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.
“We cannot be sure whether Eric’s theological position is typical of a liberal or a radical Protestantism. But as an exercise in loyal dissent it moves beyond the limits of orthodox Catholicism…”
To pell is to pelt; to knock about, is what mell is to beat with a mallet; to hammer… And yesterday Cardinal Pell hammered retired Australian priest Eric Hodgens and his unorthodox ethos of Vatican II, a spirit responsible for much of the difficulties and challenges the Catholic Church faces in the world today.
Eric Hodgens is a Melbourne priest ordained in 1960. He has had parish appointments for all of his ministerial years except for two years of full-time study at Melbourne University. He was Director of Pastoral Formation for Priests in Melbourne for seven years while setting up a new parish. Eric has the most extensive set of statistics on secular priests in Australia and writes occasionally on Catholic and other matters. Further articles can be viewed on his blog www.catholicview.typepad.com
Time to speak – and act
A large section of Catholic priests are at odds with the public stance of the Church. The issues which disturb them include:
the displacement of the main game of spreading a message of life, hope, compassion and forgiveness by overstressing, moral issues;
foreclosing on moral issues which need revisiting – eg contraception, IVF, divorce, homosexuality;
World Youth Days which feed the personality cult of the pope to the detriment of the local church and which have not reversed the flow of youth from the Church;
the autocratic, non-consultative management style of many bishops – themselves unsuitable and unwanted and appointed without consultation;
the promotion of reactionary, authoritarian and fundamentalist movements such as Opus Dei, Legionaries of Christ, Heralds of the Gospel, Communione e Liberatione as real, effective responses to the challenge of faith in a secular world;
the non-consultative and politically motivated superimposition of a new, defective translation of the liturgy. This one has the potential of sparking a people-power revolt as a growing parade of liturgical experts list the bad policy and the abuses still being perpetrated under its banner;
The discomfort these priests feel ranges from embarrassment to outright disagreement.
Yet, we priests do not speak up much. Why?
We were trained not to speak up. In our earlier years we were afraid to speak up because the bishop was too awesome a figure. The rank gradient was steep. Remember “My Lord”. Remember genuflecting and kissing the ring. And bishops learned the trick of controlling the pack by showing anger or displeasure at the first sign of disagreement.
We were also trained to put the Church institution first. Rocking the boat in public was disloyalty and self-aggrandisement.
More recently priests worked out that it was useless to talk up anyway. Bishops generally were impervious to criticism, especially on issues of Roman policy.
The Diocesan Council of Priests became a waste of time in most dioceses. So, why waste your psychological energy? Just go back to your parish and do your own thing.
Finally, there was always the promise of obedience which imitated the antique oath of fealty to the liege lord. “Do you promise obedience and respect to me and my successors?” Priests took this literally and seriously.
This policy will no longer do. It is time to speak up and to act. The matter is urgent. Why?
The church in Australia and the west is in serious trouble. Church-loving laity know it, priests know it. The symptoms are clear: a drought of priests, dropping Mass attendance, the loss of the younger generation and a walking away from membership by the worn down hard core.
So, what is the cause and what response is needed?
In Europe and its offspring, membership of the Church was overwhelmingly a matter of inheritance. The baby was christened and all presumed that it would stay a Church member for life. Most European states had an established religion. They were confessional states. Even after the arrival of the secular states the denominational sub-groups remained relatively large and strong. Christian identity remained confessional – ie I belong to this church, believe what it believes and practice religion the way it does. Membership qualifications were clear and the group’s boundaries were clearly defined.
Two rules of membership provided continued existence. Firstly, you christened your children and inculturated them into the group. Secondly, there was strong group pressure not to defect.
Since World War II the social cohesion of religious groups has weakened leaving christened members freer to think and act for themselves. A lot of this is due to a massive expansion of knowledge — scientific, psychological, sociological, historical, critical. Combined with a massive expansion of education, the result is much more freedom of thought. In this new environment long assumed facts have been turned upside down. So many accepted beliefs and practices are seen as dated and irrelevant. Bemoaning the scene is no help. We must revisit the core message of the Church and re-work the way we present it in the light of the new knowledge in this new social context. One term used to describe this process is recontextualization.
Rome lays the blame on secularism and relativism and calls for a new evangelization. John Paul II started this call. Benedict has followed it up by establishing the Pontifical Council for Promoting New Evangelization. The problem with this is that there is no intention to review the articulation of faith and moral teaching, nor an intention to try out new approaches to liturgy, nor to experiment in inculturation. Look at the favoured new movements, the new translation of the missal, the catechesis offered at World Youth Days – all reasserting the old model which is not working.
The foreclosed answer is reconfessionalisation, not the recontextualization needed Recontextualization entails accepting, even welcoming, secular and pluralistic culture. We rearticulate our core faith so that it makes sense in that context.
We rearticulate our concept and imagery of God so that God is the unseen, transcendent core of being rather than the string puller and button pusher of a puppet world. Jesus becomes the face and voice of the unseen God and the channel of God’s faithfulness and love. Salvation is the hope that we can justifiably hold on to in the face of death – a hope reassured by our faith in Jesus risen.
The recontextualized articulation of the central message of Christian salvation is well under way. Scripture scholars like Ray Brown, Joe Fitzmyer, John Meier and Eugene La Verdiere have shown us how faith develops and its articulation grows. As Jesus became larger than life in the belief of the early Christian communities they told larger than life stories. Under their guidance the scriptures make sense.
Karen Armstrong has lucidly shown the distinction between logical and mythological discourse. If you want to have meaningful faith conversation in the modern world you must understand the power and meaning of myth.
Theologians like Roger Lenaers and Roger Haight rearticulate the core of Christian theology in a way which is credible in the modern world. Michael Morwood and Philip Kennedy have done a fine job of popularizing this recontextualized theology. But their efforts are not appreciated by Rome. Haight has been silenced. Tissa Balasurya and Jaques Dupuis were both pursued by the CDF for recontextualizing Christian faith in the face of religious pluralism.
The Catholic Church had a great chance to meet this challenge at the start of the 20’h century. The response was Pius X’s campaign against modernism with mind-numbing results. We were not alone. At about the same time the US protestants answered the challenge with their fundamentalist tracts. We got another chance with Vatican II and Gaudium et Spes. The non-converted curial remnant got busy and won the post-conciliar battle especially under John Paul II. Gaudium et Spes was dismantled. The result is our unpreparedness for the current collapse. It is now the 11th hour. The matter is urgent.
It is precisely because so many priests have taken steps along this econtextualizing path that they are in disagreement with Roman policy as it recycles the old confessional model. Many priests have already very thoughtfully modified their pastoral practice. They are already recontextualizing their own faith journey. They have replaced the simplistic faith of their youth with a more fluid faith borne out of experience, more mature and reflective appreciation of the scriptures and a more vital, dynamic theology.
Our promise of loyalty was made to the Church in the person of the bishop. If the bishop is wrong, a loyal priest speaks up. In the light of relentless alienating Roman policy, made acutely specific in the current imposition of the defective translation of the liturgy, we have the responsibility not only to speak up but to act.
Cardinal Pell responds:
Some Gaudium and No Spes
By George Cardinal Pell
Father Eric Hodgens’ piece on the Gaudium et Spes priests gives us plenty of food for thought. It is well written and provocative, as you would expect of a priest who described his own cohort as possessing “the biggest proportion of intelligent, educated and competent leaders”. But it is unbalanced, misguided, selective and sometimes inaccurate.
Recently I have been concerned by the theological extremism of some Swag contributions, and am grateful for the opportunity to state the case for the orthodox mainstream. I am not ordering anyone to “withdraw to the fortress and sing the old song”, but my best lines are still from the New Testament with its ancient truths and melodies.
Eric sees himself now as “a presbyter called and ordained by the Church – the People of God” rather than as “a priest called and consecrated by God”. It is difficult to know exactly what this means, but it might point us to a number of fundamental issues.
More cards have been laid on the table than in Father Hodgens’ earlier writings. While it would be interesting to know whether he still has any jokers up his sleeve, it is more important to recognize that many of the cards cannot be identified accurately. We do not know, for example, his answers to the nine questions he lists. We do not know the limits to his hostility to some ancient devotions such as adoration of the Blessed Sacrament and veneration of Our Lady. We do not know whether his opposition to the papacy and episcopate touches these institutions themselves or simply the style of recent incumbents. So too with priesthood and traditional Christian teaching on marriage, divorce and sexuality.
We cannot be sure whether Eric’s theological position is typical of a liberal or a radical Protestantism. But as an exercise in loyal dissent it moves beyond the limits of orthodox Catholicism.
Let me attempt to state the issue in the most basic terms.
We find no evidence in Eric’s article that the Catholic Church is the recipient of divine revelation, “God’s message not some human thinking” (1 Thess 2.13); nor that the Catholic Church was founded by the Son of God “the Word who was with God . . . the Word who was God” (Jn 1.1), Jesus the Christ, the son of Mary with a divine as well as a human nature. If Christ is divine, New Testament teachings have a unique authority.
Eric writes with the genuine anguish of most of us older Catholics who grew up at an unusually high tide of faith and practice and lived through the radical decline which followed the social revolution of the 1960s in the First World. But some of the damage was self-inflicted.
One major point of difference is that in my view Eric’s prescriptions are a significant cause of our problems. His solutions were put into practice after the Council, to some degree in Australia, but especially in Belgium, Holland and French-speaking Canada. They emptied the Churches there.
Pope Paul VI appointed no bishops who were opposed to the ethos of Vatican II, and for various reasons the good bishops appointed in Holland were overwhelmed, tossed aside by the liberal gales. This brings me to another contemporary fact, which I never anticipated as a young seminarian in Rome during the Council or as a young priest. The now aged liberal wing of the Church, which dominated discussion after the Council and often the bishops and the emerging Church bureaucracies, has no following among young practising Catholics, priests or religious. This is not only true in Australia, but everywhere in the Western world. In these different countries dominated by a secular media and intelligentsia, liberalism has no young Catholic progeny.
On reflection we should not find this surprising, as growth is tied to Gospel fidelity, to faith, love and sacrifice. After Vatican II many of us overestimated our cultural strengths and underestimated the virulence of anti-Christian forces. You need strong Christian foundations to participate productively in “open dialogue”. Without these roots the end of the road is agnosticism.
I should conclude with a few words in defence of the four popes who were mauled, especially Paul, John Paul II and Benedict. Incidentally it is a matter of historical record that at the 1971 Synod of Bishops, Pope Paul offered to the bishops the option of ordaining married men to the priesthood and the bishops declined to accept this.
All three popes were prolific writers, while John Paul II and Benedict were professional academics with a record of scholarly and popular publications rarely if ever equalled by any Australian priest. I believe Pope Benedict is now our most distinguished living theologian.
The charges against the Holy Father do not amount to too much e.g. instituting a special year to honour priests (which was well received by priests and people), continuing with a new translation of the Roman Missal, and encouraging the Tridentine Mass to be celebrated. He did not receive back the bishops of the Society of St. Pius X, but only lifted their excommunication. They are still in schism.
Pope John Paul provokes a special hostility, allegedly an abuser of power, out of touch in scripture, limited in theology, a bad listener. It is a surprise that anyone came to his funeral. In particular he is denounced for emasculating the leadership of the Church, who are clerical and compliant, “low on creativity, leadership, education and even intelligence”.
In an astonishing example of provincial arrogance, Hodgens claims that “the more intelligent and better educated” bishops (only “some” to be sure) are corrupt and have sold their soul for advancement. Me thinks he protests too much.
Pope John Paul and Pope Benedict were not hostile to intelligence, education or competence, but they have striven regularly to appoint bishops who will defend the apostolic tradition and strive to implement policies which will strengthen the Catholic position, not white-ant it.
Hodgens’ misunderstanding of the magisterium is typical of his position. The magisterium refers primarily to the teaching authority of the pope together with the bishops (Vatican II’s collegiality). The baptised faithful share in this and so do the theologians with priests and religious.
Certainly the teaching authority of the bishops was recognized early by St. Ignatius of Antioch (+107 A.D.) and St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons (+200 A.D.) with his apostolic succession lists of bishops to defend the apostolic tradition. The ancient teaching chair of the bishop exemplifies this, predating by many centuries any groups of professional theologians in the medieval universities. In Pope John Paul’s 27 years of pontificate 24 individuals were disciplined for their theological views, including eight who were silenced or removed, in the worldwide Catholic community of more than one billion believers. Father Hodgens himself escaped any reign of terror and so did many hundreds of dissidents.
Eric is a bit too generous to his generation, to which I belong. Many were formidable, but we coincided with a period of decline probably unparalleled since the Reformation.
“Reflections on an ordination golden anniversary” is thought provoking. I am glad Father Hodgens has enjoyed his years of priesthood. Unfortunately much of the analysis is mistaken since his solutions, to the extent we can identify them, are less than Catholic and would make a difficult situation worse.
‘NEVER let a good crisis go to waste” was the political maxim formulated by Hillary Clinton. It has been adopted by the fading trendies in the Catholic Church who still carry the burnt-out torch of the Second Vatican Catastrophe, in their Intifada against Pope Benedict XVI.
The sex abuse scandal in the Church – the product of the post-Conciliar nihilists’ own iconoclastic destruction of traditional Catholic morals and spirituality – has audaciously been conscripted to serve their desperate agenda to overthrow the Pope, secure a “progressive” successor and eventually replace the Papacy with some kind of lay soviet (well, that is what happens to your brain if you inhaled substances other than incense, back in the 1960s).
Such an inversion of the truth is not without precedent: the Venerable Pius XII saved 860,000 Jews from the Nazis; but today, thanks to defamation by a German playwright, propagated by “liberal” Catholics, the one individual who did more than anyone on earth to help the Jews is demonised and bracketed with Heinrich Himmler. Now, the Spirit-of-Vatican II groupies are going after Benedict XVI on the child abuse ticket.
“Radical” Catholics are attacking the Vatican, like the chav mobs that sporadically besiege the houses of paediatricians. Our television screens are filled with geriatric ex-Jesuits, feminist nuns, “progressive” theologians and every variety of Lollards and Fifth Monarchy Men. Even their 1960s poster-boy Hans Küng (yes, he is still alive) has emerged from obscurity to throw his pebble at Benedict.
Who was to blame for child sex abuse but precisely the generation of Vatican II revolutionaries who are now wringing their gnarled hands in hypocritical outrage? As the official Irish government report into abuse in the archdiocese of Dublin proves, this orgy of evil was overwhelmingly perpetrated in the post-Vatican II era. During the 1970s and 1980s, when it was at its height, there was only one mortal sin in the Catholic Church: attempting to celebrate or attend the Latin Tridentine Mass.
Contrast the vicious persecution of traditionalist priests and laity with the extravagant indulgence extended to serial child abusers. Today, their chickens have come home to roost. These were the children of Paul VI, of aggiornamento, of the great Renewal: now they must be made to take ownership of their own scandal. It is they who are in denial, not the Pope.
They are being supported by the media, whose agenda is to pressurize the Catholic Church into moral relativism, to withdraw its condemnation of abortion, contraception, divorce, homosexuality, embryo experimentation, ordination of priestesses and every other precept that conflicts with the secularist New World Order.
That will not happen. The fatuity of much of the attack is blatant. Evidently priests abused altar boys because of clerical celibacy. There is no compulsory celibacy in the Church of England, yet vicars and boy scouts have been mainstays of the Sunday tabloids for a century. The Dublin report recorded a ratio of 2.3 boy victims to one girl: the last thing these men wanted was a wife.
The much-hyped Wisconsin scandal, used to traduce Benedict XVI, is another example of forcing the wrong pieces into the jigsaw to fabricate the required picture. The local police investigated Father Murphy in 1974 and refused to believe his accusers. More than 20 years later, when Murphy was dying, his case was referred to the then Cardinal Ratzinger. In 1998 he declined to unfrock the now repentant offender who died four months later.
The Milwaukee district attorney had refused to prosecute Murphy because the statute of limitations had run out; the Vatican faced the same canonical problem. Why are the Milwaukee authorities not blamed instead of the Vatican? Why was Cardinal Ratzinger expected to unravel a case that had baffled the local police 24 years earlier?
Unfrocking would not have deprived Murphy of his priesthood – that is irremovable. It would only have prevented him functioning as a priest, which he was no longer capable of doing.
It is time for the Pope to retaliate. He should adopt the liberals’ strategy of not wasting a crisis. The media are howling for the heads of bishops. Very well: give them dozens, even hundreds. This is an opportunity to get rid of every mitred 1960s flower-child obstructing the return of the Tridentine Mass, liturgical reverence and doctrinal orthodoxy. The episcopal gerontocracy, along with the flared-trousered seminary rectors promoting the ordination of social worker priests and blocking genuine vocations, is ripe for a cull. The abuse scandal is only a part of the larger crisis that has engulfed the Church since the Second Vatican Catastrophe – it really is too good to waste.
The bizarre pagentry of four 4′ x 12′ paper-mache Rasta Jesus puppets with human liturgical dancers in-tow frolicking to the reform anthem, “Sing A New Church Into Being”, was too much to stomach for thousands of faithful Catholics in 2008…
“Let us sing a new church into being…”. Gee, how’d that work out? In the 70’s and 80’s, though you and your ilk did fail in your attempt to sing, chant, screech, bloviate, bluster, and fart a new church into being, you did manage to raise the least-catechized generation in Church history. Congratulations…”
Another blogger commenting on Geronimo’s sharp rebuke on liberalism’s 50-year effect on Catholic education in America said, ” it is one of the greatest blog comments of all time..”I agree with the insight as a catechist, it’s tragically true, see here, here, here. However, we’re not alone with the problem…
Geronimo Rumplestiltskin, meet Nergal the Catholic…
In 2007, Behemoth frontman Adam “Nergal” Darski reportedly called the Catholic Church “the most murderous cult on the planet” during a show in Gdynia, Poland, and ripped a Bible up on stage.
Although he was sued by the All-Polish Committee For Defense Against Sects for “promoting Satanism,” the case was thrown out of court because Nergal only had one accuser, and two complaints must be lodged before any formal charges with offending religious feelings in Poland.
A second complaint has now been filed against Nergal, according to Blabbermouth.net, and he’s formally been charged with insulting Catholics. He’s pleaded not guilty and could face up to two years in prison if he’s found guilty.
“There are some organizations and institutions that think they have a right to judge what’s wrong and right,” Nergal told CHARTattack last year about the first complaint against him. “They tried to do something, they made attempts but they failed because they can’t really do much.
“They tried to bring me to court for tearing up the Bible on stage. They tried to stop the show, they sent out letters saying Behemoth is this and that, that we’re public enemy number one or that we’re dangerous. But it hardly has any effect, really.
BIO NOTE:Adam Darski was born in Gdynia, Poland, raised Catholic, and started playing guitar at the age of 8. He goes by the stage name Nergal (naming himself after a Babylonian deity).
“We are not a corporation with head offices in Rome … it is my obligation to insist on the rights and duties of the local bishop in the Catholic Church…”
Archbishop Rembert Weakland
The Other Weakland Issue: Renovate the church, renovate the liturgy, renovate Roman Catholics… Renovate Christ The King.
A day is fast approaching when the so-called “Spirit of Vatican II” will, in human language, be thrown upon the trash heap of history; by divine language, by an Oracle of the LORD, the true Spirit of God will replace the error and quickly place the imposter where no living man desires knowledge of–let alone live to speak of it… And that day will come for one simple reason: the vile and false spirit tried to replace Christ the King within the hearts of men.
In the days ahead there will be sculpture protests, yes, mostly centered upon Archbishop Weaklands role in the scandal of sex abuse during his tenure. But, there’s another story: the Real Presence. If ever, (and I pray not), you’ve experienced the painful reckovation process at your own parish you know well the story. I experienced the same process of lies: Built in efforts to portray parish renovation as a parish supported project when, in fact, that wasn’t the reality at all, but, pure manipulation alone — life-long Catholic men and women ridiculed in public for their faithful protests — Hand picked parishioners Pre-trained as group facilitators (control agents) — petition drives and useless meetings with bishop representatives — Controlled dissension at planning meetings — Years of unnecessary resentments within the parish — But, above all evil, in most instances, was the removal of the tabernacle from the central apex of the church. Relegating to some room, alcove, or closet the true presence of Jesus Christ (God with us) within the Blessed Sacrament away from the view of His people. That’s the other story.
If the “Spirit of Vatican II” aided in lessening the sense of sin and Catholic moral life over the past 50 years, thus, causing many to fall over the same period (including priests and bishops), I’m convinced that the same spirit also attempted to lessen the chances of remembering the only cure to what ails us, the True Presence…
The following report from the long-missed Seattle Catholic from 2001 will help those who haven’t experienced such devastation with their understanding, and hopefully inspire them to protect their spiritual lives by turning from any advance by the ill-spirit, and instead, towards faithful reform of the reform. Also, Catholic Citizens is asking the Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bishop Listecki to Prevent Honors to Archbishop Weakland, and have provided contact numbers to make your concerns known. Numbers follow the story:
Last week, Archbishop Rembert G. Weakland began a $4.5 million renovation of the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist. Despite numerous and repeated protests from thousands of local Catholics and formal instruction from the Vatican to halt the renovation plans, workers began dismantling the high altar and crushing the surrounding marble columns.
Cardinal Jorge Medina ordered Weakland to stop the destruction of the cathedral and resubmit plans that are more in line with liturgical and canonical norms. Weakland said he considered the points raised by Cardinal Medina but saw no issues that required any change of plans. It is heartening to know that Archbishop Weakland’s modernist ability to ignore opposing statements is so well developed. Medina wrote:
“…it would seem to this congregation that the ancient and venerable high altar together with its baldacchino should be retained, given also that it is a most suitable location for the reservation of the Most Blessed Sacrament.”
Weakland’s response was to promptly remove the baldacchino and crush the marble pillars that supported it. In a letter to his priests, he justified his actions by stating:
“We are not a corporation with head offices in Rome … it is my obligation to insist on the rights and duties of the local bishop in the Catholic Church”
We won’t get into (yet) the defiance of American Bishops that has lead to “altar girls” and extraordinary ministers, and the subsequent concessions of the Vatican encouraging the behavior. That’s a whole other issue.
Vosko’s Cathedral Renovations
When planning the cathedral renovation, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee employed the services of liturgical design consultant Fr. Richard Vosko. Vosko, a new-age priest out of Albany, has been on “special assignment” since 1970 renovating (many say “ruining”) Catholic churches throughout the country. He was instrumental in the renovations of Seattle’s St. James Cathedral, which bears the scars of combining liberal theology with poor planning. An article in U.S. Catholic, describes part of the redesign process:
Early in the process some 300 parishioners were gathered at tables, given sheets showing an outline of the church, and asked to draw exactly where they thought the altar, baptistery, tabernacle, and other furniture should be positioned.
Never mind the long history of Church liturgical architecture, entrenched in Catholic doctrine, which has produced some the greatest structural accomplishments known to man. Let’s give a bunch of laypeople some crayons to see what kind of Church would make them feel more spiritual. What was the result? A high altar replaced with an organ, deck chairs encircling a central altar and the Blessed Sacrament relocated into a cage (appropriately enough) with enough space for only six kneelers…
Catholic Citizens of Illinois Asks Archdiocese of Milwaukee Bishop Listecki to Prevent Honors to Archbishop Weakland
Chicago, IL January 8th — “It is an outrageous insult to the victims of sexual abuse to allow former Archdiocese of Miwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland to be honored at the Cathedral of St. John and permitted to speak at the occasion of the renovation of the Cathedral,” said Mrs. Mary Anne Hackett, president of Catholic Citizens of Illinois.
As part of the renovation, Weakland commissioned a bronze, which serves as a pedestal of the statue of the Blessed Mother, featuring the Archbishop, flanked by St. John the Evangelist and St. Anne, Mother of Mary, as a protector of children. That alone is a shocking distortion of the actual situation in Milwaukee under the leadership of Archbishop Weakland.
“Archbishop Weakland has disgraced himself and the Church with his long history of homosexual contacts and then adding to the disgrace by publishing his memoirs, trumpeting his contempt for Catholic teaching on sexual morality and describing some of his reprehensible behavior. In the past he has even seemed to suggest that the blame for the abuse was shared by the victim,” said Mr. Dan Cheely, a board member of Catholic Citizens. He continued, “In view of such a history, he should not be permitted to receive Church honors in a public setting.”
“We respectfully call upon Bishop Jerome Listecki, the newly installed Bishop of Milwaukee, to intervene to prevent further scandal in the Milwaukee diocese,” said Mrs. Hackett. “This is an essential action needed to put the terrible scandal of sexual abuse behind us and allow the correction and healing to be effective.”
Catholic Citizens of Illinois is an independent Catholic lay organization, faithful to the Magisterium of the Church and the Holy Father, Benedict XVI.
CATHOLIC CITIZENS OF ILLINOIS
106 CALENDAR COURT, PMB #122
LA GRANGE, IL 50525
For additional information on the bronze sculpture, CLICK HERE
To contact Archbishop Listecki:
Archdiocese of Milwaukee
3501 S. Lake Dr.
P.O. Box 070912
Milwaukee, WI 53207-0912
To leave a comment on the Archdiocese of Milwaukee website
‘Jean chose the Catechism over “sharing her story” with the rest of the Wednesday night R.C.I.A class…’
Fr. Gerald Mendoza, OP, over at In Spiritu Et Veritate (In Spirit and Truth) has a great post on words and phrases we could all live without hearing this year… A couple of my favorites:
1. “Spirit of Vatican II”: The only spirit of Vatican II was presumably the Holy Spirit that led to the documents of Vatican II. Can we please rely on them a bit more in the coming year rather than in the amorphous “spirit of Vatican II,” which means anything to anyone who invokes it as mere opinion?
2. “Representative Church”: As used for example, by the American Catholic Council, which purports to found a New Catholic Church in America. Loosely extrapolating, what might be interpreted as a democratic Church with “one person, one vote.” We can lizard-gaze in to that prospect all we want but it has never been and never shall be.
Go here for the rest of the post (and add your own…).
“Many people have signed a petition for the unqualified acceptance of the council [Vatican II]. Right from the start, the expression “unqualified acceptance” irritates me because I don’t know anyone—myself included—to whom it would apply…”
What moves me?
More honesty please!
In the last few weeks a lot of journalists, and also some clergy, have been expressing their opinions of Pope Benedict. In these opinions were also contained many half-truths, untruths, and slanders. The worst accusation asserts that the Pope wishes to go back to before the Second Vatican Council. This accusation is the worst because it implies that the very person who possesses the teaching authority of the universal Church would work to undermine the authority of the council. This verdict, however, would be completely mistaken. As a young theologian, in fact, Benedict XVI contributed very much to the council. Anyone who seeks to understand the Pope now—not just from the media—but also by reading what he writes, would come to the conclusion that he has oriented his entire magisterium on the council. How should we then understand the accusation being made?
Many people have signed a petition for the unqualified acceptance of the council. Right from the start, the expression “unqualified acceptance” irritates me because I don’t know anyone—myself included—to whom it would apply. A few arbitrarily chosen examples will suffice:
– The council did not abolish Latin in the liturgy. On the contrary, it emphasized that in the Roman Rite, apart from exceptional cases, the use of the Latin language must be maintained. Who among the vocal defenders of the council wishes “unqualified acceptance” of that?
– The council declared that the Church regards Gregorian Chant as the “music proper to the Roman Rite”, and that it must therefore “be given primary place.” In how many parishes is this implemented “without qualification?”
– The council expressly requested that governmental authorities voluntarily give up those rights to participation in the selection of bishops, that had arisen over the course of time. Which defender of the council advocates “without qualification” for that?
– The council described the fundamental nature of the liturgy as the celebration the pascal mystery and the eucharistic sacrifice as “the completion of the work of our salvation.” How can that be reconciled with my experience, made in many different parishes, that the sacrificial understanding of the Mass has been completely eliminated from the liturgical language and the Mass is now understood only as a meal or “the breaking of bread?” In what way can one justify this profound change by reference to the council?
– No office of the Church was given more significance by the council that that of bishop. How can we then understand the widespread diminishment in Switzerland of this office of the Church, which is justified by reference to the council? When, for example, Hans Kung denies completely the teaching authority of the bishops, allowing them only the office of pastoral leadership?
It would not be difficult to lengthen this litany. Even so, it should be obvious why I demand more honesty in the current debate about the council. Instead of accusing others, and even the Pope, of wishing to go back to before the council, everyone would be well advised to look over their own books and reassess their own personal position on the council. Because not everything that was said and done after the council, was therefore done in accordance with the council—and that applies also to the diocese of Basel. In any case, the last few weeks have illustrated to me that a primary problem in the current situation has been a very poor, and in part very one-sided understanding and acceptance of the council, even by Catholics that defend the council “without qualification.” In this regard we all—once more including myself—have a lot of ground to make up. Therefore I again repeat my urgent request: More honesty please!
In this week leading up to Divine Mercy Sunday I’m praying the novena and Chaplet of Divine Mercy daily. Today’s intention (The Fifth Day) relates to Christ’s will that we should bring to Him the souls of all those who have separated themselves from his Church. Our Lord encourages us, saying:
“Immerse them in the ocean of my mercy. During my bitter Passion they tore at my body and heart, that is, my Church. As they return to unity with the Church my wounds heal and in this way they alleviate my Passion.”
Yes, of course, Our Lord was speaking to Blessed Faustina preeminently about Protestantism and the scandal of Christian disunity as it was understood in her age, but we ourselves are able to recognize within the one Passion this very same tearing of His body and heart in our own days.
One need only consider, for instance, that with every non-ordination publicly proclaimed as “valid” by the sect Roman Catholic WomenPriests another soul thus separates his or herself from full communion with the Church through self-excommunication.
This is serious business. And made all the more serious and troubling by the confusing fact that many of these souls have stated outright the unbiblical notion of refusing to hear the Church in this matter, and in doing so, fail to acknowledge the reality of their own excommunication.
The following report begins with the long-troubled parish of St. Joan of Arc in Minneapolis, but portends of an even deeper tearing of the body and heart of the Church with the advent of the American Catholic Council. I encourage you for the sake of these souls, their return to full unity, and ultimately for the sake of alleviating this ongoing passion of Christ, that you too pray with me for these children of the Church and by actively making your concerns known about the American Catholic Council by contacting your bishop and the Archbishop of the Diocese of Minneapolis and St.Paul – Most Reverend John C. Nienstedt, S.T.D.. The story follows…
Last Palm Sunday (2008)St. Joan of Arc Catholic Church in Minneapolis, Mn. brought us “liturgical” images like this one above. This year there were no such heinous images offered up to heaven within the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Instead, there was this faith-threatening invitation found within the Sunday bulletin:
SJA Palm Sunday Bulletin April 5, 2009
Catholic Coalition for Church Reform: A number of Catholic organizations and groups are partnering for a prayer breakfast on Saturday, April 18 at the Metropolitan Ballroom. Planning will begin for a series of Synods of the Baptized to initiate dialogue around difficult issues in our Church. Cost is $25; no one will be turned away due to inability to pay. FFI contact Julie Madden.
What the unsuspecting pewsitter needs to know
Perhaps for the sake of cover from Episcopal notice, what the SJA bulletin ad conveniently fails to mention to Joe and Mary Pewsitter is that those “Catholic organizations and groups involved in planning this series of “Synods of the Baptized” (Note: Only bishops can convene Synods) to dialogue around difficult issues within the Church” are using this prayer breakfast as a fundraiser and means of support for the newly formed anti-church organization known as the American Catholic Council.
The SJA promo ad advertises the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform. Only upon visiting their site does the unsuspecting Catholic learn about the American Catholic Council (ACC). The ACC is a multiplicity of heterodox church reform groups and other like-minded sympathizers who are currently in the planning stage of developing their stated goals of radically restructuring the Roman Catholic Church along the lines of the American Constitution-meaning, democratic governance by the laity–A proposition obviously at odds with the Head and Founder of the Church.
According to the event flier found on the Catholic Coalition for Church Reform website:
[The] CCCR is a coalition of Minnesota Catholic organizations dedicated to Church reform, including the Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church (ARCC), the Catholic Pastoral Committee on Sexual Minorities (CPCSM), Call To Action MN (CTA-MN), Corpus, Dignity Twin Cities, the Progressive Catholic Voice, Roman Catholic WomenPriests, FutureChurch, and MN St. Joan’s Community, dedicated to women’s ordination. The keynote speaker at our April 18 Prayer Breakfast will be Janet Hauter, vice-president of Voice of the Faithful, and co-chair of the American Catholic Council, a national convention dedicated to church reform, projected for 2011.
Reform of the reform groups
Up until the onset of the homosexual abuse scandal within the Church, reform groups in America (such as many of those mentioned above) were widely known to be waning in influence due to many factors including: lack of interest and non-involvement by laity, the reassertion by the Holy Spirit of fundamental truths concerning authentic Catholic faith and morals under the leadership of Pope John Paul II and (now) Pope Benedict XVI, as well as, by the aging populace of the reformers themselves.
After the scandal broke, however, reformers were reenergized for a time making it possible for new groups such as Voice of the Faithful to emerge. When it became apparent that the original good intentions and goals of VOTF were exchanged instead for the apostate goals associated with structural reorganization of the Catholic Church, VOTF too fell by the wayside both in membership and financial support. Which seems to remain their same struggle today. Perhaps this helps explain, at least in part, why two members of VOTF are the first ever co-chairs of the American Catholic Council. We shall see.
While it may be true that the majority of American Catholics have very little interest in helping to undermine the Catholic Church in America and will rightly reject this latest mystery of betrayal by kiss, one hopes that American bishops will not overlook the danger that the ACC represents in the days, months and years ahead. It would be a terrible mistake to underestimate the intent of the ACC or extent to which they’ll plunge themselves headlong in acting out their long-held goal of restructuring the Church. The “Institutional Church” as they see it has for the most part, and for many years now, frustrated the member organizations that now make up the ACC. This latest reform of the reform movement into one big trail drive shows signs of desperation, including a reckless encircling of the wagons for survival.
For example, all the headlines last month read that the State of Connecticut was trying to force the Catholic Church to reorganize itself financially. There was a big hullabaloo over the government attempt to impinge upon the eternal affairs of the Church, and thus, our religious freedom. What was not so widely publicized from the beginning was the reality that two Members of VOTF were responsible for helping introduce the content of the bill #1098 to lawmakers, [See: here] which in turn was placed on the legislative agenda before being pulled (without vote) due to strong Catholic protests locally and nationwide.
General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Bishops, Anthony Picarello, described the bill during the controversy, saying that 1098 was not only “blatantly unconstitutional” but also that it “targets the Catholic Church explicitly and exclusively, and attempts to use the civil law to alter Church governance.” Mr. Picarello nails it, of course, because in effect members of VOTF attempted to influence the Church through civil litigation by instigating the specious use of government in the clear attempt to undermine the apostolic nature and authority of the Catholic Church in America. And that’s the plan of reformers however tragically nearsighted and dangerous that might be…
Bishop Lori [Diocese of Bridgeport] warned the faithful at the time, saying that, “If this bill were to be enacted your bishop, would have virtually, virtually no real relationship with the 87 parishes…they could go off independently, some of them could break off from the Church if they wished, and go their own way as has happened, for example, with the Episcopal Church.” One doesn’t have to look to the Episcopal Church for future examples of independent catholic parishes with virtually no real relationship with their bishop. Try this story from another part of the world for the sad results of such a break in communion.
Remember, I said “signs of desperation”
What’s obvious (and pitiful) concerning the lessons learned in Connecticut is that these groups perceive that unless they somehow manage to garner control of the wealth of the Church, (placing it into the hands of the laity), they will not find themselves in any viable position of power to leverage bishops in order to secure the “change” they seek. It comes down to money equals power for them. And for such reform groups it makes sense, because the change they seek flies in the face of authentic faith and morals as proposed for belief within the Catholic Church and bishops obliged to defend faith and morals cannot accept the multitude of errors these groups propose for belief under the guise Catholicism.
As it is, today’s reform groups remain under funded, are prevented mostly from using church facilities within dioceses by bishops because of their heretical anti-Catholic stances, find themselves unsupported by the same laity they presume to be the voice of, and therefore have come to determine that in order to remain relevant and survive they need now band together in order to keep alive the dream of recreating the Church in the world according to their own image. But, the question remains: Is it possible they might succeed?
Those “and other” groups and the future moves of the ACC
What the Connecticut blunder taught VOTF and other likeminded reform groups is that bishops and laity alike will not stand for government abrogation within the eternal affairs of the Church, financial or otherwise. And any further attempts on the part of reformers to openly (or secretly) use government as their jackhammer to undermine the foundation of the Church will not only meet with swift rejection as it did in Connecticut, but may even signal the final death nil for Church reform groups through episcopal action as well as final recognition by the faithful that the “spirit of Vatican II” is, what it is, a spirit of destruction that harms the Church, and thus, her mission in the world–the salvation of souls.
Licking their wounds, reformers must come up with another alternative. To gain the means to realize victory they need financing that far exceeds what many “prayer breakfast fundraisers” might provide. And that alternative may consist in turning their attention to other groups for help. Groups such as heterodox Christians and sympethetic non-Christian political activists, tacticians, and community organizers with long histories of emnity with the Church. No, I would not be surprised if the ACC moved into a mode of operation that mimicks groups such as Faith in Public Life, who helped successfully dupe nearly 55 percent of Catholics in America into voting into power the culture of death under the pretext of “hope” and “change”. At any rate, I look for an ACC full court press for help upon the following groups [described here] such as:
Catholic Organizations – official catholic bodies
Dissident Organizations- exist actively and deliberately to alter Catholic church teaching. All these organizations are associated with Call to Action.
Other Religious Organizations – member organizations from other religions, usually liberal members. Many who make abortion and homosexual rights denominational policy.
Community Organizations- Alinskyian organizations and their networks. These organizations are made up of congregations from all denominations. They have an historical and ongoing relationship with Call to Action. They promote liberation theology, progressive political activism, and they often receive funding from the Catholic Church.
Issue-based Organizations- organizations working for a particular cause. In this category we find a large number of Faith in Public Life members whose only advocacy is to act to secure abortion rights or homosexual rights.
Reform Groups: resurrection from the dead, or, Custer’s last stand in Detroit?
Bishops and laity alike would be wise to be on guard for reformers approaching such groups for needed financial assistance, training, and adaptation of the same successful community organizing tactics within their dioceses and parish’s as was utilized in the election of 2008. 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. And this entails substancial participation of both bishops and laity for any chance at success. If they fail here, the American Catholic Council tentatively scheduled to convene in Detroit, Michigan, in the fall of 2011, will end up being just another Catholic Call To Action convention that no one pays any real serious attention to any longer–and the only difference being is that this Catholic charade will be held in another city other than Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Or perhaps, stated more positively, it will turn out to be Custer’s last stand in Detroit.
For the sake of the Church, that is, the Sacred Heart of Jesus, let us hope so.