Friday, February 26, 2010

Those Little-Known "Theologians" Who Teach Us the Most About God

In a guest spot at Creative Minority Report, Marcel Lejeune of Mary's Aggies writes on the theologians who have had the most influence on him:
... Now, for the top five. These are names you may not recognize, but they have taught me more about God than anybody else.

They are – Kyra, Dominic, Olivia, Anna, and Elise – in no particular order. They are, of course, my kids (yes, 4 of 5 are girls – blessed am I among women).

I can’t think of anyone else who has helped me learn more about God than these kids who range from 10 to 2 years in age. They are the most insightful little monkeys you ever met. I offer three examples...


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Thursday, February 25, 2010

Rep. Cao's Campaign Contributions Are Low

As a rule, I don't give money to political campaigns. I make no exceptions. But for those of you who do contribute to political campaigns (especially those interested in contributing to solidly pro-life candidates), Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao could use your help:
WASHINGTON (AP) - The lone Republican lawmaker to support Democratic health care legislation has seen his fundraising drop by nearly 40 percent since his vote, and he is quickly burning through a dwindling bank account after resorting to a costly national fundraising operation.

Rep. Anh "Joseph" Cao, the unlikely congressman from New Orleans, is facing the perils of bipartisanship unlike any other lawmaker in Washington - trying to please a heavily Democratic constituency while relying on core conservatives for money to fuel his campaign.

Although Republican leaders have continued supporting Cao with money from their campaign committees despite his health care position, the conservative donors he's courting around the country may not be so forgiving...
Here's Rep. Cao in action on the floor of the House of Representatives:

(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Rep. Joseph Cao: Abortion, Individual Rights, and Personal Responsibility

Rep. Joseph Cao Likely to Oppose Health Care on Final Vote

Congressman Cao: Courage, Conscience, and Catholicism

Newsworthy Dads: Another Catholic in the House

I Didn't Know That ...

Young Faithful Catholics Jump into Political Ring

Jesuits Produce a Great Political Candidate

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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Bernie Sanders Says Climate Change Skeptics Remind Him of Nazi Appeasers

The U.S. Senate's only socialist member (at least he's the only one who will own up to being one), Bernie Sanders of the People's Republic of Vermont, says climate change skeptics remind him of those who denied the Nazis were a threat:
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders is comparing climate change skeptics to those who disregarded the Nazi threat to America in the 1930s, adding a strident rhetorical shot to the already volatile debate over climate change.

"It reminds me in some ways of the debate taking place in this country and around the world in the late 1930s," said Sanders, perhaps the most liberal member of the Senate, during a Senate hearing Tuesday. "During that period of Nazism and fascism's growth-a real danger to the United States and democratic countries around the world- there were people in this country and in the British parliament who said 'don't worry! Hitler's not real! It'll disappear!"

Sanders’ reference to the Nazi threat is sure to enrage Republicans who are already skeptical of the science behind climate change. But Sanders wasn't the only one throwing bombs at a hearing that was ostensibly about the EPA's fiscal 2011 budget. Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.), who has called global warming a "hoax," is asking for an investigation into the science used in the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the governing body on climate science.

Earlier in the hearing, Inhofe had chided Sanders: "I know the senator from Vermont wants so badly to believe that the science on climate change is settled but it's not."

[Read more]
My Comments:
That's all right, Bernie, because the climate change proponents, their tactics, and their policy preferences seem to me to bear a remarkable resemblance to the Soviet-era Stalinists.

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Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Coming to the Supreme Court: "Religious Liberty’s Battle of Hastings"

At Southern Appeal, Quin Hilyer reports on an important religious liberty case that will be coming before the Supreme Court this spring:
Imagine a law school that refuses to recognize a Christian student group because it requires its officers to be… yes, Christian. We at the Washington Times editorialized on it today. More on the case available here. A key paragraph from the masterful lead brief for the Christian Legal Society by the peerless Michael McConnell is here:
A “variety of viewpoints” is far more likely to beachieved when students are allowed to sort themselves out by interest and viewpoint—Republicans in one club, Democrats in another; Muslims in one organization, Lutherans in another. Without such sorting, all viewpoints are blurred. The Democratic Caucus becomes the Bipartisan Caucus; the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim clubs become the Ecumenical Society; and every other group organized around a belief becomes a Debate Club. Each group becomes no more than its own diverse forum—writ small. The all-comers rule thus defeats the very purpose of recognizing any group as a group in the first place. Preventing students from organizing around shared beliefs does not foster a robust or diverse exchange of views.
This is a crucially important case. Free speech, free religion, and free association all hang in the balance.

(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)

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His Excellency, George Washington

I meant to post this yesterday in honor of the birthdy of the Father of Our Country:

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Remember Remember the Fifth of November

In Honor of the Father of Our Country - His Excellency, George Washington

Bill Would Honor Washington and Lincoln Separately

The Conversion of George Washington

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Monday, February 22, 2010

"Terminally Ill" Lockerbie Bomber, Freed on "Compassionate" Grounds, Still Alive and Living in Luxury Villa 6 Months After Being at "Death's Door"

Big frickin' surprise (NOT!):
The man convicted of the Lockerbie bombing is living with his family in a luxury villa in Libya six months after he was released from jail on compassionate grounds because he had less than three months to live.

Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed al-Megrahi, who is suffering from terminal prostate cancer, no longer receives hospital treatment after ending the course of chemotherapy that he had been given after returning to his homeland last August.

Professor Karol Sikora, the London-based doctor who examined Megrahi and predicted he would be dead by last October, admitted this weekend that the fact the bomber is still alive might be "difficult" for the families of the 270 victims of the attack.

Most did not want Megrahi released and they suspected he would live longer than the predicted three months.

The Sunday Telegraph revealed last September that the Libyan government had paid for the medical evidence which helped Megrahi, 57, to be released. The Libyans had encouraged doctors to say he had only three months to live.

The life expectancy of Megrahi was crucial because, under Scottish rules, prisoners can be freed on compassionate grounds only if they are considered to have this amount of time, or less, to live.

Kenny MacAskill, the Scottish Justice Secretary, ruled last August that Megrahi should be freed. Megrahi's release came after Libyan leaders warned that lucrative oil and trade deals with Britain would be cancelled if the bomber died in jail ...
My Comments:
I suppose Tony A will be along at some point to explain how all us vengeful "Calvinists" are sick, morbid monsters for holding it against the guy that he's still alive. No, the problem is that the guy is still alive and NOT IN JAIL, while his victims and their families have, once again, been denied justice.

For, now we know that, not only was so-called "compassion" NOT the motivating factor behind the terrorist's release (the real motivating factor would be greed, as the UK was more interested in saving its lucrative oil deals with Libya than it was in being "compassionate"), but the terrorist himself was NEVER EVEN ON the threshold of "death's door" as claimed.


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
New York Archbishop: Mistake to Release Lockerbie Bomber

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Friday, February 19, 2010

Notre Dame's Frs. Hesburgh, Jenkins, and Scully urge Democrats not to kill school choice

Prof. Rick Garnett reports at Mirror of Justice:
Dear Senator Durbin and Secretary Duncan,

... We write today because we are all deeply disappointed by the turn of events that has led to the imminent demise of the Washington DC Opportunity Scholarship Program (OSP), and we are gravely concerned about the effects that the unprecedented gestures that have jeopardized this program will have on some of the most at-risk children in our nation’s capital.


Three decades of research tell us that Catholic schools are often the best providers of educational opportunity to poor and minority children. Students who attend Catholic schools are 42 percent more likely to graduate from high school and are two and a half times more likely to graduate from college than their peers in public schools. Recent scholarship on high school graduation rates in Milwaukee confirms that programs like the OSP can, over time, create remarkable opportunities for at-risk children. And after only three years, the research commissioned by the Department of Education is clear and strong with regard to the success of the OSP, as you both well know. This program empowers parents to become more involved in their children’s education. Parents of OSP students argue that their children are doing better in school, and they report that these scholarships have given their families an opportunity to break the cycle of poverty. If this program ends, these parents will be forced to send their children back to a school system that is ranked among the worst in the nation, into schools they fought desperately to leave just a few years ago.

At Notre Dame, we have recently witnessed the painful but logical outcomes of your failure to save the OSP. For the past three years, the University of Notre Dame has worked in close partnership with Holy Redeemer School, a preK-8 Catholic school community located just a few blocks from Senator Durbin’s office on the Hill. In fact, Senator Durbin visited the school and expressed his deeply favorable impression. We too have witnessed the transformative capacity of Holy Redeemer, a place where parents report feeling a sincere sense of ownership in their children’s education for the first time in their lives. Indeed, over the past three years strong leadership, excellent academics, low teacher turnover, and committed parents have all contributed to truly outstanding gains in student achievement. The children at Holy Redeemer were, unlike so many of their peers, on the path to college.

So we were deeply saddened to learn that the impending termination of the OSP has put the school in an untenable situation, leading the pastor to conclude that the school must be closed. Families are presently being notified that their children will have to find a new school next year. The end of the OSP represents more than the demise of a relatively small federal program; it spells the end of more than a half-century of quality Catholic education for some of the most at-risk African American children in the District. That this program is being allowed to end is both unnecessary and unjust...

[Read the whole thing]

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
"A Deep Resonance With Catholic Social Teaching"?

Yet Another "Non-Negotiable" Item ...

Obama Continues to Act Like a Typical Left-Liberal Democrat Politician Re: Education

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Prayers for a Friday of Lent

The following prayers appear in The Sadness of Christ, by St. Thomas More - the last book written by the martyred English saint while he awaited his execution in the Tower of London:
Psalm on Detachment

Give me thy grace, good Lord:
To set the world at nought;
To set my mind fast upon thee,
And not to hang upon the blast of men’s mouths;
To be content to be solitary,
Not to long for worldly company;
Little and little utterly to cast off the world,
And rid my mind of all the business thereof;
Not to long to hear of any worldly things,
But that the hearing of worldly phantasies may be to me displeasant;
Gladly to be thinking of God,
Piteously to call for his help;
To lean unto the comfort of God,
Busily to labor to love him;
To know mine own vility and wretchedness,
To humble and meeken myself under the mighty hand of God;
To bewail my sins passed,
For the purging of them patiently to suffer adversity;
Gladly to bear my purgatory here,
To be joyful of tribulations;
To walk the narrow way that leadeth to life,
To bear the cross with Christ;
To have the last thing in remembrance,
To have ever afore mine eye my death that is ever at hand;
To make death no stranger to me,
To foresee and consider the everlasting fire of hell;
To pray for pardon before the judge come,
To have continually in mind the passion that Christ suffered for me;
For his benefits uncessantly to give him thanks,
To buy the time again that I before have lost;
To abstain from vain confabulations,
To eschew light foolish mirth and gladness;
Recreations not necessary — to cut off;
Of worldly substance, friends, liberty, life and all, to set the loss
at right nought for the winning of Christ;
To think my most enemies my best friends,
For the brethren of Joseph could never have done him so much good
with their love and favor as they did him with their malice and hatred.

These minds are more to be desired of every man than all the treasure
of all the princes and kings, Christian and heathen, were it
gathered and laid together all upon one heap .

~ St. Thomas More, Written while imprisoned in the Tower of London, 1534

A Devout Prayer

O HOLY TRINITY, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, three equal and coeternal Persons, and one Almighty God, have mercy on me, vile, abject, abominable, sinful wretch: meekly knowledging before thine High Majesty my long-continued sinful life, even from my very childhood hitherto.

In my childhood, in this point and that point, etc. After my childhood in this point and that point, and so forth by every age, etc.

Now, good gracious Lord, as thou givest me thy grace to knowledge them, so give me thy grace, not in only word but in heart also with very sorrowful contrition to repent them and utterly to forsake them. And forgive me those sins also, in which by mine own default, through evil affections and evil custom, my reason is with sensuality so blinded that I cannot discern them for sin. And illumine, good Lord, mine heart, and give me thy grace to know them, and forgive me my sins negligently forgotten, and bring them to my mind with grace to be purely confessed of them.

Glorious God, give me from henceforth thy grace, with little respect unto the world, so to set and fix firmly mine heart upon thee, that I may say with thy blessed apostle St Paul: Mundus mihi crucifixus est et ego mundo. Mihi vivere Christus est, et mori lucrum. Cupio dissolvi et esse cum Christo. [The world is crucified to me and I to the world’ (Gal. 6, 14). ‘To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain’ (Phil. 1, 21 ). ‘I desire to be dissolved and to be with Christ’ (ibid. 23).]

Give me thy grace to amend my life, and to have an eye to mine end without grudge of death, which to them that die in thee, good Lord, is the gate of a wealthy life.

Almighty God, Doce me facere voluntatem tuam. Fac me currere in odore unguentorum tuorum. Apprehende manum meam dexteram, et deduc me in via recta propter inimicos meos. Trahe me post te. In chamo et freno maxillas meas constringe, quum non approximo ad te. [‘Teach me to do thy will’ (Ps. 143, 10). ‘Make me to run after thee to the odour of thy ointments’ (Cant. 1, 3). ‘Take thou my right hand and guide me in the straight path because of my enemies’ (Passages from the Psalms). ‘Draw me after thee’ (Cant. 1, 3 ). ‘With bit and bridle bind fast my jaws when I come not near unto thee’ (Ps. 31, 9).]

O glorious God, all sinful fear, all sinful sorrow and pensiveness, all sinful hope, all sinful mirth, and gladness take from me. And on the other side concerning such fear, such sorrow, such heaviness, such comfort, consolation and gladness as shall be profitable for my soul: Fac mecum secundum magnam bonitatem tuam Domine. [Deal with me according to thy great goodness, O Lord’ (cf. Ps. 118, 124).]

Good Lord, give me the grace, in all my fear and agony, to have recourse to that great fear and wonderful agony that thou, my sweet Saviour, hadst at the Mount of Olivet before thy most bitter passion, and in the meditation thereof, to conceive ghostly comfort and consolation profitable for my soul.

Almighty God, take from me all vainglorious minds, all appetites of mine own praise, all envy, covetise, gluttony, sloth, and lechery, all wrathful affections, all appetite of revenging, all desire or delight of other folks’ harm, all pleasure in provoking any person to wrath and anger, all delight of exprobation or insultation against any person in their affliction and calamity.

And give me, good Lord, an humble, lowly, quiet, peaceable, patient, charitable, kind, tender, and pitiful mind, with all my works, and all my words, and all my thoughts, to have a taste of thy holy, blessed Spirit.

Give me, good Lord, a full faith, a firm hope, and a fervent charity, a love to the good Lord incomparable above the love to myself; and that I love nothing to thy displeasure, but everything in an order to thee.

Give me, good Lord, a longing to be with thee, not for the avoiding of the calamities of this wretched world, nor so much for the avoiding of the pains of purgatory, nor of the pains of hell neither, nor so much for the attaining of the joys of heaven, in respect of mine own commodity, as even for a very love to thee.

And bear me, good Lord, thy love and favour, which thing my love to theeward (were it never so great) could not but of thy great goodness deserve.

And pardon me, good Lord, that I am so bold to ask so high petitions, being so vile a sin-ful wretch, and so unworthy to attain the lowest. But yet, good Lord, such they be, as I am bounden to wish and should be nearer the effectual desire of them, if my manifold sins were not the let. From which, O glorious Trinity, vouchsafe of thy goodness to wash me, with that blessed blood that issued out of thy tender body, O sweet Saviour Christ, in the divers torments of thy most bitter passion.

Take from me, good Lord, this lukewarm fashion, or rather key-cold manner of meditation and this dullness in praying unto thee. And give me warmth, delight and quickness in thinking upon thee. And give me thy grace to long for thine holy sacraments, and specially to rejoice in the presence of thy very blessed body Sweet Saviour Christ, in the holy sacrament of the altar, and duly to thank thee for thy gracious visitation therewith, and at that high memorial, with tender compassion, to remember and consider thy most bitter passion.

Make us all, good Lord, virtually participant of that holy sacrament this day, and every day make us all lively members, sweet Saviour Christ, of thine holy mystical body, thy Catholic Church.

Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire. Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi, non confundar in aeternum.
[‘Deign, O Lord, to keep us on that day without sin. Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, as we have hoped in thee. In thee, O Lord, have I hoped, let me not be confounded for ever’ ( From the Te Deum ).]

V. Ora pro nobis, sancta Dei Genitrix.
R. Ut digni efficiamur promissionibus Christi.
[‘Pray for us, O holy mother of God. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.’]

PRO AMICIS [For Friends]

ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N. (with special meditation and consideration of every friend, as godly affection and occasion requireth)

PRO INIMICIS [For Enemies]

ALMIGHTY GOD, have mercy on N. and N., and on all that bear me evil will, and would me harm, and their faults and mine together, by such easy, tender, merciful means, as thine infinite wisdom best can devise, vouch-safe to amend and redress, and make us saved souls in heaven together where we may ever live and love together with thee and thy blessed saints. O glorious Trinity, for the bitter passion of our sweet Saviour Christ. Amen.

Lord, give me patience in tribulation and grace in everything to conform my will to thine: that I may truly say: Fiat voluntas tua, sicut in coelo et in terra. [‘Thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.’]

The things, good Lord, that I pray for, give me thy grace to labour for. Amen.

~ St. Thomas More, "A Devout Prayer [before Dying]", July 1535

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Thursday, February 18, 2010

Devout Dissident Catholic Kathleen Kennedy Townsend Attacks the Church ... Again

From the Contra Costa Times:
MORAGA — It didn't take long for Kathleen Kennedy Townsend to show Saint Mary's College students the renegade Catholic streak that got her blacklisted from religious speaking engagements and condemned by her parish priest.

"I think if you're in love, you should get married," the eldest daughter of Robert Kennedy said Tuesday when asked for her thoughts on same-sex marriage. "I think that's what Christ preached — love. "... So, Hallelujah for the lucky people in California that got the chance to be married."

The 58-year-old former lieutenant governor of Maryland rarely pulls a punch, particularly when discussing her celebrated Irish Catholic roots and frustration with her church's politics. She spoke to a packed Soda Center audience on the Moraga campus Tuesday night and in an earlier Times interview.

"The churches have failed America because they've narrowed faith to three issues: abortion, same-sex marriage and stem cell research," Townsend said. "And
I thought that my faith tradition was we should care about the least among us [ED.: She says without a hint of irony]. We should care about the poor, health care, immigration."


However, she has grown increasingly frustrated with Catholicism's political pillars. She wrote in the Nov. 6 issue of Newsweek about her disappointment with Catholic bishops speaking out against health care reform based on the abortion issue.

"Why are we hearing more about abortion and less about immigrants?" she asked. "That's always the criticism that they seem to be more interested in the unborn rather than the people actually here among us.


The church has struck back, denying her speaking engagements at Catholic schools in her home diocese of Baltimore.

"But that happened a while ago and I just realized they are afraid of women," she said with a chuckle. "And it took them 300 years to realize that Galileo was right."

(emphasis and editorial commentary added)

My Comments:
I've opined previously on my belief that this entire younger generation of Kennedys seems to be swimming in the shallow end of the gene pool at the Kennedy Compound.

But a brief perusal of the links below, in which Townsend harps on these same themes over and over and over again in attacking the Church and its teachings, indicate that this woman is particularly stuck on stupid.

I'll say it again: at least the previous generation of Kennedys had enough residual Catholicism to pretend to be faithful to the Church, and fudged their political preferences as being consistent with the demands of their faith by attesting to their so-called "personal opposition" to the immoral B.S. for which they continued to vote and publicly advocate. Unburdened, however, by such hypocrisy - or by the need to be seen as the face of Catholic America, this present generation of Kennedys have absolutely no qualms about directly attacking the Church, her Bishops, and her Magisterial teaching.

(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
A Kennedy Spits at the Church, and His Bishop Responds Harshly [UPDATED]

Newsweek: Obama More Catholic Than the Pope

Lefty Catholic Commentators Missed Their Chance to Dissuade Bishops on Abortion Stance

Kathryn Jean Lopez on the National Catholic Prayer Breakfast

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Joe Biden Confused About What Century We're In

Another entry from the Gaffe-o-Matic for the "If this were Sarah Palin ..." files:

The Associated Press dutifully scrubbed the flub in reporting the Vice-President's remarks:
“I absolutely refuse to accept the notion that the United States of America is not going to lead the world economically throughout the 21st Century,” Biden said during remarks to supporters on the Delta campus.
I wonder if Sarah Palin would have been given the same consideration? Yeah, right. To ask the question is to provide the answer.

Thank God that America was spared from having a total bufoon a heartbeat away from the Presidency. Oh ... wait ...

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

This Time of 40 Days

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Stond Wel Moder Under Rode

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Tuesday, February 16, 2010

This Year's Lenten Reading: The Gargoyle Code

The Gargoyle Code

I just received in the mail today my Lenten reading for the next 40 days. It is Fr. Dwight Longenecker's new book, The Gargoyle Code: Lenten Letters between a Master Tempter and his diabolical Trainee.

The Gargoyle Code is written, "in the tradition of The Screwtape Letters", as a series of daily communiques from one demonic entity (the Master Tempter Slubgrip) to another (Slubgrip's protege, Dogwart). Master and trainee are each embroiled in efforts to destroy the souls of their respective "patients": Slubgrip's, an older Catholic in failing health; Dogwart's, a confused young Catholic. The letters begin on Shrove Tuesday (a.k.a Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras) with Slubgrip admonishing Dogwart for attempting to use the Mardi Gras festivities to bring about the immediate moral degradation of the young Catholic "patient" under his influence. "Too much too soon," warns Slubgrip, "and they run away. You need to lead them downward slowly but surely."

And so begins the tutelage of Dogwart in the "art" of temptation. Slubgrip goes on to opine that the most predictable result of tempting the young Catholic to indulge in the Fat Tuesday revelry will be to remind him that the following day is Ash Wednesday, "and what we don't want him to do is attend Mass and go through that ridiculous ceremony where they smear ashes on their foreheads." Instead, the whole thing should be blocked out of his head, by reminding him of a TV program that he likes and having him sit up all night watching the banality on the screen, and by ensuring that he has plenty of junk food with which to engorge himself rather than fast for Ash Wednesday.

The following chapters, each a 1-2 page letter advising and/or critiquing the apprentice demon, provide an inside look at the diabolical and deceptive workings of the Underworld. Fortunately, we are warned at the beginning of the book by "Your Guardian" of the disturbing spiritual warfare techniques of the Evil One that are on display in the pages to follow.

So far, I have read the Introduction by "Your Guardian", the report by the "International Intelligence Agency" of intercepted and decoded transmissions of "what seem to be instructions and training for undercover agents working in the field of religious propaganda", and the first of the letters from Slubgrip pertaining to Shrove Tuesday. But from what I have read of the book at this point (as well as from Fr. Longenecker's past blog posts on The Gargoyle Code), I can highly recommend this book for your Lenten reading. I'm definitely looking forward to using Fr. Longenecker's book as part of my daily Lenten reflection.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

World May Not be Warming, Say Scientists


And heh, again.

But, you know, I'm just "anti-science" and a "denier".

UPDATE (16 February)

(Language Warning)

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Friday, February 12, 2010

Have the Bishops Missed a Teaching Opportunity With Regard to Torture?

Writing at both First Thoughts and The American Catholic, my friend Chris Blosser ponders whether a prime teaching opportunity has been missed by the U.S. Bishops in regard to the intrinsic evil of torture and the receipt of Holy Communion by those Catholics who advocate on behalf of so-called "enhanced interrogation techniques":
Writing at Vox Nova, the author known as “Morning’s Minion” has published a post calling for consistency in the application of canon 915 — the denial of Holy Communion to those who “obstinately persevere in manifest grave sin” — in this particular case, the public advocacy of abortion and torture. The post was occasioned by the recent appearance of Mark Thiessien on Raymond Arroyo’s “The World Over”, in which the duo lobbied vigorously in defense of waterboarding...


With respect to abortion, readers may recall a number of opportune moments during the 2008 presidential elections when Catholic bishops were obliged to speak out, publicly, forcefully and collectively, in correction of blatantly false presentations of Catholic teaching on abortion by Nancy Pelosi and (then) Senator Joseph Biden.

There have been numerous missed “teaching moments” for our bishops and the Catholic Church on the matter of torture.
The post by our old friend Tony A (aka Morning's Minion) that occasioned Chris's response isn't the first time Tony has raised this issue. And, as I noted at that time, I wholeheartedly concur with the notion that Catholics who publicly dissent from the Church's teachings on intrinsic evils such as abortion and torture should not receive Communion.

But, as has been pointed out in the comments at The American Catholic, it is not altogether clear that Tony actually agrees with the position being advocated. In his defense, I must admit that the torture debate is a tu-quoque-rich target for one intent on exposing the hypocrisy of pro-lifers on the right.

Nevertheless, if pointing out hypocrisy is the true intention of of Tony's post, I think it ill serves the seriousness of the subject matter. It assumes that those in favor of the Bishops taking corrective action against advoctes of legalized abortion are doing so merely for political reasons - to use the Eucharist as a "cudgel" against poltical opponents.

Abortion and torture are about as serious evils as man can devise. And the Eucharist - Christ Himself - is not a weapon to be used to score points - political, rhetorical, or otherwise - against those with whom we have philosophical differences. But if abortion and torture are what the Church claim they are, and if the Eucharist is Who the Church claims it is, then denial of Communion to those who publicly advocate against the Church's teaching on these matters seems not only appropriate, but imperative.

Here's where our old friend the Regular Guy, fresh off his heroic-but-unsuccessful run for the Illinois legislature, comes in with his usual cut-to-the-chase commentary:
As far as I can see, we already have perfectly consistent application of Canon 915. It is virtually never applied.

The bishops have consistently condemned both torture and abortion, and have done precious little against Catholic public figures who advocate either.
Yep, that about covers it.

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Thursday, February 11, 2010

Is the Left Beginning to Take Sarah Palin Seriously?

Or, perhaps, they ALWAYS took her seriously, which is why they took it upon themselves to destroy her from Day 1.

At any rate, some on the left now appear willing to openly discuss taking her seriously. For example, the so-called "Dean of the Washington press corps", David Broder, admonishes "Take Sarah Palin seriously" in today's Washington Post column:
... Her lengthy Saturday night keynote address to the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville and her debut on the Sunday morning talk show circuit with Fox News' Chris Wallace showed off a public figure at the top of her game -- a politician who knows who she is and how to sell herself, even with notes on her palm.

This was not the first time that Palin has impressed me. I gave her high marks for her vice presidential acceptance speech in St. Paul. But then, and always throughout that campaign, she was laboring to do more than establish her own place. She was selling a ticket headed by John McCain against formidable Democratic opposition and burdened by the legacy of the Bush administration.

Blessed with an enthusiastic audience of conservative activists, Palin used the Tea Party gathering and coverage on the cable networks to display the full repertoire she possesses, touching on national security, economics, fiscal and social policy, and every other area where she could draw a contrast with Barack Obama and point up what Republicans see as vulnerabilities in Washington.

Her invocation of "conservative principles and common-sense solutions" was perfectly conventional. What stood out in the eyes of TV-watching pols of both parties was the skill with which she drew a self-portrait that fit not just the wishes of the immediate audience but the mood of a significant slice of the broader electorate...

And talk about an unlikely source of praise, at The Huffington Post (of all places), we read this glowing piece by Joan Williams:
Addressing the Tea Party, Sarah Palin wrote three notes on her hand: "Energy, Taxes, Lift American Spirits." Why? She already had notes in front of her on the podium. Surely she could remember three simple themes. Why write notes on her hand?

Here's my take on why: she knew that they would be visible when she gave the speech. And she knew that she would be made fun of -- as so stupid that she needs to write notes on her hand. And that's one of her most effective tactics -- to be made fun of. It's an integral part of her strategy of standing in for hardworking, Middle Americans, derided by the condescending, know-it-all liberal elites.

So what does the Obama administration do? Press Secretary Robert Gibbs had a great idea: he made fun of her. He wrote a grocery list on his hand at a White House briefing, and belittled Palin for not being able to remember her message. Thus the White House became a vehicle for Palin's narrative of the snooty elites who think they're better than average Americans.

Palin is a brilliant strategist. First, note that I just repeated Palin's key talking points: Palin has even us fellow travelers at The Huffington Post repeating, "Energy, Taxes, Lift American Spirits." Talk about earned media.

Palin's ploy also spoke directly to ordinary Joe and Jane. By writing her script on her palm, she got to identify with the unscripted real folks, heightening the contrast with the golden-tongued Obama and his reliance on the teleprompter. Hasn't everyone sometimes written a note on her hand? Doesn't putting your message on your palm literally define the common touch? The elites were clueless.

Sarah Palin is playing chess. I don't know what game the Administration is playing, but they just walked right into her carefully laid trap. Palin, the strategist, is amazing to watch. Her brilliance is her ability to tap in to the class conflicts that drive American politics these days. Obama, whom I have supported since Iowa, just doesn't get it.

Here's what he doesn't get: He believes in the American dream. He believes that if you work hard, even if you come from a modest, single-mother family, you can make it. You can even become President.

For him that's true. In fact, it's true for everyone in the White House. They're all there based on merit and hard work.

But there are millions and millions of Americans are out there, working as hard as they can, some just as smart as Obama, who never get anywhere. They clean your shirts, mop your floor, fix your TIVO, sell your computer service contracts. They work hard their whole lives, and they feel left out, disrespected, undervalued -- treated as if they are stupid.

So there's the Obama Administration's spokesman reinforcing Palin's narrative, showing that the elites think that average people who write notes on their palms are stupid...
And yet, from certain quarters of the right, Palin is trashed relentlessly by those who claim to be "mystified" that otherwise intelligent people might admire her political skills in addition to her policy preferences.

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Tuesday, February 09, 2010

"The Gore Effect" Strikes Again

"The Gore Effect" is a well-documented phenomenon. In fact, "The Gore Effect" is probably a much more accurate prediction of weather and climate patterns than is the global warming "science" that Al Gore has spent the better part of 2 decades pimping.

Well, it seems "The Gore Effect" has struck again:
As D.C. continued to dig out from Snowmageddon and is keeping an eye on another storm system, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration was busy making a climate change announcement.

NOAA, part of the Department of Commerce, is going to be providing information to individuals and decision-makers through a new NOAA Climate Service office. “More and more, Americans are witnessing the impacts of climate change in their own backyards, including sea-level rise, longer growing seasons, changes in river flows, increases in heavy downpours, earlier snowmelt and extended ice-free seasons in our waters. People are searching for relevant and timely information about these changes to inform decision-making about virtually all aspects of their lives,” the release says.

Earlier snowmelt? That would be nice.

Turns out the release was planned prepared ahead of the snowstorm, which shut federal agencies today and forced its senders to hold a press conference by telephone instead of at the National Press Club.

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Monday, February 08, 2010

Ohio's Pro-Abort Speaker of the House Denies Routine Honor to Pro-Life Teen

Matt Hurley has the details:
COLUMBUS - In an unprecedented act of partisanship, House Speaker Armond Budish (D-Beechwood) denied Shelby County teen Elisabeth Trisler a legislative honor routinely presented to others. Budish is refusing to allow Trisler on the House floor to accept a legislative resolution. The resolution, authored by Rep. John Adams (R-Sidney), honors her accomplishment as the National Right to Life Oratory Contest winner. Such honorary resolutions are routinely presented at the start of Ohio House legislative sessions to constituents, including those who win athletic championships or academic contests...


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Contraception Key to Understanding Much Anti-Catholicism

Writing at both Creative Minority Report and National Catholic Register, Patrick Archbold explains "why contraception is the key to understanding much anti-Catholicism":
... So why would an adviser to President Obama’s on faith-based issues stand by such an offensive and unscientific remark? Why accuse the Pope, and by extension the entire Church—an organization that unarguably helps more people than any other—of hurting people in the name of Jesus?

The Washington Post article acknowledges the real reason behind the anti-papal backlash saying, “The condom has become a symbol of freedom and—along with contraception—female emancipation, so those who question condom orthodoxy are accused of being against these causes.”

Believe it or not, this is really about abortion. Knox and others recognize, wittingly or unwittingly, that the foundation of modern sexual liberation relies upon denying or removing any of the consequences of that sinful behavior, even to the point of killing. They also know that the contraceptive mentality underpins the entire culture of death. The contraceptive and utilitarian view of life and of procreation is the “mitochondrial Eve” from which all the horrors of the culture of death are descended. Abortion, ESCR, and euthanasia all call contraception “mother.”

That is why any acknowledgment, no matter how trivial, obvious, or scientific, that calls into question the magic consequence-erasing power of contraception must be attacked with all vigor...


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Boehner Says We Can't Have "Anti-Catholic Bigot" in White House, Calls for Obama Adviser to Resign

Obama Adviser Stands by Assertion That Pope Benedict XVI Is "Hurting People in the Name of Jesus"

Asking for an Ass Beating

Obama Names Pope-Basher to Faith-Based Initiative Board

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Friday, February 05, 2010

Obama Dismisses Plea for "Centrism" as "Do[ing] the Same Thing That Was Being Done Before" (i.e. a Return to Bushism)

The Washington Post political blog, PostPartisan, reports:
The pivotal moment came when Sen. Blanche Lincoln of deep-red Arkansas, a centrist who’s on her way to defeat in November, practically begged the president to repudiate “extreme” liberals -- a clear reference to the Nancy Pelosi-led House -- and tack to the center. Arguing that the Democrats’ ambitious legislative agenda was sowing job-destroying “uncertainty” in the business community, she asked: “Are we willing as Democrats to push back on our own party?”

Obama’s reply, in a nutshell: Sorry, Blanche.
If the price of certainty is essentially for us to adopt the exact same proposals that were in place for eight years leading up to the biggest economic crisis since the Great Depression -- we don’t tinker with health care, let the insurance companies do what they want, we don’t put in place any insurance reforms, we don’t mess with the banks, let them keep on doing what they’re doing now because we don’t want to stir up Wall Street -- the result is going to be the same. I don’t know why we would expect a different outcome pursuing the exact same policy that got us into this fix in the first place.

Two things struck me as extraordinary about Obama’s reply.

The first was the ease with which he cast Lincoln’s plea for a bit more centrism as a call for a return to Bushism -- the “exact same proposals that were in place for the last eight years.” That’s not what she was advocating; it’s not what
any Democrat who’s questioning his approach is advocating. But the president set up this strawman, and he pummeled it, rather than engaging Lincoln’s valid concerns.

The second striking thing was how easily he appeared to write off Lincoln politically. Conceding nothing, he implied that her defeat was not only a foregone conclusion, but also an acceptable price to pay for staying the course on policy...
(emphasis added)

My Comments:
Joe Klein is right: There's not an ideological bone in President Obama's body. Nope, Obama is definitely no ideologue.

(Hat tip: Opinionated Catholic)

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Boehner Says We Can't Have "Anti-Catholic Bigot" in White House, Calls for Obama Adviser to Resign

From Cybercast News Service:
( - House Minority Leader John Boehner (R.-Ohio) said today that Harry Knox, who serves on President Barack Obama’s faith-based advisory council, appears to be an “anti-Catholic bigot” and should resign as a White House adviser.

Earlier this week, Knox said he stood by a statement he made last year that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus” because the pope does not support promoting the use of condoms as a means to stem the spread of HIV.

Knox, who is director of the Human Rights Campaign's religion and faith program, has made other controversial comments about the Catholic Church in the past. For example, in 2007 he was quoted in a statement from the Human Rights Campaign saying that the Catholic Church had committed an act that was “immoral and insulting to Jesus” when it denied communion to a lesbian couple in Wyoming who had promoted same-sex marriage. “In this holy Lenten season, it is immoral and insulting to Jesus to use the body and blood of Christ the reconciler as a weapon to silence free speech and demean the love of a committed, legally married couple,” said Knox.

[...] asked Boehner at his press briefing Thursday whether he believed that Knox should resign.

“He should resign. And I have agreed to sign a letter,” said Boehner. “We can’t have in the White House an anti-Catholic bigot, and that’s what this gentleman appears to be.”

Boehner is a Roman Catholic.


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Obama Adviser Stands by Assertion That Pope Benedict XVI Is "Hurting People in the Name of Jesus"

Asking for an Ass Beating

Obama Names Pope-Basher to Faith-Based Initiative Board

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Thursday, February 04, 2010

Obama Adviser Stands by Assertion That Pope Benedict XVI Is "Hurting People in the Name of Jesus"

From Cybercast News Service:
( – Harry Knox, who serves on President Barack Obama’s Advisory Council on Faith-Based and Neighborhood Partnerships, is standing by a statement he made last March that Pope Benedict XVI is “hurting people in the name of Jesus.”

When asked on Tuesday whether he still holds that view that the pope "is hurting people in the name of Jesus," Knox said, “I do.”


Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Asking for an Ass Beating

Obama Names Pope-Basher to Faith-Based Initiative Board

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Victory for Religious Groups as Labour Gives Up on Equality Bill Clause Condemned by Pope

From The Telegraph:
Ministers had tried to include a new definition of a priest in the flagship anti-discrimination law, but church leaders complained that it was far too narrow.

They said it would mean religious organisations could no longer opt out of equality rules, and so would face prosecution unless they went against their beliefs by employing homosexuals. Roman Catholics feared they would be forced to admit women to the priesthood for the first time.

In an unprecedented intervention in British politics, on Monday the Pope declared that Britain’s equality laws are imposing “unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs”.

The controversial clause was struck out of the legislation during committee stage in the House of Lords last week, but clergy feared Labour would try to put it back in before the law entered the statute book.

However the Equality Bill is seen by Gordon Brown's allies as Harriet Harman's bill and party startegists are anxious that contentious parts of the bill do not become a part of the election attack against Labour.

Mr Brown visted the Pope while he was Chancellor and has enjoyed good relations with the Vatican on issues such as world poverty. Number 10 also points out that there are many Catholic Labour MPs who wil be upset that the new Bill has provoked such strong recation from Rome.

Downing Street is anxious that relations remain cordial and has now indicated that they will drop the contentious parts of the Bill...

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Pope Critical of Labour’s "Unjust" Equality Laws Ahead of UK Visit

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Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Quote of the Day: Washington Post Columnist Sally Jenkins on the Tebow Ad

From a self-described "pro-choice" columnist at The Washington Post:
... Apparently NOW feels this commercial is an inappropriate message for America to see for 30 seconds, but women in bikini selling beer is the right one. I would like to meet the genius at NOW who made that decision. On second thought, no, I wouldn’t...

[Read the whole thing]
She goes on to talk about how Tebow is exactly the sort of responsible young man with a social conscience that women should be praising and celebrating. Definitely worth a read.

(Hat tip: Ed Morrissey)

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Feminist Hypocrites at NOW Attack Tebow Ad

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Pope Critical of Labour’s "Unjust" Equality Laws Ahead of UK Visit

From The Telegraph:
Benedict XVI claimed that legislation introduced by Labour to end discrimination “actually violates natural law” as it stops worshippers remaining true to their beliefs.

He said that rather than making society more equal, the Government's new rules limit religious freedom.

His strongly-worded intervention in British politics comes after leaders of both the Roman Catholic Church and Church of England clashed with Labour over its flagship Equality Bill, which they fear will make them admit homosexuals to the priesthood or face prosecution for discriminating against them.

In an address delivered on Monday to 35 Catholic bishops from England and Wales, the pope attacked the implications of Labour’s equality laws.

He said: “Your country is well known for its firm commitment to equality of opportunity for all members of society. Yet... the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs."

He went on: "In some respects it actually violates the natural law upon which the equality of all human beings is grounded and by which it is guaranteed."

The dictatorship of relativism was quick to go on the offensive in attacking the Holy Father:
... Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament's Socialists and Democrats in Rome, Stephen Hughes criticised Pope Benedict's concern that the Equality Bill would restrict religious groups from acting in accordance with their faith.

'As a Catholic, I am appalled by the attitude of the Pope. Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it,' Hughes said in a statement reproduced on his website. 'Instead of criticising the UK's plans to improve its legislation, the Pope should ensure that existing EU legislation is properly applied in the Vatican,' Hughes said.

The Pope, who announced the first papal visit to Britain since 1982 on Monday, urged Bishops from England and Wales to make a convincing case against legislation that could force churches to hire homosexuals or transsexuals. He said the legislation violates natural law and told the visiting bishops they should fight it with 'missionary zeal.' Human Rights groups have hit back at the Pope's comments...

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty

Bork Predicts “Terrible Conflict” Will Endanger U.S. Catholics’ Religious Freedom

Same-Sex "Marriage" and the Persecution of Civil Society

InsideCatholic on "The Unintended Consequences of Gay Marriage"

Secularist Attacks on the Catholic Church in Britain

Regular Guy Paul on What's Next for Same-Sex "Marriage"

Catholic Provocation?

Federal Judge: Catholic Church’s Position Against Homosexual Adoptions Justifies Government Hostility Towards Church

San Francisco's Hateful Anti-Catholic Resolution Prompts Lawsuit by Thomas More Center

Catholic League Says Gay Adoption Issue Spurring Anti-Catholic Bigotry

9th Circuit Rules Okay to Censor Terms "Marriage" and "Family Values" as Hate Speech

UK Catholic Schools Endangered by Sexual Orientation Regulations

Official Anti-Catholic Bigotry Returns to British Parliament

"A Charter for Suing Christians"

A Catholic Londoner on "The Last Acceptable Prejudice"

British Bishops: U.K. Sex Equality Law "Threatens Catholic Adoption Agencies"

UK: Churches "Could be Forced to Bless Gay Weddings"

The Coming Persecution of Churches Over "Gay Marriage"

The Coming Conflict Between Same-Sex "Marriage" and Religious Liberty

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Our Lady of Purity - 2 February

Today is Candlemas. On this day, the few remaining items of the Anderson family Christmas decorations (candles in the window, outside Christmas lights and wreaths, some greenery left on the inside walls) will come down.

The snowdrop, in purest white arraie, First rears her hedde on Candlemas daie.
~ From an early church calendar of English flowers, c. 1500.

Candlemas Day is a Christian Feast kept on 2nd February to commemorate the purification of the Virgin after the birth of Christ. On this day the image of the Virgin Mary is taken down and snowdrops spread in its place.

From the University of Dayton's "Mary Page":
The alabaster white snowdrop became a symbol of Mary's purity and was called the Flower of Purification because it bloomed on February 2, the Feast of the Purification of Mary. In Italy and other countries in Europe the statue of Mary was removed from the altar on that day and snowdrops were strewn in its place. This day was also the feast of the Presentation of Jesus in the Temple. The flowers were called Candlemas Bells after the ceremony of blessing the candles began late in the eighth century and February 2 also became known as Candlemas Day.
From the BBC's website:
The snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis) is one of the most eagerly-awaited flowers, heralding the end of the British wintertime. Indeed, it is said to be the first flower of spring, symbolising purity and the cleansing of the earth after winter.

It is an early-flowering bulb plant of the daffodil family, which grows in damp regions of Europe and southwest Asia; and it is widely cultivated in gardens. Snowdrops will grow on any soil type, but prefer rich, moist soils.

The snowdrop grows from a small bulb, producing slender leaves about 6 inches long, and flower stalks ending in a solitary white flower with three spreading outer petals which are larger and more convex than the three inner ones. The flower is milky-white, as indicated by its scientific name, Galanthus (Greek, gala = milk, anthos = flower). There are green markings on the inner petals, which experts are able to use as a means of identification. Some cultivated forms have double flowers. Snowdrops always look particularly attractive when growing in grass or under trees.

The grounds of Walsingham Priory (now known as Walsingham Abbey), site of extensive Medieval and modern-day Marian pilgrimage and devotion, are famous for the snowdrops in honour of the Blessed Virgin that appear this time of year.

From the Medieval Saints Yahoo Group:
Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Virgin

Also called Feast of Simon the Elder, Presentation of Our Lord at the Temple, Our Lady of Good Success; In Greek it is known as the "Feast of the Meeting"; commonly called "Candlemas" in the West

Liturgical Color: Purple

Theme and Motives: sacrifice and dedication

Commemorated February 2

Instituted: 350 in Jerusalem; In the 5th century it began to be celebrated in Rome. The earliest account of the feast is described by a fourth century pilgrim from Spain named Egeria . She visited Jerusalem around the year 380 and wrote about this feast day in her diary, recording that a solemn and magnificent celebration of the Holy Sacrament was held at the Basilica of the Tomb of Christ. In 542, the Emperor Justinian ordered that it be observed at Constantinople as an act of thanksgiving for the ending of the plague in that city and from there it spread throughout the East. Syriac Pope Sergius I (687-701) established a procession for this feast and it took on a penitential character until the 1960s.


According to the Mosaic law a mother who had given birth to a man-child was considered unclean for seven days; moreover she was to remain three and thirty days "in the blood of her purification"; for a maid-child the time which excluded the mother from sanctuary was even doubled. When the time (forty or eighty days) was over the mother was to "bring to the temple a lamb for a holocaust and a young pigeon or turtle dove for sin"; if she was not able to offer a lamb, she was to take two turtle doves or two pigeons; the priest prayed for her and so she was cleansed. (Leviticus 12:2-8)

Forty days after the birth of Christ Mary complied with this precept of the law, she redeemed her first-born from the temple (Numbers 18:15), and was purified by the prayer of Simeon the just, in the presence of Anna the prophetess (Luke 2:22 sqq.). No doubt this event, the first solemn introduction of Christ into the house of God, was in the earliest times celebrated in the Church of Jerusalem. We find it attested for the first half of the fourth century by the pilgrim of Bordeaux, Egeria or Silvia. The day (14 February) was solemnly kept by a procession to the Constantinian basilica of the Resurrection, a homily on Luke 2:22 sqq., and the Holy Sacrifice. But the feast then had no proper name; it was simply called the fortieth day after Epiphany. This latter circumstance proves that in Jerusalem Epiphany was then the feast of Christ's birth.

From Jerusalem the feast of the fortieth day spread over the entire Church, and later on was kept on the 2nd of February, since within the last twenty-five years of the fourth century the Roman feast of Christ's nativity (25 December) was introduced. In Antioch it is attested in 526 (Cedrenue); in the entire Eastern Empire it was introduced by the Emperor Justinian I (542) in thanksgiving for the cessation of the great pestilence which had depopulated the city of Constantinople. In the Greek Church it was called Hypapante tou Kyriou, the meeting (occursus) of the Lord and His mother with Simeon and Anna. The Armenians call it: "The Coming of the Son of God into the Temple" and still keep it on the 14th of February (Tondini di Quaracchi, Calendrier de la Nation Arménienne, 1906, 48); the Copts term it "presentation of the Lord in the Temple" (Nilles, Kal. man., II 571, 643). Perhaps the decree of Justinian gave occasion also to the Roman Church (to Gregory I?) to introduce this feast, but definite information is wanting on this point. The feast appears in the Gelasianum (manuscript tradition of the seventh century) under the new title of Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary. The precession is not mentioned. Pope Sergius I (687-701) introduced a precession for this day. The Gregorianum (tradition of the eighth century) does not speak of this procession, which fact proves that the procession of Sergius was the ordinary "station", not the liturgical act of today.

The feast was certainly not introduced by Pope Gelasius to suppress the excesses of the Lupercalia (Migne, Missale Gothicum, 691), and it spread slowly in the West; it is not found in the "Lectionary" of Silos (650) nor in the "Calendar" (731-741) of Sainte-Genevieve of Paris. In the East it was celebrated as a feast of the Lord; in the West as a feast of Mary; although the "Invitatorium" (Gaude et lætare, Jerusalem, occurrens Deo tuo), the antiphons and responsories remind us of its original conception as a feast of the Lord. The blessing of the candles did not enter into common use before the eleventh century; it has nothing in common with the procession of the Pupercalia. In the Latin Church this feast (Purificatio B.M.V.) is a double of the second class. In the Middle Ages it had an octave in the larger number of dioceses; also today the religious orders whose special object is the veneration of the Mother of God (Carmelites, Servites) and many dioceses (Loreto, the Province of Siena, etc.) celebrate the octave.

Blessing of Candles and Procession

According to the Roman Missal the celebrant after Tierce, in stole and cope of purple colour, standing at the epistle side of the altar, blesses the candles (which must be of beeswax). Having sung or recited the five orations prescribed, he sprinkles and incenses the candles. Then he distributes them to the clergy and laity, whilst the choir sings the canticle of Simeon, "Nunc dimittis". The antiphon "Lumen ad revelationem gentium et gloriam plebis tuæ Israel" is repeated after every verse, according to the medieval custom of singing the antiphons. During the procession which now follows, and at which all the partakers carry lighted candles in their hands, the choir sings the antiphon "Adorna thalamum tuum, Sion", composed by St. John of Damascus, one of the few pieces which, text and music, have been borrowed by the Roman Church from the Greeks. The other antiphons are of Roman origin. The solemn procession represents the entry of Christ, who is the Light of the World, into the Temple of Jerusalem. It forms an essential part of the liturgical services of the day, and must be held in every parochial church where the required ministers can be had. The procession is always kept on 2 February even when the office and Mass of the feast is transferred to 3 February. Before the reform of the Latin liturgy by St. Pius V (1568), in the churches north and west of the Alps this ceremony was more solemn. After the fifth oration a preface was sung.

The "Adorna" was preceded by the antiphon "Ave Maria". While now the procession in held inside the church, during the Middle Ages the clergy left the church and visited the cemetery surrounding it. Upon the return of the procession a priest, carrying an image of the Holy Child, met it at the door and entered the church with the clergy, who sang the canticle of Zachary, "Benedictus Dominus Deus Israel". At the conclusion, entering the sanctuary, the choir sang the responsory, "Gaude Maria Virgo" or the prose, "Inviolata" or some other antiphon in honour of the Blessed Virgin.


Canticle of Simon (Luke 2:25-32 DRV):

And behold there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon: and this man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel. And the Holy Ghost was in him. And he had received an answer from the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death before he had seen the Christ of the Lord. And he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when his parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the law, He also took him into his arms and blessed God and said:

Now thou dost dismiss thy servant, O Lord, according to thy word in peace: Because my eyes have seen thy salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all peoples: A light to the revelation of the Gentiles and the glory of thy people Israel.


More on the Feast of the Purification of the Virgin at:

A couple of years ago, Fr. Nicholas Schofield at Roman Miscellany had a nice post about the Purification of Our Lady, noting that "according to tradition, Christmas only really comes to an end today - Candlemas, the Feast of Mary’s Purification and Christ’s Presentation in the Temple, the Fourth Joyful Mystery of the Holy Rosary":

The Feast reminds us of a number of mysteries. We recall how the Virgin Mary, the Mother of God and Spouse of the Holy Spirit, came to the Temple to be purified, in obedience to the Law of Moses. A woman had to stay at home for forty days after giving birth to a son. It must have been a blessing to be obliged to stay quietly at home and care for her newborn baby in these important early days of infancy. Then, after the prescribed period was over, the parents would bring offerings to the door of the Temple: in the case of poor families, like Jesus, Mary and Joseph, two pigeons or turtle doves. And so Our Blessed Lady, the purest of virgins, came like any other mother for this ceremony of ‘purification.’ She offered her Son to God and the God-made-man entered His Temple as a helpless baby. Yet hardly anyone noticed the great event.

Hardly anyone, that is, with the exception of that just man, Simeon, and the prophetess, Anna. They symbolize for us the many generations that had been waiting for the coming of the Messiah. In them, the Old Dispensation meets the New. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Simeon tells Mary two important truths – one concerning Jesus and one concerning herself. The Child will be a ‘sign of contradiction’; He will be the cause of the fall and resurrection of many – the fall of those who reject His message and the resurrection of those who accept it. Furthermore, Mary’s own soul will be pierced by a sword – the sword first enters her at that moment and it goes ever deeper, as her Son is rejected by His own people and opposed by the Scribes and Pharisees. It eventually transfixes her soul at the foot of the cross, just as the Centurion’s lance transfixes the heart of her Son. You can see how the Feast of the Presentation brings an end to the Christmas Season and directs our gaze towards Lent and Holy Week.


More Links:
All About Candlemas (Presentation of the Lord)

History Of Candlemas & The Connection To Groundhog Day

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Monday, February 01, 2010

Catholic Schools Week 2010: "Dividends for Life"

The video above in which Toledo's Bishop Leonard Blair discusses the state of Catholic schools was played at this past weekend's Masses in parishes throughout the Diocese of Toledo.

Bishop Blair will be presiding over the Catholic Schools Week Mass this Friday at Norwalk Catholic School.

Previous Pro Ecclesia posts on this subject:
Mass and Lunch with Bishop Blair

Catholic Schools Week, January 25-31, 2009: "Catholic Schools Celebrate Service"

Catholic Chronicle: "Schools Initiative Spotlights Catholic Identity"

Norwalk Catholic School Offers Marine Biology Courses

May Crownings Yesterday ...

Norwalk Catholic School's Mrs. Cindy McLaughlin Announced as a Golden Apple Award Recipient by Diocese of Toledo

Catholic Schools Week 2008 - "Catholic Schools Light the Way"

Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe Celebrated at Norwalk Catholic School

Norwalk Catholic School on The Golden Compass

Two Toledo Diocesan High Schools Ranked Among Nation’s Best (Only 2 Schools in Ohio to Make List)

Yesterday: Norwalk Catholic School's "Spirit Day"

Back to School - 1st Day of Kindergarten

The Good News and Bad News of Catholic Schools Week

Catholic Schools Week

Photo of the Bishop and Jamie

More Bishop Blair (and Jamie, Too)

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