29 April 2009

Bishop Johnson of Springfield, MO at Traditional Mass

The Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite was offered at St. Agnes Cathedral as usual at 3 PM yesterday. There was one notable difference, the Most Reverend Bishop James Vann Johnston was in attendance "in choro". This tremendous occasion for the offering of the Extraordinary Form at the Cathedral was a great success that ended with a Q & A session after a talk given by His Excellency.

The choir debuted a number of selections for the occasion:

Entrance: Ecce Sacerdos Magnus

Offertory: Iste Confessor

Communion: Concordi Laetitia & Haec Dies

Recessional: Christus Vincit

At the reception that followed, His Excellency was presented with a work of the Holy Father and a 1962 Daily Missal. We pray that His Excellency will return and visit with us again soon.

Update: If half of those that have visited this story would pray that the time for the celebration of the Extraordinary Form change from its 3 PM time spot to a more prominent spot certainly there would be saints taking note! Please include this intention in your rosary!

Can You Imagine?

OK, one more before paying work intrudes. Can you imagine being a resident of the Manhattan area, having lived through 9/11, and then seeing this? Unbelievable.

Ron Paul on the Swine Flu Scare

Thanks to Colleen Hammond for the video link. Ron Paul talks sense again. For those who don't know, in addition to being a Congressman, Dr. Paul is a medical doctor:

Flu Statistics

In the last few days, I have heard several news stories about the swine flu. In nearly every one of them, the seriousness of the flu generally is discussed, and this statistic given: that each year an average of 36,000 people die of the flu.

36,000 people. From where does this statistic come? And is it true?

From The Vaccine Book, by Robert W. Sears, M.D., F.A.A.P. (this book, due to its subject matter, tends to focus on children and vaccines, hence the references in the following passages to child statistics; but the larger point applies to the source and limitations of the usual statistics):

Is the Flu Serious?

Mostly no, but sometimes yes. Virtually all cases of the flu pass without consequence. However, there is an average of 100,000 hospitalizations each year because of complications from the flu. Most involve elderly people.

There is a misconception about how serious the flu is in infants and children. This is because the most common source of flu data comes from the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR) database. This is what most doctors review when they investigate flu data for any given year so they'll know how to educate their patients about the risks of the flu. The MMWR reports deaths from the flu and from pneumonia all in the same group. So most doctors (and regular people, too) can't easily look up how many people died from just the flu in a given year. In addition, the MMWR doesn't tell us how many infants and young children die compared with the number of elderly adults. All the MMWR does tell us is that over the past several years, about 36,000 people have died annually from the flu and pneumonia. This is the statistic most commonly referred to when people talk about the flu. Most informational materials that promote the flu vaccine cite this statistic from the MMWR, giving the false impression that 36,000 people actually die from the flu every year. In reality, this is the number of deaths from the flu and pneumonia combined. I was reading an Associated Press news release from May 1, 2006, about a new flu vaccine, and sure enough, there it was: "Each winter, flu kills 36,000 Americans, most of them elderly." No wonder people panic over the flu. Other press releases even go so far as to say, "36,000 people die every year from the flu, most of them infants and the elderly." Such statements give worried parents the false impression that thousands, if not tens of thousands, of infants are killed each year by the flu.

What is the actual number of flu fatalities every year? Relatively few. How do I know this? Because the National Center for Health Statistics, a lesser-known database that doctors don't commonly read, does collect data on all causes of death in the United States. This center, along with the American Lung Association, published a paper in 2004 that detailed the number of deaths from the flu alone in various age groups over the past twenty-five years. They found that there had been fewer than twenty deaths reported each year in each of the following age groups:
  • infants under 1 year
  • kids ages 1 to 4 years
  • kids ages 5 to 14 years
  • young adults ages 15 to 24 years
  • adults ages 25 to 34 years

This adds up to only about 100 deaths reportedly caused by the actual flu virus, or complications thereof, each year in children and young adults combined. The same paper says the total number of deaths from the flu each year in the United States averages about 1500. Over 90 percent of those deaths are in people age sixty-five and older."

28 April 2009

Archbishop Carlson's Coat of Arms

An explanation of the heraldry can be found here.
"Furthermore, we declare, we proclaim, we define that it is absolutely necessary for salvation that every human creature be subject to the Roman Pontiff."

-- Pope Boniface VIII, Unam Sanctam

"Furthermore, in this one Church of Christ no man can be or remain who does not accept, recognize and obey the authority and supremacy of Peter and his legitimate successors. Did not the ancestors of those who are now entangled in the errors of Photius and the reformers, obey the Bishop of Rome, the chief shepherd of souls? Alas their children left the home of their fathers, but it did not fall to the ground and perish for ever, for it was supported by God. Let them therefore return to their common Father, who, forgetting the insults previously heaped on the Apostolic See, will receive them in the most loving fashion. For if, as they continually state, they long to be united with Us and ours, why do they not hasten to enter the Church, "the Mother and mistress of all Christ's faithful"?[25] Let them hear Lactantius crying out: "The Catholic Church is alone in keeping the true worship. This is the fount of truth, this the house of Faith, this the temple of God: if any man enter not here, or if any man go forth from it, he is a stranger to the hope of life and salvation. Let none delude himself with obstinate wrangling. For life and salvation are here concerned, which will be lost and entirely destroyed, unless their interests are carefully and assiduously kept in mind."

-- Pope Pius XI, Mortalium Animos

"The Church's constant missionary proclamation is endangered today by relativistic theories which seek to justify religious pluralism, not only de facto but also de iure (or in principle). As a consequence, it is held that certain truths have been superseded; for example, the definitive and complete character of the revelation of Jesus Christ, the nature of Christian faith as compared with that of belief in other religions, the inspired nature of the books of Sacred Scripture, the personal unity between the Eternal Word and Jesus of Nazareth, the unity of the economy of the Incarnate Word and the Holy Spirit, the unicity and salvific universality of the mystery of Jesus Christ, the universal salvific mediation of the Church, the inseparability — while recognizing the distinction — of the kingdom of God, the kingdom of Christ, and the Church, and the subsistence of the one Church of Christ in the Catholic Church.


Therefore, in connection with the unicity and universality of the salvific mediation of Jesus Christ, the unicity of the Church founded by him must be firmly believed as a truth of Catholic faith. Just as there is one Christ, so there exists a single body of Christ, a single Bride of Christ: “a single Catholic and apostolic Church”. Furthermore, the promises of the Lord that he would not abandon his Church (cf. Mt 16:18; 28:20) and that he would guide her by his Spirit (cf. Jn 16:13) mean, according to Catholic faith, that the unicity and the unity of the Church — like everything that belongs to the Church's integrity — will never be lacking.

The Catholic faithful are required to profess that there is an historical continuity — rooted in the apostolic succession — between the Church founded by Christ and the Catholic Church: “This is the single Church of Christ... which our Saviour, after his resurrection, entrusted to Peter's pastoral care (cf. Jn 21:17), commissioning him and the other Apostles to extend and rule her (cf. Mt 28:18ff.), erected for all ages as ‘the pillar and mainstay of the truth' (1 Tim 3:15). This Church, constituted and organized as a society in the present world, subsists in [subsistit in] the Catholic Church, governed by the Successor of Peter and by the Bishops in communion with him”.

--Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Dominus Iesus

Catholic Cardinals News Next Week

OK, that was a bit of a tease. But the Tradition for Tomorrow blog has posted that thanks to a generous donor, the Oratory has a luxury suite with fifteen seats to offer on May 5 versus the Phillies. Funds benefit the restoration of the Oratory-- remember, the steeple restoration alone will run about $1.7 million, so please be generous.

From the site:

The Date: Tuesday, May 5th, 2009

The Time: 7:15 pm

The Game: St. Louis Cardinals vs Philadelphia Phillies

The Oratory has terrific tickets. Who’s coming?

The Cardinals are back for four home games next week, starting with the Phillies on Monday and Tuesday. A generous benefactor has provided the Oratory with 15 seats in a luxury suite at Busch Stadium for Tuesday night’s game against the Phillies, last year’s World Series Champion.

For a minimum donation of $100 per ticket (SLC note: I think this is actually the face value of the ticket), you and your companions will see the Cardinals resume their home game advantage from a luxurious vantage point. In addition to comfortable indoor and outdoor seating, the luxury suite includes a big screen TV to see the replays, as well as convenient restroom facilities (a bonus during the flu season).

Come support the Oratory and enjoy a great evening with friends and family in a venerable American tradition - at the ball game!

To reserve your tickets, please contact the Oratory as soon as possible. Call (314) 771-3100 and ask for Jon Roche or Dana Cole, or email sfds@institute-christ-king.org, and arrange payment by check made out to ”The Friends of St. Francis de Sales, Inc.”

27 April 2009

Orlando Gardens Makes Amends; Takes Pro-Life Action

From an email from 40 Days for Life:

Banquet Center Owner Takes Stand for Unborn

In a recent Jeff City Update we shared with you information about an awards banquet held last night by a group calling itself "Faith Aloud." The banquet was organized by pro-abortion activists to "honor" representatives from Planned Parenthood and current and former legislators for their support of the abortion industry. We were disappointed to learn that the event was being held for the second straight year at Orlando Gardens, a prominent south St. Louis County banquet center. We encouraged you to send e-mails to the management expressing disappointment that they would host a party for those celebrating the killing of unborn children.

As a result of those contacts, we are delighted to report that the owners have had a change of heart. General Manager Mike Orlando shared his decision in an e-mail to us: "The Orlando Family is PRO LIFE. Therefore, our family will refuse to receive any profit from this event and donate all of the event's proceeds to the Respect for Life Apostolate at the St. Louis Archdiocesan office. Furthermore, Orlando Gardens will not be hosting any future events for Planned Parenthood."

Praise God for this victory. Please take the time to e-mail Mr. Orlando and thank him for taking this courageous stand on behalf of justice for the unborn. He has demonstrated that he is a businessman of true integrity and conscience.

You can reach Mike Orlando at morlando@orlandogardens.com

Glendon Turns Down Laetare Medal at Notre Dame

The Donut Sunday blog has posted this story from First Things.

Spiritual Pandemic

OK, apart from this picture being the worst kind of pictorial pun ('swine flew'), I wanted to re-post a couple of past stories that might be relevant as a way of looking at issues for Catholics in a flu epidemic, swine, bird, blogger-induced, or whatever variety.

Holy Communion. The sacraments. The lifeblood of our struggle against the powers and principalities, as St. Paul reminds us.

One news story I saw was interviewing a woman whose confirmation at the National Cathedral of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Mexico City was cancelled because of the swine flu. Granted, we don't need confirmation for salvation, but come on, it sure does help. And though this is undoubtedly to be rescheduled, what if something happens before then? Like, maybe, this girl gets swine flu?

How quickly are we willing to ditch our religious rites in the face of temporal disasters? And why would we?

If Mass is unavailable, or if Holy Communion is not allowed, or only allowed using methods that carry the likelihood of profanation of the sacred Host, what is the effect on the Mystical Body. How can the branches survive if they are cut off from the Vine?

It would take a lot--a lot-- to keep me away from the Eucharist.
Then, of course, there is the issue of what to do when a vaccine is promoted by health officials which, unless the relevant people start acting out of established character, will almost certainly be derived from aborted fetal cell lines. Vaccines for flu outbreaks are notoriously slow to come on line. This could mean that an unproven and possibly ineffective vaccine could be used, or else a vaccine may be available only after the fact. And what if the vaccine is mandatory?
Questions only. It will be interesting to see how these things play out.

The two previous stories are here and here.

26 April 2009

Late Notice, Worthy Cause

TODAY!! Sunday April 26, 2009 40 Days for Life St. Louis is partnering with Defenders of the Unborn to stand in prayerful protest at the Abortion Banquet that will be held at Orlando Gardens on Watson Rd.

This banquet is hosted by Planned Parenthood and the Coalition for Reproductive Choice each year to "honor" those in our community who have worked hard to keep abortion "Alive."

This event is an added offense for Catholics because it is held again this year at a banquet center that is owned by a Catholic family.

When they were asked why they would allow this event to be held at this facility the response from Mr. Orlando was, "well times are bad and we need the business."  Orlando Gardens is taking money from an organization that kills children for a living.  The money from this banquet is paid with the blood of our children.  We will stand in peaceful, prayerful protest from 
5:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m.

Please contact Mary if you are able to attend @ 314-346-9052.



Abortion Banquet
TODAY!! Sunday April 26, 2009
5PM - 7PM
8352 Watson Rd
Webster Groves, MO 63119
(314) 842-3316



Let's stand together to let Planned Parenthood and those who celebrate abortion know that the Christian community does not approve.

I hope that you can make it!!

God Bless,

Brian Westbrook
40 Days For Life St. Louis

P.S. Thank you to all those who have filled out our survey.  There is still time to fill it out...Please take just a few seconds to voice your opinion and help to shape the Fall 40 Days For Life.  

25 April 2009

SSPX Rosary Crusade for the Consecration of Russia to Mary's Immaculate Heart

Say what you will about the SSPX, they are not afraid to put it out there.  

Following up on their two previous successful Rosary Crusades, Bishop Fellay has announced a new effort of 12 million Rosaries for the intention that the Holy Father, along with the world's bishops, finally consecrate Russia to the Immaculate Heart of Mary, as our Lady requested at Fatima.  

Mary promised that when this is accomplished her Immaculate Heart would triumph, Russia would be converted, and that a period of peace would be given to the world.

A bold play by the SSPX, and a necessary one.  Hopefully, at least it will cause Catholics to come to grips with the issue of why the consecration has not been done; also, for those who think it has already been done, it may be a reality check.

From the Fellay letter:
"It seems to us that the moment is come to launch a substantial offensive, deeply anchored in the message of Our Lady at Fatima, in which she herself promised the happy ending, for she announces that, in the end, her Immaculate Heart will triumph. It is this triumph that we ask her, by the means that she herself requests, the consecration of Russia to her Immaculate Heart by the Supreme Shepherd and all the bishops of the Catholic world, and the propagation of the devotion to her Dolorous and Immaculate Heart. It is for this that we wish to offer her, with this purpose, from now to March 25, 2010, a bouquet of 12 million Rosaries, as a crown of as many stars around her, accompanied by an equivalent sum of daily sacrifices that we may be able to fulfill most of all in the faithful accomplishment of the duties of our state of life, and with the promise to propagate the devotion to her Immaculate Heart."

24 April 2009

The Pope Speaks on the Inerrancy of Scripture

I don't often like to lift another blog's post whole and entire-- after all, my original blathering is why you pay me so handsomely-- but this is one that merits it. Rorate Caeli posted on the Pope's recent remarks to the Pontifical Biblical Commission on the subject that scripture is actually true.

The Holy Father's words are, as usual, quite good. What struck me equally, though, is the absolute mess the Church is in when the Pope has to come out and defend such a proposition. We've come a long way from Pascendi and the Syllabus of Errors, haven't we? And slope is downward.

Pope addresses PBC on the Divine Inspiration and Truth of Scripture

Vatican Information Service has reported that Pope Benedict XVI on Thursday morning delivered an address to 30 members of the Pontifical Biblical Commission upon the completion of teir plenary assembly, which was dedicated to the theme of "Inspiration and Truth in the Bible."The complete Italian-language text of the papal allocution may be read here. I do not yet have access to an English translation, so for now here is the summary of the Pope's address as reported by VIS, with emphasis added:

Benedict XVI began by underlining the importance of the chosen theme, which "concerns not only believers, but the Church herself, because the Church's life and mission necessarily rest upon the Word of God, which is the soul of theology and, at the same time, the inspiration of all of Christian life". Moreover, "the interpretation of Sacred Scripture is of vital importance for Christian faith and for the life of the Church."

"From a correct approach to the concept of divine inspiration and truth in Sacred Scripture derive certain norms that directly concern its interpretation", said the Pope. "The Constitution 'Dei Verbum', having affirmed that God is the author of the Bible, reminds us that in Sacred Scripture God speaks to mankind in a human manner. For a correct interpretation of Scripture we must, then, carefully examine what the hagiographers really sought to say and what God was pleased to reveal with their words."

The Pope then recalled how Vatican Council II had identified "three perennially-valid criteria for interpreting Sacred Scripture in accordance with the Spirit that inspired it. In the first place, great attention must be given to the content and unity of the whole of Scripture. Indeed, however different the books it contains may be, Sacred Scripture is one by virtue of the unity of God's plan, of which Jesus Christ is the centre and the heart.

"In the second place", he added, "Scripture must be read in the context of the living Tradition of the entire Church. . . . In her Tradition the Church carries the living memory of the Word of God, and it is the Holy Spirit Who provides her with the interpretation thereof in accordance with its spiritual meaning. The third criterion concerns the need to pay attention to the analogy of the faith; that is, to the cohesion of the individual truths of faith, both with one another and with the overall plan of Revelation and the fullness of the divine economy enclosed in that plan."

The task of scholars, the Holy Father went on, "is to contribute, following the above-mentioned principles, to a more profound interpretation and exposition of the meaning of Sacred Scripture. The academic study of the sacred texts is not by itself sufficient. In order to respect the coherence of the Church's faith, Catholic exegetes must be careful to perceive the Word of God in these texts, within the faith of the Church."

"The interpretation of Sacred Scriptures cannot be a merely an individual academic undertaking, but must always be compared with, inserted into, and authenticated by the living Tradition of the Church. This norm is essential in order to ensure a correct and reciprocal exchange between exegesis and Church Magisterium. Catholic exegetes do not nourish the individualistic illusion that biblical texts can be better understood outside the community of believers. The opposite is true, because these texts were not given to individual scholars 'to satisfy their curiosity or to provide them with material for study and research'. The texts inspired by God were entrusted to the community of believers, to the Church of Christ, to nourish the faith and to guide the life of charity."

"Sacred Scripture is the Word of God in that it is written down under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Tradition, on the other hand, integrally transmits the Word of God as entrusted by Christ the Lord and by the Holy Spirit to the Apostles and their successors so that they, illuminated by the Spirit of truth, could faithfully conserve, explain and spread it through their preaching."

"Only within the ecclesial context can Sacred Scripture be understood as the authentic Word of God which is guide, norm and rule for the life of the Church and the spiritual development of believers. This means rejecting all interpretations that are subjective or limited to mere analysis [and hence] incapable of accepting the global meaning which, over the course of the centuries, has guided the Tradition of the entire people of God."

In truth, the VIS quotes from the Holy Father do not say anything that Benedict XVI has not said on this subject before. It is noteworthy that in portions of his allocution not quoted by VIS, he refers to Leo XIII's Providentissimus Deus and Pius XII's Divino afflante Spiritu, which, though they are neglected or ignored by modern Catholic exegetes (as the Pope seems to hint at), provide the key for a proper understanding of Dei Verbum 11...

23 April 2009

Hitler Obviously Never Read "Hitler's Pope"

Interesting story in the UK Telegraph about Vatican contingency plans had Hitler carried out his plans for kidnapping Pope Pius XII.
Why would Hitler want to kidnap "Hitler's Pope", you ask? From the article:

General Karl Otto Wolff, an SS general, was told to "occupy as soon as possible the Vatican, secure the archives and art treasures and transfer the Pope, together with the Curia so that they cannot fall into the hands of the Allies and exert a political influence."

Hitler ordered the kidnapping, according to historians, because he feared that Pius would further criticise the Nazis' treatment of the Jews.

Pius XII, in addition to being extremely holy, was also pretty smart. He had apparently executed a resignation letter to be effective if and when captured by the Nazis.

"Pius said 'if they want to arrest me they will have to drag me from the Vatican'," said Peter Gumpel, the German Jesuit priest who is in charge of researching whether Pius should be made a saint, and therefore has access to secret Vatican archives.

Pius, who was Pope throughout the war, told his advisers "the person who would leave the under these conditions would not be Pius XII but Eugenio Pacelli" – his name before he was elected Pontiff – thus giving permission for a new Pope to be elected.

"It would have been disastrous if the Church had been left without an authoritative leader," said Father Gumpel.

A final note in this story, which should interest Fatima devotees, is that the Vatican's plan was to relocate to Portugal.

Another Reason to Thank God You're Not Me

In another writing venue, I have sometimes been fond of composing topical haikus. Yes, you thought I was already at the point of maximum irrelevant absurdity, but how wrong you were.

I was thinking that the Catholic world doesn't have enough haiku-ing going on. So, I am here to remedy that sad situation.

Homeschoolers will recall that a haiku is a Japanese poem with three lines, following a pattern of 5-7-5 syllables. Enjoy these, from the deep recesses of my mind.

Until you can name
Nine fruits of the Holy Ghost
Keep reading St. Paul.

No kneeling allowed,
Our pastoral team insists--
We no longer believe.

Never tell Bozek
Catholics don't want Moonies
And you'll get along.

Nattily attired,
Oscar hits Saturday Mass
New flip-flops flapping.

Latin had to go--
Audience now understands
When we should applaud.

Yearning for the past,
Each of the dissenting nuns
Re-reads Karl Rahner.

Xavier's college
Took out the altar, for what?
Old coffee table.

Posted on this blog,
Only troglodyte stories--
Stick with NCR.

Tell no one I'm here
At the Traditional Mass--
Government's watching.

All I need, says Jane,
Is to dig that Orans thing
Now Our Father's here.

Loss of Faith is an Ugly Thing

This story first appeared at LifesiteNews.com on Tuesday, and other blogs have picked it up. However, this matter absolutely demands public scrutiny, and that it be answered by the faithful.

Who can deny the Church is in a mess when her own shepherds deny the faith?

The head of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference (Abp. Robert Zollitsch, above) has publicly stated that Christ did not die for the sins of the people. I ask you-- if this is true, is there any reason, then, to be Catholic? Germans over the last forty years have answered with their feet. I wish I could remember where I heard the following observation, but it should be read to this Archbishop: Christ did not die to give us coping mechanisms.

Archbishop Burke is controversial? Father Wagner was too controversial for Linz, Austria? Yet this guy is A-OK? Enough already.

"Christ did not die for the sins of the people": Head of German Catholic Bishops' Conference on TV

By Hilary White

FREIBURG, Germany April 21, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - According to the chairman of the Catholic bishops' conference of Germany, the death of Jesus Christ was not a redemptive act of God to liberate human beings from the bondage of sin and open the gates of heaven. The Archbishop of Freiburg, Robert Zollitsch, known for his liberal views, publicly denied the fundamental Christian dogma of the sacrificial nature of Christ's death in a recent interview with a German television station.

Zollitsch said that Christ "did not die for the sins of the people as if God had provided a sacrificial offering, like a scapegoat."

Instead, Jesus had offered only "solidarity" with the poor and suffering. Zollitsch said "that is this great perspective, this tremendous solidarity."

The interviewer asked, "You would now no longer describe it in such a way that God gave his own son, because we humans were so sinful? You would no longer describe it like this?"

Monsignor Zollitsch responded, "No."

Archbishop Robert Zollitsch was appointed to the See of Freiburg im Breisgau in 2003 under Pope John Paul II. He is he sitting Chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, to which he was elected in 2008 and is regarded as a "liberal" in the German episcopate.

In February 2008 he said that priestly celibacy should be voluntary and that it is not "theologically necessary." Zollitsch has also said he accepts homosexual civil unions by states, but is against same-sex "marriage."

He told Meinhard Schmidt-Degenhard, the program's host, that God gave "his own son in solidarity with us unto this last death agony to show: 'So much are you worth to me, I go with you, and I am totally with you in every situation'."

"He has become involved with me out of solidarity - from free will."

Christ, he said, had "taken up what I have been blamed for, including the evil that I have caused, and also to take it back into the world of God and hence to show me the way out of sin, guilt and from death to life."

However, Article 613 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, the definitive work issued by the Church explaining the dogmas and doctrines of the Catholic religion, describes the death of Christ as "both the Paschal sacrifice that accomplishes the definitive redemption of men, through 'the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world', the sacrifice of the New Covenant, which restores man to communion with God by reconciling him to God through the 'blood of the covenant, which was poured out for many for the forgiveness of sins'."

The Catechism continues, "This sacrifice of Christ is unique; it completes and surpasses all other sacrifices. First, it is a gift from God the Father himself, for the Father handed his Son over to sinners in order to reconcile us with himself. At the same time it is the offering of the Son of God made man, who in freedom and love offered his life to his Father through the Holy Spirit in reparation for our disobedience."

To express concerns:

Congregation for Bishops
Giovanni Battista Re, Cardinal, Prefect
Palazzo della Congregazioni, 00193 Roma, Piazza Pio XII, 10

Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith
William Joseph Levada, Cardinal, Prefect
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11, 00193 Roma, Italy

From the Newsroom: "New Catholic Archbishop? Dust Off That Template!"

OK, use your imagination a little while David Clohessy of SNAP waits desperately for that telephone call from the local press. (What? the third day since the new Archbishop was appointed and I haven't been on camera yet!?)

Scene: the local newspaper, city desk

Players: progressive editor; religion editor; political correctness editor; (not pictured-- reporter who owes religion editor money)

Time: well, any time really, but in this case, last night


Religion editor: Boss, can we finally run that hit piece on Carlson?

Progressive editor: Who?

Religion editor: Carlson. The new Catholic Archbishop. (gets blank stare) You ran a story on him today.

Progressive editor: Oh, some Catholic. Sure, fire away. Wait, what do you think, Ms?

Political correctness editor: (in metallic monotone) Yes, run the story. Be sure to emphasize the oppression of the Catholic Church. Women and poor are always hardest hit.

Progressive editor: Whatever. Get on with it. What's your angle?

Religion editor: No problem. I've written this same story for years. Or maybe I'll just dress up the NCR piece on that reactionary Finn. (Turns to leave, then halts) Oh No!

Progressive editor: What is it?

Religion editor: I already promised those leftist nuns that I would cover their bowling tournament/healing touch workshop. Darn.

Progressive editor: So, get someone else to do it-- the story writes itself.

Religion editor: You're right, I'll get Bryce to do it. He owes me money.


Saint Louis Catholic, no stranger to the world of investigative reporting, has surreptitiously obtained a copy of the template used in such stories. I will apply it to this completely unrelated story appearing in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch today, just for instructional purposes. I can't show you the actual document, as it will compromise my sources.


New St. Louis archbishop shepherded conservative change in his former diocese

BY Phillip O'Connor

Bishop Robert James Carlson arrived in Saginaw, Mich., in 2005 with a reputation as a rising star sent to reel in a renegade diocese [Begin by drawing the analogy: liberals= rebel alliance, led by Luke, Han, and Leia; Catholic Church= evil empire, led by Darth Vader.]

Carlson — named archbishop of St. Louis [Remind readers that Church doesn't allow its members to choose their leaders.] on Tuesday — was a big adjustment for the Saginaw Diocese, which over four decades had become what some considered among the most liberal in the country, priests and parishioners there say. [Relate the destruction of the veritable new Eden he wreaked in his last gig.]

Carlson replaced a bishop whose views often put him at odds with the Vatican. [He replaced Luke Skywalker, in other words.] Untener led the Saginaw Diocese for 24 years and often spoke about the church's need to re-examine its stance on fundamental issues such as abortion, birth control and the ordination of women. [Emphasize the liberal's "prophetic voice"--hee!-- and run this little quote on the front page along with another story about how teenagers can now legally buy the abortion pill; our readers' irony meters aren't functional.]

"It was considered a progressive, forward-looking diocese, in some ways, a model," said the Rev. James E. Falsey, a parish priest who served under Untener. "Of course, if you were conservative, it was considered a suspicious district." [Insert quote from heroic hippie priest who can properly lament the passing of the perfect Vatican II playground and insinuate that Catholics, er, "conservatives", are paranoid.]

Some parishioners felt the diocese and its leader at times strayed too far. [Power to the people!]

Within church circles, Carlson — who first led a diocese as bishop of Sioux Falls, S.D. — was known as a conservative who embraced moves by Pope John Paul II [Huh? Oh, yeah, the template does say John Paul II was "traditional"-- but what does that make the new guy?] and Pope Benedict XVI to return the church to its traditional doctrine.

When Carlson accepted what looked to some like a lateral appointment to Saginaw, the message seemed clear: Change was in store for the diocese of about 130,000 people bordering Lake Huron. [Cue Gestapo music: change we can't believe in.]

"He was sent here with a particular charge from higher-ups and that was to shake this diocese up ... to make sure the practices of the diocese were in conformity with the expectations of Rome," said the Rev. Tom Sutton, who was administrator of the diocese before Carlson arrived. [Get quote from an ousted adversary who can imply the Catholic can't think for himself.]

By that time, many of the 100 or so churches in the diocese had loosened some traditional practices, such as kneeling, and allowed lay ministers, including women, to play a prominent role in church functions. [Emphasize the fact that the Church wants to keep women and ordinary people down, and women, too. Did I mention women?]

Seventeen parishes were administered by lay people, many of them nuns drawn from other parts of the country where bishops wouldn't allow them to preach. [Praise the Red Brigade volunteers at least twice in this story.]

Carlson followed Vatican orders and called for ending those practices, a move that angered some and pleased others. [Nuremberg!]

"He works for the pope not the people," said Virginia Phelps, 87, a retired lay minister at a diocesan parish. [Get quote from the youngest liberal left to emphasize our youthful zeal--huh, 87 is the youngest? oh well...] "I don't think he was a shepherd of our flock. I don't think he listened to what people had to say." [Power to the people!]

The Rev. John Sarge, another parish priest, said Carlson emphasized that a church is bigger than a parish or diocese. Still, Sarge said it was difficult to see changes dismantled that he'd supported during 35 years in the diocese.

"Putting the brakes on is psychologically hard for a lot of us," he said. [Feel their pain, you cruel Catholics!]

Many priests say Carlson simply conformed with the wishes of church leaders."What's going on there is a bishop implemented what the church has asked us to do ... nothing more, nothing less," said the Rev. Denis Heames, 36, a former seminarian who followed Carlson to Saginaw from Sioux Falls [I suppose you must quote at least one toady of the new guy. Do so here.]

Some parishioners, including Leonard and Gerry LeFevre, both 76, thought the changes Carlson helped enact were long overdue. [Remember to get a quote from the oldest conservative you can find, to emphasize their dead, reactionary ideas.]

Both said they had grown unhappy with the direction of the diocese and uncomfortable with a bishop that talked about priests being allowed to marry and the ordination of women. [Prudes.]

"I don't believe in that," Gerry LeFevre said.

While some described Carlson as warm and caring, others said he had a hard time connecting with people, including priests. Some say he had a tough act to follow. [Stalin had a tough act to follow.]

Untener often shed his clerical collar and mixed easily with priests and parishioners, playing hockey, drinking beer and playing piano at gatherings. He died from cancer in 2004. [Don't draw the obvious conclusion that shedding one's clerical collar causes cancer.]

Carlson, on the other hand, often came across as reserved in dress and manner, some said. [Boo!]

The Rev. Jim Heller, 67, who was Carlson's vicar general, said he was disappointed to see the church reverse changes made over the past 40 years that he said created excitement and encouraged experimentation in the Saginaw Diocese.

"I feel like Moses. I've seen the promised land, but I probably won't get to enter it," Heller said. [Viva la revolucion!]

In St. Louis, Carlson follows an archbishop cut from similar cloth, Raymond Burke, who left to head the Vatican's supreme court. Carlson, who like Burke, is a canon lawyer, will be installed as leader of the Archdiocese of St. Louis within two months. [See if you can't get a quote from that Bozek guy-- "We need a Bishop who is a shepherd, not a lawyer." What? He's out? Oh, well...]

"He's being promoted upward for being a good, faithful servant," Sutton said. [End with some quote that emphasizes that the new guy is just some flunky.]

22 April 2009

And on the seventh day--UPDATED

In the Wider Church...Progress

Pulling the lens back from St. Louis to the universal Church, some very exciting news.
The Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship, Cardinal Canizares-Llovera, celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite yesterday morning at the Lateran Basilica in Rome. This occasion is doubly important, as the Lateran is the Pope's Cathedral, and the mother Church of all Christendom, and the CDW is the dicastery in charge of the proper implementation of the Church's liturgy.

Full story with pictures at NLM.

21 April 2009

Solemn Te Deum in Gratitude for Our New Archbishop This Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Oratory

Saint Francis de Sales Oratory
2653 Ohio Avenue
Saint Louis, Missouri 63118

21 April 2009

The Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, with the St. Francis de Sales Oratory in St. Louis, welcomes wholeheartedly the Archbishop-elect, the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson. After several months of generous prayers for a new bishop we joyfully assure His Excellency of our continued faithful support and prayers. The clergy and staff at the Oratory together with all the faithful share in the gratefulness of the whole Archdiocese for the appointment by His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI.

Therefore on Sunday, April 26, a Solemn “Te Deum” will be sung after the 10 am Mass at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. (The Te Deum is a hymn of thanksgiving, expressing the sentiment of deep gratefulness toward God Almighty for His benefits.)

Join us in praying for the new Shepherd of our Archdiocese!

Deo Gratias!

Canon Michael K. Wiener
Episcopal Pro-Delegate for the Implementation of the
Motu Proprio
Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of St. Louis

Ordinary schedule of Masses at the Oratory:

Daily: 8:00am Low Mass

Sunday: 8:00am Low Mass, 10:00 Solemn High Mass

Tuesday: 6:30pm Low Mass, followed by Perpetual Help devotions

Wednesday: 8am; 12:00 NOON, Low Mass

Thursday: 7:00pm Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament with Benediction

First Friday: 7:00pm Solemn High Mass

Holy Days: 8:00am, and 12:10pm, 7:00pm Solemn High Mass

Confessions/ Holy Rosary 30 min. before all Masses

Game On-- the Race to Frame the Carlson Agenda

Now that we have a new Archbishop, keep an eye out for the many who will try to shape how he is perceived, in order to try to shape how he acts.

This type of tactic is fairly typical of the secular world, but is all too common within the Church as well. His Grace held a very successful and conversational press conference today-- so there will be tendency to say he is more personable than Archbishop Burke. His Grace said he would lead in the important issues facing the Church today, but that he prefers to handle these issues person-to-person whenever possible-- so there will be a tendency to say he is more "pastorally sensitive". He does not have the same track record on liturgical issues as Archbishop Burke does-- so there will be a tendency to say he is "more in line with Vatican 2".

But what does all this really mean? Not much, really. And the notion that framing his positions on any issue will influence how he acts as Archbishop simply does not follow. But there are those who claim the title Catholic without much regard for believing Catholic doctrine, or following Catholic discipline. These people have an agenda not in line with the Church's agenda.

The agenda of the Church is to save souls. Other agendas out there not in harmony with this agenda include promoting the impossibility that women can be ordained priests; claiming that sodomy is a morally licit act; and many other similar agendas. Many of these agendas were thwarted under Archbishop Burke, and their proponents are anxious to reframe reality under new leadership. And the first thing they will cling to is this: Archbishop Carlson is not Archbishop Burke.

Of course, the easy thing to observe in reply is this: Quis ut Burke?

First and foremost, Archbishop Carlson is the man the Holy Father has sent us. The Church has chosen him for this task, and therefore we owe him our loyalty and submission as Catholics of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis. He deserves our prayers.

Secondly, he is well aware of Catholic truth, and has upheld it consistently as Bishop. His track record on doctrinal matters is solid. It is extremely unlikely that he will suddenly reverse course here.

Finally, the situation in Saint Louis is dramatically different than the one he inherited in Saginaw. That Diocese was in bad shape: vocations nonexistent, doctrine diluted, and authority weakened. Saint Louis, which has challenges like any modern Catholic Diocese, is in far better shape. That is partly because of the Catholic history and demographics here, but also in large part because of the leadership of recent Archbishops.

Thus, His Grace can build upon a worthy structure, and not have to tear down first, before rebuilding from scratch.

Archbishop Carlson is a canon lawyer, like his predecessor. He can handle the canon law challenges of the day. Archbishop Carlson is praised for his strong vocational efforts to the priesthood and religious life. He is an outspoken defender of Catholic teachings in the public square. He has received strong statements of support from orthodox Catholics.

Those who said upon Archbishop Burke's departure, like Mr. Bozek, "Rejoice, St. Louis," should keep these things in mind.

One Priest's Reflections on Archbishop Carlson

I know a very solid priest of a Diocese formerly served by our new Archbishop. He was kind enough to send along this reflection, which may be of interest to readers who are trying to get a read on His Grace and the type of Archbishop he may be. This is printed with his permission, though of course his name is not attached.

"His Excellency, Robert Carlson, will be a good archbishop. He will be decisive, engaging, and prayerful... He will be as generous as the Church with regard to the TLM. You note that there isn't one in Saginaw- that would have taken a miracle. He did lay the roots for the reconciliation of a SSPX parish in [this previous Diocese], ...using one of our priests to celebrate the Usus Antiquior.

There are a ton of stories I could tell you about Bishop Carlson. I give you a couple to paint the picture of who he is. For one, he openly admits that as an Irishman (Norwegian name though) he never lets the truth get in the way of a good story. His Excellency is extremely quick witted and is rarely gotten the better of in public exchange. While in seminary he had visited and taken us out for dinner. He rode in my car and on the way back another seminarian drove as a precaution since I had enjoyed a glass of wine. As I got into the back seat, I simply observed that this was my first time in the back seat of my own car to which a grinning Bishop Carlson immediately responded- "I'm very glad to hear that!"

There is a depth beyond the humor. The most recent and vivid impression comes from his time in Saginaw. A dear friend of mine followed him there as a seminarian and so I have a pretty good take on how rotten it was. Bishop Utenner, God have mercy on him, had destroyed that diocese in many ways. He didn't accept vocations unless they passed his "litmus" of women's ordination, and even a total deconstruction of the Eucharist and the priesthood. So when the articles speak about "no" vocations out of Saginaw- they were there, they just weren't being fostered and cultivated. Which is true anywhere. When Bishop Carlson first visited the Cathedral, he found the Tabernacle in a tiny room that no one paid any reverence. Many priests of the diocese told him that their concelebration [with him] was a favor for the "prophet Ken" [Bishop Utenner] and they wouldn't do it again- not for Fr. Z's reasons but because "too many men around the altar is uninviting to women."

Bishop Carlson is also heavily involved in priestly formation and I guess he relishes the opportunity to have a seminary under his responsibility. He is instrumental in the foundation of an Omaha based group- the Institute for Priestly Formation. I have been formed by this group to my credit and the spiritual foundations of my priesthood. They have some warts- again their liturgy is not refined- but it is a good work to ensure that priestly life is founded upon an intimate encounter with Jesus Christ.

I do believe that he will be fully supportive of St. Francis de Sales and other TLM efforts in the Archdiocese. Most importantly because he is open and docile to being formed by the Church and His Holiness, Pope Benedict. I do not know if he will be able to celebrate the Extraordinary Form and cannot speculate if he will learn it if he does not know it.

I want to leave you with this instance that impressed me. I was in Saginaw in June 2007 for their Eucharistic Congress (my friend was ordained a deacon then). This is my most poignant memory. As a young priest I'm watching this Bishop go from station to station in the Eucharistic Procession. I know he has knee problems-- and here he is kneeling on the asphalt and concrete street in front of our Lord. This procession took over an hour in the hot June sun and several stational altars (I don't recall how many). As I began to grumble in my own heart, I looked him at one station and saw the intensity of his prayer. Though His Excellency has a taste for the moment, this was prayer, this was piety, not publicity. He was offering up his suffering in reparation for sins against the Eucharist and in petition for greater Eucharistic devotion throughout his diocese. I consider myself privileged to have been there as he sweated, suffered, and prayed for His Lord and the Church.

I hope this is insightful to you.

St. Louis, king of France. St. Robert Bellarmine, pray for us!"
Thank you, Father, for this very nice insight and analysis.

The Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson Named New Archbishop of Saint Louis

The Holy See announced today that the Most Reverend Robert J. Carlson, Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI, has been chosen to succeed Archbishop Raymond L. Burke as Archbishop of Saint Louis.

His Excellency until recently had not been mentioned on the usual lists of rumored candidates for the vacant See. Archbishop Carlson's name began to be discussed in earnest after the appointment of Bishop Stika to the See at Knoxville, TN.

Archbishop Carlson, who will turn 65 in June, has been Bishop of the Diocese of Saginaw, MI since 2005. Before that he served as Bishop of Sioux Falls, SD for about ten years, and prior to that was Auxiliary Bishop of Minneapolis-St. Paul.

His Excellency's episcopal motto is "Ante crucem nihil defensionis," or "Before the cross there is no defense."

Archbishop Carlson is a canon lawyer (earning his canon law licentiate from Catholic University of America in 1979) and has been outspoken in his defense of human life. He has made public statements concerning the matter of the need of Catholics to properly form their consciences before voting and concerning the matter of pro-abortion Catholic politicians receiving Holy Communion. Most notably, as Bishop of Sioux Falls he told Senator Tom Daschle that his views supporting abortion were contrary to the Catholic faith and that he could no longer identify himself as a Catholic. Daschle, for his part, opined that His Excellency was "more identified with the radical right than with thoughtful religious leadership."

His Excellency has also received acclaim for encouraging a revival in priestly vocations in Saginaw, taking a moribund vocations program (no seminarians in 2005) and producing staggering results (16 current seminarians with a probable total of 20 in the fall).

The new Archbishop gave an interview to the Catholic Report in 2006 that gives more insight to his thought and leadership style. This Lent, he wrote an instruction to Catholics in Saginaw encouraging greater recourse to the Sacrament of Penance.

As for the Traditional Mass in the aftermath of the motu proprio Summorum Pontificum, there does not appear to be any location in the Diocese of Saginaw that offers the regular public celebration of the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite, at least according to the public listings of traditional Masses available on the net.

Limited information about the Bishop is located at the Saginaw Diocese's website.

I will have initial commentary and analysis later today.

Let us thank God for giving us a new shepherd, and pray for our new Archbishop!

V. Oremus pro antistite nostro Roberto.

R. Stet et pascat, in fortitudine tua, Domine, in sublimitate nominis tui.

V. Salvum fac servum tuum.

R. Deus meus sperantem in te.


Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Robertum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae Sancti Ludovici praeese voluisti propitius respice: da ei, quaesumus, verbo et exemplo, quibus praeest, proficere; ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sempiternam. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

R. Amen


Update: The Archdiocesan website now has its page up, and has sent its promised text message.

Press conference will be held today at 10:30 am. More later.

Diocese of Saginaw press release here.