Saturday, September 02, 2006
UPDATE ON THE PARISH THAT MAY BE CLOSED
WARRENSVILLE HEIGHTS, Ohio (CNS) -- A Franciscan priest resigned as pastor of a parish in the Cleveland Diocese after police investigators looking into the theft of checks from the parish discovered that two women and a man had been blackmailing him.
Father Thomas Carolan, a member of the Franciscans' province of Sacred Heart based in St. Louis, faces no criminal charges. He had been pastor of St. Jude Church in Warrensville Heights, a Cleveland suburb, since 1990.
Cleveland Bishop Anthony M. Pilla accepted the resignation of Father Carolan, 74, March 28. (Bishop Pilla retired as head of the diocese April 4.)
On March 27, the priest had reported to police that checks had been stolen from the church, Warrensville Heights Police Chief Frank Bova said.
Bova said police were trying to determine if the trio was extorting money from the priest because one of the women allegedly had sex with him. It was unclear whether any money paid to the blackmailers came from the priest's own funds or from parish or Franciscan funds.
Rose Kovacic, 46, and Elaine Presser, 47, sisters who live in Mayfield Village, have pleaded innocent in Bedford Heights Municipal Court to felony charges of extortion, theft, forgery and uttering, a crime related to the use of counterfeit money or forged checks. Both were being held in the Bedford Heights Jail on $500,000 bond.
I'm not familiar with the "Catholic Explorer" website. The diocesan newspaper is the "Universe Bulletin."
If you read all the way to the end of the story you'll see this line:
"The diocese has no intent to close the parish," Father Jurcak said. "We're looking at the best way to provide for the pastoral life of the parish that is still a vital community."
And wouldn't you know there would be a sexual component. From Bishop's Accountability:
Priest Claiming Blackmail Now Faces Theft Charge
By James F. McCarty
Cleveland Plain Dealer [Ohio]
August 9, 2006
A priest in Warrensville Heights who accused two women of hooking him in a blackmail scheme now has criminal problems of his own.
A Cuyahoga County grand jury indicted the Rev. Tom Carolan last month on a theft charge.
Police and prosecutors say he paid his blackmailers with money stolen from St. Jude Parish on Richmond Road.
Carolan, 74, pleaded not guilty to the charge Tuesday in Common Pleas Court.
Defense lawyer Ian Friedman said he would work with prosecutors to resolve the case.
"The co-defendants certainly took advantage of a 74-year-old man," Friedman said.
Carolan's problems began this year after he had sex with a woman. The priest told police that Elaine Presser, 47, of Mayfield, and her sister, Rosemarie Kovacic, 46, of Mayfield Heights, and Leonard Goldberg, 53, of Willoughby, demanded money in exchange for their silence.
The priest has resigned, is being treated for "unspecified medical conditions at a hospital in Illinois. One of the women about to be tried is the daughter of Teamster President Jackie Presser.
Methinks there is a whole lot more about the situation in Cleveland that the press hasn't unearthed yet.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
JUST AS I FIGURED--CLOSE THE PARISHES THAT ARE IN DEBT
Concerned parishoners showed up to St. Jude's hoping for the best, but found out that their church, most likely will be closing.
People have been congregating at Saint Jude's for more than 60 years, but the parish council and an accountant for the diocese will recommend to Bishop Richard Lennon that the church shut down because it's thousands of dollars in debt.
If history is any indication..it does not look good.
Bishop lennon closed 80 parishes in the first year he took over in Boston.
My parish is on the chopping block as well, presumably, since our "debt" continues to rise, and since we are not being given any financial report, but rather must rely on the "minimum needed weekly" as projected in the bulletin each Sunday, and the "week's deficit" calculated in relation to that "need." But these are funny numbers. Any figure could be plugged into that "minimum need." We have nothing on which to base an evaluation on the legitimacy of that "need." That weekly "need" has risen by $4,000 per month as of last July. I believe it has been fabricated for the purpose of justifying the closing and sale of my church. What I don't know is whether this has been instigated at the parish level or at the diocesan level; however, given Bishop Lennon's reputation, my suspicions lie with the latter.
The scandal was hushed up here. Was it hushed up with a monster settlement that has left the records sealed and the diocese scrambling for ready cash? We have a financial scandal unfolding in the diocese. We had a sudden resignation of our previous bishop, accepted almost overnight in Rome, and a new bishop appointed almost instantaneously. I believe the chancery is covering up something nasty and we are being lied to.
I can learn to hate the hierarchy of my Church. I can. All they have to do is keep it up!
Friday, September 01, 2006
NEO-GNOSTICISM/NEO-CATHARISM - THE NEW HOMOSEXUAL SPIRITUALITY
The network of Neo-Gnostic/Neo-Cathar groups is becoming more concrete via the web. This is gay spirituality, as the Sexual Minorities Ministry page in the website of The Apostolic Gnostic Church in America (AGCA) demonstrates.
Take a look as the links webpage of the Church.
In the first bank of links (the navigation links for the webpage) the last entry is for "Fellow-Travelers: Spiritual and Religious Sites". It takes you to their list of websites "that are not Gnostic, but represent religious and spiritual traditions or perspectives that pursue many kindred goals and spiritual themes to those that Gnosticism does". The list is at the bottom of the webpage. Among them:
Catholics for a Free Choice
Conference for Catholic Lesbians
Dignity USA: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgendered Catholics
Gay Gospels: Homilies for GLBT Community
Integrity (GLBT Episcopalians)
Another bank of links in the website lists "Contemporary Neo-Classical Gnosticism" which are "groups active today that describe themselves as Gnostic, but generally are either not part of the classical/Nag Hammadi tradition, or have incorporated significant elements from outside Gnosticism into their system." The Apostolic Gnostic Church of America who own this website attempts to distance themselves from these other groups but at the same time says they "welcome them as partners in the pursuit of gnosis and human spiritual liberation." The list includes:
Authentic Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn
Ecclesia Gnostica Catholica (branch of the OTO)
Ordo Templi Orientis (OTO), U.S. Grand Lodge
Ordo Templi Orientis Australia
Ordo Templi Orientis, Scarlet Woman Lodge (Texas)
Ordo Templi Orientis Sverige (Sweden)
Up at the top under the Subheading "AGCA Parishes, Circles, and Groups" there are five linked websites of groups that belong to this network, two of which are particularly noteworthy:
Circle of Mary and Thomas includes a long description of their beliefs in which a number of words typical of Gnosticism appear:
Circle & companions circle
Tree of Life*
Blood relation of Christ*
* = Jewish/Kabbalah language
+ = Alchemical/Rosicrucian/Masonic language
** = Gurdjieffian spirituality
Some can be placed into more than one grouping. The "Vibrational" entry is reminiscent of Vibrant Parish Life. "The Way" belongs to progressive/liberal Chatholicism ala Fr. Thomas Berry. Obviously Lucifer is right out of Roman Catholicism as well as all of the other systems. Kataphatic and apophatic refers to the source of knowledge. An example of apophatic knowledge is described here. Kataphatic knowledge is more concrete--words, symbols, prayers--the things we can perceive with our senses.
The other significant linked AGCA website is the Gnostic Center: Gnosticism in the 21st Century. I've linked it for the G. I. Gurdjieff quote that appears at the top of the website:
The law for man is existence in the circle of mechanical influences, the state of the 'man-machine.' The way of the development of hidden possibilities is a way against nature, against God."
That quote is immediately followed by one from William Blake:
When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite.
I'd like to end this blog post with a quote of my own:
But the serpent said to the woman: "You certainly will not die! No, God knows well that the moment you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods who know what is good and what is bad." The woman saw that the tree was good for food, pleasing to the eyes, and desirable for gaining wisdom. So she took some of its fruit and ate it; and she also gave some to her husband, who was with her, and he ate it. Then the eyes of both of them were opened...(Genesis 3:4-7)
This "wisdom", woman's work as it tends to be passed off using "Sophia", has been with mankind from the beginning. It has gone underground and resurfaced many times in recorded human history. It has been rejected by the Church, particularly by St. Irenaeus, the Saint who is referred to by the AGCA as "the violently crazed anti-Gnostic misanthrope and "heretic-hunter" Irenaeus of Lyon."
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Wednesday, August 30, 2006
HEARTFELT SYMPATHY GOES OUT TO THE BRADY FAMILY
Eternal rest grant to Daniel Adam Brady, and may perpetual light shine upon him. May he rest in peace.
Monday, August 28, 2006
GOING BACK INTO LURKING MODE
Technically I'm still on hiatus till September despite all of this blogging about Opus Angelorum.
MORE OPUS ANGELORUM
They are located at 13800 Gratiot Ave, Detroit, as can be seen in their website where you can read the "Priest's Prayer". Assumption Grotto church is also located on Gratiot Ave. in Detroit. This is a very old and very traditional parish. The story of the blending of the Canons of the Holy Cross with the Assumption Grotto parish can be read here. It is the Canons (priests) of the Holy Cross who operate Opus Angelorum. The parish has a well-respected orchestra.
Tapes for Opus Angelorum are published by Grotto Press, as are the recordings of the parish orchestra. The name would tend to indicate an association with the church, but I haven't confirmed that.
Assumption Grotto was the site for a retreat on the liturgy conducted by Fr. Joseph Fessio.
Fr. John Hardon was associated with the parish as his obit confirms.
A side issue--the evidence that there is more than one order with the same name...I have emailed the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross in Rome to inquire if Opus Angelorum is associated with their congregation. J. Hentges. O.S.C. responded that "this is not our Order. There is another order with a name similar to ours. I believe this group is the correct one. They are a refoundation of the Order in Portugal." So there are definitely two orders in the Roman Catholic Church with almost identical names.
Looks solidly Catholic so far. But there is, perhaps, an "except"...
Fr. Eduard Perrone is the Pastor of Assumption Grotto Church. You can see a picture of him at this website. I have linked the "catched" website since the original is no longer online.
Opus Bono Sacerdotii (another "Opus"--hmmm.) is an organization founded by Joe Maher, a parishioner at Assumption Grotto, for the purpose of defending priests accused of sexual abuse. You can read about the organization here.
I find this particularly interesting because back in 2004 I did some research on a Rev. Donald Weeks who turned up at the Opus Bono Sacerdotii website. Strangely enough Rev. Weeks is not a Roman Catholic priest. He is a priest of the Old Catholics. You can read the story in my blogs on Monday, August 02, 2004, on Tuesday, August 03, 2004; and on Wednesday, August 04, 2004 in my blog. (Just scroll down to find the entries.) As of this morning the Opus Bono Sacerdotii website was still showing the article "Oakland priest cleared of sex charge."
You can read Joe's response to my inquiry as to why the Opus Bono Sacerdotii organization was defending a non-Roman Catholic priest in the blog dated Tuesday, August 3, 2004, which reads in part:
In this case our researcher included it because of the belief that he was a priest in union with Rome. The article has since been removed from our site until we can verify the validity of the Reverend Weeks as a legitimately ordained Catholic priest.
The charges were dismissed, but there are other concerns as spelled out in this article about Reverend Weeks. The significant point, however, is whether or not Rev. Weeks is a Roman Catholic priest. What do you think based on this article?
Next is an article at the Bishop Accountability website by Brooks Egerton at Dallas Morning News, dated March 2, 2003. It tells the story of Rev. Richard T. Brown, one of 10 Catholic priests removed from pastoral jobs in the Diocese of Dallas, and it looks like another cover-up. From the article:
But at least one man identified by diocesan leaders as a perpetrator has been allowed to keep working as a priest: The Rev. Richard T. Brown. Bishop Charles Grahmann and his aides will say little, though, about where Father Brown is and what he has been doing since he left his Rockwall parish nine years ago.
The Dallas Morning News investigation has uncovered some answers. Father Brown, it turns out, has been working under the wings of two prominent priests in other states - both champions of conservatism with connections at the highest levels of the Roman Catholic Church.
One, the late Rev. John Hardon, was a Vatican adviser, prolific author of religious books and spiritual director for Mother Teresa. The other, Father Benedict Groeschel, leads the New York Archdiocese's retreat center for clergy and has counseled clerics from around the country about sexual misconduct and other matters, arranging for many to return to duty.
The article describes Father Brown's help with spiritual retreats. Egerton indicates that information about Father Brown surfaced in the trial of notorious abuser Rudy Kos. The article continues:
...those at Detroit's Assumption Grotto were kept in the dark about his past. Father Hardon, a Jesuit, had an office there. Father brown did not formally work for the parish but lived with a group of Holy Cross order priests who help staff it, parish council president John Doyle said. ...
Although the priest took pains to keep his name out of print, he was known in conservative circles because of his connection to Father Hardon. "He was his right-hand man for years," Mr. McNally said.
An article by Alan Cooperman, Washington Post, dated Oct. 13, 2002 describes Joe Maher's first case:
Maher said he never doubted the innocence of the first priest he defended, the Rev. Komlan Dem Houndjame. A refugee from Togo, he was a visiting priest-in-residence at Maher's Assumption Grotto Church.
Houndjame, 47, was arrested in April on charges of raping a woman who sang in the church choir. He was acquitted after a friend of the woman testified that she had ated "catty" with Houndjame on the night of the alleged assault. The judge ruled that the jury could not hear testimony that Houndjame had made unwanted sexual advances toward two other women.
Interesting place, Assumption Grotto, with an interesting order of priests in residence.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
Sunday, August 27, 2006
THE NEWS FROM CLEVELAND
And what is it that they haven't told us yet? I don't know about the rest of you, but $700,000, after the millions that have been paid out over the sexual abuse scandal, sounds like small potatoes to me. My reaction is a yawn. I guess I no longer expect the chanceries to be honest with the cash any more than I expect the chanceries to have spiritual and moral integrity. Ya gotta show me you're actually morally upright if you want me to believe it. If I don't see it, I just assume corruption in the chancery about like I assume corruption in the government. Business as usual.
MORE OPUS ANGELORUM ODDITIES
Opus Sanctorum Angelorum offers a "History of the Order of the Holy Cross" at their website. That history is centered in Coimbra, Portugal. The first entry in the history is June 28, 1131. There is an entry for 1211, indicating Fernando Martins entered the school of the monastery and subsequently became a Franciscan.
The history indicates that the order became extinct in 1834 and was restored in 1977.
This is not the only group of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross. Take a look at the "History of the Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross" website that also gives their history. In this website the order was founded in 1211, this one near Huy in a city called Clairlieu (Belgium?). It spread to France, the Rhineland, and England as well as the Low Countries. No mention is made of Coimbra. This community also nearly died out in the 1840s when it was reduced to four aging members, before it once again began to grow. This congregation sent missionaries into Green Bay, Wisconsin, but this missionary attempt was abandoned during the Civil War. In the 1900s missionaries of this congregation traveled to the Belgian Congo, to Java in Indonesia, and to Brazil. The website indicates that
Today, the worldwide Order of the Holy Cross includes foundations in Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Congo, Germany, Indonesia, the Netherlands, and the United States. There are approximately 500 Crosiers throughout the world.
The residence (Generalate) of the Master General and his staff is found in Rome, at the Church of San Giorgio al Velabro. The Order has cared for this seventh century church since 1939.
Still no mention of Coimbra.
This second congregation of Canons Regular of the Order of the Holy Cross has addressed a sexual abuse problem within their order.
Does the Church have two congregations of priests that both share the same name but are separate and distinct, non-overlapping entities?
The Opus Angelorum website claims that "The Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross was founded in Portugal in the year 1131 by Dom Tello and St. Theotonius. St. Theotonius, the first prior of the Order, is celebrated in the liturgy as the reformer of religious life in Portugal."
Another page in the OA website gives the history of St. Theotonius. Catholic Online also gives a history of St. Theotonius. There are enough similarities between the two to indicate both are talking about the same person, but Catholic Online claims that St. Theotonius was an Augustinian canon who entered the Augustianian Canons at Coimbra and advised the King of Portugal. Nothing is mentioned of him founding an Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross.
In the OA history of St. Theotonius there is that odd statement: "Indeed, when he had altogether passed the time of infancy and reached the branching of the Pythagorean letter, without hesitation he abandoned the left hand branch and the pleasures of the world, and he began, with all his might, to yearn for the right hand path, ardent with heavenly longing."
Left Hand/Right Hand Path?? These are terms from Witchcraft, not Roman Catholicism.
"Branching of the Pythagorean letter"???
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!
IS OPUS ANGELORUM A VARIATION ON SCIENTOLOGY ?
From a Skeptic website:
Subject: Scientology not the worst sect
Date: Thu, 6 May 1999 20:03:50 -0400
JU warns: Beware of False Prophets
May 6, 1999
Passauer Neue Presse
New information leaflet on sects and psycho-cults Focus is on the "Opus Angelorum"
by Robert Piffer
Altoetting. The Junge Union [Youth Union] warns of sects and false prophets in two leaflets hot off the press. The reason for the information campaign by the JU was the increased appearance of sects in recent times.
One of the leaflets is concerned with Scientology. It describes its teachings and its "ethics," gives information about the structure of the sect and reveals the companies, magazine, associations and social groups behind which Scientology conceals itself. "Scientology is a constant theme," gave JU district chairman Stephan Mayer as a reason for the re-printing of the leaflet from the Bavarian JU.
Nevertheless, Mayer and the Toeginger JU local chairman Martin Huber both agree that Scientology is not the most pressing problem in the district. It's a different story with the so-called Engelwerk (Opus Angelorum), though. According to what Martin Huber knows, this group is on the advance in the district. He knows several people personally who have been affected. They are from the Burghausen areas, as well as from the western part of the district.
Michael Dubruiel places Fr. William Wagner, of Opus Angelorum, at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Georgia, 20 years ago. (See post on Tuesday, January 28, 2003):
Work of the Holy Angels
Opus Sanctorum Angelorum - Lay Circular
I met Father Wagner many years ago (over 20) at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit in Georgia. It is interesting to see that they have a house in Detroit. I wonder if any readers have visited it or are familiar with the work of this community.
posted by Michael at 28.1.03
Draw your own conclusions from this SNAP website.