Friday, November 28, 2003

Just received this...The Old Log Church

I just received this from Howard Brandt of Credo of the Catholic Laity. It is a great historical perspective on one of the two churches in the St. Louis area where the Tridentine Latin Mass is celebrated.

I have heard great things about this church but I have not yet had the opportunity to attend. Several people have made the recommedation to try and make it this historic site for Mass, and I hope to get there within the next week or two.

Please take a look at this article...I am fascinated by the continuing depth of church history I learn about here in our own area.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Cardinal Danneels On the Tridentine Mass, Liturgical Dance and Vocations

For those who have been holding their breath to hear what Godfried Cardinal Danneels has to say on these subjects, rejoice!

You can read about his interview at but be prepared. Thankfully, he is not the prefect for the CDW.

Sifting Wheat from the Weeds

There has been much confusion over the years regarding the Second Vatican Council. And Leon Suprenant of Catholics United for the Faith (CUF) has written another fine article which sheds light on what has been a source of frustration for many.

I would add that "the principal task entrusted to the Council By Pope John XXIII was to guard and better present the precious deposit of Christian doctrine in order to make it more accessible to the Christian faithful and to all people of good will." (Apostolic Constitution Fidei Depositum, 1992)

Despite the problems we have and are still experiencing, we should know that the Church will continue to be attacked, even from those within her bosom. Christ told us as much. We should continue to defend the Church and the Teachings of Christ and His Church at all times. And, of course, prayers and more prayers, fasting and penance are things we can all do to help combat the evil that is engulfing this world.

Check out CUF when you have time. It is a great organization.

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

New Bishop of Phoenix Appointed - Seen as JPII Man

At least that's what this story says. Actually, it would be nice if ALL the bishops followed the Holy Father.

Indications are that Most Rev. Thomas J. Olmsted, bishop of Wichita, Kan., is going to be a welcome change for the Phoenix diocese. Our prayers should be with him and the faithful of Phoenix.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

Hans Kung banned from speaking in a Barcelona Church

The Archbishop of Barcelona has prohibited Hans Kung from giving a lecture in any church in his archdiocese. Now Kung wants to "debate" the Archbishop....Yes, he is challenging him to a duel! A theological debating duel!

Kung was in Spain to promote his autobiography in which he refers to the Holy Father as “an authoritarian and senile Polish Pope”. Kung also said of the ban, “There has been enough dictatorship and prohibition from speaking in public..."

It sounds to me like he may be upset that he is not Pope and abhors anyone who ideas of the Second Vatican Council differs from his. Read the story here.


Some years ago I read an open letter to Cardinal Godfried Danneels written by a mother about what was described as a deplorable and questionable sex education program being promoted and used throughout the diocese. While I cannot currently find that letter, I do remember vividly that, if the facts in the letter were true, I would never permit my children to be part of this program.

That having been said, now the Holy Father is addressing the demise of Catholicism in Belgium. He also had this to say to the Belgium bishops.

Vatican, Nov. 24 ( - During a meeting with the bishops of Belgium, who were making their ad limina visit, Pope John Paul II said that the decline of religious practice in that country is "particularly troubling."

"Real and serious concern cannot be hidden," the Pope said, as Mass attendance and vocations to the priesthood and religious life continue to decline. In his November 22 meeting with the Belgian bishops, he also pointed to an unsettling decline in use of the sacraments of penance and even matrimony.

In his report to the Holy Father, on behalf of the visiting bishops, Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Brussels said that there are "lights and shadows" in the picture confronting the Belgian Church. "There is scarcely any area in the ecclesial life of our country in which positive and negative factors are not mingled, marking out the nature of our task as pastors," he said.

Pope John Paul, however, took a more direct approach, citing the problems of "a society that loses track of its traditional points of reference, promoting relativism in the name of pluralism." In those circumstances, he said, the most important task of the Church is "to introduce Christ" to the people and the society.

The Pope praised the Belgian hierarchy for their success in promoting the involvement of lay people in the life of the Church. But he emphasized that the Church must be careful to preserve a clear understanding of the different roles assigned to laymen and to priests.

For what it is worth, there were also many problems in the past at the American College of Louvain on priestly training some years ago. These may have been detailed in Michael Rose's book. I do recall Cardinal Danneels speaking to the U.S. Bishops a couple of years ago stating that the "problems" there had been rectified. This was done, apparently because of declining enrollment - that is, few bishops were sending seminarians there because of the "problems".

Monday, November 24, 2003

Archdiocese of Boston & VOTF

There were reports late last week of Archbishop O'Malley meeting with VOTF which were "positive" and there was some hope expressed that the ban imposed on the group might be lifted.

This story is at The Boston Globe

It seemed rather strange that the Archbishop was never quoted. However, I received an email from Deal Hudson who followed up on this. The text of that email follows:

The Archbishop And The Dissenters
CRISIS Magazine - e-Letter
November 21, 2003
Dear Friend,

Yesterday I promised you I'd look into the Boston Globe article that claimed Archbishop Sean O'Malley of Boston was considering lifting the ban on Voice of the Faithful (VOTF) chapters in his archdiocese.

The Globe piece entitled "O'Malley to reconsider policies against lay group," quoted VOTF President Jim Post and archdiocesan spokesman Rev. Christopher J. Coyne at length. In the article, both observed
that the VOTF meeting with the archbishop "was considerably more cordial" than past meetings with other leaders, and both men were hopeful that relations between the group and the archdiocese would improve in the future.

Frankly, I was surprised by the tone of the article -- it made it sound like support for VOTF from the archdiocese was practically a done deal.

Then this morning I saw an Associated Press (AP) article -- "O'Malley has 'positive' meetings with Voice of the Faithful" -- that was even more enthusiastic about the meeting. In it, O'Malley is described as being on the brink of accepting funds from VOTF's fundraising arm, Voice of Compassion, and open to a discussion about removing the ban altogether.

If that was unexpected, the closing lines of the piece nearly knocked me out of my chair. It reads, "Coyne said the church does not consider Voice of the Faithful members dissidents."

This I could hardly believe. How could Coyne claim to be speaking for the entire Church? Surely, that's a bit beyond his jurisdiction. By giving such a sweeping statement to AP, it sounds like the Church has now awarded an imprimatur to the group.

As far as VOTF members not being dissidents, it's true that some are indeed faithful Catholics who simply want to address the sex scandal and make sure it never happens again. We all want that, and I don't blame them for looking for ways to address the problem.

But the VOTF leadership appears to be out of step with some of their members. If you recall last year's special CRISIS E-Report, "When Wolves Dress Like Sheep," you know all about that.

And yet Coyne's comment makes it sound like the Church itself has approved the group. They're portrayed as a harmless organization that was unfairly silenced by evil bishops who felt threatened by discussions with the laity.

In both articles, VOTF comes out smelling like a rose.

I knew there had to be more to the story. For one, I noticed that O'Malley is never actually quoted in either piece. All of his comments are paraphrased by Coyne or Post.

I decided to speak with Father Coyne this afternoon to get his side of things. I'm glad I did -- Coyne said his comments were completely misrepresented.

"I was asked a question to characterize the meeting of Voice of the Faithful with the archbishop," Coyne told me, "and I responded by saying that they [the members of VOTF] told the archbishop that they were not dissidents. In making the statement, I did not in any way express the position of the Church or the archdiocese in Boston regarding Voice of the Faithful" (where the bans against them are still in effect).

Now that's a big difference. According to Coyne, he wasn't giving his own opinion, let alone the Church's position. He was merely telling the reporter what VOTF told the archbishop. But that brings up another point: Why would he simply repeat back to newspaper reporters what VOTF had told him about their organization? Coyne made a classic media gaffe in allowing VOTF to define itself through his own mouth. Because Coyne said it in a major media organ, his credibility will now be used to give VOTF legitimacy.

What if, for example, Sen. Ted Kennedy met with Archbishop O'Malley and told the archbishop that he was pro-life? If O'Malley or Coyne repeated that, without comment, to the media, it would look like they themselves accepted the truth of the statement.

It's the same case here. If Fr. Coyne had investigated VOTF himself, he would have found plenty to question -- their inviting known dissidents to speak at conventions, for one, or the fact that Jim Post has recently gone on record saying that the laity should have a role in electing bishops (The Arizona Republic, September 17, 2003).

But Coyne inadvertently let VOTF's spin go unchallenged, and now it appears that he -- and the Church -- have signed off on them.

Coyne told me that he was going to talk to the AP reporter about the sentence claiming that the Church supports VOTF, and I'm grateful that he took the time to speak with me and clarify his position. I told him to try and have the statement corrected nationally, through AP itself if possible. It's the only way to make sure the article won't be used by VOTF to claim fidelity to the Church.

And what about Archbishop O'Malley? Does he support VOTF? Highly-placed sources close to this issue (who can't be named at this time) have told me that it's highly unlikely O'Malley will be lifting the ban -- at this point he's merely listening to their concerns. He's going to look more closely at the group before he makes a decision, but from what I've been told, I'm betting those bans will stay firmly in place.

It's vital for Church leaders to understand that most Catholics (and non-Catholics) get their information about the Church through the mainstream media. People are bombarded with information from television, radio, the newspapers, Internet, etc. If our priests and bishops don't learn how to use those tools effectively to their own purpose, they'll be used against them.

In the current issue of CRISIS, Fr. Raymond de Souza has an excellent article on that very subject. We've made the piece available on our website, so if you haven't read it yet, you need to.
You'll find it here:

That's it for this week. I hope you have a great weekend, and I'll write you again in a few days.