Saturday, June 28, 2008


in the Diocese of Linz.


From a story linked at Spirit Daily:

27 June 2008 Sarajevo _ The Vatican announced it will form a commission to investigate the apparitions of the Virgin Mary in Bosnia's southern town of Medjugorje.

Local media quoted on Friday Bosnian Cardinal Vinko Puljic saying that this will be the first Vatican commission ever to visit Medjugorje.

In 1991, a Commission set up by the Bishopric Conference in the former Yugoslavia visited the town, but ruled that nothing out of the ordinary ever took place. The Vatican has never investigated the sightings, nor has it recognized them.

Puljic stressed that no swift decision should be expected as the commission will look separately into the apparitions as well as into the work of local clerics. The process of recognition of apparitions by the Vatican usually takes decades.

Continue reading...

Friday, June 27, 2008


Recently a reader sent me a link to Adyar Pamphlets No. 91, a publication of the Adyar Theosophical Society and reprint from "The Theosophist", February 1911. The title of the pamphlet is "Yoga-Practice in the Roman Catholic Church", by Franz Hartmann.

The pamphlet attempts to equate the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius Loyola with those of the Buddhists, stating at the end of the text

The Roman Catholic Church has originally derived its doctrines and practices, and even its ceremonies, from the Northern Buddhistic School. Loyola is a true representative of its spirit. His spiritual exercises are in many ways identical with the inst4ructions given in the East for the practice of Raja-Yoga, and a comparison of the two systems may be useful for those who do not merely desire to gratify their curiosity in regard to the astral plane, but desire to become more spiritual by letting the divine powers within their soul become awakened and developed through the influence of divine Love, divine Wisdom, and eternal Life.

I tend to think of this concept as a novelty of post-Vatican II Catholicism, but here is evidence that it has been around much longer.

With The Theosophist as a source, the Liberal Catholic Church cannot be far away. The "church" of the Theosophical Society, the Liberal Catholic Church has taken the trappings of Roman Catholicism and molded them into a religion composed of Catholic truth and various heresies. Their churches look like traditional Roman Catholic churches, but their theology is anything but.

Since I don't currently have a book to read, the article prompted me to explore briefly what the Liberal Catholic Church is doing now. I ended up in this website of The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church, with links to various websites of interest to the independents and hints that yet again they are trying to come together through an organization called the International Council of Community Churches. Here I found links to the Theosophical Society, to Blavatsky Texts online, to writings of C. W. Leadbeater, to an Old Catholic missal and catechism, to information about Rene Vilatte, to one of Bishop Lewis Keizer's websites, and surprisingly a link to a Lew Rockwell website with an article "How I became a Christian Libertarian". Here I read that I could

See also, for spiritual reflections, the official blog of the Society for Humanistic Potential and, for news from the independent sacramental movement, the official blog of the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement at European-American University.

A university? This was something I had not encountered before.

A Newsweek article described it:

European-American University brings together the best of the European and American educational traditions.

The University delivers its programs through distance education, using highly flexible academic methods anchored firmly in historic and legal precedent. Distance learning programs use the approach of mentored study and require no residency whatsoever. They may be completed by citizens resident anywhere in the world.

Individualized Model of Education

As a private, non-traditional institution the University's outlook is radically different from that of many mainstream universities. Its individualized model of education is based on real-world values that are directly relevant to your life and aspirations, creating a uniquely forward-looking profile within contemporary higher education.

The experienced, mid-career adults who join the EAU family will work with a Mentor to design a program that is directly focussed on their specific needs. They can tailor their chosen assessment methods (including coursework, prior learning assessment, dissertation and project assignments) subject to University approval. There are no minimum or maximum time-limits or other unnecessary restrictions on the demonstration of valid learning experiences. The result is a bespoke degree that fits naturally around your life with minimal disruption.

They have a press, the European-American University Press. They have a number of think tanks organized under their umbrella, including The Libertarian Library Online Project, the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement, the Henselt Library of nineteenth-century piono music and its affiliated Romantic Discoveries Recordings, and the David Ricardo School of Business.

One of the University websites discusses the Arnold Harris Mathew Center for the Study of the Independent Sacramental Movement. Here you can find information on the various successions, the independent Celtic churches, and more. Here also is information about the creator of this online university, Dr. Bertil Persson, Primate Emeritus of the Apostolic Episcopal Church, former Archbishop for Europe of the Philippine Independent Church, and Professor at the University.

Here you can also find a "Talk given by John Kersey to the Adam Smith Institute, December 2007", and a summary of books dealing with the theology and succession of the Liberal Catholic Church, including the book "The Science of the Sacraments" by Charles Webster Leadbeater with a preface by John Kersey.

The John Kersey Foundation website indicates

In March 2008, John Kersey was elected Metropolitan Primate of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church under the religious title of His Grace Mar Joannes III. Consequently, he has overall responsibility for a church with clergy and communities in the United Kingdom and United States and its dependent religious orders and societies, as well as for its wider outreach through the Independent Liberal Catholic Fellowship. The LCAC is a member of the International Council of Community Churches and through the ICCC shares in membership of bodies including the World Council of Churches and Churches Uniting in Christ.

H.G. Mar Joannes III is 116th in direct Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Thomas through the Chaldean Catholic line and 139th in direct Apostolic Succession from the Apostle St Peter through the Syrian-Orthodox Antiochian line. He is also in succession from the Apostles St James the Less and St Andrew. He is a member of the Sophia Circle, the international association of bishops in the esoteric tradition.

In addition to his religious responsibilities, which in common with all Liberal Catholic clergy are non-stipendiary, John Kersey is also an award-winning concert pianist and a radical educationalist. Both an economic and social libertarian with strong Rothbardian leanings, he regards intellectual freedom and the expression of individual creativity and spirituality as essentials for a progressive and fulfilled society, and seeks to promote a radical inclusivity as an alternative to prevalent hegemonic and authoritarian paradigms. He is a member of the Ludwig von Mises Institute in the USA and a subscriber to the Libertarian Alliance in the UK. In recent years he has debated for Civitas advocating UK withdrawal from the European Union, and has been an invited speaker at meetings of the Adam Smith Institute TNG, Café Philo at the Institut Français, and the Libertarian Alliance.

I got the impression there are strong ties between the Liberal Catholic Church, the Theosophists, and the Libertarians. Kersey's other awards and honors, spelled out in the biography, indicate he is a well-respected European. He holds several knighthoods. His educational outlook has been influenced by, among others, Rudolf Steiner. He has written a paper for the Libertarian Alliance. According to the website:

For some years, John Kersey has worked with others towards the aim of creating a genuinely independent global online university that would put into action the spiritual and political principles of holistic education now absent from the mainstream tertiary sector. The fulfilment of this process is European-American University, the educational outreach of the Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church's Society for Humanistic Potential, of which he became President in August 2007. EAU opened its virtual doors to the public in November 2007 and has already received acclaim as a highly innovative and progressive venture in alternative education.

I found the blog of Fr. Eckhart Christopher Sowers, a priest in The Liberal Catholic Apostolic Church and Father-Custodian of the Order of Ave Maria, and an Adjunct Professor of the European-American University.

I also found what appears to be partnerships between European-American University, Von Epstein University, and Knightsbridge University.

The European-American University Libertarian Alliance UK blog links the Botsford Archive of libertarian videos.

EAU also houses the David Ricardo School of Business, named after a Jewish Unitarian:

David Ricardo (1772-1823) was an English political economist and, together with Adam Smith and Thomas Malthus, part of the influential group of classical economists of the Enlightenment era. Ricardo was a highly successful businessman and financier (retiring at the age of 41 due to the wealth he had accumulated).

Ricardo held strong humanitarian beliefs (although born Jewish, he became a Unitarian, which religious movement was a major influence on the origins of the Society for Humanistic Potential, founder of European-American University) and in keeping with these beliefs served his country as a Member of Parliament between 1819 and his death.

The Libertarian Library Online Project, another effort of the EAU, indicates the philosophy most likely espoused by the David Ricardo School is Austrian Economics:

The University's ongoing Libertarian Library Online Project (LLOP) aims to collect together online resources exploring different aspects of libertarian philosophy in a convenient single-source location, thus providing a comprehensive virtual library of libertarianism. As well as providing access to complete texts of such key writers as Henry David Thoreau, Ludwig von Mises and Adam Smith via online libraries, it includes links to libertarian organizations, political parties and to thousands of shorter articles and papers. All resources are free at the point of delivery and fully digitized for easy searching and printing. Resources are selected and annotated by the LLOP Librarians.


Archbishop Raymond Burke will be leaving St. Louis.

Pope Benedict the 16th has named Archbishop Burke to the Vatican's Supreme Tribunal of Apostolic Signatura in Rome. ...

The announcement was made at the Vatican.

Read it here.

I wonder how this will affect the various controversies stewing in St. Louis? He won't be leaving until August, but I suspect that those who disagree with him will be biding their time until someone else is in charge, and nothing is going to be resolved.

Thursday, June 26, 2008


St. Casimir Catholic Church will have its final Mass on Sunday, but parishioners won’t allow the regional bishop and other clergy to attend.

Parishioners voted recently to not allow Bishop John A. Dooher, the Rev. Allan Butler, administrator for St. Casimir Church, and the Rev. Francis J. Clougherty, regional vicar and pastor of Our Lady of Lourdes Church, to attend the final Mass at the church, said the church’s cantor, Maryte Bizinkauskas.

“We ask that they don’t show up because we just don’t want them there,” Bizinkauskas said Wednesday.

“They’re the manufacturers of this closing,” she said. “They were instrumental in the closing, and we as a parish community feel strongly that we don’t want them there.”

Read the rest...

Feelings over parishes run deep. Having it close is like being thrown out of your family home. It's difficult to make the break. Once the break is made, loyalty to a parish may never be possible again for some Catholics.


An olive branch was extended to the SSPX to end the schism. Talk of a personal prelature was not confirmed, but the rumor was widespread. A deadline set for the end of June was being strongly enforced by the Vatican. It looked like the schism would at last come to an end.

Conditions that were part of the agreement would have included an end to the SSPX condemnation of the pope.

It appears the reconciliation is not to be. The SSPX has rejected the offer according to Reuters:

PARIS (Reuters) - The leader of a breakaway traditionalist Catholic group has rejected a Vatican offer to rejoin Rome, accusing Pope Benedict of trying to silence dissenting voices.

Bishop Bernard Fellay, head of the Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) that broke with Rome 20 years ago, said conditions set by the Vatican amounted to muzzling the traditionalists who claim to be the only true Catholics since Church reforms in the 1960s.

Keen to end this schism, Benedict agreed last year to their demand to restore the old Latin Mass. But he insists they must accept the reforms of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965) before he can lift excommunication decrees against them.

"Rome is telling us, okay, we are ready to lift the excommunications, but you cannot continue this way," Fellay said in a sermon last Friday now posted as an audio file on the U.S.-based Voice of Catholic Radio website.

"So we have no choice... we are continuing what we've done," the Swiss-born Fellay said in English at an SSPX seminary in Winona, Minnesota. "They just say 'shut up' ... we are not going ... to shut up. ...

"Vatican watchers say the ultimatum could split SSPX into a hard core of rebels and a larger group ready to return to Rome now that it has allowed wider use of the old Latin Mass.

"Most people want a reverent Mass and sound preaching. They care little for the loftier theological arguments," Rev. John Zuhlsdorf, a prominent conservative Catholic blogger, wrote in an analysis. "The identity of the SSPX is at stake now."

The ultimatum's deadline of June 30 is the 20th anniversary of the bishops' ordinations that sealed the schism.

Enough is enough. It's time to cut the ties and let the SSPX drift into the kind of obscurity that other groups of this sort have ended in. There are many wandering bishops who cannot agree with each other enough to form an organization. Each wants his/her own theology, as apparently Bishop Fellay wants his own. It doesn't work. There is only one hope for unity, and that lies with the pope.


The Gay Pride Prayer Service, forbidden in the church of St. Joan of Arc by the archdiocese, was apparently held on the grounds with approximately 100 in attendance, including the President of Dignity Twin Cities who attended dressed as an archbishop and by the Mayor of Minneapolis, R. T. Rybak, State Senator Scott Dibble, and a member of city council, Gary Schiff.

The refashioned peace service held inside the church was also held, with a standing room only crowd.

Read about it here.


A papal aide says Pope Benedict XVI intends to return to the old way of distributing Communion at Masses.

Benedict's master of liturgical ceremonies said in an interview Wednesday in the Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano that the pontiff will place the Communion host in the mouths of the faithful who kneel before him.

Read it here.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008


The Mormon Church, a major backer of the 2000 ballot measure that reaffirmed California's ban on same-sex marriage, is asking its members to "do all you can" to support a November initiative that would reinstate the ban as a state constitutional amendment.

"The church's teachings and position on this moral issue are unequivocal. Marriage between a man and a woman is ordained of God," the church's governing First Presidency said in a letter to be read Sunday to all congregations in California. It urges members to donate "your means and time" to the ballot measure campaign.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, which estimates its California membership at 750,000, is one of the largest and best-organized of several denominations expected to be active in the initiative campaign.

It's all legal, says the Internal Revenue Service. Long-standing federal law prohibits churches and charities from endorsing or opposing political candidates, at the risk of their tax-exempt status. But they are free to work for or against legislation, including ballot measures, as long as they don't devote a substantial part of their activities to those efforts.

Continue reading...


Cuba's Roman Catholic Church on Tuesday protested the communist government's growing support of gay rights, including a daylong event raising awareness against homophobia and a law allowing sex-change operations.

"Respect for the homosexual person, yes," said an editorial in Palabra Nueva, the monthly magazine of the Archdiocese of Havana. "Promotion of homosexuality, no."

The editorial signed by magazine director Orlando Marquez referred to activities held May 17 by Cuba's Sex Education Center, which is directed by Mariela Castro, daughter of President Raul Castro.



As he has done for a number of years, Michael Bayly will arrive tonight at St. Joan of Arc Church ready to celebrate his God, his faith and his homosexuality.

But this year, Bayly and other Catholic gays and lesbians will not be allowed to celebrate their lifestyle in the church sanctuary following an edict handed down by Archbishop John Nienstedt, who has barred the annual gay pride prayer service at the south Minneapolis church.

In protest, Bayly and others have decided to hold their own lay service outside the church tonight. They are also calling for a mass rally at the church tonight to condemn the archdiocese.

The annual gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender service, designed to coincide with gay pride week celebrations, instead will be characterized as a "peace" service, said Dennis McGrath, a spokesman for Nienstedt and the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis.

"Celebrating the GLBT lifestyle is contrary to the teachings of our church -- plain and simple," McGrath said.

The ban has caused an uproar inside and outside the church, which for years has been known as a liberal bastion supporting GLBT people.

Continue reading...


MORE than £250,000 a year could be raised by a campaign to create Scotland's first modern saint, the priest behind the plan said last night.

Father Ed Hone, who has raised thousands of pounds through innovative and sometimes controversial schemes, said that marketing Margaret Sinclair could be a lucrative source of funds for the poor and needy.

Ms Sinclair, a Scottish biscuit factory worker and trade unionist, used to worship at the Edinburgh church where Fr Ed is now based.

Efforts to have her canonised are already well advanced and, in March, Pope Benedict XVI said he would proceed with the beatification of Ms Sinclair if a miracle was officially ratified.

Fr Ed, known to some parishioners as "Father Cash", is part of a four-man team from the Redemptorists order currently based at St Patrick's Roman Catholic Church in Edinburgh's Cowgate. He said there was a huge global spin-off potential from DVDs, books and a "saint trail" based around Ms Sinclair.


Additional quotes in the article make this story of canonization even more tawdry. How did we sink to this level? A clue might be provided in a reader's comments on the story:

With regard to your editorial (23 June) on Father Ed Hone's initiatives to raise cash through the canonisation of Margaret Sinclair,
to equate the Pharisaic criticism levelled against Jesus in His divine work of redeeming sinners with the genuine consternation of Catholics at an Edinburgh "gypsy priest" whose interaction with active homosexuals dissents from the moral teaching of
the Church on the necessity of conversion from sin for salvation is about as perverse a parallel as I have seen.

Is Benedict aware of this priest's defection to mammon, and does he go along with this scheme, one wonders? God help us!

Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


St. Louis Catholic reports:

The St. Cronan website is currently promoting an event called the "Pre-Pride Fest Interfaith Kickoff Service", which will be held at the Central Reform Congregation. A description of the event:

Kick off Pride Fest weekend with an interfaith service affirming our commitment to full inclusion for members of our community who are gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgender. Hosted by CRC and our friends from Metropolitan Community Church (MCC) of Greater St. Louis.

Pride Fest, as you probably know, is the yearly celebration of those who are afflicted with same-sex attraction and a tool for the advancement of a social and political agenda that is contrary to natural law. Those who have been reasonably sentient in St. Louis since November 2007 will also recall that the Central Reform Congregation is led by Rabbi Susan Talve.

Rabbi Talve decided to host the pretend ordinations of Elsie McGrath and Rose Hudson, despite the request from Archbishop Burke to refrain from doing so.

Rabbi Talve was invited by St. Cronan to lead an Advent vespers service, and held the event outside the Church building after Archbishop Burke asked the parish leadership to disinvite her, and further after Archbishop Burke had announced that the Church would no longer cooperate in joint events with her due to her failure to respect the request that she not undermine His Grace's efforts to shepherd the flock entrusted to him. Sr. Louise Lears participated in this service, which was covered on local television, and which was widely seen as a protest against the Archbishop. The event was also attended by pretend priests Hudson and McGrath.


Catholic sisters who lived in Eastern Europe under communist rule from 1945-90 were terrorized, removed from their homes, forced to do manual labor and imprisoned for practicing their religion. Yet, they remained true to their vows.

"The Catholic Church was a special target for liquidation,'' said Sister Margaret Nacke. "...Since we sisters are public representatives of the Church, we were some of the first targets.''

And despite the fact their religion was forbidden, women continued through four decades to join these religious orders in Eastern Europe, practicing their faith in secret and always in fear of being discovered by the communists....

With the working title "Sister Survivors of European Communism,'' the one-hour documentary is being filmed by New Group Media from South Bend, Ind., and is expected to be completed in December. Officials hope to eventually broadcast it on public television. Nacke and Savoie brought a 6 1/2-minute trailer of the documentary with them as part of a PowerPoint presentation they showed to the Sisters of St. Basil the Great and local media. They have been speaking to religious orders and historical societies throughout the country.

Read all of it...


A Roman Catholic Church decision to prohibit a Minneapolis gay pride prayer service has many in the gay community up in arms, leading activists to call the action a troubling and telling sign from the Twin Cities' new archbishop.

The Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis recently told staff members at St. Joan of Arc Church they could not hold their annual gay pride prayer service planned for Wednesday — an event held for several years in conjunction with the annual Twin Cities Pride Celebration, parishioners said.

Instead, the archdiocese suggested a "peace" service with no mention of rights for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people.

"That descriptor (LGBT) was not possible on church property. We suggested they shift it, change the nature of it a little bit, and they did," said archdiocese spokesman Dennis McGrath.

"The reason is quite simply because it was a LGBT pride prayer service, and that is really inimical to the teachings of the Catholic Church."



Pax Insurance, a new insurance company, has launched operations in Uganda, joining a highly competitive market of 19 firms chasing after a market with sh100b total premium.

The firm is owned by the Catholic Church. “This development is part of the Catholic Church’s commitment to promoting savings in the country,” said Bishop Mathius Ssekamanya, the chairman of the Catholic Episcopal Conference.

Ssekamanya explained that the idea to start an insurance firm was a continuation of the church’s commitment to encouraging savings.

This, he said, was a follow up to the Centenary Bank, which was started decades ago.

Continue reading...


PILGRIMS in Sydney for World Youth Day will be handed condoms in a protest against Pope Benedict XVI's opposition to contraception and homosexuality, demonstrators say.

The NoToPope Coalition, which includes members of Sydney's atheist, gay and environmental communities, will march to Randwick Racecourse on Saturday, July 19, alongside Catholic pilgrims who will be walking to Randwick after a pilgrimage trek across the Sydney Harbour Bridge that day.

The coalition is planning a rally at Taylor Square in Sydney's inner east, followed by the march to the racecourse, where Pope Benedict XVI is holding a prayer vigil that evening.

Coalition spokeswoman Rachel Evans said the "peaceful protest" would condemn the Pope's stance against condoms, homosexuality and abortion.

Read the rest...


VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Thou shalt not harm the environment during thy vacation.

The Vatican sent out this message -- in effect -- to summer travelers, issuing a set of suggestions to help tourists minimize or offset environmental damage caused by their pursuit of rest and relaxation....

Tips included taking less luggage on gas-guzzling airplanes and cars, planting trees to offset tourists' carbon footprints and choosing vacation spots in closer harmony with nature, ANSA said.

I guess it's a sin now to pack an extra T-shirt.

Out with the lecherous season.

In with the silly season. In green.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


I've caught some sort of bug that is not going away. Maybe tomorrow I'll have the energy to blog.

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