Saturday, July 31, 2010

Is Christopher West's presentation of the "Theology of the Body" Bold or Vulgar?

It all started last summer. Christopher West appeared on Nightline and mentioned Hugh Hefner and Pope John Paul II in the same sentence. Dr. Alice von Hildebrand then criticized West, saying his approach had become too self-assured, she criticized his presentations as irreverent and insensitive. And so the fun began!

John Paul II says

Alice von Hildebrand says

Christopher West  says

And now, Dawn Eden says.

I suppose it is good that this debate is happening. Dr Alice does have some valid points, but I think that some of her criticisms are too harsh, and at times uncharitable. West has done great work, and reached millions. Not talking "about things", or being "veiled" has one huge problem, no one gets to hear the message. Hopefully West can benefit from the recent critique of his work, and do an even better job!

St Dominic Savio, pray for us

St Dominic Savio

I do not usually read long texts online. But today I came across The Life of Dominic Savio, by St John Bosco.  It is very easy to read, (I have read half of it already) and I am most impressed.

St. Dominic Savio's Prayer to Our Lady

O Mary, I give you my heart.
Grant me to be always yours.
Jesus and Mary, be ever my friends;
and, for love of you, grant me to die a thousand deaths
rather than to have the misfortune of committing a single mortal sin.

Friday, July 30, 2010

More on the Association of Catholic Priests

Aims of the Association of Catholic Priests

"Providing a voice for Irish Catholic priests at a time when that voice is largely silent and needs to be expressed;
Giving an opportunity for Irish priests to engage proactively with the crucial debates taking place in Irish society;
Full implementation of the vision and teaching of the Second Vatican Council, with special emphasis on:
The primacy of the individual conscience.
The status and active participation of all the baptised.
The task of establishing a Church where all believers will be treated as equal.
A redesigning of ministry in the Church, in order to develop the gifts, wisdom and expertise of the entire faith community, male and female.
A re-structuring of the governing system of the Church, basing it on service rather than on power, and encouraging at every level a culture of consultation and transparency, particularly in the appointment of Church leaders.
An equal place for women in all areas of Church life, including the governing systems and the various forms of ministry.
A re-evaluation of Catholic sexual teaching and practice that recognises the profound mystery of human sexuality and the experience and wisdom of God's people.
Promotion of peace, justice and the protection of God's creation locally, nationally and globally.
Recognition that Church and State are separate and that while the Church must preach the message of the Gospel and try to live it authentically, the State has the task of enacting laws for all its citizens.
Liturgical celebrations that use rituals and language that are easily understood, inclusive and accessible to all.
Strengthening relationships with our fellow Christians and other faiths.
Full acceptance that the Spirit speaks through all people, including those of faiths other than Christian and those of no religious faith, so that the breath of the Spirit will flow more freely."

It's quite the little shopping list isn't it! I'm not quite sure about the "Catholic" bit in the title though?

I am all for equality, but I do not want to do the work of a priest. I have plenty to do in the Church myself. It is not my job to say mass or hear confessions, thank God. It is my job to take Christ into my home, and into my community. I must do my part in bringing my husband, my children, my family,  friends and even my enemies to heaven. (And if you have met my husband and children, you will now what a tall order that is!). I must teach my children the faith (as their so called catholic school will not), I must teach them to pray, and I must help them to love the Lord. This is my work, my priesthood. We all have a job to do, the problem is that we often do not want the job we have. We can not all be priests. Handing on the faith is vital, and it has not happened. Lay people have failed to do their part.

"Liturgical celebrations that use rituals and language that are easily understood, inclusive and accessible to all." Sounds like a horrible nightmare. I have endured this nonsense in the past. It offers nothing. It lacks the sacred. It lacks God. It is even embarrassing. Liturgy celebrated properly can be inclusive and accessible. I recommend the "Say the Black and do the red approach". I am though a big fan of active participation in the liturgy, I try to actively participate all the time. I pray in my pew. I recommend it.

I have to laugh at their desire to protect the state from the Church. It's pathetic!

As for the new association of priests, I think I will leave them in the hands of St Michael.

Saint Peter Chrysologus, pray for us

St. Peter Chrysologus was the bishop of Ravenna, Italy in the middle of the 5th century. His sermons were so inspiring that he was given the title "Chrysologus" (greek for "Golden-worded) and was eventually declared a "Doctor of the Church."

"Anyone who wishes to frolic with the devil cannot rejoice with Christ."

"We exhort you in every respect, honorable brother, to heed obediently what has been written by the Most Blessed Pope of the City of Rome; for Blessed Peter, who lives and presides in his own see, provides the truth of faith to those who seek it."

Father, You made Peter Chrysologus
an outstanding preacher of your incarnate Word.
May the prayers of St. Peter help us to cherish
the mystery of our salvation
and make its meaning clear in our love for others.

Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Friday Prayer and Penance for the Church in Ireland

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.


Thursday, July 29, 2010

First Blogger Problem

It was only a matter of time. Today's posts were sheduled to appear at 8am, and they didn't. Apologies.

The Swiss Guard


 In today's Irish Times
"A meeting of Catholic priests to consider setting up an association of Irish priests is to take place in Portlaoise on September 15th next.

Three priests at the meeting were asked to draft a set of aims or guidelines for the proposed association. They have done so.Their draft proposals include “the importance of looking seriously at the ministry, government and sexual teaching of the church” and “a concern for social justice and God’s creation.”

Those interested may contact Fr Brendan Hoban at 086-6065055, Fr Tony Flannery at 087-6814699, and/or Fr Seán McDonagh at 087-2367612."

Earlier in the week, we had the "women have no voice in the church" moan. Dame Nuala O'Loan dedicates an entire page in this weeks Irish Catholic to the subject. For someone who has no voice she sure gets to say a lot!  

Now apparently, our poor clergy have no voice either. So Fr Brendan Hoban , Fr Tony Flannery and Fr Seán McDonagh are going to save the day. Lads, you have had plently of time to sell your type of church, and no one wants it.

I think that a weekend at the Clonmacnoise Youth Festival would do them all a power of good!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Blessed Titus Brandsma, Carmelite martyr, pray for us

In 1935 he wrote against anti-Jewish marriage laws, which brought him to the attention of the Nazis. He later wrote that no Catholic publication could publish Nazi propaganda and still call itself Catholic; this led to more attention. Continually followed by the Gestapo, the Nazi attention led to his arrest on 19 January 1942. For several weeks he was shuttled from jail to jail, abused, and punished for ministering to other prisoners.
Deported to the Dachau concentration camp in April 1942. There he was overworked, underfed, and beaten daily; he asked fellow prisoners to pray for the salvation of the guards. When he could no longer work, he was used for medical experiments. When he was no longer any use for experimentation, he was murdered. Martyr. (Saints sqpn)

Prayer Before a Picture of Jesus

O Jesus, when I look on you
My love for you starts up anew,
And tells me that your heart loves me
And you my special friend would be.

More courage I will need for sure,
But any pain I will endure,
Because it makes me like to you
And leads unto your kingdom too.

In sorrow do I find my bliss,
For sorrow now no more is this:
Rather the path that must be trod,
That makes me one with you, my God.

Oh, leave me here alone and still,
And all around the cold and chill.
To enter here I will have none;
I weary not when I'm alone.

For, Jesus you are at my side;
Never so close did we abide.
Stay with me, Jesus, my delight,
Your presence near makes all things right.

- Titus Brandsma


Each time we pray the Our Father
our voice mingles with the voice of the Church,
because one who prays is never alone. ...
May the Virgin Mary help us rediscover
the beauty and profundity of Christian prayer.

-Pope Benedict XVI, Angelus June 25th 2010


Monday, July 26, 2010

Saint Joachim and Saint Anne, pray for us

The Immaculate Conception with Saint Joachim and Saint Anne
by Francisco de Zurbarán

By tradition Joachim and Anne are considered to be the names of the parents of Mary, the Mother of God. We have no historical evidence, however, of any elements of their lives, including their names. Any stories about Mary's father and mother come to us through legend and tradition.

We get the oldest story from a document called the Gospel of James, though in no way should this document be trusted to be factual, historical, or the Word of God. The legend told in this document says that after years of childlessness, an angel appeared to tell Anne and Joachim that they would have a child. Anne promised to dedicate this child to God (much the way that Samuel was dedicated by his mother Hannah -- Anne -- in 1 Kings).

For those who wonder what we can learn from people we know nothing about and how we can honor them, we must focus on why they are honored by the church. Whatever their names or the facts of their lives, the truth is that it was the parents of Mary who nurtured Mary, taught her, brought her up to be a worthy Mother of God. It was their teaching that led her to respond to God's request with faith, "Let it be done to me as you will." It was their example of parenting that Mary must have followed as she brought up her own son, Jesus. It was their faith that laid the foundation of courage and strength that allowed her to stand by the cross as her son was crucified and still believe. Such parents can be examples and models for all parents. (Source)

 This Universal Prayer For Grandparents was composed by His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI in 2008 for the Catholic Grandparents Association.


Lord Jesus,
you were born of the Virgin Mary,
the daughter of Saints Joachim and Anne.
Look with love on grandparents the world over.
Protect them! They are a source of enrichment
for families, for the Church and for all of society.
Support them! As they grow older,
may they continue to be for their families
strong pillars of Gospel faith,
guardian of noble domestic ideals,
living treasuries of sound religious traditions.
Make them teachers of wisdom and courage,
that they may pass on to future generations the fruits
of their mature human and spiritual experience.
Lord Jesus,
help families and society
to value the presence and roles of grandparents.
May they never be ignored or excluded,
but always encounter respect and love.
Help them to live serenely and to feel welcomed
in all the years of life which you give them.
Mary, Mother of all the living,
keep grandparents constantly in your care,
accompany them on their earthly pilgrimage,
and by your prayers, grant that all families
may one day be reunited in our heavenly homeland,
where you await all humanity
for the great embrace of live without end. Amen!

Would You Believe: Faith in Crisis

I watched "Would You Believe: Faith In Crisis" on RTE tonight. What a waste of an hour! It was "power is bad, clericalism is bad, we need new structures, we want to vote for our bishops, we need more lay involvement, women priests, parish councils", yawn, yawn. The people who spoke most often (the professional whinging liberal catholics) spoke varying degrees of rubbish. They present themselves as representative of ordinary irish catholics, most of these people are neither ordinary nor catholic. The Bishops were sitting ducks, but at least they were there. Mark Dooley tried to speak some sense and was stopped. Ray Kinsella spoke sense and they had to go to a break. A Dominican seminarian spoke, and they didn't want to hear him either. He was talking about Jesus and priesthood, must have been too holy for them. Basically, if you said something "uncatholic" you could speak freely. They gave out about power but kept asserting their right to have it! Do they not get the contradiction? If they weren't so angry they might realise that they simply want to be Protestants.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Reek Sunday

Croagh Patrick is Ireland’s holy mountain. The Croagh Patrick pilgrimage is associated with St Patrick who, in 441, spent 40 days and nights fasting on the summit, following the example of Christ and Moses. This pilgrimage has been carried out uninterrupted for over 1500 years.

Mass will be celebrated at the summit at 8am and every half-hour thereafter until the last Mass at 2pm. The 10am Mass will be celebrated in Irish, and Archbishop Neary will celebrate Mass at 10.30 am. Confession will be available on the summit from 7.30am to 2.30pm.

Homily of Archbishop Neary for Reek Sunday Mass on Croagh Patrick

Jesus had a reputation for taking to the mountains. For many modern people this is not actually hard to understand. He met every day with terrific and endless human need. He experienced endless demands from people in great distress looking for miracles. Day after day he would give health to the chronically ill, give sight to the blind, give life again to wasted limbs and give reassurance to those who felt broken with sin. Is it any wonder that he would go into the solitude of the mountain to put things in a proper perspective and to seek direction from the Father?

This morning, we come here with our own personal struggles – financial difficulties, the illnesses of our loved ones, and our own private pain. In the storm and stress of current controversies, and with the struggles of the Church to adjust, we come to this sacred mountain to get things in their proper perspective and seek the guidance of God. The Ireland of today is not the nation of yesterday. We are happy that the days of abject poverty have been replaced by days of sufficiency even if dole queues have recently appeared again after our days of plenty. For all that, old certainties, in the sense of broad social agreements, have gone. Many have lost faith in the Church, in political promises, in the stable institutions of the past and we are not sure where our solid ground lies. Even the God of our past is a hide and seek God who is not the centre of our lives as in days gone by; yet with the Psalmist we say: “I lift up my eyes to the mountain, from where shall come my help? My help shall come from the Lord who made Heaven and Earth …. The Lord will guard your going and coming both now and forever”. We need that reassurance in these days of confusion, anxiety and doubt.

This Summer's Family Movie

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Double Standards

Roman Polanski’s get out of jail free card

Should the geniuses of Hollywood be judged by a different law in view of their cultural contributions?

Read Jeremy Prichard's article in MercatorNet

To Whom Shall We Go?

Check out Archbishop Tim Dolan's latest contribution to the blogsphere.

It is fair to say that decades ago the Catholic Church was an example of what not to do when dealing with sexual abuse of minors. However, now it is fair to say that the Catholic Church is an example of what to do about a crime found in every religion, every profession, every culture, and many families.
Make no mistake, Pope Benedict XVI and the Catholic Church are at the forefront of addressing the problem of clerical abuse but, even more, of addressing abuse wherever it occurs in society.
And that won’t change no matter how much some in the media try to slant the truth. (Read in Full)

Friday, July 23, 2010

Celebrating the Pill?

Prominent women gathered in Dublin to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Pill. Among those in attendance were journalist and television presenter Miriam O’Callaghan, TDs Maureen O’Sullivan and Deirdre Clune, former ministers Liz O’Donnell, Nora Owen and Gemma Hussey, historian Diarmaid Ferriter and radio presenter Tom Dunne. The event was hosted by Bayer Healthcare, which manufactures the contraceptive pill. Bayer said that despite the widespread availability of contraception, it was estimated that 50 per cent of pregnancies are unplanned. Irish Times

Natural Family Planning

Natural Family Planning (NFP) is a healthy alternative to artificial birth control. With NFP, there are no drugs, no devices, no surgical procedures, no side effects and no chemical abortions. NFP is not the old Rhythm Method that was developed in the 1930's. NFP has been thoroughly tested and is proven to be highly effective. Reports show NFP to be about 99% effective in determining when a woman is at the stage where she will conceive. This can help with trying to get pregnant as well as trying to avoid pregnancy.

St Oliver Plunkett Celebrations

Celebrating 90th Anniversary of Beatification of St Oliver

Drogheda, Co Louth

Ecclesia Dei Ireland
Pilgrimage to the National Shrine of St Oliver Plunkett
Saturday 24th July
Mass in Extraordinary Form, 1.30pm
St Peter’s Church, Drogheda, Co. Louth

Kilkenny City

Celebrations in honour of St Oliver Plunkett
for the 90th Anniversary of Beatification
St Patrick’s Church, College Road, Kilkenny
Vespers (EF), Benediction & Veneration of Relic
Saturday 24th July, 3.30pm
Solemn High Latin Mass (EF) & Veneration of Relic
Sunday 25th July, 5.00pm

Fifteen Prayers of Saint Bridget

Today is the Feast of St Brigid of Sweden. Here are her famous "Fifteen Prayers". Could you say them for a year?
1st Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! You have proved that You have no greater desire than to be among men, even assuming human nature at the fullness of time for the love of men. I recall all the sufferings of Your life especially Your Passion. 
I remember, O Lord, that during the Last Supper with Your disciples, having washed their feet, You gave them Your Most Precious Body and Blood, and, while consoling them, You foretold Your coming Passion. 
I remember the sadness and bitterness which You experienced in Your Soul as You said, My Soul is sorrowful even unto death. 
I remember all the fear, anguish and pain that You did suffer in Your delicate Body before the torment of the Crucifixion, when, after having prayed three times, bathed in a sweat of blood, You were betrayed by Judas, arrested by the people of a nation You had chosen and elevated, accused by false witnesses and unjustly judged by three judges. 
I remember that You were despoiled of Your garments and clothed in those of derision, that Your Face and Eyes were covered, that You were beaten, crowned with thorns, a reed placed in Your Hands, that You were crushed with blows and overwhelmed with insults and outrages. In memory of all these pains and sufferings which You endured before Your Passion on the Cross, grant me before my death a true contrition, a sincere and entire confession, worthy satisfaction and the remission of all my sins. Amen.
2nd Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the horror and sadness which You endured when Your enemies surrounded You, and by thousands of insults, spits, blows, lacerations and other unheard-of cruelties tormented You. In consideration of these torments and insulting words, I beg You to deliver me from all my enemies, visible and invisible, and to bring me, under Your protection, to the perfection of eternal salvation. Amen.
3rd Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the very bitter pain You did suffer when the executioners nailed Your Sacred Hands and Feet to the Cross by blow after blow with big blunt nails, and, not finding You in a sad enough state, to satisfy their cruelty they enlarged Your Wounds, and added pain to pain, stretching Your Body on the Cross and dislocated Your Bones by pulling Them on all sides. I beg of You by the memory of this most loving suffering of the Cross to grant me the grace to love You. Amen.
4th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I Remember the bruises You suffered and the weakness of Your Body, which was distended to such a degree that never was there pain like Yours. From the crown of Your Head to the soles of Your Feet there was not one spot on Your Body which was not in torment. Yet, for getting all Your sufferings, You did not cease to pray to Your Heavenly Father for Your enemies, saying: Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do. 
Through this great mercy and in memory of this suffering, grant that the remembrance of Your most bitter Passion may effect in us a perfect contrition and the remission of all our sins. Amen.
5th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the sadness which You experienced when, foreseeing those who would be damned for their sins, You suffered bitterly over these hopeless, lost and unfortunate sinners. 
Through this abyss of compassion and pity and especially through the goodness which You displayed to the good thief when You said to him, This day you will be with Me in Paradise, I beg of You that at the hour of my death to show me mercy. Amen.
6th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the grief which You suffered when, like a common criminal, You were raised and fastened to the Cross, when all Your relatives and friends abandoned You, except Your Beloved Mother who remained close to You during Your agony and Whom You entrusted to Your faithful disciple when You said, Woman, behold Your son. Son behold your Mother.
I beg You by the sword of sorrow which pierced the soul of Your Holy Mother, to have compassion on me in all my afflictions and tribulations, both of body and spirit, and to assist me in all my trials and especially at the hour of my death. Amen.
7th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember Your profound gesture of love from the Cross when You said, I thirst, and Your suffering from the thirst for the salvation of the human race. I beg You to inflame in our hearts the desire to tend toward perfection in all our actions and to extinguish in us all wordly desires. Amen.
8th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the bitterness of the gall and vinegar which You tasted on the Cross for love of us. Grant us the grace to receive worthily Your Precious Body and Blood during our life and at the hour of our death that It may be a remedy of consolation for our souls. Amen.
9th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when, immersed in an ocean of bitterness at the approach of death, insulted, outraged by the people, You cried out in a loud voice that You were abandoned by Your Father, saying: My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Through this anguish I beg You not to abandon me in the terrors and pains of my death. Amen.
10th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember that for our sakes You were immersed into an abyss of suffering. In consideration of the enormity of Your Wounds, teach me to keep, through pure love, Your Commandments, which are a wide and easy path for those who love You. Amen.
11th  Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember Your Wounds which penetrated to the very marrow of Your Bones and to the depth of Your Being. Draw me away from sin and hide me in Your Wounds. Amen.
12th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the multitude of Wounds which afflicted You from Head to Foot, torn and reddened by the spilling of Your Precious Blood. O great and universal pain which You suffered in Your Flesh for love of us! What is there You could have done for us which You have not done? 
May the fruit of Your sufferings be renewed in my soul by the faithful remembrance of Your Passion and may Your love increase in my heart each day until I see You in eternity, You Who are the treasury of every real good and joy, which I beg You to grant me in Heaven. Amen.
13th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the pain You endured when all Your strength, both moral and physical, was entirely exhausted; You bowed Your Head, saying: It is consummated. 
Through this anguish and grief, I beg You to have mercy on me at the hour of my death, when my mind will be greatly troubled and my soul will be in anguish. Amen.
14th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 

O Jesus! I remember the simple and humble recommendation You made of Your Soul to Your Eternal Father, saying, "Father, into Your Hands I commend My Spirit," and when, Your Body all torn and Your Heart broken, You expired. By this precious death, I beg You to comfort me and give me help to resist the devil, the flesh and the world, so that, being dead to the world, I may live for You alone. I beg of You at the hour of my death to receive me. Amen.
15th Prayer
Recite one Our Father and One Hail Mary. 
O Jesus! I remember the abundant outpouring of Blood which You shed. From Your Side, pierced with a lance by a soldier, Blood and Water poured forth until there was not left in Your Body a single Drop; and finally the very substance of Your Body withered and the marrow of Your Bones dried up. 
Through this bitter Passion and through the outpouring of Your Precious Blood, I beg You to pierce my heart so that my tears of penance and love may be my bread day and night. May I be entirely converted to You; may my heart be Your perpetual resting place; may my conversation be pleasing to You; and may the end of my life be so praiseworthy that I may merit Heaven and there with Your saints praise You forever. Amen.
The fifteen prayers were taught by Jesus to Saint Bridget. He said to her, 
I received 5,480 wounds on My Body during My Passion. If you wish to honor each of them in some way pray the following prayers each day for a whole year. When the year is over, you will have honored each one of My Wounds.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

St Mary Magdalene, pray for us

Mary Magdalene kneeling 
by Gabriel Wuger, 1868.

Mary of Magdala was healed of “seven devils” by Jesus. She ministered to him in Galilee and was present at his crucifixion. She was in the group of women who were the first to discover the empty tomb, and it was to her that the risen Jesus first appeared. (
When Mary Magdalen came to the tomb and did not find the Lord’s body, she thought it had been taken away and so informed the disciples. After they came and saw the tomb, they too believed what Mary had told them. The text then says: “The disciples went back home,” and it adds: “but Mary wept and remained standing outside the tomb.” We should reflect on Mary’s attitude and the great love she felt for Christ; for though the disciples had left the tomb, she remained. She was still seeking the one she had not found, and while she sought she wept; burning with the fire of love, she longed for him who she thought had been taken away. And so it happened that the woman who stayed behind to seek Christ was the only one to see him. For perseverance is essential to any good deed, as the voice of truth tell us: “Whoever perseveres to the end will be saved.” - from a homily by Pope Saint Gregory the Great (Source)

For July: Anima Christi

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Homily of Bishop Donal McKeown for the Pioneer Total Abstinence Association National Pilgrimage to Knock, Sunday 18 July 2010

One key element in your daily Heroic Offering is making reparation for sins of intemperance. Many criticised the Holy Father when, in his letter to the Catholics of Ireland, he spoke of the need to do penance and proposed that Friday should be kept as a weekly day of penance. Some commentators dismissed that as asking the ordinary people of Ireland to do penance for the sins of clergy and bishops – and they couldn’t understand that idea. But all Christians come from the strange belief that Jesus is the innocent One, the Lamb of God that took away the sin of the world. Our secular society – that so often likes to locate sin and repentance only in individuals rather than accepting the possibility of corporate responsibility – cannot easily comprehend the idea of doing penance and making reparation for others. But Pioneers and all Christians can. Making reparation for ourselves and for others is at the heart of being a Pioneer and a part of what all Christ’s followers are called to do. In fact St Paul takes up that theme in our second reading. He is, he says, happy to suffer for the Colossians, doing what he can in his body to make up for what still has to be undergone by Christ for the sake of his body, the Church. Of course, that should never be a smoke screen for a failure of church leaders to do penance for their own sins and the sinners of departed colleagues. It can never be an excuse for not instituting the necessary reforms. But in the Body of Christ, we share both a story and a hope. When one rejoices, we can all rejoice. When one is diminished, we are all diminished. The shame of child abuse is a shame for us all. But it would be great if the powerful who lead the new secular hierarchy in our country could accept that they too share responsibility, not just for righteously punishing offenders, but also for the addiction and crime of so many across our country – and learn the need for shared reparation because of the dangerous world that we have created for too many of young people.

And the wisdom of the PTAA goes further than that. You believe that sin and the powers of the Devil cannot be overcome merely by prison sentences or fines. Evil can be overcome only by grace and by spiritual warfare. The defeat of sin and of its destructive consequences is part of a spiritual warfare in which we are all involved. Sin cannot be overcome by human effort alone – that is the core of the Gospel message about Jesus’ death and resurrection. (Full Text)

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi, Doctor of the Church, pray for us

Saint Lawrence of Brindisi 
1559 – 1619

The two great loves of his life were the Mass and the Blessed Virgin. The Eucharistic Sacrifice was the centre of his existence; he had on rare occasions been know to spend up to four hours saying Mass and in 1610 in Genoa on Christmas Day, he took a staggering 16 hours celebrating in ecstasy, weeping with love and adoration. Also extraordinary was Laurence's love for Mary, from whom he attributed receiving his vocation, his success in the apostolate and especially his knowledge of Hebrew. He regarded Mary as the font of Mercy and the kindest of Mothers. It belonged to Pope John XXIII in our own day and age to further honour this amazing son of St Francis by proclaiming him Doctor of the Universal Church. Our Lord chooses the humble of the earth to confound the proud. (source)


Almighty God, for the glory of Your Name and the salvation of souls, 
You conferred upon St. Lawrence, the spirits of counsel and fortitude. 
Grant us, in the same Spirit, to know what we are to do, 
and through his prayers, to do what we have come to know. 
We ask this through Our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son, 
Who lives and reigns with You and the Holy Spirit, 
one God, forever and ever. Amen. 

Faith and Family Live

Faith and Family Live is blog that I visit regularly. Here is one of its latest offerings.

The Case for Siblings
Why having a new baby is good for your other kids

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St Elijah, pray for us

Elijah reviving the Son of the Widow of Zarephath 
by Louis Hersent (Photo: Wikipedia)

Elijah is revered as the spiritual Father and traditional founder of the Catholic religious Order of Carmelites. In addition to taking their name from Mt. Carmel where the first hermits of the order established themselves, the Calced Carmelite and Discalced Carmelite traditions pertaining to Elijah focus upon the prophet’s withdrawal from public life. (Wikipedia)


Almighty, ever‑living God,
your prophet Elijah, lived always in your presence
and was zealous for the honour due to your name.
May we, your servants, always seek your face
and bear witness to your love.
We ask this grace through our Lord Jesus Christ,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God, for ever and ever.

First-Ever Quality of Death Index

“The way a nation cares for its weakest and most vulnerable is the mark of its soul. How it cares for the dying is a measure of the society’s advancement and enlightenment,” said Mr Lee Poh Wah, Chief Executive Officer, Lien Foundation.
While “quality of life” is a common phrase, “quality of death” is considered far less often. Too many people, even in countries that have excellent healthcare systems, suffer a poor quality of death—even when death comes naturally. With this in mind, the Economist Intelligence Unit has devised a ”Quality of Death” Index to rank countries according to their provision of end-of-life care. The Index, commissioned by the Lien Foundation and published today, measures the current environment for end-of-life care services across 40 countries.

The Quality of Death Index and white paper examined the fundamentals of good end-of-life care – whether a country’s healthcare environment is ideal for end-of-life care, the availability and cost of end-of-life care and the quality of end-of-life care provided. Surrounding these factors are complex issues like cultural attitudes that could become barriers to providing quality end-of-life care, the extent of government funding and the challenge of integrating end-of-life care into healthcare systems and national policies.

One of the findings of the Index showed that the prosperity of a country does not necessarily equate to better end-of-life care. Countries with a national palliative care strategy tended to fare better in their care for the dying. The top three countries of the Index – United Kingdom (U.K), Australia and New Zealand each has a national strategy in place recognising end-of-life care in their healthcare and medical education policies.

Drug availability is the most important practical issue. Pain control is the point from which all palliative care stems, and the availability of opioids (morphine and its equivalents) is fundamental to quality of end-of-life care. But across the world an estimated 5billion people lack access to opioids.

Euthanasia is legal in the Netherlands and  Belgium. Assisted suicide is  legal in Albania and  Luxembourg. Switzerland does not punish doctors who perform euthanasia.

Prayer for a Good Death

O Jesus, while I adore Your dying breath, I beg You to receive mine. 
Since I do not know whether I shall have command of my senses when I depart from this world, 
I offer You even now my last agony and all the sorrows of my passing. 
I give my soul into Your hands for You are my Father and my Savior. 
Grant that the last beat of my heart may be an act of perfect love for You. 

Make Time for the Lord While on Holidays

Monday, July 19, 2010

Another Step in the Wrong Direction

The Civil Partnership Bill, which provides legal recognition for same-sex couples in Ireland for the first time, has today been signed into law. It was officially put into law when President Mary McAleese at Áras an Uachtaráin signed the bill this morning. 
Speaking at the launch of the publication by the Gay and Lesbian Equality Network (GLEN) of the Seanad debates on the Bill, Mr Ahern said that the passage of the legislation was “the epitome of a Christian and pluralist society”.
Must buy a dictionary, and post it to the Minister for Justice, so that he can look up a definition of "Christian".

Technology troubles

Sunday, July 18, 2010

It is Mary who has chosen the better part...

Christ in the House of Martha and Mary
by Vermeer


O God, heavenly Father, 
whose Son Jesus Christ enjoyed rest and refreshment 
in the home of Mary and Martha of Bethany: 
Give us the will to love you, open our hearts to hear you, 
and strengthen our hands to serve you in others for his sake; 
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, now and for ever. 

Saturday, July 17, 2010

For July :Cibavit eos

"Cibavit eos" is an old catholic hymn used in the honor of the Blessed Sacrament for Solemn Mass of Corpus Christi.

Cibavit eos ex adipe frumenti alleluia
Et de petra melle saturavit eos alleluia
Exultate Deo adiutori nostro
Jubilate Deo Jacob
Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui sancto
Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper
Et in secula seculorum. Amen.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, pray for us

The Madonna of Mount Carmel 

Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan

Our Lady of Mount Carmel is the title given to the Blessed Virgin Mary, in her role as patroness of the Carmelite Order. The first Carmelites were Christian hermits living on Mount Carmel in the Holy Land during the late 12th and early to mid 13th centuries. They built a chapel in the midst of their hermitages which they dedicated to the Blessed Virgin, whom they conceived of in chivalric terms as the "Lady of the place." (Wikipedia)

Flos Carmeli

O beautiful Flower of Carmel
Most fruitful vine,
Splendor of Heaven,
Holy and Singular,
Who brought forth
the Son of God,
still ever remaining
a pure Virgin,
Assist us in our necessities.
O Star of the Sea,
Help and protect us.
Show us that you
are our Mother.

Friday Prayer and Penance for the Church in Ireland

Prayer for the Church in Ireland

God of our fathers,
renew us in the faith which is our life and salvation,
the hope which promises forgiveness and interior renewal,
the charity which purifies and opens our hearts
to love you, and in you, each of our brothers and sisters.

Lord Jesus Christ,
may the Church in Ireland renew her age-old commitment
to the education of our young people in the way of truth and goodness, holiness and generous service to society.

Holy Spirit, comforter, advocate and guide,
inspire a new springtime of holiness and apostolic zeal
for the Church in Ireland.

May our sorrow and our tears,
our sincere effort to redress past wrongs,
and our firm purpose of amendment
bear an abundant harvest of grace
for the deepening of the faith
in our families, parishes, schools and communities,
for the spiritual progress of Irish society,
and the growth of charity, justice, joy and peace
within the whole human family.

To you, Triune God,
confident in the loving protection of Mary,
Queen of Ireland, our Mother,
and of Saint Patrick, Saint Brigid and all the saints,
do we entrust ourselves, our children,
and the needs of the Church in Ireland.


Thursday, July 15, 2010

St Bonaventure, Doctor of the Church, pray for us

St. Bonaventure receives the envoys of the Byzantine Emperor at the Second Council of Lyon.
by Francisco de Zurbarán

St. Bonaventure


Blessed is the man, O Virgin Mary, who loves thy name; thy grace will
comfort his soul.

He will be refreshed as by fountains of water; thou wilt produce in him the
fruit of justice.

Blessed art thou among women; by the faith of thy holy heart.

By the beauty of thy body thou surpassest all women; by the excellence of
thy sanctity thou surpassest all angels and archangels

Thy mercy and thy grace are preached everywhere; God has blessed the works
of thy hands.

Glory be to the Father, etc.

Dubious Irish Catholic Calendar

This is the events page from for next week. Here is the link. At a glance it looks truely sad. "Postmodern Children's Ministry", "Sacred Journeys", and "Understanding the Real Me". No wonder the Church in Ireland is in such a sad state.

18 July 2010 - 24 July 2010
18 July
19 July
20 July
21 July
22 July
23 July
24 July

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