Saturday, September 18, 2004

Seminar examines merits of denying Communion to dissident politicians

Father Richard John Neuhaus said Catholic politicians who persist in supporting legalized abortion should be denied Communion. Monika K. Hellwig said that tactic would contribute to the misperception that abortion is a "Catholic issue" when it should be an issue with all candidates.
This would have been an interesting seminar, especially if Monica Hellwig was sharing the podium with Fr. Neuhaus.


Sept 18-Love's Guarantee

The guarantee of love is fidelity. If you keep my commandments, said Our Lord, you will abide in my love. Of course, this does not refer to the Ten Commandments only, but to all of the desires of the Good Master. It is a moot question in the spiritual life whether God does or does not give unfailingly the graces of contemplation to a soul that is constantly generous. One author wrote, taking sides in the affirmative: "The perfect life equals the mystical life." There are others who refuse to agree; for them perfection depends not on what one receives but on what one gives. The perfect life, in their opinion, which must seem reasonable to anyone, equals the faithful life.

There is a totality of gift only when the soul refuses God nothing. Where there is a totality of gift, in an earnest and constant manner, there is sanctity-whether God accords or not, as reward for the efforts realized, the free graces of higher prayer or of a more sensible union.

Consequently if God gives me, periodically or habitually, lights or graces which in no way resemble my former states, I must not conclude that I am a saint. God sometimes gives choice grades to very imperfect souls. On the other hand, if God lets me seek Him gropingly in the night, without any of the lights or consolations of Thabor, I must not infer that God loves me less or that I am less faithful, but only that the earth is the earth; that in this land here below I must expect to seek God gropingly, because I shall have eternity for contemplation in light without shadows, and in happiness without alloy.

Perfection equals fidelity. Give me the grace, O my God, to carry fidelity as far as you want me to.

from the book Meditations for Religious
by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J

'Therese' movie to open Oct. 1 in St. Louis area

"Thérèse," the new film about St. Thérèse of Lisieux, the Little Flower, will open in St. Louis on Friday, Oct. 1, at the AMC West Olive 16 in Creve Coeur.

Near Review press time, it was announced "Thérèse" also will open on Thursday, Sept. 30, at the Wehrenberg Des Peres 14, Interstate 270 and Manchester Road.

Catholics in the St. Louis Archdiocese are being urged to support the independent film, the work of Catholic filmmaker Leonardo Defilippis and Luke Films. The 90-minute film tells the story of St. Thérèse and her "little way" of serving God, which in her short life inspired millions.

"It is my hope that as many people as possible will see ‘Thérèse,’" said Archbishop Burke this week.
Please read this article for additional information for ticket sales and group purchases.

BTW, the website for the Thérèse movie is here.

A local "review" of "The Passion"...months later

I read this "critique" of Mel Gibson's "The Pasion of the Christ" in the St. Louis Review, our archdiocesan newspaper, today. I find it difficult to understand why the Review would waste valuable space with this "review" when much better critiques have been available for months.

I. . .believe that the film has major historical and theological flaws that should not be ignored.

[M]any more people will [now] have the opportunity to see it [since it's release on DVD].

The film also may find its way into either adult or high school catechesis. This troubles me because Gibson’s version of the passion is not as consistent with Church teaching as many think.
So what do we see next? Not a critique of the film but an ad hominem directed toward Mel Gibson:
My first reservation concerns Gibson himself.

...Catholics should be aware, despite media misconceptions, that Gibson is not a Roman Catholic.
So to whom does the reviewer go to get the "facts"?
Cardinal Roger Mahony of Los Angeles has said Gibson has no active relationship to the archdiocese where he lives...

The cardinal emphasized that if one denies the Second Vatican Council, as Gibson does, he is denying the Church’s magisterium.
Yes, the "reviewer" relies on a stalwart bastion of orthodoxy for his attack.

I have never heard Mel Gibson deny the Second Vatican Council (how could he? It did happen). I suspect what he means is that Mel Gibson has denied the teachings of the council. I have not heard him do this explicitly, nor have I seen proof of him doing this although I have heard it discussed many times in many places. Nevertheless, this has little to do with the movie itself which is what the subject matter purportedly concerns. But no, after attacking Gibson, we get to the movie.
[Gibson] has produced a filmed version of the Passion Play genre.

Unfortunately because these works compress elements of the four Gospels, they obscure the theological integrity of each evangelist.
And the point is what? Gibson had a two hour window in which to do his work.

Also because the Passion Play is a drama, it must include antagonists.
As does everyday life itself. Again, the point being what?....Here it comes, the fear of stirring up a wave of antisemitism.
If seen outside its historical and biblical context, this conflict has led to certain anti-Jewish feelings.

I don’t believe Gibson set out to make an anti-Semitic film.
Implying what? Theat even though he may not have set out to do it, that this is what happened? Lord, please have mercy on us!

Anyway, I sense a "BUT" coming on...
But he wasn’t guided by Vatican II’s clear teaching ("Declaration on the Relationship of the Church to Non-Christian Religions") and modern Catholic biblical scholarship.
OK, I think I get it...he did not consult ecumenical bureaucrats at the USCCB or the Higher-Critical biblical 'scholars'. Therefore, the movie is full of error. He is incapable of understanding certain biblical passages, just as most Catholics are without the 'guidance' of those blessed with this recently discovered knowledge. It's certainly a miracle that the Fathers and Doctors and Saints of the Church were able to make it without these 'scholars'.

Having said this, the "reviewer" then proceeds to question all other film reviewers that did not use the document, "Criteria for the Evaluation of Dramatizations of the Passion" for their reviews.
I find it strange that very few evaluated the film by the standards given by our own U.S. Catholic bishops in the 1988 document.

This document further reminds us that Judaism at the time of Jesus was a rich and complex group of various movements such as the Pharisees and Sadducees.

This is never shown in the film. All we see are a large group of shouting, angry people, who with few exceptions, are bullied by the high priest and temple leaders.
This is not the film I saw. I witnessed a complex mix of different attitudes of the people in the film. Some were angry, some saddened, some indifferent...
The most glaring departure from history in the film is its portrayal of Pontius Pilate. The Gospels offer conflicting views of him, yet we know from history that he was a brutal tyrant who wouldn’t have hesitated to crucify another Jew.
Something is wrong with this picture. While there was certainly no love lost between Pilate and the Jews, it is clear from Scripture that Pilate tried at least twice to spare our Lord's life. Pilate, while wanting to release Jesus, cowered and gave in to the crowd only when he was accused of being "no friend of Caesar's". His reluctance was demonstrated by the fact that he even "washed his hands" to indicate that he was innocent of Jesus' blood, and relented thus satisfying the crowd's thirst for blood and protecting his career and life. This, I believe, happens to be scripturally factual, modern critical biblical scholarship notwithstanding.
We who have been critical because of problematic theological and historical concerns with "The Passion of the Christ" have to acknowledge that those inspired by it had a far different experience.
Indeed, some of us were moved to tears because of our sins and what our sins have done to our Lord who suffered and died out of love for us.

I cannot understand how any Christian could not be so moved to repentance after visualizing what our Lord endured.
Thus I encourage those who would watch or use the movie to proceed with caution.
Caution, indeed! If it were left to people like this, we would have only sanitized versions of the Passion, versions which do little or nothing to bring us to conversion.
Or, before you see the movie, read the book published by our own bishops, "The Bible, the Jews and the Death of Jesus: A Collection of Catholic Documents."
Many bishops recommended that we see the movie. However, I don't recall many of them recommending the book, which purportedly was published out of fear of a rise of antisemitism stemming from the movie.

Or better yet, stick with the Gospels.
Wouldn't we need a "modern Catholic biblical scholar" to tell us how to understand it?

Enjoy the article here.

Archbishop Flynn does not support withholding Holy Communion to any Catholic

I do not believe that it is my responsibility or anyone else’s responsibility to pass judgment on Catholics as they proceed to the Communion table.
Somehow this does not square with what the Holy See has stated: "The reception of the Body of Christ when one is publicly unworthy constitutes an objective harm" to the Church and to the faithful who obey it, says a declaration issued by the Pontifical Council for the Interpretation of Legislative Texts.
Eucharist extends our participation as baptized Catholics and invites us to discipleship. We are invited to the table to join with the community, to give thanks, to be nourished, to be challenged in our discipleship and then sent forth to be disciples. This discipleship requires that we constantly develop a more profound grasp of our faith, that we be attentive to the direction of the church and that we play a part in providing leadership in the world.
One of my pet peeves is seeing or hearing the word "Eucharist" used without the definite article "The" as in the case above...I believe it tells much of the person who speaks or writes in this manner. It reminds me of those who also prefer to say "Church" rather than "The Church"...

Perhaps, more prayers are needed for the Archbishop and others who refuse to listen to the Holy Father (as in Ecclesia de Eucharistia) in this regard, and to the counsel of Cardinal Ratzinger. The greater scandal, it seems, comes from bishops who fail to obey directives from the Holy See.

The Archbishop's article is here.

*** UPDATED ***

I had forgotten this, but pro-abortion politicians are not the only people that are welcomed to commit scandal and sacrilege (objectively) by receiving Holy Communion:
Archbishop Harry Flynn has said Rainbow Sash members will not be denied Communion, reserving such an action for "extreme" circumstances.
So what's "extreme"?

Friday, September 17, 2004

Abp. Burke responds to Polish parish (St. Stanislaus Kostka)

Archbishop Raymond Burke has responded to concerns of members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish who oppose a restructuring plan by submitting and making modifications to a statement of commitment to the parish.

A spokesman for the parish board of directors said Sept. 14 that the board voted against the Archbishop’s latest proposal. The reason, Roger Krasnicki said, was because "they felt there were no civilly enforceable provisions."
Maybe, maybe not...But without a priest, that point is probably moot.
Krasnicki added that the board asked their attorney to resume discussions with Huger. "We still want to keep the door open," he said.

Krasnicki said the board wants a peaceful resolution.

Board chairman Bill Bialczak wrote that parish members "are strong Roman Catholics who respect the hierarchy of the Church.

However, we are strong believers to adhere to things that we feel are just. We have great difficulties in trying to undo customs that have prevailed for over 100 years."
Sometimes, we must do things which we find extremely difficult especially if we have been become accustomed to something else, even if was wrong.

Respect for the hierarchy of the Church should also include obedience to the hierarchy, even in matters which may be contrary to habit or custom, and when Church law particularly requires it.

The link also includes the Statement of Commitment by Archbishop Burke to the Parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church which demonstrates his desire to see this situation resolved for the benefit of the parish and the Church.

The article is here.

Archbishop Harry Flynn, what sayest thou?

What would Archbishop Flynn do if pro-abortion Senator Ted Kennedy or Senator John Kerry came up to him for the Eucharist, and just weeks before Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Donohue, Bishop Vasa, Bishop Baker, Bishop Jugis and Bishop Bruskewitz had all denied Kerry the Eucharist, as they said they would do?

Would Archbishop Flynn remain 'divided' from these six fellow Bishops and 'do his own thing?' Would he want to obey Divine Law and remain 'united' with these six fellow members of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), a conference to which he belongs?

The six bishops who have declared they would deny the Eucharist to persons who obstinately persist in their grave manifest sin are neither quacks nor schismatic, but are faithful magisterial Bishops, members of the USCCB.

The Archbishop speaks of unity, but he causes disunity by giving the impression of a false unity.

Dear Archbishop Flynn, what saith thou of thyself?
This is from Barbara Kralis' article which can be read here. It is, as her articles normally are, very good and to the point.

A Move to Censure Archbishop Burke?

A move at the Denver meeting to censure St. Louis Archbishop Raymond L. Burke — who in February ordered Mr. Kerry not to receive Communion in his diocese because of his pro-choice stance — was defeated "overwhelmingly," Rev. Richard J. Neuhaus, editor of First Things magazine, said.
Who was the individual who proposed this? What a despicable act of cowardice. This is first I have heard of this.
The bishops were all set to lay down the law to politicians, he added, until they heard a speech from Washington Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick. He summarized a letter from Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, the Vatican's chief doctrinal watchdog, on whether priests should refuse Communion to pro-choice politicians.
They were? Some perhaps, but others, it seems, would rather do anything to avoid taking the high road and following the directives of the Holy See.

A bishop familiar with the meeting told The Washington Times that Cardinal McCarrick did not pass out copies of the letter. "Had the letter from Cardinal Ratzinger been candidly shared with the bishops," Father Neuhaus said, "which was not done but which he intended it should be ... the statement would have been more lucid, more firm, more clear."
Nothing new here...this is a given, I would hope.


St. Stanislaus update (Letter to the Editor -Post Dispatch)

Parish dispute

Your Sept. 11 article does not accurately describe the actual situation at St. Stanislaus Kostka parish. It is the board of directors, not parishioners, who rejected Archbishop Raymond Burke's proposal.

The article implies a unilateral support of parishioners for the board of directors, whose actions are self-serving and are not in the best interests of the Polish community. Many parishioners who support the archdiocese's proposal were not notified by the board about the meeting and consequently were not given an opportunity to voice their opinion.

Jarek Czernikiewicz
St. Louis
Mr. Czernikiewicz is taking a bold step in revealing this. He will probably be ridiculed by the board for his efforts.


Archbishop Donghue: On Conscientious Voting

The Most Reverend John F. Donoghue, Archbishop of Atlanta, has issued a letter to the faithful of the diocese regarding how to vote as a Catholic with an informed conscience:
I can teach you, on behalf of the Church, the manner in which you must decide for whom to vote, and I hope that in this letter I have given you clear and helpful instruction.

"Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path, we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church." (CCC #1783-1785)
Letter here.

Bishop Wuerl: Prepare for fewer priests

Bishop Donald Wuerl is calling on the people of the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh to prepare for a future with fewer priests.

"Fewer priests does not mean less ministry," Wuerl wrote in a pastoral letter in this week's Pittsburgh Catholic.

Sept 17-Stigmata

St. Francis of Assisi could not think of the Passion without weeping. God, to reward him for the ardor of his love, imprinted in his hands and feet and side the marks of the nails and of the lance.

These are special graces. There is no question at all of my aspiring to them.

But can I not, on the feast day of the stigmata of St. Francis of Assisi, examine myself on my love of Jesus Crucified?

Do I love to contemplate my good Master dying on the Cross? I was given a crucifix on the day of my profession, do I use it? Do I look at it often? Does it make Calvary and the painful Maryrdom of my Savior live for me again?

It is not merely a question of compassionating Jesus, but of reproducing my Savior. And without a doubt it will not be through nails, or sword thrust, or visible imprints in my flesh, that I reproduce my Savior crucified. It will depend rather upon my interior generosity, my aptitude of renunciation through love. How generous am I?

The stigmata of Francis were apparent; mine are entirely interior; but there is no need for anyone to see them; it is much better that they remain hidden from all. God alone knows them. They must, however, exist; they must be deeply imprinted. I am too easily contented with transports; my achievements do not correspond to them, not through disloyalty, but rather through weakness. I must learn to study Jesus Crucified, to be strong. The Master that I serve did not spare Himself at all. Forward, then, humbly but valiantly.

Today, particularly, I will refuse nothing to God, for love of my Savior on the Cross.
from the book Meditations for Religious
by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Why won't the Catholic bishops solve the 'gay priest problem?

The solution to that problem is simple and self-evident, according to Karl Keating, a lucid and sensible thinker if ever there was one:

"1. If a priest is ‘gay’ — living a homosexual lifestyle — he should be removed from ministry immediately….

2. If a priest is homosexual but not ‘gay’ — that is, if he is living chastely — let him continue in ministry until normal retirement.

3. Exclude from seminary formation and ordination any homosexual, whether ‘gay’ or chaste…. The latter should not sign up for ‘guy-only’ work that will have him living with other men (thus putting him into near occasions of sin)…. He should be encouraged to serve the Church in other ways…. If the priesthood in this country were healthy, little or no harm would come from ordaining chaste homosexuals whose homosexuality is kept private. But we do not live in ordinary times."
Of course, this suggestion follows the "KISS" principle (Keep it simple, Stupid) so there must be a problem with it. Perhaps, it needs more "bureaucracy" - perhaps a "task force" to study it for a few years. Maybe it is not "transparent" enough...

I can still see as if it were yesterday, Bishop Bruskewitz at the Bishops' meeting in Dallas asking for a special study of how homosexuality and dissent from Church teachings are a significant factor in the sexual abuse scandal - yet his intervention was voted down....Why?

Article here.

This Sunday is Stewardship Awareness Sunday

And this is the fourth year.
In truth, stewardship is the recognition of God in our lives, who is the source of all that we are and have. Recognizing God, we naturally place Him first in our lives and, therefore, place all of the many good gifts, which He has given us, at His service for the sake of others. Practicing stewardship, we acknowledge that the gifts which we enjoy are not ours to keep but to use in giving glory to God and in working for the salvation of the world. When we put God first in our lives, we consider His plan for us and our world in every decision we make, including budgetary and financial decisions. Putting God first in our lives means an active concern to be a co-worker with God in the care of the world and in the salvation of our fellow man. It means wanting to do God’s will in all things and to please Him by all our thoughts, words and actions.

Archbishop Burke's article is here.

Let us pray that this is not really true.

Catholic hospitals commit - and U.S. Bishops condone - live birth abortion

*** Updated 9/16

Aparrently there may have been a mischaracterization or misunderstanding of sorts about this story...You can read about it here.

*** Updated again 9/17 (and date changed from 9/15)

The story is apparently true...As noted in the above link comments:
Tom Szyszkiewicz here. A number of points to make.

1) The reason I wrote the articles was because the fact that Catholic hospitals are doing what they term early induction for fetuses with anomalies incompatible with life (EIFWAIL--my acronym) is disgusting. And it is morally abhorrent, in my opinion, that they are hiding behind certain of the USCCB’s Ethical & Religious Directives to justify their behavior. However, as a reporter, I did not make that opinion known in my stories.

2) I wrote two news pieces on this for the National Catholic Register and Our Sunday Visitor. Besides some slight attention in the Heart, Mind & Strength blog and a link in Jeff Ziegler’s morning e-mail, they were virtually ignored, which is not exactly what I was hoping for. Jill Stanek wrote an opinion column on my two news pieces. Suddenly the issue is gaining attention. That’s what I had hoped for.

3) As stated in #2, Jill wrote a column. Columns, if I’m not mistaken, are meant to grab attention and to state opinions. Jill could say things in a column I was not able to say in a news piece. I had people telling me that I should come right out and state that this is abortion and the bishops were waffling. I refused as what I wrote was news, not opinion. It is not that I didn’t believe it, but that I did not see a place for it in my pieces. Jill, however, was perfectly free to do so in a column. Was she accurate? From what I have learned in all the time I’ve been dealing with this story (over a year now), yes.

4) The coverage that Domenico mentioned with which I was unhappy was that provided by LifeSite News, not Jill’s column. Their story on the column claims that Jill & I said the hospitals were delivering the children and then killing them. Neither of us ever said that.
Jill Stanek's article is also here.

Thursday, September 16, 2004

Catholic Answers, "This Rock" magazine online


Sept 16-Cloistered

Speaking of religious who do not practice their Rule, but who follow from afar their ideal of life, St. Francis de Sales makes this comment: "Cloistered persons without a doubt, but no religious at all."

Fr. Lallemant, speaking to some young priests of the Society of Jesus, used a similar comparison, exhorting them not to be mere shadows of religious, that is, men in soutanes, whose souls are not wholly given to God, who are more like walking ghosts than true saints endeavoring to translate into their life the ideal of vocation.

Let me examine myself seriously: I am someone in the monastery; my name is on a door, or my number on a lingerie shelf; I walk through the halls as a figure in regulation dress. But these are merely appearances. In reality what am I? If at this moment I should appear before the Tribunal of God, what judgment would be passed upon me? In the community I can still keep up appearances, although more than one soul of keen insight must have seen through my life for some time. In any case, before God I am exactly what I am; and again, what am I?

What are the most glaring defects of my life? What observations are emphasized for my benefit in retreats? What faults am I asked to correct? What predominating cowardice does my examen reveal to me?

I must reflect, I must change, and to have the courage for this, I must pray much.
from the book Meditations for Religious
by Fr. Raoul Plus, S.J.

Please keep EWTN, others in your prayers.

I received notice that EWTN's offices are closing today & tomorrow.

Prayers are requested that the hurricane does not damage their facilities and cause any life to perish.

That was a request from Catholic radio station WRYT this morning.

Thanks to Marc for the update.

More Letters to the RFT re: Abp. Burke & the Church

"Immaculate" Reception
A bad match for St. Louis: This is just a quickie fan letter to tell you how much I value your courageous investigative journalism. Malcolm Gay's "Immaculate Deception" [August 25] provided a fascinating and damning view of Archbishop Burke's highhandedness. We in St. Louis know of it because of the political bombs he has lobbed against politicians who support reproductive choice, and because of his insensitive treatment of St. Stanislaus parishioners.

While I am not really surprised by what Gay discovered in La Crosse -- a church hierarchy that stonewalled abuse investigations and priests who left the priesthood because they could not in good conscience serve under Raymond Burke -- still his stories affected me viscerally. Burke's leadership style is so at odds with our city's temperament. I had often wondered why in the world St. Louis became afflicted with this man. And a funny thing: Only one day after your story appeared, the Post-Dispatch reported that the archdiocese had just settled eighteen abuse cases. Hmmm, could there be a connection? Maybe Burke's hardball ways made him the "perfect candidate" for St. Louis!

Thanks again for a terrific job.
Anne Bader

An eye opener: Thank you so much for all the time and trouble that you went through to put this amazing article together and for having the courage to print it. It is time that we all opened our eyes and see what is happening in the way the Catholic Church is being operated. There are some very wonderful priests and they certainly deserve credit for the work they do, but it is long past time that we clean up the running of the church and bring it back to what Christ wants.
Mary Ellen Kruger
Webster Groves

Lies and the lying liars who tell them: Apparently the "dirty little secret" that followed Archbishop Raymond Burke to St. Louis is that he is loath to blindly accept the validity of decades-old allegations from accusers who have no evidence to substantiate their claims. The lawyers for the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests would of course prefer that they not be challenged to prove any of these charges and that the archdiocese simply open the checkbook.

The American bishops' imprudent methods in the past of attempting to keep a lid on the scandal with hush money have damaged their credibility. Now victims'-support groups are counting on the attitude that when an accusation is made there should be no other alternative than to believe everything the claimant says. The large settlements made in the Boston archdiocese have cemented the tactic of "hitting the jackpot" by threatening litigation.

No one disputes that child abuse is a terrible crime, but no crime is so terrible that someone wouldn't lie about it for a payoff.
George Haberberger

Ken Lay has nothing on Raymond Burke: The article about Archbishop Burke should be published in every Catholic Church bulletin. His handling of victims of clergy sexual abuse would put a corrupt corporate executive to shame. He is supposed to be the good shepherd leading his flock to a moral and Christ-like life and instead he is practicing slimy legal tactics.

I hope this article will encourage Catholics to write the archbishop and demand that he reach out to victims and work to protect all the children in this diocese.
Barbara Doris
St. Louis

Raymond Burke -- not to be trusted:
Thank you for the article about Archbishop Burke, who I considered from one look into his eyes as someone who couldn't be trusted. Of course, I knew about him prior to his arrival in St. Louis from my relatives in Wisconsin. I am a supporter of the SaveSt.Stans effort and attend prayer services each Sunday. I recently moved to rural De Soto from St. Louis and almost missed this issue of RFT because of infrequent visits to my favorite saloon.

Once again, congratulations on this information and don't let up exposing the criminal activities of this man. He is in the words of the times "an extremist," but his views are distorted and to effectuate his desires, he twists the meaning of the rules of the church to meet his end results. I hope this article will help divert his attentions from St. Stans.
Frank Medved
De Soto

The cold dead heart of the church: My compliments to the Riverfront Times and especially to Malcolm Gay for his extremely well-written and informative piece, which exposes, in graphic detail, the "deficiencies," not only among the hierarchy of the Diocese of La Crosse, but in the Wisconsin state house as well.

I do however, disagree with Peter Isely's statement that "[l]oyalty to the church is of the highest order" for these men, whom I prefer to call the anointed yet tarnished princes of the church. From East Coast to West Coast, and everywhere in between, the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church in the United States are only concerned with the loyalty they owe to themselves and to each other. These lofty positions to which they have risen and the power that comes with those positions have made them lose sight of why they entered into holy orders in the first place: to serve God, to serve His people, to serve His church. There is no love of God or fellowship of the Holy Spirit present in their treatment of these brokenhearted, broken-spirited children of the church who have been raped in body, mind and soul. In truth, these "men of God" have only proven how cold and dead the heart of Holy Mother Church really is.

Anyone who has read the Report of the National Review Board is aware of that now-famous quote: "The smoke of Satan was allowed to enter the Church." With this quote in mind, we can only wonder: What master does the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church really serve? Can the church be saved? Do the laity have strength and courage enough to take back their church?

Time, as they say, will tell.
Victoria Martin
Santa Monica, California

More on Mason: I was a member of the Roncalli Newman Center when Jim Mason joined us. We found out about his "ways" through the media when he was charged with third-degree sexual assault. Truly a sorry time. I am happy to see this in print.

He was a troublesome man and I can't believe he is still on the La Crosse Diocesan payroll. 'Tis a pity. This man was charming and smart but got to be a very disturbed man. I hope he is kept away or stays away from underage or vulnerable people. Thanks for listening.
Sarah Hundt
La Crosse, Wisconsin

Scapegoating the Catholics: I am greatly saddened by the crimes committed by those priests of the Catholic Church, and I believe that such wrongdoings, when substantiated, should result in ecclesiastical, civil or even criminal punishment.

What perplexes me is that recent allegations of similar sexual abuse in our nation's public schools have been practically ignored, while we have experienced several years of intensive scrutinization of Catholic clergy abuse. The Shakeshaft report on public-school sexual abuse estimated that approximately 4.5 million children in eighth to eleventh grade in the year 2000 had experienced sexual harassment or abuse by school workers. In contrast, the National Review Board report on child sexual abuse by Catholic clergy reported 10,667 individuals alleging abuse by ordained clergy during the 53-year period from 1950 to 2002 (17.2 percent also said they had siblings who were also abused). Both reports included incidents ranging from inappropriate touching and sexual language to statutory rape.

The difference in absolute numbers between the two reports, both issued this year, is staggering. Even if the public schools' figures are wildly exaggerated, and if the Catholic numbers are far higher than reported, the public schools seem to have a much higher incidence of sexual abuse than the Catholic Church.

The real difference in interest in these two reports is due to an impression of hypocrisy in the Catholic Church. The Catholic clergy are assumed to affect an image of holiness and to promote an impossible standard of conduct, while the public schools are assumed to be progressing toward an ideal of openness to universal sexual expression. In other words, the alleged sexual behavior is unbecoming to a Catholic, while the same behavior is admired, at least in some circles, by the secular world. This is then a secular examination of Catholicism by Catholic standards, and not by the standards of the secular world -- which I consider unfair, even though I must admit it is very effective.

Archbishop Burke is a lawyer by training and is acting like the chief lawyer of any large organization would do in similar circumstances. Punitive lawsuits are so potentially destructive to any organization that a certain measure of secrecy is prudent; corporations, governments, and academic institutions are also secretive. Perhaps doing the right thing -- even though it means total worldly loss -- is heroically virtuous, but the church does not require such heroism of its members.

American Catholics were a persecuted minority until the Second World War. During that war, Catholic mothers who hung four, five or six service stars in their front windows, symbolizing sons in military service, demonstrated the patriotism of Catholics and their commitment to the United States. The election of John F. Kennedy to the presidency proved that Catholics had finally arrived, even though he promised no influence of his Catholicism in his service. Catholics supported Martin Luther King in the civil rights struggle and also assured equal employment rights for themselves. Vatican II liturgical and artistic reforms assured that Catholics would not be distinctive anymore and would be viewed as normal Americans. Catholics did all they could to please the world. Acceptance was assured for a while, but then came pressure to conform to new worldly standards. Now we are told that we were no longer liked and have to change again.

The resurgence of traditional Catholic practices and increasing Catholic moral pressure against the mainstream may mean that Catholics are once again outside the pale, but at least high Catholic standards will recover, and this sexual abuse will diminish further.
Mark Abeln
St. Louis

Irreverent, indecent and disgusting -- an unholy trifecta! Your display of bitterness toward Archbishop Burke reached the limit of decency in your deplorable caricature of the archbishop in your endeavor to belittle him in the eyes of your readers. Granted, you have the right to criticize, but to display all the intimate happenings serves little purpose but to arouse disgust in the minds of readers.

Your paper should be a sounding board for good happenings for St. Louis. I feel sure you have not turned many Catholics against the archbishop but have turned away many from your low-grade endeavor to smear him.

Finally, your play on words using a Catholic doctrine of the Mother of God to further insult the archbishop is a true lack of reverence for the Catholic Church.
Fr. Valentine Young, O.F.M. Cap
St. Patrick Church
St. Louis

Posted in it entirety since it changes weekly. Link here.

Holy Democrats!

The Catholic presidential questionnaire is dead — thank God

The Presidential Questionnaire from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) is dead. But do not mourn. Its death is a good thing, and is important not just for Catholics but for all who were concerned that candidate Kerry was about to get official Church cover for his pro-abortion position.

The problems with the questionnaire are many. First, the document is almost guaranteed to confuse the typical pew sitter as to the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Faithful Catholics and others may applaud that the presidential questionnaire is dead, at least for this election cycle, and may also hope that its death portends more profound changes at the USCCB, what Henry Hyde once called "the Democratic party at prayer."

— Austin Ruse is president of the Washington, D.C.-based Culture of Life Foundation.
Highly recommended article.

Limiting the harm using proportionate reasons

Bush Not 100% Pro-Life But Can be Supported Says Barbara Kralis Explaining Catholic Theology of Proportionate Reasons

Wednesday, September 15, 2004

Sept 15-The Seven Sorrows of Mary

Mary, from the time of the Annunciation, did not pass a single day without suffering, and that for a very simple reason; she knew that the life of her Son would end in the Crucifixion.

This suffering which permeated her whole life became more acute under certain circumstances which the Church wishes us to meditate on particularly.

The Purification: "Oh, poor child," exclaimed Simeon in substance, "the world will be torn in two on account of Him: there will be those who will be for Christ and those, and how numerous they are, who will be against Him. And for you, poor mother, a sword . . ."

Then again, consider the command Joseph received to Take the Child and its Mother and flee into Egypt. . . .What an exodus, what a precipitate departure, and to such a place!

Jesus lost in the temple: I must be about my Father's business.

The meeting of Mary with Jesus on the Ascent to Calvary. What a scene! Contemplate their tender exchange of glances; compassionate these two broken hearts; I will unit myself with their hearts.

The three hours at the Foot of the Cross: How she suffered, our poor Mother! And for me! Chancellor Gerson claims that if Jesus would have tried to descend from this cross, Mary, through love for men, would have begged Him to remain nailed to it.

Mary holds Jesus in her lap after His removal from the Cross: Isn't it true that any one of these scenes would nourish my contemplation for days and weeks?

Mary, after a last look at her dead Jesus, leaves the tomb to return to Jerusalem, the evening of Good Friday.

"Ah," cried the prophet years before, "do not forget the groans of your mother!"

I wish that they would resound so profoundly in me that never, never, would I forget them; that in hearing them, I would understand the whole price of my divine life, of the divine life in all souls.
from the book Meditations for Religious
by Rev. Raoul Plus, S.J.

See also the "Discourse IX Of The Dolours Of Mary" by St. Alphonsus Liguori for more meditations.

Karl Keating's E-Letter of Sept 14


September 14, 2004



Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

"Goofy." I think that's the proper word for it.

The National Coalition of American Nuns, a group that claims only 500 members, has called for the resignation of Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, who heads the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. NCAN says Ratzinger should be replaced with a "feminist woman."

The Vatican should grant more decision-making power to women, says NCAN, and women should be included in the election of the next pope. As an aside, the group said the Church should endorse same-sex marriage.


This is an early heads-up. A friend of our apostolate is making an online video out of our "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics." We have the scripting done, and next comes a professional voice-over, followed by matching the visuals to the voice.

Our plan is to upload the video to our web site and to send the link to it to you and to thousands more via e-mail. The short video--about nine minutes long--will be available in several file formats and will be viewable by those with either high-speed or dial-up connections.


Our voter's guide has received lots of praise and some opposition. Why the opposition? The voter's guide does nothing more than repeat Church teaching. Well, okay, it does more than that. It says Catholics ought to follow Church teaching, even when in the voting booth. Is this so radical? Some people seem to think so.

It's not that they have come out against the teaching contained in the voter's guide. None of its opponents has said, "Vote for those who support abortion, euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, and homosexual 'marriage.'" Nothing that crass. What opponents have said is that
lots of other issues should be taken into account.

If they meant that the five non-negotiables should be handled first, and then the Catholic voter should factor in other, lesser issues, that would be fine. That's just what our voter's guide says anyway. But that's not what opponents really are doing. They're giving the impression that other issues, on which Catholics are permitted a range of opinions, should be given the same weight as the five non-negotiables.

What is the Catholic position on the minimum wage? Actually, there isn't one. You can be a good Catholic and think that the minimum wage should remain as it is or that it should be increased--or even that it should be eliminated. (Many economists argue that the minimum wage, while well-intentioned, actually ends up hurting the poor, by throwing many of them out of work.)

I'm not interested in discussing what to do about the minimum wage (so please don't write to me about it), but, no matter where you find yourself on the issue, one thing you must admit: Other Catholics legitimately may differ from you, and they still will be counted as good Catholics.

You can't say the same thing about those who support the five non-negotiables.


The Catholic Voting Project was started in response to the success of Catholic Answers' "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics." The organizers, several of whom are students and many of whom have been active in left-wing politics (there seems to be no political moderate or conservative associated with the group), have been described in a newspaper article as "nonpartisan," but their web site has a clear bias in favor of John Kerry. See for yourself at

The spokesman for the Catholic Voting Project is Chris Korzen, who also is the site's webmaster. He is a student at the Weston Jesuit School of Theology in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The web site has a discussion forum, which has 30 registered members. (As a comparison, Catholic Answers' discussion forum has more than 11,000 registered members.) One person posted this message on the Catholic Voting Project discussion forum:

"In your 'Why a Catholic Voter Guide?' statement, you claim, 'There are many other voter guides for the 2004 elections that claim to be "Catholic," yet they focus on only a handful of issues, depending largely on the ideology of the sponsor.' Name one. It is clear you are referring to Karl Keating's 'Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics.' I believe it would serve you better to just be honest."

Korzen responded by saying, "We feel there is an important place for the Catholic Answers voting guide in the broader public debate surrounding the Catholic vote in this election. However, we could find no definitive magisterial statement to substantiate the claim that the five issues laid
out in the CA guide are the only ones Catholics should consider when making their voting decisions."

Of course the five non-negotiables aren't the only issues Catholics should consider. The "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" says precisely that--after it says that these five issues are so important that they should be used to narrow down the field of acceptable candidates. The Catholic voter first should eliminate candidates who are wrong on the non-negotiables, and then he should look at where candidates stand on other issues. This means other issues aren't ignored, but they are secondary.


The Catholic Voting Project web site features a quiz designed to tell you "how your own beliefs compare to the positions of the U.S. Catholic bishops and the two major presidential candidates." The quiz is divided into eleven sections, each with three statements about which you are asked to agree or disagree. The bias of the organizers is found in the odd phrasing of the statements.

Consider the topic of abortion. Here are the three statements you are asked to agree or disagree with:
1. "I oppose abortion except when the life of the mother is threatened or in cases of rape or incest, but I support anti-abortion legislation that makes no exception for the health of the mother."

2. "I oppose abortion in all circumstances, except for when the life of the mother is threatened."

3. "I oppose abortion in my personal life but publicly support the right of women to choose abortion."

Which of these, if answered "agree," states the Catholic position? None, of course, since each statement allows for abortions.

Which of these, if answered "disagree," states the Catholic position? Again, none, although this might be a little harder to see.

If you disagree with statement 1, does it mean you oppose anti-abortion "legislation that makes no exception for the health of the mother"? If so, you support some abortions.

If you disagree with statement 2, does it mean you approve generally of abortion?

If you disagree with statement 3, does it mean you "support the right of women to choose abortion" but not publicly--that is, that you keep your opinion to yourself?

The ten other sections of the quiz are similarly confused. False choices are given and false implications are made. Beyond that, one is left with the impression that such things as the minimum wage are morally on the same level as abortion and that immigration regulations are as important as

Oh, wait a minute. The quiz doesn't even mention euthanasia. And it doesn't mention human cloning. It entirely leaves out two of the five non-negotiables. But it does wonder who should benefit most from tax cuts.

Until next time,

To learn more about the Catholic faith and about Catholic Answers, visit us
The content of this E-Letter is copyright 2004 by Karl Keating.

Healing Mass/Service Question from EWTN

This is another question which has come up recently in the neighborhood. Again, this may contradict what some others have stated.

This is taken from the "EWTN Q&A" site.

Healing Mass
Question from Nick on 02-04-2004:

I attended a healing mass the other day and everyone was on the floor and it seemed like the healers goal was just to get you on the floor. There were priests there, but the focus was on the lay healers.

Some of the healers were waving their arms and speaking in tongues it seemed like a tent revival meeting. Is this a licit practice in the catholic faith? Thank you

Answer by Colin B. Donovan, STL on 02-25-2004:

No it is not. It contravenes an Instruction of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith intended to put an end to such unlawful abuses.

[See: this document,]

Art. 2 – Prayers for healing are considered to be liturgical if they are part of the liturgical books approved by the Church's competent authority; otherwise, they are non-liturgical.

Art. 3 – § 1. Liturgical prayers for healing are celebrated according to the rite prescribed in the Ordo benedictionis infirmorum of the Rituale Romanum (28) and with the proper sacred vestments indicated therein.

Art. 5 – § 1. Non-liturgical prayers for healing are distinct from liturgical celebrations, as gatherings for prayer or for reading of the word of God; these also fall under the vigilance of the local Ordinary in accordance with can. 839 § 2.

§ 2. Confusion between such free non-liturgical prayer meetings and liturgical celebrations properly so-called is to be carefully avoided.

§ 3. Anything resembling hysteria, artificiality, theatricality or sensationalism, above all on the part of those who are in charge of such gatherings, must not take place.

"Baptism in the Holy Spirit"

Some questions have arisen lately in the neighborhood, so I'll see what I can find. This is the first 'issue' being addressed. This may contradict what some others have stated.

This is taken from the "Ask Father Hardon" series.
Is the charismatic practice known as "baptism in the Holy Spirit" 1) an integral part of either the sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation, 2) a new sacrament, 3) a part of the liturgy, or 4) an authentic Catholic practice?
-K.A.K., Michigan

No, the charismatic practice of baptism in the Holy Spirit is not: 1) an integral part of either the sacrament of Baptism or Confirmation, 2) a new sacrament, 3) a part of the liturgy, or 4) an authentic Catholic practice.

What is called the "baptism in the Holy Spirit" is variously interpreted by charismatics. The most common interpretation is the belief that some people receive what is called the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

These would be persons who receive certain extraordinary gifts, such as those received by the Apostles on Pentecost Sunday.

This claim is purely gratuitous. It is part of a larger claim by some charismatics.

They say the Church of the future will be the Church of the Holy Spirit and no longer the Church of the hierarchy and the sacraments instituted by Christ.

© 1997 Inter Mirifica

An bad example of a professed Catholic...?

This was in today's issue of the Post Dispatch's "Town Talk" feature.

I think most people will see what happens when one's intellect has not been properly informed:
See here, archibishop

I SEE ARCHBISHOP Burke is at it again with his politics and abortion. I have one message to you, Mr. Archbishop, I'm a Catholic, but you keep your nose out of how I vote and who I vote for. You just take care of your church and take care of all these pedophile priests you've got and you'll have a full-time job.

THIS IS TO point out a typo in Town Talk where it refers to Archbishop Burke as the good Archbishop. That's either a typo or an oxymoron. And in addition to him not missing our two bucks a week or two bucks a month, that's correct since he continues to try to rape the good people of St. Stanislaus of their $10 million.
He (or she) claims to be Catholic? How sad...We should continue to pray for the conversion of souls to Christ.


Michigan Catholic voters in abortion firestorm

Michigan Catholics are fiercely debating comments made by the Vatican's top theologian [Cardinal Ratzinger] that give them some leeway to vote for politicians who support abortion rights.

At issue are statements made by Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who heads the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, that became public in July. Reflecting longstanding Catholic teaching, Ratzinger gave Catholics who oppose abortion rights leeway to vote for politicians who support them, provided the voter believes the candidates' other positions outweigh the abortion issue.
The Detroit Free Press gets its wrong as do some of the priests who are quoted in the article.

They also refer to the Post Dispatch article about Archbishop Burke:
In the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Burke said that Catholics opposed to abortion rights could support a candidate who supports them if they feel the candidate's positions on other moral issues outweigh the abortion issue, although Burke said he couldn't imagine any issue outweighing abortion.
"If they feel"...hmmmm...I don't believe that is what Archbishop Burke said...

Article here.

Evansville Bishop warns defiant politicians

Evansville Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger said Tuesday he would deny Communion to Catholic politicians who publicly defy their faith or who dare church leaders to block them from receiving the sacrament.

Catholic politicians who vocally support abortion rights or gay marriage are not in communion with Catholic teachings, the bishop told Rotarians. Those politicians, whom he did not name, should expect the bishop to refuse Communion.
It takes courage for a bishop to do what he is supposed to do. We must continue to pray for our bishops and priests.


For C.S. Lewis fans...

The Question of God: Sigmund Freud & C.S. Lewis, is a four-hour PBS series scheduled to air on consecutive Wednesday nights, September 15 and 22. It is a superb journey into the critical distinctions between the competing worldviews which underlie the cultural war currently convulsing Western Civilization.

Tuesday, September 14, 2004

Vatican Document Misused by Kerry Supporters in the Church and Media

This is from an Email from Austin Ruse, of the Culture and Life Foundation:

September 14, 2004 Volume 2, Number 6

Vatican Document Misused by Kerry Supporters in the Church and Media

A memo released privately two months ago by the Vatican's leading theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is being portrayed by the media and liberal Catholics as giving Catholic voters permission to vote for the pro-abortion Democratic candidate for President.

So far, a moral theologian and a high-ranking official of the Detroit Archdiocese, where the story first broke, say the document's precise language is being distorted.

Ratzinger issued a private memo in the spring that explored whether pro-abortion politicians ought to be denied communion. He concluded that they must be denied communion if, after consistent teaching by the bishop, they persist in their error regarding abortion.

It is the final and separate paragraph to his memo that is causing all the confusion and controversy. In a short "nota bene," Ratzinger answers the question whether a voter may receive communion if he has voted for a pro-abortion politician. He concludes that any vote for a pro-abortion politician is cooperation in "evil." He goes on to say that a person who votes for a pro-abortion politician may receive communion but only if he voted that way for "proportionate" reasons. And this is the phrase that the media and liberal Catholics have used to give permission to vote for the pro-abortion John Kerry. Some are claiming that "proportionate" reasons may be any serious issue that the voter cares about, the war in Iraq, for instance.

Father Stephen Torraco, chairman of the theology department at Assumption College in Worcester, Massachusettes, says this interpretation of "proportionate" is wrong. Taracco says the term "proportionate" has a very specific meaning within atholic moral theology and that "proportionate reasons" for voting for a pro-abortion candidate would have to be limited to stopping other intrinsically evil acts similar to abortion. Even a candidate's support for capital punishment or war could not be used to justify voting for a pro-abortion candidate, he said, because neither of those things are intrinsically immoral according to Catholic teaching.

Besides Taracco's, a response was issued by the chancellor of the Archdiocese of Detroit, where the story first broke. Presumably writing for the Archbishop of Detroit, Cardinal Adam Maida, Father Robert J. McClory, wrote that the issue was "much more nuanced than was reported in the Free Press article . . ." He said that Ratzinger's note did not clear the way to vote for a pro-abortion candidates. "The distribution of this text has led to much debate over what might be 'proportionate reasons' in the context of the moral evil of abortion, including how this might apply when all the candidates for a given office support abortion to varying degrees. Suffice it to say that 'proportionate reasons' go far beyond simply 'agreeing with the candidate's other stands.'"

Many other news outlets including The Washington Post have reported on the note but have omitted an adequate explanation of the term "proportionate reasons." Culture and Cosmos has learned that at least one, possibly more, prominent bishops are planning to address the problem in the coming days.

Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation. Permission granted for
unlimited use. Credit required.

Culture of Life Foundation
1413 K Street, NW, Suite 1000
Washington DC 20005
Phone: (202) 289-2500
Fax: (202) 289-2502

Feast of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross

This feast was observed in Rome before the end of the seventh century. It commemorates the recovery of the Holy Cross, which had been placed on Mt. Calvary by St. Helena and preserved in Jerusalem, but then had fallen into the hands of Chosroas, King of the Persians. The precious relic was recovered and returned to Jersualem by Emperor Heralius in 629.

The Breviary lessons tells us that Emperor Heraclius carried the Cross back to Jerusalem on his shoulders. He was clothed with costly garments and with ornaments of precious stones. But at the entrance to Mt. Calvary a strange incident occurred. Try as hard as he would, he could not go forward. Zacharias, the Bishop of Jerusalem, then said to the astonished monarch: "Consider, O Emperor, that with these triumphal ornaments you are far from resembling Jesus carrying His Cross." The Emperor then put on a penitential garb and continued the journey.
For more information, read this.

“Woe to those who call evil good.”

Images of innocent children with no place to run, having the backs of their skulls ripped open by masked men under the guise of “freedom” should make us squirm.

Pope Tells Bishops to Make Known Full Teaching of Church on Defense of Marriage

In feeble attempts to defend marriage several bishops and bishops conferences throughout the world have failed to present the full teaching of the Catholic Church. Some have gone so far as to back unacceptable compromises when confronted with homosexual 'marriage' such as same-sex civil unions or some such scheme to give societal benefit to homosexual couples. In that light, Pope John Paul's comments to the bishops of New Zealand today are of particular significance.

"I encourage you to continue to ensure that your statements clearly convey the whole of the Church's magisterial teaching."
Now, if all bishops and priests would listen and do this. One can only imagine!


The Ratzinger Fiasco

Fr. Frank Pavone
National Director, Priests for Life

Never have I seen a more shameless abuse and distortion of somebody's words than in the recent articles that some secular and Catholic publications have run regarding a memo written by Vatican Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger about abortion and voting.

The Cardinal wrote, "Not all moral issues have the same moral weight as abortion and euthanasia...There may be a legitimate diversity of opinion even among Catholics about waging war and applying the death penalty, but not however with regard to abortion and euthanasia...A Catholic would be guilty of formal cooperation in evil, and so unworthy to present himself for Holy Communion, if he were to deliberately vote for a candidate precisely because of the candidate's permissive stand on abortion and/or euthanasia."

That's pretty clear. Those who want to keep abortion legal and therefore vote for candidates who have promised to do that are sinning and are excluded from Communion.

Instead, some publications are saying that the Vatican now gives Catholics permission to vote for pro-abortion candidates! One article I saw said this is true "if a voter feels a candidate's position on other issues outweighs his or her stand on abortion."

But whether abortion outweighs other issues is not for a voter's feelings to decide. The Holy Father has written, "The common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights -- for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture -- is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition of all other personal rights, is not defended with maximum determination . . . " (Christifideles Laici, n.38)

The full body of United States bishops, moreover, went so far as to say that legal abortion is so unacceptable that it may in fact require us to abolish our entire system of government. The exact words, found in paragraph 3 of their 1998 document Living the Gospel of Life, are, "When American political life becomes an experiment on people rather than for and by them, it will no longer be worth conducting. We are arguably moving closer to that day."

Cardinal Ratzinger's memo does answer a dilemma that many good Catholics find themselves in when all the candidates -- at least among those likely to win -- seem to support at least some abortions. What then? Are we required to vote for a candidate who does not have a sufficient base to win? Are we required to abstain from voting altogether? The answer to both is no. We may vote for the candidate who supports less abortion than his or her opponent. This is supported by the following sentence in the footnote to the Cardinal's memo: "When a Catholic does not share a candidate's stand in favor of abortion ... but votes for that candidate for other reasons, it ... can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons."

The Cardinal had already explained that abortion is not proportionate to other issues, but is certainly proportionate to itself.

See further comments at

Comments on this column? Email us at, Priests for Life, PO Box 141172, Staten Island, NY 10314; Tel: 888-PFL-3448, 718-980-4400; Fax: 718-980-6515; web:

Archdiocese of Chicago to be consecrated to Mary’s Immaculate Heart

On December 8, 2004 - the 150th anniversary of Pope Pius IX’s solemn proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception - Francis Cardinal George, O.M.I., Archbishop of Chicago, will consecrate the Archdiocese to the Immaculate Heart of Mary. The consecration will take place at Holy Name Cathedral.

Article here>

Prosecutor: Diocese of Phoenix Can Handle Own Affairs

The Roman Catholic Diocese has made changes in the way it handles priest sex abuse allegations and no longer needs to be supervised by prosecutors, authorities said Monday.

The Diocese operated under the watchful eye of the county prosecutor's office under a deal reached last year. It barred Bishop Thomas O'Brien from being involved in sex abuse allegations in return for not charging him with covering them up.
This is due to the efforts made by Bishop Thomas Olmsted, no doubt, who must be a welcome relief for the Diocese. PLease remember to keep him in your prayers as he continues his work for the Church.


Bishop Wenski: Citizenship more than an oath

President Harry Truman established Sept. 17 as Citizenship Day. The choice of this date was not arbitrary: Friday marks the anniversary of the signing of the U.S. Constitution -- and it is this hallowed document that defines what it is to be a citizen of these United States.
Whether we are already citizens by birthright or naturalization, or whether we are still in a seeming interminable queue awaiting our opportunity to swear allegiance, Citizenship Day is worth celebrating.

Monday, September 13, 2004

Prior of the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem request your prayers

Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, Prior, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem, celebrated the first public Mass of the Canons in the St. Louis Archdiocese yesterday at St. Joseph Church in Josephville.

He asked that we keep them in their prayers in their search for a church and rectory in which to relocate and commented on how fitting it was to have celebrated the first public Mass at a church and in a town named after St. Joseph, who intercedes in helping to find homes.

Archbishop Burke and the Canons are presently engaged in a search for a suitable location for their canonry in the general vicinity of St. Charles. The Canons' priestly ministry will include daily Mass in the Tridentine rite, and the religious education of children and adults.

If anyone is aware of facilities which could be used, Fr. Oppenheimer may be reached at (314) 633-2407.

In the meantime, please keep the Canons in your daily prayers so that suitable facilities may be located.

Archdiocese of Boston faces 140 new claims of sex abuse

Less than a year after it paid $85 million to settle 541 sexual-abuse claims, the Archdiocese of Boston is facing at least 140 new claims that a church spokesman says the church cannot now afford to settle, in part because it has been unable to recoup money from its insurance policies to cover last year's settlement.
140 new claims? What is going on?


Priest admits he stole $1 million from church


A Catholic priest who resigned earlier this summer from his church has admitted stealing more than $1 million from his parish on the city's southwest side, church officials said. The priest returned the money with interest.

In a letter read to parishioners at St. Bede the Venerable, an Archdiocese of Chicago bishop who oversees the parish wrote that the Rev. Brian Lisowski had misappropriated $1.1 million in church funds between January 1999 and July 2004.

Lisowski resigned in July after acknowledging he had relapsed into alcoholism and had been stopped by police in the company of an alleged prostitute, church officials said. After resigning, parish collections rose, and the archdiocese reviewed the priest's records, the bishop said in the letter. Lisowski repaid $1.2 million to the parish, the letter said.
How was he able to repay this? Was it stashed somewhere for "safekeeping"? Article here.

The Bishop is above all a witness, a teacher and model of holiness

Pope John Paul II spoke of "the need today for each bishop to develop 'a pastoral style which is ever more open to collaboration with all'." He added that "a sound ecclesiology of communion ... should not be misunderstood as a concession to a secular 'democratic' model of governance, but as an intrinsic requirement of the exercise of episcopal authority and a necessary means of strengthening that authority."

"Every act of ecclesiastical governance, consequently, must be aimed at fostering communion and mission. ...The three 'munera' of teaching, sanctifying and ruling are clearly inseparable and interpenetrating. ... Experience shows that when priority is mainly given to outward stability, the impetus to personal conversion, ecclesial renewal and missionary zeal can be lost and a false sense of security can ensue.

"The painful period of self- examination provoked by the events of the past two years will bear spiritual fruit only if it leads the whole Catholic community in America to a deeper understanding of the Church's authentic nature and mission, and a more intense commitment to making the Church in your country reflect, in every aspect of her life, the light of Christ's grace and truth."
Words of the Holy Father to the 33 bishops from the ecclesiastical region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey in the United States.

SNAP wants two clergy sent elsewhere

The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests has asked Archbishop Raymond Burke to have the two clergymen sent elsewhere. But Burke, through a statement, said he lacks the power to have them removed.

Bishop Malone hears criticism at "Pro-Life" luncheon

When the highest-ranking Catholic priest in Maine spoke at an anti-abortion luncheon Saturday, he drew criticism from an audience member who said the bishop is "talking the talk" but not "walking the walk" in opposing abortion. Speaking to a crowd of about 100, Bishop Richard J. Malone of the Diocese of Portland faced a University of Maine professor who said priests should not give communion to politicians who support a woman's right to choose.

These people have not been excommunicated," Malone said. "I have to try to work with these folks. ... A whole lot of our Catholic brothers and sisters are not with us on this thing. We need to engage these people in dialogue."
How many more years of "dialogue" is needed? If our Catholic brothers and sisters support abortion and those who further that crime, have not rejected Catholicism?


Catholic Schoolteachers in Brooklyn in Dispute with Diocese

It seems to happening everywhere. Teachers "up in arms", taking on an adversarial role in unionizing to fight against the Church.

Article here.

Sunday, September 12, 2004

Fraud: What Ratzinger didn't say

If you live anywhere in the United States, you probably saw news stories this past week, reporting that Cardinal Ratzinger had issued a new statement, saying that Catholics can vote for a candidate who promotes legal abortion-- as long as they're casting that vote for other reasons.

Cardinal Ratzinger said no such thing.

In fact, Cardinal Ratzinger didn't issue any new statement on the subject recently!

The story that has spread through the American press this week is a complete fraud.
Full CWN Forum Article here.

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem

I received this today and wish to share it.
Please pass is along to those who may be interested.

Your family is invited to join us in welcoming to St. Louis a new order of Latin Rite priests.

Saturday, September 25

3:00pm Latin Tridentine Mass
Celebrant: Dom Daniel Augustine Oppenheimer, Prior, Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem

4:00pm The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem
Dom Daniel Oppenheimer will speak on the work and ministry of his traditional foundation.

4:30pm Barbeque and Potluck Dinner

Knights of Columbus Hall
3rd Street and Lincoln
O'Fallon, Missouri

The Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem is a new order of priests dedicated to the traditional Latin Liturgy and following the rule of St. Augustine. Archbishop Raymond Burke, who established and approved their religious constitution, is effecting their transfer from Wisconsin to the Archdiocese of St. Louis. Archbishop Burke and the Canons are presently engaged in a search for a suitable location for their canonry in the general vicinity of St. Charles. The Canons' priestly ministry will include daily Mass in the Tridentine rite, and the religious education of children and adults.

Father Oppenheimer would be very happy to speak with and visit families who are interested in their upcoming ministry in St. Louis. You may reach him by calling (314) 633-2407. he is presently living at the Archbishop's residence on Lindell Blvd.

Please RSVP for Dinner by 9/23.
Call Mark & Linda Bromeier at (636) 458-1515 or Terry Rohan (636) 566-6924.
Barbecued hamburgers, hot dogs, buns and beverages will be provided, along with table service. Please bring a potluck dish to share.
Mark this date on your calendar and try to attend. This is great news and a welcome opportunity for the faithful of St. Charles county.

The 1962 Missal Epistle and Gospel for the 15th Sunday after Pentecost

Galatians 5: 25-26; 6: 1-10

Brethren: If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not be made desirous of vain-glory, provoking one another, envying one another. Brethren, and if a man be overtaken in any fault, you, who are spiritual, instruct such a one in the Spirit of meekness, considering thyself, lest thou also be tempted. Bear ye one another's burdens, and so you shall fulfil the law of Christ. For if any man think himself to be something, whereas he is nothing, he deceiveth himself. But let everyone prove his own work, and so he shall have glory in himself only, and not in another. For every one shall bear his own burden. And let him that is instructed in the word, communicate to him that instructeth him, in all good things. Be not deceived: God is not mocked; for what things a man shall sow, those also shall he reap. For he that soweth in his flesh, of the flesh also shall reap corruption: but he that soweth in the spirit, of the spirit shall reap life everlasting. And in doing good, let us not fail; for in due time we shall reap, not failing. Therefore, whilst we have time, let us work good to all men, but especially to those who are of the household of the faith.

Luke 7: 11-16

At that time, Jesus went into a city called Naim; and there went with Him His disciples, and a great multitude. And when He came nigh to the city, behold a dead man was carried out, the only son of his mother, and she was a widow, and much people of the city were with her. And when the Lord saw her, He had compassion on her, and said to her: Weep not. And He came near and touched the bier. And they that carried it stood still. And He said: Young man, I say to thee, Arise: and he that was dead sat up, and began to speak. And He delivered him to his mother. And there came a fear on them all: and they glorified God, saying: A great prophet is risen up amongst us, and God hath visited His people.

Pope urges openness among bishops in sex-abuse scandal

VATICAN CITY - Pope John Paul II discussed the U.S. sex-abuse scandal with Cardinal Justin Rigali and other American bishops Saturday, encouraging them to be more open to the needs of parishioners in the wake of a "crisis of confidence in the church's leadership."

John Paul noted that Roman Catholic bishops had "an unequivocal right and duty of governance." But he indicated that the approach of some American church leaders may have driven a wedge between them and churchgoers.
This from the St. Louis Post Dispatch...

And this is the actual text of the Holy Father's address to the Bishops.