It is Holy Thursday. The day during Holy Week that the church commemorates the institution of the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Ordination. I will spend the entire evening and into the early morning hours of Good Friday alone in the church praying with Jesus Christ–body, blood, soul, and divinity truly present within the Most Holy Sacrament of the altar–The Eucharist.
This morning I learned who I’ll be praying for: Pope Benedict The XVI and all who have validly received the Sacrament of Holy Orders. But, particularly those who have strayed from the promises they made at ordination.
After spending the better part of last evening attempting to talk sense to a turkey, I finally decided this morning to just go ahead and wring, pluck, gut, clean and bake at 350 degrees. Now, in considering this Season of Sharing upon us, I’m inviting you and Mrs. LarryD to the table of plenty snark. Only you can platter and carve this bad bird above…
Happy Thanksgiving LarryD,
(P.S. You may also consider this an early Christmas gift.)
Tomorrow is the Feast of St. Therese of Lisieux! Patron saint of the women’s ordination movement! Forward this petition to your friends–it will be hand-carried to the Vatican in two weeks by Fr. Roy and representatives from Call To Action, Women’s Ordination Conference and Roman Catholic Womenpriests!
Yep, all 126 signatories…
Oh, and St. Therese is the Patron Saint of: Aviators, florists, missions, Russia….
Oh, those libertine catholic hordes! Sometimes the universe just magickly opens up for them…
On Friday last, CTA announced on there Facebook page that they are seeking slogans for Call To Action T-shirts, and If they choose yours, you’ll get one free! Here’s one they’ve probably yet to notice, from a store front door in Germany protesting Benedict XVI visit there on September 22…
I’m sure you have your own suggestions, and who knows? You just might get a T for free…
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
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.
Despite their claims to the contrary, organizers behind Sunday’s scheduled world-wide protest “A Sunday Without Women” are promoting women’s ordination and the boycotting of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass within the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon. Promotional material for the event reads:
Catholic women of the world unite. September 26 is the day to boycott Mass and pray for greater inclusion of women in the Catholic church.
In her misguided call to empty pews in the hope of “making the powers that be think again”, Irish convert and instigator of the protest, Jennifer Sleeman recently noted that she herself, “Had always had questions about the fact that women could not be ordained.”
And again, this statement of purpose:
“Stay at home and pray for change. We are the majority. We may have been protesting individually but unremarked on, but together we have strength and our absence, the empty pews, will be noticed.
Whatever change you long for, recognition, ordination, the end of celibacy, which is another means of keeping women out, join with your sisters and let the hierarchy know by your absence that the days of an exclusively male-dominated church are over.”
And so too, some believe here.
The pro-women’s ordination group sponsoring the protest, One Spirit ~ One Call, along with the local chapter members of the dissident church reform organization Call To Action are asking for help in “talking up” the event in every parish throughout the archdiocese. And as if this breach of fidelity and communion weren’t serious enough, they have/are now recruiting help in contacting and promoting “Sunday Without Women” at Catholic high schools and colleges, as their website memo clearly reveals:
Last week One Spirit ~ One Call was shared at the Call to Action meeting. Other organizations and groups we are working on getting in touch with are the Catholic high schools and colleges in the area and, of course, all the parishes. If you have contacts or would like to take the lead in contacting and “talking up” this event to any of these groups, please get in touch with Julie Granger: [E-mail omitted]
Despite an Infallible declaration that ensures the subject of ordaining women to the Catholic priesthood is settled matter and will never change, some don’t accept this portion of church teaching as final, or fail in their duty to support and enforce it. And thus, the true reality that false ordination of women is grave sin punishable through excommunication becomes further obscured within the hearts of the faithful. Especially, when events such as this one are allowed to be promoted within the archdiocese beforehand, and at times with the carefully worded support of parish priest’s. For example:
Rev. J. Mosbrucker
In the Gospels, we hear Jesus treat women with respect and equality. Paul continues this attitude toward women, especially in the phrase “there is no longer male or female…”. It is time for the Church to reclaim this Gospel message. One Spirit-One Call is an opportunity to begin the dialogue to reclaim this status for women in the Church. I support this event as a beginning in this process.
Rev. Robert W. Krueger
Women have the human right, also a right recognized in Catholic Church law, to express the pain of the inequality they experience in the church and their opinions for change to their bishops and other Christian faithful. One Spirit~One Call will be an opportunity for women to make this expression clearly and strongly. I gladly endorse the event.
Msgr. Charles Lienert, Pastor, St. Andrew Catholic Church
I support the event on September 26 that calls for increasing the awareness of injustice to women in the Catholic Church. Women are equal to men in the eyes of God through creation and baptism.
Despite some of his own pastor’s backing the demonstration on Sunday, it appears that Archbishop Vlazny is opposed. Local’s here will remember that His Eminence was previously bush-whacked 3-plus-years ago by members of this same chapter of Call To Action with their secretly organizing the non-ordination (and subsequent self-excommunication) of Toni Tortorilla–and that, on the very same day His Imminence was personally ordaining authentic priests. Yet, nonetheless, all this will remain baffling for the faithful, and understandably so, if it’s true as has been reported that supporting pastors of the current protest will not face any disciplinary measures.
I for one would not recommend criticizing His Imminence… I do recommend contacting the Archdiocese with your concerns. And especially this one:
The nature of Catholic dissent and action has changed. And faithful Catholics would do well to make this fact known to their pastors and shepherd’s. In this case, Archbishop Vlazny.
The Spirit is guiding us as we plan and organize. We believe that One Spirit ~ One Call has the potential to become more than an event; it could the beginning of a new movement among God’s people and within the Church. We will contribute positively to reform and renewal in our Church. One Spirit ~ One Call will continue to use women’s wisdom and processes, inviting women to begin holding small gatherings to share their stories and name their hopes and dreams for the church. These small gatherings will begin in October and November; what comes out of the One Spirit ~ One Call Circles will guide us. When the time is right, we imagine we will enter into dialogue with the hierarchy. This all needs to be discerned and we will engage in a discernment gathering on the Feast of Christ the King, Nov. 21, at St. Charles Parish.
This all sounds too familiar to the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis with this Saturday’s past convening of the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR). A new organization that the Archdiocese find necessary to warn the faithful about:
It has come to the attention of the Archdiocese that a group calling itself the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform (CCCR) is planning a 2010 ‘synod’ in the Archdiocese entitled, ‘Claiming Our Place at the Table’.
While the agenda for the proposed synod purports to be an exploration of the role of baptized Catholics within the institutional Church of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis, it is not being conducted under the auspices of the Archdiocese, the universal Roman Catholic Church, or any entity or organization affiliated with the Archdiocese or the universal Roman Catholic Church.
The Archdiocese wishes it to be known that the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform, the 2010 synod, and individuals endorsing the same, are not agents or entities of the Archdiocese of Saint Paul and Minneapolis or the Roman Catholic Church. Moreover, the Archdiocese wishes to lovingly caution those members of the faithful participating in the ‘work/study groups’ and intending to attend the synod of the potential that the issues on which CCCR will seek reform are magisterial teachings of the Church, and are therefore to be believed by divine and catholic faith. The Archdiocese also wishes to remind the faithful of its need to shun any contrary doctrines, and instead to embrace and retain, to safeguard reverently and expound faithfully, the doctrine of faith and morals proposed definitively by the magisterium of the Church.
EDITOR NOTE:The inspiration for this post came, oddly enough, from the misfortune of an elderly Canadian farmer who this week found himself up-side-down in a combine for 24 hours before help arrived. It appears (thankfully) he’ll survive, but the story reminded me of the overturning of life, both positive and negative, I found within my own week–mostly on the subject of our holy religion:
–After over 500 years of Protestant rule in England, Pope Benedict XVI humbly walked into Westminster Abbey and proclaimed–not once, but twice–himself the Successor of Peter and the one responsible for Christian unity (to applause…).
–On the other side of the pond, apostate Catholics busied themselves in Minneapolis as they organize meetings in an attempt to separate the Catholic Church in America from her spiritual ties with Rome. Good luck with that one…
–On the domestic front, I and a young fellow worker are initiating a conversation on many subjects concerning politics and religion. Coming from bible alone background my highly intelligent new friend recognizes, as I myself do, our theological differences. But, for me, it’s simply refreshing to talk with youth about such matters. Many youth today could care less about discussing matters concerning the primordial meaning of their lives: to come to know, love, and serve God in this life and be with him forever in the next.
–And then, there was the confused comments I found on the blog this week about the relevancy today of Gnostic women priests from the past…(?)
All in all, these subjects each boil down to questions regarding truth. And specifically, the truth about the Church Jesus founded.
Timely then, was this weekly e-mail update post I received this morning from the most worthy convert blog, Bread From Heaven. The post reproduced here from BFH is entitled:
Which Church Did Jesus Start?
What follows is a transcript of Patrick Madrid’s CD: Why I Am Catholic When I Could Be Anything Else
Jesus founded a Church.
Mt 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar Jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
Let us do a thought experiment and suspend judgment about which Church is the church that Jesus founded.
Mt 5:1“You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.14″You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden;15nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.16″Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.
The Church that Jesus is establishing is VISIBLE so that the Father will be glorified. Now this passage is not necessarily about the Church but why would Jesus give us a advice that he Himself would not take? Why would he tell us to be visible and yet build a Church and leave us all questioning which Church it was? Does that make any sense?
Now why would Jesus go to the trouble of establishing a Church and then make it so obscure and difficult to find that no one could know if they were in the True Church or not? Does that make any sense?
Jesus said, “No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket”
So why would he allow His Church be so difficult to find among thousands of competing beliefs that it is equivalent to lighting a lamp and putting it under a basket?
Mt 16:17 And Jesus said to him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar jona, because flesh and blood did not reveal this to you, but My Father who is in heaven.”I also say to you that you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build My church; and the gates of Hades will not overpower it.
We see here that Jesus declared His plan to build His Church. Whichever Church this is, that He is establishing, it is His Church. He started this Church. No other human being would be able to claim to have started this church.This also is a church that is being built by Christ. Although the members of this church are human the builder and perfecter of this church is Christ Himself.
Mt 28:18 “And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”
First Jesus declares, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. Go therefore..”
Go ….Why?Whenever you see the word “therefore” you have to find out what it is there for? And the rule of thumb is that the answer can be found in something previous to it. And there we find Jesus saying
“All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.”
So because of the authority given to Jesus He is sending the apostles out into the world with a certain authority. Some may argue that that is stretching it. Jesus isn’t exactly saying that there. I believe He is but we can bolster that with passages such as Luke 10:16:
And Jesus said, “”The one who listens to you listens to Me, and the one who rejects you rejects Me; and he who rejects Me rejects the One who sent Me.”
Mt 16:19“I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; and whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.”
And also to the Apostles:
Mt18:18“Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall have been bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall have been loosed in heaven.
So there are a number of places where it is clear that the disciples were being sent forth with the authority of Christ. And they are being sent forth to the whole world. Not to just one country or town. Not to just this race or that, or a certain era in time, but to everyone, in the whole world, for all time, until the end of time. Jesus’ Church is a universal Church. This is not a church that convinces people to say the sinner’s prayer and then moves on. This church makes disciples…..of all nations. This is just another way of saying, “Make Converts”. When you convert someone you bring them in to the Church. And the doorway into the Church is the doorway of baptism, in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.
Mt 28:19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit,
Next we see that this is a teaching Church.
“…teaching them to obey all that I have commanded you.”
So, Jesus gave commandments for the apostles to teach. They were not just suggestions. These are teachings Jesus commanded the disciples to pass on. So, when this church, whichever this church may be, goes forth and teaches; what she is doing is not saying, “This is what we think should be taught.” But rather, this is what Jesus Himself taught us. And we are simply passing that on to you.
And then Jesus says, Behold I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” Think about what that means. What must it mean?
Jesus Christ was neither a liar nor a fool. So since He was not deceiving us when He said those words, nor was He mistaken, we can rely on what He said about being with this Church that He was going to establish. That must mean that never could there have been a time nor will there ever be a time when this Church stopped or fell away or was ever vanquished by anything, because Jesus was going to be with it to protect it.
So, now lets get into the heart of the thought experiment. Let’s consider where we are today. The Catholic Church is one Church among many other churches that claim to be the true church. It is visible. People can see Catholic Churches in their town. There are Catholic schools and universities, there is St. Peter’s in Rome, etc.these all make the Catholic Church visible.
But we are not just talking about buildings. The priest, bishops, and pope are all visible. The lay people may not be prominently visible but if you are friends with a Catholic their catholicity becomes visible, sooner or later, either by seeing a crucifix around their neck, a rosary on their car mirror, pictures or statues in their home, praying with the sign of the cross, etc.
And the Catholic Church is visible in a particular way in its teachings. If you go into a town and ask for the Church where they confess their sins to a priest, and they pray for the dead, baptize babies, believe in the intercession of the Blessed Virgin Mary, teach that the mass is a sacrifice, begin and end prayers with the sign of the cross. What church are they going to send you to? No one is going to send you to the Baptist Church, the Lutheran Church or any church other than the Catholic Church.
It is also visible because it has distinctive Catholic teachings. You might even say peculiar Catholic teachings that are unique to the Catholic Church. But there are other churches out there and some do and believe in one or two of the distinctive Catholic teachings.
So, let’s continue with our thought experiment. Let’s roll the clock back 50 years. The Catholic church is there but there are no Calvary Chapels. Chuck Smith was alive and probably still Catholic. But he hadn’t yet founded the first Calvary Chapel. It was founded in 1965.
Let’s go back 200 years to the year 1810. The Catholic Church is there. The pope, the bishops, the teachings, you’ll see all those outward signs of the presence of the Catholic Church we mentioned above. But there is something you will not find, no matter how hard you look, in the year 1810. You will not find the Mormon Church, the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. It did not exist. It had not been founded yet by the man who would establish it, Joseph Smith. There also were no Jehovah’s Witnesses in the year 1810. Charles Taze Russell, the man who would start that religion had not been born yet. There were no Seventh Day Adventists, because Ellen Gould White had not started that religion yet. There were no Christian Scientists because Mary Baker Eddy would not found that church for another nearly 70 years, in 1879.
But now let’s go further. Let’s go to the year 1510. Again, the Catholic Church was visible alright, a lot like today. It was a very messy time. There were priest scandals, the lay people were not well catechized in the faith, tumult and tension in the Catholic Church. But you can see it in 1510, the pope, the bishops, saints and sinners and everyone in between. But there is something you can’t see in the year 1510. Protestantism. It just did not exist. Luther would not pound his 95 Theses on the door of the church for another seven years. Calvin, Zwingli and many others had not yet begun to break away from the Catholic Church or the Lutheran Church. Think about that. In the year 1509 Protestantism did not exist anywhere in the whole wide world of Christiandom. No Presbyterians. No Baptists. No Methodists. No Lutherans, etc.
And if you keep going back in time you will find that the Catholic Church has always been in existence since the time of Jesus’ resurrection. The Pope, the bishops, the teachings, etc. You find popes making decisions and bishops from across the world sending to Rome or traveling there themselves to get a decision from the Bishop of Rome. Who does not want to belong and trust the Church that Jesus Christ founded. Why would anyone prefer a Church started by a man?
This past week the Vatican announced changes made last May to procedures for dealing with what it calls “exceptionally serious crimes”. The revised list addressed serious crimes (graviora delicta) directed against bothmorals and the celebration of sacraments. Certain dissident groups within the Catholic Church having long sought the ordination of women–a serious abuse concerning the celebration of sacraments–were angered that the attempted ordination of women would be set on par with the moral crime of pedophilia. This wasn’t the case. But, it was an opportunity to gain some badly needed press for their long-frustrated and empty cause.
Most of the fringe press releases following the Vatican’s annoucement were filled with the same-old angry diatribes directed against “those mean old patriarchal types and the institutional church”, but at least one clever fellow was creative in his own criticisms–Although clear proof before both God and man that Catholics should never, ever, sing Negro spirituals…
For an accurate report on the Vatican annoucement: [CLICK HERE]
‘Chronicles’ editor recounts propaganda campaign against Catholic Church
By Stephanie Block
“Never waste a crisis.” Chronicles editor Scott Richert describes a propaganda campaign against the Catholic Church in the US that has spread globally.
A few weeks ago, a New Mexico county paper published a political cartoon depicting a small boy standing before a towering prelate, presumably Pope Benedict XVI. The boy says, “I was molested by a priest!” The prelate gleefully responds, “I forgive you.”
There are many “points” implied by this wicked bit of commentary, one of which seems to be that our society’s pedophile problem is a “Catholic” problem. This cartoon is no anomaly. To read secular news coverage, even in a predominantly Catholic part of the country, is to be bombarded with the message – sometimes subtle, sometimes blatant – that clerical celibacy and Church hierarchy intrinsically breed corruption.
Media messages have “an effect. A late April/early May New York Times/CBS News poll found that 73 percent of all respondents, and 53 percent of all Catholics, believe that ‘child sexual abuse by Catholic priests is a problem that is still going on today,’ despite the very solid evidence to the contrary,” Scott Richert, executive editor of Chronicles, told a June conference held at the Rockford Institute in Illinois. [Quotes are taken from Richert’s June 3, 2010 Rockford Institute lecture, “Clerical Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias.” Video clip of talk: http://www.rockford institute. org/?p=389 ]
Richert calls these media messages “propaganda,” and looks at specific polling questions about media coverage of the pedophile scandals “designed to gauge whether a piece of propaganda has been effective, rather than merely to sample public opinion.” Despite evidence “that Catholic clerical sexual abuse has, throughout this entire period, been less common than sexual abuse by those in other professions (especially other profession focused on children),” there is still a popular perception, fueled by unrelenting and distorted media reporting, that the evil Catholic Church is alone in this problem – with the painful; corollary that child sexual abuse will be under-investigated in those fields where it’s most prevalent.
In an interview, Richert answered some questions about this issue.
Block: You describe in some detail the questions pollsters have asked Catholics about priest scandals of the past several decades as reflective of a propaganda campaign against the Church. Could you give any concrete examples of this?
Richert: The final questions of the New York Times/CBS News poll that I mentioned in my talk read like push polling—that is, using question to try to change attitudes rather than to measure them. But the most egregious example of bias is found in question 25, right in the middle of the poll: “Do you think the problem of sexual abuse of children and teenagers is a more common problem in the Catholic Church than it is in other walks of life, or is it just as common a problem in other walks of life?”
Notice what’s missing? Those who were polled were given the opportunity to say that sexual abuse is “more common” in the Catholic Church than outside of Her, or “just as common” outside of the Catholic Church as in Her. “Less common” in the Catholic Church (or “more common in other walks of life”) was not an option.
Block: It certainly colors the answer, doesn’t it? Do you have any particularly egregious examples of biased reporting in the media’s coverage of the Church pedophile cases?
Richert: The New York Times’ coverage of the case of Wisconsin priest Fr. Lawrence Murphy is a very good example. I’ve discussed it at length on the About.com GuideSite to Catholicism: http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/03/ 29/the-pope- and-fr-murphy- fact-fiction- and-anti- catholic- bias.htm; http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/04/ 26/the-new- york-times- public-editor- on-clerical- sexual-abuse. htm; http://catholicism. about.com/ b/2010/04/ 30/the-new- york-times- attack-on- pope-benedict- the-rest- of-the-story. htm. Those three pieces show how the coverage unfolded, and how the Times’ narrative—that Pope Benedict XVI protected a pedophile priest—was both untrue and delivered at the instigation of a lawyer who has made $60 million of such cases and repeatedly sued the Vatican.
Block: In your lecture, you said that the incidence of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church actually began to decline in 1980, “before public attention was drawn to it, and before the Church instituted various measures.” What happened?
Richert: One particular cohort of priests—born between 1925 and 1950 and ordained between 1950 and 1975—were responsible for the bulk of the crisis. And most of the bishops who transferred priests accused of sexual abuse and who covered up allegations in the 1980’s and 1990’s belong to this same demographic cohort. By 1980, they had begun to retire or die, and by 2002, most of them were no longer active priests.
Block: So, the next question would obviously be, why were such a disproportionately high number of problematic priests ordained between 1950 and 1975?
Richert: As early as the 1940’s (long before Vatican II, which has often been blamed for this crisis), far too many in the Church—bishops, priests, and laymen—began to regard the priesthood as a profession or occupation, rather than as a vocation. Clerical celibacy is a discipline, but it also reflects a metaphysical reality: The celibate priest is married. His spouse is the Church. He must devote his life to Her the way that a husband devotes his life to his wife. His children are the members of his congregation.
In other words, the celibate priesthood is not an alternative to marriage but a different form of marriage. When, for various reasons, some bishops lost sight of that, they began, as Fr. Thomas Loya, the pastor of Annunciation Byzantine Catholic Church in the Chicago suburbs, has said, “to ordain men to the priesthood who weren’t fit to be husbands and fathers.”
Block: Does that analysis apply to bishops, too? Without a doubt, some of the Church’s problems – and I mean real problems, not media biased problems – can be laid at the feet of bishops who permitted deeply disturbed priests to continue functioning in positions where they could abuse children…
Richert: Perhaps the best analysis of the problem in the episcopacy was written by Rockford Bishop Thomas Doran and published in the February 22, 2002, issue of the diocesan newspaper, the Observer. “Sometimes,” Bishop Doran wrote, “people’s intentions are good. They look the other way, or they misjudge the nature of the problem. That was, it must be said, once the case with respect to pedophiles. Not so many decades ago the best science said their obsession could be cured, or at least treated and brought under control, in the same way that people can be freed from the snares of alcoholism and drug addiction. . . . Now we know better. . . . [W]e all must join together in beseeching God to make us duly conscious of the monstrosity of this evil.”
Treating the priesthood like a vocation and treating grave sin as a medical or physical problem rather than a metaphysical one went hand in hand.
Block: It’s been particularly disheartening to watch media attacks against Benedict XVI – it’s so undeserved. Your lecture went into great detail about all the steps he’s taken to address clerical sexual abuse, stemming from years ago, before he was pope. Could you summarize some of them?
Richert: Concerned by the slowness with which cases of clerical sexual abuse were being handled by the Roman Rota (which previously had authority over them), Cardinal Ratzinger wanted to streamline the process—and, also, to control it himself. He successfully lobbied Pope John Paul II to have responsibility for such cases transferred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Since April 30, 2001, over 3,000 cases worldwide have been investigated by the CDF. In those cases in which the CDF has found sufficient evidence to authorize a canonical trial, over 85 percent have resulted in convictions.
Cardinal Ratzinger had a hand, too, in the Charter for the Protection of Children and Young People, adopted in 2002 by the U.S. bishops, and adapted by bishops’ conferences in other countries to their own circumstances.
Over the objections of other high-ranking Vatican officials, Cardinal Ratzinger ordered the investigation of Father Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ, which resulted in his removal from ministry and his exile to a monastery.
And finally, after his election, Pope Benedict put into place strict new rules to prevent the admission of not only practicing homosexuals but those with homosexual tendencies to the ministry. Over two thirds of all cases of abuse in the United States between 1950 and 2002 involved adolescent (i.e., postpubescent) males, and thus are more accurately described as homosexual acts rather than pedophiliac ones.
Block: Why are groups such as Survivors’ Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP!) and Voice of the Faithful so critical of Benedict XVI? One would think, with their ostensible concern to clean up abuse in the Church, they would applaud his work…
Richert: Exactly. Which calls into question their true motives. Both oppose the ban on homosexuals in the priesthood; both call for the end of clerical celibacy; and SNAP, in particular, has agitated for women priests. SNAP has also received significant funding from lawyers who have sued the Catholic Church.
Block: You said there were only six allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the entire United States in 2009. I realize clerical sexual abuse is just beginning to be uncovered in several European countries, so the subject is in the news, but it seems there’s a disproportionate emphasis about it in the US. What’s going on?
Richert: This latest round of media coverage has been served up by lawyers with a vested interest in keeping a dying problem alive. Jeffrey Anderson, the attorney who has made $60 million off of suits against the Church, directed the New York Times to the Father Murphy story. Less than a month later, he used that case as the basis for his latest lawsuit against the Vatican and Pope Benedict.
Block: So, if we accept the thesis that there’s a “propaganda campaign” – or a media bias – against the Catholic Church, the next question is “why.” What’s behind it?
Richert: Beyond the greediness of lawyers who are running out of clients, I think it’s the hatred of Pope Benedict XVI for believing—really, truly believing—what the Catholic Church teaches. And “modern” men and women—and journalists today are nothing if not “modern”—cannot believe that anyone could really believe what the Church teaches.
Block: Thanks so much for your time and all the work you’ve put into researching this.
On Thursday, June 3, 2010, Scott P. Richert, executive editor of Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture, delivered a lecture, “Clerical Sexual Abuse: Separating Fact, Fiction, and Anti-Catholic Bias.”
Drawing on his extensive research, Mr. Richert showed that, despite the surge in reporting over the last year, incidences of the abuse of children by bishops, priests, and deacons have decreased remarkably since the early 1980’s, thanks in no small part to the efforts of then-Cardinal Ratzinger. So what (or who) is behind the groundswell of media coverage of the “crisis”—and the attacks on Pope Benedict the XVI?
Mr. Richert answers that question and more in his lecture, which is available for purchase in an audio CD from The Rockford Institute. Call (800) 383-0680 to order your copy today.
In my post this past Thursday regarding the “environmental events” in the Archdiocese of Washington, you noticed that Just Faith has a hand in all this nonsense. In conjunction with this post regarding Just Faith, I’d suggest you review the posts about “progressives” – particularly the Real Catholic videos regarding the same. The characteristics of progressives can all be found in the Just Faith program. Indeed, the website of Just Faith unabashedly proclaims its progressive proclivities. I also recommend the reading of an excellent article on the Just Faith debacle entitled “Just Faith Is a Big Part of the Problem“, written by my friend and colleague, Stephanie Block, who regularly writes for Spero News.
Two or three years ago, the Just Faith program was introduced into the Archdiocese of Washington; that was before I operated this blog. However, I was quite aware that a Trojan Horse was being introduced into the archdiocese and tried to sound an alert. My warnings were rebuffed by people whom I thought would be keen to the dangers. One told me that her parish implemented Just Faith without the ill effects, and that my warnings were destructive. While I’ve no problem believing that her particular parish may have been successful in separating the wheat from the chaff, it is my contention that there is inherently much more chaff than wheat in the Just Faith program. The writings and afilliations of the founder, Jack Jezreel, corroborate my conclusions.
Go to its website http://www.justfaith.org/. We will now take a little tour. Let’s look at its “news” page, that is, its newletter archives. The first newsletter contains an article by two Network officials, touting their efforts to promote the Obama Hell Bill. You might recall last month that Network was rebuked by the USCCB for its support of the Hell Bill, that further unleashes abortion upon our society.
I learn much about an organization by its board members and their other affiliations. Think back to the Real Catholic videos and the unsavory alliances of USCCB staff and other anti-Church organizations. Click “about”, then “board of directors”. Tom Chabolla caught my eye only because he lives in my area. I googled him and discovered that he is an assistant to the president of Service Employees International Union (SEIU); prior to that, he was associate programs director for Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD). He’s also on the Advisory Council of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. He’s also on the board of Center for Community Change; in past months, much has been learned about that bunch. Mr. Chabolla certainly is a busy man!
Gary and Mary Becker are an interesting couple. Judging from where they live (near Jezreel), I’d bet they’re good friends of his. They did the Just Faith course and are big promoters of it. What’s really interesting, if you read that link, is that they’ve ostensibly “trained as spiritual directors”. Don’t you just wonder what competent authority “trained” them? I’m betting it’s none that’s recognized by the Magiserium. If I’m wrong, I’m open to correction via the comments. Anyway, they’ve opened their own spiritual-direction enterprise called Stillpoint: The Center for Christian Spirituality. That name seems to be a bit of a misnomer, for if you click “programs”, you see that you can get “direction” in all sorts of religions: Buddhist, Jewish, Unitarian, etc. Anyway, not only can you receive direction (such as it may be), but you can train to become a director yourself! Doesn’t that just sound great?? Boys and girls, can we say “new age racket”?
Rev Daniel Groody, CSC, teaches at Notre Dame University – the same that soiled itself by its bestowal of an honorary degree upon the Messiah Most Miserable. Fr. Groody is considered to be “an expert on immigration”. He also is involved in (bet you can’t guess!) Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good. I’m beginning to sense a pattern here!
Steve Kute is a neighbor of Jezreel’s, too. There is a Steve Kute of Kentucky who donated $1,000 to Moveon.org. I hope they’re not the same, but they probably are! Meg Bowerman made known her sympathies for Voice of the Faithful after she took umbrage at her local bishop for not advertising one of their conferences in the diocesan newspaper.
Such are some of the Just Faith board members – but what of Jezreel himself?
The answer to that burning question can be found in his own touting of Just Faith. It’s called “How to turn a lukewarm parish into a hotbed of social justice“. Now think for a minute about the phrase “hotbed of social justice”. I find the use of the word “hotbed” rather interesting. I’ve only seen it used to describe intrinsic evil, such as “hotbed of civil unrest” or “hotbed of sexual perversion”. Why, oh why, does Jezreel use “hotbed” to describe the outcome of his program? Could he be inadvertently admitting something that he wouldn’t admit knowingly? At any rate, let’s look at the article.
In the second paragraph, he says he “was convinced of the primacy of justice work in the life of faith“. Right there you see a big indication of one root problem. What assumes “primacy” in the Catholic life of faith is Jesus Christ and heaven. It is summed up nicely in the old Baltimore Catechism question, “Why did God make me? God made me to know, love and serve Him in this world, and to be happy with Him in the next.” Social justice certainly is a component in this life-mission of the Catholic, but not a primary component by any stretch of the imagination. Eternal salvation has a much higher priority, as earthly societies will pass away while the immortal soul will not.
Take note of the “conversion” stories. We read of Gary and Mary Becker, mentioned earlier in this post. In the article, though, there’s no mention of the Stillpoint schtick. Moving on down, read of Rosemary Smith et al (the “R” is a blue drop-down cap). They started a “women’s homily series”. Boys and girls, women are not permitted to give homilies, no “ifs, ands or buts”. They’re gunning for women’s ordination. In the next paragraph we see David Chervenak advocating for gay rights. Boys and girls, can we say “dissidents”?
Isn’t it interesting how Jezreel makes only the briefest mention of them – almost like a subliminal suggestion embedded in other harmless(?)-sounding stuff, like the poison pill in the mashed potatoes. It is swallowed unwittingly, then starts debilitating one’s thnking and their very spiritual life. That’s how much of this progressive crap is insinuated in parochial and diocesan life.
To my friends who take exception to my opposition to Just Faith I truly am glad that your parish escaped the harmful effects of Just Faith – at least for now. You may well be the exception to a very deadly rule. However, by your participation, you have done harm by: 1) opening yourselves and your successors to addtional influences from Jezreel et al, that may well compromise their faith and 2) lending credibility to Just Faith. The apple rarely falls far from the tree – and this Just Faith tree is indeed very rotten.