Saturday, January 28, 2006


It's January 28.

The average temperature range in Akron, Ohio, in January is a high of 32 deg. and a low of 16 deg.

It was 55 deg. on our new garage thermometer at 2:15 p.m.

The Yahoo weather forecast for today is a low of 40 deg. and a high of 53 deg.

The shrubs by the house are sprouting new growth.

The spring flowers are an inch high.

But it's January 28. Sometimes in January and February we have a temperature here in the minus numbers.

I'm not complaining, exactly, but I do miss the snow.


Not long ago I blogged a Jewish website dedicated to putting an end to Christmas.

In the latest issue of "Catalyst" is a story of comedian Jackie Mason and attorney Raoul Felder who have formed an organization called Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation.

In the article they explain their position:

We cannot see how our beliefs are jeopardized by someone else celebrating his beliefs--particularly if the celebrations are those consisting, at least in part, of love, family values, spirituality and giving thought to the less fortunate.

We would have a very fragile religion if 2000 years of our culture and beliefs were threatened by Bing Crosby singing "I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas"--incidentally written by a Jew, Irving Berlin....

Also, if the Christians are discouraged from buying Christmas presents, some thought must be given to the question, "Who is selling the presents to the Christians?"...

It is significant that the ACLU's position is that pornography is protected under the Constitution, while the Christmas tree is not. So, if this bunch were successful, the only way you could see a Christmas tree is if you visit a porn shop that had one.

On their website you can read Don Feder's comment:

Jews Against Anti-Christian Defamation was organized because we recognize that Christians are the last remaining obstacle to the moral deconstruction of America, because attacks on Christians are motivated by hatred for the values they espouse.

Another page in the website spells out in more detail the position this organization is taking. A small sample:

Lastly, regarding the filibuster of Bush judges, Senator Frist has it right: By blocking votes on pro-life nominees, Senate Democrats have established their own religious test for public office, in direct contravention of the First Amendment. In effect, they are saying that if you’re a Catholic, an evangelical or an Orthodox Jew who takes his religion seriously, you should automatically be disqualified from serving in the judiciary. But, then, shouldn’t these individuals also be barred from serving in Congress or holding any elective office? Indeed, shouldn’t they be excluded from all rights of citizenship, including voting? That would seem to be the logical extension of the left’s pro-abortion litmus test.

If Benedict is making common ground with Jews like these two, he has my enthusiastic support.

Thanks, guys.

Friday, January 27, 2006


at abortion providers on holiday. (Pass the margaritas! Keep the Alka-Seltzer handy.)


Amy has the story blogged, and Old Zhou has added another report. I'd say it boggles the mind, but it really no longer does. Of course the Franciscan says he's innocent.


Catholic Culture reports:

The Albuquerque-based Center for Action and Contemplation, founded by the nationally known writer and lecturer Fr. Richard Rohr, has begun an eight-week discussion series, "Exploring Developments in the Church's Tradition on Homosexuality." The series is offered by the Bridge Building Community at the center; the group began about a year ago under the inspiration of New Ways Ministry leaders Jeannine Gramick and Robert Nugent. The Bridge Building Community comes together periodically "to discuss a variety of topics, from the Scripture and its reference to homosexuality, to practical aspects of living as gays and lesbians."

The Center for Action and Contemplation is housed on the property of Holy Family Parish, whose pastor is Fr. Jack Robinson. Fr. Robinson is scheduled to hold a retreat at the center in late June (1997) which is titled "Coming Out, Coming Home: A Place in the Church for Lesbians and Gays." Clearly, the CAC is reaching out to the homosexual community. The quality of that outreach — the depth of its compassion and Christian charity — must be measured against its fidelity to the truth. To that end, it is valuable to examine some of the teachings Fr. Rohr has given to men, many of them homosexual, in the past.

Fr. Rohr spoke at the March, 1997 New Ways Ministry Symposium in Pittsburgh (see the Wanderer's coverage of the symposium, March 20th and March 27th, 1997 issues), delivering a talk titled, "The Men's Movement: Homoeroticism and Homophobia." His tone was intimate, and at times almost tender, as he described his years of work in the "men's movement," providing retreats and spiritual direction.

Continue reading...

Under the heading "Magicians and Lovers" Fr. Rohr writes:

Fr. Rohr then went on to discuss personality archetypes. Rohr has been one of the loading proponents of the enneagram, a system of character assessment, and the following section of his talk revealed another system of personality typing which Rohr and his audience clearly found fascinating. The typologies have became an occult language in which hidden, secret ideas may nonetheless find expression: "As you know . . . we've been given, by Robert Moore and others, [archetypes] for the male, and they still seem good to me, as much as I've worked with them: King, Lover, Warrior, Magician. [These archetypes] are now being worked with by gay men to see what exactly might be the shape of those same archetypes [for the homosexual]. Are they different archetypes, or do they simply have a different character? This is merely in the early stages. I just came from the Franciscan House in Chicago, where our young friars are studying, and one of them there is doing research on this. I asked if I could share some of what he's come to, because it does almost perfectly match my own experience.

"What was first said was that gay men were almost always Lover archetypes, or maybe Magician archetypes.


Catholic World News reports:

Rome, Jan. 27 (CWNews.com) - Cardinal Renato Martino (bio - news), the president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace, left Rome today for Davos, Switzerland, where he will represent the Holy See at the world economic forum discussions.

Continue reading...


Zenit has a short article about Mozart which acknowledges his involvement with the Masonic Lodge and his Masonic opera, but spends the greater effort in portraying Mozart's Catholic side. The article ignores the sticky fact that membership in the Lodge excommunicates a Catholic. Can Mozart's Catholicism be rehabilitated in the face of the excommunication?


Given that this word formed a major part of the recent encyclical, it seems appropriate to explore it for contemporary meaning. What exactly is eros?

Websters Unabridged offers:

1. the ancient Greek god of love, identified by the Romans with Cupid.
2. a representative of this god.
3. a winged figure of a child representing love or the power of love.
4. physical love; sexual desire.
5. an asteroid that approaches to within 14 million miles of the earth every 44 years.
6. a. the libido, b. instincts for self-preservation collectively.

I think it would be safe to say that Benedict didn't have No. 5 in mind.

Google offers this image of the Greek god Eros, but I think we get somewhat closer to the concept Benedict was using with this picture. It's one of the more chaste renditions of eros that I was able to find. Eros is sexual. A website which offers the Old Testament in pictures illustrates the Song of Songs this way.

At the website of The Regular Grand Lodge of Italy, Fabio Venzi, Most Worshipful Grand Master, gave a talk in Rome on July 3, 2004, which is reproduced at the website. A portion of it concerns eros. Speaking of his study of the philosophy of Freemasonry, he writes:

...one can infer that the Florentine Neo-Platonism and its Anglo-Saxon continuation, constituted by the Cambridge Neo-Platonists, represent a philosophical doctrine in which the Freemason's thought finds important correspondences and that most of all does not contrast with the various religious expressions, particularly with the Christian one, allowing to overcome and settle the centuries-old arguments between Catholic Church and Masonry. Exactly on this level, what we must avoid is to simplistically unite thinkers as Pico della Mirandola or Marsilio Ficino to others, as Giordano Bruno. One can verify the antithesis especially with regard to the doctrine of the Eros, nucleus of Neo-Platonic thought. The platonic theory of love, that the Florence Academy tried to merge with Christianity, is in fact to be twisted by Giordano Bruno, who sees in Eros the proof of the titanic force of the man. It is Eros that equips the man with that "heroic fury" which enables him to have a vision of the infinite Universe and to break the snares that tie him to religion. So, if Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino never look for the conflict with the Christian theology, trying to have the platonic concepts coexist with Christian theology, in Bruno, on the contrary, the platonic doctrine of Eros will become a real weapon against the Christian doctrine. The Italian Neo-Platonists, as opposed to Bruno, set themselves as the guardians of a tradition that they absolutely do not want to demolish, but to save.


So we arrive at the third and last phase, maybe the most delicate, that concerns the esoteric aspects of our way as Freemasons. It is obvious that going near the esoteric part implies that the Freemason has completed a whole series of preparatory studies on the subject, which can lead to an adequate comprehension of it. We sometimes speak about mysticism, ermeticism and esotericism, with very little knowledge of the facts, and this inevitably causes confusion and misunderstandings.
Running after the "Holy Grail" as an anachronistic templarism and looking for improbable Masonic traces in the "Rolls of the Dead Sea" does not really help in recognizing to Freemasonry the credibility and dignity that the body itself is entitled to have for history and tradition.

Was Benedict's encyclical an answer to Fabio Venzi? He was certainly speaking of the "credibility and dignity" of the body.

Pico della Mirandola and Marsilio Ficino whom Venzi mentions were 15th century philosophers who admired Plato. Fiscino was a priest. He translated Plato, Pythagoras, and Iamblichus among others, and wrote an "Introduction to the Philosophy of Plato". He is credited with introducing Platonic philosophy to Europe. Mirandola, a student of Ficino, believed in the Kabbala and interwove its teachings with his own philosophy.

Moshe Idel has written a book on the Kabbalah and Eros. So has Mark Jay Mirsky who also links Dante with the Kabbalah and Eros in the title.

At the website of the Jewish Community Center of San Francisco Professor Moshe Idel and Rabbi Lawrence Kushner presented a talk titled "Kabbalah and Eros: Eroticism & Erotic Love in Kabbalah."

Kabbalah is not limited to the Jewish community. It is used extensively in Freemasonry and in Gnosticism. Albert Pike speaks of it in MORALS AND DOGMA. He speaks of Dante as well:

Commentaries and studies have been multiplied upon the DIVINE COMEDY, the work of Dante, and yet no one, so far as we know, has pointed out its especial character. The work of the great Ghibellin is a declaration of war against the Papacy, by bold revelations of the Mysteries. The Epic of Dante is Johannite and Gnostic, an audacious application, like that of the Apocalypse, of the figures and numbers of the Kabalah to the Christian dogmas, and a secret negation of every thing absolute in these dogmas. His journey through the supernatural worlds is accomplished like the initiation into the Mysteries of Eleusis and Thebes. (p. 822)

Moving to the more esoteric and so-called "irregular" side of Freemasonry, one finds Theosophist H. P. Blavatsky speaking of eros in THE SECRET DOCTRINE:

Hence arose the necessity of making of the "Dragon of Wisdom," the Serpent of Genesis: of the conscious god who needed a body to clothe his two subjective divinity, Satan. But the "innumerable incarnations of Spirit," and "the ceaseless pulse and current of desire" refer, the first one, to our doctrine of Karmic and cyclic rebirths, the second--to Eros, not the later god of material, physiological love, but to the divine desire in the gods, as well as in all nature, to create and give life to Beings. (Book II, p. 234)

At the website of the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn, in an article titled "The Secret of Eurasia: The Key to Hidden History and World Events", Mehmet Sabeheddin describes mystical anarchism, indicating that it included an element of eros as opposed to agape:

They grounded this ideal in their notion of the “mystical person,” the soul or the psyche, which seeks union with others and recognizes itself as a microcosm of the macrocosm, as distinct from the “empirical person,” the I or the ego, which asserts itself apart from or against others. Evoking and developing this “mystical person” would make feasible a “new organic society” united by invisible inner ties of love (eros, not agape), “mystical experience,” and sacrifice – the very opposite of liberal society, based on the social contract and mutual self-interest and characterized by rational discourse.

Hermeticism is the new spirituality, drawn from the old Gnostic heresy. It is the religion of those who want only spirituality with no limiting dogma. There is a great deal of it on the web. In fact it could almost be called the religion of cyberspace. With no need of doctrine or dogma, with the mystical experience providing everything that is required, a website is as good a church as any other.

One of these spiritual websites offers an essay titled "Eros and the Mystery of the Inner Process" that discusses the Kabbalah and Eros along with tarot cards. In the words of the webmaster, "The Greek mysteries relate that at the very beginning of creation, only chaos existed, and from chaos was born Eros."

Tarot expert Christine Payne-Towler offers the following observation on a change in the major arcana of a popular tarot deck:

Etteilla was drawing from a Hermetic book, The Poimandres, a Greek treatise on the creation of the world and the fall of humanity into Eros. Essentially it's a Greek version of the Genesis story, but with differing names and an altered ordering of events.

In the same vein the Journal of the Western Mystery Tradition, Vol. 1, No. 8 presents an article "The Coming of Elias Artist: Chains of Transmission: Forge of Tubalcain, Phoenix of the Nephilim". The article describes Schambala:

This fabled Centre of the Brotherhood of Light, most usually placed in Central Asia, is often portrayed as a sobernost, a free community of love (eros) and faith, the Mystical Person, the “host of sunbearers who will erect a hundred story house of fire to match together Abyss and Zenith” : this again refers to alchemy. And the other Russian notion of the staretz, the Old One : symbolising the unseen forces which guide events on earth, the political revolutions reflecting a realignment of the cosmic sphere, in whom the new world is imminent : here are the origins of Illuminism.

A look at the Gnostic side of eros would not be complete without an entry from Rosslyn Chapel. Here "Rosa Templum: The enigmatic arcanum of Rosslyn Chapel and the Bride of Christ" by Barry Dunford related eros to the rose:

It was not accidental that the cult of the Rose (an anagram of Eros) flourished and bloomed in the garden of Provence." She further remarks: "The idiom 'under the sign of the rose' actually meant something specific for the initiated. For them….the secret is the rose - the red rose of the other Mary, the Mary who represents Eros, the passionate bridal aspect of the feminine, which was denied by the established church."

Additionally one cannot have eros and Greek philosophy without including homosexuality. Paul Halsall discusses eros in early Greece in his paper written as a graduate student paper. As Catholics we know too much about eros of this variety from the daily headlines.

Into this cultural milieu Benedict XVI has waded with his encyclical. He has not mentioned any other definition of eros except a Catholic one, but there are other definitions out there, and they are gaining in popularity rapidly as the sale of Dan Brown's book demonstrates. One difference between Benedict and the culture, though, is his inclusion of agape as an essential part of eros. It is the lack of agape in eros that brings about the degradation of sexual love. Incredibly enough both Benedict and Eliphas Levi, father of the Paris occult revival, make the same claim. Levi wrote:

Charity is the mysterious bond which, according to the dream of Greek initiates, must reconcile Eros and Anteros. It is that coping of the door of Solomon's Temple which unites the two pillars Jachin and Boaz; it is the common guarantee between rights and duties, between authority and liberty, between the strong and weak, between the people and the government, man also and woman. (THE HISTORY OF MAGIC, Translated by A. E. Waite, p. 152)

It almost sounds like the outline for Deus Caritas Est.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Thursday, January 26, 2006


Spokane Bishop William S. Skylstad, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, said that the first encyclical of Pope Benedict XVI is “evidence of both his great scholarship and his profound spiritual insight.”

Bishop Skylstad called the encyclical, released today and titled “Deus Caritas Est” (“God Is Love”), “a profound meditation on the meaning of Christian love and the place of charity in the life of the Church.”

Continue reading...

Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.


Fr. Thomas Williams of Rome's Regina Apostolorum University offers a perceptive evaluation in this story linked at Spirit Daily.

He too notes that Benedict has issued a surprise, and not the encyclical expected from a defender of doctrine. He quotes Benedict's words, "love...is so tarnished, so spoiled and so abused, that one is almost afraid to pronounce it" which are a summation of the entire text. Benedict is trying to rescue an essential Christian concept from the degredation the world has heaped upon it.


for Reuters in this NOR linked story.

The man on the left is saying the same thing as Fr. Fessio, the man on the right, who is quoted in the New York Times article linked below. Specifically, that the doctrinal watchdog everyone thought had been elected to the papacy has become a gentle dove, has donned a new suit of clothes, has reinvented himself.

When the man on the left and the man on the right both say the same thing, what can the Catholic in the pew think? Especially when these "It is as it was" flip-flops are becoming more common.

Shall we all sit back and wait to see what more corrections, revisions, and emendations are coming out of Rome? Benedict, are you done yet?


Once again Rome has issued another flip-flop, this time leaving Fr. Fessio in the lurch according to an article linked at NOR:

ROMA, January 26, 2006 – A few hours after the previous article on Benedict XVI and Islam was published online by www.chiesa, the contrasting interpretations over the pope’s thought were smoothed out.

The disagreement hinged upon whether or not Islam can be reformed, and consequently upon the relationship between Islam and modernity.

The American Jesuit Joseph Fessio – who participated, together with other former students of Joseph Ratzinger, in a meeting with the pope for the purpose of studying the concept of God in Islam – had said in a radio interview on January 5 that, at the meeting, the pope had asserted that Islam and modernity cannot be reconciled.

But other participants at the meeting – Jesuit Islamic studies scholar Christian W. Troll, from Germany, and Samir Khalil Samir, an Egyptian – gave a different version of the pope’s thought. According to their testimony, Benedict XVI had judged the reconciliation of Islam and modernity as very difficult, but not impossible.

Continue reading...

Sort of like the "It is as it was" controversy.

One gets the sense that the journalists are standing on shifting sand. Could that be the reason there are few comments on the encyclical this morning?

There is one comment on it linked at NOR. Ian Fisher's take on it in the New York Times is similar to mine. He quotes Fr. Fessio. I hope this time Fr. Fessio won't have to retract his statements!

Wednesday, January 25, 2006


People who know me have sometimes heard me say that to them at a time when things were going well. It was from Dr. James Dobson that I learned the danger of praise. The moment it comes our way we get very sure of ourselves, and that pride is too often the cause of our own future foolishness. Always we must walk humbly with our God and with our fellow man. The moral test of success in any of our endeavors is truly a scary ordeal.

Some wise words came my way in email yesterday, and I wanted to pass them along. They are the words of St. Macarius (+1860):

"How harmful is the praise of man! Even though a person may have done something worthy of praise, when he enjoys the sound of praise, he is already deprived of future glory --- according to the teachings of the Holy Fathers."

Are there any among us bloggers who don't "enjoy the sound of praise"? If there are, this blogger is not among them. Welcoming rejection is a state of mind I expect to find among the living saints of this world and not the average Catholic spending his time on churchy things. And so I've put those words of St. Macarius up there for anyone else who needs to read them as much as I do.


Am I seeing something new and innovative here? Are the newly appointed bishops really not part of the "old boy" network we just assume is the road to a diocese?

This new bishop is obviously smart, and looks to be a scholar. I'm counting on that being an indication that he will be interested in thinking with the mind of the Church...the whole Church, starting back at Pentecost, and not at Vatican II.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - What do you say to Pope Benedict XVI's right-hand man in the United States when he surprises you with a promotion?

Bishop Gorman High School graduate Alexander Sample's first response was ''Oh, no.'' He followed that up with ''I'm too young.''
Since that mid-December phone call from former Papal Nuncio Archbishop Gabriel Montalvo, the 45-year-old priest has learned that his reaction was more on target than he realized. When Sample is ordained today as the 12th bishop of the Diocese of Marquette in Michigan, he will be the youngest Roman Catholic bishop in the United States.

''I was quite stunned when I got that phone call,'' said Sample, who attended St. Ann Catholic School in Las Vegas before going to Bishop Gorman. ''You don't prepare yourself for a phone call like that.''

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For those who may not be aware, Google’s company motto is “Don’t Be Evil.” As more than one commentator has pointed out, the sentiment is laudable, even if their conception of evil is not entirely clear.

Take a very specific example. A few months ago, after having heard a lot about it, I signed my Bridegroom Press website and my blog into Google's AdSense program. Unfortunately, while the blog was accepted, Bridegroom Press was rejected. It contained objectionable content, according to Google. I found this rather amusing.

You see, the Bridegroom Press site contains only two things: articles (such as the one you are reading now) and Catholic books and CDs. The only difference between the blog site and the Bridegroom Press site is the presence of the books and CDs. The articles are identical: the two sites mirror each other in article content.

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Papa Ratzi Post over at NOR has linked this story on the Pope's bombshell, by Washington Times correspondent Diana West, who asks why the press is afraid to touch it.


Preliminary evaluation of Part I...

It's readable!

It's brilliant!

It's Roman Catholic!

It addresses the sexual abuse scandal like a dart hitting the bullseye. I wonder why the Associated Press found it non-controversial? I would think that a certain element in our culture would be screaming bloody murder about now. But then, maybe they don't get it.

Given its content, I'm also wondering who came up with the 30 lines novelty? I can't believe Benedict would object to being quoted. Surely he knows what he's got here.

Maybe I've done a lot of worrying over it for nothing, but I haven't read Part II yet so I'm withholding an opinion on the whole thing for the present.

(I wonder why no one caught that little error in section eleven, paragraph two. It shouldn't have gotten past the proofreaders. I think someone was dozing on the job.)


This seems to be the Encyclical story running for the present. It's not off to a stellar start given that it claims the encyclical runs 71 pages, while my printout of it is 25 pages long including the footnotes. Maybe Latin is more wordy?


is up at the Vatican website.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006


There's a good article and short interview at the Renew America website by Brian Mershon about the Pope's call to view Vatican II as pastoral and consistent with Tradition, and Bishop Bruskewitz's successful efforts to heed that call, leading to his full seminary. The interview also includes Bishop Alvaro Corrada of Tyler, Texas, another defender of the Traditional faith.

You can tell Mershon has his finger on the contemporary pulse by this passage:

He [Cdl. Ratzinger] continued: "The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a merely pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of superdogma which takes away the importance of all the rest."

Indeed, these battles cited by the Pope from St. Basil after the Council of Nicaea are still taking place in the Church in the West, and in particular, in the United States. Every day in news accounts from around the globe, cardinal seems to be pitted against cardinal, bishop against bishop, priest against priest. Much of this, especially at the clerical level, is not done with direct confrontation, but if a Catholic reads the Catholic news regularly, he can easily detect the contradictory doctrines taught in the U.S. Church and throughout the world, and can decipher "the signs of the times" in 2006 as Gaudium et Spes encouraged.

Only, today's "signs" are not exactly what the council fathers had in mind in the 1960s.


The Independent reports on yet another anti-Catholic play being staged at the National Theatre. This one focuses on St. Paul, and the large impact he had on Christianity, and thus on the development of Western civilization. According to the review:

His words have been used to justify, among other things, slavery, homophobia, the subjugation of women (although many modern scholars argue that he championed the cause of women church leaders) and oddly - considering he was Jewish - anti-semitism.

In fact the article refers to St. Paul as the "father of anti-semitism."

Breton's play suggests:

*** "...the apostle's famous conversion on the road to Damascus was a con-trick perpetrated by Jesus who had not died on the cross after all."

*** The story of the Damascene conversion [of St. Paul], which scientists have recently suggested could have been triggered by an epileptic fit, is never mentioned in Paul's own writings.

*** ...in many ways Paul actually played a greater role in shaping Christianity than Jesus did. Without Paul, the early church would probably have remained nothing more than another Jewish sect.

*** What was central to his teachings, as far as the shaping of Western culture is concerned, was Paul's rejection of the idea that a set of religious rituals and rules offered the path to salvation.

Breton, however, would like us to believe he likes St. Paul. According to the review:

Breton wants his audience to be as moved as he clearly is. "Paul invented and defined the concept of love." the dramatist says. "He was a moral genius."


At Zenit. Last paragraph:

I must confess that the mere idea of a God eternally depriving an innocent creature of his vision simply because another person has sinned, or because of an accidental miscarriage, makes me shudder … and I am sure would make any unbeliever happy to stay away from the Christian faith. If hell consists essentially in the deprivation of God, limbo is hell!

My heart is with him. My head tells me he is wading into theologically contradictory territory.

The Church is wrong now? The Church was wrong then?

Deja Vu.



Is I-Newswire some sort of service that provides web exposure for a fee?

In any case, they have a press release you might want to take a look at if you have an interest in the development of gnosticism.

It seems that a movie has been made which claims that according to the Gospel of Philip, the "Fire Baptism" is really the use of canabis. They're also citing the Early Church Fathers to make their case. Movie name "The Fire Baptism and the Lost Sacraments." I guess this one will coordinate with TDVC movie or something.


NEW YORK -- A Roman Catholic church in Manhattan has sued the Travelers Casualty and Surety Co. charging breach of contract, claiming the insurance carrier has improperly refused to pay $1.22 million stolen by a priest.

The Church of St. John the Martyr, on East 71st Street, says in court papers the losses were due to thefts by Monsignor John Woolsey. After the losses were discovered, Woolsey was forced to resign as pastor and a Manhattan grand jury indicted him.

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Bishops may wag their fingers and threaten excommunication, but Catholic women called to ordination feel their time has come. In a gentle protest action at the U.S. bishops’ meeting in Washington Nov. 14, members of Women’s Ordination Conference delivered a large bouquet of roses to the bishops, with postcards bearing the names of 80 American women interested in ordination and the name of each one’s bishop. The roses are a symbol of St. Thérèse of Lisieux, whose feast day it was, who also felt called to priesthood, said participants.

These women say they don’t want to abolish the global church; they simply want to reform it. Some will continue to wait for official Vatican approval of women priests, while they support those seeking ordination now through emerging candidate formation programs such as the German-based Weiheämter für Frauen and its North American counterpart, Roman Catholic Womenpriests. And they’re organizing alternative ordinations, such as the so-called “floating ordinations,” which they call “illicit but valid,” held in 2002 on the Danube River between Germany and Austria, and last summer on the St. Lawrence Seaway in Canada. Those so ordained now minister in a variety of contexts, some informal and others quite traditional, save for lack of approval by church authorities.

Continue reading...

According to the article, Celine Goessl, a Sister of Mercy of the Holy Cross, attended the inaugural meeting of Women's Ordination Conference in 1975. She thought ordination was imminent back then, but indicates that today it is probably a good thing it wasn't "because we have grown over the years and matured. We see a renewed concept of what a priestly servanthood really means". Servanthood. It usually means you are not clamoring for your own way. However, since she is on the board of Women's Ordination Conference, I think she may have a tad more to learn about it.

Then there is Regina Nicolosi of Red Wing, Minnesota, wife of an oradined deacon in the St. Paul Minneapolis archdiocese, who was ordained a deacon of the Diocese of Seaway on a ship in the St. Lawrence. She and her husband met with Archbishop Harry Flynn last October to see if they could convince him not to excommunicate her. Her ministry is "the nursing home where she is a chaplain and conducts communion services" which she refers to as "her small parish." Why does some priest allow her to play with the Eucharist? Or is her deacon husband responsible for that? Perhaps after she completes her plans to be ordained in Switzerland next summer, the culprit will have to stop.

I loved this line from the article: "...we identify ourselves as women priests. Not to further the divide between cleric and lay, but to bring people together." Is mental incapacity a prerequisite for women's ordination?

Whether it is or not, Dagmar Celeste seems to have caught it. Dagmar is homegrown Ohio. Former first lady. She was ordained on the European floating church in 2002. She wants us to know that her "primary ministry is promoting peacemaking..." Just imagine the war if we put her and her ilk in charge of international peace! She has been excommunicated by the Vatican, but she still attends Mass though "does not regularly receive Communion unless, as is often the case, a lay person chooses to share the host with her." Actually, sharing a host is not a big deal. Sharing the Eucharist, on the other hand...but that's where EMs take us unfortunately.

Denice Donato, ordained in 2003 in Rochester, N.Y. by a bishop of the Ecumenical Catholic Church and serving at Spiritus Christi, greeted the newly ordained at breakfast last summer after the ordinations in the Seaway Diocese. She had a message for the new "priests"..."Now, go out and live it. Out there are people who are hungry for what the church has to offer." Too bad that when these women are finished with the hungry, they are still hungry.

Donato's call to priesthood came while she attended an Ignatian retreat in 1987. Somehow I doubt it was Ignatius she was listening to. Perhaps he has an impersonator. In 1987, while she was working on the staff of Corpus Christi Parish in Rochester, she wrote to Bishop Matthew Clark to request ordination. She says his response was "warm and inviting" but he told her "he could not do that." It might have had the required impact if it had icicles hanging off of it, but apparently she took it as encouragement.

Today she is a priest at Spiritus Christi, ordained by Bishop Peter Hickman of the Ecumenical Catholic diocese, and serving a parish with "250 children in faith formation classes", three weekend Masses plus daily Masses, and two dozen weddings a year, "both gay and straight." I guess that's how her bishop protected her gift of faith.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!


at WDC Media News.

Was that ad over there on the left intentional, or just unfortunate unintentional juxtaposition? Perhaps a little talk with the web editor...


Try as hard as you want, I don't see God telling the Vatican to start charging for copyright. I don't expect that God is hard up for money, but I don't wear a cool hat - so I expect that I don't know. I've been hanging back on this story because it's just too strange to be anything but true, especially the bit about being retroactive for 50 years.

Continue reading...


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Pope Benedict, in the first formal message to the media of his pontificate, said on Tuesday the media cannot be self-serving or profit-driven but must be accountable for the common good and promote human values.

"Authentic communication demands principled courage and resolve," the Pope said in the message for the Roman Catholic Church's annual World Day of Communications set for May 28.

Pope Benedict XVI greets the crowd gathered in St Peter's square during his weekly Angelus prayers in the Vatican January 22, 2006. (REUTERS/Chris Helgren)
"It requires a determination of those working in the media not to wilt under the weight of so much information nor even to be content with partial or provisional truths," the Pope said.

"Instead it necessitates both seeking and transmitting what is the ultimate foundation and meaning of human, personal and social existence," he said.

Continue reading...


Nicole Kidman wants to marry lover Keith Urban in a traditional Catholic ceremony.

The screen beauty - who was brought up as a Catholic but dabbled in Scientology after marrying devotee Tom Cruise - is said to have re-discovered her faith.

She reportedly wants a full church mass when she weds the rock star in March.

Continue reading...

Monday, January 23, 2006


This one gets my bet.

Have they stayed within the 30 line limit? They certainly make very effective use of their quotations!


is displayed for all of the world to see in the North County Gazette's story about the marriage of Michael Schiavo to his live in lover in a Catholic Church.

Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.


or taking a lesson from the bishops.

Not long ago Catholic blogdom was shocked to discover that the Bishops (I think it was the bishops) were planning to enforce copyright laws on recent translations of the Bible.

Benedict has one-upped them. He is imposing copyrights on papal encyclicals of the last 50 years.

That's right, folks, you can't quote encyclicals any longer without worrying about copyrights, and this will apply to all of the encyclicals since Vatican II if The Australian has it correct.

The edict covers Pope Benedict XVI's first encyclical, which is to be issued this week amid huge international interest. The edict is retroactive, covering not only the writings of the present pontiff -- as Pope and as cardinal -- but also those of his predecessors over the past 50 years. It therefore includes anything written by John Paul II, John Paul I, Paul VI and John XXIII.

The decision has been denounced for treating the Pope's words as "saleable merchandise" and endangering the church's mission to "spread the Christian message".

Of course it's very convenient for covering up the obvious flip-flop in doctrine. If no one can quote the encyclicals that contradict each other, the secret can be maintained and business as usual in Rome can proceed undiscovered. What more evidence does anyone need that something is rotten in Rome than to read this article in The Australian?

I guess this is just about the last straw for this Catholic!


Discussion of the gag order over at Open Book.


As we await the encyclical on "eros", the Sydney Morning Herald reports that priests in Ireland have already discovered it:

Bishop Buckley runs the Bethany organisation in Larne, County Antrim, which he set up to provide support to those in love affairs with the clergy.

When the statistics were widened to include homosexuals, Bishop Buckley said up to 40 per cent of the Catholic clergy in Ireland were sexually active. Counselling sessions organised by Bethany have disclosed that several women were unwittingly having sex with the same priest.

Bishop Buckley claimed the church's hierarchy was prepared to turn a blind eye to sexual indiscretion because it was so widespread. "Bishops are caught between Rome and the priests and, of course, some of the bishops are in same position," he said. "From the top down it is hypocritical. We are preaching compulsory celibacy, but very few are living it."

Some days I wonder why I've been faithful to my marriage vows. Being faithful to vows is obviously not the Catholic thing to do. Maybe I'm really a closet Baptist.


The Delphos, Ohio Ministerial Association has a unique approach to ecumenism called the "Pulpit Exchange Sunday." The objective, according to the association's president is "exposure to the different styles used in various churches" so that congregations can "experience the different techniques the pastors use as far as preaching and the other parts of the liturgy" goes. It's all about "unity in the community of faith" or "unity in diversity."

Ministers are expected to benefit from the "opportunity to see a different way of worshiping." Presumably they will be able to incorporate what they learn into their own congregations.

If you attend the 7:30 a.m. Sunday Mass at St. John the Evangelist Catholic Church, you will hear the Rev. Harry Tolhurst of First Presbyterian Church preach. At the 9:15 Mass Pastor Linda Wannemacher of Church Without Doors will deliver the sermon. At 11:30 Rev. Dave Howell of Trinity United Methodist Church will preach.

If anyone wants to hear Rev. (Father?) Randy Giesige of St. John's, they will have to show up at 9 a.m. at St. Paul (denomination unspecified).

Presumably all varieties of heresy will be given a 24-hour pass.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Sunday, January 22, 2006


I thought it was one of the better homilies. Father talked about Ninevah having been located at the place that today we call Mosul, in Iraq. An Assyrian city, in Biblical times it was considered to be a bloody city, and a dangerous place for an Israelite. Thus when Jonah was called to preach to Ninevah, he rejected the call and went in the opposite direction, which meant he needed to cross a body of water. While he was on the boat a storm came up. The crew got together and decided the reason the storm continued unabated was this stranger in their midst named Johah. They tossed him overboard and then the storm subsided. That's how he ended up in the belly of a whale that took him back to the same shore where he had embarked. There the Lord called him again, and you heard the rest of the story at Mass this morning.

The church got really quiet while Father was telling this story. I don't believe I ever remember hearing a homily that described the setting of the Biblical story quite so clearly as this morning's homily did. I wish we could have more like this one. Very interesting!


in this entry, mentioning Dan Brown and his book in the process, and even referring to the "Millennium" TV series of the late 90s. The researching skills of Baigent, Lincoln & Leigh come off looking significantly less than competent.


The Cambrian Episcopal Church of the Grail, located in Idaho, and which appears to be more of an internet church than anything physical, offers the following statement on their website:

It was the decision of the Desposyni (operating through the institution of Freemasonry during the time of the American Revolution) to disestablish the church and to separate the civil powers from it. This was done for two reasons: first, to prevent the repetition on American soil of the religious wars which had devastated Europe for over a century, and second, to end the usurpation of a rogue priesthood in the civil realm. It was a wise decision. The separation of church and state has served the cause of liberty well. The further reforms which are needed now are the separation of family and state and the separation of school and state.

I presume the church they intended to disestablish was the Catholic Church.

A "rogue priesthood"? Is this the priesthood of the Roman Catholic Church they are talking about?

The website indicates they have ambitions to rule--the whole world? They say that "only the Desposyni have the right to the Episcopal Throne".

This is not the only grail church. Are they all united in some fashion?


David Novak of the University of Toronto offers this comparison of Noahide Laws to Natural Law:

Novak went on to discuss the Noahide laws as the most fundamental of all commonalities between Judaism and any gentile nation on earth. The acceptance of the Noahide law is really the acceptance of natural law. It applies to all humankind. Jews can very well see in Christians those human beings outside the people of Israel who have understood these truths of natural law best. In addition, a community that acknowledges the supreme Lordship of God is a community Jews can respect in principle.

Since the Noahide Laws are Jewish, and since at least some Jewish groups (all of them?) do not consider a Trinitarian God to fit into the formula for the worship of one God which is one of the Noahide Laws, what happens to Christians if the Noahide Laws are made the law of the land?

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