Tuesday, July 31, 2018


It would help if Pope Francis, rather than ignoring the papacy of his predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, would emphasize what Pope Benedict stated so brilliantly and not fight His Holiness, Benedict XVI:

Your Eminences, Venerable Brothers in the Episcopate and in the Presbyterate, Dear Brothers and Sisters,

The last event of this year on which I wish to reflect here is the celebration of the conclusion of the Second Vatican Council 40 years ago. This memory prompts the question: What has been the result of the Council? Was it well received? What, in the acceptance of the Council, was good and what was inadequate or mistaken? What still remains to be done? No one can deny that in vast areas of the Church the implementation of the Council has been somewhat difficult, even without wishing to apply to what occurred in these years the description that St Basil, the great Doctor of the Church, made of the Church's situation after the Council of Nicea:  he compares her situation to a naval battle in the darkness of the storm, saying among other things:  "The raucous shouting of those who through disagreement rise up against one another, the incomprehensible chatter, the confused din of uninterrupted clamouring, has now filled almost the whole of the Church, falsifying through excess or failure the right doctrine of the faith..." (De Spiritu Sancto, XXX, 77; PG 32, 213 A; SCh 17 ff., p. 524).

We do not want to apply precisely this dramatic description to the situation of the post-conciliar period, yet something from all that occurred is nevertheless reflected in it. The question arises:  Why has the implementation of the Council, in large parts of the Church, thus far been so difficult?

Well, it all depends on the correct interpretation of the Council or - as we would say today - on its proper hermeneutics, the correct key to its interpretation and application. The problems in its implementation arose from the fact that two contrary hermeneutics came face to face and quarrelled with each other. One caused confusion, the other, silently but more and more visibly, bore and is bearing fruit.

On the one hand, there is an interpretation that I would call "a hermeneutic of discontinuity and rupture"; it has frequently availed itself of the sympathies of the mass media, and also one trend of modern theology. On the other, there is the "hermeneutic of reform", of renewal in the continuity of the one subject-Church which the Lord has given to us. She is a subject which increases in time and develops, yet always remaining the same, the one subject of the journeying People of God.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity risks ending in a split between the pre-conciliar Church and the post-conciliar Church. It asserts that the texts of the Council as such do not yet express the true spirit of the Council. It claims that they are the result of compromises in which, to reach unanimity, it was found necessary to keep and reconfirm many old things that are now pointless. However, the true spirit of the Council is not to be found in these compromises but instead in the impulses toward the new that are contained in the texts. 

These innovations alone were supposed to represent the true spirit of the Council, and starting from and in conformity with them, it would be possible to move ahead. Precisely because the texts would only imperfectly reflect the true spirit of the Council and its newness, it would be necessary to go courageously beyond the texts and make room for the newness in which the Council's deepest intention would be expressed, even if it were still vague.

In a word:  it would be necessary not to follow the texts of the Council but its spirit. In this way, obviously, a vast margin was left open for the question on how this spirit should subsequently be defined and room was consequently made for every whim. 

The nature of a Council as such is therefore basically misunderstood. In this way, it is considered as a sort of constituent that eliminates an old constitution and creates a new one. However, the Constituent Assembly needs a mandator and then confirmation by the mandator, in other words, the people the constitution must serve. The Fathers had no such mandate and no one had ever given them one; nor could anyone have given them one because the essential constitution of the Church comes from the Lord and was given to us so that we might attain eternal life and, starting from this perspective, be able to illuminate life in time and time itself.

Through the Sacrament they have received, Bishops are stewards of the Lord's gift. They are "stewards of the mysteries of God" (I Cor 4: 1); as such, they must be found to be "faithful" and "wise" (cf. Lk 12: 41-48). This requires them to administer the Lord's gift in the right way, so that it is not left concealed in some hiding place but bears fruit, and the Lord may end by saying to the administrator:  "Since you were dependable in a small matter I will put you in charge of larger affairs" (cf. Mt 25: 14-30; Lk 19: 11-27). 

These Gospel parables express the dynamic of fidelity required in the Lord's service; and through them it becomes clear that, as in a Council, the dynamic and fidelity must converge.

The hermeneutic of discontinuity is countered by the hermeneutic of reform, as it was presented first by Pope John XXIII in his Speech inaugurating the Council on 11 October 1962 and later by Pope Paul VI in his Discourse for the Council's conclusion on 7 December 1965.

Here I shall cite only John XXIII's well-known words, which unequivocally express this hermeneutic when he says that the Council wishes "to transmit the doctrine, pure and integral, without any attenuation or distortion". And he continues:  "Our duty is not only to guard this precious treasure, as if we were concerned only with antiquity, but to dedicate ourselves with an earnest will and without fear to that work which our era demands of us...". It is necessary that "adherence to all the teaching of the Church in its entirety and preciseness..." be presented in "faithful and perfect conformity to the authentic doctrine, which, however, should be studied and expounded through the methods of research and through the literary forms of modern thought. The substance of the ancient doctrine of the deposit of faith is one thing, and the way in which it is presented is another...", retaining the same meaning and message (The Documents of Vatican II, Walter M. Abbott, S.J., p. 715). 

It is clear that this commitment to expressing a specific truth in a new way demands new thinking on this truth and a new and vital relationship with it; it is also clear that new words can only develop if they come from an informed understanding of the truth expressed, and on the other hand, that a reflection on faith also requires that this faith be lived. In this regard, the programme that Pope John XXIII proposed was extremely demanding, indeed, just as the synthesis of fidelity and dynamic is demanding.

However, wherever this interpretation guided the implementation of the Council, new life developed and new fruit ripened. Forty years after the Council, we can show that the positive is far greater and livelier than it appeared to be in the turbulent years around 1968. Today, we see that although the good seed developed slowly, it is nonetheless growing; and our deep gratitude for the work done by the Council is likewise growing....

...It might be said that three circles of questions had formed which then, at the time of the Second Vatican Council, were expecting an answer. First of all, the relationship between faith and modern science had to be redefined. Furthermore, this did not only concern the natural sciences but also historical science for, in a certain school, the historical-critical method claimed to have the last word on the interpretation of the Bible and, demanding total exclusivity for its interpretation of Sacred Scripture, was opposed to important points in the interpretation elaborated by the faith of the Church.

Secondly, it was necessary to give a new definition to the relationship between the Church and the modern State that would make room impartially for citizens of various religions and ideologies, merely assuming responsibility for an orderly and tolerant coexistence among them and for the freedom to practise their own religion.

Thirdly, linked more generally to this was the problem of religious tolerance - a question that required a new definition of the relationship between the Christian faith and the world religions. In particular, before the recent crimes of the Nazi regime and, in general, with a retrospective look at a long and difficult history, it was necessary to evaluate and define in a new way the relationship between the Church and the faith of Israel.

These are all subjects of great importance - they were the great themes of the second part of the Council - on which it is impossible to reflect more broadly in this context. It is clear that in all these sectors, which all together form a single problem, some kind of discontinuity might emerge. Indeed, a discontinuity had been revealed but in which, after the various distinctions between concrete historical situations and their requirements had been made, the continuity of principles proved not to have been abandoned. It is easy to miss this fact at a first glance.

It is precisely in this combination of continuity and discontinuity at different levels that the very nature of true reform consists. In this process of innovation in continuity we must learn to understand more practically than before that the Church's decisions on contingent matters - for example, certain practical forms of liberalism or a free interpretation of the Bible - should necessarily be contingent themselves, precisely because they refer to a specific reality that is changeable in itself. It was necessary to learn to recognize that in these decisions it is only the principles that express the permanent aspect, since they remain as an undercurrent, motivating decisions from within.

...This dialogue must now be developed with great openmindedness but also with that clear discernment that the world rightly expects of us in this very moment. Thus, today we can look with gratitude at the Second Vatican Council:  if we interpret and implement it guided by a right hermeneutic, it can be and can become increasingly powerful for the ever necessary renewal of the Church.


Although my post below isn't specifically on Confession, I do think we need to dismantle "rooms of reconciliation" and return to confessionals that do not allow penitent and priest to see or touch each other--let's get real about what has happened in these so-called rooms of reconciliation! The Sacrament of Penance (Confession) needs to recover the vertical and get rid of the horizontal too just like the Mass does!
I personally believe the pre-Vatican II Church's ethos in the sacramental life, prayer and devotions would have done more to help rank and file Catholics disillusioned by all the scandals that have come to light in the last 50 years.

The post-Vatican II Church tries to glorify itself (herself) in the horizontal way through sacraments, prayer, devotions and architecture (churches in the round where people can see each others' faces and hug each other).

The post-Vatican II Mass emphasizes the priest and the people and a handholding inclusive community that pats itself on the back for this, that and the other. There is even competition among parishes as to who has the best reason to pat itself on the back.

The pre-Vatican II spirituality and humility of the Tridentine Mass made it clear that only God is all Holy, we only share in that holiness by God's grace and unmerited forgiveness.  It emphasized our sinfulness over and over again, from the prayers at the foot of the altar, the double confiteor (and again said or chanted prior to the laity's Holy Communion) as well as the triple "Lord, I am not worthy..." and a reluctance to receive Holy Communion if there was any hint of any kind of impediment, such as breaking the fast.

The Tridentine mentality, ethos, was to face God (of course in a symbolic, sacramental way) together, priest and laity facing the same direction. I was taught by the good Sisters of Saint Joseph of Corondelet (before they became ultra liberal and post-religious life) that we should never turn our head away from the altar and tabernacle prior to Mass and during Mass to look at someone else behind us or speak to them!

Man is sinful; God is Holy and we are unworthy. We knew that and expected nothing less from our brothers and sisters in Christ--we are all unworthy, unworthy, unworthy!

If we still had this ethos, this orientation, this spirituality, I think Catholics would handle the various scandals much better because we would know that Original Sin and actual sins have been, are and will be a disaster for us poor miserable sinners. Only God through His Church and the His Real Presence in all the Sacraments especially the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Cross made present in an unbloody way at the Most Holy Sacrifice of the Mass can save us poor, poor, poor, miserable, miserable, miserable, sinners, sinners, sinners!

At the Mass we know who we truly are in the eyes of God--poor, poor, poor, miserable, miserable, miserable, sinners, sinners, sinners. We see what our sins, what we have done to our Savior crucified before us with some crucifixes above the altar more graphic in the depictions of our suffering Lord than others.

Thus any scandalous pope (and there have been many of them in 2000 years starting with St. Peter, himself) any bishop, any priest, any religious and any laity would not phase us. We might be disappointed in hypocrisy of those who we hold in high esteem (just as a spouse would feel about an adulterous wife/husband) but we knew that is why Jesus founded the Church, to call people back to holiness by Jesus' forgiveness of Original Sin and actual sin, both mortal and venial.

I really think the pre-Vatican II Church emphasis on the individual and his relationship with God expressed through the Church but in a vertical way rather than in a horizontal way would have helped us through this crisis much better than our weakened post-Vatican II Church, spirituality, liturgical expression and ethos toward the hand-holding, Kumbaya community patting itself on the back for this, that and the other and avoiding naming sin for what it is and what it does to the glorious, holy hand holding community!

Monday, July 30, 2018


Have these bishops been living in a cave????????? What is Cardinal O’Mally going to say about this? And Edward Penten has been here before when he caught Cardinal Kasper in a major lie!  All these bishops should be treated by Pope Francis as His Holiness treated the Chilean bishops!

Honduran Bishops’ Conference Replies to Accusations of a Homosexual Network at Major Seminary

The statement, which asserts that the seminary follows the norms and morals of the Catholic Church, criticizes the Register’s reporting on the seminary for causing “pain and scandal.” The Register, however, stands by the story.
The bishops' conference of Honduras has expressed “regret” that leaked information about a crisis of homosexuality in Tegucigalpa’s major seminary has given it a bad reputation.

In a statement issued July 29, it also denies any institutionalized promotion of practices that are contrary to the morality and norms of the Church.

The bishops were responding to a July 25 Register article in which it was reported that nearly 50 seminarians had written a letter to bishops complaining of a homosexual network in Tegucigalpa’s major seminary, and which they said is protected by its rector.
The Archdiocese of Tegucigalpa is headed by Cardinal Oscar Rodriguez Maradiaga, the coordinator of the C9 Group of cardinals advising Pope Francis on Church and Curia reform.
The Register’s article drew on the contents of the seminarians’ letter, the existence of which was confirmed by a Honduran bishop. The seminarians wrote that they were encouraged by their spiritual advisers to write the letter and give it to the bishops as a plea that the homosexual activity among seminarians be stopped and that the bishops adopt stronger admittance practices for choosing seminarians.

The Register article quoted directly from one of the seminarians who had signed the letter, and referenced both a copy of a suicide note from a seminarian involved in a homosexual relationship with another seminarian, and graphic homosexual texts verified to have been exchanged between seminarians.

Also contacted for the article were the offices of Cardinal Maradiaga, the archbishop of Tegucigalpa, the Honduran bishops’ conference and each of the country’s bishops. None of the bishops had replied to the Register’s queries at the time this article was published.

The bishops said they “regretted” the information in the article, adding what was reported “causes pain and scandal in those who supposedly it wants to defend.”
But the statement did not refer to or deny the contents of the seminarians’ letter, nor any of the other substantiated facts in the article.

The Register stands by its reporting.

Elsewhere in their statement, the bishops said they are praying that priests increase their “selfless dedication to the service of the Gospel” so that “free, mature and fearless” vocations arise.

They also asked “present and future seminarians” to “grow in confidence, authenticity and transparency with their bishops and formators,” and view “honestly in their communities and parishes the lights and shadows of the seminary.”

The bishops also requested that all parishioners increase their prayers for the major seminary and avoid all kinds of speculation that ignores the respect for the dignity of bishops, seminarians, formators and all who seek to carry out God’s plan.

Bishops and seminarians are already engaged in a constructive dialogue, the statement added, and have enlisted the help of a bishop emeritus on the continent who has experience in the field of priestly formation.


I written this before, but the spirit of Vatican II has exacerbated the narcissism of the clergy and laity of the Church to reach the highest levels of Holy Mother Church.

I think one of the foundational culprits for this narcissism on steroids is Mass facing the people and the ad libs and creativity of priests and yes some laity as well as making the priest and his face front and center exuding as much saccharine piety as possible to make him look holy, or at least engaged!

It turns the priest into an actor on a stage.

But what is a church in New Jersey to do when Cardinaless McCarrick is featured in one of its stained glass windows concelebrating a papal Mass in New Jersey with now Pope St. John Paul II?

If this Mass had been depicted in an ad orientem way, no problem, no one would know who any of the three priests are, but alas, we have to know and see their faces. SAD! But maybe they can reverse the image by turning it around?????
But in this ad orientem Mass, who cares who the celebrant is. It could be any pope, other bishop or priest--it doesn't matter who the priest is as long as the High Priest, Jesus Christ, is there.


This article was written in 2015!!!!!!


DanneelsContent warning: This article includes explicit content; we felt it necessary to include this content to highlight the full extent of the betrayal of the children who were exposed to this material in Catholic schools during Cardinal Danneel’s period as Archbishop of Mechlen-Brussels.
Voice of the Family reported yesterday on the special appointments made by Pope Francis to the Ordinary Synod on the Family to be held in Rome this October. A significant number of the appointed prelates openly reject the teachings of the Catholic Church on questions relating to sexual ethics and the family.
The appointment most likely to cause scandal however must be that of Godfried Cardinal Danneels, Archbishop Emeritus of Mechlen-Brussels. Here are just some of the many questions that those concerned with the protection of children and the family will be asking in the light of Pope Francis’s invitation to Cardinal Danneels to attend a synod supposedly called to find solutions to the problems facing the family.
Did Cardinal Danneels protect clergy accused of child abuse? 
Elizabeth Yore, an international child rights attorney who has provided legal and technical assistance to families of victims and the Belgian government in child abuse and child murder cases, provided Voice of the Family with the following report:
“On April 8, 2010, the newly retired Cardinal Danneels received some visitors at his home. They were the relatives of the Bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe, Danneels’ close friend. At this meeting, the nephew of Vangheluwe described a long and sordid 13 year molestation by his uncle, the Bishop of Bruges. Cardinal Daneels advised the nephew not to go public with the sexual abuse. During the meeting, Danneels advised the young man not to “make a lot of noise” about the abuse he endured from his uncle bishop because Vangheluwe was scheduled to retire in a year anyway. “It would be better that you wait,” advised Danneels, while also urging the young man to forgive his uncle.
“The conversation was tape recorded by the nephew and subsequently released to the press. Cardinal Danneels, the former head of Belgium’s Roman Catholic Church for 3 decades, could be heard on tape urging this sexual abuse victim to stay quiet and not disclose the abuse until after the bishop who repeatedly molested him over a span of 13 years could retire. After the release of the recording, Danneels did not dispute the authenticity of the conversation. A media firestorm was unleashed in Belgium, a country still reeling over institutional cover ups of child sex abuse.
“Bishop Vangheluwe admitted to the sexual abuse of his nephew and stepped down from his post shortly after the April 8 meeting between his nephew and Danneels. Because of the statute of limitations law, the Bishop of Bruges was never charged with the crime. However, the plot continues to thicken.
“The daily De Standaard newspaper reported that two former Belgian priests, Fathers Rik Deville and Norbert Bethune had personally informed Cardinal Danneels about Bishop Vangheluwe’s child sexual abuse several times between the mid-1990s and early 2000s. Father Deville told the Associated Press that he told Cardinal Danneels about a number of sexual-abuse cases. “The cardinal sometimes got angry and said it was not my job, that I should not get involved,” Deville said.
“The Belgian Police conducted a surprise raid on the Cardinal’s residence and office looking for documents relating to clergy abuse and questioned the Cardinal for 10 hours. Although the Cardinal was never charged, the Catholic Church’s own investigation commission issued a 200 page report on 10 September 2010.
“According to the report, the commission heard allegations from 488 complainants, concerning incidents that took place between 1950 and 1990. The report contained testimony from 124 people. Two-thirds of the complainants were men, now aged in their 50s and 60s. As head of the commission, Dr. Peter Adriaenssens, a prominent and respected psychiatrist, disclosed that Cardinal Godfried Danneels name surfaced in 50 cases, not as an abuser, but as someone who knew of the sexual child abuse by the clergy.”


Australian archbishop convicted of sex abuse cover-up resigns

ROME - In his second major move on sex abuse in just three days, Pope Francis has accepted the resignation of Australian Archbishop Philip Wilson of Adelaide following a conviction earlier this month of failure to report allegations of child sexual abuse.
The Vatican announced Wilson’s resignation July 30,  just three days after Francis made a historic move in accepting the resignation of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick from the College of Cardinals after accusations arose that he sexually abused a 16-year-old altar boy.

But this in another Crux article gives me hope! Let's make this Texas Bishop a Cardinal and the pope:

The most extensive response to date, however, was issued by Bishop Michael Olson of Fort Worth, Texas, who on Saturday issued a two-page pastoral letter, wherein he used the McCarrick allegations to address the situation within his own diocese.

“We see in the scandalous crimes and sins alleged to have been committed by now former Cardinal McCarrick, the violation of that trust and the grave damage caused to the lives and health of his purported victims,” he wrote.

“Justice also requires that all of those in Church leadership who knew of the former cardinal’s alleged crimes and sexual misconduct and did nothing be held accountable for their refusal to act thereby enabling others to be hurt,” he continued.

He went on to reaffirm the Church’s pledge of zero tolerance against sexual abuse within his own diocese against both minors and vulnerable adults, “by its clergy, staff, and volunteers, including me as bishop.”


Pope Francis has utterly failed to tackle the church’s abuse scandal

Finally the mainstream press, even in England, is admitting the truth:

Many critics also claim that celibacy is the cause of abuse in the Catholic church. But other institutions from the Church of England to the BBC and the Football Association have reeled from abuse scandals and have no such requirement. What the scandal does definitively show is that many who have advocated chasteness have shown contempt for it themselves.

The commentary also says this:

There is a recent photo of Pope Francis doing the rounds on social media that shows him walking alone, without security people or a private secretary, across a Vatican courtyard. In the early days of his pontificate, it would have been seen as Francis breaking through the stuffy conventions of the Vatican: being his own man. Five years on, it is instead viewed as symbolic of Francis’s loneliness. Here is a man struggling to find allies or support from the Catholic faithful in his stalled efforts to reform the church and failing attempts to tackle the abuse crisis.

That crisis now threatens to engulf his papacy and do lasting damage to Francis’s own reputation.

Sunday, July 29, 2018


Mortal sin abounds in the Catholic Church as well as mortal sinners. There is nothing new under the sun in this regard.

True pathology that leads Catholic clergy and laity to be serial abusers may well remove one of the criteria for what is considered a mortal sin--full consent of the will in a grave matter.

However, what about the enablers who should have known better, but did not act to stop a serial abuser?  Bishops and lower clergy as well as laity who turned a blind eye or worse yet forgave the sins of serial abusers without the appropriate penance such as the removal from ministry, reporting to the civil authorities and transparency on what had happened, may well be the mortal sinners having fulfilled all the criteria of what constitutes a mortal sin.

But make no mistake about it--it is the new morality (moral theology) of the post-Vatican II, spirit of Vatican II Church that has exacerbated the scandal of clergy and laity who commit mortal sins because the new moral theology of Vatican II enables sinners to commit sins and not feel guilty if they have made their decision/discernment to commit any sin after a thorough decision/discernment of personal conscience. Conscience in this context trumps everything else to include the authoritative moral teachings of Christ and His Church.

I was taught this new morality in the 1970's seminary I attended. Let's say a woman was pregnant and  didn't feel she could carry the child to term. What should this Catholic woman do to arrive at a decision of conscience that could open the door to an abortion and to do so in good conscience? This could be applied to the use of artificial contraception by married couples which would include the man too. It can be applied to decisions of conscience of those who have same sex attractions. It applies to almost every issue of morality and immorality.

This is how a Catholic following the new morality makes a decision/discernment of conscience, personal conscience:

1. The person prays about what they should do--let's use the artificial contraception issue here. Does the couple want to follow Church teaching to the law (Humanae Vitae) or are there extenuating circumstances, (situational ethics) which need to be considered, such as cost of more children, psychological burdens of more children, health, etc. Of course knowing what the Church teaches is important in this prayerful discernment/decision of conscience.

2. Then the couple seeks counsel from family members and close friends they respect and listens to their advice and takes it into prayerful consideration.

3. Thirdly, the couple consults with a member of the clergy, a religious sister or other pastoral worker and seeks their counsel but choosing someone who doesn't see just "black and white" but the various 50 shades of gray, so to speak.

4. Then the couple makes their prayerful decision of conscience and if there are situational ethics or good reasons to use artificial birth control, choose an abortion, continue to live in sexual sin, then they can do so in good conscience because they arrived at a decision of conscience by following the new moral theology's recipe. Conscience must always be respected in this new moral theology.

Why do I recall this for you? Because this flawed method of making a decision of conscience has led Catholic clergy who are normal in their sexual orientation to break their vows/promises and to do so in good conscience. The same with married couples who break their vows and decide it is quite okay to receive Holy Communion in good conscience even though they live and act in an adulterous way.

It has led Catholic clergy to include bishops who are disordered in their sexuality and have disordered affections to follow through on their sinful inclinations because they are making a decision of conscience to have sex or  some kind of sexual activity which they truly believe is consensual (even though of course it isn't truly). It has assisted practicing Catholic laity to do the same, BTW.

And those clergy who are truly pathological in their sexual appetites and emotional needs,  we have seen  (as though in a field hospital)  what has happened and how those in Catholic authority have treated them with such compassion and mercy and a desire to cure them through psychological means and spiritual renewal and then place them back in a situation where they could continue their serial abuse.

Pope Francis' "cautious " opening to allow Catholics in adultery and other sexual mortal sins to receive Holy Communion is nothing new, it is the spirit of Vatican II's method of making a moral decision/discernment and is the source of corruption that we see in so many Catholics to include cardinals who make a moral decision to commit and live in a state of mortal sin because they have followed a recipe of moral discernment and a decision of conscience.

As for the homosexual lobby in the Catholic Church and the theology of winks and nods for any kind of illicit sexual relationships (in the moral and legal realms) the spirit of Vatican II has it method of madness to form a new world and a new paradigm of morality in that new world.

I can remember hearing Cardinaless McCarrick say many years back that he would not necessarily be in favor of same sex marriage but he clearly endorsed calling it "civil unions." I found his answer so peculiar coming from a Cardinal but it all makes sense now--he sees nothing wrong with homosexual sex (sexuality) and endorses Catholics to enter "civil unions" to find civil benefits in their mortal sins. It was and is outrageous but there were no corrections of this now cardinaless archbishop by other high rank cardinals and bishops as I recall. 

Shades of gray trump clear black and white moral teachings of the Church!


Like Catholicism, Protestantism has experienced great change in beliefs, morality and styles of worship to include music or Muzak.

I would suggest that the ensuing identity crisis, especially expressed in worship or liturgy must be added to the plethora of reasons for the decline and fall of Christianity.

This is a commentary in Sunday's Augusta Chronicle on this decline is by a Protestant minister who lives in a suburb of Augusta:

It isn’t a death, but a resurrection

Over the last few years, I watched our weekly church attendance slowly diminish.

We are not alone. Many churches across the country are experiencing a serious decline in attendance as our older faithful members die off.

Every church sees normal attrition as mature members move to glory and other members just move on. Since our church is a few miles outside the gate of a major military base, we have always experienced members who get transferred or deployed. In the past, we’ve always had new folks come in to take their place.

A few years ago, our worship leader was moved out of state when a new young military family started attending who picked up the worship team leadership without missing a beat. Now the couple leading our worship, the Army is transferring them to Korea.

Over just the last year we have lost half of our regular members. A young couple gets a great job offer out of state, an elderly active member retires and moves to be close to their kids, regular military transfers and then our pastor retires and moves — and that’s just in the last couple of months.

Thousands of churches close permanently every year. As thousands of new churches are planted, the net gain for churches is a negative. I drive by a large empty lifeless church building every day and work a block away from a beautiful cathedral that is now a civic center (Sacred Heart Catholic Church). A vivid reminder of just two churches that closed their doors permanently.

I think back to those who witnessed the crucifixion of Jesus. Many of those who watched Him die on the cross had also seen Jesus healing the sick, giving eyesight to the blind, curing the lame and feeding thousands with a few fish and loaves, and viewed His triumphant entry into Jerusalem only a few days before.

For the disciples, their whole world hung lifeless on a rough wooden cross.

They weren’t watching their church die; they were witnesses to the antecedent of the greatest event since the creation of the universe, the resurrection the Messiah. The risen Savior of all mankind.

It wasn’t what they were expecting, even though Jesus spelled it out for them, but His conquering death is what had to happen.

I realized I’m not watching my church die, I’m experiencing a resurrection. This is just the hard part.

Good News

Just as trimming back our rose bushes makes for a stronger, healthier plant with more blooms, I believe it’s a good thing our church has been cut back.

Our remaining membership has a passion for the mission, not the building. Some former members would have been opposed to any changes. They would have fought the renaming of the church to the death, either theirs or the church’s. Our remaining membership is open to merging, to changes, or a new name. Not to keep the building, but His mission and ministry, alive.

Our church is blessed in so many ways.

• We are a debt-free ministry. We have no mortgages or obligations, just regular utilities and maintenance. Even with the drop in weekly offerings, we have enough revenues to make ends meet and send monthly gifts to ministries we support.

• We are fortunate to have two church leaders step up into the pulpit; although we pay a small stipend to the preacher, we know if tithes fall short we will pay our missions first. If we ever lose sight of our ministry, we may as well close our doors.

• We have a caring church membership. So much so we advertise Free Hugs Sunday at 11:00 a.m.

• We have a diverse congregation. The church’s leadership is 50% white and 50% black, which I believe expands our outreach.

• We also have a plan. After some major repairs we are cash poor, but land rich. Our church sits on 32 acres, of which we have 22 acres up for sale in a growing area. Once we sell the property we will set aside enough for two years of salary for either a full-time minister or two part-time positions, either a pastor, music minister and or youth pastor.

We are open to any direction that has the vision to grow the Kingdom of God.

More Good News

Examining U.S. church attendance statistics since our nation’s founding, Baylor Institute for Studies of Religion found the percentage of Americans attending church, relative to overall population, is more than four times larger today than it was in 1776. Plus, the number of church attendees has risen each and every decade right up until today.

Whether we merge with another small struggling church, get incorporated by a growing church without a building, hire someone with the right vision for our ministry to gain momentum, or close the doors and give the church building and property to a Christian ministry, we will serve a risen Savior.

Me, I’m no longer watching my church die. I’m eagerly anticipating how God will resurrect and restore us.

The writer is an elder at Wildwood Christian Church in Hephzibah.

Saturday, July 28, 2018


This is what Blessed Pope Paul VI told Italian bishops in 1964 before Bugnini actually concocted a Liturgy that would all but undo what Blessed Paul VI envisioned in this speech. My comments imbedded in text in RED.

The liturgical reform provides us with an excellent opportunity in this regard: it calls us back to the theological view of human destiny that the action of grace, and thus of the life of the sacraments and prayer, has primacy. The liturgical reform opens up to us a way to reeducate our people in their religion, to purify and revitalize their forms of worship and devotion, to restore dignity, beauty, simplicity, and good taste to our religious ceremonies. (What was in bad taste, one can only wonder and make subjective jumps to conclusion, like Laitin? Ad Orientem? Vestments? Birrettas? And is the liturgy really about education in "their religion"? What about inspiration?) Is this the reformed liturgy's far superior good taste:
The second is that you promote sacred song, the religious, congregational singing of the people. Remember, if the faithful sing they do not leave the Church; if they do not leave the Church, they keep the faith and live as Christians. (Okay, in 2018 what can we say about the miserable eclectic state of music in the Church? What is meant by sacred song, hymns? Or the Mass itself? And we have trying to bribe, cajole and otherwise humiliate Catholics into singing at Mass or during the Mass and to what success has this kept Catholics from leaving the Church????? Has the pope's prophecy been self-defeating from the start????????)
(Address to Italian bishops, April 14, 1964)


I don't know how progressive, and let's just call him McCarrick was. But I do know that he was left of center especially on moral issues but who knows what else.

So my question is, which is worse, a cardinal abuser of minors and seminarians and young priests under his authority and pastoral care who nonetheless upholds authentic Catholic teaching and is very orthodox or the cardinal abuser who abuses the actual moral and doctrinal teachings of the Church, watering these down and undermining them along with abuse of minors and vulnerable adult men?

I ask, you answer.

But I have to say that I am appalled by the lack of the use of the term "mortal sin" and how inimical any sin, but especially mortal sin is to God.

We are moved more by legal terms like crime, murder, theft, abuse and so on than we are by two simple words, mortal sin, which in its variety of manifestations is an abomination to God.

We know that for a mortal sin to be a mortal sin, the person has to know that a particular act is seriously wrong or immoral, in other words it is grave "matter". The person must then commit the sin with full consent of the will and usually with much forethought and actual planning.

To simply this, a mortal sin is 1) grave matter; 2) the sinner knows that it is wrong and 3) the person commits the sin with full consent of the will.

I presume everything that McCarrick did in the sexual realm fulfilled what is truly a an abomination before God and thus endangered the eternal salvation of his immortal soul.

I will give him the benifit of the doubt that he confessed these abominable mortal sins. But penance in this life and in the next life will be needed, be it actual criminal prosecution and imprisonment or some kind of canonical punishment like the loss of the red hat and laicization. Of course an even greater punishment would be a canonical trial to determine if his ordination as a deacon, then as a priest and then as a bishop was valid or not, an "annulment" the Sacrament of Holy Orders--it is possible but I don't know if it has ever been used in modern Church history.

Many would say that an annulment of Holy Orders, meaning the man was never validity ordained because of a grave impediment raises other questions---his sacraments, in particular ordinations of others, confessions and so on.

But I do believe there is a doctrinal solution to that, that the Church supplies what is lacking in these unanticipated situations.

What do you think about an actual canonical trial to annul the Sacrament of Holy Orders of someone who could not enter into a valid ordination because of certain moral, psychological and criminal impediments? 


Pope accepts resignation of McCarrick from the College of Cardinals

“Yesterday evening the Holy Father received the letter in which Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, Archbishop Emeritus of Washington (U.S.A.), presented his resignation as a member of the College of Cardinals,” said a statement released on Saturday by the Vatican’s press office.
The statement continued to say that Francis accepted McCarrick’s resignation from the cardinalate and “has ordered his suspension from the exercise of any public ministry, together with the obligation to remain in a house yet to be indicated to him, for a life of prayer and penance until the accusations made against him are examined in a regular canonical trial.”

Thursday, July 26, 2018


This past Monday, July 23 would have been my father's 108th birthday. This of course means if the answer is, "He died on December 25, 1987," the question is, "What day did my father die?"

Of course if you do the math, my dad was born on July 23, 1910.

Happy 108th daddy! I doubt that this Canadian from a small family farm in Judique, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia ever thought that he would go to war for the USA, end up in Italy, marry an Italian women and have three crazy Italian children to match his wife. Nor did he ever think he would die in Augusta, Georgia and be buried there.

Life has its twists and turns to say the least!

And this Ariel view from the bomb's chamber of an American fighter plane shows my mother's apartment building in Livorno, Italy taking a direct hit. During air raids, residents were asked to go to the building's basement for shelter. Everyone in the basement was killed and the apartment building imploded into the basement. Since I am posting this, I can tell you my mom and her parents and other siblings were not home that day but in a suburb of Livorno, Ardenza!


The Catholic Church is frequently in Jeopardy or more accurately on Jeopardy. Often the contestants are truly stupid when it comes to the Church and can never figure out the question from the answer given.

This week they've done somewhat better but only somewhat.

No one got the question to this answer earlier in the week:

But they did have the right questions to these two answers, which mean Our Lady must have provided a network miracle!

Tonight one of the answers was, "The movement in the 1500's Catholic Church that began with "counter.""

The question which was correctly given is "What is the Counter-Reformation"

And there is a saints category too!

It is great when the Church is in Jeopardy!


My comments first: Those of us who have been accused of  ultramontanism say we apply a creeping infallibility to everything the pope says. I can't speak for others, but I have always stated that we must respect the pope when His Holiness teaches the Catholic Faith. We don't have to accept as truth papal opinions, off-the-cuff interviews or formal teaching that are tinged with heresy or error. Infallibility only applies to reiterated infallible truth and when the pope speaks "ex-cathedra" but even here no new teachings can be proclaimed that reverse previous orthodox teachings.

But since Vatican II, progressives have treated Vatican II and especially its spirit as infallible. Vatican II has been sold to us as a unique acting of the Holy Spirit in the modern age ushering in a new springtime for the Church.

Faithful Catholics were betrayed by this creeping infallibility applied to a pastoral council and yes there is idolatry associated with this creeping infallibility of Vatican II where Vatican II or its spirit is what is worshiped and glorified.

The betrayal of faithful Catholics began when they were ridiculed for loving the pre-Vatican II Church and her immutable truths, fixed liturgies and the great discipline required of  the clergy and those in religious life.

Outright disobedience was celebrated by the progressive  crowed and once very disciplined clergy and religious (to include bishops and cardinals) experienced not a new springtime of renewal but the acting out of their delayed adolescence when the great discipline was removed by those who touted personal freedom and psychology of religion to the true Faith.

This betrayal of faithful Catholics is now on a new level of corruption and in the hierarchy from the top down and  has those who promoted the discontinuity of the pre and post Vatican II Church are being made to pay for their apostasy as their immorality is being brought out in the open in the manner it which the same will take place at the Final Judgement. 

And now a liberal, spirit of Vatican II publication, the National Catholic Reporter, responsible for so much of the filth it promoted in the 1970's and forward, takes the high road with this editorial. However, the scandal with McCarrick isn't really about the homosexual abuse of teenage boys because the two cases recently revealed were presumbaly secret until the victims came forward. So we can't blame anyone about that other than McCarrick.

What the NCR article fails to recognize is the homosexual abuse of adult men under his charge, seminarians and young priests. This was known but because the victims were of age, it was swept under the carpet. And it should have been known by Pope St. John Paul II when he was named a cardinal or when it became known, it should have been made transparent by the removal of the Cardinal from the College of Cardinals at the time and his demotion.

The NCR article still focuses on child sexual abuse. But this scandal far eclipses that. It is about perversion as accepted as normal, not a disorder and winks and nods and the cover-up of a lifestyle that homosexuals in the Church evidently prefer.

It is like the pot calling the kettle black but heck it has some very good suggestions despite the source:

Editorial: Addressing abuse, church must address the betrayal of community

 You can read the whole NCR story above by clicking the title. But here is a soundbite:

Removing McCarrick from his office as cardinal and from the clerical state suitably addresses the individual at the heart of this case, but it doesn't address the deeper issues.

Catholics understand behavioral problems, mental illness, sexual sin — we understand humanity that fails. To this point in time, the church has focused on the actual sickness of the abusers. The response has been modeled after and invokes civil law to punish the offender with jail time and expulsion from the community. Settlements and monetary liabilities are paid out. We support all these actions as appropriate and necessary.

The secondary crime, which can't be dealt with in a civil court or bought off with insurance money, is the betrayal of the community by its leaders. Addressing the betrayal of community will take more than revised charters and canon laws.

The McCarrick case shows how this betrayal happens at the sacramental level: Bishops who hid the crimes against children or who through intention or neglect enabled the crimes to remain hidden distorted the community's understanding of God, of God's presence in the community that we believe, according to our sacramental theology, infuses everything and everyone. 

What must happen is a deep examination of conscience by all who have held power in the church these last 40 years when the abuse crisis began to emerge in the church.


I saw this about the use of incense at Mass and didn't realize that incense was what made me so happy. I always thought it was the Lord's Real Presence.

But this begs the question and the investigation! Have altar servers, pray God not priests, but today who knows, ever placed pot into the boat of incense and did that particular Mass see an increase in attendance???????

Familiar to most Christians as one of the gifts the Three Kings presented to the Christ Child, the burning of frankincense has been part of cultural and religious ceremonies for millennia. Frankincense is a resin from the Boswellia tree which is made into oils, incense, and used in everything from worship to medicinal uses. Its name originates from the old French “franc encens,” meaning “quality incense.”
“Divine Aromatherapy”
Johns Hopkins University teamed up with researchers from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem to explore frankincense to see what kinds of effects it has on the mind. To measure the effects on the mind, researchers used some of the resin from the Boswellia tree known as incensole acetate and gave it to some mice. This test showed them that incensole acetate affects the area of the brain where emotions reside.
“In spite of information stemming from ancient tests, constituents of Boswellia had not been investigated for psychoactivity,” said Raphael Mechoulam from the study.
“We found that incensole acetate, a Boswellia resin constituent, when tested in mice, lowers anxiety and causes antidepressive-like behavior. Apparently, most present-day worshippers assume that incense burning has only a symbolic meaning.”
They concluded that when someone comes in contact with frankincense it has a strong anxiolytic (“anxiety decreasing”) effect and acts as an antidepressant, leaving a person feeling relaxed and open which can be very soothing.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018


Folks we are at a major turning point in this papacy and in the Church. Prayer is required!

Cardinal O’Malley Says “More Than Apologies” Needed in Cardinal McCarrick Scandal
“It is my conviction that three specific actions are required at this time...”
On Tuesday, Cardinal Sean O’Malley, archbishop of Boston and chairman of the Vatican’s sexual abuse commission, issued the following statement regarding the unfolding sex abuse scandal involving Cardinal Theodore McCarrick:
“For the past several days, articles in the national media have reported accusations of Cardinal Theodore McCarrick’s sexual improprieties with several adults and his criminal violations of the sexual abuse of minors. These alleged actions, when committed by any person, are morally unacceptable and incompatible with the role of a priest, bishop or cardinal. 
“I am deeply troubled by these reports that have traumatized many Catholics and members of the wider community. In one case involving a minor the Archdiocese of New York, after investigation, has found the accusation to be credible and substantiated. While another accusation concerning a minor is yet to be investigated, the reports are devastating for the victims, their families and for the Church itself. Each new report of clerical abuse at any level creates doubt in the minds of many that we are effectively addressing this catastrophe in the Church.
 “These cases and others require more than apologies. They raise up the fact that when charges are brought regarding a bishop or a cardinal, a major gap still exists in the Church’s policies on sexual conduct and sexual abuse. While the Church in the United States has adopted a zero tolerance policy regarding the sexual abuse of minors by priests we must have clearer procedures for cases involving bishops. Transparent and consistent protocols are needed to provide justice for the victims and to adequately respond to the legitimate indignation of the community. The Church needs a strong and comprehensive policy to address bishops’ violations of the vows of celibacy in cases of the criminal abuse of minors and in cases involving adults.

“My experience in several dioceses and my work with the members of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors have brought me to this conclusion. The Church needs to swiftly and decisively take action regarding these matters of critical importance. In every instance of claims made by victims of sexual abuse, whether criminal violations or the abuse of power, the primary concern must be for the victim, their family and their loved ones.

The victims are to be commended for bringing to light their tragic experience and must be treated with respect and dignity. Recent media reports also have referenced a letter sent to me from Rev. Boniface Ramsey, O.P. in June of 2015, which I did not personally receive. In keeping with the practice for matters concerning the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors, at the staff level the letter was reviewed and determined that the matters presented did not fall under the purview of the Commission or the Archdiocese of Boston, which was shared with Fr. Ramsey in reply.

“These accusations are understandably a source of great disappointment and anger for many. These cases, involving a cardinal, must be viewed in light of the last two decades of the Church’s experience with clerical sexual abuse. It is my conviction that three specific actions are required at this time. First, a fair and rapid adjudication of these accusations; second, an assessment of the adequacy of our standards and policies in the Church at every level, and especially in the case of bishops; and third, communicating more clearly to the Catholic faithful and to all victims the process for reporting allegations against bishops and cardinals. Failure to take these actions will threaten and endanger the already weakened moral authority of the Church and can destroy the trust required for the Church to minister to Catholics and have a meaningful role in the wider civil society. In this moment there is no greater imperative for the Church than to hold itself accountable to address these matters, which I will bring to my upcoming meetings with the Holy See with great urgency and concern.”