Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Drew Mariani Gave Me a Great Christmas Present!

Earlier today on the Drew Mariani Show on "Relevant" Radio, Drew discussed the movie Milk, starring Sean Penn. The movie shows someone's butt and there is some male/male kissing. Drew and his guest, Dr. Mugridge, expressed their outrage that the movie was not considered morally offensive by the U.S. Bishops movie reviewer. The movie received the next worst rating, "L - limited adult audience." They did not mention this or that there is also a separate rating for adults in general "A III - Adults." L states that some of the material is problematic. The reviewer did give the movie a good review as a whole, though. So I guess there are thinking people who work for the U.S. bishops.

An anonymous woman called the show to share stories of the all-girls Catholic school at which she works. The school has a lesbian support group which is sponsored by the guidance counselors. Lesbian couples have even come together to the school sponsored dances.

This is all great news. I wish this school could openly exhibit what they are doing, but any steps forward are good. Thank you, Drew. Thank you for reminding me that there a lot of good people in our church that are trying to make it better.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, December 22, 2008

Winter Liturgy

In previous posts, I have stated that there should be a greater diversity in liturgy such as before the Council of Trent. Someone had asked for an example, and I believe at that time I cited the Congregation of the Great Spirit (everyone should go there at least once, especially since it could close soon with it no longer receiving any Archdiocesan support).

Well, with a good foot of snow on the ground, I thought of another example. Michael Joncas' "Table Prayer: The Winter Name of God." It is always a joy to be at any parish or chapel that is using that sung Eucharistic Prayer. I can guarantee that that Eucharistic Prayer is not liturgical by Rome's standards, but it is a beautiful prayer. I see it as the Midwest United States' form of the Eastern sung liturgy. I free sample of this prayer can be heard HERE, it's number 60.

Merry Christmas!!!

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, December 15, 2008

Bishop Morlino to do One Good Thing

Robert Morlino, bishop of Madison, WI is going to hold a Mass for the unemployed. This is in the wake of a GM plant near Madison closing 2 days before Christmas. While I applaud Morlino for actually thinking about workers at all, his track record is as a bishop is pretty poor.

Bishop Morlino is supposedly an extremely pro-life bishop. He has urged his "flock" to vote pro-life is prior elections, speaking harshly against abortion, the death penalty, euthanasia. The one contradiction in all of this is the stupendous support he gives to the School of the Americas (SOA), the U.S. sponsered terrorist training camp for Latin American soldiers at Fort Benning, Georgia. He is, in fact, on "the board of visitors." Their job is to report to congress what a great job the SOA is doing. This unqualified support of the SOA is all the worse since he holds a Ph.D. in moral theology from the Gregorian University in Rome. This all makes me a bit suspicious of Bishop Morlino's intentions. This mass for the unemployed seems more like a PR stunt than a cause Morlino cares about. Morlino's past actions have never indicated a concern for the worker or the economy.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, December 8, 2008

Benedict Asks Theologians to Not be so Practical

Following a meeting of theologians at the Vatican, Pope Benedict reminded them that the main task of theologians is to explore the truths of revelation, not necessarily their practical applications. That seems a rather odd thing to say. What is the point of theology if it cannot relate to our practical lives. The only logical explanation to this exhortation is that the practical applications of our theological truths often are at odds with hierarchical Church teaching. If the practical only agreed with hierarchical Church teaching, I do not think Benedict would be saying this. He also stressed that these expositions on the truth should lead to obedience to the faith, I agree. The meeting at which he spoke was releasing a document on natural law, the belief that all human beings have access to the basic religious and practical truths revealed by God. This would seem to have practical consequences for dialogue with other religions... I'm getting mixed messages.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, December 1, 2008

Advent in the Midst of Wintertime

Another Church year began with the first Sunday of Advent. Snow is gently falling throughout the Milwaukee Archdiocese. That is very appropriate, considering the name of this blog, Catholic Wintertime in Milwaukee. We await new birth and new life in our world, and especially in our Church. We need a vision that is honest and genuine. That is not the case regarding the response of the Archdiocese to the upcoming child-abuse lawsuits. Every word from the Archdiocese has obviously been filtered through a lawyer to make sure that they do not say anything that will cost them money. That will not promote reconciliation, which is arguably the hallmark of Jesus' ministry.

Then there is the Archdiocesan capital campaign that is going on. All that money is flowing to a special account that will be protected from sexual abuse lawsuits. It all feels very dirty. This is one of those instances where the hierarchical magisterium seems more concerned over money than the people of the diocese, their supposed flock. So I will begin this new year hoping that we can move to a more genuine place as a Church and leave this wintertime behind us.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, November 24, 2008

John Paull II vs. Paul VI

TB made a comment on my last entry:

"In F.C.'s first post on this blog, he traced his claimed "Catholic Wintertime" to bishops appointed by Pope John Paul II. Seems to follow that his claimed "Catholic Wintertime in Milwaukee" would be preceded by what he'd view as sunnier times with an archbishop appointed by an earlier pope."

While there are obviously faults with bishops chosen by Paul VI, overall I would say that they were more thinking bishops. One need only compare a homily from Weakland and Dolan to get the gist of what I am saying. The former homily has depth, the latter homily is usually shallow. And Dolan is a smart guy, but he did not get where he is at by being smart. He got to where he is at by being social and following the JPII party line. There is an air of sophistication around Weakland that makes his failings that much more miserable to hear about. I held him in higher regard than that.

One last point. It was the Paul VI bishops of the 80's that addressed issues of abortion, economics, peace, etc. It is the bishops of JP II that address the issues of abortion... oh wait... that's it. And that's pretty sad. I do not think they are smart or capable enough as a whole to handle these other issues.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, November 17, 2008

Archbishop Weakland Reassigned Abusive Priests

In case anyone has not seen it, excerpts of Milwaukee's retired Archbishop Weakland's deposition about knowingly reassigning abusive priests is on the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. It's pretty depressing. Current Archdiocesan spokesperson Jerry Topczewski stated in response to the deposition, "Archbishop Weakland is able to comment on what he knew, but many if not all of those involved in these cases are dead." The implication I get is that things could be much worse than what Weakland stated.

A few comments. This is the first bishop's deposition that I have seen without a lawyer. In Cardinal Mahoney's deposition, his lawyer whispered in his ear before he would give any answer. Also, as SNAP stated, Weakland has been more candid in his responses than any bishop previously. With my bias that Weakland is basically a good man, I can only imagine what occurred in the rest of the country. I think we get a taste of it in the documentary, "Deliver Us From Evil," where Mahoney reassigned a priest to another municpality who had been arrested after telling the D.A.'s office that he would never be in ministry again to avoid prosecution of the priest.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Fr. Roy Bourgeois Facing Excommunication




I'm Sorry for the long post, but below is a letter that Fr.
Roy has sent to the CDF. It is followed by names of
addresses where support to Fr. Roy can be sent.

A Faithful Catholic


Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903
November 7, 2008


TO THE CONGREGATION FOR THE DOCTRINE OF THE FAITH,
THE VATICAN


I was very saddened by your letter dated October 21,
2008, giving me 30 days to recant my belief and public
statements that support the ordination of women in our
Church, or I will be excommunicated.


I have been a Catholic priest for 36 years and have a deep
love for my Church and ministry.


When I was a young man in the military, I felt God was
calling me to the priesthood. I entered Maryknoll and was
ordained in 1972.


Over the years I have met a number of women in our Church
who, like me, feel called by God to the priesthood. You,
our Church leaders at the Vatican, tell us that women
cannot be ordained.


With all due respect, I believe our Catholic Church's
teaching on this issue is wrong and does not stand up to
scrutiny. A 1976 report by the Pontifical Biblical
Commission supports the research of Scripture scholars,
canon lawyers and many faithful Catholics who have studied
and pondered the Scriptures and have concluded that there
is no justification in the Bible for excluding women from
the priesthood.


As people of faith, we profess that the invitation to the
ministry of priesthood comes from God. We profess that God
is the Source of life and created men and women of equal
stature and dignity. The current Catholic Church doctrine
on the ordination of women implies our loving and all-
powerful God, Creator of heaven and earth, somehow cannot
empower a woman to be a priest.


Women in our Church are telling us that God is calling
them to the priesthood. Who are we, as men, to say to
women, "Our call is valid, but yours is not." Who are we
to tamper with God's call?


Sexism, like racism, is a sin. And no matter how hard or
how long we may try to justify discrimination, in the end,
it is always immoral.


Hundreds of Catholic churches in the U.S. are closing
because of a shortage of priests. Yet there are hundreds
of committed and prophetic women telling us that God is
calling them to serve our Church as priests.


If we are to have a vibrant, healthy Church rooted in the
teachings of our Savior, we need the faith, wisdom,
experience, compassion and courage of women in the priesthood.


Conscience is very sacred. Conscience gives us a sense of
right and wrong and urges us to do the right thing.
Conscience is what compelled Franz Jagerstatter, a humble
Austrian farmer, husband and father of four young children,
to refuse to join Hitler's army, which led to his execution.
Conscience is what compelled Rosa Parks to say she could no
longer sit in the back of the bus.

Conscience is what compels women in our Church to say they
cannot be silent and deny their call from God to the
priesthood.

Conscience is what compelled my dear mother and father,
now 95, to always strive to do the right things as faithful
Catholics raising four children. And after much prayer,
reflection and discernment, it is my conscience that compels
me to do the right thing. I cannot recant my belief and
public statements that support the ordination of women in
our Church.


Working and struggling for peace and justice are an
integral part of our faith. For this reason, I speak out
against the war in Iraq. And for the last eighteen years,
I have been speaking out against the atrocities and
suffering caused by the School of the Americas (SOA).


Eight years ago, while in Rome for a conference on peace
and justice, I was invited to speak about the SOA on
Vatican Radio. During the interview, I stated that I could
not address the injustice of the SOA and remain silent
about injustice in my Church. I ended the interview by
saying, "There will never be justice in the Catholic Church
until women can be ordained." I remain committed to this
belief today.


Having an all male clergy implies that men are worthy to
be Catholic priests, but women are not.


According to USA TODAY (Feb. 28, 2008) in the United States
alone, nearly 5,000 Catholic priests have sexually abused
more than 12,000 children. Many bishops, aware of the abuse,
remained silent. These priests and bishops were not
excommunicated. Yet the women in our Church who are called
by God and are ordained to serve God's people, and the
priests and bishops who support them, are excommunicated.


Silence is the voice of complicity. Therefore, I call
on all Catholics, fellow priests, bishops, Pope Benedict XVI
and all Church leaders at the Vatican, to speak loudly on
this grave injustice of excluding women from the priesthood.


Archbishop Oscar Romero of El Salvador was assassinated
because of his defense of the oppressed. He said, "Let
those who have a voice, speak out for the voiceless."


Our loving God has given us a voice. Let us speak clearly
and boldly and walk in solidarity as Jesus would, with the
women in our Church who are being called by God to the
priesthood.


In Peace and Justice,
Rev. Roy Bourgeois, M.M.
PO Box 3330, Columbus, GA 31903


++++++++++

ACTIONS TO SUPPORT - Rev. Roy Bourgeois - 11/08

Below are addresses to write support for Fr. Roy and to
ask that he not be excommunicated. Petitions are also
appropriate.


Please write or fax or email to Pope Benedict XVI, and/or
the Pope's Ambassador to the U.S., the Apostolic Nuncio,
and/or the Congregation for Doctrine of Faith, the group
that is moving toward excommunication of Fr. Roy Bourgeois,
and/or The leaders of the Maryknoll Order. Their
addresses are below.


Please send a cc of any message or petitions you send to:
Bill Quigley – Attorney for Fr. Roy
7214 St. Charles Avenue, Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118 or
duprestars@yahoo.com



ADDRESSES TO WRITE:

Pietro Sambi, Apostolic Nuncio
3339 Massachusetts Avenue, N.W, Washington, DC, USA
Telephone: (202) 333-7121
Fax: 337-4036


Pope Benedict XVI
00120 Via del Pellegrino
Citta del Vaticano, Europe
The Pope's email address (for English correspondence) is:
benedictxvi@vatican.va
FAX from USA:
011-39-06698-85378


Congregation for Doctrine of Faith
Piazza del S. Uffizio, 11,
00193 Roma, Italy
Telephone: 06.69.88.33.57; 06.69.88.34.13
Fax: 06.69.88.34.09


Superior General, John Sivalon at jsivalon@maryknoll.org
and to the three-member Maryknoll Council at
mklcouncil@maryknoll.org and/or fax to 914-944-3600
Write to: Maryknoll Council P.O. Box 303
Maryknoll, NY 10545


Again, please send a cc of your message to
Bill Quigley – Attorney for Fr. Roy
7214 St. Charles Avenue, Box 902
New Orleans, LA 70118
duprestars@yahoo.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Abortion vs. Economy

The day of the election, Bishop John H. Ricard of the Diocese of Pensacola-Tallahassee sent Vice-Presidential candidate Joe Biden an open letter to examine his conscience before receiving communion. His impetus for sending this letter was that at one point Biden campaigned and went to Mass in his diocese. If you check out the front page of the diocese's website, one will find the letter, but nothing about the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Once again, the American bishops are showing themselves to be a one-issue episcopate that is failing to make use of a vast treasury of Catholic social teaching that could be helpful in rebuilding the economy. The bishops could find themselves an important and needed player on the national scene. They could use the economy as a stepping stone to rebuild their credibility with the American people, but instead they simply harp on an issue that concerns sexuality. And believe me, the average American could care less about what the bishops think regarding that issue.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Apostles Mary and Mary

There was a comment on my blog last week about how Jesus only chose men to be apostles, so only men may be priests. He may not know that apostle simply means one who is sent. That is why Paul was considered an apostle and in his letters we see that women also were "sent" to spread the word about Jesus.

We also have early in our tradition, Mary Magdalene, referred to as the Apostle to the Apostles. And anyone familiar with Catholic art has seen the painting of the Holy Spirit descending at Pentecost with Mary at center-stage. Two stunning examples of women carrying the torch of the Jesus movement after the resurrection.

This blogger may not be aware that in the early church, there were no seminaries and no pope and that Jesus did not appoint priests. We know from Luke's Gospel that many wealthy women traveled with him that may have gone on to become priests in light of the resurrection.

While our Catholic bishops may be heirs to the apostles, they heirs to their message. Their roles are very different. The bishops represent the overseers/episkopoi that the Apostles, both men and women, put in place in the communities that they founded. And chances are, if men and women founded these communities, they were celebrants at Mass.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, October 27, 2008

Catholic Church Takes Another Step Towards Women's Ordination

The Synod of Bishops that recently met in Rome to discuss the Bible voted 191 to 45 in favor of officially installing women as lectors. In the 1970's, Paul VI opened this up to lay men, but excluded women because it had traditionally been a step for seminarians on their path to ordination. While I'm not under the delusion that most of these bishops support women's ordination, I think that this is a step in the right direction. I'm not aware of any diocese that installs laymen as lectors because it would be demeaning for the women who could not be installed.

Technically, lay people that read the Scriptures at mass are temporary lectors, which is why they can read without being installed. While the bishops made this recommendation to the pope, it is in Benedict's court if he will act on it. In either case, I think it is positive news that the bishops gathered in Rome realize the hypocracy of only allowing men to be installed as lectors. Hopefully, this is another step towards realizing the hypocracy of not ordaining women.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bishop Oblivious to Church Teaching

Many of the US bishops seems to be up-to-date on magisterial teaching on gays and abortion, but in these hard economic times, Bishop Joseph F. Martino of Scranton, Pa., is following Wal-Mart's lead by union-busting.

Even though the right of workers to organize is clearly spelled out in Leo XIII's Rerum Novarum, John XXIII's Pacim in Terris, and numerous documents of John Paul II, Martino has refused to recognize his teacher's union, which had been recognized by bishops in Scranton for over 30 years. And to add insult to injury, the Vatican Congregation for Catholic Education, which the group had appealed to, responded by saying that Martino did not break canon law. If that is not a sign of the legalism which infects our Catholic Church, then we need a new definition for legalism. It's simply shameful.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, October 13, 2008

The Economics of Gays


Open any newspaper almost anywhere in the world and the big topic and worry of the day is the economy. But what seems to be really worrying some Connecticut bishops is gay marriage. You would think at a time when this world is possibly having the worst economic meltdown in its history, that bishops might choose to address that issue. Other than gay marriage, which is a good thing (because marriage is a good thing), our world's capitalistic system seems to be a having a meltdown. This would seem the perfect time for pope and bishops to be chiming in with their words of wisdom regarding the evils of capitalism and how this could be an opportunity for real change. Instead, the hierarchy is eerily silent (maybe they are only really good at talking about abortion and gay marriage) at this time when rethinking our economic system is perhaps more in order than throwing trillions of dollars at it on a global scale.


A Faithful Catholic

Monday, October 6, 2008

Not Much to Celebrate 40 Years Later


According to Catholicnews.com, Benedict gave an address to an international congress in Rome dedicated to celebrating Humanae Vitae - the birth control encyclical. Benedict wants the clergy to find ways to make Catholic couples see the beauty of not using birth control and asked why so many people do not understand the papal teaching on birth control.

I think people understand it, it's just that the teaching does not make any sense. There is a fallacy here that Humanae Vitae represents what the church has always taught. Those like Augustine, thought that sex was always sinful, but that it was a little less sinful if the purpose was procreation. There is not a lot of beauty there. In the middle ages, there was finally a push to say that procreation sex was beautiful. In the 21st century, it is about time that we find the beauty in non-procreative sex - a beauty that Benedict, for some reason, has difficulty seeing.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, September 29, 2008

Tax-Exempt Churches

There was an interesting article in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel last Friday about West Bend pastor, Luke Emrich. He is pastor at New Life Church and as reported this morning in the Journal Sentinel, he endorsed John McCain during his sermon. If the IRS goes after his tax-exempt status for doing so, he plans on filing a federal lawsuit against the IRS. Not endorsing candidates has been a concession that churches have given for their tax-exempt status since 1954.

I have mixed feelings about the issue. From a Catholic perspective, since the church is the People of God, I think that it is better for parishioners to make up their own minds. On the other hand, I never understood why churches were tax-exempt in the first place. I realize that taking that tax-exempt status away from churches would put a hit on the parish pocketbook, but tax-exempt status forms a partnership with the U.S. government that could compromise a church's message.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Marian Myths... Part II

I stated last week that the Marian doctrines point to Christ and speak real truths about Christ and about our future. Christ is the one without sin who will free us from sin (Immaculate Conception). Christ is the one who is pure of heart who will purify our hearts (Ever-virgin). Christ is the one who by his very nature is in intimate union with God and will bring us into a fuller and more intimate union with God (Assumption).

I am not denying that the Marian doctrines are not factual. I believe that they are mythical and speaking of higher truths, not facts; but I could be wrong. I just do not think they are important enough to give unneeded consideration compared to the truths concerning Christ - Who is the Word who took on humanity; living, teaching, and befriending us; dying for love us; and continuing to live in a resurrection that has transformed his earthly body into a new body (just as our earth will be transformed into a new earth). This I believe with my whole heart, body, and soul. And I believe that this Christ is especially near to us as we gather for Eucharist and that he is present in our bread and in our breaking of the bread. These are the truths that matter and these are the truths that should be the foundation or correcting apparatus for all other Christian statements of faith.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, September 15, 2008

The Marian Myths

It is one of our Catholic "myths" that Mary was conceived without original sin and never contracted original sin during her life - the Immaculate Conception. There is also the "myth" that remained a virgin her entire life and that at the end of her life she was raised to heaven, body and soul - the Assumption.

In one sense, I do not have a problem with these myths since are all suppose to be reflective of the new humanity in Christ. Her myth represents all the best that humanity is called to be - free from sin, living in purity of heart, and spending eternity in the divine presence.

Throughout Christian history Mary has been referred to as the Christian prototype - the ideal Christian. My issue with this is that these myths have so often been taken literally. When people takes these myths literally, they seem to take on an importance greater than the doctrines concerning Christ. When they are taken figuratively, the can be used as a help to guide us to Christ and a realization that Christ is the end, not doctrines concerning Mary.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, September 8, 2008

First Gay Saint?

According to a Catholic News Service report, John Cardinal Newman is nearing beatification. Cardinal Newman had had a 30 year friendship with Father Ambrose St. John with whom he lived and is now buried in the same grave, but in a separate coffin in England. The Vatican has plans and has received permission from England to exhume his body and transfer it to the Vatican.

Peter Tatchell, a spokesman for Outrage, reminded all involved that it was Cardinal Newman's express wish to remain in England with his friend. Tatchell contends that Newman probably had a celibate gay relationship and that separating these two companians is comparable to desecration. Whether Newman was gay or not, certain Vatican officials are disturbed by the very thought. They are responding with such words as "rubbish," "horrendous," "nonsense," etc. There is a homophobia implied in all these responses that cannot imagine that any candidate for sainthood could gay. These officials needs a reality check. Using simple statistical analysis, it becomes obvious that there must be plenty of gay and lesbian saints.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, September 1, 2008

Bishops a Little Too Harsh on Pelosi

According to Catholic News.com, a number of US bishops are stating that House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi, misrepresented Catholic teaching on abortion. On Meet the Press, she stated that church leaders for centuries have not been able to agree when human life begins. Augustine and Aquinas can be given as easy examples to illustrate her point.

Certain bishops, such as Cardinal Rigali of Philadelphia, have responded that she "misrepresented" the church's stance on abortion and that abortion has been affirmed as a moral evil since the first century.

There is a bit of a disconnect here. While Pelosi is using a well-known bit of knowledge as a justification for certain abortions, she is not stating that Augustine or Aquinas saw any justification for abortion. Rigali even admits that these distinctions of when human life began existed for determining the property penalty for the abortion.

In truth, the bishops are not disagreeing with what Pelosi has said about "official" church teaching, they are simply using this opportunity to reprimand a politician for her pro-abortion stance. It would be refreshing to have bishops, such as Rigali, state this as their intention, instead of pretending to disagree with what she said. I know that these bishops are educated, but it seems at times they are more interested in getting in a sound-bite... like a politician.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

California Bishops Support Anti-Gay Sentiment

The California Catholic Conference of Bishops spoke out against a California Supreme Court ruling requiring a doctor to inseminate a lesbian. In this case, Guadalupe Benitez wanted to become pregnant so that she and her partner could raise a child together. Dr. Christine Brody told them that she does not perform that procedure for unmarried couples. A course at the time that this occurred, lesbians were not allowed to be married in California.

The bishops, in responding to this case, are decrying that doctors will be required to go against their religiously formed consciences in cases of artificial insemination. The contradiction here is that this doctor has no problem performing artificial inseminations (which is officially against Catholic church teaching), she just does not want to do it for a couple whose relationship she does not acknowledge. Dr. Christine helps families break Catholic sexual ethics on a daily basis, but the bishops do not express a specific problem with that; they have a problem with her denying this "sinful" procedure to lesbians. The California Catholic Conference is really embarrassing themselves.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fr. Roy Bourgeois Calls For Women's Ordination

Fr. Roy Bourgeois, best known for his work to close the School of the Americas, concelebrated and preached at the ordination of Rev. Janice Sevre-Duszynska on August 9th. According to the National Catholic Reporter, he met with his religious community today and received a "canonical warning" for participating in a women's ordination ceremony. His community has sent a report to the Vatican from whom he could receive a harsher penalty, but for now he is just receiving a warning.

Bourgeois spoke of his actions as an act of conscience. And like his actions towards the closing of the School of the Americas, his participation was a stand against injustice.

I applaud Fr. Roy's heroic stance that could affect his work against the School of the Americas. It resonates with King's decision to address the Vietnam War when others were concerned it may affect his effectiveness for civil rights. Thank God for priests like Fr. Roy who are willing to face repercussions from the United States as well as the Vatican in the name of justice.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

President Bush Makes Religious Freedom a Priority

I have been really impressed with President Bush during his visit to China. This past Sunday he went to church in Beijing, which was bold move in itself. Afterwards, he stated: "You know, it just goes to show that God is universal, and God is love, and no state, man or woman should fear the influence of loving religion."

As a Catholic, I am of course more aware of Catholic oppression in China, though countless religious groups face oppression. According to the Catholic News Service, there have been severe restrictions on unregistered clergy since right before the Olympics. Unregistered clergy and bishops are those who chose not to register with the government, which is the law, and face sometimes harsh penalties for doing so. Most of these unregistered clergy are concerned that if they registered with the State, that the government would try to compromise their ministry. In response to recent crackdowns, most clergy have left the Beijing area for the time being or are choosing to lay low. One bishop is under house arrest.

In spite of all of this, Bush seems willing to sacrifice good trade relations with China to emphasize religious freedom while he is there. This seems a bit out of character with his normal priorities, but better late than never.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Church Finances

In the last couple weeks there have been two Catholic parishes in the Milwaukee Archdiocese dealing with issues of financial indiscretions - St. John Vianney in Brookfield and St. Anthony in Menomonee Falls.

In light of this, Archbishop Dolan looks to be on the forefront in trying to ensure that donations from parishioners are used properly. He has stated that starting soon all the parishes of the Archdiocese will be audited on a regular basis. He already mails out regular Archdiocesan financial statements to the Catholics of the Archdiocese and parishes are now required to make parish budgets and year-end financial statement available to all parishioners.

According to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, the bookkeeper from St. Anthony's was stealing money by doing such things as overstating how much the parish was spending on utility bills, but I do not see how that would be possible if the parish had proper measures in place to ensure that no one had too much control over the pocket book. While requiring parishes to disclose their financial statements has been a good step, requiring parishes on a regular basis to have their books audited will close loopholes such those that were abused at St. Anthony's.

This is another example of how having the clerics of the Catholic Church held accountable to the laity will increase trust in the Catholic Church and make a better Catholic Church. Clerics were never meant to be accountants and making it the responsibility of the pastor to ensure that proper accounting procedures are followed will eventually result in situations similar to St. Anthony's Parish.

A Faithful Catholic

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Woman Makes Milwaukee Proud



Janice Sevre-Duszynska (pronounced sev-ruh duh-SHIN-ska) grew up in Milwaukee and will be ordained August 9th, 2008. She is currently a resident of Kentucky and will be ordained in Lexington according to an article in the Lexington Herald Leader.

Archbishop Dolan Helping Us Become More Inclusive

As anyone reading this probably already knows, it looks like Archbishop Dolan will be allowing a married man with children to serve at a parish in this Archdiocese who was formally a Lutheran pastor and is now a Catholic priest. Fr. Michael Scheip is a father in more than one way since he has adolescent and adult children.

Before this news broke, I had been thinking that perhaps I have been too hard on Dolan in my blog at times. He is not perfect and has made a few big mistakes (i.e. lying about keeping St. Francis Seminary open). But even though he is more conservative, he has not pushed this conservatism done the throats of everyone in Milwaukee. To some extent, the new GIRM (liturgical norms) was only implemented as much as priests and parishioners wanted to implement them. I am not aware of him cracking down on more liberal parishes.

And while I do not believe there is any real comparison, Pope John XXIII was definitely a conservative cleric who allowed the gifts of the Spirit to move where they please. I was very impressed earlier this year when Dolan had Fr. Bryan Massingale as a guest on his TV show. Massingale is known for his progressive views that differ from the Archbishop's, but I think Dolan recognizes when he has a gifted priest in his midst.

And now Dolan is allowing a married priest to serve in a parish in the Archdiocese. Bravo. Even if he states that this move has nothing to do with moving towards a future where cradle Catholics can become married priests, try telling that to the Catholics who will moved by the ministry of married Fr. Michael Scheip.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, July 21, 2008

Burke Given a Desk Job


Maybe I'm being overly optimistic about Benedict, but I have the feeling that part of the reason for Archbishop Burke's appointment as Prefect of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature at the Vatican is to get him out of the spotlight. Seriously, what harm can he actually do as in this position? This court mostly handles marriage cases, which will probably be pretty clear cut from a canon law point of view.

Benedict may have his strong conservative opinions, but he does not appear to be the persecutor that John Paul II made him out to be. Benedict does not want the Catholic Church viewed as a persecutor church, such as Burke was doing in St. Louis and making national headlines in his wake. Benedict is the type of bishop who meets with Hans Kung. Benedict is more of a bridge-builder than a bridge-destroyer. So perhaps I am mistaken, but I think that Benedict had enough of reading Burke headlines in the NY Times and decided to give him a desk job would he can no longer to any real harm.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, July 14, 2008

Anglicans Get There First... Again


As reported on the Anglican Communion Website, women will be admitted as bishops within the Anglican communion. There will be provisions set up to work with those who would be averse to having a woman bishop, but not all the details have been ironed out yet. According to Timesonline, 1300 clergy had threatened to leave if this happened, but how many will follow through on that threat remains to be seen.

In 1930 at the Anglican Lambeth Conference, the Anglican Communion began to sanction the use of birth control as moral in certain situations. At Vatican II, one of the main reasons against the use of birth control was that it would mean the Anglicans had been right for over 30 years.

The commission set up by John XXIII and Paul VI to condemn birth control was swayed by the arguments of others and felt that Paul VI should change the Catholic Church's current teaching, but he dropped the ball on this issue in Humanae Vitae and never wrote another encyclical afterwards. I'm not sure when, but I'm sure that one of these days our Catholic Church will catch up to the Anglican Communion on these issues.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, July 7, 2008

Indulgences Won't Go Away

According to a Vatican decree signed by Cardinal Stafford and Bishop Girotti, the upcoming World Youth Day in Australia will provide Catholics with the opportunity to receive indulgences. Plenary indulgences (complete remission of sin for the moment) will be granted to those who come to the youth day in a spirit of pilgrimage. Partial indulgences will be available for those you pray for a good outcome from the day.

I cannot understand why the Vatican continues to make indulgences available. They will not allow communal absolution, but will allow what is the equivalent of absolution for those attending the youth day. Ergo, if a bomb dropped on them during that day, they would all go straight to heaven. This is simply bad theology and represents the superstitious portion of Catholic thought.

I think indulgences come from the good intention of explaining how our actions are an important aspect of our faith and relationship with God, but this is an embarrassment that is more comparable to a magic show than religion.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, June 30, 2008

"Intrinsic Evil" Is Not Worse Than "Regular" Evil

I have noticed in comments on this blog and places like "Relevant" Radio, that many people have a bias which states: "Intrinsic evil is worse than regular evil." "If you only have a choice between intrinsic evil and another evil, choose the other evil." "Vote for pro-life candidates because abortion is an intrinsic evil and war could be okay sometimes."

I must admit that I am not a big believer in intrinsic evils. I think there are actions that appear to have no situation in which they could be permissible, but like Thomas Aquinas, I do not believe in intrinsic evils, per se, where the circumstances are never considered.

In any case, I think there is a gross misunderstanding of intrinsic evil as it is understood by many Catholics. ALL INTRINSIC EVIL MEANS IS THAT ONE NEED NOT CONSIDER THE SITUATION. IT IS NOT MORE WRONG THAN A REGULAR EVIL WHERE YOU CONSIDER THE SITUATION.

A case in point: Masturbation is an intrinsic evil by Church standards. It's wrong in all circumstances. The scourging an innocent man (such as Jesus) is not an intrinsic evil, but I think you would be hard pressed to find a moral theologian (who believes masturbation is sinful) who would say the former is a worse act because it is an intrinsic evil.

Something that is intrinsically evil could be worse than a "normal" sinful act, but the fact that it is "intrinsically" evil should not be used as the reason for it being worse. It's just bad theology.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, June 23, 2008

Mass Attendence Down 22% In 5 Years

As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel this morning, Mass attendance has dropped from 212,300 to 165,100 over the last five years. That's a drop of over 22% over the time that Archbishop Dolan has been here. Do I think Dolan is the cause? Probably not. Your average Catholic in the pews likes Dolan, but not because of his theological views; they like him because he seems down to earth and has a gregarious personality.

Is this Weakland's fault? I don't see how. He hasn't been Archbishop for six years. Maybe the sexual abuse crisis is part of the reason. Or maybe part of the reason is "orthodoxy fatigue." By orthodoxy fatigue, I mean that I think many Catholics have become sick of the communion wars, and the church's continued harsh line on contraceptives, gays, women priests, etc. I think many Catholics are sick of a church that seems to value the arguments against women & married priests and the like as more important that keeping their parishes open and the preaching of the Gospel message. More than 60 parishes have merged or closed in Milwaukee since in the late 1990's. I think this issue is bigger than "should we blame Dolan or Weakland?"

An orthodoxy fatigue was also the reason for the Pietist movement in the late 17th century. People were sick of the wars (literally) in the name of orthodoxy and began to value individual spirituality over orthodoxy. That sounds pretty similar to the sentiment of many Catholics and ex-Catholics today.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Vatican Gives St. Pius More Love...


According to Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos
, Benedict would like every Catholic parish in the world to celebrate the Tridentine Mass. It's hard to say whether Hoyos, who is President of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei, is being accurate, or bending the truth because of this love of the Latin Mass. It is his job to reach out to the likes of the St. Pius X Society that have problems not only with the vernacular liturgy, but also with the Catholic Church's new found ecumenism after Vatican II. In any case, until the Pope himself says something, it's possible that Hoyos may be getting a little overzealous in his job and misinterpreting "available" to every parish that wants it to "should be" in every parish period.

In truth, I have no problem with the Latin Mass being celebrated where a parish wants it to be celebrated, I just wish the Vatican and Benedict would have the same respect for those Catholics who want to celebrate a more inclusive Mass that does not insult the laity and treat them like children. Maybe we could call it Mass 2K or the Holy Inclusive Liturgy.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

The Proof is in the Sandwich

I guess that there is a Bill Maher movie coming out later this year on religion. It looks like it may raise some good questions about religion. I assume that Maher's face on the sandwich is suppose to signify the "Virgin" Mary being found in water stains in underpasses. Here is the trailer.

A Faithful Catholic

Cardinal Martini Calls for Women and Married Priests

As reported on Rentapriest, Cardinal Carlo Martini, who has been considered pope material in the past, has just published a new book in Germany, Jerusalemer Nachtgespr├Ąche (Nocturnal Talks in Jerusalem).

In his book, Martini asks that the Church reconsider the ordination of women and married men (I guess he didn't get John Paul's memo, see earlier post). He is very critical of a priesthood which demands celibacy for all. He views this as a charism not also always associated with the call to the priesthood. He also believes that the prohibition against condoms as set down in Humanae Vitae should be repealed and that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with condoms. He also speaks of his friendship with gay couples and how it has never occurred to him to condemn them.

Martini sound to me to be the perfect Cardinal, but maybe that's just me.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Communion Game

Here is perfect example of why the "Communion Game" of "Your beliefs are not good enough" is unacceptable. I've never heard of Douglas Kmiec before this morning, but according to Catholicnews.com, he has been refused communion by a priest for endorsing Barak Obama.

The Pepperdine law professor was an architect for the Reagan Administration's stance against abortion. In fact, he's well known "pro-lifer" who's been rather involved in the "pro-life" movement. The Mass where he was denied communion preceded a meeting of a California business group where he was the featured speaker. The priest took the opportunity to admonish him at the homily and then deny him communion.

This is simply the logical extension of this communion game where prelates decide that a certain Catholic's beliefs are not good enough to come to come to the Lord's table. Is our measuring stick for who can receive communion God's infinite grace or a certain clergy person's personal beliefs?

Friday, May 30, 2008

Vatican Issues Statement on Women Priests

According to Catholicnews.com, the Vatican has officially instituted penalties of automatic excommunication for those involved in the ordination of a woman.  I suppose they are hoping that the male bishops that were responsible for secretly ordaining female bishops will come forward now that they are excommunicated, but I don't think that that will happen.  

The significant thing here is that in 1994 when John Paul II released his letter stating that the issue of women priests was closed and no longer open to debate among Catholics, that many Catholics chose not to listen.  This papal teaching has been rejected by lay Catholics, lay ecclesial ministers, priests, bishops, and now the Pope himself.  Benedict has in one sense rejected this teaching by John Paul II by allowing the Vatican to put out this statement that will undoubtedly keep the debate alive and well.

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Michael Lightner Going to Newman Center


Fr. Michael Lightner, a priest of only three years for the Archdiocese, is being put in charge of the Newman Center at UW-Milwaukee. It's very rare that a priest would be given his own placement only after three years. Under normal circumstances, a priest would be given another three year term as an associate pastor.

Right now Lightner is finishing up his first three year term as an associate pastor at St. Francis Borgia in Cedarburg. It's been a rough three years full of rumors of odd conduct on his behalf. I do not want to perpetuate rumors that may be partially false, so I will not list them here. Suffice it to say that many parishioners at St. Francis Borgia did not like him. In his own farewell letter, Lightner states: "Some of you may be dancing because of this news." Really? That's an odd thing to write. He goes on to write: "I have to say the tough things you don't want to hear."

Its obvious enough that Lightner did not get along with a significant portion of parishioners, not just a picky few. And now the Archdiocese is sending him to the Newman Center where he will be in charge without any direct oversight. At this point there is nothing to indicate that he will not create a significant amount of inimical relationships there. This seems like a huge mistake. Lightner at the very least needs another parish placement. It will be very interesting to see what transpires at the Newman Center this year.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Audits for Every Parish in the Archdiocese


As reported in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Archbishop Dolan will be requiring that all 211 parishes in the Archdiocese undergo audits to protect the more than $198 million that are donated without restriction to these parishes every year. I must applaud Dolan for his proactive stance on the financial accountability issue. Since he has come to Milwaukee, I thought he has done a good job of reporting the financial status of the Archdiocese. I am also aware of the fact that the Journal Sentinel is correct in reporting that he has been thinking about doing this for quite a while.

So while I believe that this decision was not precipitated by the possible mishandling of money at St. John Vianney, the timing seems a little too convenient. But then again, if he was going to unveil this plan originally a month from now, why not just do it now instead. Bravo Dolan!

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 12, 2008

No More Communion Services in Rockville Centre, NY


Bishop Murphy of Rockville, NY, who as late at 1998 was advocating the readmission to ministry of pedophile priests in Boston as an aide of Cardinal Law, has ended the practice of communion services at parishes in his diocese.

According to his letter, bringing communion to the sick and homebound will still be allowed, but weekday communion services will be banned as of July 1st, 2008. I presume that if a priest calls in sick on Sunday, a communion service may be permitted for those who have gathered.

On the one hand, I agree with his reasoning that the reception of communion should not be separated from the celebration of the Mass. On the other hand, if the hierarchy is not going allow women or married priests in the near future, isn't it better to give people a taste of what is to come. As I commented on in another post, the priest shortage in the Netherlands has made communion services so common that parishes no longer differentiate between Masses and communion services on their published schedules.

So while it is good theology, I do not see it as practical unless Murphy is going to start advocating for women and married priests.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 5, 2008

Dedicated Spanish Catholics for Women/Married Priests


According to a recent study done by the Spanish magazine 21rs and as reported in English by Rentapriest, 67% of Spanish Catholics are in favor of optional celibacy and 49% are in favor of women's ordination. Regarding directives from the hierarchy, only about 20% felt these directives were necessary and tried to follow them. The young adults questioned would like to see the Catholic Church more open to dialogue and more committed to the poor.

For me, this is quite stunning news. I always figured that the Catholics who still go to church in Spain would be more conservative.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Young Catholics Know the Bible

A couple weeks ago there was a survey that made some news about Catholic beliefs. I thing that I found most interesting in there concerned one of the major difference between older and younger Catholics. Per Catholicnews.com:

Knowledge about the Catholic faith generally was higher among the older generations than the younger ones, but the survey found that knowledge of the Bible was higher among younger Catholics than their older counterparts.

I found that to be really good news concerning the future of our church. The old Catholics may know the catechism better, the young Catholics know our early Christian roots better. The dreams of Pius XII and the Second Vatican Council are making progress in this respect. There was a strong emphasis with Pius and the Council to get Catholics to start reading the Bible.

I would guess that the success for this in the United States has two primary reasons, a change from catechism-like homilies to scripture-based homilies (add to that religious ed), and the fact that we live in a very evangelical country where if our youth do not know the Bible, they'll be embarrassed by their ignorance to a degree.

My hope in all of this is that a future generation of Catholics who know the Bible will help usher in a reform of the Catholic church sooner rather than later.


Everything Seems Quiet


Everything has seemed rather quiet lately on the universal church level. There has not been any major shake ups from Rome recently. I haven't heard of any new major documents on the horizon insulting gays, women, the laity, etc. I realize that by posting this, something will come up very shortly. Maybe with the pope traveling and thinking about his summer vacation, things will slow down for a bit. Sounds nice to me.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, April 21, 2008

Bishops Might Be Partly to Blame in Sexual Abuse Scandal

Benedict commented during his visit when referring to the sexual abuse scandal: "Responding to this situation has not been easy and ... it was sometimes very badly handled."

I am assuming that he is referring to how some bishops in the United States "badly handled" the sexual abuse crisis. This slight acknowledgment that the bishops may have had something to do with the sexual abuse scandal, and not just a rotten group of priests is a step in the right direction.

But I also noticed how this sentence is in the passive mood and does not contain the word bishop.

With Benedict's meeting with victims of sexual abuse and his semi-acknowledgment that some bishops may have handled it badly, Benedict accomplished more good on this trip than I expected. At the same time, this is all a first step and a far cry from remedying the fact that bishops are given too much authority for which they are not held accountable.

Two of the biggest criminals are still at large: Cardinal Law at St. John Lateran in Rome and Cardinal Mahoney in Los Angeles. I believe that these criminals need to be removed from their posts before any real trust can be re-established.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, April 14, 2008

Milwaukee Archdiocesan Staffing Cuts


I decided I should have a real blog entry this week. Per the Catholic Herald, the Archdiocese of Milwaukee will be cutting 37 positions this July in order to help close the expected $3 million budget deficit for the coming fiscal year. In truth, I don't have much to say about it. It's a tough position to be in, and some sort of decision had to be made to balance their budget. It is a very sad day for the Archdiocese and I'm sure that Dolan did not make take these firings lightly.

The one comment I do have is about the restructuring that will be taking place. Also per the Milwaukee Catholic Herald, a new flow chart outlining this structure has been made public. The one thing that sticks out at me is that the position that was formerly "Vicar for Clergy" is now "Vicar for Ordained and Lay Ecclesial Ministry." I do not see how this bodes well for lay ecclesial ministers in the Archdiocese. My understanding is that the current vicar, Fr. Curt Frederick, is a very nice guy, but vicars change. And unfortunately, as with the Milwaukee police force ala Frank Jude, the interests of the old boys club often trumps those of people outside of the group. If a lay ecclesial minister has a legitimate gripe against a priest, I would assume that the vicar (who is a priest) is the person they are to contact. Will this priest, the vicar, always be willing to put things in proper perspective. It would just make a lot more sense to me to have that position held by a layperson. Expanding the vicar's job for both types of ministers does make a lot of sense on a flow chart, but I think this is a clear indicator that lay ecclesial ministers do not have a voice at the Archdiocese. It looks like this position has been created to give the Archdiocese an official arm with which to reprimand lay ecclesial ministers. I hope I am wrong, but it initially looks that way to me.

A Faithful Catholic

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Washington D.C.'s Papal Metro Commercial

On a lighter note this week, per the Washington Post, this papal bobblehead commercial to get people to ride the Metro for Benedict's Mass in Washington, D.C. was pulled for being offensive to the Archdiocese of Washington, D.C. According to a spokesperson for the Archdiocese, the offense was the fact that the bobblehead was an unauthorized toy and that it was "misdressed." The bobblehead was given a red skull cap instead of a white skull cap.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, April 7, 2008

A Couple Things to Make Benedict's Trip Meaningful

Upon further reflection, Benedict's trip could be truly meaningful if he used it as an opportunity to apologize for the sexual abuse scandal and announce that he was removing Cardinal Law from his prestigious post as rector of St. John Lateran in Rome. That will never happen, although it is at least in the realm of possibility.

The trip could also be meaningful, if he used this opportunity to state that it is up to the individual bishop if he wants to ordain women and married priests, that the laity in a diocese will have a choice in choosing their bishops, that Charles Curran should be given an open welcome to teach at Catholic University of America if he so chooses, etc., etc. These of course are the things that will never happen, but it's good to have dreams.

A Faithful Catholic

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Is Pope's Visit Meaningful?

In a week and a half Benedict will be making his first papal visit to the US. Does it really matter? I have stated in this blog that I believe Benedict to be a much better pope than JPII, but I don't see how this visit will make any difference to Catholic worldwide or in the United States.

I realize that for those who are big on all things pope, that this is a great opportunity to see him, but what's the point otherwise? I think the most meaningful papal trips of the last couple decades have been JPII's trips to Poland, Cuba, and Israel. For all my criticism of JPII, those trips meant something. They have a specific point. Other than it being a nicety, I don't understand Benedict's purpose in coming to the United States. A person checking out Catholic News Service's coverage of the pope's visit would think that the Beatles are coming, not the pope. I suppose I will decipher his reasoning for coming after his trip has occurred.

A Faithful Catholic

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Family a Starting Point for Christian-Muslim-Jewish Dialogue


As reported by Catholic News Service, Saudi Arabian King Abdullah Aziz believes there can be fruitful inter-religious dialogue between Christians, Muslims, and Jews. It is not often that one hears a Middle East leader speak of inter-religious dialogue between Muslims and Jews.

King Abdullah believes that the logical starting point for such a dialogue would be around such issues as family, morality, and the importance of religion.

The idea of such a dialogue is both welcome and haunting. It is welcome because it is truly wonderful to hear the word dialogue seriously used by a Middle East leader. It is haunting because the family values shared by the type of Jews, Christians, and Muslims that would come to that discussion table is not the idea of family that I believe to be fruitful or realistic. I think such an idea of family is not helpful and will only create a religious dialogue on a house of cards that cannot stand.

On the other hand, even if the house of cards would fall, the friendships that would be formed during the dialogue could contribute to a lasting peace in the Middle East and lay a fertile ground for an example of peace-making for the rest of the world. This is beside the fact that the Saudi Arabia government is renowned for some of the worst human rights abuses in the world. But then again, this could be an impetus for change. Godspeed.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, March 24, 2008

Easter Should be a Time for "Something New"


In 2004, Bryan Massingale, a priest for the Archdiocese of Milwaukee gave his "See, I Am Doing Something New: Prophetic Ministry for a Church in Transition" speech at the annual Spring Priest Assembly. His words are needed as much, if not more, today as they were needed four years ago.

Citing Walter Brueggemann, Massingale states that "the biblical prophets have a twofold task: first, in light of God’s word, to express the people’s deepest hopes and lead them to embrace God’s promise of new life." His speech then breaks into two parts: "I have heard the groans of my people..." and "I am doing something NEW..."

In the first section Massingale spoke of the "community's groans and giving it a voice." Priests have become "older, grayer and fewer." Many are sick mentally and/or physically. A sign that "all is not well." There is also "a desire for an honest discussion of the human sexuality of priests."

Among bishops, many "fear that they are becoming a little more than 'liturgical police' enforcing laws that they did not write, were not consulted about, and really do not agree with." Among the laity there are groans for "relevant homilies" and "collaborative relationships with priests and bishops." Because of these groans and many others, the prophets states that: "These things must end!" or "to put it bluntly, a particular way of being 'Church' is dying." The "all-male, mostly celibate priesthood" is declining, we're moving from a European church to a global church, there's a shift to female equality, there's been an increase in lay participation, and a rise in "Bible-based worship" among many other things.

In part 2, I am doing something NEW...

There two "dangers" or "temptations" that arise in "times of transition:" 1) "nastalgia" for the past or 2) "despair" for the future. Then Massingale comes to some very important sentences: "Brueggemann maintains that among the ways that the prophets pierced the veil of the community’s numbing despair and energized it with new hope was by offering symbols and images that nourished an alternative vision. In that spirit, I want to offer an image that speaks to me of hopeful endings and new beginnings: the image of hospice. I want to suggest that prophetic ministry today requires a “hospice” mind set and approach to priestly ministry. I believe that priests today are called to be hospice ministers for the Church. Hospices prepare people to face endings that are unthinkable yet inevitable . . . and thus also prepare people for new beginnings that are unwanted yet full of life."

"God will work a miracle, but not the one that we expect. I’m not entirely sure what this means concretely for the Church.... a hospice approach to priesthood means that we must help facilitate honest conversations of sadness, hurt, anger and even rage, for these are some of the inevitable and essential reactions to any transition or loss. A hospice consciousness requires that we recognize that not everyone in the Church will be on the same page in dealing with the stress of transition."

Massingale closes by saying: "The prophetic vocation is to help the community to accept a loss they cannot admit and to embrace a hope they cannot dare to believe. Prophets do this by attending to the present groans of the people and positing an alternative future vision. This, I believe, is the essence of being a spiritual leader in the Church during this time of transition."

Happy Easter from a Faithful Catholic

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Happy Easter!!!

May everyone who reads this have a happy and blessed Easter!!!

A Faithful Catholic

Thursday, March 20, 2008

An Apology to Bishop Callahan

In discovering that my last entry was incorrect, I sent the following e-mail to Bishop Callahan. I am choosing to leave my prior post up as a reminder to myself and others that I can make huge mistakes. This will be of no surprise to some of you.

Dear Bishop Callahan,

Perhaps you have heard about my egregious blog entry concerning you and extraordinary communion ministers for confirmation services (http://faithfulmilwaukeecatholic.blogspot.com/2008/03/bishop-callahan-turning-back-clock-at.html). I must sincerely apologize to you for this post on my blog. After talking to someone this past weekend, I thought that what I posted on my blog was correct, but I have discovered this was definitely not the case.

Dean Daniels, with Christian charity, pointed this out to me. I then revisited the person I had conversed with and discovered there had been a miscommunication, which is most definitely my fault. For even if this person misspoke, I should be much more careful before putting such an entry on my blog. So once again, I am very sorry.

I do not expect a reply from you, but hope that you can find it in your heart to not think ill of me.

In true embarrassment,

A Faithful Catholic

P.S. I refer to myself as a faithful catholic, but after this incident I feel much less faithful.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

An Idiotic Post From Myself*

*The following post is incorrect and totally wrong. It is only being left up as a reminder that to me that this blog and myself are far from perfect. As my above entry states, I am very sorry to Bishop Callahan for the content of this blog entry and for any person I may have misled to think that it was true. It's is utterly false and represents the nonsense that I sometimes type. The original factually incorrect text is as follows:

Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Callahan has made it known that he does not want extraordinary Eucharistic ministers at any confirmation ceremonies at which he is presiding. That's special church talk to say that he does not want lay people distributing communion. At each church at which he is performing the confirmations, he is requiring the host church to make sure there are enough priests present (otherwise known as ordinary ministers) so that only priests will be distributing communion.

This is a great insight into the theology of Bishop Callahan. The ordained are there to give... and the lay people are there to receive. This follows the "Theology of the Body" model laid down by John Paul II: men have a penis and hence are the active givers (like priests), women have a vagina and hence are the receptive passive receivers (like lay people).

Though I must admit that after listening to one of Bishop Callahan's homilies on the Archdiocesan website, I think he has theological and intellectual depth, I find his theology of the laity to be distorted, hurtful, and a basic slap in the face that does not properly account for the priesthood of all believers.

A Faithful Catholic

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

John Paul II Mockumentary on PBS


There was a documentary about John Paul II on PBS Channel 36 tonight, "Pope John Paul II: A Saint for Our Times." I could only get through 40 minutes of it before turning it off because it was complete drivel. The documentary reminded the watcher over and over again how saints throughout history have had quirks, doubts about God, etc., but never is there a single question about any decision or belief of John Paul II. They only interviewed people that seemed to believe he was Christ walking on water. John Paul II was apparently perfect like the Blessed Mother that he adored. In the forty minutes that I forced myself to watch, I don't think they mentioned Jesus once. Perhaps it should have been renamed: "John Paul II & Mary: The Perfect Marriage for Mariologists."

It really appeared to a cheap ploy by PBS to garner some extra money from a group of conservative Catholics. After the first 20 minutes, they cut to their pledge drive person asking viewers to be dedicated to PBS like John Paul II was dedicated to a holy life or some trite thing like that. This was one of the worst things I've ever seen on PBS. All in all, a very poor night for television.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

"Who Are the Church?" Is More Important Than "What is Church?"

Earlier this afternoon, the 2008 Pere Marquette Lecture was held at Marquette University. The speaker this year was Rev. Joseph Komonchak, a professor of Religious Studies at the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.

He made reference to "Responses to Some Questions Regarding Certain Aspects of the Doctrine on the Church" - the document released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) last summer in which the CDF stated that only the Catholic Church may be properly called church (see prior post).

Komonchak stated that this CDF document was based on an inadequate interpretation of the Vatican II document, Lumen Gentium 8, which states: "The Church of Christ... subsists in the Catholic Church." There are two complementary meanings in this phrase. The first is that the fullness of salvation is found in the Catholic Church as it is in no other church. Komonchak gave such examples as the unitive ministry of the pope, the sacraments, and the extra books found in the Catholic Bible to illustrate the greater variety of instruments available within the Catholic Church for salvation. The CDF document appears to pay attention to only this meaning of the Lumen Gentium 8.

The second meaning of "subsists in the Catholic Church," as the doctrinal commission explained to the Vatican II fathers who were voting on this document, is that "ecclesial elements of church can be found elsewhere" outside the confines of the Catholic Church. This is why Lumen Gentium 8 did not read "The Church of Christ... is the Catholic Church," but had been changed to "subsists in."

Komonchak finds the more important question to be: "In whom is the Church?" In whom is the faith, hope, charity of Christ most realized? In 1950 Alabama, that may not be the segregationist Catholic Church, but the integrated Reformed Church down the road. He cited similar statements regarding the greater importance of "Who are the Church?" from Ratzinger, Augustine, Aquinas, and Unitatis Redintegratio, the Vatican II Decree on Ecuminism. It was very good lecture.

A Faithful Catholic

Saturday, March 1, 2008

The New Donatists of the CDF


The Donatists in the time of Augustine created a stir by stating that sacraments performed by priests who had renounced the faith in time of persecution were not valid. As such, the "un-baptized" person, if they had received the sacraments of confirmation, marriage, or ordination, had not really received those sacraments either. They only thought they had.

A statement released yesterday from Vatican Information Services states that anyone baptized using the formula " I baptized you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier," or "I baptize you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer," has not only not been baptized, but in Donatist-style, has not received those other sacraments either.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) stated that the other formulae are not properly Trinitarian and do not "obey Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew." These arguments are quite weak. First, within Scripture we find innumerable names given to the persons of the Trinity. Does that mean those names are inadequate not only for baptism, but for using at anytime? In addition, God's infinite nature makes any naming of the Trinity grossly inadequate. Second, no serious scripture scholar really believes that Jesus literally commanded his disciples to baptize in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Jesus' followers discerned this after the resurrection, just as some of the today's priests and religious groups has discerned a different Trinitarian formula in which to baptize.

The US Bishops' Secretariat of Doctrine, Fr. Tom Weinandy, stated that unless there is a witness who is sure that the non-standard formula was used, "it is assumed they used the right formula."
Sounds like the US Bishops are trying to make some wiggle room of their own because of the possible blowback from the CDF telling people their baptisms and marriages are invalid.

A Faithful Catholic