Thursday, May 31, 2012

Nashville Dominican gets nod as executive director at key USCCB office

Sr. John Mary Fleming while principal at St. Dominic's School

No shortage of vocations
in Nashville
This sure sent a positive wave through the Catholic news circles and blogs yesterday. Sr. John Mary Flemming who is with the Dominican Sisters of St. Cecilia (commonly referred to as the "Nashville Dominicans") will now serve as executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.

Like the Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist in Ann Arbor, the Nashville Dominicans are seeing explosive growth in vocations. It is so delightful to see a member of such a successful community take a lead position at the USCCB.

I prefer not to dwell in all that has gone wrong the past 50 years, but to savor these kinds of moments one brick at a time. This just happens to be one, very large brick.

Here is the full USCCB news release:

May 29, 2012

WASHINGTON—Dominican Sister John Mary Fleming, a member of St. Cecilia Congregation in Nashville, Tennessee, has been named executive director of the Secretariat of Catholic Education of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB). Sister Fleming currently is principal of St. Dominic School, Bolingbrook, Illinois.

She succeeds Marie Powell, who announced her retirement earlier this year.

Msgr. Ronny Jenkins, USCCB general secretary, announced the appointment May 29.

“I am delighted that Sister John Mary will soon join the USCCB and am grateful to her religious community for allowing her to accept this appointment,” Msgr. Jenkins said. “Both she and her religious community have shown a commitment to Catholic education that resonates with our conference and which has been a hallmark of the Catholic church in this country.”

He thanked Marie Powell for her years at the bishops’ conference and commended her both for her generous service at the bishops’ conference and for her outstanding career in educational leadership.

“Marie served well for many years as a strong advocate for Catholic schools and as a leader in the education community,” Msgr. Jenkins said. “She can be proud of her contributions, as we are proud of her.”

Sister Fleming holds a licentiate in canon law from The Catholic University of America, a master’s degree in theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville, a master of education degree in educational leadership and supervision from the University of Southern Mississippi and a bachelor’s degree in education from Belmont University, Nashville.

Prior to her term as principal at St. Dominic’s, 2010-present, Sister Fleming was director of education for her religious congregation, 2000-2007; interim vice president of operations at Aquinas College, Nashville, 2000-2001; and coordinator of her congregation’s $46 million motherhouse building project, 2000-2006.

She served on the board of Aquinas College, 2000-2007, and currently is a board member of Providence Academy, Minneapolis. In 2012, she also served on the 10-member team to develop a program for the year of Faith for the Diocese of Joliet, Illinois.

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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!

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Full Translation: Bishop's 2012 Confirmation Homily in Medjugorje

File Photo from 2011 Confirmation

After reading what amounted to a propoganda-piece (in particular, the headline; and, for what the body of the article omits, specifically the part about Ananias and Sapphira*) that exploited the 2012 Confirmation homily of  Bishop Ratko Perić in Medjugorje, I decided to ask Fr. Philip Pavich, OFM, for a complete translation.

There is much to take into consideration with regards to context.  No one can read the mind of the bishop to know for certain what his exact concerns are.  These things came to my mind as I read the homily.

  • The area surrounding Medjugorje has become commercialized and with that can come greed.  Certainly, this can happen anywhere there is competition with commerce.  This would also be a concern regardless of the status of Medjugorje and it is true that people can exploit even approved apparitions for their own gain.  However, I think there could be much greater problems in the face of any judgment that might include or reinforce a prohibition on the marketing of anything with reference to "Our Lady of Medjugorje."  As I discussed in my last post concerning the CDF's recent release of the 1978 Norms for Discernment of Presumed Apparitions and Revelations, it is illicit to make medals and market prayers (even given away free) with the name of a presumed apparition, prior to explicit ecclesial approval.

  • Few pilgrims probably know that in this small diocese several parishes were  usurped in the 1990's by nine, rogue Franciscans not wanting to comply with a 1975 decree of the Holy See that the bishop was attempting to implement.  More than 20 other Franciscans from the Herzegovina Province refused to sign a declaration of obedience to the bishop (and the Franciscan Generalate in Rome was involved).  Those Franciscans remain without faculties even today.  The usurped parishes continue to operate with men who suffered severe canonical penalties for their deeds and removal from the Franciscan order. They create disunity among Catholics in the region. They even brought in a fake bishop to perform "confirmations" some years ago.  There have been requests by at least one of those parishes for the bishop to come and do Confirmations. Since they are not in communion with the Catholic Church, the bishop cannot go there.  Those confirmandi, I believe, end up in Medjugorje, which is one reason why there are always hundreds being confirmed.  Hence, the local Church has been dealing with a parallel "church" for many years - something of great concern for the Holy See.  You can read more on this situation with all the detailed background in a post offering a full translation of the Holy See's decree, Romanis Pontificibus.

  • The Holy Father stated through the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Allessandro D'Errico, on March 17, 2010, that he considered Medjugorje, "a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message." He acknowledged the, "great good that is being done in this region by the priests, the Franciscan friars, and the laity. And on the other hand he asks himself how come there is information in such opposition to this phenomenon."  Many Catholics are anticipating a judgment from the Pope on Medjugorje before the end of 2012 so this was probably the bishop's last Confirmation homily before that takes place.  Regardless of the outcome, people need to meditate on this excellent homily about Babylon, Jerusalem, and the story from Acts of the Apostles about Ananias and Sapphira.

Here, for the sake of truth and justice, is the full text of the  2012 Confirmation homily of Bishop Ratko Perić in Medjugorje.  There is absolutely nothing to support the claim that he has softened his position in any way.  He is a shepherd encouraging his people to avoid sin and live virtuously. 


KIUM, 2012-05-19

The Bishop's sermon

Brothers and sisters, dear confirmandi! 

BABILON Babylon. The Bible in the first chapters describes for us a strange undertaking of the citizens: "Let us go build ourselves a city and a tower that reaches to heaven!  Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered over the earth "(Genesis 11:4). The people, far away from God through original sin, intended to build a city with a tower reaching to heaven. In proud independence from God they were not able to make a rational decision. They began to build: the foundation, bricks, walls, enviable progress. But at a certain time the masons are not understood. They look for bread, and they get a stone instead, a hammer instead of a trowel. Babel or Babylon means confusion, chaos. God was not able to  tolerate human conceit and "goes down to see the city and the tower that the sons of men built" and he jumbled their words "so they could not understand each other's speech". (Gen 11,5.7).

Sons of the same nation and language, of the same intention and crafts, as one till yesterday, now can not understand each other's words or signs. Someone might say that this is not a historical fact: how can you build a tower up to heaven? The Bible gives far more instruction on salvation than on historical data. But we do know that a tower of sin in human hearts can be built to the pit of hell. And the more that people think of living without God, of throwing his name out of their system and society, of bypassing God, wanting to create a common union or region, of making a name for themselves in this world, all the more do economic and political accounts embroil them.

- The heaviest blow that strikes the Church is disunity of the faithful, especially fragmenting of its servants.  God expects us to everyone dutifully performing his task, and be their responsibility. Who is this elusive and works on his own, by the Church against the Church, this city of Babylon tower. God expects each of us obediently to perform his duty and bear his own responsibility.  Anyone who dodges that and works on his own, bypassing the Church, against the Church, is building a Tower of Babel. He can even speak in various languages, but he is not uniting, he is rather tearing down and scattering.

JERUSALEM.  In the early days of Christianity the Holy Spirit is revealed not as an invisible power, power from on high, but as a person.  Like us, the Holy Spirit through Mary gave Christ, the incarnate Son of God, so we are risen and glorified Christ, together with the Father gave the Holy Spirit through the prayers of Mary, the same apostolic community in Jerusalem.The Spirit: Comforter, Paraclete, advocate, introducer into all truth. At the beginning of Christianity the Holy Spirit is no longer revealed as some unseen power, as strength from above, but as a Person. He is the Father's and Son's Gift to the believing world. Just as the Holy Spirit through Mary gave us Christ, the incarnate Son of God, so the risen and glorified Christ, together with the Father, gave us the Holy Spirit through the prayers of the same Mary, in the Jerusalem community of Apostles. He is the Spirit: the Advocate, the Comforter, the Intercessor, the Leader into all truth.

The historical "Apparition" of the Spirit was with an audible "roaring sound" and visible "tongues of fire." And the consequence of that Apparition was perfect understanding of each other, despite the diversity of nations and languages (Acts 2:2-6). That's the result of the wisdom of Pentecost.  A consequence of this phenomenon was perfectly understand each other, despite the diversity of peoples and languages ​​(Acts 2.2 to 6). That results Pentecost wisdom.

In Babylon the fruit is from the human spirit: incomprehension of speech, breaking down of unity, loss of name, ruin of the city, destruction of the tower.  Misunderstanding and chaos! Misunderstanding and fuss!

In Jerusalem the fruit is from God's Spirit: unification, diversity of human gifts, respect of every language, nation and gift. Understanding and harmony.

All the efforts and services flow into one organism. The Church is put in order like the visible Mystical Body of Christ. Three thousand people were baptized that day. So that day of the Holy Spirit is the supreme sensation of God on earth, the manifestation of God's power among us humans beings. Only by the power of that Spirit are people able to build "a tower whose top reaches heaven," that will not be destroyed, and will "get a name for itself," that will last forever.

- Are we as Christians building a city of unity according to the plan of Christ at the Last Supper when he admonished his apostles: "Till now you have not asked anything in my name"? (Jn 16:24). Are we praying in His name for the gifts of the Third Divine Person, whose primordial attribute is unification and mutual understanding? The Second Vatican Council emphasizes the power of the Holy Spirit, the one who enlightens, sanctifies, vivifies, unites, rejuvenates, teaches and purifies us. The Holy Spirit gives us his seven-fold gifts, the seven basic qualities of his Kingdom.

Whoever says that they renounce the devil, as you, confirmandi, will now say, let them no longer even mention him, either by way of swearing or of cursing. Whoever has the devil in his mouth and on his tongue, will soon have him in his heart.

Whoever says that they believe in God, let them humbly revere him, and not blaspheme!

Whoever respect their body and preserve themselves in chastity and all those with whom they keep company, will have virtue grow in them and yield the fruit of life. Do not live in dire want and misery, but be heroic, chaste and honest, healthy in heart and body, strong in spirit.

Whoever's heart and hands cleave to earthly things, and forget God, will not go money-grubbing just to have more of it, but will also utilize frauds and defamations and thefts, jumping from bad to worse, to achieve his heart's desire. .

BOGAĆENJE, ALI NE U BOGU GETTING RICH, BUT NOT IN GOD.  The Acts of the Apostles tell us (5:1-11) Peter exposed the hypocrisy of a husband and wife in the first community. The Bible honestly portrays even the most dishonest actions, wherever they may be.

Ananija, Ananias, one of the first Christians in Jerusalem, sold a piece of his property and in agreement with his wife brought the apostles only a portion of the money from the sale, the other part he kept for himself, yet he wanted to live from the community table. Peter called him for an interview:

- Ananias, where were you this morning?  - I sold my property.

- For how much did you sell it? - For so and so much.

- Did you give all the money for the community purse as agreed? - Yes (but he didn't. He kept part of it for himself). And Ananias trembled before Peter's tribunal.

- And how much did you bury in the ground behind the house? Peter looked into the double-dealing eyes of Ananias. - I buried so and so many shekels, stammered Ananias,  lowering his eyes in shame.

- Look at me! - Peter looked around him with a sharp voice: "Why has Satan filled your heart so that you lied to the Holy Spirit and retained part of the price of the land?" (Acts 5:3), and said that you brought it all?  

- I was afraid of sickness and old age for myself and my wife, said Ananias.

- Does not God care for you in your old age and in your illness? And for your wife Sapphira? While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours? Could you have left all the proceeds, since it was yours? - I could have.

- It means, you not only stole, but you have also lied. A Christian, and he lies. Not only does he lie, but he steals, he cheats. Do you see that sin always produces sin. "While it remained unsold, did it not remain yours: And when it was sold, was it not still under your control? (Acts 5:4). Had you sold it and kept all the money, it would still all be yours. You could have sometime even come to the community meal. Had you even sold it and kept a portion for yourself and said that you had done so, everything would have been in order. But this way: "Why did you contrive this deed? You have lied not to human beings but to God" (Acts 5:4). You have not stolen from the community but from God. At these words, Ananias fell before the Apostle Peter and died. "And great fear came upon all who heard of it" (Acts 5:5).

Safira Sapphira. After about three hours, his wife Sapphira came in, unaware of what had happened with her husband. Peter was waiting for her at the entrance.

- Madam, tell me, did you sell the piece of land for so and so many shekels? - We did, the woman admits right away.

- How much did you bring for the community purse? -About half, so it seems to me.

- And did you say that you brought all the money? - Yes, we did.

- But where is the other half? - The wife stood trembling, the blood froze in her veins.

- They carried out your husband a while ago. As soon as the grave diggers get back, they will carry you out too. And at once she fell to the ground. And she died.

Brothers and sisters, what kind of punishments these are!  Those who stood around were struck with great fear. God in the beginning let the people learn a lesson and start on the right path. "And great fear came upon the whole Church" (Acts 5:11). In a charismatic way Peter disciplines the whole community. If we will live according to God's commandments, then the seventh and eighth are of equal value, and the fifth and the sixth and every commandment of God!   

What is actually the most painful thing in this event? Well, it seems to us to be that this couple - Ananias and Sapphira - did not have time either to repent or to seek forgiveness. It is sudden death. "Thus will it be for the one who stores up treasure for himself, but is not rich in what matters to God" (Luke 12:21).

Dear faithful, confirmandi! You have the opportunity to turn this Medjugorje into Babylon, confusion and chaos; to show a false pride up to the clouds, to give in to the race for foreigners and their money, to allow tourism to flood and defeat you with a multitude of languages, to compete over who will build the most Babylonian floors and villas, over who will open a profitable business and get richer. 

You have the opportunity to make Jerusalem out of this parish, a place of action of the Spirit of God, where a multitude blends into unity, where each one understands everyone in God, and not in false wealth: where Peter's word is heard: "Repent ... and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit "(Acts 2.39).

You have the opportunity to live devoutly, not in pride, but to crush it in wisdom: not being selfishly avaricious, but advancing in good sense, not losing yourself in the immorality of your body, but gaining a true knowledge of God's saving law: not permitting a measure of envy, but rejoicing at true advice; expressing strength of spirit, all in the fear of God, and not weakness and a painful end like that of Ananias and Sapphira.

Get rich inBogatite se u Bogu, a ne u prolaznu bogatstvu! God, and not in wealth that passes away! - is the Lord's word to us.

* Post edited to include comment that points to what is missing in what I allege is a propaganda-piece.

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Some thoughts on the CDF"s release of the 1978 norms for discernment of presumed apparitions and revelations

Richard Chonak sent me a link to this last week as we headed into Memorial Day weekend.  I decided to hold off posting on it until now.  You may have read this news elsewhere as it is now in full circulation in most Catholic news outlets.  I'll offer a few thoughts below, especially as they pertain to Medjugorje since I am among those who believe these norms will be referenced in any declaration on that alleged apparition. I like Chonak's introduction, so I share that here, in part (my comments bracketed in red).

Thanks to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which has just published its 1978 document of guidance for bishops discerning private revelations.

Yes, you read that right. It's 2012, and we're talking about the publication of a 1978 document. If anything proves the old quip "Roma eterna, sed civitas Vaticana sempiterna" ("Rome is eternal, but Vatican City is almost eternal"), it's this.

The document, usually known as Normae Congregationis from the first words of its title, was issued in 1978 and sent to bishops. It contains principles and general procedures for bishops on how to judge a claimed private revelation. It was issued with the intimidating marking sub secreto, a warning that it was not to be published: not because it contained anything startling, but probably because it hadn't undergone the full review process a public document would receive. [I had always believed it was because the Holy See did not want it's discernment process in the hands of people who could use it to their advantage in a fraudulent way.  Let's face it, there can be big money in the "apparition" business.]  

But "information wants to be free", as the saying goes, and from 1994 to 2010 various writers, from Japan to France, and from Canada to Italy, have published it in Latin and in vernacular versions. It appeared in at least one canon-law dissertation, and I even contributed to its spread a little by publishing an English translation made with two colleagues (and yes, the leader of the project did have permission from his bishop). Most recently, the vaticanist Andrea Tornielli got a copy by simply asking the CDF for it, and his copy had no instructions about keeping it secret, so he published the Latin text and an Italian translation in February 2012.

Let's look at the beginning of the preface written by CDF chief, Cardinal Levada.

1. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith is competent in questions regarding the promotion and safeguarding of the teaching of faith and morals. It is also competent to examine difficulties regarding the proper understanding of the faith, such as cases of pseudo-mysticism, presumed apparitions, visions and messages attributed to supernatural sources. In regard to these very delicate tasks, more than thirty years ago this Dicastery prepared the Normae de modo procedendi in diudicandis praesumptis apparitionibus ac revelationibus. This document, formulated by the Members of the Plenary Session of the Congregation, was approved by the Servant of God, Pope Paul VI, on 24 February 1978, and subsequently issued on 25 February 1978. At that time the Norms were sent to Bishops for their information, without, however, being officially published, as the norms were given for the direct aid of the Pastors of the Church.

I'm glad pseudo-mystyicism is included, as well as presumed apparitions, visions and messages attributed to supernatural sources.

I'm going to skip past paragraph two which deals with what is already explained by Richard above, that the Norms were circulating and the Congregation sees this as an "opportune" time to make it public officially.  I am among those who believe that the timing has everything to do with a much anticipated statement on Medjugorje by the Holy Father in the coming months.  Back on March 17, 2010 Archbishop D'Errico, the papal nuncio in Bosnia-Herzegovina said that for Pope Benedict XVI, Medjugorje was, "a question for which he as supreme head of the Church feels responsible to pronounce a clear message".  The release of these norms now gives people on all sides of the controversy an opportunity to carefully read them whether it is for the first time, or for review.

2. Over the years this document has been published in various works treating these matters, in more than one language, without obtaining the prior permission of this Dicastery. Today, it must be recognized that the contents of these important norms are already in the public domain. Therefore, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith believes it is now opportune to publish these Norms, providing translations in the principle languages.

The next part of Cardinal Levada's Preface is interesting.  I'm going to quote all of Section 3 (emphasis mine in bold; my comments bracketed in red).

3. In the Ordinary Assembly of the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God held in October 2008, the issue of the problems stemming from the experience of supernatural phenomena was raised as a pastoral concern by some Bishops. Their concern was recognized by the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, who inserted the issue into the larger context of the economy of salvation, in a significant passage of the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Verbum Domini. It is important to recall this teaching of the Pontiff, which is an invitation to pay appropriate attention to these supernatural phenomena [and watch where he lands at the end of this first paragraph]: 
“In all of this, the Church gives voice to her awareness that with Jesus Christ she stands before the definitive word of God: he is ‘the first and the last’ (Rev 1:17). He has given creation and history their definitive meaning; and hence we are called to live in time and in God’s creation within this eschatological rhythm of the word; ‘thus the Christian dispensation, since it is the new and definitive covenant, will never pass away; and no new public revelation is to be expected before the glorious manifestation of our Lord Jesus Christ (cf. 1 Tim 6:14 and Tit2:13)’. Indeed, as the Fathers noted during the Synod, the ‘uniqueness of Christianity is manifested in the event which is Jesus Christ, the culmination of revelation, the fulfilment of God’s promises and the mediator of the encounter between man and God. He who ‘has made God known’ (Jn 1:18) is the one, definitive word given to mankind.’ [Pay attention here] Saint John of the Cross expresses this truth magnificently: ‘Since he has given us his Son, his only word (for he possesses no other), he spoke everything at once in this sole word – and he has no more to say… because what he spoke before to the prophets in parts, he has spoken all at once by giving us this All who is his Son.  Any person questioning God or desiring some vision or revelation would be guilty not only of foolish behaviour but also of offending him, by not fixing his eyes entirely on Christ and by living with the desire for some other novelty’ (Ascent of Mount Carmel, II, 22).” [This is the very quote I have had in my right sidebar for some time now.  Desiring visions or revelations opens the door to Satan who is ever ready to appear in any form desired.  Also noteworthy is that Cardinal Levada wrote this preface on the Feast of St. John of the Cross, December 14, 2011]
Bearing this in mind, the Holy Father, Benedict XVI, notes the following:
“Consequently the Synod pointed to the need to ‘help the faithful to distinguish the word of God from private revelations’ whose role ‘is not to complete Christ’s definitive revelation, but to help live more fully by it in a certain period of history.’ The value of private revelations is essentially different from that of the one public revelation: the latter demands faith; in it God himself speaks to us through human words and the mediation of the living community of the Church. The criterion for judging the truth of a private revelation is its orientation to Christ himself. [If an entity is constantly chatting about itself, it raises a red flag]. If it leads us away from him, then it certainly does not come from the Holy Spirit, who guides us more deeply into the Gospel, and not away from it. [In approved apparitions the Blessed Virgin Mary leads us to Christ]. Private revelation is an aid to this faith, and it demonstrates its credibility precisely because it refers back to the one public revelation [!!!]. Ecclesiastical approval of a private revelation essentially means that its message contains nothing contrary to faith and morals; it is licit to make it public and the faithful are authorized to give to it their prudent adhesion. A private revelation can introduce new emphases, give rise to new forms of piety, or deepen older ones. It can have a certain prophetic character (cf. 1 Th 5:19-21) and can be a valuable aid for better understanding and living the Gospel at a certain time; consequently it should not be treated lightly [it would be imprudent to speak out publicly against an approved private revelation]. It is a help which is proffered, but its use is not obligatory [another red flag is when a presumed apparition uses attempts to force belief, especially in a threatening way.]. In any event, it must be a matter of nourishing faith, hope and love, which are for everyone the permanent path of salvation.”[1]

Myself, and several other people on the internet, have often referred to Normae Congregationis when discussing alleged private revelation or apparitions and certain red flags.  We were using the very criteria used by the Church.

After the Preface we get to the 1978 Norms in the Manner of Proceeding in the Discernment of Presumed Apparitions or Revelations.  I found this part, after the introductory statement, interesting.

1. Today, more than in the past, news of these apparitions is diffused rapidly among the faithful thanks to the means of information (mass media). Moreover, the ease of going from one place to another fosters frequent pilgrimages, so that Ecclesiastical Authority should discern quickly about the merits of such matters.

Consider that this was written back in the 70's, before the internet era.  Now, it's real easy for people to get caught up on a wave of enthusiasm and take to the internet with some claim where it blooms exponentially in ways not seen in the past.  In the past, these things moved by word of mouth and some things wouldn't have made it past the local town.  The bishop normally payed no attention to it, so as not to lend credibility, and merely observed from a distance unless crowds swelled.  Today, it is easy for a claim to literally get away from the Church very quickly.  Poorly catechized people and, faithful Catholics who have been deprived of time-tested spiritual aids in the wake of a broad scale perversion of Vatican II, gravitate to visions that promote Marian and Eucharistic devotion.  History has shown us that even false visions can include some good fruits.  Followers don't often see the bad fruits also on the same tree, or inconsistencies in facts or events.  For this reason, Holy Mother Church goes through a process of analysis using these norms.

Continuing with the next point in the introduction:

2. On the other hand, modern mentality and the requirements of critical scientific investigation render it more difficult, if not almost impossible, to achieve with the required speed the judgments that in the past concluded the investigation of such matters (constat de supernaturalitate, non constat de supernaturalitate) and that offered to the Ordinaries the possibility of authorizing or prohibiting public cult or other forms of devotion among the faithful. [There is actually a third category, constant de non supernaturalitate.  I get into some discussion of that in this post].

For these reasons, in order that the devotion stirred among the faithful as a result of facts of this sort might manifest itself in full communion with the Church, and bear fruits by which the Church herself might later discern the true nature of the facts, the Fathers judged that in this matter the following procedure should be promoted.

Note the ordering of two words in the above: "Facts" before "fruits".  In translations we were using, I think the word "events" was used instead of "facts." The way it is ordered is that the facts connected with the case, or events, are always judged before fruits are examined.  The false apparition known loosely as, "Bayside," was condemned as not supernatural.  If you study Normae Congregationis carefully, then look at  the "facts" of the Bayside case, you will find many things that fly in the face of supernaturally, as would be discerned by an application of the norms.

When Ecclesiastical Authority is informed of a presumed apparition or revelation, it will be its responsibility:

a) first, to judge the fact according to positive and negative criteria (cf. infra, no. I); [Note that negative facts, or events, are not excluded and that there is no mention of judging "fruits" first.  It must be established that something is more likely happening than not before looking at the fruits]

b) then, if [an if/then statement] this examination results in a favorable conclusion [not whether there is good fruits, but if facts applied against positive and negative criteria do not reveal red flags], to permit some public manifestation of cult or of devotion [a cultus is granted by the local bishop in such cases], overseeing this with great prudence (equivalent to the formula, “for now, nothing stands in the way”) (pro nunc nihil obstare).

c) finally, in light of time passed and of experience, with special regard to the fecundity of spiritual fruit generated from this new devotion, to express a judgment regarding the authenticity and supernatural character if the case so merits.

With regards to Medjugorje it is important to note that no cult of devotion, or cultus, was ever granted by the local bishop, nor by any Commission.  In fact, the opposite happened in both cases.  First, it is good to know what it looks like when a bishop grants a cult of devotion so that he may continue his observations.  Here is then Archbishop Raymond Burke explaining what he learned upon examining correspondence concerning Our Lady of America:

Having reviewed the correspondence between Sister Mary Ephrem and her spiritual director of many years, Monsignor Paul F. Leibold, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, who later became the Bishop of Evansville and, then, Archbishop of Cincinnati, it is clear that the devotion, as proposed by Sister Mary Ephrem, received his approbation. In addition to the correspondence by which Monsignor Leibold declared the approval of the devotion, he also carried out the first of Our Lady of America's requests, made through Sister Mary Ephrem, namely, he had a medal struck with the image of Our Lady of America on one side and the coat of arms of the Christian family on the other.
When the cultus is approved, medals may be struck, devotions under the name (i.e., Our Lady of....) may be used, etc. In the case of Medjugorje, medals were struck; devotions, hymns using the name, Our Lady of Medjugorje, were made and used illicitly (without ecclesial approval).  The Franciscans and lay people just did this on their own. On March 25, 1985, the bishop responded to this illicit activity:

At our meeting, held in the Chancery Office in Mostar on October 31, 1984, I demanded that Medjugorje's occurrences "be toned down and eliminated little by little." [The bishop did not want to shock the people who grew attached to these things through the encouragement of the Herzegovina Franciscans, but to gradually phase out what had illicitly been put into place]. In the meantime, matters remain as they were, and a great disgrace is expected to befall the Church [Will this prove to be a prophetic statement? Time will tell once Pope Benedict XVI has spoken now that the Commission's work is done]. Now, without any delay, after all this, I demand from you that you remove the "visionaries" from public display and put an end to their "visions" in the parish church. They have had "visions" in Mostar, and earlier in Sarajevo, Visoko and Dubrovnik. Let them now have them at their homes: people say that they had them at their homes during 1981. In ten days the new statue of the Gospa ["Gospa" is a Croatian reverential term used for centuries for the Blessed Virgin Mary and it could be translated as "Our Lady"] in front of the main altar ought to be discreetly removed late one evening and replaced by the old one. You must stop talking about apparitions and also cease publicizing messages. The devotions that grew out of the "apparitions" and their messages must be eliminated, sales of souvenirs and printed material which propagate the "apparitions" must also stop.

That is nothing short of busting an illicit cultus which Bishop Zanic had every right to do as Ordinary of the Place, even if he could later be proved wrong.  God has a way of setting wrong things right over time, but the job of clerics and people is to obey their bishops

Fast forwarding to the 1991 Zadar Declaration (the last Commission finding which remains the official position of the Church), it declared a non constant de supernaturalitate (it cannot be affirmed as supernatural). We see that the Bishops Conference of Yugoslavia did not grant a cultus and outright discouraged it. 

Yet the gathering of the faithful from various parts of the world to Medjugorje, inspired by reasons of faith or other motives, require the pastoral attention and care, first of all, of the local Bishop and then of the other bishops with him, so that in Medjugorje and all connected with it, a healthy devotion towards the Blessed Virgin Mary according to the teachings of the Church may be promoted. The Bishops will also provide special liturgical and pastoral directives corresponding to this aim. At the same time, they will continue to study all the events of Medjugorje through the commissions.

To say that the devotions towards the Blessed Virgin Mary be according to the teachings of the Church is something which escapes many followers.  The Rosary belongs to the Church, not to Medjugorje.  On the other hand, Catholic teachings do not contradict one another, so devotions which spring forth illicitly are not considered part of that "healthy devotion".  Catholics with a deep love for Mary should read Marialis Cultus to understand the teachings of the Church in this regard.

Read the preface and the norms before the Holy Father speaks on the question of Medjugorje.  As I expressed earlier, I have little doubt that these norms will be referred to in any statement made in the near future.


Kevin Symonds has some background on the 1978 Norms.  Here is Part One of a two-part article.  I will edit in Part Two when it is available.

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Helper's of God's Precious Infants Prayer Vigil - June 16

From the Helpers of God's Precious Infants of Michigan:

The vigil will be on June 16th, which is the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, and also the day before Father's Day! A perfect day and precious way to honor Our Heavenly Mother and our earthly fathers!

The Vigil will begin with 7:30 am Holy Mass at St. Basil the Great Catholic Church in Eastpointe, MI, and will be led by Msgr. Robert McClory, Moderator of the Curia, Archdiocese of Detroit.

After mass we will go on to pray in front of the two nearby abortion mills on E. 8 Mile Rd and then return to St. Basil for Benediction at 10:15am. Refreshments served immediately afterwards.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day the Catholic Way: It starts with Holy Mass

8 year old Christian Golczynski receives a flag from his father's casket.
2007 | The Tennessean | Aaron Thompson
See story behind the photo here

Today is not the start of summer; it's a day of remembrance for those who gave their all.  I encourage all Catholics to try to find a parish that has Mass at a time that fits into your schedule if at all possible.  This suggestion will come too late for many of you, but not too late to keep it in mind for next year.

I never considered going to Mass on Memorial Day until I got to Assumption Grotto.  As is the custom on every Memorial Day, there will be a flag raising at 9:00 AM at the front entrance, followed by a procession into church where Holy Mass will be celebrated. Then there will be a procession out to the Grotto cemetery to remember the war dead at the monument.   I especially remember my uncle, Eddie, who died after his flying fortress went down just off the coast of Italy in World War II.  I remember his fellow airmen.  I never knew him, but will always pray for him.

All of the temporal things we do for the war dead can't compare to what we can do for the souls of those still in purgatory.  Contrary to popular belief these days, Vatican II did not get rid of purgatory.  Purgatory is a part of Catholic doctrine so it is an act of mercy to pray for the dead.  If our loved ones are in heaven and no longer in need of prayers, those graces will go to other souls in need, so they are not wasted.

Here are a few of my favorite pictures from Memorial Day at Assumption Grotto, taken some years ago.  The hooded priest is a Cistercian monk, Fr. Aidan Logan, who was visiting a Marine and his family at the parish.

Of course, the birettas came off and the hood went down when the war dead were honored and prayed for

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pentecost and Mass of St. Cecilia at Assumption Grotto

Happy Feast of Pentecost!

Today, at Assumption Grotto, the Mass of St. Cecilia by Charles Gounod will be heard as the choir and orchestra are directed by Fr. Perrone during the 9:30 AM Mass.  I am not sure if it will be a solemn high Mass, but it will be the 1962 Missal.  The Mass of St. Cecilia will be heard again at the Noon on June 10th.

From Romans 8:5-27 (First Reading in the Office of Readings)
Those who live according to the flesh are intent on the things of the flesh, those who live according to the spirit, on those of the spirit. The tendency of the flesh is toward death but that of the spirit toward life and peace. The flesh in its tendency is at enmity with God; it is not subject to God’s law. Indeed, it cannot be; those who are in the flesh cannot please God. 
But you are not in the flesh; you are in the spirit, since the Spirit of God dwells in you. If anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Christ. If Christ is in you the body is dead because of sin, while the spirit lives because of justice. If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, then he who raised Christ from the dead will bring your mortal bodies to life also, through his Spirit dwelling in you. 
We are debtors, then, my brothers—but not to the flesh, so that we should live according to the flesh. If you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the spirit you put to death the evil deeds of the body, you will live. 
All who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.  You did not receive a spirit of slavery leading you back into fear, but a spirit of adoption through which we cry out, “Abba!” (that is, “Father”). The Spirit himself gives witness with our spirit that we are children of God. But if we are children, we are heirs as well: heirs of God, heirs with Christ, if only we suffer with him so as to be glorified with him. 
I consider the sufferings of the present to be as nothing compared with the glory to be revealed in us. Indeed, the whole created world eagerly awaits the revelation of the sons of God. Creation was made subject to futility, not of its own accord but by him who once subjected it; yet not without hope, because the world itself will be freed from its slavery to corruption and share in the glorious freedom of the children of God. Yes, we know that all creation groans and is in agony even until now. Not only that, but we ourselves, although we have the Spirit as first fruits, groan inwardly while we await the redemption of our bodies. In hope we were saved. But hope is not hope if its object is seen; how is it possible for one to hope for what he sees? And hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it with patient endurance. 
The Spirit too helps us in our weakness, for we do not know how to pray as we ought; but the Spirit himself makes intercession for us with groanings that cannot be expressed in speech. He who searches hearts knows what the Spirit means, for the Spirit intercedes for the saints as God himself wills.

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Three to be ordained to priesthood in Detroit

Please pray for the three men who will be ordained to the priesthood in Detroit today. From the Michigan Catholic

DETROIT — Archbishop Allen Vigneron will ordain three new priests for the Archdiocese of Detroit at a 10 a.m. Mass on Saturday, May 26, at the Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The three transitional deacons — the Rev. Messrs. Steven Mateja, Salvatore Palazzolo and Paul Snyder — all grew up in Metro Detroit and are all graduates of Sacred Heart Major Seminary.

Their post-ordination assignments will be announced at the Mass.

The three ordinandi responded to questions put to them by Michigan Catholic reporter Robert Delaney. Read their answers.

Go read more about each of the men at the Michigan Catholic.   I always look forward to reading about our new priests.  What they have to say gives me great hope for the future of the Catholic Church.   I have been impressed with every profile since I've been following.

I have gone to ordination Masses the last few years.  I really regret not being able to go today.  They will, however, be in my prayers.

Watch the ordinations live on U-Stream at 10 AM today [It does not look like it is streaming or on CTND live. I'll bet they just rebroadcast it at a later date, if it is being recorded. Probably one of the casualties of budget cuts]

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Cardinal Dolan: White House is Strangling Catholic Church

Here is an interview that Cardinal Dolan had on CBS today.

He mentions at the beginning of his interview the legal challenge by 43 groups within the Catholic Church on the religious liberty issue. I recommend Catholic Culture's coverage for the many links added at the bottom.


The Michigan bishops were among those suing the federal government, through it's Michigan Catholic Conference.  There is a good amount of information here including the statement, and the lawsuit itself which you can read.

In this link at the Archdiocese of Detroit, are a series of videos where Archbishop Vigneron responds to a number of questions.


Archbishop Vigneron will speak at a religious freedom rally on June 8th.

I know some who feel that the bishops are "wasting their time talking about religious freedom when they should be teaching on contraception".  It's not an "either"/"or" situation.  It's a "both"/"and" situation.  They CAN talk about the threat to religious liberty AND they CAN talk about the Church's true position on things like contraception.  I've already read and heard reports of people saying their priests and pastors are starting to talk about sexual morality like they've not heard before.  This will only increase as we go forward with new crops of priests, much better formed.  

I think it's a serious mistake when people suggest that the bishops shouldn't even be dealing with the religious liberty issue.  Catholics need to understand the clear and present danger to religious freedom here in America, especially come November.


EWTN has a very good set of questions answered concerning voting.  Read the voting guide for Catholics in it's entirety.  It even gets into whether we have a moral obligation to vote. I know some Catholics feel they cannot vote for any candidate unless they are 100% correct on all matters of morality, such as the "life issues".

If one candidate believes in all forms of abortion, including partial-birth abortion and the only other candidate believes in abortion only in cases of rape and incest (still immoral in Catholic teaching), some feel they cannot vote for either candidate.  Here is how Colin Donovan, EWTN's Vice President of Theology, explained it.  First, he gives some background on cooperation in evil.

Formal versus Material Cooperation in EvilVoters are rightly concerned about the degree to which their vote represents cooperation in the evil which a candidate embraces. Obviously, voting for a candidate whose principles exactly coincide with Catholic teaching would eliminate that worry. However, that is a rare, if not non-existent, situation. Even those who embrace Catholic principles may not always apply them correctly. The fact is that most candidates will imperfectly embrace Catholic principles and voting for ANY candidate contains many unknowns about what that candidate believes and will do.
The moral distinction between formal and material cooperation allows Catholics to choose imperfect candidates as the means of limiting evil or preventing the election of a worse candidate. The justification of doing that is described above. Formal cooperation is that degree of cooperation in which my will embraces the evil object of another 's will. Thus, to vote for a candidate because he favors abortion is formal cooperation in his evil political acts. However, to vote for someone in order to limit a greater evil, that is, to restrict in so far as possible the evil that another candidate might do if elected, is to have a good purpose in voting. The voter's will has as its object this limitation of evil and not the evil which the imperfect politician might do in his less than perfect adherence to Catholic moral principles. Such cooperation is called material, and is permitted for a serious reason, such as preventing the election of a worse candidate. [cf. Gospel of Life 74]
The Conscience Vote
Many Catholics are troubled by the idea of a lesser of two evils or material cooperation with evil. They conclude that they can only vote for a person whose position on the gravest issues, such as abortion, coincides exactly with Catholic teaching. To do otherwise is to betray their conscience and God.  

Sometimes this view is based on ignorance of Catholic teaching, a sincere doubt that it is morally permissible to vote for someone who would allow abortion in some circumstances, even if otherwise generally pro-life. It is also perhaps the confusing expression "lesser of two evils," which suggests the choice of evil. As I have explained above, the motive is really the choice of a good, the limitation of evil by a worse candidate. Sometimes this view is motivated by scrupulosity - bad judgment on moral matters as to what is sin or not sin. The resulting fear of moral complicity in the defective pro-life position of a politician makes voting for him morally impossible. This situation is different than ignorance, however, in that the person simply can't get past the fear of sinning, even when they know the truth.  

However, I think it is most frequently motivated by a sincere desire to elect someone whose views they believe coincide best with Church teaching. This is certainly praiseworthy. Yet, human judgments in order to be prudent must take into account all the circumstances. Voting, like politics, involves a practical judgment about how to achieve the desired ends - in this case the end of abortion as soon as possible, the end of partial-birth abortion immediately if possible, and other pro-life political objectives. A consciencevote of this type could be justified if the voter reasonably felt that it could achieve the ends of voting. The question must be asked and answered, however, whether it will bring about the opposite of the goal of voting (the common good) through the election of the worst candidate. That, too, is part of the prudential judgment. In the end every voter must weigh all the factors and vote according to their well-informed conscience, their knowledge of the candidates and the foreseeable consequences of the election of each. 
Answered by Colin B. Donovan, STL

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Saturday, May 19, 2012

Famous Georgetown Alumnus Announces Plans for Canonical Lawsuit in Wake of Sebelius Scandal

(From left: Donald Wuerl/Post, Kathleen Sebelius/AP, John DeGioia/Post)

On the very day that radical pro-abortion advocate and, anti-religious liberty tool, Kathleen Sebelius, spoke at Catholic, Georgetown University (against the wishes of the Archdiocese of Washington), plans for a canonical lawsuit were announced by a prominent alumnus.

From Catholic Culture:

William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist, is asking Georgetown alumni, faculty, students, and friends to join in his canonical case, in which he will ask the Archdiocese of Washington and the Holy See to take action “up to including the possible removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic or Jesuit in its fundraising and representations to applicants.”

In his plea for support of the canonical case, Blatty argues that Georgetown has failed to comply with the standards set forth in Ex Corde Ecclesiae for the conduct of Catholic universities. He lists a series of offenses, leading up to this week’s decision by Georgetown to honor Kathleen Sebelius, the Secretary of Health and Human Services. “Georgetown is being dishonest” by presenting itself as a Catholic institution, the author argues. “Together, we need to end that!”

Blatty—who won an Oscar for the screenplay of the film based on his best-selling novel—is a member of Georgetown’s class of 1950, and a recipient of the university’s John Carroll Medal for alumni achievement. In presenting his argument for action against Georgetown, he emphasized his own debt to the school and his desire to bring Georgetown back into line with its Catholic heritage.

Blatty has enlisted the Cardinal Newman Society and the St. Joseph Foundation to assist with his canonical case.

At the Father King Society Website, Blatty writes:

We may choose to file a canon action again, one much larger in scale and seeking alternative forms of relief that will include, among others, that Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit be revoked or suspended for a time. We will ask for lesser relief as well. Of course, what we truly seek is for Georgetown to have the vision and courage to be Catholic but clearly the slow pastoral approach has not worked. I invite you to sign the “Mandate of Procurator” on this website so that I, and other alumni, parents, teachers and students, may represent you in this special and historic Church petition.

This goes directly to what I pointed out in my post yesterday, When Bishops Allow the Weeds to Choke Out the Wheat.  There comes a point when bishops must recognize their concern for uprooting the wheat with the weeds, is allowing certain weeds to choke out the wheat.  The slow, prudential approach has been employed for about 50 years now, and all it has yielded is fields overrun with weeds.  It's time for other methods.

The university need not be stripped of it's Catholic status immediately.  There are other penalties that can be imposed first.  But it's obvious that public statements of disappointment are.... well, only a disappointing and ineffective methods.

Lest we forget, basic Catholicism isn't the only thing that Kathleen Sebelius has flunked.  She has served in government for a very long time, and doesn't even know Constitution 101 as it pertains to religious liberty.

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

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Friday, May 18, 2012

Resources on Medjugorje

Several people have emailed me Mark Shea's post in the National Catholic Register which discusses Medjugorje. In it, he mentions my blog.

Thanks, Mark!

I must, however, give credit where it is really due. Chances are that if you google Medjugorje, you will find many links to sites promoting the alleged apparitions without any critical balance.  Below are the websites of some men who have done a good bit of highly detailed, critical analysis. I encourage you to explore their websites, and I will offer a links to my own work below theirs.

The first is the website of the Diocese of Mostar-Duvno, where Bishop Ratko Peric has whole sections devoted to the topic in Croatian, English, and Italian. Go to and look in the left sidebar for Međugorski fenomen and expand it for options.

The second website is that of retired University of Montreal researcher, Louis Belanger who has extensive experience with Medjugorje and a keen ability to sift through details, like noticing when words of visionaries were omitted or changed for convenience to fit a positive narrative.  His site has material in English and French.

Another rich online site with details is that of Italian researcher, Marco Corvaglia who has his material in Italian, English and some French.

Last, but certainly not least, I recommend Donal Foley's new book, Medjugorje Revisited, which I reviewed in a previous post.

I also encourage you to sift through the many posts by Richard Chonak of Catholic Light.  Richard has done much translating that has benefitted us all.  Here are some posts of his you can click through.

I have two things to offer here.  One is my Medjugorje label (scroll), and the other is a blog I set up some time ago on the subject.

Regardless of where anyone stands on the matter, we should all hope the Church arrives at the truth and conveys that truth.  I'm prepared to review any and all material the Church offers should there some day be an approval.  I hope an pray that all who are attached to this unapproved apparition are equally prepared to let go, should the Church eventually dismiss the visions as inauthentic.  In the meanwhile, let's pray for Pope Benedict XVI who asked all of us to be co-workers of truth.

It is good to ponder the words of the Apostolic Nuncio to Bosnia-Herzegovina on the day the new Commission was announced on March 17, 2010.  Count the number of times His Excellency  uses the word, "a question" preceding Medjugorje.

From personal experience, every time I met the Holy Father he had great interest in the question of Medjugorje, a question to which he was directed from the very beginning that he became prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. It deals with a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message.

My translation came from the document as it was found on the BiH Bishop's Conference website, unlike some other translations going around which omitted the translation for "pitanje" (question).  In fact, one translation out there blends two sentences into one, and makes it sound ilke the Holy Father can't imagine how anyone could be against Medjugorje.  Why anyone would need to resort to that kind of thing is beyond my understanding.

The latest news on the Medjugorje Commission came some months ago from Cardinal Vinko Puljic who told us that the report on Medjugorje would be done before the end of 2012.

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Te Deum Laudamus! Home

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

- Diane M. Korzeniewski

Note: The recommended links below are automatically generated by the tool, so they are not necessarily related content.