Tag Archives: U.S. Bishops

Cardinal George Announces Vatican Approval of New Roman Missal — Implementation Set for First Sunday of Advent 2011

The ineffable war of delay is over…

HT/J. Balza

U.S. Adaptations to Mass Prayers Also Approved
Parish Education Efforts Urged To Precede Implementation
Resources Available Through USCCB

WASHINGTON—Cardinal Francis George, OMI, Archbishop of Chicago and President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), has announced that the full text of the  English-language translation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, has been issued for the dioceses of the United States of America. 
The text was approved by the Vatican, and the approval was accompanied by a June 23 letter from Cardinal Llovera Antonio Cañizares, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. The Congregation also provided guidelines for publication.
In addition, on July 24, the Vatican gave approval for several adaptations, including additional prayers for the Penitential Act at Mass and the Renewal of Baptismal Promises on Easter Sunday. Also approved are texts of prayers for feasts specific to the United States such as Thanksgiving, Independence Day and the observances of feasts for saints such as Damien of Molokai, Katharine Drexel, and Elizabeth Ann Seton. The Vatican also approved the Mass for Giving Thanks to God for the Gift of Human Life, which can be celebrated on January 22.   
Cardinal George announced receipt of the documents in an August 20 letter to the U.S. Bishops and issued a decree of proclamation that states that “The use of the third edition of the Roman Missal enters into use in the dioceses of the United States of America as of the First Sunday of Advent, November 27, 2011.  From that date forward, no other edition of the Roman Missal may be used in the dioceses of the United States of America.” 
The date of implementation was chosen to allow publishers time to prepare texts and parishes and dioceses to educate parishioners.
“We can now move forward and continue with our important catechetical efforts as we prepare the text for publication,” Cardinal George said.
In the coming weeks, staff of the bishops’ Secretariat of Divine Worship will prepare the text for publication and collaborate with the staff of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy (ICEL), which will assist Bishops’ Conferences in bringing the text to publication. In particular, ICEL has been preparing the chant settings of the texts of the Missal for use in the celebration of the Mass. Once all necessary elements have been incorporated into the text and the preliminary layout is complete, the final text will go to the publishers to produce the ritual text, catechetical resources and participation aids for use in the Liturgy.
Receipt of the text marks the start of proximate preparation for Roman Missal implementation. Before first use of the new text in Advent 2011, pastors are urged to use resources available to prepare parishioners. Some already have been in use; others are being released now. They include the Parish Guide for the Implementation of the Roman Missal, Third Edition, and Become One Body, One Spirit in Christ, a multi-media DVD resource produced by ICEL in collaboration with English-language Conferences of Bishops. Both will be available from the USCCB. Information on resources can be found at www.usccb.org/romanmissal
Bishop Arthur Serratelli of Paterson, New Jersey, Chair of the Bishops’ Committee on Divine Worship, voiced gratitude for the approval.
“I am happy that after years of preparation, we now have a text that, when introduced late next year, will enable the ongoing renewal of the celebration of the Sacred Liturgy in our parishes,” he said.  Msgr. Anthony Sherman, Director of the Secretariat for Divine Worship of the USCCB noted, “A great effort to produce the new Roman Missal for the United States, along with the other necessary resources, has begun.  Even as that work is underway a full–scale catechesis about the Liturgy and the new Roman Missal should be taking place in parishes, so that when the time comes, everyone will be ready.”

Evangelizing Jesus…

The subject around here this week was children, and especially today:

–On the phone with my mother on her birthday, I noted, “ I’m appalled at the low-level of Catholic faith formation…” Her reply, “Well, the parents don’t know anything either…”

–On the Internet I read the story of a young woman describing her Catholic upbringing, saying, “I had grown up surrounded by the faith of my parents — studied it in school, practiced it at home and at church, and accepted it at face value. I never questioned it — it wasn’t a faith that was my own…”

–This same young girl is now a teacher and youth minister at a prominent all girls Catholic High School who describes her faith today:

“I will be the first to admit, and sometimes quite vocally, that there are many teachings, practices, and attitudes within the Catholic tradition that I don’t agree with. There are times when I’m not just disappointed by this Church, but I’m angered and wounded, and find myself pondering the questions I’m so often asked by others: “Why do you stay?” or, “How can you teach this?”

And the circle perpetuates.

On the drive to my confirmation class this afternoon I realized I was tired. Exhausted, really… Thoughts on our need for true evangelization soon turned into realizations of my own ineffectiveness this year teaching the faith at home and religious ed. at church. There was a contradiction between the Joyful mysteries and my heart as I drove along praying my rosary.

Before class began I noticed a young Asian boy sitting across the table from me. His family is new to the parish, and I didn’t know much about him, In fact, I thought he was a new student, or visitor. I observed him as he talked with the DRE next to me. There was something special about him. The way he talked reminded me of one of my sons. “You seem to be very intelligent to me.” I said. He just looked at me. “What’s your name?” I asked. (I’ll call him Jesus here…) “Jesus”, I said, “how well do you know the faith?” “Faith?” He replied. There was some silence for a bit, and looking back up at me we launched into this conversation:

Jesus: “My mother is dead.”

Jesus: “My father shot my mother and killed her, and he’s in jail.

Me: “That must have really hurt your little heart Jesus, huh?”

Jesus: “Yea.”

Me: “I know how you feel, I lost my father when I was young. That hurt my heart too.”

Jesus: “My mother told me that I shouldn’t cry for her.”

Me: “Oh, no, Jesus, it’s okay to cry. You loved her right? It’s a good thing to cry.”

Jesus: “I did.”

Me: “Did your mother have faith?”

Jesus: “What?”

Me: “Did your mother believe in God?”

Jesus: “Oh yes, she told me that her spirit would be looking over me.”

Me: “Do you pray for your mother, Jesus?”

Me: “You know, that’s why it’s good to know your faith.” To know God exists.” “Before I had faith I didn’t believe, to me my father was just, well, gone, that was that, the end; I wasn’t aware that we have souls. That my father had a soul which was with God, and at the end of time God will reunite–as with each of us–our souls to our bodies.” “And we shall be like Jesus.” “You know Jesus rose from the dead, and His body is glorified.” “We shall be like that.”

Me: “But you can help your mother through your prayers, now.” “We don’t know the state of our parents souls, she may be in heaven already, or in purgatory, which is why it’s always good to pray for our parents.”

Jesus: “What’s purgatory?”

Me: “Jesus, it’s like a cleansing fire of God’s love.” God is a pure spirit, and He cleanses us before entering into heaven.”

Jesus: “I hurt my ankle playing basketball at school today!”

Me: “You like to play basketball, Jesus?” “Me too!” And I showed him a knot on my ankle from twisting it playing.

Jesus: “I played baseball too!”

Me: “You’re kidding me, right?” “I played baseball as a kid too.”

Me: “What team?”

Jesus: “The Astros.”

Me: “Astros, huh? I played on the Angels.”

Jesus: “Sometimes I get real angry.”

Me: “Really?”

Jesus: “Yea.” “Really angry.”

Me: “That’s when you need to pray hard Jesus.”

Me: “Hey, we should get together and play some basketball together.”

Jesus: “Can you shoot 3’s still?”

Me: “Yea, I still can.” “Well… at least for the time being.”

These are the children we’ve heard about…


Healthcare Vote Looms — Strategy to Divide Catholics Raising Concerns

Healthcare Reform Vote Expected Imminently
Bishops Outraged at CHA’s Morally Flawed Statements

Catholic Health Association President, Sr. Carol Keehan, DC, representing Catholic hospitals, has incited vocal opposition from bishops across the country in response to her letter to Congress requesting passage of the Senate-passed healthcare reform bill that includes taxpayer funding for abortion. The Catholic hospitals’ outspoken support for this morally flawed bill is causing confusion among Catholics and may lead some to unwittingly ask their congressman to pass it when they would actually oppose it if they had the facts from the bishops and pro-life organizations. More importantly, the confusion is making it more difficult for pro-life Democrats to resist the pressure they are getting from the President and the Democratic leadership in the House.

It is more critical than ever to contact your member of Congress right away to let him or her know you oppose the Senate-passed healthcare bill with abortion funding. The bill is coming to a vote any day. See details below.

CHA has been joined in their support of the legislation by NETWORK (a Catholic social justice lobby) and the Leadership Conference of Women Religious. The sister’s letter is dishonest and contradicts the bishops. They say “despite false claims to the contrary, the Senate bill will not provide taxpayer funding for elective abortions.”

Catholics United, a progressive and partisan Catholic group, have created a TV ad in favor of the legislation saying it is “endorsed by pro-life advocates like the Catholic Health Association”. They plan to run the ads in the districts of swing voters.


Support by progressive Catholic organizations’ of this flawed healthcare reform bill is becoming so bizarre that the USCCB had to issue a correctional statement earlier today stating that NETWORK “grossly overstated whom they represent”. The letter had 55 individual signatories with some representing communities as small as three to five people. While this was a minute number of the 793 religious communities, NETWORK claimed to be speaking for all 59,000 American women religious.

The Vatican has even stepped with an article in the official Vatican newspaper, L’Osservatore Romano strongly supporting the U.S. bishops. It quoted Denver Archbishop Chaput: “. . . [the] long, unpleasant and too often dishonest the national health-care debate is now in its last days. Its most painful feature has been those ‘Catholic’ groups that by their eagerness for some kind of deal undercut the witness of the Catholic community and help advance a bad bill into a bad law.”

On a positive side, Mother Mary Quentin Sheridan of the Council of Major Superiors of Women Religious, representing over 103 communities of religious women in the US, issued a statement saying, “Protection of life and freedom of conscience are central to morally responsible judgment. We join the bishops in seeking ethically sound legislation.”

The effort of some organization to undercut the position of the bishops is leading to confusion not only among Catholics, but among secular media and politicians who look to the Church’s position on moral issues. Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, KS, writes, “The Catholic Health Association’s position, in effect, provides cover for any member of the House who chooses to buckle under the pressure of the president and the Democratic leadership to accept government funding of abortion. They can now defend themselves by pointing out that Catholic health care leaders recommended they vote for the bill.”

US bishops have been more outspoken than ever, standing together to affirm life and asking all Catholics to do the same. (See Cardinal George’s press release – http://ccgaction.org/node/777.)

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver writes, “The Senate version of health-care reform currently being forced ahead by congressional leaders and the White House is a bad bill that will result in bad law. It does not deserve, nor does it have, the support of the Catholic bishops of our country. Nor does the American public want it. It does not meet minimum moral standards in at least three important areas: the exclusion of abortion funding and services; adequate conscience protections for healthcare professionals and institutions; and the inclusion of immigrants.”

We should be outraged that these groups are attempting to speak for Catholics across the country, misrepresenting the moral truth as expressed by the bishops, and affecting one of the most far-reaching pieces of social legislation in history.We must stand in solidarity with our bishops and in no uncertain terms state that Catholics oppose healthcare reform that permits federal funding of abortion.


Ask him or her to vote “NO” on the Senate-passed healthcare bill that permits abortion funding.

Find your member of congress and his or her phone number here: http://contactingthecongress.org. You will be surprised by how easy it is to call and express your opinion. If you would like to send an email, go to the NCHLA website.

A list of friendly congressman who particularly need reinforcement and people who have voted for the healthcare bill before who may be persuadable can be found on the CCG website (http://ccgaction.org/node/779). Please forward this email to like-minded friends and family members who live in areas represented by the listed members. Ask them to join you in contacting their congressmen as well. Ask them to sign up for CCG emails so they can get the latest developments on this issue directly. Time is urgent.

We ask you to join us in prayer that this legislation will be defeated to protect all God’s children, particularly the most vulnerable among us. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord, through the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the unborn, patroness of the Americas, Star of the New Evangelization, and patroness of Catholics for the Common Good.

For the Common Good,

Bill May
Chairman, Catholics for the Common Good
415 651 4171
415 738 0421 (Fax)

Forward this email to friends and family members and ask them to join this network for the evangelization of culture.

Why this woman is so blind to spiritual evil… From Orthodoxy To Heresy: The Secularizing of Catholic Universities

Notre Dame Redux…

Margo Howard, daughter of advice columnist Ann Landers, who identifies herself as Jewish, though actual beliefs fall somewhere between humanism, agnosticism and atheism...

“I mean no disrespect to those who take the Bible literally, but Satan?

By now – the 21st century – Satan, to me, is like a character in a play or a puppet show; a metaphor for bad and evil things. It is hard to imagine a senior prelate of a major religion actually saying with a straight face that “we are engaged in a constant warfare with Satan,” as though he were a person running an organization, if you will, that stands for everything the Catholics don’t.”

Margo Howard, on Bishop Robert W. Finn, wowOwow

Screwtape: “The fact that “devils” are predominantly comic figures in the modern imagination will help you. If any faint suspicion of your existence begins to arise in his mind, suggest to him a picture of some¬thing in red tights, and persuade him that since he cannot believe in that (it is an old textbook method of confusing them) he therefore cannot believe in you.”

C.S. Lewis, The ScrewTape Letters

Isn’t it interesting–as some believe–that with the passage of time and  ”progress of man” in the modern world that the existence of Satan and spiritual evil become less and less real? That somehow through intelligence we’ve outgrown that foolish notion? So it is for souls hindered by secularism in America, they know neither the works of the Holy One of Israel in Spirit and Truth nor the enmity of the Devil to God’s plan of salvation in Jesus Christ. The reality for these, of course, as you’ll read below, is that “truth being relative, their own individual conscience reigns supreme in establishing their own standards concerning God, faith and morals” as Margo so exemplifies.

No, this is not an attack on Margo Howard

It’s not just the spiritually ignorant, however, who hold notions devoid of authentic divine revelation and truth concerning faith and morals, but entire generations–of Catholics.

This, I submit, is the great tragedy concerning the Notre Dame scandal-that the Church, (and thus her learning institutions), as the pillar and bulwark of God’s truth on earth has succumbed to secularism, failing not only her own students but her mission, the Margo Howard’s of the world.

Below is an explanation of how:


From Orthodoxy To Heresy: The Secularizing of Catholic Universities

By Michael V. McIntire – newoxford review

Forty years ago the major Catholic universities in the U.S. decided that the Catholic Church needed to reform her teachings, especially that of sexual morality, to conform to the times, and that they should lead that reform. In 1967, at Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, they declared their independence from the Church, exchanged the faith of their founders for an evolutionary heresy, proclaimed themselves to be an alternate magis terium, and transferred control from their founding religious orders to secular boards of trustees. Not coincidentally, by these actions they qualified themselves for lucrative financial grants from foundations controlled by leaders of the Culture of Death.

For forty years the true nature and intent of this revolution has been disguised. As a result, generations of Catholic students and graduates have been and are being ill formed and misled in their faith, or have lost it altogether.

It is time for the story to be told.


The last half of the 19th century saw two currents of intellectual thought advancing contemporaneously. With the publication of Charles Darwin’s The Descent of Man in 1871, the eugenics movement became the darling of the sophisticated elite of England and the U.S. Around the same time, reformers within the Catholic Church argued that traditional moral teachings must be modernized to conform to modern science and sociology. Both of these viewpoints directly contradicted Church teachings. However, in less than a century, American Catholic universities would accept and unite both of them.


In his January 1899 apostolic letter Testem Bene volentiae Nostrae, Pope Leo XIII warned the U.S. bishops of a heresy sprouting in Catholic hearts in this predominately Protestant country. The heresy asserts that Christianity is a philosophy that has evolved over time and must continue to do so, that truth is relative, and that individual conscience is supreme in establishing one’s standards of faith and morals. Because this heresy resonated so strongly in the U.S., Pope Leo called it “Americanism.”

Pope Leo’s warning went largely unheeded. Only eight years later that heresy had matured and spread throughout Europe as well as the U.S., generating another more profound and more urgent warning from the Holy See. Pascendi Dominici Gregis, Pope St. Pius X’s September 1907 encyclical, was an in-depth explanation of the heresy, its underlying philosophy, and the deceit by which it was promoted. The encyclical made clear that all of the various heretical views are interrelated and “solidly joined so that it is not possible to admit one without admitting all” (#39). At its core, the heresy holds that religion is a subjective “sentiment” arising solely from an individual’s perceived need for a god, which he then creates and which he “knows” only through his subjective experience. From this root, a number of other errors follow: Truth is relative; Jesus is not divine; Scripture is neither divinely inspired nor true; “faith” has no place in man’s search for knowledge. Pope Pius described this heresy as “the synthesis of all heresies,” naming it “Modernism.” It also goes under the name “evolutionary theology,” and is the root of moral relativism.

What anguished Pope Pius and created the urgency of his warning was not that the Church was being attacked, but that this attack was coming from within the Church. The betrayers, the Pope said, are prominent members of the clergy and the laity, men whom the Pope branded “the most pernicious” of the “enemies of the Church” because they are so difficult to detect, like the “wolves in the sheepfold” of which Christ Himself warned. They are industrious, intelligent men, knowledgeable about the Church and possessed with a mania for reform. Disguised as orthodox Catholics, the Pope warned, “they seize upon chairs in the seminaries and universities,” from which they “scatter” the “seeds of their doctrines” through “books, newspapers, [and] reviews” (#42).

Although the Pope’s warning somewhat attenuated the visible growth of modernism in the American Church for several decades, the heresy did not die. As the Pope had feared, the wolves had clothed themselves like the sheep and remained in the sheepfold, in faculty positions in Catholic universities, where they quietly nourished and advanced the cancer.

The Eugenics Movement

Following the publication of Charles Darwin’s evolutionary theories in The Origin of Species in 1859, and his application of those theories to mankind in The Descent of Man in 1871, the evolutionary philosophy he advocated became the cause celèbre of the wealthy sophisticates of England and the U.S., where it caught the attention of John D. Rockefeller. Reduced to its essentials, Darwin’s philosophy holds that man, who has naturally evolved from lower life forms, has now attained the ability to control and accelerate his further evolution into a more perfect species through controlled breeding, just as he has done with cattle and plants. The name given to this proudly atheistic movement was “eugenics.” Darwin and his disciples proposed to achieve this “noble” aspiration in two ways — first, by applying Darwin’s rule of “survival of the fittest” to eliminate the weak, disabled, and undesirables; second, by creating stronger, more intelligent humans through controlled breeding and manipulation of genetics. The means to these ends were to be contraception and abortion, forced sterilization, euthanasia, and genetic manipulation, to be accomplished by “education” if possible, but by compulsion if necessary.

The eugenics cause captured the attention of John D. Rockefeller when he was seeking a philanthropic identity. His son, John D. Rockefeller Jr., became a zealot for the cause, which he promoted by creating and funding hundreds of trusts, foundations, bureaus, and institutes devoted to eugenics. He lavished funds on universities for eugenics research, on eugenics advocates such as Margaret Sanger, and on German eugenicists and institutions that built the labs used in the Holocaust. He drew Protestantism into his camp by creating and funding the Federal Council of Churches, which later merged into the National Council of Churches.

In the 1930s his son, John D. Rockefeller III, dedicated his entire philanthropic life and his millions to the promotion of birth control, which he pursued with such fervor that he became known as “Mr. Population.” Predictably, the Rockefellers’ money and influence attracted other influential names to the cause so that, by the early 1950s, the trustees, directors, and advisors of the Rocke fellers’ vast network of trusts, foundations, and institutes included top executives of the nation’s largest media outlets, banks, industries, and government. Later, this list would include the name of the president of one of the nation’s most visible Catholic universities.

After World War II, when the horror of Germany’s “eugenics-oriented” society was exposed, the eugenicists changed their marketing strategy: The term “eugenics” was dropped. In 1952 Rockefeller III established “The Population Council” to promote birth control under the euphemism of “population control.” With religious fervor, population control was promoted as an “environmental” issue essential to the preservation of mankind, under the alarmist banner that the earth had neither the space nor the resources to sustain the growing human population.

By the end of the 1950s, the campaign had persuaded the major Protestant denominations to accept contraception as a moral practice. But the Catholic Church stood her ground. In those days, faithful bishops courageously proclaimed Catholic truth — and Catholics listened.

The Alliance

By the early 1950s, both the evolutionary theories of eugenics and the heresy of evolutionary theology were prominent in American culture. In those postwar years, secular universities were growing in wealth, power, and reputation, largely through funds from foundations controlled by members of the American Eugenics Society. Catholic universities, because they were Catholic, were excluded from this cornucopia. In 1961 that changed.

Within many Catholic universities were prominent faculty who publicly criticized Church teaching on sexual morality and advocated their “reform” to conform to the times. These dissident voices, coupled with their universities’ yearning for a place at the table of foundation funding, gave Rockefeller the opportunity to neutralize the Church’s opposition to his eugenics agenda. The initial gesture came, unexpectedly, from the University of Notre Dame.

Among Notre Dame’s vocal dissenting theologians was Fr. John A. O’Brien, C.S.C. When Rockefeller’s Population Council and Planned Parenthood invited him to a conference to discuss ways to promote contraception, the invitation was answered from the assistant to Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, Notre Dame’s president, who offered Notre Dame’s campus as the venue for the conference, provided it was funded by a foundation grant. Rockefeller agreed to the funding on condition that only Catholics who believed as Rockefeller did were to be invited, a condition to which Notre Dame brass readily agreed. Notre Dame went further, arranging that the conference be unpublicized to avoid opposition from the bishop and loyal Catholics. Planned Parenthood’s list of Catholics with acceptable views on contraception included Fr. Hesburgh, who chaired the first conference. Two follow-up conferences were held expressly to formulate a document justifying a reform of Church teaching on contraception which would then be widely published. All the conferences were held on Notre Dame’s campus and all were funded by foundation grants.

In the summer of 1965, after the conferences had ended but before the preordained report was finalized, Fr. Hesburgh arranged a private audience for Rockefeller with Pope Paul VI in an unsuccessful effort to sell the Pope on the value of contraception and his newly perfected IUD, after which Rockefeller arrogantly offered to draft a papal encyclical on the subject — an offer which the Pope, of course, declined.

That fall, seven months after the Population Council conferences had concluded, the hand-picked conferees signed and publicized a proclamation attacking the Church’s teaching on contraception. Popularly called “The Notre Dame Statement,” the document declared that the Church’s teaching was out of date and inconsistent with modern psychology and sociology, and that the morality of contraception was not based on divine law but solely on one’s opinion. The Statement asserted that it was wrong to teach that contraception was objectively sinful, and that Catholics who so believed had no moral right to impose that view on others. Thus was inaugurated the “personally opposed, but…” philosophy.

The Notre Dame Statement was a direct attack on the Magisterium of the Church. To accept it is to accept moral relativism and to deny that the Catholic Church teaches divine truth. Nevertheless, the Notre Dame Statement was enthusiastically endorsed by both the secular and the Catholic media. It did not matter that, in December 1965, the Second Vatican Council concluded without making the reforms called for by Rockefeller and the Notre Dame Statement. All that mattered was that some prominent theologians and academics had issued the Statement, which Catholic colleges and universities immediately embraced and began to teach as an acceptable moral code for Catholics. Thus was “Cafeteria Catholicism” legitimized.

Notre Dame demonstrated that a Catholic university willing to compromise its principles could qualify for lucrative foundation grants, for which its president was rewarded with a position on the Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees (he would later serve as its chairman).

The Land O’Lakes Statement

The heretical seeds of modernism that had long been nurtured in U.S. colleges and universities broke ground with the Notre Dame Statement. Only two years later, the bitter fruit was produced. On July 23, 1967, at Notre Dame’s retreat center in Land O’Lakes, Wisconsin, the executives of the major Catholic universities in the U.S. and their sponsoring religious orders met, signed, and adopted a revolutionary document entitled “The Land O’Lakes Statement: The Nature of the Contemporary Catholic University,” which has subsequently been referred to simply as “The Land O’Lakes Statement.” The signing universities were Notre Dame, Georgetown, Boston College, Seton Hall, Catholic University, St. Louis University, Fordham, the University of Puerto Rico, Pontifical University of Peru, LaValle University, and the University of Sherbrooke, Canada. Significantly, the Land O’ Lakes Statement was also signed by the Assistant General of the Society of Jesus and the Superior General of the Congregation of Holy Cross, both of whom were based in Rome. Signing the document for the University of Puerto Rico was the Rt. Rev. Theodore E. McCarrick, later to become Cardinal Archbishop of Washington, D.C.

Contrary to the disinformation from its apologists, the focus of the Land O’Lakes Statement was not academic freedom. Its focus was solely and exclusively the manner in which Catholic universities would deal with questions to which “science” was incapable of providing answers; questions of faith and morals; questions traditionally addressed by philosophy and theology; questions ultimately involving the relationship between faith and reason. In these contexts, the Land O’Lakes Statement declared the universities’ independence from the teaching authority of the Church, which put them in schism, and replaced Catholic theology with heretical modernism as their governing doctrine.

Land O’Lakes as Schism

The Land O’Lakes Statement declared the universities’ independence from the Church in its first paragraph, which states that “the catholic university must have a true autonomy and academic freedom in the face of authority of whatever kind, lay or clerical, external to the academic community itself ” (emphasis added). The reference to “lay” authority is disingenuous. In forty years of application, no university has ever claimed “autonomy” from “lay authority,” least of all from the “lay authority” of foundations that impose anti-Catholic conditions on financial grants. The only yoke of authority these rebellious institutions intended to cast off was the teaching authority of the Catholic Church. In his book Contending With Modernity: Catholic Education in the Twentieth Century (Oxford Univ. Press, 1995), Philip Gleason wrote that the Land O’Lakes Statement was never intended to be anything other than “a declaration of independence from the hierarchy” of the Church.

Land O’Lakes stated that “the critical reflective intelligence” of the Church is now found, not in the Magisterium of the Church, but in the “modern catholic university,” in which is vested the duty to judge Church teachings and promote their reform. In “University Identity Crisis,” a 1996 analysis of Land O’Lakes published in Crisis magazine, Kenneth D. Whitehead put it bluntly: The essence of Land O’Lakes, he wrote, is “a decision not to be Catholic…. These Catholic colleges and universities are in effect declaring that they simply decline to be Catholic as the Church defines that term.” Under Land O’Lakes, he said, “it is the Catholic university itself that now is to decide what is, and what is not, ‘Catholic.'” Fr. Hesburgh, to whom the primary authorship of the Land O’Lakes Statement is attributed, boldly admitted as much when he wrote in America magazine in 1986 that a true university cannot allow the Vatican to define what is and what is not authentic Catholic teaching.

In Church parlance, the word historically used to describe such a broken relationship with the Church is “schism.” Feminist theologian Rosemary Ruether openly applied this term to Land O’Lakes, writing in a 1980 article in Journal of Ecumenical Studies that Land O’Lakes created “an internal schism…. between two magisteria, the magisterium of the professors and the magisterium of the pope and the hierarchy.” Msgr. George Kelly, an apologist for the Church, agrees with her. Msgr. Kelly wrote in The Catholic World Report in 1995 that Land O’Lakes has “largely succeeded in creating a two-headed church,” rooted in Catholic colleges and universities, one of which is “an anti-church…in which the definitive teaching of the magisterium can be, and often is, contradicted, doubted or explained away. This ‘second magisterium,’ as it has sometimes been called, has its base in the Church’s college system.”

Land O’Lakes as Heresy

The “contemporary catholic university,” as defined by Land O’Lakes, is neither contemporary nor Catholic. The Land O’Lakes Statement is nothing more than an acceptance of the tenets of modernism as described by two popes a century ago.

Students of the Land O’Lakes Statement and its effects are in agreement that the intent of Land O’Lakes was to replace orthodox Catholicism with liberal modernism as the defining philosophy of Catholic higher education. As Gleason put it, the intent of Land O’Lakes was to make clear that “the Church’s cold war with modernity was definitely over.” David O’Brien, in a 1998 analysis of Land O’Lakes in Boston College Magazine, wrote that Fr. Hesburgh and his colleagues believed that the time had come for Catholic educators to accept modernism instead of challenging it, as the Church has historically done.

Land O’Lakes declared, “There must be no theological or philosophical imperialism.” Theological imperialism refers to the belief that the Catholic Church is the true Church through which the fullness of God’s Truth is revealed and proclaimed. According to O’Brien, the framers of Land O’Lakes believed that the religious principles of their universities’ founders were out of date. Their intent was to give “learning” priority over “growth in faith and morals,” and to downgrade theology to just another academic discipline without special emphasis or status. This is why courses in Catholic apologetics are no longer offered on most Catholic campuses.

Land O’Lakes describes in some detail how a “contemporary catholic university” is to facilitate the “experience” of religion. Basically, anything and everything goes — except, of course, “theological imperialism,” which is absolutely prohibited. Nothing is to be “outlawed,” and there are to be “no boundaries and no barriers.” The university’s primary characteristic is that it be “modern” in the “full sense of the word”; its mission is to provide an “education geared to modern society.” Students learn to “understand the actual world” by being exposed to all aspects of it, free from doctrinal moral constraints. Religion is experimental and experiential: Students will “find the meaning of the sacraments for themselves.” They will “express [their] Christianity in a variety of ways and live it experientially and experimentally,” and will discover for themselves “new forms of Christian living.” Tinkering with Catholic liturgy is encouraged. Land O’Lakes proclaims that the “best” liturgies are those that are “creatively contemporary and experimental.”

And so, at the “contemporary catholic university” described in Land O’Lakes, moral relativism is the rule; individual conscience is the determinant of “right” and “wrong”; religion is a subjective sentiment; God is known through one’s experience; faith and reason are separate and distinct; faith adds nothing to reason.

One cannot exaggerate the destructive impact of this culture of relativism on the transmission of the Catholic faith, a culture that has been deliberately cultivated by the Land O’Lakes Statement. Twenty-eight years after Land O’Lakes became the article of faith for Catholic universities and colleges, Msgr. Kelly observed that, at most of them, “the most serious and fundamental teachings about the divinity of Christ, the virginity of Mary, the nature of the Church, the priesthood and the Eucharist” are disparaged and reduced to “optional theological opinion.” Is it any wonder, then, that the results of recent surveys of graduating seniors at Notre Dame, published in 2004 in Notre Dame’s Scholastic magazine, disclosed that the students who lost some or all of their faith while at Notre Dame (37 percent) outnumbered those who grew in their faith (16 percent) by more than two to one, or that for the overwhelming plurality (46 percent) the “Catholic identity” of that institution was simply irrelevant. There is no reason to believe that similar surveys at other “contemporary catholic universities” would be more positive.

The Growth of Land O’Lakes

The Land O’Lakes Statement was implemented immediately. Within six months of its drafting, the religious orders that owned Notre Dame and St. Louis University had given away governance of those universities to self-perpetuating boards of trustees, the majority of whom are lay men and women over whom the religious orders have no control. By 1972 nearly all Catholic colleges and universities had followed suit. This is why appeals to fundamentals of the Catholic faith are largely ineffective; they do not affect the bottom line. However, the name “Catholic” is still a positive asset that attracts money and students from those who still believe that the university stands for Catholic truth.

The Vatican has never approved the Land O’Lakes Statement — not that it matters. In 1976 the Land O’Lakes Statement was formally adopted by the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA), which purported to represent 223 Catholic colleges and universities.

In 1990 Pope John Paul II promulgated Ex Corde Ecclesiae (ECE), his apostolic constitution on Catholic universities, which defined the nature and purpose of a Catholic university and established measurable standards such a university was to follow. It was dead on arrival in the U.S. Vigorously opposed by the Association of Catholic Colleges and Universities, the Association of Jesuit Colleges and Universities, the College Theology Society, the liberal Catholic media, and the universities themselves, ECE has had no impact on the corporate owners of the rebellious colleges and universities that have prospered under the Land O’Lakes philosophy. After eighteen years, the U.S. bishops who have the responsibility to enforce ECE have yet to summon the courage to do so.


With the Land O’Lakes Statement in 1967, which sprang from an alliance with the Culture of Death, the major Catholic universities in America discarded orthodox Catholic teaching as their raison d”tre and replaced it with heresy. Since that time, two generations of Catholics have graduated from America’s Catholic institutions of higher learning without knowledge or understanding of their faith, believing that one can be Catholic while disbelieving or even opposing Church teaching. Yet these generations of ill-formed, sometimes disbelieving, and often rebellious Catholic graduates are touted as the leadership and the future of the Catholic Church in the U.S. Small wonder, then, that the Church in the U.S. is experiencing a crisis of faith. Laity are uncatechized, clergy are unwilling to instruct them, and quisling bishops are afraid to proclaim the Gospel. A case can be made that a substantial factor causing all of this was, and continues to be, the betrayal of the faith by Catholic academics with the Land O’Lakes Statement in 1967, which has metastasized like cancer throughout the Church ever since.

As Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz of Lincoln, Nebraska, has noted, heresy is cured by “obedience and repentance.” The sooner the history and causal relationship between Land O’Lakes and the secularization of Catholic universities is known and accepted, the sooner this cure can be applied by attentive Catholics, concerned alumni, and courageous bishops.


Michael V. McIntire is a 1957 graduate of the University of Notre Dame. During the turbulent 1970s, he joined the faculty of the Notre Dame Law School as Associate Professor of Law, where he witnessed the beginnings of the secularization of that university. An Oblate of the Order of St. Benedict and an RCIA catechist, he lives and practices law in Big Bear Lake, California.

Dear Bishops, We Need You Now! by Mary Kochan

Tsunami Warning.
Tsunami Warning.

I believe that the outcome of the coming election, a mere 12 days away, and every implication that it has for the pro-life movement in this country lies in the domain of the Catholic Bishops of the United States.

Democrats have installed the strongest abortion plank to date in their platform and their candidate Barack Obama has promised to make the signing of FOCA (Freedom of Choice Act) a priority of his administration. When we pro-life Catholics read on the website of our bishops a description of FOCA [1] here and [2] here, our hearts quail. We have worked so hard for small pro-life gains that to see them all overturned would be very hard. 

Like sheep that crowd around their shepherd for protection from a rampaging predator, we must crowd round our bishops now and beg them to help us.

I believe they can.  I believe that we have been brought to a situation where we need their voices more desperately than we ever have before. Where the unborn need their voices. Where our nation needs their voices. 

What specifically do we need?  What is the message that has to get out?  Who is the target audience?  Where and how can that audience be reached?

The target audience has to be those millions of Catholics who are still of the “seamless garment” mentality. Who in “good,” but ill-formed, conscience still vote for pro-abortion politicians when there is another alternative.

That audience has to be reached immediately through every medium – at weekend homilies, through diocesan organs, by mass-mailing, by television and radio spots, newspaper pages, and Catholic websites.

The message has two components and both of them are perfectly legal, meaning that neither one of them violates the rules regarding the kind of communications allowed to tax-exempt organizations.

The first component of the message is a repudiation of the “seamless garment” policy as popularly understood, that is, as a “loophole” for voting for pro-abortion politicians. A perfect example of how to communicate this clearly and unequivocally was the [3] Joint Statement by Bishops Vann and Farrell.

Among the bishops who have so encouraged us by being similarly outspoken on this are: [4] Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton,  [5] Bishops Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo of Arlington and Richmond Virginia, [6] Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Rhode Island and oustandingly, [7] Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput. But we need all our shepherds now! We need clear and unequivocal statements – by every bishop to every parish.

The second component is voter education. Voter education is perfectly legal. It is not endorsement of one candidate or another.  It is abundantly clear that the campaign of Barak Obama has been engaging in subterfuge regarding his position on abortion. Out of the millions of Catholic votes to be cast a week from Tuesday are many that will be made by voters knowing neither how extreme the views of Barak Obama are on the issue of abortion nor the danger the pro-life movement faces from FOCA.

FOCA is on the bishops’ radar and the information about it on the USCCB website is extensive, but so far that website is not connecting the dots for Catholic voters.  A vote for Obama is a vote for FOCA. What FOCA is and Obama’s promise to sign it into law should be part of the voter education. Archbishop Chaput has been [8] making it very clear and we need more such exposure of Obama’s extremism.

bishop.jpgTriggered by Pelosi and Biden, a number of bishops spoke up this campaign to give abortion the unique priority it deserves in our discourse about national policy and to correct “pro-choice” Catholic politicians who misrepresented Catholic teaching. Among others, we have to thank Bishop Joseph Martino of Scranton, Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, CO and Bishop James Conley, his auxiliary, Bishop Robeert Morlino of Madison, Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington, DC, Bishop Edward Slattery of Tulsa, OK, Bishop William Lori of Bridgeport, CT, Bishop Fran Malooly of Wilmington, DL, Bishop Samuel Aquila of Fargo, ND, and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, MA. You have lifted our spirits by speaking the truth!

And with great directness the USCCB has responded both [9] last week and [10] this week to the argument that overturning Roe v. Wade is a “lost cause.”  Thank God for the steadiness of Cardinal Justin Rigali, another shepherd who gives us heart.

We have just days left. Will we look back four years hence at the unraveling of every pro-life gain, at pro-abortion and anti-family judicial tyranny entrenched for another generation, and perhaps even at legal persecution of faithful Catholics and any other Christian who resists the culture of death? We pray not!

Please Shepherds, Fathers, help us!

Article printed from Catholic Exchange: catholicexchange.com

URL to article: http://catholicexchange.com/2008/10/23/114233/

URLs in this post:
[1] here: http://www.usccb.org/comm/archives/2008/08-141.shtml
[2] here: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/issues/FOCA/FOCA_FactSheet08.pdf
[3] Joint Statement by Bishops Vann and Farrell: http://catholicexchange.com/2008/10/15/114163/
[4] Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton: http://www.dioceseofscranton.org/Bishop’s%20Pastoral%20Letters/RespectLifeSundaySeptember30th2008.as

[5] Bishops Paul Loverde and Francis DiLorenzo of Arlington and Richmond Virginia: http://www.catholicherald.com/bishop/detail.html?sub_id=7939
[6] Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Rhode Island: http://www.dioceseofprovidence.org/files/05-31-07_My_R.S.V.P.pdf
[7] Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput: http://www.archden.org/index.cfm/ID/655/Archbishop’s-Column/
[8] making it very clear: http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/oct/08102005.html
[9] last week: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/publicat/lifeissues/101008.shtml
[10] this week: http://www.usccb.org/prolife/Rigali-Murphy-Joint-Statement.pdf