Saturday, June 04, 2005
TWO FACTIONS EMERGING IN ROME - MASONIC SALVATION VS. THE SALVATION OF JESUS CHRIST
Sandro Magister reports on the contrast between a homily by Cardinal Martini, which essentially spells out the Masonic plan of salvation whereby man saves himself; and a homily by Pope Benedict, which spells out the Traditional Catholic view of salvation. Magister links the Martini homily to comments made by Cardinal Biffi eight years ago and recently repeated, which describe the nature of the Antichrist as depicted by Vladimir Soloviev--which is essentially Masonic salvation.
If this is of interest, get a copy of Lee's book, because the book spells out in detail what Cardinal Biffi and Pope Benedict are talking about.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, June 03, 2005
The Christian Broadcasting Network has obtained permission from the Spiritual Counterfeits Project to post my recent co-authored article on Indigo Children and the Spiritual Cinema Circle at their website, if anyone is interested in reading it.
ANOTHER CHAOSPHERE ?
BENEDICT OPPOSES IT
It's interesting to note from John Allen's commentary on the first 45 days of the new Papacy that the Pope has offered negative comments on only two occasions, and both of them concern boundary issues in relation to doctrine:
In his May 7 homily on the occasion of taking possession of the Cathedral of St. John Lateran, Pope Benedict rejected the thesis advanced by some theologians that there is a "pneumatic revelation" of the Holy Spirit alongside that of Christ, a concept usually invoked to argue that the sacred literature of other religions can also be considered "revelation."
"The Holy Spirit does not provide anything different or anything beyond Christ," the pope said.
In an address to Roman clergy on May 13, Benedict rejected the view that non-Christians ought to be "left in peace," that is, not made the object of Christian evangelization, out of respect for the authenticity of their beliefs.
"But how can this be realized if … the true authenticity of every person is found in communion with Christ and not without him?" the pope asked. "Isn't it our duty to offer them this essential reality?"
If these are any indication, it would seem that he is going to set limits on what can be incorporated into our doctrine. Sorely needed and most welcome teaching from the highest office.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
PAPAL INTIMATE, PRIEST WAS A COMMUNIST SPY
From an AP story linked at Crux News:
WARSAW, Poland (AP) - Investigators published a report Wednesday offering new details of allegations that a priest was an informer for Poland's communist government while he was close to Pope John Paul II's entourage in the 1980s.
The accusations against Rev. Konrad Stanislaw Hejmo, 69, were first brought by the Institute for National Remembrance shortly after the death of Polish-born John Paul and fleshed out with the report released Wednesday on its Web site.
The report says Hejmo met secretly with communist agents from 1975 to 1988 in upscale restaurants and hotel rooms, giving them details about the church in return for money and gifts of liquor.
Pope outsells Potter.
(Maybe now Catholic parents will finally get the message.)
Just a couple of weeks after his elevation to the lofty heights of head of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI is giving Harry Potter a run for his money in the literary popularity stakes.
It would seem as if the former cardinal Joseph Ratzinger has it in for Scottish writer J.K. Rowling and her young world of sorcery and witchcraft. Even before his papal incarnation, he was busy warning readers to steer clear of the imaginative world they so love on the grounds that it contains too much black magic.
And now to add insult to injury, his own books have gone and knocked the latest Harry Potter book from top place in a German book chart.
THE SOURCE OF BENEDICT'S NAME
Michael Rose has linked this opinion piece by Victoria Donovan over at the Crux blog. Her conclusion sounds accurate as the reason our new Pope picked the name Benedict.
The prospect of the EU and the Vatican pursuing a common moral ground in Europe seems unlikely and the potential conflicts on the horizon with the question of Turkey’s membership will do little to improve relations. The diverging paths of political and religious Europe have not gone unnoticed by the new pontiff and his choice of papal name seems to have a particular significance in the light of these developments. It was St Benedict who, when faced with the decay of the Roman Empire and the onslaught of the Barbarians, retreated to establish hilltop monasteries which later became the foundations of European Christendom. Faced with the dwindling influence of the Church and indifference to the Christian faith which characterises much of Europe, the new pope seems to be following in the footsteps of his namesake, calling for Catholics to strengthen their core as a “creative minority in Europe” and establish a more reflective community within a decadent continent.
IS IT BEAUTIFUL
or is it creepy?
It was sent to me by a reader who had mixed feelings about it. It seems to be the work of this Ohio State graduate student in computer science.
The opening segment--the one with all the arms in motion--brought the chaosphere immediately to mind. I wonder if there is any relationship between this Chinese dance and the chaosphere used in chaos magick?
I presume the dance is associated with the goddess Kali Ma. That image of the goddess was linked at this Gnostic Jesus website.
The Alternative Religions website describes the chaosphere.
Here's another chaosphere.
A slightly different variety. This one has lyrics.
There is this kind too. A variety of tarot?
In magick rituals a chaosphere is used as a sigil. Sometimes it moves. Unfortunately the images of orbital chaospheres are no longer on the web. Or at least I couldn't find them.
I've often wondered if the symbol for the URI is really a variation of chaosphere.
NO SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH
Prior to VII we saw the Church as those in communion with the Pope, period. At VII this definition was expanded to include Orthodox and Protestants, and it was cautiously considered that others in nonchristian faiths might belong as well somewhere on the fringes.
The problem then became where does the Church stop? And the answer was that we don't know. That has its own consequences.
The Church is often called the Bride of Christ, so let's look at a marriage.
We know who is in the marriage--the bride and groom--the husband and wife. We assume that no other human is part of that marriage, that the bride and groom have an exclusive love relationship. Now let's consider what would happen if we opened that love relationship up to the possibility that others were part of the marriage. How about the sister of the bride. Well sure, she has a love relationship to the marriage, as do the other relatives of both spouses. And of course everyone who impacts those relatives of the bride and groom has a secondary love relationship to the bride and groom arising out of their influence on those who have a primary relationship to the bride and groom.
The problem now becomes who does not belong to the marriage, and the boundary becomes difficult to define. "Love" extends to the whole human race. The "love" of Christ which is the essential ingredient to a successful marriage belongs to every other person who has any claim on the marriage as well. Love must not stop at the boundaries of the marriage, assuming we could define those boundaries, which of course we can't now that we are extending the marital love to all and sundry.
What comes next when we have extended the love that belongs to the marriage? I would suggest that the sexual relationship of the bride and groom become compromised when the boundaries are blurred. True to the analogy, sexual boundary issues plague contemporary marriages. They also plague the Church. The Body of Christ has become promiscuous, and in specific instances it has done so because boundaries have been obscured.
Cases in point are the very instances of priestly sexual abuse. In addition Catholic marriages are breaking up at the same rate that noncatholic marriages break up. If we are confused about boundaries, we make bad decisions.
There are other cases of boundary confusion to point to. Chapter 6 of Lee's book False Dawn is titled "A Divided Verdict: The Churches and the URI." A subsection of that chapter is "The Catholic Church" in which he lists the Vatican's staunch opposition to URI and then goes on to a section on "Catholic Dissent--Standing With the United Religions." The Archdiocese of San Francisco gets special mention--that same source of the new man in charge of the Doctrine of the Faith. Lee also lists numerous other Catholics who stand with the URI. Boundary issues here, too, are clouding our perception of what is acceptable interreligious practice and what is not. And I would suggest that our redefinition of "outside the Church there is no salvation" is the precise reason that we are confused about what to do about the URI.
But look at what these Catholics are embracing! The love and goodwill of the Church is embracing H. P. Blavatsky's Lucifer god, a god who intends as soon as possible to annihliate the Church. This is an extension of the boundaries of the faith into an absurdity. Lucifer is getting what he has wanted since the war in heaven when he declared he would not serve, and he is getting it with the help of those who claim to be serving Christ. Efforts to call a halt fall on deaf ears because we have no boundaries--no walls that tell us Lucifer is outside of the Church. The walls have been thrown down, and everything in creation has been invited in; even the enemies of Christ are being welcomed.
Imagine yourself standing atop a 20 story building gazing at the view on all sides. Imagine that this observation deck has no walls. It is quite possible to walk to the edge of the deck and step off. How close to that edge are you willing to come? There is danger in having no walls. We perceive that real danger exists and we cling to the elevator shaft, or if we do not, we may meet our Maker sooner than expected. But erect walls around the perimeter of the deck. Now we walk over to the wall which stands at the very edge of the building that we had been afraid to approach. We can do this with confidence because we know that we will go this far and no farther. We will remain safely within the boundaries that keep us safe. The walls give us freedom. The lack of walls brings danger too close, taking away our freedom.
I would suggest that throwing down the walls at Vatican II has made a reality the very real danger of worshipping a false god and losing our immortal soul to the antichrist, all done with the best intentions of drawing the world into the Church.
There is evidence to support this theory. Look at the nuns who have embraced goddess worship, all in the name of extending Christ's love. Look at the priests who, like Fr. Richard Rohr, seem to be embracing homosexual activity as a good. And look at the evidence Lee presents in his book of numerous Catholics who see nothing wrong with the syncretistic organization that Bishop Swing has proposed.
Boundaries. We need them in a marriage. We need them in the Church. There must be limits within which lies our freedom. There must be limits within which lies our faith.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Thursday, June 02, 2005
A VERY POLITICALLY CORRECT CARDINAL
calls the Netherlands pagan. The article was linked at Crux.
A SOLUTION TO THE DIFFICULTY PRESENTED BY “NO SALVATION” ?
Lee asks if pages 9-11 of False Dawn will address the problem that arises from conflicting encyclicals and the teachings of the Early Church Fathers.
The pages in question are part of “Author’s Introduction, with an Apologia”. In this section he offers various comments of skeptics and his response.
SKEPTIC: So what are you, some kind of fundamentalist?
He responds to this question by quoting the Creed of the ancient and undivided Church which is quite close to the Nicene Creed Roman Catholics repeat each Sunday. Then he expands on this further writing:
“I am a Christian, baptized and chrismated to serve Christ, who is my Lord and Savior. I am obliged to share the Faith with those who might be receptive to it—recognizing that my deeds provide a witness (for good or for ill) that is louder than any words that I utter.
All mankind was created by God, and all are held in existence by Him. Just as all the creation that there is, is by and through Christ, so also all salvation is by and through Christ. Nevertheless, I do not, and dare not, judge the salvation or spiritual state of non-Christians. God is loving, merciful, and just, and will do all things possible to bring all to Him.
He quotes passages from Lumen Gentium, and from Dignitatis Humanae to back this up.
He next addresses the skeptic’s question “Are you in favor of religious division, then?” with the response that there are two movements afoot today that are often lumped together but which must be separated. One is the ecumenical movement which seeks to reunite all Christians. The other is the interreligious movement which is tied to a quest for a New Spirituality that would unify the planet in a New World Order, which is a foe of traditional Christianity. He says that “followers of traditional religions who embrace the present-day interfaith movement will find themselves in the position of sheep who negotiate with wolves about the dinner menu.”
He goes on to refute the challenge that a Catholic believes in the use of force, bribery, or “holy deception” to advance the Christian cause.
Does this help?
Actually, no, it merely points to the problem. I agree with what Lee states in these pages. He cites two encyclicals to back up his statements. Both of them have come from Vatican II. Unfortunately these encyclicals do not agree with the previous encyclicals that I’ve quoted. That is precisely the problem.
Also the turn to Patristics reinforces the claims of the pre-Vatican II encyclicals, so turning to the very basics of the faith represented by the Creed of the undivided Church also points to those pre-Vatican II encyclicals by default.
There is something else in the book that doesn’t help. On p. 163-164 Lee writes of the support in the Catholic Church for the URI, specifically in San Francisco:
The Interfaith Center at the Presidio has been a URI Cooperation Circle (a local chapter) since 2000, and its director, Paul Chaffee, was on the URI Board until 2002.
On the evening of January 24, 2002, there was an “Interreligious Prayer Service” at the Catholic Cathedral of St. Mary of the Assumption in San Francisco. The service bulletin showed that there were eight URI leaders who offered public prayer or participated in the ceremonial lighting of candles for peace. The Catholic San Francisco coverage of the service began with a large front page photo of Bay Area religious leaders, with Levada standing next to Swing, as they obeyed a call from the Rev. Alan Jones, Canon of Grace Cathedral, to “reach out and tell each other, ‘you are beautiful, and may the spirit of peace fill your soul.”’
On that same day, the Pope led an interfaith prayer meeting at the shrine of St. Francis in Assisi; leaders of Christian churches and representatives from the major non-Christian religions gathered to pray for peace and to hear a message from the Pope. In an article about the 2002 Assisi interfaith gathering in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, had said, “Christians and followers of other religions ‘cannot pray together’ because their prayers are an expression of a faith they do not share.” Accordingly, at Assisi all the Christians prayed together; the members of 11 other religions went to separate rooms for their own prayer services. This arrangement was done to avoid giving the appearance of religious syncretism.
By contrast, in San Francisco, the interfaith service involved side-by-side prayers and readings of holy books by members of many faiths. In his homily, Archbishop Levada said, “Who can be here tonight in prayer for peace, side by side, hearing the scriptures, the songs, and the prayers of our different traditions give voice to the deepest aspirations of our hearts, and not be moved to say, ‘Here is a soul-mate, a neighbor, a friend?”’
Now, of course, Archbishop Levada will be taking these sentiments to Rome where he will preside over doctrine.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Wednesday, June 01, 2005
RELIGION TAUGHT IN PUBLIC SCHOOL
A reader sent in a link to what appears to be the website of David Sedivy, a history teacher at Highlands Ranch High School, 9375 South Cresthill Lane, Highlands Ranch, Colorado. It is dedicated to the Enlightenment. Down at the bottom of the website is an indiction that this is to be used in coursework for his history classes. The title of the essay at the website is:
Theories on Jesus and Christianity: Borg vs Hick
By David Sedivy
In the essay you will find this opinion expressed:
A package understanding of Christianity as consisting of a set of doctrinal beliefs, a code of behavior, and an understanding of the bible as God's word telling us what to believe and how to live. Tied to that was the understanding of believing that Christianity and Jesus were the only way of salvation. It is this image, I believe that has caused many Christians to struggle with or even turn away from their faith. Hick states that this Nicene definition of God-the-Son is only one way of conceptualizing the lordship of Jesus, and that in the new age of world ecumenism which we are entering it is proper for Christians to become conscious of both the optional and mythological character of this traditional language.
If you go to the website, you will see that Sedivy goes on to deny the truth of the Gospels. You will discover that Jesus' life "vibrated" to the divine life, though he probably was not God. You can read that "The real historical Jesus may be released from the stained-glass windows of Christian piety and may once more become a source of inspiration and example to the world." In other words, Hick, speaking with Sedivy's voice, wants to rob the Christians of Jesus Christ, and give Him to the world at large as some sort of magical historical figure who acted with God's power by "vibrating" in synch with Him.
Sedivy sums up this essay by stating
It is the acceptance of the movement toward world ecumenism and the authors' urges to learn from the visions, experiences and thoughts of the other great religious traditions that has aided me in developing my sense of faith to a higher level of comfort and understanding. As a Christian who believes in pluralism, Hick and Borg have given me answers to questions that previously served as stumbling blocks to what I thought I should believe as a Christian. I have learned that believing in Jesus does not mean that I must believe doctrines about him or live in fear of my doubts. Rather, I can trust my own intelligence and strive to keep building a strong relationship with my image of the spirit of Jesus.This is history? No, this is revisionist Christianity. Why is it being taught in a high school history class in what appears to be a public school in Colorado?
There is another essay in Sedivy's website titled "Historical Jesus" in which Sedivy indicates that Marcus Borg is a member of the Jesus Seminar. This essay deals with the beliefs of the authors of "Jesus Under Fire." It discusses the refutation of Hicks, Borg and the Jesus Seminar, but according to Sedivy
though they raise some interesting questions worthy of discussion, I feel they fall short of soundly proving their arguments. In other words, they did not change my mind. They only offer alternatives that resort back to traditional Christian teachings and in some cases reveal a sense of hysterical orthodox paranoia.
In this essay he talks about "bigoted narrowness and rigid exclusivism" of the position that claims Jesus is the only way to acquire eternity.
Sedivy does not provide bibliographical information on the books he uses in these two essays. In fact he does not even so much as put "Jesus Under Fire"--presumably the title of a book from which he takes his arguments--in quotation marks. He does indicate at the end of the article that the bibliography can be had by emailing him.
Are his students studying the books in question here, making it unnecessary for him to cite more than the authors and presumably the title? It seems to be one of many possibilities.
His "Site Contents" webpage indicates there are many essays in his website. The two I have cited above are linked in the right-hand column under "Ancient Rome" and under "The Enlightenment".
WAS TERRI STRANGLED ?
The Empire Journal, in a story linked at Spirit Daily, reports:
Strangulation is defined as a form of asphyxia, lack of oxygen, characterized by closure of the blood vessels and/or air passages as a result of external pressure on the neck.
It is indisputable that Terri Schindler-Schiavo sustained brain damage as the result of a suspicious incident at her Florida home which occurred sometime during the evening of Feb. 24, 1990 or the early morning hours of Feb. 25, 1990, which resulted in the deprivation of oxygen to her brain for four to six minutes.
The only other person present at the time she incurred the injuries was her husband, Michael Schiavo. According to family members and friends, there had been a pattern of domestic abuse in the relationship, possessiveness and anger allegedly demonstrated by Michael Schiavo.
The stated cause of Terri’s injuries is said to be an alleged cardiac arrest resulting from a potassium imbalance due to an eating disorder. However, medical and forensic experts have dispelled that with medical evidence and publicly stated that a crime of strangulation, attempted murder, occurred.
The family believes that Michael Schiavo and Terri had a violent argument earlier in the evening she collapsed and the medical evidence seems to support, that Terri Schiavo may have been a strangulation victim that evening.
The hospital admittance records from 1990 show evidence of trauma to Terri Schiavo’s neck. Her friends have testified during court proceedings that she was unhappy in her marriage to Schiavo and was allegedly contemplating a divorce from Michael Schiavo who was allegedly possessive and jealous.
MORE ON THE LEGIONARIES
at the NCR website, a story by Jason Berry that was linked at Crux News contains more details on the new allegations against Maciel that have surfaced in Mexico. Berry raises these questions:
The pope can halt or intervene in any canonical case. If the case was halted:
Why did Benedict XVI decide against an ecclesiastical trial?
Will the Holy See affirm Maciel’s innocence, something it has not done since the sex abuse allegations by nine former Legionaries were first reported in 1997 by the Hartford (Conn.) Courant?
If not, how does the Vatican explain the allegations?
Will the congregation destroy its investigative findings, as canon law allows when an authority declines to prosecute a canonical case?
Was Scicluna allowed to finish the report?
Has Benedict XVI read it?
The Vatican cannot win a victory for Maciel by shelving these accusations. If the case is dropped, it will only make Maciel appear to be guilty but with friends in high places who are willing to lie for him. It will appear to be business as usual to the detriment of the Roman Catholic Church. Which has greater importance, the reputation of the Church or the reputation of the Legion?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, May 31, 2005
MATT C. ABBOTT'S VIEWS ON THE LEGION OF CHRIST CONTROVERSY
can be read on the ReGain website.
NO SALVATION OUTSIDE THE CATHOLIC CHURCH
is a contested point of doctrine since Vatican II. Some of the passages in John R. Willis, S.J.'s book The Teachings of the Church Fathers, Ignatius Press, 2002, address this point.
According to St. Augustine:
One cannot have [salvation] except in the Catholic Church. Outside of the Catholic Church one can have everything except salvation. One can have honor, one can have the sacraments, one can sing the alleluia, one can answer Amen, one can have the Gospel, one can have faith in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and preach, but never can one find salvation except in the Catholic Church. (p. 60)
According to Lactantius:
Therefore it is the Catholic Church alone which retains true worship. This is the fountain of truth, this is the abode of faith, this is the temple of God; into which if any one shall not enter, or from which if any shall go out, he is estranged from the hope of life and eternal salvation. (p. 60)
According to St. Jerome:
As I follow no leader save Christ, so I communicate with none but your blessedness, that is with the chair of Peter. For this, I know, is the rock on which the Church is built! This is the house where alone the paschal lamb can be rightly eaten. This is the ark of Noah, and he who is not found in it shall perish when the flood prevails. (p. 60)
According to St. Fulgentius:
Firmly hold and never doubt that every baptized person outside of the Catholic Church cannot share in eternal life, if before the end of his life he does not return and is incorporated into the Church.
Most firmly hold and never doubt that not only all pagans but also all Jews, all heretics and schismatics who finish this life outside of the Catholic Church, will go into eternal fire, prepared for the devil and his angels. (p. 61)
How does one get from that understanding of the faith which held firm until Vatican II to the present acceptance of Pentecostalism, to the courting of the Jews and Muslims, to appropriating Buddhist meditation practices, to dabbling with the idea that other religions hold portions of the one true faith that belongs to the Catholic Church? You can't have it both ways.
St. Augustine on heretics:
For both heretics and schismatics style their congregations churches. But heretics, in holding false opinions regarding God, do injury to the faith itself; while schismatics, on the other hand, in wicked separations break off from brotherly charity, although they may believe just what we believe. Wherefore neither do the heretics belong to the Church catholic, which loves God; nor do the schismatics form a part of the same, inasmuch as it loves the neighbor. (p. 58)
Based on those quotations, it would appear that ecumenism is not on solid ground. Yet Pope Benedict has reiterated John Paul II's enthusiasm for the charismatics. At the Zenit website today is an article titled "Parishes Urged to Be Open to Ecclesial Groups" which says in part:
Benedict XVI called on parishes to be missionary and to be open to the dynamism of the new ecclesial movements and communities. ...
"It is very important, in this connection, that communion be reinforced between the parish structures and the various charismatic realities that have arisen in the last decades, amply present in Italy, so that the mission reaches all realms of life," the Pope said.
TREATMENT OF PRIEST SEXUAL ABUSERS
Documents have been released in Orange according to this story at Contra Costa Times. These documents record the progress through treatment of accused priests. The Servents of the Paraclete treatment facility in New Mexico is mentioned in the article, a place where the accused were treated with art therapy, psychodrama, and group psychotherapy. One note in a case file indicates that
Priest Andrew Christian Andersen's file includes an update on his progress in art therapy: "Chris's tree drawing suggested that he may be experiencing withdrawal feelings and having feelings of being out of control."
A priest who has been accused of sexually abusing the child of a parishioner was sent to New Mexico to draw trees while being coddled as a poor unfortunate. Meanwhile what was done to help his victim? Most likely nothing at all.
The article goes on to indicate that after a period of drawing trees and participating in plays, the priests were returned to active duty, supposedly cured, and we know the rest of the story.
Why are the Servents of the Paraclete not being sued for gross incompetence?
According to the article:
"The Catholic Church is the only institution in America which has mental treatment facilities to treat pedophile employees," said Kathy Freberg, an Irvine plaintiffs' attorney. "This has been an ongoing problem known by the hierarchy for many, many years. Isn't it ironic the Catholic Church and its bishops spend hundreds of thousands of dollars treating pedophile priests in these institutions, and nothing similar to that has been established for the victims?"
The Catholics had a treatment facility presumably because the Catholics had enough abusers to fill it.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, May 30, 2005
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
As you know, the attorney for the Society of St. John, Sal Cognetti, has issued a statement criticizing Bishop Joseph Martino for his statements on Carlos Urrutigoity, Eric Ensey, and the SSJ. Cognetti's statement has been posted on the SSJ web site (http://www.ssjohn.org/press_sal_05_2005.html).
Cognetti's statement is both sophistical and legalistic and, as such, requires a point-by-point rebuttal.
Cognetti's first point is that "a settlement is a mutual agreement to end a dispute, not an admission of guilt." While this is legally true, Cognetti ignores that fact that a payout of nearly a half million dollars is clearly an admission of guilt in the moral realm. Who would settle a lawsuit if he knew he were in the right? The SSJ would not have paid out a dime if they were not guilty.
In support of his first point, Cognetti notes that "lawsuits may quickly become more expensive than the relief being sought by a plaintiff." Cognetti thus claims it was his duty as an attorney to advise his clients to settle out of court due to the high costs of litigation.
Cognetti's argument makes no sense because the lawsuit was almost finished when the defendants settled. The lengthy and expensive depositions had already been taken, the briefs had already been filed, and the only thing left was the trial itself. What sense does it make to settle to save litigation costs if 90% of the costs have already been incurred? Note that Cognetti recognized his duty to advise the SSJ to settle out of court only after the SSJ paid out $200,000 in legal fees. (This figure is cited by Fr. Dominic Carey in his letter to SSJ benefactors posted at www.ssjohn.org.)
Cognetti further claims it was his duty to advise his clients to settle out of court because of "the risk of ending up with a jury pool tainted" by all the negative publicity. It should be noted, however, that this was a federal case scheduled to go to trial in Williamsport, not Scranton, yet it was Cognetti who repeatedly asked the court to have the trial in Scranton rather than Williamsport. If Cognetti were genuinely concerned about a tainted jury pool, then he would have been in favor of a trial outside of the Scranton area where the SSJ and Bishop Timlin had been thoroughly exposed as the liars they are.
Cognetti's second point is that Bishop Martino made errors of fact in his statement posted on the Diocese of Scranton's web site. The only example provided by Cognetti to support this charge is that there were 24 depositions taken, not 40 as mentioned by Bishop Martino. We are not sure what this example is intended to prove, especially since Cognetti goes on to make an error of fact in his own statement when he claims that I was the sole witness that he called to be deposed. I should like to remind Cognetti that he also deposed Fr. Richard Munkelt who gave him a lesson in morality that Cognetti apparently found it necessary to suppress. Such much for the facts.
Cognetti's third point is that "the attorneys for the plaintiff did not produce even one corroborative testimony in support of the alleged victim's claims." If this were true, then Cognetti's clients would have been utter fools to settle out of court. In fact, the depositions taken were damaging in the extreme to Cognetti's clients, just as Bishop Martino stated, for they fully corroborated John Doe's accusations. Hence, the only way to explain Cognetti's statement, short of calling him a liar, would be to say that he has so restricted the meaning of "corroborative" that no evidence could ever be worthy of that term. The simple fact is that there is not a jury in this country that would not have viewed these depositions as "corroborative" despite Cognetti's legalistic restriction of this term.
Cognetti's final point is that he is deeply shocked "to see the prejudicial and antagonistic nature of the statements leveled against my clients by their own Bishop, apparently giving credence to the allegations without any finding of fact whatsoever on his part (or a court's part)." Cognetti then takes it upon himself to lecture Bishop Martino for not understanding that "a person is innocent until proven guilty, and silence is never an admission of guilt."
It would appear that Cognetti thinks a Catholic bishop should not discipline priests under his authority on the basis of credible evidence, nor give public statements concerning any disciplinary actions he does take, until an American court has found the priests guilty of something. Hence, we are compelled to point out the obvious, namely, that the Catholic Church is not governed by the legal principles of the American regime, but rather by the principles of canon and natural law. Thankfully there are still some bishops who understand that it is their duty, as shepherds of the Church, to discipline wayward priests when the souls of their flock are endangered. Needless to say, it would completely undermine a bishop’s authority were he to wait for a civil judgment before he took any disciplinary action against accused priests. Cognetti's further claim, that Bishop Martino "unjustly defamed" Urrutigoity, Ensey, and the SSJ, is simply ludicrous and requires no response.
Contrary to Cognetti's position, the standard for a Catholic bishop is not "innocent until proven guilty" in a civil court, but moral certitude that a priest has acted immorally. The threshold of moral certitude in this particular case was crossed as early as the Fall of 2001 when Bishops Timlin and Dougherty were amply informed by at least four different sources that the priests of the SSJ were sharing their beds with boys and young men. There is no need to repeat this argument, for it has been eloquently set forth by Fr. Richard Munkelt in his public statement rebuking both Bishops Timlin and Dougherty for their failure to do their duty (http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/ReverendMunkeltsStatement(1).html).
The decision to suppress the SSJ should have been made by Bishop Timlin long before any depositions were taken, but Timlin’s sympathies for the homosexual predators of the SSJ prevented him from doing so. Rather than suppress the SSJ, Timlin loaned them 2.65 million dollars long after the most serious accusations against Urrutigoity and Ensey had been made public through affidavits and depositions. Apparently the slick young priests of the SSJ had Timlin twitterpated, and perhaps a whole lot more.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
Sunday, May 29, 2005
The first trip outside Rome made by a newly elected Pontiff carries a special significance, as though it represents the prime focus of the new Papacy. It’s interesting, then, to see where Pope Benedict XVI chose to go—not to his home nation, not to a political powerhouse. He chose to make this first trip a trip that courts unity with Eastern Orthodoxy. Perhaps it can be concluded that instinctively he knows that the best hope for restoring holiness to the RCC is to accomplish a healing of this schism, bringing with it a fresh concept of what authentic spirituality looks like, to replace the counterfeit Spirit of Vatican II that has been haunting the Catholic Church for 40+ years.
Significantly that authentic spirituality has grown up under persecution, mostly. If we are facing the end of Christian culture, it would be the Orthodox most of all who would know how to go about dealing with a hostile culture while clinging tightly to the faith.
It's a hopeful sign.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for Benedict!