Friday, January 16, 2004

AIDS Study Data Faked

I received this the other day....

AIDS Study Data Faked
by Keith Peters, Washington, D.C., correspondent

SUMMARY: Maybe you heard recently about a study that claimed "safe sex" is beneficial for teens and helps to slow the spread of AIDS. Now, there's word that the research was faked.

Three University of Maryland researchers have admitted fabricating interviews for the Focus on Teens HIV risk-prevention program. The researchers admitted they made up interviews with teenagers that they claimed were conducted in 2001.

More than $1 million in federal funds was paid for the study, which was designed to find out whether so-called "safe-sex" practices worked on black teens in a Baltimore housing development.

Tom McClusky, director of government affairs at the Family Research Council, was shocked at the news.

"Even though the researchers said they had conducted hundreds of interviews of these children, they hadn't interviewed one child and they had basically stolen the grant," McClusky said.

U.S. Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., said the revelation has led him to ask some basic questions "about the accuracy of the research in general, about the information process" -- including what the researchers plan to tell Congress and "what penalties there are if you manipulate research that
then is used to apply to kids who may be risking their lives?"

None of the researchers have been fired.

Souder said he now questions many of the claims being made about the viability of condoms.

"They were willing," he said, "to doctor condom research to try to get the results they wanted, to try to juice it up so that it would look more effective and yet they have
criticized conservatives for trying to put the light of day on this? It's a little bit backwards."

Souder added that the scandal underscores the need for oversight of all federal programs to ensure that taxpayer dollars aren't misspent and that science isn't manipulated.

It's a start, but it isn't quite enough

New Orleans archbishop says pro-abort politicians should not receive Communion
New Orleans, Jan. 16 (

Archbishop Alfred Hughes of New Orleans has told Catholic politicians that they should not receive Communion if they support abortion or euthanasia.

In a column published this week in his archdiocesan newspaper, the Clarion Herald, Archbishop Hughes wrote: "When Catholic officials openly support the taking of human life in abortion, euthanasia or the destruction of human embryos, they are no longer faithful members in the Church and should not partake of Holy Communion."

The statement by Archbishop Hughes comes shortly after Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse, Wisconsin, issued a canonical directive barring pro-abortion Catholic lawmakers from the Eucharist. But a spokesman for the New Orleans archdiocese said that Archbishop Hughes was not going so far. Father William Maestri said that the archbishop's column called for pro-abortion politicians voluntarily to refrain from taking Communion. He said that the archdiocese had no plans to refuse the Eucharist to anyone.

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.

Catholic League weighs in on VOTF & Newsday

January 12, 2004


Catholic League president William Donohue explained why a report on Newsday and Voice of the Faithful was sent to every pastor on Long Island (the report is available at

“The Catholic League tracks anti-Catholicism in all 50 states. In doing so, we learn where Catholic bashing is most rampant and who is responsible. Of particular concern to us is the situation on Long Island. The local daily, Newsday, has been on a tear against the Catholic Church for the past two years. Moreover, it has led an attack against Diocese of Rockville Centre Bishop William F. Murphy that is scurrilous. Working in tandem with Newsday is the Long Island chapter of Voice of the Faithful (some who write for the newspaper are active in Voice).

“All pastors on Long Island are now in possession of a packet of information that the Catholic League mailed on January 9. It includes a report on Newsday and an article on Voice of the Faithful. The report offers excerpts from Newsday columnists and contributors in 2002 and 2003 that demonstrate a profound animus against both the Catholic Church and Bishop Murphy. The article, available in the current edition of Crisis magazine, is a whistle-blowing piece written by the co-chairman of the communications committee of the Long Island chapter of Voice of the Faithful; it shows the ideological agenda of this supposedly neutral group.

“The Catholic League is not walking away from this battle. Moreover, it is up to Newsday and Voice of the Faithful to reverse course. If they do not, we will take further steps to checkmate their efforts.”

William Donohue is helping to expose what these people are really up to...Good job!

Bishop's edict weighs heavily on Catholics' hearts

This opinion piece is from The Capitol Times in Madison, WI.

While it is, indeed, sad that many Catholics fail to understand right and wrong, it is sadder still that they do nothing to attempt to understand but are eager to complain about fairness and justice and tolerance. Yet, even their understanding of these terms is deficient, lacking in substance.

The theological virtues are misunderstood by so many. The hearts of many are closed to God's grace and therefore, they are incapable of faith and because they have no real faith they can have no real understanding. It is only when they come to realize that faith precedes understanding, that they may rejoice that Bishop Burke has determined that it is necessary for him to do more to help save their eternal souls.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Cardinal George Responds....

The link to the Cardinal's Letter which follows is here. The Open Letter of the 23 Priests can be found here:

On Monday, December 29, 2003, I received a call from Bishop Paprocki, the Episcopal Vicar for my part of the Archdiocese, ordering me to refrain from using any parish resources for personal opinions. He first said I was to remove the Open Letter from the parish web site, then said that the Cardinal had said, at the very least, I was to include his response. I am more than happy to include the Cardinal’s response to the Open Letter, which, although he made it available to the media the same day as the Open Letter, is not to be found on the Archdiocesan web site under news releases. Nonetheless, it is my hope that making these materials available for all those of good will can only serve to increase a healthy and helpful dialogue for all those affected by this pastoral concern which is shared by the Cardinal and those who signed the letter. Fr. Prendergast

December 19, 2003

Dear Father Prendergast,

Thank you for your courtesy in sending me a copy of your open letter to the bishops about the language of some Church documents speaking of homosexuality. Normally I don’t respond personally to an open letter addressed to a group, but your letter raises an important point and fails to address another. Hence, this response.

Your concern that language can make it difficult to welcome people is one I share. The Church speaks, in moral and doctrinal issues, a philosophical and theological language in a society that understands, at best, only psychological and political terms. Our language is exact, but it does not help us in welcoming men and women of homosexual orientation. It can seem lacking in respect. This is a pastoral problem and a source of anxiety for me as it is for you. It would be good to discuss it together.

Pastoring any group of people, however, means more than welcoming them. It also means calling them to conversion in Christ. This dimension of the pastoral life is absent from your letter. God is all-loving and all-forgiving; but he knows the difference between right and wrong, and he expects us to know it, to live accordingly and, as ordained priests, to preach the demands of the Gospel with integrity to every group and all people on their journey to holiness.

Pastors have to mediate the tension between welcoming people and calling them to change, to repent and convert and live according to Christ’s teaching transmitted by the Church. That tension is often resolved in practice by a pastor’s love for his people. I thank you for loving your people. If, however, you cannot resolve that tension between welcoming people as they are and still calling them to leave their sinfulness and become saints, or if you yourself do not accept the Church’s moral teaching on the moral use of the gift of sexuality, it would be all the more important for us to talk.

You and all the people you love and serve are daily in my prayers; please keep me in yours.

Fraternally yours in Christ,
Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I.
Archbishop of Chicago

Feb 5th Encore of the Da Vinci Code Lecture at Kenrick

Because of the overwhelming response to the lecture last night, an encore presentation will be held on Thursday, February 5 at 7:00pm. It is well worth the time if you can make it.

My report from tonight's lecture:
I had called Kenrick earlier to make sure I had my directions correct and to confirm all was a go. It was suggested that I arrive earlier as there had been numerous inquiries made recently and they were expecting a crowd. I arrived about an hour before the start of the program. It was the first time I had ever been there. It is an architecturally beautiful complex. I found out exactly where the program was to be held and how to get there. It was in the auditorium which is directly beneath the chapel.

About 6:30, I entered the auditorium to get a seat, and found a seat in the first row. With eyesight and hearing on the fritz, I prefer this. Not too many people had arrived yet, but by 7:00 pm, the place was overflowing, every seat was occupied, and two classrooms with video feed were set up to handle the extra attendees.

The order of speakers were Dr. Welch, Fr. Lockwood, and Fr. Witt. Dr. Welch began with an overview of the plot of the book and a description of the characters. He listed a number of basic errors and conjectures the author made and presented the factual information to refute the errors. He also discussed the subject of faith as defined in the book (page 341) which really isn't faith at all but appears to me to be basic relativism.

Fr. Lockwood then proceeded to offer an historical background on what many perceive to be the sources of the errors and inaccuracies in the book, namely the apocryphal writings of the first and second century, particularly those of the Gnostics. His presentation laid an excellent foundation for those who may have been unfamiliar with the various spurious works that existed early in the Church's history and how the Gnostics and others used the Gospels to elevate Mary Magdalen to extreme heights to bolster their views.

Lastly, Fr. Witt gave his presentation, which, indirectly challenged "The Da Vinci Code" by exposing the flawed, defective, and inconsistent sources from which the author drew his material. His 'outed' these sources, such as the book, "Holy Blood, Holy Grail", and others for complete shams by using the authors' own words. He demonstrated that the authors, while purporting to engage in historical research, were either incapable or unwilling to do so objectively. He revealed that many of Dan Brown's hypotheses and 'facts' were completely and utterly lacking in credibility, such as the 'Priory of Sion', which he showed was a 1950's invention of an eccentric anti-Semite rather than a secret society founded in 1099.

There was a question and answer period after the lectures and most of the questions asked seemed typical. I was quite surprised and elated, however, that the panel seemed to be rather unimpressed with the 'higher critical method' of biblical scholarship, Q source theory, a late dating of the Gospels that many of us have come to expect from many of the 'enlightened' these days. The last person to ask a question, after some rambling, posed the proposition that the book 'lifted up' the value of women because of the way Mary Magdalen was portrayed and wondered why the Church was so inclined to suppress women and treat them as second class citizens? Typical, this seems to happen at every conference or lecture. Fr. Lockwood and Fr. Witt both answered from different perspectives and both answers received a round of applause.

I would recommend this lecture for all, if for no other reason than to be better prepared to respond to those who may become confused by the book. Fr. Lockwood said that he became interested in doing this lecture when some of his parishioners asked him after Mass why the Church had never told the people that Jesus was married - why the Church withheld this information from them!

Folks, this really happens! Especially today in this age of uncatechized Catholics. You can help them and help yourself by being better prepared to give a reason for and explanation of the faith .

Don't Forget-DaVinci Code Seminar Tonight!

DaVinci Code Seminar at Kenrick-Glennon Seminary tonight @ 7:00 pm.

The presenters are all from the seminary faculty:
Rev. Gregory Lockwood will be talking about the misuse of the Gnostic gospels in this genre of literature and what the real story is.

Fr. Michael Witt will be talking about the "history" presented in the Da Vinci Code and where this stuff came from (specifically, the book Holy Blood, Holy Grail and how those authors misused history to make their outrageous claims.

Then Dr. Lawrence Welch, one of Kenrick's systematics professors, will discuss the theological and catechetical challenges involved.

Directions to Kenrick-Glennon Seminary are:
5200 Glennon Drive, off Weil in Shrewbury, approximately 6 blocks west of Chippewa and 10 blocks east of Laclede Station Road.

The phone number for more information is: 314-792-6103.

Followup to the article "Bishop Burke, 'Cafeteria' Bishop"

This is a followup to this post.

After doing a little research, first to Helen Hull Hitchcock's wonderful site, Women for Faith & Family, I ended up at "Voice of the Faithful-St. Louis".

And whose name do you think appears on the list of the Leadership Committee members of VOTF-SL?

Why am I not surprised....? I'm not sure.

A couple of other interesting notes about VOTF-SL, though:
I learned that "Faithful St. Louis" ( as it was formerly called) was promoted by St. Cronan's which, incidentally, encouraged parishioners (via the bulletin) to attend a lecture by Fr. Richard McBrien.

Not only that, and this could very well be coincidental, as I was reading the VOTF-SL History page, I came across a name which seemed familiar to me - Paige Byrne-Shortal.

It just so happens that Paige Byrne-Shortal is scheduled to speak at Immaculate Conception's "Inspiration Quest" series on Friday, Feb. 6, at 7:00pm. ICD's "Inspiration Quest" is promoted as an 'Adult Christian Learning Series'. Coincidental? Maybe....Not to mention, of course, her numerous articles in the National Catholic Reporter.

The latest on Fr. Benedict Groeschel's condition

can be found here.

'Passion’ to debut on 2,000 screens

This sounds like great news. And it will be here next month.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Cardinal's condom move praised

Aids campaigners have welcomed a leading Catholic cardinal's acceptance of the use of condoms if one partner in a relationship is HIV positive.

Hopefully, the Vatican will soon clarify this issue that the good Cardinal Danneels has raised. Perhaps, silencing him would be appropropriate?

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Bishop Burke, a "cafeteria" bishop?

While reading yesterday's St. Louis Post-Dispatch, I saw this in the 'Letters to the Editor' section:

Selective morality

How interesting that our new archbishop, Raymond Burke, would carefully select the church teachings on the choices of women and dying to impose upon our civil society through coercion of Catholic politicians. What about long-standing teachings on birth control, opposition to war, the death penalty, divorce, neglect of the less fortunate, etc.?

I have heard of pick-and-choose "cafeteria Catholics," but a "cafeteria bishop"?

Then again, this might be just the beginning. It should be an interesting time for Catholics in St. Louis, especially for those who follow their conscience.

Robert Schutzius
Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Florissant

After having read the good bishop's notification and pastoral letter, I saw nothing of this "coercion" of which Mr. Schutzius speaks. The politicians, freely, are choosing an intrinsically evil murder over life itself. They are freely choosing to be Catholic or not. There is no coercion whatsoever from the bishop. It is an injustice and a lie to suggest otherwise.

Perhaps, if Mr. Schutzius actually attends Mass or is registered with a parish in North County, his pastor should sit down and have a chat with him. It is obvious that he has little or no knowledge of Bishop Burke or the true teachings of the Church, nor does he seem to understand what the Church tells us about 'conscience'. (Here's a clue, see the Catechism #1783)

Could it also be that he, and not Archbishop Burke, is the one who has a 'cafeteria' attitude? Why else would one be a member (& founder) of the dissenting organization, ARCC, which wishes to pick and choose what to believe? Why would a professed' Catholic want to belong to a group which promotes a so-called "democratic" church whereby the people vote for their own doctrine, and support of pluralism ("believe what you want") via a "Constitution" and a "Catholic Bill of Rights"?

I have a few suggestions to help clear up this confusion:
Read the Catechism.
Actually read the documents of Vatican II for yourself.
Seek refuge in Christ's Church after departing from the ARCC.

If none of these suggestions help, perhaps one should ask to meet with the Archbishop so one might persuade and convince him to join the fold of dissidents and malcontents who believe that 'conscience' rules supreme even when it is opposed to reason and truth.

Local Politicians' Opinions about Bishop Burke's Stance

Some local politicians seem to be a little uneasy about Bishop Burke's recent notification to Wisconsin legislators.

Statements such as:
"I'm very passionate about my politics and I'm very passionate about my religion," Scheve said, noting that she sends her daughter to a Catholic school. "For the two to collide is an issue that troubles me to my core."

This is fairly disingenious if is not a complete fabrication. It is impossible to be very passionate about one's faith if one does not know that faith and believe it. Sending one's children to a Catholic school hardly meets the criteria for being Catholic. But hey, after 35-40 years of exceptionally poor catechesis, what does one expect?

And then we have this bit of wisdom from the knowledgable reporter:
Scheve's counterpart, state Republican Party Chairwoman Ann Wagner, is Catholic.

Wagner and most of those Catholic officeholders share Burke's views on abortion and euthanasia. However, many of them likely disagree with the church on other matters - notably, the death penalty, which is practiced in Missouri. The Catholic Church opposes it.
Private speculation also is under way on whether Burke might expand the no-Communion order to the death penalty or other issues.

The Church, while not opposing the right of the State to impose the death penalty, does oppose the application of death penalty when bloodless means are available to protect society.
"Legitimate public authority has the right and the duty to inflict punishment proportionate to the gravity of the offense. Punishment has the primary aim of redressing the disorder introduced by the offense. When it is willingly accepted by the guilty party, it assumes the value of expiation" (CCC, no.2266).

The death penalty cannot be construed as equivalent to abortion. The deliberate murder of an innocent human being is not the same as the killing of a guilty person.

Other locals seem to think receiving Holy Communion is a matter between the priest and the communicant. How utterly ignorant!

A clear demonstration of the lack of knowledge many 'Catholics' have regarding the teachings of the Church.

Bishop Burke on the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility

Bish Burke has issued a pastoral letter on the duty of every one of the faithful to promote the culture of life in politics. He wrote the letter at the same time that he released a decree that local Catholic politicians who support abortion or euthanasia may not receive Communion in the diocese until they publicly denounce their positions.

A 'PDF' versions can be found at the Diocese of LaCrosse website here.

Zenit has a text version here.

Pay particularly close attention to this:
"The port of entry for the culture of death in our society has been the abandonment of the respect for the procreative meaning of the conjugal act. It is the contraceptive way of thinking, the fear of the life-giving dimension of conjugal love, which very much sustains that culture." He quotes Pope John Paul II (Evangelium Vitae, n. 13): "[T]he pro-abortion culture is especially strong precisely where the Church's teaching on contraception is rejected".

Perhaps Catholics may begin to learn that artificial contraception is sinful and that one may not appeal to to one's malformed conscience in determining right and wrong? Of course, priests may have to speak about this in an homily, perhaps at the risk of losing some less than faithful 'Catholics'.

An Open Letter to 23 Chicago Priests

The following is courtesy of Catholic Citizens of Illinois:
1/12/2004 9:57:00 PM
By Dan Cheely - Catholic Citizens of Illinios
For background see Chicago Priests Openly Rip On Church Teachings

An Open Letter to 23 Chicago Priests

In a time of crisis in the Catholic Church it is truly counter-productive to heap scorn on the moral teachings of the Catholic Church, and even the Pope himself, as he reiterates that age-old teaching. For Catholic priests to be the heapers is a grave scandal.

Let’s be frank. If the Church’s moral teaching on homosexuality had been fostered, embraced and followed by the criminal priests who preyed on Catholic children, and if those priests had accepted the need to struggle heroically to preserve chastity, 90% of those crimes never would have occurred. Moreover, if the Church’s teaching on chastity in general were fostered, actively preached, and practiced, none of the crimes would have occurred at all.

Secondly, the only public statements on the issue which have used rhetorically repugnant language are yours, not the Vatican’s. I challenge you to find a single document from the 25 year Pontificate of John Paul II where he uses the term evil or hateful to describe homosexuals. There are none. It is only your letter that uses this language to demean those who disagree with you. Does this exemplify the dialogue you claim to favor? It is obvious that it is this teaching of the Catholic catechism that you find offensive, and that any articulation of it whatsoever is painful to you. Your purpose in your public letter is to change the Church’s teaching, and to use wrongfully your position in the Church to undercut the clarity of that teaching. As you probably know, the Vatican’s statements are measured and mild as compared with the text of the Bible in both the Old and New Testaments. Perhaps you consider these evil as well.

On the contrary, the traditional Biblical teaching on sexual morality is beautiful, uplifting, and transforming. It demands the best from human nature, calling into action high-mindedness, self-discipline, perseverance, dedication, fortitude, patience, mental focus, loyalty, honor, temperance, and self-control. Granted, it does necessarily involve the single dirty word condemned by our contemporary society. No!, but that self-mastery exercises and makes possible all those qualities which foster heroism in personal and social life, and thus energizes the truest kind of freedom: the power to be good and do good habitually, even when it is difficult.

Unlike your call to conform the Church to the times, the Church’s traditional morality is timeless, valid in all seasons. Christ, we believe, came to us as a revelation from the Eternal. Thus, his Church is constituted, not to conform to modern mores, but to create new men and new women, living lives radically different than what might be the prevailing practice around them. So it was in the first Christian centuries. So it must be now.

Your letter calls for dialogue, as if Christian Revelation were as negotiable as a services contract. There is a place for dialogue, but never at the expense of the critical mission of the Church. Dialogue on the part of the Church can only occur meaningfully if the Church has something unique to affirm which flows from her very nature and her unique role in passing on eternally the teaching of Christ as handed on through his Apostles. You seem to be scandalized that the Church dares make such affirmations at all. You would rather have the Church silent, simply to listen to the monologue of homosexual activists, implicitly denying the Church any authority or ability to teach.

If the Church cannot proclaim its own long-standing morality, it is not even free. St. Paul wrote to Timothy that the Church leader should be prepared to preach the traditional teaching in season and out of season, even at the risk of being unpopular. A Church that says yes to every moral difficulty is not a Church at all, but rather, useless. Is it any wonder that when the Church spoke with a clearer, more united voice in matters of faith and morals that Catholic identification, solidarity and commitment was high, and that the reverse is true today? Is it mysterious that those Communities and Churches which promote the most challenging & demanding adherence to traditional faith and morals are those which are healthy and growing, both within and outside the Catholic Church? Salt is good, but if the salt loses its savor, it is fit for nothing. . . .

Despite your misguided desires, the authority of the universal Church will never lose its savor; we have the Holy Spirit’s guarantee for that. We would encourage you to re-examine the beautiful moral teachings of the Church you once pledged to serve, and to recommit yourselves to her as Mater et Magistra.

Dan Cheely, Director
Catholic Citizens of Illinios
This is a great letter. I'm not sure sure what else could be said.

Monday, January 12, 2004

Belgium Cardinal continues to confuse the laity

Godfried Cardinal Danneels of Brussels is claiming, if this report is correct, that he could reluctantly accept the use of condoms as a means to halt the spread of AIDS. The story I saw is here.

The Church teaches that:
1. the use of artificial contraception is always immoral, and
2. the only morally acceptable method to prevent AIDS transmission is abstinence.

No wonder Catholics in Belgium are lost.

Fr. Groeschel Critically Injured in Car Accident

EWTNews-Fr. Benedict Groeschel, CFR, well known to EWTN viewers for his numerous series and appearances on the network, is in critical but stable condition at Orlando Regional Medical Center after being struck by a car near Orlando International Airport in Florida. The incident occurred Sunday evening. Details are sketchy but sources say the priest was walking to a restaurant for a meal when he was hit. EWTNews will keep you informed of this situation as it develops. Please keep Fr. Groeschel in your prayers.

Russell Shaw is coming to St. Charles County

I do not have all of the details yet, but Russell Shaw will be coming to St. Charles county to give a talk on the subject of vocations and living our vocations. This is being sponsored by the St. Charles Serra Club.

I will post the details just as soon as I can confirm them.

Sunday, January 11, 2004

The crying and whining begins!

Many articles have been published and many news reports have been aired on radio and TV since Archbishop Burke's 'Notification' has been made public.

A rather interesting one is here. It has a host of people decrying the fact the the bishop has done is job. But they see it all differently. To them, the bishop is a "fanatic" - so says Dan Maguire, a theology professor from Marquette. This ma be understandable if you read his writings, like this one called, "The Voice of
the Faithful (VOTF) in a Clergy Dominated Church".
Who is really the fanatic?

Bishop Burke needs our prayers at a time like this. He is doing exactly what the Holy Father requested of all bishops nearly 2 (yes, 2) years ago:
POPE CALLS ON BISHOPS TO PUBLICLY REPRIMAND DISSENTERS FROM CHURCH'S MORAL TEACHING Strongly Implies Dissent is at the Root of the Scandals and Must be Bishops' First Priority

ROME, April 26, 2002 (
- At the conclusion of the meeting between Pope John Paul II and the Cardinals of the United States Wednesday, the pope called on the "Pastors of the Church" to "publicly...reprimand individuals who spread dissent." At the meeting discussing the sexual abuse of minors by members of the clergy the pope noted that "doctrinal issues" underlie "the deplorable behavior in question" and proposed three "lines of response." This may be an especially difficult task for some of the bishops and cardinals since in the U.S., and even more so in neighbouring Canada, where dissent or toleration of dissent on moral issues is deeply ingrained in many church leaders and institutions.

Did I say that I was so looking forward to Archbishop Burke coming to St. Louis? He is a man whose actions should give us all encouragement to fight the good fight. He is standing up for Christ and leading us into battle against the powers and principalities that wish to take us all to hell with them. This is a case of spiritual warfare! And we have been so blessed to receive this man as the spiritual leader of our diocese.