Thursday, May 31, 2012

The Hunt for Thieves in the Vatican

Stolen papers. Venom. Arrests. In the Roman curia, it's war. The ouster of the president of the bank. The maneuvers of Cardinal Bertone. The pope's false friends by Sandro Magister via


ROME, May 31, 2012 – There's method in this madness. Since the butler of His Holiness ended up in jail, the scene has suddenly changed. At center stage is no longer the dispute over the contents of the stolen papers. It's the thieves. Intent on scheming in the shadow of a venerable white robe.

"With justice eliminated, what are kingdoms if not a great band of thieves?" The phrase is from Saint Augustine, but it was Benedict XVI who cited it in his first encyclical, "Deus Caritas Est" of 2005. He didn't know that seven years later it would become the public image of the Vatican. A citadel devastated by thievery, with no corner left inviolate, not even that "sancta sanctorum" which the private desk of the pope should be.

Read more here:

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EWTN - Wings Weekly Feature:

Meet EWTN's Soon-To-Be-Ordained Missionaries of the Eternal Word!
By Caitlyn Keck

"I was in a rock band in high school," EWTN's Br. Patrick Mary of the Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal Word remembers with a smile, "being a priest wasn't really at the front of my mind at the time."

Now, Br. Patrick is just a few days away from being ordained to the priesthood – and several fellow Franciscan Missionaries of the Eternal World will be ordained right along with him: Br. Leonard will be ordained a priest and Brothers John Paul and Paschal will be ordained deacons – and EWTN viewers can see it all! Join us at St. Paul's Cathedral in Birmingham, Ala. to celebrate this most blessed event as part of our "Cathedrals Across America" series, which airs live at 12 p.m. ET, Sunday, June 3.

Br. Patrick went from playing rock to living his life "on the Rock" after his first semester at the University of Miami. While attending....Read More


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Vatican City, 31 may (VIS).- Pope Benedict's general prayer intention for June is: “That believers may recognize in the Eucharist the living presence of the Risen One who accompanies them in daily life”.

His missionary intention is: "That Christians in Europe may rediscover their true identity and participate with greater enthusiasm in the proclamation of and participate with more enthusiasm in the Gospel".


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[video] Pope Benedict's Meditation on the Visitation

Mary TV Daily Reflection 5/31/2012

Visitation - Albertini
The Visitation
(Mariotto Albertinelli)

May 31, 2012

The Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary


Dear Family of Mary!

"Dear children! I am calling you to that love which is loyal and pleasing to God. Little children, love bears everything bitter and difficult for the sake of Jesus who is love. Therefore, dear children, pray that God come to your aid, not however according to your desire, but according to His love. Surrender yourself to God so that He may hear you, console you and forgive everything inside you which is a hindrance on the way of love. In this way God can move your life, and you will grow in love. Dear children, glorify God with a hymn of love so that God's love may be able to grow in you day by day to its fullness. Thank you for having responded to my call." (June 25, 1988)


Our Lady wants us to be swept away by God's love! It seems as if she would wrap us up in a mantel of God's love, sweeping us off our feet and clasping us to her heart in an ecstasy of love. Like little babies who can only surrender, she would have us comply with God's wish to carry us away in His love, consoling us, forgiving us and moving us into His plan of love for each of us. If she had her way, we would begin to live each moment in the nurturing atmosphere of love, fed by it, led by it and changed by it! This is what it means for Our Lady to live in God, and she wants it for us.


How do we know that this is Our Lady's experience of God? She has told us so. She has shared her "Hymn of Love" with us, that hymn she sang to her cousin, Elizabeth, all those many years ago. Her Hymn of Love:


My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,

my spirit rejoices in God my Savior

for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.


From this day all generations will call me blessed:

the Almighty has done great things for me,

and holy is his Name.


He has mercy on those who fear him

in every generation.


He has shown the strength of his arm,

he has scattered the proud in their conceit.


He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,

and has lifted up the lowly.


He has filled the hungry with good things,

and the rich he has sent away empty.


He has come to the help of his servant Israel

for he has remembered his promise of mercy,

the promise he made to our fathers,

to Abraham and his children for ever.

(Luke 1: 46-55)


Blessed Mary is God's lowly servant. She is one who fears the Lord. (We see this in the way she responded to Gabriel at the Annunciation.) She has seen the strength of God's arm. (In so many ways God intervened to protect and nurture Our Lady. Think of the dream to St. Joseph, or the Flight to Egypt.) He has lifted her up, because she is lowly (making her the Mother of God!!). He has filled her with good things because she was hungry (hungry for God's love). He has helped her because she lived in the faith of His promises to Israel. She saw the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises in the Incarnation of God's Son. And so, she is fully aware of the great love of God. She actually carried that great Love within her.


Our Lady asks us to sing a hymn of love to the Father as well. She wants us to recognize all God has done for us and sing it back to Him in joy and gratitude. In doing this we will begin to grow in love. The Holy Spirit will be able to fill us with all good things as we sing a hymn of love to God.


We might take Our Lady's Hymn of Love and use it as a pattern for our own hymn. How am I lowly? How do I fear the Lord? How has God's arm moved in my life? When have I been lifted up precisely because I am lowly? When have I been filled with good things? When have I witnessed the fulfillment of God's promises? In all these moments in our lives we can find the content for our hymn of love! We are all so blessed. Indeed, all generations will call us blessed, because GOD has done great things for us!! Let's sing!!


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2012



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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

[video] Vatican Wolves


Dear Friend in Christ,

The scandals emerging from the Vatican have one aim .. to discredit and weaken the Holy Father. Please take a few minutes to watch this episode of the Vortex and pass it to your family and friends.

GOD Bless you and your loved ones,

Michael Voris
~senior executive producer at

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Marking 30 Years of Priesthood: If I Knew Then What I Know Now!


Posted: 30 May 2012 01:13 AM PDT

priesthood ordination, catholic priest, Fr. Gordon J. MacRae, These Stone Walls, Father George David Byers, Father James Valladares, David F. Pierre, George Weigel, Monsignor Charles Pope, Joan Frawley Desmond, Saint Maximilian Kolbe, St. Maximilian, Dawn Eden, Nazi invasion, priesthood, 1968, Catholic Priests Falsely Accused

On his 30th anniversary of priesthood ordination, Fr. Gordon MacRae writes poignantly of a priesthood in freedom, in prison, and in sacrifice.

Well, I’m back – even though I’ve never left – and my prison cell looks less cluttered after having disposed of reams of paper or thought I no longer needed. I still can’t find anything, however, and even though I’ve missed writing over the last month, I have also appreciated the break. I owe a great debt of gratitude to Father George David Byers, Monsignor MichaelFather James Valladares, and David F. Pierre, all of whom stepped in with their prodigious writing skills to rescue you from my reruns in the month of May. I also thank Suzanne, TSW’s very accomplished publisher and editor, who got no break at all.

They deserve a standing ovation for the many ways they place their gifts and skills in service of the Church, the truth, and justice. I can only paraphrase Jack Nicholson from the film, “As Good as it Gets” – They make me want to be a better priest!

And speaking of which, this week on June 5/6, 2012, I mark my 30th Anniversary of priesthood ordination and First  Mass. I have described the day I was ordained a number of times on These Stone Walls, most notably in two posts, “Going My Way” and “In the Year of the Priest, the Tale of a Prisoner.”  I have also many times described the challenges of priesthood spent in prison. Among all that I have written on that score, however, what I would most want readers to re-visit on my 30th anniversary of priesthood is “The Sacrifice of the Mass Part I” and “Part II.” I could end this post right here because all I would want you to know of my thirty years as a priest is contained right there.

None of what I have endured in prison means anything at all without the freedom to sacrifice.  I didn’t get this when I was first ordained. It was only when my own crosses became many and great that I began to understand the priesthood of sacrifice. It is what author, George Weigel described in “The Priest: Icon of Christ, Enabler of Sanctity.” I mentioned this same essay in “The Expendables: Our Culture’s War Against Catholic Priests” in April, but a few lines from it jumped out at me again for this post:

“The Catholic priest is set apart from the world for the world’s sake. In a culture like ours, his life is a sign of contradiction to much of what the world imagines to be true . . . His being different is not an end in itself, an indulgence in idiosyncrasy. The priest is a sign of contradiction so that the world can learn the truth about itself and be converted.”


I remember vividly the very moment I first envisioned myself as a priest. It was 1968, a year of immense upheaval. If you weren’t around then, or are too young to remember, you might want to read a chilling account of 1968 by Monsignor Charles Pope entitled, “1968 – A Fateful and Terrible Year Where Many in the Church Drank the Poison of this World.”

He captured well the reality of 1968, and the decade that was the backdrop for my generation of priests.

Monsignor Charles Pope was seven or eight years old in 1968, but I was fifteen, and had just begun attending Mass for the first time in my life. Monsignor Pope described that year as “a cultural tsunami from which we have not yet recovered.” It was in the very middle of that cultural tsunami that I first envisioned myself as a priest. In part, at least, the idea of priesthood might even have been a reaction to that year.

Smoke of Satan Has Entered the Church

"The smoke of Satan has entered the sanctuary." ~ Pope Paul VI

My first thought of priesthood came not during a Mass, however, or in the company of any of the priests I knew. It came while I was watching a film, but today I cannot recall what film that was. As a prisoner, I just don’t have the means to research such a thing but it contained a scene that I could never forget.

It was taking place at the outbreak of World War II as Hitler’s Nazi regime spread over all of Western Europe. The setting seemed to be a Catholic seminary. As the Nazis marched onto the grounds to storm the buildings, everyone fled for their lives; everyone, that is, except two priests.

Dressed in their cassocks, they risked their lives to race to the seminary chapel where they opened the Tabernacle to quickly consume the Body of Christ because of their fear of desecration by the invading Nazis. As everyone else fled from the cavernous building, the two priests put their faith first and their safety last.

After consuming all the hosts in the Tabernacle, they were too late to escape. They were taken prisoner, and suffered unspeakable abuses while their lives were bartered for concessions from the Vatican – concessions that could not have been made. The two priests suffered terribly.

The mindset of 1968 saw those two self-sacrificing priests as fools – clowns in cassocks who defied the values of this emerging “me-first” generation with the foolish sacrifice of their freedom and their lives, and for what?  For a tenet of faith that the Western World was on the very verge of mocking anyway? The very idea of priestly sacrifice is something our culture has come to despise, and the real test of Catholic faith and the Catholic faithful – including priests – is the extent to which we have capitulated to this cultural “me-first” evolution that saw its birth in 1968.

The film depicted well something that I described recently in “Accommodations in the Garden of Good and Evil.” It  depicted the power of sacrifice for what we believe, and the great threat posed to faith when the concept of sacrifice is diminished by our culture of selfishness.

At the age of fifteen, new to the life of the Church beyond my family’s tradition as twice-a-year marginal Catholics, my eyes were opened and I saw those two priests for what they truly were: heroes. They were courageous men ready to lay down their lives for belief in something greater than their own selves. It was my very first vision that the Church is called not to emulate culture, but to challenge it. As George Weigel wrote:

“The reform of the priesthood cannot mean making Catholic priests more like Anglican, Lutheran, Presbyterian, Methodist, or Unitarian clergy. It can only mean a reform in which Catholic priests become more intensely, intentionally and manifestly Catholic.”


But make no mistake, we will suffer for it. The signs are all around us, and there is no escaping it. Our culture is in for some very hard times. The role of the Church and priesthood in Western Culture is going to be severely tested, and we stand at the precipice. Much of what we have taken for granted in terms of freedoms and rights is about to fall from under us. We are on the verge of cultural disaster, and the faith that our world now laughs at will – if it stands fast – usher the world through another Dark Age.


As I watched that great film at the age of fifteen, I could not help but wonder what I would do in a circumstance like that Nazi invasion. Would I run for my life? Or would I race to preserve the Body of Christ from desecration at the cost of my life?

The years and decades to follow would never test me in a single defining moment as the Nazi invasion tested the two priests in that film. In time, however, I would come to know the cost of discipleship in my priesthood, and I would be asked to pay it to preserve the truth. Long time readers of These Stone Walls know that I am paying it now.

At age fifteen, when my vocation to priesthood was conceived in the midst of a cultural tsunami, I had no delusions about myself, no adolescent fantasies that I would somehow be the Captain America of the priesthood.

Didn’t happen! But for days after watching that film about the Nazi invasion, I struggled with that chapel scene, and with what I might have done in that same circumstance. I even dreamed one night that I fled for my life from the pursuing Nazis, and awoke feeling disappointed with what felt like the inevitable truth about myself. My nightmare was that, like Saint Peter before me, I betrayed Christ to save myself.  I knew I wanted a life that stood for something beyond the me-first world all around me, but I wasn’t sure I had the courage for a life that stood apart.

I just didn’t know how to challenge my own instinct for self-preservation.  None of us knows until the battle is upon us.

And even today, after 18 years as a falsely accused priest in prison, I still struggle with the challenge of being an imperfect man and a flawed priest in the most awful of circumstances. My only remedy for this is something I wrote in my Holy Week post in April:

“Some TSW readers might wish for a different version, but I cannot write that I would have heroically thrust the Cross of Christ upon my own back. Please rid yourselves of any such delusion. Like most of you, I have had to be dragged kicking and screaming into just about every grace I have ever endured. The only hero at Calvary was Christ. The only person worth following up that hill – up ANY hill – is Christ. I follow Him with the same burdens and trepidation and thorns in my side as you do. So don’t follow me. Follow Him.”


As Monsignor Michael described himself in “The Red Blood of the Martyr,” I, too, am just an ordinary priest. I have no special gifts at all, but I am an ordinary priest in extraordinary circumstances.  Prison, especially being in prison for eighteen years without having actually committed a crime, qualifies as an extraordinary circumstance for any priest. Monsignor Michael cited that mine is a voice that “from the depths of his prison, dares to speak the truth.”  I accept no accolades for that. Neither priesthood, nor the truth, should be applauded for their very existence. Anyone who comes to the priesthood asking, “What’s in this for me?” has no true vocation. Anyone who comes to the priesthood as a source of admiration and popularity should look elsewhere.


Last year, Joan Frawley Desmond, an editor for the National Catholic Register, joined a Franciscan University pilgrimage to Poland and wrote of it in a three-part journal for the Register. Her third installment, “A Pilgrim at Auschwitz,” described the reality of that horror. I described it as well in “Saints and Sacrifices: Maximilian Kolbe and Edith Stein at Auschwitz.”

I fear sometimes that such articles are not widely read because they are painful, and indeed they are. But we must not look away, and we must not fail to see the abiding hope that arises in the midst of such pain and the immensity of its sacrifices.  Joan Frawley Desmond quoted Blessed Pope John Paul II in declaring that Saint Maximilian Kolbe is “the patron saint of our difficult century.” He is also the patron saint of These Stone Walls, and of prisoners.

Our good friend, Father George David Byers, recently sent me a printed copy of his May 1, 2012 post by guest author, Dawn Eden on Holy Souls Hermitage entitled “St. Maximilian Kolbe: ‘Only Love is Creative.’ “  Dawn Eden is the author of a compelling new book, My Peace I Give You: Healing Sexual Wounds with the Help of the Saints. I plan to write much more about this healing gift to victims of abuse very soon.

In her Holy Souls Hermitage post, Dawn Eden wrote about Father Maximilian Kolbe’s “freedom” while in that horror of a prison at Auschwitz. He was free to sacrifice, and that sacrifice saved another at the price of his own mortal life in extraordinary circumstances.


My 30th anniversary of priesthood in extraordinary circumstances could feel hopeless under the standards of this world and its self-serving culture. But the image of Saint Maximilian Kolbe that I described in my very first posts on These Stone Walls is still above the mirror in my prison cell.  I cannot see myself without also seeing this prisoner-priest who guides me daily through the foreign land of prison. He defines my priesthood and the necessity of its sacrifices. In this, I’m giving the last word to the NC Register’s Joan Frawley Desmond:

“But there is another lesson to be learned at Auschwitz. In every circumstance, no matter how desperate, we have a measure of freedom to love, to hope, and to believe. At Auschwitz, amid fear, death and suffering, Christ the Redeemer remained present to all who joined their sufferings to his own passion and death on the cross . . . We sought the intercession of the saints who perished here, and for the grace we need to follow their holy example.” (NC Register, “A Pilgrim at Auschwitz,” October 23, 2011).

As I lay prostrate before that altar on June 5, 1982, I had no idea of the grace of sacrifice that might be called upon for me to be a priest in the modern world. And the truth is – God help me – that if I knew then what I know now, I still could not flee for my life. I place my thirty years of grace and sorrow and sacrifice as a priest at the feet of Saint Maximilian Kolbe, forever a prisoner-priest.

Editor’s Note: Several of you have expressed a desire to join Fr. MacRae in a Spiritual Communion. He celebrates a private Mass in his prison cell on Sunday evenings between 11 pm and midnight. You’re invited to join in a Holy Hour during that time if you’re able.

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The Moynihan Report Letter #17: Benedict Speaks on the "Vatileaks"


May 30, 2012 -- Benedict Speaks on the "Vatileaks"


"Events in recent days regarding the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart." —Pope Benedict XVI, during his Wednesday General Audience in St. Peter's Square today



Pope Benedict spoke publicly today for the first time about the "Vatileaks" scandal which in recent weeks has seen published dozens of private documents from his own apartments (and the word circulating here is that more documents are about to appear).


In his brief remarks, the Pope first expressed his sadness, then noted that, despite his sadness, his faith in Christ, and in Christ's care for His Church, has not been shaken, but remains firm.


"Events in recent days regarding the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart, though (I have) the firm conviction, that despite human weakness, despite difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, and the Lord will never fail to give His aid in sustaining the Church on her journey," Benedict said, speaking to crowds in St. Peter's Square who had gathered for his ordinary Wednesday General Audience.


The Pope then made two observations: (1) that there have been many exaggerations and false reports in the media about this case (some Italian papers have printed stories which refer to the Holy See as a "nest of vipers"); and (2) that he himself still has deep trust in the work of his collaborators and advisors in the Curia.


"Nevertheless, some entirely gratuitous rumors have multiplied, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality," the Pope said. "I would like therefore to reiterate my confidence and my encouragement to my staff and to all those who, day in and day out, faithfully and with a spirit of sacrifice, quietly help me in fulfilling my ministry.”


Here is a link to a video from Rome Reports which shows the Pope's words today. I recommend clicking on it and watching it:


Unanswered Questions


The key figure thus far in this case is Paolo Gabriele, 46, the Pope's valet or butler (photo above, helping the Pope to adjust his red cape).


Gabriele appears to have betrayed the Pope's trust by copying and disseminating secret Vatican documents from the Pope's own apartments. He is now being held under arrest in a holding room inside Vatican City, and is being questioned. He has told Vatican officials that he is willing to cooperate with them, leading some Italian papers to specualte that, in the end, charges against him may even be dropped, and he may never go to trial.


However, it must be emphasized that there still remain many things about this case that are unknown or unclear.


We do not even know for sure, with absolute certainty, that Gabriele is the source of the documents published thus far. By this I mean, Gabriele could have collected the documents, but not handed them over. So even on this most fundamental point, though it seems clear that Gabriele was the source of the published documents, we still lack conclusive evidence.


Did Gabriele begin to copy documents years ago, starting in 2006, at the time he began to work closely with the Pope, or only more recently? We do not know.


Was there from the beginning a plan to publish the documents? Or were the documents at first collected merely for personal use, and only recently did the idea develop to turn the documents over for publication? If there was a plan from the beginning, was there anyone else involved with the plan? Was there someone else, or more than one person, who told Gabriele to look for documents on particular subjects? And if so, what was the criteria used in selecting the documents? We don't know.


Were some documents perhaps gathered by other, unknown people, then handed over to Gabriele, whose "parallel archive" in this scenario became a kind of central collection center?


Did Gabriele, in short, work alone, or not? And if he did not work alone, who were his collaborators, advisors, supporters, accomplices?


And how many documents, precisely, did he steal? At first there were reports in the Italian press that "stacks" and "boxes" of documents were found when Vatican police raided his home, just outside St. Anne's Gate. Then, Gariele's attorney issued a statement saying that this was simply not true. So were there "stacks" of documents found, or not? We simply do not know.


Nor do we know if there may be documents already handed over to others which were not among the documents found in Gabriele's home. There is simply no way of knowing whether or not there are dossiers that have already been placed in the possession of others outside of the Vatican, and not yet published.


These are just some of the unanswered questions in this case. There are many more.


Rome Reports has done a nice summary of the case, providing videos and pictures of each of the main actors, at the following link:


What Provisional Conclusions Can We Draw?


Recognizing that we are in the dark about many aspects of this case, what can we say with some certainty at this point?


First, we can say that there has been an astonishing breach of Vatican privacy and, hence, of Vatican security. This case is comparable to the theft and publication of dozens of documents on very private matters from the desk of a national president. How would we judge the matter if the private papers of a Vladimir Putin, a Barack Obama, an Angela Merkel, or a Shimon Peres (leaders of Russia, the United States, Germany, and Israel, respectively) were taken from their very desks and published? We would feel that there had been a breach of trust at the highest level in each of these countries; that the ordinary safeguards against such activity had broken down; that one or more people in the inner circles of these leaders had taken it upon themselves to make public that which ordinarily is not meant to be public.


Second, we can say that in all the documents published, not one single dcoument published thus far casts a poor light on the Pope himself.


The Pope, up to now, has come out of this unprecented, confusing situation as a man who, at every opportunity, seeks the truth. In this sense, thus far, the Pope himself has not been harmed by the "Vatileaks" affair.


But, and this is the third point, we can say that the Curia has not come out of the scandal as well as the Pope has. The Curia has come across, in the leaked documents -- and in the very fact that the documents were collected and then leaked -- as a quite human place of powerful, sometimes mean-spirited, cross-currents and interest groups.


Benedict's Credibility Strengthened


The Catholic Church is a fascinating, complex, living, global, ancient institution. There are more than 4,500 Catholic bishops around the world, and some 1 billion people who belong to the Church.


From the time of Constantine, the Church -- due to the decline of the civil structures of the Roman Empire -- has had to play a public, civic role, as well as a private, sacramental role. This, in part, explains the emergence and growth of the Roman Curia.


But it is the second role which is the Church's essential mission: to care for souls, to save souls, to foster holy lives, to prepare souls for holy deaths and the passage to a better world, a deeper, more enduring (eternal) reality than this passing one.


We live in a world which diminishes, or even condemns, this sacramental, transcendental role of the Church, because the world wishes to proclaim without opposition that this passing world is the only reality there is, that there is no transcendant order at all, at least none with any reality whatsoever. That eternal blessedness is only a pious dream -- that eternal misery, as well, is an illusion.


Any diminishment of the Church's authority, any blackening of the Church's reputation, any confusion sown in Church ranks, serves the purposes of those who do not wish their own immorality, or acts of fraud and oppression, to be condemned.


And if there is, either in a chaotic, unpremeditated, or in a coordinated, premeditated, way, a new world order coming into being which wishes to have free reign throughout the planet, and which, to that end, desires a Church passive, subordinate, divided, it serves the purposes of the architects of that order to have the Pope paraded before the world as an impotent old man, unable to care for the affairs of his own household.


The Curia and the Church seems to be in disarray, and so, in a sense, not qualified to offer advice, or direction, or wisdom, to a world sorely in need of all three.


In this sense, the effect of this "Vatileaks" scandal thus far, whether planned or not, may have been to diminish the dignity and authority of the Pope, of his Curia, and of the Church as a whole.


But that may not be the final result of this story.


The odd things about human affairs is that they can sometimes turn out differently than the planners of events intend.


And in this case, there is already emerging something entirely different than what seems likely to have been the original intent.


Instead of isolating the Pope even further, leaving him alone and impotent, the "Vatileaks" affair is winning sympathy and support for the aging Pope.


And therefore, if Benedict continues in the way he has up until now, steadily, patiently, wisely, speaking with authority, with eloquence, with charity but in truth, this strnage case may actually end up giving him an even larger and more attentive audience, so that his words, in our troubled 21st century world, where economic, social, envrionmental, and moral crises are deepen and intensifying, may find their way into hearts, and bear fruit.


This "Vatileaks" crisis might in this sense be a blow to the credibility of the Curia, but not a blow to the credibility of this Pope.


Indeed, Benedict's credibility seems day by day to be strengthened, as he stands, patient and often alone, againt the forces that would sow confusion, and reap the disintegration, of the Church he leads.


(Note: You may view these emails at the link:

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Benedict XVI: "Prayer is above all God's gift"



Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - During his general audience this morning, which was celebrated in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father continued a series of catecheses on Christian prayer according to St. Paul who, the Pope said, saw it as "a real individual encounter with God the Father, in Christ, through the Holy Spirit. This dialogue comprehends the faithful 'yes' on the part of God and the trusting 'amen of the faithful".

In his explanation of this relationship Benedict XVI focused on the Second Letter to the Corinthians, where the Apostle writes: "Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God".

Comfort, the Pope explained, is not to be understood as mere consolation, but as an "exhortation not to allow ourselves to be overcome by tribulations and difficulties. We are invited to experience every situation in unity with Christ, Who takes all the suffering and sin of the world upon Himself in order to bring light, hope and redemption. Thus He enables us, in our turn, to console those who are afflicted by any kind of suffering". Profound union with Christ in prayer, and confidence in His presence, predispose us to share the sufferings of our brothers and sisters.

"Our life and our Christian journey are often marked by difficulty, misunderstandings and pain", the Holy Father went on. "In a faithful relationship with the Lord, in constant daily prayer, we are able to feel the consolation that comes from God. This strengthens our faith because it means that we enjoy a concrete experience of God's 'yes' to man ... in Christ, the faithfulness of His love which went so far as to give His Son on the cross".

The faith, a gratuitous gift of God, is rooted in His fidelity, "in His 'yes' which leads us to understand how to live our lives while loving Him and our neighbour. The entire history of salvation is a progressive revelation of this fidelity of God's, despite our own infidelity and our constant denials".

In this context the Pope pointed out that God's way of acting is quite different from that of man. "Faced with conflict in human relationships, often even within the family, we tend not to persevere in gratuitous love, which requires commitment and sacrifice. However God never loses patience with us and, in His immense mercy, precedes us always and comes out to meet us. ... On the cross He offers us the measure of His love, which is not calculated and has no limit". Such faithful love can wait even for those who reject it. God always seeks man and wishes to welcome him into His communion, to give him fullness of life, hope and peace.

Onto the 'yes' of God is grafted the 'amen' of the Church, the response of faith with which we conclude our prayers and which expresses our own 'yes' to God's initiative. "In our prayers we are called to say 'yes' to God, to respond with an 'amen' which is an expression of adherence, of faithfulness to Him with all of our lives. But we can never achieve such faithfulness by our own powers, it is not only the result of our daily efforts; it comes from God and is founded on the 'yes' of Christ. ... We must enter into Christ's 'yes' by following God's will so that, with St. Paul, we too can affirm that it is not we who live, but Christ Himself Who lives in us. Then the 'amen' of our individual and community prayers will embrace and transform all of our lives".

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Vatican City, 30 May 2012 (VIS) - At the end of today's general audience, the Holy Father made some remarks concerning recent developments in the Vatican.

"The events of recent days involving the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart. However, I have never lost my firm certainty that, despite the weakness of man, despite difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit and the Lord will ensure she never lacks the help she needs to support her on her journey.

"Nonetheless there has been increasing conjecture, amplified by the communications media, which is entirely gratuitous, goes beyond the facts and presents a completely unrealistic image of the Holy See. Thus, I wish to reiterate my trust and encouragement to my closest collaborators and to all those people who every day, in silent faithlessness and with a spirit of sacrifice, help me carry out my ministry".


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Mary TV Daily Reflection 5/30/2012

nun praying at St. James Church
(c)Mary TV 2011
Time for prayer!

May 30, 2012


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion and to holiness. God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer but you, little children, are still far away - attached to the earth and to earthly things. Therefore, I call you anew: open your heart and your sight towards God and the things of God - and joy and peace will come to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 25, 2012)


"God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer but you, little children, are still far away..." Our Lady is always honest with us. She doesn't butter us up, or flatter us. She merely speaks the truth. And she will not let up on that truth, no matter how many years she has to speak it. Haven't we heard this admonition before? But, I, for one, know that she is right. I have been neglecting my prayer life lately. I admit it. I have been letting my busy life get in the way. It is a good thing that Mother Mary is persistent. I really need this correction.


Because of this message I have returned to a book that might help me move back into personal prayer with more commitment. It is Time for God, by Fr. Jacques Philippe. It is filled with good advice. Here is another excerpt which discusses the impediments to prayer that we may experience:


The Trap of False Sincerity


In an age as keen on freedom and authenticity as our own, an argument that comes up fairly often and may prevent people from being faithful to mental prayer goes like this:


"Prayer is terrific, but I only pray when I feel an inner need....To start praying when I don't feel like it would be artificial, forced, even a sort of insincerity or hypocrisy...I pray when I feel a spontaneous desire for it..."


The answer is that if we wait until we feel the spontaneous desire for prayer, we may end up waiting until the end of our days. That desire for prayer is very beautiful, and also unreliable. There is another motive for going to meet God in mental prayer that is equally meaningful and far deeper and more constant: he invites us to. The Gospel tells us to "pray always" (Lk 18;1). We should be guided by faith and not by our subjective mood.


The idea of freedom and authenticity expressed in the line of thought described above greatly suits people's tastes today; and it is very unsound. Real freedom does not mean being ruled by one's impulses from one moment to the next. Just the opposite. Being free means not being a slave to one's moods' it means being guided in a course of action by the fundamental choices one has made, choices one does not repudiate in the face of new circumstances.


Truth, not superficial inclination, is the guide to the authentic use of freedom. We must be humble enough to recognize how fickle we are. Someone who is wonderful today strikes us as unbearable tomorrow, thanks to a change in the weather or our mood. What we couldn't live without on Monday leaves us cold Tuesday. This kind of decision-making makes us the prisoners of our whims.


Nor should we deceive ourselves about authenticity. Which is the most genuine, authentic love - the kind that changes from day to day according to mood, or the stable, faithful kind that never goes back on itself?


Faithfulness to mental prayer is a school of freedom. It is a school of truth in love, because it teaches us, little by little, no longer to place our relationship with God on the shaky, unstable basis of our own impressions, moods, or feelings, but on the solid foundation of faith - God's faithfulness, which is as firm as a rock.   "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today, and forever" (Heb 13:8), for "His mercy is from generation to generation" (Lk 1:50). If we persevere, our relationships with other people, which are likewise superficial and changeable, will become more stable, more faithful, deeper, and hence happier." (Jacques Philippe. Time for God. p. 30-32)



Fr. Philippe hits it on the head for me. If I rely on my feelings to move me to pray, I will not pray every day as Our Lady would like. My feelings are tied too much to earthly things, to how tired I am, what happened at work, how my family is acting, etc. My feelings are earth bound, too much of the time. How can I rely on them to open me to God? No, my prayer life will have to be grounded in another soil, that of heaven. I need to pray because God calls me to prayer, God invites me to be with Him, God wants to spend time with me. That is why I should pray.


Let's pray for each other to answer God's invitation to prayer more earnestly in the days ahead. What a wonderful opportunity we have! To spend time with God!


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

Cathy Nolan

©Mary TV 2012



PS. Time for God, by Jacques Philippe, is available at


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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

[video] Liberal Theology


Dear Friend in Christ,

Concealing scandals and clamping down on honest dialogue does nothing for the New Evangelization. Please take a few minutes to watch this episode of the Vortex and pass it to your family and friends.

GOD Bless you and your loved ones,

Michael Voris
~senior executive producer at

Link to Spiritual Warfare Part 1 video:

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It is all about the Yes

The word yes is very important in the spiritual life. It all began when God said yes to creating the universe. Mary's yes to the message from the Archangel Gabriel opened the door to welcome the Creator into creation in the Incarnation. The yes of Jesus saved us. Our own yes to God is very important.

Recently I witnessed some profound yeses. Our five novices professed first vows. One of our friars was ordained a priest. Five of our friars were ordained to the deaconate. One of our friars was ordained to the sub-diaconate in the Maronite Rite. A grandmother breathed her last yes as she entered eternal life. A beautiful family brought a new baby to the baptismal fount. This weekend five of our sisters will profess final vows.

Blessed Mother Teresa of Calcutta would tell people to "Give God permission." It is all about the yes! What is the Lord asking you to say yes to today?

God bless you,
Fr. Luke Mary Fletcher, CFR
Saint Joseph Friary
Harlem, NY

One Priest and Five Deacons Ordained

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Mary TV Daily Reflection 5/29/2012

nuns on Podbrdo
(c)Mary TV 2011
Time for prayer!

May 29, 2012


Dear Family of Mary!


"Dear children! Also today I call you to conversion and to holiness. God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer but you, little children, are still far away - attached to the earth and to earthly things. Therefore, I call you anew: open your heart and your sight towards God and the things of God - and joy and peace will come to reign in your hearts. Thank you for having responded to my call." (May 25, 2012)


"God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer..." God desires to give us so much, so very much. But He is hindered by our closed hearts, our hard hearts, our distracted hearts. He can't give us what we do not want. He must wait for us to approach Him in prayer with trust. He must wait until we ask Him to bless us, until we desire His gifts.


Fr. Jacques Philippe writes many beautiful books about prayer. He writes about our lack of availability to God in this way:


The Problem of not enough time -


"I'd really like to do mental prayer, but I don't have the time." How often this has been said! And in a hyperactive world like our own, the difficulty is a real one and should not be underestimated.


But time is not always the real problem. That real problem is knowing what really matters in life. As a contemporary author remarked, no one yet has starved to death because they didn't have the time to eat. We always find (or rather take!) the time to do what really matters to us. Before saying we don't have time for mental prayer, let's begin by reviewing our hierarchy of values, to see what our real priorities are.


One of the great crises of our day is that people are no longer capable of finding time for one another, time to be with one another. Here is something that causes many deep wounds. So many children are enclosed within themselves, disillusioned and damaged, because their parents never learned to spend time with them, with nothing else to do except be with their child. They look after the child, but they are always doing something else, or are preoccupied, never entirely there, never totally available. And the child senses this and suffers. In learning to give time to God, we will certainly become more able to find time to be there for one another. Our attentiveness to God will teach us to be attentive to others.


Regarding this problem of time, we should make an act of faith in Jesus' promise: "There is not one who has left house or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or land, for my sake and for the gospel, who will not receive a hundredfold now in this time!" (Mk 10:29). It is legitimate to apply this to chronological time as well: who ever gives up a quarter of an hour of television in order to pray will receive a hundredfold in this life - the time will be returned to them a hundredfold, not in quantity but in quality. Mental prayer will give one the grace to live out every moment of life in a much more fruitful way." (Jacques Philippe. Time for God. Scepter Publishers. p. 26-27)



"God desires to give you joy and peace through prayer..." We are invited by God into a relationship of love and grace that will fill us with all good things. Prayer is the way to establish that relationship. May we understand this call of love and respond with all our hearts. May we become people of prayer as Our Lady desires.


In Jesus, Mary and Joseph,

Cathy Nolan

Mary TV 2012


PS. Time for God, by Jacques Philippe, is available at


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