Monday, January 15, 2018

#BreakingNews RIP Dolores O'Riordan, lead Singer of the Cranberries - Dies at age 46 - who performed at Vatican

Dolores Mary Eileen O'Riordan was born on the 6th of September 1971 and died suddenly on the 15th of January 2018. She was an Irish musician and singer-songwriter. She led the rock band The Cranberries for 13 years before the band took a break in 2003, reuniting in 2009. Her first solo  In May 2017, she declared that she had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Dolores Mary Eileen O'Riordan was born and brought up in Limerick, Ireland. She was the  youngest of seven children. In 1990 O'Riordan auditioned and won the role of lead singer for a band called The Cranberry Saw Us  In 2008, O'Riordan won an EBBA Award of the European Border Breakers Awards  On 18 July 1994, O'Riordan married Don Burton, the former tour manager of Duran Duran. She is survived by her three children, Taylor Baxter, 20, Molly Leigh, 16, and Dakota Rain, 12. O’Riordan was also a step-mum to her ex-husband’s son, Donny, from a previous marriage. They then moved to Howth, County Dublin, and spent summers in a log cabin located in Buckhorn, Ontario, Canada. In August 2013, she returned to live in Ireland. She and Burton split up in 2014 after 20 years together, and subsequently divorced. She was raised as a Roman Catholic. Her mother was a devout Catholic and named Dolores after the Lady of the Seven Dolours. Dolores admired the late Pope John Paul II. After meeting him inside Vatican City, O'Riordan remarked: "[He] was lovely, very saintly. I was mad about him. I thought he really cared for the poor and he loved to meet the people. I saw him when he came to Limerick, when I was a kid. So it was pretty mindblowing to take my mum out to meet him." At the invitation of Pope Benedict XVI she performed at the Vatican's annual Christmas concerts in 2001 and 2002. She performed at the invitation of Pope Francis in 2013 as well.In 2006, O'Riordan was listed among the ten richest women in Ireland.On 10 November 2014, O'Riordan was arrested and charged in connection with an assault on an Aer Lingus flight from New York to Shannon. An air hostess and a policeman were assaulted and O'Riordan was held in custody following a visit to hospital herself. O'Riordan claimed to have been recovering and performed at a private event.  On 15 January 2018, at the age of 46, while in London, England, for a recording session, O'Riordan died unexpectedly.
Please say a Prayer for her Soul....
Here is Dolores at the Vatican:

#PopeFrancis Interview on Plane "International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms..”

Vatican News release:
Pope Francis shares fears for a return to use of nuclear weapons
On board the papal plane to Chile, the Pope explained why he wanted to share a photo of a Japanese boy waiting at a crematorium in Nagasaki to bury his baby brother. 
By Philippa Hitchen 
As he boarded the plane for Chile on Monday, Pope Francis spoke of his fears in the face of threats of nuclear war. Talking to journalists on the papal plane, he also commented on the image of a young Japanese boy carrying the body of his baby brother on his back as he waited in line at a crematorium in the city of Nagasaki.
The Pope had ordered cards to be printed and distributed to journalists with the photo on one side and the words: ‘the fruits of war’ printed on the other, alongside his signature. The shot was captured by American Marine photographer Joe O’Donnell in the days following the U.S. nuclear attack on the city in August 1945.
The Holy Father said he was very moved by the image and wanted to share it, because of his fears that the world was moving once again towards the use of nuclear weapons.
His comments came two days after residents of Hawaii received text messages warning of an imminent ballistic missile attack. The false alarm from Hawaii’s Emergency Management Agency, which was also broadcast on radio and television, was withdrawn 38 minutes later.  

Pope condemns possession of nuclear weapons

Last November, the Pope addressed a Vatican conference on disarmament, saying the possession of nuclear weapons is to be “firmly condemned” because “they exist in the service of a mentality of fear that affects not only the parties in conflict, but the entire human race. 
The Pope told participants, including a dozen Nobel peace laureates that "International relations cannot be held captive to military force, mutual intimidation, and the parading of stockpiles of arms..”  Weapons of mass destruction, particularly nuclear weapons, he went on “create nothing but a false sense of security.  They cannot constitute the basis for peaceful coexistence between members of the human family

Martin Luther King Jr. Day - 5 Amazing Facts you might not know to SHARE

Martin Luther King Jr.(born Michael King Jr., January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was an American Baptist minister and activist. He advanced the civil rights movement using nonviolence and civil disobedience based on his Christian beliefs and inspired by Mahatma Gandhi.
Here are five interesting facts about Martin Luther King Jr.
1. King’s father was born Michael King, but changed his name in 1931 in reverence to the German theologian Martin Luther.
2. Martin was almost assassinated before many of his famous civil rights accomplishments in the early 1960s. Izola Ware Curry approach Martin at a book signing for “Stride Towards Freedom.” After receiving confirmation that he was indeed Martin Luther King Jr. she exclaimed “I’ve been looking for you for five years” and stabbed Martin in the chest with a letter opener.  The blade pressed against his aorta and took several hours of careful surgery to remove.
3. Martin Luther King Jr. won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1964 at the age of 35.  This made him the youngest male recipient of the prestigious award.  He donated the entire prize of $54,123 (now equivalent to $400,000) to the civil rights movement. Martin won dozens more awards for his work including the Medal of Freedom, Congressional Gold Medal, and a Grammy.  The Grammy was for Best Spoken Word Album, awarded in 1971 for King’s “Why I Oppose the War in Vietnam.”
4. Martin Luther King Jr. was targeted by the FBI for being “the most dangerous Negro of the future in this nation from the standpoint of communism, the Negro, and Records of Martin taken by the FBI are held in the National Achieve but remain sealed from public access until 2027.
5.   His most famous speech "I have a Dream" continues to be an inspiration. 

#BreakingNews twin Suicide Bombings Kill 26 and leave over 90 Wounded - Please Pray

Baghdad, twin bombing leaves 26 dead and 90 wounded. Msgr. Warduni: destabilizing acts

ASIA NEWS RELEASE: Central sector of the capital targeted. Day labourers gather in the areas waiting for call up. Interior sources: Death toll destined to increase. Auxiliary of Baghdad: Tensions fuelled by delay in budget approval and the next parliamentary elections, scheduled for May.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) - At least 26 dead is the still provisional toll from a twin suicide bombing that hit central Baghdad this morning. Most of the victims are day labourers, waiting for calls for a job. This is the second bloody attack in just three days that affects the capital of Iraq.
Abdel Ghani al-Saadi, a physician and general manager of the Eastern Baghdad Department of Health, reports "26 dead and 90 injured", some of them in serious condition.
General Saad Maan, spokesman for the joint command coordinating police and army operations, speaks of "16 confirmed deaths". "Two kamikaze - adds the high officer - blew themselves up on al-Tayaran square, in the center of Baghdad".
Interviewed by AsiaNews, Msgr. Shlemon Audish Warduni, auxiliary bishop of Baghdad and right arm of the Chaldean patriarch, confirms that "the situation is not entirely calm", even though in the last period "the climate had improved". He adds that tensions are also being fuelled by “the delay in approval of the national budget and then the next parliamentary elections scheduled in May."  He concludes “some people want to mix up the issues and foment tension, doing acts contrary to the nation. They are attacks that hurt, while we pray for peace and for the world to stops selling weapons".
The scene of the attack is an important crossroads of business and commerce in the center of the Iraqi capital. It has also become a meeting and recruitment point for day labourers in the construction sector, who gather in the area in the early hours of the morning hoping to find a job. The area has been the scene of several attacks in the past, often deadly.
Eyewitnesses tell of numerous ambulances rushing to the scene of the attack, in an attempt to provide assistance to dozens of injuried. Meanwhile, security forces have surrounded the area of ​​the kamikaze attack, which has not yet been officially claimed.
Baghdad has experienced almost daily attacks since the summer of 2014, coinciding with the rise of militias of the Islamic State (IS, ex Isis), which conquered almost half of the territory. The offensive launched by the Arab-Kurdish alliance, supported by a US-led international coalition, has allowed the military defeat of the jihadists and limited the number of attacks; however, there remain some pockets of resistance or isolated cells ready to strike as happened this morning.
In a note, the Iraqi Interior Ministry emphasizes that the budget is "destined to rise" due to the probable finding of further corpses in the context of rescue and clean-up operations in the area of ​​the attack. Over the weekend, a suicide bomber blew himself up near a checkpoint in the northern part of the capital, causing five victims.

RIP Brett Haubrich - Death of Young boy, battling Cancer, who's only Wish was to be Priest for a Day

This text appeared when Brett was battling Cancer and has since died (obituary below)....
11-year-old Brett Haubrich of south St. Louis County to make his wish, he not only listed none of those things but had no request at all.
"He didn't want anything," explained his mother, Eileen. "They had to keep asking him, 'What would you like to do? Do you want to meet anybody? What do you want to be when you grow up?'"
The answer to the last question became part of his wish — what Make-A-Wish calls "wish enhancement" to complement the main wish. The sixth-grader at St. Mark School wants to be a priest, a doctor or an engineer, in that order.
Priest was No. 1
"I said, 'I really want to be a priest,'" he said.
So, on Holy Thursday, at the invitation of Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, Brett took his place beside the altar at Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis as "Priest For a Day."
Brett served not one but two Masses — the Chrism Mass and the evening Mass of the Lord's Supper — and held the book for Archbishop Carlson for prayers after the homilies. At the evening Mass, he was with 11 seminarians having their feet washed by Archbishop Carlson, and his parents brought up the gifts of bread and wine.
He also joined Archbishop Carlson for two meals; a luncheon with archdiocesan priests and deacons after the Chrism Mass and a dinner with seminarians at the archbishop's residence before the evening Mass.
Best of all, he wore a collar provided by a seminarian from Kenrick-Glennon.
As for his favorite part of the entire day, Brett was unequivocal in his answer.
"The whole thing," he said as he waited for his dad, Conrad, near the Cathedral Basilica sanctuary with his mom and older sister Olivia after the Chrism Mass. "It was really neat for them to let me do this stuff."
And cool, too — a term he used often in describing the day.
"Just a really cool experience," he said.
His actual wish is cool, too.
"Eating mangoes on a beach," his mother said.
That trip will come later. His interim "priest-for-a-day" request didn't surprise his family.
"For years, he has loved the Mass and been religious," said Eileen Haubrich, a graduate of Notre Dame High School. "He has such a good heart. He's a very caring boy."
The second of Eileen and Conrad's four children and oldest of two sons, Brett has served at his school church and at his parish, St. Martin of Tours, which is visible from the back door of his house only a short walk away.
He digs the smell of incense burning in the thurible, enjoys confession and likes "communion, and the songs, too."
Communion — the Eucharist, the living presence of Jesus Christ — stands out.
"I like receiving the Body and the Blood," he said, simply
Brett and his family told several priests about his request, and they offered several options – like shadowing one, spending the night at a rectory with his dad or serving a Saturday morning Mass at the New Cathedral.
The latter request was made of Father Nick Smith, the Master of Ceremonies at the Cathedral Basilica. His initial response was "no way," followed quickly by "we can do way better than that."
Sure enough, they did.
"I said, 'Why don't we have him come down for Holy Thursday? He can serve the Chrism Mass — it's a Mass for priests — and that night mass is always about the Eucharist,'" Father Smith said, repeating the two main aspects of the Masses that fit Brett. "Priests and Eucharist."
Archbishop Carlson also played a big role. During the initial phone call about Brett's request, he actually was with Father Smith in the Cathedral sacristy getting ready for his Lenten reflection
"It just so happened he was standing right next to me," said Father Smith, who described Archbishop Carlson as "very excited. He was throwing out ideas right and left, 'Let's do this, let's do that.'"
Archbishop Carlson came up with ideas of the seminarians dinner and of the foot washing.
"He said, 'Put him in there; we'll wash his foot,'" Father Smith said, with a laugh. "Before you knew it, it turned into a whole day."
Father Smith prepared an itinerary and delivered it in person along with a letter signed by Archbishop Carlson asking for Brett's help at the Masses.
"I handed it to him, and when he got to the first line, 'I'm making you a priest for a day,' his eyes got as big as half-dollars," Father Smith said.
Brett admitted to being a little nervous heading into Holy Thursday, but the events went off like clockwork. Wearing the collar, Brett processed down the center aisle at the New Cathedral with priests, deacons and seminarians at the Chrism Mass — at which Archbishop Carlson blessed the oils to be used throughout the archdiocese for sacraments for the next year — and took his spot near the altar.
He performed flawlessly.
"He did pretty well," Archbishop Carlson said. 

Above Text edited from the StLouis Review

Obituary Release by Kutisfuneralhomes:
Fortified with the Sacraments of Holy Mother Church Wednesday, January 10, 2018 after a long, valiant battle with brain cancer. Beloved son of Conrad Jr. and Eileen (nee  Venverloh) Haubrich; loving brother of Olivia, Andrew and Ella Haubrich; dearest grandson of Dan and Carol Venverloh and the late Conrad Sr. and Teresa Haubrich; our dear nephew, great-nephew, cousin and friend.
Brett was a sweet and fun-loving 14 year old boy. He was diagnosed with Anaplastic Astrocytoma grade 3 brain tumor in June 2014. He was the most healthy boy aside from headaches that started when he turned 11 the end of May 2014. He endured 7 weeks of proton radiation and chemo, then 10 months of chemo. His tumor was responding to treatment. Chemo was done Aug. 2015. The tumor showed signs of growing on the Nov. 2015 scan. He had a new MRI laser procedure to ablate the tumor in Jan. 2016. He Then had another laser surgery in April 2017 due to a fast growing recurrence.  He was in rehab for 2 weeks and a total 1 month hospital stay.  This surgery affected his speech and communication. He began immunotherapy.  He was determined to get better.   He was a religious boy, attending Bishop DuBourg high school. He was priest for a day for his make a wish and joyfully served mass for the Archbishop. His heart was pure and he just wanted a chance to grow up. TEAM BRETT raised over $10,000 for the St. Baldricks Foundation in the hopes that other children would not have to endure as much as he did. He fought for 3 1/2 years this monster brain tumor. It took his right side leg and arm/hand function and speech. But it never took his faith, love and kindness.
Before Brett became ill with cancer, I would tell him there was a special place in heaven for him. He was such a good kid. Brett took that special place in heaven at 9 pm on January 10th 2018. He is running in heaven free from all physical impairments and talking to all the kids. Cancer did not win, Brett won his place by Jesus being the special and caring boy he was. Remember to love and be kind to everyone. And love God with all your heart and soul. Like Brett.
Services: Funeral from KUTIS CITY CHAPEL, 2906 Gravois, Monday, January 15, 9:15 a.m. to the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis (4431 Lindell Blvd. 63108) for 10:00 a.m. Mass. Interment Resurrection Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, please help us fund a cure for brain cancer by making a donation to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Donations can be made on line here: or by check. Please make checks payable to St. Baldrick’s and  note the donation is in memory of Brett Haubrich.  Checks can be mailed to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation at 1333 South Mayflower Avenue, Suite 400, Monrovia, CA 91016.   Visitation at Kutis City Chapel on Sunday, 3-8 p.m. (please note, day and place of visitation).

5 Minute Reflection on Christ, Lamb of God, Come and See, Discipleship


The next day as John stood there again with two of his disciples, Jesus went past,
and John looked towards him and said, 'Look, there is the lamb of God.'
And the two disciples heard what he said and followed Jesus.
Jesus turned round, saw them following and said, 'What do you want?' They answered, 'Rabbi' -- which means Teacher -- 'where do you live?'
He replied, 'Come and see'; so they went and saw where he lived, and stayed with him that day. It was about the tenth hour. (John 1: 35 - 39)


John the Baptist is being bold. "Look," he commands, and then he describes the Christ as the "lamb of God." He doesn't say to look at this man in a casual manner but to recall in them the Scriptures. He prescribes this lamb to God - and, that meant not only a covenant relationship, but sacrifice as can be noted in Abraham telling Isaac that he trusted God to provide the lamb for the sacrifice (cf. Gen 22:8); in Moses preparing the people for the sacrifice of the lamb at passover (Exodus 12: 6-8); when Samuel offered a suckling lamb as a burnt offering to save the Israelites from the Philistines (Sam 1: 9-10); etc.

The lamb was a sacrifice to satisfy the inadequacies of the people who were waiting for the coming of the Messiah. John not only identified the Messiah, but brought to him his first disciples. And, when they inquire as to who Jesus is, he says: "Come and see". In other words, they were given the prompting through John, now Jesus calls them into discipleship.

Isn't that how it works with us, too? Often times, it is a stranger, a friend, a family member who reaches out and offers words of wisdom that prompt us to search, to think, to pray. When we do with a humble heart, we hear Jesus calling us to himself. We allow ourselves to accept the grace of discipleship and with it a lifetime of learning, sacrificing and growing in grace.

By: Kathy Vestermark, US Correspondent of Catholic News World, Professor at CDU and Homeschooling Mother of 6

Today's Mass Readings and Video : Mon. January 15, 2018 - #Eucharist

Monday of the Second Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 311

Reading 11 SM 15:16-23

Samuel said to Saul:
"Stop! Let me tell you what the LORD said to me last night."
Saul replied, "Speak!"
Samuel then said: "Though little in your own esteem,
are you not leader of the tribes of Israel?
The LORD anointed you king of Israel and sent you on a mission, saying,
'Go and put the sinful Amalekites under a ban of destruction.
Fight against them until you have exterminated them.'
Why then have you disobeyed the LORD?
You have pounced on the spoil, thus displeasing the LORD."
Saul answered Samuel: "I did indeed obey the LORD
and fulfill the mission on which the LORD sent me.
I have brought back Agag, and I have destroyed Amalek under the ban.
But from the spoil the men took sheep and oxen,
the best of what had been banned,
to sacrifice to the LORD their God in Gilgal."
But Samuel said:
"Does the LORD so delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices
as in obedience to the command of the LORD?
Obedience is better than sacrifice,
and submission than the fat of rams.
For a sin like divination is rebellion,
and presumption is the crime of idolatry.
Because you have rejected the command of the LORD,
he, too, has rejected you as ruler."

Responsorial PsalmPS 50:8-9, 16BC-17, 21 AND 23

R. (23b) To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Not for your sacrifices do I rebuke you,
for your burnt offerings are before me always.
I take from your house no bullock,
no goats out of your fold."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"Why do you recite my statutes,
and profess my covenant with your mouth,
Though you hate discipline
and cast my words behind you?"
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.
"When you do these things, shall I be deaf to it?
Or do you think that I am like yourself?
I will correct you by drawing them up before your eyes.
He that offers praise as a sacrifice glorifies me;
and to him that goes the right way I will show the salvation of God."
R. To the upright I will show the saving power of God.

AlleluiaHB 4:12

R. Alleluia, alleluia.
The word of God is living and effective,
able to discern reflections and thoughts of the heart.
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

GospelMK 2:18-22

The disciples of John and of the Pharisees were accustomed to fast.
People came to Jesus and objected,
"Why do the disciples of John and the disciples of the Pharisees fast,
but your disciples do not fast?"
Jesus answered them,
"Can the wedding guests fast while the bridegroom is with them?
As long as they have the bridegroom with them they cannot fast.
But the days will come when the bridegroom is taken away from them,
and then they will fast on that day.
No one sews a piece of unshrunken cloth on an old cloak.
If he does, its fullness pulls away,
the new from the old, and the tear gets worse.
Likewise, no one pours new wine into old wineskins.
Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins,
and both the wine and the skins are ruined.
Rather, new wine is poured into fresh wineskins."

Why major orders are Male - A Reasoning for the all Male Priesthood by Dr. Gary Knight - Part I

Why major orders are male - Part I
by: Dr. Gary D. Knight
 Recently I was out for a friendly beer with a gaggle of folks engaged in lay ministries at our parish, and some of their friends. Naturally I took along my wife, who appreciates a fine wheat-beer and is a good conversationalist. A day or so later the organizer of the outing asked me whether I had overlooked that the call was for men only? I was gob-smacked, as it never entered my mind that Christians actively engaged in public ministries would consider any cadre of themselves as socially exclusionary. Especially ironic was that the lubricated exchanges had turned on the needs of the ‘New Evangelization’ and how inclusive outreach should be. I did not answer my friend in a very affirmative fashion, for I could not help seeing his clubmanship as part of the problem. I came away realizing that some of the basis of complaint of persons who feel ‘put in their place’ even in church norms and practices is real and palpable. I myself, say as a young man interested in Christian education, would be affronted if told that only nuns could do that job, as they largely did in my elementary schools. Even in secular careers I had known the reverse discrimination of quota- based hiring policy.
Just days later in a seemingly unrelated incident I was shown an article by a rather combative young man, whose arguments as to why the Catholic priestly ministry must be male struck me as marred by the chauvinist bent of my former beer buddies. It brought to mind that various good friends, including nearly every RCIA candidate, has asked for underlying reasons that the major orders, priesthood and the diaconate, are male. And I felt here a call to address this question with inclusive, non-chauvinistic candour. Questioners wish to know if the male Ordinary is disciplinary (and so in principle optionable for change) or is it theological. The sign that it is theological is the definitive statement that on a question of change the Church has no authority to rule. Always she has disciplinary authority ("whatsoever you bind on earth is bound in heaven”); so, unless a sainted pope was theologically wrong, the matter must be theological. This is the same pope who brought in the discipline of women servers and eucharistic ministers at the altar of the Lord.
By settling the question John Paul II was guided by the Spirit of the Church (the Holy Spirit .. easy enough to demonstrate for a mystical body whose foundation, head and mind is Christ and whose inheritance is divine) to avoid speculating or specifying all the reasons in mystery by which it remains that Orders are male.
Reasons might be educed afterwards, as Monica moved Augustine to say: “seek not understanding in order to believe; rather believe and understanding follows.” Ready-to- believe catechumens and and others who express hunger for the truth (presuming as I do those whose contentions are motivated by inquiry, not by antagonism) may appreciate the effort. One feels a duty to shed light on the theological issues that point strongly to the aptness of Christ's fixed choice to constitute a male priesthood - from whom derogate the diaconate too). It is not to prove the matter; but neither are demonstrations of God proof. Saint Anselm, claiming to have had an interlocution or ‘light’ from God, noted how apt was a divine nomen “than Which nothing greater can be conceived”. Even if the fine aptness was no proof that God fully had explained Himself thus, it has long since served as a sound ontological demonstration. Anselm’s recollection that God expressed Himself touching what can at most be conceived, comports with the fact that ours is most characteristically a religion of the Person: less the book or bell or candle, ritual or rite, than the Person of Christ or the trinity of Persons that is God. Therefore a focus of this matter of ordained ministry must be the essence of personhood, which one philosopher well said is presence.
To allay unfortunate jumps to wrong conclusions, this focus does not imply that men will be more essentially persons than women. But it may mean that one cannot personally represent essential maleness in Christ’s act of spiritually begetting children of God by way of proxy standing-in for Him, whether as male of female. We shall see. Regeneration by baptism can of course be effected by any well intentioned Christian, a member of the royal priesthood who by inheritance shares in the royalty of Christ (Kristos means anointed as king). But recognition and ratification of the fact of a new Christian needs to come from a person in the order of Melchizedek. That is to say a ministerial priest who acts in persona Christi at the essential loci of Christian life: confessed sin and life-giving nourishment to the soul.
Firstly then, the ordained minister acts in the presence of God, like the temple priest to whom Jesus required the healed leper to show himself: an ordinandi who would ratify and confirm the blessing and mercy from God. A strange Christianity it would be - a sort of anapresbytery - to declare ourself a member with no ecclesial record and affirmation! Sure baptism there must be, for there’s no such thing as a living breathing Christian without it (those known to God as baptized in blood or desire are Living, but not breathing). For the ecclesial community of the Church, a lack of due form or evidence that the right things were said and done is analogous to the problem of Anglican priests not being able to demonstrate their apostolic succession. The Catholic answer to these problems has always been 'regularization' - conditional renewal of the prima facie trial actions of baptism, marriage, or ordination outside of form.
 Accordingly the Church under Pope Benedict provided an Ordinariate for Anglicans who wished to re-establish apostolic succession including union with the bishop of Rome. That is form. Clearly, form and public ecclesial sign-value are deeply intertwined. Our exposition thus far requires an ordained human personhood to convey (and not just symbolically) the voice of the Lord, at least to affirm and confirm what is taking place upon human actions, supernaturally. This is more especially the case when the minister’s own liturgical actions, as in the Mass, are the requisite actions.
 The centrality of form now puts the question, whence comes the essential form of maleness in the ministerial orders when those orders are requisite? Even the proponents of female ordination agree the requisite locus is the Mass, a supernatural re-enactment translated in time to the selfsame supper of the Lord, as well as His death and resurrection. The question thus reduces to 'why is it necessary that the celebrant of Mass be male, even if we agree the Eucharist is not a symbol but the real, true and complete presence of Christ - body, soul and divinity?' How can the 'form' of maleness be critical? The word form lies central in the creed of Christians and in our liturgical language, believing that the second Person of the blessed Trinity took the 'form' of man -- which decidedly does not mean the apparition of humanity (that would be docetism), but rather the essence of humanity expressed in a rather Platonic term as complement to the Aristotelian substance used also in the creed to avoid equivocating on the divinity of Christ (which would be Arian).
The first essential thing, as to any minister acting in persona Christi, is the form which is His humanity. Perhaps aptness itself is the appeal. Humanity is a broad term, and the Saviour of the world - so far as anyone may conjecture - could have chosen to be born a girl, or even (speculatively speaking) a couple of fraternal twins to convey the innate communitarian nature of the Trinity as described by Saint John-Paul. But the problem with being incarnate as twins - aside from confusions felt by Romans imagining an echo of or rejoinder to Romulus and Remus - is that the love between them would have to be so perfect as not to lack personhood. How does one do that in the flesh, except through singular oneness? For the Holy Spirit is the perfect love between Father and Son, lacking none of their infinite perfections, including Personhood. Pax to eastern friends and confreres in Christ, who prefer to take or receive the Spirit as proceeding from the Father through the Son; our creed prefers to say that what is done through the Son is the creation of all things, and of course we agree east and west that the Spirit is no creation. RCIA candidates like to hear it noted how God created by willing (as Father) and so speaking (the Word) carried on His breath (the Spirit). A ‘breath’ might seem anthropomorphic, but really it is God who is deopromorphic with man: making him in His image and likeness.
We are persons for this reason only: that God is Person. From the creation account one could equally say the Word proceeds from the Father and the Spirit, and we glimpse the inseparability of the Trinity of which the Hebrew expression is ‘Adonai ehod’. Speculations aside, it was most apt that God redeem man as a single unmitigated unconfused and unmixed person, since as St. Paul explains, sin and death entered by one, Adam (rather letting Eve off the hook in those semiotics). So the Redeemer had to take on human form as either male or female. Why then male? Was this chosen as most apt for the salvific mystery, or a choice forced by the two- sex fact of human biology (as opposed to other life forms and plants that are asexual or mono-sexed)? A similar question arises in the science of physical cosmology, about the ‘anthropic principle’: is the universe tuned for life on purpose, or do we find it so because we are here present in the cosmos to question it? On the face of it, without loss of humanity and suffering, Christ might have opted to arrive as androgynous or hermaphrodite; so his actual choice of the male person can be seen to have purpose and import. This He elected without excluding from the work of salvation anyone - even these exceptions of hormone balance that prove the norm - since 'male and female He fashioned them' in his own likeness. Feminists generally agree with me when I say ‘to be a woman is not not to be a man, a human’, and really good friends will allow me to add “man-up to this”.
All are born of woman. And moreover, just because 'nothing is impossible to God’ or that He can always have chosen other means, is no reason to discount in any way the fact that He decided on being incarnate a male, just as He chose that His mother as a primary figure and forebear of the Church would be a perpetual virgin and a married one at that. Before tackling the reason (again, not proof) that, for our sake, it was apt that Jesus be a man, and afterwards the importance for sign-value that the minister acting in His person be male, it is instructive to see the radical parallel that Jesus presents between the love of Him for his church as bride, and the sacrament of holy matrimony between man and woman. St. Paul says it is a mystery of whose depths he can only glimpse: this from a man who glimpsed enough of the length and depth, breadth and height of God's work to know that the Church has a divine foundation and is the sacrament of salvation in the world.
In the original union of man and woman, what is remarkable about God's use of the form and material of Adam to fashion Eve is that this action taken directly by Him is not subject to any of the natural law we must always associate with making a physical copy of something. Always in this world the law of entropy (or degradation of information, or 'noise') ensures that a copy of something never has the full unadulterated information of the original. Not so in the case of Eve fashioned from Adam. So perfect was this divine act that it would have been equally perfect to have formed Eve and from her obtained Adam. For emphasis of this, she was given the exalted privilege of all birthing: Eve would be the mother of the living. Jesus too was a son of Eve (her seed who would strike the head of the serpent), and so referred himself as ‘Son of Man’. On the cross He identified his mother as the new Eve, saying ‘Woman, behold your son’.
If Adam is saved with Eve, like John he is saved with the Mother ! Have I just now undermined a reason for the ordinandi of Christ to be male? If in all essentials pertaining to the image and likeness of God the man and the woman are interchangeable and equal in dignity, how is there something ‘male’ in essence about a priesthood — or for that matter ‘female’ in essence about motherhood? One answer, deferred below, is that the proper image is of their togetherness. But in heaven neither presbyterial priesthood nor biological motherhood will be anymore in play .. all are married to Christ (and that does not make me, straight up a male, squirm at all). The end of our ‘priesthood’ is that Christ is ‘all in all’; the end of marriage is that Joy is consummated in Him; and the nature of motherhood is fulfilled when (as St. Augustine put it), by Christian generation God populates heaven. That is not as triumphalist as it sounds: it means that anyone who gets to heaven by pursuing the Truth (perhaps only in death) will in that fact have entered the Church. In heaven it is simply the family or assembly of the saved. In the ministerial priesthood on earth, the male most aptly depicts the fatherhood sign-value, which is morally even more than physically a procreative prerogative, or a power to name the new. Without the man’s continued will if not initiative, nothing happens on the generational front. Naming too, has always been key; as the Father declared to Jesus “You are my beloved Son, in Whom I am well pleased”. On the other hand, the very Church whose minister the priest is, and on whose behalf he approaches the altar of the Lord, is mother.
Without holy mother Church, whose model is Mary and the Holy Family, none of its cells or families constitutes anything of spiritual or lasting substance. Religion means, at least ‘lego’ - bound up together. The female genes of an embryo give him bonded substance, those of the male give it form, and one is meaningless without the other. It is true that “God plus one is always a majority”, as the saying goes, and true that as long as there’s one believing family the Church is not all in heaven. But even that family would hope to beget sons and daughters in the faith, either by the spiritual adoption of others, or by their procreation. That is why Augustine refers to any Christian husband as a bishop, and his wife and family the domus, or domestic church. It may irk feminism that in the context of the domus a mother isn’t necessarily bishop (though indeed she is, if she is widowed, or if she is the one Christian adult). But to appease them, the procreative prerogative of a man stands as partner, not arbitrator, in the woman’s most apt role as mater.
At the last supper, the pesach or seder meal of Passover, Jesus could well have changed lamb meat to His body for life-giving spiritual sustenance of his domus, the nascent Church. He himself was the Lamb par excellence, for whose sake the angelic instructions were first made to the Hebrews to sacrifice a lamb (or for which reason Abraham who was to sacrifice Isaac was given to substitute a ram). But instead and thus with new purpose Jesus used bread and wine: the samen of wheat, the seed of the vine. Bread, or the staff of life as it’s called, was already part of the inspired place-name of Jesus’ birth, where he was lain in a manger - the feeding trough ultimately for all the nations. In life He had spoken of his words as the real bread from heaven, and silenced the tempter - who sought to focus on bodily hunger - by proclaiming the sustaining Word, of which He was (and is) the incarnation. And not for nothing was His first recorded parable that of the seed and the sower.
In a recent scriptural reading God speaks of his word as that which goes forth with His regenerative and even procreative purpose (bringing forth grain where there was none) and returns to Him in abundance. That word is of course the Beloved, who is the husband and redeemer of all creation; and the return is the bride and Church he brings back from the ‘death’ of germination. No seed bears a stalk and ear without first dying - dying to self in fact, to be multiplied. Not in vain is all of this language parallel to the marriage act. Already the God-willed fructification or fecund generation of heirs to His kingdom is taking place in the giving of Himself, body and blood, at first signified and then embodied or disseminated under the appearance of cultured wheat and fermented grape.
It is this fatherly love-act that takes root supernaturally in His apostles, and later their followers (men or women), and which now sets them in gestation until the Church’s birthday at Pentecost, assisted spiritually by His own mother, Mary. Accordingly, when Jesus tells his apostles (even the betrayer) “do this in my memory”, He is initiating the temporal perpetuation - for his memory is without limit - of the one sacrifice that will beget all saved souls. If I paraphrase Him, “As I am lifted up, I do draw all souls unto me”.
The foregoing is to note with as little doubt as possible that the marital union between Christ and His mystical body the Church, holy mother Church, is present in the mystery power of the Mass to populate heaven till the fulfilment of time. It is an essentially fatherly and husbandly act to set this dissemination and fructification in motion; while indeed it is thereupon a maternal act to cooperate as the very willing, indeed eager, participants in the whole body.
 The procreative prerogative is Christ’s, and the merciful grace of growth is received by the Church and nurtured in her and by her every means. She is the “fullness of help to salvation in the world” not least because nowhere else can a soul receive the body, blood, soul and divinity of its Lord and saviour. To paraphrase again in relation to marriage, “if you shun my body and blood, you have no real Life in you”. Again, this is not to rebut Christian assemblies who believe the inspired Word that ‘when two or more are gathered in My name, I am there with them’. He also was with John the Baptist alone in his cell, especially when he was visited by one of the disciples. But that degree of presence was not the same intimate fleshly presence as Jesus demonstrated when breaking bread with the disciples in Emmaus.
 The real Life that an assembly is missing, perhaps in ignorance, is I presume not something that any of them willingly shun. As Jesus put it to the Samaritan woman at the well “if you knew Who it was who asks .. you would ask of Him living water”. This figure of speaking is much more than ‘symbol’ — in all its essentials it is sacrament. The great parallel between the sacrament of marriage and the sacrament of the Eucharist can hardly be fathomed out. Referring back to the original unity of man and woman, Jesus spoke of the two become one even in flesh. They might already have been one in affections (“friend” or “helpmate” could be said by either), but still more were one body (“flesh of my flesh”). Adam wakes at a start, hearing ‘yo, man !’ and seeing her says ‘whoa .. man !’ So when the hierarchically related creation stories refer to the fashioning of Eve after Adam - “after” in the sense of “following the same blueprint” - and to their being “male and female” in God’s image and likeness, there is no tension at all. The likeness of God is love-unity in communitarian nature, and that is what He impresses on the society of man, male and female generally, and on the united flesh of husband and wife intimately and personally.
Part II