Saturday, March 13, 2004

England Bishops....Now....No Official Word on "The Passion"

LONDON, MARCH 12, 2004 ( The Catholic Bishops' Conference of England & Wales has not made an official declaration about the film "The Passion of the Christ." A source cited in Thursday's dispatch was actually a reflection of the "personal declarations" of a press officer, the bishops' conference said. ZENIT regrets the error.

Friday, March 12, 2004

Awe Inspiring Church Architecture

Jeff Miller of "The Curt Jester" has a interesting take on some newly renovated church in Montrose CA recently dedicated by Cardinal Mahoney...Get a good look at the "crucifix"....

New Vatican effort to promote liturgical chant

Vatican, Mar. 12 ( - The Vatican has published the first in a projected new series of works, entitled Liturgia Poliphonia, which will offer the musical scores from contemporary chants written for the Sistine Chapel choir.

In a preface to the first booklet of the series, Msgr. Piero Marini, the master of ceremonies for pontifical liturgies, explains that the new series intended to furnish a model to stimulate the widespread use and appreciation of chant in the liturgy.
. . .
Since Vatican II there has been a marked tension within the Church between the proponents of traditional chant and the advocates of a more "progressive" approach to traditional liturgy. This tension has given rise to some heated polemics, even among Vatican officials.

Pope John Paul has endorsed the Vatican II teaching, emphasizing that "it is only through Gregorian chant and the organ that liturgical music can play a properly dignified role in the celebration of the sacraments, and particularly the Mass." He made that comment in January 2001, on the 90th anniversary of the Pontifical Institute for Sacred Music.
Full Article here.

Goodbye, Father Joe and Father Mikey and Father Bob...

Are we too chummy with our priests? What does this say about our - or his - view of the priesthood?

Am I the only American Catholic who is embarrassed when I hear my fellow parishioners refer to my parish priest as Father Mikey? Or are there lots of us out there who are similarly uneasy about this casual and -- to me -- impudent custom?
Adoremus has a great article on this subject here.

I was raised this way, that is, to address priests by their last name. I was also raised to address our elders as Mr. or Mrs. Jones, or Smith, or whatever, as a sign of respect. Some still teach their children these type of manners. It would be great if all parents did likewise.

Thursday, March 11, 2004

English Bishops Defend and Endorse "The Passion"

LONDON, MARCH 11, 2004 ( The Catholic bishops of England and Wales have endorsed Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ," calling the movie a "positive and faithful account of the Gospels."

The movie, which opened in America on Ash Wednesday, has become, according to the Hollywood daily Variety, "a cultural phenomenon." It has taken in about $224 million in its first two weeks of release. The film is scheduled for a nationwide release in Britain on March 26.

In a statement, the bishops' conference said it disagreed with the charge that "The Passion" was anti-Semitic, the Catholic Herald reported.

"We do not believe that the film portrays the Jewish people as collectively responsible for Christ's death," the statement said. "We disagree that the violence in the film is gratuitous."
Let's see the Phillipine bishops, now the English bishops...Did I miss the US Bishops?

PHILIPPINES-Bishops impressed by "The Passion": "Mel Gibson is like Mother Teresa"

Before coming to the movie theater, the bishops talked about the film, based on what they had read. "We were saying that Mel Gibson may be the best evangelizer of our times," Bishop Arguelles said. "So far the best evangelizer of our time is Mother Teresa. Now, they say, Gibson may beat out Mother Teresa because of the millions who have seen and will see the film in such a short time." (SE)
Full story here.

Philippine Bishops Endorse ''The Passion"

MANILA, Philippines, MARCH 10, 2004 ( Church leaders in the Philippines say they are endorsing ''The Passion of the Christ,'' dismissing criticism that the Mel Gibson film is anti-Semitic.

The film, which graphically depicts the passion and death of Jesus, was screened for the Philippine bishops' conference late Tuesday ahead of its public showing here, Agence France-Presse said.

Manila Archbishop Gaudencio Rosales told reporters he believed Gibson intended to raise awareness about growing violence all over the world. ''I think I would recommend it to every Filipino to see it who believes in goodness and accepts the reality of evil,'' the archbishop said.

In the United States, "The Passion of the Christ" remained the top film for a second straight weekend, taking in $53.2 million and pushing its 12-day total to $213.9 million, the Associated Press said.
Apparently the Phillipine Bishops were not in touch with the USCCB or some of their 'concerned' brother bishops in the U.S.

Wednesday, March 10, 2004

Pax Christi to perform 2004 Election Monitoring in Florida

This just in!
Jimmy Carter made election monitoring famous. . .
Now, Pax Christi USA is getting in the business. Except they're going to Florida.

"As the 2004 presidential election season swings into full gear, we believe it is imperative that non-partisan organizations commit resources to ensuring that this election does not result in controversy similar to what we witnessed in 2000," said Dave Robinson, national coordinator of the Catholic peace and justice organization. "We want to make sure that the sanctity of every vote and the dignity of every voter is respected and upheld, especially for those who experienced such a high degree of disenfranchisement in the previous presidential election."
. . .
"This is all part of some politically motivated thing that tries to scare people to somehow think their vote is not going to count," said (Governor Jeb) Bush. "That's hogwash, hogwash."

"Assuring each citizen's right to vote is not hogwash," responded Robinson. "Having non-partisan election monitors from the international community is an essential component to assuring the integrity of the election process in Florida."

Copyright © 2003 The National Catholic Reporter Publishing Company
Disenfranchisement? Because of pregnant chads? Please!
Is this what we have to look forward to?

What's wrong with Pax Christi, you may ask? Someone who is eminently more qualified than I should answer that question. Who? How about Dr. Arthur Hippler, the Director of the Office of Justice and Peace in the Diocese of La Crosse, formerly headed by Bishop Raymond Burke.

Dr. Hippler answers the question: "What's wrong with Pax Christi?" here.
It appears from a second article by Dr. Hippler here, that Pax Christi was not pleased with his first.

It seems a little disconcerting that, as stated by the National 'Catholic' Reporter, "Now, Pax Christi USA is getting in the business", especially considering that they, according to Dr. Hippler and others, have a difficulty presenting basic Catholic teaching truthfully, that is, without distortions.

Forced Abortion Legal in America

May God have mercy on us and this country! This is from LifeSite.

The Population Research Institute has revealed that coerced abortion is a reality in America. A court ruled that a woman can be forced to submit to an abortion, if, in the opinion of the abortionist, the measure is necessary to "protect the health of the mother." The Jane Roe II vs. Aware Women Center for Choice, Inc. ruling was handed down in January.

The case arose when a young woman who entered an abortion clinic for an abortion changed her mind. The abortionist, William P. Egherman, who has committed over 10,000 abortions, instead of stopping the procedure, called in assistants to hold her down while he continued to dilate her cervix.

"My God, you're hurting me" the woman screamed. "You're killing me, I'll never be able to have babies... Stop!" Despite her pleas, Egherman went in with a forceps, an instrument in court he referred to as "the bear" and began prodding and pulling, and accidentally tore out a piece of her intestines. He advised the ambulance to go slow, without lights or siren, so as not to distress his other clients who were waiting for abortions. The hospital repaired the damage and removed the remains of a dead child.

Read it and weep for for these people and our society.

Our Mother of Perpetual Help, please pray for us!

A Rebellion Brewing at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, St. Louis?

This is another Post Dispatch article by Aisha Sultan (who by the way has not acknowledged my letter) about a controversy in the Archdiocese.
There's a quiet rebellion brewing in a 123-year-old parish.

It's supported by an unlikely bunch of dissidents - faithful Catholics who are feuding with an even more unlikely foe - the Archdiocese of St. Louis. But the stakes are high for the parishioners at St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church, just northwest of downtown St. Louis.
. . .
The church stands somewhat apart from the archdiocese. It oversees its own finances and holds the eight acres of land and buildings on it in its own name. Now, the archdiocese wants the parish to turn over its funds and deed to the land. Church officials say canon law, the law of the Roman Catholic Church, requires the parish to comply.
. . .
Last week, Archbishop Raymond Burke met with them, and the board says the message was clear: Sign over your deed and turn over your funds or lose your priest. If the church loses its priest, it can no longer be used to celebrate Mass or perform weddings or funerals.
Given the history of the Post regarding the Catholic Church and Archbishop Burke, in particular, are we to believe this story? I, personally, would rather hear it from someone who is trustworthy and believable - that would be our pastoral shepherd, Archbishop Burke.

The Passion of Christ Cracks the Da Vinci Code

I received this early this morning:
There is a forum on The Passion (Mel Gibson) and The Davinci Code...with two guests, Fr. Mike Geisler, S.T.D, (an Opus Dei scripture scholar) and a guest named Linda Ruf, to separate fact from fiction.

It's called "The Passion of the Christ Cracks the Code"...on Friday, March 19 at 7:00PM at the Kirkwood Community Theater on
111 S. Geyer in Kirkwood, MO

Phone number: 314-822-5855
Fr. Giesler is also the author of Junia, a book of historical fiction about the life of a second-century Christian woman (Scepter, 2002).

Philippines Losing Sense of Sin, Says Prelate

Cites Example of 32 Cohabiting Couples

MANILA, Philippines, MARCH 9, 2004 ( Philippine Catholics have little understanding of repentance due to the loss of the sense of sin, warns the president of the country's episcopal conference.

"Repentance is difficult because today the sense of sin is disappearing from the conscience of Filipinos," Archbishop Fernando Capalla of Davao said in an editorial in the bulletin of the episcopal conference, according to AsiaNews.

He cited an incident that occurred last November. At a parish, 32 couples who had cohabited for years were being prepared for marriage. The pastor told them they should go to confession before their marriage, a ceremony that would be celebrated by the archbishop. The couples answered: "Father, we have no sins to confess."

Such ignorance of sin happens because of their "indifferent and weak conscience, so hardened as to no longer hear the interior voice of God," the archbishop said. The couples' reply is common "to many in our country and in the Church of today," he added.

"What has happened?" he asked. "Why do people say sin no longer exists? Why do they rarely go to confession? Why do so many receive the Body of Christ in holy Communion even in a state of mortal sin?"

The archbishop sees the loss of the sense of sin affecting the electoral campaign in the Philippines.

"The politicians make vain promises, buy the votes of the electorate; some even denigrate with lies the rival candidates," he said. "Yet, despite this, they go to church, attend Mass and go to Communion. But when they leave the Church, they fight against one another."
The causes and reasons are many, however, if it is anything like the widespread failure to help the faithful properly form their consciences by teaching them during homilies and such, one can understand why the people are in such a state of ignorance.

The Truth needs to be proclaimed clearly and with charity in order to help in the salvation of souls. Abandoning the truth or perpetuating lies and ambiguities with regard to sexual immorality is not only a disservice and offense to God, but it is also a terrible injustice to families and society.

Fr. Richard McBrien upset over Vatican Appointee

The Vatican yesterday tapped Mary Ann Glendon, a Harvard Law School professor who has been the leading legal expert for gay-marriage opponents on Beacon Hill, as the highest-ranking female adviser in the Catholic Church.

Pope John Paul II chose Glendon to lead the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences, which produces research to help the church establish its social policy. Glendon, a devout Catholic and longtime adviser to the pope, has made a name for herself as an articulate antiabortion scholar, and she was the first woman to lead a delegation of the Holy See, at the United Nations Women's Conference in Beijing in 1995.

But the Rev. Richard McBrien, a Notre Dame theologian, compared Glendon's selection to that of Clarence Thomas to the US Supreme Court. His conservative views have been sharply criticized by fellow blacks, and Glendon's views, he said, are also extreme and out of step with the constituency she is supposed to represent.

"Catholic women who know her would not see her as one of their own and would not see her as evidence of the Vatican's commitment to place women in high positions of visibility," McBrien said.
The full article can be found here.

And this coming from a man who claiming to be a priest and a theologian. Prayers and penances are needed for the conversion of his heart. Prayers are also needed for Mary Ann Glendon as she, no doubt, is subjected to more persecution from people such as Fr. McBrien.

A Petition to Mel Gibson to make a movie about St. Francis

An Open Letter and Respectful Petition to Mel Gibson

Tuesday, March 09, 2004

Supreme Court Rejects Boy Scouts' Appeal

From the Thomas More Law Center
Supreme Court’s Rejection of Boy Scouts Appeal Signals Disturbing Anti-Christian Trend in Federal Courts

ANN ARBOR, MI — The United States Supreme Court today rejected an appeal by the Boy Scouts of America, letting stand a Second Circuit Court of Appeals decision that held it was constitutionally permissible to exclude the Scouts from a state charitable program because the Scouts excluded avowed homosexuals from leadership positions. Homosexual activist organizations such as the Lambda Legal Defense Fund are allowed to participate in the state charitable campaign.

Less than two weeks ago, the Supreme Court held in the case of Davey v. Locke, that it was constitutionally permissible for the State of Washington to discriminate in its scholarship program against a Christian college student who majored in theology.

Richard Thompson, President and Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center expressed his disappointment. “The Court’s refusal to hear the Boy Scouts appeal, coming on the heels of its recent decision approving state discrimination against a Christian theology student, is evidence of a disturbing anti-Christian trend in the federal courts. It suggests that the Supreme Court has taken sides in the Culture War facing our nation.”

The Thomas More Law Center had filed amicus briefs in both cases. In the Boy Scouts case, the Law Center pointed out, “The Second Circuit’s opinion threatens not only the First Amendment right to expressive association, but also the First Amendment right to free exercise of religion. This opinion adversely affects the First Amendment rights of the Boy Scouts, and it has far reaching implications that could threaten the constitutional rights of religious-based organizations that seek to promote and preserve their organizational values, particularly with regard to the issue of homosexuality.”

The Boy Scouts had participated in the Connecticut charitable program for over 30 years. The state program allows private groups such as the Boy Scouts to receive charitable donations through voluntary payroll deductions from State employees. State officials denied the Boy Scouts access to this government program because they claimed that the Scouts were violating state non-discrimination laws by excluding avowed homosexuals from positions of leadership.

Thompson had earlier criticized Connecticut for pandering to the homosexual agenda by punishing the Scouts for exercising their constitutional rights, “Permitting this decision [Second Circuit Court of Appeals] to stand would in effect allow governments to legally extort organizations and individuals to give up basic beliefs.”

A report of a Fireside Chat with Cardinal George

His (Cardinal George's) most sobering comment concerned the status of the Church in twenty years. His foresees the Catholic Church being forced underground as in China (with less physical persecution).

He argued that for example, a woman sues the Church to be a priest saying it is her right. She gets five justices to agree that it is a right. The Church cannot argue legally from a sacramental standpoint, because Roe v. Wade changed the argument from institutional and community to individual rights, as such the Church must argue on the basis of rights, and here has no argument. The Five justices decree women's ordination, the result is two churches. One a state sponsored Catholic Church and the other an underground Catholic Church. His actual timeframe was ten years.

He finally closed with the need for a New Evangelization to reach out to the post-Christian World, Europe and America and bring them back. To do so, one must use both Faith (Bible and Tradition) and Reason. Again arguing that it is vitally important to the Faith.

This is a brief summary as best as I can remember, it was a powerful talk, he talked for 2.5 hours.
Full report is here.

Mons. Robert Finn named Co-adjutor of Kansas City-St. Joseph

The news is here.
Plus three other new bishops were appointed in the U.S.
VATICAN CITY, MAR 9, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father:

- Appointed Bishop Robert Joseph McManus, auxiliary of the diocese of Providence, U.S.A., as bishop of Worcester (area 3,966, population 762,207, Catholics 390,207, priests 373, religious 650), U.S.A. He succeeds Bishop Daniel Patrick Reilly whose resignation from the pastoral care of the same diocese the Holy Father accepted upon having reached the age limit.

- Appointed Msgr. Robert Joseph Cunningham, pastor of St. Louis Parish and diocesan administrator of the diocese of Buffalo, U.S.A. as bishop of Ogdensburg (area 31,161, population 462,000, Catholics 143,700, priests 143, permanent deacons 55, religious 175), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in Buffalo in 1943 and was ordained a priest in 1969.

- Appointed Bishop Timothy Anthony McDonnell, auxiliary of the archdiocese of New York, U.S.A., as bishop of Springfield in Massachusetts (area 7,306, population 790,000, Catholics 251,311, religious 195, permanent deacons 58, religious 619), U.S.A.

- Appointed Msgr. Robert W. Finn, of the clergy of the archdiocese of St. Louis, and director of the diocesan magazine "St. Louis Review," as coadjutor bishop of Kansas City-Saint Joseph (area 39,946, population 1,394,054, Catholics 141,900, priests 204, permanent deacons 53, religious 437), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in St. Louis in 1953 and was ordained a priest in 1979.

- Appointed Mary Ann Glendon, professor of law at Harvard University, Cambridge, U.S.A., as president of the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences.
NER:NEC:NA/./. VIS 040309 (240)

Our prayers are with Mons. Finn on his new assignment

Milwaukee Archdiocese & Victims talks fail

Archbishop Dolan has 'inherited' an archdiocese in need of special prayers and grace. The victims contend that the talks broke down because Archbishop Dolan refuses to release the names of priests who molested children and young adults.

Please pray for him and for all the faithful so that healing will come to all the people, especially those who have been injured because of the many years of failure of proper episcopal oversight and leadership.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinal has the story here.

Monday, March 08, 2004

Toronto archdiocese disciplines dissident priest

Toronto, Mar. 08 ( - The Archdiocese of Toronto last week reported that it has suspended the faculties of Father Tim Ryan, the Scarboro Foreign Mission Society priest who, in August 2003, filed an affidavit with the Supreme Court of Canada in support of homosexual marriage.

Attention was brought to the affidavit when it appeared on on February 3. Father Ryan told the Toronto Star newspaper that he received a letter from the archdiocese announcing his suspension on February 12.

With the action, the archdiocese is sending a clear message about the sanctity of marriage and the seriousness with which the Church remains committed to truth. It said in a statement, "It is the clear teaching of the Roman Catholic Church that marriage is a life commitment between a man and a woman. Marriage is a social and personal relationship with both a public and a private dimension, having foundational importance in society."

It explained that Father Ryan's actions were "contrary to the clear teaching of the Church which ordained him, making him, like all priests, its representative." It continued, "Since he has contradicted the teaching of the Church, the Archdiocese of Toronto has suspended his faculties. This means that Father Ryan is no longer able to preach or celebrate Mass publicly in the Archdiocese."

Father Brian Clough, judicial vicar of the archdiocese, met with Father Ryan to explore his views. He concluded that Father Ryan's opinions were not consistent with the teachings of the Church. "The Archdiocese of Toronto does not want Father Ryan to be considered a priest in good standing who can use a pulpit to expound his personal views," said Father Clough.

The statement concludes: "A priest in good standing is entitled to be registered under the Marriage Act of Ontario to legally register marriages that he celebrates. Father Ryan was not registered under the Ontario Marriage Act and now would not qualify for registration. The Archdiocese has thus ensured that Father Ryan would not be able to try to act on his views by performing a civil marriage for a same-sex couple."

© Copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises. All rights reserved.

A Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters by Fr. Stephen F. Torraco, PhD

Fr. Torraco was recently on EWTN with Fr. Mitch Pacwa discussing the responsibilities of all people, especially Catholics, to have a well formed conscience when exercising one's duty to vote. Fr. Torraco answers 14 questions that may arise when dealing with the issue of voting as a Catholic.

The "Brief Catechism for Catholic Voters" is online here.

It is also available in booklet form from Leaflet Missal here.

Followup Letter to the Post-Dispatch....Again

To: Aisha Sultan

The first sentence of your report titled "Burke cites "hedonistic culture" as a factor in church's problems" on Februrary 27, states:
Archbishop Raymond Burke blamed society's "hedonistic culture" as the most significant cause of sexual abuse within the church...
Nowhere in the rest of the article do you specifically and directly quote what the Archbishop said about this "hedonistic culture".

Can you please provide a direct quotation which substantiates your claim that Archbishop Burke stated that the "most significant cause" of sexual abuse within the Church is society's "hedonistic culture"?

Without some sort of substantiation of the claim you make in your article, I'm afraid the readers of the Post-Dispatch are left with no choice other than to question the veracity of your other statements, not only in this article but in other articles which you may write.

May God bless you,

Archbishop Burke Responds to the distortions of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

The Post Dispatch, incapable of printing the truth when it comes to the Church, is taken to task again -this time by Archbishop Raymond Burke. The link is here, however, I will post the entire letter as printed in the Post. Because the source of this letter is the Post-Dispatch, we cannot be sure that Archbishop Burke's letter was printed in its entirety.
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH Editorial misstated facts, ignored efforts to address abuse

I take strong exception to several statements made in the Feb. 29 editorial "Problem Priests: 'The Smoke of Satan.' " Three statements in particular must be corrected.

First, it stated that "one in every 25 American Catholic priests serving in the past five decades was a sexual predator." As I pointed out in my statement to the press on Feb. 27, the John Jay study did not distinguish between "credible" or "substantiated" and "unsubstantiated" allegations. As I also pointed out, a number of accusations go back several decades, and some have been made against priests who are deceased. In both cases, it is impossible to substantiate the accusations.

Certainly, there are false accusations. Therefore, it is wrong to state that all of the priests accused, in fact, were "sexual predators." That being said, the Church abhors even one act of child sexual abuse by a priest.

The editorial also stated that in Rome, "Church officials still regard the sex abuse question as an American preoccupation." Having served on a tribunal of the Holy See from September 1989, to February 1995, which dealt with such cases, I can assure you that the Holy See and Church law, in its long tradition, is committed to the discipline and eventual removal from priestly ministry of any person who commits such crimes. There is no naivete about the nature of the problem and its possible incidence in any nation or culture.

Lastly, I take great offense at the remark about Cardinal Justin Rigali, my predecessor. Since my arrival here, I have been deeply impressed with the thoroughness of the then-Archbishop Rigali in addressing the evil of child sexual abuse by the clergy. His efforts, which have all been designed to continue and develop, could not have addressed more fully the protection of our children and young people. Then-Archbishop Rigali and his staff, now my staff, always have been ready to meet with any individual or, in the case of a minor, with the parents, making an accusation of child sexual abuse or any form of sexual misconduct by a priest. He certainly developed a policy and procedures which protect fully the rights of alleged victims.

The Most Rev. Raymond L. Burke is archbishop of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis.
It seems to me from reading this letter to the Post that it appears to be incomplete. I suppose we will have to see if we can get clarification from Archbishop Burke about whether his letter was 'edited' by the Post or not.

Sunday, March 07, 2004

And there's this..Mar 27 - Lay Eucharistic Conference with Archbishop Burke

The topic will be Exploring Ecclesia de Eucharistia, the recent Encyclical of Pope John Paul II and Archbishop Raymond Burke will be the speaker.

Details here...Reservations are REQUIRED.

Don't forget - Fr. Robert Levis (EWTN Web of Faith) here on March 20.

Father Robert Levis, Ph. D., will be speaking on "The Catechetical Crisis and What We Can Do About It" on March 20.

Details are here.