30 April 2008

Mission Statement

Today, as I was trying to register one of my daughters for the fall soccer league at our territorial parish, I noticed the parish's mission statement on the front of the bulletin. You know, the proverbial touchy-feely and oh-so-inviting slogan that has become the inevitable calling card of the modern parish.

The great thing about these statements is not that they give parish councils something to do for a few months. No, that is a side benefit. What is really great about them is that although they are hammered out individually in each parish, they end up looking essentially the same. For example:

We, the parishioners of St. Mission Statement, a body of diverse individuals, come together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit to promote the mission of Jesus Christ. This is accomplished by encouraging and supporting the development of the sacramental life of each member in the community through liturgical, educational, social and service activities. We strive to create an environment that fosters communication; an environment that helps us realize we are each a unique child of God. The stewardship of our time, our talents, and our treasures expresses the continuous accountability to God and the shared responsibility to each other, to the community and to the world.

Here is one more example, just for flavor:

We, the members of St. Mission Statement Parish, strive to live out our faith as Christians in the Roman Catholic Church. We see ourselves as a caring community, drawing from the strength and tradition of those who have gone before us, the wisdom of our senior members and the energy of our younger members.

We believe that our faith is our common bond; that all of us are made in the image and likeness of God; and, as such, possess a dignity and potential that is to be respected. We are called to be signs of God's love to each other and to all we meet. We believe our strength and nourishment come from the Church's ministry of Word and Sacrament.

Having experienced God's grace, we commit ourselves to announcing to others God's love for them. We will face the future by reaching out and serving the needy, by fostering spiritual growth in our families, by educating our children in Christian values, by welcoming visitors and strangers into our community, and by joyfully facing the challenges of our neighborhood. We value openness rather than negative criticism and reconciliation rather than materialism, selfishness and prejudice. We want to become a parish family with a care and concern that is characteristic of family members.

OK, there are other variations, to be sure. But essentially, mission statements tend to be a sign of what is euphemistically known as a "progressive" parish. Why? I don't know, but I can only give witness to the observations of long years in the Church. I mean, didn't our Lord give us a mission statement 2,000 years ago?

Going therefore, teach ye all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you. And behold I am with you all days, even to the consummation of the world. Mt. 28: 19-20.

These days I belong to a parish without a mission statement, but which seeks to carry out the command given by Christ in those lines from St. Matthew's Gospel. That ought to be good enough for any Catholic parish.

However, I have heard from some critics of this blog that I am stuck in the past in matters of the faith. I want to respect those prophetic voices. Therefore, in order to improve this blog, I propose the following mission statement for your review. I welcome your feedback, after which I will finalize it for posterity.

We, the blogger and readers of Saint Louis Catholic, come together under the wistful hope that wasting time better spent caring for our families or engaging in productive employment can be used in the service of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church.

We endeavor, under the guidance of our Blessed Mother and other blogs we like, to promote the truths of the faith, to expose the ridiculousness and danger of heresies and those who espouse them, to keep a sense of humor at all times, and to occasionally pat each other on the back.

We reserve the right to talk about subjects that normal people shun, and to wonder why they do so.

We believe the Church has authority given her by Christ Himself, and we highly resolve not to look a gift horse in the mouth. We are grateful, in other words, for all we have been given.

We are truly inclusive group, in that we want everyone to be Catholic--really Catholic-- and to experience the abiding peace and joy that comes with the Catholic faith.

We seek to be a sort of advance newsletter scattered behind enemy lines. No loitering.

P.S. Don't mess with our Archbishop.

Rogation Days

From fisheaters.com:

"Rogation" comes from the Latin "rogare," which means "to ask," and "Rogation Days" are days during which we seek to ask God's mercy, appease His anger, avert His chastisements manifest through natural disasters, and ask for His blessings, particularly with regard to farming, gardening, and other agricultural pursuits. They are set aside to remind us how radically dependent we are on Mother Earth, and how prayer can help protect us from nature's often cruel ways.

It is quite easy, especially for modern city folk, to sentimentalize nature and to forget how powerful, even savage, she can be. Time is spent focusing only on her lovelier aspects -- the beauty of snow, the smell of cedar, the glories of flowers -- as during Embertides -- but in an instant, the veneer of civilization we've built to keep nature under control so we can enjoy her without suffering at her hand can be swept away. Ash and fire raining down from great volcanoes, waters bursting through levees, mountainous tidal waves destroying miles of coastland and entire villages, meteors hurling to earth, tornadoes and hurricanes sweeping away all in their paths, droughts, floods, fires that rampage through forests and towns, avalanches of rocks or snow, killer plagues, the very earth shaking off human life and opening up beneath our feet, cataclysmic events forming mountains and islands, animals that prey on humans, lightning strikes -- these, too, are a part of the natural world. And though nature seems random and fickle, all that happens is either by God's active or passive Will, and all throughout Scripture He uses the elements to warn, punish, humble, and instruct us: earth swallowing up the rebellious, power-mad sons of Eliab; wind destroying Job's house; fire raining down on Sodom and Gomorrha; water destroying everyone but Noe and his family (Numbers 16, Job 1, Genesis 19, Genesis 6). We need to be humble before and respectful of nature, and be aware not to take her for granted or overstep our limits. But we need to be most especially humble before her Creator, Who wills her existence and doings at each instant, whether actively or passively. Consider the awe-inspiring words of Nahum 1:2-8:

The Lord is a jealous God, and a revenger: the Lord is a revenger, and hath wrath: the Lord taketh vengeance on His adversaries, and He is angry with His enemies. The Lord is patient, and great in power, and will not cleanse and acquit the guilty. The Lord's ways are in a tempest, and a whirlwind, and clouds are the dust of His feet. He rebuketh the sea, and drieth it up: and bringeth all the rivers to be a desert. Basan languisheth and Carmel: and the dower of Libanus fadeth away. The mountains tremble at Him, and the hills are made desolate: and the earth hath quaked at His presence, and the world, and all that dwell therein.

Who can stand before the face of His indignation? and who shall resist in the fierceness of His anger? His indignation is poured out like fire: and the rocks are melted by Him. The Lord is good and giveth strength in the day of trouble: and knoweth them that hope in Him. But with a flood that passeth by, He will make an utter end of the place thereof: and darkness shall pursue His enemies.

Recalling these Truths, beseeching God and His Saints to protect us from disaster, and doing penance so He does not see us as His enemies are what Rogation Days are about. These days are divided between the Major Rogation -- 25 April (by coincidence alone, the Feast of St. Mark) -- and the Minor Rogation, which consists of the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday.

The Major Rogation is of Roman origin, instituted by Pope St. Gregory the Great (b. 540) after a great plague besieged Rome. The Golden Legend, written by Jacobus de Voragine in 1275 explains:

For as the Romans had in the Lent lived soberly and in continence, and after at Easter had received their Saviour. After, they disordered them in eating, in drinking, in plays and in lechery. And therefore our Lord was moved against them, and sent to them a great pestilence, which was called the botche of impedimy. And that was cruel and sudden, and caused people to die in going by the way, in playing, in being at table, and in speaking one with another suddenly they died. In this manner sometime sneezing they died, so that when any person was heard sneezing anon they that were by said to him: God help you, or Christ help: and yet endureth the custom. And also when he sneezeth or gapeth, he maketh tofore his face the sign of the Cross, and blesseth him; and yet endureth this custom.

The Minor Rogation Days are of French origin, coming about in the 5th c., when St. Mamertus, Bishop of Vienne, Dauphiné instituted them after a series of natural calamities. According to the Golden Legend:

For then, at Vienne, were great earthquakes of which fell down many churches and many houses, and there was heard great sounds and great clamours by night. And then happed a terrible thing on Easter-day, for fire descended from heaven that burnt the king's palace. Yet happed more marvellous thing; for like as the fiends had entered into the hogs, right so by the sufferance of God for the sins of the people, the fiends entered into wolves and other wild beasts, which every one doubted, and they went not only by the ways ne by the fields, but also by the cities ran openly, and devoured the children and old men and women. And when the Bishop saw that every day happed such sorrowful adventures, he commanded and ordained that the people should fast three days; and he instituted the Litanies, and then the tribulation ceased.

Pope St. Leo III -- the Pope who crowned Charlemagne on Christmas Day of 800 -- introduced these days of penance into Rome in 816, the year of his death, after which they became standard throughout the Roman Church.

The liturgy for the Rogation Days, during which the priest is vested in purple, begins with Psalm 43:26 --"Arise, O Lord, help us and redeem us for Thy name's sake" -- which is followed by the Litany of the Saints (you can download this Litany, in Microsoft Word .doc format, in English or in Latin). At the Litany's "Sancta Maria," all stand and a procession begins, which in older times was (and still is in rural areas) usually around the boundaries of the parish, giving to the procession the name of "beating the bounds."

The Litany is followed by Psalm 69, a series of petitions, and the Mass, with readings from James 5:16-20 and Luke 11:5-14.Just for informational purposes, here is what the Rogation Days' processions were like in medieval times, again from the Golden Legend. How marvelous!:

And in this procession the Cross is borne, the clocks and the bells be sounded and rung, the banners be borne, and in some churches a dragon with a great tail is borne. And aid and help is demanded of all Saints.

And the cause why the Cross is borne and the bells rung is for to make the evil spirits afraid and to flee; for like as the kings have in battles tokens and signs-royal, as their trumpets and banners, right so the King of Heaven perdurable hath His signs militant in the Church. He hath bells for business and for trumps, He hath the Cross for banners. And like as a tyrant and a malefactor should much doubt when he shall hear the business and trumps of a mighty king in his land, and shall see his banners, in like wise the enemies, the evil spirits that be in the region of the air, doubt much when they hear the trumpets of God which be the bells rung, and when they see the banners borne on high. And this is the cause why the bells be rung when it thundereth, and when great tempests and outrages of weather happen, to the end that the fiends and the evil spirits should be abashed and flee, and cease of the moving of tempests. Howbeit also that there is another cause therewith; that is for to warn the Christian people, that they put them in devotion and in prayer, for to pray God that the tempest may cease.

There is also the banner of the King, that is the Cross, which the enemies dread much and doubt. For they dread the staff with which they have been hurt. And this is the reason wherefore in some churches in the time of tempest and of thunder, they set out the Cross against the tempest to the end that the wicked spirits see the banner of the sovereign King, and for dread thereof they flee. And therefore in procession the Cross is borne, and the bells rung for to chase and hunt away the fiends being in the air, and to the end that they leave to tempest us. The Cross is borne for to represent the victory of the Resurrection, and of the Ascension of Jesu Christ. For He ascended into Heaven with all a great prey. And thus this banner that flyeth in the air signifieth Jesu Christ ascending into Heaven.

And as the people follow the Cross, the banners, and the procession, right so when Jesu Christ styed up into Heaven a great multitude of Saints followed Him. And the song that is sung in the procession signifieth the song of angels and the praisings that came against Jesu Christ and conducted and conveyed Him to Heaven where is great joy and melody.

In some churches, and in especial in them of France, is accustomed to bear a dragon with a long tail filled full of chaff or other thing. The two first days it is borne before the Cross, and on the third day they bear it after the Cross, with the tail all void, by which is understood that the first day tofore the law, or the second under the law, the devil reigned in the world, and on the third day, of grace, by the Passion of Jesu Christ, he was put out of his realm.


In addition to the penance, processions and Masses mentioned above, meditating on how devastating natural forces can be is in order. We are usually so buffered from the natural world with our cozy, modern homes, air conditioning, ability to fly through the air from Chicago to Paris in hours, and other wonders, that we can easily sentimentalize nature and see her in a Rousseauian way -- taking her for granted, being condescending toward her, and exhibiting masterful instead of masterly behaviors in our dealings with her. It is rare that nature breaches the walls of civilization and technology we've set up around us, but breach them she can, and does, and this reality must be appreciated. Tell your children about how the elements can escape our control, and how we should remember our place as those who've been given dominion over nature, but never apart from God. Tell them about some of the great disasters that have fascinated and frightened us throughout History -- e.g., the stories of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the Black Death, the London Fire of 1666, the great early 19th c. earthquakes along the New Madrid fault line that reversed the course of the Mississippi River, the Chicago Fire of 1871, the 1883 explosion of Krakatoa, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, the Yellow River Floods of 1887 and 1931...

29 April 2008

Follow-up: Learn Said to Have Died from Overdose

From STLToday:

Exotic dancer died of overdose, authorities say

By Angie Leventis

BELLEVILLE — Authorities say the 31-year-old woman found dead in her Belleville apartment Saturday had died of a drug overdose, and there was no evidence of foul play.

Police found the body of Terry Jodette "Jody" Learn in her apartment in the 700 block of Royal Heights Road, after a neighbor called 911.

Police said Learn had been taking drugs intravenously but would not release specifics. An autopsy revealed nothing that would indicate a homicide, and her door had been locked when police arrived at the scene. Her body was badly decomposed; authorities believe she had already been dead for several days.

Learn had worked as a stripper at Roxy's in Brooklyn and had two young daughters who were living with their father. Her mother, J.T. Laurent, said Learn had struggled with drug abuse for more than 10 years and had tried rehab several times without success. Laurent said her daughter was planning to move back home in June and wanted to get out of exotic dancing.

She described her daughter as a beautiful girl with big bright eyes who used to write poetry and draw. Learn had attended Hazelwood West High School and then got her GED. She attended St. Louis Community College at Florissant Valley for less than a year, but dropped out around the time she started using drugs, Laurent said.



Why is a Catholic parish publicizing the CAN sponsored, so-called "Lay Synod: A Time for Courage" in its bulletin?

Why would a parish in the Archdiocese of Saint Louis advertise an event where the excommunicated and schismatic priest Marek Bozek is a featured speaker?

Why would this Catholic parish not warn its members that the Catholic Action Network, the event's titular sponsor, dissents from infallible Church teaching about the impossibility of women's ordination?

Why? Because it's St. Cronan's.

St. Peter of Verona, pray for us.

Santo Subito

No, this post is not about John Paul II. St. Peter of Verona is the fastest-canonized saint in the history of the Catholic Church, being raised to the altars a mere 337 days after his martyrdom.
St. Peter's feast day is today; he is the patron saint of inquisitors. We seek his intercession for all whom battle heretics today.

From Wikipedia:

Saint Peter of Verona, O.P. also known as Saint Peter Martyr (1206 – April 6, 1252), was a 13th century Dominican preacher and Inquisitor in Italy.

He was born in the city of Verona, a son of Cathars, adherents of the dualist faith, which posits a good God and an evil god as equal and opposing powers; the evil god is usually responsible for or at the very least in control of the material world. This religion had many adherents in Northern Italy in the thirteenth century. Peter went to a Catholic school, and later to the University of Bologna, where Peter is said to have maintained his orthodoxy and at the age of fifteen, met Saint Dominic. Peter joined the Order of the Friars Preachers (Dominicans) and became a celebrated preacher throughout northern and central Italy.

In 1252, because of what was said to be his virtues, severity of life and doctrine, talent for preaching, and zeal for the orthodox Catholic faith, Pope Innocent IV appointed him Inquisitor for Lombardy; he had been fighting against heretics since the 1230s under Pope Gregory IX.

As his superiors destined him to preach to the Cathars, he evangelized nearly the whole of Italy, preaching in Rome, Florence, Bologna, Genoa, and Como. Crowds came to meet him and followed him; and conversions were numerous. He typically attacked Catholics who confessed the Faith by words, but in deeds denied it. The Cathars, against whom he preached, were a heretical group that adhered to elements of dualism and Manichaeism and rejected the authority of the Church and many Christian teachings.

He was killed by a group of Cathars on April 6, 1252, when returning from Como to Milan. According to legend, a man called Carino who with some other Cathars had designed the attack struck his head with an axe, and then gave Peter's companion Dominic several fatal wounds. It is told that, upon rising to his knees, Peter recited the first article of the Symbol of the Apostles (the Apostle's Creed), and offering his blood as a sacrifice to God he dipped his fingers in it and wrote on the ground the words: "Credo in Unum Deum". The assassin then pierced his heart.


His body was carried to Milan and laid in the Church of Sant'Eustorgio, where an ornate mausoleum, the work of Balduccio Pisano, was erected to his memory.

His assassin, Carino, later converted and eventually became a Dominican at Forlì and is the subject of a local cult as "Blessed Carino of Balsamo". [For the story of Carino's conversion, see here.]

Many miracles were attributed to him while alive, and even more after his martyrdom.
St Peter was canonized by Pope Innocent IV on March 9, 1253 after an interval of only 337 days, making him the fastest papally canonized saint in history.

Saint Peter the Martyr's feast day is on April 29. The Church of Santa Maria Antiqua in Verona is co-entitled to him.

28 April 2008

Madonna and Child

Thanks to Matthew at Shrine of the Holy Whapping for posting this subtle and beautiful image of the Madonna and Child by artist Marianne Preindelsberger Stokes (1855-1927). I was not aware of this painting or artist before. Hope you enjoy it.

Pro-Abortion Terrorism in Chile

Lifesite News has a story on a bombing of a Chilean universtity carried out by a violent pro-abortion group. Apparently, they didn't get the memo from the U.S. media that only pro-lifers are capable of such violence. What are the chances you will hear about this on the network news?

Pro-Abortion Terrorists Claim Responsibility for University Bombing

By Matthew Cullinan Hoffman

SANTIAGO, April 26, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - A terrorist group calling itself the Insurrectionist Federation has reportedly taken credit for the recent bombing of the University of the Andes in reprisal for a decision of the Chilean Supreme Court prohibiting the distribution of the abortifacient "morning after pill".

The bomb detonated in a university bathroom on April 23. Although no one was hurt, ACI Prensa reports that the bathroom suffered severe damage, contrary to media reports that the device was just a "noise bomb".

"They say it's just a 'noise bomb' but in reality the bathroom was destroyed and if anyone had been there they would have been killed or injured," a university source told ACI Prensa.

The report, which originated with Chile's Radio Cooperativa, was based on an email message sent to Chilean authorities.

"Credit for the attack has been claimed in relation to the debate which has existed in our society regarding methods of avoiding contraceptives," said Xavier Armendáriz, a federal prosecutor, in an interview with Radio Cooperativa.The Chilean Supreme Court struck down the government's policy as unconstitutional, because it violates the right to life guaranteed in the nation's charter document.

The attack was carried out against the University of the Andes because one of the court's judges has an affiliation with the institution, according to ACI Prensa.

Irony: Assisi Bans Begging

St Francis hometown Assisi bans begging: report

ROME (AFP) — Assisi, home of Saint Francis, the 13th century patron of the poor, has banned begging, an Italian newspaper reported Sunday.

Right-wing Mayor Claudio Ricci has stopped people seeking handouts, lying down or sitting on the ground within 500 metres (yards) of town churches, other places of worship, squares and public buildings, La Repubblica said.

"Saint Francis is the saint of the poor and his teachings are still relevant. As a Christian, I don't understand it," said Renato Martino, president of the Vatican's Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace.

The mayor of the town in northern Italy, told the newspaper his ban was designed to "preserve the sacred character of Assisi without damaging its welcome."

26 April 2008

McGrath Blames Vatican II for Her Loss of Faith

In an interview in St. Louis Magazine, pretend priest Elsie McGrath tells Jeannette Cooperman, former writer for The Riverfront Times, that she quit going to Mass after Vatican II.

'"They took away my answers," she said, sounding both cheated and amused.'

Now, certainly McGrath would not wish to be misconstrued as calling for a return to traditional liturgical and catechetical practices. Obviously not. But I believe there is more to her words above, and more to the reality of her dropping out of regular Mass attendance after the de facto suppression of the traditional Mass, then she realizes.

They took away my answers. Sounding both cheated and amused.

Amused, because she of course tries to skewer the traditions of 1960 years as being facile, ready-made "answers". You know-- humanity, kept in infantile darkness by the repressive Church for millenia, given pablum-type "answers" to questions the Church didn't really want to answer. And then that glorious moment came in the 1960s, when humanity matured, came of age, and was ready to throw off the tyranny of hierarchy and celebrate the priesthood in everyone. All the old, pat answers would be thrown out as man made his own religious truth through an inward-gazing look at the divine within.

Cheated, because whether she understands this or not, she has been cheated. We were all cheated. Why did God create us? Who is Jesus Christ? What is the Church? How may I attain eternal salvation? These are questions that God places in our hearts and minds. It is human nature to ask them, and a loving God gave us His only Son, Who gave us the Church, to answer them. To fulfill them. In the religious education context, when discussing curriculum choices with many Catholic school teachers, I hear that the catechism really doesn't do more than give us a grade-school, childish understanding of the faith. Yet we haven't exchanged the facile for the complicated, we have exchanged the foundations for sand. And what happened to the humility of filial faith and devotion? Instead of trying to build upon the foundations of faith found in the catechism and reinforced by the sacramental life of the Church, we have instead taught nothing substantive, and cut the link between liturgy and Truth.

The Sixties theology, a theology that acts as though the ancient Romans, the Church Fathers, Augustine, Benedict, Thomas Aquinas, and John Henry Newman were infantile, brain-dead fools really doesn't have a lot to recommend it. A degree from Aquinas Institute of Theology doesn't make one the equal of its namesake.

G.K. Chesterton famously said, "When a man ceases to believe in God, he doesn't believe in nothing. He believes in anything."

In the interview, McGrath proves the truth of Chesterton's quote and yet fails to see the irony in the following admission:

"I don't really feel like there's anything I'm doing now that I couldn't have done before I was a priest. We believe in the priesthood of the baptized: Everyone can validly do what we're doing."

This begs the question, of course, of why she wants to be a priest. And the reality is that she really can't do anything now that she couldn't do before the pretend ordination. She has eyes, but will not see. As even one of her own children understands-- in her words, "the one who goes to church"-- she is not a real priest.

"They took away my answers," sounding both cheated and amused.

With a realization that the watered down and protestantized version of the Catholic faith passed off for forty years has failed us comes the task to bring it back into line with Catholic Tradition. When this effort is linked to the effort to restore the Church's liturgical tradition, and re-presented to the faithful, there is hope for the Church's future.

Because McGrath and others like her have been cheated. And only Satan is amused.

25 April 2008

Historical Argument Favors Communion on Tongue

Catholic World News Brief via EWTN:

Historical Argument Favors Communion on Tongue

Apr. 22, 2008 (CWNews.com) - The American magazine Catholic Response has published an English translation of a provocative article, originally published in the official Vatican newspaper, calling for an end to the practice of receiving Communion in the hand.

The article by Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Karaganda, Kazakhstan, originally printed in L'Osservatore Romano, examines the historical record of Catholic practice, concluding that the early Church quickly developed the practice in which lay people [received] Communion on the tongue while kneeling. Only ordained ministers were allowed to touch the consecrated Host with their hands.

By the 6th century, Bishop Schneider writes, the Church had formed a consensus that Communion should be received on the tongue, of reverence for the Eucharistic Lord. Pope Gregory the Great chastised priests who resisted that consensus, and it was become an "almost universal practice" in the early Church, the author says.

Kneeling to receive Communion was also a pattern established early in Church history, Bishop Schneider reports. That posture, too, was seen as a means of expressing reverence for Jesus in the Eucharist, and "the most typical gesture of adoration is the biblical one of kneeling."

By administering Communion on the tongue, priests were able to foster greater devotion to the Eucharist; Bishop Schneider remarks that that form is "an impressive sign of the profession of faith the in the Real Presence."

He adds the argument that this form of distributing Communion can prevent accidents. The author cites St. Cyril of Jerusalem, who exhorted priests to use extra caution "so that no even a crumb of the Lord's Body could fall to the ground."

The article published in L'Osservatore Romano, and now translated in Catholic Response, summarizes the more complete argument that Bishop Schneider put forward in his book, Dominus Est. That book, released in Italy earlier this year, drew special notice for two reasons. It was published by the official Vatican press, and a preface was contributed by Archbishop Macolm Ranjith, the secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, who said it was "high time to review" the policy of allowing laymen to receive Communion in the hand.

Present with the Pope

From a lengthy story today in the St. Louis Review on several locals who saw the Pope during his visit, these excerpts feature nuns from the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus and priests from the Institute of Christ the King, Sovereign Priest--including our own Father William Avis.

Locals who saw pope say experience was ‘awesome’

Sacred moments and precious memories combined to make Pope Benedict XVI’s visit to Washington, D.C., and New York April 15-20 a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many who made the trip from the archdiocese.


Up close
Among St. Louisans who got within a few feet of Pope Benedict were Sisters Maris Stella Ryder and Anna Maria Haycraft of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. They and fellow Sisters M. Immaculata Pouy and Eva-Maria Sebsebe went by bus with an archdiocesan-sponsored group to attend the Yankee Stadium Mass.

Sisters Maris Stella and Anna Maria managed to get seats in the second-to-last pew at the back of St. Patrick’s Cathedral when the pope said Mass there April 19 for clergy, religious and seminarians. It was the perfect perch, since the Holy Father stopped before them briefly to kiss the crucifix and bless the people with holy water before processing further up the aisle.

"That was right before our very eyes," Sister Maris Stella said, her own eyes bright at the thought.

"When we couldn’t see him anymore, we just stood up in the pews, and those behind us did, too. It was this incredible feeling of welcome and ‘the Holy Father’s here!’" The best word to describe the moment was "triumph," she said.

Sister Maris Stella added she was deeply impressed by the pope’s humility and friendliness. At Mass’ end, he said he couldn’t believe he had this Petrine ministry despite his own faults and noted "how much he relies on our prayers. It was just such a genuine expression. That made the deepest impression on me." Knowing of his great humility, "it just makes me want to pray for him more. I feel more connected with the Holy Father."


‘Tu es Petrus

Among those present at an April 19 Mass the Holy Father celebrated at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York for clergy, religious and seminarians was Father William Avis, who was ordained last June in St. Louis for the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.

Joining Father Avis, now a vicar at St. Francis de Sales Oratory in South St. Louis, was Father Matthew Talarico, who also was ordained in St. Louis last summer.

Father Avis noted that the Holy Father’s visit, and especially the Mass at St. Patrick’s, helped strengthen his faith in the universal Church.

"It helps us to get a much broader perspective on the mission of the whole Church and not to get completely absorbed by the somewhat limited perspective of our day-to-day operation," said the priest, a native of Wisconsin.

"I was overjoyed to be in the presence of he who has fortified me in my faith and has strengthened me in my vocation to the priesthood and our institute."

While Father Avis was in New York, Catholics at the oratory back home in St. Louis marked the occasion of the Holy Father’s U.S. visit with a Solemn Responsory that was sung at the conclusion of a morning High Mass April 20.

"Tu es Petrus (Thou Art Peter)" was composed by Nick Botkins, who joined the oratory in late January as director of sacred music. Working with him on the effort was Father Karl W. Lenhardt, rector of the oratory.

Describing it as a solemn type of closing hymn with a liturgical background, Father Lenhardt said the responsory was meant to be "a very fitting expression of the love, thankfulness and dedication of our Institute as of the faithful of St. Francis de Sales Oratory to their Supreme Shepherd.

"As not everyone had the chance to attend the Masses the Holy Father celebrated during his visit to the United States, it is important to unite ourselves in prayer with and for Pope Benedict XVI," said Father Lenhardt.


24 April 2008

"He Understands"

From a story in the St. Louis Platform local news site:

Victims of abuse recall meeting with pope

By Patricia Rice, Special to the Platform

April 23, 2008 - Olan Horne, 48, a survivor of clerical sex abuse, believes that Pope Benedict XVI's visit to the United States marks a turning point in the way victims of sexual abuse are treated in the Catholic Church.

"I saw it in his face, heard his voice. He understands," said Horne, one of six survivors who met Thursday with the pope. He spoke with the St. Louis Beacon from his Massachusetts university food service office.

Benedict himself brought the shameful issue up last week at three masses at Washington Nationals and Yankee stadiums and at St. Patrick's Cathedral, at a New York seminary campus and at a press conference aboard his plane Shepherd One. He also discussed the issue with the bishops in Washington.

"Benedict told the bishops to meet with survivors as he had; this pope gets it," said Horne. "I like to say that I'm from Missouri and you are going to have to Show Me. Benedict showed me."


I Have Seen the Ninth Circle of Hell--for a Limited Time, at Subway

I read a story on Slate (yes, I know, I know) about the "diabolical geniuses behind Subway's five-dollar foot-long song". Have you seen this commercial? As the story relates it:

The Spot: Various people and creatures (a police officer, a flight attendant, a Godzilla-type monster) hold up five fingers and then, using their outstretched palms, indicate a distance of roughly one foot. Meanwhile, a song plays. The lyrics, repeated again and again: "Five. Five dollar. Five dollar foot-long."

I have to tell you, these people are indeed diabolical geniuses. I can't get this song out of my head, and I believe I can now put myself in Dante's shoes.

I have seen the ninth circle of hell.

I recommend wearing a St. Benedict medal when watching this clip, because it is a powerful defense against curses. But can it help with this insidious hex? I hum it, sing it, live it, all day long.


Five dollar.

Five dollar foot loooooooooooooooong!

Absolutely brilliant.

Maybe it can only be defeated by prayer and fasting.

23 April 2008

John Henry Cardinal Newman to Be Beatified

This wonderful news is announced, providentially, in an article from CNA released on this feast of St. George, the Patron Saint of England. This famous convert led the Oxford movement in England in the nineteenth century, and continues to influence many through his writings.

On a personal level, I am really very happy about this news. A couple of years ago, my then-pregnant wife and I prayed to him when our youngest child had certain prenatal indications of problems. I had heard that the postulator of Cardinal Newman's cause was looking for evidence of miracles obtained through his intercession. I don't know how else to say it except that we prayed for miraculous healing. And the baby was born healthy.

We tried to contact the postulator's office out of a sense of obligation, but we never heard back. I wouldn't presume either to conclude, or to deny, that it was Venerable Cardinal Newman's intercession that did the job. But I know he prayed for us, and I am grateful.

I feel for those Christians who do not believe in the incredible solace of the Communion of Saints.

A Circumspect Post

One of the immediate issues that parents of a newborn baby boy face is the decision of whether to circumcise their son. An article at STLToday this morning relates that more parents are opting not to do so. Excerpts from the article:

...Circumcision isn't the automatic procedure it used to be. In the 1960s, circumcision rates peaked at 85 percent. Now, only about half of all baby boys are circumcised, according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality...

...In St. Louis, local hospitals report circumcision rates of 75 percent to 90 percent. But there are signs that the trend is making its way here. Doctors say parents are asking more questions about the procedure and thinking more critically about the decision...

...Some religions, including Judaism and Islam, consider circumcision a holy ritual and a connection to previous and future generations. Circumcision as a medical procedure is primarily an American custom, starting with Victorian-era beliefs about cleanliness and chastity, according to historians. The procedure became routine in hospitals in the early 1900s, and continued as the accepted practice for parents and doctors...

Although the practice has religious roots for Judaism and Mohammedanism, there isn't any religious requirement for a Catholic to be circumcised. This was made clear at the Council of Jerusalem (in the Acts of the Apostles) and is pretty much common knowledge among Catholics.

But is there a duty not to be circumcised? That depends.

The answer depends upon the reasons why it would be done. The Church has, in the past, issued documents on this subject, but there seems to be a paucity of modern Church documentation on this issue.

The following brief article is taken from "The Tablet", the Brooklyn Diocese's newspaper, as part of its question box feature. The question and the answer are both informative:

The Morality of Circumcision

Q. What is the morality of circumcision? The Catechism of the Catholic Church teaches that amputations and mutilations performed on innocent people without strictly therapeutic reasons are against the moral law.

Pope Pius XII taught that circumcision is morally permissible if it prevents a disease that cannot be countered any other way.

In spite of these and other church statements against circumcision through the centuries, I'm told there is no strict Catholic rule against the practice today. Why not? No medical association in the world today any longer says circumcision is therapeutic. (Ohio)

A. I'm not sure why not, but the fact is male circumcision generally just doesn't appear very much on the "radar screen" of Catholic moral teaching. Many major moral theology texts don't mention it. A notable except is "Medical Ethics," by Father Edwin Healy SJ (Loyal University Press), who holds that since routine circumcisions are not medically defensible they are morally objectionable.

A few observations may help explain. The practice of circumcision arose thousands of years ago and is prevalent in many cultures around the world. Nearly always it has religious or social significance, signifying full membership in the group and establishing one's social position in the society.

The first divine command to the Jews, for example, was that every male child be circumcised, symbolizing the covenant between God and Abraham (Gn 17).

After the famous confrontation between Paul and other leaders of the early church (Acts 15 and Galatians 2), Christians pretty much rejected the necessity of circumcision for becoming a believer in Christ.

The idea didn't entirely die, however. The theory that circumcision still held some spiritual benefits even for Christians, prompted at least some of the condemnations you speak of. The Council of Vienne (1311), for example, decreed that Christians should not be lured into Judaism or be circumcised for any reason.

The following century, the Council of Florence (1438-1435) ordered "all who glory in the name of Christian not to practice circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation."

Today, while nontherapeutic male circumcision remains common in some places, as a general practice it is forbidden in Catholic teaching for more basic reasons of respect for bodily integrity. The Catechism of the Catholic Church states, "Except when performed for strictly therapeutic medical reasons, directly intended amputations, mutilations and sterilizations performed on innocent persons are against moral law" (N. 2297).

Elective circumcision clearly violates that standard. It is an amputation and mutilation, and, to my knowledge, and as you note, no significant medical group in the world defends it as having any therapeutic value. In 1999 the Council on Scientific Affairs of the American Medical Association stated that neonatal circumcision is nontherapeutic because no disease is present and no therapeutic treatment is required.

Modern Catholic Church documents do not deal explicitly with the morality of elective circumcision. The above basic principles, however, clearly render it immoral. It violates the bodily integrity of infant male children and unnecessarily deprives them of a part of their body that can protect the glans of the penis during infancy and serve at least a sexual function for adults.

My understanding from physicians is that circumcision rarely if ever arises as an ethical consideration. Usually it is requested by the parents for more social reasons such as, it's always been done in our family. In that case, the procedure might be carried out in some places rather routinely, even if it is not what the child needs and no curative or remedial reason renders it ethical.

Finally, fisheaters has a post on the subject-- warning, it has a somewhat graphically descriptive discussion of the procedure. The author is vehemently against the procedure, and cites the document Cantate Domino as well (...[The Church] strictly orders all who glory in the name of Christian, not to practise circumcision either before or after baptism, since whether or not they place their hope in it, it cannot possibly be observed without loss of eternal salvation). I include the link here because she discusses the differences in the type and severity of the procedure that a first century Jew would have undergone, and the procedure today.

I would not presume to judge the subjective morality of the decision of parents who choose circumcision for their son if, after diligent research and prayerful consideration, they truly believe that there is a significant health benefit. But the teaching of the Church is informative and not well-known. Due to the apparent shift in opinion in the medical field away from the position that there are health benefits to circumcision, and further due to the lack of a modern Church document specifically dealing with the subject, I thought a post might be helpful to readers.
If any medical professionals wish to give their understanding as to any health benefits or detriments of the procedure, feel free to post in the combox.

22 April 2008

Nice Catch

There are some truly amazing things that happen in this world. Have you prayed to your guardian Angel lately? From Fox News:

New York Mail Carrier Catches Baby Who Fell Out of Second-Story Window

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

ALBANY, N.Y. — A U.S. Postal Service worker is being praised after handling with extreme care her most precious package to date.

Lisa Harrell, 42, can add hero to her record after catching a 1-year-old baby who fell out of a second-story window Monday in Albany.

Harrell, a 14-year veteran of the Postal Service, was delivering mail to a home late Monday morning when she noticed the baby in a window above the front door. Harrell said the next thing she knew, the baby had fallen into her arms.

"I noticed the upstairs window open halfway," Harrell told the Albany Times Union. "The baby fell right into my arms. Everything happened so quick."

Cardinal Rigali: Teach Seminarians the Traditional Mass

From Zenit comes word that Cardinal Rigali agrees with Archbishop Burke that seminarians should be taught how to celebrate the traditional Mass as part of their formation.

Cardinal Rigali: Seminarians should also be taught the 'Latin Mass'

By Annamarie Adkins3/15/2008
Zenit News Agency

PHILADELPHIA (Zenit) - Since Benedict XVI has said that the Mass celebrated according to the 1962 Roman Missal promulgated by Blessed John XXIII should be available to those who prefer it, seminarians should be taught to say it, says Cardinal Justin Rigali.

The Pope clarified in his apostolic letter "Summorum Pontificum" that there are two forms of the liturgy in the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church: ordinary and extraordinary.

To learn what some bishops are doing to implement the document in seminaries, ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, about his plans to introduce seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary to the extraordinary form of the Mass.

Cardinal Rigali also suggested why priests already in active ministry should become familiar with the Missal of 1962.

Q: What practical steps are being taken to incorporate "Summorum Pontificum" into the life and curriculum of the seminary?

Cardinal Rigali: First there will be a lecture offered on the "motu proprio" that elucidates the theology underlying the 1962 missal so that the seminarians are afforded a clear understanding of the "motu proprio" and the Holy Father's pastoral concern for the faithful who have a deep love for the Tridentine liturgy. Since nearly all of the seminarians at St. Charles Borromeo Seminary have grown up attending Mass according to the "Novus Ordo" -- Missal of Paul VI -- it is important to offer an exposition of the Mass according to the 1962 missal -- Missal of Blessed John XXIII. Further, seminary course work in theology, liturgy and Church history will cover and expound upon the Holy Father's initiative. It will be helpful for them to see the continuity between the two expressions, but will also afford the opportunity to address the changes that took place in the liturgy following the Second Vatican Council. Sometime in the spring semester, after the lecture, Holy Mass according to the extraordinary form will be celebrated once for the entire St. Charles Borromeo Seminary community. This will demonstrate to the seminarians the liturgically correct manner in which the extraordinary form of the Mass is to be celebrated.


Q: Seminaries are in the business of formation, particularly liturgical formation. What formative effect do you believe learning and celebrating the extraordinary form of the Mass will have upon seminarians?

Cardinal Rigali: Studying about and learning the Mass according to the 1962 Missal will afford the seminarians an opportunity to experience the continuity between the older and newer forms. So much of our faith is based on continuity and tradition, handing on of the faith from one generation to the next. Sometimes the rituals change and develop but at the core they remain the same. Benedict XVI stated in his letter to the bishops that accompanied the "motu proprio," "There is no contradiction between the two editions of the Roman Missal. In the history of the liturgy there is growth and progress, but no rupture. What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be of all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful. It behooves all of us to preserve the riches that have developed in the Church's faith and prayer, and to give them their proper place." The liturgical training St. Charles Borromeo seminarians receive forms them in reverence and holiness, which in turn will serve the faithful to whom they will minister once they are ordained.


Q: What can priests do to incorporate "Summorum Pontificum" into their own priestly ministry?

Cardinal Rigali: St. Charles Borromeo Seminary is offering a course for priests who wish to be educated and trained in the proper celebration of the Mass according to the Missal of Blessed John XXIII to ensure competence in the Latin language and the rubrics of the extraordinary form. Prior to engaging a "practicum" experience, the theology behind the liturgy and the "motu proprio" will be studied. I have encouraged any priest who may wish to learn to celebrate this liturgy to seek such educational opportunities so that the liturgy may be celebrated in a prayerful and reverent manner.

21 April 2008

Tu Es Petrus

Great work by Mark over at Rome of the West, who captured on video Nicholas Botkins' majestic, original piece, "Tu Es Petrus", peformed at St. Francis de Sales Oratory this past Sunday.

Former St. Stanislaus Board Member Florek Urges New Dialogue with Burke: Cites "New Religion" of Fr. Bozek

First, former advisor to the Board of St. Stan's, Roger Krasnicki, urged the Board to oust Fr. Bozek.  Now, Ed Florek, a former Member of the Board of Directors, is urging the Board to seek a new dialogue with Archbishop Burke.

The price of schism is high, and some are wisely reconsidering the worth of paying it.  I for one am gladdened by any movement towards reconciliation with the Church and submission to proper ecclesiastical authority, even if the step is a small one.  A return of this lost sheep would cause more rejoicing than 99 who do not stray, to quote our Lord.

Many thanks to the reader who drew my attention to this news item.

The language of the letter to the Board, and the open letter to the parish, merit some attention and interpretation  the letters are at the link above, but below is a summary:

Open letter to parish:

--On April 10, 2008, Florek states that his (and one other parishioner's) suggestion that the Board begin a new dialogue with Archbishop Burke was agreed to by Fr. Bozek.  Bozek insisted, however, that the congregation give the Board a mandate to do so first.  He cited to fact that the former parish had given a mandate to the Board to hire a Catholic priest after the Archdiocesan priest was removed.

--Florek points out that after Bozek made public his new "vision" for the Church in the wake of his being caught in flagrante delicto at the women's pretend ordinations, he has shown that he has departed from the Catholic religion.  Hence the laicization process underway.  In light of this, Florek very logically concludes that the mandate the former parish gave the Board to hire a Catholic priest remains unfulfilled.  

--Hence, Florek argues, the Board needs no further mandate to attempt to reconcile with the Archbishop and secure the services of a Catholic priest who is actually a believing and practicing Catholic.  It should be obvious at this point, in my opinion, that the only reason Bozek insists on a new mandate to seek dialogue with the Archbishop is that the former parish is stacked with his new wacky friends-- he can count on them to back him.

--Florek also rightly points out that Bozek didn't ask the former parish for a mandate before laying hands on Elsie and Rose, nor did he before issuing his manifesto.

--Two of Florek's suggestions for the letter of approach to Archbishop Burke are that the letter not contain any conditions, and that it be "humble".  Well stated.  "The only lasting peace for our parish will come through dialogue with Archbishop Burke.  St. Stanislaus Kostka Parish was built as a Roman Catholic Church, and should remain a Roman Catholic Church true to our forefathers."

Open Letter to the Board of Directors:

--Florek states that as of February 21, 2008, even canon lawyer Fr. Doyle was in favor of a meeting to see "what's behind" the open door offered by Archbishop Burke.  (I wonder if he still feels that way, btw).

--Florek urges the Board to remember that this isn't about money or property (!):  "That is history... now people have on their mind: the new direction of the parish, the separation from Rome, and the new religion."  He states a lot of people are confused with "the new religion".  No clarification on whether this means there is something imminent in the works to join a new religion, or merely that Bozek's teachings constitute a de facto new religion.  I tend to think it is the former, but am not sure.

--In big news, Florek claims to have met twice with Monsignor Gardin, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, most recently on April 7, 2008, and that Monsignor Gardin offered to serve as intermediary between the Board and the Archbishop.

Rozanski.  Florek.  These are long-time members of St. Stan's, who (at least in the former parish used to) wield influence.  They were involved, most unfortunately, in the creation of the current mess.  They both have been sensible enough to see some of the problems caused by this.  The facade of faux unity at St. Stan's is showing its cracks.

Prayer works, and praying for a just resolution of this debacle is worth the effort.  Even the people of St. Stan's are aware of the radical break from Catholicism that Bozek and his friends espouse.   Pray, pray for St. Stan's Board to seek a real reconciliation with the Church.

All of this is the necessary consequence of the probable laicization of Bozek.  If the former parish keeps a laicized person as its leader, it can't really claim to be Catholic. He will be ousted or the church will affiliate with another religion.  To do nothing will expose the falsity of their claim to still be a Catholic parish.

Can you imagine the media consternation should the Board call a press conference and announce they would obey the Archbishop, and the Archbishop announcing the lifting of the suppression decree?  Even if souls weren't at stake, that alone would make it a worthwhile prayer intention.

Our Lady of Czestochowa, pray for us.
St. Stanislaus Kostka, pray for us.  
St. Louis, pray for us.
St. Vincent de Paul, pray for us.
St. Rose Philippine Duschene, pray for us.

Womenpriest Field Trip: A Pictoral Travelogue

Well, as the Pope has left the United States, the womenpriest field trip has sadly also come to an end. However, the hopefully-but-misleadingly-titled Women's Ordination Conference website has left us with a wonderful image gallery so that these heady days may be preserved in our memories.

As so many women these days enjoy the hobby of scrapbooking, St. Louis Catholic would like to give these women the gift of captioning a few of those wonderful photos.

Above: Womenpriests gather in front of mobile billboard demanding the ontologically impossible. Hilarity ensues when Rose Hudson notices someone under the age of sixty has infiltrated the photo op.

Above: Rejected even for the D.C. Mass at Nationals Park, local guitar group lands gig for womenpriest simulated Mass.

Above: Womenpriests read proclamation that due to overt male-ness of the figure of Christ the crucifix has been jettisoned in favor of the plain cross pictured here.

Above: "Elsie, quick, what are the words of Consecration again?"

Above: "To the destruction of the Priesthood!"

Above: "Groovy!"

When You Win Over the New York Press

It is a sign of a pretty successful trip.

Pope Has Message for the Local Dissent Movement

The Holy Father's words yesterday are relevant for us all, but it sure seems as though he were speaking to those who are so anxious to follow Bozek and the womenpriests out of the Church. From STLToday:

Pope pays homage to pillar of 'obedience'

By Paul Vitello

NEW YORK — Before a crowd of nearly 60,000 people at Yankee Stadium, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday ended his first visit to the United States as leader of the Roman Catholic Church with a reminder to the flock that "obedience" to the authority of the church is the foundation of their religious faith.


But at Yankee Stadium on a cool, brilliant Sunday afternoon, with an adoring audience of people waving yellow cloths, one of the colors of the Vatican, Benedict acted chiefly as pastor to America's 65 million Catholics, laying out in simple terms their obligations to a church that represents what he has called the "one church" established on earth by God.

"Authority. Obedience. To be frank, these are not easy words to speak nowadays," the pope said in his homily during the Mass, held on an acre-size platform built over the Yankees infield, "especially in a society which rightly places a high value on personal freedom."


Three years after the death of Pope John Paul II, his popular and charismatic predecessor, the reserved and theologically erudite Pope Benedict XVI gently but unequivocally delineated the source of authority that has since devolved to him, and that he said was integral to the church itself.

Referring to himself, he said, "The presence around this altar of the successor of Peter, his brother bishops and priests, and deacons, men and women religious, and lay faithful from throughout the 50 states of the union, eloquently manifests our communion in the Catholic faith, which comes to us from the apostles."

In the Gospels, the apostle Peter was chosen by Jesus to lead the church, and each pope is said to be the successor of Peter.

In a glancing reference to the sexual abuse of children by priests, he said that praying for the kingdom of God "means not losing heart in the face of adversity, resistance and scandal. It means overcoming every separation between faith and life, and countering false gospels of freedom and happiness."

In his writings before and since becoming pope, Benedict has stressed the importance of a strict adherence to orthodoxy and opposition to a wide array of modern cultural trends, including feminism, gay rights, and demands — especially among American Catholics — for greater democracy and administrative transparency within the church.


19 April 2008

Purported Doyle Response to Decree-- Same Stuff, Different Dissenter

This letter is posted at STLToday's religion blog-- it is purportedly from Fr. Thomas Doyle, the canon lawyer who is the subject of the recent disciplinary decree of the Archbishop.  I cannot confirm yet that he in fact wrote this, but it is a detailed attempt at refutation of the Archbishop's findings.  As such, I wanted to address it.  My comments in green:

Good morning. I am presently in Dallas for a meeting and a deposition. I will return home on Wednesday. I was in Memphis last week when Raymond Burke (um, Father, that's ARCHBISHOP Burke) issued his latest decree. I started to write a response to his decree but have not yet finished it. In the meantime I want to share with you my initial observations and would ask that you share these with anyone from the parish (which parish could that be?) who may be interested.

1. Archbishop Burke has refused to acknowledge me as the canonical advocate for Father Bozek, Bernice Krauze and Stan Rozanski (As is his right under canon law because of your dissent from infallible Church teaching).

2. His latest decree (latest, like he makes them every day before breakfast-- is this relevant?) seems to state (it seems to state so, because it does in fact state so) that he has found me guilty of a canonical crime related to certain steps that he believes were essential in the process whereby I represented these three people  (The decree mentioned Krauze and Rozanski; presumably Fr. Doyle refers to Fr. Bozek here). Rather than clarify what were misunderstandings, he chose to infer that I had intended to commit some sort of crime (Fr. Doyle, as a canon lawyer, knows that intent to "commit a crime" is not necessary.  Intent to do, or culpable negligence in failing to do, acts that constitute a canonical crime are relevant).

3. The steps upon which he has based his accusations (you can call them conclusions) are, I believe, these:

a) My intentional failure (or culpably negligent failure) to file a notice of intention to appeal within the time limits that he believes (because the time limits are denoted in canon law, in which field Fr. Doyle practices, and has appeared as "expert" witness) were clearly set forth.

b) My failure to ask his permission to represent the three persons in question (he is required to submit his credentials to the Archbishop pursuant to canon law).

4. I believe that my notices to the archbishop were sent in a timely fashion although one of them might have been a few days late (the notices, according to the decree, were several weeks late, and only filed after the failure to file them, and the failure of Krauze and Rozanski to show as directed, caused them to forfeit their right to defense), due to the fact that I was away from home dealing with some urgent family business involving serious illness (I don't know about this, but Fr. Doyle, according to the decree, never gave proof of a proportionate reason to excuse his failure to file). In general however the time limits were never clear to me insofar as the decrees and notices the archbishop was issuing were never completely clear to me (that sentence isn't clear to me.  Huh?).

5. I did not seek his specific permission to represent anyone because this is not required for validity (validity means what, in the canon law context-- as opposed to licitness?) and can be presumed with the initial notification of nomination by the parties (what about the late filing, and the issue of the accurate dating of these forms?).

6. I did not appear in person on any of the three dates to which I was summoned because I believed then and believe now that this step was unnecessary, inconvenient and punitive in nature (so?). In my 30 years of functioning as a canon lawyer I have never seen canon law used in such a way (In other words, Archbishop Burke doesn't act like Cardinal Mahoney). I refused then and refuse now to enable Archbishop Burke in his misuse (which is to say, use) of the Church’s legal system for vindictive (read, appropriate) purposes.

7. Archbishop Burke stated that he would not allow me to represent Fr. Bozek because I had refused to heed his summons (sounds vindictive) and because I disagree or dissent from infallible church teaching (which makes his actions exactly just under canon law).

8. He based his judgment about my disagreement on news stories I presume because he and I have never had any form of communication (maybe you would have had some form of communication if you answered His Grace's summons) about my beliefs or opinions. He is not a mind reader (recourse to the occult is a mortal sin, Father). My personal opinions on Church teaching, theology, custom or practice are not a valid reason to exclude me from advocacy for anyone (but your public advocacy against them...). There are canon lawyers who practice before Church courts who are not even Roman Catholics (let the reader insert the punch line of his choice here).

9. Archbishop Burke has stated that the members of the board of St. Stanislaus are placing their souls in peril by not obeying him. He has stated that persons who receive sacraments from Fr. Bozek commit mortal sins. He has no canonical or theological basis or justification for making these statements (wow, this is not even close to a statement based on reality). He has no power or authority to determine who does or does not commit a sin (He is stating the constant teaching of the Church-- does the Church have the authority to define serious matter necessary for mortal sin?).

10. I will continue to assist, advise and counsel the members of the board and Fr. Bozek (like his friends, he has no intention of obeying the Church if it is at all inconvenient). Archbishop Burke’s decrees have no practical meaning for me (I think Fr. Doyle will find in time that they do), for the board or for Fr Bozek. The excommunications are on appeal before the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (good luck with that). Any further action against Fr. Bozek will be likewise appealed to the appropriate Vatican congregation.

11. Finally, the center and source of our faith as Catholics is not Canon Law, the Vatican or the local Archbishop. It is Jesus Christ (You may, may have studied in Matthew 16 in the seminary, Father-- where Christ founded a Church and gave Peter the power of the keys, to bind and loose.  Ring any bells?). The core of our obligations as Catholics is found in His message and mission. There is no valid foundation in scripture or Catholic theology for the assertion that a disagreement with the archbishop or even the pope is the same as disobedience to Our Lord (This statement is so obviously false as to strain one's ability to accept it as being made in good faith.  Luke 10:16:  "He who hears you, hears Me."  Or how about Ignatius of Antioch:  Follow your bishop, every one of you, as obediently as Jesus Christ followed the Father. Obey your clergy too as you would the apostles; give your deacons the same reverence that you would to a command of God. Make sure that no step affecting the Church is ever taken by anyone without the bishop’s sanction. The sole Eucharist you should consider valid is one that is celebrated by the bishop himself, or by some person authorized by him. Where the bishop is to be seen, there let all his people be; just as, wherever Jesus Christ is present, there is the Catholic Church (Letter to the Smyrneans 8:2 [A.D. 110]).)

12. There is no absolute requirement in Canon Law or current papal teaching that the property, resources and funds of St. Stanislaus parish be held in the name of the archbishop (ah, the money thing-- pay no attention to that man behind the curtain). There is likewise no reason to assume that those who disagree with his insistence on complete control are in schism or heresy (Red. Herring.). This entire dispute is not about loyalty to the Church or to the pope or to Catholic tradition. It is all about money and temporal goods (wrong--but now we know they all have the same playbook). Basically, Archbishop Burke is apparently upset because his perception of the limits of his power has been challenged by the parishioners and board of St. Stanislaus (that's one take, certainly).

13. The Canonical process has been used by the Archbishop as a weapon (let's see...maybe Fr. Doyle can use even more original imagery and say His Grace is "full of hate".) and not as a means to resolve a dispute or find justice. He is, according to Canon Law, the primary judge of the archdiocese. As such he has preferred the charges. He determines what the Promoter of Justice does and he has decided that he will also appoint and control the canon lawyers who will represent the accused defendants. So, in effect, he is trying to control the entire process and everyone involved in it and at the same time he is trying to insist that this is a just and fair process (This is Fr. Doyle's way of saying that Archbishop Burke has acted in accord with canon law at all points of the proceeding).

14. In my case he has issued an “Extra-judicial” decree which is something I have never heard of in my years of experience (Well, you have now.). Apparently by way of this decree he has decided that I am guilty of the crimes he has accused me of in spite of the fact that he has no objective basis upon which to base this finding (or he does have an objective basis). He has assumed that he knows what happened and why it happened. He is incorrect in his methodology and in his conclusions (Try that argument on appeal and get back to us).

15. I believe it is essential that all of us keep in mind that the Church is the Body of Christ and not the personal kingdom of the pope  (Did he write Fr. Bozek's press releases?). Similarly the Archdiocese of St. Louis is not the personal possession of Raymond Burke. Although we, as Catholics, have been raised in a Church that reveres bishops and places them in extraordinarily exalted positions (hard to believe if we take our cue from the Stanislaus and womenchurch crowd), the fact is that they are members of the Christian community just as we are and are as susceptible to mistakes just as we are. I believe this dispute has gotten way out of hand (it didn't have to, if you and your clients and cohorts would have acted as Catholic adults). not because of any intentions (intent again) of schism or heresy on the part of the people of St. Stanislaus, but because of the misuse and abuse of power by the archbishop (The writer should be ashamed to say this). I do not believe that any one of us has to feel guilty about any decisions we have made or opinions we have held (--Bill Clinton). We ultimately answer to the Lord for the charity we practice in our lives and not for the opinions we hold (WRONG). The ultimate orthodoxy is not to man-made rules and regulations but to the way of Christ (, man!).