Te Deum Laudamus! Home
The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
From the dialogue On Divine Providence by Saint Catherine of
Siena, virgin and doctor
(Cap. 167, Gratiarum actio ad Trinitatem: ed. lat., Ingolstadii 1583, f. 290v-291)
I tasted and I saw
Eternal God, eternal Trinity, you have made the blood of Christ so
precious through his sharing in your divine nature. You are a mystery
as deep as the sea; the more I search, the more I find, and the more
I find the more I search for you. But I can never be satisfied; what
I receive will ever leave me desiring more. When you fill my soul
I have an even greater hunger, and I grow more famished for your
light. I desire above all to see you, the true light, as you really are.
I have tasted and seen the depth of your mystery and the beauty of
your creation with the light of my understanding. I have clothed
myself with your likeness and have seen what I shall be. Eternal
Father, you have given me a share in your power and the wisdom
that Christ claims as his own, and your Holy Spirit has given me the
desire to love you. You are my Creator, eternal Trinity, and I am your
creature. You have made of me a new creation in the blood of your
Son, and I know that you are moved with love at the beauty of your
creation, for you have enlightened me.
Eternal Trinity, Godhead, mystery deep as the sea, you could give
me no greater gift than the gift of yourself. For you are a fire ever
burning and never consumed, which itself consumes all the selfish
love that fills my being. Yes, you are a fire that takes away the
coldness, illuminates the mind with its light and causes me to know
your truth. By this light, reflected as it were in a mirror, I recognize
that you are the highest good, one we can neither comprehend nor
fathom. And I know that you are beauty and wisdom itself. The food
of angels, you gave yourself to man in the fire of your love.
You are the garment which covers our nakedness, and in our hunger
you are a satisfying food, for you are sweetness and in you there is no
taste of bitterness, O triune God!
Law professor John Coverdale wrote this letter to the New York Times. It has not been published.
"Like many other people, I have felt in recent weeks that some news outlets have unfairly targeted Pope Benedict XVI in connection with sexual abuse by priests.
In part this is a question of emphasis, with daily coverage of what may or may not have been minor mistakes in judgment decades ago and almost no attention to the major efforts Pope Benedict has made to remedy what is undeniably a horrible situation.
With some frequency, however, I have observed what strikes me as deliberate distortion of the facts in order to put Pope Benedict in a bad light. I would like to call your attention to what seems to me a clear example of this sort of partisan journalism: Laurie Goodstein and Michael Luo’s article “Pope Put Off Move to Punish Abusive Priest” published on the front page of the New York Times on April 10, 2010. The story is so wrong that it is hard to believe it is not animated by the anti-Catholic animus that the New York Times and other media outlets deny harboring.
Canonical procedure punishes priests who have violated Church law in serious ways by “suspending” them from exercising their ministry. This is sometimes referred to as “defrocking.” (According to Webster’s New Collegiate Dictionary to “defrock” is to deprive of the right to exercise the functions of an office. )
A priest who has been suspended may request that he be released from his vows of celibacy and other obligations as a priest. If granted, this petition to be “laicized” would leave the former priest free to marry. Laicization (which is altogether different from defrocking and which may apply to a priest who has committed no crime but simply wishes to leave the priesthood) is not further punishment. It is something a priest who has already been punished by being suspended might well desire, as do some priests who have committed no crime and who have not been suspended..
The priest who is the subject of the article had already been punished by being suspended long before his case reached Rome. He asked to be laicized. Cardinal Ratzinger delayed his laicization not his “defrocking” as the article incorrectly says. He had been defrocked years earlier when he was suspended from the ministry. All of this is clear without reference to outside sources to anyone who knows something about Church procedure and reads the article with sufficient care. It is anything but clear, however, to a normal reader.
My complaint here is not that the article misuses the word “defrock” but rather that by so doing it strongly suggests to readers that Cardinal Ratzinger delayed the priest’s removal from the ministry. Delaying laicization had nothing to do with allowing him to continue exercising the ministry, from which he had already been suspended.
Not only does the article fail to make these distinctions, it positively misstate the facts. Its title is “Pope Put off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.” [italics added] It describes Cardinal Ratzinger’s decision as involving whether the abusive priest “should be forced from the priesthood” [italics added]. Even a moderately careful journalist would have to notice that all of this is incompatible with the fact (reported in the second paragraph of the article) that the priest himself had asked for what Cardinal Ratziner delayed.
Had the facts been reported accurately, the article would have said that the priest was promptly punished by being removed from the ministry for his crimes, but that when he asked to be reduced to the lay state, which would have given him the right to marry within the Church, Cardinal Ratzinger delayed granting the petition. That, of course, would hardly have merited front page treatment, much less a headline accusing the Pope of “Putt[ing] off Move to Punish Abusive Priest.”
The second half of the article reports that the priest later worked as a volunteer in the youth ministry of his former parish. This is obviously regrettable and should not have happened, but he was not acting as a priest (youth ministers are laymen, not priests).
A careful reader who was not misled by the inaccuracies in the first part of the article would, of course, realize that his volunteering as a youth minister had no factual or legal connection with Cardinal Ratzinger’s delaying the grant of laicization. The article does not say in so many words that it did, but an average reader might well conclude that there was some connection when he is told that “while the bishop was pressing Cardinal Ratzinger to defrock Mr. Kiesle, the priest began volunteering in the youth ministry of one of his former parishes.”
Any one of these errors might be due to carelessness, but their cumulative effect, coupled with the decision to make this front page news accompanied by a two column photo of Cardinal Raztinger’s signature, strongly suggests to me that something worse than carelessness is involved. I urge you to look into whether some major news outlets have indeed been engaged in a campaign to vilify the Pope and into whether their desire to do so has caused them to slip below minimum standards of professional journalism"
John Coverdale is Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law
Saint John tells us that perfect love casts out fear (cf. 1 Jn 4:18). And so I say to all of you, "Do not be afraid!" How many times we hear those words in the Scriptures! They are addressed by the angel to Mary at the Annunciation, by Jesus to Peter when calling him to be a disciple, and by the angel to Paul on the eve of his shipwreck. To all of you who wish to follow Christ, as married couples, as parents, as priests, as religious, as lay faithful bringing the message of the Gospel to the world, I say, do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church.Te Deum Laudamus! Home
Dear brothers and sisters, I couldn't find the time to prepare a true homily. I would simply like to invite each one to personal meditation, presenting and emphasizing a few of the phrases from today's liturgy, which lend themselves to the prayerful dialogue between ourselves and the Word of God. The word, the phrase that I would like to propose for shared meditation is this great statement by Saint Peter: "We must obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29). Saint Peter is standing in front of the supreme religious institution, which normally one must obey, but God is above this institution, and God has given another "order": one must obey God. Obedience to God is freedom, obedience to God gives him the freedom to oppose the institution.
And here the exegetes draw our attention to the fact that Saint Peter's reply to the Sanhedrin is almost identical, word for word, to Socrates' response to his sentence in the tribunal of Athens. The tribunal offers him freedom, liberation, but on the condition that he not continue to seek God. But seeking God, the search for God is for him a superior mandate, it comes from God himself. And a freedom purchased with the renunciation of the journey to God would no longer be freedom. So it is not these judges that he must obey - he must not buy his life by losing himself - but he must obey God. Obedience to God has the primacy.
Here it is important to emphasize that this is a matter of obedience, and that it is precisely obedience that gives freedom. The modern age has spoken of the liberation of man, of his full autonomy, and therefore also of liberation from obedience to God. It is said that obedience should no longer exist, man is free, he is autonomous: nothing else. But this autonomy is a lie: it is an ontological lie, because man does not exist on his own and for himself, and it is also a political and practical lie, because collaboration, the sharing of freedom, is necessary. And if God does not exist, if God is not an imperative accessible to man, what remains as the supreme imperative is only the consensus of the majority. As a result, the consensus of the majority becomes the last word, which we must obey. And this consensus - we know this from the history of the last century - can also be a "consensus in evil."
So we see that so-called autonomy does not truly liberate man. Obedience to God is freedom, because it is the truth, it is the imperative that stands before all human imperatives. In the history of humanity, these words of Peter and of Socrates are the true beacon of liberation for man, who is able to see God and, in the name of God, can and must obey not so much men, but Him, and thus free himself from the positivism of human obedience. The dictatorships have always been against this obedience to God. The Nazi dictatorship, like that of Marxism, cannot accept a God who stands above ideological power; and the freedom of the martyrs, who recognize God precisely in obedience to divine power, is always the act of liberation by which the freedom of Christ comes to us.
Today, thank God, we do not live under dictatorships, but there exist subtle forms of dictatorship: a conformism that becomes obligatory, to think the way everyone else thinks, to act the way everyone else acts, and the subtle forms of aggression against the Church, or even the less subtle ones, demonstrate how this conformism can really be a true dictatorship. What matters to us is this: we must obey God rather than men. But that supposes that we truly know God, and that we truly want to obey Him. God is not a pretext for one's own will, but it is really He who calls and invites us, if it is necessary, even to martyrdom. Therefore, confronted by this word that begins a new history of freedom in the world, let us pray above all to know God, to know God humbly and truly, and, knowing God, to learn the true obedience that is the foundation of human freedom.
Let's take a second passage from the first reading: Saint Peter says that God has raised Christ to his right hand as leader and savior (cf. v. 31). "Leader" is a translation of the Greek term "archegos," which implies a much more dynamic vision: the archegos is the one who shows the way, who goes before, it is a movement, a movement upward. God has raised him to his right hand - therefore speaking of Christ as archegos means that Christ walks before us, precedes us, shows us the way. And being in communion with Christ means being on a journey, ascending with Christ, it is following Christ, it is this upward ascent, it is following the archegos, the one who has already gone before us, who precedes us and shows us the way.
Here, obviously, it is important that we be told where Christ arrives, and where we must also arrive: hypsosen - on high - ascending to the right hand of the Father. Following Christ is not only an imitation of his virtues, it is not only living in this world, as much as we are able, as Christ did, according to his word, but it is a journey that has a destination. And the destination is the right hand of the Father. There is this journey of Jesus, this following of Jesus that ends at the right hand of the Father. It is to the horizon of this following that the entire journey of Jesus belongs, including his arrival at the right hand of the Father.
In this sense, the destination of this journey is eternal life at the right hand of the Father in communion with Christ. Often today we are afraid of talking about eternal life. We talk about things that are useful for the world, we show that Christianity also helps to improve the world, but we do not dare to say that its true destination is eternal life, and that it is from this destination that the criteria of life come. We must again come to understand that Christianity remains a "fragment" if we do not think about this destination, that we want to follow the archegos to the height where God is, to the glory of the Son who makes us sons in the Son, and we must again come to recognize that only in the grand perspective of eternal life does Christianity reveal all of its meaning. We must have the courage, the joy, the great hope that eternal life exists, it is true life and from this true life comes the light that also illuminates this world.
If it can be said that, even apart from eternal life, from the promised Heaven, it is better to live according to Christian criteria, because living according to truth and love, even if it is under many persecutions, is in itself a good and is better than all the rest, it is precisely this will to live according to the truth and according to love that must also open to all the breadth of God's plan for us, to the courage to have already the joy in anticipation of eternal life, of the ascent following our archegos. And Soter is the Savior, who saves us from ignorance about the last things. The Savior saves us from solitude, he saves us from a void that remains in life without eternity, he saves us by giving us love in its fullness. He is the guide. Christ, the archegos, saves us by giving us the light, giving us the truth, giving us the love of God.
Let's look at another verse: Christ, the Savior, has given Israel conversion and forgiveness of sins (v. 31) - in the Greek text the term is metanoia - he has given penance and forgiveness of sins. This for me is a very important observation: penance is a grace. There is a tendency in exegesis that says: Jesus in Galilee had announced a grace without condition, absolutely unconditional, therefore also without penance, grace as such, without human preconditions. But this is a false interpretation of grace. Penance is grace; it is a grace that we recognize our sin, it is a grace that we know we need renewal, change, a transformation of our being. Penance, being able to do penance, is the gift of grace. And I must say that we Christians, even in recent times, have often avoided the word penance, it has seemed too harsh to us. Now, under the attacks of the world that speak to us of our sins, we see that being able to do penance is grace. And we see that it is necessary to do penance, that is, to recognize what is wrong in our life, open ourselves to forgiveness, prepare ourselves for forgiveness, allow ourselves to be transformed. The suffering of penance, of purification, of transformation, this suffering is grace, because it is renewal, it is the work of divine mercy. And so these two things that Saint Peter says - penance and forgiveness - correspond to the beginning of the preaching of Jesus: metanoeite, which means be converted (cf. Mk. 1:15). So this is the fundamental point: metanoia is not a private thing, which would seem to be replaced by grace, but metanoia is the arrival of the grace that transforms us.
And finally a word from the Gospel, where we are told that those who believe will have eternal life (cf. Jn. 3:36). In faith, in this "transformation" that penance gives, in this conversion, in this new way of life, we find life, true life. And here I am reminded of two other texts. In the "Priestly Prayer," the Lord says: this is life, to know you and the one you have consecrated (cf. Jn. 17:3). Knowing the essential, knowing the decisive Person, knowing God and the One he has sent is life, life and knowledge, knowledge of realities that are life. And the other text is the Lord's reply to the Sadducees about the Resurrection, where from the books of Moses the Lord proves the fact of the Resurrection, saying: God is the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob (cf. Mt. 22:31-32; Mk. 12:26-27; Lk. 20:37-38). God is not the God of the dead. If God is God of these, they are alive. Those who are written in the name of God participate in the life of God, they live. And so to believe is to be inscribed in the name of God. And so we are alive. Those who belong to the name of God are not dead, they belong to the living God. In this sense we must understand the dynamism of the faith, which is a writing of our name in the name of God, and so an entry into life.
Let us pray to the Lord that this may happen and that, with our life, we may really know God, so that our names may enter into the name of God, and our existence become true life: eternal life, love and truth.
English translation by Matthew Sherry, Ballwin, Missouri, U.S.A.
Mary of Nazareth International Center is part of an evangelization project to publicize the mystery of the Mother of God through technology.
The Association is formed by Catholic laypeople and submitted to the A.O.C.T.S. (Assembly of Catholic Bishops in the Holy Land), who delegated Bishop Marcuzzo, bishop in Nazareth, to accompany the project "Mary of Nazareth".
This associated website was created to provide in-depth texts for the visitors to an International Marian Center or simply those who visit maryofnazarth.com on the Internet.
The website is divided into ten topics compiling different questions: for each one they have done worldwide research asking experts for their help and they have submitted questions to the most apt authors they could find.
Theologians, exegetes, historians, scientists and archeologists have been asked to offer a synthetic and user-friendly answer, to ensure that the website can become a reference tool at all levels. The most serious topics are treated side by side with less central but more current events, which are of general interest to the public, such as apparitions, miracles, works of art, various scientific perspectives, or the great witnesses.
This site is for everyone and is available in multiple languages.
This is the tape of yesterday afternoon's show. I was contacted yesterday afternoon and was asked if I would be available to answer some questions regarding Medjugorje and the Vatican Commission. I was very surprised to hear at 5PM when I tuned in that Patrick Madrid ( a very "open-minded skeptic" regarding Medjugorje) was also on the show. I was not told this by the station manager when I accepted the invitation [nor was Patrick told that Rev. Buchlein would be on the show. Al Kresta, being the fair-minded man that he is, allowed both sides to be presented]. Patrick has been very outspoken regarding Medjugorje and has a strong following. He prides himself in having read many books and articles about Medjugorje. Unfortunately he has never been there but I do hope that one day he may change his mind and and make a pilgrimmage and really see and experiece the "fruits." [Does one need to go to Bethlehem to believe Jesus was born? I lived in the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno from 1980 - 1983 and was discerning a vocation with the order of Franciscans responsible for the parish of St. James before it all happened in June of 1981. I saw good fruits. I turned skeptic in 2005 after not turning a blind-eye to bad fruits upon reading several documents from the diocese. I felt that the local bishop's objections were very reasonable, and this came after reading books by the chroniclers, Fr. Laurentin and Fr. Rupcic. Moving on...]. This would only happen if he were to be truly "open-minded" and leave his skepticism at home or at the bottom of apparition hill. I'm not sure if Patrick knows what the phrase "open-minded" really means but listen to the interview [Oh, Father - what disappointing thing to hear out of a priest]. If we ever do see the day when the apparitions of Medjugorje are fully approved I'll be interested in seeing if Patrick has been converted or if he will continue to wallow in his "open-mindedness" and I will continue to pray for him. [Converted? Converted to what? Is belief in "Our Lady of Medjugorje" required for salvation? Setting aside the condescending tone, is such a statement in harmony with the Catechism of the Catholic Church? What does the Church teach about private revelations? See below]In the interview, at one point, Fr. Buchlein acknowledges that you don't have to believe in Fatima or Lourdes, but he then obliges Patrick, in his blogpost above, to believe in Medjugorje if it is approved?
Christopher West Takes Sabbatical to Reflect on Approach
By Patrick B. Craine
Does "anything go" as long as it is open to life?
EXTON, Pennsylvania, April 12, 2010 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Renowned Catholic writer and speaker Christopher West has taken a six-month sabbatical to consider his approach in presenting the Church's teaching on sexuality.
Seeking “personal and professional renewal,” West will cease teaching and has cancelled his speaking engagements for the period. The announcement came from the Theology of the Body Institute, where West serves as a research fellow and faculty member, and indicates that the decision was mutual between West and the Institute's board of directors.
The time away is intended to allow West “to reflect more deeply on fraternal and spiritual guidance he has received in order to continue developing his methodology and praxis as it relates to the promulgation of the Theology of the Body.” The announcement also indicates that West must “attend to family needs.”
While no direct reference is made to it, the sabbatical follows a controversy over an alleged lack of modesty in West's approach that began last spring....[continue reading West at LSN]
The limits of the papacy
During the preparation of the Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Pope Paul VI proposed that the constitution’s discussion of papal primacy include the affirmation that the Pope is “accountable to the Lord alone.” This suggestion was rejected by the Council’s Theological Commission, which wrote that “the Roman Pontiff is also bound to revelation itself, to the fundamental structure of the Church, to the sacraments, to the definitions of earlier councils, and other obligations too numerous to mention.” Pope Paul quietly dropped his proposal.
Yet the image persists that the Catholic Church is a kind of global corporation, with the pope as CEO, the bishops as branch managers, and your parish priest as the local salesman. And according to that image, the pope not only knows what’s going on all the way down the line, he gives orders that are immediately obeyed all the way down the line. Or, to vary the misimpression, the Church is like the United States Marine Corps—there, at least according to legend, when the Commandant issues an order, everyone from the highest-ranking four-star to the lowliest Parris Island recruit staples a salute to his forehead and does what he’s told.
This distorted and distorting image of the pope as dictatorial CEO or Marine commandant is, admittedly, reinforced by the language of the Code of Canon Law. Thus Canon 331 states that the “Bishop of the Church of Rome … has supreme, full, immediate and universal ordinary power in the Church, and he can always freely exercise that power.” Yet, while, both theology and law tells us that the pope enjoys the fullness of executive, legislative, and judicial authority in the Church, his exercise of that power is circumscribed by any number of factors.
It is circumscribed by the authority and prerogatives of local bishops, According to the teaching of Vatican II, bishops are not simply branch-managers of Catholic Church, Inc.; rather, they are the heads of local Churches with both the authority and the responsibility to govern them. Moreover, the pope.....[continue reading Weigel at the Denver Catholic Register]
INVESTIGATIVE COMMISSION ON MEDJUGORJE MEETS
VATICAN CITY, 13 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Press Office of the Holy See today published the following communique:
"The International Investigative Commission on Medjugorje met for its first session on 26 March 2010."
"The Commission, presided over by Cardinal Camillo Ruini, His Holiness' vicar general emeritus for the diocese of Rome, is composed of the following members: Cardinal Jozef Tomko, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples; Cardinal Vinko Puljic, Archbishop of Vrhbosna, president of the Bishops' Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina; Cardinal Josip Bozanic, Archbishop of Zagreb and vice-president of the Council of European Bishops' Conference; Cardinal Julian Herranz, president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Archbishop Angelo Amato, S.D.B., prefect of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Msgr. Tony Anatrella, psychoanalyst and specialist in Social Psychiatry; Msgr. Pierangelo Sequeri, professor of Fundamental Theology at the Theological Faculty of Northern Italy; Fr. David Maria Jaeger, O.F.M., consultant to the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts; Fr. Zdzislaw Jozef Kijas, O.F.M. Conv., relator of the Congregation for the Causes of Saints; Fr. Salvatore M. Perrella, O.S.M., teacher of Mariology at the Pontifical Marianum Faculty of Theology; and Fr. Achim Schutz, professor of Theological Anthropology at the Pontifical Lateran University as secretary. Msgr. Krzysztof Nykiel, an officer of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith serves as additional secretary."
"Other experts have also participated in the commission's work: Fr. Franjo Topic, professor of Fundamental Theology in Sarajevo; Fr. Mijo Nikic, S.J., professor of Psychology and Psychology of Religion at the Philosophical and Theological Institute of the Society of Jesus in Zagreb, Fr. Mihaly Szentmartoni, S.J., professor of Spirituality at the Pontifical Gregorian University, and Sr. Veronica Nela Gaspar, professor of Theology at Rijeka."
"As announced previously, the work of the Commission will be carried out with the utmost reserve. Its conclusions will be submitted to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith for study."
OP/ VIS 20100413 (320)
[...Our joy today is] overshadowed by the public and obstinate betrayal of religious life by certain religious. Who ever could have imagined that religious congregations of pontifical right, would openly organize to resist and attempt to frustrate an apostolic visitation, that is, a visit to their congregations carried out under the authority of the vicar of Christ on earth, to whom all religious are bound by the strongest bonds of loyalty and obedience?
Who could imagine that consecrated religious would openly, and in defiance of the bishops as successors of the apostles publicly endorse legislation containing provisions which violated the natural moral law in its most fundamental tenets – the safeguarding and promoting of innocence and defenseless life, and fail to safeguard the demands of the free exercise of conscience for health care workers?
We witness a growing tendency among certain consecrated religious to view themselves outside and above the body of Christ as a parallel institution looking in upon the Church with an autonomy which contradicts their very nature. We have certainly come a long way from the total loyalty to the Roman Pontiff which was at the heart of the foundation of the Society of Jesus and of every religious congregation. Religious life lived in the heart of the Church, and for that reason religious congregations are, by their very nature, bound in strictest loyalty to the Roman Pontiff. It is of course an absurdity of the most tragic kind to have consecrated religious knowingly and obstinately acting against the moral law.
The spiritual harm done to the individual religious who are disobedient and also the grave scandal caused to the faithful and people in general are of incalculable dimensions.[...]
Featuring: Dr. Robert Fastiggi
Topic: "Marian Apparitions and the Catholic Church"
Where: St. Anastasia Catholic Church; 4571 John R. Road; Troy, MI 48085
When: 7 - 8:30 PM - Thursday, April 15, 2010 (in church)
Cost: Free Will Offering
Sponsor: HOLY TRINITY APOSTOLATE
RSVP: Mary 586.739.5455; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Hamtramck to have vigil for Polish plane crash victims
Santiago Esparza / The Detroit News
Hamtramck -- A candlelight vigil and a memorial mass will be held Tuesday in Hamtramck to honor the nearly 100 Polish leaders who died in a plane crash this morning while traveling to Russia.
The vigil will begin at 6 p.m. at Zussman Park across from City Hall, where a wreath will be laid. Then a procession will travel to nearby Queen of Apostles Church.
"It will be quite an affair," said Virginia Skrzwniarz, executive vice president of the Piast Institute in Hamtramck. "This affects so many people."
Russian and Polish officials said there were no survivors in the crash. In all, 97 people -- including the Polish president, his wife, high profile clergy and political and military officials -- were on the flight headed to events marking the 70th anniversary of the massacre in Katyn forest of thousands of Polish officers by Soviet secret police, according to the Associated Press.
The crash killed not only much of the nation's current political leadership, but also people who were to run in the next election, said Thaddeus Radzilowski, president of the institute and a lector in Russian History at the University of Michigan campus in Dearborn.
"The number of people who were killed is just an incredible list," he said Saturday. "The people who were in charge of everything are gone."
Radzilowski said the location where the massacre took place is considered cursed by many Poles. He said the crash will do nothing to dispel that thought.
"The place is really cursed," he said, echoing the sentiment he said many people of Polish descent hold about the region. "They are really going to believe that now."