Sunday, May 31, 2009

Things were quieter than in past years at the Cathedral this Pentecost Sunday

After attending Mass at my regular parish, I zipped on down the freeway to St. Paul to see what might be happening at the Cathedral of St. Paul where Rainbow Sash homosexual protestors (and their supporters) had promised to show up to make their annual statement to nobody that was listening about how persecuted they are.

As I crossed the street to the side entrance, a bit late, I noted a small group of demonstrators sunning themselves. As I approached them, I asked one wearing a sash if she was relaxing in the sun rather than attending Mass before going in to commit a sacrilege. She said "yes." I muttered something about hypocrites and entered the Cathedral. Later I found out that she was a nun and part of a group that had left St. Stephen's parish in Minneapolis with a group of 200 other apostates who have now formed their own religion. Don't ask me how she could be a nun. To say the least, she didn't look like one.

The Cathedral staff, having experienced quite a few of these events is well prepared, like a Special Forces A Team (12 soldiers, trained to do whatever needs to be done).

Right before Communion the celebrant, Father James Adams I believe (I don't go to the Cathedral that often), read a statement informing all that Holy Communion in the Church is only for those who acknowledge their communion with the Church and its rules and regulations and who are in a proper state of grace. Those individuals wearing rainbow sashes or buttons (a new twist this year, I believe) would not be given Communion. Displaying a sign of protest, Father said, is a statement that a protestor is not in communion with the beliefs of the Church. Then Father asked the protestors to remove their sashes and buttons before coming forward.

Of course, they didn't.

In Canon Law, only priests (and bishops, of course) and deacons are the official ministers of Holy Communion. No Extraordinary Ministers of Holy Communion are used at Masses at the Cathedral where protestors are expected. Communion is given as the Sacred Body only as the Ushers stand on each side of the main aisle watching for protestors.

In the past, protestors not having sash or button have put the Sacred Host in their pockets or kept it in their mouth so that they could share it with protestors when they returned to their seats. That did not happen today, but I have seen it in past years. Ushers actually have used mild force to keep the Sacred Host from being desecrated.

Church regulars specifically state that Communion, a Gift of Our Lord, is to be given to the communicant by an ordained minister or by an Extrraordinary Minister. It is not to be taken. That is why, self-intinction, where a communicant receives Communion in the hand and then dips it into the chalice of the Precious Blood is strictly forbidden. If there is to be intinction, it must be done by the minister and then given to the communicant.

There probably were about forty or a bit more protestors present today at the Cathedral. A bit less than last year. It was difficult to count because last year they all stood up after Communion (when they should have been kneeling in thanksgiving) so that we shouldbe sure to count them.

Thanks be to God, no cases of attempts or actual sacrilege were observed.

Father Eugene Tiffany Named Pastor of St. Andrew in St. Paul

Cathy here.

Father Eugene Tiffany, Pastor of Holy Spirit in St. Paul, MN and Director of the Office of Priestly Life and Ministry has been named as Pastor of (my parish) St. Andrew in St. Paul, MN, effective July 1st.

Father Tiffany will replace Bishop-elect Lee Piche; who will be ordained Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of St. Paul & Minneapolis on June 29th.

The announcement was made at Masses at both Holy Spirit and St. Andrew this morning.

Welcome Father Tiffany!

Pray for our priests. Pray for vocations.

Cross posted to Recovering Dissident Catholic

Archdiocesan Marriage Day, Cathedral, June 13

The Cathedral of St. Paul will be hosting the Archdiocesan Marriage Day celebration for couples celebrating their 25th and 50th Wedding Anniversaries in the 2008 calendar year. Friends and families of the honored guests are welcome to attend also and a reception will follow. Requests for certificates issued from the Archdiocese in honor of the day should be submitted in writing with the first and last names of the couple, how many years they have been married, and the address where the certificates should be mailed. Mail to: the Archdiocese Office of Marriage, Family & Life, c/o Marriage Certificates, 328 W. Kellogg Blvd in St .Paul. 55102.

Peter Colosi, "An Evening Affirming Human Life and the Family" June 9, St. Helena's

Peter J. Colosi, Ph.D., will speak on "An Affirmation of Life: Love and Suffering According to Pope John Paul II" at the 24th "Evening Affirming Human Life and the Family" on Tuesday, June 9, in Rowan Hall at the Church of St. Helena, 3204 East 43rd St., Minneapolis. The "Evening," co-sponosored by the Archdiocesan Office for Marriage, Family, and Life, consists of a social at 6:00 P.M. and a catered dinner at 7:00 P.M., followed by musical entertainment and Dr. Colosi's address. The cost is $25 per person (tickets must be purchased by 12:00 Noon on June 5), and complimentary tickets are available by calling 612-729-7321.

Dr. Colosi taught for nine years for Franciscan University of Steubenville at their program in Gaming, Autria. In the fall of 2009, he will join the faculty at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Correcting the record: Abortions went down under President Bush, not up

. May 29: During last night's "discussion" between pro-life/pro-Obama Prof. Doug Kmiec and pro-life/anti-Obama Prof. Robert George, Kmiec repeated a false statement.

Kmiec said the number of abortions went UP under President George W. Bush. On Fox News Sunday May 17 Fr. Richard McBrien, a pro-Obama Notre Dame theology professor, made the same erroneous claim in a debate with Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

My friend, Professor (and statistical analyzer) Michael New, wants to correct the record:

The data do not bear this out. In fact the most recent data from both the Centers for Disease Control and the Alan Guttmacher Institute (research arm of Planned Parenthood) indicate that abortions fell during George W. Bush's presidency.

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute between 2000 and 2005 the number of abortions declined from 1,312,990 to 1,206,200 (a decline of 8.1%, data obtained from all 50 states)....

According to the Alan Guttmacher Institute the abortion rate (abortions per thousand women between 15 and 44) between 2000 and 2005 declined from 21.3 to 19.4.

According to the Centers for Disease Control between 2000 and 2005 the number of abortions declined from 842,553 to 818,196 (a decline of 2.9% for the 46 states reporting data both years).

According to the Centers for Disease Control the abortion rate (abortions per thousand women between 15 and 44) between 2000 and 2005 declined from 16 to 15.

Note: CA and a few other states do not report data to the CDC which is why their numbers are lower.

Under no metric does the incidence of abortion increase during the Presidency of George W. Bush.

Ralph McInerny Suffering From Cancer

Longtime University of Notre Dame philosophy professor and popular novelist (Father Dowling mysteries, among others), Ralph McInerny, is suffering from cancer. Please place him in your prayers. He was scheduled to speak at the commencement ceremonies for Providence Academy in Plymouth and had to cancel.

Professor McInerny was born in Minnesota and received his Bachelor's degree from the St. Paul Seminary

He was replaced at the commencement by the shy and retiring Father Bill Baer, rector of the St. John Vianney college seminary at the University of St. Thomas.

"What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet."

St. Kates to change its name Monday!!!

The switch from the College of St. Catherine to St. Catherine University is about mission and growth and other lofty things.

But first, there are signs to take care of.

In anticipation of the Monday renaming, workers spent Friday replacing the banners that hang from the light-posts on campus. Monday morning, there will be a ribbon-cutting, a march and some U-shaped donuts.

Then, a return to the lofty things.

At a 6:30 p.m. reception, Sister Andrea Lee, the school's president, will speak "to the significance of the rose window as the basis for our new logo," according to spokeswoman.

Discussion: Scapegoating Homosexuality?

In Discussion over at Terry's Abbey-Roads blog: michael r.: If we truly believe that unmarried lay people with same-sex attractions are capable of living lives of chaste celibacy, why should we automatically assume that a young man with same-sex attractions who wants to enter the seminary is incapable of the chaste celibacy which is required of him?"

The most important functions of society are procreation and the raising properly of the next generation of children.

The Catholic Church has been highly negligent in the past in allowing a tiny minority its ministers and priests to abuse those children in the mistaken belief that all people behave properly. We forgot that all people are sinners too.

The Church is attempting to rectify its neglect of its children in the past by not exposing them to the danger of possible abuse by adults in the future.

Unfortunately it is not known exactly who might be an abuser. But it is known that that some homosexuals are likely to be abusers. Until science comes up with an accurate predictor as to who may be an abuser, the Church is siding on the side of safety, rather than experiment with its children as it learns about these things.

Unfortunately, society (and the Church) also has no predictor as to how to raise a child properly. But society has gone pell mell into experimentation with little knowledge of the potential results by encouraging broken families with no-fault divorce laws and by allowing homosexual adoptions.

Right now divorces among Americans exceed 60 percent of all marriages. Even worse, illegitimate births are occurring at the same rate. Our families are being destroyed by our social experimentation. And so are our children, the parents of the next generation.

With the advent of these practices our schools have become full of children with attention deficit disorder, hyperactivity, bullying, autism and learning difficulties. And after spending billions of dollars in trying to get children to graduate, the dropout rate is as high as it every was.

There is no doubt in the minds of thinking individuals that families composed of one mother and one father are what works.

Discussion: Orchestral Music for Holy Mass in the Roman Rite

Disscusion over at Father Z's Place: I will say that being at the Mass at St. Agnes Parish in St. Paul, Minn. with the Minnesota Catholic Chorale accompanied by members of the Minnesota Orchestra and the St. Agnes Schola performing Mozart’s Requiem on All Souls Day is a very religious experience.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Ever hear of Tom Roeser? Minnesota and Illinois Political Hack; SJU grad

If you are at all inclined to read political gossip, one of the best that I have come across is Tom Roeser, a man born in Illinois but who got his degree some 60 years ago or so from St. John's, who dabbled in politics for a time, worked for a Minnesota Governor and a Congressman, and ended up back in the Chicago area where he ended up the publisher of a large suburban newspaper, and became one of the grand poobahs of Illinois political columnists. He's a joy to read.

Today he wrote about Congressman Walter Judd (a medical doctor and a missionary) and Governor Elmer L. Anderson (an entrepreneur) who were two of the finest politicians that Minnesota has known:
  • For the 56 years I’ve been either covering politics or working in it full-time…from writing for a small daily, stringing for the AP, running campaigns for Republicans, assistant to two congressmen, governor’s press secretary, assistant secretary of commerce, foreign service officer in the Peace Corps, corporate veep of government relations, founder of an anti-vote fraud organization here in the hey-day of old man Daley, president and chairman of the City Club and college adjunct professor… now blogging and working on a 5-day-a-week Internet paper…I’ve largely distrusted so-called “personality candidates” who want to get elected basis their charm, cordiality and good looks.
  • I always found the pretty-boys and pretty girls who get elected are more consumed with their own appeal than facing up to the tough issues. I’m fortunate in that for the most part, the politicians I helped get elected were of the hardy, tough kind-opposite of pretty boys. Two examples.
  • A Mayo Doctor in the U.S. House.
  • One was Dr. Walter Judd, MD, a former top surgeon at Mayo who went to China as a medical missionary during the Chinese-Japanese war, was captured by the Japanese and held prisoner and who came back to the U.S.…turning down many posts where he could do well-including a head of surgery post at Mayo to practice medicine in Minneapolis and lecture on Japan’s aggressive intent.
  • For several months after he resettled in the Twin Cities, he opened his Saturday night and Sunday afternoon talks to churches and civic groups recounting how he removed a piece of shrapnel from a dying Chinese baby marked “Made in the USA” (when we sold scrap iron to Japan). People listened to him as he warned about aggressive Japan-but sloughed it off…until, that is, he made one such speech at a Lutheran church basement. He had just finished when somebody ran up to the rostrum and broke in on him, announcing that Japan had just attacked Pearl Harbor. It was the afternoon of Sunday, December 7, 1941.
  • The next week a citizens committee asked him to run for Congress, to replace the isolationist congressman who represented Minnesota’s 5th district. Judd had been too involved in doctoring and serving as a missionary surgeon in China to give much attention to domestic politics-but he reckoned he was a Republican…so he agreed to run for the office.
  • I was his assistant in Washington when this no-nonsense doctor warned the House and the country that the only way to handle the threat of communism was not via détente but by application of firmness. His counsel flew in the face of the prevailing liberal sentiment which argued we could solve our problems with the USSR and China on the cheap. His tough talk to constituents didn’t endure him to them-but they respected him so much they reelected him time and time again. No pretty boy, his face pock-marked with skin cancer from too much exposure to x-ray treatments before radiation was spotted as a danger, he lived to well past ninety…was called a reactionary and war-monger…and ultimately was defeated after 20 years of being right. His last public act was at the age of 93 when he received the nation’s highest civilian award-the Presidential Medal of Freedom-from the hands of a man who early on listened to him and took his message to heart: Ronald Reagan.
  • A 1-Term Governor Who Saved Minnesota.
  • The next non-pretty boy I worked for was a multi-millionaire in Minnesota who was born in Chicago, orphaned early, worked his way through the University of Minnesota, became a salesman and acceded to the post of president and CEO of a small industrial adhesive company in Saint Paul. He turned it into an industrial giant. At the age of 52 he saw that Minnesota was running into serious trouble after a generation of liberal wastefulness, high taxes and profligate spending. He resolved to run for governor. His great wealth was a boon for him because while his competitors bowed and scraped to raise money, he was secure enough to turn bad money down-as result he drew friends to him who raised a unparalleled amount because they saw that someone of his no-nonsense caliber should become governor in a solidly Democratic state that had boasted three Democratic potential presidents-to-be: Humphrey, McCarthy and Mondale.
  • He won for governor. I was his assistant when he outlined super-tough measures to put the state in the black again-measures his friends warned would make him a one-termer. The legislature passed his program…no tax hikes, instead tax reductions and harsh spending cuts…plus a renewal program that restored the economy of the hard-pressed Minnesota Iron Range. Sure enough, by the time his term was up, he was defeated-by 91 votes out of 1,250,000 cast. But he became celebrated as one of the best…if not THE best…governor the state ever had because he had the courage to prescribe the tough medicine it needed which restored it to solvency.
  • But next week I’ll speak at the University of Minnesota which will honor the 100th anniversary of his birth (he died at 95, richer as result of his brilliant business career post-governorship than ever) and the dedication of a huge library which he endowed to the university.
Some of Roeser's finest writing in his eponymous (I love that word) blog has been about Father Ernie, his philosophy professor up at St. John's in the 40s. Delightful and surprisingly instructive about the philosophy of St. Thomas Aquinas, mind you. Check it out.

  • Fr. Ernest. Shut the door please. The caterwauling in the halls is detrimental to our conversation. Mr. Bede Hall, you-the garrulous one. Shut the door and then return to your seat and if you would, please, shut your mouth [laughter]. What did I say that was funny? [Laughter dies immediately]. Harrumph. [A clearing of the throat that was done to express professorial displeasure].
  • The question is raised on occasion: The Church says I must follow my conscience. Very well-but what if my conscience runs contradictory to the Church? What are the things a man must do to ensure his conscience is not in error…let’s see, Mr. Roeser. You say what? WHAT? Yes: you must form it correctly. But how do I do that Mr. Orville Hesch? What? WHAT? Pray a lot! Wrong! You should pray but that is not requisite in this case. Mr. Cornelius Whalen. Yes, YES. You can pray all you wish, Mr. Orville Hesch but the first step to ensure conscience is not in error is to form one’s conscience. Gentlemen, conscience is not infallible. Thomas says in Question 79 “Parallel with the duty to obey conscience is to-“…what? EDUCATE IT, gentlemen! EDUCATE IT! What do I mean by this?

And if you are interested in the gang that grabbed our president off of the streets of Chicago, made him an Illinois state senator and then a U.S. Senator and then the President of the United States, well, Tom Roeser has a lot of the inside story. You can find him at I won't give you any details on what Roeser has to say about Chicago politicians. I might end up in jail with him.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

For Catholic Geeks Only: The New Translation of the Novus Ordo Mass


Introduction to the Roman Missal Formation Website
Welcome Letter from Bishop Arthur J. Serratelli l En español
Chairman, USCCB Committee on Divine Worship

Parts of the Order of Mass
Letter Accompanying the Recognitio from Francis Cardinal Arinze
Prefect, Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments

  • COMPLETE TEXT (Scripturally annotated) (PDF)
  • Eucharistic Prayer I (Roman Canon) (PDF)
  • Eucharistic Prayer II (PDF)
  • Eucharistic Prayer III (PDF)
  • Eucharistic Prayer IV (PDF)
USCCB Committee on Divine Worship

Five to be ordained as priests and transitional deacons in Sioux Falls.

Five men are going to be ordained as priests and transitional deacons today and Friday in Sioux Falls.

Jeff Norfolk and Shaun Haggerty will be ordained as priests at 11 a.m. Friday at St. Joseph Cathedral and will be assigned to parishes as associate pastors, according to Diocese of Sioux Falls officials.

Daniel Moris, Daniel Smith and Paul King will be ordained as transitional deacons at 11 a.m. today at the cathedral.

They will complete their theological studies and expect to be ordained priests next year.

Haggerty, a native of Sisseton, and Norfolk, from Mitchell, were ordained transitional deacons last year and then completed their theological studies at St. John Vianney Theological Seminary in Denver.

Moris, Smith and King have been studying at Holy Apostles Seminary in Cromwell, Conn., and will return there this fall after a summer parish assignment.

Moris is originally from St. Paul, and Smith is from Presho. King was born in Ireland. Argus Leader

Archbishop Nienstedt: Rainbow sash-wearers prohibited from receiving

Individuals wearing rainbow-colored sashes at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday May 31 will not be allowed to receive Communion, according to a statement released by the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

Statement from the archdiocese

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis has released the following statement.

The archdiocese has received word that a group dissenting from the church’s teaching on sexuality will be wearing signs of protest (rainbow sashes) at the Cathedral of St. Paul on Pentecost Sunday during the noon Mass. Those wearing such sashes will not be allowed to receive Holy Communion, since they have publicly broken communion with the teachings of the church.

The Holy Eucharist should never be politicized by protesters in this way. Theirs is a sign of disrespect and irreverence to the body and blood of Jesus.
The sashes are a symbol used by a gay rights activist group, Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, that is “publicly calling the Roman Catholic Church to a conversion of heart around the issues of human sexuality,” according to its Web site.

The archdiocesan statement calls the sashes “signs of protest” from a group “dissenting from the church’s teaching on sexuality.”

“The Holy Eucharist should never be politicized by protesters in this way,” the statement says. “Theirs is a sign of disrespect and irreverence to the body and blood of Jesus.”

The policy not to distribute Communion to sash-wearers at the Cathedral dates back to 2005. In a letter that year to the organizer of Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, now-retired Archbishop Harry Flynn said that “it has become apparent to me that the wearing of the sash is more and more perceived as a protest against church teaching” and that the Vatican considers wearing the rainbow sash during reception of the Eucharist unacceptable.

In the letter, Archbishop Flynn reiterated the policy of the Catholic Church and archdiocese “to be welcoming to baptized Catholics of all backgrounds, including those with same-sex orientation.”

He wrote, “The criterion for reception of the Eucharist is the same for all — recipients must be in a state of grace and free from mortal sin. While the decision for that judgment rests with an individual Catholic’s conscience, it has never been nor is it now acceptable for a communicant to use the reception of Communion as an act of protest.” Catholic Spirit

Archbishop Nienstedt Responds to Rainbow Sash Alliance

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis has responded to a letter by Brian McNeill, organizer of Rainbow Sash Alliance USA, in which McNeill notified the archbishop that - as in previous years - lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) Catholics and their allies would be present wearing rainbow sashes at this year’s Pentecost Sunday noon Mass at the Cathedral of St. Paul

Notes McNeill on the Rainbow Sash Alliance USA website:

We cannot repeat too often that we attend Mass on Pentecost to celebrate who we are, not to protest. We participate in Mass in the same way we do all the other days of the year. But on Pentecost we come out of the closet as lgbt Catholics, family and friends to remind our fellow Catholics that we too are part of God’s loving family.

McNeill’s letter to the archbishop also stressed that the rainbow sash represents and invites dialogue between LGBT Catholics and the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Following is Archbishop Nienstedt’s response.


Dear Brian,

I write to acknowledge your letter of May 10, 2009, alerting me to the fact that you and some fellow protesters will be wearing rainbow sashes at the noon Mass on Pentecost in the Cathedral of St. Paul. I ask yo to refrain from such a public act of dissent, especially as it so clearly shows disrespect and irreverence for the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

Anyone wearing a “rainbow sash” will not be permitted to receive Holy Communion, since their dissent is a sign that they have publicly broken communion with the Church’s teaching. I also ask that those not wearing the sashes refrain from sharing the Holy Eucharist with those who do. Such an action is unbecoming the dignity of the sacrament.

With regard to the dialogue you request, it would first be essential that you state clearly that you hold with the conviction all that the Church teaches on matters of human sexuality. If you do not believe, then there cannot be dialogue, but only debate. The truths of our faith are not open to debate.

Again, I hope you will see how disruptive your planned protest will be for those who will gather on Pentecost to pray. I ask you to refrain from being the cause of such disruption.

Sincerely your in Christ,

The Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt
Archbishop of Saint Paul and Minneapolis

Recommended Off-site Links:
Rainbow Sash Wearers Prohibited from Receiving Communion - The Catholic Spirit, May 27, 2009.
“Take, All of You, and Eat” – Communion and the Rainbow Sash - The Wild Reed, May 28, 2007.

The Progressive Catholic Voice

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Listverse: The Top Fifteen Quotes of St. Thomas Aquinas

Just in case you have nothing else to do this Summer, you might want to check out ListVerse!

The Top Fifteen Quotes of St. Thomas Aquinas

1. A man has free choice to the extent that he is rational.

2. All the efforts of the human mind cannot exhaust the essence of a single fly.

3. Because philosophy arises from awe, a philosopher is bound in his way to be a lover of myths and poetic fables. Poets and philosophers are alike in being big with wonder.

4. Better to illuminate than merely to shine, to deliver to others contemplated truths than merely to contemplate.

5. By nature all men are equal in liberty, but not in other endowments.

6. Faith has to do with things that are not seen and hope with things that are not at hand.

7. How can we live in harmony? First we need to know we are all madly in love with the same God.

8. How is it they live in such harmony the billions of stars - when most men can barely go a minute without declaring war in their minds about someone they know.

9. It is requisite for the relaxation of the mind that we make use, from time to time, of playful deeds and jokes.

10. Love takes up where knowledge leaves off.

11. That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell.

12. The things that we love tell us what we are.

13. Three things are necessary for the salvation of man: to know what he ought to believe; to know what he ought to desire; and to know what he ought to do.

14. To one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To one without faith, no explanation is possible.

15. Wonder is the desire for knowledge.

Top 10 Most Stunning Roman Catholic Basilicas

10 Strange Legends And Images Of Saints

plus many more

Rev. Lee Piché, a Twin Cities native, is named as the archdiocese's second in command


The Rev. Lee Piché, a Minnesota native considered one of the most respected figures in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, was named auxiliary bishop today. As is custom, the announcement was made by the Vatican at noon (5 a.m. CDT).

The position, in which he will serve as the right-hand man to Archbishop John Nienstedt, is considered a stepping stone to becoming a full bishop. Piché, 51, clearly is on the church's fast-track, having been promoted to moderator of the curia and vicar general just a year ago.

"But I'm not worrying about that [becoming a bishop] right now," he said. "I'm hoping to be here a good amount of time. There is a lot of work to be done here, and I'm excited about doing it."

He is the son of LeRoy and Cecilia Piché of New Brighton. He attended St. Paul Seminary, was ordained in 1984 and has served at a number of local parishes, including the Church of All Saints in Lakeville and a current part-time position (which he will have to give up) at St. Andrews Catholic Church in St. Paul.

[He has taught on the faculty of the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul as well as at St. Thomas Academy in Mendota Heights. He was ordained a priest of the archdiocese in 1984, and his first assignment was as parochial vicar at St. Mark in St. Paul. Catholic Spirit]

Being local is going to be an advantage, he said.

"Watching Archbishop Neinstedt [a native of Detroit] come in here and immerse himself in the local community, I couldn't help but notice that he was always needing maps," he said. "I don't need to ask for directions. I know the routes, I know the customs, I know the people."

He will be installed at an ordination and consecration ceremony June 29, but the job's duties are likely to start before that.

"I'm already putting things on my calendar," he said. Star Tribune

Twin Cities Catholics Receive a new Auxiliary Shepherd

The Catholics in Minneapolis and St. Paul received a gift from Pope Benedict today when the Vatican announced that the Pope has appointed Father Lee Piché as an auxiliary bishop for the more than 850,000 faithful in the area.

Bishop-elect Piché replaces the Most Reverend Richard E. Pates, who was installed as the Bishop of the Diocese of Des Moines in May of 2008. The bishop-elect’s ordination will be on June 29, the Feast of Sts. Peter and Paul, in St. Paul Cathedral.

"I am honored and humbled by the Holy Father’s confidence in me," Piché said of his appointment. "This is a great Archdiocese, with many blessed and talented individuals, parishes, and institutions, and with some significant challenges, too. I am grateful to God for calling me to serve in this way. Since receiving this news, I have been praying that God will strengthen me to be faithful in the ministry of bishop."

"It will be a privilege for me to offer another kind of assistance to Archbishop Nienstedt, whom I have come to admire and respect greatly during my time as Vicar General. He works hard and communicates well, often, and clearly. You always know where you stand with him. He will be a good mentor for me," Piché stated, according to a press release from the archdiocese.

Archbishop John Nienstedt praised the Holy Father’s selection of Bishop-elect Piché, "I have been praying every day, sometimes several times a day, for a good and holy assistant and my prayers have been answered. Bishop-elect Piché is one of the most respected priests in the Archdiocese. He has been a successful pastor of several large parishes and has served with distinction as Moderator of the Curia and Vicar General. I look forward to ministering with him in meeting the pastoral needs of this great and vibrant Archdiocese."

"I have watched Archbishop Nienstedt working very hard to keep up with the relentless requests and heavy demands on his time – doing work that was previously done by three bishops – and many of us in the chancery have been praying every day for the arrival of an auxiliary bishop to take some of the load of confirmations and other engagements. I just never expected that those prayers would be answered in exactly this way," Piché said.

A native of Minneapolis, Piché attended the Saint Paul Seminary for his theological formation and was ordained a priest in 1984 at the Cathedral of Saint Paul. He holds a Master of Arts degree in Theology from the Saint Paul Seminary, and a Master of Philosophy degree from Columbia University in New York.

Son of LeRoy and Cecilia Piché of New Brighton, MN, he is the eldest of seven children. Three of his four brothers and his two sisters live in the Twin Cities; one brother lives in Fresno, CA. He is uncle to sixteen nephews and five nieces.

Bishop-elect Piché will help serve 852,000 lay people, 484 priests, 217 permanent deacons and 1,142 religious. Catholic News Agency

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Benedict XVI Calls Priests to Be Saints (NOT Bureaucrats, Politicians or Managers)

Father John Trigilio, often seen on EWTN's Web of Faith with Father Robert Levis answering questions from viewers, is a priest of the Harrisburg, PA, diocese. He is also the head of the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy, an association of priests and deacons. He is also the co-author of Catholicism for Dummies, which has been a very successful book for that series of books. It's Amazon's top seller in the "Catholic" category.

from The Black Biretta

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI, recently addressed members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy (Vatican Diplomat School). Although his audience was priests preparing for specific work in Apostolic Nunciatures (Vatican Embassies) around the world, the words also aptly apply to ALL PRIESTS, EVERYWHERE.

"Always remember that it is vital and fundamental for the priestly ministry, however practiced, to maintain a personal bond with Christ; he wants us as his 'friends,' friends who seek intimacy with him, who follow his teaching and who undertake to make him known and loved by everyone."

"The Lord wants us to be saints," he affirmed, "in other words, entirely his, not concerned with building a career that is interesting and comfortable in human terms, not seeking success and the praise of others, but entirely dedicated to the good of souls, ready to do our duty unto the end, aware of being 'useful servants' and happy to offer our poor contribution to the spreading of the Gospel."


The Pope urged priests to be "men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord."

He continued: "Without this solid spiritual base, how would it be possible to continue our ministry? Those who work in the Lord's vineyard in this way know that what is achieved with dedication, with sacrifice and for love, is never lost."

The Pontiff spoke about the Year for Priests, which will begin June 19, as a "valuable occasion to renew and strengthen your generous response to the Lord's call, in order to intensify your relationship with him."

"Use this opportunity to the utmost," he said, "so as to be priests in accordance with the dictates of Christ's heart, like St. Jean Marie Vianney, Cure of Ars," whose 150th anniversary of death we are preparing to celebrate.
courtesy of Zenit News Agency

The Pope urged priests to be 'men of intense prayer who cultivate a communion of love and life with the Lord.'

This message is CRUCIAL as many American dioceses are gearing up (if not already) for their annual ordination to the priesthood and to the diaconate. Holy Mother Church has over one BILLION members and is a global, worldwide Church. Hence, she NEEDS various types of priests:

PARISH priests - pastors and parochial vicars; serving the daily spiritual needs of the faithful at the local parish level; the majority of priests

priests - high school, college and seminary professors who help in the prophetic role of the church to teach the faith.

priests - hospital, military, prison, nursing home, etc., who provide a necessary work of mercy

(administration) priests - vocation directors, vicar generals, judicial vicars, chancellors, secretaries to the bishop, etc. who give good advice and
provide necessary assistance to the local bishop. And of course, the Vatican and Apostolic Nunciatures need DIPLOMAT priests to help that vital work of the Church.

What is NOT NEEDED, however are:

BUREAUCRAT priests - ambitious clerics who have miter & crosier envy (bishop wannabees) and/or those middle management pencil pushers who emulate the old Soviet Union bureaucrat. This type is neither liberal nor conservative; neither progressive nor traditional; in other words, he has NO affiliation with either side. He just sides with the current party in power. Someone who says and does anything and everything to preserve his office job rather than spend his time and effort doing the 'Will of God.' Bureaucrat priests are often autocrats who pretend to have more authority than they actually possess. They make dictatorial pronouncements and presume to speak on behalf of the current diocesan bishop or currently reigning pontiff. These are the 'professional' clergy who are detached and removed from real parish life and are clueless to what goes on in the real world. They pontificate from ivory towers and often have hidden or enigmatic agendas. You can spot a bureaucrat priest a mile away by the plethora of paperwork (memos, mailings, notices, etc.) emanating from his desk, just to show his importance. POLICY means more to these fellows than canon law or defined dogma and doctrine. Moral principles are made subservient to practical concerns. The bureaucrat priest covers his backside to survive. Moving up the ecclesiastical ladder is their prime directive.

BUSINESS MANAGER priests are obsessed with nickels and dimes, balancing the books and making everything look good on paper. Saving souls is not an urgency, rather, the productivity of programs becomes paramount. These guys run parishes or dioceses like corporations, not like spiritual families or sacred institutions. They place efficiency as their highest goal. As long as the check book balances, the diocesan assessments are paid and the collection never goes down, then they consider themselves SUCCESSFUL. These guys worry about how much it will cost more than how much good will it do.

POLITICIAN priests want to be POPULAR. They preach cotton-candy Catholicism so as not to offend anyone. They tell people what they want to hear instead of what they need to be taught. These guys bend or break canon law and/or diocesan rules to keep the big roller, high end, generous donors from leaving the parish. They think accommodating and compromise are effective tools whereas the real parish priest relies on doctrinal orthodoxy, liturgical accuracy (and reverence) and paternal pastoral authority (being a real spiritual father instead of a corporate stooge). Politician priests want happy faces and avoid all confrontation. These are the wheeler-dealers who make behind the scene arrangements, engage in skulduggery and can often be IDEOLOGUES who are usually throwbacks to the 1960's and 1970's. They see innovation as a political tool to keep and make new members. These guys are usually the ones who deny parishioners their legitimate options and impose their own personal choices as if law. Being politically correct is one indicator of this sort.

ENTERTAINER priests use sacred worship and the Divine Liturgy to entertain and amuse the congregation rather than to render to Almighty God true and proper worship (latria) and adoration. These fellows perform when the celebrate the sacraments. They choreograph gestures and movements, not based on the rubrics of the Missal but based on what they learned in a recent liturical workshop. Entertainer priests want to BE loved and to be showered with affection and approval. They do not preach uncomfortable messages nor do they enforce complicated laws. These guys are current on every fad and tidbit the modern media eschews daily so as to appear to be 'with it.' Reverence takes a back seat, if not in the trunk, to enjoyment. They want people to enjoy the Mass instead of seeking to please God by giving Him proper worship.

The good priests who work in parishes, hospitals, prisons, chancery offices, the military or who teach in schools and seminaries, etc. are different from the bureaucrat, business manager, politician, or entertainer priest. The former are committed to serving God and Holy Mother Church by doing and giving his best in any and every assignment he is given. The latter insist on picking and choosing what they do, how they do it and where it is done. The motives of the former are based on SACERDOTAL OBEDIENCE and SACRIFICE. The motives of the latter are rooted in AMBITION, ENVY, and PRIDE.

Our current Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, is a Vatican diplomat and an excellent one at that. He is NOT a politician priest nor a bureaucrat priest, however. He is at heart a parish priest serving the Holy Father in a diplomatic assignment. He treats priests the same way he treats bishops; with dignity and respect. When my mother met him last year, he was as gracious to her as if she were the Queen of England. A real priests' priest and a true son of the Church, we need more bishops and officials like Archbishop Sambi, to show what is really important. There are too many politician, business manager and bureaucrat priests who dilute doctrine and disregard discipline just to make people comfortable and so make themselves popular. The president of Notre Dame University pleased the crowd at graduation but he offended many alumni and scandalized the faithful around the nation and around the world.

Fathers Pavone, Corapi, Groeschel, Levis, et al. are not the most popular priests in the USA but they are some of the most faithful. When Father Zuhlsdorf or Father Finigan (in the UK) write their blogs, there are always some who disagree, but these priests do not seek fame, rather, they seek fidelity to the truth.

Priesthood is practiced in the parish but also in the classroom, seminary, office or battlefield. The good priests must be rooted in daily prayer and regular confession and direction, annual retreats, workshops and seminars. They must be loyal to the Magisterium and the Roman Pontiff even when unpopular or when politically precarious. The motive must be, as is stated in the last canon of the 1983 Code: (#1752)

SALUS ANIMARUM IN ECCLESIA SUPREMA LEX = the supreme law of the church is the salvation of souls

When the motive, however, is move up the ladder at all cost; do whatever has to be done to get ahead; the ends justifies the means, etc., then church life is no better or different than corporate America during this recent business scandal. Each priest must decide for himself HOW he will act and WHY. If it is to SERVE the Lord and His holy Church, then all he has to do is be FAITHFUL to what the Church teaches and how she prays. Sound doctrine and reverent, accurate liturgy is what the people need, want and expect. Nero sought to entertain the crowds in Rome and they turned on him first chance they got. Jesus came and established a Church to teach the truth and to celebrate the divine mysteries of faith, properly.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Theology on a Stick Fundraiser, CYA, Saturday, May 30


Click on Image

Catholic Geek Information: "Foxmarks" becomes "Xmarks"

"Big yip!" you say. Well, the Foxfire browser's bookmarking utility has become portable and now is downloadable and works with Internet Explorer and other browsers. Well, I don't know if that is that much of a big deal but there is one capability on XMarks that is interesting.

Each web page or blog has a "site info" icon that can be used to discover similar pages if you are doing research. This can be useful when you are doing research and you didn't quite find what you wanted. But more importantly, Xmarks ranks pages by popularity by various categories. I have no idea how they do this. But if you want to hang out with the best and find out what pages they visit, this can be helpful.

Here is a list of Catholic Blogs and Catholic Information web pages that are quite popular (and a few local blogs that also made the rankings).



Blogs Catholicism
Catholic Religion Blogs

Whispers in the Loggia 1 41 83 1,453
"Father Z" (WDTPRS) 2 86 99 3,282 4,238
Curt Jester 3 63 109 4,089 5,921
American Papist 4 35 111 3,822 4,955
Shrine Holy Whapping 5 334 230 6,571 10,117
New Liturgical Movement 6 50 146
Mark Shea (CAEI) 7
128 6,649 7,710
Ironic Catholic 14 595
10,992 20,992
In the Light of the Law 27 127 310 9,531 12,645
Orbis Catholicus
17,587 40,780
Roamin' Roman


Monastic Musings

Weight of Glory


New Advent
1 2 35
Catholic Answers
2 5 121
4 6 31
5 1 56
Catholic Encyclopedia
6 7 62
American Catholic
7 8 160
8 4 101
9 10 199
Catholic Culture
10 11 343
11 9 230
14 14 534
Catholic Exchange
17 13 507

Congratulations to the Ironic Catholic of Winona whose blog of the same name is number 14 in popularity among Catholic blogs. Also making the list are:

Orbis Catholicus, John Sonnen, St. Agnes parishioner studying in Rome; lots of local color
The Roamin' Roman, Veritatis' wonderful blog created during her senior year in Rome in UST's program where she did nothing but travel and take great pictures. It's been a couple of years since she has added to it, but it is still on the list.
Faithmouse, Dan Lacy, Catholic artist and cartoonist
Monastic Musings, Sr. Edith Bogue, Sociology professor at the College of St. Scholastica in Duluth. Really excellent
The Weight of Glory, Clayton Emmer, Twin Cities expat in Los Angeles who recently returned home.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Monsignor Schuler as Practitioner and Prophet

There are times when the judgment of history reverses itself in the living memory of one generation. It is a thrilling thing to witness, if only because the occurrence undermines the historical determinists who slavishly attach themselves to a Whig view of progress and emboldens those who believe that what is true and right can have a presence in any age, provided some people take a principled stand.

In our own time, we’ve seen this happen with regard to Catholic liturgy. There were those—they were overwhelmingly in power and history seemed to be on their side—who said after 1965 and following that all liturgical traditions had come to an end, to be replaced by a new invention of a new generation.

It was widely believed and taught that in the new age, all the unique associations people have had with the best of Catholic liturgy—Latin, Gregorian chant, solemnity, beauty, piety, truth claims, rubrics—belonged to the past and would never return, and had been replaced by new forms drawn from the existing culture. It just had to be. Anyone who doubts it would eventually be buried.

Do you know about one of the most extraordinary American holdouts? His name was Monsignor Richard Joseph Schuler. He was born in 1920 in Minneapolis as the three generation of immigrants from Austria and Southern Germany. He was ordained in 1945, and died in 2007, after a lifetime of championing the unfashionable cause of traditional Catholic liturgy.

Three months following his death, Pope Benedict XVI issued Summorum Pontificum, a motu proprio that not only liberalized the preconcilar form of Mass but said explicitly that new liturgical trends must be linked with the past and must not represent discontinuity in any way. Msgr. Schuler was the champion of the cause of continuity, standing firm when all the winds were blowing the other direction.

He was pastor of St. Agnes of St. Paul’s, Minnesota, from 1967, and through all those turbulent years, he maintained the highest standards in music and liturgy, particularly with his use of the standard-setting Twin Cities Catholic Chorale that he had founded in 1957. He was active in the Church Music Association of America, editor of Sacred Music, and a champion of the Latin Mass at a time when everyone said it was outmoded.

If you thought that all things in the Catholic world in the 1970s were about guitars and bad folk music, consider this. After 1974, Twin Cities Catholic Chorale became exclusively attached to St. Paul’s [errr. St. Agnes, that is], presenting every week a program of music that was nearly unique in the entire American Catholic world at the time for its majestic embrace of the words of the Constitution on Sacred Liturgy.

The choir used all Gregorian propers, and kept alive the great polyphonic tradition of the Renaissance. They developed a specialization in the choral Masses of the 18th and 19th century, giving presentations of these in a liturgical context that was otherwise unheard of in the United States and even in most all parts of the world. Now, this was at time when the overwhelming weight of opinion was that these Mass settings constituted a violence of the spirit of the Council, simply because they require the choir alone to sing the Gloria, Credo, Sanctus, and Agnus. Today, this approach to integrating liturgy and music are likely to be heard at the Vatican and in ever more places in the United States. In this way, Msgr. Schuler provided a glorious bridge from his time to the past and toward our future.

Keep in mind that Msgr. Schuler was of course saying the Missal of Paul VI, but in a way that he believed was consistent with the vision of the father of the Second Vatican Council. He explained his rationale in a long series of articles, some recounting the history in great detail and others containing powerful polemics in favor of solemnity at a time of widespread collapse and seeming liturgical revolution. His writings reveal him as an excellent scholar who wrote what would lather become the tableau of Benedict era.

All through these years, and despite his radical outlier status, his own parish thrived in a way that was incredible to behold. The parish produced vocations year after year, at an increasing rate, during a time when vocations were on the decline nearly everywhere else. Parish life was ebullient and vibrant at every step, the very picture of the model and ideal that the “progressives” claimed the way but were never able to create.

So, yes, there can be no doubt that he was subjected to a great deal of private sneers and ridicule, seen as a Last Knight of an age gone by. But look at his legacy now. Who was the real progressive? One can only marvel at what he saw that so many missed. He knew that he had found himself in the middle of time of departure from tradition but he had every confidence that it was a passing fad that would come and go. He was right.

That’s an easy thing to observe in retrospect but much harder to actually accomplish in real life. It takes remarkable courage and intelligence and stamina to stand so firmly rooted against the cultural trends of your time, but even more so because he received so little support within the culture of the American Catholic Church.

It is interesting to reflect on the centrality of music to the life of this great priest who did so much to point the way out of the morass and into a bright future. He earned the M.A. degree from the Eastman School of Music of the University of Rochester, N. Y., in 1950, and in 1954 he spent a year of study of renaissance music at the Vatican Library on a Fulbright scholarship. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in musicology in 1963.

Even when the financial times were hard, he never compromised in his dedication to paying musicians as professionals. And he paid them in a way that was consistent with the value that they were adding to the liturgy (which in standard parlance was “union scale”). Again, this was not because he was believed in giving them a “living wage” but because he wanted excellence in music to adore the sacred actions in the liturgy.

In this respect, Msgr. Schuler was departing in a dramatic way from what had become standard practice in the American Catholic Church of not budgeting for music and expecting that all musicians to “look for their reward in Heaven” (to quote a music catechism published in Boston in 1936) while not demanding the same of those who build the churches, provide the electricity and water, and repair the roof when it is broken.

This is an aspect of his vision that has not be replicated in parishes around the country but should be – for a change in the financial practices concerning music will stop the talent drain from the Catholic Church and start attracting the best and brightest to our ranks. Msgr. Schuler has been vindicated but we are a long way from learning all we can from his lifetime legacy. New Liturgical Movement

Friday, May 22, 2009

Deacon follows skies, stars, rails on vocation journey

Renaissance man Deacon Douglas Ebert, 62, is moving on to a new vocation that has been calling him for a long time.

Deacon Douglas Ebert
After working as a commercial airline pilot for 30 years, while simultaneously designing and restoring executive railroad cars, playing guitar with the Flying Boxcars rock band, writing and producing music for himself and jazz guitarist Boday, cooking meals in a railroad dining car in Seattle and waiting tables at the Lex­ing­ton in St. Paul, Deacon Ebert will be ordained a priest at 10 a.m. Saturday, May 30, at the Cathedral of St. Paul.

Long, winding journey

The fourth son of Vernon and Betty, Deacon Ebert wanted to follow his own path after graduating from St. Thomas Aca­demy, just like his older brothers. Although he had considered attending Nazareth Hall high school seminary, Deacon Ebert also considered a vocation with the Jesuits while attending Regis Col­lege in Denver, where one of his classmates and friends was a North Dakota farmer and crop duster.

“I got to go fly with him and got interested in [flying],” Deacon Ebert said. “I went by way of the U.S. Air Force and flew transport planes in Vietnam,” flying many wounded and dead soldiers from 1968 to 1973.

“I was in my 20s and I’d see somebody born in ’52 or ’53 and see a casket going back, and I’d think of the families,” he said. “It was distressing to see what was happening to these young people.”

When Deacon Ebert was hired by American Air­lines in 1973, he knew that airline pilots often pursued second careers during their off time, in part, to be pre­pared for a possible career-ending health issue.

Since he had started working in the railroad business in college, Deacon Ebert con­tinued his interest in private railroad cars, serving as president of the American Association of Private Rail­road Car Owners. During the 1970s, he broke into the music business, writing, producing, playing and recording with the Flying Boxcars and owning a music store.

Deacon Douglas Ebert

Age: 62
Hometown: St. Paul
Home parish: St. Mark, St. Paul
Parents: Vernon and Betty Ebert, both deceased
Education: Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts and mathematics from Regis College, Denver, 1968
Former career: U.S. Air Force pilot, American Airlines captain, railroad car design-restoration, rock band guitarist, music writer and producer
Teaching parish: Most Holy Trinity in St. Louis Park; Lumen Christi, St. Paul
Pastoral internship experiences: Clinical pastoral experience at University of Minnesota Medical Center-Fairview
Hobbies: Music, railroad cars, reading — “I’m 62 and about to devote my life to Christ and the Gospel. It’s another avocation becoming a vocation.”
Favorite seminary class: Scripture
Favorite bands: Flying Boxcars, Guess Who
People he most admires: Pope John XXIII, Pope John Paul II, the Jesuits at Demontreville Retreat Center
Thanksgiving Masses:
• Saturday, May 30, 5 p.m., St. Mark in St. Paul
• Monday, June 1, 11:30 a.m., O’Hare Airport Chapel, Chicago
• Saturday, June 13, 5 p.m., Most Holy Trinity, St. Louis Park
• Sunday, June 14, 8 a.m., St. Bernard, St. Paul
• Sunday, June 14, 10:45 a.m., Lumen Christi, St. Paul
Occasionally he hears some of the music he worked on with jazz guitar-player Boday playing on the radio.

“I get royalty checks once in a while, but not enough to live on,” he quipped.

Deacon Ebert quit going to Mass for about 20 years during his 20s and 30s. But, his prayer life never died, he said.

“Even while I was away from the church, the call was still there,” he said. “I decided in my mid- to late-40s that I would continue my career and focus on becoming a priest.”

He started reading Scripture on his own during layovers from flying, and he began attending daily Mass whenever possible, before officially returning to the Catholic Church in 1988.

He also attended an an­nual retreat at the Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Elmo, where “being around other men in different careers and seeing their faith” nourished his vocation, Deacon Ebert said.

He began getting out of his many businesses as opportunities arose, so when he was offered an early retirement from American Air­lines in 2003, he took it.

He began taking pre-theology classes at the St. Paul Seminary while still living in Chicago, he said. The Jesuits helped with his discernment and ad­vised him to talk with Archbishop Harry Flynn, who allowed him to enter the seminary.

As the “senior citizen” of the group, Deacon Ebert said seminary life is “fatiguing, but it’s a matter of pacing yourself.” Although it may take him longer to complete assignments, he brings experience in both finances and service, he said.

While serving in his teaching pa­r­ishes, Deacon Ebert learned that he likes work­ing with people and sharing his faith.

“I learned that sharing faith em­powers faith,” he said. Also, he is committed to finishing, but not always com­pleting a task. “The task I’m entering into is not mine to finish. You just do what you do and try to bring faith to people.”

Waxing philosophical, he said, “Life is a journey. In the transportation business, you’re thinking about where you’re going more than where you’ve been. . . . I’ve been rich and I’ve been poor. I’ve lived in the country. I’ve lived in the city. I’ve been well and I’ve been sick. I really don’t care where I go [to serve as a priest]. I just want to be with people.”

Catholic Spirit

Archdiocesan planning task force now hearing from priests, parish leaders, ministry staff

The parish and school planning process is underway in the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis, and members of an archdiocesan task force have begun to meet with priests and parish leaders to gather information.

The task force plans to use the information gathered at these sessions to craft recommendations on archdiocesan-wide planning for Archbishop John Nien­stedt’s consideration. It plans to have its recommendations ready for the archbishop in July 2010.

The planning effort seeks to address the way the archdiocese currently uses its resources — such as clergy and lay personnel, buildings and finances — and how those resources might be used to best serve the people of the archdiocese.

When Archbishop Nienstedt first wrote about the process in his March 26 column in The Catholic Spirit, he emphasized that every parish must be part of the evaluation to ensure a comprehensive process.

The process has 11 main steps (see graphic at right) and is currently on the third, fourth and fifth steps. The task force is currently meeting with priests, and it is scheduling meetings with parish leaders and parish staff groups. Already, priests have completed a self-study in which they evaluated their parishes’ resources, and the task force has begun analyzing that information.

Father John Bauer, task force co-chair with Father Peter Laird, said the task force wants everyone to have an opportunity for input.

“We encourage participation,” said Father Bauer, who is rector of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis. “We want to urge people. If they have a voice, it needs to be heard, and we want to hear it.” Catholic Spirit

Stages of the Planning Process

  • April 2009 Priest deanery meetings

  • May 2009 Web/voice mail feedback lines become available

Archdiocesan Catholics can easily give their ideas, concerns and feedback to the task force via the Web, telephone or U.S. postal mail.
Web address: Click on link for “planning proccess” to access a survey.
Voice mail: (651) 291-4435
Mailing address:
Archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis; PST - Planning Process Comments
328 Kellogg Blvd. W; St. Paul, MN 55102

  • May 2009 to Oct. 2009 Priest deanery meetings begin
  • May to Oct. 2009 Regional leadership meetings

  • May to Oct. 2009 Archdiocesan Coalition of Ministry Association meetings

  • Sept. to Oct. 2009 Regional parishioner meetings

  • Nov. 2009 to Jan. 2010 Priest deanery presentations to task force

  • Jan. to May 2010 Task force meetings to consider options

  • June 2010 Feedback on options

  • July 2010 Task force development recommendations

  • Aug. 2010 and beyond Archbishop to consider task force recommendation

See step details in the Catholic Spirit

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Contraception and Catholics: Quiet Disobedience

A Stanford blog addresses a question so obvious that it’s been, by this time, largely ignored: what do American Catholics actually believe about contraception? That is, do they use it?

The answer is yes. Catholics are assimilated into American culture, and Americans have an unequivocal relationship with contraception: we want it, we need it, we use it.

Catholics in America are a diverse group, practicing with various levels of orthodoxy, occupying various positions on the political spectrum, found at all socioeconomic levels. Unlike some brands of Christianity, Catholics in America are often a quiet bunch—they generally do not proselytize (at least in this country), they usually don’t keep their children segregated from the wider, “corrupting” culture, and their priests do not become wealthy TV personalities.

Then again, they’re not always quiet (see this week’s spectacle at Notre Dame). But today, there are so many Catholics in America that the ones who make themselves highly visible in situations like these—by showing hostility to anything that threatens to contaminate the Church’s true values, as they interpret them—are not representative of the greater American Catholic community.

This community, as a Catholics for Choice report shows, began drifting from orthodoxy on the subject of contraception after the Vatican issued Humanae Vitae of 1968. Five years earlier, a papal commission on contraception had recommended that the Church hierarchy lift its ban on contraception. The Pope ignored this recommendation.

The Stanford post outlines Catholics’ waning adherence to the contraception ban: 44% of churchgoing Catholic women used artificial contraception in 1969, 75% in 1980, and finally:

The Center of Disease Control and Prevention 2002 National Survey of Family Growth revealed that 97% of American Catholic women over age 18 have used a banned form of contraception, which is the same percentage as the general population.

The Church’s ban on contraception is a matter of life and death in some parts of the world, as I’ve pointed out. But what’s the importance of it in America? Some Catholics never think about it. They break the rule, but the rule, they sense, is not that important.

But as this post points out, the failure in the sixties to make the contraception teaching more relevant has undermined the Catholic Church:

Women already had an unequal role in the church, and many stopped listening to priests on issues of sexuality and morality.

Indeed, the hierarchy’s distance from the experiences of American Catholics is exacerbated by the Catholic Church’s specific version of patriarchy. How does it feel as a woman (or as a man) to have a celibate man tell you about sexuality?

The writer goes on:

Ironically, Pope John Paul II’s fear that the Church’s authority on other matters would be undermined if the teaching on contraception was changed came true because it was not changed.

This is, and always has been, the central drama of the Catholic Church. It is grounded in ritual, tradition, and history. This is what makes it great, and it is also what cripples it. The Church has to walk a fine line between flexibility and inflexibility, both of which threaten to discredit it. The Catholic Church has changed—sometime after arresting Galileo, it acknowledged that the Earth does revolve around the sun. It can change, and I believe that it will change on contraception. It just needs a little help getting there. RH Reality Check

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Archbishop Carlson of St. Louis: No Communion for Pro-Abort Politicians

As he prepares to take the helm of the St. Louis diocese, a position formerly held by Archbishop Raymond Burke before he was transferred to the Vatican, Archbishop-elect Robert Carlson has said he agrees with his predecessor's take on Church law, specifically that pro-abortion Catholic politicians must be denied Communion if they refuse to repent.

The St. Louis Dispatch Sunday interviewed Carlson, the current bishop of Saginaw, MI, [formerly Auxiliary Bishop of St. Paul-Minneapolis and Bishop of Sioux Falls] who will be installed as St. Louis' archbishop June 10. They asked: "Do you believe Catholic politicians who support abortion rights, and who persist in doing so even after consultation with their bishop, should be denied the Eucharist if they approach to receive it?"

Carlson answered: "If I were to enter into dialogue with somebody, and after they reflect on the discussion and that person persisted, it could come to that point."

The Saginaw bishop said Archbishop Burke, who is now the head of the Apostolic Signatura in Rome, "has combined in an interesting way [canon law], and I think he does it correctly."

In February, Burke told that "there's not a question" whether a publicly pro-abortion politician could be admitted to Communion. According to Canon 915, "Those upon whom the penalty of excommunication or interdict has been imposed or declared, and others who obstinately persist in manifest grave sin, are not to be admitted to Holy Communion."

"The Church's law is very clear," Burke said. "The person who persists publicly in grave sin is to be denied Holy Communion, and it [canon law] doesn't say that the bishop shall decide this. It's an absolute."

Carlson noted that Burke is "not just speaking anymore as the archbishop of St. Louis, he is the prefect of the Signatura."

"It appears that's the direction the church consensus is moving towards," said Carlson. "Could we get into that situation? Yes. But at least in my own time in St. Louis, I'd like to have a crack at the dialogue first."

Archbishop Vlazny to ordain largest class of priests since 1970s

Archbishop John Vlazny [Bishop of Winona, MN from 1987 to 1997] will ordain seven men as priests for the Archdiocese of Portland on Saturday, June 13 at St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception. The Mass of ordination will begin at 11 a.m.

This will be the largest ordination class for the archdiocese since the early 1970s. In addition, two other men will be ordained in Argentina.

Those being ordained by Archbishop Vlazny are Eric Anderson, Fred Anthony, Mariano Escano, David Jaspers, Theodore Lange, Thomas Layton and Cary Reniva. . . . Catholic Sentinel

Priest with Twin Cities ties killed in Guatemala robbery

The Rev. Larry Rosebaugh, who had been a priest in St. Paul, was killed by armed robbers in Guatemala. The gunmen got away with only $125.

A Roman Catholic priest with local ties was killed in a robbery in Guatemala this week.

The Rev. Larry Rosebaugh, 74, was killed Monday when gunmen surrounded a car carrying him and four other priests in the city of Playa Grande, the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis learned Wednesday. The gunman opened fire, killing Rosebaugh and wounding one of the other passengers.

The robbers escaped with the equivalent of $125, a cell phone and a couple of religious ornaments.

Rosebaugh had been a missionary in Guatemala for 10 years. He was a native of Appleton, Wis., who was ordained in 1963. He served as an associate pastor at the Church of St. Casimir in St. Paul and then moved to Duluth, where he taught high school.

After being transferred to Milwaukee, he gained national fame for his opposition to the Vietnam War. On Sept. 24, 1968, he led a group of anti-war protesters who stormed the draft board office in Milwaukee, removed thousands of records and set them on fire. The protesters, who came to be known as the Milwaukee 14, served 20 months in prison.

Rosebaugh was buried yesterday in Guatemala City. Star Tribune

Duluth’s ‘Father Pat’ dies

Msgr. Patrick McDowell, 81, a longtime downtown Duluth priest who oversaw three inner-city parishes and who was an advocate of the poor, died Tuesday at St. Luke’s Hospital.

The rotund, affable priest was the parish vicar at Center City Catholic Churches in Duluth that included St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Peter’s and Our Lady of Mercy. He also was pastor of Duluth’s St. Benedict’s Parish in Kenwood and later served at parishes in Virginia and Cook.

McDowell was praised today by St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O’Neill, who called the priest a "giant advocate for the poor." Duluth News Tribune

"Father McDowell", as we called him in the olden days, when he taught at Duluth Cathedral's High School, was a wonderful man with the greatest head of hair known to mankind. He didn't know me, but I was privileged to know him.

Star Tribune obituary from May 28, 2009:

Father Pat McDowell was legendary for his generosity

For nearly 50 years, he was a widely known advocate for the poor, a good listener and a beloved priest in Duluth.

The Rev. Patrick Melville McDowell was more than just the leader of the flock at Catholic parishes in Duluth and northern Minnesota. To many, he was a true disciple of Jesus, an advocate for the poor and downtrodden who often used his own resources to help those in need.

"He was a kind man who gave money to street people," said Shirley Baker, who worked with McDowell at St. Mary Star of the Sea Church in Duluth. "He wanted to serve God, and he made anybody who had contact with him feel special."

McDowell, 81, died of heart failure Tuesday at St. Luke's Hospital in Duluth.

He was born in Hibbing, Minn., and attended the Crosier Seminary in Onamia, Minn., Nazareth Hall Prep School in Roseville and St. Paul Seminary. He was ordained in 1954 and began work with the Diocese of Duluth.

During his 50 years of ministry, McDowell served parishes in Virginia, Cook and Greaney in northern Minnesota, and spent much of the 1990s in Duluth, where he oversaw congregations in the Hillside neighborhood.

He was instrumental in forming the Helping Hands Ministry while serving the Center City Parishes of St. Mary Star of the Sea, St. Peter's and Our Lady of Mercy. In that ministry he provided gift certificates for food or department stores to those who knocked on the door, or subsidies to help them pay their rent or gas bills, Baker said.

"He was an incredibly generous person to those in poverty," said St. Louis County Commissioner Steve O'Neil. "He was like a legend. People would line up to talk to him, and while many needed material things, they'd also ask him spiritual questions. He was a good listener, and he was not judgmental."

McDowell also was instrumental in creating the Holy Innocents Chapel at St. Mary's, a place where people can come and pray 24 hours. For his benevolent efforts, he was named monsignor by Pope John Paul II in July 1997.