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Thursday, November 30, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI visits the Blue Mosque
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Today Pope Benedict XVI also visited the Blue Mosque in Turkey becoming only the second Pope (following Pope John Paul ll) to enter a mosque. In the first photo below, Pope Benedict XVI offers a gift to Istanbul's Grand Mufti Mustafa Cagrici. I hope that this meeting will calm tensions with the Muslim community around the world. I long for the day when all peoples shall unite to praise the One True God in the Catholic Church.

According to the Catholic News Agency, Pope Benedict XVI told the Grand Mufti “this visit will help us together to find the ways, the paths to peace for the good of mankind.”

Photos:


REUTERS/Patrick Hertzog/Pool
 


REUTERS/Osservatore Romano (TURKEY)
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Pope Benedict XVI visits Aya Sofya
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Today Pope Benedict XVI visited the sixth century Byzantine monument St. Sofia (Aya Sofya), which was once a Church in the Byzantine Era that was converted to a mosque by the Ottman Empire. Today it is a museum in Istanbul, Turkey.

Photo of Pope Benedict XVI blessing a child as he visits the museum:


Tolga Adanali/Pool/Reuters
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Pope Benedict XVI joins in Divine Liturgy and Signs Declaration with Patriarch Bartholomew I
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Today Pope Benedict XVI joined Patriarch Bartholomew I to celebrate the Divine Liturgy on the feastday of St. Andrew. This was the promise that brought the two leaders together. I am also extremely hopeful that the Orthodox Church will soon move to full Communion with Rome.

Following the Divine Liturgy, Pope Benedict XVI and Patriarch Bartholomew I signed a joint declaration, which should help move the Orthodox and Roman Catholic Church closer to full Communion. While it didn't break new ecumenical ground, it did underline their dedication to further ecumenical work.

The Declaration:

This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it!”
(Ps 117:24)

This fraternal encounter which brings us together, Pope Benedict XVI of Rome and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I, is God’s work, and in a certain sense his gift. We give thanks to the Author of all that is good, who allows us once again, in prayer and in dialogue, to express the joy we feel as brothers and to renew our commitment to move towards full communion. This commitment comes from the Lord’s will and from our responsibility as Pastors in the Church of Christ. May our meeting be a sign and an encouragement for all of us to share the same sentiments and the same attitudes of fraternity, cooperation and communion in charity and truth. The Holy Spirit will help us to prepare the great day of the re-establishment of full unity, whenever and however God wills it. Then we shall truly be able to rejoice and be glad.

1. We have recalled with thankfulness the meetings of our venerable predecessors, blessed by the Lord, who showed the world the urgent need for unity and traced sure paths for attaining it, through dialogue, prayer and the daily life of the Church. Pope Paul VI and Patriarch Athenagoras I went as pilgrims to Jerusalem, to the very place where Jesus Christ died and rose again for the salvation of the world, and they also met again, here in the Phanar and in Rome. They left us a common declaration which retains all its value; it emphasizes that true dialogue in charity must sustain and inspire all relations between individuals and between Churches, that it “must be rooted in a total fidelity to the one Lord Jesus Christ and in mutual respect for their own traditions” (Tomos Agapis, 195). Nor have we forgotten the reciprocal visits of His Holiness Pope John Paul II and His Holiness Dimitrios I. It was during the visit of Pope John Paul II, his first ecumenical visit, that the creation of the Mixed Commission between the Roman Catholic Church and the Orthodox Church was announced. This Commission met with the aim of declaring and re-establishing full communion.

As far as relations between the Church of Rome and the Church of Constantinople are concerned, we cannot fail to recall the solemn ecclesial act effacing the memory of the ancient anathemas which for centuries has had and still has a negative effect on relations between our Churches. We have not yet drawn from this act all the positive consequences which can flow from it in our progress towards full unity, to which the mixed Commission is called to make an important contribution. We exhort our faithful to take an active part in this process, through prayer and through significant gestures.

2. At the time of the plenary session of the mixed Commission for theological dialogue, which was recently held in Belgrade through the generous hospitality of the Serbian Orthodox Church, we expressed our profound joy at the resumption of the theological dialogue. This had been interrupted for several years because of various difficulties, but now the Commission has been able to work afresh in a spirit of friendship and cooperation. In treating the topic “Conciliarity and Authority in the Church” at local, regional and universal levels, the Commission undertook a phase of study on the ecclesiological and canonical consequence of the sacramental nature of the Church. This will permit us to address some of the principal questions that are still unresolved. We are committed to offer unceasing support, as in the past, to the work entrusted to this Commission and we accompany its members with our prayers.

3. As Pastors, we have first of all reflected on the mission to proclaim the Gospel in today’s world. This mission, “Go, make disciples of all nations” (Mt 28:19), is today more timely and necessary than ever, even in traditionally Christian countries. Moreover, we cannot ignore the increase of secularization, relativism, even nihilism, especially in the Western world. All this calls for a renewed and powerful proclamation of the Gospel, adapted to the cultures of our time. Our traditions represent for us a patrimony which must be continually shared, proposed, and interpreted anew. This is why we must strengthen our cooperation and our common witness before the world.

4. We have viewed positively the process that has led to the formation of the European Union. Those engaged in this great project should not fail to take into consideration all aspects affecting the inalienable rights of the human person, especially religious freedom, a witness and guarantor of respect for all other freedoms. In every step towards unification, minorities must be protected, with their cultural traditions and the distinguishing features of their religion. In Europe, while remaining open to other religions and to their cultural contributions, we must unite our efforts to preserve Christian roots, traditions and values, to ensure respect for history, and thus to contribute to the European culture of the future and to the quality of human relations at every level. In this context, how could we not evoke the very ancient witnesses and the illustrious Christian heritage of the land in which our meeting is taking place, beginning with what the Acts of the Apostles tells us in evoking the figure of Saint Paul, Apostle of the Gentiles? In this land, the Gospel message and the cultural tradition of the ancient world met. This link, which has contributed so much to the Christian heritage that we share, remains timely and will bear more fruit in the future for evangelization and for our unity.

5. Our concern extends to those parts of today’s world where Christians live and to the difficulties they have to face, particularly poverty, wars and terrorism, but equally to various forms of exploitation of the poor, of migrants, women and children. We are called to work together to promote respect for the rights of every human being, created in the image and likeness of God, and to foster economic, social and cultural development. Our theological and ethical traditions can offer a solid basis for a united approach in preaching and action. Above all, we wish to affirm that killing innocent people in God’s name is an offence against him and against human dignity. We must all commit ourselves to the renewed service of humanity and the defence of human life, every human life.

We take profoundly to heart the cause of peace in the Middle East, where our Lord lived, suffered, died and rose again, and where a great multitude of our Christian brethren have lived for centuries. We fervently hope that peace will be re-established in that region, that respectful coexistence will be strengthened between the different peoples that live there, between the Churches and between the different religions found there. To this end, we encourage the establishment of closer relationships between Christians, and of an authentic and honest interreligious dialogue, with a view to combating every form of violence and discrimination.

6. At present, in the face of the great threats to the natural environment, we want to express our concern at the negative consequences for humanity and for the whole of creation which can result from economic and technological progress that does not know its limits. As religious leaders, we consider it one of our duties to encourage and to support all efforts made to protect God’s creation, and to bequeath to future generations a world in which they will be able to live.

7. Finally, our thoughts turn towards all of you, the faithful of our Churches throughout the world, Bishops, priests, deacons, men and women religious, lay men and women engaged in ecclesial service, and all the baptized. In Christ we greet other Christians, assuring them of our prayers and our openness to dialogue and cooperation. In the words of the Apostle of the Gentiles, we greet all of you: “Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 1:2).

 From the Phanar, 30 November 2006

Photos:


REUTERS/Patrick Hertzog/Pool


Patrick Hertzog/Pool/Reuters


Kai Pfaffenbach/Reuters
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Begin Novena to the Immaculate Conception
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Besides the beginning of the St. Andrew Christmas Novena, today is the beginning of the Novena to the Immaculate Conception.


PRAYER TO THE
IMMACULATE CONCEPTION


O God, who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, did prepare a worthy dwelling place for Your Son, we beseech You that, as by the foreseen death of this, Your Son, You did preserve Her from all stain, so too You would permit us, purified through Her intercession, to come unto You. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, world without end.

Amen.

Day One

O most Holy Virgin, who was pleasing to the Lord and became His mother, immaculate in body and spirit, in faith and in love, look kindly on me as I implore your powerful intercession. O most Holy Mother, who by your blessed Immaculate Conception, from the first moment of your conception did crush the head of the enemy, receive our prayers as we implore you to present at the throne of God the favor we now request...

(State your intention here...)

O Mary of the Immaculate Conception, Mother of Christ, you had influence with your Divine Son while upon this earth; you have the same influence now in heaven. Pray for us and obtain for us from him the granting of my petition if it be the Divine Will. Amen.
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Koran Replaces the Bible at Swearing-In Oath
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I received this email from the AFA (Emphasis in bold added per me):

Please take a moment to read the following TownHall.com column by Dennis Prager, who is a Jew. After reading the column, take the suggest action at the bottom of this email. After you have read it, please forward it to your friends and family.

America, Not Keith Ellison, decides what book a congressman takes his oath on
By Dennis Prager - Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Keith Ellison, D-Minn., the first Muslim elected to the United States Congress, has announced that he will not take his oath of office on the Bible, but on the bible of Islam, the Koran.

He should not be allowed to do so -- not because of any American hostility to the Koran, but because the act undermines American civilization.

First, it is an act of hubris that perfectly exemplifies multiculturalist activism -- my culture trumps America's culture. What Ellison and his Muslim and leftist supporters are saying is that it is of no consequence what America holds as its holiest book; all that matters is what any individual holds to be his holiest book.

Forgive me, but America should not give a hoot what Keith Ellison's favorite book is. Insofar as a member of Congress taking an oath to serve America and uphold its values is concerned, America is interested in only one book, the Bible. If you are incapable of taking an oath on that book, don't serve in Congress. In your personal life, we will fight for your right to prefer any other book. We will even fight for your right to publish cartoons mocking our Bible. But, Mr. Ellison, America, not you, decides on what book its public servants take their oath.

Devotees of multiculturalism and political correctness who do not see how damaging to the fabric of American civilization it is to allow Ellison to choose his own book need only imagine a racist elected to Congress. Would they allow him to choose Hitler's "Mein Kampf," the Nazis' bible, for his oath? And if not, why not? On what grounds will those defending Ellison's right to choose his favorite book deny that same right to a racist who is elected to public office?

Of course, Ellison's defenders argue that Ellison is merely being honest; since he believes in the Koran and not in the Bible, he should be allowed, even encouraged, to put his hand on the book he believes in. But for all of American history, Jews elected to public office have taken their oath on the Bible, even though they do not believe in the New Testament, and the many secular elected officials have not believed in the Old Testament either. Yet those secular officials did not demand to take their oaths of office on, say, the collected works of Voltaire or on a volume of New York Times editorials, writings far more significant to some liberal members of Congress than the Bible. Nor has one Mormon official demanded to put his hand on the Book of Mormon. And it is hard to imagine a scientologist being allowed to take his oath of office on a copy of "Dianetics" by L. Ron Hubbard.

So why are we allowing Keith Ellison to do what no other member of Congress has ever done -- choose his own most revered book for his oath?

The answer is obvious -- Ellison is a Muslim. And whoever decides these matters, not to mention virtually every editorial page in America, is not going to offend a Muslim. In fact, many of these people argue it will be a good thing because Muslims around the world will see what an open society America is and how much Americans honor Muslims and the Koran.

This argument appeals to all those who believe that one of the greatest goals of America is to be loved by the world, and especially by Muslims because then fewer Muslims will hate us (and therefore fewer will bomb us).

But these naive people do not appreciate that America will not change the attitude of a single American-hating Muslim by allowing Ellison to substitute the Koran for the Bible. In fact, the opposite is more likely: Ellison's doing so will embolden Islamic extremists and make new ones, as Islamists, rightly or wrongly, see the first sign of the realization of their greatest goal -- the Islamicization of America.

When all elected officials take their oaths of office with their hands on the very same book, they all affirm that some unifying value system underlies American civilization. If Keith Ellison is allowed to change that, he will be doing more damage to the unity of America and to the value system that has formed this country than the terrorists of 9-11. It is hard to believe that this is the legacy most Muslim Americans want to bequeath to America. But if it is, it is not only Europe that is in trouble. (End Commentary)
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Feast of St. Andrew
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Today is the Feastday of St. Andrew the Apostle, and today is the day to begin the St. Andrew Christmas Novena.
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Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Celebrates Mass in Ephesus
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Today Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass in Ephesus, near Selcuk, Turkey. Ephesus is the ancient city where St. Paul preached, St. John the Evangelist lived the final days of his life, and an ecumenical council was held in 431 AD. Pope Benedict XVI celebrated it at the shrine of Meryem Ana Evi called "Mary's House", the place where Mary lived the last years of her earthly life with St. John the Apostle before she was assumed into Heaven. Due to security measures, only around 250 people were present in the congregation.



AP Photo/Cem Oksuzl


REUTERS/Patrick Hertzog/Pool
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Pope Benedict XVI Meets With Patriarch Bartholomew I
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Today His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI met His Holiness Bartholomew I, the Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople. The Holy Father's visit was to help heal divisions following the break between the Catholic and Orthodox Churches in 1054 AD. However, unlike protestants, the Orthodox Church also has a valid priesthood and therefore, valid Sacraments. In reality, only Baptism and Marriage are truly authentic Sacraments in some protestant churches.

Follow up: See the declaration issued at the end of this meeting

Photos:



REUTERS/Ecumenical Patriarchate (TURKEY)
 



REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach (TURKEY)
 



REUTERS/Ecumenical Patriarchate (TURKEY)
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Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Schedule of Pope's Trip to Turkey
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REUTERS/Patrick Hertzog/Pool

This is a schedule of Pope Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey from November 28, 2006 - December 1, 2006. Please join in the Catholic Blogsphere's prayers for the Pope.
November 28:
  • 9 a.m. Departure from Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport of Rome/Fiumicino to Ankara
  • 1 p.m. Arrival at Esemboga International Airport in Turkey
  • Visit to the Atatürk Mausoleum
  • Welcome ceremony and courtesy visit to the President of the Republic
  • Meeting with the Vice Prime Minister
  • Meeting with the President of Religious Affairs (Address of the Holy Father)
  • Meeting with the Diplomatic Corps (Address of the Holy Father)
November 29:
November 30:
Demcember 1:
  • Holy Mass at the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit (Homily by the Holy Father)
  • Farewell ceremony at the Airport of Istanbul
  • 1:15 p.m. Departure from the Airport of Istanbul to Rome
  • 3:45 p.m. Arrival at the Airport of Ciampino in Rome
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Please pray for someone for me
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Update: Everything went great!!!

Tomorrow my mother will be going through a minor surgery. It should be very short and quick. Please, however, pray for this person for me. I greatly appreciate the prayers of others.
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Pope Benedict XVI Arrives in Turkey
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Pope Benedict XVI has arrived in Turkey! Pray for him as thousands of people are protesting his visit. A book has even been published on how to assassinate him! So, please pray for him - his safety and the success of his papal visit.

For the schedule of his visit and links to the events with photos and descriptions, please click here.

Image source: AFP/Tolga Adanali
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Monday, November 27, 2006
Pray for the soul of Al Binsacca
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Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

I received the following email:
Please offer up prayers for the repose of Al Binsacca who died yesterday. He was my husband's uncle, and was largely responsible for DH's aunt converting to Catholicism.

May Our Lord's Mercy triumph over His Justice.

Thank you.
Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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Tomorrow the Pope Visits Turkey: Pray for him!
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Tens of thousands of people in Turkey, a predominantly Islamic country, are protesting the Pope's visit. A book is even on sale there themed on how to assassinate the Pope! Please pray for him that he will be safe and that his trip will bear fruit for the Kingdom of God.

For the schedule of his visit and links to the events with photos and descriptions, please click here.
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Sunday, November 26, 2006
Solemnity of Christ the King
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Jan van Eyck’s painting “Ghent Altarpiece,” finished in 1432, depicts Christ the King.

Each year the Church celebrates the Solemnity of Christ the King and gloriously acknowledges the Kingship of Jesus Christ. For Jesus Christ is not just King of the saints or of Catholics. J esus Christ is King of all Creation from eternity to eternity. For not only did He create all that exists, He also redeemed all mankind to restore creation to a greater glory. He deserves all glory, honor, and praise. As we read frequently in the Liturgy of the Hours: "O Lord our God, you are worthy to receive glory and honor and power" (Revelations 4:11)

Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe, the King of all creation, of all things seen and unseen. Let that thought just sit in your mind. Just take it in and meditate on that statement - Jesus Christ is the King of the Universe. And even though His dominion is the universe, He cares for each of us with a love inconceivable. This love was displayed on the Cross and it continues to be renewed each and every moment that the bread and wine at Mass become the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. As Mother Teresa said, "When you look at the crucifix, you understand how much Jesus loved you. When you look at the Sacred Host you understand how much Jesus loves you now."

In the traditional Gospel passage (1962 Missal) for the Feast of Christ the King (i.e. John 18:33-37), Jesus Christ, the King of kings, is taken before Pilate. And Pilate does not recognize Him as King. Instead he asks Jesus "Are you the King of the Jews?" And Jesus, who humbled Himself even unto death, does not call on the legions of angels ready to help Him. Instead He exclaims, "My kingdom does not belong to this world. If my kingdom did belong to this world, my attendants would be fighting to keep me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, my kingdom is not here." I have frequently thought about that verse. No matter how bad life in our current nations and kingdoms gets, I realize that one day I shall enter Jesus Christ's everlasting Kingdom - the kingdom not of this world.

The Israelites, God's chosen people, were given a king over 3,000 years ago. And the Lord warned them that if they were give an earthly king there would be a grave list of problems. But the Israelites demanded one. They didn't just want the Lord God as King, they wanted an earthy one. So Saul was anointed with holy Chrism oil, and from that day, Israel suffered many problems.

Until at last the King of kings, Jesus Christ, came into the midst of the Jewish leaders. But they didn't know Him. Their very creator was not recognized by them. And so they cried out, "We have no king but Ceasar" (John 19:15). What a lie! The Jewish leaders absolutely hated Ceasar and the Roman occupation. They historically despised Caesar. But, they could not carry out an execution without Rome. So they swallow their pride here and exclaimed their king was Ceasar. Now it should be clear how much the Jewish leaders hated Christ - they would rather honor Caesar, who they hated. And the Jewish leaders convinced the crowd to join them, and all of them called out "Crucify Him". What pain must have radiated in the heart of Our Savior as His people rejected Him. They subjected their true king, Jesus Christ, to the worst form of execution at that time, reserved for only the most wretched criminals - crucifixion.

And as the King of Glory mounted His Cross with a crown of thorns, He redeemed the world. And as He hung on that tree, two criminals were crucified with Him - one on his right and one on his left. And one them mocked Jesus. But the other one, obviously a man put to death for his grave sins, begged for mercy. He looked at Jesus and said, "Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom" (Luke 23:42). That thief repented and acknowledged Christ's kingship (this repentant thief is called St. Dismas in the Church’s traditions). And the Lord replies to Him: "Today you will be with Me in Paradise" (Luke 23:43). Remember the thief had a "death bed" conversion. He couldn't do any "works" throughout his life for Jesus Christ. Instead he could only confess Jesus Christ as King. And that confession was a work in and of itself. Remember the words of St. James: “For just as a Body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead” (James 2:26).

Let us clean our souls in Confession and receive the Eucharist in joy. May Christ the King reign in all of us. For His dominion is not just of the earth, sky, and cosmos. His dominion is also in our souls.

Quas Primas:

In the first Encyclical Letter which We addressed at the beginning of Our Pontificate to the Bishops of the universal Church, We referred to the chief causes of the difficulties under which mankind was laboring. And We remember saying that these manifold evils in the world were due to the fact that the majority of men had thrust Jesus Christ and his holy law out of their lives; that these had no place either in private affairs or in politics: and we said further, that as long as individuals and states refused to submit to the rule of our Savior, there would be no really hopeful prospect of a lasting peace among nations. Men must look for the peace of Christ in the Kingdom of Christ; and that We promised to do as far as lay in Our power. In the Kingdom of Christ, that is, it seemed to Us that peace could not be more effectually restored nor fixed upon a firmer basis than through the restoration of the Empire of Our Lord. We were led in the meantime to indulge the hope of a brighter future at the sight of a more widespread and keener interest evinced in Christ and his Church, the one Source of Salvation, a sign that men who had formerly spurned the rule of our Redeemer and had exiled themselves from his kingdom were preparing, and even hastening, to return to the duty of obedience.

ENCYCLICAL OF POPE PIUS Xl DECEMBER 11, 1925

Indulgence for Feast of Christ the King:

A partial indulgence is granted to the faithful, who piously recite the Act of Dedication of the Human Race to Jesus Christ King. A plenary indulgence is granted, if it is recite publicly on the feast of our Lord Jesus Christ King.

Additional Information for the Feast of Christ the King:

The Feast of Christ the King was established by Pope Pius XI in 1925 as an antidote to secularism, a way of life which leaves God out of man's thinking and living and organizes his life as if God did not exist. The feast is intended to proclaim in a striking and effective manner Christ's royalty over individuals, families, society, governments, and nations.

Today's Mass establishes the titles for Christ's royalty over men: 1) Christ is God, the Creator of the universe and hence wields a supreme power over all things; "All things were created by Him"; 2) Christ is our Redeemer, He purchased us by His precious Blood, and made us His property and possession; 3) Christ is Head of the Church, "holding in all things the primacy"; 4) God bestowed upon Christ the nations of the world as his special possession and dominion.

Today's Mass also describes the qualities of Christ's kingdom. This kingdom is: 1) supreme, extending not only to all peoples but also to their princes and kings; 2) universal, extending to all nations and to all places; 3) eternal, for "The Lord shall sit a King forever"; 4) spiritual, Christ's "kingdom is not of this world".

Rt. Rev. Msgr. Rudolph G. Bandas

Prayers to Christ the King:

O Jesus Christ, I acknowledge Thee as universal King. All that has been made, has been created for Thee. Exercise all Thy rights over me. I renew my baptismal vows, renouncing Satan, his pomps and his works; and I promise to live as a good Christian. In particular do I plege myself to labor, to the best of my ability, for the triumph of the rights of God and Thy Church.

Divine Heart of Jesus, to Thee do I proffer my poor services, laboring that all hearts may acknowledge Thy Sacred Kingship, and that thus the reign of Thy peace be established throughout the whole universe. Amen.

Prayer Source: My Catholic Faith: A Manual of Religion by Most Rev. Louis Laravoire Morrow, S.T.D., My Mission House, 1965
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Saturday, November 25, 2006
God in the Streets
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I particularly liked this video segment produced by Grassroots Films on Eucharistic Processions in New York.

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Jesus is in the Eucharist for us
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"For whom is Jesus in the Most Blessed Sacrament? For me; because He loves me!" - St. Peter Julian Eymard
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Pratice of Mandatory Priestly Celibacy Upheld
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The practice of mandatory Priestly Celibacy was again recently upheld. I completely agree with this as I am preparing to become a seminarian. It is not possible to discern a priestly vocation while dating or discerning a vocation to marriage. One must take each step at a time. For a priest, celibacy is necessary to give his life completely to God.

"The value of the choice of priestly celibacy, according Catholic tradition, has been reaffirmed, and the need for solid human and Christian training, for seminarians as well as already ordained priests, has been reiterated,". This statement by the Vatican again reaffirms priestly celibacy.

Image Source: ICKSP Ordination Album

Related Posts:
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Friday, November 24, 2006
Pray for the Repose of the Soul of Anita
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I ask all of my blog readers to say a prayer for the repose of the soul of Anita, the grandmother of St. Michael, the blogger from Who is like unto God. She died October 15, 2006.

Requiem aeternam dona ei, Domine, et lux perpetua luceat ei. Requiescat in pace. Amen.

Image Source: Photo of Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, Believed to be in the Public Domain
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"Pro Multis" means "For Many" Vatican Rules
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The Vatican declares that "Pro multis" means "for many":
"Cardinal Francis Arinze, the prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, has written to the heads of world's episcopal conferences, informing them of the Vatican decision. For the countries where a change in translation will be required, the cardinal's letter directs the bishops to prepare for the introduction of a new translation of the phrase in approved liturgical texts "in the next one or two years."


At last "For all" will be changed to the original meaning of "For many" in all English translations of the Eucharistic Prayer.

These changes will be reflected in the New Translation of the Roman Missal. Anyone even somewhat familiar with Latin could tell you that "multis" means many and not "all." 
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A Prayer for the Holy Souls
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O God, the creator and redeemer of all the faithful, grant to the souls of thy servants and handmaids departed, the remission of all their sins; that through pious supplications they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

Remember to pray for the Holy Souls especially in November.
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Friday, the day Our Savior was condemned to death
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O King of Glory, have mercy on us sinners!



Today is Friday, the day we commemorate Our Lord's passion and death. It was our own sins that condemned Our Glorious Lord to death - death on a Cross. As Catholics, we are still bound to either abstain from meat today or rather to do some act of penance. It was on this day of the week that Our Glorious Redeemer died for us. Please, never forget this, especially at 3 o'clock, the hour that He died. At 3 o'clock attempt to pray the 3 o'clock Mercy Prayer. Please remember Our Lord's love and repent today.

Please join me in praying the Stations of the Cross. Remember, it was on this day that He gave up His life all for you.  

Code of Canon Law:
Canon 1251: "Abstinence from meat, or from some other food as determined by the episcopal conference, is to be observed on all Fridays, unless a solemnity should fall on a Friday."
Canon 1253 provides an exception to the rule - and, perhaps, an explanation for the cultural shift: "The episcopal conference can determine more particular ways in which fasting and abstinence are to be observed. In place of abstinence or fasting it can substitute, in whole or in part, other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety."

So today please either abstain from meat or rather perform another act of penance, as it was on Friday that Our Lord died for us.
Prayer to the Glorious Cross:

I adore You, O glorious Cross, which was adorned with the Heart and Body of my Savior Jesus Christ, stained and covered with blood. I adore You, O Holy Cross, out of love for Him, Jesus, who is my Savior and my God.

(Pope Pius IX declared that reciting this prayer five times on Friday will free five souls from Purgatory and 33 souls by reciting it on Good Friday. This prayer should be recited before a crucifix with a contrite heart and praying a few minutes for the Pope).

Prayer to Jesus Christ Crucified:

My good and dear Jesus, I kneel before you asking you most earnestly to engrave upon my heart a deep and lively faith, hope, and charity, with true repentance for my sins, and a firm resolve to make amends. As I reflect upon your five wounds, and dwell upon them with deep compassion and grief, I recall the words the prophet David spoke long ago concerning yourself: they have pierced my hands and my feet, they have numbered all my bones!
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Thursday, November 23, 2006
Thanksgiving Day (USA)
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Happy Thanksgiving!

Let us remember to thank God today for the many blessings we have received. Remember to say a special Blessing before your Thanksgiving meal today.


Suggestions for today:
  • Invite someone to dinner who has no place to go for Thanksgiving.
  • If you have no other commitments volunteer to help serve Thanksgiving dinner at a place which is serving the poor.
Mass of Thanksgiving (1962):

Collect:

O God of Whose mercies there is no number, and of Whose goodness the treasure is infinite: we render thanks to Thy most gracious Majesty for the gifts Thou hast bestowed upon us, always beseeching Thy clemeny; that as Thou grantest the petitions of them that ask Thee, Thou wilt prepare them for the greater rewards that still await them.

Secret:

Receive as a sweet savor, O Lord, this sacrifice of thanksgiving: do Thou in the future shield from all harm those whom until now Thou hast been pleased to hear and to save: and grant that they may serve Thee better and love Thee more. Through our Lord.

Post Communion:

O God, Who sufferest not that any who hope in Thee should e over afflicted, but listenest kindly to their prayers: we thank Thee for having heard our requests and granted our desires, and devoutly entreat Thee that what we have received may make us worthy to be delivered from all adversities. Through our Lord.
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Wednesday, November 22, 2006
Advent and Christmas Traditions
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The Rorate Mass is said during Advent only by candle light



Some activities to do as a family are:

The following activities are provided so that you and your family can live Advent and Christmas to the fullest.

Advent wreath: The Advent wreath, which has German origins, is probably the most recognized Advent custom. It is a wreath made of evergreens that is bound to a circle of wire. It symbolizes the many years from Adam to Christ in which the world awaited its Redeemer; it also represents the years that we have awaited His second and final coming. The wreath holds four equally spaced candles, the three purple ones lit on the “penitential” Sundays and a pink one for Gaudete, the joyful third Sunday in Advent. There are many available prayers and hymns found in the reading list that can accompany your personal Advent wreath ceremony.

The empty manger: Each child may have his own individual manger, or there may be one manger for the whole family. The idea is that when acts of service, sacrifice, or kindness are done in honor of Baby Jesus as a birthday present, the child receives a piece of straw to put into the manger. Then, on Christmas morning, “Baby Jesus” is placed in the manger. Encourage your children to make Jesus’ bed as “comfortable” as possible through their good deeds. In the process, explain Christ’s incomparable self-gift at Christmas and Easter that enables us to be part of God’s family.

The Jesse tree: The Jesse tree tells about Christ’s ancestry through symbols and relates Scripture to salvation history, progressing from creation to the birth of Christ. The tree can be made on a poster board with the symbols glued on, or on an actual tree. For further information read, Advent and Christmas in a Catholic Home.

St. Nicholas Day: The feast of St. Nicholas is on Dec. 6th. It is a highlight of the Advent season. Each child puts out a shoe the night before St. Nicholas Day in the hope that the kind bishop — with his miter, staff, and bag of gifts — will pay a visit. The current “Santa Claus” is modeled after St. Nicholas, but commercialism has tarnished the true story. Many families give gifts on both Dec. 6 and Christmas. Read about St. Nicholas in your favorite saints book.

The Christ candle: Any large white candle can be used for the Christ candle. The idea is to decorate it with symbols for Christ. Use old Christmas cards, sequins, holly, etc. The candle can be lit on Christmas Eve to show that the Light of the World has arrived. Then continue to light the Christ candle throughout the year at Sunday dinner to remind your family of our waiting for Christ, as well as celebrating His birth and Resurrection.

The Mary candle: Some families have the custom of decorating the Christ candle with a blue veil on December 8th, the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. On this great feast, others place a candle with a blue ribbon before a statue or picture of the Blessed Virgin, whose “yes” to God enabled our Lord’s coming at Christmas. The candle is lit during meal times to serve as a delightful reminder of Mary’s eager expectation of the “Light of the World.” It can also serve as a reminder to each family member to keep their own light of grace burning as a preparation for Christ’s coming.

St. Lucy cakes: The feast of St. Lucy, virgin and martyr, is on December 13th. This marks the opening of the Christmas season in Sweden. Her life story can be found in most saints books, as can the recipe for the traditional cakes. The symbolism is rich and her life story worthwhile reading.

The Nativity scene: This is the event in which the entire family shares — setting up the Christmas manger. Mary and Joseph should be far off traveling and their approach to Bethlehem can be adjusted daily. Older children can make life-size Nativity models, carve them, cut them out from cardboard, or set up pre-made figurines. The creative ideas are without limit. Make sure to place the Nativity scene where many can admire the children’s efforts to give God glory.

Christmas baking: There are many recipe books available to find great traditional Christmas baking ideas. (See recommended reading below.) The baking usually starts around December 20th. As Christmas approaches, the house will smell of baking and fresh wreaths. The glory of Christmas is at hand! Move the manger to a focal point, add lights to the Nativity to be lighted on Christmas Eve, and anticipate together.

Blessing of the tree: More and more frequently families are blessing their Christmas trees. It is good to remind children that “the tree” relates to many aspects of our faith. For example, we are reminded that our first parents were not allowed to eat from one tree, and that Christ paid the great price for our redemption by hanging on a tree (cf. Acts 5:29-32).
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St. Cyril of Jerusalem on the Real Presence
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"Do not, therefore, regard the bread and wine as simply that, for they are, according to the Master's declaration, the body and blood of Christ"

(St. Cyril of Jerusalem).
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Tuesday, November 21, 2006
Presentation of the Blessed Virgin Mary
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Greater Double (1955 Calendar): November 21
Memorial (1969 Calendar): November 21

Today is the celebration of Mary's presentation in Jerusalem, which has been celebrated since the sixth century. Today's memorial is not the same as Jesus' Presentation in the Temple. A church was built over the place of her Presentation centuries ago. Although this feast disappeared from the liturgical calendar at times, it became a feast of the universal Church in the 16th century.

One reads about Mary's presentation in the temple only in apocryphal literature. The Protoevangelium of James states that Mary was offered by Anna and Joachim to God in the Temple when she was three years old. This action was to carry out Anna's promise to God that Anna made when she was childless.

It is reasonable to assume that Our Lady entered the Temple at that young age with the words of Psalm 83 in her heart: "How lovely are Thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts; my soul longeth and fainteth for the courts of the Lord" (Ps 83:1,2).

Today's feast emphasizes that the holiness conferred on Mary from the beginning of her life on earth through her final Assumption into Heaven. Unlike the Assumption and Immaculate Conception Feast, today is not a Holy Day of Obligation

Quote:

"Hail, holy throne of God, divine sanctuary, house of glory, jewel most fair, chosen treasure house, and mercy seat for the whole world, heaven showing forth the glory of God. Purest Virgin, worthy of all praise, sanctuary dedicated to God and raised above all human condition, virgin soil, unplowed field, flourishing vine, fountain pouring out waters, virgin bearing a child, mother without knowing man, hidden treasure of innocence, ornament of sanctity, by your most acceptable prayers, strong with the authority of motherhood, to our Lord and God, Creator of all, your Son who was born of you without a father, steer the ship of the Church and bring it to a quiet harbor"

(Adapted from a homily by St. Germanus on the Presentation of the Mother of God)

Collect:

O God, Who didst will that this day the ever blessed Virgin Mary, dwelling-place of the Holy Ghost, should be presented in the temple: grant, we beseech Thee, that through her intercession, we may be worthy to be presented in the temple of Thy glory. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Outcome: Essential Classics of Catholic Spirituality Collection
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The outcome is very positive! For those that didn't read my original post, please read it now.

Thank you to everyone that especially registered through my site because I did make a little bit of commission as a result. I personally made $19.50. All together, the Essential Classics generated $6,057 so far in charitable donations to pro-life organizations.

As an affiliate partner, I was ranked fourth in having the most people sign up due to me. So, thank you to everyone that entered through my site!
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Monday, November 20, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI Speaks on Cloistered Monasteries
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The Holy Father spoke on Cloistered monasteries in his recent Angelus Address:

“Some wonder about the meaning and value of their presence in our time, in which many urgent situations of poverty and need must be addressed. Why "shut oneself" forever behind the walls of a monastery and deprive others of the contribution of one's talents and experiences? What efficacy can prayer have to resolve the numerous concrete problems that continue to afflict humanity?

“In fact, also today numerous persons often surprise friends and acquaintances when they abandon professional careers, often promising careers, to embrace the austere rule of a cloistered monastery.

“What leads them to take such a committed step if not their having understood, as the Gospel teaches, that the Kingdom of heaven is "a treasure" for which it is worth abandoning everything (cf. Matthew 13:44)?

"These brothers and sisters silently witness that in the midst of daily vicissitudes, at times extremely convulsive, God is the only support that never falters, the unbreakable rock of fidelity and love. 'Todo se pasa, Dios no se muda' [Everything passes, God is unchanging], wrote the great spiritual teacher Teresa of Avila in her famous text. And, given the widespread need that many experience to leave the daily routine of the great urban agglomerations in search of appropriate spaces for silence and meditation, monasteries of contemplative life appear as "oases" in which man, a pilgrim on earth, can go to the sources of the Spirit and slake his thirst along the way.

“These places, apparently useless, are, on the contrary, indispensable, like the green "lungs" of a city: They are beneficial for all, including for those who do not visit them or perhaps do not know that they exist."

Photo Source: (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri)
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Blessed Mother Teresa on the Eucharist
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"If we truly understand the Eucharist; if we make the Eucharist the central focus of our lives; if we feed our lives with the Eucharist, we will not find it difficult to discover Christ, to love him, and to serve him in the poor"

(Bl. Teresa of Calcutta)
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Sunday, November 19, 2006
Summary of United States Conference of Catholic Bishop's Meeting
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This past week the United States Bishops met in Baltimore for a meeting. Here are the two documents to come out of the meeting:
Happy are those who are called to His Supper:
http://www.usccb.org/dpp/Eucharist.pdf

Ministry to Persons with a Homosexual Inclination: Guidelines for Pastoral Care
http://www.usccb.org/dpp/Ministry.pdf

Also "the bishops also approved two liturgical items: a new lectionary for the season of Advent, and a directory for music and the liturgy. Both items will be sent to the Vatican's worship office for final approval. The bishops also voted 220-11, with one abstention, to approve a new document about contraception aimed at young married Catholics"

What remains to be seen is when the Church will return back to Her roots and continue to celebrate the Mass and the Sacraments in the proper form.  How I long for a return to Traditional Theology.
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Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Visiting a Seminary Starting Tomorrow
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I'll be traveling across the country this week as I leave to visit another Catholic seminary for a few days. I plan to return this Saturday night and hope to post many pictures from my trip. Your prayers would be appreciated!

I wish everyone the best.
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St. Albert the Great
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Double (1955 Calendar): November 15
Optional Memorial (1969 Calendar): November 15

St. Albert the Great (1206 - 1280) was born and died in what is now the country of Germany. He was the son of a nobleman and became a Dominican priest. He was an extremely influential speaker, preacher, and teacher, who even taught St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the greatest theologians in the history of the Church.

Furthermore, St. Albert contributed to the sciences including botany and biology, keeping detailed observations of his findings. He also became Bishop of Regensburg and introduced Greek and Arab science to medieval Europe.  Some of his influential writings, such as his book On Union with God, are still available today.

Quotations:

"It is by the path of love, which is charity, that God draws near to man, and man to God. But where charity is not found, God cannot dwell. If, then, we possess charity, we possess God, for "God is Charity" (1 John 4:8)

"My soul, if you wish to be intimate with Mary, let yourself be carried between her arms and nourished with her blood . . . . Let this ineffable, chaste thought accompany you to the Banquet of God and you will find in the Blood of the Son the nourishment of the Mother"

Prayer:

O God, Who didst make blessed Albert, Thy Bishop and Doctor, great by his bringing human wisdom into captivity to divine faith: grant us, we beseech Thee, so to follow the guidance of his teaching that we may enjoy perfect light in heaven. Through our Lord.

Prayer Source: 1962 Roman Catholic Daily Missal
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Monday, November 13, 2006
The Monastery: Episode 4
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Last night I watched Episode 4 of The Monastery, the TLC program that airs each Sunday night at 9 PM Central Time. Now, I was truly hoping things would improve with the departure of the rebellious participant named Alex. And I will admit that Episode 4 revealed several very positive things about living in a monastery. First and foremost was the experience of a desert day. It truly sounded like a wonderful way in which to quite the soul to God. Remember, silence is indeed the language of God. The hermit also revealed something truly important although it is a paradox. Namely, he said that his goal is to die. Now people in our world don't want to hear such comments; most would classify it as suicidal. But the hermit has a true point - we all die. Dying is inevitable. And where we shall be for the rest of eternity depends upon our actions prior to death. A lot of people get caught up on what is the meaning of life, but the meaning is life is rather simple: To know and love God in this life and to be with Him for all eternity. The hermit said probably the first truly Catholic idea in this Episode. I also liked the self-poverty of the monks; it is an example we all can follow to live humbly.

Apart from those two points, there was a lot of things I disagreed with in the episode. I stayed with Benedictine monks in Missouri for a little while this past summer and love it. However, many Benedictine monasteries have been falling into New Age/neo-pagan practices over the past generation and focusing on "energy" and straying from the original Truth of the Benedictines. It seems like the Monastery of Christ in the Desert could be one of them. All the Abbot will talk about is psychology and a lot of babble about energy. Why won't he talk with these men about God! And Br. Gabriel even said that God needs us. Preposterous! We are nothing compared to God! God doesn't need anyone of us but rather allows us to serve Him because of his mercy. Br. Gabriel is wrong is saying God needs us. These are severe theological errors. The participants need God; they don't need poor Theology.

The one contestant named Tom was asked by Br. Gabriel to have his marriage blessed, and Tom went on a tirade. How immature. It's clear that his marriage does indeed have something theologically missing and he needs to fix that. It's great that he went to Confession for the first time in 28 years during Episode 3, but he needs to start living completely in accord with the Church's teachings now.

This episode had some positive points but also a lot of downsides. I think I'll be just glad when the series is over. I liked the A&E series "God or the Girl" a lot better.
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Sunday, November 12, 2006
The Monastery: Episode 3
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I haven't had a chance yet to post my review of Episode 3 of The Monastery," the TLC program that airs each Sunday night at 9 PM Central Time. Overall, I have enjoyed watching the monks in the monastery pray as it brings back memories of my time visiting a monastery. However, I have been increasingly annoyed at the rude and disrespectful manners shown by several of the men that take part in this reality series. Thankfully the most disrespectful of them all, a man that even stole a truck from the monks to go several miles away to drink on the Eve of Ash Wednesday, has left the monastery. I'm hoping that the series finally improves now.
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Poll of French on Traditional Latin Mass
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The pollsters at the CSA Institute, one of the most prestigious in France, were hired by the association Paix Liturgique to ask some questions regarding the Traditional rites of the Roman Church (CSA interviewed 1,007 people throughout the nation, 55% of which identified themselves as Catholics, on November 8, 2006; the results reflect the opinion of those who identified themselves as Catholics).

1) Do you believe it is desirable that Catholics may have the choice to, according to their sensibility, go to either the Traditional Mass in Latin with Gregorian chant or to the Modern Mass in French?

Yes: 65%
No: 13%
Do not care: 22%

2) If you had the occasion to occasionally go to a Mass in Latin with Gregorian [chant], what would you say?

I would go: 60%
I would not go: 39%
No answer: 1%

3) In your opinion, the fact that various kinds of celebrations of the Mass, one Traditional, in Latin and with Gregorian [chant], and the other modern in French, may be recognised by the Church would be...?

A good thing, because it allows for some diversity within the Church: 65%
A bad thing, because it risks provoking divisions within the Church: 31%
No answer: 4%

4) If a Mass in its Traditional form were celebrated, in Latin and with the permission of the Pope, close to your home, you would say...

I would go there frequently: 6%
I would go there occasionally: 31%
I do not know if I would got there or not: 12%
I would rarely go there: 29%
I would never go there: 22%
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Video on the Sarum Rite
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This is a video I found on Youtube of a Sarum Rite High Mass celebrated at Merton College, Oxford. It is a Mass celebrated on the Feast of Candlemas, 1997. More information on the Sarum Rite and the many Rites of the Church can be found by clicking here.
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Pray for Pope Benedict XVI
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Reading from the Diary of St. Faustina
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"When a reluctance and a monotony as regards my duties begins to take possession of me, I remind myself that I am in the house of the Lord, where nothing is small and where the glory of the Church and the progress of many a soul depend on this small deed of mine, accomplished in a divinized way. Therefore there is nothing small in a religious congregation." (508)

"When my intentions are not recognized, but rather condemned, I am not too much surprised, for I know that it is only God who scrutinizes my heart. Truth will not die; the wounded heart will regain peace in due time, and my spirit is strengthened through adversities. I do not always listen to what my heart tells me, but I keep asking God for light; and when I feel I have regained my equilibrium, then I say more." (511)

"The day of the renewal of vows. The presence of God flooded my soul. During Holy Mass I saw Jesus, and He said to me, You are my great joy; your love and your humility make Me leave the heavenly throne and unite Myself with you. Love fills up the abyss that exists between My greatness and your nothingness." (512)

Read more from the Diary of St. Faustina
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Saturday, November 11, 2006
US Bishops Renew Consecration of America to Immaculate Heart of Mary
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This is a joyous day indeed! The United States has renewed its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary! At noon today, November 11, 2006, the United States renewed its consecration to the Immaculate Heart of Mary under the title of the Immaculate Conception. Archbishop Pietro Sambi celebrated the Mass at the Basilica of the Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington D.C., and Father Andrew Apostoli, a familiar face on EWTN, gave the homily. In that homily, Fr. Apostoli quoted John Paul ll by saying, "Fatima is more important today than it was in 1917."

Remember that John Paul ll was shot in 1981 on the anniversary of the beginning of the apparitions of Mary in Fatima, Portugal. Mehmet Ali Agca, the assasin that shot John Paul ll, said to John Paul ll: "I am a professional assassin and I don't miss. Whose feast day is it in your church today? That person saved you."

May Mary guard and guide our nation back to Her Son, Our Lord, Jesus Christ.  Let us all make an Act of Consecration to the Immaculate Heart, consecrating ourselves, our families, and our societies.
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Say "Merry Christmas" for Jesus!
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In light of recent news in the past few years of companies refusing to say "Merry Christmas", I have decided to try and do something about it! I will not be shopping at any store that refuses to say "Merry Christmas". Let us all recall the saving work of Christmas in that Our Savior was born to us. And He, the King of Glory, was born in a feeding tray for animals in the cold of the night because no one wanted Him or His Immaculate Mother Mary. His own creation did not know Him! Let us seek humility of heart for that reason this coming Advent and Christmas season. Stand up for Jesus Christ!

For wrist bands on this topic, see Operation Just Say Merry Christmas.
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Election Results: Pro-life Analysis
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"The Lord said, 'Pay attention to what the dishonest judge says. Will not God then secure the rights of his chosen ones who call out to him day and night? Will he be slow to answer them? I tell you, he will see to it that justice is done for them speedily. But when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on earth?'" (Luke 18:6-8)

As I type this, I too am wondering where were the Catholic voters because if a Catholic did support an abortion-supporting candidate over a pro-life one, he/she committed a mortal sin!! If you did such an action, repent and confess your sins. Mortal sins are serious! Read St. John Vianney's Catechism on Sin.

To me it doesn't seem that Americans voted for abortion and against morality. It just seems that other national issues took precedence, and they voted for those issues instead of for morality like all Catholics/Christians should have done.

Update: Pro-life politicians have lost control of both the House and the Senate in the United States.

Illinois:

As a citizen of Illinois, I am disappointed in the results. Governor Rod Blagojevich (D) was re-elected, and since there was no clearly pro-life politician running, that is not a big loss. Unfortunately, pro-abortion candidates kept offices like Secretary of State and Attorney General.

Here are some of the top Senate Races and the Results:

Important Initiatives:
Gay marriage Initiatives:
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More Information on Essential Classics Of Catholic Spirituality Collection
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I'm not sure if anyone is interested, but here's more information:

I want to pass on this information I got from ProLifeSearch.com. It confirms that there will be a leather-bound, limited edition set too! Monday Nov 13th at 3:00 PM is the official "launch" date and time. Here's the information from them:

Concern #1. . . many people are concerned that since they can access many of these classics in text format online, what's the benefit of having our collection? We answered this question here:http://ecocs.blogspot.com/2006/10/concern-1.html

Concern #2. . . some people are worried that since they enjoy reading physical books, they may have a hard time with the electronic versions. We addressed this concern here:http://ecocs.blogspot.com/2006/11/concern-2.html

Sign up for the collection
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Antique Holy Cards by Thomas Craughwell
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A few weeks ago I was happy to review Saints Behaving Badly by Thomas Craughwell for Double Day Publishing. Yesterday, I received a very interesting email from Thomas Craughwell, the popular Catholic author. Here is a part of the email that he sent me:

"While waiting for the book to come out, I started a sideline business with my family. Using antique holy cards from my own collection, I've started producing Christmas cards and blank note cards. If I do say so myself, they are pretty nice. Actually, they're gorgeous."

Here's the link to his site: www.antiqueholycards.com
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Friday, November 10, 2006
St. Leo the Great
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Today is the Memorial of St. Leo the Great. See my article on him from last year for biographical information as well as a prayer for his intercession.
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Thursday, November 9, 2006
Pope Benedict XVI to Help in Combating Poverty
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Pope Benedict XVI as well as the chief rabbi of Britain, Jonathan Sacks, and Bono, the Irish rock star, will be going forces to combat poverty. This will results in millions of lives being helped. Read more about it on IHT.

Photo Source: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
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Words of Inspiration: November 9, 2006
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I think that in Heaven my mission will be to draw souls by helping them to go out of themselves in order to cling to God by a wholly simple and loving movement, and to keep them in this great silence within which will allow God to communicate Himself to them and to transform them into Himself." (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity)

Make a little cell in your heart for Jesus of the Agony; take refuge there, when you hear Him outraged by men, try to make reparation; you, at least, love Him and keep your heart quite pure for Him. Oh! If you only knew how the good God love pure hearts! It is there that He loves to reign (Saint Elizabeth of the Trinity)

1 Peter 3:8-12

"Finally, all of you, be of one mind, sympathetic, loving toward one another, compassionate, humble. Do not return evil for evil, or insult for insult; but, on the contrary, a blessing, because to this you were called, that you might inherit a blessing. For: 'Whoever would love life and see good days must keep the tongue from evil and the lips from speaking deceit, must turn from evil and do good, seek peace and follow after it. For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous and his ears turned to their prayer, but the face of the Lord is against evildoers'" (NAB)
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Wednesday, November 8, 2006
Partial Birth Abortion Ban Before Supreme Court
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While the 2006 Elections didn't turn out well for pro-life activists, let us move on because the United States Supreme Court is now discussing the Partial Birth Abortion Ban of 2003. In my opinion, it was the best piece of legislation passed by Congress since 2000.

Let's turn our attention to this Partial Birth Abortion Ban. Let us pray, pray, and pray! Forget about the past failures and work for a better tomorrow. If this ban is kept in place, lives will be saved - many, many lives. Partial Birth Abortion is murder - complete murder! If you want to learn more about it, see this post on Catholic Fire.

And for anyone that says that Partial Birth Abortion can save the mother's life, you are wrong. This gruesome "procedure" can not save the mother's life. This "procedure" is pure murder.

So take out your Rosaries and pray, pray, pray!
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Pope Benedict XVI reminds the Faithful that mortal sin leads to damnation
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Photo Source: REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi (ITALY)
Nov. 06 (CWNews.com) - Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) reminded the faithful that mortal sin leads to damnation, in a sobering message at his Angelus audience on November 5.

The Pope devoted most of his Sunday audience to a reflection on the Christian understanding of death. An affluent society, he observed, often avoids the topic of death, but inevitably every mortal is brought face to face with this reality, which seems "radically hostile and contrary to our natural vocation to life and to happiness."

Through his redemptive suffering, the Pope continued, "Jesus revolutionized the meaning of death," making Christians realize that death is not a final end. Since the Resurrection, he continued, "death is not the same; it has been deprived of its sting."

However, the Holy Father remarked, there is a form of death that should be more fearsome to believers: the death of the soul in sin. "Indeed," said the Pope, "those who die in un-repented mortal sin, closed off from God's love by their prideful rejection, exclude themselves from the kingdom of life."
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Tuesday, November 7, 2006
Election Results: More Results Coming in...
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It's 10:00 PM (Central Time) right now and I'm still hoping that pro-life candidates will win so that our country will put God and morality high. I have not heard any news about any moral issues except the early projection by CNN that the Virginia ban on gay marriage will succeed. I am extremely pleased with this. Gay marriage is a sin, and I'm strongly for such a ban.

In the country, it appears Democrats are gaining a lot of ground and will take control of the House of Representatives. But, the Catholic Church is not partisan. I don't vote by party but rather by issue - namely moral issues because it is a mortal sin to vote for a politician that supports abortion when there is a candidate that does not support it.

I am greatly sorrowed to hear that Senator Rick Santorum (R) of Pennyslavania is projected by CNN to lose to Casey (D). Casey like Senator Santorum will oppose abortion and embryonic stem cell research. Unfortunately, he supports emergency contraception, which is also a sin (source). Senator Santorum is an excellent politician, in my opinion, but a faithful Catholic, who took time to thank God in his concession speech. Let's be sure to say a prayer for Senator Santorum.

Thankfully, I am seeing a lot more pro-life Democrats in government like Ellsworth in Indiana, who is very pro-life and has won his race for the House of Representatives (source).
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Election Results: Just the Beginning
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Keep praying!

Election results are beginning to pour into various news networks. I am watching CNN and already they have projected that the proposed ban on gay marriage will succeed in Virginia. This is an early victory for morality!

I'm especially praying for the states of South Dakota, California, and Missouri.
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Monday, November 6, 2006
This Week in Catholicism (November 6 - 12, 2006)
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This week in Catholicism...
  • Nov. 7th: Election Day (USA). Exercise you right to vote and, as Catholics especially, we sure to vote pro-life (see endorsements)
  • Nov. 10th: Memorial of St. Leo the Great
  • Nov. 11th: Memorial of St. Martin of Tours
  • Nov. 11th: Veterans Day (USA) - a day to remember all of those that have given their lives for freedom.  88th Anniversary of Armistice Day
**A prayer for this week.***

With November being a time to pray for the faithfully departed, let us pray for the souls in purgatory. Look at my post called Prayers and scroll down to the section on prayers for the Holy Souls.
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Sunday, November 5, 2006
Bad Websites: Catholics should avoid these
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I have been meaning to create this post for quite some time. I wanted to put together a list of websites that claim to be "Catholic" but should never be supported by Catholics. I am using Catholic Culture's website reviews for some of the information. Please realize that these websites are generally opposed to the truth of the Faith. If you have a link to one of these websites on your blog/website, I strongly ask you to remove it in an effort for us all to promote the complete truth not a "watering down" of the Catholic Faith.

All links below are to the Catholic Culture review of the website; you may have to register (I believe it's free) to see the review by Catholic Culture. I do not want to post an actual link to the website since that is to be avoided.
These are some of the many websites that I believe all faithful Catholics should avoid. If you would like to let me know about any others, please comment below in the comment box.
If you have any suggestions on others to add to this listing, please comment in the comment box below.

Update (Sept 2011):

I wanted to alert people that there are some websites that claim to be Catholic, but are in fact Protestant websites devoted to getting Catholics to stop praying Our Blessed Lady. These websites seem familiar with traditional critiques of Medjugorje and use this knowledge to paint all Marian apparitions as essentially part of the New Age movement.  So for example one of the website warns of "new age" rosaries, which are in fact just plain old rosaries (http://www.apparitionsites.com/apparition-sites/new-age-rosaries.htm).  Another website warns of Saint Louis de Montefort's Total Consecration to Mary as essentially selling your soul to the devil (http://www.consecrationvows.com/).  Another website seems at first to be offering information on a Novena to Saint Jude, but actually tries to sway the reader from saying novenas at all! (http://www.unhealthydevotions.com/new-age/promise-to-publish-saint-jude-novena.htm)
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