Wednesday, September 29, 2010

St. Michael the Archangel Defend Us in Battle

Today is the feast of the Archangels.  While we only know details about three of them (Michael, Gabriel, and Raphael), sacred scripture tells us that there are 7 angels who who stand before the throne of God (Tobit 12:15). 
Pope Leo XIII composed the "St. Michael Prayer" after experiencing a terrible vision of a satanic attack on the Church over the subsequent century.  In the late 1800s he ordered that the prayer be said after every low Mass.  The tradition has died out, but praying every day to St. Michael is surely a good thing.  St. Michael is the angel who will be charged with the final battle against satan and his minions according to the book of Revelation.  He protects the Church and protects us from evil.  We need his help now more than ever.
Saint Michael the Archangel,
defend us in battle;
be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil.
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray:
and do thou, O Prince of the heavenly host,
by the power of God,
cast into hell Satan and all evil spirits
who wander through the world seeking the ruin of souls. Amen.

In English, or in the Latin version: 

Sancte Michael Archangele,
defende nos in proelio.
contra nequitiam et insidias diaboli esto praesidium.
Imperet illi Deus, supplices deprecamur:
tuque, Princeps militiae caelestis,
Satanam aliosque spiritus malignos,
qui ad perditionem animarum pervagantur in mundo,
divina virtute, in infernum detrude. Amen.

Official House Cat of National Cathedral Retires

"Katherine of Tarragon", the official house cat of the Washington National Cathedral has retired to North Carolina.  Her replacement, "Carmina", will be installed at the blessing of the animals on Sunday.

According to the website of the Cathedral Choral Society, Katherine was a fixture at the cathedral for 15 years:
Ms. Tarragon was only a kitten when she began her work as an entry-level mouse catcher in the Cathedral Greenhouse 15 years ago. It is there, where she spent most of her career until the closing of the Greenhouse in 2008. During which time, Ms. Tarragon inspired a retail product line at the Cathedral's Museum Shop where Katherine cards can be found. She spent the remainder of her professional career in the Cathedral Library, helping CCS and Cathedral records staff with daily office activities such as chasing strings across the floor, sleeping on the outgoing mail, and basking on the warm floor in front of the copy machine. Ms. Tarragon spent most mornings outside the front door of the library greeting everyone from staff and bike messengers, to visiting dignitaries.
May she have a long and restful retirement.  And, although the cathedral was Episcopalian, perhaps someday, she will consider becoming a Cat-lick. (groan)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Dog Praying Before Lunch

Pharaoh, Does This Sound Familiar?

Which plague was pestilence??  Second?  Third?  Uh oh, I thought it was just one.  But now that I go back and check Exodus 5-10, it turns out that out of the plagues sent to afflict the Egyptians, more than one were pestilence related :  lice (I didn't recall that one), flies, frogs and locusts.

In a previous post,  we noted that a village in Greece had been overrun by frogs.  Now, as I look around the blogosphere, it seems that pestilence is everywhere!

First at Father Z, it's the rats.  It seems that a rectory in Georgia is infested with them.  He recommends the prayer against rats (Prex Deprecatoria).  One of his commenters suggests confirming them, that way they'll only show up at Easter and Christmas!
                                                         (Photo cribbed from Father Z)

Then Drudge reports that Australia is facing its worst plague of locusts in 75 years:
A one-kilometre wide swarm of locusts can chomp through 10 tons of crops – a third of their combined body weight – in a day. The New South Wales Farmers Association said an area the size of Spain was affected and the Government of Victoria alone forecasts A$2bn (£1.2bn) of damage.   (the Independent)

And, finally, the growing bed bug infestation in New York has now spread to Bloomingdales!!  The city council has just established an advisory board to address the problem (not to sound too cynical, but I don't see this helping).

OK, so that's it on the pestilence front.   I don't even want to think about the other plagues (If you're really curious, go read through Exodus).  Right now I'm beginning to itch.

Should You Pray for Someone Who Doesn't Want You To?

Last week Patrick Archbold of the Creative Minority Report was a guest blogger at the Washington Post.  His post concerned the writer Christopher Hitchens who is suffering from terminal cancer.  Mr. Hitchens is an atheist and has asked believers not to pray for him, unless it makes them feel better.  Patrick wonders whether we should be praying for Hitchens or refraining from doing so because of his request not to.  In the end he concludes that it is good to pray for the man as an act of charity and in the hope that Hitchens, himself, will be drawn to pray.  Patrick writes:
I pray that before the end, whenever that may be, that Hitchens' 'irreconcilable doubt' extends not only to God, but also to the path he has chosen. I pray that Mr. Hitchens, out of humility, asks a simple yet sincere question of the God he doubts. "If You are there and I have been wrong, please forgive me."
This issue was presented to me quite a few years ago when someone who had been a friend called from out of state.  She and I were co-workers and quite close when she lived nearby, and had been in frequent contact and visited often after her move.  The day she called we chatted as usual.  Then, out of the blue, she told me that she had recently been pregnant and that she had an abortion.  The conversation escalated from her side when she accused me of not being there for her because she couldn't talk to me since I was opposed to abortion.  She said that if I was truly a friend, I would have driven her to the abortion clinic, but she had to go through it alone (the child's father being out of the picture).  When I tried to say this was a bit unfair since I was always there to talk with her, but that, of course, I could not participate in something that I believed was wrong, she would not be persuaded and ended the conversation by shouting, "And don't pray for me, either!"

Subsequent conversations, unfortunately, did not heal the rupture in our friendship and we have been estranged ever since.  However, I continue to pray for her.  Every so often I wonder if I should be doing so, since it is in direct opposition to her expressed wishes.  But it always comes back to the fact that as a Christian, I cannot do otherwise.  If I failed to pray for someone who is in need, it would be like not helping a person who jumped off a bridge to commit suicide.  It is an act of charity, pure and simple,  and our faith tells us that the person is in need of help.  He or she doesn't have to know about our prayers.  In fact, it may be better to keep quiet.  Paraphrasing what St. Ambrose told St. Monica when she was crying over the faithlessness of her son Augustine, "Speak less to Augustine about God, and more to God about Augustine."

So I choose to pray.  In quiet. For I know that someone prayed for me, and I am eternally grateful.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Thank You, Governor Christie

Of all things that should not receive government funds, abortion has to be at the top of the list.  The government should be protecting its citizens, not assisting in dispatching them.

According to National Review, Governor Chris Christie, in his budget cutting for the State of New Jersey, removed $7.5 million in public funding that was slated to go to Planned Parenthood.  Although the state legislature included the funding in their budget, Governor Christie vetoed the measure.  Thanks to some Republicans who did not join the vote, the state senate was unable to override the veto.

As a result, one Planned Barrenhood (Parenthood) clinic in Cherry Hill is already slated to close.  Deo Gratias!

There is other good news on the pro life front.  Msgr. Philip Reilly of our own Brooklyn diocese reports that the number of abortion clinics in the U.S. and in Brooklyn have been drastically reduced.  In the most recent newsletter of the Helpers of God's Precious Infants, which he founded, Msgr. Reilly reports:
"... there are still many reasons for hope in the U.S. For example, when the Helpers Apostolate started more then twenty years ago, there were 2200 abortion clinics in the United States and about 700 Life Centers. Today in the United States, there are 700 abortion clinics and more than 2200 Life Centers. Twenty years ago here in the Diocese of Brooklyn 43 places advertised abortions and today it is down to 18. Every major poll now shows that the majority of Americans identify themselves as pro-life. Across America today, I believe, the prayerful presence of God’s people with their good shepherds outside these abortion mills has played no small part in the closing of these mills and the changing of so many hearts to choose life. Please continue your sacrificial presence at these abortion sites because there are still distressed pregnant mothers that need your loving, prayerful presence and help. The victims of this on-going immoral earthquake need today and tomorrow unsung generous rescuers to help the unborn children to get out of their mothers wombs alive and restore peace to their wounded mothers."

Something to Think About

“We do not offend God except by doing something contrary to our own good.”
                -- St. Thomas Aquinas 

(via Patrice Fagant-MacArthur  at Catholic Exchange)

Another "Academy" Graduate's Success Story!

Well, Academicians -- as you recall -- I gather internet oddities that have to do with both Catholicism (the real world) and Star Wars (make-believe), here's one that I just had to bring them to your attention. It is the perfect union of both!I stumbled upon this July 2nd, 2010 post on our neighboring Catholic blog, The Orate Fratres.
I knew this youngling when he attended the "Academy" - nice kid, but never put down that light-saber.
But that was then. Now you can see the power of the Christ, with His ability to convert hearts and save souls!  Impressive ... very impressive. And you are a Jedi yet: a Catholic Jedi!


Then: 10-year-old Darth Vader, William Holtzinger…
Now: Fr. William Holtzinger, celebrating 10-year-anniversary as a Roman Catholic Priest…
Only a Mother saves pics such as these for that appropriate moment… “I have been saving these photos for just the right time! Ten years old….and ten years a priest!”
Commenting here on his previous alias Fr. Bill (A.K.A Darth Vader) said, “Hah! Those were the days. Let us just remember that Darth Vader ultimately converted to the light side of he force! Okay I’m totally busted!”  

As proof of Mr. Vader’s conversion he just today changed Mass schedules. Bringing the Light of Sunday Mass once-again back to St. Patrick of the Forest Catholic Church in Cave Junction, Oregon…

Congratulations Fr. Bill on this your anniversary to the priesthood… And, May the force be with us all!
Click here for Fr. Bill Holtzinger’s Facebook page

Father Bill, 
from the "Faculty" and
all of our Academicians!

The Assistant Headmaster

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Unless You're a Priest Ministering to Arcade Employees,

this is probably a stole you shouldn't be wearing:
                                               (thanks, I think, to the Bad Vestments blog)

Actually, even if you do have a ministry at the arcade, this stole should never see the light of day!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Holy Stress

 Jesus said to the crowd:
 “No one who lights a lamp conceals it with a vessel or sets it under a bed; rather, he places it on a lampstand so that those who enter may see the light.

"For there is nothing hidden that will not become visible, and nothing secret that will not be known and come to light.

"Take care, then, how you hear.

"To anyone who has, more will be given, and from the one who has not, even what he seems to have will be taken away.”

The Gospel According To Saint Luke [8:16-18]

When Our Lord Jesus chose His Twelve Apostles for the mission of preaching His Gospel, Our Lord told them frankly, that the twelve of them must go into the world to make people face life; To compel people to make decisions about themselves and about the world they live in. The Apostles are to make people look at their values.

The Lord Jesus also told the Apostles to live in poverty – to take nothing for the journey. This poverty gave them more authority to speak. Their lack of money made them totally dependent on God – making it easier for God’s Word to speak through them.

So, Our Lord Jesus basically told His Apostles to push people a little, stress them; to confront them, to require them to make choices that are in line with the Gospel. 

The Apostles were also sent to preach repentance. And that means, not just feeling sorrow for sins, but putting one's whole life in order. And to do that, you and I must interrogate ourselves, ask ourselves:

  • What do I want my life to be like? 
  • What basic life-decision do I have to make about: 
  • My career? My job? 
  • My relationship with my family? 
  • About the upbringing of my children? 

Our Lord Jesus often demanded of people that they make choices like that. He said: 

  • "The one who is not with Me is against Me" [Luke 11:23]
  • "It is either God or Mammon" [Matthew 6:19-21,24]
  • "If you wish to follow Me you must deny your self and take up the cross" [Matthew 16:24].
A choice must be made.

If we have not felt the stress of making that choice lately, then we have been avoiding the Lord.

Chinese Janitor Saves 6 Babies

As an antidote to the last post about the Chinese revolution, I offer this story about a Chinese janitor at the temple of Qinglong in the Xian region of China.  The janitor at the temple, Ping Jingjiyan, over the course of 10 years found six abandoned babies.  Of the six, he found homes for three and adopted three of the baby girls himself. The story is about four years old, but inspiring nevertheless.
He has become known around the neighborhood as a foster grandpa and neighbors have begun donating money to buy clothes for the children.  The local school waived the tuition fee for the girls, as well.  And the janitor's wife, who was initially skeptical, has come around:
"Some people thought I was stupid to adopt abandoned babies. But I couldn't love them more as I see them grow up healthy," Pang said with a smile.
Pang's wife now supports her husband. "We ourselves are not well off and have got four children and two grandchildren. But now we take care of the three girls like our own children and even our neighbors don't treat them as strangers," she said.
This story really points out that the flame of love in humanity cannot be extinguished by any political regime.  We are all made in the image and likeness of our Creator and that cannot be erased by politicians.  Thank God for those in China who are willing to go against the tide of one child per family and make room for those who otherwise would have been abandoned.  God bless Ping Jingjiyan and his family.

For This They Light the Empire State Building

According to, a book that is about to be released on September 28th provides evidence that the regime of Mao Tse Tung in China was responsible for the deaths of 45 million Chinese citizens during a four year period.  Think about that..  45 MILLION PEOPLE.  The book by Frank Dikotter, is entitled Mao's Great Famine: The History of China's Most Devastating Catastrophe, 1958-1962.

Arifa Akbar of the UK Independent reports:
Speaking at The Independent Woodstock Literary Festival, Frank Dikötter, a Hong Kong-based historian, said he found that during the time that Mao was enforcing the Great Leap Forward in 1958, in an effort to catch up with the economy of the Western world, he was responsible for overseeing "one of the worst catastrophes the world has ever known".
Mr Dikötter, who has been studying Chinese rural history from 1958 to 1962, when the nation was facing a famine, compared the systematic torture, brutality, starvation and killing of Chinese peasants to the Second World War in its magnitude. At least 45 million people were worked, starved or beaten to death in China over these four years; the worldwide death toll of the Second World War was 55 million.
 Mr. Dikotter's research involved going through the actual Chinese archives which were reopened four years ago.  Interestingly, he is reported to be the only historian so far who has done so.  His research revealed the following:
 State retribution for tiny thefts, such as stealing a potato, even by a child, would include being tied up and thrown into a pond; parents were forced to bury their children alive or were doused in excrement and urine, others were set alight, or had a nose or ear cut off. One record shows how a man was branded with hot metal. People were forced to work naked in the middle of winter; 80 per cent of all the villagers in one region of a quarter of a million Chinese were banned from the official canteen because they were too old or ill to be effective workers, so were deliberately starved to death.
  So, let's think about this.  Lighting up the Empire State Building to honor Mother Teresa: bad.  Lighting up the Empire State Building to honor the communist Chinese revolution:  good.  Someone at Malkin properties needs to read this book.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Elderly Are a Blessing for Society

 One of the overlooked events in the pope's busy schedule in Scotland and England, was his visit to St. Peter's residence for the aged run by the Little Sisters of the Poor.  According to a CNA report,  the holy father called the growing population of elderly in the world as "a blessing for society"  and said that their care should be more a "repayment of a debt of gratitude" than a mere "act of generosity."

As someone who is blessed on a daily basis by contact with the elderly, I can say that gratitude and respect should be given to them more frequently.  Unfortunately,  in our youth oriented culture, we don't always take the time to learn from our elders or to respect their contribution to our families and to our world that has provided us with the lifestyle we enjoy today.

One group that will almost always hold our senior citizens in high regard are their grandchildren.  Grandparents and grandchildren share a special bond and the child who has a grandparent involved in his or her life has an invaluable treasure.  Grandparents have the time and the wisdom to lavish on a child and less of the burden of child rearing (although quite a few grandparents have that, as well).  And in addition to the gift of time, attention and encouragement, grandparents provide their families with the gift of prayer.

As the pope put it in his remarks, the late years of one's life "may well be among the most spiritually fruitful years of our lives...They can be years to remember loved ones in prayer and offer a lifetime of experiences to God.  This will surely be a great spiritual comfort and enable us to discover anew his love and goodness all the days of our life."

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Beatification of John Henry Newman - "I Want a Laity Not Arrogant..."

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, presided over the beatification of John Henry Newman in England today.  As both were professors and teachers of the faith, it seems that the pope and Blessed Newman have much in common.  One of the Newman quotes cited by the pope in his homily today jumped out at me:
"I want a laity, not arrogant, not rash in speech, not disputatious, but men who know their religion, who enter into it, who know just where they stand, who know what they hold and what they do not, who know their creed so well that they can give an account of it, who know so much of history that they can defend it" (The Present Position of Catholics in England, ix, 390).
 It echoes the words of St. Peter in his first letter: Always be ready to give an explanation to anyone who asks you for a reason for your hope...(1st Peter 3:15)

Not to entirely excuse my own sinfulness, but one of the reasons for my drifting away from the faith during college and early adulthood was the complete shipwreck that Catholic religious education had become in the late 1960s and 1970s.  Problems continue up to today, but hopefully those teaching the faith to children will first make sure that they are well educated themselves.  That way all of us will be able to provide an explanation for our hope and truly be able to defend the faith.

May Blessed John Henry Newman pray for all of us and especially for catechists and teachers of the faith.

Till Things Are Brighter, I'm The Man In Black

I'm back, dear Academicians! I know you all missed me (affirmative grunts and head nods would be appropriate [and consoling] at this point). Wait: You mean you didn't miss me? :-(

Well ... Your Assistant Headmaster has been laboring away for a week in the basement of the Academy's state-of-the-art Video Arts Facility.  I'm a little moldy and could use a meal, a shave, a bath, and some prayer!  But I'm alright!  As I pick off the mushrooms attached to my suit, please allow me to invite you to the Academy's latest screening!  

The Catholic Jedi Academy offers this brief video to honor all the holy, faithful, and credible Catholic Priests, the men in black, who sacrifice their lives, labors and time -- following the example of love taught by Our Great High Priest, Our Lord Jesus Christ -- to be good shepherds of His Holy People.

Sometime today, I hope you will pray for all of our hard-working, faithful priests -- the good guys, who dress in black. :-)

The Assistant Headmaster

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Who Would've Thought...

...that we'd see the flags of the Holy See lining the road to Buckingham Palace?

Confession - Call the Ambulance, We've Got an Emergency Here

At the risk of cribbing an entire post from the Anchoress ... I've been thinking a lot today about confession and why we need to go into the box one on one, say our sins out loud, say we're sorry, make a firm commitment to sin no more and to receive absolution from the priest.  Do go over to the Anchoress' blog and read about her beautiful experience in going to confession at the basilica of Saint John Lateran in Rome.  As she puts it, "I couldn’t help but think that confession there, in that incredibly holy and historic place, in a confessional that provided no shield (the booths are quiet open; everyone can see you confessing) would be grace-filled, and accepted as an act of complete trust in God’s protection, guidance and mercy."

One of the reasons that confession is weighing so heavy on my mind today is that I went to a mini-retreat this morning at a local church.  The priest gave a beautiful talk on the Eucharist and the need for quiet time spent in adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.  He also spoke of St. John Vianney and the many hours he spent hearing confessions.  At the end of his talk, one of the women in attendance asked why the bishops didn't permit general absolution.  Her line of thought went something like this: People are not receiving holy communion in a state of grace because they are not going to confession, because they are not going to confession and probably won't go to confession, wouldn't it be easier if before every Mass the priest had a mini-penance service and gave general absolution to the entire congregation.  Bingo!  The entire crowd is now in a state of grace and may receive communion worthily.

As a guest in the parish, I didn't want to create a ruckus, but I had to raise my hand and ask about how the requirement of contrition and a firm intent to sin no more were to be achieved with this type of  a mass clean up (no pun intended).  It's been nagging at me ever since.

In her post, the Anchoress points to a beautiful article by David Mills at Inside Catholic on the topic of confession.  Go over and read the entire article, but one of the things Mills points out is that confession should be a selling point for the Catholic church, not something that instills fear or anxiety.  How wonderful is our God.  He does not leave us on our own to work through our failings, but He gives us a sacrament, a direct line, and a confessor to shepherd us through and clearly and definitively give us absolution at the end.  We walk out of the confessional with the weight of the world removed from our shoulders.  There are no ifs, ands or buts about it.

In the article, David Mills talks about the experience a friend of his had with evangelical Protestants who yearn to have the gift we've been given:
A friend of mine recently spoke to the theology class at an Evangelical Protestant college. Both Catholic and Protestant friends had told him that the students would grill him about theological issues, particularly justification by faith, and he spent hours preparing himself to answer their questions. They didn't mention the subject at all: What they wanted to know about was confession, and more the practice and experience than the theology. They really wanted to know what you did and why you did it, and how it felt to tell some man what could be your deepest secrets. They approached my friend as sick people approach someone who's been cured of the same disease by an established but still alternative and fringe treatment.
One can guess the reason. Many people who believe they can simply pray to God and be forgiven, whatever they've done, long for the chance to tell someone out loud, someone who will then declare God's forgiveness and give them some penance, some way of expressing their sorrow and growing closer to God at the same time.
In his list of things the Church needs to do to bring about a resurgence in confession, he talks of the need to go back to calling it"confession" :
...we need to recover the use of the word "confession," while quietly dropping "the sacrament of reconciliation." We need to hear the blunt word, because, before everything else, we want to say, "I did this and I'm really sorry." That's the appeal of confession, the chance to get it all out in the open. To emphasize the result is a bit like renaming the emergency room the "healing center." It's true, but not as helpful or as encouraging as you'd think, particularly when you really have an emergency.
We're tough enough.  We can take it.  Sin is an emergency.  Its effects need to be removed.  No messing around here.  Call the ambulance.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Pope Encourages Unity Among Christians in England


The Holy Father seems to be winning over hearts and minds with his clear, gracious and uncompromising message of Christian truth.  Today he met with the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth Palace.  Watching the pope visit these sites that at one time were Catholic, brings history to life.  Lambeth Palace used to be the residence of the pope's own archbishop of Canterbury.  Today, sadly, it is a sign of Christian disunity.

The Holy Father ended the day at Westminster Abbey which had been a Catholic cathedral prior to the Reformation.  In his remarks, he spoke of the desire for Christian unity.  According to Catholic New Service,
The Holy Father told those present that there were two reasons for his pilgrimage to the abbey: "to pray before the tomb of Saint Edward the Confessor and to join you in imploring the gift of Christian unity."
Calling the impressive effect of the abbey a powerful reminder of the Christian faith that "shaped the unity and culture of Europe and the heart and spirit of the English people, he said: "Here too, we are forcibly reminded that what we share, in Christ, is greater than what continues to divide us."
 The pope spent some time in prayer before the tomb of the great saint and martyr, Saint Edward the Confessor and before leaving the abbey he stood on the same spot where St. Thomas More stood when he was condemned to death.

Full coverage of the pope's visit, as well as the texts of his talks and homilies, can be found at the EWTN website.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Saint Ninian and Saint Mungo - Aye Laddies!

 Pope Benedict arrived in Scotland today to begin his trip to the United Kingdom.  The trip will culminate with the beatification of Cardinal Newman, the famous Anglican convert.

In his homily, the Pope spoke to the Scots of their Catholic heritage, include the Saints Ninian and Mungo.  Who knew?  I love learning new things about our faith, including these saints who have faded into history.  Why do people have to try to come up with creative names for their children.  I'm sure if they dip into the lives of the saints, they'll find enough Christian names to fill the originality bill!

Here's a bit of the holy father's homily:
"Saint Ninian, whose feast we celebrate today, was himself unafraid to be a lone voice. In the footsteps of the disciples whom our Lord sent forth before him, Ninian was one of the very first Catholic missionaries to bring his fellow Britons the good news of Jesus Christ. His mission church in Galloway became a centre for the first evangelization of this country. That work was later taken up by Saint Mungo, Glasgow’s own patron, and by other saints, the greatest of whom must include Saint Columba and Saint Margaret. Inspired by them, many men and women have laboured over many centuries to hand down the faith to you. Strive to be worthy of this great tradition! Let the exhortation of Saint Paul in the first reading be your constant inspiration: “Do not lag in zeal, be ardent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering and persevere in prayer” (cf. Rom 12:11-12)."
  (btw, many of the naysayers were speculating that few would show up to support the pope.  Early reports say that the crowds were in excess of 100,000)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parents Suing Catholic School on Vaccine Requirement

Parents of a student at Kellenberg High School on Long Island are suing the school over a requirement that their son be vaccinated.  The basis of the case seems to be the parents' religious belief that God designed a perfect immune system and it should not be tinkered with.  Their argument includes the following:
"[W]e are all created in God's image," reads a letter the Polydors sent to the school on Feb. 13, according to the lawsuit. "Therefore, we must not defile our blood and our bodies with diseases and other impure substances. As the divine Architect, God designed our bodies to have immune systems that must not be defiled by vaccines. Immunizations are a violation of God's supreme authority, and therefore, unholy. Since immunizations are unholy they violate my religious beliefs."  (Fox News)

According to a spokeswoman for the New York State Department of Health, exemptions are given for religious beliefs, but not on an automatic basis.  The suit claims that the applicable law reads, "children whose parent, parents, or guardian hold genuine and sincere religious beliefs which are contrary to the practices herein required, and no certificate shall be required as a prerequisite to such children being admitted or received into school or attending school"

I'm not sure if I'm convinced by the argument that God created the perfect immune system, so we shouldn't be defiled with "impure substances."  Original sin seems to have messed up a lot of the "perfection" in God's creation and we rely on doctors and medicine to help us out.  But, I'm wondering if another argument wouldn't be better.  The argument that we shouldn't be forced to immunize our children with vaccinations that contain the cells of aborted fetuses.  Hopefully it would satisfy the burden of a sincere religious belief that would warrant an exemption, especially with a Catholic school.

We previously did a post on the topic of the standard use of aborted fetal cells in vaccines. In addition to the immorality of using those cells, there seems to be a substantiated connection with the rise in autism.  Maybe if the Catholic schools granted exemptions for vaccines using these cells, there would be  a groundswell demanding research into alternatives.  Up until now it seems like everyone is just looking the other way and ignoring the moral issue.  I'm not a scientist, but the evidence seems to be significant enough to warrant further study.  Stay tuned to see how this lawsuit turns out.

Our Lady of Sorrows

Today is the feast of Our Lady of Sorrows.

Seven Promises to Those who Meditate on
Our Lady's Tears and Dolors
According to St. Bridget of Sweden

The Blessed Virgin grants seven graces to the souls who honor her daily by saying seven Hail Marys while meditating on her tears and dolors:

1. "I will grant peace to their families."

2. "They will be enlightened about the Divine Mysteries."

3. "I will console them in their pains and I will accompany them in their work."

4. "I will give them as much as they ask for as long as it does not oppose the adorable will of my Divine Son or the sanctification of their souls."

5. "I will defend them in their spiritual battles with the infernal enemy and I will protect them at every instant of their lives."

6. "I will visibly help them at the moment of their death--they will see the face of their mother."

7. "I have obtained this grace from my divine Son, that those who propagate this devotion to my tears and dolors will be taken directly from this earthly life to eternal happiness, since all their sins will be forgiven and my Son will be their eternal consolation and joy."

The Seven Sorrows of Mary

The prophecy of Holy Simeon.

The flight into Egypt.

The loss of the Child Jesus in the temple for three days.

The meeting of Jesus and Mary on the Way of the Cross.

The Crucifixion.

The taking down of the Body of Jesus from the Cross.

The burial of Jesus

Submitted For Your Approval...

Greetings, Academicians,
and welcome to the Catholic Jedi Academy Zone.
Submitted for your approval:
a cavalcade of cockeyed images
 -- a series of strange portraits -- 
-- a photo album from the land of the bizarre -- 
(had enough yet?) ... .
And so,
without our comments or judgements,
behold the following images in their strangeness.
If you are inspired to create an annotation
or a particularly pithy caption
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(F.Y.I.: Taken at an Anglican gathering.)
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An advanced warning, O Academicians:
You may see the essence of this post
distilled into new presentations
in subsequent Academy scriptings,
 -- as you have sensed --
are completely for your entertainment!

The Assistant Headmaster

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Thank You. You Are Our Treasure.

Kathryn Jean Lopez of National Review reminds us of the ongoing sacrifices of those who have been fighting to keep us safe in the nine years since 9/11:
"Many Americans have put their lives on the line in response to that attack on our country nine years ago today. Some of them have died. Many Americans have sacrificed. Family members have been separated. Family members have died.

Thank you. You are our treasure."

"We Should Get More Chaplains Here"

Those were the words of FDNY Chief Sal Cassano to Father Mychal Judge when he ran into him on the street on 9/11. In an interview with the NY Daiy News today, Chief Cassano relates:
"As the towers burned, I ran into Father Mychal Judge on the street," said Cassano, quietly recalling the FDNY's late chaplain. "I said to him, 'I think we're going to need a lot of help here today,' " said Cassano, who asked Judge to pray. "I said, 'We should get more chaplains here.' "

Judge was killed minutes later. Within the hour, most of the FDNY's senior leadership was wiped out.  (Read the full interview at the Daily News)
May we always remember those who gave their life that day, those who perished at the site and in Pennsylvania and the Pentagon, and those who continue to put themselves in harm's way to keep us safe.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

343 - Remembering Father Mychal Judge and those Who Perished on 9/11

The number "343" refers to the number of firemen lost on 9/11 as a result of the attack on the World Trade Center. It is an awful number to contemplate. An almost unbelievable number. Those men, weighted down with their gear, walked into a scene of carnage, smoke and fire in order to rescue 20,000 people. 20,000 people with whom they had no relation of blood or marriage or even friendship. 20,000 people for whom they were willing to jeopardize and ultimately sacrifice their lives in order to save.

Last Sunday, I had the privilege of walking with two dear friends along with members of the FDNY, NYPD and others groups from St. Francis of Assisi Church in midtown Manhattan to St. Peter's Church at Ground Zero. St. Peter's Church was the temporary resting place for the body of Father Mychal Judge, the FDNY chaplain who was killed while ministering to the firemen and others at the scene of the attack. The walk is organized every year by friends of Father Judge, including detective Steven McDonald, who are dedicated to preserving his memory and the memory of those who made the ultimate sacrifice on that terrible day.

The morning began with the Rosary and Mass. There is no escaping the fact that the faith of these men and their families plays a part in shaping their dedication and the sacrificial nature of their job. In a society that is drifting more and more into selfish self absorption, the witness of men who are willing to pull together as a team, not as individuals, and risk their lives in order to save others is a sign of hope for us all. The fact that they even have chaplains to minister to them shows that they understand the fragile nature of our hold on this world and the clear conviction that there is something and someone beyond.

The walk stopped at firehouses, at a police precinct and at a tribute to Port Authority police officers along the way. At each stop, the names of those who perished were read aloud. I couldn't help but look at the faces of the firemen on duty we saw along the way, so many of them so very young, and think of the faces of those who were lost. May their souls rest in the eternal peace of the Lord and may their families be consoled, especially as we approach this 9th anniversary of that terrible day.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Beautiful Girl

Chiara Luce Badano, who died in 1999  at the age of 18, is to be beatified in Rome on September 25th.  Read this excerpt from the Denver Catholic  Register to find out why:

"Sometimes we’d prefer that our lives be a different story than the one God seems to be writing.  In our fragile existence it doesn’t take much to turn a romance into a drama, or an adventure into a tragedy.  At a glance, the story of Chiara Badano—an only child conceived after 11 years of marriage, who died at 18 after a bout with a painful form of bone cancer—looks like an empty tragedy, but not from the perspective of the Divine Author.  
Chiara seemed to have everything going for her as a teen.  She had a loving, holy family and a rock solid faith that was nurtured by retreats and youth ministry programs.  She was popular amongst her friends and was liked by boys.  It’s not hard to see why.  She was beautiful.  Chiara loved to hang out in coffee shops.  She was great at tennis, swimming and mountain climbing.  Her outgoing personality and adventurous spirit made her dream of becoming a flight attendant.  Chiara had a bright life ahead of her.  

Chiara’s joy was explosive and it only increased with her suffering.  After one very pain-filled night she said, “I suffered a lot, but my soul was singing.”  Google pictures of her on her death bed.  Her eyes look like pools reflecting the glory of heaven.  One of her doctors remarked, “Through her smile, and through her eyes full of light, she showed us that death doesn’t exist; only life exists.”  Cardinal Saldarini heard of this amazing teen and visited her in the hospital.  Awestruck, he said, “The light in your eyes is splendid. Where does it come from?”  Chiara’s reply was simple:  “I try to love Jesus as much as I can.”
One day while playing tennis, Chiara experienced excruciating pain in her shoulder.  Shortly afterwards she was diagnosed with osteogenic sarcoma.  She watched her bright future slip away.  But it’s here that the real story of her life begins—the story of heroic virtue. ..

During one of her many hospital stays Chiara took walks with a depressed, drug-dependent girl, despite the pain of walking from the huge growth on her spine.  When she was encouraged to stop and rest she said, “I’ll have time to rest later.”  Ever thinking of others, she said, “I have nothing left, but I still have my heart, and with that I can always love.” 
Chiara requested to be buried in a wedding gown.  As the end of her short life drew near she told her mother, “When you’re getting me ready, Mum, you have to keep saying to yourself, ‘Chiara Luce is now seeing Jesus.’”
She died on Oct. 7, 1990.  Her parents and friends were with her.  Her last words were: “Goodbye. Be happy because I’m happy.” 
Speaker and author Christopher Stefanick is director of Youth, Young Adult and Campus Ministry for the Denver Archdiocese. Visit

Happy Birthday Blessed Mother!

Today is September 8th, the Nativity of Mary.  One of the great things about the Church calendar is that even when things are winding down in the secular world, the Church always gives you something to celebrate.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Fewer - Part Eight

If Pope Benedict's 1969 "prophecy" is truly coming to pass, and you and I -- and those coming after us for the unforeseeable future -- are to be a Faithful Remnant Catholic Church, then God's advice to the Israelite Remnant, spoken by Jeremiah the prophet in 588 BC, is advice we must seriously accept and apply to ourselves as Remnant Catholics in 2010 and beyond: 
"If you remain quietly in this land I will build you up, and not tear you down; I will plant you, not uproot you; ... Do not fear ... says the LORD, for I am with you to save you, to rescue you from his power.  I will grant you mercy ..." Jeremiah 42:18-19. 
The Church-As-Remnant would not be some sort of colossal failure or cruel punishment from the Hand of God.  Recall, Academicians, our consideration concerns Christ purifying His Bride, the Church.  Purification is not punishment!  
Purification is a healing -- a spiritual process, an individual and collective interior event within the heart and soul of each member, and in the communal life and mission all the members share in.  Spiritual purification produces clarity by crystalizing -- making definite, unmistakable and desirable -- all that is true, lovely, and holy,  so these may be set free from surrounding corruption and interference, and strengthened so they may flourish and increase. Saint Paul, always a man ahead of his time, told the nervous Philippians:
"Rejoice in the Lord always. I shall say it again: rejoice! Your kindness should be known to all. 
The Lord is near. Have no anxiety at all, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with 
thanksgiving, make your requests known to God. Then the peace of God that surpasses all 
understanding will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, 

whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything 
worthy of praise, think about these things.   Keep on doing what you have learned and received 
and heard and seen in me. Then the God of peace will be with you."
                                Saint Paul's Letter To The Philippians 4:1-9

Back in 1969, Father Ratzinger / Pope Benedict XVI envisioned something wonderful and exciting emerging from what may be a difficult process of purification and pruning.  He wrote, "From this interiorized and simplified Church, a great force will pour out. The men of an [artificially] planned world will feel unspeakably isolated. When God will seem to have totally disappeared for them, they will experience a complete and horrible poverty. And then they will discover the small community of those who believe... ."  And they will discover the Church as something entirely new to them, a reality previously unfamiliar to them. The Remnant Church will be a light gleaming into their darkness, guiding them out of isolation and spiritual and moral destitution.  
The Faithful comprising the Remnant Catholic Church will share experiences similar to those which the Infant Church community experienced between 33 and 100 AD:  Being eyewitnesses to a new work accomplished by the Holy Spirit, and to the proclamation of the Gospel to people living in darkness and the slavery of sin.  And -- possibly(?), probably(?) -- some persecution, as well. 
During his General Audience on November 12, 2008, Pope Benedict XVI spoke about Saint Paul and our Catholic Faith concerning the Parousia (the Second and Final Coming Of Christ, the end of the world, and the final triumph of the Kingdom Of God) in a talk called, Eschatology: The Expectation Of The Parousia.  While our Series on a possible Remnant Church isn't intended to include an exploration of Eschatology (the branch of systematic theology which deals with the doctrines of the last things -- death, Judgement, Purgatory, Hell, and Heaven), we must realize that there is a direct connection between the Church (remnant or not) and Christ's Final Coming.  
In Pope Benedict's teaching on this, the bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed Academicians among you will recognize a mindset which will be in direct opposition to the fruits of purification in Benedict's 1969 "prophecy"!  Benedict gently indicates the anti-fruit:
... [L]et us ask ourselves: what are the basic convictions of Christians as regards the last things: death, the end of the world? Their first conviction is the certainty that Jesus is Risen and is with the Father and thus is with us forever. And no one is stronger than Christ, for he is with the Father, he is with us. We are consequently safe, free of fear. This was an essential effect of Christian preaching. Fear of spirits and divinities was widespread in the ancient world. Today too, missionaries alongside many good elements in natural religions encounter fear of the spirits, of evil powers that threaten us. Christ lives, he has overcome death, he has overcome all these powers. We live in this certainty, in this freedom, and in this joy. This is the first aspect of our living with regard to the future.
The second [conviction] is the certainty that Christ is with me. And just as the future world in Christ has already begun, this also provides the certainty of hope. The future is not darkness in which no one can find his way. It is not like this. Without Christ, even today the world's future is dark, and fear of the future is so common. Christians know that Christ's light is stronger and therefore they live with a hope that is not vague, with a hope that gives them certainty and courage to face the future ...  [W]e realize that God is the true Judge. We are also certain that this Judge is good; we know his Face, the Face of the Risen Christ, of Christ crucified for us. Therefore we can be certain of his goodness and advance with great courage.
Aye, there's the rub! Did you catch it?

What are the most effective, diabolical tools to use against a Remnant Church in a world that is increasingly apathetic to Christianity?  Pessimism and fear!

In our exploration of the notion that the Catholic Church is being purified / trimmed by the Lord to exist in the future as a Remnant Church, pessimism and fear about the future are misplaced and useless -- and to be avoided.  

To Be Continued . . .

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!

Men of The Catholic Jedi Academy are also Men Of Saint Joseph!
Take a moment and visit the MOSJ website.