Saturday, September 01, 2007


I tried to attend Mass at 5 p.m. today at Holy Family in Stow. I thought it would be a less troubling experience than last Sunday's Mass was because the big performances are usually saved for Sunday. I got to church 20 minutes before Mass was scheduled to start and thought I could say a rosary while I waited.

But there was a low buzz of conversation that was distracting. Lots of people were talking. I prayed to You that You would just get me through it and resisted the desire to leave, trying to concentrate on my rosary. But the soloist needed to practice her songs and she couldn't get it right, so she had to keep repeating it.

I took out the earplugs that are always in my purse and put them in my ears, hoping they would muffle the sounds enough so I could pray. But it didn't work, Lord. I couldn't do it, and I couldn't overcome my growing anger. It became overwhelming and I had to get out of there.

They have forgotten You, Lord. They are there just for themselves and their performance. They don't remember that You are there in the tabernacle and would like to talk with them. They are too busy talking with each other just like they do when they are outside of church. Church is no longer a holy place. It has become a gathering space, a place where people meet other people. A place where You are an accessory that can almost be dispensed with.

If they needed You there in that church, they would talk with You. But they must not need to talk with You because they don't talk with You. They just talk with each other and make elaborate preparations to perform. All they want is their performance. They have substituted activity for You.

I won't get to Mass again this weekend. I can't go through that again, and I have nowhere to go that I can be sure to avoid another disaster. I need a place to worship Lord. There is no place to worship here.


A report on Mexico's Saint Death has been compiled by Kevin Freese, Foreign Military Studies Office, Fort Levenworth, KS, and is available online.

It gives the history--or rather the various possible histories--of this cult, including its ties to a Catholic saint, and describes how it is entering the U.S. through illegal immigration.


From the Cleveland Plain Dealer:

The defense attorney for a former church accountant on trial in federal court presented evidence Tuesday that the normal financial system of checks-and-balances didn't exist at the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland.

During his second day on the witness stand, the Rev. John Wright, former lead lawyer and chief financial officer at the diocese, said he deferred most of the church's money decisions to his right-hand man, Joseph Smith. ...

Smith, 50, jotted notes in the back of the courtroom while Wright testified at the trial of a former diocesan accountant, Anton Zgoznik. ...

...sweetheart deals and secret executive compensation agreements were the routine in the loosely-run diocese, Rotatori said. ...

Evidence was presented Tuesday that:

* Casmir Rutt, a former diocesan chief financial officer, continued to be paid his full salary for three years after his retirement. ...

Uh-huh. Nice little perk, 3 years of post-retirement salary. What does one have to do to be granted such a perk? What does one have to know?

Friday, August 31, 2007


I tried to decide what was the funniest portion of this commentary, but couldn't pick just one segment. So go over there and get your chuckles for Friday night. In Cleveland we are so blessed!


From the most recent testimony as reported by Ohio.com:

Pilla, who retired last year after 25 years leading the eight-county diocese of 800,000 Catholics, said he learned of the alleged kickbacks from William Reidy, a financial adviser who received a whistle-blower's anonymous letter detailing the alleged payments in late 2003.

''Shock,'' Pilla responded quietly when asked his reaction at the time. Smith ''was a valued co-worker in whom I had great trust,'' Pilla said. ''I had complete trust.''

Pilla, after meeting with a lawyer and advisers, placed Smith on leave one day later. Smith quit within a month as the FBI mounted an investigation into financial irregularities.

Pilla said he was unaware of any off-the-books payments to Smith. Asked if he would have approved the $250,000, five-year, lump-sum incentive payment authorized by Smith's predecessor for Smith, Pilla said he would have done so only if it had been recommended by his outside financial advisers.


The Commonweal blog offers a clever spin on Bishop Pilla's shock:

One exchange in court was memorable, if only for Bishop Pilla’s demonstration that he is not a fan of movie classics. When asked by Assistant U.S. Attorney, John Siegel, about his reaction to a letter he received in January 2004 informing him of allegations (and corroborating evidence) of a kickback scheme in the diocese, Pilla said he was “Shocked, Shocked” because he had complete trust in his chief financial officer. As any Casablanca fan knows, Inspector Renault is “shocked, shocked, to find gambling” at Rick’s Café.


A reader sent in a link to the Gospel procession at St. Nicholas. Priest as closet Arthur Murray and one of the servers with ballroom aspirations. Is this place non-denominational Christian? Gnostic? Or perhaps Jewish? The name of the church implies Roman Catholic. Maybe this is just what the interior design requires. Traditional anything would be out of place.

The video is part of the website of a church wreckovator--architects with novelty on the brain. Click on the talking churches here to see what they design. A predictable sameness. Why did the circular design in church architecture suddenly become standard design for renovation? What was wrong with the cruciform? What message does the new layout send to us?

A nun appears to be attempting consecration at the Mount Assisi Chapel.

The interior of Holy Spirit Retreat Chapel would have me running for a blanket. Is a Ghost that cold truly a LIVING God?

Then there is Our Lady of the Ridge. A cross between St. Star Wars and St. Belly of the Whale.

Does the tabernacle at St. Alphonsus have a door? The exterior view of the tabernacle shows how it sticks out into open air, making a smash and grab by a passing Satanist in need of a consecrated host a handy option. What were they thinking?

One of their webpages is sort of fun to play with. Click the "exploring color" button and run your cursor up and down the color bar. Notice that this looks like a real church. Notice, too, that it isn't Catholic.


Details of his early September trip are spelled out at Catholic News Service.

I have to say that I get a warm feeling in reading about them. His low key emphasis on Marian piety is just what the Church needs at this particular time when everyone is running around looking for sensations and signs and wonders. Instead of chasing after miracles he is suggesting to us that we reinforce our faithfulness on our knees before the Mother of God at a place where Catholics have been doing that very thing for centuries. It is going to take her intercession for this Church to recover its bearings.


The owners of a New Zealand restaurant chain have removed an image of Adolf Hitler from a pizza advert after complaints from Jewish customers.

The poster campaign for Hell Pizza had featured an image of the dictator with his arm outstretched in the Nazi salute while holding a slice of pizza.

The caption read: “It is possible to make people believe that heaven is hell” — a paraphrased quote attributed to Hitler.

Read all of it...

On this one I'm wholly in sympathy with the Jewish community's objection. How stupid and insensitive of the pizza company. How tasteless and tacky. They seem to think they have improved their image by changing Hitler to Benedict XVI with a tag line of “Hell is real and eternal.” That is supposed to sell pizza? If anyone really took it seriously, they would cancel the pizza order in order to fast!

Thursday, August 30, 2007


is the title of an article by Heiner Boberski that appeared in "The Tablet" May 30, 1998. It discusses Opus Angelorum. I have been able to locate an available copy online here. Boberinski is the author of a book-length investigation into the activities of Opus Angelorum. The book, however, is not available in English translation.

Here is a portion of The Tablet article:

Strict secrecy is regarded as of the utmost importance in the OA, so membership, with the exception of the 160 male and 150 female members of the Holy Cross Order (1992 figures), can rarely be proved. In 1993, Fr Hansjörg Bitterlich, Gabriele Bitterlich’s son, who at the time was still superior of the Holy Cross Convent of St Petersberg in the Tyrol, spoke of almost 10,000 regular members, and added that a further million people were close to the Opus Angelorum. The OA itself has claimed that about a dozen cardinals and more than 50 bishops have become members. With their help the organisation is pressing for influence in the Church, although it is doubtful whether all these church dignitaries are acquainted with and approve of OA writings like the Handbook. As early as 1988, when Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, Archbishop of Munich, forbade Opus Angelorum activities in his diocese, an ex-member warned on Bavarian television: I think the danger for the Church is very great. I really believe that, step by step, the OA intends to occupy key positions in the Church and make it into an Opus Angelorum Church.

The reason this group disturbs me is contained in the following passage:

The OA and its teachings are based on a so-called private revelation. From visions she had had, Gabriele Bitterlich (1896-1978), a Tyrolean housewife who originally came from Vienna, and is greatly venerated by the organisation as The Mother, described the names, characteristics and appearance of hundreds of angels and demons and the never-ending battle between them. Apparently 80,000 manuscript pages can be attributed to her, and from these various publications have been composed and made available to members.

According to OA theory, in order to achieve salvation, human beings must actively join the angels in their battle against the demons – which means, in concrete terms, joining the Opus Angelorum. That these inspirations were of a supernatural nature is not very plausible, as there are indications that spiritism and esoteric literature, above all occult Jewish cabbala teachings, played a certain role in the Bitterlich family. Some of Mother Gabriele’s angels bear the names of cabalistic Sefirot, like the titles of the chapters in Eco’s Foucault’s Pendulum, but also names like Yahweh, which, according to Jewish tradition, are reserved solely for God.


Catholic university DePaul is in the news today for placing Dr. Norman Finkelstein on administrative leave and canceling his classes allegedly in violation of university and AAUP policy. It appears that the reason for this action revolves around a heated controversy between Finkelstein and Harvard University law professor Alan Dershowitz.

The required reading was at the bookstore, the students had the course syllabus, and space in Political Science 235, "Equality in Social Justice," was standing-room only when DePaul University pulled the plug Friday on what was to have been Norman Finkelstein's final year at the school.

A controversial scholar—accused by critics of fomenting anti-Semitism and lauded by supporters as a forthright critic of Israel—Finkelstein attracted wide attention across the academic world when he was denied tenure in the spring.

By Monday, the books for his course had been pulled from the DePaul bookstore's shelves, while his case was restarting a firestorm of protest. The American Association of University Professors was preparing a letter to the university, protesting Finkelstein's treatment as a serious violation of academic ethics.

Finkelstein vowed not to take the rebuff lying down—or, perhaps more correctly, to do something just like that. In addition to canceling his course, the university informed him that his office was no longer his.

"I intend to go to my office on the first day of classes and, if my way is barred, to engage in civil disobedience," Finkelstein, 53, said in a telephone interview. "If arrested, I'll go on a hunger strike.

Read the rest...

Fox News adds details:

Finkelstein's most recent book, "Beyond Chutzpah: On the Misuse of Anti-Semitism and the Abuse of History," is largely an attack on Dershowitz's "The Case for Israel." In it, Finkelstein argues that Israel uses the outcry over perceived anti-Semitism as a weapon to stifle criticism.

Dershowitz, who threatened to sue Finkelstein's publisher for libel, urged DePaul officials to reject Finkelstein's tenure bid in June.

The American Association of University Professors is preparing a letter to the university protesting Finkelstein's treatment as a serious violation of academic ethics, the Chicago Tribune reported Tuesday.

The magazine Global Politician wades in on the controversy with the following:

Here in Free Speech USA, New York University historian Tony Judt is getting his come-uppance for having the temerity to think he can give lectures and write articles about Middle East issues when his perspectives differ from those of The Lobby--that is, The Lobby that does not exist.

Like others, such as Amos Elon, Noam Chomsky, Norman Finkelstein, Rabbi Michael Lerner, Richard Cohen, Tony Kushner and Israel Shamir--all of whom criticize the United States's biased support of Israeli policies--Professor Judt is learning that there is a special hell reserved for his ilk. Representatives from that hell follow you around, hunt you down, and single-mindedly work to sabotage your every effort at dissent.

After Abraham Foxman of B'nai Brith's Anti-Defamation League got on the case, Judt's scheduled talk last October at the Polish consulate in New York was canceled. The Washington Post quotes the Polish Consul General describing phone calls he received from the ADL and the American Jewish Committee: "The phone calls were very elegant but may be interpreted as exercising a delicate pressure." Another speech, scheduled at the Bronx's Manhattan College, was also canceled under pressure. Explained the Hebrew Institute's Rabbi Avi Weiss, who was responsible for bringing about the cancellation: "Being anti-Israel is essentially being anti-Jewish." And that's that. Subject closed.

Finkelstein defends his book against Alan Dershowitz's criticism at his website

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Someone just sent me a "do you remember" email with a bunch of old car terminology like "steering knobs" and "continental kits"; "running board" and "fender skirts".

What I want to know is whether the modern car wardrobe includes a pair of fender trousers?


Since we see that our pope has knighted Rabbi Leon Klenicki, knowing what Jews believe would seem to be an important key to understanding who the pope is honoring. One cannot read of such events in the news without becoming curious about the Jewish faith.

First off, a Catholic assumes that Judaism is Biblical Judaism, the roots of our Catholic faith. We note that the God we worship who took human form came to earth as the son of a Jewish woman, and foster son of a Jewish man. We see that throughout the Old Testament Jewish prophetic utterance predicted His coming. This pre-disposes us to accept the teachings of Nostra Aetate. The Holocaust draws us in compassion to open our hearts to the Jews. We assume that the Jews believe what is written in the Old Testament, and that thus we share, at least partially, one faith.

An article, sent in by a reader, linked at Spirit Daily recently, titled "More Jews Raising Children as 'Nothing in Particular'" presents a rather different picture. The article is a review of a book by Rabbi Gilbert Rosenthal, Executive Director of the National Council of Synagogues. The book is titled WHAT CAN A MODERN JEW BELIEVE? It is written for the contemporary Jew and outlines the core beliefs of Judaism. It was written because

Increasing numbers of Jews are marrying and raising their children outside the faith. Even some Jewish scholars suggest that ethnicity, community, or culture--rather than religion--defines a Jew.

How does one go about interreligious dialogue with Judaism when the Jews do not believe in religion? Does this little-known fact account for the heavy emphasis on community in the modern American Catholic Church, to the detriment of worship of God?

I've said it repeatedly, Judaism is not monolithic. Some Jews believe very strongly in their traditional religion. Others have taken a much more secular approach to religion. Some are into a sort of non-denominational Judaism that can accommodate Buddhism and other faiths.

A reader sent in a link to Volume 10, No. 3, 2005 of the "Middle East Fertility Society Journal" in which Sherman J. Silber, M.D. discusses the Jewish faith. He presents some statistics about the divisions:

For most Jews, Judaism is not well defined.
There are three main branches to Judaism:
"Orthodox," "Conservative," and "Reformed."
Only about 10% of Jews worldwide are Orthodox,
and only Orthodox Judaism is quite well defined.
Approximately 85% of Jews worldwide are
"Reformed," and these Jews are, for the most part,
secular. About 5% of Jews are "Conservative,"
which is a sort of a hybrid between Orthodox and
Reformed Judaism. Thus, with the exception of
Orthodox Jews (10%), most Jews would have a
very difficult time defining their belief system. In
fact, Orthodox Jews often define themselves as
"religious" Jews so as to distinguish themselves
from the other 90% (Reformed and Conservative)
who are viewed by the Orthodox as ethnic and
historical Jews, but who are not following the
traditional Jewish religion. Thus, to simplify the
discussion of Judaism and modern reproductive
technology, it is much easier to concentrate on the
more clearly defined "Orthodox" branch of
Judaism since it has the most severe set of rules.

Should one assume that Nostra Aetate applies only to 10% of Judaism? Are the Jews who have received a Papal Knighthood all Hasids?

There is also a developing sort of religion that is coming out of Judaism and embracing a non-denominational approach. New York's "The Jewish Week", 12/29/2006 reported it in an article titled "Kabbalah: The Newest Denomination?" Of particular interest to me in the article is the following:

Some 100 scholars, teachers, students and practitioners of Kabbalah gathered at a seaside hotel here in an attempt to make sense of Kabbalah’s explosion in popularity. Their only clear agreements were that the phenomenon is incontrollable, that it will continue to grow at breakneck speed, and that it will always be controversial. “We live in the recommendation age,” said Rabbi Yakov Travis, whose Cleveland-based Tiferet Institute sponsored the day-and-a-half conference last week. “There’s so much Kabbalah information out there. There’s more than you can imagine. All we can do is provide guidance.”

To varying degrees, most at the “Kabbalah for the Masses” conference favored Kabbalah’s wide dissemination, although they disagreed over the manner in which it is occurring and the degree to which it should be tied to mainstream rabbinic Judaism....

In an interview, Rabbi Travis, a professor at Cleveland’s Siegal College of Judaic Studies, cautioned that if the mainstream Jewish community continues to reject the Kabbalah Centre outright – even as many Jews in the United States, Israel and elsewhere continue to takes its classes and read its books – there is a risk of spawning “another offshoot of Judaism, like Christianity.”

“We must find a way to keep the Kabbalah Centre -- and Jews into Kabbalah in New Age and other settings -- within the community. This can’t be ignored,” he said.

Rabbi Berg’s appearance was the conference’s dramatic highpoint. A distant second was the joint appearance via computer hookups of Rabbi Zalman Schachter-Shalomi, Jewish Renewal’s unofficial spiritual leader, and Rabbi Arthur Green, the former Reconstructionist Rabbinical College dean who now heads the “transdenominational” Hebrew College Rabbinical School in Newton Centre, Mass. ...

Kabbalah, he [Rabbi Green] said, is Judaism’s version of what is commonly referred to as the perennial philosophy that crosses religious boundaries.

Tiferet Institute, sponsor of the conference, a Cleveland enterprise founded in 2006 by Rabbi Dr. Yakov Travis, which evolved from Rabbi Travis' organization, Ruach Cleveland, bills itself as a global network, and offers to teach Jewish Spirituality to all comers via the internet. The fall lineup of classes includes "Introduction to Kabbalah: History, Mystery & Essence", "Kabbalistic Mussar: Insights from 'The Palm Tree of Deborah'", and "Kabbalah & The Feminine".

If the Kabbalah teaches channeling of angels, what does this trend foretell for the future of America?


The former top lawyer and chief financial officer at the Cleveland Catholic Diocese testified Monday that he approved $250,000 in secret payments to his successor.

But the Rev. John Wright denied authorizing a diocesan accountant, Anton Zgoznik, to pay another $784,000 to Wright's replacement.

Government prosecutors considered the $784,000 to be kickbacks and called Wright to testify at Zgoznik's trial in U.S. District Court in Cleveland. Zgoznik is charged with multiple counts of conspiracy, money laundering, mail fraud and obstruction of justice.

Wright's replacement, Joseph Smith, will stand trial later. He faces the same charges.

Wright said he approved a $250,000 payment to Smith in 1996, to be made over five years, to supplement his assistant's salary and persuade him not to leave the diocese.

Smith had the benefit of an advocate, Zgoznik, with close ties to Wright. The priest had presided over Zgoznik's wedding and baptized his son. Zgoznik convinced Wright that Smith could easily double his $140,000 salary in the private sector and that he was worth keeping.

Wright vowed to keep Smith's bonus a secret from everyone - even Bishop Anthony Pilla.

"I was told no one would ever know about it," Wright testified. "I didn't want other people coming to me saying I gave Joe a raise, I want a raise, too."

But when a whistleblower exposed the Smith-Zgoznik kickback scheme in 2004, Wright faced the unpleasant prospect of confessing his deeds to Pilla, now retired. Wright said he was not punished.

There's more. Do go read the whole thing. By the time I finished the article, I had the Soporanos theme song running through my head. Fortunately no one has used the Moltisanti solution. Yet.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


AP writer Thomas J. Sheeran reports at Ohio.com that Bishop Pilla was aware of the off-book financial dealing:

The former top financial and legal officer of the Cleveland Catholic Diocese testified Tuesday that he arranged a $60,000, off-books loan to his secretary in a transaction approved by the bishop.

Rev. John Wright said he put together the loan to his secretary in the mid-1990's and Bishop Anthony M. Pilla, now retired, signed off on the idea.

"We didn't tell him the specifics, but he told us to work it out," Wright testified during the trial of Anton Zgoznik, the diocese's ex-accountant.


The newest Papal Knight has been involved in improving Jewish-Catholic ecumenical relations through his position with the Jewish Anti-Defamation League as Director (now Emeritus) of Interfaith Affairs. In searching the web to discover some of what he stood for, I found one encouraging and a few controversial positions.

First in a report from the Zenit News Agency, posted at Free Republic, Rabbi Klenicki is quoted as saying:

As no other Pope in history, John Paul II will forever be recognized as the Pilgrim of Peace and the Apostle of Reconciliation.

"His prayer at Judaism's holiest site, the Western Wall, his visit to Yad Vashem to pay homage to the Jews who died in the Shoah, his meetings with the Chief Rabbis of Israel, Israeli officials and the Israeli people, were historic moments in his pilgrimage."

Not all of Rabbi Klenicki's opinions have been so cordial. He has been cited in some serious controversies.

Regarding the canonization of St. Edith Stein, Richard John Neuhaus Reported:

"Her canonization has created a storm of controversy in the Jewish community, affecting the Catholic-Jewish dialogue." That at least is the claim of Abraham Foxman, national director, and Rabbi Leon Klenicki, director of interfaith affairs, of the Anti-Defamation League (ADL). Certainly they are doing their best to stir a storm of controversy, although-to judge by the general media and the Jewish press-with limited success. Their press release attacking the canonization of Edith Stein (Sister Theresa Benedicta of the Cross) was issued almost simultaneously with the twentieth anniversary of this pontificate and the publication of ADL’s full-page advertisement in the New York Times praising John Paul II’s contributions to Jewish-Christian relations. But ADL cannot have it both ways.

The ADL press release complains about "certain Church figures" who are responsible for the "Christianization of the Holocaust," citing the canonization of Edith Stein and, earlier, of the heroic Father Maximilian Kolbe who, in a drive-by smear, the ADL implies was an anti-Semite. The canonization of Edith Stein is, we are told, "a Jewish text for a Christian pretext, an excuse whereby the Church can claim the same victimization which its own anti-Jewish practices foisted on innocent Jewish lives." The suggestion that her canonization will help interfaith dialogue is, says the ADL, "pure fantasy." The "certain Church figures" who have done and suggested what ADL deplores are Edith Stein and John Paul II. Rabbi Klenicki has elsewhere said that it was the duty of Edith Stein "to remain a good Jew and use her influence to urge other Jews to observe their faith." It is understandable that he holds that view, but it is a complaint he should take up with Edith Stein, which, one may be permitted to suggest, is not best done through a press release attacking the Catholic Church that she embraced. And, if ADL is interested in Jewish-Christian dialogue, it is not helpful to claim that the Holocaust was "the expression of a total pagan anti-Semitism nurtured by two thousand years of Christian teaching of contempt."

Rabbi Klenicki has over the years made important contributions to Christian-Jewish understanding. Ten years ago I was pleased to write a book with him, Believing Today: Jew and Christian in Conversation (Eerdmans). It is most regrettable that he allows himself to become party to a polemic against Edith Stein, Maximilian Kolbe, John Paul II, and the Catholic Church. And it is most unseemly that ADL treats the Holocaust as a dispute over a piece of merchandise. ADL declares that the Holocaust is an "essentially Jewish event"-as though millions of Christians were not also killed, as though Hitler were not also set upon the destruction of Christianity, in large part because of its Jewish origins.

He sought to have the Oberammergau Passion Play script reworded to eliminate lines that disturbed the Jewish community. Arts & Leisure reported:

Leading Jewish critics -- such as Rabbi James Rudin of the American Jewish Committee and Rabbi Leon Klenicki of the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith -- working alongside prominent Catholic scholars have for the last two decades negotiated with the villagers over such issues as the costuming of the Jewish leaders, the Jewishness of Jesus, the role of the Romans in putting Jesus to death and the use of Hebrew scripture to foreshadow events in the life of Jesus. No issue has been more divisive than the retention of the "blood curse" from the Gospel of Matthew, which the villagers claim has scriptural authority and critics argue has fomented hatred of Jews. ...

The interfaith distance traveled between the 1990 and 2000 productions can best be measured by the prefaces to the respective printed texts. Ten years ago, the preface contained a spirited defense of the inclusion of the "blood curse." This year, it makes clear that "the Passion play is in no way meant to assign collective guilt," and acknowledges that "this Passion play, too, contributed in various ways to preparing the soil which eventually yielded the terrible harvest of the extermination of the Jews."

Rabbi Rudin and Rabbi Klenicki, who will travel to Oberammergau to see the play, are reserving judgment. Rabbi Klenicki is not optimistic. "Despite the many changes in the script," he said, "I fear that it will still be a source of anti-Judaism."

Catholic League's William Donohue cites Rabbi Klenicki's objection to an American passion play in an Open Letter to the Jewish Community:

In 1993, when the Passion Play "Jesus Was His Name" was performed in 23 American cities, Rabbi Leon Klenicki, director of the ADL's interfaith department, warned that the "presentation does not contribute to peace." The record will show that not one act of violence occurred in any city.

Then there is Rabbi Klenicki's objection to Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" as reported at the San Diego Union Tribune website:

"It's very anti-Jewish," Rabbi Leon Klenicki said of the film. Klenicki, director emeritus of interfaith affairs for the Anti-Defamation League in New York, hasn't seen the movie but has read the script.

Christ's passion, death and resurrection are major events in our faith. Is our doctrine subject to revision in the name of ecumenical dialogue? Is it more important to be politically correct than it is to be doctrinally correct? Given the Papal Knighthood, I could not blame Rabbi Klenicki if he comes to the conclusion that the answers to those questions might just be a cautious "yes".

One wonders, however, what we have gotten in exchange for that "yes". Has the animosity of the Jews toward Jesus and the Catholics been subdued or terminated in their religious documents? Has such a change even been discussed? Or does ecumenical dialogue run only in one direction-- to make the big bad Roman Catholic Church succumb to the demands of the persecuted minority?

Monday, August 27, 2007


Rabbi Leon Klenicki, the Anti-Defamation League's Interfaith Affairs Director Emeritus, has been knighted by Pope Benedict XVI for his historic contributions in creating positive relationships between Catholics and Jews around the world. Rabbi Klenicki was made a Papal Knight of the Order of St. Gregory the Great at a ceremony at the Vatican's Mission to the United Nations, presided by Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston.

Rabbi Klenicki becomes the second ADL interfaith official to receive a papal knighthood. In 1986, the late Dr Joseph L. Lichten became the first American Jew to receive the honour, from Pope John Paul II.

A renowned scholar and theologian, Rabbi Klenicki joins a select group of living Jews, and only a handful of rabbis, who have been so honoured by the Vatican. Klenicki is the author and co-author of hundreds of books and papers dealing with the theological and practical aspects of improving relations between Catholics and Jews.

Read the rest...


Vatican City, Rome (AHN) - The Pope has his Pope-mobile and now the Catholic Church is offering air transportation to holy sites for the masses of faithful to use.

A new charter air service to transport Catholic pilgrims to religious shrines around the world was launched when the inaugural flight took off from Rome to Lourdes, France with VIPs aboard at 11:30 a.m. local time Monday.

The charter air line, operated by the Italian Post Office, is expected to carry about 150,000 passengers in its first year will begin with flights to shrines in France, Poland, Spain and the Middle East and expand to serve shrines in Mexico as well, the BBC reports.

Read the rest...


From the website of Church of the Epiphany in Louisville, KY:

Our Sunday Mass is the heart from which all our outreach flows. Understanding its details is essential for gleaning its deepest meanings. Allow me to share with you an image I hold of the Mass as a “dance.”

I think of the Mass and its four movements like dancing the “Electric Slide.”
There are four movements to this dance: (1) step from side to side, (2) two steps back, (3) the Big Dip, and (4) the kick off.

Likewise there are four movements to the Mass: (1) Gathering, (2) Story telling, (3) Meal Sharing, and (4) Sending.

There is more at the website.


I've just read the Catholic news at NOR and Spirit Daily. One story at NOR on "re-ordering," as they call wreckovation across the pond, reminded me of yesterday's Mass mess. Depressing. Check back this afternoon. By then hopefully my Sacrilege Mass Hangover will have dissipated.

Sunday, August 26, 2007


A rip-snorting, toe-tapping, hand-clapping, bongo banging, tambourine shaking, secular hallelujah celebration that had me alternatly fighting back tears, resisting the urge to dance in the aisle, and holding onto the pew in front of me so my feet wouldn't walk me right out of there. I praaaayyyyed this morning. I prayed that God would just get me through it.

Father talked about former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayse and the need to get creative if we are going to get to heaven through the narrow gate. So I'm trying to take a creative approach to this blasphemy.

Lets bring back the Roman soldiers who stood at the foot of the cross and give them lessons. Casting lots didn't even come close to what I saw. Pope John XXIII opened the windows and ushered in the host of hell who must surely have been in attendance. That earth-bound music didn't come from any heavenly choir.

Receiving communion at this event would have been a slap to Christ's face.

My husband, as is his usual custom of late, abstained.

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