Sunday, February 25, 2007

What is Your Style of American Catholicism?

You scored as Traditional Catholic. You look at the great piety and holiness of the Church before the Second Vatican Council and the decay of belief and practice since then, and see that much of the decline is due to failed reforms based on the "Spirit of the Council". You regret the loss of vast numbers of Religious and Ordained clergy and the widely diverging celebrations of the Mass of Pope Paul VI, which often don't even seem to be Catholic anymore. You are helping to rebuild this past culture in one of the many new Traditional Latin Mass communities or attend Eastern Catholic Divine Liturgy. You seek refuge from the world of pornography, recreational drugs, violence, and materialism. You are an articulate, confident, committed, and intelligent Catholic.

But do you support legitimate reform of the Church, and are you willing to submit to the directives of the Second Vatican Council? Will you cooperate responsibly with others who are not part of the Traditional community? - Rome of the West

Traditional Catholic


New Catholic


Neo-Conservative Catholic


Radical Catholic


Evangelical Catholic


Lukewarm Catholic


Liberal Catholic


What is your style of American Catholicism?
created with

Sunday, February 11, 2007

True Girl

If you have a daughter, grand daughter, niece or family friend between the ages of 10 and 18, she may be interested in this wonderful (and truly Catholic) girls' magazine called True Girl. Right now it is only published bi-monthly but it is a new publication so I'm hoping it will go monthly some day...

It has lots of great articles, uses 'real' girls as models, typically touches on at least one aspect of the Catholic Faith and is just an uplifting read. I wish this magazine was around when I was that age.

It is a refreshing respite from the other girls' magazines out there (Seventeen and Cosmos Girl). Also, a fellow blogger is a contributor to the magazine, Denise Hunnell aka Catholic Mom.

From their website;

True Girl is dedicated and consecrated to Mary, the ultimate role model for all women, who always directs us to her Son, Jesus. By following her example and living by His will rather than ours, we will find ourselves on the path to truth. Please keep our ministry in your prayers!

Saturday, February 10, 2007

The Corporal Works of Mercy

We all know them, right?

-- Feed the Hungry
-- Give drink to the Thirsty
-- Clothe the naked
-- Shelter the homeless
-- Visit the sick
-- Visit the imprisoned
-- Bury the dead

At Amy's website, she has asked for examples of good (small) charities that do some of the above.

A day or so ago, she also posted a link to blog by Jim Myers of the Diocese of Colorado Springs who is currently working with Christian Foundation for Children and Aging. It was good to see someone report on their work with a first-hand account.

Friday, February 09, 2007

From Atheist to Priest

From my inbox...

By the time this volume appears, I shall have left the world, and
entered the Dominican Order.

My beloved wife, Elisabeth, prayed incessantly for my return to the Catholic Faith. Daily for this intention, she accepted and offered up
all her sacrifices, trials, sufferings, and at the end, even her death.

But she did this secretly.

She never argued with me; she never spoke to me of the supernatural side of her life, save by her example.

I have, since Elisabeth's death, learned to appreciate the power of
her silence. God heard the constant prayer it concealed, and, when her sacrifice was accomplished, completed the conversion that was begun in me by her influence and by my reading her diary, which I found after her death, and which I present to you here.

Renunciation, detachment, sacrifice, and utmost charity toward God and neighbor: these are the themes on each of these pages.

Reading them, you might say, "This is admirable, but I couldn't follow so steep a way. In the incidents and worries of daily life, how could anyone?"

But Elisabeth, too, was a woman of the world: we liked to have guests and to pay visits;
we had a comfortable home; we led a varied existence.

Her example shows how to live an intense spiritual life and to practice the highest virtues in the midst of outward activity.

When I married Elizabeth, I was profoundly anti-religious.I had been
raised Catholic but lost my faith in medical school. Materialistic
influences, assisted by my own passions, carried me on to paganism and
atheism. I searched for weapons against Catholicism.

I set myself to attack Elizabeth's Faith,
to deprive her of it, and
— may God pardon me! —
I nearly succeeded.

At the beginning of July 1913,
she was struck down by her last illness,
which for ten months was her Calvary,
until the end came on May 3, 1914,
when she was forty-eight years old.

Her Journal shows how Elisabeth
endured these terrible afflictions.
She comforted those around her,
never complained,
and looked to the Eucharist,
and to prayer and self-sacrifice,
for the support she needed.

During her last months,
when she suffered a martyrdom of pain,
she contented herself, while the crisis lasted,
with repeating in a gentle plaintive voice,

"My God, have pity on us, on me!"

— even now naming herself last.
And then, when the crisis passed,
she became once more smiling and valiant.

When I think that I was foolish and criminal enough
to try to destroy the Faith that lifted her so high
and sustained her so powerfully!
To what a Hell would I have reduced her
and condemned myself at the same stroke!

I can only implore my dear Elisabeth to
pardon me and to prove her pardon
by asking God to inspire me with her ardent faith,
some of her great Christian virtues,
and the self-giving and self-sacrifice she practiced.

During the unhappy days after her death,
before her burial, while she still lay on her bed
with a calm expression and a truly supernatural beauty,
there was an uninterrupted procession at her bedside.

People came to pray near her,
to bring her a last token of affection,
and I thus saw in my home numbers of people
whom I did not know, whom I had never seen before
and have never seen since, and who gave free vent
to their sincere and touching grief.

A great many people attended her funeral.
They expressed such real and unanimous emotion
and gave witness to such an uncommon distress
that the clergy assisting at the service
were utterly astonished.

They made inquiries, and their questions
were at once reported to me:

"But who was this woman?
We have never seen
such a funeral before!"

Since God has taken her to Himself
I am not alone in praying to her,
and it has been told to me in confidence
that special graces are believed to have been
obtained by her intercession.

I know of happy events that may be said
to have been brought about by her intervention;
and indeed the evolution in my own mind and life
bears witness to her supernatural influence.

I have already told how irritated I had been
by the failure of my campaign against her faith,
and how obstinately I was bent upon
controverting all her religious opinions.

But from 1908 my attitude was modified.
When I saw how ill she was,
and how she endured it with equanimity,
I was struck to see how her soul
had so great a command of itself;
and knowing that she drew this
tremendous strength from her convictions,
I ceased to attack them.

I could never weary of admiring her moral force
in the midst of a real martyrdom.
And what a look of immortal beauty
she wore upon her deathbed!
Her face, peaceful now after the last suffering,
had the calm of another world.

After Elisabeth's death,
when everything seemed to collapse around me,
I came upon the Spiritual Testament
she had written for me, and her Journal too.

I read and reread them,
and a revolution took place in my whole moral being.
I understood the celestial beauty of her soul
and that she had accepted all her suffering and offered it
— and even offered her very self in sacrifice —
chiefly for my conversion.

She had concluded with God a kind of pact,
vowing to exchange her life for my return to the Faith.
Her sacrifice was absolute,
and she was convinced that God would accept it
and would take her early to Himself.
She was equally persuaded that
He would ensure my conversion.

One day, she told me
with absolute assurance:

"I shall die before you.
And when I am dead,
you will be converted;
and when you are converted,
you will become a religious.
You will be Father Leseur."

Some weeks before her death,
we were speaking of her belief in a future life
and the Communion of Saints.
She ended with this pronouncement,
spoken with almost solemn authority:

"You will come and find me again
— I know it."

And so I perceived clearly
the inner meaning of her existence,
so grand in its humility.
I began to appreciate the splendor
of the faith of which I had
seen such wonderful effects.
The eyes of my soul were opened.

Although Elisabeth seemed to have gone,
I felt her come to me, to direct me.
All that I found of hers,
all the manuscripts I gathered together,
brought me her inspiration,
and my former hostility quickly gave way
to the wish to know Catholicism.

I turned toward God,
who called to me.

In the spring of 1915,
I confessed my faults to a priest
and was reconciled to the Church.

I had found the harbor, the peace of soul that
allows grief to remain but assuages bitterness.

Elisabeth had led me to the truth,
and even today, in my inmost being,
I continue to feel her guiding my steps
to a more perfect union with God.

Fr. Felix Leseur, O.P.
(ca. 1940)

I resolved to publish Elisabeth's writings,
particularly the Journal,
which had become my daily reading.

I drew from it so much support,
sweetness, and certainty
that I told myself it might well be
of the same great benefit
to other souls as it had been to mine.

It is a book of rare beauty.
The designs of God's Providence
are shown plainly in
Elisabeth's life and work.

I am convinced that by reading these pages
many torn hearts will find the means
to endure with courage the sacrifices
which have been imposed on them.

I now, therefore, give to you
these precious pages.

I pray that the Holy Spirit will spread them far and wide
and that they may help to work in as many souls as possible
the renewal they have accomplished in my own soul.

Thus will be realized and perpetuated
the apostolic work to which God called
my holy and dear Elisabeth.

Felix Leseur

* Felix's words are excerpted from In Memoriam,
his 1917 introduction to Elisabeth's
Journal et pensées de chaque jour.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

The Motu Proprio

Father John Zuhlsdorf has a wonderful 'spiritual boquet' for the Motu Proprio.

For my part, I will do two things daily until 22 February for the softening of the hearts of those who are being obstinate in this matter or who may be causing an unreasonable delay in the issuing of the document. I will offer one decade of my daily rosary for the intention that God will soften hearts in this matter and I will say the Memorare each day for the same intention.

Father Z's blog

Let's join him!

Saturday, February 03, 2007

Hell (and how one gets there)

A frequent commenter on Dom's blog gives all of us a lesson on how to get to Hell. The commenter, a priest, is talking about Father Drinan, who was buried today, God rest his soul.

Folks, it is not a lack of charity to say that someone who—OBJECTIVELY—led countless thousands of others "into temptation" during his life as a priest may very well now be suffering the flames of hell and eternal damnation.

I do not preclude the possibility of Fr. Drinan having repented (on or near his deathbed) and having received the supernatural grace of the Sacrament of the Sick. However, considering his continued public stance in favor of abortion—that is, the mal-formation of his conscience over years of habitually informing it apart from the authentic magisterial authority of the Church—it is extremely unlikely that he moved himself to true and perfect contrition toward the end of his life.

This is not to presume knowledge of the state of Drinan's soul; it is merely a logical conclusion based upon what we know about virtue and vice and the effect each has on the conscience and soul of a human being. Virtue begets virtue; vice begets vice. To presume even a CHANCE of Fr. Drinan's experiencing perfect contrition for the ENORMITY of his crimes strains credulity.

But even were he to (somehow) allow such grace to enter his soul and to move it to repentance, there is still the considerable problem of justice and reparation.

The fact that there is no death-bed statement renouncing his position on abortion, expressing sincere regret for having misled two generations of politicians and Catholics, and having personal culpability for Heaven knows how many deaths—this fact implies that there was effectively nothing done by Fr. Drinan to counteract the grave evils which he facilitated. Nor did he do anything to reprove and re-instruct any of those he misled. Only such a death-bed statement could begin to restore justice to that which is seemingly to be remembered as Drinan's life's work (see today's Boston Herald).

Frankly, for me and others NOT to speak of the enormity of his crimes and the eternal consequences thereof would put our own immortal souls in jeopardy; it would be effectively minimizing the extreme danger we put ourselves in by facilitating (or even not speaking against) any grave sin, but especially the sin of abortion.

Bottom line: it is not easy to undo the damage one does through sin; it requires active cooperation with God's grace and substantial work to restore justice. Belief that it likely happens an instant before death is foolhardy.

I pray for more priests like this one! God bless you Father. May you preach for many more years.

Curt Jester is at it again!

Jeff Miller (Curt Jester) heard from Father Z that there is a new date for the announcement of the TLM Indult. Given that other dates have come and gone, Jeff is going to make us laugh by randomly generating a 'date' for the announcement. What the heck! It has as much chance of being correct as the rumored date...check my sidebar for the 'date'.

It's not too early to start thinking about Lent

Here are some sites I bookmarked from last year,

Lenten Guidelines.

Catholic Culture's Overview of Lent

And last, but not least,

40 Options for Lent

1. Learn about your patron saint.

2. Pray for — by name — people you don't like and for people that
don't like you.

3. Participate in a healing service.

4. Read a Catholic magazine every time you visit the library.

5. March 19, in honor of St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters and
fathers, build or build upon a relationship with one of your children.

6. Buy two of everything on your grocery list, and give the duplicates
to the local food pantry.

7. Find out why you should have fun on Laetare Sunday, and then do so.

8. Start a "cuss bowl." For every unkind word you utter, put in a
dollar — two dollars during Holy Week. After Easter, give the money to
an English as a second language program.

9. Bring a "Baltimore Catechism" to a gathering of Catholic friends,
and start asking each other questions.

10. Give away a material item you really value.

11. Pray for those, e.g., children, parents, spouse, siblings, who
have left the church.

12. Talk to a neighbor you rarely or never talk to.

13. Keep a dish of ashes in a prominent place as a constant reminder
of the season.

14. Receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

15. Test your knowledge of Scripture.

16. Read a biography about Archbishop Oscar Romero and/or watch the
video "Romero."

17. Open a Christmas Club account with the intention of giving the
money to the Society of St. Vincent de Paul.

18. Visit a church when you don't have to.

19. Reserve a button on your car stereo for the Relevant Radio station
in your area.

20. Pray the news — for the people whose stories of hardship are
reported daily and weekly.

21. Read an entry from a Catholic encyclopedia.

22. Attend Mass at a parish other than your own

23. Tithe your tax return.

24. If Catholic schools get NCAA tournament bids, learn for whom those
schools were named.

25. Observe five minutes of silence every day.

26. Instead of watching the Academy Awards, watch "The Passion of the Christ."

27. Use a Lenten theme in decorating part of a room.

28. Memorize a Proverb.

29. Participate in a faith formation presentation.

30. Tell someone your story(ies) of faith, how God has made a
difference in your life.

31. Disconnect the TV and/or the computer.

32. Identify your God-given gifts, how you use them, and how you could
use them better.

33. Fast from gossip.

34. Pull the rosary out of your drawer and say it. Too boring? Say the
Scriptural rosary.

35. Remove your watch before leaving for church on Palm Sunday.

36. Develop a prayer list.

37. Read a history of the papacy.

38. Find out who Raamah, Putiel, and Uzzah are.

39. Sacrifice your time in order to help others.

40. In the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "Preach the Gospel at all
times, and when necessary use words."

I wish I could remember where I found these 40 options but alas, I can't.

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Quote of the Day

At Open Book, Amy asked people to explain "why they came back to Catholicism".
Here's the money quote...
"The pro-life movement is the gateway drug to Catholicism."  - Annie