30 September 2009

Wednesday Morning Recap

Good morning, everyone, from the high-tech nerve center of Saint Louis Catholic.

Good news to report from the ongoing efforts to bring greater reverence and beauty to the liturgy here in St. Louis. Last night I attended Vespers at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish in the city. The feast in the new calendar was that of the Holy Archangels. Hence, St. Gabriel's parish taking this as its patronal feast, instead of the traditional date of March 24-- St. Gabriel.

(As an aside, as I commented on another blog, this is one of the revisions to the calendar that irritates me the most. Instead of celebrating each Archangel's feast on his proper day, they are lumped together, diluting the opportunity for the faithful to venerate, and learn about, each in his turn. There seem to be enough empty days on a fairly denuded calender in the cycle B, year II, 23rd Wednesday near the last Sunday of Ordinary Time to give each one a feast, don't you think? But, back on point...)

This Solemn Vespers was a testimony to the fact that much is possible, right now, to increase the beauty and solemnity of the liturgy in the typical parish. Fr. Lockwood, an associate at the parish, led the Vespers and Benediction. The music was exceptionally well-done, composed in English by Fr. Samuel Weber, OSB, of the Archdiocese's Institute of Sacred Music. The music was well presented by the parish music director, choir, and cantors from the parish and the seminary.

Moreover, it was well attended, with about 200 people (maybe more, I didn't do a head count) and well-received. On the way out, I heard lots of positive comments, among all age groups. A very encouraging sign.

And another sign of the good work of Fr. Weber can be found today at New Liturgical Movement. The liturgy can always be celebrated correctly, with reverence, giving due worship to God. It is great to be in an Archdiocese that seems to be among the leaders of the restoration so badly needed.

29 September 2009

Full Text of Archbishop Burke's Speech

A couple of days ago I posted a quote from Archbishop Burke's speech at the InsideCatholic Partnership dinner eleven days ago. I thought readers might like to read the entire speech; if so, here is the link:

Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life
by Archbishop Raymond Burke

Quis Ut Deus? Community Organizers Pray to the Leader

This video is, on the one hand, shocking. On the other hand, we have come to expect this kind of quasi-deification of the ersatz president, and so this video can seem like so much "old news".

Note however the petitions prayed to the Leader mimic traditional Catholic invocations in the litanies of the Church-- "hear us" from "audi nos" or "exaudi nos", and "deliver us" from "libera nos". This guy hits a full ten on the creepy-o-meter. I haven't seen that kind of fawning adulation since the Catholic blog awards.



Michaelmas


Most glorious Prince of the Heavenly Armies, Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in our battle against "principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, against the spirits of wickedness in the high places" (Eph. 6:12). Come to the assistance of men whom God has created in His likeness and whom He has redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Holy Church venerates thee as her guardian and protector; to thee the Lord has entrusted the souls of the redeemed to be led into heaven. Pray, therefore, the God of Peace to crush Satan beneath our feet, that he may no longer retain men captive and do injury to the Church. Offer our prayers to the Most High, that without delay they may draw His mercy down upon us: take hold of "the dragon, the old serpent, which is the devil and Satan," bind him and cast him into the bottomless pit "so that he may no longer seduce the nations" (Apoc. 20:2).

His Holiness Leo XIII, reprinted on this feast of the Dedication of Saint Michael the Archangel, 29 September 2009.

Meatless Friday Tuesday, Plaxico Burress Edition

OK, this has nothing to do with a Catholic blog, right? Right. But that's why it's Meatless Friday. Here is some common sense on the Plaxico Burress situation from the Lew Rockwell site.

(If you are a TV-less traditional Catholic, here is the scoop: Burress, a star wide receiver for the NY Giants, was carrying a gun in a nightclub and accidentally shot himself in the leg. In NY, no concealed carry is permissible. Burress eventually pled guilty to unlawful use of a weapon and is serving 2 years inside.)

After many fruitless arguments with Methodist Jim, at last someone on the internet (and therefore highly credible) has taken my side:

Free Plaxico Burress!
by William L. Anderson

Although Wilt Alston has written a piece good enough to be the Last Word on the unjust imprisonment of Plaxico Burress, nonetheless, I figure I will do mop-up duty, as well as second his excellent commentary. Indeed, I believe that Burress is a political prisoner who is being disguised by the press as a felon. Given that the mainstream media today is little more than a mouthpiece for the political classes, I think it is safe to say that the press does not "get it," nor ever will.

I was struck by the quote by NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg that Wilt used at the beginning of the article, and I will present it again:

"If we don't prosecute [him] to the fullest extent of the law, I don't know who on Earth we would. It makes a sham, a mockery of the law. And it's pretty hard to argue the guy didn't have a gun and it wasn't loaded."

Usually, anything that takes Bloomberg’s mind off wanting to establish the anti-smoking policies of Adolph Hitler (as well as Bloomberg wanting to tell the rest of us what we can and cannot eat) is a good thing, but not in this case, as I would rather hear him lecture against Twinkies than hear his flawed reasoning for locking someone in a government cage. Hizzoner’s quote does not tell me that, somehow, the judicial apparatus in the Large Malus Domestica is geared up to give "justice for all." Instead, it seems to me that the government of the city has engaged in selective prosecution – all in the name of "blind justice."

Once upon a time, the authorities would have seen Burress’s wound as being substantial punishment for not having his equivalent of a firearms hall pass, and he would have received a legal slap on the wrist – which would have been less unjust than throwing him into the can for two years. I seem to remember that 40 years ago, Ted Kennedy managed to kill someone, a small detail that the authorities on the Kennedy payroll in Massachusetts seemed to forget when they charged him with a misdemeanor for "leaving the scene of an accident."

That Kennedy received a recent near-million-dollar burial of which the extravagance exceeded that of someone from an actual royal family tells us that the political classes are being held to much different standards than someone who actually is a valuable member of society. (Catching the winning touchdown pass in the Super Bowl is a much greater and more socially-useful feat than ramrodding God-awful bills like "No Child Left Behind" and worse into law and tom-catting with Christopher Dodd through the District, and having sex with a bimbo on a sailboat in full view of the rest of the world.)

No, Plaxico Burress managed to violate a "law" that really should not be a law, period. This is a statute that declares that people in NYC are not permitted to engage in self-defense without permission, while city employees wearing blue uniforms and badges are entitled to empty the clips of their handguns into unarmed people and not go to jail.

New Yorkers were not always so squeamish about firearms. John Lott writes that a few decades ago high school students who were on rifle teams would carry their rifles on the subway and into their schools, where the guns were put into safe keeping until the students went to practice at a shooting range. Unfortunately, New York has political leadership that no longer realizes that just because a person is carrying a private firearm does not mean the person is going to shoot other people.

Bloomberg is fond of saying, "I don’t know why people carry guns. Guns kill people." No doubt, Hizzoner demands that the police that tend to his entourage be disarmed. Oh, I forgot; only privately-owned guns "kill people." Cops never shoot anyone, and they certainly never kill people and certainly not unarmed people.

The imprisonment of Plaxico Burress reveals a real smugness with the New York political classes, as though a Great Deed of Justice has been carried out. In the name of "justice for all," the authorities in New York have carried out selective prosecution, making sure that a high-profile person who has offended the mayor’s worldview goes to prison.

The political classes – and especially the New York City political classes – protect their own. When the city collapsed financially in 1975, it turned out that city officials were selling municipal bonds to pay off previously-issued municipal bonds, an act that clearly broke a host of fraud statutes. However, no one went to jail despite the fact that the city officials clearly were engaged in a financial swindle that would dwarf even what Bernie Madoff did 30 years later.

Far more people were harmed by New York’s financial fraud than were hurt by Plaxico Burress carrying a loaded handgun. New York cops each year kill innocent people, yet they pay no price. Burress is in jail, while city employees who are guilty of far greater crimes go free. That is the lesson of the imprisonment of Plaxico Burress and none other.



Copyright © 2009 by LewRockwell.com. Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

28 September 2009

The Consitution? Human Dignity? For These Guys?

The following story making the rounds of national news today highlights a situation so egregious that I am compelled to post on it, though I expect to be pilloried by many. I hope our progressive friends will join me in deploring the cruel and unusual punishment inflicted on the convicted criminals covered in this story.

Certainly, persons who commit crimes of rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors and other such acts should be prosecuted. Should these crimes be proven against them, they should face appropriately harsh punishment. I have no problem with treating these crimes as serious.

However, the notion of offender registries and restrictions on where they can live after they have satisfied their criminal sentences is not only unconstitutional but a violation of human dignity. Why? Fair question.

The way the criminal process usually works is this: an activity is determined by the legislator to be worthy of being classified as criminal, and deserving of punishment. Often these acts are inherently contrary to the moral law; sometimes they are contrary only to positive law. Either way, the prohibited act is clearly identified, a range of punishment delineated, an arrest made, a prosecution attempted, a conviction secured, a sentence given--imprisonment or probation or both, and then it's over. But not so with sex offenders.

The law allows the state to prohibit such persons who have completed their sentences from living in certain areas. Subsequent legislatures widen prohibited areas. The state is allowed to mandate perpetual registration, with public posting of where the person actually does live. Other states can require the person to register even though no crime was committed in its jurisdiction. At no point can this person escape the registry and the public humiliation.

As the below story demonstrates, sometimes the residence restrictions are so severe that there are whole towns or countes where it is nearly impossible to legally live.

Is this fair? Does it matter that a murderer released from prison is treated exponentially better than a person convicted of statutory rape when they engaged in consensual (in some sense, anyway) activity as a teenager with a person perhaps only two years younger than themselves?

If your answer is "yes", then I ask-- if society wants to make certain sexual offenses worthy of a life sentence, then why doesn't the law require life sentences in prison? Because, in short, this is what they receive. The ostensible goal of registration and residence restrictions is to protect potential future victims, and yet the only way to really protect others from the potential of future criminal activity is to incarcerate offenders for life or execute them. If it is a life offense, make it so.

I think the reason it isn't is because the system relies upon plea agreements to make the system work, and if the penalty were life without parole, then more trials would ensue. The accused would have nothing to lose. And if there are trials, then young teens, and children, would be forced to testify. This would be horrific for them, but it would be necessary under the Constitution to guarantee due process. Hence, the plea deal-- plead guilty and all you get is a brief prison sentence or fine; oh yeah, you get a hidden life sentence, too.

What will the next group of people be to incur the scorn of the state to such an effect?

I realize that by posting this that some will seek to vent against priests or prelates in the combox. I encourage you not to waste the time and energy to write a comment that has no chance to be posted here. What would be welcome would be a reasonable discussion on the issue.

From the story at
STLToday:

Homeless Ga. sex offenders directed to woods

By GREG BLUESTEIN
Associated Press Writer

MARIETTA, Ga. (AP) -- A small group of homeless sex offenders have set up camp in a densely wooded area behind a suburban Atlanta office park, directed there by probation officers who say it's a place of last resort for those with nowhere else to go.

[...]

Kirksville, MO Planned Parenthood Facility to Close

Good news in Northeast Missouri--from Saint Louis Crusade:

Missouri Planned Parenthood Facility to Close

"Lying or failing to tell the truth is never a sign of charity."

The following quote from Archbishop Burke about scandal given by Catholics who publicly oppose Catholic teaching happens also to accurately sum up the goal of this blog, which attempts to stand up for the Church and her teachings in matters of the moral law in the current environment. Of course I don't always succeed, nor am I endowed with the infallibility of the Church. But that is the goal to which I strive. And His Grace certainly nails the logic of the Catholic "progressive" dissenter quite well. The truth is dangerous because it exposes the fallacy of the false "unity" of "tolerance".

Christ demands a choice-- will we follow Him or not? cf. John 15:18


From Whispers in the Loggia:

“It is clear that we are experiencing today a period of intense and critical struggle in the advancement of the culture of life in our nation. The administration of our federal government openly and aggressively follows a secularist agenda. While it may employ religious language and even invoke the name of God, in fact, it proposes programs and policies for our people without respect for God and His Law. In the words of the Servant of God Pope John Paul II, it proceeds 'as if God did not exist'....

One of the ironies of the present situation is that the person who experiences scandal at the gravely sinful public actions of a fellow Catholic is accused of a lack of charity and of causing division within the unity of the Church. In a society whose thinking is governed by the 'tyranny of relativism' and in which political correctness and human respect are the ultimate criteria of what is to be done and what is to be avoided, the notion of leading someone into moral error makes little sense. What causes wonderment in such a society is the fact that someone fails to observe political correctness and, thereby, seems to be disruptive of the so-called peace of society. Lying or failing to tell the truth, however, is never a sign of charity. A unity which is not founded on the truth of the moral law is not the unity of the Church. The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth with love. The person who experiences scandal at public actions of Catholics, which are gravely contrary to the moral law, not only does not destroy unity but invites the Church to repair what is clearly a serious breach in Her life. Were he not to experience scandal at the public support of attacks on human life and the family, his conscience would be uninformed or dulled about the most sacred realities.”





--Archbishop Raymond L. Burke
Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura
"Reflections on the Struggle to Advance the Culture of Life"
InsideCatholic Partnership Dinner
Washington
18 September 2009

From the Front Lines at the Death Mill: Testimony of a "First Timer"


This morning I did the 40 Days for Life prayer vigil from 8:30 till noon. I had never participated in a prayer vigil or actively engaged in visible pro-life activities. I have to tell you it was an eye opening and powerful experience. I didn’t know that three and a half hours could ever go by so quickly. But, I almost didn't make it.

Before I left home I prayed that God give me the courage to actually do it. I have to admit that I was scared. I wanted no part of aggressive and disruptive demonstrations. The knowledge that I could potentially watch a woman walk into a facility carrying a baby and watch her come out without one brought me to tears.

I finally made it there--late and nervous but willing to stand for The Truth. One of the church sponsors greeted me and helped me feel a little more settled. I chose to pace the sidewalk around the facility because I could not stand still. I felt an overwhelming need to pray; and there in the grass I wept and prayed for the men and women who entered the facility to work and receive services. I prayed for forgiveness, mercy, movement of the Holy Spirit, changes of heart, and alternative career opportunities.

What I observed this morning was a demonstration of grace and truth. If anyone feels the same hesitation and uncertainty I did, please consider coming to the event with another group or a group of friends. I am certain you will be blessed and awakened by the experience; I am.

Sincerely, Pamela

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

The above letter was sent to me by the team at "40 Days for Life" For more info, see below:

If Pamela can get up the courage to stand for Life on the sidewalk, than so can you. Please sign-up online using the Vigil Calendar for these critical hours this week. We will not end abortion by sitting at home, but we must proclaim the truth from our roof tops and on the street corners.

The follow hours NEED your help to be filled.
Monday Sept. 28th 2:00PM - 5:00PM
Tuesday Sept. 29th 7:00AM - 9:00AM,
11:00AM - 1:00PM,


3:00PM - 7:00PM

We're off to a great start, but we've only just begun. There are 35 more intense days to come, and I can't wait to see what God has in store for us.

God Bless,

Brian Westbrook
40 Days For Life St. Louis
Brian@40DaysForLifeSTL.com
www.40DaysForLifeSTL.com

27 September 2009

Because Parents Have Too Much Influence Already

More school: Obama would curtail summer vacation

Requiem for Europe? Perhaps, but Not for the Church


In his homily today, Fr. Weber movingly referred to this insight posted at Rorate Caeli:

Bohemian thoughts...
Les pensées meurent lorsque personne ne les pense plus;
elles ne subsistent plus alors qu'en Dieu.

Étienne Gilson
Introduction à la philosophie chrétienne

_____________________

Europe is dying. She never really existed, not by herself. Geographically, she was always the far west of a much larger landmass. Her reality, as a cultural unity, was forged by the Church. And her unity unified the whole world: her deeply ingrained missionary zeal converted large parts of the globe and Westernized the remainder.

For centuries, she has lived and acted upon her matricidal desires. How deeply has she hurt the heart of her only mother, the Church!

And it finally dawned upon the daughter that the only act which would truly devastate the heart of her imperishable Mother would be her own self-destruction. Wars upon wars had not sufficed. Europe simply decided not to exist anymore. The different lands will remain inhabited, of course, but the thoughts that made them "Europe" are about to disappear completely.

And the great malaise one feels around the world today is not, as some suggest, the end of the "Pax Americana" and the rise of the "East". No: it is rather the fact that the source of the European framework within which we all, from Pole to Pole, have existed for centuries is disintegrating before our very eyes. The pill and abortion have accomplished what plague, famine, and wars could not.

The Pope, this remnant of a breed of learned and orthodox European scholars, seems so lonely as he visits the heart of secular Europe! From the disturbances following the Hussite movement to National-Socialism and Communism, few lands have suffered so much from the waves of European self-destruction as the Czech lands. And, amidst all this pain, it remains so sublime to gaze upon the Vicar of Christ as he stands, bearing the undying words of God, over the dying thoughts of this continent-sized graveyard.

25 September 2009

Picking Up Where CCHD Left Off?

Is SLU aiding ACORN? Would you be surprised? From the Dana Radio site:

St. Louis University also funneling volunteers to ACORN

2009 SEPTEMBER 25
by DanaLoesch

It’s more rampant than just Serve.gov. The website of St. Louis University (SLU)features a database which matches volunteers to opportunities in the area. Look who’s under “Law and Public Policy”:

Picture 9

Yes, ACORN. This is the screen upon clicking the link:

Picture 5Considering that ACORN has long been under investigation for voter registration fraud,caught in action on video, fired by the Census, and defunded by both the House andSenate, SLU would be wise to remove them from their website .. unless there’s a bigger relationship there than the site indicates.

Prayer Request

Please pray for the repose of the soul of the father of reader cmziall, who passed away Thursday evening.

INCLINA, Domine, aurem tuam ad preces nostras, quibus misericordiam tuam supplices deprecamur, ut animam famuli tui, quam de hoc saeculo migrare iussisti, in pacis ac lucis regione constituas et Sanctorum tuorum iubeas esse consortem. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.


INCLINE Thine ear, O Lord, unto our prayers, wherein we humbly pray Thee to show Thy mercy upon the soul of Thy servant, whom Thou hast commanded to pass out of this world, that Thou wouldst place him in the region of peace and light, and bid him be a partaker with Thy Saints. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

______________________________

Due to travel, blogging might be light until Sunday.

24 September 2009

Archbishop Carlson Names Canon Michael K. Wiener as Archiepiscopal Delegate for the Implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum


Archbishop Robert Carlson has named the Rector of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Canon Michael K. Wiener of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, as his Archiepiscopal Delegate for the Implementation of the Motu Proprio Summorum Pontificum in the Archdiocese of St. Louis. This appointment was made earlier this month. Canon Wiener succeeds Canon Karl Lenhardt in this position, one originally created by Archbishop Burke in the wake of the promulgation of Summorum Pontificum in 2007.

This is good news, and signals a continuation of the efforts in St. Louis to implement the motu proprio within the ordinary life of the Archdiocese, and not merely as the province of a particular subset of priests, or a particular group of the faithful.

Archbishop Carlson deserves great credit for this appointment. Good things continue to happen in St. Louis.

Psalm LXXXIX: 3


Perhaps we have made our Omegas what they are by our own folly; a regime that combines perpetual surveillance with total indulgence is hardly conducive to healthy development. If from infancy you treat children as gods they are liable in adulthood to act as devils.

— The Children of Men, by P. D. James

23 September 2009

Nothing to See Here, Move Along



"But aren't you worried about your kids' lack of socialization by not attending public school?"

In a word: no.

Sign #2,374 of the Apocalypse



How does the human mind process this?

Ember Wednesday

Amos 9:13-14

13 Behold the days come, saith the Lord, when the ploughman shall overtake the reaper, and the treader of grapes him that soweth seed: and the mountains shall drop sweetness, and every hill shall be tilled.


14 And I will bring back the captivity of my people Israel: and they shall build the abandoned cities, and inhabit them: and they shall plant vineyards, and drink the wine of them: and shall make gardens, and eat the fruits of them. And I will plant them upon their own land: and I will no more pluck them out of their land which I have given them, saith the Lord thy God.

For lots of interesting information on Ember Days, click here, and for the September Ember Days specifically, click here.

22 September 2009

Now That's Traditional



Above are two pictures of Otto von Habsburg, the rightful Emperor of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, to the extent it still exists. His friends call him Archduke Franz Joseph Otto Robert Maria Anton Karl Max Heinrich Sixtus Xavier Felix Renatus Ludwig Gaetan Pius Ignatius of Austria.

Born in 1912, he is still alive as of this writing. The picture of him as a child was taken with his Uncle Franz Josef, the last ruling Emperor. As a side note, Franz Josef has Methodist Jim's favorite facial hair.

The Habsburgs have been barred by positive law from running for election in Austria, but perhaps that is soon to change. I'm guessing that the Obama supporters who lurk on this blog would be horrified by a return of Habsburg rule. After all, only one monarch at a time. From the UK Telegraph:

Habsburg family demands right to seek Austrian presidency


Thank You Mary


For your continuous protection, and for an immediate answer to prayers.

More Pictures from the Pontifical High Mass for the Carmelite DCJ Jubilee

Sister Mary Joseph, Provincial Superior of the Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus (pictured to Archbishop Burke's immediate left, above), was kind enough to send me these photos from the jubilee Mass celebrated last Saturday by His Grace, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, Prefect of the Apostolic Signatura.

The photos were beautifully taken by Jerry Naunheim. All of the photos can be enlarged by clicking on them, some greatly so. All photos are protected by copyright to Jerry Naunheim.

The photo above shows the Carmelite DCJ sisters with the beaming smiles one of my readers asked about. What I love about the above photo is that it captures something fairly rare in a religious order. We are used to seeing established orders of sisters with older members in dwindling numbers, and not many new sisters to take their place. We are also becoming more familiar with newer, more traditional orders with lots of young nuns. These Carmelites are special in that they are an established order with older sisters, yet also with lots of young sisters, too. This is a great sign of the dynamism and orthodoxy of this order, and points out that such a constant renewal is possible across the spectrum of religious orders so long as they are true to the faith, and to their founding charism.


Archbishop Burke with Deacon Ochoa (in cassock and surplice) of the Archdiocese as Master of Ceremonies-- I left my program at home and so will have to fill in the names of the other ministers later today, unless a reader can help me out. Mea culpa!

Introibo ad altare Dei.

Father Thomas Keller at right, Father Olsen at left, and seminarian Eric Schneider in the middle.

Packed house.




Incensing the altar.


Ite, Missa est.

Before Mass, Soeur Marie de l'Amour de Dieu of the Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus Christ Sovereign Priest at prayer.
______________
As a final thought, it is important to reflect on the blessing of this Mass, and what it means for the Church Universal. In St. Louis, the liturgical restoration called for by the Holy Father has proceeded fairly well, though I am sure some would think too slowly, and others too quickly. But bear in mind that Summorum Pontificum was made effective only two years ago, and that Archbishop Burke was installed here only 4 1/2 years ago.

If someone had told me five years ago that an order of Catholic sisters--not a traditionalist order, mind you-- would celebrate their 90th jubilee in the Archdiocese by having a traditional Pontifical Solemn High Mass, celebrated by a former Archbishop and assisted by priests and seminarians of the Archdiocese, along with members of a traditional institute all together, I would have thought you crazy or hopelessly optimistic.

And yet, here we are. This is a cause for gratitude to God, and for all those who made this event possible. His Grace Archbishop Carlson also deserves thanks for allowing Archbishop Burke to come back to the Archdiocese and honor his commitment.

Deo Gratias!

21 September 2009

Charity, and Moral Clarity

Whenever Archbishop Burke speaks, you get the measure of the man. Even his enemies must concede that his positions are in no way ambiguous. This article by Deal Hudson at InsideCatholic.com covers His Grace's position on public funeral rites for notorious public sinners:

Charity, Civility, and Speaking the Truth
by Deal W. Hudson

The funeral of the late Sen. Ted Kennedy provoked a highly charged debate among Catholics about civility. In the midst of this discussion, Archbishop Raymond L. Burke, the prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, came to Washington, D.C., to be honored by InsideCatholic.com at its 14th Annual Partnership Dinner at the historic Mayflower Hotel.

Addressing more than 200 guests, Archbishop Burke said, "We must speak the truth in charity," but also, "We should have the courage to look truth in the eye and call things by their common names." The tension between these two admonitions is evident in his own heroic defense of the Church's teaching on the sanctity of human life and his personal humility.

Frank Hanna, a Catholic businessman and philanthropist from Atlanta, noted this in his introduction of the honoree. Before ever meeting Archbishop Burke, Hanna said he thought of him as a lion, whose roar "would send chills of admiration" down his spine. But, when he finally met the man one day in Birmingham, he noted:

I was struck by his simple humility. He greeted me with kindness and warmth. And I thought to myself, that's how lions are -- no waving about, just quiet humble strength. There is a reason C. S. Lewis made Aslan, the lion, his hero.

Indeed, it is hard not to be struck by the gentle demeanor of the bishop who caused such a ruckus in the 2004 election by saying he would deny communion to presidential candidate Sen. John Kerry. Since then, he has remained one of the most outspoken American bishops on the subject of the defense of life and marriage.

Friday evening in Washington was no different. Throughout his 50-minute address, the archbishop returned again and again to the scandal of Catholic politicians who support abortion or same-sex marriage. He did not mince his words: "It is not possible to be a practicing Catholic and to conduct oneself in this manner."

"Neither Holy Communion nor funeral rites should be administered to such politicians," said Archbishop Burke. "To deny these is not a judgment of the soul, but a recognition of the scandal and its effects."

With obvious reference to the Kennedy funeral, he argued that when a politician is associated "with greatly sinful acts about fundamental questions like abortion and marriage, his repentance must also be public." He added, "Anyone who grasps the gravity of what he has done will understand the need to make it public."

It's not uncharitable to point out the scandal caused by these Catholic politicians. "The Church's unity is founded on speaking the truth in love. This does not destroy unity but helps to repair a breach in the life of the Church."

Archbishop Burke rejects all the standard arguments made by Catholic politicians and their apologists who support abortion and same-sex marriage. For example, the defense of the unborn and traditional marriage is not strictly a matter of religious faith. "The observance of the natural law is not a confessional practice -- it's inscribed in every human heart."

Archbishop Burke describes the latest tactic of pro-abortion Catholic politicians, who talk about finding common ground, as a form of "proportionalist moral reasoning." "Common ground is found rather on 'the ground of moral goodness,' and not in a compromise of certain moral truths, like the rejection of abortion and euthanasia."

He warned against allowing this kind of false reasoning to enter the health-care debate. A Catholic cannot accept the attainment of universal health care if it includes abortion and other evils "just because it achieves some desirable outcomes."

In this form of reasoning, the archbishop hears an echo of the type of "seamless garment" argument that conceals a distinction between intrinsically evil acts and those that may be evil in some situations; these acts "are not all of the same cloth."

The standing ovation for Archbishop Burke lasted several minutes before Raymond Arroyo, the master of ceremonies and news director of EWTN, returned to the podium. Once again, as Hanna put it in his introduction, Archbishop Burke had "stood up for the Church and her teachings, in the face of violent world criticism and even some within the Church."

As InsideCatholic.com editor Brian Saint-Paul handed Archbishop Burke the award for "Service to the Church and our Nation," I commented that, "This lion speaks with the voice and face of a lamb, and, thus, is an example of how to speak the truth in charity."

"Will Babies with Down Syndrome Just Disappear?"


A nice post today from the St. Louis Conservative blog about the horrific trend of aborting Down's Syndrome babies after prenatal diagnosis-- an interesting read.


Oratio Pro Summo Pontifice


Oratio pro summo Pontifice
Prayer for the Pope


V. Oremus pro Pontifice nostro Benedicto.

V. Let us pray for Benedict, our Pope.

R. Dominus conservet eum, et vivificet eum, et beatum faciat eum in terra, et non tradat eum in animam inimicorum eius. [Ps 40:3]

R. May the Lord preserve him, and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies. [Ps 40:3]

Pater Noster, Ave Maria.
Our Father, Hail Mary.

Deus, omnium fidelium pastor et rector, famulum tuum Benedictum, quem pastorem Ecclesiae tuae praeesse 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. Amen.

O God, Shepherd and Ruler of all Thy faithful people, look mercifully upon Thy servant Benedict, whom Thou hast chosen as shepherd to preside over Thy Church. Grant him, we beseech Thee, that by his word and example, he may edify those over whom he hath charge, so that together with the flock committed to him, may he attain everlasting life. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Yet Another Missouri Bishop Says He Cannot in Good Conscience Support the Goverment Healthcare Takeover Plan

In addition to the anti-life provisions, Bishop James Vann Johnston of Springfield-Cape Girardeau cites the Catholic teaching on subsidiarity as a reason to oppose the bills currently before Congress.

The money line from this article is this:

Johnston quotes the Catholic Catechism to emphasize that subsidiarity is "opposed to all forms of collectivism" and "sets limits for state intervention."

This statement comes on the heels of the statements by Archbishop Burke, Bishop Finn and (formerly of Missouri) Archbishop Naumann opposing the current healthcare bills.

From the story at
LifesiteNews.com:

Another Bishop Says ObamaCare Violates Catholic Social Teaching

By Peter J. Smith

CAPE GIRARDEAU, Missouri, September 18, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) - Another Catholic bishop has stated that too many aspects of President Barack Obama's health care reforms violate basic and necessary Catholic social principles, such as respect for human dignity, safeguarding human life, conscience protection, and the principle of "subsidiarity."

"Health care reform is a very complex issue, with many important peripheral issues, such as cost and how to pay for it, economic impact, the role of the federal government, abortion, euthanasia, tort reform, etc.," writes Bishop James Vann Johnston of Cape-Girardeau and Springfield, Missouri. "But as such, health care reform is particularly important in that, as Catholics, we understand the principles that should be at the very heart of this delicate work."

Johnston says that of all the ways "to skin the health-care cat," President Obama's proposed reform raises serious and troubling questions for Catholics, such that the bishop says he cannot in good conscience support it.

"To begin, one must recognize that the provision of health care is rooted in our recognition of the basic dignity of every human person, made in God's image. Individuals and society both have inherent obligations to protect, respect, and promote the human person and his/her good."

Johnston goes on to observe that the Catholic Church has been involved in health-care since the first century A.D. following the example of the Good Samaritan, and that "one out of six hospital beds in the US today is in a Catholic hospital." However, he says, health-care reform needs to take into account respect for human dignity, safeguarding human life, and conscience protection.

Johnston points out that a recent and disturbing incident of conscience violations illustrates "how real is the threat of federal power to coerce health care providers, employers, and individuals into participating in actions contrary to conscience and Catholic teaching." Johnston is referring to the Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), which "took action against Belmont Abbey College, a small Catholic college in North Carolina, for removing coverage for abortion, contraception, and voluntary sterilization from their employee insurance plan after they were inadvertently included."

Guaranteeing the basic principle of "subsidiarity" is also essential to health-care reform, writes the bishop. That means delivering health-care to a patient through social channels most proximate to his situation, ensuring his basic rights and fundamental dignity are respected, providing him the treatments and loving care that he needs, and protecting him from a centralized bureaucracy that does not care for him. "One might consider this the principle of social dignity," says Johnston.

Johnston quotes the Catholic Catechism to emphasize that subsidiarity is "opposed to all forms of collectivism" and "sets limits for state intervention." He explains, however, that "the higher order" of central government does have a role in health-care reform; but it must only play a very limited and supporting role, not a dominant one, so as not to run the risk of crushing all the other necessary functions and expressions of society and trampling on the individual.

"Government may also be needed to see that no one, especially the working poor and the most destitute and forgotten, falls through the cracks," writes Johnston. "But, the essential element of the principle of subsidiarity is the protection of individual freedoms from unjust micromanagement and manipulation by the state."

In conclusion, the bishop states that he can not support President Obama's reforms, because the proposed plans for restricting the way health-care is delivered violate these fundamental Catholic principles.

"May all those engaged in this issue craft a plan that provides universal health care that is affordable to all, distributes costs equitably, and above all, safeguards human life from conception to natural death and the freedom of conscience," writes Johnston in conclusion. "We must never forget as then-Card. Ratzinger stated, 'There is only one morality à, the morality of God's commandments, which cannot be temporarily suspended in order to bring about a change in the status quo more quickly.'"

See Bishop James Vann Johnston's Letter "
Skinning the 'Health Care Cat'"

19 September 2009

Some Early Stills of the Pontifical Mass with Archbishop Burke






Thanks to Zach Edgar for sending me these still shots from the video he took of today's Solemn Pontifical High Mass at St. Agnes Home for the jubilee of the
Carmelites of the Divine Heart of Jesus.

I still hope to get some more photos, but I thought these might tide readers over until then.

It was a beautiful Mass, and a lovely reception. Seeing the smiles on the faces of these beautiful and faithful sisters was worth it by itself. But they had great food, too, which sealed the deal.

Still Fighting the Good Fight

I had the honor of seeing His Grace Archbishop Burke and speaking with him briefly today at a Solemn Pontifical High Mass to mark the 90th Anniversary of the presence in St. Louis of the Carmelite Sisters of the Divine Heart of Jesus. I hope to post pictures of that Mass soon.

In the meantime, it is so nice to see that His Grace found the time while stateside to again stand up for life and weigh in against the anti-life healthcare takeover:

I've said it before, and I'll say it again-- thank God for Archbishop Burke.

Shamefully Leading the Way in the Fight to Kill More Babies


Ah, Washington University. Highest ranked University in the state. National reputation. Huge endowment.

And, let's not forget, it supports killing little babies in the womb. Not only that, mind you, but it trains the "doctors" who kill them.

KC sent a link to this story he found at the Missouri Family Policy Council. Some facts of interest found there:

Washington University has joined forces with Barnes-Jewish Hospital and Planned Parenthood of St. Louis to train abortionists. It is called the Family PlanningFellowship Program, and its stated goal is to "develop tomorrow's leaders in reproductive health."
Fellows in the program are trained to become "expert" in all methods of first and second trimester abortions, which the program describes as "uterine evacuation procedures." The program claims it is the only fellowship in the nation providing the opportunity to develop "high-level...clinical skills" in "abortion care."


[...]


The Family Planning Fellowship Program also states that while most of the fellows' abortion experience will be at Planned Parenthood, "new in-patient abortion services are being
developed at Barnes-Jewish Hospital." The program lists Barnes-Jewish Hospital as one of the clinical training sites.

[...]

The story also lists the names of the leading doctors in this program, including one notorious butcher operating at the local mill.


The blood of innocents cries from the ground, and we all have to stand before the judgement seat of God one day. Let us redouble our prayers that this genocide stops.

Rehashing the Connection between ACORN and the CCHD

The U.S. Bishops no longer fund ACORN, the group of fraud-perpetrating thugs who have been so very helpful to the current anti-life political administration.

Of course, this is after the Church gave this bunch $7.3 million. That's a lot of bake sales.

Ryan Ellis takes a look at the past-- his tone is a little too acerbic, in my opinion, but the facts could lead one to a little justifiable cynicism.

You can read the story if you like, at the link. Instead of dwelling on the bad decisions of the past, I prefer to be grateful it has come to an end. ACORN can't go away fast enough.

18 September 2009

God Bless Emma Watson


Some stories come out of nowhere and affect you. Having lost a daughter in miscarriage seven years ago, who was later determined to have had Turner Syndrome, this piece from the
National Catholic Register just got to me a little bit:

Emma Watson Meets Her Pope

Last Wednesday, 7-year-old Emma Watson of Craigmont, Idaho, finally got her wish to meet Pope Benedict XVI. Register readers will remember first meeting Emma through this story.

Nearly aborted, Emma was born with mosaic Turner syndrome and hypoplastic left heart syndrome and has undergone five open-heart surgeries for palliation of her congenital heart condition. She has wanted to meet the Pope since age 3.

Originally scheduled to meet the Pope in February, that trip had to be canceled because Emma had to be hospitalized for intestinal bleeding. The trip was made possible through the Make-A-Wish Foundation, which granted 13,425 wishes to children last year.

This time around, she almost missed seeing the Pope for two different reasons. First, only three weeks before the trip, she was hospitalized with pancreatitis. Then, on the morning of the general audience, the Watson family couldn’t find the Make-A-Wish volunteers in the plaza.

Eventually, they found one another, and the Watsons were rushed in and seated for the general audience just minutes before it began. Emma and her mother, Patti, were given front-row seats.

“Mom was looking the other way when the Pope came out,” said Emma. “I was in awe, and I started crying.”

“She kept saying, ‘It’s the Pope. That’s the Pope,’” said Emma’s mother, Patti.

After the audience, Emma and her mother were brought to greet the Pope.

The Holy Father blessed Emma “in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit,” and then put his hands on Emma’s shoulders.

“He asked us where we were from,” said Patti. “I said the U.S., and then we were ushered aside.”

Normally quite talkative, Patti said that Emma was “speechless for the first time in her life.”

Emma said that when she looked into the Pope’s eyes she saw “happiness.”