Keep your eyes open!...


July 31, 2008



The Portiuncula (small portion) refers to the land in Assisi, Italy, that belonged to the Benedictines.

On this land  was an old church dedicated to the Virgin Mother of God but abandoned.

The great St. Francis had great devotion to the queen of the world and when he saw that the church was deserted, he began to live there constantly and repair it.  He heard that the angels often visited it, so that it was called St. Mary of the Angels.

The Benedictines wanted to give Francis the church but in order to remain faithful to Lady Poverty, Francis rented it from them with the annual compensation of a basket of fish from the Tescio river.

Here is where Francis began his service to Christ and His Church. Here Francis founded his Order, received Clare as his spiritual daughter, and where he died commending this spot above all others to the friars.

 St. Francis had great love and compassion for everyone.

On a night of July, 1216, Francis was praying in the little church of the Portiuncula devoured by love for God and a thirst to save souls. He prayed for the forgiveness of sins of mankind.

Suddenly a brilliant light shone all around. In great splendor Jesus and Mary appeared in the midst of a dazzling cloud surrounded by a multitude of radiant angels.

Out of fear and reverence, St. Francis adored Our Lord prostrate upon the ground.

Then Jesus said to him: "Francis you are very zealous for the good of souls. Ask me what you want for their salvation." St. Francis was rapt in ecstasy before Jesus.

When he regained his courage he said:

"Lord, I a miserable sinner beg You to concede an indulgence to all those who enter this church, who are truly contrite and have confessed their sins. And I beg Blessed Mary, your Mother, intercessor of man, that she intercede on behalf of this grace."

Our Lady at once began to beseech her son on behalf of Francis. Jesus answered:

"It is a very great thing that which you ask Me; but you are worthy of even greater things, Friar Francis, and greater things you will have. So I accept your request, but I want you to go to my Vicar, to whom I have given the power to bind and loose in Heaven and on earth, to ask him on my behalf for this indulgence."

With one of his companions, Francis hastened to Pope Honorius III and prostrate implored him to proclaim that every one visiting the church and confessing their sins with a contrite heart would be as pure from all sin and punishments as he was immediately after baptism. The Pope granted this petition. This indulgence has been extended to all parish churches throughout the world.

The date was set from vespers of the first of August until sundown on the second of August, the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels. It is said that St. Francis was given this day by Our Lord because the Feast of the Chains of St. Peter celebrated on August first is the day Peter was released from prison and his chains removed. This is an extraordinary demonstration of God's mercy in removing the chains of sin from those who devoutly and faithfully seek to gain the indulgence by completing its requirements. 

The conditions to obtain the Plenary Indulgence of the Forgiveness of Assisi is (for oneself or for a departed soul) as follows:

--    Sacramental Confession to be in God's grace (during eight days before or after.)

--    Participation in the Holy Mass and Eucharist

--    Recitation of The Apostles Creed, Our Father and a prayer for the Pope's Intention.

 The Portiuncula Indulgence is a grace not to miss not only for yourself but for the many suffering souls in Purgatory.

Mark your calendar for the Feast of Our Lady of the Angels beginning on the First of August to August 2.

Tell everyone of the magnitude of this gift. Once again, we see the unfathomable Divine Mercy of God.

 In the words of St. Francis: O my Brothers and Sisters, I want you all to go to Heaven!

MORE: St. Francis and the Feast of Pardon

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

21. Let the remembrance of the eternal fire lie down with you every evening, and let it rise up with you too. Then sloth will never overwhelm you at the time of psalmody. 

July 30, 2008  

BISHOP DEVINE: "Indeed, a nation that condemns to abortion our beautiful and blameless unborn babies betrays itself as morally, ethically and politically untrustworthy and disinclined to give due care and attention to the poorest and weakest members of our society."

IN THE NEWS:  Last Abortion Clinic in South Dakota Closes after Law Requires Patients be Informed of Possible Side Effects

SIOUX FALLS, SD, July 24, 2008 ( - On Monday, July 21, eight women arrived at the Planned Parenthood office in Sioux Falls in South Dakota for abortions, but were instead met with locked doors and a hand-written note indicating the only abortion clinic in South Dakota was closed.

Planned Parenthood closed its doors after their abortionists, who are flown in from other states, refused to work under the new law that went into effect last Friday. The law orders abortionists to inform patients of the humanity of their babies and that the procedure could affect their mental health two hours before the abortion is set to be performed. The law also provides that abortionists can be sued if they do not comply.

This law was the brain-child of attorney Harold Cassidy and passed with the help of determined pro-life leaders Dr. Alan and Leslee Unruh, who pushed for the regulation in the face of opposition, even from some in the pro-life movement. The Eighth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals cleared the way for the law's enactment last week.

It remains unclear if the Planned Parenthood office has permanently ceased the practice of abortion. However, several women who were scheduled for abortions this week went to a pro-life center instead, where some have reportedly changed their minds about having abortions.

"The closing of this clinic is historic in that South Dakota is, for the time being, the first abortion-free state," said Operation Rescue President Troy Newman. "It didn't take the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and it didn't take a new President or a new Supreme Court. It took the courageous determination of pro-life heroes like Mr. Cassidy and the Unruhs who saw an opportunity to save lives and pressed on until their dream became victory."

"We applaud their efforts and encourage other states to emulate their campaign," said Newman.

The Unruhs are currently involved in the Vote Yes For Life Campaign, which would effectively ban abortions in South Dakota, putting the finishing nail in the coffin of the abortion industry there.

Text of the new law and links to the court decision can be found at

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AMAZING!- Videos of babies in utero:

HEADLINE: Woman gives birth to 18th child in Canada

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

20. The seas wastes with time, as Job says (Job 14:11). And with time and patience, the things of which we have spoken are gradually acquired and perfected in us. 

July 29, 2008

(1Pe 3:15)  But sanctify the Lord Christ in your hearts, being ready always to satisfy every one that asketh you a reason of that hope which is in you.

REFLECTION: To Those Shopping for a Church, Come Home to the Catholic Church


PRESS RELEASE: Vatican Approves New English Translation For The Order Of Mass

The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has received approval (recognitio) from the Holy See's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments for the new English-language translation of the Order of Mass (Ordo Missae).

This is the first section of the translation of the third edition of the Roman Missal. It includes most of the texts used in every celebration of the Mass, including the responses that will be said by the people.

In its letter, the Congregation pointed out that while the texts are binding, the approval "does not intend that these texts are to be put into use immediately."

Cardinal Francis Arinze, Prefect of the Congregation, explained the reasons for providing the text at this time. The purpose is to provide "time for the pastoral preparation of priests, deacons and for appropriate catechesis of the lay faithful. It will likewise facilitate the devising of musical settings for parts of the Mass."

The text is covered by copyright law and the Statutes of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

The more significant changes of the people's parts are:

   1. et cum spiritu tuo  is rendered as "And with your spirit"
   2. In the Confiteor, the text "through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault" has been added
   3. The Gloria has been translated differently and the structure is different from the present text
   4. In the Preface dialogue the translation of "Dignum et justum est" is "It is right and just"
   5. The first line of the Sanctus now reads "Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts"
   6. The response of the people at the Ecce Agnus Dei is "Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed."

At this time, no date is available as to when the entire translation of the Roman Missal will be released.

IN THE NEWS: Return of Latin Mass restores faith in many Catholics

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

19. When we suffer from the superior honourable dishonour, scolding or punishment, let us remember the fearful sentence of the Judge, and we shall kill with meekness and patience, as with a two-edged sword, the irrational sorrow and bitterness which will certainly be sown in us. 

July 28, 2008  

(2Pe 3:11-12)  Seeing then that all these things are to be dissolved, what manner of people ought you to be in holy conversation and godliness?  Looking for and hasting unto the coming of the day of the Lord, by which the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, and the elements shall melt with the burning heat?

Kathy: Sermon by Fr. Louis Campbell- Tenth Sunday after Pentecost, July 20, 2008 The Great Tribulation 

Someone asked me if, in my opinion, the Great Tribulation would be starting soon.  The Great Tribulation is that time foretold by Our Lord when His followers would endure great trial and suffering:

“They will deliver you up to tribulation, and will put you to death; and you will be hated by all nations for my name’s sake.  And then many will fall away, and will betray one another, and will hate one another.  And many false prophets will arise, and will lead many astray.  And because iniquity will abound, the charity of many will grow cold.  But whoever perseveres to the end, he shall be saved.  And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in the whole world, for a witness to all nations; and the will come the end” (Mt.24:8b-14).

If we look around us it is hard not to be convinced that the Tribulation has already begun.  A Great Apostasy, also prophesied in Sacred Scripture, has been under way for the past forty or fifty years, and the spiritual devastation in both Church and world is beyond belief.

We must understand that spiritual devastation is a far greater evil than any kind of natural disaster.  The whole world was in a state of shock over the great earthquake and accompanying tsunami that occurred in the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004.  The fires in California and the floods in the Midwest have left us all wondering what could happen next, and we fear even a financial tsunami.  But even if the whole earth should quake and swallow up half of mankind, if most of the human race should die of famine or plague, or if a huge asteroid should strike the earth and leave the planet devoid of all life, it would not be as great a disaster as one mortal sin.

Yes, sin is the greatest evil.  Our life on the earth is limited and must come to an end some day, but, hopefully, we will then enter into eternal joy in Heaven.  Earthquakes, hurricanes and floods do not offend God.  But mortal sin is an offense against the All Good and Holy God Who deserves only our love and gratitude.  Mortal sin strikes against God in an attempt to kill Him.  In fact, it did kill Him.  Jesus Christ, the God-Man, surrendered His sacred humanity on the Cross as a Victim for the sins of the world.

Sin is the most horrible of all evils.  And in these times sin is everywhere.  It surrounds us, it threatens us, it haunts us, it attacks us.  “The wages of sin is death,” says St.  Paul (Rom.6:23).  Mortal sin has killed millions, even billions of human beings.  If that is not a disaster, what is?

The Most Holy Virgin Mary, venerated in Ecuador as Our Lady of Good Success, appeared in the 1600’s to Mother Mariana de Jesus Torres at the Conceptionist Convent in Quito, Ecuador, and told her that the twentieth century would be a time of great evil and persecution of the good.  Millions of people would fall into Hell, including many bishops, priests, and nuns.  Innocence in children and modesty in women would hardly be found anymore.  Those who should speak out would remain silent, and the Church would lack the one leader who would be able to bring things to order once more.  Knowledge of the apparitions would not be widespread until the time of these terrible disasters.  Mother Mariana was asked to do penance for the people of our times, and she did.

Our Lady requested of Mother Mariana that a statue be made according to her likeness.  Fearing that the bishop would not believe her, Mother Mariana delayed asking his permission.  When she finally went to see the bishop he said to her: “What took you so long?” He had had a dream in which Our Lady told him to expect Mother Mariana’s visit.  He gave her the necessary permission to have the statue made.  This apparition of Our Lady of Good Success has never been doubted or censured by the Church, and every bishop of that diocese since that time has approved and encouraged devotion to Our Lady of Good Success and her miraculous statue (a small replica of which we have in our sanctuary).

How is it possible that the world has fallen so deeply into the mire of serious sin?  If we studied the secret societies (which Our Lady also spoke of at Quito) we would find that they have succeeded in seducing many into lives of sin.  Priests and bishops have been their direct targets.  And when the Church’s leaders stray from the narrow way, the people soon follow them along the broad path that leads to destruction.

But we are responsible for our own sins.  The world has no conscience anymore and has lost the sense of sin.  We allow our consciences to be deadened by watching things on TV, DVD’s and the internet that are filled with poisonous ideas and seductive images that destroy the soul.  Why do we let them do this to us?  Those who provide these things couldn’t care less that they are sending us to Hell to cry and lament in horrible punishments for all eternity.  They couldn’t care less that they are robbing the young of their innocence and turning them into perverts and slaves of sin.  Lets turn the tables on these agents of the devil and refuse to accept any more of their sickening garbage!  We were made for better things.  Lets choose only what is good and pleasing to God, and follow Christ alone from now on!  Long live Christ the King!

The most encouraging thing is that Our Lady told Mother Mariana that these evil times would come to an end, and she would, by the power of God, overcome the devil and initiate a time of great triumph for the Holy Catholic Church.  May that time come soon!

In the meantime, we must not fear the devil or sin itself.  God’s mercy is everlasting, and there is no sin which He is unable to forgive.  Even when we are guilty of the gravest sins, there is joy among the angels of God when we repent.  Think of this wonderful passage from St.  Paul to the Romans:

“But where the offense has abounded, grace has abounded yet more; so that as sin has reigned unto death, so also grace may reign by justice unto life everlasting through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom.5:20b,21).

Our Lady of Good Success, pray for us!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

18. Let your reclining in bed be for you an image of your declining into the grave, and you will sleep less. Let your refreshment at table be for you a reminder of the grim table of those worms, and you will be less indulgent. And in drinking water, do not forget the thirst in that flame, and you will certainly do violence to your nature. 

July 24, 2008

(Heb 12:1-2) And therefore we also having so great a cloud of witnesses over our head, laying aside every weight and sin which surrounds us, let us run by patience to the fight proposed to us: Looking on Jesus, the author and finisher of faith, who, having joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and now sitteth on the right hand of the throne of God.


BOOK REVIEW: Padre Pio's Letters Reveal His Dark Night of Soul

PADRE PIO WARTIME ANECDOTE: A Veteran's Story: Typing skills put St. Peter's grad in future saint's path

MORE: The Holy Man on the Mountain: Padre Pio and the Americans who Discovered Him

Padre Pio's Secret: His Shoulder Wound 
by Frank M.  Rega 

Published in "The Voice of Padre Pio," March-April 2008, pp.  23-23.

Shortly after World War II was over, a young Polish priest who was studying in Rome, Fr.  Karol Wojtyla, visited Padre Pio in San Giovanni Rotondo.  This encounter took place around 1947 or 1948.  At that time in post-war Italy, it was possible to have access to Padre Pio, since travel was difficult and great crowds were not besieging the Friary.  The young priest spent almost a week in San Giovanni Rotondo during his visit, and was able to attend Padre Pio’s Mass and make his confession to the saint.  Apparently, this was not just a casual encounter, and the two spoke together at length during Fr.  Wojtyla’s stay.  Their conversations gave rise to rumors in later years, after the Polish prelate had been elevated to the Papacy, that Padre Pio had told him he would become Pope.  The story persists to the present day, even though on two or three occasions "Papa Wojtyla" denied it.

Recently, new information about this visit has come to light, according to a new book in Italian published by Padre Pio's Friary, Il Papa e Il Frate, written by Stefano Campanella (1).  As reported in this book, the future Pope and future Saint had a very interesting conversation.  During this exchange, Fr.  Wojtyla asked Padre Pio which of his wounds caused the greatest suffering.  From this kind of personal question, we can see that they must have already talked together for some time and had become at ease with each other.  The priest expected Padre Pio to say it was his chest wound, but instead the Padre replied, "It is my shoulder wound, which no one knows about and has never been cured or treated." This is extremely significant, not only because it reveals that Padre Pio bore this wound, but because, as far as is known, the future pope is the only one to whom Padre Pio ever revealed existence of this secret wound.

Centuries earlier, Our Lord himself had revealed to St.  Bernard of Clairvaux in a vision, that his shoulder wound from carrying the heavy wooden cross caused him his greatest suffering, and that the cross tore into his flesh right up to the shoulder bone.

At one time, Padre had confided to his paisano from Pietrelcina, Brother Modestino Fucci, that his greatest pains occurred when he changed his undershirt.  (Brother Modestino is currently the doorkeeper at Padre Pio’s friary in San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy.) Modestino, like Fr.  Wojtyla, thought Padre Pio was referring to pains from the chest wound.  Then, on February 4, 1971 Modestino was assigned the task of taking an inventory of all the items in the deceased Padre’s cell in the friary, and also his belongings in the archives.  That day he discovered that one of Padre Pio’s undershirts bore a circle of bloodstains in the area of the right shoulder.

This reminded Brother Modestino that he had once read about a devotion to the shoulder wound of Jesus, caused by his bearing of the heavy cross beam, the patibulum, to Calvary.  The beam could weigh up to 100 pounds.  Part of this devotion to the shoulder wound of Christ is to pray daily three Our Father’s, Hail Mary’s and Glory Be’s, to honor the severe pains and lacerations Our Lord suffered from the weight of the patibulum.

On that very evening of February 4, 1971, Brother Modestino asked Padre Pio in prayer to enlighten him about the meaning of the bloodstained undershirt.  He asked Padre to give him a sign if he truly bore Christ’s shoulder wound.  Then he went to sleep, awakening at 1:00 AM with a terrible, excruciating pain in his shoulder, as if he had been sliced with a knife up to the shoulder bone.  He felt that he would die from the pain if it continued, but it lasted only a short time.  Then the room became filled with the aroma of a heavenly perfume of flowers – the sign of Padre Pio’s spiritual presence – and he heard a voice saying "Cosi ho sofferto io!" – "This is what I had to suffer!" Modestino remarked that he had a strange sensation after the pain subsided: that being deprived of this pain was also a suffering.  His body had suffered from it, but his soul had desired it.  He said, "It was painful and sweet at the same time."

What is the mystical and spiritual significance of the shoulder wound of St.  Padre Pio?  The book by journalist Saverio Gaeta, Sulla Soglia del Paradiso (2), reports that Padre Pio said this of his spiritual children: "When the Lord entrusts a soul to me, I place it on my shoulder and never let it go." From this statement, it can reasonably be inferred that the saint offered up the suffering and the extreme pain of his shoulder wound for his spiritual children.

Cleonice Morcaldi once said in the presence of Gaeta, "On the shoulders of Padre Pio rests the whole world and the Church." This expression seemed an exaggeration to the writer.  But on the very same day that Gaeta had heard this, he later joined Padre Pio and some others in conversation.  Padre Pio was telling the story of St.  Christopher, and how he had carried the child Jesus on his shoulders across a river.  Then, turning his gaze to look directly at Saverio Gaeta, Padre Pio pointedly said to the writer, "On my shoulders is the whole world."


1.  Campanella, Stefano, Il Papa e Il Frate, San Giovanni Rotondo, Italy, Edizioni Padre Pio da Pietrelcina, 2005.

2.  Gaeta, Saverio, Sulla Soglia del Paradiso, Edizione speciale per Famiglia Christiana, San Paolo Edizioni, 2002.

Based on the author’s earlier article in the December 2007 Newsletter of the Padre Pio Foundation, Cromwell, CT., USA

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

17. When they weep, some force themselves unseasonably to think of nothing at all during this blessed time, not realizing that tears without thought are proper only to an irrational nature and not to a rational one. Tears are a product of thought, and the father of thought is a rational mind. 

July 23, 2008

(2Th 2:15)  Therefore, brethren, stand fast: and hold the traditions, which you have learned, whether by word or by our epistle.

REVIEW: Do Catholics Worship Statues?

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Charles Fears: Purgatory Here or Hereafter

My Daily Bread, Chapter 24 by Anthony J. Paone, S. J.

My child, do not expect to find peace until you have overcome a variety of troubles and opposition.  If you say you cannot bear much suffering now, how will you be able to endure the purifying pains of Purgatory hereafter?

The patient man finds a cleansing purgatory in this earthly life.  When others wrong him he is more sorry that evil is done than that he had been wronged.  He forgives the evil-doer from the bottom of his heart.  He is not slow to ask pardon when he himself has hurt others.  He is more easily moved to pity than to anger.  He frequently disregards his feelings and tries to live above them, according to his intelligence and My grace.

Either here on earth or hereafter in Purgatory I must make up for each fault I commit.  Nothing tainted will be allowed to enter Heaven.  I can purify my soul now by following the Words of Christ, my Redeemer.  He gained for me the grace to conquer sin and error.  Now I must do my part in living a holy life.  If I refuse and die in venial sin, IĘll have to make it up in Purgatory.  If I die in mortal sin, I shall condemn myself to hell forever.

My Jesus, you fulfilled Your FatherĘs Will largely by Your patience during Your earthly life.  Therefore it is only right that I, a miserable sinner, should be patient in my own daily life.  Even though this present life may feel like a burden, still, by the help of Your grace, it is a great opportunity to earn heavenly merit.  Your holy example and the lives of Your saints, make this life lighter and more bearable for those who take time out each day so as to see more clearly Your way to Heaven.  Amen.

REVIEW: Purification Of The Soul Here Or Hereafter

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

16. It is not to a wedding banquet that we have been called here- certainly not- but He who has called us has called us here to mourn for ourselves.

July 22, 2008  

Archbishop Chaput: "Being a Christian is who you are. Period. And being a Christian means your life has a mission. It means striving every day to be a better follower, to become more like Jesus in your thoughts and actions."

EDITORIAL: For secular Australia, World Youth Day was wake-up call

Reflection by Father Ted: Thank You Jesus, for reminding us during this past week of the incredible love that You and the Father and Your Holy Spirit have for each one of us.

During this past week in Australia, You inspired Your chosen vicar Pope Benedict XVI to encourage, to challenge, to inspire many young people who had travelled many miles to be with him during that special time which we have called World Youth Day XXIII.

Through the successor of Saint Peter, You, Jesus, encouraged these young men and women – young adults, youthful adolescents, to begin to live their dignity as Your beloved brothers and sisters.

You have challenged them to begin to become the saints that You created them to be.  You have challenged them to be open to the fullness of the power of the Holy Spirit whom he has reminded them is Love.

You have taught them through Pope Benedict about the dangers in the world – which have brought about the misuse of many of the gifts that You have given to us to enable us to love You and to love and serve one another in this life in preparation for eternal life.

You want us to be with You and the Father and the Holy Spirit in Your heavenly home.

You have given to us all that is needed to accept this gift of love and to live this life of love everyday.

He has reminded us of the importance of prayer in our daily lives.  He has taught us in the most effective way - by his own example.

He, himself, is truly a man of prayer.  And we have been able to see this as we watched him during this past week – many who were present in Sydney for these special days – myself and others through the gift of EWTN which televised all these activities.

At the beginning of these holy days of WYDXXIII, Your Pontiff exhorted us to ask for an outpouring of Your Holy Spirit – the very same Holy Spirit that came to the Apostles and the others gathered with Mary in the Upper Room on Pentecost morning.

He reminded us of what happened to these weak men because of their being filled with the fire of the Holy Spirit.  They were radically changed.

As we also await the outpouring of the life of the Holy Spirit – in union with Mary, we too can be radically changed.

For You want us, as You wanted Your Apostles, to go and make disciples of others – teaching them all that You taught them.

The world today is still in darkness – but we, as we respond to our Holy Father’s call, can bring Your light into our world.

So, come Holy Spirit, enkindle in us the fire of Your love that we may bring the light of Christ to others and fill our world with His light, life and love.  

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

15. Be concentrated without self-display, withdrawn into your heart. For the demons fear concentration as thieves fear dogs. 

July 21, 2008  

(Mat 16:25-26) For he that will save his life, shall lose it: and he that shall lose his life for my sake, shall find it. For what doth it profit a man, if he gain the whole world and suffer the loss of his own soul? Or what exchange shall a man give for his soul?

Build a new world, Pope tells pilgrims

Declaring the spirit of the church alive and well, the Pope told pilgrims from more than 170 countries he had shared an "unforgettable experience" in the great south land.

"Our eyes have been opened to see the world around us as it truly is, 'charged' as the poet says, 'with the grandeur of God', filled with the glory of His creative love," he said.

Pope Benedict said a new generation of Christians was being called to help build a world in which God's gift of life was welcomed and love was not greedy or self-seeking but pure, faithful and genuinely free.

He spoke of a "new age in which hope liberates us from the shallowness, apathy and self-absorption which deaden our souls and poison our relationships".

"The world needs this renewal," he said in a homily beamed to hundreds of millions of television viewers worldwide.

"In so many of our societies, side by side with material prosperity, a spiritual desert is spreading: an interior emptiness, an unnamed fear, a quiet sense of despair.

"How many of our contemporaries have built broken cisterns in desperate search for meaning - the ultimate meaning that only love can give?"

The church also needed this renewal, he said, adding: "She needs your faith, your idealism and your generosity so that she can always be young in the spirit."

"Do not be afraid to say yes to Jesus, to find your joy in doing his will, giving yourself completely to the pursuit of holiness, and using all your talents in the service of others."

The pontiff was speaking from a sanctuary 25m off the ground and painted deep red to reflect the Australian outback and the flames of the holy spirit.

His audience included 26 cardinals and 420 bishops at a grand mass featuring a 300-strong choir and an 80-piece orchestra.

The Pope had a bird's eye view of the faithful when he flew over Randwick in a helicopter on Sunday morning before doing a lap of the racecourse in his Popemobile.

At the mass he officiated over the sacrament of confirmation for 24 adults, including two from each Australian state.

Most pilgrims at the mass, an estimated 235,000, had camped out under the stars on Saturday night after making a nine kilometre pilgrimage across the Sydney Harbour Bridge and through city streets.

BREAKING: Pope Shares Private Mass with Abuse Victims

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Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

14. He who sometimes mourns, and sometimes indulges in luxury and laughter, is like one who stones the dog of sensuality with bread. In appearance he is driving it away, but in fact he is encouraging it to be constantly with him.

July 18, 2008  


(Heb 10:30-31) For we know him that hath said: Vengeance belongeth to me, and I will repay. And again: The Lord shall judge his people. It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.


A large number of endangered, unwanted, and unborn children held a town hall meeting on the 4th of July--alarmed at the brutal and untimely killing of millions of their brothers and sisters in recent years.  That the murderous war waged on them had the full force and respectability of the law made their plight all the more terrifying.

Their complaint was humble and it was simple. They were not distressed by rising gas prices, or the deteriorating economy in general.  They were not even frightened by the exponential increase of natural disasters.  The threat of global warming or global terrorism did not greatly disturb them.

They had become an endangered species, and little had been done to answer their terrified and silent screams from the womb.  They decided that the barbaric treatment that they and their fellow unwanted unborn human beings have had to endure for perilous decades was unconscionable and unbearable.  They cried out to their Creator for inspiration and protection, and then unanimously they put forth a declaration.  It began as follows:

When in the course of human events it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature's God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.


The first and pre-eminent right is the right to life.  This truth the Founding Fathers were sure of, and anyone with any common sense at all is equally sure of it.  232 years after the Declaration of Independence was signed the amount of common sense that seems to be operative in many spheres of influence most notably the courts and the political arena-can easily be poured into a very small thimble.

The United States of America seems to have a death wish, and we have traveled far down the road to having that wish realized. 

IN THE NEWS: Major U.S. City Officially Condemns Catholic Church 

MEDITATION: Son of Mercy Blog- The Death Wish

PRIVATE REVELATION to Darrell Bennett: (BVM) My children I love you.  It is with great sorrow that I come to you today.

Dear children I beseech you.  Hear a mother’s cry.  Heed my plea.  Pray!  Pray!  Pray!

My dear children the sins of mankind are great and the cup of Divine Justice is full and overflowing.  Many are those who offend God and few there are who do penance in reparation.

My little ones I plead with you with eyes overflowing with tears of blood.  Repent and reform your lives.  Hear the call to conversion and listen well to my maternal plea to pray and do penance.  The hour is late and a portion of Divine Justice is now being poured out upon this unrepentant humanity.  Heed the acts of saving justice that His mercy once more be implored and the Hand of God stayed.


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

13. Do not be like those who, in burying the dead, first lament over them and then get drunk for their sake. But be like the prisoners in the mines who are flogged every hour by the gaolers. 

July 17, 2008  

(Mat 21:28-31) But what think you? A certain man had two sons: and coming to the first, he said: Son, go work to day in my vineyard. And he answering, said: I will not. But afterwards, being moved with repentance, he went. And coming to the other, he said in like manner. And he answering said: I go, Sir. And he went not. Which of the two did the father's will? They say to him: The first.


Via Frank Rega:
The Greatest Catholic President 

Garcia Moreno of Ecuador 1821-1875 

Few Catholics today know the story of Gabriel Garcia Moreno, the devout, saintly leader who briefly reestablished the shining light of Christendom in a small corner of the world during the nineteenth century.  Garcia Moreno’s role in Catholic history is so significant that the Blessed Virgin Mary specifically foretold his presidency more than two centuries before his birth.

Reflection by Father Ted: My dearest Lord Jesus, help me to want to listen to You, not merely to hear You.

For when I simply hear You, I do not do what it is that You want me to do.

What you want of me is to pay attention to what You say.

You sometimes speak to me directly.

You sometimes speak to me through others.

You sometimes speak to me through the Scriptures.

Yesterday, You tried to speak to me through Your Mother.

Yesterday was the 91st anniversary of her 3rd apparition to the 3 children of Fatima.

She reminded me of the importance of praying the Rosary every day.

She also reminded me of the reality of hell; and that there are people in hell – even bishops, priests and religious.


They did not listen to You as You spoke to them – like You did to the Apostles on Ascension Thursday when You exhorted them to go and teach all nations everything that You commanded them.

Today, You speak to us – sometimes directly; more often through others, like our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI.

When he was here in the United States You spoke to our bishops through him, and also to us.  Through him You told them and us how important Eucharistic Adoration is.

Hopefully our bishops didn’t simply hear him.  Hopefully they listened to him.

Hopefully we too will listen to this request of Yours as well.

Through him You also spoke to them about the importance of praying the Rosary daily.

Hopefully our bishops didn’t simply hear him.  Hopefully they listened to him.

Hopefully we will listen to this request of Yours as well.

Yesterday on this 91st anniversary Your Mother also reminded us of how important praying the Rosary daily is.  Once again she made this request to the 3 children.

Because they listened to her, look what happened – peace came to the world.

Lord Jesus, help me to listen.  Help all of us to listen – to her, to our Holy Father, and to You.  Because we listen, may Your peace come to our world as well.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

12. He who has obtained heartfelt tears will find any place convenient for mourning. But he whose weeping is only outward show will spend endless time discussing places and manners. Hidden treasure is safer from robbery than that exposed in the market; let us apply this to what we have just said.  

 July 16, 2008

Ingrid Betancourt: "I know I talk with God and God replies - people prefer to speak about the force of circumstances, rather than miracles, but I think miracles happen to everyone all the time."

IN THE NEWS: Rosary plays important role in hostage rescue in Colombia


It was to St. Simon Stock that Our Blessed Mother gave the Scapular promise in 1251, saying, "Whosoever dies wearing this Scapular shall not suffer eternal fire."

One of the great mysteries of our time is that the majority of Catholics either ignore, or have entirely forgotten this Heavenly promise of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our Lady further says: "Wear the Scapular devoutly and perseveringly. It is My garment. To be clothed in it means you are continually thinking of Me, and I in turn, am always thinking of you and helping you to secure eternal life."

St. Claude de la Colombiere, the renowned Jesuit and spiritual director of St. Margaret Mary, says "Because all the forms of our love for the Blessed Virgin and all its various modes of expression cannot be equally pleasing to Her, and therefore do not assist us in the same degree to reach Heaven, I say, without a moment's hesitation, that the BROWN SCAPULAR IS THE MOST FAVORED OF ALL!" He adds, "No devotion has been confirmed by more numerous authentic miracles than the Brown Scapular."


In the year 1241, the Baron de Grey of England was returning from the Crusades in Palestine: he brought back with him a group of religious from the holy mountain of Carmel. Upon arrival, the baron generously presented the monks with a manor house in the town of Aylesford. Ten years later, in the very place, there occurred the now famous apparition of Our Lady to St.
Simon Stock. As the Holy Virgin handed St. Simon the Brown Woolen Scapular she spoke these words: "This shall be the privilege for you and all Carmelites, that anyone dying in this habit shall not suffer eternal fire." In time, the Church extended this magnificent privilege to all the laity who are willing to be invested in the Brown Scapular of the Carmelites, and who perpetually wear it.

VIA THE CARMELITES: Carmelites see in the Virgin Mary, Mother of God and archetype of the Church, the perfect image of all that they want and hope to be. For this reason, Carmelites have always thought of Mary as the Patron of the Order, its Mother and Splendour; she is constantly before their eyes and in their hearts as "the Virgin Most Pure." Looking to her, and living in spiritual intimacy with her, we learn to stand before God, and with one another, as the Lord's brothers. Mary lives among us, as mother and sister, attentive to our needs; along with us she waits and hopes, suffers and rejoices. The scapular is a sign of Mary's permanent and constant motherly love for Carmelite brothers and sisters. By their devotion to the scapular, faithful to a tradition in the Order, especially since the 16th century, Carmelites express the loving closeness of Mary to the people of God; it is a sign of consecration to Mary, a means of uniting the faithful to the Order, and an effective and popular means of evangelisation.

LINK: Litanies of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

EWTN: Brown Scapular of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

11. During prayer and supplication, stand with trembling like a convict standing before a judge, so that, both by your outward appearance as well as by your inner disposition, you may extinguish the wrath of the just Judge; for He will not despise a widow soul standing before Him burdened with sorrow and wearying the Unwearying One (cf. Luke 18:5).

July 15, 2008

(Act 19:11-12) And God wrought by the hand of Paul more than common miracles. So that even there were brought from his body to the sick, handkerchiefs and aprons: and the diseases departed from them: and the wicked spirits went out of them.

RON SMITH REPORT: Catholic Prayer Cloths


Christmas in July

The true story of a miracle because a Mom believed
By Margaret Marie Marsala
He was five years old, and cute as any kid could ever be.  His name was Chris--Christian, to be exact.  And his short life had been filled love and laughter.  But, it had also had great challenges.  Christian had seizures.  Every kind of seizure there was, from Grand mal to petite mall, focals, drops... every kind.  He was a normal little boy, except for the seizures.
It was the last weekend in July on Eastern Long Island, and it was hot.  No air conditioning, and Christian was on the couch in the hot living-room.  His mom was trying to make him laugh, though the seizures this day were relentless.  And the meds Chris was on weren't working too well. 
As they watched Saturday morning cartoons together, Mom drank her coffee.  She paused as she sipped from her cup, and silently said a prayer: "Please, Lord Jesus, help me to know how to help my little boy through this.  If we can't stop the seizures, please Jesus, help me to make it easier for him to endure them."
Right then, a commercial came on for a local hardware store.  It was a Christmas in July Commercial, and Christian's eyes grew wide, and a bit of a smile crossed his sweet little face as the man with the Santa's cap spoke about a sale of wood.  Mom watched Chris curiously, taking another sip of her coffee.
An hour later the cartoons ended, but something unusual happened... a Christmas movie came on:  Miracle on 34th Street.  Mom sat watching, as did Christian, both a bit in awe.  There was something intriguing about the movie coming on right then.  A Christmas movie.
Christmas in July.  Mom was silent for a time, thinking.  She gazed at Chris, and thought, That's an interesting idea. Chris loved Christmas. They both did.  Why not, she thought.  We could celebrate the birth of Jesus in the middle of this heat... 
Suddenly, a knock came at the front door.  Mom's brother, Chris' uncle, stood there, holding a large air-conditioning window unit.  "Hey," he said, smiling, "I was wondering if you could use this?"  He paused, then added, "We just got central air, and don't need this unit any more."
Mom smiled gratefully, and nodded, as he brought the unit into the living room, placing it in the window near the TV and turned it on.  She hugged her brother, and after he left, she hung a quilt over the doorway to hall so that the A /C unit could work.  The room slowly cooled, and Mom sat once again across from Christian.  Santa in the movie spoke about believing, as Mom sipped a fresh cup of coffee, nodding in agreement.  Believing.  It really was powerful.
Then it hit her... Christmas in July.  Mom glanced at Christian, glued to the TV, as Santa spoke in Dutch to the little girl on his lap. 
"Why not?" she thought.
Mom rose, making a quick phone call to a friend across the street.  Her friend came over to sit with Chris for a little bit.  Mom checked her purse to see how much money she had.  $9.76.  Not much. 
She left, going to a store called Odd Lot, and purchased a bag of cowboys and Indians for $.75 cents, and bought a matching fort and tee-pee set up for $.99 cents.  She also bought an unpainted wooden train set for $1.70, and some orange paint--Christian's favorite color--for $.60 cents.  And she bought a large teddy bear for $1.50.  Then she went to the grocery store and bought a whole roaster chicken for $3.10, two large potatoes, and a five pound bag of flour.
She returned home, and after her friend left, she dug out more Christmas videos from the hall closet.  And she found the small two-foot Christmas tree they usually used for a decoration.  She put the tree on the table by the A/C in the window near the TV set, and as they watched another Christmas movie on the VCR, she decorated the little tree with small ornaments.  Then she made a batch of sugar cookie dough as Chris watched the next movie.  Soon the house was filled with the sweet aroma of Christmas cookies, as Holiday carols rang out.
Christian was delighted, his eyes full of joy.  Mom was beside herself to see him so happy.  "Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you."
That evening, after she tucked Christian into his bed, she painted the wooden train a bright orange, and as it dried, she wrapped the rest of the presents with Christmas wrapping paper left over from the last season, and placed them under the tiny tree. 
The next morning was Sunday... Their Christmas in July.  Chris clapped his hands at the sight of the orange train set, and other presents under the little tree. 
Christmas carols playing, Mom watched as Chris enjoyed his few presents.  A few hours later, the house was filled with the lovely aroma of a chicken roasting, and the movie, "Home Alone," played on the TV.
It was a while before Mom realized something.  Something very strange...
Christian hadn't had a seizure since he awakened.  Not a one.  She didn't think anything of it at first.  After all, he had gone before without seizures this long.  Only this time it was different.  
There were no seizures that day.  Or the next.  Or the next day after that. 
And he never has since that blessed weekend.  Sixteen years later, Christian is 21, in college, and starting his own publishing company.  And to this day, his mom and he celebrate that miracle weekend--the last weekend in July every year.  Little Christmas.  As he moves on, and marries and has his own family, his mother knows that this tradition will probably fade away.  But it will never fade away in her heart.  Ever.
{{{{{Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you.}}}}}
The power is in believing. 
Copyright 2006 [email protected]

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

10. Do not cease to picture and scrutinize the dark abyss of external fire, and the merciless servants, the uncompassionate and inexorable Judge, the bottomless pit of subterranean flame, the narrow descents to the awful underground chambers and yawning gulfs, and all such things, so that the sensuality of our soul may be checked by great terror and give place to incorruptible chasitity, and itself receive the shining of the immaterial Light which radiates more than any fire.  

July 14, 2008  

Family Research Council Statement on the Passing of Tony Snow

"In Washington one meets a handful of people who are almost universally liked and respected.  So much is at stake in the partisan battles in the capital that having the admiration of political friend and foe alike is unusual.  Tim Russert achieved that and so did Tony Snow.  Tony spoke at the FRC Action Values Voter Summit in 2006 and described with relish his experience at the White House with a mix of professionalism and amazement that was endearing and all-American.  He knew, appreciated, and communicated how lucky he was to have been born in the U.S.  of A., grown up in the Midwest, and been given a chance to work in hallways and places he had dreamed of as a kid.  That youthfulness, and the bedrock values that fueled him, never faded, whether at the peak of his success or in the throes of his illness.  The proximity of those two things, the peak and the throes coming at once, and the way he handled both with wit and verve only underscored how grounded he was.  He will be greatly missed.  Our thoughts and prayers are with his family."

Jim Bramlett: Former White House spokesman Tony Snow dies at age 53.  See

He was a great but humble man, a strong and outspoken Christian, and a true professional. 

Here's Tony Snow, from Christianity Today:

"We shouldn't spend too much time trying to answer the why questions: Why me? Why must people suffer? Why can't someone else get sick? We can't answer such things, and the questions themselves often are designed more to express our anguish than to solicit an answer.

"I don't know why I have cancer, and I don't much care. It is what it is ≠- a plain and indisputable fact. Yet even while staring into a mirror darkly, great and stunning truths begin to take shape. Our maladies define a central feature of our existence: We are fallen. We are imperfect. Our bodies give out.

"But despite this -≠ because of it ≠- God offers the possibility of salvation and grace. We don't know how the narrative of our lives will end, but we get to choose how to use the interval between now and the moment we meet our Creator face-to-face."
"Thank you, Lord, for Tony Snow, and for allowing us to experience a little bit of his life."

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

9. Keep a firm hold of the blessed gladdening sorrow of holy compunction, and do not stop working at it until it raises you high above the things of this world, and presents you pure to Christ.  

July 12, 2008


(Luke 10:2-3) And he said to them, "The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; pray therefore the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest. Go your way; behold, I send you out as lambs in the midst of wolves.


At Akita, the Virgin Cries Over the Sins of the World

On July 6, 1973, Sr Agnes Sasagawa started receiving messages from Heaven at Akita, Japan.  These messages asked her to make reparation for the sins of mankind.  "Do not fear.  Pray with fervor not only because of your sins, but in reparation for those of all men.  The world today deeply wounds the most Sacred Heart of Our Lord by its ingratitude and injuries.  The wounds of Mary are much deeper and more sorrowful than yours." - "Pray very much for the Pope, the bishops, and priests." - "Many men in this world afflict the Lord.  I desire souls to console Him, to soften the anger of the Heavenly Father.  I seek, with my Son, souls who will make reparation, by their suffering and their poverty, for sinners and ingrates." - "As I told you, if men do not repent and better themselves, the Father will inflict a terrible punishment on all humanity."

Two years later on January 4, 1975, the statue began to weep.  It wept 101 times until September 15, 1981.  Scientific examination proved the liquid to be human tears.  In 1984, Bishop Ito declared that the events of Akita were of supernatural origin and worthy of belief.

SLIPPERY SLOPE: New-style church being born in France due to shortage of priests

FROM THE MAILBAG: The Hour Is Late...from Fr.  Corapi

I have been celebrating Mass at a local parish while the pastor is away the past few weeks.  Many of the readings during that time concerned the prophets and their message and trials.  I was moved to reflect once again on the prophetic dimension of our Baptism in Christ-Priest, Prophet and King.  Several decades ago, the great Archbishop Fulton Sheen said, "The prophetic voice of Christ has all but been stilled in the Church today." To the degree we fail in this prophetic mission, the world will sink into oblivion under the increasing weight of its sins.

In my lifetime, the United States has gone from quite a wholesome, rational, and moral country, to one that is largely decadent, irrational, and immoral.  Most people seem to be hardened to it, unconcerned that we have a death wish in process.

First it was artificial contraception, then abortion, then partial-birth abortion, then infanticide (all of which have been supported by many liberal politicians at one time or another, even some running for president) not to mention euthanasia, and outright killing of the disabled and sick.  Actually, it's even worse.  Terri Schiavo wasn't sick.  She didn't die from an illness.  They killed her by starvation, a very cruel way to die.

Now it's same sex marriage (no transmission of life, no fruit of natural love) and we call it inclusive and just.  It is yet another nail in the coffin of a society that is clearly dying.  Every stage of life is under assault by the forces of death.  From prevention of life through artificial contraception, to abortion-which is homicide by definition in each case (the taking of the life of an innocent human being), and genocide taken as a whole.  Preventing life, ending life from the youngest to the oldest.  We call it progress.  It is a death wish, and we had better watch what we wish for.

"All that evil requires to prosper is that good men remain silent." The hour is late.  We have had years to change course.  Instead, we have obstinately refused and gone from bad to worse.  May God have mercy on us, and grant us the courage and strength to act in accordance with that truth.

God bless you, Fr.  John Corapi

- The Duty of Pastors Remember that your duty is not the extension of a human realm, but of Christ's; and remember that your goal is that acquisition of citizens for a heavenly fatherland, and not for an earthly one.

- Benedict XV, maximum Illud, 1919

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

8. If nothing goes so well with humility as mourning, certainly nothing is so opposed to it as laughter.

July 11, 2008

(Mat 11:29) Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.


Via Sue:
I have been working sometime on a new website dedicated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  The site includes the Imitation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.  As well as the exact order and times the promises of the devotion were given to Saint Margaret Mary.  It is hoped to be one of the most informative sites leading people to not only practice the devotion but to imitate the Heart of Our Lord Jesus, as it seems to me that all devotions stem from this Heart.

The link is

Reflection by Father Ted:  My dearest Lord Jesus, yesterday in Your Gospel You exhorted us to “Come to You.” You did so because You want us to experience the depth of Your Divine Merciful Love.

There is not one person whom You do not want to “Come to You.” Yet the evil one tells us – Don’t waste your time in going to Him.  For he does not want us to experience the depth of Your Divine Merciful Love.

That is why he strives to persuade us to be so busy in so many different activities - especially on Sundays.

He knows that if we make time for You – especially on Sundays, that we might become convinced that You really do love us.

He knows that if we begin to listen to Your words that are proclaimed at Mass, we will begin to realize that “You have the Words of eternal life.” How many of my brothers and sisters do not realize that You created us out of love – precisely to know, to love, to serve You in this world that You created purposefully so that we could be with You in Your home in heaven – enjoying eternal delights with You and Your Father and Your Holy Spirit.

He knows that if we learn Your Commandments, we will realize that they do not deprive us of freedom but in reality guide us on the way to true freedom.

You tell us, Lord Jesus to “learn from You”.  For You are truly meek and humble of heart.

You want us to “learn how to love”.

And You will teach us.  For You will send to us in a most magnificent way the Holy Spirit – who is Love.

You tell us that Your yoke is sweet, that Your burdens are light.

And he, the father of lies, tells us that You lie.

Lord Jesus, through the intercession of Mary, Your Mother and our Mother, grant to us the time of silence so that we can begin to hear You speak to our hearts.

May we not deafen ourselves to Your gentle words by all the noise that we allow ourselves to hear.

Speak to us, Lord Jesus!

Help us to respond to Your invitation to true life, to true love, to true happiness.

Yes, Lord Jesus, keep speaking to us.  Keep inviting us to come to You.

May we become the beloved children that You created us to be – who know You, who love You, and who serve You in this world and who will be with You forever in heaven.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

7. Groanings and sorrows cry to the Lord. Tears shed from fear intercede for us; but tears of all-holy love show us that our prayer has been accepted.

June 10, 2008  

(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.


The numbers are stark, and the situation is getting worse. Before the U.S. invasion of Iraq, there were 1.2 million Christians living there. Over 400,000 Christians have left the country since the war started. Many others have been kidnapped and killed; some have been crucified; a priest was beheaded, and an archbishop was kidnapped and killed.

One Chaldean and one Assyrian Catholic bishop from California presented a plan for protecting the Iraqi Christians who stay in spite of the danger and the ongoing discrimination and persecution. "The Iraqi constitution recognizes liberty of worship rather than freedom of religion," says Bishop Sarhad Jammo of El Cajon, CA.

The bishops told me it was "a make or break moment" for Iraqi Christians, and it is up to the United States -- and particularly to American Christians -- to help find a solution.

My interview with Mar Sarhad Jammo and Mar Bawai Soro took place just after their meeting at the White House with members of the National Security Council. Jammo and Soro want the United States to support the establishment of an "Autonomous Area" in northern Iraq where Iraqi Christians could hold the main governmental positions.

The area they recommend is on the plains of Nineveh, a loaf-shaped area of land between the Mosul province and Kurdistan. There is already a majority of Aramaic-speaking Christians living there, as they have been for thousands of years. Aramaic is the language of Jesus, which has been spoken there up to the present day.

Of the remaining 800,000 Christians, 65 percent are Chaldeans, 25 percent Syriacs, and 10 percent Assyrians. Many Assyrian Christians are not in communion with the Catholic Church, but Bishop Soro, who is Assyrian, recently united with the Chaldean Catholic Diocese in California along with thousands of fellow Assyrians.

Bishop Jammo, whose family originates from the Nineveh plains, sees this plan as the best way to put an end to the bloodshed and persecution and provide equality of rights to the Christian inhabitants, including the rights of religious freedom and cultural expression and activity.

Bishop Soro predicted thousands of Iraqi Christians, who fled Iraq in the last few years, would return if they were not subject to discrimination on a daily basis, especially if they would have full freedom and an autonomous area of their own. "In Iraq right now Christians are second-class citizens." Not only would the creation of this area defend and restore the Christian community, it also would provide a "stabilizing factor" in the entire region.


EDITORIAL: Saving Iraq's Christians- Asking, "Who is my Neighbor?"


Egypt's Coptic Christians Are Choosing Isolation
Analysis: Egypt's religious tension
No one on earth knows  Islam and Muslims better than the Copts
Arrests after attacks on Christian property in Egypt
Muslims Persecute Eritrean Christians

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

6. Greater than baptism itself is the fountain of tears after baptism, even though it is somewhat audacious to say so. For baptism is the washing away of evils that were in us before, but sins commited after baptism are washed away by tears. As baptism is received in infancy, we have all defiled it, but we cleanse it anew with tears. And if God in His love for mankind had not given us tears, those being saved would be few indeed and hard to find.

July 9, 2008  

(Jude 1:17-21) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; they said to you, "In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions." It is these who set up divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit. But you, beloved, build yourselves up on your most holy faith; pray in the Holy Spirit; keep yourselves in the love of God; wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ unto eternal life.


The Vatican has said it regrets a decision by the Church of England to allow women bishops, saying that the ruling would present a "new obstacle" to reconciliation between the Holy See and the Anglican communion.

"We learned with regret the news of the vote of the Church of England that opens the way to the introduction of legislation that would lead to the ordination of women bishops," the Vatican said in a statement.

The decision will be "a new obstacle to reconciliation between the Catholic Church and the Church of England," it added.

The Church of England voted late Monday in the city of York in northern England to allow women bishops despite fears the move would prompt a major split after more than 1,300 clergy threatened to leave if it was passed.

The General Synod, the church's legislative body, held the crunch vote following a passionate eight-hour debate pitting conservatives against liberals.

Roman Catholic clergy - priests and bishops - are all male, which the Church believes obeys the directives of Jesus Christ, whose 12 apostles were all men.

A decision by branches of the Anglican Communion to allow the ordination of woman priests was already a source of friction with the Vatican.

Several conservative Anglican priests defected to Catholicism because of the move, adopted from 1984 in various branches and by the Church of England in 1992.


Traditionalists say they've met Vatican's deadline for reconciliation
Anglican bishops in secret Vatican talks
Russian church in "positive dialogue" with Vatican
A Love for 'Orthodox - Catholic Unity'
Saudi king set to lead rare interfaith talks in Spain

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 7- "On Joy-Making Mourning"

5. If you possess the gift of mourning, hold on to it with all your might. For it is easily lost when it is not firmly established. And just as wax melts in the presence of fire, so it is easily dissolved by noise and bodily cares, and by luxury, and especially by talkativeness and levity.
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