Patton on Prayer

Thursday, December 18, AD 2014



“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”


The famous “weather prayer” of General Patton was written by a Catholic Chaplain, Colonel James H. O’Neill, Chief Chaplain of the Third Army.   Here is his article on the incident written in 1950.

The incident of the now famous Patton Prayer commenced with a telephone call to the Third Army Chaplain on the morning of December 8, 1944, when the Third Army Headquarters were located in the Caserne Molifor in Nancy, France: “This is General Patton; do you have a good prayer for weather? We must do something about those rains if we are to win the war.” My reply was that I know where to look for such a prayer, that I would locate, and report within the hour. As I hung up the telephone receiver, about eleven in the morning, I looked out on the steadily falling rain, “immoderate” I would call it — the same rain that had plagued Patton’s Army throughout the Moselle and Saar Campaigns from September until now, December 8. The few prayer books at hand contained no formal prayer on weather that might prove acceptable to the Army Commander. Keeping his immediate objective in mind, I typed an original and an improved copy on a 5″ x 3″ filing card:

Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.

I pondered the question, What use would General Patton make of the prayer? Surely not for private devotion. If he intended it for circulation to chaplains or others, with Christmas not far removed, it might he proper to type the Army Commander’s Christmas Greetings on the reverse side. This would please the recipient, and anything that pleased the men I knew would please him:

To each officer and soldier in the Third United States Army, I Wish a Merry Christmas. I have full confidence in your courage, devotion to duty, and skill in battle. We march in our might to complete victory. May God’s blessings rest upon each of you on this Christmas Day. G.S. Patton, Jr, Lieutenant General, Commanding, Third United States Army.

This done, I donned my heavy trench coat, crossed the quadrangle of the old French military barracks, and reported to General Patton. He read the prayer copy, returned it to me with a very casual directive, “Have 250,000 copies printed and see to it that every man in the Third Army gets one.” The size of the order amazed me; this was certainly doing something about the weather in a big way. But I said nothing but the usual, “Very well, Sir!” Recovering, I invited his attention to the reverse side containing the Christmas Greeting, with his name and rank typed. “Very good,” he said, with a smile of approval. “If the General would sign the card, it would add a personal touch that I am sure the men would like.” He took his place at his desk, signed the card, returned it to me and then Said: “Chaplain, sit down for a moment; I want to talk to you about this business of prayer.” He rubbed his face in his hands, was silent for a moment, then rose and walked over to the high window, and stood there with his back toward me as he looked out on the falling rain. As usual, he was dressed stunningly, and his six-foot-two powerfully built physique made an unforgettable silhouette against the great window. The General Patton I saw there was the Army Commander to whom the welfare of the men under him was a matter of Personal responsibility . Even in the heat of combat he could take time out to direct new methods to prevent trench feet, to see to it that dry socks went forward daily with the rations to troops on the line, to kneel in the mud administering morphine and caring for a wounded soldier until the ambulance Came. What was coming now?

“Chaplain, how much praying is being done in the Third Army?” was his question. I parried: “Does the General mean by chaplains, or by the men?” “By everybody,” he replied. To this I countered: “I am afraid to admit it, but I do not believe that much praying is going on. When there Is fighting, everyone prays, but now with this constant rain — when things are quiet, dangerously quiet, men just sit and wait for things to happen. Prayer out here is difficult. Both chaplains and men are removed from a special building with a steeple. Prayer to most of them is a formal, ritualized affair, involving special posture and a liturgical setting. I do not believe that much praying is being done.”

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3 Responses to Patton on Prayer

Washington At Prayer

Sunday, December 22, AD 2013

There is an old tradition that Washington prayed in the snow at Valley Forge on Christmas Day 1777.  Certainly the wretched condition of the Continental Army in December of 1777, with a hungry winter beginning, would have driven commanders less pious than Washington to their knees.  However, Washington was pious and prayed every day.

The tradition rests on this account of the Reverend Nathaniel Randolph Snowden, a Presbyterian Minister in Philadelphia who lived from 1770-1851 and who wrote the following:

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5 Responses to Washington At Prayer

  • Some years ago there was a U. S. postage stamp with this same picture on it. I saved one. It is my favorite, over and above the stamp of Albert Einstein. I wish the post office would return the stamp to print. It is so beautiful, that and Washington crossing the Delaware. Frostbitten and hungry that army had the fire of freedom burning in their hearts. God bless America. Thank you Mr. McCleary for posting this.

  • To me, every twenty-five cent piece is a Medal of Freedom.

  • And now, Almighty Father,

    If it is Thy holy will that we shall obtain a place and name among the nations of the earth, grant that we may be enabled to show our gratitude for Thy goodness by our endeavors to fear and obey Thee. Bless us with thy wisdom in our counsels, success in battle, and let our victories be tempered with humanity. Endow, also, our enemies with enlightened minds, that they become sensible of their injustice, and willing to restore our liberty and peace. Grant the petition of Thy servant, for the sake of whom Thou hast called Thy beloved Son; nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done.

    –George Washington

  • Thank you, Lauran. I saved George Washington’s prayer. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

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Prayer in Time of Grief

Wednesday, June 19, AD 2013


O come, Thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.




Hattip to A Catholic Mom in Hawaii.  Since the death of my son Larry I have found this prayer by Father Robert Fox to be of comfort:

God of life and death, You have taken a beloved one from me.  My heart is very heavy.  I recall that Your Son, Jesus Christ, became man in all things except sin and that He groaned in sorrow at the death of His friend, Lazarus.  I unite my grief with Yours dear Jesus, as You stood at the tomb of Lazarus.

O Virgin Mother, you know what it was like losing your husband Joseph, and then your child.  dying suspended between earth and heaven, with a sword piercing your sweet soul.  To you do I come in sorrow, begging strength from your intercession, from you who fully understand what it is like to lose one so dear and close.

Share with me, dear Mother of God, the courage, the strong faith that you had in the future resurrection.  Even after Jesus came back to life and ascended into heaven, you knew you were to be left alone for many years before your own assumption into heaven. You comforted the Apostles as their Queen and Mother during those years. Grant comfort to me now as I sorrow in pain at the loss by the separation that has come as a result of the sin of our first parents and my own sins. Wipe away my tears with the merciful love of your Immaculate Heart as you unite me with my loved one through the grace of the Sacred Heart of your Son Jesus Christ.  Amen.

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16 Responses to Prayer in Time of Grief

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  • Thank you for being so raw and real, instead of chirping, “Trust God; He has good plans.” It is a hard path. Heaven, heaven, heaven.

  • Thank you for sharing this prayer. We lost a dear friend in a sudden, unexpected accident yesterday, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the thought of him in a better world, where the pain of this one is forgotten, but the joy of baseball–which he loved–goes on and on without an end to the season.

  • May God’s graces, and the comfort of the Blessed Mother, accompany you and your family as you endure this agony. May graces abound. Blessed be the name of the Lord… His mercy endures forever. My prayers are with you.

  • I was a single parent and my only son died at the age of 33. It was quite challenging as I had to really deal with a very a reality I never saw coming. It is almost 4 years later and I have to say even though my faith was sorely tested, I have grown in my understanding of what Mary went through and what many other people have endured throughout the centuries. I thank God, I do have faith or else I might not have been able to endure the terribleness of that reality. I have hope and belief and this has grown and not diminished although I came close to many doubts. But that is what faith is.

  • “I was a single parent and my only son died at the age of 33.”

    The same age as Jesus. My prayers for you Angela. One of the greatest gifts I think God granted us was our inability to see the future in this vale of tears.

  • “His mercy endures forever.”

    Thank you D.H. I completely agree.

  • “We lost a dear friend in a sudden, unexpected accident yesterday, and the only thing that makes it bearable is the thought of him in a better world, where the pain of this one is forgotten, but the joy of baseball–which he loved–goes on and on without an end to the season.”

    My prayers for the repose of his soul Marilyn. I can just imagine the baseball teams fielded above!

  • “It is a hard path.”

    Too often we wish to soften the hard edges of life that the Faith has always said are part of life. I have been painfully reminded that suffering is part of our lot here below.

  • The Church’s teachings on redemptive suffering saved my life and my marriage.

  • God bless you for posting this. My beloved younger brother was killed in a car accident and his death has changed my life forever, as well as the lives of the rest of my family. Having the self knowledge to see that God has led you down an easier path until this point (and recognizing that now He has a harder path for you) is incredibly important in the healing process. I am so grateful for my Catholic faith and our teachings on the meaning of suffering. I will pray for you as you grieve for your beloved son. Know that he prays for you also. God does beckon us down this harder path and what joy awaits us at the end! From experience, I can assure you that your faith will be strengthened because of this hard path you’ll be walking. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us and also for this beautiful prayer.

  • Only just heard. I am so sorry. May he rest with his Savior.

  • Donald, I believe you and I have interacted a few times in various comboxes (possibly at Rich Leonardi’s “Ten Reasons”). I remember us sharing stories of our autistic sons and what blessings they brought to our lives. I can’t image the grief you and your wife face at this time, but please know that I will hug my son a little tighter and give thanks to God more loudly for this presence in my life. I will also remember your son in our prayers. Mother Mary, pray for us. May God comfort and console you all.

  • “May God comfort and console you all.”

    Thank you Nerina. I am learning through this terrible experience that God is our only true consolation.

  • “May he rest with his Savior.”

    That thought has got me through the last month Cminor.

  • “I will pray for you as you grieve for your beloved son. Know that he prays for you also.”

    I have asked Larry for his prayers and intercession and that is a great comfort to me. My prayers for your younger brother.

Using Prayer as a Rhetorical Weapon

Wednesday, September 5, AD 2012

We all need prayers. Every soul praying for our soul is a net positive. As Catholics, it’s one of the main reasons we ask the Saints for their prayers. Yet there are times when the phrase “I will be praying for you” sounds more like spite than a genuine offering up to God.

I’ve noticed this more and more in Catholic blog comment boxes, and it has happened here on more than one occasion. A person of a more leftist orientation disagrees with a post written by one of our regulars, and after a semi-heated exchange, goes off in a huff, but not before saying that they will be praying for the person they’ve been debating. Instead of coming off as a “I’ll be praying for you so that God may provide his abundant mercy,” it sounds more like the person is saying, “I will be praying for your poor soul to recognize the merits of a higher tax rate for the wealthy.” The underlying tone is, I am a better person than you, so God better hear from me to save you from the hellfire.

I suppose we all do this from time to time. It was common while Christopher Hitchens was alive to hear Catholics declaring that they were praying for his conversion, or simply for his soul. Now there’s not necessarily anything wrong with that, and all people truly need our prayers. Yet there is a very fine line, and we can all run into the danger of using prayer almost as a rhetorical bludgeon. It might be a good idea to stop and ask yourself, am I offering to pray for this person because I am truly moved by the Holy Spirit to do so, or am I doing this to subtly indicate my own self-righteousness? Then again – and this is for the theological philosophers to muddle over – is prayer offered up even with bad motivation better than no prayer at all?

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20 Responses to Using Prayer as a Rhetorical Weapon

  • I’ll pray for you, and the horse you rode in on. 🙂

  • I think it’s just the new form of Weaponized Charity Demands. Because there’s nothing as charitable as accusing someone of lacking the Proper Spirit of Charity, IE, the desire whatever you want them to do…..

  • More seriously– I usually take it as having been addressed by Jesus with the whole “go to your room and pray quietly, not on street corners” thing. Unless you think it’ll actually help someone to know that you’re praying for them, I highly suggest keeping it quiet.

  • Exactly, Foxfier. There are times when you want to make known that a person especially is in need of prayer, but otherwise it’s best to do it in secret.

  • I have many faithful, loving people (living and dead) for whom daily I pray.

    Neither the Gospels nor prayers ought to be subverted to spiteful motives.

    Anyhow, I use “bless her/his heart”, whenever I want to express disdain for evil.

    Many times a day I say, “O my Jesus, forgive us our sins; save us from the fire of Hell; take all souls to Heaven; and help especially those most in need of Thy mercy.” I believe that covers, bless their hearts, liberals.

  • To pray for somone’s soul is to be saying the prayer that the other person ought to be saying, or so I thought.

  • I believe those that speak of back-handed praying as a way of insulting another or estabishing superiority run afoul of the commandment not to misuse the name of God.
    I also believe that when we say to someone that we will pray for them, and don’t follow through with it, we are guilty of breaking the same commandment. I confess my own sin in this matter.

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  • Excellent article. I have seen exactly the spite you’ve described.

    I’ve also seen prayer used as a kind of cop-out. Instead of admonishing or correcting someone, I’ve seen people say “I’ll pray for them.” This reminds me of the parable where instead of giving food to a hungry person, a well fed person instead “prays for them”.

  • I’m embarrassed to admit this but, I did not realize until recently that “bless his/her heart” is NOT a compliment, or a low-key prayer for someone’s good! I used to hear my grandparents say that in reference to people who drove them nuts. I assumed they were being charitable, and they never explained to me otherwise because I didn’t ask.

  • Perhaps a little too graphic and off topic, Ollie? Moderation anyone?

  • Uncle Di used to call this the “olive branch in the eye” tactic.

  • OK, I’ve got to be the jerk who says this, I guess. But both sides do this. Self-righteous condescension is one of the devil’s most effective temptations for the faithful.

  • Dagnabbit! I missed Ollie’s comment.

    “If the wicked refuse to join in the blessed endeavor, they should be loved as enemies are loved in Christian charity, since, as long as they live, there is the possibility that they may come to a better mind.” St. Augustine

  • Admonish the sinner.

    Bear all wrongs patiently.

    Forgive all injuries (including the imaginary).

    Counsel the doubtful.

    Instruct the ignorant.

    Pray for the living and the dead.

    The Spiritual Works of Mercy

  • Again, I don’t mean to stir up trouble, but I notice a lot of “may God have mercy” comments in the Caroline Kennedy thread. Isn’t this the same thing? Or, rather, doesn’t the result of both appear the same no matter what the motivation?

  • Pinky-
    yes, if you’re determined to try to read every mention of praying for someone as weaponized forms of religion, you’re going to be able to.
    Kind of like the folks who respond to every pointing out of Democrat misbehavior by finding SOMETHING the Republicans have done, and acting like it’s exactly the same, or worse.

    If, on the other hand, you’re willing to recognize that there’s a difference between:
    1) having a large argument, usually laced with lots of attempts to use the Church’s authority to support a position it doesn’t require, and ending with a variation of “I’m praying for you” heavy with the implication of “you horrible person”
    2) “this woman is publicly supporting something that is absolutely off limits, I will be praying for her”
    No, it’s not the same thing, nor does it appear so, unless you’re blinding yourself by trying to be “fair” by taking the worst possible interpretation of one side vs the best possible on the other.

  • St. Augustine quote: “What is reprehensible is that, while leading good lives themselves and abhorring those of wicked men, some fearing to offend shut their eyes to evil deeds instead of condemning them and pointing out their malice. To be sure, the motive behind their tolerance is that they may suffer no hurt in the possession of those temporal goods which virtuous and blameless men may lawfully enjoy; still, there is more self-seeking here than becomes men who are mere sojourners in this world and who profess hope of a home in heaven.”

    I think “weaponized prayer” is distinctly less unchartable (and less judgmental) than the hackneyed democrat (bless their hearts) hacks’ habitual calling down a horrid death on, or calling a nazi, anyone so evil as to disasagree with the nightmarish program.

  • Fox – I will always go out of my way to look on my opponents in the most favorable light. That’s a “gimme”. I don’t know a way to attain heaven without doing that. (There may be a touch of scruples in it as well, to be frank.)

    As for calling out the people on my own side, I probably have gotten more aggressive on that because the internet seems rigged against that impulse. It’s nearly impossible to take advice from an opponent in any circumstances, and with the net allowing us to form into smaller and smaller groups, nearly everyone eventually becomes an outsider who isn’t worthy of listening to. There’s no check on the speck vs. mote phenomenon. I have a feeling that if we could view our internet selves objectively we’d be stunned at our lack of charity. (I suspect the same is true of our driving selves. The things we do when we’re not making eye contact with someone else.)

  • Pinky-
    there is a MASSIVE difference between taking the best reasonable spin you can on those you disagree with and totally ignoring their flaws.
    Likewise, there is a MASSIVE difference between ignoring the problems of those you agree with, and going to crazy lengths to take the worst possible interpretation of their actions.

    I agree that there is a lot of what I called induced psychopathy, but that does not excuse actively choosing against fairness, let alone charity, just because someone agrees with you.

Never Give Up

Tuesday, September 4, AD 2012


If anyone doubts the power of prayer, please read this story by a mother who prayed unceasingly for her wayward son:

My prayers were unceasing now.  Not a half an hour went by that I did not talk to God about my son and ask His Blessed Mother to keep praying for Donnie. He returned home at nineteen. If nothing else, at least he was home with us, I thought.  Shortly thereafter, my husband was transferred  to Virginia.  Donnie came with us.   

     Matthew settled into fourth grade at a Catholic school, Don was sent out to sea on a six-month tour, I kept up my never-ending conversations with God and the Blessed Mother, and Donnie returned to his destructive lifestyle.  Then, suddenly everything changed overnight.  “Mom,” Donnie said as I passed by his bedroom early one morning. “I want to talk to a priest.”
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Prayers, Answered and Not

Tuesday, October 4, AD 2011

I saw this on Facebook, posted by an atheist group, and in a simple and pungent way it hammers at one of our basic issues as Christians. We believe in an all powerful God. We believe that we can bring our supplications to Him in prayer, and that sometimes those prayers are answered in the affirmative.

But why, if we at times attribute the finding of some household item or a victory at a sporting event to prayer, do so many bad things, so many things that people doubtless pray about, happen? Even assuming similarity of scale, if one person is miraculously healed of cancer, why do a hundred others follow the natural course and die?

The answer, simple yet maddening to the mind which wants to know all, is that by worshiping an all powerful God we necessarily admit (as creatures neither all knowing nor all powerful) that we don’t understand all that God does. In a world of suffering, we at least have Christ’s example of prayer before us.

“Father, if you are willing, take this cup away from me; still, not my will but yours be done.”

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30 Responses to Prayers, Answered and Not

  • The whole Book of Job was about this topic. Job 40:1-2

    1 Moreover the LORD answered Job, and said:

    2 “Shall the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him?
    He who rebukes God, let him answer it.”

    That being said, I can’t begin to describe how the photo on the right makes me feel. We should be fallen prostrate before the Blessed Sacrament in thanksgiving that we have problems which don’t involve hunger to the point of starvation. And Matthew 25:31-46 should be our response.

  • I don’t know how many times I invoke the saints, particularly St. Joseph when I have a project to do around the house. For electrical matters, I leave them to the Almighty exclusively! Everything always works out and sometimes better than expected.

  • God is not our own personal Genie to perform miracles at our beck and call. As Lincoln noted in his Second Inaugural, the Almighty has His own purposes. Because of the Fall we inhabit a world where sin and evil are never in short supply. Our God died nailed to a cross because of the evil that our actions add to this vale of tears. The idea that if God does not miraculously cure all ills in this world then he does not exist is ludicrous. This world is not our eternal abode, but it is where we will determine our eternal destination through our Faith and works. Evil and Sin are grim realities, but never grounds for either despair or disbelief.

  • “Ask anything in my name and it shall be done.” By using a future tense, God gives Himself some wiggle room, I guess. If we are to pray for his will to be done and not ours, then what’s the use of praying? I never understood this and never will. Father knows best?

  • While I haven’t forsaken the idea of an all powerful and benevolent God, I tend to see him less as a cosmic engineer making the system run according to his will, and more as a loving parent who weeps and suffers with his suffering children. God doesn’t always get what he wants.

  • God always knows best Joe. I have a son who is autistic and who will never be able to carry on a conversation, drive a car or be employed. I have prayed for years for a miracle to cure him. That such a miracle has not yet transpired detracts not one whit from my faith or from the efforts of myself and my wife to help our son since the greatest of miracles that God gives us is divine and human love.

  • “God doesn’t always get what he wants.”

    There you lose me Kyle. God can do anything He wishes. He could cure my son in an instant if such were His will. That He does not is merely further proof to me that what we consider important and what God considers important often do not coincide. My mother died of brain cancer at age 48. She met her death with grace, humor and courage. We all prayed for a miracle cure, but it was not to be. However, when my mother went to God on Easter morning of 1984, I did not look on it as a defeat but as my mother’s victory over death in Christ, a greater miracle than a simple cure.

  • God getting what he wants and our understanding of what He wants are never to be conflated.

  • God is not our own personal Genie to perform miracles at our beck and call. As Lincoln noted in his Second Inaugural, the Almighty has His own purposes. Because of the Fall we inhabit a world where sin and evil are never in short supply. Our God died nailed to a cross because of the evil that our actions add to this vale of tears. The idea that if God does not miraculously cure all ills in this world then he does not exist is ludicrous. This world is not our eternal abode, but it is where we will determine our eternal destination through our Faith and works. Evil and Sin are grim realities, but never grounds for either despair or disbelief.

  • I think faith alone is what saves us. True faith will evince itself in works. If we fail to live out a Christian life, I reckon that that is because we never truly believed. True faith obeys and perseveres. But again, I would carefully state that works do not save us even in combination with faith. Faith and faith alone save. Abraham beleived God and it was credited to him as righteousness. He had right standing before God. God counted him righteous.

  • And when we pray for something we may not get it. We may get something better. To be healed in God’s eyes is to know his peace. Pain is not a problem in need of a solution. It is an opportunity for growth. As our tragedies are taken up into the cross and sanctified, we see our lives redeemed. Then we understand that it’s not waste. We get to sense what is meant by that time called kairos. Very different from our meager attempts to structure time and manage our surroundings.

  • I tend to see him less as a cosmic engineer making the system run according to his will, and more as a loving parent who weeps and suffers with his suffering children. God doesn’t always get what he wants.

    I think that too often people do fall into an “engineer” mode of thinking of God, while forgetting that engineers deal with mechanistic things, things that do not possess a free will.

    The distinction with God and us is that He does will us to be free, even if that means our at times doing things other than the good, which is what would bring us closer to God.

  • On praying for miracles…

    There was some point during the last months of my dad’s fight with cancer when in some way it became clear to all of us (my dad first of all) what was going to happen, and we shifted from praying for a cure to praying for peace in dealing with what would happen. I’ve never really felt that I heard “answers” to any of my prayers, but somehow I heard or knew what God’s will was and what to ask for. I’ve never liked the “God always answer prayers, but sometimes the answer is no” formulation — but there is some sense there in which I got an answer. Nor was it simply “no”. Though it wasn’t what I’d originally wanted either.

  • If God doesn’t exist, why the obsession with us believers?

    I generally don’t ask atheists for advice on matters of Faith and Morals.

    One positive above: they are not blaming me for the picture on the right. They blame God: Whom they say doesn’t exist.

    I didn’t need more reason to not care what atheists say.

  • Whether atheist or Christian or Hindu or whatever, using a nameless starving child to score cheap points is despicable. The ‘person’ who did this likely gave little to no thought to this child’s suffering, agony, and likely premature death. I would hope all those here would at least pray for him. I’ll pray that my anger find a productive outlet.

  • I hardly ever pray for specific things. If my back is bothering me, I’ll usually pray a broad “please help all of us”. Sometimes I’ll pray that my back gets worse if it’s God’s will, but His will not mine be done. (That’s when I’m really in the zone.) So what’s the point of prayer? I don’t know really what the point of intercessory prayer is – that’s probably a failing of mine. But prayer is spending time with a loved one. When you’re dating, and you finally find the perfect gal for you, you keep in touch with her! You don’t just scratch “find the perfect gal” off your list and ignore her. You talk to her, find out everything you can about her, do things together, or just spend time looking into her eyes. And yeah, you tell her your gripes. That’s natural.

  • Matthew 4 – 11
    1Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.
    2He fasted for forty days and forty nights, and afterwards he was famished.
    3The tempter came and said to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread.’
    4But he answered, ‘It is written, “One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.” ’

    5 Then the devil took him to the holy city and placed him on the pinnacle of the temple,
    6saying to him, ‘If you are the Son of God, throw yourself down; for it is written,
    “He will command his angels concerning you”, and “On their hands they will bear you up, so that you will not dash your foot against a stone.” ’
    7Jesus said to him, ‘Again it is written, “Do not put the Lord your God to the test.” ’


    “Bless the Lord God on every occasion.”

    “But as for me, I know my redeemer lives.”

    “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I shall return; the Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”

    “Shall we receive good at the hand of the Lord and shall we not receive evil?”

    “In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong.”

    I try to offer up whatever suffering I feel. Also, I prayerfully offer up whatever I do that is hard or taxing or distasteful.

    I have far more reason for atonement and expiation than most.

  • “I have far more reason for atonement and expiation than most.”

    Perhaps T.Shaw, although I suspect most of the last souls to leave Purgatory will be attorneys! 🙂

  • I find particularly comforting the Church’s tradition that you can offer up personal sacrifice or suffering as a prayer for others. For me this sometimes is easier to do than trying to pray vocally.

    If I happen to be working on a particularly difficult project, I will pray for all the people whom it affects, and offer up any frustration, anxiety, etc. I feel over it. If I am feeling hurt or slighted, I offer it up for persons suffering genuine abuse, persecution or oppression. If I cannot sleep for some reason, I offer it up for anyone who is being kept awake by sickness, family crisis/emergency, loneliness, etc. When I recently had outpatient surgery and discovered that someone I knew was scheduled for a potentially much more serious operation the same day, I offered up whatever anxiety, pain or discomfort I experienced that day for her.

  • Elaine – If more people understood the idea of offering up suffering, well, I can’t think of anything that’d have a bigger impact on our society. It goes right to the heart of the Cross. Evangelicals have no concept of it, and unfortunately a lot of Catholics are unfamiliar with it. Of course, it’s not just a matter of understanding it intellectually: the practice of it opens both the actor and the object of the sacrifice to great graces.

    I worry about a society that can’t endure inconveniences – a TV commercial, a slow download, or God forbid a traffic jam.

  • I’m curious about something related to our “offering up” prayers- I’ve read Catholic writers like Kevin Yost – Fit for Eternal Life- talk about offering up our physical workouts as prayers- all the pain and pleasures of the workout in unity with the redemptive sufferings of Christ. I do this every workout myself- but I catch myself with the phrase “pain and pleasures” since both are part of many activities like weight training- are we just to pray to offer up pains or is there a way to understand offering up good things in this type of prayer which is not normally viewed as a prayer of thanksgiving over blessings..anyone?

  • I’ve always only offered up pain Tim, assuming that my gift was patient endurance. I’ve done that frequently in the dentist chair, or when I have had periodic kidney stones.

  • Funny how believers use Job as an example. At the end he gets everything back at least doubled. Just life in real life, right?

  • The just are always rewarded Joe, if not in this life then in the next, just as the evil are always punished. Some of the truly evil seem to be aware of this at the end. Stalin’s daughter Svetlana related Stalin’s last moments:

    “The death agony was terrible. God grants an easy death only to the just. He literally choked to death as we watched. At what seemed like the very last moment he suddenly opened his eyes and cast a glance over everyone in the room. It was a terrible glance, insane or perhaps angry and full of fear of death. . .Then something incomprehensible and terrible happened that to this day I can’t forget. . .He suddenly lifted his left hand as though he were pointing to something up above and bring down a curse on us all. The gesture was incomprehensible and full of menace. . .The next moment, after a final effort, the spirit wrenched itself free of the flesh.”

    Earlier in his last illness Stalin kept saying he could hear wolves howling. A terrible thing to come before God with a blood stained conscience.

  • Morning offering:
    “Lord Jesus, through the Most Pure Heart of Mary, I offer You all my prayers, works,joys and sufferings of this day, For all the intentions of Your Divine Heart.”
    – or for any other intentions.

  • Donald,

    The existence of hell illustrates that God doesn’t always get what he wants. God wants all people to be saved, and yet people can refuse salvation; therefore, God may not (and probably doesn’t) always get what he wants.

  • “The existence of hell illustrates that God doesn’t always get what he wants.”

    I disagree Kyle. God created Hell, and He could end it instantly if He so wished. Hell, and the Damned in Hell, serve His purposes no less than the souls in Purgatory and the souls in Heaven. God could have created us so that we always choose good and reject evil, and He did not, instead giving us free will. What you contend is God not getting what He wants, is merely a byproduct of how God decided to create Man in His own image with free will. All of creation is not even the merest of dreams compared to the reality of the Creator. He ordered creation precisely as He wished, and he could alter it at any time if He so wished.

  • That third picture is guilt-inducing. How could I be so ungrateful as to ever question God? How could I complain about anything when I have so much in comparison to so many other people? How could I be so thankless so often? I can’t get that picture out of my head. Horrifying. How terrible I am!

  • We may be talking past one another, Donald. I agree that God ordered creation as he wished; however, the consequence of God giving man free will is that man can choose to act contrary to what God wants. God allows people to refuse his love and salvation, but it’s unfathomable to me that God actually wants people to refuse him. He allows evil to exist, but it’s not as though he wants there to be evil.

  • Fathoming the ways of God is beyond us mortals Kyle. I know that God is all-loving and all-powerful. He loves us and His creation is as He willed.

Find God In 60 Days!

Friday, February 25, AD 2011


I agree with you Klavan on the Culture, prayer over time tends to build belief.  I have had several people tell me that the force of habit of prayer has gotten them through rough spots in their religious life.  One fellow I know promised his mom that every night he would say a Hail Mary before he went to sleep.  He spent several years as a stone cold atheist, but every night he would heed his promise to his mom and say the Hail Mary, even though he thought it ridiculous.  Faith returned ultimately,  and he thinks he might have been lost forever without that nightly prayer for the intercession of the Blessed Mother. 

CS Lewis understood this well, judging from this passage of The Screwtape Letters:

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5 Responses to Find God In 60 Days!

  • Don, did you get this off the Onion Network? I remember an old TV commercial featuring a guy by the name of Fast Eddie who used to shill electronics and power tools in NYC. Is this really the way to peddle Christianity? If so, no sale here. I don’t think this is what Jesus had in mind when he told his disciplines to preach the Gospel to the ends of the earth.

  • Jesus had a heck of a sense of humor– as a great priest I once heard pointed out, he had TONS of stuff that wouldn’t be out of line in a stand-up comedy club, or CGI assisted slap-stick.

    Swallowing a camel while complaining about a little gnat? Walking around with a bloody LOG in your eye, talking about a little splinter in someone else’s?

    Klavan’s made me laugh. ^.^

  • “Is this really the way to peddle Christianity?:

    Over the past 2000 years Joe there have been an infinite number of ways to spread the Good News. I tend to like a lot of humor. I agree with Saint Francis of Assisi: “Let gloom and despair be for the Devil and his Disciples.”

    Blessed Miguel Pro, God’s Jester, please ask God to grant us good humor to lighten our way.

    Foxfier, you are absolutely correct. The Gospels are suffused with the humor of God, much of which we simply do not get because translation from the original spoken Aramaic to Greek to Latin to English conceals some of it, and most of the rest because the historical background eludes most readers.

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  • The video affirms two ideas that don’t get much play, even from the pulpit: that standing fast through the down periods is essential to long term well-being and, relatedly, faith is part of the social fabric.

    Marriage has been, for me, a true blessing. It is wonderful… Except for those times when it isn’t, when things are out of sinc and connecting requires work… The thing is that working through those trials requires remaining engaged. The reward has been to have a marriage that grows and changes. Is it stronger? Better? More beautiful? For the perseverance? I don’t know. I harbor an affection for the time when we lived in an apartment, went away on unplanned vacations, and ate out with friends two or three nights a week. (Plus, I was a whole lot thinner and had hair.).

    The thing is, the marriage that we had couldn’t have handled a sick child, no money to fix a washing machine, or ill health. It was the subtle change over time that turned me into a different person, one able to handle what was thrown at us. That subtle change was the result of perseverance through times where everything wasn’t “great”.

    I don’t think we hear enough about perseverance in prayer or relationships these days. Thus, I applaud the messages of the video.

When God Says "No"

Tuesday, October 12, AD 2010

Msgr. Charles Pope is a Priest in the Archdiocese of Washington.  In addition to his duties as pastor at a parish in southeastern DC, he regularly celebrates High Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Mary’s in Chinatown once a month.  He is perhaps the finest homilist I have ever had the privilege of hearing on a regular basis, and he demonstrates why in this blog post from the Archdiocese’s website.  He tackles what may be one of the most difficult subjects that Catholics and indeed people of all faith struggle with: why does God seemingly say no to some of our prayer requests?  He provides a fantastic answer, and in the process gives some guidance on he proper disposition we should have when praying.

1. Sometimes, “No”  is the Best Answer – We often think we know what is best for us. We want to have this job, or we want that person to fall in love and marry us. We want to be delivered from a certain illness or receive a financial blessing. We see these as good outcomes and are sure that God must also see them this way. But God may not, in fact agree with our assessment as to what is best for us. And thus his “No” is really the best answer to our prayers.

For example we may always prefer that God answer our prayer that none of our children be born with any disabilities. But God may see that the experience of disability may be just the thing that we or the child may need in order to be  saved ultimately. St. Paul prayed for deliverance from some sort of physical affliction: Three times I begged the Lord about this, that it might leave me, but he said to me,My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.” I will rather boast most gladly of my weaknesses, in order that the power of Christ may dwell with me. Therefore, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and constraints, for the sake of Christ; for when I am weak, then I am strong (2 Cor 12:7-10).

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Cardinal Newman on Fasting

Wednesday, February 17, AD 2010

“And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, He was afterward an hungered.” Matt. iv. 2.

{1} THE season of humiliation, which precedes Easter, lasts for forty days, in memory of our Lord’s long fast in the wilderness. Accordingly on this day, the first Sunday in Lent, we read the Gospel which gives an account of it; and in the Collect we pray Him, who for our sakes fasted forty days and forty nights, to bless our abstinence to the good of our souls and bodies.

We fast by way of penitence, and in order to subdue the flesh. Our Saviour had no need of fasting for either purpose. His fasting was unlike ours, as in its intensity, so in its object. And yet when we begin to fast, His pattern is set before us; and we continue the time of fasting till, in number of days, we have equalled His.

There is a reason for this;—in truth, we must do nothing except with Him in our eye. As He it is, through whom alone we have the power to do any good {2} thing, so unless we do it for Him it is not good. From Him our obedience comes, towards Him it must look. He says, “Without Me ye can do nothing.” [John xv. 5.] No work is good without grace and without love.

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Forgiveness, Mercy, and Charity for New York City Saint James Parish

Monday, January 25, AD 2010

[Updates at the bottom of this posting; latest update on 1-26-2010 at 12:24pm CST]

The Catholic blogosphere is currently in an uproar over an event that occurred at Saint James Church on Friday, January 15, 2010 A.D. when a Christian youth group requested and organized an event to draw more young adults into the Catholic Church.  This seemed as an innocuous request since the parish in the past held a classical piano concert in honor of the church’s founder Father Felix Valera.

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42 Responses to Forgiveness, Mercy, and Charity for New York City Saint James Parish

  • Why should there be any “events” at all in a Church? Did anyone bother to ask what the “event” – a word that can signify any number of things – would be?

    Did they know “music” was going to be performed?

    This is pathetic.

  • From the website evidence, the event was advertised weeks ahead of time.

    There was an advertised open bar for an hour and a half before the event, according to secular blogs written by people who were HAPPY about the event. That requires a liquor license, doesn’t it?

    The plywood stage that extended the sanctuary area was clearly pre-built for the event.

    The music was clearly not a piano concert.

    Even if, for the sake of charity, we grant that the fools who played made innocent mistakes concerning using the altar as a table, even if we grant that any kind of secular event (like a piano concert) is acceptable in a church, how did the parish staff and the pastor NOT know this was going on?

    Parish staff were certainly there DURING the event, right?

    I’ve worked in several parishes around the country. In EVERY parish, NOBODY could hold an event in the church without a parish staff member being present to open and lock up, help get last minute items, etc.

    THERE IS NO WAY this happened without the connivance of at least some members of the parish staff.

    It isn’t possible.

    I’m all for granting Christian charity, but there are limits to credulity.

    Sacrilege is worse than pedophilia.

    Someone needs to be fired here.

  • I forgot to add, of course, the kicker to the whole thing.

    This happened in New York City, the town that’s famous for being trusting, leaving doors unlocked all hours of the night, the gracious elegance and piety of the inhabitants, etc.

    Christian charity, remember?

  • Steve,

    I share your concerns about the mismanagement of this by the parish.

    Just one small point, they held a classical piano recital/concert two years ago.

    You may be confusing the concert of this year with that of two years ago.

    Nonetheless there was no one from the parish supervising the concert. The parish priest, Fr. Walter, doesn’t even reside there, he lives in downtown.

    It doesn’t excuse the behavior, just clarifying some points you made.

    As far as the pre-fab stage, I’ll assume your correct.

    Outside of my interview with Father Walter, my only other information comes from your site, which by the way is awesome!

  • Steve,

    I’m with you on this. The whole thing stinks. And just like the other issues I’m complaining about these days, we’re supposed to accept some official explanation from the authorities, some rationalization for their gross incompetence and failure.

    We can’t just admit that these people might have a) deliberately done something bad and b) lied about it.

    And if they didn’t lie about it, the degree of ineptitude is so severe that yes, as you say, someone should be fired anyway.

  • Joe, Steve & et al,

    Who do you fire?

    The priest?


    Monitor this thread if you can, I have to leave for Bible study.

    Everyone’s fired up!

  • It’s George Bush’s fault.

  • Mack,

    Why is everything W’s fault?

    Call a spade a spade, it’s a Freemason conspiracy.


  • I realize the piano concert was a couple of years back, but apparently that is being used as some sort of comparison/excuse for this event.

    I don’t see how it matches, but I was willing to grant that there could be a comparison just for the sake of discussion.

    I just don’t believe that a priest in New York City would allow an unsupervised event to take place at his parish without any staff being present.

    If a priest in Podunk, Nebraska wouldn’t do it (and I’ve worked in everything from a parish in the sticks to a chancery office), I simply don’t believe a priest in NYC would do it. The “explanation” is not just absurd, it’s insulting.

    How stupid does this priest think we are, to try such an outrageous explanation as “Well, I was misled! And so were all of my staff!”

    How about he gives US a little charity and tells the truth for a change? Or maybe he could fire somebody? Or ask for a transfer to administrative work? Or have the archbishop remove him?

    But, in perfect charity, he can’t honestly expect anyone to believe neither he nor his staff are ultimately responsible for the objectively evil act of sacrilege that was committed.

  • A desecration took place at that church. Mass is not supposed to resume until it is reconsecrated. Any news on that?

  • FYI:
    Declaration on Concerts in Churches
    Vatican 1987

    8. The regulation of the use of churches is stipulated by canon 1210 of the Code of Canon Law:

    “In a sacred place only those things are to be permitted which serve to exercise or promote worship, piety and religion. Anything out of harmony with the holiness the place is forbidden. The Ordinary may, however, for individual cases, permit other uses, provided they are not contrary to the sacred character of the place.”

    The principle that the use of the church must not offend the sacredness of the place determines the criteria by which the doors of a church may be opened to a concert of sacred or religious music, as also the concomitant exclusion of every other type of music. The most beautiful symphonic music, for example, is not in itself of religious character. The definition of sacred or religious music depends explicitly on the original intended use of the musical pieces or songs, and likewise on their content. It is not legitimate to provide for the execution in the church of music which is not of religious inspiration and which was composed with a view to performance in a certain precise secular context, irrespective of whether the music would be judged classical or contemporary, of high quality or of a popular nature. On the one hand, such performances would not respect the sacred character of the church, and on the other, would result in the music being performed in an unfitting context.

    10. When the proposal is made that there should be a concert in a church, the Ordinary is to grant the permission per modum actus. These concerts should be occasional events. This excludes permission for a series of concerts, for example in the case of a festival or a cycle of concerts.

    When the Ordinary considers it to be necessary, he can, in the conditions foreseen in the Code of Canon Law (can. 1222, para. 2) designate a church that is no longer used for divine service, to be an “auditorium” for the performance of sacred or religious music, and also of music not specifically religious but in keeping with the character of the place.

    In this task the bishop should be assisted by the diocesan commission for Liturgy and sacred music.

    In order that the sacred character of a church be conserved in the matter of concerts, the Ordinary can specify that:

    a. Requests are to be made in writing, in good time, indicating the date and time of the proposed concert, the program, giving the works and the names of the composers.
    b. After having received the authorization of the Ordinary, the rectors and parish priests of the churches should arranged details with the choir and orchestra so that the requisite norms are observed.
    c. Entrance to the church must be without payment and open to all.
    d. The performers and the audience must be dressed in a manner which is fitting to the sacred character of the place.
    e. The musicians and the singers should not be placed in the sanctuary. The greatest respect is to be shown to the altar, the president’s chair and the ambo.
    f. The Blessed Sacrament should be, as far as possible, reserved in a side chapel or in another safe and suitably adorned place (Cf. C.I.C., can 928, par. 4).
    g. The concert should be presented or introduced not only with historical or technical details, but also in a way that fosters a deeper understanding and an interior participation on the part of the listeners.
    h. The organizer of the concert will declare in writing that he accepts legal responsibilities for expenses involved, for leaving the church in order and for any possible damage incurred.

    11. The above practical directives should be of assistance to the bishops and rectors of churches in their pastoral responsibility to maintain the sacred character of their churches, designed for sacred celebrations, prayer and silence.

    Such indications should not be interpreted as a lack of interest in the art of music.

    The treasury of sacred music is a witness to the way in which the Christian faith promotes culture.

    By underlining the true value of sacred or religious music, Christian musicians and members of scholae cantorum should feel that they are being encouraged to continue this tradition and to keep it alive for the service of the faith, as expressed by the Second Vatican Council in its message to artists:

    “Do not hesitate to put your talent at the service of the Divine Truth. The world in which we live has need of beauty in order not to lose hope. Beauty, like truth, fills the heart with joy. And this, thanks to your hands” (Cf. Second Vatican Council, Message to Artists, December 8, 1965).

    Rome, November 5, 1987
    Paul Augustine Card. Mayer, O.S.B.
    Virgilio Noë
    Tit. Archbishop of Voncaria

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  • Contact the Thomas More Society ( and urge them to get involved. Contact the Archdiocese and St. James and urge them to contact the Thomas More Society. This group led by Panero needs to be brought up on charges and sued.

  • The indie groupies and fans who attended the event began predicting a huge lawsuit against Panero, the guy who organized the event, yesterday evening.

    Today, Catholics on the net are talking lawsuit.

    Videos of the event are quietly being removed from the internet in the hopes of destroying the evidence.

    The priest in question violated canon law by scheduling the event in the first place, just as he had violated it with the piano concert a couple of years ago. The difference here is that this violation is egregious, whereas the previous one was “in good taste” and therefore ignored.

    There’s only a difference in degree here, not in kind. This is what happens when pastors ignore or remain ignorant of canon law. The law exists for a reason. You break it, you own it.

    I’m sure the priest is quite repentant, I’m sure he’ll make a good confession over it. I certainly hope he and the archdiocese are successful in any lawsuits against the organizers.

    But there are temporal consequences to sin that has been forgiven. That’s the nature of sin.

    This kind of event has taken place far too often in far too many churches around the country. It needs to stop.

  • There seems to be no Podunk Nebraska. If there were, it is doubtful that such a “concert” would have proceeded under the watchful eye of Bishop Bruskewitz. They could happen only in hick places like Noo Yawk.

    Year ago Ned Rorem asked why churches would expect young people to come to mediocre concerts when they had good concerts of their own.

  • “Podunk” is a Midwestern technical term for “an extremely rural area.” I won’t name the exact town in Nebraska because it would identify the parish, and that’s not on point.

    As someone who worked in a parish that was under Archbishop Curtiss’ authority, let me assure you that this kind of event could only happen with the pastor’s approval. There’s no way it could take place unless the pastor or one of his staff were supervising the event.

    Pastors do not give out keys to the church to any Tom, Dick or Harry who wanders in off the street.

    The pastor, I am sure, is very remorseful, primarily because the video hit Youtube. If know one knew about it, and no one complained about it, he wouldn’t give a fig. The rule, whether in the parish or the diocese is “If no one complains, you have nothing to fear.”

  • I don’t get the problem. I mean, I do, but was this different from ‘Teen Life’?

  • I’m no lawyer, but it’s hard for me to imagine a lawsuit against the promoter having any success. Exactly what is the pastor supposed to in testimony? That he’s a chump who neglected even the most elementary standards of due diligence? Does the law indemnify for that? Can he make the court believe it?

    I appreciate the pastor’s remorse and his call for prayers of reparation, but face it: if you were Archbishop of New York, would you trust this man with the keys to one of your churches? If you do, Archbishop Dolan, can we expect the next underground concert to take place at St. Patrick’s Cathedral?

    So far as I can tell, there’s no accountability at any level of the American clergy. Apparently the only way to get fired is for a bishop to point out that he and not the USCCB is the Ordinary of his see.

  • Yeah, LifeTeen has it’s own problems. The founder is not only no longer a priest, he’s no longer a practicing Catholic. I’ve seen rock bands during Mass – a clear and damnable violation of the rubrics, but neither priest nor bishop were opposed to it, so it happened.

    This is really just a logical extension of LifeTeen.

    And, I agree with Romulus. It’s going to be darned hard for the diocese to prosecute this because the pastor gave permission for an event. The best they would probably be able to do is recover physical damages (cost of cleanup), if any.

    I keep running through all the salient facts, because I really don’t want to be uncharitable, but every time I run through the facts, I get the same conclusion.

    I don’t see how – when all the facts are considered – this priest deserves anything but the firestorm he has gotten. If this had happened in the sticks, in a rural parish somewhere, then you could argue the priest was naive – but it happened in Manhattan.

    You could say kids just got out of control – but where was the supervision? Where was the pastor? Where were the cops?

    You can say the pastor got misled – but who gave out the keys that allowed them into the church to begin with, who cleaned up and locked up that night?

    The pastor’s story just doesn’t make any sense, no matter his contrition level.

  • I am a 63-year-old conservative Cathoilc Christian. Like most of us, I’ve done my share of really stupid things. Only by the Grace of God have I gotten beyond some of my past errors and sins.
    Since I was not present when all this happened, I can’t say this pastor was any more wrong in what he did than some things I’ve done in the past. Mistakes have been made, it’s time to forgive and get over it. If Archbishop Dolan is satisfied, so should we all be.
    However, considering the “kumbayah” hootenanny music from the 70’s so prevalent in Catholic services these days, It’s just a natural evolution of the current music styles we see every week. What’s wrong with a little Rock & Roll on a Friday night if we allow such trash on Sunday mornings?

  • “What’s wrong with a little Rock & Roll on a Friday night if we allow such trash on Sunday mornings?”

    Both should be driven out of the house of God with the same fury with which Christ cleared the Temple of money-changers.

  • Tito you write “Nonetheless there was no one from the parish supervising the concert. The parish priest, Fr. Walter, doesn’t even reside there, he lives in downtown.” Surely you know the church IS downtown and the priest lives DOWN THE BLOCK!!!

  • My point is why would you take the liberty of making that statement if you dont know the facts. And I would like to know did the priest just hand over the keys to the church to this band and tell them lock up when they were finished??? Its a small community tito i am sure someone was there and knew what was going on.

  • Grace,

    I do know the facts and reported what was necessary.

    Fr. Walter told me he lives downtown and is a pastor in another church.

    What is the point of your comment?

    The pastor recognized the problem and has dealt with it accordingly.

    Your comment makes almost no sense.

  • He is tha pastor of St. Joseph down the block which merged with St. James last year… I think my comment makes sense and you are not getting all the facts. And what does your reported “what was necessary mean”?
    Tito the pastor made a big mistake..

  • I know that and most importantly the pastor knows that.

    Again, what is the point of your comment?

    I understand your frustration and displeasure, but now is the time to pray for him and the parish in order for them to move on and not allow this to happen again.

    Believe me most of us are not at all happy about what has occurred. But now is not the time to continue to vent.

    If he ignored and refused to acknowledge what happened, then you have a point about being upset and reminding everyone what has happened.

    But he has acknowledged it and is rectifying the situation.

  • So the fact the he knew what really was going on, said he didn’t live in the area and was not the pastor of the church is all rectified by him saying a mass. Okay Tito guess you did get all the facts. thanks for staightening that out for me…

  • Grace,

    He did not know what was going on.

    But if you want to believe that he did know, then that is between you and God.

  • and if the priest wants to believe what he told you thats between him and God…

    Thanks for your time Tito.

  • Grace,

    You are now antagonizing and unconstructive.

    Be careful what you post next or you’ll be placed on moderation.

  • Sorry if I offended anyone I did not mean to be antagonizing i was just stating a fact. I do apologize.

  • Grace,

    No worries.

    Have a great hump day!

  • Will this church be reconsecrated or not?

  • Even though the concert was wrong, it wasn’t enough that the sanctuary needs to be reconsecrated.

  • I think the short answer is “no.”

  • Steve,

    Why not paste a cool Catholic pic as your avatar?

    Makes this website look spiffier!

  • What’s wrong with that nice geometric Muslim design?

  • Steve,

    It’s actually a mudejar design, but I’m not really interested in inter-religious exchange when it comes to icons.

    Orthodox, Eastern Catholic, and gothic come to mind as superior replacements!


  • I am saddened of the individuals who believe it is ok to desecrate a church and take advantage of our Parish Priest. It is easy for anyone, believing that this is supposed to be a Christian rock concert to fall for such a lie. I forgive my Parish priest, for anyone can be innocent to fall for such a lie. It would have been a great thing if our Parish had had a Christian Rock concert performed by Kutless to bring our youth to its feet. Seeing the amounts of youngsters in the Parish, I believe, we would have benefited. God states we must forgive, we are human and we are bound to make mistakes, no matter what title we have. This is a wakeup call that we are humans and that we must stay vigilant.

  • Anyone who believes that what happened at St James was caused by a deliberate disregard for the sanctity of the church is making a terrible mistake. I have known Fr. Walter, personally, for over 30 years and he has done all manner of good for countless people every day of his life — but no one blogs about that.

    The parishes he pastors are not cathedrals with big resources and a “grand staff”. The “grand staff” is a few good hearted local people and volunteers who try their best. St James and St Joseph are two, poor, tiny parishes on the lower east side of Manhattan. They serve four culturally diverse communities; a Chinese community, dwindling Italian and English communities, and a Hispanic community. This is the reality of Manhattan. Parish announcements have to written in English, Fujianese, and Spanish. Organizing a simple parish function can range from difficult to nearly impossible due to language and cultural disparity.

    Let’s recap: four different communities, two different facilities — and how many resident priests to serve them?— ONE — Fr Walter. CEO’s of major corporations don’t work that hard. How long can anyone work 24/7 under these conditions without making a single slip in judgement? A week? A month? As far as I know, Fr Walter hasn’t been declared a saint, so I guess bilocation is out of the question. He can’t be everywhere at the same time and has to trust people at some point. Probably the only misstep he took — yes that’s right ONLY misstep — was to trust someone under these circumstances who, unfortunately, failed him. Why has the Archdiocese abandoned St James and placed the burden on one man? After all, St James is a diocesan parish.

    Ok, so let’s witch hunt, without knowing the priest or the parish or “the staff” or how it happened. Let’s gaze into our crystal balls and tell everyone the priest is lying, “the staff” is lying, and someone should be fired. — THAT is egregious; THAT is a lie; and THAT is unkind. We follow the letter of the law and somehow manage to violate the heart of it.

    NO ONE likes what happened at St James. Fr Walter certainly doesn’t, I don’t, and neither does “the staff”.

  • I apologize for bringing this topic back up again, but I just found out what happened in my old parish and would like to add my comment.

    “Why has the Archdiocese abandoned St James and placed the burden on one man?” Fr.Corniel was a one man show in St. James Church prior to St. Joseph’s taking it over. Given the little resources that he had, he did an excellent job of keeping the parish running and the feeling of community within the parish. The Archdiocese should have left him there. I’m not sure how priests are relocated nor who decides, but why doesn’t the Archdiocese equally divide the number of priests amongst the parishes?

    Also, what some people above may or may not know is that St. James has a church hall. Why didn’t Fr. Walter rent that space out instead of the church? When I was an active parishioner in St. James, the church hall was rented out with rules and regulations. During the event, either the pastor would stop by to check how things were going, or he would send an active parishioner.

    With events of such grave severity, there’s always a lot of should have, could have, would have, what’s done is done, and it can’t be undone. Now is the time to rebuild the St. James parish and pray that we can all move on and get past this.

Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

Friday, January 15, AD 2010

Archbishop George H. Niederauer of San Francisco addressed on January 13, 2010 a free will defense of abortion by Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House:

In a recent interview with Eleanor Clift in Newsweek magazine (Dec. 21, 2009), House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was asked about her disagreements with the United States Catholic bishops concerning Church teaching. Speaker Pelosi replied, in part: “I practically mourn this difference of opinion because I feel what I was raised to believe is consistent with what I profess, and that we are all endowed with a free will and a responsibility to answer for our actions. And that women should have the opportunity to exercise their free will.”

Embodied in that statement are some fundamental misconceptions about Catholic teaching on human freedom. These misconceptions are widespread both within the Catholic community and beyond. For this reason I believe it is important for me as Archbishop of San Francisco to make clear what the Catholic Church teaches about free will, conscience, and moral choice.

Catholic teaching on free will recognizes that God has given men and women the capacity to choose good or evil in their lives. The bishops at the Second Vatican Council declared that the human person, endowed with freedom, is “an outstanding manifestation of the divine image.” (Gaudium et Spes, No. 17) As the parable of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s novel, The Brothers Karamazov, makes so beautifully clear, God did not want humanity to be mere automatons, but to have the dignity of freedom, even recognizing that with that freedom comes the cost of many evil choices.

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5 Responses to Are You Listening Madame Speaker?

  • So what next? Nice statement and all, but what hapens, in the highly probable event that this goes in one Pelosi’s ear and out the other (there being nothing in between to catch it)? What will he do when she comes back with some form of I politely disagree but must follow my own reason and conscience which tells me campaign fund– I mean, a women’s right to choose, is an inviolable right necessary for her dignity?

  • To answer the question posed by the title of this post: No.

  • What a great statement by the bishop! And thanks for posting it in its entirety, Donald.

  • Thank you Pinky!

  • Even though Speaker Pelosi may not take the archbishops instruction, this is a positive sign that many bishops in America are finally defending life in a public manner in the correct circumstances.

    Especially from this archbishop who is breaking the stereotype of a “personally orthodox” but “episcopally lax” mold a la Archbishop Wuerl of Washington DC.

3 Responses to Sounds like a plan.

7 Responses to Changing the World

  • Excellent! I think Benedict has been developing the theme of the priority of the spiritual in his three encyclicals. This is not to deny the need for social action. Merely that spiritual rootedness must preceed any action.

  • Indeed.

    And regardless of the topic of one’s blogging, if one allows it to take a place in one’s life disproportionate to any other hobby, it’s probably a good idea to cut down. Real life beckons.

  • A welcome reminder to the Catholic blogosphere….

  • As I have stated many times over the years, I blog solely for amusement. If any good comes of it well and good, but if it ever ceases to be fun I will stop doing it. Having just put in 12 hours at the office and in court, how I wish I could do the same thing regarding the law!

  • Mr. McClarey,

    As “Amuse thyself” is your self-confessed guiding motto of all of your blogging activities, I must apologize for all of my complaints that assumed that truth and Christian charity were your guiding lights.

    Now I understand you better, I think.

  • Wrong as usual Mr. DeFrancisis, but feel free to try again.

  • I am new to this blog and welcome the possibility of constructive dialog regarding important issues that face our society and help us to continually form our souls so as to be pleasing in the eyes of our heavenly Father who loves all of us and only desires the best for us. I promise that I will always do my best to adhere to “The Code of Conduct” rules and I ask all of you to please remind or reprimand me if I disrespect any of you, my pride often times gets the better of me. From reading the above replies to the words of Pope Benedict regarding how important prayer is to sustain our faith, and how prayer gives our actions true merit, it is easy to see that we have all been given gifts from God(Our Father)that we can use to assist one another on our journeys of on-going spiritual formation. Your brother in Christ, Scott

Luke Live, Day Two

Wednesday, February 18, AD 2009

I continue now with my shameless promotion of Father DiLuzio’s Luke Live performance.  Again, we were treated to a wonderful exchange of ideas, marked by a charismatic leader who helped enliven St. Luke’s Gospel and knit the narrative together.  Father DiLuzio offered us to begin with the choice of hearing entire chapters at once, or breaking it down into slightly smaller pieces.  Having seen yesterday the amazing continunity of a text that, for many of us, originally seemed a disjointed collection of brief non-sequitors, we voted roughly 55-45 to continue being inundated by large chunks of text.  And so he began his recitation starting from chapter 18, and the parable of the persistent widow.

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Patton’s Weather Prayer

Friday, December 12, AD 2008




“Almighty and most merciful Father, we humbly beseech Thee, of Thy great goodness, to restrain these immoderate rains with which we have had to contend. Grant us fair weather for Battle. Graciously hearken to us as soldiers who call upon Thee that, armed with Thy power, we may advance from victory to victory, and crush the oppression and wickedness of our enemies and establish Thy justice among men and nations.”

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4 Responses to Patton’s Weather Prayer

  • Warfare is Spiritual as well as earthly. When we look at WWII especially, the lines are very clear as to what was right and what was wrong. Without spiritual guidance, men lose their consciences, without conscience, atrocities will occur un-abated and un-punished. As a combat veteran of Iraq, even if you disagree with Iraq, one can see the good that can come from that war when they are involved over in Iraq. My chaplain was staunchly opposed to the war in Iraq, and yet he did his job and took care of the people as best he could. He also pointed out that the military is best manned by men and women of faith.

    There is also an old saying that rings true: “There are no atheists in foxholes” and I never met an atheist while I was in the military, not once (the ones that said they were all were agnostics who believed in “some higher power”).

    If prayer for success in war is blasphemous, there are a lot of Old Testament figures, and lots of Saints, who have committed said blasphemy. I find the idea of prayer for success on the battle field as blasphemy to be grounded in nothing Biblical (or Jesus would have told the Centurion who’s servant He healed to quit the Roman Army no matter the consequence).

  • Sudsy,

    Thank you for your comments. I couldn’t agree more with your statement.

    In Jesus, Mary, & Joseph,


  • sudsysutherland, well said, and thank you for your service to our country.

Veterans Day 2008

Tuesday, November 11, AD 2008


Lord Jesus, Mighty Warrior and Prince of Peace, through the intercession of St. Michael and Our Lady of Victory, we pray for the protection of our loved ones called to serve in time of war. By Your grace, o Lord, may they be strong and of good courage. And by your grace also, may we at home renounce all fear and anxiety, place our trust fully in your most Merciful Heart, and await in hope. For though we may walk through the shadow of the Valley of death, we shall fear no evil- You are with us.Grant a decisive and just end to this war, lasting peace for all nations, and the safe return home of all our loved ones. AMEN. (

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A Prayer

Tuesday, November 4, AD 2008

O Father in Heaven,

Today we stand at a crossroads, and we ask humbly for Your guidance.  We pray for the graces to discern with open eyes and a clear understanding of Your intent for us this day.  Help us to be humble, to not let overweening pride or human ideology come between us and Your holy plan.  Let not our will, but Yours be done in this election, and provide us with the strength and courage to face the future regardless of the outcome.  Let the charity in our hearts never die; may our faith in You never wane; may our hope never extinguish.

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11 Responses to A Prayer