The thoughts, ideas, findings, and fancies of a Catholic student at Our Lady's University.

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Pope More Popular in Poland than in Germany

"Poles have embraced Bavarian-born Benedict with noticeably more warmth than his fellow Germans, urging him to visit and commenting favorably on his devotion to John Paul during his years as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's guardian of doctrinal orthodoxy.

'The new pope is aware of the Poles' strong attachment to John Paul II and from the very start has referred to him with warmth and emotion - this wins their hearts,' Warsaw University sociologist Ireneusz Krzeminski said Friday....

Poles are much more in line with Benedict's traditional views, while in Germany many chafe at the church stands enforced by the pope during his time as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger: bans on abortion, birth control, the ordination of women and sharing Communion with non-Catholics.

Germany is an intensely secular society. It was the home of Martin Luther and the 16th-Century Protestant breakaway from Rome, and has about as many Protestants as it does Catholics, about one-third each, according to church documents..."

(read the entire article here)

The article also states that Poles have no problem with the fact that Benedict was a member of the Hitler Youth, because they have also experienced life under a totalitarian government. I hadn't thought of that, though it does make sense.

I don't think it's really surprising that Poland has accepted Benedict so readily. Welcome, certainly, but not entirely surprising. I mean, Benedict was such a close friend of John Paul the Great's, and so much like him. And I understand that of course there is a national loyalty, but anyone who knows anything about JPII knows that he would want everyone to give their full support to his sucessor.

Anyway, like I said: welcome news. And who knows - maybe the election of a German pope will ultimately lead to a conversion of that country...

Friday, April 29, 2005

'Catholic' Senator Calls Focus on the Family "Antichrist of the World"

Strange, but doesn't that sound more like something Focus on the Family would call a senator, rather than the other way around?

Apparently, pro-choice "Catholic" senator Ken Salazar of Colorado reacted rather badly to being targeted by a FotF ad campaign highlighting certain senators' positions on filibusters of federal judicial nominees (the campaign highlights the fact that several senators are currently going back on campaign promises to end filibusters). While speaking to a Colorado Springs TV station, Salazar called FotF "the Antichrist of the World." Gee, do you think they might have touched a nerve with him?

Also, over the weekend, he charged FotF with organizing a boycott of a Dairy Queen restaurant owned by his family. In fact, FotF had nothing to do with it; the boycott was organized by a local church.

I wonder if his press secretary looked over his remarks before he made them. I can just picture the poor guy standing off to the side holding his (much more tactful) cue cards in disbelief as his boss brazenly departs from the script...

(read the story here)

Thursday, April 28, 2005

Today is one of my favorite days of the year, and not just for the reason that anyone who knows me is thinking. It's the feast day of my Confirmation saint, St. Gianna Beretta Molla, an Italian doctor who died in 1962 after refusing to abort her child in order to save her own life (that child, incidentally, later became a surgeon, and was present at her mother's canonization). My favorite photo of her is posted above (and isn't it odd to have a favorite photo of one's Confirmation saint?). As you can see, it's very simple, just a picture of Gianna feeding her two small children, and the simplicity is why I like it so much. I love the way she was able to find beauty and meaning in the smallest, most mundane tasks, and do them with so much love. This humility is also a prevalent theme in her writings:
"Work and sacrifice yourself only for the glory of God. Sow your little seeds tirelessly. If, even after all of your best efforts, failure seems to be the result, accept this generously. A failure gracefully accepted by an apostle, who has used all the means available to suceed, may be more beneficial for salvation than a victory. Let us always work generously and humbly; let us try not to look immediately for the fruits of our labor."
-From writings presented to the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints

Possibly the Most POD Love Note Ever

"...I think of how devoutly you made the sign of the cross before the meal. I can see you in prayer at Eucharistic benediction. I still feel your cordial handshake and I see again the sweet and bright smile that accompanied it..."

-Pietro Molla,
shortly after meeting Gianna at
the first Mass of a mutual friend

“With God's help and blessing we will do everything so that our new family will be a little cenacle, where Jesus reigns over all our affections, desires and actions.... We will become Gods collaborators in creation, we can thus give Him children who will love and serve Him”
-St. Gianna Beretta Molla,
in a letter to her husband
a few days before their

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

This is kind of last minute, but does anyone know who the patron saint of drivers is? I'm taking my license test at 8:40 tomorrow morning, and I'll take all the intercession I can get.

UPDATE: Well, I passed, although it wasn't pretty. My parallel parking attempt and 90-degree backing maneuvers were thoroughly crappy, which was a little vexing, since I did them both perfectly about 50 times yesterday. The tester, thankfully, was a very nice guy, and he had mercy on me.
As far as intercession, the only patron saint I could think of for drivers was St. Patrick, who drove the snakes out of Ireland (rimshot, please). Thanks for all the suggestions.

Thought for the Day

"'You'd better be prepared for the jump into hyperspace. It's unpleasantly like being drunk.'
'What's so unpleasant about being drunk?'
'You ask a glass of water.'"

-The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Pope Benedict the Transitional?

One of my pet peeves during the last couple weeks has been when the MSM imply (or blatently state) that the pope after John Paul the Great, would be "transitional," or, in other words, do nothing for 5-10 years, at which point they are expected to die quietly (ever heard of John XXIII?). Certainly that may have been the case in the past, but I don't think any of us have to worry about Benedict "doing nothing." His track record proves that. Anyway, I found an article the other day that shares this sentiment.
"Transitional" Popes can make big marks


He calls his predecessor John Paul the Great.

So must he be Pope Benedict the Transitional?

For years, the conventional Catholic wisdom held that after John Paul II's lengthy, globe-trotting pontificate, the College of Cardinals would opt for something of a cool-down period by choosing a transitional successor. The translation: an older pope who would closely follow John Paul's agenda.

Sure enough, the princes of the church settled almost immediately last week on 78-year-old Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the oldest new pope in 275 years and a dear friend and aide to John Paul.

As if by script, Benedict XVI referred inside the conclave to an expected "short reign," several cardinals said afterward. And during his first Mass as pope on Wednesday, Benedict hit on themes that were central to John Paul's papacy, such as furthering the work of the Second Vatican Council, advancing the often difficult cause of Christian unity and improving relations with other faiths.

"It seems I can feel his strong hand squeezing mine," he said of John Paul. "I seem to see his smiling eyes and listen to his words, addressed to me especially at this moment: 'Do not be afraid!' "

But what does it mean to be a transitional pope?

If Benedict does advance John Paul's agenda, does that mean he cannot craft his own? Even if he does not travel the world as John Paul did, or have the magnetism to attract great crowds when he does travel, does that mean Benedict cannot renew the papacy in other ways?

And even if his reign is only five to 10 years, why can't Benedict accomplish much in a short time?

(read the entire article here)

Monday, April 25, 2005

Overwhelming Majority of American Catholics Support Benedict

According to an ABC News poll, 81% of American Catholics "approve of the new pope." I think that one of John Paul the Great's miracles has to be the widespread acceptance of his successor. Except in the MSM (and others we already knew were looney), I haven't heard too many negative opinions. Even Cardinal Mahony has been oddly positive in his comments.

Also, it would seem that "feminism" isn't as prevalent among Catholic as it seems. According to the same poll, "responding to the concerns of women in the church" should be last among the prioities of Benedict.

Is there hope for America after all?

Benedict Says He Prayed Not to Be Elected

According to an article this morning from the AP, Pope Benedict told an audience of fellow Germans that he prayed not to be elected.

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI said Monday he had viewed the idea of being elected pope as a "guillotine," and he prayed to God during the recent conclave to be spared selection but "evidently this time He didn't listen to me."...

Speaking in his native tongue, Benedict told the audience that at one point during the conclave, when it became clear he was garnering many votes, a fellow cardinal slipped him a note reminding him what he had preached before the conclave about Christ calling Peter to follow him even where he did not want to go....

"As the trend in the ballots slowly made me realize that - in a manner of speaking the guillotine would fall on me - I started to feel quite dizzy," a smiling Benedict said, clearly joking. "I thought that I had done my life's work and could now hope to live out my days in peace. I told the Lord with deep conviction, 'Don't do this to me.'"

He recalled saying to God in his prayers: "You have younger, better, more enthusiastic and energetic candidates."

"Evidently, this time He didn't listen to me," Benedict said....

Benedict was interrupted several times by applause and cheering during the audience, and he seemed to enjoy the welcome from his countrymen, smiling and chuckling occasionally. When he first arrived in the audience hall, he received a hero's welcome, shaking the pilgrims' hands and blessing a child handed to him.

"Benedict sent from God!" the crowds chanted. In German, the chant rhymes: "Benedikt Gott Geschickt."

Pilgrims, some in traditional dress, toted Bavarian flags and a banner for the church's World Youth Day, which is being celebrated in August in Cologne, Germany. Benedict told the crowd he was looking forward to attending, following a tradition beloved by his predecessor, Pope John Paul II, who made reaching out to young Catholics a hallmark of his pontificate.

"It's not true that young people only look at consumerism and materialism," he said. "Young people want great things."

He told them the church is not a place for people seeking a comfortable life, noting that it is difficult to choose to follow Christ.

"He who is looking to be comfortable has come to the wrong address," he said.

He asked for their support, no matter what.

"I ask you for your trust when I make errors or when I say things that aren't easily understood, because the pope has to say these things. If we stick together, then we will find the way."

In the crowd was Benedict's brother, Georg Ratzinger, who also is a priest and traveled to Rome for his younger brother's inauguration. He received warm applause from the crowd when he arrived.

Benedict played to the crowd, telling them: "My roots are in Bavaria and I'm still Bavarian as bishop of Rome."

At the start of the audience, Benedict apologized to the crowds for arriving late, explaining that a meeting with religious leaders who attended his inauguration Mass ran long.

"The Germans are used to punctuality," he joked. "I'm already very Italian."

Many people in the crowd said they were thrilled with Benedict's election and were surprised to find him so warm when he has had such a dour reputation as head of the Vatican's doctrinal orthodoxy office.

"I was so surprised. I didn't know he was so personable," said Annette Wilkemeyer. "This is great, especially for the young."

The article references Christ calling Peter to go where he did not want to go. The first thought I had was of Moses, also doubting his adequacy as God's messenger ("And Moses said unto God, 'Who am I, that I should go unto Pharaoh, and that I should bring forth the children of Isreal out of Egypt?' And He said, 'Certainly I will be with you; and this shall be a token unto you, that I have sent you: When you have brought forth the people out of Egypt, you will serve God upon this mountain.'" Exodus 3:11-12) And look what "inadequate" Moses ended up doing....
And I believe it was St. Augustine of Hippo, who upon finding out that he had been chosen to be Bishop of Hippo, had to be chased through the streets by the town's population before they could bring him to the cathedral. Much of Augustine's best work was done after he became a bishop.

Take a minute to pray for our new pope.

Cooperatores Veritatis

Among the things I have most been looking forward to with the new papacy has been the unveiling of Benedict's coat of arms. As Archbishop of Munich (and later as a cardinal), his coat of arms was the traditional coat of arms of the Archbishops of Munich: a Moor wearing a crown. Then-Archbishop Ratzinger personalized this coat of arms by adding pictures of a shell and a bear wearing a backpack.

The symbolism is as follows:
  • The Moor The exact origin of the Moor wearing the crown is unknown, but Ratzinger sees him as a symbol of the Church's universality.
  • The Shell has a double meaning. Firstly, it symbolizes the pilgrim nature of the Church, as the scallop shell is a symbol of the pilgrimage of Santiago de Compostela. Upon reaching the end of the pilgrimage at the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, pilgrims receive a scallop shell to remind them of their part in the Pilgrim Church, and also of Saint James the greater, who was a fisherman and is often pictured with a scallop shell. Secondly, the shell is a reminder of Saint Augustine, about whom Benedict wrote his doctoral thesis. According to legend, Augustine was walking along the beach, pondering the mystery of the Trinity, when he came upon a child who had dug a hole in the sand and was attempting to fill it with sea water, which he would carry in a shell. Augustine asked the child what he was doing, and the child replied that he was attempting to empty the sea into his hole. When Augustine pointed out the futility of the act, the child replied that trying to understand the Trinity was just as futile as attempting to empty the sea into a hole.
  • The Bear refers to the legend of Munich's first Archbishop, St. Korbinian. According to legend, Korbinian was travelling to Rome when a bear attacked and killed his horse. Faced with having no animal to carry his packs to Rome, Korbinian ordered the bear to carry his luggage. Once the bear reached Rome with the Bishop's luggage, Korbinian set it free.
  • The motto, Cooperatores Veritatis, is Latin for "Co-workers of the truth." This was Benedict's motto during his tenure as Archbishop of Munich, and certainly applied when he was Prefect of the CDF.
For more information on this subject, I found this article (from Inside the Vatican) particularily informative. It also includes an awesome quote from one of Benedict's writings, regarding the legends of Saints Augustine and Korbinian.

This Catholic Exchange article references the coat of arms and speculates that he might not keep the bear when his papal coat of arms is released.

Sunday, April 24, 2005

The Text of Pope Benedict's Installation Homily

Apr. 24 ( - This is the text of the homily delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at the Mass formally inaugurating his pontificate on Sunday, April 24 in St. Peter's Square. Your Eminences, my dear brother bishops and priests, distinguished authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, dear brothers and sisters. During these days of great intensity, we have chanted the litany of the saints on three different occasions: at the funeral of our Holy Father John Paul II; as the cardinals entered the conclave; and again today, when we sang it with the response: Tu illum adiuva-- sustain the new successor of St. Peter. On each occasion, in a particular way, I found great consolation in listening to this prayerful chant.

How alone we all felt after the passing of John Paul II-- the Pope who for over 26 years had been our shepherd and guide on our journey through life! He crossed the threshold of the next life, entering into the mystery of God. But he did not take this step alone. Those who believe are never alone-- neither in life nor in death. At that moment, we could call upon the saints from every age-- his friends, his brothers and sisters in the faith-- knowing that they would form a living procession to accompany him into the next world, into the glory of God. We knew that his arrival was awaited. Now we know that he is among his own and is truly at home. We were also consoled as we made our solemn entrance into conclave, to elect the one whom the Lord had chosen. How would we be able to discern his name? How could 115 bishops, from every culture and every country, discover the one on whom the Lord wished to confer the mission of binding and loosing? Once again, we knew that we were not alone, we knew that we were surrounded, led and guided by the friends of God.

And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it? All of you, my dear friends, have just invoked the entire host of saints, represented by some of the great names in the history of God's dealings with mankind. In this way, I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone.

I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone. All the saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me. Indeed, the communion of saints consists not only of the great men and women who went before us and whose names we know. All of us belong to the communion of saints, we who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, we who draw life from the gift of Christ's Body and Blood, through which He transforms us and makes us like Himself. Yes, the Church is alive: this is the wonderful experience of these days. During those sad days of the Pope's illness and death, it became wonderfully evident to us that the Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future. The Church is alive and we are seeing it: we are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised His followers. The Church is alive-- she is alive because Christ is alive, because He is truly risen. In the suffering that we saw on the Holy Father's face in those days of Easter, we contemplated the mystery of Christ's Passion and we touched His wounds. But throughout these days we have also been able, in a profound sense, to touch the Risen One. We have been able to experience the joy that He promised, after a brief period of darkness, as the fruit of His resurrection. The Church is alive-- with these words, I greet with great joy and gratitude all of you gathered here, my venerable brother cardinals and bishops, my dear priests, deacons, Church workers, catechists. I greet you, men and women religious, witnesses of the transfiguring presence of God. I greet you, members of the lay faithful, immersed in the great task of building up the Kingdom of God which spreads throughout the world, in every area of life. With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God's irrevocable promises. Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and non-believers alike. Dear friends! At this moment there is no need for me to present a program of governance. I was able to give an indication of what I see as my task in my message of Wednesday April 20, and there will be other opportunities to do so. My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He Himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history. Instead of putting forward a program, I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry; both these symbols, moreover, reflect clearly what we heard proclaimed in today's readings. The first symbol is the pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the bishops of Rome have worn since the 4th century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the bishop of this city, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. God's yoke is God's will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found: this was Israel's joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: God's will does not alienate us, it purifies us-- even if this can be painful-- and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only Him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history. The symbolism of the pallium is even more concrete: the lamb's wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race-- every one of us-- is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; He cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon His shoulders and carries our humanity; He carries us all-- He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep.

What the pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherd's mission, of which the second reading and the Gospel speak. The pastor must be inspired by Christ's holy zeal: for him it is not a matter of indifference that so many people are living in the desert. And there are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God's darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth's treasures no longer serve to build God's garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction. The Church as a whole and all her pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, toward the One who gives us life, and life in abundance. The symbol of the lamb also has a deeper meaning. In the ancient Near East, it was customary for kings to style themselves shepherds of their people. This was an image of their power, a cynical image: to them their subjects were like sheep, which the shepherd could dispose of as he wished. When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, Himself became a lamb, He stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed. This is how He reveals Himself to be the true shepherd: 'I am the Good Shepherd… I lay down my life for the sheep,' Jesus says of Himself (Jn 10:14ff). It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God's sign: He Himself is love.

How often we wish that God would make show Himself stronger, that He would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God's patience. And yet, we need His patience. God, Who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified Him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man. One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. "Feed my sheep," says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, He says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God's truth, of God's word, the nourishment of His presence, which He gives us in the blessed Sacrament. My dear friends-- at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love His flock more and more-- in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another. The second symbol used in today's liturgy to express the inauguration of the Petrine ministry is the presentation of the Fisherman's Ring. Peter's call to be a shepherd, which we heard in the Gospel, comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: "and although there were so many, the net was not torn." (Jn 21:11) This account, coming at the end of Jesus' earthly journey with His disciples, corresponds to an account found at the beginning: there too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: "Master, at your word I will let down the nets."

And then came the conferral of his mission: "Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men." (Lk 5:1-11) Today too the Church and the successors of the apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel-- to God, to Christ, to true life. The Fathers made a very significant commentary on this singular task. This is what they say: for a fish, created for water, it is fatal to be taken out of the sea, to be removed from its vital element to serve as human food. But in the mission of a fisher of men, the reverse is true. We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendor of God's light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God. It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God's joy which longs to break into the world. Here I want to add something: both the image of the shepherd and that of the fisherman issue an explicit call to unity. "I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd." (Jn 10:16) These are the words of Jesus at the end of His discourse on the Good Shepherd. And the account of the 153 large fish ends with the joyful statement: "although there were so many, the net was not torn." (Jn 21:11) Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn! But no-- we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of Your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path toward the unity You have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as we plead with Him: Yes, Lord, remember Your promise. Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd! Do not allow Your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity! At this point, my mind goes back to October 22 1978, when Pope John Paul II (bio - news) began his ministry here in Saint Peter's Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: "Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!" The Pope was addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let Him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free. Yes, He would certainly have taken something away from them: the dominion of corruption, the manipulation of law and the freedom to do as they pleased. But He would not have taken away anything that pertains to human freedom or dignity, or to the building of a just society.

The Pope was also speaking to everyone, especially the young. Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful, and great.

No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundredfold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ-- and you will find true life. Amen.

Found at Catholic World News

Monday, April 18, 2005

Testing, testing...

Blogger's giving me problems lately, let's see if this works...

Thursday, April 07, 2005

Totally Awesome T-Shirts

"Totally Catholic Tees" is selling two awesome t-shirts in honor of JPII. My personal favorite is the "John Paul II We Love You." I can't get any pictures to paste in here, but check them out - they're really cool.

Wednesday, April 06, 2005

A new way to waste time

Google has introduced their answer to Mapquest - complete with satellite photos of virtually anywhere in the U.S. Just go here and click on "Satellite" in the top right corner. Then, type in the address in the Search bar. Unfortunately, the photos are pretty low-resolution if you look up something that's out in the sticks (our house, for example), but it's still pretty neat.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

Sky will be darkened on the day of the Pope's funeral

Monday, April 04, 2005

More Media Cluelessness...

Dad heard someone on the radio yesterday complaining about how utterly clueless the media is with regards to Catholicism. The following examples were given:

  • "John Paul II was the first non-Catholic Pope to be elected in over 300 years"
  • "After the period of mourning, the 117 Popes will come together to vote onthe next Pope."

The nuns had to cook for themselves (or: Poverty, Chastity, and Piety)

On the way into Mass yesterday, we overheard an...amusing exchange between two talk show hosts on AM1500 (I think the show was called "Poli-chics" or something like that)

(Some of this is paraphrased)

Lady 1: ...So why did you leave the Church? Was it because they wouldn't let you be a priest?
Lady 2: That's right.
1: Well, why couldn't you just become a nun?
2: Well, because the nuns always had to take the 3 vows of poverty, chastity, and...what was the other one?
1: Wasn't is piety?
2: No, it wasn't piety. I think it was.......Oh well, I don't remember. Anyway, it always seemed to me that the nuns had to take all the vows, but the priests were rolling in dough. I mean, they went golfing, and they went on vacation, and they had a maid...
1: Don't you think that might be because people gave them those things?
2: Well, maybe, but the nuns had to cook for themselves.

And a bit later, while speculating on who might be elected the next Pope:

1: Now, one of those Cardinals, I think it's the German one [Ratzinger], isn't he involved in Opus Dei, that radically conservative Catholic sect?
2: Was it the German one? I can't remember...
1: I think it was the German one...
2: And Opus Dei...Isn't that mentioned in the book...Oh, what was it called?
1: Ummm...The DaVinci Code?
2: Yeah, that was it!

Saturday, April 02, 2005

Thank you for everything, John Paul the Great

My Apologies

Blogger seems to have been eating my posts of late... I think it's finally fixed now.

"19 Now there was a rich man, and he habitually dressed in purple and fine linen, joyously living in splendor every day.
20 And a poor man named Lazarus was laid at his gate, covered with sores,
21 and longing to be fed with the crumbs which were falling from the rich man's table; besides, even the dogs were coming and licking his sores.
22 Now the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham's bosom; and the rich man also died and was buried.
23 In Hades he lifted up his eyes, being in torment, and saw Abraham far away and Lazarus in his bosom.
24 And he cried out and said, 'Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus so that he may dip the tip of his finger in water and cool off my tongue, for I am in agony in this flame.'
25 But Abraham said, 'Child, remember that during your life you received your good things, and likewise Lazarus bad things; but now he is being comforted here, and you are in agony.
26 And besides all this, between us and you there is a great chasm fixed, so that those who wish to come over from here to you will not be able, and that none may cross over from there to us.'
27 And he said, 'Then I beg you, father, that you send him to my father's house--
28 for I have five brothers--in order that he may warn them, so that they will not also come to this place of torment.'
29 But Abraham said, 'They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.'
30 But he said, 'No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent!'
31 But he said to him, 'If they do not listen to Moses and the Prophets, they will not be persuaded even if someone rises from the dead.'"

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