Thoughts in Solitude - Thomas Merton

“My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you. And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire. And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death. I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.” † † †
-Thoughts in Solitude
© Abbey of Gethsemani
"Your way of acting should be different from the world's way"...Rule of St. Benedict.

Friday, March 28, 2008

Overturned Death Sentence a Victory for Life

Cardinal Martino: Overturned Death Sentence a Victory for Life

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

Cardinal Martino said the basis of all human rights is the right to life."Therefore, even the criminal who committed a crime has the right to live" and to have the possibility to make amends for his crime and to be rehabilitated, he said.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - A U.S. appeals court decision to overturn the death sentence of Mumia Abu-Jamal, convicted of killing a police officer in 1981, is a victory for human life, said Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

A panel of judges from the 3rd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Philadelphia upheld Abu-Jamal's murder conviction March 27, but also upheld a lower court ruling vacating his death sentence.

In an interview published on the front page of the Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, March 28, Cardinal Martino said: "Justice is not accomplished by punishing with another crime. For this reason, every death sentence not carried out is a victory for man and for life."

Cardinal Martino said the basis of all human rights is the right to life.

"Therefore, even the criminal who committed a crime has the right to live" and to have the possibility to make amends for his crime and to be rehabilitated, he said.

Pope Benedict XVI publicly has expressed his opposition to the death penalty on several occasions, the cardinal said.

"The death penalty does not fit into the concept of justice because the defense of life -- which goes from conception to natural death -- is preferred in every way by the Holy See," which is why the Vatican supports initiatives to abolish the death penalty, he said.

The December U.N. resolution in favor of a worldwide moratorium on the death penalty "was an enormous step forward," Cardinal Martino said, but it simply asked nations not to carry out capital executions. More efforts are needed "to completely liberate the world from this atrocious way of exercising justice."

Expanded use of Tridentine Mass

Cardinal Castrillon: Expanded use of Tridentine Mass bearing Good Fruit

By Cindy Wooden

Catholic News Service

Cardinal Castrillon said wider use of the pre-Second Vatican Council rite "is not a matter of returning to the past, but is a matter of progress," because it gives Catholics the richness of two liturgical forms instead of one.

VATICAN CITY (CNS) - Pope Benedict XVI's outreach to traditionalist Catholics by liberalizing the use of the Tridentine Mass already is bearing fruit, said Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos.

The Cardinal, president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei," which coordinates care for traditionalist Catholics, said that thanks to the pope's action "not a few have asked to return to full communion, and some already have returned."

In an interview published in the March 28 edition of L'Osservatore Romano, the Vatican newspaper, Cardinal Castrillon said the Oasis of Jesus the Priest monastery of 30 cloistered nuns in Spain "has already been recognized and regularized" by his office and "there are cases of American, German and French groups" who have begun the process.

The cardinal insisted that the only traditionalists excommunicated were the four bishops ordained by the late Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre in 1988 without Vatican permission.

The priests who have followed those bishops, he said, "are only suspended," and so the Masses they celebrate "are without a doubt valid, but not licit." The religious who have followed the schismatic bishops need to have their congregations or monasteries recognized by the Vatican, he said.

In addition, he said, "there are individual priests and many laypeople who contact us, write to us and call us for a reconciliation and, on the other side, there are many other faithful who demonstrate their gratitude to the pope" for his July letter authorizing widespread use of the liturgy according to 1962 Roman Missal.

In his letter, the pope said the Mass from the Roman Missal in use since 1970 remains the ordinary form of the Mass, while celebration of the Tridentine Mass is the extraordinary form.

Cardinal Castrillon said wider use of the pre-Second Vatican Council rite "is not a matter of returning to the past, but is a matter of progress," because it gives Catholics the richness of two liturgical forms instead of one.

Asked whether he was worried that bringing back into the church "men and women who do not recognize the Second Vatican Council" would alienate some of the faithful who see the council's teaching as a compass for the church, Cardinal Castrillon said he did not think the problem "is as serious as it could seem."

The excommunicated leaders of the Society of St. Pius X, founded by Archbishop Lefebvre, "have expressly recognized Vatican II as an ecumenical council," he said, but they disagree with the way the documents have been interpreted and put into practice.

"These are theological discussions that could take place within the church where, in fact, there exist different interpretive discussions about the council texts, discussions that could continue also with the groups who return to full communion," the cardinal said.

The eucharistic celebration is a sign and source of the unity of the church, he said, and Pope Benedict's decision to keep alive the older form of the Mass is an effort to preserve a rich tradition while promoting unity.

"We must never forget that the supreme point of reference in the liturgy, as in life, is always Christ. Therefore, we should not be afraid, including in the liturgical rite, to turn toward him, toward the crucifix, together with the faithful to celebrate the holy sacrifice," he said.

Why Catholics and Protestants Don't See Eye to Eye

Why Catholics and Protestants Don't See Eye to Eye

By Rev. Dwight Longenecker

Inside Catholic

The two may share the same moral values, but they will do so for different reasons. They may share the same essential beliefs, but they will see them from different perspectives.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Inside Catholic) - My niece's husband is a trainee Baptist pastor. Jimbo's hip, friendly, and fun to be with.

He's smart and theologically savvy. I like him. He loves Jesus and believes the Bible, and on most moral and doctrinal issues I can affirm what he affirms. We agree on a lot.

But even when we agree, we don't see eye to eye.

Somehow we seem to have reached our religious conclusions from different starting points and through different routes. A chapter in Mark Massa's book Anti-Catholicism in America illuminated the problem for me.

Massa quotes an important theological work by David Tracy, The Analogical Imagination, in which he argues that, underneath our religious language, customs, liturgies, rules, and rubrics, there exist more fundamental ways of seeing.

Catholic Symbols

Tracy says that Catholics have a basic concept of religion that is analogical. To put it simply, Catholics use things they know to try to understand the things they don't. Catholics seek to know God and His work in the world through material things: water, wine, bread, oil, incense, candles, images, and so on.

For Catholics, some of these things are more than just symbols -- they are sacraments. They not only point to God, they convey His power and grace to us through the mystery of the Church.

For Catholics, this way of understanding the world, God, the cosmos, and everything is rich and multilayered. The Church is not only a symbol of the Body of Christ -- it is the Body of Christ. The bread brought forward by the members of the Body of Christ becomes itself the Body of Christ to feed the Body of Christ the Church.

The Catholic imagination and the Catholic soul are nurtured in a multitude of different sacraments, sacramentals, signs, and symbols. As a result, all physical things are part of God's plan of salvation.

Life in all its fullness abounds with the mystery of God's life and love working through the world. This analogical way of seeing is dependent on, and comes from, the basic fact of God's revelation -- the Incarnation of His son, Jesus Christ.

Protestant Systems

In contrast, my nephew-in-law Jimbo, as a good Baptist, shares a radically different perspective on the whole shooting match. Jimbo, like every Protestant, has grown up within a basic religious paradigm that is more systematic. Tracy calls this "dialectical language."

He says Protestant theologians, rather than seeing how physical things and human culture connect us to God, emphasize the radical separation between God and the physical world. The Protestant focuses primarily on man's alienation from God, the fact of sin, the need for redemption, and the need for man's response.

The linear thought process is like any other dialectic process: "Thesis = we sin; antithesis = God says 'no' to our attempts to save ourselves; synthesis = God saves us when we confess the truth and justice of God's 'no' to our sin."

The Protestant dialectical process means that Protestants emphasize the individual's existential inner response to God rather than the idea that God is "with us" working to save us in and through the physical and historical world.

Therefore, the idea that a visible church, a historic apostolic succession, a priesthood, and sacraments are necessary is -- at the very root of Protestant thinking -- alien and dangerous. For the typical Protestant, the Catholic Church is, by definition, worldly.

Its very nature is materialistic and compromising with the world, the flesh, and the devil. For the Protestant there is therefore no relationship between Christ and culture. The faith is set up in dialectical opposition to the wisdom of man and the ways of the world.

Massa quotes sociologist Andrew Greeley in summation:

"Therefore the fundamental differences between Catholicism and Protestantism are not doctrinal or ethical. The different propositional codes of the two heritages are but manifestations, tips of the iceberg, of more fundamentally differing sets of symbols.

The Catholic ethic is "communitarian"; and the Protestant "individualistic" because of the preconscious "organizing" pictures of the two traditions that shape meaning and response to life for members of the respective heritages are different. Catholics and Protestants "see the world differently."

So what does all this mean for Jimbo and me? It means that even when we agree, we don't agree for the same reasons.

For example, Jimbo and I may both sign up to work at the soup kitchen on Saturday mornings. As a Catholic, I'm more likely to see that hungry tramp as part of my human family whether he is a Catholic or not. I should feed him because he too is created in the image of God. In feeding him I am more likely to believe that I am also feeding Christ, and that this, in itself, is not only worthy but part of my own salvation, and part of the salvation of the world.

Jimbo wants to feed the homeless too, but he is more likely to do so because he wants to be personally obedient to the commands of Christ. He sees the poor hungry tramp as a lost soul who needs not only a sandwich but a savior. In fact, it's likely that Jimbo will give him the sandwich because he is concerned for the tramp's soul and wants to share the gospel with him and make sure he is saved.

This basic disconnect between our ways of thinking affects virtually everything. Because of the different perspectives, the Baptist and the Catholic will worship differently, pray differently, read the Bible differently, vote differently, produce radically different literature, art, and music.

The two may share the same moral values, but they will do so for different reasons. They may share the same essential beliefs, but they will see them from different perspectives.

When we are engaged in dialogue with Protestants over doctrinal or ethical issues, our discussions will be illuminated if we understand the underlying differences of perspective.

Furthermore, in the culture wars in which we are now engaged, Catholics and Protestants need to be allies. For the alliance to be strong and positive, both sides need to understand the essential differences of perspective.

Good fences make good neighbors. Only when we understand what truly separates us will we be able to work together with Protestants for the salvation of our society and the ultimate unity of Christ's Church.

Rev. Dwight Longenecker is chaplain of St Joseph's Catholic School, Greenville, South Carolina. He is the author of Christianity, Pure and Simple (Sophia Institute) and co-author with David Gustafson of Mary: A Catholic-Evangelical Debate (Brazos). Visit his Web site at

Monday, March 24, 2008

God is Not a Republican or a Democrat

COMMENTARY: God is Not a Republican or a Democrat: But I Disagree with Doug Kmiec’s Endorsement.
By Deacon Keith A. Fournier


Here is a link to an interesting article about the upcoming Presidential Election. A good analysis of our Catholic Teaching on many important issues.

God bless;

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Father Michael McGivney

Vatican declares Knights of Columbus founder "venerable"

Fr. Michael J. McGivney would be first American-born priest to be declared a saint

McGivney portrait

New Haven, CT - March 16, 2008 - Pope Benedict XVI Saturday approved a decree recognizing the heroic virtue of Father Michael J. McGivney, founder of the Knights of Columbus. The pope's declaration significantly advances the priest's process toward sainthood and gives the parish priest the distinction of "Venerable Servant of God." If canonized, Fr. McGivney would be the first American born priest to be so honored.

"All of us who are members of the Knights of Columbus are profoundly grateful for this recognition of the holiness of our founder," said Supreme Knight Carl Anderson. "The strength of the Knights of Columbus today is a testament to his timeless vision, his holiness and his ideals."

Worried about the religious faith and financial stability of immigrant families, Father McGivney founded the Knights of Columbus with the help of several men of St. Mary's Parish in New Haven in 1882 to help strengthen the faith of the men of his parish and to provide financial assistance in the event of their death to the widows and orphans they left behind. He was also known for his tireless work among his parishioners.

Born in Waterbury, Conn., Aug. 12, 1852, Michael Joseph McGivney, was the first of Patrick and Mary (Lynch) McGivney's 13 children, six of whom died in infancy or early childhood. His parents, natives of Ireland, had immigrated to the United States during the 19th century. Patrick was a molder in a Waterbury brass mill, where Michael himself worked for a brief time as a child to help support his family.

From an early age, however, he realized a calling to the Catholic priesthood. After studying in several seminaries, he was ordained in that Baltimore's historic Cathedral by Cardinal James Gibbons Dec. 22, 1877. He took up his first assignment, as curate at St. Mary's Church, New Haven, Conn., Jan. 2, 1878. Father McGivney was named pastor of St. Thomas Church in Thomaston, Conn. in 1884. He became seriously ill with pneumonia in January 1890, and died Aug. 14, 1890 at age 38.

The cause, or process, for Father McGivney's sainthood, was opened by Hartford Archbishop Daniel A. Cronin, in December 1997. The cause was presented to the Vatican in 2000, where it has been under review by the Congregation for the Causes of Saints. With the pope's recent decree, and the authentication of a miracle at Father McGivney's intercession, the priest could be beatified. A second miracle would be required for canonization.

Still maintaining its headquarters in New Haven, the Knights of Columbus is the world's largest Catholic Fraternal Organization with more than 1.7 million members in the United States, Canada, Mexico and Central America, the Caribbean islands, the Philippines, Guam and, most recently, Poland.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Pope: Evangelizing Culture a Priority

Pope: Evangelizing Culture a Priority

Urges Bishops of Guatemala to Preach With "Vigor"

VATICAN CITY, MARCH 6, 2008 ( Give "fresh vigor" to the work of evangelization, and make
it a priority, Benedict XVI urged the bishops of Guatemala.
Upon receiving the members of the episcopal conference in audience at the conclusion of their five-yearly
visit to Rome, The Pope invited the prelates "to continue with renewed energy the Church's evangelizing
mission in the context of modern cultural movements and globalization."
The Holy Father encouraged them to give "fresh vigor to preaching and catechesis, and proclaiming Jesus
Christ, the Son of God, as the foundation and 'raison d'etre' for all believers."
The Pontiff pointed out the impact on evangelization of the 2nd American Missionary Congress held in
Guatemala in 2003, and the 5th General Conference of the Episcopate of Latin America and the Caribbean
that took place in Brazil last year.
"The evangelization of cultures," he added, "is a priority task to ensure that the word of God remains
accessible to everyone and, absorbed into the mind and heart, becomes the light that illuminates those cultures and the water that purifies them with the message of the Gospel which brings salvation for all humankind."

Pastor's heart
Speaking of the grave economic and social situation affecting the nation, Benedict XVI said, "Your pastors'
hearts filled with concern for the increase in violence and poverty that affects large numbers of the population and causes extensive emigration to other countries, with grave repercussions on personal and family life. "This situation is an invitation for you to renew your efforts to show everyone the merciful face of the Lord, of whom the Church is called to be the image, accompanying and serving with generosity and dedication, especially those who suffer and are most in need." The Holy Father referred to the Guatemalan people's "profound religious sentiment, rich in forms of popular expression which must mature into solid Christian communities." And he reminded the bishops that "firmness in the faith and participation in the sacraments strengthens your faithful against the risk posed by sects or by supposedly charismatic groups, which create disorientation and can even endanger ecclesial communion."
"The tradition of your cultures sees in the family the basic nucleus of existence and of transmission of faith
and values," said the Pope. However, given the "serious pastoral and human challenges" which the institution
of the family is facing, "the Church remains dedicated [...] to the solid formation of people who are preparing
for marriage, constantly infusing faith and hope into homes and praying that, with the necessary help, they
Pope: Evangelizing Culture a Priority 1

Monday, March 10, 2008

Using our New Blog

Men of Ten;

Good morning. Here is another use of technology that can be of our benefit. In our BLOG, we can discuss a variety of topics allowing for us to share our thoughts and opinions with the others in our class. Please feel free to add posts to this site.

God bless you and your families,

Sunday, March 9, 2008

Summary Sessions 1-3 Apologetics

Friday, March 07, 2008

8:11 PM

Apologetics - defending the Faith - reasonableness/logic behind our beliefs

Theistic -defending in the reasonableness in one defending Holy loving God who created all things

Christian Apologetics - Jesus is son of God and saved us

Catholic - defend doctrine of Catholic Church - result of poor catechesis - leave Church because they do not understand the faith.

Faith - is an attitude of absolute trust, a fundamental confidence in the power and goodness of God.. Faith inspires a renewal of heart and brings about conversion and commitment.

We must have this to give to others - can't give away something you don't have.

Faith is not static -active not passive always moving

Main Theistic Philosophies

Agnostic - can not know that God exists -

Atheist - we can know and do know that God does not exist

Theist - as Christians we are theist. God wants to have special relationship with his creation

Pantheist - attributes of God are attributed to something or someone in creation - Hinduism, New Age, Medium, Crystals

Polytheist- belief in many gods

Monotheisms - one God

Deist - Thomas Jefferson - does not believe that God relationship with creation - created and watched what would happen (Movie Oh God)

How do we know God?

Knowledge of God is inherent in man (Romans 1:19) Paul talks about God's wrath against idolatry - natural to man to seek God

Known from creation - Rom 1:20 ff -

Revealed thru His Word (John 1:1-4, Rom 10:17)

Knowledge is a gift of Faith - (Matthew 16:17)- Who do you say I am? …flesh and blood did not reveal to you"

Climax is revealed in Jesus (John 1:18) - God as a human walking this earth - knows us because He is one of us - do anything to bring salvation to us - revealed to the maximum in Jesus. Know attributes of God thru Jesus

Revealed thru the Church - (John 16:13, 1Tim 3:15) and our Christian Spirituality -

Five Pillars of Christian Spirituality

Prayer-communication with God - no prayer no spirituality- successful relationships depend on communication-core of Christian spirituality

Study- We can not love God if you do not know God -scripture, teaching of church, lives of Saints, etc

Community- Jesus knew that community was important-part of salvation history- Jesus gathered community together to begin His ministry-Christian spirituality is not individual-it is about others

Service- imitators of Christ are about service "not to be served but to serve"


Covenant Relationship - God with Man

Adam- covenant with couple

Noah - covenant with a family

Abraham -covenant with tribe

Moses - covenant with Nation

David - covenant with Kingdom -

New Covenant - covenant with the whole world - Catholic Church

Father Almighty, maker of heaven and earth,

  • God's creative power is the origin of all that exists

  • God reveals Himself to us in a continuous act of self-giving

  • God invites us into relationship

  • God loves with deep and abiding love of a parent

  • We discover God in all the goodness of God's world.

Proof the God exist

The first-cause arguments

Argument from design

Augment from Conscience

Argument from History

Argument from Pascal's wager

Pascal's Wager -

  • If God does not exist and I believe he does in error, I loose nothing

  • If God does exist, and I continue to refuse to seek and follow him, I could loose everything

Argument from History -

Starts in OT - Judges - sin to slavery to supplication to salvation - cycle of "S"s

New Testament - NT seen in OT , miracles of Jesus

Historically verifiable miracles

The lives of the Saints -

Argument from Design - Fundamentals p 25

All design implies a designer

The universe is very complex

Life is infinitely more complex

Anthropic Principal - all known scientific data indicated that our universe was in fact very carefully engineered and created by God for life on earth The latest discoveries only confirm our beliefs

What the Church teaches about Jesus

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only begotten Son of God, and born of the Father before all ages. (God of God) light of light, true God of true God. Begotten not made, consubstantial to the Father, by whom all things were made.

Result of Aryanism Heresy -

Son of God

Co-equal with Father and Holy Spirit


Of one being with the Father and Holy Spirit

He shares creative power with the Fathe

Jesus suffered and died for us

Salvation only thru Him

We can not earn our salvation

Jesus rose bodily from the dead

Reigns in heaven with the Father

Jesus will return again

Judge living and dead

Kingdom will never end - transcends time

The Trilemma of Christ




Opposite psyc profile

Don't react to Jesus as we would be a lunatic

Resurrection - differs from founders of other religions

Testimony of history

Resurrection foretold

Basis for Christianity

Eyewitness account

Intelligent faith

Written by eyewitnesses

Style was not the style of myth

Early date

Show knowledge of Jerusalem

Gospels are consistent

Eyewitnesses still alive

Extra-biblical testimony

Test of Credibility

Intention test

Character test

Consistency test

Bias test

Cover-up test

Corroboration test

Disciples invented the lie?

No pys trait of liar

No motive

Could nt be successful if lie

Good Work!

Liturgy Class Notes for 3-8-08 - these are GREAT!

Set up Google Documents for Class Notes

Body and Movement- take focus off yourself- Try to not be too noticable, try to blend in at all cost, do it well and try not to draw attention to yourself.

Evaluate how you use your bodies.





Things you will be handling

Think it through -- TIT - think ahead, be aware of what is happening in service, don't get caught off guard with different parts of the Liturgy.

Voice - main instruments -

Eyes- make eye contact with congregation - do not focus too much on book - engage with person/people

Give people the opportunity to respond by keeping focused on people

If you do not make eye contact -expect to be punished during class - people think you do not value them or their opinion

Opportunity to change lives by making good contact - take interest in person you are talking with -

Posture - Keep hand away from face - keep eyes open aware of what is going on around you.

Stand erect (who chose this word?) - happy, excited and proud about what you are doing

Hands - when leading prayer - orans position - extend hands - get in position and stay there - if you make a mistake just stay with it, don't try to change mid-prayer.

Communion Service - place book directly in front of you. Gifts in front of book -

Clean lines with hands and arms

Next class - focus on Form C of Penitential Rite - come up with similarities, preconceived notions, be ready to do form C - correctly - write your own form C - "Other invocations" (check internet)