Archive for February, 2008

As I pondered revising my remarks about cohabitation and premarital relations, written about twenty years ago, I wondered if maybe I had made a mistake by addressing bad behavior instead of giving the gravity to good or wholesome behavior. I suppose I thought that everyone should already know right from wrong. This presupposition does not hold today and I am not sure it did then. Maybe 40% or more of those asking for marriage in the Church are already living together? Large numbers of such couples are no longer seeking true marriage, ever!

How should couples act prior to marriage? I would like to offer certain recommendations:

FIRST, the whole dating scene is a mess. We should opt for the older practices of courtship. Dating today is an excuse for “making out” and compromising virginity. Younger children should not go out on dates and older teens should be chaperoned. Young adults need the mindset that stepping out with the opposite sex is not simply for a good time, but part of the search for a future mate. Dating is transitory. Courtship plays for keeps!

SECOND, both men and women should prize their purity and do all they can to preserve it as a gift for their future spouse. There should be no double-standard for men. As for women, it is not true feminism or liberation to be as sleazy as certain men. Restraint in this area shows strength of character and a discipline that will keep them in good stead within marriage. Today, we must also contend with sexually transmitted diseases which infect millions, sometimes with lethal consequences. Sex kills! This is contrary to its very purpose. The only sure way to remain clean of infection is for a couple to remain pure and to enter upon the marriage bed undefiled.

THIRD, modesty in speech and dress should rule the day. Vulgar flirtation and immodest dress is in vogue starting with pre-teens and going into adulthood. Many complain that styles are so risqué that it is hard for true ladies to find decent clothing. Some women have resorted again to making their own dresses. Men and women are not the same. One pretty but flirtatious girl who had every boy’s eye remarked to me that she stopped short of getting the boys’ motors running. Poor thing, I explained, boys’ motors are always running! The best of young men can be quite weak in the flesh and they need good girls to keep them good. Young men should not lie or compel favors from women with their physical strength. Women should not tempt men with their clothes, or lack of clothes, and suggestive speech. Those who play games with the flames of passion are likely to get burned.

FOURTH, we should avoid those persons, places or things that can lead us into sin. Bad companions are problematic for both children and adults. Those who would lead us into sin and refuse efforts at conversion or change are best avoided. Girls who like dangerous bad boys often pay a terrible price and the loss of a good reputation. Boys should hang out with nice girls, the kind they might find regularly at church. Church groups, respectable public places, clean movies, and a parent’s dinner table are great places to meet and spend time. Bars and secluded car parks are no good. Definitely they should not share motel rooms or cohabitate. When couples are alone the defenses often go down. Things can also corrupt relationships, like bad movies, dirty magazines and lewd television programs.

FIFTH, while showing compassion to those who make mistakes, we need to retain a sense of shame for scandalous activity. I recall a teenage girl who had a child and everyone kissed and admired the beautiful baby. We were thankful that a prolife decision was made. However, I was troubled that she showed no remorse or embarrassment at having given away her virginity or having an illegitimate child. Most babies in the past born to such girls were given up for adoption. The stigma served a purpose and its eradication is no service to other girls who might make a similar mistake. God draws good out of evil. But our sin remains and needs confession and absolution.

SIXTH, it is best to pursue love interests among friends who share our faith and values. Just because another person is Catholic is no longer insurance that he or she takes our faith and morals seriously. Mixed marriages (with non-Catholics) should be discouraged but, in any case, the young man and woman should be on the same page about morality and the significance of marriage. If they should decide to get married, they should both affirm that divorce will never be in the cards. Chastity is important because fornication before marriage opens the door to adultery after marriage. Once you take sex out of marriage it is very hard to put back into the box. Spouses should be best friends. There will be differences, but also many preoccupations held in common.

SEVENTH, we should insist upon a component of prayer and worship with those who are courted. If the couple do what is right, pray regularly and go to Mass together, the odds are that they will remain faithful to marriage until one of them dies.

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A young monk arrives at the monastery.

He is assigned to helping the other monks in copying the old canons and laws of the church by hand.

He notices, however, that all of the monks are copying from copies, not from the original manuscript.

So, the new monk goes to the head abbot to question this, pointing out that if someone made even a small error in the first copy, it would never be picked up!

In fact, that error would be continued in all of the subsequent copies.

The head monk, says, “We have been copying from the copies for centuries, but you make a good point, my son.”

He goes down into the dark caves underneath the monastery where the original manuscripts are held as archives in a locked vault that hasn’t been opened for hundreds of years.

Hours go by and nobody sees the old abbot…

So, the young monk gets worried and goes down to look for him.

He sees him banging his head against the wall and wailing.

“We missed the R!”

“We missed the R!”

“We missed the R!”

His forehead is all bloody and bruised and he is crying uncontrollably.

The young monk asks the old abbot, “What’s wrong, father?”

With a choking voice, the old abbot replies,

“The word was…



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Do you ever like to listen to audio programs while driving in the car? I recently purchased several interesting sets. If interested, here are some recommendations for you:


Church History

2,000 YEARS OF PAPAL HISTORY by Fr. John O’Malley, S.J.
(36 talks on 12 CDs)

Basic Teachings & Sacraments

WHO IS JESUS? by Fr. Brian O. McDermott, S.J.
(18 talks on 6 CDs)

(36 talks on 12 CDs)

THE SACRAMENTS by Fr. Thomas Richstatter, O.F.M.
(12 talks on 4 CDs)

The Scriptures

THE OLD TESTAMENT by Fr. Michael D. Guinan, O.F.M.
(36 talks on 12 CDs)

THE GOSPEL OF MATTHEW by Fr. Donald Senior, C.P.
(12 talks on 4 CDs)

(18 talks on 6 CDs)

Prayer & Spirituality

(12 talks on 4 CDs)

THE SPIRIT CENTERED LIFE by Dr. Patricia D. Fosarelli
(24 talks on 8 CDs)

LET YOURSELF PRAY by Fr. William J. Byron, S.J.
(12 talks on 4 CDs)

Saints & the Christian Life

ST. FRANCIS OF ASSISI by Br. William Short, O.F.M.
(24 talks on 8 CDs)

ST. IGNATIUS LOYOLA by Fr. John O’Malley, S.J.
(12 talks on 4 CDs)

Moral Teachings

(24 talks on 8 CDs)

(12 talks on 4 CDs)

(12 talks on 4 CDs)

Non-Christian Religions

(12 talks on 4 CDs)

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When a couple comes to see me with an interest in getting married, I ask them what might be considered a silly or stupid question, “Are you sure you want to go through with it?” It is a question to which I return months later at the end of the marriage formation. Almost always the couple says they are certain; if however, one or the other is not, everything is put on hold. I recall one fellow who was always sure when his girl was in the room with him. However, when I got him alone, he confessed to being unsure. I gave them a couple of weeks to talk it out and when they returned the lady insisted that he was sure now. He said he was as well. I asked her to leave the parlor. Guess what? Suddenly he was no longer sure! I refused to witness the marriage and the would-be bride had a fit. She wanted babies and figured this poor guy was her last shot. Next I heard, the priest in a neighboring parish did the deed. But my conscience was clear.

I recall another guy who wanted to do the “right thing” as he had gotten a girl pregnant. When talking to them I noticed a certain coldness from his intended. Separating them, I turned to her and said bluntly, “You don’t love him, do you?” She answered with candor, “No, but he got me pregnant!” I refused to do the marriage. Everyone else told them that they should get married. They left and I heard nothing more for several months. Then the guy showed up at my door. He explained that they had gotten married by a justice of the peace. He said, “Father, I want to thank you because although we did not listen to you, you were the only person who said not to do it.” He explained that she had lost the baby and the very next day she left him.

I remember another couple seeking marriage that has remained in my thoughts these many years. Kathleen was a nice Irish woman in her thirties. She really wanted to get on with her life and have a family. She met Omar and fell in love. She was a faithful Catholic. Her would-be groom was an Egyptian Muslim. I explained that marriage was possible, but would not be easy. One thing required was a dispensation. The Catholic party had to pledge that he or she would do all in his or her power to raise any children in the Church. She was readily agreeable. However, Omar immediately banged on the table and stood up. He shouted, “No child of mine will be a Christian! They will be Muslim like me and my father before me!” Kathleen and I were both taken aback by the outburst. We talked about the opposition and she began to cry. She insisted, “Don’t worry Father, I will change him.” Change him, when he was planning to take her back to his country with him? I tried to get it across to her that there would be no changing this guy. Indeed, it was evident that he intended to change her. Soon all her supports would be stripped away. No, this was a bad situation. In any case, you do not marry a person to change them. Such intentions almost always cause fighting and disappointment. I said that no marriage was possible in the Church and urged her to reconsider her choice. They married out of the Church and left the country. She remained close to her parents for a short time and then there was silence. Her family has not heard from her in years. The rumor was that he had two other wives waiting for them back home.

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Recently it was thrown into my face, “You’re a priest, what do you know about sex and marriage?” Apparently, the person who made this comment did not know much more than I did, because her marriage was crumbling around her. Did she think I was born yesterday and beamed down like television’s Mr. Bean? I grew up in a family and experienced the witness of my parents. It is true that as a celibate priest, and as a man who cherishes a half-century of unblemished virginity, I might seem somewhat removed from the experiences of most married men— if not most men in general given our promiscuous society. However, something must be said for the education given all priests and that insight which arises as a confessor of souls and a counselor to parishioners. While couples know marriage from their limited personal experience of it; priests develop a wider appreciation through a vicarious experience of the joys and sorrows of the marital state. Couples come to our doors eager to get married and sometimes a spouse comes alone to discuss a marriage that has gone sour. We see the mystery of love from every angle. Priests are also prophets of a Christian vision of marriage that is neither understood nor lived out in so much of a secular society.

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This is one of the funniest things I have ever heard. Warning, certains words and themes may be offensive. However, if you are sick and tired of unsolicited phone call offers, and have a tough skin, this is just too much!

I cannot recommend deceit, but this is real poetic justice! I laughed so hard I put myself into a coughing fit. It is such a wicked tube video that I may have to delete it later.

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I just found out this eveing that Father Philip Luther had passed away on January 9, 2008. He was my roommate in college seminary and a good friend. He was in the last class from the Seminary of St. Pius X in Erlanger, Kentucky. He studied theology at Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD. He was one of my best friends in the whole world. He visited me a few months back (October) and stayed here at the rectory for several days. I took him on a tour of certain spots in DC and we hanged out like old times. He was still thin and I had grown fat. He was good looking and I was, well, the way I am. Each morning you could find him jogging around the area on his stay. I promised him that some time soon I would visit him back in Nebraska. Now it is too late. For two decades, a few cards and letters and a rare phone call kept the friendship alive.

Even when younger, he showed exceptional maturity and goodness. The rest of us were rascals and all too often feigned holiness; Phil was the real deal, very close to the heart of the Master. He was soft-spoken, but solid in the faith. He had a heart that easily loved and forgave others. God bless him! Our loss is heaven’s gain!

My whole life I have only had a few real close friends, I suppose you could count them on one hand. There is one less now in this world. But I take solace from the fact that there will be one sympathetic voice pleading my case when I find myself at judgment.

Thanks to Mark Buckley for getting the word to me. 

My dear friend was dead over a month and I did not know.  Mark said that “Cancer was discovered in early December and he died in early January.” Phil’s sister Polly said it was found in the stomach and had moved to the liver. He was complaining about stomach trouble while visiting me and had trouble eating. He seemed so healthy otherwise. He even found a relative in my parish, Mary Doyle, originating from the same small town. They were distant relatives, maybe fourth cousins. What a small world! Rest in peace, Phil! See you in the next world!



Thursday, Jan 17, 2008 – THE PLATTSMOUTH JOURNAL

Fr. Philip Luther, age 50, of Superior died Jan. 9, 2008, in Omaha.

He was priest for the Diocese of Lincoln, serving St. Joseph Catholic Church Superior and Sacred Heart in Nelson.

He is survived by his sister, Kathleen Luther, Fremont; brother and sister-in-law, Douglas and Sandy Luther, Fremont; brother, Eric Luther, Kearney; sister, Polly Luther, Kearney; niece and spouse, Brenda and Roger Kenkel; nephew, Michael; great-niece, Karley, Miracle and Caly, Korbin.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Louisa.

Mass of Christian Burial was Monday, Jan. 14, at Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, with the Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz, Bishop of Lincoln, officiating.

He was buried in Calvary Cemetery, Lincoln.

Condolences may be left at http://www.bmlfh.com

Butherus, Master & Love Funeral Home, Lincoln, (402) 488-0934


philluther.gifA KNIGHT OF COLUMBUS

Father Philip Luther, a Catholic priest for the Diocese of Lincoln left a lasting gift to the people of the Diocese upon his death on January 9, 2008. Father Luther was only 50 years old when he died, but he did not let his young age keep him from making charitable plans with his estate. Thanks to Father Luther’s planning, the Catholic Foundation of the Diocese of Lincoln will receive $54,000 from a life insurance policy that Fr. Luther purchased with the Knights of Columbus. The wonderful aspect of Father’s gift is that he left it to three endowment funds. A gift to an endowment is never spent; only the interest is used each year. So five, ten, twenty and 100 years from now, Father Luther’s gift will continue to help retired priests, Catholic schools, religious education programs, and St. Gregory the Great Seminary.

Fr. Luther was born May 19, 1957 in Holdrege, Nebraska. He was ordained a priest for the Diocese of Lincoln in 1987. He was an assistant pastor at St. Teresa Parish in Lincoln from 1987 to 1989. He then became assistant pastor at the Church of the Holy Spirit in Plattsmouth from 1989 to 1990. He was then named pastor of St. Mary Parish in Dawson and St. Ann Parish in Schubert where he served until 1993. Father Luther then served for eight years as pastor of St. James Parish in Trenton and Holy Family in Palisade. On June 12, 2001 he was named pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Superior and Sacred Heart Parish in Nelson. He served those two parish communities until his death.



Fr. Philip Luther
January 9, 2008

Christian Biography of Fr. Philip Luther

Fr. Philip Luther, was born to Donald and Louisa Luther on May 19, 1957 in Holdrege, Nebraska. He passed away on January 9, 2008 at Creighton University Medical Center, in Omaha, Nebraska, at the age of 50 years, 7 months and 20 days.

Fr. Luther was the 5th of 6 children, the oldest child died before the rest were born. He graduated from Holdrege High School. Attended Lincoln School of Commerce for one year. Traveled and worked a year and then worked two years at Pamida in Holdrege. Then entered St. Pius X Seminary for college. Then was sent to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary, Emmitsburg, Maryland for Theology. He was ordained on May 30, 1987, the 100th Anniversary of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. His assignments have been: St. Teresa in Lincoln for 2 years, Church of the Holy Spirit, Plattsmouth for 1 year, than appointed pastor of St. Mary’s in Dawson and St. Anne, Shubert, for 3 years, the past 8 years he was pastor of St. James, Trenton and Holy Family, Palisade. On June 17, 2001 he was assigned to St. Joseph Catholic Church, Superior and Sacred Heart Catholic Church, Nelson, Nebraska, where he was serving until his death.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Donald and Louisa.

Survivors include his sisters, Kathleen Luther of Fremont, Nebraska, Polly Luther of Kearney, Nebraska and brothers, Douglas and wife Sandy of Fremont, Nebraska, and Eric of Kearney, Nebraska; niece, Brenda Kenkel and husband Roger, nephew Michael and great-niece Karley, Miracle and Caly, Korbin; other relatives and a host of friends.

January 14, 2008 11:00 AM

OFFICIANT: The Most Reverend Fabian W. Bruskewitz Bishop of Lincoln

LOCATION: Cathedral of the Risen Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska

BURIAL: Calvary Cemetery, Lincoln, Nebraska

Rosary Services: Saturday, January 12, 2008 at 7:00 PM Cathedral of the Risen
Christ, Lincoln, Nebraska

Visitation will be held on Sunday starting at 1:30 PM at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Superior;and the Rosary Service will be at 3:00 PM also at the Church with a lunch to follow

Visitation: Friday 10:00 AM to 9:00 PM; Saturday 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM at Butherus, Maser & Love Funeral Home, 4040 A. Street, Lincoln, Nebraska

Megrue-Price Funeral Home is charge of local arrangements

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  1. The nicest thing about the future is that it always starts tomorrow.
  2. Money will buy a fine dog but only kindness will make him wag his tail. 
  3. If you don’t have a sense of humor, you probably don’t have any sense at all.
  4. Seat belts are not as confining as wheelchairs.
  5. A good time to keep your mouth shut is when you’re in deep water. 
  6. How come it takes so little time for a child who is afraid of the dark to become a teenager who wants to stay out all night? 
  7. Business conventions are important because they demonstrate how many people a company can operate without. 
  8. Why is it that at class reunions you feel younger than everyone else looks?
  9. Scratch a dog and you’ll find a permanent job. 
  10. No one has more dri ving ambition than the boy who wants to buy a car. 
  11. There are no new sins; the old ones just get more publicity.
  12. There are worse things than getting a call for a wrong number at 4 AM. Like this: It could be a right number. 
  13. No one ever says “It’s only a game” when their team is winning.
  14. I’ve reached the age where the happy hour is a nap.
  15. Be careful reading the fine print. There’s no way you’re going to like it. 
  16. The trouble with bucket seats is that not everybody has the same size bucket. 
  17. Do you realize that in about 40 years we’ll have millions of old ladies running around with tattoos? (And rap music will be the Golden Oldies!) 
  18. Money can’t buy happiness – but somehow it’s more comfortable to cry in a Corvette than in a Yugo. 
  19. After 70 if you don’t wake up aching in every joint, you are probably dead.

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The human heart is both wonderful and terrible.

Jesus tells a parable about a rich man who ate and drank well, had all the luxuries of life, while a beggar Lazarus was starving on his doorstep. The poor man’s only consolation was the dogs that licked his sores. Imagine that, reduced so low that he was food for beasts. Both died and still the rich man could not break out of his selfishness. While in fiery torment, he sees that Lazarus is now healed and well-provided for in the heavenly abode of Abraham. Instead of rejoicing in God’s goodness and justice on the beggar’s behalf, he wants Lazarus to dip his finger in water to relieve his own dry misery among the flames. A vast abyss between them makes this impossible. Remember, he never lifted a finger to help the beggar when he was just outside his locked door. Of course, more than a door was locked; his heart had been utterly closed to the poor man. Next in the parable, he then wants Lazarus to warn his brothers. He still cares nothing for the beggar, but there is some movement of the heart toward his family.

Jesus would ask far more of us. He tells us to go so far as to love the enemy, those who hate us. The human heart is a great mystery. In the immaculate heart of Mary and the sacred heart of Jesus we see what our hearts might become, willing to suffer all indignities for others.

Even bad people often love their families and friends to some degree, although it is often because it pleases them to do so. But sometimes hearts grow cold and others, indifferent. Why is it that a heart reaches out to one but not the other? Why is it that hearts are often unmoved by the plight of the poor, the hurting, the elderly, and the unborn threatened by abortion?

There is hope of course, and evidence that sometimes stony hearts can be transformed and be made soft. One instance comes readily to mind, that of the fireman. He is paid for his service, but what he does has nothing to do with money. He will run into a burning building to save a complete stranger, knowing that he risks his own life. Sometimes, he runs in and is carried out. Jesus said it best: there is no greater love than for one to lay down his life for another.

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While shopping in a food store, two nuns happened to pass by the beer, wine, and liquor section. One asked the other if she would like a beer. The second nun answered that, indeed, it would be very nice to have one, but that she would feel uncomfortable about purchasing it. The first nun replied that she would handle that without a problem. She picked up a six-pack and took it to the cashier. The cashier had a surprised look, so the nun said, “This is for washing our hair.” Without blinking an eye, the cashier reached under the counter and put a package of pretzel sticks in the bag with the beer. “The curlers are on me.”

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American Life League illustrates Planned Parenthood’s philosophy of promoting recreational sex to keep business booming.

Planned Parenthood used $305,000,000 of your tax-payer money to sell sex and to perform abortions.

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