Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Catholic News’ Category

francis2

Why are we suffering again with this “he said” and “he did not say” business? Did no one learn a lesson from the earlier confused ramblings of this aging atheist who interviewed the Pope soon after the election? Does no one keep reliable transcripts or recordings? I had hoped the Vatican would learn now that the left-leaning publications are not to be trusted. They want scandal and will spin anything if it gets what they want, in other words, a diminished Church and lots of publicity and sales. I can appreciate that the Pope would call sexual abuse “leprosy in our house.” That is not surprising. But did he really say there were abusers among the cardinals? I really doubt it. They would have been expunged by now. It would signify the worse possible self-recrimination. Already the Vatican is saying the statement was inaccurate. In other words, the newspaper La Repubblica is LYING! Let us call it what it is. This being the case, why should we regard any of the rest as a reliable interview with Pope Francis?

Of course the damage does not end there. The paper’s founder Eugenio Scalfari offers the article as a “reconstruction” of his one-hour conversation with the Pope. This is the day of digital recording; why must we suffer inaccurate and controversial reconstructions? The Pope is quoted as saying, “Many of my collaborators who fight with me (against pedophilia) reassure me with reliable statistics that say that the level of pedophilia in the Church is about two percent. This data should hearten me but I tell you that it does not hearten me at all. In fact, I think that it is very grave.” The world press grabbed this statement and headlines blasted across the globe that two percent of priests were pedophiles or child molesters! While he probably meant throughout the whole Church, not just the ministries, what is the basis for such an assessment? Is it the statistical average in the world population, Catholic or not? I do not recall any polling or phone calls asking about orientation or perversions. Are these just made-up numbers? Again, if we knew for sure we had potential child molesters in the ranks of the priests, why have they not been removed? Are we just guessing that they might be there given past misconduct?

People are doing the math. As of 2012, if there are some 414,000 priests then at 2%, how many pedophiles does that make? The answer is 8,280! I do not believe it. I think the figures are mere conjecture. Seminary formation would have prevented many such men from being ordained. Others have already been ousted. I would contend that most priests today are no threat to children or other people at risk.

Again the Vatican issued a warning statement that Scalfari has a habit of reconstructing interviews from memory, not recording or taking notes. Why he is one of Italy’s best known Italian journalists is beyond me. It seems to me that he is highly unreliable. The Vatican is telling us that the newspaper is seeking to “manipulate naïve readers.” If that is the case, then why talk to this anti-Catholic newspaper, anyway? It makes no sense to me. These are not our friends. Indeed, it seems that both the Church and the truth are casualties to such interviews.

When recently talking to the victims of abuse, the Holy Father rightly spoke about this as a cause for weeping and how there was a real need for reparation. He compared predator priests to the evil of cults and black Masses. He vowed zero tolerance and that bishops would be held accountable for how the dealt with charges and situations. I would add that we must also be careful not to scapegoat the Church’s ministers as wicked and dangerous men. This would do a disservice to the many saints who sacrifice everything for God and his people.

SLATE: Pope Francis Interview on Pedophilia and Celibacy in the Church

WASHINGTON POST: Did Pope Francis Really Tell a 90 Year Old Atheist Journalist that 1 in 5 Priests are Pedophiles?

POST COMMENTS AT BLOGGER PRIEST.COM

Read Full Post »

Here is the HHS Compromise, be attentive because it gets complicated: “With respect to self-insured group health plans, the eligible organization would notify the third party administrator, which in turn would automatically work with a health insurance issuer to provide separate, individual health insurance policies at no cost for participants. The costs of both the health insurance issuer and third party administrator would be offset by adjustments in Federally-facilitated Exchange user fees that insurers pay.”

136009898198238

Since the Archdiocese is self-insured, this would in effect mean that some of our employees would have to be insured by an outside organization, either in whole or in part. Look at all the actors in this play: (1) the Church; (2) the third party administrator; (3) an outside health insurance issuer; (4) the federal government; (5) the supplier of services; and (6) the insured person. The user fees are essentially a tax to insure that contraceptives are free and to pay the third party administrator. What happens to the viability of the self-insurance program if people opt out for the third party insurer?

In any case, I still think people are going to pay more for heart and blood-pressure medicine to make up the cost for free contraceptives. What insurance company will cover just contraception, sterilization and abortifacients without funds to shift from other medical coverage? I doubt federal fees with be sufficient. It will be exploited. Is the Church still morally culpable if we collaborate with other agents in such a scheme? Are we culpable for money given to the government to pay the insurance companies to supply people with contraceptive services?

Given the intransigence of the administration with insisting that health care include free contraceptives, abortifacients and sterilization; I cannot say that I trust the latest offer of exemption to the Church and associated religious entities. It seems to me that religious liberty is still very much threatened. Remember, this is the same administration which sought jurisdiction over ministerial assignments; no doubt supposing that if they lost one ridiculous or outrageous battle, it would make churchmen more passive about what was viewed as a lesser campaign. I think they were genuinely surprised by men like Cardinal Dolan. Suddenly Catholic bishops had teeth and could bite back.

I suspect this newest offer is to convince the bishops of a need to see the dentist. The administration still insists that the agenda of Planned Parenthood will become the official policy of government. No matter how you spin it, that means a confrontation with the Church and the Gospel of Life.

I was amazed that some critics and churchmen quickly rejoiced and sang Hallelujah when the revised policy was announced. We must not return to a posture of passivity and ineffective opposition to Big Brother and modernity. More level-headed religious leaders argue that we need to look at this offer closely. It may be a trick. It seems to me, upon closer examination, that there is no miracle break-through or adequate accommodation. The shell-game continues.

The question proposed is this: can such a policy be mandated against Church institutions with religious and moral reservations? The response of the administration seems to be that some institutions have more of a claim upon religious liberty than others. If the previous offer only preserved such liberty within the walls of the churches, this new policy will only add the porch or parking lot. Churches, individually or corporately, are protected, as are religious orders, but the rest is still up for grabs. Again, this administration has a very narrow notion of what constitutes “church.” Ministries in the area of community service are understood entirely within the matrix of secular humanism. President Obama’s religious vision is wholly a horizontal one (earth-bound) with little or nothing of the vertical or transcendent. In other words, God made us— great; but WE make the rules.”

We still have a fight on our hands because of the indiscriminate outreach of our religious charities, hospitals and schools. This element of the policy has not really changed. Okay, even if self-insured, we would not be required to pay “directly” for the contraceptive coverage; however, we still have to find other insurers to dirty their hands for us. The cooperation with evil becomes more remote but they will still be our agents.

Throughout it has saddened me that we have stressed the religious liberty of the Church as an institution but not the same rights of individual believers and citizens. There is no exemption for them and their businesses. It is bad enough that pro-life groups, EWTN, the Knights of Columbus and others might be forced to comply; however, what about the good Catholic entrepreneur who bakes donuts or fixes cars or cuts the grass. There are no exemptions at all for them. I know, some will say that they could fight and pay out hard-earned money to litigate for themselves. But this is America, our rights are supposed to be guaranteed, not entitlements for which we have to fight and beg.

I bet if it had not been for the courts, we would not have seen even these concessions. No doubt the administration wants to promote a particular public perception: a liberal government wanting to dialogue about national healthcare and a backward-thinking Church wanting to deprive couples of pills and condoms. President Obama and Kathleen Sebelius know full well that many if not most American Catholics are out of sync with Church leadership and moral teachings. As in Maryland with the proposition for same-sex marriages, they hope to exploit this advantage and show that they are the true magisterium, not the ecclesial shepherds largely abandoned by their flocks. As much as the USCCB has sought to frame this debate under the banner of religious liberty and the First Amendment, the administration has been highly effective in convincing many people that it is about reproductive choices and health. God help us!

Read Full Post »

I would not argue against the desire for the Society of St. Pius X to preserve its identity, as long as such does not include a persistent and deliberate opposition to the rest of the Church’s self-understanding.

I would also not argue against the discernment of a silent apostasy to which we must respond. However, we must not be deaf to the loud or blatant rebellion and dissent from various members, on the right and left, that afflicts the institution founded by Christ. The greatest threat to papal authority today is not a strained collegialism but an arrogant disobedience. Given their continued participation in this assault, I am not optimistic that the conditions demanded upon by the Society will pass muster with the Holy See.

Despite the negotiations, reconciliation will not come by spurning the directives of the Holy Father while not budging upon their own obstinacy toward an authentic Ecumenical Council of the Church, Vatican II. Any such forced reconciliation would damage real ecclesial unity. While they speak of “canonical normalization,” they cannot even concur with the living Church over which Code of Canon Law actually applies and is in force. Despite their profession in the “monarchial constitution” of the Church under the Pope, they feel they still need a “deliberative vote” before deciding if they will listen to him or not. Is it not peculiar that they attack collegialism in the universal Church but demand upon it for themselves, even arguing that it trumps papal demands? That is certainly not my idea of ecclesial obedience.

I am also not blind to the possible shades of Father Feeney in reference to the Church “outside of which there is no salvation nor possibility to find means leading to salvation.” They are usually very careful not to associate themselves with these extremists, despite a shared affection for traditionalism. While the Church is certainly the great mystery or sacrament of salvation where we encounter Christ, this would seem to invalidate even the more restrained strands of ecumenism. The Church has affirmed that elements of Catholicism with which the Protestants absconded like baptism and faith in Jesus Christ still have some pervading value. While the issue is more complicated with Jews, we acknowledge that Christ is the fulfillment of the one covenant that God first established with them (Cardinal Dulles and Cardinal Ratzinger, i.e. the Pope). The Church is necessary for salvation because there is no way to the Father apart from Jesus Christ. The Church is his Mystical Body. Thus, both are one and integral to salvation. The irony is that if the Society refuses reunion then they will be condemned by their own definition as outside that visible body “by which the supreme power of government . . . belongs only to the Pope, Vicar of Christ on earth.” The only possible solution they might find for this conundrum would be the sedevacantism that some of them apparently have already embraced. Declaring the Chair of Peter vacant, they can define themselves as the true Church and appoint one of their own bishops as the Pope, or in actuality as an anti-pope. Given online sermons and writings from various of their priests, my suspicions are that a number of them will join the Society of St. Pius V in this regard. I hope I am proven wrong.

Further, it is one thing to say that we oppose the abuses from the nebulous spirit of Vatican II; however, they continue to castigate the council itself. As I recall, the Holy See implied that such would be a deal-breaker. It is certainly okay and proper “to uphold the declarations and the teachings of the constant Magisterium of the Church.” Vatican II must be understood or interpreted in light of the traditions and constant faith of the Church. However, instead of seeing continuity, they stress a break “in regard to all the novelties of the Second Vatican Council which remain tainted with errors, and also in regard to the reforms issued from it.” While it lacks certain specificity, this statement can readily be interpreted as a general repudiation of the Church today in all her elements from the catechism to the sacraments. Is this what they meant to say?

Only one of the four traditionalist bishops of the Society of St. Pius X has shown any real interest in the overtures of Pope Benedict XVI. Bishops Bernard Tissier de Mallerais, Alfonso de Galarreta and Richard Williamson threatened internal schism within the Society, warning that any agreement with the Vatican would result in surrendering the fight against worldwide apostasy. This is strong language, literally saying that contemporary Catholicism is a false religion. Indeed, when we look at a number of their priests and apologists, they slam the whole business as capitulation to “the Modernist Pope” and “the Modernist Rome.” Some of their sermons online and various writings go so far as to call counterfeit both the “Novus Ordo” priesthood and the “new” Mass. One writer claimed that since Cardinal Ratzinger was made a bishop under the new ritual that he did not share in the episcopacy and thus could not be a genuine pope. People like that will not want to “pollute” themselves with any association with the rest of us. There is a lot of wishful thinking, but after almost a half-century separation, many of them have gotten used to their independence. Slamming the rest of the Church and slurring the Holy Father, at least in sermons and in routine discourse has become second-nature. They do not seem the least bit afraid that they might be committing blasphemy against the Holy Spirit. Even Bishop Bernard Fellay has lamented this problem. It has become a habit hard or next to impossible to break. They will not reconnect with what they see as the enemy.

Pope Benedict XVI was very kind to lift their excommunication. However, I would not be surprised if Lefebvrites should invoke its reimposition. After all, they never actually acknowledged it anyway. All it would take is the consecration of another unapproved bishop. Such would force the Church’s hand. The Society itself seems aware that their current response will not suffice for Rome. Thus, they will not be coming home any time soon. While pledging fidelity, they are not going to budge until (in their estimation) the day comes “when an open and serious debate will be possible which may allow the return to Tradition of the ecclesiastical authorities.” In other words, they are saying that they are RIGHT and Rome is WRONG and that nothing will change until the post-Vatican II leadership gives in.

(Lumen Gentium) “Each and all these items which are set forth in this dogmatic Constitution have met with the approval of the Council Fathers. And We by the apostolic power given Us by Christ together with the Venerable Fathers in the Holy Spirit, approve, decree and establish it and command that what has thus been decided in the Council be promulgated for the glory of God.”–Pope Paul VI

Given in Rome at St. Peter’s on November 21, 1964.

I will now wait for hell to freeze over.

I do not think the devil will be wearing a coat any time soon.

Responding to the Pope, here is the difficult condition laid down by the Lefebvrites for reunion: “The freedom to preserve, share and teach the sound doctrine of the constant Magisterium of the Church and the unchanging truth of the divine tradition and the freedom to accuse and even to correct the promoters of the errors or the innovations of modernism, liberalism, and Vatican II and its aftermath.

Indeed, it looks like the devil is stoking the fire.

Archbishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller explains (July 20): “The purpose of dialogue is to overcome difficulties in the interpretation of the Second Vatican Council, but we cannot negotiate on revealed faith, that is impossible. An Ecumenical Council, according to the Catholic faith, is always the supreme teaching authority of the Church.”

Can the Society of St. Pius X Really Be Reconciled?

Archbishop DiNoia, Ecclesia Dei and the Society of St. Pius X

SSPX recognizes papal authority, hints discussions will continue

Eternal Rome vs. the Magisterium: A Contemporary Myth

SSPX Calls Vatican Recociliation Offer ‘Clearly Unacceptable’

Society of St. Pius X vs. Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter

Lefebvrians say they can only accept doctrinal preamble on three “conditions”

Vatican’s Doctrine Chief: Pius X Society Must Accept Vatican II Teachings

Read Full Post »

I am slowly deciphering some of the written materials left by the late Msgr. William J. Awalt. For review and comments, they are being posted at my BLOGGER PRIEST site.

http://bloggerpriest.com/category/awalt-papers/

Msgr. Awalt was the pastor of St. Ann’s Church in NW Washington , DC for just over 30 years, retiring in the year 2000. I was honored to preach at the Mass celebrating his 60th anniversary as a priest in 2007. His pastorate was marked by a deep devotion to the Eucharist and a never-ending preoccupation with preaching the Gospel and teaching the Catholic faith.

Read Full Post »

Given the importance of this matter, and how it is a special teaching moment, here is an article from the archdiocesan newspaper . . .

Incident at St. John Neumann spurs reflection on significance of Holy Communion

Special to the Standard

Recent news accounts have reported an incident at St. John Neumann Parish in Gaithersburg, where a woman was initially denied Communion at her mother’s funeral Mass (she did, however, receive Communion from a Eucharistic minister) and the celebrant did not attend the burial. (Another priest did preside at the graveside service.) In response, the Archdiocese of Washington issued a statement (below) and Auxiliary Bishop Barry Knestout, vicar general, personally contacted members of the family.

This is the statement issued by the archdiocese on February 27:

“In matters of faith and morals, the Church has the responsibility of teaching and of bringing the light of the Gospel message to the circumstances of our day. When questions arise about whether or not individuals should present themselves for Communion, it is not the policy of the Archdiocese of Washington to publicly reprimand the person. Any issues regarding the suitability of an individual to receive Communion should be addressed by the priest with that person in a private, pastoral setting.

“The archdiocese is looking into the incident at a funeral Mass that was celebrated by Father Marcel Guarnizo and will handle this as a personnel issue.”

This situation provides an opportunity to refresh our understanding of the Eucharist, its importance and the guidelines on how it is to be administered and received.

For Catholics, the Eucharist is the most important of the seven sacraments because we believe that through this mystery, we literally receive the Body and Blood of Christ. It is not just a symbol. Jesus is truly present Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity. It is an intimate encounter with Christ, in which we sacramentally receive Christ into our bodies, and become more completely assimilated into his.

Therefore, because the Eucharist is Christ himself, who is the center of all Christian life, the Church teaches that Catholics must be properly disposed to receive the Eucharist worthily. Catholics should examine their conscience and make use of the Sacrament of Reconciliation if they have committed grave sin before receiving the Body and Blood of Christ.

The following guidelines, issued by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, clarify how Catholics should prepare prior to receiving the Eucharist:

“As Catholics, we fully participate in the celebration of the Eucharist when we receive Holy Communion. We are encouraged to receive Communion devoutly and frequently. In order to be properly disposed to receive Communion, participants should not be conscious of grave sin and normally should have fasted for one hour. A person who is conscious of grave sin is not to receive the Body and Blood of the Lord without prior sacramental Confession except for a grave reason where there is no opportunity for Confession. In this case, the person is to be mindful of the obligation to make an act of perfect contrition, including the intention of confessing as soon as possible (canon 916). A frequent reception of the sacrament of penance is encouraged for all.”

The priest has an obligation to make sure that the sacraments are respected. Since it is difficult to know what is in a person’s heart, it is also important that when doubt arises regarding whether a person is properly disposed to receive the Eucharist, it is handled in a pastoral and compassionate manner, privately between the priest and the communicant.

The reception of the Eucharist is a blessing and a grace. We should receive Jesus with the intention of becoming more like him. No one is entitled to the Eucharist. It is a free gift that should be received with humility and reverence. It is also a sign of unity with the Church’s teaching on faith and morals.

CLICK for Guidelines for the Communion Line

CLICK HERE to see MORE COMMENTS AT BLOGGER PRIEST

Read Full Post »

Who is the architect of this fiasco with the HHS?

The buck stops with the President and the head of the department, which he appointed: Kathleen Sebelius. What is her background as a “Catholic”?

When she was governor, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City, Kansas told her that she “should stop receiving Communion until she publicly repudiates her support of abortion.” More recently, Archbishop Raymond F. Burke, former archbishop of St. Louis but now prefect for the Apostolic Signatura, the Vatican’s highest court, ruled that Mrs. Sebelius should not approach the altar for Communion in the United States. Despite pastoral admonition, she obstinately persists in serious sin and now she would entice the bishops and the rest of the Church to join her.

In 2008, Sebelius vetoed House Substitute for Senate Bill 389, titled the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act by its sponsors. Proponents of the bill claimed the legislation would strengthen late-term abortion laws and prevent “coerced abortions” particularly with respect to minors.

She has been given high ratings and endorsement from Planned Parenthood, the biggest abortion provider around. It has made a financial “killing” in destroying unborn children under the banner of women’s rights.

The administration was SHOCKED into making a compromise… not because religious liberty was esteemed as an important value in itself.

The Obama administration hopes that the U.S. bishops will accept its proposed compromise (February 10, 2012). However, while we are still awaiting word from our shepherds, I still have serious reservations. The administration was shocked that even liberal Catholic voices were joining the chorus in deploring the initial policy as encroachment upon religious liberty. It was certain that there would be no movement of the Obama Whitehouse away from the giving women free access to contraception. But as Republicans picked up on the issue, election strategists urged an immediate counter-strategy. The offer of a year of grace was insufficient. Is this the best for which we can hope? Might this merely be a ploy to defuse the situation while really changing very little? Catholic parishes, schools, charities, and hospitals should not be forced to provide birth control to employees since such would violate Catholic teaching against artificial contraception. That is the bottom line!

Even if the institution is protected; what about the rights of individual believers? What about individuals and organizations that are not part of the Church administration but are Catholic in values? EWTN, for instance, is a lay organization with a lay board.

The sentiments of Catholics and other pro-life Christians would not be respected by this change. The Church is more than the institution but is found in her membership. Their personal religious rights and conscience would not be respected. I know a doctor who runs her own practice and refuses to prescribe birth control. Now, she would still be forced to pay for it as a health benefit for employees! That is wrong and the Church needs to be a voice for people like her. Similarly, I know a man who refused to take a vaccine because there was the remote use of embryonic material from an abortion. He would rather close shop than add his money to the purchase of abortifacients.

The First Amendment protects not only the rights of churches but the individuals who make up those faith communities. Even if Catholics should themselves personally dissent, continued membership implies that they still respect (on some level) the teachings and the authority of the Church. I suspect that President Obama miscalculated in thinking that Church teaching was subject to polls or that liberal Catholics could force further passivity upon the bishops. This new measure might protect Church institutions and pamper dissenters, but it would hang faithful Catholic citizens out to dry. Their rights would not be respected.

Nothing has really changed, what we have here is only magical sleight-of-hand.

The revised rule says that religious organizations would not have to offer or pay for contraception. So far, so good; but then it stipulates that health insurers would have to take up the cost and provide it directly to women for free. Does this really leave the employer out of the equation? It seems to me that what we have here is a new version of the old shell game. Nothing is really free. The money is going to have to come from somewhere. What will happen is that premiums will go up and people will pay more for a sick person’s needed antibiotic to make up for a promiscuous woman’s contraceptive.

What about those dioceses which are self-insured? Would this force us out of the insurance business?

Another wrinkle, and I see this as very problematical in my own Archdiocese, is that we are self-insured. There is no absolutely independent insurance entity to which we can give the dubious honor of providing contraception. I suppose such a measure would also make it hard for practicing Catholics to function at the leadership level or as CEOs of insurance agencies.

Where do we go from here?

It is not clear to me that the Obama administration really wants to go to the bargaining table. However, the bishops have suggested that this newest offer is a sign that he is willing to make some kind of compromise. It is my interpretation and I admit to being fallible, that there remains a serious hurdle and that we must take to heart Archbishop Timothy Dolan’s remarks in The Wall Street Journal, “Coercing religious ministries and citizens to pay directly for actions that violate their teaching is an unprecedented incursion into freedom of conscience.” This really says it all and is the line from which we must not retreat.

The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has made this statement: “The only complete solution to this religious liberty problem is for HHS to rescind the mandate of these objectionable services.” The statement continues, “We will therefore continue–with no less vigor, no less sense of urgency–our efforts to correct this problem through the other two branches of government.”

We must urge Congress to pass the Respect for Rights of Conscience Act!

CLICH HERE to leave comments at BLOGGER PRIEST

Read Full Post »

Attached is a letter from Cardinal Wuerl to the priests of the Archdiocese of Washington.

It has been asked that we please bring this information to the attention of parishioners.

Recommendations were made for a bulletin announcement or information on the parish website, recommending that parishioners visit…

www.usccb.org/conscience

www.mdcathcon.org

…for details about the new federal mandate and how to contact Congress to support legislation that would reverse the administration’s decision.

On January 20, 2012, the United States Department of Health and Human Services with the approval of President Barack Obama issued a new federal mandate making coverage of abortifacient drugs, sterilization and all FDA-approved contraceptives obligatory for virtually all employers, including faith-based institutions.

What will happen if this mandate stands? Our schools, hospitals and charitable organizations will be placed in the untenable position of choosing between violating civil law and abandoning our religious beliefs.

There can no longer be any doubt that religious liberty in our country is in jeapardy. Only weeks ago, the Obama administration unsuccessfully argued to the Supreme Court that the government has the right to interfere in a church’s choice of ministers. Thankfully, the Court unanimously rejected this radical position. Undeterred, the government has advanced on another front.

Archbishop P. Broglio of the Military Services has sent a letter to those in the Armed Forces and their families, expressing similar concerns. He writes:

It is imperative that I call to your attention an alarming and serious matter that negatively impacts the Church of the United States directly, and that strikes at the fundamental right to religious liberty for all citizens of any faith. The federal government, which claims to be “of, by, and for the people,” has just dealt a heavy blow to almost a quarter of those people–the Catholic population–and to the millions more who are served by the Catholic faithful. It is a blow to a freedom that you have fought to defend and for which you have seen your buddies fall in battle.

We cannot–we will not–comply with this unjust law. People of faith cannot be made second-class citizens. We are already joined by our brothers and sisters of all faiths and many others of good will in this important effort to regain our religious freedom.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 137 other followers