Apparently, they were surprised when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected.
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Apparently, they were surprised when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected.
Saturday, November 27, 2010
A. The continued dissolution of the Anglican Communion (Catholic ordinariate set up in January, five bishops converting already, current Anglican synod, etc.).
B. A comment made by the Pope about condoms.
C. Asia Bibi's death sentence in Pakistan for alleged blasphemy against Muhammed.
D. The continued wholesale liquidation of Christianity in the Middle East.
E. The persecution and murder of Christians in India.
F. The Dalai Lama's decision to abdicate his role as head of Tibet's government in exile.
Friday, November 26, 2010
Nobody saw that coming.
Leaders of conservative Anglicans on Wednesday rejected a proposed covenant to hold their global communion together just as the Church of England gave preliminary approval to the plan.
The covenant, backed by Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, is intended to contain deep splits within the Anglican Communion over sexuality, the role of women and the authority of the Bible. The communion represents churches affiliated with the Church of England in more than 160 countries.
The Church of England's governing General Synod voted Wednesday to approve draft legislation that could lead to a final vote in 2012. The covenant will now be referred to dioceses for consideration.
The traditionalists dismissed the covenant as "fatally flawed," but the plan also has been attacked by liberals within the church...
Liberals in the Church of England fear the covenant would restrict the freedom of the national church. "It would ... make the Church of England subject to an outside power for the first time since Henry VIII," said a statement by one liberal group, Inclusive Church.
Speaking Tuesday at the opening of the Church of England General Synod, Williams said the covenant "offers the possibility of a voluntary promise to consult." He said it recognizes that disagreement may continue and cause ruptures in the communion.
"Now the risk and reality of such rupture is already there, make no mistake. The question is whether we are able to make an intelligent decision about how we deal with it," Williams said.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
We've already reported on the five Anglican bishops who have announced their intentions to swim the Tiber. Well, we've got a few updates on the whole situation across the pond, and I figured what better day to post some of this than a day about English religious cast-offs overcoming barrenness and starvation for prosperity and bounty thanks to support from a group not their own.
Bishop Newton explained that although the issue of the ordination of women as Anglican bishops has been an important factor in his decision, it is “not the most significant.”
“I hope you will understand that I am not taking this step in faith for negative reasons about problems in the Church of England but for positive reasons in response to our Lord’s prayer the night before he died the ‘they may all be one’,” the bishop continued.
While expressing sympathy with the position that Anglicans with traditional views need leadership at a “vital” time, he rejected the example of a leader who should “stay to the bitter end like the captain of a sinking ship.” Rather, he noted the scriptural image of the shepherd, who must lead his flock from the front rather than follow it from behind.
“Obviously my reaction to the resignations is one of regret but respect - I know the considerations they’ve been through,” he said.
In charity, I'll buy this.
“There are still a great many Anglicans in the Church of England who call themselves traditionalist who have no intention of jumping ship at this point, who are at the moment in considerable confusion and distress.
But they don’t necessarily think if the Church of England isn’t working for them that the only option is Rome.”
For the first time, the Archbishop suggested that worshipers who join the Ordinariate could be allowed to stay in their Anglican churches under a plan to let Roman Catholics share Church of England facilities.
"I don't think it's an aggressive act oriented to destabilizing the relations of the churches and it only remains to be seen the extent of the movement of which we are speaking."
"But prophetic?" Archbishop Williams asked. "Perhaps, in the sense that the Catholic Church says in this way that there are ways of being Christian in the Western Church that are not restricted by historical Catholic-Roman identity. It's something we can talk about."
Dr Williams suggested that the Pope’s offer to allow converts to retain some of their Anglican traditions within Roman Catholicism represented a significant shift in approach from the Vatican. “Here is the Roman Catholic Church saying there are ways of being Christian in the Western church which are not restricted by historic Roman Catholic identity,” he said.
"I believe that the ordinariate helps people to value the Anglican heritage and patrimony. I am happy to praise God for this reason."
The Queen has spoken of the "difficult" and "painful" choices facing the Church of England as she formally opened the Church's general synod.
Speaking at the synod meeting, she said: "The new synod will have many issues to resolve to ensure that the Church of England remains equipped for the effective pursuit of its mission and ministry.
"Some will, no doubt, involve difficult, even painful, choices.
"But Christian history suggests that times of growth and spiritual vigour have often coincided with periods of challenge and testing.
"What matters is holding firmly to the need to communicate the gospel with joy and conviction in our society."
The Queen also said a "preoccupation with our welfare and comfort" were not "at the heart of our faith" but rather "the concepts of service and of sacrifice as shown in the life and teachings of the one who made himself nothing, taking the very form of a servant".
"It is rightly acknowledged that people of faith have no monopoly of virtue and that the well-being and prosperity of the nation depend on the contribution of individuals and groups of all faiths and none," she said.
"Yet, as the recent visit of His Holiness the Pope reminded us, churches and the other great faith traditions retain the potential to inspire great enthusiasm, loyalty and a concern for the common good."
Also speaking at the synod meeting, Dr Williams said he wanted to avoid the worst aspects of "secular partisanship" by the Archbishop of Canterbury.
He urged members not to reject the Anglican Covenant, a proposed agreement aimed at resolving disputes within the worldwide Anglican Communion.
The idea was first put forward in the Windsor Report in 2004 in response to tensions within the Anglican Communion following the consecration in the US of Gene Robinson, who is openly gay, as a bishop in New Hampshire.
And it is an "illusion" to believe the Anglican Communion can "carry on as usual" in the face of splits over issues such as the consecration of openly gay bishops and same sex blessings, Dr Williams warned.
"If we ignore this, we ignore what is already a real danger, the piece-by-piece dissolution of the Communion and the emergence of new structures in which relation to the Church of England and the See of Canterbury are likely not to figure significantly," he said.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
In the years following Roe v. Wade, the US bishops debated the place of abortion in their agenda. Cardinal John O’Connor of New York argued for giving primacy to the abortion issue, while Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago wanted abortion integrated into a long and dubious list of “threats to life.” The latter view prevailed in the USCCB, and became known as the “Seamless Garment.” The upset election of New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the USCCB presidency over Bishop Gerald Kicanas of Tucson, the media-described Bernardin “protégé,” is a posthumous victory of sorts for O’Connor.
Not that the Bernardin Left is now powerless in the Church in America. It retains plenty of influence in chanceries and Catholic classrooms across the country, not to mention—as evidenced by the close vote between Dolan and Kicanas—the episcopate itself. But the “Seamless Garment” bishops are running out of steam, stopped not only by their overtly political liberalism, which looks painfully passé in the light of the Democratic Party’s crack-up and the nation’s changing mood, but also by the moral fallout of their doctrinal liberalism.
Historians will likely note that what ultimately silenced and discredited the “Seamless Garment” bishops was not this or that silly political stance, but the sex abuse scandal. Before it erupted, bishops like Roger Mahony could command an audience on topics like amnesty; after it, their moral authority seemed shot. People were in no mood to be lectured on “justice” from bishops who hadn’t provided any to children in their own dioceses.
The irony of Bishop Kicanas’ defeat is that the fingerprints of dissenters are on the weapon that felled him: members of SNAP—who normally wouldn’t object to a politically liberal, doctrinally vague candidate like Kicanas—broadcast to the press his complicity in ordaining a priest who went on to molest minors. Kicanas’ explanation of the ordination to Tim Drake of the National Catholic Register managed to unite liberals and conservatives against him: SNAP found his refusal to apologize offensive, while his admission that he knew of the candidate’s homosexual experiences and ordained him anyway left conservatives dismayed.
Traditionalist Catholics and pro-life evangelicals will likely remember the "Seamless Garment" era not so fondly as a time when Catholic bishops seemed more eager to plead for leniency for serial killers on death row than for the protection of unborn children in the womb. The implications of this upside down and backward understanding of the sanctity of life are, dare I say it, apparent in those bishops' handling of the sex abuse scandal.
Monday, November 22, 2010
Not a whole lot if anybody really bothered to look at it. In an earlier post, I had referenced Bishop Vasa's comments on this topic as mirroring Bishop Martino's opinion that was expressed back during the presidential campaign.
While [the USCCB] is both practical and desirable” for communication and joint efforts such as liturgical translations and disaster relief, there is “room for concern about the tendency of the conference to take on a life of its own and to begin to replace or displace the proper role of individual bishops, even in their own dioceses. It is easy to forget that the conference is the vehicle to assist bishops in cooperating with each other and not a separate regulatory commission. There may also be an unfortunate tendency on the part of bishops to abdicate to the conference a portion of their episcopal role and duty. Statements from individual bishops "are often stronger, bolder, more decisive, and thus more likely to be criticized as harsh and insensitive. Gentle appeals have their place but when constant appeal produces absolutely no movement toward self-correction, reform or conversion, then reproving and correcting, become necessary. At some point, there needs to be a bold resistance to the powers of the world in defense of the flock the fear of offending one contemptuously dissident member of the flock often redounds to a failure to defend the flock. It can redound to a failure to teach the truth.”
All sorts of goodies in there, so I hope you read the whole thing. Recent posts are all building together for a big rant I'm going to be giving soon, especially with this recent condom stuff. Stay tuned. I'll get there eventually.
Sunday, November 21, 2010
Let's go ahead and get this out of the way now.
A. The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.
I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.
As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.
There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.
Q. Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?
A. She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.
Friday, November 19, 2010
Remember that old song by The Scorpions? It was about the Fall of Communism in East Germany. That's not what this post is about.
Overturning a half-century of tradition for the bench, the result represents a seismic shift for the leadership of the nation's largest religious body, and a mandate for a continuance of the outspoken, high-profile leadership shown by Cardinal Francis George over his game-changing tenure at the conference's helm.
Wednesday, November 17, 2010
Tuesday, November 16, 2010
Citing a shortage of priests who can perform the rite, the nation's Roman Catholic bishops are holding a conference on how to conduct exorcisms.
The two-day training, which ends Saturday in Baltimore, is to outline the scriptural basis of evil, instruct clergy on evaluating whether a person is truly possessed, and review the prayers and rituals that comprise an exorcism. Among the speakers will be Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, archbishop of Galveston-Houston, Texas, and a priest-assistant to New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan.
"Learning the liturgical rite is not difficult," DiNardo said in a phone interview before the conference, which is open to clergy only. "The problem is the discernment that the exorcist needs before he would ever attempt the rite."
More than 50 bishops and 60 priests signed up to attend, according to Catholic News Service, which first reported the event. The conference was scheduled for just ahead of the fall meeting of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which starts Monday in Baltimore.
Despite strong interest in the training, skepticism about the rite persists within the American church. Organizers of the event are keenly aware of the ridicule that can accompany discussion of the subject. Exorcists in U.S. dioceses keep a very low profile. In 1999, the church updated the Rite of Exorcism, cautioning that "all must be done to avoid the perception that exorcism is magic or superstition."
The rite is performed only rarely. Neal Lozano, a Catholic writer and author of the book "Unbound: A Practical Guide to Deliverance" about combatting evil spirits, said he knows an exorcist in the church who receives about 400 inquiries a year, but determines that out of that number, two or three of the cases require an exorcism.
No one knows why more people seem to be seeking the rite. Paprocki said one reason could be the growing interest among Americans in exploring general spirituality, as opposed to participating in organized religion, which has led more people to dabble in the occult.
"They don't know exactly what they're getting into and when they have questions, they're turning to the church, to priests," said Paprocki, chairman of the bishops' committee on canonical affairs and church governance. "They wonder if some untoward activity is taking place in their life and want some help discerning that."
Monday, November 15, 2010
Archbishop Nienstedt of Minneapolis-St. Paul denied the Eucharist to a bunch of heretics and schismatics, per the Star Tribune. That's not how they worded it, but it's what actually happened.
About 25 college students and community members at St. John's Abbey in Collegeville, Minn., were denied communion by Twin Cities Roman Catholic Archbishop John C. Nienstedt because they were displaying rainbow buttons and sashes in protest of the church's stand on gay relationships.
The conflict between the archbishop and the group, mostly students from the Catholic St. John's University and the College of St. Benedict, occurred during evening mass Sept. 26...
The St. John's action was coordinated by students, including members of People Representing the Sexual Minority (PRiSM), which represents gay and lesbian students and their friends and allies. That Sunday, according to those at the mass, about two dozen worshipers positioned themselves to receive communion from Nienstedt, who was saying his first student mass at the abbey. Some reached for the communion wafer but were denied it. Rather, the archbishop raised his hand in blessing.
St. Benedict theology junior Elizabeth Gleich, PRiSM vice president, said, "We were making a statement during the eucharist, and many have disagreed with that. But when we have no other way of dialoguing with our church, no other way of telling him how we feel, how else to do it than in liturgy?"
She said their complaint is with church hierarchy, not with the colleges...
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), which describes itself as the nation's largest civil rights organization on behalf of gays, lesbians, bisexual and transgender people, expressed outrage at Nienstedt's actions.
"Jesus didn't play politics with communion," Harry Knox, the HRC's religion and faith program director, said Tuesday in a statement. "He offered his body and blood for everyone."
Crann: If same-sex marriage is a 'dangerous risk,' as you put it, in society, wouldn't also divorce, as well, be such a risk?
Nienstedt: Obviously. That's obvious. And it has been a dangerous risk and it is a dangerous risk to our society today.
Crann: And yet there has been no effort from the Catholic Church over the years to outlaw divorce.
Nienstedt: No, the church doesn't permit divorce. I don't know - the use of your word 'outlaw.'
Crann: In a civic sense.
Nienstedt: But divorce is not acceptable. Divorce is not part of our teaching, no.
Crann: No, but in a civil sense. And I suppose what I'm saying is there has been a difference historically in the secular and civil world with marriage and divorce and in the context of the Catholic Church and other churches, too. And I'm wondering if there always will be that difference or do you want to see the civil definition of marriage be more aligned with your church's definition.
Nienstedt: There is no difference between the civil and the religious definition of marriage because marriage comes to us by virtue of creation and our creator. And so the state does not establish marriage. Marriage came long before there was any government.
And so this is a natural reality, and it's defined by the natural law, what we call the natural law. And so it precedes any government. And government is meant to support marriage between a husband and a wife in order to give it a context for the raising of children and the protection of children.
Sunday, November 14, 2010
Mount Calvary Episcopal Church in Baltimore on Sunday became the first congregation in Maryland to vote to break ties with the Episcopal Church and take steps to join the Roman Catholic Church.
The small Anglo Catholic parish at Madison Avenue and Eutaw Street was feeling increasingly alienated from the Episcopal Church as it accepted priests who did not believe in what most of the congregation saw as the foundations of the faith, according to Warren Tanghe, a former Episcopal priest who is now attending St. Mary's Seminary in Roland Park and preparing for ordination in the Catholic church. Tanghe knows members of the parish, where he has assisted in the past, and said they also were uncomfortable when the church began ordaining women, gays and lesbians.
The Episcopal Diocese of Maryland issued a statement Monday about the vote, but both the bishop and the rector, the Rev. Jason Catania, declined to be interviewed. A spokesman for the Archdiocese of Baltimore, Sean Caine, said the Catholic Church would welcome the congregation.
However, the process is not easy and the members will have to negotiate with the Episcopal Diocese to keep its building. Under Episcopal canons, the property is held in trust for the diocese and national church. However, the deed of the property is held in the name of the parish.
The small congregation has 45 members who were eligible to vote, and 28 voted on Sunday in an election that was overseen by Episcopal Diocesan officials. The vote was 24 in favor of leaving the church, two against and two abstentions. Mount Calvary would like to be an Anglican parish within the Roman Catholic Church.
1.) How will these traditional Anglicans, especially the soon-to-be priests, feel when they begin to mix and mingle with the typical Novus Ordo priest, many of whom, at least in terms of liturgy and orthodoxy, are more entrenched in Protestantism than the Protestants? [this shunning of traditional priests already happens with many FSSP priests, so no need to pretend it's not a problem]
2.) What does it say about the state of the Roman Catholic Church when Protestants have a Catholic identity tenfold greater than the average Novus Ordo "Catholic community"?
Saturday, November 13, 2010
If you do, then you probably thought I'd forgotten about it. Well, you were right. It wasn't until the new apostolic exhortation came out that I was reminded. Anyways, here are the propositions that came out of it.
Sometimes dialogue occurs here and there, in the Arab countries, such as in Qatar, where the Emir himself invites, at his expense, personalities from different countries and from the three religions: Christian, Muslim and Jewish. In Lebanon the Télélumiere and Noursat networks, and other television networks, sometimes broadcast programs on Islamic-Christian dialogue. Often a topic is chosen, and each side explains or interprets according to their religion. These programs are usually very instructive.
With my intervention, I wished to draw attention on the points that make these encounters difficult and often ineffective. It should be clear that we are not discussing dogma. But even the subjects of a practical and social order are difficult to discuss when the Koran or the Sunna discusses them. Here are some difficulties which we have faced:
- The Koran inculcates in the Muslim pride in being the only true and complete religion, taught by the greatest prophet, because he was the last one. The Muslim is part of the privileged nation, and speaks the language of God, the language of Paradise, the Arabic language. This is why, he comes to dialogue with a sense of superiority, and with the certitude of being victorious.
The Koran, supposedly written by God Himself, from beginning to end, gives the same value to all that is written: dogma that supercedes all law or practice.
In the Koran, men and women are not equal, not even in marriage itself where the man takes several wives and can divorce at his pleasure; nor in the heritage where man takes double; nor in the testifying before judges where the voice of one man is equal to the voice of two women, etc...
The Koran allows the Muslim to hide the truth from the Christian, and to speak and act contrary to how he thinks and believes.
In the Koran, there are contradictory verses which annul others, which gives the Muslim the possibility of using one or the other to his advantage, and therefore he can tell the Christian that he is humble and pious and believes in God, just as he can treat him as impious, apostate and idolatrous.
The Koran gives the Muslim the right to judge Christians and to kill them for the Jihad (the holy war). It commands the imposition of religion through force, with the sword. The history of invasions bears witness to this. This is why the Muslims do not recognize religious freedom, for themselves or for others. And it isn’t surprising to see all the Arab countries and Muslims refusing the whole of the “Human Rights” instituted by the United Nations.
Faced with all these interdictions and other similar attitudes should one suppress dialogue? Of course not. But the themes that can be discussed should be chosen carefully, and capable and well-trained Christians chosen as well, as well as those who are courageous and pious, wise and prudent... who tell the truth with clarity and conviction...
We sometimes deplore certain dialogues on TV, where the Christian speaker isn’t up to the task, and does not give the Christian religion all its beauty and spirituality, which scandalizes the viewers. Worse yet, when sometimes there are clergyman speakers who, in dialogue to win over Muslims call Mohammed the prophet and add the Muslim invocation, known and constantly repeated: “Salla lahou alayhi was sallam”.
Finally I would like to suggest the following:
Like the Koran spoke well of the Virgin Mary, insisting on her perpetual virginity and miraculous and unique conception in giving us Christ; just as Muslims take her greatly into consideration and ask for her intercession, we should turn to her for all dialogue and all encounters with the Muslims. Being the Mother of us all, she will guide us in our relations with the Muslims to show them the true face of Her Son Jesus, the Redeemer of mankind.
If it pleased God that the Feast of the Annunciation was declared a national feast day in Lebanon for Christians and Muslims, may it also become a national feast day in other Arab countries.
Christians in the Middle East are called upon to pursue dialogue with the followers of other religions, bringing hearts and minds closer together. For this to happen, they, along with their partners, are invited to work to fortify interreligious dialogue, to strive for the purification of memory through the forgiveness for the events of the past, and to seek a better future together.
In their daily lives, they are to endeavour to accept one another in spite of their differences, working to build a new society in which fanaticism and extremism have no place.
The synod fathers would like to see drawn up a formation plan which helps people to be more open, for use in teaching establishments as well as in seminaries and novitiates. This will help build a culture of dialogue based on human and religious solidarity.
The Declaration of the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council, Nostra aetate, alongside the pastoral letters of the Eastern Catholic Patriarchs, serves as the basis for the Catholic Church's relations with Muslims. As Pope Benedict XVI has said: "Interreligious and intercultural dialogue between Christians and Muslims cannot be reduced to an optional extra. It is in fact a vital necessity, on which in large measure our future depends" (Pope Benedict XVI, "Meeting with representatives of Muslim Communities", Cologne, 20 August 2005).
In the Middle East, Christians share a common life and a common destiny with Muslims. Together they build up society. It is important to promote the notion of citizenship, the dignity of the human person, equal rights and duties and religious freedom, including both freedom of worship and freedom of conscience.
Christians in the Middle East are called to pursue a fruitful dialogue of life with Muslims. They are to take care to show an attitude of esteem and love, leaving aside every negative prejudice. Together, Christians and Muslims, they are called upon to discover their respective religious values. They are to offer the world an image of a positive encounter and a fruitful collaboration between believers of the two religions, combating together every sort of fundamentalism and violence in the name of religion.
The biblical and theological wealth of the Eastern liturgies is at the spiritual service of the universal Church. Nonetheless, it would be useful and important to renew the liturgical texts and celebrations, where necessary, so as to answer better the needs and expectations of the faithful. This renewal must be based on an ever deeper knowledge of tradition and be adapted to contemporary language and categories.
Friday, November 12, 2010
But it's probably not what you think. If you figured this to be another post about some Anglican prelate heading for Rome, you're wrong. Way, way wrong.
Citing the toll that worldwide publicity has taken on his “marriage” and on New Hampshire Episcopalians, Gene Robinson – the first openly homosexual man to become a bishop of the Episcopal Church – announced on Nov. 6 that he will begin a two-year process of resigning from his diocese.
Robinson, 63, received approval from the Episcopal Church's General Convention to become a bishop in 2003, after the faithful and clergy of the New Hampshire diocese selected him for the position. His appointment sparked outrage among traditional Anglicans, many of whom considered it an official affront to Biblical standards of sexual conduct on the part of the Episcopal Church.
“The fact is,” he wrote in a letter to Episcopalians in his diocese, “the last seven years have taken their toll on me, my family, and you.” Robinson has two children from his marriage to a woman during the 1970s and 80s. He entered into a civil union with his current partner, Mark Andrew, in 2008.
“Death threats, and the now-worldwide controversy surrounding your election of me as Bishop, have been a constant strain,” he continued, “not just on me, but on my beloved husband, Mark … and in some ways, (upon) you.”
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
First, the headline in the Telegraph:
They said: “As bishops, we have even-handedly cared for those who have shared our understanding and those who have taken a different view. We have now reached the point, however, where we must formally declare our position and invite others who share it to join us on our journey. We shall be ceasing, therefore, from public episcopal ministry forthwith, resigning from our pastoral responsibilities in the Church of England with effect from 31st December 2010, and seeking to join an Ordinariate once one is created.”
With the Ordinariates, canonical structures are being established through which we will bring our own experience of Christian discipleship into full communion with the Catholic Church throughout the world and throughout the ages. This is both a generous response to various approaches to the Holy See for help and a bold, new ecumenical instrument in the search for the unity of Christians, the unity for which Christ himself prayed before his Passion and Death. It is a unity, we believe, which is possible only in eucharistic communion with the successor of St. Peter.
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
I had just mentioned in the prior post re: Bishop Morlino what I figured would happen if a group of folks wanting a TLM took the same course of action against their own ordinary.
A High Latin Mass of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite at San Jose’s historic Five Wounds Portuguese National Church has been cancelled following a dispute among parishioners over Mass times.
The well-attended Sunday High Mass at 9:15 a.m. had been celebrated since September 2009 by Fr. Jean-Marie Moreau of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, an international society of priests founded in 1990 dedicated to preserving the traditional Latin Mass.
Over the year, attendance at Five Wounds’ traditional Latin Mass grew from around 90 to between 150 and 200 each Sunday. But on Sunday, Sept. 26, the last such Mass was celebrated. One observer told California Catholic Daily that the church was “filled to the rafters,” and that “by the recessional, many were in tears.”
Several Portuguese members of the parish wanted to use the 9:15 a.m. time slot for a Mass in Portuguese, said Fr. Moreau, but the alternative replacement time offered for the traditional Latin Mass made it impossible for him to travel to San Jose to celebrate it.
And, while Fr. Morgan had gone to the trouble to learn how to celebrate the traditional Mass in Latin and was agreeable to celebrate it at the designated new time, “the diocese was not supportive – preferred to step back,” said Fr. Moreau.
One reason for the diocese’s reluctance could be the level of strife generated at the parish over the dispute. Sources close to the parish told California Catholic that a small but very vocal group of influential parish council members would disrupt meetings by yelling at Fr. Morgan, insisting on having their way. Apparently the chancery concluded the best means to bring peace to the parish was to eliminate the source of the controversy altogether – as Fr. Moreau said, “to step back.”
An alternative for the 200 or so who regularly attended the traditional Latin Mass at Five Wounds is Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small oratory of the Institute of Christ the King in Santa Clara where the traditional rite is celebrated four times on Sundays, said Fr. Moreau. “We may add five Masses,” he said, to meet the demand.
In December 2006, Bishop McGrath agreed to allow the Institute of Christ the King to take over Our Lady of Perpetual Help, a small chapel capable of seating about 25 people, noting in a letter, “For some time now, I have received requests for the use of the 1962 Missal on a more regular basis -- on Sundays -- so that those individuals and families who are attached to the rituals in use in 1962 would be able to participate in the celebration of the Mass and the sacraments more frequently.”
But the small chapel – even with four Masses – is typically filled to capacity and unlikely to be able to accommodate all those who once attended the traditional Latin Mass at Five Wounds. Before the Latin Mass was offered at Five Wounds, reported one distraught parishioner in an email to California Catholic Daily, “Sunday after Sunday, various faithful and their families could be seen standing on the sidewalk, outside of the tiny chapel, due to the fact that there simply was no room.”
Saturday, November 6, 2010
We've covered his problems before. Even as he rose into the ranks of our favorite shepherds, he was ticking people off.
They reserve the altar server role to boys to encourage more seminarians. They eliminate participation by laypeople in the distribution of communion. And they preach homilies that supporters find refreshingly forthright in stressing Catholic teaching but critics find short on compassion.
St. Mary's Catholic Church in Platteville, stung by a plunge in donations following the arrival of three controversial priests, has issued an urgent plea for money to keep its parochial school open.
The 75-year-old St. Mary's Catholic School is subsidized by the church, which has seen weekly donations fall more than 50 percent in four months, said Myron Tranel, chairman of the church's finance council.
The school, with 106 K-8 students, has enough money to operate until at least January but needs an additional $200,000 to keep the facility open through the end of the school year, he said.
The financial crisis coincides with Madison Bishop Robert Morlino's decision in June to bring in three priests from the Society of Jesus Christ the Priest to lead the parish. The group is based in Spain and known for traditionalist liturgy and devotion to orthodox Catholic teaching.
Changes the priests have made, including barring girls from being altar servers, led to a petition last month signed by 469 of the church's approximately 1,200 members asking Morlino to immediately remove the priests. In a response letter to the parish last week, Morlino said the priests have his full support and will stay. He chastised parishioners for conduct he called "gravely sinful."
The priests do retain considerable support in the church.
"They're teaching morals, and that's what we need," said Barbara Splinter, a 45-year member. "They are following what I've read the pope is for, and he's our leader, so I don't know why people have a problem with it."
The priests are "being treated very terribly," she added.
Mike Worachek said he's disappointed that his fellow parishioners aren't giving the priests a chance. "I think people should grow up and face the reality that people are different and you have to accept them for what they are," he said.
It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.
Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, door-to-door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.
Friday, November 5, 2010
In a mainstream publication? Shocking, to say the least.
Everybody should take a look at this recent bit from Boniface over at Unam Sanctam. If you've ever read Malachi Martin's Windswept House (which I'm doing now and is a topic for another discussion) you'll see how scary this all is.
Yet, though these declarations will not go away, there is a way that the hierarchy has found to get around this problem. I have noticed that, in areas where the modern hierarchy takes vastly different positions than the traditional Church, novel positions are not given to the faithful by means of encyclicals or dogmatic statements, but are found throughout lower-level pronouncements, such as speeches, letters, addresses, bishops' statements etc. By repeating these novel positions again and again in very low-level pronouncements, the faithful get accustomed to hearing certain novelties "from the Church" and over time come to accept them as "Church teaching."
He uses the death penalty as a good example, which it is. Contraception would be another pretty blatant one.
Thus the strategy for "changing" Church teaching seems to be this: If you want to teach something contrary to what the Church has always taught, just do it at low enough levels of authority and eventually people will start to accept your low-level declarations as "Church teaching" if they are trumpeted about long enough.
But this is just one example. My point is that theologians, bishops, cardinals and even popes regularly teach novelties in unofficial organs with such frequency that the faithful mistake these pronouncements for the teaching of the Church. The main reason for this is a confusion between a Church official and official teaching. When an official of the Church speaks, it is taken for granted that what he is speaking is official Church teaching. . .
Thus, I fear, we have come to a place where instead of taking our bearings by teachings given ex cathedra we are now accustomed to assimilating teaching "ex voce," from statements repeated over and over again in low-level pronouncements. Novelties are put forward as teaching, absurd hypotheses are given credence and things abhorrent to the Christian faith are stated as matter of fact (a great example is Kasper's sloppy Reflections on Covenant and Mission regarding Judaism). Basically, I see a working out of the old dictum that anything repeated long enough is believed. It is really quite disingenuous, because everybody knows that lay people expect to hear official Church teaching from members of the hierarchy - the hierarchy also knows that, if they are using means of communication that are considered "low-level" in their authority, they have much more leeway to introduce their own opinions.
Thursday, November 4, 2010
From an address on the World Day of Migrants and Refugees (I didn't even know such a thing existed):
Venerable John Paul II, on the occasion of this same Day celebrated in 2001, emphasized that "[the universal common good] includes the whole family of peoples, beyond every nationalistic egoism. The right to emigrate must be considered in this context. The Church recognizes this right in every human person, in its dual aspect of the possibility to leave one’s country and the possibility to enter another country to look for better conditions of life" (Message for World Day of Migration 2001, 3; cf. John XXIII, Encyclical Mater et Magistra, 30; Paul VI, Encyclical Octogesima adveniens, 17). At the same time, States have the right to regulate migration flows and to defend their own frontiers, always guaranteeing the respect due to the dignity of each and every human person. Immigrants, moreover, have the duty to integrate into the host Country, respecting its laws and its national identity. "The challenge is to combine the welcome due to every human being, especially when in need, with a reckoning of what is necessary for both the local inhabitants and the new arrivals to live a dignified and peaceful life" (World Day of Peace 2001, 13).
I'm throwing this out there so that anyone who runs into a +Mahonyite will have something a bit more authoritative (and sane) to counter with. Cardinal Mahony's comparison of folks seeking immigration reform with the Nazis is actually taken seriously by some.
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Speaking of souls of the faithful departed:
Grieving Catholics in Baghdad marked All Saints Day in mourning on Monday for 46 Christians killed during a hostage drama with Al-Qaeda gunmen that ended in an assault by Iraqi forces backed by US troops.
Throughout the day mourners were seen carrying coffins out of the church and loading them onto vehicles for transfer to the mortuary. Most of the victims were to be buried on Tuesday.
The rescue drama on Sunday night, two months after US forces formally concluded combat operations in Iraq, ended with two priests among at least 46 slain worshippers.
"It was carnage," said Monsignor Pius Kasha, whose Syriac Catholic church was targeted by the militants. Witnesses said the assailants were armed with automatic rifles and suicide belts.
"There were less than 80 people inside the church, and only 10 to 12 escaped unhurt," Kasha said, adding that two priests were among the dead and that 25 worshippers were wounded. One priest was shot in the kidney.
An interior ministry official said 46 worshippers were killed and 60 wounded. He said more than 100 people were inside the church at the time of the attack.
Seven security members also died, the official said, adding that five attackers were killed.
Not that anybody around here cares. Not that the elections aren't big news, but spilling ink over Sarah Palin's stumping record sounds a bit ridiculous in light of the ongoing genocide of Catholics in the region.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
Rest In Peace
Indulgences are available. Take advantage. Somebody needs them. You'd want someone to do it for you.
Current regulations in force by Pope Benedict XVI
I On All Souls’ Day (Nov. 2) a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit any parish church or public oratory and there recite one Our Father and one Credo.
II On all the days from November I though November 8 inclusive, a plenary indulgence, applicable only to the Poor Souls, is granted to those who visit a cemetery and pray even if only mentally for the departed.
Conditions for both indulgences:
1. Only one plenary indulgence can be granted per day.
2. It is necessary to be in the state of grace, at least by completion of the work.
3. Freedom from attachment to sin, even venial sin, is necessary; otherwise the indulgence is only partial. (By this is meant attachment to a particular sin, not sin in general.)
4. Holy Communion must be received each time the indulgence is sought.
5. Prayers must he recited for the intentions of the Holy Father on each day the indulgence is sought. (No particular prayers are prescribed. One Our Father and one Hail Mary suffice, or other suitable prayers.
6. A sacramental concession must he made within a week of completion of the prescribed work. (One confession made during the week, made with the intention of gaining all the indulgences, suffices.)
Monday, November 1, 2010
Having recently lost two friends from my parish to another church, I can't help but wondering whether the attempt to pray, to determine what God is calling you to do, might not hide within it a great danger, the seduction of wanting God to call you away from where you are.
Let me give an example. Say I am an ordinary believer in a church. To go about the ordinary business of being a Christian is often very dry, requiring one to maintain faith even when it doesn't seem as if there are any concrete results. This is the usual state of life for most of us. But when confronted with the slow martyrdom of an ordinary life, we get bored. We lose heart. Here is where the temptation comes: What if God is calling me to change? To find a better church? Now I become important, someone who matters. Maybe God is not calling me to change, but to endure. But enduring is boring! It is seductive to consider oneself part of a grand plan that will bear visible earthly results.
The still small voice of God might be saying "Stay right where you are."