The Importance of Tradition

Since the resignation of Benedict XVI has now become official, one of the next steps was to seal the Papal Apartments.  This, among the tradition of destroying the Papal ring is a tradition that stems from a time past when the transition from Pope to Pope didn’t always go smoothly.  As the Cardinals move towards the next conclave, they take steps to insure that there would not be any fraudulent goings on in regards to anyone tampering with or creating documents in the name of the previous Pope so as to not lead the faithful into scandal – all stuff that might be part of a Dan Brown novel, but yet based in historical events.

Check out the video to see the process:


“Positive Orthodoxy?” What does that mean?

norbert_fillDonum Ipsum this week was much more informative than I was expecting! My previous Donum experiences have been more reflective, but this week was a fantastic learning opportunity and I loved what everyone brought to the table!

After watching a video from the Catholicism series, the twelve people gathered discussed the different aspects of Pope Benedict’s time as Pope. We talked about how he put emphasis on love, the things the Church says “yes” to instead of the usual “don’t do this and that”, and finally how he wanted to push towards a faith more centered on Christ. I had known little about the Pope’s opinions and it was so interesting to hear how these three ideals had changed (or not) everyone’s home parishes.

Next we learned about what was up next for the Catholic Church. Matt gave an awesome summary of how the process will be different and what we can expect for the coming weeks. Whether you agree with the Pope’s decision or it left you uneasy, I think everyone is excited to see what happens next and who we will call our new Pope! Being too young to remember much of the last conclave, I’m enthusiastic to see the process (even if it is a little different than usual!)

We ended our discussion with some opinions on who we hoped the next Pope would be, how his Papacy will affect the Church, and what we thought of the cardinals up for the position. Everyone discussed what each candidate would bring to the position and it seems like there could be some big changes in store for us in the near future.

The evening ended with prayer and good conversation (a lot of laughing in the middle too!). It was a great discussion and I’m excited to see what comes up next for Donum Ipsum.

Ever Wondered How A Pope is Elected?

If you have ever wondered how a pope is elected, the Vatican Insider has created a handy dandy interactive site that explores the process.  The Catholic Church will soon be moving into conclave as Pope Benedict XVI officially retires on February 28.  Click here to see what will happen next.

Brace Yourselves, A Conclave is Coming

In case you haven’t heard, Benedict XVI is resigning the Papacy.  This is the first time in over 600 years that this has happened.  There had been some speculation of it happening from Vatican insiders, and there have been many interesting posts about how the Pope has foreshadowed his own resignation by visiting, multiple times, the tomb of Pope St. Celestine V – a Pope who abnegated the Chair of St. Peter in the year 1294.  Though this is an unusual occurrence and many are debating the decision of the pontiff, the fact is that the Church will be called to move forward and elect a leader within 20 days of the current Pope’s resignation.  If you would like to know more about the process, please follow click here for a link about the upcoming conclave.  Let us pray that the Spirit may move through the Church to bend the wills of the Cardinals to elect a pontiff that will be able to help guide the Church through tumultuous times and bring us all closer to Christ.

A New Pope for Our Times

This morning, I was shocked to hear of the imminent resignation of His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. Words can not truly express how I feel about this momentous occcasion in the life of the Church. While I am pleased that our Pope will be able to retire in peace as he wished to do so many years ago, I am still deeply saddened that the man who I have come to know and love as my Soverign Pontiff will be leaving his office. Benedict XVI has been very influential in the formation of my faith life ever since he was elected on April 19, 2005. I credit him and also Blessed John Paul II with bringing me back to the Church and renewing my faith after some years of lapsity. Through the writings and teachings of Pope Benedict I have come to a greater appreciation of the Church’s teaching and the message of Jesus Christ. I believe that Benedict XVI is a truly holy man, and a man who, through his ministry as Sucessor of St. Peter and Vicar of Christ has exemplified the central teaching of Christ, that we may love one another as Christ has loved us. I wish the Pope a happy retirement and may the Holy Spirit guide the College of Cardinals in selecting a new shepherd for the Church. His Holiness may never know the great impact that he has had on my life, nor how much he has meant to me, but still I must say thank you to Pope Benedict XVI. Thank you for everything.

by Matthew Mahon

A Saint for you Educators – St. John Bosco

Today we remember Saint John Bosco, Priest – (1815 – 1888).- John Bosco had particular concern was for the young in Turin, where, as in so many cities in the 19th century, the industrial revolution was bringing enormous movements of population and consequent social problems, especially for the young men who came there to work. He devoted himself to their care, first of all by means of evening classes, to which hundreds came, and then by setting up a boarding-house for apprentices, and then workshops for their training and education. Despite many difficulties, his enterprise grew, and by 1868 over 800 boys and young men were under his care. To ensure the continuation of his work, he founded a congregation, which he named after St Francis de Sales, and today the Salesians continue his work all over the world. Patron Saint of Educators and Students.

(Thank you to Daylesford Abbey) 

The Church Striving to Change Hearts and Raise Awareness about the Dignity of Women in Bombay

In a church that seems to be so vast and sometimes confusing, it is great to see that it has the courage to speak out and attempt to help change structures, understandings, and hearts to more fully appreciate and respect the dignity of all.  This is a short story that highlights the efforts of the Archdiocese of Bombay to raise awareness about and help influence the culture that has allowed the objectification of women to the extent that gang-rape is prevalent.  Check out the article and the short video for more information by clicking here.


Servant of God, Brother Juniper

Servant of God Brother Juniper (1210- 1258) – “Would to God, my brothers, I had a whole forest of such Junipers,” said Francis of this holy friar. We don’t know much about Juniper before he joined the friars in 1210. Francis sent him to establish “places” for the friars in Gualdo Tadino and Viterbo. When St. Clare was dying, Juniper consoled her. He was devoted to the passion of Jesus and was known for his simplicity.

Several stories about Juniper in the Little Flowers of St. Francis illustrate his exasperating generosity. Once Juniper was taking care of a sick man who had a craving to eat pig’s feet. This helpful friar went to a nearby field, captured a pig and cut off one foot, and then served this meal to the sick man. The owner of the pig was furious and immediately went to Juniper’s superior. When Juniper saw his mistake, he apologized profusely. He also ended up talking this angry man into donating the rest of the pig to the friars!

Another time Juniper had been commanded to quit giving part of his clothing to the half-naked people he met on the road. Desiring to obey his superior, Juniper once told a man in need that he couldn’t give the man his tunic, but he wouldn’t prevent the man from taking it either. In time, the friars learned not to leave anything lying around, for Juniper would probably give it away. He died in 1258 and is buried at Ara Coeli Church in Rome.


(Thank you to UCatholic)

St. Thomas Aquinas

St. Thomas Aquinas, priest and doctor of the Church, patron of all universities and of students. His feast day is January 28th. He was born toward the end of the year 1226. He was the son of Landulph, Count of Aquino, who, when St. Thomas was five years old, placed him under the care of the Benedictines of Monte Casino. His teachers were surprised at the progress he made, for he surpassed all his fellow pupils in learning as well as in the practice of virtue.

When he became of age to choose his state of life, St. Thomas renounced the things of this world and resolved to enter the Order of St. Dominic in spite of the opposition of his family. In 1243, at the age of seventeen, he joined the Dominicans of Naples. Some members of his family resorted to all manner of means over a two year period to break his constancy. They even went so far as to send an impure woman to tempt him. But all their efforts were in vain and St. Thomas persevered in his vocation. As a reward for his fidelity, God conferred upon him the gift of perfect chastity, which has merited for him the title of the “Angelic Doctor”.

After making his profession at Naples, he studied at Cologne under the celebrated St. Albert the Great. Here he was nicknamed the “dumb ox” because of his silent ways and huge size, but he was really a brilliant student. At the age of twenty-two, he was appointed to teach in the same city. At the same time, he also began to publish his first works. After four years he was sent to Paris. The saint was then a priest. At the age of thirty-one, he received his doctorate.

At Paris he was honored with the friendship of the King, St. Louis, with whom he frequently dined. In 1261, Urban IV called him to Rome where he was appointed to teach, but he positively declined to accept any ecclesiastical dignity. St. Thomas not only wrote (his writings filled twenty hefty tomes characterized by brilliance of thought and lucidity of language), but he preached often and with greatest fruit. Clement IV offered him the archbishopric of Naples which he also refused. He left the great monument of his learning, the “Summa Theologica”, unfinished, for on his way to the second Council of Lyons, ordered there by Gregory X, he fell sick and died at the Cistercian monastery of Fossa Nuova in 1274.

St. Thomas was one of the greatest and most influential theologians of all time. He was canonized in 1323 and declared Doctor of the Church by Pope Pius V.

St. Francis De Sales

Today we remember St Francis de Sales, Bishop & Doctor (1567 – 1622).- He was born near Annécy, (France) studied the law, and was ordained to the priesthood. His first mission was to re-evangelize the people of his home district, who had gone over to Calvinism. Always in danger of his life from hostile Calvinists, he preached with such effectiveness that after four years most of the people had returned to the Church. He was then appointed bishop of Geneva, and spent the rest of his life reforming and reorganizing the diocese, and in caring for the souls of his people by preaching and spiritual guidance.
St Francis taught that we can all attain a devout and spiritual life, whatever our position in society: holiness is not reserved for monks and hermits alone. He wrote that “religious devotion does not destroy: it perfects,” and his spiritual counsel is dedicated to making people more holy by making them more themselves.

(Thank you to Daylesford Abbey)