Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't forget to "fall back" on hour!

We finally get one hour back overnight here in metro Detroit.'s tonight.  Of course, if you want to get to church early for the Solemn High Mass with Orchestra (Mozart's Coronation Mass) at Grotto, that's fine too!

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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!

Anthony Lilles: Witness Requires Solitude, Prayer and Study

Thanks to the great news portal at New Advent (which you should check daily for a variety of topics), I came across this excellent post on prayer by Anthony Lilles.  I have only read the first paragraph and must get off on to some other things.  I link to it here now so I remember to come back to finish reading it and to point you to this thought provoking and well-referenced piece. 

He is getting into a subject that is near and dear to my heart.  Our Lord went into the desert and if we are to imitate him, so must we.  We all need to set some time aside to "walk" into the desert by first making time to be in silence.  In today's age, that means shutting everything off for periods of time.  When you attempt this the first time, you might find that the appetite to know what is going on during every waking hour is an appetite in need of taming.  If you don't control it, it controls you. I think Anthony Lilles offers some excellent foundation in this article.

I think I'll go tame that appetite for a while as I work. Time in silence, is time that can be spent with the Lord.

Go read: Witness Requires Solitude, Prayer, and Study....

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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!

Te Deum Laudamus Bulletin Board for October 31, 2009

Assumption Grotto Confessionals
It's Saturday - Have you been to confession lately?

Recent Posts:

From around the web:

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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!

Mozart Coronation Mass for All Saints at Assumption Grotto tomorrow at 9:30am

It is the Feast of All Saints on Sunday, November 1st, 2009.  Assumption Grotto will be celebrating with an orchestra Mass - Mozart's Coronation Mass, at the 9:30am liturgy.  It will be a Solemn High Mass in the Extraordinary Form.

These Masses normally run longer, but it doesn't seem like it. 

Following Mass, we have the usual BBQ'd foods.  Just follow the crowd into the school, past the giftshop, which is open each Sunday.  There will be an icecream social with Alinosi's excellent ice cream (hey - why not in November?!?!?)

Special Masses and Devotions during the Month of November

All Saints Day, Sunday, November 1st 2009
- Masses at 6:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m., (Solemn High, Tridentine), 12:00 Noon

All Souls Day, Monday, November 2nd 2009

- Masses begin at 6:00 a.m. and continue every hour until 11:00; and 7:00 p.m.

The 40 Hours Devotion remembers the forty-hour period from our Lord's burial until His resurrection. The Forty Hours Devotion nurtures the love of the faithful for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament.

Friday, November 13th - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Benediction at 8:30 p.m.

Masses: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. (Tridentine) & 7:00 p.m. (Blessed Sacrament is veiled during the Masses)

Saturday, November 14th - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: 6:00 a.m. until 8:00 p.m. Benediction at 8:30 p.m.

-Masses: 6:30 a.m., 7:30 a.m. (Tridentine) & 4:00 p.m. (Blessed Sacrament is veiled during the Masses)

Sunday, November 15th - Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament: 6:00 a.m.

-Masses: 6:30 a.m., 9:30 a.m. (Tridentine Mass) & 12:00 Noon

(Blessed Sacrament is veiled during the Masses)

Closing Ceremony: 3:00 p.m. with Procession, Litany & Benediction

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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!

Holy See offers clarification on celibacy in announced Apostolic Constitution for Anglicans

With increasing attentiveness, we have been seeing the Holy See address the rumor mill rather quickly.  For an institution that runs in months, years, and centuries, this is pretty fast. I think the Vatican has proven to indeed be following what is being said on the web nowadays.  From Vatican Radio (bold mine, as are comments bracketed in red):

(31 Oct 09 - RV) Vatican Press Office Director Fr. Federico Lombardi has issued the following clarification of the announced Apostolic Constitution regarding personal ordinariates for Anglican entering into full communion with the Catholic Church:

"There has been widespread speculation, based on supposedly knowledgeable remarks by an Italian correspondent Andrea Tornielli, that the delay in publication of the Apostolic Constitution regarding Personal Ordinariates for Anglicans entering into full communion with the Catholic Church, announced on October 20, 2009, by Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, is due to more than “technical” reasons. According to this speculation, there is a serious substantial issue at the basis of the delay, namely, disagreement about whether celibacy will be the norm for the future clergy of the Provision. [Stop for a moment here and just ponder how speculation, which may not be true and is taken as fact, can cause harm to an effort by the Holy See. That is why it is important to nip this kind of thing while in the budding stage.  We will probably see more of this.]

Cardinal Levada offered the following comments on this speculation: “Had I been asked I would happily have clarified any doubt about my remarks at the press conference. There is no substance to such speculation [ouch]. No one at the Vatican has mentioned any such issue to me. The delay is purely technical in the sense of ensuring consistency in canonical language and references. The translation issues are secondary; the decision not to delay publication in order to wait for the ‘official’ Latin text to be published in Acta Apostolicae Sedis was made some time ago [and the chosen date fell on the feast of St. Paul of the Cross - founder of the Passionists, who prayed for over 50 years for the conversion of England!!!  Hence, the date certainly had purpose and if the heart of the Apostolic Constitution was done, why wait?]

The drafts prepared by the working group, and submitted for study and approval through the usual process followed by the Congregation, have all included the following statement, currently Article VI of the Constitution:

§1 Those who ministered as Anglican deacons, priests, or bishops, and who fulfill the requisites established by canon law and are not impeded by irregularities or other impediments may be accepted by the Ordinary as candidates for Holy Orders in the Catholic Church. In the case of married ministers, the norms established in the Encyclical Letter of Pope Paul VI Sacerdotalis coelibatus, n. 42 and in the Statement “In June” are to be observed. Unmarried ministers must submit to the norm of clerical celibacy of CIC can. 277, §1.

§2. The Ordinary, in full observance of the discipline of celibate clergy in the Latin Church, as a rule (pro regula) will admit only celibate men to the order of presbyter. He may also petition the Roman Pontiff, as a derogation from can. 277, §1, for the admission of married men to the order of presbyter on a case by case basis, according to objective criteria approved by the Holy See.

This article is to be understood as consistent with the current practice of the Church, in which married former Anglican ministers may be admitted to priestly ministry in the Catholic Church on a case by case basis. With regard to future seminarians, it was considered purely speculative whether there might be some cases in which a dispensation from the celibacy rule might be petitioned. For this reason, objective criteria about any such possibilities (e.g. married seminarians already in preparation) are to be developed jointly by the Personal Ordinariate and the Episcopal Conference, and submitted for approval of the Holy See.”

Cardinal Levada said he anticipates the technical work on the Constitution and Norms will be completed by the end of the first week of November".
This is a good time for ordinary readers to flood the mainstream media with this link from Vatican Radio: Vatican Clarification on Announced Apostolic Constitution

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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!

US Bishop's Conference Blankets Parishes with Inserts Against Expansion of Abortion Through Health Care Reform

From the USCCB website

Bishops' Conference Blankets Parishes with Inserts Against Expansion of Abortion Through Health Care Reform

Bulletin inserts sent to churches nationwide

Dramatic graphic drives home point that abortion is not health care

Solution: Language to guarantee federal money won’t pay for elective abortions

WASHINGTON—In an extraordinary call to Catholics to prevent health care reform from being derailed by the abortion lobby, the United Sates Conference of Catholic Bishops has sent bulletin inserts to almost 19,000 parishes across the country.

"Health care reform should be about saving lives, not destroying them," the insert states. It urges readers to contact Senate leaders so they support efforts to "incorporate longstanding policies against abortion funding and in favor of conscience rights" in health reform legislation.

"If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed," it adds.

The insert highlights the Stupak Amendment from Rep. Bart Stupak (D-MI) that, it states, "addresses essential pro-life concerns on abortion funding and conscience rights."

"Help ensure that the Rule for the bill allows a vote on the amendment," the insert states. "If these serious concerns are not addressed, the final bill should be opposed."

A dramatic ad of a pregnant woman notes that the Hyde Amendment, which passed in 1976, has prevented federal funds from paying for elective abortions, yet healthcare reform bills that are advancing violate this policy. The ad message: "Tell Congress: Remove Abortion Funding and Mandates from Needed Health Care Reform."

The insert also directs readers to

Bulletin inserts were distributed to dioceses October 29, the day Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) unveiled the House health care reform bill and in expectation that they will show up in parishes in early November. Cardinal Francis George of Chicago, president of the USCCB; Cardinal Justin Rigali of Philadelphia, chair of the bishops’ Committee on Pro-life Activities; Bishop John Wester of Salt Lake City, chair of the Committee on Migration; and Bishop William Murphy of Rockville, Centre, New York, chair of the Committee on Domestic Justice and Human Development urged fellow bishops to promote this campaign in their dioceses.

"The bishops want health care reform, but they recoil at any expansion of abortion," said Helen Osman, USCCB Secretary for Communications, who helped organize the campaign. "Most Americans don’t want to pay for other people’s abortions via health care either. This impasse on the road to reform of health care can be broken if Congress writes in language that assures that the Hyde Amendment law continues to guide U.S. federal spending policy."

The Catholic bishops have a long history of support for health care reform based on its teaching that health care is essential for human life and dignity and on its experience providing health care and assisting those without coverage.

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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!

Archbishop Vigneron Blesses Statue of St. Barbara in Detroit Salt Mine

Photo by Jared Field/Michigan Catholic

I subscribe to the weekly Michigan Catholic in print because not all of it's content is shared online.  However, this article was.  This is just too cool.  Many are probably unaware of the salt mine in Detroit.  Apparently, His Excellency has no fear of riding down a small shaft into the bowels of the earth.

Archbishop Vigneron blesses new shrine in Detroit salt mines
by Jared Field
Detroit- Clad in a black miner's jacket and sky blue hard hat, Archbishop Allen Vigneron descended 1,200 feet and 400 million years into the salt of the earth Oct. 22.

The archbishop blessed the newly crafted statue and shrine to St. Barbara, the patroness of miners, at the base of the hoist - the only portal in or out - at the Detroit Salt Company on the city's southwest side, Michigan's lone rock salt mine.

"We must be disposed and appreciate what this means," Archbishop Vigneron told a group of about 30 miners. "When the Church blesses a statue for people to use, to pray at, we do this because when we look at this statue we see somebody who followed Christ. And we, like that saint, will seek to please Christ.

"Those saints are our friends. They pray for us; they remember us and help us with their love."
Archbishop Vigneron went on to say:

"I hope that every time you see this statue as you come to work, I hope it's a reminder to you that you can live in a way of holiness. A man, a woman, doesn't have to be in a convent or a monastery ... in order to be holy. God wants all of us to be holy, and you can live a life of holiness as you work in a mine. You can do God's will; you can glorify him by the integrity of your work, the hard work you offer, and the justice by which you treat one another."

Continue reading the rest of this interesting story, with many more pictures, at the Michigan Catholic:

Archbishop Vigneron blesses new shrine in Detroit salt mines

More from the Michigan Catholic

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Friday, October 30, 2009

Abp Timothy Dolan's Op-ed piece on anti-Catholicism declined by NY Times now available on Archdiocese of New York website

The mainstream media could easily control information in a by-gone era by simply deciding not to report on something, or to only report on something partially in a way that matched the interest of the agency. The web has changed that and that is why newspapers and magazines are dying and turning to blogs and other online media.  People are fed up with biased reporting and op-ed pieces. 

I'm just passing this along to you, with the hopes that you will pass it along to a lot of other people because....that's what Catholic bloggers do when a paper like the New York Times declines to publish something from the archbishop of New York.  First, it is introduced on the archdiocesan website thus:


October 29, 2009

The following article was submitted in a slightly shorter form to the New York Times as an op-ed article. The Times declined to publish it. I thought you might be interested in reading it.

Now for the op-ed piece by +Dolan


By Archbishop Timothy M. Dolan
Archbishop of New York

October is the month we relish the highpoint of our national pastime, especially when one of our own New York teams is in the World Series!
Sadly, America has another national pastime, this one not pleasant at all: anti-catholicism.
It is not hyperbole to call prejudice against the Catholic Church a national pastime. Scholars such as Arthur Schlesinger Sr. referred to it as “the deepest bias in the history of the American people,” while John Higham described it as “the most luxuriant, tenacious tradition of paranoiac agitation in American history.” “The anti-semitism of the left,” is how Paul Viereck reads it, and Professor Philip Jenkins sub-titles his book on the topic “the last acceptable prejudice.”
If you want recent evidence of this unfairness against the Catholic Church, look no further than a few of these following examples of occurrences over the last couple weeks:

Continue reading Archbishop Timothy Dolan on anti-Catholicism at the Archdiocese of New York website.

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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!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Bishop Nickless: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda - Post 4 (IV Pastoral Priorities-1)

I began this slow-read series of the recent pastoral letter by Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Souix City thinking it would make it easier for people to read the 16 page document.  However, it has not proven practical with my many other duties. 

I'm going to leave you with the opening of the next section in which the bishop explains the pastoral priorities he sets out for the diocese.  While that which preceded this was rich and full of background information on how we got where we are following Vatican II, what comes now is the heart of the letter.

This particular pastoral priority runs about two pages in the actual document.  I encourage people to read the rest of his letter.  Print it out and read a little from it each day - the humble will find it heartwarming.

It's noteworthy to point out that with this letter, Bishop Nickless is providing a vision for his diocese, not a set of rules.  What will be interesting to watch is further communications and columns in weeks, months and years to come in support of these priorities.
IV. Pastoral Priorities for the Diocese of Sioux City

1. We must renew our reverence, love, adoration and devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament, within and outside of Mass. A renewal of Eucharistic Spirituality necessarily entails an ongoing implementation of the Second Vatican Council’s reform of the liturgy as authoritatively taught by the Church’s Magisterium, the promotion of Eucharistic Adoration outside of Mass, regular reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation and devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, the Mother of the Eucharist and our Mother.
Go read the rest of the Pastoral Letter: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda

To read the shorter opening sections in previous posts:

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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!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Early Screenings of "The 13th Day" - Locations

There are some places where you can view The 13th Day, including some locally, like Ss. Cyril & Methodius (October 30th). 

See the locations listings here

I can't wait to see this myself, though, I don't believe I'm available for the viewing on the 30th.

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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, October 27, 2009

Te Deum Laudamus Bulletin Board for October 28th

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC speaks at the Shrine of the Little Flower in Royal Oak, MI on October 10th, 2009 at the 12th Call to Holiness Conference. (Te Deum archive photo)

Recent Posts:
Bishops in the News

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Cardinal George to be on EWTN's World Over, this Friday

In my email inbox from EWTN:

Don’t miss Cardinal Francis George, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, at 8 p.m. ET, Friday, Oct. 30, on EWTN’s “The World Over Live” with Host Raymond Arroyo. He will discuss the “new atheism” and the necessity of the church creating a “new culture” to compete with growing secularism; repairing the Church’s perceived loss of credibility in the wake of Notre Dame scandal, the Kennedy funeral and the clergy sex abuse crisis; Christian/Muslim dialogue; Pope Benedict’s outreach to the Anglican community – and much more.
Just a reminder, you can watch the World Over Live online via the EWTN website if you don't have cable.

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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!

Stupak (D-Michigan) in a showndown with fellow Dems over abortion in health care bill

From LifeSiteNews:

WASHINGTON, D.C., October 26, 2009 ( - As House Speaker Nancy Pelosi aims to seal the abortion-expanding health care bill in an early November vote, pro-life lawmakers, led by Democratic Rep. Bart Stupak of Michigan, are locked in a dead heat race for votes with Democratic leadership. According to Stupak, the Democratic leadership intends to keep a stranglehold on any pro-life amendment effort, which they acknowledge would likely otherwise succeed.
In an interview with (LSN) today, Rep. Stupak said that he is counting on about 40 fellow Democrats to "take down the rule" - or kill the bill on a procedural vote - if House leadership refuses to allow a floor vote on an amendment that would prevent federal funding of abortion. The procedural "rule" vote would draft rules for debating the bill on the floor, and needs to be passed before the bill can move forward to a floor vote.
With the 40 Democrats, Stupak's vote-gathering efforts tally up to 220, counting the whole GOP - approximately two votes over the absolute minimum needed to succeed.
Stupak said he was "fairly confident" that the Democrat group would hold the line against the bill, "because this is not just an appropriation bill, this is the bill that will set the health care policy for the United States for years to come. This is a little bit more serious than just a rule vote on an appropriation bill."

Continue reading Showdown: Democrat Rep. Stupak Locked in Dead Heat with House Leadership over Pro-Life Health Amendment

This is why the pro-life movement can't afford to be focused on one party. 

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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!

Monday, October 26, 2009

On Unapproved Private Revelations

Periodically, as happened this weekend, someone will ask me what I think of some particular devotion or private revelation.  I was asked about "Holy Love" which I had heard of perhaps once or twice before, but never bothered to look into.  More on that in a minute....first a few words about such unapproved private revelations.

What's it mean, "Unapproved"?
Usually, people do not ask about time-tested devotions, such as Divine Mercy, or the prayers of St. Bridget.  These are examples of prayers based on approved private revelations.

"Unapproved" means a private revelation has not received recognition as being worthy of belief by the Church.  It could be involved in an ongoing investigation.  In many cases there is no investigation at all (the bishop simply does not have time to investigate the "apparition" in everyone's latte foam).  Some private revelations are condemned by the Church and this will most often come through the local bishop who has jurisdiction over such matters in his diocese.  Cautions or judgments can sometimes be found on diocesan websites (most likely when they are getting many inquiries).

What does the bishop think?
First of all, is it approved, unapproved, or outright condemned?  There should always be caution because it is easy to get attached to something which may eventually prove false (see some of the links below to read what St. John of the Cross and St. Teresa of Avila have said on private revelations).

When people ask me about an unapproved private revelation, I often ask: What does the bishop think?  Has he spoken on it? Is there something on the diocesan website?  It doesn't take much to find if you know the city.  Google "diocese",  with the city name, and the alleged apparition, for example.

Many private revelations are claimed, but the bishop does not investigate every claim.  He becomes interested when there are many inquiries, or it is receiving widespread attention.  If there are dangers associated with it, then he wants to know so he can communicate this to the people.  If, in judging the events, he sees nothing contrary to the faith, he will allow a "cultus" to develop as he continues to study it over time.  This would allow for a certain level of veneration.  Concern for "fruits" comes only after a judgment of the actual events.  And, it is the fruits seen in the alleged visionaries and their associates which are of greatest interest to the Church from a discernment standpoint.  Fruits in the followers are important, but are secondary.  Positive fruits are not weighed to the exlusion of bad fruits.  They are judged together.  Certain bad fruits, such as disobedience to a bishop by an alleged seer, or calumny, can outweigh many good fruits.

When the bishop speaks
People should be prudent about cautionary notes and condemnations found on diocesan websites by humbly accepting them and moving on to that which is approved.  Casual dismissal of a bishop's caution or condemnation is spiritually dangerous and can involve the sin of pride which can lead to other sins, like calumny (i.e., Who is the bishop to tell me what to believe? I know what I feel. He didn't follow this process, or that. He is anti-Marian.  He didn't investigate or visit the place).   Contempt in the heart for the bishop over disapproval, and moreso if it manifests itself in disobedience and lack of filial reverence for the bishop, should prompt a thorough examination of conscience.   If such contempt is widespread among followers it should be considered a negative fruit of that private revelation, especially if it is fueled by alleged visionaries or their associates.  These attacks against an apostolic successor are often cloaked with a friendliness.  In reality, they are an attack against the Church.

Understanding the Church's judgment is not a prerequisite for humble submission and obedience. Faith seeks understanding, not the other way around. It is an act of faith to accept something you do not understand. It is not the inability to think for oneself. Rather it requires a free act of the will. Giving up one's will on these kinds of things, is second only to giving up one's life. Our Lord sacrificed His will in submission to the Father before he sacrificed His Body. Obedience is like a gateway through which only the Holy Spirit and Holy Angels may pass, and it is a barrier to the Angel of Darkness. When we do not accept the Church's negative judgment or cautions, we open the door to Satan.

Do positive experiences and good feelings validate authenticity?
People will sometimes assume that positive feelings and experiences somehow validate authenticity of an unapproved private revelation.  First, a good feeling can come about as a result of using the Sacraments, through grace.  Secondly, the Angel of Darkness can make us feel so good about such a thing in order to get us to turn against the Church when, and if, a condemnation comes. Thirdly, consolations can be a gift from God, but these consolations are withdrawn in order to test us, and to strengthen us.  Will we still go to adoration or pray a Rosary, or continue going to daily Mass when it no longer "feels good" to do so?  Hence, one can feel absolutely no consolations, no positive feelings or experiences even at very holy places like Lourdes, Fatima, or the Holy Land, but these do not invalidate the authenticity of events that occured in those places.  Nor are the lack of consolations a measure of anything we are or aren't doing.  They are graces from God, given at His discretion for  our spiritual development. More often than not, consolations are stronger in the early stages of development. Think of them as "training wheels".  We can experience a good ride without much threat of falling, but most people do not use them forever. 

Can final judgment come while an alleged vision is current?
Approval is unlikely as long as the manifestations are ongoing.  However, a condemnation can come any time if something is found which is contrary to faith and morals.  A bishop, or other body responsible for discernment, has a duty to protect the faithful from fraud or preternatural (in this case, satanic) happenings. 

If there are many conversions and confessions, why would the Church stop such a thing if there is evidence of fraud or satanic involvement? In a word: Consequentialism.  The Church is not going to engage in justifying evil for the sake of good.  On the surface things may appear to be well and good, but we have to take careful note of the negative things to which the Church points, and not dismiss them.

Back to the case of "Holy Love"
In less than five minutes, I found a caution on the Diocese of Cleveland website, written originally in 1999 and updated in 2005. 

Further Reading on Private Revelations:
Updated 10/27/2009
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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!

Canon Lawyer speaks out on Nun serving as abortion clinic escort

Dr. Edward Peters has a post up on the recent case in the news of a Dominican nun who was photographed serving as an abortion clinic escort.  I'll start you out here and then go to his blog to read the rest of his post:

Frankly, chances are slim that the Sinsinawa Dominicans will do anything about their Sr. Donna Quinn who publicly and formally cooperates in the death of babies by abortion. Chances are slim that anything will be done about her because, well, such are the times we live in: a Catholic religious can act for years as an abortion clinic escort and cause barely a ripple in her religious community, the local church, or in Rome. History won't believe it.
But a slim chance is still some chance, and the moral poverty of the age is no bar to our doing what we can in response to such conduct. I can at least point out the possibility of canonical consequences for Sr. Donna.

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

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Pope Benedict XVI - a Pope of Christian Unity

Give praise to God today. It's Sunday!
On an interesting note, Scott Richert has made an entry about the date of the announcement of the Holy Father's approval of the Apostolic Constitution (h/t Edward Pentin):

As I have discussed before ("Pope Benedict: A Pontiff With a Plan"), Pope Benedict XVI is very sensitive to the message that certain dates send. Summorum Pontificum, for instance, was signed on June 29, the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul, when the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch sends representatives to Rome each year to take part in the celebration of the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul (and sometimes comes himself). The Orthodox have long been concerned about the decline of the liturgy in the Western Church, and the revival of the Traditional Latin Mass was seen as a major step in the right direction.

So is there any significance in the date of today's announcement that Pope Benedict has signed an Apostolic Constitution which will allow entire Anglican communities to reenter the Catholic Church en masse? I think so.

October 20 is the feast day of Saint Paul of the Cross (1694-1775), the founder of the Passionists. Though Saint Paul spent his life in Italy, the Catholic Encyclopedia notes that "For fifty years he prayed for the conversion of England, and left the devotion as a legacy to his [spiritual] sons." Almost 65 years after his death, the Passionists were first introduced into England, and the Catholic Encyclopedia declares that "They came in the spirit of Apostles without gold or silver, without scrip or staff or shoes or two coats," yet they "soon revived without commotion several Catholic customs and practices which had died out since the Reformation. They were the first to adopt strict community life, to wear their habit in public, to give missions and retreats to the people, and to hold public religious processions."
More opinion pieces on the Anglican matter:
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Saturday, October 24, 2009

Quoteworthy - Bishop Tobin

Senator Patrick Kennedy (my comments bracketed in red):

"I can’t understand for the life of me how the Catholic Church could be against the biggest social justice issue of our time, where the very dignity of the human person  is being respected by the fact that we’re caring and giving health care to the human person--that right now we have 50 million people who are uninsured,” Kennedy told Catholic News Service [probably not CNS, but] in an article posted Thursday.
"You mean to tell me the Catholic Church is going to be denying those people life saving health care?  I thought they were pro-life?” Kennedy added. “If the church is pro-life, then they ought to be for health care reform because it’s going to provide health care that are going to keep people alive  So this is an absolute red herring and I don’t think that it does anything but to fan the flames of dissent and discordand I don’t think it’s productive at all."
It's clear that Senator Kennedy does not consider the unborn to be persons.  The murder of innocents is actually the social justice issue of our time.  Murder of those ensouled by God at the moment of conception trumps that of someone who is sick and in need of health care funds.  Reform is needed, but it must be aligned with the dignity of all persons - born and unborn. The Catholic Church is objecting to funds going directly, or indirectly, towards the killing of these individuals, in most cases, because they are mere inconveniences. The Church will not engage in consequentialism, whereby she allows evil for the sake of good.  She is also trying to protect workers from being forced into engaging in something which they view as morally wrong. 

The senator's quote did not escape the attention of  his bishop - Thomas J. Tobin of Providence, Rhode Island - who didn't mince any words in his prompt  rebuke:

“Congressman Patrick Kennedy’s statement about the Catholic Church’s position on health care reform is irresponsible and ignorant of the facts. As I wrote to Congressman Kennedy and other members of the Rhode Island Congressional Delegation recently, the Bishops of the United States are indeed in favor of comprehensive health care reform and have been for many years. But we are adamantly opposed to health care legislation that threatens the life of unborn children, requires taxpayers to pay for abortion, rations health care, or compromises the conscience of individuals."
"Congressman Kennedy continues to be a disappointment to the Catholic Church and to the citizens of the State of Rhode Island. I believe the Congressman owes us an apology for his irresponsible comments. It is my fervent hope and prayer that he will find a way to provide more effective and morally responsible leadership for our state,” Tobin added.
Source: Providence bishop slams Rep. Kennedy (

As an aside, I think that the interview was done by CNSNews (Cybercase News Service) which is not the same as Catholic News Service - the reporting arm of the USCCB.   Both have the initials CNS and I think the article erred.  Here is video from CNSNews:

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

Friday, October 23, 2009

Pro-life Dems work for Hyde Amendment-like abortion funding restrictions

From Catholic News Agency

Washington D.C., Oct 23, 2009 / 06:25 pm (CNA).- Drawing opposition from pro-abortion politicians and activists, Rep. Bart Stupak (D-Mich.) is leading a coalition of about 40 pro-life Democrats who are petitioning for an opportunity to vote Hyde Amendment-like abortion funding restrictions into the proposed health care reform legislation.

Rep. Stupak is negotiating with Congressional leaders to resolve the dispute. He has threatened to block action on the larger health care reform bill unless he is allowed to offer a stand-alone amendment during floor debate to include the Hyde Amendment, the Associated Press reports

Continue reading: Pro-life Rep. Bart Stupak claims enough votes to stop health care bill over abortion

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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, October 20, 2009

Pope opens the door wide to disaffected Anglicans

(Getty images)

I have not been home all day so I could not blog on this any sooner, other than the brief post I made around 5:30 am today.  Much has been clarified since that earlier post, and we have the benefit of analysis from several sources.  I an only provide a brief note here, but I have fished many interesting links from around the web for you at the bottom of this post.  That may get updated.

First, the press conference which took place this morning at 11:00am in Rome with Cardinal William Levada, Prefect of the CDF and Archbishop Augustine Di Noia, OP - Secretary of the CDW.

The Holy Father has approved an apostolic constitution which establishes  "personal ordinariates for Anglicans entering the Catholic Church".  An apostolic constitution creates new legal structures within canon law.  As for the personal ordinariates, a Vatican note explains that they are similar to what we see with the military, where it is a non-territorial diocese, but has it's own archbishop.  It is also similar to the personal prelature, Opus Dei which is also non-territorial.  But, the personal ordinariate is not exactly the same.  The bottom line is that it is non-territorial.

Fr Z has rightly raised the issue of the SSPX.  Will we see something similar with their circumstance in the future?

I'll leave you here with a few words from Anglican Archbishop John Hepworth  - the Primate of the Traditional Anglican Communion (you can read the rest in the link below):

Traditional Anglican Communion Responds to Pope's Offer of Ecclesiastical refuge
by John Hepworth

20th October 2009

I have spent this evening speaking to bishops, priests and lay people of the Traditional Anglican Communion in England, Africa, Australia, India, Canada, the United States and South America.

We are profoundly moved by the generosity of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI. He offers in this Apostolic Constitution the means for "former Anglicans to enter into the fullness of communion with the Catholic Church". He hopes that we can "find in this canonical structure the opportunity to preserve those Anglican traditions precious to us and consistent with the Catholic faith". He then warmly states "we are happy that these men and women bring with them their particular contributions to our common life of faith".

May I firstly state that this is an act of great goodness on the part of the Holy Father. He has dedicated his pontificate to the cause of unity. It more than matches the dreams we dared to include in our petition of two years ago. It more than matches our prayers. In those two years, we have become very conscious of the prayers of our friends in the Catholic Church. Perhaps their prayers dared to ask even more than ours.
It's one thing to petition God for unity among the faithful.  Perhaps you can take time out of your day to offer thanksgiving to God.  Pray the Te Deum Laudamus!  If you can fit a Mass in during the week or on Saturday, offer thanksgiving.  Do a holy hour for thanksgiving. There are still many hurdles for people so please keep everyone affected in your prayers.

Much more reading (to be updated):

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FLASH: Pope Benedict XVI announces "apostolic constitution" which allows groups of Anglicans & Episcopalians to convert en masse! 
Scroll down to "Recent Posts" to pick up the story.

I am experimenting with a new format in which I will keep a header post at the top. 

Scroll down daily for updates.  The photo at the top will not necessarily change each time there has been an update.
 Ongoing Series:  Ecclesia Semper Reformanda by Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Souix City, Iowa
On October 15, 2009, Bishop R. Walker Nickless released a pastoral letter which touched on Vatican II and the two camps which emerged.  One is aligned with Truth, the other has things that are misaligned under the guise of the "Spirit of Vatican II".  Bishop Nickless explains the hermeneutic of continuity and a hermeneutic of rupture.  He then discusses a number of areas where rupture has caused confusion among the faithful.  First, and foremost, he explains how it has affected the liturgy and our understanding of worship.  He then looks at how it has affected several other things including catechesis, marriage, family, and Catholicism in the public square.   We are slowly going through this pastoral letter so that readers may take just a few minutes out of each day to read a little more.  Excerpting this letter for it's strong quotes does not do it justice.  It is best to read this piece by Bishop Nickless in it's entirety. 

Local Bishop Speaks on Medjugorje
On September 26, 2009, Bishop Ratko Peric of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno released a three-part statement on Medjugorje.  News releases covered only the two letters sent to the pastor of St. James parish in Medjugorje and one of the parochial vicars who had been writing reflections on "messages".  A series of firm prohibitions were reiterated, and some new ones added.  What has not been covered by most news outlets are the first two parts of that statement which explain heresy and error originating from the alleged apparition. It is best to read complete three-part statement in it's entirety to understand why this local Ordinary has come out so strongly against authenticity.  In addition, Cardinal Puljic of the BiH Bishop's conference has stated that he expects a "new direction" for Medjugorje out of the Holy See, perhaps before the end of the year.

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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!

Pope announces "apostolic constitution" which allows a group of Anglicans to convert to Catholicism en masse

Some time today, please offer a prayer of thanksgiving.  A group of Anglicans has been in talks with the Holy See for some years now.  As Damian  Thompson reports:

Pope announces plans for Anglicans to convert en masse
The Vatican has announced that Pope Benedict is setting up special provision for Anglicans, including married clergy, who want to convert to Rome together, preserving aspects of Anglican liturgy. They will be given their own pastoral supervision, according to this press release from the Vatican:
“In this Apostolic Constitution the Holy Father has introduced a canonical structure that provides for such corporate reunion by establishing Personal Ordinariates which will allow former Anglicans to enter full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving elements of the distinctive Anglican spiritual and liturgical patrimony.”
More on this very important story later. But this is clearly a historic gesture by Pope Benedict which will encourage thousands of disaffected Anglicans to become Roman Catholics.

There is another press conference taking place at Westminster with Archbishop Vincent Nichols. 

Stay tuned on this awesome story.  Blogs to read for ongoing coverage:

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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!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Bishop Nickless: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda - Post 3 (The Current Context)

This is an ongoing series of posts which breaks down a recent pastoral letter by Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Souix City, Iowa - Ecclesia Semper Reformanda.  This pastoral letter is too good to leave you with just the few snippets making their way around the web right now.  There is plenty to consume in many areas and it gives context to the most popular quotes.
III. The Current Context
There was a great excitement immediately after the Council: excitement for innovation, change, freedom, renewed dynamism. There was a great desire to implement the Council immediately, with the best of intentions. In doing so, the Church after the Council achieved many things. The Council’s aggiornamento brought about a great breath of fresh air, a new freedom and excitement about being Catholic. However, this era of change and freedom took place during a most tumultuous time. The 1960s and 1970s brought about a wholesale change within our culture and society, so that it seemed that everything was “up for grabs.” The Church seemed to be going the same way as society, suggesting that nothing was certain or solid. If the Church could change some things, it could change anything and everything. Sometimes we set out to convert the world, but were instead converted by it. We have sometimes lost sight of who we are and what we believe, and therefore have little to offer the world that so desperately needs the Gospel. A pendulum effect began in the Church and has not yet stopped swinging. In the effort to correct exaggerations or one-sidedness in various areas, the reform often times swung to the exact opposite pole.
This pendulum swing can be seen in the areas of liturgy, popular piety, family life, catechesis, ecumenism, morals, and political involvement, to name just a few. It seems to me that in many areas of the Church’s life the “hermeneutic of discontinuity” has triumphed. It has manifested itself in a sort of dualism, an either/or mentality and insistence in various areas of the Church’s life: either fidelity to doctrine or social justice work, either Latin or English, either our personal conscience or the authority of the Church, either chant or contemporary music, either tradition or progress, either liturgy or popular piety, either conservative or liberal, either Mass or Adoration, either the Magisterium or theologians, either ecumenism or evangelization, either rubrics or personalization, either the Baltimore Catechism or “experience”; and the list goes on and on! We have always been a “both/and” people: intrinsically traditional and conservative in what pertains to the faith, and creative in pastoral ministry and engaging the world.
My brothers and sisters, let me say this clearly: The “hermeneutic of discontinuity” is a false interpretation and implementation of the Council and the Catholic Faith. It emphasizes the “engagement with the world” to the exclusion of the deposit of faith. This has wreaked havoc on the Church, systematically dismantling the Catholic Faith to please the world, watering down what is distinctively Catholic, and ironically becoming completely irrelevant and impotent for the mission of the Church in the world. The Church that seeks simply what works or is “useful” in the end becomes useless.
Our urgent need at this time is to reclaim and strengthen our understanding of the deposit of faith. We must have a distinctive identity and culture as Catholics, if we would effectively communicate the Gospel to the people of this day and Diocese. This is our mission. Notice that this mission is two-fold, like the Second Vatican Council’s purpose. It is toward ourselves within the Church (ad intra), and it is to the world (ad extra). The first is primary and necessary for the second; the second flows from the first. This is why we have not been as successful as we should be in bringing the world to Jesus Christ and Jesus Christ to the world. We cannot give what we do not have; we cannot fulfill our mission to evangelize, if we ourselves are not evangelized.9
With all this in mind, how do we, the Diocese of Sioux City, Iowa, reclaim and strengthen our faith, identity and culture as Catholics so as to engage more effectively in our mission?

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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!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Bishop Nickless: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda - Post 2 (Second Vatican Council and the New Evangelization)

We are continuing with a daily posting from the magnificent pastoral letter of Bishop R. Walker Nickless of Souix City, Iowa: Ecclesia Semper Reformanda.  

As is well known, Blessed Pope John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council to be the moment of renewal for the Church in the modern world. The world had changed a great deal since the Protestant Reformation, the Catholic Counter-Reformation, the so-called Enlightenment, and the secular revolutions of the nineteenth and

twentieth centuries. The Church now found herself beset on all sides by a world that could no longer understand her, and from within by an unfortunate tendency to isolation, fearing engagement with the rapidly changing world.

In opening the Council, Blessed John stated that the “greatest concern of the Ecumenical Council” was twofold: “that the sacred deposit of Christian doctrine should be [both] guarded and taught more efficaciously.”4 Later in the speech, he elaborated on this: “The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another.”5 The teachings of the Church, our identity and culture as Catholics, must be loved and guarded, yet brought forth and taught in a way understandable to the modern world.

Pope Paul VI and Pope John Paul the Great constantly preached the same thing in calling for a “New Evangelization” of the faithful, our separated brothers and sisters in Christ, and all those who do not know Jesus Christ or the Church. This New Evangelization was to be “new not in content but in ardor, methods, and expression.”6 It is readily apparent from his teaching and ministry that for Pope John Paul the Great, the New Evangelization was the true fruit of the Second Vatican Council. Indeed, the Council was the beginning and blueprint for evangelization in the modern world. He explicitly stated this as his particular mission at the time of his election, and he lived it to the end.7 He spent his entire pontificate interpreting and implementing the Council’s documents according to the light of the Holy Spirit, given in virtue of his office, amid the changing circumstances of the Church and the world.

We now find ourselves forty-four years since the close of the Council. Many questions still need to be asked and answered. Have we understood the Council within the context of the entire history of the Church? Have we understood the documents well? Have we truly appropriated and implemented them? Is the current state of the Church what the Council intended? What went right? What went wrong? Where is the promised “New Pentecost”?

Pope Benedict XVI reflected on these important questions in an address to the Roman Curia in December, 2005:
The question arises: Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult? Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or—as we would say today—on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarreled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call “a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture,” it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the “hermeneutic of reform,” of renewal in the continuity of the one subject – Church – which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council.8
Notice, first, Pope Benedict’s honest acknowledgement that the implementation of the Council has been difficult and is not complete. Notice also his clear-sighted grasp of how two rival interpretations have led to different “camps” within the Church. This division has weakened our identity and mission.

It is crucial that we all grasp that the hermeneutic or interpretation of discontinuity or rupture, which many think is the settled and even official position, is not the true meaning of the Council. This interpretation sees the pre-conciliar and post-conciliar Church almost as two different churches. It sees the Second Vatican Council as a radical break with the past. There can be no split, however, between the Church and her faith before and after the Council. We must stop speaking of the “Pre-Vatican II” and “Post-Vatican II” Church, and stop seeing various characteristics of the Church as “pre” and “post” Vatican II. Instead, we must evaluate them according to their intrinsic value and pastoral effectiveness in this day and age.

Therefore, we must heed the Holy Father’s point that one interpretation, the “hermeneutic of reform,” is valid, and has borne and is bearing fruit. This hermeneutic of reform, as described above, takes seriously and keeps together the two poles of identity (the ancient deposit of faith and life) and engagement with the world (teaching it more efficaciously).

Lastly, the Holy Father, going into greater detail later in the address, explains that the “spirit of Vatican II” must be found only in the letter of the documents themselves. The so-called “spirit” of the Council has no authoritative interpretation. It is a ghost or demon that must be exorcised if we are to proceed with the Lord’s work.

Footnotes from the pastoral letter applicable to this section:

4 Pope John XXIII, Oct 11, 1962

5 Ibid.

6 Address to the Assembly of CELAM (March 9, 1983), III: AAS 75 (1983), 778. See also Ecclesia in America, 6.

7 E.g., Inaugural Address of Pope John Paul II, October 22, 1978 : “Do not be afraid. Open wide the doors for Christ. To his saving power open the boundaries of States, economic and political systems, the vast fields of culture, civilization and development. Do not be afraid. Christ knows ‘what is in man.’ He alone knows it.”

8 Pope Benedict XVI, Christmas address to the Roman Curia, December 22, 2005.

We'll continue tomorrow with the next segment.

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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!