"Preach the Gospel at all times, and when necessary, use words."

A special "Thank you!"
Goes out to
John Michael Talbot
for giving us permission
to use his song on our
"Come to the Quiet"
You Tube Video
_______________________________________________________ _______________________________________________________

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Fire Consumes Little Portion Hermitage Buildings

Please pray for John Michael Talbot and all our brothers and sisters at the Little Portion Hermitage.

From JMT - Written on Tuesday, May 29,2008
Last night the sleep of the Brothers and Sisters of Charity, Monastic, was interrupted close to midnight as a raging fire burned our Chapel and Common Center to the ground. Viola and I were the first on the scene as I saw the orange/red glow through our hermitage's back windows. Upon arriving we found there were no hoses capable of stopping the raging flames. I ran up the hill and woke up the community, and we started the almost futile task of spraying down the part of the Common Center that had not yet burned and retrieving anything from inside we could still find.

We lost some most valuable things in the fire. Our community archives were lost and all of the books in our library. The Troubadour stockroom and inventory were lost to the flames. All of the various awards received were melted in the intense heat of the fire. We have some back-ups from computers, but nothing current. It is our hope that most of this is covered by our insurance.

In Jesus,
John Michael Talbot
Founder, and Spiritual Father
The Brothers and Sisters of Charity at Little Portion Hermitage

Would You Like To Help? We sincerely appreciate any donation you can make to assist in the rebuilding of Little Portion Hermitage Monastery. Your kind donation is tax deductible. Online donations may be made here: http://www.littleportion.org/

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Act With Love For The Love Of God

The Lord says in the Gospel, "Love your enemies..." (Matthew 5:44). You do in fact love your enemies when you do not brood over the evil another has done to you, but grieve instead over the sin on the other's soul, while continuing to act with love for the love of God.

St. Francis of Assisi
Admonition 9

Monday, April 28, 2008

Edward Cardinal Egan Statement Regarding Rudy Giuliani Receiving Communion

Cardinal Egan released a statement today addressing the fact that Rudy Giuliani received Communion at the Papal Mass in New York. This is going to be big news because this is the first time a Cardinal, let alone a bishop, has addressed a pro-abortion Catholic politician receiving Communion since Archbishop Burke publically stated that he would deny John Kerry Communion should he present himself in his diocese.

Below is the media release we are sending out praising Cardinal Egan for defending the Eucharist. I invite each of you to join us in thanking Cardinal Egan for standing up.


The following is a statement issued by Edward Cardinal Egan:

“ The Catholic Church clearly teaches that abortion is a grave offense against the will of God. Throughout my years as Archbishop of New York, I have repeated this teaching in sermons, articles, addresses, and interviews without hesitation or compromise of any kind. Thus it was that I had an understanding with Mr. Rudolph Giuliani, when I became Archbishop of New York and he was serving as Mayor of New York, that he was not to receive the Eucharist because of his well-known support of abortion. I deeply regret that Mr. Giuliani received the Eucharist during the Papal visit here in New York, and I will be seeking a meeting with him to insist that he abide by our understanding.”


Let Us Pay The Price

Once in the Marches of Ancona St. Francis found a certain shepherd feeding a herd of she-goats and he-goats in the fields. Among the great number of these goats there was one little lamb going along and feeding humbly and quietly. When blessed Francis saw it, he stopped and, touched inwardly with sorrow of heart, then groaning deeply, he said to the brother who was with him: "Do you see the sheep that walks so meekly among the goats? I tell you that our Lord Jesus Christ walked in the same way meekly and humbly among the pharisees and chief priests. Therefore I ask you, my son, for the love of him, to have pity with me on this little sheep. Let us pay the price and lead her away from among all these goats."

St. Francis of Assisi
First Life - 77

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Fall Healing Conference: October 25, 2008

Father Gregory Bramlage invites you to a Fall Healing Conference on October 25, 2008 entitled "Spiritual Warfare!"

East Central High School, St. Leon, Indiana

Speakers: Fr. Gregory Bramlage, Fr. Daniel Wilder, & Dr. Rich Meyer

To be put on their mailing list for conference brochures, contact them at:

Healing Through the Power of Jesus Christ Center
c/o Saint Nicholas Parish
6461 East Saint Nicholas Drive
Sunman, IN 47041

E-mail: St.NicholasCatholicChurch@yahoo.com
Healing Center/Rectory Phone: (812) 623-8007

We Are Not To Argue Among Ourselves

AQnd all the brothers are to guard against speaking falsely of anyone and are to avoid verbal disbutes. Rather, let them seek to keep silent whenever God gives them the grace to do so. And they are not to argue among themselves, nor with others, but they are to strive to respond with humility, saying, "We are useless servants" (Luke 17:10).

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule of 1221
Chapter XI

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Religious Sisters Conference: I Am My Beloved's And He Is Mine

Tuesday, July 08, 2008 - Thursday, July 10, 2008

Register Online Here:


Host: Sr. Mary Paul Friemel, OSF

As a religious sister, you live in the kingdom of God on earth as a sign of how all shall live in the kingdom of God in heaven. Here and now, you are the bride of Christ, the one set aside for him and his purposes, the temporal witness to eternal realities.

Your ability to bear that witness is intimately connected to your feminine identity. It is as a woman that you have given yourself to Christ. It is as a woman that you live out your vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. And it is as a woman that you seek to bear spiritual children for your Spouse.

At the 2008 Religious Sisters Conference, you'll learn just how integral your femininity is to your religious vocation. It is something to be embraced, not forsaken, and speakers such as Sister Katherine Caldwell, TOR, and Father Don Calloway, MIC, will help you discover ways to grow in your appreciation and understanding of what it means to be a woman set apart for Christ.

Together, we'll explore questions such as how women are the crown of creation, how we're called to be sisters to one another, what role community plays in our relationship with Christ, and how we can be better spiritual mothers to all the souls entrusted to our care and prayers.

This summer, join sisters from around the country as we seek to give ourselves ever more completely to Christ and to his Church, living out our feminine vocation as daughters, brides, and mothers in God's kingdom on earth.

Defending the Faith Conference: The Mysteries Of The Kingdom

Friday, July 25, 2008 - Sunday, July 27, 2008

Register Online Here:


Host: Scott Hahn

The Church is not primarily an earthly reality. She is the visible face of a kingdom that is not of this world, a kingdom that is supernatural and heavenly, not natural and earthly. That means part of the Church's work is to bear witness to her own supernatural reality and to the presence of God's power in the world. Similarly, as Christians, we, too, are called to bear witness to those truths and to be stewards of the mysteries of God.

At the 2008 Defending the Faith Conference, we'll look beyond the veil separating heaven from earth to see the eternal truths that guide the Church in history. We'll also explore the way our understanding of those mysteries should impact the way we live in the world as spouses, parents, employees, and citizens. Finally, we'll examine how our role as stewards should impact the worship we offer God and how, in the Church's liturgy, the Holy Spirit unites the heavenly kingdom and earthly kingdom, the heavenly liturgy and the earthly liturgy, making one kingdom, one liturgy through grace.

This July, join our host Dr. Scott Hahn and speakers Kimberly Hahn, Father Benedict Groeschel, CFR, Father Robert Barron, Steve Ray, and others as well as more than a thousand Catholics from around the country for a weekend full of penetrating talks, prayer, worship, and fellowship. And through both word and sacrament, discover how you can hear and answer the supernatural call to live as a steward of the mysteries.

Dr. Alan Schreck was selected to participate in a National Endowment for the Humanities summer seminar researching St. Francis of Assisi. The six-week program will be held in Rome, Siena, and Assisi, Italy from June 25 to August 6, 2008. Because of this, Dr. Schreck will miss this summer's Defending the Faith conference. He looks forward to sharing the fruit of this study at next year's DTF conference, and in a projected book on Church renewal.

Catholic Charismatic Conference

Friday, June 06, 2008 - Sunday, June 08, 2008

This year's Catholic Charismatic Conference will help you open yourself to the Spirit's power. Speakers such as Sister Ann Shields, SGL, and Deacon Ralph Poyo will help you learn how to go deeper in prayer and how to help those in your homes and parishes go deeper as well. You'll hear powerful stories of witness and conversion from speakers such as former NFL standout Danny Abramowicz.

Unlike years past, however, this summer's conference will be less about listening and more about experiencing. It will be less about what the speakers have to say and more about letting the Holy Spirit do his work in your heart. That means more time for prayer, more time for praise and worship, and more time for sacred silence. It also means additional time for healing prayer and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.

Register here on line:


Father Michael Scanlan, TOR is Franciscan University of Steubenville’s first chancellor, a position he assumed in 2000 after serving 26 years as the University’s president. Father Scanlan has published numerous articles in religious periodicals and over 16 books and booklets including the newly updated book, “The Truth About Trouble”. A speaker at national and international conferences, he also leads pilgrimages all over the world. He also hosts a monthly television show, Franciscan University Presents, on EWTN. He has received numerous honors, including the pontifical honor Cross Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice and the Sacrae Theologiae Magister.

Overcoming The Torment From The Malice Of The Wicked

Woe to those who are satisfied with the mere appearance of a religious life. They will grow sluggish in their sloth and will not remain steadfast amid the temptations permitted to prove the just. For only those who have overcome the test, after an interval of torment from the malice of the wicked, will receive the crown of life.

St. Francis of Assisi
Second Life - 157

Friday, April 25, 2008

Offering A Holocaust To God

When Francis prayed in the wilds and in solitary places, he would fill the woods with sighs, water the earth with tears, beat his breast with his hand, and there, making the most of a more intimate, secret place, he often spoke aloud with his Lord. He would give an account to his Judge, entreat his Father, speak with his Friend, chat amiably with his Bridegroom. Indeed, in order to offer to God with every fiber of his being a single, multifaceted holocaust, he would ponder the many facets of him who is Supremely One.

St. Francis of Assisi
Second Life - 95

Thursday, April 24, 2008

School of America's - Part III

Behind the gates, a clash of views

Editor’s note: NCR has covered the annual protest at Fort Benning since the early 1990s, always from outside the gates of the fort. This year, we asked Paul Winner to report on the event from inside the fort. Winner’s story and a report by Patrick O’Neill, who has provided detailed coverage of this event for several years, are included on these pages. The full range of O’Neill’s reporting has been posted on our Web site, ncronline.org.


Fort Benning, Ga.

As a young man, John Kiser sat in a classroom with Fr. Gustavo Gutiérrez and posed a direct question: Are Christians called to be pacifists?

Gutiérrez, the 70-year-old father of liberation theology, had come to Princeton Theological Seminary as a visiting professor. Kiser, a novice seminarian, had recently felt himself drawn to service as a military chaplain, but had not completely squared that calling with the Gospels -- at least, not yet.

Kiser, now a Presbyterian minister and one of the chaplains at Fort Benning, spoke recently during the weekend of the annual School of the Americas protest, a largely Catholic show of opposition to the training of Latin American military personnel, many of whom oversaw and committed human rights violations during the civil wars in Central America during the 1980s.

Kiser recalled how he and Gutiérrez pulled out their Bibles and discussed the Roman soldier of Luke Chapter 7, Christ’s measurement of the soldier’s faith, and how at no point did Christ instruct this man -- as he instructed the adulterer in the Gospel of John -- to “go and sin no more.” They finessed the finer points of the Hebrew verbs harag and ratsakh, “kill” and “murder,” as a means of unearthing the exact meaning of the commandment dealing with killing. For in the Torah, according to many Jewish scholars, the correct translation would be “ Thou shalt not murder,” which left open the possibility that even the taking of life could be tacit within the Law of Moses. The founder of liberation theology agreed that in some cases, killing of course takes place without criminal intent. But what cases, exactly? Those in wartime? And what did such a stunning sanction mean for following Christ’s example?

Both men believed that even pacifists retained “a moral imperative to protect innocent life,” and that a responsible Christian could be called into military service, the better to be “an ethical voice within the apparatus itself.”

Kiser ended up writing his thesis on the just war theory, then left Princeton to pursue a doctorate with the Oblates. Within a few short years, he was an officer in uniform, tending to the wounded and dying on both sides of conflict. Most recently, in Tikrit, Iraq, he served as an emergency room chaplain not only to military personnel but also to Muslim civilians, Iraqi children, and those designated by superiors as “enemy combatants.”

“I see the role of the chaplain as both pastoral and prophetic,” said Kiser now. “And I believe that the prophetic tradition in Christianity does not persuade us solely into pacifism.”

He reclines in his chair and rubs his eyes, briefly, then offers me a Coca-Cola from a mini-fridge behind his desk. He is a kindly, compact man in his 40s with a runner’s build and polite, boyish smile. He has been meeting with civilian visitors to Benning all day, and will continue presenting his case for a soldier’s ethical responsibilities well into the weekend.

“Well,” he says, “this is our Superbowl Weekend.”

* * *
It is, for many at the school, possibly the biggest weekend of the year. The reason is not the “God Bless Fort Benning” pro-troop demonstration in nearby Columbus, Ga. Nor does the weekend’s importance stem from the latest, most ominous headline in this week’s Army Times: “If you haven’t gone to war -- you’re about to: 37,000 targeted for deployment.” Rather, the size of the weekend is due to the demands imposed by this chaplain’s latest job, the very job he signed up for years earlier -- attempting to be a voice within the apparatus itself.

Kiser’s most recent post within the U.S. Army is as both chaplain and ethics instructor at the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation. WHINSEC, as it is called, was formerly known as the School of the Americas -- a training school, transplanted from Panamanian soil, for young officers of Central and South America. Established as a Cold War continuation of the Monroe Doctrine, the school has suffered from an image problem since its dedication on Georgia’s soil, stemming largely from the murderous reputation of Latin American militaries (and paramilitaries) in the latter half of the 20th century. Those forces, dedicated to suppressing dissent, often enjoyed shadowy help from the world’s leading democracy.

Dr. Luis Ramírez, a visiting scholar at WHINSEC who came to Benning from the Peace Secretariat in Guatemala, recently told a group of visiting protesters that he had observed the reputation of the United States in Latin America to be “on the floor” for so many years, he was shocked to witness the latest turnaround in attitudes inside and outside the military. “Now,” he said, “today, you can see in the students here at this school, the desire in them that human rights become the standard.”

This is due, he swore, to the work of the institute.

The School of the Americas closed its doors in December 2000. By the time winter thawed, WHINSEC had opened in its place, with several new courses, a new stated mission and new faculty. Ramírez and Kiser were but two of the new faces arguing human rights down the elegantly curved halls.

Protest against the school, however, did not change. Maryknoll Fr. Roy Bourgeois had inaugurated a memorial demonstration outside the gates of Fort Benning one year after the 1989 murders of six Jesuit priests in El Salvador. His mission was to draw national and international attention to the place where many of those responsible for the Jesuits’ murder had trained, and to call for the school’s permanent closure. The protest eventually swelled into the thousands, increasing with each year.

Now, in balmiest November 2007, the protests outside the main gate of the fort will be met by presentations inside the gate by Chaplain Kiser and others about the school’s mission, and they will take questions from the protesters themselves.

* * *
Ten years ago, Gutiérrez and Kiser had stood in the Princeton classroom and been passionately engaged in exegesis. An exercise in contemplative scholasticism, exegesis is the main reason many come to seminary in the first place: to burrow into the Word at the subtlest, most fragile of levels, and better divine the will of God. It may seem like hairsplitting to an outsider, but to someone discerning whether he or she is born to faithful leadership, exegesis is the source and locator of authority, despite the starkly conflicting interpretations which exegesis inevitably brings to the surface.

It is not the best means of dialogue, however, between opposing groups outside of seminary.

This year, on Saturday, Nov. 17, hundreds of protesters -- from veterans’ organizations, peace fellowships, high schools and various colleges -- are crowded loudly into an auditorium on the base. Protesters line the walls and steps. There are banners and peace signs. Many students wear green T-shirts reading “I Will Shut Down the School of Assassins.” They have left school to come here, and have briefly been returned to student status as they sit through a detailed PowerPoint presentation. Slides offer a number of facts (“10 percent of every course content addresses human rights and ethics”), and is followed by an introduction of the afternoon’s panelists, including Chaplain Kiser, Lt. Col. Linda Gould, representing the school’s Board of Visitors; Maj. Tony Raimondo, professor of law and overseer of the school’s human rights courses; and the school’s commandant, Col. Gilberto Perez. Questions from the audience rise, slowly at first, and then with an almost natural force. Microphones are passed through the seats.

The moderator points to the wall. “With the bandana, yes.”
The question -- like many that follow -- begins with an admission of vagueness, the single phrase It is my understanding that ... This one ends with an observation that WHINSEC has been known to train militaries in a civil capacity, policemen and firemen, which seems outside the school’s charter. Panel members agree that the school does and should continue to train “first responders, much like our own National Guard.”

Another hand. “Dreadlocks, there.”

“I keep seeing pictures around this place with, like, a sword. And they’re asking me to follow them.” Several of the students stifle laughter.

Col. Perez jumps in to explain Benning’s infantry symbol -- a bayonet crowned with the words FOLLOW ME -- and how the building they’re all sitting in used to be home to the fort’s infantry school. “I am not,” Perez explains, “authorized to make changes to the school’s façade.”

Another student stands. “This is directed at the chaplain. When the Bible says, you know, ‘Do Not Kill,’ I want to know how that, like, affects your ministry.”

There is increased laughter this time. The mood in the room is changing. Kiser does not speak of the just war tradition, or the private conciliations each person of faith makes with nations at war. Instead, he leans into the microphone and decides to offer some of the exegesis he once shared with Gutiérrez involving Hebrew verbs. By the time he clarifies what he believes is the Mosaic injunction “to not murder,” the audience as a whole has succumbed to groans, hoots, and come on’s.

A blonde, middle-aged woman in jeans leans forward, trying to refocus the attention of the room on history and curriculum. “It is my understanding that interrogation tactics have been taught here?”
Maj. Raimondo takes up the question. “We do not. Teach. Interrogation. Tactics. Here.” Immediately it is clear that no one in the audience believes this -- or they are taking exception to use of the present tense -- inspired, perhaps, by the previous answer’s exegesis. Raimondo delivers an analysis of his chosen subject, international law, presenting the topic in stark contradistinction with the more flexible legal policies of the Bush administration. He concludes with a claim that his program has been sanctioned by the United Nations, and studied with approval by Amnesty International. There is no follow-up to this answer, which hangs in the air between a sea of agitated hands.

A solidly built young man with dark hair and sunglasses perched on his head is waving at each new question. “Hello? Pick me, please? Come on, it’s a democracy ...”

The moderator calls on two others, then cheerfully focuses his attention.

“I believe we have someone with a question.”

The young man lowers his hand. “Thank you,” he says, and proceeds to deliver an otherwise impromptu-sounding speech involving the CIA, the overthrow of President Salvador Allende in Chile, the use of pesticides in Latin America, and the American military being an arm of elite economic interests. He issues a condemnation of “you guys” who claim to “assist in the search for democracy.” He closes with information of his personal experience and points his finger at the panel. “You are protecting a corporate agenda.” As he sits, there is sustained applause.

Lt. Col. Gould asks the crowd to look at the numbers. “Almost 60,000 officers have come through the school since its inception. Five hundred of those officers have been investigated for violations. One hundred have been convicted of a criminal act within their home nations ...” The numbers make a case that the school has enjoyed a 99 percent success rate among graduates.

A girl near the front row asks, “But how do we know? Why can’t you keep better track of graduates?”

Gould says, “We can’t do that. You wouldn’t want us doing that. Keeping tabs on visitors when they go back to their home countries?”
From the back row someone asks, “How presumptuous is it that we train, and teach human rights, given our own record of abuses?”
Kiser takes up the question, insisting that as a man of faith, he can’t work within an apparatus that tolerates abuses to human rights. “These are aberrations. Abu Ghraib is an aberration.”
The session has crept past the 45-minute mark. Several students have stopped paying attention. Many of them whisper jokes, or take pictures of the assembly. A slight, boyish-looking student in a dark shirt stands to quietly condemn the United States government for its role in manufacturing the revolution in his home country of Guatemala in 1954. His voice increases with each sentence until the young man is nearly shouting. “American foreign policy has destroyed Central America. Destroyed South America. Get out. Just get out.”
Through the applause, Gould asks, “Are you an American?”
“No,” he says. “I’m ... from Guatemala.”

“Then why don’t you go back to your home country and work through the democratic process to ask that the government ...”
The young man is momentarily at a loss. “Because!” he finally blurts. “It’s a corrupt government!”

“The school did not exist in 1954. There is no causal link between what you claim and this school. Have there been American foreign policy mistakes? Of course. But this place, this school, doesn’t teach torture, rape, pillaging ...”

“The CIA overthrew Guatemala!”

The moderator informs the audience that time is short. Only a few questions remain. Some thank the panelists for their openness. They hope to continue the dialogue throughout the rest of the day, if not into the coming years. In the room remains a kind of pent-up energy, as if the purpose in today’s open house had not yet been fully brought to fruition. The weekend’s protest, after all, is an argument with history. Considerable energy is directed from all corners of the room against our nation’s total history of secret -- and not-so-secret -- foreign policy decisions that subverted democratic processes or enabled ruthless dictators to be designated friendly.

A muscular staff sergeant -- one who had accompanied these guests of the school on buses from the gate to the auditorium -- appears behind the back row and listens to the general murmur. He takes a sip from a can of Diet Coke.

“Lively group,” he says. “Sorry I missed it.”

* * *
The tensile energy in the auditorium could be described as another variation on the blue-state, red-state divergence that characterizes a depressingly large segment of our political discourse. After an hour in the auditorium, it is clear to many assembled that there are those who simply do not like, or trust, men and women in uniform. And there are those who see the protesters as simply juvenile, not to say ill-informed, and their defiance as tending to the agenda of their own survival.

Kiser returns to the building with the terra-cotta roof. He will continue teaching the school’s expanded curriculum on human rights. He will conduct exercises designed to highlight ethical behavior in crises, peaceful conflict resolution, and the role of a responsible soldier within a democratic populace.

Atrocities in wartime are still aberrations, to him, without a doubt -- a fact that should never go overlooked. But even if atrocities are “less than 1 percent” of the norm, “it is still too much when we’re dealing with human lives. ... All of this troubles me.”

But he reminds me that he is, unlike the soldier in Luke, not a centurion -- merely a pastor to centurions. He does not bear arms. This is a crucial distinction in the calling he answered many years earlier, and vital to understanding his commitment to staying in the service, and at the school.

“I truly believe that God uses voices within the system to change and be that ethical, prophetic voice of morality.” His firm belief, in the end, is in a Christ who wanted centurions who believed “to effect and transform the Roman Empire.”

This is his commitment to God, he said. His faith in such a commitment has gotten more unshakeable over the years. “Who is anyone to question my faith?”

Paul Winner, a graduate of Union Theological Seminary in New York, teaches at a Christo Rey school in East Harlem, N.Y.

National Catholic Reporter, December 7, 2007

School of America's - Continued

Dear Chris:

Good to make contact with you! We certainly appreciate the support.

It is such a shame that this whole SOAW movement has gained such steam under false pretenses.

I have directly engaged many of them and held them accountable for much of the false witness they bear.

Who knows, but the Lord, what will be the outcome of all of this. All I know is that I feel God has called me to this ministry, and now, specifically at WHINSEC. It is an incredibly interesting and exciting ministry that certainly has a international dimension. It has taken me to Honduras, Brazil, and I will be in Colombia, the Dominican Republic, and Uruguay in the next few months.

I am very impressed by your blog, but could not find where you all have discussed WHINSEC.

I attached a recent NCR article about the protest weekend. My ministry to the ethical dilemmas of Soldiers and Police is discussed in it.

I want you to know, as a good German pastor, I always have a good German Franziskaner hefeweizen in my refrigerator!!!

God Bless You,


John W. Kiser, D.Min.
Chaplain (Major) US Army
Command Chaplain/Ethics Instructor
Western Hemisphere Institute for
Security Cooperation
Fort Benning, GA 31905

School of the America's

We encourage anone who is interested in the issue to come in and see us, to sit in classes, to talk with students and faculty, and to review our instructional materials. I would suggest waiting until after mid-January, because there will be several courses in session then, and all our people will be here.

I often joke with our Catholic friends that I am from the Southern
Baptist branch of the Catholic Church, but I do so with a purpose--I
then offer contact with other Catholics who know us well and support us enthusiastically. I don't know if you are in acccord with the very conservative Catholic organization that produced the attached article and interview (both are on their website, along with other pertinent documents: www.tfp.org), but they did some rather thorough
investigative reporting of their experiences here in the area, and the interview allowed me to hit on almost all the issues brought up by our opponents.

By the way, the Franciscan who almost ended up on our board was *** *******. He came down and got to know us, so I don't think he holds
the same uninformed views of his brothers, but he was leaning toward
pacifism anyway, so may not have stayed with us long even if accepted.

I don't mind honest opponents who do not think we should be operating because of their own views on doing the training. The only opponents I challenge are those who accept the falsehoods that we teach illegal, immoral, or unethical things here. The facts do not support their views, and I try to introduce them to reality.

Thanks again, and I look forward to continuing this conversation,
perhaps in person!


Mr. Lee A. Rials
Public Affairs Officer
Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation
35 Ridgway Loop
Ft. Benning, GA 31905

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

How To Pray

Often, without moving his lips, St. Francis would meditate for a long time and, concentrating, centering his external powers, he would rise in spirit to heaven. Thus, he directed his whole mind and affections to the one thing he was asking of God. He was not then so much a man who prayed, as a man who had become a living prayer.

St. Francis of Assisi
Second Life - 95

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You Will Know That You Have The Spirit Of God

This is how, servant of God, you will know that you have the spirit of the Lord: If when the Lord does something good through you, the flesh does not get puffed up (for flesh is ever in opposition to what is good); but instead, you remain less in your own eyes, less than all other people.

St. Francis of Assisi
Admonition 12

Monday, April 21, 2008

Monday, April 21, 2008



So, the Pope came to town.

Yes, and the town (little Washington, D.C.) practically came unglued. The media fell all over themselves, situating cameras all over the city and scrambling for position to broadcast every move His Eminence made. He even made Entertainment Tonight and virtually every news show on TV.

There was the president himself, waiting at the foot of the stairs as his guest descended from Shepherd I, to welcome the pope, who stepped nimbly down to the tarmac, beaming with delight. There were cherry-blossomed streets for the motorcade through the city, a grandly arrayed White House lawn where millions saw the pope and the president striding outside the Oval Office, and a red-carpeted entrance to the National Cathedral where hundreds of robed bishops waited reverently to receive the pontiff.

We watched as the gentle, white-robed spiritual leader knelt in silent homage to a likeness of the Virgin Mary, one very special to him from his beloved Bavaria. The police, the special security guards accorded to the most important visiting dignitaries, and governmental representatives by the hundreds crowded around him at every turn, wanting make him feel welcome and appreciated and secure wherever he went. In the hours and days that followed, the news broadcasters reported on his words to Catholic leaders and his poignant meeting with some who had been abused sexually in their youth by priests they had trusted. He earnestly expressed his personal grief and the shame brought on the church by the actions of those priests, and he prayed for those who had suffered.

I viewed this, and so much more, in amazement. I can't remember any head of state in my lifetime – not Anwar Sadat or Menachem Begin or Thatcher or Blair or Kruschev or Gorbachev, or anybody – getting more lavish and wholehearted reception.

And all of this for a churchman, a religious leader, not a politician!

So, where was the guardian of our civil liberties, the vaunted champion of our Constitution, the self-appointed watchdog of our freedoms – the ACLU? Wasn't it howling in protest at this supposed breach of the "wall of separation between church and state"? How could it be silent as our elected leaders, our senators and congressmen, even the president himself, stopped what they were doing and paid homage to a religious prelate – as if they were somehow "endorsing" his personage and his mission? And how could taxpayers be saddled with the considerable expense of accommodating his every move? Weren't ACLU lawyers instantly in courts, seeking injunctions against this "illegal" governmental recognition of who he is, and what he represents, the purely religious convictions of millions of our citizens?

No, they were strangely silent, nowhere in evidence. Not a peep.

Why, do you suppose? I think I know. I believe that even in their diabolical determination to remove every vestige of religion from public life – every mention of God or scripture from pledges, from currency, from public ceremony – that even they realize there are still some limits to how far they can go in robbing the vast majority of Americans of their freedom of speech, of expression, of liberty itself. I think they sensed that, were they to mount their customary screeches, litigation and protest, against the most admired single person on the planet, they might just spark a long overdue rejection of their insidious campaign.

People might just look again at the First Amendment to our Constitution and see that the actual wording is "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion"; they might look up the word in the dictionary and discover the word means "concerning" – and come to the obvious realization that the amendment means that our government shall make no laws at all about religion, instead leaving such matters to the people. And then, they would make sense of the concluding phrase of the provision, "nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof"!

And more of us would delve back into our history to discover that President Thomas Jefferson (the misappropriated patron saint of the ACLU), notwithstanding the phrase "a wall of separation between church and state" in his 1802 letter to a Baptist church in Danbury, Conn., appropriated taxpayer funds to pay ministers to promote Christianity to the Indians, notably the Kaskaskia, Wyandotte and Cherokee tribes from 1803 to 1807. This was 13 years and more after the First Amendment was enacted, and yet Jefferson is the authority on that amendment whom the ACLU always cites so perversely.

Further, we might find out that President Jefferson inaugurated financial support for chaplains in the armed services and, in 1806, signed the Articles of War in which he "earnestly recommended to all officers and soldiers, diligently to attend divine services." The commander in chief of the military! Where was this "wall of separation"?

It should be clear to any true student of history that Jefferson meant that the "wall of separation" was a one-dimensional wall, meant only and exclusively to keep the government's paws off religion, and its free expression. And off the simple freedom of speech, as well. It should be equally clear that our Founding Fathers brought their faith and religious conviction into the creation of our republic. So how can it be that those documents and their authors are used to deny the very freedoms they were intended to preserve?

Not so long ago, President Ronald Reagan stood at the ugly barrier between the communist-oppressed Germans and their democratic brothers, and demanded, "Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!" The world heard, and so did the Soviet dictators – and the wall came down.

The timely visit of the pope, and the intimidated silence of the atheistic opponents of religion, tells me the hour has come for us collectively to shout – to demand of the creators of this fabricated "wall of separation" depriving the constitutional rights of multiple millions of Americans – "ACLU, tear down this wall!"

il Poverello Offers Us The Love Of God

Blessed Francis believed that asking for alms for the love of God was an act of the greatest nobility, dignity, and courtesy before God and even before the world. As a matter of fact, all that the heavenly Father has created for man's use, since sin has entered the world he has continued to give man gratuitously and by way of alms, to the worthy and unworthy, because of his love for his well-beloved Son. Consequently, blessed Francis used to say that the servant of Christ who goes and asks for alms for the love of God should do it more confidently and more joyfully than a man who, wanting to buy something, would say in proof of his generosity: "For something wirth a penny, I offer a hundred silver marks!" The servant of God offers a thousand times more; in exchange for an alms, he offers the love of God in comparison with which all the things of earth and even heaven are nothing.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 60

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Traditional Nun's Habits

Women who satisfy their vanity in their dress can never put on the life of Jesus Christ; moreover they even lose the ornaments of their soul as soon as this idol enters into their heart.

Saint Padre Pio


Saint Padre Pio Regarding Aggiornamento

Saint Padre Pio's reactions to the aggiornamento the religious orders concocted in the wake of Vatican II.

In 1966, the Father General [of the Franciscans] came to Rome prior to the special Chapter on the Constitutions in order to ask Padre Pio for his prayers and benedictions. He met Padre Pio in the cloister. "Padre, I came to recommend to your prayers the special chapter for the new Constitutions..." He had scarcely gotten the words "special Chapter"..."new Constitutions" out of his mouth when Padre Pio made a violent gesture and cried out: "That is all nothing but destructive nonsense." "But Padre, after all, there is the younger generation to take into account... the youth evolve after their own fashion... there are new demands..." "The only thing missing is mind and heart, that’s all, understanding and love." Then he proceeded to his cell, did a half-turn, and pointed his finger, saying: "We must not denature ourselves, we must not denature ourselves! At the Lord’s judgment, St. Francis will not recognize us as his sons!"

Saint Padre Pio

There Will Be More Who Will Insult You

You will encounter some who are faithful, meek, and well disposed; they will joyfully receive you and your words. But there will be more who will insult you and resist your message. Prepare yourselves, therefore, to bear everything with patience and humility.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions - 36

Saturday, April 19, 2008

If You Are Too Busy To Pray, Then You're Too Busy!

We need to be especially alert to the evil subtlety of Satan. His one desire is to keep people from having a mind and heart disposed to their Lord and God.

He circles, lusting to snatch the human heart by ruse of some gain or assistance and to stifle remembrence of the word and precepts of the Lord.

He wants to extinguish the light of the human heart, and so he moves in by means of worldly busyness and worry.

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule of 1221

Friday, April 18, 2008

Looking At The Speck In Our Brother's Eye

Those who are preoccupied only with knowing and pointing out the way of salvation to others, and neglect their own, will arrive naked and empty-handed before Christ's judgement seat. They will bring with them nothing but bundles of shame, disappointment, and bitterness. Then shall the truth of holy humility, which is our vocation, be proclaimed, exalted, and glorified. For those who were puffed up with learning prejudiced this truth by their own lives and by their empty words. They said this truth was falsehood and they cruelly persecuted, as if they were blind, those who were really walking in the truth of holy humility.

St. Francis of Assisi
Mirror of Perfection - 72

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Insults And Scorn

In the beginning, when St. Francis was still wearing the clothes of a layman, although he had already renounced the world, he went to Assisi for a long time looking wretched and so emaciated by penance that many thought he's turned simple-minded. They laughed at him as though he were mad, and relatives and strangers alike drove him away with insults and stones and mud. But he was already seasoned with a divine salt and rooted in peace of soul by the Holy Spirit, so he bore patiently all their insults and scorn with a joyful countenance, as if he were deaf and mute.

St. Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis
Chapter 2

Wednesday, April 16, 2008


The Bishop of Assisi once said to St. Francis, "I think your life is too hard, too rough. You don't possess anything in this world."

And Francis replied, "My Lord, if we had possessions, we would need weapons to defend them."

St. Francis of Assisi
Anonymous of Perugia - 17

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Class Warfare Is Forbidden Of The Brothers

Blessed Francis also warned his brothers never to judge or criticize those who live in luxury, eat fastidiously, and indulge in superfluous and splendid clothes; God, he said, is their Lord and ours; he has the power to call them to himself and justify them. He insisted that the friars should reverence such men as their brothers and masters, and they are indeed brothers since they are children of the same Creator; while they are masters since they help the good to do penance by giving them what is necessary to the body.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions

Monday, April 14, 2008

At This Time The Fear And Love Of God Had Died Out

As yet Francis did not preach sermons to the people they met; nevertheless in passing through towns and castles he exhorted all men and women to fear God and to do penance for their sins, while Brother Giles exhorted them to believe and to follow the excellent counsels of Francis.

When the people heard them, they said, 'Who are these men, and why do they speak like this?" They made this comment because at this time the fear and love of God had died out in the country and no one spoke of penance which was consodered as folly.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of the Three Companions

What a Fine Place This World Would Be


What a fine place
this world would be
if Dualist Humanists
tried to be human
to men.
What a fine place
this world would be
if Personal Theists
tried to be
their brother's keeper
as God
wants them to be.
What a fine place
this world would be
if Fundamentalist Protestants
tried to exemplify
the Sermon on the Mount.
What a fine place
this world would be
if Roman Catholics
tried to keep up
with Saint Francis of Assisi.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

A Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi

May the fiery and honey-sweet power of your love, O Lord, wean me from all things under heaven, so that I may die for love of your love, who deigned to die for love of my love.

Attributed to St. Francis of Assisi by
St. Bernardine of Siena and Ubertino da Casale

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Where Do You Dwell, My Lady Poverty?

Enamored of your beauty, the Son of the Most High Father clung tightly to you when he was in the world and he knew your fidelity, proven in every instance. Even before he came to earth from the splendid light of his true home, you prepared a worthy dwelling place for him, a throne to support him, a wedding bed to receive him: the Virgin most poor, from whom he was born to shine his light upon this world. And hardly was he born when you ran in haste to meet him, for he had already found his home in you instead of in easy comfort.

St. Francis of Assisi
Sacrum Commercium - 19

Friday, April 11, 2008

Brother Angelo

Once when St. Francis was passing through the district of Borgo San Sepolcro, he came upon a village named Monte Casale. And there a young man, noble and delicate, came up to him and said, "Father, I want so much to join your brotherhood."

St. Francis answered, "Little son, you are so young and a delicate nobleman; I doubt that you could endure the hardness of our poverty."

But the young man said, "Father, are you not men like me? What you can endure, then, so can I with the grace of Christ."

This answer pleased St. Francis so much that he blessed the young man and received him into the Order then and there, giving him the name Brother Angelo.

St. Francis of Assisi
Little Flowers of St. Francis
Chapter 26

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Rapt In Prayer

Francis's safe haven was prayer, not prayer of a few minutes, or empty, presumptuous prayer, but prolonged prayer, full of devotion and the serenity of humility. If he began late, it would be dawn before he finished. Whether walking, sitting, eating or driking, he was rapt in prayer. At night he would retire alone to pray in abandoned, neglected churches. That was how, by God's grace, he overcame many fears and anxieties.

First Life - 71

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

You May Not Claim Credit That God Is Pictured Through You

In a panel painting representing the Lord or the Blessed Virgin, it is the Lord or Holy Virgin who is honored, while the wood and the painting claim nothing for themselves. Similarly, a servant of God is a picture of God, in which God is honored for his favor. And you may not claim credit that God is pictured through you, for compared to him you are less than the wood and the painting.

St. Francis of Assisi
Mirror of Perfection - 45

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Doing Good Under The Pretext Of Reward

We must take good care that under the pretext of reward, of doing good, of giving assistance, we do not lose or turn our minds and hearts from the Lord.

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule of 1221
Chapter XXII

Monday, April 07, 2008

The Early Days At The Portiuncula

This is how our brothers lived in the early days at the Portiuncula, the church of Our Lady of the Angels. Although it was already a holy place, they made it even more holy by constant prayer and silence. If anyone spoke after the time set aside for silence, it was to speak devoutly and discreetly of things pertaining to the praise of God and the salvation of souls.

They curbed their desires of the flesh, not only by fasting, but also by frequent vigils, by enduring the cold in light clothing, and by working with their hands. In order to avoid idleness, they would often go and help poor farmers work their fields, and sometimes after work the farmers would share their bread with them for the love of God. They sanctified themselves and the place by these and other virtuous acts.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 57f

Sunday, April 06, 2008

When People Shame You By Refusing You Alms

And when people shame you by refusing you alms, you should give thanks to God for that, because in recompense for shame we receive great honor before the judgement seat of our Lord Jesus Christ. And you should kknow that shame is imputed not to the one who suffers it, but to the one who inflicts it. And alms are the inheritance and the justice due the poor which our Lord Jesus Christ acquired for us. You who labor to acquire alms, then, have a great reward and also enrich those who give to you; for everything that people leave behind in the world will perish, but for the charity and almsgiving they've practiced they will have their reward from the Lord.

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule of 1221
Chapter IX

Saturday, April 05, 2008

St. Francis of Assisi 800 Years Later

What is it, 800 years after the death of St. Francis of Assisi, that continues to draw followers into his Franciscan Movement?

Just ask Evy Christopher, Mary Jane Dolehanty, John Fitch, Georgianna Gibson or Joe Santillo, who will make their vows on April 6, 2008 as Associates of the Sisters of St. Francis in Oldenburg, Indiana. Or simply ask Beverly Pardiek, who is being honored as a 15 year associate. They will tell you that as Seculars in the Franciscan order they desire to share in the basic charisms (gifts) of the Franciscan family in terms of the example of holy and integrated lives given by Saints Francis and Clare, and spiritual identity as articulated in the Rule. They are encouraged to be people of poverty, minority, joy, contemplation and ongoing conversion and to find a way to live these charisms in a vibrant and real way in their secular state.

Have you ever just wanted to get away from it all or said to yourself, "Enough is enough?" Are you sick and tired of being sick and tired? Then perhaps you can understand why these men and women, living within secular society, have said to themselves that there has to be something more to life than being caught up in a society driven by materialism, hedonism and malevolence. They have chosen instead to lead lives of "Simplicity."

Their formation can be viewed as a process by which sisters and brothers become people who love God, love their neighbors, are conscious of and work to address their sinful natures, have an appreciation and hunger for the sacraments, and who produce "worthy fruits of penance." In a word, formation asks them to become "people of mercy" and to be actively and conscientiously involved with growing in holiness at every level of their lives, that is, they accept a specific "Franciscan" direction and spiritual outlook as their own.

We can only experience humility and charity in relationship with one another as brothers and sisters. Francis always said, "And the Lord gave me brothers." Within the context of brotherhood and sisterhood, Franciscan men and women strive to follow the poor and crucified Christ by living the Gospel. At the time of Francis of Assisi, many religious orders and movements grounded their lives in the experience of the early Christian community in Acts 2. Francis teaches Franciscan men and women to live the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Gospel is best heard and lived within brotherhood and sisterhood. "Join the brotherhood" is an invitation to live the Gospel in community as together we follow the poor and crucified Christ. The message is there, it's stong, it speaks for itself. Can you hear it?

Anyone wishing to find out more about the Lay Franciscans here in the Richmond Catholic Community are encouraged to attend one of our monthly meetings in the Father Minton Meeting Room at Seton West or by contacting Jill Hillman at 912-933-6457 or by e-mailing her at jhillman@oldenburgosf.com

How The Brothers Are To Love

Let the brothers love one another, as the Lord says, "This is my commandment: love one another, as I have loved you" (John 15:12).

And let them show by their deeds the love they have for one another, as the Apostle says, "Our love must not be just words or mere talk, but something active and genuine" (1 John 3:18).

And they are "not to go slandering other people" (Titus 3:2); nor are they to grumble or speak evil, for it is written, "Libelers and slanderers are enemies of God" (Romans 1:30). And they are "to be peacable and gentle, and always polite to people of all kinds" (Titus 3:2).

St. Francis of Assisi
Rule 1221
Chapter XI

Friday, April 04, 2008

Eastertide In Greccio

One day during Eastertide the brothers at the hermitage of Greccio prepared the table more daintily than they ususally did with white linens and glassware. Coming down from his cell, St. Francis saw the table elevated above the ground and decorated extravagantly. But though the table was smiling, he was not. Unseen and little by little he retraced his steps, put on the hat of a poor man who was there, and, taking his staff in his hand, went outside. He waited outside the door until the brothers began to eat, for they were in the habit of not waitning for him when he did not come at the signal. They had just begun to eat when this truly poor man cried out at the door, "For the love of the Lord God, an alms, please, for this poor, sick pilgrim." The brothers answered, "Do come in, whoever you are, for the love of him whose name you have invoked." He immediately entered and appeared before them as they were eating. Oh, what astonishment that pilgrim then caused these comfortable citizens! They gave him the plate he asked for, and he withdrew and sat alone on the floor, placing the dish in the ashes.

"Now I am sitting as a Lesser Brother should sit." he said. And turning to the brothers, he said, "We should be moved by the example of the poverty of the Son of God more than others are. I saw a table richly prepared, and I thought, this is not the table of poor men who beg from door to door."

Second Life - 61

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Laziness Is Not Be Tolerated

In the beginning, when the Order was new and the brothers were living at Rivotorto, there was a brother who didn't pray much, who did no work, and who wouldn't go begging because he was ashamed to. But he did eat, and quite well.

Now when St. Francis was thinking over what to do about him, he received the word, through the Holy Spirit, that this brother was intent upon things of the flesh. So St. Francis said to him, "Good-bye, Brother Fly! All you want is to eat what your brothers work for and to idle away your time instead of working in God. You're like Brother Drone, refusing to work or to produce, but eating what the good bees work for, what they produce." So that brother left, and flesh-minded man that he was, he didn't even ask forgiveness.

St. Francis of Assisi
Legend of Perugia - 62

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

St Francis Embraced The Mother Of Jesus

St. Francis embraced the Mother of our Lord Jesus Christ with indescribable love, because she had made the Lord of Majesty our brother and had obtained mercy for us. After Christ it was Mary in whom he placed his trust and whom he chose as advocate, both for himself and his brothers.

St. Bonaventure
Major Life - 9:3

Tuesday, April 01, 2008


A special thanks to "The Curt Jester" for the following:


In a sign of the intensifying battle for Catholic voters between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, particularly ahead of next month’s Pennsylvania primary, both candidates have brought Catholic outreach coordinators aboard their campaigns, God-o-Meter has learned.

Just last week, Obama’s campaign hired Mark Linton, a legislative aide working on poverty and other social policy issues in Obama’s Senate office, as its National Catholic Outreach Coordinator. Linton, who had previously worked for Catholic Relief Services, is currently focused almost exclusively on Pennsylvania, where roughly one in three Democratic voters are expected to be Catholic.

“Mark’s job is to help get Senator Obama’s message on health care, the war, and helping American families out to the Catholic grassroots,” said Joshua DuBois, Obama’s National Director of Religious Affairs, in an interview Monday, describing Linton’s role. “Obama is just beginning to introduce himself to Catholics around the country.”

The Obama campaign would not grant a request to interview Linton, saying he’s not an official spokesperson.

The Clinton camp, meanwhile, has brought aboard Eric McFadden, the former field director for Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, a progressive Washington-based Catholic group founded after the 2004 election to combat conservative Catholic advocacy organizations.

This does make me wonder how a campaign advertises for a Catholic outreach coordinator?

Help wanted a Catholic outreach coordinator to help campaign for a candidate that supports the murder of innocents in the womb, supports experimenting on human embryos and killing them afterwards, supports cloning of humans for research and killing them afterwards, supports killing the sick and the elderly if they want to die or just have an evil family member representing them, plus support other Catholic values like homosexual marriage. Must be able to inform fellow Catholics that voting for a candidate totally in favor of intrinsic evils is acceptable. That somehow supporting so many moral evils has no bearing on their on their character and their decisions. After all a candidate that supports sucking the brains out of children as they are being born obviously is going to make ethical decisions in their presidency.

Must be able to hold the tension of working for a campaign that will attack the other Democratic candidate as not being pro-choice enough while at the same time reaching out to Catholics telling them it doesn't matter if their pro-choice in the first place since political decision will not bring a culture of life an any way whatsoever.

Communication skills are a must in explaining why the candidates frequent and fervent support of abortion actually means that they are working on reducing the same.

An advance degree in moral relativism is required along with good memory skills for repeating phrases such as "pro-choice is not pro-abortion" and other gems.

Moral schizophrenia while not required is a bonus.

Extraordinary Meekness

That meekness which is so necessary, we should learn from St. Francis. For his was an extraordinary meekness, not only toward other people, but also toward animals. He called all animals "brother" or "sister" and we read in the story of his life how even wild animals came running to him as their friend and companion.

St. Bonaventure
Sermon of October 4, 1255