Saturday, July 01, 2006
BIRTH OF A HUMMINGBIRD, UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL
STRANGE FUNERAL RITES
Growing up in the 50s and 60s I often attended funerals and the calling hours that preceeded them. It was expected back then that the rosary would be led by the priest during the calling hours. It must have been at some time in the 70s or 80s when the rosary was led by a lay person. More recently the rosary has disappeared, ostensibly because no one had the time to lead it.
A relative of my husband's died this week. Apparently the priest who officiated at the funeral has extra time on his hands because he turned up at calling hours last night, but not to say the rosary. We did say the Our Father, Hail Mary, and Eternal Rest, then Father gave a short homily.
He talked mostly about the wake. Webster's defines it as "a watch held over the body of a dead person prior to burial and sometimes accompanied by festivity." Father, though, seemed to have something a bit different in mind for the definition of a wake. He said that at the wake we wake the deceased--we bring her back into our presence by telling stories about her. When we tell stories about her she is alive for us. After explaining his meaning of a wake, he asked those of us present to tell stories about the dead woman, and retreated into silence, waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
Finally a son-in-law told a story. It was a nice story about a mother-in-law who wanted her son-in-law to be present at her Christmas celebrations. When he sat down we lapsed back into waiting. And waiting. And waiting.
When Father at last concluded there would be no more stories he hastily closed the service. I braced myself for the funeral Mass itself.
Today the ceremony began in the vestibule as it always does, but instead of the funeral directors draping the casket, Father turned the white cloth over to the deceased's adult children, telling us as they draped the coffin, that it reminded us of the white garment that she wore when she was baptised, and that now it symbolized her residing in glory with the saints and angels and her loved ones who had died before her.
That was the theme of the entire funeral Mass, her entry into the glory of heaven. And what a Mass it was. In fact what a church it was.
The pews were on an angle facing the center of the church, though not necessarily the altar, since the altar was off-center. The lectern or podium or ambo, or whatever it should be called in such a place, was off-center as well, opposite the altar. Glancing around the church for some indication that this was in fact a Catholic Church and not some other denomination, I found the stations on the wall, and a strange black statue in the back, opposite the baptismal fountain. There were no holy water fonts. There was no tabernacle that I could discover anywhere. The crucifix was small--the processional crucifix--which was placed in a stand next to the podium thingy. There were lots of green plants. The windows had patterns in the glass, but nothing recognizably Catholic in the patterns. They emitted plenty of clear light. There were no kneelers. The altar servers were two middle-aged women.
The Mass was a wonder in staging, though not recognizably Catholic for the most part. Once we were standing in our pew, a woman who was part of the choir sang solo the verses of "On Eagle's Wings." According to the program we were given, that was the Responsorial. The entire event was lovely as a performance though at no time did I have any sense of God being present. The priest and several elderly ladies took turns chanting back and forth a variety of the canon that may or may not have included a proper consecration. It just didn't sound familiar. At one point a host the size of a dinner plate was held aloft. The Our Father, at least, I did recognize. We said that instead of singing it, and exchanged a recognizable sign of peace.
At communion, since I really didn't believe we were receiving anything more than bread, I refrained from bowing and felt awful about saying "Amen" to "The Body of Christ" since I didn't think it really was. The thing I was given was a perfect white, thick, square of odd-textured substance that reminded me of a shredded wheat cracker more than anything else. I couldn't see Father do it, but heard the sounds of breaking host or cracker or whatever it was. I guess it had been perforated to break apart neatly so that we each could receive a part of that round thing that had been elevated.
After being treated for an hour to the celebration of our deceased relative already in heaven, we progressed to the cemetary where Father said some prayers that sounded very much like the proper Catholic theology of praying for the dead who might be in pergutory and not already part of the heavenly choir. I so wanted to ask him why he was praying for her when he had told us that she was already all but resurrected, but didn't want to make a scene.
After the event concluded, my family and I were sitting around the livingroom talking about the funeral. We all thought the church looked normal from the outside and so probably had been renovated. My mother-in-law, who thought the funeral service was beautiful, pointed out right away that purgatory had been dispensed with. My sister-in-law brought up the fact that there might have been something Wiccan about the whole thing, though she has given up on Catholicism long ago. My husband just thought it had been very strange, and said that he could tell already from the vestibule that we were in for it. He also warned me that if I'm arranging his funeral I was not to allow anyone to suggest telling stories about him to everyone present because he figured they'd just be bad ones.
And so another aging relative has been consigned to the earth and to whatever God has in store for her, and I'm one more person closer to my own grave. What a shame that a true Catholic Mass was not a part of her funeral in spite of the fact that she was a faithful Catholic all of her life. Or at least she tried to be in spite of what she was stuck with for a church.
Incidentally, I looked up the church online and discovered that it has been the object of protests by Save Our Church.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Friday, June 30, 2006
VILATTE, OLD CATHOLICS, AND ANGLICANS
The early years of the American frontier brought religious confusion to the people of Fond du Lac, Wisconsin. According to the Fond du Lac Episcopal Diocesan website:
The relationships of Fr. Villatte, Precious Blood Church, the Roman Catholic and Old Catholic Communions, and the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac are complex and fascinating. Not surprisingly, there has oftentimes been much misinformation as well. Suffice it to say that, in the time before the arrival of the Roman Catholic Norbertine Fathers, the Belgian settlers in the Little Sturgeon area (most of whom were Roman Catholics) had been all but forgotten. Mass was said perhaps only once in three months, the result being that many had begun to drift. Mr. Villatte, formerly a Roman Catholic religious who had become a pastor of a French-speaking Protestant congregation in Green Bay, was led in some way to approach the first Episcopal Bishop of Fond du Lac, John Henry Hobart Brown, about this matter. If he were to be received into the Episcopal Church, he proposed to minister to and win these people back to the Catholic Faith, albeit not the Roman Catholic Church.
The relationship of the Catholic and Anglican churches is an old one. So is the relationship between the Anglicans and the Old Catholics.
So, while Fr. Villatte was indeed ordained by the Old Catholic Church, and while Precious Blood Church was known to be an Old Catholic congregation both in name and ritual, it had always been a missionary outreach of the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac.
The Church of the Precious Blood was founded in 1885, but a formal union between the Old Catholics and the Episcopal Church did not come into being until 1931 with the Bonn Agreement which states:
The Bonn Agreement is based on three statements:
1. Each Communion recognizes the catholicity and independence of the other and maintains its own.
2. Each Communion agrees to admit members of the other Communion to participate in the Sacraments.
3. Full Communion does not require from either Communion the acceptance of all doctrinal opinion, sacramental devotion or liturgical practice characteristic of the other, but implies that each believes the other to hold all the essentials of the Christian faith.
Anglican-Old Catholic communion is furthered today by the Anglican Old Catholic International Co-ordination Council (AOCICC). Anglican and Old Catholic membership in this Council includes Old Catholic priest The Reverend Dr. Angela Berlis, Co-Secretary.
Berlis, a theologian who works to promote women's ordination, is a married former Roman Catholic, who, along with Regina Pickel-Bossau, also a former Roman Catholic, were the first ordained women in the Old Catholic church. The National Catholic Reporter covered the story in 1996:
[Bishop Joachim] Vobbe ordained two women at the Church of Christ in Konstanz, Germany. This is the first time that women have been publicly ordained by a bishop whose authority to ordain is recognized by the Catholic Church. The Old Catholic church is a small group with 300,000 members worldwide.
In a move hailed as highly symbolic by advocates of women's ordination and highly offensive by U.S. leaders of the Old Catholic church, a German bishop of that denomination laid hands on two female deacons on May 27, ordaining them priests.
Although the Old Catholic church is small in membership, numbering about 300,000 worldwide and 50,000 in the United States, the ordinations are important because they mark the first time that women have been ordained openly by a bishop whose authority to ordain is unquestioned by the Vatican.
The Anglican Communion News Service reported that Angela Berlis was a chaplain at Bonn University at the time of her ordination. It appears that Berlis is married to Rev. Peter Feenstra, who pastors the St. Willibrord's Old Catholic parish in the Netherlands. A picture of their church can be seen here.
Until that ordination, the Polish National Catholic Church in North America had been part of the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht, according to InclusiveChurch.net:
The Council was saddened by the fact that the Polish National Catholic Church in North America had become estranged from other churches of the Union of Utrecht, which has culminated in a break over the issue of the ordination of women to the priesthood.
AOCICC is seeking ways to "move together in developing relationships with the Luthern and Orthodox Churches" according to the report.
One Orthodox church has already accepted the Vilatte succession:
It was through the Holy Spirit that Joseph Rene Vilatte fought the good fight and secured for Americans their own self-governing National Church known as The Orthodox-Catholic Church of America. To Joseph Rene Vilatte we in The Orthodox-Catholic Church of America will always be indebted.
They consider themselves to be part of the long history of Eastern Orthodoxy as the website indicates (though no doubt Orthodox Churches may view this differently). Presumably AOCICC will find intercommunion with this group acceptable if it is requested. What, then, will that mean for Roman Catholic ecumenism with the Orthodox, with the Anglicans, and inevitably at some point in time with the Gnostic Catholic Church, particularly if the concept of "clustering" moves forward?
Thursday, June 29, 2006
BRITNEY ALL THERE
Maybe I'm way off base, but the latest news about Britney Spears has me chuckling instead of raising my eyebrow. Harpers' has got themselves a sell-out issue, but stop and consider why. Is it nudity that's rattling the cash registers or is it pregnancy that has captivated America's attention?
After looking at the pictures, and looking at some previous pictures of this dame of fame, I find these pregnancy pictures to have more in common with a Raphael than with anything found in Playboy. One could almost be persuaded that Britney has cleaned up her act. Well...I said "almost."
Could it possibly be that after years of celebrating childlessness America has suddenly developed a curiosity about the process of growing babies? It might almost be said that among the purchasers of trendy "Harpers' Bazaar" this is something of an adventure into the unknown. After all, those women who are familiar with the contours of a pregnant body probably don't have the spare change to look at one in a slick and glossy publication...or for that matter have the time.
Is that link to Juice News Daily's pictures of Harper's Britney working? I was able to open it and print it, but then was not able to get back to it.
If it doesn't work, you can at least see the cover shot.
THE LAW vs. THE CHURCH
VATICAN CITY -- The Vatican is worried its opposition to abortion, embryonic stem cell research and gay marriage could one day land it before an international court of justice, a senior Vatican official said in an interview published Wednesday.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
The Church of the United Brethren in Christ USA does it.
In June 2005, the US National Conference took action to radically restructure how the churches in the United States are organized. The geographic-based conferences which have existed for 200 years are being phased out. In their place is arising a structure based on "clusters." Every church, and every active minister, will be required to participate in a cluster, which will consist of the ministers from 5-10 churches.
"Radically restructure how churches...are organized." At least they are honest about it. They don't claim it is a result of a shortage of priests. Of course they don't have priests, they have "ministers".
Here in the Catholic Church we are being told that "clustering" is necessary because of the priest shortage.
Something interesting can be noted at "Holy Family Catholic Community" in Fond du Lac, Wisconsin--a six parish cluster. The ostensible reason for clustering of six parishes is that there are four priests, all of whom are called "pastor", and all of whom serve this cluster. With six parishes and four priests, the argument can be made that it is better to cluster churches than to close them, and that is the argument given for this six-parish cluster in the Winter 2004 Newsletter of the Wisconsin Directors of Religious Education Federation. The article, "Effective Ministry in the Mega Church" by Bill Thimm, states:
Their parish web site (www.hffdl.org) made me aware that this parish of sixteen thousand was dealing with the same struggles many of our parishes are facing—where to put new buildings, closing churches, eliminating Masses as priest numbers decrease, just wages, and possible staff cuts.
But this is an interim arrangement that has been used to convince members of these six parishes to merge into one large parish. The plans for the megachurch are already in the works. On January 15, 2005 the "Building with Living Stones" Campaign was announced. The goal is to raise $8 million over five years so that a 1250-seat church, parish center and staff offices can be built. These parishioners are being hoodwinked. They have been told the sort of lie that the church wreckovators told to congregations to persuade them that the new layout was an improvement over the old.
Clustering is not about a priest shortage. Clustering is about a new church structure. I wonder what the interior of their new church is going to look like? Will it have a circular altar surrounded by three or more steps, forming the safety circle in the center that is essential to Wiccan ceremonies, and will it be located at the intersection of crossed aisles, so that the four directions can easily be acknowledged when the corners are cast in some future liturgy? That has been the layout of far too many wreckovated Catholic churches in the past thanks to the "ministering" of Fr. Richard Vosko. Will the new design be a sterile community meeting space with morable chairs and a marked absence of symbolic decoration ala the wreckovator Edward Sovik?
There is also a discussion of salary structure taking place in this cluster parish. The new church priests want to be well paid.
The picture of the new Holy Family cluster's megachurch can be seen on the website, along with the typical hype that goes with any sort of deception.
The justice and peace ministry is in full swing in this parish cluster. Notice something else there. The Spanish ministry. Could that have anything to do with the fact that Spanish-speaking immigrants have a loyalty to the hierarchy that we in America have abandoned because of the sexual abuse scandal? Are these Latino Catholics ignorant of the types of manipulation we have endured in the Church in America since Vatican II? Or could it have anything to do with the fact that Pentecostalism/Charismania looms large in Spanish-speaking countries? At the start of the megachurch/cluster parish there will be room for everyone, perhaps even including the Tridentine community. Will it remain that way? Or will the most progressive element in Roman Catholicism eventually dominate, forcing all other opinions out of the only Catholic church that remains in the area?
How can there be anything of Jesus Christ contained in a deception or a lie? How many of these priests in this parish cluster belong to the Lavendar Mafia?
Fond du Lac is a very interesting place for this clustering to be so far advanced. Fond du Lac was the diocesan home of the Vilatte succession--the succession that brought us the Gnostic Catholic Church. With the Gnostic Catholic Church you get the Ordo Templi Orientis, the Masonic system of Aleister Crowley, with homosexual degrees at the top.
With Fond du Lac you also get the Episcopal Diocese of Fond du Lac which discusses the Vilatte succession on its website.
Do you also get the Lavendar Mafia?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Wednesday, June 28, 2006
THE RITE OF SODOMY
Matt C. Abbott has a review of Randy Engel's book up at the Renew America website that includes a short segment of the book.
ANGLICAN-ECUSA SPLIT FORMALIZED
The Archbishop of Canterbury has outlined proposals that are expected to lead to the exclusion of The Episcopal Church of the United States from the Anglican Church as a consequence of consecrating a gay bishop.
The US branch of Anglicanism faces losing its status of full membership of the Anglican Church in the wake of its consecration of the openly gay Gene Robinson as Bishop of New Hampshire, an act which has propelled the worldwide church to the brink of schism.
The final straw came when The Episcopal Church failed to "repent" of its action at its General Convention in Columbus, Ohio earlier this month, and failed to vote through a moratorium on any more gay consecrations.
EMAIL FROM LEE PENN
More Weird Liturgy?
"Our Lady" Rite Author Inspired By Labyrinth Walk
Commentary Report By Lee Penn
The Christian Challenge
For those wondering what inspired the Episcopal Church's newly-elected, female presiding bishop to refer to "Mother Jesus"
during the General Convention, the answer might be found on the "Office of Women's Ministries" (OWM) page on the official
national church website.
Indeed, this is not the first time that the OWM has gotten into liturgical mischief.
The phrase used by Bishop Katharine Jefferts Schori appears in a "Eucharist Using Female Nouns and Pronouns" on the OWM's section of the Episcopal Church (TEC)-sponsored website. The rite is accompanied by "Morning Prayers to the Lady" - and this does not mean our Lord's mother. Both services offer worship to "Our Lady" and to the "Holy Mother," and end with the salutation "Blessed be" - a common statement of farewell among Wiccans.
The author of the services, Sandra Thomas Fox, wrote them in 2001, five years after she had a feminist epiphany during her
first walk in a labyrinth - a spiritual exercise that actually has New Age roots - at the National Cathedral. There, she became
sensitized to "the misogyny in the liturgy."
The webpage that leads to the two feminist liturgies has an all-capitalized disclaimer for each: "NOT AN OFFICIAL LITURGY -
FOR USE IN DISCUSSION." Nevertheless, the pages from which each of the services can be downloaded invite readers to use them as
well in "gathering communities of worship." Therefore, these services can be used anywhere.
The feminist "Eucharist" invokes God thus: "Blessed be the Lady who births, redeems and sanctifies us."
The threefold Kyrie Eleison becomes this: (Celebrant): Loving Lady, have mercy; (People): Mother Jesus, have mercy;
(Celebrant) Loving Lady, have mercy" - thereby giving Jesus both a sex change and children.
The prayers of the people - addressed to "Mother" - include the request that "every member of the Church may be your
handmaiden" - thereby praying that all men in the church get a sex change.
The prayer of confession is addressed to "Most Merciful Lady."
The Great Thanksgiving begins, "May the Holy Mother be with you," and continues: "It is truly right, Mother, to give you thanks;
for you alone are the I AM, living and true, dwelling in light inaccessible from before time and forever," and adds: "Blessed is
she who comes in the name of Love."
With the prayer "Mother, you loved the world so much that you sent your only Son to be our Savior. Incarnate by the Holy
Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary," the consecration prayer claims that Jesus has two mommies - and no Father.
Immediately after the consecration of the bread and the wine, the celebrant says, "Mother, we now celebrate this memorial of
your redemption." (A Freudian slip, perhaps?)
Oddly enough, the Lord's Prayer is unchanged - so this is the only spot in the service which addresses God as "Father."
The "Mass" ends when the celebrant tells the congregation, "Let us go forth empowered by the Love of our Lady," and the
congregation replies, "Blessed be."
THE FEMINIST "MORNING PRAYER" service is similar in spirit. After the confession of sin (again addressed to the "Most
Merciful Lady"), the celebrant says, "Nurturing Mother, have mercy on us; forgive us all our sins. Through your beautiful Son,
Jesus Christ, strengthen us in all goodness, and by the power of the Holy Spirit sustain our eternal life."
Before the psalms, the celebrant says, "The mercy of our Lady is everlasting: come let us adore her." After the Psalm readings,
the celebrant sings a new age Gloria Non Patri: "Glory to the Mother, and to her Son, and to the Holy Spirit: as it was in
the beginning, is now, and will be forever."
In this service, too, the Lord's Prayer was unmolested - but the celebrant precedes it with "May our Holy Lady be with
you...Let us pray the words of her beautiful Son, Jesus Christ."
The prayers of the people include "Keep your example of Motherhood ever before us; Let us see in all our children a
sacred trust from you" - an invocation that seems out of place here, since the Women's Ministries site lists the pro-abortion
Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice among "social justice" groups.
The General Thanksgiving at the end of the service starts, "Most merciful Mother, we your handmaidens give you thanks for
your great love for us and for all you have made." The service ends when the celebrant says, "Let us give thanks to our Lady;"
the congregation replies, "Blessed be."
AS EARLIER NOTED, this all began with Ms. Fox's first experience with walking the labyrinth at the 1996 Sacred Circles
conference at Washington National Cathedral. That day, "during a guided meditation led by Dr. Sarah Fahy, I had met the wise woman
who had told me, `Women are beautiful. You are beautiful,'" Fox wrote. "Immediately after I...walked one of the labyrinths set up
in the nave. To my surprise, as I entered the path I dissolved into tears. Questions welled up inside of me. Why had no one ever
told me I was beautiful? Why did I need to be told that women were beautiful? I sobbed my way into the center, where I sat
until I was once again composed. As I began my walk out, the Eucharist was being celebrated at the high altar. I decided I
would silently say these comforting, familiar words as I walked...But on this day, to my horror, these words I loved
turned to dust and ashes in my mouth. All I could hear was `He, Him, Lord, Son, Father'...I had heard the misogyny in the
liturgy, and there was no going back."
Fox continued, "I realized that I did not see my mother, my two daughters, or myself as made in the image of God. When I
looked at the liturgy I discovered there are 195 male nouns and pronouns in Rite I and 145 in Rite II. In both cases, there is
one reference to a woman - the Virgin Mary in the Creed. If our liturgy is our story, the telling of the life, death and
resurrection of Jesus Christ, where are the voices of the women that Jesus loved, respected, and held dear? Where is an
understanding of the holiness of being a daughter, wife, or mother? Wondering what it would be like to have a service to the
Divine Feminine, I used Rite II, Prayer D [from the 1979 Prayer Book] as a starting point and wrote such a Eucharist in 2001.
"If one feels that reading this service is blasphemous, I can only say that writing it felt even more so. Yet I felt called to
continue, for what else would allow us to see the narrowness of our current liturgy?...My hope is that this Eucharist will begin
a dialogue about the ways in which language affects the quality of our worship, our feelings towards God, and our sense of being
created in God's image."
As earlier indicated, this was not the first foray into the bizarre for TEC's Office of Women's Ministries. In 2004, there
was an outcry over two other offerings on OWM's section of the official church website: "A Women's Eucharist: A Celebration of
the Divine Feminine" and a "Liturgy for Divorce." The Women's Eucharist made no mention of Christ, nor of his Body and Blood,
but gave thanks to "Mother God" for things like menstrual blood and breasts.
It emerged that the Women's Eucharist had been on a Druid website since 1998. What's more, it had been penned by "Glispa,"
who turned out to be part of a husband/wife Episcopal clergy couple who up until a short time earlier had also been involved
with and promoting modern-day Druidism, including nude mating rituals and invocation of the "Horned God." Once exposed,
Pennsylvania clergy Glyn Ruppe-Melnyck and her husband, W. William Melnyck, repented of their Druidry; Mr. Melnyk lost his
parochial job over the issue but Mrs. Melnyk kept hers.
The two offending services, which were removed from the OWM website in the 2004 controversy, were part of OWM's "Women's
Liturgy Project" to collect worship resources written by women for women - an initiative that, given the latest from the OWM, is
*Sources included: Sandra Thomas Fox, "Reflection on the Holy Eucharist," Women's Ministries,
http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_60499_ENG_HTM.htm; Women's Ministries, "Liturgies Using Feminine Images,"
http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_60497_ENG_HTM.htm, a page that links to texts for the two liturgies; Women's
Ministries, http://www.ecusa.anglican.org/41685_31001_ENG_HTM.htm, a blurb for the Religious Coalition for Reproductive Choice.
Tuesday, June 27, 2006
If the pictures at this website warm the cockles of your heart, you are probably going to like the cluster parish concept.
If, on the other hand, a committee meeting is not your idea of church, you probably aren't.
CLUSTERING IS NOT ABOUT LACK OF PRIESTS
The Presbyterians do it. Here and here.
The Episcopalians do it. Here (See the explanation of Stage 1.) and Here (See EPGM AND THE ANGLICAN AND GLOBAL RELATIONS CLUSTER)
Baptists do it. Here and Here.
Lutherans do it. Here and Here.
Cell Churches do it. Here and Here.
In fact it could hardly be said that this is a Catholic concept. It looks much more like a global concept based on the social gospel. It's about megachurches. I don't see very much of God in any of it.
If Lee is correct and the diocesan structure has been abandoned by design, this is what is going to replace it.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
ARE YOU READY FOR THE CLUSTER PARISH ?
Continuing with the theme Lee proposed in his article on Opus Dei, namely that the diocesan structure has been intentionally permitted to disintegrate...
I visited the Cleveland Diocese website this morning and checked into the Vibrant Parish Life portion of the website. There for all to see is a reference to "cluster partners."
The Subcommittee to Discern Proposals for Cluster Partners should be doing Steps 2 and 3 in the 8-Step Guide...This will lead into the next step of proposing possible cluster partners.
What is a "cluster"? No one has mentioned a "cluster" in my parish, though there has been talk of parishes cooperating in using resources. Apparently other dioceses are further along in this process, whatever it is.
The Voice of Braintree Catholic Cluster
offers something of an explanation.
Who we are
Voice of Braintree Catholic Cluster is an affiliate of Voice of The Faithful founded in Wellesley, MA. We are working with our pastors in the Braintree cluster to constructively respond to the crisis in the church and help our catholic community heal and move forward.
Voice of the Faithful reincarnates into the Parish Cluster. Swell.
The website indicates Father Bill Clark, S.J. will be speaking to the Voice of Braintree Catholic Cluster. Fr. Clark is on the faculty of the College of the Holy Cross, a Jesuit school. He has published a book titled A VOICE OF THEIR OWN: THE AUTHORITY OF THE LOCAL PARISH.
Father William A. Clark, S.J. examines community, intimacy, and authority at three parishes, and claims that a fundamental aspect of ecclesial authority resides in the local community. He incorporates theological challenges and supports for this view in the work of Karl Rahner, Joseph Ratzinger, and Walter Kasper, and concludes that a deeper appreciation for the practical authority of local communities can help ground a much-needed renewal of the church’s self-understanding.
Does this sound like what a parish should be about? I don't see any sacraments in that description. I do see some liberal theologians.
The Archdiocese of Detroit has "Cluster Guidelines" on its website. There you can read a "Definition of a Clustered Parish":
A clustered parish has a priest as its pastor, however the priest may live at another location and be pastor of more than one community. The communities each have a Parish Pastoral Council, and may or may not have geographical boundaries. (See Canons 516, 517, 518, 536, 905)
So the parish priest is about to be turned into an anachronism, while the "Parish communities will become more life giving and self-sustaining." I'll bet the deacons will take on a more prominent role in these clustered parishes. I'll bet they will come to look almost like the priest--only the married priest.
The one time I attended a Eucharistic service when no priest was available for Mass, the deacon looked very much like a priest, and the service looked very much like a Mass. Only the consecration was omitted. If we don't see it consecrated can we assume that the consecration was valid? Will this ultimately lead to the termination of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass?
What was it that Lee was saying about the destruction of the diocesan structure? Looks like the process is right on schedule. And has Benedict's blessing??
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
NEW RADAR TECHNOLOGY, COMPLIMENTS OF OSU
The scientists at Ohio State University have invented a new form of radar with a capability that is being touted for the detection of enemies lurking in a building, among other things:
The radar can be tuned to penetrate solid walls -- just like the waves that transmit radio and TV signals -- so the military could spot enemy soldiers inside a building without the radar signal being detected, Walton said. Traffic police could measure vehicle speed without setting off drivers' radar detectors. Autonomous vehicles could tell whether a bush conceals a more dangerous obstacle, like a tree stump or a gulley.
If it can see people inside of buildings, can it also see into your bedroom and watch whatever activity might be going on in there?
Blogger credit to Spero News.
WAS JOHN PAUL II JEWISH ?
A MANCHESTER historian has claimed that Pope John Paul II was Jewish.
Yaakov Wise says his study into the the maternal ancestry of Karol Josez Wojtyla (John Paul II's real name) has revealed startling conclusions.
Mr Wise, a researcher in orthodox Jewish history and philosophy, said the late Pope's mother, grandmother and great-grandmother were all probably Jewish and came from a small town not far from Krakow.
The Pope was a priest and cardinal archbishop in the Polish city before his election to the papacy.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
"ST. PETER DAMIAN'S BOOK OF GOMORRAH: A MORAL BLUEPRINT FOR OUR TIMES"
by Randy Engel, dated June-July 2002, can be downloaded free at her website.
St. Peter Damian is considered to be a Father of the Church. He was very strict in his rejection of homosexual acts on the part of priests. In this booklet Engel applies Damian's words to our present scandal, demonstrating what a weak response our bishops and those in the Vatican have offered us.
She cites part of Canon Law which would seem to indicate that there is a possibility that some priests and bishops may be officiating while in a state of excommunication:
Quoting Holy Scripture concerning "the blind leading the blind," (Matt 8:4, Luke 5:4) Damian continues, "...it becomes perfectly clear that he who is oppressed by the same guilty darkness tries in vain to invite another to return to the light of repentance. While he has no fear of extending himself to outstrip the other in erring, he ends up accompanying his follower into the yawning pit of ruin."latae sententiae excommunication, the lifting of which is reserved to the Apostolic See. (Can. 1378 #1) Unless the offending priest has his excommunication lifted by the Sacred Penitentiary or the Holy Father, he has not been validly absolved. Should he attempt to offer the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass in a state of mortal sin he compounds his offenses with the grave sin of sacrilege.
Since this practice remains a common one today within the homosexual underworld of diocesan priests, bishops and religious and between pederast priests and their young victims, it may be well to recall that under the revised 1983 Code of Canon Law, the absolution of a partner (clerical or layperson) in a sin against the sixth commandment of the Decalogue is invalid, except in danger of death (Can. 977) and a priest who acts against the prescription of Can. 977 incurs a
A priest can validly consecrate while in a state of mortal sin. Can a priest validly consecrate while excommunicated? Can a bishop validly ordain while excommunicated? Is it possible that in some dioceses there are priests who are not validly ordained yet who are saying Mass regularly and dispensing other sacraments? Have some of our children been invalidly confirmed? Are marriages perhaps invalid? This could be a very serious situation.
Engel places the start of homosexual activity within the priesthood in the early 1900s:
My own research traces the start of the American Church's pro-homosexual paradigm shift to the early 1900s, with the breakdown of this specific Church discipline beginning first in religious orders and then filtering down to the secular clergy.
The number of known homosexuals accepted into the seminary and subsequently ordained, as well as the rise of prominent homosexual bishops to the cardinalate, was known to rise significantly under the pontificate of Paul VI and has continued under the reign of Pope John Paul II.
Referencing a CNS news report on homosexuals in the seminary that quoted "some anonymous Church officials" Engel writes
...care will be taken not to offend the 'delicate sensibilities' of homosexual candidates to the priesthood by attempting 'to impose an arbitrary norm' against them. Translation -- the Holy See has no realistic and concrete plans to systematically dismantle the hierarchical diocesan and religious order homosexual network already in place throughout Catholic dioceses in the United States and around the world.
This is essentially what Lee Penn said in the SCP article which I quoted yesterday--that the dioceses were simply left to disintegrate without involvement from Rome.
Engel says that the USCCB
has always been a major force in the Church's homosexual network. Clerical homosexuals with a creative bent and penchant for novelty are often attracted to programs of 'liturgical renewal' or Church 'wreckovation'. Homosexuals with pederast inclinations, on the other hand, tend to go 'where the boys are,' that is, parish schools and youth centers and institutions such as orphanages and camps run by religious orders.
If religious orders preceded diocesan clergy in ordaining homosexuals, it is significantly disturbing that our focus has been on the diocesan clergy while the religious orders have gone largely unscrutinized.
Engel also indicates that the cure must come from the top:
St. Peter Damian clearly enunciates in theBook of Gomorrah, true reform in the Church begins at the top -- with a strong and independent papacy. Unfortunately, the papacy today is neither strong nor independent and it too shares in the corruption.
The nagging question, as always, is why, and what is the nature of the corruption at the top?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECY FULFILLED IN CHRIST
Jesus associated with the wicked.
Isaias LIII:12 (Douay Rheims)
Therefore will I distribute to him very many, and he shall divide the spoils of the strong, because he hath delivered his soul unto death, and was reputed with the wicked: and he hath borne the sins of many, and hath prayed for the transgressors.
Isaias prophesied beginning ten years before the founding of Rome.
The prophecy fulfilled.
Mark XV:28 (Douay Rheims)
And the Scripture was fulfilled, which saith: And with the wicked he was reputed.
Monday, June 26, 2006
INTERESTING ROD DREHER BLOG
As most of you know, I've been spending a great deal of time in the past few months traveling in Eastern Orthodox circles, and worshiping at St. Seraphim's Cathedral (of the Orthodox Church in America). It has not escaped my attention that the OCA is in the midst of a big financial scandal now involving the Metropolitan and his staff. Some Catholic friends have said, in effect, "See? You can't get away from scandal anywhere." The thing is, I have never denied that, and didn't think that entertaining the prospect of leaving Catholicism for Orthodoxy would preserve me from having to deal with scandal. Wherever there is humanity, there will be fallenness. That's a fact of life.
What I find encouraging, ironically, about the Orthodox scandal is that unlike in the US Catholic Church, the Metropolitan and the men who are implicated in the apparent wrongdoing are not going to get away with it. And a big reason they aren't is because of this fantastic website, OCA News, run by the lay-organized Orthodox Christians for Accountability.
LEE PENN’S PROBE OF OPUS DEI – PART II
The current edition of “SCP Journal” which arrived last week contains Part II of Lee’s investigation into the workings of Opus Dei. (Part I is online at the SCP website.)
What is this organization really about? Points made at the end of the article indicate it’s not all that easy to tell. Here, in part, is Lee’s summary:
* Opus Dei is an authoritarian new religious movement in the Roman Catholic Church that offers innovative teachings to the disoriented and spiritually hungry faithful. Its teachings are at variance with the Gospel of Christ—even though the movement’s leaders can quote Scripture chapter and verse.
* Opus Dei’s skewed spiritual foundation has real-world results. Movement leaders and adherents emphasize “discretion,” manipulation, and the quest for temporal power. The bad fruit of the movement (as documented above--favoring policies that would continue the coverup of priestly sex abuse, harboring a Soviet spy, winking at novels that advertise Wicca to youth, media manipulation, financial skullduggery, and the like) manifest the organization’s spirit.
* Nevertheless, Opus Dei power increases in the Catholic Church. While parishes and dioceses crumble, and ancient religious orders dwindle, this “personal prelature” grows, and presents a united front to the churches and to the world. If there is factionalism within Opus Dei, it is not reported outside the movement. The fact that Opus Dei priests have very rarely been accused of molesting youth means that the movement can tell a scandal weary flock to seek safety and purity by following them.
A mystery remains: why have Opus Dei (and other sectarian new ecclesial movements) grown within the Catholic Church, while other Catholic structures imploded so swiftly after 1965?
It may be that the “powers that be” in Rome have made a decision to allow this to occur. A conservative Catholic journalist (editor of Inside the Vatican magazine) explains: “The 20th century ended, for the Catholic Church, on October 6, 2002. It ended precisely 40 years after the opening of the Second Vatican Council in 1962. It ended on a warm, blue autumn day with John Paul II’s canonization of Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, the founder of Opus Dei, as a saint. …The essential historical purpose and effect of that Council—as it now seems from a vantage point of 40 years—was to prepare the Church for a new world order: the order which is now nearly upon us. …
In short, the authorities in the Catholic Church seem to have given up on the structures that had characterized the Church for almost 2,000 years. The easiest way to move them aside was to neglect them—and to ignore the voluminous pleas that the faithful made to Rome after 1965 to rein in the manifest heresy and vice that spread through the Catholic Church. In their stead, there are to be new institutions for a new, more disciplined Church.
After chaos, there would be a religious New Order.
There is certainly little doubt that we have chaos. The question seems to be was it engineered as chaos magicians would engineer a paradigm shift by courting chaos and then offering their alternative as a solution to the confusion. Lee would seem to believe that it was, and the evidence all around us in our parishes appears to confirm his conclusions. I still hold out one hope of an alternative explanation.
If Pope Leo XIII was correct in interpreting his vision, Satan was given a century to destroy the Church. Infiltration of the structure of the Church may have prompted popes to seek a way to accomplish an end-run around the destruction. If past popes knew that the religious orders and the diocesan priesthood were infiltrated by communists as Bella Dodd describes in SCHOOL OF DARKNESS, it would not be possible for even the pope to salvage the diocesan structure. What choice would there have been but to invent a new one? The New Ecclesial Movements look as though they could be such an invention. With a newly invented structure some mistakes were inevitable, and those mistakes could explain the incidents of a fall from grace. The New Ecclesial Communities did not rely on the priesthood, and thus the corrupted priesthood, if Dodd was correct and the priesthood had been corrupted, would be circumvented.
It is easy for me to see chaos magick in the present confusion, and to claim that the same spirituality that fuels the chaos magicians has also fueled the sexual abuse scandal. Sexual license in both camps encourages that speculation. That can’t be applied to the New Ecclesial Movements, however, despite the evidence of other wrongdoing that Lee and others have presented. While Lee's evidence does not speak well for Opus Dei, he presents no share in the decadent promiscuity that is known as the lavendar mafia. If OD is practicing chaos magick, it is another brand of such entirely…a brand not encountered elsewhere. As Lee points out, OD looks like a refuge from the sexual abuse scandal.
Though its numbers do not indicate it, Opus Dei is an awesomely powerful organization that is political, unlike other organizations within Roman Catholicism. As Lee explains, Escriva and the Franco government in Spain worked together. According to the article, “In 1969, three Opus Dei numeraries and 12 supporters assumed cabinet posts in the Franco government—thus holding 15 of the 18 positions.”
Did power corrupt? Are the OD failures to live Gospel values which Lee points out isolated departures from the mission of the organization--abberations in the midst of unified success in fighting communism--or are they indications of disintegration at the highest levels of OD fostered by a desire to control?
That desire to control seems to be active in the John Paul II flip-flop over “It is as it was”…a comment he either made or did not make, according to OD member and Papal Press Secretary Navarro-Valls in regard to “The Passion of the Christ.” Peggy Noonan was left in the lurch by that flip-flop, and we never were given a plausible explanation of what happened. There have been other similar incidents.
In any case, I finished Lee’s article uncertain of OD and uncertain of the direction of the Church, and with again that nagging sense that we are still being treated as the laity who have no right to know.
Sunday, June 25, 2006
OLD TESTAMENT PROPHECIES FULFILLED IN CHRIST
In Micah (or Micheas) we are told that Christ will be smitten on the cheek.
Micheas V:1 (Douay Rheims)
Now shalt thou be laid waste, O daughter of the robber: they have laid siege against us, with a rod shall they strike the cheek of the judge of Israel.
In Isaiah it was prophesied that He would be struck and spit upon.
Isaiah L:6 (Douay Rheims)
I have given my body to the strikers, and my cheeks to them that plucked them: I have not turned away my face from them that rebuked me, and spit upon me.
Isaias began to prophesy ten years before the foundation of Rome. Micheas was his contemporary.
The Prophecies are fulfilled in Mark XIV:65 (Douay Rheims)
And some began to spit on him, and to cover his face and to buffet him, and to say to him: Prophesy: and the servants struck him with the palms of their hands.
FROM TODAY'S BULLETIN...
Excerpt from a parish bulletin in Chicago. The Pastor writes in the bulletin: "I'll never forget the explanation I received from someone who wanted to become Catholic. The person told me that he had investigated a number of churches and couldn't find one that asked less of its members than the Catholic Church! It wasn't a hunger for holiness that brought him to us. Mediocrity was quite alright with him, thank you."
Strangely, that sounds more like some cradle Catholics I've known than it does like any convert I've met. Must be something in the water in Chicago.