Friday, July 23, 2004

The Catholic's Best Solutions for Internet Protection

by Peter Mirus
special to

This week is releasing a follow-up to my recent article about protecting your children (and yourself) when on the Internet. In that article, I made mention of the fact that we have performed extensive testing of many products that can assist you in that endeavor.

The result is the following article:

Catholic Tech Watch: The Catholic's Best Solutions for Internet Protection

I encourage you to read this article. It is likely the only article available about this subject written from a Catholic perspective and based on expert analysis.

The new article that we are releasing is a brief overview of the issues at hand and the products that we reviewed, including our recommendations and individual product reviews.

In fact, the article forms a mini section of the site that we hope will eventually turn into a full site section titled "Catholic Tech." This will be determined by your feedback, so please let us know what you think! We look forward to receiving your comments.

To read my original article: Pornography and the Internet: Are Your Children Safe?
These are two excellent articles that every Catholic with Internet acces should read. Considering the dangers to which children could be exposed on the Internet, the articles are necessary reading and useful in fulfilling one's role as a parent to protect children. It is estimated that 12% of websites on the Internet are pornographic.

Catholic Culture link here.

Austrian bishop silenced during apostolic visitation

During an apostolic visitation of his St. Pölten diocese, the embattled Bishop Kurt Krenn has been ordered to refrain from public statements, and to obtain approval of the Vatican's investigator, Bishop Klaus Kung, for any significant pastoral decisions, Austrian media reports have disclosed.

The restrictions on Bishop Krenn will remain in place for the length of the apostolic visitation-- which, according to a spokesman for Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schønborn, is expected to last 6-8 weeks.
Catholic World News report.

Has the time for "dialogue" passed?

Catholic lawmakers ignoring bishops' warning on abortion and Communion

Scores of leading Roman Catholic politicians across the country appear undaunted by election-year warnings from bishops that those who support abortion rights may be unworthy to receive Holy Communion. In Associated Press interviews with more than 75 such politicians, none said that they are abstaining from the sacrament over the issue, and many said they believed voting for legalized abortion did not jeopardize their standing with the church.

Deal Hudson, editor of the conservative Catholic magazine Crisis, has been highly critical of bishops who fail to take a hard line against dissenting Catholic lawmakers, and said he wasn't surprised that the politicians hadn't reconsidered their positions.

"Bishops have been ignoring this issue for 30 years, so (politicians) don't take the bishops seriously," Hudson said.

However, Bill Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, said it was too soon to know whether the bishops have been effective, since they are focused on building relationships with Catholic politicians and educating them about church teaching.

"The bishops want to have a dialogue with Catholic officials," Ryan said. "If an elected official were to say that he or she did not choose to give consideration to these matters, that would be unfortunate, but it would not be a reflection on the Catholic bishops."
Too soon to know whether bishop have been effective? Does Ryan actually believe this? What relationships have they built for 30n some years? I have to agree with Deal Hudson's take on this.

Too many US bishops have been negligent in their duties and have become a scandal to the Church.

Link to several responses of policians.

Pensacola Bishop Ricard Critical of Obedient, Loyal Bishops

There are those who believe the best way to handle those who dissent from church teaching and doctrine is to place the priest and those who assist him with the distribution of holy Communion in the role of judge.
The bishop is clearly wrong here. Where manifest grave sin is concerned and when the person engaged in such sin is obstinate, Holy Communion must be denied (Cardinal Ratzinger)
Such a change of role would require ministers of Communion to determine the worthiness of those coming forth to receive the body and blood of Christ.
Hardly...the person receiving a prior notification would know well in advance NOT to approach. Priests in the diocese would be notified as Archbishop Burke did in La Crosse. Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion would be advised by their priests.
Moral theologians and canon lawyers warn the bishops that such steps could raise serious questions about Catholic teaching. raises SERIOUS questions from the faithful about why those who embrace heresy and others who reject Church teaching are allowed to continue to engage in sacrilege and scandalize the faithful.
There is the additional concern about the impact of such practices on faithful legislators, the Catholic community and the role of the church in public life.
YAWN....this is getting tiring...Perhaps the good bishop should consider resigning from his office if he feels incapable of admonishing sinners and instructing the ignorant? This type of lack of concern for dealing with these grave issues is appalling.
Some advocates of a more severe approach to these issues go so far as to suggest that anyone who votes for a candidate who supports abortion on demand commits a serious and grave sin. I do not support those who would want to turn the reception of the holy Eucharist or the Communion line into a partisan political battleground.
Basic Catholic moral theology, your Excellency...Apparently, then Bishop Ricard does not support Archbishop Burke, and Bishops Sheridan and Bruskewitz and others who choose to teach what the Church teaches.

The Church really does not need bishops like this, but perhaps, this is part of the suffering we must endure for the many offenses against our Lord. We should pray for the confused and weak. We should pray for those who are courageous in the face of adversity, even among their own. We should pray the God will grant us mercy and grace to persevere in these times of confusion and geave moral evils.

Article here. It's a sad commentary on episcopal leadership.

President of Catholic Missions Fully Supports 'Pro-Abortion' Politician

Fr. Sebastien Groleau President of Catholic Missions In Canada (CMIC), an organ of the Catholic Church and chaired by Toronto Cardinal Aloysius Ambrozic, has responded to concerns over his appointment of a former Ontario cabinet minister listed as 'pro-abortion' by a pro-life group to a high-profile post within the Catholic organization. Following a story which exposed former cabinet minister Tina Molinari's controversial background, several pro-lifers and past donors to CMIC expressed their concerns to the organization.

Rev. Groleau insinuated in his letter that the pro-lifers who wrote him out of concern were themselves to blame for contravening the will of God - by being angry. Groleau quoted the Gospel of Matthew when Jesus says: "You have heard that it was said to the men of old, 'You shall not kill: and whoever kills shall be liable to judgment.' But I say to you that every one who is angry with his brother shall be liable to judgment," adding, "I trust you do not fall in the latter category."

Rev. Groleau has indicated he can't comprehend the scandal caused when a prominent public official who was known to be in support of abortion is given a highly placed position within a Catholic organization.
Employing the tactics of the Evil One...misdirect the concerns of the faithful back to them as if they are the one responsible. And he can't understand the concept of the scandal of his actions...If true, he needs to be relieved of his faculties and re-educated in the area of moral theology.

Article here.

Civil, church law may come in conflict in church's bankruptcy filing

The bankruptcy filing by the Archdiocese of Portland is almost certain to place church law and civic law in conflict.

The two legal systems have met before in Oregon, and churches have often prevailed.

The question, Skeel said, is whether the court will count parishes and schools as assets of the archdiocese when the time comes to develop the reorganization plan.

Canon law holds that parish and school assets cannot be seized by the archdiocese.
Full article

"Designer Baby" Decision Flawed, Say Prelates

The decision by Britain's Human Fertilization and Embryology Authority to allow for the creation of embryonic children to provide therapeutic tissue for an older sibling is "deeply flawed," warns a Catholic bishop.

"Everyone will sympathize with the plight of parents searching for a tissue donor for a gravely ill child," Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff said in a statement today over the "designer baby" decision
Our Lord must be truly offended that the world has begun the process of 'farming' humans for later harvesting.

GOP asks for Catholic parish directories to target people for registration

The Republican National Committee has asked Bush-backing Roman Catholics to provide copies of their parish directories to help register Catholics to vote in the November election, a use of personal information not necessarily condoned by dioceses around the country.

In a story posted Thursday on its Web site, the National Catholic Reporter said a GOP official had urged people who attended a Catholic outreach event in January to provide parish directories and membership lists to the political party.

Post Dispatch article here.

Thursday, July 22, 2004

RICO suit filed against Tucson diocese

A former Catholic seminarian is suing the Diocese of Tucson, its bishops, and Bishop Wilton Gregory, the president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops among other high-ranking American prelates. The suit alleges a pattern of racketeering activity exemplified by fraud and obstruction of justice.

Attorney Ivan Abrams filed the case under provisions of federal RICO - Racketeering Influence and Corrupt Organizations - statutes. The federal RICO law is a set of statutes that was initially directed at shutting down organized crime. Over the past two years, however, RICO has been used by some plaintiffs who argue that the Church cover-up of the clergy abuse crisis falls under RICO’s provisions.

Philip A. Hower was studying at the Pontifical College Josephinum in Columbus, Ohio, when he was ousted from the Diocese of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania by now-Cardinal William Keeler of Baltimore. Hower claims he was essentially ‘fired’ and later blackballed from ordination in other dioceses because he ‘blew the whistle’ on the homosexual activities of priests with whom he resided as a priest candidate.

Hower’s own investigation, he says, has revealed the same pattern of deception in the dioceses of Boston, Los Angeles, Saint Louis, Minneapolis, Chicago, Manchester and Portland, Maine—to name but a few. Hower’s treatment at the hands of Keeler and Moreno illustrates the modus operandi whereby whistleblowers are treated as criminals, while active homosexual priests are protected and promoted by their allies in what priest sociologist Fr. Andrew Greeley has dubbed "the Lavender Mafia."

In a paragraph that nicely sums up the nature of Hower’s complaints, the lawsuit states: "The actions of which [Hower] complains were committed by persons in pursuit of their own secular interests, who used the structure of the Roman Catholic Church as a shield behind which they could conduct their affairs in wanton and intentional disregard of the criminal and civil law of the State of Arizona and the United States of America, and in contempt of the tenets of their faith, and in deliberate flaunting of their nominal positions as officials and managers within the Roman Catholic Church."
Complete article here

...This, if true, demonstrates the depravity that has infected priests, bishops, and even cardinals in the Church. May God have mercy on those who have poisoned and continue to poison His Church.

We must pray even harder and offer reparations for these sins against Christ and His Church.

Dr. Arthur Hippler: A Reply To Some Catholic Politicians

A Reply To Some Catholic Politicians

In recent weeks, the press in Wisconsin and elsewhere has given ample space to our Catholic legislators who support abortion to "defend themselves" against Bishop Raymond L. Burke’s "notification" that such Catholics should not be admitted to Communion. The character of the objections is largely pragmatic, and reveals a fundamental compromise on the application of Catholic social teaching to American politics.

(Bishop Burke wrote the "notification" as the bishop of the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis.; he has now been installed as the archbishop of St. Louis, Mo.)
Some have asked, "What is the role of an individual to work within the realm of his own conscience?" This question seems to consider conscience detached from its foundation in the moral law. Without this foundation, conscience becomes mere rationalization. No one, for example, would excuse a Catholic legislator who promoted racist policies on the ground of "conscience." Conscience must be measured by the moral law, or else it becomes simply a license for personal whim.

Others have objected this way: "We can’t be a one-issue Church. We can’t have one issue be the litmus test to decide if someone is a good Catholic or not." They wonder why the bishop did not bar politicians from Communion who support capital punishment or the Iraq war.
Allow me to conclude with this observation: By and large, few are objecting to Bishop Burke’s reasoning in the pastoral letter On the Dignity of Human Life and Civic Responsibility and its accompanying "notification." They do not like the consequences and repercussions, but they cannot deny that His Excellency has followed out the logical conclusions of Catholic teaching. By this, many Catholics are openly admitting that they have compromised the truth of Catholic teaching for secular and political gain.

Dr. Arthur M. Hippler is the director of the Office of Justice and Peace in the Diocese of La Crosse, Wis.
Wanderer Article here.

Crusade for Life walkers not welcome in Baltimore

Dear Cardinal Keeler:

I was distressed and disappointed to read that you denied access to Baltimore's Catholic churches to the young people walking from Maine to Washington for the unborn. What message does this send to idealistic youth who love the faith and act on it to protect the innocent? They are the future! Visit the website describing the Crusade walk to meet these beautiful young adults and read the witness of their vibrant faith.

Our Churches do not belong to you, Your Excellency. They were raised and are maintained by the generosity of the faithful. On what possible grounds did you make the decision to ban these young Catholics from our churches? I can only conclude that it is an act of retribution against American Life League for having the courage to speak out boldly about the necessity of our bishops to act like they truly believe the unborn are worthy of human dignity and protection.

I hope you will reconsider your decision as it reflects very badly on you. It must appear to others as it does to me as a petty decision made out of pique.

Orthodox Catholics in this country are deeply grieved by our bishops acting more like the secular bureaucrats than our spiritual fathers in the Body of Christ. Please withdraw your ban against these beautiful young people and welcome them to your diocese with open arms. They are the future and a beautiful part of the solution to the crisis of faith in this country.

If you have eyes to see you must recognize it.

Sincerely in Christ,
Mary Ann Kreitzer
President, Les Femmes

With regard to my previous message, Cdl. Keeler has shut down his chancery e-mail. I suggest the following contact information.

William Cardinal Keeler
Archdiocese of Baltimore
Catholic Center, 320 Cathedral Street, 21201

Print out your e-mail and send it. Or give the Cardinal a call. Let them know that the Church militant will fight for the faith even when the bishops won't. And send a copy of your e-mail to the Apostolic nuncio: Most Rev. Gabriel Montalvo, 3339 Massachusetts Ave. NW, Washington, D.C. 20008. Put a short cover letter on it explaining that the Cardinal has banned our courageous and orthodox young people from speaking in parishes in his diocese but allows dissenters and pro-abortionists the same privilege. Shame on him!

Mary Ann Kreitzer
Les Femmes

"The first law of history is not to dare to utter falsehood; the second, not to fear to speak the truth."
Pope Leo XIII

Greeley's moral loopholes

Rev. Andrew Greeley quotes the Most Rev. Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger that certain moral rules could be applied that would allow a faithful Catholic to vote for a faithless Catholic, abortion-advocate John Kerry.

Remote material cooperation excuses the person from direct moral responsibility for harms caused to the poor, the innocent the downtrodden - the aborted babies. Why even try to live with remote material cooperation and vote for someone who has the bloodstained hands from too many abortions?

Greeley urges bishops to support women and not exercise political clout. Bishops should not have political clout; instead they should speak the truth. Aborting babies hurts women, destroys unborn and being-born children, and distorts doctors who swore the Hippocratic Oath.

Greeley does not have political clout but a tired arm for his pen that he uses to carry water for the Democratic Party, both hell-bent on aborting babies. Aborting babies are not proportionate reasons for supporting abortion advocates.

Fr. Tim O'Malley
Link here.

Cardinal Arinze Addresses Christendom's Summer Institute

"No one can have God as Father who does not have Church as mother," said Nigerian Cardinal Francis Arinze at Christendom College’s 2004 Summer Institute. The institute focused on Pope John Paul II and his many contributions to the Church during his 25-year pontificate. Throughout the day, a sub-theme emerged that the pope is the vital link between the Church and Christ.

"The divine element can never fall short. The human element sometimes falls short," said Cardinal Arinze, prefect of the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments. He described the pope as the "perpetual and visible source of unity of the bishops and all the faithful."

"When God speaks, we are not expected to hire six lawyers to debate," Cardinal Arinze said. "We obey and live it out.
Faithful Catholics will obey with humility and docility.
Father Anthony Mastroeni, a priest from the Diocese of Patterson, N.J., and adjunct professor of theology at Christendom, spoke about John Paul II and the priesthood.

"What is a priest? He is the heart of Jesus for us," said Father Mastroeni. "Many see him as just a regular guy. What we need to see is Christ."

Although the final end or purpose of the priest is to make the Eucharist available, he also has a duty to proclaim the Gospel, to be a good confessor and to be holy, he said.

Father Mastroeni rebuked the abuse of general absolution. "The doctor does not diagnose a crowd or over the phone," he said. Instead, it should be a painstaking, individual process. "In the confessional, (the priest) quickens souls back to life."

Parishioners want priests to be "beacons, not weather vanes," he said.
I have heard Fr. Mastroeni on a set of Fatima Conference tapes and from what I heard, he sounds like a good and faithful priest who is not afraid to speak the truth.

And lest we forget:
"Love the pope and pray for him," Cardinal Arinze said. "The care of Christ’s flock is not easy. He has much to suffer."
Complete article here.

Survey finds Catholics skeptical of bishops' handling of sex abuse

WARNING....This is a reference to a Catholic News Service article...
U.S. Catholics regard the clerical sexual abuse scandal and the bishops' handling of it as two of the most serious problems facing the church, according to a study by two leading sociologists.
"Our survey tells us that tomorrow's Catholics will be more individualistic, more tolerant in the area of sexual morality, less inclined to defer to teachings of the hierarchy, less committed to Catholic institutions and less involved in parish life," they said.
Actually, they meant to say, "Tomorrow's Catholics will not really be "Catholic"!

Article here.

Read it and pray for the Church.

USCCB weighs in on Capital Punishment for Adolescents

A broad array of individuals, groups and nations - including Jimmy Carter, Mikhail Gorbachev, the American Medical Association, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and the European Union - urged the Supreme Court on Monday to declare that it is unconstitutional to execute people for crimes they committed before turning 18.
Four justices - Stephen Breyer, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, David Souter and John Paul Stevens - have said that imposing the death penalty for offenses by 16- and 17-year-olds is "inconsistent with evolving standards of decency in a civilized society." But thus far, they have not attracted the fifth vote they need to overturn the practice, which is increasingly rare.
What are these "evolving standards of decency"? I suppose they include the murder of unborn children and assisting the old and sick to "die with dignity"? Many of these people would not recognize standards of decency if they were presented to them in black and white. And, from what I have seen, decency has not "evolved" in the 20th and 21st centuries, but regressed to barbarism...
Mark Chopko, general counsel to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops and author of the brief by religious groups, said all major religions teach that "the young don't have the same moral culpability" as adults.

"There is a great consensus among religious organizations that executing juveniles should offend the sense of decency in any society," he said.
Article here.

Eight men settle lawsuit with Springfield, Ill., diocese

The Catholic Diocese of Springfield recently settled a lawsuit brought by eight men who said they were sexually abused by a former priest in the 1970s.

Diocese spokeswoman Kathie Sass said Wednesday the men will share $1.2 million.
Link to Post article here.

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Cardinal Arinze to speak in Pittsburgh Friday night

He is among the most powerful men in the Vatican, atop all A-lists of possible future popes, and on Friday night Cardinal Francis Arinze will headline a fund-raiser in Pittsburgh for one of his favorite ministries.

Arinze will speak, mingle and answer written questions at Le Mont restaurant on Mount Washington. The $250 per plate dinner benefits the Apostolate for Family Consecration. Arinze has close ties to the group, which promotes family spirituality and the teachings of Pope John Paul II. He spends part of each summer recording teaching tapes at its headquarters, Catholic Familyland in Bloomington, Ohio. But this is the first time he has raised money for them.
Article here.

The New Mysteries of the Rosary for John Kerry and others

Jeff Miller of The Curt Jester has posted some new mysteries called the "Flip Flop Mysteries" here.

Another Diocese warns it could go bankrupt

The Santa Rosa Catholic Diocese has been unable to settle 10 sexual abuse lawsuits and could be forced into bankruptcy by "adverse verdicts" if some of the cases go to trial, the diocese attorney said Monday.

The Santa Rosa Diocese considered bankruptcy in 1999 to cope with a $16 million debt attributed to former Bishop G. Patrick Ziemann's mismanagement. A special fund-raising campaign run by clergy, laity and Walsh raised more than $16 million in pledges, helping with the diocese's financial recovery, church officials said last year.

Santa Rosa still is repaying loans from other dioceses that were obtained during the fiscal crisis.
Article here...

So first, it is Portland with Tucson, it seems soon to follow and now Santa Rosa.

Archbishop Vlazny of Portland explains here that the bankruptcy filing offers everyone a chance to heal.

Archbishop Brunett:All Catholics should unite behind universal principles

Archbishop Brunett has an editorial column in the Seattle Times here and discusses "Catholic Participation in Political life" here.

Vatican: Speedy response to Austrian sex scandal reflects seriousness

Pope John Paul II's speed in ordering a special investigation into an Austrian diocese and its seminary reflects the seriousness of the allegations of sexual misconduct there as well as the formal request of the Austrian bishops' conference, Vatican officials said.

A Vatican official, who asked not to be named, said the publication of photographs showing members of the seminary staff and students engaged in inappropriate sexual behavior "is scandalous in the most literal sense."

The photographs, he said, "show widespread corruption within the seminary. The Holy Father must have been horrified."

"You don't need a degree in canon law to know that something needed to be done immediately," he said.
CNS Article.

A Request for Prayers for Archbisop Burke

Here is an excerpt from an email I received recently and I thought I should share it with everyone.
Thank you for your generous response to the spiritual bouquet for our Holy Father John Paul II. On June 30th, after the Holy Father's General Audience, Archbishop Burke personally presented the spiritual bouquet to our Holy Father on behalf of the Marian Catechists and the pilgrims from the St. Louis Archdiocese and from La Crosse Diocese. Over 24,500 prayer offerings are included in the spiritual bouquet.

I am sure you are aware of Archbishop Burke's courageous and heroic public stance regarding the sanctity of life and the moral evil of abortion and euthanasia; but sadly, His Excellency is almost the lone voice of sanity among our nation's bishops. Really, Archbishop Burke is like another St. Athanasius (who alone stood firm against the Arians in the 4th century). Daily, His Excellency is under attack and derided by many Catholic politicians and the secular media. Archbishop Burke especially needs our prayers and spiritual sacrifices.

At the annual Marian Catechist retreat this year, August 19-22, we would like to present a spiritual bouquet to Archbishop Burke, our National Director, as an expression of our gratitude for His Excellency's firm and courageous witness to the Truth and also as a pledge of our support and solidarity with His Excellency.

If you would like to participate in this spiritual bouquet, please send in your prayer offerings to the following e-mail address by Friday, August 6, 2004: Those who do not have e-mail access may call in their prayer offerings at (608)782-0011.

Friends, family members, and relatives are welcome to participate in the spiritual bouquet.

Please include the following information in your response: your name, your diocese, city and state, prayers to be offered and their number (i.e. 10 Rosaries, 9 Novenas, 7 Mass Intentions, 5 Holy Hours, etc.). The prayers and sacrifices should be offered within a year.

Thank you and God bless.

Bishop Olmsted awaits word from CDF on suspended priests

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted is awaiting reports from the Vatican and the Mesa Police Department before he determines what action to take with two East Valley priests.

On April 30, he suspended the Rev. John Cunningham, founding pastor of St. Mary Magdalene Catholic Church in Gilbert, for allegedly celebrating Mass at a wedding with a non-Catholic priest. Olmsted said it was "inconsistent with Catholic teaching" for a clergyman of another tradition and not grounded in Catholic doctrine to participate in the Eucharist. Named as interim pastor of the parish with more than 770 registered families was the Rev. Donald Kline.
Article here.

A Tale of Two Dioceses (Karl Keating e-letter)

Dear Friend of Catholic Answers:

Bishop Walter F. Sullivan was a liberal who maintained some of the original meaning of the word "liberal." Unlike many of his counterparts on the left half of the episcopal spectrum, he permitted the celebration of the Tridentine Mass, and there were other ways in which he was said to have given liberty to those with whom he did not agree on liturgical or other matters.

But he was a liberal in the usual sense too. He catered to pressure groups, establishing, for example, a "sexual minorities" commission to advise him on "gay and lesbian issues," and there were de rigueur commissions dealing with women, people with AIDS, black Catholics, and social justice issues.

Sullivan retired after leading the Diocese of Richmond, Virginia, for 29 years. His replacement is Bishop Francis X. DiLorenzo, who took over in May. He formerly was the bishop of Honolulu.

Under DiLorenzo the "sexual minorities" commission is not being reactivated. (It and all other commissions went into suspension when Sullivan retired.) The new bishop removed from the women's commission a member who was vocal in her support of women's ordination; she had served as the secretary of the Women's Ordination Conference. Membership in 24 other commissions is being reviewed.

Especially interesting is that DiLorenzo announced that no one could be invited to speak on Church property unless first approved by the diocesan theologian, a post that had lain vacant under Sullivan.

In deciding whether a proposed speaker passes muster, the new diocesan theologian, Fr. Russell E. Smith, has been instructed to use a simple standard: orthodoxy. "Orthodoxy is right teaching. Anything contrary to Catholic teaching will not fly. Don't expect anything about women's ordination in this diocese." The definition of orthodoxy, Smith said, can be found in the Catechism and in canon law. To help parishes, he will be sending them guidelines.

Smith's duties go beyond vetting prospective speakers. He also will handle complaints about liturgical abuses. "I am to determine whether or not there is a problem, and I propose the easy solution to the problem, which is to fix it voluntarily." If that fails, the situation will be handled by diocesan administrators as a personnel matter, said Smith.

Richmond has been known for three decades as a "progressive" diocese. It may be transformed in three years into one that has made great progress in putting itself in line with the teachings and practices of the Church. Stay tuned.


At the other end of the country we find a parallel story.

Bishop Robert F. Vasa heads the Diocese of Baker, Oregon. He has issued a regulation that requires those involved in parish ministries, especially in catechetics and in service at Mass, to provide assent to a list of ten doctrinal statements as well as to "all the teaching of the Catholic Church."

The document is called the "Affirmation of Personal Faith." Anyone who declines to sign it is asked to withdraw from ministerial duties. Among the issues in the "Affirmation" are teachings on homosexuality, contraception, chastity, marriage, abortion, euthanasia, the Real Presence, Mary, hell, purgatory, and the authority of the Church.

Vasa noted that "some Catholics claim a right to 'religious dissent' from even the serious moral teachings of the Church," but this "does not carry with it a corresponding 'right' to hold positions of esteem as a catechist or liturgical minister."

In a cover letter to lay ministers, Vasa wrote, "The summary statements which I have collected in the 'Affirmation of Personal Faith' are all taken from the Catechism of the Catholic Church. They represent the authentic and authoritative teaching of the Catholic Church, and acceptance of these tenets is expected of every Catholic. While it is sufficient for me to 'presume' that Catholics who attend Mass and receive Communion adhere to these teachings (unless the contrary is clearly evident), such a presumption is not sufficient for those whom I commission to teach and act in some official capacity."

The "Affirmation of Personal Faith" includes statements such as these:

"I affirm that I reject direct, intentional abortion and I do not recognize the legitimacy of anyone's claim to a moral right to form their own conscience in this matter. I am not pro-choice."

"I affirm and believe the Church's teaching about the sinfulness of contraception."

"I affirm and believe the teaching of the Church about the evil of homosexual acts."

"I affirm and believe that those who die in God's grace and friendship but are still imperfectly purified undergo additional purification so as to achieve the holiness necessary to enter the joys of heaven. I affirm that the Church's name for this final purification is purgatory."

"I further acknowledge that those teachings pronounced in a definitive manner, even though not as an infallible definition, are binding on the consciences of the faithful and are to be adhered to with religious assent."

In a footnote the "Affirmation" says that "The Church requires the making of a Profession of Faith by various persons when they undertake specific duties related to Church administration and teaching (cf. Canon 833). In the Diocese of Baker this has been expanded to include those who take on the ecclesial duties of Catechist, Liturgical Reader, Cantor, Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, and other Church positions which entail a presumption of orthodoxy."

The full text of the "Affirmation," along with Bishop Vasa's cover letter and an explanatory document titled "Giving Testimony to the Truth," may be found at


Not surprisingly, not everyone in the diocese has been pleased. A small group calling itself Concerned Catholics of the Diocese of Baker sent a letter to Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, asking him to review the new documents. The group includes the diocese's former episcopal vicar. The letter charges that "Giving Testimony" is "narrow and imbalanced" in that it ignores "the principal teachings of Christ and the Gospel."

Of course "Giving Testimony" is "narrow," and the "Affirmation," being shorter, is even narrower. If it were to be otherwise, they would be the Catechism, not booklet-length documents. The issue shouldn't be whether "Giving Testimony" and the "Affirmation" are "narrow" but whether what they propose for belief is correct.

If the faith consisted of 100 propositions, it would not be much of an argument to say that a doctrinal statement was too "narrow" because it listed only ten of them. What matters is whether what is listed is true and therefore worthy to be affirmed.

At the largest parish in the diocese, St. Francis of Assisi in Bend, more than two dozen people have withdrawn from ministry. One such person, Wilma Hens, said the "Affirmation" focused too heavily on "pelvic issues." Vasa responded by noting that he "did not set the [sexual] agenda, but the world set that agenda."

Would Hens have signed the "Affirmation" if it had included a few dozen additional points that had nothing to do with sexual morality? Not likely. Her kind of complaint comes from those who reject one or more moral teachings of the Church.

The pastor of St. Patrick's parish in Madras also is unhappy with the "Affirmation." "It breaks my heart," said Fr. Jim Stephens, "that a number of good people ... have told me they cannot continue in parish ministry, that they cannot make the 'Affirmation of Personal Faith' because they have some reservation about some of the teachings."

Stephens says his heart is broken because these people now feel excluded. Why didn't his heart break when he discovered that they didn't accept the entirety of the Catholic faith? Isn't rejection of formal Catholic teachings a worse thing than feeling left out?

What will Stephens do to insure his flock accepts the faith in its entirety? He doesn't say.

Until next time,


The content of this E-Letter is copyright 2004 by Karl Keating.
Soon the time will come when the wheat is separated from the chaff.

Voting rights and Archbishop Burke

Here are a couple of "Town Talk" blurbs from today's Post-Dispatch

ARCHBISHOP BURKE IS such a great politician now in telling all of us Catholics how we should vote or we're a bunch of sinners. Maybe he should spend more time figuring out why there's so many pedophile priests in the Catholic Church. I'm a practicing Catholic and I want to tell you, Mr. Archbishop, you or no one else is going to tell me how to vote.
A practicing Catholic? Who doesn't know how to address the Archbishop? Who doesn't recognize the evil of supporting abortion? Poor soul - His confusion must be from all his orthodox Catholic education and spiritual formation he's been receiving from his parish. That is, IF he attends Mass at least every Sunday...

And one more:

I WISH YOU people would get off the Archbishop's back. He is not telling you how to vote. He is trying to educate you that you can't be Catholic and favor abortion. John Kerry thinks it can be both ways and is making a mockery of the Catholic faith.
Thankfully, there are some people who "get it", unlike the person above who is probably confused about many daily life issues.

It will be interesting in the next few months...The division will be seen even more clearly as time goes on. Those who profess to believe in the one true God will be demonized by those who believe themselves to be god...and many of these will be calling themselves "Catholic".

Post Dispatch Link.

Archbishop Burke and Republicans

Archbishop and Republicans

Archbishop Burke needs to talk to his political candidates. The Republicans control the White House, the Senate and the Supreme Court. Have the abortion laws changed at all? Maybe his candidates should not receive Communion, because they have not done what they said they would do.
Here is a good example of intellectual dishonesty. The partial Birth Abortion Ban has been signed into law federally as has the 24 hour notification here in Missouri. These are steps to safeguard the lives of the unborn from a brutal murder - however, judicial activism has prevented them from being implemented. These attempts to deny the right to life to the unborn certainly is not the doing of the Republicans.

The caller to the Post-Dispatch has engaged in sophistry to make a pointless political remark lacking in substance.

Soundoff article here.

Holden & McCaskill both support murder of the unborn

Responding to a question from a panel of journalists, both Holden and McCaskill said they were disappointed in St. Louis Archbishop Raymond Burke's directive to Catholics that they are committing a sin if they vote for candidates who support abortion rights. Both McCaskill and Holden support women's right to choose to have an abortion.

McCaskill said voters needed to make up their minds about who would be the best governor on social justice issues, taking care of those who need help, preventing child abuse and keeping children from being murdered and thrown away in Dumpsters.

Holden said he supported a woman's right to make a decision for herself on whether to have an abortion.

"I think it's unfortunate when any leader tries to step in and put their value decision over the value system of the one making the decision," Holden said. "I would hope leaders would leave this decision to the woman and the family involved."
Both have disqualified themselves as possible candidates for Catholics by their support of abortion. McCaskill's attempt to invoke "social justice" as a smokescreen for her support of abortion is deplorable, especially since she claims to be a professed Catholic.

Article here.

Culture of Death at Catholic Colleges in U.S.

The trend of Catholic colleges hosting abortion-rights advocates has grown so much that the U.S. bishops' conference has asked Church-related institutions to refrain from honoring those who act in defiance of Church teachings.

Patrick Reilly, president of the Cardinal Newman Society, co-authored a five-year study with the group's Erin Butcher investigating inroads made by advocates of abortion, contraception, premarital sexual activity and physician-assisted suicide on Catholic college campuses.

Reilly shared with ZENIT the importance of the U.S. bishops' statement and the danger of Catholic schools welcoming high-profile persons who publicly oppose the Church's fundamental moral principles.

Here is Part 1 of the interview and Part 2 is here.

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Defrocked Priest Starts Own Church

A Roman Catholic priest defrocked over sexual abuse allegations has started his own church in western Waukesha County.

Just last week, the Milwaukee Archdiocese listed Joseph Collova on its restricted priest list.

At the same time, however, the Milwaukee Archdiocese said his ordination in another religion severs all ties Collova once had with the Roman Catholic Church.
Another one with a handful of supporters.


Archbishop warns Catholic politicians on abortion

Seattle Archbishop Alex Brunett joined a growing chorus of U.S. bishops Monday and warned Catholic politicians that it's impossible to keep the faith and support abortion.

Brunett said those who support abortion have adopted "a morally untenable position and are choosing a path that leads them away from the church." And those "who suggest that they can disassociate totally their political actions in principle from their Catholic faith are laboring under a dangerous moral delusion."

Bishop Vasa would deny Holy Communion

7/17/2004 - 11:00 AM PST

Bishop Vasa will deny Senator Kerry the Eucharist. He is no stranger to controversy nor does he shy away from defending Church teachings.

In answer to the question, 'If the pro-abortion 'Catholic' Senator John Kerry came up to you for Holy Communion, would you deny him,' Bishop Vasa quickly replied:

"Absolutely. I would agree, certainly, with Archbishop Burke and Bishop Bruskewitz in their own actions in this matter. I literally could not give Holy Communion to a professed and actively committed pro-choice politician."

Were all of the bishops informed of Cardinal Ratzinger's clear supportive directive citing why the bishops must deny manifest, obstinate, persistent persons in grave sin?

Bishop Vasa replied that the June memorandum from Cardinal Ratzinger was not given to the Conference of Bishops in Denver.

Vatican sends investigator to Austrian diocese

Bishop Klaus Kung of Feldkirch, Austria, will be the apostolic visitator, the Vatican announced. The formal announcement indicated that the visitator had been assigned "in particular for the diocesan seminary."

Monday, July 19, 2004

Honosexuals should not be ordained as priests

Bishop John M. D'Arcy, who in private letters to other church officials as early as 1978 questioned the reassignment of priests accused of sexual misconduct, said yesterday that the church must improve its screening process for accepting seminarians and that homosexuals should be prohibited from being ordained as priests.
This is what the Holy See stated in 1961 - but, of course, why listen to Rome. But then the Boston Globe wants to find out how the Boston Archdiocese and homosexual activists 'feel' about Bishop D'Arcy's statement:
The Rev. Christopher J. Coyne, spokesman for the archdiocese, said that while there has been discussion among some members of the archdiocese and at the Vatican about the possibility of banning homosexuals from the priesthood, no decisions have been made.

''The main issue is celibacy," he said, adding that D'Arcy's concerns about gay priests ''aren't necessarily shared by others."

Chuck Colbert, a Cambridge freelance writer and gay Catholic activist, said many Catholics understand that homosexuality and pedophilia have no connection. ''People make the distinctions," he said. ''People know gay priests."

D'Arcy's contention that gay men would find it difficult to resist temptation in a mostly male environment is flawed and closed-minded, Colbert said. ''Straight men are always around attractive women and they don't collapse," he said.
Close- minded? Given the statistics in the John Jay report? Given that homosexual inclinations are disordered? Colbert was the 'man' who disrupted Mass back in March when a video advocation the preservation of marriage was shown. Let's ask him how he "feels" about the statement, knowing that his inability to think rationally might be caused by his disordered inclinations.

Article here

The Great Irony: Bush is the Social Justice Candidate

But even if Catholic liberals are taken at their illogical word that somehow poverty is on a par with the right to life, the authentic social justice candidate in this election is still, surprise of surprises, George W. Bush. Social justice looks at the modern causes of a life of poverty and seeks realistic remedies. George Bush has consistently proposed two revolutionary initiatives that strike at the root of the cycle of American poverty: faith-based initiatives and school vouchers.

If you think outside the box and attack substance abuse with proven faith-based approaches and offer real educational opportunity to poor kids, then social justice can be advanced in today's America--without killing one single unborn or partially born infant. The grand illusion of liberal Catholics is that the Democratic Party is the party of social justice, while in fact it is the party of the extravagantly unjust status quo of poverty and abortion. It is time for Catholic liberals to open their minds.

Lifesite: Archbishop Burke, spokesman for orthodoxy

Archbishop Raymond Burke has become the effective spokesman for the orthodox Catholic position among the US bishops with his unabashed criticism of Catholic politicians who support abortion.

Burke has been equally forthright on the subject of homosexual 'marriage.' He has issued a letter addressed to the Catholics of the St. Louis Archdiocese in which he urges his flock to participate in the decision and offers a document for instruction. Burke says, "The action in question has profound implications for the future of marriage and family life… I urge you to exercise your right and fulfill your duty to vote on Aug. 3"
Lifesite article.

This is a position EVERY Catholic bishop and priest should take...Pray that it may soon be so!

"They can take the priest...We won't give up the parish"

Such is the attitude of one parishioner at the 124-year old parish at St. Stanislaus Kostka Church.

No priest? Then why have a parish?

St Louis Post Dispatch article here.

Sunday, July 18, 2004

Surely everyone has heard of St. Joan of Arc Parish in Minneapolis?

"GLBT Pride/Twin Cities Presents the 2004 Community Pride Award to Church of St. Joan of Arc."
This distinctive award inscription honored St. Joan's for their committed support of their GLBT members. To show that support, over 150 members of the parish marched in this year's Ashley Rukes GLBT Pride Parade held June 27 and attended the "Dreaming Out Loud GLBT Prayer Service-A Celebration of Pride and Community” held in SJA's church on June 23rd.

In a time when right wing conservatives of many churches condemn the lifestyle of homosexuality, some excluding gays and lesbians from worship while perpetuating a message of hate, St. Joan's has been steadfast in welcoming their GLBT parishioners. A monthly potluck support group run by Ron Joki and Theresa Healy allows for an outreach of connectiveness. An annual GLBT spiritual retreat explores biblical readings, meditations, rituals, play and musical skits with guest performers and speakers that confront negativity, challenges exclusivity and affirms acceptance and healing. This very website includes a GLBT section devoted to updates of relative news, GLBT families, same-sex adoption and potluck meetings. And SJA continues their presence in marching in the Pride parade each year.
Let's see here...One of the irreversible teachings of the Church is that homosexual acts are intrinsically evil. So, evidently, the Church must also be a "right wing conservative...perpetuating a message of hate?" All because some people see evil and call it good! How wonderful! Satan must be proud of his followers.

Parish Link here.

Take a look around the site. And it claims to be Catholic? Is anyone in charge there?

History and Significance of Dogma of Immaculate Conception

The dogma of the Immaculate Conception, proclaimed 150 years ago, rediscovers in its profundity the expression "full of grace," says a consultor of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Discalced Carmelite Father Jesus Castellano Cervera, a specialist in Marian studies, reflects in this interview with ZENIT on the origin and significance of this dogma. Next month John Paul II will make a pilgrimage to Lourdes, the place in France where the Blessed Virgin appeared in 1858 and confirmed the truth of her immaculate conception.
Zenit article here.

This is by no means an in-depth theological treatise, but it will help to get a grasp of the history and meaning of the Immaculate Conception.