28 February 2009

Pro-Life from Coast to Coast

Greetings to all.  As I stagger under the wholesome effects of the flu, I found a nice post at the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest.  Canon Jean-Marie Moreau and the faithful at our Canon Wiener's old apostolate participated in the West Coast Walk for Life, while Canon Andreas Hellmann headed up his Oratory's faithful in the National March for Life.

Some nice pictures, including Canon Moreau and Fr. Frank Pavone of Priests for Life.

27 February 2009

A Modest Proposal to the St. Louis Review

There is a laudable recurring feature in the St. Louis Review that publishes the readings for each Sunday's Mass with a short reflection designed to aid the faithful in understanding and profiting by these Scriptural passages.

However, this feature only lists the readings for the Ordinary Form of the Roman Rite. The Extraordinary Form makes use of the Church's traditional calendar and readings.

There are at least six locations that offer the Extraordinary Form each Sunday, perhaps more. Every priest can offer this Mass privately without any special permission from the Archbishop, and every pastor may do so publicly.

Pope Benedict XVI has stated that both forms of the Roman Rite are of equal dignity. Is there any good reason why the Review would not wish to provide this feature for all Roman Rite-attending Catholic subscribers?

If You Preach It, They Will Come

photo above by Christopher Capozziello from the Times story
The New York Times writes about the steps one priest took to encourage frequent confession in his parish, and the remarkable success his efforts have produced. Excerpts from the full story:

In One Church, Confession Makes a Comeback

By SAMUEL G. FREEDMAN

STAMFORD, Conn. — The day after Msgr. Stephen DiGiovanni was installed in June 1998 as the pastor of St. John the Evangelist Roman Catholic Church here, he walked through the quiet sanctuary, appreciating the English Gothic grandeur and tallying all the repairs it required.

One particular sight seized him. The confessional at the rear of the pews had been nailed shut. The confessional in the front, nearer the altar, was filled with air-conditioning equipment. And these conditions, Monsignor DiGiovanni realized, reflected theology as much as finance.

In the wake of the Second Vatican Council in the mid-1960s, the Catholic Church began offering confession in “reconciliation rooms,” rather than the traditional booths. Even before the setting changed, habits had. The norm for American Catholics was to make confession once a year, generally in the penitential period of Lent leading up to Easter.

Monsignor DiGiovanni, though, soon noticed that there were lines for the St. John’s reconciliation room the only time it was open each week, for two hours on Saturday afternoon. So within his first month as pastor, he pried open the door to the rear confessional, wiped off the dust of decades and arranged for replacing the lights, drapes and tiles.

Then, in the fall of 1998, Monsignor DiGiovanni rolled back the clock of Catholic practice, having St. John’s priests hear confession in the booths before virtually every Mass. By now, as another Lent commences next week with Ash Wednesday, upwards of 450 people engage in the Sacrament of Reconciliation, as confession is formally known, during 15 time slots spread over all seven days of the week. Confessions are heard in English, Spanish, French, Italian and Portuguese.

“As humans, we’re always deciding that we are God and breaking his commandments,” said Monsignor DiGiovanni, 58, during an interview this week in his rectory. “But God is savvy enough to know that. And God wants us to come back to Him if there’s a contrite heart. Salvation is not just a one-time deal.”


His message has stirred scores of consciences at St. John’s. And while the frequency of confession, and the return to booths from the reconciliation room, puts the pastor and the parish on the conservative end of the Catholic spectrum, St. John’s is a standard diocesan church with a varied congregation — corporate executives, Haitian and Hispanic immigrants, Stamford’s longtime Irish and Italian middle class.

Rosa Marchetti, an events planner for a family-owned chain of restaurants, had grown up dreading the rite of confession. The reconciliation room, while intended to allow priest and penitent to meet in a reassuring face-to-face manner something like analyst and analysand, filled her with anxiety and shame. Six years ago, Ms. Marchetti began attending St. John’s, and these days she makes a confession at least twice a month. Speaking to an unseen priest through a screen seems to her a comfort.

“I’d always feared that the priests would know it was me, and I never wanted to think I’d done something wrong,” she recalled of her earlier experiences. “But at St. John’s, it was explained to me that I go to the doctor for my physical well being and I have to go to confession for my spiritual well being.”

[...]

“You turn on Oprah and you have women crying to her, confessing what they’ve gone through,” Ms. Marchetti said. “Everyone is so quick to tell the world their problems, but they won’t tell a priest.”

[...]

It remains to be seen, of course, whether the multimedia effort can change behavior on a grand scale. Monsignor DiGiovanni has changed it within his parish through a theological version of retail politics: reaching individuals and families through a decade of homilies, conversations and columns in the church bulletin.

The movement to revive confession, using the traditional booth, no less, has plenty of skeptics within American Catholicism.

“Confession as we once knew it is pretty much a dead letter in Catholicism today,” the Rev. Richard P. McBrien, a professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame, wrote in an e-mail message.

Father McBrien, whose support of female ordination and married priest puts him on the theological left wing of the Catholic Church, added in a subsequent e-mail message that “the practice at the Stamford parish is an anomaly, not a sign of anything else” and at best “part of a small minority” of churches.

Majority or minority, the congregants at St. John’s firmly believe they are onto something. John F. X. Leydon, Jr., a lawyer in Stamford, has increased his pace of confession from once a year to once a month. The eldest of his four children, Mary, will be making her first confession this spring.

“The explanation we’ve given as parents is that none of us is perfect,” said Mr. Leydon, speaking also for his wife, Stacey. “However, we have to aspire to be perfect. And that should be a lifelong pursuit.”

26 February 2009

There Goez da Airoplane!

Bowing to the mob, I heretofore cannot advocate going to LOL Saints.

:-(

Assume your own risk.
DECLARATION

The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.

Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London, 26 February 2009

Rosemary's Baby-- or, Just What is the "Church St. Stan's Wants"?

The heterodox hijackers of the original St. Stanislaus schism continue to marshal their forces. In March, many Catholic parishes are scheduling retreats to assist the faithful in preparing their souls for the joys of Easter through fasting, prayer and almsgiving. The St. Stan's gang, on the other hand, will be hosting a radical eco-feminist to give a lecture on male-dominated hierarchical structures, dialogue, empowerment of the proletariat, or some such subject.

The event for March 23: "What is the Church We Want", a presentation by Rosemary Radford Ruether.

Who is Rosemary Radford Ruether? Let's start with her entry in Wikipedia:

She currently is Visiting Professor of Feminist Theology at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University.

...Ruether is the author of many books on feminism, the Bible and Christianity, including Sexism and God-Talk, In Our Own Voices: Four Centuries of American Women’s Religious Writing (ed. with Rosemary Skinner Keller), and The Wrath of Jonah: The Crisis of Religious Nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

She has for thirty years been considered a pioneer in the area of feminist theology in North America, with a particular focus in modern feminist theology and liberation theology, especially in Palestine and Latin America. She has also been an outspoken critic of war since the Vietnam era and continues this work today.

The Catholic University of San Diego Department of Theology and Religious Studies published its choice to elect Professor Rosemary Radford Ruether, to the Monsignor John R. Portman Chair in Roman Catholic Theology for the 2009-2010 academic year, circa April 2008. ...This decision was subsequently rescinded in July 2008 when some members of the campus community protested that her academic work was incompatible with the Catholic faith.

Ruether describes herself as an "eco-feminist" and refers to God as the feminine "Gaia" (however, she noted in July 2008 that a critic "accused me of teaching that ‘God is Gaia,’ a view which I do not take"). Ruether is an advocate of women's ordination. She has questioned the legitimacy of Pope Benedict XVI's accession to the Holy See. Since 1985 Ruether has served as a board member for the pro-abortion rights group "Catholics for Choice" (CFC).

In 2005 Ruether explained to an audience at Loyola Marymount University in Los Angeles her view that "Christianity is riddled by hierarchy and patriarchy" that created a social order in which chaste women on their wedding night "were, in effect, raped by young husbands whose previous sexual experience came from exploitative relationships with servant women and prostitutes."

She is a signatory to the 9/11 Truth Statement.
______________________

OK, that's wikipedia. What about her own words? Here some excerpts from her article, Asking the Existential Questions. And, lest I be accused of taking her words out of context, please, if you can, read the whole article at the link.

...But I am always aware that I reappropriate Christianity from a markedly different basis than do traditional Christians. I reject absolutist views of biblical religion, while at the same time finding biblical religion in its Christian form the most viable language for me to express the dialectics of human existence in relation to God. I believe that. God has truly spoken through Christianity. But God is not a "Christian" and does not prefer Christians (or Jews) to the rest of humanity...

...The renewal of Catholicism [she refers to Vatican II] meant that a whole host of teachings became open questions for at least a significant sector of Catholic Christians. These ranged from current pastoral conflicts over birth control to the basic questions of how we could speak of Jesus as the Christ. My thinking could be translated into a series of writings that were part of a community engaged in revising its identity...

...I would define Catholic Christianity as this whole ecumenical plurality. All particular churches exist within it as broken and partial sects. Even that communion which calls itself Catholic is also a partial and distorted reality...

...The prophetic ministry can be carried out authentically only within one’s own community. It is only when we struggle with and for what we love that we speak responsibly. The more distant one’s ties, the less one has a common base for critical conflict...

...I have gradually developed a methodology of analysis which I share with a community of thinkers who would identify themselves as both Christians and socialists. This means that, even when speaking of a particular issue, such as sexism, I am concerned to situate this issue in its interconnections with class, race and economic structures...
_______________________

This is the latest faith partner of the Bozek. This is the Marxist-style leadership voice of the crowd that truly runs St. Stan's formerly Catholic church these days.

Can you imagine your average Polish family at St. Stan's in 2004, upset by their perception of financial and control issues vis-a-vis the Archdiocese, hopping up on a table during post-Mass coffee and donuts and shouting, "I reappropriate Christianity from a markedly different basis than do traditional Christians! I reject absolutist views of biblical religion, while at the same time finding biblical religion in its Christian form the most viable language for me to express the dialectics of human existence in relation to God! Let's bolt from these authoritarian hierarchical male-dominated structures!"

I think not.

Winding up this little reflection, I sadly must stress again that this is what happens when you cut yourself off from the vine. It started out as a dispute about parish administration, and there were good-faith disagreements with the Archdiocese. Now we have an excommunicated Board, an excommunicated, heterodox, schismatic and soon-to-be-defrocked usurper pastor, a group of power grabbers who hate the natural law, and an emerging link to a Moonie-sponsored sect.

Will the real parishioners of that place ever do what it takes to end this madness?

25 February 2009

Crucifixion of Bishop Williamson to Begin in Earnest?

Ruth Gledhill of the Times Online has a story that details some private correspondence of Bishop Williamson; how she obtained these letters I do not know.  

There was apparently some speculation that the Bishop might be met at Heathrow on his return from Argentina with an arrest warrant.  However, I have not read anything this morning that confirms this rumor.  In any event, Germany is considering prosecuting this man for the "crime" of Holocaust denial.  

This is an outrage.  Free speech is dead in the West.  And any reader who just shakes his head and figures Williamson has it coming for being a crackpot or racist or any other reason, real or imagined, should look in the mirror and ask himself what he may expect when his view on some other issue of the day is considered a crime and they come for him.  

Oppose "gay marriage"?  Oppose cloning and killing babies in the name of the god "Science"? 

Tick, tock...  Calvary beckons.

The day has arrived when questions like those in the following comment, taken from the Gledhill post, must be asked:

"The thing that I find so mindboggling, especially coming from many people who were born and raised in the Western Tradition, like Ms.Gledhill and many of the posters on this forum, is their selective abandonment of this tradition where the holocaust is concerned. I find it incredible, truly scary, that people get imprisoned and persecuted for not agreeing on some subject. I always thought that was a persons right, in the Western World, anyway."

Ash Wednesday

Emendemus in melius, quae ignoranter peccavimus: ne subito praeoccupati die mortis, quaeramus spatium poenitentiae, et invenire non possimus.

Attende, Domine, et miserere: quia peccavimus tibi.

V.  Adjuva nos, Deus salutaris noster: et propter honorem nominis tui, Domine, libera nos.

24 February 2009

Archbishop Ranjith on the Flaws of the Liturgical Reform

His Grace Archbishop Ranjith has written some important observations concerning the so-called liturgical "reform" following (in time, not in response to) the Second Vatican Council. New Liturgical Movement has written an excellent post on this, which I reproduce below in its entirety:

Clear Words of Msgr Ranjith on the Flaws of the Postconciliar Liturgical Reforms and the Need for a Reform of the Reform

Archbishop Malcolm Ranjith, the Secretary of the Congregation of Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, has written a foreword to a book by Msgr. Nicola Giampietro (True Development of the Liturgy, due to be published by Roman Catholic Books in September) based on the diaries and notes of Cardinal Fernando Antonelli OFM, who was the Secretary of the Liturgical Commission of the Second Vatican Council from 1962 to 1964 and went on to be Archbishop Ranjith's predecessor as Secretary of the Sacred Congregation of Rites from 1965 until 1969. With his unique insight, then Fr Antonelli was very critical of the modus operandi of the Consilium, the body charged with preparing the liturgical reforms, and wrote a famous Nota sulla riforma liturgica (note on the liturgical reform) in which he deplored many of the symptoms of decay which we still observe today, such as a rampant disregard for liturgical norms or a lack of love and veneration for Sacred Tradition. Based on Antonelli's observation, Archbishop Ranjith finds some very clear words about the problematic genesis and the results of the liturgical reforms after the Council. Speaking of the influences on the work of the Consilium, he writes:

An exaggerated sense of antiquarianism, anthopologism, confusion of roles between the ordained and the non-ordained, a limitless provision of space for experimentation-- and indeed, the tendency to look down upon some aspects of the development of the Liturgy in the second millennium-- were increasingly visible among certain liturgical schools.

And regarding the result of the reforms, he observes:

Some practices which Sacrosanctum Concilium had never even contemplated were allowed into the Liturgy, like Mass versus populum, Holy Communion in the hand, altogether giving up on the Latin and Gregorian Chant in favor of the vernacular and songs and hymns without much space for God, and extension beyond any reasonable limits of the faculty to concelebrate at Holy Mass. There was also the gross misinterpretation of the principle of "active participation".

(...)

Basic concepts and themes like Sacrifice and Redemption, Mission, Proclamation and Conversion, Adoration as an integral element of Communion, and the need of the Church for salvation--all were sidelined, while Dialogue, Inculturation, Ecumenism, Eucharist-as-Banquet, Evangelization-as-Witness, etc., became more important. Absolute values were disdained.

Such an unblinkered look at the liturgical reforms can, Msgr Ranjith writes,

help us to be courageous in improving or changing that which was erroneously introduced and which appears to be incompatible with the true dignity of the Liturgy.

This is nothing short of a manifesto for a true Reform of the Reform, issued by a prelate handpicked by the Holy Father for the competent Congregation, and ought to fill us with great hope. You can read the entire article about the foreword at Catholic World News here.

Interview with SSPX Bishop Fellay: The Lead-Up to the Papal Decree, the Effects of the Williamson Matter, and What is at Stake

This video is from dici.org, which does not allow the embedding of video on other sites.  Follow this link to a very lengthy interview with His Excellency Bishop Fellay, General Superior of the SSPX, conducted in French with English subtitles.

This interview is very, very informative.  Bishop Fellay gives details of the period immediately preceding the withdrawal of the excommunications, the nature of talks with the Holy Father, the effects of the Williamson affair, and the state of things today from a doctrinal and canonical point of view.

23 February 2009

Bird Flu Vaccine: the Next Moral Dilemma?

A story on Breitbart.com today states that scientists are closing in on an "universal" vaccine for influenza. This brings some hope in the fight against limiting serious influenza outbreaks, such as a feared "bird flu" pandemic.

I sent a link to the story to the Director of the Children of God for Life organization for her take on this development, and whether the resulting vaccine would be derived from aborted fetal cell lines, or by some ethical source.

The exchange:

(from me) Can you comment on the vaccine mentioned as being developed in this article? Aborted fetal cell lines, or no?

(from her) ...well, its not a vaccine yet - scientists have created a monoclonal antibody at this point. But in researching how they constructed it, yes indeed they used aborted fetal cell line HEK (human embryonic kidney) 293 cells. I am not sure how they intend to use the antibodies in a future vaccine, but without question it would be tainted. (sigh)

From the Breitbart story:

Scientists close in on 'universal' vaccine for flu: study

Scientists on Sunday unveiled lab-made human antibodies that can disable several types of influenza, including highly-lethal H5N1 bird flu and the "Spanish Flu" strain that killed tens of millions in 1918.

Tested in mice, the antibodies work by binding to a previously obscure structure in the flu virus which, when blocked, sabotages the pathogen's ability to enter the cell it is trying to infect, according to the study.

Because this structure -- described by one scientist as a "viral Achilles' heel" -- is genetically stable and has resisted mutation over time, the antibodies are effective against many different strains.

The breakthrough "holds considerable promise for further development into a medical tool to treat and prevent seasonal as well as pandemic influenza," said Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, which helped fund the study.
Clinical trials on humans could begin within a couple of years, the researchers said.

Seasonal flu kills more than 250,000 people every year, and pandemic flu, which occurs with the emergence of deadly viral strains against which people lack immunity, remains an ever-present threat.

Vaccines have long been the first line of defense against flu, but even seasonal viruses evolve so rapidly that the vaccines need to be updated every year. Even then, they are not always effective.

[...]

Marasco and colleagues turned up 10 of the artificial antibodies that bound to the H5N1 avian flu, said the study, published in the Nature Group's journal Nature Structural and Molecular Biology.

In further experiments with mice, the scientists found that three of these monoclonal antibodies neutralised 10 of 16 known influenza "A" viruses, including H5N1.

To date, only persons in close contact with infected fowl have become infected with this deadly strain. But scientists fear that a future mutation could "jump species" and become easily transmissible among humans.

These were startling results. Not only had a single type of antibody honed in on different strains of virus, it had disarmed the pathogens on its own without having to call in immune system reinforcements.

[...]

In a commentary, also published by Nature, Taia Wang and Peter Palese of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York said the study had uncovered "a viral Achilles' heel" that is resistant to genetic variation.

The new findings "brings us closer to the development of a universal influenza virus vaccine," they said.

Patrick Madrid Peps Up My Monday

These two videos from Patrick Madrid's website really brighten my day--not.



WARNING ON THE VIDEO BELOW: vulgar expression in the first 20 seconds; don't play it if you don't want to hear it.


UPDATE: Those videos are downright comforting compared to this one:

Abp. Dolan Confirmed for New York

I posted on this earlier this month, but the official Vatican announcement was made today. Archbishop Dolan of Milwaukee, a St. Louis native, is the new Archbishop of New York. Undoubtedly the Saint Louis Archdiocesan website will have further information later today.

Dom Gueranger on Shrovetide and the Forty Hours' Devotion


"If, therefore, we be children of Abraham, we must, as the Church tells us during Septuagesima, look upon ourselves as exiles on the earth, and dwell by hope and desire in that true country of ours, from which we are now banished, but towards which we are each day drawing nigher, if, like Abraham, we are faithful in the various stations allotted us by our Lord. We are commanded to use this world as though we used it not; to have an abiding conviction of our not having here a lasting city, and of the misery and danger we incur when we forget that death is one day to separate us from every thing we possess in this life.

How far from being true children of Abraham are those Christians who spend this and the two following days in intemperance and dissipation, because Lent is soon to be upon us! We can easily understand how the simple manners of our Catholic forefathers could keep a leave-taking of the ordinary way of living, which Lent was to interrupt, and reconcile their innocent carnival with Christian gravity; just as we can understand how their rigorous observance of the laws of the Church for Lent would inspire certain festive customs at Easter. Even in our own times, a joyous shrovetide is not to be altogether reprobated, provided the Christian sentiment of the approaching holy season of Lent be strong enough to check the evil tendency of corrupt nature; otherwise the original intention of an innocent custom would be perverted, and the forethought of penance could in no sense be considered as the prompter of our joyous farewell to ease and comforts. While admitting all this, we would ask, what right or title have they to share in these shrovetide rejoicings, whose Lent will pass and find them out of the Church, because they will not have complied with the precept of Easter Communion? And they, too, who claim dispensations from abstinence and fasting during Lent, and, for one reason or another, evade every penitential exercise during the solemn forty days of penance, and will find themselves at Easter as weighed down by the guilt and debt of their sins as they were on Ash Wednesday-- what meaning, we would ask, can there possibly be in their feast-making at shrovetide?

...We grant that, on these three days immediately preceding the penitential season of Lent, some provision was necessary to be made for those countless souls, who seem scarce able to live without some excitement. The Church supplies this want. She gives a substitute for frivolous amusements and dangerous pleasures; and those of her children upon whom faith has not lost its influence, will find, in what she offers them, a feast surpassing all earthly enjoyments, and a means whereby to make amends to God for the insults offered to His divine Majesty during these three days of carnival. The Lamb, that taketh away the sins of the world, is exposed upon our altars. Here, on this His throne of mercy, He receives the homage of them who come to adore Him, and acknowledge Him for their King; He accepts the repentance of those who come to tell Him how grieved they are at having ever followed any other Master but Him; He offers Himself to His eternal Father for poor sinners, who not only treat His favours with indifference, but seem to have made a resolution to offend Him during these days more than at any other period of the year.

...Let us, like Abraham, retire from the distracting dangers of the world, and seek the Lord our God. Let us go apart, for at least one short hour, from the dissipation of earthly enjoyments, and, kneeling in the presence of our Jesus, merit the grace to keep our hearts innocent and detached, whilst sharing in those we cannot avoid."

--From The Liturgical Year, Quinquagesima Sunday

20 February 2009

A Reminder for This Weekend


Two reminders:

1. Forty Hours Devotion at de Sales

Solemn High Mass with Procession at 10 am this Sunday at St. Francis de Sales Oratory kicks off the Forty Hours observance. After Mass is a Knights of Columbus sponsored brunch in the hall. Schedule and particulars at the website. Thanks again to all who signed up for adoration times.

2. Cardinal Glennon College Seminary "Evening of Theater"The Cardinal Glennon College

Seminarians of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary will be presenting "An Evening of Theater" throughout the weekend of February 20th. Their evening of theater will include four one-act plays, including mystery, drama and comedy. Featured scenes will include A Midsummer Night's Dream, The Philidelphia, the Tell Tale Heart and the Rising of the Moon.The dates and times are as follows: Friday, February 20th at 7 p.m., Saturday, February 21st at 7 p.m., and Sunday, February 22nd at 3 p.m. The evening of theater will be held at the Kenrick-Glennon Seminary auditorium and tickets are priced at $7.00 per adult, and $5.00 per senior or child. If you'd like to order tickets in advance, or for more information, please contact Patrick Fletcher at 314-792-6406 or pfletcher@kenrick.edu.

3.A third event is the kickoff of the 40 Days for Life in St Louis, which will be praying outside Planned Parenthood during Lent. This will be Saturday evening at 6:30, at St. Francis Xavier (College) Church Ball Room, 3638 Lindell Blvd.http://40daysforlifestlouis-blog.blogspot.com/2009/02/mark-your-calendars-kick-off-rally.html

The State of Things


"A dictatorship of relativism is being built that recognizes nothing as definite, and which leaves as the ultimate measure only one's ego and desires. Having a clear faith, according to the credo of the Church, is often labeled as fundamentalism. Yet, relativism, that is, letting oneself be tossed and 'swept along by every wind of teaching', appears the sole attitude acceptable to today's standards."

-- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Pre-conclave homily, April 19, 2005

From Saint Faustina...

I am prolonging the time of mercy for the sake of [sinners]…. While there is still time, let them have recourse to the fount of My mercy… He who refuses to pass through the door of My mercy must pass through the door of My justice. —Diary of St Faustina, 1160, 848, 1146

19 February 2009

Spiritual Bouquet for the Pope


From the website of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest:
SPIRITUAL BOUQUET FOR POPE BENEDICT XVI

Amid the anti-Catholic sentiment in the media of today, please remember to pray for our beloved Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, that God may continue to grant him an abundance  of spiritual wisdom and strength to guide the Barque of Peter through the difficult waters of our times.

Desiring to show our filial support and gratitude to our Holy Father, the Institute of Christ the King wishes to offer an abundant spiritual bouquet to His Holiness. Your prayers are needed. To participate in this spiritual bouquet, please use our online form, which will be available until Saturday, March 7. Simply indicate the number and types of prayers you wish to offer. This spiritual bouquet will then be presented directly to His Holiness.

May God bless you for your prayers and sacrifices on behalf of His Vicar on earth.

Go to Spiritual Bouquet Form »

No Safe Place for People Who Think Wrong Thoughts


That is the situation in the world.  As a commenter at the Rorate Caeli post said-- no longer is it required that a person travel to the USSR, Asia or Africa to be martyred; it can happen in Europe or the Americas.

Two seemingly unrelated stories, but only seemingly:

From Rorate Caeli:

Argentina Expels Bishop Williamson

The most respected Argentinian daily, La Nación, reports:
The Interior Minister [of the Argentine Republic], Florencio Randazzo, announced that the National Migrations Agency "warned Richard Nelson Williamson to abandon the country within a peremptory ten-day period, under pain of having his expulsion decreed". 
The order and the respective threat of expulsion are based on a technicality: the Agency affirms that Williamson has "misinformed" the true reason for his presence in Argentina, since he declares to be "an administrative employee" of the Civil Association "La Tradición", when "in fact his true activity was that of priest and director of the Lefebvrist Seminary that the Fraternity of Saint Pius X has in the city of Moreno".
There is only one safe nation for Bishop Williamson now: the United States of America.


Pro-Life Workers Arrested in Birmingham, It’s a Sad Day for Human and Civil Rights

By Randy Sly
2/13/2009

Catholic Online

Nine wrongfully arrested in Birmingham, Alabama for distributing pro-life literature on a public sidewalk.

WASHINGTON (Catholic Online) – At 7:00 am Friday morning Kortney Blythe was just being released after spending 14 hours in the Birmingham, Alabama city jail. Blythe, along with eight other members of Survivors Campus Life Tour, was arrested for reportedly trespassing while handing out pro-life literature near Parker High School. 

She was one of four women released and awaited action regarding the one additional women and the four men who are also members of the group. They were finally released at 9:00am. 

As the director of Campus Life Tour, an outreach of the pro-life ministry Survivors, Blythe was busy videotaping the event when, without warning, a dozen police cars arrived on the scene. The men and women were not informed why they were being arrested, but handcuffed and placed in the cars. Their video cameras and other equipment were confiscated and at last report, not yet returned. The group’s van was also impounded. 

Blythe told Catholic Online that one officer approached her, saying the group was trespassing. She responded by explaining that they were on a public sidewalk and simply exercising their constitutional rights. The officer responded, “You just can’t be here.” 

Not long after that she was stopped from her videotaping and placed in the back of a squad car. Another young woman was also placed next to her whose handcuffs were so tight she was crying out in pain. Police were unresponsive to pleas from Blythe to loosen the woman’s handcuffs. 

All but two members of the Survivors Campus Life Tour team distributed educational literature to passing students near Parker High School just as classes were dismissed on Thursday afternoon. The remaining two held large signs and dialogued with students on the public sidewalk. 

One member of the group, Rev. Henry “Bud” Shaver, a 30 year-old youth minister, was not only handcuffed but had his feet shackled at the jail. Earlier, when he was arrested near the high school campus he was told by police that the sidewalk was not public property for “non-citizens of Birmingham.” 

Blythe was questioned at the jail about the actions of the group, where she explained that they were expressing their rights guaranteed by the Constitution to gather on a public sidewalk and express their opinions. To that, one of the policemen responded, “You’re in Alabama, now.” 

[...]

After her release this morning Blythe stated, "We were arrested yesterday because of the content of our message. It's clear from the attitudes and actions of the police officers that our message of life is not welcome in Birmingham, and prejudice is alive and well in this city. 

[...]

During their overnight stay, members of the group learned that some of the guards at the jail also worked as security guards at a local abortion clinic in their off-duty hours. 

Attorneys had worked throughout the night to try to get a clear understanding of what happened and to seek the release of the group. 

One attorney who is handling the case is Allison Aranda with the Life Legal Defense Fund. She told LifeNews.com, "I am in shock and disbelief that a person can be arrested for simply standing on a public sidewalk and handing out literature." 

"If there is any principle that is so deeply rooted in this nation's history it is the right of free speech, and it is shameful that those charged with upholding the law are in fact the ones that violated the highest law of the land today," Aranda said. 

[...]

____________________

The attack on the pro-life protesters by the police would not have happened a year ago.  The PC movement has eroded free speech rights in this country, but this is happening because the government is rife with pro-abortion and anti-free speech politicians.  Plain and simple, these people are being persecuted for thinking wrong thoughts.

The reader who forwarded the story to me merely said, "It begins."

As for Bishop Williamson, please don't bother to comment that "he had it coming because he denied the holocaust."  We know he denied that six million died in the holocaust.  The point is that this is an opinion of his.  It is his right to possess, and express, any opinion he wants, whether it is correct or incorrect, as long as it is not a direct incitement to violence.

I mean, are you kidding me?  Argentina?  The same country that took in Nazi refugees is going to kick out Bishop Williamson?  Give me a break. 

If he goes back to any EU country, he is subject to mandatory extradition if Germany wants to prosecute him.  As for the immigration-employer argument, this is a ruse.  A religious leader can be employed by a Church organization or private religious organization.  Just ask Bozek.

This is an abomination-- the precedent of punishing a person for what he believes or says is dangerous.  

Williamson is being persecuted for thinking wrong thoughts.

The day hastens when being Catholic, or reciting the creed, will be a hate crime.   Adhering to Catholic moral teaching already is in many countries.  The Rorate Caeli Article says the only safe country for Williamson is the U.S.  Maybe, but not for long.

Christians will imitate Christ in His sufferings more and more.

Back in Town

Lots of stuff going on, Church-wise.  I will dig back into it by a.m.

18 February 2009

Pope Takes Right Approach with Pelosi

Don't think I've gone soft-- no one would like to see Nancy Pelosi's rear bouncing down the steps from the Apostolic Palace more than I. But one of the responsibilities of a Head of State is to meet with political leaders from other States. Unfortunately for us all, Nancy Pelosi qualifies.

But here is the astute move of the Holy Father: he does not allow photographers or reporters in to the meeting. No congratulatory photo-op for Pelosi, no propaganda tool to prop up her theology of convenience. No reporter to give his lefty-spin on proceedings.

Great. But the Holy Father does better than mere press silence. Instead, the Vatican issues the one and only account of the meeting, publishing the Holy Father's unmistakably clear admonition that Catholic politicians must defend life. Pelosi can no longer claim to be confused about Catholic teaching on this issue or her duties by this teaching in the political sphere. Her claims were never credible; now they are nonexistent.

Hope she enjoyed the meeting otherwise. Perhaps she may even consider listening to the Pope for a change.

Now if we can keep her away from the Austrian bishops before she comes home-- they might tell her to continue to disobey the Pope.


Pope: Catholic politicians must protect life

By VICTOR L. SIMPSON
Associated Press Writer

VATICAN CITY (AP) - Pope Benedict XVI on Wednesday told U.S. Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, a Catholic who supports abortion rights, that Catholic politicians have a duty to protect life "at all stages of its development," the Vatican said.

Pelosi is the first top Democrat to meet with Benedict since the election of Barack Obama, who won a majority of the Catholic vote despite differences with the Vatican on abortion.

The Vatican released remarks by the pope to Pelosi, saying Benedict spoke of the church's teaching "on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death." That is an expression often used by the pope when expressing opposition to abortion.

Benedict said all Catholics—especially legislators, jurists and political leaders—should work to create "a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development."

Pelosi could not immediately be reached after the 15-minute meeting, which was closed to reporters and photographers. The two met in a small room of a Vatican auditorium after the pope's weekly public audience.

A number of the bishops in the United States have questioned Pelosi's stance on abortion, particularly her theological defense of her support for abortion rights.

Benedict has cautiously welcomed the new Democratic administration, although several American cardinals have sharply criticized its support of abortion rights in a break from former President George W. Bush.

Pelosi had meetings with Italian leaders the past few days, including Premier Silvio Berlusconi.

Forty Hours Devotion-- Almost There

Hello-- it is day three of the call for Eucharistic Adorers during the upcoming Forty Hours. Good news: as of end of day yesterday, only a few spots remain open. They are as follows:

Sunday, Feb. 22, from 2-3pm

Monday, Feb. 23, from noon to 1pm and from 3-4pm

Tuesday, Feb. 24, from 11am to noon, noon to 1pm, 3-4pm and 4-5pm

That's seven people taking one slot each. Again, thanks to all who signed up already. Please sign up in the combox below or by contacting the rectory at 314-771-3100. Thank you!

From the previous post, more information:

St. Francis de Sales Oratory is again holding its annual observance of the Forty Hours devotion before Lent, and is seeking St. Louis-area faithful to keep vigil with Our Lord for an hour during this time.

The Forty Hours begin after 10 am Solemn High Mass on Sunday, February 22, 2009 and conclude with 6:30 pm Solemn High Mass on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.

There are three Solemn High Masses within the 40 Hours’ Devotion

- Sunday Quinquagesima at 10 am as a Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament with Procession and Litany of the Saints
- Monday at 6:30 pm as a Votive Mass Pro Pace
- Tuesday at 6:30 pm as a Votive Mass of the Blessed Sacrament

In addition: Low Masses at 8:00 am and 12:10 pm on Monday and Tuesday.

Please sign up in the combox at the bottom of the post. The Oratory will monitor the responses and add you to the schedule. You do NOT need to be a member of the Oratory to sign up.

UPDATE: if you prefer not to put your name in the combox, that is ok, too-- just leave your time taken in the combox and call the rectory at the number below to leave your name.

Just arrive at the time to which you commit, or else call the rectory at 314-771-3100 if there is some change. Address, contact information and directions are at the Oratory's link, above.

Don't worry if you want to cover a time that you already see someone post; the Rector of the Oratory welcomes as many for each hour as wish to come.

UPDATE: Ash Wednesday schedule at the Oratory:

8:00 am low Mass with Distribution of Ashes
12:10 pm low Mass with Distribution of Ashes
6:30 pm Solemn High Mass with Distribution of Ashes

17 February 2009

Sad Result of Blundering into the Beginnings of Life

I feel so bad for this boy-- it is probably hopeless that this situation will cause any politician or scientist to step back from the Brave New Ledge.


Report: Fetal stem cells trigger tumors in ill boy

Feb 17 08:01 PM US/Eastern
By LAURAN NEERGAARD
AP Medical Writer


WASHINGTON (AP) - A family desperate to save a child from a lethal brain disease sought highly experimental injections of fetal stem cells—injections that triggered tumors in the boy's brain and spinal cord, Israeli scientists reported Tuesday.

Scientists are furiously trying to harness different types of stem cells—the building blocks for other cells in the body—to regrow damaged tissues and thus treat devastating diseases. But for all the promise, researchers have long warned that they must learn to control newly injected stem cells so they don't grow where they shouldn't, and small studies in people are only just beginning.

Tuesday's report in the journal PLoS Medicine is the first documented case of a human brain tumor—albeit a benign, slow-growing one—after fetal stem cell therapy, and hammers home the need for careful research. The journal is published by the Public Library of Science.

"Patients, please beware," said Dr. John Gearhart, a stem cell scientist at the University of Pennsylvania who wasn't involved in the Israeli boy's care but who sees similarly desperate U.S. patients head abroad to clinics that offer unproven stem cell injections.

"Cells are not drugs. They can misbehave in so many different ways, it just is going to take a good deal of time" to prove how best to pursue the potential therapy, Gearhart said.

The unidentified Israeli boy has a rare, fatal genetic disease with a tongue-twisting name—ataxia telangiectasia, or A-T. Degeneration of a certain brain region gradually robs these children of movement. Plus, a faulty immune system leads to frequent infections and cancers. Most die in their teens or early 20s.

Israeli doctors pieced together the child's history: When he was 9, the family traveled to Russia, to a Moscow clinic that provided injections of neural stem cells from fetuses—immature cells destined to grow into a main type of brain cells. The cells were injected into his brain and spinal cord twice more, at ages 10 and 12.

Back home in Israel at age 13, the boy's A-T was severe enough to require that he use a wheelchair when he also began complaining of headaches. Tests at Sheba Medical Center in Tel Avivuncovered a growth pushing on his brain stem and a second on his spinal cord. Surgeons removed the spinal cord mass when the boy was 14, in 2006 and they say his general condition has remained stable since then.

But was the boy prone to tumors anyway or were the fetal stem cells to blame? A Tel Aviv University team extensively tested the tumor tissue and concluded it was the fetal cells. Among other evidence, some of the cells were female and had two normal copies of the gene that causes A-T—although that boy's underlying poor immune function could have allowed the growths to take hold.

Using stem cells from multiple fetuses that also were mixed with growth-spurring compounds "may have created a high-risk situation where abnormal growth of more than one cell occurred," wrote lead researcher Dr. Ninette Amariglio of Sheba Medical. She urged better research to "maximize the potential benefits of regenerative medicine while minimizing the risks."

This brain disease wasn't conducive to stem cell therapy in the first place, said stem cell specialist Dr. Marius Wernig of Stanford University, who said it's unclear exactly what was implanted.

"Stem cell transplantations have a humongous potential," Wernig said. But "if people rush out there without really knowing what they're doing ... that really backfires and can bring this whole field to a halt." 

Is the Post-Dispatch Censoring Reader Comments?


UPDATE: As of 2:53pm today, three later-posted comments have been posted at the STLToday blog, but the comment below is still not posted. This is troubling...
Tim Townsend has now blogged on the Archbishop Burke/Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor story here. So far so good.

Interestingly enough, though, a reader informed me that he attempted several times to leave the following comment at that site:

Tim [Townsend],

I am disappointed in your lack of due diligence in adequately researching for this story.

You wrote, "Canon law says only the bishop of a diocese - in this case Murphy-O'Connor - can invite another bishop to celebrate Mass at a church in his diocese." Nowhere does canon law "say" this anywhere.


To the contrary, canon 390 of the Code of Canon Law states that outside of his diocese, a bishop can celebrate a pontifical rite with only the presumed consent of the local bishop, in this case, Cardinal Cormac Murphy O'Connor. Express consent is not required.

The Latin Mass Society was perfectly reasonable in presuming that a Prefect of a Vatican Dicastery was welcome, as a representative of the Roman Pontiff, to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral of Westminster.

Next time, please do your homework. Don't state a factually verifiable error as truth, which is what you did. Anything less is indicative of bias on your part as a journalist.

Doubting Thomas

_______________________

The problem is that the comment shows as having been posted, yet only on the computer of the person who posts it. In other words, each time the comment is posted, the person posting it sees it--as though it were posted, on his own screen-- but if he goes to another computer it does not appear. This happened to my reader several times. I tried posting the same comment, too, and got the same result. Weird, isn't it?

At the moment, only one comment appears following the post:

I understand that the Cardinal has the authority to do this. However, what is he trying to accomplish?

Wowee
_______________________

The interesting thing is that this comment supports the idea that the Cardinal had the authority under Canon law. It questions the prudence of the decision, but it supports the authority all the same.

Perhaps we should assume this is a temporary glitch in the Post-Dispatch's comments area and that this will be soon corrected. Weird.

Tolerant Progressives Find They Really Love Canon Law after All

The appeal to Canon Law to score this petty point is designed to be a slap in the face to Archbishop Burke. No other explanation satisfies reality. Get it-- "He's the head of the Signatura and a Canon Law expert. We'll cite Canon Law to keep him away. Hee hee! Oh, delicious irony..."

Imagine if you run a branch of a large corporation. In year one, you allow your manager to organize a company seminar at your location and invite a Vice President of the corporation to lead it. It goes well.

The very next year, you allow your manager to organize another seminar. Based on last year's success and template, he invites a different Vice President--same level of authority in the corporation-- to lead the seminar. However, this time he didn't clear the name of the Vice President with you ahead of time. What do you do?

Do you tell your manager that next time you must approve the name of the seminar leader ahead of time, and then graciously welcome the Vice President to your branch? Or do you petulantly cling to your authority to block this move, and order your manager to disinvite the Vice President?

Anyone who chooses option two is a person who hasn't worked for a living, and isn't acting in charity toward the manager, the Vice President, or the President, for that matter.

Which begs the question-- just whom is the Cardinal intending to humiliate: the LMS, Archbishop Burke, or the Holy Father? All three?

This is the follow-up to Damian Thompson's piece in the UK Telegraph yesterday:

Cardinal invokes Canon Law to stop Archbishop Burke celebrating Latin Mass at Westminster

Posted By: Damian Thompson at Feb 17, 2009 at 11:56:00

Cardinal Cormac Murphy-O'Connor has invoked Canon Law to justify banning Archbishop Raymond Burke, a senior Vatican prelate, from saying the traditional Latin Mass at Westminster Cathedral in June.

As I reported last night, the Latin Mass Society has been forced by the Cardinal to rescind its invitation to Archbishop Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura and one of Benedict XVI's right-hand men, to celebrate its annual Mass.

A spokesman has just told me: "In accordance with Canon 838, it is the Cardinal who lays down in the church entrusted to his care the liturgical regulations which are binding on all." Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor was keen to have one of his own auxiliaries say the Mass, and Bishop John Arnold will now do so, he added. Archbishop Burke "is welcome to attend", but "it wasn't really the position of the Latin Mass Society to invite him in the first place".

My contacts in the Society are horrified by what they regard as a insult to Archbishop Burke, a former Archbishop of St Louis who is expected to be made a cardinal soon. They say they had no idea that the Cardinal's permission for the Archbishop to celebrate would be anything other than a formality.

Even if the LMS slipped up, the decision to force them to disinvite Archbishop Burke is extraordinary. "It seems like a declaration of war - an incredibly petty piece of point-scoring," says my source.

By refusing Archbishop Burke permission to celebrate the sacrifice of the Mass for the LMS annual event, Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor is giving the impression that the Catholic Church is not truly universal, but rather a patchwork of local fiefdoms with their own liturgical preferences.

Ask yourself: what damage would have been done by alowing +Raymond to celebrate in Westminster Cathedral? None at all. On the contrary: forging links between the cathedral and such a dynamic prelate, close to the Holy Father, would emphasise the loyalty of the English Church to Rome. As it is, that Church now looks small-minded and vindictive.

One interesting point: Cardinal Murphy-O'Connor should not assume that his decision will be welcomed by priests, staff and worshippers at Westminster Cathedral, who are considerably better disposed to the traditional Mass than he is. The Archbishop of Westminster now has a PR problem on his hands.