Friday, March 26, 2004

St. Louis archdiocesan agencies told to cut expenses, balance budgets

From Catholic News Service:
ST. LOUIS (CNS) -- The Archdiocese of St. Louis has launched a cost-cutting effort, asking agencies and offices to reduce expenses to balance their budgets. Deacon Frank Chauvin, chief financial officer of the archdiocese, said operating costs have risen. "We have to take a hard look at where we are and decide what if any (costs) we can eliminate without eliminating some of the services we provide," he said. Deacon Chauvin noted that salaries have risen slightly to stay competitive in the labor market. He added that "our health care insurance has increased significantly (and) our property insurance, liability insurance and so forth have increased."
Article here.

Lay Eucharistic Conference, Saturday, March 27 ...

Archbishop Raymond Burke will address the papal encyclical, 'Ecclesia de Eucharista' as the keynote speaker of the archdiocesan Lay Eucharistic Conference. The day begins with Mass at 9:00 a.m. and concludes with Benediction at 2:15 p.m.

Location: St. Raymond Maronite Catholic Church

American Life League to track Kerry's movements, warn local bishops

From Lifesite:
The group plans to track Kerry's movements and warn local bishops of his approach with the following: "Warning! This pro-abortion senator is coming to your diocese, and may attempt to desecrate the Holy Eucharist while reporters take his picture."
It would be an act of great charity, courage and unity if all U.S. Bishops would follow Archbishop Burke's lead and state categorically and unanonymously that John Kerry may not receive Holy Communion in their dioceses.

Too much to ask for?

Relics of Crucifixion coming to St. Louis-April 3 & 4

From Catholic Citizens of Illinois:

Venerated relics of Christ's Passion - from pieces of the cross, to replicas of the nails believed to have been used 2000 years ago to crucify Jesus - will be put on rare public display next month during Easter.

The relics will be shown at the Cathedral in St. Louis on Palm Sunday, April 4, and at the John Paul II Cultural Center in Washington, D.C., from April 4-18.

"As the recent success of films on the final days of Christ's life show, people of faith still feel a deep connection to his death after 2000 years, and we hope that allowing people to see these relics will make that connection even stronger," said Andrew Walther, vice president of the Apostolate for Holy Relics, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit that is organizing the events.

Last year, over 140,000 people reportedly attended nationwide displays, organized by AHR, of a 16th century relic of St. Juan Diego.

"For those who cannot visit the relic shrines in Rome, or the Holy Land itself, this is as close as many people will come to artifacts associated with the crucifixion," Walther said. "We hope that people will come away from viewing these relics with an increased faith and personal connection to Christ’s loving sacrifice."

Added AHR President Thomas Serafin: "We are grateful to Archbishop Burke and the Archdiocese of St. Louis and to the John Paul II Cultural Center for providing venues in which these rare and moving items can shown to the American public for the first time in recent memory."

The most celebrated relic of Christ's Passion, of course, is the Shroud of Turin -- the reputed burial cloth of Jesus Christ. The current edition of WND's monthly Whistleblower magazine features an in-depth look at the Shroud, and the latest scientific and historical evidence of its authenticity.
See the Archdiocesan Web Site here for more information

More info:
On Saturday, April 3, and Sunday, April 4, as part of the observance of Palm (Passion) Sunday and the opening of Holy Week, the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis will host a display of relics of Christ’s Passion. Arranged with the cooperation of the Apostolate for Holy Relics, a not-for-profit organization dedicated to preserving Christian relics and promoting their devotional veneration, the display at the Cathedral Basilica will include relics of the True Cross, the Column of the Flagellation, the Crown of Thorns, the Burial Shroud, the Table of the Last Supper, and St. Longinus (traditionally held to be the centurion who thrust the lance into Christ’s side, and who subsequently converted to Christianity and was martyred). Also included in the collection are an effigy of the Veil of Veronica and a replica of a nail used in the Crucifixion, both issued by the Vatican. The relics will be displayed beginning on April 3, following 8 a.m. Mass and continuing until the conclusion of 5 p.m. Mass; and again on April 4, also following 8 a.m. Mass. The display will conclude on Sunday evening with a 7:30 p.m celebration of Evening Prayer, at which Archbishop Burke will preside and preach, and which will include a procession with and veneration of the relics. All are warmly invited and encouraged to take advantage of this rare opportunity to encounter and meditate on the mystery of Christ’s Passion, through the Church’s tradition of holy relics.

Location: Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63108

Watch this clip...

Thanks to Carol McKinley at Magisterial Fidelity who posted this link on her site, "Grab a cup of coffee, take 8 minutes and listen to what will happen should sexual anarchists obtain the civil right to create races through deviant sexual activity."

Video here.

Weak Sense of Sin Seen Undermining Use of Confession

Disuse of the sacrament of reconciliation is due to the crisis of the sense of sin, said an organizer of a course given by the Holy See to young priests.

The intense course on the "internal forum," questions of conscience, that priests are involved with, especially in the sacrament of penance, is being held through Saturday by the Apostolic Penitentiary.
"In an age of profound changes, it is not difficult to see that the sacrament of penance has suffered an obfuscation in practice in recent times," the priest said on Vatican Radio.

"A first aspect that catches the attention is the weakening of the sense of sin. The weakened consciousness of sin runs the risk of leading the penitent to simply externalize his state of spirit instead of acknowledging his own sin," Father Girotti said.
Full Article.

From jail, St. Louis priest seeks information on victim

I missed this the other day, somehow...
The Rev. Bryan Kuchar has asked supporters and parishioners at Assumption Catholic Church in south St. Louis County to provide character references in his efforts to block the church's attempt to remove him as a clergyman.

Continuing to maintain that he is not a sexual offender, Kuchar has hired Bertrand to fight his removal. He said in the letter that he expects he will never be returned to public ministry here because of the publicity surrounding his case.
Of course, it is the PUBLICITY that will keep him from returning to ministry - not the fact the he was convicted of a crime.
In a recent meeting with the victim's mother, Stika said, Archbishop Raymond Burke "made it clear that Kuchar is not coming back as a priest in this diocese."
Full Story here.

Meeting Notes from St. Louis VOTF Conference, March 13

VOTF-St Louis Conference, March 13

Before I post my transcribed notes, I need to say a couple of things. I arrived about 8:45 to register and noticed that they had a table set up for "walk-ins" - so much for the pre-registration requirement.

The vast majority of the people there were well past retirement age it seemed to me. Very few young people, and by young, I mean below the age of 40. There was, perhaps, roughly 150 people there based on the number of occupied chairs.

I saw Mr. Robert Schutzius, who wrote a rather scathing letter to the editor to the Post-Dispatch critical of Archbishop Burke.

I noticed 6 priests at the meeting: 5 wearing a roman collar and 1 in civies. (Msgr. Telthorst, Fr. Robeson, Fr. Lydon, others unknown). I'm not certain if there were more there or not.

Below are the transcripts of my notes from the day's meeting:
Any comments of mine in the transcription will be in [brackets].
The meeting was opened with comments by Ken Parker, Professor of Theological Studies at St. Louis University.

There was a "Gathering" Prayer to begin the meeting with "Voices of Survivors" (Statements of survivors read by others, I assume not victims), Songs, and prayers complete with a sort of 'danced movement' (actually arm/hand gestures) because "it (danced prayer) is part of our culture".
After the prayer service, Don Manson and his wife? (of VOTF-Mid Missouri, Jefferson City) spoke first. They related how they had started a VOTF-type group (PVMM-Parish Voice Mid Missouri) in the Diocese of Jefferson City in 2002. They encountered difficulties in getting the priests to come to their meetings and getting permission to meet on parish grounds. They were told by the bishop that he would not force any priest to provide accommodations for them.

By March 2003, the Diocesan newspaper would never print the letters of articles nor did they receive a response why. Participation in the group dwindled from 20 to about 12.

They are now considering doing an op/ed piece in the local papers in an attempt to encourage more involvement.

Their view of the issues:
Childrens Safety Programs
Children leaving the Church after Confirmation
Lack of Vocations
Lack of open discussion regarding "alternative" vocations (married & women priests)
The Loss of the "Best" Catholics, because of their 'frustration' with the Church over these and other issues.
[I was curious what he meant by 'best' Catholics?]

The last issue, which evoked a positive response from the crowd, was "How do we go about changing the Church, when there is active suppression of dissent by Church authority?

Mike Pollard-VOTFSL

We are moved by the 'spirit'.
There is a need to add more people to leadership in the group.
We are ready to act.
We need to remember the vision of Vatican II.

Fr. Donald Cozzens [wearing suit, not clerical clothes]

There is frustration and discouragement among the faithful.

He discussed the John Jay Study and the National Review Board (NRB)Report. He indicated that he was interviewed by the NRB at Bob Bennett's office and said it was like a friendly deposition with several lawyers present.

The message for Bp. Gregory - It isn't history! (from National Catholic Reporter editorial)

He said there is a systemic structural crisis in the Church today and he quotes Peggy Steinfels of Commonweal.

The NRB has done much to liberate the laity, continuing the liberation of the laity started by Vatican II. He believes they (NRB) will do more to liberate the laity.

Things will be different now because there is an 'educated' laity. [See later statements on feudal system]

The NRB report blamed bishops and seminaries, specifically 2 aspects of seminaries: admissions and formation.

Today there is more psychological testing than ever. What is needed are more leaders and preachers. He related the story of an Annapolis graduate who became a candidate for the priesthood and who stated that the psych testing in the seminary was so much more than that at the academy.

Many candidates for the priesthood do not have the charism of celibacy. There needs to be a discussion of celibacy and of married priests. Especially considering that the Church allows married ministers of other faiths to enter the Church and become priests.

There is a problem with zero tolerance for priests but none for bishops. We should be looking at a zero risk policy instead.

Celibacy is a key to the crisis. Need to address the resistance to the removal of celibacy. It's easier for the hierarchy to control celibate priests than married priests.
In the reports, deacons have a much lower incidence or abuse (because married).

Quoted part of a poem by a monk, Kilean McDonald?, which include the phrase "large betrayals, small treasons", about a group of monks standing around a grave burying one of their own.

All of us are in denial to some extent, including the Church. The Church is not healthy.

Also quoted MASH's Fr. Francis Mulcahey, "We all are experts at not facing things."

Quoted stats on the number of priestless parishes, etc.

Many Catholics are uncomfortable with the Church. (read some verses from Lamentations & Jeremiah) "Rachel mourns her children."

Was especially grateful to Bishop John Heaps? of Australia for his expounding on the real meaning of Vatican II.

Asks the question about which we must think: Why are structures of the Church they way they are?

Our vision of the Church - what should it be?

Critics of VOTF have not taken to heart the spirit & teachings of Vatican II.

Pius X once said that "the laity is to docily follow their pastors." Look where we are now.

The Holy Spirit has been loosed in the world. The spirit cannot be stifled or quieted.

We are witnessing the unraveling the last feudal system. Explained how the feudal system worked....The linchpin to bring down this feudal system is LOYALTY.

Feudal systems only work when the serfs (us) are uneducated. Our education is our freedom from serfdom.

The dioceses are fiefdoms (parishes, also). Look at the titles used: Excellency, eminence, grace, monsignor [this drew laughs].

Under the old ordination ritual during one part he was required to say "adsum" (I am present). Laity should start saying "adsum" - I am here, I am present!.

Our loyalty should be to the Gospel and our conscience. Touted Walter Burkhardt?, theologian and writer for "America" magazine.
Questions Asked/Statements given before lunch.

Vocations - where are they. Why male only, why no married allowed?

Structural changes needed-Will I, as a woman be listened to if I go to the chancery?

Will women ever be ordained? Ans. Perhaps to the diaconate, theologians are looking into it, no reason why not, there were women deacons in the early church.

Why does the Church have such narrow teachings on sexuality? Ans. The Church is schizophrenic about sex...this will need more theological work as well.

Does VOTF support the Pro-Life position and why don't we hear more from them about it?

Need to apply pressure and begin revolution - maybe the first step is the ordaining of deacons wives, since they have gone thru all the training as the husband....

Why does VOTF not attract young people, generally?

Why isn't this room overflowing with people? Ans. It's the vision of VOTF that's important right now...then quotes something from Hans Kung.

Why is ordination even necessary?

What about financial accountability? Where is the money going? Not for schools, etc? Ans. New book by David Gibson will address will be next crisis in the Church.

Why can we not have the Church as it was in early America with John Carroll & John England...why is Americanism heresy? Ans. Read Anthony Pavadano, quoted something about the early Church in America is a good model.

Need for democracy in the Church.

There is the liberating power of speech for structural changes in the Church. The role of women is a "tilting/turning" point.

Bob Schutzius asks something like, Because of the lack of the Eucharist in so many places, can we call our bishops "TRAITORS"....Ans. Not recommended, too confrontational...Question, How about with a small "t"?

Why doesn't someone tell the people how the bible stories are not true but come from ancient pagan myths and legends?

We men need to understand the great feminine spiritual consciousness both in women and also in us.

What's new in seminaries today? Ans...Dialoguing, some seminaries are open for lay education as well (about 50%); this help seminarians prepare for the real world interfacing with people.

There needs to be a call for a rethinking on contraception by the Church, to remove the ban on contraception.

One problem with not allowing women in the priesthood, girls feel inadequate - they don;t feel as important as men.

Another praises the feminist movement and what it has done to bring the Church into the 20th/21st century...The train is on a roll and cannot be stopped!

We need to get back to living and doing in the spirit of Vatican II [from one of the musicians, maybe in his 30's]

Cozzens indicated that he had several 'hysterical' comments on his book in 2000.
-----------Lunch Break----------------

My General Comments.

After having attended my first VOTF meeting, I can only express my profound grief for these people. While professing to be Catholic, they are far removed from the Church in a spiritual sense, even though they may have some of the outward appearances of being practicing Catholics. They have a grossly distorted view of the Church. They are defiant and proud. Their understanding of Vatican II is irreconcilable with the actual documents of the council. One must believe that they have not read any of the documents of Vatican II.

My reason for going was to ask questions of the presenters to challenge them to see the truth. While I was reworking my questions for the Q&A, perhaps 20 or more people had lined up already to ask questions or make comments and there was not nearly enough time for all the people before the break. I waited to see what would happen all the while hoping to have an opportunity to ask a couple of key questions which most would not want to hear.

While watching them and listening to their 'issues' with the Church, I began to see them in a different light. I saw these people as, perhaps, truly lost. Maybe this was due to what they had been taught after Vatican II by others who were confused. The poor souls are bewildered. Many no longer know the truth. Some, I'm certain know the truth but reject it because of pride and arrogance, putting thier 'wisdom' before that of Christ and His Church. I felt so sorry for them and prayed that they might be reconciled to God. They are in great need of prayer and conversion. Their minds are clouded and disoriented.

I cannot diminish the fact that what this group proposes is clearly demonic. The faithful need to be made aware that this and other such groups are clearly a grave danger to the Mystical Body of Christ. The movement is bent on destroying the Church. But I believe many have been duped, seduced by the father of lies, just as Eve in the Garden...

I could not stay past 12:30 as I had other committments. I bid goodbye to the 2 priests with whom I shared a table for lunch, saying to each, "May God bless you." One of these priests admitted to being homosexual. Both priests said that the percentage of homosexuals in the priesthood was extremely high and very few of the laity even have an inkling of this. I told them that I would keep them in my prayers.

I believe that this group (& others like it) will die out or abandon Catholicism, eventually. The sad part is that many souls may be lost if we do not pray for their conversions and educate the faithful about groups like this. And a few in these groups may want nothing to do with God's grace. I'm certain that some of them could be rescued from the clutches of Satan with our continued prayers. May God have mercy on all of us!

Thursday, March 25, 2004

Why the '60s Went Wrong - Russell Shaw on the Church in the U.S.

Russell Shaw was press secretary for the U.S. bishops' conference from 1969-1987. He is the author of 16 books, most recently, "Personal Vocation: God Calls Everyone by Name," published last year by Our Sunday Visitor.

Shaw's unique understanding of the workings of the bishops' conference and long experience as a Catholic writer and journalist position him as an authoritative commentator on the crisis in the Catholic Church in the United States today.

In Rome recently for a week of lectures, Shaw candidly shared with a group of Vatican journalists his views on "squishiness" in some American seminaries, the Vatican's "uncollegiality," and the future of Catholicism in the United States.

I asked Shaw about the underlying causes of the sex abuse scandal.
Full Zenit article here.

And don't forget, Russell Shaw will be in St. Charles on April 27 (Details here.)

Massachusetts Supreme Court rules incest okay for stepparents

Boston, Mar. 25 ( - The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, which last year legalized same-sex "marriage", has this week decided that incest is not illegal when it involves a stepparent. The judges ruled 4-3 that incest applies only to blood relatives or to children by adoption.

LInk at Catholic World News

Theologians, historian explore decline in confessions

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- "Bless me, Father, for I have sinned. It's been two weeks since my last confession. ..." With that ritual formula once familiar to all Catholics, Boston College historian James O'Toole opened a daylong symposium on how the sacrament of penance has changed and how its chief form, individual auricular confession, has almost disappeared from American Catholic consciousness in the last 40 years. The symposium was held March 19 at The Catholic University of America. Historian Leslie Tentler of the university's Center for American Catholic Studies coordinated and moderated the event. O'Toole contrasted a New York City parish in 1896-97, where the seven priests on staff heard 78,000 confessions a year, with the typical parish today, where the bulletin may list a half-hour or 15-minute weekly time for confessions, or perhaps offer them "anytime by appointment."

Full article here.

Archbishop Foley - Mass needs some Latin

Code: ZE04032422
Date: 2004-03-24
Archbishop Foley Fond of Latin
LONDON, MARCH 24, 2004 ( The president of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications would like to see some Latin back into the Mass.

Archbishop John Foley made his comments in an interview with Briefing, the relaunched official journal of the Catholic bishops' conferences of England and Wales, and Scotland.

He was present at the Second Vatican Council as a young priest and reporter for Philadelphia's diocesan newspaper. He says that some intentions of the Council Fathers have been implemented properly, and some have not.

"There have been abuses in some areas ... for example, some of the liturgical abuses where people inaccurately interpreted documents, causing confusion and resentment," he told Briefing.

Archbishop Foley still celebrates the Mass in Latin sometimes, and even speaks Latin with some non-English-speaking bishops. The universal nature of the language impresses him.

"That's why I think it is important to be able to train people to participate in Mass in Latin, especially the sung part," he said.

"Ironically, when people did not travel very much, Mass was in Latin," he added. "Now that they travel a lot and want to be able to understand and identify with what's going on; [they can't because] they don't speak the local language."

Wednesday, March 24, 2004

John Carroll University.....compares Cardinal Newman Society to Taliban

Here are some excerpts:
The Cardinal Newman Society is, according to Vice President of Student Affairs Patrick Rombalski, “the Catholic police.”

(University President Rev. Edward Glynn) added, “I do not respect the Cardinal Newman Society’s leadership.”

In reaction to the society’s actions, (chair of the Communications Department Sister Mary Ann) Flannery said, “I think the Cardinal Newman Society is the closest organization in the Catholic Church to the Taliban.
Certainly there is a problem. JCU pretends to be a Catholic university, and the Cardinal Newman Society calls them to account.

Most Catholic universities have apostacized.

Full Story here.

Kerry's photo op Mass

On Dom Bettenelli's site :
He showed up in his ski clothes, to the annoyance of parishioners. He also received Communion to the annoyance of all Catholics in good standing. But it’s his staff person’s attitude that takes the cake:

"It was just a media-op,” says a Kerry advance staffer. “We set it up with some reporters that we knew were going to be there."
The only reason to go to Mass was to have his picture taken? How depraved is this man?!

Link to Dom's site & article here.

Archbishop Weakland debuts own Web site

From Catholic News Service....

Archbishop Weakland debuts own Web site with reflections, homilies

ST. FRANCIS, Wis. (CNS) -- After writing more than 1,000 messages to his flock through columns in the local Catholic newspaper during his almost quarter-century as Milwaukee's archbishop, it's no wonder that now-retired Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland continues to communicate with Catholics. Archbishop Weakland, who resides and maintains an office at the archdiocese's Cousins Center, began a personal Web site in early January. The Web site,, features personal reflections, commentary on current events, cultural comments, including thoughts on books, music and movies, and audio recordings of past Sunday homilies given by Archbishop Weakland. A couple months into the project, the archbishop admitted maintaining the site and keeping the copy fresh is more work than he anticipated, but he remains excited about the opportunity to share his thoughts in writing.
Don't forget to bookmark this one! (No, I am not serious!)
Link is here.

Is Gary Wills for real?

God in the Hands of Angry Sinners
By Garry Wills
The Passion of the Christ
a film directed by Mel Gibson

If you relish the sight of a healthy male body being systematically demolished, beyond the farthest reach of plausible endurance, The Passion of the Christ is your movie. It is not simply the scourging scene that is at issue, though that deals out an unspecified number of stripes—more than sixty and still counting, half of them inflicted by whips that have been made into multiple-hook tearing instruments. Even earlier, at the arrest of Jesus, he is chained, beaten over and over, thrown off a bridge to crash below. He arrives at his first legal hearing already mauled and with one eye closed behind swollen bruises. From then on, he is never moved or stopped without spontaneous blows and kicks and shoves from all kinds of bystanders wanting to get in on the fun. On the way to execution, he is whipped while fainting under the cross. A soldier says to lay off or he'll never make it. But the crowd just keeps whipping and beating him all the rest of the way.

My wife and I had to stop glancing furtively at each other for fear we would burst out laughing. It had gone beyond sadism into the comic surreal, like an apocalyptic version of Swinburne's The Whipping Papers. At one of several points where Gibson is following the mystical visions of an anti-Semitic Bavarian nun, Anne Catherine Emmerich, he has Mary swab away at the lakes of blood sluiced out of Jesus by the scourging.
The alliances formed around the movie are interesting. Gibson has been supported not only by Legionaries of Christ but by members of Opus Dei, an equally conservative Catholic group. Although Gibson does not recognize the validity of the postconciliar Church or the current papacy, those two Catholic groups tried to manipulate a papal endorsement for the film—this despite the fact that Gibson violates almost all the guidelines concerning performances of the Passion issued in 1988 by the National Conference of Catholic Bishops....
For fear they would burst out laughing?

Anyone who would find something to laugh about regarding this film must be extremely sick and perverted. Those who think the suffering and death of Jesus, as portrayed in the film, is funny must be in league with the demonic. I pity this man and those like him.

Bishop Vigneron Refuses to Run VOTF Ad in Diocesan Paper

As publisher of the Catholic Voice, Bishop Allen Vigneron of the Oakland Diocese rejected running an ad and notification item for the one-day University of San Francisco seminar, "Imaging the Future Church."

"My judgment was based on the meeting I had with the local VOTF leadership," Vigneron wrote to Peter Davey, the group's East Bay chairman. "At that time, I was informed that the VOTF has decided to withhold affirmation from some elements of authentic magisterial teaching, for example, the impossibility of ordaining women to the priesthood."

Davey responded to the bishop in a March 3 letter, writing that the group did not advocate for those changes. He added that he hopes the bishop will support events such as the San Francisco seminar that, he said, are intended to create a better understanding of the church.

An ad did run in the Jesuit publication America.

Right....The group does not advocate women priests...And pigs fly....!

It is not surprising, either, that 'America' would run the ad...

Full story here.

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Judge allows doctor testimony on fetal pain

From Catholic World News
New York, Mar. 23 ( - A federal judge has decided that a doctor who says unborn children can feel pain during an abortion will be allowed to testify in a legal defense of a new federal law banning partial-birth abortion.

US District Judge Richard Casey ruled last week that Dr. Kanwaljeet Anand may testify as a government witness in the trial set to begin later this month. The National Abortion Federation had tried to argue that his testimony was irrelevant.

Casey said the doctor's testimony will help him evaluate Congress' findings while debating the law that the abortion procedure is "brutal and inhumane" and that "the child will fully experience the pain associated with piercing his or her skull and sucking out his or her brain." Anand has conducted research on the pain felt by unborn children and newborns and has concluded that children feel pain at the 20th week of pregnancy.
We thank you, Lord, for enlightening the mind of this judge. Please grant him the grace to have the strength to conform his will to Yours in this matter.

Q&A on Washing Feet, Emptying Holy Water, etc.

Zenit Liturgy Question & Answer
Code: ZE04032321
Date: 2004-03-23
Washing of Women's Feet on Holy Thursday?
And More on Preparing the Corporal
ROME, MARCH 23, 2004 ( Answered by Father Edward McNamara, professor of liturgy at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum.

Question 1: Is it proper to have holy water receptacles empty from Ash Wednesday on, through all of Lent? -- F.D., Scandia, Minnesota

Q-2: I have learned today about the Washing of the Feet ceremony at Mass in my parish on Holy Thursday. To take the place of the Twelve Apostles, we are to have six gentlemen and six ladies. I would welcome your comments about this innovation. -- M.R., Melbourne, Australia

Q-3: Each year I find it increasingly difficult to perform the washing of parishioners' feet at the celebration of the Lord's Supper because of stiffness in my knee joints which make it almost impossible to get back up on my feet when moving from one parishioner to the next. Is it permissible to delegate this function to an older server? -- C.D., Archdiocese of New York

Q-4: For the adoration of the cross on Good Friday, can we use a crucifix (with Jesus' body on it) or should we look for a plain cross? -- F.M., Antique, Philippines

Answer 1: The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments recently responded to a similar question (3/14/03: Prot. N. 569/00/L) giving a clear answer: "This Dicastery is able to respond that the removing of Holy Water from the fonts during the season of Lent is not permitted, in particular, for two reasons:

"1. The liturgical legislation in force does not foresee this innovation, which in addition to being 'praeter legem' is contrary to a balanced understanding of the season of Lent, which though truly being a season of penance, is also a season rich in the symbolism of water and baptism, constantly evoked in liturgical texts.

"2. The encouragement of the Church that the faithful avail themselves frequently of the sacraments is to be understood to apply also to the season of Lent. The 'fast' and 'abstinence' which the faithful embrace in this season does not extend to abstaining from the sacraments or sacramentals of the Church.

"The practice of the Church has been to empty the Holy Water fonts on the days of the Sacred Triduum in preparation of the blessing of the water at the Easter Vigil, and it corresponds to those days on which the Eucharist is not celebrated (i.e., Good Friday and Holy Saturday)."

A-2: The rubrics for Holy Thursday clearly state that the priest washes the feet of men ("viri") in order to recall Christ's action toward his apostles. Any modification of this rite would require permission from the Holy See.

It is certainly true that in Christ (God) there is neither male nor female and that all disciples are equal before the Lord. But this reality need not be expressed in every rite, especially one that is so tied up to the concrete historical circumstances of the Last Supper.

A-3: The rite of the washing of feet is not obligatory and may be legitimately omitted. However, this is usually not pastorally advisable.

While the rite may not be delegated to a non-priest, a concelebrant may substitute the main celebrant for a good reason.

The rubrics describing this rite are limited to the essentials (selected men sit in a suitable place) and so allow for practical adaptations to the realities of place, time and circumstances.

Thus, taking the example of our Holy Father, as he has grown older, and less able to bend over, the seats of those whose feet he washed were first elevated so that he could continue to perform the rite. But in the last year or so he has been substituted by a cardinal.

Thus, if possible, the seats used by those whose feet are to be washed should be elevated, so that an elderly priest need not stoop too much.

If this solution is not feasible, I do not think it is contrary to the overall sense of the rite to find other practical solutions resulting in a similar effect, provided the rite be carried out with decorum.

A-4: The use of the crucifix, a cross with the figure of Christ crucified, is obligatory for the Good Friday celebrations of the Adoration of the Cross.

This is made clear by the rubrics which, in one form of the rite, describe how this cross may be progressively unveiled, showing first the top of the cross but not the face, then the right arm, and finally the entire body.

After this celebration on Good Friday afternoon, and until the Easter Vigil, Catholics genuflect before the crucifix; they would not do so before a simple cross.

This liturgical situation is different from the pious practice of the Way of the Cross, where widespread custom prefers the use of a simple cross rather than a crucifix. This is the practice followed in the Holy Father's widely televised Good Friday "Via Crucis" at the Colosseum.
More here...

A USCCB Employee No More?

This was brought up some time ago, and Deal Hudson of Crisis Magazine informed his e-letter subscribers of a change of status of Ono Ekeh.
You probably remember my telling you about Ono Ekeh, an employee at
the Bishops' Conference who also happened to be the founder of an
Internet forum called "Catholics for Kerry." I pointed out what I
thought seemed pretty obvious... that having a paid employee for the
USCCB leading a public campaign for presidential-hopeful John Kerry
-- a rabidly pro-abortion "Catholic" -- sent a dangerous message to
Catholics about their responsibility regarding life issues.

Well, it appears that the Bishops' Conference agreed. We've learned
from several sources that Ekeh is no longer an employee of the
conference. Whether he was fired or allowed to resign is unclear
(their comically unhelpful office of human resources refused all

Either way, it appears that the bishops were unaware of Ekeh's side
project and were none too happy when it came to light. I applaud the
bishops for taking this stand -- they've sent a clear message
regarding their commitment to life and the responsibility of lay
Catholics to do the same. This is a very good start.
At least it's a start. Still, I believe a major cleansing is needed.

This having been said, however, if one looks at the USCCB Web Site here, Mr. Ono Ekeh is still listed as Program Coordinator for African American Catholics.

Monday, March 22, 2004

Archbishop Burke sends clear message to Polish parish

Burke makes demands clear to parish
By Aisha Sultan
Of the Post-Dispatch
Archbishop Raymond Burke sent a clear message this weekend to an independent Polish church in St. Louis: Follow church law or cease to exist as a Catholic church.

Many parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Church north of downtown received the letter Saturday from the archbishop outlining the reasons the church must hand over control of approximately $9 million in assets and its finances. Currently, the church is run as a civil corporation with a lay board of directors.

"It is simply not right that a parish call itself Catholic and be so recognized by Church authority, and, at the same time, be under the exclusive direction of a civil corporation, in which the parish priest ... is considered to be just one of several members," Burke's letter stated. "The parish priest ... has the responsibility to direct all of the pastoral activity in the parish."
Full story.

Outspoken Critic of Archbishop Burke and Church Under Fire

Dan Maguire, a Pro-Death supporter of the murder of innocent children is a professor at Marquette University in Wisconsin. He has been an outspoken and oft-quoted critic of Archbishop Burke.

See the full story here.

Sunday, March 21, 2004

Global Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination on Mar 24

Catholic Action Network is holding a "global" day of prayer at the St. Louis Cathedral this Wednesday Night. I wonder if they invited Archbishop Burke?

Their notice states:
Wednesday, March 24th: Global Day of Prayer for Women's Ordination

--6pm: Candlelight Vigil at Cathedral Basilica
--6:30pm: Potluck strategic planning for future events, programs and speakers at 1077 S. Newstead

Please Join Us !
I assume it is open to all. Anyone want to go there an pray for them? Take pictures? Hand out copies of "Ordinatio Sacerdotalis"?

Pope Declares Feeding Tube Removal Immoral

Pope Declares Feeding Tube Removal Immoral
Associated Press Writer

March 20, 2004, 11:34 AM EST
VATICAN CITY -- Pope John Paul II said Saturday the removal of feeding tubes from people in vegetative states was immoral, and that no judgment on their quality of life could justify such "euthanasia by omission."

John Paul made the comments to participants of a Vatican conference on the ethical dilemmas of dealing with incapacitated patients, entering into a debate that has sparked court battles in the United States and elsewhere.

The pope said even the medical terminology used to describe people in so-called "persistent vegetative states" was degrading to them. He said no matter how sick a person was, "he is and will always be a man, never becoming a 'vegetable' or 'animal.'"
. . .
Providing food and water to such patients should be considered natural, ordinary and proportional care -- not artificial medical intervention, the pope told members of the conference, which was organized by the World Federation of Catholic Medical Associations and the Pontifical Academy for Life, a Vatican advisory body.

"As such, it is morally obligatory," to continue such care, he said.

Since no one knows when a patient in a vegetative state might awaken, "the evaluation of the probability, founded on scarce hope of recovery after the vegetative state has lasted for more than a year, cannot ethically justify the abandonment or the interruption of minimal care for the patient, including food and water," he said.

Similarly, he said that someone else's evaluation of the patient's quality of life in such a state couldn't justify letting them die of hunger or thirst.

"If this is knowingly and deliberately carried out, this would result in a true euthanasia by omission," he said.
Full story here.