My Catholic Source.com ™ News & Opinion Page (6/10 Archive)
Keywords: Catholic News, Catholic News Links, Catholic News Headlines, News Affecting Catholics, News From a Catholic Perspective, Catholic Opinions
In response to the Supreme Court's recent refusal to hear an immunity appeal in an abuse case, the Vatican's U.S. attorney, Jeffrey Lena, notes that the denial was "not a comment on the merits of our case", but rather a decision "made based upon the Supreme Court's docket and what cases it wishes to hear each term." He indicated that the plaintiff in the case "has one jurisdictional theory left", namely that the priest in the case was an employee of the Holy See. In rebuttal, he states that "The Holy See does not pay the salary of the priest, or benefits of the priest, or exercise day-to-day control over the priest, and ANY of the other factors indicating the presence of an employment relationship. This is a priest of the Order Friar Servants of Mary. His very existence was unknown to the Holy See until after all the events in question."
The following are some updates concerning the recent police raids in Belgium...
* Pope Benedict sent a message of solidarity to the president of the Belgian Episcopal Conference which stated that...
"At this sad time I wish to express my special closeness and solidarity to you, dear brother in the episcopate, and to all the bishops of the Church in Belgium, for the surprising and deplorable manner in which searches were carried out at the cathedral of Mechelen and at the site where the Belgian episcopate was gathered in a plenary assembly which, among other things, also intended to consider questions associated with the abuse of minors by members of the clergy. On a number of occasions I myself have highlighted how these serious matters should be dealt with by both civil law and canon law, while respecting the specific nature and autonomy of each. In this context, I trust that justice may run its course in order to guarantee the fundamental rights of persons and of institutions, at the same time respecting victims, showing unconditional recognition for those who undertake to collaborate, and rejecting everything that obscures the noble goal with which justice is assigned."
* An earlier claim that the bishops didn't receive food or drink during the nine hour search is apparently not true
* The diocesan committee set up to handle abuse complaints will reportedly close down in the wake of the seizure of "all of its records." Confiscation of the records by law enforcement has generated privacy concerns for alleged abuse victims
Reports indicate that the Mechelen-Brussels archdiocese may consider taking legal action over the recent raid on church property which was conducted in the wake of abuse allegations. During the police search, bishops were detained for nine hours, confidential records were confiscated, phones were surrendered, and tombs were violated. The detention of the bishops reportedly also gave some the impression that the bishops were suspects. A diocesan spokesman has said that "we cannot exclude that there might be legal action if necessary" over the raids which "tarnished" the image of the Church in Belgium. Cardinal Bertone lamented the actions as "serious and unbelievable", claiming that "There are no precedents, not even in Communist regimes."
An earlier statement noted that "...the Secretary of State reiterates its firm condemnation of all sinful and criminal acts of abuse of minors by members of the Church, and the need to repair and face such acts in accordance with the requirements of justice and the teachings of the Gospel. It is in the light of these needs that the same Secretary of State also expresses great surprise at how some searches were conducted yesterday by the Belgian judicial authorities and its indignation at the fact that the tombs of Cardinals Jozef-Ernest Van Roey and Léon-Joseph Suenens, deceased archbishops of Malines-Brussels, were violated. Added to the dismay over those actions, is regret for some breaches of confidentiality, owed to those very victims for whom the searches were conducted."
In yet another proof of the biblical teaching that...
"A colt untamed turns out stubborn; a son left to himself grows up unruly. Pamper your child and he will be a terror for you, indulge him and he will bring you grief. Share not in his frivolity lest you share in his sorrow, when finally your teeth are clenched in remorse. Give him not his own way in his youth, and close not your eyes to his follies." (Sirach 30:8-11)
...a new study has revealed that children of "indulgent" parents may be three times more likely to drink "heavily". Children of non-indulgent parents who also scored high on parental "warmth" were found to be the "least prone" to drink heavily (note that non-indulgent parents who scored low on parental "warmth" were found to have a doubled risk of heavy drinking). The study indicates that parents can have a "significant effect" on their children's participation in this dangerous activity.
Recent News Highlights
Some recent news highlights...
* It is being predicted that Bishop Kurt Koch will soon be named to replace the ever-ecumenical Cardinal Kasper as President of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity
* Although final details have not been announced, the beatification plans for Cardinal Newman have reportedly been "scaled back" and will occur at Cofton Park in Birmingham
* Reports indicate that the University of Regensburg will create a new professorship named after Pope Benedict XVI. Amazingly, at least one report indicates that a future professor may be "of Orthodox or Protestant background"
* A new Australian study says that (so-called) 'second marriages' are over 90% more likely to break up than 'first marriages' [Reminder: A valid marriage is for life. Jesus says that "Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery." (Lk. 16:18) Obviously, therefore, civil 'divorces' have no real effect on the marriage bond since one could not be committing adultery unless one was STILL married. For more on divorce / 'remarriage', try here]
* A representative of Catholic Charities has expressed concern that the oil spill could end up being "worse than hurricanes." Besides financial difficulties, concerns for the future include high levels of anxiety, expanded unemployment, increased mental health problems, and dangers of physical harm resulting from the spill. Even church collections may suffer due to the disaster
* One of the ND88 has suffered a heart attack and reportedly continues to suffer from "post-traumatic stress" related to her arrest over a peaceful pro-life demonstration on the 'Catholic' university campus. The ND88 still face fines & jail time for 'trespassing' as the university's president, Fr. Jenkins, refuses to seek leniency. The heart attack victim, a devotee of the Blessed Virgin, joined the protest thinking "we would get a fine and a ticket." She said she "never expected to be so persecuted for standing for Catholic beliefs on a Catholic campus by my fellow Catholics."
The General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, has questioned the novel practice of Communion in the hand among the laity, stating that when his family came and saw this practice in the West, "we felt so much sorrow in our soul", noting that "it has turned so banal, so less reverent, like distributing cakes." He also noted that "This is the Lord; when the risen Lord appeared to the three women and they saw Him, they knelt down...they fell on their knees on His feet and adored Him. And even the Apostles did the same when the Lord went to heaven. Why should we not do the same?"
The scandal plagued Legionaries will apparently face another challenge as a man claiming to be a son of their disgraced founder is suing the order in a Connecticut court. The plaintiff - who claims his father abused him since the age of seven - alleges that the order was negligent and should have known of the founder's "propensity" to abuse children.
If only pro-abortion 'Catholic' Nancy Pelosi would heed (some of!) her own words. For example, the House Speaker should take to heart her own comment that public policy should be "in keeping with the values of the Word", as she recently said it should be. And again, Pelosi should heed her own words when she spoke recently of a "moral responsibility" to preserve "God's beautiful creation" - unless, of course she doesn't include babies as part of "God's beautiful creation." A short time ago, the self-proclaimed 'Catholic' Pelosi - a supporter of homosexual 'marriage' & partial birth abortion - also stated that the Word (Jesus, the Word made flesh) is her "favorite" word and reminded that "He will come again. He will come again. So, we have to make sure we're prepared to answer in this life, or otherwise, as to how we have measured up." Maybe she should listen to herself sometimes.
Despite the fact that known evidence disproves the legend and that most serious historians reject it, a new movie based on the myth of 'Pope Joan' has risen to the top 10 list in Italian cinema. Once again, it seems apropos that Catholics refresh their memories regarding this legend which was previously believed even by Catholics. To that end, please recall that...
* The first mention of 'Pope Joan' did not occur until centuries after her supposed existence
* 'Pope Joan' does not fit in the historical timeline
* There is no solid evidence for the legend, and there are contrary explanations for various supposed "proofs" (e.g. chairs with holes do not prove there was a 'Pope Joan', because chairs with holes predate the legend)
* Even enemies of the Church today admit the story is a fable
* In the past, this legend has been used to tarnish the reputation of the Church. It has also been used by feminists to advance their agenda
Catholics disappointed over the thwarted plans regarding Cardinal Pell - as illustrated by some of our recent news links...
Cardinal Pell expected to be named prefect of the Congregation for Bishops [5/5]
Cardinal Pell rumored to have declined Congregation for Bishops position [6/11]
Fears of negative publicity resulting from false allegations against Cardinal Pell by a career criminal in 2002 may have thwarted plans for a position in the Congregation for Bishops [6/14]
...may be interested to know that Telegraph Blogs Editor, Damian Thompson, believes Cardinal Pell has been the victim of "a smear campaign endorsed by certain bishops, especially Italian ones, who are desperate to stop Pell cleaning up what are in effect the 'rotten boroughs' of their dioceses." Writing "with some urgency", Mr. Thompson has found fault with both reasons provided (ill health, a false abuse allegation), claiming that the real reason is that "Cardinal Pell's message to the bishops would be: 'Sorry, gentlemen, but this is not a job for life. You must exhibit evangelical dynamism and obedience to the Holy Father - and, if you don't, then there are holy priests ready to take your place.' Hence this foul campaign." He also claims that "Not since the election of Benedict XVI has an appointment so horrified the smug, lazy, liberal establishment in the Vatican and the dioceses."
Various news accounts concerning the newly appointed president of the Catholic University of America - who, by the way, thinks the Pledge of Allegiance is unconstitutional & violates Vatican II teachings - have highlighted some troubling positions of his. For example...
* How is it that the new head of the Catholic University of America can claim that "Corporal works of mercy are no less important to the life of the Church than its sacramental ministry"? As wonderful and important as corporal works of mercy are, the Church was not founded as a charitable institution, but rather to make possible the salvation of eternal souls. How is it that a Catholic university president can seemingly equate human works primarily aimed at the preservation of mortal bodies with incomparable gifts of God which make possible the salvation of immortal souls?
* How is possible that the same CU president could claim a congressman with a 100% pro-abortion voting record could reflect "the very best values and traditions" of a Catholic school?
* How is it possible - as this same CU president claims - that "no school that regulates ideas can justly call itself a university"? Is it not a principal duty of a worthy Catholic educational institution to impart truth and reject error & falsehood? Would any reasonable academic permit faulty math to compete with true math in the educational arena? Wouldn't a worthy academic seek to remove the confusion & error and present only true math to the students? And if they did so, would any reasonable person actually object to this "regulation of ideas"? Obviously, truths are not opinions and should not be presented on an equal footing with contrary "ideas" (i.e. errors). As Fr. Fahey has stated...
"Nothingness can have no rights since it has no existence. It is impossible for a thing which does not exist to have any rights. Therefore to attribute rights to a non-existent entity is an injustice. But what are you doing if you attribute rights to error except attributing them to a non-existent entity? It is enough to consider what truth and error are in order to understand this. Truth is found in the intellect in the measure in which the intellect is in exact conformity with reality. When the intellect has an idea which is not in conformity with reality, then we have an error. But what is really happening in such a case? I have in my mind the idea of something as if this thing formed part of the order of being. I attribute it rights in my mind, as if it were portion of the divine scheme of things. But it is not so in reality. In point of fact it is a baseless creation of my own mind. How can I take as the foundation of my life and of my actions a 'reality' which is no reality? What can be the outcome of such an aberration? Precisely what happens in the case of any structure raised without foundation. If I take as a basis for my life and action an idea of my own to which nothing real or objective corresponds the whole intellectual and social edifice I raise on that basis is of necessity bound to crumble. There can be no other solid foundation for action and life than an objective reality. This then is why truth alone has the right to exist in the individual and in the social order. From no point of view can error claim this right. When it gets a footing in a mind or among the multitude, it usurps rights not belonging to it, it is unjust. Evil is the privation of the being and goodness due to a thing. Now error is the specific evil of the intelligence, the privation of the grasp of the order of the world which the intelligence is meant to have. It is a malady to be cured, a disease to be healed, a cancer to be eradicated, not a perfection to be extolled and proclaimed worthy of respect... Our Lord came down to restore the Divine Life of Grace to the human race and to each individual in it. For this end He revealed truth to the world. This truth belongs to Him in virtue of His divine right and also in virtue of His work of redemption. If this truth belongs to Him and is given to the world by Him in a well-defined sense and for a very definite purpose, then to ruin or lessen it is to commit an injustice. It is to sacrifice the rights of Jesus Christ... Certainly there is no place for anything but truth."
Note that Jesus did not allow "competing ideas" (i.e. errors) to circulate freely among His followers and scripture repeatedly warns of the danger of error among the flock. Did not Jesus - the greatest Instructor - also "regulate ideas" by teaching with authority and condemning error? Is is it really too much to expect that a Catholic university focus its teaching on that which is true?
"[E]very Christian child or youth has a strict right to instruction in harmony with the teaching of the Church, the pillar and ground of truth. And whoever disturbs the pupil's Faith in any way, does him grave wrong, inasmuch as he abuses the trust which children place in their teachers, and takes unfair advantage of their inexperience and of their natural craving for unrestrained liberty, at once illusory and false." (Pope Pius XI, "Divini Illius Magistri", 1929)
Related: Catholic Education (Reflections)
Thinking about buying a car? If you're thinking about a Hyundai, you might want to think again. Automaker Hyundai has run a highly offensive World Cup commercial which mocks the Catholic Church. The blasphemous commercial parodies Catholic liturgical practices in a non-Catholic 'church' which was founded in honor of a former soccer player. The commercial begins with a procession - of a housed light & soccer ball - accompanied by the song Agnus Dei (meaning 'Lamb of God', a reference to Jesus). It also contains a scene where the "priest" feeds a kneeling "communicant" pizza and shows a bridal couple placing their hands on a soccer ball just before the immodestly dressed "bride" head-butts the ball inside the "church".
Call Hyundai today and object to this blasphemy!
Note: To complain, you can try calling (714) 965-3000 (located in Fountain Valley, CA) or toll free at (800) 633-5151. Or try online for e-mail addresses or mailing addresses. [Reminder: Callers who prefer to keep their phone number private should bear in mind that caller ID blocking may not prevent the transmission of your phone number when a toll-free number is used]
UPDATE: Hyundai has apologized for and removed the offensive commercial, noting in part that "Because of feedback like yours, we have removed the ad from all Hyundai communications and stopped airing it. We credit the passionate World Cup viewers and Hyundai owners for raising this issue to us. The unexpected response created by the ad, which combined both soccer and religious motifs to speak to the passion of international soccer fans, prompted us to take a more critical and informed look at the spot. Though unintentional, we now see it was insensitive. We appreciate your feedback and hope you will accept our sincere apologies." [Commentary: Anyone doubt they would have taken a "more critical and informed look at the spot" BEFORE it aired if it parodied Islam rather than Catholicism?]
[6/14, updated 6/15]
The following are some highlights from recent remarks of the Holy Father made in connection with the close of the Year for Priests...
* Celibacy is "a scandal" to our world, a world which has 'no room for God', but it is "an anticipation, a foretaste [of life in heaven, in which 'we will be beyond marriage'], made possible by the grace of the Lord, that pulls us towards the risen world and helps us transcend ourselves" [Related: Why Priestly Celibacy?]
* "The priest is not a mere office-holder," but rather the priest "does something which no human being can do of his own power: in Christ's name he speaks the words which absolve us of our sins and in this way he changes, starting with God, our entire life."
* "It was to be expected that this new radiance of the priesthood [provided by the Year for Priests] would not be pleasing to the 'enemy'; he would have rather preferred to see it disappear, so that God would ultimately be driven out of the world. And so it happened that, in this very year of joy for the Sacrament of the priesthood, the sins of priests came to light - particularly the abuse of the little ones."
* "We too insistently beg forgiveness from God and from the persons involved [for abuse scandals], while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again; and that in admitting men to priestly ministry and in their formation we will do everything we can to weigh the authenticity of their vocation and make every effort to accompany priests along their journey"
* "Had the Year for Priests been a glorification of our individual human performance, it would have been ruined by these events [abuse revelations]. But for us what happened was precisely the opposite: we grew in gratitude for God's gift, a gift concealed in 'earthen vessels' which ever anew, even amid human weakness, makes His love concretely present in this world. So let us look upon all that happened as a summons to purification, as a task which we bring to the future and which makes us acknowledge and love all the more the great gift we have received from God. In this way, His gift becomes a commitment to respond to God's courage and humility by our own courage and our own humility"
* "God wants us, as priests, in one tiny moment of history, to share His concern about people. As priests, we want to be persons who share His concern for men and women, who take care of them and provide them with a concrete experience of God's concern"
* "The shepherd points out the right path to those entrusted to him. He goes before them and leads them. Let us put it differently: the Lord shows us the right way to be human. He teaches us the art of being a person. What must I do in order not to fall, not to squander my life in meaninglessness? This is precisely the question which every man and woman must ask, and one which remains valid at every moment of one's life. How much darkness surrounds this question in our own day! We are constantly reminded of the words of Jesus, Who felt compassion for the crowds because they were like a flock without a shepherd"
* "The Church too must use the shepherd's rod, the rod with which she protects the faith against those who falsify it, against currents which lead the flock astray. The use of the rod can actually be a service of love. Today we can see that it has nothing to do with love when conduct unworthy of the priestly life is tolerated. Nor is it love if heresy is allowed to spread and the faith twisted and chipped away, as if it were something that we ourselves had invented. As if it were no longer God's gift, the precious pearl which we cannot let be taken from us. Even so, the rod must always become once again the shepherd's staff - a staff which helps men and women to tread difficult paths and to follow the Lord"
Related: Priests & Vocations (Reflections)
As previously reported, Empire State Building officials have denied a request to commemorate Mother Teresa's 100th birthday (on August 26, 2010) with blue and white lights. Since the refusal, the Catholic League has waged a campaign to seek reversal of the decision. The following are some recent updates on the situation...
* An unlikely ally has been found in (openly homosexual) New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, who has backed the effort to honor Mother Teresa for her humanitarian work, calling her a "wonderful woman who has given so much to the world." She said in an interview that "The question of why the building will not be lit is a question that deserves answering", and she has also contacted representatives of the Empire State Building and "urged them to try to find a way to light the building."
* A Catholic League online petition has reportedly received over 30,000 signatures in support of the special lighting. CL has also reportedly received support from bishops and some 10,000 members.
* There has been some discussion in NYC of forcing(!) the Empire State Building to light up in honor of Mother Teresa via a resolution, even though the building is privately owned.
* Originally, an explanation was not given for the refusal. However, a recent statement by the building's owner claims they have a "specific policy against any other lighting for religious figures or requests by religions and religious organizations." CL disputes this claim noting that "When John Cardinal O'Connor died in 2000, the Empire State Building was lighted in red and white; in 2005, when Pope John Paul II died, the tower lights were extinguished in his honor", and CL also notes that the lights were changed in 2005 for a Protestant group as well as being changed annually for a prominent Baptist leader.
* CL now plans to call off their petition drive, but they will hold a demonstration outside the Empire State Building on August 26.
Reportedly, the building's owners have received thousands of petitions to reverse their decision not to honor the Nobel Peace Prize winning nun with a lighting display - a lighting display that has been granted in the past for "the anniversary of communist China, the introduction of blue M & M's, dog shows, Mariah Carey, and Hanukkah." For now at least, it appears that the decision will stand.
The following is from a recent interview of Sr. Margherita Marchione, a "principal biographer" of Pope Pius XII:
"Some Jews accuse [Pope Pius XII] of silence, but it isn't true. His silence was prudent. He did everything possible to save the Jews, it could be said 'behind the scenes.' ... Pius XII's charitable work was universal, magnanimous, assiduous and, above all, paternal in Christian terms, in the most profound sense of the term. Pius XII maintained a diplomatic network in the Vatican during the whole war. He was personally interested in every human case made known to him. Young people and old went to him to receive help and to find dispersed relatives. Innumerable requests arrived daily from all countries worldwide, and all received his attention."
Sister Marchione - who remembers Pope Pius XII "as a saint" - also stated that "History must tell the truth, that the Catholic Church saved more than 5,000 Jews in Rome alone. It is a disgrace not to recognize it." Her comments follow other research which "deconstructs negative stereotypes" concerning the late pontiff, and also follow news of recently discovered archive documents which indicate that Catholics who joined the Nazis during the WWII era would be excommunicated.
Quotation Source: Zenit
On the RemnantNewspaper.com website, the editor of The Remnant Newspaper, Michael J. Matt, has weighed in on the debate regarding whether to call the TLM the "Extraordinary Form". He says, in part...
"Yes, I know, we're not supposed to call [the 'Tridentine' Mass] that anymore. Now it's the 'Extraordinary Form', which makes some sense, I suppose, given the sheer ordinariness of the New Mass. But why this insistence on 'Extraordinary Form'? God knows. Perhaps a new name was needed for the old Mass - one that doesn't imply allegiance to the clarity of Trent over the ambiguity of Vatican II. Perhaps suggesting two forms of one Rite provided cover for the bizarre spectacle and abrupt rupture of an entirely New Mass. I don't know. Whatever it is, for many of us the traditional Mass will always be the Tridentine Mass. This is so for a variety of reasons... It was codified at Trent by the same sainted pontiff who'd codified the 15-decade traditional rosary - St. Pius V, spiritual general of Lepanto, and the great pope who'd saved Europe from both Islam and Protestantism... ['Pioneer Traditionalists'] knew very well that important components of [the TLM] predated Trent by some 1500 years. But by referring to it as the 'Tridentine Mass' they lashed themselves to the mast of Catholic Tradition - the dogmatic Council of Trent, Quo Primum and the flagship of the Catholic fleet that would preserve the Faith of the Ages against the onslaught of Novelty, Protestantism and a burgeoning Novus Ordo Seclorum... The Extraordinary Form? Sure, but one day it will again be the only form of the Roman Rite"
One might also add that using the terms "ordinary form" and "extraordinary form" may favor the idea that the differences between the two are insignificant or of little consequence. It may imply that both are equally good. Remember that Cardinals Ottaviani and Bacci did not seem to agree that the differences were insignificant, of little consequence, or that both were equally good when they stated that the NO "represents, as a whole and in detail, a striking departure from the Catholic theology of the Holy Mass as it was formulated in Session XXII of the Council of Trent, which, by fixing definitively the 'canons' of the rite, erected an insurmountable barrier against any heresy which might attack the integrity of the Mystery" or when they stated that the NO liturgy "teems with insinuations or manifest errors against the integrity of the Catholic Faith". The Protestants who rejected the Traditional Mass but who accept the New Mass also illustrate that the differences between the two are quite significant. Further, terms such as "ordinary" and "extraordinary" seem to automatically relegate the "extraordinary form" to be used only "extraordinarily" (otherwise it would be "ordinary"), at least in the minds of the general Catholic population.
Finally, such terms tend to promote the idea that both really are two forms of the SAME rite. Without wishing to open a can of worms, one might ask: If they really are two forms of the SAME rite, what exactly then would it take to make them two different rites? Already we know that the history of development is different, the emphasis is different, the rubrics are different, the language (of typical use, not promulgation) is different, the readings are different, the calendar is different, the options are different, the gestures are frequently different, the prayers have many differences, the Bible translation is different, the architecture is typically different, the participants in the sanctuary are typically different (e.g. lectors, 'lay ministers' of Holy Communion, female 'altar boys', etc.), the priests' direction is typically different, the music is typically different, distribution of Communion is different, etc., etc. What exactly is left to officially consider the two "different" rites? And, if the TLM and the NO were officially considered different rites, wouldn't tradition-minded Catholics have more "rights" since they could choose the TLM as their rite and would then automatically be entitled to it - without needing to "jump through hoops" (e.g. Can. 214: "The Christian faithful have the right to worship God according to the prescripts of their own rite approved by the legitimate pastors of the Church and to follow their own form of spiritual life so long as it is consonant with the doctrine of the Church")? Not only that, but if the two were officially considered different rites, wouldn't it be the NO adherents who had effectively changed rites, rather than those attached to the immemorial TLM? Just a thought.
Pope Benedict recently spoke in Cypress regarding the importance of the Cross in earthly matters. The Holy Father noted that...
"[T]he world needs the Cross. The Cross is not just a private symbol of devotion, it is not just a badge of membership of a certain group within society, and in its deepest meaning it has nothing to do with the imposition of a creed or a philosophy by force. It speaks of hope, it speaks of love, it speaks of the victory of non-violence over oppression, it speaks of God raising up the lowly, empowering the weak, conquering division, and overcoming hatred with love. A world without the Cross would be a world without hope, a world in which torture and brutality would go unchecked, the weak would be exploited and greed would have the final word"
Reminder: While it is true that the Cross can bring many earthly benefits, it is also true that primary importance of the Cross for us is that it makes our salvation possible. Without the Cross, none of us could be saved. [Note: Click here for 'The Passion / The Cross' Reflections]
Also Try: The Cross Vs. The Crucifix
"[N]o one can obtain salvation unless through Christ and the merits of His Passion." (Catechism of the Council of Trent)
"The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written: 'I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the learning of the learned I will set aside.'" (1 Cor. 1:18-19)
"For Thy cross is the source of all blessings, cause of all the gifts of grace; through it to them that believe is given strength out of weakness, glory out of shame, life out of death." (Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor of the Church, 5th Century A.D.)
"For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ, and him crucified." (St. Paul, 1 Cor. 2:2)
A recent study supported by the Congregation for Clergy shows that priests are making frequent use of digital technology. Some highlights of the worldwide study - which included responses from almost five thousand priests - appear below...
* Almost 95% of priests reported accessing the Internet daily
* More than 80% of priests have access to a computer
* Over 90% of priests have a cell phone
* More than 40% of the priests indicated that they felt digital technology "has improved their performance in their mission"
* Over half believe the Internet is "useful in presenting and spreading the Christian message"
* Over 17% of respondents agreed, while about 38% disagreed, that the dangers of technology are greater than the opportunities
Results also indicate that about half of the priests surveyed search online each week for "homily materials", while about 36% use online sources on at least a weekly basis to "enhance prayer"
The Archdiocese of New Orleans has received a $1 million grant from oil giant BP to assist with relief efforts in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The grant is expected to help fund outreach services to those impacted by the disaster for three months.
Note: Dates in brackets may refer to date news brief was added to MCS news page
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Pope Benedict makes key appointments: Archbishop Fisichella will head the recently announced Pontifical Council for the Promotion of the New Evangelization, Cardinal Ouellet will head the Congregation for Bishops; Holy Father also names new bishop of Spokane, new auxiliary bishops for Boston [6/30]
Catholic author in Canada warns that the highly popular vampire novel series "dangerously twists evil into good and may even be demonically influenced"; Author says "Unprecedented cultural phenomena such as the Twilight series, Harry Potter and Phillip Pullman's Dark Materials series represent a sliding scale of familiarity with evil" [6/30]
Alleged abuse victim in Belgium files complaint with Brussels prosecutors over police raids which he says were an invasion of his privacy; Alleged victim gave abuse information to the Church panel "insisting it not be shared" [6/30]
Former head of internal Church commission on abuse in Belgium triggered police raids; Former commissioner had received an "unpleasant phone call" from a French-speaking man who did not identify himself concerning the commission's files before the raid [6/30]
Did he skip some catechism lessons? West Virginia bishop (scandalously!) 'canonizes' recently deceased abortion-supporting Baptist legislator, claiming he is now "now at peace with the Risen Lord" and "experiencing perfect joy" [Reminder: While one cannot pronounce judgment on any individual's soul, it is nevertheless true that there is very grave danger for those dying outside the Church in light of the Church's dogma of 'no salvation outside the Church'. Support for abortion would likewise involve grave danger. Furthermore, even for those saved, "most" are believed to suffer in purgatory] [6/29]
U.S. Supreme Court ruling preventing Christian student groups from restricting their membership to practicing Christians is said to "significantly damage the constitutional rights of religious organizations" [6/29]
Vatican statement says it is "necessary to recall some objective facts to protect the reputation of this important body of the Holy See [the Congregation for Evangelization] and the Catholic Church"; Dicastery is 'stung' by corruption charges against Cardinal Sepe [6/29]
Cardinals Schonborn, Sodano & Bertone meet with Pope Benedict; Meeting "clarified and resolved" misunderstandings resulting from Cardinal Schonborn's earlier statements; Holy See communiqué says that "when accusations are made against a cardinal, competency falls exclusively to the Pope" and claims that the word "gossip" which had earlier caused offense was "erroneously interpreted as disrespectful to the victims" [6/28]
Irish diocese's victim advocate resigns after victims allege that he tipped off an accused priest; Former advocate says he informed the police immediately and spoke with the priest later on when he was unaware of police plans to question the priest [6/28]
Cardinal Bertone criticizes Belgian police raids, saying "There are no precedents, not even in Communist regimes"; During the police search, the Belgian bishops were reportedly held for nine hours without food or drink [6/26]
Statement issued by Belgian Bishops' Conference indicates that the bishops were held for about nine hours, interrogated, and had their mobile phones confiscated during the police search on Thursday; Committee files concerning abuse were seized, raising privacy concerns for victims; Law enforcement officials also drilled holes in tombs of deceased archbishops and inserted cameras, for which "indignation" was expressed [6/25]
Belgian police search homes of two archbishops following abuse allegations involving priests in the diocese; Archbishop Danneels' computer & documents are confiscated by law enforcement authorities [6/24]
House of Representatives passes campaign finance disclosure bill under "Martial Law Rule" that critics say "will disable grassroots political voices"; Pro-lifers concerned over legislation that would "force grassroots organizations to release the names of donors and members of their organizations into a publicly searchable database" [6/24]
U.S. bishops release statement supporting Bishop Olmstead (who condemned an abortion performed at a 'Catholic' hospital & who stated that the religious sister who approved of the abortion incurred automatic excommunication); Bishops' statement explains distinction between direct abortion and legitimate medical procedures [6/24]
Pope Benedict cites Pope Paul VI that "All of us, who are faithful children of the Church can and must, at least in some measure, be [St. Thomas Aquinas'] disciples"; Holy Father also speaks of St. Thomas' "very great" devotion to the Holy Eucharist and instructs the faithful to "participate in the Holy Mass with recollection to obtain its spiritual fruits, let us nourish ourselves on the Body and Blood of the Lord, to be incessantly nourished by divine grace!" [6/24]
[Note: There were no news updates on 6/23]
Earliest known icons of the Apostles Peter, Paul, John & Andrew are discovered in a Roman catacomb located under an eight-story office building; The fourth century images - which provide evidence of early devotion to the Apostles - were uncovered using a new laser technique [6/22]
German bishops confirm that a 'secret file' with allegations of misconduct by a former bishop was sent to Pope Benedict before the Holy Father accepted the bishop's resignation; Spokesman "would not elaborate" on whether the bishops meant to confirm allegations made in news reports [6/22]
Bishop Emeritus of Corpus Christi calls for canonical reprimand against U.S. VP Biden over his lobbying for Kenya's proposed pro-abort constitution; Bishop says Biden has "crossed the line as a Catholic" and says his position is "certainly immoral" [6/22]
Secretary of Communications for USCCB disputes CNA report concerning Cardinal George's comments regarding CHA; CNA "stands by its report and maintains that it was corroborated by several bishops" [6/22]
President Obama 'sharply criticized' for including homosexual 'fathers' ("two men imposing their homosexual lifestyle on an innocent, impressionable child - thus intentionally denying that child a mother") in his Father's Day proclamation [6/22]
Pope Benedict reminds that the priesthood "must never represent a way to achieve security in life or to attain social position"; Holy Father notes that if a priest seeks to "achieve success" he will say "what people want to hear" and will "deprive himself of the vital relationship with truth, reducing himself to condemning tomorrow what he praises today", also noting that such a priest does not love God or his neighbor and will end up "losing himself" [6/22]
Head of HLI says priests will be "inundated in the next decade or so at least with requests for exorcism"; Fr. Euteneuer also says Harry Potter has helped educate youth "in the language and the symbolism of the occult" and warns that "it actually leads them more deeply into occult practices" [6/18]
Vice chancellor of Archdiocese of Milwaukee issues open letter "blasting" Diocese of La Crosse's abuse policy; Claims policy has too high a burden of proof & laments that "After more than three months of effort, I must acknowledge that I have been unable to generate a sense of priority and urgency among the local and national Church leaders whom I believe should take the initiative to investigate my concern" [6/18]
Cardinal George criticizes CHA & Sr. Keehan over role in passage of abortion-expanding healthcare bill; USCCB president also confirms that the Executive Order is "meaningless" and notes that "Sr. Carol is mistaken in thinking that this is pro-life legislation"; Cardinal also says CHA "and other co-called Catholic groups" have "weakened the moral voice of the bishops in the U.S." [6/17]
Mexican cardinal laments diminished sense of sin; Says "For many today, nothing is evil, nothing is immoral and it seems like we've even erased the word sin from our dictionaries"; Warns that "We are in trouble, and so is society, when we block out that red light, losing the sense of guilt...and sometimes even using defense mechanisms to portray us as progressive or open-minded" [6/17]
Sad: Newly named president of Catholic University of America supported pro-abort presidential candidate & previously served as dean of 'Catholic' law school which awarded a congressman with a 100% pro-abort voting record an honorary degree; New CU president said the pro-abort congressman's "career of public service reflect[ed] the very best values and traditions" of the (supposedly Catholic) school [6/15]
HLI president warns that "the devil's spiritual warfare on our flocks will intensify as the years proceed" and calls "the aggressive mass media" the "ministry of propaganda for Satan and all his works and all his empty promises"; Also says that "Never in all of history have we seen evil promoted so effectively and the true good so roundly mocked and rejected as in this age of extreme technological prowess", noting that "the difference between the modern world and past generations is that Satan has a greater ability to use groups and institutions for increasing his wicked reach into human life and society" [6/15]
No big surprise: Offspring resulting from sp*rm donation "struggle with questions of identity as a result of not knowing their biological father"; Study finds that "young adults who were conceived through sp*rm donation exhibit higher rates of confusion, isolation, depression, delinquency and substance abuse than those who were raised by their biological parents" [6/12]
Study says the Holy Father "has been made the face" of the abuse scandals; Pope Benedict was recently "featured in 51.6% of the stories about the scandal in the mainstream media", whereas Pope John Paul II was previously mentioned "in only 15.5% of stories about abuse" [6/12]
"Stunning and symbolic about-face"? Holy Father did not proclaim St. John Vianney as patron saint of all priests at close of Year for Priests, despite earlier Vatican announcements [Warning: Page contains some disrespectful / offensive / religiously indifferent / etc. posts] [6/12]
Pope Benedict says abuse revelations during the Year for Priests were not coincidental, noting that "this new radiance of the priesthood would not be pleasing to the Enemy"; Holy Father also said the Church must "insistently beg forgiveness from God [for abuse scandals] and from the persons involved, while promising to do everything possible to ensure that such abuse will never occur again", calling for more vigilance in seminaries and the use of the "shepherd's rod" [6/11]
Holy Father answers priests' questions, exhorts to prayer, emphasizes that the Eucharist is the foundation of the priesthood, defends celibacy; Supreme Pontiff also tells priests to be "humble enough not to follow fads", noting that "The true majority in the Church are the saints" and that "We must draw nourishment from them" [6/11]
Cardinal Joachim Meisner tells priests that "the greatest obstacle to the transmission of Christ is sin"; Cardinal stresses the importance of Confession, nothing that "when the priest is no longer a confessor, he becomes a religious worker" and that "A priest who never kneels on the other side of the screen suffers permanent damage in his soul and mission" [6/11]
"Anti-Catholic storm" looming in U.S.? [Note: This article refers to Protestants as Christians, but as St. Athanasius, Doctor of the Church, has stated: "The very tradition, teaching, and faith of the Catholic Church from the beginning, which the Lord gave, was preached by the apostles and was preserved by the Fathers. On this was the Church founded, and if anyone departs from this, he neither is, nor any longer ought to be called, a Christian."] [6/10]
Vatican typos [6/10]
In recently discovered letter of Pope Pius XII, the pontiff asks FDR to "spare innocent civil populations and in particular churches and religious institutions"; Pope Pius XII also said that "Of [Rome's] desire for peace and to be done with the war, there can be no doubt; but in the presence of formidable forces opposing the actuation or even the official declaration of that desire she finds herself shackled and quite without the necessary means of defending herself" [6/10]
Zenit interviews FSSP priest, acknowledges: "As many religious orders are desperately praying for vocations, this [traditional FSSP] community has young men waiting to get into their seminary program"; Fr. Goodwin notes that "The Traditional Mass is a very important element in the re-Christianization of the world because it so clearly and fully embodies the faith of the Church. The whole notion of Christ's sacrifice is the central point of the Mass"; Fr. Goodwin also notes that a "large number" of priests they have trained for the TLM have told them that "This mass has saved my priesthood" [6/10]
Vicar apostolic of Istanbul says killer's allegations against slain bishop are "calumnies"; Driver who murdered bishop was assigned to him by the Turkish government 4 years ago [Warning: Article contains graphic imagery] [6/9]
Update on Pope Benedict's September U.K. trip: Lord Patten appointed to oversee visit; Archdiocese denies reports of scaling back beatification of Cardinal Newman; Worker responsible for offensive Foreign Office memo regarding Pope's visit has been given a "final written warning" [6/8]
Cardinal Rivera urges faithful to draw closer to the Holy Eucharist & reminds that "good will always triumph, although kindness goes unnoticed"; Cardinal says that "If world has not collapsed it is because of so much prayer and sacrifice that rises up from this valley of tears towards the Kingdom of Grace and of the Beauty of God" [6/8]
Murder of Apostolic Vicar was "unrelated" to religion? Suspect was "insane"? Details emerge about killing: Bishop was stabbed & beaded, suspect shouted "I killed the great Satan! Allah Akbar!" from the roof after the killing [Warning: Article contains disturbing, graphic references] [6/7]
Sr. Carol Keehan "pressured off" hospital board over her support of abortion-expanding healthcare legislation in opposition to the U.S. bishops; Sr. Keehan calls (the very justified!) criticism of her actions "abusive" [6/5]
So much for obeying laws & protecting national sovereignty: Archbishop Marchetto says those who enter the country illegally should not be called 'illegal' migrants, saying "no other word is worse for us" and claming that "this criminalization of irregular migrants is something wrong" [Refresher: "Take pains to impress on the Christian people a due obedience and subjection to rulers and governments. Do this by teaching, in accordance with the warning of the Apostle, that all authority comes from God. Whoever resists authority resists the ordering made by God Himself, consequently achieving his own condemnation; disobeying authority is always sinful except when an order is given which is opposed to the laws of God and the Church." (Pope Pius IX, "Qui Pluribus", 1846)] [6/5]
Pope arrives in Cyprus [6/4]
Cardinal Antonio Canizares Llovera, prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments reminds that "Worship becomes perverted when we have a celebration in which the community celebrates itself"; Cardinal laments that Mass is often reduced to "mere banquet, a celebration of the community, a commemoration, but not the very sacrifice of Christ who gives himself up for us on the Cross" [6/4]
Time to boycott: 'Family restaurant' McDonald's once again promotes homosexuality; New "come as you are" ad depicts teenager "speaking sweetly" with his homosexual partner on his cell phone [Related: The 'gay rights' movement (The End of Freedom in America?)] [6/3]
Pro-life group claims that "probably the majority of abortions in the United States are unwanted or coerced in one way or another"; Group says homicide is leading cause of death among pregnant women in the U.S. [6/2]
Diocese of Sioux City defends decision to dismiss teacher who supported atheism; Diocesan spokesperson says teacher violated her contract, the stipulations of which were "made very clear" and notes that Catholic parents expect that students in a Catholic school will not be taught by atheists [6/2]
Pope Benedict appeals to Gaza for peace, saying "I again repeat, with heavy heart, that violence does not resolve conflict but only increases its tragic consequences and generates more violence"; Holy Father calls leaders to dialog & asks for prayer for all who are suffering [6/2]
Problems with CCHD still not fixed: Report sent to U.S. bishops shows that almost 50 CCHD grantees are "involved in activities directly opposed to Catholic social justice and moral teaching" - in other words, about 50 groups may still be using Catholics' donations to fund activities directly opposed to Catholic teachings; Coalition member calls for "a complete reform of CCHD" [6/2]
Not a joke: Abortion-supporting Pelosi speaks of the necessity of public policy "in keeping with the values of the Word"; 'Catholic' Pelosi - who supports homosexual 'marriage' and who voted against the partial birth abortion ban - claims the Word (Jesus, the Word made flesh) is her "favorite" word [6/1]
President of Italian bishops' conference says abuse cover-ups "must be corrected and surmounted"; Says "the Church is wounded in itself by these deeds [of abuse] and is with the victims" but says that "without underestimating the absolute gravity of the phenomenon, it would be a profound distortion of the way that one should see the life of the Church as a whole, to see it only in this perspective" [6/1]
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