Tag Archives: orate fratres

It’s Polka Mass Sunday!

And I was all twisted-up yesterday at Mass over having to sit through, yet again, another reprise of the non-Catholic Protestant classic “Amazing Grace”…

Bishop Peter F. Christensen of the Diocese of Superior, at Moon Lake Park, celebrating the Polka Mass.

Yep. The Polka Mass… With music provided by, get this, the “Singing Slovenes”, ( A name that recalls to my mind the indecorous barking of an old crusty Marine Corp D.I. from years past– “GET YOUR ‘SWINGING, er, SLOVENES‘ ON THE ROAD LADIES!!”). I know, I know… It makes about as much biological sense as the polka mass does to me and the Badger Catholic, who has the story here.




The Word of God, Jesus The Christ -Matthew 7 

13 Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in thereat.
How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life: and few there are that find it!
Beware of false prophets, who come to you in the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
By their fruits you shall know them. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?
17 E
ven so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit, and the evil tree bringeth forth evil fruit.
A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can an evil tree bring forth good fruit.
Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit, shall be cut down, and shall be cast into the fire.
Wherefore by their fruits you shall know them.
Not every one that saith to me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven: but he that doth the will of my Father who is in heaven, he shall enter into the kingdom of heaven.
Many will say to me in that day: Lord, Lord, have not we prophesied in thy name, and cast out devils in thy name, and done many miracles in thy name?
And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

Editors Note: Remember to attend rally and rosary in union with Notre Dame students protesting the honoring of President Barack Obama–

St. Mary’s Cathedral 17th and Couch, Portland, Oregon, Sunday May 17th – 10:30 am

List of Bishops Opposing the Notre Dame Invitation and Award to President Obama

(To read statements: Click and paste url in your browser)

Bishop Joseph V. Adamec – Altoona-Johnstown, PA
Statement: http://www.ajdiocese.org/documents//April_8__2009_-_Notre_Dame_University.pdf
LSN http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050718.html

Bishop John D’Arcy – Fort Wayne-South Bend, IN
Statement: http://www.diocesefwsb.org/COMMUNICATIONS/obama.htm
LSN Report: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032408.html

Bishop Samuel Aquila – Fargo, ND
Statement: http://www.fargodiocese.org/Bishop/Homilies/StatementNotreDameLtr4-5-09.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040906.html

Bishop Gregory Aymond – Austin, TX
Statement: http://www.austindiocese.org/newsletter_issue_view.php?id=211
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032707.html

Bishop Robert Baker – Birmingham, AL
Statement: http://www.ewtn.com/library/BISHOPS/bpbakernd.HTM
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040807.html

Bishop Gerald Barbarito – Palm Beach, FL
Statement: http://www.diocesepb.org/bishop/Acrobat_files/Bishop
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041406.html

Bishop Leonard Blair – Toledo, OH
Statement: http://proecclesia.blogspot.com/2009/04/bishop-blair-responds-to-notre-dame.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Cardinal Anthony Bevilacqua (Archbishop Emeritus) – Philadelphia, PA
Statement: http://patricknovecosky.wordpress.com/2009/05/04/cardinal-bevilacqua-addresses-n…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050509.html

Bishop Lawrence Brandt – Greensburg, PA
Statement: http://www.dioceseofgreensburg.org/DH/Pages/NotreDamestatement.aspx
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050509.html

Archbishop Daniel Buechlein – Indianapolis, IN
Statement: http://www.archindy.org/criterion/local/2009/04-10/notredame.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040807.html

Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz – Lincoln, NE
Statement: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/News/tabid/54/ctl/Details/mid/452/ItemID/49…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040906.html

Archbishop Eusebius Beltran – Oklahoma City, OK
Statement: http://newsok.com/speech-by-obama-faces-catholic-foes/article/3357948
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040204.html

Auxiliary Bishop Oscar Cantú – San Antonio, TX
Statement: http://www.archdiosa.org/txtfiles/attachment_153.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Archbishop-Elect Robert Carlson – St. Louis
Statement: http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/news/stories.nsf/religion/story/5C2E18FE76B5941…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051515.html

Archbishop Charles Chaput – Denver, CO
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042905.html

Bishop Paul Coakley – Salina, KS
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Auxiliary Bishop James Conley – Denver
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050815.html

Bishop Edward Cullen – Allentown, PA
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050403.html

Bishop Frank J. Dewane – Venice
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051408.html

Bishop Nicholas Di Marzio – Brooklyn, NY
Statement: http://thetablet.org/05092009/columns_bishop.html )
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050718.html

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo – Houston, TX
Statement: http://www.texascatholicherald.org/columnists.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032717.html

Archbishop Timothy Dolan – New York, NY
Statement: http://www.620wtmj.com/podcasts/charliesykes/sundayinsight/42081097.html?video=p…

Bishop Thomas Doran – Rockford, IL
Statement: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CardinalNewmanSociety/tabid/36/ctl/Details/…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040204.html

Auxiliary Bishop John Dougherty – Scranton, PA
Statement: http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/News/ScrantonBishopsProtestNotreDameDecisionApr…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040302.html

Bishop Robert Finn – Kansas City-St. Joseph, MO
Statement: http://catholickey.blogspot.com/2009/04/we-are-at-war-bishop-finns-gospel-of.htm…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Bishop Joseph Galante – Camden, NJ
Statement: http://www.camdendiocese.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&i…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042807.html

Bishop Victor Galeone – St. Augustine, FL
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042211.html

Bishop John Gaydos – Jefferson City
Statement: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050814.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050815.html
Cardinal Francis George – Chicago, IL; President, USCCB
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09033106.html

Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger – Evansville, IN
Statement: http://www.themessageonline.org/local/2009/04-17/bishop.html

Archbishop José Gomez – San Antonio, TX
Statement: http://www.archdiosa.org/txtfiles/attachment_153.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html
Auxiliary Bishop Roger Gries – Cleveland, Ohio

Bishop Bernard Harrington – Winona, MN
Statement: http://www.dow.org/documents/09mayweb.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09043004.html

Bishop Robert Hermann – St. Louis, MO
Statement: http://stlouisreview.com/article/2009-04-30/i-thought-you-should-know

Bishop William Higi – Lafayette, IN
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Archbishop Alfred Hughes – New Orleans, LA
Statement: http://blog.nola.com/elections_impact/2009/04/Hughes%20letter.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Bishop Michael O. Jackels – Wichita, KS
Statement: http://cdowk.org/advanceonline/2009/04/09/bishop-jackels-letter-to-notre-dame/
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050105.html

Bishop Sam Jacobs – Houma-Thibodaux, LA
Statement: http://www.htdiocese.org/LinkClick.aspx?fileticket=hUtmQlVJbos%3d&tabid=565
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050815.html
Bishop James V. Johnston – Springfield-Cape Girardeau, MO
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09043004.html

Bishop Peter Jugis – Charlotte, NC

Bishop Joseph Latino – Jackson, MS
Statement: http://nems360.com/pages/full_story?page_label=news&id=2300764-Mississippi+b…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Bishop John LeVoir – New Ulm, MN
Statement: http://www.dnu.org/bishop/041309statement.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042302.html

Bishop Jerome Listecki – La Crosse, WI
Statement: http://www.dioceseoflacrosse.com/ministry_resources/ministries/resources/Notre%2…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040711.html

Bishop William E. Lori – Bridgeport, CT
Statement: http://www.bridgeportdiocese.com/folder_bridgedocs/FCC%204-4-09.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Bishop Paul Loverde – Arlington, VA
Statement: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CardinalNewmanSociety/tabid/36/ctl/Details/…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042302.html

Bishop George Lucas – Springfield, IL
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Bishop Robert Lynch – St. Petersburg, FL
Statement: http://bishopsblog.dosp.org/2009/03/27/week-end-update/
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09033103.html

Bishop Joseph Martino – Scranton, PA
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040302.html

Bishop John McCormack – Manchester, NH
Statement: http://www.catholicnh.org/public-issues/fcn-archive/und/

Bishop Robert Morlino – Madison, WI
Statement: http://www.catholiccitizens.org/views/contentview.asp?c=49889
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09033103.html

Bishop William Murphy – Rockville Centre, NY
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050105.html

Bishop George Murry – Youngstown, OH
Statement: http://cathexpo.org/articledetails.aspx?articleid=240
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Archbishop John J. Myers – Newark, NJ
Statement: http://www.rcan.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=feature.display&feature_ID=1299
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040106.html

Archbishop Joseph Naumann – Kansas City, KS
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042709.html

Bishop R. Walker Nickless – Sioux City, IA
Statement: http://www.catholic.org/politics/story.php?id=32936
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040106.html

Archbishop John C. Nienstedt – St. Paul-Minneapolis, MN
Statement: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CardinalNewmanSociety/tabid/36/ctl/Details/…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09033103.html

Archbishop Edwin O’Brien – Baltimore, MD
Statement: http://www.catholicreview.org/subpages/storyarchnew.aspx?action=5978
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040807.html

Bishop Thomas Olmsted – Phoenix, AZ
Statement: http://www.americanpapist.com/2009/03/exclusive-bp-olmsted-tells-nd.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/mar/09032605.html

Archbishop Daniel E. Pilarczyk – Cincinnati, OH
Statement: http://www.cardinalnewmansociety.org/CardinalNewmanSociety/tabid/36/ctl/Details/…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Bishop Reymundo Pena – Brownsville, TX
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050403.html

Bishop Glen Provost – Lake Charles, LA
Statement: http://live.lcdiocese.org/bishop-provost/writings/285-bishop-provost-comments-on…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042807.html

Bishop David Ricken – Green Bay, WI
Statement: http://www.thecompassnews.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050509.html

Cardinal Justin Rigali – Philadelphia, PA; Chairman, USCCB Pro-Life Committee
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042803.html

Bishop Kevin Rhoades – Harrisburg, PA
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040106.html

Bishop Alexander Sample – Marquette, MI
Statement: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/new.php?n=15630
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040807.html

Bishop Michael Sheridan – Colorado Springs, CO
Statement: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051513.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051515.html

Bishop Edward J. Slattery – Tulsa, OK
Statement: http://www.dioceseoftulsa.org/article.asp?nID=907
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040106.html
Bishop John Smith – Trenton, NJ

Bishop Richard Stika – Knoxville, TN
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09041406.html

Bishop Anthony Taylor – Little Rock, AR
Statement: http://www.facebook.com/home.php#/note.php?note_id=66338251686
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09040704.html

Bishop George Thomas – Helena, MT
Statement: http://www.diocesehelena.org/thomas/050109%20letter.pdf
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09050509.html
Bishop Donald Trautman – Erie, PA
Statement: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051512.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051515.html

Bishop Robert Vasa – Baker, OR
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Bishop Michael Warfel – Great Falls-Billings, MT
Statement: http://www.greatfallstribune.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/200905011500/NEWS01/…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09043009.html

Bishop Thomas Wenski – Orlando, FL
Statement: http://www.orlandodiocese.org/who_we_are/bishop_wenski/columns/200904_und.php
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042003.html

Archbishop Donald Wuerl – Washington, D.C.
Statement: http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/onfaith/godingovernment/2009/04/dc_archbishop…
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042709.html

Bishop Emeritus John Yanta – Amarillo, TX
Statement: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051407.html
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/may/09051408.html

Bishop David Zubick – Pittsburgh, PA
Statement: http://www.pittsburghcatholic.org/newsarticles_more.phtml?id=2466
LSN: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2009/apr/09042302.html%20

HT/Vocal – LifeSiteNews

Hope In Facing Current Difficulties: Pope Benedict XVI


Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The year that is ending and that which is approaching on the horizon are both under the blessed gaze of the Most Holy Mother of God. The artistic polychrome sculpture set here next to the altar, which portrays her on a throne with the Child giving his Blessing, also recalls her motherly presence. We are celebrating the First Vespers of this Marian Solemnity, in which there are numerous liturgical references to the mystery of the Virgin’s divine motherhood.

“O admirabile commercium! O marvelous exchange!”. Thus begins the Antiphon of the first Psalm, to then continue: “man’s Creator has become man, born of a virgin”. “By your miraculous birth of the Virgin you have fulfilled the Scriptures”, proclaims the Antiphon of the Second Psalm, which is echoed by the words of the third Antiphon that introduce us to the canticle taken from the Letter of Paul to the Ephesians: “Your blessed and fruitful virginity is like the bush, flaming yet unburned, which Moses saw on Sinai. Pray for us, Mother of God”. Mary’s divine motherhood is also highlighted in the brief Reading proclaimed shortly beforehand, which proposes anew the well-known verses of the Letter to the Galatians: “When the designated time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman… so that we might our status as adopted sons” (Gal 4: 4-5). And again, in the traditional Te Deum that we will raise at the end of our celebration before the Most Holy Sacrament solemnly exposed for our adoration singing, “Tu, ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum”, in English: “when you, O Christ, became man to set us free you did not spurn the Virgin’s womb”.

Thus everything this evening invites us to turn our gaze to the one who “received the Word of God in her heart and in her body and gave Life to the world”, and for this very reason the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council recalls “is acknowledged and honored as being truly the Mother of God” (Lumen gentium, n. 53). Christ’s Nativity, which we are commemorating in these days, is entirely suffused with the light of Mary and, while we pause at the manger to contemplate the Child, our gaze cannot fail to turn in gratitude also to his Mother, who with her “yes” made possible the gift of Redemption. This is why the Christmas Season brings with it a profoundly Marian connotation; the birth of Jesus as God and man and Mary’s divine motherhood are inseparable realities; the mystery of Mary and the mystery of the Only-Begotten Son of God who was made man form a single mystery, in which the one helps to better understand the other.

Mary Mother of God Theotokos, Dei Genetrix. Since ancient times Our Lady has been honoured with this title. However, for many centuries in the West there was no feast specifically dedicated to the divine Motherhood of Mary. It was introduced into the Latin Church by Pope Pius XI in 1931 on the occasion of the 15th centenary of the Council of Ephesus, and he chose to establish it on 11 October. On that date, in 1962, the Second Vatican Council was inaugurated. It was then the Servant of God Paul VI who restored an ancient tradition in 1969, fixing this Solemnity on 1 January. In the Apostolic Exhortation Marialis cultus of 2 February 1974, he explained the reason for his decision and its connection with the World Day of Peace. “In the revised ordering of the Christmas period it seems to us that the attention of all should be directed towards the restored Solemnity of Mary the holy Mother of God,” Paul VI wrote. “This celebration… is meant to commemorate the part played by Mary in this mystery of salvation. It is meant also to exalt the singular dignity which this mystery brings to the “holy Mother’…. It is likewise a fitting occasion for renewing adoration to the newborn Prince of Peace, for listening once more to the glad tidings of the angels (cf. Lk 2: 14), and for imploring from God, through the Queen of Peace, the supreme gift of peace” (n. 5).

This evening, let us place in the hands of the heavenly Mother of God our choral hymn of thanksgiving to the Lord for the gifts he has generously granted us during the past 12 months. The first sentiment which spontaneously rises in our hearts this evening is precisely that of praise and thanksgiving to the One who gave us time, a precious opportunity to do good; let us combine with it our request for forgiveness for perhaps not always having spent it usefully. I am glad to share this thanksgiving with you, dear brothers and sisters who represent the whole of our diocesan community to which I address my cordial greeting, extending it to all the inhabitants of Rome. I extend a particular greeting to the Cardinal Vicar and to the Mayor, both of whom have begun their different missions this year one spiritual and religious, the other civil and administrative at the service of this city of ours. I extend my greeting to the Auxiliary Bishops, priests, consecrated people and the very many lay faithful who have gathered here, as well as to the authorities present. By coming into the world, the eternal Word of the Father revealed to us God’s closeness and the ultimate truth about man and his eternal destiny; he came to stay with us to be our irreplaceable support, especially in the inevitable daily difficulties. And this evening the Virgin herself reminds us of what a great gift Jesus gave us with his Birth, of what a precious “treasure” his Incarnation constitutes for us. In his Nativity Jesus comes to offer us his Word as a lamp to guide our steps; he comes to offer us himself and we must always affirm him as our unfailing hope in our daily life, aware that “it is only in the mystery of the Word made flesh that the mystery of man truly becomes clear” (Gaudium et spes, n. 22).

Christ’s presence is a gift that we must be able to share with everyone. It is for this purpose that the diocesan community is making an effort to form pastoral workers, so as to equip them to respond to the challenges modern culture poses to the Christian faith. The presence of numerous highly qualified academic institutions in Rome and the many initiatives promoted by the parishes enable us to look confidently to the future of Christianity in this city. As you well know, encountering Christ renews our personal life and helps us to contribute to building a just and fraternal society. This is why we as believers can also make a great contribution to overcoming the current educational emergency. Thus, for a profound evangelization and a courageous human promotion that can communicate the riches that derive from the encounter with Christ to as many people as possible, an increase in synergy among families, school and parishes is more important than ever. For this I encourage each member of our diocese to continue on the journey they have undertaken, together carrying out the programme for the current pastoral year which aims precisely to “educate to hope through prayer, action and suffering”.

In our times, marked by uncertainty and concern for the future, it is necessary to experience the living presence of Christ. It is Mary, Star of Hope who leads us to him. It is she, with her maternal love, who can guide young people especially who bear in their hearts an irrepressible question about the meaning of human existence to Jesus. I know that various groups of parents, meeting in order to deepen their vocation, are seeking new ways to help their children respond to the big existential questions. I cordially urge them, together with the whole Christian community, to bear witness to the new generations of the joy that stems from encountering Jesus, who was born in Bethlehem and did not come to take something from us but rather to give us everything.

On Christmas night I had a special thought for children; instead, this evening it is young people above all on whom I wish to focus my attention. Dear young people, responsible for the future of this our city, do not be afraid of the apostolic task that the Lord is entrusting to you. Do not hesitate to choose a lifestyle that does not follow the current hedonistic mindset. The Holy Spirit assures you of the strength you need to witness to the joy of faith and the beauty of being Christian. The growing need for evangelization requires many labourers in the Lord’s vineyard; do not hesitate to respond to him promptly if he calls you. Society needs citizens who are not concerned solely with their own interests because, as I recalled on Christmas Day, “If people look only to their own interests, our world will certainly fall apart”.

Dear brothers and sisters, this year is ending with an awareness of the spreading social and financial crisis that now involves the whole world; a crisis that asks for greater moderation and solidarity from all, so that they may go to the aid especially of the individuals and families who are in the most serious difficulty. The Christian community is already making efforts toward this and I know that the diocesan Caritas and other relief agencies are doing their utmost. Nonetheless, everyone’s collaboration is necessary, for no one can think of building his own happiness alone. Although many clouds are gathering on the horizon of our future, we must not be afraid. Our great hope as believers is eternal life in communion with Christ and the whole family of God. This great hope gives us the strength to face and to overcome the difficulties of life in this world. This evening the motherly presence of Mary assures us that God never abandons us if we entrust ourselves to him and follow his teachings. Therefore, while we take our leave of 2008 and prepare to welcome 2009, let us present to Mary our expectations and hopes, as well as our fears and the difficulties that dwell in our hearts, with filial affection and trust. She, the Virgin Mother, offers us the Child who lies in the manger as our sure hope. Full of trust, we shall then be able to sing at the end of the Te Deum: “In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum – In you, Lord, is our hope: and we shall never hope in vain”. Yes, Lord, in you we hope, today and for ever; you are our hope. Amen!

© Copyright 2008 – Libreria Editrice Vaticana

Original Christmas Sin: Did Grandpa really say you should not eat of the tree?

“Did Grandpa really say you should not eat of the fruit off the tree?”


“Surely Grandpa said no such thing…”


“Is it not pleasant to the touch?”


“Go ahead, you shall be like unto Grandpa…”


“Where are you my child? Have you eaten from the fruit of the tree?” “Oh, how your transgressions will only worsen, knowing your presents from others.”


“I will not abandon you, only harden not your heart to my admonitions of help.”


“Receive the light of my Sun my child, the image of my proof…


…Before your Grandma gets home.”

CCHD BOYCOTT: Catholic Citizens of Illinois calls on all Catholics to boycott the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development on the weekend of November 22 and 23.

aurora-acronym-horz           Editors Note: Fratres supports Catholic Citizens of Illinois call for boycotting The Catholic Campaign for Human Development, the Catholic Media Coalition petitions for reforming CCHD, and will be participating in The Great ACORN Rebellion of 2008. We do encourage support and care for the poor and suffering among us, and so here in the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon, we ask that you consider the good, but underfunded, works of Project Aurora:

Project Aurora creates and sustains dignity based youth and family services throughout Oregon. They act to offer our youth all the tools and life strategies necessary in order that they may be well equiped in first understanding, and then, living authentic sexuality.

On the other end of the spectrum, Project Aurora provides abortion healing and recovery services by offering regularly scheduled (2008-09) Rachel’s Vineyard Retreats in Portland, Salem, and Medford.

I encourage you to join me in supporting the good works of these healer’s through your financial contribution. For an in-depth illustration of this organization’s work in our communities and to donate click here

james mary evans – Story follows:

Catholic Citizens of Illinois…

           When the Catholic Bishops of the United States established the Campaign for Human Development in 1970, they mandated the Campaign to fund “such projects as voter registration, community organizations, community-run schools, minority-owned cooperatives and credit unions, capital for industrial development and job training programs, and setting up rural cooperatives.” It was subsequently renamed the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, with prohibitions on funding of projects that were not in conformity with Catholic moral teaching.

           The CCHD was sold to Catholic parishioners with a slogan of “a hand up instead of a hand out,” but instead, CCHD has heavily invested in the political organizing techniques of Saul Alinky, a Marxist organizer from Chicago who founded the nationwide Industrial Areas Foundation, which in the Chicago area is known as United Power. United Power has been financed by various mainline Protestant churches and has made great inroads into the Catholic Church in Chicago, recruiting parish ministers and receiving funding from various parishes through dues and contributions. For all practical purposes, United Power is an extension of the far left wing of the Democrat Party.

           In a November 4 report in The Washington Time, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has announced that it has hired forensic accounting specialists to investigate more than $1 million in church funding to voter-registration group ACORN, suspecting that the money may have been spent in criminal acts that would negatively impact the tax exempt status of the Church.

           The CCHD has given more than $7.3 million to ACORN over the past decade for about 320 projects, including $900,000 in 2006 and $1,110,000 in 2007. In June or this year, the Catholic Church allegedly froze a $1.2 million grant for 38 ACORN chapters after the community-organizing group was accused of voter fraud in 15 states. Critics of the CCHD have challenged the USCCB to provide evidence of the freeze and confirm that no payments have been made to ACORN in 2008.

           Mary Anne Hackett, President of Catholic Citizens, commented, “It is well know that ACORN played a major role in the current financial crisis by intimidating banks through public rallies, invasions of bank lobbies with large groups of ACORN activists and picketing bank executives homes. ACORN bullied banks into making loans to people who could not repay them. To avoid vilification as racist, local banks were forced to make loans to unqualified borrowers, even allowing them to use food stamps as collateral for the loans.” These practices have caused the failure of several major financial institutions and the damage continues to reverberate through the economy.

           Mrs. Hackett stated further, “Funding campaigns for socialist programs and Democrat Party candidates has no place in the mission of the Catholic Church or in service to the poor.” The funds are collected from the Catholic parishioners with no accountability to them for the expenditures. Nor does the Campaign for Human Development fund Catholic Institutions and apostolates that work with the poor.

           “The Catholic Church, through its contributions to ACORN, is complicit in voter fraud and the failure of our economy. This must stop,” said Mrs. Hackett. Catholic Citizens of Illinois calls on all Catholics to boycott the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development on the weekend of November 22 and 23.


Catholic Citizens of Illinois is an independent organization of the laity, faithful to the Magisterium of the Catholic Church and the Pope Benedict XVI.

Alinskyian organizing: interfaith hazard? by Stephanie Block

The Industrial Areas Foundation, an Alinskyian organization, has managed to bring together Catholics, Protestants, and others for political gain. But to what end?

The dream of organizing of religious institutions into an ecumenical political power-base is nothing new. What’s new is the widespread acceptance such organizing has gained.

As of late 1995, Albuquerque Interfaith had 28 organizational members, all of them religious communities. Eleven were Catholic, four Presbyterian, five Lutheran, and the rest from an assortment of “faith traditions.”

Albuquerque Interfaith is one of approximately 60 local affiliates around the United States. Each of these local affiliates is organized under the national umbrella of the Industrial Areas Foundation. The Industrial Areas Foundation [known simply as the IAF] sends its professional organizers to train and engage people in each of these locations. The organizer’s job is to bring these denominations into a “relationship” which will enable them to act together on civic issues.

Saul Alinsky founded the IAF in 1940. Alinsky, who died in the 70s, wrote two books: Reveille for Radicals, and Rules for Radicals. In Reveille for Radicals, Alinsky writes about the effectiveness of what he called “popular participation,” the civic actions of ordinary people through a “People’s Organization,” like Albuquerque Interfaith.

A critical study of the extent of popular participation in People’s Organizations was made, and the findings differed so radically from the prevalent assumptions that the original study was repeatedly checked. Each checkup corroborated the original findings. Conclusions showed that in the most powerful and deeply rooted People’s Organizations known in this country the degree of popular participation reached a point of between 5 and 7 per cent! This in spite of the fact that those making the study fully recognized that the organizations being evaluated were so much stronger and included so many more people who actually participate than all the other organizations proclaiming “100 per cent participation…” [p 181]

The assumption that Alinsky is debunking in this passage is that an effective organization requires most of its membership to participate. It doesn’t. A small, well-organized core of people can accomplish a lot of good – or do a lot of damage.

Consider what a small percentage Alinsky is describing: 5-7%. Five-seven percent of a congregation of 5000 is just 250-350 people. Each participating parish requires only a small, committed core of active, involved people to transform it. If Alinsky is correct then, similarly, a relatively small number of strategically situated, networked IAF locals across the country can have a strong influence on federal policy.

How does the Industrial Areas Foundation function? How does it operate and organize?

At Ascension parish in Albuquerque, the IAF-trained pastor wanted his Catholic parish to become an Interfaith member. He began “one-on-ones:” private meetings between him and various high profile people in the congregation. His goal was to identify those who would become an IAF “leadership team” for the congregation. These handpicked “leaders” were chosen for their influence in the community and for their personal openness to social activism.

The parish leadership team then began training sessions to run organizational “house-meetings” in the parish. House-meetings are designed to expand awareness about the local IAF and to establish credibility among parishioners. They encourage parishioners to be active and supportive of the IAF organization and stimulate a controlled line of questioning, asking about the social and economic needs of the community. Leaders are trained to guide the discussion along specific channels; the IAF will not, for example, directly confront the issue of abortion.

The leadership team is not only trained to run meetings, but as its support in the congregation grows, it is taught to research and plan public actions and to evaluate the success of these actions. Public actions around Albuquerque have included ritualized and tightly controlled meetings with government officials and with school administrators.

Each member congregation in the local IAF pays dues. In Albuquerque, member congregations pay 1.5% of their income to the Albuquerque Interfaith. This helps to pay the professional organizer a middle-class salary, benefits, office and travel expenses. Albuquerque Interfaith, in turn, pays the IAF $30,000 yearly. This money helps to pay the corporate-level salaries of the eight regional IAF directors who travel and network extensively.

What does the Industrial Areas Foundation do? What are the changes it is mobilizing member congregations around the country to bring about?

The goals of the IAF exist on two levels. The first is to seek the self-interest of their membership, that is, to identify issues of concern to all parties. If a street corner needs a traffic light, Catholics, Muslims, Jews, and Protestants ought to be able to work together to get one in place.

To achieve this requires research: what does it take to have a traffic light installed? What are the costs involved? Is the money there? Is the need urgent? Who does one approach about it? How do we pressure them if they don’t agree with us? How do we involve the media, if necessary? How do we build public support for our issue? These are the questions that form part of the citizen education in which the IAF trains the participating individuals from its member congregations.

The goals of the IAF exist on another level, though. The IAF has not only local goals, tailored to the self-interest of local people, but its own organizational goals. Ernesto Cortes, the southwestern regional IAF director writes: “[The organizer’s] issue gets dealt with last. If you want your issue to be dealt with first, you’ll never build anything. So you lead with other people’s issues, and you teach them how to act on their issues. Then you model what is to be reciprocal, you model what it is to have a long-term vision.” [Ernesto Cortes, “Organizing the Community: The Industrial Areas Foundation organizer speaks to farmers and farm activists,” The Texas Observer – A Journal of Free Voice, July 11, 1986.]

To obtain a power-base that will support the organizer’s issues, the IAF must build a constituency that trusts it. Working through the churches, using sympathetic clergy, the IAF develops those relationships of trust within member congregations and dioceses. The IAF hands-on, citizen education that teaches people how to get a traffic light installed has the additional advantage (to the IAF) of developing a small but committed and active group of people who will support the IAF agenda.
What is that agenda? In general terms, the IAF’s “issue” can be expressed as a practical philosophy of governance called variously “third way,” “participatory democracy,” or “democratic socialism.” All these terms, and others, are an attempt to describe a brand of socialism that aims to be a middle ground between laissez-faire capitalism and right wing, totalitarian socialism (like communism). Proponents of this middle ground believe that their system of government can use democratic mechanisms to administer the state’s benefits. The mechanisms of administration for those benefits are the “mediating institutions,” which advocates believe render government control more benevolent and “just.”

The “mediating institutions” are schools, churches, unions, community centers and the like, held together by the relationships they have forged within their community organization – like Albuquerque Interfaith.

To achieve this utopian “vision,” the national IAF is engaged in “restructuring” activities of all kinds. It is operating nationally on the political level, networking with the Democratic Socialists of America, the New Democrats, and the New Party, among others. In the late 90s, the IAF made national headlines for its apparent orchestration of a massive naturalization drive. The trouble with this drive was that it included hundreds of invalid naturalizations, and people were evidently driven straight from receiving their citizenship papers to the polling booths. The situation was not rectified, however, until after the November 1996, California elections in which pro-life Congressman Robert Dornan lost to a staunch IAF-backed, pro-abortion candidate.

The national IAF is operating in the economic arena, also. It is very much a player in the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community packages of dozens of areas around the country.

The IAF was a supporter of Hillary Clinton’s universal health care plan, and is engaged in experiments to involve the churches in “community-based” health-care clinics. The national IAF has been a major figure behind its own version of welfare reform. In Arizona this generated tremendous opposition. A coalition of over 30 community-based human services organizations, including food banks and health care facilities (hardly “radical right” types) fought the IAF over control of public welfare funds. The human services coalition argued that the IAF was attempting to overrun “existing organizations with demonstrated track records and accountability for working with the poor…” so that it might control public money for its own organizational purposes. The human services coalition warned that “Any diversion of funds to create another layer of providers would detract from the present effort and be disastrous.”

The national IAF is deeply involved in education reform. On January 24, 1996, the Albuquerque Interfaith began the first in a series of Professional Development Seminars funded by a $450,000 grant from the Rockefeller Foundation. Involving about 60 teachers, administrators, community center directors, high school students, and parents from the city’s public school system, these all-day seminars at the Albuquerque Hilton were, according to one local school board member, designed as the educational establishment’s response to the radical right. As New Mexico, at that time, had no vocal, organized group operating in opposition to systemic school reform, the necessity of a professional development program to counter that voice was incomprehensible.

What was the purpose of this professional development seminar? What did the IAF hope to accomplish among area educators? Dr. Benjamin Barber, a political scientist out of Rutgers University, during a radio interview, gave the answer. “Practical experiments to empower people in their own lives” are being conducted by groups who “don’t simply talk about citizenship and democracy, but are engaged in working for it.” Barber identified, specifically, the Industrial Areas Foundation. The IAF-lead Albuquerque “Professional Development Seminar” for public schools graphically exemplified the IAF activity connecting public education to civic education, of which Barber spoke. This is occurring all over the United States. The scope of IAF involvement in the recent federal movement toward systemic education “reform” is vast. And it is necessary for the IAF to maintain its involvement in the movement toward systemic education reform, because this reform is extremely unpopular.

Marc Tucker’s National Center for Education and the Economy [the NCEE], is the think-tank which produced the rough draft of what became the Work Force Development Act of 1995 (HR 1617; SR 143). The NCEE was well aware that public support for the Work Force Development Act required nursing. Reaching the goals of the Work Force Development Act would “require a transformation in virtually every important aspect of the American system of education.” A NCEE proposal for the legislation stated: “It will require thoughtful and sustained communication with the citizens of these states to build the public consensus needed to support these revolutionary changes.”

Weeks-long media campaigns and town meetings were suggested to “increase public discussion” and “focus daily news coverage” on education. Parents would have to see themselves as “collaborators” in their children’s education. The proposal said: “The Industrial Areas Foundation, perhaps the most experienced agency in the United States in the arena of community organizing, will help us think through the parent engagement and organizing issues.”

An example of the IAF’s work to generate parent involvement in OBE restructuring can be documented in a vision paper called “Community of Learners.” Albuquerque Interfaith used this vision paper as a model for its own educational statement. The “Community of Learners” version was produced by a network of nearly a dozen Texas IAF locals in 1990. It was “facilitated” into being by a very interesting woman, Sonia Hernandez, an educational consultant on the NCEE board of trustees who was, in the early 1980s, the president of the IAF San Antonio local, Communities Organized for Public Service.

Ms. Hernandez, in her capacity as an education consultant, provided “…a larger framework for people to think about their own schools and the troubling questions about whether their children were being prepared for the work of the future. Schools are about political power, Hernandez explained.” [William Greider, Who Will Tell the People, 1992, p 231.]

No wonder children are graduating from the public school system unable to read! Recall Barber’s radio interview where he describes the IAF’s “civic education” activity in the public schools. Place that next to Sonia Hernandez’s remark that “Schools are about political power.” What sort of educational system is being put together? Interfaith members, to guide them in producing their own “vision” about education have studied “A Community of Learners” in Albuquerque. The ” Community of Learners” paper recommends “shattering the paradigm of school” as it has been popularly conceived and replaces it with “communities of learners,” which are schools characterized by “collaborative relationships among all stakeholders, including parents, teachers, administrators, and community leaders.”

How did the churches come to be involved in such schemes? It’s a chicken and egg debate over which came first: do liberal religious communities embrace Alinskyian faith-based organizing or does participation in such organizing tend to liberalize the community? Perhaps both assertions are correct.

The IAF has, for example, conducted a national project called “IAF Reflects.” IAF Reflects is a series of “intense, 2-week seminars for veteran organizers.” These retreats for congregational leaders are, in the words of one enthusiastic observer, designed to put those “leaders in touch with the biblical tradition that might give deeper insight into their work together, bind them more closely, and empower them to go forward to build God’s reign. The IAF has come to realize that it is about holy work…” Faith communities, writes the Catholic Villanova religion professor, Susan Toton, “must be conversant in two languages -the language of the faith and the language of public discourse,” which Toton equates to IAF-style activism. “Both are essential for communities committed to furthering God’s reign.”

Ed Chambers, national IAF executive director, has a similar idea. He says: “I’d had a little training in philosophy. And I started forcing myself to look at what our kind of organizing meant to people. We worked with people in the churches, and their language was the language of the gospel. Their language was nothing like Alinsky’s language. His language was power talk. Tough, abrasive, confrontational, full of ridicule. And those are really all non-Christian concepts. So I started looking at it. Here are the non-Christian concepts…here are the Christian concepts. Are there any similarities? Is this just a different language for the same thing?”

What is this language of Alinsky’s? Alinsky explains it. According to him, in his Rules for Radicals, this “power talk” is Machiavellian. “What follows [Alinsky writes in the opening paragraph of the Rules] is for those who want to change the world from what it is to what they believe it should be. The Prince was written by Machiavelli for the Haves on how to hold power. Rules for Radicals is written for the Have-Nots on how to take it away.”

Machiavelli’s The Prince used to be on the Catholic Index, when the Church had an Index, as forbidden reading. This was not because the object of Machiavelli’s discussion was to protect the rich. It was because the principles Machiavelli gave the rich for holding on to power were unethical.

The “power talk” of Alinsky is also unethical. He teaches, at great length, (for instance) that the “ends justify the means.” (In fact, Alinsky devotes an entire chapter in the Rules to rationalizing why the ends justify the means.) Romans 3:8, however, says “it is not licit to do evil that good may come of it,” and Pope John Paul II, in Veritatis Splendor, insists that the Christian must accede to the truth of this moral teaching.

These two positions are not reconcilable. It is not moral to speak the language of pious ethics at worship, and then go out into the world and speak the language of opportunism and might-is-right and whatever else “ends justifies the means” ethics produces. They are not simply two different languages saying the same thing.


In conclusion, the IAF is only one of several networks of Alinsky-style, faith-based organizations operating around the country. Collectively, there are over 200 local affiliates of an Alinsky-style organizations in the United States and several of the networks are expanding into Latin America, Europe, and Africa.

Therefore, it is extremely important that people of strong religious convictions understand the funding mechanisms that support these organizations. In addition to the dues paid by member congregations, expansion efforts require “seed money.” The Catholic Campaign for Human Development annually channels millions of dollars into Alinsky-style, faith-based organizing. The Jewish Fund for Justice, the Lutheran Fund for Justice, grants disbursed through the United Methodist Global Ministries, and the Presbyterian World Services are similar sources of funding.

The dream of organizing of religious institutions into an ecumenical political power-base is nothing new – but we’d better be very watchful of what we organize. 

Stephanie Block writes for the New Mexico-based newpaper Los Pequenos.