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Sunday, July 30, 2006

Silencing the critics

From Catholic Exchange:
Young Ratzinger Resisted Hitler Youth Membership
Saturday, July 29, 2006 12:00:00 AM GMT

German historical records have confirmed that the young Joseph Ratzinger-- the future Pope Benedict XVI -- was enrolled in the Hitler Youth movement against his will.

The German historian Volker Laube, researching the archives of Sankt Michael seminary in Bavaria, has concluded that the young Ratzinger resisted the pressure to enter the Hitler Youth movement. Laube was commissioned as an independent investigator by the Munich archdiocese, in response to public questions about the Pope's youthful affiliation.

The results of Laube's inquiry, based primarily on the records of the little Sankt Michael seminary in Traunstein, Bavaria, will soon be available in Germany in book form. The German daily Suddeutsche Zeitung has released a story based on an early draft.

The seminary records show that in April 1938, financial support was withdrawn from students who were not members of Hitler Youth. The archdiocese then requested, and received, tuition payments from the Ratzinger family.

In 1939, membership in Hitler Youth became obligatory for all young Germans. Joseph Ratzinger was then 12 years old, but when he reached his 14th birthday he was formally incorporated into the movement. The records show that he was marked as Zwangs-Hitlerjunge--- a young member enrolled under the universal policy-- rather than Stamm-Hitlerjunge, a volunteer.

The Bavarian seminary archives thus confirm what Church officials had indicated before and after the election of Benedict XVI as Roman Pontiff: that he had been enrolled in the Hitler Youth involuntarily. In August 1943, he was pushed a step further, and enlisted as an auxiliary to work in an anti-aircraft unit. Eventually the future Pope would desert his military unit and make his way home, where he was taken into custody by advancing Allied troops as World War II neared its end.

The independent investigation, and the opening of the Munich seminary archives, required the Pope's personal consent. Ordinarily, archives are kept secret until 30 years after the death of the individuals concerned.

The investigation sheds new light on the comments that Pope Benedict made during his May 28 visit to Auschwitz, where he remarked that many German people "had been exploited and deceived by a group of criminals" in the Nazi regime. Suddeutsche Zeitung comments that the Pope's words might represent "the memory of what the young Joseph Ratzinger lived through" during his youthful experience in Bavaria.

Not surprisingly, the Sankt Michael seminary archives also reveal that Joseph Ratzinger was an outstanding student.

Friday, July 28, 2006

Donohue on Colbert

Stephen Colbert has gained quite a bit of notoriety among Catholic bloggers for his common references to his Catholic faith on his Comedy Central show, The Colbert Report.

Earlier this week the man who recited the entire Nicene Creed on his show brought Catholic League president William Donohue on as a guest. The interview below has become an instant classic.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

the latest on Baby Luukas

Luukas continues to show small signs of progress and hope. This little guy is a big example of what prayer and Christian charity can do. How many people can say that they have united people from around the world in prayer? I would venture to say that it its not too many. . . pretty impressive for a newborn child in Finland.

From his mom:

Just came back from a doctor's routine check-up. As we had already known, Luukas' physical state is all right, and even more than before, because his lungs are better. The doctor said something about his being more prone to pneumonia and too weak coughing, but I don't know where her "knowledge" came from as she doesn't see Luukas daily and we know he coughs, and since his lungs are now ok, it should mean he coughs enough, right? Hopefully she said only what she had read in the doctors' statement from last month, and besides she added that she can't really know because she usually doesn't deal with babies like Luukas.

And as for Luukas' brain. Well, babies at his age usually keep eye-contact and smile. And the doctor said so. So we can pray that Luukas does that some day.

But we have noticed recently that he pays attention (stops crying, opens his eyes wider) to sounds like running water or a beep made by a rubber duck. That is brain activity, isn't it?
To read more about Luukas' story type his name into the search box in the sidebar.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Reflection on this past Sunday's readings

Heart, Mind & Strength has a good reflection on this past Sunday's readings.

Check out this week's Catholic Carnival at Alabama Improper

Monday, July 24, 2006

Something I wrote

About once every two or three years I have moment of creativity during which something worthwhile comes forth. The following is the product of one such moment which occured today. If you like it, be sure to check back around July 2008, maybe I'll having something new.

In the silence,
A moment of doubt;
Wondering what the future holds.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the God of all ages,
The Lord on high."

On the narrow,
I stumble and fall;
Obstacles rise up before me.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the Guide of the true path,
The Lord on high."

In the darkness,
Nothing to be seen;
Reaching for what might be there.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the Light of the whole world,
The Lord on high."

On the journey,
So many questions;
Pondering what it means to be.

I hear a voice,
"Come follow me now,
I am the one and great I AM,
The Lord on high."

Saturday, July 22, 2006

communion patens making a comeback

At least in the local parish they are. I happened to attend the 5:00 pm Mass at the local parish tonight. I normally attend the university parish in town but decided to go to St. Joseph's tonight. Before Mass the priest highlighted an announcement in the bulletin concerning altar server training. He asked that anyone interested in being an altar server and all existing altar servers attend the training in order to learn to use the communion patens that will be returned to use in the parish!

I was very happy to hear that the local parish is taking this step in the right direction. My parish doesn't use patens for communion, actually I've only been to one Mass anywhere when they were. I currently receive in the hand even though I would prefer to receive on the tongue. However, I'm always nervous about the consecrated host falling without the safety net of a paten. I do try to be very careful to check my hands for any stray particles. Maybe the return of patens for communion will catch on, or already be standard wherever I move next, and I won't have this problem.

Pope calls for day of prayer and penance for peace on Sunday

Pope Benedict XVI has called on people of all religious faiths "to implore God for the precious gift of peace" in dedicating Sunday, July 23 as a day dedicated to penance and prayers for peace in the Middle East.

Specifically the pope has urged for prayers for
  • an immediate cease-fire between the sides
  • the establishment of a humanitarian corridor to bring aid to the suffering people
  • the start of reasonable and responsible negotiations so as to end the objective situations of injustice in that region.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

A good read....

Check out Annabel's post Trust Me at My Journey Into the Catholic Faith. Also be sure to read Greg Long's comments at the bottom of the post.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

I'm back and an update on Luukas

I am back from my trip east. Hopefully, I will know something on the possible job in the next few days.

I was very happy to see this update on Baby Luukas:

From his dad:

Thank you all for your continuing prayers Smile Today we went to see the local midwife with him, and it was a very positive visit. He weighs already 4 kg which means that he has gained 60 g (2+ oz.) a day now that he is fed according to his own appetite, without the tube. The midwife also said that if she had not seen Luukas' papers, she would not suspect anything extraordinary.

The midwife also gave us a very simple picture - a yellow smiling "face" (two black dots as eyes and a black line as the smile) on a red background. Later, we put the picture at his bedside. When DW put him to the bed to sleep, he opened his eyes a bit and apparently saw the picture, because his eyes went wide open and he just stared at the picture for a few minutes, becoming very lively when he had previously been falling asleep. If I am not mistaken and not just imagining this all, it seems like a very sure sign of brain activity. Glory be to God and thank you all for your prayers Smile Please keep up the good work!

Saturday, July 15, 2006

I'm leavin' on a jet plane . . .

I will be leaving on Monday for a quick trip to the East coast for a job interview. I will be returning late Tuesday night.

Compendium online

The Compendium of the Catechism of the Catholic Church is now available online in English.

Thanks to Gerald at The Cafeteria is Closed for the link.

Friday, July 14, 2006

some props for Nebraska


Nebraska Amendment Banning Gay "Marriage" Stands - Federal Appeals Court
The US Eighth Circuit Court in St. Louis has reversed a federal district court ruling and has reinstated an amendment to the state constitution protecting the institution of marriage.

The amendment ruled out not only the possibility of gay “marriage” but of recognition of “civil unions,” often proposed as a back door to legal equivalence.

It reads, “Only marriage between a man and a woman shall be valid or recognized in Nebraska. The uniting of two persons of the same sex in a civil union, domestic partnership, or other similar same-sex relationship shall not be valid or recognized in Nebraska.”
U.S. Senate Passes Resolution Reaffirming National Motto: “In God We Trust”
This past Wednesday, July 12, the United States Senate unanimously passed resolution S. Con. Res. 96, which requests senators and all American citizens “To commemorate, celebrate, and reaffirm the national motto of the United States on the 50th anniversary of its formal adoption.”

The passage of the Senate resolution comes only a few days after a California federal trial judge dismissed the lawsuit filed by Michael Newdow challenging the constitutionality of the American national motto, "In God We Trust."

Co-sponsor of the resolution, Nebraska Senator Ben Nelson, in bringing forward the resolution said that part of his motivation for so doing was that it is “important to reaffirm our traditions at a time when there are misguided court challenges to the fundamental principles that have been a part of America since its birth.”


Austrian Doctor Threatened with Child-Support Payments after Birth of Disabled Child
VIENNA, Austria, July 14, 2006 ( – A doctor may be forced to pay lifetime child support for a girl born with Down’s syndrome, after the child’s mother said she would have aborted the girl if she had known about the disability in time, Fox News reported Wednesday.

The Austrian Supreme Court has ordered the Salzburg Provincial Court to consider the case, saying if the woman was not provided with sufficient details about a high-risk pregnancy, the doctor involved would be held financially responsible for the child’s care.

The doctor, who has not been named, advised his 31-year-old patient to have further tests done on her unborn child, but did not give her complete information on the risks, said Supreme Court official Ronald Rohrer. The mother did not discover her child’s condition until 10 weeks later, when she had passed the allowable time period for an abortion.

Her daughter, now nine years old, was born with a congenital condition known as Down’s syndrome that causes developmental delays, reduced learning capacity and physical problems.

Screening for chromosomal abnormalities is routinely suggested for pregnant women aged 35 or older, when pregnancy is considered to be higher-risk by the medical community, according to the U.S. National Institute of Health.

An expert from Vienna University, Gerhard Marschuetz, said the case could pressure doctors to treat all pregnancies in women over 30 as high-risk, the Kurier reported.

In a similar Canadian case in 2003, a B.C. Supreme Court judge ordered Dr. Ken Kan of Richmond to pay $325,000 to the parents of a Down’s syndrome child for “failing” to diagnose the girl’s disability before birth. The child’s mother, Lydia Zhang, said the birth of her daughter Sherry “totally disrupted our plans.” If she had known of the disability beforehand, she said, she would have aborted Sherry.
Emphasis mine

How can a person possibly so heartless?  I understand that having a child with a disability can be a difficult burden but who can have a heart so stone cold that they can look at their child and say, "I wish I would have aborted her"? 

Besides the obviously disturbing, one of the most alarming things about cases like this is that it could encourage doctors to be more liberal in recommending abortions in order to avoid having to pay for the child's care. 

Catholic content for your cell phone

I noticed a link for Catholic Mobile on New Advent.

Catholic Mobile has ringtones, wallpapers, and more for cell phones. You can subscribe to text messages including the daily Mass Gospel, daily saint, or daily prayer.

Of course all of the content has a cost associated with it. But I thought some of you (the 3 to 5 people who visit this blog) might be interested.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Old ways are hard lost

CNS STORY: African archbishop rebuked for seeking change to celibacy rule
African archbishop rebuked for seeking change to celibacy rule

Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- Zambian Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, whose 2001 marriage to a Korean acupuncturist capped a long series of controversial actions, announced July 12 in Washington that he wants to change the Roman Catholic discipline on celibacy and "reconcile" an estimated 150,000 married priests worldwide with the church to allow them to resume priestly ministry.

Archbishop Milingo's announcement drew a sharp rebuke from church officials on both sides of the Atlantic.

"The Holy See has not yet received precise news about the aim of (the) visit to the United States of Archbishop Emmanuel Milingo, former archbishop of Lusaka, Zambia," said a July 13 statement from the Vatican press office.

"In any case, if the declarations that have been attributed to him about ecclesiastical celibacy turn out to be true, the only possibility would be to deplore them (the declarations), given the fact that the discipline of the church in this regard is quite clear," it said.

Archbishop Donald W. Wuerl of Washington, in whose archdiocese Archbishop Milingo made his declaration, said, "His appearance in Washington has once again placed himself in opposition to the practice and teaching of the church on the matter of priestly celibacy." He added that Archbishop Milingo's involvement in a move to end the celibacy rule "comes as a surprise and is also a disappointment."

Archbishop Wuerl noted that "as recently as the Synod on the Eucharist in October 2005, bishops from all over the world reaffirmed again the value of celibacy and the significant place it has in the life of the church and her ministry."

Click link above for full story.
From reading the rest of the article it doesn't seem that this should necessarily be a "surprise".
Archbishop Milingo renounces his marriage and his brief alliance with Rev. Moon's movement in an August 2001 private audience with Pope John Paul II -- although in the CNS interview he said that he considered himself still married.
He was removed from public ministry once and "renounced" his ways to Pope John Paul II. Now he's back to his old ways it seems.

However, Archbishop Wuerl's statements seem to follow along the lines of the positive words I've seen about him lately.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Stories like this need more attention

Catholic News Agency
Priest donates kidney to ailing parishioner Birmingham,

July 11, 2006 (CNA) - Last Thursday, Patricia Sanchez, a 60-year old mother of four received a new kidney during a successful transplant in Birmingham Alabama. Her 12-year wait finally ended when an unlikely donor came forward--her parish priest. 51-year old Father Ken Ramon Landry had been a close friend of the Sanchez family leading workshops with Patricia and working closely with husband Rafael through the Diocese of Biloxi’s Hispanic ministry. Last year, Rafael confided to the priest, who is also his pastor at Hattiesburg’s Sacred Heart parish about his wife’s long-time illness and the unlikelihood that the family would be able to find a donor. Almost immediately, Fr. Ramon-Landry offered one of his own kidneys. Shying from local praise, Father Ramon-Landry told the Hattiesburg American that, "neither of us wants notoriety. Both of us think it is a worthy cause to raise awareness to the fact that within some of our bodies we carry life for others - even us men - by offering a kidney, a lung. Perhaps this is why God gave us two, to see if we would share and take seriously what his Son did for us... 'laying down our lives freely.'" Expressing her gratitude, Patricia added simply, "This is
the gift of life for me.
Hat tip to Catholic Fire

Monday, July 10, 2006

"The Collar"

I recently finished reading Jonathan Englert's The Collar. Englert followed five seminaries for a year at Sacred Heart Seminary. Sacred Heart specializes in second-career vocations. Therefore most of the seminarians are older and most of them have been married, now either widowed or divorced. The book is an un-apologetic look at life in a Catholic seminary. Nothing is held back when describing the seminarian's struggles with theology, celebacy, and various other issues.

However, I was not entirely impressed with the book. Often Englert ventures to explain various Catholic teachings and practices. I found many of the explanations lacking in depth and accuracy. The book also gives an at times unbalanced weight to the issue of celibacy. Even though I realize that this probably is a very big issue for many seminarians, I thought that the book didn't provide a balanced view of the issue. It lacked in discussion of the deeper meaning behind priestly celebacy.

I read the book because I think it is important to understand the struggles our priests face and what priestly formation entails so that we may better support our priests and those considering a vocation to the priesthood.

My rating:

Sunday, July 09, 2006


I thought it would be interesting to see where people who visit this blog are from. If you would like to add yourself to the CRH map, there is a link at the bottom of the sidebar.

Luukas update as promised

From Luukas' dad last Thursday:
Luukas is now officially out of hospital. His feeding tube was taken off today after 36 hours of successful feeding without the tube, which only seems to have increased his appetite. The only medication he continues to get is a medicine that prevents epileptic convulsions. The pediatric doctor checked him today and said that the murmur around his heart has ceased and his liver returned to normal size. He also moves much more and stretches his muscles. Everybody in the hospital was surprised and happy to see the changes in his condition. Of course we do not know how the brain is, though even the doctor seems to have her doubts about the EEG result, but Luukas has an appointment with a neurologist again in the second half of August. Anyway, the doctor mentioned the possibility of him starting to smile which is quite contrary to the earlier predictions (="will never communicate, will never learn anything").

DW is worried about his periodically irregular breathing. We still ask you to pray in this matter and for the complete healing of his brain.
Luukas' parents have also asked for prayers for a baby girl named Roosa that has been in the same hospital with the same disease as Luukas.

I'm back

I'm back after spending part of the week at home celebrating the 4th of July with the family. My sister and I celebrated our birthday on Thursday, her 21st and my 25th (yes we have the same birthday). Internet access was very frustrating over the week. My parents only have dial-up and it kept dropping the connection every 4 or 5 minutes.

There has been some good news on Baby Luukas this week. More to come on that tomorrow. For now, keep praying for him.

Monday, July 03, 2006

4th of July

Happy 4th of July. I'm off to the land of dial-up in the morning. I will not have very good internet access until I get back on Sunday.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grace, Faith, or Works?

Since I've had this discussion on whether we are saved by grace, faith, or works many times during my journey into the Catholic Faith, I thought I'd address the question here. Actually, the idea of this post started during today's Gospel reading.

In today's Gospel we heard the story of Jesus' healing of Jairu's daughter and the woman with a hemorrhage. Mark obviously presents this story the way he does in order to focus on the healing power of faith in Christ. However, from my personal experience it seems that we tend to focus on the raising of the girl from the dead and skim over the woman with the hemorrhage.
Mark 5: 25-34

There was a woman afflicted with hemorrhages for twelve years. She had suffered greatly at the hands of many doctors and had spent all that she had. Yet she was not helped but only grew worse. She had heard about Jesus and came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak. She said, "If I but touch his clothes, I shall be cured." Immediately her flow of blood dried up. She felt in her body that she was healed of her affliction. Jesus, aware at once that power had gone out from him, turned around in the crowd and asked, "Who has touched my clothes?" But his disciples said to him, "You see how the crowd is pressing upon you, and yet you ask, 'Who touched me?'" And he looked around to see who had done it. The woman, realizing what had happened to her, approached in fear and trembling. She fell down before Jesus and told him the whole truth. He said to her, "Daughter, your faith has saved you. Go in peace and be cured of your affliction."
This passage gives the perfect opportunity to take a single line of scripture, "Daughter, your faith has saved you", out of context and make the "saved by faith" arguement. But something very important happens in this story. The woman commits a "work". She reaches out to Christ. She could have had all the faith in the world that if she touched Jesus' clothes that she would be healed. But the healing didn't take place until she put her faith in action. James tells us that faith without works is dead.
James 2: 17-26

So also faith of itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed someone might say, "You have faith and I have works." Demonstrate your faith to me without works, and I will demonstrate my faith to you from my works. You believe that God is one. You do well. Even the demons believe that and tremble. Do you want proof, you ignoramus, that faith without works is useless? Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered his son Isaac upon the altar? You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by the works. Thus the scripture was fulfilled that says, "Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness," and he was called "the friend of God." See how a person is justified by works and not by faith alone. And in the same way, was not Rahab the harlot also justified by works when she welcomed the messengers and sent them out by a different route? For just as a body without a spirit is dead, so also faith without works is dead.
Growing up Southern Baptist I was taught, but never really believed, that once you were "saved" nothing else need be done. When I was told that we were saved by grace, I had no problem. When I was told that we found faith through God's grace, I had no problem. But when it came down to faith alone without the need for works, I had a problem. Christ warns us in Revelation about being lukewarm and having a false sense of security.
Revelation 3: 15-17

"I know your works; I know that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either cold or hot. So, because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. For you say, 'I am rich and affluent and have no need of anything,' and yet do not realize that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.
We shouldn't fall into a false sense of being "rich" with salvation after walking down an aisle and making a profession of faith and saying a prayer with a preacher (in other words and "alter call" or "invitation" in many Protestant churches). Christ tells us that he KNOWS our works and will spit us out.

All throughout the Bible (read the stories of Noah, Abraham, Lot, the Blessed Virgin Mary, etc) we see stories of people to whom God extended his grace. They had faith in Him and did works to show their faith. Their faith and works were enabled by the grace of God. God pours out his grace on mankind, it is up to us by our God-given free will to respond to his grace with faith AND works.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

"God's Invisible Hand"

If you are a regular reader of this blog you have already seen me talk about Gerald O'Connell's book, God's Invisible Hand: The Life and Work of Francis Cardinal Arinze. Other posts about this book can be found HERE and HERE.

I have finished reading the book and I highly recommend it. It is no wonder that many considered the possibility of Cardinal Arinze as the next pope during the last Papal Conclave. Be sure to pay attention to the footnotes. They contain interesting details and the reference information for other books and documents mentioned in the text. Many of these sound interesting as possibilities for future reading material. I found the following quote to be highly applicable to all of us on the journey of faith.

"We learn, and we strive and pray to understand more and more of God's plan; and more than understanding it, to love it and to live it, especially when we don't understand it. And to realize that even when we think we understand, what we understand is only the surface of the deeper mystery. But to sense that God loves us, and never to doubt this, that is important." - Francis Cardinal Arinze
My Rating: