Wednesday, September 19, 2007
IT'S TIME TO PLAY AGAIN
Starting tomorrow I'm taking another break from blogging and devoting the time to the serious study of play appropriate to my second childhood which has arrived early due to a diagnosis of cancer. Since I no longer have tomorrows, I'm making every today count double. The next six promise to be worth a triple count. I'll let you know next week if they deliver.
THE ENVIRONMENTAL BISHOP
is making a name for himself in England as reported by Catholic News on September 11:
Catholic Earthcare chair Bishop Chris Toohey will lead a discussion on climate change in the British House of Commons this week.
Independent Catholic News in the UK describes the NSW bush bishop as a "world leader in Catholic awareness and action on the environment".
A quick look at his website demonstrates just how widespread his appeal is across the pond.
The Lutherans are a step ahead. They offer a website called Season of Creation in conjunction with the European Christian Environmental Network, among others, apparently intending to devote the four Sundays in September to environmental sermons.
In their website we can learn how to confess our environmental sins. They offer a "Confession and Absolution based on A Theology of Alienation and Homecoming" which tells us:
It is appropriate in our worship during a season of Creation that we make confession of our sins, or more specifically our environmental sins. How have we polluted or desecrated this sanctuary called Earth. What crimes have we committed against creation? How have we, individually or collectively, contributed to endangering life on our planet?
Bless me Father for I have sinned. My last confession was a month ago. I accidentally stepped on an ant when I was walking down the driveway to bring in the mail....
CATHOLIC DIVORCE GUIDE--IS THIS A SPOOF ??
According to a blurb at Metro UK Catholic priests in Austria are presenting courses on how to divorce smoothly, because "A lot of people suffer very badly mentally and financially during divorce. The Church is there to help people in need."
CARDINAL SENTIMENTS I AGREE WITH
At least up to the apology:
Berlin (AFP) - A German archbishop who caused outrage by describing modern art as "degenerate" in a bitter reminder of the Nazi era on Wednesday said he regretted the "misunderstanding" caused by his choice of words.
"I expressly regret that this term gave rise to misunderstanding when what I said was taken out of context in a partial quotation," Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the archbishop of Cologne, wrote in the conservative Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung daily.
Meisner said in a sermon in Cologne Cathedral last Friday that art which had no link to religion was "entartete Kunst", the standard term employed by the Nazis in their persecution of artists like Wassily Kandinsky and Paul Klee.
When culture becomes disconnected from religion, from the worship of God, religion becomes ritualism and the culture becomes degenerate," he said in a sermon marking the opening of an exhibition of medieval and modern art from the diocese's collection.
Some of the greatest artwork in the world was inspired by faith. Modern art, on the other hand, isn't worth the time it takes to look at it. It's too bad the Cardinal decided he had to apologize for speaking the truth!
HPV VACCINE IN ONTARIO
The Halton Catholic school board narrowly defeated a motion Tuesday night that would have made it the first in Ontario to ban public health officials from giving Grade 8 girls the HPV vaccine.
The vaccine protects against infection from four separate strains of human papilloma virus that combined cause 70 per cent of all cases of cervical cancer.
The program is intended for as many as 85,000 girls provincewide this year.
It's estimated that, every year in Ontario, about 500 women are diagnosed with cervical cancer and more than 100 die of it.
Although the Halton board approved the vaccination, it still wants parents to sign a waiver before their daughters get the shots.
Read the article...
Of course it is also true that Catholic morality--abstinence before marriage and monogamy after--will also prevent cervical cancer and a host of other problems as well. But we can't have the kiddies going without their intimacy, can we?
Tuesday, September 18, 2007
Matt Abbott's column today offers a perspective on the Hillary Clinton proposal for health care that we are not likely to hear about on the evening news:
'With all the talk by the candidates these days, there's a huge focus on health care and how to cover those who are uninsured. Whether Republicans or Democrats, none of the candidates are discussing the 'elephant in the room,' i.e. hospice's role in balancing the budget and making it possible to fully fund new health care proposals.
'What I call 'dark hospice' is steadily moving forward, becoming the norm in the hospice industry. It's not the pure, altruistic mission it was for those who volunteered in the early days of hospice's start in the U.S. It's all about big monetary savings for the state and federal government-funded insurance programs (Medicare and Medicaid) and private insurance companies.
'Dark hospice intends the death of patients. Yet, they still pretend to be the old-time, dedicated hospice the public expects — 'We never hasten death, nor do we prolong dying,' or a hundred variations of the same theme. The idea was that hospice did not try to cure the incurable, but did everything it could to relieve pain and suffering at the end-of-life. Well, yes, of course, many still do that. But many hospices are really into hastening death and are true believers in the mission of 'controlling' death so that it occurs when it is desired (most often by the staff that imposes it).
WOMAN WITH PRO-ABORTION TIES APPOINTED BY USCCB
WASHINGTON, September 17, 2007 (LifeSiteNews.com) -- Kathy Saile, who once gave a speech on promoting liberalism at a conference held by a pro-abortion group, has been named Director of Domestic Policy for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).
Previous to the appointment, Saile was Associate Director of Public Policy for Lutheran Services in America (USA), an organization that serves the extremely liberal Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), which recently declared that their "clergy" were free to participate in homosexual relationships.
Read the rest...
ORTHODOX VS. CATHOLIC IN ROMANIA
A major dust-up has developed in Romania over who ownes the churches. Catholic property including churches was confiscated under Communist rule. Now it has been ordered returned, all except the churches, which is pitting Orthodox against Catholic. Some are expecting to see violence develop over church ownership.
CLEVELAND TRIAL HALTED
The federal court trial of a former accountant for the Cleveland Catholic Diocese was postponed Monday after the defendant, Anton Zgoznik, refused to participate and tried to fire his lawyers.
Court officials characterized Zgoznik's problem as a panic attack on the morning he was scheduled to mount his defense against charges he paid $784,000 in kickbacks to the diocese's former top lawyer and chief financial officer, Joseph Smith.
Zgoznik's supporters said he didn't panic.
His supporters said he feared he would be convicted and imprisoned for crimes he maintains he did not commit.
Smith, who has attended the four-week trial in U.S. District Court, said Zgoznik had grown increasingly dissatisfied with his defense attorneys, Robert Rotatori and Susan Gragel. The defendant was especially upset with Rotatori's restrained cross-examination of retired Bishop Anthony Pilla and the Rev. John Wright about two weeks ago.
"Anton's the most stubborn person I know," Smith said. "Once he makes up his mind, he's not going to change it. He doesn't think Rotatori is being aggressive enough."
Meek is a word seldom used to describe Rotatori, a veteran criminal defense lawyer with a gristly demeanor and a gravelly growl of a voice. He declined to comment and did not return a phone call to his office.
The last sentence in the story has me wondering...
Zgoznik became upset after Rotatori declined to grill Wright and Pilla about the secret accounts, heeding Aldrich's warnings that such questioning would be off-limits, Smith said.
Why? Was some sort of deal struck?
Read the whole story here.
Monday, September 17, 2007
CONNECTING MORE DOTS - DARRELL BENNETT AND FR. MARTIN LUCIA
Susanna has continued to track the activities of the Apostolic Formation Center for Christian Renew-All and Fr. Martin Lucia.
First a quick recap. I reported on Fr. Lucia and the homosexual activities of the Apostolic Formation Center in a blog on May 17. The Rick Ross website has posted several articles about the activities of this organization. Two of them describe the contribution made by Sister Marie Louis Bertrand, a cloistered Dominican nun from Our Lady of Grace Monastery, who acted as a spiritual director to members of the Apostolic Formation Center.
According to the article, a falling out occurred between J. Roy Legere, the Center's founder, and Fr. Martin Lucia which caused Fr. Lucia to leave the Center and start a ministry to promote Perpetual Adoration. Legere lived for approximately one more year following this falling out. After his death Sr. Louis
continued to propogate the notion that people could have direct contact through her with Christ and the Virgin Mary. For example, several of the center's members traveled to Lockport, LA, at Sister Louis's prompting to visit a man named Klebert Belanger, who claimed to have visions of the Virgin Mary almost daily.
Klebert "Tee Beb" Belanger's story is posted at the Mary's Remnant website. According to the story in January 1975, while he was driving down the road at 4:30 in the morning The Mother (his name for the Blessed Virgin) began talking to him about building a chapel to be named The Miracle of the Rosary Chapel. Belanger met up with a priest, Fr. Paul Finke, who was searching for a man who wanted to built The Miracle of the Rosary Chapel. Finke was acting on a message given to a little girl, apparently by The Mother. Belanger died in 1989 before the chapel could be built, but the cause did not die with him. It passed into the hands of Darrell Bennett who has written the account of these happenings.
Bennett's conversion story of kneeling in a nest of fire ants and not being harmed is recounted here. This occurred while Bennett and his wife were attending one of Tee Beb's apparition events. According to Bennett
Currently I represent a group called the Miracle of the Rosary Mission from Thibodaux, Louisiana. We gather in Lockport daily for the Rosary. We have been together for a number of years. Our spiritual director is Father Richard Mataconis, stationed in Rome. He is at the catacombs of St. Callistos. He previously was at EWTN. I have been receiving messages from Our Lady for some time now and recently I have been asked by Our Lady to make known these messages. They are available for you to meditate and discern, and they are available through our electronic newsletter, "Mission Moments"...
These prophecies are provided at the Prophetic Voices website. There you can read Bennett's concern for America and its "grave dangers threatening" the future. At another webpage Bennett provides the "Events to occur before 2005". Among them we are told
The first signs of the Triumph of the Immaculate Heart and the Eucharistic Reign of Emmanuel will occur in 2005. [Last year on May 1st, in a locution in the same church, Our Lady revealed that the Triumph of her Immaculate Heart would be realized forty months after our Holy Father is taken from us.]
John Paul II died on April 2, 2005. Bennett tells us further
Between now and 2005, all of the events prophesied by Our Blessed Mother will occur. After hearing of and praying about these events for many years, tomorrow has come, IT IS HERE. The events are now preparing to unfold.
The events which will occur in the United States cannot be compared to those of Rwanda where 500,000 people were butchered, there were rivers of blood, and the bodies were so thick, survivors said they could walk across the rivers on bodies, and of course Catholic Churches were filled with dead who had been hacked to death by machete.
IT WILL BE MUST (sic) WORSE IN THE UNITED STATES.
Two Thousand Five has come and gone, and a Rwanda-type of anarchy has not occurred. Of course the claim can always be made that prayers and sacrifices have once again mitigated the sufferings.
Another webpage in the Mary's Remnant website offers one more of Darrell Bennett's predictions, this time concerning the flooding in New Orleans. Notice that "Since then, two additional lines from Our Lady have been added to the same message". We are not told when they were added.
The Miracle of the Rosary Mission would like you to donate your Time-Talent-Treasure. Their solicitation can be seen here.
Now to move on to their spiritual director stationed in Rome, Fr. Philip/Fr. Richard Mataconis. Fr. Mataconis was a Selician for 35 years before becoming a priest of Mother Angelica's Missionaries of the Eternal Word and acquiring the name "Fr. Philip." The story of the founding of Mother Angelica's religious order is told at this website, and Fr. Philip plays a prominent role, including that of superior of the Missionaries of the Eternal Word. According to the story
In November of 1993 Fr. Philip Mataconis was recalled to the Salesians and Fr. Joseph was appointed superior by Mother Angelica.
Recalled why? The story doesn't tell us, but perhaps the BishopAccountability.org website can give us a hint. According to the database, Mataconis, Richard (Philip?) was
Sued in 2002 by two men who accused him of abusing them at a New York junior seminary in the 1970s. Suit dismissed after missed filing deadline. Living in Rome in 2004 and conducting tours of Catacombs of St. Callistus. Has been referred to as Richard Matikonas or Philip Mataconis
Another webpage in the BishopAccountability.org website offers a story titled "In the Shadow of the Vatican: Accused Clerics Serving in Rome, Heart of the Catholic Church", in which Reese Dunklin, Dallas Morning News, gives an account of religious order priests who have been shipped off to Rome to hide from the American Justice System. The article tells us
A few miles south of the Vatican, the Rev. Richard Mataconis works as an English-language guide at the Catacombs of St. Callistus, a popular stop for Catholics visiting Rome. He mingles with the adults and children on his tours, talking them through the ancient burial sites of popes and Catholic martyrs.
Father Mataconis was sued two years ago by two men who accused him of abusing them in the 1970s at the New York junior seminary they attended. The suit ultimately was dismissed because the men had missed the deadline for filing a legal claim.
That would appear to be the explanation for a hasty recall to the Silecians, and the fact that a spiritual director for an organization based in Louisiana lives in Rome.
Meanwhile back in the States, if you scroll to the bottom of this Mary's Remnant website in which Darrell Bennett gave his prophecies, you will see the following:
Miracle of the Rosary Mission, Inc.
1444C Highway 1
Thibodaux LA 70301-5748
Now turn to this Miracle of the Rosary Mission webpage to read the summary of Father Martin Lucia, M.S.S., in which he describes his work of Perpetual Adoration. The address at the end of Father Lucia's essay is
Lay Missionaries of the Blessed Sacrament
4761 Foxdale Drive
Kettering, Ohio 45429
Father Lucia is still doing his religious thing. Is he still conducting an inner circle of priests and laity who practice "Divine Intimacy of the Holy Seed"? Inquiring minds want to know.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
DID ANYONE ATTEND OR HEAR OF A NEW TRIDENTINE MASS
over this past weekend when the Motu Proprio went into effect?
Kansas City Catholic Blog has pictures posted of Bishop Robert W. Finn's celebration of the Tridentine. He indicates the cathedral was full.
Cardinal Dias Castrillon Hoyas calls for respect for the "right of the faithful" to have the Tridentine.
VIVA CRISTO REY
An incident in Florida demonstrates that an ecumenical pastor of the future will not dare mention Jesus name if the current trend continues.
LEESBURG, Fla., Sept. 14 /Christian Newswire/ -- Hospital Chaplain Danny Harvey, recently fired for praying "in Jesus name" by the Leesburg Regional Medical Center, will hold two press conferences, Friday at 2 pm, and Saturday at 8:30 am, on the public steps of City Hall (corner of 5th and Main) in Leesburg Florida.
Clergy and citizens from over 30 churches will gather at 8:15 am, to march around the hospital at 9:00am, on Saturday 15 Sep, starting from the steps of Leesburg City Hall. The marchers will walk in silent prayer for two-miles around the South Campus of the hospital, wearing T-shirts emblazoned with the rallying cry, "My Jesus, My Freedom, My Stand."
Public outcry in support of Chaplain Harvey has already resulted in the sudden resignation of hospital CEO Louis Bremer, the same man who publicly supported Human Resource director Darlene Stone who fired Chaplain Harvey for praying in Jesus name.
Read the rest of the story...
Sunday, September 16, 2007
HOMOSEXUALITY IN JUDAISM
Since homosexuality has become such an important issue in Catholicism as a result of the scandal, and since I have found some instances where the teachings of Judaism have crept into Catholic thinking, I decided to find out what Judaism believes about homosexuality. What I found was fairly typical of what I've found in Judaism before--no single belief but rather a variance in positions depending upon the branch of Judaism one adheres to.
The Reform Judaism movement, the largest branch of Judaism in North America, has rejected the traditional view of Jewish Law on this issue. As such, they do not prohibit ordination of gays and lesbians as rabbis and cantors. They view Levitical laws as sometimes seen to be referring to prostitution, making it a stand against Jews adopting the idolatrous fertility cults and practices of the neighbouring Canaanite nations rather than a blanket condemnation of same-sex intercourse or homosexuality. Reform authorities consider that, in light of what is seen as current scientific evidence about the nature of homosexuality as a biological sexual orientation, a new interpretation of the law is required.
The Reconstructionist movement sees homosexuality as a normative expression of sexuality and welcomes gays and lesbians into Reconstructionist communities to participate fully in every aspect of community life. Since 1985 the Reconstructionist Rabbinical College has admitted gay and lesbian candidates for their rabbinical and cantorial programs. The Reconstructionist Rabbinical Association (RRA) encourages its members to officiate at homosexual marriages/commitment ceremonies, though the RRA does not require its members to officiate at them.
In Conservative Judaism, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards (CJLS) of the Rabbinical Assembly makes the movement's decisions concerning Jewish law. On December 6, 2006, The CJLS adopted, by 13 of 25 votes, a responsum authored by Rabbi Elliot N. Dorff, Daniel Nevins, and Avram Reisner, lifting most restrictions on homosexual conduct and opening the way to the ordination of openly gay and lesbian rabbis and acceptance of homosexual unions, but stopping short of religiously recognizing gay marriage. The responsum maintained the Biblical prohibition on male-male anal sex, which remains a yehareg ve'al ya'avor (die rather than transgress offense.
While a variety of views regarding homosexuality as an inclination or status exist within the Orthodox Jewish community, Orthodox Judaism generally prohibits homosexual conduct. While there is disagreement about which acts come under core prohibitions, all of Orthodox Judaism puts certain core homosexual acts, including male-male anal sex in the category of yehareg ve'al ya'avor, "die rather than transgress", the small category of Biblically-prohibited acts (also including murder, idolatry, adultery, and incest) which an Orthodox Jew is obligated under the laws of Self-sacrifice under Jewish Law to die rather than do.
According to Rabbi Dr. Norman Lamm, former president of Yeshiva University, halakha prohibits homosexuality to non-Jews as well as to Jews. ...
In recent years some within Modern Orthodox Judaism have begun re-evaluating homosexuality as a phenomenon, and the Orthodox community's response to homosexual Jews. Traditionally, homosexuals have been considered to have chosen to engage in homosexual actions in order to spite God (le-hach'is), to be perverse, or due to mental illness. Beginning in the 1970s and influenced by new perspectives in the sociological and biological sciences, some Orthodox rabbis began to adopt less unsympathetic positions. Rabbi Dr. Immanuel Jakobovits, in his entry Homosexuality in the Encyclopedia Judaica (Keter Publishing), describes the traditional opinion in this way:
Jewish law [...] rejects the view that homosexuality is to be regarded merely as a disease or as morally neutral.... Jewish law holds that no hedonistic ethic, even if called "love", can justify the morality of homosexuality any more than it can legitimize adultery or incest, however genuinely such acts may be performed out of love and by mutual consent.
views homosexuality as a grave sin. Accepting Kabbalah, Jewish mysticism, as normative, it believes that heterosexual intercourse is a holy act, because it has the potential to lead to new life, and because heterosexual sex mimics the mechanism through which God created the universe. When a male and a female perform this act, they evoke creative spiritual energies, similar to ones that were used to create the Universe. This creation mechanism involved two opposite partners (male and female aspects of Divinity known as Zeir Anpin and Nukvah), a source of life-force and a recipient of it. The sexual act which evokes the male creative energy on the male side must, therefore, also involve evocation of female creative energies, even if the specific act will not lead to birth in the physical reality. If it is done properly, it results in one of the holiest activities in a Jew's life (incidentally, that is the reason why Jewish males mark their union with the Creator as circumcision).
Therefore, a homosexual act is wrong not because it does not result in a birth (in Judaism, a sexual act that does not result in a birth is not forbidden, such as when the wife is pregnant, barren, or using contraceptives), but because it invokes holy spiritual forces which are then used in an unnatural way (from the Creation's point of view), between two partners that are of the same sex. Therefore, only male homosexuality (which involves the intercourse) is Biblically forbidden; female homosexuality is forbidden for different reasons and in general is much less serious sin. (As a matter of fact, the exact same explanation can be used to explain Kabbalistic view of masturbation and why it is forbidden).