Tuesday, December 13, 2011

New Atheists Need to Get Their Narrative Straight

New Atheists Need to Get Their Narrative Straight

"You know who you guys could take a cue from? Christian martyrs. Roast ‘em, mash ‘em, stick ‘em in a stew, they take a licking and keep on ticking. Gouge out their eyes and they laugh and turn it into a fun feast day"

Monday, December 12, 2011

Shameless Popery: Was Sola Scriptura True During the Apostolic Age?

Shameless Popery: Was Sola Scriptura True During the Apostolic Age?: Sola Scriptura (“Scripture alone”) is the Protestant belief that all Christian doctrines should be taken from Scripture alone. Given this,...

Logos Bible Software Review by Brent Stubbs

One of my favorite bloggers, Brent Stubbs, just posted a great review of the recently released Logos Bible Software packages that are designed for Catholics. Check it out HERE!

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: The True King is Coming

Sermon 570 : A Not Very Cozy Advent - The True King is Coming : Third Sunday of Advent

Christ proclaims himself as the King of everything. This is a bold claim for it puts everything under him. However, he is a very different King than what we typically expect. So with the arrival of this King, we must change all our expectations.

Listen to homily via streaming here
Download homily here

Friday, December 2, 2011

Catholic Answers Live Preview: Dec 5-9

Click here for more info

J.R.R. Tolkien on Conversion

Tolkien's mother, Mabel, converted to Catholicism despite serious opposition from her family. She was eventually cut-off financially when she refused to abandon her new faith. The lack of financial support was a serious consequence as she relied on her family's assistance after her husband died working in South Africa leaving her alone to raise their two young boys. Yet, she valued her Catholic faith above all else and was determined to raise her children in the Catholic Church, which she did. 

Years later, when Tolkien was a young man at Oxford and was ready to marry, his future wife, Edith, was still a very active member of the Church of England. Tolkien insisted that she become Catholic before they marry. Edith was willing and believed it the right thing, but wanted to delay her conversion until just prior to the wedding to avoid the backlash of her family. Tolkien, would not have it. He stated that the Church of England was "a pathetic and shadowy medley of half-remembered traditions and mutilated beliefs" and if Edith were persecuted for becoming Catholic, why then, that was precisely what happened to his own dear mother, and she had endured it. He went on to say, "I do so dearly believe, that no half-heartedness and no worldly fear must turn us aside from following the light unflinchingly." Edith agreed and was met with the same level of opposition from her family as Tolkien's mother had suffered through.

J.R.R. Tolkien is best remembered for his fiction, but the most important thing to him was truth.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

St. Andrew: Scotland's Patron Saint

Pope Benedict XVI: Feast of St. Andrew, the Protoclete

Andrew, the Protoclete

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

In the last two catecheses we spoke about the figure of St Peter. Now, in the measure that sources allow us, we want to know the other 11 Apostles a bit better. Therefore, today we shall speak of Simon Peter's brother, St Andrew, who was also one of the Twelve.

The first striking characteristic of Andrew is his name:  it is not Hebrew, as might have been expected, but Greek, indicative of a certain cultural openness in his family that cannot be ignored. We are in Galilee, where the Greek language and culture are quite present. Andrew comes second in the list of the Twelve, as in Matthew (10: 1-4) and in Luke (6: 13-16); or fourth, as in Mark (3: 13-18) and in the Acts (1: 13-14). In any case, he certainly enjoyed great prestige within the early Christian communities.

The kinship between Peter and Andrew, as well as the joint call that Jesus addressed to them, are explicitly mentioned in the Gospels. We read:  "As he walked by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon who is called Peter and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea; for they were fishermen. And he said to them, "Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men'" (Mt 4: 18-19; Mk 1: 16-17).

From the Fourth Gospel we know another important detail:  Andrew had previously been a disciple of John the Baptist:  and this shows us that he was a man who was searching, who shared in Israel's hope, who wanted to know better the word of the Lord, the presence of the Lord.

He was truly a man of faith and hope; and one day he heard John the Baptist proclaiming Jesus as:  "the Lamb of God" (Jn 1: 36); so he was stirred, and with another unnamed disciple followed Jesus, the one whom John had called "the Lamb of God". The Evangelist says that "they saw where he was staying; and they stayed with him that day..." (Jn 1: 37-39).

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Bishop Burbidge Requests Novena for Seminarian Philip Johnson

From the diocese of Raleigh:

Bishop Burbidge Requests Novena for Seminarian Philip Johnson

The Most Reverend Michael F. Burbidge has announced a novena to Our Holy Mother, patroness of the Diocese of Raleigh, on behalf of seminarian Philip Johnson. The novena will begin on Wednesday, November 30, 2011, and culminate on Thursday, December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception. This is the second year Bishop Burbidge has called for a novena.

Philip has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for a brain tumor for several years. In a letter to Priests, Religious and the lay faithful of the Diocese, Bishop Burbidge notes the “growth of the brain tumor appears to have stabilized about the time of the conclusion of last year’s novena.” 
Philip continues to pursue his vocation and hopes to return to St. Charles Borromeo Seminary for on-campus studies. Currently he is assigned to St. Catherine of Siena Church in Wake Forest.
Links to both the Bishop’s letter and the Novena Prayer in English and Spanish are provided below so that you may forward this request to others who you may wish to invite to pray for a needed cure for Philip. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: The Great Spiritual Law

The great spiritual law is the law of the gift. Although counter-intuitive, it is the way of the Spirit. Giving your life away for love increases life within you. You partake in the flow of the divine life. Hence, happiness is found in loving acts.

To listen via streaming: Click Here

To download homily: Click Here

Catholic Answers Live: Radio Preview: Nov 14-18

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

All Saints Day Photos

A friend of mine on Facebook shared a great photo taken in Poland on All Saints Day. It inspired me to do a quick search on Google Images and on the AP website for a few more.

Mexico City

Mexico City

Warsaw Uprising Monument



Saturday, October 29, 2011

Reformation Sunday 2011: How Would Protestants Know When to Return?

Over the past week of driving around town, I have noticed various Protestant churches advertising different ways to celebrate Reformation Sunday and the recovery of the "true gospel" after breaking from the Catholic Church. The odd thing is that the Protestants who attend these churches hold contradictory beliefs about what exactly is the "true gospel" and have continued the practice of rejecting one church and starting a new one in pursuit of each group's interpretation of the "true gospel." This thought came to me after I passed a Presbyterian, a Lutheran, and a Baptist church all on the same block, and all with signs mentioning Reformation Sunday. To remain consistent, shouldn't these Protestants celebrate each subsequent split since the Reformation that finally led to the recovery of the "true gospel" now taught at their current church? Obviously, some churches may have more celebrations than others.

Anyway, here is an article over at Called to Communion by Bryan Cross about Reformation Sunday.

Reformation Sunday 2011: How Would Protestants Know When to Return?

Here is another article that is a must read this weekend:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Heresy Gets Things Done

John Zmirak has written a great article about orthodoxy and heresy:

Q. So you admit that, when it comes to the Trinity and the nature of Christ, the Church has spent centuries tussling over a tangle of logical contradictions, in search of a plausible story?

If only it had; then maybe we’d have one. My life would be a lot easier, and this book would only need to be a pamphlet. Like modern physicists who wrangle with the equally persuasive but mutually irreconcilable claims of relativity and quantum mechanics, the Church was presented with evidence that was devilishly difficult to understand all at once, much less to reconcile. Our theologians used the best tool at hand, Greek philosophy, to tease out the real-world implications of what God had told us about Himself, to figure out how we should pray, and to whom. If what we had been trying to craft was a cogent fable, we certainly would have lopped off one manageable piece of that enormous, intractable elephant and held it up as the whole: “Behold the trunk of God!”

Read the rest here: Heresy Gets Things Done

Monday, October 17, 2011

Shameless Popery: St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Eucharist

Shameless Popery: St. Ignatius of Antioch and the Eucharist: Today's the feast day of St. Ignatius of Antioch, one of my favorite Early Church Fathers. He was a student of the Apostle John, and served...

Protestant Objections to the Catholic Doctrines of Original Justice and Original Sin

"What objections have various Protestant theologians raised to the Catholic doctrines of original justice and original sin, and what is the Catholic reply to these objections? Here I (Bryan Cross) present some Protestant arguments against the Catholic doctrines of original justice and original sin, from Martin Luther, John Calvin, Francis Turretin, Charles Hodge, Gordon Clark, and Peter Leithart, along with a Catholic reply to each."

Continue reading: Protestant Objections to the Catholic Doctrines of Original Justice and Original Sin

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Church Fathers.org Quote of the Week: Intercession of the Saints

The Intercession of the Saints

"Atticus, sleep in peace, secure in your safety, and pray anxiously for our sins" (funerary inscription near St. Sabina’s in Rome [A.D. 300]). "Pray for your parents, Matronata Matrona. She lived one year, fifty-two days" (ibid.). "Mother of God, [listen to] my petitions; do not disregard us in adversity, but rescue us from danger" (Rylands Papyrus 3 [A.D. 350])

Friday, September 30, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Faith and Private Judgment

This is a long post, but worth the read!

 Discourse 10: Faith and Private Judgment
(taken from Newman Reader)

by Blessed John Henry Newman

{192} WHEN we consider the beauty, the majesty, the completeness, the resources, the consolations, of the Catholic Religion, it may strike us with wonder, my brethren, that it does not convert the multitude of those who come in its way. Perhaps you have felt this surprise yourselves; especially those of you who have been recently converted, and can compare it, from experience, with those religions which the millions of this country choose instead of it. You know from experience how barren, unmeaning, and baseless those religions are; what poor attractions they have, and how little they have to say for themselves. Multitudes, indeed, are of no religion at all; and you may not be surprised that those who cannot even bear the thought of God, should not feel drawn to His Church; numbers, too, hear very little about Catholicism, or a great deal of abuse and calumny against it, and you may not be surprised that they do not all at once become Catholics; but what may fairly surprise those who enjoy the fulness of Catholic blessings is, that those who see the Church ever so distantly, who see even gleams or the faint lustre of her {193} majesty, nevertheless should not be so far attracted by what they see as to seek to see more,—should not at least put themselves in the way to be led on to the Truth, which of course is not ordinarily recognised in its Divine authority except by degrees. Moses, when he saw the burning bush, turned aside to see "that great sight"; Nathaniel, though he thought no good could come out of Nazareth, at least followed Philip to Christ, when Philip said to him, "Come and see"; but the multitudes about us see and hear, in some measure, surely,—many in ample measure,—and yet are not persuaded thereby to see and hear more, are not moved to act upon their knowledge. Seeing they see not, and hearing they hear not; they are contented to remain as they are; they are not drawn to inquire, or at least not drawn on to embrace.

Many explanations may be given of this difficulty; I will proceed to suggest to you one, which will sound like a truism, but yet has a meaning in it. Men do not become Catholics, because they have not faith. Now you may ask me, how this is saying more than that men do not believe the Catholic Church because they do not believe it; which is saying nothing at all. Our Lord, for instance, says, "He who cometh to Me shall not hunger, and he who believeth in Me shall never thirst";—to believe then and to come are the same thing. If they had faith, of course they would join the Church, for the very meaning, the very exercise of faith, is joining the Church. But I mean something more than this: faith is a state of mind, it is a particular mode of thinking and acting, which is {194} exercised, always indeed towards God, but in very various ways. Now I mean to say, that the multitude of men in this country have not this habit or character of mind. We could conceive, for instance, their believing in their own religions, even if they did not believe in the Church; this would be faith, though a faith improperly directed; but they do not believe even their own religions; they do not believe in anything at all. It is a definite defect in their minds: as we might say that a person had not the virtue of meekness, or of liberality, or of prudence, quite independently of this or that exercise of the virtue, so there is such a religious virtue as faith, and there is such a defect as the absence of it. Now I mean to say that the great mass of men in this country have not this particular virtue called faith, have not this virtue at all. As a man might be without eyes or without hands, so they are without faith; it is a distinct want or fault in their soul; and what I say is, that since they have not this faculty of religious belief, no wonder they do not embrace that, which cannot really be embraced without it. They do not believe any teaching at all in any true sense; and therefore they do not believe the Church in particular.

Now, in the first place, what is faith? it is assenting to a doctrine as true, which we do not see, which we cannot prove, because God says it is true, who cannot lie. And further than this, since God says it is true, not with His own voice, but by the voice of His messengers, it is assenting to what man says, not simply viewed as a man, but to what he is commissioned to {195} declare, as a messenger, prophet, or ambassador from God. In the ordinary course of this world we account things true either because we see them, or because we can perceive that they follow and are deducible from what we do see; that is, we gain truth by sight or by reason, not by faith. You will say indeed, that we accept a number of things which we cannot prove or see, on the word of others; certainly, but then we accept what they say only as the word of man; and we have not commonly that absolute and unreserved confidence in them, which nothing can shake. We know that man is open to mistake, and we are always glad to find some confirmation of what he says, from other quarters, in any important matter; or we receive his information with negligence and unconcern, as something of little consequence, as a matter of opinion; or, if we act upon it, it is as a matter of prudence, thinking it best and safest to do so. We take his word for what it is worth, and we use it either according to our necessity, or its probability. We keep the decision in our own hands, and reserve to ourselves the right of reopening the question whenever we please. This is very different from Divine faith; he who believes that God is true, and that this is His word, which He has committed to man, has no doubt at all. He is as certain that the doctrine taught is true, as that God is true; and he is certain, because God is true, because God has spoken, not because he sees its truth or can prove its truth. That is, faith has two peculiarities;—it is most certain, decided, positive, immovable {196} in its assent, and it gives this assent not because it sees with eye, or sees with the reason, but because it receives the tidings from one who comes from God.

This is what faith was in the time of the Apostles, as no one can deny; and what it was then, it must be now, else it ceases to be the same thing. I say, it certainly was this in the Apostles' time, for you know they preached to the world that Christ was the Son of God, that He was born of a Virgin, that He had ascended on high, that He would come again to judge all, the living and the dead. Could the world see all this? could it prove it? how then were men to receive it? why did so many embrace it? on the word of the Apostles, who were, as their powers showed, messengers from God. Men were told to submit their reason to a living authority. Moreover, whatever an Apostle said, his converts were bound to believe; when they entered the Church, they entered it in order to learn. The Church was their teacher; they did not come to argue, to examine, to pick and choose, but to accept whatever was put before them. No one doubts, no one can doubt this, of those primitive times. A Christian was bound to take without doubting all that the Apostles declared to be revealed; if the Apostles spoke, he had to yield an internal assent of his mind; it would not be enough to keep silence, it would not be enough not to oppose: it was not allowable to credit in a measure; it was not allowable to doubt. No; if a convert had his own private thoughts of what was {197} said, and only kept them to himself, if he made some secret opposition to the teaching, if he waited for further proof before he believed it, this would be a proof that he did not think the Apostles were sent from God to reveal His will; it would be a proof that he did not in any true sense believe at all. Immediate, implicit submission of the mind was, in the lifetime of the Apostles, the only, the necessary token of faith; then there was no room whatever for what is now called private judgment. No one could say: "I will choose my religion for myself, I will believe this, I will not believe that; I will pledge myself to nothing; I will believe just as long as I please, and no longer; what I believe today I will reject tomorrow, if I choose. I will believe what the Apostles have as yet said, but I will not believe what they shall say in time to come." No; either the Apostles were from God, or they were not; if they were, everything that they preached was to be believed by their hearers; if they were not, there was nothing for their hearers to believe. To believe a little, to believe more or less, was impossible; it contradicted the very notion of believing: if one part was to be believed, every part was to be believed; it was an absurdity to believe one thing and not another; for the word of the Apostles, which made the one true, made the other true too; they were nothing in themselves, they were all things, they were an infallible authority, as coming from God. The world had either to become Christian, or to let it alone; there was no room for private tastes and fancies, no room for private judgment. {198}

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Resource Highlight: Institute of Catholic Culture

This is a great resource with a long list of FREE audio downloads!

From the Institute of Catholic Culture website:

"The Institute of Catholic Culture is a 501(c)3 non-profit Catholic educational organization dedicated to the re-evangelization of our society through educational and cultural programs offered to the public at NO CHARGE.  

 Through this important arm of our apostolate, Catholics and non-Catholics alike throughout the United States and throughout the world are able to learn the truth about Jesus Christ and his Church. In an age when the basic teachings of the Catholic Faith have been neglected and the faithful are in great need of intellectual faith formation, the Institute of Catholic Culture stands as a sign of hope. Taking our Lord's final command to the Apostles to "make disciples of all nations," as our own, the Institute of Catholic Culture was founded in answer to the Church's call for a "New Evangelization." To this end, the Institute hosts educational seminars specifically designed to build bridges of understanding, teaching authentic Catholic history, philosophy, and theology as a way of healing the wounds in the Body of Christ, and reaching out to those who seek knowledge of the Truth. Welcoming some of the most influential teachers of our time, the Institute offers participants an organic formation in the Catholic Faith while providing a social setting where the Faith is not only learned, but lived. All are welcome to join the Institute of Catholic Culture and seek the Truth revealed in our Lord and God, Jesus Christ."

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Keur Moussa Senegal

"Music is among the many and great gifts of nature with which God, in Whom is the harmony of the most perfect concord and the most perfect order, has enriched men, whom He has created in His image and likeness. Together with the other liberal arts, music contributes to spiritual joy and the delight of the soul...

..Besides the organ, other instruments can be called upon to give great help in attaining the lofty purpose of sacred music, so long as they play nothing profane nothing clamorous or strident and nothing at variance with the sacred services or the dignity of the place

The following video demonstrates the proper implementation of "other instruments" that are relevant to a specific culture (1 min mark).

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Word on Fire Blog: Feast of the Triumph of the Cross

Here are a couple of videos provided by the Word on Fire folks (please visit and support them):

Today is the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross. Take a look at Father Barron's video commentaries on the Cross, as well as a short reflection from Heaven in Stone and Glass.

There is a terrible interpretation of the cross that has, unfortunately, infected the minds of many Christians. This is the view that the bloody sacrifice of the Son on the cross was “satisfying” to the Father, and appeasement of a God infinitely angry at sinful humanity. In this reading, the crucified Jesus is like a child hurled into the fiery mouth of a pagan divinity in order to assuage its wrath. It is no wonder that many, formed by this cruel theology, find the Christian doctrine of the cross hard to accept: I once heard the objection that this sacrifice of the Son to the Father constitutes an act of cosmic child abuse.

What eloquently gives lie to this awful interpretation is the passage from John’s Gospel that is often proposed as a summary of the Christian message: “God so loved the world, that he sent his only Son, that all who believe in him might have life in his name.” It is not out of anger or vengeance or in a desire for retribution that the Father sends the Son but precisely out of love. God the Father is not some pathetic divinity whose bruised personal honor needs to be restored; rather God is a parent who burns with compassion for his children who have wandered into danger. Does the Father hate sinners? No, but he hates sin. Does God harbor indignation at the unjust? No, but God despises injustice. Thus God sends his Son, not gleefully to see him suffer, but to set things right.

St. Anselm, the great medieval theologian, who is often unfairly blamed for the cruel theology of satisfaction, was eminently clear on this score. We sinners are like diamonds that have fallen into the muck; made in the image of God, we have soiled ourselves through violence and hatred. God, claimed Anselm, could have simply pronounced a word of forgiveness from heaven; but this would not have solved the problem. It would not have restored the diamonds to their original brilliance. Instead, in his passion to reestablish the beauty of creation, God came down into the muck of sin and death and brought the diamonds up and polished them off. In so doing of course, God had to get dirty. This sinking into the dirt—this divine solidarity with the lost—is the “sacrifice” which the Son makes to the infinite pleasure of the Father. It is the sacrifice expressive, not of anger or vengeance, but of compassion.

Jesus said that any disciple of his must be willing to take up his cross and follow the master. If God is self-forgetting love even to the point of death, then we must be such love. If God is willing to break open his own heart, then we must be willing to break open our hearts from others. The cross, in short, must become the very structure of the Christian life.

Barron, Robert. Heaven in Stone and Glass, pg. 41-43.

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week: The Intercession of the Saints


The Intercession of the Saints

"[The Shepherd said:] ‘But those who are weak and slothful in prayer, hesitate to ask anything from the Lord; but the Lord is full of compassion, and gives without fail to all who ask him. But you, [Hermas,] having been strengthened by the holy angel [you saw], and having obtained from him such intercession, and not being slothful, why do not you ask of the Lord understanding, and receive it from him?’" (The Shepherd 3:5:4 [A.D. 80]).

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Need More Church Bell!

Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres

The medieval Cathedral of Our Lady of Chartres, a Latin Rite Catholic cathedral located in Chartres, is considered one of the finest examples of the French High Gothic style. The current cathedral, mostly constructed between 1193 and 1250, is one of at least five that have occupied the site since the town became a bishopric in the 4th century.

What makes the cathedral special from an art historical viewpoint is its exceptional state of preservation. The majority of the original stained glass windows survive intact, while the architecture has seen only minor changes since the early 13th century. The building's exterior is dominated by heavy flying buttresses which allowed the architects to increase the window size significantly, while the west end is dominated by two contrasting spires — one, a 105 metre (349 ft) plain pyramid dating from the 1140s, and the other a 113 metre (377 ft) tall early 16th century Flamboyant spire on top of an older tower. Equally notable are the three great façades, each adorned with hundreds of sculpted figures illustrating key theological themes and narratives.

Cologne Cathedral

Cologne Cathedral is a Roman Catholic church in Cologne, Germany. It is the seat of the Archbishop of Cologne and is under the administration of the Archdiocese of Cologne. It is renowned as a monument of Christianity, of German Catholicism in particular, of Gothic architecture and of the continuing faith and perseverance of the people of the city in which it stands. It is dedicated to Saint Peter and the Blessed Virgin Mary. The cathedral is a World Heritage Site, one of the best-known architectural monuments in Germany, and Cologne's most famous landmark, described by UNESCO as an "exceptional work of human creative genius". It is Germany's most visited landmark, attracting an average of 20,000 people a day.

St. Colman’s Cathedral

St. Colman’s Cathedral is a Roman Catholic Cathedral located in Cobh, Ireland.

Aix Cathedral

Aix Cathedral in Aix-en-Provence in southern France is a Roman Catholic cathedral and the seat of the Archbishop of Aix. It is built on the site of the 1st century Roman forum of Aix. Built and re-built from the 12th until the 19th century, it includes Romanesque, Gothic and Neo-Gothic elements, as well as Roman columns and parts of the baptistery from a 6th century Christian church. It is a national monument of France.

Salzburg Cathedral

The Salzburg Cathedral is a 17th century baroque cathedral of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Salzburg in the city of Salzburg, dedicated to Saint Rupert of Salzburg. It is the site of Mozart's baptism. And the composer Anton Diabelli sang in the Salzburg Cathedral boys' choir in the late 1700s.

Catholic Answers Live Radio Preview - Sept 5-9

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Paratrooper Padre

Fr. Francis L. Sampson
In the book, "Look Out Below! A Story of the Airborne by a Paratrooper Padre" Fr. Francis L. Sampson writes about his experiences serving as a U.S. Army Chaplain during both WW2 and the Korean War and even visited troops in Vietnam after his military retirement. Fr. Sampson was a member of the 101st Airborne Division during WW2 and parachuted into Normandy on D-Day with the Allied invasion force and later spent 6 months in a German Prisoner of War Camp.

He recalls that his first action on D-Day, after parachuting through heavy machine gun fire courtesy of German soldiers below, was to recover his lost Mass Kit. He was forced to cut away from his equipment after landing in a stream that was over his head. He was then dragged approximately 100 yards by his parachute before being able to free himself. Fr. Sampson then braved incoming bullets and mortars and carefully crawled back to the edge of the stream where he originally landed and started diving to find his Mass Kit. He was somehow able to find it on the sixth dive despite being in total darkness. His actions after he landed were also highlighted in the popular book by Cornelius Ryan, "The Longest Day" and the classic film of the same title based on the book.

Later in the day, Fr. Sampson found himself in a small French farmhouse caring for the wounded where he was confronted by two German soldiers. They forced him down the road at gun point and were apparently about to execute him when a German noncom arrived to put a stop to it. The noncom saluted Fr. Sampson and then revealed to him a religious medal pinned to the inside of his uniform. Fr. Sampson explains that he "was so glad of the universality of the Church." This would not be his only brush with death. Each time he was in imminent danger on D-Day he would say a quick act of contrition. Although he later realized that instead of saying an act of contrition in the surreal moments when his life was threatened, he had been saying the grace before meals prayer.

Days later, Fr. Sampson's regiment was camped outside a hospital attached to a convent and school a few miles from Cherbourg. Almost all of the buildings had been completely destroyed by bombers, but there were still over 50 nuns that remained and assisted the wounded. Fr. Sampson decided to say mass in their chapel which had only two walls standing and the roof was caved-in. The only part of the chapel left undamaged was the life-sized crucifix that hung on the wall and the large statues of Saints Peter and Paul. Fr. Sampson and the nuns were convinced this was a miracle. There was no other explanation for it.

It was in that bombed-out chapel, after days of grueling combat, Fr. Sampson delivered the following homily to a large group of battle-weary men:

"The image of the naked Galilean hanging from the cross has always inspired great love and fierce hate. Nero sought to make the cross a hateful image by putting Christians to death upon it, pouring pitch upon them, and lighting Rome with these flaming human crosses. Julian the Apostate said that he would make the world forget the Man on the cross, but in his final agony he had to acknowledge, 'Thou has conquered, Galilean.' Communists forbid its presence because they fear its power against their evil designs. Hitler has tried to replace the image of our Blessed Lord on the cross with a stupid swastika. Invectives, false philosophies, violence, and every diabolical scheme have been used to tear the Christ from the cross and the crucifix from the church. Nevertheless, like the bombs that were dropped on this chapel, they have only succeeded in making the cross stand out more and more in bold relief. The image we love grows greater in our understanding because of the vehemence of the hate it occasions in wicked men. Each of us has that sacred image stamped upon his soul. Like the chapel, we are Temples of God. And no matter how we are torn by the bombs of tragedy and trial and assault from without, the image of the crucified remains if we want it to. Now at the foot of this cross let us renew our baptismal vows. Let us promise to shield forever His image in our hearts." (p. 77)

Fr. Sampson said that he would never forget that mass. After reading his book, I will never forget him.

Francis L. Sampson, Look Out Below: A Story of the Airborne by a Paratrooper Padre, Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America Press, 1958.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: "But For Wales...?"

Sermon 555 : "But For Wales...?" : 22nd Week in Ordinary Time

All must be aware of the possibility of losing one's soul in pursuit of gaining the world. One will inevitably face opposition from the world. Will you give in? Christ's demand of love is difficult and many do not want to follow it because it entails suffering. But in order to follow Christ you must consciously and purposely walk the path of suffering love.

Listen via streaming HERE
Download homily HERE

EWTN.com - St. Monica, Mother Of St. Augustine, Commemorated August 27

EWTN.com - St. Monica, Mother Of St. Augustine, Commemorated August 27

St. Monica, Mother Of St. Augustine, Commemorated August 27

On August 27, one day before the feast of her son St. Augustine, the Catholic Church honors St. Monica, whose holy example and fervent intercession led to one of the most dramatic conversions in Church history.

Monica was born into a Catholic family in 332, in the North African city of Tagaste located in present-day Algeria. She was raised by a maidservant who taught her the virtues of obedience and temperance. While still relatively young, she married Patricius, a Roman civil servant with a bad temper and a disdain for his wife's religion.

Patricius' wife dealt patiently with his distressing behavior, which included infidelity to their marriage vows. But she experienced a greater grief when he would not allow their three children - Augustine, Nagivius, and Perpetua - to receive Baptism. When Augustine, the oldest, became sick and was in danger of death, Patricius gave consent for his Baptism, but withdrew it when he recovered.

Monica's long-suffering patience and prayers eventually helped Patricius to see the error of his ways, and he was baptized into the Church one year before his death in 371. Her oldest son, however, soon embraced a way of life that brought her further grief, as he fathered a child out of wedlock in 372. One year later, he began to practice the occult religion of Manichaeism.

In her distress and grief, Monica initially shunned her oldest son. However, she experienced a mysterious dream that strengthened her hope for Augustine's soul, in which a messenger assured her: "Your son is with you." After this experience, which took place around 377, she allowed him back into her home, and continued to beg God for his conversion.

But this would not take place for another nine years. In the meantime, Monica sought the advice of local clergy, wondering what they might do to persuade her son away from the Manichean heresy. One bishop, who had once belonged to that sect himself, assured Monica that it was "impossible that the son of such tears should perish."

These tears and prayers intensified when Augustine, at age 29, abandoned Monica without warning as she passed the night praying in a chapel. Without saying goodbye to his mother, Augustine boarded a ship bound for Rome. Yet even this painful event would serve God's greater purpose, as Augustine left to become a teacher in the place where he was destined to become a Catholic.

Under the influence of the bishop St. Ambrose of Milan, Augustine renounced the teaching of the Manichees around 384. Monica followed her son to Milan, and drew encouragement from her son's growing interest in the saintly bishop's preaching. After three years of struggle against his own desires and perplexities, Augustine succumbed to God's grace and was baptized in 387.

Shortly before her death, Monica shared a profound mystical experience of God with Augustine, who chronicled the event in his "Confessions." Finally, she told him: "Son, for myself I have no longer any pleasure in anything in this life. Now that my hopes in this world are satisfied, I do not know what more I want here or why I am here."

"The only thing I ask of you both," she told Augustine and his brother Nagivius, "is that you make remembrance of me at the altar of the Lord wherever you are."

St. Monica died at age 56, in the year 387. In modern times, she has become the inspiration for the St. Monica Sodality, which encourages prayer and penance among Catholics whose children have left the faith.

Read more: http://www.ewtnnews.com/catholic-news/Vatican.php?id=3719#ixzz1W9KAp3AK

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Spanish cardinal recommends that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

Lima, Peru, Jul 28, 2011 / 01:56 pm (CNA).- Spanish Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera recently recommended that Catholics receive Communion on the tongue, while kneeling.

“It is to simply know that we are before God himself and that He came to us and that we are undeserving,” the prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments said in an interview with CNA during his visit to Lima, Peru.

The cardinal’s remarks came in response to a question on whether Catholics should receive Communion in the hand or on the tongue.
He recommended that Catholics “receive Communion on the tongue and while kneeling.”

Receiving Communion in this way, the cardinal continued, “is the sign of adoration that needs to be recovered. I think the entire Church needs to receive Communion while kneeling.”

“In fact,” he added, “if one receives while standing, a genuflection or profound bow should be made, and this is not happening.”

“If we trivialize Communion, we trivialize everything, and we cannot lose a moment as important as that of receiving Communion, of recognizing the real presence of Christ there, of the God who is the love above all loves, as we sing in a hymn in Spanish.”

In response to a question about the liturgical abuses that often occur, Cardinal Canizares said they must be “corrected, especially through proper formation: formation for seminarians, for priests, for catechists, for all the Christian faithful.”

Such a formation should ensure that liturgical celebrations take place “in accord with the demands and dignity of the celebration, in accord with the norms of the Church, which is the only way we can authentically celebrate the Eucharist,” he added.

“Bishops have a unique responsibility” in the task of liturgical formation and the correction of abuses, the cardinal said, “and we must not fail to fulfill it, because everything we do to ensure that the Eucharist is celebrated properly will ensure proper participation in the Eucharist.”

Sunday, August 7, 2011

"If we really understood the Mass, we would die of joy."

Saint Jean Vianney

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: Elijah and Peter

Sermon 552 : Elijah and Peter : 19th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Elijah is a contemplative who has the eyes to see and the ears to listen. God does not appear in the glory of the world. Rather, he appears in a silent way. Weed out of your heart all of those fears and desires that prevent you from discerning the silent presence of God.

Listen via streaming HERE
Download homily HERE

'Os iusti meditabitur sapientiam' -Gregorian Chant

Hat tip to Michael Liccione

Os iusti meditabitur sapientiam et lingua eius loquetur iudicium
Lex Dei eius in corde ipsius et non subplantabuntur gressus eius/

The mouth of the just shall meditate wisdom: and his tongue shall speak judgment./
The law of his God is in his heart, and his steps shall not be supplanted./

Thursday, August 4, 2011

In Paradisum - Catholic Requiem Mass Hymns

"In paradisum deducant te Angeli; in tuo adventu suscipiant te martyres, et perducant te in civitatem sanctam Ierusalem.
Chorus angelorum te suscipiat, et cum Lazaro quondam paupere æternam habeas requiem.

May angels lead you into paradise; upon your arrival, may the martyrs receive you and lead you to the holy city of Jerusalem.
May the ranks of angels receive you, and with Lazarus, the poor man, may you have eternal rest."

Pope recommends books for summer reading

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Presence of Christ in The Lord of the Rings

 Peter J. Kreeft

Link to article from Ignatius Insight

• This essay is an excerpt from Peter J. Kreeft's book, The Philosophy of Tolkien: The Worldview Behind The Lord of the Rings.

Can any one man incarnate every truth and virtue? 

Throughout the New Testament we find a shocking simplicity: Christ does not merely teach the truth, He is the truth; He does not merely show us the way, He is the way; He does not merely give us eternal life, He is that life. He does not merely teach or purchase our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption, but "God made [Him] our wisdom, our righteousness and sanctification and redemption" (1 Cor 1:30). How can all these universal values and truths be really and completely present in one concrete individual person? Only if that Person is divine (thus universal) as well as human (thus particular); only by the Incarnation; only by what C. S. Lewis calls "myth become fact".

J. R. R. Tolkien, like most Catholics, saw pagan myths not as wholly mistaken (as most Protestants do), but as confused precursors of Christianity. Man's soul has three powers, and God left him prophets for all three: Jewish moralists for his will, Greek philosophers for his mind, and pagan mythmakers for his heart and imagination and feelings. Of course, the latter two are not infallible. C. S. Lewis calls pagan myths "gleams of celestial strength and beauty falling on a jungle of filth and imbecility" (Perelandra, p. 201). One of the key steps in Lewis's conversion, as recounted in his autobiography, Surprised by Joy, was his reading the chapter in Chesterton's The Everlasting Man that showed him the relationship between Christianity and pagan myths of salvation, death, and resurrection. Christianity was "myth become fact".

Tolkien's Catholic tradition tends to have a high opinion of pagans who know and follow the "natural law", for it interprets these pagans not apart from Christ, but as imperfectly knowing Him. For Christ is not just a thirty-three-year-old, six-foot-tall Jewish carpenter, but the eternal Logos, the Mind of God, "the true light that enlightens every man" (Jn 1:9). So Christ can be present even when not adequately known in paganism. This is exactly what St. Paul told the Athenians (in Acts 17:23): "What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you." Christ's presence is not limited to the presence of the explicit knowledge of Christ, or the revelation of Christ. As the Reformed tradition puts it, there is also "general revelation" as well as "special revelation".

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Standing on My Head: 'Mere' or 'More' Christianity?

Standing on My Head: 'Mere' or 'More' Christianity?

More Christianity is available as part of the summer book sale. Why not purchase some copies for yourself and maybe a parish study group? It also makes an excellent gift for that non-Catholic family member or friend. Offer it to them and say, "This book helps explain Catholicism in a friendly way. Why not read it and see what you think?"

"...summer sale deal: $5.00 rebate on each first book purchase (or you can choose to have a free copy of my little book How to Be an Ordinary Hero) If you buy more than one book you get a $3.00 rebate on each additional book.

PS: The copies available from my website are the first edition--not the recent second edition published by Ignatius Press."

Fr. Barron's Weekly Homily: The Loop of Grace

It all begins with grace, and it all ends with grace. Bernanos' country priest summed up Christianity with the phrase "Toute est grace", everything is grace. God gives graciously, gratuitously, superabundantly--and then we are called to respond with a similar exuberance. The more we give back to God, the more we get, and then we must give that back again, so as to get even more in return. This is the loop of grace which is spoken of from beginning to end of the Bible. And all of our readings for today touch on it specially.

Listen via streaming HERE

Download homily HERE

Saturday, July 30, 2011

"The Church and New Media"

"The Church and New Media"

The Church and New Media, which officially comes out next Wednesday, is now available in Kindle eBook format! Because it's an instant download, you can purchase the eBook now and be reading within seconds.

The best part is that you don't even need an Amazon Kindle to read the eBook. You can download free Kindle software for your PC, Mac, iPhone, iPad, Android, or other device and read it however you like.

Here are three reasons why you should order the eBook, even if you're planning to get the paperback version, too:

1. The eBook is filled with active links. Whether you read the book on a Kindle, your phone, or your computer, you can click on any link in the book and immediately be taken to its website. Read about an interesting blog and visit it instantly. Discover a YouTube video and watch it within seconds. While the paperback version forces you to remember and manually type in a link, the eBook does the whole thing in one click.

2. The endnotes are accessible and clickable. Curious where that statistic came from? Looking for the source for that quote? Want to go deeper into the different Church documents? One click beams you straight to the endnote in each case and from there, clicking on the endnote takes you to the full, original source online. Click the endnote again and you're right back where you left off. No page turning, no bookmarking, just a few simple clicks to move back and forth between the text and the endnotes.

3. You can read the book instantly. Instead of waiting for the release date and then waiting for the book to ship, you can download the the Kindle eBook within seconds and begin reading now.

One last note:
The Church and New Media will be available in numerous other eBook formats sometime within the coming week. So if you have a Nook or other device that won't read Kindle eBooks, you'll be able to download it soon.

Download the book, and be sure to let me know what you think!When you're finished reading it, please post a review on your blog or website--and on Amazon.com!--and send me your review so I can highlight it on the book's website.

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Does Original Sin = Guilty Babies?

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Does Original Sin = Guilty Babies?: "Sometimes Catholics are accused of teaching 'original guilt' rather than 'original sin.' Are then human babies 'guilty' of original sin? L..."

Friday, July 29, 2011

EWTN.com - Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August

EWTN.com - Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August

Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions For August

VATICAN CITY, 29 JUL 2011 (VIS) - Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for August is: "That World Youth Day in Madrid may encourage young people throughout the world to have their lives rooted and built up in Christ".

His mission intention is: "That Western Christians may be open to the action of the Holy Spirit and rediscover the freshness and enthusiasm of their faith".

Devin Rose Called Up to the Big Leagues

Devin was offered, and accepted, a contract with Catholic Answers after they heard the buzz about his well-received book, If Protestantism is True.

Read more here

Congrats, Devin!

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Body of Apostle Philip Found in Turkey!

Canterbury Tales by Taylor Marshall: Body of Apostle Philip Found in Turkey!: "Saint Philip by El Greco A tomb believed to be that of St. Philip the Apostle was unearthed during excavations in the ancient Turkish city ..."


I. Opening Remarks
When I was an Evangelical, I originally held the same view of the priesthood that my opponent does. I viewed it as a man-made institution which robbed the faithful of their place as God's priests. I even quoted the same verses that my opponent does—the ones about us being a "kingdom of priests" or a "royal priesthood," depending on the translation you are using.

But over the course of time, I began to realize that merely quoting those verses did not settle the issue. The Bible has far more to say on the subject.

An embarrassment of riches
Tonight I would like to share with you some of the Biblical insights that convinced me the Protestant understanding of the priesthood is wrong. I must admit that I have an embarrassment of riches on this subject. There are simply too many biblical passages and arguments for me to get to tonight. In fact some of the material I want to share with you will have to wait until later in the evening. But for now I need to say a few words about the subject of tonight's debate.

We are not here to discuss "Father," celibacy, bad priests
We are not here to discuss why Catholics call their priests, "Father," why they have a celibate priesthood, or why there may be bad priests. If I have time, I will be more than happy to say a few words about these issues in one of my rebuttal periods, but for now we need to focus on the real subject of tonight's debate. This is the question of whether there is a sacramental priesthood in the New Testament.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Feast Day of Saint James The Greater, Apostle

From Pope Benedict XVI's General Wednesday Audience

Wednesday, 21 June 2006

James, the Greater

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

We are continuing the series of portraits of the Apostles chosen directly by Jesus during his earthly life. We have spoken of St Peter and of his brother, Andrew. Today we meet the figure of James. The biblical lists of the Twelve mention two people with this name: James, son of Zebedee, and James, son of Alphaeus (cf. Mk 3: 17,18; Mt 10: 2-3), who are commonly distinguished with the nicknames "James the Greater" and "James the Lesser".

These titles are certainly not intended to measure their holiness, but simply to state the different importance they receive in the writings of the New Testament and, in particular, in the setting of Jesus' earthly life. Today we will focus our attention on the first of these two figures with the same name.

The name "James" is the translation of Iakobos, the Graecised form of the name of the famous Patriarch, Jacob. The Apostle of this name was the brother of John and in the above-mentioned lists, comes second, immediately after Peter, as occurs in Mark (3: 17); or in the third place, after Peter and Andrew as in the Gospels of Matthew (10: 2) and Luke (6: 14), while in the Acts he comes after Peter and John (1: 13). This James belongs, together with Peter and John, to the group of the three privileged disciples whom Jesus admitted to important moments in his life.

Since it is very hot today, I want to be brief and to mention here only two of these occasions. James was able to take part, together with Peter and John, in Jesus' Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and in the event of Jesus' Transfiguration. Thus, it is a question of situations very different from each other: in one case, James, together with the other two Apostles, experiences the Lord's glory and sees him talking to Moses and Elijah, he sees the divine splendour shining out in Jesus.

On the other occasion, he finds himself face to face with suffering and humiliation, he sees with his own eyes how the Son of God humbles himself, making himself obedient unto death. The latter experience was certainly an opportunity for him to grow in faith, to adjust the unilateral, triumphalist interpretation of the former experience: he had to discern that the Messiah, whom the Jewish people were awaiting as a victor, was in fact not only surrounded by honour and glory, but also by suffering and weakness. Christ's glory was fulfilled precisely on the Cross, in his sharing in our sufferings.

This growth in faith was brought to completion by the Holy Spirit at Pentecost, so that James, when the moment of supreme witness came, would not draw back. Early in the first century, in the 40s, King Herod Agrippa, the grandson of Herod the Great, as Luke tells us, "laid violent hands upon some who belonged to the Church. He had James, the brother of John, killed by the sword" (Acts 12: 1-2).

The brevity of the news, devoid of any narrative detail, reveals on the one hand how normal it was for Christians to witness to the Lord with their own lives, and on the other, that James had a position of relevance in the Church of Jerusalem, partly because of the role he played during Jesus' earthly existence.

A later tradition, dating back at least to Isidore of Seville, speaks of a visit he made to Spain to evangelize that important region of the Roman Empire. According to another tradition, it was his body instead that had been taken to Spain, to the city of Santiago de Compostela.

As we all know, that place became the object of great veneration and is still the destination of numerous pilgrimages, not only from Europe but from the whole world. This explains the iconographical representation of St James with the pilgrim's staff and the scroll of the Gospel in hand, typical features of the travelling Apostle dedicated to the proclamation of the "Good News" and characteristics of the pilgrimage of Christian life.

Consequently, we can learn much from St James: promptness in accepting the Lord's call even when he asks us to leave the "boat" of our human securities, enthusiasm in following him on the paths that he indicates to us over and above any deceptive presumption of our own, readiness to witness to him with courage, if necessary to the point of making the supreme sacrifice of life.

Thus James the Greater stands before us as an eloquent example of generous adherence to Christ. He, who initially had requested, through his mother, to be seated with his brother next to the Master in his Kingdom, was precisely the first to drink the chalice of the passion and to share martyrdom with the Apostles.

And, in the end, summarizing everything, we can say that the journey, not only exterior but above all interior, from the mount of the Transfiguration to the mount of the Agony, symbolizes the entire pilgrimage of Christian life, among the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God, as the Second Vatican Council says. In following Jesus, like St James, we know that even in difficulties we are on the right path.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Otto von Habsburg - Funeral - Singing of the Kaiserhymne

"Following 13 days of mourning, the heir to the thrones of the great Austro Hungarian Empire, His Imperial and Royal Highness Archduke Otto of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary, Otto von Hapsburg, was laid to rest in Vienna on 16 July 2011.

In scenes recalling the Empire, his coffin was taken in one of the longest processions seen in the old imperial capital to St Stephen's cathedral where the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schönborn presided.

This video shows the the singing of the Hayden's Kaiserhymne, the Imperial Hymn. (The tune is well known in the English speaking world from John Newton's great hymn "Glorious things of thee are spoken/Zion, city of our God." The music was subsequently used as the German National Anthem which begins "Deutschland, Deutschland über alles")

His body was first laid in repose in the Church of St. Ulrich in Pöcking, Bavaria, and was then taken by train to Mariazell on 12 July, before being taken by train to Vienna. Five requiem masses were celebrated in Munich, Pöcking, Mariazell, Vienna, and Budapest."

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

ChurchFathers.org Quote of the Week: Peter's Successors

Eusebius of Caesareae 

Peter's Successors

"Paul testifies that Crescens was sent to Gaul [2 Tim. 4:10], but Linus, whom he mentions in the Second Epistle to Timothy [2 Tim. 4:21] as his companion at Rome, was Peter’s successor in the episcopate of the church there, as has already been shown. Clement also, who was appointed third bishop of the church at Rome, was, as Paul testifies, his co-laborer and fellow-soldier [Phil. 4:3]" (Church History 3:4:9–10 [A.D. 312]).

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Domine Dominus Noster - Gregorian Chant, Catholic Hymns

This hymn is taken from the Psalm 8, it is verse 2. The background image depicts Pope St. Leo the Great meeting with Attila the Hun. The Latin lyrics and English translation follow:

Domine, Dominus noster, quam admirabile est nomen tuum in universa terra!
Quoniam elevata est magnificentia tua super cælos.

O Lord, our Lord, how admirable is your name in the whole earth!
For your magnificence is elevated above the heavens.
O Lord...