Thursday, December 31, 2009

Gaga over Geomancy !

In spite of being the biggest Christian and Catholic country in Asia, the Philippines still enjoys its share of superstitious practices.  The New Year festivities is among them.


MANILA, Philippines – What are the lucky colors for the year 2010 or the year of the metal tiger?

According to a feng shui consultant, [in a Catholic country!  Some fellow church workers are guilty of going gaga over feng shui!] they are blue and light yellow. Blue symbolizes water while light yellow symbolizes peace.

“Ang 2010 chart natin kulang sa tubig, kelangan natin maglaay ng tubig para nourishment… lalakas productivity and money purposes,” said Johnson Chua, a feng shui adviser. [ In English "Our 2010 chart says we lack water, so we need to offer water as nourishment...productivity and money purposes would prosper.]

Moreover, there are lucky colors for the Chinese animal zodiac signs. Blue is the lucky color for those born on the year of the rat, rabbit, dragon, snake and rooster.

White or light yellow, meantime, is said to bring luck to those born on the year of the ox, tiger, sheep and monkey.

Violet is the lucky color for those born on the year of the dog and pig while red and violet are the colors for those born on the year of the horse.

As early as now, figurines of metal or golden tigers are displayed in Binondo, Manila, such as the tiger with gourd (for good health) and tiger with Chinese cabbage and golden coins (for more money to come in). [how in the world were they able to determine this, who knows?  They just want you to believe, hook line and sinker to what they tell you.  Of course, you need to buy their wares before you get the good luck you want.  Now who gets the good luck?  I think the one who sells these stupid items get the fast one over the gullible one.]
“Maraming pera pasok kaso, pero kelangan ingat sa mga investment,” said feng shui practitioner Jean Chua. “Year of the tiger kasi pag once na marami ka na-invest, mahihirapan ibalik.” ["A lot of money will come in but we have to be careful of investments."]
Serving 5 round fruits on the dinner table during New Year’s Eve will also bring luck for the whole year.

But besides the lucky charms and lucky colors, feng shui consultant and counseling astrologer Paloma believes that people should look at the signs of the times wherein there have already been precursors to election-related violence. [And you need fortune telling for that?!]

“Marami nagsusuot ng purple. Purple means deep spiritual energy… Saan ba galing ‘yon? Sa trying times o traumatic events,” noted Paloma.

“May precursor na sa Maguindanao ng matter of execution… nag-fa-file pa lang ng candidacy,” she added, pertaining to the November 23 Maguindanao massacre which claimed 57 lives. [And why did they not predict this massacre would happen?]
Meanwhile, one of the predictions is that there will be disasters not only in the Philippines but in several other countries. [Wow.  As if disasters do not happen every year.  Now that is fortune telling for you.]

Despite the difference in the predictions of the geomancers, [now are they looking at the same stars to make the predictions or the other one is superior than the other or... geomancy is really all about making a quick buck out of those desperate to find a quick way to earn money by using charms instead of sweating it out, eh?] they are all relaying a message on change and preparation for any disaster.



If you are a man of faith, why put your trust in these geomancers and their charms?

Will the Lord be not enough?

As written in Proverbs, "Trust in the LORD with all your heart, And lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, And He shall direct your paths".

And as Abraham said "God will provide."

Now that can save you your faith and some money!


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

SNAPSHOT: The Pope's reminder

And to those who are mentally unstable, please stay at the back!

Your Holiness!  The one at the back looks unstable!

Rules of living one's Christian life

I have read this before but I myself wonder why I haven't shared it to my TPC readers.  My bad.

This is an excellent way to live one's life in a more profound witnessing to one's calling as a Christian.  Suggestions which we can take to heart.

I share to you the Ten Rules of Life of the Servant of God, Cardinal François-Xavier Nguyễn Văn Thuận.

He suffered greatly from the persecutions of the Communists. An interesting anecdote...The pectoral cross that he wore until his death was one that he made with two small pieces of wood when he was in jail; he protected the cross hiding it in a piece of soap so that his jailers would not confiscate it; when he was freed, he covered the wooden cross with a coat of metal.

You can read the colorful life of this great cardinal by clicking here and here

Ten Rules of Life 

I will live the present moment to the fullest.
I will discern between God and God’s works.
I will hold firmly to one secret: prayer.
I will see in the Holy Eucharist my only power.
I will have only one wisdom: the science of the Cross.
I will remain faithful to my mission in the Church and for the Church as a witness of Jesus Christ.
I will seek the peace the world cannot give.
I will carry out a revolution by renewal in the Holy Spirit.
I will speak one language and wear one uniform: Charity.
I will have one very special love: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Benedict XVI: The "us" of the Church

From the Urbi et Orbi message of the Holy Father:
The "us" of the Church is active in Sri Lanka, in the Korean peninsula and in the Philippines, as well as in the other countries of Asia, as a leaven of reconciliation and peace.
The Holy Father is probably referring to the work of peace being done by the bishops in Mindanao where dialogue with Muslim separatists are still on-going.

You can read more of the Holy Father's Urbi et Orbi message with some comments from Father Z by clicking here.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Pope attacked by the same deranged woman...again!

The Vatican Police must do something about this.  I mean, their security being breached by the same mentally unstable woman?  Who knows what she'll do next?

Pray for our Holy Father!

Here is the amateur video shot by one of the Mass goers.  The woman in red who attacked the pope can be seen in front of the video.  She was obviously waiting for the pope to pass her before she leaped the barricade.  A Vatican police tackled her and as she fell down you can see her pull the pope's vestments, sending the Holy Father down as well.






Wednesday, December 23, 2009

A Christmas tale

Our parish is led by a priest who was educated in a notoriously liberal theology school in Manila.  And those who were members of the Worship Committee were sent to this school for liturgical training.  So you probably have a picture of where this is leading.

I used to be an organist and choir member of our parish.

I will never forget this Christmas Eve Mass where we sang.

The Mass started at 9PM. There were flaglets being waved by the people during the Entrance Hymn.

The Gospel was acted out.  Real live actors.  While the commentator played the part of story teller.  Our parish priest just said "A reading from the Holy Gospel..."  Joseph and Mary was asking for a place to stay.  And they were asking the people in the church, one by one, tugging our shirts.  Literally.  No really.  Literally.

When it came for the time for Mary to give birth.  She did.

The pillow on the actress playing Mary was thrown away by a quick moving altar server and out came...

a one year old baby.  No joking.  No, literally. A one year old baby.

After the Gospel, no homily!  We were surprised.  Wondered why.

The Mass went on.  More dancing and flag waving during the Offertory.

During the consecration, we were surprised to see a huge...bread, lifted up by our dear parish priest.  No literally.  A brown thing.  Almost like a huge burger bun that would make the biggest quarter pounder of McDonald's squirm in fear.

After the consecration of the wine, which I am, at this point, not sure if it is the prescribed pure grape wine, our parish priest stopped.  The commentator asked all of us who were kneeling for the consecration to take their seats.  Our charismatic parish priest, who would give Bob Barker a run for his money for his dynamic hosting job, took a wireless microphone and...delivered his homily.  No joking.  Really.  He just did.

And so on he talked for...30 minutes.  Of a homily of why we should...

Give love on Christmas day!  No joking.  No, literally.  He just did.

And after the homily, he continued with the Eucharistic Prayer.  By the way it was Eucharistic Prayer 2, the almost staple Canon for the Mass.  He said it for under 5 minutes.  Guess his homily was better than the Canon of the Mass.  And during the entire time, the actors (Joseph, Mary and the baby Jesus) was still up in the sanctuary, on the left side.  By that time, the baby playing Baby Jesus, was hungry.  The poor kid was crying.  So his real mom went up the sanctuary to...give him a feeding bottle full of milk.  That made the people the middle of the Eucharistic Prayer.  No joking.  We all did, including me.  We imagined the Baby Jesus feeding on a feeding bottle.

Then, it was quite normal from then on.  The usual hand grabbing during the Our Father.  The hugging and kissing during the Sign of Peace.  Or so I thought.

For after greeting each other "Peace." Our dear parish priest asked those in attendance to bring out the gifts they have brought and instead of just saying peace, to give the gift to the one seating near them.  We had a grand exchange of gifts.  No joking.  Literally, we did.

But surprisingly, the Communion was orderly.

After Communion, our dear parish priest ran a list of those who made this event "successful".  Each of the members of the parish's worship committee was acknowledged and applauded.

Remember the actors up on stage?

They were still there, up to the very end of the Mass, baby crying and all.

The Mass started at 9PM and ended at 11:30PM.  The poor baby was already asleep.

Traditionally, an image of the baby Jesus is carried by the priest so that the faithful may kiss and venerate the image.

Traditionally...bad word I think. Maybe because it was traditional so...that part was omitted.  After the Mass, no image kissing or veneration.

The people were startled.  They must be thinking "What do we do?  Who do we kiss?"  They found their answer.

The people approached the sleeping baby, touched him...and made the sign of the cross.

No joking.  They did.

The poor baby was startled and cried.

I wish Dan Brown helped me write this but he didn't.  This is all true.  I am a witness to all of this.

Is this the liturgy you want to go to?  Is this how we worship God?  Is this God's work or the work of some frustrated stage actor or director?

Now people are asking me to be more charitable towards those who love bastardizing the Mass as if this were their own little repertory.

Honestly, this was probably one of the reasons why I love the Traditional Latin Mass.  Don't get me wrong.  I attend the Novus Ordo Mass celebrated in a parish where I do not have Bozo the Clown celebrating it.

But things aren't supposed to be that way.  My college graduation was more solemn.  The silent drills of cadets in the Philippine Military Academy is more precise and awe-inspiring.

But this is the Mass!  Calvary once again.  With Christ as the victim and offerer!

We came to worship, not to be entertained.

A reason why I am a survivor of liturgical abuse in parish (SLAP)


My recommendation?

1. Close that damn theology school.
2.  Reorient parish liturgical committees.  Make them attend a talk by an FSSP priest or by Father Z!
3.  Send our parish priest to Rome.  Maybe have him financially audited.  Make him sign a profession of faith and make him serve the Mass of Pope Benedict or of Father Z or those in EWTN.

That'll steer them back to the right course.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Probably the neighbor of the Lord?

From AP


NAZARETH, Israel – Just in time for Christmas, archaeologists on Monday unveiled what may have been the home of one of Jesus' childhood neighbors. The humble dwelling is the first dating to the era of Jesus to be discovered in Nazareth, then a hamlet of around 50 impoverished Jewish families where Jesus spent his boyhood.

Archaeologists and present-day residents of Nazareth imagined Jesus as a youngster, playing with other children in the isolated village, not far from the spot where the Archangel Gabriel revealed to Mary that she would give birth to the boy.

Today the ornate Basilica of the Annunciation marks that spot, and Nazareth is the largest Arab city in northern Israel, with about 65,000 residents. Muslims now outnumber Christians two to one in the noisy, crowded city.

The archaeological find shows how different it was 2000 years ago: There were no Christians or Muslims, the Jewish Temple stood in Jerusalem and tiny Nazareth stood near a battleground between Roman rulers and Jewish guerrillas.

The Jews of Nazareth dug camouflaged grottos to hide from Roman invaders, said archaeologist Yardena Alexandre, excavations director at the Israel Antiquities Authority. But the hamlet was so far off the beaten path that the caves were apparently not needed, she said.

Based on clay and chalk shards found at the site, the dwelling appeared to house a "simple Jewish family," Alexandre added, as workers carefully chipped away at mud with small pickaxes to reveal stone walls.

"This may well have been a place that Jesus and his contemporaries were familiar with," Alexandre said. A young Jesus may have played around the house with his cousins and friends. "It's a logical suggestion."

The discovery so close to Christmas pleased local Christians.

"They say if the people do not speak, the stones will speak," said the Rev. Jack Karam of the nearby basilica.

Archaeologist Stephen Pfann, president of the University of The Holy Land, noted: "It's the only witness that we have from that area that shows us what the walls and floors were like inside Nazareth in the first century." Pfann was not involved in the dig.

Alexandre said workers uncovered the first signs of the dwelling last summer, but it became clear only this month that it was a structure from the days of Jesus.

Alexandre's team found remains of a wall, a hideout, a courtyard and a water system that appeared to collect water from the roof and supply it to the home. The discovery was made when builders dug up the courtyard of a former convent to make room for a new Christian center, just yards from the Basilica.

It is not clear how big the dwelling is. Alexandre's team has uncovered about 900 square feet of the house, but it may have been for an extended family and could be much larger, she said.

Archaeologists also found a camouflaged entry way into a grotto, which Alexandre believes was used by Jews to hide from Roman soldiers who were battling Jewish rebels for control of the area.

The grotto could have hidden around six people for a few hours, she said.

However, Roman soldiers did not end up battling Nazareth's Jews because the hamlet had little strategic value. The Roman army was more interested in larger towns and strategic hilltop communities, she said.

Alexandre said similar camouflaged grottos were found in other ancient Jewish communities of the lower Galilee, such as the nearby biblical village of Cana, which did witness battles between Jews and Romans.

Archaeologists also found clay and chalk vessels likely used by Galilean Jews of the time. The scientists concluded a Jewish family lived there because of the chalk, which Jews used to ensure the ritual purity of the food and water kept inside the vessels.

The shards also date back to the time of Jesus, which includes the late Hellenic, early Roman period that ranges from around 100 B.C. to the first century, Alexandre said. The determination was made by comparing the findings to shards and remains typical of that period found in other parts of the Galilee, she said.

The absence of any remains of glass vessels or imported products suggested the people who lived in the dwelling were simple, but Alexandre said the remains did not indicate whether they were traders or farmers.

The only other artifacts from the time of Jesus found in the Nazareth area are ancient burial caves that provided a rough idea of the village's population at the time, Alexandre said.

Work is now taking place to clear newer ruins built above the dwelling, which will be preserved. The dwelling will become part of a new international Christian center being built close to the site and funded by a French Roman Catholic group, said Marc Hodara of the Chemin Neuf Community overseeing construction.

Alexandre said limited space and population density makes it unlikely that archaeologists can carry out further excavations in the area, leaving this dwelling to tell the story of what Jesus' boyhood home may have looked like.

The discovery at "this time, this period, is very interesting, especially as a Christian," Karam said. "For me it is a great gift."

Stop meddling with our business

 Pius XII looks at the food that the Vatican prepared for war prisoners and refugees of all races and creeds, even for those in concentration camps in Germany.

It sets me off whenever I read wise-cracking anti Catholic Jews whining over moves from the Church to beatify Pius XII.

Since when was it the business of Jews to meddle with the affairs of the Catholic Church?

Let's reciprocate.

Since when did the Jews asked the opinion of the Catholic Church when they declare someone Righteous Among Nations? DID NOT!

Since when did we hear a statement of condemnation from Jews against the religious persecutions in Asia against Catholic.  DID NOT!

To vindicate the memory of Venerable Pius XII, here's an excerpt from Wikipedia.
During the war, the pope was widely praised. For example, Time magazine credited Pius XII and the Catholic Church for "fighting totalitarianism more knowingly, devoutly, and authoritatively, and for a longer time, than any other organized power". During the war he was also praised editorially by the New York Times for opposing Nazi anti-Semitism and aggression. Some early works echoed these favorable sentiments, including Polish historian Oskar Halecki's Pius XII: Eugenio Pacelli: Pope of peace (1954) and Nazareno Padellaro's Portrait of Pius XII (1949).
Many Jews publicly thanked the pope for his help. For example, Pinchas Lapide, a Jewish theologian and Israeli diplomat to Milan in the 1960s, estimated controversially in Three Popes and the Jews that Pius "was instrumental in saving at least 700,000 but probably as many as 860,000 Jews from certain death at Nazi hands." Some historians have questioned this oft-cited number, which Lapide reached by "deducting all reasonable claims of rescue" by non-Catholics from the total number of European Jews surviving the Holocaust. Catholic scholar Kevin Madigan interprets this and other praise from prominent Jewish leaders, including Golda Meir, as less than sincere, an attempt to secure Vatican recognition of the State of Israel.

On 21 September 1945, the general secretary of the World Jewish Council, Dr. Leon Kubowitzky, presented an amount of money to the pope, "in recognition of the work of the Holy See in rescuing Jews from Fascist and Nazi persecutions."  After the war, in the autumn of 1945, Harry Greenstein from Baltimore, a close friend of Chief Rabbi Herzog of Jerusalem, told Pius how grateful Jews were for all he had done for them. "My only regret," the pope replied, "is not to have been able to save a greater number of Jews."

What upsets me the most is that after the war, the Jews whines anything they can think of and the whole world scampers to their every whim.

I am not anti-Semitic. I do not condone any form of racism. I am colored skin and I also was at the receiving end of racist remarks. I condemn the Holocaust.


Leave it at that. But to meddle in church affairs, that's a whole new ball game.

Monday, December 21, 2009

How a Christmas Tree evangelizes



VATICAN CITY, DEC. 18, 2009 ( The Christmas tree -- with its journey from a dark forest to the brilliance of decorative lights -- represents every Christian, called to share the message that the Light of the world has become man.

This was a comparison made by Benedict XVI today when he addressed a delegation from Belgium, which provided the Christmas tree for St. Peter's Square this year.

"In the forest," the Holy Father said, "the trees are close together and each one of them contributes to making the forest a shadowy, sometimes dark, place."

"But here," he continued, "chosen from among this multitude, the majestic tree that you offered us is today lit up and covered with brilliant decorations that are like so many marvelous fruits."

"Leaving aside its dark garments for a brilliant explosion, it has been transfigured, becoming a beacon of light that is not its own, but rather gives testimony to the true Light that comes to this world," the Pope suggested. [Ineffable!]

He compared the tree's destiny with that of the shepherds, who "keeping watch in the darkness of the night, are illumined by the message of the angels."

"The luck of this tree is also comparable to our own, we who are called to give good fruits to manifest that the world has truly been visited and rescued by the Lord," the Pontiff continued.

Benedict XVI said the Christmas tree, in its spot beside the Nativity scene, "shows in its own way the presence of the great mystery present in the simple and poor site of Bethlehem."

"To the inhabitants of Rome, to all the pilgrims, to all who will go to St. Peter's Square by way of the televisions of the whole world, it proclaims the coming of the Son of God."

"Through it," he told the Belgian pilgrims, "the sun of your lands and the faith of the Christian communities of your region greet the Child-God, he who has come to make new all things and to call all creatures, from the smallest to the greatest, to enter into the mystery of Redemption and be united to it."

The tree is decorated in gold and white -- the colors of the Vatican.

It is a fir from the Ardennes forest of Belgium. The 30-meter (about 100-foot) tree is 100 years old, has a 7-meter (22-foot) diameter and weighs 14 tons.

The tree was to be felled, along with others of the same forest, to allow for the growth of other nearby trees and plants.


You just gotta love Papa Benny!

Greeting Merry Christmas in three languages

In Latin, English and Tagalog...

Sit nativitatis Domini festum vobis beatum ac felix, annus novus faustus et prosperus!

A merry and blessed Christmas and a happy and prosperous new year!

Isang maligaya at mapagpalang Pasko ng Pagsilang ng Panginoon at isang manigo at masaganang bagong taon!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

KISS: Keep It Short and Simple

Thanks to Josemaria Lazaro Paulo Jeronimo Martin Carvalho-von verster, I guess an avid TPC reader (wink), for reminding me of this article in UCANews about a bishop reminding priests to keep homilies short and to the point. You can read the article here


Long talks and long articles, not my style.  Too much words, give a listening audience, let's say "communication indigestion".  There are those who write to force you to look for a thesaurus.  My professor, who was an American missionary, said that he was surprised to find Filipino authors and speakers who think they are more English than the British and the Americans, using words that he himself cannot understand!

He even finds it hard to understand why communicate to confuse.

If you have an excellent preacher at Mass, like listening to Abp. Fulton Sheen, Fr. John Corapi of EWTN, Fr. Joseph Bisig of the FSSP, an hour would seem like minutes!

For a priest who has not prepared his homily and who plucks any topic out of the air, like taking candy from a baby, 5 minutes of his talk is torture.

You can really tell how deeply spiritual a priest is with his homilies

You can also tell if the priest takes his job seriously, by the way he celebrates Mass and how he prepares his homilies, not dabbling on some off tangent topic that makes you ask after his homily "What did he just say?"

My parish priest is like that.  He starts his Mass not with the Sign of the Cross but with this greeting, "Well, well, well!  Hello!  Let's thank God!  It's getting cold because Christmas is near! (applause from people).


Got slapped (Member of SLAP that is!)

I have attended the Masses offered by these priest and when they talk, I mean they talk!

Fr. Anton Pascual of Radio Veritas

Fr. Archie Guiriba of Shalom Charismatic Community

Their favorite lines?  "Have you greeted the one seated beside you?"

SNAPSHOT: Twitter time

Bishop at the back (left):  He just would not listen!  No twitting while the pope is talking!
Bishop on the right:  Wow!  I must get Plants and Zombies on my phone!
Bishop in the center:  I must email this to Pinoy Catholic.


Just dreaming.

Friday, December 18, 2009

GULP Report: Vestment Alert! A rare one for the Philippines

The investigative work of God's Undercover Liturgical Police (GULP) who are also members of SLAP (Survivors of Liturgical Abuse in Parishes) is still on going.  Armed with the latest gadgets in capturing excellent and not-so-good liturgical practices, the GULP now becomes Liturgical Fashion Police and sends you this from the Philippines.

Last Sunday was Gaudete Sunday and as the liturgical books says, the color of the liturgical color of the day MUST BE ROSE, not pink, but ROSE, not violet or purple, but ROSE.

So I found this rare vestment worn by a young priest in Manila. He obligingly posed for me to have his photo taken albeit his face hidden for fear of jibes from hippies-priest of the aggiornamento decades.  Hmm. What is it with these old guys and the splendid vestments of old?  Can someone care to tell me why?

Anyways, enjoy the photos.


                                      FRONT                                                             BACK





I'll try to get the name and address of the one who makes these wonderful vestments.  I heard that it is hand-made.  Very exquisite work!  She even makes a Traditional Latin Mass set!  Cool!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Blessed John Paul II in Oct. 16?

Is this rumor or fact?  You decide. From Agence France-Presse

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI is poised to move his predecessor John Paul II a step closer to sainthood in the coming days by declaring the late pontiff "venerable," an Italian magazine reported.

The decision would pave the way for the late pope to be beatified at a ceremony planned for next year in Rome, Panorama magazine said in its edition to be published Thursday.

And beatification would leave the late pontiff just one step from canonisation, and full sainthood.

A beatification ceremony in the capital, which could attract crowds of up to 1 million people, is being planned for October 16, the magazine said.

The date has been chosen to mark the anniversary of John Paul's election to the papacy on October 16, 1978.

The path to sainthood usually takes decades if not centuries, but Benedict launched the beatification process for John Paul just 2 months after his death in April, 2005.

If John Paul is beatified in October next year, he will have gone through the process faster than Mother Teresa, the nun remembered for her work with the poor and sick who was beatified six years after her death.

Two stages must still be completed for John Paul to be beatified. First, his "heroic virtues" must be recognised, which the Vatican's Congregation for the Causes of Saints last month agreed to approve.

Benedict must now agree with this, and John Paul will then be proclaimed "venerable."

The final stage for beatification is providing evidence of a miracle, usually a medical cure with no scientific explanation which is reviewed by several commissions.

In John Paul's case, the miracle is said to have taken place when a French nun was cured of Parkinson's disease in 2005.

Benedict will once again have to give the final approval on the miracle.


An earlier report once said that the late pontiff will be beatified on April 2, 2010, the anniversary of his death.

Something to cool me off

I am under so much stress the past days, not exactly from work, but from a fellow manager who looves to talk and talk and talk of his ideas of what we should and must do.  But is faster than a speeding bullet in pointing who should be the one to do the job.  A bureaucratic Houdini if I may say.

Thank the Lord my fellow officemates sent me this email and prayer and I a little reprieve from the politician-cum manager of an officemate.

Click on the image for a larger view

This prayer also comes to mind.

Nada te turbe;
nada te espante;
todo se pasa;
Dios no se muda,
la paciencia
todo lo alcanza.
Quien a Dios tiene,
nada le falta.
Solo Dios basta.


May nothing disturb you.
May nothing astonish you.
Everything passes.
God does not go away.
can attain anything.
He who has God within,
does not lack anything.
God is enough!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Beautiful Prayer for Priests

I found this beautiful prayer for the Year of the Priests in the website of the Archdiocese of Manila.

I would like to share this with all of you, dear TPC readers.


Act of Love of St. John Vianney [This is one of my favorite prayers]

I love You, O my God, and my sole desire is to love You until the last breath of my life. I love You, O infinitely lovable God, and I prefer to die loving You than to live one instant without loving You.

I love You, O my God, and I do not desire anything but heaven so as to have the joy of loving You perfectly.

I love You, O my God, and I fear hell, because there will not be the sweet consolation of loving You.

O my God, if my tongue cannot say in every moment that I love You, I want my heart to say it in every beat. Allow me the grace to suffer loving You, to love you suffering, and one day to die loving You and feeling that I love You. And as I approach my end, I beg you to increase and perfect my love of You.

Prayer to St John Marie Vianney

St. John Marie Vianney, your life was a complete offering to God for the service of all; we pray that through the power of the Holy Spirit we may all respond today, with courage to the challenges of our personal vocation.

You were an assiduous adorer of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. Help us to approach the Holy Eucharist with faith and reverence, so that we may enjoy his abiding presence in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

You were a friend of sinners. You always reminded them: “Your sins are just like grains of sand in front of the great mountain of the mercy of God.” Loosen the bonds of fear that prevents us to approach the mercy of God: help us to be truly sorrow for our sins. Help us to discover the true face of God who always waits for the return of the prodigal son.

You were always a help to the poor: “My secret is simple; it is to give all and to keep nothing for myself.” Teach us to share with those who are in need, help us to be free from our attachments to money and to all false riches.

You were a loving child of the Blessed Mother, “your most lasting affection.” Teach us to turn to her with simplicity and confidence of a child.
You are now the example of pastors of the world. Let your pastoral charity lead the pastors of our times to discover the bond that unites all without discrimination of persons; give them the love for the Church, the passion for the apostolate, and the strength in the face of many difficulties.

Inspire our young people to understand the grandeur of the priestly ministry and the joy to embrace the call of the Good Shepherd.

Holy Cure of Ars, intercede for us. Obtain for us what we ask for in faith, especially the fruitfulness of the this Year for the Priests (mention your personal petitions), you are the humble and faithful pastor, ever faithful in the service of God and all. Amen

Lay person’s prayer for the Sanctification of Priests

Lord Jesus, through the intercession of St. John Mary Vianney, we your people pray to you for our priests. You have given them to us for our needs. We pray for them in their needs.

We know that you have made them priests in the likeness of your own priesthood. You have consecrated them, set them aside, anointed them, filled them with the Holy Spirit, appointed them to teach, to preach, to minister, to console, to forgive, and to feed us with Your Body and Blood.

Yet we know, too, that they are one with us and share our human weaknesses. We know too that they are tempted to sin and discouragement as we are, needing to be ministered to, as do we, to be consoled and forgiven, as do we. Indeed, we thank You for choosing them among us so that they understand as we understand them, suffer with us and rejoice with us, worry with us and trust with us, share our beings, our lives, our faith.

We ask that you give them this day the gift you gave your chosen ones on the way to Emmaus: Your presence in their hearts, your holiness in their souls, your joy in their spirits. And let them see you face to face in the breaking of the Eucharistic bread.

We pray to you, our Lord, through Mary the Mother of all priests, for your priests and for ours.

Holy Mary, intercede for your priests.
St. Joseph, protect them.
St. Michael, defend them.
St. John Mary Vianney, pray for them.



Please include me and my family, and my brother who is a priest, in your prayers as I include you in mine especially during my Eucharistic Adoration.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

A newly installed Pinoy bishop tells his flock his priorities

from UCANews

Care for the poor and environmental protection will play important roles in Bishop Joel Baylon's ministry as bishop of Legazpi. [Here we go again.]

In his diocese, farmers are "deprived of the land they can call their own because of mining activities encroaching on their properties" and fisher folk are "deprived by big companies," said the 55-year-old bishop during his installation Mass.

"We as a Church should dare to speak in the name of truth and defend those who are being oppressed and taken advantage of," he said during the Dec. 10 ceremony at Legazpi's Cathedral of Saint Gregory the Great.

Agriculture and fishing are the main livelihoods of many people in the Bicol region's Albay province where his diocese is located.

When Pope Benedict XVI appointed him bishop of Legazpi last October, he was serving as bishop of Masbate, the region's poorest province according to a 2006 census.

Under his lead, the Masbate Church protested against the danger brought by open-pit mining operations, primarily for gold, in the town of Aroroy. Church opposition intensified earlier this year after the deaths of two children fueled suspicion that chemicals and other toxic waste were seeping into drinking water sources and the sea.

Bishop Baylon told UCA News at his installation that Legazpi diocese will continue to oppose mining on Rapu-Rapu Island if it harms the environment and endangers lives.

He said the Church, with help from Jesuit-owned Ateneo de Naga and various NGOs, has obtained data and "scientific proof that mining is harming the fragile flora and fauna in the region."

He stressed the Church is an "advocate" with no policing power. "We can't force those companies to leave the island." Instead, "We will continue to encourage dialogue with all involved -- farmers, miners and local and regional governments who have the power to enforce decisions," the bishop said.

Bishop Baylon said he will also involve youths in forest protection. The bishop heads the Episcopal Commission on Youth.

The bishop is a native of Camarines Sur province, also in the Bicol region. He was ordained a priest in 1978 and was made bishop after a 20-year ministry that included serving as secretary at the apostolic nunciature in Manila.

President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo was among more than 3,000 people who attended his recent installation Mass.

Thirty-six priests serve more than 1.13 million Catholics in 43 parishes in Legazpi, aided by 156 nuns, 12 brothers and 86 seminarians.


Is this in the job description of a bishop?

Maybe he forgot his primary role as a bishop and spends more time on "other matters".

Don't get me wrong.  What he advocates is important but from the way he sounded, it looks like he'll devote 90% of his time and energy towards environmental protection and the measely 10% to actual governance.

I am no bishop and I can't tell what he must do.  But I am a Roman Catholic Christian and I know what my catechism tells me about what a bishop ought to be.

Still my question begs to be answered...

Do you need episcopal consecration to pursue environmental protection?

What happened to these descriptions of a bishop?
  • Successor to the Apostles:
  • Visible Source and Foundation of Unity of the Local Church:
  • Herald of the Faith
  • Steward of Grace
  • Shepherd of Souls 

WHAAT?!?! No champion of the environment?!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Another Knights of Columbus supported project

That is the bronze monument tomb of Pope Sixtus IV who reigned from 1471 to 1484. He rose to the Throne of Peter at the time, when Rome was  ramshackle town due to abandonment to Avignon in the 14th century.  He repaired the city and famously constructed the Sistine Chapel, hence the name of the chapel.

His tomb was commissioned by Pope Julius II, who was his nephew.  The tomb took two years to restore.  This project was funded by the Knights of Columbus along with the restoration of the facade of St. Peter's.

I am proud to be a Knight!

To read more of the story of Sixtus' tomb, click here.

How to foster priestly vocation in young male kids

Take note! Male kids.

And how to foster it?  Let's ask Archbishop Raymund Burke:

"When I was in first grade, I used to like to play Mass with the participation of my siblings and neighboring children. My parents bought for me a Mass kit for children, which was available at the time. [...] To this day I feel badly that it was lost somewhere along the way. [...] I can tell you that the little Mass kit played its part in fostering my vocation to the priesthood."

Two points.

One, I would LOVE to get my hands on that Mass kit play set!  What a wonderful way to help foster vocations to the priesthood.  I know my wife would get mad if I give this to our only son, but... what the heck!  It's a toy, right?  And a healthy one at that!  No gun firing, no violence, no carnapping, etc.

Two, manufacturers of this kit must put a label "For boys only!" unless we start getting little girls playing like Jefferts-Schori (belch!)


By the way, the quote above was from an article from Zenit which you can read here.  It mentions a store named Wee Believers who makes toys that help strengthen the faith of little catholic children.  Here is the play Mass kit that they are selling.

retails for $76.49.  Kit includes twelve cleanable pieces and a detailed companion booklet contained in a durable, canvas case. Crucifix, Chalice, Thurible, Finger Bowl, 2 Cruets, 2 Candles, Paten (cotton/polyester blend), Corporal & Purificator (cotton cloth), and play Hosts (foam). All other pieces are cotton/polyester blend, carrying case is nylon. Ages 3-8. MagnifiKid! included while supplies last.  Made in Thailand. Kit and pieces are created from all new materials. Companion booklet and packaging sleeve are printed on 80% recycled materials

Just a few more clicks of the keyboard and mouse, and voila!  Here's more:

retails for $49.99.  You can buy it here.

And here's another one

Here's what they had to say:
Looking for an awesome visual and tangible activity that makes the Mass more meaningful for your kids? Do you want a terrific tangible tool for explaining the sacred vessels and linens used? Would you like to know what a corporal or an incense boat is? Do they know the names and uses of the things they see on the altar?

Not bad, eh?

Maybe a good Christmas gift for our kids.

DISCLAIMER:  The companies above are not paying any advertising fee to be featured on my blog. (damn!)  I featured them so that you may have better choices as gifts for our kids this Christmas. (Huzzah!)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Back to blogging

Just got back from a long business trip.  No internet connection from where I went and even no cellphone signal!

Welcome to the new century!

Anways, back to blogging!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

This bishop knows what is needed to be done!

(At least in the area of peace and order that is...)

The Philippines is now officially more dangerous to journalists than Iraq. Yes that's true. No thanks to those murderous clans in the south where they kill anyone who goes up against them, even if they are still going to file their certificate of candidacy.

One thing led to another until the president declared martial law in the province where the massacre of 57 men and women, one is 4-months pregnant, happened. Most of the victims are journalists covering the supposed-to-be filing of candidacy. For more details, click here.

As expected, politically smart-aleck bishops, gave their unsolicited comments on the declaration of martial law.

Martial law still leaves a bad taste in the mouth as the country has not gotten over what Marcos and his goons did to the country.  So it is understandable to get such frantic reactions.

But quite frankly, from someone who lived and worked in that province for more than 6 years, declaring Martial law is the next best thing!

Political clans live off the blood of their nemesis.  It's like going back to the pre-Spanish times in the country where the word of the Datu is the rule of law.


State of emergency not enough to solve Maguindanao crisis, says prelate

COTABATO CITY, December 8, 2009 — Saying that he favors the imposition of martial law for “short period of time,” Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo [pictured at right] also said that even a “state of emergency” did not seem adequate to solve the complex problem in Maguindanao.

Martial law critics said that the imposition of military rule in Maguindanao is part and parcel of the great plan of the Arroyo administration to impose martial law in the country. They said, “state of emergency” would have been enough. [Unfortunately, these loud mouths did not even live in Maguindanao nor have they stayed long enough to know what the real situation in Maguindanao is, peace time or not.]

But, Cotabato Archbishop Orlando Quevedo said that when the government imposed the state of emergency it did not really help solve the problem.

“The state of emergency did not seem adequate to cope with the situation. The situation of injustice and unpeace in Maguindanao is very complex and it needs a very extraordinary measure to solve it,” said Quevedo. [I totally agree!]

He also reminded the opponents of Martial law especially in Manila to understand the “complex situation” in Maguindanao.

Media and politicians from far away Manila do not seem to be familiar with these social, political, and cultural situation in Maguindanao,” said Archbishop Quevedo, adding:

“They seem to think that the police and the military can easily go into an area and just arrest the suspected culprits.” [Just like what I said.  What if we bring these know-it-all chin waggers to Maguindanao and let us see if they'll talk about peace and justice the same way again?]

Quevedo said that Martial law as a last resort in Maguindanao is being prayed to help solve the already abnormal situation.

“One has to consider the incredible proliferation of firearms, legal and illegal, throughout the province—and these not only in the hands of so-called warlords, civilian volunteers and police. Liquidations by motorcycle-riding men, kidnapping by armed groups, despite deterrence provided by the army’s Operation Tugis, still occasionally take place,” he said. [Which was very common when I was there.]

He added that guns seem to be everywhere in Maguindanao [like politicians banners here in Manila, they are everywhere!] and that the functioning of courts of justice and of election bodies have been highly suspected for a long time partly due to the political allegiances of court officers.

“Competence, transparency, and accountability in political governance in many places have to be significantly improved. In Maguindanao, family name and relationships is most important,” said Quevedo.

Meanwhile, Cotabateños on the feast of the Immaculate Conception also offered prayer for the victims of Maguindanao massacre and their families. [The archdiocese's patroness is the Immaculate Conception.]

Quevedo reiterated their call for the quick apprehension and fair trial of all suspects including the disbanding of all armed groups, the confiscation of all illegal arms, the reform and restructuring of electoral, peace and security agencies.

“We pray for the arrest and prosecution of kidnapping and liquidating bandits groups. We pray for the return of functioning governing municipal and regional agencies not beholden to any political name. We pray for all the people of Maguindanao, Christian, Muslims, Lumads, Buddhists, Confucianists, etc that all may live in peace together as brothers and sisters, with leaders that are, in a very true sense, public servants,” said Quevedo. [With Muslims?  Nah.]


If there is one bishop who knows what is really going on in that part of the Philippines, Quevedo is the one. He is the Archbishop of Cotabato and Maguindanao is in his archdiocese.  And he KNOWS what it is to be there.

So I hope that those who are against the declaration of Martial Law think before they talk.  Archbishop Cruzz, please enjoy your early retirement and just ..... up!  You don't know what goes on in Maguindanao.

Don't get me wrong.  I am no fan of Gloria Arroyo.  I even hope to see her and her family behind bars after she steps down.  With the vast amount of money that Gloria, her husband and sons stole from the country's coffers, Ferdinand and Imelda Marcos' would look like petty pick pockets of the streets of Quiapo, Manila!

But if there's one thing that she did that I totally support her, this is it!

RANT TIME: Something to make you scratch your head!

Thanks to TPC reader, Josemaria Lazaro Paulo Jeronimo Martin Carvalho-von verster, for alerting me to this.

If you think altar girls can make you shake your head, wait till you read this!


KOREA Parish progresses from altar boys to ‘altar families’

SEOUL (UCAN) -- A parish in Korea now has entire families as altar servers during Mass, [is this a liturgical dynasty or what?] a move that family members say has strengthened their bonds and deepened their faith in a special way. [really?  So the family that serves at the altar together, attends Mass together?  Sorry Father Peyton for toying with your famous rallying cry.  But puhleease! We got to church as a family EVEN if we are not in the sanctuary!  Is this a family's motivation to go to Mass?]

"I was surprised when our parish priest asked me and my whole family to serve as an 'altar family.' [Damn right you are!  You're not the only one!] I had never heard of this before," [Damn right you are again!] said Athanasius Kim Gi-ho, who instructs altar servers at Nammok Church in Pusan diocese.

He and his two sons had assisted priests separately as altar servers in the past, but not his wife. So his family had to practice a bit for a few days before serving at Mass together.

When the Mass was over, parishioners gave them a round of applause, [Nice performance?  Did they sing and dance?  So the people went to Mass to see the serving family and got the spectacle of their lives Great!] Kim recalled. "I have never been so honored and I was so proud of my family," the parish council member said.

Several parishes in Korea have families serving at the altar, but Nammok is the first Pusan diocese parish to do so, according to Father Justine Jun Dong-ki, diocesan pastoral director. [Silent dissent.]

The parish priest, Father Augustine Kim Weon-seok, commented that people nowadays are so busy that that they find it hard to spend time with their families. "That's why I suggested the service last March. It also helps deepen their faith," he said. [Why not just go to Mass together and sit at the same pew together, eh?]

If a whole family is not available, couples can serve at the altar without their children, he added. [Now they have liturgical provisions for uncomplete families!  I thought this was meant to bring the family together!]

Iliano Kim Yong-soo and his wife, Seraphina An Chang-im, are one such couple.

“We discussed a lot” before serving together, Kim said. “When I was actually assisting the priest at the altar with my wife, I felt an unspeakable joy from inside me which I never experienced before." [Ho-hum.  Can we have some chips in here?  A Korean verison of Dynasty is on TV.]

An said it would have been better had their two children served with them. But they were away at university, and the whole family served together only later. [Oh.]

Father Jun says the practice of having altar family servers is "recommendable and relevant to Catholics today." [I heard that term too before.  Relevant today!  Like women priests, gay bishops.  Some bishops in medieval times even said that divorcing the rightfully married queen so that their adulterous king can marry another woman in order to produce a successor to the throne!  Oh yeah.  Relevant for their day and where is that church headed?  Relevant...I'd call that "Easy-way-for-me-to-do-what-I-want-even-if-it-is-forbidden!"]

He pointed out that family members often do not attend Mass together. “The children go to Sunday school while adults attend Mass. We need things that a family can do together, both at home and in the church." [And this is his brilliant plan!]

Traditionally, only boys assisted Catholic priests during Mass, and the term "altar boys" came into general use. In 1994, a letter from the Vatican to episcopal conferences around the world affirmed that altar service can be performed by male and female laypeople.

Below is an excerpt of a response to a letter from the then prefect of the Congregation for the Divine Worship, Jorge Cardinal Medina Estevez.  This letter issued in July 2001, was issued in response to a bishop's question also known as a dubium concerning the possible admission of girls and women as altar servers. The response, which was a further explanation of the Circular Letter of 1994 as mentioned above, especially on the matter granting permission for bishops to admit female altar servers, made it clear that only a diocesan bishop may decide whether to permit female servers in his diocese; furthermore, that no priest is obliged to have female servers, even in dioceses where this is permitted. The letter stressed that no one has a "right" to serve at the altar, and also strongly reaffirmed that altar boys should be encouraged

Here is the excerpt


In accord with the above cited instructions of the Holy See such an authorization may not, in any way, exclude men or, in particular, boys from service at the altar, nor require that priests of the diocese would make use of female altar servers, since "it will always be very appropriate to follow the noble tradition of having boys serve at the altar" (Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conference, March 15, 1994, no. 2). Indeed, the obligation to support groups of altar boys will always remain, not least of all due to the well known assistance that such programs have provided since time immemorial in encouraging future priestly vocations (cf. ibid.) [Get that?  Priestly vocations from where?  Young boys, of course but if you give the impression to this young girls that they can too move up a notch higher in the sanctuary and end up like Jefferts-Schori.]

With respect to whether the practice of women serving at the altar would truly be of pastoral advantage in the local pastoral situation, [is it really a pastoral question or another slimy approach towards women's rights?] it is perhaps helpful to recall that the non-ordained faithful do not have a right to service at the altar, [service in the Church is not a matter that you can bark at the United Nations if you are not allowed to or something you take to the streets.  It is a privilege and only Holy Mother Church gives that privilege!] rather they are capable of being admitted to such service by the Sacred Pastors (cf. Circular Letter to the Presidents of Episcopal Conferences, March 15, 1994, no. 4, cf. also can 228, §1, Interdicasterial Instruction Esslesiae de mysterio, August 15, 1997, no. 4, see Notitiae 34 [1998] 9-42). Therefore, in the event that Your Excellency found it opportune to authorize service of women at the altar, it would remain important to explain clearly to the faithful the nature of this innovation, lest confusion might be introduced, thereby hampering the development of priestly vocations. [Confusion?  Hmm... I think women priests are some of it.  Oh yeah, nuns in pants are too!]


What's your take on this?

To encourage more families to go to Mass together, we make them altar servers?

Please help me.  I'm having migraine attacks trying to make sense out of that proposition.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Tota pulchra es, Maria!

The high altar of the Minor Basilica and Metropolitan Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception also known as the Manila Cathedral.

My boss who was a principal sponsor in a wedding held at the Manila Basilica-Cathedral, asked me what the letters in the ciborium that covers the statue of our Lady in the Basilica. He knows I know Latin and he asked me for a quick translation which his relatives in attendance, who are Born-against Christians (very rabidly anti-Catholic) were asking the meaning of. According to him, they called the Latin inscription some sort "of medieval magic thing." Duh!

Well, here is the beautiful prayer and its meaning.

Tota pulchra es, Maria
et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.


You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
Your clothing is white as snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people.
You are all beautiful, Mary.

Viva Immaculada Concepcion!

My favorite representations of our Lady, The Immaculate Conception.

The traditional one by Murillo

Where she taught us to pray, "O Mary conceived without original sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee."

Where she declared to the whole world, that SHE IS THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION

Arch of Manila reminds priests of decorum in celebrating Eucharist

We are all aware of the meaning our celebration of the Eucharist. [Are we?] And in this sacrifice that we offer the presence of Jesus Christ in the bread and wine that the priests consecrate. [Hmmm.  It's not just His presence.  It is Him Who is present.  He offers Himself.  Priest and Victim.]  There is no need to reiterate the sacredness of the Sacred Host because of what it [He] is.

It is in this regard that we issue the following reminders with the aim of according the Sacred Host the proper respect and dignified treatment. Also these practices are aimed at preventing transmission of diseases through human contact. [Watch this.  This is more of the disease thing than the respect it purports to trumpet.]

Priests celebrating the mass and distributing communion should see to it that their hands are clean because these will handle the Sacred Host.  The hands should also be free of any element (dirt or substances that can be passed on to others through the Sacred Host).

The Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion distributing Holy Communion at a specified Mass should also observe the same cleanliness of hands as indicated above.

Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion should wash their hands if possible with soap and water or with sanitizer lotion or gel. But this should not be done as if this becomes an added liturgical action within the celebration of the Mass. [Meaning it should be done OUTSIDE of Mass.]

To avoid having their hands get in touch with dirt or possible germs, it is suggested that they [who?] assume the praying position [orans?  or clasped hands] during the duration of the Mass. It is also advised that they [who? both priest and EMHC?] do not handle money at any time during the Mass or after they have washed their hands. As much as possible they should not also touch their hair or faces, again, actions which a praying position can prevent.

We will appreciate all efforts on your part to observe the practices which we have suggested above. We are sure that by doing so we will enhance further our spiritual affinity with the ministry while at the same being witnesses to the faithful of the proper respect and honor that we should all accord the Sacred Host.

Thank you.


Are clean hands the only way we can treat the Sacred Host with respect?

Why so suddenly is the Archdiocese of Manila so Mysophobic?

How about the priest doing this?

In the TLM, after the consecration of the Host, the priest keeps his forefinger and thumb together of both hands. These fingers DO NOT touch anything other than the Sacred Host.  Notice this frame grab from a Traditional Mass in the Henceville Alabama Shrine of Mother Angelica.

 This is the liturgically correct position, YET, this is not emphasized in the Manila directive. Is this not respectful? Or this is not part of the disease thing?

How about this? Will this generate respect for the Eucharist?

Maybe we can start banning this form of communion if we really mean respect for the Eucharist, eh?

Just asking.

My take on the directive?  Better something than nothing.  But next time, mean what you say and say what you mean!  If it is for respect, then don't do it half-baked!

And before, I end this post, let us listen to some words of wisdom from a "not so known" theologian (at least from the guys at Maryhill!)
"Out of reverence towards this sacrament, nothing touches it, but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and chalice are consecrated, and likewise the priest's hands, for touching this sacrament."
-ST. THOMAS AQUINAS, Summa Theologica

Monday, December 7, 2009

SNAPSHOT: Archbishop visits cloistered Dominican nuns

Sisters, for the nth time. There is no such thing as a canonical "parole"!

Meditations for the Year of the Priest

Capuchin Friar Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa, Apostolic Preacher at the Vatican since 1980, will be starting the traditional Friday meditations for Advent in the Papal chapel, Redemptoris Mater, today. The subject of the meditations will be "Ministers of Christ and dispensers of the mystery of God."

Fr. Cantalamessa said that the series will "follow in line with the scope of Holy Father Benedict XVI's designation of the Year of the Priest..."

He said that the the meditations will "shed light on the original identity of 'the spirit of each priesthood,' returning to the foundation among all of the historic tasks and details taken on over the course of the centuries."

He added that the meditations will center around two biblical passages:

"Thus should one regard us: as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. " (1 Corinthians 4:1) 


"Every high priest is taken from among men and made their representative before God, to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins. " (Hebrews 5:1)



Nothing about politics and about environmental protection...

"to offer gifts and sacrifices for sins."  Hmmm... another nail on the coffin of Liberation Theology and Participative Liturgy?


Sunday, December 6, 2009

A gift for those who bought the Da Vinci Code

There have been many books written about the rubbish and I believe this book will set the record-straight.  The intent of the authors drew me to post this on TPC.

Courtesy of


Righting the Da Vinci Code Record: Inside Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries

By Carrie Gress

NEW YORK, DEC. 4, 2009 ( Truth is always more interesting than fiction, say the authors of "Secret Places, Hidden Sanctuaries."

In this interview with ZENIT, authors Stephen Klimczuk and Gerald Warner discuss debunking the falsehoods in "The Da Vinci Code" and their survey of the authentic mysteries that span the globe.

Q: What was the inspiration for writing this book?

Klimczuk: Having watched the explosion of interest worldwide in gnosticism, "alternative history," secret societies, the occult, Templar myths, conspiracy theories, government cover-ups, UFOs and the like, we felt there was an urgent need for someone to step forward and set the record straight across a wide spectrum of subjects that are actually fundamentally related on some level.

What started gradually some two decades ago with the New Age movement and such precursors to Dan Brown's books as "Holy Blood, Holy Grail" (with its bogus claims of "proof" that Christ married and left descendants) has since become a global multi-billion dollar industry and a substitute for religion for tens, if not hundreds, of millions of people.

We thought that the right kind of compendium could provide a robust and skeptical debunking of esoteric nonsense, while highlighting potentially authentic mysteries of genuine interest -- on the principle that truth is actually more interesting, satisfying, and even entertaining than falsehood.

According to one poll, some 6 million people in Britain believe that Dan Brown's books are true. This seems to be a particularly fertile time for quacks, frauds and false prophets.

Q: Many of the sites in your book are Catholic. It is the Church's extensive history that provides so many sites, or do you think there is something particular about Catholicism, as opposed to say Protestantism, that lends itself to mystery?

Warner: Most certainly. The word "mystery" permeates Catholic belief and theology: the Mystery of the Blessed Trinity, the Mysteries of the Rosary, and so on.

One of the many things that differentiates the Catholic mentality from the secular is the humility whereby we acknowledge that so much of God's Providence is unknowable to our puny human intellect, unlike secular scientists who press on with investigation of the universe in the humanist delusion that one day everything will have been explained satisfactorily.

It is true that, as Catholics, we have a right, even a duty, to attempt respectfully to find out more about God and his intentions for us. But we do so within the context of acknowledging our own limitations and seeking only knowledge that may be of help to us in working out our salvation.

Klimczuk: One only needs to visit the bare, whitewashed church interiors in the Protestant parts of Switzerland, Holland, Scotland and America's New England region to realize that there is something in the Reformed tradition that was (and is) deeply uncomfortable with mystery and the mystical, and with rich iconography and visual symbolism.

So it's not surprising that so many of the sites we cover in our book are Catholic -- or Eastern Orthodox, as with our reportage of the Monastery of St. Catherine of Sinai, the Autonomous Monastic Republic of Holy Mount Athos, and the former Great Church of Holy Wisdom (now the Hagia Sophia museum in Istanbul).

Those of us who are Latin Catholics would do well to note that the Eastern churches refer to what we call the sacraments as the "holy mysteries" -- a beautiful complement to our understanding of sacramental life.

Q: The first chapter of your book deals with the "secrets" of "The Da Vinci Code." From your research, are any of them valid?

Klimczuk: Although Dan Brown writes at the beginning of "The Da Vinci Code" that his novel is based on genuine facts about the Priory of Sion, Opus Dei, various "secret rituals" and other matters, it's actually hard to find anything that passes any reasonable test for historical accuracy.

Not only was Opus Dei falsely portrayed, but the so-called Priory of Sion was a colossal hoax cooked up in 1956 by a convicted French fraudster.

In our book, we also take the readers on a detailed tour of Rennes-le-Chateau in France and Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland, two sites which play a key role in the myths spun in "The Da Vinci Code."

It's just possible to ascribe some limited authenticity to the shocking sex rite depicted in the book, as similar rituals have had a place in some pagan and neopagan rites.

Warner: If Dan Brown wants to amass a great fortune through his writing then I, as a fellow writer, say good luck to him. But he could have done so without concocting an offensive blasphemy against Our Lord and St. Mary Magdalene, to which I strongly object.

As a British resident, as soon as I found the aircraft from the United States that Brown depicts descending over "the misty hills of Kent," I realized we were entering a very esoteric landscape indeed, considering that flat Kent, famous for its hop fields, is known as the "Garden of England."

Q: How did your knowledge of Catholicism help you to substantiate or debunk many of the false claims in the Da Vinci code and other secret places in general?

Klimczuk: Fides et Ratio -- faith and reason -- clearly go together, but one doesn't have to be Catholic or indeed any kind of practicing Christian to exercise discernment given the avalanche of bizarre claims that has hit the marketplace.

Any reasonable person of good will could conceivably begin with the available facts, always a good starting point.

Warner: Yes, that’s right. Any moderately educated agnostic would be able to see through most of the hocus that is swamping the Internet and crowding the bookshops.

Q: What have been the most surprising secret sanctuaries you found?

Klimczuk:  Perhaps the most important site we cover is one of the least known: Wewelsburg Castle, in Germany, which was Heinrich's Himmler's "Black Camelot" and "Nazi Vatican" -- the centerpiece of the Nazi pseudo-religion that brought so much suffering to the world.

When visitors to Auschwitz ask, "How could they do it?" we think the answer lies at least partly in this too-little-known Westphalian castle.

Of course, people are fascinated by pirate stories and legends of buried treasure, and we think it is quite possible, for reasons we explain, that the greatest undiscovered treasure of all time remains concealed on the island of Montecristo in the Mediterranean.

It is also an Italian government total exclusion zone, and even sailboats and fishing vessels are forbidden from getting too close. All this makes for a very good tale, and one that has the ring of plausibility.

We couldn't write a book of this kind without covering theories of the survival of the Ark of Covenant and of the Holy Grail.

It is just possible that the Ark has survived and is kept in a small chapel in Aksum, Ethiopia, where a monk (who is its guardian for life) guards it. However, since no other person on earth is allowed to see it, it's not possible to verify the claims.

As for the cup used by Christ at the Last Supper, the most plausible existing object is the Holy Chalice of Valencia in Spain, with which Benedict XVI celebrated Mass when he was there.

The Church makes no claims about its authenticity, and it is not associated with any mystical, supernatural or miraculous phenomena. We take the view that this is not surprising, given that -- in some sense -- every chalice used at Catholic Mass (or at Orthodox divine liturgy) is the Holy Grail, as time and space are rendered obsolete in the mystery of the Eucharist.

That would arguably make the original holy cup, should it still exist, no more or less exalted than any other consecrated chalice used around the world today.

Q: Why do you think secret places have found such a niche in our culture? Is there something particular about our era, such as more information because of the Internet, or is this a timeless interest?

Klimczuk: This interest in secret places, hidden history and gnostic ideas is not a passing fad -- it is likely to with us in even further strengthened form in the years and decades to come.

When you combine rapid societal change and disorientation, the natural, perennial human hunger for the spiritual, and a low standard of religious and historical literacy, this is what you get. One might even say that it is the world's fastest-growing "industry."

Benedict XVI's emphasis on restoring the beauty, integrity and richness of the liturgy is one way of responding to a world hungering for something genuinely satisfying.

We think of the words of Father Walton Hannah, a Church of England clergyman who emigrated to Canada in the late 1950s and became a Catholic priest: "[given the elimination of] most of the color, glamour, and ceremonial from Christian worship, ... When the soul is starved of these elements in religion, it will naturally tend to compensate itself in less desirable ways."

Warner: Humanity's need for the numinous cannot be denied. The dubious quotation often attributed to G.K. Chesterton -- that when man ceases to believe in God he does not believe in nothing, but will believe in anything -- is sadly true.



Friday, December 4, 2009

Great new Facebook Group

I found this great new group on Facebook.  "GET BACK IN THE BOX".  It is a "Movement to Encourage Catholics to frequent the Sacrament of Reconciliation / Penance".  It was recommended to me by a very dear friend and I encourage those with Facebook accounts to join in.

When was the last time you received this sacrament?

See the guy behind the confession screen?

Other great FB groups are SLAP (Survivors of Liturgical Abuse of Parishes), GULP (God's Undercover Liturgical Police).  Come and join!

Pass the word!


Just in...from Zenit

Benedict XVI Invites Faithful to Confession 

Notes 25 Years Since John Paul II's Document on Sacrament

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 2, 2009 ( Benedict XVI today encouraged the faithful -- and particularly priests -- to trust in God's goodness and approach the sacrament of confession.

The Pope spoke of this sacrament today as he concluded the general audience in St. Peter's Square. In his customary greeting to youth, the sick and newlyweds, he observed that today marks the 25th anniversary of Pope John Paul II's apostolic exhortation, "Reconciliatio et paenitentia."

The document "called attention to the importance of the sacrament of penance [hmm interesting term the Holy Father used.] in the life of the Church," the Holy Father said. And he pointed to some "extraordinary 'apostles of the confessional,' tireless dispensers of divine mercy: Sts. John Mary Vianney, Joseph Cafasso, Leopold Mandic, Pio of Pietrelcina."[Another reason why Papa Benny declared the Year of the Priest!  I personally experience priests who are devoted to this Sacrament exude an aura of holiness around them.  And related to that, they celebrate Mass, solemnly!  Do you notice the same in your priests?  Share your thoughts.]

Turning to youth, he expressed his hope that the witness of these saints would be an encouragement "to flee from sin and to plan your future as a generous service to God and neighbor."

The Holy Father continued: "May it help you, dear sick people, to experience in suffering the mercy of Christ crucified. And may it solicit you, dear newlyweds, to create in the family a climate of faith and of mutual understanding."[Calls to mind the great apostolic letter of John Paul II, "Salvifici Doloris".  Worth reading!]

Finally, the Pontiff expressed his wish that these saints -- "assiduous and faithful ministers of divine forgiveness" -- would be for priests especially and for all Christians "an invitation to always have confidence in God's goodness, approaching and celebrating with trust the sacrament of reconciliation."