Wednesday, June 30, 2010

L’Osservatore Romano suggests soccer was invented by Paraguayan Indians

.- Amidst the enthusiasm over the World Cup Soccer tournament, L’Osservatore Romano published an article this week arguing that the Guarani Indians of Paraguay were the inventors of the game.

In an article titled, “The Guarani Invented Soccer,” reporter Gianpaolo Romanato asserted that soccer was born in the 17th century in the region known today as Paraguay. His source for the claim is an account by a Spanish Jesuit priest, Jose Manuel Peramas, who lived for several years at the St. Ignatius of Mini mission south of Asuncion, which was one of the 30 native missions established by the Jesuits in colonial Paraguay.
Father Peramas described the pastimes enjoyed by the Guarani in his 1793 book, “De vita et moribus tredecim virorum paraguaycorum” (Of the life and death of the 13 men of Paraguay).

“They often played with a ball that, although it was made completely of rubber, was so light and quick that instead of them hitting it, it bounced around without stopping, driven by its own weight. They did not throw the ball with their hands like we do, but rather they kicked it with the upper part of their bare feet, passing it and trapping it with great agility and precision,” the priest wrote.

“Three centuries ago the Guarani were surely masters of the ball. They are truly the descendents of the real inventors of soccer,” L’Osservatore Romano reported, although many British soccer enthusiasts would be quick to dispute such a claim.

I Like Your Chair

A young girl stands next to Pope Benedict XVI during a solemn mass to celebrate the feast of Saints Peter and Paul in Saint Peter's Basilica at the Vatican June 29, 2010.
H/O -

Pope gives palliums to 38 new archbishops

The Mass held on Tuesday is one of the Vatican's most symbolic ceremonies; it celebrates the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, the patron saints of the Church. Arnolfo di Cambio's ancient bronze statue of Saint Peter is decorated for the mass; it's adorned with papal ornaments, the miter and the ring of the fisherman.

The pope also gathers the metropolitan archbishops named during the previous year to give each a pallium.  The pallium is a white woolen band with six black crosses and symbolizes the bishop's unity with the pope.

A gesture increases the symbolism of the pallium: each is placed over the Apostle Saint Peter's tomb and are solemnly taken to the pope at the beginning of Mass.

Benedict XVI repeated that the most damaging persecutions the Church can suffer are those that come from within.


After celebrating the solemn feast day of Sts. Peter and Paul, the Church gives us today a feast in honor of all the early martyrs of the Roman Church. They were victims of the Emperor Nero who blamed Christians for a fire that destroyed most of the city of Rome in the year 64. In honoring these early martyrs we can’t help thinking about their gruesome deaths. Some were crucified and others were painted in tar and then set afire to serve as street lamps to illumine the night. In some cases they were taken to the Coliseum to entertain the Roman populace. Children were dressed in animal skins and told to pretend they were rabbits and dogs. Then they were taken into the arena where lions were set loose on them. It was so gruesome that some of the audience turned away in disgust. We may think that almost two thousand years later humanity is much more civilized. Yet even today humans have concocted all sorts of terrible ways to torture and to kill one another. Isn’t partial birth abortion and the others methods for killing babies in the womb just as gruesome as what happened in the time of Nero?

We pray now for Pope Benedict’s General Intention—that every institution may strive to guarantee respect for life—as we reflect on his words to government officials in Austria during his 2007 visit there.

It was in Europe that the notion of human rights was first formulated. The fundamental human right, the presupposition of every other right, is the right to life itself. This is true of life from the moment of conception until its natural end. Abortion, consequently, cannot be a human right – it is the very opposite. It is “a deep wound in society”, as the late Cardinal Franz König never tired of repeating.

In stating this, I am not expressing a specifically ecclesial concern. Rather, I wish to act as an advocate for a profoundly human need, speaking out on behalf of those unborn children who have no voice. In doing so, I do not close my eyes to the difficulties and the conflicts which many women are experiencing, and I realize that the credibility of what we say also depends on what the Church herself is doing to help women in trouble.

In this context, then, I appeal to political leaders not to allow children to be considered as a form of illness, nor to abolish in practice your legal system’s acknowledgment that abortion is wrong. I say this out of a concern for humanity. 

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Welcome to Hell

On the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul Pope creates a Pontifical Council

On the eve of the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, Benedict XVI has announced the formation of a  Vatican department dedicated to the new evangelization of Europe and America.

The technical name of the dicastery is the Pontifical Council for New Evangelization of the West.  Announced during a ceremony in the Basilica of St. Paul outside the Walls, the department will be dedicated to bringing Christian faith to places where the concept of God has been overshadowed.

The first president of the department could  be Archbishop Salvatore Fisichella, the current rector of the Lateran University of Rome and president of the Pontifical Academy for Life. READ MORE

2010 FIFA World Cup - Round of 16 - Upcoming Matched June 29

Paraguayvs.Japan-29 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Spainvs.Portugal-29 Jun 2:30pm (AST)


Last year in his homily for this feast Pope Benedict talked about a phrase that appears in the First Letter of St. Peter and also in the traditional formula for the Morning Offering—“salvation of souls.” This is the reason Christ came and it is the work he has entrusted to his Body, the Church. As we renew our offering today, let us reflect on the Holy Father’s words.

I would like to point out another small but important statement of St Peter. Right at the beginning of his Letter he tells us that the goal of our faith is the salvation of souls (cf. 1: 9). In the world of language and thought of the Christianity of today this is a strange, and for some, perhaps even shocking assertion. The word "soul" had fallen into discredit. It is said that this could lead to a division of man into spiritual and physical, body and soul, whereas in reality he would be an indivisible unit. In addition, "the salvation of souls" as a goal of faith seems to indicate an individualistic Christianity, a loss of responsibility for the world overall, in its corporeity and in its materiality. Yet none of this is found in St Peter's Letter. Zeal for the witness in favour of hope and responsibility for others characterizes the entire text. To understand what he says on the salvation of souls as a destination of faith, we must start from another angle. It remains true that the lack of care for souls, the impoverishment of the inner man, not only destroys the individual but threatens the destiny of humanity overall. Without the healing of souls, without the healing of man from within there can be no salvation for humanity. To our surprise, St Peter describes the true ailment of souls as ignorance, that is, not knowing God. Those who are not acquainted with God, or at least do not seek him sincerely, are left outside true life (cf. 1 Pt 1: 14). Yet another word from the Letter could be useful to understand better the formula "salvation of souls". "Purify your souls by obedience to the truth" (cf. 1: 22). It is obedience to the truth that purifies the soul and it is coexistence with falsehood that pollutes it. Obedience to the truth begins with the small truths of daily life that can often be demanding and painful. This obedience then extends to obedience without reservations before the Truth itself that is Christ. This obedience not only purifies us but above all also frees us for service to Christ and thus for the salvation of the world, which nevertheless always begins with the obedient purification of one's own soul through the truth. We may point out the way towards the truth only if by obedience and patience we let ourselves be purified by the truth.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Pope Benedict XVI snubs the BBC

So keen was Mark Thompson, the BBC's director-general, for Pope Benedict XVI to appear on Radio 4's Thought for the Day that he made a personal approach to the Vatican.

Sadly, Mandrake hears that the efforts of the Jesuit-educated Roman Catholic have come to naught.

"The Pope has not taken up the corporation's offer," announces The Tablet, whose editor, Catherine Pepinster, is a regular contributor to the three-minute religious slot on the Today programme.

Thompson had hoped to time the broadcast to coincide with the Pontiff's visit in September.

Mark Damazer, the Radio 4 controller, left the negotiations to his boss. He said: "I think Mark Thompson is better qualified than me on two grounds: being director-general, and his religion."

The slot is pre-recorded, meaning that the Pope would not have had to make an early morning visit to the Today studios. It is open to speakers of all faiths. The Archbishop of Canterbury delivers a message at least once a year. READ MORE

Embrace Life - Always wear your seatbelt.

How do we get people to use their seat belts? Blood and gore is one approach. A full explanation of the risks with supporting statistics is another. Then there is this approach from the UK:


Women Deliver

Women Deliver is a global advocacy organization bringing together voices from around the world to call for action against maternal death.


Launched at a groundbreaking conference in 2007, Women Deliver works globally to generate political commitment and financial investment for fulfilling Millennium Development Goal #5 — to reduce maternal mortality and achieve universal access to reproductive health. The initiative builds on commitments, partnerships, and networks mobilized at the conference, fighting to end the deluge of preventable deaths that kill between 350,000 - 500,000 girls and women from pregnancy-related causes every year. Women Deliver’s message is that maternal health is both a human right and a practical necessity for sustainable development.

Check out their website:

Holy See Proposes How to Reduce Maternal Mortality

Little Flower Relics Arrive in South Africa

( The Catholic community of the Archdiocese of Johannesburg welcomed the relics of St Thérèse of Lisieux today, marking the first time the saint's relics have visited the country.The relics will tour the country for three months, traveling throughout South Africa to destinations including Tzaneen, Aliwal North, Queenstown, Kokstad, Umzumkulu, Mariannhill, Durban and Cape Town.

The first stop for the relics is the Carmelite Convent in Benoni, where priests of the archdiocese, the Carmelite sisters and the Catholic Order of the Knights of da Gama were present for the welcoming ceremony, reported the CISA news agency.

The relics will remain in the convent chapel until Monday.

Father Vusi Sokhela, who initiated the visit after a chance visit to his parish of a French follower of St Therese’s Little Way, told CISA that he hopes that St. Thérèse, who died at 24, "will be a role model for the youth, especially, since we have no South African saints of our own. Maybe one day as a result of this visit the relics of a South African saint will tour France."

South Africa is also hosting simultaneously the World Cup soccer tournament, which ends July 11.

Beginning mid-September, the relics of St. Thérèse toured England and Wales for 28 days. The Diocese of Westminster reported that some 286,650 pilgrims visited the relics during that time.

Priests as seen by Italian cinema

The cinema has used the image of a Catholic priest on numerous occasions throughout history.  Now a photographic exhibit brings together priests in Italian cinema, from the years of silent movies to the present.

The exhibit is called “Priests in the cinema: how they are perceived in the movies.” It has one hundred photographs and can be seen at the Pontifical Lateran University.

Msgr. Dario Edoardo Viganó
President of Foundation “Ente dello Spettacolo” (Italy)

“The exposition was created with the motive of the Year for Priests. It serves to show how the priest in Italy is a figure deeply involved in people's lives. Although there are different representations of priests here, all present priests as people who give themselves to others.”

In the inauguration the rector of the university highlighted the power of film as a promoter of culture and the value of the priest for society.

Msgr. Rino Fisichella
Rector Pontifical Lateran University

“In a time like ours the cinema has a very important function: to show the world a positive image of the priest.”

The Italian film director, Alessandro D'Alatri, also attended the inauguration. In his opinion this exhibit highlights the role of priests as witnesses of their time.

Alessandro D'Alatri
Film Director (Italy)

“A quote from Pope Paul VI said that the time has passed for teachers and the time for witnesses has begun. For everyone, but above all for priests. It is their duty to give testimony because society needs it.”

It's an exhibit which is also a journey through Western history showing the changes of society through the priest and his image on the big screen.

2010 FIFA Worldcup Upcoming Matches - June 28, 2010

Netherlandsvs.Slovakia-28 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Brazilvs.Chile-28 Jun 2:30pm (AST)


Today’s saint was born in Asia Minor and was a third generation Christian. He studied in Rome and went to France as a missionary, becoming the Bishop of Lyons where he gave his life in witness to the faith that had been handed down to him from the Apostles. Let us pray today for the Churches of Asia, that they may communicate this faith that goes back to the Apostles and give joyful witness to it. May we, with them, be united with the Holy Father as we reflect on his words about St. Irenaeus in his General Audience of March 28, 2007.

Irenaeus was first and foremost a man of faith and a Pastor. Like a good Pastor, he had a good sense of proportion, a wealth of doctrine, and missionary enthusiasm. As a writer, he pursued a twofold aim: to defend true doctrine from the attacks of heretics, and to explain the truth of the faith clearly. …

In fact, the Gospel preached by Irenaeus is the one he was taught by Polycarp, Bishop of Smyrna, and Polycarp's Gospel dates back to the Apostle John, whose disciple Polycarp was. The true teaching, therefore, is not that invented by intellectuals which goes beyond the Church's simple faith. The true Gospel is the one imparted by the Bishops who received it in an uninterrupted line from the Apostles. They taught nothing except this simple faith, which is also the true depth of God's revelation. Thus, Irenaeus tells us, there is no secret doctrine concealed in the Church's common Creed. There is no superior Christianity for intellectuals. The faith publicly confessed by the Church is the common faith of all. This faith alone is apostolic, it is handed down from the Apostles, that is, from Jesus and from God. In adhering to this faith, publicly transmitted by the Apostles to their successors, Christians must observe what their Bishops say and must give special consideration to the teaching of the Church of Rome, pre-eminent and very ancient. It is because of her antiquity that this Church has the greatest apostolicity; in fact, she originated in Peter and Paul, pillars of the Apostolic College. All Churches must agree with the Church of Rome, recognizing in her the measure of the true Apostolic Tradition, the Church's one common faith.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Belgian bishops denounce confiscation of confidential documents on sexual abuse victims

Belgian police raided the headquarters of the Episcopal Conference of Belgium to clear up if the bishops had “systematically” hid cases of sexual abuse committed by clergy.
During nine hours investigators and police officers searched records, computers and cell phones and interrogated all bishops and personnel who worked there.

The Episcopal Conference expressed their full cooperation with authorities and their “faith in justice”.

But they regret that police took documents the Church Commission on abuse received from victims who came forward.

Those records include stories from many victims who have chosen not to report to authorities and who want to remain anonymous.

For this reason, the president of the Church Commission on sexual abuse, Peter Adriaenssens, denounced the confiscation of the documents.

The Commission believes it is a new kind of abuse for these victims, a violation of their rights and an obstacle in their path to reconciliation and compensation.

The Vatican Secretary of State also condemned this “infraction against confidentiality”,  a right which all victims have.

The Upcoming FIFA Matches June 26

Uruguayvs.South Korea-26 Jun 10:00am (AST)
United Statesvs.Ghana-26 Jun 2:30pm (AST)


Though not in the universal calendar of the Church, we remember today’s saint because of his work to help lay people become holy in the midst of their daily lives in the world. In 1928 Fr. Escriva founded an organization to advance this mission and called it “Opus Dei” or “The Work of God.” When he died it consisted of 60,000 members of 80 different nationalities. Let us renew our own daily offering—the way in which we live out our priestly identity by which we worship God, making an offering of our lives—as we reflect on part of a homily given last year by Bishop Joseph Finn of Kansas City – St. Joseph.

Let us reflect a bit on a special insight that Saint Josemaría had: namely, that all the faithful have priestly souls. One does not have to be ordained or consecrated to have a priestly soul. Remember the words of St. Peter in his First Letter: “You, however, are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a purchased people; that you may proclaim the perfections of him who has called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” (I Peter 2:9). …

This priestly soul is given in the sacrament of Baptism, which configures the new Christian to Christ the King, Prophet, and Priest. It is animated by supernatural grace, in such way that the lay faithful have the capacity – when they are in the state of sanctifying grace - to connect the free offering of their lives with that of Christ the High Priest, and offer to God the pleasing sacrifice of their prayer, their work, and their sufferings---in union with Jesus on the altar and on Calvary. When the baptized live with Christ’s life and act out of a motive of love for Christ their actions are ‘meritorious’ – helpful to their salvation and that of others. They are –amazing as it may seem – true participants in the very work of redemption. …

They are called for nothing less than the transformation of the world in Jesus Christ. They are not only called but given the capacity to offer their work for the redemption of the world, as true co-redeemers with Christ for the salvation of the world. … These are all aspects of the priestly soul that the lay faithful should have, Saint Josemaria taught, without losing their lay mentality - since they are ordinary citizens working in the world, and living with their families, with all the responsibilities that this entails. In addition to a life of prayer and sacrifice, they are also called to be the light of the world (cf. Mt 5:14), by bearing witness to the truth revealed by Christ about human life, sexual morality, care for others, honesty, and so many other truths which are crucial to our society today. Oh how we need such engaged faithful dedicated to the holy work of changing the culture from the inside out!

Friday, June 25, 2010

A statue of Saint Hannibal Mary di Francia outside St. Peter's Basilica

A statue of the founder of the Rogationist Fathers and the Daughters of the Divine Zeal St. Hannibal Mary di Francia has come to the Vatican.

Workers needed close to four hours to situate the statue outside of St. Peter's Basilica.

The sculpture was carved out of marble by Italian artist Giuseppe Ducrot and measures five meters high. The Pope will bless the statue on July 7.

The Italian St. Hannibal Mary di Francia is considered the father of orphans and the poor. He's also seen as a pioneer of modern ways to find religious calling.

Protests arise over building's denial of a tribute to Mother Teresa

NEW YORK (CNS) -- Brushing off calls from political leaders and others to reconsider, the Empire State Building management stood by its decision to deny a request that the building pay tribute to Blessed Mother Teresa with a lighting display on the 100th anniversary of her birth Aug. 26. A protest outside the iconic Manhattan building will be held instead, led by William A. Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights. The U.S. Postal Service is scheduled to issue a commemorative stamp bearing Mother Teresa's image the same day. Mother Teresa, who was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1979, died Sept. 5, 1997. Pope John Paul II beatified her in 2003. Donohue submitted a request in February that the building be lit to honor Mother Teresa with blue and white lights, the colors of the habits of the Missionaries of Charity. She founded the order in Calcutta, India. In a June 11 statement, building owner Anthony Malkin said his decision not to light the building is "final and irrevocable." Donohue said June 14, "If he thinks that I'm the only one taking exception to his decision to stiff Mother Teresa, then let him try taking a stroll down 34th Street on the evening of August 26."

Pray for the Flood Victims of Brazil

Let us entrust the victims to the mercy of God and praying for consolation and support for their families, the wounded, and those who have lost their possessions.

An aerial view of a flooded area of Barreiros city, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco June 23, 2010. Torrents of flood water devastated towns and villages in northeastern Brazil, killing at least 42 people and leaving more than 600 missing, emergency officials said on Tuesday. Days of heavy rain in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco flooded towns, burst a river dam, and left more than 40,000 people without shelter, state officials said.
An aerial view of a flooded area of Barreiros city, in the northeastern state of Pernambuco June 23, 2010. Torrents of flood water devastated towns and villages in northeastern Brazil, killing at least 42 people and leaving more than 600 missing, emergency officials said on Tuesday. Days of heavy rain in the states of Alagoas and Pernambuco flooded towns, burst a river dam, and left more than 40,000 people without shelter, state officials said.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse…

Pope blesses 9-meter high 'Madonnina' from one of Rome's hills

Benedict XVI visited the Don Orione Center of the Roman neighborhood Monte Mario to bless the restored statue that collapsed last October during a heavy storm.

The 'Madonnina' is 9 meters high but sits on a pedestal of 19 meters.

Benedict XVI
“Shall the 'Madonnina'- as Romans like to call her- watch from up high the places of Rome's family life, civil and religious, protect families and inspires good things.”

The statue was put up in 1953 in accord with a popular vow. During World War II, the Romans promised to put her up if the bombs did not destroy the Eternal City.

Benedict XVI
“The Orionini wanted it to be big and that it was up high, to pay homage to the holiness of the Mother of God.”
The statue is the work of Jewish sculptor Arrigo Minerbi, who had to hide during racial persecution.

Holy Father receives 20,000 text messages of support

After Pope Benedict XVI’s general audience Wednesday, he received 20,000 text messages.

The inspirational message influx was part of an initiative by “In His Image,” a television program on Italy’s RAI television network. The initiative was begun on May 16 to show support for the Pope.

The texts were printed for the Holy Father — 2,300 pages! — along with a reflection written by the president of the Italian Bishops’ Conference, Cardinal Angelo Bagnasco.

Update: The number to send messages has been listed as (+39) 335-18-63-091.

2010 FIFA World Cup - Upcoming Matches for June 24

North Koreavs.Côte d’Ivoire-25 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Portugalvs.Brazil-25 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Chilevs.Spain-25 Jun 2:30pm (AST)
Switzerlandvs.Honduras-25 Jun 2:30pm (AST)

The Korean War

Daily Reading & Meditation Friday (June 25):

"Lord, if you will, you can make me clean" 

Scripture:  Matthew 8:1-4
1 When he came down from the mountain, great crowds followed him; 2 and behold, a leper came to him and knelt before him, saying, "Lord, if you will, you can make me clean."  3 And he stretched out his hand and touched him, saying, "I will; be clean." And immediately his leprosy was cleansed.  4 And Jesus said to him, "See that you say nothing to any one; but go, show yourself to the priest, and offer the gift that Moses commanded, for a proof to the people." 


Some eleven centuries later, a man named Francis met a leper on the road as he journeyed towards Assisi. “Though the leper caused him no small disgust and horror, he nonetheless, got off the horse and prepared to kiss the leper. But when the leper put out his hand as though to receive something, he received money along with a kiss” (from the Life of St. Francis by Thomas of Celano). Francis did what seemed humanly impossible because he was filled with the love and compassion of Jesus Christ. The Holy Spirit inflames our hearts with the fire of Christ's love that we may reach out to others with compassionate care, especially to those who have been rejected, mistreated, and left utterly alone. Do you allow the Holy Spirit to fill your heart with the love and compassion of Christ for others? 

“May the power of your love, Lord Christ, fiery and sweet as honey, so absorb our hearts as to withdraw them from all that is under heaven. Grant that we may be ready to die for love of your love, as you died for love of our love."  (Prayer of Francis of Assisi, 13th century)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Benedict XVI says believing in God is logical and reasonable

For the third week in a row, Benedict XVI dedicated his general audience to St. Thomas Aquinas.  The Pope cited Thomas' work as a source of profound theological truths.

Benedict XVI
“Thomas illustrates the working of divine grace, which perfects our natural gifts and enables us, through the practice of the virtues and the gifts of the Holy Spirit, to attain the eternal happiness for which we were created.”

The Pope went on to say that for those who object to faith because it does not “enter in the experience of the senses,” St. Thomas argues that “human intelligence is limited and cannot know everything.”

Benedict XVI
“The Summa Theologiae, his masterpiece, reflects Thomas' serene confidence in the harmony of faith and reason, and in the ability of reason, enlightened by faith, to come to an understanding of God and his saving plan.”

Benedict XVI said that Thomas' work “stresses the importance of the seven sacraments,” and that his writing and preaching present theological teaching in a “clear and simple way.”

The worst-dressed priests in the world

Bad taste has even invaded vestries.  This blog has the proof—it shows some of the most daring and ugliest-dressed priests in the world.

Some outfits are simply out-of-style while others could appear in modern- or- surrealist art museums, with designs ranging from the abstract to the absurdly colored.

The blog also has a vote going for the worst-dressed of 2009-10, but the period for registering your vote is coming to a close.

Determining a winner won't be easy, as there's plenty of competition for who is the world's worst-dressed priest.

Moments Of Love From Team USA

Group Pile Hug


Triple Hug

 Goalie Head Hug

The FIFA World Cup Matches for June 24, 2010

Paraguayvs.New Zealand-24 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Slovakiavs.Italy-24 Jun 10:00am (AST)
Cameroonvs.Netherlands-24 Jun 2:30pm (AST)
Denmarkvs.Japan-24 Jun 2:30pm (AST)