Keep your eyes open!...


November 30, 2006 

(Rev 2:1-5) Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write: These things saith he who holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks: I know thy works and thy labour and thy patience and how thou canst not bear them that are evil. And thou hast tried them who say they are apostles and are not: and hast found them liars: And thou hast patience and hast endured for my name and hast not fainted. But I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first charity. Be mindful therefore from whence thou art fallen: and do penance and do the first works. Or else I come to thee and will move thy candlestick out of its place, except thou do penance. 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "The mother of Christ and of the church is the mother of that mystery of unity, which Christ and the church inseparably signify and build up."

POPE BENEDICT XVI: “The divisions which exist among Christians are a scandal to the world.”


Pope Benedict embarked on Wednesday on his second mission in Turkey, to improve ties between Roman Catholics and Orthodox Christians, after winning approval for his conciliatory views on Turkey and Islam.

Benedict and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, the spiritual head of the world's 250 million Orthodox, both want to take steps to heal the split dating from the Great Schism of 1054.

In a gesture showing their close ties, Bartholomew took the unusual step of welcoming the Pope at Istanbul airport as he arrived from saying mass in Efes in southwestern Turkey.

The Pope's visit from November 28 to December 1 is timed to coincide with the feast of St. Andrew, one of the 12 apostles, who is said to have preached in what is now Istanbul after Christ's death.

COMMENTARY: Pope Benedict The Brave

OPINION: How Many Divisions Does the Pope Have?

HEADLINE: Pope holds Mass at miraculous Christian site in Turkey

VIA Dan Lynch:  Pope Benedict XVI celebrated Mass Wednesday, November 29 at the Turkish National Marian shrine of Meyem Ana Evi, Mary’s House. It is located in Ephesus, the city where the Council of Ephesus proclaimed her Mother of God in 431.

The Pope will follow in the footsteps of Popes Paul VI and John Paul II, both of whom also celebrated Mass at Mary’s House. The house was built by St. John the Evangelist and Mary lived there for the remaining years of her life on earth.

Read my story about the fascinating history and devotion at Mary’s House here:

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

107. A hermit said, 'Sometimes a brother thinks of something when he is sitting in his cell, and meditating in his heart about it, he cannot understand its meaning and is not given true understanding by God. Then the demons come to his help, and they show him whatever meaning suits them.'

November 29, 2006 

(Mat 10:32-34) Every one therefore that shall confess me before men, I will also confess him before my Father who is in heaven. But he that shall deny me before men, I will also deny him before my Father who is in heaven. Do not think that I came to send peace upon earth: I came not to send peace, but the sword.


A public Christmas festival is no place for the Christmas story, the city says. Officials have asked organizers of a downtown Christmas festival, the German Christkindlmarket, to reconsider using a movie studio as a sponsor because it is worried ads for its film "The Nativity Story" might offend non-Christians.

New Line Cinema, which said it was dropped, had planned to play a loop of the new film on televisions at the event. The decision had both the studio and a prominent Christian group shaking their heads.

"The last time I checked, the first six letters of Christmas still spell out Christ," said Paul Braoudakis, spokesman for the Barrington, Ill.-based Willow Creek Association, a group of more than 11,000 churches of various denominations. "It's tantamount to celebrating Lincoln's birthday without talking about Abraham Lincoln."

BACKGROUND: The Nativity Story: The Making of the Movie

REVIEW: Vatican officials give thumbs up for 'The Nativity Story'

VIA Mission Moments: Feast of Christ the King, November 26, 2006 

Darrell: As the Lord made this presence known, I echoed the eternal praise of the celestial choirs:

Amen! Amen! …Praise and Glory and Wisdom…Thanksgiving and Honor…Power and Might to our God…forever and ever…Amen! Amen!

Blessed Virgin Mother: My child I thank you for your Yes and your gift to my Son this day. I ask you to convey the following to my children throughout the world.

My children, I come to you on this Feast of Jesus – Christ the King - with words of great joy, peace and consolation. My Son loves you all. He gave His life for love of each of you. He desires none be lost eternally but that all come to enjoy the eternal beatitude that awaits them. Great are the events you are living through. Events that will continue to be manifest and fulfilled in the months and years to come. I continue to call and lead you to my Son. Let no one be deceived or deceive themselves. This is the Hour of Mercy. Hear the call to repent and return to God. No one is beyond His mercy. Please respond with urgency to this appeal. The great act of mercy to be manifest by God is near. Decide for God. Choose life. DO NOT succumb to death. The choice is eternal. Great is the mercy of God. Great are the acts of saving justice humanity will continue to experience with ever greater frequency and intensity.

The Triumph of my Immaculate Heart is assured and to be manifest as Jesus establishes the dominion of His Eucharistic Reign in the Kingdom of the Divine Will. Thank God for the sure hope given you to strengthen and console you during the trials that await you. 

Only those who love God will enter and live in the Era of Peace. Many deny God and embrace the works of the enemy of salvation and work to build a world without God. Such is the work of the Deceiver.

Awaken my poor children from your slumber! Turn from the darkness you have embraced and welcome the light of God. Great is the purification coming upon the world. Great are the sins that cry out to God. Great is the silence of the Faithful. Great is the love with which God embraces the response of the lowly who have persevered with great generosity of heart. The grace of God will be their consolation and hope in the Hour of Purification.

Rejoice my children! Soon you will arise from the darkness that has enveloped you and behold the Glory of God!

Live this Advent well as you live the Advent of the Era of Peace!

All Glory to God! Father! Son! And Holy Spirit!

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

106. A hermit said, 'Do not be pleased at everything that is said, and do not agree with everything that is said. Be slow to believe, and quick to say what is true.'

November 28, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Pray that this pilgrimage might yield the fruits that God desires."

VIA OUR LADY OF FATIMA CONFERENCE:  Prayer for pilgrimage of Pope Benedict XVI to Turkey November 26- December 1, 2006

Heavenly Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth takes its name, we humbly ask that you sustain, inspire, and protect your servant, Pope Benedict XVI, as he goes on pilgrimage to Turkey a land to which St. Paul brought the Gospel of your Son? a land where once the Mother of your Son, the Seat of Wisdom, dwelt? a land where faith in your Son's true divinity was definitively professed. Bless our Holy Father, who comes as a messenger of truth and love to all people of faith and good will dwelling in this land so rich in history. In the power of the Holy Spirit, may this visit of the Holy Father bring about deeper ties of understanding, cooperation, and peace among Roman Catholics, the Orthodox, and those who profess Islam. May the prayers and events of these historic days greatly contribute both to greater accord among those who worship you, the living and true God, and also to peace in our world so often torn apart by war and sectarian violence.

We also ask, 0 Heavenly Father, that you watch over and protect Pope Benedict and entrust him to the loving care of Mary, under the title of Our Lady of Fatima, a title cherished both by Catholics and Muslims. Through her prayers and maternal love, may Pope Benedict be kept safe from all harm as he prays, bears witness to the Gospel, and invites all peoples to a dialogue of faith, reason, and love. We make our prayer through Christ, our Lord. Amen.


Protests in Turkey ahead of Pope visit
Security on High Alert for Pope's Visit to Turkey
Turkish politicians head out of town to avoid Pope's visit
Ancient Christian site becomes ‘very sensitive ground’ for pope

EXCERPT COMMENTARY VIA INSIDE THE VATICAN:  The bishop of old Rome will come to what once was called "new Rome" and here seek to cement the ties of friendship and understanding which have been growing for half a century between the Orthodox and the Catholic world. He is invited here by Patriarch Bartholomew, to celebrate with him the Feast of St. Andrew, the brother of St. Peter, who is believed to have come to this city in the first century, to evangelize Byzantium before it was Byzantium. The feast falls on November 30. Since Patriarch Bartholomew has visited Rome on the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, which falls on June 29 each year, the pope has decided it is appropriate to return the gesture, and visit Bartholomew on the Feast of St. Andrew. Christian relations, internal Christian matters, are one chief motivation of this trip: the healing of the "Great Schism" which has divided the Orthodox - the Eastern Christians - from the Roman Catholics since 1054, now 952 years.

But there is another focus of this trip, which destiny, or history, or personal choice - it is impossible to say which - has imposed. And that is the dialogue, and confrontation, with Islam.

For this trip falls 77 days after Pope Benedict's speech at Regensburg, Germany, where he spoke of Islam, and cited a Byzantine emperor's accusation that Islam was spread by coercion, by force. He spoke also of the West's own form of "violence" and "irrationality" in its denial of the transcendent. Indeed, his comments were more directed toward the West and the danger of its renunciation of the transcendent than they were toward Islam and its alleged embrace of coercion in matters of religion.

But his words fell like sparks on dry tinder and enflamed outrage throughout the world. Many Muslims felt the pope had insulted their faith. (Many secularists said he had done precisely that, though it is difficult to see what standing they have to make comments in this matter.) In any case, following the Regensburg talk, which occurred precisely five years and one day after 9/11 and the fall of the Twin Towers in New York City, the prospects and significance of this papal trip to Istanbul altered. Instead of concentrating on Christian questions, on relations with the Orthodox, the trip was transformed into an opportunity to attempt to grasp and clarify the issues that now increasingly divide the Muslim world from the post-Christian West.

These coming days in Istanbul promise to set the pope within a spotlight of attention to his every word, his every nuance of phrase, to discern whether he, as the "moral authority of the West" - though the West itself no longer recognizes his moral authority, but rejects and often mocks it - has something of importance to say to the entire world at this current moment of apparent impasse.

As the war in Iraq burns on; as the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians remains unresolved; as the direction of European culture seems to hang in the balance with the decision of whether to permit Turkey to enter the European Union; as the problems of world energy supplies seem to grow more acute, making the Middle East ever more central to the world's economic future - as all these elements come together in November 2006 in Istanbul, the pope is preparing his words carefully. What will he say?

RELATED: Vatican, Patriarchate both Seek Dialogue with Islam

LINK: The team is a diverse group of Catholic and Orthodox Christians who came together with a shared vision of rapprochement between the two great Churches. 

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

105. A hermit said, 'A monk ought not to listen to disparagement; he ought not to be disparaging, and he ought not to be scornful.'

November 22, 2006

(1Th 5:18) In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you all.


VIA Dennis: Written November 18, 2006 for all my friends and those that I love

Last night I woke up a little after 3:00 A.M. and could not sleep. My mind started to think about the coming Thanksgiving next Thursday and how many blessings that I have received from my most loving Father. At that point, I felt very rich, and thought the following:
What if you were rich, very rich. What if you owned a grand home and had much money in the bank. What if you were so rich you could own a city or a whole state. What if people followed you every where you went because you were so rich. As you became richer, you soon owned every thing. The world was your apple to pick and your word was law. As you became richer, you soon owned the whole earth, the moon and even the stars that made up the Milky Way. As you gazed out on the universe, it suddenly became possible to own even the universe and every atom in it. You owned it all. There was nothing left to own, or was there?
At that point I remembered something that I had written a few years back and searched for it. Here is that writing:
When there is no love
When men despise you
When all your possessions are nothing
When your children turn their backs on you
When your wife does not know you
When there are only stars above you for a home
When you are almost naked and are hungry and cold
When you have lost all your dreams
When the world is barren and you feel lost and weep for the way it was
When your friends abandon you and curse your name
When hope has left your heart and your soul has been emptied of all worldly things

Know that when you only have Jesus, you will have everything.
You and I are rich, very rich. We have been given riches worth more and than an infinite number of universes. You and I have been given the Fathers own Son. Your loving Father has held back nothing. We are His sons and daughters through His Son who emptied Himself for us. How most loved we are and how important each of us is to the Father. When you sit down for Thanksgiving this year, remember to thank your Father who sent His Son to die so that you may live. You are rich, very very rich.
May the Lord of us all bless each and every one of you who reads this and may you all have a very wonderful Thanksgiving.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

104. A brother asked a hermit, 'My sister is poor. If I give her alms, am I giving alms to the poor?' He said, 'No.' The brother said, 'Why is that, abba?' He replied, 'Because your relationship draws you to prefer her.'

November 21, 2006 

POPE BENEDICT XVI: "Love is stronger than danger. I am in the hands of God."


Patriarch warns Turks against Pope 'incidents'
Sharpshooters, security cameras for Pope’s visit to Istanbul
Turkish nationalist paper goes after Pope

STRATFOR: The Challenge of Protecting Pope Benedict XVI in Turkey

Pope Benedict XVI will begin his first papal visit to a predominantly Muslim country Nov. 28 when he arrives in Turkey for four days of private meetings, public masses and other events. The trip, which already has generated some death threats against the pope, has both Turkish and Vatican security on high alert.

Tensions between Muslims and Benedict XVI flared up in September when the pope made remarks at Germany's University of Regensburg that seemed to refer to Islam as "evil." Although the pope later sought to clarify his comments, the incident reopened Muslim wounds caused by the controversy earlier in the year over cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

In light of recent incidents -- as well as the ongoing militant threat in Turkey -- security officials in Turkey, Vatican City and Italy are taking threats against the pope very seriously. On Nov. 2, a Turkish man fired several shots at the Italian Consulate in Istanbul and threatened to shoot Benedict XVI during his visit to Turkey. The man, who was subsequently arrested, is believed to have acted alone. In Turkey, Mehmet Ali Acga, who attempted to assassinate Pope John Paul II in 1981, said from prison Sept. 20 that Benedict XVI should not visit Turkey, and suggested that the pontiff's life would be in danger if he went ahead with his plans.

That same day, Rome's city prosecutor launched an investigation into threats against the pope posted on the Internet by Iraqi jihadist groups. The head of the prosecutor's anti-terrorism department said the investigation would focus on statements intended to incite people to take action against a head of state. Because the pope is the head of state of the Vatican, threats against him receive the same level of attention from intelligence and law enforcement as do threats against any other head of state. His status as head of state also affords him the highest level of protection.

At home in Vatican City, the pope is protected by two modern security corps: the centuries-old Swiss Guards and the Gendarmerie Corps of the State of Vatican City. Additional security is provided by plainclothes agents and Italian Carabinieri, federal police who patrol outside the square and stand ready as sharpshooters atop buildings during public ceremonies.

While abroad, the pope travels with a plainclothes security detail of Swiss Guards, which operates in a manner similar to the U.S. Secret Service (USSS) or the U.S. State Department's Diplomatic Security Service (DSS), organizations charged with protecting the president and U.S. diplomats overseas. The Vatican's security forces are every bit as proficient as the USSS and DSS.

It is important to note, however, that the host country ultimately is responsible for protecting visiting heads of state. Thus, Turkey will collect intelligence on the national level in advance of and during the trip. In addition to Vatican and Turkish efforts, various other intelligence agencies will be looking for possible threats to the pope's safety.

Arrangements between Vatican and Turkish security forces would have been made months before the pope's visit, starting with an agreement between the two on how they will operate together. As part of the agreement, agents from Vatican security would have been deployed to Turkey about a month prior to the visit in order to assess the security situation and determine potential vulnerabilities at the sites the pontiff will visit. During this time, Vatican security will be working closely with the Turkish Security General Directorate and National Intelligence Agency, which will be compiling its own security assessments.

Sweeps for potential troublemakers already are under way in the cities the pope will visit, and Turkish police will pick up suspected subversives and mentally disturbed people who have made threats against the pope's life. To this end, Vatican security will provide a list of people who have attempted to contact the pope with threats. As the visit approaches, Turkish authorities will likely announce that several "thwarted plots" against the pope have been uncovered during these sweeps.

However, as media coverage heats up in the lead-up to the visit, the furor over the Regensburg remarks, and possibly the cartoons, could re-ignite, especially in a country that is more than 99 percent Muslim. In any case, demonstrations by religious and student groups can be expected, most likely at pre-authorized locations. In that case, vigilance by security forces will be high to ensure the protests do not get out of hand.

As the pope's arrival date approaches, security forces will take their positions around the locations on his itinerary. Sweeps for explosives will be conducted in these areas and countersniper support will be scanning rooftops and windows. Once in Turkey, Benedict XVI will travel in motorcades of armored vehicles, which will include decoy cars.

The pope plans to spend one night in Ankara and two in Istanbul, though information on his lodgings has not been released. Choices include the Holy See Embassy Residence in Ankara and the Hilton Istanbul hotel, where U.S. President George W. Bush stayed on his visit to Turkey in June 2004.

A hotel stay would present more security challenges for the pope's protective detail than would a stay in a state-owned residence. Should he lodge at a hotel, security will have to run checks on all the other guests staying there during his visit. Moreover, the day-to-day commercial operations of the hotel will present many security vulnerabilities, especially with caterers, laundry, cleaning staff and other personnel constantly coming and going.

A residence owned by the Vatican, on the other hand, can be better secured, and occupants and staff more thoroughly vetted to screen for infiltrators or individuals with nefarious agendas. There also would be less vulnerability from caterers, laundry and other hotel staff coming and going.

The pope's itinerary includes several stops in Ankara and Istanbul, as well as at the sites of ancient Christian communities in Smyrna and Ephesus. In Ankara, the pope will meet with Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Turkey's highest Muslim authority, Grand Mufti Ali Bardakoglu, who is head of Turkey's Religious Affairs Directorate. In addition to Vatican security, the pope will be protected by the high security that normally surrounds Turkish leaders. These meetings, as well as others with Turkish Christian, Muslim and Jewish religious leaders, will take place at controlled venues and will be attended by screened and invited guests only. These venues also can be easily locked down and screened for improvised explosive devices.

Potentially vulnerable points will be at Meryem Ana Evi Shrine in Ephesus when the pope celebrates mass there Nov. 29, and at Istanbul's Cathedral of the Holy Ghost, where he will deliver a homily Dec. 1, the last day of his trip. Although those events are open to the public, the venues will be thoroughly swept for bombs beforehand, and all participants and the entire congregation will be screened for weapons and explosives.

Even without the tensions surrounding Benedict XVI's visit to Turkey, the history of attacks and plotted attacks against his predecessor requires that security be high at all times. The most serious attack in recent memory came when Acga shot Pope John Paul II twice in the abdomen as the pope entered St. Peter's Square in an open-air convertible. Almost a year after that attack, on May 12, 1982, an ultraconservative Spanish priest who believed the pope was an agent of Moscow approached John Paul in Fatima, Portugal, with the intent of stabbing him with a bayonet, though the man was stopped and arrested before he could reach the pontiff. In 1995, Abdel Basit plotted to kill Pope John Paul II during a visit to the Philippines.

Any papal visit to a foreign country presents significant security challenges. However, given the recent tensions between Christians and Muslims -- and particularly between this pope and Muslims -- this visit will require an even higher level of vigilance.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

103. A hermit said,"If some distracting dispute arises between you and another, and the other denies it and says, "I said no such thing," do not argue with him or say, "You did say it." For he will be exaperated, and will say, "Very well, and I meant it."'

November 18, 2006




Archbishop of Dublin Diarmuid Martin has said he is seriously concerned by today's High Court ruling against a woman who tried to have frozen embyos implanted in her womb against the will of her estranged husband. The Archbishop said the court's ruling that the three frozen embryos are not "unborn" as defined under the Constitution "cast doubt on what rules were in place to protect life".

"From a first consideration of the judgment, it would appear that the decision casts doubt concerning the level of protection which the Constitution affords to human life at its earliest stages," he said.

"It is to be hoped that this issue will receive full consideration in any eventual appeal to the Supreme Court and that the general protection of every human life at all stages of its development will be vindicated."

The Pro-Life Campaign said it was "confident the Supreme Court will vindicate the rights of the human embryo if the judgement is appealed."

The campaign expressed disappointment with the High Court decision and said in a statement: "Whenever the law lacks clarity regarding the most basic right, namely the right to life, it undermines the basis for all other self-evident rights we cherish. Separate entirely from the present case, there is need for legislation to protect the human embryo."


Missourians "have lost a significant battle for the protection of human life," declared Archbishop Raymond L. Burke following the Nov. 7 passage of a constitutional amendment to protect human cloning and embryonic stem-cell research.

Amendment 2 passed by a slim margin, with just over a 1 percent difference in the voting results. As of Review press time, the amendment was passing 50.7 percent to 49.3 percent, with all but a little more than 100 of 3,734 precincts reporting.

"The citizens of Missouri have succumbed to a false hope created by a campaign, which has played on the desire of us all to help those suffering from deadly diseases and serious injuries," Archbishop Burke said in a statement. After returning from Union for a Confirmation Mass, the archbishop watched the returns of the election until late in the evening before going to bed. Like many, he learned of the final results the following morning.

"The election campaign for the passage of Amendment 2 has shown us all how deeply rooted the culture of death is in our society," he continued. "The experience of the campaign is a clarion call to all Catholics and other men and women of good will to rededicate ourselves to prayer and work" to restore to the state and nation a respect for every human life from the first moment of its existence.


Approval sought for human/animal embryo research
Australia Senate lifts ban on cloning

FROM THE ARCHIVES: Cloning: A Diabolical Counterfeit of Eternal Life

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

93. A hermit said, 'Anyone who wants to live in the desert ought to be a teacher and not a learner. If he still needs teaching, he will come to harm.'

November 17, 2006 

(Psalm 46:11) Be still and see that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, and I will be exalted in the earth.


Eternal Father, I offer Thee the Most Precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy Souls in Purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the Universal Church, those in my own home and within my family. Amen.

Reflection by Father Ted – November 13, 2006 

My dearest Lord Jesus, this morning in the gospel acclamation You exhorted us to “shine like light in the world”. For You want us to radiate Your Presence among others.

You have made us to become like You.

And as we become more and more like You, we are able to radiate Your Presence among others.

Yet it is hard at time to radiate Your Presence.

For we don’t feel Your Presence within us.

Yet when we strive to do the Will of the Father, and when we have not knowingly sinned in a serious way, You are within us.

But You desire that we become more conscious of Your Presence within us.

That is why You, first of all, exhort us, to be men and women, boys and girls, of prayer.

Two weeks ago, You allowed me to be in Fatima – where Your Mother appeared to three young children. But before You sent her to speak to these children, especially about praying the Rosary, You sent to them Saint Michael the Archangel who taught them another very important prayer and the need to sacrifice for the sake of sinners.

Prayer is so important in our lives.

But so is doing what You ask of us.

While on this pilgrimage to Fatima and to Lourdes, You also taught me the importance of silence – so that I can listen to You – or to Your Mother.

For only when I listen to You, or to Your Mother, will I know what I need to do.

While in Lourdes, You reminded me, what I had also read about recently, what young Bernadette was asked to do by Your Mother. And because she listened to Your Mother, she discovered that spring of water which would be the source of the healing of many people.

Thank You Jesus for reminding me to shine like light in the world. Thank You Jesus for reminding me to pray more. Thank You Jesus for reminding me to listen to You and to Your Mother.

When I pray, when I listen to You and to Your Mother, when I do what You and she asks of me, then I am able to shine like light in the world.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

92. A hermit said this about evil thoughts, 'I beg you, my brothers, control your thoughts as you control your sins.'

November 16, 2006 


Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert used warlike language to pressure the international community to bear down on Iran.

"We will not tolerate the possession of nuclear weapons by Iran," Olmert said in an interview that kicked off a nearly week-long visit to the U.S.

But he stopped short of threatening to attack Iran unilaterally to halt its nuclear program. At a White House meeting, Olmert urged nations to support President Bush's call for isolating Iran until it suspends its nuclear program.

"Iran's nuclear ambitions are not in the world's interest," Bush concurred. "If Iran had nuclear weapons it would be terribly destabilizing."

The Iranians claim that their nuclear program is for the peaceful purpose of providing electricity, but Olmert insists the regime of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is bent on Israel's destruction.

ANALYSIS: Expert: Prepare for war


Iran warns on Israel destruction
Netanyahu: It's 1938 and Iran is Germany; Ahmadinejad is preparing another Holocaust
Iran Says Nuke Program Is Near Complete
Iran vows to stand firm on pursuit of nuclear program
IAEA finds traces of plutonium in Iran


Radical Islamists are at war with the West. In a one-hour special, Glenn Beck will show you the shocking images -- rarely seen by American viewers -- that help fuel rage against Israel and the West. 

A CNN HEADLINE NEWS SPECIAL Wednesday, November 15th at 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. ET

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

90. A hermit said, 'Do not give to or receive anything from worldly people. Take no notice of women. Do not remain long in the company of a boy.'

November 15, 2006 

(2Co 4:5-6) For we preach not ourselves, but Jesus Christ our Lord: and ourselves your servants through Jesus. For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of Christ Jesus.


Human trafficking, including women forced to become prostitutes or minors forced to do child labor, is worse now than the trade in African slaves of past centuries, a top Vatican official said Tuesday.

"It's worse than the slavery of those whose slaves who were taken from Africa and brought to other countries," said Cardinal Renato Martino, former longtime Vatican envoy to the United Nations and current head of the Holy See's office concerned with migrant and itinerant peoples.

At a news conference to present Pope Benedict XVI's annual message dealing with the problems of migrants, the cardinal singled out modern-day forms of slavery _ minors who are sold to do child labor or who are forced to be soldiers, as well as women forced to prostitute themselves _ and challenged countries to combat these problems.

"In a world which proclaims human rights left and right, let's see what it does about the rights of so many human beings which are not respected, but trampled," the cardinal said.



Poverty eradication, human rights tied, moral obligation, Vatican says
Vatican Encourages N. Korea Denuclearization
Catholic Church will Hold Former Sandinista to Promises on Social Justice
US Catholic bishop urges responsible Iraq debate
Vatican official says death penalty for Saddam would be wrong
Vatican wades into veil debate
Vatican cardinal says U.S.-Mexico fence 'inhuman'
Vatican faults Anglican move on euthanasia

US BISHOPS CONFERENCEIf you disagree, don't take Communion

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

89. A hermit said, 'We are not condemned if bad thoughts enter our minds, but only if we use them badly. Because of our thoughts we may suffer shipwreck, but because of our thoughts we may also earn a crown.'

November 10, 2006 

(1Pe 1:14-16) As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in all your conduct; since it is written, "You shall be holy, for I am holy."


LINK: The Eucharistic Life of the Saints

Pope Benedict XVI on Sainthood: To achieve sainthood, the Holy Father said that "it is above all necessary to listen to Jesus and then to follow him and not lose heart in the face of difficulties."

"He knows in fact that whoever tries to keep his life for himself will lose it and whoever gives his life, in this way, finds life," the Pope said referring to the Gospel of John.

Benedict XVI continued: "The experience of the Church demonstrates that, although they take different paths, all forms of holiness must always pass through the way of the cross, the way of self-denial.

"The example of the saints encourages us to follow in their footsteps, to experience the joy of those who entrust themselves to God, because the only cause of sadness is to live far from him."

"Holiness demands a constant effort, but it is possible for all since it is not just the work of man but is above all a gift of God, who is thrice holy," the Pontiff said referring to the Book of Isaiah.

The Bishop of Rome added: "The biographies of the saints depict men and women who, always docile to divine designs, sometimes endured indescribable sufferings, persecutions and martyrdom. They persevered in their task." 


Path to sainthood
Monument unveiled to Catholic priests killed in Nazi camps
Skull reconstruction of men hanged in York for being Catholic

VIA Frank Rega: Padre Pio on Holiness

Padre Pio in a letter to spiritual his daughter Raffaelina Cerase:  "Let us remember or rather let us keep before our minds what goes to make up real holiness.  Holiness means getting above ourselves, it means perfect mastery of all our passions.  It means having real and continual contempt for ourselves and for the things of the world to the point of preferring poverty rather than wealth, humiliation rather than glory, suffering rather than pleasure.  Holiness means loving our neighbour as ourself for love of God.  In this connection holiness means loving those who curse us, who hate and persecute us, and even doing good to them.  Holiness means living humbly, being disinterested, prudent, just, patient , kind, chaste, meek, diligent, carrying out one's duties for no other reason than that of pleasing God and receiving from Him alone the reward we deserve.  Briefly, Raffaelina, holiness contains in itself the power to transform a man into God, according to the language of the holy books."  Letters, Volume II, pages 562-563.

RELATED: Pope Recalls Padre Pio and His Works

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

87. A hermit said, "If a man has words but no works, he is like a tree with leaves but no fruit. Just as a tree laden with fruit is also leafy, the man of good works will also have good words.'

November 9, 2006 

(Jude 1:7-8) As Sodom and Gomorrha and the neighbouring cities, in like manner, having given themselves to fornication and going after other flesh, were made an example, suffering the punishment of eternal fire. In like manner, these men also defile the flesh and despise dominion and blaspheme majesty.


Israel's attorney general refused to ban a gay pride parade in Jerusalem despite threats of violence from ultra-Orthodox Jews, instructing police and gay activists to try to work out a compromise, the police commander said Sunday.

A Justice Ministry statement said Attorney General Meni Mazuz ordered police to meet with gay activists ''to work out a reasonable alternative proposal'' for the march, set for Friday on a route through the middle of the city. The meeting was to take place Monday, gay activists said, and a compromise was likely.

Ultra-Orthodox Jews have rioted in Jerusalem nearly every night over the past week, burning garbage cans, blocking roads and assaulting police officers in an attempt to get the authorities to call off the march, approved months ago by the Supreme Court. Many religious Jews, Muslims and Christians see homosexuality as a sin and the march as an affront to the sanctity of the holy city.

CHIEF RABBI OF RUSSIA: ‘One should see that the only object of this parade is to make a PR action, which is dirty, insulting and indecent’.

ANALYSIS: Israeli gay parade pits religious against secular

RELATED: Vatican urges Israel to ban Jerusalem gay parade


Gay campaigners are hailing an “incredible night” for gay equality in the US as over 200 pro-gay candidates were elected for seats in Congress and as Governors in the US mid-terms and many anti-gay figures were ousted.

The Democrat Party now dominates the House of Representatives, with Nancy Pelosi representing the party as the first female speaker, while the Senate is neck and neck, signalling a possible change in direction regarding America’s foreign policy and perhaps even some state’s attitude towards gay rights.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which has been following the results overnight says there is now a “fair minded majority” in the US House of Representatives.

Ms Pelosi's election is good news for the gay community, especially for gay and lesbian residents of San Francisco, whom she represents. She is seen as a liberal and many conservatives fear she will use her role to introduce gay marriage.

EDITOR'S NOTE:  No link is provided as the source of this article is not deemed morally acceptable.  It is quoted only to emphasize the direction that this election has moved the country.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

86. One of the monks said, 'If a labourer remains where there are no other labourers, he can make no progress. The true labourer struglles that the work may not deteriorate. If an idle man works with a labourer the idle man becomes less idle; and if he does not make progress, at least he does not get idler by seeing someone else working.'

November 8, 2006 

(John 19:27) Then he said to the disciple, "Behold, your mother!" And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.



On behalf of the World Apostolate of Fatima I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Papal Nuncio, His Excellency Archbishop Pietro Sambi, will be officiating at a special Mass for our country's Consecration to Our Patroness, the Immaculate Conception. All are invited to come to our nation's capitol at The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception, in Washington, D.C., Saturday, November 11, 2006, at twelve noon.

This Mass was requested by the World Apostolate of Fatima. All of the American bishops have been invited to participate at the Mass. However, due to scheduling conflicts, many bishops have signed the Consecration prayer for their dioceses, and these signed forms will then be offered at the Mass. The prayer for the Consecration was composed by our bishops in 1959, for the dedication ceremony of the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. By this prayer our country was consecrated to Our Patroness, the Immaculate Conception. However, by the consecration on November 11, 2006, our country will be consecrated to the Heart of Our Patroness; since this is the World Apostolate of Fatima's primary mission for world peace.

During World War I, His Eminence Francis Cardinal Bourne, then Primate of England, consecrated England to the Sorrowful and Immaculate Heart of Mary. He claims, and many others as well, that it stopped World War I. The Armistice for World War I was signed after the Consecration on November 11th; this, incidentally, is the same day that the Papal Nuncio chose to officiate at the Mass for the United States.

During the 1720's, the Bubonic plague was rampant in Marseille, France. Out of the city's population of ninety thousand, fifty thousand people died in a matter of months. The Archbishop consecrated Marseille to the Sacred Heart to end the plague in the city, and this did happen without any medical means or vaccinations.

Also Portugal was consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary before World War II, and this country was protected from the war. So let us with great joy and enthusiasm proclaim our country's renewal which will happen because we are being obedient to the Fatima message. Please spread the word. I believe this Consecration will be used as a powerful weapon to destroy the culture of death that is threatening the very fiber of our nation; namely, the respect for life and the sacredness of the family as the essential building block of American society.

If you can, come to the Basilica on Saturday, November 11, 2006 to participate in this historical event. I hope to see you there. Otherwise you can participate through EWTN TV or radio which will provide live coverage of the Mass and Consecration.

Sincerely in Jesus, Mary and Joseph, 

Fr. Andrew Apostoli, CFR



Saturday    November 11, 2006    12:00 PM    Eastern Time 
Saturday    November 11, 2006      9:00 AM    Pacific Time

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

85. A hermit said, "As the order of monks is more honourable than that of men of the world, so the travelling monk ought to be in every way a mirror for the monks of the places where he stays.'

November 3, 2006 


(Jn 15:5), “ I am the vine, you are the branches. Whoever remains in me and I in him will bear much fruit, because without me you can do nothing.”

BOOKLET: Catholics in the Public Square by Most Reverend Thomas J. Olmsted


CATHOLIC ONLINE: Catholic citizens have duty to vote in accord with church’s social teaching, bishops state

NATIONAL CATHOLIC REGISTER: Much At Stake In Mid-Term Elections

CATHOLIC ANSWERS: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

VIA Jim McCrea: Is Abortion Merely One of Many Issues to Consider at Election Time?

Many Catholics put pro-life issues on a par with other things such as crime, hunger, homelessness, education, and health care, so if a candidate is good on all issues except abortion, they vote for him or her, since most of the issues are being properly addressed.

That is a serious error!

First of all, the right to life is fundamental. Without the right to life, all other rights are null and void. One must first have existence to enjoy anything else.

Secondly, there is a fundamental difference between a candidate supporting abortion, and seemingly not being good on other social issues. In the case of things such as hunger, homelessness, poor education, crime etc. these are not the directly intended effects of the candidate (at least of no candidate that I have heard of). That is, no candidate campaigns for an increase in hunger, homelessness, poor education, and crime, as ends sought in themselves. These problems are simply side effects of inefficiency or perhaps what the candidate feels are higher priorities such as lower taxes to get the economy going, or perhaps the candidate even has less worthy motives for relegating social issues to a lower priority (we can disagree with the candidate and say that the side effects are the result of his poor choices or judgment, but they are still not directly intended effects - unless one is living in a Stalinist or a Nazi regime).

The difference between those who are poor on social issues and those who support abortion, is that abortion *is* a directly intended effect.

If one claims to be pro-choice, they are in support of the directly intended attack on an innocent unborn child. That is why that is different, and that is why that is intrinsically immoral. An informed Catholic cannot in good conscience vote for a pro-abortion candidate. In that case, he or she is cooperating with the crime of abortion and may be guilty of mortal sin.

There is a third reason why the abortion issue is fundamental and takes priority over other social issues. For if it is part of the structure of our society to kill other human beings for either convenience or to solve a difficult problem, then that feeds all other social problems. A disrespect for human life feeds crime, homelessness, bad education, bad health care etc. For at the root of these problems are human beings being unjust to each other in numerous subtle ways, each and every day. That injustice saps generosity, efficiency, creativity in solving human problem, care for the common good, trust, love, justice, and removes a whole host of other virtues from society. If these virtues were practiced on the level of the individual, in all people, that would solve practically all pressing social problems. It is this lack of justice and other virtues among people in society today, which causes all of its problems - and that is fed directly by the abortion mentality. If we get rid of the abortion mentality, one is guaranteed to see a vast improvement in society.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

84. A hermit was asked, 'What is meant by the text "Narrow and straight is the way" (Matt. 7:14)?' He answered, 'Narrow and stait is the way by which a man does violence to his thoughts and for God's sake breaks down his self-will. That is what was written about the apostles, "Lo, we have left all, and followed thee" (Matt. 19:27).'

November 2, 2006 

VIA Fr. Alex: Sometimes we get a little down with so many problems that assail us yet something happens whereby we meet someone that has it worse than we have it or we read a story of courage. That makes of quite grateful for what we really have and pray that we can, at least, be a better person for others.

This story and video that I am linking to this email, was sent to me at a moment that I've been feeling a little overwhelmed and it was God's answer to me. I hope it will be a source of inspiration for you too! 

It is the true story of Dick Hoyt and his physically challenged son, Rick, from Massachusetts - better know in Triathlons and Marathons as the "Team Hoyt."

VIA Philip: Thoughts of Saint Therese

" I wondered for a long time why God has preferences, why all souls don't treceive an equal amount of graces. ...His extraordinary favors, for instance St's Paul and Augustine, and yet why poor savages died in great numbers without even having heard the name of God pronounced.. ....

"Jesus deigned to teach me this mystery. the splendour of the rose and the whiteness of the Lily do not take away the perfume of the little violet or the delightful simplicity of the daisy.

" ...and so it is in the world of souls, Jesus' garden. He willed to create great souls comparable to Lilies and Roses, but He created smaller ones, and these must be content to be daisies or violets destined to give joy to God's glances when He looks down at His feet.

" I understood too, that Our Lord's love is revealed as perfectly in the most simple soul that resists His grace in nothing, as in the most excellent fact, since love is to humble oneself, if all souls resembled those of the holy doctors who illumined the Church with the clarity of their teachings, it seems God would not have to descend so low when coming to their hearts. But he created the child who knows only how to make feeble cries heard; He has created the poor savage who has nothing but the natural law to guide him. It is to their hearts that God deigns to lower Himself..... these are the wild flowers whose simplicity attracts Him.

" Just as the sun shines simultaneously on the tall cedars and on each little flower as though it were alone on the earth, so Our Lord is occupied particularly with each soul as though there were no others like it. ...."

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

83. A hermit said, "if you do anything according to self-will, and not according to God's will, you can afterwards return to the Lord's way, if you did it in ignorance. But whoever obeys self-will and not God's, and refuses to listen to warnings, but claims to know best, he will scarcely be able to come back to the Lord's way.'

November 1, 2006 


Pope Benedict XVI greeted members of the Greek Episcopal Conference Oct. 30 at the Vatican, expressing hope that one day the Greek Orthodox Church, which makes up the majority of the Greek population will one day be reunited with the Catholic Church.      The bishops were visiting the Vatican as part of their “ad Limina” visit.

The Pope told his brother bishops that there is a need, "to intensify prayer so as to accelerate the coming of that blessed day when it will be granted us to break the Bread together, and drink together from the same Chalice." On this subject, he expressed his hope for the opening of "ever greater prospects of constructive dialogue between the Greek Orthodox Church and the Catholic Church," and for an increase in "shared spiritual, cultural and practical initiatives.”


Patriarch Welcomes Pope's Visit to Turkey
Russian church's ties with Vatican have positive potential - Alexy II
Pope makes new call for religious dialogue


The Vatican officially confirmed Pope Benedict XVI ‘s trip next month to Turkey, a visit that has been overshadowed by his remarks on Islam and violence.

Other details will be announced later, the Vatican said, but the pilgrimage will begin in Ankara, the Turkish capital, and then take the pontiff to Izmir, a port city near Ephesus, which is an ancient Christian community, and finally to Istanbul, seat of the headquarters of the spiritual leader of the world‘s 200 million Orthodox Christians, Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew I. 


More details emerge on Benedict XVI's upcoming visit to Turkey
Turkish nationalists protest against pope's visit
Book on plot to kill pope fuels unease ahead of Turkey visit

COMMENTARY: October 19 was the feast of St Isaac Jogues. His example is one all believers, of whatever stripe, would well-remember. St. Jogues was a missionary to the Indian tribes of North America. These tribes violently opposed his mission, even to the extent of severing his thumb and index finger so that he would be unable to celebrate Catholic mass (the Pope made an exception to canon law, however, to enable him to do so). St. Jogues did not seek to impose Catholicism violently upon the Iroquoi (yes, there have been instances in the past when Catholics did do that). Rather, he loved the Iroquois so much, and believed so deeply in the life-giving truth of the God he served, that he suffered violence from them rather than violate their own human dignity. 

In the face of threats of violence against his person, it is astonishing that Benedict XVI would journey to Turkey, a country that threatened to “dis-invite” him following his talk in Regensburg. But he is planning to go. Certainly he goes as did St. Jogues, as a peaceful missionary. One prays that he does not go as a sheep among wolves, that he will have a more peaceful reception than did St. Jogues. Certainly his journey is proof of this: the Catholic Church, at least, has renounced, loudly and publicly, coercion in religion. One hopes Islam will do likewise.

The Desert Fathers: sayings of the Early Christian Monks: Discretion 

82. A hermit said, 'If someone lives in a place but does not harvest the crops there, the place will drive that person out for not having done the work of that place.'

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