(Update, June 25, 2019: I can’t find the book listed anymore on the CTS website, so that link is caput. There are other edits at the end of the post.) I stumbled across a book a few days ago: Meditations and Catechesis on the Psalms and Canticles of Morning and Evening Prayer, by Pope St. John Paul II and Pope (Emeritus) Benedict XVI. It’s published in the UK by Catholic Truth Society, and doesn’t ship to the US. I had to get a copy through AbeBooks and they got it from Blackwell’s in the UK. (To add to the fun, my bank at first declined the transaction because it involved sending payment overseas. A phone call got them to lift the ban—for one day. Oy vey.) But I’ve got it now and it’s mine, all mine!


Join me on Twitter as Pope St John Paul II reflects on the psalms and canticles of Lauds and Vespers. [This is an old post, the Tweets may or may not pull up and the links in them may be broken.]

Morning and Evening Prayer-jpii-bxvi

Ahem. Back to what I was talking about. What was I talking about anyway? Oh! The book! Well, even if you can’t get hold of the book, you can still read the meditations and catechesis on the web. These took place at the general audiences held by the popes on Wednesdays. Pope St. John Paul II began the series by covering Morning Prayer (Lauds) and then covering Evening Prayer (Vespers). But he passed away before he could finish and Pope Benedict picked up where he left off. Pope St. John Paul II went through each day of the four-week Psalter and discussed each day in three parts, one part per Wednesday audience. (Pope Benedict didn’t adhere to that schedule the way his predecessor did.)

I’m sharing quotes and notes from the audiences (using the web versions rather than the book mainly because it’s easier) on Twitter using the hashtag #PsalmsJPII beginning with Lauds and going through Vespers. Join me and join in. Feel free to comment, too. Each session is also up at Storify — four, so far — so you don’t have to miss a scintillating minute of it. ;) See links below.

St. Augustine (hey, #CivDei peeps!) is mentioned quite a bit in the talks. Not surprising since he did write that Enarrationes in Psalmos thingy and he is a beloved Church Father and Doctor of the Church. I’ll be bringing special attention to the good doctor when we get to him, you can be sure of that! (What in the world is #CivDei, you say? Well, that’s a story for another day. Post in the works e’en now.)


Notes and Links

Follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/disciple96
Follow the project on Twitter: #PsalmsJPII
Follow my projects on Storify: [Sadly, Storify closed down May 16, 2018.]

Morning and Evening Prayer: Meditations and Catechesis on Psalms and Canticles:

Augustine's Expositions On the Psalms, digital, Logos-Verbum format

Also see these books/sets in the Logos/Verbum format (works with either):

(I listed those here because I pulled quotes from those sources, and others, when I was tweeting the #PsalmsJPII Project.)

Pope_Benedict_AshWednesdayMass_smI know everybody–and I mean, everybody!–has been talking about the Pope renouncing the Chair of Peter. I don’t have anything profound to offer. But I would like to offer a brief Lenten prayer for the Holy Father. In fact, I did offer it on Valentine’s Day via Twitter. (Most days if you don’t see a post here–and most days you won’t–you might catch me on Twitter if only for a few moments at a time.)

LentenPrayerfortheHolyFather_tweet

Pope Benedict, Holy Father, I love you and I’ll be praying for you. God bless you now and always. Amen.

(A post for the Year of Faith) Several people have asked this question: Why does the Year of Faith last 410 days instead of 365?

Answer: Part of being Catholic is learning to think with the mind of the Church. She thinks liturgically about time, which differs from the civil (as in secular, not as in polite) measuring of time. The Church measures time from one liturgical or spiritually or historically important event (historically important to the Church, that is) to another, not a mere length of 365 days that carries no meaning beyond the amount of time it takes the earth to revolve once around the sun.

Looking further I found this quote at Catholic Culture.

“The opening and closing dates of the Year of Faith carry special significance. October 11, 2012, will mark the 50th anniversary of the opening of Vatican II, and the Vatican notes that the special year should be “a propitious occasion to make Vatican Council II and the Catechism of the Catholic Church more widely and deeply known.” November 24, 2013, will be the feast of Christ the King, and the CDF underlines the importance of using the year to encourage Catholics to share the precious belief in Christ as the redeemer of the mankind.”

The dates of liturgical celebrations, even the release of documents, generally correspond to a significant date on the Church calendar or in her history. Look at a few encyclicals and other publications and you’ll see what I mean. For example, here’s what you’ll find at the end of Pope John Paul II’s encyclical, the Gospel of Life:

Given in Rome, at Saint Peter’s, on 25 March, the Solemnity of the Annunciation of the Lord, in the year 1995, the seventeenth of my Pontificate.

I wrote in an earlier post that Pope Benedict XVI had announced that he would begin a series of weekly catechesis during the Wednesday audiences for the Year of Faith. At the time of my post I did not have the link to a source for those audiences. I found it just now in the news section at the Vatican website. Weekly General Audiences by Pope Benedict XVI. On that page you’ll also find the weekly Angelus address. Full texts.

The Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, a true gift to the Church from The FatherUpdated Nov 1 2012 to add link to Audiences. Pope Benedict XVI announced a new series of weekly catechesis during the Wednesday audiences for the Year of Faith. Below I’ve posted the first paragraph of the announcement. Read the rest of the story at the National Catholic Register or at Rome Reports. Link to weekly General Audiences, texts in full. Short video below.

From Pope Benedict XVI’s Weekly Audience, St Peter’s Square, October 17 2012

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

Today I will introduce the new cycle of catechesis, which will be developed throughout the Year of Faith that has just started and interrupt – for this period – the cycle dedicated to the school of prayer. With the Apostolic Letter Porta Fidei I chose this special year, so that the Church would renew its enthusiasm to believe in Jesus Christ, the only Saviour of the world, revive the joy of walking on the path that He has shown us, and witnesses in a concrete way the transforming power of the faith.

Read the rest of the story at the National Catholic Register or at Rome Reports.

[Brief list of voting guides at the end of this post and on the new Vote page.] People have told me here at the blog, in emails, on forums, in conversations, that being Catholic has nothing to do with politics, has nothing to do with choosing a candidate, has nothing to do with any part of life except one hour on Sunday. Most of these people are not Catholic or they would realize many of us don’t go to Mass just that one hour on Sunday; many of us go during the week, too, and some go every day of their lives and always have. Even so, being Catholic is not just about what we do at Mass, no matter how many times a week we attend.

And voting as a Catholic is not merely a matter of prayer and reflection, but prayer and reflection on the teachings of the Church, listening to the priests and bishops giving guidance concerning the teachings of the Church, and doing our best to live as faithful Catholics abiding by the teachings of the Church. Yes, we have to follow our consciences. But first —FIRST–we have to FORM our consciences! And how do we form our consciences? By listening to our priests and bishops, the Chief Bishop, and studying the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the marvelous teaching documents written by the Popes (including but not limited to the last two Popes, the late Pope John Paul II and the current Pope Benedict XVI).

There is absolutely no excuse for any Catholic old enough to vote not to know his or her faith. You can read the Catechism of the Catholic Church (here or here or here) and/or study the Catechism and the documents written by the Popes and the documents of Vatican II, and much more, all on the web and all for free. The bishops of the USCCB have been trying to teach people for some time now and the “faithful” blithely ignore them and say they can follow their own consciences. Without forming them!

Yes, some bishops are less than stellar examples. So don’t follow their examples! But do as they say, the same way Jesus told the disciples to do what the Pharisees said do. But He told them not to do as the Pharisees did! And besides, a good many bishops are wonderful shepherds and I pray for them every day. They do not have an easy job. Shepherding Catholics is like herding cats. Everybody wants to be his own Pope! Well, there’s only one Pope and he’s in Rome!

So form your Catholic conscience and THEN follow it! Read Evangelium Vitae (the Gospel of Life) and Humanae Vitae (Of Human Life). Study them (study guides to  Evangelium Vitae and Humanae Vitae). I’ve been told that the Church has yet to rule on abortion being a sin. Newsflash: The Church has taught that abortion is a grave sin since the time of the early Church, in the Didache (in chapter two, really the second paragraph)! And we know that taking it upon ourselves to take an innocent life is prohibited by the Ten Commandments.

So right there, before we go any further, we can see that if a candidate wants to do everything in his power to promote and support abortion and cram it down the throats of the people and refuses to do anything that would limit abortion, which is an intrinsic evil, which means it is always and everywhere a serious and grave sin, then, guess what? A Catholic may not vote for that candidate and say that he is following his Catholic conscience. Because he would be demonstrating that he does not, in fact, have a Catholic conscience!

We can vote for someone who does not share our idea of the intrinsic evil of abortion IF–IF IF IF–we have reason to believe that that person would act in such a way as to limit abortion more than another candidate would. And we do have just this case in our political landscape as I write these words. We must vote in such a way as to limit evil. If you vote for the candidate who has put into positions of authority numerous people formerly connected with the largest abortion provider in this country, then you are not voting to limit evil, you are voting in support of evil. You are voting against a Catholic conscience, which you would demonstrate by your action, by your vote.

This is a grave scandal and for the life of me I cannot understand anyone not understanding this issue or thinking that any issue at all could ever take precedence over LIFE! If you don’t have life, I ask you, then what, pray tell, do you have? Nothing! The economy doesn’t matter if we are happy to ignore the slaughter of millions to get that economy. And the economy certainly doesn’t matter to those who we slaughter! So stop saying that pro-life people are “one issue voters” and then proceeding to say that you are voting on the issue of the economy. Hello! Isn’t that being a “one issue voter”? Isn’t that what you just said we shouldn’t do, reduce our vote to a vote on just one issue? Well, at least, if I “reduce” my vote to “just one issue”, I “reduced” it to the ONE FOUNDATIONAL issue–LIFE ITSELF!

Yes, other matters matter. But Life is the one matter that matters most. Without it, the rest of the issues are empty talk and chatter.

Voting as a Catholic: Live Your Faith, Vote Your Faith!

These links are also on the new Vote page added tonight. I’ll add more as I find them.

To Help You Form Your Catholic Conscience:

I've been reading the catechism as part of the Year of Faith. Of course, I've also been reading the catechism since it was released in English when I was working at a Catholic bookstore…when I was still a Buddhist! :O Seriously, I love this little book. I take it with me everywhere. It's either in my car or in my bag or in my hands. And when I'm working on something else, I often cast longing looks at it until I can get back to studying it. The photo below shows my much-used and much-loved paperback copy after (yes, after) I cleaned out a bunch of old bookmarks to make room for new ones during this new year of study.

My paperback copy of the catechism
And this is after I cleaned out a bunch of old bookmarks

Learn more: Read more about the Year of Faith at the official website or at the USCCB or at EWTN and many other places too numerous to list. Other resources include a Catholic Bible study guide by Fr. Mitch Pacwa (Kindle version or paperback) and daily brief readings in the Catechism delivered to your email inbox and also available online. This is truly a wonderful resource and I have enjoyed my mornings with the Catechism very much since this program began on Oct 11. We're not far along yet and you have plenty of time to join in. Please do! You can join in the discussion on the site and learn a lot that way and share what you know, and also share the journey with Catholics and enquirers from all over the world. (About 75,000 people were signed up as of a few days ago and more are coming on board every day.) Also for the Year of Faith you can find the entire set of sixteen documents of the Second Vatican Council online at EWTN.