Saturday, January 31, 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!

Commentary: St. John Bosco's lesson on boys and Archbishop Vigneron

Today is St. John Bosco's feast day. I have a great affection for Don Bosco and one of his teenage saints, Dominic Savio.

The Office of Readings for today provided us with some words from St. John Bosco, about raising boys. He should know.....he raised hundreds.

This reading also made me reflect on something else...... and I'm putting in bold certain points I want to make. I couldn't feel stronger about this.

Each time a new bishop is appointed to a diocese, faithful Catholics look for swift changes. Consider that a bishop is the "Holy Father" of the diocese. He can see many of the same problems that we see, but he must exercise prudence in dealing with those problems. If he is harsh and abrasive, he might manage to end something, but it could come at a cost of losing many people in the process.

I would urge metro Detroiters who are looking for swift changes out of Archbishop Vigneron to read and ponder these words of Don Bosco, applied to another level: That is, on the relationship between a bishop and his priests.

Because you don't see every liturgical abuse in the city ending immediately, doesn't mean he is not working to end these things. The same can be said of priests who are indifferent to culture of life issues, who never preach on these things and are even hostile to those who try to advance them in parishes. Ditto with the kind of ambiguity we hear from the pulpit, and in some cases, outright heresy, and yet others who simply do not teach the mind of the Church.

I believe Archbishop Vigneron will work on these things in good order. I'm banking more on the impact he will have on an ever increasing number of seminarians, which I believe will explode under his reign. Heading our archdiocese, is a bishop who is not only Marian and Eucharistic, but very much tuned in to the Fathers and Doctors of the Church. I could not ask for greater characteristics in a bishop, and this is what gives me much hope.

With that, meditate carefully on these words and consider that disciplining a boy is much easier than disciplining a priest who refuses to work with the mind of the Church. With such a priest shortage, it is simply not possible to suspend, or to push into retirement, all of those who do not choose humility and heed a bishop's private admonitions (we are not privy to all that a bishop does behind close doors to try to rectify things as displine is suppose to be private and a matter of charity). If he simply pulls such priests from parishes, many would have to close - parishes that in a few years down the road will be home to many solid priests, filled with holy boldness, coming up through the system. They will be influenced not only by Archbishop Vigneron's words, but by his actions.

Once again, I encourage you to pray, make sacrifices, and to have patience. Things will shift, not when and how we want it, but as God guides our new Ordinary, Allen H. Vigneron.

Forgive any typos, as I typed this quickly from today's Office of Readings and could not find a version on the net.
From a letter by Saint John Bosco, Priest

(Epistolario, Torino 1959, 4, 201-203)

First of all, if we wish to appear concerned about the true happiness of our foster children adn if we would move them to fulfill their duties, you must never forget that you re taking the place of the parents of these beloved young people. I have always labored lovingly for them, and carried out my priestly duties with zeal. And the whole Salesian society has done this with me.

My sons, in my long experience very often I had to be convinced of this great trut. It is easier to become angry than to restrain oneself, and to threaten a boy than to persuade him. yes, indeed, it is more fitting to be persistent in punishing our own impatience and pride than to correct the boys. We must be firm but kind, and be patient with them.

I give you as a model of charity of Paul which he showed to his new converts. They often reduced him to tears and entreaties when he found them lacking docility and even opposing his loving efforts.

See that no one finds you motivated by impetuosity or willfulness. It is difficult to keep calm when administering punishment, but this must be done if we are to keep ourselves from showing off our authority or spilling out our anger.

Let us regard those boys over whom we have some authority as our own sons. Let us place ourselves in their service. Let us be ashamed dto assume an attitude of superiority. Let us not rule over them except for the purpose of serving them better.

This was the method that Jesus used with the apostles. He put up with their ignorance and roughness and evne their infidelity. He treated sinners with a kindness and affection that caused some to be shocked, others to be scandalized, and still others to hope for God's mercy. And so he bade us to be gentle and humble of heart.

They are our sons, and so in correcting their mistakes we must lay aside all anger and restrain it so firmly that it is extinguished entirely.

There must be no hostility in our minds, no contempt in our eyes, no insult on our lips. We must use mercy for the present and have hope for the future, as is fitting for true fathers who are eager for real correction and improvement. In serious matters it is better to beg God humbly than to send forth a flood of words that will oly offend the listeners and have no effect on those who are guilty.

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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!

Apostolic Visitation of Women's Religoius Communities

Long over due....

And, it ought to be interesting. There are many faithful sisters who have given up their lives to serve the Lord in various ways. What is interesting is the sudden explosion of vocations in traditional religious orders where there is a focus on the fundamentals: Building virtue and holiness through the grace of Marian and Eucharistic devotion. Some would say that time spent in prayer is time lost working with the needy. Consider that Mother Teresa spent 4 hours daily in prayer, and probably only as much time sleeping. The rest was all work. And, the graces that followed in her work, were the fruits of that prayer.

Unfortunately, many religious orders in the US have moved away from that Marian and Eucharistic focus, with some even slipping into new age spirituality. It is also interesting to note that if one were to compare vocation statistics of these kinds of orders, to those which are more traditional, there is a real contrast. Those with a new age focus will reveal an older, average age with few new vocations. Those with a traditional focus don't have enough beds to handle all the young women who want to come on discernment weekends, and there are constant expansions being made on chapels, dorms and convents. In some cases, a handful of nuns must leave their communities to start a new branch in some distant location, such as that case with sisters from Mother Angelica's order in Alabama, who went to Phoenix.

Vatican begins visits to strengthen women religious in U.S.

Washington DC, Jan 30, 2009 / 01:25 pm (CNA).- The Vatican announced today that it is initiating the first-ever visitation of women’s religious communities in the United States. The visitations are being undertaken to help strengthen religious communities in the U.S., which are suffering from a sharp drop in vocations and gentrification of their ranks.

On the heels of issuing a report on the health of U.S. seminaries—which were found to be in relatively good condition—the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, headed by Cardinal Franc Rodé, is embarking on a comprehensive study of the more than 400 congregations present in the United States. The visitations will only assess those religious who engage in apostolic or active work, and will not involve contemplative communities.

The visitation process is being spearheaded by Connecticut native Mother Mary Clare Millea, A.S.C.J., who was appointed by Cardinal Rodé. Mother Clare is the superior general of the Apostles of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, a group of sisters that is based in Rome but has 135 sisters in the U.S.

According to a December 22, 2008 Vatican decree authorizing the visitations, the study is being undertaken “to look into the quality of the life” of the members of U.S. religious institutes.

Mother Clare estimates that the project will take about two years to finish, and says that upon completion she will submit a confidential report to Cardinal Rodé. There are no plans to publish the findings.

Sr. Eva-Maria Ackerman, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of the Martyr St. George, explained how the several-stage process will work at a press conference in Washington D.C. on Friday.

Continue reading at Catholic News Agency: Vatican to Begin Visitation of Women's Religious Communities in US

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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!

ILSUSSIDIARIO: Abortions fell 91.1% from 1985 - 2005 in Croatia

I found this article in the online Italian journal Ilsussidiario very interesting but not surprising, having lived in the region of Herzegovina for nearly 2.5 years (1980-83). Note that I was there before the alleged apparitions of Medjugorje began in 1981.

The article discusses an amazing statistic: From 1985 to 2005, abortions fell by 91.1% in Croatia. The article explores reasons for this, including the role of the Church and faith, following the collapse of Communism.

One might jump right away to thoughts of Medjugorje, and it's impact - justifiably. While I personally cannot accept authenticity of the appartions given attacks against the bishop, and obstinate disobedience to the bishop's demands to cease public manifestations of the messages in 1985, and in 2006, I have never doubted that Our Lady is using the place to her advantage. But, I also want to point out that graces can come even in the absence of an authentic apparition where there is frequent use of the sacraments, and a life of holiness built through prayer and penance.

People returned in great numbers to the sacraments while I was there after the birth of "Medjugorje" as a phenomenon, especially young people. Confession, and devotion - especially Eucharistic and Marian, exploded. I myself participated in making Communion wafers numbering into the tens of thousands, which lasted only a few days. And, I witnessed young people passing up the attempts by the communist government to pull them away through "disco-teks" and movie theatres erected along the path to Medjugorje. They also endured much persecution by the communists until....the commies realized they were bringing in tourist money.

Hence, I believe this return to sacraments and life of holiness has everything to do with these statistics.

Here is the article in a very crude translation by Google:

ABORTION / "The exception Croatia: an example to follow
Redazione Editor

Saturday 31 January 2009

In Croatia, from 1985 to 2005, abortions fell by 91.1%. We are facing a real collapse. The source is certain: the Croatian National Institute for Public Health. The numbers say that in 1989, the last year of the communist regime, there were 40,000 abortions volunteers against 4600 in 2005.

A statistic of this kind is so shocking that it should cause analysts, sociologists, psychologists, producing conferences and round tables at the highest levels. But nothing. "The exception Croatia" on abortion, which is unique in the world, despite the sensational numbers that are accompanying, had an echo on minimal media.

Among the few items that broke this silence, there was a valuable article on the excellent Antonio Gaspari Zenit, appropriately Catholic agency. And yes, because the reason can explain the anomaly Croatian (not just on abortion, then we will see) is to identify precisely in the Catholic faith of his people, a faith that in time it is kept firm and deep.

In particular, the Croats have never failed to devotion to the Virgin, developed over centuries by saints (the apostles of the Slavic people of Cyril and Methodius), Papi (John IV), emperors (Eraclio) monks (i French Benedictine and then those of Montecassino). And today confirmed by the Marian apparitions of nearby Medjugorje.

Now, if it is true that the reading of these causal (in short: more authentic, less abortions and social dramas) is absolutely peaceful for the Croatian people, we somehow doubt that our statistical experts - in a culturally plaster as the Italian - they consider these cause-effect relationships are worthy of being described. Yet that is exactly the case, we see why.

The Croatian Church, a patient with pastoral activity, in recent decades has contributed to a profound reconstruction of the social fabric, frayed completely after long seasons of injections of communist ideology. The educational activity of the Catholic Church has led to a revolution in social mores. There is not only the collapse voluntary interruption of pregnancy (which will certainly not be explained only by the fact that it is not free), the other official reserve surprises.

Croatia should be in contrast with the emergency birth (it is a growing number of families with three children) and a percentage of divorces and people living with HIV, among the lowest in Europe.

It must be said that the Croatian people lived on your skin what it means living in a society which has tried to erase the religious feelings with violence. The nursery rhyme pro Tito "Six states, five nations, four languages, three religions, two alphabets and a single Titus", signifying its ability to hold together many different, is silent on the fact that the medium used was the systematic abuse (test is that after his death any link between the various ethnic groups is bloodily landslide).

The history of former Yugoslavia is far from a nursery rhyme. The truth speaks scomodi intellectuals killed and imprisoned by the Communists Titina, thousands of churches destroyed, hundreds of priests exterminated, to humiliate the faith of the people it was even plow the cemeteries.

To give credibility to the voice of the Church also contribute the luminous testimony of his children. That the Archbishop of Zagreb Stepinac Louis, for example, by Titus sentenced to sixteen years of forced labor as opposed to the creation of a church separated from Rome. Since his death in 1960, despite the opposition of the regime, his tomb has become the destination of constant pilgrimages. John Paul II in 1998, proclaimed Blessed Stepinac.

It is also because of these stories - many well-anchored in the memory of the people - that people now trust the lessons offered by the Magisterium of the Church, showing among other things, to be protected from the risk of statolatria "recently suggested by Archbishop Antonio Amato.

"Do not promote Catholic positions because they are Catholic, but because they are the best. Best for everyone, not just for Catholics. " This is the clear theme of the "Center for Life" in Zagreb, one of the most important associations in defense of life and family.

This slogan is also a perfect synthesis of the Church in the educational world. Before whom the allegations of interference, which now regularly rising everywhere (including Italy) are, in all honesty, quite childish.

Also in Italy, which must sooner or later someone responds to a question by no means assured. The dramatic rise in divorces (70% in the last 10 years), a birth rate among the lowest in the world, more than 4 million and 600 thousand lives aborted by the law 194 to date, to combat social ills or physiological events in which to live?

The question is unfortunately not rhetoric. If so, does not explain the hostility, often angry, with a Church that these tragedies do not hide but is fighting them. And with success, especially when it is left alone (the Croatian example is there to show).

Much better - here lies the point - to inaugurate a new collaboration between church and state in order to form new generations. To launch a true "pact" to build a common education, would be a huge cultural renewal, the only one able to stop the drift of our country. A shout scandalous urgent enough simply to chronicle the events of each day.

In Croatia (of course not without some reluctance attitude) this Alliance is already working. Many state education programs are quietly sponsored by the Croatian Bishops' Conference. Some of these are also approved by the Ministry of Education, so they are disseminated and used in schools at all levels. All this without any scandal. Indeed, with a great sense of gratitude by the people, who no longer wants to live "Deus non daretur ETSI," as if God did not exist.

The dispassionate defense of life from the Catholic Church (confirmed by Cei in Education "Dignitas personae), which does not allow uncertainties in defense of his dignity and, who wants to prevent manipulation of human life, new aberrations, careful prevent the return has the best on the right and the desire to become law, is in fact, that the invitation to people of every age to self not that good which is the immense human reason. That reason is exactly the common ground of church and state.

The Croatian people seem to have understood. And we?
(Valerio Pitch)
Source Article (Italian): ABORTO/ “L’eccezione Croazia”: un esempio da seguire

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

Friday, January 30, 2009

Michael Voris takes on Detroit News Story on Archbishop Vigneron

Michael Voris goes after the same Detroit News article on Archbishop Allen Vigneron that got under my skin the morning of his Installation Mass.

Gregg Krupa of the Detroit News has a habit of soliciting feedback on all things Catholic from people who have a bone to pick with the Church's teachings. Then, he uses that as the foundation for his entire article. He's done it enough times so I just brace myself whenever he releases something.

Go see today's Vortex on Real Catholic TV

Go read the original Detroit News article, with

Real Catholic TV also has a video clip with some scenes from the installation Mass a few minutes into today's newscast.

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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!

Rumor: Full Regularization of SSPX by Feb 2nd???

With all my focus on the photopost of Archbishop Vigneron's installation yesterday, I missed some interesting news, among other things (which is why you really want to hit a few blogs every day).

Here is some really good coverage by Fr. Z of some hot rumors hitting cyberspace on the SSPX, and related SSPX news/commentary.

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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, January 29, 2009

Installation Mass of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron: Photopost 2

Just one rack of vestments in a room before the Installation Mass of Archbishop Allen H. Vigneron at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral in Detroit

What follows are many of the 116 pictures I took yesterday afternoon. I regret that I still do not have the proper lenses for this kind of work and did the best I could with my camera mounted on a tripod. The procession pictures are definitely grainy looking.

Catholic bloggers may use these, provided a link back to this post is given so people know from where they originated.

There were some dignitaries listed provided by the AOD or in the program who did not make the Installation. These included Cardinal Szoka and Archbishop Pietro Sambi.


Go to my Smugmug site to view the entire collection where more bishops are pictured, and many more from the Mass:
Other posts on Te Deum on Archbishop Vigneron, and News

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

Archbishop Burke Faults Faithful Citizenship; Calls for Overhall of Catholic News Service

I am in the process of making a rather extensive photo post with pictures I took at the Installation Mass of Archbishop Vigneron. However, I could not pass this savor this piece of real clear communication....

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke is a voice of reason and common sense among bishops. There was a time when you could only count on hearing a dose of truth from Bishops Bruskewitz and Burke (and they were often dismissed like the proverbial "nutty aunt in the closet", or downright vilified by secular media, and among dissident Catholics). Those chaotic days before the election revealed bishops are now acting on a dose of grace in the form of holy boldness.

Let's hope we get some backbone into this by more bishops. CNS has long been the target of complaints by loyal Catholics dismayed at the lack of substance on heavy moral issues.

Exclusive Interview: Leading Vatican Prelate Says Document of US Bishops Partly to Blame for Election of “Most Pro-Abortion President”

Also says Bishops’ Catholic News Service needs to be given "some new direction"

By Hilary White, Rome Correspondent

ROME, January 28, 2009 ( – A document of the US Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama.

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position. [so many people I know used this as justification.]

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louis Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said. [read that, "overhaul it!]

LifeSiteNews Source Page

I am 46 years of age, and have never heard a priest talk about abortion or other pro-life issues from the pulpit until I got to Assumption Grotto in May of 2005. How can this be, if the very men charged with guarding us from "all sorts of strange teachings" don't identify them and help us to navigate those waters?

There is a crisis of knowledge about the faith on the part of most Catholics today (and I don't think that is an exaggeration). This has permeated many Catholic organizations, including administrative offices in dioceses and in the USCCB where decisions are made on a daily basis on ordinary things that affect how good or bad things are communicated. It affects the so-called "catholic" movie reviews out of the USCCB that have sparked considerable controversy, and reactions from many bishops (recall Brokeback Mountain and the Golden Compass).

There is what the Church teaches, and there is what people think the Church teaches. Moreso, there is what people want the Church to teach, but these folks don't stop to ask themselves if there can be 10 versions of one truth (if each forms truth according to his own opinion). Jesus Christ is Truth itself (John 14:6) and there cannot be more than one Jesus. The Church has 2000 years of experience and wisdom, backed by the Church Fathers, the apostles, Sacred Scripture, and Magisterial teachings.

Many priests will follow their chief shepherd's ways. If he is graced with holy boldness and stands as confident and firm as a captain on the high seas in a gale, his priests will follow his lead. If he speaks with ambiguity and banality on the most pressing moral issues of the day, so will his priests.

If you want to take back the Church, pray for our bishops and priests. Go to adoration, pray a Rosary, make sacrifices and do penance for them.

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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, January 28, 2009

Archbishop Vigneron's Installation Mass - Photopost 1 and Homily

I did get photos at the Installation Mass of Bishop Allen Vigneron, and I got them edited. But, you'll have to wait for my next post to see the bulk of them. I give you two in this post. It's midnight, and time for me to hit the sack.
Many thanks to Real Catholic TV. I was invited to join them for still pictures on a press pass. They were there video taping, as well so watch for their coverage soon.

I was given a press kit that contained the homily on disk so I share it with you here. As I mentioned previously, His Excellency did weave in a discussion on St. Thomas Aquinas, whose feast day was this day.

I thought this was a very good homily.

Homily, 28 January 2008
Archbishop Vigneron

“God gave [Thomas Aquinas] surpassing wisdom which he taught without deceit and shared freely with others.” (“Magnificat Antiphon, 28 January,Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas)Later tonight, at Vespers for the Memorial of St. Thomas Aquinas, the Churchwill use these words to “magnify her Lord,” and rightly so, for the Lord’s gift of“surpassing wisdom” to St. Thomas is surely one of the “great things” God has done for his people (cf. Lk. 1: 46, 49).

Throughout the Sacred Liturgy today, not only in the Divine Office but also in the Mass for this Memorial, the Church never tires of repeating her thanks for the gift her Lord has bestowed on her in her son, Thomas, who is justly claimed as the “Doctor communis”(“Everybody’s Teacher”) and fittingly praised as the “Doctor angelicus.” In reflecting on the graces which filled the life and ministry of St. Thomas, the Church recognizes that the encomium to wisdom we heard in the first reading set the heart of Aquinas on fire and shaped every day of his life. St. Thomas “pleaded and the spirit of wisdom came to [him]…. Beyond health and comeliness [he] loved her, and [he] chose to have her rather than the light, because the splendor of her never yields to sleep” (Wis., 7: 7, 10). He worked day and night, often to the point of exhaustion, to make his own what God in Jesus Christ revealed as the deepest and most penetrating insight about what is first and most important and about how these insights should direct all our thoughts and actions.

Because St. Thomas made this prayer from the Old Testament his own, and because God granted what he asked, in churches and chapels throughout the world, the Church, today, gives thanks to God, just as we are doing here in this Metropolitan Cathedral. But our memorial of St. Thomas has a peculiar character, one not shared with any other congregation. In this Liturgy I have taken the place which our Holy Father Pope Benedict has assigned to me on the cathedra, and I am preaching my first sermon and offering my first Mass as your Archbishop.

In my homily for our celebration today, I would like to help us understand the complementarity of these two liturgical actions: thanking God for bestowing wisdom on the Church through the ministry of St. Thomas and my being installed as the tenth bishop of Detroit.

The installation of a new bishop is always an occasion for him to be renewed in his identity and mission. But it is this graced moment not just for him, but for his Particular Church and for all her members as well. That Providence has made my installation coincide with the Feast of St. Thomas is a reminder that part of the Church’s identity is to be the repository on earth of her Lord’s own wisdom and that it is essential to her mission for all of us to share this wisdom. Or, as Jesus told us before his Ascension, “to make disciples of all nations,…teaching them to observe all things that [he] commanded” (Mt. 28: 19-20).

It is because our forbearers zealously obeyed this great commission that here in the Archdiocese of Detroit we are blessed to find this divine wisdom expressed in the rich diversity of languages and cultures of the communities which make up our one communion of faith.

St. Paul and St. John, in the portions of their writings read to us today, help us greatly to accept the renewal of our identity and mission as servants of God’s own wisdom by delineating the basic profile of that wisdom. In the Gospel, St. John reports to us what Jesus himself said is the essence of life’s wisdom: it is to love. This is wisdom: “to love one another as [he has] loved [us]” (cf. Jn. 15: 12). And this wisdom is not something only of this world, only human. It is supernatural; it is divine. It is as he has loved us, that we are to love. And how has he loved us? He tells us: “as the Father has loved him” (cf. Jn. 15: 9, emphasis added).

This love of the Father for his only-begotten Son is a love beyond all measure. The Father gives all that he is to the Son; he pours his very being into the Son. The Father’s love is the total gift of himself to the Son. Having “learned” this wisdom about the deepest meaning of existence, “to be” [esse], the Son, when he came to us in the flesh, loved us in the same measure, with the same total gift of himself, loving us “to the end” (cf. Jn. 13: 1). And we, in our turn, if we would be wise about what is first and most important, will understand that this is the truth of who we are: we are framed and shaped to make a total gift of self.

The truly wise thing is to commit one’s self to loving to the end. This wisdom is the measures of all our thinking and acting which aspires to be truly wise.

St. Paul in today’s Epistle gives us wise teaching about love in the context of this fallen world, scarred as it is by that refusal to love which is sin – the originating sin of Adam and Eve and every other sin, which ratifies that first sin.

St. Paul tells us that the total gift of self is signed with the cross. It was on the cross that Christ “loved us to the end,” loved us with the love he learned from his being loved by the Father. And we, if we love, must share in the cross. Here below the gift of self will always be a death to self.

That is why the wisdom of divine love in this world will, as St. Paul says,appear to be foolishness to those who do not have faith. For those who do not recognize that Christ crucified is the ultimate manifestation of divine love, his death cannot but seem to be an absurdity. However, those who think like God, those who, by the light of the Holy Spirit, understand God the way he understands himself, recognize that the impotence of Christ, freely willed for love of us, is the act of the wisest man, for it is the act of divine wisdom itself.

In every age the wisdom of this crucified love has been mistaken as foolishness by many, and is often for them a stumbling block along the way of Christ. It is certainly so in our own time, with our ethic of radical autonomy, which, in exalting the rights of the individual, sees no sense in sacrificing one self and one’s comfort and convenience for the love of others.

There are many ways in which this conflict between the true wisdom of the gift of self and the pseudo-wisdom of self-sovereignty are exemplified in our society. I will mention three of those that seem to me among the most lamentable. First, there is the conflict between those who base their decision about a state in life or their selection of a profession on discerning the will of God and those who make these choices on the basis of gaining wealth or security or the world’s esteem. Second, there is the conflict between those judge it wise always to protect the right to life of others, even at a cost to themselves, and those who would be willing to violate that right, if that is the price to be paid to keep control of the circumstances and conditions in which they have decided to live. Third, there is frequently in our society a conflict between those who make the well-being of their spouses or children the first priority in their lives and those who are convinced that their families exist to bring them self-gratification.

The sorts of conflicts I have sketched out and which we all feel so deeply form the context in which we are called today at this Installation Liturgy to renew our commitment to our identity and mission as apostles of the wisdom of God, after the example of St. Thomas Aquinas.

I, on this first day of my service as the principle pastor of the Church of Detroit, renew my resolve, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to preach and to teach and, above all, to live this wisdom, the revealed wisdom of Christ crucified, entrusted to the Church and handed on to us by the Apostles and their successors.

I invite my brother bishops and priests and our deacons, especially the priests and deacons of the Archdiocese, to join me in renewing this commitment. The world’s hostility to the wisdom that we preach often brings us trials, and so we need the mutual support and encouragement that come from our fraternal communion in our pastoral ministry.

I invite those who have vowed themselves to the consecrated life to find in today a providential moment, a kairos, to respond anew to their vocation to live in this present age the life of the world to come, so that our world will see for themselves that the really wisest course is to “lose one’s life in order to gain it” (cf. Mt. 16: 25).

And today is just the right day for all the faithful of the Archdiocese to embrace again the wisdom of the Gospel and to promise again what was promised at their Baptism: that they renounce the empty show that passes as wisdom in the world and that they will place all their hope for real happiness in the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the life of the world to come which is already lived in the communion of the Church.

This wisdom of total abandonment to God and his will for us does not direct us to turn our backs on the events and circumstances of this age. Rather, it teaches us to see that the trials and triumphs of our times are guided by our Heavenly Father’s loving Providence, and that they are opportunities to grow in love by responding to these events with the love that is born of complete trust in God. This wise love is our main source of strength in these challenging economic times.

And those of you who are parents, please teach this wisdom to your children by what you say, and most of all by the way you live. This wisdom of the cross is the greatest gift you can give those whom you love so dearly.

I particularly want to voice to young Christians – adolescents and young adults – the invitation which the Holy Spirit makes today: that we be renewed in our taking hold of the wisdom of crucified love. You are at a moment in your own life’s journey when each day you are becoming ever more powerfully aware of your capacity to give and receive love. There are many voices that seek to shape your talent for love according to their own vision and their own purposes.

Let Christ’s wisdom about love direct and form this talent which is blossoming in your hearts and mind, for God is the author of your wanting love, and his wisdom is the only plan for truly fulfilling that desire.

As I move to conclude my preaching, I wish to acknowledge two bishops who in their priestly ministry have given exemplary service to the wisdom of crucified love. The first is our Holy Father Pope Benedict. My taking up the leadership of the Archdiocese of Detroit today is an act of profound ecclesial communion with him and, through him, with the whole Episcopal College and therefore with all the People of God. Archbishop Sambi, we are particularly grateful for your presence today, since you, as the Holy Father’s representative, give us a visible expression of this communion. Today, as we do every day, but today especially we pray that the Lord who called him to the Chair of Peter will continue to strengthen him, so that he may always be able to “strengthen his brothers and sisters” (Lk. 22: 32). Let us continue to cherish his fatherly love and care for us, and love him in return.

Second, I wish to acknowledge Cardinal Maida, who for close to nineteen years has, like his predecessor Cardinal Szoka before him, guided this Archdiocese in the ways of Christ’s wisdom. To him, on behalf of us all, I offer heartfelt thanks for his ministry and promise our continued prayers and our enduring affection.

Now there remains nothing for us but to remember the death and resurrection of the Lord in the Eucharistic Sacrifice. According to the Father’s plan, it was not enough to show us divine love itself in the Son’s Pasch, but he has willed to make the Paschal Mystery present to us through sensible signs and, even more wondrously, to make him our food and drink in this Most Blessed Sacrament.

As the Holy Spirit, through my ministry – unworthy though I be – pours into our hearts and minds the wisdom of crucified love, let us, like St. Thomas Aquinas, open ourselves to this grace, so that we become in our own day worthy students and effective apostles of this truth.

There were three US cardinals at the Mass. Obviously, to the right, is Cardinal Maida. In the middle of Roger Cardinal Mahony of Los Angeles, and Francis Cardinal George of Chicago. Cardinal Szoka was on the list of dignitaries, but did not show. There were many bishops, as well, and we'll look at some of those pics tomorrow. Once again, not all of the bishops on the dignitaries list were there. I'm sure the weather had something to do with some of the absences.

More, hopefully tomorrow. Until then, goodnight!

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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 Allen H. Vigneron - Installed Today at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral

Above, the Prayer Card of Detroit's new Archbishop, Allen H. Vigneron, who will be installed today at 2:00. Tune in to EWTN, or watch it streaming live at the AOD website. The archbishop will be having many Masses of Thanksgiving throughout the metro area. You can see the parishes and Mass times here.

A native son of metro Detroit, it was said that Archbishop Vigneron missed this city. To ensure that he has not forgotten our winters while in sunny California, Michigan welcomed him back with a snowstorm. While it is worse in many areas south of metro Detroit we are estimated to get a mere 2-6 inches, with most getting just a 2-3 inch dusting. This is very modest by our standards, but nonetheless, a reminder that we aren't called the mitten state by our shape alone!

I took a vacation day today and will be at Blessed Sacrament Cathedral for the Installation Mass. I hope to have a few pics to share with you, but I won't make any guarantees.

The other day I shared with you the reflections Bishop Vigneron had on St. Thérèse of Lisieux. He took the helm in Oakland on her feast day, October 1, 2003. Vigneron actually made reference to this saint in several of his writings that I have found online.

This having been said, I have little doubt that he will always remember that he was installed as Archbishop of Detroit on the feast day of St. Thomas Aquinas.

I am going to leave you with the 2nd reading in the Office of Readings in the Liturgy of the Hours today. It is from a conference by St. Thomas Aquinas (Collatio 6 super Credo in Deum)

"Why did the Son of God have to suffer for us? There was a great need, and it can be considered in a twofold way: in the first place, as a remedy for sin, and secondly, as an example of how to act.

"It is a remedy, for, in the face of all the evils which we incur on account of our sins, we have found relief through the passion of Christ.

"Yet, it is no less an example, for the passion of Christ completely suffices to fashion our lives.

"Whoever wishes to live perfectly should do nothing but disdain what Christ disdained on the cross and desire what he desired, for the cross exemplifies every virtue.

"If you seek the example of love: Greater love than this no man has, than to lay down his life for his friends. Such a man was Christ on the cross. And if he gave his life for us, then it should not be difficult to bear whatever hardships arise for his sake.

"If you seek patience, you will find no better example than the cross. Great patience occurs in two ways: either when one patiently suffers much, or when one suffers things which one is able to avoid and yet does not avoid. Christ endured much on the cross, and did so patiently, because when he suffered he did not threaten; he was led like a sheep to the slaughter and he did not open his mouth. Therefore Christ’s patience on the cross was great.

"In patience let us run for the prize set before us, looking upon Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith who, for the joy set before him, bore his cross and despised the shame.

"If you seek an example of humility, look upon the crucified one, for God wished to be judged by Pontius Pilate and to die.

"If you seek an example of obedience, follow him who became obedient to the Father even unto death. For just as by the disobedience of one man, namely, Adam, many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one man, many were made righteous.

"If you seek an example of despising earthly things, follow him who is the King of kings and the Lord of lords, in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Upon the cross he was stripped, mocked, spat upon, struck, crowned with thorns, and given only vinegar and gall to drink.

"Do not be attached, therefore, to clothing and riches, because they divided my garments among themselves. Nor to honours, for he experienced harsh words and scourgings. Nor to greatness of rank, for weaving a crown of thorns they placed it on my head. Nor to anything delightful, for in my thirst they gave me vinegar to drink."

More on Detroit's New Archbishop

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