Saturday, June 12, 2004
ORDINATIONS IN THE LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH
are presented on this website. This one for newly ordained Rev. Jason Sanderson is interesting:
The Rev. Jason Sanderson, of Newfields New Hampshire, is a native of Northeastern Vermont, and the youngest of six children. He began his spiritual journey, at the age of eighteen, in a monastery in Texas. His emerging path led him to invaluable experiences and relationships in both eastern and western Christian churches; and, it generated numerous trans-continental trips across the United States of America. Rev. Sanderson completed his theological studies in 1992, after spending time with an Orthodox jurisdiction in Massachusetts. Then, he took some time off, returned to Vermont, was married, and became the father of two wonderful sons.
Rev. Sanderson also began a secular career as a professional wrestler. He is a former tag team champion and a New England Heavyweight Champion. He works closely with professional boxing and wrestling organizations. He regularly travels around the country to raise funds that provide school scholarships. His charities have awarded approximately fifty scholarships, to worthy recipients, during the past five years.
In 2001, Rev. Sanderson founded St. Jude's mission. By combining his ministry with his wrestling, he ministers to people throughout northern Massachusetts, Southern New Hampshire, and Mexico.
Currently, Rev. Sanderson is a member of the Board of Directors of the Jobs For NH Graduates program, the Cauliflower Alley Club, and a Life Member of The Hundred Club of New Hampshire - a program that aids widows and orphans of police and firemen killed in the line of duty. Additionally, he is a member of the New Hampshire Historical Society and various Masonic groups. He also edits and publishes the "The Liberal Catholic Voice", a monthly newsletter.
I wonder if he was led to ordination by reading the website classified ads of National Catholic Reporter? (See blog below on National Catholic Reporter classified ads.)
LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH IN HISTORY OF HOMOSEXUALITY
This appears to be a University of Pennsylvania website. It offers a timeline of the history of homosexuality. This is an interesting entry:
1916: The Liberal Catholic Church, the first religious group to minister openly to lesbians and gays, is founded in Sydney, Australia.
NATIONAL CATHOLIC REPORTER CLASSIFIED ADS
Why does the National Catholic Reporter run a classified ad under the heading "Vocations" for the Liberal Catholic Church? Shouldn't they restrict their recruiting to the Roman and Byzantine Catholic Churches? From the website:
SEEKING THOSE WHO’VE HEARD THE CALL -- The Liberal Catholic Church International. Distance-learning seminary for apostolic priesthood. For more information, write: The Very Rev. Tony J. Howard, Dean, St. Alban, Theological Seminary, PO Box 2507, Frisco, TX 75034-2507. Web site: www.liberalcatholic.org.
Here is Fr. Tony J. Howard's church.
Another website of St. Clement of Alexandria Liberal Catholic Church. The home page here looks like the previously linked website for this church.
You've heard of "mystery shoppers"? Well, a reader sent in a link for "mystery worshippers." I'm not sure what the objective is here. Maybe just to compare churches? The Lone Ranger icon completes the bizarreness of this website.
MUSLIM SEARCH AND DESTROY MISSION
described at World Net Daily, that was sent in by a reader.
Al-Qaida has released its version of its capture of a foreign housing compound in Saudi Arabia and execution of 22 people, confirming reports that attackers were singling out non-Muslims, reports Geostrategy-Direct, the global intelligence news service. ...
Al Nashmi said the first target was the Khobar Petroleum Center, which houses the offices of international oil companies. The insurgents, wearing military uniforms, stormed the center, killed a guard and began searching for Western oil executives. The first victim, Al Nashmi said, was British oil executive Michael Hamilton.
"We were asking our brother Muslims, where are the Americans? And they showed us a building where companies have offices," Al Nashmi said.
"We did find an American. I shot him in the head that exploded. Then we found a South African and we shot him, too. In our search for unbelievers, we had to exchange fire with the security forces."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
EPISCOPAL AND LIBERAL CATHOLIC CHURCH NEWS
From the Washington Blade Online: Conservative Anglican archbishops this week demanded the expulsion of the Canadian Church for its description of gay relationships as holy, the Daily Telegraph reported.
Also from the Blade:
Openly gay pastor to lead new Liberal Catholic Church in Texas
DALLAS — The Liberal Catholic Church International’s new parish in Dallas will be led by a gay minister, according to a news release from the church. Archbishop James P. Roberts, bishop of the American Province for the Liberal Catholic Church, this week announced the founding of the Saint Mychal Judge Liberal Catholic Church, according to the statement.
THE CHURCH UNDER JOHN PAUL II
John Allen's column this week is informative. A reader sent me the link to be sure I wouldn't miss it. Where to begin...well, let me just pick up a few statements he makes.
Regarding the Pope's trip to Switzerland, Allen writes:
In that sense, the pope’s 103rd foreign trip, and his first in seven months, reflects the epochal transition now underway in much of Western Europe, where Catholicism is moving from being a culture-shaping majority to being an embattled minority.
Switzerland is a microcosm of the “ecclesiastical winter” besetting much of Europe.
And so the Pontiff went to Switzerland in the hope of giving the Church a "shot in the arm" according to Allen. He spcifically targeted Swiss youth, though the largest and most vocal group, when he "rocked and rolled" with them in Bern's Ice Palace, was Polish. It's no secret that the New Ecclesial Communities round up their youth to attend John Paul events. Allen writes:
...both the rally and the Mass had a definite air of “Catholic Woodstock.” The upbeat pop soundtrack certainly left toes tapping, but produced a distinctly unliturgical vibe at several moments, including after the presentation of gifts and just before the Eucharistic prayers at Sunday Mass. There was also a jazz swing number during what is normally quiet reflection time after the distribution of Communion. A couple of Swiss bishops let it be known they would not be in attendance because they found all this slightly unseemly.
The bishops found it unseemly as they well should. It sounds much more like Paul Winter's jazz mass called "Missa Gaia" or Matthew Fox's rave masses than anything Catholic. Allen's comment is right in line with comments made by Novus Ordo Watch, but Allen is not a Trad or a Lidless Eye. He writes for the National Catholic Reporter, for goodness sake, the source for news on entrenched liberalism. He continues:
Granted that Swiss Catholicism needs a politics of identity, was Bern really the model? The pop tunes at Mass and MTV-style presentations at the Saturday rally sometimes had an almost desperate feel, as if the Swiss were trying a little too hard to be relevant. Can a robust Catholic identity really be forged by mimicking the modes of expression of the larger culture? Or would the church do better to foster its own distinctive speech, prayer and devotions?
What could the Pope be thinking? Any port in a storm? Allen continues:
Anyone who sat through the Saturday night rally saw that John Paul II set these young people on fire. He may be a controversial figure within certain circles of the church and in the broader culture, but for youth longing for a full-bodied sense of Catholic identity, he is an icon. But he’s the pope, not the primate of Switzerland, and though he may reign for some time yet, the odds are this was his last sojourn among the Swiss. So where’s the homegrown leadership that will foster a viable politics of Catholic identity, not just over a weekend, but day in and day out?
How is it that the master politician who helped overthrow Communism also seems to be presiding at the overthrow of the Catholic Church in Europe? Are we supposed to believe that his brilliance is limited to secular politics and he becomes a bungler when it comes to leading the people of God? The alternative is to believe that he knows perfectly well what he is doing...that his actions are calculated to produce precisely the result that we see before us. To what end??
His general reception in Switzerland both from the press and the general public, was cool according to Allen. One wonders whether the ice arena would have been filled if the New Ecclesial Communities had stayed home.
A small but determined group of young radicals staged a rally in the streets of Bern the night before the pope arrived, chanting, “To the devil with the pope.” As John Paul was getting ready for Saturday’s youth rally, local college students were wandering around the downtown area handing out lengthy tracts against Opus Dei, as well as condoms bearing the label “Protect yourself … the pope won’t do it.”
The pattern held up in Bern, where the Sunday papers, reflecting the youth rally the night before, carried headlines that were usually some version of “Pope celebrated as pop star.”
I'm not sure if the Pope is taking Michael Fox lessons or Michael Fox is taking Pope lessons, but the similarity of events fostered by each of them is mind shattering.
The crowd hung on the pope’s every phrase. They sang, they danced, they did the wave, and for a few moments the ennui of centuries of history seemed to lift. Swiss Catholicism felt young.
Youth is seldom thought of as an age of wisdom. Speaking as a Catholic well past my youth, and hopefully finally acquiring a little wisdom, this crowd scene would be a distinct turn-off. Perhaps older Swiss would agree.
Moving on to the meeting of George Bush with John Paul II, Allen points out that the Pope's critical remarks to the President which would normally be made behind closed doors, were made in the open.
John Paul’s speech was, in the eyes of many observers, somewhat tougher than expected. Despite predictions that the pope would “take Bush to the woodshed,” papal rhetoric, at least in public, is usually circumspect and polite. If there was to be clash, most expected it would happen behind closed doors.
Instead, the pope reminded Bush of past disagreements.
“Your visit to Rome takes place at a moment of great concern for the continuing situation of grave unrest in the Middle East, both in Iraq and in the Holy Land,” the pope told the president. “You are very familiar with the unequivocal position of the Holy See in this regard.”
One Vatican official told me June 9 that this line “should put to rest” speculation that John Paul himself was not as critical of the Iraq war as some of his aides.
Having gotten the criticism over with, the Pope moved on to praise Bush for his defense of the family. Allen writes:
I spoke to a senior Vatican diplomat June 9, who was at pains to emphasize that the meeting between Bush and the pope had been “very positive,” and that relations with the Americans are “much closer today than one year ago.”
This official conceded that the pope did not hide certain criticisms, but insisted that “there were more points of convergence than difference.” Especially on Iraq, he said, the Holy See supports the transfer of sovereignty to the Iraqis and is cheered by the administration’s efforts to secure a United Nations resolution recognizing the new government.
Should a Catholic in America be cheered by this? According to Allen:
Another high-ranking Vatican diplomat explained it to me this way several months ago. We want the Americans to succeed, he said, because for the issues we care about -- human dignity, religious liberty, the rule of law -- they’re the only game in town. Our concern is with means, not ends, and we’re trying to encourage America to be the best version of itself.
It would be nice if Rome could also recognize that the Catholic Church in America still has some life left in it. Take for example, Bush's request of the Pope:
Bush asked the Vatican to push the American Catholic bishops to be more aggressive politically on family and life issues, especially a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as a union between a man and a woman.
Did you get that...the President of the United States is begging the Pope to defend marriage and family issues. Since it's supposed to be the other way around, we have yet again evidence of lack of leadership in the Roman Catholic Church.
Allen also speculates on the possibility of the American Nuncio, Montalvo, being bumped upstairs, which would mean a new Nuncio for the U.S. Since the Nuncio can make or break the appointment of a bishop, this is a position that could be critical to the Church's recovery from the abuse scandal.
Allen reflects on the history of presidential accord with John Paul II. This bit of news in the midst of his reflection was especially interesting:
...when John Paul visited Poland for the first time as pope in June 1979, the Polish government had banned the national TV system from broadcasting his schedule. The idea was to hold down crowd size by ensuring that people wouldn’t know where to go. In a forthcoming documentary for the Discovery Channel, however, former CIA director Robert Gates relates how the American spy agency used a suitcase to smuggle a device into Poland that overrode Polish TV and broadcast the itinerary.
Allen closes this week's column with comments about Bonhoffer. He offers an insight that he got from Ratzinger, which applied to Christianity in Germany at the time of Hitler's reign. It could easily be applied to Catholicism in Western civilization today:
Only those Christians with a “thick” ecclesiology, Ratzinger argued, were able to withstand the pressures from the Nazis to assimilate. Liberal Christians who had deliberately weakened their concepts of church, he said, found themselves naked in front of the pressures of a hostile state. ... however well intentioned, a weak ecclesiology makes the church vulnerable to manipulation for someone else’s ends.
Surely Ratzinger has pointed this out to John Paul II as well, yet we have Assisi events and a multi-purpose religious shrine developing in Fatima, seemingly with the Pope's approval.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
HE CAN'T BE SERIOUS !
A reader sends this link from the Jerusalem Post:
Standing before the EU parliament in Brussels on May 16 2001, French EU parliamentarian Paul Marie Couteax made a stunning statement. After condemning Israel's actions to defend itself against Palestinian terrorism as the "theocratic excesses of this religious state," Couteax declared that Europe should supply the Arab world with nuclear weapons. In his words, "I have no hesitation in saying that we must consider giving the Arab side a large enough force, including a large enough nuclear force, to persuade Israel that it cannot simply do whatever it wants. That is the policy my country [France] pursued in the 1970s when it gave Iraq a nuclear force."
NEW SHOPPING TRENDS
CBS Market Watch reports:
Everywhere here at the annual convention of the International Council of Shopping Centers, people -- and there are some 40,000 at this event -- are talking about the newest, coolest, most exciting places to spend money. Though still in their infancy, open-air lifestyle centers are either changing the way we shop or changing retail for the way we shop.
They are sprouting up in mostly affluent ZIP codes, typically the initial testing ground of retail concepts, and they promise to redraw the retail map for at least the next two decades.
That depends on whom you're speaking to. Mall developers and real estate investment trusts like Taubman and General Growth Properties don't think the industry should be so quick to embrace lifestyle centers and cast aside regional malls.
The article includes a picture of Easton in Columbus, Ohio--referred to as Easton Town Center in the article. That might be its proper name, but shoppers in Columbus call it a Mall, and a significant part of it is a typical enclosed mall where you can shop when it's raining.
Many of the stores, though, are outside, along with a number of restaurants, including the Cheesecake Factory (my favorite place to get take-out dessert). Standing on the sidewalk at Easton reminds me of standing on Main Street in Disney World. The atmosphere is nearly identical, minus the characters, of course.
There is a park-like area with a fountain where the kids to play on one side of the enclosed mall. I suspect mothers use this as a bribe. The fountain is comprised of a number of water holes in the pavement out of which water spouts at random. The kids run through it, sit on the holes to stop the water, push each other into it, and in general have a really good time. One of my favorite things to do in Columbus on a sunny summer afternoon is get my take-out dessert and go sit in this park to watch the kids while I'm eating it.
Unlike other malls in Columbus, particularly the downtown mall, Easton is frequently crowded, especially on the weekend, but even during the week. It's the place to go during daylight hours, and the place to avoid after dark, particularly if you are a woman shopping alone. It has a bad reputation for problems at night. So the picture is not entirely rosy.
This mall has something I have never seen before--a parking deck. Two of them, in fact. With three or four levels (I haven't counted) and entry gates, but no tickets to take and no fees to pay. Yet. There are some other parking lots as well, but only a few cars can park in front of the stores.
One thing the article says that is not true of Easton. Unlike the lifestyle centers discussed, Easton is the largest Mall I've ever seen. Now I haven't been to Mall of America, but I've been in enough of them to have a good idea what a mall is supposed to look like. Easton has them beat.
By the way, one of the largest stores at Easton is Barnes & Noble which is two stories high. And apart from the restaurants, it and a Christmas shop are probably the only stores where I would actually buy something. The clothing styles in the Easton shops for the most part appeal to much younger people. There are two Victoria Secrets stores--both outside on the street, one on each side of the enclosed Mall. The enclosed area is three floors tall. The theater takes up a third of the third floor.
This is also the only mall I've ever been in where there is live entertainment in the central court. Harp music on one occasion. Grand piano on another.
Friday, June 11, 2004
MADONNA LOVES KABBALAH
In fact, she loves it so much that she is incorporating Kabbalah candles into her stage act. The candleswill have names such as "Evil Eye" and "Sexual Energy."
RELIGION MOTIVATES HATE CRIMES
according to an article at Canadian Catholic News:
A pilot survey involving 12 major Canadian police forces shows that religion was one of the top hate crime motivators in Canada during 2001 and 2002.
Hate crimes motivated by religion accounted for 43 per cent of the 928 hate crime incidents reported during the two years, second only to hate crimes motivated by race and ethnicity, which accounted for 57 per cent of the total. Blacks and South Asians were among those most targeted in crime incidents motivated by race or ethnicity.
According to the article, anti-Semitism topped the list, followed by those targeting Muslims. Catholics came in at 1%.
CHARISMATICS IN THE NEWS
From Zenit, an article about Catholic Charismatics that says much of the usual stuff. There is heavy emphasis on evangelization. One wonders, though, since these Charismatics are being evangelized by a theology obtained from the Protestants, just what church they evangelize for. Matteo Calisi, President of the Catholic Fraternity of Charismatic Covenant Communities and Fellowships offers his interpretation of the workings of the Holy Spirit:
"The doctrine of the Church and the experience of Charismatic Renewal in its more than 30 years of life reveal to us a beautiful teaching: If Christians do not use the gifts and charisms of the Holy Spirit, the latter [charisms] will die."
Somehow the Church survived for centuries without experiencing these teachings. Somehow the non-Christian and Protestant churches took up these teachings before the Roman Catholics decided to embrace them. Somehow the Roman Catholics caught these gifts from the Protestants. That is simply backwards. No Pope prior to Vatican II would have approved of this. Such a break with the teachings of the Church is too problematic to be trusted. The Holy Spirit would not work with those who do not believe in Christ. He would not work with those who were practicing a religion formed of heresy in order to bring a new theology to the Catholic Church. This spirit is not trustworthy.
THE HINDUS AND THE THEOSOPHISTS
A priest and a brother of the Liberal Catholic Church attended a Hindu ceremony in Africa. This would be of hardly any importance to a Roman Catholic except that anyone who didn't know that the Roman Catholic Church and the Liberal Catholic Church do not subscribe to the same theology, would assume this was just another part of the Church of Rome.
The annual "Gayatri Chalisa" held in an Indian township in South Africa took a unique turn when two members of a Catholic church attended it and described it as "an uplifting experience". ...
Father Werner Siegmund and Brother Damon Urbani of the St Albans Liberal Catholic Church in Observatory, Johannesburg, said they had also attended many functions at Hindu temples as part of their approach that all religions have the same ultimate objective.
Responding to the surprise expressed by the Hindus that Bro. Urbani knew a lot about the Hindu Scriptures, he said:
"It is all part of the open-minded attitude that we have in our church, where as part of our studies we are also required to study other religions"...
This Catholic can hardly avoid noting the similarity between the reaction of this priest and brother and the Hindu ceremony at Fatima.
A SHARE OF THE SPOTLIGHT
In 1996, I was a Catholic disturbed by the changes that had taken place in my Church. I was aware that various groups were agitating for even more change, though the desired change varied from group to group. I was a refugee from my local liberal parish lodged in a conservative Novus Ordo parish, and at peace with Sunday morning services, after the turmoil of ten+ years in that previous church home. In 1996 the Church seemed to be headed in the right direction, and the Pope was the one shining hero who was determined to lead the Church back to Christ--the brave captain of the Bark of Peter in whom I could place my trust.
Then came 1997. Early in January my family bought a new computer with a Windows program. We were excited about the news that America On Line was beginning internet service at a flat rate for the first time. By February I was on the web with an insatiable curiosity about everyone and everything. It didn't take long to realize that there were not enough days in a lifetime to read about it all in cyberspace, and I narrowed my enthusiasm to the topic closest to my heart--Catholicism.
The product of a lifetime of writing letters to anyone who would write back, I was primed for posting on message boards. It didn't take long to find a Catholic board, and the give-and-take started to fill spare moments, stolen moments, vital moments. Curbing the desire to check the posts was a constant challenge then, and resisting the temptation to check e-mail and the latest news is a constant challenge now. Like many other web surfers, I think God dropped a chip into my brain at conception.
Lately, I've been noticing more and more a disconnect between American Catholic life as it appears on the web, and American Catholic life as it's lived at Mass on Sunday morning. There is peace at Mass, mostly. There is strident discord on the web. But the Catholic web is made up largely of Catholics who are at Mass on Sunday morning. I can't resolve this disconnect.
The strident discord is taking itself off to Denver to make its presence known when the Bishops meet. Since the meeting is to be an off-the-record, closed-door session, the discord must rely primarily on the Denver headlines.
The Denver Post lists the groups that will be on the scene:
American Life League
Call to Action
Colorado Concerned Catholics (affiliated with VOTF)
Society for Truth and Justice (a Randall Terry group)
SNAP, coincidentally, will be holding its national conference in Denver this weekend.
To get into the headlines and thus make their presence felt at the Inverness Hotel, these groups will have to create news. Creating news requires doing something sensational to justify the organization money spent on hotel bills, so I am bracing for more screaming Catholic headlines.
Back when I got online in 1997, the mythical bishops were the farthest thing from my thoughts. Had you told me back then that a day would come when I would track the press coverage of their every move, I would have told you to go a little easier on the Scotch.
Likewise in 1997 I would not have believed in my worst moments that a day would come when I was less than enthusiastic about Papal pronouncements. The Pope who was going to save the Church in 1997 has become the Pope who has let the Church self-destruct--a Nero who grandstands while Rome collapses.
No, I am no more pleased with this new perspective than other Catholics are pleased with my voicing it. I want my hero back. I want to believe that the Pope is almost Christ returned to earth. I want to believe that he always acts in line with the tenets of the faith...that he is more than human. But the evidence keeps getting in the way, and no matter how I try to interpret his actions, I am still left with a mind-boggling discomfort that he has made a break with the Popes who went before him down through the centuries, at least on some vital issues at any rate.
And so in recent days I've come to be wary and weary of turning on the computer in the morning, and finding yet another reason to be disturbed. Rarely I am surprised with good news. And now it seems that the stage is set in Denver for more of the same.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
ONE OF THE VICTIMS
We hear a lot about clergy abuse which describes the perp. and the events, but we hear relatively little about victims.
Ira Simmons report ChronWatch," dedicated to challenging the stories in the San Francisco Chronicle, describes Lori Haigh, the woman who was paid $1.2 million by the San Francisco Diocese, according to Simmons. The story does little credit to either the Diocese or to the victim.
Thursday, June 10, 2004
"STRANGER THAN FICTION"
is the way the editors of the current NOR's "New Oxford Notes" describe the practice at St. Francis Episcopal Church in Stamford, Conn., of giving Holy Communion to pets, who naturally receive on the tongue rather than in the hand.
Morphing the subject of pets into a discussion of the dog culture out west, NOR continues:
Here on the Left Coast, at least in the San Francisco Bay Area, dogs have replaced motorcycles and pick-up trucks as the coolest lesbian accessory. As we all know, the Episcopal Church is extremely "gay"-friendly, so we assume that a good number of the Episcopalian animal-people are lesbians. And many Episcopal dioceses perform same-sex "weddings." Many opponents of same-sex "marriage" exclaim that the next thing will be human-animal "weddings." We've found that far-fetched, but maybe there's something to it. Officially, Episcopalians regard Holy Communion as a sacrament, but not Matrimony, so if a pet can receive a sacrament, surely a pet can "marry" his owner--oops, guardian--in church. And remember: There are fewer condemnations of bestiality in the Bible than of homosexuality. If the Episcopalians can swallow homosexuality, bestiality has to be a cinch.
Yes, we can see it now. The picture in the paper, that is. Fido and Forklift Florence inside a sumptuous Episcopal church. What a cute couple!
FORGET THE APPROVAL OF ABORTION
as a reason for denying a parishioner reception of the Eucharist. In Saganaw there is a "better" reason. The entire parish was denied reception, and all over Our Lady of Guadalupe:
Like Lopez, Ruth Gomez was disgusted last Sunday when church priest the Rev. Ramiro Trejo, angry over dissension sparked by the statue rift, stormed out of morning Mass without performing communion.
"He took the chalice and the plate and he went," recalled Gomez, 66, a follower of the Virgin and a member of the "Damas" group dedicated to that cause.
"People just kind of sat there in shock. Many of them couldn't believe that had just taken place."
Added Lopez, "I've never seen a priest do that, just leave us. That's never been done."
Well what did they expect after they invoked the ultimate strategy:
Since the end of January, collection plate donations have skidded to $2,500 weekly from the normal $5,500, church members said.
"Money talks," lifelong church member Manuel Lopez, 63, said of the tithing freeze.
Catholics have long known that the way to get the attention of the ordained is by withholding the green stuff. Rev. Trejo has simply upped the ante.
The article indicates that "a few members joined Trejo that morning in walking out of the sanctuary." (One tends to wonder what they were doing in the sanctuary in the first place, but we won't go there.) In any case, these same protesting parishioners who supported the priest on Sunday also want him gone.
It seems that the treasured statue that has sparked this controversy has been banished to "a room" while "the sanctuary's architectural design better accommodates a 3-by-5 foot Guadalupe painting than the [5-foot] statue." So apparently asthetic taste is valid grounds for denial of the Eucharist if you live in Saginaw.
Though the parish is 85% Hispanic, the church is named for St. Joseph, reflecting the Irish culture that established it. The statue, bought with funds earned by selling tamales, arrived from Mexico in 1961. Last year she was banished when the new church was dedicated, even though the congregation was promised the statue would retain its prominence in spite of the arrival of the new painting. Those opposing the change are in the minority.
Fr. Trejo has told the flock he will leave by fall if the issue is not resolved.
Organizer Mosqueda, a Bay City dentist who lives in Saginaw Township, said [Bro. Kent] Bauer [the church administrator] has told him the Diocese of Saginaw has prohibited the statue from joining the painting.
"It is never appropriate to have 'duplicate symbols' in a space, thus the thought of filling the niche with the statue AND the painting ... is not even a consideration," Diocese of Saginaw Director Mary Sellars Malloy told Bauer in a Nov. 6, 2003, letter.
She then added, "I beg of you ... not to ruin your spirit, your witness to the neighborhood and the diocese, your reputation as the Rainbow Parish, over statues and paintings."
Bro. Bauer, "called Mosqueda's version of the dispute 'skewed,' vowed to lock out the evening's prayer vigil attendees and said, 'We don't want to discuss this anymore'."
On first reading the story is funny, but on further reflection, not really funny at all. This isn't the first church divided over symbols removed when there is a renovation or new construction. Instinctively Catholics know that without our symbols we lose our faith, and so we treasure that which helps us pray. The symbols may change depending upon the nationality and culture, but the need for them is universal, and therefore they and their meaning must be defended, whether we are talking about the Eucharist or a statue of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
DISPARITY IN PAY
between Catholic and public school educators has long been an embarrassment to the Church. In recent years a serious effort has been launched to reduce this disparity. It was with that thought in mind that I read this article, but now I'm wondering if I've somehow misinterpreted it. It does seem that the public school teachers are demanding pay equity with Catholic school teachers who have gotten a larger percentage raise. Should this blog be labeled "News from Planet Zircon"?
"We are seeking an urgent meeting with Dr Refshauge . . . to demand that the NSW Government and the Department of Education and Training immediately apply to reopen the case in the Industrial Relations Commission to secure the same percentage increases for public education teachers in promotional positions.
"A decision that awards more to Catholic school teachers than their public education counterparts is unfair and intolerable. The Government must rectify this situation."
The Government yesterday announced that teaching support staff in public schools would receive a pay rise of between 5.7 and 7.4 per cent from July 1 this year.
IRAQI CHRISTIANS PREPARING TO LEAVE COUNTRY
While the American exit from Iraq is accomplished, Iraqi Christians are preparing for a life in exile by getting Baptismal certificates from their church leaders.
"We thought the Americans were going to bring us freedom and democracy," said 31-year-old Robert. "Instead, they are promoting Islam. We do not understand it. ... We love the Americans! We are so grateful for them removing Saddam and giving us back our freedom. We do not want their effort to be a failure if the dictatorship of Saddam is replaced by the dictatorship of Islam."
Robert continued: "The American-funded TV station, Al Iraqia, broadcasts Muslim programs four times every day and for two hours each Friday but nothing for the other religions. The recent inauguration of the new government was opened by a Muslim mullah reciting a long passage and a prayer from the Koran, but none of our priests were invited. Why do they do this? Why do the Americans promote Muslims? They need to promote equality and democracy and freedom, not Muslim dictatorship."
Blogger credit to Crux News.
CATHOLIC CHARITIES AND CHILD SNATCHING ?
Crux News has a story linked that links this website. I'll leave it to Michael Rose to spend his morning reading the website so he can tell us whether there is any validity to the claim.
MARK - 1 / CARRIE - 0
The Watley Review.
Ok, I'm browsing the site.
The Watley Review is dedicated to the production of articles completely without journalistic merit or factual basis, as this would entail leaving our chairs or actually working.
Hmmm. It seems I may have tripped on the rock in my garden path.
But why did they bury this bit of truth in the midst of such nonsense?
Senator Jim Bunning (R - Kentucky) has recommended that the Food Guide Pyramid be discarded because it is actually part of a pervasive Masonic conspiracy. ..
“The pyramid is obviously a subliminal way of indoctrinating our youth with the notion of a caste system," said Tampa Bay Correspondence School professor Luke Cardwyn. "The tip, or apex, represents the "rich" foods; the bottom of the pyramid is the "grains" group, millions of faceless grains toiling in anonymity to make the complex carbohydrates that sustain society. It's reprehensible social manipulation."...
[Now don't you go heating up your keyboard, Marc. ;-) ]
Wednesday, June 09, 2004
DR. JAMES HITCHOCK SOUNDS ALARM BELLS
in the Catholic Herald:
In England a crowd assaulted a street preacher who posted a sign saying, "Stop Homosexuality." The police arrived and made an arrest of — the preacher! He was convicted of insulting and harassing behavior. Also in England, an Anglican bishop was investigated by the police after he publicly suggested that homosexuals seek counseling.
Meanwhile the Irish Council for Civil Liberties has warned the Catholic Church of possible prosecution if it promulgates the Holy See’s official statement on "same sex unions." In Canada a teacher has been suspended for writing a letter to a newspaper saying that homosexuality is immoral. The preacher was being deliberately offensive, and the teacher’s letter no doubt upset many homosexuals among his students. But would there have been similar actions by the authorities if the preacher had attacked the Catholic Church, or if the teacher had denounced "religious fundamentalists?" I know of no such cases.
These are only a sampling of numerous recent episodes in which, where homosexuality is concerned, governments are prepared to abrogate civil liberties. The American tradition of free expression so far has resisted these measures, but there are no grounds for complacency.
Just outside public view, in books and journals read only by scholars, there are influential American political and legal theorists who openly advocate the restriction of religious liberty, in order to prevent the "wrong" ideas from being circulated. In particular these theorists bluntly insist that parents have no right to inculcate their own beliefs in their children. (For a survey of this movement, see my article in the February issue of the journal First Things.) ...
The implications of this are breathtaking. For almost 70 years courts have been expanding the scope of religious liberty. Now, by one stroke of the pen, Massachusetts reduces that liberty to merely "the performance of ceremonies." The decision reeks of the prejudice of the extreme secularist — religion is a matter of "meaningless rituals," and it cannot be allowed to play a public role. If the decision stands, all kinds of religious activities — charity, education, moral witness — will cease to enjoy constitutional protection.
ST. RONALD...OR MAYBE NOT
A nationwide movement which has quickly taken shape since the death of former president Ronald Reagan met unexpected opposition today when the Catholic church noted that it is not in the habit of making saints out of protestants.
"Beatification and canonization are very special acknowledgments reserved for faithful members of the Church, and then only after years of investigation," said Archbishop Gerald Benidetto. "While we appreciate the outpouring of affection that the late Mr. Reagan has received, we respectfully observe that canonization is more than a popularity contest."
Could this be a development of the large number of deceased Catholics who have been canonized in recent years?
"That's an outrage," said Myrna Costello, president of the Saint Reagan Society. "Since when did the Pope get a monopoly on making saints? And I'm not talking about those knock-off "latter-day saints" they've got out in Utah. Ronald Reagan was the real deal, and he deserves a goddamn halo."
Since Reagan was a member of the Disciples of Christ, and since they have no formal provision for declaring one of their members a saint, Myrna isn't likely to get her wish very soon.
In fact, the title "saint" has long been a registered trademark of the Catholic Church and must be licensed for use by others.
"Well let me tell you, we pay a pretty penny in fees to use our name," said Judy Harmon, executive vice president for the New Orleans Saints football team. "And I hear the Mormons have to fork over even more. They tried to argue that "latter-day saint" is a different term and should be exempt, but the Supreme Court sided with the Pope."
Undeterred by the archbishop's refusal, the Saint Reagan Society is actively pushing to have Reagan canonized by 2005.
When did God go into the licensing business?
THE HIATUS IS OVER FOLKS !
Sigh. It's a nun again...an ex-nun. Why am I not surprised? Well I will not be sending a letter. Enough is enough!
SHE WORE WHAT ?
Rome seems to have suspended heresies and scandals in respect for Ronald Reagan. I couldn't find a single eye-popper in any of my favorite Catholic news sites this morning.
There is a commentary by Fr. Edward McNamara at EWTN that caught my attention, though. It's about wedding attire.
I remember a few years ago an Italian bishop publicly scolded a couple for their extravagance when the bride arrived in an open convertible, followed by a pickup holding her train. It seems that the hapless couple were trying to enter the record books for the longest bridal veil when they caught the prelate's eye as he left the chancery.
This is just a singular example of what can happen when the social aspects of marriage predominate over the mystery of man and woman united sacramentally in the bond of Christ.
Can you imagine this wedding party driving away from the church? Let's hope the guy in the pick-up didn't get a red light!
Ok, I admit it. I'm totally out of step with current trends in bridal attire. When, for instance, did modesty become an anachronism?
Fr. McNamara agrees:
...guidelines are especially important today, when what is fashionable is inspired by media stars who are not exactly paradigms of Christian virtue.
With regard to dress, these guidelines should emphasize the specifically religious nature of a Christian wedding and positively present modesty within this context. And while they should generally avoid being a list of prohibitions, they do well to provide clear parameters of what is expected.
Consider the strapless gown that is so popular in Northeast Ohio. The white says "virginial" while the expanse of uncovered flesh says "temptress." When this gown migrates to the newspaper wedding page where only the torso of bride and groom are shown, my reaction to the gown is usually something on the order of "Where's the dress?"
Then there is the unwelcome speculation as she negotiates the aisle, about what would happen if a member of the wedding party accidentally stepped on the train, placing tension on the upper region of the dress...well, you get the picture. This is hardly in union with the concept of "modesty," is it? And in church of all places. I guess I should be ashamed of myself!
The strapless gown places a lot of emphasis on the bride's anatomy. I'm sure the groom notices, too. Standing up there near the altar, watching his bride walk toward him, his thoughts are supposed to be about love and committment not desire and lust, but what is this dress telling him? Of course it just may be telling him "Well, you've seen it all before, so put your eyes back in their sockets." But let's suppose the couple actually practices Catholicism before their Catholic wedding. If his feet are so cold that he doesn't react, maybe they should postpone the marriage.
Fortunately I've never seen a wedding gown quite like this one even on the wedding page. Are there really brides who want to project this sort of image? Try to imagine explaining this dress to your grandaughter when she is thinking about getting married in her grandmother's gown. Sometimes spaghetti straps help, but not much in this case.
What is this business about "pregnancy gowns"? Yes, yes, I know...some brides are pregnant. Those used to be called "shotgun weddings" and the bride sacrificed the party in repentance for her ill deeds. Shotgun weddings were not exactly celebrations. But times have changed.
Now there are "Maternity Wedding Dresses." Get this recommendation:
Invest in a perfect fitting maternity wedding dress that accents your curves and features.
Curves. Ah yes...the chief "curve" being the child you are trying to give a name to on this particular wedding day.
Here ya go. Can't you just hear maiden Aunt Sally in the pew whispering to her sister Aunt Jo: "She was always so thin. When did she gain all that weight?" That's not weight, Aunt Sally, that's "curves" don'tcha know. And only $750 worth of "curves" at that. Think how many diapers that would buy!
When I was young a sleeveless wedding gown was out of the question for a Catholic wedding. No one entertained the idea of a strapless wedding gown in their lewdest dreams. It just wasn't done. And a modest bride wore long sleeves, even if they were see-through. Ok, I'm showing my age while voicing this unpopular opinion. Get used to it. I'm not into political correctness.
Father McNamara says that "although white is the traditional color for weddings in the English-speaking world, it is not obligatory." What I can't seen to grasp is why brides who may even be pregnant still gravitate to white. The symbolical purity the color represents bears not even a nod to reality in too many weddings. And for the most part, white women look lousy in white. Why not a dress that accents the color of your hair and eyes? At the very least, a little color on the bodice would be a fashion improvement. Is it that the brides are afraid of looking honest here?
If the bride is so inclined, she can skip the bridal botique and go for a costume wedding. Theme weddings are becoming popular. Would Fr. McNamara approve of a Renissance wedding? Maybe I should be asking whether he could keep a straight face during the ceremony. I do hope the groom isn't named Bobbit! It doesn't quite replace wearing a crown, or crushing a glass, though, does it?
You can have a Goth wedding ala Martha Stewart--(Do priests conduct ceremonies in jails?) If you want to go completely Goth, try a black dress. Just tuck a flask of water under your bridal bouquet in case Fr. McNamara passes out at the altar.
If you want to get married in Mouseland, here's the Disney Wedding Webring. At least none of the brides in the website are wearing mouse ears, but I suspect the characters will show up if you pay them. Check out this groom. Do you know any young man who would wear that get-up for his bride? (I can't think of a single one--and if I were becoming his mother-in-law, I'd be worried about one who would!)
Throughout all of these websites, I didn't see a single offer of clothing to wear for the "marriage that lasts." Mayabe that's because no one can market commitment. Commitment, it would seem, is the one ingredient that is never mentioned in wedding websites. All caught up in the excitment of the event, does the young couple take the time to think about what "till death do us part" really means? The divorce statistics are not encouraging. That Cindarella coach is going to look awfully silly in the midst of the first fight. Heck, it might even become the cause of the first fight!
If you think about it, the wedding marketers are not really opposed to those statistics. Divorce leads to remarriage in our culture, and remarriage means another wedding to sell.
Tuesday, June 08, 2004
HILMA AF KLINT'S ARTWORK ROOTED IN THEOSOPHY
Rosicrucianism and Anthroposphy according to Artdaily. Her work will be on exhibit in Umea, Sweden until October 17. She is pictured here along with some of her work.
This website, Gallery Walk Archives from Battleboro, Vermont, gives a short biography of Af Klint and shows two more paintings: Together with four other women she formed a spiritualist group during the 1890s. The Friday Group, or the Five, as they called themselves, began as an ordinary spiritualist group that received messages through a psychograph (an instrument for recording spirit writings) or a trance medium. The members of the group -- af Klint, Anna Cassel, Cornelia Cederberg, Sigrid Hedman, and Mathilde N. (family name unknown) -- met in each other's homes and studios. Over the years af Klint became mediumistically adept and eventually functioned as the sole medium of the group. During the Friday Group's séances spirit leaders presented themselves by name and promised to help the group's members in their spiritual training; such leaders are common in spiritualist literature and life.
Through its spirit leaders the group was inspired to draw automatically in pencil, a technique that was not unusual at that time. When the hand moved automatically, the conscious will did not direct the pattern that developed on the paper; the women thus became artistic tools for their spirit leaders. In a series of sketchbooks, religious scenes and religious symbols were depicted in drawings made by the group collectively. The group's drawing technique developed in such a way that abstract patterns, dependent on the free movement of the hand, became visible....
This Stockholm museum website shows in black and white a piece done in 1907 that features a lot of spirals.
MORE EVIDENCE OF SATANISM IN ITALY
From The Age: A satanic sect, the hypothesis runs, commissioned the murders in order to obtain intimate parts of female flesh for use in depraved rituals in the Tuscan countryside; esoteric stone circles (and a curious granite pyramid) found at some of the murder sites hint at black magic.
Giuttari's theory tallies with the thesis developed in a report prepared for the Italian secret services in 1985. Written by Francesco Bruno, the most famous criminologist in Italy, the report was, inexplicably, never passed to the police; Giuttari came upon it only two years ago.
Both men now believe the report may have been buried to protect a Monster who had powerful allies.
Nineteen years on, Bruno stands by his conclusion: the murders had a "mystical, almost religious motivation. The killer acted only on certain days, in certain areas. He was almost a moralist, punishing unmarried couples; he killed before sex began. And he always killed the woman on the ground, sacrificing her to Mother Earth. It was a kind of purification."
Local people are more sceptical. Any new "revelation" is met with understandable suspicion — each previous "breakthrough" has proved embarrassingly inadequate.
Meanwhile the BBC report on the recent discovery of two young Italians killed six years ago during a ritual includes this statement: The experts are having a field day: pinpointing the ease with which young people can make contact with Satanists on the internet, describing the attractions of Satanism to impressionable people steeped in Catholic culture - and blaming the breakdown of traditional family values for the extreme alienation of some young Italians.
Will children, or some of them, raised on Harry Potter develop into teenagers who embrace satanism? Considering the popularity of the books, it's a sobering thought.
TENNESSEE FORTUNETELLER IN UK NEWS
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - A federal judge struck down a law requiring fortunetellers to post disclaimers on their shops and advertisements, calling the ordinance an unconstitutional restriction on free speech.
U.S. District Court Judge Robert Echols, ruling in favor of former tarot card reader Beth Daly and the American Civil Liberties Union, rejected the city of Dickson's argument that its law was intended to protect citizens from fraud.
Echols cited earlier rulings that determined ``predictions are only fraudulent if the speaker knows of facts that will prevent a prediction from coming true.''
Daly said Tuesday she was ``very pleased'' with the ruling, but has no plans to reopen The Curiosity Corner, where she sold books, art, candles, yoga supplies, glassware, and read tarot cards for a $25 fee. She's now studying to be a paralegal and private investigator.
So can the Gypsies who allegedly love to sell "blacktop" for driveways conduct legitimate business in Tennessee because they know for certain that their junk oil will turn the driveway black? Or how about I sell a car in Tennessee by telling the buyers that it will start to fly in August? Or a computer program guaranteed to be virus-proof? Business potential is looking up down South.
THE FRENCH MONARCHY
is in the news:
SAINT-DENIS, France (AP) - French royalists staged a pageant-filled funeral Tuesday for a tiny, rock-hard relic they hailed as the heart cut from Louis XVII, who died at age 10 in a filthy revolutionary prison.
A hearse brimming with lilies - the symbol of the French crown - delivered a crystal vase containing the heart to the Saint-Denis Basilica. There, it was placed in a royal crypt containing the remains of Louis XVII's parents, Marie-Antoinette and Louis XVI.
After two centuries of mystery surrounding the boy's fate, DNA tests have convinced many historians that the relic passed secretly from person to person was truly the royal heart.
A faction of royalists - who want to turn back the clock and restore the monarchy - seized on the DNA tests to press the government to allow the funeral at the Gothic basilica north of Paris, the resting place of France's kings. ... Continue reading the story at the website.
TERRI'S PARENTS CAN VISIT HER AGAIN
A reader sent the link to an update on Terri Schiavo. Judge Greer has ruled that Michael Schiavo can no longer forbid the Schindlers from visiting their daughter. The details are in this report by WorldNetDaily.
WILL FR. KUNZ MURDER BE SOLVED ?
Channel 3000 news clip on Fr. Kunz's murder linked at Crux News. From the website:
Dane County officials said one possible motive in the killing was that Kunz had several intimate relationships with women over a period of 20 years. Hamblin said that those relationships were going on up until his murder.
Some of the women Kunz was involved with were parishioners at St. Michael's Church, and some apparently were married.
While Hamblin would not say if the relationships were sexual or not, he said that Kunz was "intentionally secretive about them."
Hmm. Fr. Kunz had an excellent reputation in every news clip I've read about the murder until this one. Is an effort being launched to discredit a good priest in order to cover up something else?
AVE MARIA COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY WOES
are covered in detail at Crux News.
Michael Rose dissects Ave Maria's letter to parents. Can we say "major dust-up here"? It is hard to understand how a Catholic facility could end up with such a conflict; and it appears that Fr. Fessio, a trusted name in traditional Catholic circles, has reneged on promises made and accepted in good faith.
When I think of the cost of a Catholic college of higher education, and the sacrifices of parents and students to make it happen, and then read such an account as this, I get angry. Hasn't there been enough deception in the Roman Catholic Church for this century?
If I were considering a college education for my child, I would not consider either Ave Maria College, OR Madonna University, OR Newman College, OR Ave Maria University, since it appears that the leaders of both Ave Marias are untrustworthy and the money spent might just as well be flushed down the toilet. In short I would stay as far away from this mess as I could get!
A degree from an unaccredited school is hardly worth the paper it's printed on. Accreditation does not happen overnight, and this sort of strategy exhibited here has the potential to delay accreditation until the institution gets its act together. The students who have graduated, the students who are on the verge of graduating, have had the rug pulled out if Ave Maria College doesn't remain a separate identifiable entity in Michigan. No amount of positive spin will overcome this reality.
Fr. Fessio got a raw deal in California. Now it appears that he is giving one to others. And once again the Church of Christ is discredited.
Also at Crux, Dr. Edward Peters dissects letters exchanged with President Nicholas Healy and Chancellor (Rev.) Joseph Fessio, SJ.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Monday, June 07, 2004
SATANIC RITUAL BLAMED FOR DEATH OF ITALIAN TEENS
a story from Reuters sent in by a reader:
One of those arrested in the double murder is already in prison for the murder of a former girlfriend.
As many as 5,000 people are thought to be members of satanic cults in Italy with 17- to 25-year-olds making up three quarters of them, officials say.
"The phenomenon always existed in Catholic countries where the figure of Satan is prominent in teachings as the alter-ego of Christ," La Sapienza University professor Maria Matioti said.
The printer friendly version of this story is much longer with more details than the one I've linked.
The UK Guardian Unlimited adds these details to the murder story:
Marino went missing more than six years ago. But it was not until last month that her body was unearthed in a wood, alongside that of a 16- year-old youth. ...
Sapone, together with another member of the band, was arrested and charged earlier this year with killing a 27-year-old woman. Investigators believe she may have been murdered after finding out about the double killing of Tollis and Marino in 1998.
They have also reopened files on the deaths of a further four people.
One died of a drugs overdose. Another, whom investigators believe took part in the 1998 double-killing, was killed in a road accident. A third was found hanging from an electricity pylon. Yet another was found dead in a burnt-out car.
E-MAIL FROM LEE PENN
(In this e-mail he talks about the SCP Journal article that I've quoted from in a blog below. He also refers to a Reuters story which he included in his e-mail but copyright laws will not permit me to post here. It is the same story as the one you will find at the link at the beginning of his e-mail.--Carrie)
* * * * *
Here's a sobering news story.
The article is - unfortunately - correct, as far as I can tell.
My comment ...
I wrote an article this spring for the Journal of the Spiritual Counterfeits Project, titled "When the State Becomes God." It is a history of the growth of Government power over the people - and it implicates both parties equally in this development. Here are the article headings:
- Precedents from the 1790s through World War II
- Erosion of liberty during the "peacetime" 1990s
- Locking America down after 9/11
- The PATRIOT Act
- Beyond the PATRIOT Act
- Torture and hostage-taking [I wrote this before the Iraq prison scandal broke]
- Militarizing law enforcement
- State and local officials join the raid on freedom
- Technologies to enable tyrants [go here for the latest news on chip implants, and more]
- Resisting the tide
- Where we are going.
Everything is documented, in my usual fashion. If you want to buy the magazine with this article, call the SCP office in Berkeley California during business hours (9-5, West Coast time), at 510-540-0300, or visit their web site at http://www.scp-inc.org/.
I end the article thus:
It should be noted that - despite the aforementioned, ongoing threats - significant freedoms remain in the US, Western Europe, and the developed nations of the British Commonwealth. Were this not the case, I could neither research nor publish this story; this magazine, if available anywhere, would circulate as hand-typed samizdat. Most people, in most countries and in most ages, have not enjoyed this liberty of publicly criticizing the regime. Such liberty is a blessing, a glorious heritage, a gift of God.
Nevertheless, blessings can be lost, temporarily or permanently. The Prodigal Son squandered his inheritance on "loose living" (Luke 15:13); only with repentance was he restored (Luke 15: 21-24). Esau fared worse; he surrendered his birthright for "bread and pottage of lentils" (Gen. 25:31-34), and his loss - both of his birthright and his father's blessing - was irrevocable (Gen. 27: 35-38).
These Biblical precedents illustrate why, and how, we are losing our freedom. In part, the blame rests with a fearful and covetous population. In large measure, over the last 100 years, Americans have traded freedom for security and for government benefits: a "pottage of lentils." This choice, made repeatedly since 1912, has yielded the predictable results: a government far more powerful and intrusive than the British regime that we expelled in the Revolution. To some extent, the people have forged their own fetters. The same has occurred throughout the West.
There is another part of the story, as well. Since 1789, utopian anti-Christian ideologies have spread among the intelligentsia and the managerial classes throughout the world. These modern delusions include Jacobinism, socialism, Communism, Fascism, National Socialism, aggressive nationalism, Darwinian beliefs in racial superiority and "the white man's burden," and politicized, violent forms of Islam and Zionism. All of these ideologies are based on lies, and ultimately require use of force to gain and keep power. A world constantly beset by the believers in these delusions is a hostile environment for liberty.
The period since 1914 has been an era of global war; two World Wars were immediately followed by the Cold War, and then the present War on Terror. (The believers in the aforementioned utopian ideologies deserve the credit for these wars.) War inevitably increases government power; when peace returns, the liberties that existed prior to the war have never been fully returned to the people.
The loss of liberty in the West is a two-fold crime. The elites have taken our liberties by force, fraud, and propaganda, and the people have consented to this seizure. This is an offense against mankind, and is likewise an offense against God, who created us free, in His image. In 1755, Benjamin Franklin set forth the natural consequences: "Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety."
It remains to be seen whether ours is the case of the Prodigal Son - in which case, we may recover our liberty by repentance and obedience to the God Who is the Author and Source of our freedom. May God, in His mercy, preserve us from the fate of Esau!
Read the Reuters story below, and see why my closing comment is ....
America, enjoy your "pottage of lentils."
CATCHING UP ON READING MATERIAL
Monday mornings are usually slow newswise, and I'm WAY behind on reading material, so I took some time to catch up with a little of it.
The first item on the stack was an issue of Catholic Family News that arrived unexpectedly last Friday (I don't subscribe). Two articles were particularly pertinent to everyday events.
The first, "Wrestling with the Devil," breaks down Ignatian spirituality into manageable mouthfulls. Speaking of his observation of priests and brothers who tended shrines he visited as a youth in the company of his father, author Edwin Faust says:
What they taught me was that to love God and live His Commandments is to be happy. This is the teaching of the exercises. This is the great preaching of St. Ignatius and the council of all the angels and saints. God made us to know Him, to love Him, and to be happy with Him forever in Heaven. There is the simple purpose of our life. There are no unhappy Christians. (June 2004, Vol. 11, No. 6, p. 26)
But there are temptations that disrupt the happiness, and he lists the influences of the Father of Lies. One seems particularly appropriate to the present state of the world and the Church:
The fourth sign of the devil is disturbance.
Under this heading is included all of that emotional volatility we ascribe to moods. Moods are not imposed upon us by a decree of the fates or an irresistible biochemical reaction. Moods signify the presence of the devil. If we are irritable, angry, impatient, melancholic, listless, tense and in any way disquieted, we should recognize that the evil spirit is upon us, again trying to destroy the peace in our soul. Realizing this, we must not yield to these moods. (p. 26)
It doesn't take a lot of time spent in the daily marketplace to recognize this influence. People seem to be treating each other with more and more discourtesy, ill-will, condenscension, impatience, swearing, and downright maliciousness as each day passes. The peace that is constantly on our lips is seldom in our actions.
In fact it does seem that the more we talk about peace, the further it escapes our grasp. As we learn ever more creative ways to mistreat each other, we also cry out to our government to curb our visciousness, forgetting the cardinal rules of a civil society that we must treat others as we wish ourselves to be treated.
Governents are notorious for accommodating demands for greater authority. Leaders stand ready to exchange our insecurity for a peace that places a greater power in their hands. What began as a Bill of Rights and a Constitution has developed into so many volumes of law books that govern our every action, movement, and thought, that no one person is capable of knowing the content of all of them. In this way we exchange our God-given self-determination for man-centered restrictiveness. Freedom is only free so long as man uses freedom for goodness and righteousness. Once self-will and individual indulgence take precedence in our thinking, restrictions are essential to keep us civilized. There is no freedom to do evil, and Big Brother is the devil's invention as we all know.
Lee Penn develops this theme extensively in "When the State Becomes God", his article in the current SCP Journal, Vol. 27:4 - 28:3, 2004. He says:
In her April 2004 testimony to the Congressional 9/11 commission, National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice said that the attacks made possible "bold and comprehensive changes" for America: "Bold and comprehensive changes are sometimes only possible in the wake of catastrophic events. Events which create a new consensus that allows us to transcend old ways of thinking and acting. And just as World War II led to a fundamental reorganization of our national defense structure and the creation of the National Security Council, so has Sept. 11 made possible sweeping changes in the ways we protect our homeland." ...
The drive for power is bipartisan. In September 2001, House Democratic leader Richard Gephardt said, "We're in a new world where we have to rebalance freedom and security. ... We're not going to have the openness and freedom we have had." ...
Within six days of the September attacks, Attorney General Ashcroft was circulating early drafts of the law that would become the PATRIOT Act. (p. 28)
We've had wars and war restrictions before. Most of those restrictions were removed when the war ended, though not all of them as Lee documents.
There is the added concern that it will be difficult to tell when the War on Terrorism has ended. Unlike a war with another governing power that will be defeated or will surrender, there is no identifiable enemy in the War on Terror, and so there will be no identifiable moment of victory.
Some provisions in the PATRIOT Act have caused concern for Catholic groups. As Lee explains:
The ACLU has noted that Operation Rescue and anti-globalization protestors could be defined as domestic terrorists under these provisions; so could large-scale union picketing or massive, traffic-blocking antiwar protests. ...
Anyone who supports a group labeled as "domestic terrorist" may himself be investigated - even if he merely gives financial assistance and is not aware of the full range of the group's activities. Justice Department guidelines issued in 2002 give agents wide power to start an anti-terror investigation, for almost any reason: "the 'reasonable indication' standard for commencing a terrorism enterprise investigation ...[is] substantially lower than 'probable cause' ... The nature of the conduct engaged by a [terrorist] enterprise will justify an inference that the standard [for opening a criminal intelligence investigation] is satisfied even if there are no known statements by participants that advocate or indicate planning for violence or other prohibited acts." (p. 29)
It's no secret that traditional religions are being more-frequently branded "fundamentalist" and blamed for disrupting peace. Could an argument be advanced that traditional religions are terrorist in nature? We presume to have religious freedom in America. What then of Waco and Ruby Ridge?
Which leads me to a third article also appearing in the current Catholic Family News, titled "Hindu Ritual Performed at Fatima Shrine." The topic is familiar, but new details emerge in John Vennari's coverage. In defending the Hindu ceremony:
Noticias de Fatima...quoted the Capuchin Brother Fernando Valente who said, "We deal with traditionalists and fundamentalists; with people who actually missed the train. People, for whom time seems to have stopped decades ago, who are way back behind reality, and have therefore to be considered on a mental and spiritual level, comparable to the Taliban."
Noticias de Fatima then said, "Declaring this 'Catholic Talibanism' to be unhealthy, Br. Valente recalls that 'It is possible to interpret the Bible in such a way that it can say anything.' This is what these radical movements do, he adds, remembering that 'it is necessary to read the Bible with the spirit with which it was written'."
So Catholics faithful to Tradition are compared to the "Taliban", a name calculated to make us look as nasty, as barbaric, as unreasonable as possible. According to Brother Valente and Msgr. Guerra [the rector of the Fatima Shrine], it is now considered a crime to be faithful to Catholic Truth as it has always been taught by the Church throughout the centuries, and by the consistent teachings of the Popes. (p. 19)
Get that--traditional Catholics are the equivalent of the Taliban, and the Taliban are terrorists, and we are engaged in a War on Terror which necessitates that American liberties which are taken for granted (including religious liberties?) are to be curtailed in the name of peace and security.
If that doesn't generate a mood of disturbance, you either do not value your faith or you do not value your freedom.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
SIRHAN SIRHAN WAS A ROSICRUCIAN
From the Crime Magazine website:
Sirhan Sirhan did not set out with any grand plan to change U.S. history. He simply wanted to kill Robert F. Kennedy in revenge for Kennedy's support of Israel. As it turned out, Sirhan's assassination of Robert F. Kennedy -- on June 5, 1968, the first anniversary of the Six Day War -- would do more to alter the flow of U.S. history than even the assassination of President John Kennedy accomplished four years earlier. Although both assassinations would have profound and untold impact for decades to come, Sirhan's killing of Robert Kennedy would lead in a matter of months to the election of Richard Nixon as president, the escalation of the Vietnam War and eventually to the national nightmare of Watergate....
Occultism caught Sirhan's interest. Klaber and Melanson wrote that "Sirhan fervently embraced the realm of the mind: self-hypnosis, mind control, mysticism. He practiced the mental projection of images and ideas. He frequented one Pasadena bookstore that specialized in the occult and got a part-time job at another. There he read books he could not afford to buy, books with titles like The Laws of Mental Domination, Thought Power: Its Control and Culture and Meditations on the Occult Life: The Hidden Power.
"Sirhan also joined the Rosicrucians, a self-described ‘ancient mystical order.' In May 1968 he paid $20 to join after seeing an ad in a newspaper."...
"With absolutely no knowledge or awareness of what was actually happening in his Rosicrucian and occult experiments," Diamond explained, "[Sirhan] was gradually programming himself . . . for the coming assassination." The programming took place in "his unconscious mind" while "in his conscious mind there was no awareness of such a plan." Diamond accepted Sirhan's claim that he had not planned to kill RFK June 4, 1968 but had found himself by happenstance at the Ambassador Hotel. There "the mirrors in the hotel lobby, the flashing lights, the general confusion" put him "back in his trances" and in this "almost accidentally induced twilight state he actually executed the crime."
A DIGNITY MASS
In San Jose. The priest has apparently read Matthew Fox's "Original Blessing." It's not entirely clear whether this priest said that man is an incarnation of god, or not. But there is a distinct possibility that he did.
Sunday, June 06, 2004
DEVELOPMENT OF DOCTRINE
Catechism of Trent:
"What shall we say of pride? How much it offends God, we learn from these words: 'God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble'." p. 494
295: The chief sources of sin are seven: Pride, Covetousness, Lust, Anger, Gluttony, Envy, and Sloth...
296: Pride is an excessive love of our own ability; so that we would rather sinfully disobey than humble ourselves.
1866: Vices can be classified according to the virtues they oppose...They are called "capital" because they engender other sins...They are pride, avarice, envy, wrath, lust, gluttony, and sloth...
PRIDE, A DEEPER LOVE
OF COURSE HE HAD TO WRITE IT
Fr. Andrew Greeley's new novel about clergy sexual abuse.
In "The Priestly Sins," Andrew M. Greeley, author, sociologist and Catholic priest, weighs in on the clergy sex-abuse scandal in the Roman Catholic Church with a novel about one priest's encounter with that horror.
The Rev. Herman Hoffman is just getting started as a priest in a rural parish in the Midwest. He's a "farm boy six weeks into his first assignment" when he hears a child screaming from another priest's quarters. Hoffman races in, pulls the priest off the boy and warns other children to stay away from the twisted older man.
Hoffman reports the incident to the church hierarchy, which "rewards" him with threats against his job and a six-month stay in a psychiatric clinic.
The review goes on to present a squeeky clean young priest, who gives up a woman to enter the seminary. In fact the reviewer finds the priest a little too good to be believable. A veritable Fr. Bing Crosby. That would certainly be contrary to formula for Greeley, whose characters usually end up on the wrong side of the sheets in spite of all their committed Catholicism.
This new direction combined with the insider knowledge that Greeley possesses should make this book worth reading in spite of this negative review. I wonder if he has included the satanic circle in disguised form ala Malachi Martin?
LOS ANGELES EPISCOPAL BISHOP BANNED
from a meeting of Anglicans according to an article in my local paper yesterday.
LOS ANGELES - The Episcopal bishop of Los Angeles was forbidden from delivering a welcoming speech at a regional meeting of conservative Episcopalians that opened Thursday in Long Beach because he refused to sign a statement declaring that belief in Jesus as savior was the only way to get to heaven.
By requiring such a statement for conference attendance, leaders of the conservative American Anglican Council said they wanted the meeting to be a ``safe place'' for Episcopalians who dissented from the U.S. church's liberal stances on biblical interpretation and homosexuality.
The story is also carried at KTLA.com. with these additional details:
The rebuff underscored sharp divisions within the six-county Los Angeles Episcopal Diocese and the 2.3-million member national Episcopal Church. The council and the new Anglican Communion Network have been preparing to create a church within a church made up of what they describe as orthodox Episcopalians.
While Bruno was kept out, two conservative bishops, the Rt. Revs. Joseph Wasonga of Kenya and Peter Beckwith of Springfield, Ill., spoke to the conference at the Long Beach Convention Center. Jackson likened the Episcopal Church, known for its liturgy and eloquent cathedrals, to the Queen Mary docked nearby.
The ship "bespeaks tradition and grandeur of an age gone by," Jackson said. "But, it is dry-docked. It can't go anywhere. It's a place for tourists and not sailors, a place where people can visit and buy sailing souvenirs. I don't believe that's the kind of ship that Christ is trying to build…. In many ways the Episcopal Church is like the Queen Mary."