"It is...Our will that Catholics should abstain from certain appellations which have recently been brought into use to distinguish one group of Catholics from another. They are to be avoided not only as 'profane novelties of words,' out of harmony with both truth and justice, but also because they give rise to great trouble and confusion among Catholics. Such is the nature of Catholicism that it does not admit of more or less, but must be held as a whole or as a whole rejected: 'This is the Catholic faith, which unless a man believe faithfully and firmly; he cannot be saved' (Athanasian Creed). There is no need of adding any qualifying terms to the profession of Catholicism: it is quite enough for each one to proclaim 'Christian is my name and Catholic my surname,' only let him endeavour to be in reality what he calls himself." -- Pope Benedict XV, Ad Beatissimi Apostolorum 24 (1914)

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Austrian cardinal cracks down on rebel priests

by Michael Shields

VIENNA | Wed Jun 27, 2012 10:44am EDT

(Reuters) - Austria's Roman Catholic Church has laid down the law to its rebel priests by telling them they could not support a reform manifesto criticized by Pope Benedict and stay in an administrative post.

One priest told Reuters he had already stepped down from the post of deacon rather than renounce the "Call to Disobedience" manifesto that challenges Church teaching on taboo topics such as women's ordination and offering communion to non-Catholics.

Another priest had withdrawn his support for the reform campaign and kept his job, a Church spokesman said on Wednesday.

He added that two or three more have yet to decide whether to withdraw their support from the manifesto from a reform group called "Priests' Initiative" whose demands have been echoed by some Catholic groups and clerics in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the United States.

"You can easily remain a member of the Priests' Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the 'Call to Disobedience' in an appropriate way," Church spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said.

"In an average company, a department head can't say he doesn't care what the CEO says," he added.

The Vienna archdiocese said on Tuesday its head, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, had told priests last month he would not appoint manifesto supporters to the post of dean and those coming up for renewal in the post would have to choose.

Schoenborn, a close ally of Benedict, has met the rebel priests, including their leader Rev Helmut Schueller. But Tuesday's announcement was the first sign he had taken steps to rein them in.

Schueller says his group represents 10 percent of the Austrian clergy. The group has won broad public backing in opinion polls for its pledge to break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

Rev Peter Meidinger, who was dean in a district of Vienna archdiocese, said he stepped down from that post after Schoenborn made his options clear in a recent conversation.

"I spoke to the archbishop and perhaps you cannot say I had to choose, but I had the impression that there was no way out for me so I am stepping down and freeing up the spot," he told Reuters on Wednesday.


Meidinger, who will stay on as a priest in two parishes south of Vienna, said he was a founding member of the Priests' Initiative group that called for disobedience, a word Schoenborn said was unacceptable within the Catholic clergy.

"For me what is important is the Priests' Initiative and not the term 'disobedience'," the priest said. "The term civil disobedience is used when the leaders are simply not prepared to listen to people."

Reformist Austrian Catholics have for decades challenged the conservative policies of Benedict and his predecessor Pope John Paul, creating protest movements and advocating changes - such as ordination of women and abolishing clerical celibacy - that the Vatican firmly rejects.

Benedict, who for decades before his 2005 election was the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, responded in April by restating the church's ban on women priests and saying he would not put up with open revolt from clerics and lay people.

(Reporting by Michael Shields, editing by Tom Heneghan)

Pope Reminds Us Of His Power To Lift & Impose Excommunications

Pope Benedict celebrates Mass on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul

2012-06-29 Vatican Radio

Below is the official English tranlation of the Holy Father's Homily during Mass on the Feast of Saint's Peter and Paul. During the celebration the Pope conferred the Pallium on new Metropolitan Archbishops.

Homily on the Feast of Saints Peter and Paul
Saint Peter’s Basilica, 29 June 2012
Your Eminences,Brother Bishops and Priests,

Dear Brothers and Sisters, We are gathered around the altar for our solemn celebration of Saints Peter and Paul, the principal Patrons of the Church of Rome. Present with us today are the Metropolitan Archbishops appointed during the past year, who have just received the Pallium, and to them I extend a particular and affectionate greeting. Also present is an eminent Delegation from the Ecumenical Patriarchate of Constantinople, sent by His Holiness Bartholomaios I, and I welcome them with fraternal and heartfelt gratitude. In an ecumenical spirit, I am also pleased to greet and to thank the Choir of Westminster Abbey, who are providing the music for this liturgy alongside the Cappella Sistina. I also greet the Ambassadors and civil Authorities present. I am grateful to all of you for your presence and your prayers.

In front of Saint Peter’s Basilica, as is well known, there are two imposing statues of Saint Peter and Saint Paul, easily recognizable by their respective attributes: the keys in the hand of Peter and the sword held by Paul. Likewise, at the main entrance to the Basilica of Saint Paul Outside the Walls, there are depictions of scenes from the life and the martyrdom of these two pillars of the Church. Christian tradition has always considered Saint Peter and Saint Paul to be inseparable: indeed, together, they represent the whole Gospel of Christ. In Rome, their bond as brothers in the faith came to acquire a particular significance. Indeed, the Christian community of this City considered them a kind of counterbalance to the mythical Romulus and Remus, the two brothers held to be the founders of Rome. A further parallel comes to mind, still on the theme of brothers: whereas the first biblical pair of brothers demonstrate the effects of sin, as Cain kills Abel, yet Peter and Paul, much as they differ from one another in human terms and notwithstanding the conflicts that arose in their relationship, illustrate a new way of being brothers, lived according to the Gospel, an authentic way made possible by the grace of Christ’s Gospel working within them. Only by following Jesus does one arrive at this new brotherhood: this is the first and fundamental message that today’s solemnity presents to each one of us, the importance of which is mirrored in the pursuit of full communion, so earnestly desired by the ecumenical Patriarch and the Bishop of Rome, as indeed by all Christians.In the passage from Saint Matthew’s Gospel that we have just heard, Peter makes his own confession of faith in Jesus, acknowledging him as Messiah and Son of God. He does so in the name of the other Apostles too. In reply, the Lord reveals to him the mission that he intends to assign to him, that of being the “rock”, the visible foundation on which the entire spiritual edifice of the Church is built (cf. Mt 16:16-19). But in what sense is Peter the rock? How is he to exercise this prerogative, which naturally he did not receive for his own sake? The account given by the evangelist Matthew tells us first of all that the acknowledgment of Jesus’ identity made by Simon in the name of the Twelve did not come “through flesh and blood”, that is, through his human capacities, but through a particular revelation from God the Father. By contrast, immediately afterwards, as Jesus foretells his passion, death and resurrection, Simon Peter reacts on the basis of “flesh and blood”: he “began to rebuke him, saying, this shall never happen to you” (16:22). And Jesus in turn replied: “Get behind me, Satan! You are a hindrance to me ...” (16:23). The disciple who, through God’s gift, was able to become a solid rock, here shows himself for what he is in his human weakness: a stone along the path, a stone on which men can stumble – in Greek, skandalon. Here we see the tension that exists between the gift that comes from the Lord and human capacities; and in this scene between Jesus and Simon Peter we see anticipated in some sense the drama of the history of the papacy itself, characterized by the joint presence of these two elements: on the one hand, because of the light and the strength that come from on high, the papacy constitutes the foundation of the Church during its pilgrimage through history; on the other hand, across the centuries, human weakness is also evident, which can only be transformed through openness to God’s action.

And in today’s Gospel there emerges powerfully the clear promise made by Jesus: “the gates of the underworld”, that is, the forces of evil, will not prevail, “non praevalebunt”. One is reminded of the account of the call of the prophet Jeremiah, to whom the Lord said, when entrusting him with his mission: “Behold, I make you this day a fortified city, an iron pillar, and bronze walls, against the whole land, against the kings of Judah, its princes, its priests, and the people of the land. They will fight against you; but they shall not prevail against you, for I am with you, says the Lord, to deliver you!” (Jer 1:18-19). In truth, the promise that Jesus makes to Peter is even greater than those made to the prophets of old: they, indeed, were threatened only by human enemies, whereas Peter will have to be defended from the “gates of the underworld”, from the destructive power of evil. Jeremiah receives a promise that affects him as a person and his prophetic ministry; Peter receives assurances concerning the future of the Church, the new community founded by Jesus Christ, which extends to all of history, far beyond the personal existence of Peter himself.

Let us move on now to the symbol of the keys, which we heard about in the Gospel. It echoes the oracle of the prophet Isaiah concerning the steward Eliakim, of whom it was said: “And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David; he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open” (Is 22:22). The key represents authority over the house of David. And in the Gospel there is another saying of Jesus addressed to the scribes and the Pharisees, whom the Lord reproaches for shutting off the kingdom of heaven from people (cf.Mt 23:13). This saying also helps us to understand the promise made to Peter: to him, inasmuch as he is the faithful steward of Christ’s message, it belongs to open the gate of the Kingdom of Heaven, and to judge whether to admit or to refuse (cf. Rev 3:7). Hence the two images – that of the keys and that of binding and loosing – express similar meanings which reinforce one another. The expression “binding and loosing” forms part of rabbinical language and refers on the one hand to doctrinal decisions, and on the other hand to disciplinary power, that is, the faculty to impose and to lift excommunication. The parallelism “on earth ... in the heavens” guarantees that Peter’s decisions in the exercise of this ecclesial function are valid in the eyes of God.

In Chapter 18 of Matthew’s Gospel, dedicated to the life of the ecclesial community, we find another saying of Jesus addressed to the disciples: “Truly I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven” (Mt 18:18). Saint John, in his account of the appearance of the risen Christ in the midst of the Apostles on Easter evening, recounts these words of the Lord: “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven: if you retain the sins of any, they are retained” (Jn20:22-23). In the light of these parallels, it appears clearly that the authority of loosing and binding consists in the power to remit sins. And this grace, which defuses the powers of chaos and evil, is at the heart of the Church’s ministry. The Church is not a community of the perfect, but a community of sinners, obliged to recognize their need for God’s love, their need to be purified through the Cross of Jesus Christ. Jesus’ sayings concerning the authority of Peter and the Apostles make it clear that God’s power is love, the love that shines forth from Calvary. Hence we can also understand why, in the Gospel account, Peter’s confession of faith is immediately followed by the first prediction of the Passion: through his death, Jesus conquered the powers of the underworld, with his blood he poured out over the world an immense flood of mercy, which cleanses the whole of humanity in its healing waters.

Dear brothers and sisters, as I mentioned at the beginning, the iconographic tradition represents Saint Paul with a sword, and we know that this was the instrument with which he was killed. Yet as we read the writings of the Apostle of the Gentiles, we discover that the image of the sword refers to his entire mission of evangelization. For example, when he felt death approaching, he wrote to Timothy: “I have fought the good fight” (2 Tim 4:7). This was certainly not the battle of a military commander but that of a herald of the Word of God, faithful to Christ and to his Church, to which he gave himself completely. And that is why the Lord gave him the crown of glory and placed him, together with Peter, as a pillar in the spiritual edifice of the Church.

Dear Metropolitan Archbishops, the Pallium that I have conferred on you will always remind you that you have been constituted in and for the great mystery of communion that is the Church, the spiritual edifice built upon Christ as the cornerstone, while in its earthly and historical dimension, it is built on the rock of Peter. Inspired by this conviction, we know that together we are all cooperators of the truth, which as we know is one and “symphonic”, and requires from each of us and from our communities a constant commitment to conversion to the one Lord in the grace of the one Spirit. May the Holy Mother of God guide and accompany us always along the path of faith and charity. Queen of Apostles, pray for us!

Friday, June 29, 2012

Extraordinary Form Global Update

Summorum Pontificum at 5
June 2012: Some recent and upcoming liturgical events (Expanded post)

1. Three new priests and two new deacons are set to be ordained for the Institute of the Good Shepherd on June 29 in the famed St. Eloi church in Bordeaux. The ordaining prelate will be Bishop Fernando Monteiro Guimarães, Bishop of Garanhuns, Brazil. (Announcement.)


2. In England, there will be two Pontifical liturgical services in the last week of June:

a. Solemn Pontifical Mass by Bp. Fernando Areas Rifan on June 30, at 3 PM, in the Church of the Immaculate Heart in Leeds. For more on Bp. Rifan's schedule in the UK please refer to the LMS website's special post on his visit.

b. Bp. Mark Davies of the Diocese of Shrewsbury will confer Confirmations according to the traditional rite in SS. Peter and Paul and St Philomena’s Shrine Church, New Brighton, on June 29 at 7pm.


3. The famed blogger and convert Rev. John Hunwicke will, after his ordination to the Catholic priesthood on June 27, celebrate his first Mass according to the Traditional Roman Rite on June 28 in the Brompton (London) Oratory. It will be a Low Mass. (The announcement is on his blog.)


4. The Emeritus Archbishop of Guadalajara and Cardinal, Juan Sandoval Iñíguez, will offer Solemn Pontifical Mass and confer confirmations according to the traditional rite on the 27th of June at 7 P.M. in the church of Nuestra Señora del Pilar de Guadalajara. (Source.)


5.. Fr. Patrick Kuis, who was ordained priest earlier this month for the diocese of Den Bosch (‘s Hertogenbosch) in the Netherlands, offered his first TLM - a Solemn High Mass - at St. Agnes' church (FSSP) in Amsterdam on the morning of June 24, 2012:

More pictures can be found at this blog: Onofficiële Agneskerk-dingen

Fr. Patrick Kuis was one of two priests ordained for Den Bosch, and one of 9 priests ordained so far for the Church in the Netherlands this year. (All of them were ordained on June 2). He is also the youngest among the ordinands, and the only one in his twenties (see this article for a rundown of the ages of the ordinands).

Going by WikkiMissa the diocese of Den Bosch currently has no canonically-regular every-Sunday Traditional Latin Mass. Hopefully the new priest will help change that situation!


6. Bishop Fernando Areas Rifan ordained two new deacons, identified as Messrs. Rafael Scolaro and Pio Bruno MSC, on June 16, 2012. Pictures can be found in this blog. The ordinations were held in Bom Jesus do Itabapoana, Río de Janeiro.

(We would be grateful if our Brazilian readers could clarify if the "MSC" at the end of the Rev. Mr. Bruno's name does signify -- as it normally would in an ecclesiastical context -- that he is a member of the Missionaries of the Sacred Heart.)


7. Bishop Alain Castet of Luçon, the same bishop who had come under fire from some of his own clergy for ordaining deacons for the FSSP in Wigratzbad last month, conferred traditional-rite confirmations on six boys of the Chavagnes International College on June 22, 2012. Confirmations were followed by Mass celebrated by the bishop himself. Pictures can be found on the blog of Fr. Bede Rowe (note the crucifer in tunicle).


8. The Archbishop of Vancouver, J. Michael Miller, conferred confirmations according to the traditional Roman rite on June 19, 2012. The ceremony was held in Vancouver's FSSP-run personal parish for the Traditional Latin Mass, Holy Family Parish. More pictures can be found in Momentum Veritatis


9. The Bishop of Raleigh, North Carolina, Michael Burbidge, conferred the Sacrament of Confirmation on over twentyconfirmandi at Sacred Heart Cathedral on June 6, 2012. Exposition of the Blessed Sacrament, the Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, and Benediction followed the Confirmation rites. (Source and more pictures can be found in: In Caritate Non Ficta.)


10. In the Archdiocese of Manila, the Traditional Catholic movement scored a major triumph on the 10th of June. On that day, in honor of the External Solemnity of Corpus Christi, a Sung Mass was offered in the Chapel of the Blessed Sacrament in De La Salle University in Manila. This was the first Traditional Latin Mass to be offered in that chapel -- and in the entire university -- since the liturgical reforms of Paul VI took effect in the Philippines. The Mass was offered upon the request of the aforesaid university's alumni association, and was supported by the La Salle brothers. The Mass was offered at the original high altar, which has fortunately been preserved all these years.

The chapel itself was the site of the brutal martyrdom of several La Salle brothers in 1945 by Japanese soldiers; the blood of the brothers would stain the altar rail (now preserved elsewhere) and the high altar.

NLM has some pictures. The official blog of Societas Ecclesia Dei Sancti Joseph will have a more comprehensive report soon.


11. On June 3, Feast of the Most Holy Trinity, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, offered "Messa Prelatizia" in the Chiesa N.S. Di Loreto in Borgo Peri in the diocese of Albenga-Imperia in the north of Italy.Pictures at NLM.


12. On the day before, Bishop Joseph Perry, an Auxiliary Bishop of Chicago, sang a Prelatical Missa Cantata at St. Andrew's Church in Calumet City, IL on June 2, Ember Saturday in the Octave of Pentecost. This church has a TLM every First Saturday. More at "A Catholic Life".


13. Those following the travails of the Sons of the Most Holy Redeemer might be interested to know that on June 3, 2012, one of them, Fr. Anthony Mary F.Ss.R, armed with faculties given by the Bishop of Aberdeen, celebrated the Sacrament of Confirmation. More details and pictures at the Papa Stronsay blog.


14. We had a post last month about the Traditional Catholic events that were scheduled at the sidelines of the International Eucharistic Congress in Dublin this June: 50th International Eucharistic Congress, Dublin, Traditional Latin Mass program. These went on as planned. Pictures of the Solemn Pontifical Mass of Archbishop Terrence Prendergast of Ottawa are available at the New Liturgical Movement:


15. We also noted, earlier this month, the Solemn Pontifical Mass at the faldstool of Bishop Giuseppe Sciacca in Trinità dei Pellegrini for the Feast of the Most Holy Trinity (June 3).

H/t to CATHOLICVS and Accion Liturgica for some of the leads.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Pope names US archbishop to new post to aid talks with traditionalists

Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia, center, secretary of the Vatican's Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments, leaves after celebrating solemn vespers and benediction in the extraordinary form at the Church of the Holy Trinity of the Pilgrims in Rome in 2010. (CNS/Paul Haring)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to aid reconciliation attempts with traditionalist Catholics, Pope Benedict XVI has named U.S. Archbishop J. Augustine Di Noia to fill a newly created post of vice president of the Pontifical Commission "Ecclesia Dei."

"The appointment of a high-ranking prelate to this position is a sign of the Holy Father's pastoral solicitude for traditionalist Catholics in communion with the Holy See and his strong desire for the reconciliation of those traditionalist communities not in union with the See of Peter," the Vatican said in a written statement June 26.

The statement, released by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which oversees "Ecclesia Dei," said the New York-born Dominican is a respected theologian who has devoted much time and attention to the doctrinal issues under review in current talks with the breakaway traditionalist Society of St. Pius X, led by Bishop Bernard Fellay. The society rejects some of the teachings of Vatican II as well as the modernizing reforms, especially to the liturgy, that followed in its wake.

Archbishop Di Noia told Catholic News Service June 26 the Vatican needed to help people who have strong objections to the council see "that these disagreements don't have to be dividing or keep us from the same Communion table."

"It is possible to have theological disagreements while remaining in communion with the see of Peter," he said.

"Part of what we're saying is that when you read the documents (of Vatican II), you can't read them from the point of view of some liberal bishops who may have been participants (at the council), you have to read them at face value," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "Given that the Holy Spirit is guiding the church, the documents cannot be in discontinuity with tradition."

The doctrinal office said the archbishop's experience as secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Sacraments since 2009 "will facilitate the development of certain desired liturgical provisions" in the celebration of the 1962 Roman Missal, commonly known as the Tridentine rite.

Archbishop Di Noia, who said his reassignment from the worship congregation after only three years had left him "flabbergasted," will be replaced in that job by Bishop Arthur Roche of Leeds, England, the Vatican announced.

The doctrinal congregation also emphasized that Archbishop Di Noia enjoys "broad respect" in the Jewish community, which "will help in addressing some issues that have arisen in the area of Catholic-Jewish relations as the journey toward reconciliation of the traditionalist communities has progressed."

In addition to the highly publicized position of Bishop Richard Williamson, a traditionalist bishop who denies the Holocaust, public statements by Bishop Fellay, the society's superior general, leave in doubt whether the society as a whole accepts the entirety of "Nostra Aetate," the Vatican II document stating that the Jewish people cannot be blamed for the death of Jesus Christ.

"Ecclesia Dei" oversees the pastoral care of Catholics who have a special devotion to the older Latin liturgy. Pope Benedict placed the commission under the doctrinal congregation in 2009 to better address the doctrinal issues emerging from talks between the Vatican and the Society of St. Pius X.

U.S. Cardinal William J. Levada remains president of the commission and Msgr. Guido Pozzo continues as the commission's secretary.

The archbishop's appointment is significant as it dedicates additional expertise and manpower to the questions still under consideration by the Society of St. Pius X.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told journalists that the new position is a sign of "the importance and delicate nature of the kind of difficulties" with which the commission is dealing and should not be seen as an indication of how things are proceeding with the society.

Questions under examination when talks began in 2009 included the concept of tradition; the post-Vatican II Roman Missal; the interpretation of Vatican II in continuity with Catholic doctrinal tradition; the themes of the unity of the church and the Catholic principles of ecumenism; the relationship between Christianity and non-Christian religions; and religious freedom.

At a high-level meeting at the Vatican June 13, Vatican officials presented Bishop Fellay with a draft document proposing a personal prelature as the most appropriate instrument for any future canonical recognition of the society, in the event doctrinal differences are resolved. Vatican officials also gave Bishop Fellay their evaluation of the society's latest statement on those doctrinal differences.

Following the meeting, the society said that unresolved "doctrinal difficulties" with Vatican II and the church's subsequent liturgical reform could lead to a "new phase of discussions" over possible reconciliation with Rome.

The talks have focused on the wording of a "doctrinal preamble" outlining what the Vatican has said are "some doctrinal principles and criteria for the interpretation of Catholic doctrine necessary to guarantee fidelity" to the formal teaching of the church.

In a June 25 letter to SSPX bishops and priests published on the Internet, the society's secretary general, Father Christian Thouvenot, wrote that Bishop Fellay considered the Vatican's latest version of the preamble to be "clearly unacceptable."

Archbishop Di Noia said his task will be to help resolve the impasse over the terms of an agreement.

"The theological dialogue has gone on for three years but now (the pope) is hoping to find the language or the modality for a reconciliation," Archbishop Di Noia told CNS. "We're at the stage of finessing, to help them find a formula which respects their own theological integrity."

"It seems to everyone that (a reconciliation) is close, but now it needs a kind of push," he said.

When Archbishop Di Noia was undersecretary of the doctrinal congregation, he was involved with the pope's establishment in 2009 of the personal ordinariates, special structures for former Anglicans who want to be in full communion with the Catholic Church while preserving aspects of their Anglican spiritual and liturgical heritage.

"It's possible that (Pope Benedict) had that experience in view" when selecting him for his latest job, the archbishop said.

Blessed John Paul II named then-Father Di Noia to the No. 3 spot at the doctrinal congregation in 2002, when it was headed by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger. The archbishop has worked extensively with Pope Benedict, especially as a member of the International Theological Commission when the current pope was its president.

- - -

Contributing to this story was Francis X. Rocca in Rome.

OBGYN Describes How Abortions Are Performed

The most heartrending abortion testimony you’ll ever hear, from a former abortionist


Tue May 29, 2012 12:17 EST

Last week a former abortionist, who admits to having committed around 1200 abortions, appeared before a U.S. House subcommittee. The hearing was on the so-called Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions after 20 weeks in D.C., based upon the fact that unborn babies can experience pain at that stage of pregnancy.

Dr. Anthony Levatino, who has since turned his life around and is pro-life, was speaking in favor of the ban. And his testimony is perhaps the most brutal explanation you will ever hear for why abortion is evil - plain and simple. (Read his testimony below, with the strongest portions in bold.)

For those who may be tempted to write off Levatino’s testimony because he’s just “another pro-life nutjob,” it’s interesting how his testimony has eerie echoes to that of notorious late-term abortionist Leroy Carhart, who is still involved in the gruesome trade. During a preliminary injunction hearing in a US District Court in 1997 on the issue of late-term abortions, Carhart testified that he would sometimes dismember advanced-stage unborn babies during abortions, while the babies were still alive. Carhart described in detail the process of grasping the limb of the baby to be removed, and then twisting it off. When asked if the babies usually die during the process of dismemberment, Carhart responded, “I don’t really know. I know that the fetus is alive during the process most of the time because I can see the fetal heartbeat on the ultrasound.”

How is this considered anything but evil?

Testimony of Anthony Levatino, MD, JD before the Subcommittee on the Constitution, Committee on the Judiciary, U.S. House of Representatives on The District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803)
May 17, 2012

Chairman Franks and distinguished members of the subcommittee, my name is Anthony Levatino. I am a board-certified obstetrician gynecologist. I received my medical degree from Albany Medical College in Albany, New York in 1976, and completed my OB-GYN residency training at Albany Medical Center in 1980. In my 32-year career, I have been privileged to practice obstetrics and gynecology in both private and university settings. From June 1993 until September 2000, I was associate professor of OB-GYN at the Albany Medical College, serving at different times as both medical student director and residency program director. I have also dedicated many years to private practice and currently operate a solo gynecology practice in Las Cruces, New Mexico. I appreciate your kind invitation to address issues related to the District of Columbia Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act (H.R. 3803).

During my residency training and during my first five years of private practice, I performed both first and second-trimester abortions. During my residency years, second- trimester abortions were typically performed using saline infusion or, occasionally, prostaglandin instillation techniques. These procedures were difficult, expensive and necessitated that patients go through labor to expel their pre-born children. By 1980, at the time I entered private practice first in Florida and then in upstate New York, those of us in the abortion industry were looking for a more efficient method of second-trimester abortion. We found that the “Suction dilation and evacuation” procedure (or “Suction D&E”) offered clear advantages over older installation methods. The procedure was much quicker and never ran the risk of a live birth.

Understand that my partner and I were not running an abortion clinic. We practiced general obstetrics and gynecology, but abortion was definitely part of that practice. Relatively few gynecologists in upstate New York would perform such a procedure at the time, and we saw an opportunity to expand our abortion practice. I performed first-trimester suction dilation and curettage abortions in my office up to 10 weeks from last menstrual period and later procedures in an outpatient hospital setting.From 1981 through February 1985, I performed approximately 1200 abortions. Over 100 of them were second-trimester Suction D&E procedures up to 24 weeks gestation, by which I mean 24 weeks from the first day of the woman’s last menstrual period (LMP), which is equivalent to 22 weeks post-fertilization age.


Imagine, if you can, that you are a pro-choice obstetrician/gynecologist like I once was. Your patient today is 24 weeks pregnant (LMP). At twenty-four weeks from last menstrual period, her uterus is two finger-breadths above the umbilicus. If you could see her baby, which is quite easy on an ultrasound, she would be as long as your hand plus a half, from the top of her head to the bottom of her rump, not counting the legs. Your patient has been feeling her baby kick for the last month or more, but now she is asleep on an operating room table and you are there to help her with her problem pregnancy.

The first task is to remove the laminaria that had earlier been placed in the cervix, the opening to the uterus, to dilate it sufficiently to allow the procedure you are about to perform. With that accomplished, direct your attention to the surgical instruments arranged on a small table to your right. The first instrument you reach for is a 14-French suction catheter. It is clear plastic and about nine inches long. It has a bore through the center approximately • of an inch in diameter. Picture yourself introducing this catheter through the cervix and instructing the circulating nurse to turn on the suction machine, which is connected through clear plastic tubing to the catheter. What you will see is a pale yellow fluid the looks a lot like urine coming through the catheter into a glass bottle on the suction machine. This is the amniotic fluid that surrounded the baby to protect her.

With suction complete, look for your Sopher clamp. This instrument is about thirteen inches long and made of stainless steel. At the business end are located jaws about 2 inches long and about 1/2 an inch wide with rows of sharp ridges or teeth. This instrument is for grasping and crushing tissue. When it gets hold of something, it does not let go. A second trimester D&E abortion is a blind procedure. The baby can be in any orientation or position inside the uterus. Picture yourself reaching in with the Sopher clamp and grasping anything you can. At twenty-four weeks gestation, the uterus is thin and soft so be careful not to perforate or puncture the walls. Once you have grasped something inside, squeeze on the clamp to set the jaws and pull hard – really hard. You feel something let go and out pops a fully formed leg about six inches long. Reach in again and grasp whatever you can. Set the jaw and pull really hard once again and out pops an arm about the same length. Reach in again and again with that clamp and tear out the spine, intestines, heart and lungs.

The toughest part of a D&E abortion is extracting the baby’s head. The head of a baby that age is about the size of a large plum and is now free floating inside the uterine cavity. You can be pretty sure you have hold of it if the Sopher clamp is spread about as far as your fingers will allow. You know you have it right when you crush down on the clamp and see white gelatinous material coming through the cervix. That was the baby’s brains. You can then extract the skull pieces. Many times a little face may come out and stare back at you. Congratulations! You have just successfully performed a second-trimester Suction D&E abortion.

If you refuse to believe that this procedure inflicts severe pain on that unborn child, please think again.

Before I close, I want to make a comment on the claims that I often hear that we must keep abortion legal in order to save women’s lives, or prevent grave physical health damage, in cases of acute conditions that can and do arise in pregnancy. Albany Medical Center, where I worked for over seven years, is a tertiary referral center that accepts patients with life-threatening conditions related to or caused by pregnancy. I personally treated hundreds of women with such conditions in my tenure there. There are several conditions that can arise or worsen, typically during the late second or third trimester of pregnancy, that require immediate care. In many of those cases, ending or “terminating” the pregnancy, if you prefer, can be life saving, but “terminating a pregnancy” does not necessarily mean “abortion.” I maintain that abortion is seldom if ever a useful intervention in these cases.

Here is why: Before a Suction D&E procedure can be performed, the cervix must first be sufficiently dilated. In my practice, this was accomplished with serial placement of laminaria. Laminaria is a type of sterilized seaweed that absorbs water over several hours and swells to several times its original diameter. Multiple placements of several laminaria at a time are absolutely required prior to attempting a suction D&E. In the mid-second trimester, this requires approximately 36 hours to accomplish. If one were to use the alternate method defined in federal law as Partial-Birth Abortion (but now generally banned), this process requires three days, as explained by Dr. Martin Haskell in his 1992 paper that first described this type of abortion.

In cases where a pregnancy places a woman in danger of death or grave physical injury, a doctor more often than not doesn’t have 36 hours, much less 72 hours, to resolve the problem. Let me illustrate with a real-life case that I managed while at the Albany Medical Center. A patient arrived one night at 28 weeks gestation with severe pre-eclampsia or toxemia. Her blood pressure on admission was 220/160. A normal blood pressure is approximately 120/80. This patient’s pregnancy was a threat to her life and the life of her unborn child. She could very well be minutes or hours away from a major stroke. This case was managed successfully by rapidly stabilizing the patient’s blood pressure and “terminating” her pregnancy by Cesarean section. She and her baby did well. This is a typical case in the world of high-risk obstetrics. In most such cases, any attempt to perform an abortion “to save the mother’s life” would entail undue and dangerous delay in providing appropriate, truly life-saving care. During my time at Albany Medical Center I managed hundreds of such cases by “terminating” pregnancies to save mother’s lives. In all those cases, the number of unborn children that I had to deliberately kill was zero.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Dear Bishops, All Male Altar Servers = Vocations

The case for a boys-only policy for altar servers

by Rachel Campos-Duffy

Sometime in the 1970’s the long-standing male-only policy for altar servers changed. Here I am in 1976 in a picture with my sister, Leah, after Mass with Fr. Nadine, a pastor who welcomed both girl altar servers and colorful Hawaiian vestments.

Thirty-five years later, many pastors and dioceses are having second thoughts about the presence of girls on the altar. Some cite tradition; others the Church’s teaching on the differentiation and complementarity of the sexes. But many more are pointing to vocations.

According to the Communications Office of the Diocese of Phoenix, there is growing evidence to support the claim that where altar service is limited to boys, priestly vocations increase. The best example is the Diocese of Lincoln Nebraska, the envy of all dioceses when it comes to vocations.

Why? Because serving at the altar was always considered an apprenticeship for the priesthood. Prior to the modern seminary, it was the primary means by which boys discerned their interest and calling to become priests.

For starters, there’s the surprising fact that the participation of boys in altar service programs decreases with the inclusion of girls; likewise it increases when it is boys-only.

My 10 year-old son is an altar server in a boys-only program he loves and I can attest that the inclusion of his 8 year old sister would, well, annoy him. He’s not a sexist. He’s a typical 10 year-old boy and that is the age that boys begin considering altar service. Our priest is a role model to our son and it’s common sense if the Church wants the experience to feel like a priest-in-training experience, then it ought to be limited to boys.

Despite the positive effects male-only altar service has on participation and more importantly on vocations to the priesthood, many priests are reluctant to implement the policy in this hyper-sensitive, war-on-women era. But changing the policy doesn’t necessarily have to be contentious or cause hurt feelings for girls who desire to serve the Church in its most central sacrament. One way to ease the pain that comes with any liturgical change is by implementing a sacristan program for girls.

There is a long-standing Catholic tradition of nuns and women serving as sacristans. Now girls can follow in this tradition and experience and learn more about the Mass and this awesome responsibility. In many cases, these programs are designed and run by religious sisters. Not surprisingly, parishes that offer a sacristan program for girls report increases in religious vocations for women.

In pondering the wisdom of a male only altar service policy and a girls only sacristan program, it would be good to consider Matthew 7:20:

“Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”


Published: August 25, 2011
“Apprenticeship for priesthood”

No more altar girls at Phoenix diocese’s cathedral

(The following statement was issued Aug. 22 by the Communications Office of the Diocese of Phoenix.)

Experiencing personally the consequences of the priesthood shortage and noting the absence of strong fatherly presence in society in general, and religious practice in particular, Fr. John Lankeit, rector of Ss. Simon and Jude Cathedral, recently restructured the program for boys and girls who serve at Mass. At the Cathedral, boys can train to serve at the altar, and girls can train to serve as sacristans.

The decision was made in order to encourage young men and women to honor their God-given differentiation and complementarity, and to discern more clearly how such differentiation points to specific vocations in the Church.

Boys' service at the altar has roots in Church history prior to the creation of the modern seminary system where men are formed for priesthood. Before seminaries, serving at the altar was part of an apprenticeship for priesthood. Fr. Lankeit's decision was made primarily in response to the shortage of priestly vocations, since serving at the altar points very clearly to the specific vocation of priesthood.

He cites examples where limiting altar service to boys in the Diocese of Lincoln, Neb., and in Ann Arbor, Mich., has borne the fruit of many priestly vocations. The Diocese of Lincoln is considered a vocations "powerhouse." In a single parish in Ann Arbor, in 2008, there were 22 new seminarians and five women in formation for religious life. The same parish is also home to 16 sisters in the Servants of God's Love religious community.

The Dominican Sisters of Mary, Mother of the Eucharist, also based in Ann Arbor, are receiving so many inquiries from young women interested in entering the order that they cannot build facilities fast enough to accommodate the surge in vocations. Their order offers clear evidence that when the God-given differentiation between male and female is honored, both men's and women's vocations flourish.

The first girls to train in the Cathedral's sacristan program are learning quickly, serving well and enjoying the important responsibility of sacristan. The parish is coordinating with a contemplative women's religious order to provide these young sacristans with a "come and see" event at their monastery and to learn from one of the sisters who served as the official sacristan of their mother house in Alabama.

Vatican faces 'urgent' need for priests with new vocations guidelines

Pope Benedict XVI shakes hands with members of the Pontifical Ecclesiastical Academy during a meeting at the Vatican June 11. (CNS/L'Osservatore Romano via Reuters)

By Carol Glatz
Catholic News Service

VATICAN CITY (CNS) -- In an effort to respond to a "clear and pressing" need for priests, the Vatican released a set of guidelines to help bishops and church communities promote, recruit and educate a new generation of men for the priesthood.

The church needs "suitable" candidates and must avoid men who "show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities," while helping others heal from any possible "individual deviations" from their vocations, the document said.

"The witness of Christian communities giving account of the faith that is in them becomes even more necessary," because it's a community of believers committed to passing on God's love that "prepares the Lord's call that invites people to consecration and mission," it said.

Based on responses to a questionnaire sent to bishops' conferences and directors of national vocations offices around the world in 2008, the Congregation for Catholic Education sought to address a widespread demand for pastoral guidelines for fostering vocations "based on clear and well-founded theology of vocation and of the identity of the ministerial priesthood."

Titled "Pastoral Guidelines for Fostering Vocations to Priestly Ministry," the 29-page document was released June 25. It also marked the 70th anniversary of the inauguration of the congregation's Pontifical Work for Priestly Vocations.

The challenge of attracting men to the priesthood is made more difficult by declining birthrates in the developed world and a materialist, secular culture in which people are less likely to make "courageous and demanding Gospel choices" in their lives, the document said.

"In the West, there is a prevailing culture of indifference to the Christian faith, a culture unable to understand the value of vocations to a special consecration," it said.

Key to turning things around isn't just setting up new programs and initiatives, but building a vibrant, active and dedicated community of Catholics, united in prayer and with Christ, it said.

Some reasons men say "no" to or ignore a call to the priesthood, it said, include:

-- having parents who are reluctant about their son's choice because they have different hopes for their child's future;

-- living in a society that marginalizes priests and considers them irrelevant;

-- misunderstanding the gift of celibacy;

-- being disillusioned by the scandal of priests who abused minors;

-- and seeing priests who are too overwhelmed by their pastoral duties to the detriment of their spiritual life.

Vocations are fostered when boys and young men have an uplifting and transformative Christian experience, it said. That experience can be found in family life, at school, in the parish, as an altar boy, in Catholic groups and associations or in volunteer work, all of which allow them to "know firsthand the reality of God himself, in communion with their brothers and in Gospel mission," it said.

During a Vatican news conference presenting the guidelines, Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the education congregation, said that, paradoxically, "experience teaches us that the strongest candidates grow in hostile environments."

In places where there is open hostility to the church, he said, vocations are "very healthy, very strong and (priests are) very aware that we have a mission."

Msgr. Vincenzo Zani, undersecretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, said the aftermath of the sex abuse crisis in the United States has had some positive results, specifically in Boston, where the seminary is now filled thanks to an aggressive effort, led by the archbishop, to search for serious vocations.

While dioceses and seminaries bear most of the responsibility of determining the suitability of a candidate, vocations offices, too, must be consistent in attracting and forming people who display a healthy "integration and maturing of the affections," the document said.

Men who "show signs of being profoundly fragile personalities" should not be encouraged to consider a vocation, it said.

The educational setting must support a candidate's authentic reasons to be a priest and contribute "to healing any possible individual deviations from his vocation."

Cardinal Grocholewski said determining "a fragile personality" at the early stages of a candidate's journey is a question of discretion by trained professionals from the diocesan vocations office.

"There are some people whose fragility is easily seen, while others hide themselves, sometimes just because they want to seem like good people," he said. "It's a question of fundamental human maturity. We are looking for a person who is responsible, someone who can be trusted, a person who can control himself" and his impulses, he added.

"A more serious, mature judgment should come in the seminary, where in speaking and observing a candidate, his maturity can be better determined," the cardinal said.

A priest represents Christ the shepherd, the document said, and as such, he must draw his strength from and base his vocation on loving and serving Christ and his church.

All Catholics, including parents, coaches, catechists and group leaders, should help their young charges to see the priestly vocation as a gift.

Boys and young men should be taught the value of prayer and meditation on God's word, the document said, so that they learn to hear what God is calling them to do with their lives.

The congregation's guidelines also called for diocesan vocation offices to organize a so-called "invisible monastery" where large numbers of people are dedicated to providing non-stop prayer for priestly vocations.

- - -

Contributing to this story was Sarah Delaney at the Vatican.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Finding the way past the devil in Kinkora

- Judi McLeod Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Everywhere else in the world, statues of the mighty St. Patrick hold a shamrock symbolizing the Holy Trinity. In Kinkora, Ontario it’s a tulip.

The tulip-bearing statue of St. Patrick in Kinkora is the bold face of a smoldering battle aimed at taking down the community’s single Sunday morning Tridentine (Latin) Mass, its humble pastor and talented cantor.

Somewhat cult-like in nature, it’s a battle being raged in the most surprising of places.

In all other ways, the crossroads of Kinkora, Ontario truly lives up to its Irish Gaelic name, which translates to “a lovely place”. If Kinkora were a picture in a travel magazine, it would be ripped out and put up as framed pictures on living room walls.

Easy to give in to dreams of peace and plenty driving along pastoral roads leading to Kinkora and its hauntingly beautiful St. Patrick’s Church.

One could assume there is mostly good in the world when in postcard-perfect Kinkora, where physical threats of any kind seem so far away.

But like all who wanted to attend St. Patrick’s Tridentine Mass Sunday morning, I had to make my way to get inside the church through ‘protesters’ on the lawns and sidewalks. There was a homespun odor of horse manure at the scene, and I naively thought it was wafting from plentiful nearby farms. On hot, humid days, it’s sometimes the odor of pig or chicken excrement. Sulphur, it seems comes in many flavours.

Surely the Irish who built the neo-Gothic church in 1882 didn’t intend it as the someday scene of Occupy Wall Street-like hostilities where bad things are arranged in beautiful but off-public-radar places, too tiny to even be called villages.

No one making their way to the Tridentine Mass worries about having their best Sunday suit roughed up or their lace mantilla knocked to the ground. But most worry about physical attacks on innocent little altar boys by protesters incensed by church incense, threats of physical assault, or the threatened shooting of a 12-lb. pet mutt.

With the blessings of the Holy Father, the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is celebrated each Sunday in only about two dozen Canadian churches.

In Kinkora, there is the ordinary 10 a.m. Mass, and two others in the nearby Town of Mitchell at St. Vincent de Paul Church.

No one is forcing anyone in Kinkora to attend the Latin Mass, but rabble rousers claim “This is our church!” and tell the Gregorian chant cantor “Go back to Toronto with your Latin Mass”.

It is worthy of note that friendly decent Kinkora people are many. The rabble rousers, who claim to represent the entire community, number only in the handful.

Even so, they create a scene more worthy of the past Black Donnellys of Canada or the Hatfields and McCoys of America than Sunday morning service celebrating the Eucharist.

Gregorian chant Cantor David Anthony Domet, who drives with his dog to Kinkora every Sunday, is also a popular blogger at Vox Cantoris. His blogged reply to asundry shouts “Go back to Toronto with your Latin Mass” is: “Well, I’ve got news friend, I’m not going anywhere.”

With great wit and passion, Domet tells the story about the ongoing Kinkora protest in an article entitled The Devil Went Down to Georgia…and other places.

“The American country-singing legend Charlie Daniels had a great hit song called The Devil Went Down to Georgia”. Well, the devil may have went down to Georgia but when he got finished there, he went up to Kinkora and he hasn’t left. You see, the devil does not go where he’s already got control; he doesn’t bother with the lukewarm, he’s read the Apocalypse and knows what Jesus will do with the lukewarm, so he’ll get them eventually. Sadly, most of them have “itchy ears” and don’t realize it. Let us hope they will respond to God’s grace and pull away from the evil one.”

If there is anything that Satan particularly hates, it is a good and devout Catholic priest. St. Patrick’s Pastor Fr. Paul Nicholson is not only a good priest, as a “fisher of men”, he’s a gem.

The unique beauty of Kinkora and the down to earth simplicity of its people should be returned to their natural state, not framed for posterity with an imposed will on others, or left simmering in hatred.

The natural beauty of the Kinkora area, like all beauty on Earth, is memorably explained in Psalm 8:1-4; Psalm 19:1-2; 1 Corinthians 6:19; Jeremiah 29:13:

“I SPEAK TO YOU CONTINUALLY. My nature is to communicate, though not always in words. I fling glorious sunsets across the sky, day after day. I speak in the faces and voices of loved ones. I caress you with a gentle breeze that refreshes and delights you. I speak softly in the depths of your spirit, where I have taken up residence.

“You can find me in each moment, when you have eyes that see and ears that hear. Ask My Spirit to sharpen your spiritual eyesight and hearing. I rejoice each time you discover My Presence. Practice looking and listening for Me during quiet intervals. Gradually you will find Me in more and more of your moments. You will seek Me and find Me, when you seek Me above all else.”

Soul settling to know that Satan is up against it in Kinkora. People will continue to attend St. Patrick’s Tridentine Mass no matter how foul the weather or protesters.

It will take more than horse manure, threats and taunts to turn the faithful away. To some of us, the smell of horse manure is as good as or better than the most expensive French perfume.

That’s because it comes from horses and horses, like all living things, come from the Almighty.

Fr Bill Rowe - Liturgical Abuser - Finally Removed

Belleville bishop removes pastor for improvising prayers

BY MICHELE MUNZ • mmunz@post-dispatch.com > 314-340-8263 |
Posted: Monday, June 25, 2012 12:00 am | (13) comments.

The Rev. William Rowe, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Mt. Carmel, Ill. Photo courtesy of Rev. Rowe

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Belleville bishop explains priest's resignation

Parishioners in Mount Carmel, Ill., learned Sunday that the Belleville Diocese has removed their pastor of 18 years for improvising prayers at Mass and has appointed a new priest.

Bishop Edward Braxton sent a letter on Friday to the Rev. William Rowe informing him of his removal as pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church. The Rev. Trevor Murry will leave his parishes in West Frankfort and Royalton, Ill., and replace Rowe beginning July 10.

Rowe posted the letter from Braxton for parishioners to read at Mass. The bishop wrote: "I am deeply aware that you, your parishioners and your friends are saddened by this change in your assignment. I am saddened as well. In your years at St. Mary Parish, you have (surely) touched many hearts."

Rowe said he plans to file an appeal with the bishop today. That will likely be denied, he said, which will lead him to file an appeal later this week with a governing body in Rome.

"Maybe they'll decide to give priests a little more latitude," in trying to make prayers more meaningful for their congregations, said Rowe, 72.

For decades, Rowe has deviated from some of the language of the liturgy's prayers to, in his view, better convey the point of his sermons. Bishops have traditionally looked past an individual priest's extemporizing; but in December, the Vatican mandated that Catholics in every English-speaking country adopt a new translation of the Roman Missal — the book of prayers, chants and responses used during Mass.

While this made sticking to the prayers more important, it made it even harder to do, Rowe said. "I just found, especially with the new translation, that it doesn't match what I'm talking about," he said. "The new wording is so awkward, and people don't understand it."

Braxton warned Rowe over the past several years against personalizing the prayers. Rowe at one time offered to resign over the improvising but later retracted his offer. Braxton's decision to use canon — or church — law to remove him came as no surprise.

"Only you and I know the long road, we have traveled during the past six years," read Braxton's letter to Rowe. "Throughout our many conversations, it has been my hope that this action would not be necessary. However, the long, winding road down which we traveled never led to the open door of complete acceptance and obedience to the disciplines and doctrines of the Catholic Church."

About three months ago, some of the nearly 500 families at St. Mary's protested outside of St. Peter's Roman Catholic Cathedral in Belleville against plans to remove Rowe.

Murry, the new pastor, said he knows he is heading to a parish where many don't want to see Rowe leave. "The one thing I want to make clear is that I'm not there to replace him," said Murry, 36. "I'm just here to be their priest, and to serve them the best I can."

Rowe said he is unaware of any other priests fighting to personalize their prayers. "I have heard that there have been a few priests that do what I do ... but I haven't heard of anyone being removed," he said. "This is new ground I guess."

Read more: http://www.stltoday.com/news/local/metro/belleville-bishop-removes-pastor-for-improvising-prayers/article_085b67a1-4891-50f2-afa4-53e6f740a45b.html#ixzz1ytubjSDM


Priest association rallies behind ousted Illinois pastor

by Robert McClory on May. 05, 2012
NCR Today

An association of priests in the Belleville, Ill., diocese is supporting Fr. William Rowe in his efforts to remain as pastor at his parish in Mt. Carmel, Ill. Sixteen members of the Southern Illinois Association of Priests signed a press release in late April, calling Rowe "a beloved and effective pastor" and labeling Belleville Bishop Edward Braxton's demand that Rowe either step down or be immediately replaced "irrationally disproportionate to the supposed crime."

Rowe's major failing was his tendency to add personal commentary at some points in the Mass and to recast some prayers in his own words. He did this, he said, to make the Eucharist more meaningful for his parishioners. The matter came to a head last fall, when the new English liturgy translation was about to be introduced. Braxton said no deviations whatsoever would be permissible, and Rowe at the time offered to resign. But when no official acceptance of the offer was issued within 90 days, said Edward Barbier, a member of the priests association, Rowe's resignation offer lapsed, according to Canon 538 of church law. Rowe said he'd like to stay on, but in April, Braxton said he must go.

The bishop's ultimatum "becomes more problematic," said the priests' release, "when we recall his own issues with the diocese." Cited among the issues were a petition signed by 65 percent of Belleville priests urging Braxton's resignation several years ago and Braxton's protracted determination to fight a 2008 court decision in a priest abuse case, which cost the diocese $1.3 million in addition to the fine imposed by the court. In any event, Rowe has said he would like to remain at the parish in some capacity, perhaps as janitor.

You can see the full press release below.




At an April 24th meeting with Bishop Edward Braxton, Fr. John McEvilly, Fr. Kenneth York, and Fr. John Myler, Fr. William Rowe learned that he will be forcibly removed as pastor of St. Mary's parish in Mt. Carmel. Fr. Rowe has served as a dedicated priest for 47 years in the Belleville diocese, the last 17 years at St. Mary's.

Fr. Rowe's reputation with his parishioners is outstanding: his service, humility, commitment, kindness, and leadership highlight his effective ministry. His parishioners want him to remain as their pastor and he, too, wants to stay. Fr. Rowe plans to appeal his removal.

The Southern Illinois Association of Priests (SIAP) fully supports Fr. Rowe in his efforts to continue his pastoral leadership at St. Mary's.

Bishop Braxton's persistent harassment of Fr. Rowe goes back many years. The focus of this attack is the way Fr. Rowe celebrates Eucharist. Bishop Braxton wants him to recite the words exactly as written in the Missal. Fr. Rowe creates his own version of some of the prayers and adds some commentary during the Mass. He does so because he believes these creative embellishments make the Eucharist more meaningful for the people and more honest to his own prayer. In the spirit of pastoral compassion, he also conducted two civil marriage ceremonies for couples who could not be formally married in the Church. As a result, the Bishop told him he could resign or be removed as pastor.

SIAP believes that the punishment for these slight additions to the ritual and pastoral concern for those couples is irrationally disproportionate to the supposed crime. Bishop Braxton's decision becomes more problematic when we recall his own issues with the diocese. For example, he misused diocesan funds. He unnecessarily remodeled his residence. Sixty five percent of diocesan priests asked him to resign for the good of the Diocese. His decision to appeal a sexual abuse case in 2008 increased the cost to the diocese by $1,300,000 and legally aligned the diocese against the victim. The Bishop has alienated many Catholics in Southern Illinois by his arrogance and lack of social skills. People boycott his Masses. Confirmandi fear him. Pastors avoid him.

And he, in turn, now wants to remove a beloved and effective pastor like Fr. Rowe for enhancing the Eucharist!

Given this action, we believe that many more priests like Fr. Rowe are likely to receive similar unjust treatment. With that in mind, along with our moral support, the undersigned members of SIAP pledge SIAP financial resources to assist Fr. Rowe in his appeal of this injustice.

Edward Barbier
Maury Beuckman
Fr. Richard Daly
Fr. Jim Dougherty
Fr. Jack Frerker
Fr. Clyde Grogan
Lester Himstedt
Fr. Stephen Humphrey
Fr. Donald Lenzini
Fr. George Mauck
Gerald Montroy
Fr. Mark Stec
Thomas Smith
Fr. Joe Trapp
Fr. Jim Voelker
Fr. Jerry Wirth

Summer institute for teachers aims to bring catechism out of the shadows

Written by Erin Morawetz, The Catholic Register
Saturday, 16 June 2012 09:55

John Paul Meenan, who teaches Theology at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy in Barry’s Bay, Ont., will be teaching the classes on the Catechism at the Wojtyla Summer Institute.- Photo courtesy of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom Academy

Paul Coates attended the first annual Wojtyla Summer Institute for Catholic teachers last summer at Our Lady Seat of Wisdom in Barry’s Bay, Ont., and he wasn’t disappointed by the experience.

“The speakers were interesting, the material … highly learned, and inspired by faith,” Coates, a philosophy teacher and chair of the religion department at Father Leo J. Austin Catholic Secondary School in Whitby, Ont., said of the institute, which last year was based on the theology of the body.

Keith Cassidy, president of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, was also very satisfied with the outcome of the weekend-long conference and has brought it back for a second year at the Eastern Ontario Catholic post-secondary institution.

“The reaction was overwhelmingly positive,” Cassidy said. “(The attendees) were very enthusiastic and very much wanted us to keep having these institutes.”

The summer institute weekend — running this year Aug. 9-12 — is aimed at teachers, but not exclusive to them.

“We’re serving the Church by helping teachers — not only teachers, but particularly teachers — to refresh and augment their knowledge of the faith,” Cassidy said. “It gives them an opportunity to update, refresh their knowledge of their faith … to help them to be more useful in bringing faith to their students.”

This year’s institute focuses on the catechism, in light of Pope Benedict XVI’s goals for the Year of Faith.

“The point is to bring the Catechism of the Catholic Church out of the shadows,” Cassidy said. “To remind people to use it, and to use it properly.”

The weekend is structured around lectures and small discussions, particularly about the ways in which the Catholic perspective can be incorporated in different subject areas, such as literature, history and science. But Cassidy stressed there is a strong social element for participants as well.

“They come away with a renewed sense of fellowship and (a realization) that they are part of a larger movement of people,” Cassidy said. “(They) develop new contacts and friends and networks.”

Coates, who attended the institute last summer with his wife and several of their friends, is eager to return because his experience the first time was so great.

“People walked away from that conference with a whole set of tools and a whole set of meanings that were much deeper than when they arrived,” Coates said. “We were talking about it all the way home.”

Coates is a fan of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom, having seen firsthand its fruits through his family.

“I’m a strong supporter of Our Lady Seat of Wisdom because my daughter went there and … loved it,” Coates told The Catholic Register. “The strong quality of education … is second to none, both in faith and in reason. It balances them very well.”

See www.seatofwisdom.org.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Cardinal critical of clerical attire


GRADUATE PRIESTS: CARDINAL TIMOTHY Dolan’s report was scathing about priest graduates at the Irish College and seminarians’ dress.

It stated that “some of the graduate priests are less than positive examples of priestly life, and are not attentive to even the minimum demands made upon them”.

They needed “a clear rule of life . . . The lack of vigilance and continued formation over these new priests is of concern”.

They were “not yet ready for the liberty given to a graduate priest. They, too, need to be bound by the clear expectations of the seminary”.

It was recommended that “increased attention and supervision be given these newly ordained priests”.

Where the dress of seminarians at the Irish College was concerned, the report found it “borders on the sloppy and excessively informal, and clerical attire seems rare”.

It recommended “a clear dress code be part of the rule of life, that formal attire (jacket and tie for those not yet near diaconate; jacket and clerical collar for those in candidacy and the deacons, on special occasions) be clear, and the laudable practice of cassock and surplice at Sunday Mass, for liturgical ministers, and at special liturgies, be maintained”.

His report also recommended that a practice, whereby “prior to the community Mass, the Blessed Sacrament is removed from the tabernacle, then restored at the conclusion of Mass”, be stopped. It was “a source of understandable confusion to the students”.

There was “no confessional in the chapel, or elsewhere . . . ” The cardinal recommended that “a confessional be erected, preferably in or near the chapel; and that an outside confessor be appointed to hear confessions at a set period at least once a week”.

"One priest would say “Body of Christ and the second priest would say “I’ll just take that.”"

We are starting over....

(The Rev. Know-it-all is away at
Mt. Flatten Monastery attending a seminar on the creative pastoral uses of the thumbscrew and lash. As filler, we have a letter from a local pastor.)


You may have noticed that recently, at Mass, I asked the young people who attend our religious education program to stand up. Of the 250, give or take, who attend the program, I counted about 50 or 60 at all the Masses. Our teachers have done wonderful work. They have made great sacrifices for the sake of the religious education of our children. They have not failed. The 50-year-old system that they inherited has failed. We are using a model that was created before cell phones, soccer practice, twitter, facebook and video games. The model we are using is older than the Beatles. It’s as old as I am.

We inherited a system from the good old days of flourishing Catholic schools another failure which was lovingly remembered in the book, “The Last Catholic in America,” a charming reminiscence about Catholicism during the 1950's in which young Eddy Ryan loses his faith. Religious education was called C.C.D. or the Confraternity of Christian Doctrine. In this usage it refers to a form of classroom style religious education for children in public schools. It was, at least in my youth, the threadbare cousin of Catholic schools.

Catholic schools, by and large, have become failures themselves. There are some splendid Catholic schools, but in my experience of 40 years in ministry, increasingly, especially in large urban areas, Catholic schools have become inexpensive private schools for middle class people who have little or no interest in the Catholic faith,maintained at great expense by Catholic parishes. Catholic schools are, for the most part, over.

We may have a few parish schools still plugging along, but are they Catholic? It seems that all we have left to us is the threadbare cousin. All our resources and energies go to maintaining the private school in the building next to the church. While the world is starving for Christ, we are giving them bingo and bratwurst, raffles and dinner dances, all to keep the school going.

“But,” I can hear you say, “this is our major form of evangelism!” Aren’t you paying attention? The few kids from our schools who go to church don’t go because the school has converted them. They go because they have parents dedicated enough to bring them every Sunday, even in summer. Even in soccer season. Those kids may end up Catholic, not because they went to our schools and religious education programs, but because their parents were the first and best of teachers. In a recent conversation with a local pastor who runs a school of 250, give or take, I asked how many of his students and their families attend Mass during the summer months. He said, “about thirty of them.”

In order to commit a mortal sin, a sin that severs one’s relationship to God, one must have sufficient knowledge that what they are doing is mortally sinful. Our kids come to Catholic schools and religious education where, presumably, they learn that it is a mortal sin to skip Sunday Mass without a serious reason, such as illness or inability to travel. That means that by allowing children to come to religious education or to enroll in Catholic schools when their parents don’t come to Mass, we are enabling them to commit a mortal sin by giving them the sufficient knowledge to damn their eternal souls.That’s a plan.

We have tied our religious education to the public school system of kindergarten and eight grades. The sacraments of First Communion and Confirmation have become graduation rituals, rites of passage, instead of the beginnings of a life of faith and commitment. We have turned sacrament into sacrilege. When you “get your sacraments” you’re “outta” there. (“Out of there” for those who don’t speak Chicagoan.) The Sacraments are an ending instead of a beginning. I can’t do this anymore. I believe it is morally wrong. The last time I brought this problem up, angry parents called the bishop. I remember one agitated parent who railed at me for questioning his Catholicism. He said that he was perfectly good Catholic. He went to Mass every single Easter and every single Christmas without fail.

When I realized that Eastern Rite Catholics from the Middle East don’t have Communion and Confirmation classes, a light went on in my head. They receive first Communion and Confirmation when they are Baptized, even if they are infants. They have religious education for the rest of their lives and, consequently, they have a spiritual life. They are prepared for the Sacrament of Penance, but not for Communion and Confirmation. The result is that they have a vibrant spiritual like that they have maintained in the face of 1,300 years of unremitting persecution. In this country, we can’t manage a religious life because we are up against team sports.

I intend to drop the classroom model and go to a discipleship model that is called Youthchurch. It will involve Bibles, catechisms and water balloons. And maybe doughnuts. I will know the program is a success when I find that the kids are mad at their parents for missing Mass on Sunday.

I no longer intend to prepare children for First Communion and Confirmation. There will no longer be First Communion and Confirmation classes. How and when will the children receive Communion and Confirmation? They will receive when they are ready. When are they ready? They are ready when they want the Sacrament. How do we know they want the Sacrament? When they understand it, can tell the pastor what it is and why they want it. If they are not in ongoing religious education and they are not coming to Mass on regular basis, they don’t want the Sacrament.

I am tired to distraction of having to chase young people down the aisles in church to retrieve the Blessed Sacrament because they have no clue what it is. A year or so back, I was offering a funeral Mass and a teenaged girl came up for Communion, took the host, looked at it, turned it over and began to walk away holding it in her palm. I followed her and asked, “Have you made your First Communion?” She said simply, “I’m Jewish.” I smiled and said, “Perhaps I should take that from you.” Quite a few of the mourners were furious with me for my discourtesy.

At another funeral not long ago I saw a passel of tattooed and pierced adolescents coming down the aisle at a funeral. It was a large funeral so a number of priests were helping with Communion. I had finished my line so I stood about ten paces from the celebrant, a visiting priest. The first of the young Goths received the host, looked at it curiously and as she passed me I asked, are you Catholic? She said, “no.” I said “Perhaps I should take that.” So there began a curious ritual, of clueless youths. One priest would say “Body of Christ and the second priest would say “I’ll just take that.”

I’ve had it. My efforts will be directed to preparing people for the Sacrament of Conversion (Maybe you call it Penance or Reconciliation. Whatever.) Then maybe the little dears will understand that Communion is more than an edible poker chip. Registration will take place over the summer. I will be doing it personally. If you are registered in the parish and using envelopes, that will be the first step to getting your child in Youthchurch. How else can I tell if you are coming to Mass? As I’ve said before I don’t care that money’s in the envelope, I care that you are in the pew.

Fr. Simon

PS. How much will it cost? Books will cost something, but there will be no tuition. If you are coming to Mass every Sunday, I presume you are throwing in the basket already. I don’t want your money. I want your souls. On the other hand, I have nothing against your money. The west wall is still falling down.


Sunday, June 24, 2012

Usus Antiquior Returns To Ancient Rome

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Change at the Pantheon

Rome 003

The Pantheon, quintessentially Roman, tough, massive, with its nobly simple inscription, speaks to us both of the virtues that the Romans tried to cultivate in their better moments, and of the triumph of the Christian faith over paganism. It is now the Church of Santa Maria dei Martyri, Our Lady of the Martyrs, honouring all those who gave their lives for Christ under the persecution of the emperors.

When I was a student, the building was essentially a tourist venue. The altars were there but it was not taken seriously as a Church except for one or two occasions in the year, with celebrations that were seen as rather odd. What a change there is today! The altar is adorned with cloths, candles and relics; High Mass is celebrated in the traditional Roman use; visitors are urged to keep silence and it feels like a Church again.

Rome 001

Here is a video, taken by John Sonnen a few years ago (the control of tourists is much tighter now):

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