Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pope Benedict: The Vatican addressed Maciel scandal ‘slowly and late’ and Maciel ‘remains a mysterious figure.’

From the Regnum Christi website:
Peter Seewald: The Church was shaken also by revelations about the double life of Marcial Maciel Degollado…
Benedict XVI: Unfortunately we addressed these things very slowly and late. Somehow they were concealed very well, and only around the year 2000 did we have any concrete clues. Ultimately unequivocal evidence was needed in order to be sure that the accusations were grounded.
To me, Marcial Maciel remains a mysterious figure. There is, on the one hand, a life that, as we now know, was out of moral bounds—an adventurous, wasted, twisted life. On the other hand, we see the dynamism and the strength with which he built up the congregation of Legionaries.
Meanwhile we have had an apostolic visitation carried out and appointed a delegate who together with a group of collaborators is preparing the necessary reforms. Naturally corrections must be made, but by and large the congregation is sound. In it there are many young men who enthusiastically want to serve the faith. This enthusiasm must not be destroyed. Many of them have been called by a false figure to what is, in the end, right after all.*
That is the remarkable thing, the paradox: that a false prophet, so to speak, could still have a positive effect. New courage must be given to these numerous young men. A new structure is needed so that they do not fall between the cracks but are guided correctly so as to be able to continue performing a service to the Church and to mankind.
Our Pope makes a very important point, in that even if Maciel was ‘a false prophet’, that today, ‘by and large the congregation is sound’ and underscores that ‘there are many young men who enthusiastically want to serve the faith.’
It is quite tragic that so many good people and people with religious vocations who had ties with the Legionaries, have had their names dragged through the mud and their reputations tainted simply because their founder led a double life. Furthermore, the Pope’s resolve that the Legionaries need ‘a new structure’ so that the priests are ‘guided correctly’ does not shy from the fact that even the order must recover.
For further commentary see this Associated Press article where it is reported that Jim Fair, the Legion's communications director, said "the Legion agrees with the pope's comments in the new book."

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Extremely Rare Footage of St. Pio. I never wanted this You-Tube video to end.

Hat-Tip to Mark for telling me about this video. You can access Mark's excellent blog here.

Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal. Part Two

See Part One for the beginning of the story on how Our Lady appeared to Alphonse in St. Andrew’s Church in Rome.
The baron, having made the funeral arrangements for his friend, went back to Alphonse who was on his knees in St. Michael’s chapel. The baron nudged Alphonse at least three times, and mysteriously there was no response. Then, Alphonse turned to the baron. Alphonse’s face was dripping with tears, and he joined his hands and whispered, "Ah, how this man has prayed for me!" Gradually, they left the church. Alphonse who has poured scorn on the Miraculous Medal was kissing the medal and now his tears covered it. Alphonse repeated: "How happy I am.  How good God is!  How great are the graces of happiness!  How we should pity those who do not know this!" He grasped the arm of the astonished baron, and asked to see a 'confessor' so that he might take instruction on being baptized.  The baron, who was mourning the death of a friend, was so bewildered and shook by Ratisbonne's words that without question, he immediately took him to a priest.
Holding his medal dear and kissing it, Alphonse, carefully recounted what happened to the priest, "I had been in that church for only a very brief time when all at once I felt myself in the grip of a disturbance impossible to describe.  I raised my eyes; I could no longer see anything of the building.  All the light seemed as if it were concentrated in some of the chapels, and in the midst of its shining there stood upon the altar the Virgin Mary as she is shown on the medal, beautiful, glorious, and embodying at once both majesty and kindness.  A force, which I could not resist, drew me toward her.  The Virgin made a sign with her hand that I should kneel and she seemed to say:  "It is well." She did not actually speak to me, but I understood as if she had." 
Later Alphonse said of the apparition of Our Lady, "I saw her just as I now see you!  But my eyes were unable to bear the brightness of this heavenly light.  Three times I tried to look at her face again; but each time I was unable to raise my eyes beyond her hands from whence there poured, just as on the medal, torrents of grace in the appearance of rays of light."
On June 3, 1842 a Roman court of inquiry completed an investigation and a pontifical decree was published stating:  "that it is certain, that a true and notable miracle, the work of God, through the intercession of the Blessed Virgin, did produce the instantaneous and complete conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne."

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Alphonse Ratisbonne and the Miraculous Medal. A ‘test’ that changed his life. Part One

1842. A young French Jew, Alphonse Ratisbonne, was due to get married, but spent some time travelling on the continent. When he arrived in Rome, he met Baron de Bussieres, a Protestant who had converted to Catholicism. Ratisbonne was candid with the devout Catholic Baron de Bussieres and declared, ‘a Jew was I born, and a Jew shall I die."
"Well then, since you are so strong-minded and so sure of yourself," said the baron to Alphonse, "promise me to wear something I am going to give you."
"We shall see. What is this?"
"It is only a medal." Then the baron showed him a Miraculous Medal. After some discussion, he challenged Alphonse to wear it and placed it around his neck. Alphonse giggled, but did not say no to it. This was just a dare, a test of belief, thought Ratisbonne.
"Now," said the baron, "you must not shirk the rest. Each morning and evening you must say the Memorare, a very short and effective prayer written by St. Bernard in honour of Our Lady."
To Alphonse this deed seemed bizarre, but appealed to his humorous nature, "Very well! I promise I will say your prayer; if it does me no good, at least it will not do me any harm!"
During the days that followed, the baron accompanied Alphonse when he was sightseeing the ‘eternal city’, and they visited many churches and masterpieces of art depicting the key events in the life of Christ. The baron used these trips as a way of introduction to Catholicism. Ratisbonne thought the baron’s efforts a bit too obvious and frankly, quite amusing, he treated it all as if it was a bit of a funny game. He was, however, thankful for seeing the pope in the Vatican (it was a once in a lifetime experience).
More days passed, and the baron was losing hope; "Ratisbonne has not advanced one step in the direction of the truth."
But the ways of grace were at work, even while the baron was despairing. One night, Alphonse awakened from his sleep "to see before me a large cross of a special shape without the body of Christ being attached to it."
The next day, Ratisbonne went with the baron to the Church of St. Andrea della Frate. The baron was rather down, and grief stricken as a friend of his had passed away, and he was visiting St. Andrea della Frate to check on funeral preparations of this friend.
Alphonse described the scene, "The Church of Saint Andrew seemed to me small, poor and forgotten. I felt as if I were alone in it. There were no works of art to draw my attention. I walked about aimlessly, without seeing anything to arouse a thought. I can recall only that a black dog sprang into my path... but soon he was gone! Then the church itself seemed to disappear; and I saw nothing at all... or I should say, O my God, that I saw one thing alone!"
"How can I speak of this? No! Human words cannot even try to convey what is beyond expression... When M. de Bussieres recalled me to myself, I was in tears and was unable to answer his questions... But I seized the medal that was on my breast and I fervently kissed the image of the Virgin... Oh! It had indeed been she! I did not know where I was; I did not know if I were Alphonse or someone else. I felt so deep a change in me that I believed myself to be another; I sought to regain my consciousness of self, and I could not... I was not able to speak; I did not wish to discuss what had happened; I felt within myself something so solemn and so sacred as to require me to ask for a priest."

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Padre Pio and the Irish Part Two

Padre Pio statue in Mamore Gap, Donegal, Ireland.
In June 2002, this life-size statue of Padre Pio was erected and blessed in the Gap of Mamore, and it faces a shrine of Our Lady. It was finished just in time for Padre Pio's canonisation ceremony in Rome. During that summer, in honour of the 'new' saint, St. Pio, the people of Donegal organised for the Rosary to be said by the site of this statue of St. Pio.

Padre Pio and the Irish Part One

This week I have been steeped in research on Ireland's recent economic history. I'm doing some journalism on how the faith in Ireland fell, and economic carelessness rose. This may sound all too coincidental and a fluke, but as Ireland went further from the teaching of the Church on how to manage its finances, it went more towards a very unrealistic continental-style financial model that did not suit our wet, windblown island's interests.
Precisely, how has the faith fallen? Mass attendance has dropped to such low levels, that only in the time of St. Patrick's arrival were there fewer people going to Mass (this might not be an exaggeration!). Fewer people know the basics of the faith. But Padre Pio is still very well-regarded and people are more likely to know the basics of his life story than they are the Catechism. Devotion to Padre Pio, is a golden thread of faith that unites both 'Catholic Ireland' of old and modern Ireland. In the days of 'Catholic Ireland', thousands of Irish people underwent trail-blazing trips to San Giovanni Rotondo in the '50s and '60s. And equally large numbers of Irish people were present for his beatification in 1999, and then his canonisation in 2002. Much of this is recounted in the book by Colm Keane, Padre Pio, The Irish Connection.

There remains a very instinctive drive to pray to Padre Pio. Dónal Enright, who I wrote about in a previous post, has a phone that never stops ringing - mainly sick people from all corners of Ireland invite him to their bedside to pray with them and bless them with Padre Pio's mitt. Books on Padre Pio are bestsellers in Ireland (sorry, that's not true for the Catechism). Liberal Irish newspaper enthusiastically report the accounts of miracles attributed to Padre Pio. These same newspapers are busy discrediting the power of the sacraments one day, and the next day these newspapers celebrate the great intercession of St. Pio. Here is an account reported in The Waterford News and Star about a 12 year old girl who sustained chronic injuries to her spine and back after falling from a pony. She was semi-paralysed, and then developed pneumonia. Her life hung by a thread. Eventually, Dónal Enright was asked to visit and bring Padre Pio's mitt. Just prior to Dónal's visit, the girl's condition was 'critical', but after he prayed over her with Padre Pio's mitt, there was a 'dramatic' improvement. The girl recovered and leads a 'perfectly normal life'.

Monday, 22 November 2010

JFK's RIP prayer card - Catholics just don't make them like they used to

47 years ago today, JFK was murdered in broad day-light. While, it was an impossibility for me to ever meet JFK, but I did meet his sister. I still pray for the repose of JFK's soul. If JFK went to Purgatory, then we may remember that when Padre Pio was asked how long one soul may stay in Purgatory - Padre Pio answered that it could be up to one hundred years. 
 Here is one of my most treasured possessions - the prayer card that was sent out after JFK's death. Let's see, we have an indulgence of 500 days listed on the back. When was the last time you saw an indulgence on a funeral prayer card? And the quote from St. Ambrose, about conducting the faithfully departed to Heaven with our prayers would be considered very old-school in Catholic circles today. Linen on the Hedgerow's post this morning inspired me to take photos of this card and post it. Part of this post reads, ' it is fashionable to name call JFK these days; we hear the woman chaser accusations ad nauseum but, at the time these facts or fictions were not aired and we saw Kennedy as a clean cut Catholic male who had the capacity to bring change into the lives of many thousands. He and his brother, Robert, took on the unions and the racists and the mafia to such a degree that the hold these groups held on the USA was broken for ever.'

Pope Benedict on Communion in the hand

During a long interview with Peter Seewald, Pope Benedict has said that: “I am not opposed in principle to Communion in the hand; I have both administered and received Communion in this way myself.”

But, he explains: “The idea behind my current practice of having people kneel to receive Communion on the tongue was to send a signal and to underscore the Real Presence with an exclamation point. One important reason is that there is a great danger of superficiality precisely in the kinds of Mass events we hold at Saint Peter’s, both in the Basilica and in the Square. I have heard of people who, after receiving Communion, stick the Host in their wallet to take home as a kind of souvenir.

“In this context, where people think that everyone is just automatically supposed to receive Communion — everyone else is going up, so I will, too—I wanted to send a clear signal. I wanted it to be clear:  Something quite special is going on here! He is here, the  One before whom we fall on our knees! Pay attention!

“This is not just some social ritual in which we can take part if we want to.”
This was reported by Independent Catholic News here.

For more information  on The Light of the World, which will be out this Tuesday, see here and here.

Sunday, 21 November 2010

Wilde Mary...

For my pro-life posts and anti-abortion newspaper articles I got: Stephen King. I’d like to believe that means the articles are more Shawshank Redemption than It, but maybe they are both!

For the account of my dog Polly’s cure, thanks to the St. Benedict Medal...I got...

I write like
Mark Twain
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

And for a post on the dress code for visiting the Vatican - you guessed it – Dan Brown. Exhale noisily

For a post about visiting an elderly patient in a psychiatric ward I got…J.K. Rowling.

For the account of arguing with Baroness Warnock about embryonic stem cell research…I got Leo Tolstoy.

I write like
Leo Tolstoy
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!
For private literary endeavour – the time spent writing as of yet unpublished Irish fiction -I got Oscar Wilde. I'm thrilled!

I write like
Oscar Wilde
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!
For my Painful, personal and Highly Controversial memoir set in New York, I got J D Salinger.

I write like
J. D. Salinger
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

The Real Story of The Exorcist Part Four. This part may upset some.

The introduction of a statue of St Michael the Archangel makes a huge difference to the exorcism...

The Real Story of The Exorcist Part Three. This part may upset some.

The Real Story of The Exorcist Part Two. This part may upset some.

Stern Stuff! During the first ‘failed’ exorcism the priest’s arm is ripped from the shoulder to the wrist and needs 100 stitches. Then the priests who manage a second exorcism do not know of the first attempted exorcism and the violence unleashed on a fellow priest.

The Real Story of The Exorcist Part One

Skip to 1:40 minutes to get straight into the story that inspired the novel and the film The Exorcist. A valuable historical note is made at the start - that in the Jewish scripture any trafficking with evil spirits was not only forbidden, but punishable by death. The possessed child, Robbie used an image to portray the beginnings of his possession - that there seemed to be 'marching feet in his bed'. Also, interesting that Robbie's possession took on the characteristics of 'perfect possession' (the term from the Catechism of the Catholic Church) when he attempted to contact his dead aunt through the ouija board.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Padre Pio and Dan Brown (apparently) have something in common. I am not convinced.

Their writing styles! When I put samples of Padre Pio’s writings into the ‘I Write Like’ test, I found that Padre Pio’s writing style is meant to be closest to that of the Catholic-basher, literary fraudster Dan Brown.
Clearly, it’s not content that’s being analysed – rather the ‘style’ or genre. It is interesting that both Padre Pio (for the right reasons) and Dan Brown (for filling his pockets) have caught the attention of the whole world with their writings. But it sounds so far-fetched and ludicrous that the greatest spoof-writer of our times, Dan Brown would have anything in common with a saint who consistently draws our attention to eternal truths.  
With a heavy heart, I here paste the ‘badge’ that popped up when I put in Padre Pio’s letter praising Humanae Vitae. Forgive me Padre Pio. But don't you think it would irritate/annoy the hell out of Dan Brown to know that his writing style is (supposedly) close to that of Padre Pio's?! 

I write like
Dan Brown
I Write Like by Mémoires, journal software. Analyze your writing!

Friday, 19 November 2010

Padre Pio forbid all diabolic 'magic', and that would include children's 'toys'

Padre Pio prohibited all 'magic' and fortune telling. In November 1948, Padre Pio heard a lady’s confession. The lady gave an account afterwards, ‘among the things I told him was that we were worried about our aunt who read Tarot cards in our family”. Padre Pio in a authoritative tone said: "Throw that stuff away, as soon as you can." 
There is a lot of confusion among Catholics as to whether to buy 'magic' toys such as ouija boards and tarot card sets for their children. As Linen on the Hedgerow points out, buying 'toys' such as ouija boards over the internet has made it possible for people in our chilly islands to buy 'magic' toys from the US. The reason that I write 'magic' instead of just magic, is that really 'magic' is a nice-sounding, Disney-esque word that conjures up images of wands and magical fantasy castles; the stuff of fairy tales and fantasy. But diabolic 'magic' is real - where people believe that they will 'magically' get certain powers such as knowledge of the future (tarot cards) or in touch with the dead (ouija board).The majority of Catholics that I know who dabble/'experiment' in this stuff, have Never been told that it is not only dubious, but deeply dangerous. According to the documentary that was made of the possessed child who was the inspiration for the film The Exorcist, that child (in real life he was a boy) became possessed after he and his aunt played with a ouija board.
PS - The Microsoft word spell checker is putting red, squiggly lines under my uncapitalised spellings of 'ouija'. I'll have to write Bill (Gates/gates) a letter and tell him to make a 'Catholic Spell Checker' - then I'll be safe!

Kelly Clinger's painful testimony: "I had an abortion and I hate myself"

Kelly Clinger, who was a back-up singer for the pop star Britney Spears, has blogged about her abortions.
"Someone asked if I had heard about the doctor in Orlando who has been in a lot of trouble, and when I searched for news about it, I realized it was James Pendergraft, the doctor who did my abortions.  He has now had his medical license suspended for the fourth time, this time for performing late term abortions past the time when they are legal.
When I saw a picture of the clinic, I crumbled.  When I saw a picture of the doctor, I began weeping and I couldn’t stop...I can still remember the poster on the ceiling.  It was the last thing I saw before I fell asleep from the anesthesia, and the first thing I saw when I woke up.
The article was full of stories about women like me … ones who have suffered for months, even years, because of incomplete abortions. There was a woman who was awake and saw her baby being pulled from her as his body fell apart in the doctor’s hands.  They had her frantic 911 call as she decided she wanted the baby to live after seeing that it actually is a baby, but no one at the clinic would help.  By the time the ambulance arrived, the baby was dead.
It’s an uncomfortable subject … because if I call it a baby, if I admit that it was a boy or a girl who had 10 fingers and 10 toes and a life that was already mapped out by God, then I am calling myself a killer.  If I talk about it, blog about it, pray about it, then that makes it real.
But just when I think I’ve pushed the memories far enough behind that they won’t catch up with me, there they are again.
The self-hatred is paralyzing.  It lurks closely and tells me that I don’t deserve happiness.  The guilt is suffocating.  It has affected every relationship I have...I would take a bullet for my out-of-the-womb children.  Why didn’t I protect the ones inside? I have given up hope that the past could have been different.  I cannot change what I did.  Every bible study, counseling session, and prayer seems to just be a band-aid over a wound that will never heal."
My question is whether or not Britney Spears will go public about her previous abortion(s). Britney's post abortion syndrome has been the focus of much detailed, medical study, including that of Dr. Theresa Burke.
Article found on LifeSiteNews

Padre Pio’s First Miracle – A burnt face is healed

It was the year 1908, and Padre Pio lived in the monastery of Montefusco. One day, he collected chestnuts in the forest nearby, and sent a bag of chestnuts to his aunt Daria. Daria was very fond of her nephew Pio. Daria received the chestnuts, ate them, but kept the bag as reminder of Pio. Some days later, Daria was looking in a drawer (her husband kept gun powder in this drawer) and Daria used a candle to help her see. The drawer caught fire, and Daria’s face got burned. Taking the bag that Fr. Pio had sent with the chestnuts, and placing it on her face, Daria’s blazing pain disappeared and no wound or burn mark remained.

This account gives us a pleasant glimpse of Padre Pio’s earthly life – the friar who thoughtfully collected chestnuts as a simple gift. He knew of his aunt’s great affection for him, and how she would enjoy the chestnuts. But did he know that an immense cure would be wrought from using the bag? It is to be expected that the friar, who as a child had colloquies with Jesus and Our Lady, would have known that the little chestnut bag would be used to such a marvellous salubrious effect.  
In many ways, this powerful miracle foreshadows the phenomenal healings from Padre Pio's mitt. The bag that had been handled by, Padre Pio, was used to treat a ghastly burn. Now, 102 years later, as Padre Pio intercedes from his heavenly home, his mitt, the humble knitted garment that dressed his pierced hand, may bestow great blessings and graces to those in physical agony.  

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Do the Legion of Christ stand a chance of surviving? And may Pope Benedict save them from themselves? Part Two

Maybe it’s negative on both counts. Leading Catholic journalist, William Oddie, started a vital debate, ‘the superiors of the Legion of Christ are opposing change – why not sack the lot?’ William Oddie puts forth the following case.

The trouble is first that the entire spirituality of the Legion is based to a quite extreme extent on the supposed heroic sanctity of its founder. According to a former Legionary priest, Fr Stephen Fichter: “Maciel was this mythical hero who was put on a pedestal and had all the answers. When you become a Legionary, you have to read every letter Fr Maciel ever wrote, like 15 or 16 volumes. To hear he’s been having this double life on the side, I just don’t see how they’re going to continue.”

And what a double life. Sex abuse of minors. Six illegitimate children. Mistresses housed in luxury apartments bought with the Legion’s money. The list goes on.

Fr Fichter, once the chief financial officer for the order, said he informed the Vatican three years ago that every time Fr Maciel left Rome, “I always had to give him $10,000 in cash – $5,000 in American dollars and $5,000 in the currency of wherever he was going”. Fr Fichter added: “As Legionaries, we were taught a very strict poverty; if I went out of town and bought a Bic pen and a chocolate bar, I would have to turn in the receipts. And yet for Fr Maciel there was never any accounting. It was always cash, never any paper trail. And because he was this incredible hero to us, we never even questioned it for a second.”

Pope Benedict first ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the congregation, and then appointed Cardinal-designate Velasio De Paolis to set about reforming it. You would think, would you not, that this troubled body would want to co-operate with him, and get everything sorted out: but no. Cardinal De Paolis has come to the conclusion that there has to be major change, and that this has to begin at the top. The trouble is, according to the leading Vaticanologist,
Sandro Magister, “the superiors of the congregation, the most powerful of which is vicar general Luís Garza Medina, are by no means giving up on the idea of remaining in their positions of command, now and always…’

PS - On a previous occasion, I wrote a post about how I began to be wary of The Legionaries.

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Why a cruel recession grips Ireland...

From Daniel Hannan's excellent Daily Telegraph blog post.
In the 1990s, you used to hear the argument that Ireland was growing thanks to the EU. It wasn’t true. Ireland was growing because it had restructured its tax system so as to stimulate enterprise. The sectors which were doing best – notably software and financial services – were those which were untouched by Brussels regulation. Most EU money went into the part of the economy that was shrinking: agriculture. Indeed, to the extent that Brussels took an interest, it tended to attack Ireland for its “harmful tax competition”.
As the boom became deafening, alarmed Irish economists pointed out that, according to every model, there needed to be a stiff rise in interest rates. But there were no Irish interest rates any more: there was only the euro-zone, in which borrowing remained cheap to suit the needs of the large continental economies.
Sure enough, the crash was commensurately painful when it came. But the credit crunch was just the beginning of Ireland’s euro-related troubles. Unable to devalue, the country suffered as the United Kingdom, its largest export market, enjoyed a 25 per cent competitive advantage. Canvassing in Northern Ireland during the general election, I noticed that you could hardly park in the border towns, so numerous were the cars with Republic number plates. What individual shoppers are doing, whole businesses are doing too, sourcing from suddenly cheap British suppliers.
Faced with the worst financial crisis since the foundation of the state, Brian Lenihan imposed brave and necessary cuts. But his voters, looking at the opposite end of the EU, wondered whether, if they rioted instead, they might qualify for a Greek-style bailout. Worse, they learned that, as members of the euro, they would be obliged to join the rescue consortium, borrowing even more money in order to send it to Greece.
Ireland now seems to be inching towards a bailout of its own. Ministers deny it, of course, but the markets remember the way in which such denials preceded the Greek deal. Still, bailout or no bailout, the underlying problem won’t go away. Ireland is not suited to euro membership. Its economy diverges cyclically and structurally from the continent. It is an English-speaking country with a strong service sector; its main markets are the US and the UK. Until Ireland is able to suit its monetary policy to its own conditions, its woes will continue.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Padre Pio: “remove also the pictures of the bad women in the drawer of the table at home”

In the past number of days, as preparation for an anti-porn newspaper article, I have been reading lots of research on the devastating effects which porn addiction (known also and simultaneously as ‘sex addiction’) may wreak on the lives of the individuals and couples.
As part of on-going research, and over several years, I have interviewed women whose men folk are fixated with porn. Often times, the women are left with no option but to break off the relationship. Some women who are by no means religious have quipped that ‘I wish someone had stopped my boyfriend becoming so totally preoccupied with porn. He spends more time with it – up to eight hours a day – than he ever does with me!’
At times doing the research, I have come across the usual old sops for porn; ‘people who don’t like porn are cold prudes’. I’ve kept in mind how my spiritual hero was very firm with men when he told them to rid their lives of porn. Once a young man came to Padre Pio for a blessing, but Padre Pio looked at him intensely and said: “Remove your communist partnership card from your wallet (it was the time when the Russian communist regime was persecuting the Catholic Church) together with the photos of those bad women that you jealously preserve. Are you not ashamed by such photos?”
The man said: “Yes, I am”
“And since you have intention to do cleaning, remove also the pictures of the bad women in the drawer of the table at home.”
Here is one woman's testimony 'Porn was my husband's mistress', she wrote it for The Irish Times.

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Child hostage gives a harrowing account of the Baghdad church attack

Instead of prison, a judge orders Irishman to climb Croagh Patrick and 'say a few prayers'

 Joseph McElwee was ordered to climb the mountain in Co Mayo by Judge Seamus Hughes after being found guilty of threatening and abusing gardaí while drunk in Donegal on March 28th last.
Father-of-two McElwee of Aughavennan, Rathmullan, came out of a pub in the seaside town and launched into a verbal tirade against gardaí which lasted more than ten minutes….
Outraged Judge Hughes, who is himself a native of Mayo, ordered McElwee to do four stations of the famous mountain as a mark of respect for his fellow Irish people, especially those in the line of duty(!)

At the time Judge Hughes instructed McElwee "I want you to come back in a month's time with evidence that you did the four stations of Croagh Patrick and say a few prayers. You then might have a different impression of Co Mayo and its people."

Unemployed McElwee, 38, returned to court yesterday and produced pictures of himself, his wife and 12 other friends climbing the mountain.

Joseph McElwee told Judge McElwee he had regretted what he had done but had managed to raise a total of €2,900 for charity during the climb.
However, he also said the publicity surrounding the case had affected his family…

Judge Hughes asked McElwee if he had found climbing the 'reek' therapeutic and if he had enjoyed the experience?
McElwee, who had no previous convictions, agreed it had.

Judge Hughes then warned McElwee not to come before him again – and certainly not for any incidents involving the abuse of gardaí.

"I hope that when you come out of a pub in the beautiful village of Rathmullan in future, you take in a deep breath of fresh air from nearby Lough Swilly and you will appreciate that gardaí are there for your own protection," said Judge Hughes.

McElwee, wearing a black shirt and black trousers, agreed.

Judge Hughes asked him if he had any complaint about donating the money raised to charities from both Donegal and Mayo and was told he had not. Judge Hughes ordered €1,450 of the cash to be given to the Donegal Hospice and the remaining €1,450 be donated to the Adult Mental Health Services at Mayo General Hospital.

He also asked for a note to be given with the donations explaining the circumstances surrounding the donations. 

Report from The Donegal Democrat.
PS - Devotees of Irish literature will note that this episode is like something cut and pasted from a John B Keane play.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Do the Legion of Christ stand a chance of surviving? And may Pope Benedict save them from themselves? Part One

Some background detail. Maybe I’m easily shocked or just misled? But I find the following episode to be very revealing. The New York Times reported (see here) that prior to becoming Pope, Pope Benedict gave a lecture to a group of Legionary priests, and was afterwards was given an envelope of money “for his charitable use.” Ratzinger was “tough as nails in a very cordial way,” a witness said, and turned the money down. Later in 2004 it was Ratzinger who launched a thorough examination of Maciel’s past. And as Pope, who banished Maciel to a monastery for ‘perpetual penance’ and started formal inquiries into the religious order founded by Maciel, The Legion of Christ.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010

Padre Pio on Salvation Outside the Church Part Three 'Julius Fine is saved...'

“Julius Fine is saved . . .”
Fr. Alessio Parente, O.F.M. Cap., lived and worked alongside Padre Pio for many years in Our Lady of Grace Friary at San Giovanni Rotondo. He wrote numerous books about his confrere, and his works provide reliable source material for the saint. The following information is from Fr. Alessio’s book The Holy Souls, 19 and was related by a “very good friend” of his, Mrs. Florence Fine Ehrman, the daughter of the person in question.
 In 1965 her father, Julius Fine, who had practiced the Jewish faith all his life and believed firmly in God, was stricken with what is commonly called “Lou Gehrig’s disease.” Mrs. Ehrman wrote to Padre Pio beseeching a cure for her father from this fatal illness. A short time later she received the reply that Padre Pio would pray for her father and would take him under his protection.
When her father passed away in February of the next year, she was able to accept his death peacefully. However after some time, she began to worry about whether or not he was saved, even though he had been a very loving and kind husband and father. “This fear came about because I began to hear many people, Protestants and Catholics alike, say that unless person had been baptized they could not be saved.”
 On a visit to the friary at San Giovanni Rotondo in the fall of 1967, she was told by a personal friend (quite possibly Fr. Alessio himself) to write down whatever she wished to ask Padre Pio, and this friend would present the letter to him. She of course wrote down her concerns about the eternal state of her father’s soul – this good and gentle Jewish man who had never been baptized. The reply from Padre Pio, which she received in writing, was this: “Julius Fine is saved, but it is necessary to pray much for him.” Her mind was put at ease by such a “sure and definite” statement,” since she understood that her father was in Purgatory, his salvation guaranteed.
 Whether Padre Pio was enlightened by his Guardian Angel, the Holy Spirit, interior locution, or some other means is not known. What is known, however, is his ability to make such determinations after intense prayer, nourished by his mystical union with Christ during his Mass and Holy Communion, and by the offering up of his sufferings, especially the painful bloody wounds of his stigmata. In this instance, Padre Pio committed himself to assuring a grieving daughter that her father, who was not baptized, and was not a Roman Catholic, was saved.
This is from an exceptionally important article by Frank M. Rega, S.F.O. It was found here.
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