Saturday, April 11, 2015

Truth in Charity vs. Zero Tolerance

I am very glad that Patricia Jannuzzi, the New Jersey Catholic school teacher who appeared for a few weeks there to have been thrown under the bus by her bishop for comments made about same-sex “marriage” on her Facebook page, was reinstated to her position. Finally, a victory for the right side!

The Catholic blogosphere, who appropriately flew to her defense with posts and petitions, is cheering!

But I have to wonder about the understanding that was reached.

Initially Bishop Bootkoski said her comments “were disturbing and do not reflect the Church’s teachings of acceptance.” Now the letter just sent to parents states, “It is the School’s position that a Catholic school teacher must always communicate the faith in a way that is positive and never hurtful. Tone and choice of words matter and I trust Mrs. Jannuzzi’s stated promise to strive always to teach in a spirit of truth and charity.”

Well, I suppose that her original post could have been a tad more charitable.

One can immediately see that she should have left out the expletive “bologna”. But I’m not sure what other words she should have chosen or how she could have softened her tone, yet still make the same point.

First Things pointed out that she was in some pretty good company. In 2010, then-Cardinal Bergoglio had this to say about same-sex “marriage” legislation in Argentina, “Let us not be naive: this is not simply a political struggle, but it is an attempt to destroy God’s plan. It is not just a bill (a mere instrument) but a ‘move’ of the father of lies who seeks to confuse and deceive the children of God,”

Look, we all need to strive to deliver the truth in charity.

At the same time, we need to understand that the militant homosexual activists in this country do have some critical mass of popular support. So much so that they no longer has any use for tolerance. No matter what words we choose, no matter the tone, if the content of our speech dares to call a spade a spade in matters concerning marriage, the sixth commandment, natural law or aberrations thereof, they would have us punished for our words. Our truth-telling words. They would have us silenced. It's very plausible to think that in the future, these truth-containing words will be classified as hate-speech. Let's not hasten that date by silencing ourselves.

I wonder, was silence part of the understanding with Mrs. Jannuzzi?

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

At least it's not a homosexual "pride" event this time

As a Catholic, I find it embarrassing whenever I find on the Archdiocesan website a listing for an event which is decidedly contrary to the faith. At least this time, it's not some function at a "gay-friendly" parish; but it is pagan!

Catholics: take heed! This article by Sue Brinkman on Johnetta Benkovic's Women of Grace® (of EWTN fame) blog explains why Tai Chi and Catholicism don't mix.
The belief that a life force energy pervades all of nature is known as pantheism and is not compatible with Christianity. The Pontifical Councils for Culture and Interreligious Dialogue called this impersonal energy force a “New Age god” in their document, Jesus Christ the Bearer of the Water of Life.

“This is very different from the Christian understanding of God as the maker of heaven and earth and the source of all personal life,” they write. “God is in himself personal, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, who created the universe in order to share the communion of His life with creaturely persons.”

[A]dditionally, many non-Christian beliefs are intrinsic to tai chi.

An article published by Catholics United for the Faith entitled “Hold Fast What is Good: On Borrowing Forms of Meditation from Eastern Religions “ points out that “even though Tai Chi is often used as a means of exercise and relaxation, as well as a martial art, it has its origins in the Chinese religion of Taoism.

“Although there is nothing objectively wrong with the physical movements of Tai Chi, there are many philosophical elements contrary to Christianity. The idea that the physical world comes from dualistic principles, which in turn come from an ultimate force, cannot be reconciled with the idea that the universe was created by an all-good, personal God. Furthermore, the attempt to channel and direct spiritual forces and the use of talismans violate the First Commandment (cf. Catechism, no. 2117).”
Bottom line, if an individual Catholic decides that he or she can manage to do the exercises while steering clear of the philosophical and religious aspects of Tai Chi, it is his or her perogative. Nonetheless, such an activity should never be promoted on the Archdiocesan website or even permitted by the archbishop in a Catholic institution within his see, especially when it is known that the instructor is going to go beyond the exercises and promote use of (i.e., belief in) a pantheistic "life force energy".


Tuesday, March 17, 2015

There's something very wrong around here

...when a photo of Holy Mass on St. Patrick's Day is posted on the seminary's Facebook page showing the main celebrant wearing a green chasuble. It was taken down quickly enough after a number of negative comments. But that it was shown off at all! Is this the environment in which our future priests are being formed?

Only a week ago, a local Catholic high school for boys, Calvert Hall, published its periodical, The Cardinal, with a first: a "wedding announcement" of two of its alumni who had "married" after homosexual "marriage" was permitted by Maryland state law. It was reported at Rorate.

These little "slips" on the part of Catholic institutions seem to be happening around here more and more often.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

“It would take too long” is not a valid response

I’ve been reflecting on this lately: It seems to me that the most-evangelizing thing a Catholic parish can do is to show respect for our Lord in the Eucharist. The first way to do this is by drastically cutting down on and, a short while later, cutting out the use of extraordinary ministers to distribute Communion at Holy Mass. Granted, this wouldn’t work at a heterodox parish, where this false sort of active participation is treated as though it’s anyone’s “right”. But at a parish with holy priests and a substantial portion of parishioners who already understand and believe that the Eucharist is really and truly the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity of our Lord, it would surely have many beneficial effects.

A parish where it’s known that what the priests confects on the altar and what is present in the Tabernacle is our Lord Himself is sure to attract others to His Magnificent Presence. This is much more readily apparent when no lay men or women enter the sanctuary to receive a ciborium.

Practically speaking, it costs nothing and can be implemented virtually overnight. (Okay, with 2-4 weeks of announcements, explanations and catechesis in the bulletin so there are no surprises.) Sure, it would take longer to distribute Holy Communion, but that time is time that is needed anyway either to prepare oneself before receiving or for prayerful thanksgiving afterwards. Silence is too often missing from the Mass and these extra minutes would be most welcome.

If there happens to be another priest in the rectory, there’s every reason that he should interrupt what he’s doing to step in and assist. Wouldn’t that show what reverence this parish has for the Eucharist.

For nearly two thousand years, only hands that were consecrated could touch the Body of Christ. Allowing lay men and women to touch the Holy of Holies with their unconsecrated hands started in an act of defiance against the Church as did allowing reception on the hand. The result has been abominable with a great majority since having lost their belief in the Real Presence, even among those who still attend Mass weekly!

Although “extraordinary” in “Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion” means “outside of (i.e., not) ordained”, it’s also true that they are only allowed to be used in extraordinary circumstances. Yet at any parish, they are scheduled every single weekend. This is an abuse.

Some who became extraordinary ministers years ago have lately learned how these abuses came about and would love to be relieved of this grave responsibility which they now know they are altogether unsuited for, on account of their not being ordained. They may even want to agree among themselves and then approach the pastor to suggest that their services really are no longer needed.

Whether he knows it or not, Father himself only stands to gain a good measure of respectability. I won’t go into all the details explained so well in Fr. James McLucas's 1998 article, but just note that he will again be the feeder of his flock and reclaim the unique privilege of his office.

Everyone's a winner in this.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Patience isn't always a virtue

Forty-five years ago today, the first Sunday of Advent, 1969 also fell on November 30th. That makes today an anniversary, of sorts*, of the Mass of Paul VI. Good riddance! I surely hope it doesn’t take another forty-five years before this gaping, still-hemorrhaging wound on the Body of Christ is closed and healed (i.e., until the Novus Ordo is reformed until it should become the Usus Antiquior again.)

In 1990, then Cardinal Ratzinger commented:
The liturgical reform, in its concrete realization, has distanced itself even more from its origin. The result has not been a reanimation, but devastation. In the place of liturgy as the fruit of development came fabricated liturgy. We abandoned the organic, living process of growth and development over the centuries and replaced it – as in a manufacturing process – with a fabrication, a banal on-the-spot product.
And he’s quoted seven years later:
I am convinced that the crisis in the church that we are experiencing today is to a large extent due to the disintegration of the liturgy.
Even in a good Novus Ordo parish, such as where I worship most weekdays and my husband and sons often go early Sundays, pablum is routinely served up. For example, my son told me today’s opening joke: the elderly woman who had been married to a banker, circus ringmaster, preacher and undertaker explained “One for the money, two for the show, three to get ready and four to go.” Ha ha! Very funny. But how does that help anyone even recognize the sacrifice taking place on the altar, much less join oneself to it?

I’m so thankful that with only two Tridentine Masses offered in the archdiocese, I’m close enough to get to one every Sunday. I just wish it were earlier in the morning so my early-bird family could come with me much more often.

Some who hear me continue to complain about a Mass I no longer attend would admonish me with, “patience, patience”. And yes, patience and prayer would be enough if I were the only one concerned. Unfortunately, there are so many more souls at stake.

Yesterday, I went to a funeral that my sons were asked to serve. I did not know the deceased or any family, but figured the prayers of one more mourner are always a good thing. Having done this before, I shouldn’t have been surprised at all the talking & even a coffee-drinker before Mass; foul language of the deceased quoted in the eulogy given before Mass; and that hardly anyone spoke the responses. But it really struck me how long it had likely been since most family members had been to Holy Mass when NO ONE was holding hands or using the orans posture during the Lord's Prayer! (And I'm quite sure it wasn't because they're all traditional-minded).

Sitting towards the back, I found myself observing that three or maybe even four generations in this typical Catholic family are probably lost: souls at risk of eternal damnation. All on borrowed time.

Patience is NOT what is called for!

* “Of sorts” since the turn-key switch from the Mass of All Ages was meant to happen this weekend, although the Missal wasn’t ready yet and many of the abuses had already crept in.

**We always have to pray in these situations in reparation for the sacrilege that is probably being committed (everyone's receiving Holy Communion despite the priest's instruction, which perhaps should be more explicit, e.g., don’t receive if you didn’t go to Mass last Sunday or any Sunday and haven’t since confessed it to a priest), and for the conversion of the family members as well as for the deceased.

Sunday, September 14, 2014


So the September 14th bulletin and recent e-News from my Novus Ordo parish report that a new contemporary music group is forming to sing at the 9am Mass on Sundays when the children's choir is not singing. Really? Are we trying to copy Rebuilt here? If I may borrow words from 1P5, why do so many Catholics view the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass as a laboratory for themselves to innovate and force their creativity into it?

This September 14th here in Baltimore, we are celebrating the Bicentennial of Francis Scott Key's authorship of the Star Spangled Banner.

Liturgically it is the Feast of the Exaltation of the Cross.

We also mark September 14th as the anniversary of the date Summorum Pontificum went into force. Thank you, Pope Emeritus Benedict. That was SEVEN years ago today, but when will it have the desired effect (re-sacralization of Holy Mass) around here in Baltimore?

If it doesn't happen soon (and there are no signs that it will), this won't be the land of the free much longer (but we'll certainly have to be brave to practice our faith).

Lex orandi, lex credendi, lex vivendi

Friday, November 29, 2013

Must we wait for the next generation of bishops to put an end to CCHD scandals?

A week ago, I posted to my homeschool group a reminder to skip the second collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) on account of CCHD’s continued difficulties determining that its grantees don’t violate Catholic teaching.

A question came back: Does anyone know why our ordinary, or priests, either don’t know this information, or don’t do anything about it?

My answer follows:

Priests have vowed their obedience to their bishop. If the bishop tells them to take up this collection, his priests can hardly say “no” to him, but presumably could offer their bishops reasons not to take up the collection.

Now as far as bishops go…

I’ve heard that there are U.S. bishops who do not take up CCHD collections in their dioceses. Praise God!

And I think it’s fair to say there are others who are corrupt in masking CCHD’s continued problems.

You remember the ACORN-CCHD scandal (September, 2009), when it was revealed that the bishops had long been giving away collection plate money to anti-Catholic Alinskyite organizations. I think that now most bishops and priests are under the impression that reforms of the CCHD made in the ACORN aftermath were successful and that it is a program in good standing again.

Several organizations, including American Life League (ALL), had done and continue to do a great deal of work in exposing CCHD problems, both before and after ACORN. However, the USCCB now considers these groups to be a nuisance and terminated communications with them. Read it for yourself at Truth About CCHD. Consequently letters to bishops citing problems discovered by ALL may well go unheeded.

A huge problem has been the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), which administers the CCHD.
(a) Aside from its member bishops, the USCCB bureaucracy that runs its day-to-day operations seems to have its own left-wing errant “social justice” agenda.
(b) Bishops are wont to hide behind the USCCB, although it has no real authority (and may that remain so, Pope Francis’s Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, §32 notwithstanding). I think many a bishop forgets that at his particular judgment, he will be called to account for the measures he (not the USCCB) took or neglected to take to lead the souls in his flock to Heaven. As it is human nature to fall in line with group decisions, it would have been better that these episcopal (i.e., bishops) conferences were never created.

USCCB aside, the bishops, as individuals, tend to be pretty leftward-leaning themselves on the political spectrum. (Remember how relentlessly they pushed for socialized medicine last year? And how they supported immigration issues every bit as much as traditional marriage when both issues were on the ballot? Should they not have instead been instructing the faithful that voting against traditional marriage would be a grave sin?) We can probably attribute much of today's bishops' misordered priorities to the fact that they came of age during the tremendous social upheaval of the late sixties / seventies. Many seem to have swapped care for the souls entrusted to them for peace at the expense of truth or for political involvement in the name of “social justice” – secular-style. Under their watch, the spiritual works of mercy have been completely trumped by the corporal works of mercy (and better yet if those can be enacted through a government program).

Certainly not all of our bishops are guilty of shirking their responsibility to teach the truth, but a vast majority are. Certainly it was heartening to see all the bishops stand together to oppose the health care mandate. The federal government's persecution of the Church is at least forcing them to be stronger. But they have to be much, much stronger still.

Is there any saving CCHD? Certainly we need to help the poor – spiritually and corporally. But does CCHD help the poor, as it claims? With its founding principle of giving money to non-Catholic organizations to empower the poor through community organizing, the money all too often still seems to find its way to progressivist anti-Catholic causes.

Pray and fast for our bishops.

Pray and fast for our bishops.