Archive for June, 2010

Fr. Thomas Euteneuer of Human Life International recently wrote a thought-provoking piece on exorcisms. The short article, published in Spirit and Life, is well worth your time.

Demonic possession is very real, but it’s also very rare.  According to experienced exorcists, most cases of alleged possession turn out to be mental disturbances.  When a real case of possession is identified, it calls for specialized ministry by a priest who knows what he’s doing.  As Fr. Euteneuer points out, exorcism is serious business and shouldn’t be attempted by just anybody, otherwise disastrous results can ensue.

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A team that prays together, wins together.

Cheer for the Christians at the World Cup!  Go Ghana!

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Denver‘s Archbishop Charles Chaput reflects on questions of evangelization and the renewal of Catholic liturgy. He examines the key issues of today’s liturgical worship within the context of American culture. Where does the Catholic liturgy fit in a culture which prizes technology, science and material proof, but has lost the vocabulary to understand humanity’s oldest and deepest need: faith in an unseen God?

Archbishop Chaput cites Fr. Romano Guardini, who questioned whether modern man can properly relate to liturgical prayer: “So is Guardini right? Does modern man seem incapable of real worship? I think so. But the more important question for us is this: If he is right, what are we going to do about it?

To read these powerful thoughts on this vital topic click on: 

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Some people think that the notion of a Catholic Church with a centralized authority established in Rome and a hierarchy of bishops that governs the Church were inventions of the Middle Ages.  Untrue.  St. Irenaeus, whose feast we celebrated yesterday, taught these things in the 2nd century A.D. Let’s take a look. Read the rest of this entry »

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In “Living Tradition,” No. 12 (July 1987),[1] the present writer favourably reviewed a recent book by Fr. Ermenegildo Lio, O.F.M., “Humanae Vitae e Infallibilita” (Vatican City: Libreria Editrice Vaticana, 1986), in which the thesis is sustained that the teaching against contraception in Pope Paul VI’s encyclical letter “Humanae Vitae” (25 July 1968) is infallible, not merely by virtue of being an instance of the constant, ordinary and universal magisterium of the Popes and Catholic Bishops against this practice, but because the encyclical itself contains (in article 14) an “ex cathedra” definition. Lio claims, in other words, that “Humanae Vitae” contains an intrinsically infallible pronouncement: an instance of papal infallibility as defined by Vatican Council I.

To my knowledge Lio’s book has been virtually ignored by the theological community, in spite of his eminent qualifications as a professor of long standing in Rome’s Pontifical Lateran University, as a “peritus” at Vatican Council II, and an adviser to Pope Paul VI over the birth control issue–not to mention a personal autographed letter from Pope John Paul II thanking Fr. Lio for the presentation of his book, which was published by the Vatican Press.

Certainly, Lio’s thesis goes against the common view of theologians (both those who assent to “Humanae Vitae” and those who dissent from it), who have usually described the encyclical as being, in itself, a “non-infallible” document. Very often this conclusion seems to be drawn merely from the fact that there is no definition of a “dogma”–a point of “revealed” truth to be held as “of faith” (“de fide”)–in Pope Paul’s encyclical. But Lio’s point is that such definitions, while they represent the most solemn form of papal teaching, are not the “only” form which satisfies the conditions for an “ex cathedra” definition as laid down by the constitution “Pastor Aeternus” of Vatican I. In this paper I propose to develop this theme, in support of Lio’s thesis, i.e., the “ex cathedra” status of “Humanae Vitae.”

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VANCOUVER, B.C., June 28, 2010 ( – Archbishop J. Michael Miller of Vancouver has called on every member of the faithful in his diocese to take an active role in the pro-life movement….

I think this is a great initiative.

Let’s see if this initiative can find some traction at the bishops’ plenary session this Fall when they discuss their continued support of Development and Peace and its  funding of pro-abortion groups of the Global South.  It’s a bit rich to call for more pro-life witness, when your official development and aid agency has been pumping millions into the Global South for years (if not decades) to advance the abortion holocaust. 

We’ll all be watching and listening very carefully when the bishops meet.  For many of us (yours truly included), a lot will be riding on how serious they treat their pro-life witness. 

A sword will pierce many hearts.

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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 28, 2010 ( – The U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that a Christian student group does not have the right to restrict its membership to practicing Christians, in a decision Christian rights groups are calling a significant blow to religious freedom….

I never thought the totalitarian thugs would win this case.  But they did.  And with that, folks, it signals the end of the “American experiment” of religious freedom.  In retrospect, it was never really going to survive in its American form, in any case.  The Church Militant, however, will survive and even thrive under the oppressive regimes which are coming.

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Yet more evidence of the hurt abortion causes to women.  We have to help them find healing.

Earlier this month, LifeSiteNews reported that pro-life ads had started to appear on city buses in Regina.  A woman interviewed by the CBC named Shannon Tessier complained about the ads.  Listen to what she said.  You can clearly distinguish in her words the pain abortion inflicts on women:

It’s right there on city property,” Shannon Tessier told CBC News. “It’s disturbing, it’s disgusting and it shouldn’t be anywhere where someone under the age of, say, 15 or 16 can see it. Obviously if you’ve had an abortion and you see a picture of that anywhere on the back of a bus or something like that, it’s not something that you want to be reminded of that you’ve done.” (Source)

I feel great sympathy for all the women who are suffering because of abortions.  I have no idea whether Shannon Tessier has personally had an abortion.  That’s not the point.  She clearly knows that it causes pain to women, hence her concern that people don’t want to be reminded of it.

Only experiences that are very traumatic would lead someone to never want to be reminded.  That gives you an idea of how much distress women suffer through abortion.  This is a great tragedy of our age.  So many women were told that abortion would liberate them but are now experiencing extreme anguish to the point that they can’t even look at a picture of a fetus.  We need to find a way to help these women because society has abandoned them.

Clearly, the point of the bus ads is not to instill guilt among women who’ve had abortions and who regret their mistake. The purpose is to raise awareness and prevent future abortions.  As such, I think the ads are very good.

In psychology, there exists a concept called “mental hygiene”, which is similar to physical hygiene in many ways.  Physical hygiene leads us to avoid exposure to toxic substances or contagious micro-organisms.  Likewise, proper mental hygiene is applied by avoid unnecessary exposure to things that cause us anger, sadness or frustration. This should be applied by everyone to maintain proper mental health.  I remember that in 1995, during the last Québec referendum on separation, I used to watch televised debates between separatists and federalists.  It used to make my blood boil to hear the stupid demagogy spewed by the separatists.  My dad, being a psychologist, advised me to change the channel and watch something else.  He said I was practicing poor mental hygiene by unnecessarily exposing myself to that aggravation.

For someone who has experienced a traumatic event, it’s often recommendable that they avoid being reminded of it, but there are some exceptions.

  1. An occasional reminder can be helpful to avoid repeating the same mistake that led to the first traumatic experience (if it was your fault). In that sense, the reminder can keep you on your guard and make you more vigilant.
  2. If the reminder helps to stir up compassion for others who have gone through a similar experience, this can also be fruitful.  It may compel someone, for example, to volunteer their time to provide support to others in distress.
  3. The reminder may push someone to stop repressing their feelings and come to terms with them.  This is the only path to authentic and long-term healing.  If the reminder can prompt someone to take those steps towards recovery and inner peace, then it can be a blessing.

I think these bus ads can play a positive role in these three dimensions for the women in Regina that have had abortions.  It is my deepest wish that these women will come to terms with their abortion and find rest for their souls.

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The Beatific Vision is the phrase Catholic theology uses to describe when a soul finally “sees” God. As the phrase suggests, God is pure beauty. And the soul will be consumed by it, in every and all aspects of its desires.  To have – forever – the “thing” you were created for and to be in His Presence for eternity and to know that unless Our Father prevented it, the soul would literally burst with joy and love. This is indeed a thought we should keep front and center during times of difficulty and temptation. The glorious thing is that it is free for all human beings should they accept God’s love and mercy.  The tragic thing is that many refuse it.

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Since the Eucharist is the Real Presence of Christ, the Church has always taught that to receive communion while in a state of serious sin is a grave sacrilege. The Bible passage most frequently quoted to make this point is 1 Corinthians 11:27-30.  Immediately after summarizing the institution of the Eucharist at the Last Supper, St. Paul says:

Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be answerable for the body and blood of the Lord. Examine yourselves, and only then eat of the bread and drink of the cup. For all who eat and drink without discerning the body, eat and drink judgment against themselves. For this reason many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

But there’s another passage that also alludes to this sacrilege using even more brutal language.  It takes place the night before the Passion, as Jesus had gathered in the Upper Room for the Pascal meal: Read the rest of this entry »

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Charles Lewis of the National Post wrote a fascinating article about how the Church consults medical experts to confirm miracles in the process of canonization.  Sometimes they even consult atheist doctors, as is described in the article.
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Police in Belgium have raided the offices of the Archbishop of Brussels, and the home of retired Cardinal Godfried Daneels, in an investigation of sexual abuse.

A police spokesman said that the raids were “related to the sexual abuse of children within the Church.” It was not clear whether the investigation was focused on the handling of complaints by archdiocesan officials, or possible charges of misconduct by those officials themselves.

Cardinal Daneels, who stepped down in February at the age of 77, after more than 30 years at the head of the Brussels archdiocese, was on hand to observe the search. Police took his computer and boxes full of documents from his office. The search was conducted at both the offices of the archdiocese and the retired cardinal’s residence outside Brussels. A spokesman for Cardinal Daneels said that he was cooperating fully with the investigation.

The cardinal’s successor, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, was not at his office at the time of the police raid; he was attending a meeting of the Belgian hierarchy. (Source)

Isn’t it interesting how immorality invariably follows from pastoral directives and doctrine.  Not sure if the cops find anything on the child abuse going on in Daneels’ diocese, but if they do, I will not be surprised.

Any bishop who dissents from the Church’s teaching on condoms or Humanae Vitae should be disregarded completely.  They can’t be trusted.

Which really doesn’t say too much for our Canadian bishops and their dissent and continued support of the Winnipeg Statement.

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A couple of weeks ago, my girls performed at their dance recital.   They were fabulous.  They worked hard during the whole year and particularly over the last several weeks preparing for their recitals. Public occasions for paternal pride don’t come very often, but when they do come, it’s important for fathers to be there and express their enthusiasm and appreciation for their children.   My kids have a great love for dance and art, and they excel at both.  In fact, they excel at most of the things they apply their talents to.  They consider their efforts important and they don’t want to disappoint their parents…or God.  They have a keen appreciation that all of their efforts ultimately reflect on their love for God.  Amazingly, even for their ages, they have a very “Escrivian” view of their work (even though they don’t even know it) - that it ultimately is a gift and a means of making them holy.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Continuing with this week’s theme of how the Canadian bishops are not doing their jobs in teaching the faith and admonishing dissenters, I’d like to bring another example to your attention.  As regular readers know, Socon or Bust is no fan of President Obama. Most of Obama’s policies are awful, especially on life and family issues. But I must concede that his actions this week provide a simple and direct example of how our bishops should be dealing with gross negligence and misconduct within the Church.  Consider this: Read the rest of this entry »

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A couple of posts ago, I wrote this entry about how the bishops need to clean up their act.  Now I’d like to put some meat on the bones and let Socon or Bust readers know what I am talking about. Read the rest of this entry »

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….read about it here.

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Charles Lewis of the National Post wrote a great article regarding why private religious schools should be allowed the flexibility to teach what they believe rather than be forced to teach a morally relativistic course on ethics.  Key quote: Read the rest of this entry »

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Tragically today in the Catholic Church, it is becoming increasingly apparent that “Catholic” means different things to different people.  That is because the bishops have forgotten to be fathers and have failed to define what Catholicism is and what it is not, and who is Catholic and who is not.  They have left the laypeople and lay organizations on their own to make these difficult decisions because they refuse to do it for us.  That’s obviously very dangerous for the Catholic Church, but what precisely is the alternative?  Allowing the wolves to come in and ravage the flock because our overseers can’t smell the scent of blood all around them?  That’s no solution either. Read the rest of this entry »

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Lysiane Gagnon is a well-known and well-respected journalist in Québec.  She has written articles for Montréal’s largest newspaper, La Presse, for 30 years.  She’s also been writing for the Globe and Mail for 20 years.  She’s an avid feminist and supporter of abortion, but clearly she doesn’t have a clue of what she’s talking about.  Her ignorance was on display in a recent column, illustrating so well why we desperately need a public debate on abortion. Read the rest of this entry »

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Today I heard a great homily from a visiting priest from Africa.  He was commenting on this weekend’s gospel reading where Jesus reminds us that we need to take up our cross and follow him.

Being new to our country, he is amazed at the wealth and resources that we have.  Even individuals who are unemployed, disabled, sick or elderly have many resources at their disposal such as social programs, community outreach, food banks, soup kitchens, free basic health care, etc.  Yet he’s surprised at how much people whine whenever we encounter obstacles to our happiness.

He said that many people in the world would have great difficulty believing that the lifestyle we live is possible.  They can’t even conceive it.  They have no idea that such prosperity and peace can exist on this earth because it’s so foreign to their personal experience. They think that such prosperity is only possible in Heaven.  We are truly blessed, maybe even spoiled.  And we whine soooooo much. Read the rest of this entry »

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