June 2006 Archives

New Pentecost, part 2


Last month, I blogged about the Second World Congress of Ecclesial Movements. The event culminated in a prayer vigil in St. Peter's Square with Pope Benedict. Here is the English translation of the Holy Father's homily at vespers, which is quite simply inspiring. A snip:

The Holy Spirit desires unity, he desires totality. Therefore, his presence is finally shown above all in missionary zeal.

Anyone who has come across something true, beautiful and good in his life -- the one true treasure, the precious pearl -- hastens to share it everywhere, in the family and at work, in all the contexts of his life.

He does so without any fear, because he knows he has received adoption as a son; without any presumption, for it is all a gift; without discouragement, for God's Spirit precedes his action in people's "hearts" and as a seed in the most diverse cultures and religions.

He does so without restraint, for he bears a piece of good news which is for all people and for all peoples.

Dear friends, I ask you to collaborate even more, very much more, in the Pope's universal apostolic ministry, opening doors to Christ.

This is the Church's best service for men and women and especially for the poor, so that the person's life, a fairer order in society and peaceful coexistence among the nations may find in Christ the cornerstone on which to build the genuine civilization, the civilization of love.

The Holy Spirit gives believers a superior vision of the world, of life, of history, and makes them custodians of the hope that never disappoints.

Let us pray to God the Father, therefore, through Our Lord Jesus Christ, in the grace of the Holy Spirit, so that the celebration of the solemnity of Pentecost may be like an ardent flame and a blustering wind for Christian life and for the mission of the whole Church.

I place the intentions of your movements and communities in the heart of the Most Blessed Virgin Mary, present in the Upper Room together with the apostles; may she be the one who implores God to grant them.

Upon all of you I invoke an outpouring of the gifts of the Spirit, so that in our time too, we may have the experience of a renewed Pentecost. Amen!

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What is the Secretary of State?


With last week's news of a new Secretary of State for the Vatican, you might be wondering, "Just what does the Vatican SoS do?"

If so, Zenit published a handy reference last week.

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Psycho-analyzing John Allen


Austin Ruse tries to peer into the soul of my favorite Vatican reporter. A very interesting article. I pretty much agree with Ruse, but I hasten to add that I don't much care where Allen's sympathies lie because he performs a marvelous job as a reporter. He doesn't editorialize and he treats a subject with a precise fairness.

Still, Allen's prejudices can sometimes bubble to the surface, such as during his coverage of the release of Deus Caritas Est when he told NPR that the encyclical was Pope Benedict's version of "compassionate conservatism." Blech. Thanks for gettin' the message out, John. In that light, it is good to keep in mind that despite the great pains he goes to to present his stories fairly and accurately, he is a man with beliefs and a point of view, but nobody is immune from that charge.

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One of the awesomest stories of the year


Montana mom hunts down al-Qaeda on the Internet.

For four years, she has alternated her day jobs of mother and magistrate in the mountain state of Montana with a night-time role as a hunter of terrorists. Mrs Rossmiller first turned freelance spy after September 11.

Donning a range of virtual disguises, she uses her functional, self-taught Arabic, and customised software that masks her true identity and whereabouts, to navigate into radical internet chat rooms frequented by real terrorists or any fanatic with a computer and a grudge.
In her best known case, she secured a life sentence for a treacherous soldier, Pte Ryan Anderson, who was trying to transmit the weaknesses of the M1 Abrams tank to al-Qa'eda. It was when she was called to give evidence in that case that her cover was blown. "I didn't have the choice of remaining anonymous," she said, despite earlier pledges from the authorities that her name would never be made public.

On many occasions she has encountered terrorists overseas. Three times she has lured young British Islamists into unmasking themselves, including one group in Liverpool. The FBI passed the material to British intelligence, after which she heard nothing more.

She brushes off the possible threat to her and her family from terrorist reprisal. She pointed out that in Montana's little towns, strangers stick out and the locals are armed. "There have to be risks taken, otherwise you can't get anything done."

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NPR proves its worth


The proof:

  1. Grilling your dessert.

  2. Full-length songs from a new album from the Brand New Heavies - one of the greatest bands of all time. Though sadly the posted cuts aren't up to their early-90s standard. They sound kind of lazy and much more disco-y than jazzy, which used to be their main appeal.

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Indiana foundress to be canonized


"Vatican announces ceremony in step to raise Indiana nun to saint"

Now that's a mouthful.

So what really happened?

The Vatican announced a consistory (an allegedly consultorial, mostly-ceremonial gathering of Cardinals with the pope), where Benedict - who has already given the Church's acknowledgement of the authenticity of a miracle attributed to the intercession from heaven of Blessed Theodora Guerin - will likely approve a decree which will officially announce and set a date for her canonization.

Who is Mother Theodora Geurin?

Here's her biography from the webpage of the order in Indiana that she founded.

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The Holy See has a new Secretary of State, in case you haven't heard. John Allen's Word from Rome column this week has a profile of Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the new Secretary. An excerpt:

Bertone is a staunch conservative on doctrinal issues, and a man with a very positive and optimistic spirit. In true Salesian fashion, he is good at youth ministry, and has made outreach to the young a priority in Genoa. One of his first outings as archbishop was to a local disco, where Bertone was photographed on the dance floor. He has also taken a few turns at providing color commentary during broadcasts of Italian soccer matches.

Seems like things will be getting interesting at State.

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Good Works


The UK Tablet has a story this week on a British parish's outreach to young female refugees.

Fr Peter and Margaret Kane are a part of MRANG, the Merseyside Refugee and Asylum Seekers Pre- and Post-Natal Support Group, an organisation that grew up around St Bernard’s parish. Since September 2004, MRANG has helped more than 220 women and children, but only 32 have been given refugee status. More than 80 babies have been born, of which 36 were the result of rape and multiple rape – often by soldiers. Their mothers come from more than 35 countries, including Uganda and Zimbabwe.

Do go read the whole thing. It's a sad story, but it's also inspiring to see how much good work a single parish can do.

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The End of an Era

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Oldest animal in the world dies

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A 176-year-old giant tortoise believed to have been studied by famed English naturalist Charles Darwin, has died in Australia after a short illness.

Harriet was hatched on the Galapagos Islands in 1830 but lived out her final years at Australia Zoo in southeast Queensland where she was the star attraction.

Senior veterinarian John Hangar said the 330-pound reptile died on Thursday night after a short illness.

Whoa, whoa, a 330 POUND TURTLE? What did I miss?

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Ramesh on On Point


Ramesh Ponnuru was on Tom Ashbrook's On Point radio show last week discussing his book The Party of Death, a book which I will be checking out from the library as soon as I can. The host enlisted two guests to gang up on him and Ponnuru performed marvelously.

The audio link can be found here. It's instructive to hear Ashbrook harp on the book's title for the whole hour, and when Ponnuru calls him on it, the host (with no sense of his own irony) compares the title to an incitement to genocide.

Towards the end of the show, the complete unseriousness of his opponents is revealed. First, bio"ethicist" George Annas, when asked for a perspective from bioethics, proceeds to talk about Roe v. Wade and opinion polls. Then, Neera Tanden, former Hillary Clinton staffer, professes bewilderment that Ponnuru opposes abortion but doesn't want millions of women thrown in prison.

Regardless, Ramesh holds his ground well while fighting off the triple team.

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Human Trafficking in Germany


National Review Online has a sad but important piece by Donna M. Hughes telling the story of two Russian women who were forced into prostitution in Germany, where the amount of professional prostitutes has doubled to accomodate World Cup demand. Prostitution is legal there, and many of the additional prostitutes are undoubtedly victims of human trafficking, mostly from eastern Europe.

Incidentally, here is a page on the website of the U.S. embassy to the Holy See that documents the joint US-Vatican efforts to combat human trafficking.

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The Embryo


Last month, the Pontifical Academy for Life issued a document summarizing the proceedings of the international congress on "The Human Embryo in the Pre-Implantation Phase." For those of you interested on just what the Church teaches about the human embryo, personhood and implantation, the document can be found here, courtesy of Zenit. It is a brief, by no means comprehensive summary of the first stages of the embryo after fertilization and of the ethical consequences.

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Yes, we're late, but Mama-Lu and I are just today watching March of the Penguins. We're about halfway through (currently breaking for bedtime) and I gotta say, it's meeting the hype. If you haven't yet seen it, GO GET IT and watch it.

My real purpose in this post, however, is to post a line from the film that I think might be the manliest line in movie history:

"Now, their bellies full, it is time to find a mate."

Spoken by Morgan Freeman.

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Home from the west

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Well, we're back from California.

I speculated on whether the retreat center would be still standing after my boys stormed it, and yes it is.

I however, am not.

It seems a bug of some sort swept through town, smiting both Matthew and me. He caught it Monday, puking all over himself after we went to the beach just north (I think) of San Pedro, and he's had diarrhea ever since.

Tuesday night, Jenny's aunt from Encino took us to Santa Monica and to a Mexican restaurant, Mariasol, that sits on a pier. They bill themselves as the closest to the sunset, which we could have seen if the waiter had remembered to put our order in and we hadn't waited a half hour or so for our appetizers alone. Anyway, after missing the sunset (it was a nice view anyway), we were driving home when my tummy start feeling funny. I asked Aunt Criss to pull over, and I got out, walked around, paid $2.50 for a Sprite and felt better. I got back in the car, Criss got back on the freeway, and about 20 minutes later, my tummy was back at it. As she was pulling off, I opened my mouth to ask her to pull over again, but what came out was not words, if you catch my drift. It was carnitas, shredded and half-digested. All over her car; all over me. Blaow.

We got home to the convent at 10 PM and of course it was all locked up, mercifully, Sr. Mary Louise had left us a note saying we could page her and she would let us in, which we did. And then I crawled into bed and woke up feeling 100% better.

Well, no, actually I went in, collapsed on the bathroom floor, and spent the next 6 hours being "prolificly ill," to euphemize the situation.

Wednesday morning, Jenny got on the phone to try to postpone our flights to give me some recovery time, and we found out that it would cost us over $1,000 to get on the same flights the next day. So at 10 AM, we loaded up the Carmelite's van and Jenny's sister drove us to the airport. Our flights went fairly well, but except for some apple slices in the morning I didn't eat a thing the whole day for fear of puking in my seat. Mama-Lu was a saint and a soldier, doing most of the heavy lifting so I could get by with just pushing the stroller around the airports.

So here I am, still sick, home an extra day from work. (I'm still trying to justify in my head how sitting at a computer blogging is different from sitting at a computer approving purchase orders and doing portfolio reviews.)

Up to the moment when I got violently and debilitatingly ill, the trip had gone marvelously wonderfully. The St. Joseph's Retreat Center is absolutely beautiful.

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Conservative Books=Sexual Harrassment


Another stale nugget from my inbox, as reported by LifeSiteNews.com on April 18:

Scott Savage, who serves as a reference librarian for the university, suggested four best-selling conservative books for freshman reading in his role as a member of OSU Mansfield's First Year Reading Experience Committee. The four books he suggested were The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, The Professors by David Horowitz, Eurabia: The Euro-Arab Axis by Bat Ye'or, and It Takes a Family by Senator Rick Santorum. Savage made the recommendations after other committee members had suggested a series of books with a left-wing perspective, by authors such as Jimmy Carter and Maria Shriver.

Savage was put under "investigation" by OSU's Office of Human Resources after three professors filed a complaint of discrimination and harassment against him, saying that the book suggestions made them feel "unsafe." The complaint came after the OSU Mansfield faculty voted without dissent to file charges against Savage. The faculty later voted to allow the individual professors to file charges.

Please note that the complant came from university professors. Freedom of expression, tolerance, diversity, etc.

Also please note that I'm not vouching for the actual content of any of the listed books.

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Marriage, Simply


While glancing at some old Zenit daily dispatch emails stored up in my inbox, I came across this interview with a Legion of Christ priest who has a book out about marriage. I really liked this quote:

Q: What's the meaning and the significance of the sacrament of marriage?

Father Ryan: When a man loves a woman he will surely feel that he is not capable by himself of giving that woman all he would like for her in terms of complete happiness. Then he asks God for help.

Then God says to him: How nice, you and I love that same woman; we must make an alliance, a pact, to love her together.

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Going Back to Cali (for the 1st time)


We're outta here!

The entire Lu-clan is going on a 5 day jaunt to sunny California (because you know, June is when you want to be heading south) to visit my sister-in-law, whom I've only met once.

"Why only once?" you ask. Because she is a Carmelite Sister of the Most Sacred Heart of Los Angeles! We're going to Alhambra for a visit and will be staying with the Carmelites.

This is my first trip west of the Grand Canyon, so I'n pretty psyched for it, and word on the street is the Carmelites can't wait to meet my two boys. Here's hoping the place is still standing next week!

We're leaving first thing Saturday A.M. and will be gone until Thursday. Alert the media and hold all my calls.

And a special thanks goes out to Lisa (who is sitting in my living room talking to Mama-Lu right now) for making the tickets happen!

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New Theology of the Body translation


Zenit has a two-part interview (1, 2) with Michael Waldstein, who is editing a forthcoming new translation of Pope John Paul the Great's Theology of the Body.

There are two very interesting revelations in the first interview. First, Waldstein claims that the existing English version of TOB is somewhat deficient because of translation inconsistencies. As most reading this will know, the Theology of the Body consists of sequences of addresses that John Paul gave at his weekly Wednesday general audiences over the first several years of his pontificate. The English translation we have now was compiled from the translations published by L'Osservatore Romano, the official Vatican newspaper. As Waldstein tells it, from week to week as the adresses were delivered:

the Italian text was sent over to L'Osservatore Romano and whoever was on duty at the English desk translated it. The translators did not have the work as a whole before them, but they translated each catechesis individually. These various inconsistencies indicate that there were several translators.

Later translators could not go back and change the translation, because it had already been published. The edition by Pauline Books and Media is simply a compilation of these translations.

The second revelation is Waldstein's discovery that the Theology of the Body was originally written in Polish before John Paul even became pope. Waldstein describes coming across the original edition in the John Paul II Archives:

So about half a year ago I went with a Polish friend to the Dom Polski, the Polish Pilgrim House in Rome, on the Via Cassia, where the John Paul II Archives are kept.

We looked through the Italian materials, but found nothing. We were disappointed, but asked the director of the archives if he had anything else. Yes, he said, we have the materials of the Polish translation, but you will not find anything there that is not in the Italian, because the Italian is the original text.

We decided to take a look nevertheless and found a Polish text that had a five level division with headings I had never seen before. It turns out that Cardinal Wojtyla wrote the theology of the body in Polish before his election in 1978. It seems to have been ready for publication.

We became fully sure about the priority of the Polish text only when we managed to contact the sister who actually typed the manuscript in Krakow before John Paul II's election.

In the archives we also found a handwritten note from John Paul II to his secretary that explains that the structure of the theology of the body would remain exactly the same when he adapted it for the series of catecheses.

Having these headings is a revelation. It opens up the text in amazing ways. You see how rigorous John Paul II's writing really is.

The reason why other editions don't have these headings seems to be the relatively isolated life of the individual catecheses. John Paul II delivered them one by one without, of course, saying, just to take one example, We are now in Part Two -- The Sacrament; Chapter Two -- The Dimension of Sign; Section Two -- The Song of Songs; Subsection Three -- Eros or Agape?

That would have been unintelligible. When he was finished, the catecheses were collected and assembled, but the knowledge of the structure of the whole was lost. Only John Paul II's Polish collaborators had this knowledge. I don't know why it did not cross the language barrier into Italian.

Maybe it's the pope-geek in me, but I find that fascinating.

The second interview is more meaty and worth a look as well. I love the story about John of the Cross having the monks at his deathbed read the Song of Songs.

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The Pope to Spain next month


As noted in the FAQ section of the World Meeting of Families post below, the Holy Father will be coming to Spain for the event.

Zenit has a rundown of what the Holy Father will be doing in Spain. Apart from the standard ecclesial and secular protocol, here's the WMF portion of the pope's agenda:

[On Saturday July 8, t]the Bishop of Rome will then go in an open car to the testimonial meeting, which, beginning at 8 p.m., will gather hundreds of thousands of families at the Puente de Monteolivete in a context of prayer and testimonies. They will alternate with artistic-cultural presentations by artists...

Benedict XVI will repeat this itinerary the following day, Sunday, July 9, when he will return in an open car to Puente de Monteolivete, where he will preside over the 9:30 a.m. solemn closing Mass and deliver the homily.

During the Mass, some spouses who have celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary will renew their marriage vows.

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Fighting AIDS


The UK Tablet takes a grim look at the AIDS situation in Africa.

Mutomo Hospital is in the Kitui district, which has been hit hard by five years of drought. Rivers have dried up, crops destroyed, and the people worn down by hunger. Among the most affected have been those with HIV and Aids. Although life-saving drugs are cheap and available, the small food and medical costs necessary to be able to take them are often too much.

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I have dreams

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Last night two of my great loves converged in my sleep.

The opening hymn for the Cubs game was one of my own creation - a hymn sung to the tune of "The Church's One Foundation" that was a call for various Protestant sects to return to the one true faith.

Hmm, come to think of it, that sounds pretty nerdy...

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World Meeting of Families


Next month, Valencia, Spain will host the Fifth World Meeting of Families (WMF), sponsored by the Archdiocese of Valencia and the Pontifical Council for the Family.

Here is the English Website for the event.

Note that while the English homepage does not seem to be fully translated, the other links are. For those with less time or patience, here are some direct links of interest:

  • Catechesis - Featuring an address the Holy Father gave last June to a Rome Diocesan meeting on the family as well links to the outlines of the various catechetical talks that will be given at the WMF next month.

  • Congress - The meeting will feature an International Theological Pastoral Congress from July 4-7. There will actually be three Congresses, as a Children's Congress and a Parents' Conference will take place simultaneously.

  • Documents - Here are some documents on marriage and the family as well as some general intercessions that can be used at Mass.

  • Program - Though currently blank, I'm guessing there will eventually be a list of events at the WMF.

The FAQ page is unformatted and hard to read so for your benefit and my own, here are the highlights, a little more nicely presented:

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A German Pope in Poland


The Vatican Website has posted all of the English translations of the texts of the addresses Benedict XVI gave in Poland at the end of May.

Here they are.

The following Wednesday, the Pope used his general audience address to reflect on the trip. The Zenit English translation of those remarks is here.

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Hapy Feast Day!



Today is a high feast day for my family. It is the name day of our firstborn, Matthew Boniface as well as a kind of foundational feast day for the Lu-Clan.

Who is St. Boniface?
Here's his Catholic Encyclopedia entry.

Here's a 17th century biography.

Here are the letters of St. Boniface.

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Pope's Prayers


Here are the Holy Father's prayer intentions or June:

General Prayer Intention: That Christian families may lovingly welcome every child who comes into existence and surround the sick and the aged, who need care and assistance, with affection.

Mission intention: "That pastors and the Christian faithful may consider inter-religious dialogue and the work of acculturation of the Gospel as a daily service to promote the cause of the evangelization of peoples.

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Mama-Lu's Etsy Shop

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from June 2006 listed from newest to oldest.

May 2006 is the previous archive.

July 2006 is the next archive.

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