Saturday, October 15, 2005

ER comment by Nancy Valko, RN

I missed this one, but need to acknowledge that occasionally there is a glimmer of light in the darkness... from Nancy Valko, RN:

After the Law and Order episode about a Terri Schiavo-like situation where the family kills the husband with the help of a minister, it was a pleasant surprise to see last Thursday's ER's episode include a story about a "comatose" or "vegetative" woman who suddenly woke up after 6 years. The episode was short: the woman had had a head injury in a car accident that killed her mother and was "dumped" by a nursing home to the ER where she needed antibiotics for an infection and reinsertion of a dislodged feeding tube. Much was made of the fact that these problems could have easily been handled in the nursing home rather than the ER.
When the young woman suddenly woke up, she asked about her mother and remembered that they were going to the mall when the accident happened. The doctors were surprised but nothing was said about the implications of such a recovery, not even how rare it is for a patient to suddenly wake up.
In the end, the ER personnel just contacted unseen family members.
Nancy V.

Labels: , ,

Good article!

We Thought We Lost Mom
by Frank J. Tassone II
and Nancy Valko, RN
Article found here
Other Articles by Frank J. Tassone II
Other Articles by Nancy Valko, RN

Mom's surgeon called Dad on our ride home from Nyack Hospital.
"Mom's on a breathing tube," Dad told me. "Her emphysema acted up.
The doctor says they may need to keep her overnight."

A Scary Prognosis

I had dropped Mom off earlier at St. Luke’s Roosevelt in New York. She had an appointment for an outpatient, post-mastectomy procedure. Why did her doctor now want her to stay overnight?

"You need to get down there and find out what's going on," Dad said.

He couldn’t join me; he had just had his ailing gall bladder removed the day before.

"I'm so upset right now. I want to be with her," he said.

"I know. You're in no shape. She understands," I tried to reassure him.

St. Luke’s ambulatory surgery staff led me to Mom. When I saw her, I almost cried.

She lay asleep. A long plastic tube stuck out of her mouth. A long clear hose connected that tube to a ventilator. The staff had secured the breathing tube in her throat so that her lips wrapped around it. Her languid face looked disturbed.

My mother was on a respirator! My grandmother had withered away on one many years before, while dying of emphysema. Granny had begged Mom to take her off it. Those were the days before healthcare proxies, when doctors’ decisions were final. Only a court order could overrule them.

My mother never wanted to be on a respirator!

Dr. Murray approached me. He looked more like a college shooting guard then an associate surgeon. His assessment left a knot in my gut.

"She stopped breathing when we extracted the breathing tube after the surgery. We reinserted it, but she didn't take to it well. We had to put her on the ventilator so she could breathe," he explained.

Somehow, Mom’s emphysema had coated her lungs with fluid; she was literally drowning. The anesthesiologists needed to ventilate her while they treated her lungs. Sedation was standard procedure.

"Will she definitely come off the respirator?"

"We believe so," Dr. Murray replied.

"Are you saying that she might not come off the respirator? She might not be able to breathe on her own?"


My heart jumped into my throat. I stood face-to-face with my mother's death. Her healthcare proxy declared that she did not want any artificial resuscitation if she had no hope of recovery. I might have to order her removal from the respirator.

How could I do it?

Turning the Corner

An anesthesiologist arrived later. He offered a better prognosis, believing that Mom would come off the respirator later in the day. "What she has is not that common, but it's not that uncommon, either," he said.

Another anesthesiologist, a middle-aged woman from France, came after that. She explained that Mom’s smoking had irritated her lungs and caused the fluid build-up. "She said she'd dropped down to half a pack a day," the anesthesiologist explained.

"Wait. You mean she's smoking?"

Mom and Dad had quit together two years ago. At least, I thought that she'd quit.

The truth now hit me like brickbat. My mother had a ventilator in her mouth and a breathing tube down her throat. All because she continued a deadly habit that she'd convinced the rest of us she had given up.

I left to call home.

Mom woke up after I returned. She signaled me to take the respirator out. I explained why she needed it. She shook her head and then signaled for paper and pen. I gave her some paper and a pencil. Mom then wrote:

I want it out. I want to go home. It's my right.

She demanded that I kill her when she had hope! I stared at her and said, "If they remove the ventilator before you can breathe, you'll die. Do you want your grandson to see you in a box? Don't you want him to remember you?"

The fight faded from her eyes. She soon fell asleep again.

I went to the waiting room afterwards. There, I read an article in Time about “Mary and the Protestants.” When I read an account of a scene in the Passion of The Christ, in which Mary ran and comforted the fallen and crying young Jesus, I had to stop. I wiped a tear from my eye. My mother needed my strength, not my fear of losing her. That meant I needed someone else.

I prayed for Mary's intercession for my mother. I asked her to ask Jesus to heal Mom.

A nurse called me an hour and a half later. I rushed in and saw Mom’s face — minus the throat tube! The anesthesiologist had removed her from the respirator. She smiled as she saw me.

"I told you I wouldn't let them leave you like that," I said.

By 7:00PM, she had turned the corner. The overnight stay would just be for observation and prevention of a relapse. She breathed on her own by then. Meanwhile, the staff had her quite comfortable in recovery. I kissed her goodbye and left.

The next day, I took her home.

Mary answered my cry. The Great Physician made His own house call through the efforts of my mother’s medical team. May God in His infinite glory be praised! We thought we lost Mom. He found her.

Comments from a Catholic Nurse

This is a lovely story and the point about being strong for the people we love is great! Along with love and strength we need accurate information, which is becoming harder and harder to get as the push toward euthanasia grows stronger in this country.

Many people are totally confused about ventilators and automatically check vents off in advance directives as an unwanted treatment. I consider this to be a big mistake for many reasons. As an ICU nurse, I work a lot with vents. It's usually the last resort when a patient has severe breathing problems. Much, if not most of the time when someone becomes severely short of breath, we are unsure as to the cause. Using a vent can buy time to ascertain and perhaps cure the underlying problem. Sometimes being on a vent can act like a cast to allow the lungs to heal with the least stress. The new high-frequency vents in babies can allow their lungs to mature or heal and this has saved many newborns and preemies who would have died just a few years ago.

Unfortunately, people have been so brainwashed about vents that I run into many people who think that vents are permanent, vents mean a person is automatically brain-damaged, vents can keep a person alive forever, etc. Vents are one of the first things to be checked off as not wanted on a "living will" or DPA form. (A durable power of attorney for health care document, “DPA,” appoints a specific person — a “surrogate” — to make decisions about your care if you are incapacitated.)

Actually, most people are able to get off vents in a short time and most people are sedated while on the vent so that they are comfortable. Some people with permanent neurological or other injury (think Christopher Reeve) need a vent continuously and adjust quite well over time. Many disabled people are on vents at intervals, often just at night.

The bottom line is that any treatment can be withdrawn if truly futile or excessively burdensome to the patient. It is not necessary for a patient to refuse potentially life-saving treatment with a ventilator in advance from fear of being forced to live “on a machine.” For example, when a patient is dying from something like lung cancer, we don't have to use a vent, but rather we use medication and oxygen to make the patient more comfortable.

One problem I have personally run into is the "terminal wean," when a patient is judged "hopeless" quite quickly, sedation or pain meds are increased and the patient is suddenly taken off the vent with the expectation — even the hope — that the patient will not resume breathing.

On a personal note, one of my daughters was on a vent when she was a baby and when she developed severe respiratory problems while awaiting open-heart surgery. When it seemed that she probably wouldn't survive, I did allow a DNR order. One young resident "offered" to remove the vent because she was "hopeless." I was furious. I reported the resident and he was almost fired but this was 1983, not 2002.

This New England Journal of Medicine article reveals how subjective the decisions of physicians often are regarding patients' future functional status and cognitive function when they decide to withdraw vents. Most patients in this study were able to be weaned from the ventilator if it was not prematurely withdrawn. And, contrary to many people's perception that people can be kept alive indefinitely by "machines," some patients died even while on a ventilator. This information is not routinely given to people who sign "living wills" and other advance directives, and most people just check off ventilators as treatment they do not want without knowing all the facts. Unfortunately, families encouraged to consider non-heart-beating organ donation are also often unaware of these facts.

© Copyright 2005 Catholic Exchange

Frank J. Tassone II is a Catholic revert and blogger. He writes from Montebello, New York, and works in New York City as a High School Special Education Teacher.

Nancy Valko, a registered nurse, is president of Missouri Nurses for Life, a spokesperson for the National Association of Pro-life Nurses and a Voices contributing editor.

From Cardinal Arinze on the Synod

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 13, 2005 (
No one at the Synod of Bishops on
the Eucharist has addressed the issue of the "Tridentine rite" Mass that the Latin Church used before the Second Vatican Council.

The prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, Cardinal Francis Arinze, mentioned this at a press conference today when he evaluated the first phase of the synodal assembly.

"No synodal father has mentioned this point," said Cardinal Arinze, the co-president of the assembly. The so-called Tridentine rite was approved by Pope St. Pius V.

"If there are groups that desire the Tridentine Mass, this is already provided for," he said. "Bishops may allow it for groups."

"It is not a priority for the synod, as no one has spoken about it," the cardinal concluded. "The problem we have discussed is that many people don't go to Mass, and those that come don't understand -- they go to Communion but not to confession, as if they were immaculate."


More on Law and Order......

Yesterday, I made my own observations about Law and Order's propaganda program from the other night. Then I checked my email further, and had received this from Nancy Valko, RN.
I could not agree with her more!

Law and Order episode last night was bizarre clone of Terri Schiavo case

I taped last night NBC episode of Law and Order that featured a Terri Schiavo-type case-with some truly bizarre differences. Unfortunately, much of the public is possibly more likely to remember this episode than even the often-distorted facts about the Schiavo case in the mainstream media when they hear about "right to die" cases. This is propaganda rather than entertainment and intentional, in my opinion.

In this episode the husband of "Karen" (a woman judged in a "vegetative" state like Terri) was murdered by a car bomb by a member of Karen's family that opposed the removal of her feeding tube.

Not surprisingly, prolifers (disability activists were briefly mentioned) were portrayed as irrational religious nuts. The husband of "Karen" was portrayed as a loving, grief-stricken man who had fathered 2 children with another woman years after the unnamed incident that caused Karen's brain damage. Just like the media portrayed Michael Schiavo and his girlfriend.

As usual, a malicious and callous minister who was supposed to be the instigator of the murder was involved.

Especially appalling was that Karen's family felt the murder of the husband was a necessary defense to prevent their daughter's death from dehydration. Haven't Terri's parents been vilified enough in the media?

At the very end, Karen's mother speaks on tv claiming that "vegetative" Karen conveyed her feelings of gratitude to her father and brother for trying to save her life by murdering her husband.

And, of course, the Law and Order episode contained the disclaimer that this episode was fictional and not based on actual events!
Nancy V.

Labels: , ,

Friday, October 14, 2005

More propaganda

I have here and everywhere I go, spoken about TV shows, movies, news, and 'docu-dramas' being used as PROPAGANDA, which many buy into simply by watching. Polls, etc also have this purpose. Two things are going on right now.

First, they are 'pushing' Hillary Clinton on us as the next President of the US. The polls are 'proving' that she is the front runner, etc. They have actually been doing this for years, but it is becoming more and more blatant. The more it is talked about, the more people will buy into it.

Second, the Terri Schiavo case is being distorted again, only this time, on a TV show, with disclaimers that it is NOT about actual people... right... and I have a bridge in Brooklyn to sell you, cheap...

If you watched this, you saw plotting and scheming parents, a saint of a husband who had also fathered two children out of wedlock... who was blown up by a bomb, just before the tube was to be removed from his wife after years ... with the 'religious' opponents made to look like violent idiots, etc. And the parents to look like selfish plotting jerks...

This was BLATANT propaganda, made to give sympathy to the killing of a disabled woman by dehydration/starvation. And I am sick of this . Disabled people have every right to live solely because they ARE LIVING. They are human. They have the same rights to life as you and I have.

You want to 'fall' for this ?? Just watch without reasoning.
Schiavo Case Core of Law and Order Episode?

Could the right-to-life case of Terri Schindler-Schiavo case be the catalyst for a TV show this week?

A disabled woman's family, her husband, the clergy, and the mainstream media are the players.

Go here for the rest of that article....

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

A Tribute to His Grandfather by my Son

this is my poem to my grandpa, it will be posted in its entirty on feel free like i said to pass it on to anyone else. its the first one im proud to show.

Just One More Day

I wish it didn't have to be now,
I wish it could get better somehow.
I wish there was another way,
I wish I could get just one more day.
One more day to see you smile,
One more day to talk for awhile.
One more minute to hear you laugh,
Just one more minute and a half.
I wish I could take it all away,
and give you just one more day.
I wish you were here today,
to tell me everything will be okay.
I wish you didn't have to go,
so I had time to let you know
- the things I wanted to say long ago.
You are the greatest man I ever knew,
and the best grandpa too.
You are more than just a grandpa to me,
you were my hero that gave me safety.
You knew how to make me smile,
in your own special style.
Thank you for always accepting me,
and never looking down on me.
Thank you for all the fun times we shared,
it was those times I know you cared.
Of all the things I'm grateful for,
it's knowing you won't suffer anymore.
I love you and thank you for being my grandpa.
-Those are the things I'd say,
If God would give me, just one more day.

In loving memory of the greatest man I knew,
Gordon L
My hero and my grandpa.

Copyright Oct 2005

Kevin L

May he rest in peace Numbers 6:24-26

Awhile ago, at 5:29 AM, my son sent me an email with a long letter he said I can share with anyone. I got it four minutes later, and then tried to reach him by messenger, since I knew he was online. We spoke about his grandfather and how he has been looking for the Brothertown Nation's word for 'grandfather' (probably Algonquin).

Approx 7:40 AM, my oldest daughter IM'd me to say that grandpa died about an hour ago, just after Kev IM'd me to say that she had just called him to tell him the same. It seems that though we are not together, the Lord allowed us to be in contact when the news came. My second daughter is also aware.

Because he starts off the letter saying I can share it with whomever I want to, in its entirety or part, I will put exerpts here, but will post the end of his email separately. We have had many healings and answered prayer, and Gordon L has gone Home. No more tears, no more suffering.

Gordon has a heritage of Irish, French, and Brothertown Indian, and not sure if there is more or not. He is survived by his second wife Karen, his three sons and one daughter and their children, a total of eleven grandchildren and ... I think five great grandchildren right now. He was preceded in death by his first wife, a brother, and a brother in law, as well as his parents. There are also step children and step grandchildren. He was 76 years old. He has been living with cancer for the past three years.

God bless you, Gordon. May your rest in peace.

If any father reads the rest of this, please give your son that hug that my son describes below (your daughter also, but especially your son.)

Kev wrote:

i went up to see grandpa on the 10th and i sat with grandma karen cause no one else was there and i just wanted to listen to her talk. she went in by grandpa and we talked and she said that when he coughs that that is the time to talk to him cause it kinda "wakes" him up. and he coughed and he looked right at me. his eyes were greying and glassy, but
i knew he could see me. grandma started talking to him saying "Gordie kevins here. Kevin came to see you, say hi Gordie."

then she told me that he wasnt suppose to make it past noon, and the doctor said he was waiting for something or someone. "Gordie did you wait for Kevin? was he who you waited for?" then she told me that maybe he needed to hear from me that it's was ok to go home and be with his "mama" cause occassionally hed wake up and say/mummble what sounded like "i want my mumma." then hed go back to sleep.

I said "hi grandpa." smiled at him, and he cocked his half smile that he had. Grandma said she hasnt seen him smile since they first brought him in. she kept asking if he waited for me, and he smiled a little smile again. she went to the bathroom and i said thank you for waiting for me, but its time to go home grandpa. you dont have to wait anymore, you can go whenever you want.

well that was about as much as i could handle. i went to the waiting room
calmed down before i started bawling. dad came and me and him just sat next to grandpa for awhile. then we sat in the waiting room so grandma could sleep.

when we left dad out of the blue stopped and said to me that i have a good head of my shoulders, and that i grew up to be quite the young man and that he was proud of me and just wanted me to know that. then he gave me a hug, and not his usual hugs. the hug i
waited 23 years to get. the hug that said he was proud of me, proud that i was his son and a hug that shows someone you love them. i think that with
his dad dying that he wishes he could hear that from grandpa, and he realizes that maybe i needed to hear it too.

so yea after that emotional rollarcoaster ride i had to let some stuff off my chest. it sucks that it had to be said during a time when someone was dying. but i can finally say that i made my dad proud and that my dad does love me.

i love you mom and i guess that my dad learned something and i learned something so i just want to tell you that i love you, always have, and always will. and sometimes parents need to hear it too. im proud of you, im proud to say your my mom and im your son, im proud to say
that you raised me and gave me all the love i could ever need. even though we didnt have all the best stuff money could buy i have the best mom and family that anyone
could ask for.

thank you for all you have done and all you continue to do for me and just being there when i needed you and putting other stuff on hold for me.

Your son,


Too Many Invalid Annulments by Fr Clarence Hettinger

Too Many Invalid Annulments

A 1991 Rota decision said, "The continually, daily increasing number of marriage cases especially in some regions of the world in which the ground is defect of discretion of judgment and/or incapacity to assume and fulfill the essential obligations of marriage due to causes of a psychic nature constitutes a grave problem for the Catholic Church regarding the sanctity and stability of the matrimonial bond. Although this phenomenon is to be placed most especially in modern times both in a more profound investigation of anthropology and in a more perfect knowledge of the doctrine about the nature of marriage, there is no one who does not see that 'cases of the nullity of marriage because of the above mentioned grounds are to be handled with the greatest of caution,' as the jurisprudence of our forum advises. The Supreme Pontiff has recalled all this to the mind of all who offer their services in tribunals in the administration of justice, with the purpose and plan that any shadow of arbitrariness in the handling of these kinds of cases should promptly vanish (cf. 1987 allocution, no. 7."1)

"And the Pharisees came up to test him by asking, 'Is it lawful to divorce one's wife for any reason whatever?"2 It is well known that, for the liberal Jewish theologians of those times, "any reason" was broad enough to include burning the man's food or having less sex appeal than another woman. Jewish divorce for any reason has its counterpart in the American idea of marriage: "If it doesn't work out I can get a divorce." In both systems "the question concerns not (as in Mark) the legitimacy of divorce but that reasons are sufficient, assuming that it is at least sometimes permitted."3 It remained for our free thinking, licentious, narcissistic age to "progress" beyond the School of Hillel and develop the American idea of marriage into no-hassle, no-fault divorce.

Obviously the United States suffers from a divorce mentality. If you want a divorce you file for divorce and eventually you get a divorce. Now the American divorce mentality has found its exact counterpart in the scandal of a Catholic American annulment mentality, all the more scandalous because it has come to affect non-Catholics and non-Christians as well as Catholics. "Dear Abby," for example, sees the annulment process as just a bit more complicated than the divorce process. You get a divorce. Then you file for an annulment and eventually you get an annulment.

The Hillel/American and the American/Catholic counterparts are now being paralleled in divorce court judges and tribunal judges. The first Roman warning that cases of psychic incapacity can turn a Catholic court into a divorce mill goes all the way back to 1969.4 The roots of the problem, however, had been exposed almost thirty years earlier.

Monsignor Doheny stated in his Rota sentence of November 12, 1940, "In our times, since the knowledge of the existence of matrimonial causes is more and more publicized, people who have entered an unhappy marriage easily imagine some ground of nullity in order to reclaim their freedom and since later they facilely compose arguments from futile recollections with the cooperation of witnesses who, for some advantage or out of a sense of compassion, together with the parties, are in no way adverse to perverting the faith of truth and oath, the judge must proceed cautiously in these cases."

Monsignor Wynen wrote in his sentence of November 23, 1940, "The unhappy outcome of a marriage, especially if a definitive separation of the spouses follows without hope of a reconciliation, quite often induces the spouses to start investigations as to whether perhaps the marriage entered by them might be invalid in the eyes of the Church so that they might be able to regain their freedom. Then, if they do not discover some ground of nullity manifestly existing in the nature of things, they usually turn their attention to the partner's faults and with the help of some advocate they try to construe from them some defect of matrimonial consent which would make the marriage invalid."

The current American jurisprudence position also has almost a three-decade history. Since the late 1960s, American tribunals generally became concerned about the multitude of divorced Catholics and the few declarations of nullity being given for them. Under the impetus of Vatican II, some new psychological insights, and the American Procedural Norms, effective on July 1, 1970, tribunals addressed the situation of remarried divorcees by taking up consensual incapacity due to psychological defects as the principal if not exclusive ground of nullity. Immediately the number of favorable decisions increased drastically. One assessment was very enthusiastic. "The American Procedural Norms were dramatically successful. By the late 1970's, thirty thousand annulments a year were being granted, judicially and judiciously, by United States tribunals."5

Taken in a somewhat broad sense, the term "judicially" was accurate. However, "judiciously" expresses a sentiment not shared by everyone. Already in 1981 in his address to the Rota on January 24, Pope John Paul II expressed concern "about decisions of the nullity of marriage 'obtained with excessive facility.'"6 This facility was possible because, aiding and abetting the new procedural norms, questionnaires had been constructed for the almost exclusive purpose of eliciting evidence of psychic traits which tend to create difficulties between spouses. Also, although with complete good will, the interpretation of the evidence was not inspired by the principles of Christian anthropology.

In 1983 an American canonist asked, "What are tribunals doing to ensure that the increasing number of annulments they grant are not understood by the average Catholic as 'another name for divorce?' One clear indication that tribunals are failing in this regard occurs when judges employ jurisprudential strategies whereby there is hardly any way a Catholic in an irregular second marriage may not either receive an official annulment or be readmitted to the sacraments despite their irregular unions."7 In 1986, under the current jurisprudential system, on the authority of an assistant secretary of the U.S. Catholic Conference it was stated that "approximately 90% of separated and divorced Catholics could obtain annulments from the Church."8

Also during 1986 the Rota heard ten cases from the United States' Two of them were not sufficiently significant to warrant publication of the text of the decision. Only one of them was affirmative and, at that, only on one of two grounds.

Ironically, another also was affirmative but it was "yes, nullity of sentence has been proved." The rest were negative. Therefore, realistically, that is, in light of the principles of Christian anthropology, the possible 9:1 success ratio just mentioned should have been reversed to 1:9.

The fact that the Rota reversed the American success ratio of itself suggests only that there is a problem. One can see the real problem by analyzing the Rotal decisions. The result is a rather long list of psychic defects and interpersonal irritants which Rotal jurisprudence finds irrelevant or insufficiently serious for a declaration of nullity.

A serious reading of the 1986 volume of Rotal decisions allows one to propose the thought that the 1940 foreshadowing of things to come is now definitely a reality. The Rotal data clearly imply that United States tribunals are giving too many declarations of nullity on psychological grounds. This is a paraphrase of the Apostolic Signatura's 1992 response to the report of a number of United States bishops on their tribunals' activity during 1991. It follows from too many affirmative decisions that a high percentage of declarations of nullity are themselves invalid.

If this inference is correct, it may be assumed that there are deficiencies in our understanding of jurisprudence and Christian anthropology and/or in the application of jurisprudence to the facts of a case. This raises a first question, "What is jurisprudence?"

Another way to put the question might be, "Is there, for example, an American jurisprudence distinct from or parallel to Roman jurisprudence?" Since Pope John Paul II has spoken clearly in the negative on this matter on two separate occasions, the answer is, "This is as possible as it is for there to be an American Church distinct from or parallel to the Roman Church."

Judges shirking responsibility

The Supreme Legislator and Judge first authentically opened his mind on the matter in 1981.10 Now, while it is true that papal allocutions are not jurisprudence, they have the highest authority. "The Roman Pontiff . . . enjoys supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church, which he can always exercise freely."11 This means, according to an official of the Signatura, that the allocutions "have a particular authority for they are both a commentary of the Supreme Legislator on the law which he has promulgated and, what is more, an exercise of the ordinary magisterium of the Supreme Pontiff, to which is owed religious obedience (cf. canon 752)."12

The Holy Father returned to this theme eleven years later in 1992. "Again, precisely in the context of interpreting canon law, particularly where there are or seem to be lacunae legis, the new Code—explaining in canon 19 what could be inferred also from the analogous canon of the preceding legislative text—clearly lays down the principle according to which the jurisprudence and praxis of the Roman Curia takes its place with the other supplementary sources. If then we limit the significance of this expression to cases of marriage nullity, it seems evident that, on the level of substantive law, i.e., in deciding the merits of the cases presented, jurisprudence must be understood exclusively as that which emanates from the Tribunal of the Roman Rota. This context, therefore, explains what the Constitution Pastor Bonus states in attributing to the Rota the responsibility of 'providing for uniformity in jurisprudence, and, through its sentences, of offering assistance to lower tribunals' (art. 126)."13

As was noted above, in 1992 the Apostolic Signatura is frankly telling at least some United States bishops that their tribunals are giving too many declarations of nullity on psychological grounds. Now, if too many annulments are being granted, there is only one reason. Judges (their helpers, defenders of the bond and advocates must be included as well) are shirking their responsibilities in the pronouncement of nullity decisions in several ways.

First, judges have a distorted appreciation "about the matter to be settled by the sentence."14 This involves the nature of marriage and the capacity for living a lifelong marriage judged in light of Christian anthropology. An example of the distance between Christian anthropology and the American idea of annulment is found in a 1989 Rota decision which reversed the affirmative decision of an American tribunal.

The American tribunal declared that the marriage was invalid on the ground of lack of due discretion. The reason, that "'his personality characteristics chose this specific wife for him. The same could be said of the respondent,' has the flavor of a poetic statement rather than a juridical sentence."15 Then the tribunal also argued for nullity on the ground of incapacity to assume the essential obligations of marriage. Its reasoning was that "the fit of their personalities was basically a symbiotic16 one which perpetuated the patterns in both their lives. . . . With the help of guidance these roles began to change. And when the roles changed and they began moving toward equality, the marriage came apart, which shows the Court that this was only a facade and not reality. . . . The judges concluded from the simple shipwreck of the marriage . . . to the nullity of the marriage because of incapacity of the spouses to assume the burden of 'true mutuality,' which is quite indefinite."17

Second, "the judge must evaluate the proofs according to his conscience."18 He acts with a malformed conscience if he does not apply to his reading of the evidence the principles of Christian anthropology as mandated by the Supreme Legislator and exemplified by Rotal jurisprudence.

The anthropological principles relevant to the pronouncement of declarations of the nullity of Christian marriages may be drawn from the second Matthean divorce pericope.19 In the original state of the human race, "in the beginning," prior to original sin, divorce and remarriage would not be a problem. In the fallen state of the human race, "if this is the state of man with his wife, it is better not to get married." However, in the elevated state of the human race, thanks to the sacrament of marriage, "with God all things are possible."

The exceptive clause opens the way to declarations of nullity. However, not all broken marriages are invalid marriages and, on one reading of the text accepted as an invitation to religious celibacy, there are eunuchs for the sake of the Kingdom who refuse to attempt another marriage after receiving a divorce or a negative decision regarding their former marriage.20 They can do this by making use of the quasi consecration and strength of the grace of the sacrament, qualities of Christian marriage taught by Vatican Council II,21 which the Church in The Code of Canons of the Eastern Church has authoritatively proposed as essential elements of Christian marriage.22

One of the 1986 decisions gives a sort of compendium of the present anomalous American jurisprudential situation, locating its roots in 1971. "According to the jurisprudence which arose in the U.S.A. after 1971 (i.e., after the grant of independent procedural legislation given to that Conference of Bishops), the shipwreck of a marriage is a clear demonstration a posteriori that the parties were incapable at the time of marriage of assuming a partnership of the 'whole' of life. Normally a person, unless he is sick, progresses toward maturity; and therefore if the contractant does not progress equally with his partner this would be a demonstration (always a posteriori) that the parties could not have grown together in the partnership and were affected with incapacity. Even a rather long common life, a high number of children, would be a clear proof that, in spite of their good will, the parties were incapable at the time of marriage of assuming the irrevocable partnership of the 'whole' of life."23

Then in his 1987, 1988, and 1989 addresses to the Rota, Pope John Paul II addressed the difficulties involved in cases of consensual incapacity based on psychological grounds, making it clear that many tribunals have arrived at a state of jurisprudence disarray. In 1987 and 1988 he stressed the need for applying the principles of Christian anthropology to marriage case procedures. "In this context," he said, "I would like to dedicate today particular attention to the psychic incapacities which, especially in some countries, have become the reason for an elevated number of declarations of the nullity of marriage."24 It is inescapable that the United States is one of those countries. In 1989 the secretary of the Signatura wrote specifically about United States tribunals when he said, "To hold simply that the extremely great majority of failed marriages (90%) are simply invalid marriages is to delude oneself about the modern reality."25

Especially in light of the papal addresses of 1987 and 1988, it is now transparently clear that United States jurisprudence principles on psychological incapacity are largely defective. When a tribunal has accepted this fact, the time has come for it to begin the difficult process of updating its principles and praxis in cases of psychological incapacity. To their great credit, the Canon Law Society of American in its Marriage Studies and The Jurist and the Canadian Canon Law Society in its Studio Canonica have been offering assistance by publishing material from the Roman tribunals which should make increasingly clear the great chasm between our jurisprudential praxis and authoritative Rotal jurisprudence.

While the evidence is clear enough, after almost three decades of contrary practice it will not be easy to assimilate this fact and it will take time to reduce it to practice without overreacting and falling into the opposite vice. As a long-term result, however, there will be a gradually deepening and spreading awareness in the tribunal and among the people it serves that a valid annulment based on psychological incapacity is indeed a rather extraordinary phenomenon.

There will be a three-fold practical result. First and most distressing, the tribunal will be giving fewer affirmative decisions on the ground of psychological incapacity than it gave in the recent past. Second, eventually fewer cases will be submitted to the tribunal and it will be accepting relatively fewer of the submitted cases. Third, more petitioners will be advised to abandon cases in progress which are extremely likely if not absolutely certain to receive negative decisions. Obviously, case-loads will decrease and truly quality time will be available for the cases which the tribunal will accept for trial.

In the short term, the staff of such tribunals will have to be ready for some rather intense difficulties with various professional interpersonal relationships. As one bishop put it to his repentant tribunal, "If you can take the flack, I'll stand behind you." Canon 1608, §3, which establishes freedom of conscience for judges in the evaluation of proofs, introduces a subjective element into the advocate's defense, the animadversions of the defender of the bond, and the definitive opinion of the judge. Individual members of a tribunal might disagree on the interpretation of law and jurisprudence. The same could happen between a diocesan bishop and his tribunal staff or between individual staff members, between one tribunal and other tribunals, and especially between a diocesan tribunal and its appellate court.

In spite of any difficulties, however, any tribunal wishing to be considered Catholic cannot do otherwise than accept the Roman magisterium and conscientiously follow its directives to the best of its ability. It must be said also that concern for the sacramentality and inviolability of marriage involves not only tribunal workers. This must be the concern of everyone involved in catechesis, in pastoral marriage preparation, and in counseling about whether a person should or should not present a marriage case to the tribunal as well as tribunal workers.

The Holy Father gives ample encouragement to tribunal workers and their paraprofessional collaborators. His words might serve as a commentary on the axiom, "The salvation of souls is the supreme law."26 Tribunals are dedicated to a "delicate service to the Church. . . in the search for the objective truth concerning the nullity or otherwise of a marriage in concrete cases," especially "in those marriage cases, of their nature very difficult, which have to do with the psychic incapacity of the contracting parties." Tribunals are therefore committed to "a defense of the Christian vision of human nature and of marriage" in "the search for truth, which should always be the foundation, mother, and law of justice."27

"The difficult task of the judge . . . is certainly a ministry of truth and charity in the Church and for the Church. It is a ministry of truth inasmuch as the genuinity of the Christian concept of marriage is preserved even in the midst of cultures or moods which tend to obscure it. It is a ministry of charity toward the ecclesial community which is preserved from the scandal of seeing in practice the destruction of the value of Christian marriage through the exaggerated and almost automatic multiplication of declarations of nullity in the case of the bankruptcy of marriage under the pretext of some psychic immaturity or weakness of the contractants.

"It is a service of charity also toward the parties, to whom, for the love of truth, it is necessary to deny declarations of nullity inasmuch as in this way they are helped not to deceive themselves about the true causes of the bankruptcy of their marriage and are preserved from the probable risk of again finding themselves in the same difficulties in a new union sought as a remedy for the first bankruptcy without having tried all the means for overcoming the obstacles experienced in their first valid marriage. And it is, finally, a ministry of charity toward the other pastoral ministries and organisms of the Church inasmuch as - with ecclesiastial tribunals refusing to be transformed into a facile way to solutions of bankrupt marriages and irregular situations between the spouses-it impedes a laziness in the formation of young people for marriage, an important condition for approaching the sacrament."28


1 Daniel Faltin, Rota decision, February 21, 1991, no. 12, in Monitor Ecclesiasticus, Vol. 117 (1992), p. 43.

2 Matt. 19:3.

3 Henry Wansbrough, O.S.B., "St. Matthew," A New Catholic Commentary on Holy Scripture, revised and updated July 1975, p. 937.

4 Lucien Anne, Rota decision, February 25, 1969, no. 19.

5 Lawrence Wrenn, "Processes," CLSA, The Code of Canon Law: A Text and Commentary, p. 1010.

6 Henry Ewers, Rota decision, April 4, 1982, no. 2, in Monitor Ecclesiasticus, Vol. 106 (1981), pp. 295-296

7 Valentine Peters, "Judges Must Judge Justly," The Jurist, Vol. 43 (1983), pp. 168, 178.

8 J. Filteau, "Church Courts Called Answer for Divorced-Remarried Catholics," Florida Catholic, January 3, 1986, p. 12.

9 Cf. Apostolic Tribunal of the Roman Rota, DECISIONES SEU SENTENTIAE selectae inter eas quae anno 1986 prodierunt cura eiusdem Apostolicae Tribunalis editae, published in 1991.

10 Address to the Rota, January 24, 1981, A, A. S., Vol. 73, p. 232, in Ewers, Rota decision April 4, 1982, no. 2, in Monitor Ecclesiasticus, Vol. 106 (1981), pp. 295-296; Egan, Rota decision, December 9, 1982, no. 3, in ibid., Vol. 108 (1983), pp. 234-235.

11 Canon 331. See also canons 360; 1405, §1.

12 Raymond Burke, "Serious Lack of Discretion of Judgment: a Residual or an Autonomous Ground of Nullity?" from a copy of the manuscript of the opening speech of the Twenty-Seventh Annual Convention of the Canadian Canon Law Society, October 19-22,1992, Toronto.

13 John Paul II, Allocution to the Roman Rota, January 29, 1992, no. 4.

14 Canon 1608, §1.

15 Kenneth Bocafola, Rota decision, December 13, 1989, no. 19, in Monitor Ecclesiasticus, Vol. 116 (1991), p. 400.

16 From symbiosis, the intimate living together of two dissimilar organisms in a mutually beneficial relationship.

17 Bocafola, cited decision, no. 15, p. 398.

18 Canon 1608, §3.

19 Matt. 19:3-12; cf. Matt. 5:31-32.

20 Wansbrough, op. cit., p. 938.

21 Const. Gaudium et spes, no. 48. Cf. Pius XI, encyc. Casti connubii in Denzinger, no. 2238.

22 CCEO canon 776, §2, the canon on the fundamental nature of marriage. Cf. CIC canon 1134, a canon in the chapter on the effects of marriage.

23 Mario Pompedda, Rota decision, October 10, 1986, ARRT, Dec., pp. 570-571.

24 1987 address, no. 1.

25 Xenon Grochelewski, "Alcuni questioni . . .," Monitor Ecclesiasticus, Vol. 104 (1989), p. 348.

26 Cf. canon 1752.

27 1988 address, nos. 1, 2, 3, 13.

28 1987 address, no. 9.

Msgr. Clarence J. Hettinger was ordained as a priest of the Peoria Diocese in 1942. After nine years as assistant pastor and two years of graduate canon law studies, he was full-time CEO of the Tribunal for ten years. After eleven years as pastor-officialis and eight years as pastor-associate judge, he works in the Tribunal office as associate judge and utility player. He has published several articles in HPR and The Jurist.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005

When Fairy Tales Lie

When Fairy Tales Lie
Betsy St. Amant
Contributing Writer

As little girls, we all dreamed of our future husbands. We pictured ourselves in a Cinderella or Snow White costume, waiting patiently for Prince Charming to come galloping up on a white stallion. There didn’t even have to be a reason for him to “rescue” us. In our dreams, it was enough for him just to find us.

Young boys didn’t usually dream about being Prince Charming, but most entertained thoughts and acted out fantasies of being the “hero”. They wielded swords made of cardboard and wore capes that had worried mothers insisting the piece of cloth didn’t really give them the ability to fly. These male/female instincts are God-given and natural. But left in an unrealistic, fairytale world perspective, they can cause many dangers to a marriage.

Prince or Toad?

Too often as married couples, we blame our spouses for not being what we dreamed of all those years ago. At some point, even subconsciously, we will realize that the man who blanched at our latest cooking attempt and “forgot” to help fold the laundry isn’t Prince Charming after all. There is no white horse to admire, just muddy paw prints left on the carpet from the dog. There is no handcrafted sword for protection, just the rifles on the gun rack, waiting for hunting season. There is no fancy costume, just the same clearance rack items from last season.

The reality check is shocking as we realize things will go wrong in life. The plumbing will go haywire, the in-laws will stir up drama, and your job will stress you out. These situations, and others, are guarantees in our lives. Patience runs short and money runs out. This is marriage! This is what you signed up for when you claimed your vows before God and witnesses.

Couples today believe their lives should be a fairytale, and are thoroughly disappointed when they realize they are wrong. When the surprise wears off, they have a simple choice: stay or leave. Some choose to take the easy way out. They say, “Maybe Prince Charming is waiting for me at the ball” and bail out of their marriage. They think, “Perhaps there is a Princess who actually needs me down at the local bar” and abandon their families. But they are in for an even ruder awakening.

The Other Side of the Fence

It’s not that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side – it’s NEVER greener. I’ve learned from watching those close to me that the problems you leave in your first marriage will follow you to your next. Why is this? Because you’re still the same person. You don’t get to leave your baggage in the form of a suitcase at your old house. It’s delivered priority to your next relationship and usually becomes heavier along the way. We look up in surprise in the middle of our new choice and think, “hmm, this wasn’t what I had in mind, either.”

This type of discontent comes from the heart. A human soul not in fellowship with God will never be happy. One might be able to fool themselves temporarily, pretending that they’re satisfied with their new boyfriend, new wife, even their new car or house. But without a living, breathing, soul-deep relationship with God, they will never find true joy and contentment.

The Cure

It is painful to watch those close to you make bad choices -- decisions that you instinctively know will come back to haunt them. We can’t change what others do, but we can make positive examples of our own lives and marriages. How? By not leaving. By staying when times get tough. By arguing and having fights but not walking out of the house. By being real and honest and not worrying about the public mask of “yes-we’re-doing-great-thanks.”

If you and your spouse are having problems, get help. Forget what others might think and take care of your marriage. A healthy relationship with your mate is more important than your reputation in the church or at work. Don’t let pride keep you from getting counseling or talking with an older, wiser couple. Learn from your mistakes and those of others and try not to repeat them. But most importantly, spend time developing your own walk with Christ. Without God in your life and in the center of your relationships, you have zero changes of a healthy, happy marriage.

So next time your Prince Charming “ribbits,” kiss him anyway. Know that the way you see your spouse is up to you. Put on the rose colored Princess glasses, realizing that no one is perfect, but that it sure makes things easier if we overlook a few faults. You might not always feel like a Princess, and your life might be far from a fairytale, but a thriving relationship with God, our true King, will make our lives, and marriages, much sweeter than any book-given happily ever after.

Betsy St. Amant resides in northern Louisiana with her husband, Brandon. They recently celebrated their one-year wedding anniversary. Betsy has an associate's degree in Christian Communications from Louisiana Baptist University and is actively pursuing a career in inspirational writing. You can contact her at

© Copyright 2002, All rights reserved. Terms of Use.
A proud member of the Salem Web Network, a division of Salem Communications Corporation

Monday, October 10, 2005

Time for levity (or Why Computers Crash)

A friend of mine just sent me this, and it makes sense to me.... NOT! OH, and MOM would not have one single CLUE as to what to do! lol

What follows is her email in its entirety, including the comment to Bill Gates:

Why Computers Crash

You gotta read this out LOUD!!!!!

Why Computers Sometimes Crash! by Dr. Seuss.
(Read this to yourself aloud - it's great!)

If a packet hits a pocket on a socket on a port, and the bus is interrupted at a very last resort, and the access of the memory makes your floppy disk abort, then the socket packet pocket has an error to report.

If your cursor finds a menu item followed by a dash, and the double-clicking icon puts your window in the trash, and your data is corrupted cause the index doesn't hash, then your situation's hopeless and your system's gonna crash!

If the label on the cable on the table at your house, says the network is connected to the button on your mouse, but your packets want to tunnel to another protocol, that's repeatedly rejected by the printer down the hall.

And your screen is all distorted by the side effects of gauss, so your icons in the window are as wavy as a souse; then you may as well reboot and go out with a bang, 'cuz sure as I'm a poet, the sucker's gonna hang.

When the copy on your floppy's getting sloppy in the disk, and the macro code instructions is causing unnecessary risk, then you'll have to flash the memory and you'll want to RAM your ROM, and then quickly turn off the computer and be sure to tell your Mom!

Well, that certainly clears things up for me. How about you?

Thank you, Bill Gates, for bringing all this into our lives.

Prayers For A Miracle (Healing or Home, peacefully)

Jesus has said "What God has joined together, let NO MAN put assunder". That includes civil courts, in the estimation of many who have gone through forced unilateral 'no fault' divorce.

Later today, my dfil is being transferred home from the hospital after having all that can be done here on earth to help him live in spite of now, TWO forms of cancer that have been working hard to end his life. Short of a miracle in the broadest sense, my fil will soon leave this world, and enter the next.

Please pray for him, and for his family, including the father of our children, and for our children/grandchildren. I never stop believing for a miracle until the last. I understand we have had one, in that he consented to the Sacrament of the Sick, the annointing for the sick and dying... answered prayer. I did visit him twice in the hospital, and brought him a card and two medals. The Miraculous Medal, and one for the Eucharistic year that was blessed by JPII in January, 2005, before he died in April. A special nun gave it to me, and I knew it was for him when the time was right. He was so weak, and could not begin to open any letters, so I asked his wife to read it to him if she got the chance to do so; she told me that she would. My oldest said it was open, on the bedside table when she was with him on Sunday.

He was taken off the IV pain med and was more aware on Sunday, said hi to Erin and her hubby, and then asked Erin to come closer. He said to Erin "I love you, Erin!" He had a special smile and comment for each of her kids as she described the pictures that they had drawn for him.

My son, knowing the heritage of the family, including a smidgeon of Brothertown Indian, wants to learn their word for "Grandfather" as soon as possible. His grandfather has more Brothertown than does my son. But they both share the Irish... my son is having an especially hard time. All of my three will sorely miss him. Perhaps, only my oldest grandson will have memories that last that are actual memories, but the four and five year olds may remember from pictures of the good times at the cottage that they shared, and the fish that were caught there. Though I have not been there, they love to tell me about it!

St Pio, be with him and all of us. If it be God's Will, we ask for a miracle of healing, and more time here with all the family. But if it is his time, help him to prepare, and to have a peaceful death.
St Joseph, pray for him, and also for a happy death.

Hail Mary, Full of Grace, the LORD is with Thee. Blessed art thou amongst women, and BLESSED is the Fruit of thy womb, JESUS.
Holy Mary, Mother of God, Pray for us, NOW and AT THE HOUR of our death, Amen.

Lord If it is time for him to come Home, receive him into your arms, in Jesus' Most Holy and Precious Name.

6:57 PM DFIL did not go home today. He is ruuning a fever of 104 degrees--yes, 104, and not responding.

10/12/05 7:45 AM Just received word from both my youngest (son) and my oldest (daughter) that Grandpa Gordon passed away about an hour ago.

May he rest in peace. God bless you, Gordon.

Dear (____),

I simply cannot let anymore time go by without telling you of the impact you have had on my life. Long ago, I told you that I loved you, and I meant it. Long ago, I told you that you were ever welcome, and I meant that also.

You are my father in law; you always will be my father in law; you may be the only father in law I will ever have.

I remember the talks we had in our home, in our back yard, and I have missed them. I often was left thinking after you had gone home of some of the things we said. I remember days after we brought our first daughter home, when you and my Dad sat in the kitchen holding her ... and have missed both of you. I have pictures to remind me of what has been lost.

Though at times pressured to exclude you from my family, I could not. I simply said.. "I invite everyone, and who comes, comes: who doesn't... doesn't..." It was the only way I could be. It is still the way I am. I cannot INTENTIONALLY hurt anyone, though I know that I have at times done so. I could not choose to voluntarily exclude a parent from our family functions, ever. You belonged there with the family.

I remember when we wanted kids, and had so many infertility problems, and (dh) was agreeable to go the adoption route. Some said that they could not do that, that they could not accept adopted children as their own. Some simply refused to go through the study involved. But we were lucky, because our children, all three of them, were NEVER treated as though they did not belong.

I loved your Dad, and your Mother immensely. Your Dad did not have the chance to meet any of our kids. Your Mom did. I will never forget her, ( _____). She just accepted them, from a generation that often did NOT. When we brought our second daughter home, and then took her over to see Great-Grandma E___.... her comment to me that day sealed her in my heart forever. She held our child, looked at me and said... "I was so hoping that this time you would get a boy, to carry on the (last) name!"

To so totally accept my girls in that way was so special to me, as it settled once and for all that our children WERE our children, not just in our eyes, but in the extended family's as well. Not once did I ever feel that you or anyone in our family felt any differently. I missed your mother when she died, (____), almost as much as (dh) missed your Dad. I think her prayers were answered in a very special way when our son was born... to carry on the (last) name.

I loved your brother S___ and his wife ...they also loved my kids as though there was no difference in the way that they had come to be ours from any of the others. I hear wonderful stories about them when I work at Oakridge. I have missed them, also, as with B__ and her husband, J___, etc. M--- once told me that I was the only one (in law) who called her Aunt M---, and she loved it.

That acceptance was very meaningful to me, because I have always felt that God Himself chose our family from the beginning of time. Since we have met Erin's birthmother and birthfather and learned of many small things that happened long before the girls were even conceived... (especially with bmom.... she played at my best friend, Nan's house as a child!)... it is even more strongly confirmed in my heart.

I have prayed for you and all of your family for many years. I have often wondered if there had been any way that I had hurt any of you, and wanted to make amends if I had. Please forgive anything that I may have done that caused you pain, (_____).

I have also prayed very hard for you in a special way-- that you would find a way back home to the Church of your parents and your youth, and I continue to hope that you can. It is almost my fondest prayer and hope.

Fr Corapi says in his talks... "If you really love someone, you want that person in Heaven someday". I really love you, (____). It is not just something that I am saying, it is heartfelt. I have always, and will always. I have missed you....

When I married your son, I also took his family as mine. In my heart, I always intended to care for our parents if they ever needed it, especially after I became a nurse.
I did for my father.
Things happened, and there would have been no way that (P____) could or would have accepted any help from me.
I will for my mother if she ever needs help.
And if there is anything that I can do for you, I will, though the time factor enters into the picture. All you or K___ have to do is call me. If I can help in any way, I will be there.

My nursing skills and my prayers are all that I can offer you, as little as they may seem. God bless you!


A daughter in law,

Sunday, October 09, 2005

"A Distant Thunder"... It's almost here.....

I just heard about this, and went to look at the website, watched the conversation with the cast after reading the synopsis, then watched the trailer. Wondered how much the movie will cost, and how many will be bought in order to get it into schools, churches, everywhere?

I will have to see it before I would think of really recommending it, but so far, it sounds like it will be excellent as a source making people think.

As the director says, Hollywood shows one side... but there are other voices. And as the main actress says, most have NO idea what Partial Birth Abortion really is... they hear the "abortion ban" part of "partial birth abortion ban" and they think they know... but they don't get past the '...ABORTION Ban" part to really learn what it is that happens, and why it needs to be stopped.

Go read the website, watch the conversation, and the trailer... it is due out this month.

One of my heroes beatified... Blessed Clemens August von Galen

Benedict XVI Praises Memory of Bishop Who Defied Nazism

On the Day of Beatification of Cardinal von Galen

VATICAN CITY, OCT. 9, 2005 ( Benedict XVI presented newly beatified Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, a German bishop who defied Nazism, as a model for believers.

In his address at the midday Angelus, the Pope explained that the new blessed left a perennial message: "Faith cannot be reduced to a private sentiment, which, perhaps, is hidden when it becomes something uncomfortable; rather, it implies coherence and witness in the public realm in favor of man, justice and truth."

Earlier today, Cardinal José Saraiva Martins, prefect of the Congregation for Sainthood Causes, presided over the beatification Mass in St. Peter's Basilica and, by request of the Holy Father, read the apostolic letter with which the Pope inscribed Clemens August von Galen (1878-1946) in the catalogue of the beatified.

At the end of the celebration, in which thousands of German pilgrims filled the basilica, the Pope went to the Altar of the Confession to venerate the cardinal's relics and pay homage to his "heroic courage to defend the rights of God, of the Church and of man, which the National Socialist regime was violating in a grave and systematic way, in the name of an aberrant neo-pagan ideology."

Later, the German-born Benedict XVI dedicated the start of his weekly Angelus greeting to pilgrims to recall the biography of the "Lion of Muenster," who spoke out against Adolf Hitler.

The bishop of Muenster "protected the Jews and the weakest people, whom the regime considered as debris that had to be eliminated," recalled the Holy Father.

Eucharistic strength

Benedict XVI recalled that Pope Pius XII elevated Bishop von Galen to cardinal in February 1946.

The German died a month later, "surrounded by the veneration of the faithful, who recognized in him a model of Christian courage," said Benedict XVI.

In the homily at the beatification Mass, Cardinal Saraiva Martins explained that von Galen drew from the Eucharist the strength to offer his testimony.

To "the deafening martial music and the empty phrases of the megaphones from the speakers' platforms," the cardinal said, "he countered with the veneration of the holy Eucharist."

Labels: , ,