Friday, April 30, 2010


This past Saturday, Bishop Slattery of Tulsa celebrated the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception. I was not able to see it, but many told me that the nearly three hour Mass was absolutely splendid as was the bishop's homily. One parishioner told me that since our parish has been celebrating the EF Mass, that it has helped her to appreciate and understand the OF Mass much better. She said that never in a million years would she have watched a three hour Mass on TV until she had her faith and understanding of the Mass strengthened here by our EF Masses. I have to say that the same is true for me as a priest. Celebrating the EF Mass has strengthened my faith and understanding of the Mass and affected the way I celebrate the OF Mass. What the Holy Father wanted in allowing two forms of the one Roman Rite has taken place in those who celebrate both forms, both clergy and laity, here in little old Macon, Georgia!

At the same time, the Mass is meant to propel the clergy and laity to live their Catholic lives in an ethical manner showing concern the needy and forming strong Catholic families and households. We are called to be pro-life in all of its aspects, to be politically engaged to bring the morals and ethics of our faith to the market place and to serve the needs of the poor, the dispossessed and disenfranchised. We are called to work with the widow, the orphan and the alien. Does your experience of the Mass in whatever form lead you to a radical Catholic life, or do you remain lukewarm or even cold and indifferent to the ethical demands of our faith?

Many people say that the EF Mass is too triumphalistic, complicated and opposed to what the Second Vatican Council envisioned for the Mass. Look at the five images below, two from the EF Mass in Washington this past Saturday and one from the recent Hollywood production of a Mass in Los Angeles and the other one from God only knows where. Which of these do you think is more "catholic" with a little and capital "c"?

You can't see Him, but Bishop Slattery is wearing the Cappa Magna, the red garment with the really long train. Now compare this procession with the video below and tell me which one is more dignified, less triumphalistic and in keeping with our long and venerable tradition in liturgy? Just tell me!

The High Altar of the Shrine, now seldom or ever used, a moveable altar closer to the congregation is now used for the OF Mass. I'm glad to see the "true" altar used and the movable one moved, hopefully to Alaska. There is absolutely no reason why the altar above is not the ordinary altar for the Ordinary Mass at this Shrine. It is a shame that it is not used!

Now compare this procession to the one below it, both are stunning in different ways!

Now, how about this procession! Is it noble simplicity, there's no cappa magna! So it must be! This procession is so much nicer than the one at the Shrine! NOT!!!!!

I guess you could call this "creative introductory rites" for the Mass, but at least the clowns aren't sitting on the floor surrounding the bishop like in that dreadful EF Mass! So nice! NOT!!!!!!

An finally, an email I received from a former parishioner now living near Washington, DC. He attended the Mass in Washington this past Saturday. It's nice to be affirmed now and then! Thanks Gregg!

Fr. McDonald

I attended my first Latin mass when you instituted pope Benedict's "motu proprio" at St Joseph. It changed my whole way of thinking about the mass and what we do there. As you say, it's not about the priest or the laity, it's about Christ and how we worship and respond to him. I think the Latin mass gives space for deep prayer and reverence to those seeking more traditional catholic worship. We should give praise for our tradition, after all it is one of the "pillars" of our faith. Thank you for all you do and continue to do to bring us closer to our Lord. I'm realizing how deep and rich our catholic faith is and how it includes all who seek the Lord.
As I left the basilica yesterday, I pictured the scene in Mel Gibson's "The Passion of the Christ" where the Devil is cringing after our Lord defeated sin for us. The entrance (magna cappa) by the Bishop was magnificent and awe-inspiring. And his homily was brilliant, strengthening and guidance for us all in this time of turmoil. I like how he stated "we have much to talk about", getting right to point. Following the order of the traditional Latin mass, orients us to Christ first by simple logistics then by humbling ourselves through deep prayer and giving thanks for the everlasting sacrifice he made for us and in my opinion, reverence in a deeper way that cuts to the core of our secular world. I think the pope knows what he's doing.
By now father, you probably know "I FOLLOW YOUR BLOG." I think it's fantastic and very informative. I love seeing and hearing about the on goings at beautiful St. Joseph. I hope I don't pester you to much with my comments, but I just can't help myself sometimes. You give me so much hope it spills out and I really do miss you all. I know I haven't done a very good job of staying in touch, but circumstances have changed with my job that I might be back in the middle Georgia area, hopefully! Well I had to write and let you know what a great day I had yesterday and what you've meant in the journey. Hope to see you soon.


Gregg Maskell

Thursday, April 29, 2010


The following long article from Commonweal Magazine is quite insightful and a must read! It confirms what we've been saying all along. The New York Times has become its own Church with its own Magisterium--godless secularism! The enemy of the New York Times and her Magisterium is the Roman Catholic Church.I personally think that their reporter, Laurie Goodstein should be removed from their ministry and defrocked!

Church of the ‘Times’


Kenneth L. Woodward

This article will appear in the May 7, 2010, issue of Commonweal.

The New York Times isn’t fair. In its all-hands-on-deck drive to implicate the pope in diocesan cover-ups of abusive priests, the Times has relied on a steady stream of documents unearthed or supplied by Jeff Anderson, the nation’s most aggressive litigator on behalf of clergy-abuse victims. Fairness dictates that the Times give Anderson at least a co-byline.

After all, it was really Anderson who “broke” the story on March 25 about Fr. Lawrence Murphy and his abuse of two hundred deaf children a half-century ago in Wisconsin. Reporter Laurie Goodstein says her article emerged from her own “inquiries,” but the piece was based on Anderson documents. Indeed, in its ongoing exercise in J’accuse journalism, the Times has adopted as its own Anderson’s construal of what took place. Anderson is a persuasive fellow: back in 2002 he claimed that he had already won more than $60 million in settlements from the church. But the really big money is in Rome, which is why Anderson is trying to haul the Vatican into U.S. federal court. The Times did not mention this in its story, of course, but if the paper can show malfeasance on the part of the pope, Anderson may get his biggest payday yet.

It’s hard for a newspaper to climb in bed with a man like Anderson without making his cause its own. Does this mean that the Times is anti-Catholic? New York Archbishop Timothy Dolan thinks it is—he said so last October in response to an earlier series of stories on clergy abuse. Whatever one thinks of Dolan’s accusation, clearly the Times considers sexual abuse committed by Catholic priests more newsworthy than abuse committed by other groups. An April 13 verdict against the Boy Scouts of America, which has struggled with the child-sexual-abuse issue for a century, did not merit page-1, above-the-fold treatment but rather a single paragraph deep inside the paper. A longer April 15 story about a Brown University student credibly accused of raping another student, an incident the university did not report to the police and arguably “covered up” at the request of powerful figures in the Brown community, appeared on page 18.

No question, the Times’s worldview is secularist and secularizing, and as such it rivals the Catholic worldview. But that is not unusual with newspapers. What makes the Times unique—and what any Catholic bishop ought to understand—is that it is not just the nation’s self-appointed newspaper of record. It is, to paraphrase Chesterton, an institution with the soul of a church. And the church it most resembles in size, organization, internal culture, and international reach is the Roman Catholic Church.

Like the Church of Rome, the Times is a global organization. Even in these reduced economic times, the newspaper’s international network of news bureaus rivals the Vatican’s diplomatic corps. The difference is that Times bureau chiefs are better paid and, in most capitals, more influential. A report from a papal nuncio ends up in a Vatican dossier, but a report from a Times correspondent is published around the world, often with immediate repercussions. With the advent of the Internet, stories from the Times can become other outlets’ news in an ever-ramifying process of global cycling and recycling. That, of course, is exactly what happened with the Times piece on Fr. Murphy, the deceased Wisconsin child molester. The pope speaks twice a year urbi et orbi (to the city and to the world), but the Times does that every day.

Again like the Church of Rome, the Times exercises a powerful magisterium or teaching authority through its editorial board. There is no issue, local or global, on which these (usually anonymous) writers do not pronounce with a papal-like editorial “we.” Like the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the editorial board is there to defend received truth as well as advance the paper’s political, social, and cultural agendas. One can no more imagine a Times editorial opposing any form of abortion—to take just one of that magisterium’s articles of faith—than imagine a papal encyclical in favor.

The Times, of course, does not claim to speak infallibly in its judgments on current events. (Neither does the pope.) But to the truly orthodox believers in the Times, its editorials carry the burden of liberal holy writ. As the paper’s first and most acute public editor, Daniel Okrent, once put it, the editorial page is “so thoroughly saturated in liberal theology that when it occasionally strays from that point of view the shocked yelps from the left overwhelm even the ceaseless rumble of disapproval from the right.” Okrent’s now famous column was published in 2004 under the headline “Is the New York Times a Liberal Newspaper?” and I will cite Okrent more than once because he, too, reached repeatedly for religious metaphors to describe the ambient culture of the paper.

The Times also has its evangelists. They appear daily as the paper’s columnists. Like the church, the Times historically has promoted its evangelists from within the same institutional culture. This assures a uniformity of assumptions only the Vatican and Fox News can trump. Even when the editors reach outside the corporate fold, as they must for columnists of even mildly conservative persuasion, they do not look for adamantine conservatives like George Will to match the heavy-breathing liberalism of Frank Rich and Paul Krugman. Culturally, conservatives David Brooks and once-a-week columnist Ross Douthat inhabit the same world as their liberal colleagues, though it must be said that Brooks and Douthat are the only Times columnists I can recall who welcome an expansive role for religion in public life.

At the Times, the public editor’s job is to examine the paper’s news stories for evidence of biased reporting and unwarranted narrative assumptions. (Would that Rome had ombudsmen—and ombudswomen—to represent voices not heard at the Vatican.) On this point, Okrent’s essay was forthright: it is one thing to provide a “congenial home” for like-minded readers, he observed, “and quite another to tell only the side of the story your co-religionists wish to hear.” On social issues like “gay rights, gun control, abortion, and environmental regulation, among others,” Okrent wrote, “...if you think the Times plays it down the middle on any of them, you’ve been reading the paper with your eyes closed.” And there was this: “If you are among the groups the Times treats as strange objects to be examined on a laboratory slide (devout Catholics, gun owners, Orthodox Jews, Texans); if your value system wouldn’t wear well on a composite New York Times journalist, then a walk through this paper can make you feel you’re traveling in a strange and forbidding world.”

Indeed, even read with eyes wide open, the Times is remarkable for what it systematically leaves out. In its annual Christmas list of the year’s most notable books, there is no category for religion, much less theology. A reader of the paper’s regular education coverage, not to mention its quarterly “Education Life” supplement, would never know that the New York Archdiocese runs one of the largest parochial school systems in the world. Or that the Lutherans, the Seventh-day Adventists, and Orthodox Jews also educate thousands of kids throughout the metropolitan area. In the secularist and secularizing world of the Times, only public schools and New York’s elite prep and nursery schools are worthy of the reader’s attention.

Every institution creates its own sheltering culture. The Holy See is larger, more complex, and much older than the Times, and the Roman curia is inherently more diverse than the newsroom of the Times, despite the latter’s periodic bouts of mandated diversity training. But as anyone who has covered the Vatican can tell you, its institutional culture is also inherently traditional, conservative, and self-protective. It is, after all, the last functioning Renaissance court.

As U.S. newspapers go, the Times is also a venerable institution and its hierarchy of editors, deputy and assistant editors, and copyeditors is a match for the Roman curia. The paper has been controlled by the Ochs-Sulzberger family since 1896. To those who devote their lives to it, the Times has become “a place that will shelter you the rest of your life,” as Arthur Gelb wrote in his detailed memoir, City Room. I know what he means: Newsweek in the nearly four decades I worked there was also a sheltering institution. Moreover, with reporting flowing in from our worldwide news bureaus, we in New York felt as if we were operating at the throbbing center of the known and knowable universe. Given its exponentially larger work force, not to mention hourly input from the Internet, this illusion is all the more powerful at the Times. A journalist could spend a lifetime in its newsroom without encountering a dissenter from the institutional ideology.

Every journalistic operation generates its own newsroom culture. By that I mean an implicit set of assumptions about what cultural norms and attitudes the newspaper, magazine, etc. should reflect in its collective editorial outlook. As in the church, these norms are passed down from the top, becoming part of the air the composite Timesman breathes. For example, religion was well and routinely covered by Time magazine, because co-founder Henry Luce, the son of Presbyterian missionaries, considered the subject of major cultural importance. Religion was important at Newsweek because the magazine imitated Time’s template. Why is it then, that the devout of any religion should find the newsroom culture of the Times (Okrent again) “a strange and forbidding world”?

For that we have to look at the family dynasty that made the Times the nation’s establishment newspaper. After seven years of researching the Ochs-Sulzberger clan, biographers Susan E. Tifft and her husband Alex S. Jones concluded that “it has become increasingly apparent that the family’s self-image as Jews has profoundly shaped the paper.” The story that Tifft and Jones tell in their extraordinary family biography The Trust is a narrative of social assimilation by the paper’s publishing clan, a determination not to espouse Jewish causes in its newspaper, and the family’s progressive ambivalence toward religion of any kind.

Much of this attitude was an understandable reaction to the pervasive and unapologetic anti-Semitism that characterized American culture at least until after World War II. And even today, of course, there is much criticism of the Times that smacks of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, especially when it comes to the newspaper’s coverage of the Middle East. Still, the paper’s institutional suspicion of traditional religions, especially when they assert themselves in public affairs, makes Orthodox Jews as well as conservative Evangelicals and Catholics feel like barbarians at the gates. The most telling comment Tifft and Jones elicited in this regard was from the current publisher, Arthur Ochs “Pinch” Sulzberger Jr. He described his personal faith this way: “I have the Times. That’s my religion. That’s what I believe in, and it’s a hell of a thing to hold on to.”

I have to think a lot of people who write for the Times do too. Perhaps this is why some Catholic editorial columnists (names on request) cite the paper’s questionable reporting on the church as if it were revealed truth. It’s a nice example of how belief in the Times makes any other form of religious identification merely private and provisional when measured by the one true faith. Writing as a columnist, the affable Bill Keller once described himself as a “collapsed” Catholic. The adjective is new to me and I gather it describes how the weight of the Times as church collapsed his faith in the church of his earlier commitment.

As executive editor, Keller is now responsible for front-paging journalistically questionable stories that attempt but never quite manage to make the pope personally complicit in the clergy-abuse scandal. He apparently thinks that Jeff Anderson has handed over the ecclesiastical equivalent of the Pentagon Papers.

No, I am not suggesting that the scandal is merely media-driven, as some at the Vatican have argued. There would be no stories if there had been no history of abuses and cover-ups in the first place. But I am saying that the Times has created its own version of the scandal as if they had discovered something new. They haven’t. Until they do, I remain a dissenter in the pews of the Church of the New York Times.


The article below was in Canada's National Post. I think it hits the nail on the head. Our Catholic identity in the past 45 years has been so eroded, that many Catholics cannot distinguish between the culture they have accepted and the implicit and explicit anti-Catholicism that pervades today's culture. They cannot distinguish between legitimate news stories that might paint our Church leaders and priests in a bad light and the anti-Catholicism that fuels the hatred for the Church's moral stands on abortion, on homosexual marriage, on women priests, on health care that provides government funded abortions, on sex outside of marriage, on birth control, on the use of condoms and on "end of life" issues. Our anti-Catholic culture, politics and media want to undercut and eliminate any influence our Church leaders might have on the political order and swaying votes one way or another and on judicial processes especially within the Supreme Court. Why can't the rank and file laity and some clergy not see the anti-Catholicism that surrounds them and yes influences them to passively accept it?

Ian Hunter: The last acceptable prejudice
Posted: April 28, 2010, 10:30 AM by NP Editor
Ian Hunter

I had confidently believed that only long-term residents of cuckooland took seriously the recent proposal of Christopher Hitchens and Richard Dawkins to arrest Pope Benedict XVI and to put him on trial for crimes against humanity when he visits England this fall to beatify John Henry Newman; but now I am less sure.

The event that gives me pause is the release this past weekend of a British Foreign Office document called The Ideal Visit Would See…; this document, drawn up in anticipation of the Pontiff’s visit, suggested that the Pope might be encouraged to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage and launch a new brand of “Benedict Condoms.” This emanated, don’t forget, from the British Foreign Office.

True enough, as soon as it became public, Foreign Minister David Milibrand said he was “appalled,” and he promised that the author would be transferred to another department. An official statement issued Sunday said: “The Foreign Office very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offence it has caused.” But the document had already been in circulation, both at Whitehall and Downing Street; it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that official condemnation occurred not because of what is in the document but because it inconveniently became public in the midst of a general election.

This is another of many recent examples of Catholic-bashing — the last acceptable liberal prejudice. Liberals, who will tie themselves in linguistic knots to conform to the dictates of political correctness, think nothing of vilifying the Catholic Church, its teaching, its Pope and hierarchy. Of course, thanks to the sex abuse scandals, the Church has presented a large target lately. But Catholic-bashing was a common phenomenon before the recent scandals.

On an HBO television show called Dennis Miller Live, the host concluded one opening monologue with the words: “F--- the priests; they’re weird.” Is it conceivable that this man would ever say: “F--- the rabbis (still less, “the Imams”); they’re weird”? If he did, they would be his last words over the public airwaves.

But Catholic-bashing, prima facie, is acceptable. It is remarkable how the same people who cannot bring themselves to call suicide bombers “terrorists,” for fear of giving offence to Islam, consistently exhibit a level of vitriol toward Catholicism that would make an Orangeman blush. A comedian named Bill Maher made a career out of doing that.

Writing in Catholic World, George Neumayr got it right: “The moral authority of these Church-hating ideologues is nil. We are witnessing the repulsively absurd spectacle of a culture drenched in depravity lecturing the Vicar of Christ on moral responsibility. One doesn’t even have to agree with every action or inaction of Benedict’s ecclesiastical career to see that these attacks on him have been appallingly stupid, glib and Pharisaical.”

Why do Catholics, by and large, put up with this?

There are several explanations, some hopeful, others less so.

First, the Church takes the long view. She is of ancient and divine origin and, as such, has survived worse than the jibes of potty-mouthed adolescents. The Church that saw off Attila the Hun is not inclined to tremble before Bill Maher.

Second, for several generations now, North American Catholics have sought to minimize their differences, to meld into mainstream society. Catholics do not want to be perceived as a minority; so don’t rock the boat. It is often easier to go along with the prevailing anti-Catholic message than to challenge it.

But perhaps the most accurate explanation for Catholic passivity is more sinister, namely that many Catholics have come to accept the premises of the very people who hold their faith in contempt. Perhaps, instead of taking their cues from Pope Benedict, these Catholics take their cues from the depraved celebrity culture in which we live. Perhaps what Catholic children learn in the separate schools is the same postmodern, relativist and materialist bilge that is taught in the public schools. Perhaps Catholics don’t react because, at least at the subconscious level, they have absorbed the premises of modern liberalism.

If this is true, then the Church faces a great challenge.

National Post

Ian Hunter is professor emeritus in the Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario.

One antidote to passively accepting the Anti-Catholicism of our time:

Wednesday, April 28, 2010


I have tidings of great joy for you, the new English Mass is finally and totally approved and you'll hear and use it the First Sunday of Advent, 2011!

Pope Benedict has approved the new English Translation of the Ordinary Form of the English Mass. However, it will not be implemented before Advent 2011. This is truly good news. Once it is implemented, I think we'll have a more dignified English Mass that will lead to greater reverence amongst the clergy and the laity. Time will tell, but mark my word.

Some of the changes you'll be saying and hearing:

The Lord be with you.
The people reply:
And with your spirit.

Then follows the Penitential Act, to which the Priest invites the faithful, saying:
Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins,
that we may prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries.

A brief pause for silence follows. Then all recite together the formula of general

I confess to almighty God
and to you, my brothers and sisters,
that I have greatly sinned
in my thoughts and in my words,
in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,
And, striking their breast, they say:
through my fault, through my fault,
through my most grievous fault;
Then they continue:
therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin,
all the Angels and Saints,
and you, my brothers and sisters,
to pray for me to the Lord our God.
The absolution of the Priest follows:
May almighty God have mercy on us
and lead us, with our sins forgiven,
to eternal life.
The people reply:


The Priest then says:
Have mercy on us, O Lord.
The people reply:
For we have sinned against you.
The Priest:
Show us, O Lord, your mercy.
The people:
And grant us your salvation.
The absolution by the Priest follows:
May almighty God have mercy on us
and lead us, with our sins forgiven,
to eternal life.
The people reply:

You were sent to heal the contrite of heart:
Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison.
The people reply:
Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison.
The Priest:
You came to call sinners
Christ, have mercy. Or: Christe, eleison.

The people:
Christ, have mercy. Or: Christe, eleison.
The Priest:
You are seated at the right hand of the Father to intercede for us:
Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison.

The people:
Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison.
The absolution by the Priest follows:
May almighty God have mercy on us
and lead us, with our sins forgiven,
to eternal life.

The people reply:
The Kyrie (Lord, have mercy) invocations follow, unless they have just occurred in a
formula of the Penitential Act.

V. Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
V. Christ, have mercy. R. Christ, have mercy.
V. Lord, have mercy. R. Lord, have mercy.
V. Kyrie, eleison. R. Kyrie, eleison.
V. Christe, eleison. R. Christe, eleison.
V. Kyrie, eleison. R. Kyrie, eleison.

Then, when it is prescribed, this hymn is sung or said:
Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to people of good will.
We praise you,
we bless you,
we adore you,
we glorify you,
we give you thanks for your great glory,
Lord God, heavenly King,
O God, almighty Father.
Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son,
Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
you take away the sins of the world,
have mercy on us;
you take away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer;
you are seated at the right hand of the Father,
have mercy on us.
For you alone are the Holy One,
you alone are the Lord,
you alone are the Most High,
Jesus Christ,
with the Holy Spirit,
in the glory of God the Father.

The Credo:

I believe in one God,
the Father almighty,
maker of heaven and earth,
of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ,
the Only Begotten Son of God,
born of the Father before all ages.
God from God, Light from Light,
true God from true God,
begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father;
through him all things were made.
For us men and for our salvation
he came down from heaven,
At the words that follow up to and including and became man, all bow.
and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate
of the Virgin Mary,
and became man.
For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate,
he suffered death and was buried,
and rose again on the third day
in accordance with the Scriptures.
He ascended into heaven
and is seated at the right hand of the Father.
He will come again in glory
to judge the living and the dead
and his kingdom will have no end.
And in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life,
who proceeds from the Father and the Son,
who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified,
who has spoken through the prophets.
And one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church.
I confess one baptism for the forgiveness of sins
and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead
and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The Preface Dialogue and Sanctus:
The priest:
The Lord be with you.
The people reply:
And with your spirit.
The Priest, raising his hands, continues:
Lift up your hearts.
The people:
We lift them up to the Lord.
The Priest, with hands extended, adds:
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
The people:
It is right and just.
The Priest, with hands extended, continues the Preface.
At the end of the Preface he joins his hands and concludes the Preface with the people,
singing or saying aloud:

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of hosts.
Heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The Priest genuflects, takes the host and, holding it slightly raised above the paten or
above the chalice, while facing the people, says aloud:

Behold the Lamb of God,
behold him who takes away the sins of the world.
Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb.
And together with the people he adds once:
Lord, I am not worthy
that you should enter under my roof,
but only say the word
and my soul shall be healed.

Saturday, April 24, 2010


This glorious Votive Mass in Honor of Jesus Christ, Eternal High Priest, was photographed by Dr. Buck Melton. Many thanks for his time and talent in taking these and other glorious pictures! The Order of the Mass can be found a few posts down from this one, including my homily. I noticed Buck didn't take any photos of me preaching. Maybe I was too Joel Osteenish? Or Jerry Falwellish? of Billy Grahamish? or Mega Churchish?

Click on any picture once or twice and it will blow up, not responsible for damages!

The Choirs of St. Joseph with Ms. Nelda Chapman organist and music director and Beau Palmer, cantor

The Processional

After the Processional and incensation of the Altar, the Introductory Rite

Vidi Aquam and also "feely" Aquam!

To the far left, the lector proclaiming the Epistle reading

The procession of the Book of the Gospel from the altar to the ambo

The incensation and proclamation of the Holy Gospel by the deacon

Presentation of the Gifts of Bread and Wine

4th Degree Knights of Columbus Honor Guard, today, we priests need all the security and protection we can get!

The beginning of the Roman Canon

The consecration of the Most Holy Body of our Lord

The elevation of the Host, "My Lord and My God!"

Consecration of the Most Precious Blood of our Lord

The elevation of the chalice, "My Lord, and my God!"

The Per Ipsum

The Our Father chanted in English

Ecce Agnus Dei!

Some loving words for their priests

After the recessional has been canned, the school children make their wonderful presentation to honor their priests!

The Recessional, Regina Caeli is sung, Deo Gratias!

Friday, April 23, 2010


I forgot that I could paste our Stewardship Video that we showed during our annual renewal back in August. We currently are developing a new one for this year. We show it during the homily time at all the Masses. This is pretty darn good if I do say so myself. It seems to me if we Catholics cooperate with the God given grace that He gives us to bind us to Jesus Christ in the most intimate and personal way possible through the Church, her sacraments and the stewardship way of life, then we can just about weather any kind of storm in the world, our Church and in our personal lives. What do you think?

Discipleship Through Stewardship 2009 from stjosephmacon on Vimeo.


Below is John Allen's article from "All things Catholic" hot off the press. It is very insightful. It is long, but I've highlighted a couple of paragraphs concerning the mentality amongst bishops as it regards their priests and how this contributed and contributes to the scandal. On one hand I see the wisdom in confidentiality between bishops and priests and when that confidentiality is breached, the relationship between bishops and their priests are breached. The Church is not just a place of employment implementing the rules of corporations in regards to management and employees, it is a community of faith and a family. So in this whole scandal, I hope the Church will stand up for who we are and at the same time place policies and procedures that protect not only the bishop/priest relationship but more importantly protect children and minors from those who are morally and psychologically twisted.

Published on National Catholic Reporter (

Cardinal Castrillón must feel trapped
By John L Allen Jr
Created Apr 23, 2010

Cardinal Darío Castrillón Hoyos must feel trapped in a "Twilight Zone" episode, in which, in a flash, the whole course of his life has turned out differently. Now 80, not long ago Castrillón was a consummate Roman powerbroker, a man admired for the nerves of steel that once allowed him to stand up to drug kingpin Pablo Escobar. Novelist Gabriel Garcia Marquez at one point hailed his fellow Colombian as "this rustic man, with the profile of an eagle."

Cardinal Darío Castrillón HoyosCardinal Darío Castrillón HoyosFor most of the last two decades, Castrillón, prefect of the Vatican's Congregation for Clergy from 1996 to 2006, was widely considered a serious contender to become the first Latin American pope.

Today, even if he weren't almost 81, Castrillón would have about as much chance of becoming pope as Sinead O'Connor. As the then-president of a Vatican commission that deals with traditionalist Catholics, he took the blame for the Holocaust-denying bishop fiasco in January 2009. Now Castrillón has achieved global infamy in light of a September 2001 letter he dispatched to a French bishop congratulating him for refusing to report an abuser priest to the police.

Though the letter was actually published on the Internet in 2001, it languished in relative obscurity until a French Catholic publication brought it back to life a couple of weeks ago. Given the current media climate, it immediately became a cause célèbre. Outrage has made Castrillón such a lightning rod that he was forced to back out of a Mass tomorrow at the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, D.C., over what organizers described as concerns for "tranquility and good order."

By way of background, Castrillón's letter was addressed to Bishop Pierre Pican of Bayeux-Lisieux, France, sentenced by a French court to three months in prison in 2001, though that term was suspended, for failing to denounce Fr. René Bissey, convicted in October 2000 for sexual abuse of eleven minor boys between 1989 and 1996.

"I rejoice to have a colleague in the episcopate that, in the eyes of history and all the other bishops of the world, preferred prison rather than denouncing one of his sons and priests," Castrillón wrote.

A stampede for distance

Over the last two weeks, the rush among church leaders to distance themselves from Castrillón has turned into a mini-stampede.

First up was the Vatican itself. In a rare case of "rapid response," the official Vatican spokesperson, Jesuit Fr. Federico Lombardi, had a statement out to reporters almost immediately after stories broke in France.

The letter, Lombardi's statement said, offers "another confirmation of how timely was the unification of the treatment of cases of sexual abuse of minors on the part of members of the clergy under the competence of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith."

In effect, that was a polite way of saying that Castrillón was part of the problem against which then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, had to struggle in streamlining Vatican procedures for dealing with sex abuse cases.

After Castrillón's appearance in Washington became a bone of controversy, Archbishop Donald Wuerl likewise put space between himself and the Colombian cardinal. Through a spokesperson, Wuerl let it be known that he would not attend Saturday's Mass due to a scheduling conflict. There was no statement of support for Castrillón, no complaint about unfair media coverage.

Wuerl's spokesperson also said that as a cardinal, Castrillón enjoys "universal faculties" -- an indirect way of saying that he didn't need, or ask, Wuerl's permission to show up.

Yesterday, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, director of media relations for the U.S. bishops' conference, posted a blog item bluntly saying that Castrillón's 2001 letter illustrates a "disconnect" between the American bishops and one Vatican congregation [presumably, she meant the Congregation for Clergy], as well as possibly inside the Vatican itself. Walsh went on to argue that there is no "wiggle room" in the American sex abuse norms when it comes to cooperation with civil authorities, and that counts for a lot more than a "buck-up letter" from Castrillón to a French bishop.

Needless to say, public talk of a "disconnect" between the American bishops and Rome, or inside the Vatican, is not the usual fare from an official spokesperson for the U.S. bishops.

Bottom line: At least as far as the Vatican and the American bishops are concerned, Castrillón is on his own.

A broader climate

On April 16, Castrillón spoke at a conference on the legacy of John Paul II at a Catholic university in Murcia, Spain, in which he asserted that he had shown his 2001 letter to the late pope who authorized him to send it. Far from being a previously secret "smoking gun," Castrillón said that he had posted the letter at the time on the Web site of the Congregation for Clergy.

According to media accounts, Castrillón draw warm applause from the audience, which included a couple of senior Vatican cardinals.

Given how far and fast many Catholic leaders are running away from Castrillón, it's tempting to conclude that he's a sort of rogue cardinal speaking only for himself. In truth, there's an element in his letter that does reflect a broader climate of opinion at senior levels in the church, even if there's also widespread embarrassment over how Castrillón expressed it.

In a nutshell, there is still considerable ambivalence about the idea of bishops turning their own priests over to the police.

For one thing, Castrillón asserted in Spain that he was congratulating Pican for defending the seal of the confessional. That's a bit murky, given that Pican has given somewhat conflicting accounts of how he learned of Bissey's crimes, especially how direct the connection was to the sacrament. (Under French law, confessional secrets are protected under a category of "professional secrets," though the law makes an exception for crimes committed against children.)

If the issue is truly whether bishops should be willing to go to jail rather than betray the seal of the confessional, then Castrillón would hardly be alone in suggesting that the answer is "yes."

Yet the 2001 letter seems to make a broader argument, which is that putting bishops in the position of reporting priests disrupts the family bond a bishop is supposed to have with his clergy. Traditional Catholic theology teaches that a bishop is both a "brother" to his priests, meaning a fellow member of the clergy, and a "father."

The objection to "mandatory reporting" requirements is therefore that just as a son should be able to share something in confidence with his father, a priest shouldn't have to worry that if he bears his soul to his bishop, the bishop's next phone call will be to the cops.

Some of that ambivalence came through in a recent interview with Monsignor Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's top prosecutor on sex abuse cases, in the newspaper of the Italian bishops. Scicluna said the Vatican's policy is that in countries where bishops are required by civil law to report abuse themselves, they should comply.

"That's a very grave matter," Scicluna nonetheless said, "because these bishops are being forced to take a step comparable to a parent who denounces his or her own child."

Where bishops are not required by law to make a report, Scicluna said, they should encourage the victims to make the report -- the idea being that the police need to know what happened, but the bishop should also protect a zone of confidentiality with his priests.

Beyond that concern, prelates such as Castrillón are also old enough to remember what happened in regimes hostile to the church -- whether police states of Latin America, or Communist governments in Eastern Europe -- where clergy were encouraged to inform on one another in order to weaken the church from within, and where refusal to do so was considered a mark of heroic virtue. (Bishops from former Soviet states and from Latin America have sometimes warned against an uncritical embrace of "mandatory reporter" requirements for exactly that reason -- it's a sort of Anglo-Saxon delusion, they say, to believe one can always trust the police and the courts.)

To be sure, even bishops inclined to share those concerns would hardly extol Castrillón's letter -- especially because there's no word of compassion in it for the victims of the French priest, and no condemnation of the broader phenomenon of sexual abuse within the church.

Still, the letter points to an important insight about where things stand in the church with regard to the crisis: By now, there's wide consensus that crimes by a priest should be reported to the police, but how and by whom remains contentious.

Ratzinger and Castrillón

Finally, a footnote about the impact of the Castrillón episode: Ironically, resurrecting that 2001 letter may have doomed Castrillón, but it could actually help Pope Benedict XVI.

Throughout the most recent round of media coverage, there's been a serious mismatch between Pope Benedict's actual record on sex abuse -- as the senior Vatican official who took the crisis most seriously since 2001, and who led the charge for reform -- and outsider images of the pope as part of the problem.

While there are many reasons for that, a core factor is that the Vatican had the last ten years to tell the story of "Ratzinger the Reformer" to the world, and they essentially dropped the ball. That failure left a PR vacuum in which a handful of cases from the pope's past, where his own role was actually marginal, have come to define his profile.

One has to ask, why didn't the Vatican tell Ratzinger's story?

At least part of the answer, I suspect, is because to make Ratzinger look good, they'd have to make others look bad -- including, of course, Castrillón, as well as other top Vatican officials. Lurking behind that concern is a deeper one, which is that to salvage the reputation of Benedict XVI it might be necessary to tarnish that of Pope John Paul II.

In this case, however, Castrillón has inadvertently licensed the Vatican and church officials around the world to use him as a foil, effectively waiving a cardinal's traditional immunity from criticism.

From here on out, when spokespersons insist that Pope Benedict fought inside the Vatican for reform, the world will have a much clearer picture of what his opposition looked like. At stake wasn't just the question of cooperation with the police. Castrillón was part of a block of Vatican officials who thought the sex abuse crisis was fueled by media hysteria, that "zero tolerance" was an over-reaction, and that removing priests from ministry without lengthy and cumbersome canonical trails is a betrayal of the church's legal tradition.

That's important to keeping the record straight, because the truth is that the real choice in Rome over the last ten years vis-à-vis the sex abuse crisis was never between Ratzinger and perfection -- it was between Ratzinger and Castrillón.

[John Allen is NCR senior correspondent. His e-mail address is]

* All Things Catholic

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Before the Good Shepherd Sunday images and homily, this little image:
This past Wednesday's Mass for the Year of the Priest had the children of our school giving Fr. Justin Ferguson, our parochial vicar, Msgr. John Cuddy our retired pastor and me a "Candy Card" at the end of Mass. I almost botched their well rehearsed presentation by forgetting to ask them to come forward for this presentation and other actions, but I did stop the choir, organ and recessional hymn, the Knights of Columbus 4th Degree Honor Guard, the departing altar servers and priests by a loud command "STOP!" as all came back to their original destination for this marvelous presentation!" YIKES if I had forgotten!
Click on image to enlarge and better read the children's cleverness!


I'm away this weekend through Wednesday visiting a priest friend of mine in Pensacola, so I don't have to prepare a homily for this Sunday. So I post a homily I gave in April of 2005, shortly after Pope John Paul II died and before Pope Benedict XVI was elected. We were without a pope, a rare time in the life of the Church. So for what it is worth, a blast of hot air from the past:

Introduction: Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a theologian, educator, author and pastor who was martyred during the Nazi regime because of his faith and total commitment to Christ, once wrote, “Cheap grace is the preaching of forgiveness without requiring repentance, baptism without church discipline, communion without confession, absolution without personal confession. Cheap grace is grace without discipleship, grace without the cross, grace without Jesus Christ, living and incarnate. Costly grace is the treasure hidden in a field…and the pearl of great price for which a man will gladly go and sell all he has…Costly grace is the call of Jesus Christ at which the disciple leaves nets and follows him.

Topic Statement: The Risen Lord equips the Church to live by costly grace, not by cheap grace.

1. In other words, to be a committed follower of Jesus and member of His Holy Church, we must be willing to lay down our lives for the sake of the Kingdom of God.

A. In is precisely in this that our present day culture has corrupted our understanding of the Church and our participation in her life. Several months ago, I had a conversation with someone who was interested in the Catholic Church. Her questions were quite revealing. She asked me if we had a good youth program. I tried to explain what we do. She asked me if we had an outreach to single and divorced people. I tried to explain what we do. She asked me if we had coffee and doughnuts after church. I tried to tell what we do. She asked me if we had a mother’s morning out. I told her no. This person was church shopping. She was approaching church membership and participation, as she would buy a membership in some exclusive club. It was a very consumerist and materialistic way of viewing church membership and participation. I finally told her, that she would have to go through the RCIA, that she would have to examine her conscience, that she would have to repent from her sins, by going to confession to a priest, that she would have to pick up her cross and follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. The Church wants us to share our time, talent and treasure. She didn’t join.

B. Up until this point in John’s Gospel, Jesus has spoken about himself as the bread of life, the light of the world, and the good shepherd. Now the people are pressing him to say directly whether or not he is the Messiah. “How long are you going to keep us in suspense? If you are the Messiah, tell us plainly.” Jesus response indicates that for people of faith, the answer is obvious. Those who recognize him as shepherd hear his voice and follow him. Jesus can lead us to many uncomfortable places that require us to give rather than receive.

2. The costly grace of our relationship to Jesus and His Church is one that is a loyalty without compromise, our every thought, word and deed in accord with the will of God.

A. With the death of Pope John Paul II, the church has entered a unique period where we as Catholics are without a visible universal shepherd. In his ministry, the pope had the ability to gather people of all kinds in marvelous ways. He used to gather religious leaders of all religions in Assisi. He wanted to dialogue with people of all religions and no faith. The office of St. Peter, the papacy, has the role of being a shepherd, to guide people into a better relationship with one another and to guide them to God. As a Catholic Shepherd, the role of the pope is to guide us to Jesus Christ and His truth and to do so uncompromisingly. If it was in the midst of communism or the new threat to Catholicism, secularism, Pope John Paul spoke the truth so that his voice would be heard and the Catholic people would follow him. Pope John Paul, however, as well as his successor point not to themselves though, but to Jesus Christ who is the center of the Church and the Good Shepherd.

B. Think of the Gospel reading. “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me.” We have received everything from God; should we not give all in return? Our love must be total and unconditional, our loyalty without compromise, our every thought, word and deed win accord with the will of God. Then and only then will we be able to say, “I know my Shepherd and my Shepherd knows me.”

Conclusion: As we come to the altar of God, may we see in Jesus our Good Shepherd and may we give him our undivided loyalty and commitment in thick and thin

Thursday, April 22, 2010


The academic scholar, George Weigel who takes on the anti-pope Hans Kung, 21st century style and with academic integrity

Anti-pope, Hans Kung, a throw back to the 1960's

The article below my comments is from First Things and written by George Weigel. He takes the anti-pope Hans Kung to task, which is quite easy to do!

My comments first: When I was in the seminary from 1976 to 1980, Fr. Hans Kung and others of his ilk were popular theologians that were influencing us would-be priests. They were celebrities of the seminary faculty. Catholicism had to become like liberal Protestantism and this deconstruction of the Church under the guise of the "spirit" of Vatican II would bring about Christian Unity and a new "springtime" for the Church unified. Even the name Catholic could be dropped and we would all just use the name "Christian" Church. I would be so brash as to say that the scandal of secularization of the Christian people of Europe, especially in Austria, can be traced to the Dutch Catechism (it really is an anti-catechism) and the diminishment of Catholic identity amongst so many Europeans. Is it any wonder that Austria is seeing huge numbers of Catholics give up the faith as scandal is reported throughout Europe and the world. If you don't have a strong Catholic identity, which the "spirit" of Vatican II certainly undermined and continues to do so in many places, how can you weather the storms of the nature we are now experiencing? Thanks to Hans Kung and others like him who have helped to replace the rock foundation of Catholic faith with shifting sands that in no way can support a mature Catholic faith in the face of scandal and trial.

An Open Letter to Hans Küng
Apr 21, 2010
George Weigel

Dr. Küng:

A decade and a half ago, a former colleague of yours among the younger progressive theologians at Vatican II told me of a friendly warning he had given you at the beginning of the Council’s second session. As this distinguished biblical scholar and proponent of Christian-Jewish reconciliation remembered those heady days, you had taken to driving around Rome in a fire-engine red Mercedes convertible, which your friend presumed had been one fruit of the commercial success of your book, The Council: Reform and Reunion.

This automotive display struck your colleague as imprudent and unnecessarily self-advertising, given that some of your more adventurous opinions, and your talent for what would later be called the sound-bite, were already raising eyebrows and hackles in the Roman Curia. So, as the story was told me, your friend called you aside one day and said, using a French term you both understood, “Hans, you are becoming too evident.”

As the man who single-handedly invented a new global personality-type—the dissident theologian as international media star—you were not, I take it, overly distressed by your friend’s warning. In 1963, you were already determined to cut a singular path for yourself, and you were media-savvy enough to know that a world press obsessed with the man-bites-dog story of the dissenting priest-theologian would give you a megaphone for your views. You were, I take it, unhappy with the late John Paul II for trying to dismantle that story-line by removing your ecclesiastical mandate to teach as a professor of Catholic theology; your subsequent, snarling put-down of Karol Wojtyla’s alleged intellectual inferiority in one volume of your memoirs ranked, until recently, as the low-point of a polemical career in which you have become most evident as a man who can concede little intelligence, decency, or good will in his opponents.

I say “until recently,” however, because your April 16 open letter to the world’s bishops, which I first read in the Irish Times, set new standards for that distinctive form of hatred known as odium theologicum and for mean-spirited condemnation of an old friend who had, on his rise to the papacy, been generous to you while encouraging aspects of your current work.

Before we get to your assault on the integrity of Pope Benedict XVI, however, permit me to observe that your article makes it painfully clear that you have not been paying much attention to the matters on which you pronounce with an air of infallible self-assurance that would bring a blush to the cheek of Pius IX.

You seem blithely indifferent to the doctrinal chaos besetting much of European and North American Protestantism, which has created circumstances in which theologically serious ecumenical dialogue has become gravely imperiled.

You take the most rabid of the Pius XII-baiters at face value, evidently unaware that the weight of recent scholarship is shifting the debate in favor of Pius' courage in defense of European Jewry (whatever one may think of his exercise of prudence).

You misrepresent the effects of Benedict XVI’s 2006 Regensburg Lecture, which you dismiss as having “caricatured” Islam. In fact, the Regensburg Lecture refocused the Catholic-Islamic dialogue on the two issues that complex conversation urgently needs to engage—religious freedom as a fundamental human right that can be known by reason, and the separation of religious and political authority in the twenty-first century state.

You display no comprehension of what actually prevents HIV/AIDS in Africa, and you cling to the tattered myth of “overpopulation” at a moment when fertility rates are dropping around the globe and Europe is entering a demographic winter of its own conscious creation.

You seem oblivious to the scientific evidence underwriting the Church’s defense of the moral status of the human embryo, while falsely charging that the Catholic Church opposes stem-cell research.

Why do you not know these things? You are an obviously intelligent man; you once did groundbreaking work in ecumenical theology. What has happened to you?

What has happened, I suggest, is that you have lost the argument over the meaning and the proper hermeneutics of Vatican II. That explains why you relentlessly pursue your fifty-year quest for a liberal Protestant Catholicism, at precisely the moment when the liberal Protestant project is collapsing from its inherent theological incoherence. And that is why you have now engaged in a vicious smear of another former Vatican II colleague, Joseph Ratzinger. Before addressing that smear, permit me to continue briefly on the hermeneutics of the Council.

While you are not the most theologically accomplished exponent of what Benedict XVI called the “hermeneutics of rupture” in his Christmas 2005 address to the Roman Curia, you are, without doubt, the most internationally visible member of that aging group which continues to argue that the period 1962–1965 marked a decisive trapgate in the history of the Catholic Church: the moment of a new beginning, in which Tradition would be dethroned from its accustomed place as a primary source of theological reflection, to be replaced by a Christianity that increasingly let “the world” set the Church’s agenda (as a motto of the World Council of Churches then put it).

The struggle between this interpretation of the Council, and that advanced by Council fathers like Ratzinger and Henri de Lubac, split the post-conciliar Catholic theological world into warring factions with contending journals: Concilium for you and your progressive colleagues, Communio for those you continue to call “reactionaries.” That the Concilium project became ever more implausible over time—and that a younger generation of theologians, especially in North America, gravitated toward the Communio orbit—could not have been a happy experience for you. And that the Communio project should have decisively shaped the deliberations of the 1985 Extraordinary Synod of Bishops, called by John Paul II to celebrate Vatican II’s achievements and assess its full implementation on the twentieth anniversary of its conclusion, must have been another blow.

Yet I venture to guess that the iron really entered your soul when, on December 22, 2005, the newly elected Pope Benedict XVI—the man whose appointment to the theological faculty at Tübingen you had once helped arrange—addressed the Roman Curia and suggested that the argument was over: and that the conciliar “hermeneutics of reform,” which presumed continuity with the Great Tradition of the Church, had won the day over “the hermeneutics of discontinuity and rupture.”

Perhaps, while you and Benedict XVI were drinking beer at Castel Gandolfo in the summer of 2005, you somehow imagined that Ratzinger had changed his mind on this central question. He obviously had not. Why you ever imagined he might accept your view of what an “ongoing renewal of the Church” would involve is, frankly, puzzling. Nor does your analysis of the contemporary Catholic situation become any more plausible when one reads, further along in your latest op-ed broadside, that recent popes have been “autocrats” against the bishops; again, one wonders whether you have been paying sufficient attention. For it seems self-evidently clear that Paul VI, John Paul II, and Benedict XVI have been painfully reluctant—some would say, unfortunately reluctant—to discipline bishops who have shown themselves incompetent or malfeasant and have lost the capacity to teach and lead because of that: a situation many of us hope will change, and change soon, in light of recent controversies.

In a sense, of course, none of your familiar complaints about post-conciliar Catholic life is new. It does, however, seem ever more counterintuitive for someone who truly cares about the future of the Catholic Church as a witness to God’s truth for the world’s salvation to press the line you persistently urge upon us: that a credible Catholicism will tread the same path trod in recent decades by various Protestant communities which, wittingly or not, have followed one or another version of your counsel to a adopt a hermeneutics of rupture with the Great Tradition of Christianity. Still, that is the single-minded stance you have taken since one of your colleagues worried about your becoming too evident; and as that stance has kept you evident, at least on the op-ed pages of newspapers who share your reading of Catholic tradition, I expect it’s too much to expect you to change, or even modify, your views, even if every bit of empirical evidence at hand suggests that the path you propose is the path to oblivion for the churches.

What can be expected, though, is that you comport yourself with a minimum of integrity and elementary decency in the controversies in which you engage. I understand odium theologicum as well as anyone, but I must, in all candor, tell you that you crossed a line that should not have been crossed in your recent article, when you wrote the following:

There is no denying the fact that the worldwide system of covering up sexual crimes committed by clerics was engineered by the Roman Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under Cardinal Ratzinger (1981-2005).

That, sir, is not true. I refuse to believe that you knew this to be false and wrote it anyway, for that would mean you had willfully condemned yourself as a liar. But on the assumption that you did not know this sentence to be a tissue of falsehoods, then you are so manifestly ignorant of how competencies over abuse cases were assigned in the Roman Curia prior to Ratzinger’s seizing control of the process and bringing it under CDF’s competence in 2001, then you have forfeited any claim to be taken seriously on this, or indeed any other matter involving the Roman Curia and the central governance of the Catholic Church.

As you perhaps do not know, I have been a vigorous, and I hope responsible, critic of the way abuse cases were (mis)handled by individual bishops and by the authorities in the Curia prior to the late 1990s, when then-Cardinal Ratzinger began to fight for a major change in the handling of these cases. (If you are interested, I refer you to my 2002 book, The Courage To Be Catholic: Crisis, Reform, and the Future of the Church.)

I therefore speak with some assurance of the ground on which I stand when I say that your description of Ratzinger’s role as quoted above is not only ludicrous to anyone familiar with the relevant history, but is belied by the experience of American bishops who consistently found Ratzinger thoughtful, helpful, deeply concerned about the corruption of the priesthood by a small minority of abusers, and distressed by the incompetence or malfeasance of bishops who took the promises of psychotherapy far more seriously than they ought, or lacked the moral courage to confront what had to be confronted.

I recognize that authors do not write the sometimes awful subheads that are put on op-ed pieces. Nonetheless, you authored a piece of vitriol—itself utterly unbecoming a priest, an intellectual, or a gentleman—that permitted the editors of the Irish Times to slug your article: “Pope Benedict has made worse just about everything that is wrong with the Catholic Church and is directly responsible for engineering the global cover-up of child rape perpetrated by priests, according to this open letter to all Catholic bishops.” That grotesque falsification of the truth perhaps demonstrates where odium theologicum can lead a man. But it is nonetheless shameful.

Permit me to suggest that you owe Pope Benedict XVI a public apology, for what, objectively speaking, is a calumny that I pray was informed in part by ignorance (if culpable ignorance). I assure you that I am committed to a thoroughgoing reform of the Roman Curia and the episcopate, projects I described at some length in God’s Choice: Pope Benedict XVI and the Future of the Catholic Church, a copy of which, in German, I shall be happy to send you. But there is no path to true reform in the Church that does not run through the steep and narrow valley of the truth. The truth was butchered in your article in the Irish Times. And that means that you have set back the cause of reform.

With the assurance of my prayers,

George Weigel

George Weigel is Distinguished Senior Fellow of Washington’s Ethics and Public Policy Center, where he holds the William E. Simon Chair in Catholic Studies.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


Below the pictures is the program for Tonight's Mass of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest, April 21, 2010, for the Year of the Priest. At the homily in the program, I have inserted the homily that I will give tonight.
Photos from this past Holy Thursday and Easter Sunday:

As fate would have it, we're celebrating the Year of the Priest tonight. It was planned several months ago for this date. But who knew except God that the Year of the Priest would be so much fun? At one point I thought maybe this is an inopportune time for this celebration and thought it perhaps best to cancel it. But you know what? We need the prayers of our people, we priests need to be praying and we need to look to Jesus Christ the High Priest to guide us through the stormy waters of today to the calm of eternal life. After all, isn't that the primary role of the ordained priest? It is to lead people to the end of the world, either their own, or the world collectively and prepare them for their personal judgment and the final judgment. Jesus Christ the High Priest when He makes us a part of Him brings us to that glory. The ordained priest is meant to show that in Word, Sacrament, especially the Most Holy Eucharist and in service.

Prior to the Mass, the Knights of Columbus are providing a meal for the visiting clergy.

Our Mass for tonight:

Votive Mass of Jesus Christ the Eternal High Priest

Introductory Rite

Processional Hymn Hymn of Joy # 264

Introit: (chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
The Lord has sworn and he will not repent: “You are a priest forever, according to the order of Melchizedek. Alleluia, alleluia. The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand.”

Greeting: Dominus Vobiscum.
Et cum spiritu tuo.

Rite of Blessing and Sprinkling: (Chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
Vidi aquam: I saw water coming forth from the temple on the right side, alleluia: and all those to whom
this water came were saved, and shall say, alleluia, alleluia. V. Give praise to the Lord, for He is good:
For His mercy endures forever.


Gloria in Excelsis Deo-Latin #105


Liturgy of the Word

First Lesson: Acts 20:17, 18, 28-32, 36

Responsorial Psalm: Ps. 110: 1, 2, 3, 4
“Priest forever, like Melchizedek of old, the Lord Christ offered bread and wine.”

Second Lesson: Hebrews 5:1-10

Gospel: John 17: 6, 14-19

Homily: Fr. Allan J. McDonald, Pastor
We all have our favorite priests. Like some talent shows, I could go and place my hand over each priest and ask for applause and the one with the highest applause on the applause meter would get crowned “The Best Looking and Most Beloved and Most Talented Priest of the Year.” Yet, the priesthood of each of us ordained here is not to orient you to us and our warm and loving personalities, our good looks or our gifts and talents, but rather to orient all of us to Jesus Christ the High Priest—He is the greatest and he will never disappoint us and His priesthood is not based upon a personality contest, but on obedience to the will of His Father in Heaven, so much so He willingly lays down His life for us on the Cross and becomes not only our eternal and exclusive High Priest, but also the Victim of Sacrifice that His Heavenly Father loving accepts and receives, thus accepting all of us united to Christ the High Priest and His eternal Sacrifice on the Cross. The obedience of Jesus Christ the High Priest and Victim is the obedience that the Church should imitate, not only the ordained priests of the Church, but all of God’s priestly people by virtue of our complete initiation in the Church through Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion. But when we are disobedient, we have a High Priest who offers us forgiveness and penance for the remission of sins. He embraces the repentant thief on the Cross and He embraces us who are repentant in the Sacrament of Penance.

Topic Statement: The ordained priesthood is meant to orient the Church to the exclusive high priesthood of Jesus Christ who is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Jesus Christ the High Priest will never be transferred from this parish, He is always here!

1. We priests are most effective when we direct your attention away from us and toward Jesus the Sovereign King and High Priest and His complete holiness.
a. I learned a couple of lessons about me just this past week. One of my close friends in Augusta called me a week ago Monday to tell me her father died and to ask if I would celebrate her father’s funeral Mass which I did this past Monday. In my conversations with her, she asked me if I remembered a certain couple that I received into the Church the last year I was at Most Holy Trinity in Augusta, in 2004. I said, I did. Well my friend went on to say that once I left Holy Trinity six years ago, this couple just felt that things just weren’t the same without me there, so they joined a non-denominational Church. Well at first, I was flattered, my successor Fr. Brannen wasn’t good enough for them, I would only do! But then I thought, I really must not have not a very good job with this couple in preparing them to become Catholic if they thought they were just joining me and my wonderful way of doing things rather than joining Jesus Christ through the Church and picking up their cross and following Him. I failed! I oriented them to me when I should have made sure I oriented them to Jesus Christ the high priest and the Church he founded and sustains through His Word and all of the Sacraments. The second experience was one hour before the funeral I celebrated for my friend’s father. As I walked into the darkened vestibule of the Church an older Catholic who was my parishioner from 1991 to 2004 was leaving and came up to me and asked me if I was the new priest. Just to let you know, since my departure in 2004, Most Holy Trinity has had three more pastors in five and a half years, Fr. Brannen stayed one year, Fr. Donahue four years and now Fr. Kavanaugh is in his first few months. This former parishioner said, he needed to get to know me as his new pastor and go to confession. I said I’m not your new pastor; I’m your old pastor. Then he said, Oh, I didn’t recognize you, I thought you were the new pastor—what’s your name? I’m sure he made a mistake because the vestibule was dark and he was old; certainly he knows who I am! In Catholic parishes, ordained priests come and go, but Jesus Christ always stays. You can count on that! If you are oriented to Christ, it won’t matter what priest is helping you stay oriented in that direction.

2. The mission of the ordained priesthood and of all God’s priestly people is to make known God’s love in Jesus Christ which is for everyone in the world, no one is excluded.

a. Pope Benedict speaking to 15 thousand youth this past Sunday in Malta had a question and answer period with them. Of particular importance were the words of the young man who represented those on the “margins of the Church”, because of the reality of broken families, abuse, different sexual orientations. He said, all of them, including some immigrants, (and I quote) "have had experiences that have distanced them from the Church." "We - he said - feel that not even the Church herself recognizes our value," "she considers us to be a problem” and that "we are less readily accepted and treated with dignity by the Catholic community than we are by all other members of society."

The Response of Pope Benedict was: "God rejects no-one. And the Church rejects no-one!” And, if even St Paul "has often been harsh in his writings," it is because "in his great love, God challenges each of us to change and become more perfect." Hence the "do not be afraid! You may well encounter opposition to the Gospel message. Today’s culture, like every culture, promotes ideas and values that are sometimes at variance with those lived and preached by our Lord Jesus Christ. Often they are presented with great persuasive power, reinforced by the media and by social pressure from groups hostile to the Christian faith. It is easy, when we are young and impressionable, to be swayed by our peers to accept ideas and values that we know are not what the Lord truly wants for us. That is why I say to you: do not be afraid, but rejoice in his love for you; trust him, answer his call to discipleship, and find nourishment and spiritual healing in the sacraments of the Church. Here in Malta, you live in a society that is steeped in Christian faith and values. You should be proud that your country both defends the unborn and promotes stable family life by saying no to abortion and divorce. ...Other nations can learn from your Christian example. In the context of European society, Gospel values are once again becoming counter-cultural, just as they were at the time of Saint Paul."
b. I was taught in the seminary that the best priests were the ones who were faithful to God, faithful to His Church and willing to be prophets in proclaiming the truth, even if the truth was out of season. One priest professor told us that our duty as young priests would be to afflict the comfortable with the Word of God and Church teaching and to comfort afflicted with the loving consolation of God’s word and His sacraments. That’s a delicate balancing act and when people hate you for teaching the truth that makes it even more uncomfortable for us ordained priests. But the Holy Spirit is our consolation. The Holy Spirit is your consolation too, as God’s priestly people.

c. But the most important thing I’ve learned about God’s people that all of us here present have tried to be a good priest for, despite our sins and failings, is that all of you are good, you are intrinsically good. We have to love you as Christ loves his bride the Church and that’s the best thing We priest can do for you and you can do for us, trying to imitate Christ the High Priest’s unconditional love. One of the most profound ways that we priests experience Christ’s unconditional love for you is in the Sacrament of Penance which renews the gift of forgiveness in Holy Baptism and repairs any bonds that you might have broken with Christ and His Church through sin. Offering absolution in the “Person of Christ the high Priest” is awesome! It’s God’s unconditional love for you and God’s call to each priest to show that love to you.
Conclusion: Shortly, the priests at this altar will act in “Persona Christi” in the “Person of Christ” as Jesus Himself sends down the Holy Spirit Who will consecrate ordinary gifts of Bread and Wine and make them His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, the Glorious Risen Body of our Lord and Savior. Jesus the High Priest will also embrace us and continue to consecrate us in this Sacrifice and with your priest and all of you His priestly people. We are united to Christ our High Priest and Victim and swept up into the eternal Sacrifice of Christ and experience her in this Church the Paschal Feast of Heaven. May our Communion in the Body and Blood of Christ continue to make us a part of Christ’s priestly people, united with Him for eternity by our worthy reception of the eternal Priest who is also the Lamb of God, the Lamb of Sacrifice and Food and Drink for our earthly pilgrimage to the eternal wedding banquet of heaven.

Profession of Faith (Chanted in Latin)
Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem caeli et terrae,
visibilium omnium, et invisibilium.
Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum.
Et ex Patre natum ante omnia saecula.
Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero.
Genitum, non factum. consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt.
Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostrum salutem descendit de caelis.
Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto ex Maria Virgine:
Et homo factus est. (Profound Bow)
Crucifixus etiam pro nobis; sub Pontio Pilato passus, et sepultus est.
Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas.
Et ascendit in caelum: sedet ad dexteram Patris.
Et iterum venturus est cum gloria, iudicare vivos et mortuos: cuius regni non erit finis.
Et in Spiritum Sanctum, Dominum, et vivificantem: qui ex Patre Filioque procedit.
Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur , et conglorificatur: qui locutus est per Prophetas.
Et unam sanctam catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam.
Confiteor unum baptisma in remissionem peccatorum.
Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum.
Et vitam venture saeculi. AMEN.

General Intercessions
Response: Lord, hear our prayer.(Sung)

Liturgy of the Eucharist

Gift Procession and Preparation of the Altar and the Gifts
Offertory Antiphon: Christ, having offered one sacrifice for sins, has taken his seat forever at the right hand of God; for by one offering he has perfected forever those who are sanctified. Alleluia. (chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)

Cantate Domino Michel Richard de la Lande
Cantate Domino canticum novum. Cantate Domino omnis terra.
Et benedicite nomini ejus.
Sing to the Lord a new song. Sing to the Lord all the earth and bless His name.
Eucharistic Prayer
Preface Dialogue (Latin) #106

Sanctus: #107 Latin
Memorial Acclamation (Mass of Creation)
Great Amen (Mass of Creation)

Communion Rite
Lord’s Prayer (Chant)
Rite of Peace
The Breaking of the Bread
Agnus Dei (“Mass of the Holy Trinity”) Choir

Communion Antiphon (Chanted in Latin by Men's Schola)
“This is the body which shall be given up for you. This cup is the new covenant in my blood,” says the lord.” Do this as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” Alleluia.

Holy Communion Procession
At the Lamb’s High Feast We Sing # 271
Panis Angelicus #543

Communion Meditation
Adoramus te, Christe Theodore DuBois
Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi;
quia per sanctam crucem tuam redemisti mundum.
Christ, we do all adore Thee, and we do praise Thee forever.
For by Thy holy cross hast Thou the world from sin redeemed.
The Choirs of St. Joseph

Prayer after Communion

Concluding Rite
Solemn Blessing

Recessional (Regina Caeili) Be Joyful, Mary, Heavenly Queen #267

Father Allan J. McDonald, Pastor
Father Justin Ferguson, Parochial Vicar
Monsignor John Cuddy, Retired
Guest Priests

Deacon Don Coates
Deacon Tom Eden
Deacon Pat Mongan
* * * * *
Beau Palmer, Cantor
The Choirs of St. Joseph
Nelda M. Chapman, Organist and Director of Music

Everyone is cordially invited to a reception in the Social Hall immediately following the Mass.