Tag Archives: American Catholic Council

Already, the pendulum has swung to orthodoxy…

I do not know Mr. Joseph A. Wemhoff, but I sure do admire the way in which he arrests the “Spirit of Vatican II” in regard to the American Catholic Council in the following article …

Seeking fewer dissident Catholics

The 1,800 people at the recent American Catholic Council conference in Detroit compares with 1,840 at the first Call to Action meeting there 35 years ago. On the ACC meeting, the liberal National Catholic Reporter wrote (6/21/11): “well over half the participants were 65 or older and most of the rest were at least 50 … only a small scattering … in their 20s, 30s, or 40s … overwhelmingly white, with only a tiny black and Hispanic presence.”

The hierarchy need not portray these folks as “divisive, wild-eyed radicals and fringe loonies” — their own actions define them as such.

There is no right of dissent in the Catholic Church. One rejects the Church’s teachings and discipline at the peril of damnation. The Catholic Church never will be a democratic, human institution. It is a hierarchical, divine institution designed by its Founder to preserve the faith and save souls. Like the military, the Church is mission-driven. Like nature, form follows function.

The Detroit conference was a desperate attempt by ideologues to resurrect a dead movement. These closed-minded fanatics are in denial that their agenda is over, even as Anglicans beat a path to the orthodoxy of Rome. Francis Cardinal George wrote the epitaph on Feb. 27, 2001, at the Commonweal Forum when he said, “Liberal Catholicism is an exhausted project. … It no longer gives life” and has surrendered to the world.

Despite their tiny numbers, these heretics — and more so their fellow travelers in the clergy — have done incalculable damage to the Church from positions of power these past two generations by acting “in the spirit of Vatican II,” but contrary to its letter and actual intent. We faithful Catholics have seen our children abused spiritually (inverted order of first sacraments, poor catechesis, etc.); a false ecumenism belying our one, true faith; moral relativism; sacrilege toward the Sacred Species at Mass; invalid general absolutions; advocacy for the homosexual agenda; a contrived, artificial priest shortage; a refocus on humans instead of God; introduction of Masonic elements into our church buildings via needless “renovations”; willful misrepresentations of Church teachings; liturgical “innovations”; etc.

Through Alinsky tactics of deceit and intimidation, rebel clergy and laity have committed violence against faithful Catholics by denying us our rightful patrimony.

The fruits of this unbridled dissent are legion. Vocations have plummeted; only 25 percent of Catholics attend Sunday Mass; only one in three believe in the Real Presence. “Catholic” politicians support abortion and other evils. Bishops lack courage to enforce discipline, and “Catholic” colleges are anything but. The priestly homosexual abuse crisis is an abomination.

Ken is right in that we lay Roman Catholics must act — to help restore our Church. Already, the pendulum has swung to orthodoxy. In its 2,000-year history, under the protection of the Holy Spirit, the Catholic Church has always triumphed, and always will.

We pray that our heretical brothers and sisters will repent, convert, and save their souls.

Joseph A. Wemhoff

END OF POST

American Catholic Council — Before and After…

No, Sophia is not presenting herself for Holy Communion, she's snoring...

In April of 2009 I posted an article warning about a small dissident group from Minnesota calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform and its support for the formation of the American Catholic Council. The article was entitled “St. Joan of Arc Mpls. – Dialogue on difficult church issues, or advertisement to subvert the Catholic Church in America?“. In it I said:

“Simply put, there will be no effective American Catholic Council if reformers can’t somehow hoodwink laity and bishops into believing that their illegitimate goals are, well, legit…”

They weren’t, they couldn’t , and the council was…well, ineffective.

With the exception of a 78-year-old Priest from someplace called Ferndale, (not sure if this isn’t the name of a local retirement home or suburb of Detroit), the visible-active presence of any hierarchal authority capable of providing momentum for the movement was non-existent. After 2+ years of long hard planning and promoting the event  by various dissident groups throughout the country, this “spirit driven” council celebrating the 35th anniversary of the now infamous Call To Action Conference led by the late Cardinal John Dearden, former Archbishop of Detroit, would in the end produce a whopping 1500 participants…

Snore.

“Getting the Priests…”

“Quite frankly, it is more acceptable in our society today to defend the rights of Gitmo detainees than Catholic priests…”

Straight Talk About the Catholic Church

by Bill Donohue

When the Boston Globe exposed massive wrongdoing in the Boston Archdiocese in 2002, Catholics were understandably angry. And when more horror stories surfaced elsewhere, we were furious. But now our anger is turning on those who are distorting the truth about priestly sexual abuse. That some are exploiting this issue for ideological and financial profit seems plain.

Every time a new wave of accusations surfaces in one diocese, not coincidentally we see a spike in accusations in other dioceses. What is not often reported is that the vast majority of new accusations extend back decades. For example, for the first quarter of this year, 80 percent of the cases of alleged abuse involve incidences that occurred before 2000.

In March, an 80 year-old man came forward in St. Louis claiming he was abused 70 years ago by a priest who has been dead for a half century. This is not an anomaly: the same phenomenon has happened in other dioceses. Unfortunately, too often bishops have been quick to settle, thus inspiring more claims. When $225,000 is dished out to a Michigan man who claims he was abused in the 1950s by a priest who died in 1983—and the diocese admits the accusation is unsubstantiated—it encourages fraud.

A common belief, fostered by the media, is that there is a widespread sexual abuse problem in the Catholic Church today. The evidence is to the contrary: In 2004, the John Jay College of Criminal Justice issued its landmark study and found that most of the abuse occurred during the heyday of the sexual revolution, from the mid-1960s to the mid-1980s. What we are hearing about today are almost all old cases. To wit: from 2005 to 2009, the average number of new credible accusations made against over 40,000 priests was 8.6. This is a tribute to the reform efforts that have taken place: 5 million children and 2 million adults have gone through a safe environment program. Indeed, there is no religious, or secular, institution that can match this record, either in terms of the low rate of abuse or the extensiveness of a training program.

Penn State professor Philip Jenkins has studied this problem for years. After looking at the John Jay data, which studied priestly sexual abuse from 1950-2002, he found that “of the 4,392 accused priests, almost 56 percent faced only one misconduct allegation, and at least some of these would certainly vanish under detailed scrutiny.” Moreover, Jenkins wrote that “Out of 100,000 priests active in the U.S. in this half-century, a cadre of just 149 individuals—one priest out of every 750—accounted for over a quarter of all allegations of clergy abuse.” In other words, almost all priests have never had anything to do with sexual molestation.

The refrain that child rape is a reality in the Church is twice wrong: let’s get it straight—they weren’t children and they weren’t raped. We know from the John Jay study that most of the victims have been adolescents, and that the most common abuse has been inappropriate touching (inexcusable though this is, it is not rape). The Boston Globe correctly said of the John Jay report that “more than three-quarters of the victims were post pubescent, meaning the abuse did not meet the clinical definition of pedophilia.” In other words, the issue is homosexuality, not pedophilia.

When the National Review Board, a group of notable Catholics, issued its study in 2004, the team’s chief, attorney Robert S. Bennett, said that “any evaluation of the causes and context of the current crisis must be cognizant of the fact that more than 80 percent of the abuse at issue was of a homosexual nature.” One of the members, Dr. Paul McHugh, former psychiatrist-in-chief at Johns Hopkins, has said that “This behavior was homosexual predation on American Catholic youth, yet it’s not being discussed.” By the way, the figures after 2004 haven’t changed—eight in ten cases involve homosexuality. Worldwide, the Vatican estimates that 60 percent of the cases are same-sex, 30 percent are heterosexual and 10 percent involve pedophilia.

Though the data belie the conventional wisdom, it’s hard to break stereotypes. The assault on priests as child abusers has become a staple in the arsenal of Jay Leno, Bill Maher, Denis Leary, George Lopez, “The View” panelists, and others. So it is hardly surprising to learn that a stranger approached New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan at the Denver airport last month saying, “I can’t look at you or any other priest without thinking of a sexual abuser.” Indeed, most priests I know do not dress in priestly garb when traveling—they’ve had to deal with similar instances.

Why are priests being singled out when the sexual abuse of minors among other segments of the population is on-going today? According to Virginia Commonwealth University professor Charol Shakeshaft, the nation’s leading education expert on this issue, “the physical sexual abuse of students in schools is likely more than 100 times the abuse by priests.” We know from the work of Jenkins, and others, that there is no reason to believe that the rate of abuse is higher among Catholic priests than among the clergy of other religions. Moreover, there has been a slew of stories over the past few years detailing the extent of this problem in the Orthodox Jewish community; some rabbis still insist that sexual abuse cases should be handled internally. No wonder Jenkins maintains, “As a result of the furious investigations of the past decades, and particularly the John Jay study, the U.S. Catholic clergy are now the only major group on the planet that has ever been subjected to such a detailed examination of abuse complaints, using internal evidence that could not have come to light in any other way.”

It would be nice if we could all get on the same page regarding the proper remedies. But just three months ago, Federal District Court Judge Jack B. Weinstein took a “compassionate” view toward a man found guilty of collecting thousands of explicit pictures of children, as young as three, that he downloaded from a child porn website. Weinstein slammed existing legal penalties for the crime, saying, “We’re destroying lives unnecessarily. At the most, they should be receiving treatment and supervision.”

How often has the Church been ripped for following the advice of psychiatrists who thought they could “fix” molesters? To be sure, that was the zeitgeist several decades ago, as virtually every institution and profession can testify. Indeed, the punitive approach so favored today would have been cause for condemnation at that time had it been followed. Interestingly, a report on this situation in Ireland correctly concluded that had more bishops followed canon law, instead of seeking a more “compassionate” strategy, much of the problem could have been avoided.

The real damage done by the therapeutic approach is that it fostered the phenomenon of reassigning priests after they were treated. The exact same thing happened in the teaching profession. Indeed, moving treated teachers to new school districts is so common that it is called “passing the trash.” While moving treated priests to new parishes is no longer tolerated, the New York Times found that the practice of moving abusers around who work in New York’s state-run homes is commonplace.

Mandatory reporting of sexual crimes is not uniform in law or practice. In New York State, several attempts to blanket the clergy and other professionals have been met with resistance. Not by the bishops—but by Family Planning Advocates (the lobbying arm of Planned Parenthood) and the New York Civil Liberties Union (NYCLU). Planned Parenthood counselors routinely learn about cases of statutory rape; mandatory reporting would obviously work against their clients’ interests. Even where mandatory reporting is law, such as in the state-run homes, it is seldom followed (more than 95 percent of the time the authorities are not contacted).

Calls for suspending the statute of limitations have regularly been made. But even if one sets aside the fundamental due process reasons why such laws exist, what is most disturbing about this issue is that they almost never apply to public employees. Unless explicitly stated, laws that revise the statute of limitations leave untouched those in education: they are protected by “sovereign immunity,” making transparent what the real goal is—“getting the priests.” And when proposed changes apply to teachers, in every state where this has happened, teachers’ unions and school superintendents have organized to register their objections. Why, then, should bishops who protest these revisions be criticized for doing so?

When the bishops met in Dallas in 2002 to consider reforms, panic gripped the conference. If there was one cleric who saw what the rush to judgment would do to the rights of priests it was the late Cardinal Avery Dulles. Sadly, events have proven him right. Quite frankly, it is more acceptable in our society today to defend the rights of Gitmo detainees than Catholic priests.

Grand juries are launched with the specific directive of investigating “sexual abuse of minors by individuals associated with religious organizations and denominations,” but then quickly evolve into the single-minded pursuit of priests; in Philadelphia, those who initially reviewed the accusations weren’t even called to testify. The unseemly practice of attorneys searching for new “victims” in bars and prisons is a disgrace. Just as sick is the sight of attorneys advertising for alleged victims of priests, but refusing to represent those abused by others. It has gotten so bad that dioceses are now being sued for “wrongful death” in cases where an alleged victim kills himself after his accusation was found wanting. And when AP runs a story on the “scandal” of allowing ex-priests to go unmonitored—as if someone is monitoring non-priest abusers—the bias shines through.

There is a huge difference between an accusation, a credible accusation, a substantiated accusation and a finding of guilt. But not when it applies to priests. I once had a female reporter lambaste me in my office when I expressed my opposition to proposals calling for all dioceses to publish the names of accused priests. I then asked her for her boss’ name and phone number. Startled, she asked why. “Because I want to press charges against you for sexually harassing me,” I intoned, “and then I want to see your name posted on your employer’s website.” She got the point.

BishopAccountabilty.org is accessed by reporters and lawyers for information on priestly sexual abuse, though the standards it uses cannot pass the smell test. It admits that the database “is based solely on allegations reported publicly” and that it “does not confirm the veracity of any actual allegation.” Swell. Furthermore, it says that “If an individual is ‘cleared’ or ‘exonerated’ by an internal church investigation and/or a diocesan review board decision, the individual remains in the database.” Ditto for cases where a priest faces an allegation for an act which occurred after he left the Catholic Church; even lawsuits against the dead are listed. There is no other group in the U.S. which is subjected to such gross unfairness. No wonder wildly exaggerated claims have been made based off of such collected “evidence.”

Perhaps no reform made in Dallas has proven to be more intrinsically dangerous than demands for “zero tolerance.” It all sounds so macho, but priests on the ground know first-hand what it means. Obviously, there should be no wiggle room in the most serious cases, but when priests are sued for “emotional” abuse, or violating “boundary issues,” the door is left wide open for exploitation. Dulles got it right when he said that “A priest who uttered an inappropriate word or made a single imprudent gesture is treated in the same way as a serial rapist.” Even worse, we now have the specter of a priest being suspended because a woman heard a kid in a playground call him a pedophile; she promptly called the cops. Joe Maher, president of Opus Bono Sacerdotii, a group that monitors the incidence of falsely accused priests, says that “at least a thousand priests…have been removed and remain out of public ministry because of unproven accusations.”

Because the Catholic Church is often criticized for not following a “zero tolerance” policy, the Catholic League did some investigation of its own. Here’s what we found. Almost every media outlet, teachers’ union and religious organization we examined does not have a “zero tolerance” policy in place for sexual misconduct (or any other offense). The few that do make no mention of mandatory reporting.

These organizations are not wrong for not having the same kind of policy that the Catholic Church has. The New York Times seems to understand this matter when applied to schools. In an editorial titled, “The Trouble With ‘Zero Tolerance,’” it noted that schools which have adopted these policies have created conditions where children are being “arrested for profanity, talking back, shoving matches and other behavior that would once have been resolved with detention or meetings with the students’ parents.” The NYCLU agreed saying, “De facto zero tolerance causes wrongful arrests, searches and suspensions of students in too many of the city’s neediest schools.” Yet as recently as April 2, the Times issued another editorial insisting the bishops follow this flawed policy.

No amount of reform will ever satisfy some. Attorneys like Jeffrey Anderson, and his well-greased friends at SNAP, a professional victims’ group, are dogmatic in their convictions; their hatred of the Catholic Church is palpable. Similarly, when others tell the bishops we’re going to “sue the s*** out of you,” and are informed that the goal is to put an “out of business” sign in front of every parish, school and charitable center, it is evident that the Church needs to fight back with greater vigor.

What accounts for the relentless attacks on the Church? Let’s face it: if its teachings were pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage and pro-women clergy, the dogs would have been called off years ago.

The British atheist Richard Dawkins is no fan of Catholicism. But he is honest enough to say that the Catholic Church “has been unfairly demonized over the issue, especially in Ireland and America.” Now if Dawkins gets it, why can’t others?

Bill Donohue

President

Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights

(Full Text) Florida Bishop Victor Galeone issues statement warning faithful on American Catholic Council

“Although the stated purpose of the ACC is to “reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” in fact, the goals proposed in their literature, as well as the organizations which make up the ACC, are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired that Council…”

The Orate Fratres Blog has long reported here on the American Catholic Council and various dissident sub-groups promoting “listening sessions” within U.S. Catholic dioceses around the country; as well as followed the efforts of Bishops to warn faithful Catholics to this real threat to Church unity. Today, Bishop Victor Galeone of the Diocese of Saint Augustine cautioned any Catholic against participating in an upcoming North Florida listening assembly, as well as the national assembly to be held in June in Detroit… His statement follows:

***************************************************************************

Statement of Bishop Galeone Regarding the American Catholic Council’s “North Florida Listening Assembly” (scheduled for Feb. 19, 2011)

It has come to my attention that an organization called the American Catholic Council (ACC) will be holding what they describe as the “North Florida Listening Assembly” in Jacksonville on Saturday, Feb. 19, 2011.  Self-described as “seeking to reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” this assembly is billed as “a day of reflection and stimulating dialogue” – all in preparation for a national gathering to be held in Detroit in June of 2011. I want to clearly and unequivocally advise all Catholics that this North Florida Listening Assembly is not conducted under the auspices of the Diocese of St. Augustine, nor is it sanctioned, approved or endorsed by the diocese or any other entity of the Roman Catholic Church.

Although the stated purpose of the ACC is to “reclaim the promise of the Holy Spirit manifested in Vatican II,” in fact, the goals proposed in their literature, as well as the organizations which make up the ACC, are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired that Council.

I commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal, but the ACC’s agenda is decidedly not such an effort. Many of the groups which have banded together in the ACC espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith and morals, and which engender only alienation and estrangement from the Church.

Accordingly, the Diocese of St. Augustine cautions any Catholic against participating in this North Florida Listening Assembly, as well as the national assembly to be held in June in Detroit. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with either event or with the ACC.

Additionally, priests, deacons, and lay ministers are expected to avoid these events, and to strongly urge the faithful not to attend or support them or the ACC in any manner.  I ask, rather, that we all pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit and shun efforts which threaten the unity of the Church for which Christ, himself, so fervently prayed.

Bishop Victor Galeone

Diocese of Saint Augustine

END OF POST/SOURCE

Who is Paul Kokoski, and why is he so right? — A Church Divided

EDITOR: Found the following spot-on essay, “A Church Divided”, by Paul Kokoski on Pravda.ru this morning. A quick google doesn’t reveal who Paul Kokoski is, but one uncharitable woman describes our mystery man [here] such:

Paul Kokorski is a sick, deranged invidual in Hamilton Ontario Canada who routinely spews forth his evil opinions in the face of reality by sending his letters to editor and opinion pieces to newspapers around the world hoping to pull the wool over most editors’ eyes, even Pravada got foolled on this one. The man is the most unethical liar on Earth. Someone should investigate who he really is, if in fact that is his real name. To attack Christophher Hitchens this way just shows what a sick deranged person this Paul Kokosli is. He is a shame on all of unthinking Catholicism. He is not a Christian. He is sick sick man.

Ghost writer or not, Mr. Kokoski’s fine work gets re-presented here…

A Church Divided

When Our Blessed Mother appeared to Sister Agnes Katsuko Sasagawa in Akita, Japan in 1973 she warned that “The work of the devil will infiltrate the Church in such a way that one will see cardinals opposing cardinals, bishops against other bishops. The priests who venerate me will be scorned and opposed by their confreres (other priests). Churches and altars will be sacked. The Church will be full of those who accept compromises and the demon will press many priests and consecrated souls to leave the service of the Lord.”

The word “diabolic” comes from the Greek “dia-boline” which means to tear apart, rend asunder. Anything, therefore, that breaks pattern, that destroys unity, that corrupts gestalt, that produces discord. That is the diabolic. Biblically speaking, the essence of the satanic or the diabolic is the hatred and contempt of the cross of Christ. We have it – the spirit of it – in the Catholic Church. Notice, for example, how much we have given up mortification, self-denial, discipline in schools, discipline in seminaries. The decline of the spirit of discipline is a hatred of the cross and, therefore, of Christ himself.

Pope Benedict XVI, in his 2010 homily for the Solemnity of Saints Peter and Paul, confirmed that the greatest damage threatening the church today is the pollution from within that is “eroding the integrity of the Mystical Body, weakening its ability to prophesy and witness, tarnishing the beauty of its face.”

Today we find numerous examples of this bickering and infighting among top members of our hierarchy. For instance, only recently public accusations of a sex abuse cover up were leveled by Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn of Vienna against Italian Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who served for 16 years from 1990 to 2006 as secretary of state, the Vatican’s second-most important position. According to protocol accusations made against a Cardinal are the sole competence (of judgement) of the pope.

There are also many open displays of opposition to church teachings by both priests and laity on issues such as the Holy Mass, women’s ordination, papal infallibility, contraception, homosexuality, abortion and obligatory celibacy. In April 2009 Georgetown University, in a disgusting public display of shame at the name of Jesus, covered over the monogram “IHS” to please U.S. President Barack Obama who no longer believes America is a Christian nation. In Phoenix, Arizona, Bishop Thomas Olmsted had to excommunicated Sister Margaret McBride, a nun and ethics committee adviser, for trying to justify a direct abortion in the first trimester.

We also see a variety of disturbing contradictions in the ways in which the faith is being practiced. For example, while the archdiocese of Denver had permitted a Colorado Catholic school to deny enrollment to a gay couple’s child, the Archdiocese of Boston, in a similar case, countered the decision of a local Catholic elementary school that denied admission to an 8-year-old child of a lesbian couple.

Also, while roughly one third of U.S. bishops strongly opposed President Barack Obama”s appearance at Notre Dame in 2009, about 2/3 of the bishops tacitly approved the visit giving the pro-abortion president a national platform to advance moral relativism. We see contradictions even in clerical dress – many priests and nuns refusing to wear their collars and habits as a visible sign of Christ in the world.

Indeed, our National Bishops Conferences’ have been unable to speak with a single unified voice on the simplest of issues such as that regarding the question of whether pro-abortion politicians should be allowed to receive Holy Communion. On this elementary and straightforward matter each U.S. bishop has been given the green light to set his own policy in his own diocese. This of course is a claim to “territorial morality” – in essence the same slogan and formula used by politicians who claim the right to lead a double life – a private life in which they supposedly oppose the evil of abortion and a public life in which they allow and even promote this evil in others. What form of mental ‘compartmentalization’ or bicameral thinking can allow intelligent thinking humans to rationalize this way when Scripture has it that “no man can serve two masters” (Matt. 6: 24)?

We also see a rise in fraudulent or nominally “Catholic” newspapers run by the laity and clergy alike such as Commonweal, America Magazine, The National Catholic Reporter, Catholic New Times, Prairie Messenger, and Conscience Magazine. Under the pretense of serving Vatican II they seek to maim the true Spirit of the Council. Even the Vatican newspaper L”Osservatore Romano (LOR) has, in recent times, veered from its main course in defending orthodoxy. Since Giovanni Maria Vian became its editor-in-chief the paper has become somewhat of an international scandal attempting to become relevant to an international pop culture that is increasingly decadent. In 2009, for example, LOR published an article by Archbishop Rino Fisichella entitled “On the Side of the Brazilian Girl” which falsely claimed that direct abortion could be morally justified and its evil mitigated in some “extreme circumstances”.

Coming to the fore also today are several fraudulent “Catholic”groups seeking to overthrow in anarchistic fashion the church hierarchy in favor of a people’s democracy. Some of these are Catholics for a Free Choice, We Are Church, Voice of the Faithful, Catholic Network for Women’s Equality, Catholic Women’s Ordination. These groups tactfully use the mass media to deliberately misrepresent Catholic teaching in the public square. Added to these groups are various and spurious charities and health organizations such as Development and Peace and the U.S. Catholic Health Association which are known to support several pro-abortion and pro-homosexual groups. Under the tutelage of Sister Carol Keehan, the U.S. Catholic Health Association became hugely instrumental in helping to bring into law President Obama’s anti-life health care reform.

These are not isolated cases of internal division threatening the church. Indeed Cardinal George of Chicago recently lamented the rise of a “parallel magisterium” seeking to destroy the faith completely from within. This is all the work of the diabolic, the satanic. We can have no tolerance the devil. Bishops have to vigorously, uncompromisingly, and publically condemn these false and shady groups with an unambiguous and unified voice that is both heard and understood.

Pope John Paul II, as Karol Cardinal Wojtyla, warned in 1976, during a visit to Germany: “We are now standing in the face of the greatest historical confrontation humanity has gone through… We are now facing the final confrontation between the Church and the anti-Church, of the Gospel versus the anti-Gospel…we must be prepared to undergo great trials in the not too distant future, trials that will require us to be ready to give up our lives.” St. Paul himself writes in his Letter to the Ephesians: “for we are not contending against flesh and blood, but against the principalities, against the powers, against the world rulers of this present world of darkness, against the evil spirits in the heavens” (cf. Eph 6: 12).

Pope Benedict XVI, as Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, continued this theme stating in 1997 that the Church in coming years “will assume different forms. She will be less identified with the great societies, more a minority Church; she will live in small vital circles of really convinced believers who live their faith. But precisely in this way she will, Biblically speaking, become the salt of the earth again.”

The Gospel speaks of the Church as a whole and of her indemnity from the forces of evil in their full and profound sense. Jesus has thus promised us that “the powers of death shall not prevail against” the Church. To procure and safeguard this remnant flock and achieve victory during this time of great persecution and purification we need to set out immediately on the mountainous path to the good where we will discover more and more the beauty that lies in the efforts demanded by truth.

Three powerful weapons we can use against Satan are: I) The Holy Name of Jesus. That is a name that Satan cannot stand. Because in the name of Jesus every knee will bend in the heavens, on the earth and under the earth. 2) The invocation of the blood of Christ. We are saved by the blood of Christ and therefore in temptation we should call upon his blood for without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sin. 3) Devotion to our Blessed Mother, for at the beginning in the book of Genesis we are told it was the seed of a woman that would crush the seed of Satan.

Indeed, the rains are here and the pope’s ship is already sailing. Those who do not climb aboard the barque of Peter while there is still time will be left behind as in the days of Noah.

Paul Kokoski

Canada

END OF POST

Detroit Archbishop releases Q & A document addressing errors of dissidents and American Catholic Council

Responding to concerns raised by the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council (ACC), the Archdiocese of Detroit issued an advisory to its priests and parishes on October 12, 2010. The group has planned a national gathering in Detroit on the weekend of Pentecost 2011. Noting that the ACC and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the Roman Catholic Church, the advisory cautioned Catholics “…against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering.” The advisory noted the goals of the ACC are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council. There are positions espoused by some of the speakers and organizers which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith. What follows is a resource document addressing this matter in greater detail.

Questions and Answers
Regarding the American Catholic Council

1. The American Catholic Council is being held on the 50th anniversary of the beginning of Vatican II. Are the positions taken by the ACC consistent with the teachings of Vatican II?

Answer: No.
While the ACC upholds some general values affirmed by Vatican II, there are explicit departures from what the Council actually taught. For example, the Preamble to the ACC’s “Catholic Bill of Rights and Responsibilities [CBRR]” states that “distinctions between clergy and laity are functional and arbitrary,” but Vatican II teaches that “the common priesthood of the faithful and the ministerial priesthood differ from one another in essence and not only in degree.”[i] The ACC’s “Declaration for Reform and Renewal” seeks “reform of the governing structures of the Church so that they reflect the better aspects of the American experience” and “a democratic spirit.” Vatican II, however, affirms the “perpetuity” of the hierarchical structure of the Church, which is realized in “the sacred primacy of the Roman Pontiff”[ii] and “the sacred order of bishops” who have succeeded to the place of the apostles “by divine institution.”[iii] The ACC affirms an alleged “freedom to dissent” from Church teachings (CBRR, no. IV), but Vatican II instructs the faithful to manifest “faithful obedience”[iv] to the Church’s Magisterium and “religious submission of will and intellect” to the teachings of the Roman Pontiff even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.[v]

2. The American Catholic Council is being held in conjunction with the 35th anniversary of the Call to Action Conference held in Detroit. Is the American Catholic Council in historical continuity with the original Call to Action conference held in Detroit, October 20-23, 1976?

Answer: No.
The 1976 Call to Action conference was sponsored by the U.S. Catholic bishops in conjunction with U.S. Bicentennial of 1976. During the conference, however, special interest groups began to dominate, a reality noted by then Archbishop Joseph L. Bernardin of Cincinnati, the president of the NCCB/USCC.[vi] Subsequently, the NCCB/USCC distanced itself from Call to Action. Some Catholics, though, formed an organization called “Call to Action,” which continued without episcopal support. When a Call to Action conference was organized in Detroit in 1996, Cardinal Adam Maida issued a statement, which warned that “the overall climate of the conference creates the appearance of dissent from Church teaching and practice.”

3. Do some of the invited speakers to the ACC conference hold positions contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
All of the invited keynote speakers have manifested dissent from Catholic teachings or support for dissenters. Hans Küng has rejected Vatican I’s defined dogma of papal infallibility, and in 1979, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith stated that he “could no longer be considered a Catholic theologian.”[vii] Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez endorsed a letter in support of Rosemary Radforth Ruether’s appointment to a Catholic Chair at the University of San Diego, even though Ruether is a board member of “Catholics for Choice,” an organization that rejects Catholic teaching on the grave immorality of abortion.[viii] Dr. Anthony Padovano has questioned the physical resurrection of Jesus, the virgin birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, and the need for an ordained priest to celebrate a valid Mass. He is also active in promoting an “ecumenical alliance” of various schismatic “Catholic” groups such as the Ecumenical Catholic Communion (ECC).[ix] James Carroll is the author of the 2001 book, Constantine’s Sword, which calls for a reconsideration of traditional Christology because affirming Jesus as the Messiah is, according to him, intrinsically linked to anti-Semitism.[x] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend is on record as publicly opposing Catholic teaching against legal abortion, and she chastised the U.S. bishops for their determination to make abortion illegal “even if it derails health-care reform entirely.”[xi] Sr. Joan Chittister is an open advocate of women’s ordination to the priesthood in spite of the definitive Catholic teaching on this subject.[xii] She also supported the right of 23 women religious to endorse a 1985 ad in the New York Times opposing Catholic teaching on abortion.[xiii]

4. Are the participants in the ACC representative of the whole Catholic Church?

Answer: No.
In fact, the ACC requires those wishing to participate to fill out a form designed to attract only those who share its agenda. There appears to be no attempt to reach out to Catholics who fully support the teachings of the Magisterium, and Archbishop Vigneron was neither invited nor consulted about the conference.

5. Are there any valid aspirations of the ACC?

Answer: Yes.
All Catholics can agree with the general affirmations made by the ACC regarding the dignity of baptism, the beatitudes, and the sacramental celebration “of God’s love and presence.” These valid affirmations of basic Christian values, however, are obscured by the resistance of the ACC to the divinely constituted authority of the Pope and the bishops in communion with him.

6. Is the ACC fostering alienation from the Catholic Church?

Answer: Yes.
Because a counter-structure of ecclesial authority is being set up that stands in opposition to the authority of the bishops, the Pope and the divine constitution of the Church as articulated by Vatican II.

7. What’s wrong with talking about controversial issues that are on the minds of many Catholics today?

Answer:
There’s nothing wrong with talking about these controversial issues. The question, though, is who has the authority to respond to these issues according to the mind of Christ and the Church. Vatican II states that “bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth.”[xiv] Because the ACC affirms a right to dissent from magisterial teachings, those discussing controversial issues at the conference will be subject to confusion and misinformation about what Catholics can and cannot hold.

8. Why can’t Archbishop Vigneron let people make up their own minds whether they wish to participate in this conference and the listening sessions being held in anticipation of it?

Answer:
Archbishop Vigneron is not taking away the right of people to make their own decisions. He has, however, issued warnings about the ACC because of his sacred responsibility to defend and uphold Catholic doctrine and guide the faithful with sound instruction. Like a good shepherd he is looking out for the well-being of his flock, and, as a faithful steward, he knows he must “one day render an account for their souls” (cf. Heb 13:17, Lumen Gentium, 27).


[i] Vatican II, Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium, 10.

[ii] Lumen Gentium, 18

[iii] Lumen Gentium, 20.

[iv] Lumen Gentium, 12

[v] Lumen Gentium, 25.

[vi] Russell Shaw, “Call to Action Conference,” in New Catholic Encyclopedia Supplement 2010 (Detroit and Washington, D.C.: Gale Cengage Learning and the Catholic University of America, 2010) Volume 1, p. 191.

[vii] Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, “Declaration regarding certain aspects of the theological doctrine of Professor Hans K?ng,” Acta Apostolicae Sedis 72 (1980): 90-92

[viii] See “Letter to the University of San Diego Supporting Academic Freedom and Rosemary Radford Ruether” (found on: http://www.womensordination.org/content/view/211/42/ ). The letter was written after the University of San Diego withdrew its invitation to appoint Rosemary Radford Ruether to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for 2009-2010. Although Dr. Jeanette Rodriguez has been an invited speaker to Church sponsored events, her support for Ruether is troubling.

[ix] Documentation from the writings of Dr. Padovano and the website of Corpus can be supplied.

[x] See review of Constantine’s Sword by Robert Louis Wilken in Commonweal (Jan. 26, 2001).

[xi] Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, “A Call to Catholics,” Newsweek (November 5, 2009).

[xii] In the summer of 2001 Sr. Chittister ignored admonitions by the Church that she not appear as a speaker at the Women’s Ordination Conference held in Dublin, Ireland. See Patty McCarty, “Nuns Firm Under Fire – Women’s Ordination Conference, Dublin Ireland,” National Catholic Reporter (July 13, 2001).

[xiii] See Alphonse de Valk, C.S.B. “Joan Chittister: Disloyalty as Obedience,” Catholic Insight (Jan./Feb. 2002).

[xiv] Lumen Gentium, 25.

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Faith Advisory: Detroit Archbishop Vigneron issues warning on American Catholic Council, asks organizers to cancel…

 
Stating that the movement called American Catholic Council  distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II and causes alienation and estrangement of the faithful from the Church, Archbishop Vigneron of Detroit, Michigan, issued the following advisory:
 
Archdiocese of Detroit Statement on the American Catholic Council
Issued: October 12, 2010
Contact: Joe Kohn, infodesk@aod.org / (313) 237-5943

The Archdiocese of Detroit has been contacted by concerned members of the faithful about a movement called the American Catholic Council. Self-described as “bringing together a network of individuals, organizations, and communities to consider the state and future of our Church,” they have planned a national gathering in Detroit for the weekend of Pentecost 2011. The American Catholic Council movement and its national gathering are not conducted under the auspices of the Detroit archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.

Although their stated purpose is to “respond to the Spirit of Vatican II by summoning the Baptized together to demonstrate our re-commitment and the documents issued by the American Catholic Council offer some valid aspirations for the Church, in fact, the goals proposed are largely in opposition to the teachings of the Second Vatican Council and the Holy Spirit, which inspired the Council.

The archdiocese wishes to commend and embrace all true efforts at Church renewal – the American Church Council’s agenda is not such an effort. Some of the advertised speakers and groups organizing the effort espouse positions which are clearly contrary to Catholic faith, leading to alienation and estrangement from the Church. The Archdiocese of Detroit cautions any Catholic against participating in the American Catholic Council local listening sessions and national gathering in June 2011. Catholic parishes, schools, and institutions are not to host any meetings, gatherings, or “listening sessions” associated with the planning of the June 2011 American Catholic Council. Priests, deacons, and ecclesial lay ministers will want to avoid lending support to such a misguided effort. On behalf of the archdiocese, Archbishop Vigneron has asked the organizers to cancel their plans for this national gathering that distorts the true Spirit of Vatican II. He asks us all to pray for the guidance of the Holy Spirit so that we may embrace authentic development of faith and morals, and shun efforts which threaten unity.

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