Saturday, November 26, 2011

A little-known fact about the US Bishops:

Did you know that the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has no power within the hierarchy of the Catholic Church to make policies?

Did you know that the USCCB has "no relationship" with the laity of the Church?

Yet that is exactly what their attorneys have proclaimed in court.

In a 1996 lawsuit filed by clients who were abused by three Dallas priests, the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB, which later became the USCCB) was named as a defendant, accused of engaging in a decades-long conspiracy to protect known sexual abusers.

Water under the bridge you say?  

You could be right, but it is instructive to understand why the bishop's attorneys made these assertions.  The attorney for the victims, Sylvia Demarest, said this:

" their legal papers, they say lay Catholics are 'strangers to the Bishops' conference,' and since the conference had no relationship with them, there was no duty to protect them, even from known danger.

"What lay Catholics need to know is that the Catholic bishops of the United States are telling a judge that they are not the shepherds of the Catholic flock, and they have no duty to protect them from a danger they knew about and, in fact, they created."

If you find this legalese employed by the NCCB to cover their backsides as despicable as I do, good.  You still have a moral compass.   

If you agree with the arguments of the bishops attorneys, bad.  You have forgotten what it means to be Catholic.

Your bishop IS your shepherd, regardless of what any attorney says.  There is one Judge who cannot be bought or bribed and when we appear before him, there will be no attorneys collecting any fees.

But let's go back to the USCCB (formerly the NCCB).  As a body, they DO NOT have quite the authority many of them would have us believe.

They do not have the power or authority to contradict the pope.

They do not have the right to subvert or violate canon law.

Their endless policy statements on topics as diverse as the economy, poverty, immigration, ecumenism, the environment and voting are condescending, tedentious and just plain irrelevant.  This is the same conference that cannot find the moral backbone to warn voters against specific candidates who are clearly pro-abortion and refuse to to stand up as a body to pro-abortion "Catholic" politicians.

So, if these bishops, as a body,  have no authority over us and if they have no relationship with the laity, why are they wasting our collection dollars to hire consulting firms and fly to semi-annual meetings at five-star hotels to make decisions that should have no bearing on us (by their own attorney's admission)?

Why indeed!  But that's the USCCB.

Now, back to YOUR BISHOP.

He DOES have authority.  He IS your shepherd.

Some of us have terrific bishops.  Many of us have so-so bishops.  Some of us have terrible bishops.  A lot of us can't tell what kind of bishop is running our particular diocese.

St. John Chrysostom warned us that the floor of Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.  But it is too easy for us to blame the ills of our Church on the bishops and turn the TV back on.  We have a responsibility to our Church.  As your shepherd, your bishop deserves your prayers, regardless of what kind of bishop he is.  If he is one of the bad ones, it might just be that your prayers could save him from paving Hell with his skull.  

If you really think your bishop's skull is destined for the walkways of Hell, pray, pray, pray.  You don't want to find yourself stepping on it.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


It has been reported that the Vatican is establishing a commission under the umbrella of the Congregation for Divine Worship (CDW) to promote sacred art, sacred music and church architecture in various dioceses throughout the world.

One might describe the latter part of the 20th Century as the
"Age of Ugliness" in Catholic church architecture, so it is hardly surprising that CDW prefect Cardinal Canizares Llovera describes the creation of this committee as "very urgent."

Indeed, we have an entire generation that has grown up with a confused liturgy that has been further confused by what Vatican journalist Andrea Tornielli describes as "avant-garde constructions that look like anything but a church. These buildings composed of cement cubes, glass boxes, crazy shapes and confused spaces, remind people of anything but the mystery and sacredness of a church."

This is not an exaggeration. The photos speak for themselves:





The commission will do more than simply "recommend" any particular type of architecture. It will have the judicial power of the Congregation for Divine Worship to act.

How unfortunate that this commission did not exist a few weeks ago. Perhaps it could have stopped the Diocese of Orange's outgoing bishop, Tod Brown, from making the most embarrassing and permanent blunder of his tenure, the purchase of Robert Schuller's "Crystal Cathedral" in Garden Grove to use as the Diocese's new cathedral.


Sadly, many of these monstrously hideous relics of "secular Godlessness gone churchy" will be with us for generations. That is, unless the CDW implements the final solution. Let us pray that they do:

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Month For Real Charity

Every day, people do heroic acts to help others. Firemen rescue people from burning buildings. Police rescue victims from their persecutors. Missionaries deliver food, clothing and education to the poor. Yet, one of the greatest areas of need remains ignored: The fate of the poor souls.

Purgatory is a fact. Catholics are REQUIRED to accept Purgatory as a dogma of their faith.

You never hear it preached? It's still there.

You don't like to think about it? It's still there.

How can a merciful and loving God permit such a thing?


Purgatory exists because of the mercy of God. God would not be a God of mercy if he were not also a God of justice. God is infinite in both virtues. Purgatory exists because we could not bear to be in the Presence of God with any kind of attachment to sin. God has sent his Son to forgive our sins and they are forgiven by baptism, penance and sacramental confession, but forgiveness does not severe our attachments to and the effects of our sins. If we visit our relatives for Thanksgiving and we fall in the mud, we are still invited to dinner--but would we want to come to the table dressed in our muddy clothes?

God has given us a way to attend His Heavenly banquet with unstained garments--and they have to be cleaned for our attendance.

It is cruel to neglect the souls in Purgatory. Jesus promised us that we will be shown mercy when we are merciful.

Would you leave your mother or father, brother, sister, son or daughter burning if you saw them on fire? Wouldn't you run for a bucket or hose to quench the flames?

Many of our deceased relatives and friends are burning. They are helpless, but we can help them. And by showing them mercy, we atone for our own sins and guarantee that when they are in heaven, they will intercede with God to show us the same mercy!

November is the month to quench the fire!

November is the month of the Holy Souls!

Pray. Offer your sufferings. Attend Mass. Tolerate annoyances. Pray the rosary. Pray the chaplet of Divine Mercy.

And do it for the Poor Souls. They are on fire.

Stop staring at the hose and turn it on.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Thomas Merton Said THAT?

"I am truly spry and full of fun, but am pursued by the vilifications of progressed Catholics. Mark my word man there is no uglier species on the face of the earth than progressed Catholics, mean, frivol, ungainly, inarticulate, venomous, and bursting at the seams with progress into the secular cities and Teilhardian subways. The Ottavianis was bad but these are infinitely worse. You wait and see."

-letter to Robert Lax, poet and friend of Merton, 1967