Tuesday, November 30, 2010


These photos were taken on Christ the King Sunday. My Church is beautiful, no?



An Anglican Bishop leaves the Church of England by placing his crosier and miter at the feet of Our Lady, PRESS HERE.

PRESS: Anglican ordinariate
Pope Benedict is making it possible for entire congregations of Anglicans (Episcopalians) to swim the Tiber to Rome and to maintain much of their Liturgy, spirituality and customs. Former bishops of the Church of England who are married cannot be ordained bishops but deacons and then priests after they are validly Confirmed. The Catholic Church does not recognize the validity of Anglican Orders, thus even the Sacrament of Confirmation is not valid in the Anglican Communion as a validly ordained bishop or priest must confer it.

However, many of these former Anglican bishops once ordained Catholic priests may become Apostolic Administrators of their new Full Communion Catholic communities having many functions of a bishop, meaning they could wear the miter and use the crosier.

In the Republic of Georgia, the Diocese of Tbilisi did not have a bishop when I visited in the late 1990's. Rather they had an Apostolic Administrator. He was a "monsignor" and as Apostolic Administrator he wore the miter and used the crosier. FOR all practical purposes he was the "bishop" without being one.

I'm particularly interested in this Anglican provision as my parochial vicar in Augusta was one of the first former Episcopal priests to be ordained a Catholic priest under the Pastoral Provision of Pope John Paul II. He was the Church of the Most Holy Trinity's parochial vicar under me from 1991 until 2004 when I was assigned to St. Joseph Church in Macon. Unfortunately, he died suddenly of a heart attack in 2006. God rest his soul.


Sunday, November 28, 2010


And the Holy Father's Advent Prayer for Life:
Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you:

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of a mother's womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
make fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognize and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Give creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realize and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children

Console married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Love,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True God and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.


This morning's New York Times has a good article on the headline above. Read all about it HERE!


Why are so many of the professional jobs in the Church held by dissidents?

by John-Henry Westen

Writing in the pages of the Catholic Register this week, Fr. Raymond J. de Souza makes a very interesting observation and commentary on one of the reflections of the Pope in the new book “Light of the World.”

Speaking of the governing institutions in the Church, Pope Benedict said “The bureaucracy is spent and tired … It is sad that there are what you might call professional Catholics who make a living on their Catholicism, but in whom the spring of faith flows only faintly, in a few scattered drops.”

Commenting on the Pope’s remark, Fr. de Souza observes:

It is easy enough to point to the managerial bishop or the administrative pastor and lament the lack of fervour for the faith and the absence of evangelical criteria in decision-making. But could not the same be said of any diocesan office in Canada, the staff room of any Catholic school, the executive officers of any Catholic social welfare agency or the bureaucrats that administer the vast panoply of Catholic organizations? Is it not the case that so many regard their position as membership in a club or as an officer of an enterprise, but not primarily as disciples or missionaries? The great sadness of which the Holy Father speaks is that over several generations now so many lay Catholics — “professional Catholics” — are marked by a deep adopted clericalism themselves, comporting themselves as members of a privileged caste.

Wow. It reminds me of a quote a friend on the inside once told me while reflecting on the fact that many vibrant, young, and faithful Catholics who would love to offer their all to the Church are left to find work in the secular world. “Why are all the professional jobs in the Church held by dissidents?”

To be sure there are signs of hope. Many dioceses in North America have begun to employ fervent and authentic Catholics. However the old guard remains firmly entrenched in many many places.

Fr. de Souza concludes: “The challenge of moving from a bureaucratic, managerial Church to an evangelical, missionary one is at the heart of Benedict’s message in Light of the World.

Saturday, November 27, 2010


The now disgraced Archbishop does have many valid points concerning the manner in which the current Mass was celebrated up until 1999 as possibly the root cause of so many departures from the Church since its style of celebration did not lead to an increase in the real presence of our Lord in the Holy Eucharist, but seem to diminish this core belief of the Church. If one senses that one is not being nourished by the Mass as the Mass is meant to nourish us, then why not go and join a denomination that is not in full communion with us. It makes perfect sense to me.

Blog article by Michael Daniel, written in 1999:

Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee is widely regarded as one of the more outspoken of the 'liberal' US bishops. His periodic comments on Church authority and teachings have caused concern both to the Holy See and to orthodox Catholics. In the light of this, his recent analysis of the liturgy, published in a lengthy article in the Jesuit monthly, 'America', has more than usual significance. While his opposition to restoration of the Tridentine Mass and calls to rectify Vatican II's poorly implemented liturgical "renewal" were predictable, his critical comments on practical aspects of the new Mass - largely echoing the sentiments of readers of this journal - were less expected.

Archbishop Rembert Weakland is well known for his outspoken comments and liberal perspectives on various aspects of the contemporary Catholic Church, including that of liturgy. His recent article, "Liturgy and Common Ground", published in the February 1999 edition of America, presents some interesting perspectives and what is arguably a devastating critique of the current state of the liturgy in the Western Rite of the Catholic Church.

His critique is particularly significant because it comes from one who was in the forefront of implementing in the United States the liturgical reforms that followed Vatican II - reforms which he continues to endorse wholeheartedly.

Weakland begins his article with the perceptive observation that disputes about the Church's liturgy are such that "something that should be a point of unity in the church, the Eucharist, has now become the most conspicuous point of disagreement and tension". He advocates dialogue between the various factions, which he divides into three broad categories, each of which he then critiques.

His criticisms of the first two categories - those advocating restoration of the pre-Vatican II liturgy and those who claim the new Mass does not accurately reflect the intentions of Vatican II - are not unexpected.

However, the Archbishop devotes the bulk of his analysis to the third category to which he claims membership - "Those seeking to better the reform". This group, he says, believes that the liturgical reforms that have followed Vatican II are the product of and a true expression of the liturgical reforms which the Council called for.

His critique is divided into two sections: "Questions of a Theological Nature," followed by "Other Less Theological Questions". In the latter section, Weakland raises problems posed by some celebrants. Now that the vast majority of Masses are said facing the people, many celebrants have fallen into what Weakland describes as "a lifeless rubricism" or have "injected so much of their idiosyncratic mannerisms into the liturgy that it became truly disturbing. Many adopted a kind of colloquial style that was and is unbefitting the liturgical movement".

Weakland then acknowledges the divisive nature of the translations of the liturgical texts and seems to concede that many of the translations are defective: "But have these translations consequently fallen into a triteness and at times distorted or made ambiguous the meaning of the [Latin] original?"

Finally, in this section, Weakland points to the poor quality of much contemporary Church music: "Unfortunately, most of the new music created for the liturgy has been and continues to be trite in both musical form and text, more fit for the theatre and the pub than for church ... Children learn no consistent repertoire of liturgical music that belongs to the Catholic tradition and that will serve them for their whole lives".

More damning, though, are Weakland's "Questions of a Theological Nature". He suggests that too many liturgical celebrations emphasise the human element at the expense of the Divine: "Has the reform respected the nature of sacramentality as a free gift from God, as a 'given', or have our people drifted into a more horizontal and purely human activity"?

The Archbishop argues that this "desacrilisation" is caused partially by "creativity", that is, "do it yourself" prayers, readings, etc, which have created the impression that being as creative as possible, rather than the worship of God, is the focus of the liturgy: "Has the community or parish at times distorted the rite by seeking to do its 'own thing' - as creative as it may have seemed to the assembled group or the specialists who guided it - and thus lost contact with the living tradition of the universal Church itself?" He observes further: "Unfortunately, many of these adaptations are accompanied by little knowledge of liturgy and its essential nature".

Real Presence

Most striking is his following question: "Has the reform at times led to a diminution of respect for and belief in the real presence in the Eucharist?" He points in particular to "the tendency to stand, not kneel, no more genuflections, the placement of the tabernacle in the church away from the central axis [and] the abuses concerning care for the Eucharist after Mass, and so on".

The Archbishop queries, among other things, the role of the sign of peace when it becomes "a moment for greeting everyone in the church - to the detriment of the symbol and breaking the liturgical moment of preparation for Holy Communion." All too many Novus Ordo celebrations, he concludes, "have reduced the sense of the transcendent and an appreciation for God's presence and role in the liturgy".

Does the Novus Ordo of itself convey a lack of transcendence and appreciation of God's presence, as many of those who argue for a "Reform of the Reform" allege; or is this lack of a sense of the transcendent, as Weakland argues, merely the by-product of the manner in which the Novus Ordo is celebrated?


Pope Benedict has invited the world to join him in Pro-life prayer for the First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent on Saturday evening, November 29th.

As a parish, St. Joseph prays the Holy Rosary for Life each Saturday prior to our Vigil Mass at 4:30 PM. The Holy Rosary for Life begins at about 3:30 PM.

For the Vigil Mass tonight and the Masses tomorrow, we will include a special prayer for the Holy Father's Special Intention for Life in our General Intercessions.

Please view the video below from Rome Reports. I must add that the Holy Father speaks impeccable Italian and without a German accent, you'd never know he is German by listening to his Italian. His Italian sounds like my mother's Italian which is the best Italian, the Italian from Tuscany.

However, what the Holy Father has not mastered is Italian gestures. In this regard his Italian is very German and stilted. Contrast the Italian gestures of Cardinal Antonelli with that of the Holy Father's, now that's integrated Italian!

Friday, November 26, 2010


An earlier post here showed that the primary reason Catholics leave the full communion of the Church and join Protestant Churches is because they found the Protestant "parish" to be more nourishing of their faith. The second reason tied into the first reason is that they like the Protestant parish better. I suspect that fellowship and evangelical zeal found in many Protestant parishes are tied into the reason for joining them.

While it is true that Catholics leave the full communion of the Church over issues such as artificial birth control, marriage, and the sex abuse scandal, the main reason for the majority of those who actually join Protestant denominations is "nourishment" issues and "likability" issues. I'm surprised at this. I would have thought the sex issues would have been the primary reasons.

So if this is true, in what ways do Catholic parishes fail in nourishing parishioners?

Is there no distinction between various protestant traditions and the Catholic tradition. In other words has the Catholic Church lost its distinctive character and identity in terms of liturgy, prayer and spirituality and become so united with protestant denominations in this regard that many ask "what's the difference?"

How can Catholic parishes be more friendly and what suggestions do you offer?


Thursday, November 25, 2010


These articles found at the website of Chiesa are very good. Enjoy!



What would PETA say? Happy Thanksgiving of course!

PRESS:(From "Inside Catholic") Sing a New Song with Your Lives: The New Edition of the Roman Missal
Most Rev. James D. Conley

And our Interfaith Thanksgiving Service this past Tuesday:

Temple Beth Israel
892 Cherry Street
Macon, Georgia 31201

Interfaith Thanksgiving Service
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Seven O’clock
Temple Beth Israel
St. Joseph Catholic Church
Mulberry Street United Methodist Church

Hymn - We Gather Together Choir & Congregation
We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
You chasten and hasten Your will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing,
Sing praises to God’s name: You forget not Your own.

Beside us to guide us, our God with us joining,
Ordaining, maintaining Your kingdom divine;
So from the beginning the fight we were winning;
You, Lord, were at our side, all glory be Thine.

We all do extol you, O Leader triumphant,
And pray that you still our Defender will be.
Let your congregation escape tribulation:
Your Name be ever praised! O Lord, make us free!

Words of Welcome Rabbi Laurence Schlesinger, Temple Beth Israel

Responsive Reading—Psalm 100 Simon Becker/Congregation

Shout joyfully to the Lord, all the earth!
Serve the Lord with gladness!

Come into his presence with singing!
Acknowledge that the Lord is God.

He made us and we are His,
His people, His beloved flock.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving,
His courts with praise;
Give thanks to Him,
Bless His name!

For the Lord is good,
His love is everlasting,
His faithfulness for all generations.

Hymn—How Good it Is Choir & Congregation

How good it is to thank the Lord;
to praise your name, O God Most High;
To tell your kindness through the day,
Your faithfulness when night draws nigh.

With joyous psalms and with the harp,
Will I Your marvels gladly sing;
Your works have made my heart rejoice,
I triumph in Your work, my King!

Like stately palm the righteous thrive,
As cedar fair they flourish free
In God’s own house; God’s courts alone
Their dwelling place and home shall be.

Still, in old age, ripe fruit they bear,
Verdant and fresh they still remain
To prove that God, my Rock of Help,
God’s righteousness does ever maintain.

2010 Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation Glenn Rosen, President Temple Beth Israel

Hymn—Now Thank We All Our God Choir & Congregation

Now thank we all our God, with heart and hands and voices,
Who wondrous things has done, in whom this world rejoices;
Who from our mothers' arms has blessed us on our way
With countless gifts of love, and still is ours today.

Responsive Reading—Give Thanks Unto God Danielle Schlesinger/Congregation

O give thanks unto God who alone does great wonders
God’s loving kindness endures forever.

Sing unto God with thanksgiving;
Sing praise upon the harp unto our God;
God covers the heavens with clouds,
God prepares rain for the earth,
And makes the mountains to be green with grass.

God makes your borders peaceful,
And gives you the fat of the wheat in plenty.

God is good to the earth and waters it
With rivers that are full of water.

God makes the earth soft with showers,
And blesses the ground thereof.

God crowns the year with goodness,
And showers the earth with rich bounties.

The pastures of the wilderness overflow,
And the hills are girded with joy
The meadows are clothed with flocks;
The valleys also are covered over with corn;
They shout for joy, yea, they sing.

Our garners are filled to overflowing with all manner of store;
Our flocks increase by thousands in our fields.

There is no attack and no enslavement,
And no cry of distress in the broad places.

Blessed be our God
For the precious gifts of heaven;
For the precious gifts of the earth,
And the fullness thereof; praise our God.

May God give us of His abundance,
And establish the work of our hands.

Scripture - Deut. 8:6-14 Phil Dodson

Therefore keep the commandments of the Lord your God; walk in His ways and revere Him. For the Lord Your God is bringing you into a good land, a land with streams and springs and fountains issuing from plain and hill; a land of
wheat and barley, of vines, figs, and pomegranates, a land of olive trees and honey; a land where you may eat food without stint, where you will lack nothing; a land whose rocks are iron and from whose hills you can mine copper.
When you have eaten your fill, give thanks to the Lord your God for the good land which He has given you.
Take care lest you forget the Lord Your God and fail to keep His commandments, His rules, and His laws, which I enjoin upon you today. When you have eaten your fill, and have built fine houses to live in, and your herds and flocks
have multiplied, and your silver and gold have increased, and everything you own has prospered, beware lest your heart grow haughty and you forget the Lord your God—who freed you from the land of Egypt, the house of bondage.

Sermon - “Giving Thanks in All Things” Rev. Tommy Martin, Mulberry Street United Methodist Church

Hymn - God of Might Choir & Congregation

God of might, God of right,
Thee we give all glory;
Thine all praise in these days,
As in ages hoary,
When we hear, year by year,
Freedom’s wondrous story.

Now as erst, when Thou first
Made the proclamation,
Warning loud every proud,
Every tyrant nation, We Thy fame still proclaim,
Bowed in adoration.

Be with all who in thrall
To their tasks are driven;
By Thy power speed the hour
When their chains are riven;
Earth around will resound
Joyful hymns to heaven.

Prayer of Thanksgiving Father Allan J. McDonald, St. Joseph Catholic Church

Benediction - Y’varechecha Clergy

Concluding Song - God Bless America Choir & Congregation

God Bless America,
Land that I love.
Stand beside her, and guide her
Through the night with a light from above.
From the mountains, to the praries,
To the oceans, white with foam,
God bless America, My home sweet home.
God bless America, My home sweet home.

Participating in Worship

Temple Beth Israel
Rabbi Larry Schlesinger

St. Joseph Catholic Church
Father Allan J. McDonald

Mulberry Street United Methodist Church
Rev. Tommy Martin, Senior Pastor

Friends of Temple Beth Israel Choir
Anne Roesel
Adam Lockamy
Susan Pavoni
Lynn Waggoner
Joe Kraft
Jacob Kraft
Matthew Kraft
Lisa Willet
Ian Underwood
Joel T. Peed
Lori DeMello
Organist: Nelda Chapman
Rehearsal Pianist: Anne Armstrong

Thanksgiving Offering
Tonight’s offerings/contributions will be donated to Macon Outreach, housed at Mulberry United Methodist Church, that addresses physical and spiritual hunger, enhances human dignity, and offers hope for the future to disadvantaged people in our local community. At the conclusion of the service you are invited to place your donation to this sacred cause in baskets held by the ushers at each door.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Father Jerry:

Because of the instantaneous nature of news, even before the news has the actual facts, rumors, false stories and innuendo circulate first and these are the impressions that people keep as there is seldom a follow-up on how the news reports got it wrong.

Take Father Fr. Geraldo Pinero of Philadelphia. On Saturday it was reported and picked up by internet sources that the Feds had investigated him and that they had entered his rectory and taken his computer and other things that belonged to him.

As a result of this, the good father stepped down immediately as pastor of his parish. This opened the door to even more rumors and speculation.

Guess what the presumed charges would be. That he was involved with child pornography and possibly a pedophile.

That's what we have to put up with today.

Well, it turns out that it wasn't child pornography but it was still serious enough to garner a federal investigation and his stepping down as pastor.


I ask, does this deserve to be any more than a local story. Does it really need to be an international one?


My headline above is a take off of Fr. Z's blog, "What Does the Prayer Really Say?"

In that blog, there is a excerpt of what Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. writes for Reuter's:

The Pope responded: “She [the Church] does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality”.

In the first place a solution which is not “moral” cannot be “justified”. That is a contradiction and would mean that something in itself morally evil could be “justified” to achieve a good end. Note: the concept of the “lesser evil” is inapplicable here. One may tolerate a lesser evil; one cannot do something which is a lesser evil.

But the crucial distinction here is between the “intention” of the male prostitute, viz. avoiding infecting his client, and the act itself, viz. using a condom. Since this distinction has been missed in almost every report I’ve read, it calls for some elaboration.

This distinction, in moral philosophy, is between the object of an act and the intent of an act. If a man steals in order to fornicate, the intent is to fornicate but the object is the act of theft. There is no necessary connection between stealing and fornicating.

In the case of the Pope’s remark, the intent is preventing infection and the object is use of a condom.

Here’s an example of this distinction that parallels what the Pope said.

Muggers are using steel pipes to attack people and the injuries are severe. Some muggers use padded pipes to reduce the injuries, while still disabling the victim enough for the mugging.

The Pope says that the intention of reducing injury (in the act of mugging) could be a first step toward greater moral responsibility. This would not justify the following headlines: “Pope Approves Padded Pipes for Mugging” “Pope Says Use of Padded Pipes Justified in Some Circumstances”, Pope Permits Use of Padded Pipes in Some Cases”.

Of course, one may morally use padded pipes in some circumstances, e.g., as insulated pipes so that hot water flowing through them doesn’t cool as fast. And one may use condoms morally in some cases, e.g. as water balloons. But that also would not justify the headline “Pope Approves Condom Use”, though in this case it could be true. But it would be intentionally misleading.

In sum, the Pope did not “justify” condom use in any circumstances. And Church teaching remains the same as it has always been—both before and after the Pope’s statements.

Read the entire article here from Reuters.

My Comments: I like what Fr.Fessio says and his analogy. Just imagine if I got up on Sunday and preached about moral conversion and used the following analogy. "There were two home invasions. One man broke into a home, murdered the occupants and stole their belongings. Another man broke into a home, bound and gagged its occupants and then took only that which he really needed. Which of the two was more morally developed, that is, more human in their approach to home invasions? Certainly, we can say the second man was more developed morally."

Let's pretend that the Macon Telegraph has interest in local religious affairs and gets wind that I preached that homily. Let's even say that someone taped what I said and mailed it to their reporter. The headline might well be the following:


Is that what I really said?

With what Fr. Fessio wrote and with my example, read now this morning's New York Times take on what Pope Benedict really said by pressing New York Times!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


Spirit of Lawlessness:

Pope links failure to tackle sex abuse with 1960s reforms! Read all about it in the Irish Times!

My comment: Keep in mind, in the late 1960's anything that smacked of law, legalism, punishment, damnation, anathema and excommunication was vilified and demonized as "Pre-Vatican II." Free love was the wave of renewal and the Post Vatican III Church (not II, but III!)!


Many people suggest that many of the presumed flubs of Pope Benedict's papacy are flubs. But others say everything he does is intentional. He knows what he is doing and he certainly knows what he is saying!

I would even go as far as to suggest that everything that the Holy Father has done even in the most controversial of situations has been intended by him to make the points he wishes to make even more explicit.

This Holy Father knows what he is doing and what he is saying! And as Pope, His Holiness does it in a way that has not been seen or experienced before. From Islam, to Judaism to the hermeneutic of reform within continuity, to condoms and sexual abuse, he is like the great teacher he is, provocative and instigating reaction and reflection. He is a great teaching pope the likes we have not seen recently.


The brouhaha concerning Pope Benedict's statement on condoms when His Holiness said, "She (the Church) of course does not regard it (condoms) as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality," is based on the fact that he has spoken as a pastor would rather than a distant, aloof technician of correct teaching. All of us who are pastors know we live in an imperfect world and thus have to make some pastoral compromises on the human level while not compromising the doctrine and morals of the Church.

Let me give some other example. I firmly adhere to the Church's teaching on the Sacrament of Marriage. Yet in my parish there are those who are in second marriages after a divorce and these marriages are not valid in the eyes of the Church. Catholics in these situations are prohibited by moral and canon law from receiving Holy Communion.

Yet, for a good many of these civil unions, the partners are responsible. They are good parents, and they take care of one another in sickness and in health. In physically debilitating sickness and handicaps one partner is a "Godsend" for other.
Do I tell them they are going to hell for living together in a civil union? Do I tell them to separate? Certainly I tell them of the Church's teachings.

I know some priests who would tell them they are going to hell and that they should separate. I cannot for pastoral reasons. I do not (as some priests might) give them "permission" to receive Holy Communion either.

How does God bring good out or less than perfect situations? Here too, the Holy Father is perplexed by this reality in relation to the morally bankrupt and sociopath Father Marcial Maciel Degollado,, founder of the Legionaries of Christ. The following is from Catholic News Service:

The pope said that in responding to sex abuse allegations against the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, the late Mexican Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, "unfortunately we addressed these things very slowly and late." The allegations were eventually substantiated and the order has been placed under Vatican leadership for a period of reform.

Pope Benedict said Father Maciel remains for him "a mysterious figure," one who lived an immoral and twisted life but who built up his religious order with dynamism -- a "false prophet" who nevertheless had a "positive effect." As for the future of the Legionaries, the pope said it was basically sound but needed corrections that do not destroy the enthusiasm of its members.

So we live in an imperfect world. We get mad at one another. We say uncharitable things and do uncharitable deeds. We speed, drink too much, and we curse. In these areas we cut each other slack, offer the sacrament of Penance but realize that sinners being sinners they'll slip back into less than perfect behavior and sometimes choose this behavior over the morally good option. Yet we are understanding.

But when it comes to sex, masturbation, condoms, passions running wild before marriage and the whole host of imperfections that accompany our sexuality, these seem to cause more moral alarm and obsessive consternation than the adult son who screams explicatives at his mother and storms out of the house in a fit of rage. Why is that?

Sunday, November 21, 2010



My comment first: Reading the actual excerpt from the interview by Peter Seewald, one really gets the context of Pope Benedict's caveat on condoms, but more importantly the Holy Father gives a wonderful catechesis on the nature of human sexuality as the Catholic Church understands it. He is not harsh or bitter in his catechesis, but like a gentle father using faith and reason to make his very profound remarks. It's not just about condoms stupid! (I said that, the Holy Father never would!)

Book Excerpt
An excerpt from Light of the World, Peter Seewald’s book-length interview with Pope Benedict XVI

From Chapter 11, "The Journeys of a Shepherd," pages 117-119:

Peter Seewald: On the occasion of your trip to Africa in March 2009, the Vatican’s policy on AIDs once again became the target of media criticism.Twenty-five percent of all AIDs victims around the world today are treated in Catholic facilities. In some countries, such as Lesotho, for example, the statistic is 40 percent. In Africa you stated that the Church’s traditional teaching has proven to be the only sure way to stop the spread of HIV. Critics, including critics from the Church’s own ranks, object that it is madness to forbid a high-risk population to use condoms.

HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI: The media coverage completely ignored the rest of the trip to Africa on account of a single statement. Someone had asked me why the Catholic Church adopts an unrealistic and ineffective position on AIDs. At that point, I really felt that I was being provoked, because the Church does more than anyone else. And I stand by that claim. Because she is the only institution that assists people up close and concretely, with prevention, education, help, counsel, and accompaniment. And because she is second to none in treating so many AIDs victims, especially children with AIDs.

I had the chance to visit one of these wards and to speak with the patients. That was the real answer: The
Church does more than anyone else, because she does not speak from the tribunal of the newspapers, but helps her brothers and sisters where they are actually suffering. In my remarks I was not making a general statement about the condom issue, but merely said, and this is what caused such great offense, that we cannot solve the problem by distributing condoms. Much more needs to be done. We must stand close to the people, we must guide and help them; and we must do this both before and after they contract the disease.

As a matter of fact, you know, people can get condoms when they want them anyway. But this just goes to
show that condoms alone do not resolve the question itself. More needs to happen. Meanwhile, the secular realm itself has developed the so-called ABC Theory: Abstinence-Be Faithful-Condom, where the condom is
understood only as a last resort, when the other two points fail to work. This means that the sheer fixation on the condom implies a banalization of sexuality, which, after all, is precisely the dangerous source of the attitude of no longer seeing sexuality as the expression of love, but only a sort of drug that people administer to themselves. This is why the fight against the banalization of sexuality is also a part of the struggle to ensure that sexuality is treated as a positive value and to enable it to have a positive effect on the whole of man’s being.

There may be a basis in the case of some individuals, as perhaps when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be a first step in the direction of a moralization, a first assumption of responsibility, on the way toward recovering an awareness that not everything is allowed and that one cannot do whatever one wants. But it is not really the way to deal with the evil of HIV infection. That can really lie only in a humanization of sexuality.

Peter Seewald: Are you saying, then, that the Catholic Church is actually not opposed in principle to the use of condoms?

HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI: She of course does not regard it as a real or moral solution, but, in this or that case, there can be nonetheless, in the intention of reducing the risk of infection, a first step in a movement toward a different way, a more human way, of living sexuality.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


On Thursday night we had a new member begin our RCIA. He has attended St. Joseph Church with his wife who is Catholic, for the last 20 years. He finally decided to come on over! So he introduced himself to me before the class began.

That night I showed a video of a teaching Mass I celebrated for the RCIA about four years ago. Of course I was much younger then. Then we went upstairs to the Church after the class to rehearse the Rite of Welcome which we will celebrate on Christ the King Sunday at our 9:30 AM Solemn Sung Mass.

After the rehearsal, the gentleman, who is a dermatologist, ask to see me in private in the sacristy. He told me that he noticed on the video he watched that I did not have the little bump of skin that is under my nose. He asked to look at it more closely. He said to me I think that bump is a basal cell carcinoma. I said, what do you mean, it's just a wart that I need to buy some wart removal for!

He said, come by on Friday (yesterday) and see me in my office. I did, he took a biopsy and is convinced it is a carcinoma! In about ten days I'll have it removed. He also found another suspicious looking area, but wasn't sure about it and did a biopsy on it too.

Post biopsy look!

Now if this dermatologist hadn't shown up, God only knows when I would have gone to have my wart checked out! God works in mysterious ways.

By the way we have 16 unbaptized catechumens and 20 baptized candidates for the RCIA process. Wow!


Updated Sunday morning.
Religious Blogs updates and denials of what the secular press is reporting:

The American Papist, Thomas Peters
The Pope Did Not endorse the Use of Condoms, Fr. Z's Blog
The Catholic World Report, Dr. Janet Smith
The National Catholic Register, Jimmy Akins

The book long interview by Peter Seewald of Pope Benedict is going to be "must reading!"

The Pope in his own words
In an extraordinarily candid interview with Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI discusses the scandals that have rocked the Catholic Church, papal fallibility, the saints he calls friends, and a fondness for old films

The London Telegraph, I think it is reliable.

And from Reuter's Alertnet. I'm not sure how accurate this is and there is a stunning acknowledgment by the Holy Father, if true, that condoms could be used in some circumstances!

The New York Times confirms the pope's remarks on condoms!

And even more from TIME! The secular press is going to have a field day with this controversial pope!


"Catholic" Sister Donna Quinn, wearing the habit of a pro-abortion escort to assist women who are entering an abortion clinic to have an abortion! She belongs to an organization of sisters who despise the Catholic Church and her hierarchy. These kinds of sisters are close to extinction, thank God!

The organization of a dissident group of Catholic nuns, The National Coalition of American Nuns (NCAN) representing their religious communities are comprised of aging nuns who in their youth in the 1960's spearheaded the decline and fall of their religious orders. Keep in mind, that these same religious orders which today are practically dead or on life support, accomplished marvelous ministries and apostolates for the pre-Vatican II Church. These orders opened schools, hospitals, agencies to assist the poor and neglected and offered prayers for the Church and her mission.

Today, these same orders have had to sell hospitals, turn them over to lay board of directors, and cannot be found even in the schools they own. Their convents are empty and they have no new or young vocations, none! The social agencies they founded are no longer staffed by their orders for the most part.

Rather, the ones that are left, continue their delusional thinking that they are on the forefront of bringing true renewal to their religious communities and to the Church at large. It is sad indeed and the legacy of these religious orders made moribund through the hermeneutic of reform through rupture lays on their shoulders. These pharisees place burdens on the Church and lift not a finger to ease this burden. They kid themselves but no one else.

Read about it HERE!


This new cardinal was also in the conclave that elected Pope John Paul II in 1978. How can that be?

Washington’s Archbishop Donald Cardinal Wuerl is the only cardinal eligible now to elect a new pope who was also in the Conclave that elected Pope John Paul II in 1978! Everyone else who participated in that conclave 32 years ago is long since dead or retired.

Read about this fascinating story by Jerry Filteau of the fishwrap NCR which at times manages cool stories.


I don't think Kumbaya was sung at today's Consistory at the Vatican where Pope Benedict dressed regally in the liturgical ware of a formal prayer service and gave the cardinals their red hat! Somehow Kumbaya and liturgical high church don't seem to go together, but I could be wrong.

I have often mocked "Kumbaya" as one of those horrid folk songs we sang almost every Sunday at Mass in the 1960's and 1970's. I absolutely hated it, especially when hand-holding and swaying accompanied the easy to sing song. It epitomized all that was wrong with the reformed Mass immediately following Vatican II and what was wrong with the Church of that period.

But it turns out that it has some political overtones and racial overtones and some would say that not liking it, deriding it and making fun of it is actually a form of racism since this song is not really a folk song, but a Negro Spiritual.

I actually love Black spirituals although I'm not entirely convinced that all of these are appropriate for Mass. But I honestly thought that Kumbaya was a folk song written and created by whites who normally like folk music more so than our Black brothers and sisters do.

But here is the New York Times take on Kumbaya, political liberalism and caustic racism, just press the link:


Catholics who become Protestants

When Catholics leave the practice of the Catholic Faith, they don't take these with them!

An April 2009 poll by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life asked former Catholics why they left the church. Reasons for those who became Protestants included:

- Spiritual needs not being met: 71 percent

- Found denomination they liked more: 70 percent

- Just gradually drifted away: 54 percent

- Stopped believing in the church's teachings: 50 percent

- Married someone of a different faith: 29 percent

- Unhappy with teachings on abortion and homosexuality: 23 percent

- Unhappy with teachings on divorce, remarriage: 23 percent

- Clergy sex abuse scandal: 21 percent

- Unhappy with teachings on birth control: 16 percent

My comments:
I think this survey leaves out those who leave the Catholic Church and become "nones" meaning they don't join any other Christian denomination or other religion.

But what is helpful to me is to correct my own misconceptions about why people leave. The majority don't leave over the Church's moral teachings, even the more controversial ones, like birth control, homosexuality and same sex marriage, and the ordination of women.

The majority leave because their spiritual needs are not being met and they find a denomination they like more. The next largest group is the one that simply just drifts away.

If one's spiritual needs aren't being met, which in my mind would be the salvation of one's soul, then have our Catholic parishes emphasized the need for the Sacrament of Penance and made clear through the celebration of the Mass and the devotions which flow from it that Jesus Christ, the Eternal Son of God, is truly present through the celebration of Mass and in the most powerful sign of His Real Presence, in the actual bread and wine, that become His Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity? It seems to me that if Catholics don't believe this and the way the Mass is celebrated doesn't really point to this powerful belief, then why stay a Catholic? Why not join a denomination whose primary "sacrament" is "Fellowship" and "warm fuzzies?"

In addition to making the celebration of the Mass a powerful sign of the awesome Real Presence of Jesus Christ, have parishes made clear the need for proper reverence and adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle? To this question, we must also add another, just where is the tabernacle in the Church? Does its placement allow for the proper modeling of the respect and reverence that is due the Most Blessed Sacrament by genuflecting before our Lord's reserved Sacramental Real Presence and kneeling before our Lord in prayer?

In my previous assignment and now here at St. Joseph Church, the tabernacle is dead center. People genuflect when they walk in front of it and others witness this and know they should do the same. At the beginning of Mass and at the end of Mass, the priest and ministers genuflect before our Lord in the tabernacle. The entire congregation for Mass witnesses this.

In those churches where the tabernacle is hidden in a chapel away from the main church or placed off to the distant side where public acts of reverence are seldom seen by the entire congregation, it is no wonder that the majority of Catholics in those parishes are clueless about the reverence due the reserved Most Blessed Sacrament and the private prayers for spiritual needs that can be offered before our Lord's sacramental presence.

For the first two top reasons why Catholics leave the antidote is the proper and reverent celebration of the Mass, pulling out all stops at the main liturgy of Sunday and striving to make the parish hospitable and friendly, without using the Mass to accomplish the horizontal dimension of our relationship to one another. By this I mean, friendliness outside the Church and upon entering, but silence maintained in the nave of the Church for private prayer; opportunities for fellowship following Mass, at parish suppers and small group gatherings.

Eucharistic devotion outside of Mass must be rediscovered as well as the prominent display of the tabernacle in the sanctuary.

Finally, and flowing from this, must be a powerful devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary. If a Catholic goes to a well celebrated and awesomely reverent Mass every Sunday, goes to confession regularly is praying before and offering adoration to the Most Blessed Sacrament reserved in the tabernacle and is praying the Holy Rosary daily, I doubt they will leave the Church. Their spiritual needs are being met! They are being saved!

Isn't salvation the whole reason for the Incarnation, birth, life, suffering, death, resurrection, ascension, giving of the Holy Spirit and expected return of Jesus Christ? Is there some other reason for the Christ event that trumps the actual salvation event for all humanity and all of creation?

Friday, November 19, 2010


Fr. Z on his blog has some sharp comments concerning the new English Roman Missal and the concern on the part of many that revisions were made to it after the bishops approved it, meaning that the 2008 translation approved by the bishops has had some significant changes, perhaps 10,000 or so made by someone at the Vatican. This missal dated 2010 is not the same as the 2008. Many are saying, even the PRAY TELL BLOG, which is more liberal leaning, that the 2008 is much better than the 2010 version because 2008 is more slavishly faithful to the working principles of translation put forth in the document "Liturgiam authenticam."

Read Fr. Z's take by pressing the link below:

Fr. Z's Blog – What Does The Prayer Really Say?


This clip is from a politically conservative organization, but the point they make is valid nonetheless. The liberal media with its radical, liberal politics are promoting an agenda that is at odds with conservative Christianity in the area of sexuality. These liberal elitists in the media who have tremendous power over the masses who watch them, whether in news shows or entertainment, will stop at nothing until they silence the Church, especially the Catholic Church, and convince weak Christians to join their efforts to neuter the influence of traditional Protestants and Catholics in the areas of sexual politics where the Church is bucking the radicals.

Catholics who agree with Joy are leaving the Church for more liberal denominations or simply describing themselves as "nones" when it comes to religion so alienated have they become to the truth and the prophetic voice of the Church. This liberal secularism even upon once practicing Catholics in part explains why almost 70% of Catholics no longer participate in Mass every Sunday and a significant number would not publicly describe themselves as Catholics any longer. Do we accommodate and appease the dissenting, disloyal Catholics to keep them in the fold or should the Church be prophetic and call them to "re-conversion?" I suspect you know my position.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Cardinal Designate, Archbishop Raymond Burke recalls ‘rebelliousness’ he observed in seminary

Archbishop Raymond Burke, Cardinal designate, speaks about his seminary days. Press here for a synopsis of his interview.

In a nutshell, I believe the Cardinal Designate, Archbishop Burke, captures the essence of what the "spirit" of Vatican II was and you guessed it, it doesn't have anything to do with what Vatican II was actually all about. This quote is the nutshell of the problem we have faced since 1968:

“1968 was the symbolic year of the Paris student riots,” Archbishop Burke recalled, “but that whole rebellion against authority entered into the seminary too and in an unfortunate coincidence, coincided with the implementation of the reforms of the Second Vatican Council.”

“What happened in my judgment was more of this rebellion against authority,” he added, “than the actual reading and studying of the documents of the Council and following them.”

Listen to the interview by pressing the symbol of listening at the end of Vatican Radio's actual synopsis of the interview.

My comment: The Sulpicians who ran Theological College next to Catholic University where Archbishop Burke attended from 1968 to 1970 also ran the seminary I attended in Baltimore, Maryland between 1976 to 1980. They experienced during the period of 1968 to 1975 the most radical purging of the pre-Vatican II model of seminary training and truly went into "meltdown" mode and disintegration. But thankfully, by 1976 the seminary personnel and the Sulpicians began to realize the folly of their type of rebellious renewal and how dangerous the hermeneutic of rupture was for them and the Church at large although the rupture theology did not go away entirely, but my experience of the seminary was not as rebellious as it was just a couple of years prior to my arrival. What Archbishop Burke describes is quite true and quite unfortunate and hopefully a lesson learned.

His Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI: Church is Experiencing a Eucharistic Springtime

We've written about the "spirit" of Vatican II having such a deleterious effect upon the Church beginning in the late 1960's and continuing well into the 1990's. You can see it's effects particularly on Religious Life, and its so-called "renewal" which really amounted to "decline and fall." The same thing happened with Church attendance. While there are many reasons for what happened, one must also assign the "deconstruction" mentality that persisted in not a few "reformers" who thought the "spirit" of Vatican II would lead to a "springtime" of renewal in the Church. They were wrong, dead wrong.

Last night I was speaking with a parishioner who told me that in the early 1960's at my parish, 40 hours devotion as well as other devotions would garner a packed Church for these events. Usually these devotions were very "Eucharistic" oriented and included Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

But for some strange reason, the "spirit" of Vatican II crowd thought devotions detracted from the primary form of Catholic worship, the Mass and that the only reason devotions were popular and well attended was the fact that these were in the vernacular whereas the Mass prior to Vatican II was less participative (although 90% of Catholics attended Mass) and so devotions were needed for English participation. Once the Mass went to English, who needed devotions? The English Mass became the end all and be all of Catholic life. Devotions were denigrated, eliminated and mocked, especially novenas, Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament and the Holy Rosary. These left the scene almost entirely so much so that about three generations of Catholics knew or know very little about these. On top of that Mass attendance is down to about 30% of Catholics.

When I was in the seminary in the 1970's, devotions were unheard of. The Mass was the only thing we prayed and the Liturgy of the Hours. Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament was suspect although the Sacrament was reserved in a separate chapel of our main chapel, but few prayed there and the ones who did were mocked as pre-Vatican II. Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament was never celebrated when I was there except for one time and this was protested by not a few of the priest-faculty! The Eucharist is Food and Drink to be eaten and drunk, not adored or "looked" at was their now tired mantra.

Thank goodness that common sense and popular piety are returning to the Church. In Macon, we have a perpetual adoration Chapel, weekly Benediction of the Most Blessed Sacrament in context of Evening Prayer and the Holy Rosary daily following our 8:00 AM Mass.

In many Churches throughout our diocese and elsewhere the tabernacle is being placed in a more prominent area of the sanctuary once again, sometimes dead center behind the main altar. No longer are we so stupid to think that having the Blessed Sacrament in the tabernacle during the celebration of Mass will lead to the decline and fall of the proper theology of the Mass. In fact, when the tabernacle is placed dead center in the sanctuary an increase of faith, hope and love begins to be experienced and a renewed appreciation for the Real Presence in all Christ's forms is renewed during the celebration of Mass.

This is what Pope Benedict said yesterday concerning the new springtime of Eucharistic devotion through out the world:

"Recalling St. Juliana of Cornillon, let us also renew our faith in the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, and let us assist in a very strong renewal of the Eucharist throughout the world." These were the words of the Pope who, in his general audience catechesis today, presented the life and work of this thirteenth century saint. Benedict XVI said that Pope Urban IV, an admirer of the saint, established the feast of Corpus Christi in 1264, the year after the miracle of Bolsena. Benedict XVI also noted that we are experiencing a Eucharistic springtime in the Church. Many people, he said, are placing themselves in silence before the Tabernacle to spend time in conversation with Jesus Christ. The Pope said it is consoling to know that many groups of young people have rediscovered the beauty of prayer and adoration before the Blessed Sacrament. "I pray," he said, "that this "Eucharistic springtime" will continue to spread to all parishes, particularly in Belgium, the birthplace of St. Juliana."

(Concerning the post I had from the New York Times and faux priests celebrating "mass" in Belgium, it is interesting that the Holy Father singles out Belgium for this recovery of Eucharistic adoration.)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010


This article from the National Catholic Reporter is very good! Press National Catholic Reporter and read it from their website, but don't read their comment section, liberals are so uncharitable at times, not to say that conservatives don't miss the mark on charity at times too.

And a nice parody:


Yesterday, the daily national newspaper "USA TODAY" had an article on the various Vatican debacles in communication and governance. George Weigle and John Allen seem to be on the same page in their evaluation of things. Read it in USA TODAY by pressing USA TODAY.




Not a few Catholics think this form of the Mass is obsolete and against what Vatican II envisioned for the Church. They think the picture below this one is what Vatican II really wanted for the Mass. YIKES!

This man thinks he's a priest and he's celebrating "Mass" in Belgium. In his "catholic" church, anyone can celebrate the "Mass." Aren't they cool and neato?

On the heals of the article below this post, where Cardinal Biffi decries the "spirit" of Vatican II that took a firm hold on many in the Church following the Second Vatican Council, the New York Times has a report on "churches" springing up in Belgium where "Mass" is "celebrated" by "laity" who are not "ordained" priests. You can read the article here in the New York Times.

When I was in the seminary between 1976 and 1980, the theology that has produced the "churches" in this New York Times story was seen as the wave of the future for the entire Catholic Church. Anyone could be selected to celebrate "Mass." It didn't have to be an ordained priest because we're all "priests" by virtue of our baptism which is the end all and be all of all sacraments. Obviously, this aberrant "spirit" of Vatican II theology has become important for a small minority of aging "hippies" who embraced the "spirit" of Vatican II and can't believe that the entire Church, meaning also that part which is the hierarchy hasn't come around to their gnostic tendencies and beliefs.

Let me conclude by printing once again what Cardinal Biffi writes about "stuff" like this:

With such a theological and historical methodology – never expressed in such a clear fashion, but no less relentless for this reason – it is easy to imagine the results: what is adopted and exalted in an almost obsessive manner is not the Council that in fact was celebrated, but (so to speak) a "virtual Council"; a Council that has a place not in the history of the Church, but in the history of ecclesiastical imagination. Anyone who dares to dissent, however timidly, is branded with the infamous mark of "preconciliar," when he is not in fact numbered among the traditionalist rebels, or the despised fundamentalists.

And because the "counterfeit distillates" of the Council include the principle that by now there is no error that can be condemned in Catholicism, except for sinning against the primary duty of understanding and dialogue, it becomes difficult today for theologians and pastors to have the courage to denounce vigorously and tenaciously the toxins that are progressively poisoning the innocent people of God

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


Pope Benedict has embolden many within the Church to criticize the "spirit of Vatican II" movement that was rampant in the Church from right after the Council until about the early 1990's or so. This hermeneutic was one of rupture with the past, historical revisionism and reconstruction of the Church according to a very wishy-washy, left leaning, rootless theology.
From the New Liturgical Movement Blog, Shawn Tribe writes the following reflecting on Cardinal Biffi:

Cardinal Biffi Critiques the Postconciliar "Spirit" of Vatican II
by Shawn Tribe

Readers may recall some while ago a discussion of the critique made by Cardinal Biffi around the topic of the new Ambrosian lectionary.

Today on Chiesa, Cardinal Biffi again arises, but this time in relation to a book of his memoirs. In that book, published in Italian, one of the topics addressed is the matter of the postconciliar era, and the matter of the so-called "spirit" of the Council which has ignored parts of the actual conciliar documents on the one hand, over-emphasized others and also imparted certain things to the Council not to be found there. As Biffi notes it, it is as though a kind of "virtual Council" has taken the place of the actual Ecumenical Council.

As Biffi describes it, "The first phase lies in a discriminatory approach to the conciliar pronouncements, which distinguishes the accepted and usable texts from the inopportune or at least unusable ones, to be passed over in silence.

"In the second phase what is acknowledged as the valuable teaching of the Council is not what it really formulated, but what the holy assembly would have produced if it had not been hampered by the presence of many backward fathers insensitive to the breath of the Spirit.

"With the third phase, there is the insinuation that the true doctrine of the Council is not that which is canonically formulated and approved, but what would have been formulated and approved if the fathers had been more enlightened, more consistent, more courageous."

Biffi concludes with what must be one of the take-home quotes, doubtless to be re-quoted from henceforth by many: "what is adopted and exalted in an almost obsessive manner is not the Council that in fact was celebrated, but (so to speak) a "virtual Council"; a Council that has a place not in the history of the Church, but in the history of ecclesiastical imagination."

To which he adds: "Anyone who dares to dissent, however timidly, is branded with the infamous mark of "preconciliar," ..."

One cannot help but note today, that there is a growing chorus of critiques of this co-opting of the Council; of what we might even call the manipulation of the Council. This critique is not rooted in -- as the rupturist school would like to spin it -- a rejection if the Council, nor in a going backward, but rather in precisely an opposite motivation which aims to take possession of and enact the Council proper, understood both literally from it's texts and implemented within the school of continuity that, while not opposed to developments, venerates our Catholic inheritance, traditions and identity.

Here is a section in translation from Biffi's book, provided by Chiesa:


(pp. 191-194)

In order to bring a bit of clarity to the confusion that afflicts Christianity in our time, one must first distinguish very carefully between the conciliar event and the ecclesial climate that followed. They are two different phenomena, and require distinct treatment.

Paul VI sincerely believed in Vatican Council II, and in its positive relevance for Christianity as a whole. He was one of its decisive protagonists, attentively following its work and discussions on a daily basis, helping it to overcome the recurrent difficulties in its path.

He expected that, by virtue of the joint effort of all the bishops together with the successor of Peter, a blessed age of increased vitality and of exceptional fecundity must immediately benefit and gladden the Church.

Instead, the "postcouncil," in many of its manifestations, concerned and disappointed him. So he revealed his distress with admirable candor; and the impassioned lucidity of his expressions struck all believers, or at least those whose vision had not been clouded over by ideology.

On June 29, 1972, on the feast of Saints Peter and Paul, speaking off the cuff, he went to the point of saying that he had "the sensation that through some fissure, the smoke of Satan has entered the temple of God. There is doubt, uncertainty, trouble, disquiet, dissatisfaction, confrontation. The Church is not trusted . . . It was believed that after the Council there would be a day of sunshine for the history of the Church. What has come instead is a day of clouds, of darkness, of seeking, of uncertainty . . . We believe that something preternatural (the devil) has come into the world to disturb, to suffocate the fruits of the Ecumenical Council and to prevent the Church from bursting into a hymn of joy for having regained full awareness of itself." These are painful and severe words that deserve painstaking reflection.

How could it have happened that from the legitimate pronouncements and texts of Vatican II, a season followed that was so different and distant?

The question is complex, and the reasons are multiform; but without a doubt one influence was a process (so to speak) of aberrant "distillation," which from the authentic and binding conciliar "reality" extracted a completely heterogeneous mentality and linguistic form. This is a phenomenon that pops up here and there in the "postcouncil," and continues to advance itself more or less explicitly.

We can, in order to make ourselves understood, hazard to illustrate the schematic procedure of this curious "distillation."

The first phase lies in a discriminatory approach to the conciliar pronouncements, which distinguishes the accepted and usable texts from the inopportune or at least unusable ones, to be passed over in silence.

In the second phase what is acknowledged as the valuable teaching of the Council is not what it really formulated, but what the holy assembly would have produced if it had not been hampered by the presence of many backward fathers insensitive to the breath of the Spirit.

With the third phase, there is the insinuation that the true doctrine of the Council is not that which is canonically formulated and approved, but what would have been formulated and approved if the fathers had been more enlightened, more consistent, more courageous.

With such a theological and historical methodology – never expressed in such a clear fashion, but no less relentless for this reason – it is easy to imagine the results: what is adopted and exalted in an almost obsessive manner is not the Council that in fact was celebrated, but (so to speak) a "virtual Council"; a Council that has a place not in the history of the Church, but in the history of ecclesiastical imagination. Anyone who dares to dissent, however timidly, is branded with the infamous mark of "preconciliar," when he is not in fact numbered among the traditionalist rebels, or the despised fundamentalists.

And because the "counterfeit distillates" of the Council include the principle that by now there is no error that can be condemned in Catholicism, except for sinning against the primary duty of understanding and dialogue, it becomes difficult today for theologians and pastors to have the courage to denounce vigorously and tenaciously the toxins that are progressively poisoning the innocent people of God.