Saturday, March 29, 2008

In Your Charity...

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Sister Mary Francis Peters, O.S.F., a dear and loyal daughter of St. Francis who passed away this morning in Columbus, Ohio.
Eternal rest grant unto her O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon her. May her soul and all the souls of the faithfully departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen

Friday, March 28, 2008

More from the Religion of Peace- Geert Wilder's Video on the Quran

Editor's Note:
I was shown the following clip last night after having dinner with some fellow restorationists. Please note: The video is very violent and should not be watched by children or the faint of heart...
Cut the following link and paste in the URL to view or click on the above article title.

Update: I do not know how long this video clip will be available. Please watch and spread the word before it is removed from the net-The Editor.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

HSLDA Update- Court of Appeals Grants Petition for Re-hearing

Court of Appeal Grants Petition for Re-hearing

On March 25, the California Court of Appeal granted a motion for rehearing in the 'In re Rachel L.' case--the controversial decision which purported to ban all homeschooling in that state unless the parents held a teaching license qualifying them to teach in public schools.
The automatic effect of granting this motion is that the prior opinion is vacated and is no longer binding on any one, including the parties in the case.
The Court of Appeal has solicited a number of public school establishment organizations to submit amicus briefs including the California Superintendent of Public Instruction, California Department of Education, the Los Angeles Unified School District, and three California teacher unions. The court also granted permission to Sunland Christian School to file an amicus brief. The order also indicates that it will consider amicus applications from other groups.
Home School Legal Defense Association will seek permission to file such an amicus brief and will coordinate efforts with a number of organizations interesting in filing briefs to support the right of parents to homeschool their children in California.
"This is a great first step," said Michael Farris, chairman of HSLDA.
"We are very glad that this case will be reheard and that this opinion has been vacated, but there is no guarantee as to what the ultimate outcome will be. This case remains our top priority," he added.

Europe and Islam

Editor's Note:
More "exciting" news from Belgium... I wonder what Jan Sobieski would say about this?
Islam to be primary religion in Brussels within twenty years

Today, one third of the population is Muslim and younger generations are more religiously active.
The European capital will be Muslim in twenty years. At least this is what is confirmed by a study published last week in the daily La Libre Belgique. According to Olivier Servais, a sociologist at the Catholic University of Louvain, nearly a third of the population of Brussels is already Muslim and, due to their high birth rate, practitioners of Islam should be in the majority "in fifteen or twenty years". Since 2001, Mohamed has consistently been by far the most popular first name given to boys born in Brussels.
"You have to put these figures into perspective,” insists Mahfoud Romdhani, Socialist MP and vice-president of the Brussels francophone Parliament. “Not all immigrants from Muslim countries are Muslims! I myself am Muslim culturally, yet I am agnostic. Olivier Servais needs to be cautious about long-term projections since Brussels, as the capital of the European Union, undergoes significant population fluctuations.”
Albeit that, according to La Libre Belgique, "even if their parents were not religious," in order to facilitate integration in their host country, "the youth show a significant return to religious practice." Some 75% of Muslims consider themselves practicing today. Flemish journalist Hind Fraihi, author of Infiltrée parmi les Islamistes Radicaux, goes further: "Young people are increasingly radicalized," she says. “They reject Western values - which even worries their parents. In Brussels there are enclaves such as Molenbeek, where one sometimes finds it hard to believe he is in Belgium…”
From the Tafoukte bazaar to the Mohammed jewelry store, music of the Maghreb captivates the passerby. Lined with multicolored plastic buckets, sneakers, and shimmering caftans, the pedestrian zone of the Prado leads to the administrative building of Molenbeek - the Moroccan district of Brussels. Almost all women are veiled and the merchants speak Arabic. "You feel better here than in France or Spain,” says Akim, manager of a clothing store, “Maybe because we are such a large community. It's like a country of itself!"
"Gestures of respect"
Several years ago” says Philippe Moureaux, commissioner of Molenbeek, “Muslims sought me out. They wanted me to be the "president" of their new mosque…." That means that the former minister, although himself agnostic, is well-received by the "large third" of the 83,000 Muslims among its citizens. Creating an advisory council of mosques with local funds, opening of a municipal slaughterhouse during the feast of sacrifice, presentation of an electoral ballot with a majority of Muslims… "These are gestures of respect which have earned me the trust of this community," says the commissioner. “We were very far, some say too far, but for me the only solution is openness."
According to Alain Escada, president of the Belgium and Christianity association, "We continue to surrender more and more. More and more cafeterias introduce halal menus at the expense of Christians” he says with regret. “The authorities no longer do their jobs: politicians with a short-term vision are desperate to attract a new electorate, but also the clergy who place Muslims on equal footing with Christians even though they cannot expect anything in return. Look at this archbishop who was just murdered in Iraq!"
For the moment, "the essence of Belgian Islam is peaceful and familial,” insists Olivier Servais, “but one day there may be a clear claim to Islam. I do not exclude the social ramifications." He fears that some communitarian parties could capitalize on the very high rate of unemployment in Brussels (over 20% of the population) which affects the Muslim population in particular.
Jean-Francois Bastin, a 65 year old Belgian sporting a checkered turban and a henna-dyed beard, is known today as Abu Abdullah Abdulaziz Bastin. A convert to Islam, in 2004 he founded the Young Muslim Party. Abdullah does not shake the hands of women. "It deceives Allah,” he said. “It also deceives the one to whom the hand is offered into believing that you are equal. But I will offer you a big smile!" he quickly added.
He himself says that the smiles which some politicians give to Muslims are only a "huge instrumentalization: There is enough of this kind of neocolonialism,” he said. “They claim that they are going to defend us and then they forbid headscarves in schools." In the last municipal elections, the Young Muslim Party, which is represented in only two districts of Brussels, garnered less than 5000 votes. "We can use this as a foundation to require more visible mosques, calls to prayer, cemeteries, schools, retirement homes…” says the convert. “I say to the Muslims: ‘Lose this spirit of the colonized! Colonizers have been expelled from Algeria; perhaps that can happen here’.” "Immigrants," he concludes, “have had enough and maybe ‘too much’ of integration. It is now time for Belgium to adapt."
From Rorate Caeli
(For information about Jan Sobieski and the Siege at the Gates of Vienna see

The Restoration in Progress-Holy Week with the Institute of Christ the King

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

The Acton Institute: Some Salient Problems- Part I

By Thomas Storck
Lord Acton (John Emerich Edward Dalberg-Acton, 1834-1902) is chiefly remembered today for his remark that power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely, but it would be well were more generally known about him, for as a leader of liberal Catholicism in the nineteenth century he is a fitting symbol in the conflict between different versions of the Faith which has afflicted the Church since the 1960s. It is interesting, therefore, that Acton has been chosen as the patron of an institute in Grand Rapids, Michigan, an institute that is often considered as part of the orthodox Catholic "movement" in the United States. But as we will see, the Institute's name and patron are well chosen, for it continues the tradition of liberal and even dissenting Catholicism that Lord Acton himself partook of and that many of the Acton Institute's supporters would doubtless blush to be identified with, if they knew exactly who Acton was and what he stood for.
The true face of the Acton Institute is clear from statements made, or formerly made, on their web site (, for example, their kind words about Ignaz von Döllinger (theological tutor of Lord Acton), who left the Church rather than accept the definition of papal infallibility by the First Vatican Council, and their opposition to censorship of pornography on the Internet, but in this article I will concentrate on their dissent from the social magisterium of the Catholic Church. I will examine assertions made by the Institute's president, Fr. Robert Sirico, to see whether they can be squared with the explicit teaching of the Church.
First, however, we must look at the underlying difficulty, the root, in fact, of the Acton Institute's dissent from the social doctrine of the Catholic Church. This lies in their unabashed acceptance of liberalism. In discussing liberalism it is imperative to recognize that this term, as used in papal teaching, does not mean the same thing as it does in contemporary political discourse in the United States. We would do well to spend some time discussing exactly what liberal means in order to understand the fundamental disagreement between the Acton Institute and Catholic doctrine.
Liberalism, as that term is used in papal teaching, and indeed in Europe and throughout most of the world, is that movement in Western civilization which arose in opposition to the Christian political and economic order of the Middle Ages, and to the continuation of that order by all or most European governments even after the Middle Ages ended. Thus these governments believed that they had duties toward God, including that of caring for the poor and seeing that the economy fulfilled its function of supplying all citizens with the material things needed for this life. Certainly these governments fulfilled their duties imperfectly, but none of them would have denied that it had such a duty.
Liberalism, however, in effect denies that the state or the human community is a creation of God or has duties toward him. At most, liberalism accepts that the individual has duties toward God. Important liberal theorists such as John Locke, held that society and the state originated in an agreement among men, the so-called social contract, and thus was a purely human creation, and as such, can have no inherent duties toward God. Liberal economic writers, such as Adam Smith, attacked the notion that the state should regulate the economy in the interests of the common good, positing instead that the economy was a self-regulating mechanism, the less interfered with by the state the better.
The Catholic Church confronted liberalism in the eighteenth, and especially the nineteenth, centuries. And against this liberal doctrine Pius IX, and even more clearly his successor, Leo XIII, taught that the state itself was a creation of God and thus had duties to God.
For men living together in society are under the power of God no less than individuals are, and society, not less than individuals, owes gratitude to God, who gave it being and maintains it, and whose ever-bounteous goodness enriches it with countless blessings. (Leo XIII, Encyclical Immortale Dei, November 1, 1885)
Liberals were not only hostile to the concept of the state as created by God and subject to his laws, but they opposed any efforts of the government to intervene in the supposedly self-regulating market. They loudly cried that such economic restraints retarded the progress of humanity. Now economic activity no longer was to need regulation, for the "invisible hand" of Adam Smith was to guarantee that greed and self-interest would work out the best for everyone.
What was the result of this new approach to economics and government? Pope Leo's classic description is worth repeating:
The ancient workmen's Guilds were destroyed in the last century, and no other organization took their place. Public institutions and the laws have repudiated the ancient religion. Hence by degrees it has come to pass that Working Men have been given over, isolated and defenseless, to the callousness of employers and the greed of unrestrained competition. The evil has been increased by a rapacious Usury, which, although more than once condemned by the Church, is nevertheless, under a different form but with the same guilt, still practiced by avaricious and grasping men. And to this must be added the custom of working by contract, and the concentration of so many branches of trade in the hands of a few individuals, so that a small number of very rich men have been able to lay upon the masses of the poor a yoke little better than slavery itself. (Encyclical Rerum Novarum, 2;May 15, 1891)
Originally Published in Social Justice Review, vol. 93, no. 5-6, May-June 2002©Thomas Storck

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Restoration In Progress- Diocese of Lafayette Indiana Implementing Summorum Pontificum

Indiana’s Bishop Higi is Faithful to Summorum Pontificum with FSSP SupportBishop Higi tells Una Voce Carmel to Think BigCarmel, Indiana (March 20, 2008) – The Most Reverend William L. Higi, Bishop (above) of the Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana is supporting a proposal initiated by Una Voce Carmel, a chapter of Una Voce America for a Traditional Latin Mass to be scheduled regularly on Sundays in the Carmel Deanery, Diocese of Lafayette in Indiana. The Carmel Deanery is over 40% of the diocese and includes northern suburbs of Indianapolis in Hamilton and Boone Counties. In 2006, Hamilton County was the 18th fastest-growing county in the nation based on national census data. Also, Hamilton is the most affluent county in Indiana and ranks in the top five in the United States. The first Traditional Latin Mass (TLM) will be offered by Father Gerard Saguto, FSSP, on Sunday, April 6th and subsequently, every other Sunday thereafter. Father Saguto is pastor of S.S. Philomena & Cecilia’s [GREAT NAME!] Roman Catholic Church located in Southeastern Indiana.Current plans include expansion to include all Sundays and Holy Days starting June 1st. At that time, Lafayette diocese’s Father Christopher Roberts, associate at Our Lady of Mt. Carmel parish in Carmel, Indiana will alternate with Father Saguto on Sundays. Father Roberts will complete his TLM training in the middle of May.The location of the Traditional Latin Mass will be the day chapel at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton, 10655 Haverstick Road, Carmel, Indiana. The Una Voce Carmel Officers and board of governors attending a February 19th meeting with Father Rothrock were later quoted as saying that ” Father rolled out the red carpet for the TLM”. However, this isn’t surprising considering that in May 2005, His Excellency, Bishop Higi and Father Rothrock helped St. Athanasius, an Indianapolis based Ruthenian Byzantine Catholic Parish to established a Divine Liturgy at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton parish which was celebrated every Saturday for over two years. In September 2001, His Excellency Bishop Higi established a Traditional Latin Mass indult at St. Mary’s Roman Catholic Church in the Muncie Deanery. It continues to be celebrated on Tuesday evenings.
From Fr. Z

From the Editor's Desk

I woke up this morning with excitement hoping to see my letter to Chris Kelly posted on his blog. This is America, I thought, and my letter raised some interesting points... Alas, I have failed again. The communists over at the Huffington Post deemed my comments as "abusive". The journalist who called Pope Benedict XVI an ex-Nazi among other things, deemed my comments as abusive! Oh well. I am glad that my comments weren't posted on their site. It proves my point further that the liberal hatred against the Catholic Faith knows no bounds... We will not be getting an apology from Chris Kelly any time soon. Perhaps I am looking at this wrong. Perhaps we should be apologizing to Chris Kelly. After all, it is not his fault that he hates Catholics... He is just repeating what he has been taught.-The Editor

Monday, March 24, 2008

From the Editor's Desk- An Open Letter to Chris Kelly

Dear Readers:
As many of you know, I am seldom at a loss for words. In fact, I would argue that I am never at a loss for words. Yet, tonight I am speechless. I usually don't get worked up over comments people make especially when there appears to be a political agenda involved, but this one really rubbed me the wrong way. I was referred to a blog run by former Republican now ultra-left wing Democrat Arianna Huffington and comments about Bill O'Reilly's attendance at Easter Sunday Mass. I am not normally an apologist for people like O'Reilly, in fact I pretty much think that "conservative" and "liberal" TV and Radio personalities are all formed out of the same mold. Yet, in this case, the attack was not only against Mr. O'Reilly, it was also an attack against the Holy Father and likewise an attack against everyone who holds the Catholic Faith. Below is an Open Leter I wrote to Mr. Chris Kelly who penned the article. At the time of this writing, I have not yet been able to send it to the Huffington people, the "comments" section of her blog being disabled.

Dear Mr. Kelly:

I read with interest your article attacking Bill O'Reilly and his attendance at "Easter services at church led by ex-Nazi". As a Roman Catholic, I was shocked at the virulence you displayed regarding the current Holy Father Benedict XVI. I have included your post in my letter. My comments are in red.

"The Huffington Post has learned that Bill O'Reilly -- who claims to love America -- spent Sunday at a "church"- I love how you conspicuously put "church" in quotes as if the church represented some fanatical group or religious sect-run by a former Hitler Youth named Joseph Alois Ratzinger-- the "church" that you so mysteriously refer to as being "run by"a former Hitler Youth named Joseph Alois Ratzinger is in fact not "run by" him at all. Look up Catholic etiquette and customs sir, and you will see that "churches" are "run by" pastors and are located in a diocese which is "run by" a bishop. The bishop reports to the Pope who is head of the entire Catholic Church. Ratzinger has gone to elaborate ends to hide this connection, including taking on the absurd pseudonym "Pope Benedict XVI."-Here sir, you have really shown your ignorance. Do you really believe that Ratzinger took on name Pope Benedict XVI to hide his association with Hitler Youth? What about the 265 Popes before him who had no connection with Hitler Youth? Why did they take on new names? My question is as absurd as your assertion. Popes take a different name when they accept the Papacy-it is in a sense putting on the new man. This is not something that Benedict did to hide something from his past. In fact, when he was elected, others more competent than you investigated and brought up his involvement with Hitler youth. This is not new news, in fact it is rather old news. I hope that your job does not rest on your getting "breaking news" stories, because if it does, you well may want to start looking for a new job. Which, even if it doesn't prove anything, certainly makes you think.
This shocking revelation-again, sir, which revelation? The revelation that Pope Benedict was part of Hitler Youth?... again old news! comes only a week after Barack Obama admitted he attends a church formerly run by Jeremiah Wright, who talks smack about America, although probably less than Goebbels-again, a ridiculous assertion that you can neither prove nor disprove. Comparing Pope Benedict to Goebbels is so ludicrous that no comment is warranted. I might add that the obligatory service of a sixteen year old boy in a group like Hitler Youth, is not the same as the association of a racist, Jeremiah Wright with someone like Louis Farrakhan... its not even close. Furthermore, comparing a pastor in a Chicago church to the Shepherd of approximately one billion Catholics is as absurd as comparing you to John Barron.

This would all be holy water- bad taste, Mr. Kelly. It is obvious your mother never taught you manners... sacrilege may score points with the ladies, but it is annoying and insulting. Thank the God who created holy water, that you can even make a comment like this on your post. There are some religions in the world that would not take so kindly to a slam against one of their religious articles- under the bridge, except for one disturbing and undeniable fact: Bill O'Reilly is a Roman Catholic, and Benedict "Joey Ratz" XVI worked for Hitler, as did Unity Mitford, whose baby sister was Jessica Mitford, who knew Maya Angelou, who knew Betty Shabazz, who was married to Malcolm X, who knew Louis Farrakhan- how long did it take you to look up this information?

Is there any place in our public discourse for men like Bill O'Reilly, who won't even repudiate their links to Louis Farrakhan? I'll give you the last word, and then cut you off in the middle of it: No there isn't.

I probably shouldn't say, "The Huffington Post has learned..." I don't speak for anyone but myself- now that's interesting, Mr. Kelly! Why then, isn't the name of the Post called the Kelly Post? Oh, how silly of me. This is where that stupid little disclaimer is pulled out which says "We are not responsible for the statements and or opinions of our writers, guests...etc". Save it for NBC, CBS or the New York Times-and it's all I can handle, just doing that.

It might not seem like an important distinction, but for the last couple of weeks Bill O'Reilly's been accusing Arianna-well now, Mr. Kelly, on a first name basis are we? Didn't you learn that that's a big no no in the journal world. It brings down the tone of your article and makes you sound unprofessional of running a "hate site" just based on the comments- Mr. Kelly, am I to understand you correctly that Ms. Huffington or rather Arianna has no idea what is said on her comments? Someone must read through the comments to edit what is being posted. Otherwise, who or what would prevent someone from spouting obscenities on your post? I am aware of every comment on my blog, and if Ms. Huffington isn't, then she should be, especially when the comments posted on her blog offend approximately one billion Catholics... Taking the old "babe in the woods" approach does not suit her well. On a side note, and just a word of caution, the Southern Poverty Law Center only requires you to offend minorities to be blacklisted. You, sir, have offended every Roman Catholic by your comments today.

Which is like pretending you don't understand the difference between a newspaper and a blog, or a post and a comment, or The Great Gatsby and a copy of The Great Gatsby someone has written notes in.-It doesn't matter if it were written on a bathroom stall or in a Subway station... the rhetoric offends people, sir... and Ms. Huffington's inability to control her blog shows not only bad faith on her part, it show compliance with what was said.

No, Bill, F. Scott Fitzgerald didn't circle those words in ballpoint and write "water imagery!!!" in the margin. That was someone else.-This is supposed to be funny... leave the jokes for the professionals, sir.

I think it's too bad that we live in a climate when you can get in trouble for something someone else says, where not censoring someone is the same as agreeing with them. Obama and Jeremiah Wright. Wright and Farrakhan. Arianna and everyone who posts a comment on this site.

If we have to take down every comment that Bill O'Reilly might not understand it's going to get pretty quiet around here.-Miracles never cease!

Ronald Kessler, who printed the first Wright quotes at Newsmax, had to pretend they were violently troubling. And that when he heard them, he was so shocked his shirtfront curled up out of his tuxedo,-kind of the way my shirtfront curled up out of my trousers today when I read your article- while his wife fainted. And then Nat Turner came back from the dead and killed everyone with a hoe.

No, not that last part. But even if it had happened, it wouldn't have been worse than the things Kessler had heard. Because what makes you a good American or a bad American doesn't depend on what you do. It depends on which blowhard you listen to. If you don't believe me, ask a Dittohead.

But, okay. That's the new rule: All that matters is what people say. So Obama made his speech about Wright last week, and someone asked Kessler what he thought of it, and he said:

"It was very eloquent, it was brilliant, but it's just words."

I swear I'm not making that up.

Hey, here's a funny quote I just found by Googling "O'Reilly" and "Catholic." (It's from a column O'Reilly wrote in 2003.)
"It is fairly easy to understand why France, Germany, China and Russia oppose removing Saddam Hussein by force; all of those countries are doing profitable business with Saddam, and all of them would like to see American power diminished. But Pope John Paul II is another matter... the Pope believes there are still options to war.
The problem with this argument is faith, pardon the pun. The Pope is putting his faith in a system of inspections that very well might fail. If that happens and even a portion of Saddam's unaccounted for 8,500 liters of anthrax are used against people, a worldwide catastrophe would ensue."

I wonder when that anthrax is going to turn up.

Maybe we should have listened to the guy who's infallible.

And I know it's not as simple as that. But that's the difference between the Pope and Bill O'Reilly: The Pope is only infallible ex cathedra.-Please, please, please, Mr. Kelly for the last time, do your homework before you write an article. Might I suggest that you read the Dogmatic Constitution I on the Church of Christ from Vatican Council I written by Pope Pius IX. You will find the Pope's prerogative of infallibility correctly spelled out in there. Bill O'Reilly is wrong all the time.

You should be ashamed of yourself for writing such bilge, Mr. Kelly. I do, however, want to help you. I have five very simple ways you can improve your article. They are as follows:

1. Get all of your information straight before you publish it.

2. Avoid ridiculous assertions.

3. Avoid old news stories. They were news once, oftentimes front page news... Stop trying to steal someone else's thunder- its bad journalism.

4. Don't defend someone by attacking someone who is completely outside of the loop- you obviously never studied formal logic.

5. Don't (and this is really important), don't attack the customs and religious practices of a people who worship God in a religion that is as old the Western World. You may need their help one day, and no one likes helping someone who insulted their mother. Hope that this helps.


John W. Heitzenrater II
Instauratio Catholica

The double standard of modernity is unbelievable. If Mr. Kelly had made comments about black Americans, Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson would have been screaming "hate". If Mr. Kelly had made a comment about the Jews, the SPLC would have had his job and would have made sure everyone knew he was "anti-semetic". Yet Mr. Kelly has made a comment about the Pope, the head of approximately one billion Catholics, the head of the Church of Christ, and no one has said a word...

Anti-Catholicism is alive an well in America- in fact it is the prejudice of all prejudices. We should all pray for Mr. Kelly and Ms. Huffington. We should pray that our Lord may open their minds and graciously shut their mouths...

As a follow-up to my earlier post, I was able to post a modified version of the letter you see here on the comments section of the Huffington Post. It is "pending approval"... The Editor

The Restoration in Progress- Notre Dame de Paris

The Parish Priest of Saint-Eugène, one of the few Parishes in which the Traditional Mass is celebrated in the Archdiocese of Paris, announced today at the end of the Solemn Easter Mass that the Archbishop of Paris, Cardinal Vingt-Trois, has already decided to hold a Solemn Mass in the Ancient Use of the Roman Rite in one of the greatest buildings in Christendom, the Metropolitan Cathedral of Our Lady of Paris (Notre-Dame de Paris). The Mass will be celebrated in June, in a specific day to be defined soon.This turn of events seemed very unlikely, if not impossible, one year ago, before the publication of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum: thank you, o God, cuius antiqua miracula etiam nostris saeculis coruscare sentimus!
From Rorate Caeli

Muslim Journalist Baptised by HH Benedict XVI

Editor's Note:
This will certainly not be front page news in the secular press; but, it is nonetheless a huge note of interest to those of us who pray for the conversion of those in the heresy of Mohammedanism. If it is possible for one in Islam to accept the true faith, it is possible for them all. During this Eastertide, let us pray all the more in earnest for the conversion of all those "darkened by the errors of Islamism" and for true peace to return to the Middle East.
Convert Says it Was a Beautiful Day
By Jesús Colina

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 23, 2008 ( The day Magdi Allam became a Catholic was a beautiful one, according to the Muslim journalist who was baptized by Benedict XVI at Saturday's Easter Vigil Mass.Allam, who is originally from Egypt, was one of the seven people -- five women and two men -- the Pope baptized at St. Peter's Basilica.The Holy Father also administered the sacraments of the Eucharist and confirmation to the seven catechumens from five countries: Italy, Cameroon, China, the United States and Peru.Allam, deputy director of Corriere della Sera, one of Italy’s largest and oldest newspapers, has lived in Italy for almost 35 years.
Explaining what led the Pope to administer baptism to the journalist, Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi said, “For the Catholic Church, every person who asks to receive baptism after a deep personal search, a completely free choice and adequate preparation, has the right to receive it.”
“For his part,” Father Lombardi added, “the Holy Father administers baptism during the course of the Easter liturgy to those catechumens who are presented to him, without making ‘a distinction between persons,’ that is, considering all of them equally important before the love of God and welcome in the community of the Church.”
In a letter to the director, which appeared in the Corriere della Sera, Allam, who chose Cristiano as his baptismal name, explained that the witness of Catholics, who “gradually became a point of reference in regard to the certainty of truth and the solidity of values,” played an important role in his conversion.
Among these Catholics, he pointed to the president of Communion and Liberation, Father Julián Carrón; the major rector of the Salesians, Pascual Chávez Villanueva; Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Benedict XVI's secretary of state; and Bishop Rino Fisichella, rector of the Pontifical Lateran University, who “personally accompanied him in the journey of spiritual acceptance of the Christian faith.”
He said the most decisive influence was that of Benedict XVI, “who I admired and, as a Muslim, defended for his mastery in setting down the indissoluble link between faith and reason as a basis for authentic religion and human civilization, and to whom I fully adhere as a Christian to inspire me with new light in the fulfillment of the mission God has reserved for me.”
“For me it is the most beautiful day of my life,” he added.
The Pope said in his homily, addressing himself to the catechumens: “We must be converted ever anew, turning with our whole life toward the Lord. And ever anew we must allow our hearts to be withdrawn from the force of gravity, which pulls them down, and inwardly we must raise them high: in truth and love.”The Pontiff explained that conversion is not a choice that is exhausted in one day, but a fundamental attitude that must find its fulfillment in daily life.
Conversion, he emphasized, consists in “turning our soul to Jesus Christ and thus toward the living God, toward the light.”
It is the lifting up of the heart to God, “beyond all of the intertwining of our preoccupations, of our desires, our anxieties, our distractions.”
Converting, the Holy Father added, means “again and again we must turn ourselves away from mistaken directions.”
Benedict XVI concluded his meditation with this invocation: “Yes, Lord, make us become Easter persons, men and women of light, full of fire and your love.”

Is Economic Justice Possible in this World? Part III

By Thomas Storck
Just as in our work toward chastity, or any other virtue, so in our work toward social justice, we should be aware of "the essential imperfectability of man's action within history," but that we are "charged to go toward the Kingdom through justice and love." We will never reach that Kingdom in this world and life, but that is not reason enough never to try.
But what concrete steps, if any, could we take to try to bring about economic justice? Before answering this question, let me deal briefly with one more objection. In view of the many grave problems in the world today, the horrible reality of abortion, the probable impending legal acceptance of euthanasia, the attacks on the family by militant homosexuals and others, the defection of hundreds of thousands of Catholics from the Church, is now the time for us, for anyone, to work actively for the establishment of economic justice? I believe that it is, or rather, that it can be. I concede that abortion and euthanasia are certainly graver issues, for it is a worse injustice to take someones life than merely his job or his home. But everyone has a different vocation, and those who think that they are called to work in pursuit of justice in economic life ought not to be criticized by, nor to criticize, those who believe they are called to work to prevent the murder of the unborn or the aged or in some other area. There are many legitimate apostolates in Christ's Mystical Body.
Having said this, what is to be done? In the first place, there is a great need for education, simply of spreading the idea and desire for economic justice. So many have been warped in their thinking by capitalism that they do not realize the necessity of applying ethical criteria to economic activity. They do not understand that an economy has to be judged by how well it is performing its function. What is an economy's function? To provide the necessary and helpful material goods for the human race so that we can then in turn devote our energies to the more important matters - to our families and friends, to learning, to God. If an economy has instead fixed our attention on acquiring more and more material goods, many of them useless; if it has disrupted settled communities by shifting about jobs for no good reason; if it has enabled some men to grow rich not by making useful goods but by manipulating money and monetary instruments - then that economy is a failure, despite the abundance of glittery things it has produced. Americans tend to congratulate themselves because the shelves in our stores are full. But this is not how to evaluate an economy. As John Paul II wrote in Centesimus Annus (no. 36),
It is therefore necessary to create lifestyles in which the quest for truth, beauty, goodness and communion with others for the sake of common growth are the factors which determine consumer choices, savings and investment.
I submit that in our economy this is far from being the case.
In the much-maligned days before the Second Vatican Council there existed among many Catholics a consciousness that there was something wrong with the economy, and that it must be reshaped in accordance with papal teaching. This consciousness was simply one effect of the relative health of the Catholic mind at the time - Catholics took the Faith seriously, including the social apostolate. And this being the case, actual schemes were created to bring about a greater degree of social justice. There were, for example, labor schools and the Association of Catholic Trade Unionists, that tried to give people engaged in union activity an understanding of social doctrine. Fr. John Cronin wrote not only his Catholic Social Principles, but also another book, Catholic Social Action, which he termed "a guide and manual for social action." Hilaire Belloc's The Restoration of Property suggested actual legislative proposals to bring about a society with a more just distribution of property. Despite the collapse of Catholic life and loyalty since the 1960s, some of this type of work can still be done. There is room for such worthy projects as union organizing of low paid service workers or formation of credit unions in rural or poor urban areas. There is even room for a vocation as a legislator, although such an occupation is extremely dangerous to the soul, considering the very many dangers of an intellectual and moral sell-out that Catholics in politics face today. But until more Catholics have absorbed the entire vision of the Church's teaching on social justice, I am not sanguine about these efforts bringing about a reform of the economy as a whole. And since the Church is presently so distracted with questions that concern the very foundations of the Faith, most Catholics do not have the time to absorb this vision of a just society. But since social doctrine is an integral part of the Gospel, any attempt to restore the Catholic mind, to restore discipline in the Church, must include a due emphasis on social justice. If this is done, if we begin to think as Catholics in every department of our lives, then there may be scope for more than ad hoc projects. Until that time, we must study social doctrine, absorb it, teach it to others. In this way we will be doing much to restore the Catholic mind, as well as the remote preparation necessary for establishing a just economy. It is nearly all we can do now, but it is a large and worthy project.
Original version of article published in New Oxford Review, October 1997.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Easter Sunday

On this, the holiest day of the entire year, and for the entire Octave of Easter, Latin Catholics greet each other with the words of Luke 24:34, "Surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia!" ("The Lord is risen indeed!"). The person so greeted responds, "Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia!" ("And hath appeared unto Simon!"). Catholics may even answer their telephones with this greeting. An old Ukrainian legend relates that, after His Resurrection, Christ threw Satan into a deep pit, chaining him with twelve iron chains. When Satan has chewed through each of the twelve chains, the end of the world will come. All year long, the Evil One gnaws at the iron, getting to the last link in the last chain -- but too late, for it is Easter, and when the people cry "Christ is risen!" all of Satan's efforts are reversed. When the faithful stop saying the Easter acclamation, the end of time has come...
Throughout the entire Easter Season, the Angelus prayer that is offered, when possible, at the ringing of the
Angelus bells, is replaced by the joyous Regina Coeli, which begins, "Queen of Heaven rejoice, alleluia: For He whom you merited to bear, alleluia, Has risen as He said, alleluia."
On this most beautiful of Feasts, the Easter table should be adorned with the best of everything -- the most beautiful china, a pure, white tablecloth, the best possible wine, flowers (especially pussy willow, lilies, and spring bulb flowers), etc., all with the colors white and gold -- symbolizing purity and glory -- and the traditional symbols of Easter predominating. And we should look our best, too; it is common for those who can afford it to buy a new outfit to wear on this day. This custom springs from the idea of "newness" inherent in the entire Season -- the new members of the Church baptized at the Vigil in their new Baptismal albs, the New Law, a new life in Christ.
Easter Sermon
By St. John Chrysostom

Is there anyone who is a devout lover of God? Let them enjoy this beautiful bright festival! Is there anyone who is a grateful servant? Let them rejoice and enter into the joy of their Lord!
Are there any weary with fasting? Let them now receive their wages! If any have toiled from the first hour, let them receive their due reward; If any have come after the third hour, let him with gratitude join in the Feast! And he that arrived after the sixth hour, let him not doubt; for he too shall sustain no loss. And if any delayed until the ninth hour, let him not hesitate; but let him come too. And he who arrived only at the eleventh hour, let him not be afraid by reason of his delay.
For the Lord is gracious and receives the last even as the first. He gives rest to him that comes at the eleventh hour, as well as to him that toiled from the first. To this one He gives, and upon another He bestows. He accepts the works as He greets the endeavor. The deed He honors and the intention He commends.
Let us all enter into the joy of the Lord! First and last alike receive your reward; rich and poor, rejoice together! Sober and slothful, celebrate the day!
You that have kept the fast, and you that have not, rejoice today for the Table is richly laden! Feast royally on it, the calf is a fatted one. Let no one go away hungry. Partake, all, of the cup of faith. Enjoy all the riches of His goodness!
Let no one grieve at his poverty, for the universal kingdom has been revealed. Let no one mourn that he has fallen again and again; for forgiveness has risen from the grave. Let no one fear death, for the Death of our Savior has set us free. He has destroyed it by enduring it.
He destroyed Hades when He descended into it. He put it into an uproar even as it tasted of His flesh. Isaias foretold this when he said, "You, O Hell, have been troubled by encountering Him below."
Hell was in an uproar because it was done away with.
It was in an uproar because it is mocked.
It was in an uproar, for it is destroyed.
It is in an uproar, for it is annihilated.
It is in an uproar, for it is now made captive.
Hell took a body, and discovered God.
It took earth, and encountered Heaven.
It took what it saw, and was overcome by what it did not see.
O death, where is thy sting?
O Hades, where is thy victory?
Christ is Risen, and you, O death, are annihilated!
Christ is Risen, and the evil ones are cast down!
Christ is Risen, and the angels rejoice!
Christ is Risen, and life is liberated!
Christ is Risen, and the tomb is emptied of its dead; for Christ having risen from the dead, is become the first-fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
To Him be Glory and Power forever and ever. Amen!

A Poem on Easter
By Venantius Honorius Clementianus Fortunatus
The seasons blush varied with the flowery, fair weather, and the gate of the pole lies open with greater light. His path in the heaven raises the fire-breathing sun higher, who goes forth on his course, and enters the waters of the ocean. Armed with rays traversing the liquid elements, in this brief night he stretches out the day in a circle. The brilliant firmament puts forth its clear countenance, and the bright stars show their joy. The fruitful earth pours forth its gifts with varied increase, when the year has well returned its vernal riches. Soft beds of violets paint the purple plain; the meadows are green with plants, and the plant shines with its leaves. By degrees gleaming brightness of the flowers comes forth; all the herbs smile with their blossoms. The seed being deposited, the corn springs up far and wide in the fields, promising to be able to overcome the hunger of the husbandman. Having deserted its stem, the vine-shoot bewails its joys; the vine gives water only from the source from which it is wont to give wine. The swelling bud, rising with tender down from the back of its mother, prepares its bosom for bringing forth. Its foliage having been torn off in the wintry season, the verdant grove now renews its leafy shelter. Mingled together, the willow, the fir, the hazel, the osier, the elm, the maple, the walnut, each tree applauds, delightful with its leaves. Hence the bee, about to construct its comb, leaving the hive, humming over the flowers, carries off honey with its leg. The bird which, having closed its song, was dumb, sluggish with the wintry cold, returns to its strains. Hence Philomela attunes her notes with her own instruments, and the air becomes sweeter with the re-echoed melody.
Behold, the favour of the reviving world bears witness that all gifts have returned together with its Lord. For in honour of Christ rising triumphant after His descent to the gloomy Tartarus, the grove on every side with its leaves expresses approval, the plants with their flowers express approval. The light, the heaven, the fields, and the sea duly praise the God ascending above the stars, having crushed the laws of hell. Behold, He who was crucified reigns as God over all things, and all created objects offer prayer to their Creator. Hail, festive day, to be reverenced throughout the world, on which God has conquered hell, and gains the stars! The changes of the year and of the months, the bounteous light of the days, the splendour of the hours, all things with voice applaud. Hence, in honour of you, the wood with its foliage applauds; hence the vine, with its silent shoot, gives thanks. Hence the thickets now resound with the whisper of birds; amidst these the sparrow sings with exuberant love.
O Christ, Thou Saviour of the world, merciful Creator and Redeemer, the only offspring from the Godhead of the Father, flowing in an indescribable manner from the heart of Thy Parent, Thou self-existing Word, and powerful from the mouth of Thy Father, equal to Him, of one mind with Him, His fellow, coeval with the Father, from whom at first the world derived its origin! Thou dost suspend the firmament, Thou heapest together the soil, Thou dost pour forth the seas, by whose government all things which are fixed in their places flourish. Who seeing that the human race was plunged in the depth of misery, that Thou mightest rescue man, didst Thyself also become man: nor wert Thou willing only to be born with a body, but Thou becamest flesh, which endured to be born and to die. Thou dost undergo funeral obsequies, Thyself the author of life and framer of the world, Thou dost enter the path of death, in giving the aid of salvation. The gloomy chains of the infernal law yielded, and chaos feared to be pressed by the presence of the light. Darkness perishes, put to flight by the brightness of Christ; the think pall of eternal night falls.
But restore the promised pledge, I pray Thee, O power benign! The third day has returned; arise, my buried One; it is not becoming that Thy limbs should lie in the lowly sepulchre, nor that worthless stones should press that which is the ransom of the world. It is unworthy that a stone should shut in with a confining rock, and cover Him in whose fist all things are enclosed. Take away the linen clothes, I pray; leave the napkins in the tomb: Thou art sufficient for us, and without Thee there is nothing. Release the chained shades of the infernal prison, and recall to the upper regions whatever sinks to the lowest depths. Give back Thy face, that the world may see the light; give back the day which flees from us at Thy death.
But returning, O holy conqueror, Thou didst altogether fill the heaven! Tartarus lies depressed, nor retains its rights. The ruler of the lower regions, insatiably opening his hollow jaws, who has always been a spoiler, becomes a prey to Thee. Thou rescuest an innumerable people from the prison of death, and they follow in freedom to the place whither their leader approaches. The fierce monster in alarm vomits forth the multitude whom he had swallowed up, and the Lamb withdraws the sheep from the jaw of the wolf. Hence re-seeking the tomb from the lower regions, having resumed Thy flesh, as a warrior Thou carriest back ample trophies to the heavens. Those whom chaos held in punishment he has now restored; and those whom death might seek, a new life holds, Oh, sacred King, behold a great part of Thy triumph shines forth, when the sacred laver blesses pure souls! A host, clad in white, come forth from the bright waves, and cleanse their old fault in a new stream. The white garment also designates bright souls, and the shepherd has enjoyments from the snow-white flock. The priest Felix is added sharing in this reward, who wishes to give double talents to his Lord. Drawing those who wander in Gentile error to better things, that a beast of prey may not carry them away, He guards the fold of God. Those whom guilty Eve had before infected, He now restores, fed with abundant milk at the bosom of the Church. By cultivating rustic hearts with mild conversations, a crop is produced from a briar by the bounty of Felix. The Saxon, a fierce nation, living as it were after the manner of wild beasts, when you, O sacred One, apply a remedy, the beast of prey resembles the sheep. About to remain with you through an age with the return of a hundred-fold, you fill the barns with the produce of an abundant harvest.
May this people, free from stain, be strengthened in your arms, and may you bear to the stars a pure pledge to God. May one crown be bestowed on you from on high gained from yourself, may another flourish gained from your people.
From Fish Eaters


Easter, which begins this Season, is the greatest Feast of the year for Christ is risen! The alleluia, which was omitted from the Mass since Septuagesima, returned at Vespers on Holy Saturday, and is now heard after every Introit, Antiphon verse, and Response. The Vidi Aquam replaces the Aspèrges, and the Regina Coeli replaces the Angelus. The Paschal candle remains lit in the Sanctuary until Ascension Thursday, and like the Christ Candle during the Twelve Days of Christmas, we have a Paschal Candle in our homes, too, until the Ascension (see the page on Easter Sunday for more on the Paschal Candle).

...and the Lenten fast is over!

During this Season, we are obliged to receive the Eucharist to fulfill the Church precept that we receive the Eucharist at least once a year. During Lent, most of us have already fulfilled the precept to go to Confession at least once a year, but if we haven't, we can do that now.

During the Octave of Easter, we greet each other (and even answer our telephones) with the triumphant "Christus resurrexit!" (Christ is risen!) to which comes the response "Et apparuit Simoni, alleluia" (and appeared unto Simon, alleluia!). This joyous greeting totally crystallizes the mood of this season. This triumphant attitude is also shown by the replacing of the Angelus with the Regina Coeli throughout Paschaltide.
A note on terminology: The word "Easter" is actually a word rooted in the name either of an alleged Teutonic goddess (Eostre) or, more probably, from the name "Eostur" meaning the "season of rising" and indicating springtime. It is only used in the English language. It came into use because the month of April was known in Anglo-Saxon countries as easter-monadh, and Eastur became an old Germanic word meaning springtime. Other languages have different names for Easter -- "Pascha" (Latin and Greek), "Pasqua" (Italian), "Pascua" (Spanish), "Paschen" (Dutch), Pasg (Welsh), etc. -- all of which derives from the Hebrew word "Pesach" meaning "Passover." The point is that the claim that "Easter is a pagan holiday" because of the word "Easter" is ridiculous. The English word for it might have pagan origins deriving from Eostre and/or the word for springtime, but the Solemnity is rooted in the Old Testament Pesach which was fulfilled at the Crucifixion which gave us the fruits of the Resurrection. In addition, all the names for the days of the week are "pagan" in origin, too. Sunday is named for the Sun; Monday for the Moon; Tuesday for god Tiu, Wednesday for Woden, Thursday for Thor, Friday for Freya, and Saturday for Saturn, so anyone who balks at celebrating "Easter" because of its "pagan origins" had better not refer to the days of the week by their English names!
From Fish Eaters