Monday, June 10, 2013
AN OPEN LETTER TO
CARDINAL DI NARDO OF HOUSTON
I am writing to express my concern about the "ordination" of Methodist clergy that took place on May 28th at the Co-Cathedral of The Sacred Heart in Houston with your permission.
I won't bother quoting canon law, which apparently doesn't concern anyone in your chancery in the first place. I would, however, like to pose a few rhetorical questions for your consideration and the consideration of anyone else who reads this letter:
1) Is not God the same yesterday, today and forever?
2) If God does not change, then would it not follow that His Church would reflect such consistency and would not change either?
3) Did not Jesus Christ found only ONE Church?
4) Is not that One Church founded by Jesus Christ completely subservient to the Truth?
5) Since the Catholic Church does not recognize any Protestant sect as having valid orders in any sense of the word, is it not obvious that any Protestant "ordination" is an untruth--that is, a lie?
6) Since the Catholic Church is devoted to protecting human life, including the lives of the unborn...
...since the United Methodist Church is unrepentant in its continual support of abortion on demand, can you not see that permitting this organization to use a Catholic Church, specifically, YOUR CATHEDRAL to perpetuate their sinful existence is an act of aiding and abetting the enemy?
It has become widely reported across the web that United Methodist "Bishop" Janice Huie is a personal friend of yours. If that is true, we can understand your hesitancy to deny a courtesy to a friend. However, you, as a Cardinal Archbishop of the Holy Roman Catholic Church, have bigger obligations than serving the friendships you make in the secular and Protestant community.
With deepest regret and the utmost respect for you and your office, I humbly ask you to please re-consecrate the Cathedral of the Sacred Heart. A great sacrilege has taken place in your cathedral and you permitted it to happen. It does not matter if no one in your archdiocese cares. It does not matter if the Catholic press gives you a pass on this scandal. As Pope Benedict has said, truth is not determined by majority opinion. God knows what you have done and those Catholics who understand the rules of their Church are gravely concerned about conflicting message you have sent.
Please, Your Eminence, correct this wrong and do it quickly. Re-consecrate your Cathedral and publicly renounce your role in this confusing scandal that has only wounded, not built up, the Body of Christ.
Thursday, March 21, 2013
THIS TIME IT'S PERSONAL
This may come as a shock to the news media, but there are a lot of Catholics who love Pope Benedict. I am one of them.
Not to take anything away from the new pope, Francis. This is his day in the sun, his "honeymoon" period, if you will. The Church is celebrating the election of a new pope and it is only right that he be shown the respect and admiration Catholics offer to their popes.
The problem is that some of the "celebrating" has gone too far. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is being disrespected and trashed, in many cases by people who should know better.
XM Satellite Radio's own Catholic Channel has been celebrating around the clock, but I'd had enough this afternoon when one of the program hosts suggested that someone watching the pope who came back to the Catholic Church because in Pope Francis, they felt a human touch. Just what does that mean? That Pope Benedict was somehow less than human?
America's most embarrassing Churchman, Cardinal Mahony, recently tweeted this message: "Moving from HIGH Church to LOW and humble Church! What a blessing that we are encountering Jesus without trappings!"
One can almost hear him humming Ding-Dong The Witch Is Dead.
Germany's Cardinal Lehmann, a man one would think had some respect for his former leader, recently praised the new pope by stating that Pope Francis might bring in Catholics who in past years "were somehow disappointed".
The soft, ignore-the-rules, left-leaning dissidents who are high-fiving each other about the new pope have had the reins of the Church since 1963. Their "successes" include a free-fall drop in Mass attendance, an all-but-disappeared line at the confessional, huge defections in the ranks of priests and nuns and a Catholic populace with little objective idea of a basic catechism, embracing an eternally lethal pick-and-choose aesthetic. Pope Benedict had a measly 7 years to rule the Church during this unprecedented epoch of disaster. He dared to do what his previous three predecessors somehow forgot: He tried to govern.
Those who knew Ratzinger were not surprised by his style, because he was not the "panzerkardinal" the leftist press portrayed. He was gentle. He let a lot of bad bishops serve out their terms before replacing them with prelates willing to restore the Catholic faith to their dioceses. He reached out to the Church's most maligned (and faithful) group, traditionalists, and gave them the opportunity to worship as the Church always had. He gave Anglicans and Episcopalians who were fed up with their own church's disintegration an easier pathway to Rome. He reached out to the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X, a group whose most unforgivable crime was their distrust of Vatican II, which oddly enough, dried up vocations for the "mainstream" while their chapels exploded with new vocations.
Pope Benedict was unpopular with one group: Fake Catholics. Hans Kung, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and the staffs of U.S. Catholic and The National Catholic Reporter hated Pope Benedict. And now that he is gone, the media is going to ignore one very telling fact about Pope Benedict's pontificate: No pope in modern history drew bigger crowds to his Vatican audiences than Pope Benedict. That's right, not even the "rock star" pope, John Paul II drew crowds as large as Pope Benedict's. Yet, to hear the current buzz in the media and among the dissenters, you'd think Benedict drove people away from the Church.
Pope Benedict brought people INTO the Church. And he would have done more if the people he trusted had served him well.
As I said, Pope Benedict was and is a gentle man. He is a true Catholic. He does not return insults and slights. And that is precisely why the cheap-shot artists who despised him are showing us their true colors today.
Lest anyone doubt that Pope Benedict was undermined by his own curia, and by the bishops he trusted to obey him, look and listen to the "celebrations" of the new pope. As more time passes, the insinuations against Pope Benedict will be less veiled. The open contempt that is slowly unfolding before us is downright demonic.
Only one thing can be said to the priests and bishops who have turned on their former leader:
SHAME ON YOU.
Tuesday, March 19, 2013
Now that the new pope is in place, both the Catholic and secular press are all caught up in the hub-bub of what kind of pope Francis will be. We are hearing a lot about his "style" and a lot of talk about "reform."
If it's really reform that they want, here are some suggestions for a papacy of reform that would actually be effective:
1) STOP THE "PASTORAL" VISITS
First and foremost, we need a pope who is going to govern the Church. The last thing we need is to exhaust this man by parading him around all over the world through different time zones and endless "welcome" ceremonies. Francis is now the Bishop of Rome and the Supreme Pontiff. Christ's Church has been in a state of chaos for nearly 50 years now and we need some stabilizing. Benedict certainly started on that path, but he ran out of steam and support. Which brings us to the next step for reform in this papacy:
2) CLEAN OUT THE CURIA
It is no secret that Pope Benedict's servants "served" him poorly. It's no accident that he pardoned the butler who leaked the documents in the "Vatileaks" scandal. He may have been the only faithful Catholic on the premises. He saw what the Curia was doing to undermine the pope and he probably knew about the filth that Benedict seemed powerless to cleanse. This is no time for cronies or the status-quo. The Vatican needs the leaders and members of its various congregations to be men with proven records of orthodoxy and moral purity. It would also help if they were not men of ambition willing to destroy any perceived "competition". No doubt there are some good Cardinals who should stay (Burke and Oullet come to mind), but many others deserve a good, hard look before re-confirming. No man is irreplaceable.
3) TAKE ADVANTAGE OF POPE BENEDICT WHILE YOU CAN
How many popes had a predecessor they could turn to for advice? How many popes sat and wondered what their predecessor would do? Pope Francis is in a unique position. He is the only pope in history who can pick up the phone and find out for himself what his predecessor would do. Pope Benedict/Ratzinger has one of the greatest minds of modern times and he also "knows where the bodies are buried" in terms of who can be trusted and who cannot. In spite of all the talk of his alleged "stern" view of the Church, Benedict is a gentle man who displayed great sensitivity and intelligence in dealing with his enemies. He's the best advisor any bishop or pope could ask for. To ignore him would be foolish.
4) DON'T WARN & CORRECT HIGH PROFILE CATHOLICS WITHOUT CLEAR CONSEQUENCES.
This pope may not be the theologian his predecessor was, but he is not stupid. Pope Benedict said plainly before he took the Chair of Peter that public figures who persistently defy the teaching authority of the Church, particularly in supporting abortion (and now homosexual marriage) should be denied Communion. Excommunications and interdicts are not mere punishments. They are corrective measures designed to bring the wayward sheep back into the fold. Failure to enforce Church law is the same as failure to enforce civil law: People who obey the law are subject to the whims of the criminals who flaunt the lack of enforcement. Nancy Pelosi and Joe Biden (to name just two) are high-profile "Catholics" who support everything this pope has spoken out against as a Cardinal. If they are permitted to receive Communion over and over again, the same old message will be sent to the rest of us: "Yeah, that's the Church's law, but we don't REALLY mean it."
Four steps for reform. There IS a fifth step, but it's not for the pope, it's for us: Pray for this man. He's got the worst job on earth.
Sunday, March 17, 2013
It has been less than one week since the election of the Church's new Supreme Pontiff and it is difficult to know what to make of him.
Predictably, the ever-clueless "mainstream" secular press is furious that he apparently opposes gay marriage, abortion, contraception and doesn't appear interested in ordaining women. The Catholic press is celebrating the fact that we have a new pope--something they would do regardless of who was elected.
Other voices are expressing concern. There is conflicting information that only time will clear up. Among the accusations flying are that this pope obstructed Summorum Pontificum in his home archdiocese, that he is attacking the ceremonial dignity of his new office or that he is going to make the proven failure of the "New Mass" even newer, with more changes in store.
Even more disheartening is to read reports that enemies of the Church like Hans Kung are completely satisfied with the election of this pope or America's most embarrassing Cardinal tweeting in celebration that a "lowbrow" style of Mass is returning to the Vatican. And it is almost inexcusable (if it is true) to read that a German Cardinal is already criticizing the Holy Father Emeritus.
Is it really this bad?
Let's put things in perspective. Unless some new information comes to light, Pope Francis is a validly elected pope. He is also an outsider to the Vatican and has a lot to learn. If he is as humble as everyone reports, learn he will. We have had 265 popes and, at worst estimate, 10 of them were really bad popes. Yet even they didn't change the basic teachings of the Church, because they couldn't and neither can Francis.
If you're worried about liturgy, please don't start losing sleep yet. Summorum Pontificum is in place and it would take an act of breathtaking chutzpah (not to mention apostasy) to reverse it.
There is, however, one aspect of this pope that few people seem to be noticing: His Marian devotion. Reportedly, he prays all 15 decades of the rosary daily. That is a VERY good sign.
Could this be the pope who will finally consecrate Russia?
According to some reports, the late Italian stigmatist, Antonio Ruffini prophesied during the pontificate of John Paul II that the next pope (Benedict) would not be the pope who consecrated Russia, but it would be the pope after him. That would be Francis, if indeed this report is true and the prophecy is valid.
Let's be clear: The most important thing this pontiff must do during his pontificate is to Consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary in union with all the bishops of the world. If he does, our age will be transformed into something we never dreamed of. If he fails, we're doomed.
The mainstream Catholic press likes to write-off Fatima priest Fr. Nicholas Gruner as some kind of conspiratorial nut-job, but evidently, as a Cardinal, Bergoglio (Francis) wrote twice to Fr. Gruner. (See the video below)
We must be patient. We must pray. Lord, guide, direct and bless our Holy Father, Francis. May he truly rebuild Your Church.
The mainstream Catholic press likes to write-off Fatima priest Fr. Nicholas Gruner as some kind of conspiratorial nut-job, but evidently, as a Cardinal, Bergoglio (Francis) wrote twice to Fr. Gruner. (See the video below)
Let us give this pope a chance. We must pray for him. It's our duty. Maybe, just maybe, all of these conflicting and disturbing reports are just noise sent by the Evil One to distract us. Maybe we are supposed to suffer a few discouragements as a price for the so-badly needed consecration. We have watched the dissenting left of the Church sin for the last seven years in their disrespect of Pope Benedict. Are we being tempted to do the same with Pope Francis?
We must be patient. We must pray. Lord, guide, direct and bless our Holy Father, Francis. May he truly rebuild Your Church.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Q. What could possibly be more lame than the idea of a water park on an island surrounded by the Pacific Ocean?
A. Having MASS at that water park.
Hawaii is a tough place to be Catholic. After Bishop Ferrario's epoch of intolerance to all things traditional, and Bishop DiLorenzo's quick departure, many Hawaiian Catholics hoped that Bishop Silva would help straighten out a diocese awash in modernism and indifference. Instead, it looks like the diocese will stay awash.
Perhaps it is best to remind ourselves at this point that the Mass is not entertainment, it is not amusement and it is not to be taken lightly. When we attend Mass, we witness the unbloody re-presentation of the Death and Resurrection of Our Lord. It is a solemn event that demands piety and reverence.
So why is Bishop Silva of Honolulu permitting Mass to be offered in an amusement park?
On September 1, the Diocese will attempt to reach out to a generation that is distracted to death by a culture of entertainment and amusements by luring them into a water park and hoping that they might just offer some spiritual significance to young people in between the water slides and artificial waves.
Something here just isn't right.
For those interested in registering, you can get out your surf jams and bikinis and call the Office of Diocese Youth and Young Adult Ministry 808-203-6763...if that's your idea of "ministry".
For those who wish to express their concern, you too can call the diocese at 808-585-3300.
If you don't have time to call, at least say a prayer for Bishop Silva. Let us all pray that he open his mind and heart more deeply to the true renewal that Pope Benedict wants for our Church.
Thursday, July 5, 2012
In an act that many of us believe long overdue, last week His Holiness proclaimed Archbishop Fulton Sheen as "VENERABLE", the first official step to sainthood. Here's a quote from the late archbishop that seems to have slipped through the cracks:
Well said, Your Most Venerable Excellency!
For more on this unusual take about love and hate click here.
Christian love bears evil, but it does not tolerate it.
It does penance for the sins of others, but it is not broadminded about sin.
The cry for tolerance never induces it to quench its hatred of the evil philosophies that have entered into contest with the Truth.
It forgives the sinner, and it hates the sin; it is unmerciful to the error in his mind.
The sinner it will always take back into the bosom of the Mystical Body; but his lie will never be taken into the treasury of His Wisdom.
Real love involves real hatred: whoever has lost the power of moral indignation and the urge to drive the buyers and sellers from the temples has also lost a living, fervent love of Truth.
Charity, then, is not a mild philosophy of "live and let live"; it is not a species of sloppy sentiment.
Charity is the infusion of the Spirit of God, which makes us love the beautiful and hate the morally ugly.
Well said, Your Most Venerable Excellency!
For more on this unusual take about love and hate click here.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Lorene Scafaria's Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is an accurate reflection of where we are. And for that reason alone, this movie should scare the hell out of every decent Catholic on the planet.
The film begins with Dodge (the ironically-named hero of this "light romantic comedy") in his parked car at night with a shocked looking woman, listening to a news report that a shuttle mission to destroy a large astroid headed for earth has failed and nothing will stop it from completely destroying all life on the planet in approximately three weeks. The woman (his wife, we later find out) runs from the car and never returns.
Portrayed by Steve Carell, (who contends with Greg Kinnear as today's best onscreen everyman) Dodge returns to his NYC apartment and his depressing insurance job. The next night he finds Penny (Keira Knightley) a too-easy-going (if you know what I mean) British immigrant who is weeping on the fire escape. He invites her in and she shares her despair that she missed her flight back to the UK and will never see her family again. She then lights a reefer and sleeps for two days. When she awakens, Dodge escorts her to her apartment where she hands him his mis-delivered mail that she has been holding for the last three years. Among the letters is a "I wish I'd never left you" letter from his high school sweetheart.
Dodge attends one last party with his friends, who have decided that anything goes--and I mean ANYTHING. His best friend's wife comes on to him, "Nobody belongs to anybody anymore" she says. Parents are giving their kids mixed drinks, and otherwise straight, respectable people are trying heroin for the first time.
As the Big Apple erupts into rioting and chaos, Dodge persuades Penny to leave with him, promising to take her to someone he knows with a plane if she will help him find his lost love.
From this point, the road trip romp leads them to a terminally ill man who has hired an assassin to kill him in advance of the asteroid's impact, survivalists in an underground bunker, a TGIFriday's lookalike restaurant that has devolved into a one-stop-hedonism shop, and his old girlfriend's parents house (searching for her address). Dodge forgoes meeting his old flame because he's decided that he has at last found his true love, Penny. And the feeling is mutual.
Finally Dodge surprises Penny by taking her to his estranged father's (Martin Sheen) house. He makes peace with his dad, lets Penny dope herself to sleep again and places her in the passenger seat of his dad's Cessna, while his dad takes off to take her home (Really? A single-engine Cessna across the Atlantic?)
At this point, Dodge sadly returns to his apartment with his last keepsake of Penny, her beloved record albums (heavy emphasis on Herb Alpert). He lays on the floor, falling asleep to the Walker Brothers' The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore but is abruptly awakened when the electricity shuts down, suddenly killing all the lights and the stereo too. Penny returns in the window, scolding him for sending her off with his dad, who turned around and came back at her insistence. They lay on his bed looking at each other as ongoing explosions signal the end that flashes out brightly with each of them smiling at each other with rapt devotion.
Then what's so scary?
What's scary is that nobody in this film believes in anything, at least not in anything substantial. Penny's religion is her records. Dodge's religion is his belief in true love (and as a true lover, he lets his newfound love go when it is hardest). But other than that, no one shows any concern for the state of their souls. There are only passing references to God, almost joking in tone. Only once, do we have any relief from this naturalist nightmare, a brief scene of families at a beach being baptized in the ocean by a clergyman of some unidentified denomination. It's the most human moment of the movie, seeing families and strangers sharing their day in conversation with each other. As for everyone else in the film, the only thing that matters is squeezing as much gratification into the last remaining moments as they can.
There is not one iota of concern (or even consciousness) from any character that they are about to come face-to-face with their maker.
And that is what is so scary. This film IS accurate. We as a society don't believe in anything anymore.
A society that believes in nothing has nothing to lose. I don't think we appreciate what a dangerous position this puts us in.
Let us pray we don't find out very soon.
Friday, June 22, 2012
What a difficult time it must be for America's geriatric post-orthodoxy Catholics. First the pope liberates the Traditional Latin Mass, lifts the excommunications of the so-called "schismatic" Society of St. Pius X (and is on the verge of recognizing them as a legitimate religious order in full communion with the Church), then the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Wanton Radicals) is censured by the Vatican.
If the return to orthodoxy isn't painful enough, there seems to be a sudden embrace of--gulp--COMMON SENSE returning to the ranks of our Church leaders.
It was only last February that Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo said that Confirmation should be administered before First Holy Communion, as is the tradition in the Byzantine Catholic Church. And what did the pope do with this renegade bishop making such dangerous opinions public? He congratulated him!
Well folks, it's not just the bishops. It appears that some parish priests are getting a bit fed up with the false construct of religious education day-camps that have become de rigueur in most parishes. Today's example comes from Father Richard Simon of St. Lambert Catholic Church in Skokie, Illinois (pictured above). His blog, Reverend Know-It-All, features this lively and sensible post today. Read it and forward it to your bishop and pastor:
We are starting over....
You may have noticed that recently, at Mass, I asked the young people who attend our religious education program to stand up. Of the 250, give or take, who attend the program, I counted about 50 or 60 at all the Masses. Our teachers have done wonderful work. They have made great sacrifices for the sake of the religious education of our children. They have not failed. The 50-year-old system that they inherited has failed. We are using a model that was created before cell phones, soccer practice, twitter, facebook and video games. The model we are using is older than the Beatles. It’s as old as I am.
We inherited a system from the good old days of flourishing Catholic schools another failure which was lovingly remembered in the book, “The Last Catholic in America,” a charming reminiscence about Catholicism during the 1950's in which young Eddy Ryan loses his faith. Religious education was called C.C.D. or the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In this usage it refers to a form of classroom style religious education for children in public schools. It was, at least in my youth, the threadbare cousin of Catholic schools.
Catholic schools, by and large, have become failures themselves. There are some splendid Catholic schools, but in my experience of 40 years in ministry, increasingly, especially in large urban areas, Catholic schools have become inexpensive private schools for middle class people who have little or no interest in the Catholic faith,maintained at great expense by Catholic parishes. Catholic schools are, for the most part, over.
We may have a few parish schools still plugging along, but are they Catholic? It seems that all we have left to us is the threadbare cousin. All our resources and energies go to maintaining the private school in the building next to the church. While the world is starving for Christ, we are giving them bingo and bratwurst, raffles and dinner dances, all to keep the school going.
“But,” I can hear you say, “this is our major form of evangelism!” Aren’t you paying attention? The few kids from our schools who go to church don’t go because the school has converted them. They go because they have parents dedicated enough to bring them every Sunday, even in summer. Even in soccer season. Those kids may end up Catholic, not because they went to our schools and religious education programs, but because their parents were the first and best of teachers. In a recent conversation with a local pastor who runs a school of 250, give or take, I asked how many of his students and their families attend Mass during the summer months. He said, “about thirty of them.”
In order to commit a mortal sin, a sin that severs one’s relationship to God, one must have sufficient knowledge that what they are doing is mortally sinful. Our kids come to Catholic schools and religious education where, presumably, they learn that it is a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass without a serious reason, such as illness or inability to travel. That means that by allowing children to come to religious education or to enroll in Catholic schools when their parents don’t come to Mass, we are enabling them to commit a mortal sin by giving them the sufficient knowledge to damn their eternal souls.That’s a plan.
We have tied our religious education to the public school system of kindergarten and eight grades. The sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation have become graduation rituals, rites of passage, instead of the beginnings of a life of faith and commitment. We have turned sacrament into sacrilege. When you “get your sacraments” you’re “outta” there. (“Out of there” for those who don’t speak Chicagoan.) The Sacraments are an ending instead of a beginning. I can’t do this anymore. I believe it is morally wrong. The last time I brought this problem up, angry parents called the bishop. I remember one agitated parent who railed at me for questioning his Catholicism. He said that he was perfectly good Catholic. He went to Mass every single Easter and every single Christmas without fail.
When I realized that Eastern Rite Catholics from the Middle East don’t have Communion and Confirmation classes, a light went on in my head. They receive first Communion and Confirmation when they are Baptized, even if they are infants. They have religious education for the rest of their lives and, consequently, they have a spiritual life. They are prepared for the Sacrament of Penance, but not for Communion and Confirmation. The result is that they have a vibrant spiritual like that they have maintained in the face of 1,300 years of unremitting persecution. In this country, we can’t manage a religious life because we are up against team sports.
I intend to drop the classroom model and go to a discipleship model that is called Youthchurch. It will involve Bibles, catechisms and water balloons. And maybe doughnuts. I will know the program is a success when I find that the kids are mad at their parents for missing Mass on Sunday.
I no longer intend to prepare children for First Communion and Confirmation. There will no longer be First Communion and Confirmation classes. How and when will the children receive Communion and Confirmation? They will receive when they are ready. When are they ready? They are ready when they want the Sacrament. How do we know they want the Sacrament? When they understand it, can tell the pastor what it is and why they want it. If they are not in ongoing religious education and they are not coming to Mass on regular basis, they don’t want the Sacrament.
I am tired to distraction of having to chase young people down the aisles in church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament because they have no clue what it is. A year or so back, I was offering a funeral Mass and a teenaged girl came up for Communion, took the host, looked at it, turned it over and began to walk away holding it in her palm. I followed her and asked, “Have you made your First Communion?” She said simply, “I’m Jewish.” I smiled and said, “Perhaps I should take that from you.” Quite a few of the mourners were furious with me for my discourtesy.
At another funeral not long ago I saw a passel of tattooed and pierced adolescents coming down the aisle at a funeral. It was a large funeral so a number of priests were helping with Communion. I had finished my line so I stood about ten paces from the celebrant, a visiting priest. The first of the young Goths received the host, looked at it curiously and as she passed me I asked, are you Catholic? She said, “no.” I said “Perhaps I should take that.” So there began a curious ritual, of clueless youths. One priest would say “Body of Christ and the second priest would say “I’ll just take that.”
I’ve had it. My efforts will be directed to preparing people for the Sacrament of Conversion (Maybe you call it Penance or Reconciliation. Whatever.) Then maybe the little dears will understand that Communion is more than an edible poker chip. Registration will take place over the summer. I will be doing it personally. If you are registered in the parish and using envelopes, that will be the first step to getting your child in Youthchurch. How else can I tell if you are coming to Mass? As I’ve said before I don’t care that money’s in the envelope, I care that you are in the pew.
PS. How much will it cost? Books will cost something, but there will be no tuition. If you are coming to Mass every Sunday, I presume you are throwing in the basket already. I don’t want your money. I want your souls. On the other hand, I have nothing against your money. The west wall is still falling down.
Wednesday, June 13, 2012
Today's "Gay Voices" page of the Huffington Post features video and and a story from a Minnesota priest, Fr. Bob Pierson, delivering a talk that absolves Catholics from any guilt if they vote "no" on an initiative that would preserve marriage as an institution that can exist only between a man and a woman.
You can watch the video here:
First, let us be clear that we have nothing but the greatest respect for the priesthood, since this little event begs the need to separate the officeholder from his office--and separate we shall.
Second, why in heaven's name does everyone seem to know that this priest is homosexual? (sorry, we won't be using the P.C. jargon "gay" here today). This is certainly more information than we need, it's a deliberate snub to the Magisterium of the Church and a poor example for all Catholics, especially children who desperately need more masculine role models in the priesthood. Yet "Fr. Bob" seems to be known all over the web as an "openly gay priest". Of course, that's no surprise since, after all we're discussing a priest from Minnesota.
Fr. Pierson's talk is so riddled with bandwagon appeals, straw arguments and false need statements that it would be too time-consuming to parse the entire text of his speech. However there are a few rhetorical fallacies here that are so blatant and, frankly so overused that they scream for correction. So with all due respect to the priestly faculties of Fr. Pierson, let us address two of the most glaring problems contained in his speech:
"Too Many of us have been taught to think of God in terms of God's judgment rather than God's tremendous love and mercy."
Actually, it can be argued that the exact opposite is true. The idea of accountability for one's sin and the imminent judgment of God has all but disappeared from catechetics since the late 1960's. Unless one ignores their parish's Director of Religious Education and purchases a Baltimore Catechism, their children are likely to hear of nothing but God's mercy with little or no mention of His judgment. And while God IS infinitely merciful, He also has an infinite demand for perfect justice.
And what does the Church say to us about God's justice when it comes to the sin of Sodom? Simply this: It is one of four sins that cry out to heaven for vengeance (along with willful murder, oppression of the poor and defrauding laborers of their wages).
It is also instructive to remember that in 1917, after showing three visionaries a glimpse of Hell, Our Lady of Fatima told them, "More sinners go to Hell for sins of the flesh than for any other reason."
"The Catechism of the Catholic Church states in number 1782, 'The human person has the right to act in conscience and in freedom so as personally to make moral decisions. He must not be forced to act contrary to his conscience, nor must he be prevented from acting according to his conscience, especially in religious matters.'...A young theologian by the name of Joseph Ratzinger whom many of you now know as Pope Benedict XVI, put it this way in 1967 and I quote: 'Over the pope as the expression of the binding claim of ecclesiastical authority, there stands one's own conscience, which must be obeyed before all else, even, if necessary, against the requirement of authority.' Our Holy Father taught in 1967 that we must obey our own conscience, even if it puts us at odds with the pope."
(Followed by smug, "gotcha" look and enthusiastic applause)
Fr. Pierson selectively chooses not to mention two important facts:
1) If he were to move on to article 1783 from The Catechism of the Catholic Church, he would read:
1783 Conscience must be informed and moral judgment enlightened. A well-formed conscience is upright and truthful. It formulates its judgments according to reason, in conformity with the true good willed by the wisdom of the Creator. The education of conscience is indispensable for human beings who are subjected to negative influences and tempted by sin to prefer their own judgment and to reject authoritative teachings.
1784 The education of the conscience is a lifelong task. From the earliest years, it awakens the child to the knowledge and practice of the interior law recognized by conscience. Prudent education teaches virtue; it prevents or cures fear, selfishness and pride, resentment arising from guilt, and feelings of complacency, born of human weakness and faults. The education of the conscience guarantees freedom and engenders peace of heart.
1785 In the formation of conscience the Word of God is the light for our path,54 we must assimilate it in faith and prayer and put it into practice. We must also examine our conscience before the Lord's Cross. We are assisted by the gifts of the Holy Spirit, aided by the witness or advice of others and guided by the authoritative teaching of the Church.55
It is also instructive to review the General Catechetical Directory, published by the Sacred Congregation for the Clergy, which states in article 63:
Christian freedom still needs to be ruled and directed in the concrete circumstances of human life. Accordingly, the conscience of the faithful, even when informed by the virtue of prudence, must be subject to the Magislerium of the Church, whose duty ibis to explain the whole moral law authoritatively, in order that it may rightly and correctly express the objective moral order.
2) Yes, as a young priest, Fr. Ratzinger held some rather liberal views. However in 1968, he got a cold dose of reality that changed him forever. While a University professor in Tubingen, Germany, Fr. Ratzinger was appalled by the lack of clarity, disregard for truth and downright diabolical attitudes held by many of his students and fellow faculty members. Anyone who follows his writings can see that Cardinal Ratzinger and Pope Benedict XVI are very different characters than young Fr. Ratzinger. Or, as Winston Churchill once quipped: "Any 20 year-old who isn't a liberal doesn't have a heart and any 40 year-old who isn't a conservative doesn't have a brain."
Fr. Pierson is certainly older than 40--but let us not digress...
3) That statement from young Fr. Ratzinger has no magisterial authority.
Why a priest, who has the grave obligation to teach truth and morality to his flock, neglects to mention these points is troubling, to say the least. To try to make the pope appear as a maverick bucking the very authority the Church has given him is shamefully dishonest.
While there is much more that can be refuted in Fr. Pierson's highly-biased adventure in moral relativism, these two statements seem the most glaring to this blogger. However, Fr. Pierson almost begs for comment with one other point:
"It was in November of 2005 that I was offended to learn the Vatican had released a document that said gay men cannot be priest because they are, 'seriously obstructed from properly relating to men and women.' (snickers from the audience). I couldn't believe what I was reading. I knew that I was gay when I was ordained. Did that mean that my 21 years of ministry was a mistake?"
With all due respect to the priesthood, with nothing but reverence for the sacred office of the priesthood, it must be said:
YOUR 21 YEARS OF MINISTRY
COULD BE A MISTAKE.
A HUGE MISTAKE.
If you are not teaching the truths of the Church, you are abusing your sacred vows and duties as a priest. If you are mocking the teaching authority of the Church, you are abusing your office as priest. If you are ignoring the reality of original sin and misleading people with unnatural sexual orientations to believe that they can persist in sin and be all right with God, you are assisting the devil in bringing souls to eternal perdition.
The most hopeful thing about this video presentation is when the camera pans the audience: A largely geriatric crowd, typical of those who embrace the dying, "liberal Catholic" agenda. Biology will solve that problem. But this should, by no means make us feel any better either. What of their souls? Will no one teach them the truth before it is too late?
Fr. Pierson, God bless him, is not shepherding these people. He is doing grave harm to them, to himself and to the reputation of the priesthood. May he find the truth before it is too late.
Monday, May 14, 2012
"Fair is foul, and foul is fair:
Hover through the fog and filthy air."
The homosexual movement has been very effective in its creeping efforts to normalize deviant behavior. In the 1960's we heard the first rumblings of "Gay Rights" when patrons of the Stonewall Inn, a Greenwich Village gay bar, fought a police raid in 1969. In the 1970's, we were asked to be "tolerant" and "accepting". In the 1980's a new word entered the American Lexicon: "homophobic", a pseudo-psychological term suggesting that opposition to homosexuality meant someone had an irrational fear of homosexuals and, therefore needed help. In the 1990's, homosexuals were winning discrimination suits in court, and persuaded President Clinton to institute the "Don't Ask/Don't Tell" policy in the American Military. States began to feel the pressure of a stronger homosexual lobby, demanding "civil union" rights. In the 2000's homosexuals came out for what they really wanted all along: Marriage. America's gayest city, San Francisco, was only too happy to comply, civil law be damned.
The strides made in this slippery slope of "tolerance" and "civil rights" has a definite evolution: First, homosexuals did not want to be harmed because of their preferences. Later, they said they only wanted to be tolerated and not discriminated against. A few more years, and they demanded the same legal rights as married people, but insisted that a state-recognzied "union" would suffice and they were not seeking marriage. One decade later, they are re-defining marriage.
We are now on the cusp of a new epoch: Homosexuals are manipulating the legal system so that no one is allowed to even disapprove of their "lifestyle" in any way. They are insisting that religions re-define themselves (and the Christian gospel) to accept homosexuality and that any such group that refuses must be abolished. Any ministers who refuse to cooperate must be silenced. They are determined to transform society by turning it upside down and elevating their unnatural desires to a revered status.
Below is a "Gay Rights Timeline" provided by a secular website. For brevity's sake, it has been edited to begin with the year 1962:
- Illinois becomes the first state in the U.S. to decriminalize homosexual acts between consenting adults in private.
- The world's first the transgender organization, the National Transsexual Counseling Unit, was established in San Francisco.
- The Stonewall riots transform the gay rights movement from one limited to a small number of activists into a widespread protest for equal rights and acceptance. Patrons of a gay bar in New York's Greenwich Village, the Stonewall Inn, fight back during a police raid on June 27, sparking three days of riots.
- The American Psychiatric Association removes homosexuality from its official list of mental disorders.
- Harvey Milk runs for city supervisor in San Francisco. He runs on a socially liberal platform and opposes government involvement in personal sexual matters. Milk comes in 10th out of 32 candidates, earning 16,900 votes, winning the Castro District and other liberal neighborhoods. He receives a lot of media attention for his passionate speeches, brave political stance, and media skills.
- San Francisco Mayor George Moscone appoints Harvey Milk to the Board of Permit Appeals, making Milk the first openly gay city commissioner in the United States. Milk decides to run for the California State Assembly and Moscone is forced to fire him from the Board of Permit Appeals after just five weeks. Milk loses the State Assembly race by fewer than 4,000 votes. Believing the Alice B. Toklas LGBT Democratic Club will never support him politically, Milk co-founds the San Francisco Gay Democratic Club after his election loss.
- Activists in Miami, Florida pass a civil rights ordinance making sexual orientation discrimination illegal in Dade County. Save Our Children, a campaign by a Christian fundamentalist group and headed by singer Anita Bryant, is launched in response to the ordinance. In the largest special election of any in Dade County history, 70% vote to overturn the ordinance. It is a crushing defeat for gay activists.
- On January 8, Harvey Milk makes national news when he is sworn in as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Running against 16 other candidates, he wins the election by 30 percent. Milk begins his term by sponsoring a civil rights bill that outlaws sexual orientation discrimination. Only one supervisor votes against it and Mayor Moscone signs it into law.
- John Briggs drops out of the California governor's race, but receives support for Proposition 6, also known as the Briggs Initiative, a proposal to fire any teacher or school employee who publicly supports gay rights. Harvey Milk campaigns against the bill and attends every event hosted by Briggs. In the summer, attendance greatly increases at Gay Pride marches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, partly in response to Briggs. President Jimmy Carter, former Governor Ronald Reagan, and Governor Jerry Brown speak out against the proposition. On November 7, voters reject the proposition by more than a million votes.
- On November 27, Harvey Milk and Mayor George Moscone are assassinated by Dan White, another San Francisco city supervisor, who had recently resigned and wanted his job back, but was being passed over because he wasn't the best fit for the liberal leaning Board of Supervisors and the ethnic diversity in White's district. San Francisco pays tribute to Harvey Milk by naming several locations after him, included Harvey Milk Plaza at the intersection of Market and Castro streets. The San Francisco Gay Democratic Club changes its name to the Harvey Milk Memorial Gay Democratic Club.
- About 75,000 people participated in the National March on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights in Washington, D.C., in October. It was the largest political gathering in support of LGBT rights to date.
- At the 1980 Democratic National Convention held at New York City's Madison Square Garden, Democrats took a stance supporting gay rights, adding the following to their plank: "All groups must be protected from discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, language, age, sex or sexual orientation."
- Wisconsin becomes the first state to outlaw discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.
- The city of Berkeley, California, becomes the first city to offer its employees domestic-partnership benefits.
- The “Don't Ask, Don't Tell” policy is instituted for the U.S. military, permitting gays to serve in the military but banning homosexual activity. President Clinton's original intention to revoke the prohibition against gays in the military was met with stiff opposition; this compromise, which has led to the discharge of thousands of men and women in the armed forces, was the result.
- In Romer v. Evans, the Supreme Court strikes down Colorado's Amendment 2, which denied gays and lesbians protections against discrimination, calling them “special rights.” According to Justice Anthony Kennedy, “We find nothing special in the protections Amendment 2 withholds. These protections . . . constitute ordinary civil life in a free society.”
- Vermont becomes the first state in the country to legally recognize civil unions between gay or lesbian couples. The law states that these “couples would be entitled to the same benefits, privileges, and responsibilities as spouses.” It stops short of referring to same-sex unions as marriage, which the state defines as heterosexual.
- The U.S. Supreme Court rules in Lawrence v. Texas that sodomy laws in the U.S. are unconstitutional. Justice Anthony Kennedy wrote, “Liberty presumes an autonomy of self that includes freedom of thought, belief, expression, and certain intimate conduct.”
- In November, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that barring gays and lesbians from marrying violates the state constitution. The Massachusetts Chief Justice concluded that to “deny the protections, benefits, and obligations conferred by civil marriage” to gay couples was unconstitutional because it denied “the dignity and equality of all individuals” and made them “second-class citizens.” Strong opposition followed the ruling.
- On May 17, same-sex marriages become legal in Massachusetts.
- Civil unions become legal in Connecticut in October.
- Civil unions become legal in New Jersey in December.
- In November, the House of Representatives approves a bill ensuring equal rights in the workplace for gay men, lesbians, and bisexuals.
- In February, a New York State appeals court unanimously votes that valid same-sex marriages performed in other states must be recognized by employers in New York, granting same-sex couples the same rights as other couples.
- In February, the state of Oregon passes a law that allows same-sex couples to register as domestic partners allowing them some spousal rights of married couples.
- On May 15, the California Supreme Court rules that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry. By November 3rd, more than 18,000 same-sex couples have married. On November 4, California voters approved a ban on same-sex marriage called Proposition 8. The attorney general of California, Jerry Brown, asked the state's Supreme Court to review the constitutionality of Proposition 8. The ban throws into question the validity of the more than 18,000 marriages already performed, but Attorney General Brown reiterated in a news release that he believed the same-sex marriages performed in California before November 4 should remain valid, and the California Supreme Court, which upheld the ban in May 2009, agreed, allowing those couples married under the old law to remain that way.
- November 4, voters in California, Arizona, and Florida approved the passage of measures that ban same-sex marriage. Arkansas passed a measure intended to bar gay men and lesbians from adopting children.
- On October 10, the Supreme Court of Connecticut rules that same-sex couples have the right to marry. This makes Connecticut the second state, after Massachusetts, to legalize civil marriage for same-sex couples. The court rules that the state cannot deny gay and lesbian couples the freedom to marry under Connecticut's constitution, and that the state's civil union law does not provide same-sex couples with the same rights as heterosexual couples.
- On November 12, same-sex marriages begin to be officially performed in Connecticut.
- On April 3, the Iowa Supreme Court unanimously rejects the state law banning same-sex marriage. Twenty-one days later, county recorders are required to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.
- On April 7, the Vermont Legislature votes to override Gov. Jim Douglas's veto of a bill allowing gays and lesbians to marry, legalizing same-sex marriage. It is the first state to legalize gay marriage through the legislature; the courts of the other states in which the marriage is legal—Massachusetts, Connecticut, and Iowa—gave approval.
- On May 6, the governor of Maine legalized same-sex marriage in that state in Maine; however, citizens voted to overturn that law when they went to the polls in November, and Maine became the 31st state to ban the practice.
- On June 3, New Hampshire governor John Lynch signs legislation allowing same-sex marriage. The law stipulates that religious organizations and their employees will not be required to participate in the ceremonies. New Hampshire is the sixth state in the nation to allow same-sex marriage.
- On June 17, President Obama signs a referendum allowing the same-sex partners of federal employees to receive benefits. They will not be allowed full health coverage, however. This is Obama's first major initiative in his campaign promise to improve gay rights.
- On August 12, President Obama posthumously awards Harvey Milk the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
- March 3, Congress approves a law signed in December 2009 that legalizes same-sex marriage in the District of Columbia.
- August 4, Chief U.S. District Judge Vaughn Walker ruled that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in California, violates the 14th Amendment's equal protection clause. "Proposition 8 singles out gays and lesbians and legitimates their unequal treatment," Vaughn wrote in his opinion. "Proposition 8 perpetuates the stereotype that gays and lesbians are incapable of forming long-term loving relationships and that gays and lesbians are not good parents."
- December 18, the U.S. Senate voted 65 to 31 in favor of repealing Don't Ask, Don't Tell, the Clinton-era military policy that forbids openly gay men and women from serving in the military. Eight Republicans sided with the Democrats to strike down the ban. The ban will not be lifted officially until President Obama, Defense Secretary Robert Gates, and Admiral Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, agree that the military is ready to enact the change and that it won't affect military readiness. On Dec. 18, President Obama officially repealed the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" military policy.
- June 24, New York passes a law to allow same-sex marriage. New York is now the largest state that allows gay and lesbian couples to marry. The vote comes on the eve of the city's annual Gay Pride Parade and gives new momentum to the national gay-rights movement. The marriage bill is approved with a 33 to 29 vote. Cheering supporters greet Gov. Andrew Cuomo as he arrives on the Senate floor to sign the measure at 11:55pm, just moments after the vote. After making same-sax marriage one of his top priorities, Cuomo emerges as a true champion of gay rights.
- February 7, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in California ruled 2–1 that Proposition 8, the 2008 referendum that banned same-sex marriage in state, is unconstitutional because it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the 14th Amendment. In the ruling, the court said, the law "operates with no apparent purpose but to impose on gays and lesbians, through the public law, a majority's private disapproval of them and their relationships."
- February 13, Washington state became the seventh state to legalize gay marriage.
- March 1, Maryland passes legislation to legalize gay marriage, becoming the eighth state to do so.
- May 9, President Barack Obama endorses same-sex marriage. "It is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same-sex couples should be able to get married," he said. He made the statement days after Vice President Joe Biden and Secretary of Education Arne Duncan both came out in support of gay marriage.
It is important for Catholics (and other members of what we call Christianity) to understand events that have been left out of this timeline:
August 26, Fr. Michael Rodriguez of the Diocese of El Paso Texas takes a public stance against initiatives supporting homosexual marriage.
September 8, The Diocese of El Paso, publicly disavows Fr. Rodriguez' efforts, its Vicar General insisting that the priest's statements were merely his own "personal views and opinions". A cursory reading of the ads (which can be viewed here, here, here and here) shows that Fr. Rodriguez did not engage in personal opinions, but shared directly from the Catechism of the Catholic Church and The Bible.
September 21, Fr. Rodriguez is transferred. His new parish assignment is more than 250 miles (and longer than four hours' drive) away from El Paso, to an obscure parish near the Mexican border.
December 1, Bishop Armando Ochoa is transferred to the Diocese of Fresno.
January 12, Bishop Armando Ochoa sues Fr. Michael Rodriguez.
March 2, Fr. Marcel Guarnizo, a priest serving in the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C., refuses to give Holy Communion at a funeral Mass to the daughter of the deceased. It is later learned that the daughter informed the priest that she was a Lesbian and a Buddhist before Mass and after introducing her lover, walked out of the sacristy with her lover blocking the priest from talking to her after her "announcement".
The offended Lesbian daughter, Barbara Johnson, publicly demands Fr. Guarnizo's removal from ministry.
March 9, Fr. Guarnizo is removed from ministry in Washington D.C., in a letter published by the Vicar General and made public.
May 10, Former House Speaker Nancy Pelosi ( residence of the same Archdiocese of Washington D.C.) tells reporters at a news conference that her Catholic Faith "compels her" to support homosexual marriage.
To date, there has been no public correction rebuke from the Archdiocese.
Suggestion: If you believe that your Catholic faith compels you to support homosexual marriage, please read the Church's official position on homosexuality.
If you are a Catholic and you believe what the Church teaches, start doubling your efforts in prayer and fasting, because a persecution is coming the likes of which you have never imagined. These people will stop at nothing and they will search you out and do all they can to destroy you unless you tow their party line.
The lines have been drawn. The choices could not be clearer.
Where do you stand?