April 2005 Archives

Misogyny alert

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Beliefnet profiles woman-hating Pope's right-hand woman.

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JP2 Memorial

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Blogger Jeffrey Lloyd assembled an impressive collection of editorial cartoons commemorating the late Pope John Paul the great. Some of them are quite moving, and I think it's great that some of the images are repeated. It's evidence of the impact he left in people's minds and hearts.

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Terri Schiavo's last moments

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More for Cub Fans

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Did you know Ryno writes a column for Yahoo sports?

Also, if you're in the Champaign area, Hall of Famer Fergie Jenkins will be at Home Depot on Saturday signing autographs.

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A blog you should be reading


I think I've mentioned this before, but Wesley J Smith has a blog and you should read it. He is an excellent bioethicist and defender of human life. Please check him out.

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Britain gives thumbs up to designer babies.

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Link theft


For the wifey: Solzhenitsyn: Men Have Forgotten God.

Swiped from Father Sibley.

Stealing links is OK if done for love.

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Good stuff from Sandro Magister

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ROMA, April 28, 2005 – On Sunday, April 24, Benedict XVI inaugurated his “Petrine ministry as bishop of Rome” in the sunlight of a Saint Peter’s Square overflowing with crowds.

But his first intention was different. He had wanted to celebrate his first solemn mass as pope, not in the square, but inside the basilica of Saint Peter. “Because there the architecture better directs the attention toward Christ, instead of the pope,” he told the masters of ceremonies on Wednesday, April 20, his first full day as the elected pope. Only the immense number of faithful who were coming induced him to change his mind and celebrate the mass outdoors.

It gets better. Benedict is steeped in the liturgy, and has already begun his papacy by setting a liturgical example for the church. He as already made clear that the Eucharist will be at the heart of his papal ministry. Go read it here.

There's also a nice little piece at the bottom of the linked page about Dominus Iesus. The Pope repeated it's central message in his installation homily and the Gospel reading for that day contained: “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by me.”

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The "Married Parent Gap"

The 2004 election revealed a striking gap in the political leanings of people who are married with children: They favored the Republican, President George W. Bush, over the Democrat, Sen. John Kerry, by nearly 20 percentage points -- 59 percent to 40 percent. This married parent gap must now take its place in the popular political lexicon alongside previously established voter gaps such as the gender gap (in which women generally lean Democratic and men lean Republican) and the race gap (in which minorities lean heavily Democratic and whites lean heavily Republican)."

BobG has the story.

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Good read


Amy Welborn blogs a great homily on the new Pope.

St. Paul had to discipline with strong words the early Christian community at Corinth for its factions, when some were saying, “I am for Apollos”, others, “I am for Paul”, others still, “I am for Cephas.” He asked them: “has Christ been parceled out that you cry out such slogans?” Today he might well have asked the same, “has Peter been parceled out, that some of you are saying, ‘I am for Martini’, ‘I am for Daneels’, ‘I am for Ratzinger’?” We should all be for Peter, this Peter, because this Peter is for Christ and Christ is for the Father!

Go read the whole thing.

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Peoria celebratory Mass

The Catholic faithful broke into applause immediately after Bishop Daniel Jenky thundered out the words: "Long live the Pope!"

More than 200 laity and about 60 priests gathered at St. Mary's Cathedral on Monday night to celebrate a special Mass of Thanksgiving for Pope Benedict XVI, who officially began his papal reign Sunday.

Outside the cathedral, a yellow and white banner - the official papal colors - flapped in the gusting winds, and the bells tolled as parishioners streamed into the special service.

Full story from the Peoria Journal Star.

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For all you 80s Cubs fans

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Exploding German toads

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Stoopid is as stoopid rights


University of Oregon student newspaper editors make asses of themselves.

So far there are five comments on the page (oooh... look at that second one!), all lambasting them for shoddy reporting and lack of serious research on their basic arguments.

I think maybe the editors should take their own advice.

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In other news....

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Rap is poisoning our children


Two articles in the past two days talk about rap and its descent:

The first is by Martha Bayles in today's Opinion Journal: Heedful Hip Hop

Bayles describes rising anti-rap sentiment in black communities and on a wider scale. The best part is watching feminist academics try to wiggle their way around criticizing rap music's blatant degradation of women.

At the University of Chicago conference, "Feminism and Hip Hop," the focus was on "crunk," the Atlanta-based style of rap that casts black men as pimps and black women as strippers and "ho's." Some speakers--notably Ms. Bailey from Spelman and Joan Moore from Essence--used the language of morality when describing how crunk degrades women. But when the academic feminists weighed in, moral revulsion got bracketed as naive, and we groundlings were instructed to view "Tip Drill" as part of a "hegemonic intertextuality" in which "the structures of racism, patriarchy, heterosexism and advanced consumer capitalism" are "embedded" or "inscribed" (I forget which).

This sort of thing may sustain graduate students through long Chicago winters, but it is not going to advance the anticrunk cause. For one thing, academic feminism rejects something most people hold dear, the traditional family. As one earnest graduate student put it, the late Tupac Shakur was a true artist because his lyrics "cut against the grain of the normative family," an institution she clearly regarded as the root of all patriarchal evil.

Anything is OK, you see, as long as it fights against the system.

The second touches only slightly on hip-hop in a broader attack on the sexualization of childrens' everyday environments.

In Monday's National Review Online: an excerpt from Gil Reavill's book, Smut: A Sex-Industry Insider (and Concerned Father) Says Enough is Enough.

I'm not particularly interested in the book, but this excerpt is a pretty sobering look at what unsupervised children encounter on a daily basis. Also, since certain societal elements refuse to listen to "religious nutjobs" when they raise questions about the culture, maybe they'll listen to a pornographer.

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Who? ME?!!?

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An email I received today. I know others around St. Blogs have already been contacted.

To Whom It May Concern:

The United States Library of Congress preserves the Nation's cultural artifacts and provides enduring access to them. The Library's traditional functions, acquiring, cataloging, preserving and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and to the American people to foster education and scholarship, extend to digital materials, including Web sites. The Library has selected your site for inclusion in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the death of Pope John Paul II and the election of a new Pope, and we request your permission to collect and display your Web site.

The following URL has been selected:


The Library of Congress or its agent will engage in the collection of content from your Web site at regular intervals. The Library will make this collection available to researchers onsite at Library facilities. The Library also wishes to make the collection available to offsite researchers by hosting the collection on the Library's public access Web site. The Library hopes that you share its vision of preserving Web materials about the death of Pope John Paul II and permitting researchers from across the world to access them.

I've always found it mildly amusing that people out there might care what I have to say about anything. Today, I am flabbergasted.

Mama-Lu says: "You should go back and put pictures of Matthew on all the posts!"

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Is Benedict bringing back Latin?

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Beliefnet reports and includes this crazy story from Germany:

In Germany, once a great bastion of the classics, Internet help for Latin learners has even triggered legal battles.

A 15-year old boy has caused the ire of textbook publishers by placing his own translations of the Latin classics online to be downloaded by others.

For while Cesar's De Bellum Gallicum clearly does not benefit from copyright protection, abbreviated schoolbook versions of such texts do. And so one publisher is suing him for copyright infringements and causing his company severe economic harm.

Moreover, the publisher accused him of "advanced criminal energy" -- and threatened to have him dragged before a criminal court.
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Why Benedict?


Today the Pope held his first Wednesday general audience. Here is the Vatican translation of his message:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

It is with great joy that I welcome you and also greet those following this audience through radio and television. After the holy death of my beloved predecessor, Pope John Paul II, I come before you today for my first General Audience. Filled with sentiments of awe and thanksgiving, I wish to speak of why I chose the name Benedict. Firstly, I remember Pope Benedict XV, that courageous prophet of peace, who guided the Church through turbulent times of war. In his footsteps I place my ministry in the service of reconciliation and harmony between peoples. Additionally, I recall Saint Benedict of Norcia, co-patron of Europe, whose life evokes the Christian roots of Europe. I ask him to help us all to hold firm to the centrality of Christ in our Christian life: May Christ always take first place in our thoughts and actions!

I extend a special welcome to the English-speaking pilgrims here today, including groups from England, Wales, Ireland, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Australia, Vietnam, India, Pakistan, Singapore and the United States of America. Thank you for the affection with which you have greeted me. Upon all of you, I invoke the peace and joy of Jesus Christ our Lord!

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Pope Benedict XVI on the missionary mandate


From Vatican Information Services. Here is the full text of the address from Zenit.


VATICAN CITY, APR 26, 2005 (VIS) - Yesterday evening, Pope Benedict XVI made his first trip outside the Vatican when he visited the basilica of St. Paul's Outside-the-Walls in southern Rome in order to demonstrate the Church of Rome's inseparable bond with the Apostle to the Gentiles. Thirty-five cardinals and representatives from other Christian confessions were present for the ceremony.

The Pope greeted and blessed the thousands of people who filled the basilica, pausing to kiss a number of children.

At the beginning of the ceremony, the Holy Father addressed those present using the words of St. Paul's Letter to the Romans (1: 1-6, 8-9, 11-12, 14-15). Then, after venerating the tomb of the Apostle, he delivered the homily.

Benedict XVI affirmed that his visit represented "a much longed-for pilgrimage, a gesture of faith that I undertake in my own name, but also in the name of the dear diocese of Rome, of which the Lord has made me bishop and pastor, and in that of the Universal Church which is entrusted to my pastoral care. A pilgrimage, so to speak, at the roots of the mission, the mission that the risen Christ entrusted to Peter, to the Apostles, and in a particular way also to Paul, urging him to announce the Gospel to the people until he reached this city where, after having long preached the Kingdom of God, he gave with his own blood the final witness to the Lord, who had 'conquered' and sent him."

After highlighting the fact that, as Peter's successor, he had come to the basilica "to revitalize in faith this 'grace of the apostolate'," about which the Apostle speaks, Benedict XVI recalled the example of John Paul II, "a missionary Pope, whose intense activity, as witnessed by more than 100 apostolic trips outside Italy, is truly inimitable. What impelled him to such dynamism if not that same love of Christ that transformed the existence of St Paul? May the Lord also nourish such a love in me, that I do not hold back before the urgent need of announcing the Gospel in the world today. The Church is missionary by nature, her primary task is evangelization."

"At the beginning of the third millennium the Church feels with renewed vitality that Christ's missionary mandate is more imperative than ever," said the Pope. Recalling the motto used by St. Benedict in his Rule, exhorting his monks "to put nothing before the love of Christ," the Holy Father emphasized that "the passion for Christ brought (St. Paul) to preach the Gospel not only with words but with life itself, ever more conformed to his Lord. In the end St. Paul announced Christ through martyrdom, and with his blood - together with that of St. Peter and of so many other witnesses to the Gospel - he bathed this land and made fruitful the Church of Rome, which presides over the universal communion of charity."

Pope Benedict XVI stressed that "the twentieth century was a time of martyrdom. This was much emphasized by Pope John Paul II who asked the Church 'to update the Martyrologium,' and who canonized and beatified numerous martyrs of modern history. If then, the blood of martyrs is the seed of new Christians, at the beginning of the third millennium we may expect a new flowering of the Church, especially where she suffered most for the faith and the witness of the Gospel."

"We entrust this desire to the intercession of St. Paul. May he obtain for the Church of Rome - especially her new bishop and all the people of God - the joy of announcing and bearing witness to the Good News of Christ the Savior."
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Installation Mass

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Is this the best pic or what?

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Interview with Cardinal George

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I don't think I've mentioned this since my previous blog, btu the Chicago Sun Times has the worst religion writer.

She writes for a major newspaper in a major American metropolis, and these are the best questions she can manage when she gets to sit down with Cardinal George in Rome for an interview. I can't believe they sent her of all people to Rome to cover this.

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More Weigel on Benedict XVI


God bless George Weigel. Has anybody else done more to defuse medis disinformation on the new Pope?

Here he is in this week's Newsweek.

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Fulton Sheen's cause


The Pantagraph reported Monday on the progress of Fulton Sheen's cause for sainthod.

The report states that his cause will likely be held up because of the death of John Paul II, but I don't see why that would be. Sure, there may be some administrative delays during the transition, but it's not like these things normally speed along anyway. They could be referring to what others have hinted at: that Benedict XVI may not be as prolific in his beatifications and canonizations as his predecessor, but that's not actually said in the article.

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Benedict the Augustinian


From last week's Opinion Journal: You Have to Love a Pope Who Loves St. Augustine

How could I not read it with a title like that?

A glimpse:

Augustine [vs. Aquinas] is the more mystical personality, closer in some ways to the "new age" impulses of our times. In the writings of Augustine, arguably the most complex mind Christianity has produced, the exercise of deep faith carries with it the possibility of what I would call a "high" experience in one's pursuit of and relationship to God. That was the Church of the 5th century. In our time, religion has become freighted with correct politics (the Left) or correct morality (the Right), rather than the substance of one's relationship with God.

I get the impression that Joseph Ratzinger--who reveres the early, transcendent Church Fathers (its "founding fathers")--is at heart more a vibrant 5th-century Christian than a stale 19th-century dogmatist; as conceivably was John Paul II, who often let himself slip into an Upward-directed reverie in public. In short, Benedict XVI looks to be very different from the stolid, authoritarian German described this week in the public prints.
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The Shepherd and the Fisherman

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Here is the English translation of the homily delivered by Pope Benedict XVI at his installation, courtesy of Vatican Information Service:

"Your Eminences, my dear brother bishops and priests, distinguished authorities and members of the diplomatic corps, dear brothers and sisters.

During these days of great intensity, we have chanted the litany of the saints on three different occasions: at the funeral of our Holy Father John Paul II; as the cardinals entered the conclave; and again today, when we sang it with the response: 'Tu illum adiuva' - sustain the new Successor of Saint Peter. On each occasion, in a particular way, I found great consolation in listening to this prayerful chant. How alone we all felt after the passing of John Paul II - the Pope who for over twenty-six years had been our shepherd and guide on our journey through life! He crossed the threshold of the next life, entering into the mystery of God. But he did not take this step alone. Those who believe are never alone - neither in life nor in death. At that moment, we could call upon the Saints from every age - his friends, his brothers and sisters in the faith - knowing that they would form a living procession to accompany him into the next world, into the glory of God. We knew that his arrival was awaited. Now we know that he is among his own and is truly at home.

"We were also consoled as we made our solemn entrance into conclave, to elect the one whom the Lord had chosen. How would we be able to discern his name? How could 115 bishops, from every culture and every country, discover the one on whom the Lord wished to confer the mission of binding and loosing? Once again, we knew that we were not alone, we knew that we were surrounded, led and guided by the friends of God. And now, at this moment, weak servant of God that I am, I must assume this enormous task, which truly exceeds all human capacity. How can I do this? How will I be able to do it? All of you, my dear friends, have just invoked the entire host of saints, represented by some of the great names in the history of God's dealings with mankind. In this way, I too can say with renewed conviction: I am not alone. I do not have to carry alone what in truth I could never carry alone. All the Saints of God are there to protect me, to sustain me and to carry me. And your prayers, my dear friends, your indulgence, your love, your faith and your hope accompany me. Indeed, the communion of saints consists not only of the great men and women who went before us and whose names we know. All of us belong to the communion of saints, we who have been baptized in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, we who draw life from the gift of Christ's Body and Blood, through which He transforms us and makes us like Himself.

"Yes, the Church is alive - this is the wonderful experience of these days. During those sad days of the Pope's illness and death, it became wonderfully evident to us that the Church is alive. And the Church is young. She holds within herself the future of the world and therefore shows each of us the way towards the future. The Church is alive and we are seeing it: we are experiencing the joy that the Risen Lord promised His followers. The Church is alive - she is alive because Christ is alive, because He is truly risen. In the suffering that we saw on the Holy Father's face in those days of Easter, we contemplated the mystery of Christ's Passion and we touched His wounds. But throughout these days we have also been able, in a profound sense, to touch the Risen One. We have been able to experience the joy that He promised, after a brief period of darkness, as the fruit of His resurrection.

"The Church is alive - with these words, I greet with great joy and gratitude all of you gathered here, my venerable brother cardinals and bishops, my dear priests, deacons, Church workers, catechists. I greet you, men and women religious, witnesses of the transfiguring presence of God. I greet you, members of the lay faithful, immersed in the great task of building up the Kingdom of God which spreads throughout the world, in every area of life. With great affection I also greet all those who have been reborn in the Sacrament of Baptism but are not yet in full communion with us; and you, my brothers and sisters of the Jewish people, to whom we are joined by a great shared spiritual heritage, one rooted in God's irrevocable promises. Finally, like a wave gathering force, my thoughts go out to all men and women of today, to believers and non-believers alike.

"Dear friends! At this moment there is no need for me to present a program of governance. I was able to give an indication of what I see as my task in my Message of Wednesday April 20, and there will be other opportunities to do so. My real program of governance is not to do my own will, not to pursue my own ideas, but to listen, together with the whole Church, to the word and the will of the Lord, to be guided by Him, so that He Himself will lead the Church at this hour of our history. Instead of putting forward a program, I should simply like to comment on the two liturgical symbols which represent the inauguration of the Petrine Ministry; both these symbols, moreover, reflect clearly what we heard proclaimed in today's readings.

"The first symbol is the pallium, woven in pure wool, which will be placed on my shoulders. This ancient sign, which the bishops of Rome have worn since the fourth century, may be considered an image of the yoke of Christ, which the bishop of this city, the Servant of the Servants of God, takes upon his shoulders. God's yoke is God's will, which we accept. And this will does not weigh down on us, oppressing us and taking away our freedom. To know what God wants, to know where the path of life is found - this was Israel's joy, this was her great privilege. It is also our joy: God's will does not alienate us, it purifies us - even if this can be painful - and so it leads us to ourselves. In this way, we serve not only Him, but the salvation of the whole world, of all history.

"The symbolism of the pallium is even more concrete: the lamb's wool is meant to represent the lost, sick or weak sheep which the shepherd places on his shoulders and carries to the waters of life. For the Fathers of the Church, the parable of the lost sheep, which the shepherd seeks in the desert, was an image of the mystery of Christ and the Church. The human race - every one of us - is the sheep lost in the desert which no longer knows the way. The Son of God will not let this happen; He cannot abandon humanity in so wretched a condition. He leaps to his feet and abandons the glory of heaven, in order to go in search of the sheep and pursue it, all the way to the Cross. He takes it upon His shoulders and carries our humanity; He carries us all - He is the good shepherd who lays down His life for the sheep. What the pallium indicates first and foremost is that we are all carried by Christ. But at the same time it invites us to carry one another. Hence the pallium becomes a symbol of the shepherd's mission, of which the second reading and the Gospel speak. The pastor must be inspired by Christ's holy zeal: for him it is not a matter of indifference that so many people are living in the desert. And there are so many kinds of desert. There is the desert of poverty, the desert of hunger and thirst, the desert of abandonment, of loneliness, of destroyed love. There is the desert of God's darkness, the emptiness of souls no longer aware of their dignity or the goal of human life. The external deserts in the world are growing, because the internal deserts have become so vast. Therefore the earth's treasures no longer serve to build God's garden for all to live in, but they have been made to serve the powers of exploitation and destruction. The Church as a whole and all her pastors, like Christ, must set out to lead people out of the desert, towards the place of life, towards friendship with the Son of God, towards the One who gives us life, and life in abundance.

"The symbol of the lamb also has a deeper meaning. In the ancient Near East, it was customary for kings to style themselves shepherds of their people. This was an image of their power, a cynical image: to them their subjects were like sheep, which the shepherd could dispose of as he wished. When the shepherd of all humanity, the living God, Himself became a lamb, He stood on the side of the lambs, with those who are downtrodden and killed. This is how He reveals Himself to be the true shepherd: 'I am the Good Shepherd . . . I lay down my life for the sheep,' Jesus says of Himself (Jn 10:14ff). It is not power, but love that redeems us! This is God's sign: He Himself is love. How often we wish that God would make show Himself stronger, that He would strike decisively, defeating evil and creating a better world. All ideologies of power justify themselves in exactly this way, they justify the destruction of whatever would stand in the way of progress and the liberation of humanity. We suffer on account of God's patience. And yet, we need His patience. God, Who became a lamb, tells us that the world is saved by the Crucified One, not by those who crucified Him. The world is redeemed by the patience of God. It is destroyed by the impatience of man.

"One of the basic characteristics of a shepherd must be to love the people entrusted to him, even as he loves Christ whom he serves. 'Feed my sheep.' says Christ to Peter, and now, at this moment, He says it to me as well. Feeding means loving, and loving also means being ready to suffer. Loving means giving the sheep what is truly good, the nourishment of God's truth, of God's word, the nourishment of His presence, which He gives us in the blessed Sacrament. My dear friends - at this moment I can only say: pray for me, that I may learn to love the Lord more and more. Pray for me, that I may learn to love His flock more and more - in other words, you, the holy Church, each one of you and all of you together. Pray for me, that I may not flee for fear of the wolves. Let us pray for one another, that the Lord will carry us and that we will learn to carry one another.

"The second symbol used in today's liturgy to express the inauguration of the Petrine ministry is the presentation of the fisherman's ring. Peter's call to be a shepherd, which we heard in the Gospel, comes after the account of a miraculous catch of fish: after a night in which the disciples had let down their nets without success, they see the Risen Lord on the shore. He tells them to let down their nets once more, and the nets become so full that they can hardly pull them in; 153 large fish: 'and although there were so many, the net was not torn' (Jn 21:11). This account, coming at the end of Jesus' earthly journey with His disciples, corresponds to an account found at the beginning: there too, the disciples had caught nothing the entire night; there too, Jesus had invited Simon once more to put out into the deep. And Simon, who was not yet called Peter, gave the wonderful reply: 'Master, at your word I will let down the nets.' And then came the conferral of his mission: 'Do not be afraid. Henceforth you will be catching men' (Lk 5:1-11). Today too the Church and the successors of the Apostles are told to put out into the deep sea of history and to let down the nets, so as to win men and women over to the Gospel - to God, to Christ, to true life. The Fathers made a very significant commentary on this singular task. This is what they say: for a fish, created for water, it is fatal to be taken out of the sea, to be removed from its vital element to serve as human food. But in the mission of a fisher of men, the reverse is true. We are living in alienation, in the salt waters of suffering and death; in a sea of darkness without light. The net of the Gospel pulls us out of the waters of death and brings us into the splendor of God's light, into true life. It is really true: as we follow Christ in this mission to be fishers of men, we must bring men and women out of the sea that is salted with so many forms of alienation and onto the land of life, into the light of God.

"It is really so: the purpose of our lives is to reveal God to men. And only where God is seen does life truly begin. Only when we meet the living God in Christ do we know what life is. We are not some casual and meaningless product of evolution. Each of us is the result of a thought of God. Each of us is willed, each of us is loved, each of us is necessary. There is nothing more beautiful than to be surprised by the Gospel, by the encounter with Christ. There is nothing more beautiful than to know Him and to speak to others of our friendship with Him. The task of the shepherd, the task of the fisher of men, can often seem wearisome. But it is beautiful and wonderful, because it is truly a service to joy, to God's joy which longs to break into the world.

"Here I want to add something: both the image of the shepherd and that of the fisherman issue an explicit call to unity. 'I have other sheep that are not of this fold; I must lead them too, and they will heed my voice. So there shall be one flock, one shepherd' (Jn 10:16); these are the words of Jesus at the end of His discourse on the Good Shepherd. And the account of the 153 large fish ends with the joyful statement: 'although there were so many, the net was not torn' (Jn 21:11). Alas, beloved Lord, with sorrow we must now acknowledge that it has been torn! But no - we must not be sad! Let us rejoice because of Your promise, which does not disappoint, and let us do all we can to pursue the path towards the unity You have promised. Let us remember it in our prayer to the Lord, as we plead with Him: yes, Lord, remember Your promise. Grant that we may be one flock and one shepherd! Do not allow Your net to be torn, help us to be servants of unity!

"At this point, my mind goes back to October 22 1978, when Pope John Paul II began his ministry here in Saint Peter's Square. His words on that occasion constantly echo in my ears: 'Do not be afraid! Open wide the doors for Christ!' The Pope was addressing the mighty, the powerful of this world, who feared that Christ might take away something of their power if they were to let Him in, if they were to allow the faith to be free. Yes, He would certainly have taken something away from them: the dominion of corruption, the manipulation of law and the freedom to do as they pleased. But He would not have taken away anything that pertains to human freedom or dignity, or to the building of a just society. The Pope was also speaking to everyone, especially the young. Are we not perhaps all afraid in some way? If we let Christ enter fully into our lives, if we open ourselves totally to Him, are we not afraid that He might take something away from us? Are we not perhaps afraid to give up something significant, something unique, something that makes life so beautiful? Do we not then risk ending up diminished and deprived of our freedom? And once again the Pope said: No! If we let Christ into our lives, we lose nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing of what makes life free, beautiful and great. No! Only in this friendship are the doors of life opened wide. Only in this friendship is the great potential of human existence truly revealed. Only in this friendship do we experience beauty and liberation. And so, today, with great strength and great conviction, on the basis of long personal experience of life, I say to you, dear young people: Do not be afraid of Christ! He takes nothing away, and He gives you everything. When we give ourselves to Him, we receive a hundred-fold in return. Yes, open, open wide the doors to Christ - and you will find true life. Amen."

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Best mainstream piece so far

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Here's another dissident woman's gripefest about Pope Benedict.

Some women I've spoken to use words like devastation and alienation. The pope is, after all, the cardinal who pushed the conservative agenda that attacks gays, feminists and birth control, and rejects the possibility of women becoming priests.

"THE Cardinal," as in, the only Cardinal pushing X, Y and Z. Not only is that blatantly false, it's also a blatant show of disrespect for John Paul II and all that he consistently taught. The funny thing is, all the nay-sayers talk about modernizing the Church and being more open. JP2 took ancient teachings and demonstrated in fully modern terms why the Church's beliefs help man live to his fullest. He confronted and dialogued with the modern world every day of his pontificate.

What amazes me is that these people seem to think Pope John Paul II didn't mean these things when he said them. I blame this all squarely on the dissident movements who delude people into thinking change is only a pope away.

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Eight reactions

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BBC News asked eight religious figures of various faiths to comment on the Pope. Notable is Hans Kung's astoundingly arrogant reaction:

Let us therefore give him a chance: as with a president of the US, we should allow a new pope 100 days to learn.

How generous of you, Hans. We sure wouldn't want to actually learn anything from the Pope, would we?

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Bishop Jenky's statement


Here's my bishy on Papa Ratzi (PDF):

"With gratitude and thanks to Almighty God and enormous happiness, the Catholic Diocese of Peoria welcomes the election of his Holiness Pope Benedict XVI to the Chair of Saint Peter. Our new Pope has a vast experience in serving the Catholic Church throughout the world, he is a great scholar, a linguist, but most of all he is a humble servant of the Lord Jesus Christ.

I have asked that every parish of the Diocese observe this Sunday, April 24, the Fifth Sunday of Easter as a day of special prayers and thanksgiving. I also invite all the priests, deacons, religious and faithful to gather with me in the Cathedral of Saint Mary of the Immaculate Conception at 7:15 p.m. on Monday April 25th for a special Mass of Thanksgiving.

On behalf of the entire Catholic community I would also like to express a deep appreciation to all those many people of good will here in Central Illinois who have consoled us in our sorrow and now join us in our joy.
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From the News-Gazette


Area priests speak highly of new pope. Quotes Monsignor Swetland.

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A belated welcome to any visitors from Proverbs Daily. Feel free to look around and comment on anything you see.

Jeff sent you here for comments about the Pope. My comment is:


My suggestion is that you disregard any news story that uses the words "rottweiler" and panzerkardinal to describe Benedict XVI and instead look to those who know him well and have described him as kind, gracious, intelligent and open to dialogue.

Despite his "hardliner" reputation, I predict you will see a lot of goodness and love. Will he come down hard if he has to? Undoubtedly. But a**-kicking and name-taking are not the Pope's primary ministry, he is a shepherd.

As for comments you may have seen about his being unfriendly towards other religions, I think a quick study will only show that he's being honest. If you are a Protestant reading this, you are not Catholic. Why? Because you in some way think that the Catholic faith is defective. We may not always speak that way, but to say it isn't being mean or disrespectful, it's being truthful.

As Catholics, we believe that non-Catholic Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, New Ageism, etc. contain errors. That's why we're Catholic. That doesn't devalue the adherents of those religions, nor does it ignore the genuine true human and even divine goodness and wisdom which may be found in those religions. It merely asserts that there are differences and we are on a certain side of them. If we refuse to assert that there are differences, there can be no unity, because we would be lying.

Despite the differences, we cherish the goodness and truth which we share with people of all faiths, and appreciate, respect and love all people precisely because they are people, created in God's image.

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More on Our Lady of the Kennedy

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I blogged yesterday about an image of Mary allegedly appearing under an overpass in Chicago.

Donn sees hope for Cubs fans in the message.

Speaking of the Cubs, I congratulate them on their two game winning streak, but what I really have to says is: OUCH!

Nomar looks pained after collapsing with a groin strain.

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[Warning, this post is long. Skip to the next one if you get bored.]

Wiegel: Light in a New Dark Age

AP: Pope's email address and No Staff Shake-Up At Vatican and Russian patriarch congratulates pope

Detroit News: Catholics 'on top of the world'

NYTimes: Few see taint in service by Pope in Hitler Youth (yet they're still talking about it) and Pope May Color Debate in U.S. Over 'Life' Issues Like Abortion

Reuters: Benedict XVI memorabilia? It's just a click away

James Pinkerton: The Crucifixion Will Be Televised on Tech Central Station

Catholic World News: Benedict XVI at a glance and Benedict: What's in a name? and First steps for new pope

Maggie Gallagher: We have a pope!

Chiesa: Benedict XVI: The Pope and His Agenda - Very detailed and insightful.

Roger Kimball: The new Benedict

Michael Novak: Rome's Radical Conservative (NYTimes, registration required)

NCR (the good one): ‘A Beautiful Personality’

The Old Oligarch is excited. So is Jeff Miller.

Lileks has no stake, or does he?

AFP: On Internet frontlines, bloggers have a lot to say about new pope

Time Magazine: Assessing Pope Benedict XVI

Canadian Press: Catholic doctrine OK; world's attitude needs to change: cardinals

Christianity Today: Upright But No Panzer Pope

Catholic News Service: Vatican colleagues say 'church will come to love' Pope Benedict XVI

NY Daily News: Vatican enforcer has soft side, too.

Belfast Telegraph: The Benedict legacy and Pope may receive invite to Ireland

USA Today: Introduction electrifies cheering, chanting crowd and U.S. cardinals predict faithful will warm to new pope

Seattle Times: Reaction around the world

CNN: Reader emails

WaPo: Joy Tempered by a Wish for a Third World Pope and Steadfast Beliefs in a Tumultuous World and Church Turns to Its Guardian of the Faith

Radio Australia: Asia and Pacific react to new pope

Fox News: Benedict Pledges to Continue John Paul's Work

AP: Pope Benedict XVI promises to continue church reforms, reach out to other religions and China hopes for better Vatican ties and Cardinals break silence and American cardinals excited about choice of new pope and Sketches of a conclave and Ratzinger's love of tradition was nurtured in conservative Bavaria and Italians Again Shut Out of Papacy and Benedict Showed 2 Sides After Pope's Death (this last one quotes Hans Kung, who must be furious) and Pope to Hold Press Conference Saturday and Poverty in Latin America Faces Pope and New Pope Inspired by Anti-War Pontiff and Pope Predicted a Short Reign to Cardinals

Wichita Eagle: Choice of `Benedict' may have been inspired by saint, scholars say
To borrow a line from James Taranto: What would we do without scholars?

BBCNews: Africans hail conservative Pope
This one contains a special brown nugget:

In the 1980s, Cardinal Ratzinger cracked down on Bishops in Latin America who backed liberation theology, which argued the church had a duty to liberate the poor from oppression.

Right, notice the ommission of the fact that the main problem with liberation theology was its embrace of Marxist ideas. Leave that fact out and you have "The Church hates the poor."

Yorkshire [UK]Post: Traditionalist Takes over Reins

NY Post: He Deserted Hitler's Army to Enlist as God's Soldier

Jersey Journal: German residents take pride in pope

World Faith News: Statement of Conference of European Churches

Worst headline award goes to the AP: Israel Praises Pope Despite Past Nazi Ties

Miami Herald [Registration Required]: Morality battle predicted

All Mixed Up
Reuters: Leaders Welcome New Pope, Liberal Catholics Dismayed

AP: U.S: "Mixed Feelings"

MyMotherLode [Sonora, CA]: World: "Mixed reaction"

Pulse Journal [Somewhere in Ohio]: Latin America: "Mixed Reviews"

Reuters: Mixture of Joy and Concern

LA Times: Joseph Ratzinger, a Close Ally of John Paul, Draws Mixed Reactions

AP: Some Hopeful, Others Disappointed by Pope

AP: Pilgrims Watch New Pope With Mixed Emotion

Boo Hoo
WPMI [Pensacola Beach]: New Pope Bad Choice For Liberal Catholics

Cybercast News Service: Feminist, Homosexual Groups Turn Thumbs Down on New Pope

News24.com [Southern Africa]: New pope 'has been homophobic'

Greeley: Pervasive 'non-campaign' fractured rules of secrecy

Maureen Dowd: Smoke Gets in Our News

Reuters: Liberal U.S. Catholics Dismayed at Choice of Pope

Chicago Sun-Times: New man on top, but nothing changes for Catholic women -

Interpress Service News Agency: New Pope a Disappointment to Progressives, Women

365gay [ew]: Extreme Homophobe Ratzinger Elected New Pope

Salon.com: Habemus blabbemenum!

"Catholics" for a Free Choice: The First One hundred Days

Salon.com assebles: Gripefest - Dissenter-Style

Scotsman.com: Anglican Bishop Denounces New Pope's Election

IOL [South Africa]: I wouldn't have voted for new pope, says Tutu

Regional reactions
Virginia Pilot: Some locals unsure what to expect from pope

Arkcity.net [Arkansas City, KS]: Locals positive on pope

News Channel 11 [Lubbock, TX]: Catholic Bishop of Lubbock Praises New Pope

Herald & Review [Decatur, IL]: Local Catholic leaders praise the election of the new pope

Oneida [NY] Dispatch: Local Catholic leaders pleased

Stuff [New Zealand]: Kiwi Catholic leaders approve choice of pope

Dodge City [KS] Daily Globe: Dodge City bishop says new Pope will preserve Catholic values

Minnesota Public Radio: Local Catholic leaders react to new pope

PhillyBurbs.com: Catholic students in Bucks share views on new leader

Glencoe [IL] News: Area Catholic leaders welcome 'brilliant' pope

NBC San Diego: Local Catholics Cheer New Pope's Election

For Lisa: Wichita Eagle: Pope's quick election a surprise and a cause for celebration

CBS2 [Chicago]: Catholic, Jewish Children Celebrate Together (with video) and Cardinal George says new pope will preserve toughened discipline plan for abusive priests and

New Hampshire Union Leader: Choice of 'Benedict' pleases local monks and NH brother may have influenced new Pope

WGRZ [Western NY]: WNY Germans Thrilled

Daily Citizen [NW Georgia]: Area Catholics not surprised with selection

WTVO [Rockford, IL]: Rockford Bishop Pleased with New Pope

York [PA] Daily Record: Churches Celebrate Choice

Arizona Daily Star: Tucsonans back pontiff despite some concerns

Yankton [S Dakota]Press and Dakotan: Classwork Stopped For New Pope

SB Sun [San Bernardino]: Some local Catholics fear for church's unity, reform

Denver Post: Stern reputation ill-deserved

Daily Local News [Philly]: Residents react to news of pope's appointment

The Evening Tribune [Hornell, NY]: Our Lady of the Valley Catholics celebrate new pope

Recordnet (Stockton, CA): Local Catholics discuss the change

Jackson [Tennessee] Sun: 'We hope he does a good job'

Berkshire [MA] Eagle: Berkshire clergy envision new pope following same path as John Paul II

Northwest Indiana Times: Munster native witnessed pope's debut and Melczek, clergy celebrate selection

My Kawartha [somewhere in Canada I think]: 'Kind of stunned' says local priest of pope's election

Portales [NM] News-Tribune: Residents feel Ratzinger the right choice

Toronto Star (registration required): Pope a 'quiet, gentle man'

Washington Times: National Basilica draped in celebration

Pittsburgh Tribune-Review: Pope is a 'gentle soul'

Courier & Press [Evansville, IN] (Registration required): Gettelfinger says don't sell transitional pope short

Vanguard [Nigeria]: Ratzinger is new Pope

Pacific Daily News [Guam]: New pope selected

NBC 15 [Madison, WI]: Wisconsin Catholics Welcome New Pope, Wonder About Future

KLTV [Jacksonville, TX]: Bishop Corrada Met New Pope In 1988

First Coast News [Somewhere in Florida]: Local Catholics React To Choice

Winona [MN] Daily News: Winona's Catholics pleased by pope pick

Star-Ledger [NJ] - Jersey residents with German roots react with pride and Theologians imagine forceful, if brief, reign

Pensacola News Journal: Local Catholics rejoice

CBS 21 [Harrisburg, PA]: Pope Benedict the 16th

LA Times (Registration may be required): Mahony Says the World Soon Will See Pontiff's Pastoral Side

News Journal [Central Ohio]: Watching "intently"

13WHAM [Rochester, NY]: New Pope Says First Mass, Local Reactions (with video)

Fulton [MO] Sun: Callaway Catholics pleased

Channel Oklahoma: OKC Archbishop Pleased With New Pope

WBAL [Baltimore]: Catholics Want Pope To Address Social Issues

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That was fast


Catholics Wonder Who Next Pope Will Be

Please note that this article by AP religion writer Richard Ostling quotes exactly one person:

One German priest says [Pope benedict XVI] has a "delicate constitution."

That's it. Not one quote or even mention of a unnamed source that supports the title of the article.

It's nice to be able to scratch people off of the "credible" list. Goodbye Mr. Ostling.

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Go. Read.


Zadok was there. Complete with pictures.

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Salt Stain Virgin Mary A Big Draw

CHICAGO (AP) A steady stream of the faithful and the curious, many carrying flowers and candles, have flocked to an expressway underpass for a view of a yellow and white stain on a concrete wall that some believe is an image of the Virgin Mary.

Police have patrolled the emergency turnoff area under the Kennedy Expressway since Monday as hundreds of people have walked down to see the image and the growing memorial of flowers and candles that surround it. Beside the image is an artist’s rendering of the Virgin Mary embracing Pope John Paul II in a pose some see echoed in the stain.

Full Story including video.

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More Scrappleface

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Vatican Spins Off U.S. Catholic Church

In one of his first official moves, Pope Benedict XVI today announced that the Vatican would "spin off" the U.S. division of the Roman Catholic church, but retain a 49-percent stake in the new entity, called R.C. Lite.

R.C. Lite will elect its own leader to the largely cermonial post of New-World Pope. Thorny moral questions in the new religious sect will be decided by Internet polling, the results of which will provide non-binding guidance to church members.
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Pope Benedict XVI's first message

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The Holy Father delivered this message today to the Cardinals after morning Mass:

"Grace and peace in abundance to all of you! In my soul there are two contrasting sentiments in these hours. On the one hand, a sense of inadequacy and human turmoil for the responsibility entrusted to me yesterday as the Successor of the Apostle Peter in this See of Rome, with regard to the Universal Church. On the other hand I sense within me profound gratitude to God Who - as the liturgy makes us sing - does not abandon His flock, but leads it throughout time, under the guidance of those whom He has chosen as vicars of His Son, and made pastors.

"Dear Ones, this intimate recognition for a gift of divine mercy prevails in my heart in spite of everything. I consider this a grace obtained for me by my venerated predecessor, John Paul II. It seems I can feel his strong hand squeezing mine; I seem to see his smiling eyes and listen to his words, addressed to me especially at this moment: 'Do not be afraid!'

"The death of the Holy Father John Paul II, and the days which followed, were for the Church and for the entire world an extraordinary time of grace. The great pain for his death and the void that it left in all of us were tempered by the action of the Risen Christ, which showed itself during long days in the choral wave of faith, love and spiritual solidarity, culminating in his solemn funeral.

"We can say it: the funeral of John Paul II was a truly extraordinary experience in which was perceived in some way the power of God Who, through His Church, wishes to form a great family of all peoples, through the unifying force of Truth and Love. In the hour of death, conformed to his Master and Lord, John Paul II crowned his long and fruitful pontificate, confirming the Christian people in faith, gathering them around him and making the entire human family feel more united.

"How can one not feel sustained by this witness? How can one not feel the encouragement that comes from this event of grace?

"Surprising every prevision I had, Divine Providence, through the will of the venerable Cardinal Fathers, called me to succeed this great Pope. I have been thinking in these hours about what happened in the region of Cesarea of Phillippi two thousand years ago: I seem to hear the words of Peter: 'You are Christ, the Son of the living God,' and the solemn affirmation of the Lord: 'You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church ... I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven'.

"You are Christ! You are Peter! It seems I am reliving this very Gospel scene; I, the Successor of Peter, repeat with trepidation the anxious words of the fisherman from Galilee and I listen again with intimate emotion to the reassuring promise of the divine Master. If the weight of the responsibility that now lies on my poor shoulders is enormous, the divine power on which I can count is surely immeasurable: 'You are Peter and on this rock I will build my Church'. Electing me as the Bishop of Rome, the Lord wanted me as his Vicar, he wished me to be the 'rock' upon which everyone may rest with confidence. I ask him to make up for the poverty of my strength, that I may be a courageous and faithful pastor of His flock, always docile to the inspirations of His Spirit.

"I undertake this special ministry, the 'Petrine' ministry at the service of the Universal Church, with humble abandon to the hands of the Providence of God. And it is to Christ in the first place that I renew my total and trustworthy adhesion: 'In Te, Domine, speravi; non confundar in aeternum!'

"To you, Lord Cardinals, with a grateful soul for the trust shown me, I ask you to sustain me with prayer and with constant, active and wise collaboration. I also ask my brothers in the episcopacy to be close to me in prayer and counsel so that I may truly be the 'Servus servorum Dei' (Servant of the servants of God). As Peter and the other Apostles were, through the will of the Lord, one apostolic college, in the same way the Successor of Peter and the Bishops, successors of the Apostles - and the Council forcefully repeated this - must be closely united among themselves. This collegial communion, even in the diversity of roles and functions of the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops, is at the service of the Church and the unity of faith, from which depend in a notable measure the effectiveness of the evangelizing action of the contemporary world. Thus, this path, upon which my venerated predecessors went forward, I too intend to follow, concerned solely with proclaiming to the world the living presence of Christ.

"Before my eyes is, in particular, the witness of Pope John Paul II. He leaves us a Church that is more courageous, freer, younger. A Church that, according to his teaching and example, looks with serenity to the past and is not afraid of the future. With the Great Jubilee the Church was introduced into the new millennium carrying in her hands the Gospel, applied to the world through the authoritative re-reading of Vatican Council II. Pope John Paul II justly indicated the Council as a 'compass' with which to orient ourselves in the vast ocean of the third millennium. Also in his spiritual testament he noted: ' I am convinced that for a very long time the new generations will draw upon the riches that this council of the 20th century gave us'.

"I too, as I start in the service that is proper to the Successor of Peter, wish to affirm with force my decided will to pursue the commitment to enact Vatican Council II, in the wake of my predecessors and in faithful continuity with the millennia-old tradition of the Church. Precisely this year is the 40th anniversary of the conclusion of this conciliar assembly (December 8, 1965). With the passing of time, the conciliar documents have not lost their timeliness; their teachings have shown themselves to be especially pertinent to the new exigencies of the Church and the present globalized society.

"In a very significant way, my pontificate starts as the Church is living the special year dedicated to the Eucharist. How can I not see in this providential coincidence an element that must mark the ministry to which I have been called? The Eucharist, the heart of Christian life and the source of the evangelizing mission of the Church, cannot but be the permanent center and the source of the petrine service entrusted to me.

"The Eucharist makes the Risen Christ constantly present, Christ Who continues to give Himself to us, calling us to participate in the banquet of His Body and His Blood. From this full communion with Him comes every other element of the life of the Church, in the first place the communion among the faithful, the commitment to proclaim and give witness to the Gospel, the ardor of charity towards all, especially towards the poor and the smallest.

"In this year, therefore, the Solemnity of Corpus Christ must be celebrated in a particularly special way. The Eucharist will be at the center, in August, of World Youth Day in Cologne and, in October, of the ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops which will take place on the theme "The Eucharist, Source and Summit of the Life and Mission of the Church.' I ask everyone to intensify in coming months love and devotion to the Eucharistic Jesus and to express in a courageous and clear way the real presence of the Lord, above all through the solemnity and the correctness of the celebrations.

"I ask this in a special way of priests, about whom I am thinking in this moment with great affection. The priestly ministry was born in the Cenacle, together with the Eucharist, as my venerated predecessor John Paul II underlined so many times. 'The priestly life must have in a special way a 'Eucharistic form', he wrote in his last Letter for Holy Thursday. The devout daily celebration of Holy Mass, the center of the life and mission of every priest, contributes to this end.

"Nourished and sustained by the Eucharist, Catholics cannot but feel stimulated to tend towards that full unity for which Christ hoped in the Cenacle. Peter's Successor knows that he must take on this supreme desire of the Divine Master in a particularly special way. To him, indeed, has been entrusted the duty of strengthening his brethren.

"Thus, in full awareness and at the beginning of his ministry in the Church of Rome that Peter bathed with his blood, the current Successor assumes as his primary commitment that of working tirelessly towards the reconstitution of the full and visible unity of all Christ's followers. This is his ambition, this is his compelling duty. He is aware that to do so, expressions of good feelings are not enough. Concrete gestures are required to penetrate souls and move consciences, encouraging everyone to that interior conversion which is the basis for all progress on the road of ecumenism.

"Theological dialogue is necessary. A profound examination of the historical reasons behind past choices is also indispensable. But even more urgent is that 'purification of memory,' which was so often evoked by John Paul II, and which alone can dispose souls to welcome the full truth of Christ. It is before Him, supreme Judge of all living things, that each of us must stand, in the awareness that one day we must explain to Him what we did and what we did not do for the great good that is the full and visible unity of all His disciples.

"The current Successor of Peter feels himself to be personally implicated in this question and is disposed to do all in his power to promote the fundamental cause of ecumenism. In the wake of his predecessors, he is fully determined to cultivate any initiative that may seem appropriate to promote contact and agreement with representatives from the various Churches and ecclesial communities. Indeed, on this occasion too, he sends them his most cordial greetings in Christ, the one Lord of all.

"In this moment, I go back in my memory to the unforgettable experience we all underwent with the death and the funeral of the lamented John Paul II. Around his mortal remains, lying on the bare earth, leaders of nations gathered, with people from all social classes and especially the young, in an unforgettable embrace of affection and admiration. The entire world looked to him with trust. To many it seemed as if that intense participation, amplified to the confines of the planet by the social communications media, was like a choral request for help addressed to the Pope by modern humanity which, wracked by fear and uncertainty, questions itself about the future.

"The Church today must revive within herself an awareness of the task to present the world again with the voice of the One Who said: 'I am the light of the world; he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.' In undertaking his ministry, the new Pope knows that his task is to bring the light of Christ to shine before the men and women of today: not his own light but that of Christ.

"With this awareness, I address myself to everyone, even to those who follow other religions or who are simply seeking an answer to the fundamental questions of life and have not yet found it. I address everyone with simplicity and affection, to assure them that the Church wants to continue to build an open and sincere dialogue with them, in a search for the true good of mankind and of society.

"From God I invoke unity and peace for the human family and declare the willingness of all Catholics to cooperate for true social development, one that respects the dignity of all human beings.

"I will make every effort and dedicate myself to pursuing the promising dialogue that my predecessors began with various civilizations, because it is mutual understanding that gives rise to conditions for a better future for everyone.

"I am particularly thinking of young people. To them, the privileged interlocutors of John Paul II, I send an affectionate embrace in the hope, God willing, of meeting them at Cologne on the occasion of the next World Youth Day. With you, dear young people, I will continue to maintain a dialogue, listening to your expectations in an attempt to help you meet ever more profoundly the living, ever young, Christ.

"'Mane nobiscum, Domine!' Stay with us Lord! This invocation, which forms the dominant theme of John Paul II's Apostolic Letter for the Year of the Eucharist, is the prayer that comes spontaneously from my heart as I turn to begin the ministry to which Christ has called me. Like Peter, I too renew to Him my unconditional promise of faithfulness. He alone I intend to serve as I dedicate myself totally to the service of His Church.

"In support of this promise, I invoke the maternal intercession of Mary Most Holy, in whose hands I place the present and the future of my person and of the Church. May the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, also intercede.

"With these sentiments I impart to you venerated brother cardinals, to those participating in this ritual, and to all those following to us by television and radio, a special and affectionate blessing."

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Biography of Pope Benedict XVI

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This is currently the title banner on EWTN's bio site on the Holy Father:


UPDATE: As of 4:15 PM, they fixed it.

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The Holy Father's First Comments

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The New York Times has proven good for something.

Dear brothers and sisters, after our great pope, John Paul II, the cardinals have elected me, a simple, humble worker in God's vineyard.

I am consoled by the fact that the Lord knows how to work and how to act, even with insufficient tools, and I especially trust in your prayers.

In the joy of the resurrected Lord, trustful of his permanent help, we go ahead, sure that God will help, and Mary, his most beloved mother, stands on our side.

Thank you.

He then imparted the blessing.

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When's that first encyclical coming?

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Why oh why did Pope John Paul the Great decide to break his own custom and have three years transpire between the last World Youth Day and this coming one in GERMANY?

Deo Gratias!

WYD 2005, now, offically, THE place to be.

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Pope Benedict XVI

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Praised be Jesus Christ for the gift of a Shepherd to lead us! May the Holy Spirit guide him in his every step for as long as He wills.

Viva Il Papa!

People I'm very happy for:
The Universal Church
Christopher (His site is down. I wonder if he got slammed bandwith-wise, or if maybe we'll be seeing a Pope Benedict XVI fanclub shortly.)
Lisa (at least the German half of her! Although I'm pretty sure she's 100% excited!)
All Germans (whether they share my enthusiasm or not).

Word of warning:
Just as the mainstream media has been attempting to slander and smear him in the past week, they will now redouble their efforts. We've already seen it this week with the Nazi allegations. It will likely only get worse.

What can we do? We can first and foremost pray for the truth to be evident. Additionally, we can spread the word and point out lies for what they are.

Anybody else feel like throwing a party?

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Habemus Papam!


CNN is reporting white smoke...

Update... I'm watching EWTN live. it's true! We have a Pope! Stop reading and find a TV or radio! Or check EWTN for live video from St. Peter's.

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Welcome visitors from canada.com! Feel free to look around and comment on anything you see here.

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The kiddie vote


Catholic Students Select Arinze.

Mama-Lu will be happy to hear it... :)

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On what planet?


This list of top 10 most influential popes fails to include St. Peter.

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Day 2:


Black smoke for morning votes.

We should know by 1 PM central time what happens with the afternoon votes.

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More on Buca's


Apparently, Rob and i aren't the only ones miffed by buca's removal of the JP2 busts from their Pope Rooms I blogged last week. Their customers are complaining loudly.

As much I'd like to see them back, the fact that Buca was going to donate them, to Catholic schools is pretty cool. In that case I would not mind so much if they didn't reappear, especially if they're replaced by busts of the next pope.

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Ratzinger's homily today


Ratzinger presided over the Mass today before the Cardinals entered the conclave. Mark Brumley over at Ignatius Insight has the text of his homily.

All of the newsmedia reports you see of course quote his [accurate] remarks about the defiencies of relativism. That is to be expected since it is classic Ratzinger. I, however, found this passage (the last three pararaphs) much more powerful:

The other element of the Gospel that I would like to dwell on is what Jesus says about bearing fruit: "I appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain" (Jn 15:16). Here appears the dynamic dimension of the existence of a Christian, of an apostle: I appointed you to go...

We must be imbued with a holy restlessness: the restlessness to bring to everyone the gift of faith, of Christ's friendship. In truth, God's love and friendship was given to us so that it reaches also others. We received faith in order to give it to others -- we are priests to serve others. And we must bear a fruit that remains. Everyone wants to leave a trace behind. But what remains? Money, no. Even buildings do not remain: nor do books. After a certain amount of time, more or less long, all these things disappear. All that rests, that rests eternally, is the human soul, man created by God for eternity. The fruit that remains is therefore that which we have sown in the soul of men -- love, knowledge, the gesture that can touch hearts, the word that opens the soul to the joy of the Lord. So then we go and pray the Lord, that He may help us to bear fruit, a fruit that remains. Only in this way can the earth be changed from a valley of tears to God's garden.

Let us return, once again, to the Letter to the Ephesians. The letter says, with the words of Psalm 68, that Christ, ascending to heaven, "gave gifts to men" (Eph 4:8). The vanquisher distributes gifts. And these gifts are apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers. Our ministry is a gift from Christ to men, to build His body -- the new world. Let us live our ministry in this way, as Christ's gift to men! But in this hour, above all, let us pray with insistence to the Lord, that after the great gift of Pope John Paul II, he gives us again a pastor according to his own heart, a pastor that guides us to knowing Christ, to His love, to true joy. Amen.
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Day one ends...

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...with no Pope.

Black smoke signals that no Pope was elected today.

I know there was a possibility, but not a certanty of a ballot today. Does anybody know if the black smoke necessarily means they voted and failed to elect someone, or if it could possibly mean that they simply decided not to vote today?

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It begins

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Cardinals attend morning Mass inside St. Peter's

Pray for our Cardinals!

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Stop-Gap pope?

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In two articles I read this morning, I saw references to John Paul II's election in 1978, both saying he was intended to be a stop-gap pope after JPI died. Sorry, but you don't elect a 58 year old to stop any gaps.

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This week's award for Imagination in Journalism goes to Reuters!

Trying desperately to find a story amidst the Cardinals' self-chosen silence, this is their best effort.

The article is about factions lining up behind Ratzinger (conservative faction)and Martini, the retired Abp of Milan (progressive faction). It's puff, relying mostly on an unnamed "church official," but it does contain some nuggets of incredible silliness.

In an unexpected move, Ratzinger published a book in Germany on Wednesday arguing that Europe must reclaim its Christian heritage. Open campaigning for the papacy is frowned upon and it was not clear what effect the book would have.

An unexpected move??? Right, I'm sure Ratzinger had complete control over deadlines, release dates, etc. He certainly whipped this book up during this past momentous week as a way of putting his name out there.

A conservative campaign to rapidly declare John Paul a saint also appeared to work in Ratzinger's favor because of his close ties to the former Pontiff.

"Ratzinger's supporters have stepped up their efforts to elect him quickly," wrote the Rome daily La Repubblica.

Granted, there's nothing tying the two paragraphs directly together, but the insinuation is that the calls for JP2's canonization were somehow subversive lobbying attempts by Ratzinger's supporters.

"The moderates will have to get their act together fast because about half the cardinals seem undecided and could go along with whoever looks like a winner," the official said.

Right, there's all these undecided fence-sitting Cardinals chewing their fingernails with indecisive anxiety, and they're going to finally side with Ratzinger instead of some "compromise" candidate?


The cardinals agreed last week not to talk to the media during the pre-conclave period but Italian journalists with close ties to the Vatican frequently get leaks. Their media are also favored because most cardinals speak Italian.

The excerpts from Ratzinger's book "Values in Times of Upheaval" published by Munich's Sueddeutsche Zeitung daily did not appear formally to break that vow of silence as they were most likely written even before Pope John Paul died on April 2.

Well, thank you for the cutting edge reporting! The excerpts were most likely written even before Pope John Paul died. You think? So in other words, the answer to the question that serves as the heading for this section is NO!

Also, the above two paragraphs don't even have anything to do with each other? They first tells us (in an almost whiny tone, don't you think?) that Italians newspapers get good leaks, and the exerpts from his book (not exactly guarded information that could get somebody fired) were published by a German newspaper.

Poor Reuters, they're not Italian, so they have to make up all their stories.

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Random Links


Haven't had much time to blog recently. Here are some links I've grabbed over the past few days:


The Papal Media Coverage Drinking Game


+The Pope’s “Divisiveness”: As stated above, the Catholic Church (and certainly Pope John Paul II) espouses beliefs sometimes contrary to current popular opinion. For this, the late pope has been labeled as “divisive,” typically on topics such as abortion, women priests, contraception, embryonic stem cell research, or other “left wing” political topics. Whenever John Paul II is labeled “divisive,” take one (1) drink. He is almost never thus described when the topic comes to more “right wing” issues, such as the death penalty or the war in Iraq (that’s just progressive thinking, dontcha know?). Take three (3) drinks if John Paul II is called “divisive” for taking a politically liberal stand.

Bottoms up!

Philosophic Legacy of JP2

Zenit interview with a Mexican philosopher who "is regarded as one of the major experts on Karol Wojtyla's thought.

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Last Saturday's Presidential Radio Address

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Dedicated entirely to Pope John Paul II.

During nearly three decades on the Chair of St. Peter, this Pope brought the gospel's message of hope and love and freedom to the far corners of the Earth. And over this past week, millions of people across the world returned the Pope's gift with a tremendous outpouring of affection that transcended differences of nationality, language and religion.

Man oh man does our prez have good speechwriters. They make him sound more Catholic than many bishops' statements I've read.

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Cardinals to keep mum


The Cardinals voted unanimously on Saturday to refrain from making public statements before the conclave begins next Monday. I'm very surprised the did this, but it is of course a wise decision. Zenit has the story.

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A record of Pope John Paul II's life and works was placed in his coffin. Zenit provides a translation.

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The Carnival is here!

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Hello all, welcome to the Carnival for the Pope!

I asked for personal reflections because Pope John Paul II was an intensely personal Pope. He had a profound prayer life; he truly knew Christ Jesus. As a priest and as Pope, he wanted those entrusted to him - be they Polish university students or the entire Universal Church - to be able to enter into the same kind of relationship with the Lord.

He also knew that this relationship - because it was so intensely personal - was lived out in a dramatically different way for every person. So rather than simply sit in the Vatican and make pronouncements, he went out to the whole world and brought people the message they needed to hear, exhorting them in an almost individual way.

So many Catholics I know felt like they had knew this pope intimately as a friend, and that is some of what I wanted to capture here.

That said, without further ado, and in the order of submission, here is the Carnival for the Pope!


First is my own wife, known as J-Lu, Mama-Lu or occasionally as Jenny, who wrote hers back in February when the Catholic Post (Peoria's diocesan newspaper) asked for readers to reflect on the Pope. Here she is with JP2, We Love You. Those of you in Peoria can actually read this same piece in this week's Post. I personally loved it, but I'm biased, so perhaps you should decide for youselves.

Next is Jeff, The Curt Jester, who brings us Remembrance, where he discusses the Pope, giving due pride of place to many of his greatest encyclicals, offering thoughts on his legacy, and throwing in a pope joke for good measure.

Up next is Poleguy, a personal friend of mine and self described "Pope groupie." In his post he recounts traveling around the country and to Rome to see JP2.

Jay from Living Catholicism is up next. In Reflections on the death of Pope John Paul the Great, he - well - reflects on Pope John Paul the Great and wonders if in his death he may advance the "Springtime of Evangelization" he spoke so often about. It's an excellent observation and an excellent post.

Amy of Butterfly Blog has several posts up. The one most fitting our theme here is 10 Things About the Pope, where she offers various diverse observations about the man and his ministry.

Over at HMS Blog, Kevin Miller offers Prophet, Priest, and King, a piece that looks at how the Pope lived out the threefold office of Christ in which all the baptized share.

Penitens, who blogs at The Penitent Blogger, offers us The Blessing, which considers the last image of John Paul II's living ministry.

Bill White of Summa Minutiae gives us a brief Eulogy, where he reflects on Cardinal Ratzinger's homily at the Pope's funeral.

Finally, I took some time to offer my own thoughts. As I said in the intro, this Pope always struck me as an intensely personal Pope. In The Personal Pope, I tried to share how his ministry helped me to be a better Christian.

In addition to the entries I received, I realized today that some others have already done the work of going around and pulling together posts (as opposed to me, who made you all do the work).

Lane Core at The Blog from the Core made JP2 the focus of his weekly round-up, so check out Blogworthies LXI.

Also, check out Christopher over at Against the Grain. He has pulled together tons of great posts about our beloved John Paul II.

Thank you to all those who visited, I hope you enjoyed this Carnival for the Pope. Whatever else they say, the Pope's greatest legacy will be all those who he brought to Christ.

Thank you also all those who submitted posts. Your love for John Paul II is evident in your words.

Please join me in praying for the repose of John Paul's soul and in praying for the Cardinals as they prepare to select our next Holy Father.

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The Personal Pope


As John Paul II lay dying last week, I read many stories and saw many pictures on the television and on the web that showed people the world over praying with each other for him. I was moved by this, and it made me think of the times I was able to see him, and how special those moments were.

It then occurred to me: this Pope was so loved precisely because he loved us enough to come to us. This Pope loved us by making himself available to each of us, and in these encounters he tried to bring Christ to us. As a man with a deep prayer life, he knew the experience of meeting Christ face to face, and as Christ’s Vicar, he wanted to do whatever he could to bring Christ to the world, so that we may all have that same face to face encounter.

In January of 1999, I gave my self a very special 22nd birthday gift: I took a few days off to go with other U of I students to see Pope John Paul II in St. Louis. It was my first time seeing the Pope, as I’d only received the sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation the previous year. I was lucky enough to have gone through RCIA at a place where the priests taught the true teachings of the Church, and they also shared their love for the Holy Father and his teachings with us. Still, I had not yet really grasped how special the Pope was - neither in terms of the office nor the man holding it. I was fortunate enough to score a ticket to the Papal Mass in St. Louis, and I will never forget a certain line that stuck out in that homily. I recreate it here as best as I can from memory:

Our Christian life can be seen as a great pilgrimage to the house of the Father that passes through the door that is Jesus Christ. The keys to that door are repentance and conversion; the strength to pass through that door comes from our faith and our hope and our love.

I was awestruck, by the beauty of the image itself, but also because I was to be giving a talk on a college retreat in a few weeks, the subject of which was Christian Living. I rewrote my talk based on this line, and from that time on, I had a special devotion to the Holy Father’s teachings.

Over the next couple year, I read some of his writings. The most important of these was Evangelium Vitae. I had been somewhat involved with pro-life work, but reading his exhortation to love - to respect, yes, but more than that, to love, cherish and protect - life was a jolt to me and a call to do more.

In 2000, by pure grace, I was able to go to Rome for the Jubilee World Youth Day. Rome was incredible, but what struck me most was the Mass at Tor Vergata. If I recall correctly, there were about 2 million people there, and it was the first time I ever experienced that kind of event: millions of people gathered together to worship.

I continued looking to the Holy Father for guidance in my Christian life. One of the ways I figured out I wasn’t called to be a priest was by reading Gift and Mystery. It was beautiful and inspiring, but not in a way I felt called to imitate.

I read some more and found that he continually exhorted the youth and families to “Become what you are.” He was trying to help us to see the potential for sanctity that is in each of us, and indeed was teaching us that the best way to truly be ourselves is to be saints, to act as always as images of God, which is how we are created. For families, the way to do this is to live like the Trinity we are called to mirror.

And then , in 2002, I met a woman. This was a woman who I had known for three years. In fact, the first time I met her was on that retreat in 1999 for which the Pope had given me guidance. Indeed, this was a woman I had prayed with in front of abortion clinics during 2000 and 2001, as I tried to follow the teachings and exhortations of Evangelium Vitae. This woman had even traveled with my same pilgrimage group to Rome in 2000 for World Youth Day where we joined millions of other youths in praying with JP2.

All of this we had shared, but in April of 2002, I truly met her. And over the next few months, as we got to know each other more and more, I realized where were headed. Here I found guidance again from John Paul II. I started to listen to a set of Christopher West tapes, where he explained the Holy Father’s teachings on Marriage and the Body. I learned that God intended our bodies to be used to glorify Him. I learned that marriage was the first sacrament, before all the others, and that it is truly a good path to heaven. I opened Love and Responsibility and learned that persons are beings to whom to the only proper response is love. The Holy Father was guiding me, teaching me, and helping me become a better man, so that I could love my wife better.

In July of 2002, we again traveled to see the Holy Father for World Youth Day, this time in Canada, and this time as a couple. I feel so blessed that my wife shares my love for the Pope, and this was a special moment for us to share as we were growing closer and confirming in our hearts that indeed we were called to join ourselves to each other.

13 months later, our wedding came, and for our invitation, we chose a quote from The Jeweler’s Shop: Love can be a collision in which two selves realize profoundly they ought to belong to each other.

Ever since 1999, the Pope was my guide, my teacher, my spiritual director, my father, indeed my friend. To all this I can add that he led me to my vocation, to my spouse. Because of Pope John Paul II, I can love my spouse better; I am a better husband and father because of his teachings, and indeed, I believe that his teachings and influence in our lives led us to each other. Christ of course was the impetus of it all, but the Holy Father, vessel that He was for the Holy Spirit's work, brought Christ to us in a special way.

When I heard of his passing I wept. Joyful as I was that now he was on the final leg of his own pilgrimage to the Father’s house, I still wept, because I knew then that I had lost a friend whom I will see no more in this life.

And yet, once the tears were shed, indeed, before they were shed, I knew that in losing this guide, teacher, director, father and friend, I had gained a patron. As in his earthly life, he stressed the importance of personally meeting Christ in prayer, so in heaven I know he will continue to teach Christians how to encounter Him. I look forward to continuing to receive assistance in my Christian life from Pope John Paul the Great.

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You have one day left to get me any entries for the Carnival for the Pope! I probably won't have it up until the end of the day tomorrow, so let's keep 'em coming!

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John Paul II mourned around the world


capt.war15104081225.poland_pope_funeral_war151.jpg AP reports on global gatherings to mourn and watch the Pope's funeral.

This photo shows Poles gathered in Warsaw to watch the funeral on jumbo TVs.

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Maine Protestant minister's response to Clinton's comments about the Pope's "mixed legacy."

Ouch! And it wasn't even a Catholic who said it.

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"Follow Me!"


English translation of Cardinal Ratzinger's homily:

Divine Mercy: the Holy Father found the purest reflection of God's mercy in the Mother of God. He who at an early age had lost his own mother, loved his divine mother all the more. He heard the words of the crucified Lord as addressed personally to him: "Behold your Mother." And so he did as the beloved disciple did: he took her into his own home;" (John 19:27)
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"The whole city has become a church"

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Argh! No JP2 in the Pope Room

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How very sad. Bucca di Peppo's will no longer feature a bust of John Paul II in their Pope Rooms.

I've eaten at four or five different Bucca's, and at each one, visiting the Pope room was a special part of the experience. I don't see why anyone would be offended by having the bust in there now that he's passed. I almost want to start a letter-writing campaign or something...

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Was there ever a sillier headline?

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I’ve been pretty busy, so I haven’t had time to post much. Here’s a round-up of some links and thoughts I’ve been accumulating:

On the Pope

Conclave set for April 18th.

Even the sun mourns: There will be an eclipse on the Pope’s funeral day.

For Lisa:
Michael Jackels ordained as tenth Bishop of Wichita. The ordination came just two days after the Pope’s death. A letter from the Pope making the appointment of Jackels as bishop was read at the Ordination Mass. I can’t imagine the emotion that must have accompanied it.

Tired of all the silly drivel calling for the next Pope to “liberalize” the Church? Well here’s a much saner piece from the Washington Times pointing out the extreme unlikelihood of such a thing happening. I'm not a big fan of the Times (the whole Moonie thing), but they do hit the nail on the head or close to it more frequently than most beg media.

Finally, I just have one comment I need to get off my chest. I have seen/heard/read about a half of a dozen pundits refer to JP2 as Reagan’s “ally” or (worse) “right-hand-man” in the fight against Communism. This makes me nauseous. Yes they both hated Communism, but they used vastly different methods to fight it. Furthermore, their ideologies – though both opposed to Communism – did not line up. True Catholic teaching opposes soulless Capitalism as much as it does soulless Communism, and they differed on many of the nuts and bolts of social justice as well. Capitalism in and of itself may not violate the dignity and freedom of the human person in the same way that Communism does, but the soulless Capitalism practiced by most western societies does. I don’t think Ronald Reagan (or frankly, 99% of elected Republicans and Democrats alike) would buy into the Pope’s and the Church’s full vision of a society that is organized to promote the full moral and spiritual development of every human person.

On Life Issues

Dawn Eden (as always) has been doing excellent reporting on life issues. Here are three posts of hers that caught my attention:

Here she reveals an incredibly offensive attempt to euphemize the reality of abortion by referring a fertilized egg (i.e. a person) as a “blighted ovum." That term has a real meaning, which a commenter on her post aptly describes:

In the era of ultrasound and genetic testing, we don't use this term, but instead use more specific terms, based on what can be seen (by U/S and pathologic examination) and, often, what can be additionally determined by cytogenetic testing. Examples include things such as partial molar pregnancy or trisomy 18.

Now think as to why this is so Orwellian: a medical term used to indicate disease within a fertilized egg rendering it incompatible with life is now being suggested as a euphemism for the active intervention to prevent normal fertilized ova (i.e., human embryos) from implanting. Drugs that do this are properly called abortifacients, and the process is properly called abortion. This is the MO of the IUD and emergency contraception (more Orwellian language—what is being contra-ed? Not conception!).

She also has fires two rounds (1, 2) in her ongoing war against Planned Parenthood. Good stuff both.

The Anchoress points out a Zogby poll which was released last week which can best be classified as “too little, too d*** late.” The poll asked about the terri Schiavo situation in a much more accurate way than any previous polls that had been released. The results show that an overwhelming majority of Americans – 79% - said that in such a situation a feeding tube should not be removed.

Elsewhere, our friend and poker buddy John Bambenek points us to this post at Myopic Zeal listing some of the persons complicit in the starving of Terri Schiavo, and revealing many conflicts of interest that never managed to catch the eye of major media outlets.


The Pertinacious Papist has a long list of prominent converts grouped by century, original faith and occupation/vocation. U of I folk will note that Dr. Kenneth Howell is listed, though Monsignor Swetland is not.

The Ethics and Public Policy Center (EPPC) hosted an event last month where Mary Eberstadt, author of Home Alone America, discussed her book. Patrick Fagan of the Heritage Foundation and Christine Rosen, fellow of the EPPC, also were there and discussed the book and Eberstadt's ideas. The website features an audio recording of the event.

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Carnival for Il Papa

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(I'm keeping this post on top, see below for new content. And spread the word about the Carnival!)

I would like to make an appeal to all of St. Blogs that we have a carnival celebrating Pope John Paul II. I don't mean to in anyway replace the weekly Catholic Carnival that goes on. Rather, I ask for all of you out there to write about the personal impact this Pope has had on your life. Whether through his writings or seeing him in person, or being able to meet him, I know people all over the world have been touched by this man's witness.

If you have a blog, post your reflection there and send me the link at odragul[[at]]juno[[dot]]com. If you don't have a blog, feel free to email me and I'll post it here. On the octave of his passing (next Saturday), I'll post the links and the emailed contributions.

Remember to continue to keep the Pope's soul in your prayers. I personally believe he was a saint and went steaight to heaven, but since the Church can't confirm that for at least five years, I won't presume.

Also, please pray for the Cardinals of the Church as they prepare to elect the next Servant who will be seated on Peter's blessed chair.

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Thank you


To Jeff of Proverbs Daily (my favorite Evangelical blog) for his kind comments on the death of the Pope.

I left him an appreciative comment, and it would be great if some of you could, too.

Also, you should consider making his blog a regular step. His endeavor of presenting and providing commentary on the immense wisdom found in the Book of Proverbs is a worthy one.

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George Wiegel

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In today's Opinion Journal.

And, in the remembering, certain unforgettable images will come to mind: the young Pope bouncing infants in the air and the old Pope bowed in remembrance over the memorial flame at Yad Vashem, Jerusalem's Holocaust memorial; the Pope wearing a Kenyan tribal chieftain's feathered crown, the Pope waving his papal cross in defiance of Sandinista demonstrators in Managua, the Pope skiing, the Pope lost in prayer in countless venues; the Pope kneeling at the grave of murdered Solidarity chaplain Jerzy Popieluszko, the Pope slumped in pain in the Popemobile, seconds after taking two shots from a 9mm semi-automatic--and the Pope counseling and encouraging the would-be assassin in his Roman prison cell.
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Divine Mercy and the Pope


I learned something from our homily today about the relationship of Pope John Paul II to the Divine Mercy devotion that I previously did not know. The Pope was actually responsible for the St. Faustina's Divine Mercy being accepted by the Church. I knew that as Pope he strongly urged the faithful to embrace the devotion, but I did not know his unique relationship to the devotion's original approval:

In 1958, the Vatican received a poor translation of Sister Faustina's revelations and condemned it as heretical. When Karol Wojtyla became the Archbishop of Krakow, the devout Polish faithful clamored for a new, more faithful translation. He commissioned this translation, and the devotion was eventually approved and accepted by the universal Church.

How incredibly fitting that this Pope - who traveled the world announcing the Good News of God's infinite mercy poured out for us - should himself enter into eternal union with God on the vigil of the great feast he himself instituted to celebrate God's mercy.

Viva Il Papa

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"My Pope"

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A friend remembers the pope.

Now, I didn't actually start studying the Catechism in earnest until many years later, but there was a tremendous confidence in knowing that it existed, and that it was on my shelf if I needed it. That confidence was not only spurred by the Catechism, but by the man who gave it to me; in the act of its promulgation, I saw the universal pastor take up his staff and smite the wolf firmly on the head."
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Rest in Peace

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Pope John Paul II

1920 - 2005

JP2, we still love you.

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Redemptive Suffering

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I've seen a lot of comments here and elsewhere to the effect that the Pope's passage should be quick and painless. I have a few things to say about this.

First of all, I hate to break it to you, but that is not what's happening. The Pope is suffering from infections, heart problems, circulation problems, and other ailments. He will suffer.

Secondly, suffering is not in and of itself good. It is a consequence of the evil that entered into the world with the fall of Adam and Eve.

Thirdly, Christ came to take this suffering - which was meaningless - and give it value. Before Christ, suffering led only to death. With Christ, however, suffering can redeem. When we suffer, we are closer to Him who suffered for us. The easiest way to be Christ-like is to suffer.

Fourth, The Pope himself is not running from this suffering, he is embracing it precisely because he knows that through this suffering, he will be closer to Christ.

With those points as our basis, let us look at the Pope's suffering:

Yes, the Pope is suffering, and we should certainly hope and pray that his suffering be eased, but we should also recognize that this suffering is salvific. And if you believe that the Pope is a saint, and will have no need for a final purgation, then take comfort in the fact that his suffering, united to Christ's will be salvific for you and for me.

As St. Paul says: we rejoice in our sufferings, and elsewhere, I rejoice in my sufferings for your sake, and in my flesh I complete what is lacking in Christ's afflictions for the sake of his body, that is, the church, and elsewhere, rejoice in so far as you share Christ's sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.

Rather than feeling sorrow for the Pope in his sufferings, let us look instead to his example of how to suffer joyfully. Let us learn from him, so when our personal time time to suffer comes, we may be able to unite our suffering to Christ's, so we may truly rejoice.

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Pope slipping in and out of consciousness

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VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II showed the first signs of losing consciousness at dawn on Saturday, the Vatican said...

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Thank you to AOL for including me in their Blog Zone. I welcome all of the AOL visitors who have come and are still coming in. As we pray together for the Pope John Paul II, we can be comforted that so many around the country and indeed around the world are united together in prayer through the Body of Christ.

I invite you all to feel free to look around and comment on anything you see.

I do have one rule, though. In our Catholic religion, the Pope is the head of the Church. He is like a family member, a "spiritual father" to quote St. Paul. I understand not everybody is Catholic and doesn't share my love for him, but just as you would not go to a bereaved family member and insult the person who is dying or dead, so it will not be acceptable for you to insult the Holy Father in my comment boxes. If you don't understand, and you have questions, that is one thing, but insults and abusive language will not be tolerated and will be deleted.

There are plenty of internet forums for insults and anti-Catholicism, this is not one of them.

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Divine Mercy

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As the Pope nears his death, we also should remember his love of the Divine Mercy devotion, which we celebrate in a particular way this Sunday.

As we pray, let us commend the Pope to the Divine Mercy of Christ and ask St. Faustina to pray for his direct entry into eternal bliss.

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Conflicting reports


Some Italian media outlets are reporting that the Pope has died; the Vatican has denied it. Stay tuned and continue to pray.

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A unique opportunity

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Yahoo has an incredible slideshow (follow the link and click "related slideshow to the right of the picture) of people all over the world praying for the Pope.

As I was sitting here praying and trying to not to be anxious about his situation, I came across this slideshow, and was incredibly uplifted. If you are troubled by the Holy Father's illness, I recommend checking it out. It shows men and women and children all over the world are right now united in prayer and through the celebration of the Eucharist offered for the Holy Father.

The Body of Christ is always one, especially in the Eucharist, but in a particular way, we are united in prayer for a single intention as the Pope nears his birth into eternal life.

The whole Body suffers as he suffers, and if he passes soon - as it appears may be the case - the whole body will weep and mourn together. But She will also receive many consolations and graces together.

This is a unique opportunity to be united together in prayer. When you go to Mass, I encourage you to pray with the worldwide Church for Pope John Paul II.

Folks, this is as Catholic as it gets.

[Welcome, AOL visitors. Please feel free to comment on anything you see here!]

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Pope in grave condition

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Navarro-Valls said John Paul asked aides to read him the biblical passage describing the final stage of the Way of the Cross, the path that Christ took to his crucifixion. In that stage, according to the Bible, Christ's body was taken down from the cross, wrapped in a linen shroud and placed in his tomb.

Navarro-Valls said the pope followed attentively and made the sign of the cross.

"This is surely an image I have never seen in these 26 years," Navarro-Valls said. Choking up, he walked out of the room.

John Paul's health declined sharply Thursday when he developed a high fever brought on by the infection.

On Thursday afternoon, the pope suffered heart failure and a condition called "septic shock" during treatment for the infection, the Vatican said Friday, but it denied an Italian news report that he was in a coma.

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I'm number one!


Well, it looks like I am the number one the original press release where Father Pavone announced its creation and to this summary of the group's history and charism.

Welcome also to my visitors from the Catholic Match discussion boards!

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Conversation Starter


Probably not the best way to start a conversation with your wife as you're both drifting off to sleep:

"Oh yeah, don't take this the wrong way, but I registered with Catholic Match today."

I think she cracked my sternum as she reached for my shirt collar.

Just to avoid causing scandal, I registered because I received about 50 hits from their site yesterday and I was wondering why. I clearly stated in my profile that that was what I was looking for.

Interestingly enough, "married" was not an acceptable marital status. What a bunch of prudes.

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from April 2005 listed from newest to oldest.

March 2005 is the previous archive.

May 2005 is the next archive.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.