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17 December

This was the day of the Pennsylvania Princess and the Queen City hobbit.

Last show for 2010!

  • Allison from Texas (inet): Regarding baptism of infants in danger of dying
  • Jason from Orlando: 1.) How many times a day can you receive Communion, 2.) If you receive Communion during the Saturday Vigil Mass does that count for Sunday?
    • Queen City Hobbit: And for Jason: On how many times you can receive communion, what about Canon 917? See http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG1104/_P39.HTM
    • Kevin: Following up on the question of how often we can receive Holy Communion... Can someone really trying to grow spiritually and/or overcome a sinful habit receive Holy Communion twice a day to receive extra spiritual benefit? I thought I remember a Catholic can receive up to twice a day as long as the 2nd time was part of a Mass.
      • Can. 917 A person who has already received the Most Holy Eucharist can receive it a second time on the same day only within the eucharistic celebration in which the person participates, without prejudice to the prescript of ? can. 921
      • Canon 921: The Christian faithful who are in danger of death from any cause are to be nourished by holy communion in the form of Viaticum.
      • Receiving communion twice in one day
  • Bonnie from Lancaster: She has a friend who's a cradle Catholic who says that you have to be Born Again. She wants to know 'what this Born Again thing' is.
  • Eric: Re: Animals and Death, communion - The verse you were looking for earlier is Romans 8:20-22.
  • Father Altieri. Examination of Conscience.

December 17

  • Nine days to Christmas. The readings for these last eight days of Advent are very specially chosen for this last week of prayer and meditation on the two Advents of Jesus (His advent in humility and His advent in glory at the end of time).
  • Christopher Janiak from Facebook, Tuesday's show at the end: Trying to stump Fr. Marty today. :) Why do some animals experience pain if they aren't guilty of original sin?
  • We might talk about retreats as a classic Catholic method of refreshing ourselves spiritually (followup to the questions asked by Carlos from Melrose on the 10th).
  • We might also consider following up on Jason's question about how to recognize problem drinking and how to help someone who seems to have a problem (cf. Twelve Step Programs).

Wednesday 15 December

Special Guest: Dr. Dan Mruzek

  • Chris from Texas:
    • Why does each vestment a priest wear (ex: amice,cincture, alb, stole, chasuble) have a special meaning behind it?
    • Why do some parishes have a crucifix on the altar facing the priest when they celebrate Mass? Thanks!
  • "Do not waste your time bothering whether you ‘love’ your neighbor. Act as if you did. As soon as we do this, we find one of the great secrets. When you are behaving as if you loved someone, you will presently come to love him. If you inquire about someone you dislike, you will find yourself disliking him more. If you do him a good turn, you will find yourself disliking him less." - C.S. Lewis. (4:09 PM)
  • Bridget from Buffalo: Has a little girl with down syndrome. Could Dan speak of how to best prepare her for the sacrament of Confession and First Communion. She is really like a three year old.
  • Nora from Williamsville, NY: My nephew is 10 and has high-functioning autism. We were blessed to be able to go from Buffalo to NJ a few years ago for his First Holy Communion, and he truly enjoys being an altar server now. Brilliant boy, and we love him! Thanks for your work, Dr. Mruzek, having a doctor like you is a blessing to patients and their families!
  • Evanka from East Amherst: has a grandson with Aspberger what would be the best way to teach him the Our father?
  • Rita from North Tonawanda: Q: her daughter is turning 20 been dealing with Epilepsy, feels that she doesn't have a handle on her diagnosis & needs help to understand exactly what her condition is.
  • Jason from Florida: Good afternoon, Dr. Mruzek, Father, Gina, and listeners. I vote B.) I believe more needs to be done. Our parish is very small and most of the parishoners are elderly who do not attend events and functions very often because they no longer d...rive or don't drive at night. A number of them make use of wheelchairs, walkers, etc. In order to create a strong, vibrant parish life, we need to involve them more and make it easier for them to attend functions and events. Also, the Crossing the Goal Playbook sounds awesome! Whoever wins will be very fortunate to receive it. Intended for men, but can be given as a gift, too. I really hope that I win! Thanks and God bless!
  • Bob from Boston: 1060 AM Radio. About his son with Asbergers, concern that he has never been diagnosed because he was always very functional but from this discussion it sounds like he has some of the symptoms. Could you please elaborate.
  • Autism Society of America
  • Does Dr. Mruzek have a web site? Not his own, but here is his contact information.
  • Nora from Facebook: I'm voting "A" for the poll. We belong to St. Greg's in Williamsville, and they've done so much to reach out to all members of the community. We offer a sign language interpretation at one Mass every week, assistive listening systems at every Mass, large print hymnals, accessible doors, bathrooms and parking, as well as a ministry group for people with disablilties and their families.

Tuesday 14 December

  • Chris from Texas:
    • Why isn't Eucharistic Prayer I used more often by priests when they celebrate Mass? It is such a beautiful Eucharistic Prayer with a lot of meaning and symbolism.
    • When can a votive mass be celebrated and what type of votive masses are there for a priest to choose from to use?
  • Jason from Florida: With regards to drinking alcohol, how much is too much? When does it become sinful? How can I explain to my friends that drinking too much has a negative effect on a person's relationship with God:
  • Amanda: Hi Father, thanks for that history lesson and for celebrating the Mass with us.
  • Lisa from Buffalo: Driving. Couldn't stay on. Wants to know if having a cough drop or a piece of gum to quench the cough before communion is OK .
  • The Hobbit just called He said he is sorry but he does not think that he will be able to make it ; He is stuck on the Grand Island Thruway Bridge.
  • Alice from Batavia: about the new missals coming out next year. Q: will the daily readings be the same?
  • call: Why is our Friday afternoon call screener called a hobbit?
  • Chris. Rochester. Trying to stump Fr. Marty today. Fr. Marty, why do some animals experience pain if they aren't guilty of original sin?
  • Mary. Buffalo. Q: Were John & Jesus born on about the same time?
  • John. Depew. wrote into FACEBOOK a couple wks. ago & wants to catch up with Father about his progress with reading the BIBLE for the first time in his life.
  • Lisa from Depew called again wants to know if her question (about having gum before taking Holy Communion for stop a cough Ok) answered already.

Friday 10 December

  • Carlos from Melrose, MA: Father, I'm considering attending a guided spiritual retreat early next year. The last retreat I attended was in high school over 20 years ago. What should I expect during a guided retreat (that has long periods of silence and solitude) and more importantly, what should I do to prepare for it?
  • Shawn from Buffalo: Question for the show - can you explain the special favor or whatever for having the Divine Mercy painting in your home?
  • Jason from Florida: Did the angels need a savior?
  • Buddy from Athol, MA: A couple of wks. ago Fr. Moleski mentioned various Eastern Rights and there are four in the U.S.
  • Kathy from Buffalo: Q: What is temporal punishment?
  • Carol from Depew: Her 5 year old grand-daughter wants to know "who made God?"
  • Scott from Rochester 1. wants a synopsis of Today's Reading. 2. Q: As a priest in a confessional what would you say to a woman who's had an abortion? What type of Penance would you give? 3. What are the requirements for making a Good Confession.
  • Followup: Father what are the Steps to making a good confession? What to say first ? And How to finish.
  • Mike from e-mail: Can you explain why and what the different practices that john of the cross rite Catholics follow. I've seen 1 person receive Eucharist on their knees once and wondered why.

3 December

  • Feast of St. Francis Xavier, SJ. Best friend of St. Ignatius Loyola, SJ, founder of the Society of Jesus. "What does it profit a man to gain the wealth of the world but lose his own soul?"
  • Bishop Kmiec's blog.
  • John from Cheektowaga: "I believe today is your patron saint's feast day… Can you elaborate a little on Saint Frances Xavier in today’s show."
  • John B from e-mail: Can Fr. Marty briefly discuss a 'Faith & Reason' man of God whose feast day was celebrated a few weeks ago? St. Albert the Great.
  • Jason from Ohio who lives in Orlando: "Is it good or bad to make children believe in Santa?"
  • Scott from Rochester: How do the benefactor cards work?
  • Nora from Williamsville: On this feast of St. Francis Xavier, praying for missionaries. Special prayers for my mom's cousin, who is my Godfather, a Jesuit and long time missionary, Fr. Bill Scanlon. Happy Feast Day!
  • Rocco: I like to develop the mythos behind him - like Tolkien's Santa Letters to his kids.
  • Bob from Boston: Wants to discuss the etymology of 'Santa Claus'
  • Jon E. from Amherst: Has a question about Acts of Penance during Advent.
  • Chris from In his car in New Hampshire: Would like father to explain the Santos verse and has a question on Plenary indulgence.
  • Carlos from Melrose, MA: Father, I'm considering attending a guided spiritual retreat early next year. The last retreat I attended was in high school over 20 years ago. What should I expect during a guided retreat (that has long periods of silence and solitude) and more importantly, what should I do to prepare for it?
  • Barbara from Greece, NY: Wants to ask why St. Barbara (who's feast is tomorrow) is so ignored.
  • John from Olean: The secular santa appears in the 1860's. Harpers Weekly published a drawing of a santa dressed similar to what we know, distributing gifts to soldiers in the Union Army during the American Civil War. In our house growing up santa was always portrayed as a bishop. My parents even left chocolate "gold coins" in our stockings.
  • POLCTROTICFBTB&B: "I was in Prague for St. Wenceslaus feast day - a national holiday!"
  • Shawn from Buffalo: "Can you explain the special favor or whatever for having the Divine Mercy painting in your home?"

Thursday 2 December

  • Justin from e-mail: I know that you also share a love for C.S. Lewis' writing and that you might have some light to shed on this subject. I've been reading his book, A Grief Observed, and he brings up the idea of the dead feeling the pains of separation, as the living do, and that this might be one of their purgatorial sufferings. He explains that this bereavement is an integral part of our experience of love, and that death is just another phase, not a truncation, of that experience/process. Was wondering what you think about this? I was fascinated with his intellectual reasoning, as I usually am.
  • Ellen from Buffalo: The Memorare is attributed to St Bernard of Clairvaux.
    • Wikipedia says "no." 15th century, 17th century, 19th century.
    • Eric, Rochester, NY::wanted to talk with Father about the Memorare: sub tuum praesidium from the 3rd century (!).
    • MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.[1]
  • Jim from e-mail: Michael Alan Anderson, Assistant Professor of Music at the Eastman School of Music (University of Rochester) has discovered that the second half of the prayer—the sinner’s direct plea to Mary—dates considerably earlier than commonly thought by historians. According to Anderson, who specializes in medieval and Renaissance music history, it turns out that musical composers were experimenting with petitionary supplements to the Ave Maria as early as the late thirteenth century, at least 150 years before historians have recognized such additions to the "Ave Maria."[2]
  • Bob from Boston, NY: What did Thomas Aquinas mean by "Lifeless Faith"? (Nature and Grace ix.i.iv.iv).

We must therefore hold differently that living and lifeless faith are one and the same habit. The reason is that a habit is differentiated by that which directly pertains to that habit. Now since faith is a perfection of the intellect, that pertains directly to faith, which pertains to the intellect. Again, what pertains to the will, does not pertain directly to faith, so as to be able to differentiate the habit of faith. But the distinction of living from lifeless faith is in respect of something pertaining to the will, i.e. charity, and not in respect of something pertaining to the intellect. Therefore living and lifeless faith are not distinct habits.

  • Jason. Florida. A friend was defending the Church's teaching against artificial contraception against some Protestants who said it wasn't in Scripture. Is there a scriptural basis that can be used to support the... Church's teaching on this matter? How can we explain it to non-Catholic Christians who believe in sola scriptura?
    • Ellen from Buffalo, says the artificial contraception is Sin of Onan in the Old Testament.
    • "Onan knew that the offspring would not be his; so when he went in to his brother's wife, he wasted his seed on the ground in order not to give offspring to his brother" (Gen. 38:9).
  • Anne from Buffalo: What is a Taizé Mass? She wasn't sure, a church is having it, but she never heard of it before and wanted to know about it.
  • Alice from Batavia: "Can Demons and spirits hear our thoughts?"

Wednesday 24 November

  • Russel from email: I learned today that my brother-in-law Albert McCracken is in hospice care. Please say a pray for him. Russell
  • Patricia from Niagara Falls: Fr. Could you please repeat what Pope Benedict said. It sure doesn't sound good. Cannot understand how all this got so convoluted and misunderstood.
  • Jason from Orlando: Voting on the poll as B. On the line.
  • Joyce from Buffalo: Wants to weigh in on the poll. Not sure what to say but does trust heartily in the Pope. believes that his statements were completely misconstrued. On Line.
  • Joe from Chili: He wants to talk about the news about the pope and his comments. It is a great time and maybe get people to talk about our faith as long as the true message about what he meant gets out . On Line.
  • Kate: "One should not do wrong for the sake of wrong."

Friday 19 November

  • Chris from e-mail: 1.) What are some good books to read about how to mature in your faith as a young adult? 2.) Is there any meaning behind a veil covering the tabernacle? I have seen veils covering tabernacles at parishes I have visited before.
  • Jason from Orland, listening on iCatholicRadio: Good afternoon, Father, Gina, and listeners. Can you please briefly define, compare, and contrast doctrine and dogma?
  • Helen from Fremont, Ohio: Is worrying about things that she may not have confessed a long while ago
  • Kevin from Stoughton, Mass. Looking for information on the discernment process.
  • Steve. Boston. He belongs to a parish that seems more protestant than Catholic. He's looking for suggestions on things he can do to fix it, and also looking for feedback from fellow WQOM listeners.
  • From a friend in Amherst: "I don't feel comfortable going to the theatre to support Harry Potter."
  • Jennifer. Hi Father and Gina, I am listening in Orange County, CA and I have to tell you that I really enjoy listening to this show. I am considering another masters degree in moral theology or bioethics. I want to work as a pro-life researcher/professor. Do you have any advice where I could get started and what Catholic Universities programs are the best? Thank you and God Bless you always.

November 19

  • Worldwide Vigil for All Nascent Human Life: The pope has asked the whole Church to keep vigil on Saturday, November 27, 2010. That is the evening before the first Sunday of Advent or, if you prefer, the beginning of the First Sunday of Advent.

Last Week's Show

  • John from Irvine, CA: To clarify for everyone.. Are Latin Rite Catholics allowed to pray to Eastern Rite Catholic Saints like one of my favorites.. St. Charbel.
  • Jason from FL: Father - It definitely was Fr. Rick.
  • Jason from Orlando: Today's the feast of St. Josaphat. He was reading about him online, and it says that he's venerated by the Romainian, Roman, and Ukrainian, but he was Ruthenian and isn't venerated by them or any other Catholics, and he wonders why.
  • Dominic: Good afternoon, Father. I was wondering I was wondering how a priest goes into an order. Do they go to special seminaries (like a Jesuit seminary, Franciscan seminary, etc?), or do they go into one after they're Ordained? What happens after a priest joins an order? Does the order tell them where to go and what they'll be doing? Thanks so much!
  • Alice from Batavia: Jeff Cavins' Bible Study for Catholics.
  • Tom Donovan's Facebook review.
  • Jeanine from Wheatfield: She read the Passion of Fulton Sheen and every Fulton Sheen book she could get her hands on. She recommends all Archbishop Sheen books for everyone.
  • Carlos: This is another good Bible Study resource started by Dr. Scott Hahn. The St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology: http://www.salvationhistory.com/
  • Rocco from Amherst: J. K. Rowling is describing traditional English Christmases. They took Jesus out of Christmas during the 1600s when Oliver Cromwell and Company overthrew the monarchy.

November 12

  • St. Josaphat. Martyred in 1623. Basilian, Ruthenian (Ukrainian), Archbishop of Polotsk.
  • John from Depew asked about How Catholics Should Read the Bible.
    • Alex then asked in e-mail: "As a follow up to one of your previous callers, is there a list of these scripture passages which have been definitively interpreted by Holy Mother Church? Also, would you recommend a bible/study program to help those of us wanting to study scripture (“cover to cover”)?

Last Week's Show

  • John from Wilson: Has a question on Confession. Recommendations for Confession advice for kids
  • Jason from Orlando: Can Father give detail on using Desolation to discern God's Will
  • Jack from Cellphone: Is it beneficial for relationship between Protestants and Catholics to not use the term Father?
  • Mike from Waltham: Father has a great speaking voice and is asking for prayers
  • Bill from Scituate, MA: Wants to ask about today's Gospel reading
  • John from Depew, NY: I am 33 and just now starting to read the bible for the first time. I have a friend who is a non denominational Christian who tells me "Just read the Bible and you will find all the answers there". I am doing my best to maintain my Catholic faith but now I fell like I have a chip on my shoulder as I read. What state of mind should I be in as I read? I get in the car by 4:40 pm and I listen to your response live. Thanks!
  • Anonymous: Dear Father, I go to a Catholic University that has a large LGBT Student organization that is funded by the university. What is the rationale for why an organization that is so against Catholic teaching is allowed and funded by a Catholic University? Is there something I should do about the situation? Thank you!

8 November 2010

  • Alison. Please keep my cousin's 14 year old son in your prayers. He suffers from uncontrollable and life threatening seizures. His mother said they almost lost him last night from back to back seizures that took a toll on his heart and he is continuing to seize today. Thank you all and God Bless!
  • Anonymous. Please pray for Lisa and Jonathan who just had miscarriage Sunday a.m. (8 week old baby).
  • Eileen from Warren, MA: A friend advised me of your program...I live well beyond your station's reach. Please ask Fr. Illig for prayers for all the members of my family and my husband's family... Spiritual & physical healing and conversion...
  • Jason, Orlando. I'm excited! My first time listening LIVE via iCatholicRadio on my new Droid! Clearest signal I've ever had! =D
    • For me and everyone else struggling to discern God's will for them, especially in difficult situations.
    • That current friendships may be strengthened, and that we may reconnect with old friends.
    • For the growth and effectiveness of Catholic radio everywhere, especially The Station of the Cross.
    • For all priests.
  • Bonnie, Springville. For friend Jerry, eyesight and health; for father Keith, walking, back, balance; for stepmother evelyn, cancer; for brother Bob, going on a plane trip; and for herself, night vision and driving.
  • Anonymous, Amherst. For a family member, Maureen having foot surgery on Thursday; for her daughter, who has a broken bone in her arm; and for Goddaughter Meeghan, has sserious seizure problem and severe allergies and for her family to heal brokenness, parents have died and there are things that need to be straightened out.
  • Alice, Batavia. To thank Father for his last prayer.
  • Michelle, Wheatfield. For her cousin Jennifer, just had double mastectomy and is mother of 2 children.
  • Jennifer. Thank you so much Father for telling the listeners about the Android application. I just downloaded it and I am thrilled to have it on my phone. Father, can you please pray for me and my pro-life research and my discernment for God's plan for my life in terms of pro-life work. Also please pray for all of the Intercessors, Magnificat, and my entire family. Thank you.
  • Kathy, Rochester. For healing from anorexia.
  • Sue, Lancaster. For her mother, her name is Flora, she is in ICU and is battling pneumonia and congestive heart failure and is not expected to live.
  • Ginny, Buffalo. For herself, has a dental phobia and has to have some work, prays that it is not as bad as the situation seems to be.
  • Anonymous. Prayers for health and that she find a job.
  • Dorothy, Framingham, MA. For her friend Ginny, recuperating from Cancer, Bridget who has mental health problems, cousin Eileen who has dementia.
  • Kathryn, East Aurora. Prayers for Frank, has pancreatic cancer; for Andy, for healing.
  • Sue, Rochester. For 2 sons who are making their confirmation this evening at Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester. Both are adults, one is 30, one is 34.
  • Anonymous. Prayers for health and that she find a job
  • Kathryn, East Aurora. Prayers for Frank, has pancreatic cancer; for Andy, for healing.

5 November

  • We had a question on Tuesday about All Souls Day?. I realized that we could look at the sacramentary to find out what the Church thinks the purpose of the feast is. "Lex orandi, lex credendi."
  • After the show: anonymous woman, angry about my yoga answer, loves me anyway.

2 November: All Souls

  • Jason from Orlando: What does it mean to vote Catholic?
  • Dave from Williamsville: In RCIA program. Wants to make sacrament of Reconciliation prior to designated date.
  • Anonymous: Dear Fr., if my protestant Neice is marrying a Catholic man, and they are cohabitating already, and the wedding will NOT be a mass but a ceremony outdoors with no priest, would it be ok for me, my husband, and my children to attend it?
  • Jeff from Cheektowaga: why aren't the members of the Hierarchy holding the politicians accountable for their positions?
  • 1.) Abortion 2.) Euthanasia 3.) Fetal Stem Cell Research 4.) Human Cloning 5.) Homosexual "Marriage"
  • Dave from Williamsville: He is in the RCIA program. Wants to make sacrament of Reconciliation prior to designated date.
  • Chris from Rochester. How do you best show other Catholics that the 5 non-negotiables have priority over issues such as gun control, environmental issues, health care, immigration, etc.?
  • Bob from Cheektowaga: What is the chaplet of St. Michael?
  • Meg from Rochester: Do you think it's a bad idea to deny grace to the politicians?
  • Andrew from Niagara Falls: What is your opinion on Yoga as exercise?
  • Holly from Tonawanda: Why do you think so many Catholics voted for the most pro-death president?
  • Tim from Buffalo: What are the differences between between the Traditional Latin and the Mass we usually attend?
  • Theresa from Norwood, MA: is today a day for praying for souls in purgatory or all souls?

30 October

  • Jerry Usher and Sherry Kennedy Brownrigg are Jesus Geeks.
    • Working with them is like getting a lift to the top of a mountain, above the storm clouds, where the sun is shining and the air is fresh.
    • They are like Moses and Elijah appearing in glory with Jesus in the Transfiguration.
    • Jerry, like Peter, is a ROCK. Sherry, like Mary Magdalene, follows Jesus from town to town--where ever He leads.
    • It's like a firestorm--the hotter the fire gets, the more it draws in fresh air to fan the flames.
  • Gina, the Princess of Live Catholic Talk Radio on the I-90 Corridor from Buffalo to Boston and points east ("but you can call me Princess of the East"), did a GREAT job lining up the snippets on the theme of the Holy Family. Lots of things to think about!

25 October 2010

  • Gina's miracle story.
  • A listener in the Boston area asked for prayers for a man and his wife who have cancer. They’re only 45 years old--Rochelle & Brian. Brian is in hospice at this time.
  • A friend of The Station of the Cross needs healing or else a kidney transplant. He is on dialysis now.
  • I was very touched by Dawn Curazzato's presentation at Theology on Tap last Tuesday. [Note to Awesome Lawson, who prefers to live by faith rather than by slavish obedience to the laws of grammar and spelling: one 'R' and two 'Zs' in Dawn's name, not the other way around!]

22 October

  • Betty from Buffalo: Can you define Spiritual Sloth? Can you give some examples and ways to overcome it? Thanks!
  • John from Buffalo: The Michelangelo sculpture ‘PIETA’ has our Blessed Mother holding her son across her lap as she sits on a rock. Presumably, Jesus’ lifeless body was put in her arms when he was first brought down from the cross and the sculpture captures an unimaginable moment of pain for Mary. My question is about the news of the local Buffalo family who may have an original Michelangelo oil painting titled “La Pieta.” The painting shows the lifeless body of Jesus that slipped through the leg of his mother to the ground, up to his arms (that are supported by angels); and that cross at her knees. Holy Mother has her hands in the air and is looking up to heaven with an expression on her face could say ‘enough, enough.’ Can you comment on the name PIETA (Latin or Italian and what does it mean), and your thoughts on the painting. Thanks.
  • Question from anonymous: What is the best way to pray to the saints?
  • John from Buffalo asks, 'Can you comment on the name PIETA (Latin or Italian and what does it mean), and your thoughts of the painting. Thanks.'
  • Jason from Orlando: My understanding of the decision of the Council of Jerusalem (described in Acts 15) is that it determined that under the New and Everlasting Covenant, non-Jewish Christians are not bound by Mosaic Law, regarding things like circumcision, dietary laws, and observance of the Sabbath.
    • First, am I understanding correctly?
    • Second, are Jews who become Christians bound by Mosaic Law regarding the aforementioned?
    • Third, is this a legitimate defense for observing the Lord's Day (Sunday) as the primary day of worship, prayer, and rest, instead of the Sabbath/Seventh Day (Saturday)?
  • Ed from Rochester: Wants to ask about Abraham. Did he know that he would not be required to kill Isaac?
  • Scott from Rochester: 1.) Yesterday's Gospel: What did Jesus mean by 'I did not come to bring peace but divison.' 2.) Can you go over today's readings?
  • Marybeth from Buffalo: A friend of hers was confused about the relationship between the Church and the Society of Pius X and going to Mass at a Society Church, and which of their Sacraments are valid.

October 25

  • Marsha, Buffalo. For her husband, he was just diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer. Treatment will be with medication on Roswell. His name is Dennis.
  • Jason. Florida. Hi, Father Marty. I had a question for Fr. Mark, but perhaps you will can answer it for me. I have never been to a healing Mass. Can you please describe what one is like and how it differs from a regular Mass? Also, can you please pray for the following?
    • God's guidance for my career and discerning my marriage partner.
    • Christina, as she discerns a call to religious life, and her struggles with school and the elections.
    • Jeff, Alex, and other friends needing prayer.
    • Everyone participating with 40 Days for Life, the end of abortion.
    • The elections next week, and the protection of life, family, and marriage around the world.
    • All our priests.
    • All non-believers, especially those who are fallen away Catholics.
    • The growth of Catholic radio, especially The Station of the Cross during, with the fund drive later this week.
  • Kathy, Rochester. For Healing from anorexia nervosa.
  • Bonnie, Springville. For friend Jerry, eyesight and health; for father Keith, walking, back and balance and diabetes; for stepmother Evelyn, cancer; for herself, night vision and driving.
  • Jack, Buffalo. Calling re: Marsha's request - wants to offer prayers for Dennis' healing and others with that disease. Also to advise that at Roswell park there is a group called US Too, a group of prostate cancer survivors who give their time to coach other patients emotionally and spiritually. They can ask for this group at Roswell. He thinks this would be very helpful for Marsha and Dennis at this time.
  • Lynn, Rochester. For her mother who was murdered and died on May 14 of this year, her name is Elaine.
  • Rose, Lockport. For her cousin Jean, she is currently in the hospital with a peforated bowl, has chrones disease, is also an alocholic. Has two children who really need her.
  • Woman from Alden. Prayers for a boy from their community who was in a car accident last Thursday, is on a breathing machine and in very serious condition. His name is Andrew. They are hoping for a miracle and praying for the family. Andrew is 21 years old.

October 22

  • Followup questions from Rocco about the Church's understanding of marriage:
    • Does the Church's teaching about the murder of a spouse being an impediment to marrying the widow or widower of the murder victim apply to the case of Laertes and Gertrude in "Hamlet" or to David and Bathsheba in the Old Testament?
    • Since the man and woman are the ministers of the sacrament of marriage, do they have to be present at their own wedding?

Last Week's Show

  • The promise of the Infant of Prague: "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you."
  • Jason from Ohio now living in Florida and attracted to joining the Eastern rite, coming to us via podcasts and Facebook: How common is it for someone to be denied communion for publicly living in a way that removes them from a state of grace or for publicly dissenting from the teachings of the Church?
  • Mary from Rochester: questions about marriage.
  • Scott from Rochester: Would like a synopsis for today's 'regular' readings and advice on how to make a good confession.
  • St. Teresa of Avila patronages: bodily ills; headaches; lacemakers; laceworkers; loss of parents; people in need of grace; people in religious orders; people ridiculed for their piety; Pozega, Croatia; sick people; sickness; Spain.
  • Judy from Rochester: Is looking for a recommendation for a book that she and her husband can read regarding family rosaries.
  • Barbara from Kenmore: Regarding Guardian Angels.
  • Helen from Rochester: Just wanted to comment on Desolation. She has been abandoned by her husband but is remaining faithful to her vows.

October 15

  • St. Teresa of Ávila (Teresa of Jesus).
    • "If this is how you treat your friends, no wonder you have so few of them!"
    • "God and Teresa are nothing; God, Teresa, and three gold pieces can change the world!"

Let nothing trouble you,
let nothing make you afraid
All things pass away.
God never changes.
Patience obtains everything.
God alone is enough.

  • If all goes well, The Station of the Cross will expand to Boston on WQOM (1060 AM) on November 1st. Then Gina will be The Princess of Live Catholic Talk Radio on the I-90 Corridor from Buffalo to Boston.

Last Week's Show

  • Thanks to Strong, Silent Bill, the imp behind the engineering, for his help while the Princess of Live Catholic Talk Radio on the I-90 Corridor from Buffalo to Boston was on pilgrimage. We managed not to have too much dead air.
  • Jason from Ohio who lives in Florida. Hi Father and Silent Bill. Earlier this week I read an article regarding Archbishop Nienstedt in Minneapolis-St. Paul denying Communion to college students wearing GLBT-Support buttons and to 'to stand in solidarity with GLBT' (as one student put it). He blessed them, but denied them Communion. What are your thoughts? Thanks!
  • Susie from Lancaster: Was wondering what Father would think about an experience she had with a relative who just past away.
  • Norah from Amherst: What event in Scripture does the 3rd Luminous Mystery (Proclamation of the Kingdom) refer to? What should someone meditate upon during this Mystery?
  • Scott from Rochester: 1.) Where does INRI come? and 2.) Sometimes when he's praying the rosary, he'll add or subtract Hail Marys. Is that OK?
  • Laurie from Rochester: She says the Rosary at 3.30 and 7 along with WHIC. It feels sometimes it feels like she doesn't get a lot out of it.
  • Gabriel from East Amherst: Has another Rosary-based question: where did the Rosary come from and what does the word "rosary" mean?
  • John. Cheektowaga. Abraham is 900 years old. Is that because there were lots of Abrahams (as in was this a title)? Was this a stretch of the collective imagination? Etc.?
  • Christopher J. from Facebook. Fr. Marty, it seems that it is becoming increasingly difficult to find good books for young readers which foster virtue. My friend is looking for a website of good books lists for various age groups which are appropriate for young Catholics. Can you please offer a suggestion? His son is in 7th grade, I suggested "The Lion Witch and Wardrobe" and "Lord of the Rings". Do you have any suggestions of where to find good reading lists and what you would suggest for a 6th grader off the top of your head? My thought would be to stay with the classics such as Sherlock Holmes, Huck Fin, Moby Dick, Count of Monte Christo, etc. but finding classics for 6th graders might be difficult.

October 8

  • Jason is going have a question about this article.
  • "For though the fig tree blossom not nor fruit be on the vines, though the yield of the olive fail and the terraces produce no nourishment, though the flocks disappear from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, Yet will I rejoice in the LORD and exult in my saving God. GOD, my Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet swift as those of hinds and enables me to go upon the heights" (Habbakuk 3:17-19).

Last Week's Show

  • We are eagerly awaiting the return of the Pilgrim Princess.
  • Dan from Leroy: Is frustrated about an article he read in the newspaper regarding the abuse scandal and they were saying that now the attorneys that sued the Church are victims, too.
  • Sam from Buffalo: Has a question about spiritual adultery.
  • Ed from Rochester: In the readings on Job, there's an audience with God, and among the crowd is Satan. How did Satan get into heaven?
  • Jason from Ohio who lives in Florida: Can you talk about the role of Godparents in the Catholic Church, and what it would mean for both the child(ren) and the Godparents if one or both of the child(ren)'s parents dies? Thanks and God bless!
  • James from Schwarzville: Has a question about praying, and would like to make a prayer request for someone in a coma.

October 1

  • St. Thérèse of Lisieux today.
  • Guardian Angels tomorrow.
  • Linda from Facebook [no time to answer last week]: Do you think the Catholic church should attempt to use the mainstream media as the Mormon church is doing with its new series of TV commercials that say " [I'm a regular person - enjoy surfing, enjoy skateboarding, etc.]....and I'm Mormon." I wonder how many people will take an interest in the Mormon church because they do this type of outreach? Would this work with the Catholic church?
  • Convalidation vs. sanatio in radice.

Last Week's Show

  • John from Facebook: Is there an authoritative list of Eucharist miracles that the Church recognizes? If so where? And of the ones that the Church has had scientifically investigated, is it an accurate statement that the blood type, when a blood type was found, has always been AB? The question is one I thought of this morning, as I was reading my daughter's account of a Baptist friend who appeared to want to downgrade Mary's role as Mother of God. This is in no way to imply that the Church's defense of Mary as the Mother of God, which is well supported by scripture is lacking in anyway. Just curious.
  • Jason from Facebook: What languages did Jesus speak when He walked the Earth, and how much did He speak each. Thanks and God bless.
  • Anonymous from e-mail: I am an aerobic instructor and I teach a dance-based aerobic class. There's nothing spiritual about it. My question is, in some of her stretching, they use Pilates and yoga-based moves, and I just learned today that yoga positions give honor to a deity. Am I doing bad things by instructing people in this way?
  • Matt from Buffalo: Wants to know about canon law teaching, abortion, politicians, and excommunication.
  • Steve from Kenmore: Explain the end of last week's Gospel about the Steward? It seems like a confusing parable.
  • Jen from Facebook: Buffalo. I have a friend who was recently "saved". She is very excited, and I'm glad she found faith in Christ. However, now she seems to be on a mission to "save" everyone. I've talked to her about the Catholic beliefs and why I believe what I believe. While she is accepting of my answers and beliefs, it gets draining to hear so much about those saved, how I can be saved too, etc. How can I balance her enthusiasm for her newfound faith and my catechesis about the catholic faith without either of us getting frustrated or feeling deflated?
  • Anne from Buffalo: Supplemental to the 'Pro-Choice' Catholic Politicians and Excommunication: I would like to hear some sort of condemnation against politicians that are also anti-labour law / anti-poverty because those also against Catholic teaching.
  • Yasmin from Facebook: I have a comment // question on your reply to a question earlier about the gospel last sunday on finding what it is that we will do with our lives. Shouldn't the question be what is it that God is calling us for? And instead pray for that answer? Thank you.

September 24

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Peter from DC: This article seems to be nothing about what you taught us about Newman--they seem to be twisting his position to fit their agenda. Especially the fifth paragraph suggests that Newman said that Catholic Doctrine can change, in fact not develop but become something it was not before. What you do you think about that?
  • John D. from Facebook: Is there an authoritative list of Eucharistic miracles that the Church recognizes? If so where? And of the ones that the Church has had scientifically investigated, is it an accurate statement that the blood type, when a blood type was found, has always been AB? The question is one I thought of this morning, as I was reading my daughter's account of a Baptist friend who appeared to want to downgrade Mary's role as Mother of God. This is in no way to imply that the Church's defense of Mary as the Mother of God, which is well supported by scripture is lacking in any way. Just curious.

Last Week's Show

  • Jason from Orlando: Could Father talk about Canon law regarding Friday Penance and abstaining from meat?
  • Scott from Rochester: Can Father talk about the Franciscan Feast of the Stigmata of St. Francis?
  • Tommy from Buffalo: Fr.'s talking about eating meat on Fridays. Why is fish ok? Are eggs ok?
  • Rocco from the O.D.: Fun fact about abstaining from meat - In the Middle Ages, it was OK to eat a beaver's tail, but not the rest of it. The tail was considered fish, but not the rest of the animal. 'The definition of "fish" was often extended to marine and semi-aquatic animals such as whales, barnacle geese, puffins and even beavers. ... fake eggs could be made by stuffing empty egg shells with fish roe and almond milk and cooking it in coals.'
  • Scott from Rochester: When he's doing his prayers in the morning, his first is 'I confess to Almighty God. . . ' and the Kyrie. Is that ok, or should it just be restricted to the Mass? One of his friends told him only the Priest can say that at Mass.
  • Paul from Amherst: Had heard on EWTN TV that in certain parts of the Muslim world (specifically Indonesia) are getting a larger number of converts to Christianity. Could Fr. comment?
  • Yasmin from Facebook: We had begun talking about Father Pio, and the topic of incorruptible bodies came up. Then they asked us, how do we know if a body is incorruptible, which is something I had never thought about myself. A good question, I thought. Some suggested the idea of the Church digging up the bodies, which I thought was too far fetched & weird... and others thought about the idea of having the bodies left in a glass, like they usually have them and just knowing that they would not corrupt. I would appreciate your response to this, so I can clarify this with our students also. Thank you for your show and time.
  • Rocco from the O.D.: They started converting Indonesia around 1200 and it was roughly the way it is now by 1600ish. "Sharia Law Overtaking Indonesia."
  • Paul from Amherst also requests you mention the phone number more often and slower. ;^)
  • Susan from Rochester: Her mother is Catholic, her father is Atheist. They discuss what's going to happen when he dies.

September 17

Last Week's Show

Jason from Florida
Can you talk about the practice of women covering their heads in church? What are it's origins? Was this obligatory in the past? If so, is it still obligatory? I look forward to hearing your answer via podcast on Monday. Thanks and God bless.
John from Webster
  • St. John Chrysostom on 9/13/2010
  • the "Exaltation of the Cross" on 9/14/2010
  • the commemoration of "Our Lady of Sorrows" on 9/15/2010 . Many have difficulty understanding why the Church observes Mary's sufferings.
    • Mother of All Joy
    • Cause of our joy
  • Sts Cornelius & Cyprian on 9/16/2010
Gabriel from East Amherst
Comment about the True Cross
Vitus the Hobbit from the O.D.
St: Vitus is the Patron Saint of Comedians.
Barbara from Kenmore
Wants to talk comment on the end of the world. How do you keep excited about Christ's return and keep going about day-to-day life?

September 10

From e-mail and Facebook

  • John from Cheektowaga and Kevin from Buffalo: Lots of questions about Stephen Hawkings' claim that there is no need to think that God created the universe; he can imagine it as a consequence of the law of gravity.
  • Brendan from the Outer Darkness: Is it cursing to say "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" when you're frustrated?

Last Week's Show

  • John from Buffalo: Stephen Hawking came to the conclusion this week that the Universe came from nothing and God had nothing to do with it, and wants to ask Fr. a question regarding it.
  • Jason from Florida: Most saints have their feast day on or near the day of their passing from this world into the next (their eternal birthday). There are quite a few, however, who have their feast day celebrated on another day (including, I've heard, Pope St.... Gregory the Great). Is there any method used for determining a saint's feast day? Who decides when a saint's feast day will be? Thanks and God bless.
  • Alison from Willis, Texas: Listens over the internet. I was listening to a podcast on the site where the host spoke about the battle between St. Michael and Lucifer. The host pointed out that Lucifer had been the most powerful of the angels, but once he rejected God, he lost most of his power and was able to be defeated. In thinking about this, I recalled hearing many people explain hell as being the absence of God where the damned cannot feel anything but hate. But those who will eventually go to Heaven will eventually receive some type of transfigured bodies. Could you please speak to these ideas and whether or not my understanding is on track?
  • John from Webster: Pulled over in car. Wants to follow up on the angel question. Can they read our minds? Guardian angels ...
  • Mike from Rochester: Comment on discussion about Heaven & Hell.
  • Bill from Buffalo: Question: Discussing priestly celibacy with a friend. Why are priests celibate, Titus 1:6, was the resource he's using - one of the first verses mentions a call for men who are married (he wasn't totally clear himself). Comment - He is listening on his iphone and can explain it to Father.
  • Mario from Buffalo: Why is it that our Orthodox brothers and sisters do not accept the filioque?
  • Alison from Texas: Thanks so much for your answer to my question, Fr. Marty. I actually do have a couple of Dr. Kreeft's books on my Barnes & Noble wish list and just added the ones you suggested.
  • Mike from Ontario: Hello Gina and father. I've been listening from Ontario Canada all summer on an iPod touch with the icatholic app that I downloaded from iTunes. Can/ is heaven here but a different dimension that we can perceive only when we are accepted in rather than some distant removed location?

September 3

Last Week's Show

  • MXM: One Facebook friend said that she likes Fr. Poblocki's no-nonsense approach to the show. Our motto might be: "All Nonsense, All The Time." The things that Fr. Ric exorcises from his show make a comeback here on Fridays.  :-O
  • Mario's question about the filioque clause.
  • Jason. Florida. I love incense. Can you explain the theological and liturgical significance of incense and why many churches today do not use incense very often? Thanks. God bless the rest of the show and have a great weekend.
  • Princess: Should we start a Faithbook?
  • John from California on Facebook: I am reading Father Spitzer SJ's book on the Faith and Reason/science topic. In your opinion in the world today what is the greatest challenge when explaining that faith is propelled by reason and that reason is grounded in faith? What are the roadblocks in society to get this concept?
  • Maureen from Buffalo. Has a question about the role of women in the family, esp. in the modern day. Is there a cause-and-effect relationship between working outside the home and feminism?
  • Erica from Williamsville. I've been reading how we can participate in making satisfaction for our sins through the Mass. Does that happen automatically by simply attending Mass, or do we have to intentionally participate for the sake of making satisfaction in order to make satisfaction? Does that even make sense?
  • John from Webster: Regarding St. Monica and praying for wayward family members.

August 27

  • Clock problem
  • Mario from Facebook yesterday: "How would one begin to dialogue with our Orthodox brothers and sisters in regards to the filioque?"
  • Memorial of Saint Monica (331-387 AD).
  • Feast of St. Augustine (354-430 AD), father and doctor of the Church.
  • The heart is the seat of wisdom. It is our heart that keeps our minds on track. Another name for the show: "Cor ad cor loquitur"--"Heart to Heart."

From e-mail and Facebook

Choosing the right good

Jason from Ohio who lives in Orlando said that I said: "The will of God for me is built into me, because God created me to be me."

Last Week's Show

  • Marybeth from Henrietta: "Has a friend who says that she believes in reincarnation. Marybeth said, 'Catholics don't believe in reincarnation.' Her friend replied, 'I do and I'm Catholic.' How do you answer?"
  • FACEBOOK NO. 1. Jason. Florida. At the risk of sounding impatient, it seems to me that to grow in faith and become closer to God, you have to step out of the boat and try to walk on the water. By staying in the boat, you go nowhere and learn nothing. But I also believe it is important to learn to be content with the gifts and blessings you have received. To me, this implies staying in the boat. These two noble choices seem to contrast with one another. Am I just missing something here? Can you please explain how I can reconcile the two? Thanks.
  • Mary from Rochester. Has a teenaged disabled son who received Baptism but no other Sacraments. Would it be advisable for her to have him Confirmed, have First Communion, etc.?
  • John. Buffalo. Just finished a book, 'History of Anti-Christ.' by a gentleman with the last name of Huchede and was wondering if Father could expand on it.
  • Carol. Hamburg. Has a son who lives out of town (43) who has leukemia reoccurring. He's going through new types of Chemo, but it's taking it's toll. He's in a state of depression, and she doesn't know how to help him from long distance.
  • Joan. Buffalo. Happy Birthday to you Father Marty! You share a birthday w/ my eldest son. God Bless!
  • Nancy from Buffalo: "What is the best way to go to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary?"
  • Hobbit: I learned a lesson. Don't post anything to facebook else Father broadcasts it to the world. ;^)
    • MXM: "Everything you say will be taken down and used against you." :-P

Wednesday, 25 August

  • Feast of St. Louis of France--a Crusader King!
  • The central question for the show: What should we think about the plan to build a mosque near the World Trade Center?
N.B. This is something about which reasonable people may reasonably disagree.
There is no Church dogma or canon that provides a simple answer to this question.

Theological perspectives

We agree

Judaism, Christianity, and Islam are monotheistic religions that all claim to take their origin from God's covenant with Abraham.

  • There is one God and there is no other (The Shahada).
  • God is worthy of all worship, reverence, and praise: "I am the Lord, your God; you shall have no other gods before Me."
  • God compassionate and merciful.
  • We cannot do anything unless God wills it so: Insh'allah."

We disagree

Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander.
Any laws written to make it hard for a controversial group to exercise its religious rights could be used against other religious groups in the nation.
Hacker's Law
"The belief that enhanced understanding will necessarily stir a nation to action is one of mankind's oldest illusions."
I do not subscribe to the idea that we can be saved by dialogue. The reason that we can't "all just get along" is that we disagree about the highest standards by which we judge what is true, beautiful, and good.
The Great American Religious Compromise is to agree to disagree peacefully.
Objections to Judaism
  • To call Jesus "the Christ" is to call Him "the King of the Jews." The Jews do not take kindly to Gentiles (non-Jews) telling them that Jesus is the King of the Jews. No amount of dialogue can resolve this issue. Either Jesus is the Christ or He isn't.
  • Muslims repudiate the Temple, the role of the sacrificial priesthood in the Temple, and the centrality of Jerusalem as the place to find and please God. Mecca and Medina both surpass Jerusalem as holy cities; no non-Muslim may enter those cities on pain of death.
Objections to Christianity
  • To the Jews, Christians completely misunderstand the history of Israel and the meaning of the Jewish scriptures. Worshiping Jesus appears as ludicrous to them as worshiping Jim Jones of Jonestown, David Koresh from Waco, or Marshall Applewhite from Heaven's Gate.
  • To both Muslims and Jews, the Christian doctrine of the Trinity is tri-theism and is a violation of the first commandment. Both Muslims and Jews reject the doctrines of the Incarnation and Atonement.
Objections to Islam
  • Mohammad calls himself "The Seal of the Prophets"--the last and most definitive interpreter of both the Jewish and the Christian religions. Neither Judaism nor Christianity accept Mohammad's interpretation.
  • Mohammad was a theocrat, a warrior, a polygamist, and a slaveholder (as were Christ David and Christ Solomon). This makes it difficult for the Muslim fundamentalists to make peace with democracy and the prohibition of polygamy and slavery.

Constitutional perspectives

Legal issues: Who has the right to stop a religious group from exercising their freedom of religion? Money talks. If the land is for sale, if the zoning codes are met, and if the building can be paid for, then the Muslims who want to build the mosque have equal rights under the law to do so.

The Blame Game

Who started the war between Christians and Muslims?
  • Headline News: Highlights of Western Civ
  • Western Europe has been at war with militant Islam since the 7th century AD. Muslim armies conquered Christian territory in Northern Africa and the Iberian peninsula in the first century after Mohammad's death. In the Eastern Mediterranean, Muslim armies fought a series of wars with Constantinople, the capital of the Roman Empire from 325 AD on, until they conquered it in 1453 AD.
Our wars in the Middle East appear to some Muslims as Crusades.
We believe that the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are justified.
Many Muslims believe that our wars are a religious crusade against them.

Forecasting the future

We are playing guessing games about matters of good taste and prudence: Is this the best way to "build bridges" between the culture of the United States and that of Islam? Will the mosque help or hinder the prospects of peace?

Callers and Correspondents

  • East Aurora: Collette Has a nephew who is getting married, he snd his fiance were raised in Catholic Church, but getting married in Episcopal church, wondering whether or not she can attend.
  • Mike from west hill: Prayer request for my teens Zach and Teresa who are questioning their faith. My mother-in-law who has been in hospital for 1 year. My self to give me strength, health and to follow in the Lord's footsteps as a new school year begins.
  • Jason: Orlando (via internet) Is wondering how important peer support is in your faith journey
  • Bonita Bflo comment regarding the mosque discussion
  • Laura: I think if a mosque is built anywhere near ground zero there will be an up roar.....and it's too bad really.....where is St. Francis ? we need another like him that can actually make peace with the Muslim people. oh - and Dave - I'm prayin' for you brother, and you're right, it's all GIna's fault! lol
  • Mike from West Hill: Muslims died in the towers as well. Let's be respectful of other religions if we want ours to be respected. The golden rule.
  • Eleanore has a comment regarding the building of the mosque
  • Ellen: listening online Bflo. Remember what JPII did with the Carmelites at Auschwitz. the Jews were offended, even though we know the only reason the Carmleites are there is to pray. JPII relocated the Carmelites out of respect for the Jews. "The fact that they have a right to be there does not make being there right." ... We should reconsider the location...
  • John from Lakeview: And even in that situation it's not even the same...Catholics did not kill Jews at Auschiwitz, and we STILL were sensitive to them. Unfortunately during the next millennium after Saint Francis, the Muslim armies attempted multiple time to invade Europe and nearly won had the Holy Father not called for an extraordinary call to prayer in the Rosary so that our European Ca...tholic armies could defend the nations of Europe. Look up the Battle of Lepento and Venice, and there are numerous others. Nothing would make me happier than to see our Muslim brothers with us in peace. The question is why hasn't it? Well one can turn to the Muslim text of the Quran and read the following commandment against non-believers of Islam: "Qur'an (5:33) - "The punishment of those who wage war against Allah and His messenger and strive to make mischief in the land is only this, that they should be murdered or crucified or their hands and their feet should be cut off on opposite sides or they should be imprisoned; this shall be as a disgrace for them in this world, and in the hereafter they shall have a grievous chastisement" There are over 109 verses in the Quran that wage violence on "non-believers", with an open invitation to do so. This makes me very nervous to say the least. This is not being disrespectful in any way, but rather, it is what it is, and it says what it says.

August 20

  • Today's readings.
  • I will turn 57 tomorrow--God willing!
  • August 22: The Queenship of Mary "is a Marian feast day in the liturgical calendar of the Roman Catholic Church, created by Pope Pius XII. On 11 October 1954, the Pontiff pronounced the new feast in his encyclical Ad caeli reginam. The feast was celebrated on May 31, the last day of the Marian month. In 1969, Pope Paul VI moved the feast day to August 22."
  • Marybeth from Henrietta: "Has a friend who says that she believes in reincarnation. Marybeth said, 'Catholics don't believe in reincarnation.' Her friend replied, 'I do and I'm Catholic.' How do you answer?"
  • Nancy from Buffalo: "What is the best way to go to Jesus through the Immaculate Heart of Mary?"

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Jason from Orlando: I love the Tridentine Mass, but one thing I don't like about it is that almost the entire Litury of the Eucharist is performed silently by the celebrant, while the congregation sits passively, waiting. Can you explain to me the rationale behind this from a theological, liturgical, and/or practical perspective, and why it was changed for when the current Ordinary Form was implemented? Thank you and God bless you all.
  • Hobbit: Do Anti-Popes take the title Anti-Pope while they're Anti-Pope? or do we just call them that in retrospect?
  • Unanswered questions.

Last Week's Show

  • Lisa from telephone conversation: If you carry a scapular in your pocket, does it have the same benefits as wearing one?
  • John from Olean: I recently read that Jesuit philosopher Fr. Teilhard de Chardin did not accept the doctrine of original sin. Is this correct? Additionally, is Fr. De Chardin's philosophical thought otherwise considered to be in line with church teaching?
  • Hobbit: We need a nickname for Jason.
  • GZ: The tower project is just for the Buffalo area - fyi
  • John from Buffalo: Wonders if Father knows anything about a 'Father Gruner' who it's his (John's) understanding that the Father has been suspended.
  • Jason. Father, in light of Sunday's feast day (the Dormition,Assumption of Mary), can you please give some recommendations for meditating on the 4th glorious mystery of the rosary? Thanks. Sorry I can't join you live. God bless you all at the Station and on CAC!
  • Hobbit: Now people are going to think I'm a fat, Goth, midget jock. 'Outer Darkness' indeed!
  • MXM: "He ain't heavy. He's our hobbit."
  • Scott from Rochester: Question about the readings today and he heard that Catholics don't like masons and vice versa. Why?
  • GZ: did you catch the earring in the nose part of today's first reading? I was like, "Wait. What??"
  • Debbie from Lockport: Wants to ask why sometimes the same things that are bad happen over and over.

August 13

  • Today's readings.
    • Ezekiel prophesied the destruction and restoration of Jerusalem.
    • The gospel gives us Jesus' own words about marriage (no divorce!) and becoming celibate "for the sake of the Kingdom."
  • Assumption of Mary--August 15th (defined in 1950). Immaculate Conception--December 8 (defined in 1854).
  • One of the Wright Brothers is going to Belize with Society of Our Lady of the Trinity. We should remember him in prayer.

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Nick asked last week whether it was required to use red wine at Mass to symbolize the redness of blood. Two more examples of the Catholic tendency to turn customs into laws:
    • Some pious people drew all kinds of ideas from the whiteness and perfect roundness of the pre-Vatican II hosts; those "lessons" about purity and infinite perfection no longer hold with the whole-grain hosts or fragments broken from a large host.
    • When I was a boy in the pre-Vatican II days, there was a legend that you could tell the Catholic churches from the Protestant churches because all Catholic Churches had a cross on them. I don't know the history of that architectural tradition, but it seemed to be true of the churches that I saw as a boy. I don't think it was ever a Catholic "law" but it was a very strong custom. I'm not sure whether that generalization holds true today.
  • CAC Facebook discussion about leaving the Church because of the sins of priests.

"Jesus then said to the Twelve, 'Do you also want to leave?' Simon Peter answered him, 'Master, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and are convinced that you are the Holy One of God.' Jesus answered them, 'Did I not choose you twelve? Yet is not one of you a devil?' He was referring to Judas, son of Simon the Iscariot; it was he who would betray him, one of the Twelve" (Jn 6:67-71).

  • John from Facebook: "What do you think about this idea that the earth was visited by ancient aliens? I watched a series on the history channel today. They presented some interesting questions regarding how things were built, like the pyramids etc. They even made a point that the Catholic Church has made a statement regarding the possibility of life outside this world. The series talked a lot about the Bible, and the book of Enoch. It made the point that what bible figures thought was God could actually have been extra terrestrials. I know this all was talked about before in the 1968 book Chariots of the Gods by Erich von Däniken. I have talked to a friend of mine who is a freemason and he said that he thinks we were dropped off here as an experiment, and its all about secret knowledge. Sometimes I feel like these programs are always trying to eliminate the Lord, but it makes one think."
  • Jason from Orlando. Good news! He got a job. Bad news: he is not too happy with it; he also got stuck waiting in a long, slow line, as part of qualifying for the job. My reply to him, in part: "There are no shortcuts to patience. Patience is not just a virtue; it is a cardinal virtue that lends strength to every other virtue in life. If we are not patient, we will not last long in faith, hope, love, prudence, justice, temperance, or the other forms of virtue. Thank God for what He's given you so far and wait patiently to see what comes after that."
  • Kevin from e-mail: What do you think about the claim that Jewish converts to Catholicism must continue to keep the whole of Torah?
  • Steve from e-mail:
    • I found the page about your book, Personal Catholicism, refreshing, especially where you say, “Protestant spirituality has much to teach Catholics about the personal dimension of Christianity. While Catholics tend to talk about being "born Catholic," Protestants generally insist that the believer must make an independent decision to surrender themselves to the Lord Jesus Christ.”
    • I work with a Catholic who is all Catholic in the strict ritual sense. MXM: "Understood. One of my mottoes is that "strict Catholicism is sick Catholicism." Red flags go up for me when someone says, "I had a strict Catholic upbringing."
    • The Bible doesn’t elevate Mary as the Catholics do. MXM: We call her "most blessed of all women" (Lk 1:42) and say that the Lord has done "great things" for her (1:49). If you are a man of the Scriptures, then you, too, must "call her blessed" (1:48).
    • ... the Bible doesn’t pray to the dead ... MXM: We do not engage in necromancy. We pray with the living saints who are glorified with Jesus and who pray for us in Heaven. The Transfiguration shows that Moses and Elijah were "in glory" (Lk 9:31) and well aware of Jesus' mission on earth.
      • “When he took it, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb. Each of the elders held a harp and gold bowls filled with incense, which are the prayers of the holy ones” (Rev 5:8).
      • “Another angel came and stood at the altar, holding a gold censer. He was given a great quantity of incense to offer, along with the prayers of all the holy ones, on the gold altar that was before the throne. The smoke of the incense rose with the prayers of the saints from the hand of the angel before God” (Rev. 8:3-4).
    • ... and you can get to heaven even if you’re not a Catholic ... MXM: "That is a teaching of the Roman Catholic Church. It is demonstrably false to say that the Church teaches that all who are not Catholic are going to hell. We acknowledge the validity of Baptism done by any human being anywhere at any time, so long as there is an intention to baptize, washing with water, and the use of the Trinitarian formula. Anyone who is baptized like that is as baptized as the Pope--and they are as baptized as if they had been baptized by the Pope. There is "only one baptism" (Ephesians 4:4-5). All who are baptized are cleansed of their sins and made members of the Body of Christ. All Catholics are therefore brothers and sisters of all the baptized.
    • I believe the Spirit led me to emphasize the main thing – that we both believe that Christ came to Earth to die and rise again for us sinners and I should just focus on that and let the secondary issues go – I decided that was the best way to serve him. It hasn’t changed him but that’s not my job. We don’t talk about it anymore.
    • My sister-in-law is Catholic and I believe is a real Christian. I think the focus on Scripture and the relationship with Christ is what enables the Spirit to transform more non Catholics than Catholics to a born again status. MXM: "It is also, of course, what has led to the proliferation of Protestant sects (a numberless multitude; perhaps 25,000 to 45,000 in the U.S., not counting all of the unregistered non-denominational groups and those who are standalone, "me and my Bible" Christians).
    • Many Catholics get lost in the ritual of being Catholic (no meat on Fridays, Baptism saves, do this and that) and lose the focus of knowing why ... and the reason why ... which comes through focusing on Christ thru The Word and not any church’s rituals and traditions.
      • It would be contrary to the Scriptures to say that we do not know the truth and that there is no difference between true and false interpretations of the Scriptures.
      • We believe that the Spirit has given living gifts to form the Body and to keep it one:

"And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love" (Eph 4:11-16).

Last Week's Show

  • Scott from Rochester: Question on the readings for Feast of the Transfiguration
  • Peter from e-mail: Father Moleski, can you explain the theological & scriptural significance of the Transfiguration of the Lord? I have never been able to understand it and why it is celebrated by the Church?
  • Jason from Orland: When we're meditating on the Mystery of the Transfiguration when saying the Rosary, what should we be thinking of?
  • Awesome Lawson: "Just call me Chewbacca."
  • Erica from Across-the-Hall: What about the wedding question, Fr. Moleski? The one we discussed last week, or the week before about the “okayness” of going to a non-Catholic wedding.
  • Anonymous caller: Loves the show but was too shy to say it on the air. The hobbit did his best; we mustn't blame him.
  • Nick from Facebook: “Is it OK for a priest to use white wine at Mass? Red wine would have a better resemblance to blood, wouldn't it? If priests may use white wine, I guess that might signify the purity of Jesus' divinity.”

August 6

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Nick from Facebook: "Is it OK for a priest to use white wine at Mass? Red wine would have a better resemblance to blood, wouldn't it? If priests may use white wine, I guess that might signify the purity of Jesus' divinity."
  • Kevin from e-mail:
    • I came across this video today and thought you might enjoy it: http://www.discovery.org/v/2021
    • Fr. Robert J. Spitzer, S.J. has recently published a book, New Proofs for the Existence of God: Contributions of Late Twentieth Century Physics and Philosophy. An excerpt (table of contents & introduction) is available here.

Last Week's Show

  • Doctors of the Church.
  • “There are three things, my brethren, which causes faith to stand firm, devotion to remain constant and virtue to endure. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains and mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting are one. They give life to each other.” St. Peter Chrysologus.
  • Awesome Lawson from Amherst: Could Father go through didn't aspects of the of the Mass and which members of the Trinity should be adressed during which parts.
  • Sue from Lewiston: I’m having difficulty understanding the difference between St. Ignatius’ Examen and the Examination of Conscience. Can you help me?
  • Jen from Rochester: Wants advice. Her father who raised her Catholic has fallen away and she doesn't know if there are any materials that she can use to help bring him back. Her father fell away as a result of the sex abuse scandal, she says. Cf. The Judas Factor.
  • John from Facebook: Hello Father Marty, I have a question, could you discuss the differences in written formal prayer and prayer as in just talking to God? I know they are both talking to God, but the latter seems to be more spontaneous. Also the place for each. Sometimes if it is easy to get distracted reciting prayers we have known since our younger days
  • Tom from Grand Island: Wants to let Father know that 'Sweetness' is Walter Peyton. . .
  • Gina - Niagara Falls - Has a comment on something Father said a few weeks ago. Someone called in and asked if they ever baptize a baby in the womb. She used to be a nurse and she did see a doctor baptize a baby in the womb that was in medical trouble of some kind.
  • Princess of Live Catholic Talk Radio in Western New York: This is the site I used for the list of Doctors of the Church, if you want to go back to it later--Catholics United for the Faith.

July 30

  • Today's readings. Jehoiakim: King from 608-597 BC.
  • Feast of St. Peter Chrysologus today: "Bishop of Ravenna from about 433 AD until his death.[3] He is revered as a saint by the Roman Catholic Church, and was declared a Doctor of the Church by Pope Benedict XIII in 1729."
    • "There are three things, my brethren, which causes faith to stand firm, devotion to remain constant and virtue to endure. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains and mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting are one. They give life to each other."
  • Feast of St. Ignatius Loyola tomorrow.
  • Two related questions from last week that we could talk about first:
    • Erika: Under what conditions may I attend a non-Catholic wedding?
    • Scott from Rochester: Taking an on-line course. Professor asked him to go to a Jehovah Witness event at a Kingdom Hall and write a paper about it. Would that be a sin?
  • Matt from Colorado (e-mail about The Shack). Second thoughts:
    • Fiction can express conviction.
    • It's not a defense of Dan Brown's works or The Shack to say, "It's just fiction."
    • The stories reveal and teach a worldview.
  • John from Cheektowaga (a benefactor of the show and a friend) says he will be listening this afternoon. Thanks, John!

Last Week's Show

Two questions from last week moved up above. Take them first?

  • Sue from Buffalo asked last week what Scripture passage I recommended in a homily at Canisius College just before exam week once upon a time. ... "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Mt 11:28-30).
    • Mom's prayer to the Holy Spirit.
    • Kathryn from e-mail: What steps should a person take to develop a more personal relationship with the Holy Spirit? Thank you for your response, and all your words of wisdom!
  • Brendan in Thailand: What is the difference between rage and righteous anger?
  • Jason from Orlando: Question about petitioning in prayer.
  • Matt from Colorado via e-mail:
    • It sounded like Fr. Moleski was resistant to reading The Shack. I found it to be a great story and not something most people would take on such a deep level to question very intricate theological ideas.'
      • It is a fictional work that really gets you thinking in positive ways about God.
        • "Whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things" (Phil 4:8).
      • The overall gist I took away from it was the true love from God and how He could possibly use images of people to communicate with us that might not be exactly how we picture God and the old man with long beard at the Pearly Gates.
      • I was told about The Shack by the Catholic Priest who runs the Boston Airport chapel. I attended Mass there when overnight there for work. He said it was a really interesting read.
      • It does not shake what I believe in the Trinity or God or the Catholic Church one bit. It is just a touching story of suffering and God's love for us and how far God would go to bring us back to Him.
    • Finally, Father Poblocki mentioned Michael Medved in a podcast and how he liked his take on movies and reviewing from a family point of view. My dream radio show would be Father Moleski and Father Poblocki getting together to talk about issues of the day with Medved. That would be something!

July 23

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Jason from Orlando sent us links on Facebook:
  • Adam: Good name for a Dominican? STA and "analogy of being"? Ontological or epistemological?
  • Matt from Colorado via e-mail:
    • The Gideons are Christian businessmen, but there are Books of Mormon in some hotel rooms. The founders of Marriot were/are Mormon and that is why you will find a Bible and/or a Book of Mormon in the drawer of Marriot, Renaissance, Courtyard and other Marriot brand hotels. Good job on the call screener there.
  • Kevin from Buffalo:
    • What do you think about the claim that Neanderthal genes were found in the DNA of homo sapiens?
      • Adam and Eve
      • Speaking of evolution, what do you think of Teilhard de Chardin's work? I have read very little of it, but the summaries and secodndary source I have consulted seem to indicate that his orthodoxy was questionable and his approach to science overly spiritualized (e.g. Peter Medawar's review of him).

Last Week's Show

  • Mary from Buffalo: Question about baptising her nephew.
  • Sue from Buffalo: Question about a homily you (Father) gave at Cansius. You used a specific scriptural reference that applied to final exam week.
  • Sue from Amherst: If you have time... Is there a set "rule" as to whether the Crucifix should face the Priest or face outward on the altar? I noticed on EWTN it is facing out.
  • Jason from Orlando: Question on whether its ok to light a votive if you have no money.
  • Joann from Amherst: : Can you discuss whether babies can be baptised in the womb?
  • Joann from Amherst: needs advise about how to teach the faith by mail with her 10 y/o niece.
  • Brian from Niagara Falls: Comment about the call regarding the Crucifix on the altar
  • Mary from Buffalo called back and wondered if the amniotic fluid could be considered fluid. I thought we kind of exhausted the topic, but Father can answer it if he wants to.....
  • Joe from Chili New York: Comment on Corpus on the altar
  • Kevin's question on Limbo.

July 16

  • Today's readings.
  • Our Lady of Mt. Carmel.
    • Mass for Priests earlier this summer at Mt. Carmel: "Our Chapel was officially dedicated to Saint Therese on the very day of her canonization, May 17, 1925, thus making it the first in the world to have the Little Flower as its titular Saint. To this day, many visitors to our Chapel remark that they can feel the presence of Saint Therese here, along with a profound sense of peace." All the statues of St. Teresa of Avila and St. Therese of Lisieux have been crowned with "doctor's hats" because they are Doctors of the Church.
  • Matt Boyle: "The Cemetery of the Innocents is up and running again. We now are displaying 3,300 crosses (1 days worth of abortions in the United States) at 3861 Walden Ave. (Lancaster--a private individual's business--it has great frontage on a busy stretch of road)."

From e-mail and Facebook

  • Anonymous from e-mail: For the past couple weeks I have been praying and meditating on a psalm or some other passages from the Bible, but I have wondered what length of time would be appropriate/recommended. Any thoughts?

Last Week's Show

From Clement of Rome to Augustine] by Pope Benedict XVI.

  • Scott from Rochester. Has questions about yesterday's and todays Gospel
  • Jason from Orlando: Question on 2 Cor.11.
  • Ann from Rochester: Has a daily prayer for Priests and would like to share.
  • Ann from Buffalo wants to know why, in the past, woman needed to have their head covered in Church.
  • Kevin from Buffalo: "What do you think of this article's claim that the Catholic Church is finished?"
  • Barb from Albion: Question about a sister who is not attending her daughter's wedding.

July 9

  • Today's readings. "Behold, I am sending you like sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and simple as doves" (Mt 10:16).
  • Provide link to http://moleski.net for followup material to last week's questions.

Last Week's Show

July 2

Last Week's Show

  • Steve from Amherst: Are there any Study Bibles that Father recommends?
  • James from Williamsville: It seems to him that this discussion is centering around how to discern God's will in our daily thoughts. His question is, 'Is it possible that in praying a novena to the Holy Spirit perpetually, that if pray in the morning, we can be led if we're listening?'
    • Silent Bill: "The more you honor me, the more I will bless you"
  • Gary from LeRoy: Question on the Mystical Body of Christ. What is the status of those who sin?

June 25

  • Today's readings.
  • Sound judgment
  • Jason from Orlando: How can we be aware of God working in our lives?
    • Princess: Feast of St. Ignatius: July 31!
    • The hobbit: His sister wouldn't even let him watch Glee? Or Dancing With The Stars?

From e-mail and Facebook

Unanswered Questions

Last Week's Show

  • Dorothy from Rochester: Question regarding Diocese: what is the relationship of the Rochester diocese to the Archbishop of New York?
  • John from Webster: "Can you mention Tuesday's (6/22/10) feast of St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More? John Fisher is the patron saint of the diocese of Rochester, NY. I believe he was born in Rochester, England."
  • John from Olean's email from last week first: What is an archdeacon?
  • Barbara from Kenmore: Wants to comment on St. Thomas More (her Patron Saint).
  • Tom Claibeaux from CHS and Grand Island: In today's day and age, would Tomas More be considered more like a deacon?
  • Eric from Rochester: Wanted to add something about Ss. Thomas More and John Fisher. Specifically about the cathedral in Rochester, England. Apparently it was destroyed during the war, and rebuilt after a fund drive by the awesome folks of Rochester, NY.

June 18

From e-mail and Facebook

  • John from Olean sent an E-mail at the end of last week's show.
  • John B., a.k.a. John from Webster:
I hope you are well and enjoying summer!
If it is not too late, can you mention Tuesday's (6/22/10) 
feast of St. John Fisher & St. Thomas More?
John Fisher is the patron saint of the diocese of Rochester, 
NY.  I believe he was born in Rochester, England.
Thanks again for your ministry in the classroom, radio, 
and at worship.
  • The feast of the two martyrs will be next Tuesday, 22 June (Fr. Ric Poblocki's CAC, I think).
  • St. John Fisher (b. 1469, martyred 22 June 1535): "An English Roman Catholic Bishop, Cardinal and martyr. He shares his feast day with Saint Thomas More on 22 June in the Roman Catholic calendar of saints and 6 July on the Anglican calendar of saints. Fisher was executed by order of King Henry VIII during the English Reformation for refusing to accept him as Head of the Church of England. He is the only member of the College of Cardinals to have suffered martyrdom.
  • St. Thomas More (b. 1478, martyred 6 July 1535):
    • "Sir Thomas More ... was an English lawyer, social philosopher, author, and statesman. ... During his life he gained a reputation as a leading Renaissance humanist, an opponent of the Protestant Reformation of Martin Luther and for opposing William Tyndale and his translation of the Bible into the English language. For three years toward the end of his life he was Lord Chancellor.
    • "More coined the word 'utopia' - a name he gave to the ideal, imaginary island nation whose political system he described in Utopia, published in 1516. An important counselor to Henry VIII of England, he was tried and executed for treason by beheading in 1535 for denying that the king was the Supreme Head of the Church of England, a title the king had been given by the Act of Supremacy of 1534. More had been in prison in the Tower of London since 1534 for his refusal to take the oath required by the First Succession Act, because the act disparaged the power of the Pope and Henry’s marriage to Catherine of Aragon. More was beatified by the Catholic Church in 1886 and canonized, with John Fisher, in 1935. In 1980, he was added to the Church of England's calendar of saints."
    • Play and movie about Thomas More: A Man for All Seasons.
  • Henry VIII.

Last Week's Show

Two clarifications

  • The Father of Joseph: Jacob (Mt) or Heli (Lk).
  • Christopher from Facebook asked about the difference between "saints" and "blesseds." Note well: God makes saints; the Church recognizes their sanctity. There are undoubtedly many more "saints" than appear on the Church's official lists. Canonizing someone (putting them on the list as someone to be honored and imitated) does not add to their God-given holiness; not canonizing someone does not detract from their God-given holiness. Canonization does make a difference in our awareness of what God has done for them.

The questions we discussed

  • “Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light” (Mt 11:28-30).
  • Dave from Williamsville: Where can you find information to prepare for a general confession?
  • Erika: "Please explain the Catholic understanding of predestination and free will. A speaker on the radio in the last hour said that the can go together. I thought predestination meant 'once saved, always saved,' but then that means that we don't have a real choice."
  • Christopher from Facebook: Can you talk about the term "Monsignor" as it's used within the church? How does a priest become a monsignor? are there any in the area?
    • What's the difference between someone who is a Saint and someone who is Blessed? For instance, today is St. Barnabas and tomorrow is Blessed Jolenta (Yolanda) of Poland on the Catholic calendar?
  • Jason - Orlando - Wants to ask about today's reading.
  • Laura - Orchard Park - Really likes 'Mere Christianity' as an apologetics source, but was wondering if Father knew one that was as good or better
  • Christopher: Peter Kreeft is the C.S. Lewis of America
  • Jackie - Buffalo - Prayer Request for Barry, Andrea and Theresa

June 11

  • Solemnity of Most Sacred Heart of Jesus. St. Margaret Mary Alacoque and St. Claude de la Columbiere. Seems to have been opposed to Jansenism. Jansenism.
    • "Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light" (Mt 11:28-30).
  • Today's readings emphasize the joy of the Good Shepherd: "The lost I will seek out, the strayed I will bring back, the injured I will bind up, the sick I will heal ..., shepherding them rightly" (Ez 34:16).
  • God asks us to love Him with our whole mind. The goal of Faith and Reason Fridays is to give God glory through clear knowledge and praise of God's own nature and His saving works through the Incarnation. As the old Baltimore catechism said, we were created to "know, love, and serve God, our Lord, and by this means to save our souls."
  • We're entering the last nine days of the Year of the Priest. It started on June 19 of last year.

Last Show

  • Belated but heartfelt birthday wishes for Gina.
  • Lisa from Buffalo: Who was Mary's mother and Joseph's father?
  • Ed from Rochester: Wants to clarify about blessed Brother Andre.
  • Pope to canonize Mary MacKillop, Andre Bessette Oct. 17
  • Joe from Chai Lai, NY: A relative of his has started to attend a non-Catholic church. When asked why he was interested, he said he felt welcomed there.
  • FACEBOOK NO. 1: Jason. On the Roman Liturgical Calendar (Latin Church), May 31 is the Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Can you please explain the significance of why this date was chosen, particularly with respect to the Annunciation (March 25), the Nativity of Saint John the Baptist (June 24) and the Nativity of Our Lord (December 25)?
    • For Christmas being on 12/25, weren't they trying to co-opt the major holiday of the Sol Invictus cult. . . or something in Mithraism? One of the two?
    • Sol Invictus was a Roman cult of the Undying Sun. Mithraism was a religion out of Persia. Both were real big in the First and Second Centuries.
  • Karen from Rochester: Comment on the date of Christmas. December 25 might be real.

May 28

  • Today's readings: "Love covers a multitude of sins. ... do not be surprised that a trial by fire is occurring among you, as if something strange were happening to you. But rejoice to the extent that you share in the sufferings of Christ, so that when his glory is revealed you may also rejoice exultantly" (1 Pet 4:7-13).
  • We should pick up where we left off last week with the question about the development of Tradition and the idea of the Magisterium. Tradition came first. Tradition produced the Scriptures. The Magisterium is the living voice of Tradition.

From e-mail and Facebook

This week's questions

  • From Kevin in Buffalo:
  • Last Tuesday: Mass for Priests at Mt. Carmel. "Our Chapel was officially dedicated to Saint Therese on the very day of her canonization, May 17, 1925, thus making it the first in the world to have the Little Flower as its titular Saint. To this day, many visitors to our Chapel remark that they can feel the presence of Saint Therese here, along with a profound sense of peace."
  • Jean from east of Buffalo: Another story about rosaries being prohibited in school on the grounds that they might be used as signs of gang membership.

Last week's questions

  • John from Rochester:
    • St Rita of Cascia, her feast day is 5/22/10
    • Development of the feast of Pentecost?
    • What is the name of the beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit that you recite at the beginning of the show?
    • What is the meaning of Sacred Tradition? Someone opened my mind by referring to it as the development of church teachings during the growth of the early church. Sacred Tradition, together with the Magisterium and Holy Scripture, provide the framework of our Faith.
  • Scott from Rochester:
    • Discuss this morning's readings
    • Was at Lutheran church. Does he have to be ordained to give a talk?
    • Is there a Catholic group for people with disabilities?
  • Lisa from Lockport: A friend of hers said that to get married in the Church, you have to be Confirmed, but she doesn't believe this. Is this true?
  • Anonymous: She's protestant and 1.) wonders how come the Church won't let women have higher roles like priest and 2.) A woman who was active with the Catholic Church apparently was ordained as a priest and when she passed away, the Church wouldn't allow her to have a Mass celebrated for her or to be buried in a Catholic cemetery.

May 21

From e-mail and Facebook

This week's questions

  • My Memorare friend, who prayed 100 Memorares for a special intention, inspired by the example of those who prayed for the conversion of Alphonse Ratisbonne, wrote to say that the prayer seems to be bearing good fruit: "Gently but surely, the Lord is at work!" Now we're both praying for a friend of mine who is in need of God's aid.
  • From Kevin in Buffalo:
    • From the Buffalo News: "Proof of God is endless if you open your eyes"
      • It is similar to, but not as refined as Thomas' Five Ways. As the controversy over Intelligent Design shows, there are some statements made about the "wonders of nature" that are not very persuasive when considered from the standpoint of strict logic and formal proof.
    • There is a controversy over the miracle that was accepted as the grounds for beatifying John Henry Cardinal Newman: John Cornwell published an essay criticizing the proceedings of Newman's beatification.
    • What do you think about the excommunication of the nun who gave permission for a woman to have an abortion in a Catholic Hospital?
      • A post by one of the professors at the Jesuit School of Theology in California.
      • NPR also covered the story.
      • Kevin's reflection: I've been thinking a bit about this case with the excommunicated nun and something doesn't seem to add up as regards the medical situation of the mother. The NPR article stated, 'She was 11 weeks pregnant with her fifth child, and she was gravely ill. According to a hospital document, she had "right heart failure," and her doctors told her that if she continued with the pregnancy, her risk of mortality was "close to 100 percent." 'The patient, who was too ill to be moved to the operating room much less another hospital, agreed to an abortion. But there was a complication: She was at a Catholic hospital.' So here we are told that her condition is so serious that she cannot be moved to a different hospital or even the operating room in the same hospital. And yet we are to believe that an abortion suddenly solved her health problems. I strongly doubt, if her condition was so dreadful, that the abortion alone would immediately improve it, which raises the question of the role of the pregnancy in creating the hypertension. Was it the main factor? Or a contributing factor? Were other treatments available that would have allowed time for a premature delivery? The doctors said that continuing the pregnancy would probably kill her, but the article doesn't specify the time of the continuation discussed. Did they mean, "continuing the pregnancy any length of time"or "continuing to full term." I hate when the media covers these "difficult cases" because, unless one has exact information, one has to take the article on faith. Now, I'd certainly change my mind if new evidence was presented but the story, as presented, seems somewhat problematic to me.
  • John from Webster:
    • St. Rita of Cascia (1381-1457), patron saint of the impossible (and, some say, baseball). Her feast day is May 22nd (tomorrow). New Catholic Encyclopedia. Wife, mother, nun, stigmatist, miracle worker.
    • Please explain the development of the feast of Pentecost.
    • What is the name of the beautiful prayer to the Holy Spirit that you recite at the beginning of the show?
    • Can you discuss the meaning of Sacred Tradition? Someone opened my mind by referring to it as the development of church teachings during the growth of the early church. Sacred Tradition, together with the Magisterium and Holy Scripture, provide the framework of our Faith.
  • Sarah from the station (check pseudonym): My husband has questions about the story of Legion and the 2000 pigs (Mark 5:1-20). Why did the demons want to inhabit the pigs? Why did Jesus let them do so?

Last Week's Questions

  • "I have told you this so that my joy might be in you and your joy might be complete" (Jn 15).
  • Anonymous e-mail from the Southern Tier: I was raised Catholic but not well catechized as a child. In college I joined a Protestant church but soon realized my error and made a sacramental confession and was given absolution. My priest at the time said nothing more about the matter. Recently, I was told that joining a Protestant church incurred the penalty excommunication immediately, and the excommunication can only be lifted by a bishop, archbishop or the Pope. Is this true? If so how do I correct this situation and become a Catholic in good standing?
  • Gabriel from East Amherst: Question on the letter by Clement that he would be the Third Pope
  • Tommy from Buffalo: Someone commented to him that Jesus shouldn't be on the crucifix, and he didn't know how to respond. Why do we keep him on?
  • Will from Facebook: I have a question regarding homosexual "marriage." It seems to me that the majority of the arguments made by Catholics, and Christians in general, against homosexual marriage are more theological or Biblical in their approach. When discussing the issue with someone who is not a Christian, or even particularly religious, what are some practical, or "secular" for lack of a better word, arguments one might use? For me personally, a theological and/or Biblical reason is enough to accept that I cannot support homosexual marriage on principle, but I have a difficult time articulating that to others who need something a little more concrete. I am aware of some studies that suggest that being raised by a homosexual couple can have some negative psychological effects on a child, but is that enough?
  • John from Wilson: Question on intinction. I heard the Church doesn't do it anymore. Why?
  • Father's talking like Easterners are like little gremlins running around.
  • Paul from Amherst: What is meant by Discalced?
  • John Z. from Facebook: The Catholic faith with all its history and orders etc. is very complex. Now is the church considered the Kingdom of God here on earth? I have read that it is. If so this might be a stretch, but that little mustard seed Jesus was talking about has really grown into a complex tree of fruit.
  • Victor from Facebook: Wanted to know whether he is included in St. Catherine of Sienna's prayer for his family; Victor is descended from a friend of St. Catherine's.
  • Steve from e-mail: What's the current RC position on suicide? I was surprised that Mass was said at a "memorial service" for someone who committed suicide. One of my fellow volunteers explained this along the lines of the Church not trying to judge the state of mind of someone these days at their point of death.
  • Kevin from Buffalo: I was reading your handout on priestly celibacy and I wondered about your personal opinion on the prudence of the current practice in the Latin Rite. Also, what do you think will be the significance of the new Anglican ordinariate for priestly celibacy?

May 14

From the last show

  • Erika from Amherst: My father is reading the Bible. He asked me to explain Gen 6:1-4 to him. What is all this about? ""When men began to multiply on earth and daughters were born to them, the sons of heaven saw how beautiful the daughters of man were, and so they took for their wives as many of them as they chose. ... At that time the Nephilim appeared on earth (as well as later), after the sons of heaven had intercourse with the daughters of man, who bore them sons. They were the heroes of old, the men of renown."
  • Dave from Facebook: I am looking for a solid, Catholic program on marriage which we can present at our parish. (Unfortunately my parish loves to present programs by non-Catholics, and I need to show them a solid Catholic example.) I've seen Road to Cana, but that's more geared toward singles. Any ideas? Thank you! – Dave
  • Brent from Rochester: Has a friend whose interested in coming back to the Faith. Had a question about the presence of Christ after you receive him. Specifically in regards to what happens when you 'digest' Him and where the 20-30 minutes time period wherein He remains within you came from.
  • Anonymous from Buffalo: Is Protestant. Her son passed away 7 years ago when he was a baby. She knows her son's in heaven, but being married to a Catholic who is active in the Methodist Church, and having her son baptized as a Methodist, why doesn't the Catholic Church recognize that he's in Heaven when God does.
  • David from Facebook: Father Moleski, A coworker of mine often makes negative comments about the Catholic church whenever he overhears me discussing my faith. I went over to him and asked what his issue with the Catholic church was and after sometime, he told me it was due to him not being welcomed in the church because he got divorced well over a decade ago. The fact that he was unable to receive the holy Eucharist was a significant issue for him. I told him that this should not have kept him from the faith all these years. I learned from him during the conversation that while he was a fallen-away Catholic, he was also an altar boy for ten years during his youth. I understand the church’s teaching on divorce and annulment, and from what I understand, his marriage may even have been invalid due to possible infidelity before his first marriage. What I do not know is what to say to him about possibly looking into an annulment without alienating him even more. I work with this person and I do not want to make the situation worse. What advice can you give me?
  • Brian from The Car: For many who are facing the decision for High School for our kids, public vs Catholic, what are your thoughts and what advice would you give the parents?
  • John Z. from Facebook: Hi Father, I just tuned in and was wondering if you addressed my question regarding capitalism and the church, if you did just ignore this. If not, the question was how capitalism can be in line with the Gospel.
    • After the show: * "OK, I have lots of questions, as you can tell, I guess that's the only way to learn about the faith is to seek it out. I was listening to your answer on the radio. I heard you kinda sigh and I thought to myself, "I hope I am not driving him nuts with some of these questions."
  • Ramona from Canada: Responding to the Eucharist question: She heard a priest while he was testing first communion kids and when asked what happens to Jesus, one girl said 'When I receive the Eucharist, the bread goes in my tummy, and Jesus goes in my heart.'
    • COG: "Whack!" Princess: "slap." COG: "Two-Fisted Faith & Reason Action."

May 7

  • Happy Easter! 16 praying days of the Easter Season left until Pentecost.
  • Pray for a new Pentecost. We need the gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit.
  • Today's readings.
    • "It is the decision of the Holy Spirit and of us not to place on you any burden beyond these necessities..." (Acts 15:28).
    • "It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you" (Jn 15).

"They have run out of wine."

  • God will not be outdone in generosity.
  • God provides for our needs superabundantly (Jn 2: Wedding Feast at Cana).
  • God loves a cheerful giver ("Joy is the last word"). 2 Cor 9:5-15:

So I thought it necessary to encourage the brothers to go on ahead to you and arrange in advance for your promised gift, so that in this way it might be ready as a bountiful gift and not as an exaction.

Consider this: whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows bountifully will also reap bountifully. Each must do as already determined, without sadness or compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.

Moreover, God is able to make every grace abundant for you, so that in all things, always having all you need, you may have an abundance for every good work.

As it is written: "He scatters abroad, he gives to the poor; his righteousness endures forever."

The one who supplies seed to the sower and bread for food will supply and multiply your seed and increase the harvest of your righteousness. You are being enriched in every way for all generosity, which through us produces thanksgiving to God, for the administration of this public service is not only supplying the needs of the holy ones but is also overflowing in many acts of thanksgiving to God. Through the evidence of this service, you are glorifying God for your obedient confession of the gospel of Christ and the generosity of your contribution to them and to all others, while in prayer on your behalf they long for you, because of the surpassing grace of God upon you.

Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!

  • Cornelius V. “Connie Mack” McGillicuddy and the mite boxes at Canisius High School.
  • The Station of the Cross is an act of faith--not just on the part of the Wright family, but on the part of all of the staff, volunteers, benefactors, and friends of the station. It is a living, breathing "miracle" (sign of God's activity in the world). We've gotten out of the boat and are walking on the water with Jesus (Matthew 14:29) because of the faith-full generosity of the listeners.
  • Everything we can give to God is something God gave to us first. "All is grace."
  • "In every way I have shown you that by hard work of that sort we must help the weak, and keep in mind the words of the Lord Jesus who himself said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive'" (Acts 20:35).

April 30

Love: the universal Christian vocation

  • Spirituality of the first step: admission of powerlessness. "I have not come for the strong, healthy and innocent; I have come for those who need power, healing, and forgiveness.
  • "Get empty; then God will fill you."
  • We cannot even realize how much we need God's help without God's help (vs. the Semi-Pelagians).
  • There is no doubt that God is here to help us: Jn 3:16.
  • We have nothing to give God that God has not given us first. "All is grace."
  • The first and greatest gift God has given is us our self; the greatest gift we can give Him in return is our self.
    • When we offer ourselves to the Father in union with Jesus' self-offering on the Cross, we exercise the priesthood of the faithful.
    • In Communion, we receive the whole Trinity through the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Jesus; that is the moment when we should give God our own true self (body and soul).

New questions from e-mail and Facebook

  • Bob from e-mail: What are the scriptural dates for Adam and Eve; Noah's flood; the birth of Jesus? What is the history of clocks and calendars? Didn't a Jesuit help design the calendar for the Gregorian reform?
  • Kevin from Buffalo:
  • Jeannie from Facebook: Fr. Marty Does the diocese of Buffalo offer courses (usually 12 hour course) in Human Sexuality and, if not, why not?
  • John Z. from Facebook: Could you explain how the church and capitalism can coexist? I am not a socialist but, it seems that to capitalize on your neighbor goes against our belief. It is confusing, how it says in scripture to share with each other. Also that in the early church people brought what they had to the church. Yet today everything is money. ex. if I have a item that I know is only worth 5 dollars but I sell it to you for 6 i make a profit on you,. If I knew it was only worth 5 and was totally honest I would give it to you for 5 and break even, or I would just give it to you. Because I am suppose to share what I have with my neighbor. Isn't it the concept really if everyone just shared, we wouldn't need money? So its a real struggle how these two systems work together. Any insight would be great.

Last week's show

  • Tom from Webster. Could you please discuss the use of animal parts for surgery and organ transplants?
  • EMAIL NO. 1. Anonymous. Please explain Pentecost and the essence of the Holy Spirit. How can the average lay person understand who the Holy Spirit is?
  • Sue from Lewiston. Regarding Catholic weddings, do the matron of honor and/or best man need to be practicing Catholics?
  • Gabriel from E. Amherst: Since Fr. is talking about the canon, what point in history did the Church draw up the Canon?
  • John from Olean: Wonders if you could speak to the Church's position on NFP
  • E. from Buffalo: Was on a date. Guy found out she was a virgin and flipped out. Is there a concise way she can explain her point of view that would make sense to people like that?
  • Grace from West Seneca: Was St. Joseph born with Original Sin and how old was he?

April 23

  • Happy Easter!
  • Pray for an outpouring of the Spirit all during this great season of joy.
    • We do not have the power to give our spirit to others; when we "inspire" them, it is just at the level of ideals that can be imitated (courage, creativity, sensitivity, tact, kind-heartedness, etc.).
    • God the Father and God the Son have the power to send God the Holy Spirit to dwell within our hearts; the Spirit, in turn leads us to the Father through the Son.
    • God designed us for this indwelling of the Holy Trinity; it is our greatest bliss.
    • Jesus' death on the Cross paid the price for our salvation, but it was not the end of the Father's plan for us; Jesus' resurrection from the dead is our resurrection from the dead--a wonderful triumph freely given to us because God is love--but there was still more for the Father to give us.
    • Just as He poured out His Holy Spirit on His only-begotten Son when Jesus was baptized by John the Baptist, so the Father poured out His Spirit on the Body of Christ on the day of Pentecost.
    • The apostles were not equipped to preach the good news until they received the Holy Spirit. So, too, we need the fire of Pentecost to empower us to preach the good news of Jesus' death and resurrection to the whole world.

So Ananias went and entered the house;
laying his hands on him, he said,
“Saul, my brother, the Lord has sent me,
Jesus who appeared to you on the way by which you came,
that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.”
Immediately things like scales fell from his eyes
and he regained his sight.
He got up and was baptized,
and when he had eaten, he recovered his strength.
\{ He stayed some days with the disciples in Damascus,
and he began at once to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues,
that he is the Son of God. (Acts 9:17-20)

Questions from e-mail and Facebook

  • Cherrie and John from Facebook: what is the magisterium?
  • The great-nephew of Uncle Sammy: I'm horrible at remembering who I'm praying for more than a week after I tell people I am or decide to. Also, I've a rather long list of those people. I've been keeping the names in a notebook organized by Intentions, Conversions, and Souls in Purgatory. Is it alright if I pray for 'everyone in my book' or 'everyone whose Conversion I'm praying for (etc.),' or should I be praying for each person by name?
    • Enjoy "the glorious freedom of the children of God" (Rom 8:21).
  • Amy from e-mail: I was wondering-if marriages can be annulled, meaning a valid marriage never took place, can 2 people still married have a marriage that really was never valid? And, if there was never a valid marriage in the first place, does that make it adultery?
  • Kevin from Buffalo: What did you think of the article about Paul Kurtz & the Center for Skeptical Inquiry in the Buffalo News?

Last week's show

  • Dave's questionnaire for canonization.
  • I learned that some people suffer from MUSH: Multi User Shared Hallucination. It is unclear whether this happens as a result of listening to too much Live Catholic Talk Radio.
  • Jean: Students in gangs are wearing rosary beads as gang signs, and Admin are disagreeing on whether or not they could ban them since they're religious items. What is the reason people can't wear rosary beads as jewelry so she can tell the Administration?
  • David from Lackawana: Fr. was talking about the canon and he wanted to ask if the canon is specifically part of the Mass in a diffent part
  • Tom from Webster: Had a question regarding using animal parts for surgery and organ transplants.
  • Gabriel from E. Amherst: Since Fr. is talking about the canon, what point in history did the Church draw up the Canon?
  • John from Webster: Regarding Pope Benedict: His b-day's today. They said he was baptized on his birthday. How does that happen and why don't we do it today?

April 16

  • Happy Easter!
    • Celebrate Easter for all 50 days of the season. Thank the Father for raising all of us to new life in Jesus' resurrection.
    • Pray for the outpouring of the Spirit on our nation and our Church. It is the Holy Spirit who causes us to be "born again" (Jn 3:3-8):

Jesus answered and said to him, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can see the kingdom of God without being born from above." Nicodemus said to him, "How can a person once grown old be born again? Surely he cannot re-enter his mother's womb and be born again, can he?" Jesus answered, "Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit. What is born of flesh is flesh and what is born of spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I told you, 'You must be born from above.' The wind blows where it wills, and you can hear the sound it makes, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes; so it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit."

Questions from Facebook and e-mail

  • Víctor from Facebook: Today when giving the eucharist, the priest said "the bread of life" instead of "the body of Christ". Is this acceptable? And if so is this done during a certain time of the year or can be used at any given time? Thanks,
  • Jim Havens' new Culture Gauge website (www.culturegauge.com) and Facebook page.
  • The crisis of truth is essentially a crisis of chastity. We don't want to know or follow Jesus' teachings. The path of the world, the flesh, and the devil promises much more immediate pleasures.
  • Paul from e-mail:
  • A friend from e-mail: "Is it OK to donate part of my liver to someone who needs a transplant?"
  • Justin from e-mail: "How does the Catholic Church feel about donating your dead body to medical schools for education instead of having the traditional burial services?
  • "Mercy is the fulfillment of justice, not its abolition" - St. Thomas Aquinas.
  • John C. from Skype: Last chapter of the gospel of John: what is the meaning of what Jesus says to Peter about "another will gird you"? Who is "the disciple whom Jesus loved"?

Questions from last week

Let the house of Israel say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let the house of Aaron say,
“His mercy endures forever.”
Let those who fear the LORD say,
“His mercy endures forever” (Ps 118).

“Receive the Holy Spirit. Whose sins you forgive are forgiven them, and whose sins you retain, they are retained" (Jn 20).

  • John from Webter: Can you talk about where the word 'Easter' comes from? And explain about 'Divine Mercy Sunday'?
  • Tommy from Buffalo: Was reading Scripture, and it said other people rose with him. What's up with that?
  • A friend from Amherst: international priest of theory
  • Bob from Cheektowaga: Re: Justification. What kind of death would prodigal son have had if not spiritual?
  • Rick Paolini from Divine Mercy: "The grace offered on Divine Mercy Sunday is like a second baptism. Easy to qualify for it."
    • In 2003, Our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, "motivated by an ardent desire to foster in Christians this devotion to Divine Mercy...in the hope of offering great spiritual fruit to the faithful" granted a Plenary Indulgence to those who participate in Divine Mercy Sunday. To gain the indulgence, the faithful must go to confession within eight days before or after the Feast, receive Holy Communion worthily on the Feast, and offer prayers for the intentions of the Holy Father, and "be detached from affection to any sin, even venial" according to the decree.
    • There's two different things: Plenary indulgence institued by Church and Grace promised by Jesus is received by reception of Communion by a person in the state of grace and performing an act of mect by word deed and receive from all temporal sin. . . '
    • Bob from Elma ("Out where God left his shoes"): Took offense at something Fr. said about D.M. Not every Sunday is D.M.
    • Scott from Rochester: In the Readings for this Sunday, where is D.M. mentioned in Scripture
  • Scott was also reading Aquinas. 'No such thing as a little white lie.' How could that be?

April 9

  • Divine Mercy Sunday is this Sunday (a.k.a. "Low Sunday," "Thomas Sunday," and "Quasimodo Sunday"--Wikipedia): ""Like newborn infants, long for pure spiritual milk so that through it you may grow into salvation, for you have tasted that the Lord is good" (1 Peter 2:2).
    • Question from a caller to the station: "Where is the theme for Divine Mercy in the Scriptures for this Sunday's Liturgy?"

Questions from Facebook, e-mail, or (!) face-to-face

  • From a student: "How do you know that you have a vocation to be married?"
  • A Jewish friend on Passion Sunday and a reporter from the Buffalo News on Good Friday: "How do you feel about the accusations made against the Pope?"
    • Our faith is in Jesus, not in priests, bishops, or popes.
    • The Judas Factor: Jesus is betrayed in every age by men who have been chosen to represent Him.
    • Sacraments and Sins of Priests: the sins of priests cannot stop Jesus from giving the grace of the sacraments to the faithful.
    • The antagonists of the Church apparently want a witch-hunt:
      • We are to presume guilt, not innocence.
      • Everyone who is accused is guilty as charged.
      • The accused may not confront or cross-question their accusers.
      • The accused may not have the help of counsel (lawyers).
      • The accused have no right to due process.
      • The penalty is death. There is no possibility of repentance and reparation for those who have committed these sins.
    • Those of us who love Jesus and want to serve Him have to make repairs (reparation) for the sins, crimes, and stupidity of our generation of Judases.
    • In striving to rebuild the Body of Christ, we need to stick to God's blueprints. Some modernists (Protestants in Catholic clothing) want to use the scandal to push their agenda for combining marriage with priesthood, women's ordination, same-sex marriage, etc.

Questions from last show

  • Dave from Amherst: "Is Dr. Kreeft a Pentecostal?"
  • Diane from Rochester: Wanted to ask a question about canonization. How do we know which saint or which devotion caused a miracle?
  • Marsha from Buffalo: 'He descended into Hell' It always perplexed her that he went to Hell.
  • Beth from Batavia: Heard the first call about miracles and have an experience she wants to ask about.
  • Sarah from Rochester: Moral question about a series of books for a woman's group at church, but when she read them they weren't cool. She hasn't handed them out, but the parish already paid for them.
  • Scott from Rochester: Wants to ask about today's Gospel.

March 26

  • Today's readings.
  • Last day for us to celebrate the month of St. Joseph on the air.
    • Meeting with Sr. Joan from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Joan is looking for women who want to explore religious life. In the Year of the Priest, I find myself praying for a renewal of vocations to the sisterhood. I was put in touch with the Jesuits through the persistent efforts of a Black Franciscan. I imagine one reason why there is a shortage of priests (really, a shortage of faith, hope, and love) is the decline in the number of women religious.

Questions from e-mail and Facebook

  • Joanne from Facebook: Is Mary the mother of God or Jesus? I know Jesus is God, but since she had no participation in the divine nature of God, why do we call her that?
  • Joanne from Facebook: If a bishop is a bad man and has been caught in many lies, why do the priests follow him?
    • About obedience, Jesus said, "The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example" (Mt 23:1). So, too, with the bishops. If they give a legitimate command (one that is proper to their office), we faithful must obey it, no matter how evil or corrupt we think the bishop may be. "Two wrongs do not make one right." The sin of disobedience is not justified by the sins of the bishop.

Leftovers from last week

  • Bob K from e-mail: "There's so much stuff in the Church's attic, I don't know where to look."
    • John Deedy, Retrospect: The Origins of Catholic Beliefs and Practices (Chicago: The Thomas More, 1990).
    • Michael Dubruiel, The How-To Book of the Mass: Step-by-Step Guidelines (Huntington, Our Sunday Visitor, 2006.
  • Second half of Bob K's question: Can you recommend some resources to help me understand the relationship between salvation by grace and our call to perform good works (as in the sheep and the goats or, did we not perform works in your name? - Be gone, I never knew you).
    • [3]--Patrick Madrid's website. See especially, Where Is That in the Bible?.
    • [4]--St. Ignatius Press. They have a large collection of books about converts to the Catholic Church.
    • [5]--Another reliably orthodox publisher.
    • [6] / Choose WLOF or WHIC / Look for "Links" / "Apologetics and Church History".

Sunday obligation

A friend from Amherst: What proof do you have that "half a Mass is better than none"? Where does it say you need to be at Mass before the Gospel for that Mass to fulfill your Sunday obligation?

Sunday obligation: How much of the Mass may I miss without penalty?
The ideal: Be there or be square

Instruction Concerning Worship of the Eucharistic Mystery, Inaestimabile Donum; prepared by the Sacred Congregation for the Sacraments and Divine Worship; approved and confirmed by His Holiness Pope John Paul II, April 17, 1980.

a) The Mass 1. "Two parts which in a sense go to make up the Mass, namely the Liturgy of the Word and the Eucharistic liturgy, are so closely connected that they form but ONE SINGLE ACT of worship."

(Vatican II: Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, Sacrosanctum Concilium) (#56) "A person SHOULD NOT APPROACH THE TABLE OF THE BREAD OF THE LORD without having first been at the TABLE OF HIS WORD.

(11, #21) "Sacred Scripture is therefore of the highest importance in the celebration of the highest importance of Mass..."

N.B. If this were creating a LAW, the language would read, "A person MAY NOT approach the table ..."

"Should" expresses an ideal.

We really should try to be present for the whole Mass, as a general rule. But when circumstances prevent us from doing so, "Half a Mass is better than none" (MXM, SJ).


If you see others coming late and taking Communion, err on the side of mercy. Presume that they did the best they could and leave judgment of them in God's hands.

You know in your own case that you were at the mercy of your host in Iowa. There was no reason not to take Communion nor to feel that you had not met your Sunday obligation.

I am confident that God, of course, who knows the secrets of the heart, did not deprive you of any grace or blessing that day. You showed reverence and love for Jesus in the Eucharist by not receiving Him that day, even though your reasoning was based on faulty premises.

AH--which is something I was thinking about on the way to the station and forgot to write down. It is possible "to err in good conscience." Our ethical reasoning is not infallible. We can make mistakes that lead to wrong conclusions--and sometimes, the mistakes are through no moral fault of our own.

Friday obligation

From the same friend in Amherst: canon 1251 says that we are to abstain from eating meat on every Friday of the year, doesn't it?

  • Canon 1250 All Fridays through the year and the time of Lent are penitential days and times throughout the entire Church.
  • Canon 1251 Abstinence from eating meat or another food according to the prescriptions of the conference of bishops is to be observed on Fridays throughout the year unless (nisi) they are solemnities; abstinence and fast are to be observed on Ash Wednesday and on the Friday of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ.
  • Canon 1252 All persons who have completed their fourteenth year are bound by the law of abstinence; all adults are bound by the law of fast up to the beginning of their sixtieth year. Nevertheless, pastors and parents are to see to it that minors who are not bound by the law of fast and abstinence are educated in an authentic sense of penance.
  • Canon 1253 It is for the conference of bishops to determine more precisely the observance of fast and abstinence and to substitute in whole or in part for fast and abstinence other forms of penance, especially works of charity and exercises of piety.
U.S. norms for Friday penance

The U.S. norms are found in a document entitled On Penance and Abstinence, dated November 18, 1966, which, despite the revision of the Code of Canon Law, remains in force (as noted on the bishops’ web site: www.usccb.org/norms).

In this document, it is particularly necessary to distinguish between the language of law and the language of exhortation.

As we’ll see, the bishops removed legal obligations while going on to exhort people to do things freely that were formerly obligatory. In this way they sought to avoid the impression that they were undermining the Church’s penitential practice.

The big legal change comes in norm 3, where the bishops state that "we hereby terminate the traditional law of abstinence as binding under pain of sin, as the sole prescribed means of observing Friday." So the obligation to abstain from meat was terminated.

Last week's questions

  • Dave from Amherst: Homily online. List of questions that the Church asks about candidate for canonization. Where is that list?
  • http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/john_paul_ii/apost_constitutions/documents/hf_jp-ii_apc_25011983_divinus-perfectionis-magister_en.html
  • The instruction of causes of canonization, which Our Predecessor Sixtus V entrusted to the Congregation of Sacred Rites, which he himself had established,(3) was, with the passage of time, always improved by new norms. Worthy of special mention are those of Urban VIII,(4) which Prosper Lambertini (later Benedict XIV), drawing upon the experiences of time past, handed down to later generations in a work entitled De Servorum Dei beatif?catione et de Beatorum canonizatione. This work served as the rule of the Sacred Congregation of Rites for almost two centuries. Finally, these norms were substantially incorporated into the Code of Canon Law promulgated in 1917.
  • Anonymous is puzzled. Who did Adam & Eve's kids marry? The Pastoral Assistant said 'Oh there were people around.' Someone close to her also said that Adam & Eve weren't the first, just the first to believe in God.
  • Phillip from Medina: What's the significance of the Blood and Water that poured from Christ's side when the soldier pierced him?
  • Nancy from Buffalo: Hasn't given up anything for Lent, wanted to pray more but didn't. What should she do to have a blessed Lent & Easter.
  • Brendan: In my family, If you didn't make it in by the Gospel, you're out of luck. You've got to attend a full Mass.
  • Walter from North Tonawanda: Comment on Theology on Tap discussion. The retrograde motion of Mars will be observable in this area this spring.
  • Mary from Rochester (a revert). Was told one thing by a Parish Priest, but it contradicts with Catholic Answers; went and asked another Priest and got another answer. Concerns previous marriages.

March 19: Solemnity of St. Joseph

  • Today's readings.
  • The solemnity trumps the Lenten law of abstaining from meat.
  • Meeting with Sr. Joan from the Sisters of St. Joseph. Joan is looking for women who want to explore religious life. In the Year of the Priest, I find myself praying for a renewal of vocations to the sisterhood. I was put in touch with the Jesuits through the persistent efforts of a Black Franciscan. I imagine one reason why there is a shortage of priests (really, a shortage of faith, hope, and love) is the decline in the number of women religious.
  • Reprise of the question about critical thinking: the Sacred Scriptures must be read rightly in order for them to deliver the message that God intended us to get from them. The academic word for "interpretation" is "exegesis." Jesus did not leave a book; He left a Body. The Church is not derived from Scriptural exegesis; the Church's development, canonization, and exegesis (interpretation) of the New Testament is based on the Church's faithful preservation of the deposit of faith. The creed of the Church is our guide to correct interpretation of the Sacred Scriptures.
  • "Come to me, you who labor and are heavy-burdened, and I will give you rest" (Mt 11:28).

We need married saints today

  • Condolences, sympathy, and prayers for John and for all who have been abandoned by their spouses. Adultery is one of the great evils of our day. Our culture cultivates sin rather than virtue. That makes it easier to sin and harder to be virtuous. Not that chastity ever has been easy. Through the whole history of the Church, Catholics have routinely violated the standards that Jesus sets for us.

Recent e-mail and/or Facebook

John B. from Webster

I had a thought during today's homily on the feast of St. Joseph. Among being the guardian of the Holy Family and patron saint of husbands, fathers, guardian of orphans, and carpenters (laborers), he should be considered a patron for the protection of the unborn.

The gospel reading this morning indicated his betrothal to Mary, who was with Child, before their marriage. Thank God he listened to the Angel and took her as his wife.

Today, with the abomination of legalized abortion in our land and on the eve of the historic OBAMA health care vote this weekend, we should be encouraged to pray for his intercession to assist us in peacefully changing these laws to save life and promote a culture of life and not conveniece and selfi$hness.

Thanks for your time and ministry in the classroom and airwaves!

John Z. from Facebook

I just want to say thanks for the mentions on the radio today, I was listening, and that was me who wrote into facebook.

I thought you knew that I was sending you messages and not writing on the wall. Sorry I should have been clear.

... I take the stories to mean, that it is not in the details, or the time, but the meaning. Which is God created everything, and like the creation story we continue today, to turn away. The whole Bible is the repeating of this truth. We want to do things, and basically be our own god. That is the truth I get from the story. Just like when Jesus uses parables, it is all about how we do the exact same things in our lives everyday. Its like through out the Bible there is hidden truth, easy to miss if you don't really ponder or think about it.

It has to be hard to be a Priest, as it seems I have found the more one studies, or spends time seeking the Lord, and in prayer, the more under a microscope one's life becomes. The closer one wants to get, the further it seems one is. It is like you said about Lent today, it is not what I can do it is all about what God has done for me.

It also seems the more one wants to do this, a lot of your friends think you are like too churchy, or weird and you even lose some of them. There is the truth again, who was left at the cross, not to many of the people who wanted Jesus as King on Palm Sunday. So I answered my own thought.

Amy from east of Buffalo

Hope all is well. I have a question regarding apparitions. How long does it generally take for these to be approved? Actually, I'm not even sure that the one I am referring to (http://www.rosaryoftheunborn.com) has even started the process? How does that work? The apparitions appear to have started in 1993. Any info is appreciated. Thanks!

Last week's topics

  • St. Joseph: the guardian, the administrator, and the legal defender of Jesus and Mary.
  • Brendan: "I hope the Toronto-Dude calls back."
  • Scott from Rochester: Has a question about the Gospels from Tuesday & Today.
  • Polly fromonawanda: Wants to mention that the Susan Komen cancer research group gives money to Planned Parenthood.
    • April 9, 2008, lifenews.com: A new report from a Planned Parenthood watchdog finds chapters of the Komen Race for the Cure breast cancer group gave affiliates of the national abortion business over $700,000 last fiscal year. The enormous amount should be a red flag to pro-life advocates, one leading activist says. Figures from STOPP International show Komen chapters giving $711,485 from April 1, 2005 to March 31, 2006 to Planned Parenthood affiliates.
  • I think I found a new place for TGIFF starting on May 7th. The Asst. Pastor at my parish said he'd be willing to do it in the Chapel at St. John's. Infant of Prague got a new Pastor. Fr. Dave is excited about it. He wants to offer a Benediction, too.
  • FACEBOOK NO. 1: John. Father, could you explain when the word Easter started to be used for the Day of the Lord?
  • Brett from Rochester: About something he heard on Catholic radio of someone who posed as a pregnant teenager and went into Planned Parenthood. . . is that ethical?
  • Eileen from Rochester: Had a comment on Father's explanation for Easter.
  • E-Mail from Sarah: "I just had a quick question regarding a previous caller's discussion: I know that we follow just war theory, and was just hoping for clarification regarding how this follows the Church's teaching on not doing evil to accomplish good. Is it because a just war is not regarded as evil despite casualties? Thanks so much; I love your show."

March 12

  • Today's readings.
  • Lent: it's not what we do for God (prayer, fasting, alms) but what God does for us that is the heart of Lent--"this great season of grace" (Preface for Lent). "In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins" (1 Jn 4:10).
  • Month of St. Joseph.
    • Title of Patron of the Universal Church bestowed by Pius IX ("Pio Nono") in 1870.
    • John from Facebook: "Father, I just wanted to say thanks for your prayers. I called in one day and was discussing once saved always saved with you and I asked you to pray for my mom as we were having operations. Everything came out good for my mom. Everything is good so far with me. I really love your show. Thanks!"

Questions for March 12

The destruction of Catholic universities

From Kevin in Buffalo
  • To what degree do you think your students’ religious and moral beliefs are affected by pre-college influences (family, school, life experiences, etc.)? I often find, when interacting with other students, that the “seeds” of moral relativism and anti-religious sentiment seem to have been planted long before they actually attend college.
  • You once described RST 101 as “Lose your Faith 101,” but do you think that most of the “blame” lies mainly with something about those classes per se or with the fruition of ideas/attitudes previously held by the students?

From Ed in Detroit

1. I spoke to a friend who has seen the University of Detroit charter and it is officially a public trust - no real connection to the Society of Jesus, nor to the Catholic Church. This is virtually the same as at Santa Clara and I am sure it is likewise at other Jesuit institutions as well. Frankly, this is very troubling to me.

Santa Clara University FAQ:

  • Is the University owned by the Catholic Church?
    • The University is chartered by the State of California as a public trust, and governed by a board of trustees. Neither the Catholic Church nor the Society of Jesus owns the University, but the inspiration for the University is its Catholic and Jesuit heritage.

2. The other thing of note is why in the heck was this allowed to happen. That same friend told me to look up John Tracy Ellis, who had a profound influence on Jesuits in the 1950s and 1960s (Vatican II era). What I found was that--at least from what I could gather--Msgr. Ellis was intent on secularizing the Church, pushing us away from the "ghetto mentality," as he referred to it.

Biblical criticism

From John from Facebook: What is the right way to think about Biblical criticism? Some people on Catholic radio advocate it; others denigrate it. "Any way we looked at scripture with a view of critical study. Now driving home today I was listening to wlof and steve wood said to stay away from that type of study. That it has fallen away from good Catholic teaching. I understand there are conservative and liberal views in the church. What is your view? But it creates confusion when one says this is the way, and another says it is not."

"Divino Afflante Spiritu": "Being thoroughly prepared by the knowledge of the ancient languages and by the aids afforded by the art of criticism, let the Catholic exegete undertake the task, of all those imposed on him the greatest, that namely of discovering and expounding the genuine meaning of the Sacred Books" (23).

What is critical thinking?
  • The goal of thought is to find the truth. The critical question is: "Do I know this for sure?"
  • Self-critical awareness: evaluating the quality of our own views.
    • Have I done my homework?
    • Have I covered all the bases?
    • Have I thought of all the relevant questions?
    • Are there reasonable alternatives that I may have overlooked?
    • Have I presented my case in such a way that others will find it reasonable?
    • Am I acting in good conscience? Or are there other motives affecting my judgment? E.g.: desire for financial gain, fame, affection, etc.

Last week's questions

  • John from Wilson: Has a question on Annulments. He's divorced. His ex-wife hasn't annulled. By him not getting one, is that helping her sin?
  • St. Joseph: Patron of the Universal Church - catholic.org
  • Jeff from Rochester: What happens to the soul of the fertilized cell during cell divisions that occur during the formation of 'mirror-image twins'
  • Brendan from Niagara Falls: I went to St. Lawrence last week, and they have their Holy Water Font covered with a purple cloth. :(

March 5

  • Today's readings.
  • Month of St. Joseph.
  • Tertullian.
  • "Be angry but sin not" (Eph 4:26).
    • Sin happens--the Judas Factor.
    • Modernism dominates the life of the United States Church.
    • Anger and rage is not helpful. Going to the text of the catechism won't change the hearts of the pastor and the congregation. Pharisaism doesn't work. We must not "strain the gnat and swallow the camel" (Mt 23:24). The arrangement of our worship space--and all of the details of celebrating the sacraments--is really small stuff compared to the sin of hating our enemies. It is not easy to identify members of the Church as enemies, but when we do, Jesus' law of love comes into play: forgive them, bless them, pray for them, love them with God's own love. It is not OK in the name of adherence to Church law (the gnat) to transgress Jesus' law of love (the camel).
  • God's wrath is a function of His perfect love for His children.
    • God's anger is completely disinterested. God is not angry for His sake, but for ours. We cannot be happy when sin separates us from God, from our neighbor, and from our true self. We are made for love; sin cuts us off from love. God hates that which is destroying us.
    • God's anger is perfectly proportionate to the evil we have done.
    • God's anger has a goal and does not last forever: God wants us to repent of our sins and repair the damage we have done. This is our bliss!
    • The fact that we can easily tell that someone is breaking God's law or the laws of the Church does not give us freedom to hate or despise them. They and their sins are God's problems, not ours. We are not God. If we have some say in the matter, we can voice our protest; if not, we can keep peace in our hearts and pray for them as Jesus commands us to pray.
  • God never rages. He does not lose control of Himself. He does not lash out blindly. He does not lose His cool.
  • The suffering of the souls in Purgatory will come to an end. They are making progress toward eternal bliss. They suffer only as much as is necessary for them to live in perfect happiness with those whom they have harmed and no more.
  • E-mail from Kevin: Survey about the rate of unchaste behavior on Catholic campuses.

Questions received ...

  • Steve from Amherst: Does the shape of the host make any difference? Sometimes the priest gives me triangular pieces broken from a larger host.
  • Kevin from Buffalo:
I thought you would find this article interesting (despite the somewhat distasteful title). 
It looks like recent research indicates that many Catholic colleges 
are not only as bad as secular campuses, but actually worse at 
inculcating moral values among students:
'Researchers from Mississippi State University considered a survey 
of 1,000 college students nationwide and were surprised to find that 
"women attending colleges and universities affiliated with the 
Catholic Church are almost four times as likely to have participated 
in 'hooking up' compared to women at secular schools."'
It's a curious trend.  Do you think there is something particularly 
permissive at many Catholic campuses?
When I read things like this, I sometimes wonder whether the Jesuits 
could strengthen the Catholic identity of their schools by "pruning" 
the de facto secular schools and concentrating their personnel on 
the universities and colleges with healthier Catholicism.  In your 
article in Conversations, I recall, you focused more on the "how" of 
the secularization of Jesuit schools.  What do you think are the 
options available to the Jesuits to reverse some of those trends?

From last week

  • Be angry but sin not" (Eph 4:26).
  • Debra. A question for this afternoons CAC show: what is the meaning of the word AMEN and how is it pronounced? I have heard it enunciated with a short a sound, a long a sound. I have also heard the word it self is Hebrew shorthand for something like Almighty God Be Merciful. Any insight on AMEN will be greatly appreciated. (I am a Podcast listener)
  • Dave from Mobile
    • Lent: Is confused about taking Sunday off.
    • In the back of the Church bulletin, (from what I understand) there's an OBGYN who's offering abortions or advice of such
  • Bill from Ellicotville: Question about Divine Foreknowledge.
  • Sue Ellen: My daughter's 10th birthday this year falls on Good Friday. How can we celebrate this appropriately?
  • Dave from Tonawanada: Thought that Lent concluded on Holy Thursday.
  • Scott from Tonawanda: Has Fr. ever heard of the Templars?
  • Bill from Ellicottville: Who was Tertullion and are his writings still available for purchase?
  • Kevin from Buffalo: Tertullian was a heretic later in life.

February 26

  1. "If I were a good Christian, then ..."
  1. Psalm 51. The joy of repentance.
  • Landmail from a listener: Inspired by the story of the conversion of "St. A" (Alphonse Ratisbonne--thanks to Kevin for the correction), this listener said 100 Memorare's in front of the Blessed Sacrament for a very special intention, using a Rosary to count the prayers. The favor has not yet been granted, but our listener felt blessed by making the effort.
  • E-mail from Name Withheld: "Before I took the faith as seriously as I do now, I was friends with a woman who claims to be a 'green witch.' I'm not really sure exactly what that is but I'm not comfortable with it since my conversion. I guess my concern is with any evil spirits she has attaching themselves to us. ... Is this a rational fear? Should I keep my distance or only meet her in a public place? I don't feel comfortable with her in my home and I'm not keen on the idea of going to her house either."
    • If she has real magical powers, they are not of God.
    • If she does not have real magical powers, she is delusional.
  • Amy from e-mail: "Why is Good Friday on a Friday and Easter on a Sunday if Jesus rose on the third day?"
  • Another Name Withheld: How do you discern a vocation to the priesthood and religious life?

From last week

  • "It is not that we have loved God but that God has loved us" (1 John 4:10).
  • Marsha from Rochester: Could Fr. explain the Communion of Saints as if he were talking to a Non-Catholic?
  • Jamie from Batavia: Wants to ask about parishes that put sand in their holy water fonts. Can the holy water be removed from fonts during Lent?
    • No. Here is a letter from the Congregation for Divine Worship responding to this question on 3/14/03:

Prot. N. 569/00/L

Dear Father:

This Congregation for Divine Worship has received your letter sent by fax in which you ask whether it is in accord with liturgical law to remove the Holy Water from the fonts for the duration of the season of Lent.

This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:

1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being praeter legem is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.

2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the [sic] of her sacraments is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The “fast” and “abstinence” which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church. The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturda).

Hoping that this resolves the question with every good wish and kind regard, I am,

Sincerely yours in Christ,

Mons. Mario Marini


From Catholic Information--Aquinas and More

  • Tommy from Tonawada: Question about temptation.
  • Phillip from Medina: The fellow that kid the abortion doctor, is he guilty of committing a sin even though he stopped an even greater one?
  • Michelle from Buffalo: Has a question about the Eucharist. About Genuflecting, taking it on Tongue, and general care of the Eucharist.
  • Gina from Amherst: 'Michelle, you should come to St. Greg's tonight at 7.00pm for the YA meeting.'

February 19

  • "In this is love: not that we have loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as expiation for our sins" (1 John 4:10).
  • Today's readings.
  • Friday of the first week of Lent. John from Webster: "Please talk about the season of Lent. During Lent, how far can we go in treating each Sunday as a 'little' Easter? A friend of mine scoffed at a church bulletin announcement 'Donuts after 11 am Sunday mass' during Lent!"
    • Origin: catechumens prepared for Baptism at Easter time by fasting and praying for 40 days.
    • The English word "Lent" comes from the same root as "lengthen." Lent is the time of lengthening daylight--it's spring time both seasonally and spiritually.
    • Lent is one of the greatest successes of Catholic culture. People love to get ashes on Ash Wednesday. Making sacrifices for Lent causes us to be mindful of God in our day-to-day life. All healthy adult Catholics are required to abstain from meat on the Fridays of Lent and to fast as well as abstain on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday.
    • Lent is a time to repent of sin and to repair the wrong we have done (AA: "making amends"). We do not repent or make reparation alone, as if our will-power could make God love us; we repent and make reparation because we see how much God has loved us in sending His only Son to be our Savior (Jn 3:16).
  • Amy from east of Buffalo: "Today I attended mass at a church ... for my Goddaughter's Baptism and was very concerned. There were no kneelers in the Church, no statues, and no visible tabernacle--the Blessed Sacrament Chapel is hidden behind the altar. I ran home and opened my catechism. I just am not sure how that qualifies as a 'most worthy place with the greatest honor'! Can you help me here? Why is this allowed? It felt as Jesus said to St. Faustina in her Diary about people treating him as a dead object in the Eucharist. I can't see how a church can be allowed to show the Blessed Sacrament this much disrespect. There was not a crucifix to be found in the church, either. They claimed to not have statues because they gave money to the poor instead of spending on such things."
    • Last week's topic: Learning how to choose between good and good. Prudence, justice, temperance (moderation), and fortitude (endurance) are natural virtues that are perfected by the supernatural gifts of faith, hope, and love. "Grace builds on nature."
    • The problem: we promote every spiritual insight to the level of dogma and every guideline that the Church gives us to a commandment. We perfectionists develop exactly the mentality of the Pharisees. Stamp out perfectionism!"
    • Prudential judgments: "There is always more than one way to skin a cat."
    • Matters of taste: "De gustibus non disputandum."
    • Distinguish between dogma and discipline. Dogma is taught with the highest degree of authority in the Church; decisions about how our communal life is organized are not dogma--they are very variable from time to time and from place to place. E.g.: funeral of Avery Cardinal Dulles, SJ, at St. Patrick's Cathedral in NYC vs. mass in the Erie County Holding Center last Saturday night. The essentials were the same; the sacrament was the same; all of the differences are theologically negligible but aesthetically significant.
    • Principle of subsidiarity: decisions are made at the lowest possible level of authority; it is rare for Catholic superiors (bishops, archbishops, cardinals, the pope) to intervene in such local decisions. Decisions should be made by those who are most affected by them.

February 12

Choosing the right good

February 5

  • Today's readings.
  • Memorial of Saint Agatha, virgin and martyr. First Eucharistic Prayer: "For ourselves, too, we ask some share in the fellowship of your apostles and martyrs, with John the Baptist, Stephen, Matthias, Barnabas, (Ignatius, Alexander, Marcellinus, Peter, Felicity, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucy, Agnes, Cecilia, Anastasia) and all the saints."
  • e-mail from Jim about a listener who thought I was denying the teaching authority of the Catechism.
    • "I just want to let you know that I took a call from a listener this morning who was upset about a remark you made on Friday when we were talking about the Sign of the Cross. She said that you made a comment, after I quoted a passage from the Catechism. She claims you said something like 'we don’t need to follow everything in the Catechism.' I went back and listened and what you actually said was that 'not every sentence in the Catechism sets law.' So what you actually said and what she heard you say were two very different things. Perhaps, you could just clarify on the 2/5 show what you said and what you meant by it. I know that would please her a great deal. It’s also a good teaching opportunity to proclaim the nature of the Catechism – what a gift it is to us, and what its limitations are. I think I would personally gain a great deal in hearing you address that question."
    • My goal is to believe what the Church teaches and teach what the Church believes. John Paul II's Catechism contains the authentic teaching of the Church. We have to discriminate between what is dogma, what is traditional teaching consistent with dogma, what is law, and what is a matter of legitimate and pious custom. "A catechism should faithfully and systematically present the teaching of Sacred Scripture, the living Tradition in the Church and the authentic Magisterium, as well as the spiritual heritage of the Fathers, Doctors and saints of the Church, to allow for a better knowledge of the Christian mystery and for enlivening the faith of the People of God. It should take into account the doctrinal statements which down the centuries the Holy Spirit has intimated to his Church. It should also help to illumine with the light of faith the new situations and problems which had not yet emerged in the past. ... I declare it to be a sure norm for teaching the faith and thus a valid and legitimate instrument for ecclesial communion." (Apostolic Constitution, 2-3).
    • The disputed passage is in the teaching on the Second Commandment. Where there is law imposed on the conscience of Catholics, the passages are very explicit. In the case of the sign of the Cross, it does not say that Catholics must use the sign at the beginning of every prayer; there is no cross-reference to a conciliar teaching or an ordinance of the Church; it is hortatory, not obligatory--the text exhorts us to use this sacramental in our prayer but it does not impose that as a matter of law.
    • The Code of Canon Law explains the conditions under which laws may be promulgated and gives guidelines about how to interpret such laws. It is clear that no law has been written that says, "All private Catholic prayer must begin with the sign of the cross." If there were such a law, the Catechism would refer to it.
    • Contrast the passage on the sign of the Cross with the teaching on the sixth commandment. Here the Church's interpretations of the Commandment are tracked in the footnotes, with references to the Code of Canon law, papal documents, conciliar teachings, scripture references, etc.
  • From the 22nd:
    • Correction from Kevin: Alphonse Ratisbonne.

January 22

  • Unhappy anniversary: Roe vs. Wade, 1973. 37 years of murdering the most innocent and defenseless human beings. May God have mercy on us all!
  • Saint Vincent, deacon and martyr.
  • "Day of penance for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through acts of abortion, and of prayer for the full restoration of the legal guarantee of the right to life. The Mass should be celebrated with violet vestments (see “General Instruction of the Roman Missal,” no. 373)]."
  • Continuation of theme from last week: Jesus left a Body, not a book. We do not find the sentence, "Abortion is an unspeakably evil act that offends God, wounds the parents, destroys the conscience of medical personnel, and creates a culture of death with many catastrophic consequences." But that is the meaning of the Scriptures--"for those who have eyes to see."
    • Understanding Scripture is a matter of interpretation. The Church has given us some very definite guidance on how to understand the Scriptures and apply them to the decisions we face in the world today.
    • The Scriptures (especially the New Testament) are the work of the Church. The Church came first; the Scriptures were written after the Church was established. No book of the Bible lists all of the books of the Bible. The canon (official list) of the books of the Old and New Testament was created by the Church.
    • It was the Church that identified and preserved the 27 books of the New Testament.
    • Where in the Bible does it say that the Church can only teach what it says in the Bible? The idea that the Church's teaching authority is limited to "what is in the Bible" is an extra-Biblical and anti-Biblical dogma.
  • From last week:
    • "Jesus left a Body, not a book."
    • Brendan from Amherst: Received a one-volume copy of the Liturgy of the Hours a few years back, but has no idea how to use it. Does Father have any advice, references, Idiot's Guides To, etc. on how to use it?
    • Dan from LeRoy: Would like information about Fatima.
    • Lara from Buffalo: Can God uncreate things that He's created? What is the status of the fallen angels and the damned?
    • Patrick from Rochester: What was the meaning of the Transfiguration?

January 15

  • Thank God for Ordinary Time. We spend it following Jesus with His disciples.
  • Main topic: The development of the Old and New Testament canons. Related to the development of the Magisterium and development of doctrine. The big question: "What is the right way to interpret the Scriptures?" The big answer is: According to the mind of the Church. Jesus left behind a living Body, not a book. The Revelation that He gave to His disciples has never disappeared; we do not start from the book and derive the Church; we start with the Church and find out how the writings fit into what God has given us in the Deposit of Faith.
  • Last week's questions:
    • Chris on a cell phone: Why are Venial Sins forgiven during Mass and not mortal sins?
    • John from Lakeview: Is it possible for reconciliation during the sacrament of confession not taken place w/o purpose of amendment
    • Jonathan from E Amherst: How many Dogmas of the Church?
    • Joseph from Rochester: As we prepare for the Baptism of the Lord, he's trying to better understand how St. John the Baptist recognized Christ as the Lord before he was revealed.
    • Karena on Facebook: My non-Catholic Christian friend and I were discussing apparitions of Mary. And he asked me a question I did not have an answer to. He asked "Has anyone seen any apparitions of Jesus?" I said "not to my knowledge" and I imagine this is because when we see Jesus next, it will be his "2nd coming" and Mary appears to remind us of this! Could you elaborate on this question a little more? Thanks! ~ Karena

January 8

  • Merry Christmas! It's Christmas season up until the Baptism of the Lord (January 10, 2010).
  • Happy Anniversary! I've been doing the Friday show for two years (!).

Accumulated questions:

  • Amy from East of Buffalo: Questions about the Church's teachings on breastfeeding: "Do you know of any church teachings/guides on Motherhood? I guess more specifically, on infant bonding, breastfeeding, etc. I am looking for something to encourage more of my friends and family to nurse and to discourage so much of the material 'needs' that our culture throws at new moms. Any thoughts would be appreciated!"
    • Vatican II (I think): "ministry of like to like."
    • John Paul II: "Theology of the Body." Catholicism is counter-cultural. Our culture is largely dominated by an un-Catholic, even anti-Catholic understanding of the meaning and purpose of our bodily life.

Odds 'n' Ends

Reiki theraphy


The current trend of the use or participation in Reiki therapy has been raised many times in discussions with Catholics, particularly women, (like MOMS), and I thought I would send this article along because finally there is a response with some guidance from the USCCB (Most Reverend William E. Lori).

Conscience and the Catholic Voter

Reverend William E. Lori: "Conscience and the Catholic Voter."

"Brothers" in the Scriptures

The language of the Scriptures is not as technical as our own.

"Brother" does not necessarily mean "son of the same mother and father."

It can mean "close blood relative"--a cousin or nephew:

  • Genesis 13:11
  • 1 Thess 2:9
  • Lev 10:4
  • Gen 29:15
  • 1 Chr 23:21-22

I deal with this and other questions on my College website.


"The Church is not Catholic because she is spread abroad over the whole of the earth and can reckon on a large number of members. She was already Catholic on the morning of Pentecost, when all her members could be contained in a small room, as she was when the Arian waves seemed on the point of swamping her; she would still be Catholic if tomorrow apostasy on a vast scale deprived her of almost all the faithful. For fundamentally Catholicity has nothing to do with geography or statistics. If it is true that it should be displayed over all the earth and be manifest to all, yet its nature is not material but spiritual. Like sanctity, Catholicity is primarily an intrinsic feature of the Church" (DeLubac, Catholicism, 48-49).

Misreading the book of Job

  • "God won't let bad things happen to good people."
  • "We're supposed to have 'the patience of Job.'"
  • "Don't question God. Just shut up and suffer. If you ask God questions, He will get angry."



It is all one! therefore I say: Both the innocent and the wicked he destroys.


When the scourge slays suddenly, he laughs at the despair of the innocent.


The earth is given into the hands of the wicked; he covers the faces of its judges. If it is not he, who then is it?

Sacred Vessels

  • "117. Sacred vessels for containing the Body and Blood of the Lord must be made in strict conformity with the norms of tradition and of the liturgical books.[205]The Bishops’ Conferences have the faculty to decide whether it is appropriate, once their decisions have been given the recognitio by the Apostolic See, for sacred vessels to be made of other solid materials as well. It is strictly required, however, that such materials be truly noble in the common estimation within a given region,[206]so that honour will be given to the Lord by their use, and all risk of diminishing the doctrine of the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharistic species in the eyes of the faithful will be avoided. Reprobated, therefore, is any practice of using for the celebration of Mass common vessels, or others lacking in quality, or devoid of all artistic merit or which are mere containers, as also other vessels made from glass, earthenware, clay, or other materials that break easily. This norm is to be applied even as regards metals and other materials that easily rust or deteriorate" (Redemptionis Sacramentum).

Liturgical Abuses

Don't "strain the gnat and swallow the camel" ((Mt 23:24). We have to love our enemies, even if they are the priests who are engaging in liturgical abuse. The law of love must overrule the laws of the liturgy.


Preference to have priest face the table and the People

295. The sanctuary is the place where the altar stands, where the word of God is proclaimed, and where the priest, the deacon, and the other ministers exercise their offices. It should suitably be marked off from the body of the church either by its being somewhat elevated or by a particular structure and ornamentation. It should, however, be large enough to allow the Eucharist to be celebrated properly and easily seen.115

The Altar and Its Appointments

296. The altar on which the Sacrifice of the Cross is made present under sacramental signs is also the table of the Lord to which the People of God is called together to participate in the Mass, as well as the center of the thanksgiving that is accomplished through the Eucharist.

299. The altar should be built apart from the wall, in such a way that it is possible to walk around it easily and that Mass can be celebrated at it facing the people, which is desirable wherever possible. The altar should, moreover, be so placed as to be truly the center toward which the attention of the whole congregation of the faithful naturally turns.

Other resources

  • [8]--Pamphlet: "End Liturgical Abuse Now."
  • Redemptionis Sacramentum--"On Certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist" (Congregation for Divine Worship, April 23, 2004).

My affirmations

The first section is the First Principle and Foundation from St. Ignatius' Spiritual Exercises. The second part is a list of truths that I use to help me counter depression.

I was created to praise, reverence, and serve God,

our Lord, and by this means to save my soul.

All other things on the face of the earth are created

to help me attain this end.

I must use them insofar as

they help me attain my end and avoid them insofar as

they keep me from attaining my end.

I am a man of God.

I am a man of the Church.

I am full of grace.

I am a masterpiece of grace.

I am God's handiwork.

I am a child of God.

I am a son of the Father.

I am a brother of Jesus.

I am a spouse of the Holy Spirit.

I am beautiful because I am loved.

I am beautiful as I am because I am loved as I am.

I am beautiful now because I am loved now.

God loves me totally.

God loves me now.

Teachings of Vatican II

I believe and intend to teach all that the Church believes and teaches. The official teaching of the Church in our most recent council is not up in the sky somewhere, but is in the official documents of the council.

Latin title
English title
Dei Verbum Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation
Lumen Gentium Dogmatic Constitution on the Church
Sacrosanctum Concilium Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy
Gaudium et spes Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World
Gravissimum Educationis Declaration on Christian Education
Nostra aetate Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to non-Christian religions
Dignitatis humanae Declaration on Religious Freedom
Ad gentes Decree on the Mission Activity of the Church
Presbyterorum Ordinis Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests
Apostolicam actuositatem Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity
Optatam totius Decree on Priestly Training
Perfectae Caritatis Decree on the Adaptation and Renewal of Christian Life
Christus Dominus Decree Concerning the Pastoral Office of Bishops
Unitatis redintegratio Decree on Ecumenism
Orientalium ecclesiarum Decree on the Catholic Churches of the Eastern Rite
Inter mirifica Decree on the Media of Social Communications

Childish thinking:

  • If the Church were infallible, nothing in the Church would ever change.
  • Many things have changed in the Church.
  • Therefore, the Church is not infallible.

Every change made by the Council and by the pope and bishops after the Council has been a change in discipline, not in dogma.

Benedict's encyclicals

"Let those who have ears to hear, hear!"


Unanswered questions

The page of neglected questions.

Looking for a few good women

WANTED: women (a cut above the ordinary) who would like a live-in communal experience with the intent of growing spiritually. The commitment required for this form of religious life (an aggregée) is temporary but renewable. Some may find it sufficiently satisfying to remain in the community for many years; others may use their time in the community to clarify what God is doing in their life.

Sr. Joan Wagner, SSJ

(716) 759-6893, x128



Miracle Mondays

Website Details
Liturgical Calendar USCCB
carl-olson.com Carl E. Olson, Catholic apologetics
ignatius.com Ignatius Press
Obama and abortion
An Idea of a Catholic University
Works of Mercy
http://www.catholicresourcecenter.org End Liturgical Abuse Now!
Vatican website Anglican ordinariates
Salesian blog Anglican conversions

Faith and Reason Fridays

For the time being, I am scheduled for Fridays on Calling All Catholics on WLOF, The Station of the Cross (FM 101.7), 4:00 PM.

We are calling all Catholics to see how the world looks through the eyes of faith.

Blind faith (a.k.a. "fideism") is a vice, not a virtue.

God created us as intelligent beings. It's part of being in the "image and likeness" of God (Gen 1:27-18). God is not offended by our thinking about what and why we believe. On the contrary, Peter tells us we should "always be ready to give an explanation [Greek: apologos] to anyone who asks you for a reason [Greek: logos--word, logic] for your hope" (1 Pet 3:15).

Faith is a vision of reality granted to us by God-revealing-God.

Everything looks different when we see the world from the perspective of the faith.

We have good reasons for what we believe.

Teaching faith to think and reason to believe is the task of systematic theology. St. Thomas Aquinas set the pattern for the union of faith and reason in the 13th century (1225-1274 AD). In his view, a sound philosophy is the handmaid of theology, just as today mathematics is the handmaid of science. Philosophy is not theology, nor is mathematics physics, but it is impossible to do theology without a philosophy or to do physics without mathematics. If the philosophical assumptions used in theological reasoning are unsound, the theology will be unsound.

The goal is to think faithfully and believe intelligently.

I want to believe what the Church teaches and teach what the Church believes.

The purpose of Vatican II: "To strive calmly to show the strength and beauty of the doctrine of the faith" (John Paul II, Fidei Depositum).

Some Scriptural exhortations

Love the Lord your God
with all your heart,
with all your soul,
with all your mind,
and with all your strength. (Mk 12:30)

"When I was a child, I used to talk as a child, think as a child, reason as a child; when I became a man, I put aside childish things" (1 Cor 13:11).

The gifts of the Magisterium are meant to help us "live the truth in love":

"And he gave some as apostles, others as prophets, others as evangelists, others as pastors and teachers, to equip the holy ones for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of faith and knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the extent of the full stature of Christ, so that we may no longer be infants, tossed by waves and swept along by every wind of teaching arising from human trickery, from their cunning in the interests of deceitful scheming. Rather, living the truth in love, we should grow in every way into him who is the head, Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, with the proper functioning of each part, brings about the body's growth and builds itself up in love" (Eph 4:11-16).

The Year of Priests

Began on June 19, 2009. 150th anniversary of John Vianney's death was 4 August 2009.

The Prayer of Azariah.
Saying of the week.

Every Friday is a Good Friday

  • Catholics are asked to choose some religious practice to honor the day on which Jesus laid down His life for us.
  • Once upon a time, the Church made abstinence from meat a serious obligation. Now we are free to choose our own way of setting this day apart from the rest of the week.

The Lord and Giver of Life

Gifts and fruits of the Holy Spirit

The Liturgical Year

Advent and Christmas


Podcasts for CAC