offer our heartfelt prayers up to the Lord. The second is realizing that this will lead us to being able to see God and remain in prayer with Him in our everyday lives, whether we are at work or at home.

The book supplements the video nicely and goes into more detail in some places than the DVD does and I really enjoyed them both. If you want to break away and enjoy a spiritual journey to these astonishing places then I cannot recommend them more. Go to for more information. I ran across the book first in Barnes and Noble. I then ordered the DVD from the website and got it in about a week.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Michael Voris Responds

As usual, it seems many bishops are about being political rather than about being Catholic. When a bishop allows a pro-abortion speaker to speak in their diocese but outlaws an orthodox Catholic to speak, then we know where his allegiance is to be found.

This program is from

Schonborn's New Youth Catechism-Typo or Heretical?

.- A new Vatican-sponsored catechism intended for youth suggests that Christian couples “can and should” use “contraceptive methods” when deciding on how many children to have...

The Vatican has scheduled a press conference for April 13 to officially release the text.
Organizers of World Youth Day have already ordered 700,000 copies of YouCat to give to young pilgrims along with a sleeping bag, map and other accessories.

The catechism is laid out in a question and answer fashion. Question 420 in the Italian language edition states:
“Q. Puo una coppia christiana fare ricorso ai metodi anticoncezionali?” (Can a Christian couple have recourse to contraceptive methods?)
“A. Si, una coppia cristiana puo e deve essere responsabile nella sua facolta di poter donare la vita.” (Yes, a Christian couple can and should be responsible in its faculty of being able to give life)

Vatican sources who spoke to CNA April 11 on the condition of anonymity speculated that the problem was in the original German text, a fact that was later confirmed by CNA.
“YouCat” is to be published in 12 additional languages. The English edition, published by Ignatius Press, does not contain the problematic language...

The creation of the 300-page YouCat was overseen by Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, Archbishop of Vienna. It was given the doctrinal seal of approval by the Bishops of Austria in March 2010.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Understanding Holy Week.

Father James Fryar, FSSP explains Holy Week. Listen here or download it on iTunes.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fr. Anthony Ruff On Jesus' Words In The Bible

Here is another update on the liberals over at the Pray Tell blog. Fr. Anthony Ruff is all upset because Saint Benedicts Press has published the new NABRE Bible with Our Lord's words in red. He says the following, "Here’s the deal breaker: Saint Benedict Press prints the words of Our Lord are in red! Just like the Protestant fundamentalists. Just what you need if you think everything attributed to Jesus in the canonical Gospels was said by him..." Wow, sounds like a deal breaker to me. Never mind the modernist scholarship. Just don't draw any attention to what Jesus said, or may have said, or what someone thought he heard Him say, or who heard from someone else what He might have said. Maybe Fr. Ruff really didn't write that. Maybe he isn't even in this time dimension. You get the idea, right? Give me a break. This reminds me of something Jesus said, "O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you?" Oh wait, that is probably one of those things He never said right?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Diocese of Scranton Bars Michael Voris

Below is the official statement by the Diocese of Scranton, PA on why it will refuse to let Michael Voris speak anywhere within the diocese.

"The Diocese of Scranton has determined that Mr. Voris will not be allowed to speak in a Diocesan or parish facility. After these engagements were scheduled, the Diocese became aware of concerns about this individual’s views regarding other religious groups. In videos posted on the Internet, Mr. Voris makes comments that certainly can be interpreted as being insensitive to people of other faiths. The Catholic Church teaches us to respect all people, regardless of their faith tradition.

Although the Diocese shares Mr. Voris’ support of efforts to protect human life, his extreme positions on other faiths are not appropriate and therefore the Diocese cannot host him."
I cannot believe that Bishop Bambera is going to pull something like this. Why doesn't the bishop explain what he means by insensitive? Please, give us examples, so that we can all learn how not to act towards other religions. Is it OK to say they are in error, or tell them that the Catholic faith is the only true faith? Or is that insensitive? This is the reason why few convert to the Church these days. We have to be sensitive to everyone's feelings. If the bishop is going to stop him, then he should stop all laymen and women from speaking. But before he does that, he may want to make sure that at least some of his priests are capable of teaching the true Catholic faith effectively. Personally, I could care less whether any lay men or women are able to speak in churches. But what I fail to see are the priests stepping up to the plate to actually teach the Catholic faith, and even fewer bishops. Until that happens, there will be a demand for lay speakers.What I do find even more perplexing, is that Voris was already scheduled to speak at Marywood University in Scranton, PA. So he was not even going to speak in a parish, just at a university. I find this very odd.

Note: It does seem however that the diocese does approve of the gentle yoga classes being offered at the university for staff and faculty, just not Michael Voris. 

Here is a choppy video of the bishop's last ecumenical prayer service that he had at his cathedral.  "Women priests" and heretics of all kinds pranced into the Cathedral for ecumenical prayer. Even the Episcopal "women priest"or whatever she is, leads the Cathedral in prayer.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Pope Michael: The Documentary-A Tragedy or a Comedy?

A friend sent this video to me. I have heard of the elusive "Pope Michael", but now he has his own documentary in the making. Is this a comedy or a tragedy? You be the judge!

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Fr. Barron and the Death Penalty-A Refutation

You may have noticed that I have taken down the Fr. Robert Barron widget from the top of my blog recently. One of my readers has suggested that I explain why I have taken it down. As you know, one of my main points of focus for this website is to promote the work of solid classical Thomistic theologians. This is of primary importance to me. After reading some of Fr. Barron's recent work, I have decided that he is not what I would consider to be a solid classical Thomistic theologian, and he does not fit the mold of the type of theologians I want to promote on my website. Therefore I will not be promoting his work any longer. Let me be perfectly clear. This does mean that I think everything that he writes and says is not worth reading, nor am I accusing him of any particular heresy. There are many who will no doubt read this article and accuse me of something I have not said, so please do not mistake me. In fact, Fr. Barron has put up a lot of good material on his website that have been a benefit to Catholics and non Catholics alike. That is why I promoted him in the first place. He also seems to promote St. Thomas as well, so I promoted his work for a time. However, due to some of the erroneous conclusions he has drawn in a recent article in which he explains his views on punishment and the common good, I can no longer recommend his work on a whole, nor one that is completely in line with what I would consider to be classical Thomistic theology.

I have responded below at length to his article that caused me to reconsider his Thomistic understanding of moral theology. By the comments made in the article, it is clear that he does not understand or promote the Thomistic model of punishment or the common good. I have tried to comment on his personal blog but my post was never approved. So here I have quoted his entire article, and in between each paragraph I have responded in bold type. To get a clearer understanding of the principles that I apply in understanding the death penalty, I would recommend reading the two articles on my side bar, “Keeping the Death Penalty Alive” and “The Corrupt Theology of the Seamless Garment.” I use the principles explained in those two articles to formulate what I have written in summary here, in response to the Fr. Barron article. There are also a few scholarly sources I would recommend reading to gain a better understanding of the Thomistic principles regarding this issue. These three sources are indispensable. The first is the book “Right and Reason” by Fr. Austin Fagothey, the second is an article written by Fr. Lawrence Dewan, OP titled, “Thomas Aquinas, Gerard Bradley, and the Death Penalty” which is found in his book “Wisdom, Law and Virtue,” and finally Dr. Steven A. Long’s brilliant article, found in the Thomist #63 titled, “Evangelium Vitae, St. Thomas Aquinas and the Death Penalty.” These are the main sources I have used to base my argument on, and they have explained everything I have summarized in my articles in much more detail and clarity than I. So I highly recommend procuring those written works.