Sunday, March 30, 2008
Divine Mercy Sunday
I went to St Bonaventure in Bloomington instead of the Cathedral for the Divine Mercy devotions. I didn't realize they had Franciscan priests there. So I wanted to check them out. But their Deacon substituted and did a nice job on the service today. There must have been upwards of 300 people there (mostly older).
The Deacon mentioned in his sermon that over 43 parishes in the Archdiocese scheduled Divine Mercy devotions yesterday or today. That's out of 220 parishes (20%), many of them small and rural. Only one parish in Minneapolis scheduled Divine Mercy devotions. Maybe there is something to what they say. Other than Holy Cross, I don't think there are many Minneapolis parishes that have perpetual adoration, either. And there are something like 35 parishes in the diocese that have it, plus maybe a dozen or more that are too small or logistically poorly designed for "perpetual" adoration.
We said the "Divine Mercy Praises." The Deacon blessed a DM image and then we all venerated it individually. Then we said the chaplet and ended with Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and then a social hour.
Modern church structure, built in 1967. But quite large and nice. Not enough stained glass and statuary, of course. And Stations of the Cross that you can't distinguish from more than six feet away.
One adult server! How do people expect that boys will become interested in the priesthood if they don't use them at Mass and devotions in the parish, giving them important things to do?
One thing that I kind of liked. They passed around a sheet during the social hour so people could make suggestions as to how to improve the devotions next year. I like that kind of participation.
It would have been nice if they had kneelers (prie-dieux) in front of the Divine Mercy image during the veneration. Some folks (suffering from "arthur-itis") have a difficult time getting down on their knees (the easy part) and then standing up without something to grab on to.
Saturday, March 29, 2008
Argument of the Month Club: April 8, 6:30 p.m. - Homosexuality
Second Tuesday of the Month, from October through May
Church of St. Augustine, South St. Paul, MN
Father John Paul Echert
will be giving his presentation,
"Straight Talk on Homosexuality: The Catholic Perspective"
Ridiculously Good Smoked Beef Rib Tips and Smoked Salmon
Smoked Beef Brisket, and Charcoal Roasted Sirloin Tip (Seasoned to perfection and you can smother it with either one of our two kinds of Sauces, 1st a thick rich peppery red wine herbed mushroom sauce, 2nd a sweet rich robust BBQ Sauce.
Kent's Awesome Potato Salad
Sassy Green Beans
Triple Chocolate Cake covered in wild berries served with Chocolate Espresso Ice cream and everything gets smothered in a Chocolate Liqueur Sauce.
Tuesday, April 8th
Social at 6:30pm (beverages and appetizers)
Dinner at 7:00pm
Total cost for the evening is $12 at the door
There will be time for you to agree or disagree with our speaker during the Q&A, which starts immediately following dessert. But you are all encouraged to enjoy the good humor, food and fellowship. We enjoy the company of men from all different creeds and ages. Priests and seminarians get in for free but are not shown any partiality in debate. Fathers may bring their sons as long as they accompany them.
Thursday, March 27, 2008
Joseph's Aunt Scandalized That Joseph and Mary Weren't Married!
They're always be an England but I'm not sure I'm happy about that!
Goliath was a celebrity binge drinker, and Adam was obsessed with Eve's naked body - according to a retelling of traditional Bible stories by an Anglican vicar.
The Must Know Stories, written by the Rev Robert Harrison, feature a reworking of the top ten Bible stories, which were chosen in a poll by the Christian charity Scripture Union.
In the book, the tale of David and Goliath is retold from the perspective of the giant, portrayed as a "depressed alcoholic" who is hung over on the day of his fateful encounter with David.
The story of the Garden of Eden is retold from the point of view of Adam, who revels in Eve's "beautiful body" and in the nativity tale, Jesus is born in an overcrowded house instead of a stable, amid family conflict as Joseph's aunt deals with the fact that he and Mary are not married.
If you must know, read about it here in The Telegraph.
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Divine Mercy is the Cure!
Pope John Paul II often reminded us of the loss of a sense of sin and the need for a return to the practice of frequent confession.
The moral relativism that is causing much of this loss of a sense of sin in our world has also been characterized by our current Pope, Benedict XVI, as perhaps the major evil facing the Catholic Church today. [snip]
The word “epidemic” would seem to be the very best way to describe the crisis in the Church today.
We know that only about 25% of Catholics attend Sunday Mass every week. The Church teaches that it is grave matter to miss Mass on Sundays without a good reason. If it’s done knowingly and deliberately, it’s a mortal sin that must be confessed.
A survey done in a parish in Florida revealed that only about 10% of regular church goers actually confess every year or whenever conscious of serious sin as required by one of the precepts of the Church.
Are most other parishes any better?
This crisis is unprecedented in Catholic history and we need an immediate cure. [snip]
This epidemic is worse than most, because one of its symptoms is the lack of interest in addressing the epidemic.
All the same, we have been given the complete cure, and all that remains is for us to put it into action and tell everyone about it.
If your parish hasn’t been celebrating Divine Mercy Sunday, then something is wrong! This new feast of mercy is God’s gift to us to completely renew and revitalize our Church. If you think that this feast of mercy is a party for devotees, you have it all wrong. [snip]
Just think about it. The Divine Mercy indulgence that the Vatican has granted, with its promise for the complete forgiveness of sins and punishment, is just the enticement these lukewarm souls need to get to them to go to confession. We know that on Easter most churches are full to overflowing with souls that are in danger of dying in mortal sin and they need a lot of encouragement from the clergy.
If Divine Mercy Sunday immediately follows Easter, then why aren’t we inviting everyone to the feast, especially all those Easter-only Catholics while they are sitting there in the pews? What an awesome God we have to give us exactly what we need to restore his Church. We only need to wake up.
Proclaim the Good News, tell everyone about Divine Mercy Sunday. Let the world know. Put it in the newspapers, radio and TV. Make every possible effort to reach everyone.
Make Jesus happy and take away some of his pain.
Jesus told St. Faustina that the loss of each soul plunges him into mortal sadness. If we really love him, we will do everything that we possibly can to help him save souls.
It's not too late! National Catholic Register
The Pope's a'Coming, The Pope's a'Coming!
Bookmark about it HERE now
- - - - - - - - - - and of course on Stella Borealis.
Monday, March 24, 2008
Friday, March 21, 2008
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Jon Hassler, Catholic Novelist and St John's Professor, Dies.
Beloved author Jon Hassler, whose unconquerable will to write became as much admired as his novels steeped in small-town Minnesota, died early Thursday of Progressive Supranuclear Palsy, a Parkinson’s-like disease. He was 74.
Hassler, of Minneapolis, battled PSP for almost 15 years, a disease that progressively stole his ability to write, to speak and, finally, to walk. But, fueled by the sheer force of will and the love and support of his wife, Gretchen Kresl Hasssler, Hassler devised ways to keep at it.
A spirited problem-solver, Hassler wrote his most recent few novels by “typing.” His fingers, however, would fall randomly on the keyboard, and only he could read the resulting “gibberish.” He’d translate the typewritten pages to Gretchen, who would then retype them.
“Through all this, I loved him for his courage and his pluck,” Gretchen Hassler said. “He just kept going and going. He had a book to finish, and, by golly, he finished it, too.”
A new novel, “Jay O’Malley,” was finished in the weeks before his death.
Hassler was born March 30, 1933, to Leo Blaise (a grocer) and Ellen (a teacher), of Staples, Minn. His career path took him from schoolteacher in Melrose to a regent’s professor at St. John’s University in Collegeville.
Along the way, he published more than 15 works of fiction for adults and young adults, including “Staggerford” (1977), “The Love Hunter (1981), “Grand Opening” (1987) and “The New Woman” (2005).
He is survived by sons David Hassler (Joyce), of Alexandria, and Michael Hassler, of Brainerd; daughter Elizabeth Hassler Caughey (Lonnie), of Brainerd; stepdaughters Catherine Cich (Geoff), of Robbinsdale; Elizabeth Seymour (Chris), of Richfield; stepson Emil Kresl, of Austin, Texas. and five grandchildren.
St Paul Pioneer Press article
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Easter Triduum, St Agnes, St Paul, Liturgies in the Ordinary Form
The Sacred Triduum will be celebrated in the Ordinary form with the 1970 Missale Romanum at St. Agnes in St. Paul, MN. Driving Directions
Holy Thursday, March 20
9:30 a.m. ~ Matins, Lauds (Tenebrae)
10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. ~ Confession in the Chapel
3:30 to 5:00 p.m. ~ Confession in the Chapel
7:30 p.m. ~ Mass of the Lord’s Supper
8:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m. ~ Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament at the Altar of Repose
There will be NO Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament in the Chapel on Good Friday
9:30 am ~ Matins, Lauds (Tenebrae)
10:00 am to 11:30 a.m. - Confession in the Chapel
2:00 p.m. ~ Liturgy of Good Friday
3:30 to 5:00 p.m. ~ Confession in Chapel
7:30 p.m. ~ Stations of the Cross
Holy Saturday, March 22
9:30 am ~ Matins, Lauds (Tenebrae)
10:00 am to 11:30 a.m. ~ Confession in the Chapel
2:00 p.m. ~ Blessing of Easter Food
3:30 to 5:00 p.m. ~ Confession in the Chapel
7:30 p.m. ~ Liturgy of the Easter Vigil
Easter Sunday, March 23
Usual Sunday Mass Schedule
3:00 p.m. ~ Vespers
Easter Triduum, St Augustine's, S St Paul, Liturgies in the Extraordinary Form
The Sacred Triduum will be celebrated with the 1962 Missale Romanum at St. Augustine’s in South St. Paul, MN.
Holy Thursday – 8:00 pm --- Fr Robert Altier, celebrant; Fr. John Zuhlsdorf, subdeacon
Good Friday – 7:30 pm ----- Fr John Zuhlsdorf, celebrant
Vigil of Easter – 11:00 pm - Fr John Zuhlsdorf, celebrant
John Allen: Megatrends in the Catholic Church Today
In a fact-filled talk in Denver on March 4, journalist-author John Allen spoke about mega-trends facing the Church and tied them to Pope Benedict XVI’s upcoming U.S. visit. The pope will visit Washington D.C. and New York City April 15-20.
Allen is the Vatican correspondent for the National Catholic Reporter, and also a CNN correspondent. He spoke before a sizeable crowd of 250 people in Bonfils Hall at the John Paul II Center. Archbishop Charles J. Chaput, O.F.M. Cap., invited Allen, a close friend, to speak.
Allen spoke about the Catholic Church becoming a world church, evangelical Catholicism, the biotech revolution and globalization. A book he is writing on mega-trends facing the Church will be published this year.
Hemispheric differences - The first mega-trend facing the Catholic Church, according to Allen, is the transition to a “world church” due to growing Catholic populations in Africa, Asia and South America. Allen calls this “Southern Catholicism.” In the past, the Church has been dominated by Europe and North America.
This population shift, he said, will move Church leadership to a more global focus.
Allen noted several common characteristics of “Southern Catholicism,” including that most priests are morally conservative, but politically liberal. This is because the priests and the Church are often the only voice for the people to defend the common good in non-democratic and often tyrannical governments. For example, priests in Zimbabwe wrote a letter to the President Robert Mugabe telling him it is time for him to leave.
Southern Catholicism is also biblical and not speculative. The supernatural is “very palpable and real,” Allen said. Miracles and exorcisms are the “meat and potatoes” of a supernatural spirituality.
Southern Catholicism also has a problem of growth, not decline. [snip]
The battle against secularism - The second mega-trend facing the Catholic Church is evangelical Catholicism. There is a strong emphasis on a traditional Catholic identity as a reaction against secular humanism, which has eroded Catholic institutions. Evangelical Catholicism includes a strong public proclamation, and faith as a matter of personal choice rather than a cultural influence.
Contemporary Europe is very secular, Allen said. According to a recent poll, only 27 percent of Italians think religion is very important. In comparison, 59 percent of Americans think religion is very important. This growing secularism is a major concern for the current papacy, he said. [snip]
Bioethical concerns on the rise - The third mega-trend is the biotechnology revolution, which includes cloning, in vitro fertilization, embryonic stem cell research, end of life issues, genetic engineering, genetically modified organisms, and justice and health care issues. [snip]
Globalization - The fourth mega-trend Allen sees is globalization. Worldwide, more people are enjoying prosperity, but most people worldwide still live in poverty.
Possible echoes during the pope’s visit might include developing human rights beginning with religious freedom and the growing ecology movement complementing natural law.
Allen concluded that American Catholics will need to emphasize the things that bring us together and not the issues that divide us to successfully meet and overcome the challenges facing the Catholic Church. Catholic OnLine
An audio recording of Allen's talk is on the webpage of the Archdiocese of Denver: Here1 and Here2
Mikhail Gorbachev admits he is a Christian
Mikhail Gorbachev, the last Communist leader of the Soviet Union, has acknowledged his Christian faith for the first time, paying a surprise visit to pray at the tomb of St Francis of Assisi.
Accompanied by his daughter Irina, Mr Gorbachev spent half an hour on his knees in silent prayer at the tomb.
His arrival in Assisi was described as "spiritual perestroika" by La Stampa, the Italian newspaper.
"St Francis is, for me, the alter Christus, the other Christ," said Mr Gorbachev. "His story fascinates me and has played a fundamental role in my life," he added.
Mr Gorbachev's surprise visit confirmed decades of rumours that, although he was forced to publicly pronounce himself an atheist, he was in fact a Christian, and casts a meeting with Pope John Paul II in 1989 in a new light.
Mr Gorbachev, 77, was baptised into the Russian Orthodox Church and his parents were Christians.
In addition, the parents of his wife Raisa were deeply religious and were killed during the Second World War for having religious icons in their home.
Ronald Reagan, the former United States president, allegedly told his close aides on a number of occasions that he felt his opponent during the Cold War was a "closet believer".
Mr Reagan held deep religious convictions himself. However, until now Mr Gorbachev has allowed himself to express only pantheistic views, saying in one interview "nature is my god".
After his prayers, Mr Gorbachev toured the Basilica of St Francis and asked in particular to be shown an icon of St Francis portraying his "dream at Spoleto".
St Francis, who lived in the 12th century, was a troubadour and a poet before the spiritual vision caused him to return to Assisi and contemplate a religious life.
Even in his early days, St Francis helped the poor, once giving all of his money to a beggar. As well as spending time in the wilderness, he also nursed lepers and eventually became a priest.
"It was through St Francis that I arrived at the Church, so it was important that I came to visit his tomb," said Mr Gorbachev.
"I feel very emotional to be here at such an important place not only for the Catholic faith, but for all humanity."
He also asked the monks for theological books to help him understand St Francis's life.
Father Miroslavo Anuskevic, who accompanied the former Soviet leader, said: "He was not recognised by any of the worshippers in the church, and silently meditated at the tomb for a while. He seemed a man deeply inspired by charity, and told me that he was involved in a project to help children with cancer.
"He talked a lot about Russia and said that even though the transition to democracy had been very important
for the world, it was very painful for Russia. He said it was a country which has a great history, and also a great spirituality."The Telegraph
I remember when Gorbachev was in Minnesota in 1990 at the invitation of then Governor Rudy Perpich. Minnesota went nuts that day. The Cold War was over. It was V-E Day and V-J Day, rolled into one; and we had our "prisoner", the leader of the Soviet Union, the Evil Empire, the Commie King. At least for a day. I got to within ten feet of him in front of the Governor's mansion and even signed on as part of his security team. Back home, watching TV as his plane was getting ready to roll, one could see Gorby, and his wife, Raissa, through the plane window, still waving at the ecstatic crowd. I thought then to myself "He doesn't want to leave." Maybe I was right.
"Father Showman" in the Vatican Museum
One of the tragedies of Catholic life today is that Cardinal Arinze was born 20 years too early!
Cardinal Francis Arinze, the Church’s head of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments recently made a speech in Kenya in which he criticized liturgical abuses and protested Masses where the recklessly innovative priests act as “Reverend Showman”.
The Nigerian-born Cardinal Arinze, who is Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, was in Kenya to conduct a workshop and a retreat on liturgy for the bishops, according to CISA. While he was at the Catholic University of East Africa, the cardinal delivered a public lecture in which he discussed the importance of following liturgical rubrics and the proper place of inculturation in the liturgy.
The cardinal discussed sentiments that cause errors in worship, such as
- regarding everyone as an expert in liturgy,
- extolling spontaneity and creativity to the detriment of approved rites and prayers,
- seeking immediate popular applause or enjoyment,
- ignoring approved liturgical texts.
He said that liturgical abuses were often due to an ignorance that rejects elements of worship whose deeper meaning is not understood or whose antiquity is not recognized.
Cardinal Arinze clarified the nature of the reforms of Vatican II, saying they must be seen as continuous with the past rather than as a dramatic break. “The Catholic Church is the same before and after Vatican II. It isn’t another Church,” he said.
Some aspects of liturgical rites can be modified according to pastoral needs. “The Church does not live in the Vatican Museum,” [Excellent! I usually say "Jurrasic Park", but this is good!] the cardinal said. However, he said that incorporating local traditions into the practice of the faith, which is known as inculturation, should be compatible with the Christian message and in communion with the universal Church.
Inculturation, he said, “should make people part of a Church which is universal but also local.”
Cardinal Arinze attacked distortions of inculturation, saying, “It is a caricature of inculturation to understand it as the invention of the fertile imagination of some enthusiastic priest, who concocts an idea on Saturday night and tries it on the innocent congregation the following morning. He may have good will, but good will is not enough.”
The cardinal also condemned individualistic experimentation, saying, “the person who of his own authority adds or subtracts from the laid down liturgical rites is doing harm to the Church.”
Proper inculturation, the cardinal said, required bishops to guide the introduction of new elements into worship. Innovations should take place only after careful consideration, after bishops have set up a multi-disciplinary group of experts to study a cultural element to be included in the liturgy.
The group of experts should then make their recommendation to their bishops’ conference. If both the bishops’ conference and the Holy See approve the innovation, after limited experiment and “due preparation” of the clergy and the people, the new element may be incorporated. “Otherwise it is wild liturgy,” said Cardinal Arinze.
Cardinal Arinze characterized a successful celebration of the Mass as one that “manifests the Catholic faith powerfully, encourages those who have the faith already, shakes up those who are slumbering and those who are at the edge, and makes curious those who are not Catholics at all.”
The Mass must send Catholics home “full of joy, ready to come back again, ready to live it and to share it.”
The cardinal encouraged future priests’ proper formation in liturgy and the ongoing liturgical formation of both clergy and lay people. [from Father Z]
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
"WOCHA" Gonna Base Your 2008 Vote On?
A couple of years ago, Catholic Answers, the wonderful lay apologetics outfit based in San Diego, run by Karl Keating, Jimmy Akin, and others, came up with the "Non-negotiables", the Church teachings that must be adhered to when Catholics make their decisions for whom to vote.
The teachings on issues that are non-negotiable for Catholics are abortion, euthanasia, embryonic stem cell research, human cloning and homosexual marriage.
Tim Drake, a lead writer for the National Catholic Register, based in St. Joseph, Minnesota, has come out with his own list of key Catholic issues. These are the issues that will be most written about by the secular press when the Pope visits the United States next month.
I was wondering how long it would take before the "WOCHA" (Women's Ordination, Contraception, Homosexuality, Abortion) mantra would begin. Five weeks out from the Pope's visit, it looks like Cleveland.com is the first to begin the mantra with this story juxtaposing American disagreements over contraception with the Church's teachings. I coined this term during World Youth Day in Cologne after witnessing reporter after reporter ask young Catholics the same question..."Do you agree with the Church's teaching on...(Insert social topic here)?"
The story does much to show the disagreements, but little to clear them up by actually reporting what it is that the Church teaches, and more importantly, why. It's so completely predictable.
Yesterday, I spoke with Tim Graham, director of media analysis with the Media Research Center
They compiled a special report on the media’s coverage of Pope John Paul II titled “The Life of John Paul II: Shepherd of Souls or Antiquated Authoritarian.”
“What I expect we’ll see is a set of polls that will say that American Catholics as a whole disagree with Pope Benedict on a number of things,” said Graham. “They love to poll Catholics because the sample size is large enough, but they don’t separate out for how many of those they are polling have been inside of a Catholic Church within the last decade.”
“When the media interviews these people, they want to see the Church as out of touch,” said Graham. “Rather, it’s these people they use who are out of touch with the Church.”
Tim Drake (and the National Catholic Register have set up a special website for the Pope's visit in April, Pope2008.com Make sure you link to it a location where you can easily find it. Tim is already posting several articles a day, so start following his reporting now. You'll be be well up to speed and the Envy of Your Neighborhood by the time that the Pope arrives!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Father Michael McGivney, Founder of the Knights of Columbus, Declared "Venerable", a "Servant of God"
Father Zuhlsdorf is on top of thing even in Holy Week: Today in L’Osservatore Romano there is a list of decrees the Holy Father approved for promulgation by the Congregation for Causes of Saints. Take note that among them is a decree concerning the heroic virtues of the founder of the Knights of Columbus, Fr. Michael McGivney, of New Haven, CT. He may now be called "Venerable". If now a miracle through his intercession can be studied and verified with a reasonable degree of certainty, he could be beatified.
Saturday, March 15, 2008
Why Do Catholics Have Crucifixes and Protestants Use Crosses?
Many non-Catholics have an aversion to crucifixes. While they have no problem [with] an “empty cross,” some Protestants, for example, object to the crucifix because it depicts Christ dying on the cross. “Christ isn’t on the cross anymore,” they say. “He’s reigning gloriously in heaven. So why emphasize his death?” This is a reasonable question that deserves a reasonable answer.
Let’s start by recognizing that Catholics emphasize both the crucifixion and the resurrection, not minimizing or downplaying the importance of either. In our manger scenes, stained glass windows, and statues, we also depict the Lord as a baby in the manger, as a toddler in his mother’s arms, and as a young man teaching the rabbis in the Temple. Each of these stages of the Lord’s life are worthy of depiction. But the focal point and purpose of Christ’s Incarnation and ministry is his death on the cross. As he himself said, “For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth” (Jn 18:37).
Archbishop Fulton Sheen summarized the reason for using a crucifix instead of an empty cross when he said, “Keep your eyes on the crucifix, for Jesus without the cross is a man without a mission, and the cross without Jesus is a burden without a reliever.”
Isn’t it true that when you see an empty cross, your mind automatically “sees” Christ there? After all, we recognize that the cross only has meaning because Christ died on it for our salvation. Catholics use crucifixes to avoid what St. Paul warned about, that the cross be “emptied of its power” (1 Cor 1:17).
Christ’s supreme act was to die on the cross as atonement for our sins. His resurrection was proof that what he did on the cross worked -- he conquered death -- and it demonstrated beyond any doubt that he was who he claimed to be: God. The crucifixion was the act that changed history. The resurrection demonstrated of the efficacy of that act.
- By his death on the cross, Christ conquered sin and death, redeemed the world, opened the way of salvation for all who would receive it, and reconciled his people with the Father (cf. Eph 2:13-18; Col 1:19-20). That is why the crucifix is such a potent reminder for us of what he did on our behalf that dark afternoon on Calvary
- “Jesus told his disciples, ‘If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me’” (Mt 16:24; cf. Mt 10:38). True, resurrection and glory await all those who follow Christ faithfully, but we will only arrive there by traveling the way of the cross.
- St. Paul emphasized the crucifixion saying, “When I came to you, brethren, I did not come proclaiming to you the testimony of God in lofty words or wisdom. For I decided to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:1-2).
- And in 1 Corinthians 1:18-24 he said, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, ‘I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the cleverness of the clever I will thwart.’ Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world did not know God through wisdom, it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe. For Jews demand signs and Greeks seek wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and folly to Gentiles, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God.”
- In Galatians 6:14 he proclaimed: “But far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.”
- And lest anyone imagine that the early Christians did not focus their minds on Christ’s death on the cross, consider what St. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:26, where he again emphasizes the crucifixion: “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death till he comes.”
- Recall the scene of the crucifixion Some in the crowd that was present at Calvary shouted at Christ as he was dying: “Come down off your cross!” (cf. Mt 27:40; Mk 15:30). What a strange and sad echo those words sometimes find today in the arguments of those who object to the crucifix as a reminder of Christ’s sacrifice.
- We Catholics should strive to emulate St. Paul’s [words] to “know nothing among you except Jesus Christ and him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2; cf. 1 Cor 1:17-18).
One way to deepen your appreciation of the crucifix as a reminder of what Christ did for you is to pray before one while prayerfully reading the Gospel accounts of [the] Passion. [Snip]
Patrick Madrid is an author, public speaker, and the publisher of Envoy Magazine. Visit his website at www.surprisedbytruth.com
Additional passages: Matthew 10:37-39, 27:37; Luke 23:38; John 3:1-4
[compare with Numbers 21:8-9], 19:19; Romans 6:1-10; 1 Cor. 1:10-13;
Galatians 2:20, 3:1; 5:24, 6:14.
Related sections of the Catechism:
CCC 421, 469, 550, 555, 618, 766, 921, 1182, 1375, 2427, 2543, Boston Pilot
Tip O' the Hat to Deacon Greg Kendra
Today is St Paddy's Day, if you want to party!
A look at the calendar led to some unusual changes when O'Neill's Pizza Pub in Rochester planned this year's St. Patrick's Day celebration.
Because St. Patrick's Day falls during Holy Week -- the solemn observance of Jesus' entry into Jerusalem, trial and crucifixion -- the restaurant and bar moved its traditional St. Patrick's Day celebration to today -- two days before St. Patrick's Day is officially observed. [snip]
Bishop Bernard Harrington hasn't had to make any requests to change public celebration dates in southern Minnesota's Diocese of Winona, where there aren't any major events scheduled, according to diocese spokeswoman Rose Hammes. The diocese doesn't tell people how to run their businesses, Hammes said, but Catholics should at least think twice before hitting the bars during Holy Week.
"It's a very sacred and sorrowful time for Catholics and Christians of all faiths who want to honor that memory," Hammes said. "To think about partying during that week just doesn't work." Rochester Post Bulletin
Thursday, March 13, 2008
Save the date: Rosalind Moss at All Saints in Lakeville
Register by March 19 for a Catholic Women's Day to take place at All Saints, 19795 Holyoke Ave. in Lakeville, Saturday, April 5. Internationally recognized speaker Rosalind Moss will talk at the event entitled "Graced & Gifted . . . for Purpose."
The event begins with Mass at 8 a.m., with speakers, breakout sessions and lunch to follow before the day concludes at 3:30 p.m. Cost is $40. Contact Monica at (952) 892-7587 or Brenda at (952) 233-1042 to register. More information can be found at www.allsaintschurch.com or www.stjohns-savage.org.
If this is Holy Week, It must be Catechumen Time!
Sean-Michael Steele holds the Easter candle so his mother, Bonnie Steele, can light an altar candle before a Feb. 3 Mass at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, where they both have been received into the Catholic Church.
Bonnie is a good friend of mine. And I can truly say that I have never met someone so excited about being Catholic. Some of us get excited for a time and then our new Catholic life becomes normal and routine. Bonnie is just like what the Apostles must have been on that first Pentecost.
Some of you might be surprised to hear this about your Catholic faith, but Bonnie, an African-American, was thrilled about how welcoming Catholics were to her and her family. She is now employed in a local parish. Those parishioners have their handsful with Bonnie.
Bonnie Steele, 50, caught the virus a few years ago at the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, where Father Paul Jarvis, now at Guardian Angels in Chaska, previously served as an associate pastor.
She was received into the church during the Easter Vigil in 2006 and has been busy ever since infecting family and friends with the enthusiasm she has for her faith and parish community.
"One of my friends said she wants to go to church with me and learn more about the Catholic faith," Steele said during a recent telephone interview with The Catholic Spirit.
This year, 700 people from 90 parishes are signed up to be part of the Rite of Election of Catechumens and Call to Continuing Conversion of Candidates Feb. 10 at the Cathedral of St. Paul or the Basilica of St. Mary. Those individuals, in their walk with Christ, also impact many more people, said Lori Dahlhoff, a member of the archdiocesan Parish Services Team. She expects some 2,400 people to attend the two celebrations.
This is the first of three rituals during Lent for those unbaptized individuals who will receive the sacraments of initiation - baptism, first Eucharist and confirmation (catechumens) - or those who were baptized in another faith and will receive first Communion and be confirmed (candidates) into the Catholic Church at the Easter Vigil.
St. Catherine opens arms
Steele, who was raised in a strong Pentecostal home, said she was first exposed to the Catholic faith when her daughter, Nikki, was attending the College of St. Catherine in St. Paul.
"We are people of color, and we had not had anyone in our family go to college," Steele said. "What I noticed right away was the welcome they had for her. I noticed how they nurtured her and encouraged her."
Nikki soon talked her mother into taking a class at the college.
"The encouragement I saw for her is what I received," Steele said. Then, during a theology course on the spirituality of marriage, Steele said tears were rolling down her face as she heard Christian truths she had been waiting to hear all her life.
In 2005, Nikki told her mother she had signed them up for a class about the Catholic faith at the Basilica. At the time, Steele was working full time, going to school and raising a family with her husband, Jerry Steele.
But she agreed to go a couple of times to help her "shy" daughter get acquainted.
"It didn't take me long to realize the journey was not just hers, but it was mine," Steele said.
She continued through the phase of inquiry to the welcome ceremony. When she stood in the Basilica and her sponsor made the sign of the cross on her hands, ears and eyes, Steele said she knew she was home where she belonged.
"I was drawn in by the community. It was the way the community loved. It was the way the community at the Basilica parish welcomed us. We were in the margins and they reached into the margins for us," she said. "I believe . . . in the power of community to change peoples' lives because it happened to us."
Steele, now a pastoral care minister at St. Joseph the Worker in Maple Grove, said: "I didn't realize the impact I was having on the children. I was so excited about what I was learning."
After the Easter Vigil, her son, Sean-Michael, and daughter, Ashley, said they, too, were interested in the Catholic faith.
So she made an appointment for Sean and Ashley to meet with George Barrett, then the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults coordinator and religious education director at the Basilica.
When Barrett found out that Sean-Michael was interested in languages and taking a Spanish class, he asked if Sean wanted to go on a mission trip with the parish to Mexico.
Steele wondered where she would get the money for Sean to go, but Barrett said that the Basilica would pay for it.
That was the start of a new life for Sean-Michael, Steele said. He was moved by the invitation and the mission trip experience, she said. Then more Basilica parishioners stepped forward to welcome Sean-Michael into the Juventus youth choir and youth ministry group.
"Sean said, 'Mom, I think they like me, here.' Then he stopped and said, 'No, I know they like me,'" Steele recalled. "When we went to the Basilica, we had a lot of places where we were wounded. . . . I get up every day and am so grateful."
In 2007, another daughter, Jamie, was confirmed, and Ashley and Sean-Michael were baptized. Although Jerry went through RCIA and will attend Mass with the family, he did not go through any of the rites, she said. [snip] The Catholic Spirit
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
A Hostile Takeover; Not Wall Street; the UST in St Paul
Doctor David Pence, a physician, creator of the DocSociety web page that examined the history of the major and minor seminaries of the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis in the wake of the tragic incident in Hudson, Wisconsin, where two men were shot, possibly by Father Ryan Erickson, a priest of the Diocese of Superior who was educated and ordained at the St Paul Seminary.
Dr. Pence has now done some writing on last Fall's incident at the University of St Thomas in St Paul where the Board of Trustees, without announcing its intention ahead of time, changed its bylaws to remove Archbishop Harry Flynn and Vicar-General Father Kevin McDonough as ex-officio members of the Board of Trustees and gave them five year appointments, renewal being subject to board approval.
A lot of people are upset about this. "Give us back our university!", Dr. Pence was heard to shout at one recent meeting.
Here are Dr. Pence's documents about the UST incident that I understand have been distributed to all priests of the archdiocese and all the bishops of the U.S.
A Hostile Takeover
"The University of St. Thomas can only live in the Heart of the Church."
The docsociety welcomes the Men of Sherwood-a hearty group of Catholic laymen and a few friar tucks. Their goal and ours is to seek an honest dialogue and change of heart (metanoia).
The docsociety joins the Men of Sherwood in asking the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees to reverse their decision to remove the sitting archbishop and vicar general as ex officio chairman and vice chairman of the university Board of Trustees. We are asking Archbishop Harry Flynn to admit that allowing this hostile takeover of an archdiocesan institution by a sitting board was an error. We ask Archbishop Flynn to welcome his brother bishop, John Nienstedt, in charity and apostolic fraternity. We seek the resignation of President Dennis Dease who engineered his own reappointment for a five year term at over $200,000 a year. He has blatantly lied to students, faculty and the public in explaining the change in by-laws by saying, “The simple reason was that ordinaries of the diocese typically chair so many boards and are so inundated with the demands of their jobs that it has become increasingly difficult to be actively involved as university chairs.” In fact the great fear of Fr. Dease was that the incoming bishop was going to devote too much time and fatherly authority in safeguarding the university’s Catholic mission. Fr. Dease knew his own record of undermining Catholic culture and university freedom was so blatant he could never remain in the archdiocese’s highest paying job under Archbishop Nienstedt. Fr. Dease has consistently concealed the real power players and narcissistic reasoning for this historic severing of the university from the Eucharistic Heart of the Church. This community of learning that was given to us by our forefathers and intended for our descendants has been seized by the most self-centered generation of clerics the diocese has ever known.
The docsociety has argued for several years that the public, evangelical love which must animate the priestly fraternity in our archdiocese has been corrupted. This corruption now extends to the sacred apostolic fraternity of the bishops as Archbishop Flynn has greeted his brother archbishop with a public smile and a private act of betrayal. How can our local Church and university credibly witness to the death, resurrection, and second coming of Christ if our archbishop and university president have so disgracefully discarded their sacred duty to be honest and loyal men? The Church has received a message which she shares with others. When she loses her credibility as a witness, she loses her ability to evangelize.
A Catholic university is a place for dialogue seeking the truth. We seek that dialogue. Let’s get this settled on campus—that’s what a university is for. We urge student groups, faculty, diocesan priests, lawyers, journalists and laymen to enter a dialogue on this campus to remember the Catholic Eucharistic Church which built the place. Every stone and statue will shout its memories. May hearts of stone hear and turn to flesh.
There was an old church custom that when a new bishop arrived the faithful would gather to greet him at the boundary of his new diocese. We suggest that our outgoing ruling clique stop parceling out Church property and severance salaries for the continued careerism of their cronies. Is it really a “justice issue” that Fr. Dease receive the same perks as corporate executives?
Rather than using the common treasury of the Church to line their pockets and pay off friends shouldn’t Bishop Flynn and Father Dease be welcoming Archbishop Nienstedt? Isn’t that the real living Catholic tradition-the apostolic and brotherly handing down of authority and mission? The Men of Sherwood swear they will fight this last hour looting of the Church as best they can until a just authority returns. They are hoping then to come out of their forest exile and join the new archbishop for a blessing, honest talk and a public glass of ale. The docsociety hopes to be there too.
Our extended narrative, A Trust Betrayed (PDF), we think is the best reporting thus far on the full story of the takeover. You can also read a short summary here (PDF). Our case that the secularization of St Thomas is directly related to the moral and intellectual incoherence of Dennis Dease, Losing the Sacred Center (PDF). The key role of Judge Diana Murphy in the secularization of St Thomas is related here Abortion's Handmaid (PDF). Finally-- The Men of Sherwood pictorial summary and powerpoint (PDF) here. If you can only read one piece—look at the powerpoint.
To learn more about the St Thomas father trying to clean up the English Department see http://www.ustclassaction.com.
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Is the Church threatened by "inclusive language?"
Sunday's StarTribune had three more letters reacting to Nick Coleman's column in the Strib of more than a week ago reporting on the walkout at St Stephen's. Two agreeing with Coleman, and one opposed. Michael Bayly wondered why the Church is so threatened by "inclusive language." I commented.
They kept the faith
My heartfelt support — emotional and spiritual — goes to the people of St. Stephen’s parish who have chosen to relocate their worship service (“The push for conformity shoves away parishioners,” March 2).
I know a number of people, myself included, who choose not to support the worship dictates of the men who call themselves our leaders. We have kept our faith, but we have lost our church.
Diocese spokesman Dennis McGrath states that “they had plenty of warnings to get their act together.” What a heavy-handed, thuggish way of putting it!
Apparently they did get their act together and found a place where they could celebrate their faith in a way that harmonizes with their values.
Whose gospel is it?
Let’s see if I got this right — among other things, the parishioners of St. Stephen’s Catholic Church thought they, mere mortals, could improve upon the teachings of our creator, our Lord Jesus Christ, and change the words to the prayer that Jesus himself taught us to pray (“Our Father and Mother, Who Art in Heaven”?)
Yikes! Who died and made them God?
Joe and Becky Eibenseiner, Sauk Center, MN
What would Jesus do? I doubt very much he would alienate devoted followers using tough-guy talk like Dennis McGrath did when he said, “They’ve had plenty of warning to get their act together.” This is the type of intolerant leadership that drives people away from the church.
For many people, congregations such as St. Stephen’s and St. Joan of Arc’s are their last stop before leaving the church for good. The basic tenets of the Catholic Church are faith, hope and charity, yet for these faithful, it gives no hope or charity.
Would Jesus put more emphasis on carrying out the message of his gospels or following the rubrics?
I think he’d be leading the disenfranchised parishioners out the front door of the church down the road to where faith, hope and charity have real meaning.
Monday, March 10, 2008
Just how many races are there?
I don't want to hear any Irish or Polish jokes from now on. I could use the cash, so watch what you say.
Not New Deadlies; Old Journalism!
Not "new sins" but an old media blind spot
Mar. 10, 2008 (CWNews.com) - When he finished his interview with L'Osservatore Romano, Archishop Gianfranco Girotti probably thought that his main message had been an appeal to Catholics to use the sacrament of Confession. Little did he know that the English-language news media would play the interview as a newly revised list of sins.
Archbishop Girotti, the regent of the Apostolic Penitentiary, spoke to the Vatican newspaper about "new forms of social sin" in our era. He mentioned such transgressions as destructive research on human embryos, degradation of the environment, and drug trafficking. Within hours, dozens of media sources were suggesting that the Vatican had radically revised the Ten Commandments, issuing a list of "new sins."
As usual, a British newspaper leapt to the forefront with the most sensational and misleading coverage. The Daily Telegraph made the preposterous claim that Archbishop Girotti's list replaced the traditional Catholic understanding of the seven deadly sins:
It replaces the list originally drawn up by Pope Gregory the Great in the 6th Century, which included envy, gluttony, greed, lust, wrath and pride. Could we have a reality check, please?
When a second-tier Vatican official gives a newspaper interview, he is not proclaiming new Church doctrines. Archbishop Girotti was obviously trying to offer a new, provocative perspective on some enduring truths. The effort backfired-- but in a very revealing way.
An ordinary reader, basing his opinion only on the inane Telegraph coverage, might conclude that a "sin," in the Catholic understanding, is nothing more than a violation of rules set down by a group of men in Rome. If these rules are entirely arbitrary, then Vatican officials can change them at will; some sins will cease to exist and other "new sins" will replace them. But that notion of sin is ludicrous.
Sin is an objective wrong: a violation of God's law. What is sinful today will be sinful tomorrow, and a deadly sin will remain deadly, whether or not Telegraph editors recognize the moral danger. The traditional list of deadly sins remains intact; nothing has replaced it. Greed, gluttony, and lust are as wrong today as they were a day or a year or a century ago. If Archbishop Girotti referred to "new" sins, it is because some of the offenses he named (such as genetic manipulation) were impossible in the past, and others (such as international drug trafficking) are much more prevalent today, in a global society. Insofar as people could have engaged in these activities a century ago, they would have been sinful then as well.
A sin is not a sin because simply an archbishop proclaims it so. Sin, the Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches us, "is an offense against reason, truth, and right conscience…" The precepts of "reason, truth, and right conscience" do not shift in response to political trends, nor do they change at the whim of Vatican officials.
The fundamental point of the L'Osservatore Romano interview was that Catholics need to recover a sense of sin, make use of the sacrament of Confession, and receive absolution for their offenses. Sin, the archbishop insisted, is a reality that man cannot escape.
Archbishop Girotti said that the modern world does not understand the nature of sin. With their coverage of the interview, the mass media unintentionally underlined the prelate's point.
Reading blogs can be a deadly sin, too.
Exceptions would be my Stella Borealis, of course, those in my blogroll, and Orwell's Picnic, written by Hilary Jane Margaret White, one of the stars of the LifeSiteNews.com news service. LifeSiteNews delivers a tremendous amount of news, much of it, but not all, from Canada and the United Kingdom, to the world. Orwell's Picnic delivers the other half of HJMW's brain. It's kind of like a soap opera, you have to read it regularly to understand what she's talking about.
Now that I ponder on the issue, Hilary, who has lived in various provinces of Canada, most recently Toronto, recently moved to Blimey, the UK, where she uses the miracle of the Internet to cover LifeSiteNews' beat as well as she could from their HQ in TO (Toronto, Ontario, I guess).
Our heroine (I believe that she would approve of that word) is on her third or fourth incarnation of her blog, making her a likely match for our own Abbey-Roads blogger, Terry. Terry, are you interested in getting fixed up with a lady in England? She has had three or four blogs, blogs a lot on herself and a lot of different subjects. I'm not exactly sure what her faith allegiance is but she is very orthodox, her blog url says "anglocatholic", with a mighty allegiance to the Queen.
Today she blogged on Deadly Sins II (Nos. 8-14).
Bless me father, for I have committed systemic social injustice, and excessively accumulated wealth.
So, Good on 'em.
The socialists and Marxists in the Church have been searching for decades for those elusive "social" and "corporate" sins the Jesuits are always banging on about. You know the ones; we hear about them all the time in The Suppository and Amerika. And they've finally found them, courtesy of Bishop Gianfranco Girotti, head of the Apostolic Penitentiary, the Vatican body which oversees confessions and plenary indulgences.
He said that priests must take account of “new sins which have appeared on the horizon of humanity as a corollary of the unstoppable process [sounds more like plate techtonics than sin to me. Tough to figure out who's responsible if its "unstoppable".] of globalisation” [does this mean that Globalization has to go to confession now? And can he go in the Rec. Room? Not sure Globalization is capable of kneeling in a little confessional...or making an act of contrition]. Whereas sin in the past was thought of as being an invididual matter, it now had “social resonance”.
“You offend God not only by stealing, blaspheming or coveting your neighbour’s wife, but also by ruining the environment, carrying out morally debatable scientific experiments, or allowing genetic manipulations [well, OK, but again, who actually has to go confess these sins? The politicians who voted for the legislation? or just the actual scientists doing the splicing and dicing?] which alter DNA or compromise embryos,” he said.
Bishop Girotti said that mortal sins also included taking or dealing in drugs, [ok, I'm on with this, assuming that he means to be more specific and is not talking about caffiene] and social injustice [here's where it gets fun. Since sins, by definition, have to be committed by a person, not a 'society', who do we call on the carpet? Who goes to hell for 'social injustice'? a 'sin' that no one has ever been able to define? Everyone? because, as you know, if you're not part of the solution...No. I think he means no one. Because he's not actually talking about sin, as it is understood by Catholics.] which caused poverty [ah, only the kind of 'social injustice that causes poverty? or other kinds too?] or “the excessive accumulation of wealth by a few” [which few? exactly? Only the board members and shareholders of, say, the top Fortune 500's? or are we talking about anyone who owns more than one car? Be specific].
He said that two mortal sins which continued to preoccupy the Vatican were abortion, which offended “the dignity and rights of women”, [Err...Hhuh? Whatthefuh? here's a nice little givaway. The man is not a Catholic, clearly, and has outed himself. Abortion 'offends' the 'dignity and rights of women' and that's why "the Vatican" objects to it. Yah. Gotcha] and paedophilia, which had even infected the clergy itself and so had exposed the “human and institutional fragility of the Church”.
The mass media had “blown up” the issue “to discredit the Church”, but the Church itself was taking steps to deal with it.
We hear about them all the time at the intercessory prayers at Mass (if you go to that sort of thing). The new improved sins are the ones no one is personally responsible for. They're the ones about which we all get to point at someone else as we congratulate ourselves for being part of the solution every time we buy a Fair Trade coffee.
War, poverty, social injustice, the arms race, The Third World, private property and Walmart.
Now we've got backup from the Vatican.
Who said those guys don't move with the times?
But if they think the New Deadlies are going to result in a rash of calls to the rectory to book some time communing with the potted palms in the Reconciliation Room, it might be time to wake up and smell the lattes.
Nice little slag at the pro-life movement towards the end there eh? and a new twist, don't you think? Abortion isn't the problem, but the apparent emphasis upon it in the Church (where?) is all the fault of the media for focusing on it too much...at the expense of, naturally, the Church's commitment to the preferential option, no doubt.
Saturday, March 8, 2008
"The Spirit of Vatican II"
Human beings really don't communicate very well. Our belief filters interfere with our communication systems.
Local "Catholics" at St Stephen's in Minneapolis are protesting the fact that the Church is requiring them to abide by the rules. They are like baseball players who want "six outs per inning" or football teams who want "six downs to make ten yards." Why? Well its more democratic that way, players can participate more and the players should get to make more decisions. The big hitters no doubt will want steroids legalized too. The pitchers (there are more of them) would probably vote no).
By invoking the "Spirit of Vatican II", the unwritten doctrines of the Second Vatican Council (1963-65), many Catholics have taken their parishes into their own hands, generally with the leadership and willingness of their priests and sometimes even their bishops, and implemented changes in liturgical, devotional, architectural, musical and other aspects of Catholic beliefs and practices.
Thousands of churches were trashed by removing altar rails, statues and images that were considered old fashioned.
The vernacular languages replaced Latin in the liturgies even though the use of Latin was still required. On December 4, 1963, Pope Paul VI promulgated Sacrosanctum Concilium, the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. The document commands that "the use of the Latin language is to be preserved in the Latin rites" (36.1). The Council Fathers then add:
But since the use of the mother tongue, whether in the Mass, the administration of the sacraments, or other parts of the liturgy, frequently may be of great advantage to the people, the limits of its employment may be extended. This will apply in the first place to the readings and directives, and to some of the prayers and chants (36.2).
Guitars replaced organs in direct contravention to the requirement that "The pipe organ is to be held in high esteem in the Latin Church, for it is the traditional musical instrument, the sound of which can add a wonderful splendor to the Church's ceremonies and powerfully lifts up men's minds to God and higher things". SC VI #120)
Priests became masters of ceremonies instead of celebrants of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, telling jokes and ad libbing the sacred words. They sometimes even turned over their responsibilities to their parishioners to give homilies and even attempting to say portions of the Mass to foster more lay participation.
Parish Councils are sometimes known to dictate to pastors as to what is to be done in the parish.
The privacy of the confessional for that sacrament was replaced by "group therapy sessions" where you just thought about your sins and had them forgiven.
Many millions still think those were the good things engendered by the Spirit of Vatican II.
They forget about other things brought about by the "Spirit's" unwritten doctrines.
Thousands of priests, bishops, archbishops and maybe even a cardinal, deacons, seminarians, nuns and teachers became involved in the child sexual abuse scandal, 80% of the incidents involved men abusing teenage boys , some men abusing women and girls, and some men abusing pre-pubescent boys. Some smaller number incidents involved incidents men with pornography and activities of adults. In addition to the horror and harm that it has cost the abused, these sexual liberation demonstrations have cost the Church and its insurers about three billion dollars in compensatory damages so far. And the lawsuits from the 60s and 70s are still being filed. Governments are removing the statute of limitations restrictions on civil cases.
As awful as that sounds, what is even more awful is the fact that willfully or negligently, many bishops transferred known offenders from parish to parish to other dioceses in efforts to protect them from prosecution and get them out of their hair. Psychologists and insurance companies share in that guilt also.
Hundreds of thousands of bishops, priests, deacons, brothers and sisters left their dioceses and religious communities.
The religious education of Catholic children almost came to a halt in these past forty years.
The vast majority of the Catholic secondary schools that remain and colleges and universities no longer are much more than Catholic in name only. [I know a student who will graduate from a Catholic college in the Spring having taken only one class in religion.]
In 1968, a few years after the Council ended, Pope Paul VI issued his encyclical, Humanae Vitae, that artificial contraception was contrary to Catholic teaching. ("The Pill" had just gone on the market a few years earlier). Virtually all Catholics refused to comply with that teaching of the Church.
Women chose to mess up their bodies so that they could fully participate in the sexual revolution and the freedoms of feminist doctrines. The size of the Catholic family dropped from four or five children down to one or two. One would think that the jury is still out on the effects of the pill.
It is said that the Catholic Church is the largest denomination in the United States. Ex-Catholics are said to be the second biggest "denomination" when taking both those those who have joined another denomination and those who aren't going to church at all into account.
The millions who join evangelical protestant parishes where the entertainment in the Sunday morning religious service is more like what they are used to seeing on television or at rock concerts. They claim they "get more out of such services." They are not aware that worship of God involves giving thanks to God, not having a good time.
Those Catholics who are not going to church at all any more are not marrying under the auspices of the Church, or even of the government, nor are they having their children baptized.
The vast majority of todays Catholics, uneducated as they have been by the Church, no longer go to Confession. But they still go to Communion, really believing that they have not sinned grievously.
I'm not happy with how slow the Church has moved in reacting to the abuses of the "Spirit of Vatican II." But I have come to understand that when you are part of a 2,000 year old organization, you participate on a different time scale than the one in which you live your ordinary life.
As an example, Martin Luther distributed his 95 Theses against policies of the Church in the year 1517. It took twenty-eight years before the Council of Trent (1545-1563) was even convened, and it wasn't until 1648, the end of the Thirty Years War in which millions were killed (including 30% of the German population) that Europe was again at peace.
Friday, March 7, 2008
Reaction to the St Stephen's Walkout: Which One Is The Catholic?
The StarTribune received two letters commenting on columnist Nick Coleman's tirade about the situation over at St Stephen's that we reported on last week in Stella Borealis. Which letter was received from a Catholic?
Nick Coleman's March 2 column reveals the troubling tightening of the archdiocesan belt in the Twin Cities.
Catholics must choose to either adhere to every letter of the law (rubrics), with no exception, or go elsewhere. It does not matter if it takes the life out of the liturgy. At least it conforms, and that's what counts, according to spokespeople at the chancery.
On a global scale, Vatican II's "involvement of the people" has unilaterally been thrown out by current hierarchy. Catholic faithful are told to not speak in public, nor in church. Every male pronoun is now back in the liturgy. Every layperson is now back in the pews. Priests will make every decision -- not parish councils -- and everyone must do as they are told.
As a member of St. Stephen's for the past 20 years, I am saddened and must choose. But my choice will be to follow God, not an archbishop.
St. Stephen's has been a place where one is challenged 24/7 to live the Gospel. It is a tough place. The people there must accept their personal relationship with God and the call to be followers of Christ in daily living. Much of this challenge has come from lay preachers. Silencing those voices will adversely affect the poor, the underprivileged, the oppressed, the homeless, the abused.
ANN MARIE MCINTIRE, HUDSON, WIS.;
VICE CHAIR, ST. STEPHEN'S PARISH COUNCIL
Can't pick and choose Strib March 6 Electronic and Print editions
I commend the archdiocese of Minnesota for finally bringing St. Stephen's Catholic Church into conformity with the standards set out in the General Instruction on the Roman Missal ("The push for conformity shoves away parishioners," March 2). People go to church to pray, not to party. Part of the way in which Catholics act to carry out "the message of the Gospels" is by following the "rubrics." Otherwise they are merely social workers.
It has never been "OK" for Catholics to refer to God as "Our Father and Mother." Nor has it been acceptable to dance in the church aisles like a bunch of swingin' Maenads. Rubrics are formulated very precisely and put in place because they express the fundamentals of Catholic theology. One calls to mind the longstanding principle of Catholic worship, "lex orandi, lex credendi": Let the law of prayer be governed by the law of belief. Catholics worship in accordance with what they believe.
St. Stephen's and its band of merry rebels are free to pray the way they "think is right." They are also free to join another religion.
ANTHONY WILSON, MINNEAPOLIS