"When he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts no one no one shall open."

Fr. Michael Phillippino

Twenty-first Sunday in Ordinary Time,
August 21, 2011

Shortly after Cardinal Ratzinger was elected Pope, I read a disturbing article of a young person who was choosing not to be confirmed because she felt the election of Cardinal Ratzinger was a signal that the Church was going backward rather than forward. I found it disturbing because it made me ask “where was her faith?”

The Church is here to help us grow in holiness in life. Christ gave us the Church so that we might come to hear the Good News, so that we would know to call God our Father, so that we would have his Word to ponder and thus come to a better understanding of who God is and who we really are, and so respond to him with faith, hope, and love.

Christ gave us the Pope so that the church would maintain the constant teaching handed down to us by Him and the fullness of that teaching. The Church is not here to salve our conscience or to console us and condone our sinful nature. Our society today has gotten so far away from the truth of the Gospel that we are calling that which is truly good evil, and that which is evil, good. There are many people today, for example, who consider the church’s teaching on chastity and purity as a repression of our natural instinct. Many of our young people today are living together without benefit of marriage, thinking that there is nothing wrong with it, to say nothing of the many Catholics who are using artificial birth control and who think nothing of abortion.

The keys that Jesus gave to Peter are a sign of his authority to teach, bind, and loose, to let in or to shut out. The readings this week help us to see this. In our first reading, God, through Isaiah the prophet, takes the keys from Shebna, strips him of his authority, and gives “Eliakim, son of Hilkah…the keys of the house of David,” the kingdom in other words. And what does God say upon investing Eliakim with this authority: “when he opens, no one shall shut; when he shuts no one shall open.”

This is the authority Christ has given to Peter and his successors and so we ought to listen when Peter or Pope Benedict XVI speaks, because when he speaks on the matter of morals or faith, it is not so much Peter who is speaking as it is our Lord speaking through him. Christ himself said this in Scripture: “Whoever listens to you, listens to me. Whoever rejects you, rejects me. And whoever rejects me, rejects the One who sent me.” (Luke 10:16).

I guess I am tired of hearing people say the Church doesn’t know what it is doing or what it is talking about. This is not our Church, it is Christ’s church, and if he wants us to go backward then we should be thankful and go backward, if he wants us to go forward then we will go forward, if he wants us to stay still then we will stay still. When God led the Israelites out of Egypt, he didn’t always go forward, many times they would stop and stay at a particular encampment for a long time, sometimes they would go back towards Egypt, but they followed the Lord to eventually get to the Promised Land.

So, sisters and brothers, we ought to trust that whoever is elected Pope is God’s choice and not simply the choice of some old men, and that he will lead us to the Promised Land of Heaven. God is faithful and he will never abandon the Church that he has built on Peter accepting, and living this will get us through those Pearly Gates. You can bet on it!


A Digest of Articles from Catholic Blogs and Websites
August 21, 2011

Peter, the Pope and the Bible
“More Catholic than the Pope.” There is nothing more quintessentially Catholic than the Papacy. When we think “Catholic,” we think Rome, the Vatican, the dome of St. Peters.

But the roots of the papacy actually go back to Jerusalem and the messiah-kings who ruled there.

If Christ is the rock, can Peter also be the rock?
21st Sunday in Ordinary Time, Matthew 16:13-20
And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the nether world shall not prevail against it.

It is well know that the name “Peter” (Petrus or Petros) means “Rock” and, as Christians have always understood it, our Savior gave Simon this name in order to signify that he is the “rock” upon which the Church is founded.

21st Sunday: The Catholic Church
“I will place the Key of the House of David on Eliakim’s shoulder. When he opens, no one shall shut. When he shuts, no one shall open.” Isaiah 22:22

“And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” Matthew 16:18-19.

In both readings, God entrusts a man with the keys to His House, His Church.

Pope declares a new Doctor of the Church: St. John of Avila
Pope Benedict XVI has honored the 16th century Spanish priest St. John of Avila by naming him the 34th Doctor of the Catholic Church.

“In making this announcement here, I would hope that the word and the example of this outstanding pastor will enlighten all priests and those who look forward to the day of their priestly ordination,” said the Pope at the conclusion of a special World Youth Day Mass for seminarians at Madrid’s Cathedral of the Almudena on August 20.

Why the priest “blesses” the water at the offertory of the Mass
In the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, the priest makes the sign of the Cross over the water which is to be mixed with the wine at the offertory of the Mass. This practice is preserved by some priests also in the Ordinary Form, although it is not explicitly present in the rubrics.

Magisterium Part 1: What is the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and Why Do We Need it?
The first in a 4 part series on the Magisterium, or sacred teaching office, of the Catholic Church, explaining the relation between Church authority and biblical authority, and how written documents, even inspired writings of the BIble, require authentic, authoritative interpretation.

News media skip World Youth Day
And thus, one of the biggest stories on the planet right now. Certainly, the most positive and hopeful one at the moment.

Where are all the social commentaries now? After weeklong rioting and violence in London by hostile youth mobs seized world media attention in continuous news cycles filled with political and social analysis, we have a weeklong ‘event’ in another European capital with a million young people pouring in from all over the globe and it’s largely and intentionally ignored by big media.

U.S. Presidential Campaign 2012: Morally Coherent Catholics Can Change this Nation
Catholics are not one more “interest group” which can be polled, pandered to and bought. Our political participation must be committed to human life and dignity, marriage and the family, authentic human freedom, and solidarity directed by the application of the principle of subsidiary.

Hollywood star Matt Marsden urges young Catholics to get involved in movies
Hollywood actor Matt Marsden said that young Catholics need to get involved in movie-making and other artistic ventures if they want to change the culture.

“It’s vitally important for the future,” the 38-year-old actor – who has starred in movies such as “Black Hawk Down” and “Transformers” – told CNA during his World Youth Day visit in Madrid on Aug. 19.

Refraining From Using God’s Divine Name
The question:
At Bible Study last night we were talking about not using the name Yahweh any more in the music at Mass. Why is this? Could you help us out?

The answer:
Musicians are asked to refrain (pardon the pun) from using the Divine Name “Yahweh” because of a tradition that goes back from before the time of Christ. In the the Book of Exodus we learn that God reveals His name to Moses (Yahweh) in an atmosphere of great awe and reverence. Moses has to take off his shoes because he is standing on holy ground, ground made holy by the powerful revelation of God’s name.

Hatred of Priest Saves a Life
If you’re a reader of this blog you’ve seen a few stories about videos about the abortion clinic in Rockford, Illinois which is a pretty sick place.

For the past few months, every time the ultrasound truck attempts to park outside the clinic, the abortuary’s landlord runs his old cars out into the street to fill the spot. Think about how sick it is to go to such lengths to prevent women from seeing the baby in their womb.

Nothing Comes to Nothing
What God knows, He loves.

In summoning and sending the apostles, Jesus reminds them, “Nothing is concealed that will not be revealed, nor secret that will not be known” (Matthew 10:26).

You Can Never Afford Them
I have a smart mouth. My brain, not so much. But I know I’ve done enough damage to people with my words that I’ve learned over the years to hold my tongue. So I tend to… ruminate, as my wife calls it. (She thinks that’s better than calling me dumb.)

What Not to Wear if you want to show respect
It has been my rant for many years now about what folks wear to Mass on Sundays….or any other Mass during the week. From Altar servers in cargo shorts and t-shirts to mohawks and running gear as Eucharistic Ministers, I stand appalled on a regular basis. Chewing gum and texting during Mass gets me wondering, “Where are these people spiritually? Why are they here: Coercion, habit, or lukewarm mentality?

Love and Healing
How is it possible for love, which is essentially spiritual, to have a transforming effect on the human body, which is corporeal and the natural object of scientific intervention?

What is Hell and How Do I Get There?
If you’ve ever read Dante’s Inferno or Milton’s Paradise Lost, you’re probably familiar with some of the traditional imagery associated with Hell. Parts of hell, like parts of Chicago, are not places you’d actively seek, but there are other places in Hell that look like great spelunking spots rather than locations of eternal suffering. This guide will help you find the path to those pearly gates of Hell. Once inside, you can make it your own adventure.

Why Do Catholics Abstain from Meat on Fridays?
As a society, American Catholics tend to give up meat on Fridays in Lent… and that’s it. That’s not good. We’re called to give up meat or something else on every Friday, not just those during Lent. Here’s the relevant part of canon law:

Can. 1249 The divine law binds all the Christian faithful to do penance each in his or her own way. In order for all to be united among themselves by some common observance of penance, however, penitential days are prescribed on which the Christian faithful devote themselves in a special way to prayer, perform works of piety and charity, and deny themselves by fulfilling their own obligations more faithfully and especially by observing fast and abstinence, according to the norm of the following canons.

The 80-year-old woman who discovered the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified
St Helena (August 18), the mother of Constantine, became celebrated for her charity to the poor and to prisoners

Helena (c 249-c 329) was the mother of Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor. She is held up to reverence as the discoverer of the Cross upon which Jesus was crucified.

The story that she was the daughter of King Coel of Colchester is not found before the 12th century. In reality she was probably born in Drepanum (modern Izmit) at the eastern end of the Sea of Marmara.

Archbishop Chaput: MSNBC, CNN, New York Times ‘Untrustworthy’ When it Comes to Religion
….“We make a very serious mistake if we rely on media like the New York Times, Newsweek, CNN, or MSNBC for reliable news about religion. These news media simply don’t provide trustworthy information about religious faith…

A Special Novena for Father Gordon MacRae Regarding Recent Findings by an Investigator
I would ask that you join me in praying a novena for Father Gordon MacRae. As you know, he is the priest who was falsely accused of abusing a minor. He was convicted and has been imprisoned for many years because he would not plead guilty to something he did not do. There is a specific reason why I will be praying this novena for Father Gordon’s special intentions. Without giving out too many details, I share the following statements with you. BTW, the following conclusions were arrived at by a professional investigator who has spent over 1000 hours investigating the case against Father Gordon MacRae, and has concluded that this case was a massive fraud.

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