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Category: Catholicism

For Governor Palin’s Edification

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Lesson #1: the holy sacrament of Baptism isn’t something Christians do to terrorists… unless, of course, they genuinely repent and want to turn over a new leaf…

h/t Pope Francis:

The Saints: Courageous and Flawed

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

John Paul II and Ronald ReaganPeggy Noonan spoke to ETWN on Sunday morning (Rome time) to give her historical perspective on Pope John Paul the Great, Save Jerseyans, who along with Pope John XIII was canonized on Sunday at an overflow Vatican City open air mass led by Pope Francis.

John XXIII is best remembered for Vatican II. The latter pontiff played an integral role in its implementation (or moderation, depending upon whom you ask) but he also occupied the role of a famously close ally to her old boss, Ronald Reagan, as the Cold War entered its endgame. For Noonan (who is also a Catholic), the theology of sainthood is one which necessarily has practical implications for the political class.

Sainthood isn’t deification. A cursory read of any history of the saints tome will drive that point home in no time flat. “Don’t think of them as perfect,” Noonan told her Catholic network interviewer. “Think of them as people who are showing you that you can be that way if you tried harder.” In her mind, the fact that one man could help the West bring down an evil empire AND fail to adequately address an emerging sex abuse scandal is evidence enough of her conception of sainthood as being one of men with “foibles” nevertheless impacting history in a positive way.

Pope Francis, ever plain-spoken, said in his homily that it all comes down to “courage.” 


I Want to Remember More Than Evil

By Matt Janeczko, OFM CAP. | Catholic How

Boston Marathon ExplosionsI remember, as a kindergarten student, knowing that Saddam Hussein was a bad man and that it was right and just that we were going to invade Iraq: Operation Desert Shield turning into Operation Desert Storm was a good thing.

I remember making several phone calls to college buddies when Saddam Hussein was captured during operation Red Dawn in 2003.  We laughed, we guffawed, we talked about it as an early Christmas present.  This was what sophomores in college, deeply engaged in thinking and talking about foreign policy did.

I remember hearing that we had caught and killed Osama Bid Laden.  I jumped out of my chair as if to cheer, but the joy got caught in my throat, replaced by the realization that celebration over the death of another is quickly followed by a feeling significantly less pleasant than joy, though no less poignant.


Secrets Of The Italian Feast Of Seven Fishes

By Dan Cirucci Dan Cirucci’s Blogspot

Seven FishesPeople always ask me about the Italian Feast of the Seven Fishes served on Christmas Eve.

So strong is this tradition that I can honestly say that in my lifetime I’ve never spent a Christmas Eve without a variety of fish dishes spread before me. This is a hallowed custom that is passed from one generation to another.

To begin with you must have seven fish selections on the table.

Why seven? Seven is a very important number. It stands for the seven sacraments of the Catholic Church. The seven days of creation. In Biblical numerology, seven is a number of perfection.

And fish is the featured dish because Italians have customarily abstained from eating meat on Christmas Eve. In fact, I do believe that for a long time the Catholic church prohibited the eating of meat the day before Christmas, This is the Christmas vigil.

There is no set menu for this feast.

But here are some of the fishes that are traditionally used: calamari (squid); scungilli [skuhn-GEE-lee] (conch); baccala [bah-kah-LAH] (dry, salt cod); shrimp; clams, usually served with pasta; mussels; snapper, trout, tuna or salmon.

We have adapted this menu over the years and updated it somewhat.

Continue Reading…

If Francis Could Meet Cory

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

corybooker_4Pope Francis’s criticism of capitalism continues to be a hot topic through the first half of the Christmas season, Save Jerseyans, although as a friend pointed out to me earlier today, the Holy Father’s distrust of free markets isn’t anything new for Catholic hierarchy.

Francis is a good man with plenty to teach us. Economics isn’t one of those things. His latest literary offering wasn’t wrong: “the excluded are still waiting,” especially in his poverty-stricken native Argentina, but his home country is a model of socialism, not “trickle-down” capitalism. How can he not know that?

My humble suggestion: the His Holiness should seriously consider with whom he’s siding on the economic front. He can start by signing up for the email list of U.S. Senator Cory Booker (D-Twitter).

“[...] the Supreme Court could decide that for-profit employers can limit access to birth control by constraining insurance options available to their employees,” Booker said in a Saturday morning email blast referring, of course, to the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision to consider an Obamacare contraception mandate challenge. “Allowing employers to inject themselves into these intensely personal decisions would be a huge step backward.”


Is The Pope Against Capitalism And Free Markets?

By Dan Cirucci | Dan Cirucci’s Blogspot

Pope FrancisThere is growing concern about what appear to be recent attacks on free markets and on capitalism itself by Pope Francis.

Mary Anastasia O’Grady has analyzed all this quite objectively in the Wall Street Journal. Here’s part of what she has to say:

In the document released last week he [Pope Francis] admonished those who defend “trickle-down theories, which assume that economic growth, encouraged by a free market, will inevitably succeed in bringing about greater justice and inclusiveness in the world.” There is no empirical evidence for this, he wrote. It is instead “a crude and naive trust in the goodness of those wielding economic power and in the sacralized workings of the prevailing economic system.”

Continue Reading…

Obama Shuts Down Military Masses

Catholic Priests Are Subject To Arrest For Military Ministry During Government Shutdown

BArt Gallagher |

Russian ChurchCivilian Catholic priests employed by the federal government have been forbidden by the Obama administration from performing their ministries with military personnel during the government shutdown and are subject to arrest even if they do so voluntarily, according to John Schlageter, the General Counsel of the Archdioceses for Military Services, USA.

This morning, the House of Representatives passed a resolution, 400-1, urging Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel to allow continued performance of religious services on military installations during the government shutdown.


Pope Francis Shakes Up NJ, Too

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Bishop Bernard Hebda

Bishop Bernard Hebda

Pope Francis is in the news for his decidedly different approach to social issues than his predecessors, Save Jerseyans, but the recently-minted Supreme Pontiff’s penchant for rocking the boat isn’t limited to public policy debates and long-fought culture wars.

He’s shaking stuff up in the Garden State, too.

According to the popular Catholic blog Whispers in the Loggia, on Tuesday morning in Rome, Francis appointed Bishop Bernard Hebda as coadjutor-archbishop of Newark.

Who? What? Lucky for you I attended Catholic schools! Hebda is 54 years old and currently serves a diocese in Michigan. This move puts him in line to succeed the current Bishop of Newark, 72 year-old Archbishop John Myers. But this move is more significant than simply establishing a line of succession…


Pope Francis’s Easter Vigil

“That is Not the Place to Look for the One Who is Alive” (VIDEO)

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Pope Francis delivered his first Easter message on Saturday evening during the Vatican’s annual Easter Vigil liturgy.

This guy sure knows how to give a speech homily, Save Jerseyans, if you hadn’t heard already:

Mr. Smith Goes to Rome

Speaker Tasks Smith to Lead Congressional Delegation to Pope Francis Inauguration

By Art Gallagher |

Chris SmithWASHINGTON, D.C. – Speaker of the House John Boehner has tasked Rep. Chris Smith (NJ-04), a senior member of the House Foreign Affairs Committee and leader on many international human rights efforts, to lead the bipartisan U.S. congressional delegation to attend the investiture of former Argentine Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope Francis.

“It is an honor to lead this bipartisan group of House members to this international event,” said Smith, who chairs the House Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations Subcommittee. “The world is a challenging place, in terms of wars and peace, basic human rights and freedoms. The Holy Father has a major role to play in global affairs. I wish him well as he begins his pontificate and am honored to be a part of this historic occasion. The Pope is more than a spiritual leader for the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, he is an inspiration of holiness and goodness, and above all, the faithful proclamation of the Gospel.”


Can Pope Francis Take Over CPAC, Too?

First Impression? Francis I Seems to Know How to Communicate Traditional Christian Values Without Alienating His Flock

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Pope Francis I

Pope Francis I (photo credit:

There’s little doubt that the newly-elected Pope Francis I is a conservative like the rest of the College of Cardinals of which he is now an alumnus, Save Jerseyans.

The man who used to be called Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio is also known a “compassionate conservative” and a straight-shooter. I thought this block quote from the former cardinal in today’s Washington Times, purportedly from a speech delivered back in his home archdiocese of Buenos Aires, was very revealing:

In our ecclesiastical region there are priests who don’t baptize the children of single mothers because they weren’t conceived in the sanctity of marriage,” Bergoglio told his priests. “These are today’s hypocrites. Those who clericalize the Church. Those who separate the people of God from salvation. And this poor girl who, rather than returning the child to sender, had the courage to carry it into the world, must wander from parish to parish so that it’s baptized!”

Bergoglio compared this concept of Catholicism, “this Church of ‘come inside so we make decisions and announcements between ourselves and those who don’t come in, don’t belong,” to the Pharisees of Christ’s time — people who congratulate themselves while condemning all others.

Hmm. The Church now has a man who, at first blush, seems to have the ability to articulate, in clear language, fundamental Christian principles without coming across as mean or divisive. If he succeeds in turning the Church around, perhaps he can teach the CPAC crowd a thing or two about outreach?

First Non-Euro Pope of Millennium (VIDEO)

New Pope Elected as White Smoke Rallies Epic Vatican Crowd in St. Peter’s Square and World Waits to Meet Him

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog

Habemus papam, Save Jerseyans!

77-year old Jorge Mario Bergoglio… the first non-European to be elected pope in approx. 1,300 years and a purported member of the anti-Curia “reformer” wing. Wow.

Watch here as we meet the new pope together:

Conclave Begins in Rome

115 Cardinals from Around the Globe Begin Process to Elect New Pope

By Matt Rooney | The Save Jersey Blog


It’s officially underway!

Moments ago, a dramatic scene unfolded inside the Vatican’s walls as cardinals processed, two-by-two, into the famous Sistine Chapel as a full choir sang the “Litany of the Saints.”  The conclave’s singular goal? Keep voting until the Roman Catholic Church has a new Supreme Pontiff.

I’m a Catholic so I’ve always been fascinated by this stuff, Save Jerseyans. A plurality of New Jerseyans are Catholic. In fact, the Garden State is one of the most Catholic states in America, with approximately 37,000 Catholics per 100,000 state residents according to the 2010 census and a growing bench of Catholic public officials.

Click here (or on the image to your right) to visit the official Vatican Radio website for more audio/video coverage of the conclave. Just don’t expect another peek inside the Sistine Chapel until after white smoke appears and the bells ring out… and keep your fingers crossed for Timothy Dolan!

Vatican video of the procession into the conclave, oath of secrecy and other rituals straight up until “extra omnes!” is below the fold…


Finding the Right Balance

Like the GOP, Catholic Church Can Modernize Its Messaging Without Compromising Its Core Values

By Kristen Luciani | The Save Jersey Blog

VaticanAs the Catholic Church patiently awaits the appointment of its new pope, Save Jerseyans, followers wonder what type of leader they can expect in the near future.

Will he be staunchly opposed to expanding the rights of women in the church? Or will he be more liberal, and champion more lenient views on sexuality and contraception?

Traditionalist groups favor a strict governing of the church. They would prefer that the Catholic faith has fewer followers that adhere to the “letter of the law,” as opposed to a larger population that favors reform and relaxed church policies.

However, there are groups within the church that feel like the institution would become stronger and more revitalized if some of the previous laws were more relaxed, to attract new members and entice other members to return after previously leaving due to conflicting views.

The new pope, although he is not expected to “upset the apple cart” so to speak, has the power to make fundamental changes to the church and to inspire followers of the faith to subscribe to his beliefs. But is this the “right” direction to take? Or should the church continue to adhere to past encyclicals?

Although on somewhat of a different scale, we have similar opinions within the ranks of the Republican Party.