Monday, March 31, 2014


Archbishop Gregory is introduced at minute 41. Then after a somewhat tedious history of the liturgical movement, Archbishop Gregory gets to the meat of his topic at minute at 1 hour and 15 minutes and the at hour 1, minute 26 second 30 he begins with the implementation of Vatican II in the Liturgy and the problems that began with the verbosity that came into the Mass and the personality of the priest and congregation interfering with the transcendent experience.

At hour 2:20 Archbishop Gregory M. Aymond, of New Orleans gives his talk on what needs to be done next

Overall Archbishop Gregory's talk is very good, sober, analyzing what went wrong but focusing on the good that can be with more work:


Substitute Sister Jane for Saul and the Charlotte Catholic High School students and their supporters as the persecuting mob in this image:

Has virtual apostasy occurred in the Church and what are the bishops going to do about it?

A comment on my previous post on Sister Jane and a Charlotte Catholic High School said the following:

Anonymous said...
PI – Seems you’ve skipped a step in your rush to offer absolution. The penitent needs to ask for forgiveness first. The group attacking the nun has no interest in their own forgiveness rather they are the accusers eager to destroy someone for speaking the truth. That sounds more like Pharisees to me. The victim in this case is the nun, not the lynch mob. You’ve got the roles reversed.

The corrupt Catholics (faith without substance and Pope Francis judges it) and perhaps other persons at this Catholic school, meaning faculty, students, parents and their supporters are persecuting a Catholic nun who at a Catholic school taught what the Catholic Church teaches about sexual morality. This is the bottom line in this controversy--the corruption of some Catholics at this school and their supporters who are persecuting a Catholic sister for teaching the truth. She is the Christ-figure in this version of the passion during this 2014 Lenten season.

The other thing that is made obvious by the news report of this scandal of persecution of a Catholic sister at at Catholic High School being persecuted by Catholics for teaching Catholic truth is that some of these Catholics at this Catholic High School are separating Christ from His Church as though one could follow Christ without following His Church! Pope Francis roundly rejects this common heresy amongst way too many Catholics who live as apostates in the Church today by making their relativism equal to God's truths.

This is what Pope Francis said about a year ago on this topic:

.- Pope Francis said that people cannot be fully united to Jesus outside of the Church during a Mass to commemorate Saint George, the saint he is named after.

“You cannot find Jesus outside the Church,” he said April 23 in the Apostolic Palace’s Pauline Chapel.

“It is the Mother Church who gives us Jesus, who gives us the identity that is not only a seal, it is a belonging,” he declared in his homily.

The pontiff spoke about Christian identity as well as persecution, making it the sixth time in two weeks he has mentioned those who suffer for the faith.

Speaking about the Gospel reading for today from Saint John, Pope Francis underscored that “the missionary expansion of the Church began precisely at a time of persecution.”

“They had this apostolic fervor within them, and that is how the faith spread!” he exclaimed.

It was through the Holy Spirit’s initiative that the Gospel was proclaimed to the Gentiles, the Pope noted, and the Spirit “pushes more and more in this direction of opening the proclamation of the Gospel to all.”

The pontiff also repeated a line from his April 17 homily in St. Martha’s residence, when he emphasized that being a Christian is not like having “an identity card.”

“Christian identity is belonging to the Church, because all of these (the apostles) belonged to the Church, the Mother Church, because finding Jesus outside the Church is impossible,” he said.

“The great Paul VI said it is an absurd dichotomy to want to live with Jesus but without the Church, following Jesus out of the Church, loving Jesus without the Church,” he added.

Pope Francis said that “if we are not sheep of Jesus, faith does not come” and that it is “a rosewater faith and a faith without substance.”

The Pope also commented on Barnabas, who was sent to Antioch and was glad to see that the grace of God had encouraged people there to remain true disciples.

“Let us think of the consolations that Barnabas had, which is the sweet and comforting joy of evangelizing,” he preached.

“Let us ask the Lord for this frankness, this apostolic fervor that impels us to move forward, as brothers, all of us forward,” he remarked.

MY FINAL COMMENTS: The most controversial thing I wrote yesterday that one or two comments took exception was the following: " If Catholics don't like what the Catholic Church teaches, they should either shut-up, pull their children out of all Catholic religious education programs and schools or leave the Church altogether" 

Of those Catholics at this Catholic School, I wonder how many of these kids and their parents actually go to Mass each Sunday, confession regularly and witness to their Catholic faith at home and elsewhere? Have they become pagans and now trying to paganize a Catholic school by separating Christ from His Church?

Shouldn't the new evangelization entail true disciples of the Lord, like Sister Jane, in the image and likeness of Saint Baranabas, to be frank in moving forward and to encourage people there at that school to become and remain true disciples?

We also know from the Gospel of John that when Jesus' preached the truth, many found him altogether to much and left Him--Jesus did not prevent them from doing so and neither should we in the current context! 

Sunday, March 30, 2014


My comments follow this pathetic news report from the Charlotte Observer:

Charlotte Catholic High calls meeting for parents after uproar over speech

 Subversive, orthodox Catholic Sister:

By Tim Funk
Charlotte Catholic High School has invited parents to a meeting Wednesday night to air concerns many of them – and their kids – had about a recent speaker’s comments about homosexuality, divorce and single parents.

Sister Jane Dominic Laurel, a Dominican nun based in Nashville, Tenn., addressed a student assembly on March 21. Days later, some students launched an online petition that called her comments “offensive and unnecessarily derogatory.”

A record of the comments was not available. But students attending told their parents she criticized gays and lesbians and made inflammatory remarks about single and divorced parents.

The petition, which has drawn more than 2,000 supporters, listed 10 objections to her remarks, including this: “We resent the fact that a schoolwide assembly became a stage to blast the issue of homosexuality after Pope Francis said in an interview this past fall that ‘we can not insist only on issues related to abortion, gay marriage and the use of contraceptive methods.’ We are angry that someone decided they knew better than our Holy Father and invited (this) speaker.”

Some students told their parents that a few teachers left the assembly in tears.

In addition, parents called for a letter-writing campaign, sending out emails that listed the addresses of the Diocese of Charlotte, the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, even the pope in the Vatican.

Shelley Earnhardt, who is divorced and who sent one of the emails, wrote that “in my home, there was outrage, embarrassment, sadness, disbelief, and further reason for my 16-year-old to move as far away from her religion as possible and as soon as she can.”

Other parents faulted the school for not notifying them about the sensitive nature of Laurel’s planned remarks. “It’s too big of a topic for parents to be surprised,” said Casey Corser.

Diocese spokesman David Hains acknowledged parents were not told ahead of time that Laurel would speak. But he said she has spoken frequently in the diocese and has a doctoral degree in sacred theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas in Rome.

“We have seen the petitions, and we have gotten the emails,” Hains said. “And we really hope to be able to answer their questions and address their concerns” at the meeting, which he said will be closed to the media.

The Rev. Tim Reid, pastor of St. Ann Catholic Church, sent an email lauding the nun, saying “she represented well the Catholic positions on marriage, sex, same-sex attraction and proper gender roles … The Church has already lost too many generations of Catholic schools students to … a very muddled and watered-down faith.”

The division over Laurel’s speech is a reflection of the culture wars being waged within Catholicism and in society at large. Conservatives point to the denomination’s traditional teachings against homosexual behavior and divorce.

Liberals look to Pope Francis, who has called for less emphasis on those issues and a more welcoming church that focuses on helping the poor.

Many U.S. dioceses, including Charlotte’s, are led by conservative bishops who were appointed by Pope Francis’ more conservative predecessors.

Asked whether Bishop Peter Jugis planned to attend the meeting with parents, Hains said, “I don’t believe so.”

Wednesday’s meeting for parents is set to begin at 7 p.m. in the school gym.

MY COMMENTS: I don't know how Sister Jane phrased her talk and as the news article states, there is no record of her talk. There are ways to teach truth to adults and children without inflaming the sentiments of those who attend.

One would hope she began with the  Church's teaching on chastity and that it applies to all Catholics, married, divorced or single. Then one would discuss what chastity is given one's state in life.

Then one would speak of sins against chastity. In a high school one needs to use prudence. Hopefully Sister Jane backed up her presentation through the use of Scripture, Tradition and Natural Law.

I would be cautious about attacking individuals or groups of people who sin, but I would not be afraid to call a sin a sin, describe the differences between venial and mortal sins and then explain that in terms of chastity, the degrees of sin are determined by their seriousness.

For a sin against chastity that is serious, there has to be three things: 1. grave matter; 2. one knows that it is wrong; 3. one commits the sin with full consent of the will.

In order to challenge those who only partially listen to the truth that Pope Francis speaks, a good teacher should give the full context. In terms of homosexuality, the pope was speaking in the context of the Catholic Catechism which he mentions immediately, that he is a son of the Church, and that the person in question is seeking the Lord, which means that sinner knows what the Catechism teaches.

Since Pope Francis speaks so often that we are all sinners, that we need to recognize our sin, examine our conscience, repent of our sins and seek God's Divine Mercy in the Sacrament of Penance, we can rightly point out that Pope Francis has placed sin and repentance as a priority of his papacy and the recovery of the use of the Sacrament of Penance.

We can also say that Pope Francis has promoted a recovery of the theology of Satan and that the devil does exist and that he tempts Christians to be unfaithful to Holy Mother Church.

We can also say that Pope Francis does judge sinners and quite explicitly when a sinner is corrupt, be that an active, unrepentant homosexual or a member of the mafia, a thief, an adulterer, a fornicator or a murderer and if a corrupt sinner prefers his sinful lifestyle and its perks to the Kingdom of God, that they have condemned themselves to hell.

Pope Francis has consistently pointed out that personal sinful corruption leads to damnation!

However, if a person is struggling to live a good life and has placed their lives into the hands of God and is seeking the way of perfection, who are we to judge?

If Catholics don't like what the Catholic Church teaches, they should either shut-up, pull their children out of all Catholic religious education programs and schools or leave the Church altogether.

Saturday, March 29, 2014


The National Chismatic Rag (NCR) is reporting (without my following accuracy) that a priest who sacrilegiously pretended to concelebrate a sacrilegious empty ritual wrongly referred to as the Mass, with a lay woman falsely impersonating  a high priestess, has been sacked by Rome's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and with certain approval of Pope Francis.

Pope Francis isn't going to put up with this kind of dogmatic and religious corruption!

By Brian Roewe 
A longtime peace and human rights activist arrested countless times, Franciscan Fr. Jerry Zawada has been removed from public ministry for concelebrating Mass with a woman priest in 2011.

The letter removing the 76-year-old's public priestly faculties -- a copy of which NCR obtained March 21 -- came from the Vatican's Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which reviewed documentation related to the Nov. 22, 2011, liturgy Zawada concelebrated with Roman Catholic Womanpriest Janice Sevre-Duszynska.

My Final Comment:  The NCR shows its schismatic corruption and utter contempt for the true Church and should be forced to remove the name "Catholic" from its title.  As Fr. Z points out at his blog,  the National Chismatic Rag (NCR) makes it sound like the woman was a priest and that she was celebrating a Mass and that she is a Roman Catholic. She is none of these things and in fact is excommunicated. The NCR does not regret  the misinformation!



For Pope Benedict, the "reform of the reform" in continuity had to do with doctrine, of course, and a recovery of the sense of the sacred especially as it concerns the liturgy and its beauty.

Pope Francis' "reform of the reform" in continuity continues to emphasize orthodox Catholic teaching, but the emphasis is on the recovery of the sense of sin and the need for penance. And the penitential character of his papacy is going to be a long Lenten season of austerity and what we normally associate with the Lenten Season, fasting, prayer and almsgiving.

Thus Pope Francis' celebration of the Liturgy is beautiful but austere almost ascetic.

The biggest crisis the Catholic Church has faced since the Reformation and its Counter Reformation is what happened to the Church after the Second Vatican Council. Drug-like euphoria about change in the Church completely in discontinuity with the historic Catholic Church created rampant confusion amongst clergy, religious and laity. Usually it was the clergy and religious who confused themselves, confused and confounded the laity.

The misapplication of the Second Vatican Council, the opening of Pandora's Box with the sexual revolution and throwing out of old Catholic morality for something called the new Catholic morality, led to widespread experimentation by immature single priests and religious often with devastating consequences. The worst of this acting out was done by immature clergy and religious who used their status of trust and respect to betray children, teenagers and adults.

Worldwide today, the Church is coping with this unprecedented apostasy in the Church and her clergy and the immorality it wrought. Often it was fomented by bishops who looked the other way or simply refused to acknowlege how terrible things had become or thought this terrible reality was the wave of the future. There was more than sin involved here, there was rank corruption.

Enter Pope John Paul II who saw the apostasy but did not understand the perversion that was a fact of life with so many bishops who enabled the crisis we are still experiencing. Pope John Paul II did try to re-establish the great "discipline" of the Church. Pope Benedict continued to do so, seem to grasp a bit better the problems in the clergy and religious and ultimately in the laity but he was thwarted by Satan and corruption in his curia.

Now we have Pope Francis with his penitential papacy, austere, back to the basics and calling Catholics to recover a profound sense of the damage sin does to their salvation, the temptations of Satan and to go to Confession, receive Divine Mercy and be renewed in God's Grace. 

I have often wondered what type of penance bishops should do for their part in the decline of the Catholic Church after Vatican II and the corruption of clergy and religious in their dioceses. The Bishop of Rome, Pope Francis is showing the way of penance, of sack cloth and ashes.

He has also recovered the Catholic Church's emphasis on Satan and how the devil tempts us and can even possess us. The smoke of Satan, as Pope Paul VI stated, had entered the Church after Vatican II and only a recognition of this and serious prayer and exorcism can deal with it.

Pope Francis speaks of sin in the traditional categories that most pre-Vatican II Catholics can appreciate: Original Sin and Actual Sin. He speaks of venial and mortal sins as these were taught prior to the Council. But he has added a new twist, that of corruption, which I suspect is a life of mortal sin and a love for mortal sin without fear of eternal consequences.

Pope Francis has also spoken of damnation and its possibility for the corrupt. He condemned unrepentant mafia in Italy to hell where they would live forever.

Karl Augustus Menninger, a Jew, wrote a book in 1973 titled, "Whatever Became of Sin?" It was an excellent "right-on" commentary on how the slow but steady rejection of the concept of sin was
being eroded in our society at that time (keep in mind the zenith years for the sex abuse crisis took place in the early 1970's to about 1974!). It has proven to be somewhat prophetic as we
can observe in all of the basic institutions of U.S.(even world societies) sin has become almost a non-entity...even in some church circles where everything is OKAY("do your own thing mentality')...thus...instead of religion serving the historical role of being a moral compass for society...society is dictating the morality. Modern society will suffer long and God help future
Pope Francis, in his austere and penitential papacy, is calling all Catholics to recognize that we are sinners, and without God and His grace of Divine Mercy we cannot be saved; we will go to hell. 

This will be a papacy of sack cloth and ashes, penance for the corruption mortal sin in the Church for the past 50 years, the decline of the sense of sin and its damming results and concomitant decline in the use of the Sacrament of Penance during this period and the abuse of minors this corruption has brought about.

Friday, March 28, 2014


The Pope going to confession first himself seems to have caught Msgr. Guido Marini off guard! I wonder if the confessor had a heart attack! Surely he didn't know this would happen!


The Holy Father also wears the rochet over his cassock and under the cope for the liturgical part of the Penance Service in St. Peter's. Later the cope is removed as he goes to hear confessions.


While I love celebrating the EF Mass and thank Pope Benedict for allowing for its liberal celebration, thus removing an unnecessary mystique about it (this happens when something is simply forbidden for no real good reason) I believe that the Ordinary Form of the Mass should be the focus of renewal and refinement in parishes.

This is a part of the comment that John Nolan who lives in London made about our recent EF Solemn High Mass:

I liked the altar arrangement. The large candlesticks either side of the altar are ideal for versus populum celebration, but your noble free-standing altar can easily take six candles and a central crucifix when celebrating ad orientem. The vestments were great; the difference between the dalmatic and tunicle (rarely seen in Roman sets) was evident.

The Mass itself was a mixture of EF and OF. I was surprised to see the Asperges - this is reserved for Sundays. During the incensations the celebrant and ministers should all genuflect when passing the centre of the altar. The deacon, when handing things to the priest and receiving them back should kiss the object and the priest's hand (except in Requiem Masses); these osculations were only removed in 1965. The Deo Gratias after the Epistle and the Laus tibi Christe after the Gospel are NOT sung in the EF. Nor does the priest sit while the deacon prepares the altar at the Offertory - this is OF practice. At the Offertory everyone is incensed in order; the priest, clergy in choir and the subdeacon by the deacon, who is himself incensed by the thurifer, who then incenses the people.

The ministers were not familiar with the EF - aside from the subdeacon not holding the paten in a humeral veil, a practice which again was not suppressed until 1965, the deacon is supposed to remove and replace the chalice pall before and after the consecration. What happened to the Kiss of Peace? It wasn't in the video.

The chant switched from Mass VIII (Kyrie and Gloria) to Mass XI (Sanctus and Agnus Dei). Nothing wrong with that, of course, although I suspect the congregation would have been more familiar with the latter two items in the Mass VIII setting.

Even on my computer I could hear every word of the Canon. Again, this is pandering to OF expectations. The Mass was beautifully done, but I would prefer an entirely Latin OF Mass to something which falls between too stools. You could keep the Roman Canon, omit the Prayer of the Faithful and congregational sign of peace, give Communion in one kind only, dispense with the extraordinary monsters and serviettes and still stay within the rules. The chant is identical.

MY COMMENTS: So he didn't miss the things that I simply think should be optional in the EF Mass except for one thing, none of the clergy wore birettas. The kissing of objects and the hands of the priest and the scrupulosity of where the thurifer incenses the elevations and the pecking order of who gets incensed and how make for fine trivia but not very good liturgy.

Yet, how many rank and file Catholics, even those well imbued with the celebration of the EF Mass would have noticed these omissions or alterations?

However, when we speak of the Ordinary Form of the Mass, we find way to much simplicity and laxness in rubrics. While it might be wise to uncomplicate the EF Mass's Solemn High Form it would also be wise to re-complicate the Ordinary Form's Mass.

John Nolan seems to think that most people prefer the Latin. I would disagree. If I celebrated the EF Mass in the video below exactly the way it is celebrated but entirely in English, I could get away with it this Sunday (although most of our congregation does know the Jubliatio Deo Mass parts in Latin which we sing during Lent).

I would be rounded criticized if I celebrated an OF Mass entirely in Latin at a normal Sunday Mass, without warning the people weeks ahead of time!

Our current 12:10 PM Mass is celebrated Ad Orientem for the Liturgy of the Eucharist. During Lent it is, as are all our Sunday Masses, a mix of Latin and English.

The question is not how many more parishes can we get to celebrate the EF Mass, but how many more parishes can we get to celebrate the OF Mass with true solemnity and in continuity with the EF Mass but by following the rubrics of the OF Mass?

That is the million dollar question and where the new liturgical movement should be moving.

Thursday, March 27, 2014


I just copied this from Fr. Z's blog. It is funny, funny, but of course I have a dry sense of humor!


Pope Francis seems to make connections in his talks and those he is challenging. Yesterday, after accepting the resignation of the German bling bishop, Pope Francis spoke on what it takes to be a good bishop.

Today, the same day as Pope Francis meets with President Obama, he also spoke at a solemn Mass in St. Peter's to Italian parliamentarians. He made his usual distinction, which I love and I hope he writes about in more detail, between being a sinner and being corrupt.

Could the Holy Father have used the same terms with the President of the USA? I wonder?

Here is the homily the pope gave prior to his meeting with President Obama:

Pope to Italy’s Parliamentarians: no to slaves of duty, yes to God

(Vatican Radio) In Jesus’ time, the leading class had distanced itself from the people, abandoning them by pursuing their own ideologies and sliding ever downwards into corruption.

That’s what Pope Francis said Thursday morning in his homily while celebrating Mass in St Peter’s Basilica, with the presence of nearly 500 Members of the Italian Parliament.

Most members of Italy’s Parliament attended the mass, including nine ministers and the Speakers of the Senate and the House.

Listen to Tracey McClure's report: RealAudioMP3

In his remarks, Pope Francis referred to the day’s first reading from the Book of Jeremiah which speaks of the prophet who gives voice to God’s pain regarding a generation which, the Pope observed, failed to welcome his messengers, preferring instead to justify its sins. This turning away from the Lord caused Him great pain, the Pope said, noting that this theme also runs through today’s Gospel reading which speaks of the leaders of the people as being blind to God.

"The hearts of this people, this group, with time became hardened so, so, so much - so that it was impossible to hear the voice of the Lord. And as sinners, they slid (downwards); they became corrupt. It 's very hard for a corrupt person to go back (on his tracks). The sinner, yes, because the Lord is merciful and awaits us all. But the corrupt person is fixated on his affairs, and these people were corrupt. And for this, they justify themselves, because Jesus, with his simplicity, but with his strength in God - he made trouble for them (it: dava loro fastidio). "

These were people, continued Pope Francis, who “have taken the wrong path. They resisted the salvation of the Lord’s love, and thus slipped away from the faith, from a theology of faith to a theology of duty.”

“They rejected the Lord’s love and this rejection put them on a path that was not the dialectic of freedom offered by the Lord, but that of the logic of necessity, where there is no room for the Lord. In the dialectic of freedom, there is the good Lord who loves us, who loves us very much! Rather, in the logic of necessity, there is no place for God: this must be done, this must be done, this must…They have become behavioral (it: comportamentali): well-mannered men, but with bad habits. Jesus calls them ‘whitewashed tombs’.”

Lent, Pope Francis concluded, reminds us that “God loves all of us” and that “we must make the effort to open up” to Him:

"On this path of Lent it will do us well to think about this invitation from the Lord to love, about this dialectic of freedom where there is love, and to ask ourselves, all of us, …am I on this path? Do I risk justifying myself and take another path? A road with many junctions (it: strada congiunturale) because it does not lead to any promise ... And we pray that the Lord gives us the grace to always go down the path of salvation, to open ourselves to the salvation that only comes from God, through faith - not from what was proposed by these 'professionals of duty,' (it: dottori del dovere) who had lost the faith, and who led (it: reggevano) the people with this pastoral theology of duty.”


How much is too much for our Catholic churches, art and vestments? Do we buy ugly or do we try to be modest in what we spend.

I've always seen the church building as belonging to the parish. But in the case of St. Joseph Church here in Macon, it belongs to the city and is opened to anyone for personal prayer everyday. This church belongs to those who had the foresight to envision it but never saw it completed. It belongs to all subsequent generations and many more to come.

We must be good stewards of church property and spend in a way that preserves it for the present and future.

So how much is too much? Too much goes beyond what the parish can support. So if the parish is willing to put forward $5 million than $5 million it is. But all has to be above board and some people will give more generously than others and some, no matter what, will say that the money should be given to schools and the poor. That's a fact of life and they make us think of our priorities.

As far as vestments, I have always purchased vestments for the church, meaning from the church's budget. I have very, very few personal vestments and some of these go back to 1980 and are 1980's dated vestments.

I do not spend lavishly, but I have good vestments. I usually purchase from Gaspard and Sons which has quality merchandise at a good price. These vestments are not sumptuous though, nor are they overly ornate.

My personal tastes for vestments is not baroque. I would feel very uncomfortable in these. If a parish had them, I'd use them for special solemnities and feasts.

I think we should always buy good, solid and tasteful accoutrements for the church. I think what is chosen should match the style of the Church building.

What do you think?


I thank Mr. Steve Mastrangelo, administrator of our parish who videoed the Mass and former parishioner, now living in Houston, Mr. Lovel Miguel who formatted for YouTube and my blog.

This is our Extraordinary Form Solemn Sung Mass for the Solemnity of Saint Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

Father Dawid Kwiatkowski, parochial vicar, is the deacon and Deacon Donald Coates is the Subdeacon. Mr. Beau Palmer is the cantor, with our schola and choir under the direction of Ms. Nelda Chapman, Director of Music.

Just a point of interest, at least for me, the matching set of vestments have been here at St. Joseph since the late 1950's at least. I was stationed at St. Peter Claver as a transitional deacon from January 1980 through August of that year. When it was time for my priestly ordination on June 7, 1980, Bishop Raymond Lessard asked that I bring this set of vestments to our Savannah's cathedral so these could be used by him and the two permanent deacons for the Ordination Mass. How cool is that? I was ordained with two others, Father John Lyons and the late, Fr. Tom Campbell who spent time as a parochial vicar here.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014


Pope Francis accepts the Bling bishop's resignation. He will be reassigned but where?

With the Pope Francis effect, bishops who waste money on themselves and grand pastoral centers and the like seem now to be targets of the press throughout the world. Has Pope Francis opened Pandora's Box in this regard and how healthy will it be.

Today Pope Francis accepted the resignation of the "Bling Bishop" of Germany who submitted his resignation in October. It was Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst from Limburg. There appeared to be some hefty money spent on his residence and the pastoral center for the diocese only about $43 million. But of course, this isn't his, it belongs to the Church of his diocese. But evidently he was extravagant.

Part of the criticism of Bishop Elst is that Pope Francis didn't move into the apostolic palace, although his offices are still there and he goes to work there everyday, but rather, moved into the  Vatican Motel 6 taking over the entire second floor. At least it is a modern accommodation, but a motel nonetheless.

Then the retiring Archbishop of Newark, John Myers has been unmercifully criticized for the expansion of his retirement compound.

And now Atlanta's newspaper is going after Archbishop Wilton Gregory and the cost of his mansion in a very rich neighborhood in Atlanta. As well the cathedral priests have moved into a swank house in Buckhead and are drawing criticism over it.

Where does it all stop?

Secular priests do not take vows of poverty as do most religious order priests. We can earn a salary and own property, but we are required normally to live in the parish house where we live. In recent times, there has been a concerted effort to separate the residence from the office to make home life a bit more humane and less work-oriented and thus healthier for most priests. 

Most priests live alone now and more than likely enjoy it that way. Secular priests are not called to community life as are religious order priests. Is it time now to give priests a just salary and allow them to live where they choose and can afford to live?

I'm tending toward my practical solution for secular priests, not religious vowed to poverty and community life.

This is what Pope Francis said today at his general audience about bishops and priests and married people, (Sacraments of Holy Orders and Holy Matrimony, both intimately linked):

The Sacraments of the Holy Orders and Matrimony, two specific vocations and two great paths to the Lord” were the theme of the Holy Father's catechesis during today's general audience in St. Peter's Square. “The ministers who are chosen and consecrated for this service prolong Jesus' presence over time, and they do so with the power of the Holy Spirit in the name of God, and with love”.

“Those who are ordained are placed at the head of the community. Yes, they are at the 'head', but for Jesus this means placing their authority at the service of the community. … 'whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant and whoever wants to be first must be your slave'. … A bishop who does not serve his community does not do good; a priest or a curate who does not place himself at the service of his community does not do good, he is mistaken”.

Pope Francis emphasised that “impassioned love for the Church” is a characteristic that always derives from this sacramental union with Christ. “The bishop, the priest, love the Church in their own community, they love the Church greatly. How? How Christ loves His Church. … The spouse loves his wife as Christ loves His Church. ... The priesthood and matrimony are two Sacraments that represent the path by which people habitually reach the Lord”.

Finally, the Pope cited the words of St. Paul to Timothy when he advised him not to neglect, but rather always to revive the gift given to him. “When the ministry is not nurtured by prayer, by listening to the Word of God, with the daily celebration of the Eucharist, and also with regular confession, the authentic sense of one's own service is inevitably lost from view, along with the joy that comes from profound communion with Jesus. … The priest who does not do these things loses, over time, his union with Jesus and becomes mediocre, which is not good for the Church. Therefore, we must help bishops and priests to pray, to listen to the Word of God that is our daily bread, to celebrate the Eucharist every day and to confess regularly”.

“Access to the priesthood cannot be sold. This is an initiative the Lord takes. The Lord calls”, he added, and concluded by encouraging the young who hear this call to “cherish this invitation and pray so that it might grow and bear fruit in all the Church”.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014


I wonder how this will go over in Peoria or in this case in Lincoln? When's the last time you heard a homily on this or had a dinner time discussion on this topic?

Bishop issues pastoral letter on contraception: “We live in a world short on love”

Details from The Journal Star newspaper:
Twenty-three years ago, Lincoln Catholic Diocese Bishop Glennon Flavin issued a letter to parishioners and physicians, decrying birth control as evil and immoral.
He warned Catholic couples using contraception and the Catholic physicians prescribing it they were “committing grave sin.”
On Tuesday, Bishop James Conley issued his own letter to parishioners reaffirming the Catholic church’s stance prohibiting the use of all contraceptives, but explaining the stance in much gentler tones.
Every priest in the diocese has been asked to discuss the letter and talk about contraception during Mass this weekend, Conley said…
…“We really live in a wounded world when it comes to the family,” Conley said in a telephone interview.
He said he chose to issue the letter during Lent because of its theme of love and sacrifice being the language of love.
“We live in a world short on love,” Conley writes in the letter. “Today, love is too often understood as romantic sentimentality, rather than unbreakable commitment. But sentimentality is unsatisfying. …
“Love — real love — is about sacrifice and redemption, and hope.”
Whereas Flavin’s letter took a strong, authoritative tone and called contraception “gravely immoral … intrinsically evil … contrary to the law of nature and nature’s God,” Conley’s explains the church’s stand based on understanding God.
God created marriage to be unifying and procreative, Conley writes.
“Our church has always taught that rejecting the gift of children erodes the love between husband and wife.
“… The use of contraception gravely and seriously disrupts the sacrificial, holy and loving meaning of marriage itself.”
People who use contraception “diminish their power to unite,” Conley writes, “and they give up the opportunity to cooperate with God in the creation of life.”



As a former vocation director, I am not sure what to make of the Holy Fathers comment about not recruiting a good, active layman as a deacon. What about as a priest? What does the Holy Father mean?

Pope speaks of media’s sins, warns against clericalizing laity

CWN - March 24, 2014

In extemporaneous remarks to members of Carollo, an Italian association of broadcasters, Pope Francis said that the “sins of the media” are misinformation, calumny, and defamation. The last two, he said, “are grave, but not as dangerous as the first.”
The Pope said that calumny (which involves falsehoods) “is a mortal sin” and defamation (which involves truths that unjustly damage a person’s reputation) “is a mortal sin,” but a broadcaster can later issue corrections to help repair the damage. But misinformation involves saying “half of things, those that are most convenient for me,” preventing viewers and listeners from arriving at a “complete judgment.”
Pope Francis urged broadcasters to seek truth, goodness, and beauty. In doing so, the broadcaster should avoid the trap of becoming an “intellectual without intelligence,” an “ethicist without goodness,” or one who “makes up” a beauty of “cosmetics, which try to make an artificial beauty that does not exist.”
Citing St. Paul’s First Letter to the Corinthians, Pope Francis said that each member of the Body of Christ has its own function, and one is not greater than the other, since all are small before God. “Who is the most important in the Church? The Pope or the old woman who prays the Rosary every day for the Church?” The Holy Spirit, who harmonizes this diversity, is the most important. In this context, the Pope asked broadcasters not to follow “the logic that the big fish swallows the small.”
In addition, the Pope spoke of clericalism as “one of the evils of the Church.” Priests are tempted to “clericalize the laity,” but “so many laity, on their knees, ask to be clericalized, because it is more convenient, it is more convenient!” The lay vocation, which derives from baptism, should not be “sold” or “negotiated.”
In Argentina, the future Pope “so many times” heard a priest praise a layman and ask, “Eminence, why do we not make him a deacon?” “The proposal of the priest at once” is “to clericalize.” The Pope added, “Is he a good layman? He should continue so.”

Monday, March 24, 2014


“Wait for faithful in the confessional,” Apostolic Penitentiary tells priests

Priests listen to people's confessions

Major Penitentiary Cardinal Mauro Piacenza has warned that the Sacrament of Reconciliation is going through a crisis, particularly where confessors are facing a crisis

Priests should sit and wait patiently for faithful in the confessional at times that are convenient for penitents. Cardinal Mauro Piacenza said this this afternoon during the inauguration of the course on the inner conscience, the private inner space of each individual. The week-long course has become something of a tradition. It will be taking place in the Chancery office and attended by about five hundred priests and seminarists who are approaching ordination. The meeting will conclude Friday with an Audience with Francis. In the afternoon there will be a penitential liturgy in the St. Peter’s Basilica, when the Pope will confess some of those present, inaugurating the “feast of forgiveness”, during which churches will stay open 24/7 for confessions.

The Sacrament of Reconciliation “is possibly the most concrete and real way to renew one’s personal meeting with Jesus Christ,” Piacenza said.  Although it is true that the celebration of this sacrament often comes after a long and trying inner journey and is a destination one reaches after a previous personal Church-mediated encounter with the Lord, there are cases of radical conversions taking place during the very celebration of the sacrament. During this time, a supernatural grace acts through the confessor, working on the penitent’s conscience and can lead to brief instants of unimaginable spiritual highs.”

“When we deal with the inner conscience, what we’re dealing with is God!,” the cardinal said. “The conscience is a shrine where God always speaks to all humans in accordance with creation  and to Christians in accordance with creation and redemption… Accompanying a brother in the process of discerning his or her personal way of acting and receiving everything that emerges from the inner conscience, means entering into sacred territory with this person and one needs to be extremely careful when doing so. It’s like walking on silk.”

Piacenza invited confessors to prepare  for the celebration of this sacrament by “invoking the Spirito f prudence and wisdom, asking the Lord to be his obedient instruments” and to pause for a moment of prayer after confession “to thank the Lord for what he has achieved through our poor persons and always invoke the protection of the Holy Spirit and the powerful intercession of the Mother of Mercy on each of the souls that have renewed their personal encounter with Christ through us.”

 “What all of us as well as penitentiaries of papal basilicas have noticed, is that the Sacrament of Reconciliation  is going through a crisis, particularly where confessors are facing a crisis. That is, where  the sacrament is only offered to “Catholic adults” who consciously ask for it and may even have the priest’s phone number at hand. But this risks reducing the sacrament to something individualistic  which has nothing to do with one’s personal encounter with Christ,” the cardinal said.

“The wisdom of the Church teaches us that [priests] should wait for penitents in the confessional, with that same patience that is typical of God.”