Saturday, September 24, 2005
My relatives in Corpus Christi stayed dry and got only a 10-15 mph breeze, though a mandatory evacuation had been called for Thursday morning. Right now most things are closed in the city because a lot of people have left town. Still trying to learn how the Houston relatives fared.
From the comboxes...
Christine tells us that "Heresy is an ugly ugly term. Peace bottom line is not achieved by accusation.
Lig says that the word "borders on hateful" and asks "Where would the Roman Catholic Church be if Jesus had not been so progressive?"
Time for a reality check.
Matthew, Chapter 23...all of it.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You lock the kingdom of heaven before human beings. You do not enter yourselves, nor do you allow entrance to those trying to enter. Mat 23:13
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You cleanse the outside of the cup and dish, but inside they are full of plunder and self-indulgence. Mat: 23:25
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men's bones and every kind of filth. Even so, on the outside you appear righteous, but inside you are filled with hypocrisy and evildoing. Mat. 23:27-28
That's our progressive Jesus speaking. But He didn't use the word "heresy". So I guess Lig and Christine would give Him a pass.
Friday, September 23, 2005
GOT A CHILD IN CATHOLIC SCHOOL ?
Worried about the sex ed program?
A reader just sent in the link to Veil of Innocence where you may be able to find some useful information.
THE NEW CAMPAIGN AGAINST CATHOLICISM
From a comments box below, a poster has challenged my right to express my faith with regard to what constitutes Catholic heresy. He (or she) has used my blog to do so.
One form of intolerance is when an individual or organization treats another individual or organization with disdain due to their religious beliefs. If any person states that members of a faith embrace heresy, then that person is naming the members of that faith as heretics. To name any individual or organization as heretical is a form of intolerance.
That being said, Carrie is making statements of intolerance against all non-catholics. Personally I believe this is unnacceptable. Fortunately for Carrie, she has the right to make these statements provided they are not overtly hateful. However, should these statements become hateful, then I believe society has the right to NOT tolerate Carrie.
That, it would seem, is going to be the picture of the future. Adherents to every other religion have the right to express their beliefs, but a Catholic expressing her beliefs in what amounts to a conversation in her livingroom is chastised for doing so.
Ultimately will it come down to being illegal to utter the name of Jesus Christ?
HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE SEMINARY DEBATE
Dom has linked Matt Abbott's column which includes comments from three priests as to why homosexuality is incompatible with the priesthood.
A DIFFERENT KIND OF CARDINAL TALKS ABOUT HIS FAITH
St. Louis Cardinals players David Eckstein, John Rodriguez and Jeff Suppan recently stepped up to the plate to talk about their Catholic faith.
BISHOPS HAVE RIGHT HAND-LEFT HAND COORDINATION PROBLEMS
A seemingly innocuous news release was distributed by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops' media office earlier this month. It was a tribute to the late Rabbi Balfour Brickner of New York, which included praise from Eugene Fisher, the associate director of the USCCB's Secretariat for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs.
Fisher described Rabbi Brickner as "one of the greatest American religious leaders of the second half of the twentieth century. He was a man of social vision and moral courage who never backed down from the good fight for the rights of others."
On the surface, it's basically the type of boilerplate you find in abundance upon the passing of a person of some significance. Questions begin to arise, however, when you consider what the statement leaves out.
Rabbi Brickner, you see, was not in sync with what the Catholic Church teaches about abortion. He was Jewish, obviously, and would not be expected to follow the teachings of a different faith. The question, however, is why an official statement of the Catholic bishops' conference would heap such praise on a man remembered by Planned Parenthood as "a powerful voice for reproductive rights."
It was a voice he used in many forums, as noted in a Planned Parenthood web posting: "Rabbi Brickner served on the boards of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, the PPFA Board of Advocates, the PPFA Clergy Advisory Board, Planned Parenthood of New York City, and the New York affiliate of the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice."
According to the teachings of the Catholic Church, regardless of one's faith affiliation, one cannot be considered "a man of social vision and moral courage" if one supports abortion, which the Church considers evil in all situations. It is evil for Catholics, evil for Jews, evil for Muslims, evil for Hindus, evil for Druids, evil for atheists. It cannot, under any circumstances, be considered good.
So why is a USCCB official saying such good things about a man who favored such a bad thing?
If it were an isolated incident, it could perhaps be excused as a case of ignorance. But it is not an isolated incident.
Last year, a USCCB employee named Ono Ekeh was spotlighted for his extracurricular activities — specifically, running a "Catholics for Kerry" web group. Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), of course, created quite a firestorm by raising money for pro-abortion activists while also claiming to be a faithful Catholic. Apparently, for the USCCB management, there was no problem with Ekeh's hobby until it became public knowledge. Ekeh is no longer employed by the bishops' conference.
There was also the case of Pamela Hayes, who served as a member of the bishops' national review board, despite admitting to a reporter for a Catholic publication that she supported pro-abortion political figures such as President Bill Clinton. She also supported the pro-abortion political action committee, Emily's List. She served her term on the review board and then left.
What is it about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops bureaucracy that permits such apparent indifference to clear-cut Church teachings on abortion?
DOESN'T SAY WHETHER THEY PRAYED OR NOT
It was a remarkable sight: the president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan sitting on a New York dais alongside leaders of the American Jewish community and Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations — while eating a kosher dinner beneath a blue-and-white banner reading: “Council for World Jewry.”
It was all the more notable, considering the significant personal risk the appearance must have entailed for Pervez Musharraf, who has been the subject of several recent assassination attempts at the hands of Muslim extremists who are violently anti-Israel and anti-America.
There was near-unanimous agreement among Jews and Pakistanis at Saturday night’s event that Musharraf’s mere presence before an audience of Jewish officials represented a potentially historic step in Muslim-Jewish relations. For his landmark gesture, the Pakistani general received a series of standing ovations.
“I would never have imagined that a Muslim, a president of Pakistan and, more than that, a man in uniform would ever get such a warm reception from the Jewish community,” Musharraf said as he ascended the platform to excited applause.
WCC WOULD LIKE INDIVIDUALS TO DISARM
Churches must take responsibility to nurture healing in broken societies and to promote peace, urged leaders of the World Council of Churches (WCC) in public statements on Haiti and small arms released today.
The 25-member WCC executive committee was meeting at the WCC's Bossey Ecumenical Institute, near Geneva, 13-16 September 2005, in its last full meeting prior to the WCC 9th Assembly in 2006.
A public voice against gun violence
In a statement on small arms and light weapons, the WCC executive committee urged churches to exercise their "unique potential" to curb demand for guns and "to affirm God's vision of life in peace and fullness" by "changing public attitudes, shaping community values and becoming a public voice against gun violence."
Small arms are used in the vast majority of the estimated 350,000 of the world's deaths by violence annually. In 2006, the WCC will lead an ecumenical delegation at the United Nations Small Arms Review Conference.
TABLET CRITICAL OF UPCOMING DOCUMENT ON HOMOSEXUALITY IN THE SEMINARY
IS THERE ANY purge coming in the Catholic Church? There are clues detected by the secular media that this may be the case. Last week the Associated Press flagged a story in the right-leaning National Catholic Register, a weekly American newspaper published by the Legionaries of Christ, the ultra-conservative religious order. In a front-page report, dated 7 September, Archbishop Edwin O’Brien told the Register: “I think anyone who has engaged in homosexual activity, or has strong homosexual inclinations, would be best not to apply to a seminary and not to be accepted into a seminary.”
Archbishop O’Brien told the paper that even a man who had been celibate for 10 years or more should be barred from entering seminaries. As an aside, he noted: “The Holy See should be coming out with a document about this.” Later he told the Associated Press that he expected such a Vatican directive would appear before the end of the year. The archbishop should not be dismissed as just another opinionated cleric. He is coordinating the Vatican-ordered “Apostolic Visitation”, the year-long investigation of American seminaries and formation programmes for religious orders that is part of the Vatican’s response to the clerical sexual abuse crisis in the United States.
His blunt comments reveal what many priests have long feared: blame for that clerical crisis is being placed squarely on the shoulders of celibate gay men in the priesthood rather than on the bishops who moved paedophile priests away from the scene of their assaults to new locations where they struck again, abusing more children.
One question in the recently released Instrumentum Laboris, the Vatican’s working document that provides guidelines for the Visitation, reads: “Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be asked.)” Another, reviving clerical language from the 1940s, reads: “Do the faculty formation watch out for signs of particular friendships?”
News of this should surprise no one. In 2002, in the wake of the abuse crisis, Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, then the Archbishop of Philadelphia, spoke for many American bishops when he opined: “We feel that a person who is homosexually oriented is not a suitable candidate for the priesthood, even if he has never committed any homosexual act.” That same year the official Vatican spokesman, Joaquin Navarro-Valls, said, “People with these inclinations can simply not be ordained.”
Certainly the vast majority of the reported sexual abuse cases in the United States were those of men preying on boys and adolescent males. But the Vatican and many bishops have repeatedly blamed all gay priests indiscriminately, and, as Archbishop O’Brien’s comments indicate, are about to declare that even a psychologically healthy gay man who can live a celibate life will be barred from seminaries.
This is the worst kind of prejudice, and should be seen as an embarrassment for the Church, rather than the basis for its selection of candidates for the sacrament of orders.
Thursday, September 22, 2005
I have relatives in Houston and in Corpus Christi. Sigh.
BEVILACQUA CRITICIZED BY GRAND JURY
A grand jury report on sexually abusive priests in the Philadelphia Archdiocese saved some of its harshest criticism for Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua, archbishop from 1988 to 2003 -- accusing him of engaging in a well-planned coverup.
Bevilacqua and his predecessor, the late Cardinal John Krol, knew that priests were involved in "massive amounts of child molestations and sexual assaults" but chose to conceal the abuse rather than notifying police or removing offenders, according to the report released Wednesday.
Prior to being named Archbishop of Philadelphia by the late Pope John Paul II, Bevilacqua served as bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh from December 1983 to February 1988 and was succeeded in Pittsburgh by Bishop Donald Wuerl, who has been known for taking a tough line on priest sex abuse cases.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
REUTERS ANNOUNCES THE UPCOMING BAN ON HOMOSEXUALS IN THE SEMINARY
The story is linked at New Oxford Review.
FRANCE PRESENTS LEGION OF HONOR AWARD
Contact: Kenneth Bandler of the American Jewish Committee, 212-891-6771 or firstname.lastname@example.org, Web: http://www.ajc.org
NEW YORK, Sept. 19 /U.S. Newswire/ -- David A. Harris, executive director of the American Jewish Committee (AJC), has received the Legion of Honor. The award was presented in recognition of Harris's lifelong efforts to promote human rights, combat anti-Semitism and further transatlantic relations.
"You are an indefatigable man and defender of democracy," said Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy, who presented the Legion of Honor on behalf of the President of France during a dinner in New York last night. "Your fight against all forms of intolerance serves human dignity, as well as interethnic and interreligious dialogue."
SWIDLER ON PROGRAM AT WAKE FOREST
Leonard Swidler, professor of Catholic thought and interreligious dialogue at Temple University, will give a lecture titled "In a World of War, Dialogue Among the Religions of the World is a Necessity" at 8 p.m. Oct. 4 at Wake Forest University. The free, public event will be held in the Annenberg Forum in Carswell Hall, Room 111.
Swidler is editor of the Journal of Ecumenical Studies, a publication he co-founded with his wife, Arlene Swidler, in 1964.
of sheltering from Katrina in a Catholic school which is part of the parish of St. Mary of the Angels, located in the lower 9th ward where the water reached 12 feet. The two Franciscan priests weathered the storm with their flock, and subsequently found them a place to stay. Home base for the priests is Cincinnati, Ohio where they have returned to seek funds for rebuilding.
GRIEVING FOR DEAD CHILDREN
Susan Rauscher, diocesan secretary for pastoral and social concerns, quoted the Book of Revelation, Chapter 21, in noting that God tends to the broken-hearted with an abundance of compassion.
Through his compassion comes hope, she noted. Hurts are turned over and lives are made whole again.
“God’s goodness and love is always present to us,” she said.
Rauscher touched on the theme of compassion during an interfaith prayer service sponsored by the Religious Leadership Forum Sept. 15 at St. Paul Seminary in Crafton.
The service was held to pray for the some 300 babies found recently at the former home of a suspended funeral director in McKeesport.
The remains of the fetuses ranged from less than 16 weeks in gestation to full-term babies. They died as a result of stillbirth, miscarriage and abortion.
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
The last thing I ever expected to see from Joan Chittister is a book about monastic life.
AN EXCERPT FROM THE DESCRIPTION OF THE GNOSTIC MASS
first published in "Sword of the Gnosis":
As the occult explosion of the late 19th century began to unfold, a strong link was forged between the denizens of the metaphysical universe and the then burgeoning Gnostic Catholicism that experienced a new birth in the West among those disaffected by the heavy-handed centralist tendencies emanating from Rome in the wake of the first Vatican Council. Unlike its successor council in the 1960's which was presided over by taratively liberal Pope John XXIII, the First Vatican Council inaugurated an era of Roman Catholic Conservatism - the doctrine of Papal Infallibility, etc., was presented. Apostolic dissent created a generation of what came to be scurrilously called "Wandering Bishops". Many of these bishops were cast afloat by various schools of apostolic succession, including Bishop Villatte (of the aforementioned Syrian Orthodox line), the occultist Bishop Doinel, and the national Catholic Archbishop, Bishop Matthews.
TELLING IT LIKE IT IS
NOR ads are usually insightful. This one seems particularly appropriate today in light of the research I've been doing recently. Apply it to the story I linked earlier this morning as well--the one about the Canadian Catholic school's interfaith event. You can find the link to that story down below.
The NOR ad references Revelation and tells us "there are lots of lukewarm Laodicean Christians who don't want to proclaim the Gospel, but don't want to let go of Jesus altogether. They'd rather do social work and engage in interreligious dialogue, searching for some greater, more agreeable truth that has so far eluded everyone."
Those lukewarm Christians are more and more frequently seeking the Cosmic Christ and practicing esoteric Christianity, a version of Christianity that relies on visionary experiences obtained through spiritualism, which today is called channeling and sometimes called apparitions, and which violates the First Commandment. We knew it as "New Age" but it now comes disguised as mainline Christianity and it even wears a Catholic disguise in many cases, borrowing the language and trappings of the Catholic faith, but not the doctrinal content.
These Christians following the other gospel thrive in interreligious circles which try to blend the meditative/contemplative experience from the various religious traditions into a homogenuous whole that comes down to contacting all spirits equally. Since the angelic realm is divided, this is bound to lead to trouble.
Either we believe in Truth, or we believe in nothing at all.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
VATICAN RESPONDS TO CHARGES OF CARLA DEL PONTE
NOR links this BBC report:
Top UN prosecutor Carla del Ponte has alleged requests for help to find Gen Ante Gotovina - believed hidden in a monastery - have met a wall of silence.
The Vatican has countered by saying Ms del Ponte has not yet responded to its requests for more details on his likely whereabouts in Croatia.
A spokesman for the Croatian Catholic Church has denied helping him.
The general, charged with the deaths of 150 Serb civilians in 1995, has been on the run for the past four years.
BAN ON HOMOSEXUAL SEMINARIANS
New Oxford Review links the following story:
Pope Benedict XVI is said to have approved a document saying that homosexual men should not be ordained as Roman Catholic priests, a conservative Catholic Web site reported yesterday.
The long-anticipated document, prepared at the request of the late Pope John Paul II, reportedly calls on bishops to bar even chaste homosexuals from seminaries because their orientation is rooted in a personality disorder that may undermine their capacity to minister, according to Catholic World News.
The report, posted yesterday on www.cwnews.com, an independent news service with links to the pope's American publisher, could not be independently corroborated, but several Vatican sources confirmed that such a document has been on his desk awaiting his decision.
"If this is true, it's a disaster," said a gay priest who asked not to be named. "I know many celibate gay priests who feel they could not live with any integrity in a church that treats gay men like this. And I know many gay seminarians who have been living celibate lives with ease, who would simply leave."
ITALIAN ISLAMIC ASSOCIATION DENOUNCES CLIMATE OF INTIMIDATION
This is what they are protesting:
After the recent expulsion of Bouchta Bouriqi - a halal butcher and self proclaimed imam from Turin - who was deported under new anti-terror legislation, introduced after the 7 July London bombings, Piccardo denounces an intimidation strategy by the Italian government towards the Muslim community. "Today no Muslim living in Italy has the courage to express out loud his views, because of the fear of being criminalised and eventually expelled, destroying an effort intensive immigration project."
If Bouriqi was guilty, a court should have tried him, argued Piccardo, thus allowing him to defend himself and giving the general public more details on his alleged wrongdoings.
This climate of intimidation and of unrecognised rights will feed terrorism, warned Piccardo.
Mainly Catholic Italy has only experienced mass immigration since the late 1980s, mainly from North Africa and Eastern Europe, but also from farther afield. The Muslim community in Italy is now estimated to number between one and one and a half million, making Islam the country's second largest religion.
TODAY BOSTON - TOMORROW THE WORLD ?
Talk of activist judges, civil rights and hot man-on-dog action dominated the highly anticipated return of Massachusetts’s hottest political spectacle, the Constitutional Convention. And this year’s edition was gayer than ever, with a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage biting the big one, 157-39.
After a stunning showing last year, all but a smattering of anti-gay protesters chose to sit this one out; one woman, who refused to be named because “They’ve targeted me and my kids personally,” explained her side’s absence thusly: “It’s pretty clear that the gays think they own the State House. They feel secure because they intimidate activists and corporations. They’re good at emotional appeals, intimidation and propaganda.”
One such intimidating fella, Cambridge’s Mike Tackett, contrasted this year’s gay atmosphere to that of last year. “It’s more lively, positive and excited,” he said. “People expect to win. Last year, we were really afraid we were going to lose.”
“I can’t see the other side,” he added. “Supposedly, they’re here. Aren’t they?”
Yes, they were, inside the State House’s Great Hall—all 15 or so of them, wearing “VoteOnMarriage.org” T-shirts, standing in a circle, praying and singing “God Bless America.” But in a stunning coup, the gays rushed to surround the prayer circle, shouting out their own version of “God Bless America,” then—in a dramatic flourish—doing “We Shall Overcome” as an encore.
MAKING THE WORLD SAFE FOR ISLAM
MANILA, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Al Qaeda-linked Muslim militants have stepped up recruitment in the southern Philippines, focusing on converts to Islam, an army intelligence official said on Wednesday.
The small Abu Sayyaf Group has been one of the government's biggest security headaches in recent years, carrying out a series of high-profile kidnappings and bomb attacks against civilians.
"The Abu Sayyaf Group was recently monitored intensifying its recruitment activities," the intelligence official told reporters, quoting a military report.
"The recruits were allegedly offered a salary of 10,000 pesos to 30,000 pesos ($177 to $536) to join the group and will be used in conduct of sabotage operations in Zamboanga City."
The report follows bomb attacks last month in and nearby Zamboanga that killed four people and wounded about 50.
TWENTY-SECOND CENTURY MAN IN THE EARLY FORMATIVE STAGES
Seventeen-year-old Ryan Nutter, a Cardinal Newman Catholic Secondary school student in Canada, organized interfaith week for the school and was awarded the Discovering Diversity Award for his efforts. Apparently all religions were treated equally:
The interfaith week he organized with staff support included Buddhist meditation sessions, a movie and an art display commemorating Holocaust victims. Leaders of various faiths spoke to the students.
Morning prayers over the P.A. were led in a different language each day: Latin, Aramaic, Hebrew, Punjabi and Hindi. Many were amazed to learn that Nutter was the voice behind all five.
"That was just marvellous, and everyone was impressed," teacher Michele Root recalled yesterday. "Ryan is always a growing ... and mature person. He's always turned on and not afraid to be a leader."
Ryan was raised a Protestant. He is posed in the picture that accompanies the article with the zodiac as background. What do they teach the students about Christ in this Catholic secondary school, one wonders.
DON'T JUST REMOVE GOD--REMOVE THE ENTIRE PLEDGE
Atheist Gary Krasner, at The American Daily, a website devoted to political and social commentary, is happy that the Supreme Court took the "in God" clause out of the Pledge of Allegiance, but he wants to go even further. He believes a free country has no right to impose a Pledge of Allegiance on its citizens.
I suppose I couldn't be more at odds with my fellow conservatives than I am regarding the Pledge of Allegiance case. Not only do I oppose the practice of compelling children to recite a pledge (of any kind), I also oppose the "under God" inclusion. I'll discuss both aspects separately, beginning with the efficacy of a pledge.
A caveat: This will not be a scholarly dissertation. I'm not a scholar, and a lot has already been written anyway on the Establishment clause with respect to the pledge. Anyway, in due time, I suppose we'll all have the opportunity to read Justice Thomas' scholarly support for the religious pledge, and Justice Ginsberg's scholarly opposition to it.
All I hope to do here is expose my fellow conservatives with a healthy dose of common sense.
WHAT'S THE PURPOSE OF A PLEDGE?
Children must never be required to recite a pledge of allegiance—even to a Constitutional government. Perhaps especially to a Constitutional government.
First, Children must understand that a pledge or promise is like a solemn contract; an issue of importance that must be adhered to. We certainly don't want them to deem pledges as routine daily utterings. They must understand pledges to be special, and sincere declarations that come from their own conscience.
Children are also too young to understand what a pledge of allegiance means in a tangible sense. Even for many adults, it may seem confusing. For one thing, a loyalty oath presents an apparent contradiction in a nation in which the right to dissent is one of it's main precepts. Declaring independence from England presented a dilemma for many in the Continental Congress, after having been forced to swear their allegiance to King George. An organized pledge of allegiance seems necessary under authoritarian governments. It seems out of place in a free nation.
Children are presented with enough puzzling contradictions about our way of life. We shouldn't add to it. The only pledges we should extract from our 7 year-olds are not to steal, lie, and to brush their teeth after they eat. We can expect more from them later on.
Regarding the aspect of coercion, most adults (and even US Senators) are sufficiently articulate to explain to their peers why they might remain silent during a pledge. But children don't understand the political and religious nuances of this debate. All they understand (usually from overhearing remarks from their parents or political commentators in the media) is that those classmates who refuse to recite the pledge are unpatriotic, or otherwise bad people.
In schools today, ostracism and bullying has reached such a scale that it's contributing to dropout rates, serious violent incidents and sometimes school shootings. We should not foster such conditions. In primary school, perhaps it's best to emphasize what all children have in common, and to teach it—not force them to recite it. (Justice Scalia has drawn a higher threshold for 'coercion' in his previous opinions on church-state cases. For that reason, I'm hoping he recuses himself again when Newdow comes before the court.)
The thing that should be taught is their valuable inheritance, and how and why our form of government, together with our religious and racial tolerance, stands supreme among nations. Teaching the 'hows' and 'whys' are precisely what schools should be about, rather than forcing children each day to utter lines by rote, whose import (to them) must invariably decline with each recital. Besides, patriotism, like other noble callings, is best taught by example.
THE POPE HAS DIPLOMATIC IMMUNITY
The U.S. Justice Department has told a Texas court that a lawsuit accusing Pope Benedict XVI of conspiring to cover up the sexual molestation of three boys by a seminarian should be dismissed because the pontiff enjoys immunity as head of state of the Holy See.
Assistant U.S. Attorney General Peter Keisler said in Monday’s filing that allowing the lawsuit to proceed would be “incompatible with the United States’ foreign policy interests.”
There was no immediate ruling from Judge Lee Rosenthal of the U.S. District Court for the southern district of Texas in Houston. However, U.S. courts have been bound by such “suggestion of immunity” motions submitted by the government, Keisler’s filing says.
A 1994 lawsuit against Pope John Paul II, also filed in Texas, was dismissed after the U.S. government filed a similar motion.
Keisler’s motion was not unexpected, as the Vatican Embassy in Washington had asked the U.S. government to issue the immunity suggestion and do everything it could to get the case dismissed.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
From an entry at Papa Ratzi Post:
For nearly 25 years, Benedict, as the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, played an advisory role in the appointment of bishops. When he was elected pope last April, he inherited the papacy's absolute authority to select suitable leaders for the world's 2,700 dioceses - 197 of which are in the United States.
Benedict faces his first major American test in choosing a new archbishop of San Francisco to succeed Archbishop William J. Levada. In May, Benedict called Levada to Rome to fill his former job as head of the church's doctrine office.
Besides his new responsibilities as prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Levada, who has close ties with Benedict, will probably play a similar "kingmaker" role in the bishop-making process that Cardinal Ratzinger played for John Paul II.
So...who do we have to thank for our current crop of bishops? Apparently, in part, we can thank our current Pope who has chosen the supporter of United Religions Initiative to play his former role in defending the faith and choosing bishops.
Meanwhile, the faith continues to erode...
RATLINES II ?
The UN's chief prosecutor for former Yugoslavia has accused the Vatican of sheltering wanted war criminal General Ante Gotovina.
Carla del Ponte said yesterday that she believed Gotovina - an indicted war criminal - was in a Franciscan monastery in Croatia.
In an interview with The Daily Telegraph, del Ponte said the Vatican could probably track down Gotovina "in a few days" to one of Croatia's 80 monasteries, but her attempts to find intelligence had been met with a wall of silence from Vatican officials.
Are we about to be treated to yet another scandal via our leaders across the pond, or is this news source unreliable?
Spirit Daily links the News Telegraph's report on Gotovina:
Gen Gotovina, 49, has been a fugitive since 2001 when he was indicted on charges of crimes against humanity and war crimes. America has placed a £2.8 million bounty on his head.
A former French foreign legion officer, he is accused of overseeing and permitting the killing of at least 150 Serb civilians and the forced deportation of between 150,000 and 200,000 others after Operation Storm, a 1995 offensive to reimpose Croatian control over the Krajina region. Gen Gotovina's whereabouts are of interest not only to lawyers and historians. They are at the heart of a political mystery that has divided the European Union.
In February, the Balkan intrigue took a poisonous turn for Britain when the general's allies inside Croat intelligence "outed" several war crimes investigators in Croatia as serving MI6 and United States intelligence officers.
The next month, Britain led a successful campaign to halt the planned opening of talks with Croatia on joining the EU. Those accession talks remain on hold until Croatia is found to be "fully co-operating" with the tribunal, an assessment to be made by Mrs del Ponte.
This appears to be some sort of cover-up not unlike what took place after World War II and at the time of the Vatican Bank Scandal when Marcinkus was sheltered at the Vatican.
What are the secrets of the war in the Balkans? How is the Vatican implicated in that war and in the "apparitions" that take place in Yugoslavia? Mysteries, mysteries, mysteries...Something is rotten in Rome.
BENDING MARRIAGE RITES
Rome- A top Italian cardinal said Monday that common-law status might be applied to offer some legal protection to unmarried heterosexual couples - offering a rare exception to the Catholic Church's condemnation of de facto unions.
Cardinal Camillo Ruini gave no indication the recognition would be extended to same-sex couples and said any protection should stop short of envisioning "something similar to a marriage."
The comments by Ruini, presi dent of the Italian Bishops' Conference and the pope's vicar for Rome, came amid a renewed debate over whether Italy should grant unmarried couples some form of legal recognition.
Monday, September 19, 2005
POPE APPROVES DOCUMENT BARRING GAYS FROM THE SEMINARY
Pope Benedict XVI (bio - news) has given his approval to a new Vatican policy document indicating that men with homosexual tendencies should not be ordained as Catholic priests.
The new document-- which was prepared by the Congregation for Catholic Education, in response to a request made by the late Pope John Paul II (bio - news) in 1994-- will be published soon. It will take the form of an "Instruction," signed by the prefect and secretary of the Congregation: Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski and Archbishop Michael Miller.
Catholic World News requires a subscription, however Dom has blogged it.
A reader sent in this link to pictures from a Cowboy Mass that looks familiar, so maybe I blogged it previously. But anyway, in case you missed it....
There is no limit to the possibilities I can envision for Mass as entertainment. How about a slight variation on the nun in tights--a Bellydancing Mass? Instead of consecration bells, the servers could use finger cymbals. The precedent has already been set for women's bodies in transparent material. Remember the picture of the statue of the Blessed Virgin at Holy Redeemer in solon that I linked the other day? Obviously after that, those bloomer things that bellydancers wear would not be a problem.
There could be a Prostitute Mass. Dress up the priest to look like a pimp, and have all the women dress in black, tight, short skirts and leather boots. (You mean some of the women already do that?)
How about a Woodworker's Mass? Decorate the altar with wood shavings and sawdust, and play low volume recorded drill and bandsaw sounds. Use sawhorses and 2 x 4s for an altar.
A Gypsy Mass? Colorful Gypsy costumes would put the Polka Mass out of the business of being outrageous. A couple of the ladies could dance in the aisles at this one too. Sort of like the Pope's Hula Mass, but with a bit more fabric for the cooler climates. Nail down the valuables in case some of the participants want to go to extremes.
A Grdeners' Mass could be costumed easily with stuff from the closet like torn blue jeans and a flannel shirt. Garden shoes optional. Just rub some dirt on the clothes and grab your father's shovel or your mother's flowerpot. Do NOT bring organic fertilizer!
A Toddler's Mass? Wear a diaper and bring a baby bottle for the wine.
Oh, and how about a Nuns' Mass? The women could scour the convent attics for discarded religious habits and clickers. The priest could dress up in a fiddleback chasuble. There is probably a whole generation of children out there who have never seen habits. This might work really well for the Mothers of Preschoolers group. Keep the little eyes busy and scare the little tykes into staying close to mom.
An Angel Mass? Everyone wear wings and bring a harp. Only those with good voices permitted to sin
A reader sent in this odd tale of an unexplained death on the Island of Iona. From The Scotsman:
A WOMAN is found dead on the island of Iona near the Fairy Mound, a place associated locally with magic and dark deeds. She is naked, but for a strange cloak and her feet are bloodied and swollen. In her hands is a knife and her body lies atop a crude cross carved out of the peat. There is a look of terror on her face.
You would be forgiven for thinking that this is the start of a newly discovered Sherlock Holmes story, but these events describe the death in 1929 of Norah Fornario, a clever, but slightly eccentric student of the occult.
Fornario was a member of the Alpha and Omega, an offshoot of the esoteric and theosophical Golden Dawn. These late-19th century societies set up by the occultist Samuel Liddell Mathers promoted western and eastern mysticism. The infamous black magician Aleister Crowley was one of the novices attracted by the colourful rites and promise of power.
Aleister Crowley, known at the time as 'the wickedest man in the world'
Fornario believed she could heal telepathically and was striving to converse with other worlds. One of her friends, Dion Fortune, a high-ranking member of Alpha and Omega, worried that Fornario had become too involved in her craft.
"I do not object to reasonable risks," Fortune wrote in her book Psychic Self Defence, "but it appeared to me that 'mac' as we called her, was going into very deep waters … and there was certain to be trouble sooner or later."
Iona is known today as the "The Cradle of Christianity", but in the 1920s it was popular with occultists and spiritualist. St Columba himself revealed that he had spoken with spirits on the island and it has long been regarded as a place where this world and others are close.
In August 1929, Fornario packed her belongings and travelled to the island for what was clearly to be a long stay. No one knows for certain why she left her London home, but what is known is that she was experimenting with "flight" between worlds. Her former housekeeper was quoted in The Scotsman in 1929 as saying, "Several times she said she had been to the 'far beyond' and had come back to life after spending some time in another world."
NOLA CORPSES MAY GET CHIP ID
A company that makes ID chips for humans said Friday it has started “chipping” corpses in the Katrina-ravaged region of Mississippi to help expedite the identification process.
Florida-based VeriChip said it has already implanted radio frequency identification (RFID) tags into 100 corpses in the state for the Mississippi State Department of Health.
The company, which is a subsidiary of publicly traded Applied Digital Solutions, said it is also in talks with Louisiana health authorities, though no agreement has been reached.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
APOLOGIES ARE IN
It comes from an Arabic news source via a link at New Oxford Review:
The Church of England offered Monday to take the lead in reconciling with Muslims by apologizing to their leaders for the US-led war in Iraq if the British government fails to do so.
The proposal was contained in a report, entitled "Countering Terrorism: Power, Violence and Democracy Post-9/11" which written by a working group of the Church of England's House of Bishops.
"We do believe that the church has a visionary role for reconciliation, beyond that of any government," the Bishop of Oxford, Right Reverend Richard Harris, told BBC radio.
"The Christian church in particular has a mandate to work for reconciliation," he said.
PEDOPHILIA IS GOOD FOR CHILDREN
A new book published by Haworth Press features multiple Ph.D. "experts" claiming that sex with children "can benefit" boys and even serve a "mentoring function."
"Same-Sex Desire and Love in Greco-Roman Antiquity and in the Classical Tradition of the West" features "scholarly" treatises by a raft of mostly-PhD academics, all praising earlier civilizations – particularly Greece and Rome – for the role homosexuality played in those ancient cultures.
In the chapter titled "Pederasty: An Integration of Cross-Cultural, Cross-Species, and Empirical Data," Bruce Rind Ph.D. lauds the rampant child molestation that reportedly occurred in those societies, at one point citing evolution as supporting a pro-pedophilia worldview.
I wonder where Dr. Bruce Rind got his Ph.D.?
Hat tip to New Oxford Review.
His study is online at Temple University's website.
ST. JANUARIUS' BLOOD HAS LIQUIFIED YET AGAIN
There is a scientific explanation given in the article as well. This miracle may be nothing more than a natural phenomenon, though I've never heard of "thixotropic".
TUCSON DIOCESE BANKRUPTCY FILING AND SEXUAL ABUSE CASES
resolved amicably and in record time according to the Associated Press.
AND THE POINT IS...?
Following a very brief report about John Paul II's last hours, which essentially says nothing, there is the following statement offered in this UPI story:
George Weigel, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center in Washington and a papal biographer, said the Vatican's report on John Paul II should be construed as an effort to clarify the sequence of events.
"It is important to have that on the record before the mythmakers take over," he told the New York Times.
Seems to boil down to nothing more than a covert and snide denial of Yallop's book, IN GOD'S NAME. There is no similarity between the death of John Paul I and John Paul II.
John Paul II had been in failing health for years. The decline of the last few months of his life was obvious to everyone. Additionally, the reports to the press in the days leading up to his death made it clear to the world that he was dying. In contrast, John Paul I had been proclaimed to be in excellent health by his medical doctor who had just done a physical.
There is no evidence that John Paul II had planned to make any major changes during the last days of his life. In contrast the word had gotten out that John Paul I intended to make sweeping changes in the Curia on the following day as a result of what he had learned about the Vatican Bank Scandal. Those changes never took place because he died suddenly.
There were people with John Paul II when he died. John Paul I died alone.
There was an immediate embalming of John Paul I, done prior to the possibility of an autopsy, in spite of the fact that the cause of death is unknown and purely speculative on the part of everyone including his doctor. In contrast, John Paul II was not embalmed.
George Weigel's statement does nothing more than to once again bring our attention to the controversy surrounding the death of John Paul I, and cast a vague hint of doubt over the statements surrounding the death of John Paul II that can be read between the lines.
YOUR ACLU AT WORK OR TURNING AMERICA INTO A THIRD WORLD
The lack of public funding for religiously sponsored schools in the United States is an injustice and an "incredible anomaly" in the world, a Vatican education official said Sept. 14.
Archbishop J. Michael Miller, secretary of the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, said Europeans "are absolutely amazed at the situation in the United States," one of the few nations in the world that provides little or no public funding for the education of children in religiously run schools. That policy puts the United States "in the company of Mexico, North Korea, China and Cuba," he said.
Hat tip to Spirit Daily.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
Deacon Joseph Levine, former Superior General of the suppressed homosexual
cult known as the Society of St. John, has recently been assigned to a
parish. Monsignor John T. Conway of the Mother of Divine Mercy Parish in
King-of-Prussia, Pennsylvania, made this announcement in his August 21,
2005 bulletin (http://www.mdpparish.com/parishlife/news.htm):
"I am pleased to tell you that Rev. Mr. Joseph Levine has been assigned to
Mother of Divine Providence Parish for his Sunday Diaconate Placement during
the 2005-06 Academic Year. Deacon Levine's home diocese is Scranton. He is
studying for the diocesan priesthood at Saint Charles Borromeo Seminary.
Deacon Levine will preach at Sunday Masses and assist with the
administration of the Sacraments. His assignment will begin on the weekend
of September 3rd and 4th. We warmly welcome him to our staff."
The parishioners of this parish must be warned about Deacon Levine. As
familiar with the Society of St. John scandal already know, Deacon Levine
became the Superior General of the SSJ after Carlos
Urrutigoity, the former Superior General and founder of the SSJ, was exposed
as a homosexual predator priest. While I have no evidence that Deacon
Levine was personally involved in the homosexual molestation of boys or
young men, Deacon Levine actively sought to protect those in the SSJ who
engaged in these perverse deeds. In fact, upon his election to the office
of Superior General, Deacon Levine publicly praised Urrutigoity in the SSJ's
May 2002 Epistle. Deacon Levine gave this public endorsement of his
predecessor despite his having been informed, as
early as August 19, 2001, that Urrutigoity had a habit of sleeping with
students from St. Gregory's Academy in Elmhurst, Pennsylvania. On that day
Mr. Alan Hicks, the founder and headmaster of St. Gregory's Academy,
personally informed both Deacon Levine and me that Urrutigoity was the
object of a possible lawsuit for his "sleeping sickness." Moreover, Deacon
Levine was fully aware by May 2002 that there was abundant and weighty
evidence, including affidavits, establishing Urrutigoity's habit of sleeping
in the same bed with boys and young men. (See
It was Deacon Levine's position, however, which he personally expressed to
me, that Urrutigoity was like St. Ignatius of Loyola insofar as he operates
on a plane "above the realm of human reason and prudence." As a result of
this conviction, Deacon Levine turned a blind eye to the overwhelming
evidence of Urrutigoity's gross immorality. Indeed, by that time I had made
public the fact that Urrutigoity had been formally accused of homosexual
molestation by three different people from three different places: first,
by Rev. Andres Morello, the former rector of the SSPX seminary in La Reja,
Argentina, where Urrutigoity was a seminarian; second, by Bishop Fellay on
behalf of a young seminarian who had left with Urrutigoity when he was
expelled by Bishop Williamson from the SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota,
where Urrutigoity was a professor; and third, by a graduate of St. Gregory's
Academy where Urrutigoity was a chaplain. This last accusation was made by
John Doe and his parents in a federal lawsuit that was recently settled at
the cost of $450,550. In fact, the Scranton Times has reported that Bishop
Joseph Martino intends to apologize to John Doe for the harm he suffered at
the hands of Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey, another SSJ predator priest.
Moreover, in a written statement provided to the Scranton Times, Bishop
Martino all but admitted the guilt of Urrutigoity and Ensey: "In view of
the serious claims made by the young person and in light of the statements
by the witnesses who supported his claim, it was determined that the just
decision was to reach a settlement that will assist the victim and his
family as they attempt to heal."
Yet Deacon Levine not only publicly praised Urrutigoity for his leadership,
but he also credited Urrutigoity with transforming the members of the SSJ
into a "disciplined religious community." Deacon Levine thereby sought to
continue to portray the SSJ as Benedictine, a fraud initiated by Urrutigoity
and perpetuated by Deacon Levine. Although the SSJ was nothing more than a
group of diocesan priests with permission to live together, nevertheless the
SSJ literature published under Deacon Levine's reign continued this fraud to
the detriment of many unsuspecting Catholic donors.
In the same May 2002 Epistle, and throughout his term as Superior General,
Deacon Levine also continued to deceive Catholic donors concerning the
status of the Catholic city the SSJ had proposed to build. Although it was
abundantly clear by this time that there was no hope of building on the
Shohola property--in fact, the SSJ was secretly trying to sell the
property--nevertheless Deacon Levine exhorted his supporters to continue to
donate more money to a project he knew was dead. The Scranton Times has
recently reported that the Shohola property was sold to repay the 2.6
million dollar loan which the Diocese made to the SSJ to cover their
Furthermore, Deacon Levine used his office as Superior General to defend the
sexual predator priests of the SSJ and to attack me personally for my
efforts to expose their crimes. In a six-page fundraising letter date June
19, 2002, which was sent to the tens of thousands of Catholics on the SSJ's
mailing list, Deacon Levine repeatedly lied in an effort to protect the SSJ
and defame me. Rather than list the libelous statements made by Deacon
Levine (for which he has been named in a defamation lawsuit), I would
encourage you to read my response to his defamatory remarks which can be
found on the College of St. Justin Martyr web site at
http://www.saintjustinmartyr.org/news/ResponseToDeaconLevine.html. You will
see there why it is absolutely imperative that this man never be permitted
work in a parish or ever be ordained a priest.
Finally, it should be noted that Deacon Levine was not willing to leave the
SSJ until it was made clear to him that he could not be ordained a priest
while remaining with them. There is no reason to believe, then, that Deacon
Levine would not seek to rejoin the SSJ, or some other cult-like group, once
he has been ordained. As many of you know, the SSJ is desperately seeking to
re-establish itself in Paraguay, and those like Deacon Levine, who have a
cultist devotion to the SSJ, are very likely to return to the SSJ if the SSJ
is permitted to resurface outside of the Diocese of Scranton.
Please forward this email to anyone you know who attends mass at the Mother
of Divine Mercy Parish in King-of-Prussia, Pennsylvania. Please also
contact Bishop Joseph Martino who is ultimately responsible for allowing
Deacon Levine to be placed in a parish. Bishop Martino's address is 300
Wyoming Avenue, Scranton, PA 18503. His telephone number at the Chancery is
(570) 207-2238, or you can fax him at (570) 207-2236. Even if you are
unable to speak directly with Bishop Martino, please register your concern
with whomever you do speak.
Thank you for your help in this extremely urgent matter.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
RICHARD JOHN NEUHAUS ON ISLAM
“Jews, Muslims, Christians—we are all children of Abraham and people of the Book.” Not so, says the French historian Alain Besançon, writing in Commentary. “What Kind of Religion is Islam?” is a hard-hitting critique of what Besançon views as a false ecumenism eager to find commonalities with Islam that do not exist. Not incidentally, this misguided effort disadvantages Judaism since it is claimed, for instance, that Islam honors Jesus and Mary while Judaism does not. But the Jesus/Issa honored in the Koran as a messenger of Allah is not the Jesus whom Christians worship, writes Besançon. He is supposedly born of Mariam, the sister of Aaron, and is neither a redeemer nor a mediator between God and man. And, of course, he does not die on the cross, since a double is substituted for him. Moreover, Allah is not the God of Abraham who reveals himself through historical events, but a distant and impersonal power that makes everything happen immediately; not through the nature and history of his own creation but according to his omnipotent whim. Thus the determinism and fatalism at the heart of Islamic religion. “These then,” writes Besançon, “are some of the elements that conduce to misunderstanding when Christians and Jews approach Islam. Such outsiders may well be struck by the religious zeal of the Muslim toward a God whom they recognize as being also their God. But this God is in fact separate and distinct, and so is the relation between Him and the believing Muslim. Christians are accustomed to distinguish the worship of false gods—that is, idolatry—from the worship of the true God. To treat Islam suitably, it becomes necessary to forge a new concept altogether, and one that is difficult to grasp—namely, an idolatry of the God of Israel. To put it another way, Islam may be thought of as the natural religion of the revealed God.” The concept is indeed difficult to grasp and not, I think, entirely convincing. Yet Besançon’s critique is a necessary caution against the kind of interreligious dialogue that slides too easily into wishful thinking. “The Qur’an,” he writes, “is neither a preparation for biblical religion nor a retroactive endorsement of it. In approaching Muslims, self-respecting Christians and others would do better to rely on what remains within Islam of natural religion—and of religious virtue—and to take into account the common humanity that Muslims share with all people everywhere.” Christians seeking dialogue with Muslims have to begin somewhere, and Besançon’s bare minimum is one starting point. Despite the fundamental differences that he underscores, however, other Christians and Muslims may, with eyes wide open to the difficulties, try to tease out greater religious commonalities. This is one of the great tasks of this century, and the alternative to pursuing it may be open-ended and unlimited warfare between Islam and the infidels, meaning chiefly Christians and Jews.