Month: March 2011

We Do Indeed Need to Show Joy as Catholics

My motto — “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Michael J. Sheehan, Archbishop of Santa Fe 


Congratulations to all you lay theologians, who sent in your thoughts as to why Jesus went to be baptized by John. As Father Jean-Pierre of Caussade, a French Jesuit who died in 1751, wrote, “Theology is full of ideas and expressions explaining the marvels of his ultimate state in each soul in accordance with its capacity. If we wish to quench our thirst, we must lay aside books, which explain thirst, and take a drink.”

          I commend all of you who took a deep sip and sent in your thoughts. With the large number of replies, I had a group of five Joyful Catholics, headed by the learned John Ceccotti, select the best one to present. The one chosen was sent by Judy Beckman, an active parishioner at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Church in Toledo, Ohio. As a passionate advocate for the mentally ill, Judy is getting together a group to use their spiritual resources for those coping with mental illness and their loved ones. Here is her writing:

We have to remember context of biblical situations and try not to over spiritualize in order to dissect all the wisdom we can from our Bible study. 

At that time people, including his disciples, did not know who Jesus was. Those who witnessed his baptism received divine confirmation of his identity as son of God, which fed their faith to fully accept this belief.

          Today we are feeding our faith by hindsight of knowing all that Jesus did and Scriptures supporting his identity of being both God and man. He was fully human as well as fully divine.

          Being fully human, he had free will, just like all of us do. I believe that part of Jesus’ mission was to demonstrate how to use that free will for our best good. Even though Jesus did not need to be baptized for spiritual reasons like we do, he showed us an example of a righteous choice to begin a life of living for God. 

And what are your comments about Judy’s statement?

Other recommended Catholic blogs

Franciscanized World

Happy Catholic (UK)



Recommended readings

Kevin Wells’ new book, BURST, a Story of God’s Grace When a Life Falls Apart, is a powerful story of his life and suffering when stricken with a life-threatening brain hemorrhage. The many endorsers of the book include Cardinal Donald Wuerl, Archbishop of Washington.

          Beginning with Kevin’s grandfather, I have been fortunate in knowing the Wells family for many years. They are a splendid Catholic clan, and Kevin is a talented writer in getting across his inspirational story. 

Reasons to be joyful 

If the Republicans had won the last presidential election, we would now be initiating a third losing war. (McCain advocates military intervention in Libya.)

And Sarah Palin would be a heart-beat away from the presidency.


Last week, the winner of the autographed copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholic is Kathleen Riley in Bangor, ME. Here are the answers:

  1. Including Sundays, there are 46 days in Lent.
  2. The two people who appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration were Moses and Elijah.
  3. The biblical saint who died and was buried twice was Lazarus.

We do indeed need to show joy as Catholics.

 “Be happily and uncomplicatedly Catholic.”

Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of Santa Fe

News Flashes

A Christian village in the Philippines province of Mindanao has been torched by a small Islamic rebel group. Although there were no reported casualties, dozens of families were routed from their homes.                                                   

Milwaukee became the eighth U.S. diocese to declare bankruptcy because of lawsuits and expenses related to sexually molesting of children. Archbishop Dolan did an excellent job in proving false the stupid statement of tort lawyer Jeff Anderson who claimed the Archbishop had hidden $130 million of archdiocesan funds.

A bishop in England has challenged the idea that the Virgin Mary intercedes for the faithful, and suggested that two Marian dogmas were influenced by political considerations.

(Comment: Doesn’t he realize that 99 and 9/10% of our devotion to Mary is from revelations, apparitions and visions?)


Pope Benedict XVI socked it to the Middle Eastern governments with this message: “I would like to state once again that the right to religious freedom is not fully respected when only freedom of worship is guaranteed, and that with restrictions. Abstract proclamation of religious freedom is insufficient: this fundamental rule of social life must find application and respect at every level and in all areas; otherwise despite correct affirmations of principle, there is a risk that deep injustice will be done to the citizens wishing to profess and freely practice their faith.”


My favorite priest, layperson, breathing saint or organization

 I admire Father Matthew Ruhl, S.J., who is the pastor of St. Francis Xavier Church in Kansas City.  As an avid biker, he formed a group who rode 5,052 miles from Cape Flattery, Wash., to Key West, Florida, to promote Catholic Charities USA’s Campaign to Reduce Poverty. I met him when he and his bikers stopped en route in Denver, and the man exudes the joyful faith of our religion. What a splendid example he is for all of us!

                                           Madeline Evans, Denver

(Now, tell me about your favorite Catholic priest, layperson or organization that is making a difference

 Interesting Sayings

– Evil does not exist or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.
                                                    Albert Einstein

– Sir Anthony Hopkins, the actor who was knighted in 1993, told the UK Catholic Herald this week that he couldn’t live with the certainty of being an atheist. He said: “Being an atheist must be like living in a closed cell with no windows.  I’d hate to live like that, wouldn’t you? We see them, mind you, on television today.”

Don’t worry about your heart. It will last as long as you live.-W.C. Fields


–         The author Barbara Elrenreich got a kick out of describing Jesus as a wine-guzzling vagrant. I wonder is she has the guts to call Moses a foundling who betrayed his loving foster parents, became a murderer and then was a poor guide who led his people for 40 years before reaching his destination. If she did, Jewish organizations would have her hide.

Roger Zowinski, Miami, FL


–         Regarding your writing about St. Joseph, as a father I find Joseph’s faith amazing. I may go into uncertain situations with a faltering faith but Joseph, not him. He went into a situation with Mary that would have shaken a man like me. I pray that God makes me a father and husband like Joseph.

       (not signed)

–         Those who relish schadenfreude should enlist in the militant Muslin forces.

                                         Dr. Roger Duckworth 

Chuckle Time

The usher tries to discourage an elderly woman from sitting in the front of the church by saying, “The pastor really gives a lousy sermon.”

She says, “Do you know who I am?
“No,” he replies.

“I’ll have you know I am the pastor’s mother.”

The usher then asks, “Do you know who I am?
“No” is her answer.

Then he breathes deeply and says. “Good.”        


Special Intentions List

As you pray with a broad brush, please include these loved ones, who have been submitted by our readers. You, too, are invited to send me names of your special persons who are in need of prayer.  My address is They will be on the list for 60 days. At the end of that time, if prayers are still needed, you merely have to renew the name.


 Juanita Caldwell, Isola Todd, David Abbey, Linwood “Skip” Williams, Roseanne Somlock, Nicholas Gallagher, Tom Lewis, Donald Whitcomb, Violeta Zepeda, John Aylor, Rev. Joseph Marini, Enrique Portillo,

 Sharon McPike, Tom Ryan, Joseph Normile, Jim Quimby, Russell Edwards,    

Rev. Stephen Huffstetter, Hugh Cannon, Eric Moore, Joan Barrett, 8-year-old Michael Fotta and his parents, Lolita Alvarez, Camilus Musselman,

 Ed Block, Isobel Milligan, Peter Bartkiewiez and his family,

 Joe Toles, Bob Earll, Camilus Musselman,   Ed Cole, Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Jay Parker, William Stephenson, Roger Stoven, Bob Abbott, Denny Kline, Lois Pinkin, Larry Mannino, Cheryl DeSantis, Lenore Sommers

Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, Laura Marsh, the cholera victims in Haiti, those in refugee camps throughout the world.

I pray that this event never happens, but, don’t kid yourself, it might and could occur.  Don’t let us Americans think we are immune from the horrid acts of militant Muslims. What happened in Alexandria, Egypt, during a Christmas Mass and at the Moscow airport in January 24 can take place tomorrow in New York or any other American city.  As Abraham Lincoln said when warned about a possible assassin, “If a man wants to give up his life in order to take mine, nothing can prevent his doing so.”

          If you were a booker placing bets, what would you say are the odds that we “secure” Americans will be the next target? And why not?   These savage barbarian Muslims hate us because we uphold our Judo-Christian religions, we are closely allied with Israel, and we believe in freedom of thought and behavior. 

          So far, we have been extremely lucky in that past attempts to kill us have failed because of flukes (the bomb in NY’s Time Square that failed to explode, etc.).  But our good luck won’t last forever.

          On February 17, although he said he regretted the many attacks on Christians in his country, Habeeb Mohmmed Hadi ali Al-Sadr, Iraq’s ambassador to the Holy See, said the importance of these event has been magnified by “the media and international organizations.” He also said that in the total essence of the Islamic faith “to kill a soul for no reason is to kill the whole of humanity.” This sounds good except for the phrase “for no reason.” The Muslin terrorists’ reason for killing us Christians is to rid the world of the infidels and to assure a place in paradise for those involved in these murderous attacks.  By contrast, Father Maurice Zundel, the famed Swiss mystic who died in 1975, wrote: “Jesus is Catholic because he embraces all of humanity, and it we become his disciples we also must embrace all of humanity.”

          From an editorial in America magazine: “The plight of Christians abroad demands a vigorous response from church communities in the United States. Catholics and mainline Protestants must tackle these problems with as much organized effort as do evangelicals and Jews. The old tools of denunciation of abuses and of cooperation with moderate religious leaders, though necessary, have proved too weak to hold back the advancing tide of intolerance. They should be supplemented by new strategies for mobilizing both elite and popular opinion.”

I want the above fictitious news story (1) to make us more aware of and concerned about the Christophobia that exists in other parts of the world, especially in the Middle East where we Christians are now only 2% of the population. (2) We must have empathy for and pray for those who are enduring hardships and death in order to be Christians. (3) Lastly, as Joyful Catholics, let us appreciate our great fortune of being able openly to practice and demonstrate our religion.

God, please forgive America for its sins and protect us from our enemies.

(And let me have your thoughts about this:

Other recommended Catholic blogs 

The American Catholic

The Deacon’s Bench

Quantum Theology


Recommended readings

Some Thoughts on God and his creatures” in the February

                                                 Homiletic & Pastoral Review

“The Value of Nonprofits” in America, February 7.

“Cruel & Unusual” in Commonweal, January 28


 The first to send the right answers to will receive a gift copy of Light Reading for Good and Wayward Catholics.

1.     Including Sundays, how many days are there in Lent? 

2.     What two people appeared to Jesus on the Mount of Transfiguration?

3.  What biblical saint died and was buried twice? 

Those Frigging Militant Muslims

In Afghanistan, Mr. Musa, a 45 year old Red Cross worker and physiotherapist who lost a leg from a land mine accident in the 1990s, is to be hung because he converted to Christianity. By reason of his Catholic faith, he has been imprisoned for eight months, where he was tortured and sexually raped by inmates and guards. Because of death threats, no lawyer will defend him.