Friday, February 28, 2014

Today's Call to Prayer: On Marriage

Today's call to prayer and fasting for Life Marriage, and Religious Liberty from our U.S. Bishops is on the meaning of marriage:


We pray for a greater understanding of marriage as the unique and permanent union of one man and one woman.


In today's Gospel , the Pharisees approach Jesus to ask if it is lawful for a husband to divorce his wife. Interestingly, before He explains that divorce is not lawful, Jesus first explains what marriage is - the union of one man and one woman: "But from the beginning of creation, God made them male and female. For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh (Mark 10: 6-8)."

The Church's teaching on marriage is not founded on statistical data nor merely in upholding tradition, but is rooted in the truth of the human person: men and women are created "in the image of God" as male and female. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains that "marriage is written in the very nature of man and woman as they come from the hand of the Creator (no. 1603)." Furthermore, what is truly united can never be separated. This is why the union of a man and woman in marriage is permanent: "So they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, no human being must separate (Mark 10: 8-9)."

Did you know?

At the beginning of the Extraordinary Consistory, Pope Francis addressed the College of Cardinals and introduced their topic of discussion. "During these days, we will reflect in particular on the family, which is the fundamental cell of society. From the beginning the Creator blessed man and woman so that they might be fruitful and multiply, and so the family then is an image of the Triune God in the world."

If you'd like to receive the Bishop's weekly Friday Fast and Call to Prayer go here to sign up (on the right hand pane).

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Senators, Congressmen Introduce Bills to Defend Marriage

Excellent news from Catholic News Agency:

"Washington D.C., Feb 19, 2014 / 08:11 am (CNA/EWTN News).- Lawmakers in Washington, D.C., have introduced bills bolstering the ability of individual states to declare what they will and will not recognize as a marriage and enforce that definition within state boundaries.

The State Marriage Defense Act of 2014 declares that in a given state, the term marriage will “not include any relationship which that State, territory, or possession does not recognize as a marriage, and the term ‘spouse’ shall not include an individual who is a party to a relationship that is not recognized as a marriage by that State, territory, or possession.”

The bill was introduced Feb. 14 by Senators Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) in the Senate, and Rep. Randy Weber (R-Texas) in the House of Representatives..."

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Archbishop Cordileone to establish "Oratory of St. Philip Neri" in SF! Fr. Joseph Illo to lead it!

Our Archbishop is certainly building up the Church in San Francisco! This is from the blog of Fr. Joseph Illo, chaplain of Thomas Aquinas College. San Francisco Catholics: go to Fr. Ilo's blog to pledge your support for this worthy effort!

Appeal for the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri
I’ve been serving as chaplain to Thomas Aquinas College for the last two years and feel greatly privileged to work among such deeply Catholic educators and students. Recently, however, San Francisco Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone has invited a priest-friend and me to establish an “Oratory of St. Philip Neri” in his city.

Most diocesan priests who pray their breviaries pray them alone. Those who do the daily holy hour do it alone, and those who pray their daily rosaries do so by themselves. I’ve done this, more or less, over the 24 years of my priesthood, and I’ve always desired greater priestly community. In my last parish (St. Joseph’s in Modesto) we did pray our holy hours together every morning, and I miss that here in the College. In 1996 I spent two weeks with the Missionaries of Charity Fathers in Tijuana, discerning if I should join their Order. I concluded that God wanted me to remain “in the world,” pastoring a parish and evangelizing the workaday world. Now comes the opportunity to work in the world and live in community.

The Oratory is an Institute in the Church that allows “secular” (parish) priests to live in community under a rule of life. St. Philip Neri founded “the Oratory” in Rome in 1575 as a religious congregation of priests and brothers who lived in the parish of Santa Maria in Vallicella, now known as Chiesa Nuova, in downtown Rome. It provides a supportive rule of life for priests who desire a greater commitment to prayer in common. The most famous Oratorian Father for English-speakers is Blessed John Henry Newman, who brought the Oratory to England in 1848. Today there are 85 Oratories with 500 Oratorians in 19 countries. We would establish the first congregation of Oratorian Fathers in the Archdiocese of San Francisco.

We would begin with two priests and two brothers in a downtown parish with a large rectory, which Archbishop Cordileone has offered us. One of us priests would serve as pastor; we would build up the parish through beautiful liturgy and the lay apostolate, but focus also on evangelizing young adult professionals. The Archbishop has mentioned possibly establishing a Catholic center in one of the larger office buildings with daily Mass and confessions.

A few months ago we were discussing the enormous potential of the Oratory in San Francisco with Archbishop Cordileone. At one point he paused and smiled: “I’m a diocesan bishop, and so I have to think about money, too. I would need you to secure financial commitments to fund part of your living expenses over three years.” I knew he was going to get around to that sooner or later! But as Mother Teresa used to say, “Don’t worry about money. God has lots of it.” If the Lord Jesus and his holy Mother want an Oratory in San Francisco, they will find the money. But of course we have to ask for it.

Would you, my dear readers, like to help us establish the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri? One of the founding priests would receive a pastor’s salary, but the Archbishop needs us to obtain $220,000 in pledges to fund living expenses for the other three founders, contingent on our actual expenses. If each of you pledged $150 per year for three years, we would meet our goal. Some can pledge much more, and some less, but together we can present a commitment of full support to Archbishop Cordileone.

We don’t want any money right now, but only pledges of financial support. We would begin either the summer of 2014 or the summer of 2015, and would call upon those pledges only as needed from that time for three years. If you get a chance, look-up the “Oratory of St. Philip Neri” to better understand what kind of community and ministry we are seeking to establish in San Francisco. Ask God if He would like you to support this work with a pledge. If you can partner with Archbishop Cordileone and us, please fill out the pledge form below and keep the San Francisco Oratory of St. Philip Neri in your prayers.

We place this work in the hands of Immaculate Mary, Cause of Our Joy and Mother of the Church.

Yours sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Joseph Illo
Head Chaplain, Thomas Aquinas College
Santa Paula, California
Like I said, you can pledge support at Fr. Illo's blog. Go for it!

UPDATE: The pledge drive progress page is here.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Great Video: Taiwanese Standing with the Family!

Here's something else you won't hear about in the anti-family American Mass media. Very well made video of 300,000 Taiwanese standing up for natural marriage and in opposition to a 2013 bill which would have imposed counterfeit marriage on their nation and culture. God bless them!


Europeans Continue Massive Demonstrations in Support of the Family!

The "Manif pour tous" began in France, against the imposition of same-sex "marriage" on the culture, but it is arising in other counties as well--and not only in Europe! On February 2 there were enormous demonstrations in support of the family in Paris and Lyon in France, amd also in Rome. French Police said there were 80,000 at the Paris Manif, so you know there were far more. Check out the photos below! You did not see that in the U.S. News, did you? According to Galliawatch, the proximate cause was the latest anti-family legislation, which the government has now modified.

The Galliawatch author translates an article posted on Le salon Beige:

"From the tsunami of articles and commentary on the astounding capitulation of the French government to the irresistible counter-revolutionary movement in the streets of Paris and France I am hastily translating only this excerpt from a longer piece at Le Salon Beige. Written by a blogger named Autheuil, about whom I know very little, except that he identifies neither with the left nor the right, and therefore at times sounds uncommitted and indecisive, it nonetheless contains some good points that stress the potential consequences of the government's sudden change of direction. Note that the figure of 80,000 is highly debatable and proves that the author has confidence in police statistics (organizers placed attendance at the Paris Manif as closer to 500,000) :

"I(t) didn't take twenty-four hours for the government to beat a retreat. After the success of another demonstration by the reactionary right (after all, 80,000 persons), the government announced the postponement of a law that should have already been submitted. It renounced also the commitment it had made in January 2013 to insert into the body of the law on the Family the question of medically assisted procreation, which is probably now a dead issue. After such a backing-off, it isn't even worth the effort to hope for the slightest societal reform before the end of his term in office…That the movement is still able, one year after the great demonstrations against "marriage for everyone", to mobilize 80,000 thanks to a threat as unlikely as "gender theory", is an important sign. The reactionary right is back in France, and it isn't an epiphenomenon, it's a groundswell, begun no doubt years ago, that will last a little while longer....This movement is a violent opposition to the eradication of the difference between genders in Western culture. It is the anthropological protest in favor of maintaining a social structure based on the difference between masculine and feminine, implying differentiated roles, hence a different place for men and women.

Here are some pictures (click for larger sizes). The man in the foreground is the Italian Luca Volonte, former chair of Communion and Liberation, and now Group Chairman of the Popular Christian-Democrats to the Assembly of the Council of Europe.

Here is an excerpt of a speech he gave at Lyon (Google translation):

"No, the family is the fundamental unit that strengthens the pact between generations, which creates social cohesion and raise the future. Not all of us and all the children in the history of mankind had the right to have a father and a mother!

Our 'no' always come from more 'yes', the huge positive family for us, for our families, for our children, for the history and civilization of the world. This is our happy family experience that opposes the new tyranny and slavery of "atheistic humanism" described by (Cardinal Henri) De Lubac."

Another shot of the Paris Manif:

The shot below is in the French city of Lyon:

Polish demonstrators at the Lyon Manif:

Young people showing support for the family:

In Rome, pro family supporters lit up the Coliseum:

Friday, February 7, 2014

Video for the Bicentennial of Don Bosco's Birth Marred by President Obama

Here's a video in preparation for the bicentennial of Don Bosco's birth in 2015. It's well done, but it is marred by the producers' decision to use the words of the loathsome Barack Obama, who twice voted against the Illinois Born Alive Infants Protection Act, in the intro.

Perhaps they were so thrilled by having a U.S. President mention Don Bosco that they were willing to overlook this. I don't believe that Don Bosco, the patron saint of the young, would have made that mistake.


Pope Francis on Marriage, Dictatorship of Relativism

Speaking of good news (and good Jesuits), our Holy Father Pope Francis recently hosted a group of Bishops from Poland. Catholic World News reports on the visit (excerpts):

"The Pope said reports from the Polish bishops had included many positive reflections on the life of the Church in that country. But there was also 'a certain decline in various aspects of Christian life,' he said. One major cause of that decline, the Pope continued, is 'the idea of freedom without limits, hostile tolerance or indeed distrust of the truth, or resistance to the Church's legitimate opposition to dominant relativism.' He encouraged the bishops to combat that tendency vigorously.

His Holiness sounds as if he is channeling our good Pope-Emeritus Benedict on the "dictatorship of relativism" but of course he's not channeling anybody, just giving eternal Church teaching.

"Turning next to marriage and family life, the Pontiff observed with regret that 'nowadays marriage tends to be viewed as a form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will.' That attitude has infected Christians, he said, and resulted in a decline of marital unity. He urged the bishops to oppose this tendency, too, particularly by better preparation of young people entering marriage. At the same time he asked them to make extra efforts to provide pastoral care for those who are separated or divorced, 'so that they are not excluded from God’s mercy.'”

Same-sex "marriage" is not the only variety of counterfeit marriage going around. Marriage conceived as a  "form of mere emotional satisfaction that can be constructed in any way or modified at will" is certainly not restricted to, nor did it originate with, same-sex attracted persons. It was that attitude among sexually normal people which made same-sex "marriage" thinkable.

Fr. Fessio New Chaplain of Walk for Life West Coast!

The following is a January 19 post on the blog of the Walk for Life West Coast. Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ is the new Chaplain of the Walk for Life West Coast. The chaplaincy had been vacant since Fr. Malloy's passing last year. Fr. Fessio is a giant--one of those who has shepherded the Church into the 21st century and maintained the honor and fidelity of the Society of Jesus. I'm sure Fr. Malloy is delighted to see this true son of St. Ignatius take over the reins!

Prominent Jesuit New Spiritual Guide of Nation’s Second Largest Pro-Life Event

This year, for the first time ever, the Walk for Life West Coast will take place without the presence of its founding chaplain, the Reverend John Malloy, SDB. Fr. Malloy went home to the Lord on Wednesday of Holy Week in 2013. Fr. Malloy’s history with the Walk for Life West Coast began in April of 2004. That’s when Gavin Newsom, then the mayor of San Francisco, began issuing illegal “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples. San Francisco Catholics decided to respond with a rally and march to promote true marriage and the Faith. But they were not having much luck finding a host Church until Dolores Meehan, one of the Walk’s founders, spoke to Bill May, President of Catholics for the Common Good. Bill told Dolores: “Well, there is this one priest….”

When Dolores visited the 82 year-old Fr. Malloy, then the pastor of San Francisco’s Saints Peter and Paul, and asked him about holding a Mass and Rally in Defense of Marriage, he did not equivocate. Fr. Malloy, with Mimi the cat on his desk, just started flipping through his desk calendar looking for a date, and said “I don’t care if I go to jail!” The Rally in Defense of Marriage had found a home. The Rally drew 1,500 people—and from then on Fr. Malloy would refer to Dolores as “my Superior”!

The heartening response to the Marriage Rally gave organizers the courage to create the Walk for Life West Coast. Fr. Malloy was naturally the chaplain, and at the first Walk, in January of 2005, he became the first recipient of the now-annual St. Gianna Molla Award for Pro-Life heroism. We miss him very much, but we know that what we lost on earth we gained as a new intercessor in heaven. Fr. Malloy we love you and we thank you!

The Archdiocese of San Francisco has a number of heroic pro-life priests whom we considered asking to be our new chaplain. But there is one other priest who has also stood behind us, with us, and ahead of us from the very beginning and that is Fr. Joseph Fessio of the Society of Jesus.

Fr. Joseph Fessio, SJ
Fr. Fessio was born right across the bay, in Alameda. His achievements are legion, his determination legendary. He has become world-famous for his learning, his piety, and his unwavering dedication to the Society of Jesus and to the responsibilities of his ordination.

Lisa Hamrick, co-founder of the Walk for Life West Coast, said “I have had the great joy and honor to know and be associated with Father Fessio for most of my adult life — my first full-time job when I was fresh out of college was at Ignatius Press! Throughout the years, I have marveled at all of the great works and various apostolates that Father has founded. His personal fortitude, resolve, and leadership has carried each of these various endeavors forward and they have borne much fruit and countless blessings. Our dear Father Malloy was the beating heart behind the Walk for Life committee. Father Fessio will be the eyes and the vision to carry us forward and bring the Walk for Life West Coast to ever greater heights in the future! I couldn’t be more delighted to have Father Fessio as our new WFL Chaplain!”

Dolores Meehan added “Fr. Malloy is irreplaceable. But if he could choose his successor it is hard to imagine him picking anyone but Fr. Fessio. We’ve replaced a fighting Irishman with a fighting Italian!

We are honored and grateful that this true son of St. Ignatius has consented to be our new chaplain. We will count on him for spiritual direction, for advice, and for a share of the indomitable courage for which he is so well known.

Catholic Schools Standing With Catholic Church

Good news via the Cardinal Newman Society:

"Fired for same-sex marriage! Fired for scandal!

The recent spate of firings and forced resignations in Catholic schools has people talking. Just this week, we reported on a Montana teacher who revealed her out-of-wedlock pregnancy, and a Massachusetts man whose same-sex marriage was discovered after he was offered a Catholic school position. Both lost their jobs.

What's going on with Catholic schools?

The answer is: nothing new, really, except for a dose of courage and admirable integrity...."

As counterfeit marriage supporter John Corvino said in his debate with Maggie Gallagher: “Whichever side prevails in this debate, the other’s views will be marginalized. There’s no getting around that."

It's good to see Church leaders demand adherence to Church teaching in our own institutions. I expect, as Professor Corvino said, to see much more of this.