Friday, June 11, 2004

June 26 - St. Josemaria Escriva Feast Day

The annual Mass to mark the feast day of St. Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei, will be at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 26, at St. Clement of Rome Church, 1510 Bopp Road, Des Peres.

Father Timothy Elliott, pastor of St. Joseph Parish in Josephville, will be principal celebrant. Confession will be available before Mass, and a reception will follow. Call (314) 821-1608 for more information.

Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: Sacred Scripture

This is the third article on the Sacred Heart of Jesus. I had posted the entire previous two articles because I did not see where his columns were archived. However, Archbishop Burke's columns for the St. Louis Review are archived on the right hand side of the page...(I must be blind)...Anyway, Archbishop Burke clearly articulates for the faithful the teaching of the Church and the biblical basis for the Church's teaching. This is another excellent article on the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Link is here.

The Archdiocese Declines to Recognize ACEE

The Archdiocese of St. Louis will continue to recognize only the Parish Teacher Compensation Committee as the negotiating organization for teachers in its parish elementary schools, Archbishop Raymond Burke said June 8.

An alternate group, the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators ACEE, has long sought to represent the teachers at Catholic elementary schools. ACEE Local 1312 is a union affiliated with the Carpenters District Council of Greater St. Louis and Vicinity. The archdiocese has declined to recognize ACEE as a bargaining agent for teachers in its elementary schools.
This, no doubt, is a dissappointment for Catholic Action Network since ACEE is a group supported by them. What is CAN? Their website states:
An independent, authentic, and inclusive organization working for social justice within the Catholic Church, and in our world. Comprised of both lay and religious, the members of CAN seek to provide an active vehicle to put faith into action.

CAN is unique in St. Louis, filling a void as the only organization working on the following justice issues from a Catholic perspective:

• Justice for Women in the Catholic Church (JWCC): This committee advocates for full participation of women in all Catholic Church ministries, including the priesthood, while working with a guiding statement of being prayerful, respectful, and bold.

• CAN’s Labor and Religion committee is supporting the Association of Catholic Elementary Educators (ACEE) in their struggle to gain union recognition from the St. Louis Archdiocese.
The Review article continues:
On June 8 Archbishop Burke said, "What I will tell the pastors and principals (at the June 9 meetings) is that neither the archdiocese nor any parish of the archdiocese will recognize any organization other than the PTCC for the work of recommending teachers’ salaries" and other related issues.

"At the same time," Archbishop Burke said, "I will affirm the right of teachers to belong to any organization they want. They are free to belong to any organization, as long as it is not something contrary to the Catholic faith."

But the archdiocese and parishes will not recognize ACEE as the teachers’ negotiating body for salaries and benefits, the Archbishop stressed.
The entire St. Louis Review article is here.

Catholic Answers Voter Guide Approved By Archbishop Burke

This is great, great news!

Some time back, the "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" by Catholic Answers was posted here with a recommendation to distribute it to as many people as possible. Early this week, I received a copy of a letter from the Archdiocesan Pro-Life Committee dated June 3 which stated that Abp. Burke had approved the guide and the letter had an order form to purchase additional copies for only 17 cents each - inexpensive enough for a parish to buy one for each family!

This Voter's Guide is an EXCELLENT resource! Thank you, Archbishop Burke!

The St. Louis Review has an article, "Pro-life voter's guide sent to local parishes", in today's edition.

If you are interested in some of the feedback Catholic Answers has received about the guide, see this.

Another Bishop Advocates Sacrilegious Communion

If it makes no difference whether manifest grave public sinners may receive the Holy Eucharist, why not let everyone receive? Believers and unbelievers both! Why limit it to humans?

Bishop Skylstad says, in part:
The Eucharist really is the source and the summit of our life as Church. Eucharist defines us. Eucharist is what we do best – or try to do best. Christ’s people, gathering in his name, just as he asked us to do. Christ present with us, among us, just as he promised he would be.

I fear that we are...taking God’s great gift to our Church and using it as a weapon of divisiveness and destruction.

Some bishops have stated that they will deny Eucharist to Catholic politicians who have supported abortion legislation. Eucharist is God’s gift to us, God’s presence among us. It is a most precious part of our Catholic heritage. I strongly oppose using Eucharist as a weapon.

As a bishop, I believe we are called to persuade, not to bludgeon.
All emphasis above is mine. I am appalled by the apparently intentional elimination of the definite article "the" which is too often missing such as in, "...they will deny Eucharist to Catholic politicians."

And are we to believe that "Christ’s people, gathering in his Eucharist"? The Eucharist is what we do best??? What does this mean? The Holy Eucharist is the Real, True, and Substantial Presence of Jesus Christ - the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord - ...Are we to hand Him over to those who persecute and deny Him and His Truth?

Also, how does one persuade those who have so obstinately and defiantly rejected the teachings of the Church? By acting as if their actions are not wrong? By promoting the continuation of scandal?

The Holy Father says in Ecclesia de Eucharistia:
The celebration of the Eucharist, however, cannot be the starting-point for communion; it presupposes that communion already exists, a communion which it seeks to consolidate and bring to perfection. The sacrament is an expression of this bond of communion both in its invisible dimension, which, in Christ and through the working of the Holy Spirit, unites us to the Father and among ourselves, and in its visible dimension, which entails communion in the teaching of the Apostles, in the sacraments and in the Church's hierarchical order. The profound relationship between the invisible and the visible elements of ecclesial communion is constitutive of the Church as the sacrament of salvation. Only in this context can there be a legitimate celebration of the Eucharist and true participation in it. Consequently it is an intrinsic requirement of the Eucharist that it should be celebrated in communion, and specifically maintaining the various bonds of that communion intact.

Keeping these invisible bonds intact is a specific moral duty incumbent upon Christians who wish to participate fully in the Eucharist by receiving the body and blood of Christ.

However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.
Again, all emphasis is mine. One would certainly hope that all bishops and priests have read the Holy Father's encyclical. However, it appears that many have not - for Pope John Paul II could not be clearer in his directives regarding those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” -they are NOT to be admitted to Holy Communion.

Even before this Encyclical, there was an interpretation of Canon 915 by the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts which stated, in part:
The phrase "and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin" is clear and must be understood in a manner that does not distort its sense so as to render the norm inapplicable.
The three required conditions are:
a) grave sin, understood objectively...
b) obstinate persistence, which means the existence of an objective situation of sin that endures in time and which the will of the individual member of the faithful does not bring to an end, no other requirements (attitude of defiance, prior warning, etc.) being necessary to establish the fundamental gravity of the situation in the Church
c) the manifest character of the situation of grave habitual sin.

In effect, the reception of the Body of Christ when one is publicly unworthy constitutes an objective harm to the ecclesial communion: it is a behavior that affects the rights of the Church and of all the faithful to live in accord with the exigencies of that communion...That scandal exists even if such behavior, unfortunately, no longer arouses surprise: in fact it is precisely with respect to the deformation of the conscience that it becomes more necessary for Pastors to act, with as much patience as firmness, as a protection to the sanctity of the Sacraments and a defense of Christian morality, and for the correct formation of the faithful.

The discernment of cases in which the faithful who find themselves in the described condition are to be excluded from Eucharistic Communion is the responsibility of the Priest who is responsible for the community. They are to give precise instructions to the deacon or to any extraordinary minister regarding the mode of acting in concrete situations.

4. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.
Articles like Bishop Skylstad's might be seen as an additional source of scandal for the faithful in that they conflict with the Holy Father's explicit directives and the Code of Canon Law as interpreted by the Pontifical Council. What a disgraceful example that this article demonstrates for already confused Catholics and others who are looking for courageous leadership from the shepherds of the Church.

Bishop Skylstad's article, "Engaging the culture", is here.

Bishops will face a host of controversial issues

From the Rock Mountain News:
When the nation's Catholic bishops initially agreed to meet here next week for a "spiritual retreat," they didn't plan on long working hours or unexpected guests like Pat Colfer.

Colfer will be hovering around the bishops when their retreat begins Monday at the Inverness Hotel.

She won't be alone.

Several hundred Catholics representing various causes are planning activities before and during the bishops' meeting - a reflection of the church's own embrace of activism and the fallout from lingering and newly stirred controversies.

"Vatican II has called us to be the church, and being the church is speaking out," said Colfer, a former nun and now a member of Call to Action, founded in 1976. That national activist group favors women priests and optional celibacy.
Hovering around like vultures, no doubt...There should be a national policy, following the lead of Bishop Bruskewitz, of excommunicating all those involved in Call to Action and other similar dissident groups. These heterodox and heretical groups are a cancer in the Church and must be excised before more harm is inflicted on the faithful.

All faithful Catholics should devote more time for prayer and sacrifice for the bishops. May God grant them an abundance of grace during their meetings so that they stand firmly for Christ and His Church and make the necessary courageous decisions that are needed in our day .

Link here.

Cardinal George: Lay Ministers Should Be "in Sync" With Church Teaching

Catholic lay ministers who disagree with the Church's teachings should not be allowed to assist in distributing Communion, according to a letter reportedly sent by Cardinal Francis George to pastors in his archdiocese.

"If a minister should manifest his/her disagreement with Church teaching, he/she should not continue in active ministry until such time that the minister is reconciled to the Church's teaching," wrote Cardinal George, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
This should be a universal policy of the Church. There are far too many in diverse 'ministries' who deny various teachings of the Church. Perhaps, the Oath of Fidelity should be restored.

Zenit article.

Cardinal Dulles: Bishops' abuse discipline policy `extreme'

An influential U.S. Roman Catholic theologian says the discipline policy American bishops adopted in response to the clergy sex abuse crisis ignores priests' due-process rights and should be changed.

In an article in the June 21st edition of the Jesuit magazine America, Cardinal Avery Dulles said the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People violated Catholic belief in redemption.

"In their effort to protect children, to restore public confidence in the church as an institution and to protect the church from liability suits, the bishops opted for an extreme response," Dulles wrote.
Full story.

"Eucharist is not a place to deform the meaning of our beliefs."

As Cardinal George took increasing public criticism for his directive to deny the Eucharist to protesters wearing rainbow sashes on Pentecost Sunday, he—as well as gay activists—pointed out that the problem wasn’t that the protesters were identifying themselves as homosexual, it was that they were using the Eucharist for a political statement.
Catholic New World article.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

The Holy Father Declares "Year of the Eucharist"

Vatican, Jun. 10 ( - Pope John Paul on Thursday announced that October 2004 to October 2005 would be a special Year of the Eucharist. The announcement came as he presided over the Mass of Corpus Christi in the square of the Basilica of St. John Lateran before leading the Eucharistic procession toward the Basilica of St. Mary Major.

"I am happy to announce a special year of the Eucharist," the Pope told the congregation during his homily, which he read himself in its entirety. "It will begin with the World Eucharist Congress, from October 10 to 17, 2004, in Guadalajara, Mexico, and will end with the next ordinary assembly of the Synod of Bishops, from October 2 to 29, 2005, at the Vatican." The synod will have as it is subject, "The Eucharist: source and summit of the life and mission of the Church."
Article courtesy of

This is so encouraging having had the recent encyclical Ecclesia de Eucharistia and hearing Archbishop Burke's talk on the Holy Father's encyclical just over two months ago. This upcoming event is further prepared by the latest Instruction Redemptionis Sacramentum as well as the recently discussed Lineamenta on the Holy Eucharist. All of this, despite the rampant unbelief in and disregard for the Holy Eucharist, should give us hope for better days to come as the continued effort is made to catechize the faithful on the importance and necessity of the Blessed Sacrament.

I'm more inclined to believe Archbishop Chaput on this...

I had reservations about an earlier story from CNS about Holy Communion, 'pro-death' politicians, Bishop Pelotte, and Cardinal Ratzinger, especially when contrasted with Archbishop Chaput's statements. Lifesite noticed it also and with the help of Archbishop Chaput, we are perhaps getting a little closer to the truth.


Is this article clear to the "average" Catholic?

Yesterday I read this Catholic News Service article on Abortion and Capital Punishment and was somewhat dismayed by it. As I have stated before, everthing I read from CNS, I read with a skeptical view.

My reading of the article did not leave me with a clear distinction that Capital Punishment could be morally justifiable and that the prudential decision for its applicability resides with the State, not the Church. While the statements regarding abortion were quite clear, I was left with a "confusion" of sorts regarding the ACTUAL teaching about captial punishment.

That being said, I tried, as best I could, to read this from the perspective of a Catholic who would not be well versed in the Catechism or the Church's perennial teaching on the subject, nor from a view of basic moral theology.

Perhaps others see it differently.

Article here.

Stem Cell Issue Must Not Be Compromised...

The day before former President Ronald Reagan died, 58 senators sent a letter to President George W. Bush urging him to permit embryonic stem cell research. The senators are now insisting that with the death of President Reagan, the issue has taken on greater urgency. They cite the support that Nancy Reagan has shown for this type of research.
We must ALWAYS remember that we may NEVER do evil in order to bring about some good. The flawed logic of these 58 senators must be addressed in the clearest of terms. William Donohue of the Catholic League issued a press release on this topic.

Bishop Olmsted Cautions Politicians

Catholic politicians who unambiguously support a woman's right to choose should not receive communion, Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted said Wednesday. But he declined to say he would deny communion to politicians who do not follow church teaching on abortion.

He said the same restrictions on communion would apply to others, including people who have divorced and remarried. "Anyone who says they are a Catholic but is living contrary to that should not receive communion."

"We need to be in conversation for as long as possible to help people see the contradiction in their lives, that (support for abortion) is bad for them and a scandal for others. There could be a stage where we go farther, but we haven't reached that stage."
He may be laying the groundwork by doing what Archbishop Burke did, that is privately trying to teach those having false or distorted opinions on what the Church teaches and requires. People, particularly those in public life, should be advised individually regarding Catholic teaching so that they have an opportunity, at the behest of the bishop, to receive and accept the Church's teaching fully, before any interdict is imposed.

Practically speaking, a bishop is then in a better position to invoke the provisions of Canon 915, as Archbishop Burke has done. Bishop Olmsted and indeed, all of the bishops, need our continued prayers in this age of moral bankruptcy and muddled thinking.

Article here.

Some thoughts on the Tridentine Mass in Chicago

And this related article by By Fr. Burns K. Seeley, S.S.J.C., gives a great perspective on how the approval of the Tridentine Mass in the Archdiocese of Chicago was received and of the many benefits and fruits which have been realized.
For one thing, about two hundred former families of the Society of St. Pius X and other independent chapels were brought into the parish and into full communnion with the Catholic Church.

For another, many young families, including home-schooled families, come to the Tridentine Mass from all over the Chicagoland area, including parts of Indiana.

But it should be noted that the Tridentine Mass has not decimated the attendance at the Novus Ordo Masses. In fact, the Mass on Sundays having the greatest attendance is the 11 a.m. Novus Ordo Mass said in Latin.
Article here.

After 14-years... Cardinal Maida OK's Tridentine Mass for Detroit

I apologize for failing to post this last week when I read it. I must have been sidetracked again, which seems to happen more and more these days. Considering some of the things going on, we should wait and see what comes about in the archdiocese.
For at least the last 15 years there have been hundreds, if not thousands of requests to Maida to grant permission for the Tridentine Mass. A group of Catholics in the early 1990s filed a canonical lawsuit in the Signatura, the Vatican Court, to force Cardinal Maida to abide by Eccleiasia Dei, in which Pope John Paul II pleaded with the world’s bishops to allow a "generous application" of the indult for the Tridentine Mass. The St. Joseph Foundation assisted in that effort.

Maida opposed the lawsuit vigorously, and the legal effort ended when the Vatican ruled that with the death in 1994 of Thomas Marshall, the main signer of the complaint, the rest of signers of the petition to Rome had no standing to pursue the case.

It is noteworthy that the primary opponent of the Tridentine Mass at that time was Fr. Gerald Shirilla, professor at Sacred Heart Major Seminary and director of the Worship Department. Fr.Shirilla told a reporter for the Michigan Catholic that, regarding those who want the Tridentine Mass, "We have to fight them tooth and nail."

Fr. Shirilla was relieved of his post in 1993 when he was identified as a serial child molester, who favored young altar boys, going back more than 20 years. He never quite lost favor with Cardinal Maida, however, and was secretly re-assigned seven years later as pastor of a parish in the Diocese of Gaylord, Michigan.

Meanwhile, as the cardinal and his priests argue about the merits of the Tridentine Mass, the Detroit chapter of gay organization Dignity continues to hold its weekly Masses at Marygrove College every Sunday, and openly advertises that priests of the archdiocese celebrate its Masses. Priests of the archdiocese have never been forbidden to celebrate those gay Masses.
Full article,

Papal Telegram to Nancy Reagan

To Mrs. Nancy Reagan

Having learned with sadness of the death of President Reagan I offer to you and your family my heartfelt condolences and the assurance of my prayers for his eternal rest. I recall with deep gratitude the late president's unwavering commitment to the service of the nation and to the cause of freedom as well as his abiding faith in the human and spiritual values which ensure a future of solidarity, justice and peace in our world. Together with your family and the American people I commend his noble soul to the merciful love of God our heavenly Father and cordially invoke upon all who mourn his passing the divine blessings of consolation, strength and peace.

Ioannes Paulus PP. II

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

Vatican to release study on Inquisition

Vatican, Jun. 09 ( - The Vatican will soon publish a study on the Inquisition, containing the proceedings of an international conference held in Rome in 1998.

The Vatican has scheduled a press conference for June 15, at which three cardinals will speak about the new study. Cardinal Roger Etchegary was involved because the original conference on the Inquisition, held in October 1998, was organized by the committee to prepare for the Jubilee Year 2000, which he chaired. Cardinal Georges Cottier, the theological of the pontifical household, presided over the conference. And Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, the Vatican archivist, has custody over the records that remain from the work of the Inquisition.

The October 1998 conference brought together 30 scholars, who met behind closed doors to discuss the actions of the Inquisition, putting that work in the proper historical context. The research submitted to that committee was partially responsible for the decision by Pope John Paul II (bio - news) to issue an apology for the episodes of intolerance that have marked the history of the church; he included the use of coercive methods by the Inquisition.

Cardinal Cottier had been asked by the Jubilee preparatory committee to preside over a theological commission that would assess the excesses and errors committed by Catholics in the name of the Church. Prior to the conference on the Inquisition, he had also chaired a previous meeting, in October 1997, on the roots of anti-Jewish bias within Christianity.

As he opened the conference on the Inquisition, Cardinal Cottier stressed that the aim of the committee's work was to establish the real facts about the Inquisition, eliminating popular misconceptions and allowing a fair and balanced view of the historic phenomena. He pointed out at the time that the Inquisition was set up to address a very real problem, "the heresy that threatened the people's faith and destroyed the unity of the Church." Citing the oft-repeated desires of Pope John Paul, he said that the Church should undertake a "purification of memory" in preparation for the Jubilee celebration.

Cardinal Cottier said that the conference should focus on the Inquisition as a single phenomenon, rather than on "inquisitions," because "the different tribunals constitute a single reality." He encouraged scholars to avoid confusion between the acts of a government (Spain) and the acts of ecclesiastical bodies.

The historical research on the Inquisition was made possible by the opening of Vatican archives from the Holy Office-- the body originally known as the Inquisition, and now as the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. The records date back to the 12th and 13th centuries, when the first Church tribunals were set up to combat the Catharist heresy. After a long and turbulent history, the Inquisition finally ended in Spain in 1834.

© All material copyright 2004 Domus Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved.

East Valley Arizona Clergy Re-enact Luther's Revolt

This is just too much to pass up...Bishop Olmsted is criticized for upholding the teaching of the Church regarding homosexuality. It's almost as if one's mere wish or desire could make an unnatural sexual act, natural...Brilliant!
At a Tuesday news conference, members of No Longer Silent: Clergy for Justice said they wanted to reach leaders of all denominations but particularly Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted, head of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Phoenix, who in the past month has challenged the group and the priests who signed a pro-gay document, the Phoenix Declaration, in 2003.

The group, responding to Olmsted's actions, capped off Tuesday's conference by nailing the Phoenix Declaration to a door, as Martin Luther did with his 95 Theses in 1517 to kick off the Protestant Reformation.
And who do you suppose joined in this symbolic re-enactment? Surely not the suspended Fr. Andre Boulanger?
Eight of nine Catholic priests who signed the declaration removed their names after Olmsted urged them to do so. One priest refused. Last week, the bishop suspended the Rev. Andre Boulanger from all ministerial duties. Boulanger, who has argued that Catholic theology should evolve with up-to-date thinking about homosexuality, attended Tuesday's conference in religious garb and took part in the symbolic nailing. A priest who removed his name, the Rev. Vernon Meyers, also attended.
Link here.

St Louis Area Corpus Christi Processions...

The feast of Corpus Christi will be celebrated on Sunday, June 13, at several parishes in the archdiocese as well as at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. Archbishop Raymond Burke will be the principal celebrant and homilist of a Mass at 7:30 p.m. at the cathedral basilica, Lindell Boulevard and Newstead Avenue, and will lead a procession around the block following Mass. The eucharistic procession will be done by candlelight and conclude with Benediction on the grounds of the cathedral basilica. The procession will begin on the front plaza of the cathedral basilica, move west along Lindell Boulevard, north on Taylor Avenue, east on Maryland Avenue and south on Newstead Avenue before returning to the cathedral basilica.

The St. Charles Deanery will join in the Corpus Christi celebration with a procession at 6 p.m. June 13 at three sites in St. Charles. In past years, the event included about 1,000 participants. The first Benediction will take place at St. Peter Church, 324 S. Third St. The second will follow at the Shrine of St. Philippine Duchesne at the Academy of the Sacred Heart, 619 N. Second St. The third will be held at Charles Borromeo Parish, 601 N. Fourth St. Refreshments will be served afterward at St. Charles Borromeo Parish Center.

Four parishes near Tower Grove Park in South St. Louis will celebrate the feast with a Mass celebrated by Archbishop Burke in the park at the bandstand next to the Palm House at 10 a.m. June 13. In case of rain the Mass will be celebrated at St. Pius V Church, 3310 S. Grand Blvd. At the end of Mass the congregation will process with the Blessed Sacrament back to their home churches: St. Pius, St. Margaret of Scotland, Holy Family and Holy Innocents parishes.
For more information and other area churches, see the latest St. Louis Review here.

Karl Keating's Latest E-Letter...

June 8, 2004



Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

A quick reminder that our third annual apologetics cruise will take us around the Canadian maritime provinces. We depart Montreal on October 2 and arrive in Boston on October 9.

Joining me as speakers will be Jimmy Akin, Rosalind Moss, Tim Staples, Thomas Howard, and Bishop Colin Campbell of Antigonish, Nova Scotia. This year we will have, aside from the plenary talks, lots of small-group sessions with the speakers. There will be even more "face time" than before.

This will be a wonderful cruise, and I hope you will be able to join us. Bookings are running ahead of last year, so we're anticipating a fine turnout. For more information please go to


Tyler Chase Harper, 16, was suspended from Poway (California) High School for wearing a T-shirt during the annual Day of Silence, an event held on high school and college campuses throughout the country "to recognize and protest discrimination and harassment against gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender students," according to a report in the "San Diego Union/Tribune."

The problem wasn't that Harper's T-shirt endorsed the Day of Silence but that it opposed homosexuality. On the front the T-shirt read "I Will Not Accept What God Has Condemned," and on the back it read "Homosexuality is Shameful, Romans 1:27."

The administrators said Harper's T-shirt violated the school dress code, which provides that it is unacceptable to wear clothing that promotes "violence or hate behavior including derogatory connotations directed toward sexual identity." Harper was told his T-shirt would have to go; the assistant principal even told him to "leave your faith in the car." When he refused to remove the T-shirt, Harper was suspended.

A double standard is at play. Free speech is permitted to students whose T-shirts endorse the ideology behind the Day of Silence but not to those who oppose it. This meant Harper was out of luck--and out of school. Now he is suing the Poway Unified School District. (One of his attorneys is Charles LiMandri, a friend of Catholic Answers.)

Like Harper, I attended a public high school. Things were different back then. I had some instructors who were so good I was surprised they were teaching at a high school instead of at a prestigious college. We received a good education, and I was unaware of moral, ethical, or social problems at the school (not counting the "toughs" who, after school, used to gather across the street and smoke cigarettes).

That was then, and this is now. The public school system has declined nearly everywhere--and not just declined but plummeted. Poway is a well-off suburb of San Diego. Its public schools are well regarded, but that is only to say that they may be less badly off than schools elsewhere. Few parents, and apparently even fewer employees, have any sense how degraded public education now is--degraded intellectually and morally.

It seems to be an almost universal phenomenon: Ideology has gripped high schools (and even lower schools) the way it gripped colleges some years earlier. Ideology always is accompanied by a dilution of true education. Just as bad money drives out good, so slogans drive out true learning.

This explains, in part, why I always vote against school bonds. I think public schools are a lost cause and that they are so deeply corrupted that it no longer is possible to bring them back to health. Let me point to two indicators.

In the mid-nineteenth century the most popular school books were the "McGuffey's Readers," which are still available in facsimile editions. The reader used for sixth-grade students included selections from Shakespeare and Milton. Mind you, this is what twelve-year-olds were expected to know.

Nowadays, most public high school students have read neither Shakespeare nor Milton, and even many college students manage to reach their commencement ceremonies without having read a single play or poem from these masters. This is not what I would call intellectual advancement. Even in my high school days the intellectual fare was rich compared to what is offered in today's schools.

Back then, we kept our books and personal effects in hallway lockers. This was convenient, even though it meant crowded hallways and clanging locker doors between classes. Some years ago--I don't know just when--lockers seem to have disappeared almost everywhere.

Perhaps it was due to lobbying efforts by manufacturers of day packs, who must have realized a fortune when tens of millions of students stopped using lockers and started toting everything on their backs. More likely the change was a response to rampant crime in the schools plus judicially-imposed restrictions on administrators' access to lockers. The junking of the lockers was a sign of failure--a failure of the schools to inculcate even basic morality.


"USA Today" last week ran a cover story titled "Churchgoing Closely Tied to Voting Patterns." A chart showed that, in the 2000 election, people who attended church once a week favored George Bush over Al Gore by 58% to 42%, while those who seldom attended church favored Gore over Bush 61% to 39%. No surprise, really.

Referring to this year's presidential campaign, the newspaper said that "Bush, a Methodist, has the support of most Catholics who attend Mass every week. [John] Kerry is ahead among those who don't." Bush is even more strongly backed by Evangelicals.

His campaign sent out an e-mail to supporters in Pennsylvania, asking them to "identify 1,600 'friendly congregations' where voters friendly to President Bush might gather on a regular basis." Fair enough, I suppose, since for years Democratic candidates have been speaking and gathering at churches friendly to them.

But Barry Lynn, president of Americans United for Separation of Church and State (I mentioned him in last week's E-Letter), cried foul. He called the e-mail "a breathtakingly bad merger of religion and politics." I don't remember him using such language when Jesse Jackson and other Democrats spoke and raised funds at churches, but maybe Lynn has tightened his standards since the 2000 campaign.

Whatever you think of the candidates for president, you have to admit that religion is taking a role it hasn't taken at least since 1960 (when John F. Kennedy ran) and probably since 1928 (when Al Smith ran).

(No matter who wins in November, some wag will note that the streak continues: 1928, 1960, and 2004 show that a solid Catholic can't be elected president.)


Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles has said that a bishop or priest cannot deny Holy Communion to a pro-abortion politician who has not yet been excommunicated, placed under interdict, or put under a formal sanction.

Not so, says canon lawyer Edward N. Peters (who formerly worked for the Diocese of San Diego). He notes that canon 915 says that those who "obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion." That canon does not say that the person must be under a formal sanction, and it certainly is the case that "chronically supporting abortion is a grave sin."

Cardinal Mahony has said that, when someone presents himself for Communion, one is to presume that he is in the state of grace. Peters replies that that is only partly true because "the presumption of one's eligibility to receive the Eucharist" can be countered by contrary evidence.

Peters discusses the issue at


Syndicated columnist Robert D. Novak, a convert to the Catholic faith, wrote that the indecisive actions of certain prelates, such as Theodore Cardinal McCarrick of Washington, D.C., has given the first-round victory to "pro-choice" politicians.

"But one priest familiar with how the Church operates told me that more and more American bishops, influenced by Pope John Paul II, will deny Communions and 'finally "out" liberal Catholics for what they are at heart, Protestants.' This priest sees the day when 'pro-abortion politicians will stop calling themselves Catholics or repent of their sins.' That surely will not happen before the 2004 election."

Agreed. It's not going to happen this year, and it may not happen in the next election cycle either. It won't happen so long as only five or ten bishops take a hardline stance, but it will happen if a hundred bishops do.

Finally, let me make a small adjustment to the unnamed priest's comment: I would put "liberal" or "mainline" before "Protestants," because the religion espoused by pro-abortion Catholic politicians is quite different from the Protestantism held by Evangelicals.


Although they went live barely three weeks ago, the Catholic Answers discussion forums already are a big success. As of this afternoon 4,300 people are registered, and our forums are now the most popular places for Catholics to gather on the Internet.

What traffic we have! Yesterday 1,492 new messages were added to the forums. Now there are 23,000 covering 1,700 different topics: doctrines, morals, liturgy, history, family life, politics, and so much more.

Who's doing all this? Folks like you. Many of our members are first-time forums users, while others have been on forums for years. They pose questions and comments, reply to one another, even give great counsel. Of course, Catholic Answers' staff apologists are there too, fielding hundreds of queries each week.

If you haven't yet visited our forums, I invite you to do so today. Just go to and click the big button in the upper right-hand corner of the main page.

Until next time,
The content of this E-Letter is copyright 2004 by Karl Keating.

Tuesday, June 08, 2004

More on Bishop Sheridan's Pastoral Letter

Despite the "nuancing" and "criticisms" taking place regarding Bishop Sheridan's Pastoral Letter, we must understand that it cannot be morally justifiable to vote for or support a pro-abortion candidate (or any anti-life candidate*), because, first and foremost, it is against the natural law. Murder, the intentional killing of an innocent person, can never be morally justifiable.

Since a directly procured abortion brutally violates the natural law, it is rightly, the responsibility of the Church to make this known by appropriate catechesis. In no way can this effort at education be rationally viewed as an interference by the Church.

Abortion is intrinsically evil, and any Catholic, knowing of this, who votes for a pro-abortion candidate becomes complicit in this evil and cuts himself off from communion with the Church.

(* Anti-Life: Abortion, Euthanasia, fetal stem cell research, human cloning, homosexual "unions")

Having reiterated what many others have already stated, here is Bishop Sheridan's Follow-up letter addressing the reactions to his pastoral letter.

The Holy Father, Holy Communion, and Manifest Grave Sin...

There is some "discussion" on another Catholic blog denigrating Bishop Sheridan's recent pastoral letter about Holy Communion and the grave responsibility the faithful have with regard to the life issues of abortion, stem cell research, same sex unions, etc. Unfortunately, various perjorative 'terms' are being cast about regarding those who happen to agree with Bishop Sheridan.

Some conclude that his pastoral letter unjustly singles out Catholics voters and that his letter could not be properly understood by the faithful. It would seem that many have misunderstood what Bishop Sheridan has said and what the Church teaches.

As the Holy Father states in Ecclesia de Eucharistia:
Along these same lines, the Catechism of the Catholic Church rightly stipulates that “anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion”. I therefore desire to reaffirm that in the Church there remains in force, now and in the future, the rule by which the Council of Trent (*) gave concrete expression to the Apostle Paul's stern warning when it affirmed that, in order to receive the Eucharist in a worthy manner, “one must first confess one's sins, when one is aware of mortal sin”.

The judgment of one's state of grace obviously belongs only to the person involved, since it is a question of examining one's conscience. However, in cases of outward conduct which is seriously, clearly and steadfastly contrary to the moral norm, the Church, in her pastoral concern for the good order of the community and out of respect for the sacrament, cannot fail to feel directly involved. The Code of Canon Law refers to this situation of a manifest lack of proper moral disposition when it states that those who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin” are not to be admitted to Eucharistic communion.
(*)Council of Trent, Session XIII, Canon 11. If anyone says that faith alone is a sufficient preparation for receiving the sacrament of the most Holy Eucharist, let him be anathema. And lest so great a sacrament be received unworthily and hence unto death and condemnation, this holy council ordains and declares that sacramental confession, when a confessor can be had, must necessarily be made beforehand by those whose conscience is burdened with mortal sin, however contrite they may consider themselves. Moreover, if anyone shall presume to teach, preach or obstinately assert, or in public disputation defend the contrary, he shall be excommunicated.

*** See also:

John Paul II, continuing the constant teaching of the Church, has reiterated many times that those who are directly involved in lawmaking bodies have a "grave and clear obligation to oppose" any law that attacks human life. For them, as for every Catholic, it is impossible to promote such laws or to vote for them.[19] As John Paul II has taught in his Encyclical Letter Evangelium vitae regarding the situation in which it is not possible to overturn or completely repeal a law allowing abortion which is already in force or coming up for a vote, "an elected official, whose absolute personal opposition to procured abortion was well known, could licitly support proposals aimed at limiting the harm done by such a law and at lessening its negative consequences at the level of general opinion and public morality".[20]

One may also wish to review Catholics and Political Responsibility or Fr. Stphen Torraco's Moral Duties concerning Voting or Catholic Answer's Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics.

Two New Auxiliary Bishops Named

VATICAN CITY, JUN 8, 2004 (VIS) - The Holy Father appointed:

- Msgr. Joseph Robert Cistone, vicar of the diocese of Philadelphia, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of same diocese (area 5,652, population 3,861,648, Catholics 1,494,883, priests 1,083, permanent deacons 212, religious 569), U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1949 in Philadelphia and was ordained a priest in 1975.

- Msgr. Joseph Patrick McFadden, pastor of St. Joseph in Downingtown, U.S.A., as auxiliary bishop of Philadelphia, U.S.A. The bishop-elect was born in 1947 in Philadelphia, U.S.A. and was ordained a priest in 1981.


An Open Letter to American Bishops

This letter from Russell Shaw is in the current edition of Crisis magazine.
From June 14 to June 20 the U.S. bishops will gather in Denver behind closed doors for a meeting of extraordinary importance. The “special assembly” of the hierarchy will weigh alternative approaches to the crisis now gripping American Catholicism—a crisis which, though greatly intensified by the sex-abuse scandal, involves many problems and issues besides the sexual delinquency of some priests. The bishops face three options—along with the virtually unthinkable option of doing nothing. These are a plenary council for the Church in the United States, a regional synod, and unspecified new initiatives by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). The debate in Denver will set the stage for a decisive vote at the USCCB meeting in November in Washington. In anticipation of these crucial deliberations, Crisis is publishing an open letter to the bishops by Russell Shaw, a writer who has observed Church affairs at close hand for many years.
Letter here.

Monday, June 07, 2004

And Rainbow Sash wants an Apology from Cardinal George

This is just too much.

In the interests of reconciliation I believe Cardinal Francis George should issue an apology to Cardinal Roger Mahony of LA, Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis/St. Paul, and Bishop Mathew Clark of Rochester, NY. These Bishops gave Rainbow Sash Members Communion. Also, I believe an apology is due Cardinal George's priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, for putting them in such a difficult and awkward position. Finally, I prayerfully hope the Cardinal will apologize to the gay/lesbian/bisexual/transgender community of Chicago for the harm he has caused our community; especially those that were denied Communion on Pentecost Sunday.
RSM Statement.

Cardinal McCarrick to host a "listening session" with Rainbow Sash Movement"

A Listening Session is an ancient practice of the Catholic Church. The
goal is to listen to the faithful, thereby trying to determine the parishioners' pastoral needs. In Catholic Teaching this is referred to as a "Sense of the Faithful." One of the roles of a Bishop is to listen to the "Sense of the Faithful", and to respond accordingly. Murray (Joe Murray, spokesperson for the Rainbow Sash Movement) further stated, "From my vantage point, we do a lot better to prefer persuasion over mandate; dialogue over dictate."

Rights Seen as "Self-Centered Demands," Laments Pope

The Holy Father give a frank assessment of the distortion of 'human rights' in America.
As an example, the Pontiff mentioned "the growth of prostitution and pornography in the name of adult choice, the acceptance of abortion in the name of women's rights, the approval of same sex unions in the name of homosexual rights."

"False secularistic forms of humanism, which exalt the individual in such a manner that they become a veritable idolatry, can be countered only by the rediscovery of the genuine inviolable dignity of every person," he said.
Zenit Article.

Enthronement of Sacred Heart

A continuation of Archbishop Burke's column on the Sacred Heart:

Devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is a most effective means of living always in the company of our Lord Jesus whom we receive in Holy Communion. In other words, our devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is an extended act of love for Him who shows us the greatest possible love by offering His Body and Blood for us in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. In His fourth apparition to St. Margaret Mary, our Lord revealed His Sacred Heart, declaring:

"Behold this Heart which has so loved men that It spared nothing, even going so far as to exhaust and consume Itself, to prove to them Its love. And in return I receive from the greater part of men nothing but ingratitude, by the contempt, irreverence, sacrileges and coldness with which they treat Me in this Sacrament of Love. But what is still more painful to Me is that even souls consecrated to Me are acting in this way" (Louis Verheylezoon, SJ, Devotion to the Sacred Heart, Westminster, Maryland: The Newman Press, 1955, pp. xxvii).

When the devotional life is neglected, then there is a loss of gratitude and reverence, and a coldness before our Lord in the Eucharist. Our Lord asks St. Margaret Mary to make known His desire for a renewed devotion to His Sacred Heart, so that He might give His love ever more abundantly and we might respond with gratitude and return love for His divine love.

The center of devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus is the Enthronement of the image of the Sacred Heart in the home. By the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart, we link the tabernacle of our parish church to our home, inviting our Lord to be our constant and most intimate companion. The Enthronement is a way of life. It means that Christ is King of our hearts, and we desire Him to be present with us always.

In other words, by the Enthronement we signify our desire to make our hearts and our homes holy, to sanctify our lives in every aspect. Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey, SSCC (1875-1961), great apostle of the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, insisted on Its official and social characteristics. The Enthronement is the outward expression of an interior commitment to submit one’s whole life in obedience to Christ. It is social because it involves every member of the household in which we live and all our relationships with others, in and outside the home. Those who carry out the Enthronement always comment on the difference it makes in the relationships of family members with each other, and in work, business, recreation and other relationships.

Here it should be noted that the Enthronement can be made in every home. Often, in speaking of the Enthronement, I refer to the family, but it is understood that the home may be of a single person. The person living alone, no less than a family household, rightly desires that Christ be his or her constant companion. Also, there is always a relationship with others, with family and friends, which is expressed in the Enthronement, even by the person who lives alone.

Enthronement and Consecration

The Enthronement includes with It the Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. The Enthronement without the Consecration would simply amount to the placing of a sacred image in a prominent place in the home. It would be a good and pious practice, but it would not transform lives in the way that the Enthronement does. The Act of Consecration gives expression to the profound meaning of enthroning the image of the Sacred Heart in our home.

By the words of the Consecration, we articulate the meaning of the Enthronement. We place our hearts totally into the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and we beg Him to be the source of our healing and strength, the medicine and nourishment by which our poor and wounded hearts are made strong and whole. The enthroned image of the Sacred Heart gives us the occasion to renew frequently, throughout the day, our act of consecration.

The words of the Act of Consecration of the Family proclaim the reign of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the heart of each member of the household and in the home itself. They express the commitment of the family members to return love to the Sacred Heart of Jesus in response to the constant and immeasurable love which He shows to us in the Church. In short, the Act of Consecration is a full response to the promises made by our Lord to St. Margaret Mary. It pledges frequent reception of Holy Communion, penance for sins committed and acceptance of the divine will at death.

The form of consecration calls upon the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Mother of Christ and our mother, and St. Joseph, our protector, to intercede on our behalf. In truth, it asks our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph to present our Act of Consecration to Christ, in order that it may be as fitting and worthy as possible.

The Act of Consecration takes place after the image of the Sacred Heart has been enthroned. It expresses in words what the Act of Enthronement expresses in action. Enthronement and Consecration go together inseparably.

Necessity of Preparation

When we are about to undertake any important action, we always give ourselves ample time to prepare. Certainly, when we desire to consecrate ourselves and our home to Christ, we want to prepare well. It would be a mockery of the worst sort to enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus thoughtlessly, without regard for the profound meaning of our action. It would be a demonstration of the lack of reverence and of the coldness toward our Lord, to which He referred in His fourth apparition to St. Margaret Mary.

Since the Enthronement is a way of life for us, demanding our daily conversion of heart, we do not undertake it without considering carefully what it means for us. Our preparation should deepen in us our understanding and desire of the Enthronement and Consecration.

The preparation has three principal parts: study, prayer and practical arrangements. Each part is important to the proper disposition of the family members and the home itself. The goal of the preparation is hearts aflame with love of Christ. Only a careful preparation and thoughtful Act of Enthronement and Consecration will dispose minds and hearts to follow Christ the King, to trust in His never-failing love and to place our hearts in His.

Preparing by Study and Prayer

An important means of preparation is study which deepens our knowledge of the Enthronement and its meaning for our daily living. Father Mateo Crawley-Boevey has provided a complete presentation on the Enthronement and Consecration in his book, Jesus King of Love. Father Francis Larkin, of the same religious community as Father Crawley-Boevey, has also written an excellent book on the various aspects of the Enthronement. It is titled Enthronement of the Sacred Heart. As I noted in my last column, the Archdiocese of St. Louis will be publishing a small guide to the Enthronement of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the home in the coming weeks. It will be available to all families who request it and will contain all of the prayers for the preparation of the Enthronement and the Rite of Enthronement.

The second means of preparation is prayer. Father Crawley-Boevey has suggested special prayers in the home on the three days which immediately precede the day of the Enthronement. The prayer directs the attention of the whole family to our Lord and His desire to dwell with us always. The prayer begins each day with a decade of the rosary: on the first day, the Third Joyful Mystery; on the second day, the Fifth Joyful Mystery; and, on the third day, the Fifth Glorious Mystery. After announcing the mystery, one of the family members reads a passage from the Gospels, which refers to the mystery. The reading from the Gospels is followed by the praying of the decade of the rosary, which is followed by the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus and a prayer expressing the desire for the Enthronement and calling upon the help of our Blessed Mother and St. Joseph. The prayer each day concludes with an indulgenced prayer to the Divine Heart of Jesus; the invocation of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, the Immaculate Heart of Mary, St. Joseph, St. Michael the Archangel and the Holy Guardian Angels; and a hymn to the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Third Joyful Mystery, the Birth of our Lord, is chosen for the first day to underline the truth of the Incarnation and our response of worship before our Lord who is indeed God made man. In the adoration of the Infant Jesus by His Mother Mary, His guardian Joseph, the shepherds and the three kings, we find the inspiration for our desire to enthrone the image of the Incarnate Redeemer in our home to inspire constant adoration of Him.

The Fifth Joyful Mystery is chosen for the second day to inspire us to model the life of our home upon the pattern of life of the Holy Family at Nazareth. The care of Mary and Joseph for Jesus and His obedience to them are models for our relationships within the family and in other social settings.

The First Glorious Mystery leads us to reflect upon Jesus’ Rising from the Dead, Ascension and Sending of the Holy Spirit. Our meditation on the three great moments of the mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation helps us to recognize the living presence of our Lord with us in the Church. Reflection upon the encounters of our Risen Lord with the Apostles and disciples increases in us the desire to be with the Lord always.

It would be good that the whole family or, at least, one member of the family participate in Holy Mass and receive Holy Communion during the triduum of preparation for the Enthronement. It would be especially fitting that the whole family participate in Mass and receive Holy Communion on the day of the Enthronement.

Preparing the Throne

The place of the Enthronement in the home must be fitting. In other words, it should be a central place, a place in which family members spend time each day. The living room is usually the best place for the Enthronement. The image may be enthroned on a small table upon which flowers, candles, a Bible, pictures of absent family members or of family members and friends in need of prayers, and prayer intentions can be placed. If the image is hung on the wall, a small shelf should be placed under it for the placement of the same objects. In any case, the place of the Enthronement should reflect the great reverence and love which we have for our Lord. It should be the most dignified and beautiful place in the room.

Regarding the image of the Sacred Heart, there are different possibilities. It can be a statue or a print of a painting or icon. A print of a beautiful icon of the Sacred Heart will be available through the Office of Sacred Worship. It is the same print which was given to each of the Catholic schools during the Mass at the Cathedral Basilica on the Solemnity of the Annunciation. In choosing an image, care should be taken that it reflect the great mystery of the Redemptive Incarnation and inspire prayer.

For the day of the Enthronement, a separate table for the image and Holy Water should be set in a different part of the room. The image will be carried from this table to its place of permanent Enthronement.

Inviting Family and Friends

Because of the official and social nature of the Enthronement, it is most appropriate to invite family and friends to join in the Rite of Enthronement. The invitation gives a strong witness to the Catholic faith and its practice, and has the potential of inspiring others to learn about the Enthronement and enthrone the image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus in their homes. Copies of the Rite of Enthronement should be available for all who are invited, so that they may participate as fully as possible.

A certificate of the Enthronement will be available through the Office of Sacred Worship. It should be signed at the conclusion of the Rite of Enthronement and placed in a frame near the enthroned image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Also, it would be good to have some social time with refreshments after the Enthronement, so that all present can continue to express their joy at the special grace of the Enthronement and Consecration. The social time gives an excellent opportunity for family members to explain to others all that the Enthronement means for them. It is a most natural time to give witness to love of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

The Enthronement

The Enthronement is fittingly led by a priest, if possible, but also can be led by the head of the household. It begins at the table on which the image and holy water have been placed. If a priest is leading the Enthronement, he begins by blessing the image. If a priest is unable to be present, the family should have a priest bless the image beforehand.

The head of the household, accompanied by all the members of the household, then carries the image to the place of the Enthronement and enthrones the image. All pray together the Apostles’ Creed as an act of faith and reparation. A passage from the Gospel, for example, the account of the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-33) or the account of our Lord’s meeting Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10) or the account of our Lord’s visit to the home of Martha and Mary (Luke 10:38-41) is then proclaimed, after which the priest or head of the household offers a reflection on the meaning of the Rite of Enthronement. After the reflection, all kneel and make together the Act of Consecration.

The rite concludes with prayers for absent members of the family, living and deceased; with general intercessions; a prayer of thanksgiving, and the praying of the Hail Holy Queen in honor of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. If a priest is present, he concludes the Rite of Enthronement with a blessing. Otherwise, it is concluded by all making the Sign of the Cross.


Next week, I will reflect upon certain texts from the Sacred Scriptures, which inspire devotion to the Sacred Heart of Jesus. Also, I will provide a summary of the private revelation of the Sacred Heart to St. Margaret Mary and its relationship to the Sacred Scriptures and the teaching of the Church. Finally, I will reflect further upon the Enthronement as a way of life or, as Father Crawley-Boevey put it, keeping the Enthronement alive.

O Sacred Heart of Jesus, formed by the Holy Spirit in the womb of the Virgin Mary, have mercy on us.
St Louis Review article.