My Catholic Source.com News & Opinion Page (9/09 Archive)
Keywords: Catholic News, Catholic News Links, Catholic News Headlines, News Affecting Catholics, News From a Catholic Perspective, Catholic Opinions
In response to recent criticism over its handling of the priestly abuse scandals, the Vatican has issued a "defiant and provocative statement". The statement was read by the Vatican's permanent observer to the UN, Archbishop Silvano Tomasi. Some relevant points appear below.
* The statement indicates that problems in other 'churches' are "as big, if not bigger", noting the worse situation of Protestant 'churches'
* The vast majority of abuse cases have been homosexual in nature
* Research shows that the percentage of clergy involved is about 1.5%-5%
* Abuse of this nature is "far more likely" to be committed by family members, babysitters, friends, relatives or neighbors than by Catholic clergy
* Abuse is more common by school employees than by Catholic clergy
* The Church is "very conscious of the seriousness of the problem" and notes that abusers must be punished, potentially including removal from the clerical state
The statement concludes: "As the Catholic Church has been busy cleaning its own house, it would be good if other institutions and authorities, where the major part of abuses are reported, could do the same and inform the media about it."
Good advice, but not surprisingly, the Vatican's finger-pointing isn't sitting well with those outside the Church, some of whom are reportedly "dismayed". Also, the individual who accused the Vatican of covering up child abuse as well as violating several articles under the Convention on the Rights of the Child, said that the response did not contradict any of the accusations he made.
Although the points in the Vatican statement are truths which often go unreported, many Catholics are nevertheless likely to be displeased with the "we're not as bad as you" response. Rather, persons instinctively know that one single case of abuse - EVER - is one too many, just as a single cover-up of a single instance of abuse - EVER - is one too many. Although one Catholic newspaper assures us that these comments "do not represent, in any way, an effort by the Church to shirk its responsibility", it may be difficult for some persons to view the statement in this light. For many, it's way past time that guilty parties accept responsibility for their actions - without finger-pointing and without excuses. We'd be expected to do no less ourselves in Confession.
Faithful Catholics may find Pope Benedict's recent remarks regarding holiness deserving of special contemplation...
"We ask ourselves: In our day, is holiness still relevant? Or is it now considered unattractive and unimportant? Do we not place more value today on worldly success and glory? Yet how long does earthly success last, and what value does it have?"
Thanks to the recent efforts of pro-lifers, the lives of dozens of unborn children have been spared. According to reports, recent pro-life efforts have also caused at least two employees at abortion clinics to quit their jobs. Deo Gratias!
Note: Headline is quote of mother who changed her mind about an abortion due to previous efforts of pro-lifers. (Source: LifeNews.com)
[Related Resources: Threat to Life: Abortion (scope, misinformation, etc.)]
Cardinal Sean O'Malley of Boston recently gave good advice to Catholics to "protect our children from the poisonous message of hedonism, individualism and materialism on MTV and so many other places." It's a shame that many Catholics may find it hard to take his message seriously in light of the fact that the same Cardinal didn't seem bothered by the arguably "poisonous message" sent by him over his recent participation in (and unqualified defense of) the scandalous Kennedy funeral.
Does the Cardinal believe that children should be protected from "the poisonous message of hedonism, individualism and materialism on MTV and so many other places" but that these same children need no protection from the message sent by him earlier that it is acceptable for an ardent promoter of abortion & homosexual 'marriage' - a man for which HLI said "Every indication of Senator Kennedy's career, every public appearance, every sound bite showed an acerbic, divisive and partisan political hack for whom party politics were much more infallible than Church doctrines" - to be nearly 'canonized' by prelates?
One might reasonably expect a "poisonous message" from MTV - but such a message should never be expected from a leader of the Catholic Church. And is not the danger potentially far greater when poison is given by someone you should be able to trust?
Does the Cardinal fail to see how hedonistic, individualistic, and materialistic the evil of abortion is? Yet he finds no difficulty granting a public funeral - "gushing with praise" - to a man who had passionately fought for this evil for decades and never publicly repented?
One may fear that the advice to "protect our children from the poisonous message of hedonism, individualism and materialism on MTV and so many other places", should be countered with a suggestion to the speaker to look in the mirror.
The Polish Conference of Bishops has issued a statement in the wake of a court ruling requiring a Catholic newspaper in Poland to issue an apology & pay a woman seeking an abortion over $10,000 after it "demonized" her over her desire to kill her unborn child. They consider the verdict "an attempt against freedom of speech and the right of the Church to moral judgement of human behavior" and stated that "Proclaiming the Gospel of life is in the mind of the Church one of its basic duties. To deny the Church this right, and what's worse to impose legal punishment for reminding the truth about the fact that nobody has authority over the life of another person, is an unacceptable limitation of the Church's mission."
Prelates critical of the verdict include...
* Archbishop Zimon who stated that "[he doesn't] understand the court's statement that abortion can be called 'killing' in the general sense, but not when referring to a particular person."
* Cardinal Dziwisz who said that "I dare say that this verdict brings back the spirit of the past, when true words had to be paid for with guilty court verdicts"
* Bishop Dydycz who stated that "the court convicted a Catholic newspaper for telling the truth about responsibility for abortion, which is killing."
A growing number of laypersons in Poland have joined the criticism, some even adding their signatures to a letter that "theoretically" means that they could also be sued.
The following is in response to the radical pro-abort 'Catholic' Sebelius' recent attempt to excuse her anti-life position under the guise of separation of church & state... [Note: See earlier link entitled "Pro-abort Sebelius refuses to say whether she obeys her Archbishop's request not to receive Holy Communion; Ties her support for murdering of unborn babies on her 'firm belief' in the 'separation of church and state'"]
"It's really hard not to feel ill when one reads such a response from Sebelius who is so unabashedly and vociferously dead-set against the teaching of our Church... She seems to think that this public-private dichotomy of her person is a virtue. In medical terms it's called schizophrenia." (Fr. Euteneuer, HLI President)
Catholics are outraged to learn the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD), an arm of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has once again been caught funding organizations which go against Catholic teachings. Earlier, it was revealed that the CCHD had given millions of dollars to the controversial ACORN organization. But just recently, a study has uncovered that the CCHD has been funding organizations that...
* Urge opposition to a measure requiring parental notification for minors before an abortion
* Advocate opposition to bills which protect marriage as being between a man & woman
* Promote abortion, the use of c*ntraception, and the 'morning after' pill
* Work to defund abstinence programs
* Seek to 'legalize' prostitution
In other words, thousands of dollars of YOUR hard-earned donations entrusted to the USCCB campaign have been used to promote sin & undermine the Catholic faith.
The CCHD claims they have now taken corrective action. However, skepticism is hard to contain since in the wake of the ACORN scandal, Catholics were assured that (1) "CCHD's current criteria and guidelines prohibit partisan activity and funding of any group that engages in activities contrary to Catholic moral teaching, whether or not those activities are funded by CCHD" and that (2) "These criteria are actively enforced". As the founder of the group conducting the study said, "We never know that our donations are going to be safe to give to the CCHD." Reportedly, although the CCHD has funded these organizations which go against the faith, it "very explicitly does not fund Catholic institutions and apostolates that work with the poor."
[story here] [9/23]
Once again, St. Januarius' blood has miraculously liquefied on his feast day. The following is from a Catholic Encyclopedia article...
"It is especially this miracle of the liquefaction which has given celebrity to the name of Januarius, and to this we turn our attention. Let it at once be said that the supposition of any trick or deliberate imposture is out of the question, as candid opponents are now willing to admit. For more than four hundred years this liquefaction has taken place at frequent intervals. If it were a trick it would be necessary to admit that all the archbishops of Naples, and that countless ecclesiastics eminent for their learning and often for their great sanctity, were accomplices in the fraud, as also a number of secular officials; for the relic is so guarded that its exposition requires the concurrence of both civil and ecclesiastical authority. Further, in all these four hundred years, no one of the many who, upon the supposition of such a trick, must necessarily have been in the secret, has made any revelation or disclosed how the apparent miracle is worked. Strong indirect testimony to this truth is borne by the fact that even at the present time the rationalistic opponents of a supernatural explanation are entirely disagreed as to how the phenomenon is to be accounted for."
"The officiant usually holds the reliquary by its extremities, without touching the glass, and from time to time turns it upside down to note whether any movement is perceptible in the dark mass enclosed in the phial. After an interval of varying duration, usually not less than two minutes or more than an hour, the mass is gradually seen to detach itself from the sides of the phial, to become liquid and of a more or less ruby tint, and in some instances to froth and bubble up, increasing in volume. The officiant then announces, "Il miracolo é fatto", a Te Deum is sung, and the reliquary containing the liquefied blood is brought to the altar rail that the faithful may venerate it by kissing the containing vessel. Rarely has the liquefaction failed to take place in the expositions of May or September, but in that of 16 December the mass remains solid more frequently than not."
The article also notes that: (1) A 1902 examination "yielded the distinctive lines of the spectrum of blood", confirming that the phial does, in fact, contain blood; and (2) a "series of experiments" using "a very accurate balance" found that "the weight was not constant any more than the volume", noting that "This very large difference renders it impossible to believe that such a substantial variation in weight can be merely due to an error of observation. We are forced to accept the fact that, contrary to all known laws a change goes on in the contents of this hermetically sealed vessel which makes them heavier and lighter in a ratio roughly, but not exactly, proportional to their apparent bulk."
[Note: Catholic Encyclopedia article may be found here]
Sometimes it seems that every week brings news of further government intrusion into our lives. A couple recent items include the following...
* Your next garage sale could cost you up to $15 million in government fines [story here]
* State supreme court unanimously rules that police can break into a suspect's car and secretly install a tracking device [story here]
What government encroachments can we look forward to next week?
Here we go again with the media and their idea of "devout" Catholics. This time, we read of a "devout" 'divorced & remarried' Catholic, a "devoted follower of astrology," who wrote a regular horoscope column (which her own daughter said - not disapprovingly - was "like her third child"). Will someone kindly explain to the media what it really means to be a devout Catholic? And please be sure your explanation includes holding all Church doctrine & following all Church rules.
"All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to 'unveil' the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone. (Catechism of the Catholic Church)
"Now, against the sacrilegious and impious darings of reason, we assert both that God knows all things before they come to pass, and that we do by our free will whatsoever we know and feel to be done by us only because we will it. But that all things come to pass by fate, we do not say; nay we affirm that nothing comes to pass by fate; for we demonstrate that the name of fate, as it is wont to be used by those who speak of fate, meaning thereby the position of the stars at the time of each one's conception or birth, is an unmeaning word, for astrology itself is a delusion." (St. Augustine, Doctor of the Church)
A couple recent news items have set off a "gullibility alert." Wonder how many will be taken in?
» Apparently Catholics are now supposed to believe that Fr. Jenkins of Notre Dame is a pro-life champion. On one hand, he has announced a new task force to "support the sanctity of life" and he plans to attend a march for life next January, on the other hand he invites the "most pro-abortion president in history" to his Catholic campus & awards him with an honorary law degree while peaceful pro-lifers on his campus - including an elderly priest - are carted off to jail. These pro-lifers now face fines and additional jail time since Fr. Jenkins has essentially ignored requests to drop charges or seek leniency. Now there's a great pro-lifer, huh?
» Catholics in Samoa are holding vigils at a building where a "mysterious" image has supposedly appeared. Some believe the image "represents" the Blessed Virgin Mary holding Rosary beads. News reports say the "image" is caused by "weathering" outside the building and by "patches of damp in the tropical climate." One believer said that "it's quite a lot of excitement for us to have something like this", while a spokesman for the Archbishop says of the image, "This is something people should look deeply into." Some observers say the image looks like a "Coca-Cola bottle" while others claim it looks "more like Christ." And where do you think the image appears? One guess... On a building owned by a Protestant (heretical!) 'church'. Yes, that's just got to be the Blessed Virgin. No wait, maybe it's Coke.
Young girls need not apply for entrance into the U.S. unless they are willing to risk their health. That's the message being sent by the case of a 17 year old British immigrant who refused to take the controversial HPV vaccine, Gardasil, which has been linked to nearly 50 deaths and more than 1,000 "serious" or "life threatening" adverse effects. The girl involved in this case has pledged to remain a virgin until marriage and doesn't want to take the potentially dangerous drug. For the sake of accuracy, might the Statue of Liberty be redone so that she holds a syringe in her "welcoming" hand?
Some recent news items once again confirm that the enemies are within. For example...
* A group of Catholics in Maine are now organizing to undermine diocesan efforts in that area to overturn gay 'marriage' laws
* Former Senator Santorum recently said that during the Senate debates regarding banning partial birth abortion, "almost a third of the votes against the bill were Catholics"
* One blog has noted that state of Maryland "ranks among the nation's leader in abortions" even though Catholicism is the largest "denomination" in that state
Can you imagine the better world we would live in if all Catholics were really Catholic?
Faced with numerous church closings, some Catholics are hoping to find an ally in government. One recent case involves an Ohio parish which may receive protection via proposed legislation that would prevent the diocese from demolishing the church or gutting its interior. In another recent case, parishioners in Texas have received some help from the court in their ongoing legal battle against the archdiocese. Such developments are welcome news for Catholics upset at the thought that their beloved parishes may be demolished or turned into entertainer's homes (as in Texas), opera houses (as in New York), or something even more unsavory. Maybe this is one type of 'government rescue' the majority of Catholics can agree upon.
With 9/14/09 marking the two year anniversary of Summorum Pontificum officially "freeing" the TLM, it seems a fitting time to review some recent news in connection with the SSPX. Recent news items include:
* Reports indicate that a SSPX priest was once again permitted to celebrate the TLM at St. Peter's a short time ago
* Reports indicate that a commission has been named for discussions between the Vatican and the SSPX
* Doctrinal discussions (or "negotiations") between the Vatican and the SSPX may start "in the next few days" [9/15/09 Update: These talks are now expected to start in October, not "in the next few days"]
* One Cardinal (whose diocese seems plagued with liturgical abuse - described by at least one person as being "out of control") has been making waves by his recent claims concerning the SSPX that... [Note: Commentary may appear in italics]
* "It's not the case that Rome will let the Lefebvrists off easy for everything"
(Note: The SSPX has indicated that it will not compromise. For example, one SSPX leader has previously said "We will not make any compromise on the Council. I have no intention of making a compromise. The truth does not tolerate compromise. We do not want a compromise, we want clarity regarding the Council.")
* The SSPX will have to accept "religious freedom as a basic human right"
[Note: While the Church has always recognized (private) religious freedom of the individual, the Church has traditionally condemned the idea that heretics should be able to publicly spread the poison of heresy, excepting cases where this evil had to be tolerated (click here for more on the Church's traditional teachings on religious liberty)]
* Some matters are to be considered "not negotiable" - As worded by one Jewish organization: "Respect for Judaism and other religions is mandatory for [the SSPX's] readmission into the mainstream Catholic fold"
[Note: If respect for Judaism and other (false) religions is mandatory to be a member of the Catholic fold, where does that leave the popes, saints, apostles, etc. who apparently didn't realize they should have such "respect" for religions that offend God? - For example St. John said not to even greet heretics or one would share in their evil works (see 2 Jn. 1:6-11) and Saint Paul said, "After a first and second warning, break off contact with a heretic, realizing that such a person is perverted and sinful and stands self-condemned." (Ti. 3:10-11)]
It is unclear how the Cardinal's implication that there was a "mandatory new position" could be reconcilable with previous Church pronouncements which have consistently forbid novel teachings. For example...
"If anyone says that it is possible that at some time, given the advancement of knowledge, a sense may be assigned to the dogmas propounded by the Church which is different from that which the Church has understood and understands: let him be anathema." (First Vatican Council)
"Those, therefore, who dare to think or to teach otherwise or to spurn according to wretched heretics the ecclesiastical traditions and to invent anything novel, or to reject anything from these things which have been consecrated by the Church: either the Gospel or the figure of the Cross, or the (representational) picture, or the sacred relics of the martyr; or to invent perversely and cunningly for the overthrow of any one of the legitimate traditions of the Catholic Church; or even, as it were, to use the sacred vessels or the venerable monasteries as common things; if indeed they are bishops or clerics, we order (them) to be deposed; monks, however, or laymen, to be excommunicated." (Second Council of Nicaea, 787 A.D.)
Furthermore, it is unclear how the Cardinal expects "full acceptance" of novel teachings of the Second Vatican Council as if they were infallible dogmatic pronouncements considering that Vatican II was merely a pastoral council which pronounced no infallible doctrines whatsoever. As the Pope who closed the Second Vatican Council said: "Given the Council's pastoral character, it avoided pronouncing in any extraordinary manner, dogmas endowed with the note of infallibility." (Pope Paul VI, General Audience, Jan. 12, 1966) As Cardinal Ratzinger, council father and the future Pope Benedict XVI has said, "There are many accounts of it which give the impression that, from Vatican II onward, everything has been changed, and that what preceded it has no value or, at best, has value only in the light of Vatican II. The Second Vatican Council has not been treated as a part of the entire living Tradition of the Church, but as an end of Tradition, a new start from zero. The truth is that this particular Council defined no dogma at all, and deliberately chose to remain on a modest level, as a pastoral council; and yet many treat it as though it had made itself into a sort of super-dogma which takes away the importance of all the rest."
Let's hope the discussions will prove fruitful for the Church and that they will provide some much needed clarification for all Catholics.
[Please Note: We do not encourage Catholics to attend unapproved Masses.]
[9/14, updated 9/15/09]
In the wake of the killing of a pro-lifer, abortion advocates who like to style themselves "pro-choice" have thrown around the term "anti-choice activist" to describe the slain abortion opponent. There was also mention that there was "some displeasure with how open he was" since he "tended to carry big signs with very graphic pictures of fetuses."
Isn't it amazing how the abortion proponents will refuse to inform women of the serious medical risks of abortion, they may fiercely attempt to deny the obvious fact that abortion kills a human being, and they may even try to block a pregnant woman from having the right to see an ultrasound of her womb, but they claim they are for choice? Why is it they so virulently hate it when women see pictures depicting the end result of the "choice" they want them to make (i.e. a picture of an aborted baby)? Aren't they the true "anti-choice" advocates? An honest choice is made when all facts are considered, yet they want to hide facts from a woman faced with this "choice" so that she might "choose" an abortion.
Isn't it about time that pro-abortionists are called what they truly are - "anti-choice advocates" (or "pro-deathers") - since they are the ones who are preventing women from making a true choice - they really only want her to kill her baby. They have no other "choice" in mind.
Furthermore, it should be remembered by both sides that by the time a woman is pregnant, she already made a choice given the fact that - excepting modern technological monstrosities and the rare exception of rape - the only way to become pregnant is by making a choice - the choice to engage in an act whose very purpose is to cause pregnancy. This is where the true choice is made. If a woman makes this choice, consequences may follow. This is how the body is designed. Biology 101 you might say. The same pro-deathers might think it was wrong to enjoy the pleasure of food and then vomit it up to avoid the consequences, yet they will "fight to the death" for a woman to enjoy the pleasure of the marital act and then kill a child to avoid the natural consequences. Let them remember where the true choice is made. By the time a woman is pregnant, it was already made.
Despite evidence to the contrary, various government officials are trying to convince Americans that healthcare reform legislation will not use taxpayer funds for abortion. But stating it doesn't make it so. Numerous groups on both sides admit that taxpayer funds will ultimately be used for abortion under pending legislation. Whether those who argue otherwise are simply ignorant or are intentionally misrepresenting the truth, they ignore one inconvenient fact: Both the House and the Senate have rejected amendments to prohibit taxpayer funding for abortion. Given this fact, how do they expect us to believe their claims? Simply because they say so? It's time to prove it with action.
According to a NLM article, the Italian press is reporting that Pope Benedict has told the local bishops he "desires a greater composure in the liturgies, in which, he finds, applause and acclamations are out of place." Of course the Pope's position against applause at Mass is nothing new [he has previously stated that "Wherever applause breaks out in the liturgy because of some human achievement, it is a sure sign that the essence of liturgy has totally disappeared and been replaced by a kind of religious entertainment"], Catholics may nevertheless be encouraged by learning that the Supreme Pontiff has reaffirmed his position to the bishops.
[Related Resource: Flier: Applause in Church?]
It is being reported that Notre Dame's president is refusing to drop charges or ask for leniency in the case of pro-life protesters who were arrested earlier this year over their peaceful efforts on the Catholic campus. These protesters may now face a fine of $5,000 and up to 1 year in jail. Why not help your fellow pro-lifers by calling the university on their behalf and voicing your opposition to this injustice?
Phone: (574) 631-3903
Ice cream maker Ben & Jerry's has officially lent its support to homosexual 'marriages' which have been 'legalized' in Vermont by renaming a popular ice cream in that state from "Chubby Hubby" to "Hubby Hubby." The s*domite-friendly ice cream packaging contains a rainbow and an image of two "grooms." The company has issued a press release which states that they have partnered with a homosexual advocacy group "to raise awareness of the importance of marriage equality and to encourage other states to follow the blazing trails of Vermont, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Iowa, and Maine." Parents be warned, not even ice cream is safe anymore.
On his blog, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley has tried to defend himself against his critics over the Kennedy funeral (see previous news brief). Some highlights and commentary appear below... [Note: Emphasis may be added, punctuation & typos may have been changed]
The Cardinal said...
"Needless to say, the Senator's wake and Catholic funeral were controversial because of the fact that he did not publicly support Catholic teaching and advocacy on behalf of the unborn. Given the profound effect of Catholic social teaching on so many of the programs and policies espoused by Senator Kennedy and the millions who benefited from them, there is a tragic sense of lost opportunity in his lack of support for the unborn. To me and many Catholics it was a great disappointment because, had he placed the issue of life at the centerpiece of the Social Gospel where it belongs, he could have multiplied the immensely valuable work he accomplished."
Items missing from the above:
* Explanation of what the Cardinal means by "publicly" - being the tireless advocate for abortion that he was, Kennedy apparently didn't privately support Catholic teaching either - not that his public behavior would have been acceptable even had he held correct views "privately"
* Talk of sin - there is only talk of "a tragic sense of lost opportunity in his lack of support for the unborn" - no talk of the fact that this is gravely sinful. In fact, let's speak plainly: The Senator was an advocate for murder. This is especially serious in Kennedy's case since Scripture says concerning those who "sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth": "If we sin deliberately after receiving knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains sacrifice for sins but a fearful prospect of judgment and a flaming fire that is going to consume the adversaries. Anyone who rejects the law of Moses is put to death without pity on the testimony of two or three witnesses. Do you not think that a much worse punishment is due the one who has contempt for the Son of God, considers unclean the covenant-blood by which he was consecrated, and insults the spirit of grace?" (St. Paul, Heb. 10:27-29) One may find it difficult to even conceive of St. Paul speaking of a "tragic sense of lost opportunity" in connection with a public figure who advocated for abortion for decades while calling himself Catholic and receiving Holy Communion.
* Talk about the harm he did or the evil he promoted - there is only talk about multiplying "the immensely valuable work he accomplished". A person doesn't get a pass on one of the commandments even if that person happened to fulfill all the other nine "really well". As Scripture says, "For whoever keeps the whole law, but falls short in one particular, has become guilty in respect to all of it. For he who said, 'You shall not commit adultery,' also said, 'You shall not kill.' Even if you do not commit adultery but kill, you have become a transgressor of the law." (St. James, Jms. 2:10-11)
The Cardinal also said...
"The thousands of people who lined the roads as the late Senator's motorcade traveled from Cape Cod to Boston and the throngs that crowded the Kennedy Library for two days during the lying in repose, I believe, were there to pay tribute to these many accomplishments rather than as an endorsement of the Senator's voting record on abortion."
Who cares how many people came? Let's also not forget that some may have been motivated by self-interest (e.g. being a part of "history", meeting "famous" people, etc.). Wouldn't it be realistic to expect that many of today's deluded people would even attend a public funeral for Hitler? Of course, each would have different reasons. The number of persons who might attend has no bearing on whether it is appropriate for the Church to give a public funeral to a public sinner - especially a funeral which gushed so much praise on the deceased. Obviously, a public funeral which heaps praise on a public sinner who has not publicly repented is a scandal, regardless of how many might attend the service.
The Cardinal also said...
"There are those who objected, in some cases vociferously, to the Church's providing a Catholic funeral for the Senator. In the strongest terms I disagree with that position. At the Senator's interment on Saturday evening, with his family's permission, we learned of details of his recent personal correspondence with Pope Benedict XVI. It was very moving to hear the Senator acknowledging his failing to always be a faithful Catholic, and his request for prayers as he faced the end of his life. The Holy Father's expression of gratitude for the Senator's pledge of prayer for the Church, his commendation of the Senator and his family to the intercession of the Blessed Mother, and his imparting the Apostolic Blessing, spoke of His Holiness' role as the Vicar of Christ, the Good Shepherd who leaves none of the flock behind."
This seems to be a distortion on a number of levels. First, most of the critics probably would not begrudge the deceased a private funeral, especially given the reports of an attempt to "make amends." What critics disagree with is the public aspect of the funeral - the scandal of it all. The funeral - with eulogies by a Protestant pro-abortion president & politicized prayer intentions - was celebrated with the help of many priests and two cardinals (how many Catholics who actually follow Church teachings have more than one priest, much less a Cardinal, at their funeral?). Officials of the Catholic Church have publicly lavished praise on a public sinner.
What critics have talked about - what they have "vociferously" objected to - is the perceived offense against God & bad messages these actions have sent to Catholics (and others) worldwide. For example, consider: Is the Church really serious about sin?, Considering the treatment of Kennedy, could abortion really be such a big deal?, Are there no consequences for mortal sins?, Are we no longer to tremble at the thought of the Just Judge?, How can a politician with an abortion advocacy record like Kennedy's even be considered Catholic?, Does the Church consider the laws of God subordinate to political "niceties"?, Should we consider it appropriate for prelates - much less a pro-abort Protestant - to publicly praise an abortion advocate even from the sanctuary of our basilicas?, Do we really feel this treatment accorded to a public sinner pleased God?, Etc.
Furthermore, while the Senator's letter did acknowledge some failings, it also claimed that "I have never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of my faith." He had the audacity to include this in his letter to the Pope even despite his decades-long staunch pro-abortion advocacy (even for late term abortions!) and support for 'gay rights' & contraception. How could the Cardinal be so "moved by" this acknowledgement of failings considering that it was coupled with the patently unbelievable comment of the Senator that he "never failed" to "believe and respect the fundamental teachings of [his] faith"?
Regarding the Pope's letter, the Cardinal's remarks may be contrasted with Raymond Arroyo's previous comment that "Actually it was a note, very likely from the Secretariat of State. This is the sort of thing any member of laity receives when they send a prayer request or a Christmas card to the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick made is seem as if it had the weight of a new encyclical."
Cardinal O'Malley also said...
"As Archbishop of Boston, I considered it appropriate to represent the Church at this liturgy out of respect for the Senator, his family, those who attended the Mass and all those who were praying for the Senator and his family at this difficult time. We are people of faith and we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy."
While it is very true that we believe in a loving and forgiving God from whom we seek mercy, it is equally true that He is a Just Judge that demands true repentance for sins and the amending of one's ways. If we omit the element of justice, we may place ourselves in danger of the sin of presumption. The big omission here in light of the public funeral is the deceased's public repentance. Hopefully he did truly repent - complete with the intention of amending his ways - so that he could receive mercy, but this is not for us to know since it was not made public. It is, however, especially worrying that he wrote to the Pope that he had "never failed to believe and respect the fundamental teachings of [his] faith." If he was so deluded in this matter, was he even aware that he was in need of repentance for violating these teachings that the thinks he "never failed" to "respect"? It seems he would have been better served if the Church had corrected him on this matter - and others - while he was alive. As Holy Scripture says "Reprimand publicly those who do sin, so that the rest also will be afraid." (1 Tm. 5:20) Scripture clearly doesn't say to simply presume God's mercy.
The Cardinal states...
"Advocating for the dignity of life is central to my role as a priest and a bishop."
Then it's a shame that he lost the chance to (1) turn the abortion-advocating Senator around while the he was alive (e.g. possibly by refusing him Holy Communion), and (2) send an unmistakable message to the world that advocating for abortion is a serious crime that - if not repented for - will result in one's being denied a public Catholic funeral. Instead, the Cardinal sent the message that one can be a rabid pro-abortion proponent and still be praised publicly from the sanctuary of the Catholic Church. The actions of the Cardinal speak much louder than his words.
The Cardinal states that...
"...the pro-life movement is best characterized by what it is for, not against. We are for the precious gift of life, and our task is to build a civilization of love. We must show those who do not share our belief about life that we care about them. We will stop the practice of abortion by changing the law, and we will be successful in changing the law if we change people's hearts. We will not change hearts by turning away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss."
Maybe that's part of the problem with the pro-life movement today - few seem to speak of what we are against (e.g. mortal sin, offending God). Jesus certainly didn't shy away from these topics, nor did popes or saints of the past - yet this didn't hamper their efforts to build a "civilization of love." In fact, such warnings have turned many lives around. It is obviously necessary to show kindness and compassion, but glossing over harsh truths (e.g. mortal sin, judgment, hell) is a disservice to all. The great Catholic preachers of the past knew the power and importance of speaking of judgment & hell. It is sometimes essential to show one's care for others by "tough love" - going "against" what is wrong not simply advocating what is right. Jesus & the apostles certainly did this. Regarding not wanting to "turn away from people in their time of need and when they are experiencing grief and loss", one cannot argue with that - except to say that a private funeral would have sufficed. Obviously, the most appropriate time to have handled the matter of the Senator's sins was while the Senator was still alive. But they didn't want to do this then either. Instead, they allowed the Senator to receive Holy Communion even wile sinning publicly. They apparently allowed him to continue in grave sin and scandal without correction. That is truly something to grieve about. It is also grievous that they lost the opportunity to bring mourners to repentance for their own sins by denying a public funeral for a public sinner. They were given no sense of the gravity of the Senator's decades-long public sins. Rather, he almost seemed to be 'canonized'. We certainly won't change hearts by acting as if they don't need to be changed!
The Cardinal stated,
"At times, even in the Church, zeal can lead people to issue harsh judgments and impute the worst motives to one another. These attitudes and practices do irreparable damage to the communion of the Church. If any cause is motivated by judgment, anger or vindictiveness, it will be doomed to marginalization and failure. Jesus' words to us were that we must love one another as He loves us. Jesus loves us while we are still in sin. He loves each of us first, and He loves us to the end. Our ability to change people's hearts and help them to grasp the dignity of each and every life, from the first moment of conception to the last moment of natural death, is directly related to our ability to increase love and unity in the Church, for our proclamation of the Truth is hindered when we are divided and fighting with each other."
It's hard to know where to start here. Clearly the above contains some truths, but it seems a stretch to believe that those who criticized the Cardinal's actions were "imputing the worst motives." Rather, it seems critics have been genuinely concerned about the result - the scandal, the bad effect on others - rather than the motives of those involved. Regarding "harsh judgments", would it be accurate to say that the Cardinal may think that anyone who didn't agree him was issuing a "harsh judgment"? St. Paul - along with many other saints - certainly uttered some "harsh judgments" and it seems doubtful that the Cardinal would say that their "attitudes and practices [have done] irreparable damage to the communion of the Church." Of course it is true that we must love one another, but this doesn't mean that we are to go along with anything anyone chooses to do. Rather, Scripture tells us to "hate what is evil" (St. Paul, Rom. 12:9) and "admonish one another" (St. Paul, Col. 3:16). Jesus himself says, "If your brother sins, rebuke him" (Lk. 17:3). The Cardinal is definitely right about one thing - "proclamation of the Truth is hindered when we are divided and fighting with each other." Might we suggest that the Cardinal stop causing division by fighting against those who rightly oppose the scandal?
If giving a public funeral brimming with praise to a public sinner (who never publicly repented) - one who may be complicit in the deaths of far more (unbaptized!) persons than Hitler ever was - a person who all the while claimed to be "Catholic" and received the Holy Eucharist - is not scandalous, what ever could be?
Recent days have seen more well-known Catholics adding their names to the growing list of persons speaking out in the wake of the public Kennedy funeral, particularly against the prelates who lent their support to the scandal that left Americans "totally confused about what it means to be Catholic." A couple of relevant quotations appear below.
* ALL President Judie Brown stated that: "The entire travesty, from the television cameras to spectacle itself, goes beyond anything I have witnessed in my more than 65 years of life. In fact, while we all thought the appearance of President Barack Obama at the University of Notre Dame was a scandal, the very idea that he offered a eulogy in a basilica, while the Real Presence of Christ was in the tabernacle, is perhaps the most dastardly thing I have ever seen. America witnessed this nation's most avid supporter of abortion on demand, standing in a Catholic basilica, during the Mass, speaking of a fellow pro-abort in glowing terms! That alone is such an insult to Christ that words simply cannot express my sorrow. Yet a greater source of sadness is that the Cardinal Sean O'Malley, of the Archdiocese of Boston, looked on as though insulting Christ Himself were an everyday occurrence."
* EWTN News Director Raymond Arroyo, after noting the "marvelous bit of political theatre (as so much of Senator Kennedy's funeral was)" and the Cardinal's "rather unfortunate history involving the delivery of letters, particularly those from a certain Vatican official by the name of Ratzinger" said: "The prayer intercessions at the funeral mass, the endless eulogies, the image of the Cardinal Archbishop of Boston reading prayers, and finally Cardinal McCarrick interring the remains sent an uncontested message: One may defy Church teaching, publicly lead others astray, deprive innocent lives of their rights, and still be seen a good Catholic, even an exemplary one. The casual viewer is tempted to think that Catholicism has become a Church of externals where core doctrines and major teachings are as malleable as they are in the nearest Protestant community... As a final desperate attempt to stamp the imprimatur of the Pope upon the funereal proceedings, Cardinal McCarrick read what he called the 'Pope's response' to Senator Kennedy. Actually it was a note, very likely from the Secretariat of State. This is the sort of thing any member of laity receives when they send a prayer request or a Christmas card to the Pope. Cardinal McCarrick made is seem as if it had the weight of a new encyclical."
Of course these represent just a few of the many critical responses from Catholics who are scandalized by what they saw last weekend. Unfortunately, though, since so many prelates seem to have forgotten what the word scandal even means, it seems it might take a miracle for them to have a change of heart on such matters. But, as we know, miracles do happen - so keep praying! And, if you haven't yet voiced your concerns to those involved, why not do so now?
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Thanks for the help: Florida bishops won't support personhood amendment as a matter of "prudential judgment", not principle; The bishops "hope to avoid divisive interactions with the organizers of the amendment" who are "disappointed, but undaunted" [9/30]
Big Brother says limit your babysitting; Michigan woman who watched friends' children for free each morning while they waited for the school bus receives letter from state agency warning her against running an "unlicensed day care center" [9/30]
Judge in ND 88 case married to "outspoken" pro-abort ND professor who donated a "significant sum" to Obama's presidential campaign and who criticized Pope Paul VI's Humanae Vitae; Attorney for pro-lifers has requested that the judge be removed from the case [Warning: Story contains an offensive reference] [9/29]
Bishop of Mostar-Duvno tells Medjugorje pilgrims "let us not act as if these 'apparitions' were recognized and worthy of faith"; Reminds that the Church has never recognized the alleged apparitions as authentic; Bishop also requested removal of all references to a "shrine" or "sanctuary", banned prayers allegedly dictated by or suggested by Mary, and instructed that the pastor stop commenting on alleged messages [Related Resource: Marian Apparitions at Medjugorje: True or False?] [9/29]
After arrival in Prague, Pope Benedict - "an apostle among the apostate" - give thanks for their liberation from oppressive communist regime; Says "A particular tragedy for this land was the ruthless attempt by the government of that time to silence the voice of the Church" [9/26]
Pope Benedict tells bishops that cohabitation, broken homes harm children; Warns of "forces and voices in present society that seem committed to demolishing the natural homestead of human life"; Regarding 'divorce & remarriage', reminds that "there is no husband and wife in a second marriage" - "rather they are a man and woman living in adultery" [9/26]
Archbishop of Krakow condemns court ruling ordering Catholic newspaper to apologize, pay woman who wanted an abortion; Says "I dare say that this verdict brings back the spirit of the past, when true words had to be paid for with guilty court verdicts" [9/26]
According to the FSSP, "Pope Benedict XVI wishes that the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter be entrusted, beyond the celebration of Holy Mass in the Extraordinary Form, at as many places as possible, with the cura animarum, i.e. the full pastoral care"; Says "the Holy Father was very interested in whether the Fraternity was able to exercise its apostolate without obstacles, as intended" [9/24]
Archbishop responds to Sebelius' comments: She "misrepresents the issue" & is not a victim of "of merely upholding the law"; Says it was "very painful" for him to instruct her not to receive Holy Communion, but notes his "serious obligation to uphold the integrity of the Eucharist and to protect other Catholics from being misled by the former Governor's support for legalized abortion" [9/24]
Catholic magazine in Poland ordered to issue apology, pay fine of about $11K to woman "vilified" for wanting an abortion; Magazine editor compares abortion to Auschwitz: "They had become accustomed to the murders being carried out behind the fence of the camp. And what is the case today? Different, but just as terrible"; Magazine to appeal ruling citing freedom of speech [9/24]
USCCB's Catholic Campaign for Human Development claims it has now taken "decisive action" in response to report showing they have been funding groups which support abortion, c*ntraception, homosexual 'marriage', and legalized pr*stitution; Formerly the CCHD funded ACORN [9/23]
In wake of allegations by a Swedish television station, Vatican spokesman denies that Pope Benedict had knowledge of Williamson's views; Says it is "absolutely baseless to say or even insinuate that the Pope had been informed earlier of the positions of Williamson" [9/23]
Cardinal Mahoney's response to interviewer on whether healthcare bill funds abortion: "This is way beyond my field. My field is immigration. I really haven't kept up on that, and I spend all my time on this other. You have to get somebody who spends time on that." [9/23]
Bishop of Wisconsin defends tradition-minded priests in diocese who have stopped practice of "altar girls" & lay ministers of Communion and who have increased availability of Confession & Latin Masses [9/23]
Study says welfare has been fastest growing part of federal government spending; Claims amount spent on welfare next year will be more than what Bush spent on entire Iraq war; Obama's spending proposals said to "call for the largest increases in welfare benefits in U.S. history"; Researcher says that "One in seven in total federal and state dollars now goes to welfare" [9/23]
Catholic Medical Association warns about pending healthcare bills: "They empower a small group of unelected government bureaucrats and committees to determine the composition and cost of health insurance policies, the reimbursement of providers, the approval of treatments, etc. We think this government-controlled approach is flawed in principle and ineffective, if not dangerous, in practice." [9/22]
Pro-lifers "shocked" & "perplexed" that pro-life bishop was forbidden from attending pro-life rally by the Cardinal Archbishop of Vienna; Bishop stayed away 'in the name of obedience' to the Cardinal [9/22]
Head of Church's "Supreme Court" receives seven minute standing ovation after speech; Regarding politicians who support homosexual 'marriage' and abortion, the Archbishop said "It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner" and says that repentance "must also be public"; Says that funeral rites should not be given to pro-abortion Catholic politicians [9/22]
That's a miracle? NJ diocese investigates "possible miracle" that an unborn child diagnosed with a genetic abnormality was born with the defect "not present to the degree that had been expected" after a "family in the area" prayed to the late founder of the Carmelite Sisters for the Aged and Infirm; If accepted as a miracle by the Vatican, it could ultimately lead to her canonization [9/22]
How is this not this the worst form of anti-Semitism and a betrayal of your mission? Italian Bishops' Conference says "it is not its intention to actively pursue the conversion of Jews" [Refresher: Who Jesus Is & Why You Should Believe] [9/22]
More scandal in Miami: Former str*pper seeks child support from priest she says fathered her child; Diocese previously paid a settlement to the same woman whom the priest had lived with for years [Note: The article above is a very brief summary of this extremely sordid scandal] [9/22]
Swedish television station says Vatican knew about Williamson's views on the Jewish Holocaust before lifting excommunication; Station plans to air program designed to be "an attack on the Holy Father" [9/21]
Good news: Communicants at Cathedral of Lima, Peru now required to receive Holy Communion kneeling, on the tongue; Cardinal states: "The most respectful way of receiving the Eucharist is kneeling and on the tongue. We must recover a sense of respect and reverence due to the Eucharist, because the love to Jesus is the center of our Christian lives. Our souls are at stake." [9/21]
Cardinal who recently made waves by saying SSPX would not be "let off easy" and would have to accept "religious freedom as a basic human right" discourages pro-lifers from attending demonstration at an abortion clinic [9/19]
Bishops' Conference of Costa Rica "completely rejects" bill that would remove both the clause which establishes the Catholic faith as the nation's religion & references to God in legal oaths; Opposition rooted "in the defense of principles and values that support authentic democracy and not in the search for supposed privileges, because a democracy without values…easily becomes a dictatorship and ends up betraying the people" [9/19]
Director of Holy See Press Office calls for Catholic media professionals to use the media "in the service of the Gospel of Jesus Christ"; Says that "Always speaking the truth is the fundamental premise for confronting even the most difficult situations" [9/19]
Archdiocese of Boston seeks to remove remains of deceased cardinal from land sold to cover abuse settlements; Ironically, the late "powerful & controversial" cardinal had removed remains of priests when first purchasing land to be used for archdiocesan headquarters [9/18]
Another reason to homeschool: Homosexual activist group claims over 250 California schools - including at least one 'Catholic' school - have signed up for (a highly offensive) homosexual curriculum [Warning: Article contains offensive references] [9/18]
How sad: Cardinal & bishop pen letter expressing "strong support" of work of TOB promoter Christopher West, work that "shocked and horrified" Alice Von Hildebrand and was called "vulgar and in bad taste" by a prominent theologian; Letter claims the controversial programs "reflect strong fidelity to the teaching of the Church and to the thought of Pope John Paul II" [9/18]
Pope Benedict warns not to "secularize the clergy or clericalize the laity": Says "the lack of priests does not justify a more active and abundant participation of the laity. The truth is that the greater the faithful's awareness of their own responsibilities within the Church, the clearer becomes the specific identity and inimitable role of the priest as pastor of the entire community" [9/17]
Priest-editor of diocesan newspaper in diocese where Senator Kennedy resided pens article stating that "This last controversy was totally avoidable; all that was necessary was to adhere to the letter and spirit of the Catholic funeral rite"; Says that the "education only" strategy employed by most pastors has failed; Says that "...education involves not just information, but formation, and that you can't form disciples without discipline. This is a lesson that, after four decades of the undeniable failure of another approach, we need to consider anew." [9/17]
Vatican newspaper at it again: This time the paper "gushes over" pro-abort, pro-homosexual 'Catholic' convert Tony Blair, whom pro-lifers refer to as the "principal architect of Britain's culture of death" [9/16]
Watch out, seniors - New Regulatory Czar says: "I urge that the government should indeed focus on life-years rather than lives. A program that saves young people produces more welfare than one that saves old people"; Newly confirmed Czar also supports abortion, cloning [9/15]
Pro-abort Sebelius refuses to say whether she obeys her Archbishop's request not to receive Holy Communion; Ties her support for murdering of unborn babies on her "firm belief" in the "separation of church and state" [9/15]
President of the Pontifical Council for Health Care Ministry laments that production of pharmaceuticals is driven by money rather than ethics; Says "Often, for economic reasons, common diseases in developing countries are neglected because, even though they afflict and kill millions of people, they do not constitute a lucrative enough market"; Also notes that 50% or more of medicines sold in certain areas may be "fake" [9/14]
Pope presides over Mass for ordination of new bishops; Holy Father tells new bishops: "Do not you work for yourself, but lead people to God with faith, wisdom and goodness"; Supreme Pontiff discusses importance of loyalty, faith, fidelity, truth, and goodness [9/12]
Experts monitoring al-Qaeda say threat remains "real and dynamic" eight years after 9-11-01; Defense Intelligence Agency director says methods used by terrorists today enable "a span of terrorist violence across the world that is unprecedented in its unity of vision"; Says "Hundreds of attacks every year are committed by militants sanctioned by or under the name of al-Qaeda" [9/11]
Pro-life activist gunned down in Michigan while carrying pro-life sign; Gunman believed to be connected with another shooting; All three persons may have known each other, but motive remains unclear; Fr. Pavone says he's "waiting to hear the abortion advocates condemn this killing" [9/11]
Academy Award-winning composer on modern Church music: "Today the Church has made a big mistake, turning the clock back 500 years with guitars and popular songs"; Famed film composer says "I don't like it at all. Gregorian chant is a vital and important tradition of the Church and to waste this by having kids mix religious words with profane, Western songs is hugely grave, hugely grave." [9/11]
More environmental anti-people rhetoric: London School of Economics and Political Science says population control by abortion, sterilization & c*ntraceptives "should be seen as one of the primary methods of emissions reduction" [9/11]
Religious orders associated with dissenting LCWR have fewer new members than their traditional counterpart; Sister says that young people are "more attracted to a traditional style of religious life...They are much more likely to say fidelity to the Church is important to them. And they really are looking for communities where members wear habits" [9/11]
Archdiocese of Detroit on financial woes: "The financial realities of our current circumstances are sobering; the resulting changes for the administrative structure of the archdiocese are significant" [9/9]
Author-professor says some 'Catholic' schools "have distanced themselves so far from their Catholic origins that the Church no longer recognizes them as Catholic institutions"; Some may present a "false façade" to parents; Author says she didn't study at a Catholic college and claims "That's how I stayed Catholic" [9/8]
Physician who once assisted an abortion victim launches service to help individuals place perpetual deed restrictions on their properties to prohibit abortion-related activities; Service costs less than $100 [9/8]
TLM comes to RI [9/7]
Thanks to work of association founded by an Italian priest, "a hundred online pedophile communities will be disconnected and prosecuted by U.S. and Italian authorities"; Materials uncovered show abuse of newborns and children; Priest says "It is impossible to describe the horrors we have seen, uncovered and denounced in six months" [Advisory: Article covers offensive topic & contains disturbing elements] [9/5]
Department of Education's controversial "help the President" classroom materials might be illegal; Group says federal law prohibits DOE from exercising "any direction, supervision, or control over the curriculum, program of instruction, administration, or personnel of any educational institution, school, or school system" [9/5]
Priest president of Canadian TV network blasts critics of Kennedy's public funeral: "Leading up to the Kennedy funeral last weekend, and in its aftermath, many so-called lovers of life and activists in the pro-life movement, as well as well-known colleagues in Catholic television broadcasting and media in North America, have revealed themselves to be not agents of life, but of division, destruction, hatred, vitriol, judgment and violence" [9/5]
Obama nominee for "regulatory affairs czar" advocated removing organs without explicit consent [Refresher: As evidenced by the medical community's own comments, organs are "routinely" removed before a person is actually dead. See flier here] [9/4]
CWN believes Tornielli - who they say has "a formidable reputation for accuracy in reporting on the inner workings of the Roman Curia" - is right re: the reform of reform; Says their own sources at the Vatican confirm that "Tornielli's story was right on target" [9/2]
Group of Catholics in Poland draft law against IVF; Proposal calls for 3-year prison sentence for those "whose actions lead to" the gravely immoral IVF procedure; Polish bishops have criticized the procedure which results in the death of many embryos as "a sophisticated form of abortion" [9/2]
"There's a lot of money involved": Pro-lifers produce documentary to "expose the 'inconvenient truth' about the money involved in the abortion industry"; Film reveals that abortion providers may purposely dispense "defective" c*ntraceptives to help meet their goal of "three to five abortions from every girl from the ages 13 to 18" [9/2]
Don't you feel secure? Department of Homeland Security sets goal to apprehend less than 30 percent of major violations at border ports entry; Commentator says "Before President Obama closes the Guantanamo Bay prison where we keep the terrorists we do capture, perhaps he should secure the ports of entry at our border where a terrorist has about a 70 percent chance of escaping capture" [9/2]
Marriage backers collect enough signatures to secure ballot initiative to overturn bill giving homosexual couples state-provided benefits of married couples; Release of signatures temporarily blocked over concern that they could be used for harassment [9/2]
Doctor admits ordering lethal dose of medication during Hurricane Katrina; Physician doesn't regret decision to "hasten the demise" of a terminally ill female patient, says: "I gave her medicine so I could get rid of her faster, get the nurses off the floor"; Calls it "a no-brainer" and says "to this day I don't feel bad about what I did"; Majority of bodies taken from hospital tested positive for morphine or midazolaml; Doctor admits others weren't euthanized "because we had too many witnesses" [9/1]
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