Monday, June 20, 2005

Interesting Question, Great Answer

Questioned as to why the Spanish bishops' conference had chosen to make an explicit public statement of support for the June 18 demonstration [against giving legal sanction to 'marriages' between homosexuals], and not for other public rallies such as an earlier rally against world hunger, Cardinal Rouco Varela said that the distinction flowed from "the nature of the problem and the need for a response." The bishops are already engaged in the fight against famine, he said, through charitable agencies such as Caritas. And no proposed governmental action would endanger that charitable work, as the proposed change in marriage law would endanger the family. "If a law prohibited or suppressed aid to the Third World," he said, "you can be sure that we would demonstrate against it."

- Catholic News Service

Saturday, June 18, 2005

Have a look...

at a beautiful newborn child, and a favorite blog, here.

Keep this in mind for Lent

If you find yourself in Minneapolis during Lent, you can dine on deep-fried smoked barbecued tofu (look under "Vegetarian with Soul").

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Father Basil Pennington, O.C.S.O.

I just learned by way of a post on Michael Dubruiel's "Annunciations" blog that Father Pennington, mediator of the riches of Catholic and Eastern Christian prayer to millions in our time, died this month during second Vespers on the Feast of the Sacred Heart. May the angels bear him to Paradise....

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

A Rising Tide of Anti-Christian Violence in India

In a culture where the gravest difficulties posed by our profession of faith may be avoiding hamburgers on Good Friday and trying to outlive Dan Schutte's music with only vitamin supplements and fallible physicians on our side, it can be humbling to see the risks Catholics take for professing their faith abroad.

Zenit reports that on Sunday, "around midnight, a bunch of miscreants entered the shrine of the Infant Jesus, which is inside the compound of the Holy Trinity Church [in the Jabalpur Diocese], and desecrated it."

Similar reports from recent days:

"Angry Hindu youths beat three American missionaries and tried to kidnap one as they held a bible studies class in Mumbai, police said."

"An elderly nun was reportedly recovering from her injuries Sunday, June 12, after militants attacked two orders in Bihar, one of India's most impoverished north-eastern states."

"Two ministers have been murdered in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh since mid-May in what an All India Christian Council official has called 'a very planned way of terrorizing the Christian community'."

Meanwhile, in San Francisco, things proceed with a more characteristically American nuttiness....

A Gem from "feminine-genius"

Genevieve Kineke included this thought in remarks on her "feminine-genius" blog this past Sunday:

"God the Father is not in the image and likeness of our earthly fathers. If one's father has good attributes, it's all the easier to find Abba-Pater, but each person has to get past his or her father's defects (through forgiveness) to find how wonderful and faithful God Himself is. Removing patriarchal language will not heal the wound, but bury it and create a false reality. God wants us to call Him Father, and if it is painful, then there is work to do. It is well worth it."

The entire article is here.


"The Mass is not a staged drama at which we applaud the talent of the performers."
- James V. Schall

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

St. Malo's Chapel

...about 12 miles from the town of Estes Park and the eastern entrance to Rocky Mountain National Park in Colorado, was visited by Pope John Paul II in conjunction with his appearance at the 1993 World Youth Day in Denver.

Headline: "School Bus Sex Assault a Growing Danger"

In a Washington Post article (free subscription required) documenting the growing number of student-on-student sexual assaults happening on school buses - many involving children ages 8 through 13 - one professor studying the problem sees it as yet another expression of the way "society has become more sexualized and less civil."

At what point do we stop asking, "How can we press on further in this same direction?" with "progressive" approval of militant homosexualism and ever less fettered abortion on demand, and begin to ask, "Where was it that we made the wrong turn?" - might it have been at the fork in the road where we chose contraceptive culture?

More music

The Pontifical Institute of Sacred and Classical music offers a wide range of music files for free download here.

Elsewhere, there's a huge page of Renaissance sacred music (including a motet improbably titled "Negra Sum, sed formosa" (I am black but beautiful) by Palestrina here, and you can ignore the blurb at the top of the page which suggests that the music library is closed - all the Palestrina downloads do work.

Here is a recording of Russian Vespers in a Kiev Slavonic style that goes back to the 17'th century, recorded by monks at the Benedictine Abbey of Chevetogne in Belgium.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Jewish Leaders Speak Out on Pope Benedict

Excellent Catholic News Service article here.

On the lighter side...

On an interesting Catholic website I just discovered today, Douglas Sylva has a column on the mini-controversy that has erupted over Bob Geldof's invitation to Pope Benedict to participate in the "Live 8" concert (if that's all Greek to you, the article explains it). What follows are a few excerpts:

"I would wager that at least a couple of the horsemen of the apocalypse must be all saddled up and ready to go, if Elton John has eclipsed Pope Benedict XVI as a moral authority, but that appears to be exactly what happened this past week in England....

apparently all British rock stars are knighted for surviving into middle age...."

Slavonic Chant

A surprising amount of Slavonic chant is being made available for free download on line, as you can see with a Google search on

"slavonic chant" mp3

This "Holy, Holy, Holy" is just one example, from this page full of both Byzantine and Slavonic chants.


I am part of all that I have met;
Yet all experience is an arch wherethro'
Gleams that untravell'd world, whose margin fades
For ever and for ever when I move.

Looking Ahead

Stepping down as parish secretary at age 84, Mary Graff is looking forward to a busy retirement: "God put me on this earth to accomplish a number of things. And right now, I'm so far behind, I will never die."

Two Early Takes on Benedict XVI's Style as Pope

Two articles - one from Catholic News Service on Friday, the other by Ann Rogers in today's Pittsburgh Post-Gazette - both suggest that Pope Benedict XVI is giving the lie to some early expectations. CNS shows him, as Pope, acting less as stern doctrinal enforcer than articulate and thought-provoking teacher of the reasons behind doctrine. The Post-Gazette portrays a pastor thought to have been shy and retiring whose personal touch is evoking a warm response from unusually large and enthusiastic crowds in the Eternal City. Both articles make good reading.

Sunday, June 12, 2005

The Current State of Catholicism in China

is summarized in this article, which notes that 18 bishops and 20 priests "have disappeared into the hands of police, are in isolation, or are prevented from exercising their ministry." Each year, the article notes, "at least 150,000 adults convert to Catholicism, whether through the official or underground Church."