Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Sunday, November 21, 2010

I just came across this interesting post from the Jerusalem Post. It is a great article on the research efforts recently uncovered on Pope Pius XII. Recently historians have been trying to unfairly paint him as a Nazi Collaborator. The famous tag line that has been used is "Hitler's Pope". All of this has flown in the face of conventional wisdom, particularly after World War II which declared that Pope Pius XII was instrumental in saving the lives of Jews, so much so that the lead Rabbi in Rome converted to Catholicism after the war. The media of course loves a great anti-Catholic rant and has been pedaling the Pius XII-Nazi story for years. The interesting thing is that after all this time Pope Pius XII's defenders seem to be right.

I figure the Jerusalem Post is a great source for the story. Enjoy


Hitler’s Pope saved 200,000 Jews’
07/09/2010 01:34

Historian: visas that Pius XII secured for converts probably went to other Jews as well.

“Hitler’s Pope,” Pope Pius XII, may have arranged for 200,000 Jews to leave Germany after Kristallnacht, The Daily Telegraph reported on Thursday.

German historian Dr. Michael Hesemann told the paper that Pius, then known as Cardinal Eugenio Pacelli, wrote to archbishops around the world, asking them to obtain exit visas for “non-Aryan Catholics” and Jewish converts to Christianity.

Hesemann is doing research in the Vatican archives sponsored by the Pave the Way foundation, a US interfaith group.

Elliot Hershberg, chairman of Pave the Way, reportedly said: “We believe that many Jews who were successful in leaving Europe may not have had any idea that their visas and travel documents were obtained through these Vatican efforts. Everything we have found thus far seems to indicate the known negative perception of Pope Pius XII is wrong.”

Pius was nicknamed “Hitler’s Pope” because he did not publicly denounce the Holocaust, the Nazis or Adolf Hitler.

“The fact that this letter speaks of ‘converted Jews’ and ‘non-Aryan’ Catholics indeed seems to be a cover,” Hesemann told the Daily Telegraph, adding that evidence suggests that visas would have been given to Jews who didn’t convert, as well.

“You couldn’t be sure that Nazi agents wouldn’t learn about this initiative,” he reportedly said. Therefore, the then-cardinal worded his letter in a way that would not allow Nazis to claim that the Catholic Church was an ally of the Jews and use it as propaganda.

The appeal was dated November 30, 1938 – 20 days after Kristallnacht, the “night of broken glass.”

Pope Benedict XVI : Pius lived a life of "heroic virtue"

Cardinal Pacelli was the Vatican’s secretary of state at the time. He was able to ask for the visas because of an agreement he signed with the Nazis, which protected Jews who converted to Christianity.

In December, Pope Benedict XVI declared Pius “Venerable,” a title that means the Church believes he lived a life of “heroic virtue.” If two miracles performed by Pius are found, he will be canonized as a saint.

However, some Jewish groups demanded that the canonization process be frozen until the Vatican opens its secret World War II archives in 2014.

Sir Martin Gilbert, a British historian and Holocaust expert, has said that Pope Pius XII should be considered as a “Righteous Gentile” by Yad Vashem.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

The End is In Sight

53 pages written, 3 hours of sleep, 3 classes down, 1 to go!

Mass, Dinner, Class, Sleep!

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Stop the Insanity!

The past week has been insanely busy. I will be able to post a more substantial post come Friday, in a meantime please say some prayers. This week our vocation director and there are various responsibilities and meetings to attend to etc... Last night we had a wonderful dinner with him, Bishops McCormack and Christian. After returning to the Seminary I had to attend to my House Infirmarian duties and tend to a seminarian who was sick. Our evening began with a 8:45pm visit to the Doctor, continued with a trip to the hospital and ended at 7:00am this morning when I returned home. I just got up from resting (2:00pm) in order to write a 10 and 25 page paper due tomorrow morning. Say some prayers as it is going to be a ghoulish night!


Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Halloween Party

I decided it might be fun to post some pictures from our annual Halloween party. It is a night of good fun and a break from the crunch time of the Semester. We carved pumpkins, had a costume contest and even did apple bobbing. Also there was lots of free food and drinks.

Dan, the Donnelly Lounge Boss went as superman since he is often told he bears a resemblance to Clark Kent. In proper fashion he did reveal his costume till halfway through the party.

Brother Mark, a Franciscan, spent the whole night spouting off cryptic and wise messages.

Rob a funny seminarian from the diocese of Trenton came as an Aussie.

Jeff Paveglio, a fellow Manchester seminarian decided to go as a Texas Ranger. The scary part is the Mustache fits him well.

I went as the Gather Hymnal in the Chapel. We use to hymn books at the seminary, one called Worship and the other Gather. Worship is filled with traditional hymns wall Gather is filled with more contemporary ones. Since many of the more conservative guys in the seminary hate the songs in the Gather hymnal (and contemporary music), I figured it would be fun to dress as it. I figured they would love it because they find it scary and everyone else would just laugh. I made the pages and all. I won first prize!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cuba builds a New Seminary!

Earlier today Cuba opened its first new Catholic Seminary since the Revolution in 1959. Since the Revolution Fidel Castro and the Cuban government has been hostile to the Church and people of faith. However beginning in 1998, when Pope John Paul II visited Cuba, the Church and Government have been slowing improving relations. The Catholic Church and the Cuban government have begun working together on issues of great importance. The building of a new Catholic Seminary and the attendance of President Raul Castro at its dedication is yet another important sign coming out of Cuba and a reason for hope for the future.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Voting Day!

Don't Forget to Vote!

The Catholic Bishops have put out a great guide as to issues that we all must consider when selecting candidates.

Catholic Voter Guide

Monday, November 1, 2010

All Saints Day

What Better Day to Highlight one of the Church's newest declared saints then on today, the Feast of All Saints. Today the Church celebrates those Holy Men and Women who are with God in the heavenly kingdom. So often when we hear the word Saints we think only of the big names like Francis, Joseph, Andrew, Therese, Teresa, Clare, etc.... however in doing so we forget that many of the greatest saints in the history of the world were humble men and women known only to a relatively few. In my own life I can think of many people who have passed on from this world, and who undoubtedly are enjoying the fruits of the heavenly kingdom. To be in heaven, to be a saint, is the ultimate goal of all of our lives. The Church for its part highlights and recognizes the lives of men and women who have displayed heroic virtue and who have lived lives worthy of Christ. Saints are never perfect, and they include the likes of the cantankerous St. Jerome, the doubtful St. Thomas and the reformed figures like St. Augustine.

This year the Church canonized an Irish woman by the name of Sr. Mary MacKillop. She is a real profile of courage and faith. The story reflects the difficult realities of the struggle the Church has faced and the courageous voices of women like Sr. Mary and others who have stood for justice and truth. As the Church looks to the future, She must come to terms with the past, and remain steadfast in the pursuit of truth and justice, and always filled with faith.

Below is a story from the Irish Times covering her life.

Pope Benedict today canonised Australia’s first saint, a 19th century nun who exposing the activities a paedophile Irish priest

Sr Mary MacKillop was one of six Catholic figures canonised today at a ceremony in Rome.

She was excommunicated from the Catholic Church in 1871 after exposing the activities a paedophile Irish priest. She discovered that children were being abused by Fr Patrick Keating in the Kapunda parish near Adelaide in south Australia.

She told Josephites director Fr Julian Tenison-Woods about the abuse. It was then reported to the vicar general and Fr Keating was sent back to Ireland, where he continued to serve as a priest.

Fr Charles Horan, a Galway man who was a colleague of Fr Keating, swore revenge on Sr MacKillop and her order. After only four years as a nun, she was excommunicated by Adelaide’s bishop Laurence Shiel, who was originally from Wexford.

She was turned out on the street with no money and nowhere to go. Five months later, on his deathbed, Bishop Shiel instructed that Sr MacKillop be absolved and restored.

After being reinstated by the Catholic Church, Sr MacKillop became known for her work with disadvantaged children, female ex-prisoners and prostitutes.

She was beatified by Pope John Paul II in 1995 following a Vatican decree that a Sydney woman was cured of leukaemia in 1961 through Sr MacKillop’s intercession. The second miracle required for sainthood occurred in the mid-1990s when a woman sent home from hospital to die due to inoperable lung and brain cancer was cured.

"It is a great day," said Sr Monica Cavanagh, acting secretary general of Sr MacKillop's order said from her tomb, a short distance from Sydney's famous harbour. "We are proud of Mary. We are proud that she's Australian, that she's a woman and she's a Josephite. We are just filled with great joy. We have probably even had a few tears today."

Some activists in the Church have called on the Vatican to declare her the patron saint of those who suffered sexual abuse by priests.

The Rev James Martin, a prominent Catholic commentator, wrote recently in America, the journal of the Jesuits in the United States, that such a designation would be appropriate for a person he called a "whistleblower" saint. "Only recently has the Church begun to see whistleblowers as necessary - and holy," he wrote. "Victims and victims' families now have someone new to pray for them in their struggles for justice and reconciliation."

In the town of Penola in South Australia state, where in 1866 Sr MacKillop founded the Sisters of St Joseph of the Sacred Heart, a special mass was celebrated with children dressing up in 19th century costume. A special cross made from timber taken from Sr MacKillop's original school has toured Australia over the past two months in preparation for her canonisation.

In Melbourne where she was born, Australia's atheist prime minister Julia Gillard joined celebrations commemorating her life. Near MacKillop's tomb in Sydney, giant screens were set up to broadcast the canonisation ceremony live.

Foreign minister Kevin Rudd, a Catholic who has travelled to Rome for the event, commended Sr MacKillop for "extending education services to girls, to the poor, to the far flung parts of Australia". Opposition leader Tony Abbott, also a Catholic, called Sr MacKillop "inspirational".

Some five million of Australia's 22 million people are Catholic, making it the country's largest religion.

At a solemn ceremony in St Peter's Square, the pope also canonised two Italian nuns, Giulia Salzano and Battista Camilla da Varano, Spanish nun Candida Maria de Jesus Cipitria y Barriola, Brother Andre Bessette of Canada, and Stanislaw Kazimierczyk of Poland.

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Please note this blog will begin being regularly updated after August 21st (when I arrive in Baltimore).