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September 28, 2002


(2Ti 3:16-17)  All scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.


St. Jerome was above all a Scripture scholar, translating the Old Testament from the Greek. He also wrote commentaries which are a great source of scriptural inspiration for us today. He was an avid student, a thorough scholar, a prodigious letter-writer and a consultant to monk, bishop and pope. St. Augustine said of him, "What Jerome is ignorant of, no mortal has ever known."

St. Jerome is particularly important for having made a translation of the Bible which came to be called the Vulgate. It is not the most critical edition of the Bible, but its acceptance by the Church was fortunate. As a modern scholar says, "No man before Jerome or among his contemporaries and very few men for many centuries afterwards were so well qualified to do the work." The Council of Trent called for a new and corrected edition of the Vulgate, and declared it the authentic text to be used in the Church.

St. Jerome and the Cannon: In his later years St. Jerome did indeed accept the Deuterocanonical books of the Bible. In fact, he wound up strenuously defending their status as inspired Scripture, writing, "What sin have I committed if I followed the judgment of the churches? But he who brings charges against me for relating the objections that the Hebrews are wont to raise against the story of Susanna, the Son of the Three Children, and the story of Bel and the Dragon, which are not found in the Hebrew volume (ie. canon), proves that he is just a foolish sycophant. For I wasn't relating my own personal views, but rather the remarks that they [the Jews] are wont to make against us" (Against Rufinus 11:33 [A.D. 402]). In earlier correspondence with Pope Damasus, Jerome did not call the deuterocanonical books unscriptural, he simply said that Jews he knew did not regard them as canonical. But for himself, he acknowledged the authority of the Church in defining the canon. When Pope Damasus and the Councils of Carthage and Hippo included the deuterocanon in Scripture, that was good enough for St. Jerome. He "followed the judgment of the churches."

WHERE WE GOT THE BIBLE- Our debt to the Catholic Church
The Canon of the Bible
Canon of The New Testament

SEPTEMBER 30: On this date in history in 1452, the first section of the Guttenberg Bible, the first book printed from movable type, was published in Germany.

Q: How many books of the Old Testament are found in Guttenberg's printed Bible?

A: The same number that are in any Catholic Bible today -- 46 Old Testament books plus the 27 New Testament ones, for a total of 73 books (a much more spiritual number than the Protestant canon of 66 books ;-). The Guttenberg Bible -- the first Bible ever printed -- was a Catholic Bible (in fact, the Protestant Reformation had not even happened yet), and the number of books in Catholic Bibles has been the same ever since the Bible was first canonized at the Council of Rome in A.D. 382 under Pope Damasus I.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

23. He who falls is to be pitied. But still more to be pitied is he who causes another to fall, because he bears the burden of the falls of both, and further, the burden of pleasure tasted by the other.

September 27, 2002


VIA Richard: A really great story from Bev

Just wanted to share this with you...........
I was at Mass this weekend and when time for the consecration came, I just wanted to kneel down. There was noone else in my pew so I put the kneeler done, when I realized a young girl had moved herself to the section where I was (because she wanted to see better) and I had put the kneeler on her foot. We remedied that real quickly. and she was fine. I went on praying and she moved next to her folks. All of a sudden I started thinking "you should give her your Medgorje rosary beads" then my second thought was, no you don't want to do that you paid to much money for them." I kept praying but the nagging thought of giving her my rosaries wouldn't leave my mind.

At the time of peace, she went around the church to give her sign of peace and then smiled at me and gave me one. At that point on impulse I pulled out my rosaries and said "Someone special wants you to have these. These rosaries are from Medgorje and Our Lady blessed them. Please keep them" Her eyes widened and she whispered thanks and then turned to her mom.

Mass ended and as I was leaving her mother was showing her father the rosaries and she was crying. I thought "gosh, they probably think I'm nuts". The mother than turned and said to me, did you really want her to have these? I said "yes", they are very special, and I really really felt that were hers. They are from Medgorje. The mom then replied. "Oh, you don't know how special they are. Her grandmother promised her rosaries from Medgorje when she received her first commmion and she receives this year. Her grandma died one year ago today."

Doesn't the Lord take us on many journery's and to think, I almost didn't listen because of the cost I paid for the!!

ALSO VIA Richard: Awesome Prayer

"In the name of Jesus, I take authority and I bind all evil powers and forces in the air, in the ground, in the water, in the underground, in the netherworld, in nature and in fire. YOU are the Lord over the entire universe and I give you the glory for your creation. In your name Jesus, I bind all demonic forces that have come against us and our families and I seal all of us in the protection of your precious blood that was shed for us on the Cross. Mary, our mother, we seek your protection and intercession with the Sacred Heart of Jesus for us and our families, and surround us with your mantle of love to discourage the enemy. St. Michael and our Guardian Angel come defend us and our families in battle against all the evil ones that roam the earth. In the name of Jesus, I bind and command all the powers and forces of evil to depart right now away from us, our homes and our lands and, we thank you Lord Jesus, for you are a faithful and compassionate God. Amen."

VIA Marianne and Doug Moore: I would like to invite you to have a look at my new webpages!

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

21. Some have extolled those who are eunuchs by nature, because they are delivered from the martyrdom of the body; but I daily extol those who make themselves eunuchs by castrating their bad thoughts as with a knife (cf. Matt. 19:12).

September 26, 2002

(Rev 6:5-6)  When he opened the third seal, I heard the third living creature say, "Come!" And I saw, and behold, a black horse, and its rider had a balance in his hand; and I heard what seemed to be a voice in the midst of the four living creatures saying, "A quart of wheat for a denarius, and three quarts of barley for a denarius; but do not harm oil and wine!"

Excerpt from NY Times Editorial by Stephen S. Roach, chief economist at Morgan Stanley

A year after terrorism dealt a seemingly lethal blow to America, talk of resilience and economic recovery is in the air. The nation's inflation-adjusted gross domestic product has risen for four consecutive quarters following a mild downturn in the first nine months of 2001. While the estimated 3.2 percent growth rate over the past year is subdued when compared with the more vigorous rebounds of the past, the hope is that it's a down payment on bigger and better things to come.

But while Sept. 11 was a defining event for America, it was not a defining event for the economy or the financial markets. That role belongs to the stock market bubble of the late 1990's that finally popped in March 2000. There was far more to the excesses of the 1990's, however, than an asset bubble. The bubble expanded high enough, and for long enough, to have infected the behavior of consumers and businesses alike.

The equity bubble helped to create other bubbles — most notably in the housing market and in consumer spending. Their continued existence poses a serious threat to lasting expansion — and yet, puncturing them raises the grave risk of deflation. This suggests the economy will prove as challenging to America's political leadership as any other issue in the year ahead.

There is good reason to believe that both the property and consumer bubbles will burst in the not-so-distant future. If they do, there is a realistic possibility that the United States, like Japan in the 1990's, will suffer a series of recessionary relapses over the next several years. Yet denial remains deep, just as it was when the Nasdaq composite index was lurching toward 5,000. Few want to believe that this economic expansion may be built on such a shaky foundation.

History tells us that when major asset bubbles burst, deflation is often the result. That was true of the United States in the 1930's and Japan in the 1990's. Most are quick to claim that America is not Japan — that its more flexible, dynamic economy stands in sharp contrast to Japan's economic inertia. But the United States is already a lot closer to the deflationary edge than most concede — and it could go further.

Deflationary risks can never be taken lightly in a post-bubble economy. Yet that's precisely what American investors and policy makers now seem to be doing. If the housing and consumer bubbles pop, then the risk of outright deflation will only increase. It's time to stop pretending this can't happen in the United States.

War in gulf could savage economy
Deflation Nation- Could falling prices send the U.S. into a Japanese-style recession?
It's no time to be a bull
Weaker US indicators feeding fears of double-dip recession
U.S. economy is all Fed up right now

MORE: IMF Reveals Precarious Global Economic Prospects

SEE ALSO: Eyedoctor's Site: Hoofbeats of the Black Horseman

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

20. With beginners, falls usually occur by reason of luxury; with intermediates, because of haughtiness as well as from the same cause which leads to the fall of the beginners; and with those approaching perfection, solely from judging their neighbour.

September 25, 2002

(Eph 2:19-22)  So then you are no longer strangers and sojourners, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure is joined together and grows into a holy temple in the Lord; in whom you also are built into it for a dwelling place of God in the Spirit.


Reflection by Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital
September 23, 2002

My dearest Lord Jesus, 34 years ago today, at 2:30 in the morning, You called Padre Pio home to You in heaven. I was 34 at that time.

You have reminded me again today that during my lifetime 4 of my brothers and sisters have been proclaimed by Your Holy Roman Catholic Church to be saints.

Padre Pio is one of these holy ones. The others are Father Maximilian Kolbe, Sister Benedicta of the Cross, Edith Stein, and Sister Faustina Kowalska.

You have inspired our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, to declare that these four are among the blessed in heaven, to inspire us to imitate them in their love and zeal for You.

These holy men and women have much to teach us.

May we become zealous students – to learn from them what You taught them – namely how to become a Saint.

As Saint Thomas Aquinas reminds us as well – if we want to become a Saint, we must first will it – which actually is a response to Your grace.

Jesus, may we will to become the saints that You desire us to be - just as saints Pio of Pietrelcina, Maximilian Kolbe, Benedicta of the Cross and Mary Faustina Kowalska willed to become the saints that they are.

Some of the outstanding qualities of Padre Pio are: he embraced the Cross that You gave to him - in fact he manifested this through the stigmata that he bore for fifty years; he had profound devotion to Your Real Presence - especially as he devoutly celebrated Holy Mass daily; he faithfully fulfilled his priestly responsibilities as a confessor - hearing confessions up to fifteen hours daily; and he maintained great devotion to Your Holy Mother - especially in praying many Rosaries each day.

Although he had his struggles - even daily, he was able to succeed in his trials because he was faithful to doing the Will of the Father.

As a priest - he celebrated Mass each day. He received You humbly. And he expressed his thanks for the privilege to offer Mass and to receive You each day.

As a priest - he prayed devoutly his breviary each day. That is the obligation that we priests have accepted when we received our 1st Major Order - for Padre Pio and for myself when we became sub-deacons. We accepted this responsibility to pray in this way for the Church.

As a priest, like Archbishop Fulton Sheen, he made time each day to adore You truly present in the Blessed Sacrament in the Tabernacle of the Church. But this is what You desire for all of us - to visit You daily - to be with You daily. And that is why our Holy Father had exhorted our bishops over twenty years ago to keep our Churches open each day for several hours so that we can visit You and be with You.

As a priest, he had great devotion to Our Lady. She was his Mother too. He prayed often to her and allowed her to bring to him the graces that You gave to him to become that faith-filled man of God that he was.

Thank You, dearest Jesus, for the example of Padre Pio, as well as for the examples of those other holy men and women who have responded to Your call to holiness.

Saint Pio of Pietrelcina pray for us. Help us to become saints too.

SEE ALSO: Vatican Moves Mother Teresa Nearer to Sainthood

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

19. Cetain learned men have well defined renunciation, by saying that it is hostility to the body and a fight against the stomach.

September 24, 2002


Lawmakers are close to giving President Bush the congressional authorization he wants to take on Saddam Hussein, saying they will limit the mandate to Iraq to satisfy Democrats' unease about Bush's request to restore security to the whole region.

The administration has proposed a resolution that would authorize the president "to use all means that he determines to be appropriate, including force, in order to ... defend the national security interests of the United States against the threat posed by Iraq, and restore international peace and security in the region."


US and Britain's Iraq pincer movement
Iraqi defector warns against invasion
British Minister: Military action may hurt Iraqi people
Protestant, Catholic leaders oppose military action on Iraq
Bishops Raise Serious Moral Questions about Force While Welcoming President's Appeal to UN

COMMENTARY: There are alternatives to war on Iraq


Yasser Arafat, 9/23: “We are going to march on to Jerusalem and one of our children will raise the Palestinian flag on its walls. We are a people of giants who will not be subdued.”

Arafat, trapped in devastated compound, defies Israeli demands
Siege provokes Palestinians to rally around Arafat
A Land Divided
Jerusalem's streets turned into neighborhood battleground


Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

18. Do not trust that because of abstinence you will not fall. One who had never eaten was cast from Heaven.

September 21, 2002


(John 7:37-39)  On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and proclaimed, "If any one thirst, let him come to me and drink. He who believes in me, as the scripture has said, 'Out of his heart shall flow rivers of living water.'" Now this he said about the Spirit, which those who believed in him were to receive; for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.


One of the three great feasts of the Hebrew liturgical calendar, even the greatest, according to Philo and Josephus. The common name, feast of Tabernacles, recalls to mind the custom established by the law of Lev., xxiii, 40, of erecting on the roofs of houses, and even in streets and public squares, booths of branches and foliage, wherein all who were not exempt through illness or weakness were obliged to live during the entire celebration.

The feast of Tabernacles is primarily in commemoration of the Jewish forefathers' indwelling in tents in the wilderness (Lev., xxiii, 43) and in thanksgiving for the permanent abode given them in the Promised Land, and later on, after the erection of the Temple, for a permanent place of worship (cf. III Kings, viii, 2; xii, 32).

The first day was held most solemn and considered a sabbath, all servile work being forbidden on that day (Lev., xxiii, 39; Num,.xxix, 35); during the whole octave numerous sacrifices were offered (Num., xxix, 12-39) and on the eighth day [styled the great(est) day of the feast in John, cii, 37], was held a sabbath like the first and marked by special sacrifices of its own, the booths (Sukkot) were broken up and the people returned home.

COMMENTARY EXCERPT VIABarbara Richmond:  When the Jews left Egypt and began wandering in the barren desert, they were unarmed, unprotected, and left vulnerable to the elements of wind, cold, bandits and animals. Since they were constantly travelling, God instructed them to build flimsy, temporary booths -- called Sukkot.

These hardly provided any protection from the elements! Yet the Jews learned a profound lesson: Safety and security does not come through thick walls and burglar alarms, but ultimately through trust and reliance in God.

RELATED: Jews Celebrate Harvest Festival


St. Matthew, one of the twelve Apostles, is the author of the first Gospel. This has been the constant tradition of the Church and is confirmed by the Gospel itself. He was the son of Alpheus and was called to be an Apostle while sitting in the tax collectors place at Capernaum. Before his conversion he was a publican, i.e., a tax collector by profession. He is to be identified with the "Levi" of Mark and Luke.

COMMENTARY EXCERPT: "We have been called to a life of joy in the Holy Spirit. The way to our joy is by humility, gentleness, patience and bearing with one another in love. That is a hard lesson to learn. It was a hard lesson for the disciples to learn also. They may not have understood why Jesus chose a tax collector to be with them. Many of their contemporaries didn't understand why God would chose any of them. It is unlikely that Matthew understood why Jesus was calling him. But he heard Jesus say, "Follow me", and he got up and followed him.

I don't know the path from collecting taxes to producing a gospel, and one that is a favorite for many of us. I don't know why I have to get along with people who disagree with me. They probably don't know why they have to get along with me either. Yet, we have all been called to build up Christ's body on earth and to live in unity and peace so that the world may know that the Father sent Jesus as savior of the world. Let us ask the Holy Spirit to form us in humility and gentleness and patience and love so that we may fulfill our service and attain to the stature of the fullness of Christ."

(Mat 9:9)  As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax office; and he said to him, "Follow me." And he rose and followed him.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

17. Throughout your life, do not trust your body, and do not rely on it till you stand before Christ.

September 20, 2002


Large crowds continue to flock to an apparently weeping Virgin Mary statue on display at a Perth church, after scientific tests failed to prove it a fake.

Father Finbarr Walsh of Our Lady of Lourdes church in Rockingham said hundreds of people had seen the statue this past weekend, some travelling from as far afield as Sydney, and many more were expected.

The fibreglass Madonna, bought by parishioner Patty Powell at a religious shop in Thailand for $150 eight years ago, has attracted thousands of people since she made public more than a week ago that it had begun weeping oily tears.

The statue first cried in March, the Feast of St Joseph, then again at Easter. It began weeping continuously in August, Ms Powell said.

Scientists at two Perth universities tested the statue this week but were unable to find the source of its reported weeping.

Father Walsh said four people had flown from Sydney to view the Madonna on Friday night, and a woman from Brisbane was expected yesterday. "We've had people ringing up from all over the place, and a lot of people who come bring cotton wool balls to dip in the oil to send to sick relatives overseas," he said. He said the statue was still crying and would remain on display at selected times while it did so.

"She's been a great comfort to many people, particularly the elderly and the sick," he said.

RELATED: Weeping statue 'no trick': Archbishop


Reflection by Father Ted, Catholic Chaplain - San Francisco General Hospital
September 16, 2002

My Lord Jesus, during the winter of 1916 - 1917, You sent the Archangel Michael to three children in Fatima, Portugal. You sent him at that time to prepare them for the coming of Your Mother - beginning in May of 1917.

One of the first activities of this archangel was to teach these youngsters how to pray.

One of the prayers that he taught them was - "My God, I believe, I adore, I hope and I love You. I beg pardon for those who do not believe, do not adore, do not hope and do not love You."

He asked them to recite this prayer three times - and to do so often.

He was teaching them how to better respond to the great supernatural gift that You offer to Your children, whom You have made in Your image and likeness.

You want us to not merely believe in You, but to believe You.

And our response to this belief is expressed simply in this prayer that he taught to blessed Francisco, blessed Jacinta, and to Sister Lucy.

You want us to proclaim, not merely say, "My God, I believe You. My God, I adore You. My God, I hope in You. And – my God, I love You."

Earlier today, in the gospel that You allowed me to read three times - once during my adoration time - and twice while celebrating Mass for Your beloved children, You showed to us a man who had such faith - namely the centurion whose servant was dying.

You told us that You had never, ever seen such faith in Israel as was expressed by this Roman.

He believed that You were from God and that You had the power of God to heal his servant.

He expressed his faith in You - through the comments of his friends who made known to You his profound faith.

You gave to us today this particular gospel to exhort us to ask You for an increase in the gift of faith that You have already given to us - especially when we were baptized.

You desire that we become men and women of deep faith - in order to reveal to our worldly brothers and sisters the tremendous love that You and the Father and Your Holy Spirit have for all of us.

That is also why, in the prayer that You had the archangel Michael teach the Fatima children, You had them intercede for those who "do not believe, do not adore, do not hope, and do not love You."

And You want us to do likewise.

In the opening prayer for the Mass today, You have us ask our heavenly Father, that the prayers of Saints Cornelius and Cyprian and their expressed faith "give us courage to work for the unity of Your Church."

Jesus, we do believe.

Now increase our faith – that we may become the saints that You have created us to become.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

16. A fox pretends to be asleep, and the body and demons pretend to be chaste; the former in order to deceive a bird, and the latter in order to destroy a soul.

September 19, 2002

(Rom 1:26-27)  For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. Their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural, and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in their own persons the due penalty for their error.


St. Francis DeSales Catholic Church was packed Sunday -- both with people and with rainbows -- a symbol of unity in the gay community.

The event went off following a week of controversy that included criticism from the local Right to Life Committee and the removal of the Mass's organizer from a Sept. 11 public speaking role.

More than 400 people, including a handful of local leaders and clergy, gathered to attend the area's first Mass for gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgendered people led by the Rev. Fred Daley.

The main message at the Mass revolved around acceptance, love, forgiveness, peace and unity.

"I just want you to know you're very welcome here today," Daley told the congregation as he started the service. He wore a rainbow stole over his white robes.

"We are one family," he said.


Catholics from across the country who minister to homosexuals will gather in Blue Ash this weekend for the annual conference of the National Association of Catholic Diocesan Lesbian and Gay Ministries.

It's the first time the 8-year-old association has held its annual conference in the Greater Cincinnati area.

Those who support a greater role for gays and lesbians in the Catholic Church see it as a step in the right direction.

"I welcome the fact that the archdiocese (of Cincinnati) has developed a good enough ministry with gays and lesbians to be strong enough and on the forefront enough to sponsor this national organization," said Rev. Al Hirt, a member of Concerned Catholics for Gay and Lesbian Inclusion and a priest at St. Monica-St. George parish in Clifton.

For others, however, the conference looks like another sign that the church is abandoning its traditional teaching on homosexuality.

"The conference reflects adversely on the fundamental church teaching on sexual perversion or sodomy as sinful. — Frankly, I'm appalled that they would even consider conducting such a conference," said Bill Miller, who worships at St. Gertrude the Great parish in Reading, a traditional Catholic church not associated with the archdiocese.

SEE ALSO: How Father Mychal Judge came out posthumously
MORE: Pope Affirms Gay Ban in Priesthood
IN THE NEWS:  Europe's First Fertility Clinic for Lesbians Opens

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

12. He who drives away this dog by prayer is like is like someone fighting with a lion; he who subdues it by resistance is someone still pursuing his enemy; but he who has once for all reduced its assault to nothing, even though he is still in the flesh, is as one who has already risen from his coffin.

September 18, 2002

(1Co 1:18)  For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.


The image of the cross should be placed in schools, hospitals and homes to help guard against increasing "secularization," Pope John Paul II said Sunday.

In his weekly appearance to pilgrims and tourists at his summer retreat, the pope said the principle symbol of Christianity is the image of Jesus dying on the cross.

"In the process of secularization, which distinguishes a great part of the contemporary world, it is all the more important that the faithful fix their gaze on this central sign of the Revelation," he said.

The pope also offered special prayers for the sick and suffering, for "innocent victims of injustice and violence," and for Christians persecuted because of their faith.


Cardinal Francois Xavier Nguyen Van Thuan, whose agonizing account of imprisonment by the communists in Vietnam made him an inspirational figure for many Catholics in his homeland, died Monday.

Nguyen Van Thuan was ordained a priest in Vietnam on June 11, 1953. He was appointed deputy archbishop of Saigon just days before the South Vietnamese capital fell to the communist North in April 1975.

Targeted for his faith as well as his family connections his uncle was Ngo Dinh Diem, the assassinated South Vietnamese president Thuan spent 13 years in a communist "re-education" camp nine of them in solitary.

During that time, he fashioned a tiny Bible out of scraps of paper. Sympathetic guards smuggled in a piece of wood and some wire from which he crafted a small crucifix.

In his book "The Way of Hope Thoughts of Light from a Prison Cell," he wrote: "In our country there is a saying: `A day in prison is worth a thousand autumns of freedom.' I myself experienced this. While in prison, everyone waits for freedom, every day, every minute. We must live each day, each minute of our life as though it is the last."

BOOK REVIEW: 'Five Loaves and Two Fishes' by Archbishop F. X. Nguyen Van Thuan


Group: China Arrests Underground Catholic Bishop
Pakistani Christians Bear the Brunt of Militants' Rage
Russia: Catholic Church Continues To Rile Orthodox Officials
Catholic Church Vandalized
Hired goons burn church, kill two faithful in Kisii
Catholics decry distribution of film 'Magdalene'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

7. Let no one thoroughly trained in purity attribute its attainment to himself. For it is impossible for anyone to conquer his own nature. When nature is defeated, it should be recognized that this is due to the presence of Him who is above nature. For beyond all dispute, the weaker gives way to the stronger.

September 17, 2002


No misdeeds have tarred the names of Joe Vasquez, Dan Trapp, Jeffrey Zwack, Joseph Hanefeldt or Michael Haras. But these five priests have been affected by the constant drumbeat of scandal that has resounded though the Catholic Church.

Two decades ago, as classmates at Rome's Pontifical North American College, they envisioned lives of service and faith. But their pastoral lives have embraced so much more -- fund-raising and marriage counseling, insurance matters and parish building.

Now, they find themselves weighed down by the sins of their brother priests.

"It's been very bad for priestly morale, for those of us who have tried to do our jobs as priests honestly and sincerely," says Zwack, pastor of St. Charles Church in Bowman, on the edge of the badlands. "For a time, I was almost ashamed to wear the priestly collar."

They've also heard the whispers -- or, at least, they have imagined them. "Sometimes, when I go to the Rite Aid, I think, 'Are people looking at me differently?' " says Trapp.

There are bad priests, they admit, but their crimes are not inherent in the priesthood. There are some 45,000 others -- "the vast majority of dedicated and generous priests ... ," Pope John Paul II says, "whose only wish is to serve and do good!" At World Youth Day in Toronto last month, the pope asked Catholics to support those priests, and in great measure they have. Still, the priests struggle.

It is not always an easy life.

MORE: Rocked foundation?

Web site categorizes clergy involved in sexual abuse cases
BC opens campus to debate on faith
Abuse Review Board to Name Noncompliant Bishops

SEE ALSO: US Catholic Priest Shortage Causing Church Closings

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

6. The rule and limit of absolute and perfect purity is to be equally disposed towards animate and inanimate bodies, rational and irrational.

September 14, 2002


(Phi 2:6-11)  Brothers and sisters: Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.


The Cross, a degrading and torturous means of taking the lives of prisoners, was transformed by Holy God the Son within the Holy Trinity / Our Lord, God and Savior, Jesus Christ into a glorious and saving means of giving eternal life to believers. He did this by dying on the Cross.

We rejoice in the Lord's transformation of a tree of death into the Tree of Life, from an instrument of humiliation into a sign of victory over sin and death.

The Holy Cross is a symbol of suffering and sacrifice leading ultimately to redemption, resurrection, and new life. For this reason, we wear the Holy Cross around our necks, hang the Holy Cross in our homes, sign ourselves with the Holy Cross.

The Great Feast of the Exaltation of the Precious and Lifegiving Holy Cross is a good day for us to recall how we were saved through the Holy Cross of the Holy Son of God. In the Gospels, Jesus Christ tells us we must take up our crosses and follow Him. The Holy Cross is a symbol of suffering and sacrifice leading ultimately to redemption, resurrection, and new life.

Also, the Feast of the Holy Cross recalls two important events:

We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee, for by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

5. He is chaste who has continually acquired perfect insensibility to difference in bodies.

September 13, 2002

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, Archbishop of Westminster- "There are occasions when a short-term response to an imminent threat serves an important preventative purpose. However the problems of our planet cannot be solved by unilateral military action alone. Moreover, in a globalised world, the wisdom of specific actions or policies with international impact must ultimately be judged by the extent to which they improve the lot of all mankind, especially the poorest, and enhance the prospects for world peace. At present there are genuine reasons to doubt that military action against Iraq would pass that test."


People should not oversimplify the Middle East, religious influences in the world and the ramifications of military action and nonaction against Iraq and other countries, a Catholic official said Thursday.

The term "war on terror" sets "our expectation in the wrong direction," the Rev. Bryan Hehir, president of Catholic Charities USA, said at a public policy summit called "The Crisis in the Middle East: A Catholic Perspective."

Countering terrorism may include military responses, Hehir said. But there also needs to be political and intelligence work, diplomatic relations and an understanding of the complex flow of funds among nations, he said.

This is not war in the sense that most people think of it, with winners and losers, beginnings and ends, Hehir said. "You cannot reduce the world through the lens of terrorism," he said.

Hehir said he thought America was justified in using military force in Afghanistan. But he said the choices were not as clear today.

MORE: No war on Iraq unless the United Nations allows the use of force, top Vatican official says


Iraq Urges Arabs to Hit Back if U.S. Attacks
Israel Leader: Iraq Will Probably Strike at Israel if Attacked by U.S.
U.S. Envoy Zinni Urges Caution over Iraq Action
Report: U.S. Lacks Case for Iraqi Terror Link
Blair Delivers Toughest Call to Arms on Iraq

SEE ALSO: Middle East: Analysts Say Anti-American Sentiment At All-Time High

STRATFOR ANALYSIS: Iraq War Plans I: Aims, Perceptions and Issues

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

4. He is chaste who, even during sleep, feels no movement or change of any kind in his constitution.

September 12, 2002

POPE JOHN PAUL II: "In front of the mystery of death, for a man who does not have faith, all would seem to be irreparably lost. It is the word of Christ then that lightens the walk of life and confers value on every moment."


The Diocese of Peoria is seeking sainthood for Archbishop Fulton J. Sheen, who pioneered religion on television with his 1950s broadcasts of "Life Is Worth Living."

Sheen died in 1979 at age 84.

The campaign to canonize Sheen began Monday when papers were delivered to the Vatican, Bishop Daniel Jenky said. The Vatican will study all of Sheen's writings, including 60 books, and examine any miraculous healings attributed to him.

If the campaign succeeds, Sheen could become the first American male saint.

Sheen hosted "Life Is Worth Living" from 1952 to 1957, speaking on a variety of theological and social issues. He also had a popular radio show and wrote a newspaper column.

Sheen was ordained in Peoria in 1919. He became bishop of Rochester, N.Y., in the 1960s and was elevated to archbishop before retiring in 1969.

He is buried beneath the high altar in the crypt of St. Patrick's Cathedral in New York City.

RELATED: Bishop Jenky to lead push for sainthood

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

3. Chastity is the name which is common to all the virtues.

September 11, 2002


A year ago today, Kim Statkevicus of Norwalk got a phone call that would change her life.

It was just before 9 on Tuesday morning, Sept. 11, when her husband Derek, a financial analyst for Keefe, Bruyette and Wood, called. Derek sounded breathless as he told Kim to turn on the television set -- a plane had just hit Tower One of the World Trade Center. He could smell smoke. Minutes later, Kim crumpled to the floor in disbelief: a second plane hit Tower Two, only a few floors below Derek's office of the 89th floor.

Just 10 days later, Kim, five months pregnant, was doing the unthinkable: organizing Derek's memorial service. Somehow, she managed to read the eulogy she had written. The days immediately following the tragedy went by in a haze for her. She's not sure how she managed to function, but she does remember that almost immediately after the attack, people were there to help.

"There was an immediate overwhelming support from the community," Kim said.

A neighbor came by to take their dog Squirt for a walk. Friends offered to bring her son, 14-month-old Tyler, to the Children's Museum and to Community Bible Study, normal weekday events in his active toddler life. Over the next few days and weeks, an endless stream of cards and cooked meals came in, along with innumerable flowers, gift baskets, cookie bouquets, and donations for the children's education.

"I basically had enough meals almost through December," Kim recalls.

At first, she was bowled over by all the support. Most of the giving had come through people she knew -- folks from the Moms' club she used to be part of and people from the Junior League at her church. But many gifts had also come from strangers. How could she ever repay them all, she wondered. A prayerful woman of faith, Kim says she began to see God's grace at work in her life. Over time, she grew to accept God's love and goodness, despite nagging feelings of unworthiness.

"While many questioned "Where was God?' during this tragedy, I chose to seek solace in Him," says Kim. "Now I knew what it meant to accept His all-encompassing love and grace unconditionally."

"Prior to Sept. 11 I had faith, but definitely not as strong as now," she said. "It was an unconscious decision to trust in God. There was no other choice, so it was an easy choice. God has gotten me through this past year and will give me the strength to get by day to day."

RELATED: Church Near WTC Open to Public

(1Th 5:16-18)  Rejoice always, pray constantly, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: Step 15- "On incorruptible purity and chastity"

1. Purity means that we put on the angelic nature.  Purity is the longed-for house of Christ and the earthly heaven of the heart.  Purity is a supernatural denial of nature, which means that a mortal and corruptible body is rivalling the celestial spirits in a truly marvellous way.

September 10, 2002


Pope John Paul II on Sunday called on humanity to unite in prayer for justice and peace as an antidote to times when dramatic events like the September 11 attacks spark anxiety and fear.

Though the 82-year-old pontiff is expected to devote his weekly general audience to the commemmoration of the attacks next Wednesday, he referred to them only implicitly as "dramatic events, which sow loss and anguish," in his traditional Sunday address.

"The modern man seems self-assured, but, particularly in moments of crisis, he must account for his own powerlessness," he said.

"He is incapable of acting, and consequently, lives in uncertainty and fear."

The only way to confront such uncertainty was through daily prayer with faith, the pope told hundreds of pilgrims at his summer residence in Castelgandolfo outside Rome.

"Whoever prays is never discouraged, even when confronted with more serious difficulties, because he feels God nearby and finds refuge, serenity and peace in his paternal arms."

SEE ALSO: Pope Addresses Roots of Terrorism


Clergy nationwide sought to draw moral lessons from tragedy and comfort churchgoers during the Sunday services before Sept. 11.

Baltimore Cardinal William Keeler, speaking to students and families at the College of Notre Dame of Maryland, noted the victims were from many economic, social and religious backgrounds. "They were American. They were you and me and all of us, and our hearts were profoundly troubled by what happened on that day,'' Keeler said.

At Prestonwood Baptist Church in Plano, Texas, a 22,000-member Southern Baptist Convention congregation, pastor David McKinley urged worshippers to overcome their bitterness ``to do justly, to live with mercy and to walk humbly with your God.'' He also asked them to pray for America's leaders and show support for police, firefighters and other emergency workers who he called ``real heroes.'' "You can stand up and prove we are a nation under God,'' McKinley said.

The Madison, Tenn., Church of Christ posted a sign that read "Honor Our Heroes'' and draped a giant U.S. flag behind the pulpit. The more than 1,000 worshippers sang "God Bless America,'' and Nashville Police Sgt. Terry Ashley, wearing his uniform, led the congregation in prayer. "For our country, Lord, we ask you to surround us with your angels, to protect us and keep us safe from those who would wish to see us fall,'' he said. "Build us up and keep us strong in those Christian principles that made us a great nation.''

RELATED: National Conference of Catholic Bishops Resource Materials for 9/11

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

21. He who cherishes his stomach and hopes to overcome the spirit of fornication, is like one who tries to put out a fire with oil.

September 7, 2002



Prayer, like conversation, involves both speaking and listening, says Deidre LaNoue, a professor of Christian spirituality. LaNoue, a Baptist who teaches at a Catholic-affiliated college, regards "contemplative" prayer as "the other side of the conversation."

Lanoue cited the biblical story of Martha, who was busy serving, and her sister Mary, who took time to sit at the feet of Jesus. She challenged women to "nurture the Mary" side of their nature.

Lanoue defined contemplative prayer as "loving attentiveness to God." It is an act of worship that grows out of an intimate relationship with the Lord, she added. "God is God, and he deserves our worship," Lanoue said. "He is a God who loves us and invites us into his heart."

The practice of contemplative prayer leads both to personal transformation and empowerment for service, she said. "To serve God with all our heart, all our energy, comes from being in his presence, drawing sustenance from him."

Contemplative prayer involves quieting the mind, focusing on God, and "just being with the one you love," LaNoue said. "It means letting go of competing distractions and being present in the moment with Christ in prayer."

She said Christian contemplation shouldn't be confused with meditation as practiced by Eastern religions and New Age cults. "Eastern meditation focuses on emptying the mind and altering the consciousness in order to become nothing and blend in with reality," she explained. "Christian contemplation is a quieting of the mind and heart so that we can be filled with Christ."

LaNoue noted six benefits of contemplative prayer:

-- "You draw nearer to God."
-- "You discover your true identity as God's beloved daughter."
-- "Your soul is restored to joy and creativity."
-- "You are empowered for fruitful living."
-- "All other relationships are enhanced."
-- "Corporate worship becomes more meaningful."

RELATED: Opening an aging citadel of prayer
Secluded sisters pray for the world, and a continuation of their contemplative way of life


Contemplative Prayer and Christ
Lectio Divina, Centering Prayer, and the Contemplative Tradition
Awaken to prayer: how to pray as a Catholic
The Carmelites of Indianapolis- Pray the News

(1Th 5:17)  Pray without ceasing.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

20. Satiety of the stomach dries the tear springs, but the stomach when dried produces these waters.

September 6, 2002


Rosh Hashanah (Feast of Trumpets) begins Friday night September 6, 2002.

VIA Barbara Richmond: Rosh Hashanah is a day for Israel to remember her God and all that He is, all that He has done in the past, and all that He will do in the future. It upholds the age-long hope of the coming of the Messiah to establish God’s Kingdom on this earth, restoring the Throne of David as the prophets foretold.

According to traditional Rabbinic teaching based on the Scriptures, there are a number of reasons why the Shofar is blown at Yom Teruah (Feast of Trumpets). This festival marks the creation of the world and acknowledges that God is the King of the Universe. It is sounded as a warning to repent for our sins against God’s Word, reminiscent that when the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai, Exodus records that ‘the sound of the shofar was exceeding strong.’ (Exodus 19). The Shofar also serves to remind us of the words of the Prophets whom the Scripture says were like the sound of the Shofar (Ezek. 33:1-7) When we hear the sound of the Shofar, we are to humble ourselves before the Creator.

Rosh Hashanah is a day of solemnity in that this feast also reminds us yearly of the coming Day of Judgment when the secrets of all men’s hearts will be revealed before a Mighty and Holy God.

RELATED: Rosh Hashana Overview, a Messianic Jewish perspective


Iran has drawn up an elaborate war plan of its own to counter the approaching US campaign against Iraq. Syria, Lebanon, the Hizballah and the Palestinians have been enlisted to provoke a massive confrontation with Israel that will serve as a second front and hamstring the US offensive. This is revealed exclusively by DEBKAfile ’s Iranian and Middle East sources, in the wake of a secret visit that Iran’s deputy foreign minister for Arab and African affairs, Mohammad Sadr, paid to Syria and Lebanon this week.

The fundamental conception was that were the United States and Israeli to decide that war on Iraq bears too high a price, Washington would drop its anti-Saddam offensive. To ensure that both these foes felt threatened, the Iranian planners proposed ordering the Hizballah to launch massive pre-emptive assaults against Israel on a scale bound to drag the Israelis into military retaliation against Syria, as well as Lebanon. This action, the Iranian tacticians believe, would lead the Americans to halt their war preparations. Even if they were well into their offensive, the Israel-Syrian war would stop the Americans in their tracks or slow them down. The reasoning in Tehran is that the Americans would not risk the rest of the Arab world - Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Algeria, Morocco and some of the Gulf Emirates - rushing to the aid of Syria and Lebanon against Israel, and sending the entire region up in flames.

RELATED: Iran Calls For Muslim Solidarity Against Israel

MORE: Arab League: Iraq Strike Would 'Open Gates of Hell'

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

19. The mind of a faster prays soberly, but the mind of an intemperate person is filled with impure idols.

September 5, 2002

(Luke 5:8,10)  But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus' knees, saying, "Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord."
...And Jesus said to Simon, "Do not be afraid; henceforth you will be catching men."


A former altar boy who alleged that a high ranking Roman Catholic priest molested him in the 1980s withdrew his lawsuit Tuesday after questions arose about the validity of his claims. Monsignor Michael Smith Foster, the chief canon lawyer for the Archdiocese of Boston, had maintained his innocence and said he was devastated by the accusations.

Paul Edwards, 35, claimed in a lawsuit filed last month against the archdiocese and Foster that the priest molested him repeatedly in the 1980s when Edwards was a teenage altar boy. On Tuesday, Edwards filed a motion to dismiss his lawsuit. It was dropped with prejudice, meaning it cannot be refiled later, said Foster lawyer Ellen Martin. Last week, Edwards' former lawyer, Eric J. Parker, withdrew from the case saying "issues arose, central to the allegations'' by Edwards.

Church officials had said Edwards' claims that Foster raped him in his bedroom were implausible because of rules that prevented altar boys from visiting priests' quarters for any significant period of time.

Donna Morrissey, an archdiocese spokeswoman, declined to comment specifically about Foster's case. She did say the church's policy is to take steps to restore a priest's reputation if an accusation turned out to be false.


ANALYSIS: Scandal Time III by Rev. Richard John Neuhaus

National Conference of Priests Lecture
by Fr Timothy Radcliffe, former Dominican Master General

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

17. Master your stomach before it masters you; and then you are sure to control yourself with the aid of shame. Those who have fallen into the horrible gulf know what I have said; but men who are eunuchs have not experienced this.

September 4, 2002

(Rom 11:25-27)  Lest you be wise in your own conceits, I want you to understand this mystery, brethren: a hardening has come upon part of Israel, until the full number of the Gentiles come in,  and so all Israel will be saved; as it is written, "The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob"; "and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins."


VIA Desmond Birch, author of Trial, Tribulation and Triumph: Scripture and Tradition say that we are to watch and pray - until the Lord comes again in all his glory. We are to 'live every day as if it were our last' and 'watch and pray' until He comes.

Scripture and Tradition also list a series of events which must precede that 2nd and Final Coming of Our Lord - "to judge the living and the dead". A number of those events have not yet occured. And until they happen - the 2nd Coming of Christ will not occur.

Everything which Fr. Saunders listed as a 'type' of accurate signs of conditions which will be immediately present at the very end of time, adjacent to the Lord's coming is, well-presented and accurate. [There are also some others he didn't mention.] However, Fr. Saunders did not cover one critical type of item.

That type, is the incidents listed in Scripture and Tradition which MUST precede that 2nd Coming of Our Lord were not presented in his article. So - in order that no one might become confused and think that Our Lord might come at this instant - here is just example of a number of the Articles of Faith which we receive from the Church about; Events which MUST precede the 2nd Coming of Christ.

1. The Conversion of the Jews:

The Church has always taught - and St. Paul teaches this doctrine very clearly - the Church has always taught that prior to the 2nd Coming of Christ, there will be a massive conversion of the Jews.

Here is the teaching of the Catechism of the Catholic Church on this in Article 674:

"674. THE GLORIOUS MESSIAH’S COMING IS SUSPENDED AT EVERY MOMENT OF HISTORY UNTIL HIS RECOGNITION BY “ALL ISRAEL", for "a hardening has come upon part of Israel" in their "unbelief" toward Jesus.[568] St. Peter says to the Jews of Jerusalem after Pentecost:
"Repent therefore, and turn again, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for establishing all that God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old."[569] St. Paul echoes him: "For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead?"[570] THE "FULL INCLUSION" OF THE JEWS IN THE MESSIAH'S SALVATION, IN THE WAKE OF "THE FULL NUMBER OF THE  GENTILES",[571] will enable the People of God to achieve "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ", in which "God may be all in all".[572] The Church has always dogmatically taught that "All Israel" will convert and recognize Christ prior to the 2nd Coming of Christ."

THAT HASEN'T HAPPENED YET. Until it does, we can rest assured that the 2nd Coming of Christ will not yet occur.

There are also a list of other events which must precede the 2nd Coming of Christ - other events which have also not yet occured.

(Zec 12:10)  And I will pour out upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem, the spirit of grace, and of prayers: and they shall look upon me, whom they have pierced: and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for an only son, and they shall grieve over him, as the manner is to grieve for the death of the firstborn.

Ladder of Divine Ascent excerpt: step 14- "On that clamorous mistress, the stomach"

16. The heart of gluttons dreams only of food and eatables, but the heart of those who weep dreams of judgment and castigation.

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