Thursday, January 01, 2015

St. Joseph Was Quite A Guy

Let's set aside any doubt about Mary's vow of perpetual virginity for the moment.

To be "bethrothed" meant a state of marriage without cohabitation¹.  Only a formal divorce could dissolve a bethrothal. So, Joseph would have known about Mary's vow of perpetual virginity.  There's no way that Mary would have kept that from him. Yet, he "married" her anyway!  This obviously implies Joseph's own vow of perpetual virginity!

When Joseph learned that Mary was pregnant (St. Matthew 1:19-20), part of his dismay was based on her vow of perpetual virginity - "Mary! What do you mean you're pregnant?  I thought you took a vow to be a virgin for life? I was planning to do this along with you!"

Getting back to Mary, when she "said to the angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man?" (St. Luke 1:34, DRB), Mary was stating not only her present condition of virginity, but her intention of her future state (the Greek present tense of "know" implies current and future).²

Truly indeed this couple was planning a remarkable marriage!


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

November Cemetery Visits for the Souls In Purgatory

Appleton Cemetery, Deering, NH
I'm not sure exactly when it was that I started to find cemeteries to be peaceful places.  They are filled with so much hope!  My feelings were only reinforced after reading Hungry Souls: Supernatural Visits, Messages, and Warnings from Purgatory by Gerard J.M. Van Den Aardweg. I finished reading it at the end of October this year, just before the All Soul's Day.

This book is a fascinating read of the supernatural with one remarkable difference - the stories in this book are verified by the Catholic Church.  It talks about the differences between demons and "poor souls" - souls in Purgatory permitted by God to visit people on earth.  The book reveals that many, many well-known saints were often visited by poor souls. The modern-day Saint Padre Pio (who died in 1968) once said that "there were more souls of the dead who came up that road [the road leading to the monastery] then souls of the living (Hungry Souls, pg. 109)." The book details the items on exhibit in the Little Museum of  Purgatory in the Sacred Heart of Suffrage Church in Rome, a collection of "objects bearing visible, physical traces left by the souls in Purgatory (Hungry Souls, pg. 45)".

This year was the second year I was able to complete the Octave of All Saints - eight days of visiting area cemeteries and praying for the souls in Purgatory.  Beginning on November 1st, I visited eight area cemeteries and prayed:

Eternal rest grant unto them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them. May the souls of the faithful departed, through the mercy of God, rest in peace. Amen.
Mount Calvary Cemetery, Manchester, NH
There are prayers for the faithful departed for each day of the week.  I prayed the appropriate prayer for the day, an Our Father, a Hail Mary, and the following concluding prayer:

O Lord, who art ever merciful and bounteous with Thy gifts, look down upon the suffering souls in purgatory. Remember not their offenses and negligence, but be mindful of Thy loving mercy, which is from all eternity. Cleanse them of their sins and fulfill their ardent desires that they may be made worthy to behold Thee face to face in Thy glory. May they soon be united with Thee and hear those blessed words which will call them to their heavenly home: "Come, blessed of My Father, take possession of the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world."
St. Joseph Cemetery, Chelmsford, MA
 On the eighth and last day, I visited my Dad's grave. I spent some time at the cemetery searching for my paternal grandparent's grave which I found, and my maternal grandparent's grave, which I did not find.  Interestingly enough, my father's parents grave was marked with a monument making it easier to find. My mother's parent's grave was not marked by a monument but by only a veteran's marker. Even with information about the grave site, searching for it was really difficult in November with the ground covered in leaves.

My mother does not know where her parents are buried in this cemetery. This saddens me.  Perhaps several years ago it would not have saddened me.  By by the grace of God, who has blessed me with knowledge of Heaven, Hell, Death, and Judgment, I vow to find their grave as well as forever remember where it is.

Saturday, September 06, 2014

Catholic New Evangelization Running Amok

This statement below was posted and then quickly removed from the Archdiocese of Washington's website on September 3rd, 2014.

Thank you Msgr. Pope!

Time to End the St. Patrick's Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner?

By: Msgr. Charles Pope 

The time for happy-clappy, lighthearted engagement of our culture may be nearing an end. Sometimes it takes a while to understand that what used to work no longer works. Let me get more specific.

Decades ago the “Al Smith Dinner” was a time for Republicans and Democrats to bury the hatchet (even if only temporarily) and come together to raise money for the poor and to emphasize what unites us rather than what divides us. But in the old days the death of 50 million infants was not what divided us. We were divided about lesser things such as how much of the budget should go to defense and how much to social spending. Reasonable men might differ over that.

But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.

Now the St. Patrick’s Parade is becoming of parade of disorder, chaos, and fake unity. Let’s be honest: St. Patrick’s Day nationally has become a disgraceful display of drunkenness and foolishness in the middle of Lent that more often embarrasses the memory of Patrick than honors it.

In New York City in particular, the “parade” is devolving into a farcical and hateful ridicule of the faith that St. Patrick preached.

It’s time to cancel the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and the Al Smith Dinner and all the other “Catholic” traditions that have been hijacked by the world. Better for Catholics to enter their churches and get down on their knees on St. Patrick’s Day to pray in reparation for the foolishness, and to pray for this confused world to return to its senses. Let’s do adoration and pray the rosary and the Divine Mercy Chaplet unceasingly for this poor old world.

But don’t go to the parade; stay away from the Al Smith Dinner and all that “old school” stuff that hangs on in a darkened world. And as for St Patrick’s Day, it’s time to stop wearin’ the green and instead take up the purple of Lent and mean it. Enough of the celebration of stupidity, frivolity, and drunkenness that St Paddy’s day has become. We need penance now, not foolishness. We don’t need parades and dinner with people who scoff at our teachings, insist we compromise, use us for publicity, and make money off of us. We’re being played for (and are?) fools.

End the St Patrick’s parade. End the Al Smith Dinner and all other such compromised events. Enough now, back to Church! Wear the purple of Lent and if there is going to be a procession, let it be Eucharistic and penitential for the sins of this age.

For the sake of His sorrowful passion, have mercy on us and on the whole world!

How say you?

Friday, August 01, 2014

Homily Annotations from A Laymen - Seventeenth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Jesus said to his disciples:“The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure buried in a field,which a person finds and hides again,and out of joy goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant searching for fine pearls. When he finds a pearl of great price,he goes and sells all that he has and buys it. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a net thrown into the sea,which collects fish of every kind. When it is full they haul it ashore and sit down to put what is good into buckets. What is bad they throw away. Thus it will be at the end of the age. The angels will go out and separate the wicked from the righteous and throw them into the fiery furnace,  where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth. (MT 13:44-52)

When the priest at the Mass I attended that week repeated this Gospel reading as a preface to his homily, he ended with a paraphrase "will be cast aside/off" and then skipped the last four lines above about the "fiery furnace."

Keeping with my personal opinion that the general Catholic population lacks a serious understanding of sin - that is connecting their behaviors with the Commandments and the Gospel - or ignores Catholic teachings about sin and penance,  it was a huge mistake to not mention the "fiery furnace."  The fiery furnace is real folks!  Catholics could do with a lot less pandering of the faithful in this regard.

I think I understand where the typical middle-of-the-road, indirect manner of preaching comes from. First,
In his infinite goodness he desired the free love of humanity over forced obedience to his will. For love cannot be forced, it must be given by desire and choice. (
This notion is pervasive throughout Catholicism.  In a question I asked Ask A Priest about why the Catholic Church only required confession once-a-year, here was his response:
[Your "Ask a Priest" Question has been answered by Fr. Edward McIlmail, LC.  God bless, RC Spirituality Center]

Dear Dan, The requirement for once-a-year confession and communion is a minimum standard. The ideal, as you mentioned, is for frequent confession and frequent communion. But it’s one thing to hold out an ideal, and another to require it. Put another way, the Church isn’t contradicting itself by recommending frequent confession and communion on one hand, but only legislating their reception once a year on the other. The Church in effect is leaving room for the faithful to voluntarily choose to make frequent use of the sacraments. Things done voluntarily are usually done with more genuine piety (not always, but often enough). I pray that you make frequent use of these great sacraments. God bless.  

I think the thinking goes like this: It's hard to try to bring someone to a closer understanding, to seek a deeper meaning, or to voluntarily chose to make more frequent use of the Sacraments when you are more direct - you might scare them off.

You might ask, can't you be more direct without scaring them off?  I think so, but, here's the real concern I think behind this soft-peddling of the faith: pastors are concerned about parishioners leaving the parish.  This is a very real concern. For so long what I would call a indirect, middle-of-the-road, soft-peddling of the faith approach has been taken. Suddenly or even if it was done over a period of time (with a warning) a more direct, calling-a-sin-a-sin (especially sins of the flesh) homiletic approach is taken.  People will leave in droves! But I think eventually people will come back - in droves!  We have Jesus ministerial approach to leverage.

There are two types of men, those who are afraid to lose God, and those who are afraid that they might find Him… --Blaise Pascal, philosopher and scientist

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Homily Annotations from A Laymen - Corpus Christi

In no way by these periodic posts of "Homily Annotations from A Laymen" is it my intention to disparage any Catholic priest or deacon.  I merely want to add some prayerful thoughts to the homilies presented to me.
While my experience with Sunday homilies are mostly local, I have attended Mass at enough parishes in many locations in this country to feel that the homily structures are very similar across the United States, mostly because our Catholic church suffers from modernistic and liberal approaches to saving souls.

Solemnity of the Body and Blood of Christ (Corpus Christi), June 22, 2014

I was happy to hear our newly ordained Deacon speak about how the Feast of Corpus Christi was first established as well as referring to the Eucharistic Miracle that occurred in Lanciano, Italy in the 8th Century A.D.

He also made reference to a recent survey about Catholics belief in the Real Presence in the Eucharist. I found this chart on the to substantiate what he said.

I believe that there are several factors that contribute to the results of this survey:

  • While the Memorial of the Real Presence is celebrated each week at Mass, points made at today's homily are really repeated throughout the year.
  • The elimination of the communion rail which affords the reverence of kneeling has resulted in the loss of faith in the Real Presence.

  • Most importantly - receiving Communion in the hand has resulted in a HUGE loss of faith in the Real Presence.
As noted by Michael Voris of's excellent series Sleight of Hand - Reception Deception, "Pope Benedict started distributing Christ's Body exclusively in this manner, directly on the tongue, since 2009 on the Feast of Corpus." 

Back in the early 60's when the abuse of communion in the hand was beginning in Europe, Pope Paul VI in Memorial Domini (Par 10) says:
...this practice [receiving Holy Communion on the tongue]... ensures more effectively that Holy Communion is distributed with all due respect, decorum, and dignity, so that the danger of profanation of the Eucharistic species is prevented, in which in a unique way, Christ, God and man, is present whole and entire, substantially and continually, so that finally the diligent care is preserved, which the Church always recommended regarding the fragments of the consecrated bread: What you have allowed to fall, think of it as though one of your own members were amputated.
These points should have been stated in his homily.  However, to do so would put himself in conflict with his Pastor and his Bishop.

I urge you to study Memorial Domini and return to receiving Communion on the tongue.

God bless.