Friday, August 06, 2004

Archbishop transfers Polish ministry

Here is today's article from the St. Louis Review about St. Stanislaus.

More Letters...

Archbishop has wrong priorities
The Aug. 4 article on the temporary closing of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church was one of the most disturbing pieces I've read recently.

I am dumbfounded that Archbishop Raymond Burke places greater emphasis on the financial protocols of the archdiocese than on the importance of people coming together to worship God.

Although I am not a parishioner of St. Stanislaus, I recognize the value of the church and the role it plays in our community.

First, it is one of the remaining sanctuaries in north St. Louis. Second, it binds those of Polish decent closely to their traditions and beliefs, yet welcomes those of other nationalities to worship as well.

Most important, the people of St. Stanislaus have worked together to sustain the church through the years for the sole purpose of having a place to worship together, which is a testament to what faith can accomplish.

I'm struggling to comprehend how focusing on financial procedures ties in with the mission of Jesus and the Catholic Church. I think Archbishop Burke needs to re-evaluate his priorities and remove the obstacles he is establishing to prevent people from worshipping.

Berta Simic
A lack of one's comprehension of the issue does not indicate that the Archbishop is incorrect. Archbishop Burke fully addressed the issue here.

And then we have this:
Using religion
I am insulted at the statement in the Aug. 4 article about President Bush visiting the Knights of Columbus Convention in Dallas that John Kerry "does better with less-observant Catholics."

I am Catholic, and consider myself "observant." However, I support Kerry for president. The reasons are many and are not really important. I go to Mass every week, I say my prayers just as well as any other Catholic.

Just because I believe in the separation of church and state does not mean I am "less-observant." I also do not believe in the death penalty, a fact that Bush conveniently has forgotten, I guess.

I am sickened at Bush's latest attempt to use whatever it takes - in this case religion - to divide our country.

Tamara Whitman
And as a matter of fact, "I'm more Catholic than the Pope!" Poor woman. She apparently believes in whatever happens to be convenient and easy - Following Christ requires sacrifice. It's more than making a weekly Sunday appearance at church. It means following the way of the Cross with all the hardships and struggles that go with it. It means abiding in God's truth. It means accepting all of the truth - even that which we may find difficult.

'It is clear that the Catholic voter has to be opposed to procured abortion. Anybody who votes for a candidate who supports or favors procured abortion because the candidate favors procured abortion cooperates in evil." (Archbishop Burke)

Letters here.

Bishops' abortion decision sparks debate (poll)

Roman Catholics took sides Thursday, the day after three Southeastern bishops barred politicians who support abortion rights from receiving Holy Communion.

All that priests, politicians and parishioners have in common is passion for their position.
Article and an online Poll here.

POLL Results as of this morning.
Should Catholics allow abortion supporters to receive communion?
Yes 191 votes (51%)
No 182 votes (49%)

373 people have voted so far.

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the new ‘John Fisher’

Barbara Kralis conducted an interview recently with Archbishop Burke while he was on vacation and she asked six questions which he answered:

Question:  Dear Archbishop Burke, regarding Cardinal Ratzinger’s June 2004 memorandum, were the contents of the memo made known to you and the other bishops at the Denver meeting?


Archbishop Burke:  “It certainly was not made known to me and I do not believe it was given to the other bishops.  Cardinal McCarrick referred to the memorandum.  We were told that, according to Cardinal Ratzinger, the application of the Canon 915 was up to the prudent judgment of each bishop.  The text of the memorandum would have been very helpful at the meeting in Denver.  Knowing now about the memo, I am disappointed it was not given to us at the meeting of the Bishops’ Conference,” said Archbishop Burke.


Question:  The Bishops’ Denver Statement reads:


“Bishops can legitimately make different judgments on the most prudent course of pastoral action.” 


Does this mean that one Bishop can deny Senator John Kerry Holy Communion and another Bishop can give Kerry Communion and both Bishops are correct?


Archbishop Burke:  “No, in fact, Canon 915 must be applied.  It does not give an option.  Canon 915 says that those persons who obstinately persist in grave manifest sin must be denied the Eucharist.  I strongly believe that if a bishop has spoken to someone who obstinately persists in grave manifest sin and he still presents himself for Holy Communion, he should be refused.”


Question:  Cardinal McCarrick received a letter dated July 9, 2004, from Cardinal Ratzinger saying:


“The ‘Statement’ is very much in harmony with the memorandum’s general principles, ‘Worthiness to receive Holy Communion,’ sent as a fraternal service – to clarify the doctrine of the Church on this specific issue – in order to assist the American Bishops in their related discussion and determinations.” 


Is it your understanding that Cardinal Ratzinger agreed that some ‘ministers of Holy Communion’ should admit John Kerry and that some should not admit him?


Archbishop Burke:  “That is not my understanding.” [vi]


Question:  In the Denver Statement, the fifth paragraph reads: 


“Our obligation as bishops at this time is to teach clearly.” 


Can one bishop admit and another bishop not admit?  Is this teaching clearly?  Is it not a contradiction of Canon 915, for one bishop to refuse John Kerry the Eucharist in one diocese and for another bishop to give John Kerry the Eucharist in another diocese?


Archbishop Burke:  “Yes, it would be a source of confusion.  I have refused to talk about individual candidates, but when a ‘Catholic’ pro-abortion politician knows the actions he has taken are gravely sinful in a public matter like supporting abortion, the only way to uphold church teaching is to withhold Holy Communion.  It is not right for one ‘minister of Holy Communion’ to give the Eucharist and another not to.”


Question:  Is it your understanding that the ‘Task Force’s’ work is completed.  Cardinal Ratzinger’s July 9 letter assumed that the ‘Task Force’ has not decided yet.[vii]


Archbishop Burke:  “I understood from the meeting that the work of the ‘Task Force’ was not completed and we would be given another report at our November 2004 meeting.  I do not know if there will be another vote.  Normally there is a vote to accept and not to accept.”


Question:  What can you tell us now about the ‘Note Bene’ statement of Cardinal Ratzinger’s at the end of his June memorandum?  In it, he states that ‘proportionalism’ or voting for ‘the lesser of two evils’ is acceptable.  Do you think it is possible to end abortion by always voting for the lesser evil candidate?  How would this apply to Pope Paul VI who stated? 


“Though it is true that sometimes it is lawful to tolerate a lesser moral evil in order to avoid a greater evil or in order to promote a greater good," it is never lawful, even for the gravest reasons, to do evil that good may come of it [viii]—in other words, to intend directly something which of its very nature contradicts the moral order, and which must therefore be judged unworthy of man, even though the intention is to protect or promote the welfare of an individual, of a family or of society in general.” [ix]


Archbishop Burke:  “It is clear that the Catholic voter has to be opposed to procured abortion.  Anybody who votes for a candidate who supports or favors procured abortion because the candidate favors procured abortion cooperates in evil.[x]


“A host of considerations enter in the decision to vote for a particular candidate.  The voter must be opposed to procured abortion and do everything as a voter to decrease the evil of abortion and eliminate it.


“If the Catholic voter votes for a candidate who is in favor of procured abortion, while the voter is clearly opposed to it, there must be some serious reason to justify such a vote.


“As Cardinal Ratzinger said, in his June memorandum, such a vote is ‘remote material cooperation,’ which can be permitted in the presence of proportionate reasons. 


His position is not proportionalism, for the voter remains steadfastly opposed to procured abortion and works to eliminate abortion in society and its protection by the law.”


Question:  Thank you very much for granting this interview.


Archbishop Burke:  You are welcome, and please pray for me.

Complete article here.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

St. Stanislaus Update

Members of the St. Stanislaus church in North St. Louis say they will not go without a fight. A meeting is scheduled Thursday night for members to decide how to respond to this week's temporary shutdown. That meeting is at the Polish Heritage Center at the church.

Organizers tell FOX 2 News it will be between the board of directors at St. Stanislaus and the congregation. The main topic of discussion will be what to do this Sunday.

The Archdiocese on Tuesday removed the two priests at the church effectively shutting down the church temporarily. The move after an ongoing controversy between St. Stanislaus and the Archdiocese over how the parish is run including financial control.

The boiling point apparently came after the board of directors ordered the Archdiocesan priest to turn over anything related to the church's finances to them--from priests (sic) stipends to parish electrical bills.

The church has always operated independent of the Archdiocese. Archbishop Raymond Burke says that can't continue. The Archdiocese has arranged for [M]ass to be held in [P]olish this Sunday at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist downtown for the congregation. St. Stanislaus has controlled its own finances since 1891.

Just a reminder that the traditional Sunday mass in polish is no longer being held at St. Stanislaus. It's been moved to St. John the Apostle and Evangelist downtown. St. Stanislaus church members will still meet at their church Sunday morning for a prayer service and support meeting at 10:00am.
Source Fox2KTVI.

On the report this evening, there was talk by some in the congregation to leave the Catholic Church. There was also some discussion of trying to get a couple of Franciscan priests from Poland to come here. Please pray for Archbishop Burke and the people of St. Stanislaus so that God may allow reason to prevail and that the church may be fully incorporated into the archdiocese.

Judge Legalizes Same-Sex "Marriage" for Washington State

This is precisely one of the primary reasons that Missouri voters were given the chance to vote on a constitutional amendment - to prevent judicial activists from usurping the rights of the people of the state.
A Seattle judge ruled Wednesday that denying same-sex couples the right to marriage defies the constitution.

The decision by King County Superior Court Judge William Downing will be stayed until the Washington State Supreme Court studies the ruling. No marriage licences will be issued until the Supreme Court review.

Washington state's current official definition of marriage is the union of a man and woman.
But we were told by the homosexual lobby that we didn't need a constitutional amendment as Missouri Law specified the same thing. The smokescreen didn't work here, praise God!


Various Letters regarding the Amendment to protect marriage...

...which many are calling the "Gay" marriage ban. Merely because the constitutional amendment affirms the natural law in that marriage is a union of a man and a woman, some see the word 'ban' where it does not exist. Some claim that their 'rights' are being denied - rights which appear to include the crime of sodomy.

Here are some excerpts from the letters:
How embarrassing that Missouri put bigotry into our state constitution.

As a new Missourian, I am disappointed in the passage of the same-gender marriage ban.

I mean if we're going to legislate morality, let's just do the whole thing. No divorce, criminalize adultery, ban drinking, ban swearing or working on Sundays.

For the first time in my life, I am ashamed to be have been born and raised in this state.
Read them here. The letters are decent examples of one's inability to reason or think in a rational manner.

Church plans to meet on Burke's action

Members of St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church plan to meet at 7 p.m. today to discuss Archbishop Raymond Burke's removal of its two priests in the continuing dispute over operations of the parish.

Spokesmen for the parish's lay board of directors said Wednesday that it will hold a prayer service at 10 a.m. Sunday at the church, at 1413 North 20th Street, just northwest of downtown. Because Burke removed both priests, the parish cannot celebrate Mass.

Burke sent a letter to parishioners on Tuesday informing them that the Rev. Philip J. Bene, the pastor, and the Rev. Adam Hurbanczuk will reside at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist downtown until St. Stanislaus' board "conforms to church law." Burke did so after the parish board told Bene that it had "reclaimed its authority" over parish funds.

Burke contends that St. Stanislaus' structure as a nonprofit group run by a lay board is contrary to church law. The board and some parishioners have resisted Burke's instructions to reform in a standard parish structure, saying they operated with the Catholic church's approval since 1891.

Roger Krasnicki, parish board spokesman, said the board plans to appeal Burke's instructions and is considering legal action.
The canonical structure has always been a problem but some would think that if a problem is ignored, it will disappear. News reports have indicated that the board is to retain a lawyer to fight the Archdiocese over this.

Archbishop Burke explained the entire situation in an article in the St. Louis Review some time ago in which the concerns the board keeps bringing up were addressed by him - but that seems to mean nothing for some who are more concerned with 'control' rather than obedience.


Reactions to Bishops' statement

"I am Catholic, but I am also a Democrat, so . . . it puts me in a tough position," said Georgia state Rep. Pedro Marin (D-Duluth). "I have to be pro-choice because that's the Democratic position."
Why doesn't he just say, "Because the devil made me do it." This is an excuse a child would use, not an adult. And this is to say nothing about the fact that his party loyalty is more important than his fidelity to Christ.
Marin said he was not sure whether he would continue to try to take Communion. "I will have to see if the Catholic religion still fills me up, spiritually," he said.
Again, it's all about "ME"...too many have forgotten why they even attend Mass.

And here's another:
National pro-choice Catholic groups called the Southern bishops' statement shocking because it goes beyond denying Communion. They found especially troublesome the requirement that politicians must publicly disavow abortion and get a bishop's permission to resume taking Communion.

"This is pretty draconian," said Frances Kissling, president of the Washington-based Catholics For a Free Choice.

"It certainly does not seem to be a mainstream strategy. The overwhelming majority of Catholic people do not believe it is appropriate for a bishop to use Communion as a political sledgehammer to gain obedience."
I don't understand why this woman is not formally and publicly excommunicated as an apostate of the faith.

This article here.

Worthy to Receive the Lamb: Catholics in Political Life and the Reception of Holy Communion

The full text of the letter from Archbishop Donoghue, Bishop Baker and Bishop Jugis can be viewed here at the Archdiocese of Atlanta web site.

Bishop Sheridan bishop urges protection of marriage

Marriage was created by God and must not be used to promote a "homosexual political agenda," Colorado Springs Bishop Michael Sheridan writes in the August issue of the diocesan newspaper.

What's more, civil authorities "should consider it a sacred duty" to acknowledge man-woman marriage and protect it against the movement to legalize same-sex unions, Sheridan writes in his monthly column, which appears today in The Catholic Herald.
Article here.

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

Institute of Christ the King to St. Louis?

I have been hearing more and more rumors that the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest is coming to St. Louis. I have also heard that the Canons Regular of the New Jerusalem are coming here.

Hopefully, this will be confirmed soon...I will pass along any confirmed information as soon as I receive it.

Some "Catholics" opposed to Amendment 2

In reviewing the "Constitiution Defense League" web site and looking over the names of the "Faith Community Opposed to Amendment 2", the constitutional amendment to preserve marriage as an institution reserved to a man and a woman, I was more than a bit surprised to see the names of some Catholics on the list, particularly after the Missouri Bishops had, in recent weeks, expressed their concerns about upholding the sanctity of marriage.

Some of the more obvious names I saw were:

Rev. Gerald J. Kleba
(Pastor of St. Cronan's Catholic Church, St. Louis, a past Senior Associate Pastor at my parish)

Sister Barbara Ann Barbato
Sisters of Loretto

Claire McCaskill
State Auditor

Mayor Francis Slay
St. Louis, MO


Have a look and see who I missed.

More Absurdities from the Sound Off Column

Church and voting

If the Catholic Church can tell its members not to vote for those politicians who support pro-choice, mainly Democrats, then it should also tell its members not to vote for those who support the concealed gun laws, mainly Republicans. Actually, the Catholic Church has no right at all to tell anyone how to vote.

The individual fails to distinquish anything which is intrinsically evil about guns or about carrying a concealed gun. But then, there is confusion in the individual's assertion about "how to vote". Even the polling place workers instruct new voters "how to vote". The Church informs the faithful how to apply Catholic moral teaching in voting - not for whom to vote.

It's unfortunate that so many people do not follow through to the logical conclusions in their thinking - if they did, perhaps, they might be less prone to speak out.

Detroit parish to celebrate Tridentine Mass

Detroit Cardinal Adam Maida is reaching back 40 years to revive a traditional form of the Latin mass, and he's hoping its unusual appeal will help save one of Detroit's most famous Catholic churches, St. Josaphat.

Starting Oct. 3, Sunday morning worship will jump back to an earlier era in this church whose soaring steeple is framed against the Renaissance Center from the perspective of thousands of commuters each day on southbound I-75 at Canfield.
How long have some people waited?
"When the pope authorized bishops to allow this mass in 1984, the idea was that this was a pastoral response to older people who still are so attached to this older mass that they need it," Rev. Thomas Reese, editor of America Magazine, said Monday. "The idea was never to create a new desire in people for this mass."
Hmmm....His version of Ecclesia Dei must have been a different than the one I read. I'm certain that some in Detroit are truly thankful. Perhaps this will be an impetus of things to come?

Article here

Three more Bishops forbid Holy Communion to politicians supporting abortion

Because of the influence that Catholics in public life have on the conduct of our daily lives and on the formation of our nation's future, we declare that Catholics serving in public life espousing positions contrary to the teaching of the Church on the sanctity and inviolability of human life, especially those running for or elected to public office are not to be admitted to Holy Communion in any Catholic church within our jurisdictions: the Archdiocese of Atlanta, the Dioceses of Charleston and Charlotte. Only after reconciliation with the Church has occurred, with the knowledge and consent of the local bishop, and public disavowal of former support for procured abortion, will the individual be permitted to approach the Sacrament of the Holy Eucharist.

We undertake this action to safeguard the sacred dignity of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar, to reassure the faithful, and to save sinners.

Most Reverend John F. Donoghue
Archbishop of Atlanta

Most Reverend Robert J. Baker
Bishop of Charleston

Most Reverend Peter J. Jugis
Bishop of Charlotte
Article here.

Missouri voters protect Marriage

Missouri voters gave resounding approval to an amendment to the state constitution banning gay marriage, putting the nation on notice that similar proposed bans in other states could be difficult to defeat.

The Missouri Constitution will now state that ``to be valid and recognized in this state a marriage shall exist only between a man and a woman.''

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

Archbishop Burke removes St. Stanislaus priests

Archbishop Raymond Burke said he had temporarily removed two priests from St. Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church in a letter to parishioners today...

In his letter, Burke said previously scheduled weddings and funeral Masses will be allowed to continue at St. Stanislaus, but that no priest may celebrate Mass in the church without his consent. He said he will not assign another priest to the parish until the board "conforms to Church discipline."
Link here.

There is a copy of the letter floating around somewhere - maybe one of the media outlets will post it later.

St Stanislaus Kostka Catholic Church temporarily shut down

From Fox 2 KTVI Television:
There is a startling development in the battle over a historic St. Louis Polish Catholic Church. Archbishop Raymond Burke has in effect temporarily shut down St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish, moving it's priests to another church.

In a letter to parishioners on Tuesday, the Archbishop says the move is in response to recent actions by the St. Stanislaus board. Unlike other parishes, that board owns the church and runs its finances independently of the Archdiocese. [Archbishop] Burke says the board's recent demand that the parish priests immediately turn over any and all financial matters from priest stipends to electrical bills is an affront to the Archdiocese and "common decency".

So the priests and the Catholic [M]asses are moving. The Archdiocese will continue its parish ministries at St. John the Apostle and Evangelist Church downtown beginning this Sunday. [Archbishop] Burke is out of town attending religious conferences through Thursday.
They had to know this was coming. Archbishop Burke is committed to bringing all parishes into conformity with canonical regulations. It is unfortunate that the board of St. Stanislaus has rejected attempts to regularize the parish within the archdiocese.

This issue has been in and out of the news for at least the last five months. Certainly if nothing was done, it might have continued for many more years. It is an issue which should have resolved many years ago, but like so many other 'hard decisions', it appears to have been left to someone who had the courage to do what is required of him.

Illinois Usurps Rights of Parents

Dom Bettinelli had posted an article on "More Nanny Government".
This intrusion into the legitimate rights of parents is, frankly, orwellian.
This past spring, the Illinois General Assembly passed a new bill requiring compulsory mental health screening for children and pregnant women; it was signed into law by Governor Blagojevich. This program will require all pregnant women and children through the age of 18 be tested for mental health needs.

Something is wrong with the government bureaucracy there, or with the people of the state, or both.

Join a Prayer List for Archbishop Burke

I received this email this morning and I am passing it on for those who may be interested in offering prayers for Archbishop Burke.

We are forming a perpetual prayer list of people who are willing to dedicate one day each month for Archbishop Burke. The idea is to create an entire day of prayer specifically for His Excellency, offered through Our Lady of Guadalupe. The Holy Sacrifice of the Mass (if possible), our work, sufferings, joys, and prayers would be offered on a scheduled date, once each month, especially for Archbishop Burke.

If you are interested in helping us surround His Excellency with continuous prayers, GREAT! Please e-mail Mary Kroening at (If e-mail is not an option, please feel free to call Mary at home at ***.) If you would like to request a particular date each month, please let us know. Otherwise, we will contact you and let you know which date has been arranged for you.

His Excellency will be given a list of each day of the month with the name(s) of the person(s) praying for him.

Please forward this e-mail to anyone who might be interested. Our goal is to begin our monthly schedule on September 1, 2004.

Thank you for considering this important effort and may God bless you as we rally behind A TRUE SHEPHERD.

Mary Kroening

Marian Catechist Apostolate
La Crosse, Wisconsin
Phone: 608-782-0011

*** I removed the phone number above but it is available on request.

Please consider joining in this act of charity for Archbishop Burke.

Vatican's Call for Broad Roles for Women Labeled 'Anti-Feminist' by Media

The media has an anti-Catholic tendency, but then you know that. The Vatican recently issued a very profound and positive letter on women and men in society. The media portrayed the document as an attack on "feminism," though that word is never used in the document. What the document focuses on is the inherent genius of women, and how men and women compliment each other in all aspects of their lives.

Spread the word.
Yours sincerely,
Austin Ruse

A letter published last week by the Vatican celebrates what Pope John Paul II calls the feminine genius and calls for women to have access to positions of national leadership. But the document received a largely negative reception in the mainstream press where it was characterized as "slamming feminism."

"Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on the Collaboration of Men and Women in the Church and in the World" was issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and made public on Saturday. As its title indicates, the letter's thrust is that women and men have complementary roles to play in the Church and in society. The letter warns against a tendency in "new approaches to women's issues" that make women and men adversaries in a struggle for power.

The document is critical of the idea, gaining traction in academic and public policy circles, that there are no differences in nature between the sexes and that apparent gender differences are the result of social conditioning. "According to this perspective, human nature in itself does not possess characteristics in an absolute manner: all persons can and ought to constitute themselves as they like, since they are free from every predetermination linked to their essential constitution."

The 7,000-word letter says that man and woman were created with differences that are complimentary and that both family and society benefit from feminine "values." Chief among such feminine values is what the document calls the "capacity for the other" which it defines as the ability to "elicit life, and contribute to the growth and protection of the other." While this feminine attribute is closely linked to a woman's ability to bear children, the letter stresses that "this does not mean that women should be considered from the sole perspective of physical procreation." The close link between motherhood and female identity does not require that a woman give physical birth, according to the document.

Women have a special role to play in the life of the family, the letter says, but her sphere of influence ought not to be limited to that role. "[W]omen should be present in the world of work and in the organization of society, and . . . women should have access to positions of responsibility which allow them to inspire the policies of nations and to promote innovative solutions to economic and social problems." The letter calls on society to not discriminate against those women who want to work exclusively in the home and to make it possible for those women "who wish also to engage in other work . . . to do so with an appropriate work-schedule, and not have to choose between relinquishing their family life or enduring continual stress."

Despite its calls for women to be treated equally, headlines from both the national and international press claimed the letter condemned feminism and this despite the fact that the word "feminism" never appears in the text of the document. Many reports, including the Washington Post's, claimed that document accused feminism of undermining the traditional family and paving the way for homosexual "marriage." In reality it is the blurring of the differences between the sexes that the letter said was having this affect. "This theory of the human person, intended to promote prospects for equality of women through liberation from biological determinism" calls into question "the family, in its natural two-parent structure" and makes "homosexuality and heterosexuality virtually equivalent . . ."

Copyright, 2004 --- Culture of Life Foundation.
Permission granted for unlimited use. Credit required.

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Why Communion Won't Be Withheld

Dr. Jeffrey A. Mirus, Founder and President of Catholic Culture, has posted an interesting and timely article here.

In this week's Highlights article, Dr. Mirus discusses the reasons why pro-abortion politicians won't be refused communion in the United States.
This riveting article shows why communion should be withheld, but also why the prevailing culture won't permit it to happen.

I happen to believe that he is tight on target in his analysis - here are some excerpted highlights:
Although I am in favor of denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians, I am sadly convinced this issue's day has not yet come. Considerations of culture, spiritual discernment, prudence, fidelity, feasibility, jurisdiction, law and courage all enter the discussion. Let’s take a look at a few of the difficulties.

Reluctance to Discipline
Consider how much this reluctance to discipline is reflected in the life of the Church. The 1983 revision of the Code of Canon Law dramatically reduced the number of disciplinary canons and, according to a recent report from the St. Joseph Foundation, the Roman Rota decided just three penal cases over the fifteen-year period following the revision. The Foundation’s analysis suggests that the Church is “overdosing on the medicine of mercy”.

A Worldview at Stake
None of this is surprising. Modern Western culture is characterized by both a reflexive distrust of authority and a reflexive insistence that religious authority is irrelevant to affairs outside Church walls—so irrelevant, in fact, that most people would be astonished to see an ecclesiastical leader even attempt to exercise authority beyond the corporate structure of the Church.

The Match and the Fuse
These aren’t arguments; they are cultural facts. You may say that all it takes is sufficient courage to strike the match and light the fuse, and you may be right. But now we come across another cultural fact. The kind of men who are made bishops, for better or worse, are not generally dogmatic isolationists.

Canon Law and Ratzinger
Still, if you want greater discipline, you are in very good company. Canon Law, despite the fact that its remaining disciplinary provisions have been unused for nearly a generation, is on your side. Canon 915 still provides that persons who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to Holy Communion.”

Authority and Escape
One might well have wished for a stronger statement [from the USCCB], but we do well to remember that USCCB statements are themselves problematic. The Conference of Catholic Bishops has no magisterial authority.

If the bishops were to decide unanimously to withhold Communion from pro-abortion politicians, one is still left to wonder whether the decree could be enforced among the lesser clergy. Refer to the discussion of reluctance to discipline, above. There are so many leaks in this boat that we are left begging for alternatives.

In the long run, it is also extremely important for all bishops and even the Holy See to clarify Catholic social teaching. Cardinal Ratzinger’s distinctions concerning abortion and euthanasia on the one hand, and capital punishment and war on the other, need to become the centerpiece of effective social catechesis. It must become increasingly impossible to make the argument that if I oppose capital punishment and favor abortion I am just as Catholic (and just as pro-life) as someone who opposes abortion and favors capital punishment—or any other argument of this kind. Sorry, but having a particular position on health insurance isn’t enough.

Alone Again, Naturally
Of course, since not all bishops accept Cardinal Ratzinger’s distinctions about what constitutes certain Catholic teaching (as no few have shown by repeated comments on capital punishment, war and even this particular issue), it is clear that we won’t have a chorus of statements “singling out” pro-abortion politicians. All we have gained this year, then, is a slight raising of consciousness.

Incredible as it may seem, the time is still not ripe. Therefore, Catholic Americans will have to fight the battle for the Presidency without significant moral support from their bishops.

The bottom line is that most Catholics can expect little leadership from their bishops. Some of us are more fortunate than others in being so blessed to have Archbishop Burke as our shepherd. Because he will teach the truth amid cries of rebellion and dissent, he will need our prayers and support as will other bishops and priests who stand firm for the truth.

Full Article here.

Overdosing on the Medicine of Mercy

In a remarkable article published last spring, James Hitchcock argued that an unrealistic spirit of “compulsory optimism” has pervaded the Church since the Second Vatican Council and that the effects of this compulsory optimism have been to cause the faithful to ignore the devastating internal crisis afflicting the Church and to disable the hierarchy from taking any action effectively to address that crisis or the scandals associated with it [“The End of Gaudium et Spes?” Cath. World Rpt. (May 2003)]. The debilitating spirit of optimism identified by Hitchcock has been at least as present in canon law as in any other aspect of the Church’s life. The most striking example of this phenomenon in the legal realm has been the near abandonment of the Church’s penal or criminal law in the decades since Vatican II. The post-conciliar decline in penal law is not only a symptom of the problem described by Hitchcock, but it is also a major cause of a host of other problems, especially the sexual abuse crisis in America.

The post-conciliar aversion to the use of penal processes has become almost an aversion to correction itself, regardless of the form...This aversion to correction extends even to actions in other contexts that only resemble penal action. Thus, when Archbishop Raymond Burke notified unrepentant pro-abortion politicians that they would be denied communion, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick and Cardinal Roger Mahony criticized his action. McCarrick referred to Burke’s action as a “sanction” and Mahony stated that such a step was improper unless the politicians had been found guilty of a crime. However, the cardinals were wrong to assume that Burke’s action was a penal sanction or that it had anything at all to do with penal law.

Rather, as Archbishop Burke already had explained, the question is one of sacramental discipline. The law of the Church states that persons who “obstinately persist in manifest grave sin are not to be admitted to holy communion” (can. 915). Note that the canon states not that such persons may be denied communion, but rather that they are not to be admitted. Despite the obligatory nature of this canon, however, few bishops have attempted to correct the proabortion Catholic politicians in their dioceses or even have spoken out against the phenomenon of public promoters of abortion continuing to receive communion in Catholic churches week after week and year after year.
Complete Article here.

Getting Married in St. Peter's

A wonderful story about a St. Louis couple.
Most St. Louisans are familiar with traditional Catholic weddings. After all, the Gateway City is known for its rich Catholic heritage. But for Brian Roy and Sara Spalding, who met during confirmation class years ago, it couldn't get much more Catholic than getting married in the Vatican — and having their marriage blessed by Pope John Paul II himself.

Brian and Sara, both 31, got the idea to get married in the holy city when Brian's good friend, the Rev. Gene Morris, a priest, was sent by the archbishop of St. Louis to Rome to get his license in sacramental theology.
Article here.

Ashcroft Appeals Calif. Judge's Abortion Ruling

The U.S. Justice Department on Monday will appeal a San Francisco federal judge's ruling that a 2003 law banning late-term abortions was unconstitutionally broad, court documents show.
Justice department attorneys filed a notice of appeal to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeal, challenging the June 1 ruling by U.S. District Judge Phyllis Hamilton.

Hamilton sided with plaintiff Planned Parenthood in barring U.S. Attorney General John Ashcroft from enforcing the ban on late-term abortions at Planned Parenthood's 900 U.S. clinics.
We should pray that God will enlighten the minds of those judges who will decide not only this case, but the future lives of those who would be most affected by their rulings.


Voting Today in Missouri

The headline reads: Missouri to Vote on Gay Marriage Ban when it should actually state: Missouri to Vote to Define Marriage.

The issue is not to ban homosexual 'marriage' as such a thing does not exist. The issue is to preserve Missouri's definition of marriage as the union between a man and a woman - and to do so via a Constitutional Amendment to prevent errant judges from overturning Missouri law.

Article here.

Mesa AZ Vice-Mayor Upset with Courageous Bishops

We have yet another disturbing story about an apparent crackdown by some Catholic bishops on lay Catholic activities.

Will we be next?

I studied theology as part of my courses at St. Louis University. The Jesuits there taught me to have an inquiring mind on religious issues. I have my own thoughts and opinions. Does this mean I am unworthy to continue my lay ministry as a lector?

I thought I was safe from the new inquisition when I retired as an elected official in June and that I could receive Communion without fear of cross-examination. we see his problem. The always faithful Jesuits taught him how to have a dissident mind. How refreshing! But that's not all.
I thought loyalty oaths went out with the fall of the Berlin wall.

What does our new bishop think about Bishop Vasa's ultimatum? I'm really not sure I want to know given the tenor of so many of his recent pronouncements that have so profoundly disturbed many longtime Arizona Catholics.

Stay tuned.
I believe God would like us to be loyal and He wants us to be resolute in our affirmation of Him and His revealed truth.

And, of course, being a Jesuit trained, professed Catholic politician, he has no problem twisting the facts by claiming that Bishop Vasa's "Affirmation of Faith" is an ultimatum. I suspect he has read "about" it but has not read it. Maybe Mr Kavanaugh should discuss his "problems" with Bishop Olmsted before airing his opinions in the media, especially since Bishop Olmsted has 'disturbed so many longtime Arizona Catholics?


Kerry's Sister Angers Abortion Foes

A Catholic antiabortion group sharply questioned the propriety of John F. Kerry's sister, Peggy Kerry, giving a speech to "a campaign crowd of feminists" in Boston and telling them that, if elected, her brother would overturn various Bush policies -- such as barring funds for U.N. population control efforts.
Everyone is aware that Kerry will spread the crime of abortion everywhere he possibly can - even though he's 'personally opposed' to it.
Not surprising that she'd be campaigning for her brother, the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute noted, but she "works for George W. Bush" as part of the U.S. mission to the United Nations.
Traitors are everywhere - we must expect it if we are to follow in Christ's footsteps. Even He was surrounded by those who would betray him.


Monday, August 02, 2004

"I'm Christian. I'm Catholic. It's important to me."

Who said these words? St Augustine? St Thomas More? G.K. Chesterton? Here are some more clues:
"Praise the Lord. Praise him in his sanctuary. Praise him in his mighty heaven. So it is written in the psalms."

"We look around us in this country, and we see God's work yet to be done." That is what is bringing us here." "Faith without works is dead."
There's the clue - "Faith without works..." St. James?

"It's time to stop talking about valuing families, and value families," he said. "You don't value families when you cut kids from after-school programs and you cut cops so that Enron can get another tax cut."
These are quotes of remarks at the nondenominational Greater Grace Temple Church in Springfield, Ohio and at an afternoon rally in Bowling Green yesterday. These are quotes from the lips of John Kerry.

One cannot possibly claim to be pro-family and support direct abortion, euthnasia, same-sex 'unions', or fetal stem cell research - and do so truthfully. One who claims as much is either totally ignorant of right and wrong or that person is a liar.

Yes, we see "God's work yet to be done" and some of us tremble at the consequences of invoking God's name, feigning praises to Him, while murdering His unborn little ones whose blood flows like swollen rivers and whose cries of anguish have yet to be answered.

But this is not all.
"I'm Christian. I'm Catholic. It's important to me," Kerry said. "But as I said in my speech, I'm not going to say God is on my side and I'm not going to go out and divide people. I want to pray that we are on God's side."
Saying it doesn't make it so! May God have mercy on him and all who support and promote the murder of the most defenseless little ones in should be the safest place on earth. May their heart be converted and moved to true compassion and charity. Lord, have mercy on those of us who have failed You!

From the ICD Sunday Bulletin:
The Mission Continues…

As Part of Inspiration Quest Series

Inspiration Quest, our adult Christian learning series, will hold a two-day August "Mini Mission" beginning Thursday, August 5 through Friday, August 6th. By popular demand, we welcome back Brendan Case, who directed a parish mission at Immaculate Conception this past April. Brendan is a dynamic lay missionary and preacher of the Word. He will be presenting three special events:

Thursday, Aug. 5, 2004, 7:00 p.m.
"The Healing Choice of Forgiveness"
Come to Church at 7:00 p.m. for praise and worship and a presentation on choosing forgiveness in your everyday relationships as a way to healing, wholeness, freedom and joy! From 8:30 until 10:00 p.m. there will be prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. Confession will be offered throughout the evening.

Friday, Aug. 6, 2004, 8:30 - 10:00 a.m.
Morning Bible Study -
"The Wedding of the Lamb"
At 8:30 a.m. bring your Bible and come to the Parish Hall! Explore the rich images of the Jewish wedding in the time of the Lord Jesus to come to a greater understanding of the Gospel and the beauty of the Sacraments.

Friday, Aug. 6, 2004, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
"Transfigured by the Father's Love"
At 7:00 p.m. in Church, Mass will be celebrated for the Feast of the Transfiguration, followed by Brendan's talk on ones' relationship with their Father-God. "The greatest of all empowering and affirming experiences is available to us, but few have tasted it - the experience of our Father in heaven's personal love for each of us - his children." Come for an evening of renewal.
Sounds great, but I guess we'll have to see.

Knights of Columbus Battle To Expel Pro-Abort Politician Members

As the American Catholic Church hierarchy contends with notorious pro-abortion Catholic politicians — who publicly defy Church teaching in their political lives while flaunting their Catholicism by receiving Communion — state delegates of the Knights of Columbus are contending with a proposal to expel member Knights in politics who support abortion rights.

This issue has been simmering in the Knights of Columbus for decades. But this year, as delegates meet in Dallas from August 3 to 5 for their national convention, a determined group of Knights from California and other states was expected to force the issue at the national convention.

Resolution N. 48 was submitted by ten KC councils in California; it was passed at the California KC State Convention in May. The resolution requires ipso facto forfeiture of membership for any public official who promotes abortion, infanticide, euthanasia, or assisted suicide.

As The Wanderer went to press on July 29, proponents of the measure were planning to go public to the international media covering the conference, and even to engage in public demonstrations to denounce any efforts to suppress the measure.
Hopefully, this effort will succeed!

Wanderer article here

Archbishop Burke's Pastoral Letter

The information is from an email - I am told that we can expect Archbishop Burke's pastoral letter sometime this week or next.

I look forward to it. Please pray for Archbishop Burke. As a faithful shepherd, he will be under constant attack.

CWNews links 9 perspectives to new CDF document

Catholic World News ha a good list of 9 links to the reactions of the recent document on feminism from the Sacred Congregation for Divine Faith.

A pleasant account of Cardinal Arinze's visit to Providence, RI

This is a good article about Cardinal Arinze's recent vistit here in the US.

The Bishops' Questionable Questionnaire

I'm passing this on...
Dear Friend,

I was afraid of this.

You'll probably remember that a few weeks ago, I told you that the
United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) was working on
its presidential questionnaire. If you recall, the form asks the two
candidates where they stand on a number of issues important to

I had noted that the Left-leaning USCCB might try to bury the
pro-life questions in with a bunch of irrelevant issues... thereby
hiding Senator John Kerry's extreme pro-abortion voting record. They
did something similar with the 2000 presidential questionnaire
(wherein, they actually let Al Gore get away with claiming to be

Unfortunately, it seems that the same thing is happening again this
election. The questionnaires are with the candidates right now, but
CRISIS has been able to get an early look at the document.

Here's what we discovered...

First, the questionnaire makes no distinction between life issues --
clearly of primary importance to Catholics -- and particular policies
that the conference supports on issues as wide-ranging (and
non-binding) as rural development, housing, and immigration.

The document has 41 questions, broken down into sections by topic.
The largest single section of the questionnaire is on... immigration.
Yes, immigration. That category gets a full six questions.

The next-largest section is education (five questions). Abortion
gets a total of three questions (tied with aid to low income

In fact, in the entire questionnaire, only eight questions deal with
life issues -- including abortion, capital punishment,
physician-assisted suicide, cloning, and embryo research. Amazingly
enough, the section on broadcast communication had more questions
than any of the life sections except abortion and capital punishment.

But there's more.

The structure of the questions is such that they only ask for a
"support/oppose" response, which says nothing about the particular
details of a candidate's position. Nowhere is there room for the
candidate to explain, say, why he voted for partial-birth abortion
(as Kerry did) or voted against the Defense of Marriage Act (another
Kerry vote). In fact, neither are mentioned at all!

Of course, the conference did include this vital question:

"Will you support or oppose legislation to strengthen the reputation
of broadcasters to ensure that they meet their public service
broadcast license obligations?"

Look, it's not that I object to the questions per se. The problem is
that they ignore the hierarchy in Catholic values and issues.
Furthermore, this sweeping approach keeps the candidates --
particularly Kerry, who is almost always on the wrong side of the
life issues -- from having to defend themselves or explain any of
their choices.

Once again, the bishops conference has mixed up prudential issues
(like the particular points of broadcast law) with hard moral
absolutes (like the ban on abortion). In doing so, they've given
ardently pro-abortion candidates political cover.

Hopefully, when they eventually release the results of the
questionnaire, the conference will include some kind of commentary
that assigns real weight to the life issues. Without that, this
document is simply deceptive.

I'll talk to you again early next week,

The USCCB needs a thorough cleansing!

Sam Donaldson Vows to "Never" Tell the Truth About Abortion

ABC veteran reporter Sam Donaldson was confronted by a huge photos of aborted babies posted on trucks on the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Boston.

ORW president Troy Newman pulled out his bullhorn and said to Donaldson, "Look at the babies," referring to the graphic images of aborted children that were displayed on the Truth Truck's billboard-sized panels. "It's time to tell the truth about abortion. Tell the truth that abortion kills babies." According to Newman, Donaldson turned, thrust his right arm into the air and shouted, "Never!"
Lifesite Link.

Communion bans bring politics to church

[T]he politicians argue their case is different because they haven't directly violated church law, according to Kenneth Pennington, a church-law historian at the Catholic University of America in Washington.

"A few bishops are trying to selectively bar Catholic politicians from Communion for upholding the law of the land," he said. "This is a new idea among the bishops."
As an historian, Pennington does a poor job. The new "idea" among some bishops, is to perform their duty which is in Canon Law - both the 1983 code as well as the Pio-Benedictine Code of 1917.
"These politicians are making a mockery of the Catholic faith," said Amarillo Bishop John Yanta. "A lot of these politicians feel like if you go to church, you're a good Catholic. But actions speak, too. They should not come forward for Holy Communion."
But will he follow through with this as he should?
And Dallas Bishop Charles Grahmann argues that CEOs of media corporations that support abortion rights, anti-immigration policies, the death penalty and gay marriage should also refrain from Communion.

"These individual CEOs are as much of a threat to society as politicians who vote for abortion," he wrote in a column for the diocesan newspaper. "Neither should present him/herself for Communion."
This is flat out wrong for the bishop to equate things that are intrinsically evil with what is morally licit (Capital punishment) - he further confuses Catholics and he needs to be called to account for this.


The same confused rhetoric from a professed Catholic politician

At my mother's Catholic funeral last fall a priest denied me communion. No warning, no comments, just a refusal to give me the sacrament as I stood in line next to my mother's coffin. He needed no direction from a bishop to put himself in the place of God in making earthly judgment on me.

I am -- and will remain -- a prochoice, Catholic elected official. I don't advocate for abortion. I believe it should be rare and safe and that alternatives should be available. But I fully support a woman's right to make that decision herself, without government -- or my -- interference. And, for some women, there is no realistic alternative.
There are alternatives, but they require that one do what is right. The baby's father gets no choice. The only person so-called "pro-choicers" want to have anything resembling a choice is the mother. And that choice is murder.
Because of the panoply of Catholic moral issues, it is a mistake to choose one issue as the sole guideline for Catholics or their leaders to judge an elected official. Not only abortion, but economic justice and other concerns make up the menu in deciding where a public official or candidate stands on "moral" issues.

The effort to use a political litmus test in providing communion is wrong, and the tie to abortion-related issues alone is misguided.

John Hottinger, DFL-St. Peter, is a member of the Minnesota Senate.
The all-knowing, professed Catholic politician who believes that that one may live two separate and distinct lives - one of faith and one of politics.

Article here

Daschle's Bishop: Don't Vote for Pro-Abortion Politicians

This recent article from Most. Rev. Robert J. Carlson Bishop of Sioux Falls will be published in Monday's "Bishop's Bulletin".
The letters to the editor and statements I have received in a few private letters are clear examples of the erosion in Catholic formation for the last two generations.

I join the bishops of the United States in committing myself to teaching clearly, persuading and mobilizing Catholics and all people of good will to defend human life and support policies that protect human life from conception to natural death.

In the Diocese of Sioux Falls, those who act in defiance of these fundamental principles of life should not be honored or invited to speak at Catholic colleges, schools or parishes, or hold any office such as lector, Eucharist Minister, usher, parish council member or religious education teacher.