Celebrating Lives and Deaths of the Popes

November 30, 2008

Unknown to me until reading this article, in Houston, there is a museum dedicated to funeral history. One of its Exhibits is Celebrating the Lives and Deaths of the Popes, featuring a Popemobile.

Based on the museum’s claim of being the “only” exhibit of papal artifacts outside the Vatican, it seems to be a permanent installation. While I have seen some similar items, at Vatican Splendors, which is in St. Paul through January 11, the National Museum of Funeral History’s exhibit is focused on the papal funeral experience.

If I was anywhere near Houston, I’d go to the exhibit. If anyone reading this gets a chance to go, please report back in the combox. I’d love to know what you think of the exhibit.

Immaculate Conception

November 30, 2008

Q. Where in Scripture does it teach the Immaculate Conception of Mary?

A. The Doctrine of the Immaculate Conception is not clearly taught in Scripture in a way that would satisfy a skeptic. But, to be honest, neither is the Doctrine of the Trinity. I know, because I spent hours trying to discover it, in order to show a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness.

What we do find in Scripture are oblique comments that only make sense if the underlying doctrine that gave rise to the comments are known.

For instance, Jesus instructs his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit in Matthew 28. This verse is cited when arguing for the Trinity. But does it unequivocally teach the Doctrine of the Trinity? No. But if you can understand that this verse rests upon and takes for granted that the listeners have already been instructed in the Doctrine of the Trinity thus no further explanation is necessary. Why else is name singular unless it denotes a trinitarian God-Father, Son & Holy Spirit?

Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and exclaimed with a loud cry, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!” (Luke 1:41-42)

Elizabeth declared both Jesus and Mary “blessed”. Sinless perhaps? Some kind of equality there.

But this verse is very soft evidence of the underlying theology of the Immaculate Conception.


A stronger implication of the doctrine is found in the greeting to Mary from the angel in Luke 1:28:

“Hail! Full of Grace!”

The Greek word, chairo means “hail” or “rejoice.” Every other use of this verb hail/chairo in the New Testament, that is followed by a noun, declares the title of the person being saluted. For example, in Matthew 26:49, Judas greets Jesus with “Hail! Master!” Similarly, in Matthew 27:29 soldiers mockingly bow before Jesus saying, “Hail! King of the Jews!” “Master” and “King of the Jews” are being uses as titles of Christ, just like “Jesus Christ.”

So, the phrase, Full Of Grace, which follows the angel’s “Hail!,” is her title. It is “Full of Grace.” This might seem like an odd name, but in OT days God often had people named with strange titles to reveal some truth. For example, in Isaiah 7:3 we find that one of Isaiah’s sons was named “A Remnant Shall Return.”

The title given to Mary is a form of the Greek word, “charitoo,” which means “to endow with grace,” “highly favored.” We see this title, given to Mary by the angel Gabriel as evidence for the truthfulness of the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception. “Kecharitomene” is the actual Greek word translated in various versions of the Bible as “full of grace,” “O favored one,” etc. This Greek word literally means “having been highly favored” or “having been full of grace” (Luke 1:28).

The phrase, “full of grace,” doesn’t jump out as a reason to consider Mary something unique—one who from conception was without sin!

But, as Origen commented, in the second century, the angel’s greeting was an expression never before used to address someone. Even Mary was puzzled by such an unusual salutation (Luke 1:29).

So, many might be convinced that the Angel was calling Mary by a new name but wasn’t it merely a new name to express the honor of her upcoming state of blessedness as the mother of the Messiah?

No, because kecharitomene is a perfect passive participle. This means that Mary was filled with grace in the past and this fullness of grace continues to the present. Therefore this fullness of grace is not new. It will not begin with the Incarnation and is not due to her maternity alone.

So, the angel’s words were a declaration of existing fact, not a prophecy of a future event. Rather than the title “You are about to be full of grace” kecharitomene would mean “You have been and still are full of grace”.

The Angel’s greeting reveals the unstated and universally accepted fact that Mary had been given the fullness of God’s grace in her past before the angel’s announcement—way in her past, from the time of her conception. Mary was created by God without the defect of Original Sin. She was created in the Fullness of Grace, The Fullness of Humanity just as Adam and Eve had been created.

Whereas, Adam and Eve disobeyed God, Mary obeyed God throughout her whole life. And, if you were God, entirely HOLY and you could create your mother in which to dwell in the incarnation would you choose a sinful woman or an immaculate one?

Blessed Ludwik Roch Gietyngier

November 30, 2008

blessed-ludwik-roch-gietyngier-nov-30Blessed Ludwik Roch Gietyngier

Zarka, Poland, 16 August 1904 – Dachau, Germany, 30 November 1941

Blessed Ludwik Gietyngier Roch, a diocesan priest, was born in Zarka, Poland, August 16, 1904 and died in Dachau, Germany, November 30, 1941. He was beatified by Pope John Paul II in Warsaw (Poland) on June 13, 1999 with 107 Polish martyrs.

Roman Martyrology: Close to Monaco of Bavaria in Germany in the prison camp at Dachau, blessed Gientyngier Louis Rocco, a priest and martyr who, during the occupation of Poland in time of war, because of criminal activities perpetrated by the enemies of the faith was subjected to torture and gave up his spirit to God.

Source: Santi e Beati

Celebrate Advent, Question Christmas

November 29, 2008


This year may be the best one in a long time for all Christians to re-examine Christmas and take Advent to heart.  A bad economy and a Walmart stampede which gave new meaning to “Black Friday,” offer us good occassion to reflect on the inanity of the American “Christmas” Season.

For years I have been deeply disturbed by the grand materialistic orgy that is the gringo Xmas.  The Lord who came to us in humble human vesture, in utter simplicity and taught us to find our serenity in the goods of heaven rather than the goods of this world has become hopelessly lost in a sea of Santa’s hocking gadgets which rob us of time and mental energy to reflect upon and deepen our spiritual lives. Read the rest of this entry »

The Priests – Ave Maria Novena – Day Nine

November 29, 2008

This concludes our novena of Ave Maria recordings.

Keep the readers and writers of TBC in your prayers.

Beatification of José Olalla Valdés today

November 29, 2008


Blessed José Olalla Valdés

Havana, Cuba, February 12, 1820-March 7, 1889, Camagüey, Cuba

The Venerable Servant of God José Olalla Valdés was born in Havana, the island of Cuba, on February 12 of 1820. The child of unknown parents, he was entrusted to the orphanage of St. Joseph (Havana), where on March 15, 1820 he received the baptism. He lived and was educated at the House of Cuna and the House of Charity, becoming a serious and responsible boy, and at the age of 13-14 years made his entry into the Hospital of St John of God in the hospital community Saints Philip and James, in Havana.

Overcoming the obstacles that seemed to interpose his vocation, he remained constant in his decision, professing his vows as a religious hospital. In April of 1835 he was transferred to the city of Puerto Príncipe (today Camagüey), the hospital San Giovanni di Dio, where he devoted himself for the rest of his life to the service of the sick, in the style of St John of God; In 54 years he was absent from hospital just one night, and for reasons independent of his will. Nurses aide, at 25 years became “more nurse” and the hospital then, in 1856, he became superior of the community.
Read the rest of this entry »

Blessed Anselmo Simon Colomina

November 29, 2008

blessed-alfredo-simon-colomina-nov-29Blessed Alfredo Simon Colomina

Valencia, Spain, March 18, 1877 – El Saler, Spain, November 29, 1936

Anselmo Simón Colomina was born in Valencia on March 18 1877 and entered the Society of Jesus in 1895, where he became a priest. He was rector of the College of San Jose. He was killed at El Saler on November 29, 1936, at the age of 59 years.

Beatified by Pope John Paul II on March 11, 2001, with 231 other Martyrs of the Spanish Civil War (José Aparicio Sanz (1893-1936) e 232 compagni), who are collectively remembered on September 22.

Please note that his name is listed as Anselmo and Alfredo, depending on source.

Source: Santi e Beati, The Holy See