Saturday, March 04, 2006
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
This article is in the February issue of "Inside the Vatican" magazine. There's lots of the usual stuff therein.
State of the US Catholic Church at the Beginning of 2006
These items, at the end of the story, got my attention. (Bold added by me):
"Of interest from a cultural viewpoint are the changing voting patterns of American Catholics over the last 40 years. Since the 1960s, there has been a clear shift towards the Republican party and away from the Democratic party by Catholic voters. When the polls differentiate between church-going and non-church-going Catholics, Republicans dominate by a wider margin among the church-going, and Democrats among the non-church-going. I would extrapolate that the more orthodox in belief and regular in church attendance the Catholic American, the more likely he is to vote for Republicans, whose national platform, particularly on non-negotiable matters such as abortion, homosexual marriage, and embryonic experimentation, is more in sync with the Church's teachings."
"Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, Catholics tend to contracept at the same rate as the rest of the world. Hence the number of children per Catholic family is not significantly different from that of non-Catholics. Catholics tend to have fewer abortions than the rest of the population, but not by a large percentage. The key in interpreting all such statistics is how to define "Catholic." On these moral issues, there is a huge difference between the Catholic who worships weekly and the one who attends a few times a year. I would suggest that one of the major issues for the Church in the decades ahead will be clarity as to who is considered a practicing Catholic and who is not. This may result in a smaller but much more fervent and evangelizing Church, ready to carry out the New Evangelization in the United States that can bear so much fruit in the 25 years ahead, both at home and throughout the globe."
He thinks, apparently, that the Republicans are "God's Own Party." Hey, what's a little torture, destruction of civil rights, exploitation of the poor, graft, pre-emptive war, and nuclear war among friends?
And that stuff about Jesus going to seek the one lost sheep? Forget it; some liberal must have sneaked that into the Bible. What Jesus REALLY meant, if these "righteous ones" are correct, is that the flock needs to be culled, so that only the worthy ones remain.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
On the homepage of their new website (www.ssjohn.org) the SSJ has highlighted these words: "Canonical Approval for the Society." The subtitle reads: "Read the latest about the bishop approving the Society of St. John." When you click on the link, you are brought to a letter from "brother" Anthony Myers who claims that the SSJ is about to be established as a Public Association of the Faithful:
The "good bishop" who is going to establish the SSJ is said to be Rogelio Ricardo Livieres Plano of the Diocese of Ciudad del Este in Paraguay. It is possible, of course, that this bishop is giving approval to "brother" Anthony Myers and other laymen connected with the old SSJ to start a new non-clerical SSJ. After all, a "Public Association of the Faithful" does not even require a bishop's approval, for it is not a clerical association. Obviously the new SSJ wants its current and future donors to believe that the SSJ has simply reestablished itself in a new diocese after an unfortunate "misunderstanding" with their former bishop. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth, for the SSJ was suppressed and the former SSJ priests do not have faculties to operate in Paraguay or anywhere else.
Those of you who have followed the SSJ scandal will not be surprised by their use of murky rhetoric designed to bamboozle unsuspecting Catholic donors. Note that the former SSJ priests pictured on their new website are said to be "honored friends" rather than "members" of the new and improved SSJ. This legal nicety is required because the former SSJ priests do not have the Bishop of Scranton's approval to excardinate to Paraguay. Hence, Myers and his cronies are simply setting up a "front" organization in which these "honored" perverts can operate under the guise of Church authority and cheat more people out of their money.
Please write to the Papal Nuncio in Paraguay to alert him to the SSJ's latest effort to abuse Church authority:
Most Reverend Orlando Atonini
Calle Ciudad del Vaticano
Centre 25 de Mayo y Caballero
Casilla Postal 83
I also urge you to contact the Diocese of Scranton to request a clarification of the canonical status of the former SSJ priests. The chancery number is (570) 207-2216. The fax number is 570-207-2236.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
Friday, March 03, 2006
REPUBLICAN *OR* PRO-LIFE ?
Fifty-five Catholic members of the House made a public statement this week declaring their determination to decrease abortions in the United States. But William Donohue, the Catholic face of the Heritage Foundation’s pro-Republican agenda, responded with an ideologically-driven condemnation of this serious effort to address the whole range of Catholic issues.
The reason? Because the 55 members in question are Democrats, and William Donohue has once again shown that the Catholic League’s Republican loyalties trump any concern about the unborn.
Hmmm. My Catholic League membership renewal is sitting on the table. I had planned to send it in today. Hmmmm......
WHAT'S GOING ON IN THE PHILIPPINES ?
Anyone follow Philippine politics? The bishops say that there was a possibility they would be arrested.
Several years ago I was surfing a European Anthroposophical website that indicated the Phillipines was a test case for whatever it was they were doing. I've never forgotten it, and am still wondering what it was they were up to. For that reason the Philippines gets my attention, especially when the Catholic bishops say there is a threat of arrest.
SUSPENDED FOR VIEWING ???
Maybe I'm dense, but I just don't get this.
A middle school student faces expulsion for allegedly posting graphic threats against a classmate on the popular MySpace.com Web site, a district administrator said.
Twenty other students at TeWinkle Middle School were slapped with two-day suspensions for viewing the boy’s posting on the social networking site, officials said.
Apparently the 20 students who viewed the posting did so on their home computers. Did they know what they were going to view before doing so? The article doesn't indicate that they did. So how can a student be suspended for stumbling into something he shouldn't have read? This makes no sense.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
FR. SIBLEY'S NOR ARTICLE IS ONLINE
at the NOR website.
AGCA WAS A COMMUNIST AGENT
Spirit Daily links this story from the AP:
An Italian parliamentary commission concluded "beyond any reasonable doubt" that the Soviet Union was behind the 1981 attempt to kill Pope John Paul II _ a theory long alleged but never proved, according to a draft report made available Thursday.
The commission held that the pope was a danger to the Soviet bloc because of his support for the Solidarity labor movement in his native Poland. Solidarity was the first free trade union in communist eastern Europe.
"This commission believes, beyond any reasonable doubt, that the leaders of the Soviet Union took the initiative to eliminate the pope Karol Wojtyla," said a draft of the commission's report obtained by The Associated Press.
WHAT IS THIS ABOUT ?
BENEDICT DROPPED THE TITLE OF PATRIARCH
of the West according to CathNews.
Pope Benedict, who reportedly made the decision himself to drop the title, evidently wished to eliminate any notion that the Holy See represents the Church of "the West," and is therefore separate from the Eastern tradition.
The designation "Patriarch of the West," which traditionally appeared in that list of titles just before "Primate of Italy," has rarely been employed since the Great Schism of 1054, which separated the Orthodox churches from the Holy See.
It was introduced into papal nomenclature in 1870, at the time of the First Vatican Council. Pope Benedict chose to remove the title at a time when discussions with the Orthodox churches have centred on the issue of papal primacy.
The Holy Father wishes to emphasise the service that the Bishop of Rome performs for the entire Christian community, as the focus of unity in the universal Church.
Will this mean that our bishops will now conclude that it is not necessary to do what he says?
Personally I don't think we can recover from the heresy in our midst without a Patriarch (or whatever one calls the man who govern the Roman Catholic Church). It does seem that Benedict has decided not to govern since being elected. Cardinal Rotweiler has been tamed. JPII also seemed to hold the papal office to be more of a leadership rule than a governance role.
Will someone else be chosen to serve as Roman Rotweiler Patriarch of the West? Will we have to muddle along without governance from Rome?
I can certainly see how this would serve ecumenism with the Orthodox. I just can't see how it will serve order in the Roman Catholic Church.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily.
DAN BROWN'S AMBIGRAMS
In researching Discordians I somehow landed in one of Dan Brown's websites which is devoted to Ambigrams. In the website where I found it, a poster was spooked by one of Brown's ambigrams, though he didn't say which one. The poster did indicate that he rapidly exited the website.
Somehow ambigrams are related to demonology. How?
I'm not exactly keen on researching demonology.
THE DA VINCI DECEPTION
Mark Shea, Dr. Edward Sri, and the Editors of Catholic Exchange have taken on The Code with not only a book but also a website that offers brochures and course outlines which can be used for a parish discussion of the phenomenon. This certainly looks good...especially the free resources being offered to parishes so they will be ready to combat the lie when it hits the theaters.
Who knows, maybe Dan Brown will be the source that jump-starts a renewal of interest in Catholic theology addressed from this unique perspective. Wouldn't that be the ultimate irony? All things work together for good....
FR. BRYCE SIBLEY'S ARTICLE IN NOR
In the March issue of "New Oxford Review" Fr. Bryce Sibley unpacks the theology of Fr. Richard Rohr. A sample of what's in the article:
Rohr makes it very clear that he does not want to be limited to having to call God "Father." He writes inAdam's Return (which was the basis for his presentations)[Fr. Sibley attended one of his conferences]that we must "find public ways to recognize, honor, and name the feminine nature of God...."
Rohr bases this claim on his belief that "God is the ultimate combination of whatever it means to be male and whatever it means to be female." He asserts that God is in no way sexed, and here he seems to be in agreement with the Catechism, which states: "In no way is God in man's image. He is neither man nor woman. God is pure spirit in which there is no place for the difference between the sexes" (#370). However, this does not mean that it would be proper to refer to God as "Mother." Rohr's thesis runs into the problem of Divine Revelation: Christ has definitively revealed God as Father. To say that God could just as easily be called "Mother" is in direct contradiction to Divine Revelation. As the Catechism states, "Jesus revealed that God is Father in an unheard-of sense: He is Father not only in being Creator; he is eternally Father in relation to his only Son, who is eternally Son only in relation to his Father..." (#240).
So much for the goddess.
After discussing a letter from Fr. Rohr that is posted on a Soulforce (homosexual advocacy website) "supporting this organization's mission", Fr. Sibley writes:
Since homosexual activity is the ultimate denial of sexual difference. Rohr's support of homosexual-advocacy groups such as Soulforce (and thus his implicit support of homosexual activity) is a radical contradiction of the apparent importance he places on sexual difference in his presentation on "male spirituality." As theCatechism states, "Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved" (#2357).
There is a defense of doctrine in the article that I particularly liked:
God has given us the gift of reason so that we might understand His laws and meditate upon His Revelation. Faith is a supernatural gift for the intellect, which allows us to know what God knows. Both faith and reason must work together in spiritual life, and this necessarily creates in the Church a place for doctrine and dogma. By refusing to search for and acknowledge a definitive right and wrong, especially in the moral life, one becomes a fool, not a sage. It is just this type of muddled thinking that is used to justify the moral relativitism present in the Church and in the world. And certainly this leads to moral chaos, when no one can claim to know right from wrong.ad hominem argument--he contends that it is just because the young are young that they believe such things. He does not address their position, but casts off the position outright simply because of their age.
Rohr's critique of the young who search for orthodoxy betrays a subtle
And then there is the "Pagan Ritual" passage:
A central theme of Rohr's "male spirituality" is the importance of ritual for the transformation of the male. Through these rituals, these rites of initiation, the man is supposed to experience his powerlessness through some form of suffering, and later emerge as Jonah from the whale, a transformed and more spiritually aware man. Traditionally the sacred liturgy and the rituals surrounding the Sacraments were the way in which Catholics (both men and women) experienced this ritualistic initiation and transformation (especially through the Sacraments of Initiation). Rohr, however, criticizes Catholic ritual for not having any efficacy in the form that it presently takes. His concern is that the Sacraments lose the ability to transform if their accompanying ritual does not produce a desired psychological effect.Adam's Return gives an outline of a sample rite for men. The sponsoring of such male rituals is one of the main activities of Rohr's Center for Action and Contemplation in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Men from around America pay hundreds of dollars to "find themselves" in the New Mexico desert. What makes these rituals problematic for discerning Catholics is that they draw from and retain elements of various pagan rites of initiation.
I will be the first to admit that there is something lacking today in the Church's sacramental celebrations, but Rohr's proposal for solving this problem is strange. Instead of advocating an authentic renewal of the Sacraments and the rituals surrounding them, he has taken it upon himself to create new rituals that, he hopes, will speak to the men of today. In fact, the appendix of
I hope we will hear more from Fr. Bryce Sibley in the months ahead. I've missed his blog.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
HIT COUNTER RESET
I see that the hit counter has reset itself again. Or perhaps someone with access didn't like what I blogged today?
In any case, this blog has received 85,514 hits since it was started in October 2004.
ABANDON THE WESTERN PATRIARCHY
Dom has posted an interesting blog which seems to indicate that Benedict is considering abandoning the Western Patriarchy. He doesn't actually say where he heard it.
QUESTIONS ABOUT THE VICTIMS OF CLERGY ABUSE
As I have been reading through the websites of Discordians over the last couple of weeks, a nagging question keeps recurring...are the Discordians and the victims of Catholic sexual abuse by clergy one and the same? Are some of the victims Discordians? Are any of them Discordians?
A curious website has turned up.
This is a support message board for victims. Scroll approximately halfway down the page to a post titled "News Flash" and click the link for the entire text of the entry. There you can read:
RE:Mr. Bob Matin
He claims to have been excommunicated from the Reformed Church of the
Subgenius , but there is no record of anyone of this name ever having been a
It is not possible to get excommunicated from any denomination of the Church
of the Subgenius .
The only way to get disaffiliated is to RESFUSE to denounce BOB as the true
manifestation of J.R. Dobbs or not to send the 40 bux to them.
If you return to the original newsgroup page and look at the two messages beneath the entry about the Church of the SubGenius--"Cady Stanton on the Bible" and "Townsville bishop says victims more important than diocesan fina"--you can see that Bob Martin posted both of them.
"Bob" of the Church of SubGenius is either J. R. Dobbs or "Pope Bob" and former Playboy editor Robert Anton Wilson, I presume.
Discordians concentrate on spreading disinformation stirred in with accurate information. They do not object to lieing.
So I ask again, are the victims of clergy sexual abuse Discordians? Are they attempting to spread chaos magick in the Catholic Church while carrying off some of Her assets?
The Church of the SubGenius comes off looking like a group of court jesters. Discordianism has a serious side as well. For a look at it and a sample of the flavor of hatred of Christianity that at least some dedicated to chaos magick entertain, read through the text at this website.
It's time for Catholic journalists to start probing the lives of the victims who are suing the Church instead of allowing them to be misrepresented as children and adolescents in the daily coverage. They are grown men now. Are they trying to destroy the Church? We have the evidence of chaos in our midst. What is the source?
The fact that our bishops have appeared to be wolves in sheep's clothing does not preclude the possibility of wolves in victim's clothing.
Have some of our bishops cooperated with the victims in creating this chaos?
There's another mention of the Church of the SubGenius on another webpage in the same Support message board. Scroll down to the link titled "Dr. Sidethink interviews Catholic Music Professor." This one is a spoof "interview" by "Dr. Sidethink, Hp.D Papal Nuncio and Drill Bit Sales for Pope Bobby II Reformed Church of the Subgenius" with "Rev. Father Buckley Seinfeld." It was posted on January 9, 2004.
More of same.
Most, or many of the Discordians are computer experts. Have they downloaded pornographic material into the computers of unsuspecting priests who were not guilty of anything? It would be a great Discordian joke to do such a thing. One link that Google turned up in the above search for SubGenius and clergy sexual abuse went to a particularly offensive porn site. The fact that "Playboy" lies in the background of this picture is certainly interesting.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
TELLING THE TRUTH AS BENEDICT REQUESTED
Benedict's encyclical and his call to "tell the truth" is beginning to bear fruit. The Bishops of Arizona are publicly stating their opposition to gay marriage. They present a sorely needed united front against the revision of the meaning of marriage.
Arizona's three Roman Catholic bishops are endorsing a proposal to ban gay marriage — and petitions of support may be circulated in local parishes.
The three bishops on Tuesday released a statement supporting a proposed amendment to the state constitution that would prohibit same-sex marriage, nine months after the proposal, dubbed "Protect Marriage Arizona" was announced.
The bishops' statement was denounced by several Tucson clergy who are part of Arizona Together, a coalition opposing the proposed amendment.
COMMUNIST COLLABORATORS IN POLAND
WARSAW, Poland - A team of Roman Catholic Church historians and experts has been pulled together to check the files of communist-era secret police for evidence of collaboration and resistance among priests in southern Poland, a church spokesman said yesterday. The "Remembrance and Truth" commission was set up by the Archbishop of Krakow, Cardinal Stanislaw Dziwisz...
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
The TimesLeader of Wilkes-Barre, PA has published an article on the return of the suppressed Society of St. John.
Sad to say, this secular newspaper has done more than the Diocese of Scranton to expose the SSJ. Mark Guydish, whose past articles helped to inform the public about the SSJ, has evidently made a serious investigation into their reappearance. The Diocese of Scranton, however, wants to pretend the SSJ scandal never happened. Consider the following statement made by the spokesman for the Diocese of Scranton concerning the SSJ's latest effort to reinvent itself:
“Bishop Martino suppressed the Society of St. John in November 2004. Since that time, he has been taking all appropriate steps open to him under the Code of Canon Law to deal with the priests of the extinguished Society. The Diocese has no further comment on this matter.”
What exactly are the "appropriate steps" that Bishop Martino has taken? Why have the priests of the suppressed SSJ been allowed to wander here, there and everywhere with no sanctions being brought against them? How can Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey still be priests? How can the SSJ be permitted to raise money in the Church's name? Why does the Diocese of Scranton always seem to be drowning in a canonical glass of water?
At the very least, the Diocese of Scranton must tell the public where the SSJ priests are and what their status is. After all, a letter posted on the SSJ's new website claims that the SSJ is now operating under the authority of a bishop in Paraguay. (See http://www.ssjohn.org/documents/pdf/060101_Letter.pdf.) Does the Diocese of Scranton have nothing to say about this latest fraudulent claim? And is the Diocese of Scranton prepared to spend more money to settle more lawsuits after the SSJ priests homosexually abuse more boys?
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
CHALLENGE TO THE CHURCH
John Allen indicates there are, at present, three major challenges facing the Catholic Church, according to NZCatholic.
Allen said the Catholic Church is currently wrestling with issues surrounding identity, a shift in the Catholic population and a fragmentation of the church.
In regard to the last one mentioned:
The third megachallenge is trying to bring Catholics together, he said.
Conservative and liberal is just one division that exists within the church, Allen said. Many other delineations work to differentiate Catholics from one another rather than unite them, and that leads to a “segregating and ghettoising” church.
“We’ve got to find some way to imagine ourselves out of that, because it’s just not good ecclesiology,” he said. “Fundamentally, we’re supposed to be a communion and we can’t be a communion if we define the limits of our community against other Catholics.”
He's saying what I've been saying...that we have been atomized and it's causing problems. I wonder how much of the atomization is the result of the new technology of the WWW? The web creates chaos because it lacks structure. It's a free-for-all that anyone can join in any venue available. It's tailor made for discord and for those who seek to promote discord.
AN ORTHODOX VOICE FOR UNITY
VATICAN CITY, FEB. 27, 2006 (Zenit.org).- Orthodox and Catholics must find what unites and brings us ever closer, says an official of the Apostoliki Diakonia of Athens, a theological college.
Archimandrite Dionysios Mantalos, director of departments of the Orthodox college who is visiting the Catholic Church in Rome, was received in audience today by the Pope.
"In the first millennium, Christians were united; in the second, divided. The third must not find us separated," the archimandrite told ZENIT in an interview.
PRIESTS PROTEST OVER THE DOCUMENT ON HOMOSEXUALS IN THE PRIESTHOOD
OTTAWA (Reuters) - A small group of priests in French-speaking Quebec has taken the rare step of openly criticizing the Catholic church for its opposition to same sex marriages and the ordination of active homosexuals.
The 19 priests wrote a letter to Quebec's bishops complaining that the arguments used by the church "had caused confusion and disagreements" among the faithful.
"Does the church necessarily have the last word on the mysteries of political, social, family and sexual life?" asked the letter, which was published in Sunday's edition of La Presse newspaper.
"In these matters, the official teaching of the church has been shown to be wrong more than once."
DISCORDIANS BREACHING THE CATHOLIC BORDERS
There is nothing Discordians like better than to spread chaos where they travel. An example of it turned up in research recently at Catholic Online Web Mail. The poster described his friend who had just become a Discordian, citing his disdain for authority combined with intelligence. He wanted to give his friend a present. The present of choice was a Catholic email address:
At the time, the name of your local diocese (checked against your zip code, I think) was all you needed to set up a free email account over at Catholic Online. What better gift for a Discordian than a subtly irreverant e-mail address provided by the anti-Discordians themselves?
These days, you need even less inside Catholic knowledge to get your e-mail address. They do ask you if you're a Knight of Malta, and require you to profess your religion, but that's a small price to pay for firstname.lastname@example.org, isn't it?
Monday, February 27, 2006
DAN BROWN IN COURT AGAIN
LONDON - "The Da Vinci Code" author Dan Brown was accused in Britain's High Court on Monday of taking material for his blockbuster conspiracy thriller from a 1982 book about the Holy Grail.
The accusation was made in a breach of copyright lawsuit filed against "The Da Vinci Code" publisher Random House. If the lawsuit succeeds in getting an injunction barring use of the disputed material, the scheduled May 19 release of "The Da Vinci Code" film starring Tom Hanks and Ian McKellan could be threatened.
Michael Baigent and Richard Leigh, authors of "The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail," sued Random House, which also published their book. Random House denies the claim.
Thanks to Tom Herron for the link.
FROM THE SNAIL MAILBOX - A BOOKLET FROM THE BISHOP
"working together for a vibrant church: A REPORT TO THE COMMUNITY FROM THE CATHOLIC DIOCESE OF CLEVELAND" arrived in my mailbox a short time ago. It's a sort of "State of the Diocese" statement from Bishop Pilla.
His opening message tells me that "This Report to the Community is part of our continued effort to inform you, the faithful, about the remarkable scope of activities within our Diocese while 'working together for a vibrant Church." The message closes with "It is my hope that this report will offer you a better understanding of our diocesan programs and the initiatives which have been developed in order to work together as parish communities. As we strive to affirm the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, throughout the region, it is my prayer that we are able to continue offering the declaration of our Holy Father that 'The Church is Alive' here in the Diocese of Cleveland."
It's a feel-good publication.
I guess "alive" is a relative concept. We are the 15th largest diocese in the U.S. According to the statistics presented in the booklet there were 8,679 infant/child baptisms (I presume in 2005, though the booklet doesn't actually indicate that), 1,537 joined the Church through RCIA, and there were 8,589 deaths, which means that the Church grew larger by 1,627 people in 2005. In a local population of 2,852,022, a total of 797,898 of that number (28%) are counted as Catholic. There are 233 parishes. That works out to approximately 7 more Catholics in each parish in 2005. Those numbers do not take into consideration the number of Catholics who have decided to stop practicing the faith. As I said, "alive" is a relative term.
More important, however, is the number of priests. In 1993 there were 543 priests. In 2005 there were 419 priests. The forecast for 2015 is 238 priests, and for 2025 is 162 priests. Assuming the number of parishes remains constant at 233, 71 of them will be priestless in 2025 even if all of the available priests are assigned to a parish. Since we hold a sacramental faith which requires the ministrations of priests, "alive" is hardly the word I would use to describe our situation. "In crisis" seems a lot more appropriate.
The pictures in the booklet are interesting to me because I tend to tune in to the visual. The first one is, I presume, the inside of the Cathedral during Mass, though the sanctuary is difficult to make out, while the pews, the prominent part of the picture, are relatively full. Next there is a sweet picture of uniformed children standing around a blackboard. Then comes another church pew picture (there are no captions so I don't know which church) on a page that talks about the program for "safeguarding our young people". In this picture there is a prominent section of empty pews on the right, while the rest are filled.
Next comes the Oriental (Korean?) girls in native dress holding up flowers in each raised hand, and standing in the aisle of a church with congregants and a stained glass window in the background. It is impossible to tell from the picture what these girls are doing. Must be some sort of inculturation ceremony. The facing text talks about Catholic Charities.
Following that is a picture of a black woman in a caftan holding up a golden bowl, with what appears to be a pew behind her. On the same page is a black woman wearing an apron and carrying trays with food on them. There are people in the background serving food. The text between these pictures continues talking about Catholic Charities.
Next comes the back view of a bishop in white with mitre sitting on a chair. In front of him is a guard and a couple of men in suits. Rising over the heads of all of them is a gray metal stairway with men in yellow prison uniforms. What that is about is anybody's guess. The text on this page continues the discussion of Catholic Charities, the Office of Hispanic Ministries, family life, the Filipino and Thai population, Vietnamese and Korean choirs. If I were going to draw a conclusion from the juxtaposition of text and picture, I would conclude that the prisons are filled with people from immigrant populations. I trust this is not the message intended.
The next picture is a shot of a dense crowd of people of all ages, dressed for a picnic, with their right arm raised in the air, fist clenched. Behind this crowd are the peaks of what appears to be a number of KD Kanopys. Behind them are trees. The one word this picture brings to mind is "militant." On the page with this picture is a quote which reads: "Continued willingness to accept new thinking and employ creative approaches will enable us to build a vibrant future in the face of demographic and societal realities we cannot control." The text on the opposing page talks about the "Vibrant Parish Life" program, the inevitability of change, and the growth of the permanent diaconate and lay ecclesial ministries.
The final picture in the booklet is of bishop Pilla in a cope and mitre reading from a book held in the hands of what appears to be an altar server. Behind him is a pulpit or podium. In front of him is a crowd sitting in theater-style seats in what appears to be a balcony, with a railing in front of them. There also appears to be people standing on a level below the balcony.
None of the text appearing with the pictures explains the pictures. The booklet is a chaotic jumble of disjointed words and images. What is sorely lacking in a publication about a Catholic diocese is any symbolic representation of the faith such as a crucifix, picture of the Blessed Virgin, picture of a saint. From the pictures in this booklet which all emphasize living people, this could just as easily be about some other religion worshiping some other god, or alternatively about an organization doing good charitable work. There are no Catholic markers represented in the images.
One message comes through these pictures loud and clear...the social Gospel. Bishop Pilla is a humanitarian. The statistics tend to make me believe that he has not been a Shepherd of God's Church. He clearly believes in the altruistic aspect of the Gospel, and has continuously served that aspect of the faith. Does he also believe in a transcendent God? The question is not out of line given the substance of this booklet.
Bishop Pilla has a long history in this diocese of communicating with the faithful once a year when he wants money for the Bishop's appeal. Prior to the scandal, he was invisible the rest of the year. As this booklet illustrates, those faithful who do not need monetary assistance in one form or another are not of interest to him. The faithful who look to him for spiritual guidance are left wanting. He has been a good servant of those in material need. He has not been a spiritual father to his diocese. For years I have felt that my bishop cared about me only when he wanted me to open my wallet. That is the only time that he remembers I exist.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
WILL BENEDICT MOVE AGAINST MEDJUGORJE ?
An article that appeared in The Times earlier this month indicates the increasing problems that multiplying apparitions are causing for the Church. From the article:
But of the 295 such episodes reported since 1905, the Vatican has affirmed the authenticity of just 11, among them the appearances of the Virgin Mary to three children at Fátima, Portugal, in 1917, and the visitation of Jesus to St Faustina Kowalska, a Polish nun, in the 1930s.
While the faithful may accept or reject such revelations, most, according to the Vatican, involve false seers who are either deluded or on the make, and these are beginning to cause problems for the Church.
First, they create tensions between the faithful who believe in them and bishops who do not. Secondly, unauthorised cults often congregate around charismatic seers who claim a direct line to God but who teach in opposition to the Church.
In September, for instance, Dominic Sanchez Falar founded the “Mary is God Catholic Movement”, which claims that the third secret of Fátima revealed Mary’s divinity. ...
Pope Benedict, for one, takes them seriously. Three years ago, while Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), he said that private revelations posed a threat to the unity of the Church and warranted an “exemplary pastoral response” from the Holy See.
By that time the future Pope had already ruled against claims that Mary appeared at Garabandal, Spain; forbade Catholics to go on pilgrimage to Medjugorje, Bosnia-Herzegovina, where the Virgin Mary is also said to be appearing; warned the faithful against the apocalyptic murmurings of Vassula Ryden; and ordered Father Stefano Gobbi to stop using Our Lady Speaks to Her Beloved Priests as the title for books containing similar eschatological content.
Benedict is now already moving against private revelations in a way his predecessor did not.
The article discusses the details of the ruling against Father Gino Burresi and suggests that a ruling on Medjugorje could be expected.
I hope it comes soon considering the developments among the Neocathars. We need definitive statements about mystical phenomena from the Chief Shepherd in order to address the chaos that is entering the Church through this channel.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sunday, February 26, 2006
TALKING IN CHURCH
I've complained about it before, but today's infraction exceeded every previous example of talking in church.
For some reason the kids were restless at Mass. Ok, parents can't help it, and none of them created a lengthy fuss. There just seemed to be a lot of them. I had been struggling with tuning it out all the way through Mass. It was during the silent time after communion that I happened to hear the woman behind me point this out to her pewmate.
I know who this woman was from exchanging the peace sign with her. She has snow white hair, which gives you some idea of her age. She is a regular at the Mass I usually attend, and always sits in the same section. Apparently today is her birthday, since someone had pointed that out to the grandchild sitting next to her. The conversation that made my communion thanksgiving impossible went something like this:
"Here's is a picture of my neighbor's new dog. She's just a tiny little thing. Isn't she cute."
The picture was passed down the row, and I seem to recall others making comments, but I can't recall just what they said, because by this time I was pretty angry.
DIOGENES MAKE A GOOD POINT
in "The Catholic World Report", Feb. 2006. He discusses the "dislocation" experienced by Catholics as they contemplate the liturgy they experience in spite of the fact that they have a rich liturgical tradition and Cardinal Ratzinger as Pope... a "heavyweight" who still cannot seem to effect a cure to what ails our liturgy. He writes:
C. S. Lewis once discussed the problem in these terms: During Mass I can exercise either a critical or a devotional faculty, and the two are mutually exclusive. If my critical faculty is alert, it interferes with worshiping God, and has to be "lulled to sleep" as it were. The eucharistic rite, when enacted properly, is precisely the instrument by which this faculty can be quieted and the devotional faculty engaged. However, this is dependent upon the expectation of participation in the Church's liturgy, not Father So-and-so's adaptation of it. For if I have reason to believe that the celebrant will depart from the text or the rubrics, my critical faculty is switched on whether I want it to be or not, because the celebrant's departures may be tendentious or heretical or imbecilic or all three. And even if the celebrant's changes turn out to be within the bounds of orthodoxy and good taste, I sill would have been forced, against my will, to engage in an activity of criticism rather than of worship. I will have been cheated of a Mass.
I can usually count on liturgy according to the rubrics at my church, and so my devotional faculty is engaged. But when traveling, the critical faculty is too often front and center. It's not that I want it to dominate. It's not that I dredge it upon entering a church door. I may even want to supress it. But when the liturgy is tweaked, there it is dominating my thoughts and destroying the purpose for which I am at Mass.
I've never been able to describe this phenomenon quite so clearly and precisely as Diogenes has done it.