Thursday, May 31, 2012

List of USA Catholic Bishops That Personally Use Social Media

This has been making the rounds today , and it is so handy. From Aggie Catholic see
 Catholic Bishops Who Blog, Tweet, and use Facebook

Bishop of Salt Lake City and U.S. Bishops Communication Head On Maureen Dowd's Distorted HHS Mandate Column

People read Dowd's column and some went such great writing. Well great writing if you like misdirection , straw men, and never getting to the real point.

See Rev. Wester and Dowd

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Leading First Amendment Legal Advocate Defends North Dakota Religious Liberty Amendment From Minneapolis Star-Tribune

There is a very good response by Prof Berg to a rather curious  editorial of the  Minneapolis Star-Tribune asking North Dakota voters to vote against the Religious Liberty amendment. See Religious Freedom Debate in North Dakota via Mirrors of Justice.

I do find it disturbing that the people that play a major role in guarding the 1st amendment think this just helps "Catholic Bishops" and "Right Wing " groups. It just seems a tad too much the popular political thing to parrot to certain groups.

Berg shows not only how this not true , but gives examples of how this helps progressives and other groups.

He also shows that this potential burden imposed on the Government is nothing new. In fact it is one imposed on the Federal Govt and more than 20 states by statutes or by state constitutional rules.

Life and Government has managed just fine there.

Catholics Doing Unseen Work On Despair In Lake Providence Louisiana ( Catholic Extension and Diocese of Shreveport )

Catholic Extension profiles the Catholic presence in  town that is not only the poorest in the Diocese of Shreveport perhaps but maybe the entire State. That is Lake Providence Louisiana. I say the work is unseen because to even go through the town you really really have to make an effort. Unless you heading North to go the "big city" of Greenville Mississipi or to perhaps catch some road to Little Rock it's a tad off the beaten track

It was not always so.

I have a strong place in my heart for Lake Providence since so much of my family used to be from there. The last family members got the heck out ,and moved tway down South to New Orleans just a few years ago. Though my Aunt still returns to run part of business and take care of her parents.

This town is a shell of what it once was. My grandfather used to recall the antics of Gov Earl Long when he was there for the Miss  Miss Louisiana Beauty Pageant .  YES THAT WAS THERE .I can recall a thriving Bank and lots of activities. Then the Farm bust happened in the 80's and the town never truly recovered.

The political, social, economic ,and racial related problems were always there ,and the bust did not help matters.

That is not too say there are not good people in Lake Providence, and East Carroll Parish that are right to be proud of various aspects of their home. But make no mistake that in my relative short life time the glimpses of the town I saw in my youth are almost like a dream looking back. Its basically farming jobs or working in nearby Prison that is all that is available.

But the Catholic Church has a important mission there. Catholic Extension profiles  Sister Bernie who has been in Lake Providence for 10 years. I actually got to meet one of her order years before that who was doing similar work in the town.

It's a good article  , and I hope perhaps it might send some bucks Catholic Extension's way and also highlight what our Diocese is helping to do for a largely non Catholic population in a very tough spot.

Still there is hope , and perhaps with God's Grace the Catholic Diocese of Shreveport, Catholic Extension, Father Watson, St Patrick's Parish , and last but not least Sister Bernie can play a role in turning it around.

Wendy Vitter Wife of U.S. Senator David Vitter Will Manage and Execute Major John Paul II Exhibition

Good for her. She is such an asset for the Archdiocese of New Orleans.

Chinese Government Orders Catholic Church Not To Recognized Bishop as a Bishop At Funeral

And this is why Pope Benedict pleads with us to pray for China.

Pope Benedict Gives Shout Out of Confidence To His Staff and Others At Vatican During Wednesday Audience.

Not been a fun week for Pope Benedict. From Vatican Radio see Pope at weekly General Audience: the Spirit transforms our lives

....During his remarks to the faithful following the catechesis, Pope Benedict addressed the recent media attention surrounding various leaks to the media. The Pope said, “Events in recent days regarding the Curia and my collaborators have brought sadness to my heart,” though, he continued, “the firm conviction that despite human weakness, despite the difficulties and trials, the Church is guided by the Holy Spirit, has never diminished – and the Lord will never fail to give His aid in sustaining the Church on her journey.” The Pope went on to say, “Nevertheless, some entirely gratuitous rumors have multiplied, amplified by some media, which went well beyond the facts, offering a picture of the Holy See that does not correspond to reality.” Pope Benedict concluded, saying, “I would like therefore to reiterate my confidence and my encouragement to my staff and to all those who, day in and day out, faithfully and with a spirit of sacrifice, quietly help me in fulfilling my ministry.” Listen to our report:

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Louisiana Native and Right Hand Nun of Mother Angelica Starts New Order of Nuns In Italy

Abita Deacon links a very interesting Louisiana related Catholic item from the Houma newspaper. See Local girl becomes Mother Angelica right hand and now foundress of new religious order .

She was from  Napoleonville Louisiana which is located in the the Civil Parish of Assumption which is the Diocese of Baton Rouge.

As you can read after being at Mother Angelica's side for 33 years , she went to Italy to found a new order of Nuns. She hopes one day to bring them to the United States.

Presbyterian Church USA ( PCUSA ) Suffers Epidemic Of Southern Churches Leaving In Just Weeks

Maybe I was too wrapped up College baseball , but I have seem to have missed a good many of this stories in the national Press. Stand Firm has Greenville South Carolina’s First Presbyterian Church Leaves PCUSA, Joins ECO , and Two PCUSA Presbyteries Shed 30% of Membership.

Of particular interest is that last link which deals with Florida and  Mississippi

...One of the Presbyterian Church (USA)’s largest Florida presbyteries will be losing almost a third of its membership after the 57-church Presbytery of Tropical Florida approved the dismissal requests of nine churches Tuesday.

The departure represents about 3,800 members of the 13,525 Presbyterians within Tropical Florida – a 28-percent loss

And then in Mississippi

...With five motions and five unanimous votes, a Presbyterian Church (USA) presbytery lost five congregations from its rolls—losing almost a third of its membership. But, according to its leaders, those that stay and those that leave will keep a common bond.

The Presbytery of Mississippi voted without dissent to approve the request of the congregations – representing about 1,400 members—to leave the PCUSA and join the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (EPC), leaving 37 churches with a total of about 2,900 members.

The presbytery agreed to dismiss the First Presbyterian churches of Vicksburg, Pascagoula, Ocean Springs, Port Gibson and Yokena Presbyterian Church of Vicksburg....
Those are some established Churches.

African Americans and Eastern Orthodox Conference ( Audio Talks Links )

I have always thought that African Americans as well as African Immigrants to the USA to Eastern Orthodoxy could be a good fit. Just like I think the same as to Catholicism.

On occasion one will run across articles dealing with African American in Eastern Orthodox Churches.

They just finished up a conference that has some interesting talks and speakers. You can access those here.

Vietnamese Fuel Vietnam Jesuit Vocations and Elsewhere

Interesting the more a Church is persecuted the fruit it produces.

See ASIA/VIETNAM - Jesuit vocations flourish

As I have stated many times the Vietnamese community nationwide in the USA gives a lot back to the Church considering it's numbers. If you look at many Dioceses across the USA you will find a great many Vietnamese Priests being ordained. There is also the "religious" vocations side.

Former United States Federal Judge Ordained Catholic Priest ( Updated)

This is one of the more interesting of the always interesting older Priesthood Vocation stories. See
From the bench to the pulpit: At 66, former judge becomes priest

The Bishop has a nice blog post on this , and links too tons of pictures of the Ordinations .

Pope Names Bishop Samuel Aquila of Diocese of Fargo New Archbishop of Denver ( Updated)

Big news for one of the more important Archdioceses of the Country which also includes various groups that have an nationwide impact. Whispers has The "Eagle" Returns -- Fargo's Aquila Headed Home to Denver .

As noted in Rocco's article he has not only deep Colorado roots his lots of experience in Vocations and Priestly formations. He will have one of the more important Seminaries in the American West , which by the way he was the founding rector.

The Bishop made some news these past months when on his  ad limina visit the Pope praised him for reordering the Sacraments. Confirmation comes before Eucharist in the Diocese of Fargo.

Update- The Archdiocese of Denver has a page up on the appointment that already at this early hour has a lot of links building on it.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Who Is Mystery Woman Behind Operation Save Pope Benedict ?


 found this part of this interview interesting from an Italian Newspaper's interview  "I confess: I'm one of the whistleblowers We're doing it to defend the Pope"

What did the Pope do then?

"The Pope realised that he had to protect himself. He summoned five people he knew he could trust, four men and one woman. The so-called rapporteurs, Benedict's secret agents. The Pope asked these people for advice, giving everyone a role, with the woman coordinating all five. "

There is a woman helping the Pope in this?

"Yes, she's the strategist. Then there is one physically collecting the evidence. Another preparing the ground, and the other two make sure all this is possible. The role of these trusted people is to tell the Pope who are his friends and who his enemies, so you know who you are fighting against."

Sister Simone Campbell of Network Calls Out Knights of Columbus and American Bishops on HHS Mandate Lawsuit " Scandal "

I note today that Sr. Simone Campbell NETWORK Executive Director Lawyer, advocate, poet. Catholic Sister, member of the Sisters of Social Service. Noted speaker and educator on public policy tweeted on that rather bad New York Times Editorial on the HHS Mandate.

She tweeted:
The Politics of Religion -- the Times is corect. The lawsuits are part of the PR paid for by the USCCB & Knights of Columbus--a scandal.

I take it by implication that see thinks the lawsuits are merit less.

As I tweeted back it's my understanding the the global Law Firm Jones Day is representing the Church free of charge here.

Network is of course involved and was mentioned in the Holy See report on the Leadership of an association of American nuns. So tensions might be hot still.

I have said for a couple of weeks that a cooling off getting off the TV might be good for everyone involved as to the Leadership discussions. From what I can note many of the American Bishops have done that as t that issue. Sister Simone Campbell of Network not so much where you can feel something else is going on.

A good read about her recent appearance on the Chris Matthews Show is here at the Catholic legal blog Mirrors of Justice. See Seeing the Church in Red and Blue.

Network ,and Sister Simone might not want to give this impression , but that show appearance seems to validate some concerns Catholics have and this Holy See Concerns.

I have tried to point out why the precedents such as What is a Religious Institution? in this mandate should be of concern to pee involved in Catholic Social justice work. See my post Illegal Aliens and Church Sanctuary Versus The HHS Birth Control Mandate .

I do wonder if some anger on non HHS religious liberty issues is clouding people's judgment here. As Douthat at the NYT pointed out this increasing entanglement in Church affairs represented by the mandate issues is not likely going to just be one sided.He said in part :

the way that government crowds out and co-opts the private sphere, first by making it impossible to run an institution that serves the public without having some sort of entanglement with the state, and then by using that entanglement to pretend that institutions with explicit religious missions and histories are somehow de facto secular instead. Once the state grows large enough, there will always be some theoretical justification available for imposing a governmental norm — or, more aptly, a purely partisan one — on private institutions that seek to go their own way instead. But the mere fact that such justifications can be dreamed up by creative regulators doesn’t make them reasonable or just.

This is one reason why so many non Catholic religious groups are outraged. ( With all due respect to Sister I don't think the Knights of Columbus are footing the bills on Baptist or Missouri Synod Lutheran concerns on this).

As to how you can't control this Douthat made another great point.

.....Critics of the administration’s policy are framing this as a religious liberty issue, and rightly so. But what’s at stake here is bigger even than religious freedom. The Obama White House’s decision is a threat to any kind of voluntary community that doesn’t share the moral sensibilities of whichever party controls the health care bureaucracy.

The Catholic Church’s position on contraception is not widely appreciated, to put it mildly, and many liberals are inclined to see the White House’s decision as a blow for the progressive cause. They should think again. Once claimed, such powers tend to be used in ways that nobody quite anticipated, and the logic behind these regulations could be applied in equally punitive ways by administrations with very different values from this one.

The more the federal government becomes an instrument of culture war, the greater the incentive for both conservatives and liberals to expand its powers and turn them to ideological ends. It is Catholics hospitals today; it will be someone else tomorrow.....

I totally agree with that , and I am amazed more people can't see the long term problems here.


New York Times Poor Editorial on HHS Birth Control Mandate

The New York Times tries to tackle the real issues legal and Constitutional issues behind the HHS Birth Control mandate in a very short Editorial  I give it a D+ for a not very good first efforts.

This Law Prof seems to agree. See A Poor Editorial

The piece also fails to mention the precedent being set here as to what is and waht is not religious. I suspect the paper wishes to ignore that because causes some concern among some on the religious left.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Archdiocese of D.C. Newspaper Calls Out Lisa Miller at Washington Post on HHS Mandate

This editorial in the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. newspaper I think tells it it is . See
Editorial: "Keep your salt shaker handy"

There were many reason why the Bishops  nationwide had to file a lawsuit. One is for some parties they are about to be under the mandate. Time is running out so a lawsuit must be filed to get a preliminary injunction.

But one huge reason is that to get the media , and other to FOCUS on the real legal / Constitutional issue. Filing a well drafted complaint helps do that.

This is not about contraception  and , this is not a War on Women.

It is about a very huge concerning precedent being set. The Catholic Church because of it's nature is becoming the canary in the coal mine for all Christians as to the First Amendment. Catholic Americans have a special responsibility to all people in this matter.

We have:
The Government declaring what is and what is not religious

In what the Government tells us is religious it is very narrow and restricted.

We have significant  Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993 problems and possible precedents

In fact as the  Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993, we have the issue that a rule making  body that is largely unaccountable appears to have taken Congressional role.

All this is not going away with some possible sometime deal. The only way this goes away is if The Affordable Care Act is declared Unconstitutional , or the mandate in withdrawn.

It might or might not be a good idea that everyone contraception is paid for depending on one's point of view. However the Government could that by other means. The Church and others are right to object and fight precedents that are very problematic for their  First Amendment rights. If the Government wants achieve this aim , then it can do it by other means.

Another Catholic Built Dorm at American Universities

An article on what might be more of a trend we are seeing more and more in the USA as to Colleges. I would love to see this happen at LSU.

The Mississippi State Baseball Player That Talked To God - Luis Pollorena

I have to say the rather foul mood I was in after LSU 's loss to Mississippi State yesterday has slightly abated. No doubt that is helped that LSU is likely  to get not only a regional , but a national seed in the post season road to Omaha .

Still it sort of sucks. SEC fans that are going to the post season might say it's just a tournament, but as the crowds that flock to Hoover each year show WE ALL REALLY WANT TO WIN IT.

So when Luis Pollorena of Mississippi State got the runs in  to take the game to extra innings needless to say I was not a happy camper.

That being said Luis Pollorena has a pretty incredible story I found out. See that in this very good article

One tough survivor -MSU's Pollorena overcomes leukemia scare, now thrives in Starkville.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Beckett Fund Calls for St Thomas More Law Center to Be Consistent For Religious Liberty

I am glad the Beckett Fund did this. Not that happy this spat is in public , but really this needed to be said.

It is signed by two Catholic heavyweights Prof Robert George ,and  Prof Mary Ann Glendon ( Former U.S. Envoy to the Holy See among many other things)

See Liberty and Justice (Must Be) For All Becket Fund to Thomas More Law Center: Religious Liberty is Everyone’s Right – Not Just Christians

I have always been baffled by the St Thomas More Law Center seemly blind eye to how their position on Muslim religious liberty issues can be used as precedent against everyone else.

This is something that had to be dealt with so some time. As the battle for Religious Liberty gets more heated consistency ,and Orthodoxy on religious liberty among it's advocates is going to be needed more and more.

Delightful Story On Former Notre Dame President Fr. Theodore M. Hesburgh - Turns 95 Today

An he is still putting in a pretty solid day of work!!

Pope's Butler At Center Of Vatican Leaks Crisis - But Did He Act Alone If At All

This Vatican soap opera that took a more serious turn in the last few weeks took an interesting turn today. THE BUTLER DID IT , or at least he is accused of doing it. See Vatican announces it has caught poison pen letter writer.

However as the subtitle of this article suggest " The culprit is allegedly the Pope's butler, a layman. But doubts are growing in the Holy See"  some people in the Holy See are asking some reasonable questions.

..The Vatican Gendarmerie found large wad of confidential documents in an apartment in Via di Porta Angelica, in Rome, where the Pope’s butler Paolo Gabriele lives with his wife and three children. This just over 40 year old man from Rome has been working in the Pope’s apartment since 2006, entering the Pope’s Family after a period serving Mgr. James Harvey, Prefect of the Papal Household.

But is he really a poison pen letter writer or just a scapegoat to save the skin of someone higher up? This is the question many in the Vatican are asking since rumours have been spreading regarding the inquiries into the leaked documents. The butler is in fact considered by many in the Holy See as a simple, good person who is devoted to the Pope.

Behind the document leak is a refined mind who is au fait with ecclesiastical policy. It was particularly strange how he conserved “confidential documents” after months of controversies surrounding the Vatileaks that were passed on to the press.......

Things should get very interesting over the weekend on this front.

New Tulane Catholic Student Center Takes Shape

This looks really great. See from the Catholic newspaper of newspaper of New Orleans
New Catholic Center at Tulane becoming a reality

TO say the least this is a marked improvement. I really would love if we could get FOCUS on that campus too.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Former Utah Governor : The USA Fight For Religious Liberty Is Like The Fight For Eroding Louisiana Wetlands

The Ethics ,and Public Policy Center had their National Religious Freedom Conference today. It had some heavy hitter speakers , and as soon as it is archived on C-Span I will link it.

Mike Leavitt former Governor of Utah , former Administrator of the Environmental  Protection Agency and former  Secretary of Health and Human Services spoke and had a wonderful point linking the fight for religious liberty , and the erosion of our nations wetlands.

He talked a great deal of  how when he headed up the EPA he knew nothing about the Nations wetlands , ,and had to learn and be taught by others.

 As a former Governor his only dealings with wetlands was it blocked  a  highway for years.

He later got a great education as EPA chief  , and in  giving this religious liberty  talk did a nice job of pointing out Louisiana wetlands are in trouble. 

He talked about certain things lead to Coastal erosion , and it's more than just one burning platform that gets all the press.

His analogy was that Religious Freedom is caused by the combination of many small events just like coastal erosion..He also stated he had no clue how vastly important Wetlands were until he experienced their natural benefits.
I thought this was a GREAT way to frame issues when we are seeing this year Religious Freedom on the forefront.

If you from Louisiana you really get it.

In effect as to wetland ,and coastal erosion we are dealing with two sovereigns that must respect each other.

That being MAN , and Mother Nature.

This is much like the two other  sovereigns in their self  respective realms. That is Church and State.

You can't separate man ,and mother nature just like you can't strictly separate Church and State interaction. When things are going good they help compliment each other.

Coastal Erosion does not happen overnight.

But when the Ball Gets rolling!!

The threats accelerate into a real crisis situation.

Now the  Coastal /wetland crisis  is not caused by one situation , and the people causing this often have the best intentions. They have some valid goals.

The oil and gas industry that fuels this nation  , but has dug up the wetlands with canals at times.

Because this is a working coast the shipping , oil and gas, and fishing industry must have people to fuel it. So that means development on Coastal lands that has an effect on the wetlands.That has not always been good.

Both the Nation and Louisiana residents basically benefit by making sure the Mississippi River is the Nation's most important highway. However that also means because it's basically now a canal that sediment that built thewetlands is now just going off the edge of the Continental shelf  .

The Gulf Intracoastal Waterway is a vital  link in our commerce needs ,  but it also plays a huge role in Coastal erosion.

Finally disasters whether natural like Hurricane Katrina ,or man made like the BP oil spill do not help to say the leat.

What do we face today as to wetlands.. We face numerous towns including places like New Orleans under threat because there is no wetlands to stop the hurricane storm surge.

We have communities and farmers that have salt water infusion problems into their drinking water.

We have a whole eco system at threat .

We also have a very unique cultural tradition that might be gone with the wind.


That does not mean let Mother Nature have free reign. People have to live here , and cannot have Mother Nature take a improper role of subverting man. ( Look at final paragraphs of this post to Church / Sate analogy) .

People In Louisiana have known for some decades there was a problem. However it was easy to ignore the threats , the real casual erosion, that caused numerous other problems.

The Nation's attention is briefly forced to pay attention to this problem with things like the hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill. The state leaders to their credit have used those two events to try to demand that the nation be part of the solution.

The HHS Birth Control Mandate is in a way many religious leaders BP , and Hurricane Katrina moment.

Religious liberty at times can be eroded away by small things. We for the most part see this in the States and local Govt. We have seen the issues of same sex marriage ,and adoption issue affect numerous Catholic Dioceses. That includes.  but not limited to the Archdioceses of D.C , Boston, and the entire state of Illinois

We have seen quite an attempt too pass overboard Anti Shari laws in various States . In fact just this past week the Michigan Catholic Bishops were  fighting that battle in Michigan ,and tried to point out how this has many effects.

We see some laws in response to valid concerns over immigration issues that could make criminal the act of giving Christian Charity to an illegal alien.

We have seen  a wedding photographer having to engage in litigation with the Government because her  beliefs prohibited her in participating in a sex marriage ceremony.( That case is believe it or not still in the Courts).

In fact a leading religious reporter just last year seemed baffled that florists or food folks might not be mandated by NY Law to be sort of the provider of  sacramentals   in NY Same Sex Marriage events .

We are also dealing with numerous religious liberty , and   conscience issues as to licenses one needs to have to  be in a profession and make a livelihood.

We saw the Obama administration argue that there was no such thing as a ministerial exception in the first amendment.

The list includes a lot of small things that like erosion of wetlands causes problems.

The HHS Mandate is much like Hurricane Katrina. It's not the only attack on religious liberty , but it is a substantial problem that attacks perhaps a weaken system. See What is a Religious Institution? .
If you are at a bar in the French Quarter its doubtful you are thinking of that acre an hour the Louisiana coast is losing.

 However if you were down there during Katrina with the feel of danger in the air it's much more hard to ignore. If you are having a nice walk down St Charles radio and spell the HEAVY THICK PUTRID smell of the BP oil spill in the air you get it.

However there are opportunities. It took Katrina and the BP spill combined in some ways to drag people's short attention spans to a pending national security  ,economic, and cultural emergency.

Also I think , I hope at least, that the Federal Govt realize the "band aid" solutions are not enough. It is hoped that opportunity comes out of this crisis and these issues are highlighted.

The question is will the American people see this Katrina like  threat , and be moved to take it seriously.

Much like the two sovereigns of Mother Nature and Man we cannot live where Mother Nature trumps all. Likewise in  the clashing of the two sovereigns of Church , and State the Church cannot be exempt from all laws and regulations.

In Louisiana we are learning more , and more the great benefit of the wetlands now they are in danger. Benefits we might have had no idea about just years ago.Ignoring those benefits as I hope I stated well enough in this post has put us all in great danger.

Let me make one final analogy that involves the crucial issues of the  The HHS Contraception Mandate vs. the Religious Freedom Restoration Act . Mother nature cannot trump man on the Louisiana Coast , but the wetland crisis  made us learn that accomodating it is good. Our motives and aims ( energy, jobs, transportation,  economic etc ) might be quite proper and right.


We have learned that we must do more to survive. That is in this relationship as to the wetlands GOVERNMENT  can only substantially burden the wetlands only if

(1) there is a compelling governmental interest
(2)  it is the least restrictive means of furthering that compelling governmental interest.

If you can see it as the wetlands then maybe you can see it as to religious liberty where that test is done.

Let us stop the erosion.

Louisiana Shockers- Times Picayune Not To Publish Everyday Massive Layoffs

Wow talk about a sad morning bombshell. The Gambit has some pretty good coverage here.

The front page while not mentioning their own slight demise is fitting.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Where Did The HHS Birth Control Mandate Very Narrow Test For Religious Institutions Come From ?

A good post on this at Mirrors of Justice on that at  What is a Religious Institution?

Has Supreme Court Conference Vote On Affordable Care Act ( Obamacare) Leaked

The last couple of days there have been legal posts that seem to be pleading, pressuring , etc in a quite naked way for Chief Justice Roberts not to overturn the Affordable Care Act AKA Obamacare.

Ann Althouse links a post calling some of these people at I read earlier this morning. See

"No, the Supreme Court is Not Poised to Adopt a Radical Libertarian Agenda..."

Ann Althouse offers up the question I was thinking this morning. It seems like some important people know something , or at least think they know something.  Has the SCOTUS conference vote on Obamacare that was just taken and has leaked. If it has leaked that is sort of sad , and no doubt its likely a Law Clerk is among the suspects.

Missing Mass No Big Deal Says Catholic American Legion Auxiliary Leader to Florida Girl State Participant

American Catholic has the letter from this pretty brave young lady at  Margeaux’s Stand: Catholic Teen Defends Her Right to Attend Mass

I think this story is sort of interesting too as we have the debate on if accommodating Religion is a good thing we want to keep doing .

Relic Hans Kung Becomes What He Opposes - Pope No Longer Catholic

First Thoughts has Is the Pope Catholic? Hans Kung Says No

On a related note this Italian piece from Andrea Tornielli of La Stampa   translated to English seems relevant today. See  Benedict XVI, an “uncomfortable” message which indicates that both the "right" and the "left" are a tad miffed at the Pope in some respect as to their issues. Also as we see in that article the Holy Father is asking for a return to a quite RADICAL Catholic message.

Pro Choice Americans at Record Low According to Gallup

This is partly because in the supposed " cultural war " battle anti abortion people have not left the field even told for decades the battle war was lost.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Why Is Mega Law Firm of Jones Day Representing Catholic Church For Free In HHS Birth Control Mandate Cases

Did You know the Global law firm of Jones Day is representing the Catholic Church across the nation FREE OF CHARGE for the lawsuits they filed around the country on Monday. See Catholics suing to block U.S. contraception rule


The question is why? Jones Day himself might be a super Catholic ,and think this is a needed service to his Church. If you look at the number of suits and lawyers on those complaints that's quite a free service.

One other option is perhaps Jones Day sees this as a important  case in the big scheme of American legal history  , and heck even winnable ( gasp) and thus this gift.

I wonder if anyone anyone ( Bueller ? Bueller ? ) will think to follow this up and find out. That seems kinda of well as said interesting and important.

Unity !! Liberal and Conservative Catholics Agree " Vatican II " Church Buildings Suck Wind ( New Trends )

Have you ever noticed in some neighbor hoods with a lot of 70's designed housing that many are not exactly jumping to buy? In fact out of the young couples I know getting back to the traditional and fixing up older houses is the thing.

I think we have the same dynamic in the Catholic Church. America had a good article at Upon This Foundation -Are new church designs taking us backward?

My main objection to the article is some comments about where the Tabernacle is suppose to be located under liturgical norms. See the comments here that link this article for clarification.

I think there is a trend because I am seeing a lot of more traditional designs on the Internet.

Happily I think this is one area where " liberal " and " conservative" Catholics agree. Everyone is tired of the town funeral home looking like St Peters compared the Parish Church.  The majority did not like it , but went along with it because Vatican II Supposedly told us we had to do all this.

I saw this play out in a couple of Parishes as to Church designs , but the Bishops said this was what the liturgical experts said was required. Which was often balderdash

I am sure some "experts" will flip , but imagine in altar Rails and kneeling came back.This is again another change we were told we must like. Though it appears according to very informal polls I have taken both "liberal" and "Conservative" Catholic like kneeling for communion . It will be interesting to see if the Church design brings that back too.

Vanderbilt's New Policy Toward Religious Groups Causing Athletic Department, Athletes, and Donor Problems ( SEC )

I could see this coming a million miles away. The Nashville City paper has an excellent article on what is going down. See At Vanderbilt, all-comers policy and athletics butt heads

Imagine Maureen Dowd’s Catholicism- Its Easy If You Try

I hate to return again to Maureen Dowd's column (screed) as to the Catholic Church , Bishops, Vatican, etc but Michael Potemra column was a good one in response , See Here Comes . . . Maureen Dowd.

..Dowd doesn’t explain why, specifically, the church group in question has to embrace, in its entirety, the other meaning of the word. I share her notion that pluralism in religious belief is a good thing, a human right, and worthy of defense. But it’s not clear why any particular organization has to harbor all possible pluralism within itself. Surely, if we prize diversity, we should not insist that Catholics be Protestants as well, or that Hindus be Buddhists, or that Sunnis be Shia? The only reason I can think of for insisting that one’s own religion embrace all other views is a sense that one’s religion is a unique public good, serving a higher religio-political purpose than other religions, and therefore subsuming them — which is rather hard to distinguish, as an attitude, from the one that liberals mean when they refer, pejoratively, to conservatives as “triumphalistic.”

I do not disagree with Dowd’s desire for a higher unity embracing the various religions, but in my theological understanding this is an eschatological hope, not a practical policy capable of short-term, this-worldly realization. (In the meantime, we are called to love our neighbor, not to be our neighbor.) Strangely enough, then, in spite of all her dissents from and criticisms of the Catholic Church, I think she is investing too much importance in Catholicism, rather than too little; the old phrase for what she’s trying to do is “immanentize the eschaton.”

Her closing lines, too, are provocative: “This is America. We don’t hunt heresies here. We welcome them.” On this, she is right; our friend (and her NYT colleague) Ross Douthat has written a whole book about it! But her column was not about America; it was about Catholicism. If she insists that Catholicism embrace, uncritically, the values of “America,” doesn’t she run the risk of a rather too-close identification of church and nation? I am reminded of how angry some conservative Catholics were when the Vatican didn’t embrace the Iraq war; many a time did I hear condemnation of the “Euro-weenie” “axis of weasel” Vatican bureaucrats who were preventing the Pope from coming out on America’s side. (There was typically, in these criticisms, the unspoken assumption that the Pope could not have made a mistake as serious as dissenting from the Bush administration’s foreign policy unless he had been misled by nefarious advisers.) I think I know what Maureen’s opinion of those Iraq-related criticisms would be; I invite her to correct me if I’m wrong. But how are her strictures against the Vatican any different? Part of the system of religious pluralism is the recognition of the prophetic — contrarian — role of religion vis-à-vis the state. Not all prophets are right, but we shouldn’t discourage them, because some, at least, of them may be telling us what we need to hear.....

A Catholic Church that is like America. I love the USA , but I think I will pass.

Former LSU Track Star Bound to London Olympics Talks Chasity and Her Virginity

Expect with LSU in post season Baseball play , and with the London Olympics coming up that Sports post become more of a thing here. On that note a good story on former LSU Track Star Lolo Jones that has led an interesting Challenging life.

Alabama Methodist Church Holds Service Asking For Forgiveness For Murder of Catholic Priest 91 Years Ago

This is nice story and it references a Priest I have mentioned before. See Methodist service asks forgiveness for priest’s murder 91 years ago. The appears to have happened around Ash Wednesday of this year.

There is a whole site dedicated to him that has his writings ,and also articles from the time period when the murder happened.

As the bio notes he arrived at a time when anti Catholicism had a substantial uptick in Mobile.

Of interest then is this poem that I suspect to some modern Catholic ears would be a tad jarring.

Our National Flag

Rev. James E. Coyle

Do they dare, do they dare, to say we love not thee,

That we love thee not Old Glory, that floats above the free.

That we re traitors to the Nation, that we cannot both be true

To the glorious Church Christ founded, and the Red, White and Blue.

They say the Roman Pontiff may ask us to betray

The glorious flag of Freedom s land, and we must needs obey.

We must haul down at his behest, and in the mire must drag

The folds of dear Old Glory, our nation s glorious flag.

Oh, they lie, they lie and know it, the base and bigot crew

Who say such things do basely lie. They know that we are true.

They know full well, that all the years that saw Old Glory wave

Saw sons of Mother Church stand staunch, the bravest of the brave.

We ve shed our blood on many a field, we ve fought on every sea

For the Stars and Stripes, the Nation s flag of the brave and the free.

Again we swear if called to fight, we ll gladly, proudly go

To man your ships and serve your gun's gainst any foreign foe.

We ll go, and Holy Church will bless the guns and swords of ours,

We use to bring destruction dire' gainst any hostile powers.

Our love of Country does not change the love to God we bear.

God and our Country, both we love, for both we ll do and dare.

Pray when did Pontiff message send, to ask us traitors be

To that dear flag, the Stars and Stripes, that waves above the free?

Not any year, of all the years since first Old Glory flew

Were sons of Church base traitor knaves. No, they were leal and true.

And leal and true are we today, we ll follow where it waves;

We ll follow even though if floats above our foreign graves.

We ve sworn to serve that Glorious Flag, Let s swear the oath anew,

Our flag, Old Glory, Freedom s Flag, the Red and White and Blue.

Pope Benedict - The Church Militant Is In Battle Against Evil

While short interesting remarks from the Holy Father.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Notre Dame Still Had Some Catholic ID - An Alumni Defends

One of it's Alumni gives a defense here.

I know some conservative leaning Catholics that sort of bristle at people that think it does not exist that are assoicated with Notre Dame.

Will Mitt Romney Lose Arkansas Over 150 Year Old Mormon Militia Massacre ? ( Updated)

Let me say I am not so anti this Washington Post article Mitt Romney’s Mormon faith tangles with a quirk of Arkansas history as some Conservatives are such as we see  here and here.

Mitt Romney is a Mormon  running for President ,and that is a pretty interesting fact. It is also a fact that relations between Mormons and Christians have been rather mixed over American History.

So as a lover of American history, I see more "opportunity" than harm in examining the interesting interplay of Mormons and others in history. To put a finer point it , I am not sure we should assume the very worst intention ALL the time of the person writing the story. I think we often divine the good from the bad.

I like the article. It relates to a people in one area of Arkansas that are related to the victims , and combines polling. The indication is from the article on the question if it would hurt him is well not really.

 I agree with that.

 I suspect most of the people talked about are much more concerned about the problems with the Arkansas Football team than Mitt Romney being a Mormon. I also don't think they exist ( the descendants) in such vast numbersa to have much effect on the Arkansas electoral vote to sway it against Romney even it they wanted too. But as the article points out for such a people connected by blood to this incident it does not seem to be hurting Romney. Which again might show a bigger story as to the Evangelical vote as a whole in this election.

Still a interesting article , that I enjoyed.

UPDATE- More info on the background of this via this Salon piece.

Horror Stories in Asset Forfeiture Laws

I am afraid this "Stealing" by the Governement, DA's, and Law enforcement is sadly way too common. See Adventures in Asset Forfeiture

New York Times Obsession Against Catholic Church Continues - Dowd Again

Again I ask the question!! What do non Catholics think of the obsessive  number of opinion pieces, articles, and official Op Eds we see from the Times Editorial Board itself against the Catholic Church? It happens so much it is comic.

The New York Times ,and among them Maureen Dowd need an intervention. Why does the NYT think it has such a special role in all this. Further why is Dowd given space week after week to work out her "issues" ?

I get the Catholic Church is the news , but this appears unhealthy in a journalism way. They need to be put on the couch.

On that note The Anchoress gives her latest thoughts to this the latest Dowd piece. See Pelosi’s failure leads Dowd to Cuomo, again

Major Archdioceses , Notre Dame , and Other Catholics Agencies Unleash Flurry of Lawsuits Against HHS Birth Control Mandate Today

There appears to have been some rather coordinated filing of Lawsuits against the HHS Birth Control mandate today. Notre Dame , many Catholic Dioceses, and other Catholic Institutions were involved.

See from Mirrors of Justice Notre Dame (and others) file federal-court lawsuit challenging HHS mandate

Cardinal Dolan statement is here via the Bishops big office in D.C. See  Cardinal Dolan Applauds Church Agencies As They Challenge HHS For Violating Religious Freedom a May 21 statement applauded 43 dioceses, hospitals, schools and church agencies for filing 12 lawsuits around the nation saying the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate violates religious freedom..

According to Rocco Palmo via twitter these include the ( arch)dioceses of Washington, St Louis, Dallas, Ft Worth, Pittsburgh.

I expect more to follow.

Updates- Appears Our Sunday Visitor was on the lawsuit list. They have an op ed here that is linked .

 Both the Anchoress see Breaking: OSV, Notre Dame, Others File Lawsuit -UPDATED and Ed Morrissey see Breaking: 43 Catholic institutions file suits over HHS mandate are gathering reactions and links

 The entire list is here

Close to home I noted that the many Dioceses in the Fed 5th Circuit ( Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi) were active today. Those filing in Fed District Courts in the 5th Circuit are:

5. N.D.Tex. (Dallas Div.) Lawsuit

 Diocese of Dallas

6. N.D.Tex. (Fort Worth Div.) Lawsuit

 Diocese of Fort Worth

8. S.D.Miss. (Gulfport Div.) Lawsuit

 Diocese of Jackson
Catholic Charities of Jackson
Vicksburg Catholic School
 St. Joseph’s Catholic School
 Diocese of Biloxi
De l’Epee Deaf Center Inc.
Catholic Social & Community Services Inc.
Resurrection Catholic School
Sacred Heart Catholic School
St. Dominic Health Services

 Here is the Archdiocese of Washington D.C. Lawsuit

An overview of the Archdiocese of St Louis Press Conference on Lawsuit plus links

From the Catholic Deep South an article on Catholic Church actions in both Dioceses of Mississippi. Here is a letter the Diocese of Biloxi's Bishop sent out.  Further the Diocese of Biloxi has set up a legal defense fund to help defray the cost.

Besides local lawyers this is the Law Firm that is heading up the Church's Lawsuit nationwide.

George Weigel has a good column here on today's actions. See The Mandate War At stake is nothing less than the future of civil society in the United States

More Good Reviews of New St Francis of Assisi Book - Francis of Assisi : A New Biography

I think I mentioned this new book on St Francis of Assisi that I keep seeing  getting some good reviews. This again is one of those life a Saints book I might buy. First Thoughts has a good review at Imaginary Saints

Friday, May 18, 2012

Episcopal Church Web Site Writer Upset That Catholic Church To Laicize Former Catholic Now Episcopal Priests

A Major Episcopal Web Site writer is sort of misleading , and creating a big deal over nothing I think. See RC diocese seeks to turn three Episcopal priests into lay persons

What's is sort of frustrating is the writer here seems to have a disconnect between the last piece of the article he wrote and the first part:

The Roman Catholic Diocese of Allentown wants to declare that three Episcopal priests, who were received from the Catholic Church, are lay people. ( Yes as a matter as to their Status in the Catholic Church YES. They left the Catholic Priesthood so this sort of makes sense)

The Diocese of Allentown seeks to laicize the Rev. Canon Bill Lewellis, the Rev. Canon Michael Piovane, and the Rev. Donald Schaible. They were notified by letter in March that the Catholic diocese intends to use newer, simplified procedures that were designed in 2009 to remove sex offenders and child abusers from the clergy roles without an ecclesiastical trial.

Among other things, the move also seeks to undercut the validity of the ministry of ex-RCC priests in the Episcopal Church (WHAT ? LINK PLEASE )  because in theory The Episcopal Church (which recognizes the validity of Catholic orders) can't receive what's been taken away. ( WRONG. As explained below in the article he writes EVEN and in the comments this moves someone to the Lay State as a manner of Canon Law . It DOES NOT affect their Orders. Once a Priest Always a Priest ). In the Episcopal view, these men did not stop being priests, they only changed the church (jurisdiction) in which they practice their ministry. ( This is actually in some ways the Catholic Church's views except we don't exactly view the Episcopal Church as a jurisdiction).

So instead of using this on Roman clergy who have sexually abused their parishioners, they use it clergy who committed the "grave scandal" of being married--even though the Roman Catholic church will re-ordain married former Episcopal clergy who join their church. ( That was a low and unfair blow. This is being used against Clergy that abused. Further THEY LEFT THE CATHOLIC CHURCH. It is just not that they are now married.It should  also recalled that by removing them from Clerical to the Lay State it's removes their Canon Law obligation to be celibate and thus be married. There are certain RIGHTS and OBLIGATIONS to being in the Clerical versus Lay State. For instance once in the Lay State they don't have a right ot be buried in Catholic Clerical Garb.  Again what is the big deal here. The Church is not saying that the they somehow have taken the impact of their Holy Orders away ( to do a valid Eucharist for instance ).

This action is taking (or has already taken) place--it's involuntary and essentially done in secret--many years after the three became Episcopalians and were received as priests. Piovane was received in 1993, Lewellis in 1999 and Schaible in 2007....

Read it all. Again there might be some legal Canon Law issues here about notice.

Despite what is said elsewhere in the article , I think this procedure has been used against Priests that did not abuse children. Dallas Charter Creep person I saw put it , but that is another matter. Maybe a Canon Law blog will address this matter. 

Again I am perplexed. All sort of obligations of being in the clerical state such as obedience to Catholic authority on various matters, celibacy , etc are in play. It's apparent these ex Catholic Priests now Episcopalians don't care about that. So why oh why should the Roman Catholic Church keep them as a matter of Canon law on the "Clerical Rolls".

One Baptism Is Out !! Catholic Bishop, Orthodox Metropolitan , Protestants Re Baptize Each Other

YES YES YES I know its called "symbolic"  Baptism , but its a tad too close to the real thing for my taste.
Why can't they just do Vespers or something.
MYSTAGOGY has A Rotten Fruit of Ecumenism - Metropolitan Symbolically Baptized By Catholic Bishop

Professor Leaving Georgetown For Catholic Notre Dame Has Words For Washington Post & University on Sebelius Address

A few months back Prof Patrick J. Deneen told his student and the world why he was leaving Georgetown for Notre Dame.

 It was an sad indictment of the University.

He said in part:

...Notre Dame has recruited me explicitly because they regard me as someone who can be a significant contributor to its mission and identity, particularly the Catholic identity of the institution. Considerations of “mission fit” has become a criterion for faculty hiring at Notre Dame – indeed, it was a major consideration in seeking to hire me – whereas it is generally not a consideration at Georgetown. Without such a criterion,Georgetown increasingly and inevitably remakes itself in the image of its secular peers, ones that have no internal standard of what a university is for other than the aspiration of prestige for the sake of prestige, its ranking rather than its commitment to Truth. Its Catholic identity, which should inform every activity of the community, from curriculum to dorm life to faculty hiring, has increasingly been cordoned off to optional activities of Campus Ministry. I would like to be a contributor to a more widely-embraced institutional mission in the life of my institution and community. I don’t doubt that there will challenges at Our Lady’s University. But, there are at least a sizeable core of faithful colleagues to share in the effort, something altogether lacking at Georgetown.....

Well as I say at least there are signs that Catholic University of America in D.C. is turning around.

Today he called out both the Washington Post Op Ed Board , and Georgetown over the latest controversy that just finished up today. That is of course the Sec. Sebelius Graduation address.

See “For the Salvation of Souls”: A Farewell to Georgetown

Vatican Leak Scandal Moves Into More Frightening Life Endangering Stage ?

The Vatican Leaks Crisis has been a problem. The revelations themselves are not in particular that much of a scandal. However the ability of Church leaders to share their views in confidence is needed , and this has been damaged.

However we now have leaks involving  Government Leaders and secular Govt concerns on a much wider front which is now even more concerning. Rome Reports has New wave of serious leaks of confidential documents from the Pope.

This now is becoming slightly closer to the USA Wikileaks in it's dynamics. The Holy See , and indeed the Catholic Church's Mission worldwide is endangered because of things like this.

When so much of the Church is underground one holds one's breath that the next leak does not involve the Church in China ,or other places where the Church is persecuted.

This has gone from annoying Italian Soap Opera to something more serious very quick. They better find the parties responsible for this and fast.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Pretty Confident That This Frozen Red Wine Jesus Popsicle Is Not the Eucharist

This former Catholic now atheist artist I think has a wrong idea of how this works. If I snuck a bottle of Red Wine into Mass it would not become the Blood of Christ just because I happened to be in the same building.

I have a feeling the same goes for the wine in a cooler now the Jesus on a stick.Ann Althouse has  the link at

"Artist wants Jesus Popsicles to stand as statement on fanaticism, violence."

Gary Willis NYT Article Marriage As Sacrament Is Medieval Invention Gets Hosed By All Sides

When I read the  Gary Willis piece at the New York Times on how  Marriage is a Sacrament is just a medieval invention , I was floored how bad it was.

It was so loaded with  errors,  twisted facts , half truths, and ignorance, I decided just  let someone that  had the time /energy to post on it, and I would link it. I also think the fact I was running out of cigarettes contributed to that attitude.

It appears that both the left ,and right of Catholic land are a tad aghast at it. See this great piece that pretty much tears it down at Garry Wills on the Sacrament of Marriage.

At the bottom of that post is a link hosing it from the Catholic "left".

Treating Gay Catholics In the Church As Family

The Catholic blogs are sort of abuzz with the article of a  Catholic theology doctoral student , who is  gay, and chaste ,  at  First Things. See Dan Savage Was Right .

I thought Rod Dreher had one of the best engagements of it today that also takes it out of the "gay" only context. See his post One Crazy — Or Very Brave — Gay Catholic.

In that Rod's post there was a good comment from Joel Hunter:

Let me push back a bit on Gonnerman's claim: Where exactly are all these parishes/churches/congregation that would not welcome a celibate struggling with same-sex attraction?

Let's test the theory. If you are a Christian ask yourself, "Would my church not welcome them?" I suspect the vast, vast majority would both say that their church would be welcoming . . . but the problem is other churches.

This strikes me as what I call the "Other Church Syndrome." People admit that it is not an issue at their church but assume it must be a problem with someone else's church. If it is (and I admit, it could be), why don't we hear more people saying that their church shuns people struggling with same-sex attraction?

And I think I have read dozens of articles saying that Christians should be more loving toward chaste homosexuals, but not a single one that says, as Gonnerman claims, “I’m sorry, we can’t do anything about bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, in Timothy, in Romans that being gay is wrong.” (Seriously, has any Christian outside of Westboro Baptist ever said anything like that?)

If this is a problem then we should start naming names by calling out these guilty congregations. It's unfair to slander the entire Body of Christ by making claims that a problem no one ever seems to provide evidence for is pervasive within the Church.

I get where Joel is going with that ,and  agree to a certain extent. The Catholic Church of the 80's and 90's on a Parish level , in the Academy, and indeed in many Bishops offices seemed anything but slamming gay people in a cruel way. In fact I think it is sort of this wink wink nod nod  toward illicit behavior that the now more conservative clergy is sometimes reacting too.

However this is where Rod's piece comes in handy. That is how he and just average single  people are treated in the Church as they lived according to its teachings. As someone that is a DIVORCED CATHOLIC I get that. There is a difference between come to Mass , and then treating and loving someone like family. It may not be intentional at all , but when everything is FAMILY FAMILY well......

As Rod points out:

 It’s not only true for gay people, but also straights who are single, either by choice or unchosen circumstance. In my case, when I became a serious adult Christian, I knew that I couldn’t be a Christian conditionally. I had tried that; it didn’t work. Specifically, I had tried exempting myself from the clear, consistent teaching of Scripture and Tradition about sexual morality. I read all the liberal theologians, and tried to believe it — but it was, to use a Savage-ism, bullshit. And I was lying to myself to think there was any truthful way forward but the narrow path. Like Gonnerman, I found that the Church’s teaching really is liberating, even though it required a lot of painful asceticism on my part (the most painful of which was the real possibility that it might be like this for my whole life; there was no guarantee that I would ever marry). How much easier the burden of chastity as a single Christian would have been if I hadn’t felt so alone in church. The clergy didn’t seem to care much, either intentionally or not, nor did anybody else. Most of the young adults I knew who bothered with church at all had no interest in being faithful to its sexual teaching, and so were no help. Everybody else was bound up with family life, and the culture of family life.

We are told or at least some of us were told many of us might have a situation or a Vocation for the single life outside being a cleric or a religious. The problem is how can we get help living that out.

There are a few things I would nitpick about  Gonnerman's article. For instance I think making sure that Anti Bully Legislation is drafted in a way that does not created more problems than it purports to solve is important. Too many times I see people that worry how the i 's are dotted  , and the t's are crossed are thrown into the PRO BULLY side.

Anyway more later perhaps. These are just initial thoughts.

The Need For Two Biblical Forms of Catholic Church Internal Discipline Of It's Flock

I thought Msgr. Charles Pope had a real good post up on this today. See Make Haste…Slowly! – On Balancing two texts of Scripture about the use of Discipline in the Church

Welcome To It's Not Ascension Thursday In The USA

Except if you are in the Diocese / Archdioceses of   Boston, Hartford, New York, Newark, Omaha, and Philadelphia.

Hopefully one day perhaps in Louisiana the Diocese of Baton Rouge  at the very least will think of going back to the old days. That seems apt since the CIVIL Parish of ASCENSION is located in it's jurisdiction.

I count this right aside the issue of the take down the altar rail  at all cost as one of the United States Catholic Bishops most tragic choices

Father Z has Fr. Z’s annual rant about Ascension Thursday Sunday

He says in part :

....The bishops who did transfer the feast to Sunday were, I am sure, hoping to expose more people to the mystery of the Ascension of the Lord. Probably included in that calculation was also the notion that it is tooo haaard for people to go to Mass also on Thursday. “Mass twice in a week? Tooo haaard!”

I am no doubt under the the influence of having read so much St. Augustine. My present view of humanity suggests that when Holy Mother Church lowers expectations regarding the liturgy, people get the hint and lower their own personal expectations of themselves. They get the hint that the feast just isn’t that important. As a matter of fact, maybe none of this Catholic stuff, with all these rules, is that important. This is what happened with lowering  expectations about Friday abstinence (hardly anyone pays attention to it anymore), going to confession regularly and confession all mortal sins, the Eucharistic fast, dressing appropriately for Mass, etc. etc. etc.  If you change how people pray (or tell them they don’t have to) you change the way people believe.  There is a reciprocal relationship between our prayer and our belief.  Lex ordandi – Lex credendi.

am left with the opinion that the option to dislocate such an important and ancient feast falls into the category of a Really Bad Idea. As a matter of fact, it isn’t a Really Bad Idea just because it could undermine our Catholic identity, it is also a Really Bad Idea because it smacks of arrogant novelty.

The celebration of Ascension on a particular Thursday is rooted in Scripture. Celebration on Thursday reflects the ancient practice of the Churches of the East and West alike. We read in Holy Scripture that nine days, not six, intervened between the Lord’s physical ascent to the Father’s right hand and the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. If Pentecost was the 50th day, seven weeks – as the ancients counted the starting day itself is included so you get 50 rather than 49), then Ascension Thursday was fixed at the 40th day after Easter......

I agree. He goes into more detail. Real it all

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Burkean ( Non Religious ) Reasons To Take It Slow On Same Sex Marriage

Unsettled Christianity had his reaction to the gay marriage issue after the North Carolina vote at  Some thoughts on the gay marriage stuff from this week

I am not quite that cynical.  This is partly because I think we live more and more in a age where the "party bosses" don't control the show as nearly as much they did.

So I think there are many many more people of good will on each side of the same sex marriage divide that are serious about this than the people Joel talks about.

The issue of gay marriage  either pro or con is in my view being driven by below rather than above at certain opportune moments for the party.

On that note Rod Dreher has a good post up at  Some Burkean Thoughts on SSM. That is an argument for going slow on same sex marriage that are non religious.

Rod's post I think is the explaination in part of  what the phrase "Civilization depends on the health of the traditional family" uttered by many social conservatives means. They just can't explain it very well which is not a shock in this age of liberal arts education being in such decay.

New York Times Runs Another Mean Vatican Nice Nuns Op-Ed ( Nuns and the American West )

I think everyone in this saga is going to benefit when this story goes away a tad. That being the Holy See, the Leadership group of nuns there are concerned about and various other impacted parties.

There needs to be some dialogue , and that is perhaps not helped by the napalm various factions are throwing for their own often unrelated agendas. There needs to be a media time out so there can be some calm.

Which brings us to this Op-Ed written by Anne M. Butler, a professor emerita of history at Utah State University, is the author of the forthcoming book “Across God’s Frontiers: Catholic Sisters in the American West, 1850-1920.”  See Nuns on the Frontier .

One thought that is sort of unrelated. Its kinda of sad that in the history of building American Fortress Catholicism that the role of the Brothers are so often ignored. It's all Priest vs Sisters or something like that. I have just noticed that as the history of the America Church is often mentioned in this conflict.

One looming elephant in the room as to this Op-Ed were these nuns and sisters were very Orthodox. Somehow they did not think of moving to a "post Jesus" situation was apt.

Then as now, not all priests and bishops treated sisters badly, though the priests who reached out to nuns in a spirit of appreciation, friendship and equality could not alter the church’s institutional commitment to gender discrimination. And, as now, some bishops, dismissive of the laity, underestimated the loyalty secular Catholics felt for their nuns.

In the case of Mother St. Andrew, tenacity and spirituality triumphed over arrogance and misogyny. The Vatican would do well to bear this history in mind as it thinks through the consequences of its unjust attack on American sisters.

Of course this is not an attack on all American Sisters Also she sort of fails to make the case that this is 'unjust".

One things that bothers me , and I wonder how many Catholic women think the same as to how this playing out . Some of the theological concerns the Vatican have is a rather big deal. I will take it for granted that some of these Female Relgious  leaders take this theological  thought seriously.

But it seems since they help the poor and because they are women that any discussion of what the Vatican is actually concerned about seems off limits.

I find that strange ,and well sort of a degrading anti female point of view. Its also seems striking that a female Prof at a University where her work would no doubt be engaged and held under scrutiny  is parroting that.

It's quite clear that some of the sisters in question want this theology that has all sort of implications to have a effect on the Church and beyond. YET to even say some of this seems well outside the boundary of traditional Christianity is to be attacking all nuns .

I suppose there is some benefit of this theological thought going under the radar from a tactical point of view. However I do't thnk that is a good state of affairs.

Let us bring it out in the sunshine as it were. It appears some University professors disagree though.

Republican War On Women ? Deb Fischer Win And Doubling GOP Women In Senate

Everyone is talking about the stunning win of Deb Fischer  in the Nebaska GOP U.S. Senate Primary today. I was glad to see she seems to have solid pro life credentials.

Rubin at her  piece 10 things about Deb Fischer’s win has some interesting insights including this one:

3. Republican women are out in force in the 2012 election. Fischer joins Hawaii’s Linda Lingle, Missouri’s Sarah Steelman, Connecticut’s Linda McMahon, New York’s Wendy Long and New Mexico’s Heather Wilson as prominent female Republicans contending in primaries. With the departure of Sens. Kay Bailey Hutchinson (R-Tex.) and Olympia Snowe (R-Maine), the GOP would have only three women in the Senate; That number could easily double with this crop of female candidates.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Why Are Canadian Catholic Bishops Such American GOP Stooges ? - Religious Liberty Letter

Because as we all know from seeing articles with "religious liberty " in scare quotes a thousand times its all about defeating Obama or about contraception or something.

But it's not really about Religious Liberty we are told by the peanut gallery. For the latest example see  Getting the Bishops' religious-liberty efforts wrong

The Canadian Bishops put out a letter on Religious Liberty yesterday. In fact its quite a substantial one. See a intro here  and the full download here.

While not all issues are exact same we see similarities . Those similarites are not by accident. First trends in the Anglo Catholic World ( UK, Canada , New Zealand, Australia ) have effects on all of us. Much more than lets say France. Further there is no doubt that many of the elements driving the debate especially in the UK, Canada, and USA has some common currents.

Last but not least Canada is right next door. We both influence  each other. So I would submit this as larger Western Trend that is sort of an indication the American Bishops might have some valid concerns on a whole host of issues.

Its a good document. A lot of that could have come from the United States Catholic Bishops , and no one could have known the difference.

Why Does Obama Dislike President Gerald Ford ?

I thought he was a pretty decent man.

Ann Althouse has Obama's name appears in the bios of ALL the other Presidents on the official White House website (except Gerald Ford's).

The Catholic Church' s Glass Ceiling ( NYT Article )

The NYT Times had a pretty good story about a Nun that runs a pretty strict Catholic Girls School. Get Religion has a look at it here at Ghost at Catholic girls school

I don't have as many complaints as the Get Religion guy , but I admit this:
...Given the range of possibilities available to women today, and the thickness of the church’s glass ceiling, it is unlikely that there are many more Sister Doloreses on the way...
was slightly disappointing. On a related matter if there are more Sister Dolorese on the way look at the Get Religion's critique of an AP Story About that nuns on the Internet story

That being said I think the reality is the glass ceiling in the Catholic Job for a whole bunch of stuff has been breached many times. In fact that seems the trend.

While its true a woman cannot be a Bishop, a Priest, or a Pope ( though in theory maybe a Cardinal ) what about the 99 percent of the other jobs and missions in the Church. A look at your local Diocese office shows women in major positions of authority. What about Catholic media, schools, Catholic Charities , etc etc.

A Catholic Louisiana Statewide Prison Ministry Crisis In North Louisiana

Louisiana has one the highest rate of people in jail in the country. The New Orleans Picayune is doing a series of articles on the Louisiana Prison system this week. It strikes me as one of those series that might win awards. So far I have like the series because it's very balanced. There are no "bad guys" as it were as to how Louisiana is dealing with the problem.

A couple of quick observations before I get into the Catholic angle.

This is a frustrating problem with no easy solutions. As to the amount of inmates  we have in Prison  how to reduce that number does not lend to a easy solution. There are various economic, social, cultural, and legal factors. I do think sentencing reform , and alternative sentencing is part of the key , but its not all of it.

On to the Catholic angle of the story.

The Picayune ran a story in this series that kind of cam close to home. See North Louisiana family is a major force in the state's vast prison industry. I sort of having a working knowledge of some of the folks mention and their private Prison facilities. Again I like the reporting  because it's fairly balanced. There are good effects of these private prisons , and bad effects. I would mention one good effect not mentioned is it now easier to keep female inmates awaiting trial much closer to home.

The story is slightly amusing as to the Jackson Parish Sheriff ( who I generally like a lot). His very honest assessment of the pros including the jobs he gets to dispense is pretty funny .

However we see a potential huge Catholic problem here on several angles. First as the article points out the Louisiana Private Prison Industry ,largely based in Protestant  North Louisiana, is fueled by South Louisiana inmates. No doubt being from South Louisiana a somewhat measurable percentage of these are Catholics.

Further the articles make this great point time after time. Catholics , and other religious groups are good at offering a ton of programs at the major State Prisons. There is an abundance!!  At these facilities mention it's the complete opposite. So we have a situation where LIFERS are getting educational certificates , and many people serving far far less sentences in these private facilities  and some Parish Jails are getting NADA. As an earlier article pointed  out perhaps there is a inmate led A.A. program ,but that is about it.

The Spiritual dynamic has not of yet been touched on in this week long series of articles , but is of obvious concerns.

In the end we have a Catholic demo wise population sending inmates into largely the Catholic light Parishes of the Diocese of Alexandria , and Diocese of Shreveport. I suspect that while these Diocese  do an ample job of working the State Prisons these are going under the radar.

It would be interesting to get a Catholic tally of inmates in these prisons to see the scope of the problem. That might be hard since the article indicates the Secretary of Corrections is having a hard time keeping track of who is being moved where. Still I think it should be done.

Second this is a state wide issue. I have said that the Louisiana Catholic Bishops should take a more combined approach to Campus Ministry in this state. I would suggest this might be an area at the next Bishop's meeting they would should look at too. These Northern Louisiana Diocese are no doubt trying , but I doubt they have the resources to hit the scope of the problem.

In New Orleans the Archdiocese is engaging the Second Battle of New Orleans to get the horrible murder and crime rate down. I would humbly suggest having New Orleans inmates bored out of their skull , with no programs to speak of to help enter society, and perhaps lack of spiritual direction is not going to help this battle. I bring this example up to show one facet of the problem that touches Catholic , and non Catholic alike.


Bishops, Priests , and Deacons need to discuss this problem and perhaps how to address it.

Meeting with other other Faith groups is essential.

Finally perhaps the Catholic Bishops should invite the head of   LaSalle Corrections , and other like him in this business, to see how they can assist him in helping these inmates.