Friday, February 20, 2004

Thanks for your time...

This was sent to me earlier this evening and I thought I should share it.
Thanks for your time
It had been some time since Jack had seen the old man. College, girls, career, and life itself got in the way. in fact, Jack moved clear across the country in pursuit of his dreams. There, in the rush of his busy life, Jack had little time to think about the past and often no time to spend with his wife and son. He was working on his future, and nothing could stop him.

Over the phone, his mother told him, "Mr. Belser died last night. The funeral is Wednesday." Memories flashed through his mind like an old newsreel as he sat quietly remembering his childhood days.

"Jack, did you hear me?"

"Oh, sorry, Mom. Yes, I heard you. It's been so long since I thought of him. I'm sorry, but I honestly thought he died years ago," Jack said.

"Well, he didn't forget you. Every time I saw him he'd ask how you were doing. He'd reminisce about the many days you spent over 'his side of the fence' as he put it," Mom told him.

"I loved that old house he lived in," Jack said.

"You know, Jack, after your father died, Mr. Belser stepped in to make sure you had a man's influence in your life," she said.

"He's the one who taught me carpentry," he said. "I wouldn't be in this business if it weren't for him. He spent a lot of time teaching me things he thought were important...Mom, I'll be there for the funeral," Jack said.

As busy as he was, he kept his word. Jack caught the next flight to his hometown. Mr. Belser's funeral was small and uneventful. He had no children of his own, and most of his relatives had passed away.

The night before he had to return home, Jack and his Mom stopped by to see the old house next door one more time.

Standing in the doorway, Jack paused for a moment. It was like crossing over into another dimension, a leap through space and time. The house was exactly as he remembered. Every step held memories. Every picture, every piece of furniture....Jack stopped suddenly.

"What's wrong, Jack?" his Mom asked.

"The box is gone," he said.

"What box? " Mom asked.

"There was a small gold box that he kept locked on top of his desk. I must have asked him a thousand times what was inside. All he'd ever tell me was 'the thing I value most,'" Jack said.

It was gone. Everything about the house was exactly how Jack remembered it, except for the box. He figured someone from the Belser family had taken it. Now I'll never know what was so valuable to him," Jack said. "I better get some sleep. I have an early flight home, Mom."

It had been about two weeks since Mr. Belser died. Returning home from work one day Jack discovered a note in his mailbox. "Signature required on a package. No one at home. Please stop by the main post office within the next three days," the note read.

Early the next day Jack retrieved the package. The small box was old and looked like it had been mailed a hundred years ago. The handwriting was difficult to read, but the return address caught his attention. "Mr. Harold Belser" it read.

Jack took the box out to his car and ripped open the package. There, inside was the gold box and an envelope. Jack's hands shook as he read the note inside.

"Upon my death, please forward this box and its contents to Jack Bennett. It's the thing I valued most in my life." A small key was taped to the letter. His heart racing, as tears filling his eyes, Jack carefully unlocked the box. There inside he found a beautiful gold pocket watch. Running his fingers slowly over the finely etched casing, he unlatched the cover.

Inside he found these words engraved: "Jack, Thanks for your time! Harold Belser."

"The thing he valued time."

Jack held the watch for a few minutes, then called his office and cleared his appointments for the next two days. "Why?" Janet, his assistant asked.

"I need some time to spend with my son," he said. "Oh, by the way, Janet...thanks for your time!"

"Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away,"

Who has not read the Catechism, or the Second Vatican Council documents?

PATRICK J. McGRATH is the Roman Catholic bishop of San Jose. He wrote this column for the Mercury News.
I do offer some reflections on underlying concerns that seem to be coming into focus in light of the Ash Wednesday release of ``The Passion.''

While the primary source material of the film is attributed to the four gospels, these sacred books are not historical accounts of the historical events that they narrate. They are theological reflections upon the events that form the core of Christian faith and belief. (Emphasis added by me)

But from the Catechism we read this:
#126 We can distinguish three stages in the formation of the Gospels:
1. The life and teaching of Jesus. The Church holds firmly that the four Gospels, "whose historicity she unhesitatingly affirms, faithfully hand on what Jesus, the Son of God, while he lived among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation, until the day when he was taken up."[99]

And the footnote #99 above directs us to the Second Vatican Council's Dei Verbum #19 which states:
Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation until the day He was taken up into heaven (see Acts 1:1).

I suppose one could also extract excerpts from Pascendi Dominici Gregis or Lamentabili Sane, both from Pope Pius X, but I suppose the Catechism and Dei Verbum are enough to begin the educational process for the San Jose bishop.

Kenneth Hulshof, Catholic, and Archbishop Burke

Another Post-Dispatch Letter to Editor writer has questions...

Hulshof silent on important issues
In a polished presentation, the congressman emphasized three points: that he and his wife were members of a certain Catholic church; that he opposed abortion; and that he opposed gun control. Not one word was devoted to any other issue.

Nothing, for example, on Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, education, environment, stem-cell research, women's rights, national defense, government funding of religious institutions, the exploding national debt (private and public) or the unconscionable gap in income and wealth between the top 2 percent and the bottom 20 percent of our nation's population.

Cynics would argue that the congressman was simply honoring the dictum that the easiest votes to get are single-issue voters. Nevertheless, his silence on the important issues comes in stark contrast to the themes he had chosen.

If Congressman Hulshof wishes to exploit his Catholic credentials, does he not have a corresponding obligation to all his constituents to identify clearly where he advocates policies which contradict the desires of the conservatives who control the Vatican? This question gains special relevance now that the archbishop of St. Louis, Raymond Burke, has decreed that Catholic lawmakers who support abortion rights, euthanasia or the death penalty shall not receive Communion until they publicly renounce such views.

I have yet to hear Archbishop Burke state that support for capital punishment precludes one from receiving Holy Communion. As a matter of fact, Dr. Arthur Hippler, Archbishops Burke's Director of Justice and Peace, in the Diocese of LaCrosse, has written extensively on this subject. The confusion of the letter writer might be cleared up by reading these articles. Also Archbishop Burke proposes that there is a disconnect of sorts when he says:

Our consistent stance on the dignity of all human life is not understood by some. Many understand our care for the poor and the marginalized, but they part company with us in our defense of innocent and defenseless life in the womb. They will stand with us against capital punishment, but not against procured abortion or euthanasia. *
Since the proper role of religion lies in being a critic of government and not as a participant in government, may we ask Hulshof two more questions?

The proper role of religion is to be a critic of government? Now we understand your dilemma. The role proper to religion is to offer praise and glory to God and to help mankind reach eternal happiness with God.

When religious leaders take advantage of the shield of our laws in order to oppose or endorse particular candidates, should not churches and church schools then forfeit their tax exemption as well as the ability of donors to deduct contributions from their income and estate taxes?

Another confusion in the mind of Mr. Meyer. The Catholic Church does not oppose nor endorse political candidates for office. The Church reminds the faithful of their duties with respect to the teachings of Christ, to be mindful of the responsibilities they have to participate wisely in choosing political leaders.

Since Archbishop Burke is following instructions from Rome, should he not register with our federal authorities as a foreign lobbyist?

Donald Meyer

Finally, we reach the apex of Mr. Meyer's thinking. His view of Archbishop Burke as a 'patsy' of Rome, rather than as a successor of the Apostles, a disicple of Christ, and a shepherd of the faithful, is seriously flawed and is indicative of a warped view of reality.

Christ, have mercy on us!

* A Pastoral Letter to Christs's Faithful of the Diocese of LaCrosse
On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility
The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Bishop of LaCrosse
November 23, 2003

Claire McCaskill and the Church

This is from an article in yesterday's Post-Dispatch:
In an interview, McCaskill, a Roman Catholic and a supporter of abortion rights, was asked about directives by bishops that public officials should adhere publicly to church teachings against abortion. St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke has criticized the abortion-rights stand of Democratic presidential candidate John Kerry and said that if Kerry were to stand in his Communion line, he wouldn't give him the sacrament.

Last week, Archbishop James P. Keleher of the Kansas City, Kan., Diocese wrote Catholic institutions to say abortion-rights activists and politicians should not be invited to speak at those institutions.

McCaskill said she was disappointed that the church hierarchy had singled out one issue.
Some will say that the defense of innocent life is only one issue among many, that it is important but not fundamental. They are wrong. In the natural moral law, the good of life is the most fundamental good and the condition for the enjoyment of all other goods (cf. United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, Living the Gospel of Life: A Challenge to American Catholics [November 1998], n. 5).*

"There's a lot of subject matter out there - birth control, the death penalty, euthanasia, social justice, and when you begin picking one topic and not talking about the other topics, I think that there is an issue of fairness in terms of the Catholic doctrine and how public officials are getting called to task," said McCaskill. "I'm hopeful that they pray about it, and I'm going to pray about it, and I hope that I still feel welcome in my church."
Catholics therefore cannot legitimately believe that, if they support programs for the poor and marginalized, this “makes up” for not being consistently prolife. “Any politics of human dignity must seriously address issues of racism, poverty, hunger, employment, education, housing and health care.... But being ‘right’ in such matters can never excuse a wrong choice regarding direct attacks on innocent human life. Indeed, the failure to protect and defend life in its most vulnerable stages renders suspect any claims to the ‘rightness’ of positions in other matters affecting the poorest and least powerful of the human community” (Living the Gospel of Life, n. 23).*
McCaskill is a member of St. Gerard Majella parish in Kirkwood. Asked if she could still go to Communion if she got a letter from Archbishop Burke on abortion, McCaskill said, "I'll be candid. I do not participate in Communion now because I have remarried and did not want to go through what I considered a less-than-honest process of annulling my previous marriage.

"I wasn't comfortable in saying things to get an annulment that I had to say because they weren't true. I participate at my parish and do not take Communion at the present time. So it doesn't impact me other than it's hurtful."

At least on the point of refraining from Holy Communion, I can agree with her. It is a sacrilege and a mortal sin, objectively speaking, to receive Holy Communion while in an adulterous relationship, which is what her situation is, and which she seems to understand, at least in principle. Living in adultery precludes one from receiving the Sacraments.

However, one should not lie or fabricate stories and conditions when applying for an annulment. If she received advice that lying is required in order to secure a decree of nullity, she has been misinformed and, hopefully, this person is not a representative of the Church.

* A Pastoral Letter to Christs's Faithful of the Diocese of LaCrosse
On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility
The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Bishop of LaCrosse
November 23, 2003

Do these 'Liturgists' even know what the Catechism is?

Do they even know what the teachings of the Church are?
The Doctrinal Confusion of Liberal Liturgists

Apparently not....

The USCCB needs a good "cleansing"....

The only role the Bible says the Pharisees have in the passion of Jesus is, in one case they try to warn him that there's a plot against his life," said Eugene Fisher, the spokesman on interfaith relations for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Washington, D.C.

To counter some of the hype around Gibson's film, Fisher's staff has been hurriedly distributing to Catholic clergy fresh copies of 40 years of Catholic statements combating anti-Semitism. A 1988 declaration by the American bishops offers point-by-point instruction for any accurate portrayal of Jesus' death, including that Pharisees "should not be depicted as party to the proceedings against Jesus."

This, I believe, is the same group that published "Reflections on Covenant and Mission" which is no longer on the USCCB website, probably due to the confusion it caused the faithful and for its complete misunderstanding of the Catholic Church's position.

Some one should clean the "Augean stables", so to speak. Perhaps they can keep those who would make a profession of faith and take the oath of fidelity?


Catholic League president William Donohue commented today on the way some critics of “The Passion of the Christ” are behaving:
“With the opening of ‘The Passion of the Christ’ less than a week away, it is obvious that some of the film’s critics are cracking up. For example, gossip maven Liz Smith today echoes ADL chief Abe Foxman’s remark that Mel Gibson is a ‘true believer.’ Ex-priest John Dominic Crossan accuses Mel of ‘playing with dynamite,’ offering that the film is ‘dangerously irresponsible.’ Bart Charlow, director of the National Conference for Community and Justice, says Mel is ‘treading on ancient and dangerous grounds,’ adding that it may lead to ‘synagogue firebombings.’ Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee is upset about a scene in which Jesus is hung over a bridge by chains; Rudin says this wasn’t in the New Testament. Abe Foxman says the movie betrays Vatican II and that the Church has ‘a responsibility to stand up to defend its own teaching.’ And several media talk-show hosts have grilled me about the propriety of young people seeing a movie with so much violence.

“The term ‘true believer’ was coined by philosopher Eric Hoffer to describe fanatics, both religious and secular. In other words, it accurately describes Mel’s most extreme critics. Those who are sounding the alarms over anti-Semitic violence are historically ignorant: the last time Jews were assaulted after the production of a Passion Play was in the Middle Ages. As for fidelity to the New Testament, Mel is not obligated to tailor his interpretation of the Bible according to someone else’s politically correct straightjacket. If they don’t like his version, they can always make their own. Moreover, it takes chutzpah for a non-Catholic to lecture the Church about defending its teachings, simply because he doesn’t like a movie the Church had nothing to do with. As for the violence, it is amazing to hear those who think it’s okay for a teenager to submit her unborn child to lethal violence—without parental consent—now worry whether she is able to endure a movie about the death of Jesus.

“These critics are cracking up. But their demagoguery is failing: they cannot stop the movie from being a blockbuster.”

Stations of the Cross, Immaculate Conception Parish

This is a letter that I wrote to my pastor, associate pastors, and deacons a couple of weeks ago. I now understand that the change is finalized and Stations will be moved from Friday evening to Wednesday evening so as to NOT "interfere" with the Fish Fry or a planned speaking series. As yet, I have received no response from the pastor - and I don't expect one. And I fully understand that there is no mandate or law requiring Stations on Fridays, etc.

*** Letter from Feb 9.
Last week, in a discussion with one of our deacons, I became aware of a recent decision by you, in consultation with others, to move our customary Friday Stations of the Cross to Wednesday evening. Are we to assume that this is being done so as not to interfere with the IQ Series talks that have scheduled for Friday evenings? Since I am unable to understand how praying the Stations on a Friday evening at 6:00pm or 6:30pm could possibly interfere with an event scheduled for 7:00pm or 7:30pm, could you or someone else explain the rationale behind this to me?

You, no doubt, are aware that the longstanding custom in our parish, our archdiocese and throughout the U.S., has always regarded Fridays as the most appropriate day to pray the Stations of the Cross, particularly during Lent. Not only is Friday a day of exceptional devotion and remembrance of Good Friday, it is also an obligatory day of penance, during which we are to practice fasting and abstinence, especially during the Lenten season. Shifting this time-honored Catholic devotional custom from Fridays to Wednesdays seems shamefully offensive in that it is a direct affront to the sensibilities of faithful Catholics who have traditionally viewed Fridays during Lent as a time of special prayer, grace, and conversion.

The Congregation of Divine Worship in its "Directory on Popular Piety and the Liturgy, Principles and Guidelines" (Dec. 2001), when discussing the Via Crucis and the link to the Veneration of the Cross, confirms this when it states:

Popular piety tends to anticipate the cultic veneration of the Cross. Throughout Lent, every Friday is observed, since very ancient times, as a commemoration of the Lord's Passion and the faithful easily direct their devotions towards the mystery of the Cross. (Emphasis added)

How, then, will the faithful of the parish properly observe Fridays if you move our Stations of the Cross devotions to Wednesday? Why would any pastor choose to disrupt that to which we have become accustomed over many decades? Why would we want to discard our Catholic heritage and pious practices and traditions which are so beneficial for growing closer to our Lord?

Regardless of your final decision in this matter, it remains a fact that the faithful may continue to practice this pious devotion privately in the Chapel on Fridays or any other day and, if properly disposed, to also merit a plenary indulgence since the Chapel contains "legitimately erected" stations. Some of the faithful may even opt to pray the Via Crucis at other parishes which have not arbitrarily abandoned a customary and venerable devotion for the sake of some perceived expediency or in the erroneous belief that more people may attend on Wednesday rather than Friday. If attendance is the issue, perhaps having Stations on two or more nights would be a better alternative.

Secondly, after having read the Enchiridion of Indulgences No.63 (1968) with regard to the Stations of the Cross and the requirements necessary for obtaining the plenary indulgence, I have a question whether the new church has Stations of the Cross that have been "legitimately erected". I am quite skeptical at this point that, 1) a plenary indulgence may be obtained by praying the Via Crucis in the new church which does not appear to have "legitimately erected" stations, and 2) whether the banners being used for stations are even permissible for this pious devotion.

The documentation that I have regarding this observation comes from three sources: Code of Canon Law #1169 (with commentary), Inter Oecumenici #77, and the Roman Ritual. All three of these sources indicate that the blessing and erecting of Stations of the Cross are reserved to a bishop. If the blessing of Stations is actually reserved to a bishop, then one must ask if one of our bishops actually blessed the banners that have been or are currently being used for stations in the church. If not, did Archbishop Rigali give permission to have these banners blessed by a priest rather than a bishop? If neither of these questions can be answered in the affirmative, then do we not have a slight problem here? It also appears from the relevant documents that stations should be permanent (erected), rather than seasonal articles that can be put up and taken down at will.

Lastly, in closing, if it is determined that we do not have "legitimately erected" stations in the new church, would it not be appropriate and fitting that the Stations of the Cross devotions be relocated back to the Chapel so that those who wish to obtain a plenary indulgence may do so?

If it is determined that we do, in fact, have "legitimately erected" stations in the new church, then the only issue remaining is that of moving the devotions from Friday to Wednesday. I would ask that you prayerfully consider the reasons for maintaining these devotions on Friday with the possibility of adding other days if that would seem advantageous.

I look forward to hearing from you about this and as always, all of you are in my daily prayers.
*** End of letter

To clear up any questions that may arise from those unfamiliar with Immaculate Conception Church in Dardenne, allow me to initally address some of those:

IQ Series
This is a attempt by the parish to invigorate the faith of parishioners and others by bringing in speakers who would give talks on some aspect of the faith. For the most part, these speakers give talks on Friday evening. Initially, one speaker a month was to be the goal. During this Lenten season, however, it looks like we will have a speaker on every Friday. It is unclear to me whether fidelity to Church teaching is a prerequisite to be invited to speak. These talks are scheduled to begin at 7:30pm. (Stations started at 6:00 or 6:30)

New Church
Our new church building looks like the typical modern church built today in most parts of the U.S., based on the mundane architectural minimalism of the 70's. There are no stations. We have one statue only, and that is of our Blessed Mother, off to the side in an alcove. We do, however, have a "monumental" cross (not crucifix) behind the altar which blocks the view of a small tabernacle which is a good distance away. The cross is a conglomeration of steel & glass, which is truly reminiscent of the 60's & 70's culture. It would be perfect for any Protestant church building. We will, once again, have 'banners' for Stations. Unfortunately, they are not tie-dyed.

Chapel (Old Church)
Our old church, which we have outgrown holds about 200-250 people. It was built in the late 1890's by the hard work and efforts of area Catholics doing all they could to built a worthy house for God, and it was extraordinarily simple yet beautiful until a "renovation" was done about 10-15 years ago. However, it could still be restored to its former beauty and it does, at least, have Stations. At it still retains nearly all of the statues which we had before the renovation.

The parish, while I would not classify it as an hotbed for dissidence, nevertheless has its share of sanctioned liturgical abuses and other issues which have not yet been rectified. I have engaged in discussions defending:
the perpetual virginity of Mary,
the male only priesthood,
the sacrificial nature of the Holy Mass,
the real, true, substantial, and unique Presence of Christ in the Eucharist,
non-Catholics inability to receive Holy Communion, and so forth.

Hopefully, these things may change with the recent appointment of Archbishop Raymond Burke.

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Vatican unconvinced by ADL's Foxman

Abraham H. Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League official, met Feb. 16 with U.S. Archbishop John P. Foley, president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

Archbishop Foley told CNS he explained to Foxman, "I saw no anti-Semitism in the film."

"Mr. Foxman said he saw it with different eyes," the archbishop said.

Watching the film, Archbishop Foley said, "I found myself meditating deeply on the sinfulness of each one of us."

"I would hope people would accept the film as a meditation on our own culpability for Christ's suffering," the archbishop said.

[Full Story]

Bishop Bruskewitz is not participating in the farce.

In general, the USCCB has refused to address the fundamental cause for the "crisis" and have failed to address the issue of homosexuality. Bishop Bruskewitz tried to have this addressed at the Dallas meeting but ran into a 'brick wall', so to speak.

A San Diego and Riverside County newspaper article has referred to the good bishop as a "dissenter." The full article is here.

He has questioned the prudence of having people such as Leon Panetta on the National Review Board and has indicated, rightly so, that the faithful are scandalized by this.

Bishop Bruskewitz should be commended for his courage in refusing to be part of this charade. It has been opined before that this entire Child Protection program is likely to turn into another bureaucratic behemoth with the likes of Kathleen McChesney running the show and looking for ways to audit individual parishes.

Later on in the article, we witness more 'digs' at Bishop Bruskewitz, such as:
The diocese has long been known for its conservative bent. Girls, for example, are not allowed to serve at the altar, a practice that has become common around the country. Bruskewitz believes that having boys serve at the altar encourages vocations to the priesthood, Huber said.

Bruskewitz also welcomed to the diocese the U.S. branch of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, which built a seminary and began classes in 2000. The fraternity emphasizes the Latin rite Mass ---- the standard before the Second Vatican Council ---- in which the priest speaks Latin and faces away from the congregation.

In 1996, Bruskewitz threatened to excommunicate Lincoln Catholics who belong to certain groups that he considered perilous to the faith, including the Masons and church reform advocates Call to Action.

Jim McShane, a Call to Action member who was targeted by the bishop's excommunication threats, said Bruskewitz's noncompliance with the audit and survey are typical.
Interesting. The reporter notes that Bruskewitz leads a conservative diocese correctly stating that he does not permit altar girls, which is the prerogative of each bishop. It's a pity that more bishops do not adopt a similar stance.

But that's not all! He has even 'welcomed' the FSSP - which "speaks in Latin" and celebrates Holy Mass ad orientem and toward God rather than facing the people. And he even had the nerve to threaten excommunication to those who chose to leave the Church anyway. Is it any wonder why the Diocese of Lincoln has more vocations that it has room for those discerning a vocation to the priesthood? Why is there no 'priest shortage' there? Perhaps he saw enough while in the Milwaukee diocese under the 'leadership' of Rembert Weakland. Perhaps that's why he said one of the happiest moments of his life was seeing Milwaukee in his rearview mirror?

While the reporter cleverly attempts to demonize Bishop Bruskewitz by the appeal to Post Vatican II hysteria and permissiveness and by quoting a Call to Action member, those who know of Bishop Bruskewitz wil not be fooled by these kind of reports.

'The Passion' … for Its Author, Is a Mass

From Zenit, comes this wonderful review of "The Passion".
Vittorio Messori is the first journalist in history to publish a book-length interview with a pope, the multimillion-selling "Crossing the Threshold of Hope" (1994), as well as numerous other works such as "The Ratzinger Report" (1987) and his best-selling "Ipotesi su Gesù" (The Jesus Hypothesis, 1976).

After seeing Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," he wrote the following article for the Italian daily Corriere della Sera and offered the piece to ZENIT for publication in other languages.

Two women weep quietly, without sobbing; the monsignor in clergyman's dress who is next to me is very pale, his eyes closed; the young ecclesiastical secretary nervously fingers a rosary; a tentative, solitary start of applause quickly dies out in embarrassment.

For many, very long minutes, no one stands up, no one moves, no one speaks. So, what we were being told was true: "The Passion of The Christ" has struck us, it has worked in us, the first guinea pigs, the effect that Gibson wanted.

For what it's worth, I myself was disconcerted and speechless: For years I have examined one by one the Greek words with which the Evangelists recount those events; not one historical minutia of those 12 hours in Jerusalem is unknown to me. I have addressed it in a 400-page book that Gibson himself has taken into account. I know everything, or rather, I now discover that I thought I knew: everything changes if those words are translated into images of such power to transform in flesh and blood, striking signs of love and hatred.
Gibson, a Catholic who loves the Tradition, is a strong champion of the doctrine confirmed by the Council of Trent: the Mass is "also" a fraternal meal but it is "above all" Jesus' sacrifice, the bloodless renewal of the passion. This is what matters, not the "understanding of the words," as the new liturgists wish, whose superficiality Mel mocks as it seems like blasphemy to him. The redemptive value of the actions and gestures that have their culmination on Calvary has no need of expressions that anyone can understand.

This film, for its author, is a Mass: Let it be, then, in an obscure language, as it was for so many centuries. If the mind does not understand, so much the better. What matters is that the heart understands that all that happened redeems us from sin and opens to us the doors of salvation. Precisely as the prophecy of Isaiah reminds us on the "Servant of Yahweh" which, taking up the whole screen, is the prologue of the entire film. The wonder, however, seems to me to be verified: After a while, one stops reading the subtitles to enter, without distractions, in the terrible and marvelous scenes -- that are sufficient in themselves.
[Full Article here]

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Just received....

Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc.Press Release

Contact: Stephen G. Brady
Phone: (217) 632-5920

1 PM EDT, February 18, 2004


An international group of faithful Roman Catholics has scheduled a
public meeting in Albany to discuss its ongoing investigation of the
Albany Catholic Diocese.

Stephen G. Brady, president of the Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc.
(RCF) issued a statement on Wednesday that he will arrive in Albany
from RCF's headquarters in Petersburg, Illinois, on Saturday
evening, February 21. The meeting will take place at the Crowne Plaza
Hotel, Albany City Center, State & Lodge Streets, 10 Eyck Plaza,
Albany, NY 12207.

In 2001, Mr. Brady was entrusted by the recently-deceased Fr. John
Minkler with a confidential 1995 report of corruption in the Albany
diocese that Fr. Minkler had prepared for then-New York Cardinal
O'Connor. Fr. Minkler had been seeking RCF's assistance to
help bring about reformative changes in the Albany diocese. RCF was
contacted by Fr. Minkler the day before his body was discovered in his
Watervliet home.

Joining Mr. Brady at the meeting will be Paul Likoudis, news editor
of The Wanderer, a weekly Catholic newspaper. For over 15 years, Mr.
Likoudis has probed the link between the homosexual revolutionists who
came to power in the early 1960s and the moral downfall of the Roman
Catholic Church. Fr. Minkler had been informing Mr. Likoudis about
problems in the Albany diocese for the last 13 years. Mr. Likoudis
spoke with Fr. Minkler shortly after Father's Friday meeting with
chancery officials, just two days before his body was found.

RCF is a not-for-profit lay organization, with many religious
members, dedicated to promoting orthodox Catholic teaching and
fighting heterodoxy and corruption within the Catholic hierarchy.


No speeches in Catholic institutions by abortion rights advocates

Associated Press

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - Archbishop James P. Keleher has asked Catholic institutions under his jurisdiction to stop inviting politicans or others who favor abortion rights to speak or take part in other presentations.

His statement was published in the archdiocesan newspaper on Friday, the day after Gov. Kathleen Sebelius, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, spoke at the University of St. Mary in Leavenworth.

The governor, invited to speak as part of the school's Lincoln Lectureship series, talked about education and economic development. Anti-abortion advocates had been critical of the invitation for her to speak on the Catholic campus.

Hours before her speech, the governor and Keleher appeared together at a news conference to rally support for affordable housing. Asked then about the controversy over Sebelius being invited to speak on the campus, the archbishop declined to comment.

But the next day, in a statement published in The Leaven newspaper, Keleher said abortion is such an important issue that "it is imperative that our Catholic churches, schools and institutions make every effort not only to support the pro-life movement, but especially to ensure that the public understand our unequivocal stand on this issue."

The archbishop requested that no abortion-rights advocate or politician who espouses an abortion-rights stance be allowed to "address, give workshops, or otherwise make any presentation" at Catholic institutions in the Archdiocese of Kansas City in Kansas.

"We must stand solidly behind the Gospel of Life," the statement said.

Keleher could not be reached for comment Monday, his office said.

When Sebelius took office a year ago, Keleher expressed displeasure with her abortion-rights stance, asking her to move an inauguration interfaith service from Topeka's Assumption Catholic Church. Sebelius, who attends the church, refused to move the service.

Information from: Journal-World
© 2004 AP Wire and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.
It's certainly a move in the right direction, however, this should have been the norm all along. Now it is time to address the 'Catholic' politicians who give scandal to faithful by there unrepentant support of abortion, just as Archbishop Burke has done.

An Email regarding Emily's List and Political Candidates

From a Email I received, we have this:
Please help me get the word out that Nancy Farmer, running against Senator Bond in Missouri's senate election, and Betty Castor, who is running in Florida's senate race, are on Emily's List.

In case you are unfamiliar with Emily's List, it is the financial powerhouse that gives volumes of money to the campaigns of candidates who meet three requirements: female, Democrat and unconditionally pro-abortion.

Women who have supported all pro-abortion legislation but voted to support a ban on partial-birth abortion were immediately scratched from the list because Emily's List tolerates no exceptions to their pro-abortion agenda (cloning, fetal tissue research, no parental notification for abortion and artificial contraception, no 24-hour waiting period for abortion, etc.).

If you want to know who else is on Emily's List, go to and click on their candidate recommendations.

There is also a Susan B. Anthony List organization that provides funding to pro-life female candidates. Their website is:

Thank you so much for what you can do. May God bless each one of our efforts to elect men and women who will uphold the sovereignty and laws of God. I am thankful to Him for this precious right and obligation.

I certainly do not want this to be a political site, however, ALL who embrace the culture of death need to be exposed for what they are or what they wish to be, both Catholics and non-Catholics, alike. Anyone who denies the unborn the right to life does not deserve to represent the public - or more aptly, those fortunate enough to have NOT been aborted.

ADL Director asking Vatican to intervene in "The Passion"

Jewish leader visits Rome, discusses 'Passion' with Vatican officials
VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- The week before "The Passion of the Christ" was to open on U.S. movie screens, the U.S. director of the Anti-Defamation League asked for a Vatican statement that the film does not reflect Catholic belief about the role of the Jews in the death of Jesus.
As we all know there were no Jews in Jerusalem at that time. Just as there were no Romans. This is all just too much! Lord, have mercy on us!
Abraham H. Foxman, the Anti-Defamation League official, was in Rome Feb. 16-18 on his way to a European conference on anti-Semitism. He said he wanted to use the opportunity to express his concerns about Mel Gibson's film and to seek a Vatican statement about it. "I'm reaching out to the Catholic Church and saying, 'It's time for you to step up to the plate. Mr. Gibson is challenging your teaching,'" Foxman told Catholic News Service Feb. 17.
Mr. Foxman must be seeing and hearing things differently. Nothing could be further from the truth.
"He is marketing this film as the Gospel truth, the historic truth in a way contrary to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and church guidelines on the presentation of the Passion," Foxman said. Vatican II said that Jesus' passion "cannot be blamed upon all the Jews then living, without distinction, nor upon the Jews of today."

Mel Gibson has repeatedly stated that ALL of us bear responsibility - all of us are culpable...I suppose that Mr. Foxman wants to be excluded from all humanity?

Could it be that the next request will be to add some sort of warning to the Gospels - that these also might be a cause of some anti-semitic feelings?

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

Monday, February 16, 2004

And I missed his talk at ICD's 2002 Christmas Novena

The Rev. Jason Samuel was one of the speakers at the Christmas Novena at Immaculate Conception Church in December of 2002. He was not on the list of speakers for the 2003 Novena, however. We did have two other protestant ministers, though...What Catholic Christmas Novena would be complete with them?

Anyway, to the point...a couple of women at the parish pointed out this story in the Post-Dispatch to me.

I wonder if anyone in charge at ICD knows about this? Maybe I'll send them a copy.

V-Monologues & SLU

I wasn't able to verify whether SLU permitted the V-Monologues to go on as scheduled or not....I wrote a letter to Fr. Biondi but never received a response other than he did receive my email.

At least last year I received a 'rationalization' as to why they were not going to cancel it.

The Cardinal Newman Society indicated that it went on as scheduled. Shameful!

Priest in the Albany Diocese found dead

Feb. 16 - A priest in the middle of the sex abuse allegations made
against Bishop Howard Hubbard was found dead Sunday.

The death of an Albany priest is raising more questions than answers
tonight. His name recently surfaced in connection with the allegations
against Bishop Howard Hubbard.

Coming soon to parish near you...?

Group urges Catholics to bypass dioceses
Members of a support group (SNAP) for people abused by priests targeted three Metro East churches Sunday morning, passing out leaflets, which stated: "We are here today because your bishop has used your donations to fight against children and for child molesters."

Spirtual Warfare is here - ready or not.

"My friends and I had many conversations with other parishioners who wanted to learn more about the Catholic Church's position on same-sex marriage . . . and so we set up our booth to give educational materials to interested parishioners," Karl Wirth wrote in an e-mail to the Globe. Wirth, a high-tech worker and Harvard graduate, approached the pastor, Monsignor Dennis Sheehan, for permission to set up a table, and Sheehan agreed.

So far so good, right?
One outraged parishioner threw many of the fliers into the sacristy's trash and tore down some of the signs adorning a booth, before breaking down in tears. A second churchgoer, too upset to sit through services, went home and wrote an open letter that he distributed after Mass, calling the distribution of the flier "an injustice."

The parish council discussed the controversy at last Sunday's meeting, and plans to consider whether anyone should be allowed to promote a political cause in the church. But no decision was made.
Quoting the catechism, trying to enlighten people with the truths of our faith is now "politics"...Be happy when people revile you for following Christ...Pray for the Church which is under attack from within!

Sunday, February 15, 2004

Another Confused Post-Dispatcher Reader

Today's Post-Dispatch has more letters to the editor regarding Abp. Burke's statement that he would deny Sen. Kerry Holy Communion. Here is the letter of the confused writer.
Archbishop Raymond Burke has said he would not administer communion to Catholic presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. This was in response to our pope's call to protect the unborn. Pope John Paul II also has denounced the death penalty. So why doesn't the archbishop go a step further and refuse communion to those who support the death penalty?

And let's not forget that the pope also opposed the United States going to war with Iraq. Maybe we should also refuse communion to pro-war people?

I am upset that the archbishop has made this a political issue. I am a Catholic. I am pro-life. Pro-life means anti-death penalty as well as anti-abortion. It is hard for me to be totally Democratic or totally Republican. That is why our church should not be jumping into this fray.

If our church is going to denounce Kerry on the abortion issue, it also needs to denounce President George W. Bush for his support of the death penalty and for taking us into a pre-emptive war in Iraq.

Jenny Smith
Jefferson City
This letter sounds as if it came straight from the pages of the National Catholic Reporter from a couple of days ago...?

Poor Jenny Smith is so confused...unable to understand that there are those things which are intrinsically evil and always morally wrong. Perhaps her pastor or her bishop in Jefferson City can clarify the problems for her. This would be a great act of charity.

It is correct that the Holy Father has stated that the use of the death penalty should not be used if other means are availbable to protect society, however the Church grants, as she always has, that the prudential judgement of imposing punishment is a right and power of lawful temporal authority. Abortion is MURDER, Capital Punishment is not! The two are not morally equivalent, except perhaps in the mind of one who is confused.

Secondly, the statement that Archbishop Burke has made this a political issue is false. The refusal of the Sacrament of Holy Communion is not political. The refusal of Catholics to abide by and promote the natural moral law can be political, especially when unjust laws are promoted or defended.

The defense of innocent life is the most fundamental issue we face in this country. All other rights or issues are meaningless if the 'right' to life is really of no importance. It is impossible to enjoy other rights and privileges if one has been denied the most fundamental right to life. It is this fundamental right to life which accords all of us the subsequent ability to enjoy and participate in other rights, duties, pleasures, etc.

All of us have a duty to help those who are blinded and cannot see the truth. All of us can find ourselves in this situation - none of us are immune. However, when we understand and believe what the Church teaches, we must share that truth with others as an act of charity. We must practice the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. And we must pray the our Lord will enlighten the minds of those who are so confused and are unable to understand.

Our good Archbishop is trying to open the hearts of those who have refused the grace of God and persist in public scandal and who, by their own actions and speech, continue to lead others away from Christ and His Church. He follows the lead of the good shepherd. Please pray for him also as he endures these attacks.