Saturday, March 11, 2006
CHANGES IN THE CURIA
are being reported by Catholic World News. Some of the congregations are being combined. The one to watch, I suppose, though, is this one:
Also, the Pope is likely to make some personnel changes. After his election in April 2005, Pope Benedict confirmed all of the curial officials who had been serving under Pope John Paul II (bio - news). But changes are overdue in a number of key posts-- most notably that of Secretary of State, where Cardinal Angelo Sodano (bio - news) is now 78-- 3 years beyond retirement age-- and has held the Vatican's #2 post for nearly 15 years. Sandro Magister, the influential journalist who covers the Vatican for L'Espresso, has observed signs of friction between Cardinal Sodano and Pope Benedict in recent weeks.
Friday, March 10, 2006
JOSEPH'S LATEST COLUMN IS UP AT FRONTPAGEMAG
For more than half a century, Arab governments have been manipulating the plight of Palestinians to marshal public opinion against Israel. Now, one Arab ruler is trying to play a variation on that theme.
Jordan’s King Abdullah II has been meeting with prominent Catholic bishops from the West to solicit their help on behalf of Palestinian Christians. The Muslim king talked with officials from the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops in February and spoke a month earlier with Archbishop Patrick Kelly of Liverpool, vice president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales.
Abdullah met Kelly in Jordan while Kelly was attending the annual meeting of the Coordination of Episcopal Conferences in Support of the Church of the Holy Land, a group of Catholic bishops from Europe and North America. So far, at least one bishop is doing more than listening.
Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington, D.C. – who serves as the USCCB’s president and who greeted Abdullah graciously during the king’s separate visit in September – addressed the problems that Palestinian Christians face in a meeting with President George W. Bush, columnist Robert Novak reported Feb. 16.
Abdullah’s apparent compassion raises interesting questions: Why would a Muslim ruler concern himself with the suffering of Palestinian Christians – especially in territory, the West Bank, which once belonged to his nation, which effectively ceded it to the Palestinian Authority? Why not address the PA directly?
Novak’s Feb. 16 column provided the answer:
DA VINCI CODE BORROWED FROM UMBERTO ECO WHO MAY HAVE BORROWED FROM ROBERT ANTON WILSON ?
Wikipedia seems to think so:
Foucault's Pendulum has lately been called a thinking person's The Da Vinci Code, which it predated by over a decade. A parchment which inspires the Plan and its multiple possible interpretations (mundane or otherwise) play a role similar to that of the parchments in the Rennes-le-Château conspiracy theories, made famous by the Code as well as The Holy Blood and the Holy Grail and other similar books. The name of the book derives from an actual pendulum designed by the French physicist Léon Foucault to demonstrate the rotation of the earth.
The Wikipedia article also suggests another source:
The plot and structure closely follows that of The Illuminatus! Trilogy, published 13 years earlier; it is unclear if Eco was aware of the earlier work before he conceived the idea.
THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY was written by Robert Anton Wilson and Robert Shea, both of whom were on the editorial staff of "Playboy" at the same time, and one of whom was married to DePaul University faculty member Patricia Monaghan. It is said to be Wilson's (Pope "Bob" of the Church of the SubGenius's) most important book.
I've gotten through the first 150 pages of this 800-page work. It makes many references to Discordians--their beliefs and their symbols. The black mass which takes place in the book, complete with a detailed description of the sexual ritual performed by "Padre Pederesti," presumably a Catholic priest, and his second who performs the sexual act since the Padre can only function with a boy, plus an evocation of Lucifer who is persuaded to appear in a non-threatening form and does finally choose to appear as Billy Graham, is creepy. The Padre makes it clear that the host being used for the rite has been duly consecrated.
The Discordian love of confusion is reflected in the structure the authors have chosen for this novel. It is disjointed. Scene shifts occur in the middle of a passage with no break to alert the reader that a change is taking place. Comments are made by speakers who are not clearly identified. Conversations are broken into at mid-point leaving the reader wondering what the conversation is about. Yes, this is a Discordian novel. It contains the elements of a conspiracy theory that keep the reader turning the pages despite the confusion. The Bavarian Illuminati holds a prominent place in the storyline.
In reading it, I keep wondering if this is an example of hiding something in plain sight, or if it is an example of Discordian myth-making.
CAUGHT IN THE ACT
Dom found the evidence.
DE MOLAY VIEW OF DA VINCI CODE
It is often said by Masons that the esoteric aspects of Freemasonry are not mainstream--that they are "irregular." A somewhat different picture emerges from this DeMolay blog.
DeMolay is the youth group for teenage sons of Masons. These young men readily acknowledge that Dan Brown's novel is "fiction," however they believe the fiction is limited to the specific story line and not to the "facts" given in the novel.
Scroll down to the sixth entry which offers a "further reading" list. There you will see, among other authors, some well-known writers on the occult aspects of "Egyptian Rite" Masonry, such as Manly P. Hall, Arthur Edward Waite, Oswald Wirth, and Foster Bailey. In a few short years these young Masonic scholars will be leading the lodges, and these ideas will be a part of their Masonic truth.
The Last book on the list is "Rosslyn: Guardian of the Secrets of the Holy Grail."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
VATICAN MOSCOW NUNCIO INTERVIEWED BY ASIA NEWS
on ecumenical relations with the Orthodox:
Can you please clarify the current situation of ties between the Vatican and Russia? What is standing in the way of the establishment of diplomatic relations at embassy-level?
Without getting into technical details, I can say that relations continue to develop very positively, even in international forums. It does not seem to me entirely correct to say that something or someone is creating an “obstacle” to the installation of full diplomatic relations. For the moment, I would rather say that their fully convincing, objective necessity – recognized by both parties – does not exist yet. If I had to choose between form and content, I would opt for the second. It seems to me that from this point of view, we are on the right path, and the form will sooner or later adjust to the content, that is, to the reality it reflects. In any case, the Nunciature is working with all its strength in this direction. I believe that this position is shared by our interlocutors in the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation.
SPANISH FESTIVAL WILL MODERATE USE OF RELIGIOUS SYMBOLS
In Valencia's Fallas festival, sculptures of the high and mighty are mocked before being destroyed in an orgy of gunpowder and flames. It has survived attacks by the Catholic Church, puritanical rulers and the Franco dictatorship.
But self-censorship has seen Muslim and Arab figures modified this year to avoid offence.
Last month, Valencia's Mayor, Rita Barbera, urged artists to "temper freedom with a sense of responsibility" when referring to religious subjects.
"Temper freedom with a sense of responsibility"...one can only hope the concept will spread!
HISTORIC CATHOLIC-JEWISH MEETING IN GERMANY
For the first time in history, Vatican cardinals met for official talks with German rabbis. Representatives of both religious communities described the meeting as "historic."
Leading Vatican and German cardinals met in Berlin on Thursday for official talks with the Jewish rabbis of Germany.
The head of the Vatican Commission for Religious Relations with the Jews, Cardinal Walter Kasper, and the president of the Rabbinical Committee of Germany, Henry G. Brandt, described the meeting as "historic."
SF CATHOLIC CHARITIES TOLD TO STOP GAY ADOPTIONS
San Francisco, Mar. 10 (CWNews.com) - The San Francisco archdiocese will review its current policy, which allows adoptions by same-sex couples, after receiving instructions from the Vatican on the subject.
Ironically, the instructions from Rome came the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Archbishop William Levada, who was head of the San Francisco archdiocese when the adoption services run by Catholic Charities there placed adoptive children with same-sex couples. And to compound the irony, the reconsideration of that policy appears to have come as the result of inquiries from the Boston Globe, a paper that has criticized the Massachusetts bishops for their recent decision to seek exemption from a state non-discrimination policy that requires adoption agencies to work with gay couples. ...
Archbishop Levada acknowledged that he had assented to the placement of several children in gay households while he was Archbishop of San Francisco. But now he acknowledged that Church teachings "require that a Catholic bishop follow this clear guidance from the Holy See in his oversight of Catholic diocesan agencies," the Globe reported.
Thursday, March 09, 2006
I have a new grandbirdie, and that's his name.
He arrived just recently because his older birdling, F.R.E.T., was lonely and tended to sulk, which sent "mom" on a guilt trip for not having enough time to spend with him.
First she tried a recording of her voice on a cage-friendly mechanical device that also incorporated a mirror. When FRET figured out the mirror bird wasn't real he returned to sulking. Next she tried a cuddle buddy which is a piece of fake fur tied to the cage so the bird can cuddle up to it. (Yes they actually sell these in pet shops.) FRET was not impressed for a second with fuzzy fabric as a friendly companion. He moved to a different perch. Finally she put a radio on a timer. Grandbirdie was having none of it.
When FRET concludes he has been forgotten, he gets angry and delivers the mad chirp so no one has any doubt about his state of mind. Then he bites things, preferably things that are warm and flesh colored, for which he gets spritzed with a water atomizer, after which he flies to the cage then moves to the far side of it to sulk, threatening menacingly if any hand should enter.
It seemed that the only possible solution to the sulking bird was another one. Preferably one that could sing, and preferably one that would not annoy the sulker unduly. But what if FRET disliked having a cagemate? What do you do with two parakeets who will not share a cage, when there is really nowhere else to put a second cage? First you see if Mom would be willing to have a permanent housebird. When that doesn't work out, you sweet talk your boyfriend.
Having solved the potential problem before making it, she went shopping for the perfect companion. The pet shop lady said either male or female had the potential to work out. With a female you get eggs, and possibly dead chicks. That's not a problem with a male, obviously. Clay seemed to fit the bill. He is smaller. And younger. And too dumb to realize that his new cage mate might consider eating parts of him.
When parakeets adopt their new servants, they usually travel from the pet shop to new digs in a small dark box. It's not unusual for them to refuse to eat for a few days until they conclude their new surroundings are non-threatening. Clay-in-the-box was deposited on the floor by the birdcage. One end of the box was opened. Clay backed up to the other end of the box. FRET moved to the side of the cage where he could get a better view of the proceedings. The other end of the box was opened. Clay squeeked and ran out. FRET chirped. Clay chirped. So far, so good.
After a few minutes Clay was offered a finger. He hopped on and got the grand tour of the place during which he decided to preen while sitting on the finger. Even better.
Back to the floor in the vicinity of the birdcage. Open the cage door and wait. FRET flies down and inspects the newcomer at closer proximity. Birds get together and FRET preens Clay. Will this harmony last?
A couple of hours later I called my daughter.
"Well, is anyone bloody yet?"
"No. In fact they are both sitting on the feeding dish perch and eating out of it together." Has hell frozen over?
They spent part of the night squashed together on the short perch at the top of the cage. Apparently FRET is not territorial.
The next day my daughter got home after dark. She had not left the light on, and the birds were asleep. The light, of course, woke them up. FRET let out a loud mad chirp and started pecking everything plastic in the cage. But he didn't attack Clay.
Looks like the transition from single-bird household to two bird sanctuary is completed and was rather uneventful.
Still, when I call her up, my first question remains "Is anyone bloody?" and her response so far has been, "No, there aren't even any feathers on the cage floor."
There have been happy chirps from the birdcage. No singing yet, though.
This really was way too easy!
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
BISHOP SKYLSTAD ACCUSED
SPOKANE, Wash. - A woman has filed a claim that she was sexually abused more than 40 years ago by Bishop William Skylstad, president of the U.S. Conference of Catholic bishops and leader of the Spokane Diocese.
Skylstad issued a statement Wednesday categorically denying the accusation, saying he has not violated the vow of celibacy he took 47 years ago.
The claim was filed against the Roman Catholic Diocese of Spokane on Dec. 27 by a woman who said she was under the age of 18 when Skylstad sexually abused her at St. Patrick's Parish and at Gonzaga University from December 1961 to December 1964.
Skylstad, 70, was a student at Gonzaga University from 1962-1966 and taught mathematics to students at Mater Cleri Seminary at Colbert, north of Spokane.
AVE MARIA, FLORIDA
I've been watching the articles on Tom Monaghan's Florida community, but haven't felt like blogging any of them until this entry at Bettnet which has riled my already fluttering feathers even more. The next thing we know someone will suggest it's potentially illegal to be Catholic!
USCCB TO DECODE DAVINCI
WASHINGTON (March 7, 2006)—The U.S. Bishops’ Catholic Communication Campaign will offer key resources to provide accurate information on the life of Jesus and the origins of Christianity prior to the release of the movie based on Dan Brown’s novel The Da Vinci Code. Resources include a Web site and documentary slated to air on NBC-TV stations. Also being produced is a 16-page booklet on The Authentic Jesus.
On March 9, the CCC will launch an Internet Web site, www.jesusdecoded.com, to provide accurate information on Jesus, Catholic teaching, and various topics explored in The Da Vinci Code. The Web site will explain Catholic beliefs and include articles from theologians, media commentators, art experts and others that provide background and also rebut the speculation and inaccuracies about Christ and the origins of Christianity. Contributing to the Web site is the prelature of Opus Dei.
Blogger credit to Spirit Daily for the link.
IRISH PERVERT PRIESTS
This story seems to be the hot Catholic news item at the moment.
At least the U.S. doesn't have a monopoly on them.
DID DAN BROWN GET THE IDEA FROM THE MORMONS
or did the Mormons get the idea from Dan Brown?
This Mormon website claims that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married.
MODERN DAY ALCHEMY = NUCLEAR PHYSICS
Here's a modern alchemical website, a synthesis of science and spirituality.
If God and energy are identical, God and the nuclear explosion are one and the same thing, and chaos is the natural state of material reality.
Before dismissing this website as the work of a crackpot, check out the bio of its author.
I've heard it said that modern physicists are mostly atheists. Perhaps that assessment is accurate.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
HELLO, ROME ?...ANYBODY HOME ?
You know things have gone from bad to worse when Fr. Richard McBrien says it better than I could.
Ah, but he wrote that before Benedict abandoned the Patriarchate of the West. Now that he is no longer Patriarch, he doesn't have to enforce anything. He doesn't have to govern.
Which means, I guess, that there is no one in charge.
Chaos magick! Otherwise known as anarchy. Fellow pilgrims, are you ready for the free-for-all?
Somebody...anybody...prove me wrong!
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch.
And on that discouraging note, I'm going to quit reading the news and go back to reading the books that might explain how we got into this terrible situation.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
THE STATE OF LITURGY IN BOSTON
is the topic of a blog at Rorate Caeli, complete with pictures. Can it get any more chaotic than this?
Meanwhile Benedict...does what, exactly?
Blogger credit to Novus Ordo Watch for the link.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
MICHAEL BROWN'S EDITORIAL
includes some interesting comments on Fr. Altier and other matters of conflict within the Church.
His final recommendation, that we await Benedict's lead, causes me to speculate that there might not be one, since what seems to be coming from Benedict is a sea of confusion. In fact that confusion is even reflected in passages of Brown's editorial.
Are we floundering pilgrims in the pew really going to be left to our own devices while the squabbles between bishops and laity multiply?
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
WILL CONSERVATIVE JUDAISM ACCEPT HOMOSEXUAL MARRIAGE ?
In a closed-door meeting this week in an undisclosed site near Baltimore, a committee of Jewish legal experts who set policy for Conservative Judaism will consider whether to lift their movement's ban on gay rabbis and same-sex unions.
In 1992, this same group, the Committee on Jewish Law and Standards, declared that Jewish law clearly prohibited commitment ceremonies for same-sex couples and the admission of openly gay people to rabbinical or cantorial schools. The vote was 19 to 3, with one abstention.
Since then, Conservative Jewish leaders say, they have watched as relatives, congregation members and even fellow rabbis publicly revealed their homosexuality. Students at the Jewish Theological Seminary in New York City, the movement's flagship, began wearing buttons saying "Ordination Regardless of Orientation." Rabbis performed same-sex commitment ceremonies despite the ban.
The direction taken by Conservative Jews, who occupy the centrist position in Judaism between the more liberal Reform and the more strict Orthodox, will be closely watched at a time when many Christian denominations are torn over the same issue. Conservative Judaism claims to distinguish itself by adhering to Jewish law and tradition, or halacha, while bending to accommodate modern conditions.
Blogger credit to New Oxford Review.
IT'S JESUS - IT'S MARY - IT'S A PIECE OF CLOTH
Here we go again.
Monday, March 06, 2006
CAMPAIGN REQUESTING A RETURN OF HAGIA SOPHIA
If you believe in the just case that Hagia Sophia should be restored to its proper religious role as a church, for which it was built in the first place, then we ask you to support our petition to the EU Parliament that Turkey should not be admitted as a member of the European Community until it restores Hagia Sophia to its original purpose as a church and not a museum.
We need a minimum of 1.000.000 signatures in order to force the European Union to consider this proposal seriously and debate it immediately as one of the conditions to allow Turkey to be admitted as a new member of the EU.
BAIGENT & LEIGH VS. BROWN
An interesting revelation from the trial over TDVC:
Such was the weight on the shoulders of John Baldwin QC, defending Brown and Random House. So having heard the claimants' case - that Brown looted 15 core ideas from Baigent and Leigh's 1982 work The Holy Blood and The Holy Grail - he attempted to turn the tables. Was it possible that Baigent and Leigh's own ideas were not in fact original, but culled from sources already in the public domain? One such source, he asserted, was the Bible itself. Another - old but not quite that old - was The Observer
Baldwin told the court the theory that Jesus was married had first been aired in an article in this newspaper in 1971. He added: 'We say the claim relies on and seeks to monopolise ideas at such a high level of generality they are not protected by copyright.'
The article cited appeared on the front of The Observer's Review section 35 years ago, under the headline: 'Charles Davis asks: Was Jesus Married?' Davis had been Britain's leading Roman Catholic theologian, who left the priesthood and church in 1966 and married the following year. By 1971 he was professor of religion at Sir George Williams University in Montreal, and ready to break another taboo.
Read the whole article here.
ALTIER SILENCED OVER VIRTUS
A St. Paul priest's opposition to an Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis anti-sex-abuse curriculum has led to a request by Archbishop Harry Flynn "to take some time off" from his radio and web ministries, the archdiocese's spokesman said Friday.
The Rev. Robert Altier of St. Agnes Catholic Church has condemned the children's component of the Virtus program, which is mandated for all Catholic schools and religious education programs.
New material has been added to Fr. Altier's website by the webmaster.
His greatest support has come from Catholic Parents Online where a statement about the silencing of Fr. Altier can be read.
Fr. Altier took part in the Eighth-Annual Minnesota Catholic Home Education Conference and Curriculum Fair.
One of his homilies can be read here.
Several of his talks are available here.
One talk is available here.
A blog reader wrote in to say that perhaps he was silenced because in his tape "The Truth About Demons" he said that "There is only one God; anything else is from the devil. The devil is real, and if we want to play with the devil we are going to get burned. You do not play with fire and walk away unscathed. So we need to make a clear choice. We cannot do what Solomon did and say, “As long as I worship the one true God then I can play around with all these other ones.” No, we cannot. We need to get rid of sin, we need to get rid of everything that is not of God, and we need to worship the one true God and Him alone." Unfortunately I was not able to locate this talk online.
In this age of ecumenism, that just might be enough to get him silenced. Of course the official position is his opposition to Virtus.
His prayers for protection, for occult curse breaking, for perimeter, and for spiritual warfare are available here. I think I'll keep them handy.
There's nothing quite as powerful for motivating curiosity as having an orthodox priest silenced by a liberal bishop. I don't think we've heard the last of Fr. Altier!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sunday, March 05, 2006
NO LONGER PATRIARCH OF THE WEST
Now that Benedict has given up the title Patriarch of the West, there was hope that relations with the Orthodox would be improved. So far the evidence speaks to just the opposite at least from the Russian Orthodox:
"It remains a mystery how the omission of the Patriarch of the West title can improve relations between the Holy See and the Orthodox Church. On the contrary, this omission could be viewed as further claims to the church's worldwide jurisdiction, which is reflected in the pontiff's other titles," Bishop of Vienna and Austria Hilarion, the Russian Church's envoy to European institutions, said in a statement on Friday.
As I understand it, part of the problem is the size of the Western Church in comparison with the Eastern Church. But what if the Western Patriarchate were broken up into smaller jurisdictions? What if there were, for instance, a Patriarch of Europe, a Patriarch of North America, a Patriarch of South America, a Patriarch of Asia, and a Patriarch of Africa? Would that ease Orthodox fears that they would be overwhelmed by the Western Church?
If the governance of the Western Church could be placed in the hands of a number of Patriarchs, each with jurisdictional responsibilities and limitations, the Pope would be free to act as a sort of Christian diplomat that would foster unity among all of the Patriarchs. Would this have any potential for healing the schism?
MUSIC AT MASS
For the last several years at my parish we sing the Chant Mass during Lent. Today was no exception. This involves the Kyrie (in Greek), the Sanctus and the Agnus Dei (in Latin) chanted in a solemn tone. It sets a certain mood which is very appropriate for a penetential season.
But along with the Chant Mass there are other hymns used as well. Those are accompanied by guitar and piano. They sound sort of cheerful because of the instruments used, even though the words are appropriate to the season. Because of this use of both traditional and modern music, the mood repeatedly shifts throughout the Mass. This creates an emotional jumble, as though one minute we are upbeat and the next pensive and reflective, then back to upbeat, and back to pensive and reflective. I kept trying to shake off the last mood in order to embrace the current mood as each successive segment was sung or chanted, and it wasn't working. Finally I just mentally backed away from the mood and become an observer of it.
This experience reminded me a lot of what Diogenes was saying just the other day.
Father's homily was interesting. He focused on various symbols such as the rainbow from the reading and the various ways that darkness and light play a part in the Season of Lent.
Lastly, apparently Bishop Pilla arranged to meet with those who are going through RCIA this year. There was an announcement at Mass that the RCIA ritual which took place today (I should know which one, but alas I've forgotten) was being held at the Cathedral instead of in the parish. Sounds like a good idea to have the converts see the Bishop and get to know him a little bit. Hope none of them had a problem driving into downtown Cleveland for this event.
EMAIL FROM DR. BOND
The Scranton Times has published an article today on the Society of St. John's claim to be operating with canonical approval under a bishop in Paraguay:
This article confirms that the former SSJ priests have not been given permission to reestablish themselves in Paraguay, and that these priests "are still bound to directives issued by Bishop Martino upon the society's suppression." This includes a prohibition against raising money.
The article notes that the SSJ's website has deleted a page that pictured four priests previously part of the SSJ, including Carlos Urrutigoity and Eric Ensey, both of whom were accused of sexually molesting a St. Gregory's Academy student. Those of you who received and read my letter yesterday may have already noted that the SSJ website has also deleted the link and letter which I brought to your attention.
There is a new letter on the SSJ website, however, making the same claim of canonical approval. The letter can be found through the "History" link on the SSJ homepage (www.ssjohn.org), or you can go directly to the letter at
The letter's author, self-proclaimed "brother" Anthony Myers, falsely claims that the SSJ now has "the same level approval we previously had in the Diocese of Scranton." In the Diocese of Scranton, the SSJ, prior to its suppression, was a Public CLERICAL Association of the Faithful. Myers neglects to mention that the new SSJ is not a clerical association and, as I mentioned in my previous letter, anyone can establish a non-clerical Public Association of the Faithful without the approval of a bishop. Hence, to claim that the SSJ has the same level of approval it previously had is intentionally misleading at best. Indeed, Myers goes on to explain the SSJ's relocation was perfectly normal: "As has happened with many new communities in the Church, our own community was forced to look for another Bishop willing to support our work." Myers sanitized "history" leaves out the fact that Eric Ensey raped a boy and that Carlos Urrutigoity has been accused of homosexual molestation wherever he has gone. Myers also forgot to mention that the SSJ wasted over five million dollars that it raised by deceiving and defrauding Catholic donors.
Dr. Jeffrey M. Bond
A note from your blogger:
Dr. Bond's letter is dated Sat, 4 Mar 2006 21:05:20. The SSJ website where the letter Dr. Bond speaks of is supposed to be located shows an "error" message this morning. However, if you go to this link, which I reached via the "history" link in the website, you can read:
Still, our branches can reach you and offer you the fruits of our apostolate as we did before, because we still are a Catholic community supported and approved by a Catholic bishop.
For me personally, the expression on the face of the bird symbol on the website wallpaper (a bird which I presume is a symbol of St. John) just about sums up this whole situation!