November 2012

My copy of Pope Benedict’s Jesus of Nazareth: the Infancy Narratives, the final installment of his trilogy on the life of Christ, shipped from Amazon last night — with plenty of time for Advent. At 144 pages, finishing it before Christmas is very doable.

Listen to last Sunday’s homily from “Fr. James”* at Cincinnati’s St. Margaret of York parish on the four options the Obama regime’s HHS mandate leaves the Church in America. It’s brilliant, bold, direct, and well-delivered. He unflinchingly describes the devastation coming to, for example, Catholic schools — in the case of his parish school, a $2.2M “fee” for noncompliance. And let’s be clear, there is no way for the Church to comply with a mandate that requires its institutions to pay for or provide abortion-causing drugs, sterilization procedures, and contraceptives. In other words, get ready to see priests and bishops in handcuffs and excommunications handed down to the apostate Catholics allied with Obama. God bless SMOY’s parishioners, who applaud Fr. James at the end of his courageous homily. Let this clip go viral.

* A Google search of the parish name and “Fr. James” reveals Fr. James Brooks, the assistant priest. If anyone from SMOY can confirm his identify, please do so.

I’ve long admired the work of historian James Hitchcock of St. Louis University, especially his incisive lectures on the history of Vatican II. It’s been my hope that he’d write more books, as most of his work consists of essays and reviews. That’s why I’m excited by his forthcoming History of the Catholic Church: From the Apostolic Age of the New Millennium, available December 10 from Ignatius Press. I’d like to think I’ll suggest someone get it for me for Christmas, but, given my eagerness and impatience, I probably won’t wait that long. Take a look at the lavish praise the work has received from some Church heavyweights in the ‘blurbs posted by Ignatius.

The Catholic Church is the longest-enduring institution in the world. Beginning with the first Christians and continuing in our present day, the Church has been planted in every nation on earth.

The Catholic Church claims Jesus Christ himself as her founder, and in spite of heresy from within and hostility from without, she remains in the twenty-first century the steadfast guardian of belief in his life, death, and resurrection. The teachings and redemptive works of Jesus as told in the Gospels are expressed by the Church in a coherent and consistent body of doctrine, the likes of which cannot be found in any other Christian body.

The history of the Catholic Church is long, complicated, and fascinating, and in this book it is expertly and ably told by historian James Hitchcock. As in the parable of Christ about the weeds that were sown in a field of wheat, evil and good have grown together in the Church from the start, as Hitchcock honestly records. He brings before us the many characters-some noble, some notorious-who have left an indelible mark on the Church, while never losing sight of the saints, who have given living testimony to the salvific power of Christ in every age.

This ambitious work is comprehensive in its scope and in incisive in its understanding, a valuable addition to any school or home library.

From the Social Action office in the November “Clergy Communications” newsletter published by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati:

Please also note that it is archdiocesan policy that the entire [November 17-18] weekend collection be designated for CCHD.

Learn more about the Catholic Campaign for Human Development here and here.

Our new DRE at St. Mary of Hyde Park, Brian Maguire, has decided that his predecessor’s view of religious education, that it should be partisan indoctrination for left-wing causes in the name of “social justice,”  was lacking.  He’s been busy overhauling parish resources and issuing new ones.  Take a look at his information-packed November newsletter, which closes with an exhortation to return to the sacrament of confession as Advent approaches.  Tonight I learned about another resource, “Option C” on the parish school’s website, which often features a brief write-up on the Saint of the Day along with — gasp! — a Q&A quiz to test one’s knowledge (registration required).  See the example below for today’s “St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions,” which was brought to my attention this evening by our twelve-year-old son.  “Check this out, Dad — it’s cool!”  Of course, none of this would have happened without the guidance of our pastor, Fr. Ken Schartz.  Ditto for school principal Marianne Rosemond, who hosted the Tuesday morning Rosary group in her office this week.  My friend Joanna Bogle told me a half-dozen years ago that “the world is getting worse, but the Church is getting better.”  It sure feels that way, and in light of recent worldly events, it comes as a comfort.

St. Nicholas Tavelic and Companions


Nicholas and his three companions are among the 158 Franciscans who have been martyred in the Holy Land since the friars became custodians of the shrines in 1335.

Nicholas was born in 1340 to a wealthy and noble family in Croatia. He joined the Franciscans and was sent with Deodat of Rodez to preach in Bosnia. In 1384 they volunteered for the Holy Land missions and were sent there. They looked after the holy places, cared for the Christian pilgrims and studied Arabic.

In 1391 Nicholas, Deodat, Peter of Narbonne and Stephen of Cuneo decided to take a direct approach to converting the Muslims. On November 11, 1391, they went to the huge Mosque of Omar in Jerusalem and asked to see the Qadi (Muslim official). Reading from a prepared statement, they said that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus. When they were ordered to retract their statement, they refused. After beatings and imprisonment, they were beheaded before a large crowd.

Nicholas and his companions were canonized in 1970. They are the only Franciscans martyred in the Holy Land to be canonized.


1 – Where were these saints martyred?

2 – When and where was St. Nicholas born?

3 – What did Nicholas and his companion do at the Mosque of Omar?

4 – How did the Muslims officials react?

5 – What then happened to Nicholas and friends?


1 – In the Holy Land.

2 – He was born in 1340 in Croatia.

3 – They asked to the Muslim official and told them that all people must accept the gospel of Jesus.

4 – They were ordered to retract their statement, they refused.

5 – They were beaten and imprisioned and beheaded.

One of the University of Dayton’s most vocal dissidents to Church teaching, Dr. Vincent Miller (UD’s Gudorf Chair of Catholic Theology and Culture) who has made a recent career of being a public malcontent against the Church, as well as making the case that the Vatican stands in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protesters, has published an editorial on taking the US Bishops to task for their recent election year efforts to teach the faithful of their responsibilities as Catholics in the public square.  

Take a read of it, and have fun counting the number of times Miller simply gets Church teaching wrong. Will someone (Archbishop Schnurr????, UD leadership???, Marianist leadersip???) please let him know that Church teaching requires Catholics in the public square to oppose intrinsic evils, and that issues involving intrinsic evils (such as abortion) outweigh prudental issues (such as Medicare)? As Archbishop Schnurr put it, issues involving intrinsic evil, such as opposing abortion, have a “special claim on our conscience as we choose between candidates.” You’ll find that this central tenent to Catholic morality conveniently missing from Miller’s rant. (But you will see a line imploring the spirit of Vatican II!) Actually, I’m sure he is already well aware of this Church teaching, but that would not serve his political agenda. Instead, he is dishonest and puts out an opinion column that mixes truth with faslehood in order to convince himself and others that, indeed, the salvation of their souls is not in jeopardy for their material cooperation with the Culture of Death.

The newly released November edition of the Clergy Communications newsletter for the AOC has a great Q&A section on Pope Benedict’s plenary indulgence for the Year of Faith and what the Archdiocese of Cincinnati is doing to promote it:

Pope Benedict XVI will grant Plenary Indulgence during the Year of Faith (October 11, 2012 – November 24, 2013) to those faithful who follow the due norms and undertake the special prescripts to obtain them.

What is a Plenary Indulgence?
The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that, “An indulgence is obtained through the Church, who, by virtue of the power of binding and loosing granted her by Christ Jesus, intervenes in favor of individual Christians and opens for them the treasury of the merits of Christ and the saints to obtain from the Father of mercies the remission of the temporal punishments due for their sins. Thus the Church does not want simply to come to the aid of these Christians, but also to spur them to works of devotion, penance, and charity (1478).” It goes on to state that the faithful may obtain indulgences for the faithful departed so that the “temporal punishments due for their sins may be remitted (1479).”

What are the due norms and special prescripts?
During the Year of Faith, Plenary Indulgence “may be obtained by all faithful who, truly penitent, take Sacramental Confession and the Eucharist and pray in accordance with the intentions of the Supreme Pontiff.”

“(A) Each time they attend at least three sermons during the Holy Missions, or at least three lessons on the Acts of the Council or the articles of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, church or any other suitable location.”
“(B) Each time they visit, in the course of a pilgrimage to a papal basilica, a Christian catacomb, a cathedral church or a holy site designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith…, and there participate in a sacred celebration, or at least remain for a congruous period of time in prayer and pious meditation, concluding with the recitation of the Our Father, the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form, and invocations to the Blessed Virgin Mary and, depending on the circumstances, to the Holy Apostles and patron saints.”

Archbishop Schnurr has designated four churches/holy sites in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati: The Cathedral of St. Peter in Chains (Cincinnati), St. Helen Church (Dayton), Holy Angels Church (Sidney), and the Maria Stein Shrine of the Holy Relics (Maria Stein).

“(C) Each time that, on the days designated by the local ordinary for the Year of Faith…, in any sacred place, they participate in a solemn celebration of the Eucharist or the Liturgy of the Hours, adding thereto the Profession of Faith in any legitimate form.”

Archbishop Schnurr has designated the following days: First Friday/First Saturday of every month; the Feast of the Most Holy Body and Blood (June 2, 2013); the Archdiocesan patronal feast days: St. Francis de Sales (January 24), St. Robert Bellarmine, (September 17), St. Albert the Great (November 15); and the Archdiocesan celebrations of the Year of Faith (September 29, 2013 at Cintas Center and October 6, 2013 at the University of Dayton Arena at 7:00 p.m.).

“(D) On any day they choose, during the Year of Faith, if they make a pious visit to the baptistery, or other place in which they received the Sacrament of Baptism, and there renew their baptismal promises in any legitimate form.”

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