Saturday, February 28, 2009

Recent Posts on Te Deum Laudamus!

Pope Benedict on Ash Wednesday
(Photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images Europe)

And finally, in case you missed it....

Fr. Perrone spoke on.....gasp.....concupiscence (Surprise! The word was not eliminated by Vatican II)

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Late Term Abortion Supporter, and Catholic, Gov. Kathleen Sebelius Tapped by Obama

UPDATED: Related links added.

Original cartoon of John Francis Borra, SFO, used with permission.
Please see terms of use at his blog, Veritats: The Cartoon. Below this cartoon he explains:
This cartoon illustrates the deception, slander and manipulation emblematic of Kathleen Sebelius' tenure as Kansas governor. Initially published in July 2007, it depicts then-AG Paul Morrison's press conference, during which he disparaged his predecessor's investigation and subsequent charges against Wichita abortionist George Tiller. Morrison, aided by a one-million-dollar smear campaign funded by George Tiller's PAC, had just unseated Phil Kline as the state's attorney general. Tiller's investment in both Sebelius and Morrison had begun paying dividends.

The perfect storm for the USCCB...

Just when the pro-life movement thought Kathleen Sebelius' close ties with the Butcher of of Kansas, George Tiller, would end her bid as head of Health and Human Services, Obama has gone forward with his selection.

Go read: Obama taps Sebelius for HHS secretary, posted 21 minutes ago as of this entry. Here's the relevant excerpt.

WASHINGTON – Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius is President Barack Obama's choice for secretary of health and human services, a White House source said Saturday.

The source, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said Obama will formally announce the nomination on Monday.

Sebelius, 60, was an early Obama supporter. She picked his presidential campaign over that of Hillary Rodham Clinton, now the secretary of state. Sebelius worked tirelessly for Obama's bid and was a top surrogate to women's groups.


Abortion foes strongly oppose Sebelius because she once had a reception attended by a late-term abortion provider who now faces criminal charges. Democrats say there was never any doubt that Obama would appoint an HHS secretary who supports abortion rights.

Go read more about Gov. Sebelius at the blog of John Francis Borra, who is from Kansas, her home state (scroll).

Go read more about George Tiller, who performs abortions at any point of pregnancy.

Additional Reading (watch for updates):

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Please keep Fr. John Malloy, SDB in your prayers...

One of the blogging priests listed in my sidebar for priests, religious, and deacons has been admitted to the hospital with pneumonia he has been fighting.

Read more here and drop a comment in with some spiritual bouquets.

St. John Bosco, pray for him!

Visit his homepage, A Shepherd's Voice, for updates being made by another blogger.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

An Open Letter to US Catholic Bishops regarding National Catholic Reporter's Article: I am a Pro-Choice Catholic

To all who read this open letter to US Bishops and the article about which it is written: Please consider emailing this post to your local bishop's office or printing it and sending it via mail. Be sure to include a printout of the linked article at the National Catholic Reporter. You may also contact the USCCB's office for pro-life activities at: Above all....pray that they read it.

Here is a permalink to this blogpost

EDIT: This post will be updated with additional links as articles and commentaries are made available. Be sure to read the commentary by Ed Peters, JD, JCD under my open letter to the US bishops at the bottom of this post.

To US Catholic Bishops:

I wish to express my greatest desires that you receive many graces during this Lenten season. I thank all of you for your service and dedication as successors to the apostles.

I ran across something this morning that left me deeply troubled and would like to share my concern.

My attention was drawn to an article which was published online by the National Catholic Reporter (NCR) on February 26, 2009, by Kate Childs Graham, entitled: I am a Pro-Choice Catholic. It is in a high-traffic section of the site, namely - it's blog, under Young Voices. This, in itself, leads me to believe that young people are being exploited by dissident Catholics.

This article, published online by a Catholic newspaper, is an essay by a young woman about her journey from a pro-life position and activity, to a so-called, "pro-choice" position. After giving several reasons for her change of heart, she concludes (emphasis mine in bold):

Finally, I am a prochoice Catholic because my Catholic faith tells me I can be. The Catechism reads, “[Conscience] is man’s most secret core and his sanctuary. There he is alone with God whose voice echoes in his depths.” Even St. Thomas Aquinas said it would be better to be excommunicated than to neglect your individual conscience. So really, I am just following his lead. After years of research, discernment and prayer, my conscience has been well informed. Being a prochoice Catholic does not contradict my faith; rather, in following my well-informed conscience, I am adhering to the central tenet of Catholic teaching -- the primacy of conscience.

First, neither Ms. Graham nor the editors at the National Catholic Reporter apparently understand that conscience must be properly formed with the mind of the Church. Upon a quick review of the article, you will see that there are many areas where the mind of the Church is absent and Her teachings distorted.

It brings into question the suitability of those responsible for it's publication to serve as editors and publishers of any Catholic newspaper. It also calls into question the suitability for the National Catholic Reporter to be sold or distributed in any Catholic diocese, at the parish level, or otherwise. In this instance, and I believe in others, the NCR is being used as an instrument to sow dissent and to undermine the efforts of our shepherds to teach the truths of our Catholic faith.

Second, Ms. Graham's erroneous position on conscience, citing St. Thomas Aquinas, comes months after similar arguments were brought forth by pro-choice Catholic politicians and educators. Is this a fruit of those efforts made publicly visible?

Her letter is a sad manifestation of the state of poor catechesis in the United States. The author deserves our deepest prayers, as do the misguided publishers and staff of the National Catholic Reporter who have brought it to the world online [EDIT: If it disappears, feel free to request a copy through my email address below. I have downloaded it for permanent reference].

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever" (Heb 13:9). Yet, the National Catholic Reporter, with this publication, will have us believe that Our Lord is ever changing with the world. While Scripture admonishes us to "beware of all sorts of strange teachings", the same newspaper does not promote sound doctrine, but feeds on man's fallen nature for people to follow "their own desires and insatiable curiosity". Authors at the NCR "stopped listening to the truth" and it's readers are feeding heavily on their dissenting arguments (2 Tim 4:3-4).

There is a propensity of certain Catholic newspapers and periodicals, including the NCR, to advance the ideals, wishes and desires of poorly catechized people, in direct conflict with clear and consistent Catholic teaching. Many of these things are nothing more than the pursuit of the very things to which our fallen human nature is attracted. Rather than aiding people in developing virtue to fight the effects of Original Sin these sources enable readers to persist in this misguided pursuit. In the process, they pull in more people every day.

It is my hope that you will read the article in it's entirety, and consider a formal review of some of the leading Catholic newspapers and periodicals in the United States. I am not asking for an exhaustive review of every single publication as this would be impossible. However, we need our bishops to inform us of sources that are advancing teachings which are foreign to our faith. This could easily be made available on the USCCB website.

In the meanwhile, I hope and pray the USCCB will see it prudent to address this particular article given it's status on the world wide web. I am sending a copy of this post to Please consider the volume of Catholic readers who visit the National Catholic Reporter online, as well as the many Catholics who read the print edition.

Be assured of my deepest prayers for all of you. I continue to ask my readers, as I do now in this blogpost, to make a holy hour each week for US Catholic Bishops. May our prayers help you with the many crosses you carry, especially for what lies ahead in our country.

Thank you for taking the time to read my open letter.

Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

UPDATES with coverage from others:

NOTE added 02-Mar-09: Same journalist, Kate Childs Graham also authored this post, published in the National Catholic Reporter in December 2008: Journey of our same-sex holy union.

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Impatience will get you no where fast...

Oh, this is too funny to not post....

It's good to have something off-topic now and then. I know it's lent, but perhaps this can teach us a lesson in virtue (and what can happen when you choose not to exercise it).

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

Friday, February 27, 2009


I couldn't stop laughing...

I'm embedding this with the hopes it does not slow the site down. I've had problems in the past. Please email me if you experience problems at which time I'll replace the embed with a link.

EDIT: Embed removed due to technical problems.

Go directly to Real Catholic TV where you can watch this clip.

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Protections for Medical Workers Being Removed by Obama

From LifeNews:

Washington, DC ( -- The White House quietly announced on Friday that President Barack Obama is starting the process of overturning protections President Bush put in place to make sure medical staff and centers are not forced to do abortions. The move is the latest that will add to Obama's growing pro-abortion record.

Existing federal laws already make it so doctors and hospitals are not required to perform abortions. Because those laws aren't always followed, the Bush administration added additional protections.

Bush officials noted a pattern of grant recipients being unaware of or flouting existing laws protecting medical professionals’ rights of conscience. So, HHS enacted the new regulations to require grantees to certify compliance with them in order to receive funds.

In August, 2008 the Department of Health and Human Services proposed regulations to strengthen those existing laws. The regulations were finalized on December 18, 2008 and went into effect January 20, 2009.

Abortion advocates complained about the new regulations and made false claims that they would somehow deny women access to birth control even though the regulations do not limit or restrict any legal practice or product.
...continue reading at

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Thursday, February 26, 2009

BREAKING: Bishop Martino sends second letter to Sen Bob Casey; Issues Official Notice on Worthy Reception of Holy Communion

Two key items showed up on the Diocese of Scranton's 2009 page for Press Releases, both with today's date of February 26, 2009: 1) A 2nd letter sent to Senator Bob Casey from Bishop Martino and, 2) An Official Notice on worthy reception of Holy Communion which states that all ministers, ordinary and extraordinary, are to deny Communion to those whose worthiness to receive Holy Communion is publicly known.

In a followup to a letter sent to Senator Bob Casey back in late January, Scranton's chief shepherd, Bishop Martino has called on the politician, again, to rescind his vote.

In the first letter, the bishop said:

“Your failure to reverse this vote will regrettably mean that you persist formally in cooperating with the evil brought about by this hideous and unnecessary policy,”
Some have wondered whether an excommunication announcement is forthcoming (bishops don't necessarily excommunicate people, they just let them know that they've excommunicated themselves by their actions).

Today, another letter to the Catholic senator has appeared on the diocesan website, as follows (emphases mine in bold'comments bracketed in red):

The following letter has been sent to Sen. Bob Casey:

Dear Senator Casey,

It is a matter of deep concern that your recent vote against the Mexico City Policy [this was actually a vote against the recent Martinez Amendment, but ultimately against the Mexico City Policy, but the MCP is indeed being on] is continually misrepresented by your staff as a pro-life vote intended to promote “contraception and other family planning that avoid unintended pregnancies” (Times-Tribune, February 6, 2009).

The Mexico City Policy is, first and foremost, about abortion, not about family planning. First put in place in 1984, the policy required all non-governmental organizations that receive federal funding to refrain from performing or promoting abortion services abroad. The policy required such organizations to agree as a condition for receiving U.S. foreign aid dollars that they would “neither perform nor actively promote abortion as a method of family planning in other nations.” The policy included exceptions for abortions done in cases of rape, incest or life-threatening conditions.

Furthermore, the Mexico City Policy did not take funds away from family planning; its effect is quite the opposite. Tom McCluskey of the Family Research Council reported the following: “. . .The Mexico City policy halts U.S. family planning funds from going to foreign . . . [NGOs] that perform abortions or ‘actively promote’ abortion as a method of family planning in other countries. . . The effect of President Obama rescinding the Mexico City Policy is that now millions ($461 million in the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2008) of dollars are taken away from family planning groups that do not promote abortions, and delivered into the hands of organizations that are the most militant in promoting abortion as a population-control method—especially in countries that find abortion objectionable on moral grounds” (my emphasis). Contrary to the claims of your staff, the absence of “Mexico City” regulations insures (1) that money is taken away from family planning, (2) that abortion is promoted as a method of family planning, and (3) that countries that have moral and cultural objections to abortion are encouraged to abandon their policies against it.

Finally, it is never permissible to use immoral means such as artificial contraception to achieve a good end, namely, the reduction of unplanned pregnancies. In fact, the mistaken view that artificial contraception may be used to regulate population growth and the size of families has led to countless evils in America and abroad, including the attitude that having and raising children is a burden to be avoided. This attitude has contributed mightily to the acceptability of abortion as a means of contraception both at home and abroad.

My letter of January 30 urging you to rescind your vote on the Mexico City Policy was in no way mistaken regarding the nature and the effect of President Obama’s order to rescind America’s long-standing policy to avoid using U.S. tax dollars to support organizations that promote abortion abroad. It is imperative that this fact be made known to the public.

It is also imperative that there be utter clarity when it comes to the teaching of the Church on matters that pertain to the taking of innocent life and the special responsibilities that fall to you, Senator, as a lawmaker to oppose abortion and other clear evils.

In closing, I refer you to the words of Cardinal Francis George, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, to President Obama urging him to retain the Mexico City Policy.

The Mexico City Policy . . . has wrongly been attacked as a restriction on foreign aid for family planning. In fact, it has not reduced such aid at all, but has ensured that family planning funds are not diverted to organizations dedicated to performing and promoting abortions instead of reducing them. Once the clear line between family planning and abortion is erased, the idea of using family planning to reduce abortions becomes meaningless, and abortion tends to replace contraception as the means for reducing family size. A shift toward promoting abortion in developing nations would also increase distrust of the United States in these nations, whose values and culture often reject abortion, at a time when we need their trust and respect (January 23, 2009).


Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, D.D., Hist. E.D.
Bishop of Scranton

At the same time, the Diocese of Scranton has issued the following. It's too long to paste in here, and is well worth reading in it's entirety (see link below), but I give you the all too relevant ending:

In 2004, the then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger (now Pope Benedict XVI) instructed the Bishops of the United States as follows:

Regarding the grave sin of abortion or euthanasia, when a person’s formal cooperation becomes manifest (understood, in the case of a Catholic politician, as his consistently campaigning and voting for permissive abortion and euthanasia laws), his Pastor should meet with him, instructing him about the Church’s teaching, informing him that he is not to present himself for Holy Communion until he brings to an end the objective situation of sin, and warning him that he will otherwise be denied the Eucharist.

This denial, the Cardinal noted in the same instruction, “is not a sanction or a penalty. Nor is the minister of Holy of Communion passing judgment on the person’s subjective guilt, but rather is reacting to the person’s public unworthiness to receive Holy Communion due to an objective situation of sin.”[3]

Therefore, His Excellency, the Most Reverend Joseph F. Martino, Bishop of Scranton, reminds all ministers of Holy Communion, ordinary and extraordinary, that:

To administer the Sacred Body and Blood of the Lord is a serious duty which they have received from the Church, and no one having accepted this responsibility has the right to ignore the Church’s law in this regard;

Those whose unworthiness to receive Holy Communion is known publicly to the Church must be refused Holy Communion in order to prevent sacrilege and to prevent the Catholic in question from committing further grave sin through unworthy reception.

James B. Earley


Full Text at Diocese of Scranton: OFFICIAL NOTICE: Worthiness to Receive Holy CommunionFebruary 26, 2009

Please see my post on the important need to pray for our bishops. Can you give them one hour per week - a holy hour, so that they may receive the graces they need? As interesting as it is to read about a bishop standing up to immorality, dissent and scandal, it is also a very heavy cross for them to carry. Help them to carry the cross through prayer, fasting, reparation, and adoration.

EDIT: Some have looked for an email address to send support to Bishop Martino. There is no email listed for the Diocese of Scranton. However, I suggest sending snail mail to the following address. A letter of support is good. A letter of support, with a spiritual bouquet is even better. Don't rule out a Mass card.

Diocese of Scranton
300 Wyoming Avenue
Scranton, PA 18503

More coverage from other sources:

More on Bishop Martino and the Diocese of Scranton in the news:

Oh, heck....just click the Bp Martino label

Edited for clarity on Febuary 27th at 5:32am
Edited to add Martinez Amendment link and related comment
Edited at 6:00am to add Scranton Diocese address
Edited at 8:20pm to add news links

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    Wednesday, February 25, 2009

    Scranton Shepherd, Bishop Martino, calls for dissolution of Misericordia's "Diversity Institute"

    Oh boy! The Times-Leader in Pennsylvania had to round up a bunch of students since they weren't consulted by Bishop Martino. Surprise! They disagree with him.

    That Catholics would essentially thumb their noses at the local bishop when he clarifies Catholic teaching on faith and morals is manifest need for a more remedial kind of remedy. Perhaps Misericordia could make this the text for a required class for students and faculty, based on the same name. They might want to pay particular attention to Part 1, Chapter 1 (What it means to be Catholic) and chapter 2 (Who's who in the Catholic Church). The section on bishops and archbishops is on page 36.

    Original Post

    File Photo from the Scranton Times-Tribune

    Rock on God bless you, Bishop Martino!

    One thing is for certain. His Excellency is persistant and is ensuring that scandal is not happening in his diocese without a clear understanding of the Church's position. Keep in mind, there is only so much a bishop can do with Catholic institutes of higher education when they stray.

    I've been making posts weekly about the actions of Bishop Martino in Scranton, PA. This is the same bishop who stood up at the USCCB's November meeting and told his brother bishops that they would one day have to account for their "collective reticence to speak to Catholic politicians who are not just reluctant, but stridently anti-life." .

    Bishop Martino takes the matter of scandal very seriously. There is nothing going on at Misericordia University that is not going on at countless other institutions which are proving to be Catholic in name only. Some bishops have chosen to try to change the situation at local colleges through discrete dialogue, I'm sure with the best of intentions. However, it is a very public thing when a Catholic institution invites speakers who will very likley promote things, in the name of diversity, that are in complete conflict with basic Catholic teaching.

    Bishop Martino has spoken and acted with a candor, publicly, in ways that have had pro-lifers breathing a sigh of relief and dissident Catholics rolling their eyes (see some of my earlier posts at the bottom).

    In the past week, His Excellency has been firing away at Misericordia University for bringing to the school to speak, author Keith Boykin, who is the former president of a same-sex marriage advocacy group. The schools "Diversity Institute" co-sponsored the visit. Boykin was also brought to the school before, as a visiting scholar, for a week.

    Now, Bishop Martino is calling on the school to dissovle it's Diversity Institute. A February 24, 2009 press release states (emphases mine, comments bracketed in red):

    Bishop Asks Misericordia To Specify How Sexuality Is Taught

    In response to Misericordia University’s assertion that it “is committed deeply to its Catholic mission,” Bishop Joseph F. Martino observes that the institution should convey to its alumni, and in fact to all the faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, its efforts to teach Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality.

    In doing this, the Bishop believes the school should speak precisely, naming courses, content and even catalog numbers. [Good, lest more ambiguous fluff be passed off as objective, Catholic content]

    Bishop Martino’s position at this time follows his “absolute disapproval” of the university’s hosting of Keith Boykin, a proponent of morality that is disturbingly opposed to Catholic teaching.

    Mr. Boykin made two presentations at the school on Feb. 17. In at least one of his talks, he discussed advocacy for issues such as same sex marriage, and he addressed the intersection of religion and sexuality. The Catholic Church’s teaching on homosexuality was not presented at the event. [If any teen, university student, faculty member, or other adult does not comprehend just how basic this is - as in 101, here is a remedy]

    A statement from the Diocese issued the day before the talks noted that “Mr. Boykin has authored three books and all three have been nominated for a Lambda Literary award. Lambda is a legal advocacy effort for homosexual causes. Mr. Boykin is an avid supporter of same sex marriage and is an activist for positions disturbingly opposed to Catholic moral teaching.

    “Bishop Martino wants Catholics of the Diocese of Scranton to know of his absolute disapproval of Misericordia University’s hosting Mr. Boykin. By honoring this speaker through allowing his positions, so antithetical to Catholic Church teaching, to be broadcast on its campus, the University has rejected all four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning. These are: [1]its Christian inspiration, [2]its obligation to reflect on knowledge in light of the Catholic faith, [3]its fidelity to Catholic Church teaching and [4] its commitment to serve the people of God.

    “The faithful of the Diocese of Scranton, the Bishop observed, should be in no doubt that Misericordia University in this instance is seriously failing in maintaining its Catholic identity.”

    Misericordia responded with a statement saying it understood the Bishop’s criticism, but “Mr. Boykin’s appearance . . . is not meant to be a forum for advocacy on any singular issue.” The statement also said the University “welcomes legitimate scholarly discussion among its students, faculty, staff and guests from diverse religious and cultural backgrounds.”

    The statement also said that “Misericordia University is committed deeply to its Catholic mission.” [Do they understand the Catholic mission?!?!?]

    Regarding the request for specific information from Misericordia, Bishop Martino said that students attending a Catholic institution should have a clear understanding that while all persons should be treated with dignity, homosexual activity is not condoned by the Church and should never be construed as acceptable behavior. [This is always a red-herring that Catholic dissidents try to paint this as discriminatory or uncharitable. They confuse the two issues. The Church does not hate people with SSA. She does not try to "enforce" laws made up out of thin air. Nor are these laws made up by the Pope in such a way as to change with wind direction. The Ten Commandments are clear about fornication and adultery. Christ came to fulfil the law, not abolish it so the Ten Commandments are not the 10 Suggestions. Whether one is of homosexual or heterosexual orientation, all who are not bound in sacramental marriage must observe chastity. Furthermore, Vatican II did not do away with the Old Testament, or the New Testament, or the council of Trent for that matter].

    Bishop Martino is also asking Misericordia to seriously consider discontinuing its Diversity Institute, which co-sponsored Mr. Boykin’s appearance. He had previously served for a week as a visiting scholar with the Institute.

    The Bishop’s rationale is that students should learn respect for all races and cultures, but that viewpoints that are in direct opposition to Catholic teaching should not be presented under the guise of “diversity.” [You gotta love this bishop]. Doing so within a formal structure sanctioned by the institution gives the impression that these viewpoints are acceptable, or that all morality is relative. [and, creates grave scandal among those so poorly catechized they don't even know what it all means].

    Keep an eye on this press release page at the Diocese of Scranton.

    Hat tip to LifeSiteNews: Bishop Martino Calls for Dissolution of Misericordia U's Homosexualist "Diversity" Institute

    Previous posts on Bishop Martino:

    Oh, heck....just click the Bp Martino label

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    Ash Wednesday, 2009

    Today is Ash Wednesday, a day of fasting and abstinence for Catholics. Assumption Grotto's 7:00pm Mass will feature the choir, which normally rehearses on Wednesday night. As is typical in penitential seasons though, any and all music will be greatly subdued, with less organ.
    Recent Posts:
    A few things from the web:

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    Archbishop Chaput on American Catholics and Obama

    There is excellent coverage at the Catholic News Agency of a talk just given in Canada by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver. This is only one small excerpt:

    The Denver prelate then provided his critique of President Obama.

    "President Obama is a man of intelligence and some remarkable gifts. He has a great ability to inspire, as we saw from his very popular visit to Canada just this past week. But whatever his strengths, there’s no way to reinvent his record on abortion and related issues with rosy marketing about unity, hope and change. Of course, that can change. Some things really do change when a person reaches the White House. Power ennobles some men. It diminishes others. Bad policy ideas can be improved. Good policy ideas can find a way to flourish. But as Catholics, we at least need to be honest with ourselves and each other about the political facts we start with."

    Yet this will be "very hard for Catholics in the United States," Chaput warned.

    According to the archbishop, the political situation for Catholics is difficult to discern because a "spirit of adulation bordering on servility already exists among some of the same Democratic-friendly Catholic writers, scholars, editors and activists who once accused pro-lifers of being too cozy with Republicans. It turns out that Caesar is an equal opportunity employer."

    Go read: Denver archbishop warns against ‘spirit of adulation’ surrounding Obama

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    Double standard at The Tablet over "Hit and Run" article on Fr. Tim Finigan

    Fr. Tim Finigan, recently the victim of a vicious journalistic hack-job in the UK's Catholic weekly, The Tablet, continues to get strong support from many sources.

    A periodic contributor to The Tablet, James MacMillian, has written a letter to the magazine, but there is little hope that it will get printed.

    Go read it at the blog of Fr. Z: The Tablet: no dissent allowed

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    The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!

    Tuesday, February 24, 2009

    Fr. Perrone's Sermon for Quinquagesima Sunday (EF) - a great lead-in to Lent

    Subject: Concupiscence

    When have you last heard a priest talk like this? And, no - Vatican II did not eliminate words found in this sermon. This is the other half of the faith many have not been hearing.

    Please feel free to add your thoughts in the combox. Comments are usually moderated in the evening when I am home.

    Sermon of Fr. Eduard Perrone,
    Pastor, Assumption Grotto Parish in Detroit
    Quinquagesima Sunday 2009

    Whenever I teach a course in the catechism, inevitably the word concupiscence crops up. It’s hard finding a synonym for this word in order to get across the idea that we poor fallen creatures come into this world with a debility that eggs us on to commit sin. I had often used the word ‘desire’ as a substitute for concupiscence, but realized how inadequate it is to express that fiercely driving impulse, that even maddening desire that fuels the lust, greed, anger, anxiety, and vanity behind so many of our usual sins. Then the right word hit me. Craving. There’s an internal disturbance in us that impels, moves, drives us: craving. Most unsettling! This is the pitiable condition of all fallen humanity. It’s the result of the friction created by ‘craving’ something when our mind tells us it must not be.

    Humanity deserved to be punished with concupiscence because Adam first contradicted what God had told him. ‘You shall not eat of the forbidden fruit.’ Collectively, we ate that fruit and thus we got exactly what we had asked for: the biting, gnawing desire that goes contrary to what we know is right. So many of our spiritual battles then are centered upon having to control, binding up, and tame this beastly craving within. And so the struggle goes on in each man who must contend with concupiscence and find ways of curbing it. Its remedies as prescribed by the Church are obedience, discipline, good upbringing, the cultivation of the spiritual life of prayer, solitude, silence and the willing application of penances, bodily and spiritual. Of course, for some these things are not even considered: there’s little or no resistence given to these drives. Instead there’s the voluntary fueling of those tendencies and in that way people get themselves into some monumental difficulties in becoming slaves, addicts to sin. The modern remedy for these ills is to be drugged into tranquility with medicines, a solution that only masks the underlying human problem. Religion offers other remedies that go to the root of the problem and which, if applied diligently, begin to heal the soul, wounded by concupiscence.

    Although I’ve spoken on this subject before in my sermons, I invoke it again for this Quinquagesima Sunday on account of the scriptures and the approaching season of Lent. There was a blind man, overlooked and silenced by the crowd. Did no one have a care about him? Here was the very symbol of fallen humanity, a man disabled by a native condition. Our Lord had compassion on him. When the man was met by Christ, he was asked ‘what do you wish that I should do for you?’ The man answered as we would have expected. He wanted to be cured, to be well. Because of his faith in Jesus as God, he was granted his wish and he was cured.

    There are many things about faith that are wonderful. Religion puts us into contact with God and opens up effective commerce with Him. We can praise Him, love Him, adore Him and in return we receive countless benefits from Him. We can’t reduce all of religion to its pragmatic purposes in being cured of our weaknesses and forgiven of our sins, but we have to admit that this is a good part of it and a fundamental reason for being religious people. We need God to be in an upright condition.

    The tongue-twister Quinquagesima indicates 50 days before Easter. The countdown began two Sundays ago and now we are headed for the opening of Lent this week. There is no more urgent business before us than self-reform–and Lent is its season. There are many things we might undertake to do for Lent: giving up this or that, or taking on some good spiritual practice. Whatever thing we do however should have as its aim to make us spiritually sound. To accomplish this we may need to adjust our schedules, to modify our habits. There should be a change in our daily routine, that is, every day during Lent. This should be reflected in what is being served on our tables. It should forbid us to go to entertainments. It should mean imposed times of silence. Does anyone do these things anymore?

    It may be that our worries about our securities in these trying times is the needed thing to bring back an awareness of being accountable to God for ourselves, for our self-reform. If everything in life came to a halt and there was no longer anything else to occupy our time, would there be God and eternity staring us in the face, or merely emptiness? The vain pursuits that are fueled by concupiscence lead to despair. Without a conversion to God and a reform of life, we will be lost eternally.

    Saint Paul estimated that nothing in life was of any value without charity. For this reason then, for the love of God, for the love of your own souls, for the love of the Church and for the conversion of the world, prepare yourselves for a spiritually beneficial Lent. Whatever it is you do, it should help bring about a restoration of your human condition to a state of spiritual health–with charity, with love, rather than craving being the prime mover in your life.

    From the Assumption Grotto homepage, you can get this sermon in the form of a Word Doc, and PDF

    If you like this sermon by Fr. Perrone, you might want to check some others out. See my section on Fr. Perrone in the sidebar, midway down, with links to many other sermons.

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    SSPX Bishop Williamson Leaves Argentina for London

    I don't have much time at the moment, but you may recall that, about a week ago, the Argentinian government told SSPX Bishop Williamson that he must leave the country within 10 days.

    Well, Bishop Williamson has left the building Argentina.

    Please pray for this bishop. He really needs a dose of grace.

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    Monday, February 23, 2009

    Australia: Former High Court judge appointed to Father Peter Kennedy case

    Posted an hour ago at The Australian: Former High Court judge Ian Callinan appointed to Father Peter Kennedy case

    Ian Callinan was nominated by Archbishop Bathersby to mediate between the Archdiocese and Fr. Peter Kennedy, the rogue Catholic priest who is refusing to leave St. Mary's after the chief shepherd of the diocese assigned a new administrator, Fr. Ken Howell. This came after months of trying to correct happenings at the South Brisbane parish that were far from Catholic.

    Unfortunately, Fr. Peter Kennedy is refusing to enter mediation without the involvement of the parish community.

    Can you imagine Jesus consulting the apostles about whether he should obey the will of the Father?

    Pray for this priest and this community.

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    The Tablet first goes after Fr. Tim with a hack-job, then goes after him for copyright infringement

    Good grief. There are some real bozos over there at The Tablet - a UK "catholic" weekly with a readership of about just over 23,000 (but as Fr. Z points out, he gets more than that in one day!)

    Go read Fr. Tim Finigan's legally compliant response to The Tablet's goofy article.

    I mean, this is just plain silly.

    More on Archbishop Dolan tomorrow. I got home too late to do much more than this, which was too hard to pass up.

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    As secular things go....The New York Times introduces Archbishop Timothy Dolan to it's readers

    "Big Tim" , with eyes widely opened, gazes in awe with a prize he has earned after calling St. John the Evangelist Cathedral home (see Milwaukee's cathedral before it was wreckovated by Abp Weakland - his predecessor, and after). His new home will be the ever-beautiful St. Patrick's in New York. PHOTO: AP/Seth Wenig

    I'm home eating lunch and pounding away at the keyboard once again...

    Archbishop Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee gets the New York City throne. The archbishop points out that unlike his appointment in Milwaukee, he was not asked if he would like it; he was told it was his. As an obedient son of the Church, he didn't second guess the Holy Father when word came through the Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi "some nine or ten days ago", that the Pope had appointed him as the next archbishop of New York City.

    He will be installed on April 15th, the Wednesday following Easter.

    From Hell's Bible, the New York Times article, Milwaukee Archbishop Chosen to Succeed Egan . (emphases in bold; comments mine bracketed in red)

    Archbishop Dolan, who has a towering frame and a gregarious presence, is orthodox in his theology but more likely to use persuasion than punishment on Catholics who do not share his views [I agree that this is a trend in more recent appointments. The Holy Father wants to bring along as many people as possible out of their dissenting mode through reason rather than throwing them out. It requires more time and patience. Not to worry because God knows that many people have been misled, but now they have to be carefully led back. However, Dolan will do what he must if a situation warrants it. For that, read on....].


    Archbishop Dolan, by contrast, has earned a reputation for being convivial with parishioners, accessible to the news media [this is needed because when a bishop or cardinal is not accessible, the media fills in the blank] and not above smoking cigars with his seminarians [I'm anti-smoking, but never against a bishop or priest having a periodic stogie with his brothers and with seminarians - I think this is a good thing]. Yet behind the scenes, he has quietly reeled in theologians and priests who question church doctrine [this goes to the dignity of the person and another reason why I think the Holy Father is appointing men with this quality. What parent would work to correct a child in a public way? However, I think there is a limit here and a time for public correction lest others catch the same illness]


    “He’s the type of man that the pope is looking for as a bishop,” said the Rev. Thomas Reese, a Jesuit scholar and close observer of American bishops. “He’s intelligent, he’s scholarly, he is pastoral and people like him. [Of course the NY Times would consult Reese. I found this interesting given that it is coming from the dissenting wing of the Church (no use of left or right here would be appropriate you are either loyal or dissenting). Reese is the former editor of American Magazine (a dissenting Jesuit periodical) who was unceremoniously removed by the Holy See resigned and is now with the Woodstock Theological Center (oy vey!). What is interesting is that there is no apparent jab here, given Dolan's orthodoxy. Will they listen to him? Can he disarm them?]

    Well, it's time for me to head back to work. Click the headline above and read the entire article. It is lengthy. I'll have more later with links from around the blogosphere and news outlets.

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    Surprise: Big Apple gets it's Archbishop and it's Timothy Dolan of Milwaukee

    Ok - so it's not a surprise. More on this later. Heading off to work.

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    Sunday, February 22, 2009

    A Painting of St. Bernadette by a Grotto Parishioner and Recent Posts on Te Deum Laudamus!

    A painting of St. Bernadette by Assumption Grotto parishioner and artist, Jerome Rochon. I was asked to photograph the painting by Fr. Perrone who has made holy cards of the painting which will be available soon in the Grotto Gift Shop. It was intended to be done prior to Feb 11th, but better late than never.

    Recent Posts on Te Deum Laudamus!

    And now, a video clip of an excellent dialogue between Laura Ingram and Bill O'Reilly on the meeting between Pelosi and the Pope.

    Select posts in the Catholic blogosphere:

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    Video: Newsclip about Bishop Martino and the St. Patrick's Day Parade

    Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, PA has been in the news alot. Here is one news clip.

    Click the Bp Martino label below to read about some of the actions taking place in the Diocese of Scranton in recent months.

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    Pope Benedict on the Feast of the Chair of St. Peter

    Today, during the Angelus, the Holy Father delivered the following address on the Feast of the Cathedra (emphases mine in bold):

    Vatican City (AsiaNews) – In the day in which the Church celebrates the Feast of the Chair of Saint Peter (22 February), Benedict XVI spoke to the pilgrims who had gathered in St Peter’s Square for the Angelus, asking them to “accompany me with your prayers so that I may faithfully accomplish the high task Divine Providence has placed upon me as Successor to the Apostle Peter.”

    “The Chair of Peter,” the Pontiff explained, “symbolises the authority of the Bishop of Rome, [who is] called to fulfil a special service for the People of God as a whole. Right after the martyrdom of Saints Peter and Paul the Church of Rome was acknowledged a primatial role in the whole Catholic community, a role attested as early as the 2nd century by Saint Ignatius of Antioch (Ad. Rom, praef. Funk, I, 252) and Saint Irenaeus of Lyons (Against Heresies III, 3, 2-3).”

    This unique and specific ministry of the Bishop of Rome was reiterated in the Second Vatican Council. “[W]ithin the Church,” says the Dogmatic Constitution of the Church, “particular Churches hold a rightful place; these Churches retain their own traditions, without in any way opposing the primacy of the Chair of Peter, which presides over the whole assembly of charity (cf S. Ignatius M., Ad Rom., Praef.: Ed. Funk, I, p. 252),) and protects legitimate differences, while at the same time assuring that such differences do not hinder unity but rather contribute toward it” (Lumen gentium, 13).


    Photo: CPP

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    Guest Comment on the Legionaries of Christ

    A friend, and Grotto-goer, who is currently out of state, emailed me the comment below for my blog, and has given me permission to use his name. He originally asked me to put it in the combox of this post on the Legion of Christ, but his format and links would have been lost, or I would have had to go through much time to re-link things there. Also, fewer hits find the post once a few days or a week has passed.

    Bill Myszkier writes:

    Thanks for continuing to post on the situation regarding the Legionaries of Christ. Some of the best coverage I have seen is being done by American Papist. Also notable is the blog by Ed Peters which you have referenced in your coverage. I would invite you to link again to this blog ( particularly the posts he made on 2/13/09 and 2/8/08.

    As Ed mentions, the current Director General of the Legion is “stonewalling” when he says that he knows nothing about Maciel’s behavior except that he fathered a daughter. There has been no attempt to be candid about the results of the Legion’s internal investigation of Maciel. The reasonable conclusion is that he or other Legionary authorities have been complicit in covering up Maciel’s behavior perhaps over many years. This is supported by the post made by Tom Peters in American Papist ( dated 2/13/09, 7:00am. Here he quotes a spokesman for the Legion in Mexico as saying:

    Javier Bravo, spokesman for the Legionaries in Mexico ... revealed that, even before the death of Marcial Maciel last January 2008, the Vatican already had in its possession an ample documentation about the amorous affairs of Maciel. [He also said that] the Vatican was planning on making this information public, and indicated this to Father Alvaro Corcuera, successor of Maciel at the head of the Legionaries. {note plural "amorous affairs", again.}

    Peters comments:

    “This is simply stunning news if it is true. It contradicts what the Legion has been saying that they found out first and went to the Vatican. It also contradicts the claim that the Legion spontaneously brought this information to its rank-and-file members.

    For if the Legion's hand was indeed "forced" by an understanding that the Vatican was going to make this known anyway, then the Legion was actually granted permission by the Vatican to spread the news in their own way first (and we are witnesses to how that has worked out).”

    The Legion has consistently tried to obfuscate the truth. Up to 2006 they said that Maciel was a saintly man and that his malicious accusers were trying to discredit him to attack the Church. Then when the 2006 communique (of Benedict XVI remanding Maciel to a life of penance) came out they continued to protest Maciel’s innocence and said that he would suffer in imitation of Jesus Christ for the good of the Legion and the Church. They were so certain of his innocence that they tried to defend the reputation of the Founder by bringing a civil suit against ReGAIN ( which had for years been trying to expose the corruption. Now they claim that even though they knew him to be innocent (at the same time that they were trying to destroy Maciel’s critics) they initiated an investigation of their saintly Founder. They discovered that he was living a “double life” and discovered he had an illegitimate daughter dating back to about 1987.

    He may have misappropriated funds to support his second family but apparently there was no record of it for all that time. Neither apparently was anyone aware of these misdeeds. Now it also seems that at least some of the cases of pederasty involving seminarians might be true but nobody in the Legion knew anything about them until just recently (in spite of the fact that the victims were continuing to clamor for justice). How is it that Legionary superiors were unanimous in affirming his saintliness over a period of decades? Sanctity for a religious implies “vita communis” and rigorous observance of the Rule. How can one lead a double (triple, quadruple…) life and not have anyone know about it?

    The Legion has not apologized or tried to help the victims nor have they acknowledged the legitimacy of the ReGAIN criticisms or reimbursed them for the legal expenses and the pain and suffering that their members have endured. Now it appears (from Tom Peter’s post) that the Vatican had to pressure the Legion against their will into “investigating” and taking action.

    In short, is there anything in the history of the Legion to suggest that it desires reform or help from the Holy See? In fact, just the opposite. The Holy See had to intervene unilaterally after 2006 to abrogate key sections of the Legionary Constitutions central to its charism (the first secret vow that prohibited a Legionary from criticizing his superiors).

    If the past is any indication the Legionaries of Christ will lie, obfucate, and obstruct to maintain their present position much as Legion resisted the exorcism Jesus performed in the region of the Gadarenes.

    I would be grateful if you posted this as a comment below your most recent blog on the Legion.

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    Update on Fr. Peter Kennedy and St. Mary's

    Fr. Ken Howell, the newly appointed administrator of St. Mary's in South Brisbane, Australia, followed the advice of police who discouraged him from going there today due to yesterday's bomb threat. Archbishop Bathersby is saying that a mediator will be needed. The property belongs to the Catholic Church.

    More headlines from this morning:

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    Saturday, February 21, 2009

    Please participate: Weekly Holy Hour for US Catholic Bishops

    I realize this post is long, but please bear with me as I ask you to consider making a holy hour each week for our US Catholic bishops.

    A thought came to me today after morning Mass and I thought I would pass it along here. It is my hope that other bloggers will also promote this idea with a link to this post.

    I am speaking here, as a secular Carmelite - one who believes that prayer is primary.

    Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, Alabama, in an interview with Raymond Arroyo on World Over Live this past Friday, urged, if not pleaded, for people to pray for the conversion of elected officials. That is, for those especially caught up in the culture of death mindset. Bishop Baker has provided a prayer to people in his diocese and Raymond has a copy of that prayer in this blogpost at the bottom.

    Softening the Target

    In battle, ground troops are rarely sent in to an area before the target is "softened". This usually means that heavy bombing from air, land, and sea takes place to take out supplies, infrastructure, and more. Fewer ground troops fall because they are less vulnerable as the enemy is weakened.

    When we want people to change for the better spiritually, it is wise to pray for them first and foremost. This kind of prayer is a form of "softening of the target". Without it, we will make little headway. Included here are sacrifices made for such people and offered humbly to God, from an illness suffered, to putting up with others, and even giving up a favorite desert or a much loved television show in favor of spiritual reading.

    Spiritual Warfare

    For our struggle is not with flesh and blood but with the principalities, with the powers, with the world rulers of this present darkness, with the evil spirits in the heavens. (Ephesians 6:12)
    We are not simply fighting human reasoning (or lack there of), when it comes to those who support and advance the culture of death. As Catholics we not only believe that there is a heaven and a hell, but good angels, and bad. The latter are having a field day as our Catholic faith is perverted beyond belief in very public ways, causing many people to be led into scandal.

    We cannot fight Satan with reason. Rather, he and his legion must be fought with faith, prayer, fasting, and other forms of sacrifice.

    Jesus, on seeing a crowd rapidly gathering, rebuked the unclean spirit and said to it, "Mute and deaf spirit, I command you: come out of him and never enter him again!" Shouting and throwing the boy into convulsions, it came out. He became like a corpse, which caused many to say, "He is dead!" But Jesus took him by the hand, raised him, and he stood up. When he entered the house, his disciples asked him in private, "Why could we not drive it out?" He said to them, "This kind can only come out through prayer." (Mark 9:25-29)

    Prayer for people who are in positions of power, especially politicians, is good, as Bishop Baker and others are suggesting. What is even better is if we pray for our bishops as well, that God grace them with a level of holy boldness similar to that exhibited by bishops in the early Church.

    The Angel of Darkness and the Mark of the Priesthood

    Bishops are human and sinful creatures like the rest of us. They too suffer from the effects of Original Sin. While they are given graces by virtue of their office to assist them, they also have a target on their backs like all priests, but even bigger. The Angel of Darkness has the mark of the priesthood in his cross hairs. If he can get one pastor to dissent, he gets a number of people in the parish to dissent. If he gets a bishop to fall into lukewarmness, then a significant segment of his diocese will suffer likewise.

    False charity has also been a problem. It has permeated not only our families and culture, but has affected many priests and bishops. False charity paralyzes a shepherd from acting because he is afraid that by doing so will cause a stir, and that this is somehow uncharitable. In reality, the opposite is true. By not confronting the matter, the opportunity to exercise great charity is lost and others are scandalized by what they witness. Archbishop Raymond L. Burke received back into the Church several members of a troubled parish whom he had earlier excommunicated. He did not excommunicate them out of anger or for punishment. Rather, it was a last ditch effort to get them to understand the seriousness of their actions.

    A lamb who is caught in thickets sometimes needs to have the thickets pruned from around him. Doing so may inflict a little pain as the thorns shift during pruning, but the good shepherd knows that the lamb will die if he does not trim away the bush in an effort to release him.

    We have to pray that our clergy will be more concerned with our salvation than our feelings. This doesn't mean they ought to check charity at the door. Rather, error needs to be dealt with in ways that are not condescending. Despite the best attempts to correct things pastorally and charitably, some will walk away sad or angry. They did when before Our Lord Himself, and he did not go chasing after them to force the issue. Some have illness that runs so deep they are a danger to everyone with whom they come into contact. These must be isolated unless they show signs of returning to good health, where they will strengthen the Mystical Body, rather than weaken it.

    Pre-election Display of Solidarity Among US Bishops

    Catholics around the world witnessed an almost shocking display of solidarity amongst many US bishops when they reacted to Nancy Pelosi's distorted misrepresentation of the faith on national television just before the presidential election. Their messages were clear and firm. It was also unifying among those who are loyal to the Church, causing eyebrows to raise, as well as hope. It lifted people who have been on the front lines of the pro-life movement and energized Catholics in the Walk for Life, even after presidential defeat. Many more bishops who did not write personal statements made the USCCB statement, penned by Cardinal Rigali and Bishop Lori, readily visible on their diocesan sites also as a show of solidarity. It all started with one or two bishops, then it just took on a life of it's own.

    Years ago it was not uncommon to regularly see two names standing out in such ways: Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz and Bishop Raymond L. Burke. Unfortunately, in Catholic circles, these two bishops were seen as some kind of rebels. Should it be of any surprise that a bishop who acts like a bishop will be persecuted, even from within? Today, Archbishop Burke heads the Apostolic Signatura - the highest court in the Holy See.

    The US Bishops are Emboldening One Another

    Each bishop is graced with certain talents. Some are very good in explaining the faith to the media, such as Archbishop Charles Chaput. Others, like Bishop Robert J. Hermann keep the faithful focused on Christ in their pro-life work.

    Each bishop is gifted in some way that not only serves his immediate diocese, but the larger Church. For some, it is in administrative or legal areas, in others more pastoral. We must pray that they use their talents to the fullest extent possible for the good of Holy Mother Church.

    I believe we are in the midst of witnessing a great renewal in the Church. Our bishops are learning by the actions of the Holy Spirit, from each other, and it is generating the kind of holy boldness called for by Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon.

    They will need this holy boldness because I believe we are headed into an era of persecution the likes of which we in this country have not experienced. It may come to pass that our priests and bishops will be jailed for preaching the fullness of the faith, as is being advanced in other countries.

    Pray for Our Bishops

    Not all bishops are blessed with the same level of strength to deal with disciplinary issues. While the bulk of problems we face today may very well be the result of reticence on the part of bishops who didn't address them, I believe a piece of it comes back to all of us. As a whole, we as Catholics have lost the art of prayer and sacrifice. Since we are fighting forces unseen, at many levels, we have to recover those arts. Lent is a good time to start. If you truly love the Church, you will give serious time to praying for the successors to the apostles.

    Behind the scenes there is likely a flurry of communication going on between bishops, and between the Holy See and our bishops, over dissenting Catholic politicians who continue to scandalize others by their words and actions. The Holy Father will not step in and take action where protocol dictates that the bishop must handle the matter. Join him in his prayers for bishops to do what they must to correct the problem and mitigate the damage.

    We must pray more fervently than we have before for our bishops. Make one Holy Hour per week for them, and include prayers for the conversion of politicians at the same time.

    If you don't have access to an adoration chapel, then see if you can get to Church an hour earlier to sit in quiet meditation. If it is too noisy, then have a Holy Hour in your home, turning your heart to the Tabernacle closest to you. At the same time, entrust the bishops to Our Lady. She can influence them in ways all the blogposts in the world cannot, if we have faith in her.

    A final note

    One of my prayers is that more bishops will look at a fine pastoral letter by Bishop Robert Vasa of Baker, Oregon. It is unambiguous and not condescending. We could use something similar in every diocese of the world.

    And now, an example of the ultimate in holy boldness....

    Holy Boldness: Blessed Noel Pinot going to his death fully vested in 1794 after refusing to take the oath of allegiance to the "Civil Constitution of the Clergy". Fr. Tim Finigan explains that it was a law passed by the Constituent Assembly of the Revolution which subjected the Church to the civil government.

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