Saturday, September 03, 2005
IT WAS WRITTEN IN SEPT. 2004
It sure looks prophetic today!
NEW ORLEANS, Louisiana (CNN) -- As the struggle continued to rescue victims from floodwaters and evacuate people from New Orleans, two major fires raged along the waterfront Saturday morning.
One of them was engulfing an industrial district on the river and was threatening to proceed warehouse by warehouse along the stretch.
The black smoke covered the skyline of the city, where firefighting resources are stretched thin and the hydrants are dry. There was no sign that the 50-to-60 blazes were being fought.
Imagine being trapped in an attic with no rescue in sight, and smelling the smoke, with no idea where the fire is located.
God, help them!
Amy Welborn has blogged a long list of charities accepting donations for hurricane relief. Rather than post them here, I'll just direct your attention over there. Pick out one and send whatever you can afford if you haven't already done so.
LifeSiteNews.com offers a review of an editorial in September's Catholic Insight magazine by editor Rev. Alphonse de Valk, who puts the same-sex "marriage" legislation into the context of a last days scenerio.
Rev. de Valk cites the Trent Catechism's description of the general judgment which reads:
Signs of the General Judgment - The Sacred Scriptures inform us that the general judgment will be preceded by these three principal signs: the preaching of the Gospel throughout the world, a falling away from the faith, and the coming of Antichrist. "This gospel of the kingdom," says our Lord, "shall be preached in the whole world, for a testimony to all nations, and then shall the consummation come." The Apostle also admonishes us that we be not seduced by anyone, "as if the day of the Lord were at hand; for unless there come a revolt first, and the man of sin be revealed, the judgment will not come." (p. 84)
According to Rev. de Valk:
It is now recognized within the Catholic Church that the loss of faith among the peoples who once constituted Christendom is well advanced. Recently, Pope Benedict spoke of Europe as a Godless society. 'Europe,' he said, 'has developed a culture that, in a manner unknown before now to humanity, excludes God from the public conscience, either by denying Him altogether, or by judging that His existence is not demonstrable and therefore uncertain and belonging to the realm of subjective choices, something, in any case, irrelevant to public life.'"
Rev. de Valk also indicates that "on February 21, 2001, in an address which received scant attention, Pope John Paul II, speaking of the 'signs of the times,' announced that the Gospel was 'spread now in all corners of the planet'."
It would appear that Rev. de Valk is quoting from a secondary source that reported on the consistory which took place on Feb. 21, 2001. During his homily given at the consistory, John Paul said:
4. Venerable Brothers, you are the first Cardinals to be created in the new millennium. After having drawn in abundance from the sources of divine mercy during the Holy Year, the mystical barque of the Church is preparing anew "to put out into the deep", to bring the message of salvation to the world. Together let us unfurl her sails to the wind of the Spirit, examining the signs of the times and interpreting them in the light of the Gospel, to answer "the ever recurring questions which men ask about the meaning of this present life and of the life to come" (Gaudium et spes, n. 4).[emphasis mine]
He also indicated:
5. You come from 27 countries on four continents and speak various languages. Is this not a sign of the Church's ability, now that she has spread to every corner of the globe, to understand peoples with different traditions and languages, in order to bring to all the message of Christ? In him and only in him can we find salvation. This is the truth that today we would like to reaffirm together. Christ walks with us and guides our steps.[emphasis mine]
This event took place on the two hundredth anniversary of the birth of Cardinal Newman who lectured on the theme of the Antichrist.
No one knows, of course, when Christ will return. Many have predicted his imminent return, only to be proven wrong. Signs, though, do seem to be multiplying and anticipation is advancing on many fronts today.
Thanks to a reader for sending in the link to the LifeSite article.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
THE WORLD HAS NOTICED
An article in today's Akron Beacon Journal indicates that offers of help have been received from Russia, Japan, Canada, France, Honduras, Germany, Venezuela, Jamaica, Australia, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Greece, Hungary, Colombia, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Mexico, China, South Korea, Israel, the United Arab Emirates, Singapore, Sri Lanka, NATO, and the Organization of American States.
Some countries are large and wealthy, some are poor and small. The amounts of aid in some cases are larger than others. It doesn't matter. I am grateful for any country that has offered any sort of help and would like to say thanks.
Friday, September 02, 2005
K OF C CONTRIBUTIONS TO RELIEF EFFORT
Sep. 02 (CWNews.com) - The Knights of Columbus have announced the largest disaster relief effort in their history: a $2.5 million contribution to help victims of hurricane Katrina.
The Catholic fraternal order has also said that it will match any gifts made within the next 60 days to the Knights of Columbus Katrina Relief Fund.
Blogger credit to Bettnet.
A GREEK Orthodox monk awaiting trial on corruption charges is alleged to have plundered the ecclesiastical relics he sold on the black market from his own monastery.
Archimandrite Iakovos Yiossakis is accused of digging up the relics from tombs beneath the floor of the monastery on the island of Kythera, off the southern coast of Greece.
A judicial report into the allegations alleges that the monk, with unnamed accomplices, opened the graves of at least three clergymen and removed gold and silver ornaments from the human remains. Investigators said that they had found evidence of the desecration.
Archimandrite Yiossakis was arrested in February to face charges related to the illegal sale of sacred icons. He had previously served as a priest ministering to Greek-Americans in Chicago, some of whom said that he had embezzled an undetermined amount of money while there.
The judicial report also said that he had ties with a trialfixing ring made up of senior judges, several of whom have been dismissed from the judiciary.
THE IDEA IS CATCHING ON
New Orleans City Council President: "Maybe God's Going To Cleanse Us"
NEW ORLEANS, September 1, 2005 (LifeSiteNews.com) - The popular adage, "there are no atheists in the trenches" sums up the truth that in times of disaster it is natural for people to turn to God, for help and also for an explanation. The devastation wrought by hurricane Katrina has brought that reality home to the United States, particularly in the affected regions.
Yesterday Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco called for a state-wide day of prayer. "As we face the devastation wrought by Katrina, as we search for those in need, as we comfort those in pain and as we begin the long task of rebuilding, we turn to God for strength, hope and comfort," she said. Meanwhile, New Orleans City Council President Oliver Thomas after witnessing the horrors first hand and hearing talk of Sodom and Gomorrah commented, "Maybe God's going to cleanse us."
SCIENTISTS AND SEANCES
I've gotten this story in email, it's linked at New Oxford Review and at Spirit Daily, and it has come up in news searches.
To a large extent I already knew from previous research about the involvement of prominent scientists in the occult. This just adds one more confirmation.
AN ACCOUNT FROM A NEW ORLEANS PRIEST
Eyewitness Account: Greg Schmitt, C.Ss.R.
This is the first eyewitness account that we have received. It comes from the pastor of St. Mary’s of the Assumption Church in New Orleans. This is also the shrine of Blessed Francis Xavier Seelos.
WHO'S ON THIRD ?
Another shell game is shaping up in Rome.
VATICAN CITY -- As the Vatican prepares to visit U.S. seminaries in September in response to the sex abuse scandal, the fate of a long-awaited Vatican document on whether homosexuals should be barred from the priesthood appears uncertain.
One senior Vatican official suggested it might have been shelved, though top American churchmen said they understood it would be coming out soon.
The Vatican press office announced in November 2002, at the height of the sex scandal, that the Congregation for Catholic Education was drawing up guidelines for accepting candidates for the priesthood that would address the question of whether gays should be barred.
The document has been controversial from the start, and there has long been speculation that it may never be released because of its sensitive nature. Some priests have said the document is sorely needed, while others say it will do more harm than good, antagonizing existing homosexual priests and driving others underground.
A senior Vatican official said recent news reports that the document was in the hands of Pope Benedict XVI were "completely wrong" and there was no news on the topic -- implying that the document may have been shelved, at least for now.
"There is nothing new," the official said.
The chairman of the U.S. bishops' committee on priestly formation, Bishop John Nienstedt, said he had been told by the Congregation for Catholic Education that the document would be coming out soon, and other American churchmen said they too were expecting it.
"I don't know where the document is," Nienstedt said in a phone interview Wednesday. "My understanding from the congregation was that it would come out soon."
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
THE LEGACY OF JOHN PAUL THE GREAT
It's an ad but nevertheless Oh! Yes! I can certainly agree. Point out the rot and then sit back and see who your real friends are.
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
The coverup and half-apology is not just an RCC tactic for the abuse scandal. They do the same on other occasions. Here's a link to an article on the Galileo affair and its aftermath, by Sandro Magister - an Italian Catholic journalist.
Key quotes, with emphasis added by me:
"In their [ the Jesuits'] judgment, the Galileo case has not been resolved at all. And this is because both John Paul II and the man he assigned to the matter, the French cardinal Paul Poupard, when they wanted to close this question, went as far as covering up the role of the Vatican officials of the time, in particular the popes Paul V and Urban VIII, by placing all the blame on a group of theologians - whom Amato is now exculpating by going after the Aristotelian philosophers of Pisa - and by blaming Galileo again for the "tragic mutual misunderstanding."
Do these tactics seem familiar?
"There has been a sort of admission of error, Fantoli concedes, but it was "rather guarded, and unsatisfying in many aspects."
Fr. Coyne, in his presentation, emphasizes that this is all because there prevails in the present leadership of the Church "the concern for saving one´s good name and for keeping one´s own accountabilities hidden, or acknowledging them only in a veiled manner."
The Church Administrators ... bringing us political maneuvers and corporate shenanigans for hundreds of years.
Has anyone gotten any news about Fr. Bryce Sibley? The last post on his blog was in May, and nothing new has been added to indicate whether he is alright or not. His parish is/was in New Orleans, I think.
PRICE OF GAS
What's the price where you are?
It's been $3.19.9 here recently. There was another increase today, but I haven't heard what the new price is yet.
A SAMPLING OF HURRICANE RELIEF EFFORTS
WINONA, Minn. - Winona Bishop Bernard (BER'-nerd) Harrington is asking parishes in his diocese to take up a special collection for Hurricane Katrina disaster relief.
Each of the 115 parishes is being asked to hold the collection either this weekend or the weekend of September tenth and eleventh.
IN NEW JERSEY
For North Jerseyans, the very public suffering of hurricane Katrina's victims has been frustrating to watch from the sidelines. The outpouring of support that New Jersey received in the wake of the Sept. 11 attacks has many local people searching for ways to pay back the Southern hospitality they were shown during their own time of need.
"People have been coming to me all day wanting to do collections in their schools, in their businesses, on the street corners, everything you can imagine," said Gail Sample of the Metropolitan New Jersey chapter of the Red Cross. "I've gotten calls from corporations wanting to do matching gifts."
Those corporate gifts and individual donations have added up, totaling $93 million nationwide so far, in just the four days since the storm devastated a large swath of the Gulf Coast. According to The Chronicle of Philanthropy, which tracks charitable donations, money has come in at a rate that outpaces donations received the first week following the tsunami in South Asia.
SOME OHIO CONTRIBUTIONS
• The Red Cross has already raised $50 million to assist victims. You can donate online through www.redcross.org. as well as by calling 1-800-HELPNOW.
• All 75 local McDonald's restaurants, Cincinnati-based Kroger Co., the AFL-CIO, the Ohio News Network and KeyBank are involved in projects that will funnel donations to the Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund through the Dayton Area chapter, Box 517, Dayton 45401. Secure online donations may be made at www.dac.redcross.org.
•The Ohio News Network and KeyBank have begun an on-air campaign.
• UD students will staff collection tables in Kennedy Union on campus to raise funds beginning Tuesday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., through Sept. 16. Donations will be distributed to nonprofit organizations, such as Catholic Relief Services as well as the Red Cross.
• WSU's Freshman Plunge Community Service Project is organizing a campus-wide effort. Call (937) 775-3232.
• Chaminade-Julienne High School collected donations Thursday night kicking off a weeklong fund-raising effort.
• The Foodbank, in conjunction with the Dayton Daily News and Ryder Trucks, secured a 24-foot truck that will collect food, water and other supplies to take to Baton Rouge, La.
BBC NEW REPORTS ON NOLA
According to the White House, about 90,000 sq miles (234,000 sq km) has been affected by the hurricane - an area roughly the size of the UK.
In New Orleans, people made homeless by the flooding have grown increasingly desperate, with outbreaks of shootings, carjackings and thefts.
Police chief Eddie Compass said there were reports of women being raped.
He told AP he sent 88 officers to quell the unrest at the convention centre but they were beaten back by an angry mob.
"An area roughly the size of the UK." That puts it into perspective.
Twenty-five thousand people at the convention center, twenty thousand at the Superdome. Forty-five thousand plus need to be evacuated immediately. A bus holds what? Eighty? Let's say one hundred. It will take 450 busses to move all of them, and those busses must travel 350 miles to the Astrodome and 350 miles back. The logistics are staggering. The Astrodome will not hold 45,000 refugees. Where else will they go?
Thursday, September 01, 2005
BLOG FROM INSIDE THE CITY
Dom has linked a blog that is being generated inside New Orleans. The blogger reports the situation is desperate:
11:50 am Update
My first tactical mistake. We were unprepared to accept the fuel when it arrived. The fuel arrived way too soon for us and we did not have all the empty drums down one ground floor when they got here. The driver had other deliveries to make, so rather than waste his time, I told him we'd recoordinate and be ready for him later today or tomorrow.
That's the bad news. Here's the worse news:
All of our providers are dropping. We're down to one. We have enough fuel to keep us powered for a long time, but we could lose internet access soon if our last provider drops.
So I guess what I'm saying is that any moment could be my last moment online. If we do lose internet, Outpost Crystal might have to be abandoned by all but Sig and Myself. I've got to get Crystal out of here safely and relocated to someplace out of this state. I'm working on escape routes now.
Calling any and all Intercosmos and Directnic employees. We need you to contact Donnie in email and on ICQ ASAP.
Situtation is critical.
I'm not leaving, so stop asking. I'm staying. I am staying until this shitstorm has blown itself out. Period. End of discussion.
Now for some updates:
1. Been too busy to debrief the police officer, so that will come later. Low priority now.
2. Buses loading people up on Camp Street to take refugees to Dallas, or so the word on the street (literally) is.
3. Dead bodies everywhere: convention center, down camp street, all over.
4. National Guard shoving water off the backs of trucks. They're just pushing it off without stopping, people don't even know it's there at first -- they drop it on the side in debris, there's no sign or distribution point -- people are scared to go near it at first, because the drop points are guarded by troops or federal agents with assault rifles who don't let people come near them, which scares people off. It is a mess. When people actually get to the water, they are in such a rush to get it that one family left their small child behind and forget about him until Sig carried him back to the family.
5. Lots of pics coming soon when Sig has time to update.
It's raining now and I guess that's a relief from the heat. It's hot as hell down there in the sun. Crime is absolutely rampant: rapes, murders, rape-murder combinations.
I have really cut back answering IMs. Not enough time. I apologize people.
In case anyone in national security is reading this, get the word to President Bush that we need the military in here NOW. The Active Duty Armed Forces. Mr. President, we are losing this city. I don't care what you're hearing on the news. The city is being lost. It is the law of the jungle down here. The command and control structure here is barely functioning. I'm not sure it's anyone's fault -- I'm not sure it could be any other way at this point. We need the kind of logistical support and infrastructure only the Active Duty military can provide. The hospitals are in dire straights. The police barely have any capabilities at this point. The National Guard is doing their best, but the situation is not being contained. I'm here to help in anyway I can, but my capabilities are limited and dropping. Please get the military here to maintain order before this city is lost.
Doing what we can, this is Outpost Crystal getting back to work.
MORE SOUTHERN DECADENCE
SOUTHERN DECANDENCE earned its reputation by being one of the most unapologetically racy exhibitions of gay life, where outlandish costumes and outdoor sex were the norm.
But public sex occurs with less frequency in recent years thanks to protests from religious conservatives in New Orleans, an increased police presence and a campaign by Southern Decadence organizers to cut the number of revelers that land in the city jail.
But the costumes remain, and this year’s parade grand marshals, Lisa Beaumann and Regina Adams, chose the “Jazz & Jezebels” theme to celebrate one of the most fiercely roaring eras in America’s history.
I guess God cancelled the party.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
On the evening news yesterday there was an interview with a woman--a pastor of a Christian denomination, though I didn't catch which one. It doesn't matter. She made the claim that the devastation in New Orleans is the result of God's wrath, just like the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was the result of His anger. This pastor spoke of once living in New Orleans and of having first-hand experience of what she was talking about. In her mind New Orleans is sin city extraordinare. While she was talking, clips of Mardi Gras were shown that illustrated her points. Alcohol, sexual promiscuity--in short a city that turned its back on God's laws.
Listening to her, I recalled a blog I had read recently which expressed horror that anyone could think this way--that anyone could blame God for what has happened. I recall it as one of Amy's blogs, but I've tried to find it again, and it's not there. Perhaps it was some other blog. In any event, commentors were all lined up against such thinking, some in stronger terms than others. Posters all condemned those who would say that this was God's fault or God's doing.
The September "New Oxford Review" came yesterday. In it is a guest editorial by Abbot Joseph, of Holy Transfiguration Monastery, a Byzantine rite monastery in California. In it Abbot Joseph talks about what God's compassion means:
To show compassion to the hungry is to give them food; to show compassion to the homeless and unemployed is to help them find housing and work. If you wish to be compassionate to the sick or elderly, comfort and assist them. But if you want to be like Jesus in showing compassion to sinners, invite them to repent.
Christ came into the world to save sinners. He didn't come to make sinners feel good about themselves or to instruct us on how to blur the distinction between good and evil...
Is it compassionate to gloss over the sinfulness that was such a part of New Orleans? Must we ignore the obvious connection in the Old Testament between transgressions and punishment? Must we deny that God is capable of wrath?
There are Catholics who answer "yes" to those questions--who refuse to make the connection between sin and punishment. Abbot Joseph writes:
Sometimes compassion is equated with a sort of nebulous, ineffectual "kindness," one that ends up refusing to let someone know that his soul is in danger. God's kindness is different: "Do you not know that God's kindness is meant to lead you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:4). We are not being compassionate if we allow friends or loved ones to walk the broad path to perdition simply because we are too "kind" to upset them by attempting to awaken their consciences. Today's "kind and compassionate" people say that God loves us as we are, but I once heard a wise and necessary addition to that statement: "but He loves us too much to let us stay the way we are."
There is not likely to be one resident of New Orleans who is unchanged in any way as a result of Katrina.
On Tuesday the Governor of Louisiana called for a day of prayer. It took the kind of devastation we are seeing on the evening news for our society to allow a state governor to make that request. Once man discovers that he is powerless to save himself, he quickly turns to God.
Is God trying to get our attention? Does it take this degree of destruction and loss of life--this degree of helplessness--to persuade our culture to give Him His due? Will this wake-up call be adequate, or will there need to be another one?
If we are to deny that God punishes, will we also deny the Old Testament? The Book of Revelation? To deny that God may have sent the tragedy in New Orleans is to question His very sovereignty. Does God control the elements, or are they outside of His control? To place the elements beyond God's control would be to assume the role of a Deist--to believe that God set the world in motion and then withdrew. A Catholic believes that God is intimately connected with His creation, that He holds the world in His hands, that He sustains each individual life from moment to moment.
Could a God who cares for the lilies of the field be powerless to stop a raging storm? It seems unlikely. Jesus calmed the storm that frightened the apostles who were in a boat with Him. Jesus mastered the elements. Yet God did not master Katrina.
Frightening elements in our culture, elements of evil, we believe are the result of God's permissive will. If we place a hurricane within God's permissive will, we must then posit that some other entity or force is in charge of nature. Do we have any basis for such a claim? Did man cause Katrina? Did the devil? If not man or the devil, then who? In order to deny that Katrina was God's doing, must we invent new doctrine?
It is often said that fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. Yet the God being championed by those who would deny His hand in the destructive elements of nature also by default deny that we have anything to fear from God. When we abandon fear of the Lord, we relegate God to a background position. He becomes a pet God; a predictable God who defines goodness in terms of human earthly well being; a God that we can control. Such a God is inferior to man. The Lord of history was never such.
PAPAL TELEGRAM FOR KATRINA VICTIMS
reported by Zenit:
Deeply saddened by the tragic consequences of the recent hurricane in the United States of America, His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI assures all those affected of his closeness in prayer. The Holy Father commends the deceased to the loving mercy of Almighty God, and upon their grieving families he invokes divine blessings of strength and consolation. His Holiness likewise prays for the rescue workers and all involved in providing assistance to the victims of this disaster, encouraging them to persevere in their efforts to bring relief and support.
Cardinal Angelo Sodano
Secretary of State
BUFFALO DIOCESE TO CONSOLIDATE PARISHES
A dramatic change is in the offing for Buffalo area Catholics. Parishes will merge, realign, cluster, consolidate. They might share a pastor. Some will close.
"It's going to be radical," said Sister Regina Murphy, diocesan director of research and planning.
She was referring to Bishop Edward U. Kmiec's summer announcement that the Buffalo Diocese would restructure the region's parishes and schools.
The process - which Kmiec terms "Journey in Faith & Grace" - began last week when a commission met at Christ the King Seminary in the Town of Aurora.
For many, it is unsettling to think that a church their grandparents helped build and where they made their First Communion may no longer exist. It's where they expected to worship, now and forever. Amen.
"Everybody has an emotional attachment to their own parish, even if they drive past five others to get to it," said Murphy.
But things have to change. There's a shortage of priests, a financial crunch, a population shift from city to suburbs.
"If there's one thing we know, it's that we can't maintain the status quo," said Murphy, who has studied diocesan trends for years.
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
Credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
I'm assuming that the New Orleans Southern Decadence Party scheduled for this coming weekend has been cancelled.
Wednesday, August 31, 2005
If anyone else out there would like to help fellow Catholics but is reluctant to send money to Catholic Charities, Dom offers a solution.
IS REBUILDING NEW ORLEANS REASONABLE ?
A Fox News Neil Cavuto interview with Jack Chambless, Economics Professor, Valencia Community College, who basically says the government should not finance the rebuilding:
What we now have is the law of unintended consequences taking place, where FEMA (search) has come into New Orleans, a place where, ecologically, it makes no sense to have levees keeping the Mississippi River (search) from flooding into New Orleans, like it naturally should.
Now with FEMA bailing out Louisiana, bailing out Florida and lowering the overall cost of living in these places, we have people with no incentive to leave. And the law of unintended consequences means that more people are dying with every one of these storms.
BRAVE NEW PREGNANCIES
The Guardian of London reports the prospect of an end to pregnancy within a generation"
Artificial wombs will most likely first be used as intensive care units for foe- tuses in cases where either the mother is ill and can no longer carry the child or where the foetus is ill and needs to be removed from the mother's womb and cared for where it can be easily monitored. We can already keep foetuses alive in incubators during the last three months of gestation. And researchers routinely fertilise eggs and keep embryos alive in vitro for the first three to four days of their existence before implanting them in a womb. Scientists like Kuwabara are attempting to fill in the time between the beginning and end of the gestation process - the critical period where the foetus develops most of its organs.
Eventually, say many scientists working in the new field of foetal molecular biology, being able to grow a foetus in a totally artificial womb would make it easier to make genetic corrections and modifications - creating designer babies. The artificial womb may even become the preferred means of producing a child. Women could have their eggs removed and men their sperm taken in their teen years when they are most viable and kept frozen until they are ready to have a child. Mothers could spare themselves the rigours and inconveniences of pregnancy, retain their youthful figures and bring the baby home when "done".
Far fetched? Thousands of surrogate mothers' wombs have already been used to gestate someone else 's fertilised embryos. The artificial womb seems the next logical step in a process that has increasingly removed reproduction from traditional maternity and made of it a laboratory process.
When I read stories like that one, I start to look more closely at the doctrine surrounding the Antichrist and the end of the world. How far will God the Father Creator allow us to go in usurping His prerogatives?
Hat tip to a reader.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
In some places the Catholic rite is being put to repeated use:
Mexico City, Aug. 30, 2005 (CNA) - At the recent National Congress of Exorcists held at the headquarters of the Bishops’ Conference of Mexico, organizers revealed that up to five exorcisms per day are taking place in the country.
In Sarsina, Italy, a priest gives a blessing to pilgrims while placing a collar around their neck. The collar belonged to St. Vicinus who lived 1,700 years ago and who used the collar with an attached stone to focus his prayer time on penitence, the Los Angeles Times reports:
Inside the church, Magnano stands before the coffin bearing an effigy of the saint. Father Gabriele Foschi places the collar on her and says a brief prayer. She is followed by about 30 other worshipers who undergo the same ritual.
"You feel protected from the forces of evil," Magnano, a 40-year-old homemaker, said afterward. "It might only be psychological, but I feel covered. It's one more blessing to have."
In rural, Roman Catholic Italy, many people remain very religious, and very superstitious. The two belief systems coexist, tightly intertwined and surprisingly complementary.
St. Vicinus eventually used the collar to ward off evil, the Times reports.
Eventually he began to use it to ward off evil spirits. St. Vicinus became one of the church's early exorcists, and the fame of the collar and its purported powers have endured. (The one used now is not said to be St. Vicinus' original but is believed to date to the 8th or 9th century, roughly the same time the church was built.)
Tens of thousands of pilgrims come to Sarsina every year in search of a blessing, Father Gabriele said. He repeats the ceremony every few hours, usually on Sundays and sometimes on other days as well. During especially busy periods, such as Lent, he can issue hundreds of blessings a day, he said.
Fr. Gabrielle is also an exorcist:
"I'm not a magician. I'm not a fortune teller. I'm an exorcist — a priest with a special ministry," he said. "I want to give a sense of the reality of faith."
The faithful believe.
"The Exorcism of Emily Rose"
coming to a theater near you.
What's it about? In an extremely rare decision, the Catholic Church officially recognized the demonic possession of a 19 year-old college freshman. Told in terrifying flashbacks, "The Exorcism of Emily Rose" chronicles the haunting trial of the priest accused of negligence resulting in the death of the young girl believed to be possessed. Inspired by true events, the film stars Laura Linney as the lawyer who takes on the task of defending the priest (Tom Wilkinson) who performed the controversial exorcism.
Exorcism is associated with the cathedral where The Da Vinci Code is being filmed, and the Catholic sister who is protesting the filming, according to The Australian:
In 1995, Mr Jackson granted me a strange interview. Declaring that he was in "a battle between good and evil", he said a monk whom he greatly respected had said the cathedral was "one of the most evil places he had ever been in"; clerics had begged him to close it for an exorcism.
Mr Knight acknowledges the phenomenon: "Cathedrals are rather like lightning conductors ... they attract all sorts of spiritual forces. They can earth that evil. That has happened throughout the history of this place. But now we're on a roll."
A roll of money, some say. The film company's donation to the restoration fund is reportedly pound stg. 100,000 ($239,000).
Why is Sister Mary intervening? Earlier this year an interdenominational group prayed there for 10 weeks. "I felt something very bad, even preternatural," she said. "Many of us felt nauseous and sick. I think our praying cleansed the cathedral, then this came back."
What exactly does she think is afoot? "Can I be bold? I think it's freemasonry. There are aspects of freemasonry connected with the mystery faiths that The Da Vinci Code is delving into."
In Manila an exorcism was performed at the opening of the House ethics committee deliberations according to Gulf Times:
LAWMAKERS have joined the clamor for the House of Representatives ethics committee to probe the involvement of some of their colleagues in an exorcism rite at the start of the impeachment hearings against President Arroyo, even as they expressed belief that Fr Robert Reyes should be censured by the church for conducting the ceremony.
Representatives Mauricio Domogan (Lakas, Baguio City) and Douglas Cagas (NPC,Davao del Sur) said the rites implied a cleansing of the house of evil spirits, which is totally absurd.
The report is confirmed by the Manila Standard Today.
Catholic World News reports that Venezuelan Cardinal Rosalio Castillo has called for an exorcism of President Hugo Chavez.
MAPS OF N.O. SHOWING AREAS BELOW SEA LEVEL
Factors contributing to the N.O. tragedy are explained here. These factors will not go away and should have an impact on decisions to rebuild the city.
NEW ORLEANS TIMES-PICAYUNE REPORTS THE STREET SCENE
is deteriorating into a sort of jungle warfare according to the post titled "City a Woeful Scene":
Those trapped in the city faced an increasingly lawless environment, as law enforcement agencies found themselves overwhelmed with widespread looting. Looters swarmed the Wal-mart on Tchoupitoulas Street, often bypassing the food and drink section to steal wide-screen TVs, jewelry, bicycles and computers. Watching the sordid display and shaking his head in disgust, one firefighter said of the scene: "It’s a f---- hurricane, what are you do with a basketball goal?"
Police regained control at about 3 p.m., after clearing the store with armed patrol. One shotgun-toting Third District detective described the looting as "ferocious."
"And it’s going to get worse as the days progress," he said.
In Uptown, one the few areas that remained dry, a bearded man patrolled Oak Street near the boarded-up Maple Leaf Bar, a sawed-off shotgun slung over his shoulder. The owners of a hardware store sat in folding chairs, pistols at the ready.
Uptown resident Keith Williams started his own security patrol, driving around in his Ford pickup with his newly purchased handgun. Earlier in the day, Williams said he had seen the body of a gunshot victim near the corner of Leonidas and Hickory streets.
"What I want to know is why we don’t have paratroopers with machine guns on every street," Williams said.
Like-minded Art Depodesta sat on the edge of a picnic table outside Cooter Brown’s Bar, a chrome shotgun at his side loaded with red shells.
"They broke into the Shell station across the street," he said. "I walked over with my 12-gauge and shot a couple into the air."
The looters scattered, but soon after, another man appeared outside the bar in a pickup truck armed with a pistol and threatened Depodesta.
"I told him, ‘Listen, I was in the Army and I will blow your ass off,’" Depodesta said. "We’ve got enough trouble with the flood."
The man sped away.
"You know what sucks," Depodesta said. "The whole U.S. is looking at this city right now, and this is what they see."
In the Bywater, a supply store sported spray-painted signs reading "You Loot, I Shoot" and "You Bein Watched." A man seated nearby with a rifle in his lap suggested it was no idle threat. At the Bywater studio of Dr. Bob, the artist known for handpainted "Be Nice or Leave" signs, a less fanciful sentiment was painted on the wall: "Looters Will Be Shot. Dr. Bob."
As the afternoon faded, aggression filled the air on the neutral ground of Poland Avenue as well, as people grew increasingly frustrated with the rescue effort. Having already survived one nightmare, a woman with five children feared going to go to the Dome, saying that some of the men preparing to board transport vehicles had smuggled razor blades with them.
The Dallas Morning News gives a 9:30 p.m. report:
Like a captain issuing an order to abandon ship, Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Blanco called for the total evacuation of New Orleans, a city of 480,000 people.
"The situation is untenable," she said Tuesday afternoon. "It's just heartbreaking."
Rescuers in boats and helicopters didn't stop to pick up the dead. They focused on pulling the living from rooftops. They cringed at the screams of those trapped in their attics as waters rose around them. Looting took place in New Orleans and neighboring Jefferson Parish in full view of police officers and the National Guard.
Dr. Jimmy Guidry, Louisiana's state health officer, said no one can estimate how many might die this week. It could be a thousand or 10,000, he said. He said bacterial contamination could lead to a cholera outbreak.
"Clearly, that's something that concerns us because of Louisiana's history of cholera," Dr. Guidry said. "We're not anticipating a large cholera outbreak, but obviously that's a concern."
The infrastructure that sustains life – electricity, water and sewer systems and the levees that keep Lake Pontchartrain at bay – appeared to be crumbling. Pump systems that might have lowered the flood waters failed. Power generators drowned out.
The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers worked Tuesday night to plug a 200-foot breach in the levee of the 17th Avenue Canal that drains into Lake Pontchartrain. Corps spokesman Bob Anderson said military helicopters would be used to drop rock and massive sandbags into the gap.
"We hope we get that hole sealed by morning," Mr. Anderson said.
But officials showed no such optimism about keeping hope alive among those struggling to survive. To make matters worse, thousands of people who evacuated the city last weekend wanted to return to their homes.
"There's no way to have them understanding that there's nothing to come back to right now," Ms. Blanco said.
Schools might be closed for months.
NEW ORLEANS BLOG
He is blogging from South Bend, Indiana.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
THE WORLD'S INDIFFERENCE
Fox News reports Neil Cavuto's question "Where's the global relief effort for us today?" It's a question floating through the back of my thoughts all day as well.
New Orleans (search) is under water. Mississippi (search) is a disaster. Scores are dead. Homes are destroyed. Businesses are shut down.
When this kind of stuff happens to other folks, we're there. When this kind of stuff happens to us, who's here?
I know we're a rich country. But I think it a bit rich so few call to wish us well in this country. Perhaps some have and perhaps I've missed it.
Still, others never miss a chance to bash us if we've done something wrong or done nothing at all.
All I know is a lot of poor folks here got hit here. Would it kill the same foreigners we've helped there, to offer support here?
I don't expect a telethon. But how about a call on a telephone?
Wishful thinking, I know. Still, what would it cost the world to offer a word of sympathy?
Though I don't suppose he had thought it through, my husband offered the same cynical, frustrated observation tonight in response to the pictures of New Orleans on the evening news, when he said "It's time to stop helping out everyone else and start taking care of Americans. All those troops in Iraq should be here at home rescuing people who desperately need help. We have to take care of our own for a change."
DOM HAS BEEN PROMOTED TO EDITOR OF CATHOLIC WORLD REPORT
WHY ? - AND WHEN IS A MEMBER OF THE HIERARCHY GOING TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT ?
An Evening With Jean Houston: Social Artistry - Hope for the Future
Scholar, author, and researcher in human capacities and cross-cultural education
7 to 9 p.m.
Event date(s): 09/23/05
2004 Randolph Av.
Saint Paul, MN 55105
Phone: (651) 690-6700
For those of you who are interested in heresy, you probably already know that Jean Houston is the founder of her own Mystery School where students are taught to seek "empowerment". What is she doing on a Catholic college campus?
The event is being sponsored by Wisdom Ways, a program of The Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet. There is also a companion event billed as a "Workshop: The Path of the World Server" noted on the Wisdom Ways website. This event is associated with the Continuum Center which is dedicated, since 1995, to the discovery of self, according to the text at the "About Us" link. Continuum's announcement of the event indicates that it is also being sponsored by St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church.
Thanks to a reader for the link.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
NOT SO LIGHT READING
This is the book I took along to Columbus for evening reading.
Fr. Livio Fanzaga is the director (since 1987) of Radio Maria, an Italian radio station that is now heard internationally, and the author of several books. THE WRATH OF GOD was hailed by "L'Osservatore Romano". Fr. Fanzaga earned his Doctorate in Theology at the Gregorian University in Rome and a Doctorate in Philosophy at the Catholic University.
The book is about the end of the world and the Antichrist who must come before the end. Fr. Fanzaga uses Soloviev's THE ANTICHRIST and Robert Hugh Benson's THE LORD OF THE WORLD as the basis for his commentary about this subject.
According to the Introduction, the impetus to re-visit this subject came from listening to an address by Cardinal Biffi in 1992. The first section of the book takes a quotation from Soloviev and matches it to passages of Scripture and to portions of the CCC, demonstrating the prophetic nature of Soloviev's writing.
Some characteristics of the Antichrist emerge from the entire text:
- He will need an introspective Church which has lost its evangelical strength and vigor.
- He enthrones himself in God's sanctuary and claims that he is God.
- He worships himself, makes himself equal to God and sets himself up in the temple of God in place of God.
- He could easily be a person of great moral standing, intelligence, rectitude, and devoted to mankind to the point that he believes himself to be man's savior.
- His pride will be well disguised but this will be his fatal flaw.
- He will be supported by the media and will work miracles such as providing unceasing peace and unity, economic stability and prosperity for all.
- His rise to political prominence will be meteoric.
- He will teach that man must save himself in much the same way that Masonic philosophy teaches this.
The book is copyrighted 1997, well before the sexual abuse scandal broke. Yet without knowledge of the lawsuits, Fanzaga writes:
...the apparently fast approaching reckoning between Christ and His opponents will not be played out in a dramatic conflict but in an attempt to impoverish the Church from within in an attempt to liquidate it. The extermination of the Church will be sought not by means of persecution but by seduction which will result in a secularized Church.(p. 32)
Addressing the question of whether the Antichrist is a collective moment or a person, he writes:
Soloviev and Benson regard him as both. I believe that it is symptomatic that both Soloviev and Benson, who treat of this subject prophetically, hold that the person of the Antichrist is an expression of international Masonry whose plan is to rid the world of war, hunger and ignorance by making of mankind one great family ruled by the light of reason.(p. 49)
Pope Benedict has recently predicted that the Church would grow smaller. Fanzaga writes:
It is truly extraordinary how Soloviev, writing a century ago, could highlight certain currents which now pervade society but which were then nascent--for example, Satanism.(p. 57)
This is the position of the three churches in the first three years of the Antichrist's reign. They are marked by numerical reduction of the faithful and a strong return to evangelical origins. The Churches have become a tiny flock in which the Father causes the splendor of the Kingdom to shine.
Clearly Soloviev profoundly grasped many of the tendencies of modern society. This is evident...when we recall that there are one hundred thousand magicians in Italy--twice the number of priests in the country. Fifteen million Italians consult them which is more than the total of those who practice their religion.(p. 59)
By far his most significant point which he stresses repeatedly is summed up by this passage:
Soloviev helps us to discover the "the [sic] great seduction" of humanitarianism which is a religion without Christ or Cross in which man saves himself by his own intelligence.(p. 60)
He cites this theme again in the second section devoted primarily to Benson's THE LORD OF THE WORLD, saying:
While it is certain that there will be a final battle, the question remains whether it will be conducted between Catholicism and humanitarianism. In this, what role will Islam, with its millions of followers throughout the world, play? Will it preserve its faith or will it be assimilated to humanitarianism? Rather than being an enemy of Catholicism, could the day come when Islam will be its ally in affirming the transcendence of God, His primacy and His supremacy with regard to man? Islam is truly a mystery in God's plan.(p. 116)
Fanzaga calls the religion of the future Atheism, and says that "a more sophisticated form of atheism will assert that "Man is God, humanity is God, God is immanent in human history and in the lives of individuals." He says that we will adore man to satisfy the religious need. Rather than renouncing the Kingdom of God, the religion of the future will construct it on earth. He elaborates further:
Just as the Catholic religion tries to unite all men under a supernatural principle represented in the person of the Vicar of Christ, so too, humanitarianism strives to unite all men and to conciliate all religions. It seeks to institute universal peace by recognizing the supreme unifying authority of the Antichrist--perfect image of the immanent god in the world, the man-god. God did not become man. The man-God is the savior of the world.(p. 119)
He predicts that "Churches and abbeys will be transformed into temples of the new religion of humanitarianism and the Mass will be displaced by the celebration of the new rites." (p. 120)
I have encountered Catholics who will calmly announce that they have arrived at a "superior form of religion" which corresponds to humanitarianism. They no longer have faith in God, in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, and in grace. Instead of praying, they search for unknown forces and the vital powers of the occult. Transcendental meditation substitutes for prayer. Through introspection, which it facilitates, they search for the traces of God in themselves."(p. 121)
That comes very close to a description of the centering prayer movement. It also describes the nuns seeking "empowerment."
Fanzaga further notes this emphasis on a religion of this world:
If we think of other forms of what Paul VI described as the smoke of Satan that had entered the Catholic Church, we discover attempts to empty Christianity of its supernatural dimension and to reduce it to a humanitarian religion. In all this, little importance is attributed to sin, grace and the transcendent. Insistence is placed on the corporeal works of mercy alone. The Sacraments are abandoned. The supernatural is relegated to the margins. The Church is considered to be democratic and the Magisterium is contested.(p. 128-129)
In describing the reign of Antichrist, Fanzaga writes:
Poverty will be eradicated from the face of the earth and all men will enjoy prosperity in virtue of the "poverty laws" instituted by a grand alliance of communism and Masonry in the name of progress and class collaboration. These will be times of great peace and justice at the cost of apostasy from the truth. They will be accomplished by the proud presumption that man does not need God.(p. 135)
There is a passage that describes the use of euthanasia in the religion of the future. It will be invoked to deal with the problems of boredom and fear of death expected to arise when peace and prosperity becomes the status quo.
In a society dominated by the "great religious deception" a sacrament of euthanasia will be instituted to solve the problem of boredom and death. Those who so desire will be able to ask for "sweet death" and expire without pain. Special clinics, bound to absolute secrecy, will be set up. In complete anonymity, unknown even to their families, people will be able to request death. Before asking for this "sacrament" they will have to reflect for a week on whether to live or die, after which they will be able to administer to themselves, or receive from nurses who are called "sisters," the sweet sacrament of suicide.(pp. 139-140)
Fanzaga suggests this "sweet death" will replace the sacrament of the anointing of the sick. What it sounds much more like, however, is the sacrament of the Cathars called "consolementum." Though the consolementum did not bring about death, death frequently followed it by design, though not necessarily painless death.
Fanzaga proposes that in the future those who hope to see heaven will have to accommodate themselves to the real possibility of martyrdom, and must cling to the Pope who will be an unshaken pillar of truth who will guide the few remaining Catholics to Christ. He writes:
Neither persecution nor seduction, however, can corrode the Chair of Peter and the apostolic college united with it--even if some of its individual members should defect. Christ's promise that "the gates of hell shall not prevail against it" remains valid until the end of history.(p. 186)
He also offers us a sure test: "Any denial of the human and divine nature of Christ indicates a work in favor of the kingdom of the Antichrist." (p. 68)
It's certainly a most thought provoking analysis of the subject. There is, however, one disturbing aspect of the book. Fanzaga is inclined to look favorably on the prophetic work of Maria Valtorta. He cites passages from her "Poem of the Man God", a book that was on the Index when the Catholic Index still existed. The publisher has included a qualifier. As a footnote to Fanzaga's "I have always esteemed Maria Valtorta. Her life of Jesus has merits as a source of edification for the faithful and has been helpful for the simple faithful in conserving the faith. THE POEM OF THE MAN GOD has been enormously successful and has been translated into ten languages" the publisher notes: "This is not to be construed as our endorsement. The Vatican has disapproved of THE PEOM OF THE MAN GOD."
His use of this condemned work casts a shadow over the entire book which otherwise is faithful to the teachings of the Church and to Scripture and a good exploration of the subject of the Antichrist.
CNN REPORT ON KATRINA'S DESTRUCTION
For a video and description of how and where the levee broke allowing lake water to flow into New Orleans, go here and click the link in the "Watch" section on the right.
Katrina turned the morning commute here in Akron into pea soup. The fog was so bad in one local area that the school was closed. It's gray outside and sprinkling lightly right now, but the storm itself is not expected to arrive here until late afternoon or evening. The tornadoes accompanying the storm's path indicate we could have a long night if the fury of Katrina is not spent by the time it arrives here.
Will the reconciliation happen this time as a result of yesterday's meeting?
Richard Owen reports:
POPE BENEDICT XVI, who reached out to Muslims and Jews last week on his first trip to his native Germany since his election, is preparing to mend an enduring schism within the Roman Catholic Church.
Vatican sources say that the Pope is planning to lift the excommunication of a group of renegade ultra-traditionalists by his predecessor, John Paul II, 17 years ago.
In an unprecedented move, the Pope is to receive Bishop Bernard Fellay, the Superior General of the Society of St Pius X, for conciliation talks at his summer residence at Castelgandolfo today.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
The French Quarter in New Orleans prides itself in its historic buildings--buildings, one would think, which had not been built to withstand Katrina's assault. Yet the Quarter not only survived, it came through the storm in better shape than other areas, due partially to the fact it has been built on the highest ground in the city.
In the courtyard behind the 278-year-old Cathedral St. Louis, two massive oaks toppled, their roots pulling up a 30-foot section of iron fence.
Carrie Hanselman marveled at how the branches straddled a marble statue of Jesus Christ but, miraculously, knocked off only the thumb and forefinger on its outstretched left hand.
"He was right in the middle of it," the 47-year-old pastry chef said. "Jesus and his mother were watching out for us. I had that candle burning all night."
Terry Ebbert, chief of homeland security for New Orleans, said the French Quarter appeared to survive Katrina better than any of the city's neighborhoods.
Monday, August 29, 2005
All morning the news focused on New Orleans, but Biloxi took the hit. A reporter describes the changes wrought by this destructive lady, among them this:
St. Thomas the Apostlic Catholic Church, which sits on U.S. 90, celebrated its 100th anniversary in August. It is now gone.
The water is set to fall on Ohio tomorrow. Local forecasters predict 1 to 4 inches for Cleveland.
If you want to help the storm victims, look here to get addresses of the organizations set up to give aid, including Catholic Charities.
IF YOU LACK EVIDENCE, JUST FAKE IT
CRUCIAL new claims that could free the Libyan convicted of the Lockerbie bombing have emerged via a retired Scottish police officer of high rank who has told lawyers that vital evidence was fabricated.
The revelation could represent the most dramatic breakthrough for the legal team acting for Abdelbaset Ali Mohmed Al-Megrahi since his conviction for mass murder in 2001.
The retired officer was a member of the Association of Chief Police Officers Scotland (ACPOS), and therefore achieved the rank of assistant chief constable at least.
Hat tip to a reader.
SHARED COMMUNION AT FUNERALS
A reader sent in the following story:
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The death of Brother Roger Schutz prompted an outpouring of sympathy on the part of many Catholics and expressions of ecumenical appreciation from Vatican officials.
But it also highlighted a perennial and neuralgic issue in ecumenical dialogue: the Catholic Church's rules against shared Communion.
Brother Roger, who was stabbed to death in mid-August by a deranged woman, was a longtime friend of Pope John Paul II. The pope had visited Brother Roger's Taize community in eastern France and lauded his efforts to bring Christians together in prayer.
Despite his ecumenical passion, Brother Roger, a minister of the Swiss Reformed Church, did not believe in shared Communion, and it was not practiced at the services in Taize. He also had good ties with the Vatican's doctrinal congregation, headed by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI.
So when Cardinal Ratzinger celebrated Pope John Paul's funeral Mass in April, he was probably surprised to see Brother Roger being rolled up in a wheelchair at the head of the Communion line.
What to do? Cardinal Ratzinger had long defended the church's general prohibition on shared Communion. Special circumstances might allow for Communion, but the cardinal could hardly probe the matter in the middle of the pope's funeral.
In the end, he did what many pastors in local dioceses do in such circumstances: He gave Communion.
Continue reading about the shared communion at Bro. Roger's funeral at Taize...
ANOTHER GRADUATION CELEBRATED
My daughter received her Master's degree in chemistry from Ohio State Univ. yesterday. We've just gotten back from Columbus, which is why there are no new blogs up yet today.
It was surprising to see how many doctorates were awarded at the ceremony, most of them to people with foreign-sounding names. We seem to be educating the world, but not educating very many Americans, at Ohio State anyway. I wonder why?