Monday, August 31, 2009

Fr. Robert A. Sirico: Kennedy the Catholic And Certian Boston Jesuits

(Here) is an excerpt of Fr. Sirico's latest article from the NRO.

James Joyce once remarked that the Catholic Church was
“Here comes everybody,”
and while I relish the experience of being part of a Church rather than a sect, a Church in which there are a host of matters on which faithful Catholics can disagree,
I also recognize that there are some defining issues from which are derived the very sense of a shared identity.
From my own life and in my pastoral work, I understand that not everyone lives up to the demands of the faith all the time. Graham Greene’s famed “whiskey priest” in The Power and the Glory was the prototype of an essentially good, yet flawed man.

Yet there are some matters so grave that they go beyond mere flaws and work to diminish or even fracture an identity. I fear that this will be part of Ted Kennedy’s legacy, notwithstanding his other personal weaknesses.

What might the face of the Democratic party,
indeed American politics, today look like if Ted Kennedy had, instead of reversing himself, maintained the unflinching stance of his late sister Eunice
in her consistent defense of vulnerable human life — whether that of a mentally handicapped child or sister or an infant in the womb?
Instead, the senator took the dubious advice of certain Boston Jesuits
to abandon that tradition and hence those most vulnerable.

Premum Regnum Dei

From June 1969 through March 1976, we have endured the long sermons of the late Monsignor Belleza during masses. Our religion teachers, including Fr. Pan, taught us how to pray to our Lord and seek His help.

When we all moved to Ateneo De Naga, Jesuit priests like Fr. Bob Hogan SJ, Fr. Jack Phelan SJ, Fr. Francisco Mallari SJ, Fr. Juan Bonafe SJ, Fr. Nemy Que SJ, Fr. Marasigan SJ, Fr. Millar SJ, Fr. Moran SJ, Fr. Clintworth SJ, Fr. Martinez SJ, Fr. Ibabao SJ, Fr. Natividad SJ, and Fr. Moreta SJ taught us the value of worship and prayer to our Creator. All of them pointed to our school motto, Primum Regnum Dei, as the three words that should serve as a guiding lighthouse to assist us in navigating through the unpredictable and sometimes treacherous routes of our lives
Twenty nine years after we sang our last Ateneo school song to bid farewell to our high school life, does the message of that song still resonate in our hearts? Did you guys know that Premum Regnum Dei (Seek ye first the kingdom of God) is a call to seek Christ and not carnality?

During our senior year in Ateneo, the fiery Jesuit, Fr. Juan Bonafe, pervaded his sermons with the urgent call to detach ourselves from the need to satisfy our selves with earthly things. Fr. Bonafe once asked, “What do you fervently seek in life? If it is something from this world then you are on the wrong road! If it is heaven that you seek then you are on the right road!”

Link (here)
to the post, Life is Hard, Pray Harder at the blog entitled, Ateneo De Naga High School 1980.

Photo of Ateneo de Naga University

Jesuit Legacy Continues To Thrive

The statue of French Jesuit missionary priest Father Jacques Marquette will be re-dedicated Tuesday, 100 years to the day after it was first celebrated on Mackinac Island. On Sept. 1, 1909, the statue’s original dedication was marked with pageantry, music, and remarks in Marquette Park. Accounts of the event state that
“a massive crowd gathered in the park, some coming from Cheboygan, Petoskey, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie and Marquette, Mich.”
A reviewing stand was erected between the statue and the rear of the park, from which dignitaries made various speeches. The Petoskey City Band and the Grand Hotel Orchestra provided the music. Park Superintendent B. F. Emery opened the festivities by introducing Bishop Foley of Detroit who offered introductory remarks. Upon the unveiling of the statue to loud applause, U.S Supreme Court Justice, and former Secretary of State William R. Day reviewed the life and heroic efforts of Marquette.
The day’s festivities concluded with the singing of “America” followed by a Benediction delivered by Bishop Charles D. Williams of Detroit.
Marquette lived from 1637 to 1675 and was known as a missionary and an explorer who found great success in educating members of the Huron and Ojibway tribes in the Straits of Mackinac region. Efforts to create a monument on Mackinac Island to honor him began in 1877, and although several fund-raising efforts took place over the next several decades, little progress was made.
Italian sculptor Gaetano Trentanove created a white marble statue of Marquette for the state of Wisconsin during that era, and the citizens of Marquette, Mich., then commissioned Trentanove to create a version in bronze to adorn a new city park.
It was dedicated in 1897. Peter White, a Marquette, Mich., city father, was also a member and chairman of the Mackinac Island State Park Commission.
In 1899 the commission set aside the ground below Fort Mackinac as a park honoring Marquette, and White naturally turned to Trentanove to create another bronze version of his statue.
Fund raising efforts, however, again proved a challenge. Unfortunately, it took the death of White in 1908 to finally achieve the goal. He left a gift in his will to cover the balance needed to erect the statue. A 7 p.m. celebration is planned for Tuesday’s 2009 re-dedication, to include music; introductory and historical comments by Mackinac Island State Park Commission Vicechairman Dennis Cawthorne, Mackinac State Historic Parks Director Phil Porter and Chief Curator Steve Brisson; the singing of “America” led by the Mackinac Island Scout Service Camp and MSHP staff; a ceremonial firing of the Fort Mackinac cannon from the bluff above; and refreshments provided by Mackinac Associates.

Link (here)

Photo is of the original dedication of the statue in 1909
Former Jesuit Jayden Cameron on Pope John Paul I (here)

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Jesuit On Ted Kennedy: "For Purposes Of Apology And Personal Forgiveness"

Nobody's perfect: Remembering Ted Kennedy

By Jesuit Father William J. Byron
Catholic News Service

Walter Sheridan, who died in 1995, was one of my closest friends. For many years he worked at the side of Robert F. Kennedy as an investigator on the Senate labor rackets committee and as a special assistant to the attorney general as head of what some called the "Get Hoffa" squad in the Justice Department. After Bob Kennedy's death, Walter became a special assistant to Sen. Edward M. Kennedy.

News of Ted Kennedy's death brought me back in memory to a conversation I had with him in the mid-1970s in a corridor of the Russell Senate Office Building.

The senator and I had met previously on a number of occasions, and as we approached each other in the hallway, he stopped and asked: "Don't I know you? Aren't you a friend of Walter Sheridan's?"

After I responded, the senator smiled, spread the forefinger and middle finger on his right hand in slingshot fashion, and said, "Whenever I look at Walter, and I see him every day, I can't help but think of Bobby. And whenever Walter looks in here," his two fingers pointing directly into his eyes, "he's trying to find Bobby, but he's just not here."

Sen. Kennedy disappointed his staff assistant on occasion by not voting the way Walter advised on some issues where the two saw the integrity principle that was at stake from different perspectives. But they respected one another and worked well together.

Ted Kennedy will be remembered as a legislative strategist without peer and a truly great United States senator.

But he never claimed to be perfect in his public or private life. Both his critics and admirers will have lots to talk about for years to come.

Upon hearing the news of the senator's death, a priest I know asked whether or not he would be buried in the church.

Of course he will, I said; he was a Catholic in good standing.

True, he was divorced and remarried. But there was an annulment and he had the benefit of the sacraments.

Some will ask whether he was able to obtain the annulment because he was a Kennedy. This excerpt from Adam Clymer's 1999 biography may or may not help clarify things:

"Ted was able to take Communion (at his mother's funeral) because the Catholic Church had granted him an annulment a couple of months before. He and his office never discussed it, but Joan (his first wife) said years later she had not opposed it, and that the ground Ted had cited was that his marriage vow to be faithful had not been honestly made."
In the eyes of the church there is no marriage if the persons entering into it are not free to marry (i.e., already bound to another in marriage), do not enter freely into the marriage (there must be no coercion), do not intend to be faithful to the other, do not intend the marriage to be permanent, and do not have the physical or psychological capacity to make the marriage work.

The annulment process looks at all of these elements, and if there is proof of fraud or misrepresentation on any count, there is, the church declares, no marriage.

I was told by a mutual friend, but have no other proof, that upon learning of his terminal cancer, Ted Kennedy had a meeting with Joan, his first wife, for purposes of apology and personal forgiveness. I have no way of verifying that, nor am I inclined to want to check it out.

Judgment is God's work, not mine.

Ted was too ill to attend his sister Eunice's funeral a few weeks ago. I suspect they are together now with their other siblings, surrounding a mother who died at age 104 and who will be remembered as one who said, "The most important element in human life is faith. If God were to take away all his blessings, health, physical fitness, wealth, intelligence and leave me with but one gift, I would ask for faith, for with faith in him and his goodness, mercy and love for me, and belief in everlasting life, I believe I could suffer the loss of my other gifts and be happy."

As Ted remarked in eulogizing his mother at her funeral, "She was ambitious not only for our success, but for our souls."

Father Byron is university professor of business and society at St. Joseph's University in Philadelphia.

Link (here)


Catholics lamenting the likely appointment of yet another pro-abortion Catholic Kennedy to the senate may be dismayed by a report that the presidential family's alliance to abortion "rights"
was actively nurtured by dissident Catholic priests and theologians.

In some cases...Catholic leaders

"actually started providing 'cover' for Catholic pro-choice politicians"
who wished to support abortion. One meeting at the Kennedy family compound in Hyannisport, Mass., drew leading Catholic theologians and college professors to coach the Kennedys and advisers how a politician could support abortion while keeping a "clear conscience."

The coaches were former Jesuit priest Albert Jonsen, emeritus professor of ethics at the University of Washington, Fr. Joseph Fuchs, a Catholic moral theologian; Fr. Robert Drinan, then dean of Boston College Law School; and three academic theologians, Frs. Giles Milhaven, Richard McCormick and Charles Curran.

"Though the theologians disagreed on many a point, they all concurred on certain basics ... and that was that a Catholic politician could in good conscience vote in favor of abortion,"
recalled Father Giles Milhaven, one of the academic theologians present at the meeting, as quoted by the article.

Link (here)

Photo of the Jesuit Fr. Drinan and Ted Kennedy in the center

Seeking Jesuit Direction

I am also seeking direction with a Jesuit Priest, I am not sure if it will work but I am going to see him for a few sessions and see how it works out.
He loaned me a book called, When the Well Runs Dry” and for the small amount of time I had to read it – I really like it. After speaking with him, I realize that just because I feel like I am walking in a desert; it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s a bad thing.
Jesus often retreated to the desert for days and days to pray and fast. The Jesuit said that the spiritual desert is where God purifies our souls, often providing us with an oasis here and there. In retrospect, I agree with that statement, this past few months have been like that for me, really dry but then at the most unsuspecting moments a glimmer of consolation and peace.

Link (here) to the full post entitled Week One from the blog entitled The Grace of Temperance. The blogs author is Kellie Ann

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Fr James Martin, S.J. On Ted Kennedy

Senator Kennedy was not perfect. But that did not stop him from doing a world of good for the poor and marginalized in this country and around the world.
Those photos of Chappaquiddick, the testimony from that rape trial, and his support for abortion
must be placed alongside 46 years of dedicated work for this country. And, by his own admission, the Gospels were directly related to a great many of his legislative accomplishments. In that same interview mentioned above, his biographer said, “I once asked him why someone as well off as him was so interested in the poor and the sick, and he said it was his mother's Catholic teaching: the Sermon on the Mount and the passage from Luke that to those who much is given, much is expected.”

Link (here) to Jesuit Fr. James Martin, S.J. and his full piece at the blog portion of America.

More on Sen. Ted Kennedy

His infamous "Waitress Sandwiches" at the La Brasserie (here)
His Hyannisport meeting with Jesuits on abortion (here)
Ted Kennedy and Fr. Robert Drinan, S.J. (here)

Photo of Mary Jo Kopechne's funeral at St. Vincent's Church Plymouth, PA (here)

Fr. James Martin, S.J. on Ted Kennedy from the latest issue of Time Magazine.
"He is a complicated figure," says the Rev. James Martin, a Jesuit priest and the culture editor of the Catholic magazine America. "Catholics on the right are critical because of his stance on abortion. Catholics on the left celebrate his achievements on immigration, fighting poverty and other legislation that is a virtual mirror of the Church's social teaching."
Link (here)

We could all use a little refresher on purgatory (here) and (here)

Wheeling Jesuit In a State Of Flux

Blythe the Spirit blog has good in depth analysis on the situation (here)

There is a new site (here) by students at Wheeling in support Fr. Julio Giulietti, S.J.. The sites name is entitled Save WJU it has a lot of links about the issues at Wheeling.

Jesuit To Be Principle Celebrant At Kennedy Funeral

Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley of Boston will preside at the funeral of Sen. Edward M. Kennedy tomorrow at the Basilica of Our Lady of Perpetual Help (the Mission Church).
The Rev. J. Donald Monan, a Jesuit priest who was the longtime president of Boston College and is now the chancellor, will be the principal celebrant.
And the Rev. Mark R. Hession, pastor of Our Lady of Victory Parish in Centerville, will deliver the homily.

Link (here) to full story.
Internet television interview with Jesuit Matt Malone regarding Sen. Edward Kennedy (here)

Murderer Of 2 Jesuits Sentenced

Congregation States: "Justice Has Not Been Done"

MOSCOW, AUG. 28, 2009 ( The murderer of Jesuit Father Victor Betancourt was sentenced on Tuesday, but the killing of the victim's confrere, Father Otto Messner, remains unpunished.

In a communiqué, the Society of Jesus of the Russian region expressed its disappointment and stated that justice has not been carried out.

The victims, Ecuadorian Father Victor Betancourt, 42, and Russian Father Otto Messner, 46, were found dead last October with blows to the head in a Moscow apartment owned by the Society of Jesus.

At the time the bodies were found, the dwelling was open and no valuable objects were missing.

Mikhail Orekhov was sentenced to 14 years of harsh imprisonment for the Oct. 25 murder of Father Betancourt, but absolved for the Oct. 27 murder of Father Messner, who was traveling and returned home two days after the first killing.

The accused criminal, who confessed to the two murders during the preliminary investigation, changed his version of the events in the course of the trial, alleging that the double murder was the work of another individual, unknown to him.

In keeping with the Russian judicial system, at the request of the accused, the trial took place before a popular jury.

Remaining doubts

In a press communiqué, the Jesuits of the Russian region said that "the trial was carried out in a serious and professional manner and gave both sides the opportunity to express their opinions, to ask questions and to present their evidence."

The statement continued: "The ambiguous versions of the accused on the motives and circumstances of Father Victor Betancourt's death were adequately evaluated by the jury.

"At the same time, the fact that its members did not acknowledge Mikhail Orekhov's culpability in Father Messner's murder, suggests that the evidence gathered during the investigation was not sufficiently convincing. Doubt remains, therefore, on the evidence gathered and on the admission of culpability of the accused during the preliminary investigation."

The Jesuits expressed their "profound disappointment over the verdict on the murder of Father Otto" and stated their conviction that "justice has not been done."

The statement noted that they are meeting with lawyers to think of "possible actions to undertake in order to arrive at a further clarification of the case."

At the same time, the Jesuits affirmed that they are "very grateful to those who have expressed their solidarity and support in the quest for justice."

Father Victor Betancourt entered the Society of Jesus in 1984. He had been working in Russia since 2001, where he was dedicated to preparing aspirants to enter the order.

Since 2008, he was the congregation's representative at St. Thomas Philosophical, Theological and Historical Institute in Moscow.

Father Otto Messner entered the Society of Jesus in 1982. Both Jesuits offered pastoral support at Moscow's Church of St. Louis.

Link (here)

Friday, August 28, 2009

Georgetown President In Radio Interview

Georgetown President John DeGioia sat down with WAMU 88.5’s Kojo Nnamdi to chat about the University and its relationship with the Georgetown neighborhood.

DeGioia covered some perennial issues, like being the first lay president of Georgetown, the relevance of a Jesuit education, how Catholic Georgetown students are and fostering intereligious dialogue.

However, he also made his first public comments about the brouhaha over the IHS symbol that was covered during President Obama’s April 14th speech in Gaston Hall:

I can’t emphasis enough how unfair a criticism of the Obama administration this was … When the advance team came in to set up the podium and the background for the speech, what they typically do is set up a blue screen behind the president with American flags. That had the result over covering up one symbol.

The room that that lecture was held in probably has more religious iconography than any room in the city of Washington. it is the most beautiful, but anyone who would doubt the location of that talk being in a Catholic and Jesuit university would have only of had to hear the president’s words himself. In his speech he drew analogies from the Sermon on the Mount. So of all the criticism we have received in recent years, I thought that one was the most unfair.

More about DeGioia’s thoughts on being a good neighbor after the jump!

The other interesting part of the interview was DeGioia’s musing on Georgetown’s community relations:

I believe that the [town-gown] relationship we have today is the strongest that we’ve had in our history. It’s the result of a lot of hard work. Members of our community and members of the university staff fought very hard to try to develop this.

But in a few days we’ll have roughly 6,000 undergraduates coming back to campus and you can imagine that always creates some new challenges for us to respond to, and we’ll be ready to do so this fall.

You can listen to the full interview on WAMU’s website.

Link (here)

Yet Another Former Jesuit With Issues

Michael McGirr goal on leaving the Jesuit order was to buy a house and make a fresh start away from Melbourne. His paltry savings, combined with the Government's first-home buyer grant, bought him a home in Gunning, about an hour from Canberra, where he earned a living as a freelance writer and editor.

Less than five years after leaving the priesthood, he'd managed to purchase a house, get married and have three children.....

The Sydney-born McGirr says he's not quite sure what drew him to the priesthood, straight from school, in 1980.

''It was an impulsive thing. My father died at the end of September and I joined in the following February. It was a difficult time in my life and I suppose I was very vulnerable. I'm just glad I didn't join anything destructive.''

He spent 14 years training, then seven years as an ordained priest working in the Melbourne-based Jesuit Publications, including editing Australian Catholic and publishing Eureka Street magazine.

For a priest who loved English and writing, it was a dream job. But, at the end of 2000, McGirr left the Jesuits.

''I was nearly 40, I loved the work, I loved the community but I just wanted a nest,''
he says. ''One of the things about being a Jesuit is you go anywhere they send you ... But I knew that for my own wellbeing I needed to be with someone. I had to follow that inner voice.''

His friends in the order seemed relieved he'd chosen to leave. '

'They said: 'We're very fond of you but we can see you've been struggling with this for a long time.'''

He has not, however, abandoned the church altogether; his job for the past three years has been head of faith and mission at a private Melbourne boys' secondary school. It's priestly work - but he's not allowed to say the Mass for the boys, a church rule he describes as ''incomprehensible".

Link (here) to the larger article.

Georgetown: Obviously A Union Shop

On September 3, 2009, Georgetown University, a Jesuit, Catholic institution in Washington, D.C., plans to bestow upon AFL-CIO President John J. Sweeney an honorary Doctor of Laws degree, despite his organization's advocacy for homosexual "marriage" and laws mandating employee insurance coverage for contraceptives.

Sweeney had served as the vice-president of AFL-CIO since 1980 and was elected president in 1995.

"The Catholic bishops have made it abundantly clear that Catholic universities are not to publicly honor leading opponents of Catholic moral principles," said Patrick J. Reilly, President of The Cardinal Newman Society (CNS) in response to Georgetown's decision. "We strongly urge Georgetown to uphold its Catholic mission and rescind the honor to John Sweeney."

Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, on August 24, issued an e-mail invitation to all faculty, staff and students of Georgetown's law school "to attend the ceremony for the conferral of the degree Doctor of Laws, honoris causa, upon John J. Sweeney," president of the AFL-CIO.

In March 2009, however, the Executive Council of the AFL-CIO (American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations), the largest federation of trade unions in the U.S., unanimously called on the California Supreme Court to invalidate Proposition 8, which amended that state's constitution to define marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

The AFL-CIO constituency group Pride at Work has repeatedly promoted homosexual "marriage" and hailed laws in Connecticut, Iowa, Massachusetts and Vermont in the face of strong opposition from the Catholic Church.

Another AFL-CIO constituency group, the Coalition of Labor Union Women, launched its "Contraceptive Equity Project" in 2001 to demand that employers provide health insurance coverage for prescription contraceptives. The group advocates state laws forcing employers to fund such coverage.

In December 2001, a resolution was approved at the AFL-CIO national convention calling for a "national law that codifies the EEOC and District Court rulings, making coverage for contraceptives available under health care plans on the same terms that the plans cover other drugs, devices, and preventive care for employees."

Link (here) to the full Lifesite article.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

"The Apostle Of Paris" A French Jesuit On Spirtual Progress

This is from a wonderful book called Conferences on the Spiritual Life by a famous French Jesuit preacher and writer named Pere Gustave François Xavier de la Croix de Ravignan. it is a written version of his retreat. He was called the "Apostle of Paris"

There are in certain lives, fixed habits and decided tastes, virtues which are not practiced, faults which are cherished and never struggled against. These persons are embarrassed, entangled in the spirit of the world; they persist in neglecting to listen to the true maxims of the Gospel, and linger far from the imitation of Our Blessed Lord : nevertheless, up to a certain point, they are desirous of doing better. But here is what happens: in this frame of mind one argues, one calculates, one makes certain arrangements with oneself how far, and no farther, one may go; saying to oneself:
" After all, this is not necessary, I have no occasion to change my life; no reformation, no transformation is absolutely required. I intend to gain my salvation, but my habits need not be changed. How, must I attack my tastes, surmount my repugnances, bring my senses into subjection ? Assuredly not. Must I condemn myself to a perpetual vigilance, to an unceasing constraint ? No, God does not exact this : I will go on living as I have done."
This is to say, that of the end one makes the means, and of the means, the end. Instead of looking towards the end as the end, instead of looking to God as God, instead of taking the precepts of the Gospel as the rule, direction, and guide of life, instead of regulating and reforming the character according to the Will of God, and by the voice of conscience, instead of following the one true path which leads to salvation; instead of looking incessantly, I repeat, towards this as our end, one sees but one end, but one principle of life :
that is to adhere to our habits, to our tastes, to our idle and useless lives, to our worldly relationships, to our vanities, and to our faults! and thus nothing is reformed in our life, because we wish to establish a kind of medium state between God and the world, if it were possible.
Where is the flaw in this spiritual disposition, which is not actually a renegation of holy things, but is an imperfect, dangerous, and lukewarm state ? It is as follows ; it is that all interior warfare against self has ceased, it is that even prayer is cowardly, undeserving of being answered, full of treason against God. And how comes this ?
Ah! my children, it comes because we must suffer if we wish to be in the right way, in order, at peace, it means that we must fight against ourselves and must work. Surely our souls are a ground which ought to bring forth fine fruits. We must be determined ; above all we must pray against our habits, our pride, our impatience, our haughtiness, our hard-hardheartedness, against our repugnances, frivolity, and love of ease.
We must say: " My God, I wish to overcome my inclinations, my worldly tastes ; it shall not be to them that I submit myself, but to Thee alone P* I repeat, the secret of this grievous condition is, that you do not pray sufficiently against self, that you do not learn."

Link (here) to the portion of a full chapter entitled, On Spiritual Progress from the book, Conferences on the Spiritual Life, the 19th century French Jesuit, Pere
Gustave François Xavier de la Croix de Ravignan.

Photo is of the Sacre Coeur, in Paris, France

Boston College Eagles 2009 Pre-Season Football Review


The offense struggled with consistency last season, putting up just 319.4 total yards per game, thanks in large part to inconsistency under center. That problem may rear its ugly head again in 2009, with the graduation of veteran Chris Crane and the early departure of sophomore Dominique Davis, who left school in the spring. Redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle (6-3, 208) will get the nod early on and only time will tell if he can be the type of leader Spaziani needs him to be. Spaziani will certainly need to be patient with Tuggle. "We have a young man that has never taken a snap in a game, really has never been coached, he was on the scout team last year." The other options under center come from a group including converted fullback Codi Boek and true freshman David Shinskie. The good news on this side of the football is the return of tailback Montel Harris, who set a school freshman record with 900 yards rushing last season. Harris will be joined in the backfield by fellow sophomore Josh Haden. Senior Rich Gunnell is the most experienced receiver on the roster after hauling in 49 balls last year, for 551 yards and four TDs. The team does return four starters along the offensive line and that will be a huge plus for whoever is under center. The offensive line is anchored by All-ACC Second-Teamer Anthony Castonzo (6-7, 287-pound junior) and senior center Matt Tennant (6-4, 294), who has started 28 consecutive games at the position.

DEFENSE: The BC defense was one of the nation's finest units in 2008, ranking fifth nationally in total defense (268.1 yards per game), while allowing just 18.4 ppg overall. With seven starters penciled in to return this spring, this squad was once again supposed to shine. The team did have to replace top-10 selection B.J. Raji, as well as fellow downlineman Ron Brace, but at least All-American and ACC Defensive Player of the Year Mark Herzlich was coming back. Of course by now, we all know that isn't going to happen, as Herzlich was diagnosed with cancer and is out indefinitely. There will be no way to compensate for the loss of Herzlich completely, but there is still talent on this side of the football and those players will need to step up and lead on the field. The likely candidates include veteran defensive ends Alex Albright (6-5, 245), who missed most of last year due to injury, and senior Jim Ramella (6-4, 245), who posted 35 tackles and four sacks in 2008. Despite the losses on both sides of the football and the team's inability to win the ACC crown the last two years, Ramella remains confident in what this team can achieve in 2009. "We expect to win the ACC. Anything less is a disappointment in our eyes. We're not sitting around feeling sorry for ourselves (that we lost the last two championship games). It is going to be a challenge but it is something we can achieve. We definitely have the ability and we hope to get over the hump this year." Senior LB Mike McLaughlin (89 tackles, four sacks in 2008) will highlight the play in the middle of the defense, although an Achilles' injury currently has him sidelined. Still, McLaughlin is on pace to return before the season begins and his healthy return to the field is a necessity. The secondary returns a great deal of talent in the form of cornerbacks DeLeon Gause and Roderick Rollins and safeties Wes Davis and Marcellus Bowman. Throw sophomore cover corner Donnie Fletcher (36 tackles, three INTs as a freshman) and safety Marcellus Bowman into the mix and the secondary may be one of the ACC's best this season. SPECIAL TEAMS: As far as the kicking game is concerned, the Eagles return both placekicker Steve Aponavicius (5-10 senior) and punter Ryan Quigley (6-3, sophomore). Aponavicius was a bit inconsistent last year, hitting just 14- of-21 field goals, with a long of just 36 yards. Quigley averaged just over 39 yards per punt as a true freshman in 2008.

OUTLOOK: While the BC offense was rather bland at times last year, the team did lead the ACC in non-offensive touchdowns with eight. Getting help in the scoring column by the defense and special teams will be a huge plus for the Eagles this season, at least until the offense finds its identity. The team opens with two favorable home matchups against Northeastern and Kent State and that could set the tone early on. Still, a road trip to Death Valley to take on Clemson is how Boston College will open ACC play on September 19th, before returning home for tough bouts with Wake Forest and Florida State. The Eagles will close out a grueling four-game stretch at Virginia Tech and could very well be in a conference hole that the team won't be able to dig itself out of. The second half of the season is a little more manageable, with road trips to Notre Dame, Virginia and Maryland and home games against Central Michigan and North Carolina to end the 2009 campaign. A .500 record is certainly attainable and another postseason bid is a possibility. However, the Eagles would have to play inspired ball all season long to find themselves in the ACC Title Game again. "BC is a great place", said Spaziani. "The longer I stayed there the more I realized that is where I wanted to finish my career. I worked all those years with Tom (O'Brien) and I never thought he'd leave, but he did. I applied for the job then because I wanted to stay and then this situation arose. This time it worked out. It's a great honor because it is such a great place." The team has all the confidence in the world in the new man at the helm and Spaziani is clearly not in it for the short term, rather relishing in the idea of keeping Boston College among the ACC elite both now and in the future.
Link (here)

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Canisius' Catechism And The Counter Reformation

On the 16th of Aug. 1584, the curate Erhard, by advice of the Jesuit Cardaneus, drew up Latin regulations for the future conduct of the curates of Nicolsburg. In which is maintained, that on account of heresy, the mother of blindness and ignorance, the people became rude and less pious; that it was no wonder, since heresy destroys piety, which is the gift of the Holy Ghost, not existing out of the Catholic Church. That on account of that rudeness they sought to work out something by speaking German during the partaking of the sacrament.
It is likewise ordered that shrove tickets should be distributed, and, after Easter, called in by three authorised persons, to ascertain whether all had been to the confessional.
A non-catholic, or one who had not been to confession at Easter, was not to have christian burial, nor to be admitted as a godfather. The clergy are also reminded, that it is their solemn duty to lead a sober, chaste, and unblameable life; and diligently to teach Canisius' catechism to the young, and insist upon their regular attendance at church: for since the Lutherans are so diligent to instill into their children their abominable doctrine, the Catholic clergy ought not to be behind them in zeal.

Link (here) to the book entitled,
The Reformation and Anti-Reformation in Bohemia, by Christian Adolph Pescheck.

Photo of Canisius' Catechism (here)

This Is Interesting

Bishop John M. D'Arcy, whose diocese encompasses the University of Notre Dame, is not letting the issues raised by the university's honoring of President Obama lie dormant. Instead, the Bishop of Fort Wayne-South Bend has penned a poignant article for the upcoming edition of America magazine that calls on the renowned university to evaluate the consequences of its failure to respect the authority of the bishops.

In an article that will be the cover story of the Jesuit-run America magazine on August 31, bishop D’Arcy writes that

"as summer plays itself out on the beautiful campus by the lake where the young Holy Cross priest, Edward Sorin, C.S.C., pitched his camp 177 years ago and began his great adventure, we must clarify the situation that so sundered the church last spring: What it is all about and what it is not about."

According to the bishop, who had asked Notre Dame's president, Fr. John Jenkins, not to honor Obama,

"it is not about President Obama... It is not about Democrats versus Republicans… It is not about whether it is appropriate for the president of the United States to speak at Notre Dame or any great Catholic university on the pressing issues of the day."

The response of the faithful, Bishop D’Arcy writes, "is not about what this journal [America magazine] called ‘sectarian Catholicism.’ Rather, the response of the faithful derives directly from the Gospel."

Link (here) to the the full story.

Prudent Flexibility

Thus Juan Masia, S.J., in a commentary on the Japanese bishops' statement, wrote that
"the Church's declaration of 'protection of life from the time of conception' most certainly does not mean that the reason for this is because this is a person from the time of conception."
Rather, he argues, the church adopts the viewpoint of protecting the process from its inception, and thus it may be possible to apply the position of the theologians mentioned above "with prudent flexibility also to exceptional cases."

Link (here) to the article entitled, Learning from the Japanese, written by Gary L. Chamberlain, originally published in Sept. 17th, 1994 in Jesuit magazine, America.

Teachings of the Magisterium on abortion (here)

Fr. Z on the recent blog post by Fr. James Martin, S.J. (here)

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Our Lady's Knight

At the siege of Pampeluna, by the troops of Francis the First, in 1521, a gay and gallant officer, who had exhibited no great signs of sanctity, defended the town for Charles the Fifth, lie was called Ignatius of Loyola.

In spite of all his efforts, the French army entered the city.

Ignatius, faithful to his charge, retired to the citadel with a soldier, who was the only one who had sufficient courage to follow him ; and though he found it garrisoned by a most insignificant number of men, he sustained several assaults, when a breach was made, and the victorious army entered. In the struggle, the young officer broke his right leg, and was wounded on the left one. He had behaved with such gallantry that the French spared the garrison for his sake.
He was borne with honors to their general, who gave orders for him to be conveyed on a litter to the castle of Loyola, which was situated at a little distance from the city.

We will not dilate on the fortitude displayed by Ignatius during his illness, which was very severe,

as the leg, which had been badly set, had to be rebroken, and a bone which protruded below the knee to be removed, besides other trying operations.
This would involve the necessity of entering into details of the saint's life, which are sufficiently well known; our legend relates to one fact alone.

As he grew convalescent, the young officer became weary. He had spent his youth at courts, first as a page, then as a courtier, and lastly as an officer of merit. Born of a noble family, he had been nurtured to pleasures, and his vanity had ever been flattered. Hitherto (he was now twenty-nine years of age) he had paid little attention to his duties as a Christian ; he had led the life which is commonly pursued by worldlings. He now asked for some books to amuse him and trifle away the time. What he desired were the romances and tales of chivalry, then so much in fashion. They knew he liked this reading ; but whether no books of the kind were at hand, or a disposition of Divine Providence interfered, the attendants brought him the History of Christ, and some volumes of saints' lives.

Passionately addicted to romantic authors, he felt at first little taste for the books presented to him, but gradually He began to pay more attention to them.

He admired acts of heroism he had not supposed practicable in other careers than his own ; nor did he fail to perceive that the immortal crowns gained by the innumerable troops of martyrs, anchorites, confessors, and virgins, who had overcome in so many and such fierce combats, were far above the vain applause of this world.
He felt a strong desire rapidly arise in him to follow the traces of those whose lives he now read with avidity. He asked himself if he were more timid than the virgins, less bold than the martyrs, whose wondrous deeds oi mortification and painful torments so interested him ? Whether God, whose rewards were so sure, was not more worthy of love than the inconstant creatures of earth? Whether in heaven did not deserve more efforts to gain it than the riches and honors of such doubtful tenure here below? God gives his grace to the heart who desires and seeks it; Ignatius did not long wait for it. He saw his duty, and he resolved to perform it He devoted himself entirely to God, forsook the worldly life he had hitherto led, and determined to follow in the path of the saints.

If the disorders, of what is called youthful folly, are made light of by worldly consciences, how differently does the soul, which enters seriously into herself, and examines her state by the help of God's light, regard them. Faults which men scarcely perceive ; because they offend not their sense of propriety, are presented to the soul in their true light. Judged by the code of the saints, they are crimes, for they have outraged the majesty of God.

They required expiation. Happy was he in having been born a member of that holy Church in which penance restores and raises the soul to God's affection. Repentance urged austerities ; he willingly embraced them, feeling so inflamed with the love of God, as ready to undertake anything or make any sacrifice in his service. But he felt the want of some protector in his new career.
Could he find one more potent or more kind than the ever Blessed Virgin Mary ? Penetrated still with military spirit, he placed himself under her banner, and became her faithful knight. As soon as he was able to quit his couch, he mounted his charger, and set out, saying he was going to visit his uncle, the duke of Najare, who had frequently sent to inquire after him during his illness. After paying his respects to his relative, he sent away his servants, and set out alone for Montserrat.

Upon this steep mountain, whence such charming views of Catalonia are presented to the traveler's sight, there had long been venerated a celebrated image of the Blessed Virgin.

Wondrous legends were attached to this famous pilgrimage. We fear to record them here, lest they should shock the sickly faith of this age.
According to the historians of the image of our Lady of Montserrat, it was brought into Spain in the first age of the Christian era, if not by the apostle St. James, at least by some of his disciples. It was in great honor during the Roman domination at Barcelona. When the Moors invaded the country, it was concealed in a cavern at Montserrat, where it was discovered in the ninth century.

At this period we rest upon more certain ground.

The annalists of Catalonia, upon the faith of an inscription found in 1239, and preserved in the monastery of Montserrat, relate that in the year 880, under the reign of Godfrey the Hairy, count of Barcelona, three young goatherds, who guarded their flocks on the mountain, saw, during the night, a great light issuing from a part of the rock, and rising up to the heavens. At the same time a superhuman melody struck their ears.
They informed their parents of what they had seen and heard. The Bishop of Manrese, accompanied by the magistrates, and a large body of the Christian inhabitants, went the next night to the mountain. The wondrous light again appeared. The prelate, seized with admiration, fell on his knees, and remained some minutes in prayer ; on rising, he weut to the spot whence the light proceeded, where he found an ancient image of the Blessed Virgin. He desired to bring it to Manrese. But on arriving at the spot where the monastery had since been erected, the carriers found it impossible to move the image further, from which the good bishop understood that to be the place our Blessed Lady had chosen for her sanctuary.

Mabillon, who considers it certain that the image was venerated before the Saracenic

invasion, and the venerable Canisius, who places this pilgrimage among the most celebrated, give implicit credence to these particulars.

Many miracles followed the recovery of the holy image.

A. hermit, who led a retired life in a cave at Montserrat, hitherto a pious and austere man, received one day a companion, who was quite unknown to him, and who took up his abode in a neighboring cell. The stranger soon gained his esteem by his apparent sanctity. But, say the popular legends, this man was no other than the devil in disguise. He knew the weak side of the hermit, who was somewhat vain of his rigorous penance. How miserable is the condition of the soul that discards humility ! The poor hermit fell into the snares of his wily companion, and committed a great crime. The death of the count of Barcelona's daughter was imputed to him. It was at this time that the image was discovered. The tradition further states, that through the intercession of our Lady, the little child was restored to life, and the hermit to a sense of his fallen condition. There must have been some grounds for the accusation, for he fled the country, went to Rome, confessed his sins, and retired to the desert, where he spent seven years in severe penance.

Several other prodigies are told on credible evidence, and many were the sick restored to health after the physician's skill had failed ; many the dying children restored to a parent's embrace ; many the evils, both corporeal and spiritual, healed at this holy shrine.

It was before this sweet image that the young Spanish officer was going to accomplish the project he had formed.

Knight of the Blessed Virgin! He dreamt but of this title, though he yet knew but little of its real import.
Mixing his warlike fancies with Christian thoughts, he regarded this life as a warfare and a struggle, nor did he mistake therein. He desired to present, as a trophy, his material arms to our Lady of Montserrat, and receive from her those spiritual ones which enable her children to gain the good fight of salvation.

As he journeyed on alone, thinking over his resolutions, he was joined by a Moorish knight, who seemed to be following the same route. The travelers saluted one another ; and as they rode side by side, exchanged words of courtesy. They soon came in sight of Montserrat, which Ignatius had declared to be the end of his journey. The renown of the place, its venerated image, and our dear Lady herself, offered natural subjects of conversation The knight thought he perceived a contemptuous smile quiver on the lips of the Moor as he recounted one of the latest miracles which had been wrought by our Lady's intercession. Hard words ensued and, as generally happens, Ignatius, growing warm, soon fell into a passion. The Christian disappeared ; the soldier obtained the mastery, lie would have the Moor, who was not of his faith, believe and reverence the same as he did. He was provoked at his obstinacy, and drew his sword, believing that to be an affair of honor, which was only one of prayer and persuasion. The Moor, seeing he had a valiant adversary to contend with, like his nation, not deeming it prudent to engage with superior force or skill, and trusting less to his sabre than to the swiftness of his Arab steed, stuck his spurs into his sides, and fled with the rapidity of an arrow.

Ignatius, who was also well mounted, followed in pursuit; but on arriving at two cross roads, one of which led to the monastery, while the Moor had followed the other, he, like a true pilgrim, who had vowed to go directly to our Lady's shrine, paused for an in, slant.
Could he give further pursuit without breaking his vow ? He did not hesitate, but turned his horse's head direct to Montserrat. And now his passion having cooled, he acknowledged the first intervention of his Blessed Queen in his behalf ; for, thought he, " the saints of whom I read did not make converts by the means I was about to employ."

la the monastery he found a monk of eminent sanctity, who had formerly been grand vicar of Mirepoix, in France, whose name was John Chanones. Ignatius considered him a model of every Christian and monastic virtue. To him he had recourse, and with deep emotion and.hitter tears made a confession of the sins of his whole life.

Being thus purified in the sight of God, ho remembered having read in books of chivalry, that the candidate for knighthood passed the night watching and praying in his armor, which was called the v'ujil of arms, and wished, in like manner, to sanctify the object on which he was bent.

In his military accoutrement, which he was soon to dispose for ever, he watched and prayed the whole night in front of our Lady's altar, standing and kneeling, offering himself to Jesus and Mary, as their knight, according to the chivalric notions he had imbibed in the world, and which he now wished to sanctify in the service of God.
* In the morning he suspended his sword to a pillar near the altar as a sign of his renouncing the military profession ; he gave his horse to the monastery, his clothes to a poor pilgrim ; and clothing himself in a coarse linen suit, he received the holy communion, and set out seeking how best he could fulfill his engagements to our Lord and his Blessed Mother.

He now, doubtless, saw before him the glorious vision of the great work he was to begin.

The Church, attacked and mined by the licentious advocates of a pretended reformation.
stored in need of an intrepid champion. Ho conceived the project of his celebrated society, which was not fully established till 1534, when it was inaugurated in the crypt of our Lady of Montmartre (an oratory raised, according to tradition, on the very spot where the apostle of Gaul received the palm of martyrdom), near Paris, on the feast of the Assumption. It was afterwards confirmed by a papal bull dated the ^Tth September, 1540.We cannot here relate the further career of St. Ignatius (who became a great man and an eminent saint), of his companions, and of his society, and its persecutions by men who knew it not.
It arrested the progress of the reformation, elevated education, spread abroad knowledge, encouraged and enlarged the study of the sciences, took the Gospel to the new world, and gave to mankind a host of great men in every branch of knowledge, and illustrated the pulpit by its eloquence. Always innocent, but attacked by weapons it disdains to employ in return, judged without a hearing, the Society of Jesus continues its steady path along the royal highway of the cross, traced out by its Divine Master.
Its members, following the recommendation of the Gospel, do good to, and pray for, those who calumniate them.

Link (here) "Our Lady's Night" to the story of St. Ignatius of Loyola, contained in the book, Legends of the Blessed Virgin By Jacques-Albin-Simon Collin de Plancy

Should Not The Murder Be Sent To Prison Longer Than 15 Years?

Russian prosecutors Monday demanded a 15-year prison term for a man found guilty in the killing of a Jesuit priest in October 2008. A Russian justice spokesman was cited by the Interfax agency as divulging details after a jury had found the man guilty in the bludgeoning death of the Jesuit priest, Victor Betancourt, 42. The jury accepted the evidence that the accused, under the influence of alcohol and in the heat of the moment, had killed Betancourt with a dumbbell...... Prosecutors had charged that the man also killed a further member of the Jesuit order, Otto Messmer from Germany, in order to cover up the first killing. But the jury aquitted the accused on that charge. The two Jesuits were members of a Germany-based charity group called Renovabis involved in aid projects in Eastern Europe.

Link (here)