Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Notre Dame Scandal: Updated List of Bishops Speaking out - March 31

Here we go, a few more added on to the bottom:

Am I missing somebody? Drop a name into the combox. I'll moderate when I get home.

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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!

The Legionaries of Christ will undergo an Apostolic Visitation

I'm short on time again. So, I give you over to Tom Peters, whose coverage of this topic has been stellar.

*Breaking: Pope Sends Apostolic Visitors to the Legionaries of Christ* AmP (and a very hot topic with over 230 comments as of this posting)

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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!

EWTN's World Over Live this Friday: Fr. Tom Euteneuer

The head of Human Life International (HLI) will be appearing on the World Over Live with Raymond Arroyo this Friday.

Friday, April 3 (LIVE)
Fr. Thomas Euteneuer,
President of Human Life International joins us to talk
about his recent work (and his upcoming book) on exorcism.

And, the show will feature this, as well:

Author & radio host Mary Beth Hicks on parenting & how to protect
your kids childhood in today's "grow-up-too-fast" world.

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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!

Statement out of Diocese of Madison, WI on Ruth Kolpack - Q & A

The Diocese of Madison, Wisconsin is doing a good job of explaining as much as they can, about recent the recent dismissal lay pastoral associate, Ruth Kolpack, by Bishop Morlino.

In itself, the Q & A sheet, or FAQ, is catechetical, or instructional. It is lengthy, but well worth the read which will clarify some of the information that has been floating around.

Click the pick below and it will take you directly to the PDF at the diocesan webstie. It's a good read.

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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!

Canonist Ed Peters on Canons 915 & 916, and Abp's Burke & Wuerl

I just received a Canon Law update from Ed Peters, JD, JCD on Canons 915 and 916, and how two camps of bishops are looking at these, led by Archbishop Burke on one side and Archbishop Wuerl on the other. I have maintained two things:

    1) There is one Holy Spirit influencing the consciences of both men. In the end, what is important is what God wants and it's up to our bishops to discern that completely, through prayer and dialogue. We need to pray for them to properly discern and we will know it is done when there is unity.

    2) I choose to believe that inaction on Canon 915 by most bishops not acting on it, has everything to do with a fundamental problem with understanding, not with any kind of moral or virtuous lapse. This is a christian way to look at such disagreements.
I still think the men need to celebrate Mass together one day, then go lock themselves into a nice room with a coffee, Jameson, scotch, cigars and any other legitimate thing that might help them through some robust dialogue.

Ed's analysis is very charitably done and sheds light on something interesting. He looks at Canons 915 and Canon 916 together and suggests this is where differences abound.

I'll start you out here, then follow the link to Ed's blog - In Light of the Law - to read the rest of the post:

Abps. Wuerl (c. 916) & Burke (cc. 915-916) on admission to Communion I often tell my students, the answer to a canonical question is seldom found in a single canon.

Two prominent American prelates, Abp. Donald Wuerl of Washington DC and Abp. Raymond Burke of the Apostolic Signatura, are the lead figures in a significant disagreement over admitting certain pro-abortion Catholic politicians to holy Communion. Wuerl basically believes that, under Canon 916, Catholics, including pro-abortion politicians, should determine their own eligibility for reception of Communion. Burke argues that, beyond Canon 916, Canon 915 requires ministers of holy Communion to withhold the Eucharist from some pro-abortion politicians if they don't refrain from approaching on their own. Both sides can't be right, and I suspect that the more compelling case is made by reading the two canons together instead of reading one to the exclusion of the other.

Some preliminary thoughts toward sorting this out.

First, awareness of Church history helps contemporary Catholics sleep at night. This is not the first time that upright bishops have differed over important points of pastoral practice; for that matter, strong episcopal conflicts over (unsettled) matters of doctrine are not unknown in the Church. So, let's be confident in Holy Spirit's power to lead the Church through this issue as He has led us through others. Second, one must avoid "personalizing" the debate.

Both archbishops are distinguished thinkers and both have many decades of loyal service to the Church behind them, including some services rendered under very difficult circumstances. In short, each is an attractive figure. But, while it's tempting to rally behind one or the other, personalities are not what's at issue here.

Continue reading the analysis by Dr. Ed Peters

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

Monday, March 30, 2009

Bishops applying Canon 915 to be backed by Washington and Arlington bishops?

Deal Hudson has offered some interesting thoughts on the matter of Canon 915 and traveling politicians. It sounds like Catholic politicians whose bishops have asked them not to receive Holy Communion, will be subject to that while in the Washington and Arlington dioceses. As Deal points out, this sets a precedent - one that may influence bishops in this area, if they know they will be backed.

From Lifesite News - Commentary: Closing Ranks on Canon 915: Bishops Confirm that Sebelius Should Not Receive Communion

Gov. Kathleen Sebelius received some good news last week when abortionist Dr. George Tiller was found not guilty of breaking state laws regulating late-term abortion. The relationship between Tiller and Sebelius would surely have played a role in her upcoming confirmation hearings had he been found guilty.

But Governor Sebelius got some bad news as well -- something not noticed much in Catholic media or the secular press. The bishops of Washington, D.C., and Arlington, Virginia, confirmed publicly they would uphold the declaration of her ordinary, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, stating that Governor Sebelius should not present herself for communion.

A spokeswoman for the Washington Archdiocese, Susan Gibbs, said Archbishop Donald Wuerl would expect Sebelius to follow Bishop Naumann's request while in Washington. Joelle Santolla, spokeswoman for the Arlington Diocese, announced that Bishop Paul Loverde would expect the same while she was in Northern Virginia.

That Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde would back up Bishop Naumann in regard to the future Secretary of Health and Human Services is a significant development in the effort of some bishops to enforce Canon 915: "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to holy communion."

This will send the message to other bishops that if they choose to pronounce members of Congress from their dioceses unfit for communion, their authority will be respected in D.C. and across the Potomac in Virginia. The ramifications are enormous: For example, if Sean Cardinal O'Malley of Boston stated publicly that Sen. John Kerry was in violation of Canon 915, he would not have been able to receive communion at Pope Benedict XVI's Mass in Washington, D.C., a year ago. Rep. Nancy Pelosi would not have been able to celebrate her elevation to speaker of the House with a special Mass at Trinity College, if Archbishop Neiderhauer had found her wanting according to the standard of Canon 915.

Some will argue that neither Archbishop Wuerl nor Bishop Loverde will attempt, through their priests, to deny Governor Sebelius communion. But this misses the point, and the significance, of how the combined statements of Bishops Naumann, Wuerl, and Loverde have created a new and more vulnerable situation for the pro-abortion Catholic members of Congress. As Archbishop Raymond Burke has explained, Bishop Naumann did not impose a "sanction" on Governor Sebelius; Bishop Naumann asked Sebelius, not the clergy, to apply Canon 915 to herself.

But if Sebelius were to receive communion in D.C. or Northern Virginia, it would likely generate a news story that would mushroom quickly, involving the priest who administered communion and his bishop. This is not news coverage that Sebelius, or the Obama administration, would want to deal with.

No doubt there are priests in both dioceses who would have little compunction about giving communion to pro-abortion Catholic politicians, but whether they want to get into a media-generated spat with their bishop over a high-profile politician is another matter.

A final point: Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde's collegial response to Bishop Naumann destabilizes the relationship between pro-abortion Catholic politicians and their bishops back home. The question will arise as to why Governor Sebelius should be the only politician in Washington who has been called to account under Canon 915. What about the dozens of others in Congress who have a 100 percent pro-abortion voting record? What about Vice-President Joe Biden himself?

Will other bishops seize this opportunity to apply Canon 915 to politicians in their dioceses, knowing that Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde will back them up? Given the determination of the Obama administration and the Congress to roll back all restrictions on abortion, I wouldn't be surprised.

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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!

Notre Dame Scandal: List of Bishops commenting as of March 30, 2009

There is an awful lot of interesting news out there, but I got home too late to cover it.

However, I would like to update the list of bishops who have spoken out on the Notre Dame Scandal:

Got more? Email me at TeDeumBlog@gmail.com, or drop them into the combox. Either way, most will likely be updated in the evenings.

I also think it is noteworthy, since we are on the topic of bishops speaking up, is the words of Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver during a workshop on debate and discourse. It is not about the Notre Dame scandal, but worthy reading I want to pass along since I don't have time to make a post on it. Go read: Archbp. Chaput’s workshop on debate and discourse at the blog of Fr. Z.

For other interesting news commentary, I recommend checking out some of the recent posts at American Papist and Father Z's blog. New Advent has also had some interesting pics from the blogosphere.

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

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Holy Week Schedule at Assumption Grotto and Recent Posts

Opus Angelorum is hosting a Day of Recollection at Assumption Grotto on Palm Sunday, April 5, 2009 in preparation for Holy Week

Here is the Schedule for Holy Week 2009

Holy Thursday, April 9

(No morning Masses)
7:00 p.m. Mass of the Lord’s Supper followed by Procession with Blessed
Sacrament & Adoration until Midnight

Good Friday, April 10

(No morning Masses)
12:00 noon until 3:00 p.m. •Tre Ore Services (probably no other service like it in metro Detroit!)
•Solemn Liturgy with sung Passion according to Saint John; Veneration of the Cross; Holy Communion
3:00 p.m. Divine Mercy Prayers
7:00 p.m. Stations of the Cross

Holy Saturday, April 11

(No morning Masses and no 4:00 p.m. Mass)
1:00 p.m. Blessing of Easter foods and baskets
8:00 p.m. Easter Vigil Mass

Easter Sunday, April 12, Masses

6:30 a.m.
9:30 a.m. Latin Orchestral Mass by Emile Paladilhe; Three Sacred Hymns by Mozart.
12:00 noon


Note: There will not be confessions Saturday evening or on Easter Sunday morning.

At Assumption Grotto

Thursday, April 9: 10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m; 3:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
Friday, April 10: 4:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m

At St Cyril and Methodius

Monday April 6 10:00AM—NOON and 6:00PM-9:00PM


Additional Recent Posts:

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

Notre Dame Scandal: Running List of Bishops and Cardinal Speaking Out

As of 8:30pm, Sunday March 29th, we have now heard from the following members of the US episcopacy on the Notre Dame scandal. There statements can be found in the links provided.
Got more? Email me at TeDeumBlog@gmail.com, or drop them into the combox. Either way, most will likely be updated in the evenings.

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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!

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

I only have moment, but Fr. Z has taken a close look at two articles out of Australia indicating that Fr. Peter Kennedy will be vacating St. Mary's and taking up residence in another building down the road.

Go read more on the blog of Fr. Z in his post: More Brisbane hijinx

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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!

Notre Dame Scandal - Online Survey - Please participate

I received word this weekend from the folks at Real Catholic TV, that they have developed a survey which can be taken online, about the Notre Dame Scandal.

Go visit this page: Tell ND NObama

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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!

I missed Leonardo Defilippis and ended up doing penance at a Mass with Children's Eucharistic prayers. Arghh!!!!

I had the camera bag packed last night and was looking forward to going to 9:30am EF Mass at Grotto, socializing after Mass and then hitting the one-man show by Leonardo Defilippis, on the Gospel of John. Let's just say that something unexpected derailed my plans this morning. Nuts! I was really looking forward to it too.

I ended up a local parish doing penance through a children's liturgy (I was clueless). It featured the infamous Eucharistic Prayer I in Masses for Children. Here is just a sampling of this mush which thankfully, is being dropped by the Holy See when the new Missal comes out! (emphases mine in bold).

Priest: On the night before he died, Jesus was having supper with his apostles. He took bread from the table. He gave you thanks and praise. Then he broke the bread, gave it to his friends, and said:

Take this, all of you, and eat it:
this is my body which will be given up for you.

When supper was ended, Jesus took the cup that was filled with wine. He thanked you, gave it to his friends, and said:

Take this, all of you, and drink from it:
this is the cup of my blood, the blood of the new and everlasting covenant. It will be shed for you and for all so that sins may be forgiven. Then he said to them: do this in memory of me.

We do now what Jesus told us to do. We remember his death and resurrection and we offer you, Father, the bread that gives us life, and the cup that saves us. Jesus brings us to you; welcome us as you welcome him.

It's Sunday. It's not suppose to be penitential!!!

Now, in this setting it was not even appropriate to be using a children's liturgy. The USCCB states that use of this Eucharistic Prayer is only to be used in Masses where the participants are either exclusively children, or where they make up the vast majority of participants. That was hardly the case.

When may the Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children be used? Is it the decision of the priest celebrating the mass or are there guidelines for this?

Concerning Eucharistic Prayers for Masses with Children, I would refer you to number 4 of the 1974 decree of the Sacred Congregation for Divine Worship, Postquam de Precibus:

"Use of a Eucharistic Prayer for Masses with Children is restricted to Masses that are celebrated with children alone or Masses at which the majority of the participants are children.

"A community of children means one so considered by the Directory for Masses with Children, that is, one consisting of children who have not yet reached the age referred to as preadolescence." [source]

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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!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Dissidents trying to make Catholicism into a "designer religion"

This past week I was interviewed by Doug Erickson of the Wisconsin State Journal on lay pastoral associate, Ruth Kolpack's firing by Bishop Morlino of Madison.

The article appeared on Friday, March 27th, and I'm just now getting around to posting on it.

I spoke for about 7-10 minutes with the reporter, who had been looking for reaction from other areas of the US when he found my post: Statement from Bishop Morlino to NCR on personnel matters after firing of pastoral associate.

I talked about dissidents in general, much along the lines of what I posted in: Commentary on Catholic dissidence and Bishop Morlino on obedience.

He excerpted one line found at the end of my post on Kolpack's firing, and used one quote from the phone interview. Let's have a look (emphases mine in bold; comments in red):

Martyr or heretic? Bishop Morlino fires church employee over her beliefs

As a girl, Ruth Kolpack said she so loved her Catholic faith she played church with her friends during recess at a parochial school.

Often, she was a member of the congregation. Occasionally, she pretended to be an altar server, a role not available to girls at the time.

Now 64, Kolpack is still grappling with the role of women in the Catholic Church, although the circumstances are much more serious than a playground game.

On March 12, Madison Catholic Bishop Robert Morlino fired Kolpack from her position as the full-time pastoral associate at St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Beloit. The termination came after Kolpack said she refused the bishop’s request to renounce [recant] a 2003 college thesis in which she argued for more gender-inclusive language at Masses and harshly criticized the Catholic hierarchy’s doctrine of only ordaining males. [one thing I like to point out is that Jesus was very politically incorrect for his day (eating with tax-collectors, healing on the Sabath, etc.). He could have chose women to be among the apostles, but he did not. Since Jesus is God, and God is all-knowing, he knew that someday there would be controversy created by women who wanted to be priests and could have chosen a woman - such as his own mother! But, he did not. I believe that folks who argue for women's ordination have a vague understanding of the divinity of Christ. And, dissenting on male-only ordinations usually does not come in isolation. It is paired with things that they want changed. They think that things are the way they are in the Church because men just don't understand. As a female liberated from liberal feminists, I can tell you that this is utter nonsense]

Her firing has angered parishioners at St. Thomas and set off a national debate on Catholic blogs as to whether Kolpack is a martyr or a heretic. [If the parishioners are like the vast majority of Catholics, they are not catechized well enough to understand why it is a problem for someone who does not have the mind of the Church, teaching children and others, like people converting. Of course it looks cruel to them, but the Bishop has to be concerned more with people's salvation, including those being taught by Ms. Kolpack, moreso than their self-esteem].

The situation again casts Morlino as the heavy [?] in a controversial personnel decision. [isn't it always labeled as controversial when it involves a bishop or priest who is faithful to the mission of the Church rather than the issue du jour?] Last summer, the music director at a Verona church was fired after five parishioners brought concerns to the bishop’s office about the director being openly gay [see Fr. Z's excellent post on this issue].

Morlino declined an interview request Thursday. Diocesan spokesman Brent King said because Kolpack’s situation is a personnel issue, details cannot be discussed, including whether she was fired for her thesis or for the presentation of or denial of any specific church teaching.

But King said the bishop needs to have confidence that priests and lay people are teaching church doctrine faithfully. “It can be inferred,” King wrote in an e-mail message regarding Kolpack, “that this is no longer the case, and she was let go.”

A 35-year history [of sadly not being corrected along the way - which, in itself is not charitable]

Kolpack has been a member of St. Thomas since 1974 and an employee the last 26 years, rising to pastoral associate in 1995. In that position, she performed many of the duties of a priest for the 325 households in the congregation.

“She did everything but celebrate Mass,” said church trustee Macy Kunz, who is “shocked and angry” by Kolpack’s firing.

In 1997, Kolpack began work on a master’s of divinity degree at St. Francis Seminary, a Catholic institution in suburban Milwaukee where, at the time, lay women were able to study alongside male seminarians [that was part of the problem], although they could not be ordained. [You have to wonder just what kind of Catholic institution of learning it is that permitted such strange teachings to pass muster. What were they grading on - vocabulary or content? The thesis can be found here]

She did not think her thesis views risky at the time [times are a changin', thankfully] — Morlino had not yet arrived in Madison — although she admits now that her use of the term “religious evil” in reference to male-only ordination was “very strong.” [perhaps she should re-think that and change the "s" with a "w" in that last word]

Kolpack said she believes women can be called by God to priesthood, but she said it’s a personal belief that she has not pursued publicly other than signing one online petition. “If I’m an activist in any way, it’s for equality,” she said. “We are all created in God’s image. Nobody is less, nobody is more.” [this completely flies in the face of the dignity of women. Women are not men and men are not women. God created us to compliment one another, not compete. Women are equal with men, in a complimentary way, and vice versa. Mulieris Dignitatem by Pope John Paul II would be great reading for anyone wanting to know what the Church teaches on the dignity of women]

Kolpack had never had a conversation with Morlino prior to being called to his residence March 12. In a 10-minute meeting, she said he asked her to profess her faith, take a loyalty oath and renounce [recant] her thesis. She was willing to do only the first two. [One would think that when standing before a man with a doctorate in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome, she would make an act of humility and give careful attention to what she might learn from him!]

She was stunned by her firing, although storm clouds had been brewing. [I think we will be seeing more of this around the country as bishops work to bring things back under control after decades of loop-hole theology and fuzzy philosophy. These bishops blew the dust off of Thomas Aquinas, along with the other Doctors, and Fathers of the Church.]

In December, anonymous people distributed flyers outside St. Patrick Catholic Church in Madison alerting parishioners to a “scandal” at St. Thomas. Those who have seen the flyer say it mentioned Kolpack’s support of President Barack Obama and suggested that since Obama supports abortion rights, Kolpack could not be trusted around children.

Kolpack, who gave $320 to Obama’s campaign last year, said she opposes abortion. [Would it have been proper for a Catholic to give $320 to David Duke even though they oppose racism?]

Separately, a former parishioner brought concerns to the bishop, said Kolpack, who will not disclose the nature of those concerns but said they grew out of a misrepresentation of something she said in a private conversation.

In January, Kolpack said the Rev. Steven Kortendick, pastor of both St. Thomas and St. Jude parishes in Beloit, told her the bishop asked him to fire her but he would not do so. Kortendick did not respond to messages. [If this is true, how sad that a bishop had to do the pastor's job.]

Parish ‘in an uproar’

News of Kolpack’s firing stunned St. Thomas parishioners, said Tom Lang, a member of the parish council who has known Kolpack for 35 years. “Never have I heard anything unusual from her about Catholic doctrine,” he said. “She’s really the heart and soul of this parish. It’s devastating she’d be fired.” [and if she had humbly told the bishop she was prepared to learn and understand where she was out of sync with the Church, rather than stick to her guns, she might very well have still had that job.]

Member Bill Cunningham said “at least 99 percent of the congregation” wants her back. His wife, Jo, said the “entire parish is in an uproar.”

Online petitions call for Kolpack’s reinstatement, but she has taken a drubbing on Web sites of Catholics who are loyal to church teachings. Morlino is a hero to them.

“Pray for our bishops! May they take back the church in America from the grips of dissidents,” wrote Diane Korzeniewski of Detroit, who tracks the work of bishops on her Web site, Te Deum laudamus.

In an interview, Korzeniewski said she’s thrilled with Morlino’s backbone. “We have a problem in the U.S. where some people basically want to create a designer religion out of Catholicism,” she said. [By designer religion, I meant that each person gets to make Catholicism into what conforms to their liking. The world, and many poorly catechized Catholics accept the relativistic view that the Church is like Burger King where you get to have it your way. I also told Erickson, that in all charity, we need to pray for Ruth Kolpack. Truly, may God enlighten her understanding in light of authentic Church teaching. I wish she would go back to him with a willingness to learn. She might be awestruck with the beauty of our faith, as it has been handed down.]

The Web site Catholic Culture likened Kolpack’s thesis to “the first term paper attempted by a not-too-bright college freshman.” [That was Diogenes, in the post: Madison Hatter]

Closer to home, Travis Ganser, a member of Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church in Monona, said he “wholly supported what (Morlino) had to do to maintain clarity” in church teaching.

“I’ve listened to the bishop a lot,” Ganser said. “He makes his case based on reason and says, ‘Show me where I’m wrong.’ A lot of times, people can’t, so they resort to name-calling and demonizing him, when actually he’s a wonderful person.” [yep, this is what happens alright, or they talk about how their feelings were hurt.]

Morlino has agreed to meet with parishioners April 3. Members hope to get Kolpack’s job back but aren’t optimistic. [Hopefully, they do what is right, which is to receive him with humility and listen to him. More likely than not, they will go with intent to tell him a thing or two. If anyone has info on this meeting when it takes place, email me at TeDeumBlog@gmail.com].

“I feel sad and without power,” said member Cecilia Ramirez. She says her 12-year-old son doesn’t want to go to church anymore because he “doesn’t understand why God is doing this to Ruth.” [Well, you might explain to your child that Ruth did this to herself.]

Kolpack continues to worship at St. Thomas and has encouraged others not to leave. The church is its people, she tells others, and the bishop is just one member like everyone else. [Well, there you have it. If you believe the local bishop is on equal footing with Bubba sitting in the pew, then that explains the root of the problem]

A new website enables supporters of the Bishop to express it: SupportBishopMorlino.com

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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!

Detroit Free Press: Catholic youth choirs get acquainted with Latin

From the Detroit Free Press:

Catholic youth choirs get acquainted with Latin


The classical sounds of the Latin language are to echo inside a Detroit cathedral today as children from across the region gather for a special mass featuring area Catholic youth choirs.

It's a sign of the growing interest in the Latin language among Catholics who are yearning for tradition.

About 100 children from parishes in Michigan and London, Ontario, are to practice and then perform during the mass with Archbishop Allen Vigneron at Cathedral of the Most Blessed Sacrament, the seat of the Archdiocese of Detroit.

After the reforms of the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, greater emphasis was placed on using English in masses so singing in Latin increasingly fell out of favor, said local Catholics.

"When I was young, we only sang in Latin," recalled Cindy Stempin, music director at St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Livonia.

"Latin was the universal language of the church," she added. "They are going back to their roots."

Some of her students say they like it.

"It's pretty cool to be singing in a different language," said Alexa Orosz, a sixth-grader at St. Michael school. "When you get used to it, it's not hard at all."

Stempin helped about 25 children in third grade to eighth grade get ready for today's concert, which is organized by the American Federation Pueri Cantores, a national organization that promotes religious music among youngsters.

The children are to rehearse today under the direction of Paul French, a noted composer and conductor who directs William Ferris Chorale in Chicago.

Nancy Deacon, director of music at the cathedral, remembers hearing Latin sung as an elementary school student, and then noticed the changes after the reforms.

"It went from one extreme to the other," she said. Singing in Latin is "something that had been missing for a generation or so."

Thanks Ruth K!

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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!

Notre Dame Scandal: Al Kresta to Students - Take Obama to a New Paygrade

I'm listening right now to the March 25, 2009 segment of Kresta in the Afternoon in which he spoke on the Notre Dame scandal and asked listeners what students out to do.

Click that first link above and just listen as you go about your work. It's a great discussion.

In his opening statement, Al Kresta said the following:

Nothing would better settle the question about Notre Dame’s value as a Catholic witness to the Kingdom of God than for its graduating students to greet this year’s commencement speaker, President Obama , with a vivid sign of Christian faith, hope, love, and courage. During his address, each graduate should cover his or her face with a two foot by two foot photo of either an aborted child or a beautiful Leonard Nilsson photo of an in utero human.

The President prizes learning and a lesson of this sort should delight him. It would place him in a new “pay grade.” Think of it: an auditorium of courageous and robust young men and women, willing to set themselves apart from the apathy of bourgeois society in order to confront the culture of American violence, all gathered under the patronage of a Woman and out of respect for the office of the Presidency. Isn’t this the type of coming generation President Obama hopes to cultivate?

For these Notre Dame students, the time to choose between Christ and Caesar has come. Even if the moment has eluded Notre Dame’s president, Fr. John Jenkins, Bishop D’Arcy, in whose diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend, the University of Notre Dame resides, has already decided that this is a time for choice and a time for action. For the first time in 25 years, he will not attend the graduation. “I wish no disrespect to our president. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic Faith ‘in season and out of season’ and he teaches by not only by his words – but by his actions.”

While this is a painful decision for the Bishop, it is not unclear. I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic Community and Catholic Institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors, or platforms which would suggest support for their actions. Indeed the measure of any Catholic institutions is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.”

President Obama during his campaign made it clear that he supported the Freedom of Choice Act, which, had it been passed, would have swept away all state restrictions on abortion. As Bishop D’Arcy succinctly described in referring to the President’s decision to approve Federal funding for embryonic stem cell research which destroys human embryos: “It was just a few weeks ago that President Obama has recently reaffirmed and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.”

The New Testament distinguishes between two different types of time, “chronos” and “kairos”. “Chronos” refers to time as duration. Heaven knows, these graduating students have put in their time at Notre Dame. Their chronos is coming to an end. “Kairos”, however, refers to time as the pregnant moment, the time of crisis and decision, the instant when time seems to stand still and one realizes that this particular choice will determine his or her future direction and character.

Notre Dame’s graduating class of 2009 can settle for a routine college commencement ceremony sprinkled with a little glitz of American civil religion or they can turn the moment into an international testimony to the dignity of the human person. They can proclaim “The Gospel of Life” and broadcast to the watching world that when it comes to protecting the weak and vulnerable, God doesn’t grade on the curve. Presidents and janitors, football players and grad assistants, priests and prostitutes are all judged by the same unwavering standard: “I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.”

We encourage you to speak out on this issue by visiting www.notredamescandal.com and signing the petition put together by the Cardinal Newman Society. Also, Patrick Reilly, Founder and President of the Society will join Al on “Kresta in the Afternoon” today, March 25, at 4:00 p.m. Eastern Time.

Al Kresta is a broadcaster, journalist and author who is, first of all, a missionary. He is the author of Moments of Grace: Inspiring Stories From Well-Known Catholics, Why Are Catholics So Concerned about Sin?: More Answers to Puzzling Questions about the Catholic Church, a follow-up to the best-seller Why Do Catholics Genuflect? And Answers to Other Puzzling Questions About the Catholic Faith, as well as a contributor to Shaken by Scandals: Catholics Speak Out About Priests' Sexual Abuse, Loving Your Neighbor, and the original Surprised by Truth. Kresta in the Afternoon is broadcast on over 120 stations nationwide including the EWTN Global Catholic Radio Network and Sirius Satellite Radio. It is produced by Ave Maria Radio every weekday afternoon from 3-6 p.m. Eastern Time. Kresta in the Afternoon takes a closer, Catholic look at current events, issues and ideas. It is conversation with consequence.

For all media inquiries, contact Nick Thomm , Executive Producer of " Kresta in the Afternoon ," at 734-930-3164.

Here are more segments Al Kresta has had on the Notre Dame scandal.

To browse Al Kresta's archives, and other programs on Ave Maria Radio, click here.

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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!

Tiller the Killer found "Not Guilty"

Is anyone surprised that the butcher of Kansas, late term abortionist, George Tiller, would get away with his criminal activities?

We have state-protected infanticide people. Wake up!

Your new Health and Human Services head - Catholic Governor Kathleen Sebelius, if confirmed, has actually hosted this man in the Governor's mansion and has received funds from him.

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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, March 27, 2009

Continuing discussion on Catholic dissidence, Archbishop Burke and Randall Terry

In my post, Archbishop Burke was duped by Randall Terry on purpose of interivew, a comment was dropped in by Stan Williams, PhD, and we are engaged in a little friendly blog-debate about the issue. I think it's a good dialogue and worth pulling out, because it highlights that solid, loyal Catholics can disagree on some things and maintain charity. I also do this here so I can add links and because my response is too long for the combox.

Before continuing, you might want to see that original post of mine in the opening link to get context - with comments, then drop into a post Stan made at Crossing Nineveh, to get his feedback: Archbishop Burke Chastises Randall Terry


Point well taken about St. Paul. To go along with your examples, I would say that some of the Church Fathers got into people's faces to defend the faith, as well. Honestly, this does give me pause at times, so I will continue to reflect on it.

A bishop wants to isolate the sick lamb so that the sickness does not spread to others. If he goes nuclear on the sick lamb, he scatters the flock in such a way as to lose more sheep than if he had used a less nuclear approach. I think this is often a bishop's dilemma. He wants to correct the situation, but bring along as many of the lambs as possible. I think mistakes have been made and false-charity crept in. However, as a body, I think they are learning.

There is a new generation of bishops, better formed, who have the mind of the Church. This itself will bring about interesting growth within the USCCB and I look forward to what they will bring us years down the road when their numbers increase. The focus has seemed to be on the individual dissenter and their self-esteem. That focus is now shifting in a big way towards the scandalization of other Catholics (the illness spreading from one sheep to many).

I see a boldness growing in the body of bishops that is promising, but we didn't get here overnight and it won't change overnight. One thing I learned from the writings of W. Edwards Deming years ago, was that sweeping change isn't nearly as effective as incremental change. God is a great engineer and if we look back in history, we will see that He works in decades and centuries, not days, weeks, or months.

Let's get back to that combox dialogue

First, in response to your second comment in the link at top...

I think we may agree on the following points:

1) People - including priests and bishops have been engaged in a kind of false charity, whereby admonishent, correction, discpline, etc, is avoided on the basis that it might hurt someone's feeling or their self esteem. You and I probably agree that priests and bishops need to be concerned more with the salvation of those under their care, moreso than their self esteem.

2) There are dissidents, such as the priest you mention, who will try to justify things which are foreign to our faith. When such people given a platform at a parish, diocese, Catholic university, or Catholic newspaper, many people are led into scandal, most especialy today with the uncatechized and ill-catechized. Equally damaging is when things are being advanced by these people which clearly fly in the face of clear and constant teachings of the Church, and are met only with silence by priests and bishops.

3) I agree that the more than 30,000 Protestant denominations stemmed from someone disagreeing with the Catholic Church hundreds of years ago and starting their own thing. It all started with that first "protest", and multiplied exponentially as others split away, many from the first, second and third generation protestant denominations.

4) Going back to Canon 915 as mentioned in your first comment, we both agree that Canon 915 ought to be applied. I would go a step further and would suggest that there are cases that warrant a pronouncement of excommunication, when someone rejects dogma/doctrine and is obstinately leading others into scandal despite adequate pastoral intervention by their pastor and bishop.

Second: I struggle with your argument in the following ways:

1) If I see a child stealing a loaf of bread, I can judge his actions and call it stealing. This is not being judgmental, but simply stating a fact. But, I would fall into rash judgment if I said that the child's motivation was purely due to greed. Perhaps he stole the bread because he is living on the street and has not had anything to eat. It would still be wrong, but God has the authority to mitigate such things, which is why judgment of such things is left to him.

I feel the same way when looking at the actions (or inactions) of otherwise orthodox bishops (we will suspend discussion of dissident bishops in this post), who have not been more proactive in using Canon 915, public statements and other disciplinary actions. I can certainly make an observation that a particular action has not taken place, but I cannot judge the motivation of any bishop, attributing inaction to cowardice. Could this be a factor for some? It's possible. But, I don't know that. I can't know that. I leave that to God because He knows their heart.

2) On dealing with dissidents, I have already stated where we agree and perhaps this is just an expansion of that. Dissidents ought to be dealt with and not pampered where they lead many others into scandal. If you look through the examples below, you will see that while I don't agree with certain tactics, I don't believe in bishops sitting back making like a wall-flower while the wolves carry the sheep away. It's a matter of how it is dealt with. Each of these actions taken by bishops has undoubtedly been labeled as "uncharitable" by those on the other side of the issue, and perhaps a few bystanders who don't really know any better:

I have been a proponent of the approach taken by Bishop Martino in Scranton in his handling of Misericordia Univeristy, the St. Patrick's Day Parade, and with Senator Robert Casey. Some would say he is being mean and hurting people's feelings. I say, it's a bishop doing his job. I have supported Bishop Morlino's recent firing of a lay pastoral associate. I know there are people in Madison, Wisconsin who think the bishop is being uncharitable. What they don't understand is that he is showing the greatest charity to those who would be subjected to "strange teachings". And, I liked the approach taken by Bishop Allen Vigneron, while still in Oakland when faced with an unexpected survey on priestly celibacy by the dissident group, Call to Action (after the fact). Note how carefully Vigneron walks the line of charity, balanced with firm clarity on Church teaching (and made it public as promptly as he could). In one last example, I highly support the approach taken by Bishop Jamie Soto, then co-adjutor of Sacramento, who accepted an invitation to be the keynote speaker at a parish-sponsored homosexual event, only to use it for a teaching moment.

I do not consider these "in your face" or uncharitable. Rather, they are firmly, and with great charity, teaching the faith and upholding it, without blinking.

3) With regards to the 30,000+ protestant denominations stemming from bishops not standing up for the faith, I would ask how many priests and bishops were martyred during the reformation? I like history now, but for whatever reason, didn't much pay attention in my school years, unfortunately.

4) With Canon 915, let me put it this way: I won't assume cowardice on the part of any bishop for reasons stated above - it crosses the line into judging their motivation which my conscience tells me is wrong. They are, for the most part, united in that pro-choice Catholic pols should not present themselves for Communion. Where they are divided is on just how to apply Canon 915. All of the calls, emails, letters and protests will not change a bishop's mind, if in his conscience he feels he understands Canon 915 and has come to a different conclusion than another bishop. Make no mistake: There is one Holy Spirit acting on the consciences of all bishops. Hence, I believe that there cannot be varied interpretations of such a thing. Jabs, potshots, and not-talking will not get them closer to what God wants. They must pray and continue to work together. We must pray with them.

As for Randall Terry, I stand by my original post. I found it highly unusual for a Vatican official to authorize such a video-event in the manner presented by Mr. Terry. Something seemed "off" and my senses were right. I was suspicious of it initially and said nothing, holding my breath hoping it wouldn't implode. Not long ago - as a prelude to Terry's press conference, when we heard that Vatican officials were "entertaining the removal" of certain archbishops, the alarm bells went off. I believe damage was done by this stunt. Where rich, fraternal dialogue should be taking place, a wall has just gone up, thanks to Randall's "clever" trick on Archbishop Burke. The ends do not justify the means. I still say it was an injustice not only to Burke, but to Wuerl, Loverde and others who came under the spotlight through certain questions. I wondered if that dig went right over Abp Burke's head.

It is my hope that Archbishops Raymond Burke, Donald Wuerl and others would meet - privately, spend some time in prayer together, and then discuss Canon 915 over some coffee, Jameson, scotch, cigars and anything else that might help. Perhaps they could set up a chimney and puff some of that stogie smoke outside to let the rest of us know, we have unity on Canon 915.

Truly people, if you want to help the bishops, turn to prayer. Go to adoration on their behalf; pray Rosaries for them, offer up your Mass intentions and daily sacrifices. The graces will come to them. Recall that Our Lord pointed out some demons can only be taken out with prayer.

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Thursday, March 26, 2009

Recent Posts and News Roundup

Recent posts on Te Deum Laudamus!


There are some other hot stories hitting the blogosphere. Here are a few I did not have time to blog on, but wanted to pass along:

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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!

USCCB addresses Reiki: Not Compatible with Christianity

Whoa! Who knew this was coming???

I have not read this in full yet. My own ordinary, Archbishop Allen Vigneron is one of the signing members (though he is listed as the bishop of Oakland, and probably still was when this was drafted). It was released on March 25, 2009.

I am going to read the entire document when I find time and encourage you to do the same. This is LONG overdue and there are a few other new age practices that have crept into Catholic hospitals and retreat centers that we ought to pray get addressed by the USCCB or Vatican.

If you want some background and commentary, Tom McFeely has a blogpost up at the National Catholic Register: Enough with Reiki Retreats

Let's cut to the chase:

10. Reiki therapy finds no support either in the findings of natural science or in Christian belief. For a Catholic to believe in Reiki therapy presents insoluble problems. In terms of caring for one's physical health or the physical health of others, to employ a technique that has no scientific support (or even plausibility) is generally not prudent.

11. In terms of caring for one's spiritual health, there are important dangers. To use Reiki one would have to accept at least in an implicit way central elements of the worldview that dergirds Reiki theory, elements that belong neither to Christian faith nor to natural science. Without justification either from Christian faith or natural science, however, a Catholic who puts his or her trust in Reiki would be operating in the realm of superstition, the no-man's-land that is neither faith nor science.9 Superstition corrupts one's worship of God by turning one's religious feeling and practice in a false direction.10 While sometimes people fall into superstition through ignorance, it is the responsibility of all who teach in the name of the Church to eliminate such ignorance as much as possible.

12. Since Reiki therapy is not compatible with either Christian teaching or scientific evidence, it would be inappropriate for Catholic institutions, such as Catholic health care facilities and retreat centers, or persons representing the Church, such as Catholic chaplains, to promote or to provide support for Reiki therapy.


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Archbishop Burke was duped by Randall Terry on purpose of interivew...

***Post Updated***

Oh, boy. This is interesting in many ways...

It surprised me that with all of the professional media outlets and worthy pro-life groups, Archbishop Burke would allow such an interview with Mr. Terry. Now we get the much needed clarification. It was a classic case of exploitation.

According to His Excellency, Randall Terry misled him as to how the videotape would be used. In it, the archbishop discussed Canon 915. The archbishop is dismayed with how it is being used to attack his fellow bishops.

Archbishop Burke does not criticize specific bishops in the interview, but in one question - which was somewhat awkwardly asked, Mr. Terry takes a jab at a few archbishops, naming their location and referring to their not denying Holy Communion ahead of the election. In watching the actual video of the interview (which has been added to my original post), I'm wondering if Archbishop Burke caught the jab made by Terry in the question.

Setting aside that question, if you listen to Burke's response it stands well on it's own, not as a criticism of other bishops, but as an invitation for everyone to look closer at Canon 915.

The Archbishop has released this statement:

ROME, Italy - In response to the March 25, 2009 press conference of Mr. Randall Terry in Washington, D.C., the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued the following statement:

“Recently, Mr. Randall Terry and some of his associates visited me in Rome and asked to videotape an interview with me to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement. The interview was conducted on March 2, 2009.

“Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable.

“First, Mr. Terry issued a media advisory which gave the impression that I would be physically present at the press conference during which he played the videotape, when, in fact, I was in Rome.

“Second, I was never informed that the videotape would become part of a press conference.

“Third, I gave the interview as a Bishop from the United States to encourage those engaged in the respect life apostolate, not as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

“Fourth, I was never informed that the videotape would be used as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops regarding the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

“If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.

“I am deeply sorry for the confusion and hurt which the wrong use of the videotape has caused to anyone, particularly, to my brother bishops.”

Tom Peters got it right when he suggested that folks in the Vatican start using "google" to do some quick checks.

EDIT 5:00AM March 27th: InPhiladelphia's, The Bulletin, an article, Catholic Archbishop Remorseful for misuse of his comments, points out:

Mr. Terry responded Archbishop Burke knew the goal of the campaign and the interview would be distributed [he just doesn't get it - he exploited the archbishop and the headlines in the news are a manifestation of that exploitation]

While many media outlets are attributing the archbishop with having said President Barack Obama is an “agent of death,” the following is the actual quote given by Archbishop Burke:
“But in any case, no matter who is the President of the United States, here is a world leader with a tremendous capacity to promote the common good, but at the same time sadly, who could — by promoting and implementing anti-life legislation measures — could be an agent of death.”

Here is the full Associated Press version that will be plastered all over the nation this morning - it does not show the context. Note even the title which makes it sound like the Archbishop is sorry for his comments - which were in accord with Catholic teaching - as opposed to being remorseful for the exploitation of his words.

For myself, it is pretty much confirmed, that Archbishop Burke had no clue who he was dealing with in Randall Terry. I'm sure I'm not the only one who was raising an eyebrow about the interview when it was first announced. I always saw Terry as a loose canon, but had not heard anything about him in decades, aside from the fact that he became Catholic in 2005. I thought that perhaps he had lost his militant edge, but it is clear he has not.

In my personal opinion - an opinion I have held for many years, Randall Terry has done considerable damage to the pro-life movement through "in your face" tactics. Exploiting Archbishop Burke to call for Abp Wuerl and other archbishops to be removed from their post for not denying Holy Communion is just one more example. Pray for him, and pray for Archbishop Burke, Archbishop Wuerl and others who were harmed by this stunt.

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Bishop Olmsted: Notre Dame committed a public act of disobedience to US Bishops

In 2004, the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) issued a document - Catholics in Political Life, which included this line about how Catholic schools were to conduct themselves (emphasis mine in bold):

  • The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.

I predicted several days ago in passing, that when Bishop D'Arcy - the Ordinary of Fort Wayne - South Bend issued his statement, we might see a flood of statements coming out of other bishops. It's only a matter of courtesy to let the local Bishop have his say first. It took just one day for us to hear from the first bishop. I suspect we may be hearing from more in the near future as diocesan papers with bishop's columns begin to circulate.

Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix, Arizona sent a letter to Notre Dame president, Fr. Jenkins, yesterday - on the Feast of the Annunication He then authorized it's release.

Here it is in full:

Dear Fr. Jenkins,

I am saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University and even to receive an honorary degree.

It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States. Our USCCB June 2004 Statement "Catholics in Political Life" states: "The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions." No one could not know of the public stands and actions of the president on key issues opposed to the most vulnderable human beings.

John Paul II said, "Above all, the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights - for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture - is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination."

I pray that you come to see the grave mistake of your decision, and the way that it undercuts the Church's proclamation of the Gospel of Life in our day.

Bishop Thomas J. Olmsted
Diocese of Phoenix

H/T to Tom Peters at American Papist and to LifeSiteNews

In the meanwhile, NotreDameScandal.com is on it's way to another 50k signature day with a total of 173,286 as of 6:05pm.

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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 on Catholic Dissidence and Bishop Morlino on Obedience

On the heels of the firing of a lay pastoral associate by Bishop Morlino in Madison, the Wisconsin bishop talks about the lay apostolate in this week's Catholic Herald. At the end, he speaks on the topic of obedience, often misunderstood. It is posted with yesterday's feast day - the Annunciation - in mind.

Before I give you that text and related link, I want to offer this thought...

God does not force His will on anyone. Mary was not forced to conceive Jesus. The Angel Gabriel waited for her "fiat", her "yes" to God's will. The Annunciation is not just about the Word become flesh, but it is a lesson in obedience to God's will - to go along with God's plan as it comes through others. Specifically for us, this means the Church, headed by the Successor to Peter. The plan never included a set of keys for every individual to "bind and lose" on their own, or through opinion polls, or with the flow of a given age. Remember, it was by popular opinion that Our Lord was nailed to a Cross!

Because we have a free will, obedience is a choice - one that can only be made by those who are free to choose it. But some are held captive by the world - a world which is always there to feed our human fallen nature, or the effects of Original Sin. It is why the story of Adam and Eve is distorted by dissenting theologians and their followers. If they were merely ficticious figures, then Original Sin could not exist. Without Original Sin, we would have no cause to gravitate to that which is disordered, sinful, and displeasing to God. And, it is why the Sacrament of Confession has fallen out of fashion because if there is no human fallen nature, then there is no sin and no need for reconciliation. These things are foreign to our Catholic faith!

Dissidents are trying to create a "designer religion" out of Catholicism in wanting to make it conform to their individual desires. It is a world from which Our Lord wants to set us free. It's a world whose ways are in conflict with God's ways. At it's core is often sexual promiscuity under the guise of sexual "freedom". Think about the teachings that dissidents would like changed and it will often lead right back to this so-called right which is nothing more than a right to sin and offend God, by choice.

They often want the Church to accept homosexual behavior. The Church embraces those with SSA, but cannot condone homosexual acts any more than it can condone heterosexual acts outside of Sacramental marriage. Others want to change the Church's teaching on abortion, or euthanasia, contraception and other "life" issues. Dissidents know where the Church stands on all of these issues, but they don't agree and feel that Holy Mother Church ought to bend with every wind of doctrine that comes with each new generation. As scripture tells us, Jesus is Truth. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever - do not be carried away by all kinds of strange teachings. (Hebrews 13:8-9). Hence, there cannot be several versions truth any more than there can be several versions of Jesus.

The Cross exemplifies sacrifice and when we accept Church teachings - willfully, sacrificing our own desires, it becomes a white martyrdom. Next to death, there is nothing greater we can give to God than our own will. Mary said, "Your will Lord, not mine". The words and actions of Catholic dissidents is "Your will Lord, as long as it conforms to mine".

There is no such thing as right or left in the Church. There is loyal or disloyal; orthodox or dissenting. Or, there are those struggling quietly to understand Church teaching. These latter are not dissidents until they cross the line into challenging that which has been taught clearly and consistently. Such people are further distinguished from dissidents in that they actually read the catechism, read Church documents and when they don't understand something, they seek answers with humility. One doesn't need to understand to accept teachings. Faith seeks understanding and it does so with prayer, reflection, reading and inquiry of sources loyal to the Church.

On to something in Bishop Morlino's column this week, which appears at the end of Responding, like Mary, to God's will for us. In part, he says:

Calling to the lay apostolate
For the most part, you who are reading this have a particular calling to the lay apostolate.What a great group of men and women we have, who are coming forward to “assist and complement”my ministry and that of our great priests.

Clearly, there are a great many direct ways that lay people can serve the Church and their individual parishes, but your key role is simply and authentically living the Gospels in the midst of your day-to-day lives. The laity are called “by their very vocation, to seek the kingdom of God by engaging in temporal affairs and by ordering them according to the plan of God (Lumen Gentium, 31).”

As the Council points out, you live in the world, in your various professions and occupations, and you encounter, in the various ordinary circumstances of family and social life, the work and presence of the Creator.And in the midst of all of that, you, yourselves, are called to be a anctifying presence, a “leaven” from within.You are called to reach out to evangelize and sanctify your fellow men and women, through the spirit of the Gospel, in accordance with the mind of the Church (Apostolicam Actuositatem, 2,6).And you are called to build a just society and a just state through politics, as Pope Benedict XVI has said.

At the risk of sounding like a broken record, it should be clear that it all comes back to obedience: obedience to the will of God the Father — for Mary, for Jesus Himself, for the Saints (because it is only in their obedience to the Father that they are Saints), and for us as well. It is not blind obedience to anyone’s will. Rather, it is obedience in faith, just like the Blessed Virgin Mary. Our obedience is not blind whatsoever, for we are walking in the light of God — by faith! Mary’s obedience to the will of God, her free consent to give life to the Redeemer, to share His life, to suffer with Him under the cross, and to sacrifice Him for the sake of the redemption of humankind, is the model we should follow as the Church, and individually.
I come back to the statement at the bottom of my posts - something I had to ponder when I was accused of "blind obedience" to the Church, and was told I should use my own brain.

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

Well, I have used my own brain and have made a free choice to accept all of the Church's teachings. At first I struggled with some of them. But, I chose a path of serious, quiet study and prayerful reflection. I dug into the Catechism, and then into church documents on those topics to understand why the Church has the position that she does. I went to competent, loyal and orthodox sources to see what they could offer, not to people who would enable me in my confusion, and ultimately lead to dissidence. It's a path I encourage for any Catholic who struggles with a teaching of the Church.

When Pope Paul VI made his prophetic encyclical, Humanae Vitae, he could not have known what science later revealed....that "the Pill" is sometimes an abortifacient. How would the Church have looked if she had went along with what the world desired, rather than follow truth? If the Church had said it was ok to use the pill back in 1968, she would have had to reverse herself or be in conflict with her own teachings when science learned that some eggs get fertilized, then flushed because the drug won't allow them to implant. That embryo had a soul - a soul that would never be baptized because it's life was snuffed out not by God, but by man. Natural Family Planning has come a long way today, from where it was years ago.

I believe this explains why we see priests and bishops becoming more vocal on contraception and faithful Catholics are starting to look closer themselves at the issue. We understand now that an ensouled human being in development is aborted through the actions of certain contraceptives.

I've had my say, now what say you? I'll allow any comments that are made in a charitable tone. Please allow some time for comment moderation since I try to do these in the evenings when I am home, or very early before heading out to work.

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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, March 25, 2009

Notre Dame Scandal: Online petition getting around 50k signatures daily

Yesterday, NotreDameScandal.com gained over 50,000 signatures. The server was overwhelmed to the point that people could not get through. A third party has been brought in to verify signatures, and today.....with almost four hours to go until midnight, they are only about 5k short of another 50,000 signatures for the day.

Keep 'em going. Click that link and sign (just once please).


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

Archbishop Raymond L. Burke discusses Canon 915 in interview

EDIT: Actual video has been uploaded to YouTube and embedded here. Before watching, please read the statement released by Archbishop Burke in which he says he was misled as to the purpose of the interview, among other things.

Here is the interview we learned about earlier in the week....

(Pewsitter.com)March 25, 2009 - Washington, DC - Following is the transcript of Randall Terry’s interview with His Excellency, Archbishop Burke, Prefect, Apostolic Signatura on March 2, regarding Canon 915 and the withholding of communion from Catholic politicians that support abortion. The actual video footage of this interview was shown earlier today at a press conference at the National Press Club, in Washington DC. More information can be found at www.humbleplea.com

Mr. Terry: Your Excellency, it’s a delight to be with you. Thank you so much.

Archbishop Raymond Burke: Pleased to have you come, and to visit with you.

Mr. Terry: For the umpteenth time, I and the others are asking, under Canon 915 what should or should not be done?

Archbishop Burke: The Canon is completely clear, it is not subject in my judgment to any other interpretations. When someone is publicly and obstinately in grave sin we may not administer Holy Communion to the person. And that, basically, for two reasons: number one, to prevent the person himself or herself from committing a sacrilege, and secondly, to protect the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist. In other words, to approach, to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, when one insists on remaining in grave sin, is such a violation of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, so that Communion must not be given to people who are publicly, obstinately, in grave sin.

Mr. Terry: And so does that apply to politicians of any party that are saying: "Yes, it’s okay to abort children" –to kill children?

Archbishop Burke: Yes, for someone who in any way contributes in an active way to the murder of innocent defenseless infants in the womb—children in the womb—from the very inception of human life, this is the greatest of sins. And such a person, until he or she has reformed his or her life, should not approach to receive Holy Communion.

Mr. Terry: And if they do approach, the person who is administering Holy Communion should say, “No.”?

Archbishop Burke: Right. In fact, the Canon puts the burden upon the minister of Holy Communion whether it’s the ordinary minister which would be a bishop, a priest, a deacon—or an extraordinary minister—it doesn’t make any difference. It says they’re not to be admitted to receive Holy Communion. Normally speaking, in my experience, when I have spoken with, for instance, Catholic politicians who have insisted on supporting pro-abortion legislation and told them they should not approach any more to receive Holy Communion, in my experience they don’t. Now, where Bishops have not applied the Canon, often times it’s said that this will cause some kind of disorder at the time of distribution of Holy Communion. That’s not verified. It’s not using Holy Communion to make a statement at all, it’s simply respecting this most sacred gift we have - namely, the Body and Blood of Christ—which can only be received when one has repented of his sins. And I would also make the point—and I believe that it is true that on the contrary - those public figures—Catholics—who are consistently promoting pro-abortion legislation and policies—use reception of Holy Communion to try to justify what they are doing; in other words, to present themselves as devout Catholics, when in fact they are sinning against the most fundamental teaching of the moral law. [Thou shall not murder.]

Mr. Terry: When the election was approaching, Bishop Martino said he would not serve Communion to Vice Presidential Candidate Joe Biden. There were a handful of other bishops who made similar statements, for which the laity and the faithful were rejoicing.

But the deafening silence from so many other Bishops—and also the bishops who stepped up such as in Washington D.C., Virginia, others …Massachusetts…[and] said that we will serve communion—was so painful for us. What word of encouragement would you give, first to the laity on our struggle to bring orthodoxy back, and then to your brother bishops and priests?

Archbishop Burke: I think simply to say: reflect upon this norm of the Church’s discipline—Canon 915—which is one of the most important canons to safeguard the greatest treasure that we have in this life, namely, the communion that we have with our Lord Jesus Christ, and His true body and His true blood; and to, in every way work so that also public witness is given to the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist. And so I would encourage the faithful when they are scandalized by the giving of Holy Communion to persons are publicly and obstinately in sin, that they go to their pastors, whether it’s their parish priest or to their bishop, to insist that this scandal stop. Because, it is weakening the faith of everyone. It’s giving the impression that it must be morally correct to support procured abortion, in at least in some circumstances, if not also generally. So they need to insist that their parish priest and the bishops, and for the rest…to my brother bishops and brother priests…simply to say: the service of the Church in the world today has to begin first and foremost with the protection of the life of those who are the most defenseless and the most innocent, namely the unborn, and certainly has to extend also to those who are gravely ill, or burdened with serious illness, who have special needs; and also now more and more their lives are being threatened by a culture of death which sadly has infected our nation. So I would just urge my brother bishops and my brother priests to see as the most fundamental witness and service which they can give in leading also the faithful in their pastoral care is the apostolate of the respect for human life.

Mr. Terry: The election of Obama sent shock waves around the world concerning the right to life of babies because of his commitment to pursue FOCA, to try to force hospitals - Catholic hospitals - into giving the morning after pill, other things – [the repeal of the] Mexico City policy. From your vantage point here in the Vatican, what kind of fruit around the world is this poison that’s percolating in America producing?

Archbishop Burke: There is no question, and I certainly see it here, living now here in Europe, and Italy, and also with the kind of communication within all of Europe that Barack Obama—President Obama—is a charismatic figure. And there was a great deal of—especially through the media—a great deal of publicity and so forth regarding the “hope,” the word that he used so much, that he offered—not only for the United States— and for the world. And so you can be certain that the whole world, and especially the English speaking world—which let us recall, is a great part of the world—is following very carefully and attentively what this man is doing—this world leader—which he is. And therefore, it becomes more incumbent upon us then ever, also in our responsibility for the scandal and the harm being done, not only in our own nation which is in itself— which we think about 50 million since the Roe v. Wade decision, 50 million unborn infants murdered—but also to consider the effect that our nation is having on the whole world in this culture of death.

America has the call to lead—to use its influence in the way that will give glory to God and will serve the common good in its most essential element: and that is by turning around this culture of death, and especially protecting the right to life of the unborn. So our responsibility is even greater than just for our own nation - which is in itself such a weighty matter. But we have to see how this is also having, adding a tremendous influence in the English speaking world, but also in the whole world, because of the charismatic nature of our present President. But in any case, no matter who is the President of the United States, here is a world leader with a tremendous capacity to promote the common good, but at the same time sadly, who could—by promoting and implementing anti-life legislation measures—could be an agent of death.

Mr. Terry: If I was a Catholic in another country, I would be watching the news unfold in America hearing the silence of so many Catholics, the debate over communion, and it might have the effect of me just saying, “Well, we have abortion here, they’ve got it there, let’s just all learn to live with it and go on about our business.”

Archbishop Burke: Well, I think this is precisely the effect that it has had. The communications today are instantaneous. The whole world knows that a very high percentage of Catholics in fact voted for this very anti-life candidate and so they watch this very carefully, and what the world needs to see now is a strong witness on the part of all Catholics and we can’t be content with the fact that some 55% - or whatever it is - who for whatever reason, supported this anti-life program. They have to see now that Catholics in the United States are alive and faithful and that they are going to work to protect human life, and above all, to let the President of the United States know that this is the number one issue.

Mr. Terry: There are many Catholics who believed that to vote for Obama - knowing his promises to extend child-killing even further - that to knowingly vote for him under those circumstances was a type of cooperation with moral evil. It was cooperating with evil. Do you concur with that and if so, why?

Archbishop Burke: Well, the fact of the matter is, it is a form of cooperation, because by voting we put a person in office. And people say, “What does my vote matter?” Well, your vote is either a vote to put someone in office who will do what is right and just, or someone who won’t. And so if you, knowing that abortion is a grave crime against human life – is the killing of an innocent, defenseless human life - and you vote for the candidate who says that he intends to make that more available – that practice of infanticide - you bear a responsibility. That is, you have cooperated in the election of this person into office, there’s no question about it.

Mr. Terry: Archbishop, thank you for your time. Do you have any closing comments or exhortations?

Archbishop Burke: President Obama uses this word “hope” in a way that for us is very disturbing. We need to have hope, the hope that is founded in Jesus Christ, alive for us in the Church; Jesus Christ who gave His life for everyone without exception, and with a particular love for the suffering and for those who are the most defenseless. And so we have to be filled with hope and give ourselves more than ever to His work, to His mission of protecting human life, and so I ask God to bless you very much in what you are doing to advance the cause of life.

Mr. Terry: Thank you, Your Excellency; long life to you.

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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!