Saturday, May 31, 2014


Both Austria and Ireland have associations of priests who dissent from the Church's teachings. Bishops in those two countries have tried heroically to keep them in the fold of the priesthood and Church, but now there appears to be a tipping point and that tipping point is coming from Pope Francis and his orthodoxy. He approved of the excommunication of two dissident Catholics laity in Austria for corrupting the sacraments of the Church and our teachings. Excommunication, especially public excommunication, is a clarion call to those who are excommunicated to repent and return to the full communion of the Church. It is quite pastoral as it has to do with the salvation of those who are excommunicated for taking a path of heterodoxy and division in the Church which go lead them to eternal damnation.


Statement of the Austrian Pastors’ Intitiative on the Excommunication of Martha and Gert Heizer

We, the Austrian Pastors’ Initiative, are deeply concerned about the actions the Church’s leadership has taken against Martha and Gert Heizer. The Excommunication was levied against two Church members who have worked for the reform of our Church with great passion, commitment, and energy. 

This decision is a fatal signal for all who are hoping, together with Pope Francis, for a kind Church that is close to the people. What kind of signal is being sent by a Church that punishes the perpetrators of sexual abuse among its ranks less severely than Church members who, by the way they practice their faith, express their great sufferings at the fringes of the Church’s existing set of rules? (My comment: This is the same lame, sorry excuse that many use to justify their disloyalty to the teachings of Christ and believe that two wrongs make a right, that is because the Church failed to act in a timely way with the abuse crisis, the Church should do the same with other lesser offenses and never make course corrections. This sound so very familiar to me, especially in the last week here in Macon!)

The opinions may differ about the step that Martha and Gert Heizer have taken in celebrating the Eucharist without a priest. It may be seen as a prophetic step that points the way to an overall reform of the Church or it may not be seen that way. The Pastors’ Initiative sees Eucharist and priestly office as belonging together – as long as the Church is able to provide priests to its communities, who share peoples’ lives and share their journey of faith. (My comment: here the priests show their true heterodox colors, and betray a theology that developed in Europe in the early 1970's and long thought to have been put to rest. Pope Francis knows of this silly stuff and is acting in the most juridical way possible sending a message to the entire Church that it will not be tolerated. Pope Francis has judged these heterodox Catholics and by extension these heterodox priests).  But with present developments in the Church fewer and fewer communities have the option of a Eucharistic celebration on Sundays with an ordained priest being present. Martha and Gert Heizer are touching a sore spot: the Eucharist, the mass, the central celebration of our faith and of life as a community, is becoming increasingly rare due to the shortage of priests. For this reason the church reform movements have advocated for a long time that the priesthood should be open to married men and women and that the with the participation of the citizens of the Church new forms of leading the communities should be developed.

The “Ex-Communication” of Martha and Gert Heizer does indeed signal the end of communication in the sense of an open and fair dispute. This way of proceeding is not only completely out of proportion, but it shows the inability of the leadership of our Church to settle differences of opinion and conflicts in accordance with the gospel in a kind and loving way. This is a failure that nobody can be proud of. (My comment: I think all heterodox Catholics use the same manipulation that small children use with their parents when they can't get their way, that somehow their love is called into question. If you take a strong stance, like Pope Francis has in this case, you don't really love and you are not really Christ-like and you really don't understand the Gospel. How many have said this around the world and here in Macon concerning the Mt. de Sales corrective course adjustment in reestablishing Catholic identity as it concerns sexual morality and marriage?)

We appeal to all persons in leadership positions to reverse the Excommunication and to take up instead an honest and fair dialogue with the church reform movements about the future of the Church. (My comment: why does this sound oh, so familiar to me????)

The Pastors’s Initiative
signed by Helmut Schüller, President (He is a dissident priest who was a monsignor but stripped of that title. He heads up other dissident priests in Austria. They may well be excommunicated in the near future and they now know it because of Pope Francis judgements concerning these kinds of Catholics!)



I've noticed on Facebook's page where there is great opposition to the Catholic Church that most of the people (not all) who are commenting and in the most negative way possible toward Mt. de Sales and the Catholic Church's teaching on sexuality and marriage are not even Catholic. There are some Catholics, but I would have to ask how many of them actually attend Mass every Sunday and go to confession monthly, every other month twice a year or even yearly.

On that particular facebook page, "save dollar" I wonder how a Mt. de Sales student who is an orthodox Catholic , goes to Mass every Sunday, and confession regularly would be treated if he or she added a comment that allows them to stand up for the Catholic Church and Mt. de Sales decision which by the way Bishop Hartmayer and this priest support?

Would practicing Catholics who go to confession be bullied on that page? Just asking?


This liturgy of the Latin Rite:
Resembles better this liturgy of the Eastern Orthodox Church:
While this liturgy of the Latin Rite:
resembles better these Protestant liturgies:
The Catholic Church sees as its ecumenical priority the healing of the Great Schism that led to the Churches of the East separating from the rule of the Bishop of Rome in 1054. Pope Benedict and now Pope Francis have ramped up that desired unity. A major breakthrough was announced yesterday.

This is from the Huffington Post:

Pope Francis and Ecumenical Patriarch Barthlomew I prayed together in Jerusalem at the Church of the Holy Sepulcher in a beautiful act of unity.

Now, they're taking a further step to heal the centuries-old schism between the Roman Catholic and Orthodox churches by holding a gathering together to commemorate the Council of Nicaea, which took place in 325. Seventeen centuries later, Francis and Bartholomew will come together in 2025 to celebrate the historic meeting, reports Vatican Insider.

"We agreed to leave as a legacy to ourselves and our successors a gathering in Nicaea in 2025, to celebrate together, after 17 centuries, the first truly ecumenical synod, where the Creed was first promulgated," Bartholomew told Asia News.

My comments:

One of the criticisms of the Second Vatican Council is that it made the Catholic liturgy more Protestant looking (and this led to erroneous theologies about the Eucharist that are more Protestant, which have since been repudiated by interpreting the Council through the lens of continuity rather than rupture).

However, what most Catholics don't realize is that our liturgical reforms spurred Protestant denominations, especially Lutherans and Anglicans to make their liturgy more like the Liturgy that Pope Paul VI reformed. Thus we think that the Catholic Liturgy is more Protestant looking when in fact the Protestant liturgy became more Catholic looking in the post-Vatican II sense after Vatican II.

But for the most part ecumenism with Protestant denominations is dead in the water except for tea and crumpets ecumenism and our ability to work together at soup kitchens and centers that help the homeless. Most historic Protestant denominations continue to move into a post-Christian stance with their theologies and this has created even more division that will be difficult to overcome. Non-liturgical evangelical Protestants tend to be more "Catholic" in their moral teachings than most mainline Protestant denominations, but they are far from us liturgically.

However, we are much, much closer to the Eastern Orthodox Churches in terms of actual Faith and Morals. The Orthodox celebrate all seven sacraments validly. They have valid Holy Orders and their Bishops are validly ordained and successors to the apostles. Their moral and ethical teachings are the same as ours although presented in a different pastoral way.

However, since Vatican II, the Latin Rite Church has drifted away from the cultural style of the liturgy that both the east and the west adopted in the immediate centuries following the conversion of Constantine. While the trajectory of liturgical and spiritual theologies diverged in valid ways, the liturgies had the same sort of ethos although differing in style of music and ceremony. Both developed very early in the post-Constantine era a sort of universal language for the liturgy. In the east it was Greek in the west a combination of Greek and Latin.  Both developed chant as the music of the liturgy although with different styles. And both adopted ad orientem. The west developed kneeling for receiving Holy Communion and a more developed theology of the Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament which actually led to kneeling while the east insisted on standing for Holy Communion and Holy Communion under both kinds for both clergy and laity. They do not have adoration of the Blessed Sacrament as the Church of the west does, but their adoration developed toward the use of icons and in a much more dogmatic way than Catholic veneration of images.

Without loosing each others authentic spiritualities and theologies that have developed over the centuries, how could the Church of Rome resemble the Church of the East in better ways liturgically?

Well, Pope Benedict in his great wisdom did so by freeing the so-called Mass of Trent from the shackles of a museum piece in allowing it to be celebrated more widely. The missal of 1962 has more in common with the East than the Missal of Pope Paul VI in 1970.

So for now, we do have a liturgy in the 1962 missal and liturgical tradition that is more eastern in ethos. And of course we have the Eastern Rite Churches in union with the Pope whose liturgy and spirituality is identical to the Eastern Orthodox. Thus the 1962 missal heals the chasm created by the 1970's missal within those already united to the Pope.

The 1970 missal is more Protestant and allows orthodox mainline Protestants who desire to keep their Protestant style of liturgy, their own valid historical patrimony when they join the Catholic Church as a group. Currently we have the Anglican Ordinariate that has done this. But we could have a Lutheran Ordinariate and also a Presbyterian one. Who knows.

The real work lies in making the 1970 missal resemble the 1962 missal in style of celebration. This means the on-going recovery of the chant modes that are historically available to us in the Latin Rite, and a rich variety, as well as a recovery of ad orientem.

The other is the removal of the clericalization of the laity during the celebration of the liturgy and more use of deacons and sub deacons. Doing this will emphasize the proper and sublime role of the laity as laity during Mass and from their pews in the nave. In the Post-Vatican II era with the clericalizaiton of the laity with liturgical ministries, especially that of Extraordinary Minister of Holy Communion, the laity have come to believe that actual participation in the Mass means doing a formal ministry such as reader or distributing Holy Communion rather than doing their normal parts during the Mass that actually belong to the laity, thus promoting a egalitarian participation in the Mass with the laity rather than separating some laity form others liturgically.  

For example, there is a mentality that at children's Masses, especially our school Masses, we need hoards of children doing all kinds of things, from reading the petitions and scriptures to bringing up the gifts to get as many of them actually involved in the Mass when in fact, we shouldn't focus on these things at all but elevate what all the kids are doing and to do it properly from the pews during Mass--don't create an elite group of laity for the ministries of the Mass that rightly belong to the clergy!

Sub deacons could be designated as extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion and trained and certified by the bishop for this ministry, not only liturgically but also to the sick and home-bound. We already have this with the official ministry of acolyte but few bishops invite lay men to this official ministry and still use it only as a stepping stone for ordination either to the diaconate or priesthood. What a pity!

Shouldn't, though, the two liturgies of the one Latin Rite resemble each other better and be like this?

The 1962 Missal Mass:
The 1970 Missal Mass:
I report; you decide!

Friday, May 30, 2014



The Holy Father wore nice but muted gold vestments for today's Episcopal Ordination at St. Peter's but it was a predictable and bland celebration.

Don't get me wrong. I see nothing wrong with austerity, simplicity and the manner in which Pope Francis celebrates the Mass. At Mass he is serious, of a somber persona and celebrates the Mass while facing the congregation in an "ad orientem" sort of way. He has, by the way, also celebrated Mass as pope "ad orientem" twice in public.

The music is the same at the Vatican Masses as it was for Pope Benedict, propers are chanted and the parts are chanted in Latin.

But the Holy Father is not known now or in the past as a liturgist. After all he is a Jesuit and the two words used together "Jesuit liturgist" is an oxymoron.

On top of that, he has only made minor adjustments to the Vatican's liturgical departments and to date has made absolutely no changes to the Congregation for Divine Worship, no changes whatsoever.

Under Pope Benedict, liturgical blogs delighted in every effort to make the liturgy beautiful and in the variety of styles of vestments Pope Benedict would employ and every effort to restore some continuity between the papal liturgies of yesteryear and today.

But liturgical blogs today are stumbling. I'm having a hard time keeping fresh in that area too. Look at Praytell, they blather on about this, that and the other and the old guard keeps making the same inane comments and fewer and fewer comments are appearing. They had an inane discussion on Roman vestments and ornate vessels. THEY ARE JUST PLAIN BORING NOW, of course that started as soon as I stopped commenting there :)

But Pope Francis really wants the Church to focus on what is essential to everyday Catholic life and to stop the ideological liturgical wars. I think he might be succeeding by putting liturgy on the back burner and saying the black and doing the red even if it is in a bland way.


I report; you decide. Is Pope Francis speaking about picking up one's cross and following Jesus even if the world says no, do it our way? Did he read Macon's newspaper this morning and its worldly take on religious events?

From Vatican Radio:

Pope Francis based his homily [on Friday morning May 30th] on the observation that St. Paul "was very brave", "because he had strength in the Lord”.   Of course, he noted, sometimes even the Apostle to the Gentiles was afraid. "It happens to all of us in life, to have some ‘fear’ he added.  So much so, that sometime one wonder’s whether "it would be better to keep a lower profile, to not be a little less Christian and seek a compromise with the world".

However, Paul knew that “neither the Jews, nor the Gentiles" liked what he did, but this didn’t stop him and in the end he endured hardship and persecution. The Pope said that this should make us think about our fears.   Even Jesus in Gethsemane felt fear and anguish. And in his farewell speech, to his disciples clearly says that "the world will rejoice" for their suffering, as was the case with the first martyrs in the Coliseum.

"But - he continued - there is another sadness: the sadness that comes to all of us when we take the wrong road". When , "to put it simply", "we try to buy happiness, joy, [the happiness and joy] of the world, of sin.  In the end there is a void within us, there is sadness". And this, he reiterated , "is the sadness of  the wrong sort of happiness". Christian joy, "is a joy in hope, which comes".


It is one thing for children who are children to manipulate their parents to get their way by telling them that their parents don't love them since they can't do what other children are allowed to do in their homes. But it is quite different when adults who profess to be Catholic do the same thing to the Church.It is a crass form of manipulation which is understandable in the immature but to be castigated in adults!

So I print this anonymous statement from the Macon Telegraph this morning concerning the  situation of a Catholic institution striving to recover its Catholic mission:

“Our families are hurting. We feel scorned by our church, which we have dedicated our lives to,” the letter reads in part. “From coaching sports teams, to leading canned food drives, to going to Church every single Sunday -- we feel abandoned by the Catholic Church. We know God has not abandoned us. Our friends, loved ones, and many others in our community have not abandoned us. But we feel the hierarchy of our Church is denying us the pastoral care and love they are called to do.”

Let me just say that part of the pastoral care of the Church is to point out sin and corruption and to call people to repent and go to confession. Every person who goes to confession has in one way or another sinned against God and they do not make excuses for it, they do not blame anyone else for it and they do not disagree with the Church that the sin they are confessing is in fact a sin. In that context and as a priest representing both God and the Church I can forgive them acting in the person of Christ.

If someone came into confession after having sinned not only privately but also in the most public way possible and told me that she disagreed with the Church's teaching and castigated me for promoting the Church's teaching on adultery, fornication and publicly denying a basic tenet of the Church, I could not give that person absolution.

Some public sins in the Catholic Church, when the public sinner persists in them in the most public way in order to call into question the Church's sure and certain faith and morals can lead to public excommunication apart from being fired from employment in a Catholic institution.

Excommunication is pastoral. It is to call the one excommunciated to publicly repent and be reconciled to the Church.

Those trying to use an ideology that is opposed to the Church and in fact hates the Catholic Church need to recognize that the Church has every right to proclaim the truth and not be manipulated in any way from doing so.

Thursday, May 29, 2014


My thanks to Fr. Pablo for sending me this video:

The Third Way from Blackstone Films on Vimeo.

Can one be gay and teach in a Catholic school? Yes, if they can uphold the Church's teaching and promote it as this film's witnesses do. It is when there is an ideology that opposes the Church's teaching on chastity and God's design of marriage based on natural law that we must say, no! Not here!

Indeed, there is a "third way" and it is the Catholic way! God bless all those with same sex attractions and struggles yet work daily with the grace of God to live chastely and to love chastely! And when they fall, they turn to God's mercy and healing and reconciliation and forgiveness in the Sacrament of Penance.


When Pope Francis exclaimed if a gay person is seeking the Lord, "who am I to judge" the papal remarks put the international press into a frenzy. Headlines across the world announced a revolution in Roman Catholic moral teaching, a changed position on homosexuality, or at least an historic “new openness” on the issue of homosexuality.

Predictably, a closer look reveals a more complicated and far less revolutionary reality. Pope Francis did not change or modify one sentence of Catholic moral teaching. The official Catechism of the Catholic Church states that homosexuality is “objectively disordered.” The Catholic Church and this Catholic Pope are not reluctant to offer a moral judgment when it comes to homosexual behaviors.

 The Catholic Church offers a long tradition of consistent moral judgment on the issue of homosexual acts, and the church declares them to be “objectively disordered” and sinful. That did not change.

So, what did the Pope say? In the context of his larger remarks on homosexuality and the priesthood, Francis was attempting to explain that a homosexual “lobby” within his church is entirely unacceptable. The Vatican has been reeling from a report issued under Pope Benedict XVI that identified a “gay lobby” with inordinate power and influence within the church. Francis told the reporters that he saw gay individuals as distinct from a gay lobby. “I think that when we encounter a gay person, we must make the distinction between the fact of a person being gay and the fact of a lobby, because lobbies are not good. They are bad.”

What Pope Francis actually said is what the Church has always said but phrased in a different way. We are to love the sinner but hate the sin. Gay lobbies make no distinction between the sinner and the sin and promote an ideology of sinlessness of the person who is actively gay. And now we learn that the gay lobby in our Catholic schools is very real and they have placed it into writing with the former employee of Mt. de Sales Academy clearly a part of that lobby:

HRC Delivers Letter to Vatican Addressing Growing Concern on Anti-LGBT Stance of Catholic Schools

WASHINGTON – The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, today delivered a letter to the Vatican on behalf of 9 teachers who have lost their jobs at Catholics Schools for either being LGBT, or supporting an LGBT family member.
Last month, the Archdiocese of Cincinnati took anti-LGBT to a new level, calling not only for the firing of gay and lesbian school employees, but also citing support of the “homosexual lifestyle” as grounds for dismissal.  More than 2,200 educators at 94 parochial schools in the archdiocese have been affected by this new contract.  In April 2014, HRC responded by delivering a petition signed by over 30,000 supporters of the Cincinnati Diocesan school teachers calling on Archbishop Schnurr to remove the discriminatory clause.
Since then, Molly Shumate, who has been a devoted first grade teacher in Cincinnati for 14 years, was forced to resign after being asked to choose between her career as an educator and supporting her own gay son. These draconian laws are designed to force LGBT people back into the closet and silence straight allies.

They have sparked a frightening trend that is being duplicated in Cleveland, Oakland, Hawaii and most recently in Macon, Georgia where just last week Flint Dollar was fired from his position as Band Director at Mount De Sale’s Academy.  Dollar says that he was fired from the Catholic school by President David Held, who cited Dollar’s pending marriage to his male partner of six years as the reason for termination. Mount de Sales students and parents are reportedly planning a sit-in protesting the decision.

Push here for [The letter] signed by the teachers and delivered to the Nuncio  [and signed also by Flint Dollar], or diplomatic representative of the Holy See, reads in part:

“We have devoted years, some of us even decades, to serving our communities as teachers, leaders and role models. We have made a conscious choice to work within the Catholic Church because we strongly believe that a Catholic education prepares our young people to be responsible citizens, men and women for others. For each and every one of us, our employment was far more than just a job – it was a reflection of our core Catholic values.”

Today, a majority of Roman Catholics in the pews and our communities support LGBT equality, as have the millions of fair-minded people who have shown support with their LGBT friends and families.
These teachers are further encouraged by the Pope's increasingly open statements and humbly call for an audience with him:

"We take hope from your messages of acceptance and see in your pastoral leadership the possibility for the Church to correct these hurtful injustices. We ask for a Papal audience with our families, so that you may hear our personal stories firsthand and see the impact the Church’s actions have had on us all."

Dozens of LGBT teachers committed to educating our youth have already lost their jobs in schools across the country. HRC calls on the Vatican to receive and carefully consider this letter to ensure that no more young people are deprived of  a good education and no more teachers are denied employment because of who they are or who they love.

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.


ERICKSON: Mt. de Sales firing about marriage, not sexual orientation

May 28, 2014 
The Sisters of Mercy founded the Academy of the Sacred Heart Jesus in 1871. Five years later, the school changed its name to Mount de Sales Academy. In the 20 years I have lived in Macon, I have met more than one parent who railed on the racism of Macon’s private schools while still sending their own children to Mount de Sales.

The school predates public education in Macon. Some north Macon parents could pat themselves on their backs by claiming that all the north Macon private schools were created in response to segregation and, therefore, racist. Then they could send their kids to Mount de Sales because it was a Catholic school that allowed them an escape from public schools without surrendering their smug superiority.

That all came crashing down on them last week when the school showed its band teacher, Flint Dollar, the door. Dollar intends to marry his partner. Many in our community are stunned at what they see as the breathtaking bigotry of the Catholic Church. They should be stunned at their own ignorance.
I have seen some otherwise very well educated people show just how extremely ignorant they are of the Catholic Church’s teachings on homosexuality.

Most Protestant churches view homosexuality itself as a sin. The Catholic Church does not. Catholic doctrine supposes that one can have same sex attraction, but the physical sexual act is the sin. But that sin, like all others, allows for grace and repentance. Many Catholic educational institutions are much more tolerant of hiring gays than their Protestant counterparts.

Members of the community shocked that Mount de Sales would fire Dollar for being gay are wrong. Despite the spin and sympathetic portrayals, Dollar being gay has zero to do with him being, in effect, fired.

The Catholic Church, unlike most every Protestant Church, believes that marriage is one of seven sacraments of the church. A sacrament is a ceremony, sign and instrument of God’s grace. God created man as male and female and their union together, commanded by God, creates a completed oneness that glorifies God.

Dollar cannot marry another man without instantly corrupting a sacrament of the church -- divorce and adultery may do so too, but not upon initiating participation in the sacrament. Mount de Sales is, in effect, a ministry. One cannot corrupt a sacrament of the church and participate in that ministry. Being gay is fine. Being gay and corrupting a sacrament is not. Had Dollar been heterosexual and abused the Eucharist, the same thing would have happened.

Herein lies the problem this and similar situations create. The Catholic Church tends to be much more tolerant of homosexuality than Protestant denominations. The mischaracterization of Dollar’s firing by many, the demands that the Catholic Church be tolerant of the corruption of its sacrament, and the hysterical rhetoric of those who oppose the church are only going to incentivize both Catholic schools and Protestant schools to be more rigorous and less tolerant in their hiring to begin with.

Many people think the church should have to let its sacraments be corrupted. They preach tolerance without being tolerant of the church. And in the past week, a lot of people have shown themselves to be pretty ignorant of what the church even teaches. A Protestant evangelical school would most likely have never hired Dollar. There are more and more Catholics wondering if it might be safer to go that route, too, just to avoid legal and public relations headaches stemming from so much ignorance about what the church actually believes.

Erick Erickson is a Fox News contributor and radio talk show host in Atlanta. 



According to Pelagian heresy, original sin did not really contaminate human nature and so humans are apparently able to choose the path of goodness and avoid sin without the help of mercy. In recent decades some were averse to a return to Pelagianism because hyperactivism in the Church, trusting in human plans and projects and believing that human action is what makes the Church what it is, ends up nullifies the action of mercy and reduces everything to human ability.[Isn't this the heresy of some Catholics and non-Catholics as it regards the human sexuality? Do they not deny original sin and that all of us in one way or another are fallen and that we are oriented toward sin even in our passions? Thus ideologies develop and social change occurs that reduces everything to the human person and his accomplishments without the need of grace to overcome original sin or actual sin. It is a form of do-it-yourself salvation. If you are a good person, despite your peccadilloes, you can be saved by your goodness, you don't really need God's mercy. As long as you are good and act in good faith even in your sins, you will be saved.]

... It was the then cardinal Joseph Ratzinger himself who spoke about the “Pelagianism of the pious”. During the Spiritual Exercises of 1986 (in the book “Guardare Cristo: esempi di fede, speranza e carità” [Looking at Christ: Examples of faith, hope and charity]; published by Jaka Book), Ratzinger said: “the other face of the same vice is the Pelagianism of the pious. They do not want forgiveness and in general they do not want any real gift from God either. They just want to be in order. They don’t want hope they just want security. Their aim is to gain the right to salvation through a strict practice of religious exercises, through prayers and action. What they lack is humility which is essential in order to love; the humility to receive gifts not just because we deserve it or because of how we act…” [Here Cardinal Ratzinger is speaking of ultra-traditionalist Catholics, but there is a secular form of this that is more insidious and present in the Macon community. If a person is good, does his job and is nice, then he will be saved--no need for the Church's teaching on morality and the need to recognize sin for what it is and the need to convert by God's grace and through His mercy away from sin and seek God's forgiveness through repentance and a new way of life.Secular Pelagianism holds up sin as a good and rejects the need for change in a person but endorses that the society should accept not only the person but the sin--a reverse sort of conversion away from the Gospel and toward the secularism of our age.Enshrining an ideology against natural law, such as same sex marriage and calling it marriage equality is one such example of making a sin into a virtue and publicly so.]

My final comment: The dictatorship of secularism or relativism which we experience in our American culture today is another contrived religion of the state similar to communism and fascism. The politics of secularism becomes a dictatorship when God is manipulated as is religion to uphold the principles of secularism. Even Christian institutions have no right to uphold their teachings and demand that those they hire abide by them in the public forum and trusting in God's forgiveness in the private forum of seeking God's grace to repent and change one's life by relying on  God's grace and the means to God's grace that the Church reveals.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014


As I have consistently written and completely stated my support for the Vicar of Christ and the respect due the person in office, no matter what, I have indicated that Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are on the same page in so many things.

What is different is the style and personality of the two popes. Pope Benedict, the academic and the intellectual, measured in his speech (but not always, a few gaffs alone the way) and Pope Francis, far from an academic intellectual who prefers the simple faith of grandmothers and mothers of my mother's generation, her mother's generation and her grandmother's generation, speaks and acts in symbol and gesture and loose lips sometimes. The very thing that Pope Francis criticizes, he participates in and foments.Pope Francis is as good at "chiacchiere" as the best of them. 

But Pope Francis and Pope Benedict are on the same page as it concerns the Church being only preoccupied by the hot-button social issues of the day to the detriment of other important teachings of the Church. Pope Francis stated his case differently from Pope Benedict, but both basically said the same thing!

The same thing about the LCWR and now about marriage, Pope Francis upholds what Pope Benedict taught and wrote. And as Pope Benedict, with a great deal of push back from the supporters of the Legionaries of Christ, was not afraid to investigate that order and reorient it, so too Pope Francis with the Franciscans of Mary Immaculate who have tended toward schismatic sympathies with the SSPX is being investigated and purified. Good for both popes showing some muscle!

And now on his return from the Holy Land, the Holy Father held up Pope Benedict's teachings about marriage and divorce and family life in face of ridiculous predictions concerning the upcoming synod on the family.

But this article by Kevin Cotter of Lakewood, CO, who serves FOCUS as the Director of FOCUS Equip and the Director of Web is excellent.  Previously, Kevin served FOCUS as an on campus missionary at Benedictine College. Kevin holds a BA degree in Religious Studies from Benedictine College and a MA degree in Sacred Scripture from the Augustine Institute. Kevin currently resides in Denver, CO with his wife, Lisa, and their children.

This is his article from a post HERE!

I read a lot of news articles on Pope Francis. Lately, there have been some really good ones. See:
Martians? Antonio Banderas? It’s hard to make these up! I sometimes wonder why such strange articles are written, but then again, you probably clicked on them. Don’t worry, I waited for you. Are you ready to continue?

One of the more interesting stories of the month is on the Vatican’s recent statement to the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW). I find this story to be an apt reflection of both the secular media’s reporting of Catholicism and the current battle within Catholicism here in America.

Here’s the background as quickly as possible.

The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (known as the CDF) has an ongoing evaluation and critique of the Leadership Conference of Religious Women (LCRW) because of theologians and stances they have promoted that the Vatican deems outside of Church teaching. Many, but certainly not all, American sisters belong to the LCRW.

Here’s the spin.
Both the secular media and many within the Church have made this situation political. LCRW’s outspoken support of President Obama and the Affordable Health Care Act (ObamaCare) probably aided this. Particularly under Pope Benedict, there was a critique that the Vatican and the USCCB was against helping the poor and only cared about doctrine and abortion.

Enter Pope Francis.
With the election of Pope Francis, the idea from some was that, unlike Pope Benedict, Pope Francis would be quick to promote and defend the sisters. Recently, Cardinal Muller, head of the CDF, issued a statement reaffirming the Vatican’s position against the LCRW and eroded the fact that Pope Francis would defend the LCRW.

A sample of headlines on this issue include:

American nuns at rough end of Pope Francis’ mixed messages

Cool Pope Francis Not So Cool When It Comes to American Nuns

Pope Francis is throwing nuns under the bus for sharing his own beliefs
: The pontiff’s silence, while nuns are censured for not focusing on abortion and same sex marriage speaks volumes

A picture of a crying habited nun who must certainly doesn’t belong to the LCRW was also included in the article for good measure.

The Truth

From the article headlines (and their content as well) you get the impression that the Vatican and Pope Francis are against the LCRW because they serve the poor and all the good work that the sisters are doing. This isn't true.

We must emphasize: Some sisters are doing good work, especially in their service of the poor. But, Pope Francis and the Vatican aren’t arguing this. Instead, the sisters are supporting theologians that are promoting beliefs contrary to the core of Christianity and the Catholic faith.

Here are samples from Cardinal Muller’s statement:

“For the last several years, the Congregation has been following with increasing concern a focalizing of attention within the LCWR around the concept of Conscious Evolution. Since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the Assembly on this topic two years ago, every issue of your newsletter has discussed Conscious Evolution in some way. Issues of Occasional Papers have been devoted to it.

“The fundamental theses of Conscious Evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the Incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.”

One thing I have emphasized in the past is the request for folks to read texts for themselves, whether it be something that Pope Francis has said or something someone else has.
Read the text carefully yourself.

The Conclusion
Archbishop Muller isn’t someone who is upset because the sisters are pushing for a specific doctrine to evolve or have a specific style of Catholicism that he doesn’t like; rather, he is questioning – are these ideas outside the boundaries of what it means to be Christian? Are they leading you outside of what we believe about Christ and his Church at a basic fundamental level?
I think the answer is easily yes to both questions. It’s important to agree on this before the issue is lost in the media spin that sweet nuns who are trying to help the poor are being criticized because they are a little progressive. It isn’t about whether we should serve the poor or trying to eliminate abortion. This isn’t a progressive/conservative debate. This is about the very heart of Christianity.
Let’s at least agree on this.

I have dozens of friends who passionately live out their Catholic faith who I interact with in person and online. Do you know how many of these friends have brought up the Vatican’s issue with LCRW over the last two years? None. Zero. Zilch. I like this topic because it reveals media bias and a current battle within the Church. It needs to be addressed because the media confuses people. But let’s be clear, this battle is for an older generation. My generation is moving on. There are too many souls that need Christ and too many souls that need to be helped to be invovled in a fight that distracts and deteriorates from the faith.


During a papal homily in Jerusalem, our Lord decided the levitate the zucchetto of the Holy Father to infuse some levity into the seriousness of the particular moment of encounter during the homily. Who said that Jesus doesn't have a sense of humor? 

Tuesday, May 27, 2014


The TV show the Big Bang Theory is being made into a movie, but the actors playing Sheldon, Leonard, Raj and Howard are changed but the comedy remains!

There are religious fundamentalists and then there are scientific fundamentalist. The latter is the most insidious. Of course we know from our solar system that the sun in the physical sense is at the center and all rotates around it?

But what rotates around God? All of creation. Who is the crown of God's creation? Man? What sustains life on earth? The strategic placement of where earth is located not only in our solar system but exactly where it is in all of creation so that human life can exist on earth.

Therefore, it is quite appropriate in the symbolic sense that earth is at the center and all revolves around earth, in God's divine plan of creation, to sustain us, the crown of God's creation.

A kindergartener could understand this. But some who think they are scientists focus on drawings that show earth isn't the center. They are scientific fundamentalists and just don't get it.

How about you?


When we receive baptized Protestants into the full communion of the Church, they make the following Profession of Faith:

"I believe and profess all that the Holy Catholic Church believes, teaches, and proclaims, to be revealed by God." 

This follows the renewal of every Catholic's baptismal vows which in part have these two forms, one of which must be used:

Do you renounce Satan?

And all his works?

And all his empty show? 


Do you renounce sin, so as to live in the freedom of the children of God?

Do you renounce the lure of evil, so that sin may have no mastery over you?

Do you renounce Satan, the author and prince of sin? 

My final question (not part of the ritual of course):

Is there anything ambiguous in the Profession of Faith and the renewal of baptismal promises Catholics make each year at Easter? 


(Vatican Radio) Despite the grueling schedule of his three day pilgrimage to the Holy Land, on Monday evening Pope Francis held an hour long in-flight question and answer session with the journalists who had accompanied him.  The Pope responded to their questions on issues that ranged from the Churches’ efforts in combatting the sexual abuse of minors by clergy, to the reform of the Curia. The Pope addressed questions that have arisen ahead of October’s Synod on the family, regarding the situation of divorced and remarried Catholics, he spoke of future papal travels and dwelt the modern day reality of Christian martyrs for the faith.

Emer McCarthy reports:   

Responding to a question on the Churches handling of the abuse crisis, Pope Francis stated that there will be no preferential treatment when it comes to child abuse. That three bishops are currently under investigation for and one has been convicted with punishment pending.  Such abuse is a betrayal of the Lord’s body, he said.  He then announced that next week he will hold a two day meeting with survivors of abuse and celebrate mass with them at his residence in Casa Santa Marta.

Responding to a question on the issue of communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, which has arisen ahead of next October’s Synod on the Family, Pope Francis lamented that the entire Synod should be boiled down to this one issue.  He noted the real issue is the crisis that the family is undergoing today with a drop in the number of young people choosing to marry. 

 However, the Pope did add that the procedure of preparation for marriage and annulments of marriage needed further reflection. He also concluded that divorced Catholics must not be treated as if they had been excommunicated.

He also answered a question on priestly celibacy, noting that the Catholic Church has married priests in the Eastern rites, that celibacy is not a dogma of faith but a rule of life that he appreciate a great deal and believes is a gift for the Church.

Regarding the reform of the Curia, Pope Francis laughingly confessed that he himself is perhaps the greatest obstacle to it.  The Pope revealed that the organization will be made lighter, by merging dicasteries.

He also revealed that there are two Asian trips planned: one to South Korea and then next January, a trip to Sri Lanka and the Philippines.

Finally, answering a question as to whether he too – like Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI – will choose to resign from the papacy, Pope Francis stated that his predecessor had “opened the door” to such a possibility, but that he  will do what the Lord tells him to do.

My Comments: Catholics who are divorced but remain unmarried have no censure against them. They may receive the Sacraments of the Church. Those who are in sacramental, i.e. lawful, marriage in the eyes of the Church, but obtain a civil divorce for legal purposes, but then marry again outside the Church, are not excommunicated, but a censure is placed against them--they may not receive the Sacraments of the Church except in a life/death emergency. This is an "interdict" of sorts and as with excommunication a clarion call to rectify the situation that has brought about the censure and to be once again fully reconciled with the Church and thus with Christ since the two cannot be separated as some heterodox Catholics are wont to do. 

Also, as I have written time and time again, the synod on the family isn't going to issue heretical statements about marriage. But it will look at the annulment procedures, and this is where I am clairvoyant, it will look at both the internal and external forum and clarify both and add grounds for annulment. It will clarify the canonical process, streamline it especially in countries where there may not be adequate tribunals in diocesan offices and encourage lay Catholics to use this process and not make it up as they go (such as receiving Holy Communion on one's own authority because one doesn't believe in the annulment process--a form of the heresy of gnosticism).

Monday, May 26, 2014


Macon writer, Erick Erickson writing for picks up on the story in Macon "makin" its way around the world. Tell me there isn't a lobby against the Church when a personnel issue finally properly handled by the Church to preserve the integrity of the Church's sacrament of marriage, goes around the world as an example of how the world pierces into the faith and morals of the Church, which we have every right to propagate without interference from the outside world (and world used in the way that St. John's Gospel uses world).

Affluent Catholic, not so Catholic, Protestant and not so Protestant parents and their progeny are shocked and appalled that the discounted tuition they pay at a Catholic school is actually Catholic and where that Catholicism has been neutered, it is being restored. Read on....

If apologies are to be extended to anyone hurt by all of this, it must be that anyone was led to believe that a Catholic institution with a mandate to be Catholic failed in anyway to communicate to anyone at any time past or present that it is Catholic. Corrective actions were needed and it startled those who thought that Catholic moral teachings were not important and a wink and nod would do. But when it comes to mocking marriage and God's design for marriage, secular or religious, and in our Catholic educational institution action was needed. 
Mr. Erickson hits the nail on the head!

The World Pierces In

Erick Erickson | May 23, 2014

In 1540, Hernando de Soto marched through Middle Georgia not far from where this column originates. Just down river from where I am in Macon, Georgia, de Soto performed the first baptism in North America on the banks of the Ocmulgee River. That river cuts a lazy path through Macon and Middle Georgia.

The Ocmulgee Indian natives, over time, migrated out of the area under force from the new natives, the Americans. Those new natives lived a quiet existence where rarely, like de Soto marching through, the outside world pierced in. When Sherman marched through in the Civil War, one house in Macon suffered damage from a stray cannonball.

Before Sherman arrived, Presbyterians built their church and towering steeple, which remained the highest point in Macon until the Catholics built their beautiful gingerbread-house-like church, St. Joseph's. The Catholics laid early roots in the area. In 1871, five Sisters of Mercy started the Academy of the Sacred Heart Jesus, a school to teach Catholic, Protestant and Jewish children. Their educational efforts preceded a public school system in the area. The school the Sisters of Mercy founded changed names to Mount de Sales Academy in honor of Saint Francis de Sales in 1876.

The world pierced in again in Middle Georgia at Mount de Sales Academy last week. The school's band teacher, Flint Dollar, could have been a character conjured by Flannery O'Connor, whose farm lies not far from Macon. Dollar is gay and intends to marry his boyfriend in Minnesota this summer. Mr. Dollar's job must now end.

The Catholic school was fine having a gay band teacher. Catholics understand the balance in the Bible of loving the sinner and not the sin better than many. All the teachers at Mount de Sales Academy are sinners of various kinds with varying levels of repentance. But marriage, even to the present progressive Pope Francis, who the left loves dearly except when they don't, remains a union between a man and a woman. Unlike most Protestants, Catholics even treat marriage as a sacrament of the church. Two men marrying is a corruption of an institution God himself established.

Suddenly, well-to-do parents intent on giving their children the discounted cost of an award-winning Catholic education, as opposed to the pricier Protestant and secular private schools in town, are horrified to learn their children are going to a Catholic school. A "Save Flint Dollar" page has been created on Facebook. Parents intend to meet with the head of the school to demand Mr. Dollar's job back. Mount de Sales, as Catholic education institutions tend to be, is rather tolerant. But tolerance does not extent to corruption of one of the church's sacraments.

Now the school and its church find themselves in an increasingly common situation. The peddlers of tolerance, confronted by deeply held views not their own, are intolerant of those views. There is no ground to compromise on tenets of faith. Christians who are often told Christ said to "render unto Caesar" are increasingly forced to let Caesar also set the immoral or amoral parameters by which they are allowed to conduct their operations.

The school has a hiring statement as farcical as our present age. "Mount de Sales Academy is committed to the principles of equal employment opportunities to all qualified individuals without regard to ... sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, or any other characteristic or status." But our laws and courts have not been silent on this issue.

The school is also a ministry. The Hosanna-Tabor case decided in 2011 by the Supreme Court would suggest strongly that the Catholic Church can dismiss Flint Dollar. But therein lies the great absurdity of our age. The church showed great tolerance in its hiring up to the line of sacrament. And the people of our age demand the church cross its line instead of the people going elsewhere.

The Pope, and his church, remain Catholic. Middle Georgia, to paraphrase Flannery O'Connor, though hardly Christ-centered, is most certainly Christ-haunted. But the world pierces in nonetheless.


After listening to this for the second time, the first in person, I felt like that perhaps I needed to take out my violin and play it for poor, Father Dawid and how hard he had it in his first month of priesthood. I suspect like any Polish mommy's boy (I can say this as an Italian with an Italian mother) that he wanted his mommy to hold his hand and make it easy for him.

But no, the Holy Spirit knew (as did I by-the-way) that this boy priest needed to become a man-priest and didn't need his mommy or daddy holding his hand and that his priesthood isn't about him and his needs but ministering to people in life and death and showing forth the resurrection.

Being a priest isn't kumbuya singing while holding hands and comfort and glory for those God has chosen for his ordained priesthood. I hope Father Dawid's generation of seminarians and priests understand this and give thanks to God for pastors who don't hold adult men priests hand and pat them on the head. We don't need boy-priests, we need men priests.

So this is my song to Father Dawid whose crossfit training needs to be applied to his priesthood and to help him to know that in his first three weeks with me in the parish while I was absent, he graduated from being a boy priest with silly expectations about the priesthood into a man priest who understood what it was about (skip the ad if it appears):


My family in the 1950's in East Point, Georgia (Atlanta) (we lived in military housing outside the gate to Fort McPherson, GA which looked like a classic housing project for the poor). I'm the handsome one! The physical, spiritual and emotional position of my brother in this photo, a good study in psychology, says it all!

My father died in 1987 at the age of 77. He was born in 1910. Of course when his three children were growing up, he did not think that one of them would forgo marriage and become a priest. And that child growing up didn't think that he would forgo marriage and become a priest. That's another story.

But when his children were growing up, and I can remember my father's emphatic statement to us, he said, there would be no divorce in his family and we would marry a Catholic and get married in the Church. Of course this was prior to Vatican II and the ensuing confusion that would enter the Church which to this day we still experience.

My sister did not marry a Catholic but she did get married in the Church in 1966. She is still married to the same Baptist husband.

My brother, though, rebelled against his parental authority and their love (and to this day still, although in his last days, mid 60's, but that's another story) and he chose to marry outside the Catholic Church. My father refused to go to his son's wedding because it was a mortal sin for him to be married outside the Church, it would jeopardize his salvation. My father would not enable his son's mortal sin and in any way support it. He did not equate enablement as love.

Maybe my father took seriously that following Jesus sometimes brings division to the family, father against son, son against mother, etc (paraphrase). And my father would not compromise on his Catholic Faith by appeasing my brother's rejection of the Church and the laws that govern Catholics especially as it concerns marriage.

As a child of the 60's although a seminarian of the 1970's, a double whammy, I disagreed with my father's decision not to go to his son's wedding which took place in my sister's house. I flew from the seminary to be there. Why? To appease my brother and keep peace in the family at all costs even if that went against my father's wishes to uphold the teachings of Christ concerning marriage. I think I broke the 4th Commandment. Not sure I ever confessed it. I'll take care of that soon!

What is it about the 1960's and 70's and its free love mentality that bled into the Church like a bleeding heart that we who were formed by it thought love meant enabling sin and disregard for the Church and her teachings especially as it concerned sex and marriage? Why is it that my generation and older and some a bit younger think that enablement of a variety of lifestyles that are opposed to God's laws equals love? 

My father eventually reconciled with my brother but never apologized for not going to his wedding. He should not have had to do that. My brother was clearly wrong and my father clearly right. I was wrong in going to my brother's wedding not only because it went against my father's wishes, but it went against my Father in heaven wishes too. I was a seminarian in addition to that and I know now that what I do as a priest can impact in a positive or negative way even more so than if I were simply a member of the lay faithful.

If your are a parent would you enable your son and daughter to commit mortal sin and stand by them as they did it? Is that love or enablement?

Sunday, May 25, 2014


The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexual tendencies or same sex attractions are “disordered” in the sense of desiring sex with a person of the same sex (not same sex intimate friendships that exclude sex, that is non-sexual love) we do not teach that merely having same sex attractions are sinful. It is sex outside of God’s recognized lawful marriage that is sinful. This applies equally to those who are heterosexual as well as homosexual. There is no double standard.

But with that said, when a person who is married commits adultery or when a single person, homosexual or heterosexual sins sexually, these sins can be forgiven and are forgiven in the Sacrament of Penance when one is truly sorry, repents, confesses and does penance. It isn't too difficult to receive God's Divine Mercy. In fact he places his grace in our hearts that leads us to Confession.   

Most of our Catholic schools hire both Catholic and non Catholic teachers,but we expect them not to publicly in any way call into question or demonstrate a lifestyle opposed to the Church teaching on chastity. So for example if a teacher at at a Catholic School who is heterosexual desires to move in with her boyfriend and that becomes widely known, that would jeopardize that person’s job. It has nothing to do with her being a heterosexual, but it does have everything to do with her ability to model a chaste life to our students where Catholic education promotes chastity. As a single person how can you teach chastity in a Catholic Schools whose mission of course is to teach Catholic sexual morality if you are publicly living with another person in a sexual relationship?

Of course God teaches and  the Church hands His teaching on  that marriage is between one man and one woman and for a lifetime. That will never change in the Catholic Church. The gay lobby hates the Catholic Church for this and wants to do everything in its power to challenge and change the Catholic Church. Even the court system has ideologues that want to change the Catholic Church. Even the President of the United States wants to change the Catholic Church's teaching on the sanctity of life and marriage.  I’m willing to be a martyr in opposing the gay lobby in this. Tell them to butt out! They hate the Catholic Church! They call her archaic (which of course our teachings are, they go back to God and eternity! These go back before Moses!)

For someone teaching in our schools they should understand and know that the bishop of our diocese who is the ultimate authority in protecting and promoting Catholic identity of Catholic institutions in our diocese has the final say and gives the ultimate direction to those who work in our diocese and even administrators. If a Catholic school opposed the bishop in this, the Bishop would have to take away that Catholic school's Catholic mission and identity. They would become a non-sectarian school or affiliate with another religious institution. They could not even have a Catholic chapel in that school. 

A Catholic bishop must not allow any of the Sacraments of the Church to be mocked by anyone working in our schools. Marriage in one of the Catholic Church 's 7 sacraments and the one that is under siege by those who hate the Catholic Church’s teaching on sex and marriage. Same sex marriage is a mockery of the Church’s Sacrament of Marriage, pure and simple.

For example, I am sure that most of the non-Catholic teachers in our Catholic schools more than likely do not believe what the Catholic Church teaches about the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist. That is fine as long as they keep it to themselves.  In fact non-Catholics are not allowed by Church law to receive Holy Communion. If the administration of a Catholic school  said, yes, you can receive Holy Communion at our school's Masses, no matter what the administration said, a Catholic bishop and local priests would have to say, no you can’t! 

But let’s say that on their own a non-Catholic feels she has a right in our Catholic school and Church to receive Holy Communion, and does so in a very public way, that would be grounds for dismissing that  faculty person, no matter what their personal beliefs are. Or let’s say that the non-Catholic makes known to her students in our school that her belief about Holy Communion which differs greatly from the Catholic Church’s belief is just as good as the Catholic Church’s belief and if students in that Catholic school agree with him, they should stand up for what they believe in contradiction of the Catholic Church even on school property, I would say that person should be fired on the spot.

Now let’s talk about  proselytizing which can be defined as recruiting someone to join one's party, institution, or cause. This can be done actively or passively. It can be done intentionally or unintentionally. When someone who works in a Catholic school publicly supports same sex marriage and publicly gets married in a state that allows same sex marriage and makes it known they are gay, support the gay political agenda concerning marriage and want to propagate that by their own lifestyle and do so in a Catholic institution—that is called proselytizing pure and simple. Then when that person tells our students in our Catholic Church School to stand up for what they believe (even if it goes against the Catholic Church and to do it at a Catholic school) then Houston, we have major, major, major problems.

All of us are called to chastity. For the married person, lawfully married in the eyes of God as the Catholic Church teaches what lawful marriage is, chastity is fidelity to one’s spouse. For those who are not married, it  means abstaining from sexual relationships, no matter if you are homosexual or heterosexual. There is no double standard. Ultimately as Catholics we must follow God’s law and oppose anyone trying to force the Catholic Church to follow laws that are contrary to God’s laws in the areas of sex and marriage. Pope Francis, oddly enough, on Thursday said that today Catholics must be willing to die as martyrs for the Catholic Church. He said we should go to our martyrdom as to a wedding banquet! Are you ready to stand up for the Catholic Church and to go to your martyrdom as to a wedding feast?