September 30, 2007

Father Pablo Straub, OCR

This weekend I attended the Mass of the Archangels event at St. Michaels Catholic Church in St. Michael, Minnesota on the Feast of the Archangels. With all the Michaels mentioned how could I refuse?

Very good retreat. All of the speakers were very good.

However, I was really touched by Father Pablo Straub. I have to admit, I had never heard of him before this retreat. He spoke Friday evening and he closed the retreat on Saturday.

He's really a powerful public speaker and witness to Christ. He spoke about the Virgin Mary during both of his talks. He emphasized her powerful intercessory powers. He also spoke about the founder of his order: St. Alphonsus Liguori. I'm a huge fan of St. Alphonsus so I really enjoyed how Father incorporated St. Alphonsus' devotion to Mary in his talk.

Father literally carries his cross during his speeches. He holds the cross similar to the way St. Therese of the Child Jesus is usually depicted holding hers-over the shoulder facing forward.

He opened with prayer and clearly has a great devotion to the Blessed Sacrament as well as Our Lady by his physical actions. He struggled to kneel before the Tabernacle but he did it. When I see the elderly or infirm making a great effort to kneel before Christ, I wonder why so many of our young and able bodied complain about kneeling before the Lord because it's too hard and too painful (whine, whine).

A lot of people took advantage of the Sacrament of Confession during the retreat (Praise God!). Myself included. I estimate that the priests (there were 4 at various times) heard at least 150 Confessions.

Father Straub was in the Confessional for 2 hours and then had to leave to get ready for his last talk. It turned out the Divine Mercy Chaplet was sung and that takes longer then the recitation. Father realized he had some extra time so he went right back into the Confessional. The crowd waited while he gave Absolution to one of our Members of Christ's Body.

Father strikes me as a very holy man. Completely unpretentious. He was walking around, shaking hands, smiling, greeting everyone. He even smiled at and greeted me with a warm: "Hello" when he saw me in the corridor.

Count me as a member of the Father Pablo Straub fan club.

September 28, 2007

Happy Birthday Caravaggio!

My bad. Once again, I almost forgot a birthday! Good thing, I don't need to send a gift or a card for this one!! Har-har.

Last year, I had a post on Caravaggio here

Letter from the Archbishop!!!


As if I get personal correspondence from His Excellency! What are you thinking?!

Ok, I'll go slap myself now.

I'm back, I needed that.

Letters in the September 27th, Catholic Spirit (the Archdiocesan newspaper for St. Paul/Minneapolis)

A reader responded to a prior column in the Catholic Spirit by Coadjutor Archbishop John Nienstedt. The reader's letter is first. THEN, His Excellency responds to the reader's letter afterwards.

I found Archbishop's Nienstedt's column in the Sept. 13 issue to be provocative. In it, he says:

". . . As a whole, the church is our mother, our teacher, our guide, leading us to the fullness of truth, which gives meaning to our very existence.

"Hence, I have always been willing to give the church the benefit of any doubt. Why? Well, because I cannot imagine that my limited in­sights or experience could measure up to hers."

This willingness to give the church the "benefit of the doubt" makes preeminent sense. Surely, as an institution whose wisdom is the product of 2,000 years of guidance by the Holy Spirit, the church is owed deference when it comes to the wisdom of its teachings. Likewise, wisdom coming from our "limited insights or experience" must occupy a place of humble deference in comparison.

But, I was also left with a sense that Archbishop's column didn't tell the whole story (which is quite understandable in a short column in which he laid out some of his priorities). In appropriately highlighting the need to allow ourselves to be humbly guided by the wisdom of the church, I also came away with the impression that the wisdom of the church is somewhat other than and beyond us, because its wisdom is so much greater than our wisdom.

Of course, the church's wisdom does transcend that of its members. This reflects the church's mystical nature. But the church is not only transcendent. At the same time, it is immanent - in other words, it exists in and through us. So, of course, it is true to say that the church transcends us and gifts us with wisdom greater than our own. But one can also say with equal confidence that we ARE the church, and that because of this, the wisdom of the church is communicated through us. This was clearly communicated when Vatican II designated the church as the "People of God." Thus, as the People of God and with the bishops as our head, we should be willing to offer our insights and experience as part of the wisdom of the church.

In summation, not only do we owe deference to the wisdom of the church, which transcends our own wisdom, but we also shape its wisdom as the People of God, vessels of the Holy Spirit, who speaks through us.

Name Suppressed by Cathy
Holy Name, Minneapolis

My first thought reading this letter was: "A dissident mind trick!" Possibly unfair of me to think that since I have no idea of the writer's motivation or thoughts and it definitely shows my cynicism. I can't help it sometimes. Please pray for me, will you? Thanks.

His Excellency responds:

I am grateful for your systematic reflection on my column of Sept. 13. The church's wisdom does transcend the insights of her members. The church is the Body of Christ and, in an incarnational way, she reflects His love of the Father and for all mankind.

I did not mean to imply by my "willingness to give the church the benefit of the doubt" that I subscribe to "blind obedience." However, in today's marketplace, authority is questioned whenever it speaks. It should not be that way in the church. We ought to trust that the church has our best interests in mind. If a Catholic does have a question, it should be investigated until the answer is fully understood.

I also ought to clarify your reference to the "People of God." As the Second Vatican Council defines the term, bishops, priests, religious and laity make up the "People of God." Only in this sense, can you say "We are the church." Thus, the wisdom of the church includes all categories as specified above.

Most Rev. John C. Nienstedt
Coadjutor Archbishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Great response. It's succinct, it's polite and it's instructive. Deep curtsy to His Excellency. I learned something. I, thanks to the dissident mantra that I recited for decades, tend to equate the term: "People of God" only with the laity. His Excellency reminds us, "People of God" means more then just laity.

I hope that thru this response, His Excellency is giving us a foreshadowing of what his leadership will be like. I'm looking forward to more of these engaging, courteous, personalized, teaching moments.

September 27, 2007

A Citizen Rant by Cranky Cathy

Is access to broadband a God-given right? In the Pioneer Press today is the story that the City of St. Paul is still "exploring" their options for adding either a city-wide Wi-Fi, or fiber-optic, broadband network. The plan is that eventually this network will be offered to the citizens of the city.

I contacted my council member with my concerns about the city-wide broadband plan back in January when this idea first surfaced. He had a lot of justifications. All lame. I'm not voting for him this November-so there. I'm sick of the City Council wasting our time passing toothless resolutions that have absolutely nothing to do with governing the city (supporting gay "marriage", opposing the war in Iraq). My oiled street (If you live in St. Paul, you know what that means!) is literally buckling and coming apart. Most of our block has no curb-including my house. If the curb is still present, at all, it's falling apart. I'm losing about 2 inches of my meager boulevard per year to erosion. All that soil is washing right into Como Lake (a block away). Our street has been pushed back on the calender 2 times since I moved here in 2001. Now we are on the schedule for 2010.

We can't seem to find the money for infrastructure that matters, such as: street improvement and repair, property inspections, cleaning up illegal dumping, alley plowing. Yet, somehow my street assessment fees and property taxes keep going up. WAY up!-thanks to the recent whopper of a tax increase (14.6% in 2008) the city just implemented. That hefty increase is on top of the county increase and the school levy.

If people want high-speed access they should pay for it on their own and not expect my city tax dollars to help build this huge city-wide network. I don't think not having high-speed access is a form of social oppression. If we build it, what then? Does that mean everyone will be able to use it? If not, does that mean I'll be financing computers for everyones home use next? Will I be subsidizing the folks who can't afford the buy-in fee? What if the city builds this network and not as many people as they hope purchase access to it? How big of a deficit is that going to be?

I don't see why it's such a big deal in this city for individuals to shop and buy what they want and what they can afford. After all, St. Paul does not, as a city, pay for garbage removal. Each homeowner in the city of St. Paul negotiates and contracts with the hauler of their choice (I, personally, love this choice). If we can do that, why is the citizenry perceived as incapable of purchasing their own broadband if it's a necessity? Or, at least, the City Council, would have us believe broadband is a necessity. Fast internet access must be more critical then garbage removal if the city will pay for broadband network but won't contract with a city hauler.


"Whaddya Call this Mass?" Go on over to Father Z's blog and make your opinion count!

Well, then, maybe we should change that..

If Senator Tom Harkin wrote the Declaration of Independence:

I think it is a relative truth that all people are here to do good. However, if they cannot, or choose not, to do or be good, then they are allowed by their own free will the right to pursue: lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. In order to secure these rights, a government will be instituted that will enable these rights to be instituted for all.

September 26, 2007


Adoro and and Ray have the story about Joni Mitchell's odd Catholic slamming lyrics in her latest album which will be distributed by Starbucks.

Well, what am I saying? Joni has always had odd lyrics. I'm a huge fan of hers but I will not be buying this album. I don't buy much coffee in coffee shops. I usually brew my own at home. However, I will be avoiding Starbucks.

If you are going to go to consume coffee outside the home, the local coffee HOUSES in the TC have more ambiance then the chain shops anyway: Brewberries in Highland Park, Black Dog in Lowertown, Amore on Grand Avenue, Muddy Waters in the Wedge, Black Sheep in South St. Paul, Coffee Grounds in Como Park, Gingko Coffee in Hamline-Midway, Java Jacks in East Harriet.

Here's my brief letter to Starbucks:

I am disturbed by the content of the latest Joni Mitchell album you are selling in your stores. Particularly, her anti-Catholic views on her album. I was a Joni Mitchell fan. However, I won't be buying that album and I won't be patronizing your stores anymore if you carry it.

Here's the response I got back from Starbucks:

Dear Janice,

Thank you for contacting Starbucks Coffee Company.

At Starbucks, we are proud to offer customers a diverse range of music for their enjoyment. Music has always been a part of the coffeehouse culture and is an essential part of the Starbucks heritage and in-store experience.

We understand that our customers have diverse tastes and perspectives. In selecting music, we strive to represent the work of a variety of talented artists who reflect many creative viewpoints. Starbucks is an avid supporter of free speech and the creative process. When considering new projects, our primary goal is always to help our customers discover and acquire quality music.

We value input from our customers and respect their opinions. Starbucks and Hear Music believe our music selections continue our commitment to offering customers a variety of music from a vast array of genres.

Thanks again for contacting Starbucks.


(named blanked by me)

Starbucks Coffee Company

Wow! Vast array of genres, free speech, diverse perspective...Yeah! I look forward to their next selection which is sure to be from local white-power metal band: Bound for Glory.

Kids These Days: What they Don't Want from the Church

I highly recommend this superb post by Father Powell!

Gluttony and Idols

I've really been meditating lately on spiritual and physical health and my recent posts probably reflect that. I was amazed to discover that today is the Optional Memorial for Ss Cosmas and Damian, physician brothers martyred in Rome in A.D. 303. My old missal says they were both physicians of the body and of the soul. Very timely. The Holy Ghost moves in mysterious ways. I've long since quit thinking this kind of tie-in is just a "coincidence"

I've been thinking lately that if I spent as much time in prayer as I do stuffing my face, I'd be well on my way to Sainthood. Furthermore, it would be much better for me spiritually, not to mention physically, if I spent more time Adoring the Lord in the Blessed Sacrament versus adoring the contents of my refridgerator.

I am by no means, starving. Yes, we all need to eat. However, I eat WAY more than I need to in order to survive. I enjoy food. Most of us do. But, there's a time when you have crossed over from just your basic sensual enjoyment of food to obsession. There is such a thing as gluttony. You've probably heard of it. It's one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Gluttony is defined in the Catholic Enyclopedia as excessive indulgence in something usually food and/or drink. Generally, it is a venial sin. However, it can cross over into mortal sin if you impair yourself so much that you can't perform your responsibilities as a citizen and a Catholic.

I've discovered that I spend more time worrying about my next meal then my I do time with God. I have no reason to worry about my next meal. I have more then enough money for food. However, designating time for prayer and sticking to it is something I struggle with. That copy of Magnificat is a great prayer aid, however, it helps to actually crack it open!

Food has become an idol to me. It's chief symbols being the big white appliances in my kitchen (it helps for the consistency of this post as well as being an amazing fact that my fridge, stove and microwave are all white!)

One of the intents of my First Friday fast, as well as some of my other, occasional, fast days is a personal attempt to teach myself how important food has become to me and how much more I need to emphasize my prayer life then I currently do. The fasting forces me to focus on prayer. It's also a battle for me not to cave in to the temptation of the food. It's a personal spiritual/temporal battle. Sometimes, I do pretty well. Other times, not so well. Call it (me): work in progress.

September 25, 2007

Saying Good-Bye to Some Friends

Continuing my series on health......

Friends come and go but Christ you will always with you...

Not exactly a Scriptural quotation....

Sometimes, we lose friendships if we move. We can also lose friends as we change our life interests.

Sometimes, its an unspoken mutually agreed upon arrangement. Both parties can see that the drift is occuring and it just happens. One day you are talking to someone daily, the next it's once/month, then once/year, then never again.

Sometimes, it's a spoken mutual agreement between two adults who agree that the relationship is "not working out" anymore and each goes their separate way.

Sometimes, the friendship NEEDS to break apart though both parties may not think so.

Addicts have friends who they use with. When an addict enters recovery, they realize that the only thing they have in common with certain friends is the drug or the alcohol. Because they fear a relapse, they have to forcefully cut all contact with their user buddies.

So, too, with me: the recovering dissident. I have friends with whom the only thing I had in common was a dislike of the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church. When I decided to return home, I had to let some of my friends go because it became too poisonous being around them. There is a point where you have to realize and accept that you are not going to the instrument of their conversion/reversion and you need to walk away for the sake of your own well-being.

No, you never stop praying for them but actually being with them is no longer an option. It's hard to walk away. No one wants to be a spoiler but sometimes you just have to. It's not that your Faith isn't rock solid, it's just that it's such a spiritual drain to stand around and argue all the time. Why? When you have so many new friends who share your beliefs that you can debate with but not fight with?

September 23, 2007

Ladies Argument of the Month Club

Phooey on those men at St. Augustine in South St. Paul, Minnesota. Adoro and I started a Catholic Ladies Argument of the Month club.

The photo is rather blurry, because we move so quickly, but you can see we are attired modestly. Here we are shown settling a heated argument over whether salad should only be consumed if it's grown locally versus transported overland. Is one method of delivery safer than the other? Is there a difference in freshness and quality? Also, we touch upon the recent expansion of truck traffic from Mexico-can Mexico have a role to play in salad transport? Should they? Is China trying to kill us off via bad salad? Fencing is the civilized way we settle arguments in this club. Plus, it's a great workout!

Update: Vincenzo cleaned up the print!

The Physician--The Priest

O Rose, thou art sick!
The invisible worm
That flies in the night,
In the howling storm,

Has found out thy bed
Of crimson joy:
And his dark secret love
Does thy life destroy.
--The Sick Rose by William Blake

Blake's famous poem is usually assigned many meanings. The genius of this poem is it enables the reader to interpret a meaning based upon the readers experiences. On first glance it appears to be a very simplistic verse. Actually, it is a mysterious and complex work. I find it dark and unfathomable.

Depending upon where I am in my life, what I bring to this poem changes. I find it fascinating to revisit Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience occasionally and see how my interpretations of his work has changed from the last time I read it. How has my interpretation changed from 5 years ago? 10 years ago? etc.

Recently, I am "rose" and "worm" is venial sin.

Yesterday, I went to Confession and unloaded 3-weeks worth of venial sin. Thankfully, I did not have any mortal sins to confess this time.

It's just little stuff--those pesky venial sins. The little worms that slowly eat away at you until you wilt from the inside out. If left untreated, the worms will destroy you. They, gradually, separate you from Christ.

I can tell that I'm sick by the accumulated assault of the worm when I feel disconnected from God. I pray, but it's like I've left my body. My heart is absent. The prayer becomes rote and meaningless because I feel incapable of speaking with God in such a diseased state. I'm sick. I need help.

When we are physically ill we seek a medical doctor, a physician, for a cure.

Sometimes, we are wracked with numerous physical ailments. Seasonal allergies, backache, a sprained ankle. Seperately, each affliction may not be too bad or may be bearable, but throw them all together and your body is definitely not 100%. You feel tired and run down. You can't function at full strength. Your job suffers. Your attention span is lower. You are cranky and irritable.

Something needs to be done.

You go to your doctor for medical advice, exercises, medication-all of the above. Anything to bring you back.

Medical doctors can't heal everything that ails you. Sometimes you need The Physician. The writings of St. Augustine are full of medical imagery describing the illness of the soul and how the Lord is The Healer, the Doctor.

Jesus said in the Gospel reading for the Feast of St. Matthew just passed: "Those who are well do not need a physician, but the sick do"--Matthew 9:12. Jesus was talking about why He ate with sinners. Everyone needs the Lord, but, especially the sinners.

Remember that Ordination Prayer Card I have? It says:

The Priest in the Confessional: He is the physician of your soul--show him its wounds

Update on St. Agnes School

A few months ago, I was blogging to spread the word about the crisis at St. Agnes High School in St. Paul. The crisis was they were possibly going to have to close the high school due to a large deficit.

Many of you know that, thanks to the generosity of many, the high school was saved.

However, sometimes it's nice to know how things are NOW.

Good news from Father John Ubel:

*Enrollment rebounded and we began the school year with 424 students-including 79 new students!
*Our new budget, with similar enrollment numbers and staff restructuring demonstrated a reduction in payroll by nearly $350,000
*We have a new K-12 principal in place (Mr. James Morehead) who has already set a wonderful tone to the school year and is demonstrating tremendous leadership.
*A newly founded private foundation has been established to support the school with an approximate net worth of $1.7 million.
*We are in the early stages of developing a three-year plan for the school that addresses long-term financing, enrollment and capital needs.

It's just fantastic to know that prayer and financial generosity as well as the power of the online community made a difference!

In a related note: The Noon Mass on Sunday September 30th will be offered for the intentions of the Benefactors of St. Agnes School.

September 20, 2007

Who Shot Who?

Drew owes me a cup of coffee. Yes, he was quoting from the National Review but I saw this on Our Word and Welcome to It! first.

If I were Elisabeth Hasselbeck, I would refuse to sit next to Barry Manilow. After all, "I Write the Songs" has officially been categorized as a war crime by the Fourth Geneva Convention. Here at home, even Wayne LaPierre supports legislation to declare "Mandy" an assault weapon deserving of a complete ban. This is not to say that Manilow hasn't been of service to his country, albeit inadvertently. Unconfirmed reports claim that Abu Zubaydah would not break, even with a bullet in his groin, until they played 15 seconds of "I Can't Smile Without You," whereupon he cried like a little girl.

ROFL!! LMAO!!!! Excuse me, while I go replace the coffee that I spewed and clean up my keyboard.

I know some of you out there are renaming your Manilow iPod playlist or hiding your Manilow CD's.

September 19, 2007

Who Appointed You Commander-in-Chief?

When I was growing up, I liked to test my parent's authority by making outrageous proclamations like: "I'm not going to school ever again" or "I'm not going to do my chores". My Dad's response was usually: "Who appointed you Commander-in-chief" "I did." "You've just been overthrown. I'm getting my belt" "Oh, wait, I'll step down!"

I don't want to give the impression that my Dad was in the continual habit of administering corporal punishment. My Dad actually spanked me 3 times in my whole life. The "threat" alone was usually more then enough.

But, my Dad's point was someone else was in charge. Not me. Just because I said so did not make it Truth nor did it mean I could make all the decisions.

The phrase "We Are Church" reminds me very much of bratty children trying to claim authority they don't have simply by saying that they do.

Is "We Are Church" made up of the collective membership of "I Am Church"? Think about it. It, certainly, seems to me that a lot of relativists make up the "We are Church"

To the people who say: "I am church!" Which parish? Imagine everyone proclaiming: "I am the Nativity of the Lord!" or "I am St. Andrew!" or "I am the Cathedral of St. Paul!"

You may want to think about sandblasting your exterior.

True, we are collective members of Christ's Body which means we are all supposed to be accepting and believing the same things as Truth. Unfortunately, some people want the club's Articles of Incorporation changed to say: "whatever I want" Do all the individual members of "We are Church" agree with the same things? The entire movement appears to affirm it's fine if everyone in the club has an entirely different ideology from anyone else. If everyone in the group has different beliefs, what do they have in common outside of their dislike of the BIG BAD Church? Oh, wait, that is what they have in common.

I like the gals who decide they are Catholic priests because they say so. I continue to be upset that no one recognizes that I'm the Papal Nuncio to the United States. I don't need credentials. I don't need to be a man or a priest. I say I am so everyone should acknowledge what I say as true. Gee, isn't that a terrifying idea. Everything I, major nutter, says is true!.

Just because you say you are a member of the Church does that make it true? Anyone can say anything. Are you actually living what you claim by your daily example? When you tell people that you are a Roman Catholic are they stunned? Are they surprised because they assumed based upon your complete disagreement from most Church teachings, your blatant dislike of the Holy Father, and your residence in Minnesota, that you are a Lutheran?

Are you holy just because you say so? Is your loved one a Saint just because you say so? When you get to Heaven (I hope!) are you going to be telling the Lord what He should do with you just because you say so?

September 18, 2007

No Catholics Need Apply

The Catholic blogosphere is full of outrage, and rightly so, over the hiring of Kathy Saile to the position of Domestic Policy Director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). I'm sad. I suppose we are to infer that the USCCB couldn't find any qualified Catholics in the entire United States, who actually live and accept Church teachings, who were willing to take on such an important position.

In local news:

"Is this where the Catholic Bible Study is?"

Don't look for it in Bloomington, Minnesota.

Adoro's "old friend" Ms. Ross is back.

Why is it that there are so many Catholics unwilling to explore the Faith they profess on a deeper level? Or, is every Catholic an expert on the Faith and I'm the only dummy left? Does every Roman Catholic know everything there is to know about the One Church established by Christ Jesus and that's why they decide to take courses on Hinduism, Buddhism, Shamanism, Protestantism and Islam at their local Catholic parish? Are all Pastors completely confident that their flock understands even the basics of Church teaching so they give their permission for these non-Catholic religion courses to be at their parish?

I don't understand.

September 17, 2007

The Cat Who Drove a Bus

Somehow, Terry got a photo of my art car and posted it on his blog (RAY!).

I thought everyone may enjoy seeing Terry's art car. It is shown here at Burning Man 2001.

Catty of Alex

Do you Wear Your Convictions on Your Mode of Transportation?

swissmiss' post got me thinking it might be interesting to hear what some of my readers have on their car/van/bike/bus/tush/blades/shoes (however you get around town) that may express a point of view of yours. I know you all have rainbow stickers so I don't need to hear about it again-unless you really want to tell all of us. :-)

I have a Catholic fish symbol magnet (Catholic because it has a cross inside the fish) on the back of my car.
I have a Rosary sticker on the back of my car as well. It does not say anything. It's just an outline of a set of Rosary beads.

Inside the car hanging from my rearview mirror is: a Rosary, a St. Joseph's Medal, and a Cross. Also, around my parking break handle is a wooden bracelet with images of various Saints on it.


September 15, 2007

Recommended Reading

Over the summer, which appears to be quickly coming to an end (frost warnings last night already!), I read several books. A few of which I would like to recommend for your consideration here.

Jesus of Nazareth by Joseph Ratzinger (Pope Benedict XVI), 2007, Doubleday
The Holy Father hardly needs me to recommend his book Jesus of Nazareth in order to sell more copies. It's already a best seller. However, if you have not read this book yet, I highly recommend it. It's not a quick read because the Holy Father is a "thinking man" and he puts a lot of ideas on the page that are well worthy of prayerful and deep reflection. It took me 3 weeks to read this book and I'm a fast reader. I would read for a while and then I would have to digest what the Holy Father said and put the book down for a while. It's a great Adoration Chapel meditation. His section on the quest to see the Holy Face of Jesus really resonated with me. I gave this book to a dissenting Catholic friend as a birthday gift. She groaned when she saw it. I asked her to give it a chance. She called me and said "Hey, this isn't bad!" She's not thrilled about the Holy Father criticizing some of her favorite dissident theologian's ideas (there is not a lot of direct criticism in the book, but if you know some dissident theologians ideas you may pick up the indirect criticisms), but she said it is an approachable work even for her. From a tiny seed...

The English Cardinals by Rev. Fathers Nicholas Schofield and Gerard Skinner, 2007, Family Publications (Oxford, UK)

As a self-described Anglophile, when I heard about this book I had to buy it. I am almost completely ignorant of the history of the leadership of/from the Catholic Church in England. The book is an overview of Cardinals from England starting with Robert Pullen and ending with the current Cardinal, Cormac Murphy-O'Connor. In fact, His Eminence composed the Forward. It is not, nor does it claim to be, an in-depth work on each Cardinal. For a beginner, like me, it's a good place to start. It would also be an excellent addition to a library (or homeschool) in a middle school and up collection. It is a beautiful volume. I was pleasantly surprised to find it full of heraldric symbols, illustrations and photos (many of which are color). It also has brief architectural/historical descriptions of each Cardinals titular parish in Rome. The book includes the Cardinals who were named by the anti-pope John XXIII (no, not THAT Pope-which was another thing I learned) and men who "might have been" Cardinals. All in all, as a Catholic and a history buff, I found it very interesting. A pleasant addition to my reference collection.

Turmoil & Truth: The Historical Roots of the Modern Crisis in the Catholic Church by Philip Trower, 2003, Ignatius (San Francisco, US) and Family Publications (Oxford, UK)

The Catholic Church and the Counter-Faith: A Study of the Roots of Modern Secularism, Relativism, and de-Christianisation
by Philip Trower, 2006, Family Publications (Oxford, UK)

I call this the one-two punch of Philip Trower! If you think the Second Vatican Council was an, out-of-nowhere, without warning, instrument of dissenting change, think again. Trower painstakingly constructs proof going back several hundred years before the Council and across nations to illustrate how the impact of the Council as an agent of change used by dissenters was a long time coming. The Second Vatican Council was the confluence of various dissenting philosophers ideas. In many ways, Trower is almost a geneological tree of dissenting thought. You can trace how some of the dissenters at the Council formed their ideas based upon the family tree of their philosophical influences.

I don't think you have to read both books. If you only have time for one Turmoil & Truth is briefer. However, I think Catholic Church and the Counter-Faith is the better of the two because it's much more comprehensive.

If you had to read dissenters during your Theology studies (like I did), prepare to be disturbed all over again. However, I believe, we are currently living a reform of the distortions of the Second Vatican Council and we are undergoing an authentic renewal of the Faith. Therefore, I was, surprisingly, not upset by these books. I'd be interested in reading a future book by Mr. Trower in which he discusses the historical course of the "reform of the reform" or "the new evangelization". :-)

Alan Keyes Announces Run

From Faithmouse

This election will be really interesting.

September 14, 2007

Feast of the Exhaltation of the Holy Cross

I find the timing of this Feast superb considering this is the period of the High Holy Days and Ramadan. We should be exhalting the symbol of our Faith during this important time of the other major religions of the world.

Today, is also the implementation date for Summorum Pontificum.

In thanksgiving for Summorum Pontificum, I am fasting today.

I found this "Explanation of the Holy Mass in Union with The Passion and Death of Our Divine Lord" pamphlet in the treasury of my St. Andrew Daily Missal. When Ray gave the missal to me it was chock full of old prayers cards.

I pray it will enrich your Mass experience as much as it did mine.

The Priest at Mass.......Christ

Enters the Sanctuary...........Enters Garden of Olives
Begins prayers at the foot of the Altar.....Begins prayer in the Garden
Says the Confiteor........Faints and falls down in agony
Ascends steps and kisses the Altar......Is betrayed by Judas with a kiss
Goes to the book at the Epistle side.....Is led prisoner to Annas
Reads the Introit...........Is falsely accused by Annas
Goes to middle, recites “Kyrie”...Is brought to Caiphas,denied thrice by Peter
Turns to people: “Dominus Vobiscum”.........Looks at Peter and converts him
Goes to book and reads Collects & Epistle......Is led to Pilate
Goes to middle then to Gospel side......Is taken to Herod and mocked
Returns to the middle of the Altar.....Is led back to Pilate

Uncovers the chalice...........Is stripped of His garments
Offers the bread and wine...................Is scourged at the pillar
Covers chalice with pall..............Is crowned with thorns
Washes his hands at Epistle side.......Is declared innocent by Pilate
Turns to people: “Orate Fratres”.......Pilate says “Behold the man”
Prays in low voice the secret prayers..........Is mocked and spat upon
Recites Preface & Sanctus-bell rings...............Barabbas is freed

Makes memento for the living..........Carries cross to Calvary
Continues to pray in low voice.........Meets His Mother & the other pious women
Holds hands over oblation-bell rings..Soldiers take hold of Christ our Lord
Blesses bread and wine with the sign
of the cross five times..................Is nailed to the cross

Consecrates the Host adores & elevates it.........Christ is raised on the cross
Consecrates the wine & elevates chalice.....Blood of Christ flows from 5 wounds
Prays in a low voice................Hangs on the cross. Sees His Mother kneeling
Says aloud “Nobis quoque peccatoribus”...............Prays for all mankind
Recites aloud “Pater Noster”............Speaks the seven last words on the cross
Breaks the Sacred Host........Dies on the cross
Drops a particle of Host into the chalice.........Christ’s soul descends into Limbo
Says “Agnus Dei”...Those standing by acknowledge Christ to be the Son of God

Receives the Body & Blood of Christ......Is laid in the sepulchre
Cleanses the chalice....Christ’s body is anointed in the sepulchre
Arranges the chalice on the Altar again......Rises from the dead
Turns to people: “Dominus Vobiscum”......Appears to His Mother and Disciples
Reads prayers at Epistle side-Post Communion.............Teaches for forty days
Turns to people and says last:
“Dominus Vobiscum”........Bids farewell to His Disciples: ascends into Heaven
Gives the blessing.........Sends the Holy Ghost to His Apostles
Reads the last Gospel.......Apostles preach the Gospel to all Nations

September 13, 2007

Hospitality Gone Wild!

Below I talk about how hospitality can be a part of helping someone who may be unfamiliar with the Mass or the form used in your parish (there could be Catholics who are unfamiliar with the ordinary form because they only attend the Tridentine Mass).

For years I was part of a parish where the quality of hospitality was judged by decibels and the numbers of people whose personal bodily space you could infiltrate-all this during the Mass. The Sign of Peace was a roving frontal Heimlich maneuver assault. Whoever could hug or wave or shout out at the greatest number of people in one minute proved they were a true member of the parish (and very popular!).

The danger of this excessive hospitality is that it can trick the faithful into thinking their sole reason for being at Mass is to fellowship with the other members of Christ's Body. No. The sole reason for Mass is to honor God. Period.

A lot of people who subscribe to the "We are Church" mentality think that JUST by honoring and showing love to each other we are honoring God. I think that, yes, you are honoring and showing respect to His Creation when you give love and respect to others. But, that's still not an acceptable reason for why you go to Mass each Sunday. Or, why you should go to Mass each Sunday. Why you MUST go to Mass each Sunday.

If you think you are just at Mass to see your friends, how easy it becomes to "stand your friends up" in favor of doing something else. Well, they will understand that I have other commitments. I'll see them next week. Or, we are getting together for lunch on Tuesday, that's enough.

When you start to realize and accept that the focus of Mass is to honor and praise and pray to the Creator, doesn't that make it harder to just toss the Mass away in favor of watching football or NASCAR on Sunday instead?

Hospitality can also be used as a way to introduce rubric violations into the Mass. Well, we want to be welcoming to all so we will incorporate some items under the guise of inculturation without bothering to ask the Ordinary for permission like: totem poles in the Procession, or sweet grass for the incense, or dancing the gifts down the aisle, or gongs instead of altar bells. I'm not always sure this is hospitality run amok or colonial guilt or both. Well, I digress here. Someday, I may have a more expansive post on inculturation.

Lending a Helping Hand

With September 14th arriving tomorrow and with it the implementation of the Holy Father's recent motu proprio emphasizing a greater use of the extraordinary form of the Mass, a lot of people may be sitting at Masses that will be celebrated in a manner that will be entirely new to them.

The other day, I had a post on all the items I bring to Mass these days so I'm ready to participate.

But, what about the person who does not have their own Missal to bring to follow along with? What if the parish does not provide them?

Clearly, there are implications for this beyond the extraordinary form. What about someone who is exploring the Sacred Mysteries of Holy Mother Church for the first time and they really have no idea what is going on, or why, during the Mass?

I want to state that I am not a fan of people talking during the Mass and explaining what is going on as it unfolds. It's too disruptive to the people in the pews trying to pray.

However, I think many of us have seen situations where we KNOW, or we can tell, that the people next to us are new or are just plain lost as far as what is happening.

Years ago, I was in London for a week and I decided to attend Evening Prayer at St. Martin-in-the-Fields: a world famous church to be sure. But, it is an Anglican church. Here I am, Ms. Catholic, sitting there, enjoying the sung prayer but with no idea what was going on or what they were saying. The woman next to me could see I was lost and confused. She leaned over and handed me her Book of Common Prayer, open to the correct page and with a little smile she pointed to where they were. I mouthed thanks and followed along. Afterwards, I handed her Book back and we exchanged pleasantries. It turns out we were both visitors. She was an Australian visiting London for a few days. See why those Aussies are renowned the world over for their kindness?!

But, that's my point, how many of us quietly and subtly try to help the newbie? At my small parish, newcomers stand out quite clearly. Fortunately, we provide Missalettes at the door. However, a visitor may not know they are available and may walk in and sit down without it. Are you in a position to slip away and obtain one for them, or better yet, hand them yours? If you see they are confused as to when they should stand or kneel do you make some kind of subtle, friendly, indication to them that in this parish we usually kneel during the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei? Or, we have an Archdiocesan Prayer for Vocations that you may not be familiar with, and hand them a print out? Or hymns for this Mass are in the hymnal and I already know the words to O Sanctissima but I can see you don't so here you can use the hymnal I have or you can follow along with me.

Let me reiterate that I'm not adovocating helping people in a way that disturbs the Mass, but there are subtle, quiet, ways that you can probably help. A smile with eye contact, or a simple inclination of the head, goes a long way towards making someone feel welcome-no words required.

After Mass, invite them downstairs for coffee (if your parish has after Mass hospitality) or speak with them outside to see if they have questions. Introduce them to Father. Take them on a small tour of your parish. If you have an Adoration Chapel stop by that.

You don't have to be intrusive or push anything on people that they aren't ready for. But, if our Faith is going to grow and if our Mass is going to return to its intended properly celebrated state-everywhere-then those of us who know what is going on need to be ready to extend a helping hand and hospitality when it's called for.

Oh, going back to my St. Martin-in-the-Fields visit. After Evening Prayer a gentleman, who was obviously in the employ of the church in some capacity, (I must have just screamed Yank visitor to everyone!) approached me. In an extremely thick Cockney English he said something that I had to ask him to repeat 3 times. I still couldn't make it out. I shook my head, smiled, and left. I was 10 minutes away before I was able to construct what he said. Doh, he was inviting me downstairs for coffee!!!!

September 12, 2007

The Cute Animal Post

"Thou must post at least one photo on thy blog of a cute animal. Thus, thy readers may be amazed and disarmed by the tenderness they did not expect. If that doesn't work, post a YouTube clip of yourself embracing a burning hot cauldron with your bare arms as a sign of how into my TV show you are" --Kwai Chang Caine

As promised a few days ago, here are some photos of my two cats: Kaylen and Sodak. Kaylen is the black and white female. She is 2 1/2 years old. Sodak is the black male. He is a little over 2 years old.

I adopted Kaylen from Cause for Paws. Her foster Mom had given her the name of Kaylen before I got her so I kept that name. I fell in love with her the minute I held her. She is really a sweetie pie. Quite the cuddler. Her favorite pastime, when she's not trying to sit on my computer keyboard, is seeking warm places to sleep-usually Mom's stomach.

Two friends of mine found Sodak as a kitten in a remote area in South Dakota. Hence, his name Sodak. He was only a few months old when I got him. I had just put my old 18-year old cat to sleep a few months before. My friends brought him to me hoping I'd adopt him. He was so cute. I could not resist. Sodak's favorite pastime is driving me crazy by doing something disruptive (picking a fight with Kaylen, dashing around the house, using his nails where he shouldn't be) when I'm trying to work.

It's tough to get good photos of them because they usually move-even if I get up close.

September 10, 2007

The Rapper: T.N.

I was channel surfing last night and caught a clip of the VMA suite parties. Wait a second, is that Terry Nelson layin' it down with 50 Cent and Timbaland?!?

Nice suit.

September 09, 2007

Catholic Mass Backpacks

Am I the only one who has noticed that you need to bring more "materials" to Holy Mass these days?

Maybe it's just me, since I still have so much to learn and relearn.

I'm wondering with the two forms if more Catholics will start to look like Protestants carrying our packets of stuff into the Church? When I was a kid only Protestants and old Catholics carried books into Church.

The rest of us just winged it or referred to the paper xeroxed handouts at the door. Well, we basically had no idea what was going on anyway since we weren't taught anything thanks to Catachesis being so poor. Essentially, we just stood, knelt or processed when we were supposed to with no concept of "why" or "what".

Now, I feel like I bring a small library of reference materials "just in case"-especially when I'm going to a new parish.

Yesterday for the Mass of the Nativity of Our Lady I was packin':

* Rosary in it's small bag
* Small purse-sized guide to the Novus Ordo in English and Latin (very nice, because it's portable)
* St. Andrew Daily Missal (I like to read what was going on in the old calender on that date. A gift from Ray for my Confirmation that I cherish very much)
* Magnificat (current readings)
* My Prayer Book by Father Lasance (original copyright 1908, it has hymns, prayers and devotions in it. I have the 1968 reprint. One of the best items, I've ever purchased)

I used every single one of them. I don't quite have the Latin memorized yet and this Mass happened to be a Novus Ordo celebrated ad orientem in English with Latin interspersed (similar to the EWTN Mass). Yes, the parish had handouts at the door but the handouts did not have everything and I forgot to pick up their hymnal on the way in. Fortunately, I had Jesu Dulcis Memoria in My Prayer Book because that was one of the hymns!

Occasionally, I bring a Bible but I didn't today.

That's a lot of stuff!

Maybe we need Catholic Mass bags or backpacks to carry all this stuff? Or, perhaps, once I learn more I won't need all of it. For now, it's nice to have available what I think I may need so I can participate fully.

I'm not a fan of burying ones face in the Missal during Mass. I read it before the Mass starts to get the readings and refresh my memory. I may occasionally pick it up when the responses are coming up that I'm still struggling with as far as memorization but I try really hard to pay attention. I learn better by watching/listening first and then trying to memorize on my own later. You may learn differently or get more from the Mass by a different process, I'm just sharing how I do it.

Let the Chase Begin!

Yee-haw! The Nextel Cup chase begins! My guy (Martin Truex Jr.) made it!

Honestly, I dozed off last night during the last 125 laps of the Richmond race. I woke up briefly to see Jr. lose his engine. I woke up again and Johnson was already doing his victory lap. Once my cat, Kaylen, comes over and wants to snuggle with me on the couch, it's pretty much all over for me as far as staying alert!!!

Hi, Richie D!

Your Holiness, Who are You Wearing?

The Holy Father receives the left nut of the person who selected the vestments for the Mass at Mariazell.

Labels: Oh, yes, I did just say that.

September 08, 2007

The Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary

Beata viscera Mariae Virginis quae portaverunt aeterni Patris Filium

September 07, 2007

First Friday Fast Intentions

* Solidarity with the Dallas bloggers for an end to abortion
* In thanksgiving for the blessings granted to Adoro
* For an improvement in Ray's health
* In thanksgiving for my Dad's recovery from illness
* For the special intention of Ma Beck.
* For Meg Meyer and her family
* Private intention
* For Max
* For Father Robert Monaghan
* For an increase in vocations to the priesthood and religious life in this Archdiocese
* For the teachers, clergy and seminarians of St. Paul Seminary and St. John Vianney College Seminary as they embark on a new year that they may continue to grow in faith, holiness and wisdom.

Sacred Heart of Jesus, pray for us!

September 06, 2007

Resquiscat in Pace, Luciano

September 05, 2007

AH-HA! Moment with The Recovering Dissident!

Thanks to decades of Biblical historical-critical review rendering the Bible untrustworthy;
Thanks to the perception that the Church's teachings shouldn't be followed because they are unpopular, difficult, and contrary to human nature;
No wonder so many want us to view the collective subconscious of the community as THE authority.

How is that going to work? Answer: It can't, because none of us have anything in common to begin with. Once each of us picks what we reject and accept based upon our own individual opinions, collectively we are nothing. We aren't on the same page. How can there be collective authority when we are all individual authorities?

However, if we all accept the same beliefs, in full, now we are getting somewhere as a community. Now, we have the shared conscious (I think I could even say shared conscience).


A Catty Cathy post.

Just curious.

Can ANYONE willing to pay the money rent a Catholic Church basement or hall these days?

Just wondering how an event hosted by drag queen manages to rent the Catholic church basement of the parish in south Minneapolis that I grew up in (no, it's not the parish you first thought of!)

Yes, they have a worthy goal of raising money for AIDS/HIV charities but I question whether or not there is some nose-thumbing going on at the same time. "Hey, I get to wear a bridal costume with my partner and be in a Catholic church basement-ha-ha-ha. That'll show 'em."

Furthermore, if someone can explain to me how some priests get to be in a parish for nearly 30 years while others can barely hang on for 2 before they are reassigned, I'd love to hear it.

September 04, 2007

Soy devastado, Don Francisco

Occasionally, I watch "Sabado Gigante" on Univision. I understand just enough Spanish to, at least, get the gist of what they are saying. Though, frankly, the show is so over-the-top (literally, ha-ha!) silly that you really don't have to know Spanish at all.

I read in the paper yesterday that Don Francisco's real name is Mario Krautzberger! Huh? Next they'll tell me the models on the show have had "work done".

Soy desilusionado

New Liturgical Position

Priceless post by The Curt Jester-LMAO!!!!

Good Article on the Dangers of the Occult

Sanctus Belle recommends this article on the demonic nature of the occult by Bishop Donald Montrose. I highly recommend it too.


A few times in my life I have been visited by people that I still swear were Angels in disguise. I feel like they were there to teach me a lesson or to test me in some way.

The first encounter was about 14 years ago. I was renting a duplex in a depressed area of Minneapolis. I was coming home from running errands and had just parked in front of my house. Suddenly, a woman's voice was right beside me. I turned, startled, to see an African-American woman who appeared to be in her late 30's standing there. She sounded stressed and said she had no shelter and no place to go. She had knocked on the door of a Lutheran church around the corner but no one was there. She did not ask for anything, she just laid out her situation. Such a random encounter by someone down on their luck was not unheard of in this neighborhood. Similar encounters had happened to me before. However, there was an undefinable "something" about this particular woman that inspired me to open my wallet and give her my last $20 (literally, I was living check to check then). She thanked me. I turned away for a second to head back towards my front door. I turned back and she had completely disappeared. She was nowhere in sight. She had been on foot so it's not like she got in a car and drove away. I did not see her back heading away down the block. Nothing. She was nowhere visible to me. I felt really good about helping her. But, my immediate thought was complete awe. I was sure in my heart that it was a visit, even a test, by an Angel. Call me crazy if you want to, but I still swear it to this day.

The second encounter was in the parking lot of a large shopping center in the Midway area of St. Paul a few years ago. It was during the holiday season. A homeless looking man of indeterminate age approached me right as I got out of my car. He asked if I could spare any change. There was "something" about him too. A voice in my head was telling me I should help him. This particular shopping center has had problems with panhandlers in the parking lots and I had been apprached in this manner there before. However, even though a voice was telling me to help him, I ignored the voice and gave the man nothing. I felt terrible for refusing to help him but that did not change my heart. I turned around for a second to head for the stores. I turned back to see where he was and he had completely disappeared. In a wide open parking lot, he was nowhere to be seen. The parking lot was more then 1/2 empty and I should have been able to see him. I felt even worse because I was now certain that this man was an Angel and it was a test. A test that I had failed miserably.

As I look back on these two encounters, I realize that when I was least able to give I was the most generous. When I had more to give, I gave nothing. I should have listened to the voice, my conscience, or perhaps it was the voice of my Guardian Angel telling me to give because he recognized his fellow Angels.

Perhaps, there is a lesson here: Always be open to the voice in your head telling you to be generous.

September 03, 2007

A Powerful Pro-Life Message

A new, alternative, message for Labor Day?

Image from Angela Messenger

September 02, 2007


What a perfect evening for grillin'! Beef sirloin tips with Jack Daniels bar-b-que sauce. Served with salt and vinegar potato chips and washed down with Summit Pale Ale.

I'm sure many of you will be grilling this weekend too. What did you have?

This type of mindless post is sure to boost my blog stats! Tommorrow, I'll post photos of my cats. No one can compete with that!

Dig That Cat, He's Real Gone!

Once again, as the unofficial end of summer passes, Terry decided to have a party to mark the occasion. Well, really, once again, he was banned from the State Fair Beer Garden on opening weekend so he hosted a small gathering to sample his home grog.

"DRRRR-ink IT!" "DRRR-ink!" "All of it!" "Quickly, before it loses it's strength!"

Terry promised it would put hair on our chests. Good grief, I'm still waxing my chest from last year's party! It's all good this year. His dyke neighbors called the cops early. They said something about payback....

September 01, 2007

Must Be the Vatican Calling...

When I was a kid, a standing joke in our family was when the phone rang at an incovenient time, it must be the Vatican or the Pope. When I was a kid, I think answering machines existed somewhere but no one I knew had one. There was no such thing as voice mail. If you didn't answer the phone (horrors!) the caller just had to keep calling back until someone did answer the phone.

My parents had this thing about ALWAYS feeling they had to answer the telephone. Even in the middle of dinner (which we did eat together as a family) if it rang, they answered it. (ring, ring) "Better get that. It's probably the Holy Father" Inevitably, it was my Dad's Mother.

Today, we are so liberated. We have voicemail, email, answering machines. Why answer the phone when you don't want to, right? Wrong. So many people are still slaves to the machine. Some people can't get in their car without grabbing that phone and calling someone while they drive. Or, they go on vacation and drag that laptop and wireless card. Must multi-task, multi-task.

Some of us are slaves to the blog. Why do so many of us bloggers feel the need to apologize if we want to take a break, go on vacation, or, even, quit blogging. Why do you blog? For popularity? To get a new job? Share the Faith with others? Meet people? For His glory or for yours?

I realize there are some folks who always have to answer the phone because it could really be an emergency. Doctors and priests are almost always on call. In some cases, it really could be the Vatican calling!

(ring ring)

Secretary: "Ciao, Padre. Cardinale Bertone desidera parlare con voi."

Priest: "Praised Be Jesus Christ! Gosh, I hope this is the network with the fewest dropped calls."
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