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Sunday, 31 March 2013

Христос Воскресе- Christ is Risen- Old Slavonic

While you are celebrating Easter today, pray for our persecuted brothers and sisters in Christ

Obedience Three

2041 The precepts of the Church are set in the context of a moral life bound to and nourished by liturgical life. The obligatory character of these positive laws decreed by the pastoral authorities is meant to guarantee to the faithful the very necessary minimum in the spirit of prayer and moral effort, in the growth in love of God and neighbor:
2042 The first precept ("You shall attend Mass on Sundays and holy days of obligation and rest from servile labor") requires the faithful to sanctify the day commemorating the Resurrection of the Lord as well as the principal liturgical feasts honoring the mysteries of the Lord, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and the saints; in the first place, by participating in the Eucharistic celebration, in which the Christian community is gathered, and by resting from those works and activities which could impede such a sanctification of these days.82
The second precept ("You shall confess your sins at least once a year") ensures preparation for the Eucharist by the reception of the sacrament of reconciliation, which continues Baptism's work of conversion and forgiveness.83
The third precept ("You shall receive the sacrament of the Eucharist at least during the Easter season") guarantees as a minimum the reception of the Lord's Body and Blood in connection with the Paschal feasts, the origin and center of the Christian liturgy.84
2043 The fourth precept ("You shall observe the days of fasting and abstinence established by the Church") ensures the times of ascesis and penance which prepare us for the liturgical feasts and help us acquire mastery over our instincts and freedom of heart.85
The fifth precept ("You shall help to provide for the needs of the Church") means that the faithful are obliged to assist with the material needs of the Church, each according to his own ability.86
The faithful also have the duty of providing for the material needs of the Church, each according to his own abilities.87

Obedience Two

Here are some helpful quotations from the CCC on our duties as laity: (my boldface type).

2032 The Church, the "pillar and bulwark of the truth," "has received this solemn command of Christ from the apostles to announce the saving truth."74 "To the Church belongs the right always and everywhere to announce moral principles, including those pertaining to the social order, and to make judgments on any human affairs to the extent that they are required by the fundamental rights of the human person or the salvation of souls."75
2033 The Magisterium of the Pastors of the Church in moral matters is ordinarily exercised in catechesis and preaching, with the help of the works of theologians and spiritual authors. Thus from generation to generation, under the aegis and vigilance of the pastors, the "deposit" of Christian moral teaching has been handed on, a deposit composed of a characteristic body of rules, commandments, and virtues proceeding from faith in Christ and animated by charity. Alongside the Creed and the Our Father, the basis for this catechesis has traditionally been the Decalogue which sets out the principles of moral life valid for all men.
2034 The Roman Pontiff and the bishops are "authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach the faith to the people entrusted to them, the faith to be believed and put into practice."76 The ordinary and universal Magisterium of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him teach the faithful the truth to believe, the charity to practice, the beatitude to hope for.
2035 The supreme degree of participation in the authority of Christ is ensured by the charism of infallibility. This infallibility extends as far as does the deposit of divine Revelation; it also extends to all those elements of doctrine, including morals, without which the saving truths of the faith cannot be preserved, explained, or observed.77
2036 The authority of the Magisterium extends also to the specific precepts of the natural law, because their observance, demanded by the Creator, is necessary for salvation. In recalling the prescriptions of the natural law, the Magisterium of the Church exercises an essential part of its prophetic office of proclaiming to men what they truly are and reminding them of what they should be before God.78
2037 The law of God entrusted to the Church is taught to the faithful as the way of life and truth. The faithful therefore have the right to be instructed in the divine saving precepts that purify judgment and, with grace, heal wounded human reason.79 They have the duty of observing the constitutions and decrees conveyed by the legitimate authority of the Church. Even if they concern disciplinary matters, these determinations call for docility in charity.
2038 In the work of teaching and applying Christian morality, the Church needs the dedication of pastors, the knowledge of theologians, and the contribution of all Christians and men of good will. Faith and the practice of the Gospel provide each person with an experience of life "in Christ," who enlightens him and makes him able to evaluate the divine and human realities according to the Spirit of God.80 Thus the Holy Spirit can use the humblest to enlighten the learned and those in the highest positions.
2039 Ministries should be exercised in a spirit of fraternal service and dedication to the Church, in the name of the Lord.81 At the same time the conscience of each person should avoid confining itself to individualistic considerations in its moral judgments of the person's own acts. As far as possible conscience should take account of the good of all, as expressed in the moral law, natural and revealed, and consequently in the law of the Church and in the authoritative teaching of the Magisterium on moral questions. Personal conscience and reason should not be set in opposition to the moral law or the Magisterium of the Church.
2040 Thus a true filial spirit toward the Church can develop among Christians. It is the normal flowering of the baptismal grace which has begotten us in the womb of the Church and made us members of the Body of Christ. In her motherly care, the Church grants us the mercy of God which prevails over all our sins and is especially at work in the sacrament of reconciliation. With a mother's foresight, she also lavishes on us day after day in her liturgy the nourishment of the Word and Eucharist of the Lord.

Obedience and the Hierarchy of the Church

A quick post. There seems to be among the laity, confusion as to the meaning of the obedience we owe the hierarchy of the Church.

Firstly, we are not under vows of obedience as are religious and orders of priests, or secular priests. We do not make vows of obedience to an abbot or mother as laity.

Secondly, we are adults, not children in the faith and, therefore have a duty to form our consciences in line with the mind of the Church.

Thirdly, we owe respect to all members of the hierarchy.

However, as to being obedient, we are obedient in Faith and Morals, to the doctrines and dogmas which come from the Chair of Peter. Contraception falls under this category.  We are also obedient to statements from the USCCB or the other country or national conferences of bishops if they are in keeping with the Teaching Magisterium of the Church, such as statements on abortion or marriage. So far, so good.

We must be obedient to the Laws of the Church regarding holy days of obligation, fast and abstinence days, financially supporting the Church and so on. See the list below.

A recent example would be the re-institution of the Friday fast in Great Britain. We laity are bound by that reaffirmation of no meat on Friday.


As adults, we must learn the Faith and keep our Baptismal promises. We must evangelize, as Christ told us to do.

Those are duties.

Following the rules of the Church are part of our duty as well. Many people do not know these. We laity are bound by these.

These are listed in the CCC. Here is a list of those from an earlier catechism. It is a convenient list of the same rules.

The chief commandments, or laws, of the Church are these six:
  1. To assist at Mass on all Sundays and holy days of obligation.
  2. To fast and to abstain on the days appointed.
  3. To confess our sins at least once a year.
  4. To receive Holy Communion during the Easter time.
  5. To contribute to the support of the Church.
  6. To observe the laws of the Church concerning marriage. (this includes raising the children and educating them as Catholics)

But, we have another duty to learn what is the Truth and hold to that as explained and defined not only in Scripture, but by Mother Church. We cannot be disobedient to the Creed, or to doctrines, for example. This includes Canon Law which applies to the laity (as some Canons apply only to priests, for example).

We do not owe obedience in actions of the Pope or cardinals or bishops or priests which are not in keeping with the teaching of the Church. For example, we do not have to agree with Assisi, 1986, nor go to like services. We can respectfully discuss such events as WYD.

As long as conversations are based on rational discourse and not feeling, people may make comments here on all topics. I expect adult-level comments. And, I demand respectful ones. Most commentators have been excellent.

As laity, we have a bit more freedom to discuss things than the clergy. But, all discussions are in keeping with the above knowledge.

To be continued....

Happy Easter from Tyburn

It is cold and dark in London, but the chapel at Tyburn is still ablaze with candles and decorated with yellow mums.

The nuns sang beautifully, and the Jesuit priest who has been saying the Triduum sang the Exultet in Latin. We also sang the Gloria, Sanctus and Agnus Dei in Latin, as well as the Regina Coeli at the end of Holy Mass.

A salve to my Latin starved soul...

God bless you all this Easter. I have one quotation from the Mother Foundress of the Tyburn nuns, the Congregation of the Adorers of the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus of Montmarte.

"Upheld by humility and obedience, maintained in recollection by the law of silence, finally guided by the Church herself to those regions inaccessible to man alone, the soul simply and entirely faithful to the Rule of St. Benedict will arrive at those summits of the unitive life where w see the Saints established in peace."

In on long sentence, Mother Adele describes the journey to perfection.

The Resurrection

There is no new life without death of the old.

Happy Easter. May you rise with Christ in a new life.

Saturday, 30 March 2013

As I am running off to Vespers, I encourage all to go to Confession

North Korea has declared itself in a "state of war". 15 post day...because I love my readers.

Europeans-Britains, remember to set your clocks ahead

Spring forward, fall back

We lose an hour here tonight.

Remember to change your clocks.

And, in a sad, sad week, we have snow predicted for April 4th here in London.

Sigh....the nuns in fifth grade told us we were going into an ice age. They were right!

Wake up time!

Well, now, common sense in Russia

I am sure some will be yelling "fascism" about this.

I guess I have to post this again--Ordinatio Sacerdotalis

Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate,
1. Priestly ordination, which hands on the office entrusted by Christ to his Apostles of teaching, sanctifying and governing the faithful, has in the Catholic Church from the beginning always been reserved to men alone. This tradition has also been faithfully maintained by the Oriental Churches.
When the question of the ordination of women arose in the Anglican Communion, Pope Paul VI, out of fidelity to his office of safeguarding the Apostolic Tradition, and also with a view to removing a new obstacle placed in the way of Christian unity, reminded Anglicans of the position of the Catholic Church: "She holds that it is not admissible to ordain women to the priesthood, for very fundamental reasons. These reasons include: the example recorded in the Sacred Scriptures of Christ choosing his Apostles only from among men; the constant practice of the Church, which has imitated Christ in choosing only men; and her living teaching authority which has consistently held that the exclusion of women from the priesthood is in accordance with God's plan for his Church."(1)
But since the question had also become the subject of debate among theologians and in certain Catholic circles, Paul VI directed the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to set forth and expound the teaching of the Church on this matter. This was done through the Declaration Inter Insigniores, which the Supreme Pontiff approved and ordered to be published.(2)
2. The Declaration recalls and explains the fundamental reasons for this teaching, reasons expounded by Paul VI, and concludes that the Church "does not consider herself authorized to admit women to priestly ordination."(3) To these fundamental reasons the document adds other theological reasons which illustrate the appropriateness of the divine provision, and it also shows clearly that Christ's way of acting did not proceed from sociological or cultural motives peculiar to his time. As Paul VI later explained: "The real reason is that, in giving the Church her fundamental constitution, her theological anthropology-thereafter always followed by the Church's Tradition- Christ established things in this way."(4)
In the Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, I myself wrote in this regard: "In calling only men as his Apostles, Christ acted in a completely free and sovereign manner. In doing so, he exercised the same freedom with which, in all his behavior, he emphasized the dignity and the vocation of women, without conforming to the prevailing customs and to the traditions sanctioned by the legislation of the time."(5)
In fact the Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles attest that this call was made in accordance with God's eternal plan; Christ chose those whom he willed (cf. Mk 3:13-14; Jn 6:70), and he did so in union with the Father, "through the Holy Spirit" (Acts 1:2), after having spent the night in prayer (cf. Lk 6:12). Therefore, in granting admission to the ministerial priesthood,(6) the Church has always acknowledged as a perennial norm her Lord's way of acting in choosing the twelve men whom he made the foundation of his Church (cf. Rv 21:14). These men did not in fact receive only a function which could thereafter be exercised by any member of the Church; rather they were specifically and intimately associated in the mission of the Incarnate Word himself (cf. Mt 10:1, 7-8; 28:16-20; Mk 3:13-16; 16:14-15). The Apostles did the same when they chose fellow workers(7) who would succeed them in their ministry.(8) Also included in this choice were those who, throughout the time of the Church, would carry on the Apostles' mission of representing Christ the Lord and Redeemer.(9)
3. Furthermore, the fact that the Blessed Virgin Mary, Mother of God and Mother of the Church, received neither the mission proper to the Apostles nor the ministerial priesthood clearly shows that the non-admission of women to priestly ordination cannot mean that women are of lesser dignity, nor can it be construed as discrimination against them. Rather, it is to be seen as the faithful observance of a plan to be ascribed to the wisdom of the Lord of the universe.
The presence and the role of women in the life and mission of the Church, although not linked to the ministerial priesthood, remain absolutely necessary and irreplaceable. As the Declaration Inter Insigniores points out, "the Church desires that Christian women should become fully aware of the greatness of their mission: today their role is of capital importance both for the renewal and humanization of society and for the rediscovery by believers of the true face of the Church."(10)
The New Testament and the whole history of the Church give ample evidence of the presence in the Church of women, true disciples, witnesses to Christ in the family and in society, as well as in total consecration to the service of God and of the Gospel. "By defending the dignity of women and their vocation, the Church has shown honor and gratitude for those women who-faithful to the Gospel-have shared in every age in the apostolic mission of the whole People of God. They are the holy martyrs, virgins and mothers of families, who bravely bore witness to their faith and passed on the Church's faith and tradition by bringing up their children in the spirit of the Gospel."(11)
Moreover, it is to the holiness of the faithful that the hierarchical structure of the Church is totally ordered. For this reason, the Declaration Inter Insigniores recalls: "the only better gift, which can and must be desired, is love (cf. 1 Cor 12 and 13). The greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven are not the ministers but the saints."(12)
4. Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church's judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force.
Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church's divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Lk 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church's faithful.
Invoking an abundance of divine assistance upon you, venerable brothers, and upon all the faithful, I impart my apostolic blessing.
From the Vatican, on May 22, the Solemnity of Pentecost, in the year 1994, the sixteenth of my Pontificate.

1. Paul VI, Response to the Letter of His Grace the Most Reverend Dr. F.D. Coggan, Archbishop of Canterbury, concerning the Ordination of Women to the Priesthood (November 30, 1975); AAS 68 (1976), 599.
2. Cf. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Inter Insigniores on the question of the Admission of Women to the Ministerial Priesthood (October 15, 1976): AAS 69 (1977), 98-116.
3. Ibid., 100.
4. Paul VI, Address on the Role of Women in the Plan of Salvation (January 30, 1977): Insegnamenti, XV (1977), 111. Cf. Also John Paul II Apostolic Exhortation Christifideles laici (December 30, 1988), n. 51: AAS 81 (1989), 393-521; Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1577.
5. Apsotolic Letter Mulieris Dignnitatem (August 15, 1988), n. 26: AAS 80 (1988), 1715.
6. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium, n. 28 Decree Presbyterorum Ordinis, n. 2b.
7. Cf. 1 Tm 3:1-13; 2 Tm 1:6; Ti 1:5-9.
8. Cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 1577.
9. Cf. Dogmatic Constitution on the Church Lumen Gentium, nn. 20,21.
10. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Inter Insigniores, n. 6: AAS 69 (1977), 115-116.
11. Apostolic Letter Mulieris Dignitatem, n. 27: AAS 80 (1988), 1719.
12. Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Declaration Inter Insigniores n. 6: AAS 69 (1977), 115.

I had this in my office when I worked in the government...

I left it there. Too bad, as it had a really nice frame and Dogbert was wearing a red cloak as well. Things have not changed since 1996...

A little tiny note for Holy Saturday

One of my spiritual directors said, "Remember, confusion is always from the devil."

Link from 2008

Reuters will not let bloggers post photos, so if you are interested, go to this link.

Yet, another reminder on infallibility and Quo Vadis, Petrus?

Not everything the Pope says or does is infallible  folks. I know even highly educated people who are confused on this one. Remember Assisi 1986?

He, the Pope, can make mistakes. Big ones. He cannot teach false doctrine from the Chair of Peter. But, he can do symbolic actions which cause confusion. Not all popes are saints when elected, but hopefully, become one in the process of being pope......

A brief thought for Holy Saturday

St. Bernard of Clairvaux reminds us on this sad day when we await the Resurrection, that the devil cannot read our minds but only our actions. However, the very intelligent and clever demons, out to catch us and bring us to hell watch us very carefully.

They watch our physical habits, which is why abstemious behavior is good. They watch our spiritual habits, which is why prayer silently is best. They watch and listen to our speech, which is why silence and less talk rather than more is good.

They cannot, according to Thomas Aquinas, move our will. Only God and ourselves can move our will.

None of this, "The devil made me do it", stuff.

We control our wills, but these wills are weakened by a lack of temperance, prudence, justice and courage. If we show fear, they rush in to terrify us. If we exhibit piggishness in eating, a lack of temperance in food or talk or drink, they encourage our bad habits.

If we lack justice, which is connected to holiness which we owe to God through His creatures, they jump in and make us selfish.

If we do not pray and act with impetuosity, they encourage us to more imprudence.

If we let our emotions dictate our lives, we shall never be holy.

I am thinking of Mary, the Sorrowful Mother today.

She was in shock, I am sure, after watching the brutality inflicted on her Son.

She was grieving, like all loving mothers, but more so, in Perfect Love.

Yet, she trusted in God.

This is what we must do-trust in all things, at all times.

Trust in God and His ways, putting on the Mind of Christ.

Peaceful you all.

My comment on a famous blog this morning...

I am grieved by the divisions all this is causing (in reference to the washing of the feet of a woman). I live in Great Britain where heresies are so common that one is hard put to find an orthodox layperson.
So many of the priests are so overworked they cannot contain the rot. Symbolic actions are so important, more than articles, which the vast majority of people do not read.
I meet Gnostics daily here. They have not read the CCC; they have not conformed their minds to the mind of the Church. And, actions which contradict previous ones add fuel to their rebellious brains.
What has happened to lex orandi lex credendi?
I really am grieved. I have heard and seen more division in the Church in the past month, as every liberal has her bit between the teeth.

Tough Love

I look at the Crucifixion today and I think on all the people I have met this week who want religion without pain. Most of the people I have met this week, and I mean laity, want a religion which has NO laws, only what they call "kindness". Is Caravaggio's painting above "kind"?

The heresy of universal salvation, which states all people go to heaven, is rift in Great Britain and among the Irish.  The heresy which denies the affects of Original Sin and even denies Original Sin is rife in Great Britain.

Even Catholics deny the efficacy of baptism.

So, why did Christ endure excruciating pain and horrible public abuse is there is no need for salvation?

The denial of salvation is a denial of the entire Passion event. It is a denial of the very reason for the Incarnation.

People say to me, "Well, I think Christ came to earth just to show us how to love."

YES. and He died for Love. He died.

This is tough love.

Someone said to me that it takes all kinds of persons to make up the Catholic Church.

But, not those who refuse to learn the beauty of the Church's Teachings.

I grieve. Christ did not abolish the Law but fulfilled it. He Himself is the New Covenant, the Lamb of God.

He is mocked by His own here in London today.

More on Easter Meals

If you do lamb, you can  merely make about 18 slices into the leg and place fresh garlic in each slit and then pour olive oil all over it and forget it for two and one-half hours. If your family prefers beef, here is a fancy recipe for Easter.

Stuffed Flank Steak With Paprika Potatoes
(serves 4-6)
1 flank steak ( 1 1/2 – 2lb.)
1/3 cup olive oil
3-4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 medium onion, passed through a box grater
1 tsp. salt
fresh ground pepper
2 Tbsp. chopped fresh rosemary
2 tsp. fresh thyme leaves
1/4 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups fresh bread crumbs
1 cup of blanched or thawed from frozen spinach (squeezed of excess water), chopped
1/2 cup of slice scallions (green part only)
1 1/2 cups grated smoked Metsovone (or smoked gouda) cheese
1/2 cup toasted pine nuts
1/2 tsp. salt and fresh ground pepper
Additional ingredients
Dijon style mustard
olive oil
salt and pepper
Paprika potatoes
1/4 cup olive oil
4-6 large potatoes, peeled, halved & cut into chunks
1/4 cup hot water
2 tsp. smoked paprika
salt and pepper
Pre-heated 400F oven
  1. In a shallow casserole dish, add all the marinade ingredients and mix with a spoon then adjust seasoning according to taste. Now take your flank steak and place on your work surface and place plastic on it and pound/flatten the meat with a mallet to about 1/4 inch thickness. Now place the flank steak in your marinade and cover both sides with it, cover with plastic wrap and place in your fridge for 2 hours.
  2. In the meantime, prepare your stuffing ingredients: make your bread crumbs by placing day old bread in your food processor and mixing it with the sliced scallions, spinach, grated cheese, pine nuts and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and keep in a cool place.
  3. After two hours, take your flank steak out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature. In the meantime, peel your potatoes and place in a baking vessel with the olive oil, water, smoked paprika, salt and pepper. Pre-heat your oven to 400F and place the potatoes in to bake for about 40-45 minutes.
  4. Wife off the excess marinade and reserve. Now place the flank steak brush about a Tbsp. of Dijon mustard on the entire surface and spread the filling on top.  Now roll up lengthwise tightly like a jelly roll and tie/secure with butcher’s twine.
  5. Place a large skillet on your stovetop over medium-high heat and season the rolled flank steak with salt and pepper. Drizzle the skillet with olive oil and sear on all sides then place in the oven for about 30 minutes, basting as needed with reserved marinade (I did it every 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and tent for 10 minutes while the meat is resting.
  6. Your meat and potatoes should be ready around the same time. Now snip off the butcher’s twine and slice your flanks steak and arrange on a platter. Lay the paprika potatoes right beside it and pour any of the liquid left from the potatoes over the meat and potatoes.

This second roast is spicier. But, who does not like lamb!

Hello from London

Well, this is the day my family would make colored eggs.  My mom would hide the entire Easter basket for each of us, not merely the eggs and we would find them on Easter morning.

Since we were in choir, and my parents as well, we would frequently go to two Masses-the Vigil and one in the morning.

What are your family customs?

I would always cook a Greek Meal or Easter Day-lamb, baklava, spanikopita, dolmathes, etc. And here is a great recipe for dolmathes: make them today!

Dolmathes (Meat-Stuffed Grape Vine Leaves)
  • 1 jar grape leaves in brine (about 35-40 leaves) -- these can be bought at a Greek specialty shop
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 medium onion, minced
  • 3 or 4 scallions, thinly sliced, including some of the green tops ( 1/4 cup)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint leaves
  • 2 teaspoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 whole tomatoes from a can, drained with the juices reserved (fresh is OK, too)
  • 3/4 cup raw converted white rice
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons reserved liquid from tomatoes
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
Carefully remove the brined grape leaves from the jar. (They are packed in rolls resembling fat cigars.) Spread leaves in a single layer in a large shallow pan. Add enough boiling water to cover the leaves generously and set aside to soak and soften until the water is cool.
Meanwhile, prepare the filling by combining all ingredients except chicken broth and lemon juice. Use hands to mix thoroughly.
Rinse the leaves with cool water and blot dry with paper towels. Snip the woody stem from the bottom center of each leaf. Lay each leaf flat, vein side up, on work surface, overlapping bottom of the leaf slightly where the stem has been removed.
Place the filling about 1/2 inch up from the bottom and roll the leaf up over filling about halfway. Fold in the sides and continue rolling -- not too tightly -- to make a packet.
Lay any extra or torn leaves at the bottom of a heavy saucepan. Lay the stuffed grape leaves, folded side down, fitting them together neatly next to one another. When the bottom of the pan is full, begin another layer and continue until all leaves are used.
Mix the chicken broth and lemon juice and pour over the stacked grape leaves just until covered, adding a little water if necessary. Place a heavy plate slightly smaller than the diameter of the saucepan on top to keep them from rolling and unwrapping during cooking.
Cook at a slow simmer for about one hour or until the rice is tender and meat is cooked. If serving at room temperature, put dolmathes in container drizzled with olive oil to keep them from drying out.
Serve with lemon wedges and drizzled with olive oil. Makes 15 to 20 packets.

Vexilla Regis by David Jones: Holy Saturday of Holy Week

Thursday, 28 March 2013

One Thought During the Triduum

"It is not about you!"

Get out of yourselves and pray for others this weekend.

Pray for the thousands of Londoners I pass daily (not all at once!) who do not know God.

Pray, as the nuns said in Vespers last evening, for all those millions of people in the world who may go to hell, if they do not hear the Word of God, and if they do not repent.

Pray, the world depends on YOU!

RIP Mark Polaschek

Many Catholics in the Quad-Cities knew this man. Please pray for him and his family.

Another Peter Paul Rubens Crucifixion: Thursday in Holy Week

Thanks to Wikimedia

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

Brief Note from the Indian in the Cupboard

I am going in and out of enclosure this week, so I feel a bit like the cowboy and Indian in The Indian in the Cupboard. It is SO WEIRD being in for prayer and other things and coming out for Net access and meeting people.

I may skip the Net access over the Triduum.  So, if you do not hear from me, it just means I am really being quiet.

But, if you think a monastery is a quiet place, you need to stay for a while. So many visitors and the phone rings off the hook, as well as the door bell ringing almost as much.

Portresses are the example of patience.

A Peter Paul Rubens Crucifixion: Wednesday in Holy Week

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Talk by Ex-Press Secretary to the Pope

Fr. Guillermo Marco, ex-press officer for eight years to the Pope, gave a talk at Tyburn Convent in London, and these are notes from that talk. This was on March 26th, 2013. I have tried to keep the exact vocabulary of Father Marco, who gave the talk mostly in English. Any editorial notes by me are in parentheses. I am merely reporting on this talk as exactly as I can. The text was approved by an associate of his. Some of this information is not new to readers of the Internet or news, but as news is restricted in the enclosure, much of this was new to the nuns at Tyburn.

The vocabulary reflects that of Fr. Marco. Most is a paraphrase or close to exact notes taken during the talk.

The Pope was born in Buenos Aires and studied science. He went to seminary in Buenos Aires, where the Jesuits were in charge and decided to be a Jesuit.

John Paul II made him bishop when he was a professor.

At 37, he was made superior on his congregation. He was very young and these were difficult years for the Church, after Vatican II. Priests were making political choices rather than religious choices.

An order from the General (of the Jesuits) in Rome indicated that he wanted priests who were religious not politicians. (This was a reaction against Liberation Theology.) The Pope loves working with the poor, but he is not political. The Argentinian government was not in support of the Catholic Church, but looking out for leftist priests and nuns to imprison.Two priests were working hard in the poor areas, and were moving to another area, and owing obedience to the religious, they did not want to so left the Jesuits.

"If you go out of the Jesuit Company, I cannot protect you", the superior said. They did, however. Two months later, the two priests were taken to an illegal jail; the Pope was looking for the priests, and then the two priests were made free. The Pope was not a collaborator of the territorial government, but did get these priests free. There is confusion on this in the media, who wants to show the Pope as a collaborator. 

There are lies that he was a collaborator.The photo shopped photo which is on line is not true, stated Fr. Marco. (I am not familiar with this photo.)

The Pope was novice master of the Jesuit order, and he spent two months in Germany. When he came back to Argentina, his superior put him in the interior of the country only saying Mass and hearing confessions—He became Provincial Superior in 1973. The Pope told his friends that he thought he would end his life in the remote area. Apparently, according to Fr. Marco, Jesuits have to say no if Pope asks them to be bishop; however, the Cardinal told him to be bishop, he was not consulted but told 1992, to be bishop of Buenos Aires.

It is a very big city, four million, with four more million coming in for work (eight million), and no one knew him,. There are six bishops in the diocese of Buenos AiresCardinal Antonio Quarracino, Archbishop of Buenos Aires, who consecrated Bergoglio Bishop, was very important in this story; the Cardinal asked the Pope to make Bergoglio to be his successor.

Cardinal Quarrancino planned this, stated Fr. Marco. Otherwise, he would have been in a smaller diocese, as most of the auxiliaries would have been on the appointment of a new Cardinal.

So, this was unusual. He had a meteoric rise in the Church. Fr. Marco said this was all in God's Plan.

When Cardinal Bergoglio came to Rome for the conclave, he came with a return ticket. He is 76, and he was ready to resign as bishop when he returned. He would have been retired on his return to Argentina. Someone who knew him said that his election as Pope has made him younger and more energetic, as if energized by the Holy Spirit.

This is important, said Fr. Marco. He went to Rome with a little bag. "And he will never go back to his little room. He will not see his family in their place…his entire life belongs to the Church."

"I first knew him when he became bishop. He always asked every person he met to pray for him."

Fr. Marco asked that we would pray for the Pope daily, here in the convent.

He needs prayer, said Fr Marco. However, the priest said that the Pope is a “prayer-man” in his interior life.

"He never goes out at night and goes to bed at nine and gets up at four or five to get up and pray. He has done this his entire life." Fr. Marco was very clear in his description of the Pope's dedication to prayer.

"He never decides anything unless he prays first. If he is going to decide something, he says that he needs to pray first. He refers all things to prayer. This is his heart."

Fr. Marco, who is not a Jesuit, added something interesting. "The other thing is that the Jesuits have very clever thinking, but they only say what appeals or refers to you. One never knows what they are really thinking." (Interesting.)

"My job with him, I always had a job with communications, and when he became Archbishop, he asked me, because he was nervous to meet with the media."

Fr. Marco described a Cardinal who worked with others in consultations. "His humility indicates that he states he does not know everything. He worked with a lot of persons in Buenos Aires because he is humble and wanted input."

As to the Pope's pastoral style, (which we have seen in the news), Fr. Marco noted that the Pope said as Cardinal, that  "we have to go and find the lost lamb and not stay inside the Church (building)."

Fr. Marco shared that he works in the public university, and he had to go to the world which does not believe in God.

"We have missionaries in the railway Stations, and in the city centers, in the plazas—" He added an interesting comment on the secular world. "The majority of the population does not ask the question of what is the essence of life. First, we have to motivate the questions of God. We have the answers, but the persons do not want to receive the answers, so we have to motivate them."

On the Pope's obviously different way of relating as Pope, Fr. Marco said this, "Pope Francis presents himself as the Bishop of Rome. He does not use the title Pope as he wants to relate to the people of Rome
He is very deliberate in his actions. He does not act on his feelings." (This is very interesting.)

"He thinks about what he does before acting." (Those of us watching him thought he looked quite spontaneous, but this is not true).

Fr. Marco indicated that the Pope wants our prayers, just as he did when he was Cardinal.

"He wants all the prayers of the Church, which is the job of the entire Church."

As to his name, the priest told the nuns what we have read in the news, "He said immediately when elected, 'Do not forget the poor.' He took the name Francis for this reason. He also took the name because of Francis being a man of peace; also because Francis is the patron saint of the environment." Fr. Marco was very clear on these points.

The ex-press secretary also noted that Francis was involved in the re-formation of the Church and that the Pope wanted Francis' name also for this reason. As to change in the Church, Fr. Marco noted this, "The Pope wants us to change first. He chooses simple things, such as a plain metal cross, because if one wears a gold cross in BA, it would be stolen immediately.He did not use his chauffeur and car", (as we know, he took the metro and bus). Fr. Marco stressed through-out his talk that the Pope has a preferential regard for the poor.

"He did not want to be separated from the people. He never made an apology to the rich for the poor. He is very near the poor."

"The poor," the Pope said, "are very near God."

The poor will teach us about God, added Fr. Marco.  The Pope has many short stories about the poor, which have influenced his life. Father shared a few of these.

Asked what the people of Argentina thought of the Pope, Fr. Marco responded, "The people of Argentina are being moved by what Pope Francis is saying in Rome. Two Jewish men were interviewed by the press who said they liked this Pope." The Argentinians ignored the Cardinal when he was in his country. Fr. Marco said, referring to the Scripture passage, that a prophet is not accepted in his own town. But, now that he is Pope, the people have changed and are now paying attention to him according to Fr. Marco. The Argentinians are following his actions in Rome.

Father Marco said we are entering in to a good time for the Church, and we need to pray a lot. He replied to another question regarding ecumenism that it was easier to be ecumenical in Argentina than in Europe.

Fr. Marco and the Pope were involved in an ecumenical group in Argentina, where it is easier to have these groups. So, the visit of the Patriarch Bartholomew I of Constantinople  was an extension of this. The meetings in Argentina are not theological dialogues, but just getting to know each other, noted the priest. When the Patriarch was in Rome, the Pope said that he was glad “Andrew” was here, the brother of Peter. The Pope also was responsible for contacting the head rabbi of Rome, with a personal letter to him. "He is very kind," said Fr. Marco, "to all who come near him."

Fr. Marco said the Pope is not the same person but has changed since he has been elected Pope. (This is very interesting.) He said he is full of the Holy Spirit.

Mother General of Tyburn,  Mother Mary Xavier McMonagle, brought up the quotation of Blessed John Paul II that the future of the Church was in Latin America. She was referring to the Pueblo Conference. Fr. Marco noted that the Latin American experience is different as a new country. (Here is a link to that Conference.)

Fr. Marco said that the Pope is like a common priest. He is still in the conclave room and not in the Papal Apartments. He will want to stay there and he is near the door, said Fr. Marco. (Laughter).

Mother General brought up the Mass in the prison on Holy Thursday. Mother General wanted to know if there were going to be consequences of this decision. Fr. Marco had an interesting insight into this : "In Buenos Aries there are six bishops, and so there were enough bishops to have Mass in the Cathedral and the Pope then decided to have Mass in a prison. He did not want journalists there when he did that in Argentina."

He had to be told by his press secretary, (Fr. Marco), not to put his light under a bushel, and therefore, give good example. 

At one Holy Thursday Mass, the Pope, as bishop, washed the feet of all the new baby boys of the poor. And, this photo was published in a discussion against abortion in Argentina. (I shall try and find the photo.)

The journalists in Argentina liked this. Fr. Marco said the Pope will do lots of things like this. Mother General pointed out that Blessed John Paul II also visited a prison, especially in the visit the man who shot him .  Mother also noted that Jesus spent the night in prison and was there during the night on Holy Thursday.

As Fr. Marco noted, we are in the age of the photo and the sound bite. So, the Pope uses little phrases of the Gospel in his talks as Pope. He is also aware of significant actions.

At the Mass at St. Peter, there was a representative of the people of the rubbish, the scavengers of Argentina, whom the Pope had visited when in Argentina.

As Cardinal, he was walking in his red robes and Fr. Marco wondered at this walking about in Rome before the conclave. Fr. Marco said Rome is the place where one can wear red without being noticed.

(Excuse any errors, as this was done on the spot.)

This week in the life of a blogger--wonderful things come to those who wait on the Lord

This week, until Easter Monday, I am partially in enclosure at Tyburn and will not be able to blog everyday. It is a wonderful experience singing the hours with the good nuns.

Pray for me.

However, I shall try and do two posts. One is about a talk I am attending is by Father Guillermo Marco, who worked with Pope Francis for years in Argentina. He is going to talk this morning about the Pope. I have permission to take copious notes. You shall "hear" the talk.

And, I want you all to pray for a miracle by going to this website. I have met Baroness Rosario of the Montbard family, who is connected with the House of Ephesus project. Her husband's family is related to St. Bernard of Clairvaux from his mother's side, the Blessed Aleth of Montbard.  Anyone in Europe or the UK who is interested in a presentation on this saint and the Blessed Virgin's House in Ephesus, please ask for a talk.

There are international prayer cards.

Sr. Marie De Mandat-Grancey Foundation
P.O.Box 275
Cold Spring Harbor, NY 11724 USA

Another David Jones Crucifixion: Tuesday in Holy Week

Monday, 25 March 2013

A reminder from The

On Christmas Day in 1969, a little known German theologian outlined his own assessment on the future of the Catholic Church during a radio broadcast.
Mankind was at a turning point in history, he said, and the Church was fighting against a force which intended to annihilate it definitively. The theologian’s name was Joseph Ratzinger.
He predicted that the Body of Christ on earth would be undermined by the temptation to reduce priests to social workers and the Church’s work to a mere political presence.
During his speech, which came shortly after the socially and morally revolutionary tumult of 1968, while the ramifications of Vatican II were emerging and secular influences were fervently desiring to “liberate” themselves from the “shackles” of religious and social institutions, Ratzinger said, “From today’s crisis will emerge a Church that will have lost a great deal”.
Structures that had been built in times of prosperity would be lost and numbers would decrease, he stated; he Church would “pretty much have to start all over again”.
Ratzinger, however, then suggested “when all the suffering is past, a great power will emerge from a more spiritual and simple Church”.
He believed there would be small groups and movements arising and a minority who would make faith central to experience.
“It will be poor and will become the Church of the destitute”, he said.

Not my America

For those parents of big Catholic families

Today, I want to write a tribute to all those neighbors, fellow parishioners  and friends who followed God's Plan for their families and did not contracept. I want to honor my parents and all those of their generation who had wonderful, large Catholic families.

Many of my friends have six, eight, ten, eleven or more children.

God bless those parents.

I have to honor them for choosing a lower standard of living than their Protestants neighbors who moved out of the old houses into the really nice ones with their 2.5 kids.

I want to praise these Catholic parents for not having vacations in order to home school or save money for expensive private Catholic education.

I want to tell the world how great is the responsibility to educate children in the Faith and praise those who did so.

And are doing so....

We have been persecuted for such. Some of my friends have been criticized publicly in grocery stores and even in Church for having large families.

Some of us were severely criticized for home schooling back in the late '80s, '90s and even into the 2000s.

I honor you, .pro-life Catholics. God bless you all, always and in every way

Superb comment from Steveaz on Sultan Knish

So good, I had to replicate it here.

Well, as usual, as we Yanks were distracted by China's potential pathologies, we failed to notice our own. [This is anecdotal, so take it with a grain of salt, but...] A majority of my acquaintances who work in academe (all "liberals) were single children. 

They cannot hide it either. Many reveal in their political views and debating styles that they have never contended with any sibling for Legos, parental attention nor mundane chores. And they seem unaware that their liberal campaigns for illusory things such as "sustainability" and "world peace" are rote manifestations of their single-child experience.

As America digests its own poison-pill generation of spoilt, single children cum adults, it should rile no one to state the obvious: America's citizenry are the managed wards of our own arrogant, spoilt "Emperors." 

Simply sample the biographies of our current ruling class. Obama is this generation's icon: globe-trotting, wealthy, doted-on, and without competition in the family! 

Some properly derogate this generation by calling it the "Me-Generation." Others patronize this cadre and rebel at crude categorization of it, preferring to flatter it with labels like "Creative," "modern," and "Taste-Makers."

No matter the label we use to identify this trend, it is what it is. And it'd like to replicate itself of course to form another first-person pronoun hyphenated generation to govern the besotted masses for the century ahead. 

To the spoilt, urban prograssive, Kids from big "fly-over" families are drole and tacky. They aren't easily cowed by external scolds and peer pressures, and they're wake-up to the games adversaries like to play, like deliberate dishonesty, proxy moves and brown-nosing. In short, if you're the third son in a Kansas family with 4 other siblings, two of them sisters, then you are immunized against the Prog's campusing techniques.

But "Little Emperors," not so much. They're nubile, malleable little princes and princesses, hungry to strive any 'attagirl' or confirmation of their uncontested merits, greater beauty or smarts. And being untested entrants to the Progs' series' of artificial societies, they suffer from performance anxiety. The spoilt child is the perfect, nervous little tool for the march to the Progressive's vaunted future and beyond!

And, another good comment by someone called Supertradmum

The cause of all this depression about human beings is the lack of knowledge or belief that we are made differently than the rest of creation. The West use to believe that men and women were made in the likeness of God. No more.

Now, we are made in the likeness of whoever political powers that be, or educational, or moneyed, or Marxist, or just plain stupid powers.

In the past several thousand years, we have seen the replacement of God as the centre of creation to humans being in that centre, to finally something odd called the 'environment'. Even the Medievals were not this daft to create a false god out of climate changes....or false ideals of demographics.

Annunciation by John Donne

John Donne (1572-1631)


Salvation to all that will is nigh;
That All, which always is all everywhere,
Which cannot sin, and yet all sins must bear,
Which cannot die, yet cannot choose but die,
Lo, faithful virgin, yields Himself to lie
In prison, in thy womb; and though He there
Can take no sin, nor thou give, yet He will wear,
Taken from thence, flesh, which death's force may try.
Ere by the spheres time was created, thou
Wast in His mind, who is thy Son and Brother;
Whom thou conceivst, conceived; yea thou art now
Thy Maker's maker, and thy Father's mother;
Thou hast light in dark, and shutst in little room,
Immensity cloistered in thy dear womb.

A David Jones Crucifixion: Monday in Holy Week

I am going to put a different Crucifixion scene on everyday this week for your meditations during Holy Week.

Here is the first one by David Jones. Many years ago, some of my David Jones prints were stolen. This one was my favorite that I had.