31 August 2012

A "Duh" Moment




Yesterday I was forced to endure an amazingly insipid Ordinary Form funeral Mass for a family member. The one thought that kept recurring to me in the midst of what could best be described as an instant-canonization-trapped-inside-a-bad-lounge-act was, "How can they stand it!?" The aesthetics of the ceremony, and the theology of the homily (well, actually, there were several homilies throughout the proceedings) were garden-variety Protestant.

Today I read a post at Saint Louis Crusade about a Gallup poll showing that most Americans rank public schools as the worst place for a child to get an education. One commenter at the second link lamented that the US used to have the best system of public education in the world until the 1970s, when the "liberals" began to take over and destroyed it, etc.

Suddenly, I thought of the two things together. The Mass, reengineered at the end of the '60s. Public education, reengineered at the same time.

Both could be classified as colossal failures-- except for one thing:

They didn't fail. They succeeded.

That is to say, they succeeded in accomplishing the goals of their engineers. And just as our educational system will not be fixed by tinkering with making the current system slightly less bad, so neither will our liturgy be fixed by tinkering with making it slightly less dreadful.

The party of professional educators and their backers in politics will continue to claim that educational renewal only requires time and a commitment to more of the same.

The party of professional liturgists and their backers in chanceries and rectories will continue to claim that liturgical renewal only requires more time and a commitment to more of the same.

In both areas all and any opinions are allowed, tolerated and encouraged, except adhering to what actually worked in the past, works now when tried, and which shows every promise of working in the future.

A system of education that is designed to form the whole child in harmony with his status as a creature of God-- burdened by sin though he is --with free will and intellect, will produce healthier and holier children.

A Liturgy that is Catholic through-and-through, and which informs and reflects the Catholic Faith, will produce holier Catholics, and those in increasing numbers.

The problem is not identified by asking the question, "When will the powers-that-be realize this?"

The problem is that they do realize this.

Like I said in the title, this may be a "duh" moment to you. But it hit me today like a ton of bricks.


The Family Pediatrician as State Political Officer




One of the hallmarks of Communist societies, at least those actually experienced in the real world, is the ubiquitous and intimidating presence of the Political Officer. This official could be found throughout the various societal organizations-- professional groups, military, community groups, schools, places of employment and even (those few government-tolerated) religious groups. His purpose was to ensure doctrinal orthodoxy of the state religion by spying, harassing, intimidating, and reporting on anyone whose ideas were slightly nonconformist.

The effect was a general chilling of the natural bonds of family, friendship, and neighborhood. The natural collaborative efforts of the sub groups of any healthy society were made extremely risky, and so these groups typically failed of their intended purposes. A slave of communism had no one to trust, including at times his own family.

We have been fortunate, historically, to avoid such a regime here. But things change. Even the family pediatrician is no longer immune from the encroaching state, and the vehicle for the encroachment comes through his own professional organizations.

Parents with young children may have already experienced this new, aggressive state presence in what used to be the sanctuary of the mother's best ally-- the pediatricians
's office. The advocacy group Parental Rights.org reports on the issue:

__________________

Your Pediatrician and Your Parental Rights

By now, the experience can only be called “commonplace.” You take your child to the doctor for a rash or a sore throat, and the next thing you know your child is fielding some unrelated questions: “Is there a gun in your home? Do you usually wear a seatbelt when riding in the car? What’s your favorite music?”

If you haven’t yet heard such a dialogue between your child and the doctor, that doesn’t mean this is not occurring. “Doctors are trained in residency how to gently steer the parent out of the room so that they can do an assessment,” reports pediatrician and ParentalRights.org board member Verlainna Callentine, M.D. “The mindset is that because so many adolescents stay healthy, there are few opportunities to have a medical impact on the child once they get out of the early years of development. When a child comes in for a particular complaint, the opportunity is seized to assess other risk factors in the child's life.”

Dr. Callentine continues, “Absolutely, it can be intrusive. It is intentional. Some doctors may not want parents to know the kinds of questions being asked out of fear that the answers they will receive from the child will not be honest and truthful.”

This line of questioning is called a “psychosocial evaluation”. There are many of these evaluation tools used in pediatric offices. One such tool is the HEEADSSS assessment, and it has been around for years. HEEADSSS is an acronym for the myriad topics the probe is intended to cover: Home, Education & Employment, Eating & Exercise, Activities and Peer Relationships, Drug /Cigarette/Alcohol Use, Sexuality, Suicide & Depression, and Safety. Some will also include Spirituality, including questions like “Does your family affiliate with any faith community?” and “How often do you go to church/synagogue/mosque/etc.?”

You won't believe some of the questions doctors are being urged to ask your child. Click here to see one such questionnaire.

If government doctors were using this, there would be constitutional issues immediately. Private doctors, however, are not limited by the Constitution. So while some doctors in certain instances could possibly be held liable for invasion of privacy, the best defense is to be aware and prepared to avoid the problem entirely.

“Parents need to be educated and understand how to navigate the healthcare system with their child,” Dr. Callentine says. “They need to know they have the right to say, ‘No’ or to request to be present during the discussion so they can best partner with the healthcare provider. Parents are the advocate for their children. It is through a ‘healthy’ partnership with their pediatrician that parents and children can best be served."

“We need to educate the parents,” Dr. Rosemary Stein, an adjunct teaching professor at the Children’s Hospital of UNC-Chapel Hill, agrees.

According to Dr. Stein, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) set up a committee several years ago to promote ratification of the United Nations’ Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) in the United States. That committee is linked very strongly to medical teaching programs across the country, using its influence to see that the international model – including HEEADSSS assessments – is presented as “the way to practice medicine” in the U.S. (Dr. Stein was a fellow of the AAP until resigning over philosophical differences.)

The HEEADSSS assessment was first introduced by Americans G.M. Cohen and E. Goldenring in Contemporary Pediatrics in 1988. Obviously, then, it didn't come from the United Nations. However, the implementation of HEEADSSS and of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) can have striking parallels. That is because both include the notable presumption that parents are agents to be monitored rather than the natural safeguard for their children's health and rights.

This shared premise makes it easy to employ the CRC and the HEEADSSS assessment together to impede parental rights around the world. The New South Wales (Australia) Center for the Advancement of Adolescent Health (NSW CAAH) has published a popular “Resource Kit” to help doctors learn to administer these assessments. According to their website, the NSW CAAH “believe[s] that all young people have the right to comprehensive health care,” a catch-phrase in international law signifying the “right” of teenagers to make health decisions– especially in the areas of drug use and sexuality (including abortion) – without parental oversight, input, or consent. Not coincidentally, this “right” is often called for by the Committee on the Rights of the Child, which consistently interprets Article 24 of the CRC to include this obligation.

The mindset is the same: parents are an obstruction that must be removed from the room so that the needs of adolescents can be met.

While it is true that there are rare instances where that is in fact the case, fit parents have the fundamental right to direct the care of their children – and that includes the right to grant or deny consent for a doctor to perform a “psychosocial assessment” of your child.

Sadly, the rise of electronic medical records and the drift toward government health care point to a day when the data collected through these assessments will find its way into the hands of the government. And the push to ratify the CRC could introduce a day when the assessment is seen as a legal necessity to fulfill the government’s obligation to ensure the best interests of every child.

For now, though, you do have the right to say, “No.” When the doctor asks you to leave the room for the sake of your child’s privacy, the two of you together – you and your child – have all the legal authority to protect your family against this intrusion. Many states allow the doctor to honor your teen’s wishes over your own, but not to insert the doctor’s own wishes over those of you and your child together.

The proposed Parental Rights Amendment to the United States Constitution will ensure that this right of parents “to direct the upbringing, education, and care of their child” will remain “a fundamental right.” It will prevent ratification of the CRC and halt the intrusion of the government into your home and privacy. It will also guarantee that no law is passed to take away your right to tell an intrusive doctor, “No.”





30 August 2012

Pak Chooie Unf: My Final Election 2012 Post

It seems the major party candidates have finally gotten together and, in a show of hopeful unity, have released a joint campaign video.

29 August 2012

Prayer Request

Please pray for the repose of the soul of my uncle, whose funeral Mass is today. Thank you.

28 August 2012

New Veil and Hat Source

A longtime reader and her family have started a hat and veil business, Clarissa's Hats and Veils, which I will link at the right of the blog (and that makes three such options to choose from on this site). The canonical opinion of the mysterious Unknown Canon Lawyer X that women are still obliged to cover their heads at Mass is one of my most loved and hated all-time posts.

In other vendor news, the wonderful work of Catholic Embroidery is highlighted on their updated website, also linked at right.

Just as a reminder, I receive no compensation from any of these linked businesses, so don't imagine me rolling in dough on some Caribbean isle. If only.

26 August 2012

General Chapter of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest




Please keep the good Canons, Oblates, Seminarians and Sisters in your prayers this week, as the Institute's General Chapter takes place in Gricigliano.



24 August 2012

New SLU Law School Dean a Real Piece of Work




Fr. Biondi sure can pick 'em.

You may recall the dust-up four years ago when basketball coach Rick Majerus attended an event for pro-abortion candidate Hillary Clinton, and made public statements in favor of abortion rights. Cardinal Burke rightly pointed out that a Catholic university employee of his public stature caused scandal by doing so, and opined he should be disciplined by SLU. Not surprisingly, Biondi ignored him, and nothing was done.

Fast forward four years. In the wake of the resignation of SLU Law School Dean Annette Clark, Fr. Biondi hired Illinois personal injury lawyer Thomas Keefe. I have to say that, based on published reports alone, this guy is 10,000 times more embarrassing than Majerus.

To begin with, right after the hire, several outlets, including Lifesite News, reported that Keefe had represented a woman in a so-called "wrongful life" suit. She claimed that she was wrongly denied the right to kill her baby because she didn't know about some of the baby's health problems.

The public revelation of this representation might have embarrassed a Catholic law school. No problem for SLU.

Now in a published interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, excerpts from which can be read here, Keefe sure does his best to make a fool of himself, and by extension, the man who hired him and the school itself. Brace yourself for real lawyer talk:

At a Jesuit university with a history of clamping down on employees who make statements in opposition to Catholic teachings (SLC note: Ha!), Keefe is an outspoken Democrat, prone to quotable zingers and uncensored insights. So when he made it clear that he was thrilled about U.S. Rep. Todd Akin’s troubles for statements about abortion, Keefe wasn’t worried who knew.

“Does that sound like somebody who is Father Biondi’s butt boy?” he asked.

During a nearly two-hour interview with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, the terms “butt boy,” “trained monkey” and “yes man” cropped up many times as examples of what Keefe said he has been called and what he adamantly says he is not.

“[Biondi] can’t afford me. … I get to make way too much money lawyering to be his trained monkey. He doesn’t have enough money to do that, and he doesn’t want to.”

“I’m an important alumni. I’m a source of future funding. Why in the heck would I step and fetch for a guy who wants my money?”


More of the same here:

Keefe proudly declared his political leanings, including donations to one political party.

“I mean, I am a Democrat. Am I allowed to say I’m a Democrat?” he said. “Well, if I’m Father Biondi’s butt boy I guess that’s going to get me in trouble.”

At the time of Keefe’s conversation with Missouri Lawyers Weekly, on Tuesday evening, political junkies were waiting to see if Missouri congressman and U.S. Senate candidate Todd Akin would bow out of the Senate race on the heels of his controversial statement that “legitimate rape” doesn’t cause pregnancy.

Akin had backpedaled on his comments after a media firestorm, but those clarifications did not satisfy Keefe, he said.

“When’s [Akin] going to say something about the mother, for Christ’s sake?"

Like many Democrats, Keefe said he was hopeful Akin would stay in the race.

“That’s why I say to myself over and over again, thank you God for Todd Akin. There is a God. We might actually keep control of the Senate,” Keefe said. “Does that sound like somebody who’s Father Biondi’s butt boy?”


You might wonder what Fr. Biondi would think of this guy who has so little respect for him, the school, his profession, and--last but not least-- the teachings of his Church. But, see, his attitude mirrors Fr. Biondi's response to Cardinal Burke four years ago:

“I don’t like coats, ties and authority. I don’t do well taking orders,” Keefe said.

Just the right guy for a formerly Catholic school that is now a local and national joke.



Buchanan on the GOP's Akin Panic

Article here.


22 August 2012

How True





Viva Cristo Rey-- A Presentation on the Cristeros, September 15


A local group of Catholics called Sursum Corda St. Louis (not to be confused with the Institute's young adult group of the same name) is hosting a presentation by Christopher Check about the Mexican Martyrs of the Cristiada on the 15th of September at the Holiday Inn South.  There will be a reception beginning at 6:30pm, lecture at 7pm, and a social hour thereafter:

Viva Cristo Rey!  The Cristeros and the Martyrs of the Mexican Revolution

by Christopher Check. An accomplished journalist and lecturer. Mr. Check is currently the executive vice president of the prestigious Rockford Institute, and will soon be joining Catholic Answers as Director of Development.  

Holiday Inn South Center, I-55 & Lindbergh Blvd., St. Louis, MO
6:30 p.m. Reception
7:00 p.m. Lecture
$10 Per Person   
Discussion and social hour to follow the presentation

Viva Cristo Rey! chronicles the true story of the Cristeros, who valiantly battled the enemies of the Catholic Church in Mexico in the early part of the 20th century.  Their story was popularized in the recent Hollywood film, For Greater Glory, and we agree it’s a very timely subject due to the current political climate in the United States.  Never has our freedom of religion been more threatened in America than it is today.   

Christopher Check’s presentation is one Christians of all denominations should see because it demonstrates the brutal persecution of the Church in Mexico, and could well serve as a warning of the persecution that could come to the United States.  

For tickets and/or more information, contact us at 314-650-2767 or didyouknowseries@att.net

20 August 2012

Satanic Desecration of Statue of Our Lady






I am late in posting this horrific incident at Our Lady of Victories, but I have trial in KC today (without even time to look up old friends, sorry!). OLV is pastored by the great priest Fr. Brian Harrison. The story is here at the Review.


19 August 2012

Changes




Due to threat of lawsuit, the Ronza has been renamed the Palonza. Even Pagliai's has a V2 moment.

Oh yeah, and my daughter went to college.

17 August 2012

The Art of Headlines and the State of Schools






Part of my freely-chosen penance--blogging-- involves monitoring the usual St. Louis-area media outlets for relevant news items. Well, today I glanced at a headline for a story from STLToday that I only looked into more deeply because it might be relevant to the homeschooling readership:


Crackdown is likely reason for plummeting scores at city school


At first glance, I figured the story probably had something to do with school violence. Perhaps increased security measures made it difficult for students to study, focus, receive appropriate instruction, etc.

Silly me. Headlines don't always tell the story. Maybe they aren't supposed to do so.

The story dealt with the dramatic decline of standardized test scores from 2011 to 2012 at Herzog School (and also at Ford School, as noted in a sidebar) in St. Louis City. The article does, indeed, lay the blame for the plummeting scores on the "crackdown". Pretty dramatic difference, too-- check out these percentages of students at the two schools who tested proficient-to-advanced in the following subject areas:

Comm. Arts

2011, 2012
Herzog 47%, 10%
Ford 38%, 10%

Math

2011, 2012
Herzog 43%, 8%
Ford 40%, 14%


Devastating reversals, indeed. Without focusing on the too-low percentages of 2011, the absolute failure embodied in the 2012 scores is beyond stunning. In these two schools, only one student in ten tests at a proficient or better communication level, and only one in seven (at the better school) tests proficient or better in Math. Wow.

This "crackdown" has been brutal.

But, what, you ask, is the true nature of this "crackdown?". What knowledge-killing directive is this?

The "crackdown" in question is this:
These schools were told they couldn't cheat on the tests anymore.


16 August 2012

Do You Hate Beautiful Weather, Tasty Food, Great Drinks, and Fun?





Then you better not go to Summer at the Oratory this Sunday, August 19, 2012, from noon to 7 pm.

This annual event at St. Francis de Sales Oratory celebrates the feast of St. Louis IX, Patron of our archdiocese and city. Low Mass of the External Solemnity at 8 am, High Mass at 10 am.

Games, rides, food, drink, music, etc. Proceeds from the event go to the ongoing restoration effort.

Come help a great cause, enjoy the 79 degree weather, and have fun to boot.


Meatless Friday Thursday, Cesspool Edition

Ecuador grants a certain person political asylum:  http://www[dot]bbc[dot]co[dot]uk/news/uk-19281492  

This has earned Ecuador the wrath of the "free" nations of the West.  

Recall, Sweden wants him extradited from the UK, where he now is, on a dubious sexual assault charge.  He has been hiding out in the Ecuadorian Embassy in London-- hence the asylum application, now granted.  

The UK has threatened to revoke Ecuador's Embassy in London of its status and will just go in and arrest this guy.  Watch for every bought and paid for analyst in this country to tell you why that is so much different from the Iranians violating our embassy's sovereign territory in 1979.  After all, this guy embarrassed the United States.

Ecuador should be nervous.  We might bring democracy to their country, too.

Back to your regularly scheduled blog...

FSSR Update: Letter from Fr. Michael Mary

 
The words that spring immediately to my mind in writing a response to yesterday's Canonical Recognition of the Congregation of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer are words that the priest prays every day at Mass  from Psalm 115:
"Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus quae retribuit mihi?" 
"What return shall I make to the Lord for all He hath given to me?"
 
This is the question that we ask when we realise that what we have received from Our Lord through His Church is far beyond what we merit; His Mercies can never be repaid. On one hand we cannot survive without these Mercies, on the other hand we do not deserve them nor have the means of repaying them. Caught between the necessity of the having a canonical recognition and our own indigence and unworthiness that we are very conscious of, what can we do except repeat the prayer from the psalm and cast ourselves before Him awaiting the moment of rescue from our plight. Only prayer can save us!

And praying, I said: O Lord God, destroy not thy people, and thy inheritance, which thou hast redeemed in thy greatness, whom thou hast brought out of Egypt with a strong hand.  Remember thy servants Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob: look not on the stubbornness of this people, nor on their wickedness and sin: Lest perhaps the inhabitants of the land, out of which thou hast brought us, say: The Lord could not bring them into the land that he promised them, and he hated them: therefore he brought them out, that he might kill them in the wilderness, Who are thy people and thy inheritance, whom thou hast brought out by thy great strength, and in thy stretched out arm. (Deut. 9 26-29) The application of this text to our history is appropriate; but we did not have to wander for forty years, and we did not die in the wilderness: in any case, in monastic life, the wilderness is our chosen place of abode.

We are profoundly grateful to the many friends who have supported us over these last years; thank you! We have been mightily supported by our families and friends, holy prelates and priests and nuns. On a personal note, I thank my own parents and family. For over twenty years they took the neighbourhood, clerical and other brunt of my commitment to the old Mass and lived through the 'wilderness of doubt' of the last years. It  has all turned out fine in the end! But thank you for bearing things that would have hurt you deeply. In the end all has been part of God's permissive Will. It has led to the canonical establishment of a Congregation of priests and monks, officially recognised by the Church to continue permanently offering the old Mass and to serve souls. You taught me that it is a good thing to have something to put up with and to offer to Our Lord and Our Lady! Quite right!   

We are equally grateful to the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI, to Bishop Hugh of Aberdeen and Bishop Barry of Christchurch for their mercy and kindness towards us. The graces we needed flowed abundantly through them; they are our Fathers in God and each of them have had the right words and acts of solicitude for us. We come into Full Communion with the Church having a Pope who deeply cares for traditionalists and we were directed to two dioceses of choice by God's 'great strength and His stretched out arm'. In fine, could we but rejoice? Gaudeamus omnes in Domino, diem festum celebrantes sub honore beatae Mariae Virginis: Let us all rejoice in the Lord, celebrating a festival day in honour of the Blessed Virgin Mary!   

Fr. Michael Mary, F.SS.R.

15 August 2012

A Present from Our Lady: The Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer Granted Canonical Status



The former Transalpine Redemptorists, now known as the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer, sought reconciliation with Rome in the wake of Summorum Pontificum.  While this reconciliation occurred quickly, the community, headquartered on Papa Stronsay, were kept waiting a bit for official canonical recognition.

That wait is over.  The Bishop of Aberdeen has today erected the community as an Institute of Clerical Life of Diocesan Right.  Solemn profession is set for August 22, 2012, the Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

Congratulations!

Feast of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary




1 Virgin mother, daughter of your Son,

2 more humble and sublime than any creature,

3 fixed goal decreed from all eternity,


4 you are the one who gave to human nature

5 so much nobility that its Creator

6 did not disdain His being made its creature.


7 That love whose warmth allowed this flower to bloom

8 within the everlasting peace was love

9 rekindled in your womb; for us above,


10 you are the noonday torch of charity,

11 and there below, on earth, among the mortals,

12 you are a living spring of hope. Lady,


13 you are so high, you can so intercede,

14 that he who would have grace but does not seek

15 your aid, may long to fly but has no wings.


16 Your loving-kindness does not only answer

17 the one who asks, but it is often ready

18 to answer freely long before the asking.


19 In you compassion is, in you is pity,

20 in you is generosity, in you

21 is every goodness found in any creature.


22 This man who from the deepest hollow in:

23 the universe, up to this height, has seen

24 the lives of spirits, one by one now pleads


25 with you, through grace, to grant him so much virtue

26 that he may lift his vision higher still

27 may lift it toward the ultimate salvation.


-- Dante, Paradiso, Canto XXXIII

14 August 2012

This is a Rhetorical Question, Right?

Rorate asks the question, and posts on the issue along with The Curt Jester:


Catholic Relief Services or Abortion Relief Services?
Will the Bishops act?


[A] pattern of aiding some very un-Catholic activities at Catholic Relief Services is beginning to emerge.

– Catholic Relief Services gave a $5.3 million grant to a viciously pro-abortion, pro-contraception organization called CARE;

– Catholic Relief Services is a dues-paying member of the CORE Group, which is highly committed to spreading birth control to poor people in third world countries;

– and Catholic Relief Services is a dues-paying member and on the Executive Committee of MEDiCAM, an organization dedicated to expanding “safe abortions” in Cambodia.

When faithful Catholics put money in the second collection on Sunday morning for Catholic Relief Services believing the money is going to help the poor, why then is Catholic Relief Services giving CORE Group and MEDiCAM the money to help exterminate the poor? Why is CRS giving any organization supporting the abortion its money, its name, and its leadership?

Mr. Kenney laudably calls his readers to voice their concern to CRS, but he is missing the point. The faithful may complain as loudly as they wish to CRS, but ultimately THE BISHOPS OF THE UNITED STATES ARE DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for CRS, and they are the ones who must be pressured to immediately intervene and completely overhaul CRS, which has clearly become dedicated to the culture of death, even in a nation so deeply affected by murder in the 20th century, Cambodia. It is the utmost cruelty and immorality to grant even a single dollar to promote a "Catholic"-financed culture of death in the nation that suffered so much under the Khmer Rouge.

And, to make things worse, CRS uses lame excuses to separate the money it gives to these organizations from the use they make of it, as if the resources provided by CRS were not completely fungible in the revenue of each explictly pro-death organization. Even if the revenue sources are "separated", it naturally follows that the receiving organization will reallocate resources from one area in which it does not need the resources provided by a Catholic grant to another area that the Catholic charity is not willing to finance directly - though that is not even an excuse in the Cambodian case, in which CRS has membership in the death-promoting organization's executive committee.

So what will you do, most Reverend Pastors of America?


Vigil of the Assumption




This lovely image comes from the Transalpine Redemptorist site, where they have a nice entry on today's Vigil.



13 August 2012

Imagine

Don't worry, busting the lyrics of Imagine as atheistic, anti-religious, anti-nationalistic and puke-inducing is not exactly newsworthy.  But watching (yes, I did watch some of it) the Olympics closing ceremony in London was like watching the New World Order poke one if its trademark sneek preview thumbs in my eye.

The typically bizarrely dressed performers marched past huge screens of John Lennon singing his anthem to the faux-intellectualism and shallowy-deep philosophizing of modern man.  This song, with its undoubtedly catchy tune, helped close out the police-state production quite appropriately.  The lyrics in question:

Imagine there's no heaven
It's easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky
Imagine all the people living for today

Imagine there's no countries

It isn't hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion too
Imagine all the people living life in peace

You, you may say

I'm a dreamer, but I'm not the only one
I hope some day you'll join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions

I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man
Imagine all the people sharing all the world


It's coming soon enough; we won't have to imagine it.  I don't think we'll like the "peace" that comes with no God, no countries, and no possessions, but we shall see.

10 August 2012

On the Other Hand, the Refreshing Sound of Clarity






Leave it to the great defender of the Faith and shepherd of souls, Raymond Cardinal Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis, to state the truth clearly concerning the LCWR. From Lifesite News:

“If it can’t be reformed, then it doesn’t have a right to continue,” Cardinal Raymond Burke, prefect of the Vatican’s Apostolic Signatura, told EWTN’s Raymond Arroyo in a Thursday interview for The World Over.

“How in the world can these consecrated religious who have professed to follow Christ more closely … be opposed to what the Vicar of Christ is asking? This is a contradiction,” he said.


His Eminence nails it.

Read the entire story here.


The LCWR's Strategy No Surprise: Dialonger

As in, keep "dialoguing" longer, and just continue to do what it wants. Or, if you want a metaphor, hide in the corner under some coats and hope the bishops just go away.

The Review has a more in-depth piece, and has remarks from the outgoing head of the LCWR, including this excerpt that cuts to the chase:

"What would a prophetic voice to the doctrinal assessment look like?" asked Sister Pat. "I think it would be humble, but not submissive; [SLC Note: Boom. There is where I check out. Submission to a Doctrinal assessment of the Holy Catholic Church's Doctrinal authority requires an attitude of submission. That is the only attitude a Catholic can have. Real dialogue, where, in an an attitude of submission, the group asks questions and requests clarification so there may be understanding-- that I get. But that isn't what they mean. The rest of the quote is more of their typical psychotheologicobabble:] rooted in a solid sense of ourselves, but not self righteous; truthful, but gentle and absolutely fearless," she said. "It would ask probing questions. Are we being invited to some appropriate pruning, and would we be open to it? ... Does the institutional legitimacy of canonical recognition empower us to live prophetically? Does it allow us the freedom to question with informed consciences?"

In case you doubt my shorthand take on what these ladies mean by dialogue, or are just a glutton for punishment, read this story where Jennifer Brinker was forced to: 1) endure listening to an LCWR sister drone on about it; and, 2) write it all down.



Feast of St. Lawrence




O great defender of the Church against persecution, O holy martyr, pray for us!



09 August 2012

Surprise Guest at LCWR Assembly

"I'm here to take Barbara Marx Hubbard home.  Is she finished with her talk yet?"

Meatless Friday Thursday: SLU Law Edition

I don't pretend to know what really happened in the resignation/firing of the SLU law school dean. STLToday has the story here and here. Just two quick takes:

1. Regardless of the rectitude of Fr. Biondi's position, if he weren't the liberal president of a not-terribly-Catholic Catholic school, you would definitely read about his dictatorial, rigid, autocratic, unreasonable decision.

2. The former dean had this to say:

"It is the ultimate irony that a Jesuit university would operate so far outside the bounds of common decency, collegiality, professionalism and integrity," Clark wrote.

Query: Dean Clark, have you followed ANY Jesuit news the last fifty years?


08 August 2012

Worth a Thousand Words

Lisa Johnston of the Review has some of the most bizarre combat photos of the LCWR's batty New Age keynote speaker Barbara Marx Hubbard being processed in by a gaggle of sisters doing their thing.

I can't post the photos here, due to copyright formatting (unless Lisa wants to do a good deed), but trust me when I assure you that you Must. Click. On that link.

For a description, the National Catholic Register:

In the first open session, the featured speaker, futurist Barbara Marx Hubbard, was led through the assembly hall at the Millennium Hotel by several sisters who were waving orange scarves draped over their arms.

Once on the stage, the sisters moved in a circle around Hubbard as they raised and lowered the scarves and the assembly was asked to extend their hands in blessing while singing, “Spirit of vision, Spirit of life! Spirit of courage, be with her now! Wisdom and Truth be on her lips!”


I certainly hope that they were invoking a Supernatural, and not a Preternatural, Spirit. But I won't wager money on it.

So, what advice did ol' Barb give?

Again, from the Register:

“Almost all structures are top down,” Hubbard continued, giving the examples of nations, states, organized religions and corporations. “So what is needed today,” she continued, “is a radical reform of existing institutions from their top-down version.”

Let the dialogue continue!

The Essential Question for the LCWR Ladies




For all their talk about "discerning" their response to the "crackdown" by the Vatican, it really boils down to this:

"Should we convert to the Catholic Faith before we die?"

I'm sorry if that sounds harsh, but that is the reality.

We are all going to die. The Catholic Church is the sole means of salvation.*

I'm not predicting when they, or I, or you, or anyone are going to face the particular judgement. None of us are promised another day. That truth being said, when the formerly great religious orders these ladies represent have dwindled to a mere fraction of their former numbers, and when the average age of those left is pushing 70, it doesn't take an actuary to know which way the wind blows.

Will they return to the Catholic Faith before it's too late?

Judging by worldly standards, there are plenty of reasons not to do so. It's not like the Church has lately been rolling with great popularity from victory to victory. And it's not like the Church's own pastors show great confidence in Her either. Certainly there aren't many of them who have shown an interest in calling the sisters to conversion. And the history of the last five decades shows that those within these orders who struggled to keep the Catholic Faith were essentially left to their own devices by the leaders of the Church they loved.

And as long as the LCWR orders are solidly in the camp of the left wing of the political world, ready to undermine the interests of the Church by giving political cover to those who hate Her, they will receive full protection from the media and their fellow travelers in the Church. They will have full and free reign to continue to agitate for socialism politically, and to embrace whatever heresy floats their collective boat. They will be cheered as they continue to support government programs that violate the Natural Law, kill the most innocent, and undermine the very fabric of society. They can just go on wearing their comfortable shoes, linking arms in front of nuclear power plants, supporting sodomitical "unions", and living in their tidy apartments.

And, returning to demographic considerations, they can enjoy the benefits of the gravely immoral "healthcare" system they helped foist on the rest of us, over the bodies of the unborn and at the cost of the liberty of the Church. For you see, as their numbers dwindle and age, they would have faced a real difficulty in providing care for their sisters.

Spiritually healthy orders attract new and younger members. Catholic Charity provides for the care of their elders. But spiritually dead orders just die. And when I said that these ladies would "enjoy" the benefits of nationalized medicine, I should clarify that euthanasia for their aged and dying by a government that denies God is the last such "benefit" reaped.

The alternative is to return to the Catholic Faith, regardless of the cost.

It requires humility. But the comments made by LCWR leaders doesn't seem to exhibit any. Have you read any comment where they say anything remotely close to even this: "Though we don't agree on everything the Vatican said in its assessment, it does raise some valid points that we need to take to heart."?

No. All you hear of compromise or dialogue is geared toward trying to get the Church to change Her teachings to match their agenda, or at least to be left alone to feed on the Church's carcass. Real dialogue does not interest them. It implies they might change. No, the "dialogue" we see just fuels their dissent. If you give them anything, it is dialogue. If you ask anything, it is not dialogue-- they call it a crackdown. And then they ignore it, to the delight of the enemies of the Catholic Faith, both within and without the Church's visible structure.

So, no doubt, while these ladies live they can embrace heresy and easily win the political battle with a politically clueless Church. They are the ones who make it political, because politics is what they do, and without the faith it is all they have.

The alternative is to convert to Christ's Church.

Which will it be, ladies?













*(I'll skip the parsing and nuancing of this statement for another post).



07 August 2012

Prepared Text of Archbishop Carlson's Address to the LCWR






From the Review, as is the above photo:

Sr. Suzanne, I would like to thank you for your introduction. It has been a great pleasure to work with Sister Suzanne the past three years and I am grateful for her leadership at Cardinal Ritter Senior Services, especially our outreach to the elderly poor and those in need of housing.

As Archbishop of St. Louis, I am fortunate to work with a large number of religious communities. These are dedicated individuals who minister and serve every day in this archdiocese. In addition to the traditional ministry of teaching and medical care, women and men in consecrated life work with the civic community and the business community in serving those in need no matter what the challenge.

Religious are present to the poor at the St Patrick Center dealing with the homeless, in counseling the troubled, feeding the hungry, assisting the deaf, and working with St Vincent de Paul and Catholic charities — the list is endless.
Some of my fondest and earliest memories relate to the education I received from the Sisters of St Joseph of Carondelet and the Dominican Sisters in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul. For the past two years I have worked closely with representatives of CMSM, LCWR and CMSWR in my responsibility as Chairperson of the USCCB committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations.

I realize this is a most important meeting for you and I pray that the dialogue between the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and LCWR is not politicized but worked out within a community of faith. I assure you of my prayers and the prayers of everyone in the Archdiocese of St. Louis and I ask for the intercession of St Rose Philippine Duchene, a pioneering religious woman who opened the first school for young women west of the Mississippi in 1818.



Let Us Pray for Vocations to the Religious Life




 MEMORARE, O piissima Virgo Maria, non esse auditum a saeculo, quemquam ad tua currentem praesidia, tua implorantem auxilia, tua petentem suffragia, esse derelictum. Ego tali animatus confidentia, ad te, Virgo Virginum, Mater, curro, ad te venio, coram te gemens peccator assisto. Noli, Mater Verbi, verba mea despicere; sed audi propitia et exaudi. Amen.  

REMEMBER, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone who fled to thy protection, implored thy help, or sought thy intercession was left unaided. Inspired with this confidence, I fly to thee, O Virgin of virgins, my Mother; to thee do I come; before thee I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in thy mercy hear and answer me. Amen.


 I don't know-- for some reason I thought of Religious Sisters today. ;-)



67 Years













This week marks the anniversary of the atomic bomb attacks on the people of Hiroshima and Nagasaki by the United States. These are a few images from the two cities, including the remains of the Catholic Cathedral in Nagasaki, the most Westernized city in Japan at the time, and the city with the largest Catholic population.



06 August 2012

Social Injustice: LCWR Uses the Poor as Human Shields

STLToday has a story today about the upcoming Annual Assembly of those most defiant of heretics, the Leadership Council of Women Religious (LCWR).

The LCWR employs newspeak worthy of Orwell, assisted gladly by the Post-Dispatch. Check out this sublimely banal excerpt to which I will add emphases and comments:

__________________

Since the Vatican report was released in April, the rift has resonated with some American Catholics who feel (we're a nation of "feelers", who can't "feel" compassion for the most innocent lives these sisters are willing to sacrifice to Moloch) bishops have become too focused on gay marriage and abortion. Many took issue with the Vatican report that denounced the sisters' group — which represents nuns who work with the poor and sick (they're soooooo good)— for being 'silent on the right to life from conception to natural death" and for leaving "the Church's biblical view of family life and human sexuality" off its "agenda.". How dare they!

"You see a difference in the theology (to the extent anyone cares, the difference is between a Catholic theology and an heretical one) of the sisters who are on the margins, who live with the people, whose theology is informed by the work they do," said Jennifer Reyes Lay, program coordinator for the St. Louis-based Catholic Action Network. CAN actively promotes the heresy of women's priestly ordination (which is literally impossible, btw). "And then the theology of people who hold positions in the hierarchy who aren't as connected to people and who can maintain black and white guidelines. It gets messier when you're on the ground. So, if some babies have to be murdered in order to expand government benefits, too bad. We can't be "too focused" on not killing them.

___________


Hey, Ladies, stop blaming the poor you claim to serve for supporting the killers of their children.




Cynical Politicking for Gun Control in Wake of Shootings

Of course, that is the best case scenario. It may, however, just be the intended result.


Careful What You Wish For...

...because you just might get it.

You might recall that my eldest daughter hijacked this blog on two occasions in order to present her own crazy ideas.  Unfortunately, she received some encouragement from readers, and it went straight to her head.

Now she has her own blog-- about the "realworldization" of a homeschooler entering university.  You can read it here, if you insist.

Domine, Bonum Est Nos Hic Esse




Today is the Feast of the Transfiguration of Our Lord, a most welcome and timely feast, to remind us to never lose Hope despite the travails we suffer.



05 August 2012

More Mixed Messages as NY Catholic Charities Invites Our Persecutor to Dinner




Dialogue works, we all know that. After Cardinal Dolan's invitation, it's a sure bet that the Dear Leader will just drop that contraception/abortion/sterilization mandate in the socialized medicine law.

Don't worry about the possibility of scandal to pro-life Catholics-- one has to be surprised to be scandalized.

Matt Abbott states his perplexity, and I'll join him. I guess that means we both hate poor people somehow.

All the fundraising, public education, prayers, grassroots Catholic action, and catechesis-- down the tubes.

Catholicism: death by dialogue.







03 August 2012

My Ántonia




The feelings of that night were so near that I could reach out and touch them with my hand. I had the sense of coming home to myself, and of having found out what a little circle man’s experience is. For Ántonia and for me, this had been the road of Destiny; had taken us to those early accidents of fortune which predetermined for us all that we can ever be. Now I understood that the same road was to bring us together again. Whatever we had missed, we possessed together the precious, the incommunicable past.

I am profoundly moved every time I experience the sublime way an artist can portray the deepest truths of the human condition, as Willa Cather does in this book. If you ever wish to understand something of chivalrous love without looking to medieval times, read this book.

Thoroughly true and beautiful; in other words, Catholic.

01 August 2012

Archbishop Carlson to Address LCWR Assembly Next Week

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly.

The St. Louis Review has published this article confirming the address.  The LCWR sisters, as you might expect, are delighted to welcome him.

The article does note that His Grace "understands some local Catholics might be upset that the assembly is being held in St. Louis and perhaps be confused by some of the content to be covered."  With greatest respect to His Grace, the upset experienced by some local Catholics arises precisely because there is no confusion about some of the content to be covered. 

From the full article: 

Recent attention to the Leadership Conference of Women Religious is expected to increase as almost 900 women religious will converge upon St. Louis for the organization's annual assembly Aug. 7-11 at the Millennium Hotel Downtown.

[...] 

Archbishop Robert J. Carlson will deliver the opening greeting at the assembly Tuesday evening, Aug. 7. In an interview with the Review, he said he is fully aware of the recent controversy with the LCWR. In light of the dialogue between the Holy See and the LCWR the archbishop said, "I think it is very important that we don't politicize this, but rather that we do it within the community of the Church."

The archbishop said he understands some local Catholics might be upset that the assembly is being held in St. Louis and perhaps be confused by some of the content to be covered. However, he noted that his "style for 42 years as a priest and 28 years as a bishop has been one of dialogue. I find that an effective way to be a man of the Church and to live out the Gospel."

His presence at the assembly, he said, "would only indicate my love for the Church, and my hope that the concerns of the Holy See — which I support — and the memory of the wonderful religious who have helped me during my earliest days as a child, help to resolve the challenges which exist at this time."

[...]

Sister Annmarie Sanders, IHM, associate director of communications, said that the organization was not granting interviews, but she responded to several questions submitted via email. 

In her response, she stated that the LCWR was "pleased that Archbishop Carlson will be present at the opening of the assembly," adding that the LCWR officers have gotten to know the archbishop through his role as chair of the U.S. bishops' Committee on Clergy, Consecrated Life and Vocations. In that role, he has a certain responsibility for meeting with the groups that represent clergy and religious. [...] __________________

This disappointing news does not require further comment from me.  However, as an observer of the local Catholic media scene, I just have to point out an excerpt from the article that contains one of the most bitterly enjoyable understatements I have yet read.  Barbara Marx Hubbard, a published proponent of the so-called "New Age" heresy, will be delivering the keynote address at this Assembly.  The Review acknowledges this, but describes the situation this way: 

This year's keynote speaker at the assembly will be Barbara Marx Hubbard, an author, speaker and educator who holds a belief in conscious evolution. She will speak on "Mystery Unfolding: Leading in the Evolutionary Now." 

If you have no idea what exactly that means, as I suspect many readers of the Review will not, the article gives the LCWR's party-line attempt to make a silk purse out of this sow's ear of a speaker:  

The LCWR, in its written reply, said that Hubbard was invited to speak "in order to gain some perspective on the context of the world in which women religious are living and ministering. LCWR is interested in hearing Dr. Hubbard's understanding of the rapid shifts occurring in the world today so that the leaders can reflect on the role of and call to women religious in light of what Dr. Hubbard offers." 

Please pray for the Church.

Lunchtime







And I'm only here at the mall because the location on Manchester was out-the-door-thronged.