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August 31, 2004

CATHOLIC ANSWERS: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

STATEMENT BY Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi explaining “proportionate reasons”:

When a Catholic does not share a candidate’s stand in favor of abortion and/or euthanasia, but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it is considered remote material cooperation, which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons strictly defined.

Since abortion and euthanasia have been defined by the Church as the most serious sins prevalent in our society, what kind of reasons could possibly be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion? None of the reasons commonly suggested could even begin to be proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for such a candidate. Reasons such as the candidate’s position on war, or taxes, or the death penalty, or immigration, or a national health plan, or social security, or aids, or homosexuality, or marriage, or any similar burning societal issues of our time are simply lacking in proportionality.

There is only one thing that could be considered proportionate enough to justify a Catholic voting for a candidate who is known to be pro-abortion, and that is the protection of innocent human life. That may seem to be contradictory, but it is not.

Consider the case of a Catholic voter who must choose between three candidates: Candidate A, who is completely for abortion-on-demand, Candidate B, who is in favor of very limited abortion, i.e., in favor of greatly restricting abortion, and Candidate C, a candidate who is completely against abortion but who is universally recognized as being unelectable. The Catholic voter cannot vote for Candidate A because that would be formal cooperation in the sin of abortion if that candidate were to be elected and assist in passing legislation which would remove restrictions on abortion-on-demand. The Catholic can vote for Candidate C but that will probably only help ensure the election of Candidate A. Therefore the Catholic voter has a proportionate reason to vote for Candidate B, since his vote may help to ensure the defeat of Candidate A and may result in the saving of some innocent human lives if Candidate B is elected and votes for legislation restricting abortion-on-demand. In such a case the Catholic voter would have chosen the lesser of two evils which is morally permissible under these circumstances.



A powerful senator dies after a prolonged illness. His soul arrives in heaven and is met by St. Peter at the entrance.

"Welcome to Heaven," says St. Peter. "Before you settle in, it seems there is a problem. We seldom see a high official around these parts, you see, so we're not sure what to do with you."

"No problem, just let me in," says the guy.

"Well, I'd like to but I have orders from higher up. What we'll do is have you spend one day in Hell and one in Heaven. Then you can choose where to spend eternity."

"Really, I've made up my mind. I want to be in Heaven," says the senator.

"I'm sorry but we have our rules."

And with that, St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell. The doors open and he finds himself in the middle of a green golf course. In the distance is a club and standing in front of it are all his friends and other politicians who had worked with him, everyone is very happy and in evening attire. They run to greet him, hug him, and reminisce about the good times they had while getting rich at the expense of the people. They play a friendly game of golf and then dine on lobster and caviar.

Also present is the Devil, who really is a very friendly guy who has a good time dancing and telling jokes. They are having such a good time that before he realizes it, it is time to go. Everyone gives him a big hug and waves while the elevator rises.

The elevator goes up, up, up and the door reopens on Heaven where St. Peter is waiting for him. "Now it's time to visit Heaven."

So 24 hours pass with the head of state joining a group of contented souls moving from cloud to cloud, playing the harp and singing. They have a good time and, before he realizes it, the 24 hours have gone by and St. Peter returns.

"Well then, you've spent a day in Hell and another in Heaven. Now choose your eternity."

He reflects for a minute, then the senator answers, "Well, I would never have said it, I mean Heaven has been delightful, but I think I would be better off in Hell."

So St. Peter escorts him to the elevator and he goes down, down, down to Hell.

Now the doors of the elevator open and he is in the middle of a barren land covered with waste and garbage. He sees all his friends, dressed in rags, picking up the trash and putting it in black bags. The Devil comes over to him and lays his arm on his neck. "I don't understand," stammers the senator. "Yesterday I was here and there was a golf course and club and we ate lobster and caviar and danced and had a great time. Now all there is, is a wasteland full of garbage and my friends look miserable.

The Devil looks at him, smiles and says, "Yesterday we were campaigning...Today you voted for us!"


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

9. Love, dispassion and adoption are distinguished by name, and name only. Just as light, fire and flame combine to form one power, it is the same with love, dispassion and adoption.

August 30, 2004

(John 17:20-23) "I do not pray for these only, but also for those who believe in me through their word, that they may all be one; even as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. The glory which thou hast given me I have given to them, that they may be one even as we are one, I in them and thou in me, that they may become perfectly one, so that the world may know that thou hast sent me and hast loved them even as thou hast loved me.


The religious faithful in Moscow are flocking to a Kremlin cathedral for a homecoming of sorts -- the return of a beloved icon, or holy picture.

The Our Lady of Kazan icon has returned to Russia from the Vatican, where is had been hanging in Pope John Paul's private chapel.

The 32 by 26 centimetre icon depicts the Virgin Mary and the infant Jesus.

"It is dear to us because our great grandfathers and fathers prayed to it," seminary student Pyotr Kasatkin told CTV News in Russian.

The original 1579 icon was revered by Russian believers for its purported ability to work miracles, including the rout of Polish invaders from Russia in the early 17th century.

The icon at the Vatican was a replica made in the 18th century. It was taken to the West after the 1917 Russian Revolution, and presented to the Pope by a Roman Catholic group in 1993.

When the icon left the Vatican to return home, the message was of hope. It is said one of the Pope's greatest unfulfilled dreams is to visit Russia. So far, the orthodox church has not allowed it.

"The Pope loves symbolic gestures," Professor Andrea Riccari told CTV News through a translator. "And this return of the icon symbolizes a desire for friendship, a desire for understanding, a desire for unity."

Calling it one of "numerous treasures of the Russian Church," Father Igor Vyzhanov, secretary of the Moscow Patriarch's department for external relations, said the Russian Orthodox Church is "thankful to the Vatican for this act of good will" in returning it.


Pope’s Message to Patriarch Alexy II on Returning Icon of Kazan
Orthodox Patriarch thanks Pope for the gift of the icon of Kazan
Cardinal Kasper Commends Unity of Catholic and Orthodox to Virgin of Kazan

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

8. Love is essentially the banishment of every kind of contrary thought, for love thinketh no evil (1 Cor 8:5).

August 26, 2004


(John 6:53-54) So Jesus said to them, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of man and drink his blood, you have no life in you; he who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day.


The church will begin the Year of the Eucharist with the World Eucharistic Congress in Guadalajara, Mexico, on October 10-17, 2004. The Year of the Eucharist will conclude with a Synod of Bishops at the Vatican on October 2-19, 2005.

The centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the church flows from the command of Jesus: "Do this in memory of me." Since the time of the Apostles, Christians have taken part in the Eucharistic celebration. "Eucharistic Congresses" and "Years of the Eucharist" are more recent customs that originated in 19th century France. The initial idea was to promote Eucharistic devotion and to counter the effect of secularism. The first International Eucharistic Congress took place in 1881. Since then Eucharistic Congresses and Eucharistic Years have been held throughout the world, under the initiative of the Pope.

In this extended celebration, all Catholics are called to honor God’s gift of the Eucharist, to receive it more faithfully, and to reflect more deeply on its meaning in their lives and in the life of the Church.

Bishop Thomas G. Wenski: Year of the Eucharist harkens back to John Paul II's vision

BIBLICAL ROOTS OF THE MASS- Thomas Nash on the Importance of the Scripture Behind Christ's Sacrifice

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

7. Love, by reason of its nature, is resemblance to God, as far as that is possible for mortals; in its activity it is inebriation of the soul; and by its distinctive property it is a fountain of faith, an abyss of patience, a sea of humility.

August 25, 2004



The Church's ultimate trial

675 Before Christ's second coming the Church must pass through a final trial that will shake the faith of many believers.[573] The persecution that accompanies her pilgrimage on earth[574] will unveil the "mystery of iniquity" in the form of a religious deception offering men an apparent solution to their problems at the price of apostasy from the truth. The supreme religious deception is that of the Antichrist, a pseudo-messianism by which man glorifies himself in place of God and of his Messiah come in the flesh.[575]

677 The Church will enter the glory of the kingdom only through this final Passover, when she will follow her Lord in his death and Resurrection.[578] The kingdom will be fulfilled, then, not by a historic triumph of the Church through a progressive ascendancy, but only by God's victory over the final unleashing of evil, which will cause his Bride to come down from heaven.[579] God's triumph over the revolt of evil will take the form of the Last Judgement after the final cosmic upheaval of this passing world.[580]



Liverpool Archdiocese's Oldest Parish Church Closes
Bishop says 21 percent of Fargo parishes to be closed
Archdiocese of Boston to close dozens of churches
Tucson Catholic Diocese braces for bankruptcy
State To Monitor Assets Coming From Closed Churches

The Way of the Cross
The Tenth Station Jesus is Stripped of His Garments

My innocent Jesus, by the merits of the torment Thou hast felt, help me to strip myself of all affection to things of earth, in order that I may place all my love in Thee, who art so worthy of my love. I love Thee, O Jesus, with my whole heart; I repent of having offended Thee. Never permit me to offend Thee again. Grant that I may love Thee always; and then do with me what Thou wilt.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

6. God is love. so he who wishes o define this tries with bleary eyes to measure the sand in the ocean.

August 24, 2004


EDITORIAL: Iraq's dwindling Christians

Interview of Rev. Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin-rite (Roman Catholic) Archbishop of Baghdad

Via Jean Marie Paparelli:

It's amazing to me to think that the USA is now occupying the land where all of humanity had its start and where it will have its end....interesting and thought provoking!!!

1. The garden of Eden was in Iraq.
2. Mesopotamia, which is now Iraq, was the cradle of civilization!
3. Noah built the ark in Iraq.
4. The Tower of Babel was in Iraq.
5. Abraham was from Ur, which is in Southern Iraq!
6. Isaac's wife Rebekah is from Nahor, which is in Iraq.
7. Jacob met Rachel in Iraq.
8. Jonah preached in Nineveh - which is in Iraq.
9. Assyria, which is in Iraq, conquered the ten tribes of Israel.
10. Amos cried out in Iraq!
11. Babylon, which is in Iraq, destroyed Jerusalem.
12. Daniel was in the lion's den in Iraq!
13. The three Hebrew children were in the fire in Iraq (Jesus had been in Iraq also as the fourth person in the fiery furnace!)
14. Belshazzar, the King of Babylon saw the "writing on the wall" in Iraq.
15. Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylon, carried the Jews captive into Iraq.
16. Ezekiel preached in Iraq.
17. The wise men were from Iraq.
18. Peter preached in Iraq.
19. The "Empire of Man" described in Revelation is called Babylon, which was a city in Iraq!
20. And you have probably seen this one. Israel is the nation most often mentioned in the Bible. But do you know which nation is second?

It is Iraq!

However, that is not the name that is used in the Bible. The names used in the Bible are Babylon, Land of Shinar, and Mesopotamia.

The word Mesopotamia means between the two rivers, more exactly b etween the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers. The name Iraq, means country with deep roots.

Indeed Iraq is a country with deep roots and is a very significant country in the Bible. Here's why!

* Eden was in Iraq - Genesis 2:10-14
* Adam & Eve were created in Iraq - Genesis 2:7-8
* Satan made his first recorded appearance in Iraq - Genesis 3:1-6
* Nimrod established Babylon & The Tower of Babel was built in Iraq -
Genesis 10:8-97; 11:1-4
* The confusion of the languages took place in Iraq - Genesis 11:5-11
* Abraham came from a city in Iraq - Genesis 11:31; Acts 7:2-4
* Isaac's bride came from Iraq - Genesis 24:3-4; 10
* Jacob spent 20 years in Iraq - Genesis 27:42-45; 31:38
* The first world Empire was in Iraq - Daniel 1:1-2;2:36-38
* The greatest revival in history was in a city in Iraq - Jonah 3
* The events of the book of Esther took place in Iraq - Esther
* The book of Nahum was a prophecy against a city in Iraq - Nahum
* The book or Revelation has prophecies against Babylon (Iraq's former name). Revelation 17 &18

No other nation, except Israel, has more history and prophecy associated it than Iraq.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

5. The angels know how to speak about love, and even they can only do this according to the degree of their enlightenment.

August 23, 2004


Pope John Paul on Sunday condemned human cloning as an arrogant attempt to improve on God's creation.

"The sense of power that every technical progress inspires in man is well known," the pope said in a message sent from his summer residence in Castelgandolfo to a meeting of prominent Catholic cultural, political and business leaders in the Italian city of Rimini.

"The attempt by man to appropriate the source of life by experimenting with human cloning is example enough," he said in a message sent at the start of the week-long event.

The comments come less than two weeks after British scientists were given permission to clone human embryos for medical research -- believed to be the first such license granted in Europe.

The pope said medical research should not try to "manipulate" human beings "according to a project considered with arrogance better than that of the Creator himself."

"The way taught by Christ is another: it is that of respect for human beings," he said, urging ethically responsible science.

The Vatican has repeatedly condemned all attempts at human cloning, comparing it to the experiments carried out by Nazis in World War II.

BIBLICAL PERSPECTIVE-  Cloning: A Diabolical Counterfeit of Eternal Life

FOREVERPET Launches Lowest Priced Cat Cloning for Pet Owners- ForeverPet, under the slogan “For More Than A Lifetime”, allows pet owners to cryopreserve a tiny biopsy that safely preserves their pet’s DNA for future use in the production of an identical clone.

IN THE NEWS: Human cloning license issued in UK

CLOSER LOOK: Science's babies

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

4. He who wishes to speak about Divine love undertakes to speak about God. But it is precarious to expatiate on God, and may even be dangerous for the unwary.

August 6, 2004



Pope John Paul II's visit to the southern miracle town of Lourdes, expected to draw at least 300,000 faithful, officials said.

The 84-year-old pontiff's visit to Lourdes on August 14 and 15 will mark the 150th anniversary of the 1854 proclamation by Pope Pius IX of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception.

Four years later in Lourdes, 14-year-old peasant girl Bernadette Soubirous said she saw apparitions of the Virgin Mary at the grotto of Massabielle in Lourdes, which now draws six million pilgrims a year.

John Paul II will say Angelus Domini prayers at the grotto on August 14 following his arrival in France earlier in the day. He will later recite the rosary there and preside over the recitation of the Stations of the Cross.

On August 15 - a Sunday and the feast of the Assumption - the head of the Roman Catholic Church will celebrate mass at the Church of Sainte Bernadette.

The trip marks the pope's 104th trip outside of Italy, his second to Lourdes and his eighth visit to France, where he last travelled in 1997.


Pope Requests Prayers for Pilgrimages
Bishop says pope to visit Lourdes to praise God, not seek healing
Church in France Preparing for Pope at Lourdes


You would like to take part in the pilgrimage of the Pope with Doors on next 15 August, but you cannot go there? You would wish to deposit your prayer with the Cave with a candle, but you do not have the possibility of doing it? has a solution for you August the 14 and 15, will be present at Lourdes. P. Thierry Lamboley sj and Soeur Catherine Sesboüé will be your intermediaries to deposit your intentions of prayer to the Cave of Massabielle.

How to make?

To send an intention of prayer (free)

It is enough to send to us before August 14 an electronic mail to the address [email protected] by specifying us:
- your name
- your intention.

We will raise the mail since Lourdes and will deposit your intention of prayer.

To accompany your prayer by a candle (paying) click here.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

3. The first can make and create all things; the Divine mercy surrounds the second and makes it immune to disappointment; the third does not fall, does not stop in its course and allows no respite to him who is wounded by its blessed madness.

August 5, 2004

Orthodox Catholic Review Article: Count the Number of the Beast: "666"

... I have an opinion as to this number [666], though I do not know for certain, for many names have been found in this number when it is expressed in writing. Still we say that perhaps the scription of this same seal will give us the word "I deny."..

Of such kind, in the time of that hater of all good, will be the seal, the tenor of which will be this: "I deny the Maker of heaven and earth, I deny the baptism, I deny my (former) service and attach myself to thee, and I believe in thee."

... truly those who are engrossed in the affairs of life, and with the lust of this world, will be easily brought over to the accuser [Antichrist] then, and sealed by him.

- Saint Hippolytus of Rome "Discourse on the End of the World and on Antichrist"


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

2. And (as far as I can make out) I see the one as a ray, the second as a light, the third as an orb; and in all, one radiance and one splendour.

August 4, 2004


Peter Kreft: What is God's Answer to Human Suffering?


A New Breed of Priest
In a State of Grace

FATHER ALTIER: "Jesus is our only way. He is the one who is allowing the wound to be inflicted upon us because of our sins, and it is going to get worse before people even realize that there is a problem. But then He will restore us if we call out to Him, if we trust Him, if we look to Him to heal us. Since He is the one who has allowed the wound to be inflicted, He is the only one who can cure it. There is no other cure; we have to be very clear about that. Only Jesus can cure what we have done. So we must call out to Him, we must reach out to Him; otherwise, we will sink. If we rely on ourselves or anything else, there is no hope. Our hope is in the Lord, and only in Him. We have to learn to trust Him. We have to have faith and confidence in Christ. That is our only hope of salvation in the midst of this mess. It is our only hope of healing, but the promise is His and He will fulfill it as long as we remain faithful."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 30- "Concerning the Supreme Trinity Among the Virtues"

1. And now, finally, after all that we have said, there remain these three that bind and secure the union of all: faith, hope, and love; and the greatest of these is love, for God Himself is so called (1 John 4: 8, 16).

August 2, 2004

(Mat 5:11-12) "Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so men persecuted the prophets who were before you.


Car bombs exploded outside at least six Christian churches in Iraq on Sunday, killing at least three people and wounding many more in an apparently coordinated attack timed to coincide with evening prayers.

"We are expecting a huge number of casualties," an Interior Ministry source said. He said there had been four blasts at churches in Baghdad and two in Mosul. At least two of the Baghdad blasts were suicide car bomb attacks, he said.

The attacks were the first to target Christian churches during the 15-month insurgency.

Iraqis said the blasts, which scattered chunks of hot metal and shattered stained glass windows, said they feared the attacks were designed to stir tensions among Iraq's diverse religious communities.

"These operations are aimed at creating strife between Christians, Shi'as, Sunnis and others, nothing more, nothing less," said Omar Hussein, 25, a metalworker near the scene of a blast at the Armenian church in central Baghdad.


Islam has been the dominant religion in the Tigris-Euphrates Valley for 1,400 years. Christians have been there for two millenniums and maintain a quiet presence today in what is now Iraq.

Estimates of Iraq’s Christian population range from 600,000 to 800,000 -- roughly 3 percent of the overall population of 25 million. No one knows for sure.

Christians, who practiced with relative freedom under Saddam Hussein, are leaving -- or trying to leave -- out of fear that a Muslim-dominated government will control Iraq, said the Rev. Jean Benjamin Sleiman, Latin-rite (Roman Catholic) archbishop of Baghdad.

Most Iraqi Christians are Chaldeans, Eastern-rite Catholics whose church is autonomous from Rome, with its own liturgy and leadership, but recognizes the authority of the pope. Chaldeans trace their lineage to the Babylonian-Mesopotamian nation of Chaldees, where the patriarch Abraham was born.

Other Christians include Roman and Syriac Catholics; Assyrians (Church of the East); Greek, Syriac and Armenian Orthodox; and Presbyterians, Anglicans and evangelicals.

Sleiman, 58, is a Lebanese-born Carmelite priest who holds doctorates in theology from the Paris Catholic Institute and in anthropology from the Sorbonne. He speaks six languages, including Arabic and English, and became archbishop of Baghdad in January 2001.

Since the U.S.-led coalition began massing troops on Iraq’s borders, Sleiman has spoken of the need for a multinational reconstruction and peace effort, criticized the coalition’s dismantling of the Iraqi military, condemned foreign evangelicals for openly trying to convert Muslims and urged Iraqi Christians not to desert their country.

MORE: Interview of Rev. Jean Benjamin Sleiman

SEE ALSO: Christians Fear Persecution in New Iraq

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 29- "Concerning Heaven on Earth"

12. But why say more? The dispassionate man no longer lives himself, but Christ lives in him (Gal. 2:20), as he says who fought the good fight, finished his course and kept the Faith (2 Tim. 4:7).

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