29 April 2007

Two Commentaries Supportive of Archbishop Burke

In the midst of all of the usual negative media coverage of the Archbishop, the Post-Dispatch published two commentaries-- the first by Colleen Campbell (her photo), which was very supportive, and the second, by Charles Bouchard, O.P, reasonably so.

Here they are, beginning with Ms. Campbell's:

Bishops have a right to speak out, too

Ever since Archbishop Raymond Burke resigned as board chairman of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation last week, he has been clobbered with criticism. Detractors have labeled him a bigot and bully, slammed him for mixing religion and politics, and accused him of allowing personal bias to trump concern for sick children. The proximate cause for Burke's public lashing was his disapproval of the foundation's choice of abortion-rights activist Sheryl Crow as the featured performer at its Catholic fundraiser. Burke had privately asked the board to replace Crow because her public support for abortion rights and embryonic stem cell research could confuse or scandalize Catholics. The board refused his request. So Burke resigned and held a news conference to distance himself and his Church from Crow's views.Those views are well-documented. Crow is among the most strident and outspoken celebrity supporters of abortion rights and embryonic research. Whether headlining a Rock for Choice concert or the NOW-sponsored March for Women's Lives, lobbying Iowa legislators to kill a cloning ban or urging Missouri voters to enshrine embryonic research and research cloning as constitutional rights, Crow frequently uses her fame to promote positions contrary to Catholic moral teachings. Crow has the right to her opinions. But it makes no more sense for Burke and the Catholic institutions he oversees to lend Crow a platform than for Planned Parenthood to appoint Burke emcee of its next Gala for Choice.

Some critics have argued that Burke had no business objecting to Crow because many Catholics disagree with his views on these issues. Yet Burke's stance reflects more than his private opinion; it is also the official teaching of the Catholic Church. The Church holds that abortion is a serious moral evil because it destroys innocent human life, and it opposes embryonic stem cell research and cloning for the same reason. Church teaching insists that one must never cooperate in these acts or give even tacit approval to them. There are no exceptions allowed — not for socially conscious rock stars, not for fiscally conscious charity organizers, not even for bishops operating under the glare of media scrutiny. That glare can be intense and intimidating. Many religious leaders have learned that they receive more flattering press if they focus their political pronouncements on the fight against poverty or global warming and avoid issues such as abortion. Burke surely learned this lesson. The same critics who loudly told him to stay out of politics in 2004, when he criticized presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry's views on abortion, voiced no such concern in 2005, when he protested Medicaid cuts. Today's religious leaders increasingly face a double standard when it comes to their public pronouncements: They can say what they want as long as they express politically correct views or stay mum on hot-button social issues. This stifling of religious voices is intended to prevent religious conflicts in the public square. But it also prevents the most fundamental form of deliberation necessary to the functioning of a pluralistic democracy: honest debates about right and wrong, good and evil, truth and falsehood. Burke's resignation from the foundation board clarified how seriously the Catholic Church takes its teaching about the sanctity of human life from its earliest stages. That teaching may not be popular or politically correct, but Burke has the right to defend it. To vilify him for speaking out because he wears a bishop's mitre is the epitome of religious intolerance. Such intolerance should frighten religious believers and free speech defenders of all political persuasions.

Colleen Carroll Campbell is an author, TV host and St. Louis-based fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Her website is www.colleen-campbell.com.


From Fr. Bouchard:

For a bishop, where you stand matters


At first glance, the Cardinal Glennon-Sheryl Crow dispute might look like a power struggle between a hospital and an archbishop. In fact, it raises two important moral principles that all of us have to wrestle with in the ordinary choices we make every day.

The first is scandal. When we describe something as "scandalous," we usually mean shocking or disgraceful. A better understanding of the word is, as Archbishop Burke noted, to do something that leads another person into evil. Scandal is a "stumbling stone" — an action that gives respectability to moral wrong and leads me to make a bad choice. Individuals can cause scandal (e.g., by giving a bad example to a child or a subordinate). Corporate scandal is worse because corporations have more power, status and influence in society. It is worse still when it involves a faith-based corporation because these organizations have a religious mission and enjoy the public trust. We hold them and their leaders to a higher standard. They must assess their alliances very carefully to avoid even the appearance of wrongdoing or ethical carelessness.

The second principle is cooperation, which asks, "How close can I get to the evil action or intention of another before I get morally implicated myself?" The simplest case is the driver of the getaway car in a bank robbery. Is she morally complicit if she not only drives the car but plans the robbery as well? Surely. Is she morally involved if she drives the getaway car but thinks the robber is just cashing a paycheck? Perhaps not. If she just loans her car not knowing what it will be used for or the car is used without her permission? Probably not. In each case, my lack of knowledge or shared intent diminishes my moral responsibility.

As citizens, all of us are called to work together for the common good. If we participate in a pluralistic society, however, absolute moral purity is impossible. We will inevitably find ourselves working with folks whose beliefs we do not share. This doesn't necessarily mean that we can't work side by side with other volunteers on a Habitat for Humanity build who might hold views we consider to be immoral. Advertisement

May I contribute to an organization that supports two kinds of work, one morally good and the other morally objectionable, or see a movie produced by an anti-Semite, or buy a product made with child labor? Perhaps, but only if in my best judgment I can say that I do not share the intention of the evildoer and that I am not causing scandal by appearing to do so. Moral choices are rarely crystal clear. The Cardinal Glennon officials surely did not intend to endorse the performer's views when they invited her, but many feel the connection was too close for comfort. As a church leader, the Archbishop was obliged to clarify his stance to avoid scandal. For the rest of us — individuals and institutions alike — this controversy provides an opportunity to examine what we choose, whom we cooperate with, and how our choices may influence others.

Charles E. Bouchard, O.P., is president of Aquinas Institute of Theology.

Smugness is sooooooooo Becoming

The day after the Sheryl Crow-headlined fundraiser, from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Hospital fundraiser opens on a light note
By Matthew Hathaway

Archbishop Raymond Burke made it to the Fox Theatre Saturday — but only as a punch line. When Bob Costas, the evening's host, walked onto the stage he scanned the crowd, gazing into the back rows of the upper balcony before breaking the prolonged silence."All right," Costas quipped. "I guess the archbishop is not showing up."Last week, Burke resigned from the board of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center Foundation because Crow — a vocal supporter of embryonic stem cell research — was scheduled to headline the annual fundraiser and concert.

"Sheryl Crow made it clear that she is coming here for three reasons," Costas told the crowd. The singer wanted to help children, put on a good show and, Costas said, "get me ex-communicated."Later, comedian Billy Crystal, making another appearance at the annual event, joined the act. "I respect his right to choose," Crystal said of Burke. "His right to choose not to be here."After a round of applause, Crystal added: "After all, charity begins at home — because that's where he is."

Full story here:

I wonder if they will find their actions so amusing on judgement day.

27 April 2007

Consistent Ethic of Life, Anyone?

The following position statement was released a few weeks ago on the Archdiocesan Pro-Life website (http://www.stlprolife.org/), with little fanfare. However, now that the Glennon issue is hitting the fan, it's only a matter of time before this provides the press with another opportunity to drum up phony outrage over the hard-hearted, cruel tyrant they like to imagine the Archbishop to be. This release was just mentioned in a little blurb in a back section of the paper today, but watch out for it in the coming days...

St. Louis Archdiocese Position Statement on Susan G. Komen for the Cure

The Respect Life Apostolate of the Archdiocese of St. Louis acknowledges the beneficial work of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, formerly known as the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation, in the area of breast cancer detection, prevention, research and treatment. Due to its policy allowing affiliates to offer financial support to abortion providing facilities and its endorsement of embryonic stem cell research, the Respect Life Apostolate neither supports nor encourages participation in activities that benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure.

This position is based on the following facts:

1. Public records indicate that Susan G. Komen for the Cure ("Komen") affiliates in at least 22 states (Missouri is not among them) have provided sizable grants to local Planned Parenthood chapters for breast health care services.

Despite Komen donations for breast health care services, Planned Parenthood (the largest single abortion provider in the country) stated in its 2004-2005 annual report that 9,900 more abortions were performed and 26,000 fewer breast exams were provided in 2004 than in 2003.

Donors cannot control how an organization designates its funds. Therefore, money donated for a specific service, i.e. breast health care, directly frees up funds to support other areas of an organization’s agenda, i.e. contraception services, “safe” sex education and abortion services.

2. The Komen website dismisses the link between procured abortion and increased risk of breast cancer.
3 However, the research of Joel Brind, Ph.D., a professor of Endocrinology and founder of the Breast Cancer Prevention Institute, and the work of Dr. Janet Daling,4 a leading cancer epidemiologist and pro-choice advocate, invalidate a dismissal of the link. Daling said, “I would have loved to have found no association between breast cancer and abortion, but our research is rock solid, and our data is accurate. It’s not a matter of believing, it’s a matter of what is.”5

3. Komen endorses embryonic stem cell research that requires the destruction of embryonic human life, stating that “embryonic stem cells…have the most potential” for cancer stem cell research.
6 The destruction of human life at any stage of development is never morally acceptable. Embryonic stem cell research is also unnecessary since adult stem cell research has a proven record of cures and treatments.

Based on these documented facts, the Respect Life Apostolate (RLA) does not endorse Susan G. Komen for the Cure. The RLA encourages you to contact Susan G. Komen for the Cure (5005 LBJ Freeway, Suite 250, Dallas, TX 75244) and call for an end to all associations between Komen affiliates and Planned Parenthood, recognition of the link between breast cancer and abortion, and a refusal to support research that leads to the destruction of any human life. Our hope is that the Komen Foundation will focus all funds on research to find causes and cures for breast cancer and refuse to give financial or other support to any abortion provider or organization that promotes the destruction of human life.

Rather than supporting any Komen fundraising, the Respect Life Apostolate encourages you to direct your donations to the following local hospitals that provide breast cancer services and patient support groups:

St. John’s Mercy Medical CenterMail to: SJMMC Donations12800 Corporate Hill DriveSt. Louis, MO 63131Check: David C. Pratt Cancer Center Memo: Breast Cancer Development

St. Mary’s Health CenterMail to: St. Mary’s Health Center Foundation6420 Clayton RoadSt. Louis, MO 63117Check: St. Mary’s Health Center FoundationMemo: Empower and Engage Breast Cancer Program (patient support)

DePaul Health CenterMail to: DePaul Foundation12303 DePaul DriveBridgeton, MO 63044Check: DePaul Health CenterMemo: Breast Cancer Programs

SSM St. Joseph Health CenterMail to: St. Joseph Health CenterFoundation Office300 First Capitol DriveSt. Charles, MO 63301Check: St. Joseph Health Center FoundationMemo: Breast Cancer Programs

St. Anthony’s Medical CenterMail to: St. Anthony’s Medical Center – Cancer Center10010 Kennerly RoadSt. Louis, MO 63128Check: St. Anthony’s Cancer CenterMemo: designate for breast cancer research or patient support services

1 Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation & Planned Parenthood: The Visible Link. Right to Life of Indianapolis, August 2005.
2 Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Inc. (2007). 2004-2005 Annual Report. Retrieved March 27, 2007 from http://www.plannedparenthood.org/files/PPFA/report-05.pdf
3 see "Factors That Do Not Increase Risk of Breast Cancer." Susan G. Komen for the Cure. 27 March 2007. http://cms.komen.org/Komen/AboutBreastCancer/AbcFactorsNotRelatedtoRisk.
4 see Daling JR, Malone KE, Voigt LF, White E, Weiss NS, Risk of breast cancer among young women: relationship to induced abortion., Journal of the National Cancer Institute 86: 21, 1584-92, Nov 2, 1994.
5 "The Cover Up." Coalition on Abortion/Breast Cancer. 27 March 2007. http://www.abortionbreastcancer.com/coverup3.htm.
6 “Cancer Stem Cell Research Shows Promise.” Frontline: The Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Newsletter. (Fall 2006). 29 March 2007 http://cms.komen.org/stellent/groups/public/documents/komen_document/006137.pdf.


Folks, fasten your seat belts-- it's going to be a bumpy ride. The Komen foundation is a very popular cancer research outfit. Its "Race for the Cure" event garners total local media support and huge participation from many people who haven't the foggiest idea of its support for the abortionists. How will most Catholics react when the media spoon-feeds them the sad stories of all of the cancer victims that the "Mean-spirited (tm)" Archbishop wants to suffer in order to satisfy some esoteric point of honor? I suppose we must resort to storming Heaven with prayer, because recent experience gives me little cause for optimism.

The Definitive Answer...

... to the oft-repeated question heard re: the Cardinal Glennon Hospital situation, "Why did the Archbishop wait until now to 'make an issue' out of this?" is given in today's Post-Dispatch.

Archbishop Burke sent a letter to Douglas Ries, Chairman of the foundation board, on March 8, 2007, outlining his concerns over the decision to bring Sheryl Crow to town for the fundraiser.

That was seven weeks ago. And that is just the first written document to prove the Archbishop's concerns--it doesn't speak to any personal or telephonic communications he may have had. The Board had at least seven weeks to respond.

In the Post story today, Archdiocesan spokeswoman Anne Steffens said that as soon as he was made aware of Crow's Amendment 2 ad that aired on television across the state last fall, he contacted the hospital leadership.

From the Post: For seven weeks, Burke urged his fellow board members to drop Crow from the event, to be held Saturday night. "He was really hoping the board would do something," Steffens said.

(...) [His Grace] described Crow's planned appearance as "an affront to the identity and mission of the medical center, dedicated as it is to the service of life and Christ's healing mission."


In related news, Allen Allred, one of the co-founders of the event and a member of the board's executive committee, was quoted concerning his disinclination to apply any "ideological litmus test" to stars performing at the fundraiser, "If they want to help kids, I can find a common cause with them to help kids."

I suppose then we can make a list of other celebrities for future events for the board's approval, as long as they "want to help kids":

Michael Jackson

David Duke


Michael J. Fox

Hillary Clinton

bin Laden

Rudy Giuliani

Louis Farrakhan

Patricia Ireland

Hugh Hefner

Larry Flynt

... well, you get the idea.

26 April 2007


on radio, on television, and in conversation today, regarding the Archbishop's actions:

"What about separation of Church and State?"

"That Nazi wants to run everyone's life!"

"Questioning the motives of a cancer survivor is just mean."

"Didn't Jesus eat with prostitutes?"

"Why does the Archbishop have to impose his views on everyone else when our country has a problem with tolerance?"

"If the devil offered Jesus money to help kids with cancer, He'd take it in a minute and forgive him."

"This is why I left the Catholic Church thirty years ago."

Catholics don't care about any kids unless they're unborn."

I bet Burke would take money from Sheryl Crow for the Church in a heartbeat."

"The church has no place in a charity event that is being held for children."

People, this is what we are up against.

Why Archbishop Burke is Right... And Why it Matters

In following the resignation of Archbishop Burke from the Cardinal Glennon Hospital Board, the media is quick to conflate several issues, some of which are not relevant to the Archbishop's decision, and then, in typical style, to get most of it wrong.

Welcome to the reality of modern news production.

What is really important in the eyes of the press, when covering a "newsworthy" event, is to accomplish one of two goals. One of these possible goals is to create controversy in order to sell their product. Or, secondly, to tear down the "establishment" that opposes their agenda, whether that establishment be political, ecclesiastical, moral or commercial.When they can produce news stories that accomplish both goals, it makes their day.

Such is the case here. And this is why the Archbishop's actions are so necessary.

First, we must be careful to distinguish between the moral decision facing His Grace, the moral decision of the other Board members who ignored his objections, and the moral decision facing a layperson who is deciding to attend the event, or otherwise donate funds to the Hospital.

All three, of course, are moral decisions, but they are different.

First decision, that of His Grace: the Archbishop is the local ordinary. He is the spiritual leader of the Archdiocese and the official head of the Board for the hospital. The teaching of the Church regarding abortion, cloning and embryonic stem cell research could not be any clearer. The position of Miss Crow is diametrically opposed to the Catholic Church on all of these issues. Her position is not merely her private opinion, but instead is a very public one. She uses, and has used her considerable popularity to increase the opposition to the Church on all of these issues.

If the Archbishop allows the Board to stand by the invitation for Miss Crow to perform at a benefit for an ostensibly Catholic children's hospital, what statement does he make with his actions? I mean, this is kindergarten stuff-- two wrongs don't make a right. High school ethics-- the end does not justify the means. If this concert were to go on with no word of protest by the Archbishop, the message to Catholics is this: we don't really care about the babies killed by abortion and stem cell research, as long as there is money in it f0r some of our charitable institutions. We are hypocrites.

In short: rank, public scandal and confusion for the faithful under his charge. What really floors me is why this reasoning is not patently obvious to anyone, or at least to any Catholic.

Second decision, that of the Board: what kind of Catholic institution does not obey (yes, I said obey) their local ordinary, when the decision of that ordinary is not causing one to sin? Was Archbishop Burke's request to disinvite Miss Crow a bad decision (of course I don't think so) in their minds? Maybe. But no one is insinuating that it would have been a sin to listen to him. But no, fear of public scorn, desire for greater funds to be raised, and perhaps a case of being star-struck was more important to them.

So, they blame the Archbishop for trying to make a "political statement." It would be funny if it weren't so sad. And, perhaps most disappointingly, the board hides behind the "oh, it is all for the poor children" angle. All the while casting their lot with a woman who advocates the destruction of the youngest of our children.

Third decision, ours: those who have supported, or desire to support Cardinal Glennon Hospital, do so because of the truly amazing, important and wonderful work they do for suffering children. Obviously, a laudable goal, and the quality of the hospital is first rate. The decision to contribute to it is a different decision than that of the Archbishop to resign from the board. There is no public scandal involved here. Our contribution does not have to be motivated by Miss Crow; in fact, in can be in spite of it.

I think a reasonable moral argument can be made in favor of, and in opposition to, continued financial support. In fact, I invite any of my readers, especially those priests who may read, to comment on this question. To support the Archbishop's principled stand, I am choosing to withhold funds until the Board publicly disavows their actions. But others may choose a different course.

What is a different story, for us, is whether it is acceptable to attend this particular event with this particular performer supported by this particular Board. To attend is to lend support to the decision of that Board to bring in Crow, despite her notoriety, and to disobey and disrespect our beloved Archbishop. That is the relevant question to run through our consciences. It seems like an easy decision to me.

What the Archbishop has done is to lead-- he has publicly witnessed for Christ and His Church about the evils of the culture of death.

Pius XI once stated that it was good that we lived in such troubling times because "it is no longer permitted that anyone be mediocre." We certainly do not have a mediocre Bishop. He deserves a better than mediocre flock.

Cardinal Glennon Email Address


And the text of one email sent to them:

Dear Sir or Madam:

I am writing to express my full support of Archbishop Burke, and to relate my deep disappointment that you have chosen such a public example of anti-life (and, at its root, anti-child) advocacy as Sheryl Crow to perform at your fundraiser.

Cardinal Glennon wants to hide behind its noble purpose of helping children. Can't you see the irony here? Rest assured that until the Hospital distances itself publicly from this event that my wife and I cannot financially support your institution.

Moreover, as a Catholic I am seriously concerned about the Catholicity of an institution that will not comply with the reasonable wishes of the local ordinary.

No amount of media approbation for your actions will make them right.


Archbishop Burke Speaks on the Sheryl Crow Situation

Here, on youtube, is a statement from His Grace:


To Jog Your Memory...

Here is Sheryl Crow, via youtube, doing her part to make voting for a constitutional amendment legalizing the cloning and murder of millions of babies more palatable.


25 April 2007

Archbishop Burke Stands Up for Life

UPDATED, 25 April 2007 8:42pm-- see link from Archdiocese at the bottom of the post.

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Burke quits Glennon board over Crow fund-raising appearance

By Tim Townshend


Citing singer Sheryl Crow's stance on abortion, Archbishop Raymond Burke said today he has resigned from the board of the Cardinal Glennon Children's Foundation, the fundraising arm of Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center, in protest over Crow's participation in an upcoming fundraiser.

Burke said his resignation came after prolonged discussion with the foundation's board of governors regarding Crow, the pop singer who will take part in a benefit for the hospital this Saturday at the Fox Theatre. It will be hosted by broadcaster Bob Costas.

Burke said Crow is "well-known as an abortion activist."

The Post-Dispatch promises updates on the story; we will follow this story closely.

As an aside, Sheryl Crow has not only been an outspoken advocate of abortion, but also was a major spokesperson in support of the clone-and-kill Amendment 2 that narrowly passed last fall. She recently began voicing her concerns about toilet paper ruining the environment, if I recall correctly. If it comes to a war of ideas between her and the Archbishop, His Grace will win in a rout.

God bless the Archbishop. Please keep him in your prayers, as the press will in all likelihood rake him over the coals. It is wonderful to see real leadership from a shepherd of souls.

Link to Post story here: (note: this story is updated as of 4-26-07):


In Honor Of Our Lady

Just because it is Easter time, and because, as a deceased friend of mine said, "Our Lady don't mess around!", here is the Regina Caeli:

V. Regina caeli, laetare, alleluia.

R. Quia quem meruisti portare, alleluia.

V. Resurrexit, sicut dixit, alleluia.

R. Ora pro nobis Deum, alleluia.

V. Gaude et laetare, Virgo Maria, alleluia.

R. Quia surrexit Dominus vere, alleluia.


Deus, qui per resurrectionem Filii tui, Domini nostri Iesu Christi, mundum laetificare dignatus es: praesta, quaesumus; ut per eius Genetricem Virginem Mariam, perpetuae capiamus gaudia vitae. Per eundem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

In English:

V. Queen of Heaven, rejoice, alleluia.

R. For He whom you did merit to bear, alleluia.

V. Has risen, as he said, alleluia.

R. Pray for us to God, alleluia.

V. Rejoice and be glad, O Virgin Mary, alleluia.

R. For the Lord has truly risen, alleluia.

Let us pray.

O God, who gave joy to the world through the resurrection of Thy Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, grant we beseech Thee, that through the intercession of the Virgin Mary, His Mother, we may obtain the joys of everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

This is one of four Marian antiphons, with following versicles and prayers, traditionally said or sung after compline, immediately before going to sleep. It is said throughout Eastertide.

The Regina Caeli is also said in place of the Angelus during Eastertide.

24 April 2007

If the world hate you, know ye, that it hath hated Me before you

John 15:18

And make no mistake-- these people hate us.

I saw the picture at left in a story about Mexico City's decision to legalize abortion despite the objections of the Church. The vote occurred earlier today.

The people in this picture are abortion supporters who are kind enough to make it clear that they hate and oppose the Church, and mock its clergy and religious. Take a good look. And yet, God created them, loves them, and calls them to conversion.

May we, with so much blood on our own nation's conscience, never cease to pray for them. For us. For all of the poor babies we kill.

From the story on myway:

"We want this law, because it means the right to choose," said Alma Romo, who described herself as a feminist. "Unfortunately, there are some people who do not want to grant us that right."

The Roman Catholic church has protested the measure and Mexico City Cardinal Norberto Rivera led a march through the capital last month in opposition. The Archdiocese said Tuesday that it would "evaluate the moral consequences of the reforms" and said Rivera would have no public comment on the vote until Sunday.

The only countries in Latin America and the Caribbean with legalized abortion for all women are Cuba and Guyana. Most others allow it only in cases of rape or when the woman's life is at risk. Nicaragua, El Salvador and Chile ban it completely.

The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights, the legal arm of the reproductive rights movement globally, applauded the Mexico City law as "historic."

"This will serve as a model to get abortion accepted not only nationwide, but also in Latin America and the Caribbean, where women who interrupt their pregnancies are still sent to jail," said activist Elba Garcia, 24, who rode a flatbed truck in an abortion rights caravan through downtown Mexico City on Monday.

Recent newspaper polls showed that a majority of Mexico City residents support legalized abortions, at least in the first weeks of pregnancy.

The proposal has created an emotional confrontation in a country where the majority of people are Roman Catholic.

Full story here: http://apnews.myway.com/article/20070425/D8ONASR84.html

Third Date: A.D. 496-- The Baptism of Clovis

France is often called the "eldest daughter of the faith". In the history of France one sees a example and microcosm of the triumphs, defeats and challenges of the Church throughout the course of post-incarnational history.

France earned her title of eldest daughter in 496, when St. Remigius baptized Clovis, King of the Franks. And this event is the subject of Diane Moczar's third "date" that every Catholic should know.

The Roman empire in the West finally crashed for good in 476 when Odoacer sacked Rome. Rome had a mere king for the first time since Etruscan rule was cast off around 500 B.C.

The real danger for the Church is that the various kings and chieftains who carved up the empire's former territory were almost all Arians-- members of a heresy that denied the divinity of Christ.

There was one exception to the embrace of Arianism-- the Franks, who settled north of the Rhine and into Gaul, were staunch pagans. And yet within a short time, these Franks would be the defenders of Catholicism and the beginnings of Christendom.

Clovis was fifteen years old when he became king (as an aside, the name Clovis is a derivation of the name Ludovici or Louis, and thus he was first of many such named). Upon his succession, St. Remigius, Bishop of Reims, wrote him a letter, containing in part the following advice:

"What matters first of all is to respond to the designs of that Providence that rewards your merit.... Take for counselors those whose choice does honor to your discernment. Be prudent, chaste, moderate; honor bishops and do not disdain their advice. As long as you live on good terms with them, the affairs of state will prosper. Raise up the souls of your peoples, relieve the widows, feed the orphans. Later on they will serve you, and thus you will conquer the hearts of the very ones who fear you. Let justice be done both in your heart and by your lips..."

In the course of his conquest of Gaul, Clovis thought to conquer Paris, but was thwarted by none other than Ste. Genevieve. She declared that no pagan would enter to rule the city, and shut its gates against him. Clovis began a siege. Ste. Genevieve herself led an expedition up the Seine to get supplies to prevent starvation of the people. In the end, Clovis was defeated--at least militarily-- but Genevieve was praying for his conversion.

Perhaps in answer to these prayers, Clovis took the future Saint Clotilda for his wife, the Catholic daughter of a Burgundian king. While he was impressed with her faith, and that of her spiritual advisor (none other than St. Remigius), he remained pagan a long while.

Finally, in the midst of a difficult battle, when it seemed lost, he decided to pray to "Clotilda's God" for victory. He promised God that if he was victorious he would believe and be baptized. You can guess he was victorious.

In a sort of second Pentecost, Clovis and three thousand Franks were baptized on Christmas in 496--just twenty years after the fall of Rome, the Church in the West had a new defender. Once baptized, Ste. Genevieve received him into his capital with joy.

It is told that the cathedral was so packed that the servant carrying the oil for confirmation could not get through the crowd. St. Remigius looked up to see a dove descending from Heaven with a vial of oil in its beak. Kings of France were anointed with this oil for over thirteen hundred years. This vial was smashed in the French Revolution, but some drops were collected for the coronation of Charles X in 1824.

Why did the Baptism of Clovis matter? Because Catholicism was no longer the religion of the conquered, only to be the weak sister to Arianism. It was plain to pagans and Arians that the Catholic religion was stronger, in that God gave his followers such dramatic victories in battle. Finally, it began the eventual conversion of the whole continent.

Next date, Charlemagne...

Breaking News

Whoa! With thanks to Wolftracker at Kansas City Catholic for the tip, I am just going to post this story from WorldNetDaily in its entirety:

Homeschooler flees state custody
Melissa Busekros surprises parents at 3 a.m.
Posted: April 23, 200712:33 p.m. Eastern
By Bob Unruh© 2007 WorldNetDaily.com

Melissa Busekros, the schoolgirl taken by police and placed in a psychiatric hospital because she was diagnosed with a "school phobia" and was being homeschooled, has fled state custody to make a midnight trip back to her own family, according to Joel Thornton, president of The International Human Rights Group.

"At 3 a.m., in Erlangen, Germany, Melissa reached her home to the surprise of her entire family," Thornton told WND. "Earlier in the morning Melissa left a note with the foster family where she was being held and began the journey to her family. She left of her own volition."

Thornton said April 23 is Melissa's birthday, and on turning 16, "this gives her broader rights than it does in America. It gives her more of a voice in her own custody. So, she decided to return home."

"In fact, if the state police come for her again she is prepared to refuse to go on the advice of her attorney," Thornton said.

He reported Melissa was in contact with her legal adviser, Johannes Hildebrandt, to let him know she had returned home, and he is preparing to be at the family home in Erlangen if needed.

Melissa Busekros and her sister speak with Richard Guenther, director of European operations for the International Human Rights Group, during the time Melissa was being kept in custody at a foster home. The girls here are in a clearing house where Melissa was scheduled to meet her parents.

"Our director of European Operations, Richard Guenther, spoke with the family this morning and told them that it was imperative that they contact Dr. Hildebrandt to let him know that she has returned home," Thornton said.

"I spoke with Gudrun, Melissa's mother, just after midnight [EDT]. I conveyed our congratulations on having their daughter home. Gudrun was relieved to have her entire family back together," Thornton said.

He said the work continues in the legal forum, too.

"A week or so ago, Melissa was evaluated by a professor of psychology who is the director of the institution that oversaw Melissa's care while she was being held in state custody," Thornton said. "This new evaluation revealed that Melissa does not suffer from 'school phobia.' She is healthy and has made it through this traumatic ordeal remarkably well."

Thornton said the family's lawyer already has asked a higher German court to recognize the findings of the new evaluation.

A separate website,
www.freemelissab.com, launched by American homeschool leaders also had been lobbying on behalf of Melissa.

Melissa, last February when she still was 15 and subject to different German laws, was taken by police from her parents to a psychiatric ward after a social worker and judge determined she had a "school phobia" and was being homeschooled, which is illegal in Germany.

Melissa had fallen behind in math and Latin and was being tutored at home. When school officials in Germany, where homeschooling was banned during Adolf Hitler's reign of power, found out, she was expelled. School officials then took her to court, obtaining a court order requiring she be committed to a psychiatric ward.
Wolfgang Drautz, consul general for the Federal Republic of Germany, has commented on the issue on a blog, noting the government "has a legitimate interest in countering the rise of parallel societies that are based on religion or motivated by different world views and in integrating minorities into the population as a whole."
Drautz said homeschool students' test results may be as good as for those in school, but "school teaches not only knowledge but also social conduct, encourages dialogue among people of different beliefs and cultures, and helps students to become responsible citizens."

The German government's defense of its "social" teachings and mandatory public school attendance was clarified during an earlier dispute on which WND reported, when a German family wrote to officials objecting to police officers picking their child up at home and delivering him to a public school.

"The minister of education does not share your attitudes toward so-called homeschooling," said a government letter in response. "... You complain about the forced school escort of primary school children by the responsible local police officers. ... In order to avoid this in future, the education authority is in conversation with the affected family in order to look for possibilities to bring the religious convictions of the family into line with the unalterable school attendance requirement."

In Melissa's case, the local Youth Welfare Office arrived at the family home with about 15 uniformed police officers to take her into custody. They had in hand a court order allowing them to take her into custody, "if necessary by force."
Thornton has told WND many Christian families who object to the German government's sexualized education system are facing persecution, too.

Three other families recently released a letter pleading with Christians worldwide for prayer because of their "difficulties" – fines equal to thousands of dollars, frozen bank accounts and even the threat of the sale of the family home – because they homeschool their children.

The letter came from Alexander and Helene Schneider, Johann and Katharina Harder and Heiko and Anna Krautter and was released through the IHRG. Thornton told WND the situations are becoming dire and parents more fearful about losing custody of their children because of what happened with Melissa.

"We are turning to all believing gospel Christians and Baptists in the CIS, Europe and America," the three sets of parents wrote. "We are three families of the church in Bischofswerda, and we homeschool our children. For that reason, we had to deal with numerous difficulties with the authorities."

The families cited fines of about $4,000 for the Harder and Krautter families and about $2,500 for the Schneider family – so far.

"Measures such as freezing our bank accounts, compulsory mortgages, insolvency of our self-employment are making our lives difficult," the letter said. "Even the custody of our children was to be taken from us, but GOD prevented it."
Now more fines are being imposed, and "even our homes are to be sold for that," the letter said.

"We ask that you pray for us and that you make your voice heard before the secular powers," said the letter.

"The German government is taking these actions simply because these parents homeschool their children," Thornton said. "With a very strong Christian faith and a conviction that they should be allowed to raise their children in a Christian educational environment, these families are taking a stand, particularly regarding their right to oversee the sex education of their children as well as protect them from occult influences."

He also said he was able to meet with members of the Brause family, about whom WND has reported. The German courts already have granted custody of the family's five children to social workers, although they had not yet moved them out of the family home.

Michael Farris, founder of the Home School Legal Defense Association, said the German government actually was creating for Melissa the "parallel society" which it claims to despise.

"When she was homeschooled [at home] Melissa got to see her friends, got to go to church, be out and about," he said. "Now she's being taught the same curriculum but she's entirely isolated.

"It's the German government that has robbed her of her normal life, including life with a family, which is supposed to be a child's right under the international law that Germany supposedly adheres to," he said.

Farris said he believes the German treatment of Christian homeschoolers is the "edge of the night that's coming" for believers.

"Germany is the only Western democracy taking this incredibly hard-line approach, but there are growing clouds on a number of national horizons," Farris told WND.
"The philosophy that the government knows best how to raise children is really becoming a worldwide phenomenon," Farris said. "I think Germany represents the edge of the night that's coming."

For the U.S., Farris has called for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to protect the right of parents to educate their children at home.

With more than 80,000 families who are members, HSLDA is the largest homeschool association in the world

Second Date: A.D. 452-- St. Leo Staves Off the Huns

As the second hinge event in Catholic history, Diane Moczar chose the intervention of Pope St. Leo the Great with Attila the Hun that spared Rome from invasion and ruin in 452.

As a backdrop to this story, Moczar relates the conditions of the Empire in the century after the legalization of Christianity. Instead of embracing the Christian moral ethic, the larger part of society had continued down the road of moral depravity.

The Western Empire was crumbling, and the causes thereof were many:

"Certainly the economy was in crisis. Despite the Draconian measures taken by Diocletian and continued by Constantine to increase revenues and meet the rising costs of defending the borders, inflation was rampant, the soil was exhausted, and once-independent farmers found themselves sharecropping on the estates of local landowners--the serfs and lords of the future. The welfare budget grew out of control as city governments struggled to feed and entertain the urban proletariat, lest it explode in revolution. There were not enough qualified men going into the army... so barbarians began to make up a larger and larger percentage of both officers and fighting men." Moczar notes that although many of these were loyal to Rome, many others were content to look the other way as the legions were often facing their own tribesmen across battle lines. pp. 19-20.

There were periods of political stability interrupted by massive, violent power struggles. Political opponents were killed or treated as criminals by victorious rivals. Above all, there was a palpable and "terrifying sluggishness of the whole population". p. 20.

What made all of this so appalling in Moczar's opinion is that the immorality practiced by Romans was immorality practiced by Catholics. In yet another parallel with our own times, it was often the case that the barbarians who invaded and threatened Roman territory adhered to a more moral lifestyle, at least in their actions and deportment, than the nominally Christian citizens.

Following a raid by barbarians in North Africa in the 430s, Salvian of Marseilles contrasted the behavior of the barbarians with that of the Christian Romans. First, he noted the various vices prevalent in Carthage at the time: "... men, having put aside the natural use of woman, burned in their desires for one another; men doing base things with men..." these things occurring "in a Christian city, in an ecclesiastical city, where the apostles taught with their own teaching..." He laments that although this immorality dated from pagan Roman times, it did not cease after the advent of the Gospels. p. 21-22.

As for the Vandals, however, Salvian noted "none of them became effeminate", and that they banished prostitution as well. He asked, "What hope can there be for the Roman state when the barbarians are more chaste and more pure than the Romans?" In short, it was the immorality of the Romans themselves, and not any military weakness, that sealed their doom. St. Augustine himself upbraided his flock: "Enough of your weeping and wailing! Are you not yourselves responsible for this fate which is overwhelming you?" p. 22.

So it was that not pagan Rome, but Christian Rome was suffering chastisement.

Into this situation came the Huns. They were not of the Christianized sort of barbarian. Roman historian Ammianus Marcellinus said of them, " They are totally ignorant of the distinction between right and wrong... they are under no restraint from religion or superstition." Attila, their leader, to whom was applied the name "Scourge of God", was a brilliant military leader and was feared by Romans for his ruthlessness.

After moving on the Eastern borders of the empire, and already having extracted large ransoms from the Eastern Emperor, he set his sights on the West. In 451 he moved on Gaul (Paris was spared through the faith and courage of Ste. Genevieve, this being in itself worthy of a chapter, imho). After sacking many cities and finally meeting some resistance, he regrouped and in 452 invaded Italy. Moczar: "Town after town fell, the population fleeing for their lives." After laying siege to Aquileia, on the Adriatic, the destruction was so complete that "a hundred years later, its ruins could scarcely be located." p. 28. Padua, Manua, Milan and many other cities fell.

The emperor finally appealed to the Pope for help. The Pope agree to go meet Attila, having already stormed Heaven with prayer. St. Prosper wrote on the prospect, "The only hope of salvation was to count on the mercy of a king without mercy."

The two met at the river Mincio in Northern Italy. The Huns saw the Pope approach in a procession of clergy, chanting and carrying monstrances and crosses. As for the meeting, St. Prosper relates:

"Attila received the legation with dignity and was so delighted with the presence of this pope that he decided to abandon the war and retire across the Danube, after having promised peace." p. 29. To this day, the arguments of the Pope are unknown. Luckily for the Empire, the very next year Attila the Hun died, in a drunken stupor, from a nosebleed, while lying on his back.

Dr. Moczar holds up Leo as the instrument of God's mercy. And three results important to subsequent history followed: first, those who said the barbarian invasions were because of the substitution of Christianity for the pagan gods were definitively answered; and second, the West was not to become a province of Asia, nor its tributary.

Finally, the path to a new Christian civilization, arising from the wreckage of the Empire and under the leadership of the Pope, was taking shape.

23 April 2007

First Date: A.D. 313-- The Edict of Milan

The first chapter of Diane Moczar's book, Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know, concerns the Edict of Milan, which legalized Christianity throughout the Roman Empire in A.D. 313.

The reign of Constantine followed hard upon the heels of the worst persecution Roman Christians had suffered, under the rule of Diocletian. Diocletian's persecution had begun in A.D. 303, and for ten years had been vigorously prosecuted throughout the entire empire.

Moczar describes this persecution: "All Roman men, women and children were summoned to sacrifice to the gods of Rome or die. Unlike some earlier persecutions that were localized in one or another of the provinces of the empire, this one was enforced everywhere." p. 3

The situation of the Christian in the Roman empire from the time of Nero in the first century until the reign of Constantine in the fourth century was one fraught with peril. In many ways, we seem to be descending into like times. See if you can recognize any emerging modern similarities with the following situation:

"..times of peace could change change into nightmares from one day to the next. Sometimes all it took was a few indignant idol-makers blaming Christians for a decline in business, or charges from actors furious that Christians were staying away from the obscenity and cruelty of the theaters. A riot could easily start, especially in cities crowded with idlers looking for diversion, and Christians would be the victims. A Christian could also be denounced by his neighbors: maybe he refused their dinner invitations so he would not have to give the customary libation to their household gods, or he kept his children home from the pagan schools. As St. Justin Martyr put it, 'The world suffers nothing from Christians but hates them because they reject its pleasures.'" p. 4

Into such a state of seeming hopelessness entered Constantine, just one pretender, and not the most likely one, to the the throne of the West upon the death of Diocletian. Constantine's main rival for the throne was his brother-in-law, Maxentius. The armies of these two leaders met at the Battle of the Milvian Bridge in 312, where Constantine's army was outnumbered more than 2 to 1.

Before the battle, Constantine experienced a supernatural vision, in which he saw (depending on the account) a cross, or a chi-rho symbol, in the sky and the Latin words for "in this sign, conquer." Eusebius reports that Constantine himself said Christ appeared to him and told him to make this sign his battle standard, as a pledge of victory. He did so, and his force of about 40,000 routed Maxentius' force of about 100,000. During the battle, Maxentius himself was drowned.

The next year, Constantine met with the Eastern Emperor, Licinius, in Milan and issued the famous Edict, finally legalizing Christianity, and ending the prospect of wholesale persecution within the Empire. No doubt he was influenced by his mother, St. Helena, because at the time of the Edict he was not yet Christian himself.

But, as Moczar highlights, the God of history intervened in an unexpected way to end a persecution of His Church, a persecution with the full weight of the decadent Roman Empire behind it. A persecution that looked final. "As it turned out, the Edict of Milan was to be the great charter of liberation for the Catholic Church: one of those stunning divine surprises that punctuate Catholic history." p. 10. This Edict allowed freedom for the Church and set the stage for one of the most important ecumenical councils in history, the Council of Nicea in 325. Also, St. Helena was able to journey to the Holy Land and rescue or preserve many of the most important relics and holy sites of Our Lord's ministry, passion and resurrection.

A further unforeseen event affecting Church history occurred when Constantine decided to move the capital of the Empire to the new city he founded, Constantinople, or New Rome, in modern day Turkey. The Popes were thus allowed to act with greater independence due in part to their physical distance from the Emperors.

Moczar's next date covers the decline of the Empire, the Hun invasion, and the response of Pope St. Leo the Great.

For more information, the complete text (in English) of the Edict of Milan can be found here: http://gbgm-umc.org/UMW/Bible/milan.stm

Dr. Moczar's book can be obtained here: http://www.amazon.com/Dates-Every-Catholic-Should-Know/dp/1933184159

Book Review-- Ten Dates Every Catholic Should Know, by Diane Moczar

We often hear Santayana's maxim that "those who cannot learn from history are doomed to repeat it." Moreover, Cicero said, "To be ignorant of what occurred before you were born is to remain always a child."

As Catholics, we know that Jesus Christ is the center of history, not only in the chronological sense but also in the ontological sense. He is the meaning of history-- its cause, its standard and its Judge. The history of the world since the birth, death and resurrection of Christ is no more or less than the history of His Church, His Mystical Body.

With that in mind, and considering the troubled state of the Church and the world today, we could use a refresher on our history, so that we can learn its lessons and perhaps improve the future.

Diane Moczar has compiled a concise, readable, and relevant collection of ten of the most important dates in history from the Catholic perspective. These ten "dates" or events of history are pivotal to the development of Church and society. Moczar chronicles the bad along with the good.

The author herself relates the plan and design of the book: Ten Dates traces God's actions in human history, and in the whole of Catholic history,

"beginning with the Edict of Milan in 313 and ending with Fatima in 1917. The dates are used as focal points around which the whole history of an era is organized. From 313, for instance, we look backward to the world of the early Christians and the persecutions that devastated them, and also forward to the creation of the new Catholic world that will soon be overrun by the barbarians. Throughout the book, we follow the thread of God’s merciful design for the human race, how and why it is so often thwarted, and what kinds of human actions bring down divine chastisements. My hope is that readers will both learn from this book and acquire a taste for knowing more about our Faith and our past."

I have read Dr. Moczar's work in various publications in the last few years, and so I figured this book would be worth a read. It is even better than I hoped. Each chapter shows that we face many of the same circumstances today that the Church has perennially faced.

I had originally put the book at the right side of the blog as a book "currently reading/recently read". But in the next several days I want to provide a brief review of each of the important events of history Dr. Moczar relates. These synopses will follow.

As you may imagine, I recommend the book. It can be found here: http://www.amazon.com/Dates-Every-Catholic-Should-Know/dp/1933184159 and at many other sites.

20 April 2007

Archbishop Burke on Sacramentum Caritatis

In his weekly column for the St. Louis Review, Archbishop Burke continues his reflections and analysis of the Holy Father's Apostolic Exhortation on the Eucharist, Sacramentum Caritatis. In this installment, His Grace considers the Pope's words on the Development of the Eucharistic rites. From the Archbishop's column:

Development of the Eucharistic rites

Our Lord comes to us in the Holy Eucharist through the Rite of the Mass and other Eucharistic rites. The rites of the Church, and above all the Rite of the Mass, point to the reality of our Lord’s abiding presence with us. Pope Benedict XVI notes the "richness and variety" of the liturgical rites, both historically in the Latin Church and in the Churches of the East, by which our Lord makes always new His Eucharistic Sacrifice. He reminds us that all of the approved rites, inspired by the Holy Spirit, manifest a unity, that is they are the historical development of the one action of the Mass.

Commenting on the liturgical renewal which "began with the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council," our Holy Father expressed the gratitude of the bishops for the fruits of the renewal. Acknowledging the many benefits of the liturgical renewal, he also acknowledged the "difficulties and even occasional abuses" in the actual carrying out of the renewal. In that regard, he affirmed the conviction of the bishops at the synod that the "riches" of the renewal "are yet to be fully explored" (n. 3).

The Holy Father then addressed a central point regarding the historical development of the liturgical rites in the Latin Church. The changes in the liturgical rites, introduced after the council, could be seen as something entirely new, that is, as having no relationship to the liturgical rites which the changes were adopted to renew. Such a perception is completely false. The changes can only be understood in the context of the organic development of the rites of the Sacred Liturgy, along the Christian centuries, true to the promptings of the Holy Spirit. Pope Benedict XVI states:

"Concretely, the changes which the council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of this historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities" (n. 3). A change in the Sacred Liturgy, which is not a development of the rites of the Church as they have come down to us, could not be the work of the Holy Spirit.
My comments: There is a lot said in these few paragraphs. First of all, His Grace notes that all of the approved rites of Mass manifest a unity and an historical development from the one action of Mass. All of the rites of Mass, whether Latin (such as Roman, Ambrosian, Mozarabic) or Eastern (such as Byzantine, Maronite, Chaldean) have roots in the earliest Christian times. They began either directly from Apostolic practice or from the practice of the early Church Fathers. Just as an ancient oak tree no longer looks the same as an acorn, yet each is the authentic manifestation of an oak tree for that stage of development, so it is with the Church's multiplicity of rites.

That is, until recent times. Contrary to popular belief, a belief caused by ignorance of or miseducation about the actual documents promulgated by the Second Vatican Council, the Council fathers called for quite modest, and as the Holy Father would reiterate, organic changes to the Mass. Sacrosanctum Concilium, the dogmatic Constitution on the Liturgy, called for retention of Latin as the primary liturgical language, and called for Gregorian chant to have pride of place in Catholic worship, and mandated no particular change to the ordinary of Mass as it existed. When the Novus Ordo Missae was promulgated, its own rubrics assumed that the Priest would celebrate Mass "facing East", liturgically, just as he had since Apostolic times. Nothing whatsoever was said in the Council documents or in the Missal about standing for Communion, receiving Communion in the hand, female altar servers, or of many other of the myriad departures from the long-established praxis of the Church with which we are so familiar today.

One paragraph of the Archbishop's column stands out in this regard, and both proves the need to retain our traditional form of Mass and also provides the key to implementing the intent of the Council fathers with regard to the "new" Mass. The quote by the Holy Father, and the comment by His Grace:

"Concretely, the changes which the council called for need to be understood within the overall unity of this historical development of the rite itself, without the introduction of artificial discontinuities" (n. 3). A change in the Sacred Liturgy, which is not a development of the rites of the Church as they have come down to us, could not be the work of the Holy Spirit.

Changes to the Mass that would be faithful to the wishes of the Second Vatican Council would not, in many important respects, look anything like what most Catholics now experience. A change with is not an organic development, cannot be the work of the Holy Spirit, as the Archbishop rightly notes.

Because of this reality, when the Holy Father states that the riches of liturgical "renewal" have "yet to be fully explored", the context is clear: the riches of renewal have yet to be fully explored, not because they haven't departed far enough from old Mass, but because they haven't been close enough to it. You can't have organic development by fiat. If the new Mass, so-called, did not start with the old as its basis and standard, its novelties are not legitimate.

Many readers already know that many of the more problematic issues with Mass at many parishes are or were the result of disobedience to the magisterium and disregard for legitimate authority. Abuse after abuse piles up until their widespread presence is winked at, then finally is allowed. Instead of experiencing Mass as something hallowed, and received humbly from Christ and His Church, it becomes the flavor of the week developed by the liturgy committee.

This is why I personally believe the Holy Father wanted to issue Sacramentum Caritatis before issuing the Motu Proprio reaffirming the right to the Traditional Mass. And also why he wants the Traditional Mass intact to guide the proper celebration of the New Mass. Without the anchor of tradition-- whether the subject is the Mass, or dogma, or Scripture-- the new formulations are arbitrary, illusory, prone to error. When these matters develop within the heart of the Church their authenticity is assured.

I don't pretend to speak for the Archbishop, but this is how I was struck by his reflections.

For the complete column of the Archbishop see here:

18 April 2007

We Interrupt Our Nation's Slouch Towards Gomorrah...

for just the tiniest bit of sanity and morality. In case you have been stuck under a rock, today the Supreme Court upheld the federal legislation outlawing partial birth abortion.

The vote, obviously, was 5-4, with Kennedy, Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Roberts in the majority. Nice to get a good indication of Alito and Roberts and the Kennedy vote was a nice surprise.

The decision is far from perfect, but in today's climate any victory for life is welcome. Praise God for His goodness.

Full story here: http://www.breitbart.com/article.php?id=D8OJ5JLG1&show_article=1

16 April 2007

Mark Your Calendars-- ICRSP Ordination Mass Only 60 Days Away

It is not too soon to clear the date for the first ever ordination in North America of Priests for the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest.

From the desk of Monsignor Schmitz, Provincial for the United States:

Dear friends,

It is my great joy to officially announce that the Archbishop of Saint Louis, His Grace Raymond L. Burke, will ordain two of our Deacons to the Holy Priesthood in the Cathedral-Basilica of Saint Louis on the Feast of the Sacred Heart on Friday, June 15, 2007, at 1:00 p.m. This will be the first time that the priests of the Institute are ordained in the United States. (Ed. website for the Cathedral Basilica with information and address here:

The Ordinations will take place in the presence of our Prior General, Monsignor Gilles Wach, and a large number of seminarians from Gricigliano, who will travel to the United States for this special occasion.

All are cordially invited to attend this joyous occasion of great solemnity.

Yours very truly in Christ the King,
Msgr. R. Michael Schmitz
Vicar General in the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest
Provincial Superior for the Institute in the United States


The picture above was taken at the Solemn High Mass celebrated at the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Louis on March 7, 2007. This Mass was offered by Fr. Karl Lenhardt, Vice-Provincial and Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

The June 15, 2007 ordinations will be celebrated by the Archbishop himself.

These ordinations, conducted in the Traditional Rite, are the fruit of many prayers and a sign of God's blessings on this Institute and on the Archdiocese as well. Please, do consider attending this event, even at some sacrifice. The Institute has published information on hotel discounts for those attending from out of town:


After the Ordinations, the first Masses for the newly ordained will be held in St. Louis as follows, as reported at the ICRSP site:

On the following day, Saturday, June 16th, Abbé Matthew Talarico will celebrate his first Mass at our St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, and on Sunday, June 17th, will be the first Mass of Abbé William Avis, also at the Oratory. Both these first Masses are, of course, open to all, after which the ordinands will give their first blessing as newly-ordained priests, a blessing to which a special power and charisma has always been attributed.


Whether the awaited Motu Proprio will have been published or merely still awaited at that time, the Ordination Mass will be an important event in the further support and promotion of the Traditional Latin Mass.

Finally, whether you attend or not, please keep these two young men in your prayers as they prepare for their orders.