31 January 2012

SNAP to Protest against Cardinal Burke-- No Reason Required

Thanks to the reader who alerted me to this desperate cry for attention press release from the agitprop peddlers at SNAP announcing a protest of Cardinal Burke outside St. Francis de Sales Oratory tonight.  Why?  Oh, no reason, really.

It seems that they are motivated enough by allegations involving a case which, if true, had nothing to do with the Oratory or Cardinal Burke, as the alleged perpetrator was not assigned to St. Francis de Sales parish during the alleged incidents and the alleged abuse took place before Cardinal Burke became Archbishop. 

Ironically enough, the alleged abuse, if true, did take place while the priest was assigned to the "progressive" parish of St. Cronan.  But I doubt the good folks at SNAP have any intention of causing a fuss there.  Too many friends.  

If you were wavering about whether to attend the Solemn Eucharistic Exposition and Benediction tonight at 5 pm, please consider going to support our beloved Archbishop-Emeritus.

Protestant Is as Protestant Does

What would you say if I told you that a parish of the Archdiocese refuses to use the new, exclusive English translation of the Roman Missal (Ordinary Form)?  Instead, this parish stubbornly clings to the 1973 mistranslation and substitutes its own judgement for that of the Church? 

Well, that is exactly what is happening at St. Stanislaus Parish-- oh wait, that's right-- it's not Catholic and it's not a Parish.  Bozek strikes again.  From the bulletin for January 2012: 

At St. Stanislaus we continue to pray the originally authorized English translation of the Vatican II Catholic liturgy.  We will delay using the newly-revised translation of the Mass texts until a more understandable and prayerful adaptation is available... 

When you've already thrown out the baby, what's the big deal about a little bath water?  I guess if anyone is still pushing the notion-- in Court or elsewhere-- that this is a Catholic parish they may not want this known.  And yet, if you don't care about the rulings of the Pope or your Archbishop, why call yourself Catholic at all?

The War on Kids

The title of this post is the title of a film that provides a fresh look at the problems inherent in the modern, government-run system of education.  It covers all of the various issues that sometimes get attention in the media, but highlights that these problems are all related to the way the system itself is designed.  In other words, the problem isn't so much one of deficiency, but rather of intent. 

The film itself is posted in six parts at TagTele--  very revealing.  Thanks to Karen de Coster for the referenced link.  Below is the synopsis of the the movie, taken from its website: 

Blame for problems with schooling in America is often assigned to insufficient funding or the inherent failings of today’s kids. In rare cases, parents, teachers, and administrators are also implicated. However, all efforts to improve the quality of education are doomed to fail if the system itself is not examined and understood to be the most significant impediment. After over six years in the making, THE WAR ON KIDS reveals that the problems with public education ultimately stem from the institution itself. Astonishingly all efforts at reform consistently avoid even considering this to be a possibility and the future for children and American democracy are at stake.

In 95 minutes, THE WAR ON KIDS exposes the many ways the public school system has failed children and our future by robbing students of all freedoms due largely to irrational fears. Children are subjected to endure prison-like security, arbitrary punishments, and pharmacological abuse through the forced prescription of dangerous drugs. Even with these measures, schools not only fail to educate students, but the drive to teach has become secondary to the need to control children.

THE WAR ON KIDS begins with the history of “Zero Tolerance” policy. In the 1990s, almost all schools began instituting guidelines that were originally designed to keep weapons and drugs off campus. Very quickly, school officials began to arbitrarily decide what should be considered a weapon and what should be considered a drug. Hundreds of situations followed where children were (and continue to be) suspended or expelled for possessing food knives, nail clippers, key chains, chicken strips, aspirin, and candy. Kindergarteners were even suspended for playing cops and robbers and using their fingers as guns. Under the guise of Zero Tolerance, administrators have been able to wield tremendous power without the burden of responsibility and this authority continues to be increasingly abused. Students invariably feel despondent and fearful in the Kafka-esque state that has been created.

The film reveals that students’ civil rights have been virtually obliterated. They can be searched, drug-tested, denied the right to express themselves verbally and in print, as well as be physically punished without due process. They are routinely deprived of protection from self-incrimination and in some circumstances can even be strip searched without the consultation of parents. Courts typically uphold the rights of schools to behave in whatever manner they deem appropriate where children’s rights are involved.

Ultimately schools now look astonishingly like prisons in their structure and operation and the film shows that it is hard to tell them apart. A side by side comparison in the form of a tour displays the apparent inferiority of the average public school with regards to prison in terms of its resources and upkeep. Most disturbing of all, the school environment is clearly much more oppressive and dreary.

Schools have become obsessed with security and THE WAR ON KIDS shows how none of the profoundly invasive measures are effective. Security cameras were present at Columbine High School, for example, and did nothing to mitigate the massacre. From the students interviewed in the film, it is clear that cameras are unwelcome and breed paranoia and fear and may actually contribute to creating a hostile environment. Locker searches and metal detectors have been shown to be ineffective and contribute to creating an oppressive environment.

Police footage is shown from a 2003 SWAT team raid on Stratford High School high school students in Goose Creek, SC when the principal suspected illegal drug activity. In spite of the aggressive search involving guns and dogs, no drugs were found. The raid highlights the persistent scrutiny that students are under and the complete lack of boundaries that exist when children are involved.

Beyond physical intimidation, psychiatric abuse in schools is also rampant. Experts are interviewed about the epidemic of ADD and similar diagnoses. The preponderance of evidence is stunning and implicates drug companies in blatantly nefarious activities. Ritalin and other pharmaceuticals that are being heavily prescribed to children are not only physically harmful with lifelong consequences but can and do lead to murder and suicide. What is presented as treatment is more dangerous and debilitating than the condition it is supposed to cure. In addition, the condition itself is clearly dubious, and the kids getting treated are often the ones who question teachers and authority. Invariably, these kids are drugged into submission.

THE WAR ON KIDS shows how schools are authoritarian institutions that by their nature cannot be reformed. Children are subjected to the most invasive forms of control and are deprived of the most basic and fundamental human rights that are afforded even to prisoners of war. The net effect is chilling not just for the kids who are subjected to these extreme forms of control, but also for American society’s future as a generation grows up with no first hand experience or understanding of civil rights in a democracy.

30 January 2012

Cardinal Burke at the Oratory Tuesday at 5pm

Everyone is welcome to attend the Eucharistic Benediction with Cardinal Burke on Tuesday, 5 pm, at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.  Reception with the Cardinal to follow.

This is a great opportunity to show our appreciation for all that His Eminence does for the faith. 

29 January 2012

Feast of Saint Francis de Sales

From the Liturgical Year:

Peaceful conqueror of souls! Pontiff beloved of God and man! we venerate thee as the perfect imitator of the sweetness and gentleness of Jesus. Having learnt of him to be meek and humble of heart, thou didst, according to His promise, possess the land. Nothing could resist thee. Heretics, however obstinate; sinners, however hardened; tepid souls, however sluggish; all yielded to the powerful charm of thy word and example...

Pray for us to Our Lord, that our charity may be ardent like thine; that the desire of perfection may be ever active within us; that we may gain that introduction to a devout Life which thou hast so admirably taught; that we may have that love of our neighbour, without which we cannot hope to love God; that we may be zealous for the salvation of souls; that we may be patient and forgive injuries, in order that we may love one another, not only in word and in tongue, but as thy great model says, in deed and in truth.

27 January 2012

It's a Good Question

Fr. Edward Richard asks it-- in the wake of the good news that the U.S. Bishops are taking a strong stance against the federal mandate to violate the natural moral law, Catholic teaching, and our own consciences to provide the means to kill babies, will they now police their own flock of Catholic legislators who support this federal mandate?

When will the excommunication and interdict decrees be issued against the "Catholic" politicians, public officials, interest group members, and public policy advocates who defy the teaching of the Church, the natural moral law, and the admonitions of their bishops and the Pope?  When will Holy Communion be denied by order of the local ordinaries of these people?  

(To be clear, Fr. Richard limits his post to the denial of Holy Communion and "canonical penalties" generally.  The use of the language "excommunication and interdict" is my own.)  

When will the shepherds who stand for the faith with their actions be able to be counted on more than two hands?

Because the soft-sell of friendly persuasion and example has been a complete bust.

The USCCB did not take on Obamacare as such, but merely said the right things about abortion and contraception mandates.  Ignoring the obvious Trojan Horse, the bureaucratic arm of the bishops issued mild platitudes, while encouraging the drive to place "universal health care" in the hands of a federal government that could decide who lives and who dies.  Anyone with eyes could see this coming, yet there was never even a debate about whether universal health care was a good thing or not.

We now reap the whirlwind.  Fine.  The rearguard action must be fought, of course.  But can we finally declare that the pro-death "Catholics" aren't Catholic anymore?  Are we still afraid to speak the truth?  Why?

Lives are at stake--those of the most innocent. But more importantly, souls are at stake-- not the least are those of the pro-death politicians themselves.  Excommunication, interdict, denial of Communion are medicinal remedies.  Yes, they are strong medicine, but medicine indeed. 

From the Catholic Morality blog:


OK. So Here's My Question... 

Will the Bishops' Conference deal with those of its own house before suing the U.S. Government? 

In the USCCB Media Blog of Tuesday, January, 24, 2012, concerning the recent Obama Administration ruling that Catholic institutions have to cover sterilizations and contraceptives (including abortion-causing agents), we read: 

This egregious violation of religious freedom marks the first time in our history that the federal government is forcing religious people and groups to ante up for services that violate their consciences. Some claim this is all about access to contraceptives—but everyone knows how and where to get them, and get them cheaply. And the mandate also forces coverage of sterilization and abortion-causing drugs. This is about forcing the church to pay for all these things through insurance coverage, to sponsor these “benefits” that it considers immoral. This is, in other words, about freedom of religion, which is a foundation stone of U.S. democracy.

The government allows other religions to live out their beliefs. The Amish and Christian Scientists have a conscientious objection to health insurance, and so the law exempts them from buying it. The government acknowledges the right of these religious groups to live out their religious convictions in U.S. society. Why are beliefs of Catholics and others dismissed? 

The course seems clear. If the administration persists, this is going to court. So, my question, from a priest, moral theologian, interested party, cheerleader for the bishops, and adherent to the authority of the magisterium, (the list goes on) is will the conference of bishops, or individual bishops, now correct individual Catholic legislators and administration officials who support these abridgments of the Church's freedom by pursuing the moral and canonical measures available? As we know, the bishops' conference has chosen not to speak in favor of adherence to the Church's long-standing, well-established, and incontrovertible moral tradition regarding the refusal of admission of public sinners to Holy Communion in the case of formal cooperation in abortion (referring to those politicians who promote and vote for the so-called right to abortion)--and it should be clear that the administration of Holy Communion to such public sinners entails cooperation in sacrilege and the sin of scandal on the part of the minister of Holy Communion.

Will the bishops' conference find in these offenses, the offenses against conscience and religious freedom committed by Kathleen Sebelius and others involved, serious enough reason to say that these actions are scandalous enough public sin to require that the ministers of Holy Communion not cooperate in the scandal and ensuing sacrileges involved in the reception of Holy Communion by these public sinners? If the bishops conference is willing to take the US Government to civil court to fight this on a legal basis, to have these offenses declared unconstitutional by government standards, has the time not come, as well, to say that the individuals involved in this should have to publicly repent from their moral and canonical offenses before being admitted to Holy Communion?

26 January 2012

Archbishop Carlson Calls on Catholics to Fight for Conscience Rights Protections

Archbishop Carlson, in this week's Review, issued a call to Catholics to fight against the DHS/Obamacare mandate that all employers, regardless of religious or moral objections, provide free coverage for contraception, abortifacients, and sterilizations:

Archbishop Carlson calls on Catholics to fight for conscience rights protection

by Archbishop Robert J. Carlson

Today we are facing grave and unprecedented threats to our religious freedom here in the United States. The Obama administration, through the Department of Health and Human Services, has decided to impose a nationwide mandate for coverage of all FDA-approved contraceptive drugs — including at least one abortion drug — sterilization procedures, and education and counseling to promote these to "all women with reproductive capacity." The HHS rule includes an exemption for "religious employers" so narrowly crafted that Catholic health care providers, educational institutions and social services agencies would have to be listed in the tax code as a church or similar narrowly defined entity, make the inculcation of religious doctrine their organizational purpose, and largely refuse to hire or serve non-Catholics to be fully eligible.

This attack on our religious freedom is unacceptable to Americans who cherish the principles on which our nation was founded. Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, has pointed out the following:

• The contraceptive mandate imposed on health plans by the Department of Health and Human Services violates freedom of conscience, which is guaranteed by the First Amendment and several federal laws.

• The Bill of Rights says we are free to live by our religious beliefs. Forcing all of us to buy coverage for sterilization and contraceptives, including drugs that induce abortion, is a radical incursion into freedom of conscience.

• Never before in U.S. history has the federal government forced citizens to directly purchase a product that violates their beliefs.

The Church cannot, and will not, be silent in the face of this grave threat to religious liberty and the sanctity of human life. According to Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo, chairman of the bishops' Committee on Pro-Life Activities, "The bishops of the United States have long supported the goal of universal access to health care. We have encouraged government leaders to advance this goal through morally responsible health care reform. At the same time, we have consistently stated that such reform must not become a vehicle for abandoning or weakening longstanding federal policies that respect unborn human life and rights of conscience." We bishops will speak out boldly—at every opportunity—in protest against all efforts to violate the right to life and the right to act according to one's conscience.

But as Pope Benedict said recently, to be heard the Church's voice must include the voices of "an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity." All too often, the pope and the bishops are not taken seriously. We are "expected" to speak out on these issues, people say; it's part of our job. Only when the Catholic community as a whole joins us in refusing to accept the "radical secularism" of government officials, legislators and judges, will the voice of the Church be heard in all its strength and moral clarity.

I continue to urge everyone to write to your representatives in Congress and insist that respect for the rights of conscience be an integral part of all health care legislation and policy. This request has greater urgency now that the Obama administration has refused to allow Americans who work for religious organizations that serve all people the right to respect their consciences.

I call on every pastor in the Archdiocese of St. Louis to join me in urging Catholics in all 11 counties of our Archdiocese to add their voices to those of the American bishops. We will not be silent. We must speak out in defense of life and out of respect for religious liberty.

We will not be silent, but will the voice of the Church be heard? Only if you join us in giving witness to the right to life and the right to religious freedom! 


To contact the Department of Health and Human Services:

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
200 Independence Avenue, S.W.
Washington, D.C. 20201

Toll Free: 1-877-696-6775


To find contact information for you U.S. representative, see stlouisreview.com/1GL

To find contact information for your U.S. senator, see stlouisreview.com/1GM

Cardinal Burke at St. Francis de Sales Oratory on Tuesday, January 31

Just a reminder, the great defender of the faith, His Eminence Raymond Leo Cardinal Burke, will lead Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction on Tuesday, January 31, at 5 p.m., at St. Francis de Sales Oratory.

Afterwords, His Eminence will visit with the faithful at a reception in the Church hall.  Be there or be square, as they say.

Since we're reminding you of things, remember that this Sunday is the feast of St. Francis de Sales.  All who assist at Mass at the Oratory have the opportunity to obtain a plenary indulgence, under the usual conditions.

24 January 2012


p.s.  They hate us for our freedoms.

Set before Us Are Life and Death

 From Deuteronomy 30:

3017But if thy heart be turned away, so that thou wilt not hear, and being deceived with error thou adore strange gods, and serve them:sin autem aversum fuerit cor tuum et audire nolueris atque errore deceptus adoraveris deos alienos et servieris eis
3018I foretell thee this day that thou shalt perish, and shalt remain but a short time in the land, to which thou shalt pass over the Jordan, and shalt go in to possess it.praedico tibi hodie quod pereas et parvo tempore moreris in terra ad quam Iordane transmisso ingredieris possidendam
3019I call heaven and earth to witness this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing. Choose therefore life, that both thou and thy seed may live:testes invoco hodie caelum et terram quod proposuerim vobis vitam et mortem bonum et malum benedictionem et maledictionem elige ergo vitam ut et tu vivas et semen tuum

This verse is often called to mind and cited in the ongoing "long defeat" of the pro-life movement.  As God warned the Israelites who were to inhabit a land of promise and plenty, if we turn away from Him, how can we expect to receive blessings?  Whenever someone trots out the tired standard of the "war" on "terror"-- they hate us for our freedoms-- I think of a nation that kills more than a million of its babies every year.

Fr. Edward Richard, the excellent moral theologian formerly of Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, has written an excellent post on his blog about the HHS announcement that all employers, regardless of religious or moral objections, will be required to provide free contraception coverage and sterilization coverage to their employees under the execrable universal "healthcare" act: 

Time is Running Out 

Cardinal-Designate Dolan: "In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences." http://usccb.org/news/2012/12-013.cfm, January 22, 2012. 

I could not help but reflect upon the battle ahead in light of the 3rd Sunday Readings (OF).

"Forty days more and Nineveh shall be destroyed….” God gave this prophetic message to Jonah as a sentence upon a nation that had become very proud of its own greatness. Thoroughly convinced of the wisdom and power of its own leaders, prophets, and achievements, it could not recognize its need to seek true wisdom and enlightenment of the omnipotent Father of all creation. God, in his mercy, sent Jonah to proclaim repentance.

“The time is running out.” To this people and their leader, the sentiment expressed in the words uttered by St. Paul, though yet to be spoken, seemed to be understood and to resonate in spite of Nineveh’s (the Assyrian Kingdom's) dominance, prosperity, and all around good fortune.

"This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand.” Words like these and concern about the judgment of God have certainly been prominent throughout the history of the Church. When our Blessed Lord comes in the flesh, he begins his public ministry with the proclamation of the Kingdom of God. “Repent, and believe in the gospel."

This past week, events have occurred which should direct us to meditate on these important and prophetic words.

An alarm was sounded in the address the Holy Father gave to some of the bishops from the US making their 5 year visit to the Holy See. He said there, “It is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres.” He mentioned the need to be convinced of the seriousness of these threats. “Of particular concern are certain attempts being made to limit that most cherished of American freedoms, the freedom of religion.” Then he pointed to two specific problems, the denial of the right to refuse to be part of evil practices and the denial of the respect for freedom of conscience.

He was referring to efforts on the part of the administration to require that Catholic organizations provide sterilizations and chemical abortions to employees in their health care insurance plans. This would mean, as well, that Catholic hospitals, Catholic doctors and nurses and other health care workers would be required to participate in these things against their conscience. This will mean that Church-run universities and hospitals will have to participate in these plans. The Department of Health and Human Services has given us one year to comply. “In effect, the president is saying we have a year to figure out how to violate our consciences,” said Cardinal-designate Timothy M. Dolan, archbishop of New York and president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

What do you think of all of this, citizens of the United States? Woe to you. What do you think I will do when the government tells me to do this, to keep my mouth shut, or support this? ["Looming over the entire exemption is the regulation’s language that HHS “may” exempt churches within the provision’s narrow scope. Nothing aside from the government’s interest in avoiding a court battle stands in the way of simply refusing to exempt even a Catholic diocese from the contraceptive mandate." Patrick Reilly, "The Fight To Be Catholic, http://www.crisismagazine.com/2011/the-fight-to-be-catholic, January 22, 2012.] 

What will you do when I am removed from this parish, fined, or put in jail for refusal to participate or for teaching against these evils? I assure you, I will not go against my conscience or the Church’s teaching on this. 

You judges, you lawyers, you legislators, you politicians, you police officers? What will you do? What will you do when your doctor is suspended from his or her practice for violating these laws? Woe to you.

Perhaps hearing all of this is distressing to you. It is more than that to me. Hearken, therefore, to the words of Jesus: "This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel." And to those of St. Paul: “The time is running out.”

I would like to be able to tell you that the Holy Father, Cardinal-Designate Dolan, and the many others who have voiced their alarm are just crying wolf. They are not. (Really, I ask, how often do we get anything that straightforward from the Pope or a major prelate when it comes to our government's actions? It must be bad!) We must be convinced, more than ever, that we need the power of God to assist us in this spiritual battle to protect our freedom and the right to live out our faith as followers of Christ.

Feast of St. Timothy

Yep, January 24 is the feast of this great saint, bishop and follower of St. Paul who underwent a very painful process of conversion from which St. Paul sought to exempt nearly everyone else.  

And thanks to JJR for the nameday greetings.

St. Timothy, pray for us!

23 January 2012

Meatless Friday Monday-- Meaty Edition

Just cuz, from LRC blog comes this wonderful Periodic Table of Meat.  FYI, bacon is the fundamental meat element--but you knew that already, didn't you?  (click photo to greatly enlarge)

Gettin' While the Gettin's Good?

The Traditional Benedictine Monks from the community of Our Lady of the Cenacle, founded in the Diocese of Tulsa by the good Bishop Edward Slattery, has accepted an invitation to move the monastery to County Meath, Ireland.  They will be close enough to Dublin to toss them a Guinness from the brewery.

I don't know any particulars behind the reasons for the move, and I don't post this story to speculate.  Bishop Slattery is a good bishop, friendly to tradition, and Ireland certainly needs another traditional Catholic presence--especially of monks praying for the sanctification of priests.

My first reaction was a mere thought that flitted across the mind, to the effect of, good for them-- I hope for our sakes that they won't look back years from now and feel as grateful as a Jewish family who left Germany in 1937 would feel.  But, whatever storm is coming, it doesn't look as though Ireland will be spared.

And on that cheerful note, have a great Monday, everybody!

P.S. You can read Dom Kirby's fine blog here.

20 January 2012

The Problem: A Culture "Increasingly Hostile to Christianity"; The Solution: "Convincing Witness in the Face of Radical Secularism"

Below are excerpts from the address of the Holy Father to the U.S. Bishops at their ad limina visit this month.

We have to pray that our shepherds will lead us all in giving this "convincing witness in the face of radical secularism."  Without throwing blame in any particular quarter--because recounting a litany of failure is not helpful-- we could all improve in this calling, could we not?

From L'Osservatore Romano, with a few of my own emphases:

...At the heart of every culture, whether perceived or not, is a consensus about the nature of reality and the moral good, and thus about the conditions for human flourishing. In America, that consensus, as enshrined in your nation’s founding documents, was grounded in a worldview shaped not only by faith but a commitment to certain ethical principles deriving from nature and nature’s God. Today that consensus has eroded significantly in the face of powerful new cultural currents which are not only directly opposed to core moral teachings of the Judeo-Christian tradition, but increasingly hostile to Christianity as such

For her part, the Church in the United States is called, in season and out of season, to proclaim a Gospel which not only proposes unchanging moral truths but proposes them precisely as the key to human happiness and social prospering (cf. Gaudium et Spes, 10). To the extent that some current cultural trends contain elements that would curtail the proclamation of these truths, whether constricting it within the limits of a merely scientific rationality, or suppressing it in the name of political power or majority rule, they represent a threat not just to Christian faith, but also to humanity itself and to the deepest truth about our being and ultimate vocation, our relationship to God. When a culture attempts to suppress the dimension of ultimate mystery, and to close the doors to transcendent truth, it inevitably becomes impoverished and falls prey, as the late Pope John Paul II so clearly saw, to reductionist and totalitarian readings of the human person and the nature of society.

 With her long tradition of respect for the right relationship between faith and reason, the Church has a critical role to play in countering cultural currents which, on the basis of an extreme individualism, seek to promote notions of freedom detached from moral truth. Our tradition does not speak from blind faith, but from a rational perspective which links our commitment to building an authentically just, humane and prosperous society to our ultimate assurance that the cosmos is possessed of an inner logic accessible to human reasoning....

 In the light of these considerations, it is imperative that the entire Catholic community in the United States come to realize the grave threats to the Church’s public moral witness presented by a radical secularism which finds increasing expression in the political and cultural spheres. The seriousness of these threats needs to be clearly appreciated at every level of ecclesial life....

Here once more we see the need for an engaged, articulate and well-formed Catholic laity endowed with a strong critical sense vis-à-vis the dominant culture and with the courage to counter a reductive secularism which would delegitimize the Church’s participation in public debate about the issues which are determining the future of American society....

... respect for the just autonomy of the secular sphere must also take into consideration the truth that there is no realm of worldly affairs which can be withdrawn from the Creator and his dominion...

Prayer Request

My mother is currently in the hospital with pneumonia and some other issues.  If you could say a prayer for her, I would greatly appreciate it.


19 January 2012

Kyrie from Mozart's Great Mass in C Minor

The Mohawks Didn't Smoke Peyote-- But I Can't Speak for This Guy

I came across this "op-ed" about soon-to-be-Saint Kateri Tekakwitha on the Op-Ed News site, which describes itself as "Progressive.  Tough.  Liberal.".  It doesn't say accurate, logical, or sane.

The author, Keven Tully, states in his short bio that he is "concerned about the state of public discourse and the state of the earth; good discussions and good relations should not be mutually exclusive."  Based upon his hatchet job (see what I did there?) on the Catholic Church's decision to canonize Blessed Kateri and more so for its honoring (he would suggest, no doubt, exploitation) of her Christian life on earth, he doesn't appear to want good relations with the Bride of Christ.  He certainly seems unhappy that she is to be made a Saint.

He begins with a variation on the venerable "tell" of "I went to Catholic schools, etc.": 

I am a Catholic. I love Mass. I love Catholic iconography because it very powerfully identifies with the human condition; if you see it as Jesus and people-centric and not dogmatic or institutional. I don't go to mass anymore. 

Great.  Got it. 

He then quotes from a biography of the Saint's life, adding his own take: 

The above was posted on the Catholic Conservation website as a devotional biography - it could be interpreted as another Native American horror story. 

Then the familiar litany begins: the Europeans, under the direct orders of the Catholic Church, tortured and killed and burned everyone and then destroyed the earth, then made the earth again in order to destroy it again, then committed genocide, then got rich and spent all the money killing everyone.

OK, I am paraphrasing.  But you get the idea: 

Europeans brought smallpox to Kateri and her people which scarred her, almost blinded her and weakened her physically. Her village was burned to the ground in 1666 by the French general Alexander de Prouville -- He set out on his mission with the blessing of the Bishop of New France. ... She was propagandized into extreme acts of penance which hastened her early death. ... She was proselytized into self-imposed virginity. The population of her people was in rapid decline because of the depredations of the Europeans and smallpox -- she consequently would not contribute to the future prosperity of her tribe. This could be construed as an indirect act of genocide... 

See, it isn't enough that she was holy, it had to be a psychological con-game of some kind.  So what does the author prefer for St. Kateri? 

Why can't we have Saint Kateri, who did the miraculous, altruistic, wonderful things that she did, as a Native American, who was empowered and touched by Christianity, but, maintained her Mohawk identity and spirituality? In other words - a spiritual hybrid. Maybe this wouldn't be the truth, and, this is not historically the Catholic way. Catholicism conquered, tortured, appropriated, coerced, enslaved, obsfucated, diminished, denied, humiliated...I have often wondered where we would be right now if Christians and Native Americans could have somehow managed to join, Physically and spiritually, before the North American Holocaust? 

I don't know if historical revisionism is the author's hobby, but at least he acknowledges that the freakish spiritual hybrid between the True Faith and pagan worship "maybe" wouldn't be the truth.  Not only isn't it true, but that kind of namby-pamby compromise of both types of spirituality would not attract converts from the other.  It would be rejected by upright individuals of both sides, as the type of lukewarm mess that Our Lord warned He would begin to vomit out of His mouth. 

St. Kateri was converted to Christ by God's Grace, in the prayers and actions of His Church, His ministers and faithful, and the Communion of Saints.  This Church worshiped God in the same Form of Mass that continues to this day.  It is a demanding, rewarding faith.  And now St. Kateri is in a position to help those of the Church's members who still toil here below.

I enjoyed the article, though.  But I'd lay off the revisionist peyote.

18 January 2012

Feast of St. Peter's Chair in Rome

Today is the Feast of St. Peter's Chair in Rome. This is the ancient patronal feast of the authority of the Popes. Even before the wreckovation of the Calendar in 1969, this feast was conflated with the Feast of St. Peter's Chair in Antioch (Feb. 22) and now we have on that date the Feast of St. Peter's Chair.

Of which he had two.

Oh, well. And speaking of wreckovations, notice in the photo above the original Altar of the Chair, before the UFO-looking dining room table thingy was insinuated into the sanctuary. Thankfully, Pope Benedict XVI had that eyesore removed-- but alas, it was too late for the altar above, kindly smashed into pieces by our "reformed" liturgical betters.

Pray for the Holy Father!

17 January 2012

Recent Unanimous Supreme Court Case May Preview the Outcome of the St. Stanislaus Lawsuit

Thanks to the reader who tipped me off to this story in Catholic Online.  It covers the recently decided U.S. Supreme Court Case of Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Lutheran Church and School v. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which represents a major victory in the area of the Free Exercise of Religion clause.

In this case, a Lutheran school asked a lay teacher to resign, and when she objected, sought to resolve the situation under its usual internal resolution procedures.  The employee filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and subsequently filed a lawsuit under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

She argued that because she was a lay employee, and not a minister, that she should not be considered to fall under the so-called "ministerial exception" to certain federal statutes.  The Lutheran school replied that the nature of the position of teacher at their religious school made the job a religious one and therefore fell under its right choose its own employees under the Free Exercise Clause of the First Amendment.

In a surprisingly unanimous vote, the Lutheran school prevailed.  The majority opinion was written by Chief Justice Roberts.  The New York Times posted this summary of the opinion, which sums it up well, though of course incompletely:

In a major religious liberty decision, the Supreme Court for the first time recognized a “ministerial exception” to employment discrimination laws, saying that churches and other religious groups must be free to choose their leaders without government interference.

The Supreme Court's own syllabus (note, this is not the law, but merely a summary-- I post it here for easier digestion of the technical aspects by lay readers) phrases the issue this way (the highlighted points are my own emphases):


1. The Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses of the First Amendment bar suits brought on behalf of ministers against their churches, claiming termination in violation of employment discrimination laws. 

(a) The First Amendment provides, in part, that "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof." Familiar with life under the established Church of England, the founding generation sought to foreclose the possibility of a national church. By forbidding the "establishment of religion" and guaranteeing the "free exercise thereof," the Religion Clauses ensured that the new Federal Government-unlike the English Crown-would have no role in filling ecclesiastical offices. 

(b) This Court first considered the issue of government interference with a church's ability to select its own ministers in the context of disputes over church property. This Court's decisions in that area confirm that it is impermissible for the government to contradict a church's determination of who can act as its ministers.

[...] 2. [Holding that the lay teacher was a minister in the context of the ministerial exception] (a) The ministerial exception is not limited to the head of a religious congregation...

[and finally] (b) Any suggestion that Hosanna-Tabor's asserted religious reason for firing Perich was pretextual misses the point of the ministerial exception.  The purpose of the exception is not to safeguard a church's decision to fire a minister only when it is made for a religious reason.  The exception instead ensures that the authority to select and control who will minister to the faithful is the church's alone.

I think this is relevant to the St. Stan's case for the following reasons.  First, the Catholic Church, by her own rules and procedures and laws, has decided it does not want to retain the services of one Marek Bozek.  She has ruled, through her lawful shepherds and under her own canon law, that Marek Bozek has been degraded from the clerical state.  This decision is completely free from Court interference, as the Hosanna Tabor case shows.  

OK, so what, you may ask?  Isn't this a property dispute and a matter for civil law?  Or at most, it is a control of a lay Board at issue, isn't that what the St. Stan's lawyers and apologists say?  Well, not so fast.  

One of the key issues in the St. Stan's trial-- and one of the claims the Archdiocese has made to show a breach of the bylaws and the authority to assume control of the Board-- is whether the place continues to be a Roman Catholic Church.  It is no longer a parish, as it has been suppressed by the Archbishop.  It doesn't have a Catholic priest as a pastor, as he has been defrocked.  These two decisions are within the sole competence of the Roman Catholic Church, as she sees fit to exercise this competence.  One of these conclusions is compelled by Hosanna Tabor, and one is a logical result of it.  The Court itself noted that the dispute over who has authority to hire and fire ministers is often cloaked in a factual matter of a property dispute.

Also, though this may not be as clear cut under the ministerial exception, it is arguable at least that the decision to excommunicate the Board also is the firing of "ministers", under the exception.  Regardless, the crux of the St. Stan's case isn't about property or control of a lay Board, but rather over who can call a Church "Catholic".  If the Board decides, then they will say it is, and they may retain control.  But if these many ministerial decisions are the sole province of the Roman Catholic Church, then St. Stan's isn't operating as a Catholic Church and the bylaws were breached.  Game, set, match for the Archdiocese (and for sanity, too).

I hope that the lawyers for the Archdiocese are aware of this Supreme Court opinion, and will file some supplemental briefing.

16 January 2012

The Usual Treatment

Today is the federal holiday commemorating the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr., whose efforts on behalf of civil rights for African-Americans are certainly worth commemorating.  The decision to make a secular holiday is well within the competence of the secular government.  It has chosen to honor Dr. King, and that's great. 

Yesterday, the Archbishop continued the annual local practice of celebrating Mass in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr.  I have lamented this practice before (here, for example, and here).  I wanted to note the event again this year, but won't beat the dead horse too much.  There is no reason, and it defies logic, to justify the celebration of a Catholic Mass "in honor" of a non-Catholic.  Only saints and blesseds authorized by the Church, the guardian of the sacred liturgy, may be honored by a celebration of Mass.  Note again, this is not a Mass for the repose of the soul of Dr. King, seeking prayers for his soul-- offering him help.  It is to honor him.  This is just wrong, for the reasons I have written before.  But obviously, this practice shows no signs of ending.

Then again, as this op-ed in the St. Louis Review shows, there can be a deaf ear sometimes to concerns about Catholic orthodoxy when there is a liberal social or political agenda to push.  Father Art Cavitt, the Executive Director of the St. Charles Lwanga Center (the group that helps plan the MLK Mass), wrote a piece about addressing the problem of racism by gathering around the Eucharist.  

Great.  But he begins the piece by casually mentioning that he was the guest speaker at a JustFaith program at St. Gabriel the Archangel parish.  Now, JustFaith is a group of community organizers headed by a man with ties to heterodox, anti-Catholic "Catholic" groups that seek the usual agenda of women priests and homosexual privileges at the expense of marriage.  I have blogged before about the tacit approval of JustFaith that the Review's benign coverage gives.  Catholic Charities in St. Louis has shown support for this group.  Apparently this tacit support continues.

Why does it matter?  Well, we have seen the results of divorcing "social justice" from the Church and the Truth that is Christ.  Purporting to serve Christ in the poor and marginalized while rejecting His teachings and His Church is an oxymoron.  When will this problem be addressed in our pulpits?  And even in his op-ed, Fr. Cavitt does not hesitate to mention, among the problems that the legacy of Dr. King addresses-- in the official newspaper of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis-- homophobia.  Yes, that malleable, tired term.  It could mean simply that we treat all people with respect and due process under the law.  Well, of course.  But that term, in today's culture, is loaded with the implication that "gay marriage" is a cause on equivalent moral and legal ground with voting rights for African Americans back in the 1960s.

When will this nonsense stop, or at least not be tolerated in official Archdiocesan publications?

In case you might wonder where the Church stands on the issue of homosexual ersatz-marriage, check out this article in the secular press from last week.

St. Charles Lwanga, pray for us.

12 January 2012

Skool Daze

Two items in the Drudge roundup today caught my homeschool Dad eye.  I share them with you.

First comes a story from a New York state high school about a mysterious disorder that has 12 female students exhibiting Tourette's Syndrome-like symptoms.  From the full story: 

[Health officials] have ruled out all environmental factors, infections and the possibility of carbon monoxide poisoning. The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta has been consulted, along with Columbia University, as well as the Genesee County Health Department and the New York State Health Department.

Dr. Young said tics like this can be caused by genetics, head trauma, drugs (all students tested negative), antihistamines, and drugs for ADHD and OCD. They said cases like this have been seen nationwide and they come and go in individuals. They add it's not uncommon to see them in waves as stress and anxiety exacerbate them.

Symptoms in these kids are "significant" according to officials, and they add they do not believe the students are making the illness up. 

The first comment on the story asked the question that had occurred to me:  Did these girls receive a Gardasil vaccine?  It is just so weird.  Even the article lists ADHD drugs as a possible cause of such symptoms.  But of course--and I would like to emphasized this fact-- this is rank speculation at this point.  I would love to see a follow up as (hopefully) answers come.

The second story involves a government elementary school in Connecticut that lives up to the "prison-school" epithet.  This school has parents outraged over its practice of locking nonconforming students into unsupervised rooms, where some have injured themselves and/or engaged in Lord of the Flies-type behavior.  They are called by some there "Scream Rooms".  From the full story: 

“My daughter is telling me that there’s kids being taken out in ambulances, by stretcher,” parent Sean Archer told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez on Wednesday.

Disturbing allegations have surfaced of teachers locking students in closet-sized concrete “scream rooms” for punishment.

“Kids come home and they cry, because they’re afraid to go to school. And it’s often,” parent Brian Robillard said.

“She can hear the kids screaming at the top of their lungs, while she’s trying to read and she asks her teacher what’s going on and they never give her an answer. They tell her to ignore it,” said Liz Archer, the sister of one Farm Hill student.

Parents said their children have witnessed teachers placing unruly students into the tiny “time-out” rooms to calm down.

“From what I heard it’s more traumatizing for the child than it was as a help,” parent Jeff Daniels said. “Kids were hitting their heads on the concrete wall. Kids were urinating in the room.”

School Superintendent Michael Freschette said allegations of children harming themselves in the timeout rooms are not true. However, the Board of Education is investigating. The chairman spoke to CBS 2’s Sanchez by phone Wednesday night.

“We certainly are concerned with these allegations and I’m looking into every single one of them to be certain that our staff is providing a safe environment for our students,” Gene Nocera said.

Two “time-out” rooms were implemented two years ago for special needs students. But with growing community concern about their use, the school district drafted a new support plan to deal with students who act up.


The state Office of Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Disabilities and the state Child Advocate are now investigating the school’s use of “time-out” rooms. 

Why, again, do parents put up with this?  I also find it interesting that this type of discipline began as a strategy to deal with special needs students.  I can't imagine how I would react if my child were imprisoned as a form of punishment; if my child had some disability and this happened, my outrage would be 50 times greater.  These are grade school students.  Where are the adults with any common sense?

11 January 2012

Bill Donohue Turns up the Heat on SNAP

                              I blogged the other day about the efforts of the anti-Catholic shake-downers at SNAP to resist a Court order to turn over records they may have that are relevant to a plaintiff suit out in Kansas City.

In that story, David Clohessy (SNAP's very own Al Sharpton), called for a different standard of transparency for his crowd than for the Catholic Church.  That is, of course, very convenient for him.  I can only suppose he would be begging for TV time if any diocese defied a similar Court order.

Then, in a bizarre move, Clohessy impugned Archbishop Carlson:  “Archbishop Carlson and his brother Catholic bishops have hired, hidden, transferred, defended and enabled child molesters. SNAP hasn’t. Carlson and his colleagues have ignored and concealed their crimes. SNAP hasn’t.”

Huh, you may ask?  What does Archbishop Carlson have to do with any of this?  This is a suit against the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph about a priest from that diocese.  Though it isn't clear from the press accounts, I think that lawyers in a similar suit in St. Louis are also seeking production of this evidence.  But in any event, the allegations, if true, pre-date the last few Archbishops of Saint Louis.

As it happens, this mini-snit prompted a response by the irrepressible Bill Donohue, President of the Catholic League.  His provocative headline:  

SNAP Protects Child Molesters

Read it.  It says it like only Donohue could.

In a sign of the state of news coverage today, the Riverfront Times blog has published this, along with a reply by Clohessy, here.  In an improvement over its usual reporting, the RFT blog asks a lot of the right questions, and although it is clearly sympathetic to SNAP, it does acknowledge that defendants in lawsuits have the right to subpoena this type of information.

In a nutshell, Clohessy's response is the same as the one in my past post:   You see, it's OK to smear the Catholic Church because it's the Catholic Church.  We all know they're evil.  We are merely the helpless victims.  To apply rules of evidence, fundamental principles of justice, or even due process of law to us would be to endanger our crusade to bankrupt the Catholic Church protect the innocent who want money justice.  It might prevent other potential plaintiffs victims from purchasing a lottery ticket coming forward.

Good luck with that strategy, David.  When even the RFT acknowledges that you're in the wrong, the Court might find you less than persuasive.

10 January 2012

When Will Bishops Follow the Pope's Lead?

The Remnant's online site has an article that asks this very relevant question, specifically concerning the norm of receiving Holy Communion while kneeling, on the tongue of the recipient.  This is not a new gripe, of course, but the article does a nice job of reminding us that the novelty of Communion-in-the-hand, however ubiquitous, began as an abuse and continues as a unchecked cause of sacrilege that has led to a loss of faith in the Real Presence. 

When the Congregation for Divine Worship acceded to the request to allow this in the U.S., for example, it pointed to Pope Paul VI's Memoriale Domini, which ruled out a change to the universal mode of reception.  Yet, when then allowing the derogation in the United States, it made the following statement:  "The condition is the complete avoidance of any cause for the faithful to be shocked and any danger of irreverence toward the Eucharist."  I can only imagine that this condition imposed on the Bishops' recourse to this novelty was a charge to ensure that the the Holy Eucharist was treated with such reverence that scandal and sacrilege would be avoided.  However, as it has been implemented in history, the response of the Bishops and priests seems to have been to ensure that there is so much irreverence and sacrilege that no member of the faithful can possibly ever be shocked by anything ever again.

From the full article:

Communion in the Hand while Standing:
What’s the problem?

by Howard Toon

The Church teaches that Christ’s Body and Blood, Soul and Divinity are present in the Blessed Sacrament. There are many Martyrs who gave their lives rather than deny this teaching. Any self-respecting Catholic knows this. There really ought to be no question about how Holy Communion should be received, and that is: on the tongue whilst kneeling.

There can be no denying that Holy Communion is now almost universally received in the hand and that this has been the case since shortly after the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council. Note, however, that there is no mention whatever of Communion in the hand in the documents of Vatican II. In fact, Cardinal L Suenens first introduced the practice illicitly in Belgium in the mid 1960s from whence it spread quickly to Holland, Germany and France.

When the abuse came to the notice of Pope Paul VI in 1969, he issued Memoriale Domini ruling out universal change to the Church’s method of administering Holy Communion on the tongue to kneeling communicants. In this document the Pope expressed his sadness that Communion in the hand had been introduced in some places without either his knowledge or the Church’s consent.

Subsequently, Pope John Paul II twice indicated the irregularity of this practice as a universal norm. In Dominicae Cenae (Feb. 1980), he stated: “To touch the sacred species and to distribute them with their own hands is a privilege of the ordained.”

Then, in Inaestimabile Donum (April, 1980), Pope John Paul wrote: "It is not permitted that the faithful should themselves pick up the consecrated bread and the sacred chalice, still less that they should hand them from one to another."

Pope Benedict XVI now shows by his own example how the Apostolic See wishes Holy Communion to be administered. At his Papal Masses the faithful are obliged to kneel and receive on the tongue from HIS hand, not their own.

In fact, no post-conciliar Pope has approved, much less promoted, the novelty of Communion in the hand. Papal toleration is not the same as papal approval! That ought to be sufficient to make priests and the faithful reflect seriously on what they do.


Given the suffering that Our Lord went through in order to redeem our souls, and the greatness of our debt to Him, it is clear that no Catholic should come into His presence without genuflecting, and no Catholic should receive Him in Holy Communion without kneeling down in reverence. It ought to go without saying that no lay Catholic should ever consider touching the Blessed Sacrament with his hands. Such was the teaching throughout history up to 1960.

Religious Instruction was then suddenly changed to Religious Education and a new programme imposed teaching children to explore the different religions as if they were all equally valid means for attaining eternal life.


At any rate, an indicator of the success of the new strategy is reflected in a U.S. gallop poll of a few years ago recording just 30% of U.S. Catholics now believing in Our Lord’s True Presence. The other 70% had either various shades of Protestant belief or no belief at all. This situation can only have come about through ignorance – through simply obscuring the facts.

How has this been allowed to happen? It wasn’t just allowed to happen – it was deliberately brought about...


Amongst the chief obstacles preventing the success of their plans, however, are the Mass of all Ages, and the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament. The only way for them to overcome these obstacles is to debase the ancient Catholic Liturgy, from which man gains the grace to resist temptation and evil, and to destroy belief in the Real Presence.

The Novus Ordo Mass was specifically written to be inoffensive to Protestants by removing all mentions of it being a Sacrifice, and replacing that doctrine with one of it being a mere commemoration banquet or “celebration of the Lord’s supper,” as it is now widely known. This part of the undermining is now very well entrenched, and few Catholics realise what has befallen them.


If this tide of indifferentism is to be reversed, three important things have to happen. These are the restoration of the Mass of all Ages, with its emphasis on Sacrifice, restoring respect for Our Lord by fostering belief in the Real Presence, and the daily recitation of the rosary.

Pope Benedict XVI has already made a start by showing us that Holy Communion should only be received kneeling and on the tongue. When will the Catholic world begin following Peter’s lead?

09 January 2012

Latest News from the Oratory

The latest newsletter from the Oratory is out, with information on the visit of Cardinal Burke on January 31, and also the results of the latest Oratory survey:


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

As we celebrate the feast of the Epiphany we are made aware of the presence of God among us. Christmas is the revelation of God made man and Epiphany the celebration of the first public acknowledgement of the Incarnation of God in Christ. Today we are invited to kneel down joyfully at the crèche again, full of holy expectation for the blessings in our lives as Catholics.


Thanks to everyone who took part in the survey in December and the two Oratory members who contributed their talents and time to compile data, the results are in! They are presented in the following video. Please take a look.

Slightly more people participated in the survey this year than last. The statistical portrait generated by the new numbers is a strong copy of our first snapshot from last year. It confirms that people of all ages continue to be attracted to the beauty of the liturgy at St. Francis de Sales Oratory. One representative comment says, “The Oratory has been an essential part to the spiritual growth of our family.” The numbers show that families come from near and far to attend the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and the many liturgical and community events offered here.

However, the numbers cannot adequately measure the growing family spirit which is emerging in the life of the Oratory from day to day. As we celebrate the Feast of Epiphany today, let us thank Divine providence for what we have at the Oratory.


The present status of St. Francis de Sales Oratory would not have been possible were it not for the generosity of Raymond Cardinal Burke, who, as the Archbishop of St. Louis in 2005, helped the superiors of the Institute erect this Oratory. It was this vision which first set into motion the restoration of St. Francis de Sales. We are grateful that Cardinal Burke will revisit the Oratory and celebrate a Solemn Benediction on Tuesday, January 31, at 5:00 PM. After the ceremony, the Cardinal has generously made time to attend a reception by the faithful in the Oratory Hall.

We have begun to organize the reception for the Cardinal. We would be grateful for all help with food, set up, clean up, and monetary contribution to make this a memorable evening for everyone.

Please contact Mrs. Jenny Pekny via email at jennypekny@charter.net, if you are able to provide:
help with food or funding - help with set up before the reception
help during the reception, clearing tables - help after the reception, cleaning up the hall
Thank you very much for your generosity.

St. Francis de Sales, the Bishop of Geneva affectionately known as the “Doctor of Charity,” is one of the patrons of the Institute and the titular patron saint of this church. In addition to his heavenly intercessions on our behalf, his prolific writings are a great source of spiritual help, even today, nearly 400 years after they were written. This year his feast falls on the last Sunday of January. Please mark your calendars as we join the entire Institute in celebrating this patronal feast.

The effects of the sacred music from Gaudete Gala continue to reverberate long after the memorable evening ended. We received many positive comments on the beauty experienced by so many, especially after the Midnight Mass, when some of the Christmas carols were presented before the beginning of the liturgy. We are pleased to present a few more photos from the Gala for you to enjoy - if you will, a “Nachlese,” a German word with a sweet connotation of a “second harvest.”

We begin the new year 2012 with a look back at the humble beginning of this church, courtesy of the parish book produced for the centennial celebration in 1967.

In the year of 1867 when our parish of St. Francis de Sales was established there was reigning in the Eternal City of Rome Pope Pius IX, who had the longest pontificate in the history of the church - 32 years; there was presiding as Archbishop of St. Louis, Archbishop Peter Kenrick, who was leader of our Catholic faithful for over 45 years, the longest reign of any Archbishop in the history of our city, Cardinal Glennon of blessed memory reigned for almost 43 years; and there was as President of the United States, Andrew Johnson, who one year after our parish was established was almost removed from the high office of President by the first and only impeachment proceedings in the history of our country - President Johnson came within one vote of being forced to retire as President.

Against such a historical background and with the bitter Civil War still strong in the minds and memories of the people, our parish of St. Francis de Sales took its beginning on the date of April 22, 1867.

This was not a well-populated or settled neighborhood during the post Civil War years. It was rather a neighborhood of dairy farmers and dirt roads. The people who were living here then were members of the parish of SS. Peter and Paul at Eighth and Allen streets. But little by little the open prairie land became more and more populated by German Catholic people. It was in 1867 that these good German Catholics decided to establish a parish church for themselves at Gravois and Ohio.

2810 Ohio street was the scene of the first parish meeting in March of 1867, a meeting called specifically to discuss plans for the new parish church. The home belonged to one Theodore Thien. This first meeting was followed by the second and very decisive one at the home of a certain Mr. A. Van Mierlo on April 22, 1867, and it was at the second meeting that the actual decision to establish our parish was made.

The grounds at Ohio and Lynch avenues were purchased, just a few short yards north of old Gravois avenue, for $4,000.00 by the building committee, and the ground-breaking ceremony was soon underway. The construction of the new brick church was to cost $12,850.00, a goodly sum for the few parishioners at hand in those days. The cornerstone laying ceremony took place on September 15, 1867, barely five months after the actual decision to found a new parish. For this special occasion many neighboring priests and many people came and took part.

One month after the cornerstone laying ceremony Archbishop Peter Kenrick appointed the first Pastor of the parish, the Reverend Louis Lay. The new pastor resided at the home of one of the parishioners at 2845 Ohio for a year until the new rectory was built for him the following year.

Meanwhile with a new pastor at hand the building of the church made rapid progress so much so that the first Mass celebrated in the new church was on Christmas morning in 1867. Actually three Masses had been announced for that day but only one could be celebrated because of the poor health of the new pastor. Father Lay, however, did make that Christmas Day a memorable one also by baptizing three children into the household of God. As for the first marriage at our parish church, this did not take place until later on April 17, 1868. There are no records any longer concerning the first funeral service from the new church.

The solemn dedication of the new church of St. Francis de Sales took place on May 24, 1868 with much special ceremony. Father Lay, the first pastor, had taken a census at that time and had counted some 800 members, fifty of which had been baptized and received into the church in less than one year. This was proof enough that a new parish church was needed for this area in south St. Louis.

With all best wishes and the assurance of my fervent prayers,
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory