Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Kreeft:Pro-Abort Catholics More Damaging than Sex Abuse Scandal

Kreeft: Pro-Abort Catholics More Damaging than Sex Abuse Scandal

Boston College Professor and author Peter Kreeft told a group of 500 at the Bishop O’Connor Center in Madison that pro-abortion Catholics have done more damage to the Church than the sex abuse scandal, according to the Wisconsin State Journal.
Kreeft’s speech was focused on whether Catholics could be liberals and quickly turned to the issue of abortion where he  said, “A Catholic cannot be today what is called a liberal about abortion. That’s obvious. That’s a ‘duh.’”
But a question from an audience member had Kreeft elaborating further:

During the Q&A, an audience member brought up the Kennedy political dynasty and how a group of leading theologians and Catholic college professors had met with Kennedy family members in the mid-1960s and came up with a way for Catholic politicians to support a pro-abortion rights platform with clear consciences.
Kreeft said these Catholic advisers “told the Kennedys how they could get away with murder.” Kreeft then made one of his boldest comments of the evening, suggesting the theologians who first convinced Democratic politicians they could support abortion rights and remain Catholic did more damage to the Catholic Church than pedophile priests.
“These were wicked people. These were dishonest people. These were people who, frankly, loved power more than they loved God,” Kreeft said. “Sorry, that’s just the way it is. In fact, I’d say these were even worse than the child molesters — though the immediate damage they did was not as obvious — because they did it deliberately, it wasn’t a sin of weakness. Sins of power are worse than sins of weakness. Cold, calculating sins — that’s straight from the devil.”
A few minutes later, the talk over, the crowd gave him a standing ovation.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sky View: The New Translation & Inspired Leadership

Sky View: The New Translation & Inspired Leadership click on to read entire article

The truth may be surprising. After several decades of our society relegating religion to the private sphere, the average person would be hard pressed to see that the Catholic Liturgy (or Mass) has any relevance to political leadership. But it does, albeit indirectly.

The New Translation of the Catholic Mass is due to be implemented in Catholic churches throughout the world this Advent in 2011. In short, it is an attempt to reflect more accurately the founding principles of Catholicism. Indeed, more expressions from Scripture and the writings of the early Church Fathers will be used. Pope Benedict XVI maintains that the Church stands and falls with the liturgy. He said, “When the faith no longer appears in its fullness in the Liturgy of the Church, when man’s words, his thoughts, his intentions are suffocating him, then faith will have lost the place where it is expressed and where it dwells.” Unfortunately, in the late 1960s going into the 1970s, that fullness of faith had diminished somewhat with the translation of the Mass from Latin into the vernacular. The New Translation, however, is a return to that fullness of faith which the Liturgy has traditionally expressed.

For example,

Friday, November 25, 2011

St. Catherine of Alexandria-November 25 – She Defied the Emperor

November 25 – She Defied the Emperor

St. Catherine of Alexandria

Feastday: November 25
St. Catherine of Alexandria, Virgin and Martyr whose feast day is November 25th. She is the patroness of philosophers and preachers.
St. Catherine is believed to have been born in Alexandria of a noble family. Converted to Christianity through a vision, she denounced Maxentius for persecuting Christians. Fifty of her converts were then burned to death by Maxentius.
Maxentius offered Catherine a royal marriage if she would deny the Faith. Her refusal landed her in prison. While in prison, and while Maxentius was away, Catherine converted Maxentius' wife and two hundred of his soldiers. He had them all put to death.
Catherine was likewise condemned to death. She was put on a spiked wheel, and when the wheel broke, she was beheaded. She is venerated as the patroness of philosophers and preachers. St. Catherine's was one of the voices heard by St. Joan of Arc.
Maxentius' blind fury against St. Catherine is symbolic of the anger of the world in the face of truth and justice. When we live a life of truth and justice, we can expect the forces of evil to oppose us. Our perseverance in good, however, will be everlasting.

from Wikipedia
Saint Catherine of Alexandria, also known as Saint Catherine of the Wheel and The Great Martyr Saint Catherine (Greek ἡ Ἁγία Αἰκατερίνη ἡ Μεγαλομάρτυς) is, according to tradition, a Christian saint and virgin, who was martyred in the early 4th century at the hands of the pagan emperor Maxentius. According to her hagiography, she was both a princess and a noted scholar, who became a Christian around the age of fourteen, and herself converted hundreds of people to Christianity. Over 1,100 years following her martyrdom, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her.[4]
The Orthodox Church venerates her as a Great Martyr, and celebrates her feast day on 25 November. In the Catholic Church she is traditionally revered as one of the Fourteen Holy Helpers. In 1969 the Catholic Church removed her feast day from the General Roman Calendar;[5] however, she continued to be commemorated in the Roman Martyrology on November 25.[6] In 2002, her feast was restored to the General Roman Calendar as an optional memorial.
Life story
According to the traditional narrative, Catherine was the beautiful daughter of the pagan King Costus and Queen Sabinella, who governed Alexandria. Her superior intelligence combined with diligent study left her exceedingly well-versed in all the arts and sciences, and in philosophy etc. Having decided to remain a virgin all her life, she announced that she would only marry someone who surpassed her in beauty, intelligence, wealth, and dignity. This has been interpreted as an early foreshadowing of her eventual discovery of Christ. "His beauty was more radiant than the shining of the sun, His wisdom governed all creation, His riches were spread throughout all the world."[1] Though raised a pagan, she became an ardent Christian in her teenage years, having received a vision of the Blessed Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ, in which the Blessed Virgin gave Catherine to Jesus in mystical marriage.
As a young adult, she visited her contemporary, the Roman Emperor Maxentius, and attempted to convince him of the moral error in persecuting Christians for not worshipping idols. The emperor arranged for a plethora of the best pagan philosophers and orators to dispute with her, hoping that they would refute her pro-Christian arguments, but Catherine won the debate and succeeded in converting all of them to Christianity, for which the philosophers and orators were executed by an enraged Maxentius. Catherine was then scourged and put in prison, during which time over two hundred people came to see her, including Maxentius' wife the empress, all of whom converted to Christianity and were therefore martyred. [7] Upon the failure of Maxentius to make Catherine yield by way of torture, he tried to win the beautiful and wise princess over by proposing marriage to her, at which point in time the Saint declared that her spouse was Jesus Christ, to whom she had consecrated her virginity. The furious emperor condemned Catherine to death on the spiked breaking wheel, an instrument of torture. The wheel was miraculously destroyed, however, in answer to St. Catherine's prayer, and so Maxentius had to settle for beheading her.
Icon of Saint Catherine of Alexandria, with scenes from her martyrdom.
According to a Christian tradition dating to about 800, angels carried her body to Mount Sinai, where, in the 6th century, the Eastern Emperor Justinian had established what is now known as Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai, (in fact dedicated to the Transfiguration of Christ). The main church was built between 548 and 565, and the monastery became a major pilgrimage site for Catherine and the other relics and sacred sites there. Saint Catherine's Monastery survives, a famous repository of early Christian art, architecture and illuminated manuscripts that remains open to tourists and visiting scholars.
Donald Attwater characterizes the "legend" of St. Catherine as "the most preposterous of its kind" citing the lack of any "positive evidence that she ever existed outside the mind of some Greek writer who first composed what he intended to be simply an edifying romance."[8] Harold T. Davis confirms that "assiduous research has failed to identify Catherine with any historical personage" and has theorized that Catherine was an invention inspired to provide a counterpart to the story of the slightly earlier pagan philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria.[9][10]
The earliest surviving account of St. Catherine's life comes over 500 years after the traditional date of her martyrdom, in the monologium attributed to Emperor Basil I (866), although the rediscovery of her relics at Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai was about 800.,[11] and presumably implies an existing cult at that date (the common name of the monastery developed after the discovery).
Medieval cult
St. Catherine was one of the most important saints in the religious culture of the late middle ages, and arguably considered the most important of the virgin martyrs, a group including Saint Agnes, Margaret of Antioch, Saint Barbara, Saint Lucy, Valerie of Limoges and many others. Her power as an intercessor was renowned, and firmly established in most versions of her hagiography, in which she specifically entreats Jesus at the moment of her death to answer the prayers of those who remember her martyrdom and invoke her name.
The development of her medieval cult was spurred by the reported rediscovery of her body around the year 800 at Mount Sinai, with hair still growing and a constant stream of healing oil emitting from her body.[11] There are a handful of pilgrimage narratives that chronicle the journey to Mount Sinai, most notably those of John Mandeville and Friar Felix Fabri.[12] However, the monastery at Mount Sinai was the best-known site of Catherine pilgrimage, but was also the most difficult to reach. The most prominent western shrine was the monastery in Rouen that claimed to house Catherine's fingers. It was not alone in the west, however, accompanied by many, scattered shrines and altars dedicated to Catherine, which existed throughout France and England. Some were better known sites, such as Canterbury and Westminster, which claimed a phial of her oil, brought back from Mount Sinai by Edward the Confessor.[13] Other shrines, such as St. Catherine's Hill, Hampshire were the focus of generally local pilgrimage, many of which are only identified by brief mentions to them in various texts, rather than by physical evidence.[14]
Saint Catherine also had a large female following, whose devotion was less likely to be expressed through pilgrimage. The importance of the virgin martyrs as the focus of devotion and models for proper feminine behavior increased during the late middle ages.[15] Among these, St. Catherine in particular was used as an exemplar for women, a status which at times superseded her intercessory role.[16] Both Christine de Pizan and Geoffrey de la Tour Landry point to Catherine as a paragon for young women, emphasizing her model of virginity and "wifely chastity."[17] From the early 14th century the Mystic marriage of Saint Catherine first appears in hagiographical literature and, soon after, in art. In the Western church, concerns over the authenticity of her legend began to reduce her importance in the 18th century.[18]
Her principal symbol is the spiked wheel, which has become known as the Catherine wheel, and her feast day is celebrated on 25 November by most Christian churches. However, the Russian Orthodox Church celebrates it on 24 November. The exact origin of this tradition is not known. In 11th-century Kyivan-Rus, the feast day was celebrated on 25 November. Saint Dimitry of Rostov in his Kniga zhyttia sviatykh (Book of the Lives of the Saints), T.1 (1689) places the date of celebration on 24 November. A story that Empress Catherine the Great did not wish to share her patronal feast with the Leavetaking of the feast of the Presentation of the Theotokos and hence changed the date is not supported by historical evidence. One of the first Roman Catholic churches to be built in Russia, the Catholic Church of St. Catherine, was named after Catherine of Alexandria because she was Catherine the Great's patron.
The 1908 Catholic Encyclopedia describes her historical importance as follows:
Ranked with St Margaret and St Barbara as one of the fourteen most helpful saints in heaven, she was unceasingly praised by preachers and sung by poets. It is believed that Jacques-Benigne Bossuet dedicated to her one of his most beautiful panegyrics and that Adam of St. Victor wrote a magnificent poem in her honour: Vox Sonora nostri chori, etc. In many places her feast was celebrated with the utmost solemnity, servile work being suppressed and the devotions being attended by great numbers of people. In several dioceses of France it was observed as a Holy Day of Obligation up to the beginning of the seventeenth century, the splendour of its ceremonial eclipsing that of the feasts of some of the Apostles. Numberless chapels were placed under her patronage and her statue was found in nearly all churches, representing her according to medieval iconography with a wheel, her instrument of torture. Meanwhile, owing to several circumstances in his life, Saint Nicholas of Myra was considered the patron of young bachelors and students, and Saint Catherine became the patroness of young maidens and female students. Looked upon as the holiest and most illustrious of the virgins of Christ after the Blessed Virgin Mary, it was natural that she, of all others, should be worthy to watch over the virgins of the cloister and the young women of the world. The spiked wheel having become emblematic of the saint, wheelwrights and mechanics placed themselves under her patronage. Finally, as according to tradition, she not only remained a virgin by governing her passions and conquered her executioners by wearying their patience, but triumphed in science by closing the mouths of sophists, her intercession was implored by theologians, apologists, pulpit orators, and philosophers. Before studying, writing, or preaching, they besought her to illumine their minds, guide their pens, and impart eloquence to their words. This devotion to St. Catherine which assumed such vast proportions in Europe after the Crusades, received additional éclat in France in the beginning of the fifteenth century, when it was rumoured that she had spoken to Joan of Arc and, together with St. Margaret, had been divinely appointed Joan's adviser.[19]
Ring of St. Catherine, given to pilgrims visiting Mount Sinai.
Devotion to Saint Catherine remains strong amongst Orthodox Christians. With the relative ease of travel in the modern age, pilgrimages to Saint Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai have increased. Pilgrims to her monastery on Mt Sinai are given a ring, which has been placed on the relics of the saint as an evlogia (blessing) in remembrance of their visit.
In art
Catherine is very frequently depicted in art, especially in the late Middle Ages, which is also the time that the account of St. Catherine's Mystical Marriage makes its first literary appearance. She can usually be easily recognised as she is richly dressed and crowned, as befits her rank as a princess, and often holds a segment of her wheel as an attribute, or a martyr's palm. She often has long unbound blonde or reddish hair (unbound as she is unmarried). The vision of Saint Catherine of Alexandria usually shows the Infant Christ, held by the Virgin, placing a ring (one of her attributes) on her finger, following some literary accounts, although in the version in the Golden Legend he appears to be adult, and the marriage takes place among a great crowd of angels and "all the celestial court",[20] and these may also be shown.
She is very frequently shown attending on the Virgin and Child, and is usually prominent in scenes of the Master of the Virgo inter Virgines, showing a group of virgin saints surrounding the Virgin and Child. Notable later paintings of Catherine include single figures by Raphael (National Gallery) and Caravaggio (Madrid, Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum).

Sky View: What you may not know about Christmas

Sky View: What you may not know about Christmas

If you ever watched the History or Discover Channel you may have come across progressive theologians or historians who dismiss out of hand the historical accounts of Christ's birth as told in the Gospels. Quite often scholars look down upon tradition, the testimonies of the early Christians and their ancient writings. For some of these intellectuals, it is beneath them to give any credibility to traditions associated with piety and religious devotion. Yet, by confining their judgments within the narrow circle of contemporary scholarship, they deprive themselves of valuable insights which the traditions of the Church do provide. Perhaps, this may be one of the reasons why many people do not know the following about Christmas.

Take for instance the date of Christ's birth. Many scholars have said that it is highly unlikely that December 25th was the actual date of our Lord's birth. One principal reason was that shepherds in the Holy Land did not normally graze their pastures with their sheep during the month of December. Rather, the more likely month for such activity would be during the month of March. But, as we shall see, there are reasons to believe that the tradition of the Church got it right.

For starters, early in the fourth century (300's), St. Cyril, bishop of Jerusalem, wrote Pope St. Julius, bishop of Rome, to inquire about the date of Christ’s birth. One might think that if anyone was qualified to answer the question it would be St. Cyril himself; primarily because he was the bishop of Jerusalem, just twelve miles away from Bethlehem, the birthplace of Christ. Nevertheless, it just so happened that the city of Jerusalem was pillaged in 70 A.D. by the Roman army, led by General Titus, in order to repress an uprising of Jewish zealots. In the process, the Temple was destroyed and its records- along with the census documents -were brought back to Rome only to be filed among the Roman archives. Less than three hundred years later, these documents were evidently still in existence. Interestingly enough, Pope St. Julius was the acting bishop of Rome after Christianity had been legalized. As such, he had privileged access to the Roman archives. St. Julius wrote back to the Saintly Bishop of Jerusalem and assigned December 25th as the birth date of Jesus Christ. “St. John Chrysostom [Bishop and Father of the Church in the 400's] quotes the same authority of the Roman archives as the source of the date of Christmas.”

As regards to the likelihood shepherds overseeing their sheep on a cold December night, we learn the following: It just so happened that right outside the town of Bethlehem was a watch tower called the Migdal Eder. This was a special watch tower that overlooked a pasture of sheep. But these sheep were no ordinary sheep. The sheep at the Migdal Eder were specially groomed for the temple sacrifice "throughout the year." This pasture land happened to be alongside a road leading to Jerusalem. The Migdal Eder shepherds were trained to keep these sheep unblemished, that is, with no broken bones or any other kind of infirmity. Unblemished lambs, of course, were required by the Law of Moses. These providential circumstances, no doubt, foretold that the Christ-child was the “Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.”

Interestingly, it is believed that the Angel announced the glad tidings of the Saviors birth to these special Migdal Eder shepherds on Christmas night. It is entirely within the realm of possibility that after having witnessed the angelic apparition and having visited the Holy Family, these shepherds got to talking at the temple when they transported the sheep there. Perhaps, this is why St. Simeon and the prophetess Anna (Luke 2) recognized the Christ-child as the long awaited Messiah when he was presented in the temple forty days after his birth. After all, the following prophecy from Micah was well known within the Jewish community: “But you, Bethlehem-Ephrathah too small to be among the clans of Judah, From you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel; Whose origin is from of old, from ancient times.”

Tradition also has it that the Blessed Virgin Mary, from the age of 3 to the time she was betrothed to St. Joseph, had lived in the temple. Just like Hannah did with her son Samuel in the Old Testament, Mary’s parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim, dedicated her to the temple. According to an ancient document known as the Gospel of St. James, Mary was to spend most of her childhood in the temple. As such, her holiness and even her vow of virginity could very well have been made known to the likes of St. Simeon and the prophetess Anna who also lived in the temple (not to be confused with St. Anne, Mary’s mother).

Lastly, some scholars, for their own reasons, have maintained that Christ was not born in Bethlehem but rather in Nazareth. However, the early Christians have something to say about the exact place of Christ’s birth. It was virtually unanimous among the early Christians and Fathers of the Church that Jesus was born just outside of Bethlehem in a cave. St. Justin, a Palestinian by birth and a Christian philosopher who lived about a hundred years after Christ, writes that Jesus was born in a grotto near Bethlehem. He said, “Since Joseph did not find where to lodge in the village of Bethlehem, he repaired to a certain grotto near to it; and being there, Mary brought forth Jesus and laid him in the manger, where the Magi, coming from Arabia, found him.”

About fifty years after St. Justin died (165 A.D.) Origin, a Catholic priest and well known Father of the Church, had this to say: "At Bethlehem is shown a grotto where Jesus was born. The fact is well known throughout the whole country. Even pagans know that in this grotto was born a certain Jesus adored by the Nazarenes." When Christianity finally had become legal in 313 A.D. by the Roman Emperor Constantine, his mother, a canonized Saint, traveled to Bethlehem and found the grotto where our Lord was born. As an ancient Church historian, Eusebius, relates, the Emperors mother restored it. "Helena adorned the holy grotto with rich and varied decorations. Some time later, the Emperor himself, outdoing his mother's munificence, embellished this place in truly royal fashion, lavishing on it gold, silver and sumptuous tapestries.” From that time forward, the grotto, later turned into a shrine, became a favorite holy site for pilgrims.

In conclusion, although modern scholarship has furthered our knowledge about Christ in many ways, it is, nevertheless, comprised of fallible judgments based many premises which may or may not be true. One thing is for sure: If you want to know the truth about Christmas and the circumstances of that wonderful night, we cannot afford to ignore the traditions that have come down to us. They have a lot neat insights to offer. What is more, many of them are credible. Indeed, there is every reason to believe that the story of Jesus Christ’s birth, as it is read to us from the pulpit at Mass on Christmas eve or on Christmas day, really did happen the way the Gospels say they did.

Russians flock to see Virgin Mary relic

Russians flock to see Virgin Mary relic
Braving freezing cold temperatures and ice-covered sidewalks, tens of thousands of Russians stood in line Wednesday to see and kiss a newly arrived relic of the Virgin Mary in Russia's largest Orthodox cathedral.
The Virgin Mary's Cincture, a belt that Christians believe was worn by Jesus' mother, was brought to Russia last month from Mount Athos, a monastic community in Greece.Kissing the relic, which is encased in an ornamental box, is believed to help barren women conceive and heal other ailments.
The line of people, mostly women, waiting to enter the golden-domed Christ the Savior Cathedral stretched for 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) along the Moscow River despite temperatures that dropped to below minus 5 Celsius (23 Fahrenheit).
Hundreds of buses brought pilgrims from other Russian cities. Some 150 buses were parked along the embankment with their engines running so the faithful could get warm as they waited. The city provided free tea and food and put up portable toilets.Police officers announced through bullhorns that it will take worshippers 24 hours to get to the relic as the line swelled to tens of thousands.
Some 1,500 police officers were deployed to prevent people from cutting in line.
Traffic in central Moscow has been snarled since the relic first went on display Saturday. By Wednesday afternoon, as many as 300,000 people had seen the relic, which will remain on display through Sunday.
The St. Andrew's Foundation, which brought the relic to Russia, said it was viewed by 2 million people in 14 other cities before arriving in Moscow.
The Russian Orthodox Church withered under eight decades of Soviet rule, but has enjoyed a resurgence over the past two decades. Russians adopted Christianity in 989 from Byzantine Greeks, and the Russian Orthodox Church has maintained close ties with Greek clergy and monasteries.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Medjugorje Testimony of Fr. & Dr. Erich
Dr. Erich in Vienna shares testimony
Father and Doctor Erich shares his testimony in Vienna
Used with permission from Christian Stelzer  

November 24, 2011

Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! Today when Heaven is near to you in a special way, I call you to prayer so that through prayer you place God in the first place. Little children, today I am near you and I bless each of you with my motherly blessing so that you have the strength and love for all the people you meet in your earthly life and that you can give God's love. I rejoice with you and I desire to tell you that your brother Slavko has been born into Heaven and intercedes for you. Thank you for having responded to my call." (November 25, 2000)

Today is the anniversary of the death of Fr. Slavko Barbaric, O.F.M. Fr. Slavko died on Mount Krizevac after completing the Way of the Cross. He remains with us all as an example and an intercessor. Thank you, Fr. Slavko.

Today I want to share this beautiful testimony given in Vienna at St. Stephens Cathedral, on November 17, 2011. Dr. (Rev.) Erich Cohen (I am not sure of the spelling of his name) shared of his journey from a family with no faith to the priesthood. His story is intertwined with Fr. Slavko in a special way. (The video of this testimony may be found on the video entitled "Ivan's sharing" in the video player entitled Ivan & Cardinal Schoenborn in St. Stephens Cathedral.)

Witness of Dr. Erich Coehn at St. Stephens Cathedral, November 17, 2011:

Yes May Jesus Christ be praised! I am happy that so many people have come to give honor to the Mother of God. In a message she told us: "Be witnesses" and so I wish to give witness to the glory of God and to the Mother of God, who has done so much good in my life.

I come from a family in Tyrol in which faith played no role whatsoever. We were very far away from God, but there was a woman, my Grandmother. She was praying. She was praying for us. She has interceded for us and through her intercession much good has come. She became old, and forgetful. She even forgot to pray, we could say. But in me, God had listened to her, and he planted the seed of faith in my heart.

It began with a crisis. I was in love, and I was looking for the meaning in life. I was thinking about what is important and what is not important. And I found a passage from the Bible in my memory, and it said, "Do unto others what you would have done unto you." And so I thought, if this is in the Bible, I don't need to reflect much more. I will read the Bible, it will be quicker. So I started to spend a lot of time with the Bible, and take a lot of time to read it. I was about 20 years old. I was a student. People came to me, like the Jehovah's Witnesses or the sect of Moon, and they invited me to walk with them, and I actually walked with those sects for a time. It was not easy to get out of those sects. It was not easy.

But I had a very strong experience, and I felt the love of God. And that experience brought me to search for this God. Where does he live, this God? I was allowed to experience God while in the sect of Moon and the Jehovah's Witnesses. I woke up one day and I knew where my home was. I began to know who I was and whom I belonged to. I don't know why. I was living in Innsbruck, in the middle of the city. I went to the window, and the whole city was full of people. There were people on both sides if the street. And I said to them, "Why are you standing in the middle of the street?" And they said, "The Pope is coming to Innsbruck." And I said, "OK." I was standing on the road, and truly, the Pope came in the pope mobile. And he drove straight past the house I was living in and was so close to me. I have never been with him since then. He was 2 meters away, the road was a very narrow one and I was so close to him. And then I went to celebrate the Mass of the Pope, with everybody. It was a very deep experience.

In the spiritual battle [in my soul], the topic was, "Is Jesus really present in the Eucharist or is it just a piece of bread?" That was my spiritual battle. I decided that Jesus is present, Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. I decided He was there. And I was a member of the Catholic Church from then on. Every Sunday I went to Mass after that, and I was in love with God. I can say that as the Mass continued, when the Pope held up the Cross and he said, "Behold your mother, Behold your son," I didn't know what to do with Our Lady at the time. I didn't understand the Mother of God.
But I was busy with Hildegard of Bingen, and her medicine. And in one of her writings she spoke about Heaven, Hell, and Purgatory. And I read in a brochure of Fatima something about this [Heaven, Hell and Purgatory] as well. And when I looked it up, it matched [with what Hildegard had written]. And so I thought "How could the visionaries of Fatima know something of Hildegard of Bingen?" So what happened in Fatima must be true. And that is how I found the Mother of God.

I began to pray the Rosary. Praying the Rosary brought freedom in me, a deliverance in me. When I prayed it for the first time, there was truly dirt and dust around me, and I felt that the dirt and dust was around me and in my soul. I knew it. And I saw that the Rosary is the strongest prayer of protection because we take refuge under Our Lady's mantle. So how did I reach Medjugorje?

My sister did not have much faith and she was talking badly about Medjugorje and making jokes about it. And I said, "If my sister speaks badly about Medjugorje there must be something to it." So how would I get there? I asked and found out about a lady from Innsbruck who did trips to Medjugorje. And that lady didn't do trips in 1993 because there was a war. So she told me to go to Herbert Lebeirer and he told me a bus from the north of Germany, from Bingen, was going to Medjugorje. So I took that bus from Bingen. Just as Hildegard of Bingen was the one to show me the path to Our Lady first, I happened to take a bus from Bingen to go to Medjugorje for the first time - a little detail.

I had a good friend who is a Carthusian. At the time he was a Merciful Brother. He gave me a "Golden Book". He said that when the time has come, then read a bit in that Golden Book. Well without knowing it, I was beginning the Consecration. I didn't know that Medjugorje actually existed, but on the 30th day of that Consecration, I was in Medjugorje. And during the apparition time I made my Consecration to Mary. This is how I arrived in Medjugorje.

I became active in prayer groups, prayer circles. For me this was a very special time because the family of the prayer circle kept me in the faith, encouraged me and carried me. And so I can say that prayer groups, prayer circles are very important now.

Then I finished my studies. I became a medical doctor. After studies, after I began to work, I thought to open my own medical practice. [But first] I thought I would pray a bit, and so I went to the Community of the Beatitudes and lived for a while in Austria. I liked the group very much and I wanted to enter them, and to stay there. But I went to Medjugorje for one year and then things were done I thought. I was going to get married, perhaps stay in Medjugorje as a doctor. There were very few of them at the time. And I was happy with that plan, with what I thought would be my life.

But on one Friday we were doing the Way of the Cross, in November. It was the 24th of November. It was a day when it was raining. And I thought to myself, would I do the Way of the Cross on Krizevac or wouldn't I? It was wet, cold and slippery, and I didn't feel like going. So I had my little battle and I said, "Yes, I will join the Way of the Cross with the parish."

And when I reached the top, Fr. Slavko was before me, with the group of the parish. When I arrived at the 13th Station, I saw young people running, upset, and I thought they were completely crazy, because in the rain you don't run on that slippery earth, on Krizevac, it is very foolish. But I went up and I saw a priest sort of sitting between the rocks. I saw Fr. Slavko was dying. He was already dying. We prayed together and in that moment, it was a mystical moment I must say, the rain stopped, a little rainbow appeared over the church. We all saw it. The clouds had full sun on them. I knew Fr. Slavko had joined heaven.

Six of us carried him down. It was very difficult to carry him down. He was dead, but from the back he banged my back, knocked on my back with his arm. And I remembered that when I spoke with him for the first time that I perhaps had a vocation, he knocked my chest with his hand. First he knocked my heart in my chest, and this time he banged me on my back, saying, "Come on, get going!" And then I went down into the church and without a reason I started to cry for one or two hours in the church. And since that moment, Fr. Slavko has interceded for a great gift for me, a great grace. It is not to look at myself, but to trust in God and serve man. That was the beginning of my path to the priesthood. I then decided to be a priest.

I left the community. I went to Rome. I went to the seminary. I went to the diocese. I became a deacon, I was consecrated. And three years ago, I became a priest. And so I can say that the Mother of God has always been my companion, all my life. Until now she has guided me. She has protected me in very difficult situations. I want to encourage you to always accept this protection. She is here for us. She helps us. She is a great grace. And the vocation for many goes through Medjugorje these days. I want to thank the Mother of God for everything she has done for us and all she is doing for us through her presence. I want to thank Fr. Slavko for his graces and his help. And I want to thank Blessed John Paul II; I want to thank him, who gave birth to me into the Church. He bore me into the Church.

I wish you a beautiful evening full of blessings. And may the Mother of God live in your hearts together with Jesus! (Reverend and Doctor Erich Cohen, Vienna, 11/17/2011)

On this Thanksgiving Day in the USA, we all give thanks for Fr. Slavko Barbaric and his steadfast witness to Our Lady of Medjugorje. And we thank Our Lady for her steadfast love for each of us!

Have a blessed day in Jesus and Mary!
Cathy Nolan
Mary TV

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sky View: T.S. Eliot: God or Dictatorship

Sky View: T.S. Eliot: God or Dictatorship
Bishop Fulton Sheen (1943): "We do not yet realize this truth, but it is an indisputable fact that a nation's education is far more important than a nation's government. Given one generation educated on the principle that there is no absolute Truth or Justice and our next generation will be a government of power."

Catholic philosopher Etienne Gilson (1951): "To the full extent that it educates, the State educates in view of itself…The only conceivable end of a State-owned education is the State itself. States themselves may not know it. They may sincerely believe that nothing is more foreign to their honest intentions; yet, to put it bluntly, the only reason why a State may not want children to be educated in view of God is that it wants them to be educated in view of itself. Totalitarian education does nothing more than go the whole way along the same line. The result is what we know: political, economic, intellectual and spiritual slavery."

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011



Baker Won't Play Flour Girl at Gay 'Wedding'

She may be a baker, but Victoria Childress isn't in it for the dough. At her Iowa Cake Cottage, she knows the recipe for success is sticking by your convictions--even if it costs you some business. So when two lesbians asked Childress to make their "wedding" cake this fall, she politely refused. "She introduced herself," Childress told Fox News, "and I said, 'Is this your sister?' She said, 'No, this is my partner.'" At that point, Victoria knew what she had to do. "I was straight-forward with them and explained that I'm a Christian, and that I have very strong [beliefs]." When the couple went to the press with their story, gay activists launched a boycott. "It's not to discriminate against them," Victoria explained on TV. "As I keep saying, it's not so much to do with them as it's to do with me and my walk with God and what I will have to answer for."
The two lesbians don't see it that way. "It was degrading," they told KCCI. But apparently, calling Victoria a bigot is not? Obviously, the only form of discrimination that's acceptable in this country is directed at men and women of faith. Whether this couple likes it or not, religious freedom is for everyone--including Christian business owners. Just because Victoria runs a bakery doesn't mean she has to check her conscience at the kitchen door. Childress is well within her rights to decline an order that would force her to join in the assault on marriage.
Usually, homosexual activists like to sugar-coat their agenda--but not these two. The couple came right out and admitted that this controversy " is not about cake or someone's right to refuse service to a customer." It's about running Christians out of business. Unfortunately, Americans don't seem to understand that religious freedom and same-sex "marriage" can never coexist. Why? Because the Left's definition of "tolerance" is surrender. And until more people like Victoria dig in their heels and refuse, homosexual activists will continue to bully anyone who disagrees with them.
Despite the threats and hate mail, Victoria has no regrets. "People are telling me they were proud of me for standing up for my beliefs because not many people do that these days," she said. "Business people are afraid to because they're afraid to lose money." At the Cake Cottage, Victoria isn't worried about her profits getting battered. This baker's here to serve Jesus.


Thursday, November 17, 2011, St. Elizabeth of Hungary

1 Maccabees 2:15-29, Psalm 50:1-2, 5-6, 14-15, Luke 19:41-44
Link to Readings -->


"Mattathias answered in a loud voice...'We will not obey the words of the king nor depart from our religion in the slightest degree.' " -1 Maccabees 2:19, 22

Mattathias would not be manipulated or intimidated into compromising his faith. He refused to be a hypocrite and a phony. He refused to be lukewarm and sickening to God (Rv 3:16). For Mattathias to be uncompromised and faithful, he had to flee "to the mountains with his sons, leaving behind in the city all their possessions" (1 Mc 2:28).
We are much like Mattathias. We live in a "culture of death." We live in a post-Christian, anti-Christian era. In this culture, faithfulness is not cheap. To be faithful, not phony, we will have to make great sacrifices. Like Mattathias, we may need to leave behind our possessions and have the courage to live a radically different lifestyle (The Gospel of Life, 98, Pope John Paul II). To be faithful to the Lord in our "culture of death," we will have to reject the cults of individualism and independence, and choose Christian community and submission to the Lord and His Church. To be hot for Jesus and not lukewarm, we will need to deny our very selves and our selfishness to take up the cross each day (Lk 9:23).
Are you going to be faithful or phony? Will you accept God's grace to pay the price of faithfulness?

Prayer: Father, teach us "the path to peace this day" so we will recognize the time of our visitation (Lk 19:42, 44).

Promise: "Many who sought to live according to righteousness and religious custom went out into the desert to settle there." -1 Mc 2:29

Praise: St. Elizabeth served rather than dominated her people by dressing simply and feeding hundreds who were hungry.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011



Every family and ancestry – save for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph -- has tendencies that were or are negative and need to be purged. It could be a family inclination to selfishness, division, pride, or argumentation. It could be occultism. It could be a preoccupation with materialism. It could be lying. These characteristics need to be cast out as “spirits” – blotches of darkness -- or they will repeat themselves like a broken record in our lives and then in the lives of those who come after us. “Loving families lay the foundation for our eternal progress,” writes another who had a near-death episode.
“They help us build strengths, identify and overcome weaknesses, and bring challenges of their own for us to overcome. They significantly influence us in our earthly missions and affect how we influence others in their missions. Every family bond – with spouse, children, parents, grandparents, grandchildren, in-laws, uncles, cousins, etcetera – can play a crucial role in teaching us how to love and be loved.”

 When the sin is intense, claims Father John Hampsch, who wrote a seminal book called Healing the Family Tree, the effects may go beyond the three or four generations so commonly mentioned. The greater the sin, the more darkness we attract. We also may draw demonic spirits of a higher level. As the Bible tells us, there are powers and principalities. They mimic the hierarchy of angels (seraphim, cherubim, thrones, dominions, virtues, powers, principalities, archangels, and angels). 

There are also earthbound or departed “familial” spirits – those who have not “gone on.” These are spirits that have attached themselves to a person, family, things, or locations. If someone commits a murder, this is a strong force that attracts the demonic.  If there is a spirit that was addicted to sex, drugs, or alcohol, it may seek to draw from or enter a living person who is indulging in excessive alcohol or illicit sex (in order to re-experience it). An involvement in the occult is a transgression known to greatly enhance spiritual infestation.

When a person invokes spirits of the dead -- or worse, dabbles with black magic, witchcraft, or Satanism -- dark forces congregate. Father Hampsch has advised that all “objects that have been used for occultic or spiritualist activities should be destroyed, for they tend to attract evil spirits,” including charms and astrological symbols.  We are told in Leviticus 19:31 that recourse to spirits of the dead or magicians will “defile” us – and they defile our lineages. “When we are around things of the occult, whether it is books, signs, symbols, or even hard-core rock music, it contaminates the spirit,” adds another expert, Father Robert DeGrandis. “This is why oftentimes charismatics can’t listen to hard rock. The Holy Spirit and their spirit are resisting the intrusion of contamination.”

The point: spirits – or darkness, in some form -- may gather around a person. Meanwhile, when a person dies, the spirits look for another host – often opting for whoever is nearest or a weak point in the family tree.

Evil that has accumulated through the generations can concentrate around a “magnet” point, opening a dark conduit. The result can be misfortune not only for the person, but also for those around the person. Sickness. Accidents. Bad luck. A person can have a little train of spirits following him. When it comes down through the family tree, it can be defeated only through humility.

A former priest named Francis MacNutt who ministers in this realm recommends the following prayer:

“Lord Jesus, gently reveal to me, through the Holy Spirit, those ways in which I may be living out certain patterns of inherited weakness or sin.” [Here wait to see what you receive in prayer.] “Now, Jesus, if there is any predisposition in me to (alcoholism, lust, etcetera) that has come down to me through my ancestry, I ask you through your power to set me free. Send your Holy Spirit, and by the power of your Spirit and by the sword of the Spirit, cut me free from that disposition to [here name it]. For any sins I or my ancestors have committed in this regard, I ask your forgiveness, Lord. In the Name of Jesus Christ and His Precious Blood, set me free, heavenly Father. And now, Lord Jesus, in place of this weakness, fill me with the power of your Spirit; fill me with your spirit of (self-control, courage, sobriety or whatever gift counteracts the weakness you have). And Lord, I ask you also to cut my children free from any harmful disposition they may have inherited from me or my ancestors.”

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

May's Miracle Part 1/3

Confronting cynicism with prudence

Confronting cynicism with prudence


Knowledge of what happened before us is not a hobby.

A majority of New Yorkers surveyed by a classical radio station think Beethoven was a dog. It is the price paid for isolation from a larger culture.

Knowledge of what happened before us is not a hobby. To call someone a history buff is like calling someone a DNA buff. We are walking inheritances, and if we do not know about people who lived before us, we cannot know ourselves. Lacking experience of what Matthew Arnold called "the best which has been thought and said," we cannot prudently reject the worst that has been thought and said.
Prudence is the guide for its fellow natural virtues: it discerns justice, which in turn justifies temperance, which then tempers courage. Aristotle called prudence "right reason in action." Prudence analyzes experience, correctly judges what is right and wrong, and acts accordingly. It is imprudent to underestimate the machinations of evil. Christ requires prudence in a world hostile to Christ: "Behold, I am sending you as lambs among wolves; be therefore crafty as snakes and innocent as doves" (Matthew 10:16).
The prudent remember, for example, that the Nazis began the invasion of Poland on September 1, 1939, a Friday, and that the British cabinet members were taken by surprise because "gentlemen do not start wars on weekends." Better knowledge of history would have taught them that the Devil is not a gentleman.

Craftiness without innocence is cynical, and innocence without craftiness is naive. The cynic mocks those who are naive. It would be naive to be surprised by the increasing mockery of religion in our cynical society. It would be imprudent not to detect cynicism in the current Administration's opposition to the addition of a prayer to the World War II Memorial in our capital. The director of the Bureau of Land Management said that it would "dilute the memorial's message."

That prayer, read over the radio by President Roosevelt on June 6, 1944, at the start of the Normandy invasion, ended: 
"O Lord, give us Faith in Thee; Faith in our sons; Faith in each other; Faith in our united crusade. Let not the keenness of our spirit ever be dulled. Let not the impacts of temporary events, of temporal matters of but fleeting moment – let not these deter us in our unconquerable purpose. With Thy blessing, we shall prevail over the unholy forces of our enemy. Help us to conquer the apostles of greed and racial arrogances. Lead us to the saving of our country, and with our sister Nations into a world unity that will spell a sure peace – a peace invulnerable to the schemings of unworthy men. And a peace that will let all of men live in freedom, reaping the just rewards of their honest toil. Thy will be done, Almighty God. Amen."

Prudence knows that this prayer does not "dilute the message." It is the message.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Da Mihi Animas: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos

Da Mihi Animas: Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos  go to for short video

The following comes from the site:

Francis Xavier Seelos was born on January 11, 1819 in Fussen, Bavaria, Germany. He was baptized on the same day in the parish church of St. Mang. Having expressed a desire for the priesthood since childhood, he entered the diocesan seminary in 1842 after having completed his studies in philosophy. Soon after meeting the missionaries of the Congregation of the Most Holy Redeemer (Redemptorists), founded for the evangelization of the most abandoned, he decided to enter the Congregation and to minister to the German speaking immigrants in the United States. He was accepted by the Congregation on November 22, 1842, and sailed the following year from Le Havre, France arriving in New York on April 20, 1843. On December 22, 1844, after having completed his novitiate and theological studies, Seelos was ordained a priest in the Redemptorist Church of St. James in Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.

After being ordained, he worked for nine years in the parish of St. Philomena in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, first as assistant pastor with St. John Neumann, the superior of the Religious Community, and later as Superior himself and for the last three years as pastor. During this time, he was also the Redemptorist Novice Master. With Neumann he also dedicated himself to preaching missions. Regarding their relationship, Seelos said: “He has introduced me to the active life” and, “he has guided me as a spiritual director and confessor.”

His availability and innate kindness in understanding and responding to the needs of the faithful, quickly made him well known as an expert confessor and spiritual director, so much so that people came to him even from neighboring towns. Faithful to the Redemptorist charism, he practiced a simple lifestyle and a simple manner of expressing himself. The themes of his preaching, rich in biblical content, were always heard and understood even by everyone, regardless of education, culture, or background. A constant endeavor in this pastoral activity was instructing the little children in the faith. He not only favored this ministry, he held it as fundamental for the growth of the Christian community in the parish. In 1854, he was transferred from Pittsburgh, to Baltimore, then Cumberland in 1857, and to Annapolis (1862), all the while engaged in parish ministry and serving in the formation of future Redemptorists as Prefect of Students. Even in this post, he was true to his character remaining always the kind and happy pastor, prudently attentive to the needs of his students and conscientious of their doctrinal formation. Above all, he strove to instill in these future Redemptorist missionaries the enthusiasm, the spirit of sacrifice and apostolic zeal for the spiritual and temporal welfare of the people.

In 1860 he was proposed as a candidate for the office of Bishop of Pittsburgh. Having been excused from this responsibility by Pope Pius IX, from 1863 until 1866 he dedicated himself to the life of an itinerant missionary preaching in English and German in the states of Connecticut, Illinois, Michigan, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and Wisconsin.

After a brief period of parish ministry in Detroit, Michigan, he was assigned in 1866 to the Redemptorist community in New Orleans, Louisiana. Here also, as pastor of the Church of St. Mary of the Assumption, he was known as a pastor who was joyously available to his faithful and singularly concerned for the poorest and the most abandoned. In God’s plan, however, his ministry in New Orleans was destined to be brief. In the month of September, exhausted from visiting and caring for the victims of yellow fever, he contracted the dreaded disease. After several weeks of patiently enduring his illness, he passed on to eternal life on October 4, 1867, at the age of 48 years and 9 months.

His Holiness Pope John Paul II, proclaimed Father Seelos Blessed in St. Peter's Square on April 9th of the Solemn Jubilee Year 2000. His Feast Day is October 5.