Saturday, November 15, 2008
OPPOSING CREATIVE IMMORALITY
Apparently our culture is in free-fall in the pursuit of evermore degrading sexual activity. The bishops of Massachusetts have addressed the latest enterprising attack on marriage.
From iObserve.org, the website of the Massachusetts Catholic Conference:
The following statement was released today by the Roman Catholic bishops in Massachusetts, Cardinal Seán P. O’Malley of the Archdiocese of Boston, Bishop George W. Coleman of the Diocese of Fall River, Bishop Timothy A. McDonnell of the Diocese of Springfield, and Bishop Robert J. McManus of the Diocese of Worcester:
We, the Roman Catholic Bishops in Massachusetts, as pastors and teachers, are compelled to speak in support of marriage in light of a recent advertising campaign promoting adultery in the Commonwealth.
The ads encourage the use of an online dating service for married persons contemplating adulterous relationships....
We honor and support those couples who have committed themselves to each other in the vocation of marriage and offer prayers that they remain strong in the face of increasing social pressures to abandon their promise of fidelity.
Thanks to a reader for sending in the link.
MORE ON FR. J. SCOTT NEWMAN
The South Carolina priest who told his congregation that they needed to repent before receiving communion if they had voted for Obama has gotten the repudiation of his chancery and the approval of some of the bishops.
According to a story linked at Spirit Daily, Fox News reports:
Newman said he would not deny anyone communion because of their political choices, but he told his flock of 2,700 families that they should first seek penitence if they voted for Obama, who supports abortion rights. The Catholic Church considers abortion an act of murder.
"Persons in this condition should not receive Holy Communion until and unless they are reconciled to God in the Sacrament of Penance, lest they eat and drink their own condemnation," Newman wrote.
That view was rejected Friday by the Newman's own diocese.
"Father Newman's statements do not adequately reflect the Catholic Church's teachings. Any comments or statements to the contrary are repudiated," said Msgr. Martin Laughlin, administrator of the Charleston Diocese, which is currently without a bishop.
Catholic dioceses in the U.S. have issued various rulings on whether Catholics who support abortion can receive communion.
"The Church hasn't said as a body what this individual priest has said, namely that anybody who has voted for Barack Obama shouldn't go to communion," said Father Jonathan Morris, a Catholic priest and FOX News contributor.
"If anybody voted for Barack Obama because he is pro-abortion, that would certainly be an objective moral wrong," he said. "There are a lot of discretionary areas in politics on which two good Catholics could differ, but the respect for life is not one of these."
Newman and his church have received a thunderous response -- and more than 4,000 e-mails -- both praising and deriding the priest for his comments.
At home in his parish, however, church members said the response has been mostly positive.
A different picture of Msgr. Laughlin's response is painted by a LifeSiteNews.com report:
Archbishop Burke, formerly archbishop of St. Louis, MO and the current Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura, had said in an interview just before election day that for a citizen to not "support and vote for the candidate who most supports the inalienable dignity of innocent and defenseless life" is "to participate, in some way, in the culture of death which pervades the life of the nation and has led to so much violence.”
Bishop Emeritus Rene Henry Gracida of Corpus Christi, TX, told LifeSiteNews.com (LSN) his reaction to Fr. Newman's letter "is one of admiration and awe. I find nothing in what he has written that is at variance with the Magisterium of the Church. He is to be congratulated."
Bishop Vasa of Baker, OR told LSN that, while Fr. Newman was correct to say that voting for Obama constitutes a material offense against moral teaching, it would nonetheless be impossible to "to ascertain with any degree of certainty the sinfulness of the action of any particular voter" as many voters may or may not have been aware of Obama’s extreme stance on abortion.
In a further statement, Fr. Newman appears to agree with Bishop Vasa. Newman said his statement on the "enormously complex subject" could be easily distorted when taken out of the context of his fidelity to normative Church doctrine. Within this context, he said, "no one could conclude that a vote for Senator Obama is in itself or by itself a mortal sin.
"But from that same teaching, though, we must conclude that a vote for a pro-abortion candidate can be a mortal sin if the intent is to support abortion, that abortion is not merely one issue among other important issues, and that no Catholic should endorse a pro-abortion politician if a plausible pro-life alternative is available." (http://www.stmarysgvl.org/ourparish/2008-dear-friends-in-chr...)
Bishop Chaput, one of the most outspoken bishops on political matters, declined to comment on Fr. Newman's letter, stating only that Charleston diocesan administration had authority to speak on the matter.
The response from Fr. Newman's chancery seems to be one of confusion based upon these two conflicting reports. Perhaps Msgr. Laughlin is attempting to weasle his way out of the spotlight in light of the controversy among the bishops, and not knowing who the next bishop of his diocese will be. In any case, Fr. Newman has exhibited courage in taking a stand and deserves approval for it. Msgr. Laughlin's position reflected in the Fox article is disappointing.
Friday, November 14, 2008
THE GREAT DIVIDE IN THE PRO-LIFE COMMUNITY
Save a few, or sacrifice the few until we can save them all?
Matt Abbot's column today explains both sides of the Purist/Pragmatist divide within the pro-life movement, citing comments from Jill Stanek and Judie Brown.
SATANISM IN JAMAICA
From the Jamaica Gleaner Online:
Two Church leaders have cited occultism as a major factor behind the incidence of abduction, rape and ghastly murder sweeping sections of Jamaica.
Bishop Joseph Ade-Gold and Pastor Oswell Robert Raymond told The Gleaner that many sex crimes were linked to occultism.
Both clerics claim that the practices of cultic worshippers have motivated some Jamaicans to conduct morally reprehensible acts. They also said that the Church should partner with the police in spearheading a united front to offer clear guidance, particularly to impressionable youths.
"The types of crime we are seeing, with the mutilation of bodies, are signs of the cults. We know that this is a country that practises a lot of obeah, and because of that, there is no doubt, in my mind, that this is what causes this kind of behaviour."
Raymond also said cultism was shredding the moral fabric of Jamaican society.
"It is anti-Christianity....
Ade-Gold, who was born in Nigeria, provided specific details to suggest that Satanic cult beliefs validated the raping and killing of young women and children.
"The kinds of killings that we're having now, especially with these missing children, have connections with cults. They (members of Satanic cults) drink blood and are interested in virgins."
Commenting on whether he had encountered cultism here, Ade-Gold said he had been visited by many people who had been part of a Satanic school supposedly situated in St Ann.
GAY PRIEST'S SECRET RETREAT
A couple of weeks ago I blogged a Fox News story about Episcopal Bishop Gene Robinson holding a secret retreat for 75 Catholic priests. A few more details have come to light.
According to an AP story at boston.com. Robinson admitted his participation in the retreat after screening a film about Robinson's life story which features his parents discussing having a son come out. According to the article:
The documentary was shown at Gilford's First United Methodist Church as part of the Open Doors Fellowship, which aims to make the church welcoming for gays and lesbians.
The film makes a link between sexism and anti-gay prejudice, contending that, "at its root, the hatred of gays is driven by a hatred and second-class status of women," Robinson said.
Robinson said he made a similar point in the priests' retreat.
"I had said to them, `It's too dangerous for you to come out as gay to your superiors, but I believe that if you work for the ordination of women in your church, you will go a long way toward opening the door for the acceptance of gay priests," Robinson said.
This appears to be a clear statement linking women's ordination to acceptance of homosexuality in the priesthood. Was this assumption taken up by the Catholic clergy in attendance? The implications of the statement for all of the newly forming "Catholic but not Roman Catholic" congregations that accept homosexuality and women priests is clear. The two movements are of one and the same composition--confusion over gender identity.
NOVENA OF MASSES FOR PROTECTION OF UNBORN BABIES
St. Michael the Archangel Organization is offering a novena of 10,000 Masses between January 13 and 21, 2009 for the protection of unborn babies, and is asking anyone who wishes to participate by offering a Mass to email them with the time and location of the Mass. Details are posted at the website.
ANOTHER POSSIBLE EXCOMMUNICATION OVER WOMEN'S ORDINATION
From the New York Times:
The Vatican has informed a Roman Catholic priest in the United States that he will be excommunicated next week for participating in a ceremony it considers illicit and invalid: the ordination of a woman as a priest.
The priest, the Rev. Roy Bourgeois, 69, has been a member of the Maryknoll religious order for 36 years. He said he was anguished at the thought of excommunication, but could not disavow his actions.
“Who are we as men to say that we are called by God to the ministry of priesthood, but women are not? That our call is valid, but theirs is not?” he said in an interview. “We profess as Catholics that the invitation to the priesthood comes from God, and it seems to me that we are tampering with the sacred.”
Father Bourgeois served as a missionary in Bolivia and El Salvador, and concerned by what he witnessed, returned to the United States and became nationally known as a peace advocate.
He lives in an apartment outside the gates of Fort Benning, Ga., where he leads an annual protest against the United States Army School of the Americas, which trains military personnel from Latin America. Last year, 17,000 people joined the protest.
In August, Father Bourgeois joined a ceremony in a Unitarian Universalist church in Lexington, Ky., in which a friend from the peace movement, Janice Sevre-Duszynska, claimed ordination as a Roman Catholic priest. Father Bourgeois gave the homily and laid hands on her.
If this excommunication proceeds, I believe he will be the first priest to come under the ban as a result of participation in women's ordination.
FR. NEWMAN MAKES USA TODAY
The story of the Greenville priest who told his congregation that they must do penance for an Obama vote has been picked up by USA Today.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
BISHOPS HAVE DEFUNDED ACORN
I thought it was in a previous blog, but I can't find it in a hasty search, so I'll put it here just in case. The bishops have defunded ACORN.
Catholic News Agency reports:
Baltimore, Nov 11, 2008 / 10:37 pm (CNA).- The Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) has not yet been able to determine if grants made to ACORN were used for fraudulent voter registration, but has cut off all funding to the community organizing group, Bishop Roger Morin announced on Tuesday.
Shortly after addressing the full assembly of U.S. Catholic bishops, Bishop Morin spoke to reporters about what the bishops had learned concerning the use of grants from the CCHD to the group Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN), which is currently under investigation in 13 states for voter fraud.
CCHD originally announced in July 2008 that it was suspending funding to ACORN because of the embezzlement of 1 million dollars by the brother of ACORN founder Wade Rathke. Today, however, the Bishop Morin went one step further and announced the cancelation of all funding to the group.
When Bishop Morin was asked by the press why CCHD didn’t cancel funding earlier, given the nearly decade-old accusations of voter fraud, he responded that “there are hundreds of local ACORN affiliates” and then made reference to his estimate that CCHD only had a relationship with 40 to 45 of them.
That does not, however, excempt CCHD from critical scrutiny. ACORN is not the only organization they fund. There are a number of others, including the Industrial Areas Foundation and Gamaliel. The Industrial Areas Foundation had a major voter registration drive here in Ohio prior to the election. Was there voter fraud in this drive given that it also uses Alinsky-style methodology? I don't know, but it's a question that deserves asking.
Is the bulk of CCHD money used to fund Alinskian organizations? That is a question even more deserving of an answer. It seems clear to me that whatever they are about, CCHD is in the business of supporting organizations that are not Catholic. Therein lies the greater problem. Do we want our Catholic charity dollars to go to support secular organizations when we think we are contributing to Catholic causes? Some rock bottom honesty is badly needed and sadly lacking in the ranks of CCHD.
Perhaps another question that deserves asking--what are the morals of the man chosen as our president-elect given the fraud that was taking place in an organization he was involved with? Remember, his only claim to experience is his background in community organizing. ACORN, IAF, Gamaliel, are all part of the network which shaped Obama, and that network began in Chicago within Catholicism.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE BISHOPS RE CCHD
You can also read the letter on the website of the Catholic Media Coalition.
Mary Ann Kreitzer
OPEN LETTER TO THE CATHOLIC BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES: REFORM THE CATHOLIC CAMPAIGN FOR HUMAN DEVELOPMENT
On November 5 the American people elected the most liberal candidate in the history of our country who has promised to advance abortion and same‐sex “marriage.” Sadly, his accomplishment could only be achieved with the active cooperation of millions of Catholic voters. What is particularly appalling, however, is that millions of Catholic dollars were funneled directly into liberal coffers through the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). The fraud and financial mismanagement of ACORN was exposed recently and we applaud the CCHD suspension of grants for that organization. However, ACORN’s behavior was longstanding and every bishop in the country received detailed information ten years ago about their problematic agenda. Yet the vetting process at CCHD was apparently so lax that this agency received millions of dollars while they were engaging in immoral actions that directly conflict with Catholic teaching. Many other grant recipients follow the same model as ACORN. The Industrial Areas Foundation, Gamaliel, PICA, and others embrace the identical immoral philosophy that fueled the ACORN scandal. Alinskyite community organizations share 30‐50% of the CCHD pie. The faithful in the pew who believe they are helping the poor actually assist groups that network with enemies of the Church using immoral tactics to force government and private organizations to embrace their questionable goals. Those goals often directly attack the family, especially its weakest members, which has a devastating impact on the poor.
We respectfully call on the Conference of Bishops to reform the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) so that it truly aids the poor instead of channeling money into liberal groups that work with those advancing abortion, same‐sex marriage, and other moral evils. It is a serious wrong that Catholics in the pew who believe their donations help the poor are unknowingly funding a leftwing liberal agenda that opposes the dignity of the human person. We respectfully suggest the following actions with regard to CCHD:
• That the CCHD grant process be frozen and 2008 grants be suspended until a complete review and overhaul of the campaign can be conducted
• That all donations be placed in safe interest‐bearing accounts during the process
• That the grant application process be thoroughly studied and new policies developed that ensure only organizations that follow Catholic moral principles, i.e., pro‐life, profamily, pro‐marriage, and pro‐biblical morality be eligible for grants
• That the principle of subsidiarity be honored in the grant process
• That ACORN, the Industrial Areas Foundation and other Alinsky‐style community organizations that follow immoral principles of action be permanently banned from receiving grants
• That groups networking and interfacing with groups that advance pro‐abortion, prohomosexual policies be permanently banned from funding
• That whenever possible Catholic organizations be given preference over secular groups
The Catholic Media Coalition has developed a DVD and brochure which may be downloaded from our website, www.catholicmediacoalition.org. Be assured of our prayers as you carry out the difficult duties of shepherding the flock.
Sincerely in Christ,
Mary Ann Kreitzer
• Jack Ames, Defend Life, Baltimore, MD
• Janet Baker, Faithful Catholics of MD/DC, Washington, D.C. www.restore‐dc‐catholicism.com
• Stephanie Block, Catholic Author, Albuquerque, NM, Athanasius@aol.com
• Kenneth Fisher, Concerned Roman Catholics of America, Anaheim, California email@example.com
• James Fritz, Defenders of the Faith, Inc., Berkeley Springs, WV www.thedefender.org/contact.html
• Camille Giglio, California Right to Life Advocates, callifeadvocates.org/blog
• Alice Grayson, Veil of Innocence, West Falmouth, MA, www.veilofinnocence.org/index.html
• Nancy Kokstis SFO, the Shepherds Warrior, Prentice, WI, kokstis @pctcnet.net
• Mary Ann Kreitzer, Les Femmes, Woodstock, VA, www.lesfemmes‐thetruth.com
• Valerie Lubitz, President, Los Pequeños de Cristo, Albuquerque, NM, www.lospequenos.org
• Karl Maurer, Catholic Citizens of Illinois, www.catholiccitizens.org
• Kathy Parker, Brothers and Sisters at the Cross, Birmingham, Alabama
• Sheila Parkhill, The Holy Family Society of Tucson, http://hfsnews.org/
• The Orlando Truth, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Vivian Ripton, Call to Holiness, St. Michael the Archangel Chapel, New York
• Allyson Smith, Catholic Author, San Diego, CA, email@example.com
• Georgene M. Sorenson, Romans in the Desert, firstname.lastname@example.org
• Donna Steichen, Catholic Author, Ojai, CA email@example.com
• Carolyn Wendell, VOCAL, Portland, OR, http://vocalblog.blogspot.com/, firstname.lastname@example.org
Personaly, I have refused to contribute anything to CCHD; and because it sometimes overlaps with Catholic Charities, I have refused to contribute to Catholic Charities in my diocese for several years since I discovered that abortions were being funded. These organizations need to be supporting Catholic charitable outreach, not secular outreach. They need to be supporting charities that uphold Catholic teaching. Unless these groups are reformed, it is the height of foolishness and hypocricy for a Catholic to contribute to them.
MORE GAY PROTESTS
Gays protested outside the New York City Mormon Temple over the Prop. 8 vote. This one was peaceful.
CATHOLIC LEAGUE WADES IN
Catholic League President Bill Donohue has addressed the incident of gay disruption at Evangelical Protestant Mount Hope Church service in Lansing, Michigan last Sunday:
“The real story here is the refusal of the mainstream media to cover what is surely one of the most disturbing events of 2008. If an organized group of gay bashers stormed a gay church, there is not a single sentient person in the United States who wouldn’t know about it.
“This is urban fascism come to America’s heartland. It must be quickly stopped before it gets out of control. We are contacting Mike Cox, the Attorney General of Michigan, calling for an investigation.”
We join with our friends at the Catholic League and encourage our readers to contact Attorney General Mike Cox at email@example.com
Read it here...
WASHINGTON POST COLUMNIST ADMITS ELECTION COVERAGE BIASED
World Net Daily reports:
The Post's admission came in a column by Ombudsman Deborah Howell, who wrote that the newspaper's op-ed pages favored Democrat Sen. Barack Obama by endorsement and in print. But Obama "deserved tougher scrutiny than he got," Howell said, "especially of his undergraduate years, his start in Chicago and his relationship with Antoin 'Tony" Rezko, who was convicted this year of influence-peddling."
Howell also wrote that the Post "did nothing" on Obama's admitted drug use as a teenager, nor did the newspaper give vice presidential-elect Sen. Joe Biden the scrutiny he deserved, instead going over GOP vice presidential candidate Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin "with a fine-tooth comb."
One-sidedness like that was a "gaping hole" in the newspaper's coverage, Howell wrote....
Howell noted the newspaper "ran far more laudatory opinion pieces on Obama, 32, than on Sen. John McCain, 13. There were far more negative pieces about McCain, 58, than there were about Obama, 32."
She added, "One gaping hole in coverage involved Joe Biden, Obama's running mate. When Gov. Sarah Palin was nominated for vice president, reporters were booking the next flight to Alaska. Some readers thought The Post went over Palin with a fine-tooth comb and neglected Biden. They are right; it was a serious omission."
Read it here...
ABORTION--FINALLY A CAUSE THAT UNITES ?
Will the election of pro-abortion Obama be the turning point that will coalesce Catholic priests and bishops behind a single issue, abortion? Could this possibly be the issue that once again unites the Church? There would appear to be at least a hint of a developing trend.
One priest has been quite vocal in his parish according to Greenville Online:
The priest at St. Mary's Catholic Church in downtown Greenville has told parishioners that those who voted for Barack Obama placed themselves under divine judgment because of his stance on abortion and shouldn't receive Holy Communion until they've done penance.
The Rev. Jay Scott Newman told The Greenville News on Wednesday that church teaching doesn't allow him to refuse Holy Communion to anyone based on political choices, but that he'll continue to deliver the church's strong teaching on the "intrinsic and grave evil of abortion" as a hidden form of murder....
In a letter posted on St. Mary's Web site, Newman wrote that "voting for a pro-abortion politician when a plausible pro-life alternative exists constitutes material cooperation with intrinsic evil."
Catholics who did so should be reconciled to God through penance before receiving communion, "lest they eat and drink their own condemnation," Newman wrote, echoing a I Corinthians admonition for anyone who partakes "without recognizing the body of the Lord."
The response from parishioners has been supportive by a margin of 9 to 1, Newman said. He also cited Scripture in urging parishioners to pray for Obama and cooperate with him wherever conscience permits....
Asked if he would actively deny the sacraments to Obama voters, Newman said he won't because the church teaches that no one is denied communion unless it would cause "grave scandal," such as in the case of a notorious public sinner.
However, he said he'll continue to teach the necessity of being in "full, visible communion" with the church before receiving the sacraments.
At the USCCB website Cardinal George's statement on the Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) has been posted. The following is excerpted from it:
The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.
In the statement Cardinal George outlines the loss of religious freedom that will follow passage of FOCA, and makes it clear that the American bishops of the Catholic Church stand united in opposition to the president-elect on this issue.
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
OMINOUS WARNINGS FROM A JERUSALEM NEWS SOURCE
From a link at Spirit Daily:
"Over the last 72 hours there has been a strange melange of cryptic messages leaked from world political leaders about what could be in store for America over the next few months.
These predictions of impending doom come from England, France, Australia and the United States.
Biden told the top Democratic donors that a “generated crisis” will develop within six months and Barak Obama will need the help of community leaders to control the population as unpopular decisions are made and Americans resist.
Biden speaking at the fundraiser, “I can give you at least four or five scenarios from where it might originate, And he’s gonna need help. And the kind of help he’s gonna need is, he’s gonna need you - not financially to help him - we’re gonna need you to use your influence, your influence within the community, to stand with him. Because it’s not gonna be apparent initially, it’s not gonna be apparent that we’re right.”
Biden’s ominous language at the Seattle Sheraton are followed with statements by long time establishment insiders Colin Powell and Madeline Albright both say there is a massive crisis on the horizon and Biden was simply making a “statement in fact.”
“The problems will always be there and there’s going to be a crisis which will come along on the 21st, 22nd of January that we don’t even know about right now.” Powell told Meet the Press.
Read the rest...
CHRISTIAN HATERS DISRUPT SERVICE IN MICHIGAN
Spirit Daily has linked this story about disruption in a Lansing, Michigan church by liberals who oppose Christianity.
Another article linked there indicates a Gay Rights group has claimed responsibility for the disruption.
A third article linked there indicates that is the No on Proposition 8 that has sparked the harrassment.
And in a fourth linked story Fr. Frank Pavone received the following death threat in his blog the day after the election:
“IMPORTANT MESSAGE FOR FATHER FRANK PAVONE
“I am predicting that there will be more anti-abortion terror because of this election. I AM ALSO PREDICTING THAT THIS TIME IT WILL BE ANSWERED IN KIND BY PRO-CHOICE COUNTERTERRORISTS, who will mount similar terrorist attacks against well-known right-to-lifers. FATHER FRANK will be a natural target for pro-choice counterterrorists.
“I therefore advise you, Fr Frank, if you read that there has been another abortion-clinic shooting or bombing, get out of town immediately. Take a vacation abroad. Go visit the Vatican. If there is another act of anti-abortion terror, your life will not be safe in the USA.
CLEVELAND FAITH HEALER BRANCHES OUT
The Cleveland Catholic Diocese's very own faith healer, Dr. Issam Nemeh, will be appearing in Redwood City and Burlingame in two Episcopal churches on November 28 and 30 for a Thanksgiving service according to the International Business Times. Unfortunately the article doesn't tell us what state. Vermont?
WHAT ARE THE KIDLETS LISTENING TO ?
In the music world of death metal, the Swedish band Therion is morphing into symphonic metal religious music. (Oxymoron?) Their latest studio album is titled "Gothic Kabbalah". According to The Sandspur:
Therion concerts usually feature mystical or mythological visual themes due to the nature of their music and their lyrics that deal with mythology, legends, runology, and the occult (in particular, the variety as practiced by the order Dragon Rouge, of which Therion lyricist Thomas Karlsson is the founder and at least Christofer Johnsson is a member). This concert, as well as the tour they were on, follows a Gothic theme in line with the concept of their latest album that deals with Gothic mysticism and 17th century scholar Johannes Bureus.
As can be noted on the group's website, they have official websites for Poland, Japan, France, and Russia.
Wikipedia tells us the title of the band is the name of a god in Thelema, Aleister Crowley's "religion". Crowley assumed the title "Master Therion".
Lyrics of their songs are on the web here. Check out Gothic Kabbalah.
If you want to hear what they sound like, go here. To my ear the music is hypnotic and enticing. I can see how the kidlets are drawn in. Any of you have teenagers out there? How popular is this band on the American teen scene?
BISHOPS' OPPOSITION TO OBAMA ABORTION POLICY
The Boston Globe reports:
The nation's Catholic bishops decided yesterday to fire an opening salvo at the incoming Obama administration, pledging to work with the new president on issues such as immigration and healthcare but also warning that the Catholic Church will do everything it can to oppose his support for abortion rights.
Meeting a week after Democrat Barack Obama, a strong supporter of abortion rights, won a majority of the Catholic vote en route to a relatively easy victory, the bishops were clearly agitated by the prospect of eased restrictions on abortion rights over the next four years.
Bishop Thomas J. Paprocki of Chicago warned that Catholic hospitals might have to close if, as he and other bishops fear based on legislation considered by Congress this year, a Democratic Congress and a sympathetic Obama administration decide to eliminate the right of doctors to refuse to perform abortions....
The bishops, reeling from an election in which voters seemed to disregard their counsel, have talked about abortion and politics repeatedly during their semiannual meeting here. They agreed to authorize Cardinal Francis E. George, the archbishop of Chicago and the president of the bishops' conference, to write a statement for publication that will spell out their concerns....
Also yesterday, the bishops for the first time approved a new "blessing of a child in the womb," which could be said by priests for pregnant women. The blessing was in the works for several years, but took on new significance in light of the bishops' heightened concern about abortion, given the election results.
Read the rest...
VATICAN OPPOSES OBAMA POLICIES
From the Times Online:
The Vatican has fired a warning shot over the bows of Barack Obama in response to the President-elect's intention to lift the US ban on embryonic stem cell research.
Cardinal Javier Lozano Barragan of Mexico, who acts as the Vatican health minister, said that stem cells taken from human embryos and involving the destruction of the embryos "serve no purpose"....
He said the Vatican would seek clarification of the new administration's position on stem cells, and he himself was not "fully aware" what it was.
Aides to Mr Obama indicated this week that he will reverse Mr Bush's stand on stem cell research. The US Senate voted in July to remove restrictions on embryonic stem cell research, but the President vetoed the legislation the following day.
Read the story here.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
It reset itself once again so I've imported a new one. We'll see if this one is any better.
I don't know if this is the same Lighthouse Ministries that was being promoted at Mass last Saturday or not, but it is interesting. I've said Lighthouse Ministries is ecumenical. Apparently this African group believes that the Jewish Feast of Tabernacles should become universal. If you watch the scrolling banner at the top, you can discover that they view themselves as a "Global Church".
Women's Lighthouse Ministries' Forum speaks of opening your heart so they can open the world for you, then enters a discussion of the Book of Zohar. Scrolling down to the end of the text you can see that it is "signed" www.kabbalah.info.
CONGRESSMAN WARNS OF OBAMA DICTATORSHIP
Spirit Daily links the following article.
A Republican congressman from Georgia said Monday he fears that President-elect Obama will establish a Gestapo-like security force to impose a Marxist or fascist dictatorship.
"It may sound a bit crazy and off base, but the thing is, he's the one who proposed this national security force," Rep. Paul Broun said of Obama in an interview Monday with The Associated Press. "I'm just trying to bring attention to the fact that we may — may not, I hope not — but we may have a problem with that type of philosophy of radical socialism or Marxism."...
"We can't be lulled into complacency," Broun said. "You have to remember that Adolf Hitler was elected in a democratic Germany. I'm not comparing him to Adolf Hitler. What I'm saying is there is the potential."
Read the article...
CALL FOR A PROTEST
A new Roman Catholic reform group on Monday called for Catholic parishioners nationwide to withhold church donations on Sunday to protest what it called the failure of religious leaders to protect children against clergy sexual abuse.
A leader of the organization Send the Bishops a Message said that holding back contributions would allow lay members to vent their frustration over a scandal that has cost the Roman Catholic Church in this country more than $2 billion in legal settlements....
Douglas said his group was encouraging parishioners to give their donations to other causes rather than hang onto the money. Parishioners also were being urged to withhold their donations once a month after Sunday's kickoff.
Nowhere is CCHD mentioned in the article, but a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Los Angeles played the trump card in saying that the protest would harm the needy. Read the story here.
Meanwhile the bishops meeting in Baltimore are trying to figure out why the voter messages they issued were ignored.
Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio, of New York City, said that chairmen of the bishops' national committees met privately Monday morning to begin looking at the issue. A public discussion was set for Tuesday afternoon, the final open session of the bishops' fall meeting.
DiMarzio oversaw drafting of the bishops' presidential election-year guide, "Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship." The statement explained Catholic views on poverty, health care and other social issues, but also said that fighting abortion should be paramount.
Bishops posted the document on Web sites and circulated it in parishes. Church staff produced "Faithful Citizenship" podcasts and, for the first time, leaders wrote special election-eve prayers that touched on abortion and other issues.
Still, many church leaders were angered to see several prominent Catholics back Obama, citing a Democratic commitment to reduce abortion. Obama supporters said that GOP leaders had failed to reduce abortion rates and overturn Roe v. Wade.
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life has released statistics which indicate the Catholic vote was partially responsible for Obama's election, according to Medical News Today.
According to the Pew analysis, 54% of Catholics voted for Obama, compared with 45% who voted for Republican nominee Sen. John McCain (Ariz.)....Obama received two-thirds of Hispanic Catholic votes but received fewer votes than McCain from white Catholics (47% to 52%).
The trend of white Catholic voters always voting for the winner was reversed by the Hispanic vote. Apparently Hispanics were not listening to their bishops. As Thomas J. Reese, S.J. puts it at the Religion Blog:
Did these bishops sway any voters? Was there a backlash against the bishops? Or were they simply ignored? Whatever the case, episcopal authority took a major hit during the election.
Uhm yeah. Was this a response from the laity to the way the bishops handled the sexual abuse scandal? It would seem that from the Hispanic community at least, the bishops were told to "go fly a kite". So much for "pray, pay and obey" among the immigrants. It's a wide divide between hierarchy and faithful. Bishops speaking with conflicting voices is not exactly acting to improve the situation. As Reese puts it:
Most bishops were silent or simply repeated what was in to their 2007 document, Forming Consciences for Faithful Citizenship. The document said that abortion "is not just one issue among many," but it also said, "As Catholics we are not single-issue voters." This nuance was lost on partisan campaigners.
This division between the vocal, partisan bishops and the silent, nonpartisan bishops will be a major issue at the Baltimore meeting. The silent bishops are upset that the vocal bishops were perceived to be speaking for all of the bishops, while the vocal bishops blame the silent ones for the Democratic victory. This argument will take place behind closed doors lest the bishops scandalize the faithful with their divisions. It is not likely that this division, which has divided the bishops for years, will be resolved this week.
We have been warned about bishop opposing bishop. Now we see the prophecy coming true.
Monday, November 10, 2008
GAY VIOLENCE AGAINST CHRISTIANS
New Oxford Review links a story about messages on gay websites calling for the burning down of churches and the killing of Mormons and Catholics who supported Prop. 8 in California. Matt Barber, author of the article, says this is more than blowing off election steam and calls for an investigation by federal authorities. Messages are quoted in the article and have the characteristics of hate speech.
CCHD AND ACORN
There are two interesting articles about this subject available on the web. The liberal voice can be found on the "America" magazine blog in an article written by Austen Ivereigh titled "Community organizing: the new front in the US Catholic culture wars?". In this article Ivereigh tells us:
...the community organizing tradition[is that] which shaped Barack Obama. The links between the Catholic Church and community organizing are very strong: Saul Alinksy, whose methods are taught today by the institute he founded, the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF), first "organized" in the Back of the Yards area of Chicago's South Side in the 1930s, when he teamed up the local Catholic parishes and the labor unions to take on the meatpacking plants and the corrupt landlords. An auxiliary bishop of Chicago, Bernard J. Sheil, was one of Alinsky's main backers, as would later be Cardinal Bernardin. The great twentieth-centry French scholastic Jacques Maritain, the father of European Christian Democracy, was an admirer and lifelong friend....
Most, if not all, of the 65 IAF-affiliated community organizations across the US -- Arizona Interfaith, One LA, Greater Boston Interfaith Organization, the Gamaliel Foundation -- have inner-city Catholic congregations as their backbone. And many have received grants over the years from the US bishops' Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which began life in 1969 as the National Crusade against Poverty. The organization Obama worked for in the 1980s, the Developing Communities Project (DCP), was in receipt of CCHD grants....
Lawrence J. Engel's detailed 1998 study of the influence of Saul Alinksy on the CCHD chronicles the commitment of the CCHD to community organizing, and suggests that Alinsky's method of enabling the poor to become advocates of social change have had a decisive impact on the American Catholic social justice movement. Alinksy is to Catholic social teaching what Paulo Freire in Brazil was to the rise of liberation theology in Latin America: they were both masters of the "method" by which ordinary people come to exert power over their lives, and expand their productive assets.
Opposing this article is the conservative voice of Fr. John Neuhaus editor of "First Things":
The Campaign for Human Development (CHD) is an annual collection in parishes, usually on one of the last two Sundays in November. It used to be called the Catholic Campaign for Human Development but the Catholic was dropped, which is just as well since it has nothing to do with Catholicism, except that Catholics are asked to pay for it. Some bishops no longer allow the CHD collection in their dioceses, and more should not allow it. In fact, CHD, misbegotten in concept and corrupt in practice, should, at long last, be terminated.
This is not quite accurate. CCHD uses the word "Catholic" in its name. If memory serves me correctly, it was added to the previous title which was "Campaign for Human Development."
Ten years ago, CHD was exposed as using the Catholic Church as a milk cow to fund organizations that frequently were actively working against the Church’s mission, especially in their support of pro-abortion activities and politicians. Now it turns out that CHD has long been a major funder of ACORN, a national community agitation organization in support of leftist causes, including the abortion license. ACORN (Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now) is under criminal investigation in several states. In the last decade CHD gave ACORN well over seven million dollars, including more than a million in the past year. It is acknowledged that ACORN, with which Sen. Obama had a close connection over the years, was a major player in his presidential campaign. The bishops say they are investigating the connection between CHD and ACORN. They say they are worried that it might jeopardize the Church’s tax-exemption. No mention is made of abusing the trust of the Catholic faithful.
What most Catholics don’t know, and what would likely astonish them, is that CHD very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor. Part of the thinking when it was established in the ideological climate of the 1960s is that Catholic concern for the poor would not be perceived as credible if CHD funded Catholic organizations.
Thus it would seem that Catholics who oppose Obama's abortion stance have themselves and their contribution to CCHD partially to blame for his rise to power. When it comes to abortion we have, in a sense, created our own enemy.
The USCCB website has the list of CCHD Grantees posted on their website.
2007 can be found here.
2006 is here.
2005 is here.
2004 is here.
Adding up the numbers shows that $1,056,000 was contributed to ACORN, $25,000 went to Gamaliel, and $30,000 to IAF, for a total of $1,111,000 in 2007. That is the amount given to organizations that are openly associated with Alinsky methodology. Are there others on this list which do not make their activities as widely known but who are also practicing Alinskian politics?
In any case, the Bishops have admitted the need for reform. At the USCCB website is a pdf letter from Bishop Roger Morin, Chair, CCHD Subcommittee, addressed to All Bishops. In it he says that funding of ACORN has been suspended:
Recent widespread reports of alleged ACORN involvement in voter registration controversies and allegations of fraud raise additional serious concerns. Non-partisan voter registration, especially in poor communities, is important and needed work. Too often poor voters are not registered or are not encouraged to participate in the vital choices that affect their
(sic)families and communities. However, these allegations and controversies raise serious and legitimate concerns. The current halt of ACORN funding means that no CCHD funds are involved in any of these activities. Nonetheless, the suspension of all ACORN funding will not be lifted until and unless it is clear that CCHD funds will not go to an organization that has engaged in unlawful activities or voter registration fraud, even though this does not involve CCHD funds.
But let's be clear. It was not only ACORN that was involved in voter registration. The parent organization, the Industrial Areas Foundation, also had organized Ohio voter drives going before the election. Were they on the level?
Sunday, November 09, 2008
ANOTHER ABORTED ATTEMPT TO ATTEND MASS
Began with a large American flag carried by a veteran in uniform in the entrance procession. Progressed to a mini-homily from the sanctuary about the military, about the various military hats that were displayed in the sanctuary, and about how this particular military man was still able to fit into his uniform even though he has been out of the military for a few years. The priest also added that he had lots of clothes in his closet that had shrunk so that he could no longer fit into them which drew the courtesy laugh from the congregation. Finally after we all (well, nearly all) applauded the military, Mass was resumed. (And they wonder why we lose our belief in the Real Presence!)
Don't get me wrong. I respect and honor soldiers who fight for freedom. I just don't think they should be competing with Jesus for attention at Mass.
Then came the homily. It rambled for about 15 or 20 minutes about St. John Lateran Basilica in Rome, about other basilicas in Rome, about where the word basilica came from, about how many mispronunciations you can twist the word into, about some church that has a chair that the Blessed Virgin supposedly sat in and how the priest attempted to sit in the chair but was told not to do so by a guard (this accompanied by a "hoochie coochie" demonstration of trying to sit in a chair where you don't belong). Then the priest announced that he still had 20 minutes of homily left so he started reading the announcements in the bulletin. The sighs behind me indicated that I was not the only one who had about had it with his cutsey homily. Next he introduced the woman who represented Lighthouse Ministries who came to the podium wearing a black mantilla, and commenced to continue with the homily, or whatever her presentation represented in the priest's mind.
At several points during this performance, my husband and I had exchanged glances. Nothing needed to be said. We read each other perfectly. This was beyond the pale. When the woman stepped up to the podium, I looked at my husband. My husband looked at me. "Ready?" he asked. "Yes", I responded, and we walked out.
I'm not sure what sort of Catholic group has founded or joined Lighthouse Ministries. I do know about Protestant groups that use the name. One of them had a church by the interstate going to Columbus. They didn't sport a cross. They sported a lighthouse--full size--to advertise their church. Then there was the sign in front of a Protestant church sporting a Lighthouse a few months ago on our way to Mass.
Sometimes I run into Lighthouse Ministries on the web. Like here, for instance. It's ecumenical. I don't know much of what they are about. They seem to be associated with Pentecostalism. One thing I do know is that they don't appear to be very Catholic in concept. A lighthouse is a poor replacement for a crucifix. Somehow this substitution brings the Lightbearer to mind. Spirituality in this particular parish is deteriorating rapidly, as my previous complaints about Opus Angelorum and the Medj. visionary attest.
In any case, there was an announcement in the bulletin about the October head count. Mass attendance has now sunk to a new low. In 1970 68% of registered Catholics attended Mass. It is now down to 24% as of the October count. I don't wonder why.
I haven't actually attended Mass yet this weekend, which means that I'm going to have to try again to make it happen. I'm not even telling my husband that I'm going to try again. He has some stuff to do that will mean he will be leaving around 10 and returning God alone knows when. After he leaves, I'll try again to find a Mass. He made it quite clear last night that he is about finished with going to church.
It was unfortunate that I had watched Mass on EWTN yesterday afternoon. It's something I rarely do. Unfortunate because Mass on EWTN is dignified. The priest doesn't tell jokes. The congregation doesn't use non-religious props to turn the Mass into some celebration of humanity. The contrast was overwhelming.