Monday, May 25, 2009

A Priest Remembered for the Good Things

So often in the news it seems that if you see a priest listed with his picture in a prominent part of the newspaper, he is being accused of something awful. In last week's Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, there was a prominent article regarding an Appleton, WI born priest who was slain in Guatemala - Larry Rosebaugh. 74 year old Rosebaugh was murdered in a supposed van-jacking as he was traveling on a highway with four other priests. He, a member of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, was involved in the Milwaukee 14, a group of men who burned thousands of draft card files from the U.S. Selective Service offices in 1968 as an action against the Vietnam War. After serving 20 months in prison, Rosebaugh went on to serve as a missionary among the poor in countries such as Brazil and Guatemala. In any case, it is nice to see an article that lauds a priest for the good he has done in the world. There are, of course, many more good priests who stories never grace the pages of the local newspapers.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 18, 2009

Church, State, and Adoption

As reported recently on, six diocesan Catholic Charities expressed concern over upcoming changes to faith-based initiatives under the Obama administration and changes to states' rights for gays and lesbians that could allow them to adopt. They are now calling for conscience clauses to exempt them from actions they do not want to take. Although they have a right to voice their opinion, it seems that they have already sold their soul to the federal governement. In 2007, $9 million out of their $27 million budget, or 33% of their income came from federal grants.

I am of the opinion that they should not be discriminating against gay parents seeking to adopt, but in the end they need to make their own choice. If they really believe that something is morally wrong, they should risk losing the federal money and the legal right to run adoption agencies. That sort of action would show that they have integrity. As it is now, they want to receive $9 million a year and tell the government how they wish to spend it. Grants usually work the other way; when you take money from someone it usually has strings attached. I'd be a bit more sympathetic to their plight if they renounced the government aid.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 11, 2009

Weakland Book to be Released

Before the end of this month, former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland's memoirs will be available for purchase: "A Pilgrim in a Pilgrim Church: Memoirs of a Catholic Archbishop." I am very excited to get a copy. Supposedly, he had been trying to get this book published for years, but most publishers turned him down because they wanted a greater focus on his sex scandal. While I am sure that that will be interesting to read, I am more interested in his take of the goings on at the Vatican during the 1960's, 70's, 80's, and 90's. The book is supposed to be pretty honest and specific when it comes to names - none of "a certain cardinal..." I think it will also be fascinating to see how he went from being in the Vatican's good graces as a friend of Paul VI, to the dog house as an "opponent" of John Paul II.

Weakland's one terribly bad decision has tarnished his career, but hopefully this book can provide some redemption and solace for those of us that fondly remember all the good that he has done for the Milwaukee Archdiocese.

A Faithful Catholic

Monday, May 4, 2009

Teaching Moment on Eucharist

The Archdiocese of Milwaukee has stated that the swine flu problem should be used as a teaching moment on the nature of the eucharist...

When it comes to differences between Lutheran and Catholic doctrine, I almost always side with Catholic doctrine. The one exception is the understanding of the real presence in the eucharist. Catholic doctrine speaks of transubstantiation; there is a complete transformation of the bread and wine into the body and blood of Christ. The eucharist only has the accidentals of looking and tasting like bread and wine. Luther believed in sacramental union, in which the eucharist is still truly bread, but also truly Christ.

If we use Christ as the measure for this doctrine, he did not obliterate his humaness in becoming human. And even though in the eucharist, the divine and human natures of Christ are present, I do not see the need for obliterating the elements of bread and wine. It should be pointed out that Luther's view is not foreign to Catholic theology, it was taught by Dons Scotus in the Middle Ages as consubstantiation (the differences in the doctrines are slight). The Catholic doctrine on transbustantiation only became settled a issue in Catholic teaching as a response to the Protestant Reformation. If the Protestant Reformation had not occurred, who knows how our understanding of the real presence would have developed.

A Faithful Catholic