Saturday, October 16, 2004

Oct 21 - ICD Voter Information Night

On Thursday evening, October 21 at 7:00pm, Immaculate Conception Church in Dardenne, MO. will have a "Catholic Voter Information Night" in the Parish Hall. The pastor, Fr. Robert Reiker, "will be addressing the issue of how a faithful Catholic decides who to vote for. This will be followed by a question and answer period."

Here are some excerpts from the letter I received:
The Archbishop also encouraged parishes to distribute a booklet (without an acknowledged author) entitled "Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics" which I decided to also enclose with this mailing.
First, I could not help but notice the "dig" taken at the Catholic Answers Voter's Guide - (an unnamed author). A few months ago there was a concerted efforted by some parishioners to have the Voter's Guide distributed at the parish (at our own cost) and with the Archbishop's approval but this effort was rebuffed at the time by the pastor. I do not know why he changed his mind and decided to send them out but I am pleased that it was sent out.
How to decide who we should vote for has stirred a lot of discussion.
It seems that the only 'stirring' discussion is among those who are trying to rationalize voting for a politician who openly defies the Church's teaching and who adamantly supports the murder of innocent babies.
I encourage you to read and reflect on the above mentioned documents.
These are:
USCCB: Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility
Archbishop Burke: On Our Civic Responsibility for the Common Good
Catholic Answers: Voter's Guide for Serious Catholics

There is much discussion in the letter regarding following one's conscience. He does state that we must make every effort to have a properly informed conscience before one makes a final decision. Extensive quotes from the Catechism follow: Nos. 1782, 1783, 1787, & 1788.

Finally there is this:
Is clear that no Catholic can in good conscience directly choose something that is evil. Normally, in an election we have to make a conscious decision based on a great number of issues. Certainly there is a priority of issues. At the same time we must in conscience decide if a candidate is credible in their positions and committed to carrying out these positions. Then we as a faithful follower of the Lord must decide how our vote can truly further the Kingdom of God here on earth. Then we can be confident that we are in good standing with the Lord and within our faith community, the Church. (the emphasis is mine)
The above highlighted sentence causes me some concern. I have learned to be skeptical of what is stated - I am not comfortable with what is now being said.

I hope and pray that this "Voter Information Night" is a period of prayerful reflection and authentic catechesis based on the teaching which Archbishop Burke provided and of which he reminds us to follow. I hope and pray it does not turn out to be a forum for confirming moral relativism and malformed consciences which would permit professed Catholics to reject the hierarchy of issues and thus work against the common good.

I hope I can go...I'll need a dispensation from class.

Updated list of "Mandatum" Colleges/Universities

It's getting better but it's a far cry from where Catholic Higher Education needs to be.

The list is here.

An update on Liturgical Dysfunction

The Curt Jester has updated his post on Liturgical Dysfunction. This must be a new disorder as it has yet to be listed in DSM-IV, although there are many similarities with other disorders.

His newest addition to the list of Liturgical Disorders is that of:

This extremely strange physical and mental psychosis causes the person to have the urge to dress in leotards and prance around the sanctuary. This is often associated with additionally waving banners, streamers, or other props around in some rhythmic movement. If this is observed do not approach the individual but immediately call your local institute for the liturgically insane.
Here is a picture (from my parish) of Leotardation in action:

To see The Curt Jester's post on LD, go here.

Givin' him "what fer"!

Mark Finn of Florissant takes Gary Siegel and his editorial to task...
...we certainly don't need high-profile, uninformed, unanswered editorials like Siegel's exacerbating the problem.
Finn offer a three point rebuttal to Siegel's flawed opinion piece:
Gary Siegel's Oct. 11 commentary on religion and politics presented three points that are misleading at best, dead wrong at worst.

1. His example pitting politicians against each other is misleading. He portrays one as being against banning first-trimester abortions "to save the life of the mother" and the other authorizing a military campaign that would "inevitably include ... the killing of innocent children." Politicians are rarely against life-saving abortions, and there really are few of these anyway. Authorizing a military campaign often results in innocent casualties for the overall better good. The latter might result in the taking of innocent life; the former certainly does.

2. His point about pro-choice politicians not personally approving abortion is the same old ridiculous excuse. If something is wrong, it's wrong. Individuals don't get to decide. You don't hear politicians saying, "Well, I personally think it's wrong to steal a car, but I don't think government should tell people if they can steal cars or not".

3. His final blather about religious leaders overstepping their bounds when they "rant like a tent revivalist about the evils of sin" is just plain wrong. He makes Jesus out to be some kind of flower child who let everyone get away with whatever. Has Siegel even read the Gospels? Yes, Jesus spoke of loving one another, but people often conveniently forget how much he called sinners to account. Religious leaders should follow his example and do likewise.

This is the sort of thing that people don't hear. In my opinion, moral issues like these are the most important in this election. The positions of the candidates on other issues are so full of baloney that it's easy to mistrust them to follow through on anything they say.

One thing is sure: We're fed so much misinformation from the candidates themselves, we certainly don't need high-profile, uninformed, unanswered editorials like Siegel's exacerbating the problem.

Mark S. Finn
Anyone who has read the Gospels would know that our Lord was not a pacifist who confirmed everyone in their sins. He continually challenged those who would hear Him, to conversion, to turning from sin, to change one's life. Those who intentionally mislead or confuse others, are certainly not following in Jesus' footsteps, but are following the path of the evil one.

Post Dispatch letter here.

Saturday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 12:8-12

Various Teachings of Jesus (Continuation)
(Jesus said to His disciples,)
[8] "And I tell you, every one who acknowledges Me before men, the Son of Man also will acknowledge before the angels of God;
[9] but he who denies Me before men will be denied before the angels of God.
[10] And every one who speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven; but he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.
[11] And when they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not be anxious how or what you are to answer or what you are to say;
[12] for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."

8-9. This follows logically from Christ's previous teaching: worse than physical evils, worse even than death, are evils of the soul, that is, sin. Those who out of fear of temporal suffering deny our Lord and are unfaithful to the demands of the faith will fall into a greater evil still: they will be denied by Christ Himself on the Day of Judgment; whereas those who are penalized in this life because of their faithfulness to Christ will receive the eternal reward of being recognized by Him and will come to share His glory.

10. Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit consists in maliciously attributing to the devil actions which have God as their origin. A person who does that prevents God's pardon from reaching him: that is why he cannot obtain forgiveness (cf. Matthew 12:31; Mark 3:28-30). Jesus understands and excuses the weakness of a person who makes a moral mistake, but He is not similarly indulgent to someone who shuts his eyes and his heart to the wonderful things the Spirit does; that was the way these Pharisees acted who accused Jesus of casting out demons in the name of Beelzebul; it is the way unbelieving people act who refuse to see in Christ's work a sign of the goodness of God, who reject the invitation God offers them and who thereby put themselves outside the reach of salvation (cf. Hebrews 6:4-6; 10:26-31). See the note on Mark 3:28-30.

[The note on Mark 3:28-30 states:
28-30. Jesus has just worked a miracle but the scribes refuse to recognize it "for they had said `He has an unclean spirit'" (verse 30). They do not want to admit that God is the author of the miracle. In this attitude lies the special gravity of blasphemy against the Holy Spirit--attributing to the prince of evil, to Satan, the good works performed by God Himself. Anyone acting in this way will become like the sick person who has so lost confidence in the doctor that he rejects him as if an enemy and regards as poison the medicine that can save his life. That is why our Lord says that he who blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not forgiven: not because God cannot forgive all sins, but because that person, in his blindness towards God, rejects Jesus Christ, His teaching and His miracles, and despises the graces of the Holy Spirit as if they were designed to trap him (cf. "St. Pius V Catechism", II, 5, 19; St. Thomas Aquinas, "Summa Theologiae", II-II, q. 14, a. 3).]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Friday, October 15, 2004

St. Stanislaus Update....

Parishioners of St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish who support Archbishop Raymond Burke’s request for a restructuring plan have written a letter to their fellow parishioners urging a reuniting of the community of faith and a resumption of religious services at the historic North St. Louis church.

Supporters of archbishop write letter to others at St. Stanislaus

Abp. Burke urges education on moral law

Archbishop Raymond Burke has said time and again that it is a bishop’s duty to help form the consciences of his flock.

But while doing this, the archbishop has found that among local Catholics, there is "a shocking ignorance of the natural moral law, held and handed down in the Church’s teaching."

The archbishop also said that, as he noted in a pastoral letter he wrote while serving in the Diocese of LaCrosse, Wis., a lack of respect for human life did not begin with the U.S. Supreme Court’s Roe vs. Wade decision. Rather, it stemmed from an earlier time with the acceptance of artificial birth control.

By using artificial contraceptives, "we are well on the way to convincing ourselves that we also may decide when human life begins or when it is no longer worthy of our protection and care," he said. Couples preparing for the Sacrament of Marriage should receive a "strong formation" of the Church’s teaching on procreation. Couples already married within the Church who have not already received this formation should do so, he added.

Liturgical Dysfunction Disorder

Does your parish have any of these Liturgical Dysfunction Disorders?

Our parish has several - here are a couple of the afflictions:
Levitating Hand Magnetism Syndrome
This seems to be a very common syndrome that infected the populace sometime in the 60s or 70s. People who have LHMS will display the following symptoms. During the Our Father their hands will start to levitate up in the air and then magnetically attach themselves to the hands of someone else with LHSM)

Chant Deafness (CD)
This is similar to tone deafness. With Chant Deafness the person not only can't hear the beauty of chant, but even worse, believes that many hymns found in modern hymnals are beautiful. Those who are tone deaf normally can't find a job as a choir director. Those that are Chant deaf actually for some unknown reason appear to be predominantly chosen as choir directors. While we should have empathy for those afflicted with such a horrible syndrome - I think equal opportunity for this problems goes to far.
I think I'll send this to our "Liturgy Committee". They're sure to appreciate this observation. Why, they might even begin to seek a "cure"...

Thanks to "The Curt Jester" for his wonderful insights!

Paging Cardinal Rigali....

Scandal at St. Joseph's University

When you think the Holy Catholic Church cannot possibly endure further attacks or dissent from within, something painfully happens to prove the contrary.

The official web site of St. Joseph's University - a Jesuit institution established in 1851 in Philadelphia - openly announces a pro-homosexual event called "Rainbow Week." According to information posted on this website, a "Mass for Rainbow Week" on October 10 was celebrated in the campus chapel to mark the beginning of the weeklong program.

Among other pro-homosexual activities, a morally offensive exhibit titled "Love Makes a Family" will display photos of "Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender People and Their Families" in Campion Lounge.

From Tradition, Family and Property (

The Post prints another letter from an informed Catholic

But this is about the extent of it. They occasionally print responses in the Letters section, but rarely with the Post allot valuable space for an article which deals with issues from a truly Catholic perspective. More often than not, the Post relies on people who exhibit a fundamentally flawed perspective on Catholic teachings.

We should rejoice everytime the Post permits a letter to be published from a person who presents an informed Catholic response to issues. Today we have such a response from Rocco Russo Jr. of St. Charles:
Church's teaching

The headline of Gary Siegel's Oct. 11 article, "A Catholic's first duty: Follow your conscience," was right on the money. Unfortunately, that is where it ended. Talk about flawed!

I am a Catholic father of seven children. One of my sons is an Army reservist stationed in Baghdad risking his life trying to help the Iraqi people defend themselves and hold a democratic election. He is not there for the purpose of killing innocent children.

If Siegel had done a little more research on our faith's teaching about conscience and abortion, he would know that the first duty is to make decisions based on an informed conscience. He must have missed that class. Had he not done that, he would know that there is an exception for saving the life of the expectant mother. It is based on self-defense.

Rocco Russo Jr.
St. Charles

Archbishop Burke Meets with Local Voice of the Faithful

I received a copy of this newsletter over a week ago and I have been praying about what to do with it. I had so hoped the Newsletter would be made public on the Internet and, lo and behold...It now is!
On Wednesday evening, September 29, 2004, the leadership of VOTFSL met with Archbishop Burke for nearly two hours at the Catholic Center.
I have been receiving the VOTF-SL Newsletters, aprently because of my attendance at their past conference with Fr. Donald Cozzens as keynote speaker. My report on that conference is here. The Newsletter contines:
The purpose of the listening sessions with priests, held by VOTF, was explained; that we hope to create a channel of communication for our faithful priests; we asked Archbishop’s support in this endeavor. He is reconstituting the Pastoral Council of priests who act as advisors to him onparish matters.

We further asked for recognition as a legitimate Catholic organization. Archbishop asked us to present documents relating our history, purpose, and goals so he may pursue appropriate channels for recognition.
Certainly, no documents that are detrimental to VOTF-SL will be presented Archbishop Burke. It would seem that Archbishop Burke may need additional material in order to be fully informed.
We spoke of structural change being promoted and accomplished through adult education courses, specifically regarding the role of the laity in the spirit of Vatican II.
"Structural Change"? In the "spirit of Vatican II"?
The document calls all Catholics to be active members of the Church. Adult education would help us to know, to seek, and to develop ways of bringing about
structural change.
I'm afraid I don't understand the document which calls for "structural change"...And just what is truly meant by this? It is ambiguous enough to cause concern, especially considering the past history of VOTF and the actions of some of the people running the local chapters.

It would seem prudent for concerned and faithful Catholics to forward legitimate critiques and articles about Voice of the Faithful to Archbishop Burke. I mean by "legitimate", articles from reputable sources which can be verified.

The Voice of the Faithful-St. Louis Newsletter is here.

US says NO to UN Population Control Propaganda Exercise

The United States has declined to take part in a group of 250 world figures urging the UN to implement its population control programme in the guise of women's rights.

The US delegation's refusal to participate in the promotion of the latest statement was based on objections to the term "sexual rights," which had no "agreed definition," a State Department letter said.

Cardinal Arinze: Eucharist Makes Christian Testimony Possible

The Eucharist is the strength that makes Christians witnesses of Christ to the point of sacrificing their lives, says Cardinal Francis Arinze.
This is what every Catholic, indeed every Christian, is called to - to be a martyr for Jesus Christ, a witness. This is why we must die to our own desires daily and conform our wills to His will and proclaim Christ, crucified and risen, even when it might be difficult or inconvenient for us.
Cardinal Arinze reminded the participants that the Eucharist sends us on a mission, either as lay faithful, consecrated individuals, or clerics.

"It is the Eucharist that makes it possible for the Church to give testimony of Christ; for martyrs to give their lives for Jesus; and for missionaries to go to distant lands to proclaim Christ," he said.

"It is the Eucharist that strengthens virgins to give witness of a consecrated and sacrificial love for Jesus; that enables priests to spend themselves so that Christ will be known, spouses to live conjugal life in an exemplary way, and lay faithful to take the spirit of Christ to different areas of daily life," the cardinal emphasized.
Zenit article here.

Speaking of Cardinal Arinze, I received my copy of Serra International Magazine yesterday which featured the keynote address by Cardinal Arinze at a recent Serra convention. I have yet to read it, but I can imagine that it is an excellent speech and look forward to reading it over the weekend.

May our pastors take this to heart!

Vatican wants more Latin, Gregorian chant

The Vatican document [only in Italian right now] encourages seminaries and houses of formation to cultivate "the bond between theological formation and spiritual experience of the Eucharistic mystery"; to pay attention to "interior and exterior participation in the celebration of the Mass"; to know "liturgical theology" and the rite of the Mass; to be familiar with Gregorian chant and Latin; and to promote Eucharistic adoration.

And we have this article:
Catholic News Agency reports that the document, titled The Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals, encourages "familiarity of Latin, indicating its necessity, especially in housed of formation and in seminaries, for prayer and singing in Latin, particularly Gregorian chant".

The Congregation "suggestions and proposals" include:

• Preparation of documents promoting the Year of the Eucharist, and reflection by priests and faithful local doctrinal and pastoral problems such as the lack of priests, low Sunday Mass attendance, and abandonment of Eucharistic adoration.
• Promoting national Eucharistic congresses.
• Encouraging knowledge of the saints.
• Increasing perpetual adoration of the Blessed Sacrament.
• Eucharistic adoration for young people around Palm Sunday.
• Dedicating space to the theme of the Eucharist in diocesan magazines, internet sites, and local media.
• Teaching the faithful to behave "properly" when entering a Church.
Would this be a wonderful beginning? I'm looking forward to the next Eucharistic Congress here as well.

We should pray that this "Year of the Eucharist" will be a time of renewal for the faithful and for our priests.


Some churches feel pressure of politics

What is church doctrine for some is viewed as voter bullying by others

When the pastor at his Catholic church started talking politics, suggesting parishioners vote for the “pro-life party,” during a recent homily, Rick Skarzynski had had enough.

“I stood up and said, ‘This has gone far enough. Excuse me, Father, I didn’t know we were holding an open forum on politics,’” he said. “‘I am a Democrat, but I am against abortion.’ At that point, a woman in front of me said, ‘Maybe you should leave.’”

The value-laden politics of the 2004 presidential election are dividing faith communities across the country, especially Catholics, who have traditionally been more Democratic than Republican. The issues of abortion, euthanasia, the death penalty, the war in Iraq and gay marriage are tearing congregations apart.
Some people are repulsed by the light of truth.

Article here.

Oct 15, Memorial: St. Teresa of Jesus, Virgin & Doctor of the Church

Gospel: Luke 12:1-7

Various Teachings of Jesus
[1] In the meantime, when so many thousands of the multitude had gathered together that they trod upon one another, He (Jesus) began to say to His disciples first, "Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees, which is hypocrisy.
[2] Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known.
[3] Whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops."
[4] "I tell you, My friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that, have no more that they can do.
[5] But I will warn you whom to fear: fear Him who, after He has killed, has power to cast into Hell; yes, I tell you, fear Him!
[6] Are not five sparrows sold for two pennies? And not one of them is forgotten before God.
[7] Why, even the hairs of your head are all numbered. Fear not; you are of more value than many sparrows."

3. Most Palestinian houses had a roof in the form of a terrace. There people would meet to chat and while away the time in the hottest part of the day. Jesus points out to His disciples that just as in these get-togethers things said in private became matters of discussion, so too, despite the Pharisees' and scribes' efforts to hide their vices and defects under the veil of hypocrisy, they would become a matter of common knowledge.

6-7. Nothing--not even the most insignificant thing--escapes God, His Providence and the judgment He will mete out. For this same reason no one should fear that any suffering or persecution he experiences in following Christ will remain unrewarded in eternity.

The teaching about fear, contained in verse 5, is filled out in verses 6 and 7, where Jesus tells us that God is a good Father who watches over every one of us--much more than He does over these little ones (whom He also remembers). Therefore, our fear of God should not be servile (based on fear of punishment); it should be a filial fear (the fear of someone who does not want to displease his father), a fear nourished by trust in Divine Providence.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Thursday, October 14, 2004

Thursday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 11:47-54:

The Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees (Continuation)
(Jesus said to the Pharisees,)
[47] "Woe to you! for you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. [48] So you are witnesses and consent to the deeds of your fathers; for they killed them, and you build their tombs.
[49] Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, `I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,'
[50] that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be required of this generation,
[51] from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it shall be required of this generation.
[52] Woe to you lawyers! for you have taken away the key of knowledge; you did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering."
[53] As He went away from there, the scribes and the Pharisees began to press Him hard, and to provoke Him to speak of many things,
[54] lying in wait for Him, to catch at something He might say.

51. Zechariah was a prophet who died by being stoned in the temple of Jerusalem around the year 800 B.C. because he accused the people of Israel of being unfaithful to God's law (cf. 2 Chronicles 24:20-22). The murder of Abel (Genesis 4:8) and that of Zechariah were, respectively, the first and last murders reported in these books which the Jews regarded as Sacred Scripture. Jesus refers to a Jewish tradition which, in His own time and even later, pointed out the stain of the blood of Zechariah.

The altar referred to here was the altar of holocausts, located outside, in the courtyard of the priests, in front of the temple proper.

52. Jesus severely reproaches these doctors of the Law who, given their study and meditation on Scripture, were the very ones who should have recognized Jesus as the Messiah, since His coming had been foretold in the sacred books. However, as we learn from the Gospel, the exact opposite happened. Not only did they not accept Jesus: they obstinately opposed Him. As teachers of the Law they should have taught the people to follow Jesus; instead, they blocked the way.

53-54. St. Luke frequently records this attitude of our Lord's enemies (cf. 6:11; 19:47-48; 20:19-20; 22:2). The people followed Jesus and were enthusiastic about His preaching and miracles, whereas the Pharisees and scribes would not accept Him and would not allow the people to follow Him; they tried in every way to discredit Him in the eyes of the people (cf. John 11:48).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Judge Rules City of San Diego Rightful Owner of Mt. Soledad

For those who may have heard of the controversy surrounding the 43-foot cross that has stood on the mountaintop of Mt Soledad for over 50 years, I received this update this morning:
RANCHO SANTA FE, CA —A federal judge ruled late Tuesday that the contested land atop Mt. Soledad in San Diego, California is rightfully owned by the City of San Diego. Tuesday’s decision effectively puts a stop to plans by the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association to remove a 43-foot cross that has stood on the mountaintop for over 50 years.

The veterans group had privately agreed with an ACLU backed atheist to remove the cross in exchange for a halt to his 15-year old lawsuit aimed at tearing down the cross. San Diego voters will now vote in November on whether to authorize a new sale of the land to a private owner that would have the option of preserving the cross.

The West Coast Regional office of the Thomas More Law Center had filed a brief in federal court challenging the attempt by the Memorial Association to remove the cross. The Law Center’s brief was filed on behalf of a former Navy fighter pilot who is enlisting the support of other veterans to oppose removal of the cross.

Richard Thompson, Chief Counsel of the Thomas More Law Center, commented on the judge’s ruling, “We are tremendously pleased with the Judge’s decision. Hopefully, the Memorial Association will now re-examine its private deal with the plaintiff to remove the cross, and join the fight to preserve it. It would be the right thing to do.”

The cross was erected in 1954 and today honors veterans of World War I and II and the Korean War. The San Diego landmark has been the subject of a fifteen-year court battle between an atheist and the City of San Diego. The City has twice attempted to sell the land containing the cross, the second time to the Mt. Soledad Memorial Association in 1998.

After taking possession of the property, the veterans group invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in improvements to the land, adding landscaping and over 3000 plaques honoring military veterans, only to have the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals rule the sale unconstitutional. The leadership of the Memorial Association, to the dismay of many of its members, responded by privately agreeing with an ACLU backed atheist to move the cross 1000 yards down the hill out of full public view.

Anticipating that the land would be returned to the City of San Diego, the Law Center argued that because of the extensive improvements to the property carried out by the Memorial Association, effectively incorporating the historical cross into a war memorial, a new hearing must be held. Law Center attorneys suggested that a new hearing would determine whether the changed circumstances no longer create a Constitutional violation in the form of the government’s endorsement of religion.

The City of San Diego has now proposed “Proposition K” requesting voter authorization to sell the property to a new owner that will have the option of keeping the cross.

Charles S. LiMandri, West Coast Regional Director of the Law Center, observed, “With the City of San Diego now declared the rightful owner of Mt. Soledad, it is critical that Proposition K be passed by two-thirds of the voters. This is the best chance to preserve the cross on top of Mt. Soledad, one of San Diego’s most treasured landmarks.”

NYT story on Archbishop Chaput - Slanted or Fair?

In the interests of accuracy, archdiocesan staff recorded the interview. A heavily truncated and framed version of the archbishop’s views appeared in an October 12 New York Times story. Read story here.

A transcript of the full interview appears below. Readers are invited to compare the published New York Times story and the actual interview transcript, and then decide for themselves whether the October 12 Times story is slanted or fair; complete or misleading.
PDF Transcript of Interview here.


Two More South City Deanery Churches Face Consolidation

Sts. Mary and Joseph, St. Pius V get word

Members of two more Catholic churches have been told that theirs have been recommended for closing under a plan to consolidate some parishes in south St. Louis and north St. Louis County.

The two are St. Pius V, at 3310 South Grand Boulevard; and Sts. Mary and Joseph, at 6304 Minnesota Avenue in the Carondelet neighborhood. Members who attended the meetings said St. Pius' territory would be divided and absorbed by two neighboring parishes, and Sts. Mary and Joseph would become part of St. Stephen Protomartyr parish to its west.
Ruth Ehresman, a member of St. Pius' parish council, said parishioners were preparing a campaign to keep it open.

"St. Pius has a reputation for lively liturgy and a strong commitment to diversity," said Ehresman.
Lively Liturgy? Strong commitment to diversity? Maybe those reasons are included in the formula...

Article here.

Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals

The Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of Sacraments today published a document entitled "The Year of the Eucharist: Suggestions and Proposals," in answer to a idea put forth by Pope John Paul in his October 7 Apostolic Letter "Mane nobiscum Domine." Today's document, published in Italian, is expected to be available shortly in other major languages.

The Holy Father suggested in Article 18 that:
This year let us also celebrate with particular devotion the Solemnity of Corpus Christi, with its traditional procession. Our faith in the God who took flesh in order to become our companion along the way needs to be everywhere proclaimed, especially in our streets and homes, as an expression of our grateful love and as an inexhaustible source of blessings.
I hope more pastors take this suggestion to heart. There are but a handful of parishes in the archdiocese which do this. What better way to emphasize the Feast of Corpus Christi?

I also found Article 17 particularly helpful also. One would hope that pastors listen when the Pope says:
The Eucharist is a great mystery! And it is one which above all must be well celebrated. Holy Mass needs to be set at the centre of the Christian life and celebrated in a dignified manner by every community, in accordance with established norms, with the participation of the assembly, with the presence of ministers who carry out their assigned tasks, and with a serious concern that singing and liturgical music be suitably “sacred”.

The Holy Father made another suggestion for helping the faithful understand more deeply the mystery and the reasoning behind the actions of the Holy Mass:
One specific project of this Year of the Eucharist might be for each parish community to study the General Instruction of the Roman Missal.

I know Fr. Eugene Morris has been doing a radio show locally covering the Institutio, although I have been unable to listen to it when it's on. WRYT may have CDs of his talks, though.

If you have chance to hear Fr. Morris speak, you should make every effort to do so.

Anyway the link to the article is here.

Kerry Responds to Question about Bishops

SCHIEFFER: Senator Kerry, a new question for you.

The New York Times reports that some Catholic archbishops are telling their church members that it would be a sin to vote for a candidate like you because you support a woman's right to choose an abortion and unlimited stem-cell research.

What is your reaction to that?

KERRY: I respect their views. I completely respect their views. I am a Catholic. And I grew up learning how to respect those views. But I disagree with them, as do many.

I believe that I can't legislate or transfer to another American citizen my article of faith. What is an article of faith for me is not something that I can legislate on somebody who doesn't share that article of faith.

I believe that choice is a woman's choice. It's between a woman, God and her doctor. And that's why I support that.

Now, I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade.

The president has never said whether or not he would do that. But we know from the people he's tried to appoint to the court he wants to.

I will not. I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade.

Now, with respect to religion, you know, as I said, I grew up a Catholic. I was an altar boy. I know that throughout my life this has made a difference to me.
And as President Kennedy said when he ran for president, he said, I'm not running to be a Catholic president. I'm running to be a president who happens to be Catholic.

My faith affects everything that I do, in truth. There's a great passage of the Bible that says, What does it mean, my brother, to say you have faith if there are no deeds? Faith without works is dead.

And I think that everything you do in public life has to be guided by your faith, affected by your faith, but without transferring it in any official way to other people.

That's why I fight against poverty. That's why I fight to clean up the environment and protect this earth.

That's why I fight for equality and justice. All of those things come out of that fundamental teaching and belief of faith.

But I know this, that President Kennedy in his inaugural address told all of us that here on Earth, God's work must truly be our own. And that's what we have to – I think that's the test of public service.
I was waiting for the line, "I was an altar boy." As I commented on another blog, I cannot believe him. Being an altar boy at that time required a diligent study of the Latin responses and of the actions of the server. I remain skeptical.

And once again, Kerry affirms that he has rejected the faith when he says, "I will not allow somebody to come in and change Roe v. Wade...I will defend the right of Roe v. Wade."

He is affirming the murder of the most innocent ones of this nation. Contrary to his repeated mantra, his faith does not affect anything he does. It seems that eccleisial justice and mercy would demand his excommunication, both for his sake and for the sake of others.


Wednesday, October 13, 2004

A recent email to my pastor and Pro-Life Committee

To: Fr. R....... and the Pro-Life Committee

Today I received the Messenger, our parish newsletter. The Pro-Life page dealing with voting was very well done and those responsible are to be commended. There is, however, a rather glaring negative on the page. One of the websites listed in the Messenger and on the ICD website is none other than that of Pax Christi USA. This is shocking to me and to others who are familiar with this website and organization.

Pax Christi USA has recently stated that voting for the common good involves many issues.  While this statement is true, in a certain way, it is misleading as presented by the organization which has a current campaign called "Life Does Not End at Birth" which undermines the pastoral letter of Archbishop Burke.

Archbishop Burke, in his role as teacher of the faithful under his charge, has recently stated:
"...there is no element of the common good, no morally good practice, that a candidate may promote and to which a voter may be dedicated, which could justify voting for a candidate who also endorses and supports the deliberate killing of the innocent, abortion, embryonic stem-cell research, euthanasia, human cloning or the recognition of a same-sex relationship as legal marriage."
The Holy Father has stated:
...the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights--for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture--is false and illusory if the right to life... is not defended with maximum determination.
Some time ago I wrote an article for the Messenger which advised, in accordance with a document from the US Bishops regarding prudent Internet usage, that websites which claimed to be "Catholic" should be verified before being used or promoted as legitimate sources of Catholic faith and moral issues.

At that time, there was an organization called PetersNet (Now known as Catholic Culture) which reviewed various "Catholic" sites and provided a site review for Catholics concerned about protecting themselves and their families from sites which were deemed to be espousing principles or ideas which were at odds with authentic Catholic teaching.

The Pax Christi USA website was initially reviewed on September 28, 2000, and was most recently reviewed again on June 4, 2004.  The Pax Christi USA website is labeled with a DANGER rating with respect to Fidelity. 

The Fidelity rating is used to indicate the degree to which a web site represents sound, authentic Catholicism -- or fidelity to the mind of the Church. This is by far the most important grade given by Catholic Culture (formerly PetersNet).  The fidelity grade includes four elements:
  1. Orthodoxy: Fidelity to the Church as Teacher
    The sine qua non of a Catholic web site is orthodoxy, or fidelity to the official teachings of the Church. Sites which reveal a pattern of dissent or which place error on an equal footing with Truth will have the lowest Fidelity grades.

  2. Obedience: Fidelity to the Church as Ruler
    The next most important factor is obedience, or fidelity to the Church's governing or disciplinary authority. Again, sites which refuse to accept the authority of the Holy See (including its liturgical authority) will have low Fidelity grades, even if their materials are, strictly speaking, orthodox.

  3. Fortitude: Fidelity to the Church's Prophetic Mission
    The third element in the Fidelity grade is Fortitude -- a site's willingness to advance or defend the Faith in the face of a hostile culture. Sites which are characterized by theological minimism, devotion to fashionable causes, or failure to state the Faith clearly in areas opposed by the modern world will have mediocre CatholicCulture grades even if they are, strictly speaking, both orthodox and obedient.

  4. Prudence: Fidelity to the Church as Sanctifier
    Finally, the prudence of a site must be taken into account. It is possible for a web site to devote itself to its subject matter in such a way that the mind of the Church in spiritual matters is not honored. One common example would be the lack of spiritual discretion shown by sites which uncritically promote alleged apparitions and locutions before the Church herself has reached a judgment. Such sites cannot win the highest CatholicCulture grade for Fidelity.

The review states:
According to their mission statement Pax Christi USA "rejects war, preparations for war, and every form of violence and domination. It advocates primacy of conscience, economic and social justice, and respect for creation.... Pax Christi USA works toward a more peaceful, just, and sustainable world." Unfortunately, their version of violence and domination is often at odds with the Church and her teachings. They seem to care more about finding common ground with abortionists and the gay rights lobby than about working for true peace.
With regard to examples which give rise to a Danger rating in Fidelity, Catholic Culture lists the following:
"Mission statement includes language to give serious Catholics pause."
"Primacy of conscience" and "sustainable world" are typical buzz phrases for the radical left promoting views opposed to Catholic teaching such as population control, contraception, etc. Since the site articulates no Catholic doctrine on any of the issues discussed, all terminology is vague and open to personal interpretation.

"Several articles encourage Pax Christi USA members to lobby to overturn the ban on the homosexual ministry of dissident New Ways Ministry founders, Sr. Jeannine Gramick and Fr. Robert Nugent. "
Articles reference uncritically the flawed committee document of the USCC on homosexuality, "Always Our Children." In several places "homophobia" and "heterosexism" are condemned. They too are undefined. Catholics are called to "commit their hearts to acceptance and inclusion of gay and lesbian people." In view of the support for Gramick and Nugent one can only interpret this as calling for acceptance of the gay lifestyle.

"Among the dozens of articles opposing war and capital punishment there is only one on Pax Christi's USA abortion stand, supporting the "seamless garment" approach."
The statement takes a swipe at pro-lifer's saying, "Women are too often criminalized or condemned by those committed to the unborn." They end their statement with a commitment to finding "common ground" with pro-abortionists. Interestingly, there is no mention of finding "common ground" with those who disagree with Pax Christi USA's stands on war or capital punishment. The violence of abortion which has taken more lives than all other wars combined is notably absent from Pax Christi USA's "priorities" statement, although the environment is included.

And finally:
Many unorthodox Catholic, Protestant, and secular links 

It is unfortunate that this website is promoted in a Catholic parish website or publication which every parish family receives.  This tacit approval of Pax Christi USA as a legitimate source does not permit peace and justice issues to be discussed in an authentic Catholic manner.

It is a disservice, not only to those who strive to present true Catholic teaching in this area, but also to those unsuspecting families who, perhaps lacking a certain necessary discerment, are led to believe or accept positions promoted by Pax Christi USA which are contrary to the Church and her teachings.

For what it is worth, the Holy See plans to publish its long-awaited "Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church" on October 25.  This document, written by the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace and introduced by a letter of Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano, will present in a systematic manner the principles of the Church's social doctrine in diverse areas of public life. (Source, Zenit 10/10/2004).

I hope that someone seriously considers removing the Pax Christi USA link and reference as a legitimate source for learning Catholic teachings on peace and justice issues. One additional item which should be added is a link to Archbishop Burke's recent Pastoal Letter. These changes would make, what might be considered a decent parish publication, a great source for parishioners.

English Version of "MANE NOBISCUM DOMINE" is available

I have not yet read it but I look forward to it.

It can be reviewed here.

Don't let ‘blood guilt' cover the whole nation

A very good Letter to the Editor by Julie Baer. An excerpt of the letter follows. You should read the entire letter.
...a friend gave me a book entitled, "Their Blood Cries Out." I was able to understand why these two city employees felt the need to profess their religion to me. They were experiencing something called "blood guilt." When a person knows full well that abortion is wrong, knows that killing unborn children is truly murder, understands that God despises the shedding of innocent blood, and claims to follow the gospel of Jesus Christ, but then turns his eyes away and does nothing, this person is experiencing "blood guilt."

When Senator John Kerry made the identical statement, "I'm Catholic" on national TV, I realized that our whole nation would be covered with "blood guilt" if he is elected president.
So true...

Letter here.

New religious order founded in Diocese of Columbus

These days, she [Mary Jane Goffena ]wears an ankle-length white garment with a collar, a sleeved purple scapular, and a white and purple veil. A rosary hangs around her waist. Around her neck hangs a pendant of a crucifix and monstrance. Today, she is Sister Margaret Mary, foundress of the Children of Mary, a semicontemplative order formed under the guidance of Columbus Bishop James A. Griffin for women between the ages of 18 and 36, who feel called to live simply while working and praying. One of the order's missions is to promote eucharistic adoration. [This is a] new order of religious women consecrated to the Sacred Heart of Jesus and the Immaculate Heart of Mary.
Let us thank our Lord for His graces and pray for the success of this new order.

Article here.

Catholics discuss consolidation plan of Northeast Deanery

Last week's Gathering of the Laity meeting was intended to solicit ideas on how to adjust a plan to consolidate Catholic schools and parishes in the Northeast County Deanery.

However, the head of the deanery, the Rev. John Brockland, often found himself defending the proposal or the task force that created it.
One man, whose children attend Corpus Christi school, thought that closing Corpus Christi parish and school sends the wrong message to African-Americans.

"Corpus Christi is 82 percent African-American, and we're talking about closing the church," said Marvin Sullivan, pastor of St. John African Methodist Evangelical Church in St. Charles. "What are you saying when you take our money and then close our school? You can't evangelize us and then close the door on us."

Many of the African-American children attending the school are not Catholic, Sullivan noted.
If proper and fruitful evangelization were taking place, people would be entering the Church. This is, after all, the purpose for evangelization and ecumenism - to proclaim Christ and His Church in all truth and charity so that that those who hear will desire to follow Him.

It will be interesting to see how this plays out.

Article here.

Not In Good Conscience

Kerry would perpetuate a great evil.

Robert P. George and Gerard V. Bradley dismantle and refute the position of Mark W. Roche, dean of the College of Arts and Letters at Notre Dame, whose essay was published in the New York Times on Monday. The link to Roche's illogical mental gymnastics, in an attempt to justify how a Catholic could vote for Kerry in utter defiance of right reason and Catholic morality, is posted below.
Roche is right that abortion is in our day what slavery was in Lincoln's. To vote for John Kerry in 2004 would be far worse, however, than to have voted against Lincoln and for his Democratic opponent in 1860. Stephen Douglas at least supported allowing states that opposed slavery to ban it. And he did not favor federal funding or subsidies for slavery. John Kerry takes the opposite view on both points when it comes to abortion. On the great evil of his own day, Senator Douglas was merely John Kerry-lite.
Article here.

Tax the Church....?

Tax the Church

If Archbishop Burke is allowed to send out letters telling Catholics how to vote, I want the Church to be charged taxes. And personally, a president who invaded another country and has gotten over 1,000 of our young troops killed does not deserve the Catholic vote.
This little gem was found in today's Post Dispatch "Sound Off" section.

There is a BIG difference in telling someone how to vote (using morality to guide one's conscience) and for WHOM to vote. But again, this critical distinction may be too complicated for many to comprehend.

Source (with other interesting comments).

Today's Post-Dispatch "Town Talk"

Today the Post prints three comments about Archbishop Burke and his recent Pastoral Letter. Good money says that none of the people who made the comments have read the letter - but, apparently that's perfectly fine since the Post and other organizations have distilled the letter's essence into manageable sound bites which seem intended to obscure rather than illuminate the truth.

Burke's law

I KNOW RELIGIOUS leaders aren't supposed to endorse political figures, but Archbishop Burke might as well walk around with a tattoo on his forehead that says "Bush-Cheney" and a bumper sticker on the big limousine he rides around in. I hope Catholics aren't taken in by this man's rhetoric. The death penalty is all right. All of the lives in Iraq that are being lost, that's all right. But he's pushing the abortion issue and the gay marriage ban. Those are exactly the same things Bush and Cheney are running on.
I JUST READ in the paper that Archbishop Burke is telling Catholics who to vote for in the November election. Who does he think he is? We don't want or need him here. He has caused too much grief in the short time he has been here. It is none of his business how you vote. Don't let him take away your freedom to vote your choice. Sounds like a dictator to me.
I READ IN the Oct. 3 Sunday Post-Dispatch that Archbishop Burke's pastoral letter was meant to clarify the subject of voting that has been confusing for St. Louis Catholics. Up until reading his letter and other statements he has made, I was not confused. But now I am confused as to how the Catholic Church can remain a tax-exempt organization and dictate who to vote for. Also, since the archbishop has crossed the line separating church and state, even though he denies it, shouldn't we as Catholics be able to vote him out?
I wonder if any of these three people are Catholic?

I am reminded of what I was told by several people who attended a Pro-Life Mass at my parish last week. I normally attend these Masses but was unable to last week as my eldest son had just arrived home from Boston. The priest was denigrating (or at least, minimizing the Archbishop's pastoral letter during his homily and one woman was overheard saying that Archbishop Burke should pack his bags and go).

Perhaps it was providential that I was unable to attend? I no longer have the patience to listen to dissenting priests and others spew their venom or heterodoxy, particularly at Mass or in a liturgical setting. This priest and I have had our "debates" in the past over what is irreversible teaching and what is not, and I am at a loss to explain how a priest in the Catholic Church could be so ignorant of doctrinal matters which are unchangeable.

Depending on what was said (and I'll probably hear more about the Mass tonight), I'm not certain what I would have done - I may have even walked out during his homily - who knows? I do know that these priests need our prayers so that God may grant them graces necessary to be courageous in proclaiming the truth. Many of them are afraid of the truth, as if it were something to be feared.

Anyway, I think we can see by the reaction of those who can not or will not accept the Archbishop's message and teaching on Catholic morality that it may be pricking the conscience of those who scream in pain the loudest. It is tough medicine for many, and a much needed and welcome relief for others.

We need to continue to pray for Archbishop Burke and the other bishops who, in union with the Holy Father, teach us and guide us on our pilgrim journey toward eternity in heaven.


Wednesday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 11:42-46

The Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees (Continuation)
(Jesus said to the Pharisees,) [42] "But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God; these you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. [43] Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the best seat in the synagogues and salutations in the market places. [44] Woe to you! for you are like graves which are not seen, and men walk over them without knowing it."

[45] One of the lawyers answered Him, "Teacher, in saying this You reproach us also." [46] And He said, "Woe to you lawyers also! for you load men with burdens hard to bear and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers."

42. The Law of Moses laid down that the harvest had to be tithed (cf. Leviticus 27:30-33; Deuteronomy 12:22ff; etc.) to provide for the worship offered in the temple. Insignificant products were not subject to this Law.

Rue is a bitter medicinal plant used by the Jews in ancient times. Did it have to be tithed?: the Pharisees, who were so nit-picking, said that it did.

44. According to the Old Law, anyone who touched a grave became unclean for seven days (Num 19:16), but with the passage of time a grave could become so overgrown that a person could walk on it without noticing. Our Lord uses this comparison to unmask the hypocrisy of these people He is talking to: they are very exact about very small details but they forget their basic duty--justice and the love of God (verse 42). On the outside they are clean but their hearts are full of malice and rottenness (verse 39); they pretend to be just, appearances are all that matters to them; they know that virtue is held in high regard, therefore they strive to appear highly virtuous (verse 43). Duplicity and deceit mark their lives.
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Tuesday, October 12, 2004

Trick or Treat for UNICEF?

Hopefully not!
UNICEF Demands Abortion for Underage Girls without Parents Knowledge
Reminder Not to Donate to UNICEF at Halloween

A special voting email I received today...

I received the following email today from the Catholic Voting Project, a site which purports to be Catholic and follows the USCCB document Faithful Citizenship: A Catholic Call to Political Responsibility. One thing, among many, which this group fails to understand is that John Kerry professes to be a devout Catholic - after all, he was an altar boy, and since he makes this claim he should more readily embrace and assent to the teachings of the Church. George Bush, on the other hand, is not under the same obligation as Kerry in this regard, yet the Catholic Voting Project seems to dismiss this.
The Catholic Voting Project launched today a new animation that exposes the platforms of both Presidential candidates Bush and Kerry as "Cafeteria Catholic," picking and choosing only the Catholic issues that suit them, and tossing the rest out the window. In the animation, the candidates are pictured dining at a fine Catholic restaurant, but when they cannot order the full pro-life entree to the Bishop waiter's satisfaction, he sends them to the Catholic Cafeteria across the street.

You can view the animation at

The animation is designed to educate Catholic voters about the full breadth of Catholic Social Teaching so they can make informed, conscientious voting decisions. The Catholic Voting Project uses as its framework the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' document "Faithful Citizenship," which lays out some fifty "moral priorities for public life" relevant to the upcoming presidential election.

Check out and be sure to spread the word to friends! The Catholic vote is critical this election year, and we need to make sure that everyone is aware of the full Catholic menu.

The Catholic Voting Project Team
I hesitate to post this site and the information, however, I believe it is prudent to know what is going on in the realm of alleged Catholic voting undertakings.

For instance, most are aware of the excellent Catholic Voter Guides by Catholic Answers and EWTN's Fr. Stephen Torraco (listed on the side of this page). As a matter of fact, Archbishop Burke has approved the Catholic Answer's Voter's Guide for distribution in our Archdiocese. Yet we see on Catholic Voting Project website this statement:

There are many other voter guides for the 2004 elections that claim to be "Catholic", yet they focus on only a handful of issues, depending largely on the ideology of the sponsor. Some voter guides look only at abortion, stem cell research, and homosexual marriage—issues on which from a Catholic perspective President Bush gets better marks than Kerry.
So the Catholic Answers Voter's Guide is NOT "Catholic"? Someone better inform Karl Keating! I bet he would like to know this.
Other voter guides focus only on domestic economic issues, such as tax policy and social programs for the poorest Americans—issues on which Senator Kerry prevails.
Perhaps this refers to groups like Call to Action, NetworkLobby, or CatholicActionNetwork (which rely, by the way, in large part , on the USCCB document Faithful Citizenship)...Proof? See this.
The Catholic Voting Project's voter guide is unique in that it considers all the issues highlighted by the U.S. Catholic Bishops.
Ah yes, the glorious document, Faithful Citizenship...which, when put in the hands of some, becomes twisted and distorted.

But this isn't all. On October 4, the group posted a Press Release titled: The Catholic Voting Project Responds to Archbishop Burke's Pastoral Letter which states, in part:
Catholic Voting Project spokesperson Chris Korzen said, “Archbishop Burke’s pastoral letter is his personal theological opinion and is intended as guidance for voters within his archdiocese. Speaking as a collected assembly, however, the U.S. Bishops have consistently promoted Faithful Citizenship as the standard that American Catholics should use to inform their conscience when weighing electoral choices. The Bishops explicitly warn against single-issue voting in Faithful Citizenship, and assert that ‘it is incoherent to isolate some particular element to the detriment of the whole of Catholic doctrine.’”
Archbishop Burke is expressing his own personal theological opinion???...This is the same mantra we always hear when a bishop speaks out against the evils of the age which must be addressed because they are always and everywhere evil and sinful. But that's not all...
“The content and wording of Archbishop Burke’s letter is strikingly similar to the ‘Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics,’ a publication of a lay organization called Catholic Answers. Although Archbishop Burke has promoted the Catholic Answers guide and has sanctioned its distribution in local parishes, such actions have been eyed warily by the U.S. Bishops as a whole.”
I really cannot believe that someone actually has the nerve to write what I just read here..."such actions have been eyed warily by the U.S. Bishops as a whole”? It seems that for a number of years, the U.S. Bishops, generally speaking, have viewed strong and orthodox bishops "warily". The fact of the matter is that the Archdiocesan website has links to both the Catholic Answers Guide and Faithful Citizenship. Perhaps, it's this menu selection that Mr. Korzen finds disturbing, or maybe it's because Archbishop Burke, like a few other god bishops, are concerned for the education of the faithful and concerned for their salvation?

But there is one more point:
“Using Faithful Citizenship as the benchmark, the Catholic Voting Project urges American Catholics to approach voting guides like the Catholic Answers guide with a critical eye. Voting guides that isolate issues without taking into consideration the full richness and breadth of Catholic Social Teaching risk putting a partisan agenda before Catholic principles. They also fail to reflect the spirit of Faithful Citizenship, in which each individual is called to inform his or her conscience and examine it personally when making difficult voting decisions.”
It seems to me, that in this age of little to no catechesis. a guide such as that by Catholic Answers is the perfect beginning point for Catholics as this deals with those issues about which the Church permits of NO exceptions, NO debates, NO dissent...

Archbishop Chaput: Voting for pro-abortion candidate is a sin

In an interview in his residence here, Archbishop Chaput said a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion. (my emphasis)

"If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?" he asked. "And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes."
Tell it like it is, your Excellency!


We want some attention, too!

Clamor over Burke's words drowns out other voices of faith
By Katherine Hawker

Yesterday's story in the editorial section of the Post included this complaint that the Post was paying too much attention to Archbishop Burke and not enough attention on what other "religious leaders" had to say.
I am a pro-choice Protestant clergywoman
Should this be an oxymoron, if it isn't already?
who campaigned this summer against Missouri's Amendment 2 (which banned gay marriage),
Natural Moral Law?
and as such I read Burke's thesis as reported in the Post-Dispatch with care. I disagree with many of Burke's premises, and I strongly disagree with his conclusions. Like many people of faith, I am appalled at his conclusion that some "evil" is more "intrinsic" than others.
Basic Moral Theology 101...I can understand why she would refer to herslef as "protestant" - and no offense meant to "Protestants".

How can one claim to be representative of Christian "clergy" when one rejects basic moral law? But this realy isn't the reason shw wrote:
...I am deeply troubled that the only such story in town seems to be Burke. My own denomination has an eloquent leader who has been speaking forthrightly and receiving no press attention.
There is more to the article here.

Archbishop Chaput: Vote for pro-abortion candidate is a sin

In an interview in his residence here, Archbishop Chaput said a vote for a candidate like Mr. Kerry who supports abortion rights or embryonic stem cell research would be a sin that must be confessed before receiving Communion. (my emphasis)

"If you vote this way, are you cooperating in evil?" he asked. "And if you know you are cooperating in evil, should you go to confession? The answer is yes."
Tell it like it is, your Excellency!


Dean of Notre Dame: Vote Conscience, not Religion

First, abortion is not the only life-and-death issue in this election. While the Republicans line up with the Catholic stance on abortion and stem-cell research, the Democrats are closer to the Catholic position on the death penalty, universal health care and environmental protection.
This is certainly not the first time Mark Roche has spoken out in a manner contrary to the Church. It is more than reprehensible to equate abortion and embryonic stem cell research with the death penalty, the environment or socialist health care.

He later quotes statistics showing that the rate of abortion decreases when there is a Democratic president in office - due to enhanced welfare programs.


Germany Headfscarf Ruling Affect Nuns...

A federal court in Germany has ruled a ban on Muslim teachers wearing headscarves in public schools must also apply to Christian nuns.
I think that should probably be "Catholic" nuns, but maybe I'm not aware of others.

Another fine example of political correctness gone awry...


Tuesday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 11:37-41

The Hypocrisy of the Scribes and Pharisees
[37] While He (Jesus) was speaking, a Pharisee asked Him to dine with Him; so He went in and sat at table.
[38] The Pharisee was astonished to see that He did not first wash before dinner. [39] And the Lord said to him, "Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of extortion and wickedness.
[40] You fools! Did not He who made the outside make the inside also?
[41] But give for alms those things which are within; and behold everything
is clean for you."

39-52. In this passage (one of the most severe in the Gospel) Jesus determinedly unmasks the vice which was largely responsible for official Judaism's rejection of His teaching--hypocrisy cloaked in legalism. There are many people, who under the guise of doing good, keeping the mere letter of the law, fail to keep its spirit; they close themselves to the love of God and neighbor; they harden their hearts and, though apparently very upright, turn others away from fervent pursuit of God--making virtue distasteful. Jesus' criticism is vehement because they are worse than open enemies: against open enemies one can defend oneself, but these enemies are almost impossible to deal with. The scribes and Pharisees were blocking the way of those who wanted to follow Jesus: they were the most formidable obstacle to the Gospel. Our Lord's invective against the scribes and Pharisees is reported even more fully in chapter 23 of St. Matthew. See the note on Matthew 23:1-39.

[The note on Matthew 23:1-39 states:
1-39. Throughout this chapter Jesus severely criticizes the scribes and Pharisees and demonstrates the sorrow and compassion He feels towards the ordinary mass of the people, who have been ill-used, "harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd" (Matthew 9:36). His address may be divided into three parts: in the first (verses 1-12) He identifies their principal vices and corrupt practices; in the second(verses 13-36) He confronts them and speaks His famous "woes", which in effect are the reverse of the Beatitudes He preached in Chapter 5: no one can enter the Kingdom of Heaven--no one can escape condemnation to the flames--unless he changes his attitude and behavior; in the third part (verses 37-39) He weeps over Jerusalem, so grieved is He by the evils into which the blind pride and hardheartedness of the scribes and Pharisees have misled the people.]

40-41. It is not easy to work out what these verses mean. Probably our Lord is using the idea of cleaning the inside and outside of dishes to teach that a person's heart is much more important than what appears on the surface--whereas the Pharisees got it the wrong way round, as so many people tend to do. Jesus is warning us not to be so concerned about "the outside" but rather give importance to "the inside".
Applying this to the case of alms: we have to be generous with those things we are inclined to hoard; in other words, it is not enough just to give a little money (that could be a purely formal, external gesture); love is what we have to give others--love and understanding, refinement, respect for their freedom, deep concern for their spiritual and material welfare; this is something we cannot do unless our interior dispositions are right.

In an address to young people, Pope John Paul II explains what almsgiving really means: "The Greek word for alms, "eleemosyne", comes from "eleos", meaning compassion and mercy. Various circumstances have combined to change this meaning so that almsgiving is often regarded as a cold act, with no love in it. But almsgiving in the proper sense means realizing the needs of others and letting them share in one's own goods. Who would say that there will not always be others who need help, especially spiritual help, support, consolation, fraternity, love? The world is always very poor, as far as love is concerned" (28 March 1979).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher

Monday, October 11, 2004

Archbishop Chaput-Divided Hearts: Americans, Religion, National Policy

One of the books that shaped my thinking as a teenager was George Orwell’s Animal Farm. Most of you know that it’s a political fable.

Orwell imagined an English farm where the animals revolt and throw out their human master. But instead of creating a utopia, they get a regime run by pigs. The pigs behave even worse than the humans. And whenever anyone tries to question the rules, the pigs bring in a chorus of sheep, who bleat “Four legs good, two legs bad; four legs good, two legs bad,” again and again, until everyone gets confused and goes home.

I’ve been thinking about those sheep all year long. I remember them every time someone tells me that Catholics shouldn’t try to impose our beliefs on society. I remember them every time somebody warns me that religious believers need to respect the separation of Church and state.

I think these two concerns – “don’t impose your beliefs on society” and “the separation of Church and state” -- aren’t the real concerns at all. They’re slogans. They’re sound bites designed to shut down serious thought.
Good article by Archbishop Chaput.

Full article here.

Statement of Culture of Life Foundation on the passing of Christopher Reeve

For immediate release

For further comment, call
Austin Ruse, 646-322-4420


"Today we mourne the passing of the great entertainer Christopher Reeve. Our sincere condolences go to his brave family and friends who supported him through his long years of struggle."

"We regret that his passing, like that of Ronald Reagan, will provide the opportunity for some to make the false case for embryo-destructive research."

"The fact is that after twenty years and many millions of dollars, embryo- destructive research has not successfully treated a single patient or a single disease. Embryo-destructive research was no where close to helping Mr. Reeve walk again. To suggest otherwise does a disservice to those who suffer by raising profoundly false expectations that will not be realized."

"While embryo-destructive research has cured no person and no disease, adult stem cell research has already treated thousands of patients and more than 100 diseases. In fact, adult stem cell therapy has already helped those with severe spinal cord injuries to walk again, two of whom testified before the US Senate last month. One of those who testfied even suffered from quadrapelgia just like Christopher Reeve."

"Embryo-destructive research is morally problematic because it kills a human embryo in the process. On the other hand, adult stem cell research poses no such moral dilemma. Polls also show that a majority of Americans prefer research that does not kill the human embryo."

Another Theologian "Wanna Be" writes for the Post

The Post Dispatch has opted to print another article from one who is opposed to Archbishop Burke's Pastoral Letter. The author is one Gary Siegel of Kirkwood, who, as the paper states, is the director of the Institute of Applied Research, a St. Louis public policy research firm that specializes in human services systems. He states he was in the seminary before and that Cardinal George was his teacher and spiritual advisor for a time. That certainly qualifies, I suppose, as sufficient reason to clutter the pages of the Post with his "logic". Unfortunately, having been in the seminary at one time or having Cardinal George as a teacher is not a guarantee that one proposes is credible or worthy of belief. This is especially the case when it openly contradicts the teaching of the Church as explained by the Archbishop.

One wonders why the Post chooses these people? At least, Frank Flinn has some credentials, even though the ideas in his article were similarly flawed.

Some excerpts of the three problems Gary has with understanding the Archbishop:
First, the problem of logic: As I understand the archbishop's position, when faced with two flawed candidates, one who supports acts that are "intrinsically evil," such as abortion and homosexuality, and a second who promotes acts that are evil but not intrinsically so, such as war and capital punishment, a Catholic must choose the second over the first. To do otherwise would be sinful.
Gary then procedes to create a hypothetical which would likely, in his mind, cause a problem for him...

Since Archbishop Burke clearly explained the problems in his pastoral letter, it is apparent that some cannot understand even the simplest language. In the current situation, we are dealing with facts - not hypotheticals intended to give one "wiggle room" to avoid doing what one is obliged to do, morally.

Next we have a "profound" insight as explained by Mr. Siegel.
With respect to politicians and public policy, capital punishment and war are explicitly institutional acts, acts of government; abortion and homosexuality are personal acts. Further, most politicians who support abortion rights do not advocate or promote abortion. Rather, they oppose the intrusion of government into this area, preferring legislation that allows individual women to exercise their own moral judgment.
One may wish to deceive oneself with these ideas, but the fact remains that those who support non-existent "rights" to abortion must also support abortion, either implicitly or explicitly.

Is the author so naive to think that the government does not interfere with people's private choices? This happens all of the time. There is nothing intrinsically noble about choice. There are many choices societies simply can't allow individuals to make. Total freedom for each individual is anarchy.
Third, a bishop may have an obligation to teach, but he still has choices. He can teach with words or through his example, with his arguments or with his actions. He can rant like a tent revivalist about the evils of sin, or he can model the life of Christ in his pastoral concern for the poor and the troubled.
Here we have the classic case of the "Either/Or" mindset so prevalent among protestants and many professed Catholics. As others have stated, Catholics should embrace a both/and mentality regarding things of this sort.

Regardless, I have yet to see Archbishop Burke "rant like a tent revivalist" so perhaps Nr. Siegel can provide us with an example rather than with baseless insinuations? If anything, it seems that Archbishop Burke models Christ in his dealings with others.

Lastly, the Post's newest theologian gives us this bit of advice:
Fortunately, a Catholic's first obligation in moral decisions is not to follow his bishop but his conscience. As Cardinal John Henry Newman stated it: "To conscience first, and to the pope afterwards."
Surely, Cardinal Newman appreciates the plug, however, I'm certain he would not appreciate being quoted in this context. He would understand, as do many, the need to properly form one's conscience BEFORE invoking the primacy of conscience defense. One would think that a person who claims to be a former seminarian would have, at least, a rudimetary understanding of the Church's basic teaching on "conscience" and other issues.

The Post-Dispatch should keep looking, they have yet to find anyone who can refute the truths explained to us by Archbishop Burke.

Article is here.

Archbishop Joseph Naumann, Keynote Address MCC

...Catholic voters must realize that even to vote for a pro-abortion/pro-choice politician, not because of their pro-abortion position but in spite of it (because they favor other matters supported by this politician), one must have "proportionate" reasons.

Thus, they must answer the question “What could be a proportionate reason to the deaths of 40 million innocent children and 40 plus million adults scarred by their involvement in abortion?” Personally, I cannot conceive in our present circumstances what would qualify as a proportionate reason.
Keynote Address here.

Monday, 28th Week in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 11:29-32

The Sign of Jonah
[29] When the crowds were increasing, He (Jesus) began to say, "This generation is an evil generation; it seeks a sign, but no sign shall be given to it except the sign of Jonah.
[30] For as Jonah became a sign to the men of Nineveh, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.
[31] The queen of the South will arise at the judgment with the men of this generation and condemn them; for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.
[32] The men of Nineveh will arise at the judgment with this generation and condemn it; for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here."

29-32. Jonah was the prophet who led the Ninevites to do penance: his actions and preaching they saw as signifying that God had sent him (cf. note on Matthew 12:41-42).

[Note on Matthew 12:41-42 states:
41-42. Nineveh was a city in Mesopotamia (modern Iraq) to which the prophet Jonah was sent. The Ninevites did penance (John 3:6-9) because they recognized the prophet and accepted his message; whereas Jerusalem does not wish to recognize Jesus, of whom Jonah was merely a figure. The queen of the South was the queen of Sheba in southwestern Arabia, who visited Solomon (1 Kings 10:1-10) and was in awe of the wisdom with which God had endowed the King of Israel. Jesus is also prefigured in Solomon, whom Jewish tradition saw as the epitome of the wise man.
Jesus' reproach is accentuated by the example of pagan converts, and gives us a glimpse of the universal scope of Christianity, which will take root among the Gentiles.

There is a certain irony in what Jesus says about "something greater" than Jonah or Solomon having come: really, He is infinitely greater, but Jesus prefers to tone down the difference between Himself and any figure, no matter how important, in the Old Testament.]
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher.

Sunday, October 10, 2004

Catholic teachers group gives Burke all F's

The Association of Catholic Elementary Educators issued a "report card" Saturday for Archbishop Raymond Burke, giving him all F's in nine categories on his performance on labor and social justice issues.
Mary Chubb, president of the association, said Burke has been unwilling to meet with her or recognize her group's decade-long effort to achieve recognition of the union and collective bargaining for teachers.

"We're really concerned because schools are closing and there is no set formula for rehiring or placing teachers who lost their jobs," Chubb said. "It's an anything-goes situation."
There's no formula for rehiring? Or for placement of those who have lost jobs? Maybe there's somrthing to this....maybe because of the widespread use of contraception and the corresponding decline in the birthrate, fewer teachers are needed, particularly ones who refuse to accept the decision of the Archdiocese and promote dissension among other unions toward the Church.

This coupled with the fact that those Catholics who have not succumbed to the "culture of death" by practicing contraception have larger families and may even home-school, might lessen the demand for these teachers.

I wonder what kind of grade these teachers would receive if they were to be judged on the results they produce?

Source of Article.

28th Sunday in Ordinary Time

Gospel: Luke 17:11-19

The Ten Lepers
[11] On the way to Jerusalem He (Jesus) was passing along between Samaria and Galilee. [12] And as He entered the village, He was met by ten lepers, who stood at a distance [13] and lifted up their voices and said, "Jesus, Master, have mercy on us." [14] When He saw them He said to them, "Go and show yourselves to the priests." And as they went they were cleansed. [15] Then one of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, praising God with a loud voice; [16] and he fell on his face at Jesus' feet, giving Him thanks. Now he was a Samaritan. [17] Then said Jesus, "Were not ten cleansed? Where are the nine? [18] Was no one found to return and give praise to God except this foreigner?" [19] And He said to him, "Rise and go your way; your faith has made you well."

11-19. The setting of this episode explains how a Samaritan could be in the company of Jews. There was no love lost between Jews and Samaritans (cf. John 4:9), but shared pain, in the case of these lepers, overcame racial antipathy.

The Law of Moses laid down, to prevent the spread of the disease, that lepers should live away from other people and should let it be known that they were suffering from this disease (cf. Leviticus 13:45-46). This explains why they did not come right up to Jesus and His group, but instead begged His help by shouting from a distance.

Before curing them our Lord orders them to go to the priests to have their cure certified (cf. Leviticus 14:2ff), and to perform the rites laid down. The lepers' obedience is a sign of faith in Jesus' words. And, in fact, soon after setting out they are cleansed.

However, only one of them, the Samaritan, who returns praising God and showing his gratitude for the miracle, is given a much greater gift than the cure of leprosy. Jesus says as much: "Your faith has made you well" (verse 19) and praises the man's gratefulness. The Gospel records this event to teach us the value of gratefulness: "Get used to lifting your heart to God, in acts of thanksgiving, many times a day.

Because He gives you this and that. Because you have been despised. Because you haven't what you need or because you have.

"Because He made His Mother so beautiful, His Mother who is also your Mother. Because He created the sun and the moon and this animal and that plant. Because He made that man eloquent and you He left tongue-tied....

"Thank Him for everything, because everything is good" ([St] J. Escriva, "The Way", 268).
Source: "The Navarre Bible: Text and Commentaries". Biblical text taken from the Revised Standard Version and New Vulgate. Commentaries made by members of the Faculty of Theology of the University of Navarre, Spain. Published by Four Courts Press, Kill Lane, Blackrock, Co. Dublin, Ireland.

Reprinted with permission from Four Courts Press and Scepter Publishers, the U.S. publisher