Monday, July 31, 2006

"The Everlasting Man" by G.K. Chesterton

Love2Learn Mom, a home-schooler and blogger in Wisconsin at Studeo is slowly wading through G. K. Chesterton, and feeling guilty that it is not going faster. I should be reading that too.

As I mentioned in a comment on the American Chesterton Society Blog, I've been rather slowly plodding my way through The Everlasting Man. As a matter of fact, I've finished three other Chesterton books since I first started this one, but I'm finally making some real progress.

It's an interesting book and I really like it, but I find that I lose the thread of thought more easily with this one than with Heretics or Orthodoxy, for example. So I was excited to hear on the ACS Blog that an Annoted Edition is in the works (though I certainly hope it doesn't take me THAT long to finish my first read-through!). I'm beginning to suspect that by the time I finish my first read through, I'll have actually read the book about three times. :)

In any case, there are a few parts so far that I found interesting and/or funny that I want to take note of here...

There is unfortunately one fallacy here into which it is very easy for men to fall, even those who are most intelligent and perhaps especially those who are most imaginative. It is the fallacy of supposing that because an idea is greater in the sense of larger, therefore it is greater in the sense of more fundamental and fixed and certain (page 69 in the Dodd & Mead edition, 1949)
I would have to quote a lot here to show what he's explaining here. He gives a lot of examples from history, but I found the concept really interesting and I want to go back and take another peek at it later.

Real research is more and more exalting the ancient civilisation ofEurope and especially of what we may still vaguely call the Greeks. It must be understood in the sense that there were Greeks before the Greeks, as in so many of their mythologies there were gods before the gods. The island of Crete was the centre of civilisation now called Minoan, after the Minoas who lingered in ancient legend and whose labyrinth was actually discovered by modern archeology. This elaborate European society, with its harbours and its drainage and its domestic machinery, seems to have gone down before some invasion of its northern neighbours, who made or inherited the Hellas we know in history. But that earlier period did not pass till it had given to the world gifts so great that the world has ever since been striving in vain to repay them, if only by plagiarism. (page 78) [snip] Read More

Praise for Homer's Iliad

Love2Learn Mom, a home-schooler in Wisconsin who blogs at Studeo seems to be gearing up for her Fall Semester by thinking about Chesterton and Homer's "Iliad."

I'm working on reviews of two books: Homer's Iliad and a study guide for it (it's sort of nice to have to spend time re-reading the Iliad after almost twenty years). Inspired by a quote about the Iliad in Chesterton's The Everlasting Man, I decided to collect some quotes from Catholic tradition about the importance of this book and, by extension the study of the classics of antiquity.

Cardinal Newman says that we should "know what you know and what you do not know". I know that I don't know enough to have the appreciation for The Iliad that I should, but I know that it is an absolute giant in the "common experience" of mankind and has been warmly embraced by Catholic tradition. So much so that it is referenced many times in the 1913 Catholic Encyclopedia, including a number of references in homilies and writings of the Fathers and Doctors of the Church.

Here is the quote from The Everlasting Man (from the chapter "The Antiquity of Civilization":
"Somewhere along the Ionian coast opposite Crete and the islands was a town of some sort, probably of the sort that we should call a village or hamlet with a wall. It was called Ilion but it came to be called Troy, and the name will never perish from the earth. A poet who may have been a beggar and a ballad-monger, who may have been unable to read and write, and was described by tradition as blind, composed a poem about the Greeks going to war with this town to recover the most beautiful woman in the world. That the most beautiful woman in the world lived in that one little town sounds like a legend; that the most beautiful poem in the world was written by somebody who knew of nothing larger than such little towns is a historical fact. It is said that the poem came at the end of the period; that the primitive culture brought it forth in its decay; in which case one would like to have seen that culture in its prime. But anyhow it is true that this, which is our first poem, might very well be our last poem too. It might well be the last word as well as the first word spoken by man about his mortal lot, as seen by merely mortal vision. If the world becomes pagan and perishes, the last man left alive would do well to quote the Iliad and die." [snip] Read More

Gratitude is key to living in the moment

Tom who blogs at tMichaelB muses about what stops people from being good interviewers (and conversationalists, too).

One of the big mistakes that so many people make in life is they always think about the future. They never take pleasure in the moment because they are always worried about tomorrow or next week, next month or next year. They can never enjoy the present because they are too concerned about what they are going to do later. This is a particular problem for men, who by nature tend to be goal-oriented. Women, who generally are more process-oriented, don’t seem to fall into this trap quite so often.

I am convinced that excessive want, sometimes called greed, is at the root of this problem. People who always want something are always looking ahead to when they might get it; they cannot appreciate what they have and where they are at that moment. People who cultivate a real sense of gratitude find it much easier to live in the present.

I have found this to be an important concept in my business. As a reporter, I am frequently interviewing people. In my early days, I used to worry more about what I was going to ask next than about what the person was saying. I never really listened to the person because I was thinking ahead. I wasn’t appreciating the value of the moment, because I was worried about the future.
[snip] Read More

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Masses For The Dead

Jayne from "So Many Devotions . . . So Little Time" has had some personal experience with Masses for the Dead in the past few weeks:

It has been a rough few weeks for us. We had two deaths in the family, and our 14-year-old cat had to be put down - all within the space of two weeks. Although the deaths of our loved ones were expected, it was still difficult to see them go . . . .
After a quick search I have found the following:

Masses for the Dead - by Father William P. Saunders
The offering of Masses for the repose of the soul of the faithful departed is linked with our belief in purgatory. We believe that if a person has died fundamentally believing in God but with venial sins and the hurt caused by sin, then God in His divine love and mercy will first purify the soul. After this purification has been completed, the soul will have the holiness and purity needed to share in the beatific vision in Heaven. Read More

General Instruction of the Roman Missal, Chapter VIII, Part II: Masses for the Dead
379. The Church offers the Eucharistic Sacrifice of Christ's Passover for the dead so that, since all the members of Christ's body are in communion with each other, the petition for spiritual help on behalf of some may bring comforting hope to others. Read More

Masses of Requiem (Catholic Encyclopedia)
Requiem Masses are masses that are offered for the dead. They derive their name from the first word of the Introit, which may be traced to the Fourth Book of Esdras, one of the Apocrypha, at the passage "Expectate pastorem vestrum, requiem ¾ternitatis dabit vobis . . ." Read More

Adoro Thinks We Need a "Dress Code" at Mass

Adoro of Adoro Te Devote saw something at Mass this morning that caused her to write about "Dress Codes:"

This morning at Mass, I saw a man walking up the aisle with his two little girls, both dressed in what appeared to be dance constumes. They had short skirts, glittery tops, and they of course, matched. The girls were of different ages. Now, the dance costumes were quite cute, but to myself, I grumbled about "innapropriate attire" for Mass.

Then I thought back to when I was a little girl, and I almost giggled out loud!

I realized that the man with the little girls did not have his wife with him, and that could serve as an explanation. [snip] You'll enjoy the rest

Monday we should remember our area's first "Venerable", Father Solanus Casey

Monday is the day Fr. Solanus (Bernard "Barney" Casey died, July 31, 1957. When he is canonized I'm sure his feastday would not supplant that of St. Ignatius of Loyola (whose feast is July 31) and therefore his would be celebrated on July 30th. He is declared Venerable, therefore we may be assured he is in heaven and may ask his intercession.
This humble priest was the instrument for countless miracles and graces in his lifetime, obtained for the average working person whom he counseled as his role as porter for the monastery. He himself had worked hard before entering the monastery. He was a guard at Stillwater State Prison not far from the Twin Cities. A street car conductor in Superior, Wisconsin. He worked as a hospital orderly and for a while as a logger- that's really hard work. Born in 1870, he grew up near Prescott Wisconsin on a farm. At twenty one he entered the Capuchin Franciscans, finding studies for the priesthood extremely difficult. (The classes were in German and Latin, language was not his forte.) When ordained he was designated a "simplex priest", meaning he could celebrate Mass, but neither preach or hear confessions, except in case of emergencies. His life was lived pretty much as a lay-brother. He was transferred throughout the Province, in part because of the large crowds who came to see him at all hours, asking for prayer and advice; but most of all due to his poor health. Fr. Solanus died at the friary in Detroit, July 31, 1957, fifty three years to the day of his ordination.
[snip] Read More from Terry at "Rome-ing Catholics"

The Map of World Happiness


EWTN's Raymond Arroyo to headline Sioux City Dinner

The 10th annual Bishop's Dinner for Catholic Education will feature one of America's premier Catholic journalists. Raymond Arroyo, an internationally recognized journalist will be the featured speaker at the Oct. 22 dinner. The Bishop's Dinner supports more than 6,000 students who attend Catholic schools throughout the Diocese of Sioux City. This year's dinner will be held at the Sioux City Convention Center.

Bishop R. Walker Nickless says Arroyo will be a wonderful witness to the powerful impact of Catholic media. "Anyone who has been fortunate enough to watch EWTN is very aware of Raymond's abilities as a Catholic journalist," Nickless said. "It will be a great treat to have him visit the Diocese and hear his stories of faith in action."
[snip] Sioux City Journal

Friday, July 28, 2006

Catholic radio growing in size, scope and audience

Catholic radio comes in virtually every size and shape, as does any other radio format. And the number of these stations is on the upswing. While dwarfed by the thousands of U.S. stations that identify themselves as Christian, the number is estimated at anywhere between 83 and 120.

There is one expanding network of Catholic stations. There is a global shortwave service that later decided to turn its gaze toward the States, offering its programming to anyone free, no strings attached. There are producers of syndicated programming. There are a growing number of low-power radio stations striving to fill the spiritual needs of Catholics in remote areas. Podcasts are in vogue.

Early this fall, there will be a new channel on a satellite radio service devoted to the Catholic Church. The next step is high-definition radio, giving stations the technology to broadcast multiple channels simultaneously to listeners with the latest generation of radio receivers.
Relevant Radio owns 16 stations — nine in its home state of Wisconsin — and has affiliation agreements with 19 others, billing itself as the "largest Catholic talk radio network in the United States."
There are "in excess of 80" stations carrying EWTN's radio feed 18 or more hours a day. One that carries EWTN radio across the clock is Sirius Satellite Radio, the subscription radio service. Early this fall, once the technical adjustments are all in place, Sirius will also carry the Catholic Channel, programmed by the Archdiocese of New York. "We'll be emphasizing on our channel a lot of live two-way talk ... to make it sound, in terms of format, like the best of popular radio," Joseph Zwilling, New York archdiocesan communications director, told CNS. "We will be completely Catholic in terms of content in what our hosts say on the air," with an eye on "the issues that are in the news," he said.
[snip] Florida Catholic

Catholic Daughters elect Battle Lake's Shirley Seyfried to national position

Local resident Shirley Seyfried was elected national secretary/treasurer during the 51st biennial national convention of the Catholic Daughters of the Americas held July 16-21, in Minneapolis.

The Battle Lake woman is the first national officer from Minnesota in the 103-year history of the organization.

Seyfried has been an active member of Court St. Cabrini 1466 in Fergus Falls for 28 years. She has served as first vice regent and as regent of Court St. Cabrini and as Minnesota state treasurer, state second vice regent, state first vice regent and as Minnesota state regent. [snip] Fergus Falls Daily Journal

"Contractions", and we're not talking about grammar!

Erin of bearing blog is pret' near ready to deliver. All you moms and wannabe moms should be checking up on her system. She's really an organized person, so you might pick up some tips, or learn things you don't want to do.

Now entering Day 10 of The Long String Of Having Some Contractions Every Day.

Yeah, every day, for a few hours. It's not too bad, except that they tend to tire me out. One thing that's probably good about this: ten days ago, when I had a series of contractions in a row, I was thinking, Oh nooooooo, I am not ready for this yet. By now I'm thinking, Please please please let this be the start of labor. Let's go. [snip] More

Today is the Feast of St Martha, All You Workaholics!

Take a good hard look. The pouty look on Martha’s face, almost that of a child, shows her disappointment at being busy about many things while Mary of Bethany is in the other room with Christ. Instead of focusing her attention at the task at hand, she is looking at the scene which we see reflected in the mirror on the wall behind her. She is on the edge of frustrated tears.

In the mirror we see the scene in the other room. A discussion is taking place, no doubt about fascinating things. Christ lifts His hand, which will soon be bruised in falling, pierced with a nail, as if to say, "Wait! Be silent a moment! There is more to this than meets the eye. What this really means is…."

Who can know what incredible things He is saying, which we can’t quite hear from the kitchen?

Mary’s hair is loose about her shoulders. Her hair, a "woman’s glory", is not in danger of being singed in the cooking fires, or soiled as it brushes the surface of the kitchen work table. It won’t fall into Mary’s eyes or bother her while cleaning. She can have her hair loose as she "just sits there". She has a wrap of some sort around her arm, calling to mind the robe of the ancient Greek philosopher which draped upon one arm, a conspicuous symbol that philosophers did not do manual work. They were dedicated to contemplation of the deeper questions.

Martha’s sleeves are pulled back, rolled up, exposing her forearm. There is a little bit of decoration on her rolled up sleeve which she won’t be able to show off now. Her hair is bound up. It has to be. Her own "glory" is hidden because she has a lot of work to do. She had put on dangling earrings, probably because she thought she would be out there in the parlour as well. But now… here she is in the kitchen, hair pulled back, working. Mary can just sit there and be pretty, calm, in the presence of the desired One. Martha must work, be less fetching, even grimy and sweaty as she works for everyone else’s pleasure.

Isn’t it true that sometimes we want to strip others of the joy they have when we can’t have it for ourselves?

On the table are instruments of Martha’s labor. Fish and eggs, Christian symbols. The oil flask calls our mind to the Passion, at least to the coming death and burial of Lazarus. Perhaps even the cloves of garlic are a symbol of the resurrection, much like an orange can be in art, because of its peeling and the sections it breaks down into. Most significant is the large mortar which is keeping Martha from Jesus in the other room.

Martha is literally given over to the daily grind.

So, perhaps you have been busted. The old woman on the left, probably a serving woman in the house at Bethany, who NEVER has Martha’s opportunities, is showing you yourself.

She is your conscience in this image.

In this life there is a tension between the active and the contemplative, the daily grind and a true Christian’s desire for silence, recollection and prayer. How do we rise to the challenge of bringing something of prayer and reflection to our daily work? How do you make your quiet stillness fruitful by means of corporal works of mercy? In heaven, action and contemplation will not be divided as they are here. We are still called, however, in our lives to inform each of these dimensions of Christian life with the other. [Snip] Read More from our own Father "Z"

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Nun with honorary aboriginal membership loses deportation fight

A Nigerian nun who has been working with a Manitoba First Nation will be deported despite her claim for refugee status and the band's support of her. Sister Nkemhurunaya Juliana Eligwe has been helping people of the Sandy Bay Ojibwa First Nation, on the shore of Lake Manitoba, for more than two years and has been made an honorary member of the band. The Roman Catholic nun claimed refugee status, saying she would suffer religious persecution if she were sent back to Nigeria.

The band's council decided to try to help Eligwe after immigration officials rejected her request, but without success. "She put in a request for an honorary citizenship within our community and we felt obliged to do it, seeing that she served our community so well," Sandy Bay Chief Irvin McIvor said. The band then argued in Federal Court that Eligwe should not be forced from Canada because the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act states that "every person registered as an Indian under the Indian Act has the right to enter into and remain in Canada."

The argument did not wash with Federal Court Judge Sean Harrington, who ruled that honorary memberships do not supersede decisions by the Immigration Department. "The proposition put forward, if brought to its extreme, is that each and every band . . . has the power to usurp the discretion of the minister of citizenship and immigration by accepting non-residents as band members, and thereby granting them permanent resident status," Harrington said in his July 19 ruling. McIvor hinted the decision may be appealed.

"The Federal Court cannot decide whom we make honorary members or who lives in our community," he said. "I think there'll be another page to the story." Harrington pointed out that nuns can apply for work permits to stay in Canada if they are truly engaged in religious activities, but he raised questions about Eligwe's role. "(Eligwe) has worked here as a short-order cook and in other non-religious capacities, although she has also led the band's choir and has been of spiritual assistance to many," he said in his ruling.

Immigration officials decided Eligwe is unlikely to face persecution in her home country because she hails from a region that is predominantly Christian. The African nation is governed by an elected civilian regime, but is suffering from ethnic and class tension, especially in the oil-rich Niger Delta.

The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has staged a wave of attacks and hostage-takings across the area this year. It is demanding redistribution of Nigeria's oil wealth, saying people in the Delta region don't receive a fair share.

Fargo Vicar General returns to parish life after serving one year as a chaplain in Iraq . . . and a Bronze Star

After a year of service as an Army National Guard battalion chaplain in Iraq, Msgr. Brian Donahue begins a new type of duty June 28 when he becomes pastor of St. Benedict parish in Horace and St. Maurice parish in Kindred. In addition to his responsibilities as pastor, Msgr. Donahue will serve as vicar general for the Diocese of Fargo, with special ministry as supervisor of the Office of Communications, liaison to the media and diocesan spokesman.

In June 2004, as the 3-133 Field Artillery Battalion out of El Paso, Texas, prepared for service in Iraq, they submitted a request to the National Guard in Washington, D.C., for a Catholic chaplain because a large number of their members were Catholic. At the time, there were only four Catholic chaplains in the United States who had not deployed, two of whom were not eligible to deploy with a battalion due to rank.

Msgr. Donahue was in his office at the Diocese of Fargo Pastoral Center when he received the phone call requesting his assistance. Just the day before, “all indications were I was not going to deploy anywhere,” said Msgr. Donahue, who was serving as vicar general, vicar for clergy and moderator of the curia for the diocese. “When I received the phone call, it came completely out of the blue. I remember when I hung up the phone the thought that went through my mind was, ‘Now it begins.’” Click here to read the rest of the story.

4-day Ignation Retreat for Women, Fargo, Aug 10-13

A 4-day Ignation Retreat for Women will begin at 7 p.m. Thursday, August 10 and end at 3 p.m. Sunday, August 13 at Cardinal Muench Seminary, 100 35th Ave NE, Fargo. The cost is $185 and includes single private sleeping room, meals, and conference talks. The retreat will include instructions on Ignation methods of prayer, time for Adoration, and encounters with Fr. Jim Montanaro (who will be leading the retreat) for confession and/or consultation. Space is limited so register early. For more information, call Rachelle at 701-356-7910, email at Sponsored by the Respect Life Office, Diocese of Fargo.

Catholic Parents OnLine Warns of "Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities" activities

Dear Friends,

CPO received a phone call recently from a very concerned parishioner at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in Wayzata, MN. There was an announcement in the parish bulletin last weekend announcing that Holy Name of Jesus parish will begin a support group on August 23rd, 2006 for people experiencing same-sex attraction and their families.

The BIG problem with this "support group" is that it will be conducted by "Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities" (CPCSM) and "Catholic Rainbow Parents", two groups that consistently oppose Catholic Church teaching in the area of sexual morality. [The Executive Director of CPCSM is Michael Bayly who has also in the past been responsible for organizing the Rainbow Sash sacrilege demonstrations at the St Paul Cathedral and elsewhere].

The bulletin announcement was submitted by Mr. Bill Rose, Director of Pastoral Care at Holy Name parish. Mr. Rose is featured in a "CPCSM" newsletter, and 2 years ago he was the guest speaker for a group called "Inclusive Catholics" at St. Joan of Arc Church. He spoke on "the role of conscience in developing a Catholic sexual morality".

Many of you may remember that Archbishop Harry Flynn had a letter sent to all pastors/priests back in 1998 warning them NOT to support or endorse "CPCSM" in any manner. Here is a copy of that letter:

December 21, 1998
Reverend and Dear Father,

Many priests recently received a fund-raising letter from the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities. Included in the letter was this statement: "The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis is supportive of our efforts, however, we receive no financial support from the Archdiocese".

The statement is accurate in regard to the lack of financial support from the Archdiocese. The statement says too much in indicating that the Archdiocese is supportive of CPCSM's efforts and those of related entities, such as the "Families and Friends of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Persons in Catholic Schools".

Both Archbishop Flynn and Archbishop Roach have been careful to avoid support of this organization. To the extent that CPCSM and its related entities have attempted to combat discrimination and violence against homosexual persons and to advance their spiritual welfare, they are working very much toward the same goals as our Church. Nevertheless, some of their literature and the public statements of some of their individual members indicate a further purpose for the organization. To the extent that they advocate changes in the moral and sacramental-theological traditions of our Church, particularly in promoting recognition of same- sex unions and the genital expression of affection between persons of the same gender, they most certainly do not enjoy the support of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis.

It is our understanding that the organization is not univocal in regard to this advocacy agenda. Nevertheless, there is sufficient cause for concern in this regard that both Archbishops have avoided supporting, endorsing, or recognizing in any formal way the CPCSM.

Sincerely your in Christ,

Reverend Kevin McDonough, Vicar General, Moderator of the Curia

Friends, if these dissident groups keep pressing their agendas and spreading false teachings in our Catholic churches and schools, then, as faithful Catholics, we must continue to oppose them. This information needs to be brought out into the Light!

Please pass this information on and PRAY!

God bless you and yours,


P.S. Always remember that "Courage" is the only authentic Catholic support group for anyone struggling with same-sex attraction.

Family Vacation Retrospective

Some of my fondest memories of childhood revolve around the few vacations we took and the many weekend "rides" and picnics that our family of seven enjoyed together, crammed into the 39 or 47 Chevvy. Real togetherness is how one copes when the deer flies would be so thick that meal preparation, consumption and cleanup would have to take place within the car. But gas was only 30 cents a gallon, I suppose.

Sharon from Clairity's Journal gives us her retrospective of what a 21st century family vacation is like.

A family vacation is so ... unvirtual. It involves real whining, biting bugs, plenty of dirt and, but only if you're not roughing it, a mattress thin as a pancake. We just got back from the CL family vacation last week in Wisconsin, five days with 180+ people, about half kids.

Why do parents do it? As Fr. Rich shared about his father, who took his kids somewhere different every weekend and on a vacation every summer, they do it to expose them to the various beauty of the real world. The theme of the weekend was: "You live for love of something happening now." For once, the experience is not in anticipation of something else--the way we work every day to get paid the next month, or study to get a degree. There's something greatly human about pursuing beauty for itself: it makes us grow. Without leaving the comforts of A/C, hi-speed internet connections, wall-to-wall carpeting, there's a lot we don't get. And we know it, even if we're lazy; for some reason parents are willing to stretch for their kids. Maybe you're one of the lovers of the great outdoors, but admit it, you'd rather get there without the hassle.
[snip] Read it All

Pilgrimage Site O' the Day: Our Lady of Guadalupe, La Crosse, WI

Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine, La Crosse, Wisconsin

Open, but still under construction

Happy Anniversary, Clayton

Today is the 36th anniversary of the Baptism of blogger Clayton from The Weight of Glory. You mean you don't celebrate your Baptism, that day when you became born again? Shouldn't you?

See how Clayton celebrated last year.

Our Lady of Hyderabad Speaks Out on Father Altier's Letter

Georgette, Our Lady of Hyderabad, who blogs at the Chronicle of a Meandering Traveller, pulls no punches in her support for Father Robert Alter in his latest battle.

Like a long cold drink of crystal clear water to a parched-throated trekker during a well earned respite, there is a great satisfaction one feels when goodness is upheld and justice is served-- even if only for a moment-- by having the "record set straight" in the aftermath of a grave injustice.

This is how we may feel when we see the recent response of that good and righteous priest, Fr Robert Altier who had been observing quiet obedience in the face of so many injustices to himself and to his spiritual children-- not only in his archdiocese but in the world over-- by being silenced from his radio and online ministries. Adding insult to injury, this good priest was then reassigned from his thriving parish to the post of assistant chaplain in a remote nursing home, thereby effectually removing him from 'active duty' in his archdiocese-- an archidocese which has a dearth of priests and at least four mission parishes with no full time priests at all. Father Altier, happy to be obedient to his superior, although not perceiving what his more world-savvy parishioners and listeners and internet readers perceived (namely that a good priest was being ostracized for being good and moral and upholding the teachings of his Church, something that alarmingly seems to be a trend in too many dioceses across the United States these days), has taken these orders of his Archbishop in complete resignation to the Will of God.

But the PR guy for the archdiocese is not the Archbishop.
[snip] Read the Rest

Father Robert Altier Speaks Out, Forcefully

Matt Abbott of RenewAmerica has posted a letter by Father Robert Altier, chaplain at the Regina Nursing Home in Hastings, MN, former Associate Pastor of St Agnes Parish in St Paul, MN. The letter, to Dennis McGrath who is the Communications Director of the Archdiocese of St Paul-Minneapolis, was copied to Archbishop Harry Flynn and Mr. Kenneth Fisher, President of the Concerned Roman Catholics of America in Anaheim, California.

Father Altier was removed from his post at St Agnes last March, ostensibly for reasons of disagreeing with the Archbishop over the use of the VIRTUS sex education program in the Archdiocese. Until this moment, no public first hand comment has been heard from Father Altier.

The CRCOA has been a vocal supporter of Father Altier and is circulating a petition on his behalf to supporters around the world. Father's letter was resent by Mr. Fisher to paid subscribers of the CRCOA mailing list newsletter and we present it here with all the attachments as sent:

Dennis McGrath
226 Summit Ave.
St. Paul, MN 55102-2197

Dear Mr. McGrath,

Praised be Jesus Christ! I am writing to you in response to a letter that you wrote to Mr. Kenneth Fisher on July 17, 2006 and which was, in turn, forwarded to me. In this letter you state, regarding Mr. Fisher, that "his story is replete with errors and major exaggerations. As the communications director for The Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, let me strive to correct the record and, hopefully, get your Catholic Newswire to do the same if you're at all concerned about journalistic ethics and truth." Toward the end of the letter you further state "to let Mr. Fisher use your news service as a communications medium to trumpet a campaign based on false and distorted information is almost unimaginable to me, as a trained journalist."

These are rather interesting statements considering that your own letter contains very few pieces of factual data but is, indeed, replete with misinformation and a great deal of false and distorted information of its own (and this is not the first time). This strikes me as being "almost unimaginable" coming from one who claims to be a trained journalist and even more because you represent the Archdiocese and the Archbishop. If this were merely a matter of false and distorted information I would have ignored it and remained silent, as I have in the past. But there is something much more serious contained in your letter which has prompted me to write you. This would fall under your statement about getting the record straight and concern about journalistic ethics and truth.

In your letter you state that I have "indeed frequently and inappropriately (if not disobediently) criticized the Archbishop and Archdiocesan leaders (and not simply on the VIRTUS child protection/education program)." While it is true that I have not always agreed with certain decisions that have been made, I have never, to my recollection, made public statements that are critical of the Archbishop and I have never been disobedient to anything he has ever asked. A clear distinction needs to be made here. We have a right and, at times, an obligation to make judgments on actions, including decisions. To criticize such actions or
decisions does not constitute criticism of the person per se. I have made a promise of respect and obedience to the Archbishop and I have maintained this promise. To disagree with a decision is neither an act of disrespect for the person of the Archbishop nor is it an act of disobedience. These charges made in your letter are not only fabrications of your own, but they constitute slander and calumny which are both serious sins. I am requesting that you either produce some evidence to back up your remarks or "strive to correct the record" by recanting these statements in the same medium or media in which they were

Mr. McGrath, considering your position as the Director of Communications for the Archdiocese, and considering that you make it clear at the beginning of your letter that you are acting in that capacity, your statements have to be taken not as personal opinion, but as the official position of the Archdiocese. This is quite tragic (but does indeed speak volumes) and it is truly unimaginable coming from a trained journalist who is concerned about journalistic ethics and truth. Since you are speaking on behalf of the Archbishop and your statements are to reflect his own official position, I am sending a copy of this letter to the Archbishop. I am also sending a copy to Mr. Fisher because your original letter was addressed to him. Trusting in your desire to correct the record and uphold only the highest standards of ethics and truth, I will look forward to your rectification of this
unfortunate situation.

In our Lord and our Lady,
Fr. Robert J. Altier

Cc: Archbishop Flynn
Mr. Kenneth Fisher


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See the Stella Borealis "Category" for Father Robert Altier in the Sidebar column to the right for all of the posts mentioning this suspension since March.