Tuesday, January 29, 2008
The Homosexual Collective Meets Once Again to Declare that they Have No Free Will and are Pre-Destined to be Homosexuals Forever
Clayton Emmer who used to live in the Twin Cities and who has taken his blog, The Weight of Glory, to Hollywood, has posted a snippet on the activities of the "homosexual collective" here in years past. They have a rally tonight at their world headquarters at Lake Street and 13th Avenue S. in Minneapolis.
Clayton defends Courage, the Catholic spiritual support group for those with same sex attraction, against the dogmatic teachings of homosexuals that it is impossible for a homosexual to cease participating in homosexual activities. They find themselves to be akin to fruit flies, things whose activities can be predictably forecast.
What a sad belief system: they think they are trapped in the bodies of creatures that are slaves to behavior whose primary goal in life is to pursue sexual pleasure. Just like animals, but usually without the procreation.
Yet some profess to believe in God. But they don't believe that "all things are possible with God."
Read Clayton's post here.
Monday, January 28, 2008
t goes without saying that the annual March for Life is one of the most exciting and unifying events in the international movement to defend life. 100,000+ pro-lifers converged on our nation’s capital this week, more than half of whom were under the age of 25, and declared that the slaughter of the innocents is never going to be accepted as a permanent institution in our nation. Abortion-promoters would be hard-pressed to show the world that they could sustain such a massive public movement in their favor for 35 straight years. I can only say, “Bravo!” to all the people—especially the kids—who made great sacrifices to join us in Washington this week.
It also goes without saying that the little tin gods in the media did their level best to ignore and obfuscate this colossal event. When the homosexual propaganda film star, Heath Ledger, died of a drug overdose on two nights before the March, that provided the hedonistic media the perfect reason to wail and gnash their teeth for a prolonged period of time about their immoral agenda and derail coverage of the life event. I will pray for Mr. Ledger’s immortal soul, but at the same time his death is a study in contrasts with the March for Life. The Brokeback Mountain star was only 28 at the time of his demise. It was his massage therapist who discovered his body that morning. A thumbnail sketch of his adult life might look something like this: Hollywood glitter, money and status, cohabitating with a girlfriend, a child out of wedlock, an activist for an immoral lifestyle, drug overdose and then death at a very young age. It’s a real tragedy, but the culture of hedonism and death was dramatically played against the culture of life and life in Washington DC that day.
Not to be outdone by the godless media, the Planned Parenthood in Schenectady, NY also staged its own drama of the absurd. They dedicated a new 18,000 square foot killing center that day and had three members of the abortion “clergy” come out and “bless” it! What I have always said about abortion as a demonic religion was on graphic display in NY as we were marching for life in DC. Two “ministers” came to do the blessing from a “reformed” church—their view of “reform” is obviously different than ours. The (male) reverend used the occasion to proudly announce a new doctrine to the three dozen devotees of sacred abortion: the right to privacy is endowed by God, he said. Now, we cannot even find the “right to privacy” in the US Constitution and yet this fellow makes a new religious right out of whole cloth. Don’t ask the demonic religion for a good grounding in history or logic. The other abortion clergyman was a rabbi who blew the shofar as a way to show support for reproductive rights. Our friend Rabbi Yehuda Levin who blows the shofar most years at the March for Life will have a field day with that one.
The most absurd aspect of the blessing ceremony, however, was when the Rev. Larry Phillips of Schenectady's Emmanuel-Friedens Church led the congregation outside to lay hands on the brick and mortar and to declare that the killing center was “sacred ground.” Ugh. The hierarchy (Planned Parenthood), the acolytes (clinic workers), the congregation (supporters) and the ministers were all at the abortion temple that day worshipping the god of abortion. And the demons were so pleased.
St. Paul reminds us in Ephesians 6 that our battle is not against flesh and blood. It is against the principalities and powers of this world of darkness. The darkness is spreading, but the Light of Christ shines forth in all those wonderful kids and their parents that showed the world that life will win in the end.
“The light shines on in darkness, a darkness that did not overcome it.” (Jn 1:5)
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Sunday, January 27, 2008
Frances Kissling, a fellow at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, is the former president of Catholics for a Free Choice. Kate Michelman is the former president of NARAL Pro-Choice America and the author of "Protecting the Right to Choose."
LA Times: Thirty-five years ago, the Supreme Court affirmed in Roe vs. Wade that women have a fundamental right to choose abortion without government interference. Now, on this anniversary of that landmark decision, the United States has some of the most restrictive policies on abortion in the developed world. In contrast to Europe, the U.S. forbids the use of federal funds for abortions, and the Supreme Court has upheld state laws that require parental consent or notification, mandatory waiting periods and antiabortion counseling. The court's 2007 decision on so-called partial-birth abortions was an unprecedented infringement on physician autonomy.
Since Roe, U.S. public opinion has been relatively stable and favorable to legal abortion. Early efforts to overturn Roe failed miserably. Given this reality, the anti-choice movement changed tactics. It no longer focused primarily on banning abortions but concentrated on restricting the circumstances under which abortion would be available. It succeeded in shifting public attention from broad support for legal abortion to strong support for restricting access. Twenty years ago, being pro-life was déclassé. Now it is a respectable point of view.
How did this happen? Did the pro-choice movement fail? Or did those opposed to abortion simply respond more effectively to the changing science as well as the social shift from the rights rage of the '60s to the responsibility culture of the '90s?
In the 1970s, the arguments were simple and polarized: Abortion was either murder or a woman's right to control her body. The fetus, however, stayed largely invisible. The pro-choice movement stayed on the message offensive, tactically shifting in 1989 from women's bodies to the "who decides" question posed by NARAL Pro-Choice America. But this was rapidly parried by the anti-choice demand that we look at what was being decided, not just who was deciding.
Science facilitated the swing of the pendulum. Three-dimensional ultrasound images of babies in utero began to grace the family fridge. Fetuses underwent surgery. More premature babies survived and were healthier. They commanded our attention, and the question of what we owe them, if anything, could not be dismissed.
These trends gave antiabortionists an advantage, and they made the best of it. Now, we rarely hear them talk about murdering babies. Instead, they present a sophisticated philosophical and political challenge. Caring societies, they say, seek to expand inclusion into "the human community." Those once excluded, such as women and minorities, are now equal. Why not welcome the fetus (who, after all, is us) into our community?
Advocates of choice have had a hard time dealing with the increased visibility of the fetus. The preferred strategy is still to ignore it and try to shift the conversation back to women. At times, this makes us appear insensitive, a bit too pragmatic in a world where the desire to live more communitarian and "life-affirming" lives is palpable. To some people, pro-choice values seem to have been unaffected by the desire to save the whales and the trees, to respect animal life and to end violence at all levels. Pope John Paul II got that, and coined the term "culture of life." President Bush adopted it, and the slogan, as much as it pains us to admit it, moved some hearts and minds. Supporting abortion is tough to fit into this package.
At the same time, women and their decisions have come under ever more powerful microscopes. The specter of women forced into back alleys as a result of a one-time "mistake" has been replaced with hard questions about why women get pregnant when they don't want to have babies.
In recent years, the antiabortion movement successfully put the nitty-gritty details of abortion procedures on public display, increasing the belief that abortion is serious business and that some societal involvement is appropriate. Those who are pro-choice have not convinced America that we support a public discussion of the moral dimensions of abortion. Likewise, we haven't convinced people that we are the ones actually doing things to make it possible for women to avoid needing abortions.
Let's face it: Disapproval of women's sexuality is a historical constant. So our claim that women can be trusted still falls on deaf ears. And when the choice movement seems to defend every individual abortion decision, rather than the right to make the decision, it too becomes suspect.
If pro-choice values are to regain the moral high ground, genuine discussion about these challenges needs to take place within the movement. It is inadequate to try to message our way out of this problem. Our vigorous defense of the right to choose needs to be accompanied by greater openness regarding the real conflict between life and choice, between rights and responsibility. It is time for a serious reassessment of how to think about abortion in a world that is radically changed from 1973.
Monday, January 21, 2008
Dawn Eden, author of the book, "The Thrill of the Chaste", and the blog, "The Dawn Patrol", encountered a pro-life volunteer in Washington D.C. who was there for the Pro-Life March tomorrow. The volunteer, Mary Margaret, is a convert to Catholicism and is the daughter of Chief Justice Warren Burger of the U.S. Supreme Court, a St Paul native, who presided over the Roe v. Wade decision in 1973. Abortions at any time during the gestation of the fetus were approved on a 7 to 2 vote of the justices (if that incongruous word might be used).
Dawn's post is HERE.
It is extremely interesting that "Jane Roe", the plaintiff in the case, whose real name is Norma McCorvey, also became a Catholic convert and is also now a pro-life activist.
Saturday, January 19, 2008
At the parish where I normally attend Mass the servers are very poorly trained, and it's apparent almost every Sunday when Father has to correct them or have them do something they had forgotten. Partly it is poor training done by a lay person, rather than by a priest or a nun. Mostly it's because they don't have much to do. They sit, bored, in chairs off to the side for most of the Mass. When they do have something to do, they end up casually walking around the altar like they were setting the dining room table at their homes.
Well a couple of Sundays ago, the servers forgot to give the unconsecrated communion hosts to Father at the Offertory for consecration. It was a retired priest filling in that day. When he got to the part of the Mass where he was going to give the consecrated hosts to the EMHC's, he realized that he hadn't consecrated any. They had been left on the credence table. To be consecrated, they have to be on the altar in front of the priest, not 20 feet away from him. Fortunately, there was a ciborium in the tabernacle that had a sufficient number of consecrated hosts and he was able to use those for Communion. Had there not been, he would have had to go back and re-do the Consecration. I doubt that the servers even now know what was happening.
In my youth, we attended St Anthony of Padua, a parish in Duluth on the East Hillside that mostly was a lower middle class and somewhat poor congregation. Most people walked to church, some because the parking lot was too small, many because they didn't own cars.
Mass was celebrated seven days a week, twice during the week when school was in session, only once during the summer. Altar boys were needed for all those Masses. Sixth, Seventh and Eighth grade boys were the servers and I suppose about half or more of the boys volunteered, some at the insistence of their parents, I suppose. Fourteen Masses a week were celebrated by our pastor and his assistant when school was in session, needing about 30 boys a week (two for each low Mass and four for the last Mass on Sunday which was a High Mass with Benediction. So you might have served Mass twice a month or so (more at Christmas and Holy Week).
The first thing we had to do was memorize the Latin responses to the Mass. We stayed after school a day or two a week and worked with an older altar boy on the memorization. That probably took a month or two. The "Confiteor" ("I Confess to Almighty God"), because it was so long and the "Suscipiat" ("May the Lord receive the Sacrifice from thy hands"), because of the tough Latin words, were the most difficult to memorize. The priest alone said the "Gloria" and the "Credo" (Creed) when they were to be said.
Once we had mastered the Latin (correct pronunciation and all the words, but not any understanding
The parish only had two employees besides the pastor and his assistant: The janitor and the housekeeper, both of whom seemed to be about 90 years old, to someone my age. The housekeeper laid out the celebrant's vestments for the day and probably refreshed the water and wine cruets. The janitor's main duties for Mass was to ring the bells about 15 minutes before them. One day as we walked up the steps to the sacristy (the church was on the second floor of the school building), I noticed that there was a hole in the floor next to the bell rope. It turned out that the day before, when the janitor was ringing the bell, the "clapper" broke free of the bell and crashed through three or more floors. If the clapper had been a foot or two further from the wall, the janitor would have been a goner. As it was he probably added another five years to his age.
There was a schedule in the sacristy with the server duty dates. And to make sure that the altar boys showed up on time, there was a tradition (little "t") that whoever arrived first had (a) first choice of cassocks (many of us were the same size and some had missing buttons, etc.); (b) since all boys love fire, got to light the candles (two at a Low Mass, six at a High Mass); the first experienced server got to handle the censer (the thurible, incense burner); the second experienced server to arrive got the boat (the incense container) at Benediction; or, during Lent, carry the processional crucifix during the Friday Stations of the Cross at the end of the school day.
Out on the altar, the first to arrive knelt at Father's right, the Epistle side of the altar, and handled the bells. This was as great as fire, especially on Holy Saturday during the Gloria when bell ringing was resumed after a period of no music or bells after the Holy Thursday service. You got to ring the bells during the entire Gloria as it was sung by the choir! Great stuff!
The second experienced server to arrive knelt at Father's left and he got to move the "Mass Book", what we now call the "Sacramentary" from the Epistle Side to the Gospel Side after the reading of the Epistle, and then back again after Communion. That was great too, except for one time when a boy who lived behind us, a couple of years younger than me, stepped on his cassock as he was moving from the Epistle side to the Gospel side and tumbled down the three steps leading to the altar. How mortifying! Fortunately, he wasn't hurt and the Holy Ghost (that was His name in those days) must have intervened because I never heard one mention of the incident at school the next day. But Billy (that was the altar boy's name) must still cringe with embarassment to this day).
Having gotten outfitted correctly, lit the candles, watched Father say his prayers and put on his vestments, we proceeded out to the altar from the sacristy (there was no procession from the back of the church in those days. "Where did that ugly word "narthex" come from? The same place where "ambo" came from, I would bet).
If it was a high Mass, the two extra servers generally (except for major Feasts like Christmas, and Holy Week) would be younger boys who were still in training and the nuns would watch to see how they did). But the name of the game from then on was "choreography." We did everything together, either with Father, or with each other: stand, kneel, genuflect, sit (during the sermon, not homily), etc. This reverential posturing was extremely important for the Mass to be offered properly. And we were right out there kneeling on the bottom step of the altar, not sitting off to the side with our legs crossed and arms folded. Any fidgeting would be duly noted by the nuns in the first row who had an unobstructed view of us.
At the Offertory, the Epistle Side server brought the wine cruet and the Gospel Side server brought the water cruet to the priest, together, of course, then they, respectively, brought the water and the glass dish and hand towel to the priest for the "Lavabo" ("I will wash my hands among the innocent"). My Dad told me that when he was an altar boy, it was not unknown during Prohibition in the 1920s that a priest would need two cruets of wine to get him through a Mass.
From then on, the Mass was pretty much as it is now except that there was no "Handshake of Peace" and no Communion standing in line for "in the hand" reception. All the churches had altar rails and people would process down the center aisle and kneel at the rail as the previous person left it to return to their pew. The celebrant was accompanied by the Gospel Side server, walking backward, who carred a gold paten with a handle and who placed it under the chin of the Communion recipient to catch the host or crumbs should they fall as the Priest placed it on the tongue. I never saw that happen. But occasionally, if you happened to notice that a friend was kneeling in front of you, you might accidentally nick his Adam's apple.
In those days not everybody received Communion at every Mass. The only exceptions would be Christmas, Easter or after the occasional Parish Mission. But occasionally the assistant pastor would be there to help distribute Communion, using the second server with a paten.
At our High Mass on Sundays, the assistant would show up in the back of the church to watch what he would term the "St. Anthony's Track Club" as they hightailed it out of church before the Benediction. He would regularly preach on that, but it didn't seem to do any good. One time I had to leave early to babysit as my Dad was out hunting or fishing and my Mom had to go to a later Mass at the Cathedral parish. It was mortifying to have to walk by Father. I mumbled something about "babysitting" and he never said anything. But I'm sure he never forgot it.
That's pretty much it. The High Masses on Sunday were followed by Benediction. The Low Masses were all followed by three Hail Mary's for the conversion of Russia and the Prayer to St Michael the Archangel.
Two fringe benefits of being an altar boy would be the opportunity to serve at weddings and sometimes at funerals where you would get a five dollar "honorarium" for your service. It didn't happen that often, but it was always appreciated.
In a presentation given at Loyola College in Baltimore, Most Rev. Samuel J. Aquila, bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, said opposition to intrinsic evils, such as abortion, is non-negotiable for Catholic politicians and all Catholics.
“Catholics in the political arena must recognize that opposition to intrinsic evils, such as abortion, euthanasia, genocide, embryonic stem cell research and same sex unions, is always required by the faithful Catholic,” the bishop wrote in his presentation entitled “The Sanctity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death”. “Because these intrinsic evils are direct attacks on human life and marital dignity, they are non-negotiable for every Catholic.”
Bishop Aquila noted that the dignity of the human person must be the first consideration as all human life issues, including those that do not fall under the Catholic Church’s definition of “intrinsically evil,” are discussed. “Catholics must recognize, too, that in the other human life issues – such as immigration, capital punishment, the economy, healthcare and war – the dignity of the human person must first and foremost be taken into consideration.”
“As Catholics we believe in the dignity of human life. In the book of Genesis we hear how the Creator has created the human being in his image and likeness, male and female, he created them (Genesis 1:26). God blessed the first couple and gave them a command to be fruitful and multiply. They are given the power to share in God’s creation through their sexual intimacy. Life is a gift freely bestowed by the Creator, a good that is to be received. Of all creatures that God has created, only human beings share in his image and likeness and are given the ability to know, receive and return the love of God. The dignity of human life is determined by God and thus is always to be protected,” Aquila stated.
“Our American Declaration of Independence acknowledged that truth when it stated: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.’ Here we have a clear recognition of the right to life which comes from the Creator. The dignity of the human person is bestowed by God from the moment of his or her conception, and not by the government, state or another person. The dignity of the human person is inherent, a part of the nature of every person, from the beginning of his or her life at conception,” Bishop Aquila stressed.
“The dignity of the human person is further expressed in the Ten Commandments, and most especially in the Fifth Commandment, ‘Thou shall not kill.’ Respect for all human beings is enshrined in this commandment. In the words of the Catechism of the Catholic Church #2268: ‘The fifth commandment forbids direct and intentional killing as gravely sinful. The murderer and those who cooperate voluntarily in murder commit a sin that cries out to heaven for vengeance.’”
The presentation was posted to the Diocese of Fargo Web site together with a message commending young people for their involvement in pro-life efforts. Bishop Aquila will celebrate Mass Jan. 18 in Fargo with 21 young people who will travel to Washington, D.C., to participate in the 35th annual March for Life.
In his message, Bishop Aquila applauded the young people participating in the March for Life and those who “stand for life” within their own communities. “It takes great courage and commitment to stand for life in a society that increasingly views children as burdens on parents and communities. That stand for life is even more effective when it is undertaken by young adults, those who have lost countless peers as a result of the legally protected mass murder of unborn children known as ‘abortion’,” the bishop wrote.
This is the 11th year the Diocese of Fargo has coordinated a pilgrimage to the March for Life. The March, to be held Tuesday, January 22, marks the anniversary of the Supreme Court’s 1973 Roe v. Wade decision which holds that the decision to end the life of (abort) an unborn child is primarily a medical decision, that abortions are permissible for any reason until the unborn child is viable, or able to live outside of the womb, and that, even after viability, abortion must be available to protect a woman’s health.Bishop Aquila’s presentation, delivered November 15, 2007, entitled "The Sanctity of Human Life from Conception to Natural Death", can be found Here. (pdf) Catholic News Agency
Friday, January 18, 2008
The Cathedral of St Joseph in Sioux Falls has been offering the 1962 Latin Mass on Sundays (1:30), some Feast Days, Holy Days, First Fridays and selected other occasions since October.
They have a beautiful web page (some links not finished yet). Check it out.
Father Andrew Dickinson of Aberdeen, SD, in the Sioux Falls diocese, posted the following on a post of Father John Zuhlsdorf's blog, W.D.T.P.R.S., to clarify the origins of the Latin Mass in that diocese:
TLM goes back to May of 2005 when it was incorporated to reconcile a parish that was SPPX. Bishop Aquila, of Fargo, was our apostolic administrator he made the decision, though it was in discussions prior to our previous Bishop’s departure.
Quite quickly this Mass became quite popular with young families who have no historical ties but find the TLM reverent and beautiful. I know families who travel over an hour to attend this Mass each week. The chaplain, Fr. Lawrence, is also 45 minutes away, but gladly assists them by offering the Mass.
. . . . The attitude of Western society towards science is intensely contradictory. In the absence of political vision and direction, society continually hides behind scientific authority - but at the same time it does not quite believe that science has the answers, and it worries about the potential rotten fruits of scientific discovery.
Yet whatever misgivings people have about science, its authority is unrivalled in the current period. The formidable influence of scientific authority can be seen in the way that environmentalists now rely on science to back up their arguments. Not long ago, in the 1970s and 80s, leading environmentalists insisted that science was undemocratic, that it was responsible for many of the problems facing the planet. Now, in public at least, their hostility towards science has given way to their embrace and endorsement of science. Today, the environmental lobby depends on the legitimation provided by scientific evidence and expertise. In their public performances, environmentalists frequently use the science in a dogmatic fashion. ‘The scientists have spoken’, says one British-based campaign group, in an updated version of the religious phrase: ‘This is the Word of the Lord.’ ‘This is what the science says we must do’, many greens claim, before adding that the debate about global warming is ‘finished’. This week, David King, the former chief scientific adviser to the UK government, caused a stink by criticising extreme green ‘Luddites’ who are ‘hurting’ the environmentalist cause. Yet when science is politicised, as it has been under the likes of King, who once claimed that ‘the science shows’ that global warming is a bigger threat than terrorism, then it can quite quickly and inexorably be converted into dogma, superstition and prejudice (1). It is the broader politicisation of science that nurtures today’s dogmatic green outlook.
Today, religion and political ideologies no longer inspire significant sections of the public. Politicians find it difficult to justify their work and outlook in the vocabulary of morality. In the Anglo-American world, officials now promote policies on the grounds that they are ‘evidence based’ rather than because they are ‘right’ or ‘good’. In policymaking circles, the language of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’ has been displaced by the phrase: ‘The research shows…’
Moral judgments are often edged out even from the most sensitive areas of life. For example, experts use the language of medicine rather than morality to tell young teenagers that having sex is not so much ‘bad’ as bad for their emotional health. So pervasive is the crisis of belief and morality that even religious institutions are affected by it. Fundamentalists no longer simply rely on Biblical texts to affirm their belief in the Creation; today, the invention of ‘creation science’ by Christian fundamentalists in the US is symptomatic of the trend to supplement traditional belief with scientific authority. [Snip] [Spiked]
Thursday, January 17, 2008
"Faithful Citizenship" (For whom shall you vote): The U.S. Bishops came out with their version last November:
Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
A Call to Political Responsibility from the Catholic Bishops
43 pages; full statement; November 14, 2007
The Challenge of Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship
10 Pages, Summary Statement; November 14, 2007
U.S. Catholic bishops approve faithful citizenship statement
About one page. This is the media release that was sent with the other documents November 14, 2007.
Now, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver has come out with his own version of a "Faithful Citizenship" document. Rocco Palmo, who blogs at Whispers in the Loggia from Philadelphia, as is often the case, is on top of the information.
This election year's chief ecclesiastical contribution to the nation's public square will come with the release of the Doubleday volume of said title by Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver... which not a few are awaiting with bated breath.
While the exact pub-date of Render Unto Caesar hasn't yet surfaced, the Capuchin prelate offers something of a preview: "10 points" of faithful citizenship in his current column for the archdiocesan weekly (emphases original):
Personal witness is always the best proof of what we claim to believe. And this year, like every other year, with or without an election, we need to apply the idea of Catholic witness in a special way to our public life as citizens. We might find it useful to remember 10 simple points as we move toward November.
1. George Orwell said that one of the biggest dangers for modern democratic life is dishonest political language. Dishonest language leads to dishonest politics — which then leads to bad public policy and bad law. So we need to speak and act in a spirit of truth.
2. “Catholic” is a word that has real meaning. We don’t control or invent that meaning as individuals. We inherit it from the Gospel and the experience of the Church over the centuries. We can choose to be something else, but if we choose to call ourselves Catholic, than that word has consequences for what we believe and how we act. We can’t truthfully claim to be Catholic and then act like we’re not.
3. Being a Catholic is a bit like being married. We have a relationship with the Church and with Jesus Christ that’s very similar to being a spouse. And that has consequences. If a man says he loves his wife, his wife will want to see the evidence in his love and fidelity. The same applies to our relationship with God. If we say we’re Catholic, we need to show that by our love for the Church and our fidelity to what she teaches and believes. Otherwise we’re just fooling ourselves, because God certainly won’t be fooled.
4. The Church is not a political organism. She has no interest in partisanship because getting power or running governments is not what she’s about, and the more closely she identifies herself with any single party, the fewer people she can effectively reach.
5. However, Scripture and Catholic teaching do have public consequences because they guide us in how we should act in relation to one another. Loving God requires that we also love the people He created, which means we need to treat them with justice, charity and mercy. Being a Catholic involves solidarity with other people. The Catholic faith has social justice implications — and that means it also has cultural, economic and political implications. The Catholic faith is never primarily about politics; but Catholic social action — including political action — is a natural byproduct of the Church’s moral message. We can’t call ourselves Catholic, and then simply stand by while immigrants get mistreated, or the poor get robbed, or unborn children get killed. The Catholic faith is always personal, but never private. If our faith is real, then it will bear fruit in our public decisions and behaviors, including our political choices.
6. Each of us needs to follow his or her own properly formed conscience. But conscience doesn’t emerge from a vacuum. It’s not a matter of personal opinion or preference. If our conscience has the habit of telling us what we want to hear on difficult issues, then it’s probably badly formed. A healthy conscience is the voice of God’s truth in our hearts, and it should usually make us uncomfortable, because none of us is yet a saint. The way we get a healthy conscience is by submitting it and shaping it to the will of God; and the way we find God’s will is by opening our hearts to the counsel and guidance of the Church that Jesus left us. If we find ourselves disagreeing as Catholics with the Catholic teaching of our Church on a serious matter, it’s probably not the Church that’s wrong. The problem is much more likely with us.
7. But how do we make good political choices when so many different issues are so important and complex? The first principle of Christian social thought is: Don’t deliberately kill the innocent, and don’t collude in allowing somebody else to do it. The right to life is the foundation of every other human right. The reason the abortion issue is so foundational is not because Catholics love little babies — although we certainly do — but because revoking the personhood of unborn children makes every other definition of personhood and human rights politically contingent.
8. So can a Catholic in good conscience support a “pro-choice” candidate? The answer is: I can’t and I won’t. But I do know some serious Catholics — people whom I admire — who will. I think their reasoning is mistaken. But at the very least they do sincerely struggle with the abortion issue, and it causes them real pain. And even more importantly: They don’t keep quiet about it; they don’t give up their efforts to end permissive abortion; they keep lobbying their party and their elected representatives to change their pro-abortion views and protect the unborn. Catholics can support “pro-choice” candidates if they support them despite — not because of — their “pro-choice” views. But they also need a compelling proportionate reason to justify it.
9. What is a “proportionate” reason when it comes to the abortion issue? It’s the kind of reason we will be able to explain, with a clean heart, to the victims of abortion when we meet them face to face in the next life — which we most certainly will. If we’re confident that these victims will accept our motives as something more than an alibi, then we can proceed.
10. Lastly, the heart of truly “faithful” citizenship is this: We’re better citizens when we’re more faithful Catholics. The more authentically Catholic we are in our lives, choices, actions and convictions, the more truly we will contribute to the moral and political life of our nation. Whispers
Dario Fo, is the author of the controversial and anti-Catholic play, "The Pope and the Witch" that was performed at the University of Minnesota's Rarig Theater last Spring. In the face of vehement opposition by 60 (out of 4,000) teachers, the Pope recently canceled a speech that he was scheduled to give at the Rome campus of the "La Sapienza" university. His staff recommended that cancellation, fearing violence. Fo, a radical leftist and atheist, after reading a draft of the proposed speech, has publicly supported Pope Benedict in the controversy, thinking that what he had proposed to say was something worth hearing. Of course, Fo couldn't resist taking a few shots in passing at the Pope on other issues.
Father John Zuhlsdorf, St Agnes parishioner, a priest incardinated in a Roman diocese and also a student in that city, and who blogs at What Does the Prayer Really Say blog, has translated an article from a Roman newspaper on Fo's comments:
The Italian left and La Sapienza in Rome had better know they really blew it with the Pope, the press, and the Italian people when even radical anti-Catholic left-wing weirdos like Dario Fo say that an opportunity to listen to the Pope was lost.
Get this from the Roman daily Il Messaggero.
Dario Fo gets into the general attitude about how badly the radicals screwed up. However, throughout he cannot resist telling the Church how it ought to give into the ways of the world. But just enjoy that part!
by Dario Fo
"The faith must not be imposed in an authoritative manner, it can only be given in freedom". Pope Ratzinger surprises us yet again. The speech he would have given at La Sapienza, whose text I had occasion to read yesterday afternoon, not only recognizes (and it would have been a recognition coram populo, in a Roman University setting), the autonomy of science and the law concerning it, but adds also some "astonishing" clarifications. "... Pastoral ministry is to keep awake a sensitiveness about the Truth, to invite reason to place itself in the search for the true, the good, of God." Not enough. The Pope defines these things that "emerge through the history of the Christian faith" as ony "useful lights". No extremism, it would seem, in these words. More or less, obscurantism.
In other terms, the Pontiff seems to "propose" Jesus Christ and the Christian Catholic faith as one of those good routes (naturally, as far as concerns his ministry, the privileged route) to "find a way toward the Future)". All in all, in Rome an optima occasion was lost (and we have all lost it, really) finally to understand just who Ratzinger is: not the man whom many of us think he may be. He doesn’t want to impose, but counsel. He expresses hope, he doesn’t command. He helps, doesn’t constrain. In the end, he wants us all united and with a single desirable common objective: that celebrated Truth.
So, why, I ask myself as a secular layman, and I have been an admirer of the charismatic Wojtyla style, Ratzinger acts in an opposite way from what he says? Why the absence openness, his "no’s", his bans in the matter of procreation, of priesthood for women, his excommunications? Why the knack of snuffing out certain popular "concessions" made during the Second Vatican Council, just look at the position of the priest at the altar during Mass and the use of national vernaculars in place of the anachronistic Latin? It would be necessary to see it this way: the mystery of Faith. It is worthwhile reading over and over again the address the philosopher Pope would have given at Rome’s La Sapienza. There are openings in it, apparent or real as they may be, to which we haven’t been accustomed, at least not in concrete deeds. Perhaps the university environment, the city of studies, reconnects the Pontiff with the practice of freedom which even he, (I am sure) was used to before he took his throne.
Wednesday, January 16, 2008
A great big Tip O' The Hat, and a Sweeping Bow to the Curt Jester For This One.
Increasingly over the years anyone who does not agree that homosexuality is not perfectly normal is met with denouncements as a homophobe. The homophobe tag is now thrown along quite freely at anyone who dares to not accept homosexuality or even worse saying it is sinful. Say anything negative about homosexuality and you are instantly branded a homophobe. This is an annoying trend, but even worse is the trend to try to litigate if you do not accept gay orthodoxy. The misnamed Human Rights Councils in Canada have been doing just that in regards to comments against homosexuality and the same types of things are now happening in England.
I think though that we can take a page out of the homosexual activists' play book and defend ourselves against charges of homophobia. They are not going to accept natural law arguments or arguments from scripture so lets use their own arguments.
Here is what you do. If accused of homophobia, simply say that you were born with it and that you did not choose to be a homophobe and that you find the term itself to be hateful and judgmental. If they bring up the fact that there is no medical evidence for the genetic origin of homophobia, you say that there is just as much evidence for it than for the genetic origin of homosexuality. If they say that twins aren't always both homophobes, you remind them the same is true in the cases of twins and homosexuality.
Now their next line of attack might be that even if you are born with a genetic preposition towards homophobia, it does not mean you should act on it. After all there might be a genetic preposition towards alcoholism, but that does not mean the person has to become an alcoholic. You then remind them that the same would be true if there was an actual genetic preposition towards homosexuality.
You could say that even if homophobia has no genetic origin that you identify yourself as being in opposition to homosexual acts and that this opposition is just another lifestyle choice in a pluralistic society. Why should you give in to their demand for you to change when they should just be tolerant instead. Shouldn't young people in our public schools who oppose homosexual acts be allowed to express their view in a tolerant environment instead of being told to shut up and to hide their views in a closet?
They might tell you that the diagnosis of homosexuality as a psychological disorder is no longer made by the American Psychiatric Association, you can tell them that there is no diagnosis of homophobia either.
Tell them not be be a hater or a homophobe.
And if that doesn't work, start suing their pants off.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, former bishop of the Sioux City Catholic Diocese and now archbishop of Galveston-Houston, will make a return visit to Sioux City on March 24.
DiNardo will celebrate Mass at the Cathedral of the Epiphany, at which bishops, priests, deacons, religious, specially invited guests and parishioners from throughout the Diocese of Sioux City will be in attendance. The Mass will be followed by a public reception at the Marina Inn in South Sioux City hosted by the Most Rev. R. Walker Nickless, Bishop of Sioux City.
DiNardo came to Sioux City from the Diocese of Pittsburgh in October 1997 when he was ordained coadjutor bishop. He was named bishop of Sioux City in November 1998 and served in that office until January 2003, when he was appointed coadjutor bishop (later archbishop) of Galveston-Houston.
In October 2007, Pope Benedict XVI elevated him to the rank of cardinal, the first from Texas and the southwestern United States. Maintaining his office as archbishop of Galveston-Houston, DiNardo also serves as one of the pope's principle collaborators and advisers, as well as a member of several congregations of the Holy See.
Details of the Mass and reception will be released in the very near future. Sioux City Journal
This is a MUST READ/VIEW. The way things are going, it will happen here.
This is a YouTube video of about 6 minutes that is a statement by the former publisher of the Western Standard newspaper/magazine located in Calgary, Alberta. Calgary is the diocese of Bishop Frederick Henry, Canada's Archbishop Burke or Bishop Bruskewitz.
He was accused by a radical Muslim imam, trained in Saudi Arabia, of engaging in "hate speech" by publishing the famous "Danish cartoons" that were originally published one or two years ago.
He was subpoenaed by the Alberta Human Rights Commission to appear before them to be interrogated about the incident. All his legal expenses, whether he wins or loses, will be paid by him. His initial statement was made on January 11, 2008 prior to the scheduled interrogation in front of an AHRC official.
The statement is a damning indictment of "political correctness" in today's world of liberal bureaucracies, functioning way out of control to further their own agendas.
The publisher's blog, "Ezra Levant", his name, to refresh your memory has republished the Danish Cartoons on his home page and has a lot more background information on the incident, including more videos. http://ww.ezralevant.com/
If you can't view videos, here is the text of the statement:
Kangaroo court By Ezra Levant on January 11, 2008 5:04 PM
I have just returned home from my session at the kangaroo court, called the Alberta human rights commission. Here is my opening statement that I delivered at the interrogation. I will post more details about the interrogation soon.
Alberta Human Rights Commission Interrogation
Opening remarks by Ezra Levant, January 11, 2008 – Calgary
My name is Ezra Levant. Before this government interrogation begins, I will make a statement.
When the Western Standard magazine printed the Danish cartoons of Mohammed two years ago, I was the publisher. It was the proudest moment of my public life. I would do it again today. In fact, I did do it again today. Though the Western Standard, sadly, no longer publishes a print edition, I posted the cartoons this morning on my website, ezralevant.com.
I am here at this government interrogation under protest. It is my position that the government has no legal or moral authority to interrogate me or anyone else for publishing these words and pictures. That is a violation of my ancient and inalienable freedoms: freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and in this case, religious freedom and the separation of mosque and state. It is especially perverted that a bureaucracy calling itself the Alberta human rights commission would be the government agency violating my human rights. So I will now call those bureaucrats “the commission” or “the hrc”, since to call the commission a “human rights commission” is to destroy the meaning of those words.
I believe that this commission has no proper authority over me. The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas. Now the commission, which is funded by a secular government, from the pockets of taxpayers of all backgrounds, is taking it upon itself to be an enforcer of the views of radical Islam. So much for the separation of mosque and state.
I have read the past few years’ worth of decisions from this commission, and it is clear that it has become a dump for the junk that gets rejected from the real legal system. I read one case where a male hair salon student complained that he was called a “loser” by the girls in the class. The commission actually had a hearing about this. Another case was a kitchen manager with Hepatitis-C, who complained that it was against her rights to be fired. The commission actually agreed with her, and forced the restaurant to pay her $4,900. In other words, the commission is a joke – it’s the Alberta equivalent of a U.S. television pseudo-court like Judge Judy – except that Judge Judy actually was a judge, whereas none of the commission’s panellists are judges, and some aren’t even lawyers. And, unlike the commission, Judge Judy believes in freedom of speech.
It’s bad enough that this sick joke is being wreaked on hair salons and restaurants. But it’s even worse now that the commissions are attacking free speech. That’s my first point: the commissions have leapt out of the small cage they were confined to, and are now attacking our fundamental freedoms. As Alan Borovoy, Canada’s leading civil libertarian, a man who helped form these commissions in the 60’s and 70’s, wrote, in specific reference to our magazine, being a censor is, quote, “hardly the role we had envisioned for human rights commissions. There should be no question of the right to publish the impugned cartoons.” Unquote. Since the commission is so obviously out of control, he said quote “It would be best, therefore, to change the provisions of the Human Rights Act to remove any such ambiguities of interpretation.” Unquote.
The commission has no legal authority to act as censor. It is not in their statutory authority. They’re just making it up – even Alan Borovoy says so.
But even if the commissions had some statutory fig leaf for their attempts at political and religious censorship, it would still be unlawful and unconstitutional.
We have a heritage of free speech that we inherited from Great Britain that goes back to the year 1215 and the Magna Carta. We have a heritage of eight hundred years of British common law protection for speech, augmented by 250 years of common law in Canada. That common law has been restated in various fundamental documents, especially since the Second World War. In 1948, the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights, to which Canada is a party, declared that, quote: “Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media and regardless of frontiers.” The 1960 Canadian Bill of Rights guaranteed, quote 1. “ human rights and fundamental freedoms, namely, (c) freedom of religion; (d) freedom of speech; (e) freedom of assembly and association; and (f) freedom of the press. In 1982, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guaranteed, quote: 2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms: a) freedom of conscience and religion; b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
Those were even called “fundamental freedoms” – to give them extra importance. For a government bureaucrat to call any publisher or anyone else to an interrogation to be quizzed about his political or religious expression is a violation of 800 years of common law, a Universal Declaration of Rights, a Bill of Rights and a Charter of Rights. This commission is applying Saudi values, not Canadian values. It is also deeply procedurally one-sided and unjust. The complainant – in this case, a radical Muslim imam, who was trained at an officially anti-Semitic university in Saudi Arabia, and who has called for sharia law to govern Canada – doesn’t have to pay a penny; Alberta taxpayers pay for the prosecution of the complaint against me. The victims of the complaints, like the Western Standard, have to pay for their own lawyers from their own pockets. Even if we win, we lose – the process has become the punishment. (At this point, I’d like to thank the magazine’s many donors who have given their own money to help us fight against the Saudi imam and his enablers in the Alberta government.) It is procedurally unfair. Unlike real courts, there is no way to apply for a dismissal of nuisance lawsuits. Common law rules of evidence don’t apply. Rules of court don’t apply. It is a system that is part Kafka, and part Stalin. Even this interrogation today – at which I appear under duress – saw the commission tell me who I could or could not bring with me as my counsel and advisors. I have no faith in this farcical commission. But I do have faith in the justice and good sense of my fellow Albertans and Canadians. I believe that the better they understand this case, the more shocked they will be. I am here under your compulsion to answer the commission’s questions. But it is not I who am on trial: it is the freedom of all Canadians.
You may start your interrogation.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
Calgary's Bishop Henry Adds His Own to the Voices Crying out Against Canada’s Human Rights Tribunals
Lifesitenews.com: Canadian human rights laws that were intended to shield the public, “are now being used as a sword,” says Calgary Catholic bishop, Fred Henry. Bishop Henry has added his voice to the chorus of voices, national and internationally, that are pointing to the deteriorating political and social situation in Canada as government-funded attacks on freedom of speech continue.
Bishop Henry wrote his comments in an e-mail to the Western Catholic Reporter, responding to the Human Rights Commission complaints against conservative columnist Mark Steyn and Maclean’s Magazine and Catholic Insight magazine.
Maclean’s, one of Canada’s longest running and most respected news magazines, ran an excerpt of Mark Steyn's bestselling book America Alone, that outlined what Steyn calls the growing “Islamification” of Europe.
Bishop Henry’s comments describe the “bizarre turn of events” that has ended with the Human Rights Commissions being used by special interest groups such as the homosexual lobby, to stifle opposition and criticism.
“The issue,” Henry wrote, “is rarely true discrimination but rather censorship and enshrinement of a particular ideology through threats, sanctions and punitive measures.”
In 2005, two complaints to the Alberta Human Rights Commission (AHRC) against Henry for what was called “discriminatory” comments in a pastoral letter, were eventually dropped by the complainant. Henry had written about the Catholic doctrines on marriage and the nature of the family.
“I challenged one by one the standard arguments used to support same sex unions as the equivalent of traditional marriage,” Henry said. He described the Human Rights Commission process as “fundamentally flawed,” and closely resembling “kangaroo courts.”
Bishop Henry listed the HRC’s legal flaws: “presumption of guilt until you can prove your innocence; the open-ended time lines for dealing with a complaint; and unjust incurring of financial expenditures for the defendant in the simple event of a complaint being lodged.” In the HRC procedure, the complainant’s expenses are absorbed by the tax payers but the defendant must pay his own costs.
The Steyn case is receiving increasing attention both within Canada and the US, where many are not aware of the existence of these extra-judicial courts.
David Warren, a conservative columnist for the Ottawa Citizen, writing in December, described the procedure as heavily weighted in favour of the complainant:
“After long delays that are costly only to the defendant and the taxpayer (and justice delayed is justice denied), you will have the satisfaction of making your enemy squirm, in a kangaroo court where he is stripped of the right to due process, in which there are no fixed rules of evidence, in which the ridiculously biased 'judges' make up the law as they go along, and impose penalties restricted only by their grimly limited imaginations -- such as ruinous fines, and lifetime ‘cease and desist’ orders, such that, if you ever open your mouth again on a given topic, you stand to go to prison.”
John Martin, a criminologist at the University College of the Fraser Valley, wrote yesterday in The Province newspaper, calling on the government to abolish the BC Human Rights Tribunals. He wrote that BC’s Commission “had become an expensive farce dedicated to promoting political correctness and demonizing independent thinkers who didn't bow to liberal orthodoxy.”
“And now the tribunal has entered its most shameful phase by agreeing to hear a complaint brought forward against Maclean's magazine...By agreeing to hear the case, the tribunal has positioned itself as the arbiter in charge of deciding what the Canadian media may publish and what the rest of us are permitted to read.”
“With our guard down, somehow we allowed them to assume the role of state censor and thought police. It is an abomination that a star chamber is allowed to function in this day and age.”
So great are the threats from government against freedom of speech in Canada, that the website Free Dominion, a conservative news site and forum, announced that it had taken steps to protect the site from further attacks by “individuals and government organizations determined to attack freedom of speech.”
The site’s owner, Mark Fournier, wrote this month, “Back in 2002 Connie and I made some decisions designed to protect Free Dominion and its members if the political climate worsened in Canada.” The Fourniers transferred ownership of the website to a US corporation that sold Free Dominion to Liberty News Service Inc. of Panama City, Panama.
“Liberty News Service’s corporate mission is to buy websites from individuals and corporations living in countries where free speech is under attack, and protect those websites from being shut down or seized by oppressive governments.”
In July 2007 a Human Rights complaint was launched against Free Dominion for posting material that was claimed to be discriminatory against Muslims.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
OLDS 1999 Intrigue, Totally uncool parents who obviously don’t love their teenage son are selling his car. He only drove it 3 weeks before snoopy mom who needs to get a life found booze under the front seat. $3700 obo. Call the meanest mom on planet 515-571-3622. DesMoines Register
Just north [How 'bout West???] of St. Cloud, Minn., there is something resting underneath a church that is even rarer than the relics of the departed saints that line the walls.
The black robed brothers of St. Benedict are one of the oldest orders of Catholic monks.
"Benedictines are rooted in history," said Br. Richard Oliver with St. John's Abbey. "We've been in one place for centuries at a time and so we sort of watch history go by around us. We keep an eye on it."
At St. John's Abbey, in Collegeville, Minn., people want to know about what is downstairs. Covered with silk and silver is the body of an actual saint, dating back to the year 192.
"To have such an ancient relic from the second century in a church in Minnesota ... I think it is probably extraordinary," Oliver said.
St. Peregrine was a young Christian during the time of the Roman Empire, when it was required to worship the emperor.
"This was impossible for Christians to do that, to offer that kind of worship to a human being," said Oliver.
Peregrine and other Christians spoke out. As a boy, he followed the example of his elders, but he got caught up in the net of rounding up the usual suspects. He was persecuted, tortured and eventually flogged to death.
A martyr and saint, he was believed to be just 15-years-old when he was killed.
"The truth is that this person gave their life for Jesus Christ," Oliver said.
In the 16th century, Peregrine's body was moved to Germany. In 1854, while still in Germany, his body survived a fire that destroyed a church.
"And then after the fire, the relics were sort of without a home," Oliver said.
A year later, a monk from St. John's was traveling in Germany and asked that the relics of St. Peregrine be moved to the Untied States. The relics spent 30 years in New York City, N.Y. In 1928, the relics were moved to St. John's.
"We're lucky to have St. Peregrine on our side," Oliver said.
Nearly 2,000 years later, a young boy's sacrifice continues to inspire.
"And that is the truth of the story," Oliver said. WCCO
The upcoming retirement of Bishop Bernard Harrington means a new leader is coming to the 20-county Diocese of Winona -- it's just not clear when.
In September, Harrington will turn 75, an age at which Catholic bishops are required to submit their resignations.
The confidential search process for a new bishop often takes eight months or more, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In northern Minnesota recently, it took more than a year for a new bishop to be ordained in the Diocese of Crookston, after his predecessor retired.
There's other option for how the Diocese of Winona's leadership transition could happen. Pope Benedict XVI could at any time appoint a transitional bishop, called a coadjutor bishop, said Rose Hammes, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Winona. The coadjutor bishop would work with Harrington and take his spot immediately after the bishop retires.
If a coadjutor bishop isn't named, here's the search process would likely proceed:
• A list of candidates will be assembled. Those expected to suggest names for the list include Archbishop Harry Flynn of the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis and other bishops in Minnesota and neighboring dioceses.
• The list will be sent to the apostolic nuncio, an influential papal representative to the U.S. The nuncio will narrow the field to three names and note his top pick. His recommendation usually carries great weight, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.
• The last stop is Rome, where the Vatican's Congregation of Bishops will consider the nuncio's list before sending it to the pope. Once the pope makes his pick, the bishop-select is asked if he accepts the position.
Harrington was ordained bishop of the Diocese of Winona in 1999. He is the seventh, and shortest-serving, bishop in the diocese's 119-year history.
Exactly how Harrington's replacement process will proceed is "a great mystery," Hammes said. It's possible the pope could ask Harrington to continue serving as bishop beyond his retirement date, she added, but that doesn't happen very often. Rochester Post Bulletin
The end is in sight for Diocese of Winona Bishop Bernard Harrington, who is expected to retire from his position in September.
In September, Harrington will turn 75, an age at which Catholic bishops are required to submit their resignations.
The confidential search process for a new bishop often takes eight months or more, according to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. In northern Minnesota recently, it took more than a year for a new bishop to be ordained in the Diocese of Crookston, after his predecessor retired.
There's another option for how the Diocese of Winona's leadership transition could happen. Pope Benedict XVI could at any time appoint a transitional bishop, called a coadjutor bishop, said Rose Hammes, a spokeswoman for the Diocese of Winona. The coadjutor bishop would work with Harrington and take his spot immediately after the bishop retires.
Harrington is a native of Detroit. He served five years as an auxiliary, or assistant, bishop in the Archdiocese of Detroit before coming to the Diocese of Winona in 1999.
Harrington has voiced strong opinions on several hot-button issues during his time in the Diocese of Winona, opposing abortion, gay marriage and the war in Iraq.
The bishop also faced the sex-abuse scandal that hit the Catholic Church in 2002.
The diocese formed a local board of review for sexual misconduct after the scandal hit and launched an online "learning community" for recognizing and reporting child abuse. The diocese also passed audits for compliance with the U.S. bishops' Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People.
Another challenge Harrington faced was an ongoing priest shortage. He stepped up recruitment of prospective priests, encouraged lay ministers to play a greater role in parishes and furthered a program of clustering churches, a program in which congregations share pastors.
The diocese has 65 priests for 115 parishes spread among Minnesota's 20 southern-most counties. Five more priests are expected to be ordained this year.
Harrington has been a strong leader and superb administrator, said the Rev. Dale Tupper of Queen of Angels Parish in Austin.
"He's been very fair and considerate, and he listens well," Tupper said. "You couldn't ask for anything more, really."
The Diocese of Winona's three bishops before Harrington came from the Midwest: John Vlazny came from Chicago, and his two successors, Loras Watters and Edward Fitzgerald, came from Iowa.
There has been an increasing trend for bishop appointments to have a regional flavor, but the new Diocese of Winona leader could come from anywhere in the country, said Don Briel, director of the Center for Catholic Studies at St. Thomas University.
A lot of emphasis is placed on the personalities of bishops as indicators of changes they might bring, Briel said, but he discourages reading too much into the personality of the next bishop.
"It's not as if this is going to make a major difference in approach or tone," he said. "The church has a 2,000-year tradition, and it doesn't change quickly in the light of a new leader." Rochester Post Bulletin
Large statues of the Virgin Mary and Jesus on the cross in a Rochester, Minn., cemetery were severely damaged and would require hundreds of thousands of dollars to replace, the cemetery director said today.
An Our Lady of Lourdes statue of Mary had its head and arms "busted off" and the Jesus on the cross statue has damage from efforts in recent days to chop off its head, said Calvary Cemetery director Robert Gumbusky.
The granite statue of Jesus, standing about 15 feet tall, is at least 100 to 120 years old and would cost $250,000 to replace, Gumbusky said. The slightly shorter statue of Mary has a value of $6,000 to $10,000, he said.
The statues stand where nuns from the nearby Sisters of St. Francis of Rochester are buried, he said. A nun visiting the cemetery noticed the damage, he said.
"The nuns are very concerned and sad about it also," Gumbusky said. "This is the cemetery where most of them are buried."
As for the perpetrators, he said: "What kind of mindset do these people have to do something like this? I hope we're able to catch whoever did this because you're talking a lot of dollars here."
Police are "not optimistic" that they will find those responsible, said Capt. Brian Winters, unless the head from the Our Lady of Lourdes marble statue surfaces. There were no witnesses, and police said that the time frame for when the crime was committed stretches from late November to early this month.
There have been previous incidents of vandalism at the cemetery, Gumbusky said, but nothing close to this extent. He said the cemetery might have to start locking the gates at night, something it has never had to do.
Police said that anyone who has information about this case can call them anonymously at 1-507-285-8580 or 1-507-328-6888. StarTribune
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
Those changes won't include one megachurch or any church closings, said Deacon Mike Knuth of Pequot Lakes.
"It was evident in our studies that we will need all existing parishes," Knuth said, because demographers predict a tremendous influx of people in the lakes area.
Rather, the six parishes in the Southern Brainerd Deanery will be reclustered, and the deanery will gain a priest.
The new parish, which likely will draw most of its people from Brainerd, Baxter and Nisswa, will become the central cluster with St. Christopher's Catholic Church in Nisswa.
The northern cluster will be St. Alice Catholic Church in Pequot Lakes and Our Lady of Lourdes in Pine River. St. Alice may undergo an expansion in the future.
Currently, the Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Pine River churches are clustered. Father George Zeck is pastor and Father Bruce Engen is associate pastor of that cluster.
The southern cluster will include St. Francis, St. Andrew's and St. Mathias Catholic churches.
A seventh area Catholic church, St. Thomas of the Pines at Madden's Resort in East Gull Lake, is a seasonal, mission church of St. Francis.
Regarding the new faith community that will be formed, Bishop Dennis Schnurr is expected to assign a priest in the next year.
"We're going to need another priest to help meet the growing population needs," Knuth said, noting demographers predict that by 2030, the lakes area population will equal that of Duluth.
"That's a lot of people," Knuth said, noting demographic studies predict tremendous growth up the Highway 371 corridor, as well as east into the Pelican Lake area and north of Pine River into Backus.
The Catholic Diocese of Duluth owns a 57-acre parcel of land a mile off Highway 371 on Barbeau Road just north of Baxter. However, Knuth said it's unkown whether a new church would be built there, or the land sold to buy elsewhere.
That will be up to the new faith community to decide, he said, though it appears to be the most feasible location between Brainerd-Baxter and Nisswa-Pequot Lakes.
Parishioners from all six parishes will be invited to start the new faith community.
Knuth said that within 10-15 years of a major exodus of people, demographics show those parishes will be where they're at now in terms of parishioners and growing.
The timeline for the new parish, which is one of 10 recommendations Bishop Dennis Schnurr approved for the Southern Brainerd Deanery, is as follows:
It's unknown when a new church will be built. That will depend on how the people come together and how they raise money.
"How, as a Catholic community, are we gong to help a sister church get started in order to help meet the needs of all of us?" Knuth asked, noting the next step in the process is determining how to do this.
"There are challenging, but exciting times ahead, but it's inevitable because we're all facing change with the population coming in," he said. Pine and Lakes.com August 2007
When did the angels become "women" or "infants?" The first references to them in the Bible are Raphael ("God Heals"), Gabriel ("Master of God") and Michael ("Who is like God").
Why don't we see more "male" angels who don't spend their time playing harps and singing "Hosannahs?"
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
The university's president faced criticism from several quarters, but fundraising has never been brisker.
In 16 years, the University of St. Thomas has grown from a local liberal arts college to a nationally recognized institution. This year, a record number of undergraduates enrolled, and there are more applications from would-be Tommies than ever before.
In October, the largest private school in Minnesota announced a $500 million fundraising drive, kicked off with the largest single gift to a college or university in state history.
The successes are a testament to the ambition and fundraising prowess of the Catholic priest who oversaw it all, the Rev. Dennis Dease, the university's president. Yet for Dease, holiday break couldn't come soon enough.
Dease was panned by many for stifling free speech on campus when he made what he later admitted was a wrongheaded decision not to invite Nobel Peace Prize laureate Desmond Tutu to speak. Then came a series of racist threats against three black undergraduates that dredged up memories of past racial incidents at St. Thomas, and criticism that the school was betraying its Catholic heritage by eliminating an automatic trustee position for the local archbishop.
"If you fly, you know you're going to hit some turbulence," Dease said in a recent interview. "You just hope it's not going to be pure turbulence. There was a period this fall when you wondered when we were going to reach the smooth altitude."
Some of the scrutiny is an inevitable byproduct of the university's rising profile. But some say it goes deeper, to Dease's struggle to navigate the often conflicting demands of big-money donors, Catholics eager to preserve St. Thomas' religious identity, and faculty members espousing tolerance and openness to a wide range of views.
Some say Dease's missteps on the Tutu situation, which he said were a result of not listening to opposing views, were symptomatic of a closed-door leadership style.
"I think it would be wrong to suggest that St. Thomas is having these issues only because it's a Catholic school," said David Landry, a theology professor. "We have them more than most other schools have them. Most other Catholic schools wouldn't have balked at having Tutu on campus. It was uniquely a St. Thomas issue."
The College of St. Thomas was founded in St. Paul in 1885 as a seminary and soon shifted its focus to liberal arts education for young men. Since then, it has grown to offer graduate degrees in business, law and liberal arts, become a co-ed university and added a campus in Minneapolis.
In 1991, Dease, a professor at St. Thomas who was rector at the Basilica of St. Mary, took over with an ambition to create "a truly great urban university," such as Harvard or Boston College. Under his leadership, St. Thomas has greatly expanded its academic offerings into new areas, such as engineering and entrepreneurship.
This year, Dease has turned his attention to fixing the school's biggest weakness: its bank account. St. Thomas' endowment amounted to just more than $300 million in mid-2006, $200 million less than the endowments at two smaller colleges, Carleton and Macalester, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.
While the "Opening Doors" campaign will build a new student center, much of the half-billion dollars will be invested, with the interest used to pay for new programs, hire top-notch faculty members and administrators, and provide student financial aid.
"I want to ensure that no student that has the ability is turned away from St. Thomas for financial reasons," Dease said.
When St. Thomas kicked off the fundraising drive in October, it had already raised $310 million -- including an anonymous gift of $50 million and a staggering $60 million from Lee and Penny Anderson.
Bruce Flessner, a fundraising consultant for St. Thomas, said the university's transformation and success in fundraising have been remarkable.
"They're very good at telling a dream and being able to deliver on it," Flessner said. "They've been very good at establishing a club of donors who push each other."
St. Thomas is backed by heavy hitters in the business community. Included on the school's 43-member board of trustees are Target Corp. chairman and CEO Robert Ulrich, Best Buy chairman Richard Schulze, broadcasting magnate Stanley Hubbard, KPMG International chairman Timothy Flynn, lawyer and U.S. Senate candidate Michael Ciresi, and 3M chairman and CEO George Buckley.
"The board is extremely strong. If we've had a secret weapon, that would be in the running," Dease said. "They're very seasoned, talented and they've helped us see a little further down the road than we would normally be able to."
Even as the university's reputation and finances have grown, faculty members have watched with concern as Dease's administration focused on raising money and reassuring Catholics that St. Thomas isn't becoming secular.
Leigh Lawton is a business professor who was involved in a 2005 dispute with the university about whether unmarried couples should be allowed to travel together with students.
"We're not Catholic enough for some people," Lawton said. "But if you become less tolerant and adhere more tightly to some of the tenets of the church, you're moving away from what some people see as the role of an academic institution."
There is a natural tension between the faculty and administration, but many current and former St. Thomas faculty members said what had been a working relationship has deteriorated in the past few years.
The school is in the midst of a "climate study," and Landry expects faculty morale will be at an all-time low.
"We have tremendous problems here," Landry said. "That's not to say that everything is bad; there are a lot of good things about St. Thomas, but there are a lot of people here who are demoralized.
"There have been a bunch of decisions where the faculty was opposed, the staff was opposed and the students were opposed to and it seemed the donors were in favor," he said, which has led to worries that St. Thomas is being steered by donors.
In 2005, a campus visit from conservative lightning rod Ann Coulter resulted in debate on campus that Dease said "tested the limits of civility." This fall, Dease thought he could avoid a similar controversy by opting against hosting the PeaceJam event that will feature Tutu. Dease worried that the South African Anglican archbishop's comments on Israel might offend Jews.
The outcry over Dease's decision made him think twice.
"The Archbishop Tutu experience was humbling. It's a little embarrassing," Dease said. "There was a good cross-section of people that I respected who were all saying, 'Dease, you're wrong.' That gets your attention."
Less than a month after Dease changed course on Tutu, three black women living in the John Paul II dorm were subjected to a series of racial slurs and threatening words that resulted in a security guard being posted outside their door.
Dease's initial reaction was a combination of sadness, disgust and, "Oh, not again."
The last was the result of several race-bias incidents in recent years at St. Thomas, including two others this year.
Administrators say the incidents are not evidence that the campus is an intolerant place.
Said Mark Dienhart, St. Thomas' chief administrative officer: "When you have 11,000-plus students and 1,800 employees, unfortunately you're going to have some knuckleheads in the group. ... We don't create folks like that." StarTribune