Saturday, February 07, 2004

John Paul II Laments Media Distortion of Magisterial Documents

Calls for Opportune Methods of Transmitting Church Teaching

VATICAN CITY, FEB. 6, 2004 ( John Paul II lamented that the media often distort documents of the magisterium, and he asked that opportune methods be found for the transmission of Church teaching.

The faithful are often "disoriented more than informed by immediate reactions and interpretations by the media," the Pope said.

The Holy Father expressed his concern when he met today with participants of the plenary session convoked every two years by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

"Reception of a document must be seen above all as an ecclesial event of welcoming the magisterium," the Pope said.

"It is a question, in fact, of an authoritative word that shines light on a truth of faith or on several aspects of Catholic doctrine that are contested or distorted by particular currents of thought or action," he added.

"Precisely in this doctrinal instruction is found the profoundly pastoral character of the document, the reception of which becomes, therefore, a propitious occasion of formation, catechesis and evangelization," the Holy Father said.

"For the reception to become a genuine ecclesial event, it is appropriate to provide opportune methods of transmission and diffusion of the document itself which allows for full awareness," he added.

The Pope insisted that such a document must be accepted by the pastors of the Church "as teaching that contributes to form the Christian conscience of the faithful in the face of the challenges of the contemporary world."

Friday, February 06, 2004

Pope instructs CDF on doctrinal, sex-abuse roles

Vatican, Feb. 06 (
At a February 6 meeting with the members of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Pope John Paul II called the prelates' attention to three key topics: respect for Church teachings, the defense of natural law, and the discipline of clerics who are guilty of sexual misconduct.

The Pope met with the full membership of the Vatican's top doctrinal body as the Congregation concluded its biennial plenary assembly. He encouraged them to be forthright in proclaiming and defending the teachings of the Church, at a time marked by "both a widespread relativism and a tendency toward facile pragmatism." In today's culture, the Holy Father remarked, it is particularly important to convey the message that "full adherence to the Catholic faith does not diminish, but actually exalts human freedom."

In his remarks to the Congregation, the Pontiff spoke of the need to ensure that the teachings of the magisterium are properly received throughout the Catholic world, and the importance of defending the traditional understanding of natural law. Then he turned to the "very delicate and current" question of sexual abuse.

Recent years have seen a "notable increase" in the number of cases in which a Catholic cleric is accused of gravely immoral conduct. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is charged with the responsibility of canonical discipline in these cases, and the Pope said that-- having provided for a just hearing, and respect the rights of the accused-- the Congregation must be guided by 'the predominant need to protect the People of God."

Once an offense has been proven, the Pontiff said, discipline should be meted out in proportion to the severity of the offense. At the same time, he continued, the Congregation should look beyond the current disciplinary cases, and help dioceses to provide "just and balanced formation" for future priests. He called for collaboration with other dicasteries "to adopt the measures that are necessary to ensure that priests live in accordance with their call and commitment to perfect and perpetual chastity for the sake of the kingdom of God."

Earlier in his talk, the Pope had placed heavy emphasis on the natural-law tradition, explaining that a "crisis in metaphysics" in today's world has created an unhappy situation in which many people "no longer recognize the truth that is inscribed on the heart of every human person." He reminded the group that natural law is a "great patrimony of human wisdom," rather than a specifically Christian or Catholic body of thought. The natural law, he said, sets out "the first and most essential norms that regulate moral life."

To help revive a general understanding of basic human morality, the Pontiff asked the Congregation to "promote opportune initiatives" that could spread a better acceptance of the natural law. He remarked that such initiatives should have the support of "different denominations, religions, and cultures."

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also has the responsibility of monitoring the reception of Church teachings, including the popular understanding of new documents issued by the Vatican. Pope John Paul expressed his concern that the Catholic faithful are sometimes "disoriented rather than instructed" when a new document appears-- in large part because the teachings are distorted or misinterpreted by the mass media.

The issuance of a teaching document from the Holy See, the Pope said, should be understood not as a "media event," but as a means of promoting communion within the Church. The teachings of the magisterium, he explained, are intended to "shine light on a truth of the faith, or on some aspects of Catholic doctrine that are contested or distorted by particular trends of current thought and behavior."

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Thursday, February 05, 2004

Holy Mass with Archbishop Burke Last Night

Last night at St. Cletus Church in St. Charles, Archbishop Burke celebrated Holy Mass following the St. Charles Deanery meeting. Most of the St. Charles county priests were in attendance as well as many of the deacons.

We arrived at St. Cletus about 6:30pm, an hour before the start of Mass. I had been to St. Cletus before and I can honestly say that I am not impressed with the stark nakedness of the interior of the church. With a sliding glass door to separate the tabernacle from the church proper, it becomes more suited to a meeting hall rather than a gateway to heaven, a sacred space where one can leave the mundane world behind and enter into a sacred place of holiness, a church truly worthy of our Lord. However, it did have Stations of the Cross mounted on the walls which is significantly more than my parish church. In our new 'worship space', we have banners for stations which can be taken down when Lent is over. But anyway, I digress.

The next thing I noticed was the credence table which held - not common wine glasses but - gold goblets, something usually not seen in many parishes here. I had heard and read that the Archbishop "goes by the book" when he celebrates the Sacred Mysteries and that he expects his priests to do likewise. Praise God for that! Maybe 'Danced Prayer', or as it used to be called, Liturgical Dance, will be eliminated from Sacred Liturgy here in the St. Louis Archdiocese?

Upon seeing his Excellency up close, I could detect a sincere humility and kindness in this servant of our Lord, which evoked an inexplicable sense of joy and happiness in me as I watched him process into the sanctuary. I think that I can relate, in a simple sort of way, to the sadness that the faithful in La Crosse must feel because of his transfer to St. Louis.

In my rush to get to St. Cletus early to have a decent seat in order to see and hear, I forgot my tape recorder. So my recollections of the homily will be short. Suffice it to say that his homily seemed to me to be a shortened, but equally inspiring version of his Installation Mass homily. He did praise catechists, both those in the Catholic schools and those involved in PSR. He also stressed being faithful to the authentic teachings of the Church. He emphasized that the Faith must be handed on to children fully and completely, as it was handed on to us. [The true meaning of 'catechesis'.]

He also warned against a reductionist view of the faith and a picking and choosing of doctrines which to our minds might be acceptable and unacceptable. The totality of the Church's teaching must be accepted, lived and taught.

After Holy Mass but before the Final Blessing, Archbishop Burke was presented with a first class relic of St. Rose Phillipine Duchesne. From my vantage point, he appeared very pleased and humbled to have been presented with such a gift.

Immediately following, a reception was held in the gymnasium. We were one of the first in line waiting for the Archbishop to come out to greet and receive the faithful. When it was my turn to greet him, I knelt and kissed his ring (probably one of the few to do that) and thanked him for his service to the Lord and His Church. I also asked him to sign my copy of the "Marian Catechist Manual", a publication of Fr. John Hardon's with Archbishop Burke's Imprimatur. His smile widened and I could sense a twinkle of sorts in his eyes at seeing this booklet - he is the National Director of the Marian Catechist Apostulate, chosen specifically for this by Fr. Hardon before he died. He asked me to keep in touch since I have started the Marian Catechist formation process.

As I have stated many times in the past, our Lord has provided us with a true shepherd in the person of Archbishop Burke. Please pray for him as he prays for us.

A Primer on Canon 915 By Barb Kralis

Essential information to present to your Bishop regarding THEIR OBLIGATION to deny the Eucharist to pro-abortion politicians, and the risks of refusing to do so
Unquestionably, canon 915 is the most discussed canon in the Codex Iuris Canonici, or Code of Canon Law, in recent Church history. Many in the secular and Protestant media have reported on the January 8, 2004 canonical actions of Archbishop Raymond Burke, then bishop of the La Crosse, Wisconsin diocese. Because of their misinformation, speculation and outright resentment, confusion reigns regarding the Archbishop's promulgation of his 'canonical notification' based on canon 915, the official communication of what the Church's discipline is.

I would like to make some important clarifications, with appropriate documentation, in hopes that people of all faiths will understand the Archbishop's actions, why it was appropriate for him to discipline persistent, obstinate, manifest pro abortion Catholic legislators, and why no other U.S. Bishop can refuse to immediately follow the same procedures in their own dioceses. All Bishops must protect the Eucharist from sacrilege.
Another good article; see the complete article here.

Cardinal Ratzinger reflects on authority, diversity

Rome, Feb. 4 ( - In a wide-ranging interview in this week's issue of the Italian weekly magazine Famiglia Cristiana, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger said that the function of the Roman Curia is to reconcile unity and diversity within the Catholic Church, demonstrating that the faith is a "polyphonic reality."

Famiglia Cristiana published the interview with the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to coincide with the appearance of the Italian edition of the cardinal's latest book, which focuses on the understanding of communion within the Church. He explained, in his magazine interview, that the Curia aims to foster communion among the local churches, or dioceses, of the Catholic world.

Cardinal Ratzinger explained that "it is not simply a matter of cultivating the proper relations between the Curia and the local churches, but rather of promoting the unity and multiplicity that is the Church." He said that the Vatican does not seek to question the authority or "submerge the charisms" of the local churches. Instead, the Roman Curia hope to balance the demands of unity and diversity. As he put it:
On one hand, the central service of the Roman Curia should not be involved with issues that could be better treated by the local Church; on the other hand, the local churches should not live in an autonomous manner, but should work to enrich the unity, because Christ is one.
Speaking of his own particular role in defending orthodox Catholic doctrine, the German cardinal said that he is also pleased when local bishops or episcopal conferences can handle questions regarding the teaching of dissident theologians. But he said that "often they tell us that the questions go beyond the limits of the local Church, touching upon the debate within the universal Church, and they look for us to help them."

Cardinal Ratzinger said that in order to understand the workings of the Church properly, it is essential to realize that "the Church is a theological, rather than sociological, fact." It would be a serious error, he said, to transform the idea of communion into a "purely sociological" notion. At the same time, he continued, "building upon the foundation of a theological concept of communion, a more profound social vision emerges."

Cardinal Ratzinger also observed that in some countries, the national bishops' conference is so large-- "sometimes including more than 200 bishops"-- that it is difficult to handle serious theological concerns within the context of a regular meeting. "There is a risk that the discussions and the solutions wil be guided by the bureaucracy," he said. "Frankly, a deeper exchange on disputed topics is impossible." In those cases, he remarked, it may often be advisable to leave issues to the discretion of individual bishops.

The cardinal mentioned that there are similar problems with the Synod of Bishops, saying that synodal meetings have become "too ritualized" to allow a full range of discussions among the bishops who participate. He suggested that although Synod meetings must be organized properly in order to streamline the process, some provisions should be made for "real, full discussions."

Touching on many other issues in the course of his conversation with Famiglia Cristiana, Cardinal Ratzinger:
Lamented a widespread tendency to view the Eucharistic liturgy as a means of communication, or "a spectacle, a show," rather than emphasizing "interior participation" of the faithful in the sacrifice.

Noted that attendance at Sunday Mass in his native Germany has declined by 70 percent in the past 20 years, and suggested that the faithful evidently do not feel attracted to the "creative" liturgical celebrations that they often encounter.

Confirmed that he has submitted his resignation "several times" to Pope John Paul, but indicated that now, at the age of 76, he is leaving that decision in the hands of the Pope.
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National Catholic Reporter weighs in on Abp. Burke's stance...

Last week National Catholic Reporter criticized the new translations of the Missal as "revisionists ... attacking the reform,... that a secretly appointed committee of 11 men -- no women included -- met quietly at the Vatican to overturn decades of work on translation, work that had been done under the approving mandate of Pope Paul VI."

Ah yes, the Vox Clara committee is sending us all back to the Dark Ages by applying the principles and directives of "Liturgiam Authenticum" to English translations. Since several others have already adequately responded to this NCR whining (see this and this), I will let it pass and instead focus on an editorial for this week which questions Archbishop Raymond Burke's recent notification to pro-death, pro-abortion politicians.

Who is one of the people interviewed for this editorial piece? Why, none other than the famous pro-death 'Catholic' governor of New York, Mario Cuomo - a lawyer chosen to speak about fundamentals of the Faith. And, of course, NCR relates Cuomo's famous speech at Notre Dame at the request of - who else ? - the Reverend Richard McBrien - a stalwart of heterdoxy.

And one again, a lame attempt is made to equate abortion, the deliberate taking of innocent life, to capital punishment - as if the two acts were morally equivalent. NCR reports, a seemingly exasperated Cuomo said, "It's more of an issue for the theologians than for the politicians."

Actually that is not the case. Since the bishop of a diocese is charged with the welfare of the souls of his people and to properly catechize them, he is obligated to do all he can to lead those souls toward Christ.

At least NCR understands that there is no issure regarding the question of church-state separation. It simply does not exist.

The do question whether he acted properly canonically by asking: "...did Burke, a canon lawyer, act properly under church law? Hard to tell." This, I believe has been answered appropriately, first by Abp. Burke, and subsequently confirmed by Dr. Edward Peters, here.

Lastly, NCR asks, "Was Burke's action theologically sound?" Ignoring the fact that the editor fails to address the Archbishop by the title appropriate to his office, they do quote Robert George, who, with Gerard Bradley, defended Archbishop Burke's actions in Nation Review Online.

But no sooner than they quote Robert George, they appeal to Loyola Marymount theologian, Michael Horan, who counters that "Burke's way off base." Maybe it's my imagination, but it seems that nearly every time one refuses to use the title "Bishop" or "Archbishop", we can rest assured that the person speaking harbors either some disdain for the Archbishop or dissents from the position the Archbishop has taken.

Horan goes on to say, "The bishop's point of view presumes that the Eucharist is a reward for good behavior. Interestingly, the only transgressions for which the early church communities practiced excommunication were adultery, apostasy and murder (of human beings already born). Abortion was not one of the transgressions that merited excommunication."

Any bets that Michael Horan does not have a mandatum to teach theology? It amazes me that that these so-called 'theologians' have such a defective understanding of theology. Just another reason not to send your children to Loyola Marymount, that bastion of authentic Catholic theology.

Almighty and eternal God, look upon the Heart of your most beloved Son and upon the praises and satisfaction which he offers you in the name of sinners; and to those who implore your mercy, in your great goodness, grant forgiveness in the name of the same Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you forever and ever. Amen.

Kerry – A Textbook Pro-Abortion "Catholic"

A LifesiteNews article shows the hypocrisy demonstrated by this man who continues to promote himself as a Catholic, even though he has abandoned the Faith.
Pay for the conversion of his heart and for those who, because of his example, have succumbed to his ideologies and beliefs.

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

The State of Massachusetts joins others in Sodom...

Mass. High Court Rules for Gay Marriage
By JENNIFER PETER, Associated Press Writer
BOSTON - The Massachusetts high court ruled Wednesday that only full, equal marriage rights for gay couples — rather than civil unions — would be constitutional, erasing any doubts that the nation's first same-sex marriages could take place in the state beginning in mid-May.

The court issued the opinion in response to a request from the state Senate about whether Vermont-style civil unions, which convey the state benefits of marriage — but not the title — would meet constitutional muster.

"The history of our nation has demonstrated that separate is seldom, if ever, equal," the four justices who ruled in favor of gay marriage wrote in the advisory opinion. A bill that would allow for civil unions, but falls short of marriage, makes for "unconstitutional, inferior, and discriminatory status for same-sex couples."
. . .

Massachusetts has one of the highest concentrations of gay households in the country with at 1.3 percent of the total number of coupled households, according to the 2000 census. In California, 1.4 percent of the coupled households are occupied by same-sex partners. Vermont and New York also registered at 1.3 percent, while in Washington, D.C., the rate is 5.1 percent
The spiritual battle is being fought with greater and greater fury. At times like these it's easy to despair and lose hope. Lest we forget, it's always darkest before the dawn.

Pray for these judges who have lost all sense of right and wrong. And pray that the legislators will confront this absurd decision by unrestrained judicial activism. And pray that God will enlighten those who see lies as truth, darkness as light, evil as good.

Kudos to Fr. Bob Spriggs og Highland, IL

Also in the same Letters to the Editor section in the Post-Dispatch, we find a priest in the Diocese of Springfield who understands the necessary requirement of being a Catholic who is "properly disposed" to receive the Sacraments.
No Mass

Sen. John Kerry's explanation of his being Catholic yet supporting abortion rights (Post-Dispatch, Jan. 30) is so much gobbledygook. His understanding of the separation of church and state is as politically convenient for him as it is morally convoluted. Were Kerry to attend Mass at our parish church, I would refuse him Communion.

The Rev. Bob Spriggs
St. Paul Church
Highland, Ill.

Is "Civics" no longer taught in schools these days?

Another letter to the editor of the St. Louis Post Dispatch demonstrates either the problem of schools in teaching "Civics" or "National/State Government", or that some failed to learn while in school.

Church vs. state?

So, Archbishop Raymond Burke wants to get involved in politics and dictate how Catholic legislators vote. Fine, let him get involved, but as a consequence the Archdiocese of St. Louis should lose its religious tax exemption. Perhaps this would remind the Archbishop of our constitutional separation of church and state.

Gordon Brown
Maryland Heights

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

Karl Keating's E-Letter for Feb 3, 2004


Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

I have been interviewed enough times to know that it is the rare reporter who will quote you accurately. That leads me to suspect that what I read in a news report was not really said by the man quoted. If it had been, he might make a good successor to Mrs. Malaprop.

Gateway Computers is buying out eMachines, which has been more successful recently than has Gateway in making money from the sale of PCs. The news report quotes an industry analyst as saying, "This is at least a taciturn admission by Gateway that they haven't been able to transform themselves as they would like."

What a delightful typo: "a taciturn admission." I'm sure the analyst said "tacit," which means implied, rather than "taciturn," which means disinclined to talk. But, in a way, "taciturn" seems to fit: When your business isn't doing very well, you aren't too inclined to want to talk about it.


A survey of priests in England and Wales has caused an episcopal uproar. According to a story in the January issue of "The Catholic World Report," the bishops have focused more on alleged shortcomings of the survey's methodology than on the story told by the survey, and the story is not a pretty one.

A third of the priests said they think women should be ordained. Half said that priests who left the ministry to marry should be readmitted. Most of the priests oppose the Church's teaching on the immorality of contraception, and a majority say that Catholics who are divorced and remarried should be able to receive Communion. Only a quarter of the priests say that a practicing homosexual should be banned from the priesthood.

I am saddened to learn of such opinions, but I am not surprised--or in despair.

As I repeatedly have said in the E-Letter, younger priests are much more solid, on the whole, than are priests ordained in the 1960s and 1970s. With new recruits entering at one end of the priestly spectrum and attrition handling the other end, things will improve.

In twenty years such a survey will have markedly different (and encouraging) results. This is not to say that there will be no priests who hold wrong opinions, but things will look much brighter. Just be patient.


I read the report on the survey about the time I read a letter in the "National Catholic Reporter." The letter was written by Fr. Ken Lohrmeyer, who lives in Kansas.

He said that "gay priests have a burden heterosexual priests never even dream about--namely, the fact that the church they have devoted their lives to officially declares them to be 'objectively disordered' along with all other homosexual persons. The absurd implication is that God made a mistake in creating them gay (I believe it is not a freely chosen lifestyle)."

There are at least two problems here:

1. The Church does not say that homosexual persons are "objectively disordered." It says that homosexual persons have a disorder, and it says that homosexual acts (not homosexual persons) are "intrinsically disordered" (CCC 2357).

Consider an analogy. You may remember thalidomide. Four decades ago this then-new sedative was widely prescribed. Some pregnant women who used it gave birth to infants who were malformed, and thalidomide quickly fell out of use.

A "thalidomide child" who was born with, say, only one arm has had, all his life, a physical disorder. Human beings are supposed to have two arms, and he does not. Does this mean that this now middle-aged person is "disordered"? No, because that uses the term in the wrong way. He has a disorder, but that does not mean he is wholly disordered.

Or consider the case of the alcoholic. He has a psychological disorder that has a physical component to it. We do not say that the alcoholic is disordered so much as that he suffers from a disorder. To say the first would be to suggest that everything about him is wrong, and that is not the case.

There are many kinds of disorders--physical, psychological, emotional, mental, social. Many of them have no moral consequences.

The "thalidomide child" who has but one arm is not induced by that fact to engage in actions that are immoral.

It is a different situation with the alcoholic. If he starts with a social drink, he will find himself falling into drunkenness. Social drinking is not a sin, but drunkenness is, so there is a moral component to the alcoholic's disorder. His disorder entices him to do something morally innocent (having a social drink) but greases the way for him to go beyond that into something morally improper (drunkenness).

Homosexuality is a step beyond that. The homosexual's desire is for something that, in its nature, is immoral: sexual union with someone of the same sex. In his case, there is no analogue to the first social drink.

2. Fr. Lohrmeyer says that homosexuality is "not a freely chosen lifestyle." While one can say that the condition of homosexuality is not freely chosen (CCC 2358), one cannot say that about the homosexual lifestyle.

When we talk about a lifestyle, we are talking about how someone acts, and acts are freely chosen. No homosexual is compelled to engage in homosexual acts. He may not have chosen to be a homosexual, but he has the freedom to choose not to perform homosexual acts.

Fr. Lohrmeyer seems to have missed this simple distinction, and his misperception leads him to say that the homosexual priest wakes up "every day of his life knowing that his church really doesn't like him all that much and basically wishes he would just go away."


Frankly, I can think of a few homosexual priests who should "just go away." I mean men who persist in and who advocate immoral acts and who cause much scandal by doing so.

I also know of homosexual priests who live chastely; they know they have a disorder, and they have succeeded in working around it, somewhat like the alcoholic who, through a support group, has been able to stay sober.

No one, on any side of the theological divide, denies that we have a remarkably high proportion of homosexuals in the priesthood in this country, and many of those homosexual priests are "gays"--that is, they have chosen the homosexual lifestyle.

Nearly all of the clerical sexual abuse problems we have been reading about have had their origin in homosexuality. This is almost universally known and, among bishops and clergy, almost universally not talked about (at least not publicly). Still, it's a fact.

Even if the abuse scandal had not arisen, there still would have been a problem with "gay" priests--I refer to those homosexual priests who engage in homosexual acts with adults rather than with minors.

Many people have wondered what can be done to solve the problem. Here is one possible scheme:

1. If a priest is "gay"--that is, living a homosexual lifestyle--he should be removed from ministry immediately and quietly. He should have no position of authority or responsibility in the Church and should seek secular employment instead. (Will some dioceses be understaffed? Yes, but too bad. Just squeeze more people into fewer pews until new priests are trained.)

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 former brings with him too much baggage, and 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). Even if the chaste homosexual thinks he has a call to the priesthood, it would be uncharitable to him to admit him to ordination. He should be encouraged to serve the Church in other ways.

This three-step process would solve the abuse scandal almost overnight, and it would heal the priesthood in America over the next two decades or so. It would cause inconvenience in those dioceses with a high proportion of "gay" priests, but that inconvenience will pass soon enough and, in any case, is more palatable than the existing situation.

Until next time,


Catholic Answers' third annual apologetics cruise sails from Montreal to Boston. The dates are October 2-9, 2004. Join Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, Rosalind Moss, Tim Staples, Thomas Howard, and Bishop Colin Campbell for a week of beautiful fall scenery and invigorating large- and small-group events, including daily Mass, rosaries, and fun on-shore excursions.

For more information, go to
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The content of this E-Letter is copyright 2004 by Karl Keating.

St Charles Deanery Serra Club Newsletter for January

is available here. It is a PDF file.

The next papal conclave may be the most crucial since 1534...

Thinking about the Papal Succession

The Church is still grappling with the consequences of the European Enlightenment. The next papal conclave will define the terms of the struggle.
By James Hitchcock
In a recent book (Frankly: Six Discussions with the Cardinal), Cardinal Godfried Danneels of Mechelen-Brussels predicts that, if Pope John Paul II becomes incapacitated, he might resign. This was a forecast made previously by Bishop Karl Lehmann of Mainz, president of the German bishops' conference. Bishop Lehmann later said that he had been misunderstood, while Cardinal Danneels' remarks brought an unusually curt response from an official Vatican spokesman: "That's his opinion."

Dr James Hitchcock has an excellent article here.

George Weigel and "Issues" for the next papal conclave

Weigel opines that the issues will not be about abortion, homosexuality and ordination of women to the priesthood as the secularists and dissenters would have us believe. He states that there are at least three matters of global consequence are shaping the pre-conclave discussions among key cardinal-electors.

These are:
Collapsing Catholicism in Europe
Radical Islam
In addition to these weighty questions, the next conclave will be shaped by dramatically altered expectations of the papacy. The world and the church no longer think of the pope as the CEO of Catholic Church Inc. Thanks to John Paul II, the world and the church now expect the pope to exercise a global ministry of religious presence and moral witness. At the same time, influential cardinal-electors believe that John Paul II has been more successful in articulating a robust, compassionate Catholic orthodoxy than in embedding that vision in the church's practice. Finding a man who can do both -- bring the church to the world in a compelling way, and reform the church's discipline -- is the great "personality" issue the cardinals must resolve.
Let us pray that our Lord grants our Holy Father many more years before we must see another conclave.

The Catholic League raises necessary questions


Special Report
Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights
February 2004


The purpose of this special report is to put the recent scandal in the Catholic Church in perspective. It does not seek to exculpate anyone who had anything to do with priestly sexual misconduct, but it does seek to challenge those who continue to treat this issue in isolation. Indeed, to discuss the incidence of sexual abuse committed by Roman Catholic priests without reference to the level of offense found among the clergy of other religions, or to that of other professionals, is grossly unfair.

Specifically, this report was prepared to guide the discussion that will inevitably follow two major studies that will be issued on February 27. One of them, a national study on the extent of sexual abuse of minors by priests since 1950, will be released by John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City. The other is a study of the causes and consequences of the abuse crisis; it will be released by the National Review Board that was established by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops. Both studies were done at the request of the U.S. bishops.

It is the belief of the Catholic League that no meaningful conversation can take place on this issue without having some baseline data regarding the incidence of abuse that occurs outside the Catholic Church. That was the sole intent of this special report, and if it contributes to that end, then it will have been a success.

William A. Donohue, Ph.D.
Finally, a voice of reason. Personally, I find it extremely distasteful and repugnant that certain people were appointed to the National Review Board and that the new department "overseeing" compliance at the USCCB seems to be growing into a large bureaucratic entity needing more and more funds. The most "eye raising" part of the initial report was this from the report and Deal Hudson's e-letter discussing the Jan. Report:
McChesney then listed general recommendations of the report for the bishops in the future. She first mentioned the importance of auditing individual parishes -- all 19,000 of them -- to see how well they implemented the charter on a local level, where it's most important. She also urged that "safe environment programs" be developed to help protect young people. Another recommendation was that this audit be repeated annually and contain hard numbers so that a diocese's progress could be measured over time.
Somebody, it seems is looking for long term employment. Something just doesn't smell right in all of this and I think William Donohue is on the right track to call these people to account and present useful data and information. Here is his full report.

Institutes That Live the Gospel Still Get Vocations

Institutes of consecrated life that give special importance to prayer and the radical nature of the Gospel continue to inspire vocations, says a Vatican official.

This is evident here also in the US where seminaries in faithful, orthodox dioceses are overflowing with men discerning a call to the priesthood.

It seems, also, that those religious orders of women are growing when they embrace the faith with fidelity. Those orders which follow the call of Christ and His Church with humility are attracting more and more women to the religious life. I see them at every conference. Younger and younger sisters, all wearing religious habits - a reminder of their dedication to Christ.

While those institutes which are Christocentric are thriving, I cannot neglect to mention with some sadness those institutes which are dead or dying. Another Zenit article discusses these "Present Challenges to Religious Life". There has been a failure to find a balance between "being in the world but not of the world," which the Gospel stresses.

It seems that many, if not all, of those dying orders embraced the thinking of the world, abandoned their religious garb, and blended into the secular world. Some became ecology oriented activists such as the order of sisters who taught me in grade school. They left a very important and worthwhile service of educating children to pursue an objective which, while perhaps noble, was not in accord with the reasons for their existence. It seems they lost their true vision, their essence, their life - they were no longer oriented toward Christ but to man...

Nevertheless, there seems to be a resurgence of vocations in certain areas and for this we should be ever so grateful. And we must continue to pray that many others will also answer the call of our Lord to become priests or religious.

Reminder, Da Vinci Code Lecture at Kenrick, Thur, Feb 5

More Info....

Cardinal George Mulling Action on Catholic Pro-Abortion Politicians

"It's not a question of separation between church and state institutionally, that's taken for granted," said Cardinal George. "It's a question of the relationship between life and faith, so you have to work with peoples' conscience and try to inform their conscience so that they understand the obligations of their faith that apply to their life no matter what form of life they are in, be it political life or economic life or the entertainment arts."
Reminds Lay Catholics of Duty to Vote Pro-Life
[Full Story on Lifesite News]

Monday, February 02, 2004

A Canon Lawyer's Review of Archbishop Burke's Action

Denial of the Eucharist to pro-abortion Catholic politicians:
a canonical case study
By Dr. Edward N. Peters

New Communion Technology

Look at this New Communion Technology, courtesy of The Curt Jester. I thought it was good for a chuckle, especially considering the sorry state of affairs we are in with so-called "Catholic" politicians.

One of my favorites, though is this one, "Liturgy for Ignoramuses".
Your first step to liturgical understanding.
Your first step is to find a Catholic Church to go to. In the past this was a simple procedure of driving around your neighborhood until you spotted one.
This should be required reading for all 'liturgists'!

Sunday, February 01, 2004

Archbishop Burke's Installation Mass Homily

I saw his homily printed in the St. Louis Review Friday night and thought it would be a good idea to post the link (PDF file) and reproduce it in text form below. The Review also has some good articles on its site and some excellent pictures. One on my favorites it this one.

FAMILY PRIDE - Archbishop Burke hugs his great-nephew, Kellen Bornbach, after Kellen and his family brought the offertory gifts during the installation Mass.

======= The Archbishop's Homily ============
JANUARY 26, 2004

I. Saint Paul’s words to Saint Timothy, his disciple, co-worker and indeed his most beloved spiritual son, point to the truth we celebrate today: the grace of the Holy Spirit at work within the Apostles and their successors for the teaching, sanctification and pastoral rule of God’s holy people. Timothy had accompanied and assisted Paul on his apostolic journeys; had undertaken, at Paul’s direction, apostolic missions of his own; and had been consecrated as the First Bishop of Ephesus. Saint Paul, in his letters to him, recalls to Timothy’s mind the power of God’s grace within him by his consecration, so that he might be courageous and faithful in carrying out the apostolic ministry. How wise and how encouraging Paul’s words were for Timothy:
Guard this rich trust with the help of the Holy Spirit who dwells within us.

So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus (Reading II). Saint Paul wrote similar words to Titus who was also a disciple and co-worker, and whom the Apostle of the Nations consecrated as the First Bishop of Crete. In fact, in Saint Paul’s Letter to Titus we find a kind of rule of life for a bishop.

In honoring today the memory of Saints Timothy and Titus, we celebrate the grace of the apostolic office, handed down faithfully, from that first generation in the life of the Church, to our time and place. That grace was given to me through the hands of our Holy Father, Pope John Paul II, on January 6, 1995, first for the service of the Church in La Crosse and now for the service of the Church in St. Louis. Having completed my apostolic mission in my beloved home diocese and taking up today the same apostolic mission in my new home diocese, I, with you, thank God for the outpouring of His grace in my life for your sake. Today, deeply conscious of my unworthiness, I hear the words of Saint Paul to Timothy, as if spoken to me by our Holy Father: “So you, my child, be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus” (Reading II).

The memory of Saints Timothy and Titus leads us also to celebrate the beloved co-workers of the Bishop, our priests who share in the priestly office for the shepherding of God’s flock. The teaching of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council reminds us: “Bishops, therefore, because of the gift of the Holy Spirit that has been given to priests at their ordination, will regard them as their indispensable helpers and advisers in the ministry and in the task of teaching, sanctifying and shepherding the people of God” (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Decree on the Ministry and Life of Priests, Presbyterorum Ordinis [7 December 1965], n. 7a). Let us thank God today for our priests of the Archdiocese of St. Louis, my co-workers in carrying out the ministry of Christ the Great Shepherd.

II. Our celebration of the apostolic office and ministry is truly a celebration of Christ, the Good Shepherd, in whose person the Apostles and their successors have acted on behalf of God’s holy people in every age. God the Father had promised through the Prophet Isaiah that the fullness of the Holy Spirit would be upon His anointed, upon the Christ, for our salvation. By His Redemptive Incarnation, God the Son, in whom the fullness of the Holy Spirit dwells, has freed us from our slavery to sin and won for us a share in the same Holy Spirit (Reading I).

Among the many riches of the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon the Church is the consecration of bishops as true shepherds of God’s flock. By the grace of Holy Orders, Bishops act in the person of Christ, the Good Shepherd, sharing in His own life and ministry. So it is that Christ, in His final discourse to His disciples, a small portion of which we have heard proclaimed in today’s Gospel, can say:
It was not you who chose me, but I who chose you and appointed you to go and bear fruit that will remain, so that whatever you ask the Father in my name he may give you. (Gospel)

At the Lord’s Supper, Christ, Who had called the Apostles, consecrated them to carry out His mission of Head and Shepherd in every community of faith, above all by renewing in every time and place the Lord’s Supper, the Holy Eucharist. In the Holy Eucharist, most of all, we witness the outpouring of the Holy Spirit for the ministry of those called and consecrated as bishops and priests.

III. We also celebrate today the fifth anniversary of the arrival of our Holy Father Pope John Paul II on pastoral visit to this historic diocese of our nation. On January 26 and 27 of 1999, the faithful of the Archdiocese of St. Louis and all who joined them in receiving our Holy Father’s visit witnessed directly the Holy Spirit at work in the apostolic ministry of the Successor of Saint Peter, “the perpetual and visible source and foundation of the unity both of the bishops and of the
whole company of the faithful” (cf. Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium [21 November 1964], n. 23a). Recalling the Holy Father’s visit on this memorial of Saints Timothy and Titus, on this the day of my installation as Archbishop of St. Louis, I express my deepest gratitude to Pope John Paul II for confiding to me this new apostolic mission, and I pledge again my steadfast loyalty in fostering, in communion with him, the unity of the Church. Let us thank God, in a special way today, for Pope John Paul II, and pray that God continue to grant him wisdom and strength for the pastoral care of the universal Church.

Our Holy Father, true to his apostolic office, came to St. Louis at the sunset of the Second Christian Millennium and the dawn of the Third Christian Millennium to teach us how to live more fully in Christ, how to cooperate more fully with the gift of Holy Spirit poured forth into our hearts. He came to guide and help us in carrying out the New Evangelization, the teaching of the faith with the new energy and enthusiasm required in an age forgetful of God and even hostile to His plan for our salvation. His words during the Pastoral Visit remain so timely, a kind of examination of conscience for us today as we, together, begin a new chapter in the life of the Church in the Archdiocese of St. Louis.

IV. In proposing to us the challenge of the New Evangelization, our Holy Father draws us to the Heart of Jesus, “the door through which the eternal love of the Father is poured out on the world” (Pope John Paul II, Homily, Solemn Eucharistic Celebration, America’s Center, St. Louis, 27 January 1999, n. 1c). He draws us to the glorious open Heart of Jesus in the celebration of the Holy Mass and in Eucharistic Adoration. The Holy Mass is the fullest and most perfect encounter which we have with Christ in this world. Christ made truly present for us on the altar of sacrifice remains with us in the Sacrament of His true Body and Blood reposed in the tabernacles of our churches and chapels. To help us to understand more deeply and love more fully the Eucharistic mystery, on Holy Thursday of last year, our Holy Father gave us his Encyclical Letter “On the Eucharist in Its Relationship to the Church” in which he tells us:
The Eucharist is a priceless treasure: by not only celebrating it but also by praying before it outside of Mass we are enabled to make contact with the very wellspring of grace (n. 25c).

Coming to you as your new archbishop, I urge you to draw close to the Heart of Jesus opened wide for you in the Holy Eucharist, by your faithful participation in the Sunday Mass and in weekday Mass, when possible, and by your Eucharistic devotion, especially Eucharistic visits and adoration.

Placing our hearts within the Sacred Heart of Jesus through participation in the Holy Eucharist and Eucharistic devotion, let us enthrone the image of His Sacred Heart in our homes and places of work and recreation, consecrating ourselves and all that we do to His service. The Sacred Heart devotion is a most fitting and efficacious way of extending Eucharistic worship and devotion into every moment of our lives and every aspect of our lives. Christ must reign in us for the salvation of the world. Sharers in Christ’s own Spirit, we must more and more turn over our lives completely to Him.

In the daily conversion of life, by which our hearts are more perfectly conformed to the Heart of Jesus, we are inspired and aided by our brothers and sisters who have answered the call to the consecrated life. By their closer following in the Gospel virtues of poverty, chastity and obedience, they assist us all to attain a greater holiness of life.

Let us thank God today for the many consecrated persons in the Archdiocese and pray that the young men and women from the Archdiocese, whom God is calling to the consecrated life, will respond with an undivided heart.

In urging the universal reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, I also commend the many associations
of the faithful who so strongly contribute to the building up of the life of the Church: the Legion of Mary, the Saint Vincent de Paul Society, the Knights of Columbus, the Archdiocesan Council of Catholic Women, the International Serra Club, to name a few.

V. Drawing us to the Heart of Jesus for the New Evangelization, our Holy Father reminds us that special attention must be given to “the family and the renewal of Christian marriage” (Pope John Paul II, Homily, 27 January 1999, n. 5). It is in the family, in the home formed by the faithful, enduring and procreative love of man and woman in marriage, that the Church first comes to life, that we first come to know, love and serve Christ. Children are indeed “the crowning glory” of marriage (Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World, Gaudium et Spes [7 December 1965], n. 48a), for in the procreation and education of children husband and wife find the greatest fruit of their married love and build up all of society in unity and peace.

What the Church has always known is a new discovery for the thoroughly secularized society of our time, namely that the state of the family determines very much the state of society. In urging our special attention to the family, our Holy Father declared: “As the family goes, so goes the nation!” (Homily, 27 January 1999, n. 5a). According to the wisdom of God’s plan, the exclusive and lifelong love of a man and a woman, who are united in marriage, is the chosen place in which He gives new human life and provides the solid foundation of the life of all society.

The care of a shepherd for the flock must begin with the family, with attention to the preparation of children and young people for marriage, if it be their vocation, and in the encouragement and support of the married, in their daily living to strive toward the high standard of Christlike love for each other and for their children. It is within the family, first of all, that children and young people come to know God’s special plan for them, their vocation in life, their way to salvation.

Whether young people are called to the married life or dedicated single life or consecrated life or priesthood, they will first come to know the oblation of love, which their vocation demands, through the love of their parents in the family.

Next to the gift of life itself, there is no more important gift that parents can give to their children than assisting them in knowing their vocation in life, their way of giving glory to God and serving their neighbor, as we say in the Church, their way to salvation. No matter what goods we may provide for our children, also in abundance, they will never know happiness in life until they have discovered God’s plan for them and embraced His plan with all their heart.

Repeatedly, we are told that parents and parish priests provide the most critical inspiration and assistance to a young person seeking to know God’s will. May our homes in the Archdiocese of St. Louis be the first and most important place for carrying out the apostolate of vocations.

In speaking about the family, I cannot fail to mention the Catholic schools and parish religious education programs, which provide a fundamental and irreplaceable service to parents in the Catholic education of their children. Through catechesis, children and young people receive a most important help in knowing their vocation in life and preparing to do whatever God asks of them.

Saint Paul instructs Timothy to entrust the teaching of the faith “to faithful people who will have the ability to teach others well” (Second Reading). We owe a profound debt of gratitude to our catechists, whether in the Catholic schools or in the programs of religious education, whose apostolate lies at the foundation of the life of the Church.

VI. Finally, in drawing us to the Heart of Jesus, our Holy Father taught us the first and most fundamental principle of the moral life: the inviolability of all human life from the moment of conception to the moment of natural death. Contemplating the Heart of Jesus, opened by the soldier’s spear as Christ died on the cross for us, we cannot doubt the immense love of God for each and every one of us.

Sharers in the gift of the Holy Spirit, we are called to be heralds and instruments of the Gospel of Life. Perhaps no service of the Church to the world is more sorely needed today than the fostering of the reverence for all human life. Sadly, society is characterized by violence in a myriad of forms, but most wrongfully in the attack upon the life of those who have the first title to our care: the innocent and defenseless unborn, and those whose lives have grown burdened under advanced years, special needs or serious illness. Too many lives have already been taken through violence. Let us spare no effort in the apostolate of the respect for all human life.

In the Heart of Jesus we will find the inspiration and strength to be “followers of Christ who are unconditionally pro-life: who will proclaim, celebrate and serve the Gospel of life in every situation” (Homily, 27 January 1999, n. 5b). In Christ, we will find the way to protect ourselves from crime without violently taking the life of the criminal. May Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, who desired so strongly to bring the Gospel to her native American brothers and sisters, intercede for us, that we will always find the way to respect and promote the dignity of life of every brother and sister, without boundary of origin or race.

The Archdiocese is blessed with so many charitable, educational and missionary institutions. Through their fidelity to their Catholic identity, may they serve all in justice and love. May we seek the intercession and follow the example of our patrons, Saint Louis IX of France, who daily fed the hungry at his table and served the needy in his own person, and Saint Vincent de Paul who “studied to procure the relief of others under all necessities, whether spiritual or corporal” (Butler’s Lives of the Saints, 1956 edition, Vol. 3, p. 143).

VII. Our celebration of the apostolic office and ministry will now reach its fullness in the Eucharistic Sacrifice, in which Christ, the Good Shepherd, renews the outpouring of His life for us on Calvary. Through this Holy Eucharist, may Christ draw us, shepherd and flock, into one, through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit, to the glory of God the Father and for the salvation of our world.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mother of America and Star of the New Evangelization, we implore your help and protection, that we may do all that Christ asks of us, and that I may never fail in the mission which Christ has entrusted to me.

Saint Louis IX of France, pray for us.
Saint Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
Saint Rose Philippine Duchesne, pray for us.