29 February 2008

Breaking News from Children of God for Life: Biotech Company to Provide Ethical Alternative to Aborted Fetal Vaccines

Today I received an email from Children of God for Life:

Dear Supporters,

Many of you have followed our efforts over the past 8 years. You have helped us immensely by getting the word out to the public about the use of aborted fetal cell lines in vaccines by distributing our materials at pro-life events, to friends and family and especially through your prayers. Some have also made donations as they could. I know all of you have waited patiently for the news I am sharing with you today - news that is sure to fill every one of you with much joy and hope for our future.

I'm sure there will be many questions in the coming weeks and months - how, when, where - and you can be assured I will keep you all updated as we progress. For now I would simply ask that you say a special prayer in thanksgiving and for the success of AVM Biotechnology.

God bless you always,
Debi Vinnedge
Children of God for Life
Biotech Firm To Provide Ethical Alternatives to Aborted Fetal Vaccines
For Immediate Release February 29, 2008
www.cogforlife.org/avmpress.htm
Contact: Children of God for Life
info@cogforlife.org 615 898-1070

Biotech Firm To Provide Ethical Alternatives to Aborted Fetal Vaccines

(Seattle) In a victory for pro-life families around the world, AVM Biotechnology LLC (AVM Biotech) today announced their decision to provide ethical alternatives in the fields of biotechnology, pharmaceuticals, and vaccine development.

Dr Theresa Deisher, AVM Biotech Research and Development Director and founder stated, “We will be working to bring commercially available, morally acceptable, vaccines to the US market and to use existing technology to produce new morally certified vaccines. Revenues from the vaccine business will also further the research, development and commercialization of morally certified therapeutics in other areas of medicine as well.”

The announcement was an answer to years of hard work and prayers for Children of God for Life, a pro-life organization that has battled to bring moral alternatives to aborted fetal vaccines to the US market for nearly a decade.

“There are no words sufficient to express our deepest gratitude to Dr Deisher and AVM Biotech”, noted the group’s Executive Director, Debi Vinnedge, who was also named to AVM Biotech’s Advisory Board for vaccine development.

While most vaccines and medicines are produced in an ethical manner, several are manufactured using cell lines derived from aborted fetal tissue with no competing ethical products available. Vinnedge noted this has left concerned pro-life families in both a difficult and unjust position.

“For too long parents who want to protect their children without compromising their deeply held pro-life and religious beliefs have been coerced into an unnecessary and unjust moral dilemma,” she stated. “No one should be forced to choose between these two fundamental human rights.”

Both organizations hope that the news will spark members of Congress to move forward with their Fair Labeling and Informed Consent legislation, a bill that would require full disclosure from the pharmaceutical industry whenever aborted fetal or embryonic cell lines are used in medical products.

“Every consumer, whether pro-life in philosophy or not, has the right to know if human fetal cell contaminants are present in the drugs they receive”, noted Dr Deisher. “Consumers should be informed and empowered to make the best health care choices for themselves and their families. Surely, if we have the right to know what is in our fast food, we should also have the right to know what is in our medicine."

AVM Biotech intends to further assist in this effort by certifying that its therapeutic products are not discovered, screened, evaluated, produced, or tainted in any way by the use of electively aborted human fetal material, human embryonic material, or any other unethically obtained materials.

__________________

Great news that deserves our support! It would be a blessing indeed to have a morally acceptable vaccine to avoid the unjust choices facing parents with regard to several vaccines-- principally rubella, hepatitis A and varicella. For Catholic teaching on this issue, see the Pontifical Academy for Life's letter here (follow links to "Vatican and vaccines").

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Issues Clarification on Non-Standard Baptismal Formulae


The Holy Office confirms that the feminist baptismal formulae du jour are invalid. Please pass this news along to any womenpriests you know. From the Holy See's website:


REPLY FROM DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH ON BAPTISMAL FORMULAE


VATICAN CITY, 29 FEB 2008 (VIS) - Made public today were the responses of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith to two questions concerning the validity of Baptism conferred with certain non-standard formulae.


The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'"?


The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised 'in forma absoluta'?" (Note: in other words, would someone who was previously putatively baptized with the above formulae have to be baptized as though there were no doubt that he still needed baptism, and not only baptized conditionally?)


The responses are: "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative".


Benedict XVI, during his recent audience with Cardinal William Joseph Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, approved these responses, which were adopted at the ordinary session of the congregation, and ordered their publication. The text of the responses bears the signatures of Cardinal Levada and of Archbishop Angelo Amato S.D.B., secretary of the dicastery.


An attached note explains that the responses "concern the validity of Baptism conferred with two English-language formulae within the ambit of the Catholic Church. ... Clearly, the question does not concern English but the formula itself, which could also be expressed in another language".


"Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note continues, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. ... The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.


"Variations to the baptismal formula - using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons - as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".


"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non- baptised'". CDF/BAPTISM FORMULAE/LEVADAVIS 080229 (420)

Could the "Unity" Be Cracking at St. Stanislaus?

From STLToday:

Two at St. Stan to ask for priest's removal
By Tim O'Neil
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/29/2008


ST. LOUIS — Two members of St. Stanislaus Kostka church say they will ask Sunday for the removal of its pastor, the Rev. Marek Bozek, on grounds that he is promoting ideas contrary to Roman Catholicism, such as his offer to give Communion to people who aren't Catholic.

The Polish-heritage church itself is embroiled in a long-running battle with Archbishop Raymond Burke, who has stripped the parish of its Catholic standing and declared Bozek and the parish board members excommunicated.

But the two parishioners who want Bozek removed say the parish's dispute with Burke is over money and control, not dogma.

Roger Krasnicki, former spokesman for the St. Stanislaus board, and Alice Kaminski of St. Peters said they plan to attend the board meeting Sunday afternoon to press for Bozek's removal. They said they speak for many members of the parish.

William Bialczak, board chairman, said they were welcome to speak. As for sentiment to remove Bozek, Bialczak said, "This is the first I've heard of it."

Reached Thursday evening, Bozek said he was aware of the criticism and said his detractors "make up a small group of maybe a dozen, against 400 who are very happy with the parish. ... I am not changing any matter of our faith."

Krasnicki and Kaminski, both of whom say they no longer attend Sunday Mass at St. Stanislaus, said Bozek upset many parishioners when he recently announced during Mass his support for the ordination of women as priests and for offering Communion to anyone who approaches the altar, not just Catholics. Bialczak confirmed that Bozek took those stands.

Krasnicki said there was concern "that Father Bozek is straying far afield from Roman Catholicism." Said Kaminski, "We're still a Catholic church, and we should be following the rules and dogma of the church."

In November, Bozek was among clerical celebrants at a ceremony at Central Reform Congregation at which two women were ordained priests by a group called Roman Catholic Womenpriests.

[...]

___________________

This is really very important news. It would be easy to point out that the reason why maintaining the proper relationship between a parish, or an individual Catholic, and the local ordinary, is to ensure not only visible unity but also dogmatic unity. The Church was established by Christ and is guided by the Holy Ghost. It has two thousand years of experience in Church governance. When the Board, unfortunately aided by many who were naive-- or perhaps ignorant (but in good faith)-- or perhaps misled-- or perhaps complicit-- cut itself off from the Church, it cut itself off from the truth. Now who will check the ascendancy of non-Catholic teaching and practices at St. Stan's? It has to be the Board. Krasnicki is an important player at that place; this could be a very good sign.

But, as I said, better than I-told-you-sos will be prayer that this is a watershed moment for this former parish. If the Board does boot Bozek, perhaps his wacky schismatic followers will ditch the place, too, and follow him to the next barge ordination. If the Board will attempt to uphold Catholic doctrine, it will be some tangible sign (which has not yet been seen) that they really do want to be Catholic, and then they can reconsider the Archbishop's previous offer of holding any assets they have in trust for them. You remember, the offer he made to the Board of an irrevocable trust, that was never given any attention by the media and distorted by the Board to its parishioners?

Pray, pray, pray for this situation.

28 February 2008

Lenten Retreat at the Oratory and Holy Week Schedule


Saint Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118
http://www.institute-christ-king.org/
314-771-3100


March 28, 2008


Email newsletter contains information about:
Lenten Retreat 2008
Holy Week
Easter schedule

Dear Faithful and Friends of St. Francis de Sales Oratory,


As you have seen in the Bulletin announcements, we are co-hosting our traditional Lenten retreat with Credo of the Catholic Laity next weekend on Friday afternoon, March 7, and all day Saturday, March 8.

We are especially honored to have our beloved Archbishop, His Grace, The Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, conduct solemn benediction of the Blessed Sacrament and present a conference at this retreat. The Vicar General and American Provincial for the Institute, the Very Rev. Monsignor R. Michael Schmitz, will also be with us and will conclude the retreat with a conference.

The first day of the retreat, Friday March 7, also is the feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, one of the patrons of our institute. We are very grateful that the Very Rev. Michael Monshau O.P., Prior of St. Louis’s Dominican Priory, will introduce us to the spiritual fruits of the teachings of the Angelic Doctor.

Here is a detailed schedule of the retreat for your reference:

Friday, March 7:
1:30 p.m. Opening prayer and first conference by Rev. Michael Monshau, O.P. (Hall)
2:30 p.m. Stations of the Cross (Church)
3:30 p.m. Second conference by Father Monshau, O.P. (Hall)
4:30 p.m. Light supper (Hall)
5:30 p.m. Exposition, Adoration, Benediction and Confession (Church)
6:30 p.m. Solemn High Mass: Celebrant, Msgr. Michael Schmitz (Church)
Saturday, March 8:
9:00 a.m. Confessions, Rosary and Chaplet of Divine Mercy (Church)
10:00 a.m. Solemn Adoration and Benediction with the Archbishop (Church)
11:00 a.m. Third conference by His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
12:00 p.m. Lunch (Hall)
1:30 p.m. Fourth conference by Msgr. Michael Schmitz (Hall)
2:45 p.m. Closing Mass (Church)

With such exceptional speakers, with the solemn liturgies of the Holy Mass, additional devotions, and with the availability of the sacrament of Confession, we believe this will be an inspiring two days of reflection and grace. Please give serious thought to attending this retreat. If your work prohibits your attending the entire retreat, try to attend what time you can. The cost is minimal for the two meals provided, and for those with families who find it difficult to pay for the entire family, the Credo group has generously offered to subsidize them.

If you plan to attend either one or both days, please print, complete, and send in the coupon below to the Oratory so that we may plan sufficient meals. We hope to see you there.







Name _____________________________ Address_______________________________________

Phone _________________________ E-mail ___________________________________________

Enclosed is my check for $________ to cover _____ adults and ______children under 12.
Forward this coupon along with your check payable to St. Francis de Sales Oratory to:

St. Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Ave.
St. Louis, MO 63118

For more information, call either the Oratory at 314-771-3100 or Howard Brandt of Credo St. Louis at 314-894-6003.



HOLY WEEK SCHEDULE:

Sunday, March 16, Palm Sunday
7:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Confessions
8:00 a.m. Mass
9:30 a.m. Blessing of the Palms and Procession Solemn High Mass
Monday, March 17, Monday of Holy Week
7:30 a.m. Confessions
8:00 a.m. Mass
6:30 p.m. Confessions
6:30 p.m. Mass
Tuesday, March 18, Tuesday of Holy Week
7:30 a.m. Confessions
8:00 a.m. Mass
6:00 p.m. Confessions
6:30 p.m. Mass at the Altar of Our Mother of Perpetual Help
Wednesday, March 19, Wednesday of Holy Week
7:30 a.m. Confessions
8:00 a.m. Mass
6:30 p.m. Confessions
6:30 p.m. Mass

Triduum Sacrum:
Thursday, March 20, Holy Thursday
5:30 p.m. Confessions
6:30 p.m. Solemn High Mass, Procession to the Repository
Followed by Adoration at the Repository until Midnight
Friday, March 21, Good Friday
8:00 a.m. Stations of the Cross and Confessions
2:00 p.m.-6:30 p.m. Confessions
3:00 p.m. Liturgy of the Passion and Death of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Followed by Adoration at the Holy Sepulcher until 8:00 p.m.
Saturday, March 22, Holy Saturday
8:00 p.m. Confessions
9:00 p.m. Easter Vigil, Solemn High Mass
At the End of the Vigil Blessing of Easter Food: Bread, Eggs…
Sunday, March 23, Easter Sunday
8:00 a.m. Low Mass with organ
10:00 a.m. Solemn High Mass

Any Article Quoting Robert Hugh Benson is Worth Reading

From the full article at STLToday:

Religious commitment in a conversion-prone culture
BY COLLEEN CARROLL CAMPBELL
02/28/2008


"There is no happiness in the world comparable to that of the experience known as conversion." Those words were penned nearly a century ago by Robert Hugh Benson, an Anglican convert to Catholicism who knew the joys of conversion firsthand. Benson also knew its costs: As the youngest son of the Archbishop of Canterbury, he was inundated with pleas from shocked and saddened Anglican friends urging him to return to the faith of his father.

Benson never did. But the experience solidified his belief that authentic conversion — the kind that justifies a break from one's religious roots — must be driven by a sincere search for truth, not a self-centered quest for spiritual novelty or emotional highs.

Given the new Pew Forum poll that found nearly half of Americans have switched religious affiliations, it is worth pondering whether our contemporary conversions meet Benson's criteria.

Are we a nation of sincere spiritual seekers driven by our hunger for truth to leave the confines of our childhood churches? Or are we a nation of spiritual dilettantes more interested in finding a faith that suits our fancy than one that challenges and transforms us? The results of Pew's groundbreaking U.S. Religious Landscape Survey of more than 35,000 American adults could be interpreted either way.

[...] [full story at link above]

Waugh on Campion, and Some Lessons


I just finished reading last night Evelyn Waugh's most excellent book, Edmund Campion: A Life. Fantastic from start to finish; Waugh is a tremendous writer whose popular history of St. Edmund Campion, the English martyr, is told as a narrative. He does not bog down the text with copious footnotes, as a scholarly history would, but instead makes the life of this great saint accessible and wonderful to read. In the author's own words, "It shall be read as a simple, perfectly true story of heroism and holiness."

St. Edmund was an English Jesuit priest, trained on the continent due to persecution at home-- a former beneficiary of royal patronage and Anglican deacon, whose oratorical brilliance promised him an easy life in the new heretical church. Yet he responded in honesty to the call of Christ and His Church. He returned to England to preach, administer the sacraments to a suffering people, and to await his inevitable martyrdom. His punishment for the crimes of being a priest and administering Catholic sacraments, in the words of the judge: To "be hanged and let down alive, and your privy parts cut off, and your entrails taken out and burnt in your sight; then your head to be cut off and your body divided into four parts, to be disposed of at her Majesty's pleasure."

There were so many things that struck me when I read it, that I am afraid that if I wrote a full review it would be as long as the book itself, so why not read that instead? But there are a few things that seem especially pertinent today that struck me especially. First, there was a passage describing how Cecil was becoming impatient at the tenacity of Catholics in refusing to conform to the new religion, and the result that the laws requiring conformity would be more strictly enforced:

They were proving more stubborn in their faith than at first seemed likely. Books of controversy, printed by the English exiles abroad, were finding their way into the country in disturbing quantities; up till now the Catholics had spent little time in detailed argument; when in power, they had judged their opponents on the grounds of authority and obedience; now the old faith was being restated in new and persuasive terms, applicable to a generation who had grown up without the heritage of instinctive respect for tradition, terms of reason and research. It would have been easy to show lenience to a moribund superstition, the sentimental regrets of an old generation that was rapidly dying out; here was something unexpectedly vigorous and up to date, which must either suffer decisive and immediate defeat, or conquer.

The first parallel that I drew from this relates to the situation of Catholics in the late 1960s when the Mass was taken away from them. Before the liturgical and theological revolution that unfairly, yet inevitably, claimed to be directed by the Second Vatican Council, Catholics did not have to formulate arguments about the goodness and desirability of the Traditional Mass. They did not have to research liturgical history and marshal arguments from Church documents, history and logic as to why it was superior to the novus ordo missae. Every cloud has a silver lining, as they say.

But upon the promulgation of the new missal, things changed, and Catholics found themselves treated by many in the hierarchy in a similar fashion to the English Catholics of Elizabeth's day (no, not tortured and killed--this is an analogy). For "it would have been easy to show lenience to a moribund superstition, the sentimental regrets of an old generation that was rapidly dying out", as was the case from the beginning, that older priests were allowed to continue to say the Traditional Mass privately. Yet the old Mass would not die, could not die, and those who championed its rights offered "something unexpectedly vigorous and up to date, which must either suffer decisive and immediate defeat, or conquer". Well, thankfully, it has conquered, or at least is ascendant.

The other part of the above passage that sticks out is the observation that when in power Catholics "had judged their opponents on the grounds of authority and obedience". There is a clear parallel here with some of the schismatic activity in St. Louis. The Archbishop upholds Catholic teaching, and because Catholics are presumed to want to be Catholic the first appeal is to authority and obedience. But as St. Stan's proves, the schismatics, like their philosophical brethren, the heretics of Elizabethan England, don't believe in his authority and certainly see no requirement to obey. So, ordinary Catholics rise up to provide theological and rhetorical arguments, in addition to those provided by the chancery.

One other passage also struck me as applicable to the St. Louis situation. On page 53, Waugh describes the reaction to the promulgation, by Pope St. Pius V, of the bull excommunicating Elizabeth I, Regnans in Excelsis.

His contemporaries and the vast majority of subsequent historians regarded the Pope's action as ill-judged. It has been represented as a gesture of medievalism, futile in an age of new, vigorous nationalism, and its author as an ineffectual and deluded champion, stumbling through the mists, in the ill-fitting, antiquated armor, of Gregory and Innocent; a disastrous figure, provoking instead of a few buffets for Sancho Panza the bloody ruin of English Catholicism. That is the verdict of sober criticism, both Catholic and Protestant, and yet, as one studies that odd and compelling face which peers obliquely from Zucchero's portrait at Stonyhurst, emaciated, with its lofty and narrow forehead, the great, beaked nose, the eyes prominent in their deep sockets, and, above all else, the serene and secret curve of the lips, a doubt rises, and a hope; had he, perhaps, in those withdrawn, exalted hours before his crucifix, learned something that was hidden from the statesmen of his time and the succeeding generations of historians; seen through and beyond the present and the immediate future; understood that there was to be no easy way of reconciliation, but that it was only through blood and hatred and derision that the faith was one day to return to England?

Is there a secular media outlet that thinks Archbishop Burke is acting prudently by his steadfast defense of the faith, and the authority of the Church? Do most Catholics in this Archdiocese agree with them, or him? And yet, when his eye is on the proper end, the course of action is clear and correct.

Great book about a great saint. Even today, the short essay he wrote to defend his actions in case of his apprehension, commonly called Campion's Brag, is a moving and informative piece. I pray that I am able to produce something half as good should the day come when I must provide my own defense.

Barat Academy Teacher Charged

From today's STLToday:

Teacher charged in topless e-mail case
By Joel Currier
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
02/28/2008


ST. CHARLES COUNTY — A teacher at Barat Academy in Dardenne Prairie e-mailed two topless photos of herself to one of her students, prosecutors said.

[This teacher] was charged Tuesday in St. Charles County Circuit Court with furnishing pornographic material to a minor, a misdemeanor. Authorities say [she] e-mailed the topless photos in November. She no longer works at the school.

___________________

Now, of course, this is a very sad event, and these things can happen in any institution. However, in light of the controversy over the proposed theology curriculum last year, it is fair to ask why some students saw fit to post a facebook.com profile that challenges the dismissal of the teacher. Again, from the full story above:

___________________

A Facebook.com profile called "School Isn't the Same Without [the teacher]" features comments from some of [her] supporters protesting the teacher's departure from the school."We want her back at Barat Academy," the profile says. "Nothing's the same without her. … Our administration turned into meanies."

___________________

Never mind the moral theology formation "exhbited" in the above quote. What about the lack of logical and rhetorical skills?

Problems with Pro-Quad Vaccine


All too often, vaccines are rushed to production, and then are made legally mandatory by State officials, before sufficient safety studies are done. This AP story concerns the pro-quad vaccine, which combines the varicella and mmr vaccines; this vaccine is derived from aborted fetal cell lines.


Kids Vaccine Linked to Fever, Seizures


By MIKE STOBBE – 14 hours ago


ATLANTA (AP) — Children suffered higher rates of fever-related convulsions when they got a Merck & Co. combination vaccine instead of two separate shots, according to a new study presented Wednesday.


The results prompted a federal advisory panel on vaccines to water down their preference for the combo vaccine ProQuad, which protects against measles, mumps and rubella as well as chickenpox.


In the study of children ages 12 months through 23 months, the rate of seizures was twice as high in toddlers who got ProQuad, compared with those who got one shot for chickenpox and one for the three other diseases.


The risk translates to about one extra case of convulsion for every 2,000 doses of ProQuad given said Dr. Nicola Klein, who lead the federally funded study. She presented the data at a meeting of the Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices.


The study focused on children who develop fevers and then go into convulsions — an occurrence that frightens parents but usually has no lingering consequences. There were no deaths in the new study.


ProQuad was licensed in 2005. It's been in extremely short supply since last year, when Merck suspended production because of manufacturing problems. The company expects to resume ProQuad production next year.


ProQuad costs $124 per dose, about the same as the two other shots combined.

Finally, Someone Sues the Surveillance State

From a local political blog comes a write-up about a lawsuit in Arnold concerning the intrusive and ubiquitous red light camera:

The Bill of Rights v. Red Light Cameras

Red light cameras are springing up everywhere. And they're unconstitutional.

Most municipalities red light camera schemes work like this . . . the cameras are installed by vendors "free of charge" at various intersections. The cameras snap photographs of vehicles that violate red lights and then the registered owner of the vehicle is mailed a ticket. Whether the owner of the vehicle was actually driving at the time of the violation, however, is unknown. The photographs don't show the driver. When the tickets are paid, the City gets a cut and the vendor gets a cut. Everybody's happy and all involved get to claim, rightly or wrongly, that they're making the world a safer place.

But what happens if the owner of the vehicle had loaned it to somebody else? Well, the owner still gets the ticket and has to pay it unless he or she testifies about who was driving. And that's where a violation of the Fifth Amendment comes in.

Under these red light camera schemes, the accused vehicle owner is presumed guilty of the violation and required testify to prove his innocence. But the Fifth Amendment guarantees that "no person . . . shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself."

In a conversation with a local prosecutor several months ago, the prosecutor admitted to knowing that these schemes were unconstitutional. The municipalities and the camera vendors, however, banked (literally) on citizens not knowing their rights or, if they did, not wanting to spend more on legal fees than the fine itself.

If prosecutors in Arnold, Missouri, felt the same way, they didn't know Chet Pleban. Pleban is a local attorney whose friends must even admit there's never been a media outlet that he didn't like. His name crops up from time to time in various newsworthy cases. Whether for the publicity or the principle, Pleban has filed suit on behalf of two Arnold residents who received a ticket in the mail. More power to him. In this case, he and his clients are right on the money.

27 February 2008

The UK Certainly Knows How to Persecute the Church

And they have about 450 years of experience, too. I'm sure St. John Fisher and St. Thomas More were probably "fundamentalists". From LifeSiteNews:

UK Commons Committee to "Investigate" Catholic Bishop for "Fundamentalism"
Catholic activist says, "To secularists anyone who actually believes his religion is a 'fundamentalist'.

By Hilary White

LONDON, February 26, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Last month, LifeSiteNews.com reported that a British Parliamentarian had threatened to "investigate" what he called an increase in "fundamentalism" among British Catholic bishops in regulations for Catholic schools. This week, the Independent reports that MP Barry Sheerman, the chairman of a Commons select committee, is going ahead with the investigation.

The Independent reports that the Children, Schools and Families Committee will "call Catholic bishops to account" for recent isolated attempts to re-install genuine Catholic doctrine on moral and sexual teaching into the schools' curriculum. The reaction from Parliament comes in response to a document issued by Lancaster Bishop Patrick O'Donohue, "Fit for Mission: Schools," an instruction to revamp Catholic education in the diocese of Lancaster based on the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

Sheerman, MP for Huddersfield and the Labour chairman of the committee, told the Independent that while the spokesmen for the English Catholic Church had "often peddled a softer line" on moral issues, the publication of Fit for Mission seems "at odds" with what was happening "on the ground".

"A lot of taxpayers' money is going into church schools and I think we should tease out what is happening here," said Sheerman. "We seem to have a shift in emphasis on the ground despite what the reasonable voices of the leadership are saying."

The Committee will interrogate the bishops on their approach in the schools to abortion, sex education and "PSHE" (personal and social health education).

But in a pamphlet titled "Will Your Grandchildren be Catholic?" Daphne MacLeod, a Catholic activist and former headmistress, writes that it is precisely this "softer line" preferred by Mr. Sheerman that has eroded the genuine Catholic religious nature of the Church's schools.

McLeod, the head of the Catholic education advocacy group, Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice, told LifeSiteNews.com that the investigation by the Parliamentary Committee is an "ominous" stroke by an increasingly aggressive secularist government against religious institutions. The use of the term "fundamentalist" is especially offensive she said, and is a transparent attempt at equating believing Christians with violent Islamic extremism.

"To secularists," McLeod said, "anyone who actually believes his religion is a 'fundamentalist'. But Christian 'fundamentalists' are the ones who are around the world looking after AIDS patients, who started hospitals and schools."

McLeod said the implication that "fundamentalist" Christianity is some kind of threat to the state is an insult. "Let them show us some proof that there is a danger. Christian 'fundamentalists' are the ones who practice forgiveness and who are taught to 'turn the other cheek'. Show us how that is a threat."

Fr. Timothy Finigan, a Catholic priest and theology professor who founded the Association of Priests for the Gospel of Life, agreed that the use of the term "fundamentalist" was a scare tactic.

The message, Fr. Finigan wrote, is clear to bishops who dare to step away from the "softer" line of the mainstream of Catholic episcopal leadership. "There's that 'F' word beloved of the secularists everywhere, conjuring up images of suicide bombers, blown-up buses and women in burkhas," he wrote.

Sheerman's comments about tax-funding for the Catholic schools was also a rhetorical attack, Fr. Finigan wrote. "Let's be clear about this. Catholics also pay tax. The money does not belong to the government, it belongs to us and is given to the government in trust for use for our benefit."

Catholic schools in Britain are owned by the Church and operate using tax funding to help maintain buildings. Fr. Finigan wrote, "If Catholic children are not educated in Catholic schools, they will be educated in community schools at the expense of the state anyway."

"By his emotive appeal, Sheerman is attacking the historic agreement of 1944 with little less subtlety than the 'No Rome on the Rates' campaigns of a former era."

To contact Barry Sheerman:
House of Commons
London SW1A 0AA
Telephone: 020 7219 5037
Fax: 020 7219 2404
Email: SHEERMANB@parliament.uk

The Inconvenient Truth of Global Cooling


Keep this in mind when you pay your global warming tax.

William F. Buckley, Jr.: 1925-2008


William F. Buckley, Jr. was the intellectual leader of the American conservative movement for fifty years. A traditional and devout Catholic, his Catholic education, philosophy and being informed his public discourse. He founded National Review, wrote several highly influential books, notable among them "God and Man at Yale", and was a columnist and commentator of influence.


I first encountered his writings through National Review, then read God and Man at Yale. I met him during college, and after I had somewhat obsequiously related the influence he had had on me he remarked that he felt like George Bush being nominated for president by one of his sons. I think my favorite book of his, one that shows his satirical wit at its best, is "The Unmaking of a Mayor", a humorous account of his run for mayor of New York as the conservative party candidate-- a campaign that in many ways defused the national aspirations of liberal Republican New York Mayor John Lindsey.
As to that race, a description from one of the obits today:
In 1965, Mr. Buckley tried his hand at politics, running for mayor of New York on the Conservative Party ticket. Asked how many votes he expected to get, he replied, “Conservatively speaking, one.” In fact, he ended up with 13.4 percent of the vote. The idea hadn’t been to win office — he once said that his first act if elected would be to demand a recount — but gain attention for Mr. Buckley’s ideas. His strong showing was the first indication that the Goldwater debacle of the year before might be not an end but a beginning.

He was a giant. Requiescat in pace.

26 February 2008

Victim Mentality


I have been sitting on a story about the St. Cronan's situation, as that parish not only careens off of the cliff of schism but takes pride in so doing.

I have so far declined to run it, for a few reasons. First, it is unseemly, and puts the subject/author of the item in question in a sad and unflattering light. The material was put into the public stream by that person, but still, it does not have the effect on the reader that is intended. Secondly, it strikes me that as the situation progresses the persons involved take greater and greater delight in playing the martyrs. As AMDG posts, this has even become a literal (and comical, too, for that matter) reality. Also, as the situation develops there appears to be a tendency, or perhaps a strategy, of flaunting disobedience, disrespect and dissent in order to force a response from the chancery. To what end, I know not, but I am not anxious to assist them.

It is tough to deal with this whole issue.

On the one hand, it is certainly news affecting the Catholic Church in St. Louis, and the public statements and actions of the dissenters are fair game. More importantly, the public heterodoxy and inducement to error contained in these statements and actions call for a public refutation, and for a defense of the faith. However, once this defense is done, and people of good will are alerted to the errors and puerile nonsense of these people, and yet they still drone on, there reaches a point of tediousness. Is this what they are really after? To so irritate people that eventually no one will want to take the trouble of checking them?

I pray for their conversion, and for them to reconcile with the Church. But viewed from a purely temporal lens, it does seem bleak. How can someone repent when they cannot acknowledge that they need to repent? When they can't admit they have done anything wrong?

If they don't believe what the Church teaches, why not leave? Because no one will give them press if they are protestant denomination number 32, 341? Because they hate the Church and wish to destroy it? Because self-actualization is their religious creed, and the Catholic Church is merely the host organism?

A little intellectual honesty, and a dose of humility, would go a long way. Until then, I wait for some real news before giving them another reason to feel put upon.

25 February 2008

Quick, Buy That New SUV!

Forget global warming: Welcome to the new Ice Age

Lorne Gunter, National Post Published: Monday, February 25, 2008


Snow cover over North America and much of Siberia, Mongolia and China is greater than at any time since 1966.

The U.S. National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) reported that many American cities and towns suffered record cold temperatures in January and early February. According to the NCDC, the average temperature in January "was -0.3 F cooler than the 1901-2000 (20th century) average."

China is surviving its most brutal winter in a century. Temperatures in the normally balmy south were so low for so long that some middle-sized cities went days and even weeks without electricity because once power lines had toppled it was too cold or too icy to repair them.

There have been so many snow and ice storms in Ontario and Quebec in the past two months that the real estate market has felt the pinch as home buyers have stayed home rather than venturing out looking for new houses.

In just the first two weeks of February, Toronto received 70 cm of snow, smashing the record of 66.6 cm for the entire month set back in the pre-SUV, pre-Kyoto, pre-carbon footprint days of 1950.

And remember the Arctic Sea ice? The ice we were told so hysterically last fall had melted to its "lowest levels on record? Never mind that those records only date back as far as 1972 and that there is anthropological and geological evidence of much greater melts in the past.

The ice is back.

Continue reading here.

Daily Consecration of the Institute of Christ the King to the Blessed Virgin Mary


In the presence of God Almighty, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, and with heaven and earth as our witness, we prostrate ourselves at thy feet, O Mary, Our Lady.

We acknowledge Thee as our Mother, as the Immaculate Conception, living tabernacle of the Divinity, as Queen of angels and of men, as Mother of the Church and of the Catholic priesthood, and as refuge of the afflicted. That is why, small and weak that we are, we wish to consecrate to Thee our Institute, our families, our persons, our works, our future, all that pertains to us and is in us, and which God, in His immeasurable goodness, has entrusted to us for our good use.

We also consecrate to Thee the value of our good actions, past, present, and future, leaving to Thee the entire and full right of disposing of us and all that belongs to us. Mary, be our Mother; sanctify us, purify us, correct us, guide us, pray for us and protect us.

Help us to perfectly fulfill the duties of our state of life. Extinguish in us all self-love, which prevents Thy Divine Son, King and Sovereign Priest, from reigning in and around us.

Cover abundantly with thy maternal protection all the parishes, chapels, schools, works and missions entrusted to the Institute, and mayest Thou forever impede the devil from reigning, in any manner, in this Institute which desires to be entirely Thine for the greater glory of God, the exaltation of our Mother the Holy Catholic Church, and for the conversion of sinners.
Amen.

24 February 2008

An Interesting Development in London...

...in light of my last post.  From Lifesite News:

Cardinal asks for Resignation of Entire London, England Hospital Board

By Hilary White

LONDON, February 22, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) - After three years of investigations and disputes, Cormac Cardinal Murphy O'Connor has asked the entire board of directors of a London Catholic hospital to resign in order to facilitate the implementation of a Catholic ethics code that would preclude abortion referrals, IVF and contraception. 

A spokesman for the Cardinal Archbishop of Westminster, who is patron of the hospital and the head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, is quoted by the Guardian saying, "In light of recent difficulties and challenges the cardinal asked the board to resign their office." 

An investigation into the practices of the fashionable private hospital in St John's Wood was launched in 2006, after complaints came from the Vatican that the hospital was dispensing chemical contraceptives and referring for abortions. Later it was also revealed that the hospital had allowed phalloplasties, a woman-to-man "sex-change operation". 

After nearly two years of disputes with the hospital's board, Cardinal Murphy O'Connor, the hospital's arbiter on ethics, imposed a new ethics code and appointed an auxiliary bishop of Westminster archdiocese to oversee implementation. At this, a number of the Catholic hospital's board members resigned, accusing the cardinal of promoting Catholic "values", which they held to be in conflict with patient care. 

The hospital is also under investigation by the government's Charity Commission for failing to disclose vital information surrounding an £11 million loan to open an NHS primary care centre on its premises. Money to refurbish the property, a former convent, was approved by the government's Charity Commission, but the agency was not informed that a clause in the lease allowed doctors to opt out of the hospital's own ethics code. 

The cardinal's office said the removal of the previous board was "to enable a new chairman to begin his office with the freedom to go about ensuring the future wellbeing of this Catholic hospital". 

Charles Baron Guthrie of Craigiebank has been appointed in that position. Lord Guthrie is a former Chief of the Defence Staff of the British Army, and is Vice President and Knight of Sovereign Military Order of Malta, an ancient Catholic military order that now focuses on medical charity work around the world. The Order has its London headquarters, including an ornate and historic chapel, at the hospital. 

As a member of the House of Lords, Baron Guthrie has spoken against the Assisted Dying for the Terminally Ill Bill in 2005, saying that it is the failure of the medical community to improve pain relief and appropriate care of the dying that has generated a demand for euthanasia. 

But the Restituta Group, an organisation that has been working to restore the Catholic ethos to the hospital, told LifeSiteNews.com that the move by the Cardinal to remove the board is "baffling".

Nicolas J. Bellord, secretary to the group, said the problems in the board and the hospital's Catholicity were being resolved and that the situation was improving.

"I'm totally baffled," Mr. Bellord said, "The board seemed to be getting on top of the problem. They seemed to have achieved a great deal. They were getting back towards Catholicity, they started on that way and now they've being asked to resign." 

Bellord pointed out that technically, the Cardinal has no legal power to remove the board. 

The hospital said it would not be commenting further on the resignations. Deputy chief executive, Claire Hornick, said "Lord Guthrie, supported by Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor, has stated that under his chairmanship there is no desire that the hospital be sold and that the committed plan remains to continue the objects of the charity, which, guided by its Catholic ethos, is to serve the local community."

Celebrating Freedom of Choice

Two articles from the UK Telegraph show us the wonderful and liberating effects of the right to choose.  I can't decide which is more tragic.


Artist hanged herself after aborting her twins 


Last Updated: 12:23pm GMT 24/02/2008

An artist killed herself after aborting her twins when she was eight weeks pregnant, leaving a note saying: "I should never have had an abortion. I see now I would have been a good mum."

Emma Beck was found hanging at her home in Helston, Cornwall, on Feb 1 2007. She was declared dead early the following day - her 31st birthday.

Her suicide note read: "I told everyone I didn't want to do it, even at the hospital. I was frightened, now it is too late. I died when my babies died. I want to be with my babies: they need me, no-one else does."

The inquest at Truro City Hall heard that Miss Beck had split up with her boyfriend, referred to as "Ben" after he "reacted badly" to the pregnancy.

[...]

 

The inquest heard that Sylvia Beck, the victim's mother, wrote to the hospital after her daughter's death, saying: "I want to know why she was not given the opportunity to see a counsellor.

"She was only going ahead with the abortion because her boyfriend did not want the twins.

"I believe this is what led Emma to take her own life - she could not live with what she had done."

The doctor said: "I discussed Emma's situation with her, and wrote on the form, 'Unsupported, lives alone, ex-partner aware'.

[...]

Recording a verdict of suicide, Dr Carlyon said: "It is clear that a termination can have a profound effect on a woman's life.

"But I am reassured by the evidence of the doctors here."

Cardinal's aide 'was behind this abortion' 


Last Updated: 1:53am GMT 23/02/2008

The ex-lover of a former spokesman for the Catholic Church was rushed into an abortion by the man and his mother, the High Court was told yesterday.

Moyra Bremner, a writer, said she was "horrified" to return from a holiday to India in 1989 and hear that her daughter, Siobhan, then aged 26, who had become pregnant by Austen Ivereigh, had gone through with the abortion.

"I felt even more horrified when I heard that Austen and his mother had taken her. I felt that they had rushed her into it," Mrs Bremner said.

She added that she had "absolutely no part" in her daughter's decision, did not know where the operation was taking place and did not pay towards it.

Mr Ivereigh, 41, who later became head of public affairs for Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor, the Archbishop of Westminster, claims that Siobhan Vitelli, a divorcee who was then a fellow graduate student at Oxford, had the abortion against his wishes at Mrs Bremner's insistence.

He is suing over an article in the Daily Mail in June 2006 which, he says, falsely presented him as a cad and a hypocrite, and cost him his £46,000-a-year job.

He strongly disputes claims by Mrs Vitelli and another woman, who cannot be named, that he failed to support them when they became pregnant and put them in a position where they felt they had no choice but to abort.

Associated Newspapers denies libel, and says the story is true.

23 February 2008

Share the Word

The folks at St. Stanislaus Kostka (formerly) Catholic Church ran an ad in Saturday's Post-Dispatch, with the request that readers "share the word".  I am happy to comply with this request.  However, because there appear to be several mistakes in the text, innocently made, no doubt, that somehow eluded the eye of the ad editor, I have taken the liberty of making the necessary corrections and providing additional comment.  In this way I hope to ensure that the word is accurately shared.  Here it is, with my comments in green:

Share the Word


St. Stanislaus Kostka Lives (The Saint, yes.  The parish, not so much)

It has been over three years since St. Stanislaus Kostka has been targeted to relinquish all property and funds to the Arch diocese of St. Louis.  Or in other words, to comply with Church law and be treated like other parishes, and to remedy the violation of its own bylaws that occurred when the Board wrongfully removed the Archbishop from the Board.  This action is (sic) direct conflict of the parish's 126 year history and Canon law license.  Huh?

During these three years we, the parishioners and our friends have been villified for not signing over the property.  Actually, they have done all of the following things to merit public censure:  defy Church law as to the proper administration of a Catholic parish; treat their Archbishop with contempt during a pastoral visit to the Church; incur interdict and excommunication for their violation of canon law; knowingly hire a priest whose faculties have been suspended and who has acknowledged publicly to have broken his solemn vow of obedience to his Diocesan Bishop; knowingly retain in its employ that same priest who 1) has incurred excommunication latae sententiae, 2) has participated in the attempted ordination of two women, causing grave scandal, 3) has publicly supported teachings contrary to the truths of the Catholic faith, 4) has performed invalid sacraments thus endangering the welfare of souls due to lack of necessary jurisdiction, 5) has not hesitated to spread the basest calumnies about the Archbishop in every press organ in which he can arrange an interview, and 6) has aided and abetted schism.  Other than that, yes, it's only about the property.  The actions, insults and innuendos against us are being taken in the name of religion however, the conflict is about real estate ownership, but religion is the weapon of choice.  I know the name of the religion with which they are at odds.  What I can't put my finger on is the name of their religion.

Our pastor is now being targeted for the canonical process to remove his religious authority. He lost his religious authority long ago.  Now he may face laicization, which would make it harder for him to mislead other Catholics.  Father Bozek has been informed however that if he would just apologize for providing our parishioners religious guidance and leave St. Stanislaus, all will be forgiven.  Right.  I can picture the conversation with the Archbishop:  "Fr. Bozek, I am concerned that your parishioners are getting too much religious guidance.  Tell you what-- if you apologize to me for that, and leave the rectory over there, all will be forgiven."

This attack (not) against our good (not) parish (not) in the name of religion continues to embarrass the arch diocese, and unfortunately the Roman Catholic religion.  The religion is not embarrassed, but St. Stan's should be.  Rather than focus on rebuilding the faith in St. Louis, archdiocese churches continue to be closed, and assaults against good people continue.  Absolutely breathtaking.  You want an example of an assault on good people?  Compare the St. Stan's whine-fest with what happened at Kirkwood City Hall a few weeks back.  This kind of victim rhetoric by an excommunicated Board and Priest is an assault on the readers' intelligence.

Still, against this tirade, St. Stanislaus continues to grow our religion (?) in the community.  Ah yes, we always hear from these people how much they are growing.  Really?  Why does every news story show a Mass-- on Christmas, at that-- from 2005 in order to show a full church.  No new footage?  Even the puff piece in NCR this week counted 312 people at Sunday's Mass.  IF that was accurate.  And how many of the original Polish parishioners are left in this den of schism?  If you desire to visit a parish in harmony with the Lord, all striving for the same goal, and a moving religious celebration, please come visit us, so you can see what to avoid.  Ours is not a church of exclusion, but of inclusion.  Enter through the narrow gate...  After all, aren't we all God's children?  Yes, indeed.  Now, will you serve Him?

22 February 2008

Taking the Bait

Though Bill McClellan is often entertaining and provides some insightful commentary, columns like this one are the price one pays for having him on staff. I mean, is it too much for a reporter at the largest newspaper in town to actually investigates the dubious "facts" about which he comments?

The straw man this week is homeschooling.

In an article otherwise irrelevant to the topic, our friend Bill writes as follows:


My daughter came home for a visit. She teaches high school biology in California. She believes in evolution. Furthermore, she is not only convinced that the world is more than 6,000 years old, she thinks it's round.

I try not to argue with her. If she wants to be a Democrat, that's up to her.

I had to take her to the airport Thursday morning. Whenever I go to the airport, I think about the round-earth theory.

Many years ago, I flew to what should have been the other side of the globe. Did the airplane ever have to fly upside down? No.

Yet, if you take a globe and then pretend your hand is a plane and move it around to the other side of the globe, your hand ends up upside down. That's not a theory, either. It's a scientific fact.

Had I home-schooled my children, they would understand this. Instead, I sent them to public schools. Still, I try to let them know there are two sides to these issues. In that sense, the drive to the airport represented a teaching moment.

[bulk of the article, concerning lack of traffic on St. Louis streets, in this space. Then...]

Something has happened to the drivers I used to see. They have disappeared. A sizable chunk of our population has simply vanished.

If they had been on the other side of the world, I might believe they had fallen off. But they were on our side of the world. Something else happened.

I believe they have been snatched. But I didn't try to tell my daughter that. I only hinted at it.

"I remember an FBI agent who used to say, 'The truth is out there,'" I said.

"I don't think Fox Mulder was a real FBI agent," she said.

Sometimes I wish I had home-schooled her.

______________________

If McClellan is intending the emphasis of his sentence to be, "Had I homeschooled my children, they would understand this", he may have a point. But I expect he means that producing a red-eyed, slack-jawed, scientifically inept, Bible-thumping ignoramus is the inevitable result of homeschooling. See, smart people like his children, you know, Democrats, they know better. Sending his children to public schools is the guarantor of real smartitudiousness.

I will assume that his daughter is at least as bright as this public high school honor student:


21 February 2008

Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship Reiterates: It's Time to Rethink Communion in the Hand


Again, only rarely do circumstances lead me to lift another blog's post in its entirety, but this post at New Liturgical Movement is a must read.  Following on the heels of a prior interview with Archbishop Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship, about reviewing the practice of communion in the hand and returning to communion on the tongue, here is yet another public interview on the subject.

In this interview, the Archbishop states his view that communion on the tongue, kneeling, is the most proper way to receive our Lord in the Eucharist.

The importance of these public comments cannot be easily overstated, as they could not be occurring on multiple occasions without the approbation of the Holy Father.  The liturgical restoration continues, and continues its momentum:


ANOTHER INTERVIEW WITH ARCHBISHOP RANJITH: "COMMUNION IN THE HAND NEEDS TO BE REVISITED"

by Gregor Kollmorgen

Bruno Volpe, of Petrus, has interviewed Msgr. Albert Malcom Ranjith, Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments. Here is my translation:

B. Volpe: Your Excellency, unfortunately Holy Mass, in Italy and in various other parts of the World, continues not to be celebrated as it should be, with priests putting themselves at the centre of attention and inventing impromptu texts and rites that are absolutely not loyal to the Magisterium.


Msgr. Ranjith: It is true, and I think it is really sad that some priests, fortunately not all, continue to abuse, with inexplicable extravagancies, the liturgy which, it should be remembered, is not their property but belongs to the Church.


Volpe: Would you like to make a public appeal?


Ranjith: I remind these priests that they must, and I stress must, respect the official liturgy of the Catholic Church. Enough with the abuses and the personal interpretations: Mass is not a spectacle, but sacrifice, gift and mystery. Not coincidentally the Holy Father Benedict XVI continually reminds us to celebrate the Eucharist with dignity and decorum.


Volpe: We come to a practical case. Some priests indulge in homilies excessively long and not always attuned to the readings of the day.


Ranjith: First of all I think that a good and healthy homily should never exceed 8-10 minutes; having said that it is necessary that the celebrant studies in depth the Gospel of the day and always stick to it, without flourishes or unnecessary turns of words. The homily is an integral and complementary part of the Eucharistic sacrifice, but must absolutely not dominate it.


Volpe: Your Excellency, let us come to the question of Communion in the hand: What do you think about it?


Ranjith: I 'simply' believe that this practice needs to be reviewed. How to do it? To begin with, a good catechesis. You know, unfortunately, many are not even aware of Whom they receive in the Communion, that is Christ, and so approach the Eucharistic banquet with scarce concentration and very little respect.


Volpe: Specifically, what needs to be done?


Ranjith: We need to recover the sense of the sacred. I speak only for myself, but I am convinced of the urgency of reviewing the practice of Communion given in the hand, returning to giving the particle to the faithful directly in the mouth, without them touching it, reinforcing thereby that in the Eucharist there is really Jesus and that everyone must receive Him with devotion, love and respect.


Volpe: Would it not be appropriate to return to kneeling at the moment of Communion?


Ranjith: I think so. This gesture would represent a true act of respect towards the gift and the mystery of the Eucharist.


Volpe: But some, even inside the Church, seem to express “embarrassment” only at the idea of seeing restored kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament.


Ranjith: Beyond the office I occupy in the Vatican, as a Catholic I ask myself and wonder: why be ashamed of God? Kneeling at Communion would be an act of humility and recognition of our nature as children of God.


____________________________


The other interesting point made by the Archbishop is the need to avoid the possibility of the sermon dominating the Mass.  It is a protestant practice, in services without the Real Presence in the Eucharist, to focus on the preaching.  Since the Second Vatican Council the novus ordo Liturgy of the Word has become co-equal, in practice at least, to the Liturgy of the Eucharist.  Yet the Mass is first and foremost the Sacrifice of Calvary, and is not designed to be a didactic moment.  That reality is undeniable in the traditional Mass. Not that the faith isn't strengthened and informed by the Mass, the readings, the scripture-rich prayers, and the sermon, but that the primary focus is undoubtedly the cross.  Proper celebration of the liturgy leads to proper understanding of, and adherence to, the faith itself.