Monday, October 31, 2011

Somebody Kmiec On The Phone

Will he ever formally apologize for supporting Obama's presidency? Will any of the other Catholic leaders who have honored Obama make an act of public repentance? Looking at you there, Fr. Jenkins.

The Washington Post has decided to make the Church's conflict with the current administration a real story now. Hopefully, Catholics are paying attention.

The latest dispute centers on the Department of Health and Human Service’s decision in late September to end funding to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops to help victims of human trafficking, or modern-day slavery. The church group had overseen nationwide services to victims since 2006 but was denied a new grant in favor of three other groups.

The bishops organization, in line with the church’s teachings, had refused to refer trafficking victims for contraceptive or abortion services. The American Civil Liberties Union sued and HHS officials said they made a policy decision to award the grants to agencies that would refer women to those services.

In other words, it is the official position of the United States government that you can't help people who are victims of the slave trade unless you make sure they can get abortions and contraceptives. How insane and/or evil are these people? They are so wedded to the culture of death that they are willing to go through the effort of redirecting federal funds all in the name of making sure that we have fewer children in the world. Read the whole article and note that even people involved in the process felt like the whole thing was tainted.

Of course, that's not the only anti-Catholic initiative out there right now. You've got the mandate that employer insurance cover contraception and sterilization. You've got the Mexico City Policy. You've already had Catholic Charities curbing foster care in order to avoid having to support civil unions. It's going to get worse, and so many people don't even realize that it's that bad right now.

Has anybody coined the term "soft persecution" yet? If not, I am.

Catholics Now Permitted To Marry Fake Monarchs

Buried in all the stories about the British changing their laws about women inheriting the throne is this little nugget:

Cameron's proposed agreement will also clear the way for an heir to the throne to be able to marry a Roman Catholic and still succeed to the Crown.

"These rules are outdated and need to change," Cameron said at a news conference. "The idea that a younger son should become monarch instead of an elder daughter simply because he is a man just isn't acceptable any more. Nor does it make any sense that a potential monarch can marry someone of any faith other than Catholic."

How nice of them. Will they return all the property they stole, too? Naturally, this doesn't mean a Catholic can become the fake monarch themselves. After all, how can they defend the faith of the Anglican Communion? Not to worry, though. Once the Anglicans are done annihilating themselves, this part of the law may be ripe for reform as well.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Assisi Update

From taking a look at Boniface's latest entry at Unam Sanctam, it seems that Assisi III didn't go off without a hitch. Instead of keeping things neat and clean (as would have been possible), we wind up with a guy chanting a hymn to a pagan deity inside the Basilica. I wonder if this shmoe was asked even asked to apologize. Can you imagine what would happen if the Pope prayed to the Holy Trinity while in a synagogue? Or a mosque? Or if he had praised Christ as Savior of the world at this very meeting?

I'll tell you what would have happened. The world would have come unglued and well-nigh fainted at the temerity of the Pope to have done so. We're Catholic, though. So when somebody does this to us, we're expected to just smile and be pleased at how mutually enriched we are at having paganism proclaimed in our churches.

How revolting.


Another Rorate entry. This one says that a Nigerian bishop has given permission for one of his priests to join the SSPX. This is another huge deal. First, there was the case with that convent. Now, a canonically regular priest given the go-ahead for SSPX-dom? I can't imagine this is anything other than good news.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Assisi III

To sum up, there was no communal prayer. There also wasn't any kind of attack on religious relativism, as we had hoped for. This was pretty much the Pope having lunch with a group of non-Catholic leaders. Woopty doo. Not a success. Not a scandal. Not much else to report, in my opinion.

Friday, October 28, 2011

The Truth About Communion In The Hand

This is an awesome entry from Rorate. I've had this argument too many times to count, and it always begins and ends with this same "quote" from St. Cyril. When you mention the stuff about smearing the Precious Blood (and your spit) on your eyes and such, people swear that you are making it up, not realizing that this is all very dubious information.

Read the whole thing. Understand why it's such a big issue. The more we treat the sacred things like common things, the more apt we are to stop believing they are sacred.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Back (Sort Of)

I'll have some posts coming in over the next couple of days, but there won't be much to them. I've got several things to play catch up on, but we'll try to keep the news steady until I can comment further.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Pardon The Interruption

I'll be out for a couple of days. Some personal items have intervened that are not conducive even to the kind of mediocre blogging typically seen here (unless it's Karl posting).

I shall return in a few days.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

To Die With Purpose

As much as we might want to, probably only a few of us are brave enough to do so.

Stacie Crimm was one of those.

Stacie Crimm made the ultimate sacrifice -- and she got her dying wish. As doctors and nurses wearing protective gear looked on last month, the 41-year-old mom got to hold her newborn daughter.

Three days later, Crimm died. But her baby girl, Dottie Mae, is alive, because her mom refused the cancer-fighting treatments that might have saved her life -- and that she feared would risk the life of her unborn child.

Pray for this woman's soul and for the child she had to leave.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

Laying Caesar's Foundation

The Obama administration took another step forward in legitimizing the persecution of Catholics last week. Nobody really noticed because there really aren't a lot of people who care. I got this from Fr. Z. You can read the main article here. Basically, the Supreme Court is hearing a case about a teacher dismissed from a Lutheran school for not accepting Lutheran teachings. The subject of the Catholic priesthood came up.

Leodra Kruger, making the case for the solicitor general, questioned the “ministerial exception” directly. When questioned by Chief Justice John Roberts on whether religious groups should have the right to judge the qualifications of their own key employees, she replied: “We don't see that line of church autonomy principles in the religion clause jurisprudence as such.”

When Justice Stephen Breyer pressed the issue, asking specifically whether the Catholic Church should be allowed to bar women from the priesthood, Kruger replied: “The government's general interest in eradicating discrimination in the workplace is simply not sufficient to justify changing the way that the Catholic Church chooses its priests, based on gender roles that are rooted in religious doctrine.” But by casting her legal argument in terms of the government’s interests, rather than the unchanging language of the First Amendment, she left open the possibility that at some future date, under different circumstances, the government could side with women seeking ordination as Catholic priests.

In other words, the Obama administration thinks the only reason Catholics can have an all-male priesthood is because there isn't a big enough government interest to do so right now. That an attorney for the federal government would even consider such an argument should terrify Catholics across the country. Unfortunately, too many of us have cast our lot with Caesar to be all that concerned right now.

Sometimes change is bad, as are the hopes for such changes.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Russian Shenanigans

Per Zenit, the Russian government has refused to renew the permit for the construction of a Catholic church in Pskov. Notice in the article that construction of the church has been going on for about a decade. Note also that the reason they had to build a church in the first place is because the cathedral there has been stolen and not returned.

Everybody seems to be acting shocked about this. Why? Why is everyone so surprised? Just what have the Russians done for the True Church since Lenin took over? This is basically the same nation that, with a KGB agent as its patriarch, wouldn't even let JPII visit. They actively persecute the faithful in Ukraine. They have stolen our churches. Then, they have the temerity to wail and gnash their teeth about Catholic "proselytism," as though this is something we should be ashamed of.

Keep in mind that the most prominent rising star in the Russian hierarchy was recently nice enough to let all of us know exactly what the score is. Metropolitan Hilarion, who we've written about previously, had the following exchange with George Weigel:

Yet when I asked him whether the L’viv Sobor (Council) of 1946—which forcibly reincorporated the Greek Catholic Church of Ukraine into Russian Orthodoxy, turning the Greek Catholics into the world’s largest illegal religious body—was a “theologically legitimate ecclesial act,” Hilarion unhesitatingly responded “Yes.” I then noted that serious historians describe the L’viv Sobor as an act of the Stalinist state, carried out by the NKVD (predecessor to the KGB); Hilarion responded that the “modalities” of history are always complicated. In any event, he continued, it was always legitimate for straying members of the Russian Orthodox flock (as he regarded the Ukrainian Greek Catholics) to return to their true home (i.e., Russian Orthodoxy).

Throughout the meeting, Hilarion smoothly but unmistakably tried to drive a wedge between Pope Benedict XVI and Pope John Paul II (whom two patriarchs of Moscow, both KGB-connected, refused to invite to Russia). He also suggested that Benedict’s calls for a “new evangelization” in Europe, including a recovery of classic Christian morality, could be addressed by joint Catholic-Russian Orthodoxy initiatives. Yet, in what seemed a strange lack of reciprocity, Hilarion also spoke as if the entirety of the former “Soviet space” is the exclusive ecclesial turf of the Russian Orthodox patriarchate of Moscow.

I have issues with Weigel, but holy smokes. People better wake the hell up on this kind of thing. The Russians are not our friends and are basically telling the world that if they have to liquidate the Catholic Church and persecute Her children in the name of maintaining Orthodox authority in Russia, they are very comfortable doing that. It's not just us on the line here either. Let's not forget that Russia is positioning itself to replace Constantinople when the Turks finally wipe that see off the ecclesiological map. I wonder how the rest of the East is going to handle that. I'm guessing it doesn't go over particularly well given that Russia's history is not all that friendly to the other sees. Just ignore the Ukrainian situation. Think Estonia, for example.

This is all bad stuff, but nobody should wring their hands and pretend like it isn't completely expected either.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

And Off The Cliff They Go

In prior posts, we've referenced the lemming-ish habits of the Protestant ecclesial communities. After having their national assembly vote last year to allow for openly homosexual ministers, the first such type was finally ordained earlier this week.

A Wisconsin man who left his Presbyterian ministry in California more than 20 years ago after telling his congregation that he is gay was welcomed back into the church leadership on Saturday as its first openly gay ordained minister.

In a quavering voice ripe with emotion, 56-year-old Scott Anderson told the hundreds of friends and backers who packed Covenant Presbyterian Church in Madison for his ordination ceremony that he never thought the day would come.

"To the thousands of Presbyterians who have worked and prayed for almost 40 years for this day, I give thanks," Anderson said. "And I give thanks for those who disagree with what we're doing today yet who know that we are one in Jesus Christ."

Another slap in the face to Truth. This was the best part, though.

When he was presented to the crowd, audience members gave him a thunderous standing ovation and began roaring with cheers.

"That was very atypical of Presbyterians," Doug Poland, an elder at Covenant Presbyterian Church, told the Wisconsin State Journal. "Usually our hands are in our laps."

Makes me wonder how many spins in his grave Calvin did on this. It's true, though. You usually can't get Presbyterians to show that kind of reaction in church. For them to provide it for something like this is beyond weird.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Speaking Of Young Christians...

This Huffington Post article tries to explain why they lose their faith.

Here's the nutshell account:

New research by the Barna Group finds they view churches as judgmental, overprotective, exclusive and unfriendly towards doubters. They also consider congregations antagonistic to science and say their Christian experience has been shallow.

Let's take a look at how these things break down exactly.

One in four 18- to 29-year-olds said "Christians demonize everything outside of the church."

Gee, maybe because some things are demonic. Really though, this is probably more reflective of wanting to sin and not get called on it.

One in three said "Church is boring."

Translation: Entertainment is most important.

One in six young Christians said they "have made mistakes and feel judged in church because of them."

This is everyone's fault. The odd thing is that it seems there's just as much judgement outside of religious congregations on this front. There's also the curious phenomenon of those outside Christianity judging (dare I say "demonizing"?) everything within it.

And 40 percent of 18- to 29-year-old Catholics said their church's doctrine on sexuality and birth control is "out of date."

Which is really just another species of wanting to sin freely.

Ultimately, the article misses the underlying cause behind all these reasons. It seems the real reason these young people lose their faith is because it tells them they aren't God. They aren't the center of the universe. Things are not ordered to their whims. They are not the final arbiters of what is good and evil.

Basically, non serviam.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's Hard Out Here For A Priest

Rorate has reproduced some comments by Bishop Guy de Kerimel of Grenoble-Vienne. They are somewhat lengthy, so I'll refer you to the link. Please read them. We should call them to mind when we find ourselves complaining about a priest who somehow doesn't meet our own nitpicking standards. I would add to his list any negative comments about a priest's accent.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Why Young Christians Aren't Waiting Anymore

This topic is examined over at the CNN religion blog. In an article of almost 500 words, the word "sin" isn't mentioned once. I get the cultural factors and everything else, but is it possible that fornication happens more because people just don't think it's wrong and dangerous to their immortal souls?

Rough Readings

There's been a few of these lately. It makes you wonder how folks came up with the image of Hippie Jesus. Consider today:

But when the king came in to meet the guests,
he saw a man there not dressed in a wedding garment.
The king said to him, 'My friend, how is it
that you came in here without a wedding garment?'
But he was reduced to silence.
Then the king said to his attendants, 'Bind his hands and feet,
and cast him into the darkness outside,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.'
Many are invited, but few are chosen."

Cast into the outer darkness. Over the wrong garment. Now, I realize there are meanings beyond the literal, but it still sounds harsh by modern standards, especially given that so many seem to ignore that there's an outer darkness in the first place.

It does seem instructive about the proper attire for Mass as well, though.

Or Friday's reading from the Book of Joel:

Gird yourselves and weep, O priests!
wail, O ministers of the altar!
Come, spend the night in sackcloth,
O ministers of my God!
The house of your God is deprived
of offering and libation.
Proclaim a fast,
call an assembly;
Gather the elders,
all who dwell in the land,
Into the house of the LORD, your God,
and cry to the LORD!

Alas, the day!
for near is the day of the LORD,
and it comes as ruin from the Almighty.

This seems so much like a message for today that it's freaky.

Or the Gospel from the week ago:

But when the tenants saw the son, they said to one another,
'This is the heir.
Come, let us kill him and acquire his inheritance.'
They seized him, threw him out of the vineyard, and killed him.
What will the owner of the vineyard do to those tenants when he comes?"
They answered him,
"He will put those wretched men to a wretched death
and lease his vineyard to other tenants
who will give him the produce at the proper times."

Lots of stuff in here. Maybe the most glaring thing is to remember that our Lord is infinitely loving. This doesn't make Him lacking in justice, nor does it exempt us from taking His commands seriously.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Jesuits Cry: Save The Altar Girls

You might wonder why America magazine is making such a petition. When you read the article in question, it's basically because, sadly, they are just looking for a way to justify being heretics.

We know that the Holy Father is aware of what this publication stands for. Otherwise, Fr. Reese would still be in prominence. My wondering is why Pope Benedict even lets such a brood of vipers exist in the first place. Wheat and tares, I suppose.

The minute a bunch of alleged Catholics try to relegate dogma to the level of "policy," though, we should also inquire as to where the priests and bishops are who would challenge this attempt to poison their readers' souls.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Unintended Consequences

At some point, you'd think people would just acknowledge that maybe the Church is on to something. From the NYT:

Contraceptive Used in Africa May Double Risk of H.I.V.

The most popular contraceptive for women in eastern and southern Africa, a hormone shot given every three months, appears to double the risk the women will become infected with H.I.V., according to a large study published Monday. And when it is used by H.I.V.-positive women, their male partners are twice as likely to become infected than if the women had used no contraception.

The findings potentially present an alarming quandary for women in Africa. Hundreds of thousands of them suffer injuries, bleeding, infections and even death in childbirth from unintended pregnancies. Finding affordable and convenient contraceptives is a pressing goal for international health authorities.

Now, if everybody wants to be fair, shouldn't the people behind this contraceptive method be excoriated for basically committing, at best, negligent homicide and all kinds of other crimes against humanity? Considering the litany of absurd slanders hurled at Pope Benedict for allegedly contributing to the HIV epidemic, isn't that the least the press could do? Maybe just try to show some objectivity, guys. Just once.

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Triumph Of The Church

White founts falling in the Courts of the sun,
And the Soldan of Byzantium is smiling as they run;
There is laughter like the fountains in that face of all men feared,
It stirs the forest darkness, the darkness of his beard;
It curls the blood-red crescent, the crescent of his lips;
For the inmost sea of all the earth is shaken with his ships.
They have dared the white republics up the capes of Italy,
They have dashed the Adriatic round the Lion of the Sea,
And the Pope has cast his arms abroad for agony and loss,
And called the kings of Christendom for swords about the Cross.
The cold queen of England is looking in the glass;
The shadow of the Valois is yawning at the Mass;
From evening isles fantastical rings faint the Spanish gun,
And the Lord upon the Golden Horn is laughing in the sun.

Dim drums throbbing, in the hills half heard,
Where only on a nameless throne a crownless prince has stirred,
Where, risen from a doubtful seat and half attainted stall,
The last knight of Europe takes weapons from the wall,
The last and lingering troubadour to whom the bird has sung,
That once went singing southward when all the world was young.
In that enormous silence, tiny and unafraid,
Comes up along a winding road the noise of the Crusade.
Strong gongs groaning as the guns boom far,
Don John of Austria is going to the war,
Stiff flags straining in the night-blasts cold
In the gloom black-purple, in the glint old-gold,
Torchlight crimson on the copper kettle-drums,
Then the tuckets, then the trumpets, then the cannon, and he comes.
Don John laughing in the brave beard curled,
Spurning of his stirrups like the thrones of all the world,
Holding his head up for a flag of all the free.
Love-light of Spain--hurrah!
Death-light of Africa!
Don John of Austria
Is riding to the sea.

Mahound is in his paradise above the evening star,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
He moves a mighty turban on the timeless houri's knees,
His turban that is woven of the sunsets and the seas.
He shakes the peacock gardens as he rises from his ease,
And he strides among the tree-tops and is taller than the trees;
And his voice through all the garden is a thunder sent to bring
Black Azrael and Ariel and Ammon on the wing.
Giants and the Genii,
Multiplex of wing and eye,
Whose strong obedience broke the sky
When Solomon was king.

They rush in red and purple from the red clouds of the morn,
From the temples where the yellow gods shut up their eyes in scorn;
They rise in green robes roaring from the green hells of the sea
Where fallen skies and evil hues and eyeless creatures be,
On them the sea-valves cluster and the grey sea-forests curl,
Splashed with a splendid sickness, the sickness of the pearl;
They swell in sapphire smoke out of the blue cracks of the ground,--
They gather and they wonder and give worship to Mahound.
And he saith, "Break up the mountains where the hermit-folk can hide,
And sift the red and silver sands lest bone of saint abide,
And chase the Giaours flying night and day, not giving rest,
For that which was our trouble comes again out of the west.
We have set the seal of Solomon on all things under sun,
Of knowledge and of sorrow and endurance of things done.
But a noise is in the mountains, in the mountains, and I know
The voice that shook our palaces--four hundred years ago:
It is he that saith not 'Kismet'; it is he that knows not Fate;
It is Richard, it is Raymond, it is Godfrey at the gate!
It is he whose loss is laughter when he counts the wager worth,
Put down your feet upon him, that our peace be on the earth."
For he heard drums groaning and he heard guns jar,
(Don John of Austria is going to the war.)
Sudden and still--hurrah!
Bolt from Iberia!
Don John of Austria
Is gone by Alcalar.

St. Michaels on his Mountain in the sea-roads of the north
(Don John of Austria is girt and going forth.)
Where the grey seas glitter and the sharp tides shift
And the sea-folk labour and the red sails lift.
He shakes his lance of iron and he claps his wings of stone;
The noise is gone through Normandy; the noise is gone alone;
The North is full of tangled things and texts and aching eyes,
And dead is all the innocence of anger and surprise,
And Christian killeth Christian in a narrow dusty room,
And Christian dreadeth Christ that hath a newer face of doom,
And Christian hateth Mary that God kissed in Galilee,--
But Don John of Austria is riding to the sea.
Don John calling through the blast and the eclipse
Crying with the trumpet, with the trumpet of his lips,
Trumpet that sayeth ha!
Domino gloria!
Don John of Austria
Is shouting to the ships.

King Philip's in his closet with the Fleece about his neck
(Don John of Austria is armed upon the deck.)
The walls are hung with velvet that is black and soft as sin,
And little dwarfs creep out of it and little dwarfs creep in.
He holds a crystal phial that has colours like the moon,
He touches, and it tingles, and he trembles very soon,
And his face is as a fungus of a leprous white and grey
Like plants in the high houses that are shuttered from the day,
And death is in the phial and the end of noble work,
But Don John of Austria has fired upon the Turk.
Don John's hunting, and his hounds have bayed--
Booms away past Italy the rumour of his raid.
Gun upon gun, ha! ha!
Gun upon gun, hurrah!
Don John of Austria
Has loosed the cannonade.

The Pope was in his chapel before day or battle broke,
(Don John of Austria is hidden in the smoke.)
The hidden room in man's house where God sits all the year,
The secret window whence the world looks small and very dear.
He sees as in a mirror on the monstrous twilight sea
The crescent of his cruel ships whose name is mystery;
They fling great shadows foe-wards, making Cross and Castle dark,
They veil the plum├Ęd lions on the galleys of St. Mark;
And above the ships are palaces of brown, black-bearded chiefs,
And below the ships are prisons, where with multitudinous griefs,
Christian captives sick and sunless, all a labouring race repines
Like a race in sunken cities, like a nation in the mines.
They are lost like slaves that sweat, and in the skies of morning hung
The stair-ways of the tallest gods when tyranny was young.
They are countless, voiceless, hopeless as those fallen or fleeing on
Before the high Kings' horses in the granite of Babylon.
And many a one grows witless in his quiet room in hell
Where a yellow face looks inward through the lattice of his cell,
And he finds his God forgotten, and he seeks no more a sign--
(But Don John of Austria has burst the battle-line!)
Don John pounding from the slaughter-painted poop,
Purpling all the ocean like a bloody pirate's sloop,
Scarlet running over on the silvers and the golds,
Breaking of the hatches up and bursting of the holds,
Thronging of the thousands up that labour under sea
White for bliss and blind for sun and stunned for liberty.

Vivat Hispania!
Domino Gloria!
Don John of Austria
Has set his people free!

Cervantes on his galley sets the sword back in the sheath
(Don John of Austria rides homeward with a wreath.)
And he sees across a weary land a straggling road in Spain,
Up which a lean and foolish knight for ever rides in vain,
And he smiles, but not as Sultans smile, and settles back the blade....
(But Don John of Austria rides home from the Crusade.)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Italian Worshiper Tears Both Eyes Out at Mass

Holy smokes.

An Italian man tore both of his eyes out in the middle of the priest's homily at a church near Pisa, according to reports.

Fellow parishioners watched in horror as Aldo Bianchini, 46, used his bare hands to pull out both eyeballs. Bianchini later told surgeons, who were unable to save his vision, he heard voices that told him to do it.

"He was in a great deal of agony and he was covered in blood," Dr. Gino Barbacci told the Daily Mail. "He said that he had used his bare hands to gouge out his eye balls after hearing voices telling him to do so - to do something like that requires super human strength."

Somebody get Fr. Amorth on the phone. I'm thinking this guy is a candidate.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Possible Eucharistic Miracle In Poland

Weird seeing a story like this on Yahoo. Apparently, this was back in 2008. Now, you've got physicians confirming that the spot is cardiac muscle.

Roman Catholics in Poland gathered Sunday for a special Mass celebrating what they see as a miracle: the appearance on a communion wafer of a dark spot that they are convinced is part of the heart of Jesus.

The communion wafer in question developed a brown spot in 2008 after falling on the floor during a Mass in the eastern Polish town of Sokolka. Two medical doctors determined that the spot was heart muscle tissue, church officials have said.

Bialystok Archbishop Edward Ozorowski said during the Mass that in history, the "substance of Christ's body or blood has become available to the human senses, and this also happened in Sokolka.

"For God, nothing is impossible," Ozorowski said.

The dark-spotted wafer was carried aloft in a reliquary by a golden-robed priest in a procession and was put on display in the town's church of St. Anthony as about 1,000 faithful looked on, according to a report and footage carried by the TV station TVN...

The wafer was dropped by a priest celebrating communion in 2008. In accordance with church practice, the priest placed the wafer in water to dissolve it. Several days later a nun found that the wafer had not dissolved completely, and found a red mark on it.

These always make for great stories. What makes them even better are the efforts of the unbelievers to explain the whole thing away. In true Agent Scully fashion:

A group of rationalists complained about the matter in 2008, and called on authorities to investigate if a murder or other crime was involved if human flesh was indeed found on the wafer. Police say they have no evidence of any crime.

Think about that. These folks seem to be saying that it's more likely than some sort of murder, of which there has never been any proof, occurred in this church building on the exact spot where the Host fell than there being an Almighty God who worked a miracle.

And they say we religious folks ignore evidence. Geez.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Catholics Protest Catholics Taking Over Their Parish

Am I reading this right? It looks like the Archdiocese of Boston is selling a parish to the Syro-Malabar authority, and the current parishioners are protesting.

The Boston Archdiocese announced Saturday that it had sold the properties of a Framingham parish that's been occupied by protesters since it was closed six years ago, but the protesters said they won't leave.

The archdiocese announced the sale of St. Jeremiah's church building, parking lot and rectory for $2 million to the Syro-Malabar diocese, a part of the Eastern Catholic Church that shares the same fundamental doctrines as the Roman Catholic Church. The archdiocese said it would put the proceeds into its remaining parishes.

"The completion of this transaction provides the Syro-Malabar community a much needed location for their parishioners," said the Rev. Walter J. Edyvean, the archdiocese's auxiliary bishop for its western region.

Protesters said they didn't know when the sale was coming, but the deal itself was no surprise. The archdiocese said this summer that the deal was in the works, and a Syro-Malabar priest has been leading a Sunday Mass at the Framingham church since 2008, with Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley's permission.

I understand that they are working through appeals and stuff. Not to sound harsh, but maybe they should be happy that the parish is being taken over by other Catholics, as opposed to being turned into a community center or even a mosque. Maybe they could learn something about the universality of the Church by attending the Syro-Malabar liturgy.

Given what I've seen happen to other closed parishes, I'd be thrilled just to know that there's not going be one less place for the Eucharist. I get how someone might be upset over all this. It just seems like there must be more to the story.

Carmody said archdiocesan officials have made it clear that they hope parishioners can find a new home within the archdiocese. But she said that betrays a basic misunderstanding about the protesters: They aren't trying to save their church buildings; they're trying to save their community.

"What matters is community, what matters is the people you worship with, and that you love, and you care for and you provide for as a community," she said. "When you destroy that community, you destroy people where they live their faith."

Really? What is it about this that will destroy your community? You're getting a Catholic parish to replace your Catholic parish. You might not prefer the liturgical practices, but that's a pretty common thing nowadays. I'd rather attend a TLM. My wife would like to go to the Divine Liturgy. Neither of these is practical, so we attend a Pauline Mass. We're just glad to have one in the area at all.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Fr. Jenkins Is Worried Now

He wasn't all that worried about having a US President who was ok with babies being killed whether in the womb or born alive. After all, he was so secure with having such an individual in authority that he gave him a public platform and an honorary degree. Once he initiated all that mythical dialogue, what else was there to do? He had friends in high places now.

It's a bit more complicated now.

As you've probably heard, President Obama and HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius (an alleged Catholic) are planning to force health plans to cover contraception and sterilization services. This includes health plans provided by Catholic employers. Like ND.

In response to this, Fr. Jenkins has written a letter to Sec. Sebelius asking for this to be reconsidered and that an acceptable conscience clause be included. Fr. Jenkins makes multiple references to Obama's graduation address. I suppose this is to remind the secretary how tight he and the president are. He even makes mention of how Obama himself called for a reasonable conscience clause in his speech. Except that he didn't. At least not in this context. I'm waiting for Obama to make the distinction. "Oh, sorry about that, John. I meant conscience clauses for ABORTION. You thought I meant conscience clauses for everything? Aww. That's too bad."

It must really stink to be in Fr. Jenkins's position. Maybe now he realizes that he has no currency to barter with these people. There won't be any dialogue because they are our adversaries. They seek to destroy the Church or, at bare minimum, remake it into their own images. It's good to see him getting back in the game, albeit late and perhaps not at the needed level just yet. Way better than where he was, though.

Two cities, Fr. Jenkins. We can only belong to one. What would you fight for?

Accordingly, two cities have been formed by two loves: the earthly by the love of self, even to the contempt of God; the heavenly by the love of God, even to the contempt of self. The former, in a word, glories in itself, the latter in the Lord. For the one seeks glory from men; but the greatest glory of the other is God, the witness of conscience. The one lifts up its head in its own glory; the other says to its God, "Thou art my glory, and the lifter up of mine head." In the one, the princes and the nations it subdues are ruled by the love of ruling; in the other, the princes and the subjects serve one another in love, the latter obeying, while the former take thought for all.

St. Augustine, City of God

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Do You Worry About Your Soul?

Noting some recent exchanges, not mention imams from ostensibly Catholic universities telling us that "the spirit of God dwells in all of us," I've been considering how little people seem to be concerned about their own salvation. It's taken pretty much as a given, regardless of their religious affiliation or beliefs. The only people less concerned about their final destination than your average believer are folks who don't believe in an afterlife at all. And forget about being worried about someone else's salvation.

Typically, I see folks quote something like this as to why they aren't worried. It's from today's Second Reading:

Brothers and sisters:
Have no anxiety at all, but in everything,
by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving,
make your requests known to God.
Then the peace of God that surpasses all understanding
will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.

Phillipians 4:6-7

This is the same St. Paul who, in the same letter just a couple of chapters earlier, told his readers to work out their salvation with "fear and trembling." It seems pretty clear then that St. Paul isn't saying that fear has no place in the salvation equation.

Just thinking about the saints of the past, some of the holiest people who have ever lived have been stricken with crushing doubts about how they would die and their place in eternity. This got some mainstream coverage back when Mother Teresa's letter were published a few years ago. You hear stories about St. Alphonsus, St. Therese, St. Teresa, and others who passed through an incredible amount of torment over this issue.

Are we somehow better than them that we should have no such concerns? Do we do our neighbors a favor by not praying for their conversion? Is it charity to congratulate others on their errors or lack of faith? Or to simply assume they are ok and go on about our business without comment?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

More On Assisi III

The Eponymous Flower has been keeping tabs on some of the news leading up to the next Assisi Meeting. As cringe-inducing as the prior events were, things are shaping up to be way different this time.

First, Cardinal Koch has gone on record as saying there will be no communal prayer at the event. This is a relief and has lent credence to an earlier report, which I admit I had discounted, that the Holy Father is actually going to use the meeting to attack religious relativism.

These would be hugely positive things. One can only imagine the SSPX response. Even moreso, the secular media reaction will be vicious beyond anything we've seen recently. I'm willing to suppose that it might wind up worse than anything I've seen in my lifetime. If you thought the criticisms relating to the Traditional Latin Mass or even sex abuse cases was bad, these will be all-out attacks. Unfortunately, I'm sure a lot of them will be coming from Catholics as well.