Saturday, December 13, 2003

Apostolic Letter on Sacred Liturgy

The Holy Father's Apostolic Letter on Sacred Liturgy on the 40th Anniversary of "Sacrosanctum Concilium" has been translated in English.
Some excerpts:
What is necessary, therefore is a liturgical pastoral program carried out in complete fidelity to the new orders.

An aspect that must be cultivated with greater commitment within our communities is the experience of silence.

The liturgical pastoral program, through the introduction to the various celebrations, must instill the taste for prayer.

By not respecting the liturgical norm, one arrives at times at even serious abuses that put in shadow the truth of the mystery and create disturbance and tensions in the People of God. Such abuses have nothing to do with the authentic spirit of the Council and are to be corrected by Pastors with an attitude of prudent firmness.

I suspect we will hear from the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments soon as the Holy Father asked in his encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia.

Friday, December 12, 2003

The Catholic Response to Scandal

By Bishop Raymond Burke
Diocese of La Crosse, Wisconsin
Address given at the Milwaukee Wanderer Forum, December 6-7, 2002
Co-sponsored by the St. Gregory VII Chapter of Catholics United for the Faith
Wanderer Forum Foundation, & Living Catholic Seminars
A couple of excerpts:

"The dissent from the Church’s moral teaching regarding artificial contraception, sterilization, homosexual acts, and self-abuse, which permeates culture, in general, and has also entered into the Church, has its profoundly harmful effect on the thinking and acting of the faithful, in general, and also of the shepherds of the flock. It is not uncommon today to witness a kind of pick-and-choose approach to the Church’s moral teaching on the part of many Catholics. If the shepherds do not teach clearly and consistently the truth about human sexuality, then the flock will be likely led astray by the thinking of the world."

"Dissent is fundamentally rebellion against the teaching authority of the Church, a refusal to practice the virtue of obedience. At first, it may express itself in rebellion against some doctrine of the faith. But, once it becomes a habit, it will express itself in immoral practices, a rebellion against the moral order which God has written in our nature and teaches us through the word of Christ.

The article is a good read and provides some additional insight into the problems.

Bishop Burke discusses the letters he sent to Catholic politicians

In this excerpt from his column for the Dec. 11 issue of the Catholic Times, weekly newspaper of the La Cross, Wis., Diocese, Archbishop-elect Raymond Burke discusses the letters he sent to Catholic politicians in Wisconsin:

In the past days, you may have read in your local newspaper about letters that I have been sending to members of the faithful of the Diocese of La Crosse who are also legislators at the federal and state levels.

Although the letters were written in strictest confidence because they dealt with matters of conscience, one of the letters was made public at the time of the announcement of my transfer to the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

Because I wrote the letters as a shepherd to members of his flock, I have refused to identify or confirm the identity of those to whom I wrote. Since the writing of the letters has now been made public, I want to explain to you what prompted me to write them.

All of us have the obligation, according to the first precept of the natural law and the Fifth Commandment of the Decalogue, to protect and foster human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death.

Those of us who are public officials have a most solemn duty to safeguard the dignity of every human life and to lead all of society to do the same. Catholic legislators are held to do all within their power to pass laws which safeguard and foster human life.

To take directly a human life or to cooperate in any way with the direct taking of a human life is a mortal sin, one of the most grievous of all sins. I use the word “direct” to distinguish this kind of killing from self-defense, in which a human life is indirectly taken in order to save one’s own life or the life of another.

The Catholic legislator who supports legislation which permits or, at the very least, does not limit the direct taking of a human life commits a mortal sin, risking the eternal salvation of his or her own soul.

What is more, he or she scandalizes others, leading them to believe that it is coherent with the Catholic faith to espouse anti-life politics and to cooperate with those who violate the right to life of others, especially of our most innocent and defenseless brothers and sisters through procured abortion and of our brothers and sisters burdened with advanced years, serious illness or special needs through euthanasia.

Now that the letters have been made public, members of the media have asked whether I regret having written them. I have no regret at all.

When a shepherd sees a member of the flock endangering the salvation of his soul and, worse yet, risking danger to the salvation of other souls, he has the solemn duty to call the person to conversion of heart and mind.

If I had not written to the faithful in question, then I would be full of regret and would have to answer to God for my failure to fulfill my responsibility as shepherd to admonish those in sin.

My letters have been construed by some as lobbying or electioneering. They are nothing of the sort.

They are letters of a bishop to certain members of the faithful in his pastoral care. The letters are directed solely to the conversion of heart of the faithful, to their turning from sin for the salvation of their souls.
From the 12/12 edition of the St. Louis Review. (emphasis mine)

Some articles from our diocesan newspaper,...

...the St. Louis Review, about our new Archbishop.

From 12/5
'Now I belong to you', Catholics welcome Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke

Archbishop-elect Raymond Burke welcomed to St. Louis Archdiocese

Archbishop-elect Burke greets his new flock

Diocese of La Crosse says farewell

Bp. Burke well known to locals

Apb.-elect affirms message to lawmakers
New leader says he is obliged to confront public stance of Catholic politicians

A Commentary on the Journal-Sentinal, Bishop Burke, & Others

Can be read here. A long read but a good read by SecretAgentMan. Thanks to Ian M. who forwarded it to me.

One more Bishop Burke article from yesterday...

From Thursday's column:
By Deb Peterson

Organizers of St. Louis' annual AIDS walk have asked for a meeting with leaders of the Catholic Archdiocese. The issue? Archbishop-elect Raymond Burke and his apparent opposition to the AIDS walk in his home state of Wisconsin. Burke once wrote to an HIV outreach ministry in Milwaukee asking the group to refuse to participate in that city's AIDS walk. The St. Louis walk draws thousands each year, raising more than $100,000 for local AIDS programs. Organizers fear a rift with the city's top Catholic could hamper fund-raising efforts. The walk here is slated to step off at 10 a.m. Saturday, April 17, in Kiener Plaza.
Doesn't anybody understand the reason he and others bishops did this? Apparently no one at the Post does...Here's a clue.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

It's no wonder Archbishop Burke pegged him for the job.

Dr. Arthur Hippler knows what the Church teaches and his articles are great resources!

St. Louis Post-Dispatch "distorts facts"...

In a 'Letter to the Editor' in yesterday's paper, Dr. Arthur Hippler,Director, Office of Justice and Peace, Diocese of La Crosse, takes to task the Post-Dispatch for misrepresenting his remarks and his biographical information. It must be one of the benefits if you're the only newspaper in town.

Dr. Hippler writes:
While I am grateful to the Post-Dispatch for its coverage of the transfer of Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke to St. Louis, I must take exception to some of the remarks attributed to me and about me in the Dec. 7 article, "Archbishop-elect Raymond L. Burke faces the heat."

I told the reporter that the bishop believes that the respect for human life from conception until natural death must be fundamental to the social work of the church, because the right to life is the basis of all other rights. It is neither accurate nor fair to translate my remark into Bishop Burke putting "ideological issues" before "charitable efforts."

The reporter's choice of my biographical information ("37" and "Alaskan") seems to imply that the bishop hires staff based on age and geographical origin. Why not inform the reader that I am a black American and part of an ethnically diverse staff? (But then he would not have been able to describe me as "brash" - "brash black American," no doubt, has a distasteful sound to it.) More important, why not inform the reader that I have a doctorate in philosophy from a Jesuit university and have taught Catholic social teaching for some years, which qualifies me for my present position?

Finally, he states Bishop Burke's decision to withdraw from the CROP Walk without relating its larger significance. Since he joined the Diocese of Rockford, Ill., in directing Catholics not to participate in the CROP Walk, the national office of Catholic Relief Services has officially withdrawn as a benefiting agency, and several Catholic dioceses have either withdrawn support from the CROP Walk or are considering doing so. The bishop's decision has been roundly vindicated.
Dr. Hippler should be commended for his courageous stand to expose the distortions the people of St. Louis are expected to buy from the Post-Dispatch.

Bishop Burke and support of the Latin Mass

Here is an article which was sent to me about a new religious order in the Diocese of LaCrosse formed with the help of Bishop Burke earlier this year.

"They bring a new richness to the diocese," Burke said, but because there are so few members, the group is not very well known yet among the diocese's Catholics.

The group is devoted to sacred liturgy and to providing the Mass according to the Latin Rite, giving diocesan Catholics another option for worship, the bishop said.

Celebrate Christmas Mass with Married 'Catholic' Priests

One of these "Masses" will even be celebrated in a Masonic Temple. How inspiring!
From the Press Release:
Everyone is welcome, especially those who no longer feel they have a church they can call home. An invitation is extended to those who feel estranged because of issues regarding clergy sexual abuse, divorce/remarriage, interfaith marriage, birth control, sexual orientation, abortion and disillusionment regarding the approaches of the hierarchy. And all are welcome to worship with us and to share Communion.
(Unless, of course, you are faithful to Christ and the Magisterium)

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

A Christmas Card for "Pro-Death" Politicians?

The card design below is from The Curt Jester in response to Planned unParenthood's "Choice on Earth" 2003 Holiday cards, espousing:

Justice on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Human Rights on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Equality on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Civil Rights on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Women's Health on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Freedom on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Religious Rights on Earth, (except for the unborn)
Choice on Earth, (except for the unborn)

All of this means, more appropriately, "DEATH on EARTH".

Perhaps you might print and send this to your "Pro-Death" politicians and advocates. Don't forget to wish them a Blessed and Holy Christmas and to let them know they are in your prayers!


I received this last night....all emphasis added by me.

Catholic Answers
December 9, 2003

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

In October ABC News and "The Washington Post" conducted a poll of Catholics in America. The results are not surprising: Catholics are not much better off, theologically and morally, than other Americans--and that means they are in pretty poor shape.

Here are the percentages of people who think the following practices are "acceptable." The first figure is for Catholics, the second for Americans in general.

1. Birth control using the pill or condoms: 88 percent, 94 percent
2. Abortion when the mother's life is NOT in danger: 30 percent, 39 percent
3. Premarital sexual relations: 67 percent, 67 percent
4. Homosexual relations: 48 percent, 45 percent

Given these responses, it's no wonder that 62 percent of Catholics say the Church is "out of touch with the views of Catholics in America today."

I would recast that to say, 62 percent of Catholics in America are out of touch with the faith they profess to believe. In other words, the problem is with Catholics, not with the Church.

A similar number, 64 percent, say the Church should change "policies to reflect the attitudes and lifestyles of Catholics today."

That means Catholics want to preach what they practice, which is a step down from practicing what one preaches. "Don't ask me to reform my life! Change the rules so I no longer am in violation of any. Hey, it's my self-esteem that's at stake here!"

On the issue of priestly celibacy, 67 percent say the requirement should be dropped, and a like number--64 percent--say women should be able to be ordained. Such figures show a deep confusion among Catholics. When two-thirds of them are so far off in their thinking, something is amiss.

The poll, which was conducted by telephone, apparently did not limit itself to practicing Catholics but counted as Catholic anyone who identified himself as one. Since only one-fourth of Catholics in the U.S. attend Mass regularly, the results necessarily were skewed.

But, still ... the results can't be considered encouraging. What they tell me is that the Church in this country has failed in its first task, which is instruction in the faith. If the folks in the pews don't know their religion, they can't practice it.

I suspect it's fair to say that most of today's priests have never--not even once--preached a homily in which they forcefully explained why contraception is a serious sin. I'll go further: I'll bet most priests never have mentioned contraception from the pulpit, even obliquely.

"The hungry sheep look up and are not fed," says Scripture. Well, in this case they are being fed, but with the same gruel fed to the rest of the populace. Why are Catholics at Mass given, in so many parishes, the Social Gospel but not gospel truths?

They should know no doubt that priestly celibacy makes good sense, but most priests have never told them that. Is it any wonder that laymen follow the lead of dissentient groups or non-Catholic opinion-makers? There are excellent reasons to maintain celibacy, but which priests share them from the pulpit? (For that matter, which priests even know them?)

As I said, the answers given in this poll are no surprise. Catholics are badly off, intellectually and morally, and they need help. They need instruction and correction. They need some holy hectoring.

Instead of trimming their remarks to pacify (or somnabulize) their congregations, bishops and priests need to go on the offensive. They need to be blunt about the necessity of subscribing to all Catholic teachings, particularly moral teachings, since assent is weakest there. They need to talk in black and white to get people's attention. They need to focus on the hard sayings instead of on the usual fluff.

And they need to lose congregants. They will know when they're saying what needs to be said when they see some people walk out of church.

I'm not talking about homilies that are harsh or rude and therefore alienating. I'm talking about homilies that are firm and true and challenging--and therefore alienating to those who are unwilling to repent and reform.

Truth really is a two-edged sword. It divides, and people find themselves on one side or another. But for too long, in too many parishes (probably the large majority of them), truth has come after convenience.

It is inconvenient to make a fuss, to anger anyone, to say "This is right, and this is wrong." It is much easier, or at least more comfortable, to be Fr. Nice Guy, serving up platitudes so everyone leaving Mass takes your hand and gushes, "That was a nice service, Father."

The parish I recently started attending used to have a pastor who was big on "ministry to gays and lesbians." You know the type: He had an off-campus condo and didn't live in the rectory. You can imagine what the Masses were like.

The new pastor moved into the rectory, sold the condo, and started celebrating Masses as they should be celebrated. I am told--this happened before I joined the parish--that most of the homosexuals left. In the last few months the congregation has been instructed and admonished from the pulpit, and today more people are attending Mass than had attended under the old regime.

Of course, changes come slowly. You can't reform people overnight. You have to show them that much of what they hold is false or pernicious or just plain silly, and you have to supply true and useful and sensible alternatives. A few people catch on right away, but for most it's a slow process. They have become accustomed to whatever they have believed and however they have lived, and they fear change, even change for the better.

The change occurring in my newly adopted parish can occur in any parish. It comes down to will. Do our priests and bishops have the will to instruct and admonish (including the will to instruct and admonish one another)? Frankly, I don't know.

Until next time,

Liturgical Reform Focus of Vatican Meeting

Code: ZE03120903
Date: 2003-12-09
Liturgical Reform Focus of Vatican Meeting

VATICAN CITY, DEC. 9, 2003 ( The Holy See marked the 40th anniversary of the Second Vatican Council's constitution "Sacrosanctum Concilium" with a day of study.

The closed-door meeting Thursday, organized by the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, attracted cardinals, bishops and experts from around the world who analyzed liturgical reform, especially during John Paul II's pontificate.

Cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation, explained that with the event the Holy See hoped to "call attention to the objectives that still remain to be achieved so that what 'Sacrosanctum Concilium' taught and desired will be fully realized," a statement explained.

"This commitment calls for relaunching formation at all levels," the statement added. "The horizon is that of the great challenges of the new evangelization and of the inculturation of the faith."

Is the document with "prescriptions of a juridical nature" soon to follow?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" UPDATE - TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE

Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ" UPDATE - TICKETS NOW AVAILABLE

IT'S OFFICIAL! You can now buy ADVANCE TICKETS to see Mel Gibson's "The Passion of The Christ". Icon Productions has set up a toll-free ticket hotline for your ordering requests -- call 1-800-353-6102 to make sure that you and your family see the film during Lent. THE BEST WAY TO SHOW YOUR SUPPORT FOR THE FILM RIGHT NOW IS TO PURCHASE ADVANCE TICKETS! This will send a clear message to theaters across the world that people are very interested in seeing this film. The more people who buy advance tickets, the more theaters will carry the movie. The more theaters that carry the movie, the more people will get a chance to see it. The more people see it, the greater evangelizing impact this great movie will have on our culture and our world.

Advance tickets are currently available only for the U.S. and Canada.

Many of you have expressed to us that advance tickets would make great great Christmas gifts. Well now you have the opportunity to include them as the ultimate stocking stuffers for Christmas morning. There are also opportunities for discounts on large group sales. Call 1-800-353-6102 right now for more information.

Please be patient when calling as there will likely be a significant response to this ticket pre-sale offer. You may have to hold for a short time before getting an operator. If you get a busy signal, please try again at a later time.

Many leading theaters across the U.S. and Canada have agreed to carry this classic Christian film, which is great news! The movie will be launched on Ash Wednesday, February 25, 2004, throughout North America. (Details for other countries hopefully coming soon). Icon Productions has now opened the toll-free telephone hotline 24 hours/day for advance ticket sales. While some theaters have agreed to carry the film, others still have not. By purchasing your tickets in advance and demonstrating your support for "The Passion of The Christ," it increases the likelihood that many more theaters will get on board and agree to exhibit the film.

Individual tickets and groups tickets can be purchased. In fact, large groups have already been known to order all tickets for an entire theater! So if you have a group or congregation that wants to see this film, there may be discounts for qualifying groups. So please tell everyone about this great opportunity to transform the culture and pave the way for great A-list Hollywood Christian films to come! Please help us get this important film into even more theaters!

If you live in the U.S. or Canada and would like to order advance tickets please call:


We can achieve an amazing impact on the acceptance of this film if you take a few minutes to purchase your tickets in advance. If each qualifying person who receives this email can get a group of at least 5 people to order advance tickets, it will have a monumental impact. So if you are planning to see this film and know others who are too, please consider purchasing advance tickets today. And forward this email on to everyone you think might be interested.

The toll-free phone number is ONLY for pre-sale questions and advance ticket sales, so please use it responsibly.


Tom Allen
Catholic Exchange

P.S. Call 1-800-353-6102 today to order your tickets to Mel Gibson's historic film. We need this film to have the biggest opening ever. It's time that Christian films broke out of the box and became maintsream blockbusters! This is God's movie -- he deserves no less. So buy your advance tickets today and make sure that you will be counted among those fortunate enough to see "The Passion of The Christ this Lent!

Mark your calendars-Fr. Eugene Morris to speak at ICD...

For those who may be unaware of it, Fr. Morris, who teaches classes on the Liturgy and Sacramental Theology at Kenrick Glennon Seminary, has a radio show an WRYT Catholic Radio on Sacraments, Sacramentals, and the Sacramental Life of the Church based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church. I urge you to listen to it if you have the chance. You won't regret it.

He is scheduled to speak at Immaculate Conception Parish-Dardenne on April 2, 2004. The subject of his talk will be: "Carrying the Cross as Jesus did: Communion, Suffering, and Sacrafice in the Eucharist".

LifeSiteNews Article on Archbishop Burke

Kudos to Archbishop Burke!

Responding to wide-ranging criticisms of his letters to the pro-abortion politicians within his diocese, Bishop Burke told a press conference: "I have no regret whatsoever. It was my duty as bishop to write those letters. The letters address the good of the soul of the legislators and the souls of those who may be scandalized by their votes against the teachings of the church."

"Catholic" Apostates in Canada

See this story:
A more intimate mass
Campaign envisions family-like meal with food and scripture readings, often in the absence of a priest

Intimate family-like meals, with hearty chunks of crusty bread, as well as wine, soup, other food, Scripture readings, singing and discussion, often in the absence of a priest, would largely - but not wholly - supplant the traditional mass.

Interview With Father Di Noia of the CDF about "The Passion of Christ"

I'm really looking forward to this movie!

Monday, December 08, 2003

The "Misguided" Milwaukee Journal-Sentinal

This editorial in MJS says Archbishop Burke's letters are "misguided". Yet, the politicians and others have it right when they say, "I'm personally opposed, BUT"...or "We can't legislate morality".
This is an indefensible position. Our laws are based on moral law, whether these people admit it or not.

Why do these people "oppose abortion" yet vote to approve it?

Do they oppose it because it is the taking of the life of an innocent human being?
They must either believe this is true or believe it is false. If they believe it is false, then these people have no reason to be "personally opposed" to it and their statements betray them! They look upon the public as gullible buffoons!

How will ArchBishop Burke view this parish?

Previously, I had posted a link to a bulletin article from a local St. Louis parish about "liturgical dance" at Mass. This time, another reader passed this article posted on the web site of this parish on to me.

After reading it, I am surprised that any priest would want to "advertise" this considering the fact that some of these "feelings" or "attitudes" are certainly contrary to real FAITH and the assent or obedience of faith required of a Catholic. The definition of Faith as defined in the Catechism is: "the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and ALL that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because He is truth itself." (CCC 1814)

Onw would surmise, then, that when the Holy Father has definitively held that the Church may not ordain women as "priests" (since this is a theological impossibility), the priest, as his obligation to teach and sanctify the faithful, would advise his flock of the correct teaching of the Magisterium. Anyway, below I have listed some of their "strengths" and 'Needs':

Inclusive language
Openness to a cutting edge new vision
Openness to gay/lesbian issues
Lots of creativity

More REAL participation by women/ordination of women
Concerned about having a lay pastor
Issues of power and authority affect our effectiveness in creating a focus and energizing an outcome
Need a more effective Democratic process
Would like to see more lay participation in the liturgy not just the community of preachers doing the homily
Would like to see women in every role of the Church
We are ready for lay leadership; continue the discussion
In order to survive we need to prepare for the time when St. Cronan's will become a priestless parish
Wants to see the church operate out of a more lay-model than a church hierarchy
Vision for St.Cronan's as a lay led Church

As I read this article, it appeared that this parish might make a great site for every dissident organization to come set up shop if they haven't already. If one wants to be really inclusive, invite them all!

Let's see: a cutting edge new vision with women priestesses with lots of creativity giving gender inclusive 'homilies' on how to be a "real" Catholic.

So why should I bother listening to the Holy Father? We seem to have our own popes right here in downtown St. Louis!

Sunday, December 07, 2003

Newest Local Article on Bishop Burke - Plus more

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch had an article in today's paper which seemed, to me, to be more of a 'hit piece' than anything else, although I am encouraged that we have a bishop who will stand firm for Church teaching.

Although many of us were praying for Bishop Bruskewitz, I don't think there is any reason for disappointment. God knows what we need more than we do.

I recommend some other articles which illustrate the kind of man Bishop burke is...One is at the Wanderer at and the other is at Catholics United for the Faith

Now we must offer prayers of thanksgiving to our Lord for having answered the prayers of so many in the St. Louis Archdiocese.