Friday, November 30, 2007

Spe Salvi - The Overview

Benedict XVI's second Encyclical, "Spe Salvi" which is dedicated to the theme of Christian hope, was published today. The document - which has an introduction and eight chapters - begins with a quote from the Letter of St. Paul to the Romans: "spe salvi facti sumus" (in hope we are saved).

The chapter titles are as follows: "1. Faith is Hope; 2. The concept of faith-based hope in the New Testament and the early Church; 3. Eternal life - what is it?; 4. Is Christian hope individualistic?; 5. The transformation of Christian faith-hope in the modern age; 6. The true shape of Christian hope; 7. 'Settings' for learning and practicing hope: i) Prayer as a school of hope, ii) Action and suffering as settings for learning hope, iii) Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope; 8. Mary, Star of Hope."

The Holy Father explains in his Introduction that "according to the Christian faith, 'redemption' - salvation - is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey."

Hence, "a distinguishing mark of Christians" is "the fact that they have a future: ... they know ... that their life will not end in emptiness. ... The Gospel is not merely a communication of things that can be known - it is one that makes things happen and is life-changing. The dark door of time, of the future, has been thrown open. The one who has hope lives differently; the one who hopes has been granted the gift of a new life."

"To come to know God - the true God - means to receive hope." This was well understood by the early Christians, such as the Ephesians who before encountering Christ had many gods but "were without hope." The problem faced by Christians of long standing, the Holy Father says, is that they "have grown accustomed to, ... have almost ceased to notice that we possess the hope that ensues from a real encounter with this God."

The Pope recalls that Jesus "did not bring a message of social revolution" like Spartacus, and that "he was not engaged in a fight for political liberation like Barabbas of Bar-Kochba." He brought "something totally different: ... an encounter with the living God, ... an encounter with a hope stronger than the sufferings of slavery, a hope which therefore transformed life and the world from within, ... even if external structures remained unaltered."

Christ makes us truly free. "We are not slaves of the universe" or of "the laws of matter and of evolution." We are free because "heaven is not empty," because the Lord of the universe is God "Who in Jesus has revealed Himself as Love."

Christ is the "true philosopher" Who "tells us who man truly is and what a man must do in order to be truly human." He shows us "the way beyond death; only someone able to do this is a true teacher of life." He offers us a hope that is, at one and the same time, expectation and presence because "the fact that this future exists changes the present."

The Pope remarks that "perhaps many people reject the faith today simply because they do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. ... The present-day crisis of faith," he continues, "is essentially a crisis of Christian hope. ... The restoration of the lost Paradise is no longer expected from faith," but from technical and scientific progress whence, it its believed, the "kingdom of man" will emerge. Hope thus becomes "faith in progress" founded on two pillars: reason and freedom which "seem to guarantee by themselves, by virtue of their intrinsic goodness, a new and perfect human community."

The Pope mentions "two essential stages in the political realization of this hope:" the French and the Marxist Revolutions. Faced with the French Revolution, "the Europe of the Enlightenment ... had cause to reflect anew on reason and freedom," while the proletarian revolution left behind "a trail of appalling destruction." Marx's fundamental error was that "he forgot man and he forgot man's freedom. ... He thought that once the economy had been put right, everything would automatically be put right. His real error is materialism. ... Let us put it very simply: man needs God, otherwise he remains without hope. ... Man can never be redeemed simply" by an external structure, "man is redeemed by love," an unconditional, absolute love: "Man's great, true hope which holds firm in spite of all disappointments can only be God - God Who has loved us and continues to love us to the end."

The Pope then identifies four "settings" for learning and practicing hope. The first of these is prayer. "When no one listens to me any more, God still listens to me. ... When there is no longer anyone to help me, ... He can help me."

Alongside prayer is action: "Hope in a Christian sense is always hope for others as well. It is an active hope, in which we struggle ... towards a brighter and more humane world." Yet only if I know that "my own life and history in general ... are held firm by the indestructible power of Love" can "I always continue to hope."

Suffering is another of the "settings" for learning hope. "Certainly we must do whatever we can to reduce suffering," however "it is not by sidestepping or fleeing from suffering that we are healed, but rather by our capacity for accepting it, maturing through it and finding meaning through union with Christ, Who suffered with infinite love." Another fundamental aspect is to suffer with others and for others. "A society unable to accept its suffering members ... is a cruel and inhuman society," he writes.

Finally, another setting for learning hope is the Judgement of God. "There is a resurrection of the flesh. There is justice. There is an 'undoing' of past suffering, a reparation that sets things aright." The Pope writes of his conviction "that the question of justice constitutes the essential argument, or in any case the strongest argument, in favor of faith in eternal life." It is, indeed, impossible "that the injustice of history should be the final word. ... God is justice and creates justice. ... And in His justice there is also grace. ... Grace does not cancel out justice. ... Evildoers, in the end, do not sit at table at the eternal banquet beside their victims without distinction, as though nothing had happened."

VIS

Cottier and Vanhoye On Spe Salvi

In the Holy See Press Office this morning, Cardinals Georges Marie Martin Cottier O.P., pro-theologian emeritus of the Pontifical Household, and Albert Vanhoye S.J., professor emeritus of New Testament exegesis at the Pontifical Biblical Institute, presented the Encyclical of Benedict XVI, "Spe salvi," on the theme of Christian hope.

In his talk, Cardinal Cottier explained how "Christian hope has been subject to ever-harsher criticisms" to the effect that "it is pure individualism: by abandoning the world to its misery, Christians allegedly take refuge in an eternal salvation which is exclusive and private."

"A question remains," said the cardinal, "a question that cannot be eluded: how did the idea arise that, with Christianity, the quest for salvation became a selfish quest that refuses service to others?"

New problems "have a vital impact on the modern crisis of Christian faith and hope," and there emerges "a new form of hope which is called 'faith in progress' oriented towards a new world, the world of the 'kingdom of man'."

"Faith in progress," the cardinal explained "has become the ever more dominant conviction of modernity, and two categories are becoming increasingly central to the idea of progress: reason and freedom." Thus, he went on, "reason is considered as a power of good and for good," and progress, having "overcome all forms of dependency," is "moving towards perfect freedom. In this perspective freedom appears as a promise for the full realization of man."

After highlighting the "crisis of Christian hope in modern culture, and its replacement with faith in progress," Cardinal Cottier identified a "question that returns insistently: what may we hope?" In this context he indicated that "sections 22 and 23 of the document are of vital importance. They explain to us the essential objective of the Encyclical from both a pastoral and a cultural standpoint."

For his part, Cardinal Vanhoye indicated how the introduction to the Encyclical "immediately makes clear the decisive importance of hope, which is later reiterated on a number of occasions. In order to be able to face the present with all its problems and difficulties, we have an absolute need for hope and for a truly valid and firm hope."

In sections 10 to 12, on the theme of eternal life, "the Holy Father uses vivid realism to explain the current mentality of many people," said the cardinal. "Eternal life is the subject of hope, but many people today 'do not find the prospect of eternal life attractive. What they desire is not eternal life at all, but this present life. ... Death, admittedly, one would wish to postpone for as long as possible. But to live always, without end - this, all things considered, can only be monotonous and ultimately unbearable."

Cardinal Vanhoye explained how the second part of the Encyclical describes the "settings for learning and practising hope," and thus has a direct and tangible link to Christian life. Three "settings" are identified: "Prayer as a school of hope. Action and suffering as settings for learning hope. Judgement as a setting for learning and practicing hope."

The Encyclical also presents "the Final Judgement of God as one of the 'settings for learning and practising hope'," said Cardinal Vanhoye, but "with a significance evidently different from that of the other 'settings' because the Final Judgement is not a present reality like prayer or suffering. Nonetheless, the Judgement gives rise to hope because it will eliminate evil. Here the Encyclical presents profound reflections on the terrible problem of evil and justice."

VIS

First Comes Love, Then Comes Hope

Can the Pope's next encyclical be about anything other than faith? That is my guess. Meanwhile, I will enjoy reading the newest encyclical on hope, which is titled Spe Salvi.

Here is the intro:



ENCYCLICAL LETTER
SPE SALVI
OF THE SUPREME PONTIFF
BENEDICT XVI
TO THE BISHOPS
PRIESTS AND DEACONS
MEN AND WOMEN RELIGIOUS
AND ALL THE LAY FAITHFUL
ON CHRISTIAN HOPE


Introduction

1. “SPE SALVI facti sumus”—in hope we were saved, says Saint Paul to the Romans, and likewise to us (Rom 8:24). According to the Christian faith, “redemption”—salvation—is not simply a given. Redemption is offered to us in the sense that we have been given hope, trustworthy hope, by virtue of which we can face our present: the present, even if it is arduous, can be lived and accepted if it leads towards a goal, if we can be sure of this goal, and if this goal is great enough to justify the effort of the journey. Now the question immediately arises: what sort of hope could ever justify the statement that, on the basis of that hope and simply because it exists, we are redeemed? And what sort of certainty is involved here?

Read the rest here.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Random Thought

Why does vegetable oil and apple juice come in almost the same bottle?

Deacon or Cardinal?

I was looking through some pictures from the Mass of the Rings and I came across two very interesting pictures. It seems that the two "deacons" at the Mass were wearing red zuchettos and miters.

I am guessing that they were not deacons, but were serving as deacons. Who are they? I also don't recall this being allowed. Going to check the GIRM now.

Anyway, click here for the pictures.

Gives a new meaning to Cardinal-Deacon.

Update: I have checked this out and cardinal-deacons do wear the dalmatic at pontifical events. How did I miss this before?

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Dominican Vocations

I saw this video a few weeks ago, but I didn't get a chance to watch it until today. It contains excerpts from "And the world looks at us", a 1964 Dominican Province of Saint Joseph vocation film written by Fr. Dominic Rover, O.P., and narrated by Dana Elcar. The original film was 28 min in length, but this is only nine minutes long. The scenes included here were filmed at St. Stephen Priory in Dover, MA, the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C., and St. Dominic Church, Washington, D.C. From the archives of the Dominican Theological Library (www.dhs.edu) at the Dominican House of Studies, Washington, D.C.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 23, 2007

Consistory Tomorrow!


At 10.30 a.m. tomorrow, November 24, the Pope will hold an Ordinary Public Consistory for the creation of 23 new cardinals.

The consistory for the creation of new cardinals, according to the new rite introduced during the consistory of June 28, 1991, contains the following points:

Following a liturgical greeting, the Pope reads the formula of creation, and solemnly proclaims the names of the new cardinals. The first of the new cardinals then addresses the Holy Father on behalf of everyone.

This is followed by the Liturgy of the Word, the Pope's homily, the Profession of Faith and the taking of the oath by each cardinal.

Each new cardinal then approaches the Holy Father and kneels before him to receive the cardinal's biretta and to be assigned a title or deaconry.

The Pope places the biretta on the cardinal's head and says, in part: "(This is) red as a sign of the dignity of the office of a cardinal, signifying that you are ready to act with fortitude, even to the point of spilling your blood for the increase of the Christian faith, for peace and harmony among the people of God, for freedom and the spread of the Holy Roman Catholic Church".

The Holy Father hands over the Bull of Creation as cardinal, assigns the title or deaconry and exchanges a kiss of peace with the new members of the College of Cardinals. The cardinals also exchange such a sign among themselves.

The rite is concluded with the Prayer of the Faithful, the recitation of the Our Father and the final blessing.

At 10.30 a.m. on Sunday, November 25, Solemnity of Christ the King, the Holy Father will preside at a concelebrated Mass with the new cardinals, during which he will give them the cardinal's ring, "the sign of dignity, pastoral care and the most solid communion with the See of Peter."

As he places the ring on the new cardinal's finger, the Pope says: "Take this ring from the hand of Peter and know that, with the love of the Prince of the Apostles, your love for the Church is strengthened."

Following the morning's ceremony, the College of Cardinals will have 201 members, of whom 120 are electors. The members of the College, by continent of origin, are divided as follows: 104 from Europe, 20 from North America, 34 from South America, 18 from Africa, 21 from Asia and 4 from Oceania.

As advisors to the Pope, the cardinals act collegially with him through consistories, which meet by order of the Roman Pontiff and under his presidency. Consistories can either be ordinary or extraordinary. In the ordinary consistory, all cardinals present in Rome, other bishops, priests and special guests are convened. These consistories are called by the Pope for consultation on certain important issues or to give special solemnity to some celebrations. An extraordinary consistory is one to which all cardinals are convened, and is celebrated when some special needs or more serious affairs of the Church suggest that it should be held.

VIS
Photo by Domini Sumus

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Battle of the Books



I recieved two books in the mail yesterday, "A Challenging Reform" by Archbishop Piero Marini, and 'The Reform of the Reform" by Fr. Thomas Kocik.

Strangely, the tracking on the package shows that it was delivered on Tuesday afternoon, but it was nowhere to be found. It showed up yesterday afternoon.

It makes me wonder if the package was out in a dark alley somwhere, while the books duked it out.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Thankgiving



I finished most of my Thanksgiving preparations, a few minutes ago. The dressing, potatoes, and squash are done; the turkey is brining; the house is clean. In the middle of making the dressing, using my grandmother's secret recipe I realized what I am thankful for, in addition to God's loving providence, my husband, and my wonderful son: the woman who taught me how to cook.

I am thankful that I had such wonderful grandparents, who taught me about what really matters in life. I have written in the past about my maternal grandmother, but I have never written about my paternal grandmother. She went to her eternal reward 3 1/2 years ago. While my maternal grandmother taught me about spirituality, my paternal grandmother taught me about the Christian life.

Her grandfather was a Portuguese count, who banished his adulterous son for his indiscretions. He and his wife moved to the United States and my grandmother was born in the beginning of the 20th century, in a small apartment in Fall River. It was a long way from the comforts of the palace, but little changed. Her mother died when my grandmother was a toddler, and her father remarried quickly. Two more children were born and my grandmother was treated much like Cinderella is the old fairy-tale. When she became a teenager, she asked permission to move to Portugal to live with her grandparents and aunt. By this time, the Portuguese revolution had already taken place and her grandparents had lost the palace and their titles.

She loved her life in Portugal and met a young man, who was from a family of bakers. He was just one of several young men who would to serenade her from beneath her window, but he was different. He was a homebody. He went to work, went to church, and didn't hang out at the local cervejaria (bar). They married and had four children, the second of which was my father. Then WWII broke out and her husband urged her to return to America with their children. They left Portugal in 1944. It was a difficult decision because he would not be allowed to come with them. She would be on her own with four small children, one only an infant.

She waited in America until the end of the war. My grandfather arrived around 1947 and their family was finally reunited. Soon after, they had another child. Their youngest daughter was only a teenager when my grandfather passed away in 1963. After my grandfather's death, my grandmother moved into a housing project in New Bedford. She watched the neighborhood change many times, but she refused to leave. By the time I was born, it had become one of the worst projects in the city, but it was her home.

She was a firm believer that the way to a person's heart was through their stomach, and would spend many hours cooking for the neighborhood children. Many of these children did not have parents they could depend on and my grandmother's apartment was always filled with these kids. She fed their stomachs, minds, and spirits, and even when they were grown they never forgot it. I remember being at my grandmother's one evening when there was a gang fight outside her window. We ducked under the dining room table in a attempt to avoid getting hit by a stray bullet. I was shocked when after the fight, several of the gang bangers knocked on my grandmother's door. She opened the door without a care in the world. They wanted to make sure "Grandma" was ok. She assured them she was fine, gave them a stern tongue lashing, and gave them some food.

Sometimes I would visit her and find that she was playing dominoes with some of the neighborhood teens. They knew enough to keep their gang colors in their pockets when they visited her. For a long time I wondered why they had such a connection, but I think I understand it now. She cared; she understood. Although she was in her 80's she had grown up without the love of her parents, just like them.

Eventually she was unable to live on her own and moved into the suburbs with my aunt. It was a battle to get her to leave. When she left, it was like a piece of her essence had been left behind. A few years later she moved into a nursing home. Dementia robbed her from us in a slow, painful process, but she always asked if I was cooking her recipes. I always lied and told her that I was. She was thrilled when she found out that JP was coming, but sadly died four months before his birth.

I was shocked to see so many of the kids she fed, at her funeral. Some of them had risen from their childhood struggles to become successful adults, and others followed in their parent's footsteps. All of them remembered the love of a little old Portuguese lady, who made great food and had a place at the table for everyone.

I am thankful that I had that wonderful woman in my life. She didn't only teach me to cook, she taught me to look beneath the surface and see the child of God hidden "in a distressing disguise", as Cardinal O'Malley likes to call it. She taught me to be unafraid to give of myself to everyone I meet. She taught me to be strong and independent.

Vavo, thanks for the recipes, but even more thanks for the recipe of life.
God, thanks for giving me so many wonderful sources of wisdom, guidance, and inspiration.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Catholic Carnival 146

Welcome to this weeks Catholic Carnival. We have a abundance of great posts this week, so make sure to check them all out.



Since I have spent the last two months immersed in the writings of St. Thomas Aquinas, I thought that this carnival should have a Thomistic theme. Plus, when looking through my notebook, I just happened to stumble upon one of the long lost articles from the Summa Theologiae which has been lost for over 700 years. Enjoy!



ST II-II. Q. 190 A. 1

Whether the faithful should participate in the Catholic Blog Carnival



Objection 1. It would seem that none should partivipate in the Catholic Blog Carnival because nowhere in Sacred Scripture is Christ, who is our example and model for Christian living, shown to participate in a Catholic Blog Carnival.



Objection 2. Further, the Philosopher said, "All men desire to know", but some posts in the Catholic Blog Carnival are primarily for the purpose of entertainment, rather than education.



On the contrary, Cardinal Ruini said that blogs can be a means of "showing [the youth] the true Jesus.”



I answer that, as stated above, Christ is our model for Christian living. Did Christ not teach in the meadow, and mountain, as well as in the temple. The internet is the meadow and mountain of the third millenia.



Furthermore, it is impossible for the Catholic Carnival constitute man's happiness. For happiness is the perfect good, which lulls the appetite altogether; else it would not be the last end, if something yet remained to be desired. Now the object of the will, i.e. of man's appetite, is the universal good; just as the object of the intellect is the universal true. Hence it is evident that naught can lull man's will, save the universal good. This is to be found, not in any creature, but in God alone; because every creature has goodness by participation. Wherefore God alone can satisfy the will of man, according to the words of Psalm 102:5: "Who satisfieth thy desire with good things." Therefore God alone constitutes man's happiness, but the Catholic Blog Carnival and those who participate in it likewise participate in goodness.



Reply to objection1. Had the internet existed at that time, it would be fitting for Christ to have participated in a Catholic Blog Carnival.



Reply to objection 2. While it is true that all men desire to know, it is fitting for posts to be of a recreational purpose. Sacred Spripture says, "He Once more will he fill your mouth with laughter, and your lips with rejoicing" Job 8:21



Now that we have St. Thomas' approval, we can proceed with the Carnival.



Prima Pars: Sacred Doctrine. The One God. The Blessed Trinity. Creation. The Angels. The Six Days. Man. The Government of Creatures.


Jesus taught by analogy – through parables comparing, for example, faith to a mustard seed. At Ho Kai Paulos, Joe briefly explores what analogies mean to us and why they work so well, ending with the ultimate analogy – the one that we each are for God in his post The Power of Analogy



EBeth explains how Catholic parents have a responsibility to be informed in matters of faith, in her post A Word on being a Good Catholic Parent, posted at A Catholic Mom Climbing the Pillars.



Francesco Scinico presents Who Wrote The Pentateuch? posted at What Matters In Life. This scholarly post attempts to explain who the author of the first five books was according to traditional scripture study as well as though the historical-critical method.


Does "Let us go in peace to love and serve the Lord” really give us the sense of urgency which is contained in the Latin, "Ite, missa est"? Herb Ely reviews Gregory Pierce’s book: The Mass is Never Ended: Rediscovering Our Mission to Transform the World in his post, Go, You are Sent Forth which is posted at HerbEly



Prima Secundae Partis: Man's Last End. Human Acts. Passions. Habits. Vice and Sin. Law. Grace.



In St. John Paul the Great posted at Kicking Over My Traces, cehwiedel presents a glimpse into the life of Pope John Paul II, provided by his assistant -- who is now the archbishop of Krakow, Poland



A catholic democrat from ohio presents Consistent Love of Life posted at a catholic democrat from ohio. In this post, it is argued that to be truly pro-life, one must be anti-abortion and anti-war.



The previous post is well rebutted by Denise Hunnell in her post Mother of A Soldier posted at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom. Denise asks us to pray for those who serve in the military and hopes to help us understand their service is not a contradiction of their faith.



Here is my entry titled Missed Opportunities posted at We Belong to the Lord. In this post I describe how little struggles and frustrations of life can be opportunities for personal holiness, if we take advantage of them.



For Lucas is Sarah's submission from her blog, Just Another Day of Catholic Pondering. In this post she pays homage to the twelve-year ache of losing a nephew. She says that sometimes we wonder why the first arms to hold him were our Heavenly Father and the Blessed Mother, but in the end, our lives have been changed by the impact of his.



Secunda Secundae Partis: Faith. Hope. Charity. Prudence. Justice. Fortitude. Temperance. Acts Which Pertain to Certain Men.



Matthew S is tired of all the conjecture and rumor and thinks we should give Fr. Francis our prayers, as well as the benefit of the doubt because right now, we don't know and we don't have the right to know. Therefore, he presents Fr. Francis Mary and EWTN posted at Play the Dad? No, be the Dad!.



Ever wanted to get away from it all, and go somewhere quiet? Brian Brown presents Silent Insight - Consider a Silent Retreat posted at Silent Insight - Daily Catholic Meditations for Faith, Listening, and Peace. In this entry he provides a brief overview of his experience on a silent retreat, as well as a link to a list of retreat houses.



In Jesus, Santa and under the Christmas Tree, posted at A Third Way, Melissa attempts a new-to-her approach to Santa's contribution underthe Christmas tree.

Jean at Catholic Fire gives her opinion on the story of three young men who were abused and arrested by police while performing pro-life outreach. This post contains that video and information on how readers can help them. See it at Take Action: Police Attack Pro-Lifers in Shocking Display of Abuse

Tertia Pars: The Incarnation. The Life of Christ. Sacraments. Baptism. Confirmation. The Holy Eucharist. Penance.



Denise Hunnell uses the writings of Pope Benedict XVI to to show that rather than being burdensome or oppressive, the authority of the Magisterium is actually liberating in Treasure of the Magisterium posted at Catholic Matriarch in my Domestic Church aka Catholic Mom. She says there is great security "on the rock".



Christine presents Pope Gets Radical and Woos the Anglicans posted at The World...IMHO. Pope Benedict brings tradition and reverence back to the liturgy and angers the left.


Every heard of the TV Show called "Common Ground"? It's a discussion between a priest and a protestant minister about what Catholics really believe. Jay from Deo Omnis Gloria says "It's a great show". Read about it in his post What Protestants and Catholics Can Learn From One Another.

Red Neck Woman gives her response to being asked how Catholics could possibly equate God-Breathed Scripture to "man-made" traditions in, God Breathed, posted at Postscripts from the Catholic Spitfire Grill Blog

Supplementum Tertiae Partis: Penance (continued). Extreme Unction. Holy Orders. Matrimony. The Resurrection. Appendices.




Brian from Christus Vincit presents an explanation from Catholic Culture which re-iterates the Church's teachings on which gender qualifies for legitimate Roman Catholic priestly ordinations in Catholic Culture on Poncho Ladies™.



Owen returns to Luminous Miseries with a new purpose and with the permission of his Spiritual Director to bring us his personal reflections on the daily readings of the Holy Mass of the Roman Catholic Church. In his post Gratitude he discusses how doesn't take much to say "thank you" but how often we neglect this gift.


Did you catch the connection between prayer and work in the readings last Sunday? Kevin from HMS Blog did and he writes about it in his post, Ora Et Labora.


I hope you enjoyed these posts as much as I enjoyed being your host. Have a great Thanksgiving and remember that Thanksgiving is about giving thanks to God for his loving providence.

Deo Gratias!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Remembering Fr. Smith

Providence, RI -- Rev. Philip Alphonsus Smith, O.P., Providence College's 11th president, was remembered "as a child of God from the day he was baptized" during his Mass of Christian Burial on Friday, November 9, 2007 in St. Dominic Chapel on campus. Father Smith died unexpectedly at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence on Sunday, November 4. A current professor of philosophy at PC, he served as president from 1994-2005.

Approximately 650 members and friends of the College community, including 35 members of Father Smith's family as well as city and state government dignitaries, attended the Mass, overflowing into the lower level of the chapel.

The principal celebrant was the Very Rev. D. Dominic Izzo, O.P., prior provincial of the Dominican Province of St. Joseph and chair of the PC Corporation. The principal concelebrants were College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P.; Rev. Kenneth R. Sicard, O.P., College executive vice president and treasurer; Rev. Terence J. Keegan, O.P., professor of theology and College executive vice president and treasurer under Father Smith; and Rev. William P. Marquis, O.P., prior of St. Thomas Aquinas Priory and an assistant professor of economics and department chair.

Approximately 40 Friars from the Dominican Community at PC concelebrated the Mass from their pews.

Presiding were six bishops representing the Diocese of Providence: the Most Rev. Thomas J. Tobin, D.D., current ordinary bishop of Providence and a member of the Providence College Corporation and the Board of Trustees; the Most Rev. Robert E. Mulvee, D.D., bishop emeritus of Providence; the Most Rev. Louis E. Gelineau, D.D., bishop emeritus of Providence; the Most Rev. George H. Pearce, S.M., archbishop emeritus of Suva, Fiji; the Most Rev. Ernest B. Boland, O.P., D.D., bishop emeritus of Multan, Pakistan, and a resident of St. Thomas Aquinas Priory at PC, who ordained Father Smith in 1968; and the Most Rev. Francis X. Roque, D.D., retired auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese for the Military Services/U.S.A.

In addition, four of Father Smith's seminary classmates--with whom he was ordained- -participated in the Mass: Father Keegan, who preached the homily, as well as Rev. Michael M. Burke, O.P., Rev. Bernard G. Dupont, O.P., and Rev. Donald P. Thibault, O.P., who traveled from New Orleans, La., Louisville, Ky., and Pleasantville, N.Y., respectively, to celebrate their Dominican brother's life.

Father Smith's niece, Jill Dunn '00, and his sister, Bertha Smith Dunn, proclaimed readings from the Book of Wisdom and the First Letter of John, respectively. The General Intersessions were proclaimed by two of Father Smith's nieces, Gwen Carragher Staub and Nora Smith Davis, while the offertory gifts were presented by two other nieces, Linda Mae Smith and Donna Smith Taucer.

At the start of his homily, Father Keegan addressed why a healthy and vibrant Father Smith was taken so suddenly.

"It's a simple answer and an answer I give to my ninety-seven-year-old mother when she asks me, 'Why am I still alive?'" said Father Keegan with a smile. "I tell her, 'Mother, you're still alive because God doesn't want you yet.' I firmly believe God wanted Father Philip Smith; it was his plan."

Father Keegan went on to laud Father Smith's tenure as College president. After saying that he joked with him about a College president "who went to hell and another who died and went to heaven," Father Keegan said there was no question where his friend of 46 years was.

"I don't know another person on Earth who had a greater love for Providence College than Father Philip Smith," he said. "There are so many reasons why we are here. He had a deep and meaningful influence on our lives….He was so many things to so many of us."

In referencing the earlier Gospel from St. John, Father Keegan added, "He was a rugged, strong, assertive person but inside he was a child of God. He was a child of God from the day he was baptized. He loved his priesthood, loved the Dominican Order, and loved to exercise his ministry."

On the day of the previous week when Father Smith was about to be driven to the hospital for surgery, Father Keegan recounted how Father Smith asked for his blessing and knelt before him.

"As I blessed him," Father Keegan said, "I prayed that the operation would be a success and that God would bring him safely home." He then added, "Be careful what you pray for because you might get it. The operation was a success and God did bring him home, not to his perishable, temporary home at Providence College but to his real, eternal home in heaven."

Referring to a passage in Mark's Gospel where Jesus knelt before John the Baptist and heard a voice from heaven, Father Keegan concluded, "Father Smith was indeed God's beloved son in whom God was well pleased."

After Communion, Father Smith's successor as president, Father Shanley, offered a reflection. He remembered Father Smith as a visionary whose goals for the College blossomed to magnificent fruition.

Father Shanley specifically noted the artificial-turf field, the Smith Center for the Arts and, most importantly, St. Dominic Chapel, as proof that Father Smith "was a builder" and "connected to the mission of Providence College."

"He left this place a much stronger institution than when he entered," Father Shanley said. "I know how tirelessly and passionately he worked."

He went on to say how impressed he was with Father Smith's drive to get back to teaching following his presidency. "After 11 years of not being in the classroom, having to face down eighteen- to twenty-one-year--olds is a daunting task, but he was up to it," he said.

However, despite his gifts as a teacher and his vision for the campus, Father Shanley said that Father Smith was first and foremost a priest who shined brightest in one-on-one situations. "I think that is when we saw Father Smith at his absolute best. He had a wonderful way of encountering a person in need and then presenting Christ to them," he said.

After the Mass, hundreds processed down the College's Grotto Lane to the Dominican Community Cemetery, where Father Marquis presided over the burial rite.


Video from the funeral Mass can be downloaded from the Providence College website.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Missed Opportunities

This week has been a trying one. It was one of those weeks there everything seemed to go wrong. Even something as simple as having a new washing machine delivered into a nightmare. I wanted to yell and scream and tell these people where to go and how to get there. I was ready to do just that, when I remembered that St. Thomas Aquinas taught that there are no indifferent actions.

Everything we do brings us either closer or, takes us further from God. Something as simple as turning on a light switch can bring us closer to God, because that simple action leads to another action. With that in mind, I decided to be charitible and explain my frustrations is a more productive manner, and view my personal frustration as an opportunity for mortification.

Each of the little frustrations of this week were opportunities for sanctity or sin. The choice was up to me. Before you get the wrong idea, I failed miserably and most of these opportunities for sanctity were wasted.

Next week will be filled with plenty of other opportunities for sanctity. I'm aiming high.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Catholic Carnival 145

The latest edition of the Catholic Carnival is up at Adam's Ale.

My submission was my Toddler Theology post.

Get your posts ready because next week's carnival is being held here. I have already recieved a few entries, but many more are needed.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Toddler Theology

My three year old son, JP, explained the Doctrine of Recapitulation to me this evening. He didn't know what he was saying, he was just giving me his explanation of God as he understands him.

I was getting him ready for bed and he said, "Jesus made me". I wasn't going to get into the theological implications of his statement so I said, "God, the Father made you." He said, "Did Jesus help". "Yes, Jesus helped".

Then came the statement which both floored me and made me laugh hysterically. "Yes, Jesus helped. He put my head on".

Suddenly the drawing that Dr. Bonney used in my New Testament class to illustrate the Doctrine of Recapitualation crept into my mind. There were two scenes involving stick figures. The first had one headless stick figure with his head lying by his feet, to represent Adam after the fall. The second had a stick figure representing Jesus. Jesus was just finishing putting the head back on the man, representing how the Old Testament law prepared for the Sacrifice of Christ to restore our human nature.

While I know we are supposed to have the faith of a little child, I am pretty sure this wasn't what Jesus intended, but it's still pretty cool.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Glendon to be Ambassador to Vatican


The LifeSiteNews.com article is titled "Praise and Criticism of Bush's Mary Ann Glendon Nomination", but I think it should be titled praise and praise. After all, once any faithful Catholic looks at who is giving the criticism and the grounds for that criticism it should be clear that the criticism actually praises her moral character (even if the words were intended to harm her character).


Anyway, here is the article:

President George Bush's nomination Monday of Mary Ann Glendon to be U.S. ambassador to the Vatican has been criticized as reactionary and subversive by US abortion and homosexual advocates. Glendon is a high profile and pro-life member the president's bioethics council.


Glendon, 69, is known at Harvard for her advocacy of Catholic teachings on a number of issues, including abortion and same-sex "marriage." She will succeed Francis Rooney, who served as envoy to the Vatican for the past two years. Glendon's appointment is for a five year term, and requires Senate confirmation.


Father Richard John Neuhaus, on the influential First Things website, today calls the selection of Glendon "a brilliant choice". He also notes a downside to her appointment in that "Prof. Glendon will be resigning from the editorial board of First Things."


Glendon was a member of President Bush's Council on Bioethics, advising the president on moral and ethical issues related to technological developments in bioethics. She has frequently criticized radical feminism and defended the Church's position on life issues. "The challenge of the church is to keep abreast of changes, but not dumb down its doctrine to the spirit of the age," she said in an earlier interview with the AP. "Contrary to popular stereotype, John Paul II has done a great deal to put women in many responsible positions."


In 1994, Pope John Paul II appointed Glendon to the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences. In 2004, Glendon became the highest ranking female advisor to the Church when she was named president of the Academy. She also headed the delegation of the Holy See to the international 1995 Beijing Conference on Women sponsored by the United Nations, where she came under fire for her uncompromising statements against contraception.


US abortion and homosexual advocates have criticized Glendon's nomination. Jon O'Brien, president of the pro-abortion organization Catholics For a Free Choice, stated, "Dr. Glendon's stance on many matters of importance is not representative of Americans' views on these issues, let alone those of American Catholics". He added, "Her appointment comes at a time when the global community needs more critics of the Vatican's policies on sexual and reproductive rights."


Fr. Neuhaus reports that the Boston Globe is also not happy about Glendon's appointment. He quotes the Globe, "Glendon, 69, is an antiabortion scholar and an opponent of gay marriage who has written about the effects of divorce and increased litigation on society. Her 1987 book, "Abortion and Divorce in Western Law," was critical of the Supreme Court's 1973 Roe v. Wade decision that established a legal right to abortion."


The Globe also reports that Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a University of Notre Dame theologian and leading US dissident Catholic is not happy about the Glendon appointment. McBrien told the Globe, "She has also been an outspoken critic of feminism, tending to write it off as a relic of the 1970s, all of which endears her to conservative Catholics and makes her an ideal choice for President Bush."


Cardinal Sean O'Malley, however, praised Glendon in an interview with the Boston Globe. "Dr. Glendon's career is marked with numerous achievements in law, education, and international affairs that provide her exemplary credentials for this post," he said.


In her capacity as a legal specialist in the field of bioethics, Glendon has been a leader in the Catholic opposition to same-sex "marriage," and has acted as an advisor to Governor Mitt Romney's presidential campaign.

Vote for the USCCB

Thomas Peters at American Papist is running a real time poll for the candidates to lead the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Head over there and place your vote. Who knows? Maybe our input will make a few bishops think.

Oh and Tom, thanks for the mention.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Learning Your Way to Faith

I had an inspiring converstation with one of my classmates yesterday. She is nearing the end of her studies and has saved her theology courses for last because they were the ones she had the least interest in. They were also the courses she was most intimidated by, because she had never studied religion and does not belong to any religious group. She was baptized as a baby, but never recieved any other Sacraments and never attended any church. She isn't athiest or agnostic, she doesn't know enough to be either. I would classify her as lost.

She started taking her theology courses this semester and signed up for Aquinas. Some might think that Aquinas might be a little deep for someone with no religious training, but she told me last night that she was thinking of becoming Catholic because of the words of St. Thomas Aquinas. She said that she has spent her life trying to find happiness and fulfillment and Thomas has shown her where true happiness lies: God.

She said that she attended Mass last weekend for the first time in her life and was fascinated. She is in love with the Mass and can't wait to learn all about it.

Imagine, in a little less than a semester she has gone from a non-believer to a Catholic inquirer. I am encouraging her to take a course in Sacraments in the Early Church. I am sure it would only deepen her growing faith.

Please keep this young woman in your prayers as she responds to God's call.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

PC and The Dominican House of Studies Mourns


I never had Fr. Smith as a professor, but I saw him around campus often. We chatted a few times, and I attended many Masses which he celebrated. He wasn't as strict as Fr. Shanley, the current president, but he made many positive changes at PC.
Here is his obituary:
Rev. Philip Alphonsus Smith, O.P. ’63, a priest, educator, and administrator who served as the 11th president of Providence College, died unexpectedly at Rhode Island Hospital in Providence on Sunday, November 4, surrounded by close friends, including members of the Dominican Community. He was 74 years old.

A current professor of philosophy at PC and a member of the Dominican Community of St. Thomas Aquinas Priory on campus, Father Smith served as president from 1994-2005, guiding an impressive, multifaceted transformation of the College.

Under Father Smith, the College achieved a reputation as a premier regional liberal arts institution, raising the academic standing of its undergraduates to its highest level ever. Providence College was consistently ranked #2 among colleges and universities in the North Region in U.S. News & World Report’s annual college guide, America's Best Colleges.

During his presidency, Father Smith also enhanced the quality and diversity of the faculty; directed a revision of the Mission Statement to emphasize the Catholic and Dominican traditions of PC; and oversaw $110 million in new construction and infrastructure improvements, including the construction of St. Dominic Chapel, a new performing arts center, and the campus’ first suites-style residential facility. He also oversaw the development of the College’s first Strategic Plan.

In recognition of his many achievements and commitment to the academic standing and mission of the College, Father Smith was awarded the Veritas Medal—the highest honor the College can bestow—during the College’s Eighty-Seventh Commencement Exercises in May 2005. The Board of Trustees also voted to name the new performing arts center on the East Campus in his honor, and the facility was dedicated as the Smith Center for the Arts on October 29, 2004.
“Father Smith ably led Providence College through eleven years of opportunity and growth,” said College President Rev. Brian J. Shanley, O.P. He continued, “Under his guidance, the academic profile of our student body dramatically improved and the campus landscape was transformed. I know that Father Smith was particularly gratified to oversee the building of St. Dominic Chapel, a dream that the College had long deferred. His legacy is one that we will always treasure and never forget.”

Father Smith served the Dominican Order as a priest for nearly 40 years. He entered the novitiate of the Dominican Order (Order of Preachers), Province of St. Joseph , at St. Joseph Priory in Somerset, Ohio, in 1961, and made his first religious profession there a year later. He was ordained a Roman Catholic priest on June 13, 1968, at St. Dominic Church in Washington, D.C., by the Most Rev. Ernest B. Boland, O.P., D. D. ’49, then-bishop of Multan, Pakistan, and currently a resident of St. Thomas Aquinas Priory at PC.

A native of Prince Edward Island, Canada, Father Smith joined the College faculty in 1981 as an assistant professor of philosophy. He was promoted to associate professor in 1984 and to professor in 1994. From 1982-1985, he also was the special assistant to then-College President the Very Rev. Thomas R. Peterson, O.P. ’51.

Before becoming president of PC, Father Smith served as president of the Pontifical Faculty of the College of the Immaculate Conception at the Dominican House of Studies in Washington, D.C., from 1990-1994.

After earning a bachelor of arts degree in philosophy from the College in 1963, Father Smith went on to attain his master’s degree in philosophy from St. Stephen’s College in Dover, Mass.; his bachelor of sacred theology (S.T.B.), licentiate of sacred theology (S.T.L.), and lectorate of sacred theology (S.T.Lr.) degrees from the College of the Immaculate Conception; and his Ph.D. in philosophy and religion from Drew University in Madison, N.J. He also received honorary degrees from Brown University and Caldwell College in Caldwell, N.J., in 2005.

Born on September 6, 1933, in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Father Smith was a son of the late Philip and May (Byrne) Smith. He was raised on a 100-acre farm in Fort Augustus, east of Charlottetown, and attended the Webster Corner School, a one-room schoolhouse, from grades 1 through 10, before completing his high school education at St. Dunstan’s School in Charlottetown. He came to the United States in 1959.

His body will be received at the Chapel of Our Lady of the Rosary in St. Thomas Aquinas Priory on campus on Thursday, November 8, at 4:00 p.m. Calling hours will follow, concluding with the recitation of the Office of the Dead by the Dominican Community at 7:00 p.m.

A Mass of Christian Burial for Father Smith will be celebrated on Friday, November 9, at 10:00 a.m. in St. Dominic Chapel on campus. Burial will follow in the Dominican Community Cemetery on campus.

Donations may be made in his memory to the Rev. Philip A. Smith, O.P. Scholarship Fund in care of Providence College, Office of Institutional Advancement, 549 River Ave., Providence, R.I., 02918.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

What's the Hymn For

Fr. Longnecker has a great post on his blog titled What's A Hymn For.

Here is one of his gems:
The final problem is that too many hymn writers seem to have little understanding of either Scripture, the symbols and types of the faith or the theology of the faith. The great old hymns that have stood the test of time were written from the authors' deep immersion in the great themes of Scripture, the great stories of the Old Testament and the great theological concepts that inspire and instruct us as we sing. The newer stuff tends to be dumbed down, sentimental and weak.

The Nicene Blues

Friday, November 02, 2007

USCCB Election Field

The United States Bishops will be meeting in Baltimore from November 12th to the 15th. On the order of business is the election of a new president, vice-president and chairs for the various committees.

This year's slate has a strong New England, particulary Boston, presence with Cardinal O'Malley, Bishop Edyvean, Bishop Malone, Bishop Murphy, and Bishop Lori all vying for spots.

Francis Cardinal George, the cirrent vice-president is reported to be heavily favored to suceed Bishop William Skylstad as president.

This may be the last year for where the terms for all the committee chairs end at the same thing. Plans are currently being proposed for 1/3 of the committee chairs to leave office each year.

Here are the candidates:

President and Vice President:
Bishop Gregory M. Aymond of Austin, Texas
Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan of Milwaukee
Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago
Bishop Gerald F. Kicanas of Tucson, Arizona
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky
Bishop William E. Lori of Bridgeport, Connecticut
Cardinal Justin Rigali, Archbishop of Philadelphia
Bishop Dennis M. Schnurr of Duluth, Minnesota
Bishop Donald W. Trautman of Erie, Pennsylvania
Bishop Allen H. Vigneron of Oakland, California

Treasurer-elect:
Bishop Michael J. Bransfield of Wheeling-Charleston, West Virginia
Archbishop Joseph E. Kurtz of Louisville, Kentucky

Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church (chairman, for a two-year term)
Bishop Richard J. Garcia of Monterey, California
Archbishop Jose H. Gomez of San Antonio

Committee on National Collections (chairman, for a two-year term)
Bishop Ronald P. Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana
Archbishop John G. Vlazny of Portland, Oregon

Committee on Laity, Marriage, Family Life and Youth (chairman, for a three-year term)
Archbishop Roger L. Schwietz, OMI, of Anchorage, Alaska
Bishop Kevin W. Vann of Fort Worth, Texas

Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations (chairman, for a three-year term)
Cardinal Sean O’Malley, OFM Cap, Archbishop of Boston
Bishop George L. Thomas of Helena, Montana

Committee on Canonical Affairs and Church Governance, chairman-elect
Archbishop Raymond L. Burke of St. Louis
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki, Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago

Committee on Catholic Education, chairman-elect
Bishop Thomas J. Curry, Auxiliary Bishop of Los Angeles
Bishop Walter J. Edyvean, Auxiliary Bishop of Boston

Committee on Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, chairman-elect
Bishop Tod D. Brown of Orange, California
Archbishop Wilton D. Gregory of Atlanta

Committee on Evangelization and Catechesis, chairman-elect
Bishop Richard J. Malone of Portland in Maine
Bishop Richard E. Pates, Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul and Minneapolis

Committee on International Justice and Peace, chairman-elect
Bishop Howard J. Hubbard of Albany, New York
Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, New York

Committee for the Protection of Children and Young People, chairman-elect
Bishop Stephen E. Blaire of Stockton, California
Bishop Blase J. Cupich of Rapid City, South Dakota

JPII on Priestly Vocation

You never know what jems you will find on YouTube. Listen to Pope John Paull II talk about his vocation to the priesthood.