Saturday, June 16, 2007


Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 72 | Friday, June 15, 2007

Death By Sex and Stealth

The ideologically-motivated fanatics in control of Congressional committees have done it again: in the face of clear evidence that abstinence is the only - I repeat - the only way to successfully beat the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Third World, they have zeroed out all funding for abstinence in the 2008 budget. That's right. All funding for abstinence is gone. We did not hear about this stealth excision by the House Subcommittee on State, Foreign Operations and Related Programs on June 5th because they are in control of our tax dollars which are being used against our values and, in most cases, without our knowledge or consent.

In 2003, President Bush authorized $15 billion in a five-year commitment to fight HIV/AIDS in 15 Third World countries with high HIV prevalence rates: Botswana, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Guyana, Haiti, Kenya, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Tanzania, Uganda, Vietnam and Zambia. How Uganda got on the list is a mystery to me. Uganda reduced its HIV/AIDS rate from 30% down to 5% in recent years due to serious and nation-wide sustained efforts to promote sexual behavior change in the population. Logic would indicate that the rest of the world should fall into line and imitate their success, but for the militant condom promoters in charge of the purse strings in donor nations, condoms are an end in themselves, no matter the human cost.

All this flies in the face of the undeniable positive results of abstinence. Earlier this year, even the openly-gay U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, Mark Dybul, admitted to the House Foreign Affairs Committee that "in recent years, in a growing number of nations, we have seen clear evidence of declining HIV prevalence as a result of changes in sexual behavior. In addition to earlier dramatic declines in HIV infection in Uganda, there is growing evidence of similar trends in other nations, including Botswana, Ethiopia, Haiti, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe."

Furthermore, it looks as if many of the recipient nations were truly benefiting from the abstinence monies and directing a significant portion of their US funding toward programs that support their people's strong traditional value systems. Ethiopia, for instance, dedicated 53 percent of prevention funding just to abstinence and fidelity programs even though only 33% was required by law. Uganda gave 60 percent, and Nigeria 70 percent. In fact, no African recipient of US funds dedicated less than 47 percent of its funding in recent years to these successful programs. Could it be that they fund these programs because they know they work?

Congresspersons Tom Lantos' (D-CA) and Nita Lowey's (D-NY) views of what works are quite different, however. Lantos said, "Mandating the preaching of abstinence may not be the best use of one-third of the funds in this fight." Lowey's press release lauds "the provision of contraceptives from USAID to family planning organizations that have been denied USAID funding.... The bill provides contraceptives only - not financial assistance - to clinics and NGOs." I guess that means Planned Parenthood gets more of our money and the poor Africans get more latex and chemicals forced on them.

The long, slow, agonizing AIDS deaths of millions in the Third World who could have been reached by the abstinence message will be the only result of this denial of funding by the condom crusaders in the US Congress. For all their talk about compassion for the poor, the only thing that really matters to them is fanatically promoting their ideology of death by sex.

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International


Four Akron parishes in the North Hill area:

They are neighbors. They shop in the same stores. Their kids play sports together.

The members of the four North Hill Catholic churches are united by their faith, community and traditions that date back decades.

But these bonds soon will be tested as representatives of the churches -- Christ the King, St. Anthony of Padua, St. Hedwig and St. Martha -- decide which parishes and schools should remain.

This group of churches was among the hardest hit by the Diocese of Cleveland's recent announcement that 23 of 69 parish clusters must downsize. The North Hill cluster must go from five priests to four, four churches to two, and two schools to one. The diocese left it to the churches to decide how to make these reductions.

Church leaders acknowledge that the process will be difficult and say the parishes must work together.

The article doesn't do it, but let me put this in context.

St. Hedwig is the Polish Church. Mass is still said here in Polish. My husband brought his mother down from the Cleveland area to hear Mass in Polish here not long ago.

St. Anthony of Padua is the Italian Parish. Confessions are heard here in Italian. I assume Mass is said in Italian as well, though I have no confirmation of that. The picture of the church interior on the website shows that the communion rail is still in place. Sometimes parishioners from my former liberal parish would go to St. Anthony of Padua for relief.

St. Martha is the gay friendly parish in Akron. The gay ministry was started here. The priest who started the ministry has since moved on to St. Bernard, in downtown Akron, where he heads the Newman Center for the University of Akron. There is no indication on the parish website that St. Martha is gay friendly, but you can find that information on the list compiled by the Conference for Catholic Lesbians, Inc. as explained in this Catholic Online article.

Christ the King is a typical American parish. The pastor from Christ the King says Mass every Sunday at the parish where I am still officially registered. Will this merger mean a reduction in Masses at my old parish?

Further merger is required of the schools according to the article. Christ the King school merged with St. Martha school in 2003. Now further disruption of the parochial school system in these parishes is required.

There are four priests to remain. Yet despite a priest for each parish, these four parishes must merge into two. The decision of which parishes to close is being left in the hands of the parishioners.

I do not see a peaceful outcome for this merger. What are old Italian and Polish ladies going to make of gays and lesbians in their church?

We have had 40 years of chaos in the Church. Now further chaos is being proposed. How many will leave Roman Catholicism entirely over these mergers? What will remain of Roman Catholicism when they are completed?

Meanwhile I reflect on the full seminary in Bishop Bruskewicz's diocese, and on just where the fault for this new chaos lies. And I reflect on he who bears the ultimate burden of responsibility for our priest shortage which has arisen out of the lavender transition in the priesthood--a transition documented by the Cleveland Seminary rector Donald Cozzens in his book THE CHANGING FACE OF THE PRIESTHOOD.

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Friday, June 15, 2007


A federal judge ordered the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland to turn over reams of financial records, including information on payments to former Bishop Anthony Pilla and on an account he controlled.

U.S. District Judge Ann Aldrich's ruling this week comes at the request of lawyers for Joseph Smith and Anton Zgoznik, two former diocesan employees accused of stealing $784,000 from the church.

Aldrich ruled the documents, expected to be thousands of pages, can be used only by lawyers associated with the case. But much of the information will likely be aired during a the trial, scheduled to begin in August, in which Pilla is expected to testify.

"This is unprecedented," said Robert Rotatori, Zgoznik's lawyer. "The diocese has never allowed the parishoners to have insight into its finances. This is the first time we will have access to the financial records."

Smith and Zgoznik maintain the money they are accused of stealing was actually additional pay authorized by Pilla and the Rev. John Wright, the church's former financial and legal secretary. Smith and Zgoznik claim the diocese had hundreds of off-the-book accounts that church leaders used to make secret payments to a scores of people.

"These documents will demonstrate that my client was only doing what he was instructed to do and that the officials in the diocese, up to the bishop, knew what was going on," Rotatori said.

The diocese vehemently opposed the request, calling it a "fishing expedition" designed to smear the reputations of Pilla and Wright and cloud the case against Smith and Zgoznik.

Aldrich granted the motion this week.

"The court disagrees, and finds that under the defense theory advanced by Smith, the documents sought are all sufficiently relevant and potentially exculpatory, warranting their production," Aldrich wrote.

Robert Tayek, a spokesman for the diocese, said: "The Diocese has just received the ruling; we are studying it and are considering our options."

The article goes on to outline the various records that the Diocese would like to keep secret. It appears that something like $1,722,000 in diocesan funds may possibly have been misappropriated. Read the rest of the article...


Understanding Medjugorje. By Donal Anthony Foley

Although the subtitle of Donal Anthony Foley's Understanding Medjugorje is "Heavenly Visions or Religious Illusion?" there is no question in the mind or writing of the author that the answer is "illusion." Add to that, fraud and deceit. The alleged visions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in a backwater town of former Yugoslavia (now Bosnia-Herzegovina) since 1981 continue to attract religious thrill seekers in droves. What most Medjugorje pilgrims don't know, suggests Foley, is the sordid history surrounding the visionaries and the the religious order that has promoted the alleged visions over the past quarter century. Sexual scandal, ecclesial disobedience, an attack on the local bishop, and outright fraud are just some of the compelling reasons to question the authenticity of the visions and the motives of its promoters. Unlike previous slovenly-written attempts by other authors to expose the Medjugorje deception, Foley's offering provides an informative, compelling and persuasive argument to give Medjugorje a wide berth. -- June 15, 2007


From Sandro Magister:

On December 1, 2005, cardinal Francis Arinze, prefect of the congregation for divine worship and the discipline of the sacraments, addressed to the heads of the Way a letter requesting six corrections.

The most important correction concerned the manner of receiving Eucharistic communion: not seated around “a cloth-covered table placed at the center of the church ,” but either standing or kneeling after a procession to the altar, as prescribed for all the faithful by the liturgical books.

Arinze gave two years for adoption of the correct way of receiving communion. And on January 12, 2006, at an audience with thousands of Neocatechumenals, Benedict XVI insisted that they obey.

But as of today, in many Neocatechumenal communities all over the world, communion is still received as before, seated.

Confirmation of this disobedience comes from the frequent reminders that the bishops address to the Neocatechumenal communities present in their dioceses.

Hat tip to NOR for the link.


From a link at NOR:

While we maintain our caveat regarding specific dates, it is simply impossible to ignore several important details of the present article, entirely translated from the famous and credible Italian website of Papal news Petrus: supposed excerpts of the actual Cover Letter to be sent to all bishops, details of the Press Conference which would host the public announcement of the document, as well as a clear declaration from an extremely credible source, Nicola Bux.

According to the blog it will be released just before the Pope goes on vacation on July 9.


Moscow, June 14, Interfax - Expanding cooperation between the Russian Orthodox Church and the Roman Catholic Church will have significant implications for the future of all of Europe, Patriarch Alexy II of Moscow and All Russia has said.

"This cooperation is extremely important on the European continent, which has deep Christian roots. Unfortunately, these Christian roots are being subjected to oblivion and even trampled upon today," Alexy II said at a meeting with Cardinal Peter Erdo, the president of the Council of Episcopal Conferences of Europe, in Moscow on Thursday.

The attempts to impose a secular mentality on society and oust religion to the periphery of public affairs are especially active in Europe these days, Alexy said.

Continue reading...


The premiere of a work by the leading composer Sir John Taverner in Westminster Cathedral next week has provoked discord because it glorifies the Muslim deity Allah.

Traditionalist Roman Catholics are planning to converge on the cathedral on Tuesday evening to protest over the work, which includes the singing of the 99 names of Allah.

A number have written to Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the head of the Roman Catholic Church in England and Wales, expressing concern that the Church will be seen to be endorsing the Islamic idea of God.

Read the rest...


From Interfax:

Moscow mayor to axe gay pride leaders ‘satanic aim’ and ‘unlimited tolerance’

Moscow, July 14, Interfax - Moscow mayor Yury Luzhkov has urged the authorities to protect the people from the baneful influence of the alien values and ideas.

‘They try to impose on us an ideology of unlimited tolerance, which is completely incompatible with our moral values. Although they have abandoned their plan to disintegrate our nation, they misuse freedom of meetings, guarantied to all sorts of minorities, to press on our morals,’ Luzhkov said.

The mayor called this aim ‘satanic’ and said he would confront it.

Read the rest...

Thursday, June 14, 2007


Dom has posted an interesting blog--a map of the U.S. with the country that is closest to each state in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). My own state of Ohio is closest to Australia according to Acton.


Check out Mother Mary's Garden for a large selection of New Age Rosaries.

I thought the Rosary for Loving Yourself was interesting. Back in the days before Vatican II a priest would have told you that you didn't need any help in loving yourself. It was a given and the source of selfishness that had to be overcome. The print friendly link on the right will bring up this pdf file of the entire text. Who knew Buddha liked the rosary!

Wikipedia explains what this is all about. In short, Summit Lighthouse of Elizabeth Clare Prophet.


"Neodistributivism" is the subject of Tom Herron's article in the June issue of Culture Wars which arrived in the mailbox yesterday.

He picks up the Acton Institute once again and moves into a discussion of the concept. One passage of the article is pertinent to the discussion here:

...while many Catholic authors during the '20s and '30s adopted distributivism as the preferred economic structure to promote justice for all, this does not mean that the Church has de fide adopted this as its official definitive teaching on the social question. It does mean, however, that Catholic present-day enthusiasts for the free market should seriously examine what these authors were trying to state and to remember that the laissez-faire capitalist system they champion has been condemned by the magisterium of the Church, in its unchecked form, over a century ago.

Meanwhile a book review in the June issue of New Oxford Review discusses the attempt to treat economics as the equivalent of natural science rather than social science--an attempt that doesn't hold up to scrutiny. Economic behavior is socially conditioned, claims Thomas Storck in his review of THE HANDBOOK OF ECONOMIC SOCIOLOGY by Neil J. Smelser and Richard Swedberg. Storck writes:

Economic behavior is always conditioned by society's laws, as well as by cultural preferences and traditions. There is no such thing as purely "natural" economic behavior. This is not to say that such economic dispositions as the desire to maximize gain or the tendency toward price equilibrium between buyer and seller do not exist. But such dispositions exist within the framework of laws, customs, institutions, and other factors that shape how economic motives and tendencies express themselves.

If we accept that this premise is true, the Church has a role to play in economics in any given culture, because no economic justice is possible in a culture that pits every man for himself against every other man. The dictates of charity are probably the only counterforce to greed, and greed is inevitable without the mitigating effects of religion.

So...is it possible to become fabulously wealthy without violating the dictates of charity? Does every very rich man become that way at the expense of others over whom he walks roughshod? And if he does, why do we hold up as role models those who are rich? What values are we culturally enshrining?


The Plain Dealer reports:

The pastor of St. Christine Catholic Church in Euclid has been suspended because of an allegation he sexually abused a minor in the mid-1970s.

The Cleveland Catholic Diocese said it recently received a complaint that the Rev. Patrick Henry, 65, "engaged in sexual misconduct with a minor" before he was ordained and outside of the eight-county diocese.

Henry was placed on leave after the Diocesan Review Board concluded the allegation was credible. The diocese said Henry's case has been sent to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith at the Vatican for "its review and determination."

Read the rest...


Are you a Kabbalah enthusiast? Do you want to announce your enthusiasm to the world? Check out the Kabbalah jewelry offered by the Jerusalem Post.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


An article at Spirit Daily warns that New Age rosaries have found a way into Catholic events and are being distributed as though they are Catholic rosaries:

"These rosaries have appeared on sale at pilgrimage centers across Europe and in most cases are given away for free," warns a blog. "They are made from cheap plastic and come in white, blue, or pink, stamped as having been made in Italy, yet no one knows who has produced them. Since they are available at places of pilgrimage, this makes people automatically think they are fine to use. Information regarding the danger of these rosaries was given at the Marian Cenacle in Limoges, France, on 14th March 2005."

"I found two in my home and a friend found three in her home and another friend of mine found tons of them!" wrote a viewer who received hers from a friend in Richmond, Virginia. " A friend of mine and myself found some of these 'New Age rosaries in our collection of cheap plastic rosaries to give away for Legion of Mary. This is true and I am guessing that we should burn them?"

Yes. Another report has come from Wilmington, North Carolina.

"I thought that this was a hoax until I checked and found that I had a ton of these rosaries," wrote another. "I was given them to use for the Jericho March for Life. We've probably all used them at one time or another -- when we've lost or forgotten our rosary or the children will pick them up here and there -- or someone always gives the children this type of rosary. Creepy!"

"During these days, very disturbed and concerned people from Ireland and England wrote to me and told me about how people are giving back rosaries that they have received in Medjugorje, because a priest told them that these rosaries were New Age," a Croatian priest, Father Jozo Zovko, was quoted as saying.

"I must tell you: this is not true! It is a great temptation, but there is no such thing as a New Age rosary. There can only be the material from which the rosary is made, when the rosary is blessed, when it is placed in the hands of those who believe. It is not a matter of asking who made the rosary, but who prays with it and how they pray with it.

"When the rosary is blessed it becomes a key with which we open our hearts and God’s heart. There is no such thing as a New Age rosary. There is only a rosary that is blessed, and when blessed the value of the rosary is not judged in what it is, whether it is of plastic or solid gold. It does not matter who made it."

"They are considered New Age due to their symbolism which is not too easy to see except by close inspection of the Crucifix, which shows a very sinister story," says another warning. "Behind the figure of Christ there can be seen a caduceus, which is an upright pole, representing mediation between Heaven and earth.

"It is an ancient herald's wand which was carried by messenger gods like Hermes or Mercury. The rod is also a divining rod to measure the earth and its energies of power. Satan is shown behind the figure of Christ and is depicted by a coiled serpent which means latent power, concealed but not yet fully manifest, a dormant power. It may also represent that the devil is co-messianic, co-redeemer, and co-Christ. The circles on the Crucifix are from Egyptian Graeco-Roman, Phoenician, and Baal symbols. The circles or pentagrams have five points which represent, spirit, fire, earth, water and air. The pentagram at the bottom is upside down represents the devil's goat. The four circles with dots in the center signifies gold or the sun in alchemy. In general the meaning is 'The resolution of all possibilities.'"

You can discern whether they are harmful or not. Is the symbolism New Age or simply arcane?


is the subject of an article from the archives of New Oxford Review by John C. Medaille. It discusses the various encyclicals on economics by Leo XIII, Pius XI, and JPII, which oppose capitalism:

What are our economic options? Must we have either capitalism or socialism? Socialism's obvious failures (Russia) and putative successes (China) have been brutally oppressive, while capitalism's dubious results (a consumerist culture, ubiquitous advertising, wage-slavery, corporate conglomeration, practical monopoly) confront us daily in America. Are these the only alternatives?

On this subject the Catholic Church has great wisdom to offer. For more than a century the popes have shown themselves to be astute analysts of socialism and capitalism, and John Paul II has brought the papal critique to an unprecedented pitch of incisiveness. Both economic systems, he has written, are "in need of radical correction.... This is one of the reasons why the Church's social doctrine adopts a critical attitude towards both liberal capitalism and Marxist collectivism" (Sollicitudo Rei Socialis, hereinafter SRS).

A radical correction means, of course, correction at the root. And John Paul in his encyclicals on economics and society has exposed the root error of both socialism and capitalism. Both are fundamentally materialist. Thus both fail to recognize man's full nature. Though different in practice, capitalism and socialism share underlying philosophical assumptions that operate to reduce man to a cog of an economic system. They tend to absolutize economic life. In so doing they marginalize man's spiritual and religious dimension either by openly persecuting it (as socialism does) or by treating it as a private matter deserving of no place in the public sphere (as capitalism does). Thus they not only thwart man's spiritual freedom but also hamper his economic initiative and his achievement of his true economic vocation.

Since the American system is not socialist but capitalist, this article focuses on the Catholic argument against capitalism, primarily as made in the encyclicals of Leo XIII, Pius XI, and John Paul II. It then goes on to outline a corrective called Distributivism, a response first formulated by G.K. Chesterton and Hilaire Belloc, which is based on the realistic premise that power follows property.

Here again Distributivism arises as the Catholic answer to the evils of current day economic systems, and here again Father Sirico's Action Institute would be outside of the realm of Catholic teaching.

The worker's union is given as a method for the leveling of the ownership of property. From the article:

But if labor is primary, what is this to mean in actual practice? The answer is the just wage. But how are we to determine what constitutes a "just wage"? It is not up to the mere "free consent" of the parties, a point on which all the encyclicals agree. This arises from the fact that labor has a social function, namely, the support of families.

For a wage to be just, it must be sufficient to support a family. "The wage shall not be less than enough to support a worker who is thrifty and upright" (RN). This wage must also allow support of the family without requiring mothers to work outside the home (LE).

However, the "family wage" is not an end in itself, for the just distribution of productive property still needs to be achieved. Hence, the wage must be sufficient so that the workingman, through his savings, can acquire property of his own (RN). This is the heart of papal policy: that "the propertyless wage-earner be placed in such circumstances that by skill and thrift he can acquire a certain moderate ownership" (QA).

Finally, it should be noted that the right to a just wage is emphatically not a mere pious wish. It is a requirement of objective morality, a requirement that cannot be subordinated to the "criterion of maximum profit." The just wage "must constitute the adequate and fundamental criterion for shaping the whole economy" (LE).

Finally, in summary the article states:

Distributivism is based on the realistic and intuitively grasped notion that power follows property, combined with a genuine love of freedom and a desire to spread the benefits of freedom and economic initiative as widely as possible. It is a real response to the call of the Church for "a change of lifestyles, of models of production and consumption, and of the established structures of power which today govern societies" (CA). As such, it deserves the serious and prayerful consideration not only of Catholics but of all followers of Christ.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


Spirit Daily links this story:

The Orthodox Righteous Court of Law (Badatz) have placed a curse on the organizers and particpicants in the gay pride parade scheduled to take place in Jerusalem next Thursday. The curse also applied to police forces that will secure the event.

Rabbis from the Orthodox Edah Haredit sector (Badatz) published a message in Jerusalem on Sunday which read: "To all those involved,
sinners in spirit, and whoever helps and protects them, may they feel a curse on their souls, may it plague them and may evil pursue them; they will not be acquitted of their transgressions from heavenly judgment."

The Edah Haredit is an extreme body which has declared ideological warfare against the "heretic Zionist government." Its members shun Knesset votes, do not carry Israeli ID cards, and refuse allowances from the government budget.

Edah Haredit rabbis warned Sunday that anyone who participates in the gay parade will be hurt "in body, soul and finances."

The rabbis threatened participants citing the "success" of previous curses: "Know what happened to the evil persons who were cursed, and thus feel in your souls that your end will be bitter," the statement read.

"We are in a grave situation," wrote the editor of the Edah Haredit mouthpiece, Rabbi Shmuel Pappenheim. In placing the curse, "The Badatz acceded judgment to the heavens; they will be dealt with there."

Read the rest...


NOR links a story of the renovation of St. Cecilia's Catholic Church under the guiding influence of Fr. Richard Vosko, known for his circular renovations. Some telling comments from the article:

- No matter where they sat, parishioners could look ahead past the altar, into the faces of their friends, neighbors or fellow churchgoing strangers.

So it's not about looking for God, honoring and praising Him, it's all about our fellow man. Indicator No. 1 that Vosko's religion is man-centered and would like Jesus Christ to recede into the background.

- ...the change in seating represents a changed mentality...

Yes, it certainly does. You'll get no argument from me!

- ...you see yourselves gradually transformed into a new 'Church,'...

And what Church would that be? The other Church that exists within the Roman Catholic Church like a thief in the night?

- ...a very different concept of what "Church" means...

Yes, it is. The question is who they worship in this different concept of "Church".

- "It's not Father giving us something from a high altar. It's something that looks like we're doing something together," Vosko said.

And just what are "we" going to do? Consecrate? That "something" coming from the high altar is the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. But perhaps Vosko isn't interested in getting that.

- ...some priests struggle to understand the new dynamic...

And well they should since it represents a "new Church" according to its creator. Would that more folks in the pew struggled to understand it instead of just following Vosko like a bunch of lemmings.

- The new design emphasizes that 'church' is a people...The arrangement emphasizes community.

I thought "church" was all about emphasizing God. We can get plenty of people in all the other places in the world. It is only in church that a space is set aside for God.

- "You're looking at each other, you know, instead of having everybody look at a back."

If Sue Gallagher, who made that statement, was spending her time in church looking at the back of the person in front of her instead of looking at the altar which represents Christ and the priest who was acting in personna Christi, she was wasting her time in church anyway. As she probably still is now that she can look at a front.

But then this renovation took place in the Albany Diocese, so what should I expect!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Monday, June 11, 2007


Susanna has sent in many links to information about this priest, much of which confirms what has been written by Tom Herron in his Culture Wars article. One of the most significant pieces was this one titled "G.K. Chesterton and Dorothy Day on Economics: Neither Socialism nor Capitalism" by Mark and Louise Zwick, which was delivered to the American Chesterton Society at their annual conference in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 2001.

From that talk comes the following passage:

There has been much discussion of the new Mandatum for theologians, a requirement from the local Bishop to authorize them to teach in the name of the Church. We need a Mandatum to ensure that the economics taught in Catholic universities will reflect the social teaching of the Church, and specifically this condemnation of neo-liberalism, which has not even begun to be explored by Catholic economists. The economics taught in Catholic universities should be different from that of secular economists. Ellen Rice told us that when she recently got her MBA from a secular university, they taught her to be a robber baron. Unfortunately, the economics taught in Catholic universities is quite similar.

Groups like the Acton Institute, a Catholic-Calvinist libertarian-capitalist group, defend themselves from the condemnation of neo-liberalism by saying they are the good guys-they are for good capitalism rather than bad capitalism and the condemnation could not possibly apply to them. Fr. Robert Sirico, head of that institute, like Michael Novak and Fr. Richard Neuhaus, speaks of how God is creator and so is the capitalist, that God blesses all efforts to create. These men advocate the freedom to create wealth with no standard or interference from the State or from God-and they fund and give courses to seminarians, priests and ministers, teaching that this is the highest ethics.

The talk describes in detail the Catholic position on economics--distributism--which proposes a capitalism that provides the means of livlihood through private property for each and every man, not just for the gatherers of wealth who make wage slaves out of the rest of humanity. It's a compelling position.

Meanwhile Acton Institute is in the process of educating seminarians in their faulty Catholic economics according to their website:

Toward a Free and Virtuous Society Conferences designed for seminarians and other future religious leaders, these conferences offer an introduction to the moral foundations of personal and economic liberty. By combining an in-depth treatment of economic principles with principles of social justice and anthropology, Toward a Free and Virtuous Society seminars focus on applying the foundational ideas of economic liberty to complex issues such as poverty, welfare reform, and globalization.

So, if you hear the ethics of the robber barons preached from the pulpit, you might consider whether the priest spouting them has been exposed to the economic philosophy of Father Robert Sirico.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I miss blogging. I've read three novels so far and I'm 70 pages into one of Greeley's and totally bored with it.

Writing has always been my way to deal with frustration, so here goes. I may not post this--well, I probably will--but hope it can exorcise the frustration in any case.

After praying all week for a place to worship God, I decided yesterday to attend Mass at a church close to home since we can't seem to get a reliable parish situation no matter how far we travel. Knowing what the local parish is like, I prayed on the way to Mass that God would just get me through it. That prayer, at least, He answered in the affirmative since part of the way through I suddenly became indifferent to what was going on around me, and that was a bit of grace.

What was going on made the Mass man-centered instead of God-centered for me. First there were the bongo drums. They have been added to the reserved section of the church where the music ministry performs. The church has a choir loft, but only the piano player resides up there. The drums sat idle, fortunately, only offering to offend by their presence, but not actually doing so.

Then there was the baptism. Haven't been around for a baptism at Mass for years. It began at the back of the church, and we were told to turn around to observe. Of course doing so meant that we turned our backs on the tabernacle, something that Sister constantly drilled into our heads we were never supposed to do. She was still talking to me in my head.

Things moved along normally through the homily which actually mentioned Jesus Christ, so long as you consider normal the passage back and forth from the music ministry section to the Gospel podium, on the opposite side of the sanctuary, of the music minister who seems to need to perform up there even though she has a perfectly good podium in the music ministry section. After the homily when the baptism took place, the inevitable applause followed...something I skipped, though I must have been the only one present who did.

When the baptism was completed the new Eucharistic ministers were commissioned, and the applause followed that as well. I guess it must have been a good show, though no standing ovation yet; but I really don't know because I kept my eyes on the tabernacle and tried to pray during the celebration. It wasn't a very successful endeavor.

The Agnus Dei was improvised, and the usual crowd of Eucharistic ministers lined the entire back of the sanctuary when it was their turn to traipse up there. I didn't even bother to count them, partly because the very tall man in front of me blocked my view, thankfully.

The music, accompanied by the piano player, was the usual drivel out of "Gather" so I skipped the singing. I also skipped communion, since I was obviously not in communion with this congregation, and high-tailed it out of there during the recessional song once the priest had left the sanctuary.

But I made it. I got all the way through it and walked out without harboring an overwhelming burden of anger. The anger came later and is still hanging around, hence this blog. I've also had my talk with God, and I wasn't very nice about it. Mass should not be penance. Inculturation should be able to accommodate those of us who are American, were raised up on the Tridentine, and would like reverence and honor for God to be a central theme of Mass. Alas, we are the forgotten minority.

My husband opted out of these festivities. He knows all too well what to expect at the local parish.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

Weblog Commenting by HaloScan.com

<< # St. Blog's Parish ? >>