Friday, February 29, 2008

UK Art Tragedy After Earthquake

I didn't even know the UK had a Earthquake a couple of days ago. In fact I did not know they got earthquakes period.

AnywayI suspect this has been going around but I just saw it

Catholic Insight has the scoop at PHOTO: Tragedy has many faces


Don't Believe that China is Easing Up On One Child Policy

We shall see alot more articles implying that as we head up to the Olympics. Father Z has thee scoop at A couple articles on China’s “one child policy”

Still Catholic and Still Not Offended By McCain's Hagee Connection

I am Catholic and not offended that Hagee has now in an offical way endorsed McCain. I went into all this a couple months ago at my post McCain Embraces Anti -Catholic Hagee Horrors!!!! I stand by all that. I go into detail there why I feel the way I do.

I am going to be watching certain conservatives who gave Huckabee holy heck over this and call them out if they do a 180. Some of them did a 180 on that situation. t because they were defending Bush getting Bob Jones endorsement eight years earlier.

That being said people need to be careful of this. It does amaze me that we have gone from Anti Catholics not voting to Catholics, to Catholics being invited to anti Catholic (theology wise) Churches to speak, to now Catholics going "OOOH we cannot have politicians associate with "those" people". That last step is sort of the not the progress I want to see.

In the last Louisiana election Catholic convert Bobby Jindal went to a ton of Churches that don't exactly sing the praises of the Papacy and are doing the Rosary during Wednesday night prayer meetings. They by large supported him 100 perecent and in fact defended him when a anti Catholic Know Nothing Campaign was run against by the Democratic party in the northern part of the state. Bobby went to them to where they were at because that is what a public servant does. As I said in the post cited above:

Is Hagee's comments and theology offensive? Hell Yes!! But as you can can tell if you look at my Catholics for Huckabee posts up till around December 21st , I have stated that we are not electing the Commander of Chief of Nice and Pleasant Theology. They go where the people are. Just like some important guy did in the 1st Century which If I remember right horrified his followers.

Remember Christ eating with the Tax Collectors and the bad folks? I also wonder when secular folks and major papers parrot some of the WWII stuff that Hagee does where is the outrage besides a maybe a post? Where are the calls for Boycotts? Oh well it is the campaign season and I have seen this before

Catholics would be better off doing apologetics and using this as an opportunity to show the faith of the Church.

This is sort of an Pandora's box I really think we don't want to open. For instance one of the major bodies of American Lutherans thinks the Pope is the anti Christ. Are we now probibited from asking them for their votes. I have run across some Catholics that don't say great things about Protestants especially in the Latin Mass movement . Are we now forbidden from engaging them? See this truly one deep rabbit hole.

Anyway I am much more offended as a Catholic by Obama and Hillary that support policies that go against the unborn and the traditional concept of marriage than anything Hagee is doing.

All that being said please consider voting Huckabee in the upcoming primaries on March 4th if you reside in those states :)

The Catholic History Behind the Leap year

Vox Nova has the story for this special date at Leap Year-and Gregory XII

This comment is interesting at Vox Nova. Is that where that joke/ expression comes from ?

Good Bye Holy Father Hello LSU's Mike the VI

I afraid it is time we say good bye to this inspiring picture of the Holy Father that was in my header for a tad.

This picture was from a few weeks ago. The Holy Father had been attacked by leftist University Students in Rome and the vast Italian Masses came out in support of him the next Sunday.


LSU Spring Football practice has started where many Louisiana Boys and Girls(we are all young at heart) whether Catholic or the poor Heathen Protestant starts dreaming of what could be come the fall

In It Never Rains in Tiger Stadium by John Ed Bradley he recounts those hot hot Louisiana days practicing and what Coach Mac Said:

the uniform hurt when you put it on. On Tuesday you wished somebody would escort you out into the high weeds on the other side of the levee and shoot you dead and let the river wash you out to sea. We ended Tuesday with twenty minutes of team offense and another hard round of conditioning, the coaches having to scream louder now to get us to run.

"Will the damn thing never come?" I yelled one day, loud enough for everyone to hear.

"What thing?" Coach Mac asked.

"Saturday. I want it to be Saturday."

"Only trying to make you better."
He sat in the shade of his golf cart, watching from the middle of the field, so we had to run around him and waste more energy.

"Only doing this because we love you. Don't think about yourself. Think about the people of the great state of Louisiana. They're counting on you. Every last one of them is counting on you."
The governor was counting on me. The rednecks in the northern part of the state were counting on me. The Cajuns in the south were counting on me. The black people and the Creoles were counting on me. The Asians and the Hispanics were counting on me. The Catholics and the Baptists and the Jews and the Jehovah's Witnesses and the Hare Krishnas -- even the nondenominationalists were counting on me. Under the stars in Tiger Stadium on Saturday night, we were all the same

"Can't let the people down, buddy. Can … not … let … them … down …"

So we have to support them!!!

Last night before they hit the practice field today they went to the Governor's Mansion. Here is the story and vid

I have" lifted " the pic for the header from this place so feel free to buy it :)

I am kinda of also smitten with this one

However I really like this one too

However that is really huge and big like the Holy Father one. Perhaps too big :(

So we might change it up before Monday. If you would like to vote between the two feel free!!!

For Louisiana Tech Football Fans don't Worry. I shall be hitting my other love(also my Ala Mater too) when they start up :)

Did You Go to St. Vincent's Academy In Shreveport?

If you did you might interested in this A Tribute to St. Vincent's AcademyThe Daughters of the CrossIt's teachers - its students - and its history

Special Leap Year Edition of the Louisiana Catholic Blogger Update!!!

I did not so the Louisiana Catholic Blogger Update yesterday. So this will include some bloggers entries from Late Wednesday, Thursday, and who has updated today. I am sort of rushed for time so I will not do much commentary on these posts( That are course the best in the Catholic Blogsphere :) )

Ville Platte Catholic Youth Group has a post relating to people involved with them. That is Safe Environment Training Announced

Tutus and Little Shoes has a a post remembering the tragic Terri Schindler Shiavo incident. Go see Remembering Terri . She also has a post Mothering Sunday . That post is very interesting and I was not aware of that Liturgical and catholic Day

Unskilled Labor has Hillary '08 and Shot Pattern (this are pretty cool pics of a Duck about to meet his demise and his first step to Unskilled's Dinner table). Be sure to click on the photos for the detail

Catholic Tube has a lot of new Vids up.
Go see International Eucharistic Conference ,Stations of the Cross Book Reviews ,2008 Vocations Awareness Campaign ,Tridentine High Mass and Distorting Beauty

From The Recamier has her latest update here with a lot of good stuff as usual

A Number of Things has a New Banner. By the Opinionated Catholic Fans better take time to say goodbye to the Pope above. He is coming back when he pays us a visit in April. However in honor of LSU Spring Training starting and LSU Baseball we shall be returning to a LSU theme. Sorry Holy Father.

Full Circle has several interesting posts. He is a Homeschooler by the way so take note of that before people go screaming in his posts :) Go see first My comments on the items listed in the above post and Negative aspects of homeschooling Also see his post US vocations on the increase?

Alive and Young has Bobby Jindal Reforms LA Politics and If Jesus Be Cajun . Also see Louisianian Geauxs on Vacation :)

The Brown Pelican Society has a ton of links but I have ordered Fish and thus don't have time to post them all. Be sure to check out all his articles for the day. I might update with his individual links later

Vox Feminae has a post on a blogger a post that you should check out at Kansas City Catholic Post... Be sure to check out her post Miscellaneous... (lots here PLUS RUMORS THAT WE MIGHT GET A BISHOP SOON) All I have to say is Thank The Lord if that is true

Fr. Victor Brown’s Catholic Daily Message reminds us it is leap year( I forgot) in his daily meditation at Feast of Saint Oswald of York (29 Feb 2008)

Thoughts & Ruminations appears to have a new vid up(I am having trouble You Tube vid today for some reason. Go see his 28th entry for more details


Cajun Cottage Under the Oaks has A Picture Perfect Question, Extra! Extra! Extra!,and Food, Warmth, and Sharing,

Pictures of the Pope as Young Priest

The Pope was a pretty good looking young man. The New Liturgical Movement has a wonder set of photos here at A New Priest in 1951 - Part I and A New Priest in 1951 - Part II

I ran across a picture of a young Father Ratzinger appearing to be doing Mass for German Soliders or perhaps workers that was quite something to see. If I find it again I will post it here.

(Update) I just found a small picture of the what I was talking about

A Good Reasoned View on The Bishops and Immigration

I talked about this briefly at my post Mark Krikorian Slams Bishops On Immigration Again .

One of the Mega Catholic Bloggers Amy Welborn ,of Charlotte was Both, and writers has a calm reasonable post on this subject at Those wacky bishops.

I agree with both these statement she make in her good post:

I simply think that sometimes the relationship between general principles of Catholic social thought - which are definitely supportive of the rights of the migrant and of the aspirations of migrating individuals and keeping families intact in that world - and specific policy prescriptions collapse in the way that bishops and their policy arms discuss this. I think they ignore certain realities that greatly concern those on the “other side” of the issue and it is not right to dismiss those concerns as indicative of simple racism or xenophobia or “fear of the stranger.”.


It’s an amazingly complex issue, and no, I don’t agree with every policy prescription or analysis of the issue that comes from a bishop’s pen. But I also think that the perspective of pastors who have responsibility for these immigrants as they come to their parishes and are ministred to in other ways by the Church should be taken seriously. They often see things that the rest of us cannot - or refuse - to see.

Yes both are true!!!

Were there some racist and fear mongers among the anti immigration reform people. Sure there were. I talked to the nicest lady that ran the immigration office in my Diocese. The pure hateful and vile phonecalls(From Christians) was horrible. That is one reason why I urged conservatives no matter what there stand on the issue to help police our own!!! We do that in other areas but we did not do it as to this issue very well.

Whenever I brought this up I was accused of playing the "race card" No, but like in the Pro-life movement in which we must distance our selves from extremist and as in the "Latin Mass" movement we must police our own and distance ourselves from the extreme(that often have sites that seem anti semetic) we must do the same here.

It is a complex issue and I have to admit at times I got wrapped up in the emotion of the issue. It was not fun being called a "traitor", "a Quisling", a RINO, or being told I just supported immigration reform because All I wanted to get Catholics "butts" into the pew.

Just like I am sure it was not easy for people that very much opposed immigration reform to be called racist and haters of hispanics. I think our rethoric got out of control and hurt a lot of people. All of which did nothing to help solve theu underlying problem.

I sort of took a break from politics for a few months after the immigration and illegal immigration debate. I felt pretty wounded. Anyway I hope next time this comes up we can all handle ourselves better

Chaldean Catholic Church Bishop and Aides Kidnapped

Prayers up for them that they might be returned safely. The BBC has to the story. I am going to be talking about Iraq more and the Catholic response to it. Especially as to Iraq and this coming election and the Catholic voter.

The persecution of Iraqi Christians in this area has been horrific. I expect that this area will continue to be a focus of Iraqi and US troops to weed out the evil as others areas are becoming stable.

Catholics Need To Shut Up Angelina Jolie and Fast

If not then people actually might instead of thinking its Catholic Doctrine that the US troops should be withdrawn quick from Iraq according to the Democrats plan( We know of course the Democrat plan for quick withdrawal is Catholic Gospel because so many Bloggers say it is- It is an Unjust War!!!) then they might start paying attention to the latest Bishop Statement :

w do not have specific competence in political, economic and military strategies and do not assess particular tactics, but we can, as teachers, share a moral tradition to help inform policy choices. Our Catholic teaching on war and peace offers hard questions, not easy answers. Our nation must now focus more on the ethics of exit than on the ethics of intervention.The grave moral concerns we and others raised prior to the war now give way to new moral questions.

In the current situation the traditional principles of “noncombatant immunity” and “probability of success” suggest these questions: How can we minimize the further loss of human lives? What actions will do the most good and least harm? What elements of a responsible transition are attainable? How can they be achieved? What actions should be avoided? How can decision makers take into account both the realities and setbacks in Iraq and the likely human consequences of rapid withdrawal?.

We need to move realt because Mrs Jolie has an Editorial in the Washington Post today

Staying to Help in Iraq
We have finally reached a point where humanitarian assistance, from us and others, can have an impact.
By Angelina JolieThursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM
The request is familiar to American ears: "Bring them home."

But in Iraq, where I've just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.
In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the
United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this humanitarian crisis has not improved. However, during the last week, the United States, UNHCR and the Iraqi government have begun to work together in new and important ways.

We still don't know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they've all gone, or how they're managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country -- without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water. Ethnic cleansing and other acts of unspeakable violence have driven them into a vast and very dangerous no-man's land. Many of the survivors huddle in mosques, in abandoned buildings with no electricity, in tents or in one-room huts made of straw and mud. Fifty-eight percent of these internally displaced people are younger than 12 years old.

An additional 2.5 million Iraqis have sought refuge outside Iraq, mainly in Syria and Jordan. But those host countries have reached their limits. Overwhelmed by the refugees they already have, these countries have essentially closed their borders until the international community provides support.

I'm not a security expert, but it doesn't take one to see that Syria and Jordan are carrying an unsustainable burden. They have been excellent hosts, but we can't expect them to care for millions of poor Iraqis indefinitely and without assistance from the U.S. or others. One-sixth of Jordan's population today is Iraqi refugees. The large burden is already causing tension internally.

The Iraqi families I've met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don't want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes -- or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.

In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR's need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis "to the maximum extent possible" -- which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.

UNHCR is certainly committed to that. Last week while in Iraq, High Commissioner António Guterres pledged to increase UNHCR's presence there and to work closely with the Iraqi government, both in assessing the conditions required for return and in providing humanitarian relief.

During my trip I also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has announced the creation of a new committee to oversee issues related to internally displaced people, and a pledge of $40 million to support the effort.

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

Today's humanitarian crisis in Iraq -- and the potential consequences for our national security -- are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won't explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money -- but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq.

I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.
As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Angelina Jolie, an actor, is a UNHCR goodwill ambassador

Like I said we have need to man the battle stations as it were. Pretty soon Catholics might actually start looking at the what the Church is really saying as to Iraq and not just spout soundbites.

Vatican Says Don't Mess Around With Words of Baptism

The Vatican has weighed in on if certain baptisms are valid if the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'" are used. No shock it is a big no!!!!!

When I was in college there were some rumors that some people were using this formula. Father Z has an excellent post here that gives the background to all this at What Does the Baptismal Form Really Say? . As you can see at his post some Church in Australia performed THOUSANDS of these invalid Baptisms.

Here is the official response from, the Vatican:

VATICAN CITY, 29 FEB 2008 (VIS) - Made public today were the responses of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to two questions concerning the validity of Baptism conferred with certain non-standard formulae.

The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'"?

The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised 'in forma absoluta'?"

The responses are: "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative".
Benedict XVI, during his recent audience with Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these responses, which were adopted at the ordinary session of the congregation, and ordered their publication. The text of the responses bears the signatures of Cardinal Levada and of Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the dicastery.

An attached note explains that the responses "concern the validity of Baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. ... Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language".

"Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note continues, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. ... The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.

"Variations to the baptismal formula - using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons - as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".

"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non- baptised'".

Pope's Full Statement Welcoming the new US Amabassador

Any updates will be at the bottom

Whispers in the Loggia has it up as well a another picture here at Welcome, Madam Ambassador .

It is very interesting and let me post that part in full.

Your Excellency,It is a pleasure for me to accept the Letters by which you are accredited Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the United States of America and to offer my cordial good wishes as you take up your new responsibilities in the service of your country.

I am confident that the knowledge and experience born of your distinguished association with the work of the Holy See will prove beneficial in the fulfillment of your duties and enrich the activity of the diplomatic community to which you now belong. I also thank you for the cordial greetings which you have conveyed to me from President George W. Bush on behalf of the American people, as I look forward to my Pastoral Visit to the United States in April.

From the dawn of the Republic, America has been, as you noted, a nation which values the role of religious belief in ensuring a vibrant and ethically sound democratic order. Your nation’s example of uniting people of good will, regardless of race, nationality or creed, in a shared vision and a disciplined pursuit of the common good has encouraged many younger nations in their efforts to create a harmonious, free and just social order.

Today this task of reconciling unity and diversity, of forging a common vision and summoning the moral energy to accomplish it, has become an urgent priority for the whole human family, which is increasingly aware of its interdependence and the need for effective solidarity in meeting global challenges and building a future of peace for coming generations.The experience of the past century, with its heavy toll of war and violence, culminating in the planned extermination of whole peoples, has made it clear that the future of humanity cannot depend on mere political compromise.

Rather, it must be the fruit of a deeper consensus based on the acknowledgment of universal truths grounded in reasoned reflection on the postulates of our common humanity (cf. Message for the 2008 World Day of Peace, 13). The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose sixtieth anniversary we celebrate this year, was the product of a world-wide recognition that a just global order can only be based on the acknowledgment and defense of the inviolable dignity and rights of every man and woman.

This recognition, in turn, must motivate every decision affecting the future of the human family and all its members. I am confident that your country, established on the self-evident truth that the Creator has endowed each human being with certain inalienable rights, will continue to find in the principles of the common moral law, enshrined in its founding documents, a sure guide for exercising its leadership within the international community.

The building of a global juridic culture inspired by the highest ideals of justice, solidarity and peace calls for firm commitment, hope and generosity on the part of each new generation (cf. Spe Salvi, 25). I appreciate your reference to America’s significant efforts to discover creative means of alleviating the grave problems facing so many nations and peoples in our world.

The building of a more secure future for the human family means first and foremost working for the integral development of peoples, especially through the provision of adequate health care, the elimination of pandemics like AIDS, broader educational opportunities to young people, the promotion of women and the curbing of the corruption and militarization which divert precious resources from many of our brothers and sisters in the poorer countries.

The progress of the human family is threatened not only by the plague of international terrorism, but also by such threats to peace as the quickening pace of the arms race and the continuance of tensions in the Middle East. I take this occasion to express my hope that patient and transparent negotiations will lead to the reduction and elimination of nuclear weapons and that the recent Annapolis Conference will be the first of a series of steps towards lasting peace in the region.

The resolution of these and similar problems calls for trust in, and commitment to, the work of international bodies such as the United Nations Organization, which by their nature are capable of fostering genuine dialogue and understanding, reconciling divergent views, and developing multilateral policies and strategies capable of meeting the manifold challenges of our complex and rapidly changing world.

I cannot fail to note with gratitude the importance which the United States has attributed to interreligious and intercultural dialogue as a positive force for peacemaking. The Holy See is convinced of the great spiritual potential represented by such dialogue, particularly with regard to the promotion of nonviolence and the rejection of ideologies which manipulate and disfigure religion for political purposes, and justify violence in the name of God.

The American people’s historic appreciation of the role of religion in shaping public discourse and in shedding light on the inherent moral dimension of social issues - a role at times contested in the name of a straitened understanding of political life and public discourse - is reflected in the efforts of so many of your fellow-citizens and government leaders to ensure legal protection for God’s gift of life from conception to natural death, and the safeguarding of the institution of marriage, acknowledged as a stable union between a man and a woman, and that of the family.

Madam Ambassador, as you now undertake your high responsibilities in the service of your country, I renew my good wishes for the success of your work. Be assured that you may always count on the offices of the Holy See to assist and support you in the fulfillment of your duties. Upon you and your family, and upon all the beloved American people, I cordially invoke God’s blessings of wisdom, strength and peace.

Update- The US Embassy to the Holy See has a few updates. Here is the her full remarks to the Holy Father at Presentation of Credentials Mary Ann Glendon Ambassador of the United States of America to the Holy See, February 29, 2008

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Are American Catholic Servicemen In Iraq Committing Sin?

Darwin Catholic has a very good post up called Is Fighting in an "Unjust War" Evil? I think he is pretty sound there.

I have to run out of town for the evening(that means the Louisiana Catholic Blogger Update is delayed till tomorrow). However I am thinking of doing a post on what the Vatican and "Catholic" position(s) is on the Iraq Conflict later tonight.

Perhaps I should say I will be trying to make a case for what is not. Too many blogs, respected Catholic publications, and well meaning Catholics seem to be confused on the matter. I see blanket statements like the " The Vatican is Against the War" and "Catholic must oppose the War" etc etc.

It will not be a post that talks about if our initial entry was just or not. That can be argued forever.

The fact is the US Bishops have said we have moved past that question and I quite agree. People can disagree of course on what we should do as to Iraq. I have my own ideas and will present them. However we need to be clear what the the various Catholic viewpoints are and what they are not as to the current situation at least as we were hearing form Catholic authority. If we don't get this down then these soundbites are just propaganda and are perhaps even misleading.

A Priest and William F Buckley Buy Black Market Cigars In Cuba

I thought this was was a nice tribute to William F Buckley from Father Sirco that heads the Action Insititute . I had no idea that William F Buckley was in Cuba when the Holy Father visited. Here is just a part:

"My most memorable time with Bill was just ten years ago, in, of all places, Havana, Cuba. We were both there for the historic visit of John Paul, II. Meeting in the lobby of what had been the gangster Myer Lansky’s hotel on the El Maracon, Bill asked if I would like to join him in exploring the city.
Would I like to meander around Old Havana with the author of a novel about a spy who attempts to assassinate Fidel Castro? And have drinks with said novelist in Hemmingway’s old bar, mischievously attempting to order Cuba Libres? Would I like to help him negotiate (Buckley’s first language was Spanish) the black market purchase of Cuban cigars from a man we met on the street, who would take us to his cramped apartment to display his wares out of the view of prying eyes?

Would I like to explore the Old Cathedral and pray together there for freedom of that beleaguered land? And would I like to end the day with a delicious meal, smoking our cigars and laughing about having committed a capitalist act among consenting adults in one of the last bastions of socialism on the planet? Would I?

And so we did. It was one of the most unforgettable days of my life, a memory I will always treasure."

What Fun!!!

THe Vatican Newspaper is Getting Aggressive in Marketing and Ideas

I have always hoped the Vatican media would get up to date and be more aggressive on getting their message out there. Pope Benedict made some changes there that are showing some fruit. Two articles here that are showing the fruit of that as to the Vatican Newspaper L'Osservatore Romano .

I think this translation of an article that appeared this week in L'Osservatore Romano and translated by the Ratzinger Forum is a hopeful sign of forward thinking. Perhaps if there is a grant or money can be found one day a full English edition of the paper can done and sent to the US and other areas in a similar fashion
In today's issue, L'Osservatore Romano formally announces that starting Sunday, March 2, it will be distributed in Italy as a Sunday supplement, free of charge, to L'Eco di Bergamo, a regional newspaper based in the northern Italian city of Bergamo, hometown of Blessed John XXIII. To spread the Pope's word

What has always been a sore point for L'Osservatore Romano - and one of its problems - is the 'restricted range of its radius of circulation', in the words used in 1961 by then Cardinal Giovanni Battista Montini, writing on the centenary of the Vatican newspaper.

These circulation and distribution problems have only increased in the past few years, in the context of a communications panorama that is increasingly richer and also more confusing. But obviously, the Pope's newspaper deserves to become more known and more widely circulated. First of all in Italy, because of the natural relation of the Vatican newspaper with the great nation in which the Pope is also Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy.

Osservatore deserves to be more widely read, especially since it has been reforming in order to better serve the needs of the Pope and the Holy See, which has raised new interest. Two small examples. One of our habitual readers was pleasantly surprised to find it available among the newspapers placed at the disposal of patrons in a small but very popular trattoria in Verona. Equally glad was a young employee of the newspaper to see it available for customers of a bar in the center of Rome.

Small signs, surely, but there are others like subscriptions from new readers, as well as requests from newspaper kiosks in Rome that previously did not carry it. Therefore, on March 2, the newspaper will take a very important new step in its history: At least for 2008 initially, our newspaper will be distributed every Sunday with another important Catholic newspaper, L'Eco di Bergamo, which was edited for decades by Don Andrea Spada, also known by the pseudonym Gladius, and edited today, with great professionalism and continuing success, by Ettore Ongis.

The Sunday edition of the Pope's newspaper will be transmitted electronically from the Vatican so it can be printed and distributed by the Bergamo paper, to go with its own Sunday edition without added cost to the buyer. [Sandro Magister says the Sunday circulation of Eco is 70,000.]

This unprecedented initiative - it is also the first time since 1929 that the newspaper will be printed outside the Vatican - is made possible by the generous offer to Benedict XVI from the Diocese of Bergamo and its bishop, Mons. Roberto Amadei, to mark the 50th anniversary of the election of Cardinal Angelo Roncalli who become Pope John XXIII. We are humbly confident that, under the aegis of Benedict and Blessed John XXIII, L'Osservatore Romano will continue to build up its circulation. [The item is signed with the initials GMV at the end, for editor Giovanni Maria Vian.]

Now also there was a very interesting post at the Action Institute that is related. It shows that the Vatican Newspaper is not only getting better, but it engages ideas that I suspect many "progressive Catholics" would be shocked about.

On their blog in a article called Solid Economics at L'Osservatore Romano they said:
Good news is not always so hard to find. Case in point: Free-market economics is making a comeback at the Vatican’s daily newspaper L’Osservatore Romano.

Previously known as a dry read, L’Osservatore Romano (which means The Roman Observer in English) now contains provocative interviews and real news stories from around the world. This is attributable to the paper’s new editor, Giovanni Maria Vian, who was appointed to the post by Pope Benedict last October (see here for the interesting background on the change by the Italian journalist Sandro Magister.)

Ettore Gotti Tedeschi, a well-known Italian economist and banker, has been given prominent space to comment on current economic developments. He is a strong defender of the link between Christian principles and free markets, having authored a 2004 book titled, Money and Paradise: The Global Economy and The Catholic World.

In a February 13 article titled “The capital we should value most is human,” he warns against the temptation to resolve economic problems by merely increasing public spending. As Italians know only too well, high public spending will at some point translate into higher taxes. He stresses that these, in turn, diminish human liberty and dignity.

He is also critical of the Italian welfare state which only distributes resources without enhancing individual responsibility and future opportunities. His solution to the current economic difficulties is to leave more space for the market to push Italian businesses to a higher level of competitiveness, which then helps to increase investments and create jobs.Gotti Tedeschi’s latest front-page article deals with an equally important subject -- the high price of oil and economic development. He directly confronts those who argue that we need to reduce economic growth in order to adapt to falling energy supplies. I

n his view, this would signal an unwarranted pessimism and distrust in human creativity. Instead, future energy problems should be combated with more research in new technologies and through using existing technologies more efficiently. Getting human anthropology right and showing confidence in human inventiveness are crucial.Gotti Tedeschi’s ability to combine economic issues with Christian thought greatly enriches L’Osservatore Romano and all supporters of the free market should be thankful for this turn to sanity. Three cheers for the Pope’s newspaper!

Time TO Start Getting Pumped Up For LSU Spring Practice

Expect the LSU and Louisiana Tech Football Posts to go up a tad as we enter Spring Practice. I have to admit I getting a tad pumped. Stories from the Advocate:Miles, Tigers ready to start practice and Spring game set for April 5 (I am going)

LSU Spring Practice Starts Friday. To get into the mood
2007 LSU Football: Top 10 Plays of the Year

LSU Tiger Band Playing Neck - Best Yet From Band View (At Ole Miss Game)

LSU Pre-Game Song

An Living example of How the Older Affects the Newer as to Liturgy. - Facing East

Father Z had a excellent post here at Turning a parish “eastward” in South Carolina . Note this is all about the regular form of the Latin Rite Liturgy. Or as some people call it the "new Mass"(a term I don't like by the way).

This Parish is quite dynamic is what I dream all Parishes could be like especially in the South. Wander around the parish web site that Father Z links. This Parish is smack dab in the middle of the "Bible Belt" and truly is a blueprint for success in spreading and living the Catholic faith.

As to the what this Church is doing in South Carolina I fully support. I really don't think Catholics would be too shocked by the move if it started happening more and more. Again this is one reason why I am excited by the Summorum Pontificum. It is the Older influencing the newer in very positive ways.

OH a related Father Z note. He has PRAYERCAzT 19: 4th Sunday of Lent (Laetare - 1962 Missale Romanum) where he does the prayers and reading of this week's 1962 Missale Romanum Sunday Liturgy. Over Christmas from our local Catholic bookstore I bought a fine copy of that Missal. I am trying to learn and his podcast are useful. Even though it gets frustrating because in reality unless I have access to a mass of the extraordinary form it is tough sledding for me to learn the Latin.

Ugggh Gulf Dead Zone Plan Going Nowhere

The Picayune has the story at Gulf dead zone plan stagnates. If this was happening off Boston you can imagine people would be hopping

When Copts Fast They Mean it

Interesting story from The Canterbury Tales about a American Exchange Student that had more of a Cultural experience than he might have envisioned. Go see Boy claims that Coptic Christians almost killed him by fasting

Update- I just wnated to point out that I doubt the severity of this boy's consition had anything to do with True Coptic practice. This of course is an oddity

LSU wins and Louisiana Tech has Big Win against ULM in College Baseball Action

LSU beat Mississippi Valley State last night 9-1. The Advocate has the story here at Martin leads LSU to 9-1 victory. LSUsports net has a very good article and roundup at Baseball Too Much for Delta Devils, 9-1.
LSU returns to the mound Friday for the start of its three day weekend series at home against Duquesne . More on that tomorrow

The College Baseball Game of the night in Louisiana was the Louisiana Tech/ULM game!!! Louisiana Tech beat their rival from 35 minutes down the road 11 to 7!!!. This was a very good game all night along and I mean all night long. This game went on for quite a while. A great crowd showed up despite the cold weather. As I noted yesterday ULM is a very good club and just the night before had upset number 29 Southern Miss.

The News Star World has DOG-POUNDED: Heavy-hitting Tech defeats ULM. They also have a nice photo gallery here at LaTech vs. ULM-Baseball
The Louisiana Tech Sports site has a article and round up here at Bulldogs Stay Perfect with 11-7 Victory at ULM
The Undefeated Bulldogs have even a bigger test this weekend to say the least!!!! They will be in a Tournament this weekend at Texas A@ M . They play Arkansas at 12:30 pm on Friday, Ohio State at 12:30 on Saturday, and Texas A&M at 3:pm on Sunday. I think we Will get some indications of what kind team we are this weekend.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Senator Lieberman's Senate Speech on WIlliam F Buckley

The Corner as I pointed out earlier has a ton of great links and post they are doing as to Buckley.

THey also are doing a good job of recording the tributes. Many coming off the floor of the US Senate. Here is Senator Liberman's vid plus a official written statement.

Shreveport Legislator To Walk From Shreveport to Baton Rouge!!

Boy that is a long walk!!!

I hope he is careful navigating the road over the Atchafalaya Basin. That could get dicey.

In other Louisiana News the The Tallest Man in America visits Louisiana

The Power of Catholic and Christian Art

Image: The Scourging of Christ - by Antonio M. Ruiz
Angels collect the Precious Blood of Christ for our Redemption

I came across this picture quite by chance last night at Overheard in the Sacristy and his post Awesome! Vision 022508. It has stuck in my mind today and I spent a good bit of my coffee time this morning trying to remember where I found his blog.

Being out in the country I really did not grow up on great art. It is not impossible to do!!!! However one has to be raised by parents that really make an effort to expose you to it.

When I was in Chicago I went to the great The Art Institute of Chicago Museum and was just amazed at their religious art collection. You could learn and feel and pray the entire Catholic and Christian faith almost as you went through those galleries

I guess this picture touches me the same way. So many truths about Christ, the truth of the Mass(such as his one sacrifice), his precious blood, and the love of God is contained in this one portrait. Now I don't know a lot about thi s portrait or the painter or even if it is considered "good". However it communicates to me on a very personal level.

And yes I know Angels do not look like that :)

Shakespearean Les Miles Debuts at LSU Pre-Spring Training Presser

Gosh I just love LSU Coach Les Miles. He was in in rare form today. You can find the the press conference here on this page at Les Miles Spring FB Press Conference.

It was Les and the press and his habit of being as silent as Spinx again which riles the press corp up. Last year he created some controversy over his injury policy and how the Press should report it. Also one person said in that same conference he was like a former President:

Amazingly, this gets better with perhaps the quote of the year (emphasis mine) :

“Don’t get me wrong, I know the answers. I mean I can tell you exactly what’s wrong. But I choose not to [disclose injury specifics], and I’m honest when I say I’m deceptive. I’m supposed to be. But it’s with forethought, not to be entertaining, not to be flippant, but to be thoughtful of the team you represent.

First of all, call this a stunning left hook: the man has a vocabulary! Second of all, can we nominate Miles for college football’s Man of the Year? Or has he not already won the damn thing barely four weeks in? Thanks for the material, coach. Please, keep it up, we love it. His only challenger at this point is Jim Harbaugh. Who knew they’d both be Michigan Men? Yet another reason for our esteemed colleague Brian Cook to be pulling his hair out.
Getting back to Miles here - that quote is Nixonian in quality. I want to print it out and frame it on my wall or something. I get what he’s saying, but in the wrong context, hell in almost any context it’s just so … priceless
WELL TODAY , Les Miles went from Nixonian to almost Shakespearean in response to a reporter's question if he could put them out of their misery as to the whole if , what , and when is up with the Ryan Perrilloux situation. This is about ten minutes in on the above link. Les said:
My discipline is about team discipline. And those things should not be your misery. You should go on, do your job, and enjoy yourself and relax in bliss. The fact that you don't know stuff, and that you will never know stuff, and at some point you will get to know stuff, and then it’ll be a concrete piece and your misery should be extended no further.
The Press Conference is pretty good. He hits on the LSU players that are involved in Track(Like Holliday) and Baseball(Like Chad Jones) and how that will be dealt with in spring Practice. A note here. There seems to be a real competition between Andrew Hatch and Jarrett Lee for the QB job. Les did not favor one over the other. As to Ryan Perrilloux ,Les said he needs to do certain things to get back on the "team".
Now I think it is highly likely that RP will of course do that and of course be the starter. In fact Les did not rule out Perrilloux coming back at some point during Spring practice. However the whole news conference as to the QB question was focused on LEE and HATCH. It seems one of those kids will be getting significant playing time next year.
Anyway good and fun press conference
Here are the early News Reports

Louisiana Catholic Blogger Update for February 27th

Time for the Louisiana Catholic Blogger Roundup . It is very very light today so far. Be sure to check out my Louisiana Catholic links because no doubt some will update. I will include all blogs that update today in tomorrows posts

Unskilled Labor has a good post here at Attack on Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor .Pray for the good Cardinal

Vox Feminae has a post up at Read it and Weep!. Go to her link and find out "Do you deserve your high school diploma?"

From The Recamier has her update here at Daily Update: February 26, 2008. She has no Saints to discuss today but she has a lot of info on the history of the date. Lots of info on Richard Jordan Gatling that died on that date.

Thoughts & Ruminations of Father Ryan has a fun techi post under his 27th entry

Catholic Tube has several new vids up. Go see One True Media - Hell (Part 8) ,Catholicism and Free Masonry Incompatible ,Dirty Politics and Ethics and Media

The Brown Pelican Society has post and links up as usual today.
The Suicide of Emma Beck and Silence No More
Lack of Interest Forces Planned Parenthood to Leave Lehigh University
More Women Work Through Pregnancy, Return to Job Sooner
Catholic League: Bishop Bashing is Inexcusable
National Catholic Reporter Writer Votes for Obama, Defends His Choice Saying, “Bishops be Damned”
Planned Parenthood Youth Website Promotes Pornography to Teenagers
New York Catholic Conference Names Defeating Pro-Abortion Bill Top Priority
Senate Approves Ban on Abortion Funding in Indian Health Care Bill
Barack Obama Would Take Back Vote Helping Terri Schiavo Avoid Euthanasia.....
Statement Calls on Catholic Institutions to Refuse Platform for Pro-Abortion Politicians
TODAY'S SAINT - St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows (1838-1862)

Hmmm Radical Feminism

For more go to when truth is the enemy and accuser by Cosmos - Liturgy- Sex

Governor Mike Huckabee on Buckley's Death

From Msnbc:

"Janet and I were sad to hear the news of William F. Buckley's passing. As one of the founders of the modern conservative movement, William Buckley helped turn the intellectual and political tide, shifting America from liberalism to conservatism. Our country, and our world, are better for his 82 years on this earth.

"Bill Buckley was also one of a kind-a scholar, an activist, a wit, a harpsichord player. As a young man, he wrote God and Man at Yale, an enduring critique of secular liberalism. In 1955, his National Review burst into prominence, influencing many millions of young conservatives, including one youngster from a little town in Arkansas. To this day, his magazine stands as one of the most important voices of conservative opinion. In addition, he produced a seemingly endless quantity of books, novels, articles, columns, and TV shows.

"So all conservatives owe Bill Buckley a great debt. Today, while ourthoughts and prayers are with the Buckley family, we conservatives continue to draw inspiration from his life and work. But there is more to be done. It is up to us to carry on, fulfilling his enormous legacy."

Mess with The Virgin Mary At Your Own Risk

Tip of the hat to Father at Bonfire of the Vanities and his post My new favorite Marian title... that led me here.
This is a image of Our lady I have never seen in art of devotion till now
By the way the original poster/blogger of these images has a good piece on a important and inspiring Catholic Prisioner in Alabama. Go to Amazing Catholic Prisoner for more

Baton Rouge Schools still in Crisis

Last night I watched a wonderful show on Louisiana Public Broadcasting called Baton Rouge's Troubled Waters

The shows main theme at the beginning was centered around the story of young blacks back in the 40's that were drowning in tragic accidents. Back then there were no pools for black residents. Now this was a era of no air conditioning so one can just imagine how HOT and unbearable Baton Rouge was back then. This kids would go swim everywhere they could. Well after the drownings the black community built a pool. This leaps into the history of Civil Rights movement in Baton Rouge.

The show was good in many ways. Including showing sides of the dynamic black community of Baton Rouge back in the 40's and 50's that I suspect many were not aware of.

However the end of the show sort of left a sour taste in my mouth because one gets the impression that things are great with the East Baton Rouge School System. Well they are not. As this good post from Revolution 21 shows at Maybe it's time you tried, Baton Rouge . A very good read. I posted in his comment section:

Good post and I intend to link tomorrow. When I lived in BR I was always at a loss to explain the whe public lack of caring about public schools since I was from North Louisiana and largely just living there for a period of time. It did deem that people almost took a perverse pleasure in voting down school taxesThis is all ironic because I just got finished watching a show on LPB called Baton Rouge and troubled waters that touched on the integration of schools.

They highlighted a school(where it appears things are going right) I think it is was called McKinley Middle Magnet School at the end.

However the end of the show really did seem like it was dishonest. Because it seemed to leave the impression that things were great in school system and victory was achieved(note funding for this show was done in part by the EBR school system). It was an excellent show but the end and not even trying to show we have some real problems after all this sort of ruined it for me.

Anyway good post by this blogger. Needless to say there is blame going out in a thousand directions for the failure of the EBR school system. That includes people of all races and religious backgrounds However as citizens , even if we have children in private schools, you just cannot abandon it. That make no sense on a ethical, moral, economic, or even practical level.

Religious Orders Showing Resistance to "Latin mass"

Father Z has a good post on this at OMV and SJ superiors line up against Pope Benedict and Summorum Pontificum.

William F Buckley has Died

Wow what an Unxpected shock. Truly a week coming up to ponder on his legacy. In that spirit I shall take a break from attacking The Corner blog in which I have found myself in disagreement on some issues the past couple of years

They have a bunch of posts there already and will be the place to go for News and links. They have several up now.

The NYT has a good article already up William F. Buckley Jr. Is Dead at 82 .

Updated- I might try to monitor his life from the Catholic standpoint. He was a very mixed bag. As most people are. He was not someone that one could put in a box. He was a devout Catholic and his faith played a role in his life no doubt. However to say the least some things he said were with some controversy. We are seeing this sort of already be examined in the Comment section at Vox Nova at this entry May he Rest In Peace. Of interest is this comment made by Archbishop Chaput( that I think many Orthodox and conservative Catholics like) that is referenced there. He said:

Very often we treat the Church the same way we treat our flesh and blood mothers. We want the mommy part, but we don’t want the teacher part. We want her around to feed us, encourage us and comfort us when things are going badly. But we don’t want her advice, especially when it interferes with our plans. When Pope John XXIII’s encyclical first came out, the conservative author William Buckley, who didn’t like the Pope’s economics, wrote a famous column called, “Mater si, Magistra no!” – mother yes, teacher no. That led Louise and Mark Zwick to characterize him in the Houston Catholic Worker as “the inventor of cafeteria Catholicism and the pro-choice stance (at least in economics), who accepted encyclicals he agreed with and rejected others.” I think they’re right.

So I will follow that with great interest.

Update II- It appears there is more to the story above than I knew. Hopefully discussion like this will continue in the Catholic blogpshere. I am sure Mr Buckley is approving

Vatican Sec of State Says Cuban Embargo "ethically unacceptable."

Tip of the hat to Whispers in the Loggia that had a very good post All the (Vice-)Pope's Men . A very good post that touches on more than just Cardinal Bertone trip to Cuba and is a interesting read.

In that piece he touch on this article Cardinal Bertone Censures Embargo Against Cuba. Where the Cardinal Sec of States said:
The Holy See repeats the words of Pope John Paul II: The embargo is ethically unacceptable," said the Vatican representative. "It is an oppression for the Cuban people and it is not a means to help the Cuban people win their dignity and independence. It's a violation of the independence of the people.".

Well it very well might be. I am totally anti Castro and have no illusions about the regime in Cuba. You can see that in my past post President Bush, Cuba, Fashion Super Models and The Breasts of Freedom .

Still I do wonder if the embargo is still a wise thing to do. Especially since we appear to get past this all the time. For instance in 2005 , The Louisiana Governor with the approval of many legislators signed a trade deal with Cuba. Needless to say Louisiana folks are not pro communist and there was little outrage over it. It seemed not to be a election year issue anyway.

Still if the Holy Mother Church wants a end to the embargo it would be helpful if the Secretary of State made these speeches in South Florida where the Cuban community seems to have a different point of view. Especially since they keep rel electing people(both Dem and Republican) that think the Embargo is much needed and in fact is very ethical.

I have not come to a position on this but it is something I am sure that is being discussed again in DC. The problem is this is all occurring in an election year where Florida is so so so important to each party. So like I said the good Cardinal, whom I like very much, needs to be talking in Miami. I suspect that the powers that be in both parties would like very much to open up things a bit.

Pope Benedict Talks About St Augustine and His Influence Him at the Wednesday Audience

Today the Holy Father at the his weekly Wednesday Audience is talking Church Fathers. He neds his magnificant series on St Augustine today. He get into the confessions and talks about the importance of St Augustine not only ot the Church but to the Holy Father himself. I think we get a real live glimpse of how the patrimony of the Catholic Church is a real fact. That is the thought of St Augustine is not something one just reads in books. But is a real fact that has real effect on us Catholics. Currently via Pope Benedict. Reading this Wednesday audience I was reminded of a post that Father Z made. Father Z of coursed worked in the Vatican and would run into Cardinal Ratzinger a good bit. He recounts in his post The Bones of Augustine :

This gives me shivers.
Years ago in the hallway of the Palazzo del Sant’Uffizio where I was working, just after the release of the CDF document on the Vocation of the Theologian, I ran into Cardinal Ratzinger. I often had the chance to chat with him and ask him questions and he was very kind and helpful.On this occasion, I said that I had read the document.

He asked what I thought of it. (!) I said I wasn’t entirely satisfied. He looked at me with a bit of surprised and asked me why. I said, "You never really say who the theologican is." He thought about this for a while and said, "Why don’t you tell us?" (!!) "You study at the Augustinianum [the Patristic Institute across the square from the Palazzo]. You are reading the Fathers. Who would Augustine say the theologian is?" Bammo. I had the topic of my first thesis from Joseph Ratzinger

Well anyway here we go. Thanks again to the Ratzinger Forum that does all these quick translations and provides the pics for us for this Angelus and Wednesday audiences.
Once again, because of the great number of pilgrims who could not be accommodated in the Aula Paolo VI, the Holy Father first greeted the overflow crowd today inside St. Peter's Basilica, before proceeding to Aula Paolo VI for the regular catechesis. He gave his fifth and last lecture in his series on St. Augustine. Here is a translation:

Dear brothers and sisters,

Today I would like to conclude my presentation of St. Augustine. After having dwelt on his life, his works, and some aspects of his thought, I wish to go back today to his interior life which made him one of the greatest converts in Christian history. To this interior experience, I particularly devoted my reflections during the pilgrimage I made to Pavia last year to venerate the mortal remains of this Father of the Church.

I wanted to express the homage of the entire Catholic Church but also to show my personal devotion and acknowledgment of a figure to whom I feel very much connected for the part that he has played in my life as a theologian, priest and pastor. Even today we can retrace the experiences of St. Augustine, thanks above all to his Confessions, written in praise of God and which originated one of the most specific literary forms of the West, the autobiography, that is, a personal expression of one's consciousness about oneself.

Whoever reads this extraordinary and fascinating book, which is still widely read today, will easily realize that Augustine's conversion was neither sudden nor fully realized immediately, but that it could be better defined as a true and proper journey, which remains a model for each of us.

This itinerary certainly culminated in his conversion and baptism, but it did not end on that Easter Vigil of 387 when the African rhetorician was baptized by Bishop Ambrose in Milan. Augustine's journey of conversion, in fact, continued humbly until the end of his life, so that one can say that its various stages - one can easily distinguish three - made up a unique act of conversion. St. Augustine was a passionate searcher for the truth - he was from the very beginning and all his life.

The first stage of his journey of conversion was his progressively coming close to Christianity. Actually, he received a Christian education from his mother Monica, to whom he was always closely linked, and although he led an undisciplined life in his youth, he always felt a profound attraction to Christ, having drunk love for the name of the Lord with his mother's milk, as he himself underscored (cfr Confessiones, III, 4, 8). But philosophy, too, especially Platonic, contributed to bring him closer to Christ by showing him the existence of the Logos, creative reason.

The philosophers' books showed him that there was Reason, from which the whole world sprung, but they did not tell him how to reach this Logos which seemed so remote. Only reading about the faith of the Catholic Church in St. Paul's letters revealed the truth fully to him. This experience was synthesized by Augustine in one of the most famous pages of the Confessions: He recounts that, in the torment of his reflections, he retired to a garden, where suddenly he heard a child's voice which repeated to him a lullaby he had never heard before, "Tolle, legge, tolle, legge..." (Take and read, take and read) (VIII, 20,29). He then remembered the conversion of St. Anthony Abbot, the father of monasticism, and with great urgency, he turned to the Pauline epistolary which he had in his hands earlier, opened it, and his glance fell on the passage from the Letter to the Romans where the Apostle exhorts the Romans to abandon the ways of the flesh and 'put on the Lord Jesus Christ' (13, 13-14).

He understood that at that moment, those words were addressed to him, that it came from God through the Apostle, and showed him what to do right then. Thus, he felt the shadows of doubt dissolve and he found himself finally free to give himself completely to Christ: "You converted my being to you", he commented (Confessiones, VIII, 12,30). This was his first and decisive conversion. The African rhetorician reached this fundamental stage of his long journey, thanks to his passion for man and for the truth, a passion which brought him to look for God, great and seemingly inaccessible. Faith in Christ made him understand that God, apparently so remote, was really not. In fact, that he had made himself close to us by becoming one of us.

In this sense, faith in Christ fulfilled Augustine's long search along the path of truth. Only a God who made himself 'tangible', one of us, was a God to whom one could pray, for whom and with whom one could live. But it is a way to follow with courage as well as humility, opening us to a permanent purification of which each of us is always in need. With that Easter Vigil Baptism of 387, as we said earlier, Augustine's journey was not done.

He returned to Africa where he retired with a few friends to dedicate themselves to a life of contemplation and study. This was the dream of his life. He was called to live totally for the truth, with the truth, in friendship with Christ who is the Truth. It was a beautiful dream that lasted three years, until when, against his wishes, he was consecrated a priest in Hippo, destined to serve the faithful, continuing to live with Christ and for Christ, but in the service of all. This was very difficult for him, but he understood from the beginning that only by living for others, and not only for his private gratification, could he really live with Christ and for Christ. Thus, renouncing a life of pure meditation, Augustine learned, often with difficulty, to offer the fruit of his intelligence for the benefit of others.

He learned to communicate his faith to simple people, and living that way in what became his city, he carried out tirelessly a generous and onerous service that he described in these words in one of his beautiful sermons: "To preach continuously, discuss, reiterate, edify, be at the disposal of everyone - it is an enormous responsibility, a great weight, an immense effort" (Serm. 339,4). But he took this weight on himself, understanding that this way, he was closest to Christ.

To understand that one reaches others with simplicity and humility was his true and second conversion. But there is a third stage in the Augustinian journey, a third conversion: that which brought him every day of his life to ask God's forgiveness. Initially, he had thought that once he was baptized - in a life of communion with Christ, in the Sacraments, in the celebration of the Eucharist - he would attain the life proposed in the Sermon on the Mount: the perfection given in Baptism and reconfirmed in the Eucharist. In the latter part of his life, he understood that what he had said in his first preachings about the Sermon on the Mount - that is, that we Christians would thereafter live that ideal permanently - was wrong.

That only Christ himself was the true and complete realization of the Sermon on the Mount. We are all always in need of being 'washed' by Christ, who washes our feet, and to be renewed by him. We need permanent continuing conversion. Up to the end we need the humility to recognize that we are sinners on a journey, until the Lord gives us his hand conclusively and introduces us to eternal life. In such an attitude of humility, lived day after day, Augustine died. This attitude of profound humility before the one Lord Jesus introduced him also to the experience of intellectual humility. Augustine, in fact, who is one of the greatest figures in the history of ideas, wished during his final years to place all his numerous works under lucid critical examination.

That was the origin of Retractiones(Revisions) which, in this way, placed his theological thinking, which was truly great, within the humble and holy faith of what he called simply with the name Catholic, that is, the Church. "I understood," he wrote in this very original book (I, 19,1-3), "that only one is truly perfect, and that the words of the Sermon on the Mount are completely realized only in one - in Jesus Christ himself. The whole Church, instead - all of us, including the Apostles - must pray every day: forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against us." Converted to Christ, who is truth and love, Augustine followed him the rest of his life and has become a model for every human being, for all of us in search of God. That is why I wished to conclude my pilgrimage to Pavia by symbolically offering to the Church and to the world, at the tomb of this great lover of God, my first encyclical, Deus caritas est.

In fact, the encyclical owes a great deal, especially in the first part, to the thought of St. Augustine. Even today, as in his time, mankind needs to recognize, and above all, to live, this fundamental reality: God is love, and the encounter with him is the only response to the anxieties of the human heart. A heart that is inhabited by hope, perhaps still obscure and even unconscious in many of our contemporaries, but which for us Christians, already opens the future, such that St. Paul wrote, "in hope we are saved" (Rom 8,24).

I dedicated my second encyclical, Spe salvi, to hope, and even that owes a great deal to Augustine's thoughts and his encounter with God. In a very beautiful text, Augustine defined prayer as the expression of desire, and stated that God responds by opening up our hearts to him. On our part, we should purify our desires and our hopes in order to receive the kindness of God (cfr In I Ioannis, 4, 6). Only this, in fact, opening us up to others, saves us.

Let us pray therefore that in our life we may be granted to follow everyday the example of this great convert, encountering like him, in every moment of our life, the Lord Jesus, the only one who saves us, purifies us, and gives us true joy and true life.

Later, for English-speaking pilgrims, he said this:

Today we conclude our presentation of Saint Augustine with a discussion of the process of his interior conversion. In reading his Confessions, we see that his conversion was a life-long journey marked by a passionate search for truth. Despite living an errant life as a young man, Augustine had learned from his mother a love for the name of Christ. Platonic philosophy led him to recognise the existence of Logos, or creative reason in the Universe, which he later came to understand more fully by reading Saint Paul and finding faith in Christ.

He completed this fundamental phase in his search for truth when he was baptized in Milan by Saint Ambrose. The second stage of his conversion saw Augustine return to Africa and found a small monastery with a group of friends dedicated to contemplation and study. Three years later, he was ordained a priest and turned to the life of active ministry, placing the fruits of his study at the service of others through preaching and dialogue. The last stage was a conversion of such profound humility that he would daily ask God for pardon. He also demonstrated this humility in his intellectual endeavours, submitting all his works to a thorough critique.

Augustine has had a profound effect on my own life and ministry. My hope is that we can all learn from this great and humble convert who saw with such clarity that Christ is truth and love! I welcome all the English speaking visitors present today, including the many student groups and the pilgrims from England, Sweden, Malta, Japan, Canada and the United States. Upon all of you I invoke God’s abundant blessings of joy and peace.