Saturday, January 31, 2009

Actor Gary Graham, Hollywood rake, is now pro-life

Actor Gary Graham who has starred in some of the Star Trek series and other films, admits that he has led a very dissolute life, being responsible for at least five abortions. Recently, he has awoken to the horrors that he has been perpetrating on women and their children and has publicly adopted a pro-life position. He writes very frankly about his past life and it can be read HERE. But here is the money quote as far as I am concerned:

  • I’ve heard from liberals the following quote: “We want abortion to be legal…but rare.” And I ask, Why rare? What’s wrong with abortion, that you think it should be a rare occurrence? I’ve had moles removed from my skin. Doctors don’t tell us that a mole removal should be rare. So what’s with this ‘rare’ business? Or is it a tacit agreement that abortion…is plain wrong?

Friday, January 30, 2009

Abortion Votes stripped Thissen of Holy Angels' honor

Paul Thissen was pleased when word came down last fall that he had been nominated for Academy of Holy Angels' Activities Hall of Fame, which recognizes people who "through their citizenship and achievements, have brought honor to themselves, their school and the community."

Thissen's Catholic education, he thought, grounded him in principles of social justice that would later serve him as a lawyer, as a member of the Minnesota House of Representatives, and as a recently announced candidate for governor.

Thissen, class of 1985, would join two other alumni of the Richfield school to accept the honor at a ceremony in January.

But, last week, three days before the event, the school's president called. Despite Thissen's accomplishments in high school and later at Harvard and the University of Chicago law school, she asked him to withdraw his name from nomination. After he refused, he was told the day before the ceremony that he would be stripped of the award.

The reason: as a DFL state legislator, Thissen has been a consistent supporter of abortion rights, in conflict with church doctrine.

While acknowledging that the primary criteria for the Hall of Fame are a person's record while at the academy, the school said, the nominating committee also considers activities and professional life afterward, and Thissen's legislative actions defied the teachings of the Catholic Church.

"Mr. Thissen had an outstanding activities career at Holy Angels and has had much success beyond," the school's president, Jill Reilly, said in a prepared statement. "That being said, the nominating committee was not aware of Mr. Thissen's voting record in the Minnesota legislature regarding right-to-life issues. As a result of Mr. Thissen's public and professional position to actively support pro-choice issues, with regret, AHA has chosen not to include Mr. Thissen among this year's inductees."

Thissen said he was disappointed and frustrated by the decision.

In a letter to Reilly, he wrote of his record as a proponent of health coverage for children and as an advocate for the poor, people with disabilities and the elderly. All Conference in football, he played basketball and ran track and was president of the student council. Thissen thought of himself as a pretty good Catholic kid back in high school, including work on several service projects in the community that he said embodied the teachings of the church and the school.

"I had imagined that the high school I attended -- the institution that taught me the importance of social justice in Minnesota -- would have valued and been honored by that work," he wrote.

Archdiocese responds

The school declined to address further questions, such as who made it aware of Thissen's record, whether the other inductees were required to state their positions on abortion, or whether criteria other than support of abortion rights might be grounds for rejecting a nomination.

But it did refer to a document from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops for Catholics in Political Life, which clearly states that anyone in public life who doesn't work to correct the abortion laws is "guilty of cooperating in evil and sinning against the common good."

Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, said the archdiocese did not intervene in the Thissen decision, which was "purely a decision by the school."

But the school did "call and check with the letter of the law, if you will," McGrath added. School officials spoke with Vicar General Fr. Lee Piche, who read for them from the Conference of Bishops statement, which says in part that the Catholic community should not give awards or honors to those who defy what it calls its fundamental moral principles. The decision, however, was the school's, McGrath said.

The issue has come up on a national level as well. During the 2008 presidential campaign, Catholic bishops criticized now Vice President Joe Biden and other Catholic candidates and public officials for backing legalized abortion. Some said Biden should not take Holy Communion when attending mass.

But it still feels personal to Thissen, who regularly attends mass and has been a frequent contributor to the school as an alumnus.

"It's not the biggest thing in the world, but the school was and is important to me," Thissen said. "Many of my closest friends, even today, were my friends back then. The recognition meant a lot. When I heard about this, I really was disappointed, not so much because of the award, but because the award was for something that had nothing to with my position on giving women the choice of what to do during a pregnancy." Star Tribune

Strib Comments

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Archbishop Burke says "Faithful Citizenship" partly to blame for election of “Most Pro-Abortion President” in history

He also criticizes the USCCB's Catholic News Service for "soft-pedalling" Obama's abortion advocacy

( – A document of the U.S. Catholic Bishops is partly to blame for the abandonment of pro-life teachings by voting Catholics and the election of the “most pro-abortion president” in US history, one of the Vatican’s highest officials said in an interview with

Archbishop Raymond Burke, the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, named a document on the election produced by the US Conference of Catholic Bishops that he said “led to confusion” among the faithful and led ultimately to massive support among Catholics for Barack Obama. [Archbishop Burke was formerly the Archbishop of St. Louis and the Bishop of La Crosse]

The US bishops’ document, “Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship,” stated that, under certain circumstances, a Catholic could in good conscience vote for a candidate who supports abortion because of "other grave reasons," as long as they do not intend to support that pro-abortion position.

Archbishop Burke, the former Archbishop of St. Louise Mo. and recently appointed head of the highest ecclesiastical court in the Catholic Church, told that although “there were a greater number of bishops who spoke up very clearly and firmly ... there was also a number who did not.”

But most damaging, he said, was the document “Faithful Citizenship” that “led to confusion” among the voting Catholic population.

“While it stated that the issue of life was the first and most important issue, it went on in some specific areas to say ‘but there are other issues’ that are of comparable importance without making necessary distinctions.”

Archbishop Burke, citing an article by a priest and ethics expert of St. Louis archdiocese, Msgr. Kevin McMahon, who analysed how the bishops’ document actually contributed to the election of Obama, called its proposal “a kind of false thinking, that says, ‘there’s the evil of taking an innocent and defenceless human life but there are other evils and they’re worthy of equal consideration.’

“But they’re not. The economic situation, or opposition to the war in Iraq, or whatever it may be, those things don’t rise to the same level as something that is always and everywhere evil, namely the killing of innocent and defenceless human life.”

Archbishop Burke also cited the work of the official news service of the US Catholic Bishops’ Conference, that many pro-life observers complained soft-pedalled the newly elected president’s opposition to traditional morality.

“The bishops need to look also at our Catholic News Service, CNS, they need to review their coverage of the whole thing and give some new direction, in my judgement,” he said.

Traditional Anglicans may be rejoined to the Catholic Church

Damian Thompson, Editor of the Catholic Herald in England and a widely read columnist/blogger for The Telegraph there, is reporting the following today.

The Pope is preparing to offer the Traditonal Anglican Communion (TAC), a group of half a million dissident Anglicans, its own personal prelature by Rome, according to reports this morning.

[This would be a relationship similar to what is held by the members of Opus Dei, a conservative Catholic apostolate founded by the recently canonized St. Josemaria Escriva. Personal prelatures, similar to dioceses and military ordinariates, are under the governance of the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops. These ecclesiastical structures are composed of lay people served by their own secular clergy and bishop. Unlike dioceses which cover territories, personal prelatures —like military ordinariates— take charge of persons as regards some objectives regardless of where they live.]

"History may be in the making", reports The Record. "It appears Rome is on the brink of welcoming close to half a million members of the Traditional Anglican Communion into membership of the Roman Catholic Church. Such a move would be the most historic development in Anglican-Catholic relations in the last 500 years. But it may also be a prelude to a much greater influx of Anglicans waiting on the sidelines, pushed too far by the controversy surrounding the consecration of practising homosexual bishops, women clergy and a host of other issues."

Here is Anthony Barich's report in full. My guess is that, if this happens, Anglo-Catholics in the C of E will move to Rome in unprecedented numbers under a similar arrangement. More on this later. Also, see American Catholic, which broke the story on the web.

The Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has decided to recommend the Traditional Anglican Communion be accorded a personal prelature akin to Opus Dei, if talks between the TAC and the Vatican aimed at unity succeed, it is understood.

The TAC is a growing global community of approximately 400,000 members that took the historic step in 2007 of seeking full corporate and sacramental communion with the Catholic Church - a move that, if fulfilled, will be the biggest development in Catholic-Anglican relations since the English Reformation under King Henry VIII.

TAC members split from the Canterbury-based Anglican Communion headed by Archbishop Rowan Williams over issues such as its ordination of women priests and episcopal consecrations of women and practising homosexuals.

The TAC's case appeared to take a significant step forwards in October 2008 when it is understood that the CDF decided not to recommend the creation of a distinct Anglican rite within the Roman Catholic Church - as is the case with the Eastern Catholic Churches - but a personal prelature, a semi-autonomous group with its own clergy and laity. Opus Dei was the first organisation in the Catholic Church to be recognised as a personal prelature, a new juridical form in the life of the Church. A personal prelature is something like a global diocese without boundaries, headed by its own bishop and with its own membership and clergy.

Because no such juridical form of life in the Church had existed before, the development and recognition of a personal prelature took Opus Dei and Church officials decades to achieve.

An announcement could be made soon after Easter this year. It is understood that Pope Benedict XVI, who has taken a personal interest in the matter, has linked the issue to the year of St Paul, the greatest missionary in the history of the Church.

The Basilica of St Paul outside the Walls could feature prominently in such an announcement for its traditional and historical links to Anglicanism. Prior to the English Reformation it was the official Church of the Knights of the Garter.

The TAC's Primate, Adelaide-based Archbishop John Hepworth, told The Record he has also informed the Holy See he wants to bring all the TAC's bishops to Rome for the beatification of Cardinal Henry Newman, also an Anglican convert to the Catholic Church, as a celebration of Anglican-Catholic unity.

Although Cardinal Newman's beatification is considered to be likely by many, the Church has made no announcement that Cardinal Newman will be beatified.

Archbishop Hepworth personally wrote to Pope Benedict in April 2007 indicating that the TAC planned a meeting of its world bishops, where it was anticipated they would unanimously agree to sign the Catechism of the Catholic Church and to seek full union with the Catholic Church. This took place at a meeting of the TAC in the United Kingdom. TAC bishops placed the signed Catechism on the altar of the most historical Anglican and Catholic Marian shrine in the UK, the National Shrine of Our Lady of Walsingham in Norfolk, before posting it up in the main street in an effort to gather public support.

Archbishop Hepworth, together with TAC bishops Robert Mercer and Peter Wilkinson, presented the signed items personally to Fr Augustine Di Noia OP, the CDF's senior ecumenical theologian, on October 11, 2007, in a meeting organised by CDF secretary Archbishop Angelo Amato.

Bishop Mercer, a monk who is now retired and living in England, is the former Anglican Bishop of Matabeleland, Zimbabwe. Bishop Wilkinson is the TAC's diocesan bishop in Canada.

TAC's Canadian Bishop Peter Wilkinson has close ties to the Catholic hierarchy in British Columbia, which has also met the CDF on the issue. He has already briefed Vancouver archdiocesan priests.

One potential problem for the Holy See would be the TAC's bishops, most of whom are married. Neither the Roman Catholic nor Eastern Catholic churches permit married bishops.

Before he became Pope, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger discussed the issue of married bishops in the 1990s during meetings of the Anglican Roman Catholic International Commission exploring unity, before the Anglican Church's ordination of women priests derailed it.

One former Anglican priest who became a Catholic priest told The Record that the ideal end for the TAC would be to become the 28th Rite within the Catholic Church, along with the Eastern Churches, which have the same sacraments and are recognised by Rome.

The TAC's request is the closest any section of the Anglican Church has ever come to full communion with Rome because the TAC has set no preconditions. Instead it has explicitly submitted itself entirely to the Holy See's decisions.

Six days prior to the October 11 meeting between TAC bishops and the Holy See - on October 5 - the TAC's bishops, vicars-general of dioceses without bishops, and theological advisers who assisted in a plenary meeting signed a declaration of belief in the truth of the whole Catechism of the Catholic Church.

The declaration said, in part: "We accept that the most complete and authentic expression and application of the Catholic faith in this moment of time is found in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and its Compendium, which we have signed, together with this letter as attesting to the faith we aspire to teach and hold."

Statements about the seriousness of the division between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church caused by issues such as the ordination of women priests were emphasised at the wordwide Lambeth Conference held in the UK in 2008.

At the conference, three Catholic cardinals - Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, the Archbishop of Westminster Cormac Murphy-O'Connor and the Prefect for the Vatican's Congregation for the Evangelisation of Peoples, Ivan Dias, the Pope's personal envoy, all addressed the issue.

Cardinal Dias, who favours welcoming traditionalist Anglicans into the Catholic Church, bluntly told the Anglican Communion's 650 bishops that they are heading towards "spiritual Alzheimer's" and "ecclesial Parkinson's".

"By analogy, (Alzheimer's and Parkinson's) symptoms can, at times, be found even in our own Christian communities. For example, when we live myopically in the fleeting present, oblivious of our past heritage and apostolic traditions, we could well be suffering from spiritual Alzheimer's. And when we behave in a disorderly manner, going whimsically our own way without any co-ordination with the head or the other members of our community, it could be ecclesial Parkinson's."

Cardinal Kasper warned Anglican bishops that Rome would turn to smaller ecumenical communities if the Anglican Communion at large proved unapproachable ecumenically.

This is bad news for the Anglican Communion, but good news for the TAC.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

You gotta fight fire with fire. This is more effective than postcards


America needs YOU to stand up against FOCA! If not you, then who? If not now, then when? Read the information on this site and take it upon yourself to personally spread the word! We can not rely on politicians, we cannot rely on churches, we cannot rely on the activists, we need everyone to be involved, especially you!

What Can I Do Now? - You can help the WTF?! Project!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Man charged in archbishop's burglary last June

A 25-year-old man with a long history of run-ins with the police has been charged with burglary in the audacious break-in at the St. Paul home of Archbishop John Nienstedt last year.

Ramsey County prosecutors charged Kelvin Benjamin Smalls with one count of second-degree burglary Tuesday, two days after Smalls turned himself in to St. Paul police. He was being held in the county jail.

Nienstedt hasn't commented directly on the arrest, "but I'm sure he's pleased the police have done their work and that the case is heading for fruition," said Dennis McGrath, spokesman for the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Smalls called the police department Sunday, a few days after the department publicly identified him. "He knew because of all the media attention that he was being looked for," said police spokesman Paul Schnell.

Prosecutors say Smalls was identified through DNA testing of blood found in the residence on Summit Avenue.

Among several arrests on a variety of charges in recent years, Smalls was convicted in 2003 of theft and an attempt to commit armed robbery.

Last June 28, staff members called police to the residence when they discovered broken glass on the floor and noted that Nienstedt's closet drawers had been opened.

The break-in occurred in the early morning hours at Nienstedt's residence when a thief climbed onto a first-floor roof and broke into a second-story window. Nienstedt was overseas at the time.

One or more thieves had made off with a safe weighing at least 50 pounds. Inside were seven crosses, three rings, ceremonial pins and a chain.

Initially, archdiocese staff members believed that as many as six bejeweled crosses and several rings that had been worn by former archbishops also had been stolen, but those items turned up in a later search of the archbishop's bedroom.

At the time of the burglary, McGrath observed, "it takes a lot of gall to rob an archbishop."

Only one of the stolen items, a ring produced by the Vatican at the end of the Vatican II council, has been recovered. After police circulated a list of the jewelry, a local pawnbroker turned it over.

"It was just a stroke of luck, thanks to the honesty of the pawnbroker," McGrath said.

Nienstedt, who offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the recovery of the items, "obviously is hoping the rest will be recovered," McGrath said. "These are objects that have obvious sacred meaning to the archbishop. They're very dear to him." Star Tribune

Audacious Theft by Burglary Pros at Archbishops Dwelling Net Catholic Treasures

Fargo-Moorhead Catholic schools witness amazing growth

It wasn't that long ago area Catholic schools really struggled to keep doors open. The student numbers were not there, but what a turn-around. While east coast Catholic churches are shutting down large numbers of schools this year, Fargo-Moorhead is witnessing amazing growth. The story from WDAY 6 Reporter Kevin Wallevand at St. Joseph's Catholic School where enrollment is up 32 percent in the last two years.

When St. Joseph's Catholic School in Moorhead launched a 1.6 million dollar fund drive for an expansion plan, no one predicted a year later, it would be nearly complete and paid for by parents.

“We have parents doing the trim work, the cabinets, putting in the carpet.”

New state of the art computer and science lab, a library, a lot of the elbow grease coming from parents like Susan Prody, who has two children going here.

“I like smallness of it, it feels like a community and it is amazing how people do pitch in.”

252 students attend St. Joes pre-school through 8th grade. Enrollment is up 32 percent in just two years. A school that has been in Moorhead for 129 years is breathing new life into itself.

St. Joes hopes to have students into the new classrooms sometime this spring. Meantime, the Fargo Catholic Schools network is enjoying growth in its system.

Shanley moved into a new building off 25th Street back in 2002 and next year, Shanley’s enrollment will be at its highest level in 22 years. Unlike the old location in north Fargo, Shanley’s new spot has room to grow if the need is there. WDAY-TV

AOTM: There were 370 last time when atheism was the topic: This time: War

"Does Catholicism = Pacificism?" Is there a "Just War?"

No details yet, but the second Tuesday of February, the 10th will be the next debate at the Argument of the Month Club!

The next forum on February 10th will be centered around the issue of WAR!

Can a good Catholic believe in a just war or is that a thing of the past?’ Many have taken this position and many more do not believe you can be pro life and believe in a just war. We will hear from a former pacifist radical of the 60s. He has converted and become a radical for the “Just War Argument” ( and all things manly). Dr. David Pence, (alias Dr. Intense).

His proposed debate opponent (a pacifist of course) is the head of the Justice and Peace department of the university of St. Thomas. He has not formally accepted the debate but we will keep you posted. If you have never heard Dr. Intense he is very, well, ”intense.” The AOTM believes, whether you love him or hate him, he will give you a informative debate that will be full of humor and passion. Which is a great recipe for a very entertaining and informative evening.

Speaking of recipes here is a little menu teaser for y’all.

The AOTM will be serving up a little taste of New Orleans. Fat Tuesday is just around the corner so we are going to spice things up a bit for y’all. We will serve a great Cajun dish, either jambalaya or gumbo or both! We will have some Louisiana Hot Wings for starters (and yes celery for those of you watching their girlish figure). I heard some of the men were complaining that they wanted a little less meat. What kind of man says that? Well here you go, you girlly men! I will put out mountains of celery for you boys! I can’t wait until Father Echert hears this! You girly men are in for some trouble! We have to up hold our image as one person put it, The AOTM Coronary Kitchen! We will end the meal with a fantastic heart-stopping desert. I promise!

Archdiocesan Pension Pitfalls

By Michael V. Tegeder
in the Progressive Catholic Voice

The decline of the economy in our country is impacting everyone including churches. Donations are down, investments are worth much less, parishes are slashing budgets and laying off employees. Pensions are also affected. In the Archdiocese of St Paul and Minneapolis, all lay employees over age 18 who work at least 25 hours per week are part of the lay pension plan. They have a vested interest in the plan after 5 years of work.

Our plan was started in 1970 and on the surface appears pretty standard. The parish or institution puts into each person's account an amount equivalent to 5% of his or her annual salary. These funds are invested and the plan is monitored by the Archdiocesan Pension Board. The Board has a fiduciary responsibility to the plan's participants. These trustees are appointed by and report to the Archbishop, who has the ultimate control of the plan.

One unique feature of any church pension plan is that they are exempt from the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) of 1974 or the Federal Government's strict accounting regulations for private pension plans. These rules require certain funding levels and other safeguards. ERISA also requires each private pension plan to pay to the government a certain percentage to cover insuring the plan. If a business's pension defaults, the Federal Government will protect the individual pension participant up to a certain maximum amount. Although churches are exempt from ERISA, most church plans, as a matter of standard practice, seek to follow the ERISA rules. They do have the bonus of not having to pay the pension insurance. Of course, if a church plan fails, the participants have no protection.

Our Archdiocesan Lay Pension Plan has been run in fairly normal fashion with an outside pension consultant (The Mercer Corporation) and investment advisors. We do have some oddities. For instance, when the plan was started in 1970 all parishes and Archdiocesan institutions were required to participate unless they had an approved, legitimate defined benefit plan already. One parish, St. Bernard in St. Paul, did have such a plan; and to this day that parish and their schools do not participate in the Archdiocesan plan. Catholic Charities and the then College of St. Thomas also were exempt.

A number of pastors objected to participating in the pension; but only one held out, Msgr. Richard Schuler from St. Agnes. For over 30 years until he left the parish as pastor, St. Agnes parish and school did not pay anything into the plan. He set up a 403-b7 plan but legally this is not an approved pension but only a supplement. When some of the St. Agnes lay employees turned 65 they were able to apply and receive the Archdiocesan pension even though no funds were ever paid in for them. When I became aware of this situation over 10 years ago I made repeated efforts to have it addressed but to no avail. Under a new pastor, the employees at St. Agnes are now officially written out of the Archdiocesan plan, although employees are grand-fathered into the plan up to this change. No funds have been paid into the plan to cover this expense. This is simply incredible and would be obviously illegal under ERISA. I was the bad guy for bringing up this and other concerns and was removed from the Pension Board.

There is a separate plan for the priests. Their plan is really not a true pension plan but more of a disability plan. There are all kinds of departures from ERISA in how this plan is run. I will save this for another day. However, up until this year, the biggest difference between the two plans was the significant under-funding of the priest plan. Unlike the lay plan, from its inception in 1969, the priest plan grand-fathered in all those who reached retirement age even though most of their ministry took place before the plan existed and so no monies were contributed for them. To accomplish this, the plan was to have been fully funded by 30 years. Unfortunately, the priest plan never came to over 75% of funding its liabilities, and so in recent years the plan's trustees have extended the funding deadline out another 30 years.

Meanwhile, because the lay plan was run on normal actuarial standards, lay employees (with the exception of St. Agnes) only receive an amount based on the actual contributions made for them. Indeed, for many years the lay plan was over-funded. The plan had investments that more than covered the plan's liabilities. However, with the recent market decline that is no longer the case.

A year ago, in January of 2008, the lay plan was over 100% funded with assets valued at 107 million dollars. A year later the plan's value is estimated to be between 64 and 77 million dollars, and this includes the extra funds that were contributed to the plan over the past year. It is a remarkable loss. The priest plan had an even greater loss, but because the priest plan was always under-funded, it had to be more aggressive in its investments. For the lay plan to have had losses of 40% plus suggests that it was heavily invested into stocks. Bond investments are more conservative and had far fewer losses. It is very surprising that a plan that was obviously adequately funded, and could have lessened its risks by more conservative investments, had such large losses. This is very troubling.

To get back on track, instead of a 5% match, the lay plan would have to almost double this amount contributed for lay employees. This will not happen. We can all hope that the market will come back, but these losses are for real. It is time for a truly independent plan with trustees not hand picked by the Archbishop. Indeed, the time is opportune for true pension reform in the Catholic Church. Other denominations have pension plans based on a national basis. The economy of size allows them to have much lower expenses and to get true expertise in Board members. Indeed, the ELCA (the largest Lutheran Church body) pension plan is run from its Minneapolis headquarters and covers churches throughout the United States.

Ten years ago when at a Pension Board meeting I suggested that we might learn from the Lutherans, the priest fiscal director of the Archdiocese told me to join the Lutherans. He has since gone off to his ultimate retirement rewards, and I am still catholic enough to think we can learn from the Lutherans.

I have had trouble getting information for this article. The Chancery staff who work with the pension plans have been told they cannot talk to me or give me information. Under ERISA, plan participants have a right to financial information about their pension plan. This is one more violation of the intent of ERISA with the church officials using their exempt status to remain unaccountable.

Rev. Michael V. Tegeder is the pastor at St. Edward’s Catholic Church in Bloomington, MN

If only he were as interested in the souls of his parishioners as he is in pensions!

Fargo parishioners urged to fight abortion bill


Local parishes provide postcards opposing the Freedom of Choice Act as part of national campaign

Catholic congregants in the Fargo Diocese stared one of the most divisive issues in the country’s history in the eye Sunday morning.

“We can no longer have a culture of death,” said Cecelia O’Keefe, who attends Holy Spirit Catholic Church. “How can you not know that is a baby?”

This weekend was the kickoff date for the national “Fight FOCA Postcard Campaign,” designed to oppose the federal Freedom of Choice Act and other legislation that would lift restrictions on abortion. Local parishes provided parishioners with postcards asking their congressional representatives to “oppose FOCA or any similar measure, and retain laws against federal funding and promotion of abortion.”

FOCA would effectively codify Roe v. Wade, the landmark Supreme Court case on abortion, declaring abortion a fundamental right. It also would go beyond and remove federal and state restrictions on abortion, such as required parental consent and informed consent requirements. Some opponents say it would repeal the Hyde Amendment, which restricts the use of federal funds for abortions, but Tammi Kromenaker, director of the Red River Women’s Clinic, says “that’s up for disagreement.”

Mary Volk, who attends Holy Spirit Catholic Church, said her church’s homily, which addressed FOCA, “dealt with it in a very tactful way.

“No matter how you got into that situation, it’s still a baby,” she said.

The effort was no small undertaking. Rachelle Sauvageau, director of the Diocese of Fargo’s Respect for Life Office, said 38,000 postcards were mailed to the Fargo Diocese parishes. The Diocese of Bismarck put the cards in the diocese newspaper. And parishes in the Diocese of Crookston, which encompasses the Minnesota side of the Fargo-Moorhead area, are also distributing the cards.

In a statement released Thursday, the 35th anniversary of Roe v. Wade, President Barack Obama said he has “consistently had a 100 percent pro-choice rating with Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America,” and he stated his intention to pass the Freedom of Choice Act.

Samuel Aquila, bishop of the Diocese of Fargo, said the issue of abortion is so close to the heart of the Catholic Church, “because with both reason and faith, it recognizes the dignity of human life from the moment of conception until natural death.”

And Sauvageau said, “We all have a right to be born and to have that right protected not only in law but by those who should care for us.”

Kromenaker, of the Red River Women’s Clinic, said she believes, “Any organization has the right to lobby the government to vote the way they feel.”

She sees that as a part of her freedom of choice ethos.

But, as she sees it, FOCA is “very important because Roe v. Wade has been chipped away at year after year after year, making it much more difficult for women to obtain abortions. … To strengthen the freedom of choice that women have and have had for 36 years is a good thing.” In-Forum

Fifty Years since Vatican Two was announced; its Dark Spirit

Fifty years on: time to revisit and reform the Second Vatican Catastrophe
The Telegraph

Benedict XVI grows in stature as his reign progresses. To the momentous achievement of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, freeing the Tridentine Mass, he has now added the sagacious and just lifting of the excommunications imposed on the four bishops of the Society of St Pius X.

Although there was widespread scepticism about the validity of those censures, their lifting removes a roadblock to the restoration of the Church after the damage wrought by the Second Vatican Catastrophe. Not everyone is happy about the pardoning of the bishops. The staff of The Tablet are rumoured to be on suicide watch, while the malign spirit of those who, without any conscious irony, denominate themselves "liberals" was well illustrated by Gianni Gennari, an Italian journalist.

Gennari is a laicized priest, now married. Fighting back tears, he responded to news of the lifting of the excommunications: "It is a tragedy, the complete debacle of the Church!... I am disappointed, stunned, scandalised... In this case there is no place for the mercy of Christ" [Isn't this the "unpardonable sin?"]... Of course not. The Modernists have always excluded from any kind of mercy those faithful Catholics who adhere unreservedly to the Deposit of Faith. Anything that reduces the likes of Gennari to tears has to be good news.

Over the past few days, some blinkeredly optimistic souls have been trying - without much real hope - to persuade Catholics to "celebrate" the 50th anniversary of the announcement of the Second Vatican Council. This was the great "renewal", when the Holy Ghost inspired the Church to aggiornamento, or modernisation. What form has that Renewal taken?

In England and Wales in 1964, at the end of the Council, there were 137,673 Catholic baptisms; in 2003 the figure was 56,180. In 1964 there were 45,592 Catholic marriages, in 2003 there were 11,013. Mass attendance has fallen by 40 per cent. In "Holy" Ireland, only 48 per cent of so-called Catholics go to Mass. In France, there were 35,000 priests in 1980; today there are fewer than 19,000. Renewal?

In the United States, in 1965, there were 1,575 priestly ordinations; in 2002 there were 450 - a 350 per cent decline. In 1965 there were 49,000 seminarians, in 2002 just 4,700. Today 15 per cent of US parishes are without priests. Only 25 per cent of America's nominal Catholics attend Mass. Worse still is the erosion of faith among those who ludicrously describe themselves as Catholics. Among US Catholics aged 18-44 (the children of Vatican II) as many as 70 per cent say they believe the Eucharist is merely a "symbolic reminder" of Christ.

To describe this unprecedented collapse of the Church as "renewal" is insane; to attribute it to the operation of the Holy Ghost is blasphemous. The Catholic Church is in the same position as an alcoholic: until it admits to the problem, no cure is possible. The problem is Vatican II.

Pope Benedict himself has expressed reservations about at least one Council document. The only remotely celebratory response to the Council's 50th anniversary would be to appoint a commission of orthodox theologians to scrutinise all of Vatican II's documents and correct their errors. It is time to revisit and reform this council that has brought forth such poisonous fruits.

To be clear, there is nothing wrong with the decisions of the Second Vatican Council. It is the interpretation of those decisions, often at odds with what was actually written down, the "Spirit of Vatican Two", that is the problem.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Pelosi the Apostate says birth control will help the economy

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, quasi-Catholic, boldly defended a move to add birth control funding to the new economic "stimulus" package, claiming "contraception will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government."

Pelosi, the mother of 5 children and 6 grandchildren, who once said, "Nothing in my life will ever, ever compare to being a mom," seemed to imply babies are somehow a burden on the treasury.

PELOSI: Well, the family planning services reduce cost. They reduce cost. The states are in terrible fiscal budget crises now and part of what we do for children's health, education and some of those elements are to help the states meet their financial needs. One of those - one of the initiatives you mentioned, the contraception, will reduce costs to the states and to the federal government.

Do you suppose she ever held that meeting with Archbishop Niederauer of San Francisco about reconciling her pro-choice voting and her supposed Catholicism? Or is she a liar, too?

You can always tell a bureaucrat who can't get a grasp on her job. She'll concentrate on solving another level of government's problem.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Pew U.S. religious landscape survey

The Homiletic and Pastoral Review, not seen in your Target checkout line, but found in virtually all chanceries and rectories, has come up in their January 2009 edition a summary of the Pew Forum's 140 page U.S. religious landscape survey. The compiler and author of the summary was Father Joseph Sirba of the Diocese of Duluth. Being 4,000 words in length, it is still too much to post here, but I'll grab a few stats that grabbed me and share them with you.

In 2007, over a three month period, Pew interviewed over 35,000 adults (18 and older) in an effort to learn more about their current religious beliefs and practices. This number was large enough so that most religions were represented by at least 100 respondents. Here are some relevant Catholic figures.

23.9 percent of the adult population in the United States (or 53,775,000) identifies itself as Catholic.

“Catholicism has lost more people to other religions or to no religion at all than any other single religious group.” The Church has lost to other religions or to no religion at all 35.4 percent—or more than one-third—of the 64,131,750 of its native-born members to other religions or to no religion. Massive Catholic losses have been hidden by the large number of Catholic immigrants coming to the United States in recent years.

Of the 22 million Catholics who have left the church, nearly 20 million ended up unaffiliated ( atheists, agnostics, secular people and religious people who belong to no organized religion; 9.8 million), Evangelical Protestant (6.5 million) or Main Line Protestant (3.7 million).

On the brighter side, 2.6 percent of Catholics (5.8 million) are converts from other faiths or from no faith at all.

To put these numbers in a different context, allow me to speculate just a bit. Suppose that you were the pastor of Saint Wojciech’s back in 1968, and in that year you baptized sixty children. Those children would now be forty years old. However, only thirty-nine would still be Catholic. Of the other twenty-one, twelve are men and nine are women. Ten of these (mostly men) are now unaffiliated with any organized religion. Of those ten, four would be secularists who believe in some sort of God but who practice no faith and do not pray. Three would be atheists or agnostics, and three would still be believers in God but would be following their own path to him apart from any organized religion. It is also the case that in this group would have been some of your brighter students and best altar servers back at Saint Wojciech’s grade school. Of the remaining eleven, six or seven would have joined evangelical congregations where they now lead Bible studies, work as missionaries in Guatemala converting Catholics or homeschool their larger-than-average families consisting of children who were dedicated to God (but not baptized). Three or four would have joined some mainline Protestant religion (probably through marriage) where they participate to greater or lesser degrees. Finally, perhaps one or maybe two have become Mormons or Buddhists.

Finally, of these thirty-nine who have remained Catholic, four never go to Mass and twelve may go at Christmas and Easter, and most of these had their children baptized but are less likely to have them enrolled in religious education. Finally, for twenty-three, their religion is “very important to them” and they go to Mass on a pretty regular basis (but probably miss when they have company over or when on vacation or traveling). Most don’t make it on holy days. Nearly all send their children to religion classes, but very few make time for other things at church, like choir or Bible studies. Most lead very busy lives and there is not much room for church except on Sundays. While they were raised Catholic, most would not agree that the Catholic Church contains the fullness of revelation. In other words, they believe one religion is as good as another.

If you're a numbers geek, you'll enjoy going over Father Sirba's study. If you majored in statistics, you'll want to pour over the entire 140 page report and do your own re-working of the data.

One thing that I have never seen mentioned in reports on the Church's loss of Catholics is the role that the Church's prohibition on remarriage after divorce has on these departures. Given that the divorce rate for Catholics apparently equals that of Protestants, I would think that it has to be a major factor.

The point here is not that the Church should change it's regulations. It can't. Jesus Christ set it up. The point is that marriage preparations need to be more rigorous. No fault divorce, the breakdown of families, mobility and prosperity have removed many of the systems that aided in keeping marriages working. The Church needs to better prepare young couples for a lifetime of "better and worse" together.

An Extraordinary Form Mass every Sunday in Hennepin County is rumored.

The rumor mill, quite silent in these past months, is bubbling with inklings of the celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Mass (Tridentine) at a Hennepin County parish. St. Augustine's in South St. Paul offers it daily (with Holy Trinity some days) and St. Agnes in St. Paul offers it on the First, Third and Fifth Sundays of the Month.

Consequently, there's been a lot of driving by some folks to reach those parishes.

If you're interested, let us know and we''ll attempt to inject your interest into the decision making process.

As long as we were talking about "rumors", I imagine the one the chancery would be most interested in is as to who will be the new Auxiliary Bishop. They generally come from the ranks of the local priests, but it doesn't have to be so.

Eight months ago, we had three bishops in the chancery. What with the retirement of Archbishop Flynn and the departure of Bishop Richard Pates as the new head of the Diocese of Des Moines, we are now down to one. I would imagine the workload for Archbishop Nienstedt is heavy.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Mpls Council clears way for downtown Catholic Charities housing project

The Minneapolis City Council approved a land sale Friday morning that will help clear the way for a new nonprofit housing project near downtown Minneapolis. Plans for the Monsignor J. Jerome Boxleitner Place call for 74 units of supportive housing and homeless shelter accommodations for another 196 people.

The project is named for Monsignor Boxleitner, now director emeritus of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis. That organization has tapped the nonprofit Community Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) to act as developer for the $22 million project.

The council approved selling a triangular, city-owned parcel at 165 Glenwood Ave. for $835,000; the 1.4 acre site is currently used by the Public Works Department for vehicle and equipment storage. But there are still some uncertainties about the project.

Catholic Charities has assembled $13.25 million in financing for the supportive housing part of the project. The bulk of that money, $12.75 million, is slated to be provided by bonds from the Minnesota Housing Finance Agency. But the organization does not yet have funding in place for two floors of shelter space and one floor of “medical respite” space.

“We want to do the project all at one time,” said Tracy Berglund, senior director of housing and emergency services for Catholic Charities. “We’re working on the other three floors. We’re implementing a plan to fundraise to get some of that.”

Boxleitner Place is slated to replace the current Catholic Charities shelter, Secure Waiting Place, at 1000 Currie Ave. N. The facility, which opened in 1995 as a temporary shelter, now houses 251 people and is full every night.

The site for the new project is adjacent to two existing Catholic Charities housing projects: The Glenwood Residence, which provides 80 units of housing for chronic alcoholics, and The Evergreen, an 88-unit building for low-income single adults.

The city’s Public Works department hopes to continue to using its site until the beginning of June 2010. If the developer fails to close by July 1, 2010, the city can terminate the contract. The deal also requires Catholic Charities to have a purchase agreement to sell the 1000 Currie site by June 2010. The city council approved the sale on a unanimous 12-0 vote Friday morning without fanfare or discussion.

“The new facility is another way Catholic Charities continues to meet the growing need in our community. We look forward to providing more dignified emergency shelter and permanent housing for those who are most in need,” said Rev. John Estrem, CEO of Catholic Charities of St. Paul and Minneapolis, in a statement on the council’s action.

The current project began when developer Bob Lux approached Catholic Charities in 2006 to ask if the nonprofit would consider relocating Secure Waiting Space to accommodate redevelopment. Lux’s firm, Minneapolis-based Alatus Partners, won approval from the state legislature to create a unique tax increment finance (TIF) district in the area that would help fund the relocation of Secure Waiting.

A Lux partnership owns the site of the former Ramada Inn, which sits across the street from 1000 Currie Avenue N. Lux’s site is bounded by Currie Avenue North, Hawthorne Avenue East, 11th Street North and 10th Street North.

Lux said that he remains interested in putting a project together. “We continue to look at potentials for redevelopment all around those sites,” Lux said. But in the current economy, nothing is moving forward. “We really have suspended working on that project,” Lux said. Finance and Commerce

"Abortion is the number one killer of African Americans in this country!

( – The most well received speech at the March for Life this year was that of an African American pastor from Frederick Maryland. Pastor Luke Robinson began noting that the election of the first African American President of the United States was a fulfillment of “part” of the “Dream” of Dr. Marin Luther King Jr.

Speaking of the inauguration of the “first black President” of the United States, Pastor Robinson explained: “So many African Americans and other folks cried and shouted because the inauguration was part of the deferred dream come true.” But, he added, “we come here to deal with some unfinished business as it relates to the ‘dream’.”

Then, using Barack Obama’s own rhetoric, Pastor Robinson used the phrase “We need change now more than ever” which would accentuate the rest of his talk.

“We are calling on the President of Change, President Barack Obama,” he said, “to be an agent of change as it relates to the lives of over one million children who will be slaughtered in this, his first year as President, by a horrible practice called abortion and ‘a woman’s right to choose’.”

The most striking portion of Robinson’s speech came as he begged Obama not to preside over the genocide of African Americans. “We need change Mr. President because every day about 4000 babies die by abortion. Every day Mr. President, people with your ethnic background any my ethnic background die in astounding numbers. Abortion is the number one killer of African Americans in this country.”

“We make up about 12% of the population and about 34% of all abortions are black babies. In the last 36 years over 17 million African American babies have died by abortion alone. We need to change this picture. We need to stop this slaughter of the innocent preborn.

“Please Mr. President, be that agent of change that can commute the sentence of over 1400 African American children and over 3000 children from other ethnic groups sentenced to die every day in this country by abortion.”

“We need change and we need it now.”

“I pray with so many others,” he said, “that your administration will preside over the end to abortion and to the black genocide in America.”

“At the conclusion of your term in office, may it never be said that you presided over the largest slaughter of innocent children in the history of the country and that African Americans became an ever increasing minority under your hand.”

Miracle of the Sun: Fatima 1917


Made from b&w photographs of the 1917 Fatima apparition

and should easily be viewed on most computers.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Day 1: Inauguration Day: Day 3: Embryonic Stem Cell Research Approved

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has cleared the way for the world's first study of human embryonic stem cell therapy, Geron Corp said on Friday.

The California biotechnology company plans to start a clinical trial to try to use the stem cells to regrow nerve tissue in patients with acute spinal cord injury. Reuters

Unsurprisingly, the article made no mention of the hundreds of techniques and successes made possible by the use of adult and placenta/stem cord stem cell research that does not require the killing of human embryos.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Fr. Joseph Johnson, Rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul will be on Fr. Mitch Pacwa's EWTN Live program tonight

Fr. Joseph Johnson, Rector of the Cathedral of St. Paul will be on Fr. Mitch Pacwa's EWTN Live program tonight talking about "The Year of St. Paul"

EWTN 8:30 p.m. Central Time, Thursday, January 22, 2009.

Encore programing Thursday at midnight and 8:00 a.m. and Sunday at 3:00 a.m., Central Time.

The program may now be seen on EWTN's Archived Video Server or heard on its Archived Audio Server HERE. You will need software that works with Windows Media to receive it.

Father Z: Instructing parishoners on proper liturgical celebrations; Part II


Again, priest teaches his flock about liturgy - this guy gets it! (Part II)

CATEGORY: Brick by Brick, SUMMORUM PONTIFICUM — Fr. John Zuhlsdorf @ 9:41 am

At St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT, Fr. Greg J. Markey is instructing his flock on liturgical matters.

I have written about this fellow before. He "gets it".

We saw Part I the other day.

Let’s have a look at Part I (of two) with my emphases and comments.

January 25, 2009

Part II: Yet beyond the lack of fidelity to the Vatican II liturgical norms there is still a deeper question which has only now begun to be addressed by Pope Benedict XVI: whether the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council that we have today was what the Fathers of the Council intended. [This is a good point. And it is nearly a forbidden question in many circles. The answer is, of course, "NO! What we got is nothing like what they asked for."] Addressing the discontinuity between the Council’s idea of liturgical renewal and the final form of the Vatican II Mass, the then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger wrote: “(I)n the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over centuries, and replaced it –as in a manufacturing process- with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.”

For example, today much of what Catholics think is the Second Vatican Council liturgical reform did not in fact come from the Council: “To the ordinary churchgoer,” wrote Cardinal Ratzinger, “the two most obvious effects of the liturgical reform of the Second Vatican Council seem to be the disappearance of Latin and [even more damaging] the turning of the altars towards the people. Those who read the relevant texts will be astonished to learn that neither is in fact found in the decrees of the Council.” There is a long list of other changes as well that are simply not in the Vatican II documents either: removing altar rails, Communion in the hand, altar girls, etc.

For this reason Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to liberalize the Traditional Latin Mass (Extraordinary Form) is essential to reconnecting us with our lost tradition, and understanding what authentic worship of God is all about. This Mass was the Mass of our forefathers, of countless saints, and which in its essence dates back to the earliest Church. [YES!]

Inspired by the Holy Father, I began the Extraordinary Form at the parish every Sunday over a year ago. As your Pastor I wish more people in the parish would understand that we have been given a treasure here at St. Mary’s with this Extraordinary Form, and while the Mass is definitely growing, it is still a disappointment that more people do not recognize what this is all about. [Sadly the case in so many places. It is hard to draw people upwards into something more challenging.]

If we look at the full array of Masses here at St. Mary’s, we see that there is a progressive solemnity to each of the liturgies on Sunday, with the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form representing the fullness of our liturgical patrimony. [That is a good idea. It is like… dare I say it… growing up in their Sunday worship.] The Ordinary Form at 4:00 pm, 7:00 pm, and the 8:00 am are done reverently, and has the fixed parts of the Mass (Kyrie, Sanctus, Agnus Dei…) sung in Latin during Advent and Lent. The Spanish 1:15 Mass has a beautiful choir which sings the Latin Mass parts all year round. The 11:30 am Ordinary Form of the Mass has the largest volunteer choir, with the Gloria, Credo, and Pater chanted in Latin every Sunday, and at least once a month the entire Mass is done in Latin, ad orientem (facing East). Finally, once again as the fullness of our liturgical patrimony, we have the Solemn High Extraordinary Form of the Mass, with a professional schola singing the Mass parts in Gregorian chant and renaissance polyphony, and a full set of servers. [If Fr. Markey needs another assistant….]

I encourage people to come and attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form so that they will experience what is in my opinion is the fullness of Catholic worship, and which communicates the Sacred to a higher degree than the other forms. The Ordinary Mass is a simpler version of this more ancient form, yet points to this fuller expression of worship. [I have written many times about the TLM being the "grown-up" Mass. More and more I think this is true.]

I ask you to attend a few times because it sometimes takes a little while to appreciate its subtly, beauty and order. Even if you prefer the Ordinary Form of the Mass, your attendance at the Extraordinary Form will at least help you understand our history and the Ordinary Form better.

With all of the liturgical growth here at the parish over the past five years I hope that these two Pastor’s columns would help people to understand the big picture of why I am making these decisions. It is not my own personal whim which motivates me, but my desire to have our parish think and worship with the mind and heart of the Church.

Furthermore I think it more than a coincidence that the crisis in the liturgy over the past forty years coincided with so many other ecclesial crises: [as our worship goes… so goes the rest of our Catholic lives. Change our prayer, you change our belief and who we think we are before God.] the radical decline in priestly and religious vocations, the shrinking and closing of Catholic schools, the breakdown of the family and the growth of the culture of death, the painful clergy scandals, etc. The Mass is the heart and source of our faith. If is the Mass is deformed and weak, then so is the rest of the body. [yes] As Pope Benedict XVI has written, “I am convinced that the crisis in the Church that we are experiencing today is, to a large extent, due to the disintegration of the liturgy.” [Tell it, Reverend!]

In conclusion, nothing will affect a renewal in the Church and in the culture more than a renewal in the liturgy. The Mass not only expresses what we believe, it shapes what we believe. Come, open yourself to what the Holy Spirit is doing at this point in history, and worship our Lord in the coming year in spirit and truth.

Sincerely in Christ,

Fr. Greg J. Markey

Again, WDTPRS praises Fr. Markey for his sound insights and bold work.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Father Z: Instructing parishoners on proper liturgical celebrations

Father John Zuhlsdorf (W.D.T.P.R.S) features a letter from a Connecticut priest today, instructing his parishioners on proper liturgical celebrations of the Mass.

At St. Mary’s in Norwalk, CT, Fr. Greg J. Markey is instructing his flock on liturgical matters.

I have written about this fellow before. He "gets it".

Let’s have a look at Part I (of two) with my emphases and comments.

Part I: These past two Sundays I have dedicated my Pastor’s Column to New Year Resolutions. First I recommended that following Pope Benedict XVI’s lead, people no longer receive Holy Communion in the hand, and start receiving on the tongue. [Three cheers!] Secondly I recommended that people start correcting themselves when they use the Lord’s name in vain. [Very good! The two are connected. Apparently this priest takes the cura animarum seriously.] This week I recommend that everyone in the parish make it a point to attend the 9:30 am Extraordinary Form of the Mass at least a few times during the coming year. [Yes. The EF is for everyone and a parish shouldn’t be divided into two ghettoes.]

To begin to understand why, perhaps it is best to ask a question: How many Catholics today even realize that there is a liturgical crisis currently going on in the Church? [!] Many parishes during the post-Vatican II era fell into irregular liturgical practices to such an extent that Pope John Paul II needed to commission a juridical document in 2004 for the universal Church in order to address the issue: “It is not possible to be silent about the abuses, even quite grave ones, against the nature of the liturgy and the sacraments as well as the tradition and authority of the Church, which in our day not infrequently plague liturgical celebrations in one ecclesial environment or another. In some places the perpetuation of liturgical abuses has become habitual” (Redemptionis Sacramentum, 4). [After a while people think the abuses are the norms and that perfectly legitimate elements of the Roman Rite are abuses!]

Habitual abuse means that neither the clergy nor the laity at Mass even realizes that the Sacred Mass, that which offers true worship to God and forms Catholic identity like no other act, is being deformed. Such ignorance of the nature of the liturgy prompted Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, to write in 2000: “Liturgical education today, of both priests and laity, is deficient to a deplorable extent. Much remains to be done here.” Sadly these attempts by Rome to correct liturgical abuse seem to have been virtually ignored by much of the Church at the parish level. [Apparently not in Norwalk! I wonder what Fr. Markey’s neighboring priests think about this?]

Since I arrived here at St. Mary Church in 2003 I have tried to address these issues and as everyone knows, I have made the renewal of the liturgy a priority for the parish. [As worhsip goes, so goes the parish.] The first thing I did as pastor was to simply bring St. Mary Church into conformity with the norms of the Church. In the following years, I introduced singing the Latin Mass parts into all of the Masses, depending on the Mass and the occasion, as the documents require: “...steps should be taken so that the faithful may also be able to say or to sing together in Latin those parts of the Ordinary of the Mass which pertain to them.” (Sacrosanctum Concilium, 54). [Excellent! I almost never see a priest quote this!] Thirdly I reserved altar serving to boys alone in order promote vocations to the priesthood. [Better and better.] Finally, I have tried to imbue the liturgy here with a sacred spirit, avoiding profane greetings and actions, and I sought to build a sacred music program that would truly reflect our rich and ancient heritage.

Most importantly, I have attempted to educate everyone about why I was doing all of this. I have held numerous evening classes on the liturgy over the years, given homilies and written bulletin columns, trying to explain the proper spirit of the liturgy, and the authentic liturgical norms of the Church.

Many Catholics, who have been rightly offended by the profanation of the sacred over the years, joyfully embraced these changes. Some while not familiar with liturgical theology, have grown to understand better why a reverent liturgy is a more prayerful experience, and have also supported the changes.

Nonetheless the decisions I have made have been hard for others, and there have been not a few complaints. I am sometimes saddened by the brazen words of people who come to me and criticize a St. Mary’s priest for actually prayerfully offering the Mass according to the liturgical norms. [Isn’t that sadly so often the case? They run at you with the invincible armor of ignorance and arrogance.] To me, the person’s comment is symbolic of the current liturgical crisis: many years of a more casual liturgy, and even habitual liturgical abuse, are hard to overcome. Furthermore, the fact that so few parishes are implementing what the Magisterium is asking us to do makes the changes at St. Mary Church appear even more strange.

[QUAERITUR] Yet how many Catholics truly understand what the Mass is: the re-presentation of the Sacrifice of Christ’s crucifixion to God the Father? (Catechism #1367) Some people are still coming to Sunday Mass expecting liturgical abuses or to be entertained by the priest, rather than the real reason we come – to worship God, offering this perfect sacrifice according to the means handed down to us by Mother Church.

If only more people understood that novelties and priestly creativity in the Mass take away from this transcendent reality, [MYSTERY] and suddenly the sacred act is profaned, taking on the mere personality of the priest. No! As Padre Pio says, at Mass we are to humbly pray like St. John and Our Lady at the foot of the cross. Would that more people’s comments to me about the Mass reflected this understanding.
Fr. Markey has his head screwed on in the right direction, that’s for sure.

How many of you are wondering what it would take to move to Norwalk?