Saturday, October 22, 2011

Catholic Attorneys and Divorce?

As a Catholic attorney this particular issue hit home with me. As many people know our law practice has struggled economically and with that many suggested that I start doing divorce work, in order to bring in more money. I began to contemplate, research Church teaching, and pray about it; however, in my prayer, it really struck me as hypocritical and wrong for a Catholic attorney to assist in divorce and the destruction of the sacred sacrament of marriage that divorce brings about. But I began to think and rationalize, well we are in a difficult financial situation, so maybe it would be OK. Then the scripture verse that one "cannot serve both God and Mammon" came to mind. I knew I could not "sell out" to the world as God made it clear to me that I had to trust Him and His Church. And so we declined to start divorce work and we humbly submitted ourselves, our marriage, our finances, our law practice to Our Lord Jesus Christ and His Church under the authority of His Vicar, the Holy Father, and the Bishops in communion with him.

In my above mentioned research of the issue of Catholic attorneys and divorce, I discovered the teaching our late Holy Father, Blessed John Paul II. I presented this teaching to the Moderator of the Curia for the Bishop of Marquette and asked for some definitive guidance that could be presented to Catholic attorneys. Here is his memo in its entirety:


A question has come to me asking if it is morally permissible for a Catholic lawyer to practice divorce law.  Could you please have this memo dispersed among the local civil lawyers and any others that you think will benefit from this information.  Thank you.

Fr. Ron Browne


To: Catholic civil lawyers
From: Father Ronald T. Browne, Moderator of Curia, Diocese of Marquette
Date: September 28, 2011
Re: Catholic civil lawyers and divorce cases

After Blessed Pope John Paul II’s January 2002 address to the Roman Rota (the highest court in the Catholic Church) the question has often been raised about Catholic civil lawyers and the handling of divorce cases.  In Blessed Pope John Paul II’s 2002 annual address to the Roman Rota the Holy Father said the following near the end of the address: 

On the other hand, professionals in the field of civil law should avoid being personally involved in anything that might imply a cooperation with divorce.  For judges this may prove difficult, since the legal order does not recognize a conscientious objection to exempt them from giving sentence.  
For grave and proportionate motives they may therefore act in accord with the traditional principles of material cooperation.  But they too must seek effective means to encourage marital unions, especially through a wisely handled work of reconciliation.  
Lawyers, as independent professionals, should always decline the use of their profession for an end that is contrary to justice, as is divorce.  They can only cooperate in this kind of activity when, in the intention of the client, it is not directed to the break-up of the marriage, but to the securing of other legitimate effects that can only be obtained through such a judicial process in the established legal order (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2383).  In this way, with their work of assisting and reconciling persons who are going through a marital crisis, lawyers truly serve the rights of the person and avoid becoming mere technicians at the service of any interest whatever.

In the Holy Father’s comments he says that professionals in the field of civil law should avoid being personally involved in anything that might imply a cooperation with divorce.  The Pope then speaks specifically about lawyers and states that they should always decline the use of their profession for an end that is contrary to justice, as is divorce.  Blessed Pope John Paul II however, then permits lawyers to cooperate in divorce cases when, in the intention of the client, it is not directed to the break-up of the marriage, but to the securing of other legitimate effects that can only be obtained through such a judicial process in the established legal order (cf. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 2383).  Since the Holy Father cites the Catechism we need to see exactly how paragraph 2383 reads to understand when Catholic lawyers can cooperate in civil law cases involving divorce.  Paragraph 2383 of the Catechism reads: 

The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law.177  If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense.

Footnote 177 in paragraph 2383 refers to the Code of Canon Law, canons 1151 to 1155, which read:

De separatione manente vinculo

Canon 1151 - Spouses have the obligation and the right to maintain their common conjugal life, unless a lawful reason excuses them.

Canon 1152 - § 1.  It is earnestly recommended that a spouse, motivated by christian charity and solicitous for the good of the family, should not refuse to pardon an adulterous partner and should not sunder the conjugal life.  Nevertheless, if that spouse has not either expressly or tacitly condoned the other's fault, he or she has the right to sever the common conjugal life, provided he or she has not consented to the adultery, nor been the cause of it, nor also committed adultery.
§ 2.  Tacit condonation occurs if the innocent spouse, after becoming aware of the adultery, has willingly engaged in a marital relationship with the other spouse; it is presumed, however, if the innocent spouse has maintained the common conjugal life for six months, and has not had recourse to ecclesiastical or to civil authority.
§ 3.  Within six months of having spontaneously terminated the common conjugal life, the innocent spouse is to bring a case for separation to the competent ecclesiastical authority.  Having examined all the circumstances, this authority is to consider whether the innocent spouse can be brought to condone the fault and not prolong the separation permanently.

Canon 1153 - § 1.  A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a lawful reason to leave, either by a decree of the local Ordinary or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority.
§ 2.  In all cases, when the reason for separation ceases, the common conjugal life is to be restored, unless otherwise provided by ecclesiastical authority.

Canon 1154 - When a separation of spouses has taken place, appropriate provision is always to be made for the due maintenance and upbringing of the children.

Canon 1155 - The innocent spouse may laudably readmit the other spouse to the conjugal life, in which case he or she renounces the right to separation.

According to Canon Law and the Catechism there are times when the separation of the spouses is morally permissible and condoned.  In certain civil law systems such a separation, with the appropriate protections for the innocent spouse and any children, can only be accomplished if a divorce is pursued and granted.  However, according to what Blessed Pope John Paul II said in his address, a Catholic lawyer could only assist in this type of civil divorce case if the intention of the client, (the innocent spouse) is not directed to the break-up of the marriage, but to the securing of other legitimate effects that can only be obtained through such a judicial process.  Therefore, it appears that it is morally permissible for a Catholic lawyer to accept a divorce case if the intent of the client is not to dissolve the marriage but to use the divorce proceedings for legal protections; there must be a willingness on the client’s side to work on reconciling with his or her spouse, (and some sign of intent to reconcile must be present, such as joint counseling or monitored communication between the spouses).  It is not morally permissible though for a Catholic lawyer to accept any and all divorce cases. 

“Catholic Answers” (a Catholic apologetic source) responded to questions concerning Catholics and divorce as follows:

Q: What is the Church’s view on marriage when a Catholic adulterous husband has filed for divorce against an innocent spouse of 17 years?  A: Civil divorce, under certain circumstances, may not be a bad thing. The Catechism of the Catholic Church explains, "The separation of spouses while maintaining the marriage bond can be legitimate in certain cases provided for by canon law (see CIC 1151-1155). If civil divorce remains the only possible way of ensuring certain legal rights, the care of the children, or the protection of inheritance, it can be tolerated and does not constitute a moral offense" (CCC 2383). However, civil divorce will not dissolve the marriage. The wife would not be free to remarry unless the first marriage is declared null or until her husband dies.
Q: Is it a sin to divorce a spouse who has been physically abuse to their spouse and children for over 10 years?  A: No, it is not a sin to divorce such a spouse. The Code of Canon Law states: A spouse who occasions grave danger of soul or body to the other or to the children, or otherwise makes the common life unduly difficult, provides the other spouse with a reason to leave, either by a decree of the local ordinary [e.g., bishop] or, if there is danger in delay, even on his or her own authority. (CIC 1153)  The canon does go on to state that once such a danger has passed, common life should be restored, but given the unique difficulties of abuse cases (e.g., promises to reform are all too often broken), an abused spouse may wish to allow an independent specialist such as a priest or a psychologist to determine if and when it is safe to resume common life.  The Church considers civil divorce in such cases to be the ecclesial equivalent of a legal separation and tolerates civil divorce sought for just cause (such as to ensure personal safety and/or the safety of children) to settle estate and child custody arrangements. The divorced person is still considered validly married and may not remarry in the Church unless and until an annulment is granted.

From the above information it can be concluded that it is morally permissible for a Catholic lawyer to practice divorce law in special cases/circumstances.  Now, this is looking at the situation from that of representing the plaintiff in a divorce case.  In the case of a Catholic lawyer representing the defendant in a divorce suit, it appears that it would definitely be morally permissible to represent someone who is not seeking the divorce and needs the legal protection for the sake of any children, child support, finances and/or inheritance concerns.  Of course, even in representing the defendant avenues of any possible counseling/reconciliation have to be inquired into and pursued if there is any opening to such counseling/reconciliation. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Pope Benedict XVI teaches us the ABC's of altar setup

"Up to our own times, it has been the constant concern of supreme pontiffs to ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church'  " - Pope Benedict XVI, Summorum Pontificum

In attempting to ensure the Church offers this ritual that is "worthy....of divine majesty", the Holy Father has set up his Papal altar with a renewed emphasis on the sacredness of our ancient liturgy: with the Crucifix in the center with the candles positioned on the altar:

 Is your altar at your parish set up like the Supreme Pontiff's? If not, we need to ask ourselves why; does a local ordinary or priest know better than the Successor of Peter, who is the Vicar of Christ and the Supreme Pontiff who has both the authority and responsibility " ensure that the Church of Christ offers a worthy ritual to the Divine Majesty, 'to the praise and glory of His name,' and 'to the benefit of all His Holy Church?'

This may seem like a small matter, but it seems to us that the small things are exactly what adds up to problems through misunderstandings, bad feelings and a spirit of deviancy.  So say the altar, in your parish, is set up differently.  What does this say?  That the Holy Father is just giving us a passive suggestion rather than a meaningful example?  Where else am I allowed to stray from his example?  

When we accept these small differences, we detract from the authority of the Chair of Peter and we take away from the rich meaning and tradition that guide his practices.  We understand that not every parish is St. Peter's Basilica in Rome with ten-foot-high candlesticks and unmatched splendor, but candlesticks and a crucifix should be pretty standard church fare.  The emphasis, as Pope Benedict XVI constantly reminds us, must be on Christ, not on his priests or anyone else, and this altar (the altar set up in the way of the Supreme Pontiff) points us always to Him.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Baptism Is Not Symbolic!

We had a thought on baptism and its effects. We have heard many protestants comment that baptism is only a symbol. Or we have hear someone ask,  "Are you born again?" and add their assertion that you need to "accept Jesus in your heart as your personal Lord and Savior"  to be born again. Those assertions simply do not square with Scripture. A couple of passages to consider here: 1)  in, 1 Peter 3:20 (NAB), St. Peter tells us Baptism " saves us" and 2) in, John 3:5 (NAB), Jesus answered, "Amen, Amen, I say to you, no one can enter the Kingdom of God without being born of water and the Spirit." As we can see the Bible clearly teaches that Baptism does something and it is NOT a symbolic event. The Sacrament of Baptism "saves us" as the Bible clearly teaches. In John 3:5, Jesus is responding to Nicodemus who is asking Jesus about how a person can be "born again". You notice Jesus did not say accept me as "your personal Lord and Savior" That line of thinking is nowhere in the Bible. So again, the Bible teaches us Baptism is not symbolic and "saves us". And to be born again, as Jesus teaches in the Gospel of John, is to be baptized ("..of water and the Spirit").

Saturday, July 30, 2011


Msgr. Michael J. Steber has graciously agreed to be our Chairman. Msgr. is a Menominee, Michigan native and is the eldest of five sons in his family. He was ordained to the Priesthood in 1986 and has served at many parishes across Upper Michigan. He is currently serving as the pastor of St. Peter Cathedral. He attended St. John Vianney College Seminary in St. Paul, MN and has a B.A. in Philosophy from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN. He has a Masters of Divinity Degree from St. John’s Provincial Seminary in Plymouth, MI (no longer a seminary), a Masters in Christian Spirituality from Creighton University in Omaha, NE, and certificates in Spiritual Direction from Creighton University and from the Cenacle of Our Lady of Divine Providence School of Spirituality in Clearwater, FL. Msgr. Michael serves as Vicar General of the Diocese (2009), a member of the Bishop’s College of Consultors (2009), Pastoral Delegate for Fr. Marquette School (2008), member of the Diocesan Pastoral Council (2008) and Diocesan Development Council (2007), and Bishop’s Liaison to the Charismatic Renewal (2003). We are all very grateful for his willingness to be a part of this ministry!

Our Vice-Chairman is Fr. Ryan Ford. Fr. Ryan recently began as the Associate pastor at St. Peter Cathedral. He was raised in Gladstone and attended St. Anne parish in Escanaba, Michigan. Fr. Ryan has a love of music and attended college to pursue this area before determining his call to the Priesthood. We are very thankful for his willingness to be a part of our ministry as well.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


We are pleased to announce the following officers for Claves Regni Ministries:

Chairman of the Board: Msgr. Michael Steber

Vice-Chairman of the Board: Fr. Ryan Ford

President and CEO: Mr. Kevin Branson

Vice-President: Mr. Brian Boehmer

Treasurer and COO: Mrs. Jennifer Branson

Secretary: Ms. Lynn Bertucci

We will be announcing the remaining board members stay tuned!



The new Chairman, Msgr. Michael Steber, was ordained to the priesthood in 1986 and is a native of Menominee, Michigan. He is currently the Rector of St. Peter's Cathedral in Marquette and the Vicar General for the Diocese of Marquette. Additionally, he serves as the liaison for the Catholic Charismatic Movement to the Bishop of Marquette.

Please pray for Msgr. Michael and all of us at Claves Regni Ministries as we begin our ministry. We will have many more announcements to follow as we announce the rest of our leadership team.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011


SPECIAL ANNOUNCEMENT: Msgr. Michael Steber will be the Chairman of the Board of Claves Regni Ministries. We are privileged and honored to have him as the Chairman of our apostolate. Please stay tuned for more special announcements and please spread the word about Claves Regni Ministries.
Claves Regni FB Page:​Claves-Regni-Ministries/199551​863428673

Saturday, July 9, 2011


 Please excuse our blatant technical ineptitude for a post while we send you to our hosting site instead of having the media player pop up in our blog post.  Hmmmmm... Any help for us?  I did everything that the "Help" section told me to and still nothing. Leave us comments!

Thanks for listening!  Please pray for us!

Thursday, July 7, 2011


If you know us, you know that Kevin is a revert to the Catholic Church, who got lost in a “worldly” lifestyle and Jen is a convert from Anti-Catholic Calvinism.  In fact, as was made clear in an earlier post about Easter Vigil, Jen has only been in the Church about a year and a half.  Kevin started his long, arduous journey home in 2007 when he met a wonderful and holy priest named Father Chris Derda.

We haven't always lived perfect lives and have had many struggles along the way home to being in communion with the Catholic Church.  There is a whole past out there that led us to this point.  We can't change our past mistakes.  But through the sharing of our journeys we might be able to change some hearts and steer others away from committing the mistakes of our pasts and turn them toward discovery of a life of authentic freedom and true peace. Where does one find this authentic freedom and true peace? We assert that this authentic freedom and true peace exists only in the Fullness of the Faith of the Catholic Church found under the authority of the KEYS OF THE KINGDOM or as we better know them, the "CLAVES REGNI."

Now that we have told you a little about ourselves, now it’s your turn.

MY TURN!?!?!?!?!

Yes, you.  You attend a parish, have friends, joined a club, or are in SOME sort of social circle or church group...   Maybe you are involved in an upcoming retreat or conference. So why don't you invite us to give a talk?  We would be honored to come share our conversion stories and talk of how we both came to find the authentic freedom and the Peace of God  in the Truth of the Catholic Faith which is found in the Catholic Church under the Successor of Peter; who is the Keeper of the CLAVES REGNI.

Invite us to talk.  Find authentic freedom and true peace.  Discover the Fullness of Truth found in the Authority of the Catholic Church in the Successor of Saint Peter.

A variety of talks are available for a variety of audiences.  Get in touch with Claves Regni Ministries today. Email us at: or call us at 906-458-7843.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Our New Catholic Lay Apostolate: CLAVES REGNI MINISTRIES

Greetings to brothers and sisters in Christ,

We have been prayerfully discerning for some time our role in the Body of Christ and what the Lord wishes us to do to assist in the New Evangelization that the Blessed Pope John Paul II called for. We have been active in our local parish, started a blog and used events in our everyday life to reach out to others for the Church. However, the Lord has been moving us and nudging us for quite some time to "step out in faith" and get involved in a more formal way. However, with the long and difficult transition process due to our move last year; we have been consistently resisting that nudge to step out. Lately, after again much prayer and continued discernment (as well as continued nudging from our Lord) we have decided to move forward and begin the process of forming a new lay apostolate here in Marquette, Michigan.

The mission of this new apostolate, CLAVES REGNI MINISTRIES, is:

"A lay Catholic apostolate dedicated to leading all people into the fullness of Truth found in the Catholic Church under her Supreme Pontiff, the Bishop of Rome, who holds and keeps the Keys of the Kingdom (Claves Regni) of Heaven as the Vicar of Christ."

In our prayers and discernment process it was made clear that the answer to all of the questions in regards to Truth, the meaning of life, right and wrong et. al. are found for all people (Catholics, Protestants and non-Christians alike) in following the Holder of the Keys of the Kingdom: the Successor of Peter and becoming a member of the Church he shepherds. What we mean is, that this is the premise from which we can reach everyone: from dissenting Catholics, to fundamentalist protestants, to avowed secularists. All of us are seeking truth and once we show that the One, True God has a Prime Minister and Vicar who speaks for him here on Earth and hold the keys to Heaven then the rest falls into place. Authority is the key and the keys of the kingdom ("claves regni") not only indicate authority but dynastic succession which is carried on today in the Successor of Peter in the Catholic Church. No other religious system makes such a claim. And in no other theological system is there the large amount of both biblical and historical evidence for our claim. And so essentially, that is our basic goal of this lay ministry. We want to show as many people as we can the wonderful truth of the Petrine Ministry. We want to show all that God still speaks today and that by coming home and obeying and following the Lord's Vicar in the Catholic Church we can find the Truth and be given peace - the peace that only the Lord can give.

We humbly submit ourselves to you all, for your guidance, input, suggestions, assistance and and your fervent prayers and support. Thank you for taking the time to read this. May Our Lord richly bless you all. We look forward to hearing from all of you...

Kevin & Jennifer Branson
P.S. We have a new Facebook page for Claves Regni Ministries. Please check us out and become a fan.


Friday, July 1, 2011

Quote of the Day for July 1, 2011 from Blessed John Paul II

 "The battle against the devil, which is the principal task of Saint Michael the archangel, is still being fought today, because the devil is still alive and active in the world. The evil that surrounds us today, the disorders that plague our society, man's inconsistency and brokenness, are not only the results of original sin, but also the result of Satan's pervasive and dark action."  Blessed Pope John Paul II, May 24, 1987

The Catholic Church's Teaching on Priests and Clerical Dress

We have been amazed at how many times we have seen priests at various events and functions without the appropriate clerical dress. Last week, when we were out of town, we even saw a priest walk in to get ready for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a golf shirt. As always, we decided to do some research and came across this wonderful article. It is written by two priests and it clearly explains the Church's teaching on the requirement of clerical dress for priests. It references the appropriate canon law, theology and even Papal teaching. Additionally, it dispels the many objections and excuses which are used to rationalize the priest not wearing the collar. We encourage everyone, priests and laypeople, to read it.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Why do Catholics confess their sins to a priest?

In today's Gospel reading (for Pentecost Sunday in the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church) our Lord gives His Church the Sacrament of Confession. He specifically entrusts the forgiveness and retainment of sins to His Apostles. Today in the Catholic Church the Successors of those Apostles (the Catholic Bishops as well as the priests who these Bishops ordain) mentioned in today's Gospel are still carrying on Jesus' charge. They are still forgiving and retaining sins in this most important sacrament. So when someone asks a Catholic, "Why do you confess your sins to a priest?" The answer is simple, because the Catholic Church as the Bride of Jesus Christ is obedient to His command, as recorded in the Gospel that is in the Bible. Jesus said very specifically to His Apostles, "....whoever sins you forgive are forgiven and whoever sins you retain are retained." Therefore whenever someone says that I just confess my sins directly to Jesus, they are making an important first step of self-examination and contrition for their sins.  However, they are NOT acting in accordance with the Bible nor the Lord Jesus by assuming that a personal meditation is solely what is needed to regain what is lost in their relationship with God through grave sin. They must go to a priest: not because the priest is curious about what terrible things they have been doing or because it necessarily brings a priest any sort of joy or satisfaction to hear such things.  They must go because that is where Christ is waiting for them. When a Catholic walks into a confessional, he is meeting Jesus Himself in the person of that priest or bishop who can trace his ordination all the way back to the original Apostles who were there in the Upper Room with the Lord.  It is the difference between life and death to hear Christ through the priest say the words of absolution and impart the grace of the Sacrament which is vital to be able to fulfill the resolution to go and sin no more. 

Blessed Pope John Paul II went to Confession every week. If such a holy and saintly man as him went humbly to the Lord each week in this sacrament, how often should we consider going?

Monday, June 6, 2011

Quotes of the Day for June 6, 2011 on the Holy Mass

"The heavens open and multitudes of angels come to assist in the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass." 
 Saint Gregory

 "If we only knew how God regards this Sacrifice, we would risk our lives to be present at a single Mass."
St. Padre Pio

"The celebration of Holy Mass is as valuable as the death of Jesus on the cross."
Saint Thomas Aquinas

Wednesday, June 1, 2011



"No one may share the Eucharist with us unless he believes that what we teach is true, unless he is washed in the regenerating waters of baptism for the remission of his sins, and unless he lives in accordance with the principles given us by Christ.

We do not consume the eucharistic bread and wine as if it were ordinary food and drink, for we have been taught that as Jesus Christ our Savior became a man of flesh and blood by the power of the Word of God, so also the food that our flesh and blood assimilates for its nourishment becomes the flesh and blood of the incarnate Jesus by the power of his own words contained in the prayer of thanksgiving.

The apostles, in their recollections, which are called gospels, handed down to us what Jesus commanded them to do. They tell us that he took bread, gave thanks and said: Do this in memory of me. This is my body. In the same way he took the cup, he gave thanks and said: This is my blood. The Lord gave this command to them alone. Ever since then we have constantly reminded one another of these things. The rich among us help the poor and we are always united. For all that we receive we praise the Creator of the universe through his Son Jesus Christ and through the Holy Spirit.

On Sunday we have a common assembly of all our members, whether they live in the city or the outlying districts. The recollections of the apostles or the writings of the prophets are read, as long as there is time. When the reader has finished, the president of the assembly speaks to us; he urges everyone to imitate the examples of virtue we have heard in the readings. Then we all stand up together and pray.

On the conclusion of our prayer, bread and wine and water are brought forward. The president offers prayers and gives thanks to the best of his ability, and the people give assent by saying, “Amen”. The eucharist is distributed, everyone present communicates, and the deacons take it to those who are absent.

The wealthy, if they wish, may make a contribution, and they themselves decide the amount. The collection is placed in the custody of the president, who uses it to help the orphans and widows and all who for any reason are in distress, whether because they are sick, in prison, or away from home. In a word, he takes care of all who are in need.

We hold our common assembly on Sunday because it is the first day of the week, the day on which God put darkness and chaos to flight and created the world, and because on that same day our savior Jesus Christ rose from the dead. For he was crucified on Friday and on Sunday he appeared to his apostles and disciples and taught them the things that we have passed on for your consideration. "

St. Justin Martyr, First Apology of St. Justin Martyr



My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God my Savior
for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.

He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
he has scattered the proud in their conceit.

He has cast down the mighty from their thrones,
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.

He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever. 

(Lk 1:46-55)

Monday, May 30, 2011

Quote of the Day - May 30, 2011

"All the true children, the chosen ones of heaven, have God for their Father, and Mary for their Mother. Whoever does not have Mary for his mother does not have God for his Father."

St. Louis de Montfort, True Devotion to Mary, Chapter II

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Kneeling for Holy Communion

As of more recently, we have felt called to kneel for Holy Communion. This has come from almost a year of discussion concerning how people approach the Eucharist in front of the Pope.  When you receive communion from the Holy Father, you are required to kneel.  Well, logically, the same Jesus, the same Eucharist is present in the Churches that we attend, and Father at the Church is consecrating the same Eucharist.  So why are we standing?  It is the norm in the United States to stand for communion.  But does that mean we show the minimum amount of respect required for receiving our Lord and Savior?  Lord Jesus, help us to love you more and more!

This is a link to a website which has a formal publication from Blessed Pope John Paul II's Prefect for the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Divine Sacraments to a Bishop reminding him that it is a "grave violation" to deny someone Holy Communion who wishes to receive in a kneeling posture. In addition it contains some clear catechesis for the kneeling posture.  We especially like this quote, from the publication, about Pope Benedict as Cardinal Ratzinger: "In fact, as His Eminence, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has recently emphasized, the practice of kneeling for Holy Communion has in its favor a centuries-old tradition, and it is a particularly expressive sign of adoration, completely appropriate in light of the true, real and substantial presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ under the consecrated species." 

Our brothers and sisters in Christ, if you truly and really believe that in Holy Communion that you are approaching to receive the KING OF KINGS and LORD OF LORDS (cf. Revelation) then how could you not kneel as you approach Him?

Quote of the Day - May 29th, 2011

“Where the bishop is, there let the multitude of believers be;
even as where Jesus is, there is the Catholic Church”
-Saint Ignatius, Bishop of Antioch, 1st c. A.D.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quote of the Day For May 28, 2011

"The Lord says to Peter: ‘I say to you,’ he says, ‘that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my Church, and the gates of hell will not overcome it. And to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever things you bind on earth shall be bound also in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth, they shall be loosed also in heaven’ [Matt. 16:18–19]). ... On him [Peter] he builds the Church, and to him he gives the command to feed the sheep [John 21:17], and although he assigns a like power to all the apostles, yet He founded a single chair [cathedra], and he established by his own authority a source and an intrinsic reason for that unity. Indeed, the others were also what Peter was , but a primacy is given to Peter, whereby it is made clear that there is but one Church and one chair. So too, all [the apostles] are shepherds, and the flock is shown to be one, fed by all the apostles in single-minded accord. If someone does not hold fast to this unity of Peter, can he imagine that he still holds the faith? If he [should] desert the chair of Peter upon whom the Church was built, can he still be confident that he is in the Church?"
~Saint Cyprian of Carthage [A.D. 251]

A flurry of thought condensed...

There are so many things I could write about today!  I think I'm pumped about blogging because I've been reading Fr. Z and his lovely musings on Latin.  Very refreshing since I haven't heard anyone talk about "those fun 4th declension nouns" in a long time!

But I digress...

As many people know, I have been substitute teaching at the public middle school here for about five or six weeks now.  I work in a classroom for the special education kids and help mostly a group of three girls with a couple other students thrown in here or there all day.  It is fun and rewarding and I love the people I work with.  I have noticed, however, that come my lunchtime in the teacher's lounge, the talk always somehow digresses to the evil influences these children are facing leading to their downfall in social and educational situations.  Believe it or not, I am not even blaming the media first.  


But Jen, we all know that the evil media is pointing out these crude behaviors to our kids and teaching them things they shouldn't know and telling them that those behaviors are okay!  Do I disagree with that?  Not at all.  But what bothers me is how they get access to these shows/websites/magazines.  Don't get me wrong here.  I'm not saying that shows like "The Secret Life of the American Teenager" and "The Real Housewives" and "Glee" are appropriate, nor am I saying that today's music "isn't that bad" or that kids really can find role models in a People magazine.  If I met Lady Gaga I would probably have to fight the strong urge to give her a whack upside the head and ask what she's thinking.  

So my question is: WHERE ARE THE PARENTS?!?!?!!?!?!?!?  These people that I talk to on a daily basis are asking the same thing, and they're not even saying that they're Catholic.  I don't ask, it's common sense.  Everyone knows I am: it's kind of hard to miss the large Crucifix I wear.  To go off on a small tangent, that's one of the things I love about living in a town named after a Catholic priest (as opposed to a town with an Indian name that is about as anti-Catholic, in a passive-aggressive way, as you can get): no one is offended here by my faith!  Imagine a world where people don't think that you're ideals are "attacking" them!

Anyway...  What is lacking in our society is a strong lack of conviction.  We need TRUTH with a capital TRUTH and we need it now and we need to stand up for it.  HEY EVERYONE!  THERE IS SUCH THING AS TRUTH! I had a discussion with another teacher yesterday and she asked me an interesting question: Does smoking/drinking/doing drugs while a woman is pregnant constitute as child abuse?  Could you be arrested?  What can be done?  She sees kids all the time that are products of such behaviors who suffer terribly from this or that condition.  I had to fight the urge to make it a hugely political discussion by saying something to the effect of "well they could just go abort it now, couldn't they so why care about killing it some other way?" and chose to be a little more controlled by saying, "well I suppose they would have to define the fetus as a baby first, instead of just a clump of cells."  The dawn emerges and all we can say is "yeah, that's sad."

THIS is why I think it would be awesome if all Catholics could be open to life.  By being "pro-life" we are already winning, I assume that enough "pro-choicers" will choose death that they will not be able to sustain their own population.  It's funny to me that this idea of having a choice that people are so fervent about is going to lead to its own destruction.  Yeah, great idea people.  So we need to have babies.  But not only that, they need to be raised in the light of TRUTH and grace!  We need to form them and teach them and mold them!  As we are being molded by Christ through the help of his Holy Spirit and the graces of his Sacraments, we need to then mold our children! THIS is loving.  Letting them have access to filth and lies is NOT loving.  Teaching bad habits is NOT loving.  IT'S KILLING THEM, BODY AND SOUL.  

This seems kind of "Catholic cliche" to me, but it is so true and so few understand the love in this encyclical: Humanae Vitae.  It is not meant to attack you, or to condemn you, but to help you to see TRUTH!  Read it! Love it! 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Blessed Pope John Paul II is an Effective Intercessor in Spiritual Warfare

Here is a great article from the Catholic News Agency regarding how Blessed Pope John Paul II has proven to be a great help in the spiritual battle against Satan. It is based upon the recent experiences of Father Gabriele Amorth, the official exorcist of the Diocese of Rome. He is also the author of the well-known book, An Exorcist Tells His Story. Interesting to note, Father Gabriele says the most powerful intercessor is the Blessed Virgin Mary, who we know John Paul II had a great devotion to.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day to Our Lady: The Blessed Virgin Mary.

The Blessed Virgin Mary is the Mother of Jesus, the Mother of God, the Mother of the Church and the Spiritual Mother of all God's children. Here is the transcript of excellent talk given by Dr. Scott Hahn on the Blessed Virgin Mary covering her foreshadowing in Scripture and her role in God's Salvation plan. May we all imitate Mary and say to God, "Let it be done unto me according to Thy will." Happy Mother's Day, Mary!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Father Z... You're my new friend.

So Kevin pointed out Father Z's blog to me today and I have to say that this man is a genius.  The simple, sarcastic, yet incredibly relevant commentary on the things that we allow to go on in the Catholic Church makes me sigh with satisfaction.  For example, it is an almost guilty pleasure to read his thoughts on anything Richard McBrien has to say.

The sad part is that even though his rants are smart and witty, they are representative of real problems, problems that are so, do I dare say dumb? that they shouldn't even exist.  While entertaining me, it has also given me a list of things for which I need to pray, Lord have mercy on us all.  

Apart from the commentary on Richard McBrien, I am particularly fond of the section, "Wherein Fr. Z Rants."  It is there that I found this post, which articulates perfectly an idea that has been hazily forming itself in the back of my mind for months now.  I know that at my parish they have been working on forming a choir of sorts to do Gregorian Chants and I have been hesitant to get involved because I've over-committed myself elsewhere.  With summer coming up and some of my activities ending, maybe it's time to get involved?  Who knows, maybe God gave me Fr. Z's post as a sign.


Monday, May 2, 2011

That thing on my head

I have had many people ask me about my wearing of a mantilla to Mass, especially as of late.  Short Answer: I do so out of respect, to my husband and to God (not necessarily in that order, I suppose). I think it's a beautiful tradition and I definitely feel God calling me to it, although sometimes I don't understand why.  

For specific questions on the subject, I always recommend the Catholic Answers forums, and I found a GREAT website with a wealth of mantilla pride and information here!

 It seems to be worth mentioning that there is nothing out there that says you have to wear a mantilla.  It is a personal choice and something God might be calling you to do, but not necessarily.  Going to Mass, however, is not an option, so I'll see you there!


Sunday, May 1, 2011

Saint Faustina and Blessed Pope John Paul II Pray for Us!

What a wonderful Sunday in the Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II's beautiful beatification Mass (which I was able to catch this morning on EWTN) and Divine Mercy Sunday, which he instituted during his Papacy.  The chaplet of Divine Mercy is a beautiful and very potent prayer, and the image of the rays of mercy coming from the heart of Jesus to our hearts is a powerful meditation.  Jesus, I trust in You!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Excerpts from now Pope Benedict XVI's "The Spirit of the Liturgy"

We have lately in conversation been contemplating the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass and its rich two-thousand year history.  We've had the privilege recently of happening upon a copy of "The Spirit of the Liturgy" by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pope Benedict XVI. 

This we found particularly enlightening and a welcome fresh perspective.  The book itself we feel is a rich treasury of our Holy Father's wisdom and deep spiritual insight.  Well recommended as a read and will probably accompany us to several holy hours in the future!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass - It's Heaven on Earth - Why Would Anyone Stay Away?

The Catechism of the Catholic Church tell us that the Eucharist is "the source and summit of the Christian life." (CCC 1324). It goes on to say that when we celebrate the Eucharistic Liturgy we "unite ourselves with the heavenly liturgy and anticipate eternal life..." (CCC 1326)

With that said, why would anyone stay away? When you come to Holy Mass you get an experience of heaven. We encourage all Catholics to attend Holy Mass regularly and daily, when possible, and all non-Catholics to consider coming Home to the Church Christ founded and experience a little bit of true "Heaven on Earth". Also please check out this link which provides descriptions of what goes on in the Holy Mass. God bless!

Wonderful Example of Living Out the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony

I wanted to share this article  with everyone about my grandparents. They are a wonderful example of faithful, Catholic marriage and have been a great inspiration to Jen and I. They have taught us both a great deal about how to authentically live out our marriage vows in everyday life. God bless, Kevin

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Jen's view of Saturday night

Easter Vigil: for me, words almost ruin it.  Admitting those truths which are held in the deepest part of you in words almost makes them feel less vibrant or alive.  Never less true, just duller.  We process into a dark church, a church which has been missing it’s Christ since Thursday night.  It is right to be dark; go ahead and try to imagine the anguish Mary and the Disciples felt as their Lord was arrested, tried unjustly and ultimately murdered brutally.  We are feeling deeply the loss of someone who is at the very least our best friend and at very most our… everything.  Without him what is there for me?  What good is a church?

But he started that Church and he promised that the gates of Hell could not prevail against it.  So we stand in the dark, in prayer, in vigil, in ultimate hope.  I deserve this after all, it was my sins that set him on the cross, but for days I have begged him for the Grace of forgiveness and healing.  Light from our candles fills the room so that it is dancing and dazzling.  We remember the prophets of old, the promises God has fulfilled in his son, and light continues to fill the room, has it started to creep into our heavy hearts as well? 

All of a sudden the bells peal in a rude and welcome chime and the “Gloria!” is proclaimed and we are jubilant because God is a God of love and he has not left us without a Savior.  He is risen, conquering death, conquering the power of the sin that caused him his ultimate agony.  He has never truly left us, and he never will.  Just to sit and soak it in, why can’t the Mass be longer?

I am giddy at the baptisms.  It’s almost a secret addiction to see the beautiful faces of the ones who go through that tiny, vital death and resurrection.  To see a lifetime of sins and yearning for grace finally filled with ever-sufficient grace is one of the most beautiful things I have ever witnessed.  I saw it last year in the glow of my friend Jim who would not stop glowing for months, and I saw it this year on EWTN in the close-ups of the faces of those baptized. 

Then the part I remember best: the confirmation.  I had thought that the moment I received my first Eucharist would be the defining moment of that night for me, but it was ultimately the welcome into Christ’s Church that I remember most.  After I received my name and was blessed with the oil, I had an overwhelming sense that I had been like a motherless child who finally found her way home.  I remember the priest giving me a hug and silently congratulating me and I think I thanked him too loudly.  This year I found myself wiping away tears and asking God for the grace to remember that he had pulled me from the darkness into his wonderful light as I burst with welcome for my new brothers and sisters. 

I remember my first Eucharist, too.  Of all the people who came into the church that day I had to go last.  I had contemplated this moment for well over a year and had thought about all the things I could pray for, how I would feel, the right meditations: even the way I should hold out my tongue, the right volume and tone with which to say my reverent and humble “amen.”  How do you rightly become intimate with your Creator and Redeemer?  What is the “right” thing to think, say, or do when his body, blood, soul and divinity are nourishing you, body and soul?  All I could say was, “thank you.”

Needless to say it is over before I know it.  I had a piece of heaven and just like everything on this earth it is temporary.  Fortunately for me, it is Divine and eternal in nature, and these moments I can treasure in my heart until at last I can achieve the Eternity I have set my heart for so many times during the Mass.  


Wow...what a Saturday night!

Jen and I had the privilege of attending the Solemn Mass of the Easter Vigil at St. Peter's Cathedral in Marquette, Michigan last night with Bishop Alexander Sample presiding. It was incredible to be there with the Bishop, who is a Successor of the Apostles, presiding over the Vigil Mass of Christ's Resurrection. Remember, after the Resurrection, Jesus spent 40 days with His apostles in His glorified and resurrected body teaching and ministering to them. They, the Apostles, were to be the primary witnesses to His rising from the dead. And here we were, last night, at Easter Vigil Mass presided over by a successor to those original witnesses. God bless the Catholic Church!

Contraceptives are very dangerous for women!

We would encourage all women to read and reflect on this article. The teaching of the Catholic Church on contraception is NOT outdated or unreasonable. In fact, the Catholic doctrinal teaching on contraception is a perfect blend of faith and reason. The Catholic Church in upholding its ban on contraception is upholding the dignity and health of the human person.

The Holy Father Explains the Triduum

I found this article today which I think sums up nicely what we have been going through in the last three days.  Even though the Triduum has come and gone and we are now trying to see how many chocolate bunnies and dinners we can stand, I think that in going into this Easter season it doesn't hurt at all to look back and see where we came from.  After all, it makes where we are the great glory that it is, right?