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I am halfway through reading the Last Secret of Fatima and I hate to have to put it down. I suspect I will finish it today if nothing interrupts me.

It’s an easy read and written in a very interesting style. The book is an conversation/interview between Dr. Giuseppe DeCaril and Tarcisio Cardinal Bertone, the Vatican Secretary of State.

I am not a great lover of apparitions, but since I am of Portuguese descent, Fatima gets a special acceptance. Still, I read the writings of most Fatimists with much suspicion. Not so with this book.

The book tells the story of the Revelation of the 3rd secret of Fatima and provides a great deal of credible evidence to the non-existence of a 4th secret. (That is if you aren’t a conspiricist). If you are convinced that the Vatican is hiding a 4th secret or has released a falsified 3rd secret, this book will do little to change your mind.

The book contains fascinating anecdotes and personal insights about Sr. Lucia and her personality.

Towards the end of the book. Cardinal Bertone takes on such issues as Medjugorje and Pope Benedict’s now infamous Regensburg address. Even personal issues, such as his transfer from the Archdiocese of Genoa to Rome are mentioned. In essence, there is something for everyone in this book.

I have already underlined and taken notes on many pages. So far, my favorite quote is from the Cardinal Albino Luciani’s (the future Pope John Paul I) account of his meeting with Sister Lucia.

We should pray the Holy Rosary. Naaman the great Syrian general, disdained the simple bath in the Jordan suggested to him by Elisha. Some people act like Naaman: “I am a great theologian, a mature Christian, who breathes the Bible with both lungs and sweats liturgy from every pore – and the tell me to pray the Rosary?” And yet the fifteen mysteries of the Rosary are biblical; the Pater, the Ave Maria, and the Gloria are Bible passages transformed into prayer, and they are good for the soul. Bible study solely for the sake of scholarship could puff up the soul and leave it in a state of sterile aridity. Bible scholars who have lost their faith are hardly a rare breed.

Perhaps my chosen quote is not the deepest or most Fatima based passage that I could have chosen, but see! There is something for everyone.

Place your order today. The book will be released on May 6th, just in time for the feast of Our Lady of Fatima.

Back to reading… check back tomorrow for more.


Welcome to all those coming from the Ignatius Press link.
Thanks to Ignatius Press for this great surprise.

I have noticed certain bloggers scoffing at the Build A Bear papal T-Shirt. When I first heard about it I too wondered about the value of the item, but I was taught much about the mystery of evangelism yesterday.

My son has several stuffed animals from Build a Bear, so I thought that he would enjoy having the t-shirt since he was so disappointed that I was going to the papal Mass without him. I thought he would put it on one of the animals he already has. I was mistaken!

When he saw the shirt I noticed a light go on in his head. He then demanded that I take him to get another animals especially for the shirt. “They CAN’T wear the shirt! It’s not right for them”, he said. He was so insistent that yesterday I took him to Build a Bear. He refused to tell me what kind of animal he wanted, but he was a 3 year old on a mission. We walked into the store and he immediately grabbed an orange cat. Without saying a word he brought it to the girl who ran the stuffing machine and said, “I want this one”. After the cat was stuffed, the girl asked JP what he was going to name his cat. The answer, “Chico!”

I was out foxed by a three year old. What better animal to wear a shirt with Pope Benedict’s picture than an orange tabby cat named Chico?

When we got home JP pulled out his copy of Joseph and Chico and asked me to read it. I have to summarize the story to make it interesting for a three year old because it is written for a much older child, but JP loves the book. He asked me to read it to him twice today.

Taking a picture of Chico was a challenge’ JP takes him everywhere, and Chico even keeps him company in bed.

Thanks to the lovely people at Doubleday I am being tempted away from my studies by two books. Reviews will be forthcoming as soon as I am able to find time to read these books. I will be heading to the western part of the U.S. next week for vacation, so I will have plenty of time to read then. 🙂

The first review will be of a book I blogged about previously: Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone’s book “The Last Secret of Fatima” which will be released on May 6th. A preview copy has been sitting on my bookshelf for several weeks and words can’t explain how tempting is has been to abandon my textbooks and read this instead.

The second is a book I had never heard of until I recieved the copy in the mail. I originally had hoped to blog on it for St. Patrick’s Day, since it is a book of Irish blessings. “To Bless the Space Between us” was written by John O’Donohue, a priest who left his ministry for secular life. While I am neither a great fan of poetry or of priests who leave their ministry, after flipping casually through this book, I have found a few interesting poems.

It seems there has been a number of books written lately by members of the heirarchy, so I decided to post at least a partial list of them here.

From the Diocese of Syracuse:

Msgr. Joseph Champlin, one of the most beloved priests in the history of the Diocese of Syracuse, died on Thursday, January 17, 2008. He was 77 years of age. Msgr. Champlin had been battling a rare form of cancer called Waldenstrom’s Disease.

Father Joseph Champlin was born on May 11, 1930 and educated in the public schools of New York State before graduating from Phillips Academy at Andover, Massachusetts in 1947. After studying at Yale and Notre Dame, he began and continued his journey to the priesthood at seminaries in Rochester, New York. He was ordained February 2, 1956, for the diocese of Syracuse and during 50 years of priestly ministry, Father Champlin has served as pastor in three parishes within his diocese, including rector of the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception from 1995-2005. Currently, semi-retired, he was the sacramental priest at Our Lady of Good Counsel Church in Warners, New York.

From 1968-1971 he served as Associate Director in the Liturgy Secretariat for the National Conference of Catholic Bishops. Father Champlin edited for the American Bishops Faithful to Each Other Forever: “A Catholic Handbook of Pastoral Help for Marriage Preparation.”

Father Champlin has traveled more than two million miles here and abroad during these years lecturing on liturgical and pastoral matters as well as conducting retreats for priests and missions for parishes.

Father Champlin is most remembered for his prolific writings and his frequent lectures. He has written 50 books with over twenty million copies of his publications in print. For many years, he authored a weekly column on the liturgy and worship distributed by the NC News Service and has also appeared in about a dozen videos and made numerous television appearances. His most popular volume is Together for Life in both English and Spanish, now with over nine million copies in circulation (Ave Maria Press/Liguori).

Father Champlin has lectured widely on stewardship and sacrificial giving with a manual, Grateful Caretakers of God’s Many Gifts, including attractive companion fliers “Grateful Giving” and “Taking a Step” (Liturgical Press). In addition, Liturgical Press published a booklet by Father Champlin called: A Way of Life, “Four small group faith sharing sessions on Stewardship, Sacrificial Giving, or Grateful Caretaking.”

In November, 2003, Ave Maria Press released Slow Down: “Five Minute Reflections to De-Stress Your Days” – a compilation of 101 radio spots broadcast locally. In 2004, Alba House published From Time to Eternity and Back, a personalized account of his struggle with Waldenstrom’s Disease, a rare form of bone marrow cancer.

Two books, The Breaking of the Bread: “An Updated Handbook for Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion” and The Eucharist: A Mystery of Faith, were released by Paulist Press in the fall of 2004.

He completed a thorough update of What It Means to be Catholic (St. Anthony Messenger Press). In addition, a sequel to Slow Down entitled Take Five, Preparing for Eternity: “A Catholic Handbook for End of Life Concerns” and a Beginners Guide for Reading the Bible (Ave Maria Press). Catholic Book Publishing issued in 2006, A Catholic Perspective on the Purpose Driven Life. Three of his works have been published by Liguori in Spanish: El Via Crucis Con el Papa Juan Pablo II (Stations of the Cross with Pope John Paul II), De la muerte a la vida (From Death to Life) and Juntos Para Toda La Vida (Together For Life with Rite of Marriage cards as well). The last book has consistently been at the top of best selling Catholic Spanish books list. Scheduled for 2008 is “A Process for Parish Evangelization” a practical and detailed process with accompanying materials (St. Anthony Messenger Press).

Ten years ago, Father Champlin founded the Guardian Angel Society, a non-profit effort to assist children in the Central New York area from diverse below poverty level homes with their education. During that decade the Society has raised $2 million, distributed $1.5 million and aided over 150 youngsters to have a better chance at life. Seven of those graduates are now studying at prestigious colleges including Clarkson, Georgetown, Notre Dame and Syracuse University.

He also appears frequently on Sirius Satellite Radio at 6:40 a.m. on Tuesday mornings.

Funeral arrangements are as follows:
Calling hours: Tuesday, January 22, 3:00-7:00pm
Vigil Service: Tuesday January 22, 7:00pm
Funeral Mass: Wednesday, January 23, 10:30am
All are in the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Please note: Father Champlin’s remains will not be present for the Calling Hours or Funeral. The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that it is a “noble and meritorious act” (#2296) for persons to donate their entire bodies to science or to a medical school for use by students studying to become physicians. Msgr. Champlin made that choice and donated his body to Upstate Medical Center. However, this process requires the body to be transferred immediately after death to the medical institution. Consequently, having his body and an open casket, present for the funeral service, traditional for priests, clearly was not possible.

For more information, contact Danielle E. Cummings, Assistant Chancellor/Director of Communications at 315.470.1476.

I was reading an article about Archbishop Burke of St. Louis and his order that Catholic schools in the Archdiocese remove the His Dark Materials (The Golden Compass) series from the schools.

That is not what this post is about. At the end of the article, there is a quote which proved how confused the commenter is about faith and morality:

The Reverend Bruce McCoy, of Canaan Baptist Church in Oakville, said the controversy really just comes down to what the writer’s intent was.

While I have no doubt that Philip Pullman intended to use the trilogy to subvert the faith of young children, in all honesty, intent has very little to do with it. One is not permitted to commit evil even if he has a good intention.

Image this: A drunk driver kills a family, but the judge lets him off because he didn’t intend to kill anyone. When’s the last time this happened and if it did would it be right?

Here is another one: A company uses cheap foreign labor to manufacture children’s products resulting in the death of several infants. They didn’t intend to kill or hurt anyone.

Ready to let them off the hook? I didn’t think so.

I don’t care what Mr. Pullman’s intent was. The only thing that really matters is the outcome. His books have the potential to harm the faith of young children whose “GPS system” is just being set. I want my children’s “GPS” to be set to heaven. Where Pullman intends to set it isn’t the issue, the issue is where he sets it to.

Rev. McCoy sounds like a typical relativistic Christian. There is no good or evil, it all depends on intentions and circumstance. Well, I am here to tell him and everyone else who will listen that that point of view is BULL!

Jesus Christ said in Matthew 18:6:

‘If any of you put a stumbling-block before one of these little ones who believe in me, it would be better for you if a great millstone were fastened around your neck and you were drowned in the depth of the sea.

That is more than enough for me.

I finally finished “The Apostles”. It’s an awesome book that I recommend for everyone to read. It is written in a way that is very easy to read, yet it is filled with great insight and interesting details. While it is not groundbreaking and does not introduce anything new, unlike so many modern works, it introduces traditional teaching about the apostles and the early church in a simple way without being watered down.

Here is a quote which deserves to be repeated over and over again.

The saints have not ‘fallen from Heaven’. They are people like us, who also have complicated problems.
Holiness does not consist of never having erred or sinned. Holiness increases the capacity for conversion, for repentance, for willingness to start again, and, especially for reconciliation and forgiveness.

An even greater passage appears in the ninth chapter “Peter the Apostle”. Pope Benedict explains the subtle message behind John 21:15. That blew me away as I read the page over and over. I’ll make you read the book for that one, though. Let me just say that much is lost in the translation we hear at Mass and I now feel cheated because of it. I hope that someday I will hear a homily based on the real text.

Thanks to the wonderful people at Ignatius Press, Joseph and Chico will be available in America. I am ordering on for me…errr…for JP today. Unfortunately, it won’t be available until March.

The forward of this children’s book was written by the Pope’s personal secretary, Monsignor Georg Ganswein. The book tells the story of Pope Benedict’s life from his birth to his election to the papacy through the eyes of his next door neighbor’s cat, Chico. Chico is a real cat who used to take up residence in the Holy Father’s house in Pentling when he was home from Rome.

The other day I was lamenting the fact that I no longer had copies of a wonderful series on the Liturgy called “Living and Loving the Mass” that was published in our diocesan newspaper, The Anchor. The excellent series was written by Fr. Thomas Kocik and covered everything from the symbolism behind the vestments to what all the different postures mean. I remember distinctly that he called the vestments “the armor of the priest”. I was thinking about calling to request copies, but I got some interesting news last night.

It had been published into a book! Living and Loving the Mass is now available from Zaccheus Press. Here is the info from the website.

Many Catholics attend Mass without fully understanding its meaning and purpose. This book was written to provide that understanding.

Author Father Thomas Kocik walks the reader through each part of the Mass, explaining the meaning of the prayers, the sacred vestments, the bodily gestures (such as bowing and genuflecting), and how each of these fit into the overall “drama” of the Mass.

He explains these things in a clear, easy-to-follow style. But there is real substance here as well: Fr. Kocik often discusses the history behind a particular prayer or gesture, and the Scriptural background as well. This is no dry textbook. He makes understanding the Mass an enjoyable journey. Although written for adults, high school students will enjoy it, too.

The Mass is a treasure-house of grace, but all too often the doors to this treasure-house remain closed through a lack of understanding. This book was written to open the doors — to help Catholics appreciate and embrace the transformative power of the Mass.

At $7.95 it is very affordable. Get yourself a stocking stuffer! You can order it here.

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