Saturday, June 23, 2007
MY PENANCE FOR THE WEEK IS DONE
I've been to Mass.
In a Church where there is serious concern that many members no longer believe in Real Presence, can anyone possibly conceive of a more horrible communion song than "I Myself Am the Bread of Life"?
FROM THE EMAILBOX
Spirit & Life
"The words I spoke to you are spirit and life." (Jn 6:63)
Human Life International e-Newsletter
Volume 01, Number 73 | Friday, June 22, 2007
Amnesty International: What Part of Murder Don't You Understand?
Abortion is murder. It is not a human right. An unwanted pregnancy for an unmarried woman, especially as a result of rape or incest or in a war zone, is a very difficult thing, but with enough love, care and effort it can be turned into a beautiful thing, no matter what the circumstances. Abortion can never be turned into a good thing. The pro-life movement says, "Why not love them both?", but all efforts are taken to drown out the voice of reason.
Abortion sweeps the problem under the rug and makes the situation "easier" for everyone involved except the woman who must live with the aftermath, and of course, the child who is murdered. Human rights organizations have a mission to provide love, care and effort to help bring about the best possible outcome. Why else do they exist but to bring justice to terrible situations? Abortion is a grotesque injustice.
This is why it is so disappointing that Amnesty International has abandoned the unborn child as deserving human rights protection. Now, this once great human rights organization has bought into the lie that one person's rights over their own body trumps the rights of another person's - the unborn child's - right to life.
Amnesty International's Widney Brown has actually come out and said that: "[The pregnant woman's] right to health and the right to the quality of life that she needs and the healing that she needs, this is what we would say should be the priority," (The National Catholic Register, "No Amnesty for the Unborn," June 12-23). There is no healing to be found in abortion. Abortion is something from which a woman needs to be healed.
Abortion is murder. This is an objective fact. Today it has reached the point of genocide. It is a grave injustice and violation of human rights. It is something Amnesty International should be addressing as a violation not treating as a solution. The humanity of the unborn child is not an "imposition" of one's morality or "religious values" on another. The humanity of the unborn child is an empirical scientific fact. By applying a sliding scale to the value of any innocent human life, Amnesty International has removed any fixed moral standard to which to anchor their mission. As C.S. Lewis would say, they have sawed off the branch on which they were sitting. They have abandoned their moral leverage and joined the tyrants who stand on lies that permit the killing to continue.
Their claim to be a "voice for the voiceless" does not extend to the innocent human being in the womb. By throwing in with the international abortion lobby they have abandoned the moral high ground on which they stood that gave credibility to their mission, opting instead for the quicksand of moral relativism.
Cardinal Renato Martino, president of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace stated in the same National Catholic Register article cited above, that Amnesty International has "betrayed its mission" and that if "Amnesty International persists in this course of action, individuals and Catholic organizations must withdraw their support." Amnesty International, of course, responded with the usual smug doublespeak of the Culture of Death. (See Amnesty International press release, link at right.)
Of all people, Amnesty International ought to know that killing only begets more killing and this decision has rendered the world a less safe place.
HLI challenges Amnesty International to prove that abortion is anything less than murder - an abuse of the most basic human right - the right to life.
Sincerely Yours in Christ,
Rev. Thomas J. Euteneuer,
President, Human Life International
Friday, June 22, 2007
WHAT LITURGY IS SUPPOSED TO BE LIKE
Fr. Martin Fox comments on his perceptions of liturgy at Bonfire of the Vanities:
...the celebrant, by his steadiness, prayerfulness and care, communicates a reverence and seriousness that benefits all. It need not be fussy or (gasp!) "rigid." When it is steady, without constant improvisation, then something wonderful happens--the liturgy itself communicates, and it isn't all about the priest (or anyone else). It is prayer.
The other thing I want to mention is that when one experiences the liturgy in its fullness, with care and attention to the actual celebration of the liturgy, one discovers the important qualities of the liturgy: it is a unity, from beginning to end (as opposed to a series of things we say and do); it is sober and solemn. These don't mean sad, or cold; but rather, the prayer is not obtrusive. One person at Mass may find occasion for great joy, another for deep insight, another for profound sorrow and conversion, another simply for consolation. The Mass should not impose any of these on you, but allow you to experience them in communion with God and his people.
Yet again, the liturgy fully celebrated clearly becomes another moment, another place. It is not part of our time and world; it is an escape, a refuge, a sanctuary.
Prior to Vatican II it was prayer as well. Somehow in between it became community meal and all of the gaiety came in with that image of the Mass. I didn't see a single reference to "community" there in Fr. Fox's post. Thankfully he is presenting the view of the Mass that the Spirit of Vatican II banished. It's good to see that particular "Spirit" has not been totally successful.
But there is one thing for which I hope...when singing and chanting by the entire congregation becomes a regular feature of the restored Tridentine, I hope that some latitude is granted to those who choose not to sing. There are times when it is better to listen to the words than it is to sing them. Like on the morning when you have a sore throat, or a frog in your throat that makes the sound coming out less than lovely, or on the mornings when things have been going seriously wrong and it's all you can do to avoid crying your way through Mass. There are many reasons for sometimes not singing, and I would hope that each person's decision on any given day would be respected.
Oh, and there is another thing for which I hope...that one day the new 3-year calendar readings will be incorporated into the Tridentine.
DEFENDING CATHOLIC MARRIAGE
"Till death do us part." How many couples say the words without taking their meaning to heart? The recent annulment reversal of the Kennedy marriage has a parallel in Cleveland. Catholic Online reports:
In May of 2004, Mrs. [Bai] Macfarlane had asked the Cleveland Tribunal for an investigation of her marriage praying that the Church would advise her husband [Bud] that he never had a licit reason to abandon her to seek a civil no-fault divorce. According to the Catholic code of canon law, there are limited reasons to separate from one’s spouse (can 1151-1155). Those who agree to marry following canon law can never seek a civil separation or divorce unless it is foreseen that the civil judgments would not be contrary to divine law (canon 1692).
Bud Macfarlane was a well-known and respected Catholic apologist in the Cleveland area prior to his divorce. He wrote two books defending traditional Catholicism. Since the divorce I seldom hear his name. His ex-wife has always opposed his actions.
When Mrs. Macfarlane asked for the Tribunal’s intervention in May of 2004, the Cleveland diocese would not even accept her petition, and she, like Sheila Rauch Kennedy appealed to Rome for help. In January of 2005 the Roman Rota accepted her case, and on May 9th, 2007 her advocate submitted a written argument on her behalf.
After her husband had abandoned her, with the Mary’s Advocates project, Mrs. Macfarlane has connected with others throughout the country who are working to protect traditional marriage from the no-fault divorce, family separation routine, which is contrary to the promises both spouses made before marriage in any Christian tradition.
Read the entire article...
Hat tip to NOR for the link.
IS INTOLERANCE A VIABLE ALTERNATIVE TO EVERYTHING GOES ?
In surfing the blogs I came across blogger Danby who bills himself as an "intolerant Catholic", and says in the Catholic Restorationists weblog contributors profile that he "celebrates it." It struck me as a novel approach to life in this world where everyone is talking about the need for tolerance. Can we be intolerant Catholics while being good Americans?
Former priest James Carroll, author of "Constantine's Sword", believes we cannot. In an article at the Los Angeles Times website which introduces his documentary by the same title, premiering Sunday at the Los Angeles Film Festival. Carroll is recounting the same sad tale of Catholic anti-Semitism that has made the rounds before, including the claims about Pius XII:
Carroll learned that during World War II, Roman Jews were again stripped of their rights, rounded up and killed. The pope remained silent....
Carroll is described as "an idiosyncratic Catholic, a former priest who still celebrates his faith yet rejects the very roots of its doctrine, viewing Christianity's promise of eternal life as "destructive" and the cross as a symbol of Roman Emperor Constantine's lust for power." With Catholics like Carroll, who has need of Islamic Fundamentalists?
Not by any stretch of the imagination can Matthew 10:14 be described as tolerant: "Whoever will not receive you or listen to your words--go outside that house or town and shake the dust from your feet." Acts 13:51 confirms that the shaking took place: "So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium" indicating that the Apostles took Jesus at His word.
Stories of Catholic anti-Semitism are common today. According to the Los Angeles Times article:
Carroll revisits the origins of Christian anti-Semitism, traveling to Trier, Germany, Constantine's birthplace, where in the 11th century, Crusader mobs wiped out Jewish communities. Back then, the film states, when Jews begged the pope to protect them, he refused to help those who didn't convert."
That statement could just as easily be worded another way--"Back then when Jews begged the pope to protect them, he helped those who converted." What obligation did a Catholic pope have to protect those of another faith? He was not the civil authority. Would Catholics appeal to the chief Rabbi for protection?
We are constantly bombarded with accusations of anti-Semitism on the part of Catholics and Christians. Scripture paints a somewhat different picture in Acts 13:44-50:
On the following sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the words of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, and the word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory.
Not exactly anti-Semitism, is it? It's hardly a picture of contemporary tolerance either, since contemporary tolerance says that all religions are equal.
CHANGES IN THE BLOGOSPHERE
For some time I've noticed that the number of comments on the most popular blogs are slipping. While Mark Shea easily gets the most comments, even over there some of the threads generate few.
Amy Welborn gets far fewer than she did in the past.
Rod Dreher appears to have eliminated comments altogether from his blog.
My own, for the most part, are usually down to one or two on most threads, if any at all, but I haven't ever gotten a lot of comments here.
There are other changes...
Dom has taken a job within the Archdiocese of Boston, which might mean that he will have to steer his blog into more personal territory so as not to annoy the guys up above.
Amy has a couple of book commitments which she says will reduce her blogging time this month. She sometimes lumps a lot of different subjects into one long blog recently, and that affects the number of comments as well.
David Alexander is proposing a new direction for his 5-year running blog "man with black hat".
Tom Herron seems to have abandoned his blog entirely. The last post is dated November 29, 2006.
And, of course, I nearly quit blogging entirely not long ago.
So...are blogs becoming passe? Has the Catholic blogsphere lost interest now that the scandal is fading into old news? And was it that scandal that made Catholic blogging such a trendy activity to begin with?
Or is it Benedict? He's not as much a newsmaker as John Paul II. Benedict brings to mind dusty libraries and deliberation, at least to me. That doesn't make for good blog headers. Since Benedict doesn't provide excuses for a racing pulse, perhaps the Catholic blogsphere is suffering from lack of subject matter. Maybe that's a good thing.
David Alexander offers his thoughts on changes in direction toward specialty blogs, and lists the titles of some as examples.
Five years ago, the Catholic bloggers which got the most attention were written by those whose reputations had already been established in the print or broadcast media. This should not have been unexpected. The first stars of television, to give an example, were those who had already been successful in radio and Hollywood. If the winners of the last Catholic Blog Awards are any indication, however, the trend is slowly starting to change. Not as much as it should, if you ask me. But one thing that is happening is the emergence of "niche blogs," like "The New Liturgical Movement" and "Musings of a Pertinacious Papist" and most recently, collective efforts like "Catholic Restorationists." These sites don't pretend to be for everybody. They don't have to. But aficionados of liturgical studies, of philosophy, or of "the culture wars," find a home in these places. They have built up quite a following in their own right.My blog, too, is a specialty blog of sorts, though pinning it down to exactly what the specialty is might give linguists nightmares.
Thursday, June 21, 2007
FR. JOHN MALLOY ON THE WARPATH
Check out his blog. He has taken on Most Holy Redeemer Parish and the plans of San Francisco Catholic Charities to skirt the Vatican directive forbidding homosexual adoptions by working with a non-Catholic adoption agency. According to Fr. Malloy's blog:
In fact, Catholic Charities, an arm of the Archdiocese, will actually supply staffing to "Family Builders." And who are "Family Builders"? "We're about the gayest adoption agency in the country," Jill Jacobs, director of Family Builders by Adoption (which runs the network California Kids Connection), told the Bay Area Reporter, a homosexual newspaper.
In addition, Fr. Malloy links a video of last year's Gay Pride Parade which features, among other things, pics of the participation of Most Holy Redeemer Parish and Saint Agnes Catholic Community participation.
The opening pics in the video are pornographic, and Father makes no apologies for posting the link to the video on his website. You have to see it to know what he is talking about. The opening scenes are about the saddest display of confused humanity that I've seen in a long time. Why on earth would anyone want to identify themselves by their sex organs? A brain is a terrible thing to waste!
If children were doing what these adults are doing in this video, parents would punish them. What do you do with a bunch of adults who haven't grown up? More importantly, what do you do with the priests who encourage them?
This year the Pride Parade, which will take place this weekend, is going live on the web. Father has a link to the parade website.
Check out Fr. Malloy's website, and beseech heaven for a hundred more like him.
Thanks to Catherine of Sienna for the heads up.
I had the last dose of chemo on May 24, followed up by a PET scan and a CT scan. The PET shows where in the body cancer can be found.
Today I had a follow-up appointment with my oncologist. The PET scan showed, in her words, that "the cancer is resolved", meaning none currently shows up.
Next step is a meeting with the surgeon and a radiologist to see if surgery and radiation are warranted.
My oncologist expects the cancer to "revisit". When I asked her how long--5 years? She responded "in months." So I'm not out of the woods yet, but it was good news in that I was prepared to learn that it had spread further rather than that it is resolved.
I have a new hormone suppressant drug to take daily. Haven't taken the first dose yet, but am hoping it will not trigger the asthma as the other one did.
In any case, your prayers seem to be working.
The chocolate martini I had when my husband and I went out for a celebration lunch was delicious!
PRIDE BRUNCH AT CATHOLIC HALL
Sequence of events:
1. Conservative Catholic parish chosen.
2. Event misrepresented when the hall was rented.
3. Two policemen were posted at the doors during the event in case anyone, like the parish priest, wanted to intervene.
4. The precedent had been set by lesbian wedding at Knights of Columbus Hall, when the Knights attempted to cancel the event and were brought up before the human rights commission.
5. Forget any notion of separation of church and state.
Read the report at the Western Standard website.
CNS REPORTS ON FR. CANTALAMESSA'S WITHDRAWAL
in a story linked at Spirit Daily, as I reported recently.
KENNEDY ANNULMENT OVERTURNED
NOR links the story.
BOSTON (AP) - The Vatican reversed the annulment of former representative Joseph Kennedy II's first marriage, a union that had lasted 12 years and produced two sons.
Sheila Rauch on Wednesday confirmed a report on Time magazine's website that her appeal of the annulment to Rome has succeeded. "I'm very grateful that the marriage was validated," she told The Associated Press.
Rauch had sharply criticized the Catholic church for annulling her marriage, alleging in a 1997 book that the Kennedy family's influence in the church had made it possible.
Rauch and Kennedy, the eldest son of the late Senator Robert F. Kennedy, were granted a civil divorce in 1991.
She said she found out about the annulment only after Kennedy married his former congressional aide, Beth Kelly, in a civil ceremony two years later.
Read the rest...
PARISH CLOSINGS IN EUCLID
If Cleveland Bishop Richard Lennon has his way, at least two Catholic churches in Euclid will close.
"The request from the bishop is there be no more than four parishes in Euclid," explained Robert Tayek, director of media and public relations for the Catholic Diocese of Cleveland. "It's a long process. He will ask the cluster to submit plans by September of 2008."
The city currently has six parishes that are members of the Cuyahoga County Suburban East cluster. They include Holy Cross, St. Christine, St. Felicitas, St. Paul, St. Robert Bellarmine and St. William.
Overall, there are 69 clusters in the Cleveland diocese serving 231 parishes.
St. Christine and St. Paul have both closed their schools and currently house charter schools. But Tayek said Lennon would like to see one more school shut down by 2012, at the latest.
Read the rest...
Wednesday, June 20, 2007
LON MILO DUQUETTE
is scheduled to appear at this year's Starwood Festival. DuQuette is the chief mucky-muck of Ordo Templi Orientis. Check out his biography at the website.
SANTA CLARA UNIVERSITY EDUCATING TODAY'S MODERN CATHOLIC YOUTH
with a Drag Show. A photo is worth a thousand words! Leave it to the Jesuits...!
ASSISI EVENT NOT SYNCRETISM SAYS POPE
ASSISI, Italy, JUNE 18, 2007 (zenit.org).- Benedict XVI clarified that the spirit of peace among religions promoted by St. Francis and Pope John Paul II is not religious syncretism.
This was one of the main messages during the German Pope's pilgrimage on Sunday to the city of the saint. The pilgrimage marked the 800th anniversary of Francis' conversion.
"I cannot forget, in the context of today's celebration, the initiative of my predecessor of holy memory, John Paul II, who in 1986, brought together here the representatives of the Christian churches and other religions of the world, for a meeting of prayer for peace," said Benedict XVI at the end of his homily during the Mass celebrated in the lower square outside the Basilica of St. Francis.
He continued: "It was a prophetic intuition and a moment of grace, as I mentioned a few months ago in my letter to the bishop of this city on the occasion of the 20th anniversary of that event.
Read the rest...
Hmmmmm. Then maybe the Masonic Lodge isn't syncetistic either??
Hat tip to Spirit Daily for the link.
JUDIE BROWN'S NEW BOOK
STAFFORD, Va., June 19, 2007 (PRIME NEWSWIRE) -- The Catholic Church has a rich history and is the largest Christian Church today. But what most people don't know is that a revolution is happening inside the Church. Author Judie Brown exposes the scandals and secrets of the Church in her explosive book, Saving Those Damned Catholics. It will challenge everything you ever thought you knew about the Catholic Church in America.
This book traces the connections between the dissent that occurred in the 1960's when many Catholic theologians chose to support the use of birth control by Catholics. Saving Those Damned Catholics is documented history that reveals the failure of many members of the hierarchy. Personal examples of the betrayal experienced by average Catholics are presented to expose the damage that has been done by those leaders who have failed their flock.
The revolution inside the Catholic Church is shocking. The scandals and the secrets are all part of the mix. But the revelation that many Catholic bishops literally sit on the sidelines, failing to teach the truth and confusing Catholics with their political views may drastically change the way you view the Catholic Church in America.
AFFORDABLE HEALTH CARE
CHICAGO, Ill. (Catholic Online) – The United States has a moral obligation to ensure that no one goes without adequate and affordable health care, according to a draft Catholic health ministry document.
The Catholic Health Association of the United States (CHA) released its first draft of its working document, “Our Vision for U.S. Health Care,” June 18 on the second of the three-day 92nd Catholic Health Assembly at the Marriott Magnificent Mile here in an effort “to contribute to the national dialogue on health-care reform and transformation.
The principles outlined in the document are being made available for comments from Catholic health-care leaders, caregivers, administrators and other professionals, whose input will shape the final document to be released later this year.
Pointing to health care as a topic that “will only continue to intensify as a top-tier issue” as the United States moves toward another national election cycle, the association said that there is “support and enthusiasm” for major health-care change.
“In all of the world’s major industrialized countries, except the United States, everyone is guaranteed access to health care,” the document says. “With its plentiful resources and optimistic spirit, this nation can certainly do the same.”
The CHA noted in the document that the crisis in health care can be seen by issues, including:
- 46 million Americans lack health insurance coverage of any kind.
- About 9 million children are uninsured.
- Eight in 10 of those who cannot afford health coverage are in working families.
- The percentage of employer-sponsored health insurance coverage has dropped from 69 percent in 2000 to 60 percent in 2005.
- Some 18,000 each year (about 49 each day) die because they do not have health insurance.
Read the rest...
One thing I would ask...why has the Church not stepped into this gap and attempted to provide health care insurance to Catholics at a rate that does not include built-in profits for stockholders?
It makes less sense than it ever did to me, now that I'm battling cancer, to tie healthcare to jobs. When a person is sick, they may not be able to go to work every day. If the entire family depends on the insurance provided by the father's job, and the father is too sick to work, the entire family is in jeopardy of losing their healthcare.
THE GERMANS ARE NOT HAPPY
According to John Allen:
ROME (National Catholic Reporter) – More than 100 German theologians have expressed support for a call from an emeritus professor of dogmatic theology from the University of Tübingen who called for an “intelligent restructuring” of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the Vatican’s doctrinal agency.
Peter Hünermann published his proposal in a German theological journal titled Herder Korrispondenz, in response to the recent critical notification from the congregation on two works by the Jesuit liberation theologian Father Jon Sobrino.
Among those who have backed Hünermann’s position are prominent German theologians such as Johann Baptist Metz, Dietmar Mieth, Bernd Jochen Hilberath and Otmar Fuchs. The response from German theologians was reported by the Italian news agency Adista. In terms of church politics, many of these theologians would broadly be considered left of center.
After criticizing the notification on Father Sobrino, Hünermann offered a set of general observations about the congregation, arguing that since the middle of the 19th century it has been responsible for a series of “serious conflicts that are damaging to the image of the church and to its journey of faith.”
For one thing, Hünermann asserted, deficiencies in the theological preparation of personnel in the doctrinal congregation sometimes “aggravate the conflicts.”
More deeply, however, Hünermann said the real problem lies with the congregation’s mentality.
“At bottom, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – the successor to the Holy Office – has preserved the structure of a censor’s office, which it had at the beginning of the modern era.” By way of contrast, Hünermann said, “the guarantee of quality in the scientific field today is structured differently: Essentially, it’s a matter of collaboration with the sciences, and possibly includes scientific authorities in the decision-making procedures relative to the politics of scientific research, and in the administration of scientific discoveries.”
I found the most interesting part of the story to be this at the end:
Critics of Ratzinger viewed those statements as ironic, given that in 1968, another group of predominantly German-speaking theologians had issued a similar call for reform, known as the “Nijmegen Declaration.” Among the signatories at the time was Father Joseph Ratzinger, then a member of the faculty at the University of Tübingen.
The Nijmegen document asserted that “the freedom of theologians, and theology in the service of the church, regained by Vatican II, must not be jeopardized again.” The signatories pledged their loyalty to the pope, but argued that the teaching office of pope and bishops “cannot and must not supersede, hamper and impede the teaching task of theologians as scholars.”
What goes around comes around, or proof that the zebra has changed his stripes. Thank goodness! Why don't these German theologians just start their own church?
Tuesday, June 19, 2007
VON BALTHASAR, VON SPEYER, TAROT
Ralph asked in a comments box if I could give him the links to my blogs about the above topics. Since it has taken me a while to get to this, I'm posting it here rather than trying to find the thread where he asked.
There are 37 blogs that mention Balthasar alone, so I've only linked the most pertinent ones here.
http://carrietomko.blogspot.com/2005/06/von-balthasars-theology-from-article.html (This is the one that upset Mark Shea)
A search on "tarot" brings up 77 blogs. I just haven't got the patience to sort them out. I put "still running off at the keyboard" and "tarot" into Google Advanced Search and got 79 hits. This should include most of my blogs on tarot.
ST. JOHN OF GOD BROTHERS AND SEXUAL ABUSE
A controversial Catholic order has a culture of sexual abuse within its ranks and should be shut down, says its former complaints manager Michelle Mulvihill.
The psychologist and former nun has blown the whistle on the St John of God Order's crisis, after quitting as head of its professional standards committee for nine years.
Mulvihill said the brotherhood was in such a state of denial it was impossible to get the gravity of its abuse problem recognised.
"My impression is that there is a culture of collusion inside the province which is deeply ingrained, and which makes it almost impossible for the truth about these matters to be dealt with."
The final straw for Mulvihill came in March when four out of five of the Australasian province's newly elected leadership team had been or were the subject of historic sexual or physical abuse allegations.
She quit the next week.
"I tried to hang on for the sake of victims ... I had to resign because I could not stand dealing with this any more.
"Unfortunately, the chapter (meeting) at which the leadership was elected did not seem to consider the implications of electing leaders who were, or still are, subject to serious complaints."
Mulvihill has written to the order's Prior General in Rome, Brother Donatus Forkan, flagging serious problems she saw in the brotherhood. She wants the Australasian order shut down and its assets seized by its parent group in Rome.
Read the rest...
INTERNATIONAL KIDDIE PORN RING SHUT DOWN
British police, aided by U.S. authorities, have smashed a global Internet pedophile ring that broadcast live-streamed videos of children being abused, investigating more than 700 suspects worldwide and rescuing 31 children in a 10-month probe, officials said Monday.
Some 200 suspects are based in Britain, said the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Center, a government agency. Of the 31 children, some only a few months old, more than 15 were in Britain, the center said. British authorities would not give a breakdown of where the other suspects or children came from, but said more than half the suspects in Britain were already being prosecuted.
The ring was traced to an Internet chat room called “Kids the Light of Our Lives” that featured images of children being subjected to horrific sexual abuse, including the streaming live videos.
Authorities said they used surveillance tactics normally used against terrorism suspects and drug traffickers to infiltrate the pedophile ring at its highest level.
Officials said the United States, Canada and Australia were Britain’s main partners in the investigation, which involved agencies from 35 countries. The international investigation dated back to August 2006 until the ringleader’s sentencing Monday.
Read the rest...
Hat tip to Steve Dalton for the link.
SCANTILY CLAD LITURGICAL DANCERS
Check out the pics of liturgical dancers performing during Mass that Matt Abbott has posted at Renew America. Is the idea to entice what heterosexual priests may be with us into sexual sin equal to the scandal caused by the homosexual priests and bishops? This is appalling! God is being mocked here. But can we assume they received applause?
A PRESS RELEASE FROM MSGR. SRECKO MAJIC, VICAR GENERAL, DIOCESE OF BOSNIA-HERZEGOVINAS
has arrived in email. It concerns Medjugorje and Fr. Cantalamessa's plans to preach there which have been cancelled. Of particular interest in this email is the status of Fr. Jozo Zovko, who has turned up in research into the activities of Jewish artist Jacqueline Ripstein. (All bolding in the following press release is mine - ct.)
MOSTARSKO-DUVANJSKA I TREBINJSKO-MRKANSKA BISKUPIJA
BISKUPSKI ORDINARIJAT MOSTAR
Ulica nadbiskupa Čule bb., pp. 54 - 88000 MOSTAR
(tel. ++387/36/331-469; fax: 331-472; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
Mostar, 18 June 2007
FR. RANIERO CANTALAMESSA O.F.M. CAP.
WILL NOT DIRECT SPIRITUAL RETREAT IN MEDJUGORJE
In order to avoid repeating abuses that have occurred in the past, for almost six years now a decision of the Diocesan Chancery of Mostar in the form of a circular letter dated 23 August 2001, has been in force and sent to all the parish rectories and communities of Religious men and women which declares: “3. - All Parish rectories and Religious institutions are obliged to forward to this Diocesan Chancery in due time, the names of all foreign priests and bishops coming from beyond the areas where the Croatian language is spoken, who have been invited to hold spiritual retreats, seminars and similar spiritual encounters, in which the Word of God is preached and explained. Along with the name(s) and the request, a copy of the celebret of the priest or bishop must be included, who after having received written permission from this Diocesan Chancery, will be allowed to hold such spiritual exercises” (NEWS. Catholic Press Agency of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina, 5 September 2001, pp. 30-31; Glas Koncila, 9 September 2001, p.2).
Even the bishops of the Croatian Bishops’ Conference during the assembly held in Split in October 2005 decided and this decision was then also adopted by the Bishops of the Bishops’ Conference of Bosnia-Herzegovina in Sarajevo the same month, that the bishops of the two Bishops’ Conferences shall not accept the invitations of individual pastors to celebrate the sacraments and hold lectures in the territory of another diocese unless they have received a Nihil obstat from the local Diocesan Chancery.
Despite the above mentioned decision, the news of a spiritual retreat for priests directed by Fr. Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap., Preacher of the Papal Household, to be held in Medjugorje at the beginning of July 2007 appeared on the internet many months ago, yet the organizers of this retreat did not inform the Diocesan Chancery in Mostar according to the norm, prior to the event. In this regard, celebrations of the sacrament of reconciliation are being publicized billing, alongside Fr Cantalamessa, Fr. Jozo Zovko; yet the latter since 2004 has been relieved of all priestly faculties in the territory of the dioceses of Herzegovina (Vrhbosna, 3/2004, pp.293-298).
The Pastoral decision of 23 August 2001 regarding leaders of spiritual retreats and conferences was reaffirmed and expressly emphasized by the Bishop of Mostar-Duvno, Msgr. Ratko Perić in his discourse and invitation given during the Chapter elections on 16 April this year at Humac, where he was officially invited to preside at Holy Mass. On that occasion the Diocesan bishop mentioned the following regarding Medjugorje:
“1 – The pastoral obstinacy of the pastors and other associates of Medjugorje is quite evident on the ‘Medjugorje’ internet site which bears the title ‘Marian Shrine’. ‘Medjugorje’ is neither a diocesan nor national or international shrine. This status must be acknowledged while the events remain as they stand.
2 - The obstinacy of the pastors and other associates of Medjugorje is also evident in the their disregard for the circular letter of the Chancery of 2001, which states that priests coming from beyond the areas where the Croatian language is spoken are not to be invited without the express and written permission of the Diocesan Chancery.
3 - The obstinacy of the pastors and other associates of Medjugorje is evident in that a member of your Province, Fr. Jozo Zovko, who has no priestly faculties and who is forbidden from celebrating any priestly functions in this diocese, has been invited this year to preside at the Way of the Cross in Medjugorje and has been in this regard presented as available for confessions”.
The discourse was published in its entirety at the beginning of May this year in the diocesan pastoral monthly (Crkva na kamenu, 5/2007, pp. 33-35).
After exchanging various letters between the Diocesan Chancery and the Parish Rectory of Medjugorje, the pastor of Medjugorje Fr. Ivan Sesar notified the bishop in his letter dated 13 June 2007 that: “Upon my insistence due to the shortness of time, I asked P. Cantalamessa to send his acknowledgment of receipt of my letter by fax, which he did in the meantime. He accepts my apology and regrets that due to the newly arisen circumstances he cannot come, since in principle he never does public appearances without the permission of the local Ordinary”.
Bishop Perić and Fr. Cantalamessa exchanged letters on 13 June. Fr. Cantalamessa informed the bishop that he wrote a letter to Fr. Sesar on 8 June. Fr. Cantalamessa wrote in his letter to the bishop on 13 June: “My principle is not to preach, especially not to the clergy, without the permission of the local bishop”.
This Diocesan Chancery never received any written request for permission as is the norm, from either of the parties involved with regard to the spiritual retreat and its moderator.
With this Press Release the Diocesan Chancery wishes to emphasize that the norms of the Code of Canon Law have not been respected in this case, which state that express permission for priests and deacons is required for preaching if this is demanded by local law, as well as observance of the norms issued by the Diocesan bishop. The Diocesan Chancery also particularly deems necessary to release this to the Catholic public in order to avoid misinterpretations and deceptions which can been seen in the comments on the web sites that regard Medjugorje as a place of supposed apparitions for which the position of the Church remains: “that it cannot be affirmed that these events concern supernatural apparitions and revelations”.
Msgr. Srećko Majić
Monday, June 18, 2007
CHICAGO'S CATHOLIC DOLLARS AT WORK
As Native Americans gathered Sunday morning beneath the scorching sun, Georgina Roy, an Ojibwa, lit the sage branch, sending sweet smoke from the sacred herb around the prayer circle. Then Roy brought the burning sage before each person. One by one, they used their hands to bring the scent closer to their faces, washing their minds and bodies with smoke meant to purify and bless their souls.
There was no sign of it here -- no crosses, no holy water, no images of Christ -- but this prayer meeting was sponsored by a center affiliated with the Roman Catholic Church.
The Anawim Center, a Chicago-based center for Native American prayer and spirituality, does not seek to impose the Catholic faith on the Indian community. Instead, it helps maintain spiritual traditions such as smudging, the purification ritual performed Sunday at the DuPage County Fairgrounds.
The interfaith prayer service was part of a powwow celebration, attended by Native Americans from across the Midwest and parts of Canada, held this weekend for the center's 25th anniversary.
The Anawim Center is managed by the Chicago archdiocese and primarily serves Catholics, but non-Catholic Indians also use it as a place to speak their native language, honor elders and preserve Indian culture.
IF THE BISHOPS DON'T DO IT, THE LAITY WILL
Patricia McKeever does not like to be photographed. She does not like people to know where she lives and prefers to communicate with the outside world by letter or e-mail.
But, from the security of her home, the 58-year-old former secondary school teacher has co-ordinated a relentless campaign to name and shame gay Roman Catholic priests.
Her newsletter , Catholic Truth, has so far confronted up to a dozen priests about their alleged homosexuality and has named at least four as being gay or allegedly associating with gay men.
It claims to have privately challenged several more priests after receiving information that they attended a gay bar in Glasgow and has also, it says, confronted a seminarian, a prospective seminarian and a Catholic school teacher.
It is currently preparing a “dossier” on a priest it accuses of inviting a homosexual support group into his church and expects to identify him in the newsletter’s next issue.
But what Ms McKeever calls her “great work of charity” has not met with universal approval. The Archdiocese of Glasgow has labelled her group as “self-appointed heresy hunters” and accused her of harassment.
Worse, she recently had to call the police after receiving package after package of hard-core pornography.
Ms McKeever, who intends to expose all priests “unconscionably living a double life”, told The Times in a telephone interview that she had been forced to take action because of an “unprecedented moral crisis” in the Catholic Church”. She was not prepared to have her photograph taken. She said: “The Church has always taught that homosexuality is contrary to its teachings. Homosexual priests do not believe in the Catholic faith any more so they shouldn’t be in the Church.
“I would prefer the bishops to tackle this but, because they are not doing that, we feel it is our duty to let fellow Catholics know what is going on.”
Read the rest...
CATHOLIC EDUCATION VS. PARENTAL EDUCATION
is the subject of Matt Abbot's column today.
His column consists primarily of a letter from Mary Ann Kreitzer, President of Les Femmes and the Catholic Media Coalition. One of the most telling passages from her letter is the following:
'As for myself, I was constantly warning my children that they could not trust their teachers (even those in Roman collars) to be giving them the truth. They needed to be critical thinkers and test what they were taught against the doctrines of the Church. Isn't that a sad commentary on a Catholic school? But I think it helped them develop critical thinking skills which made them harder to fool. All of my children are adults now and all of them practice the Faith.
I can relate. Whether the breakdown of Catholic values in the Catholic school was intentional or evolutionary, I arrived at the same difficulty when my own was in Catholic school. I had to frequently reteach what she had learned in school, and this pitted me against her teachers--a very bad position to be in. I did finally take her out of Catholic school after sixth grade in order to get away from the Values Clarification program which was a year-long program that I disagreed with because it did not exclusively teach abstinence, and because it included the parish priest teaching birth control to the 8th grade students since, as he told me, "they're going to do it anyway."
or why the rich get richer and the poor get poorer.
Steve Dalton sent in a link to an article at the Business Week website which describes the flaw in calculations the government makes of the gross domestic product, and this flaw could help explain why statistics show a rosier picture than actually exists.
As corporations report on their earnings
Pat Byrne, the global managing partner of Accenture Ltd.'s (ACN ) supply-chain management practice, goes even further, suggesting that "at least half of U.S. productivity [growth] has been because of globalization." But quantifying this is tough, he notes, because most companies don't look at how much of their productivity growth is onshore and how much is offshore. "I don't know of any companies or industries that have tried to measure this. Maybe they don't even want to know."
Phantom GDP helps explain why U.S. workers aren't benefiting more as their companies grow ever more efficient. The cost savings that companies are reaping "don't represent increased productivity of American workers producing goods and services in the U.S.," says Houseman. In contrast, compensation of senior executives is typically tied to profits, which have soared alongside offshoring.
But where are those vigorous corporate profits coming from? The strong earnings growth of U.S.-based corporations is still real, but it may be that fewer of the gains are coming from improvements in domestic productivity. In fact, holding down costs by moving key tasks overseas could be having a greater impact on corporate earnings than anyone guessed--or measured.
There are investing implications, too, although those are harder to quantify. Companies with their primary focus in the U.S. might suddenly seem less attractive, since underlying economic growth is slower here than the numbers show. But if the statistical systems of other developed countries suffer from the same problem--and they might--then growth in Europe and Japan might be overstated, too.
When Houseman first uncovered the problem with the numbers that is created by offshoring, she was primarily focused on manufacturing productivity, where the official stats show a 32% increase since 2000. But while some of the gains may be real, they also include unlikely productivity jumps in heavily outsourced industries (see BusinessWeek.com, 6/2/07, "Overseas Sweatshops Are a U.S. Responsibility") such as furniture and audio and video equipment such as televisions. "In some sectors, productivity growth may be an indicator not of how competitive American workers are in international markets," says Houseman, "but rather of how cost-uncompetitive they are." For example, furniture manufacturing has been transformed by offshoring in recent years. Imports have surged from $17.2 billion in 2000 to $30.3 billion in 2006, with virtually all of that increase coming from low-cost China. And the industry has lost 21% of its jobs during the same period.
Yet Washington's official statistics show that productivity per hour in the furniture industry went up by 23% and output by 3% between 2000 and 2005. Those numbers baffle longtime industry consultant Arthur Raymond of Raleigh, N.C., who has watched factory after factory close. "And we haven't pumped any money into the remaining plants," says Raymond. "How anybody can say that domestic production has stayed level is beyond me."
If the government is using phantom statistics to set government policy on interest rates and taxes, how long will the American economy be able to absorb this discrepancy? Also what is to happen to the American workers who were trained in manufacturing-related tasks and now find themselves unemployable at a job which will pay a living wage?
Does this help explain why many of us ride by housing developments with houses that look like mansions and wonder who can afford to buy these things, while we clearly see the lights on inside and know that someone can afford them, and at the same time know that we never could? And does this make distributivism look more appealing to you?
Read the entire article here.
Sunday, June 17, 2007
MASS WAS MOSTLY NORMAL TODAY, THANK YOU LORD!
Nearly no surprises. No bongo drums. No deviation from the rubrics--well, a little ad lib, but it was ok, though the Mass prayers were rushed. We attended Mass at St. Bernards.
One odd thing did happen, though. We had a missionary sister talk about the work of her order in the field, and solicit funds. When she was finished talking, the "audience" applauded her. There was no earthly reason for the applause. It was the sort of response a speaker at a lecture or conference would get. I've never been around when a missionary was applauded before. I suppose next we can expect the celebrant to get applause for his homily. The applause screams loudly that the laity viewed the speaker as a performer. It is a very screwed up response.
THE CATHOLIC POSITION ON LABOR VS. THE REALITY IN ONE COUNTRY
Papal Nuncio to the U.N. Archbishop Silvano Tomasi gave an address to the U.N. International Labor Conference on June 13 which contained the following recommendations:
The Vatican, he said, strongly supports the work of employees, employers and governments to Make “decent work for sustainable development a collective goal” for the international community and national programs.
“Work, enterprise and the global arena of financial investments, trade and production should be rooted in a creative, cooperative, and rule-based effort at the service of the human person, of every man and woman, and of their equal dignity and rights,” the Vatican nuncio said. “It is the human dimension of work that needs to be valued and protected; moreover, an enabling environment must be created so that personal talents are invested for the common good.”
Archbishop Tomasi pointed to changes in the financial, technological and communications world that have “transformed the face of work and the conditions of the labor market,” noting though that international community is evolving under the weight of an aging population in some areas, the gap between needed skills and lack of needed training, growing outsourcing, multinational relationships and the demand for greater flexibility and market mobility.
As well, he said, there is a trend “to favor more individualistic relations between enterprise and employees,” which can work against worker solidarity. “Although workers may no longer find themselves in physical proximity with each other, solidarity remains crucial and indispensable if founded on our common humanity that links all types of work.”
Globalization of work today allows the worker to reach out to others connected in labor and in service to the whole human family,” the Vatican nuncio said. “Through his work a person is opened to an increasingly universal dimension and, in this way, can humanize globalization and thus, by keeping the human person at the center of this process, can provide an ethical measure against its negative aspects.”
Yet, exploitation of the worker becomes a greater threat, he said, pointing to demands of “overwork, excessive flexibility and stiff competition that make family life and personal growth impossible.”
We need these things. It's easy to see the outline of distributivism in his comments. But his comments sound like pie in the sky when compared to what has recently been discovered in China according to an article sent in by Steve Dalton:
Su Jinduo and Su Jinpeng, brother and sister, were traveling home by bus from a vacation visit to Qingdao during the Chinese New Year when they disappeared.
Cheated out of their money when they sought to buy a ticket for the final leg of the journey home, their father, Su Jianjun, said in an interview, they were taken in by a woman who provided them with warm shelter and a meal on a cold winter night. She also offered them a chance to earn enough money to pay their fare by helping her sell fruit.
The next thing they knew, however, they were being loaded onto a minibus with several other children and taken to a factory in the next province, where they were pressed into service making bricks. Several days later, the boy, 16, escaped along with another boy and managed to reach home. A few days later, Mr. Su was able to rescue his daughter, 18.
This story and many others like it have swept China in recent days in an unfolding labor scandal in central China that involves the kidnapping of hundreds of children, most in their teens but some as young as 8.
Continue reading the article...