Monthly Archives: February 2012

In persona Christi Capitis during Confession

God the Father of mercies,through the death and resurrection of his Son has reconciled the world to Himself and sent the Holy Spirit among us for the forgiveness of sins;through the ministry of the Church may God give you pardon and peace,and I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son,and of the Holy Spirit

At the end of every Confession, the priest raises his hands and recites the above recommended absolution as recommended by the Church(the only necessary words are “I absolve you from your sins). But the priest is not acting on his own authority, he is acting in persona christi capitis. That is Latin for “in the person of Christ the Head” In other words, the presence of Jesus Christ is very real at that moment. Pope Benedict XVI explains this further, “Because in the Church Christ is never absent, the Church is his living Body and he is the Head of the Church, present and active within her. Christ is never absent, on the contrary he is present in a way that is untrammelled by space and time through the event of the Resurrection that we contemplate in a special way in this Easter Season” (taken from his General Audience address on April 14, 2010)

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Lent: The deeper meaning of our obligations

Ash Wednesday is only a few days away. Know that you are invited to use this Lenten season to go to Confession, practice self-denial, and ultimately free yourself of the past and look forward to the resurrection of Christ that we celebrate on Easter Sunday.

Catholics should take great pride in the fact that we are called to make sacrifices in unity to bring ourselves closer to Christ as a community. The Holy Season of Lent is not a time to complete our New Years Resolutions, nor is it a time to cut a bad habit. But Lent is also joyful in the sense that we are seeking freedom, and not seeking guilt. 

50 years before the birth of Jesus Christ, this was the grand Palace of Caesar. When you receive ashes on Wednesday, remember that "you are dust, and to dust you shall return" (Gen 3:19), but the Kingdom of God is eternal.

Deep Rooted History The very first Christians fasted. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus instructs His disciples to fast after the bridegroom departs(USCCB, Lk 5:35). According to the Didache, a first century Christian manual written in Greek, the fast is on the “fourth day and the Preparation day”, which would be Wednesday and Friday. (A good online translation to English can be found here). And Bishop St. Irenaeus, a 2nd century bishop of what is now the Archdiocese of Lyon in France, wrote Pope St. Victor of Africa to discuss the already established 40 day preparation for Easter (  Continue reading


The Parable of the Kosher Deli

Bishop Lori addresses Congress on the Health and Human Services contraception mandate.

2012 Consistory: 22 New Cardinals to Receive the Red Hat

The new Consistory, or the meeting of the Cardinals of the Catholic Church, begins on Saturday in Vatican City. At that time, Pope Benedict XVI will officially name 21 new Cardinals(plus one more to be named at a later time due to illness).

Among the new Cardinals being named is an American: Archbishop Timothy Dolan of New York. Below is a video of my bishop, then newly named Cardinal Wuerl of the Archdiocese of Washington from 2010 as he visited Rome to take possession of the Basilica of San Pietro in Vincoli – the Basilica containing the chains that held St. Peter when he was in jail in 64AD.

What is a Cardinal?

A Cardinal is typically a bishop who has been named by the Pope to be a special adviser. Continue reading

Exhaustion of a Christian

“Faith….this is the real answer which radically defeats Evil”, said Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday to a crowd of thousands waiting for him to bless them from his balcony. This is a simple message, but one that leads to exhaustion. What is the deeper calling of our faith?

In this past week’s Sunday Gospel, Saint Mark tells us about a time that Jesus was returning home from the synagogue after preaching. The chaplain at our Catholic Campus Ministry found a great way to relate this gospel passage to our lives and encouraged us not to give into that exhaustion. Father told us(recording of his homily here) that Jesus was probably looking forward to an afternoon relaxing with the guys, much like we do as Americans returning home from church to watch Sunday football. But that sense of relaxation and comfort was interrupted almost as soon as Jesus walked in the door.

Peter, then known as Simon, begged Jesus to heal his mother-in-law whom was sick in bed at the house. Without hesitation, Jesus got up and healed her. Word quickly got out and soon “the whole town was gathered at the door.”

Our faith calls us to a truly exhausting life. Just as Jesus did, when we are exhausted, we have to continue on. We cannot heal the sick as Jesus did, but we can spread our faith which heals evil. And when we are not spreading our faith by words, we are called to spread it with our actions. This is tough, I know. And this is why confession is so important to a good Catholic because he or she is freed from the binds of sin and evil in this act of penance.

Reflect: How can I be more charitable(the maximum degree of kindness) in my actions? Do I turn to Christ when I find my faith exhausting?

We are called to an exhausting life in our faith, but A.M.D.G, our rewards are great!

“Holy See” vs. “Vatican City”

Did you know that Vatican City is a country? In 1929, Italy signed the Lateran Treaty which recognizes the sovereignty of Vatican City. In fact, it is the only internationally recognized nation without full voting privileges in the United Nations. First and foremost, this nation acts as the head of the Catholic Church, but just like any of the Islamic republics, for legal purposes, Vatican City is considered to be a fully recognized country with special ties to a particular faith.

A view from the outside of the dome, known as the Cupola, of the Vatican

Vatican City is .2 square miles in area plus several extraterritorial properties such as the Basilica San Giovanni Laterano(Cathedral of the Diocese of Rome), Pontifical Laterano University, and Castel Gandalfo, the retreat home of the Pope. The residents are the Swiss Guard and religious men and women who are on special assignment. The population is roughly 830 and fluctuates as priests and nuns move to other missions around the world.

You may have also heard the term “Holy See” used interchangeably with “Vatican City”. But what are those terms, and are they really interchangeable?

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi(Center), Apostolic Nuncio to the UN in Geneva, Switzerland during a press conference.

They are actually distinctly different, but it’s sometimes hard to tell.  The guards at the UN are sometimes puzzled when they see a staff member from the “country” known as the Holy See.

In Latin, it is Sancta Sedes. In French it is the Saint-Siege.

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