Friday, September 30, 2011


On June 5, 2011, Father Dawid Kwiatkowski celebrated his First Solemn Sung Mass in the Ordinary Form at St. Joseph Catholic Church, Macon, Georgia where he is the new parochial vicar. This Sunday, October 2, 2011 at 2:00 PM, he will celebrate his very first Extraordinary Form High Mass. God bless him in his ministry, his priesthood and in his love for God and His Holy Church!


Psalms 85: 3, 5
Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried to Thee all the day; for Thou, O Lord, art sweet and mild, and plenteous in mercy to all that call upon Thee. -- (Ps. 85. 1). Bow down Thine ear to me, O Lord, and hear me; for I am needy and poor. V.: Glory be to the Father . . . -- Have mercy on me, O Lord, for I have cried . . .

COLLECT - May Thy grace, we beseech Thee, O Lord, ever go before us and follow us: and make us continually to be intent upon good works. Through our Lord . . .

Ephesians 3: 13-21
Brethren, I pray you not to faint at my tribulations for you, which are your glory. For this cause I bow my knees to the Father of Our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom all paternity in heaven and earth is named, that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with the Holy Spirit with might unto the inward man. That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts; that being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth and length, and height, and depth. To know also the charity of Christ, which surpasseth all knowledge; that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do all things more abundantly than we desire or understand, according to the power that worketh in us: to Him be glory in the Church, and in Christ Jesus, unto all generations, world without end. Amen.

Psalms 101: 16, 17
The Gentiles shall fear Thy Name, O Lord, and all the kings of the earth Thy glory. V.: For the Lord hath built up Sion, and He shall be seen in His majesty.

Alleluia, alleluia. V.(Ps. 97. 1). Sing ye to the Lord a new canticle, because the Lord hath done wonderful things. Alleluia.

Luke 14: 1-11

At that time, when Jesus went into the house of one of the chief of the Pharisees on the Sabbath day to eat bread, they watched Him. And behold, there was a certain man before Him that had the dropsy: and Jesus answering, spoke to the lawyers and Pharisees, saying: Is it lawful to heal on the Sabbath day? But they held their peace: but He taking him, healed him, and sent him away. And answering them, He said: Which of you shall have an ass or an ox fall into a pit, and will not immediately draw him out on the Sabbath day? And they could not answer Him these things. And He spoke a parable also to them that were invited, marking how they chose the first seats at the table, saying to them: When thou art invited to a wedding, sit not down in the first place, lest perhaps one more honorable than thou be invited by him; and he that invited thee and him, come and say to thee: Give this man place: and then thou begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when thou art invited, go, sit down in the lowest place: that when he who invited thee cometh, he may say to thee: Friend, go up higher. Then shalt thou have glory before them that sit at table with thee: because every one that exalteth himself shall be humbled; and he that humbled himself shall be exalted.

Psalms 39: 14, 15
Look down, O Lord, to help me; let them be confounded and ashamed that seek after my soul to take it away; look down, O Lord, to help me.

SECRET - Cleanse, we beseech Thee, O Lord, by the virtue of the present Sacrifice, and, in Thy mercy, provide that we may be worthy to be partakers therein. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity . . .

PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:

Psalm 70: 16, 17, 18
O Lord, I will be mindful of Thy justice alone: Thou hast taught me, O God, from my youth, and unto old age and gray hairs, O God, forsake me not.

POST COMMUNION PRAYER - In Thy goodness, we beseech Thee, O Lord, purify and renew our minds by these heavenly Sacraments: that by means of them, we may also receive help for our bodies, both now and in the time to come. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost . . .


In a post below, I showed the Mexican priest who used a squirt riffle to "sprinkle" his laughing congregation with Holy Water.

Could you imagine this taking place during the celebration of the EF Mass? It would be like oil and water, the two wouldn't mix. But with the OF Mass, it seems to mix and no one seems to mind. They think it is cute; it is precious.

I don't believe the reverence and awe that the EF Mass produces is based upon its Latin language. It is based upon the Latin Rite's inherent desire to ritualize a very high Christology and that in Jesus Christ and Him alone we find salvation through His sacrifice on the Cross and the rest of His "Christ Event" including of course the incarnation, the resurrection, the ascension, the Pentecost event and the founding of His Church which really goes back to the days of Abraham and his descendants, not to mention the more immediate founding during the public ministry of our Savior.

It also has something to do with the orientation of the EF Mass, directed to God, oriented to Him as our worship and thanksgiving. The EF Mass's orientation opens us to God and His "Perfections." When priests face the people, they become entertainers and make a closed circle focused on the creativity of the priest and the delight of the people.

In the name of God, why did we allow progressive theologians to strip our Mass of awe, respect and wonder? What possesses anyone today to use a squirt gun to sprinkle Holy Water? Is there something intrinsically wrong with post Vatican II Christology that thus has implications for how clergy and laity celebrate the Mass?


My comments first:
There are many people who believe that there is a lack of at least the appearance of reverence when it comes to receiving Holy Communion today. Often it is rushed, people who receive on the hand do so as they walk away, thus "eating on the run." Small children cup their hands in odd ways as do adults, move too quickly and seem to receive unthinkingly. As a priest who celebrates school Masses each week where the children are quite reverent during Mass and sing and say their parts (even the new parts) quite robustly, I don't believe they have the same reverence for the Holy Eucharist "internally" as my generation of children who received kneeling and fearfully not wanting to desecrate the host in any intentional and even in an unintentional way. We knelt and waited our turn for the priest to arrive to us, we closed our eyes, tilted our heads slightly back, slightly stuck out our tongue and then received, bowing our heads and praying briefly before we got up and walked back to our pew. We often made the sign of the cross after receiving. When we returned to the pew we knelt, swallowed the host, but never chewed like cows chewing cud. We were reverent internally and externally.

The Law of Prayer is the Law of Belief. I believe this also extends to the outward signs of respect we show during Mass. If these are sloppy, quick and we receive in a way that "appears" to be less than reverent, then this will effect others who participating in the Mass might be less than edified or find the lack of reverent looking individuals confirming for them that we don't owe God love, respect and honor, not to mention, glory and praise because He's just one of the boys no greater no lesser.
Most Rev. Thomas Doran, Bishop of Rockford * Bishop Doran 2011 Columns * May 27, 2011

Reverence and Respect of The Blessed Sacrament

From time to time people make inquiries of the Bishop’s office that demand more than a private answer. One of the things that disturbs practicing Catholics more and more is the seeming lack of reverence and respect for our Lord in the Blessed Sacrament in our liturgy and in our devotions.

As I go about in the various parishes and observe people, a surprising number of people do not genuflect toward the Tabernacle on entering or leaving church and many more do not know how to do it (it is the right knee, not the left that touches the ground when genuflecting). Benediction of the Blessed Sacrament has almost completely disappeared because neither clergy nor laity know how to perform it, and the beautiful hymns that we used to sing on that occasion, all of them replete with deep meaning about the Holy Eucharist, are largely forgotten.

One lady recently wrote me that she had just been informed by a deacon that to receive the Holy Eucharist while kneeling was in disobedience to the Bishops’ Conference and to me as bishop directly. I am grateful for this reminder that this is a subject that we all should take to heart.

First of all, bear in mind that many people have difficulty genuflecting and would have difficulty kneeling for Holy Communion. Obviously, if doing so imperils health or wellbeing, one is not obliged to do it. Reverence for the Blessed Sacrament starts in the heart. Whether it is reflected in our posture depends on many things.

One thing that matters much to me is the practice of the Holy Father, Pope Benedict, when he gives Holy Communion. His practice is to distribute Holy Communion on the tongue of recipients who kneel as they receive communion. That should say something to all of us. I would make this personal observation that I usually do not distribute Holy Communion when I say Mass in the parishes because every parish has its own peculiar way of ordering Holy Communion and I am confused by such a variety of practices, and so since discretion is the better part of valor, I do not get involved in it.

Then there is the fact that many of us identify unity with uniformity. The two are distinct. We are bound to unity in faith, not necessarily to uniformity and how we receive Holy Communion. Now, the Third General Instruction of the Roman Missal now in force, at n. 160, permits receiving Holy Communion kneeling or standing, on the tongue or in the hand. That same instruction allows the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops to establish norms for this practice. This was done by Archbishop Wilton Gregory when he was President of the Conference in 2002. The bishops decided that standing was the normative posture.

It is, therefore, permitted to Catholics to receive Holy Communion standing, receiving the Blessed Sacrament on the tongue or in the hand, depending on their choice, and this is the usual way in which Holy Communion is to be distributed in our churches. Cardinal George asked about this in 2003 and the Holy See responded that posture at Holy Communion is not to be so rigidly regulated as to interfere with the freedom of people receiving Holy Communion. If you have to read this two or three times to understand what is being said, that is alright. The whole matter is somewhat confusing.

I am old enough to remember when, in a flurry of “me-too-ism,” communion rails were ripped out of our churches, something that was never advised, commanded or imposed. Most churches had suitable communion rails with padded cushions upon which communicants could kneel. And it seems to me looking back on the early days of my priesthood, that communion was distributed more reverently and was received more reverently when people knelt for Holy Communion. A few found it difficult and even then those who had difficulty kneeling could stand. Few did, but it was allowed. It would seem that if anyone who wanted to go back to this method of receiving Holy Communion, they would find that communion would be received more reverently, in a more orderly fashion and in less time than it now takes. But time is not the most important thing and order is not a virtue, but rather a convenience.

One thing that should be clear is that at present, to receive Holy Communion kneeling is not a sign of disrespect to all the bishops or to anyone. I would add, however, that practicing Catholics generally like to follow the reasonable requests of their pastors so that Holy Communion may be distributed reverently and in a dignified fashion. It is also true that among those in Holy Orders, bishops and priests are our teachers.


"We Are Church," Signed Ratzinger

For the first time since he became pope, Benedict XVI has cited and criticized in public the movement of ecclesial opposition most widespread and active in German-speaking countries. He did so in an off-the-cuff speech to seminarians in Freiburg. Here are his words

by Sandro Magister

ROME, September 30, 2011 – On just a very few occasions, in the speeches and homilies of his recent voyage to Germany, Benedict XVI departed from the written text.

The quip that he improvised while speaking to the Bundestag, on September 22 in Berlin, is the one that made the biggest impression.

In citing Hans Kelsen, a philosopher of law who in 1965, at the age of 84 – the same age as the pope now – had argued for a certain idea, the pope added off the cuff, smiling, "I find it comforting that rational thought is evidently still possible at the age of 84!"


Nonetheless, among the eighteen speeches that Benedict XVI gave over the four days he spent on German soil, there was one in which he did not read from any written text. And its contents were written down and made public only after the pope returned to Rome.

It is the speech that he gave to seminarians in the chapel of St. Charles Borromeo at the seminary of Freiburg im Breisgau, on the afternoon of Saturday, September 24.

Benedict XVI has always dedicated special attention to candidates for the priesthood.

One year ago, on October 18, 2010, he addressed to seminarians all over the world one of his most touching open letters, with autobiographical passages about his youth:

> "Dear seminarians, when in December 1944..."

Reflecting on this letter, the seminarians of Freiburg had sent to the pope a response, which Benedict XVI, in meeting with them, called "beautiful" and "serious."

The improvised speech that the pope gave to the seminarians of Freiburg on September 24 was the continuation of this dialogue.

A complete transcription of it, translated into six languages from the original German, can be found on the Vatican website:

> "It is a great joy for me to be able to come together here..."

Like all of his improvised speeches, this one also provides a direct view of the thought of pope Joseph Ratzinger, and of what is most important to him.

But there is one passage in it that deserves special attention.

It is the paragraph in which Benedict XVI reflects on the name – "We Are Church" – of the movement of ecclesial dissension most widespread and active in German-speaking countries, mobilized with special intensity at the approach of the pope's third voyage to Germany:

"We can only ever believe within the 'we'. I sometimes say that Saint Paul wrote: 'Faith comes from hearing' – not from reading. It needs reading as well, but it comes from hearing, that is to say from the living word, addressed to me by the other, whom I can hear, addressed to me by the Church throughout the ages, from her contemporary word, spoken to me the priests, bishops and my fellow believers. Faith must include a 'you' and it must include a 'we'. And it is very important to practise this mutual support, to learn how to accept the other as the other in his otherness, and to learn that he has to support me in my otherness, in order to become 'we', so that we can also build community in the parish, calling people into the community of the word, and journeying with one another towards the living God. This requires the very particular 'we' that is the seminary, and also the parish, but it also requires us always to look beyond the particular, limited 'we' towards the great 'we' that is the Church of all times and places: it requires that we do not make ourselves the sole criterion. When we say: 'We are Church' – well, it is true: that is what we are, we are not just anybody. But the “we” is more extensive than the group that asserts those words. The 'we' is the whole community of believers, today and in all times and places. And so I always say: within the community of believers, yes, there is as it were the voice of the valid majority, but there can never be a majority against the apostles or against the saints: that would be a false majority. We are Church: let us be Church, let us be Church precisely by opening ourselves and stepping outside ourselves and being Church with others."

As can be seen, Benedict XVI drew on the name of "We Are Church" to reverse its meaning: from a separate and contrasted "we" to a "we" that embraces the Church "in all times and places."

The movement "We Are Church" was created in 1995 with a collection of signatures in support of an "Appeal of the People of God" that proposed the democratic election of bishops, sacred orders for women, the removal of the division between clergy and laity, the elimination of the requirement of clerical celibacy for the clergy, a new sexual morality, etc. The collection of signatures, which came to two and a half million, began in Austria and was then extended to Germany, Italy, Spain, the United States, Holland, Belgium, France, England, Portugal, Canada. The first document was followed by many more. The epicenter of "we are Church" is still in Austria and Germany, with a vast following among the clergy, with a certain capacity to exert pressure on the bishops themselves, and with an aura of approval in various seminaries.

This would appear to be the first time that Joseph Ratzinger, as pope, has cited "We Are Church" in a public address.

Thursday, September 29, 2011


Helen Hull Hitchcock writes a very nice article for Adoremus Magazine on the New Liturgical Movement. Read it by pressing here.


NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Former Archbishop Philip Matthew Hannan, who gave the eulogy for President John F. Kennedy and later served more than three decades as the head of the New Orleans Roman Catholic Archdiocese, died Thursday. He was 98.

The archdiocese said he died peacefully shortly after 3 a.m. He had been in declining health for years.

Hannan was the 11th archbishop in New Orleans history and one of the most active. When he turned 75 and had to retire as archbishop, he became president of WLAE-TV, the public television station he founded.

Assigned to New Orleans in 1965 from Washington, where he had been auxiliary bishop since 1956, he found the old St. Louis Cathedral, in the middle of an area of the French Quarter a-swarm with tourists, street performers, tarot card readers and musicians, had a unique pleasure for a churchman.

"This is the only city where an archbishop can walk into his cathedral while a band outside in Jackson Squ are is playing 'When the Saints Go Marching In,'" he said.

When Kennedy was assassinated Nov. 22, 1961, his widow, Jacqueline, asked Hannan to deliver the eulogy because of his close personal relationship with the president, which dated back to the 1940s. Then-Father Hannan became friends with Kennedy by smoothing over a misunderstanding that Kennedy had with a Jesuit priest.

He also officiated at a quiet reburial of two Kennedy infants in 1964 so their bodies could be near their father's in Arlington National Cemetery.

"We did it in the middle of the night, and so quietly that we caught everyone off guard," Hannan said in 1965. "Not even the Army chauffeurs knew where they were going when they picked us up."

In 1968, Hannan returned to Washington from New Orleans to give the graveside eulogy for Sen. Robert. F. Kennedy.

When Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis died of cancer in 1994, Hannan was again at Arlington to preside at a brief service preceding h er burial.

As New Orleans' archbishop, Hannan combined conservative politics and service to the poor.

Highlights of his tenure as archbishop included the 1987 visit of Pope John Paul II - a visit that Hannan began angling for in 1984. After a while, said Hannan, "Every time he saw me, he'd simply say, 'New Orleans! New Orleans!'"

Hannan lost a struggle to block the "no nukes" pastoral letter approved by the nation's Catholic bishops in Chicago in 1983. He argued that the politics inherent in the letter could not help disarmament talks.

"Obviously, if the Russians think that 50 million Catholics are going to believe that we must say a 'no' to nuclear war ... then, of course, we have no strength from which to argue for disarmament," he said.

Despite what were labeled conservative views, Hannan had few peers in liberal social action.

He said he decided to push the diocese to serve the poor when he walked through the city's squalid public housi ng projects in 1965, shortly after his transfer from Washington.

Hannan created what was at the time the largest housing program for the elderly - 2,780 units - of any U.S. diocese. The archdiocese also operates one of the biggest Catholic Charities in the nation. When Hannan stepped down, its $20 million budget was helping more than 47,000 people a year.

Under his guidance, the church set up a hospice for AIDS patients. He said there was no contradiction in a ministry for homosexuals and drug addicts.

"We disapprove, too, of people being alcoholics or drinking too much. But we sure try to take care of them if they have that problem," he said.

Hannan was born in Washington, D.C., the fourth of eight children born to an Irish immigrant and a fourth-generation Washingtonian. His late sister, Dr. Mary Mahoney, once was president of the National Conference of Catholic Women.

He was ordained in Rome in 1938 and served two years at a church in Baltimor e, then volunteered as a paratroops chaplain in World War II, getting the nickname "The Jumping Padre."

When U.S. troops took the city of Cologne, Germany, Hannan dodged through front lines to the cathedral, had himself appointed temporary pastor, and, when the fighting passed, posted Army guards to prevent looting or more damage.

In 1945, Hannan helped liberate a camp of starving prisoners from the German prisoner of war camp at Wobbelin. He was discharged in 1946 with the rank of major.

After the war, he served in the Washington archdiocese, moving up to auxiliary bishop in 1956.

Decades after he left Washington, Hannan still chuckled about the time President Truman, a card-playing Baptist, called him for a discreet visit to the Oval Office.

"Harry Truman had just been bawled out by his pastor ... for proposing an ambassador to the Holy See. Now he was calling in a priest to bless a huge St. Christopher medal for a new presidential airplane."

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press

Requiescat in pacem!


A Mexican priest fed up with all the drug violence in his community (and God bless him for that) uses a squirt gun to sprinkle people during Mass with Holy Water. Look at the faces of the congregation and you'll see that this turns a solemn liturgical option into a gimmick that was meant to be serious but turns its seriousness into frivolity.


Wednesday, September 28, 2011


I remember going to morning prayer on September 29, 1978 at St. Mary's Seminary in Baltimore only to learn that the Holy Father had died the night before. I thought they were joking. Pope John Paul I had just been elected and installed as pope a month earlier. We had just witnessed the funeral of Pope Paul VI and the conclave to elect Pope John Paul I.

In those days there was no CNN or Fox news. So the network stations constantly broke into the popular soap operas of that time to announce that the smoke was either black or white or some other color that they couldn't figure out what it meant. The non-Catholic and I suspect some Catholic soap opera fans were none to happy about this!

Pope John Paul I died on this night in 1978. This video is from the day before and one of his very, very few English talks. Please notice how the Holy Father is carried in. I believe Pope John Paul I resurrected this form of travel which Pope Paul VI had chosen not to use. Italian popes are wonderful aren't they?

This is an interesting video and not posted to make fun of the death of Pope John Paul II, but why is a weather reporter reporting on the death of the pope anyway. It would natural lead to an unexpected flub!


Sr. Sandra Schneiders speaks St. Mary’s College in Indiana Sept. 24. You can read the National Catholic Reporter's story on it by pressing these sentences.

I have no problem with aging people, whether they are sisters, brothers, priests or parents. I have a 92 year old mother!

But I do sense that many aging religious sisters and brothers are in a grand state of denial about what has happened in the last 45 years and that in another 20 years or even less, most of their communities will be dead.

The only ones really thriving are the more visibly conservative ones, who still wear a habit, even modified, and live in community rather than as bachelors and have a specified ministry or two, like teaching, medical care or assisting the poor in a variety of ways.

I hope the aging sisters have a happy, active retirement and a blessed death.

In Macon, the Sisters of Mercy founded Mt. de Sales Academy as well as St. Joseph School. In the 1960's there were upwards of 40 sisters of Mercy living in Macon in community staffing both schools. Today there are no sisters in either school and only two retired Sisters of Mercy who live independently of one another. Both though are active in their retirement. May God bless them with more years and good health.

I pray that religious life re-blossoms through communities that are vibrant and strong, such as the Dominican Sisters of Nashville, the Poor Clares of Birmingham and the worldwide Daughters of Charity. It's in communities like these attracting the young where the future of religious life will either be reborn or have its last hurray.


Given our American sensibilities about democracy and the like, can an American Catholic honestly accept the Catholic Church's hierarchical model of leadership that when abused could become a form of dictatorship? Is the pope a dictator? Is your local bishop a dictator? Is your pastor or priest a dictator?

Well, there is a little dictator in all of us isn't there? Will you have to have Obamacare? Can you talk your way out of a felony? If you're a parent, are you sometimes dictator-like to disobedient children?

But a dictator takes an authority that isn't his. Stalin was a brutal dictator as was Hitler. South and Central America have had their little twerp dictators and have injured and killed many in their path and dispossessed many others.

But is the pope a dictator? When he declares a doctrine to be infallible or a part of the infallible ordinary Magisterium of the Church, such as the fact the Church has no authority, nor does the pope, to allow for the ordination of women, is that being a dictator?

When the pope orders that the English translation of the Mass be corrected using the model of a literal rather than an equivalency method of translating the original Latin, is he a dictator? And when he orders that the new, corrected translation be in place by the First Sunday of Advent, or at least the Bishops of a particular country, is that a dictatorship?

No none of that is dictatorial, but all of it is authoritative. And therein lies the fine difference between dictatorships which are authoritarian and illegitimate and leadership which in the Catholic tradition of hierarchy is authoritative and has a legitimacy that comes from God. "Authoritarianism" and "authoritativeness" are two different realities.

In the ranks of the clergy, many priests and some bishops, there is a hatred for authority, what can be called an "authority" complex. Usually it is result of childhood traumas unresolved in adulthood dealing with authority figures, like fathers or mothers, policemen or teachers or a principal, nun or brother, priest or bishop or other such sort of meany.

Some of the most unresolved authority based issues of some priests and other adults are people who are the most authoritarian, reactive and dictatorial. Don't ever cross them or you'll be sorry.

That brings us to liturgical theologians of the past 45 years. While there are and have been many good ones, unfortunately the most dictatorial have held sway in the Church for over the past 45 years. Their vision of the Church and the liturgy is one that is a total rupture with the past or the pre-Vatican II image of Church and Liturgy as well as authority.

They desire homespun, congregational approaches to liturgy where there is an egalitarianism and no distinction between ordained and laity. Of course this is a false egalitarianism and often leads to those who have no real authority taking authority to fill in for the vacuum that is created when no one actually is the leader. The danger of dictatorship looms greatly in these false egalitarian communities and usually it is the "community or committee" that becomes a multi-faced dictatorship.

Our bishops who for the most part are not liturgists or musicians have listened obediently to these liturgical theologians and have allowed them not only to dismantle the liturgy that was desired by Vatican II and turned it into a mere ghost of what could have been, but they have also allowed them to dismantle and whitewash countless cathedrals and churches throughout the world in a neo-iconoclasm that would make the Puritans blush not to mention the true iconoclast of over 1000 years ago that helped lead to schism in the Church.

There is much truth in the old question, "What is the difference between a terrorist and a liturgist?" "You can negotiate with a terrorist!" Think about the disobedient clergy in Austria and those who are following them. Who's the dictator there?

Don't mess with a liturgist or anyone who considers themselves to be the elite in the world of Church academia looking down their noses at those who are of the lower class. If you want to see dictatorships and neo-clericalism in action go to liberal Catholic Universities and speak to their Catholic faculty, clergy or lay.

Give me Rome's authority and the Hermeneutic of Continuity that Pope Benedict emphasizes so eloquently. Give me the Hermeneutic of rupture when it comes to post-Vatican II babel about authority, liturgy and what constitutes being "Church." Rupture is not always bad if it gives rebirth to what is good, beautiful and holy within our Tradition.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


A further update, This will be the post-communion meditation! However, watch the whole thing, because what this guy is doing is rather amazing, but you won't know it until the end! It is impressive to say the least!

David Garibaldi: Jesus Painting from Thriving Churches on Vimeo.

This is an important update to 1980's experiences!

From 1980 to 1985 I was stationed at St. Teresa of Avila Church in Albany, Georgia. Our Folk Mass was the most popular (although fewer in the congregation actually would sing compared to our traditional Mass earlier in the morning, but I digress). When I hear this music it takes me back to my happy first few years in Albany! But thank God for the rupture in music that has occurred in the Church since these marvelous days. The hermeneutic of rupture can give birth to beautiful liturgical music. We need to explore the hermeneutic of rupture as a positive thing rather than just negative! But also shouldn't the reform of the reform include the hermeneutic of continuity and shouldn't we reinstate these cool tunes at Mass here once again out of a concern for the hermeneutic of continuity?
This is a great entrance chant!

This is a stunning offertory anthem!

The Sanctus:

The Great Amen (I thought it would last forever too!)

This is a great Communion Processional, so march like!

Such a nice recessional:



One of the numerous reasons cited for limiting the chalice to the laity (although it may be allowed under very strict circumstances and for special feasts like Corpus Christi, Holy Thursday, etc)is based on this questions and answer:

Why the practice of both forms is limited:

To protect the Sacred Species from profanation (careless treatment, spillage, swilling, etc.

Of course each bishop has the right as primary liturgist of the diocese to legislate for his diocese in things liturgical. I asked our bishop after he banned the chalice to the laity because of the H1N1 epidemic if we could use the option in the American Adaptation of the GIRM of intinction. He said no. For me that was "case closed." He made a decision and I in obedience followed, although I was not in complete agreement. But that's how the Catholic Church operates. The bishop is in union with the pope, but each bishop has authority to adapt universal and national norms on a local level. Catholic parishes are not meant to be "congregational" deciding for ourselves what we will do, but dioceses under a bishop in union with the Holy Father are congregational and bishops can make "congregational" decisions affecting the entire diocese, like Bishop Olmsted and Bishop Emeritus Boland. That's how we are structured.

Nonetheless, liturgical progressives are besides themselves and are lining up to condemn the Bishop of Phoenix for bringing his "congregation" backwards to pre-Vatican II times.

While I wonder if the Bishop o Phoenix is overreacting, I don't wonder about his role of leadership and I'm willing to take a wait and see attitude about how this will affect his diocese for better or worse when it comes to Eucharistic Reverence and liturgical practice.

Some liturgical progressives are also liturgical fundamentalists or literalistic about the manner in which the Liturgy should be celebrated. Here's two comments that I find rather amusing and disconcerting at the same time that I've lifted from a more progressive liturgical blog:

A lay person writes: "Maybe it’s not really relevant, but I can only imagine what crumbs and drops the disciples must have created during the last supper, and the amount of spillage when Jesus was cut with the spear while on the cross. No worries about profanation then."

A priest replies: "I think it’s highly relevant. This is, in fact, precisely the point. We are humans when we celebrate the sacraments, and sacraments are entries of the divine into our messy, human world with all that entails. Connections to the incarnation and the crucifixion are relevant."

My concluding comments: When I was in the seminary a Jesuit priest celebrating his first Solemn Mass after ordination used French Bread instead of the traditional wafer for his Mass. Loaves where placed in baskets with napkins or purificators to hold the consecrated bread. Rather than "break" the bread during the Agnus Dei, Communion Ministers, mostly laity even though there were enough priests available, broke the "Bread" as each individual communicant came forward. These communicants were forced to receive in the hand.

Afterward, the red carpet was littered with the crusts and crumbs of the Most Holy Eucharist. Some in the congregation were appalled and tried to clean up the mess. The priests present called these laity scrupulous for their concern!



My comments: Germany and many other Germanic countries have had the most liberal leaning bishops after Vatican II and theologians. Lukewarm is what you get when you are progressive and opposed to what the Church really is and what Vatican II envisioned!
Catholic abusing protesters

"The criticism of Benedict XVI in Germany became deafening ahead of the pope's visit to his homeland. But those calling for reform want nothing less than for the Catholic Church to abandon everything that makes it unique."

The quotation above comes from an editorial in a popular German magazine/newspaper, DER SPIEGEL.

The editorialist captures what those who hate the Catholic Church want to accomplish. But he also captures what progressives in the Church have been trying to accomplish with their ubiquitous "spirit of Vatican II" hogwash since the 1960's. The aging Father Hans Kung is their hero.

Why are progressives so hateful toward traditional Catholicism which imbues in people a strong Catholic identity? Why do they remain in the Church when they do not accept the Church or her teachings? Would they have more integrity if they joined the Anglicans or Lutherans or non-denominationalists rather than remain in the Catholic Church trying to make it into their own compromised image? I have great admiration for those Episcopalians who have become Catholic recognizing that they have become Catholic in thought, word, deed and faith and can no longer remain Episcopalian trying to change that Church from within. They have true integrity to leave alone a Church that has its own way of doing things and joining the Catholic Church that has her own way which they embrace.

How odd that we have Pope Benedict, the same age as Fr. Hans Kung and formed by the same period of time as Fr. Hans Kung and yet they are on two separate tracks. How odd that Pope Benedict can gather millions of people to himself for them to hear and see him, even youth, and Fr. Hans Kung can only gather a handful of people OF his generation to hear and see him.


Monday, September 26, 2011


Although he resembles Bishop Emeritus J. Kevin Boland of Savannah, this is Cardinal Angelo Scola of Milano! Is he the next pope? Only time and the Holy Spirit will tell.

“The Church in order to avoid facing this judgment, cannot use the trouble this convulsive transition we are living through, expression of the dark evil of the so-called economic, financial and political crisis, as an excuse; from here the need to spread the Gospel, to go after those worlds which by now seem impervious to Christian faith.”



Pope prefers searching agnostics to fake Christians

From the Vatican Insider:
Benedict XVI: "It is better to be a searching agnostic than a false believer"

The Pope in Freiburg

By: Giacomo Galeazzi

Benedict XVI issued an unusual and sincere warning, a provocative message that should be read very carefully: it is better to be a searching agnostic than a fake believer. During the mass that was celebrated this morning at the airport in Freiburg, in the last day of his German visit, Benedict XVI praised the "agnostics who cannot find peace due to their questions about God, people who suffer because of our sins and are desirous of a pure heart."

They are "closer to the Kingdom of God than "routine" believers who only see the apparatus of the Church without their hearts being touched by faith." A strong appeal to "unite" the Church in Germany and maintain a strong bond with Rome was launched by Benedict XVI. The Pope's call responds to the demands for reform in various areas - such as the question of remarried divorcees, priestly celibacy and the ordination of women - and also the anti-Rome pressure from sectors of the German church.

"The renewal of the Church," Ratzinger warned, "can only come about through the willingness to convert and through a renewal of faith.” The German Pope, aware that the ill-feeling towards the Vatican's failure to respond to requests for renewal, is most felt in his homeland, Germany and in Austria, warned that "the Church in Germany will overcome the great challenges of the present and future and will remain yeast in society, if the priests, consecrated persons and lay believers in Christ, loyal to their own specific vocation, work together in unity."

During the homily the Pope stressed that the German Church, "will continue to be a blessing for the global Catholic community, if it remains closely united with the successors of St Peter and the Apostles", and also, "if it looks after the collaboration with the mission countries in many ways and through this allows itself to be 'infected’ by the joy of the young faithful in the Church." In view of the renewal of the faith, Benedict XVI, also urged believers not just to be faithful out of habit and commented on the day's readings. The Pope praised and thanked those people who work as volunteers, those "many social and charitable institutions" of the German church, "where love for our neighbor is carried out in a socially effective way all around the world."

My comments: What the Pope has to say is really a no-brainer. If one belongs to the Church in order to promote social change and to conform to the demands of any particular society, culture or political persuasion, that one might as well make a religion out of being a member of the country club, the numerous political parties and Kawanas.

If one wants the gift of faith, the ability to know, love and serve Jesus Christ and to experience Him in the Word of God and the Sacraments, then be a good, practicing Roman Catholic obedient to the faith and morals revealed to the Church by her Savior and the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, September 25, 2011


The late Don Ameche in his heyday:

Heather Locklear in "Return of the Swamp Thing" filmed in Savannah, Georiga

Heather Locklear is turning 50 and there is a story about her in the 1980's making the movie, "Return of the Swamp Thing." It was filmed in Savannah and several scenes were shot at night at the very home of Jim Williams who is infamous for a murder he committed in that home and which was later made into a best selling book and not so good movie, "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil." (The Cathedral rectory garage where I parked my car is featured in that awful movie).

In that very same home Jim Williams hung a Nazi flag outside of his home while another movie company used the square that this home is on to make a period piece in the 1800's. Obviously this flag caused problems for filming.

Later Jim Williams very same home was use in a scene from the Civil War drama "Glory" which was also filmed in Savannah while I lived there.

The night I heard that Heather Locklear was two squares away from the Cathedral rectory where I lived and was filming at the Williams' home, I made my way there in civilian clothes to see what it was all about and there she was talking to those gathered to watch moving making magic.

Come to think of it, Hollywood heart throb from the 1940's Don Ameche made a movie while I was stationed at the Cathedral and attended Mass there every Saturday night until he finished and he also made use of the Sacrament of Penance. He was a devout Catholic. Our older Cathedral women swooned over him but in discreet southern hospitality and never once disturbed him. He was always very cordial with me and on his last Saturday with us came up to speak to me after Mass and to thank me and the Cathedral parishioners for the kindnesses shown to him. He was a real gentleman!


Now this is the hermeneutic of continuity at hand! Kneeling is really nice isn't it?

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The Holy Father sums up in a nutshell the problem with the Catholic Church today and its crisis of faith: "We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective."

My comment: The renewal of the Liturgy over the past 40 years has borne much fruit but also considerable disruption. The hermeneutic of discontinuity promoted by so many progressives has led to an appreciation of all that is new and exciting merely because it is different that what was experienced prior to the council. But has faith been strengthened, family life made stronger, love for neighbor more evident and the witness of Catholics in politics, employment and recreation more powerful? Are we more preoccupied with the "remodeling" of the liturgy and not with the Source of Liturgy, God and His Son, the Christ, sacrificed for our salvation and Risen and Glorified for our strengthening? Have we tried to appeal to Protestants with a liturgy that appeases them all the while losing scores of Catholics due to a loss of Catholic identity and a false egalitarianism as it concerns the various Christian communions?

From Whispers in the Loggia and Rocco Palma:

Saturday, September 24, 2011
B16: "The Church's Real Crisis is a Crisis of Faith"

As his latest homeland trek passed its halfway point, earlier today the Pope addressed the Central Committee of the German church -- the influential all-lay council whose voice helps guide one of global Catholicism's best-organized and wealthiest national churches.

While other episcopates have similar national lay groups, the German committee's prominence is arguably without peer anywhere else, perhaps as a reflection of the Protestant influence on much of the country's Catholic life (Bavaria notwithstanding).

Much like his Thursday homily at Berlin's Olympic Stadium, Benedict's speech to the Zentralkomitee was underpinned by the widespread tide over recent years in the German-speaking Catholicism: the combination of a significant increase in defections from the church's official membership rolls (a figure which, in Germany alone, spiked by half from 2009 to 2010), and above all, frequent calls for structural changes to the church's life and organization.

On the latter front, the latest developments from Austria have sounded significant alarm-bells in Rome as one-tenth of the country's priests -- backed by a majority in opinion polls -- have signed on to a "Declaration of Disobedience" that would see the group flout church discipline on distributing the Eucharist to Protestants and civilly-remarried Catholics, on top of calling for the ordination of women and married men to the priesthood. Notably, the head of the Austrian movement is a former vicar-general to the country's senior prelate, Vienna's Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who recently warned of "serious conflict" if the group sought to move forward on its proposals.

Especially given that subtext, Der DeutschePapst's talk packed a punch... here, its core:

Dear friends, for some years now, development aid has included what are known as “exposure programmes”. Leaders from the fields of politics, economics and religion live among the poor in Africa, Asia, or Latin America for a certain period and share the day-to-day reality of their lives. They are exposed to the circumstances in which these people live, in order to see the world through their eyes and hence to learn how to practise solidarity.

Let us imagine that an exposure programme of this kind were to take place here in Germany. Experts from a far country would arrive to spend a week with an average German family. They would find much to admire here, for example the prosperity, the order and the efficiency. But looking on with unprejudiced eyes, they would also see plenty of poverty: poverty in human relations and poverty in the religious sphere.

We live at a time that is broadly characterized by a subliminal relativism that penetrates every area of life. Sometimes this relativism becomes aggressive, when it opposes those who claim to know where the truth or meaning of life is to be found.

And we observe that this relativism exerts more and more influence on human relationships and on society. This is reflected, among other things, in the inconstancy and fragmentation of many people’s lives and in an exaggerated individualism. Many no longer seem capable of any form of self-denial or of making a sacrifice for others. Even the altruistic commitment to the common good, in the social and cultural sphere or on behalf of the needy, is in decline. Others are now quite incapable of committing themselves unreservedly to a single partner. People can hardly find the courage now to promise to be faithful for a whole lifetime; the courage to make a decision and say: now I belong entirely to you, or to take a firm stand for fidelity and truthfulness and sincerely to seek a solution to their problems.

Dear friends, in the exposure programme, analysis is followed by common reflection. This evaluation must take into account the whole of the human person, and this includes – not just implicitly but quite clearly – the person’s relationship to the Creator.

We see that in our affluent western world much is lacking. Many people lack experience of God’s goodness. They no longer find any point of contact with the mainstream churches and their traditional structures. But why is this? I think this is a question on which we must reflect very seriously. Addressing it is the principal task of the Pontifical Council for the New Evangelization. But naturally it is something that concerns us all. Allow me to refer here to an aspect of Germany’s particular situation. The Church in Germany is superbly organized. But behind the structures, is there also a corresponding spiritual strength, the strength of faith in a living God? We must honestly admit that we have more than enough by way of structure but not enough by way of Spirit. I would add: the real crisis facing the Church in the western world is a crisis of faith. If we do not find a way of genuinely renewing our faith, all structural reform will remain ineffective.

Let us return to the people who lack experience of God’s goodness. They need places where they can give voice to their inner longing. Here we are called to seek new paths of evangelization. Small communities could be one such path, where friendships are lived and deepened in regular communal adoration before God. There we find people who speak of these small faith experiences at their workplace and within their circle of family and friends, and in so doing bear witness to a new closeness between Church and society. They come to see more and more clearly that everyone stands in need of this nourishment of love, this concrete friendship with others and with the Lord. Of continuing importance is the link with the vital life-source that is the Eucharist, since cut off from Christ we can do nothing (cf. Jn 15:5).

Dear brothers and sisters, may the Lord always point out to us how together we can be lights in the world and can show our fellow men the path to the source at which they can quench their profound thirst for life.

PHOTO: Getty


On this one, I'm glad the Muslims won. In terms of their faith and commitment to prayer (sound, practicing Muslims, not radicalized, politicized ones) I think Catholics have much to learn.

After reading the story, do you think Catholic cabbies would do such a thing? And if Catholic cabbies were so motivated by their faith to fight something like this, do you think they would be as successful as the Muslims?



I wonder if Jesus, the Good Shepherd, gets exasperated with His sheep when they go out on a limb and He can't find them thinking they are lost?

Friday, September 23, 2011


John Allen of the National Catholic IllReporter has a very good article on how the publicity stunt of SNAP bringing to the World's Court might be a blessing in disguise. I didn't think of it in that way:



The New York Times reports: Pope Weathers Protests and Boycotts in First Official Visit to Germany. PRESS HERE and read all about the New York Times take on things papal.

My comment: Have you noticed how the main line media (or drive by media) have marginalized their reporting on this significant trip? Do you wonder why?

Thursday, September 22, 2011


Yesterday morning as I was watching ABC News, there was a story about a young army soldier who on the day that the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was no longer applicable decided to call his father whom he hadn't seen in over a year to tell him that he was gay. He asked his father over the phone if he still loved him. The father said yes. It was heart warming.

The other part of this story is that the young soldier videoed his call to his father and placed the whole thing on you-tube for the world to see. I don't know that the father was told that he was being recorded and placed on the worldwide web to be either the poster child for gay rights or for gay bashing. Fortunately for the father who did not video his own response to his son's call, he said all the right things in our politically correct society otherwise there would have been hell to pay if he hadn't.

The newscaster gushing over what had just been seen repeated, "he still loves his son!" But does the son really love his father and is that what the problem may really be and the son seeking male affirmation in all the wrong places? Was this a "get even" moment for the son and a plan to humiliate his father which backfired? I shouldn't be so cynical.

Here's the "gottcha" moment that backfired into a love fest:

Here's another story from the conservative Washington Times. Press its name back there and you can read it. It has some interesting insights although it could come across as somewhat shrill.

And please note that any comments that go against the Golden Rule will not be posted.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I do not normally endorse products, but I do have to give you a testimonial.

I have suffered with Ulcerative Colitis for about 15 years now. I've been on medication for it for as long. Sometimes I'm in remission and sometimes I'm not. I take a drug called Colazal. My situation was never fully in remission and the doctor increased the medication from three capsules three times a day to four capsules three times a day.

For the last year I've dealt with its symptoms (bleeding, mucus, cramping, urgency to go multiple times a day, etc.)on an increasing basis as well as the "blah" feeling, flu like symptoms and loss of energy when it flairs up.

My last colonoscopy which I had in January, the doctor told me that he thought that I might actually have Crohn's disease. However he said the treatment was the same for both.

In June a parishioner of mine offered to give me "Herbalife" free of charge as she is a dealer. She said if I took it with Soy Milk (Silk) in place of breakfast and lunch, I'd lose weight, feel better, and have more energy.

Within two days of taking it as an 8 ounce drink (it's a powder shaken with the Silk) I noticed a change in my bowels! I have been in remission since early June and feel like a new person.

I've cut my medication to three capsules twice a day, not three times a day and am tempted to get off the medication altogether. I've also lost about 12 pounds and hope to lose about 20 more which has helped my high blood pressure tremendously.

Now, it could be the soy milk that is the miracle or the Herbalife or the combination of both. I had never drunk soy milk in my life until I did it with the Herbalife this past June.

On top of that, about two years ago a parishioner gave me a bottle of Vitamin D supplements because she noticed that I caught bad colds several times a year. She said if I took two capsules in the morning and at night it would reduce the number of colds I caught and that if I was catching a cold the symptoms would disappear quickly and would not become full blown.

It has worked! No major colds in two years and when I feel symptoms coming on they disappear in a day!



Young upstart Parochial Vicar, Father Dawid Kwiatkowski of Poland and now of St. Joseph Church at his First Solemn Mass in the "Ordinary Form" at Saint Joseph Church, Macon, Georgia.

Our young up-start parochial vicar, energetic, pious, and with the ability to do all thing better than anyone else has done before, who is also out-going and very likable also wants to celebrate the EF Mass on a rotating basis with me. We celebrate it the First Sunday of the month as a High Mass and each Tuesday as a low Mass.

While he had a course on it at Mt. St. Mary's Seminary in Emmitsburg, he has yet to celebrate it since his ordination in early June. Last evening he attended the 5:00 PM EF Low Mass to observe the expert that I am, much older, refined, intentional in energy and scope of ability, really like a finely aged, dry, humorous red wine, celebrate this Mass as it is meant to be celebrated within the much touted "hermeneutic of continuity" method that Pope Benedict has promoted in his finely aged magnificent self.

Afterwards I mistakenly asked the upstart parochial vicar for any comments on the Mass and how I celebrated it. Of course given his nature he proceeded to tell me all the things I did wrong, for example the lack of military, robotic, mechanical movements at the altar, not holding my arms exactly in the right way in the "orans" position where the hands and arms do not extend beyond the shoulders (as wide as mine are)and the less than precise holding of my hands and greeting people as I turn to them for the extension of my arms at the "Dominus Vobiscum."

I tried to explain to my young, smart, outgoing, energetic, pious, know it all parochial vicar that I agree with Pope Benedict that the OF Mass should have some influence on the EF Msss and the EF Mass on the OF Mass and that I love the hermeneutic of continuity especially for the EF Mass that our Holy Father promotes.

We'll see come the First Sunday of October at 2:00 PM when my young, upstart, energetic, outgoing, well beloved by all who witness his piety and sincerity, not to mention his energy and ability to conquer the religious world of Macon just how robotic and anti-hermeneutic of continuity between the EF and the OF Mass he will be. Time will tell.


I was stationed at our Cathedral in Savannah in 1989 when Police Officer Mark MacPhail was murdered in the line of duty. Eventually Troy Davis was arrested for this killing, found guilty and sentenced to death. Tonight that death sentence will be carried out about 45 miles from St. Joseph Church in Macon, Georgia in a town called Jackson where death row and the means for execution are.

I am 99.9% opposed to the death penalty and believe that cold-blooded murderers and others who would qualify for the death penalty should be given life in prison without the possibility of parole. Only if the prison system is so weak and the possibility of escape or leaving prison under some other means is present and for those who foment political unrest and terror would I be in favor of the death penalty.

The Catholic Church's teaching on this subject has evolved over the years and certainly Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict question the need for the death penalty in most cases. However, Church teaching does allow for it in extreme situations even today.

But this is where secular and religious liberals get into trouble. In the case of Troy Davis where there seems to be some contrived evidence that he may not be guilty of the crime, despite the fact that his case has been reviewed officially many times over, there seems to be a total lack of concern bordering on the callous as it concerns not only Mark MacPhail but his surviving family, including his mother and wife and children.

When you look at what has escalated the sex abuse scandal in the Church in almost apocalyptic proportions in terms of what it has done not only to victims, but to the Church in general and to bishops and priests in particular, one sees that liberal prelates of the 1960's and 70's listened to liberal psychologists and pop culture of the time in terms of love, love, love and the power of love to change and rehabilitate the most grievous offenders of the legal and moral law even pedophiles.

When you look at the history of this scandal unfold in the 1960's and 70's you see bishops more concerned about villainous priests but showing almost no compassion toward victims, their families and the potential victims of priests who having been counseled in residential psychiatric facilities for pedophilia and ephebophilia returned to ministry.

Victims and their families of clergy sexual abuse and enabling bishops have become so outraged that they have formed coalitions to shame the Church and her bishops into having more concern and compassion for the victims rather than the perpetrators. Some of these groups, like SNAP, have evolved into hate groups against the Church, bishops and priests. They have become radicalized.

Rather, pro-life groups in the Church and secular society when it comes to the death penalty should focus on justice apart from the death penalty and show as much if not more compassion toward the victims of heinous crimes such as the murder of Mark MacPhail.

One can protest the death penalty and even raise the issue of the possible innocence of Troy Davis. If there is a shadow of doubt about his guilt even after a legitimate conviction, life in prison without the possibly of parole may allow time for an innocent man to find more evidence of that fact. When Troy Davis is executed tonight, he has no chance of proving his innocence anymore. And if innocent he becomes like Mark MacPhail, a victim of killing. Troy Davis' family will also become victims like the family of Mark MacPhail.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011


This is one interpretation of the Third Secret of Fatima as it concerns Pope John Paul II. Read it by pressing these sentences.

But more and more I'm wondering if it doesn't refer to Pope Benedict. How much more has he been maligned from the time of being Cardinal Ratzinger to the time he has been pope. He is maligned not only by the "world" who despises him and his Church but by Catholics too, especially those who have promoted the loss of Catholic identity through the preaching and living of the "spirit" of Vatican II which has nothing to do with what Vatican II actually teaches.

And how many protests has Pope Benedict seen and heard in his travels. And now SNAP wants him to be placed on trial by the "World" Court for crimes against humanity as it concerns the sexual abuse of minors by clerics of the Church.

And this Thursday he's visiting his home country of Germany for a rather grueling pilgrimage and already there are those who would like to see him eradicated. His is a martyrdom but of another kind.



Do we look alike or does my Italian half overpower my Canadian half?

About 20 minutes ago I received a call from Archbishop James H. MacDonald the Archbishop-Emeritus of St. John's Newfoundland. He introduced himself to me as my relative in Georgia.

He retired as Archbishop Metropolitan at the age of 75 in the year 2000. So he is now about 86 years old and would be a contemporary of my father.

The connection as I understood it is that his mother and my father's mother were first Cousins. So what does that make me to him? A first cousin twice removed????? His mother was from Judique, Cape Breton and was a MacEachern, just as my grandmother (who died in childbirth in 1912 at a very young age).

He's coming to Georgia in late October and will swing by to see me in Macon. I can't believe it and I'm excited to meet him!

Archbishop MacDonald first was an auxiliary bishop in Hamilton, Ontario and then became the bishop of Prince Edward Island right next to Cape Breton and then was name Archbishop of Saint John Newfoundland. Newfoundland is a half hour different in time than the Province of Nova Scotia. Just a little tidbit there!

Archbishop MacDonald, that has a very nice sound to it doesn't it?



ROME, SEPT. 19, 2011 ( It is often proposed that celibacy is to blame for a lack of vocations to the priesthood.
But according to the prefect of the Congregation for the Clergy, celibacy is not the problem at all.

ZENIT spoke with Cardinal Mauro Piacenza about the lack of priestly vocations and the true remedies for the problem.

ZENIT: Who are the priests in this Catholic Church and what is their role?

Cardinal Piacenza: They are not social workers and even less are they functionaries of God! The identity crisis is especially acute in the more secularized contexts in which it seems that there is no space for God. But priests are what they have always been; they are always what Christ wanted them to be! The priestly identity is Christocentric and therefore Eucharistic. It is Christocentric because, as the Holy Father has recalled many times, in the ministerial priesthood "Christ draws us into himself," involving himself with us and involving us in his own existence. This "real" attraction happens sacramentally, and so in an objective and unsurpassable manner, in the Eucharist -- of which priests are ministers, that is servants and effective instruments.

ZENIT: But is the law of celibacy so absolute? Can it really not be changed?

Cardinal Piacenza: It is not a mere law! The law is the consequence of a much higher reality that is grasped only in a living relationship with Christ. Jesus says: "He who understands, must understand." Holy celibacy is never something to progress beyond, rather it is always new, in the sense that, even through it, the life of the priest is "renewed," because it is always given, in a fidelity that has its root in God and its fruition in the blossoming of human freedom.

The true problem is in the contemporary inability to make definitive choices, in the dramatic reduction of human freedom that has become so fragile as not to pursue the good, not even when it is recognized and intuited as a possibility for one's own existence. Celibacy is not the problem, nor can the infidelity and weakness of certain priests be the criterion of judgment. Statistics tell us that more than 40% of marriages fail. But 2% of priests fail in celibacy, so the solution would not be in making holy celibacy optional. Should we not instead stop interpreting freedom as the "absence of ties" and of definitiveness, and begin to discover that the true realization of human felicity consists precisely in the definitiveness of the gift to the other and to God?

ZENIT: What about vocations? Would they not increase if celibacy were abolished?

Cardinal Piacenza: No! The Christian confessions in which, because there is no ordained priesthood, there is no doctrine and discipline of celibacy, find themselves in a state of deep crisis regarding "vocations" to the leadership of the community. There is also a crisis in the sacrament of marriage as one and indissoluble.
The crisis from which, in reality, we are slowly emerging, is linked, fundamentally, to the crisis of faith in the West. It is in making faith grow that we must be engaged. This is the point. In the same spheres the sanctification of the feast is in crisis, confession is in crisis, marriage is in crisis, etc…

Secularization and the consequent loss of the sense of the sacred, of faith and its practice have brought about and continue to bring about a diminution in the number of candidates to the priesthood. Along with these distinctively theological and ecclesial causes, there are also some of a sociological character: first of all, the evident decline in births, with the consequent diminution in the number of young men and, thus, also of priestly vocations. This too is a factor that cannot be ignored. Everything is connected. Sometimes the premises are laid down and then one does not want to accept the consequences, but these are inevitable.

The first and undeniable remedy for the drop in vocations Jesus himself suggested: "Pray that the Lord of the harvest will send workers into the harvest" (Matthew 9:38). This is the realism of pastoral work in vocations. Prayer for vocations, an intense, universal, widespread network of prayer and Eucharistic adoration that envelops the whole world, is the only possible answer to the crisis of the acceptance of vocations. Wherever such a prayerful attitude has a stable existence, one sees that a real turnaround is occurring. It is fundamental to watch over the identity and specificity in ecclesial life of priests, religious (in the uniqueness of the foundational charisms of the order to which they belong) and faithful laity, so that each may truly, in freedom, understand and welcome the vocation that God has in mind for him. But everyone must be himself and must work every day more and more to become what he is.

ZENIT: Your Eminence, in this moment in history how would you sum things up?

Cardinal Piacenza: Our project must not be to stay afloat at all costs, to desire the applause of public opinion: We must only serve our neighbor, whoever he is, out of love and with the love of our God, remembering that only Jesus is the Savior. We must let him pass, speak, act through our poor persons and our daily work. We must not put ourselves forward but him. We must not be frightened in the face of situations, not even the worst. The Lord is also aboard the Barque of Peter even if he seems to be sleeping; he is here! We must act with energy, as if everything depended on us but with the peace of those who know that everything depends on the Lord. Therefore, we must remember that the name of love in time is "fidelity"!

The believer knows that He is the Way, the Truth, the Life and not just "a" way, "a" truth, "a" life. This is why the key to the mission in our society is in the courage of truth at the cost of insults and scorn; it is this courage that is one with love, with pastoral charity, which must be recovered and that makes the Christian vocation more attractive today than ever. I would like to cite the words in which the Council of the Evangelical Church summed up its program in Stuttgart in 1945: "To proclaim with more courage, to pray with more confidence, to believe with more joy, to love with more passion."

[Translation by Joseph G. Trabbic]