Tuesday, November 30, 2010

WikiLeaks On The Last Conclave

Apparently, they were surprised when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected.

Which makes me wonder: Who did they want to win?

Just something to ponder. More on a tangential topic later.

Double Edit: The Catholic Herald has some additional words on the matter. The guy US intelligence allegedly had pegged as the ideal choice: Cardinal Danneels from Belgium. Really, guys, I mean, what the hell?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

What Is A Bigger Story Re: World Religions?

A. The continued dissolution of the Anglican Communion (Catholic ordinariate set up in January, five bishops converting already, current Anglican synod, etc.).

B. A comment made by the Pope about condoms.

C. Asia Bibi's death sentence in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy against Muhammed.

D. The continued wholesale liquidation of Christianity in the Middle East.

E. The persecution and murder of Christians in India.

F. The Dalai Lama's decision to abdicate his role as head of Tibet's government in exile.

Why would the most significant of these stories hold its place as such?

What of these stories would be the least significant?


I could probably have added another half dozen or so topics to this list. The one common factor would be that, in a less stupid world, they would all take precedence over the Condom Crap.

Friday, November 26, 2010

SHOCKER!! Anglican Conservatives Reject Global Unity Plan

Nobody saw that coming.

Here's the story from WWRN:

Leaders of conservative Anglicans on Wednesday rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.

The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, is intended to contain deep splits within the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the authority of the Bible. The communion represents churches affiliated with the Church of England in more than 160 countries.

The Church of England's governing General Synod voted Wednesday to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.

So we'll just kick the can down the road for another couple of years and then drag it back out then for another good beating. Fantastic.

To be fair, the headline is a little misleading, as the article goes on to point out.

The traditionalists dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed," but the plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church...

Liberals in the Church of England fear the covenant would restrict the freedom of the national church. "It would ... make the Church of England subject to an outside power for the first time since Henry VIII," said a statement by one liberal group, Inclusive Church.

You can read more of the details at the link, but the bottom line is that the only thing we can be sure of at this point is further ecclesial decay across the pond.

Recall Rowan's points at the opening of the synod:

Speaking Tuesday at the opening of the Church of England General Synod, Williams said the covenant "offers the possibility of a voluntary promise to consult." He said it recognizes that disagreement may continue and cause ruptures in the communion.

"Now the risk and reality of such rupture is already there, make no mistake.
The question is whether we are able to make an intelligent decision about how we deal with it," Williams said.

Yeah. I'm going to say the answer is no on that one.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Giving Thanks For English Pilgrims

We've already reported on the five Anglican bishops who have announced their intentions to swim the Tiber. Well, we've got a few updates on the whole situation across the pond, and I figured what better day to post some of this than a day about English religious cast-offs overcoming barrenness and starvation for prosperity and bounty thanks to support from a group not their own.

First, you've got some great commentary on CNA from Keith Newton, the Anglican bishop from Richborough who is converting.

Bishop Newton explained that although the issue of the ordination of women as Anglican bishops has been an important factor in his decision, it is “not the most significant.”

Given the sneers of some who would paint the recent waves of conversion as misogynist and/or homophobic, he pretty much had to throw this out there.

“I hope you will understand that I am not taking this step in faith for negative reasons about problems in the Church of England but for positive reasons in response to our Lord’s prayer the night before he died the ‘they may all be one’,” the bishop continued.

This is the other side of the above-mentioned coin. Many of these Anglicans are portrayed as folks who are just taking their ball and going home. The folks who want to make this about the shambling wreck that is the Anglican Communion are, I guess, just too prideful to understand that it's not the ugliness of Canterbury that is the reason for the departure. It's the beauty of Rome. They can say all they want about how this is a movement driven by disillusionment. They are wrong. It's driven by hope.

While expressing sympathy with the position that Anglicans with traditional views need leadership at a “vital” time, he rejected the example of a leader who should “stay to the bitter end like the captain of a sinking ship.” Rather, he noted the scriptural image of the shepherd, who must lead his flock from the front rather than follow it from behind.

Methinks Mr. Newton has been reading our blog and enjoyed our representation of the Barque of Elizabeth:

This is all very important because, per Zenit, the new ordinariate should be set up by January.

And our usual question. What of Rowan?

I'm really not sure. Let's examine some comments he's made in a recent interview, as reported by the Telegraph and Zenit.

“Obviously my reaction to the resignations is one of regret but respect - I know the considerations they’ve been through,” he said.

In charity, I'll buy this.

“There are still a great many Anglicans in the Church of England who call themselves traditionalist who have no intention of jumping ship at this point, who are at the moment in considerable confusion and distress.

But they don’t necessarily think if the Church of England isn’t working for them that the only option is Rome.”

Here's where Rowan might be losing it a little. He says this as though the other options available to these traditionalist Anglicans somehow involve the preservation of the Anglican Communion as it currently exists. I'm not sure where he's getting this idea from. The other options being contemplated all seem to relate to the standard Protestant move of splitting off and forming their own group.

This reminds me of certain teenage relationships where the guy is convinced the girl will never leave him because there's no way she could ever do better than him. There are plenty of fish in the sea, Rowan, especially when you can just manufacture your own.

For the first time, the Archbishop suggested that worshipers who join the Ordinariate could be allowed to stay in their Anglican churches under a plan to let Roman Catholics share Church of England facilities.

Not to sound harsh, but to hell with that idea.

And then there's this comment from the Zenit article:

"I don't think it's an aggressive act oriented to destabilizing the relations of the churches and it only remains to be seen the extent of the movement of which we are speaking."

"But prophetic?" Archbishop Williams asked. "
Perhaps, in the sense that the Catholic Church says in this way that there are ways of being Christian in the Western Church that are not restricted by historical Catholic-Roman identity. It's something we can talk about."

Is he really saying that this is something new? So those Anglican Use parishes that have been around for 30 years are just figments of our imagination? This strikes me as dishonest and unbecoming and what makes me a bit skeptical about how much "respect" Rowan has for the converts.

And why is it that anything the Pope does these days is a "significant shift"? Note how the Telegraph presented the issue:

Dr Williams suggested that the Pope’s offer to allow converts to retain some of their Anglican traditions within Roman Catholicism represented a significant shift in approach from the Vatican. “Here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity,” he said.

Still, I have to give him credit for trying to put a positive spin on things.

"I believe that the ordinariate helps people to value the Anglican heritage and patrimony. I am happy to praise God for this reason."

I'm not sure how this works. Starving people who leave where they are in order to go find food make the people left behind appreciate their starvation more? Something like that? Sure. Ok.

This isn't the end of this already-too-long post, though! As an added bonus, we've got a special guest star to chime in on this whole thing.


Yeah, they still have one. I'm not sure why. It's not that I'm against monarchies or anything. I think they're great. It's the whole fake monarch thing that bothers me.

Anyways, the Queen has decided to comment on the Anglican situation. This seems reasonable since she's supposed to be head of the Church there. Maybe she should take some of the responsibility for the current problems. Do you think Henry or Elizabeth would have let things go this far? Here's the BBC report:

The Queen has spoken of the "difficult" and "painful" choices facing the Church of England as she formally opened the Church's general synod.

Speaking at the synod meeting, she said: "The new synod will have many issues to resolve to ensure that the Church of England remains equipped for the effective pursuit of its mission and ministry.

"Some will, no doubt, involve difficult, even painful, choices.

"But Christian history suggests that times of growth and spiritual vigour have often coincided with periods of challenge and testing.

"What matters is holding firmly to the need to communicate the gospel with joy and conviction in our society."

The Queen also said a "preoccupation with our welfare and comfort" were not "at the heart of our faith" but rather "the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the one who made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant".

These comments seem very bizarre coming from a member of the British Royal Family.

"It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the well-being and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none," she said.

"Yet, as the recent visit of His Holiness the Pope reminded us, churches and the other great faith traditions retain the potential to inspire great enthusiasm, loyalty and a concern for the common good."

Hey! She said something nice about the Pope! And that was about it. So nothing from the Queen that's going to fix things. Crap. I had such hopes.

Luckily, Rowan took the mic afterwards and didn't disappoint.

Also speaking at the synod meeting, Dr Williams said he wanted to avoid the worst aspects of "secular partisanship" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.

He urged members not to reject the Anglican Covenant, a proposed agreement aimed at resolving disputes within the worldwide Anglican Communion.

The idea was first put forward in the Windsor Report in 2004 in response to tensions within the Anglican Communion following the consecration in the US of Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as a bishop in New Hampshire.

And it is an "illusion" to believe the Anglican Communion can "carry on as usual" in the face of splits over issues such as the consecration of openly gay bishops and same sex blessings, Dr Williams warned.

"If we ignore this, we ignore what is already a real danger, the piece-by-piece dissolution of the Communion and the emergence of new structures in which relation to the Church of England and the See of Canterbury are likely not to figure significantly," he said.

And we're back to Square 1, and Rowan talking out of both sides of his mouth. He knows he's in the middle of a schism. He claims that they can't go on as they have been. So what's the solution? To drag up the same stuff that's been proposed since 2004. I'm sorry, but what the hell is he thinking? The problem is that everyone except him is trying to force the Anglican Communion to take a stand. You can't fit everyone under the umbrella anymore. The Anglican Communion will continue its Death March, shedding members/groups as it goes. Rowan will wake up one day and realize where his lack of leadership has gotten him:

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Breakdown Of The Bernardin Machine

Thanks to the Sanctus blog for pointing out this ditty from the Catholic World Report.

Here's the deal. Many moons ago, a war was fought for the conscience of the Catholic Church in America over the broad issue of social justice. Despite the repeated insistence of the Pope(s), the decision was made to reject a hierarchy of concerns that would be topped, of course, by abortion. Instead, what was promoted was a thing called "the Seamless Garment." This became the shelter of the Pelosis of the world, who insisted that abortion could be back-burnered since there were "other issues" that held equal or similar weight (alleviation of poverty, health care, capital punishment, nuclear weapons, etc.).

Here is CWR to tell the tale.

In the years following Roe v. Wade, the US bishops debated the place of abortion in their agenda. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York argued for giving primacy to the abortion issue, while Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago wanted abortion integrated into a long and dubious list of “threats to life.” The latter view prevailed in the USCCB, and became known as the “Seamless Garment.” The upset election of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the USCCB presidency over Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, the media-described Bernardin “protégé,” is a posthumous victory of sorts for O’Connor.

Not that the Bernardin Left is now powerless in the Church in America. It retains plenty of influence in chanceries and Catholic classrooms across the country, not to mention—as evidenced by the close vote between Dolan and Kicanas—the episcopate itself. But the “Seamless Garment” bishops are running out of steam, stopped not only by their overtly political liberalism, which looks painfully passé in the light of the Democratic Party’s crack-up and the nation’s changing mood, but also by the moral fallout of their doctrinal liberalism.

Historians will likely note that what ultimately silenced and discredited the “Seamless Garment” bishops was not this or that silly political stance, but the sex abuse scandal. Before it erupted, bishops like Roger Mahony could command an audience on topics like amnesty; after it, their moral authority seemed shot. People were in no mood to be lectured on “justice” from bishops who hadn’t provided any to children in their own dioceses.

The irony of Bishop Kicanas’ defeat is that the fingerprints of dissenters are on the weapon that felled him: members of SNAP—who normally wouldn’t object to a politically liberal, doctrinally vague candidate like Kicanas—broadcast to the press his complicity in ordaining a priest who went on to molest minors. Kicanas’ explanation of the ordination to Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register managed to unite liberals and conservatives against him: SNAP found his refusal to apologize offensive, while his admission that he knew of the candidate’s homosexual experiences and ordained him anyway left conservatives dismayed.

So true. For a bit more history, you can check this entry over at EWTN. Here's what it comes down to, though. The "Bernardin Left" is losing out. Formerly, these folks ran the bishops of the nation via the USCCB. It's not that way anymore. The fact that +Dolan's victory has been cast the way it has been (fear and loathing) shows the terror these people are experiencing. I'm not predicting some sort of Catholic America renaissance, but we at least might get to see bishops acting like bishops again. Perhaps even listening to Rome on occasion, rather than the latest "pastoral review panel" or whatever they call it from the Conference.

Sanctus has it right:

Traditionalist Catholics and pro-life evangelicals will likely remember the "Seamless Garment" era not so fondly as a time when Catholic bishops seemed more eager to plead for leniency for serial killers on death row than for the protection of unborn children in the womb. The implications of this upside down and backward understanding of the sanctity of life are, dare I say it, apparent in those bishops' handling of the sex abuse scandal.

I'm not asking for the American equivalent of Trent. Just some sanity for a while would be nice. Dismantling The Machine is a good start. Stripping things back down to the individual level, rather than that of the collective, will help with lots of these problems. Sex abuse stuff being a huge one, but the trickle down to everything else is just as huge, I think.

Monday, November 22, 2010

What Is The USCCB To You And To Me?

Not a whole lot if anybody really bothered to look at it. In an earlier post, I had referenced Bishop Vasa's comments on this topic as mirroring Bishop Martino's opinion that was expressed back during the presidential campaign.

What he says is absolutely critical for any American Catholic, especially the bishops here. I've spent a while looking for transcripts but never found any. Luckily, Boniface over at Unam Sanctam pulled the commentary together and has provided what seems to be a good synopsis. Emphasis, when noted, is his own with varying degrees of extent provided by me.

[S]tatements from bishops’ conferences necessarily tend to be "flattened" and "vague," allowing certain teachings to "fall by the wayside through what could be called, charitably, a kind of benign pastoral neglect." While some call this compassion, “in truth, it often entails a complicity or a compromise with evil. The harder and less popular teachings are left largely unspoken, thereby implicitly giving tacit approval to erroneous or misleading theological opinions... I fear that there has been such a steady diet of such flattened documents that anything issued by individual bishops that contains some element of strength is readily and roundly condemned or simply dismissed as being out of touch with the conference or in conflict with what other bishops might do. USCCB pastoral documents are “are open to a broad range of interpretation and misinterpretation. ... A charge could be brought that such documents are intentionally vague and misleading. While I have had an occasional suspicion of this myself, it would be a serious defect of charity on my part to speculate about whether this is actually the case, I would say that the vagueness, whether intentional or not, has occasionally been a cause of concern and even consternation.

While [the USCCB] is both practical and desirable” for communication and joint efforts such as liturgical translations and disaster relief, there is “room for concern about the tendency of the conference to take on a life of its own and to begin to replace or displace the proper role of individual bishops, even in their own dioceses. It is easy to forget that the conference is the vehicle to assist bishops in cooperating with each other and not a separate regulatory commission. There may also be an unfortunate tendency on the part of bishops to abdicate to the conference a portion of their episcopal role and duty. Statements from individual bishops "are often stronger, bolder, more decisive, and thus more likely to be criticized as harsh and insensitive. Gentle appeals have their place but when constant appeal produces absolutely no movement toward self-correction, reform or conversion, then reproving and correcting, become necessary. At some point, there needs to be a bold resistance to the powers of the world in defense of the flock the fear of offending one contemptuously dissident member of the flock often redounds to a failure to defend the flock. It can redound to a failure to teach the truth.”

All sorts of goodies in there, so I hope you read the whole thing. Recent posts are all building together for a big rant I'm going to be giving soon, especially with this recent condom stuff. Stay tuned. I'll get there eventually.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Condom Crap

Let's go ahead and get this out of the way now.


Everybody got that?


Of course, that's not what you're hearing. What you're hearing is the media noise that he has reversed the Church's position on this issue.

He hasn't.

Here's the full excerpt, courtesy of Catholic World Report:

Q. On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on AIDs once again became the target of media criticism.Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.

A. The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.

I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work.
This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where
this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Q. Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

A. She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

So. Let's review. Condoms are bad because they contribute to the banalization of sexuality. They actually harm the sexual act and the participating parties. However, in some cases, you might have something happen where the use of a condom could be a positive step for someone's moral sense in that they are no longer thinking completely from selfish desires, ie- they think of the other person and don't want them to contract a disease.

What is the utility in all this? The Pope specifically mentions that it's the person's conscience taking a step towards realizing that they can't just do whatever they want. It doesn't make the act of using the condom ok.


For crying out loud, he's even using an example that completely takes contraception off the board (male prostitute). And yes, I'm making a bit of an assumption that the sex being brought up here is of the homosexual persuasion, but since he specifically mentions the intent as limited to not spreading infection, I think that's well within reason.

Anyways, this is all about the press trying to make Pope Benedict into another Paul VI. Remember what they did with Humanae Vitae? That's what this is. It's deja vu all over again. Do not let them get away with it. Tell the people you know the truth.

Do not let the Pope and the Church be smeared in this fashion. Do not let others be led astray.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Winds Of Change

Remember that old song by The Scorpions? It was about the Fall of Communism in East Germany. That's not what this post is about.

Instead, I'm talking about the election of Archbishop Dolan of New York as President of the USCCB. Whispers has been doing a fine job of keeping track of all this, and I hope you've been following. There are some major points to be considered here.

First, this was a big deal. Note Rocco Palma's comment:

Overturning a half-century of tradition for the bench, the result represents a seismic shift for the leadership of the nation's largest religious body, and a mandate for a continuance of the outspoken, high-profile leadership shown by Cardinal Francis George over his game-changing tenure at the conference's helm.

Like any cut that goes against the grain, somebody was going to get a bit embarrassed. By all accounts Bishop Kicanas of Tucson should have been the guy. Not that he felt this way, but there certainly was at least an aura that he was entitled to the job. After all, any of the prior elections would have elected him without much fanfare. My point is that the election of Archbishop Dolan was a deliberate and emphatic response. The big question is "Response to what?"

I'll get to that someday.

Second, you've got the reaction to the vote. Fr. Z produced a nice summary here. In a nutshell, a bunch of whackjobs went ape poop. I'm not sure how this can be interpreted as anything other than good.

Third, there's the ongoing role of the USCCB. I'm going to get some stuff up tomorrow about Bishop Vasa's recent comments that hearken back to Bishop Martino of Scranton. Just what are these guys going to do besides hold a bunch of meetings? Considering Archbishop Dolan's decision to step into the public square and punch the New York Times in the face, I think maybe (just maybe), there might be a decent role for the Conference going forward.

Anyways, make sure you also hit Rocco's update on the situation.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Pray For Russ Ford

I doubt anybody here has heard of him. He's currently serving a 25-year sentence in an Alabama penitentiary. I found out about him through dumb luck.

Here are the important parts. He converted to the Faith by the witness of another prisoner back in 1989. Since that time, he's lived in an apparently very anti-Catholic environment. That's not from the other prisoners. That's from the prison itself. As for the other inmates, he's helped to convert one hundred of them while incarcerated.

If only we could all be so wonderfully useful in the Church's mission to save souls.

His case is now up before the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. This man needs spiritual and temporal help. Here are some articles telling his story and how you can assist him. Please do so.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Is This Good Or Bad?

We need more exorcists.

Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.

The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.

"Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult," DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. "The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite."

More than 50 bishops and 60 priests signed up to attend, according to Catholic News Service, which first reported the event. The conference was scheduled for just ahead of the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which starts Monday in Baltimore.

Despite strong interest in the training, skepticism about the rite persists within the American church. Organizers of the event are keenly aware of the ridicule that can accompany discussion of the subject. Exorcists in U.S. dioceses keep a very low profile. In 1999, the church updated the Rite of Exorcism, cautioning that "all must be done to avoid the perception that exorcism is magic or superstition."

I guess this is good that we have people acknowledging the need and looking to do something about it. The fact that the demand is running so much higher now is kind of scary, though. With the admitted skepticism and the higher demand, we're probably looking at a total volume that's way bigger than what anyone thinks.

Bishop Thomas Paprocki of Springfield, Ill., who organized the conference, said only a tiny number of U.S. priests have enough training and knowledge to perform an exorcism. Dioceses nationwide have been relying solely on these clergy, who have been overwhelmed with requests to evaluate claims. The Rev. James LeBar, who was the official exorcist of the Archdiocese of New York under the late Cardinal John O'Connor, had faced a similar level of demand, traveling the country in response to the many requests for his expertise.

The rite is performed only rarely. Neal Lozano, a Catholic writer and author of the book "Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance" about combatting evil spirits, said he knows an exorcist in the church who receives about 400 inquiries a year, but determines that out of that number, two or three of the cases require an exorcism.

No one knows why more people seem to be seeking the rite. Paprocki said one reason could be the growing interest among Americans in exploring general spirituality, as opposed to participating in organized religion, which has led more people to dabble in the occult.

"They don't know exactly what they're getting into and when they have questions, they're turning to the church, to priests," said Paprocki, chairman of the bishops' committee on canonical affairs and church governance. "They wonder if some untoward activity is taking place in their life and want some help discerning that."

I don't see any other way to look at this than an admission of a rising influence of demonic powers. That's scary no matter what your perspective is. Just another reminder.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Defending Jesus

Archbishop Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul denied the Eucharist to a bunch of heretics and schismatics, per the Star Tribune. That's not how they worded it, but it's what actually happened.

About 25 college students and community members at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., were denied communion by Twin Cities Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Nienstedt because they were displaying rainbow buttons and sashes in protest of the church's stand on gay relationships.

The conflict between the archbishop and the group, mostly students from the Catholic St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, occurred during evening mass Sept. 26...

The St. John's action was coordinated by students, including members of People Representing the Sexual Minority (PRiSM), which represents gay and lesbian students and their friends and allies. That Sunday, according to those at the mass, about two dozen worshipers positioned themselves to receive communion from Nienstedt, who was saying his first student mass at the abbey. Some reached for the communion wafer but were denied it. Rather, the archbishop raised his hand in blessing.


Let's take a look at the reactions to all this.

St. Benedict theology junior Elizabeth Gleich, PRiSM vice president, said, "We were making a statement during the eucharist, and many have disagreed with that. But when we have no other way of dialoguing with our church, no other way of telling him how we feel, how else to do it than in liturgy?"

She said their complaint is with church hierarchy, not with the colleges...

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as the nation's largest civil rights organization on behalf of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, expressed outrage at Nienstedt's actions.

"Jesus didn't play politics with communion," Harry Knox, the HRC's religion and faith program director, said Tuesday in a statement. "He offered his body and blood for everyone."

Not a whole lot of effort by the paper to explain His Excellency's position. Just a bunch of whiny brats who have an inflated opinion of their own competency in this matter. The comments by Mr. Knox are especially stupid. He should be thanking Archbishop Nienstedt for preserving these poor shmoes from committing sacrilege (which maybe they kind of already did anyway by bringing this protest to the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass).

Since we're already talking about him, I also wanted to reproduce this bit from InsideCatholic. It's part of an interview with Archbishop Nienstedt where the subject of divorce comes up. This, my friends, is why the media cannot engage in any real discourse with the Church.

Crann: If same-sex marriage is a 'dangerous risk,' as you put it, in society, wouldn't also divorce, as well, be such a risk?

Nienstedt: Obviously. That's obvious. And it has been a dangerous risk and it is a dangerous risk to our society today.

Crann: And yet there has been no effort from the Catholic Church over the years to outlaw divorce.

Nienstedt: No, the church doesn't permit divorce. I don't know - the use of your word 'outlaw.'

Crann: In a civic sense.

Nienstedt: But divorce is not acceptable. Divorce is not part of our teaching, no.

Crann: No, but in a civil sense. And I suppose what I'm saying is there has been a difference historically in the secular and civil world with marriage and divorce and in the context of the Catholic Church and other churches, too. And I'm wondering if there always will be that difference or do you want to see the civil definition of marriage be more aligned with your church's definition.

Nienstedt: There is no difference between the civil and the religious definition of marriage because marriage comes to us by virtue of creation and our creator. And so the state does not establish marriage. Marriage came long before there was any government.

And so this is a natural reality, and it's defined by the natural law, what we call the natural law. And so it precedes any government. And government is meant to support marriage between a husband and a wife in order to give it a context for the raising of children and the protection of children.

Basically, the media tends to be ignorant and, when confronted with their ignorance, they run away. You can read the rest of the interview here.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Real Catholics

With all the stuff about Anglicans flying around lately, I almost missed this bit from The Baltimore Sun via Rorate:

Mount Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore on Sunday became the first congregation in Maryland to vote to break ties with the Episcopal Church and take steps to join the Roman Catholic Church.

The small Anglo Catholic parish at Madison Avenue and Eutaw Street was feeling increasingly alienated from the Episcopal Church as it accepted priests who did not believe in what most of the congregation saw as the foundations of the faith, according to Warren Tanghe, a former Episcopal priest who is now attending St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park and preparing for ordination in the Catholic church. Tanghe knows members of the parish, where he has assisted in the past, and said they also were uncomfortable when the church began ordaining women, gays and lesbians.

The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland issued a statement Monday about the vote, but both the bishop and the rector, the Rev. Jason Catania, declined to be interviewed. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Sean Caine, said the Catholic Church would welcome the congregation.

However, the process is not easy and the members will have to negotiate with the Episcopal Diocese to keep its building. Under Episcopal canons, the property is held in trust for the diocese and national church. However, the deed of the property is held in the name of the parish.

The small congregation has 45 members who were eligible to vote, and 28 voted on Sunday in an election that was overseen by Episcopal Diocesan officials. The vote was 24 in favor of leaving the church, two against and two abstentions. Mount Calvary would like to be an Anglican parish within the Roman Catholic Church.

The interesting bit comes from the Rorate comments and is something I've been wondering for a while now.

1.) How will these traditional Anglicans, especially the soon-to-be priests, feel when they begin to mix and mingle with the typical Novus Ordo priest, many of whom, at least in terms of liturgy and orthodoxy, are more entrenched in Protestantism than the Protestants? [this shunning of traditional priests already happens with many FSSP priests, so no need to pretend it's not a problem]

Hell, you don't even have to go that far. Traditionally minded Novus Ordo priests get shunned all the time.

2.) What does it say about the state of the Roman Catholic Church when Protestants have a Catholic identity tenfold greater than the average Novus Ordo "Catholic community"?

It says a lot. None of it's good, but it says a lot. My hope is that these Tiber-swimmers will have a net positive effect on the ostensibly Catholic Protestants that are trying to destroy the Church. It could happen. These Anglicans have lived through the auto-demolition of Anglicanism. I'm betting they fight like crazy to keep their new home from suffering the fate of the old one. That will mean being able to tell a lot of stories that may awaken the dissenters to the reality of what they are trying to do.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Remember That Middle Eastern Synod?

If you do, then you probably thought I'd forgotten about it. Well, you were right. It wasn't until the new apostolic exhortation came out that I was reminded. Anyways, here are the propositions that came out of it.

I wonder sometimes what the point of these things is supposed to be. If you read through the propositions, there's nothing extraordinary in there. Banal, I think, is a good description. Whatever problems there are in the Middle East, I'm not sure how this stuff is supposed to do them any good. Such meetings do provide prelates a chance to get together and swap ideas about what they are personally doing that's yielding progress. I suppose there's merit in that. Occasionally, you also get some good interventions on various topics, like this one Rorate provided from Bishop Raboula Antoine Beylouni:

Sometimes dialogue occurs here and there, in the Arab countries, such as in Qatar, where the Emir himself invites, at his expense, personalities from different countries and from the three religions: Christian, Muslim and Jewish. In Lebanon the Télélumiere and Noursat networks, and other television networks, sometimes broadcast programs on Islamic-Christian dialogue. Often a topic is chosen, and each side explains or interprets according to their religion. These programs are usually very instructive.

With my intervention, I wished to draw attention on the points that make these encounters difficult and often ineffective. It should be clear that we are not discussing dogma. But even the subjects of a practical and social order are difficult to discuss when the Koran or the Sunna discusses them. Here are some difficulties which we have faced:

- The Koran inculcates in the Muslim pride in being the only true and complete religion, taught by the greatest prophet, because he was the last one. The Muslim is part of the privileged nation, and speaks the language of God, the language of Paradise, the Arabic language. This is why, he comes to dialogue with a sense of superiority, and with the certitude of being victorious.

The Koran, supposedly written by God Himself, from beginning to end, gives the same value to all that is written: dogma that supercedes all law or practice.

In the Koran, men and women are not equal, not even in marriage itself where the man takes several wives and can divorce at his pleasure; nor in the heritage where man takes double; nor in the testifying before judges where the voice of one man is equal to the voice of two women, etc...

The Koran allows the Muslim to hide the truth from the Christian, and to speak and act contrary to how he thinks and believes.

In the Koran, there are contradictory verses which annul others, which gives the Muslim the possibility of using one or the other to his advantage, and therefore he can tell the Christian that he is humble and pious and believes in God, just as he can treat him as impious, apostate and idolatrous.

The Koran gives the Muslim the right to judge Christians and to kill them for the Jihad (the holy war). It commands the imposition of religion through force, with the sword. The history of invasions bears witness to this. This is why the Muslims do not recognize religious freedom, for themselves or for others. And it isn’t surprising to see all the Arab countries and Muslims refusing the whole of the “Human Rights” instituted by the United Nations.

Faced with all these interdictions and other similar attitudes should one suppress dialogue? Of course not. But the themes that can be discussed should be chosen carefully, and capable and well-trained Christians chosen as well, as well as those who are courageous and pious, wise and prudent... who tell the truth with clarity and conviction...

We sometimes deplore certain dialogues on TV, where the Christian speaker isn’t up to the task, and does not give the Christian religion all its beauty and spirituality, which scandalizes the viewers. Worse yet, when sometimes there are clergyman speakers who, in dialogue to win over Muslims call Mohammed the prophet and add the Muslim invocation, known and constantly repeated: “Salla lahou alayhi was sallam”.

Powerful, powerful stuff. Especially in light of the recent massacre in Iraq. Not content with merely pointing out the problems, His Excellency all provided a potential solution:

Finally I would like to suggest the following:

Like the Koran spoke well of the Virgin Mary, insisting on her perpetual virginity and miraculous and unique conception in giving us Christ; just as Muslims take her greatly into consideration and ask for her intercession, we should turn to her for all dialogue and all encounters with the Muslims. Being the Mother of us all, she will guide us in our relations with the Muslims to show them the true face of Her Son Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind.

If it pleased God that the Feast of the Annunciation was declared a national feast day in Lebanon for Christians and Muslims, may it also become a national feast day in other Arab countries.

Of course, this being a good idea, none of it is reflected in the synod propositions, which outright ignore the problems he brought up in the first place. Consider:

Propositio 40
Interreligious dialogue

Christians in the Middle East are called upon to pursue dialogue with the followers of other religions, bringing hearts and minds closer together. For this to happen, they, along with their partners, are invited to work to fortify interreligious dialogue, to strive for the purification of memory through the forgiveness for the events of the past, and to seek a better future together.

In their daily lives, they are to endeavour to accept one another in spite of their differences, working to build a new society in which fanaticism and extremism have no place.

The synod fathers would like to see drawn up a formation plan which helps people to be more open, for use in teaching establishments as well as in seminaries and novitiates. This will help build a culture of dialogue based on human and religious solidarity.

Propositio 42

The Declaration of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Nostra aetate, alongside the pastoral letters of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, serves as the basis for the Catholic Church's relations with Muslims. As Pope Benedict XVI has said: "Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends" (Pope Benedict XVI, "Meeting with representatives of Muslim Communities", Cologne, 20 August 2005).

In the Middle East, Christians share a common life and a common destiny with Muslims. Together they build up society. It is important to promote the notion of citizenship, the dignity of the human person, equal rights and duties and religious freedom, including both freedom of worship and freedom of conscience.

Christians in the Middle East are called to pursue a fruitful dialogue of life with Muslims. They are to take care to show an attitude of esteem and love, leaving aside every negative prejudice. Together, Christians and Muslims, they are called upon to discover their respective religious values. They are to offer the world an image of a positive encounter and a fruitful collaboration between believers of the two religions, combating together every sort of fundamentalism and violence in the name of religion.

Perfectly revolting fluff.

What makes this even worse is that at least half a dozen of the other propositions all focus on the problems related to migration of people. Gee, I wonder why all these people are migrating. Maybe it's because of that whole issue of being murdered if they stick around. Instead of discussing the substance of the matter, it turns into a social justice lecture.

Oh, and let's not forget the item from our prior report:

Propositio 39

The biblical and theological wealth of the Eastern liturgies is at the spiritual service of the universal Church. Nonetheless, it would be useful and important to renew the liturgical texts and celebrations, where necessary, so as to answer better the needs and expectations of the faithful. This renewal must be based on an ever deeper knowledge of tradition and be adapted to contemporary language and categories.

Just freaking great. It's ironic that the theme of the synod was "Communion and Witness," given this proposed course of action that has such potential to destroy their communion and water down their witness.

Shouldn't we have learned the dangers of liturgical experimentation by now?

Friday, November 12, 2010

Another Anglican "Bishop" Resigns

But it's probably not what you think. If you figured this to be another post about some Anglican prelate heading for Rome, you're wrong. Way, way wrong.

From CNA:

Citing the toll that worldwide publicity has taken on his “marriage” and on New Hampshire Episcopalians, Gene Robinson – the first openly homosexual man to become a bishop of the Episcopal Church – announced on Nov. 6 that he will begin a two-year process of resigning from his diocese.

Robinson, 63, received approval from the Episcopal Church's General Convention to become a bishop in 2003, after the faithful and clergy of the New Hampshire diocese selected him for the position. His appointment sparked outrage among traditional Anglicans, many of whom considered it an official affront to Biblical standards of sexual conduct on the part of the Episcopal Church.

“The fact is,” he wrote in a letter to Episcopalians in his diocese, “the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you.” Robinson has two children from his marriage to a woman during the 1970s and 80s. He entered into a civil union with his current partner, Mark Andrew, in 2008.

“Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain,” he continued, “not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark … and in some ways, (upon) you.”

Yeah. Maybe I'm a bad person, but it's real tough for me to be all that sympathetic. Check out Iraq sometime, Gene. Try taking a stand for orthodox Christianity at some point and see what that gets you. Perhaps you should be thanking God that you haven't gone through that kind of persecution.

And, again, what of Rowan? The Archlayman has got to be urinated off beyond comprehension. Let's face it. Gene pretty much pushed this whole issue to the breaking point. Now, after having made his big splash on the world stage and effectively shoving the Anglican Communion over a cliff, he's decided to pick up his toys and go home. I keep thinking that Rowan has to eventually take a long look in the mirror and realize that it's over. The man can't have much pride left. I sure as hell wouldn't after all this.

Abjure your heresies, Rowan. The Barque of Peter awaits.

Meanwhile, we have this great photo of the Barque of Elizabeth:

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Good News From AnglicanLand

First, the headline in the Telegraph:

Does anybody else think that the word "crisis" has completely lost meaning for the Anglican Communion? Ever since we started reporting on the Canterburyan Death March, I think every single article referencing Lambeth has cast the situation, no matter what it is at the time, as a crisis.

"Gay Bishops! Crisis!"
"African Bishops Threaten Schism! Crisis!"
"Women Bishops! Crisis!"
"Rowan Lacks Milk For Morning Bowl Of Raisin Bran! Crisis!"

The bottom line is that the Anglican Communion is now merely a shell of an institution, much less a religion. The crisis on this was initiated decades, if not centuries, ago. Everything else has just been window dressing.

Back to the topic of the article. Basically, you've got five Anglican bishops who have finally awakened to the realization that there's no way in heaven, hell, or anywhere else that the entity they've been serving could be the Church established by God Himself.

From the Catholic Herald:

The Rt Rev Andrew Burnham, Bishop of Ebbsfleet, the Rt Rev Keith Newton, Bishop of Richborough and Rt Rev John Broadhurst Bishop of Fulham as well as the Rt Rev Edwin Barnes the emeritus Bishop of Richborough and the Rt Rev David Silk, an emeritus assistant bishop of Exeter released a statement announcing their resignations.

They said: “As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.”

That all sounds pretty cool, right? Here's the coolest part, though:

With the Ordinariates, canonical structures are being established through which we will bring our own experience of Christian discipleship into full communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the ages. This is both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians, the unity for which Christ himself prayed before his Passion and Death. It is a unity, we believe, which is possible only in eucharistic communion with the successor of St. Peter.

Did you catch that last bit? Notice that these guys aren't ditching the Barque of Elizabeth I because it's convenient or because they see it as something utilitarian. They explicitly state that the unity prayed for by Jesus Christ is only possible in union with the Pope. This is not the Kasperian language of ecumenism. This is the same sentiment expressed by the Formula of Hormisdas. Since I haven't really seen it pulled as a quote from any of the sources I've seen reporting this story, I'm not sure folks realize how significant this is.

Not to mention the significance of this whole developing scenario. We are quite possibly witnessing the extinction of a world religion that has, in many ways, shaped the history of the world. Has this made CNN, FoxNews, etc.? Not that I've noticed.

And what of Rowan in all this?

Dr Williams said: “I have today with regret accepted the resignations of Bishops Andrew Burnham and Keith Newton who have decided that their future in Christian ministry lies in the new structures proposed by the Vatican. We wish them well in this next stage of their service to the Church and I am grateful to them for their faithful and devoted pastoral labours in the Church of England over many years.”

Not with a bang. But a whimper.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

When Dissenters Attack

I had just mentioned in the prior post re: Bishop Morlino what I figured would happen if a group of folks wanting a TLM took the same course of action against their own ordinary.

This bit from CalCatholic isn't quite the same thing, but it's illustrative of our problem, I think.

A High Latin Mass of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at San Jose’s historic Five Wounds Portuguese National Church has been cancelled following a dispute among parishioners over Mass times.

The well-attended Sunday High Mass at 9:15 a.m. had been celebrated since September 2009 by Fr. Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, an international society of priests founded in 1990 dedicated to preserving the traditional Latin Mass.

Over the year, attendance at Five Wounds’ traditional Latin Mass grew from around 90 to between 150 and 200 each Sunday. But on Sunday, Sept. 26, the last such Mass was celebrated. One observer told California Catholic Daily that the church was “filled to the rafters,” and that “by the recessional, many were in tears.”

So the Mass had basically doubled in size and was nourishing the souls of a couple of hundred people. And it got axed.


Several Portuguese members of the parish wanted to use the 9:15 a.m. time slot for a Mass in Portuguese, said Fr. Moreau, but the alternative replacement time offered for the traditional Latin Mass made it impossible for him to travel to San Jose to celebrate it.

And, while Fr. Morgan had gone to the trouble to learn how to celebrate the traditional Mass in Latin and was agreeable to celebrate it at the designated new time, “the diocese was not supportive – preferred to step back,” said Fr. Moreau.

One reason for the diocese’s reluctance could be the level of strife generated at the parish over the dispute.
Sources close to the parish told California Catholic that a small but very vocal group of influential parish council members would disrupt meetings by yelling at Fr. Morgan, insisting on having their way. Apparently the chancery concluded the best means to bring peace to the parish was to eliminate the source of the controversy altogether – as Fr. Moreau said, “to step back.”

You stay classy, folks. Stay classy.

But notice what the source of the controversy is. It's not these folks being a-holes. It's the TLM. Think about it. The Mass that basically converted the Western World to the Faith is a source of controversy that must be eliminated. If I was these folks, I'd be on the horn to Ecclesia Dei right now.

So what of these faithful parishioners who seek to worship in the way of the Fathers?

An alternative for the 200 or so who regularly attended the traditional Latin Mass at Five Wounds is Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small oratory of the Institute of Christ the King in Santa Clara where the traditional rite is celebrated four times on Sundays, said Fr. Moreau. “We may add five Masses,” he said, to meet the demand.

In December 2006, Bishop McGrath agreed to allow the Institute of Christ the King to take over Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small chapel capable of seating about 25 people, noting in a letter, “For some time now, I have received requests for the use of the 1962 Missal on a more regular basis -- on Sundays -- so that those individuals and families who are attached to the rituals in use in 1962 would be able to participate in the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments more frequently.”

But the small chapel – even with four Masses – is typically filled to capacity and unlikely to be able to accommodate all those who once attended the traditional Latin Mass at Five Wounds. Before the Latin Mass was offered at Five Wounds, reported one distraught parishioner in an email to California Catholic Daily, “Sunday after Sunday, various faithful and their families could be seen standing on the sidewalk, outside of the tiny chapel, due to the fact that there simply was no room.”

Clearly, nobody cares that these people are being deprived, which in my opinion, should be considered a violation of the norms put forth in Summorum Pontificum.

But the dissenters are coddled. And the faithful are cast out.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Bishop Morlino Beset By Dissenters

We've covered his problems before. Even as he rose into the ranks of our favorite shepherds, he was ticking people off.

It's pretty much the same thing as our prior report. Bishop Morlino brought in some Catholic priests that the people didn't like. Why were they not liked? Let's look at an inventory of the horrific activities that have led to the recent conflict:

They reserve the altar server role to boys to encourage more seminarians. They eliminate participation by laypeople in the distribution of communion. And they preach homilies that supporters find refreshingly forthright in stressing Catholic teaching but critics find short on compassion.

Yeah, I can see how people would get all up in arms over this. How up in arms?

St. Mary's Catholic Church in Platteville, stung by a plunge in donations following the arrival of three controversial priests, has issued an urgent plea for money to keep its parochial school open.

The 75-year-old St. Mary's Catholic School is subsidized by the church, which has seen weekly donations fall more than 50 percent in four months, said Myron Tranel, chairman of the church's finance council.

The school, with 106 K-8 students, has enough money to operate until at least January but needs an additional $200,000 to keep the facility open through the end of the school year, he said.

The financial crisis coincides with Madison Bishop Robert Morlino's decision in June to bring in three priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to lead the parish. The group is based in Spain and known for traditionalist liturgy and devotion to orthodox Catholic teaching.

Changes the priests have made, including barring girls from being altar servers, led to a petition last month signed by 469 of the church's approximately 1,200 members asking Morlino to immediately remove the priests. In a response letter to the parish last week, Morlino said the priests have his full support and will stay. He chastised parishioners for conduct he called "gravely sinful."

Let me get this straight. With Catholic schools closing all over the country and folks at those places scrambling and doing all they can to save them, these folks appear to be cutting off donations to their school to try and teach His Excellency a lesson about who is really in charge.

Can you imagine what would happen if a group of laity who desired a Traditional Latin Mass in their parish did this contrary to the wishes of a bishop acting in defiance of the Holy Father's express wishes?

My guess is that they would be labeled as ignorant schismatics and denounced by powers both religious and secular. But that's just a guess.

Back to the folks in Madison, though.

The priests do retain considerable support in the church.

"They're teaching morals, and that's what we need," said Barbara Splinter, a 45-year member. "They are following what I've read the pope is for, and he's our leader, so I don't know why people have a problem with it."

The priests are "being treated very terribly," she added.

Mike Worachek said he's disappointed that his fellow parishioners aren't giving the priests a chance. "I think people should grow up and face the reality that people are different and you have to accept them for what they are," he said.

Such charity by these dissenters. The best part is that these rabble-rousers are probably accusing Bishop Morlino and these good and holy priests of being intolerant. What a bunch of hypocritical a-holes.

It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.

In an interesting conclusion, His Excellency adds:

Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, door-to-door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.

I wonder if Bishop Morlino has reason to believe that these heretical groups he mentions are behind some of this, hence his decision to mention them by name. He also reminds everyone that these groups aren't Catholic. Maybe I'm reading too much into, but that strikes me as a veiled threat of being excommed.

Pray for Bishop Morlino. Send him encouraging letters. If you have the means, send the diocese some money to make up for the jerks giving him a hard time. And remember, pray for the dissenters. They are being deceived. At the root of all this is their pride. Pray that God delivers them from themselves.

Friday, November 5, 2010

Good Article About A Good Bishop?

In a mainstream publication? Shocking, to say the least.

Thanks to Haskovec for this entry. I think Bishop Farrell was one of the bishops who joined in the criticism of the Obama invitation at ND, so he's got that going for him.

On a side note, I was in Dallas recently and attended Mass at Mater Dei, the local FSSP church, shown here being blessed by His Excellency. It was marvelous, and Frs. Longua and Wolfe are a credit to the Church. If you have the chance, go. Go to confession, too. Best advice I've had in probably 20+ years.

Speaking Of Cardinal Mahony, Et Al

Everybody should take a look at this recent bit from Boniface over at Unam Sanctam. If you've ever read Malachi Martin's Windswept House (which I'm doing now and is a topic for another discussion) you'll see how scary this all is.

To try and nutshell things, he starts with the obvious, namely, that there are a lot of Church teachings that people would like to get rid of. Stuff like hell, for example. These teachings obviously aren't going anywhere, which frustrates many in the hierarchy who want people to think they're just nice old men who love inclusivity and tolerance. Boniface takes up the strategy being used by these guys to try and get around dogma:

Yet, though these declarations will not go away, there is a way that the hierarchy has found to get around this problem. I have noticed that, in areas where the modern hierarchy takes vastly different positions than the traditional Church, novel positions are not given to the faithful by means of encyclicals or dogmatic statements, but are found throughout lower-level pronouncements, such as speeches, letters, addresses, bishops' statements etc. By repeating these novel positions again and again in very low-level pronouncements, the faithful get accustomed to hearing certain novelties "from the Church" and over time come to accept them as "Church teaching."

He uses the death penalty as a good example, which it is. Contraception would be another pretty blatant one.

Thus the strategy for "changing" Church teaching seems to be this: If you want to teach something contrary to what the Church has always taught, just do it at low enough levels of authority and eventually people will start to accept your low-level declarations as "Church teaching" if they are trumpeted about long enough.

But this is just one example. My point is that theologians, bishops, cardinals and even popes regularly teach novelties in unofficial organs with such frequency that the faithful mistake these pronouncements for the teaching of the Church. The main reason for this is a confusion between a Church official and official teaching. When an official of the Church speaks, it is taken for granted that what he is speaking is official Church teaching. . .

Thus, I fear, we have come to a place where instead of taking our bearings by teachings given ex cathedra we are now accustomed to assimilating teaching "ex voce," from statements repeated over and over again in low-level pronouncements. Novelties are put forward as teaching, absurd hypotheses are given credence and things abhorrent to the Christian faith are stated as matter of fact (a great example is Kasper's sloppy Reflections on Covenant and Mission regarding Judaism). Basically, I see a working out of the old dictum that anything repeated long enough is believed. It is really quite disingenuous, because everybody knows that lay people expect to hear official Church teaching from members of the hierarchy - the hierarchy also knows that, if they are using means of communication that are considered "low-level" in their authority, they have much more leeway to introduce their own opinions.

This is very similar to the Windswept House plot regarding the "common mind of the bishops." What I'm left wondering (and did so way before I started the book) is how much of this is (a) coordinated, (b) personally malicious, or (c) both.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Pope Benedict On Immigration

From an address on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (I didn't even know such a thing existed):

Venerable John Paul II, on the occasion of this same Day celebrated in 2001, emphasized that "[the universal common good] includes the whole family of peoples, beyond every nationalistic egoism. The right to emigrate must be considered in this context. The Church recognizes this right in every human person, in its dual aspect of the possibility to leave one’s country and the possibility to enter another country to look for better conditions of life" (Message for World Day of Migration 2001, 3; cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, 30; Paul VI, Encyclical Octogesima adveniens, 17). At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity. "The challenge is to combine the welcome due to every human being, especially when in need, with a reckoning of what is necessary for both the local inhabitants and the new arrivals to live a dignified and peaceful life" (World Day of Peace 2001, 13).

I'm throwing this out there so that anyone who runs into a +Mahonyite will have something a bit more authoritative (and sane) to counter with. Cardinal Mahony's comparison of folks seeking immigration reform with the Nazis is actually taken seriously by some.

No, really. It is. Usually, I admit, by whackjobs who want to assert "Church teaching" in the name of His Eminence of LA.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Addendum To The Below

I just got emailed this article from the LA Times giving details of the massacre in Iraq. Not for the squeamish, but necessary for understanding what may be asked of us due to our love for God.

Catholics Massacred In Iraq

Speaking of souls of the faithful departed:

Grieving Catholics in Baghdad marked All Saints Day in mourning on Monday for 46 Christians killed during a hostage drama with Al-Qaeda gunmen that ended in an assault by Iraqi forces backed by US troops.

Throughout the day mourners were seen carrying coffins out of the church and loading them onto vehicles for transfer to the mortuary. Most of the victims were to be buried on Tuesday.

The rescue drama on Sunday night, two months after US forces formally concluded combat operations in Iraq, ended with two priests among at least 46 slain worshippers.

"It was carnage," said Monsignor Pius Kasha, whose Syriac Catholic church was targeted by the militants. Witnesses said the assailants were armed with automatic rifles and suicide belts.

"There were less than 80 people inside the church, and only 10 to 12 escaped unhurt," Kasha said, adding that two priests were among the dead and that 25 worshippers were wounded. One priest was shot in the kidney.

An interior ministry official said 46 worshippers were killed and 60 wounded. He said more than 100 people were inside the church at the time of the attack.

Seven security members also died, the official said, adding that five attackers were killed.

Not that anybody around here cares. Not that the elections aren't big news, but spilling ink over Sarah Palin's stumping record sounds a bit ridiculous in light of the ongoing genocide of Catholics in the region.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

May The Souls Of The Faithful Departed, Through The Mercy Of God

Rest In Peace

Indulgences are available. Take advantage. Somebody needs them. You'd want someone to do it for you.

Current regulations in force by Pope Benedict XVI

I On All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.

II On all the days from November I though November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray even if only mentally for the departed.

Conditions for both indulgences:

1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.
2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.

3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)

4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.

5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.

6. A sacramental concession must he made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)

Benedictus Deus In Angelis Suis Et In Sanctis Suis

Monday, November 1, 2010

Spiritual discernment? Or just restlessness?

Having recently lost two friends from my parish to another church, I can't help but wondering whether the attempt to pray, to determine what God is calling you to do, might not hide within it a great danger, the seduction of wanting God to call you away from where you are.

Let me give an example. Say I am an ordinary believer in a church. To go about the ordinary business of being a Christian is often very dry, requiring one to maintain faith even when it doesn't seem as if there are any concrete results. This is the usual state of life for most of us. But when confronted with the slow martyrdom of an ordinary life, we get bored. We lose heart. Here is where the temptation comes: What if God is calling me to change? To find a better church? Now I become important, someone who matters. Maybe God is not calling me to change, but to endure. But enduring is boring! It is seductive to consider oneself part of a grand plan that will bear visible earthly results.

The still small voice of God might be saying "Stay right where you are."