Saturday, September 27, 2008
ECONOMIC CRISIS - ANOTHER VIEWPOINT
A reader sent in a link to News with Views commentator Joan Vian's article which offers another explanation of the current economic crisis--one that admittedly I do not understand. She sees ulterior motives to what is happening in American economics.
THE BIRTH CONTROL COMMISSION
TURNING POINT by Robert McClory - chapter 13
This chapter reports on the third and final meeting of the commission in 1966, consisting of fifteen cardinals and bishops.
Since Ottaviani had been appointed Commission president for this session, speculation mounted that he might try to ram through his agenda on the strength of sheer authority. But the aged head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (the new name of the Holy Office) remained strangely distant (almost as if he knew something the others did not) and dozed through many of the discussions.(p. 119)
It seemed as though Bishop Colombo, a man very close to Pope Paul, had been assigned the task of carrying the banner for retention of the status quo. And he tried mightily. But a series of events during the first two days of the session served to undercut his initiative and instead direct the gathered hierarchy in the direction of change.
McClory summarizes the opposing positions.
...the vast majority of the Commission was now in full agreement that the Church ought to change its ban on contraception while upholding the overall procreative purposes of marriage....their council, had extolled the "witness of the faithful"--the ability of ordinary Christians directed by the Holy Spirit to perceive what is true and what isn't. No longer appropriate, he said, was Pius X's distinction between the Church that teaches and the Church that listens: especially in discerning the morality of contraception, married couples ought to be among the teachers. (pp 120-121)
The conservatives claimed the Church had condemned contraception in its ordinary teaching from the beginning; on the other hand, countered the liberals, there was variances, even contradictions. Conservatives then argued that marital intercourse tended by nature toward conception, so any interference should be seen as unnatural and evil; on the other hand, argued liberals, the Church had long approved interference with nature (though (sic) medical operations, for example) for the human race. But permitting contraception might start the Church down the slippery slope toward other aberrations including abortion and sterilization, pointed out the conservative side; on the other hand, argued the liberals, these aberrations were distinct from contraception and their immorality could be argued on other grounds.
In his conclusion, de Riedmatten reminded these cardinals and bishops how the Vatican Council,
Cardinal Ottaviani thought it would be helpful to exhume from the Vatican archives the background papers on the old encyclical and immediately sent someone over to find them. He was unsuccessful. De Riedmatten said he too had tried to find them in vain; apparently they were lost. At that point Patty Crowley began to worry about the ultimate fate of the papers and reports from the present meeting. (p. 121)
Doepfner declared that Casti Connubii is not infallible and is subject to doctrinal development--just as Vatican II approved of religious liberty without apologizing for its past assertions about "no salvation outside the Church." (p. 121)
Cardinal Gracias of Bombay arose....At first he sounded like John Ford. "If the Church changes here," he said, "then there will be a crisis in Christendom and the Church's enemies will rejoice." But, he continued, "There is a resurrection after every death. The Church will survive. And we must find a way to help couples." (p. 121)
Bishop Colombo, alarmed by what seemed Gracias's defection...interrupted the cardinal. If the Church backtracks on contraception, he warned his colleagues, they "would endanger the very indefectability of the Church, the teacher of truth in these things which pertain to salvation. Wouldn't this mean the gates of hell had in some way prevailed against the Church?"
Zalba could not agree more. "What then," he asked, "with the millions we have sent to hell if these norms were not valid?"
Patty Crowley could not restrain herself. "Father Zalba," she interjected, "do you really believe God has carried out all your orders?"
A momentary stunned silence followed... (p. 122)
At this point I would interject that the Church has sent souls to hell for eating meat on Friday. Today we are permitted to eat meat on Friday substituting some other form of penitence in place of the old prohibition.
[Fuchs] withdrew permission from his publishers to reprint his popular textbook on Catholic morality, which presented Casti Connubii in glowing terms. Earlier in 1966 he had stopped teaching moral theology at the Gregorian University because he no longer wished to defend a position he did not personally accept. He had come to understand how doctrine develops, said Fuchs, how a specific condemnation must be withdrawn when the rationale behind it is no longer persuasive. "There has been an evolution in doctrine since Casti Connubii under Pius XII and at Vatican II," he said. "And this evolution has been moving in one direction: away from the notion that each contraceptive act is intrinsically evil." (pp 122-123)
Ford stated that he would "never compromise" and that "Contraception...involves a will which is turned against new life at this moment. It is against this life, in advance, that is, against its coming to be..." He believed "that contraception was a violation of human life and Christian chastity."
Ford and his colleagues Visser, Zalba, and de Lestapis, were not successful in dissuading the rest of the commission from accepting contraception as an option for couples.
"Cardinal Doepfner tried to further defuse Ford's comments.Casti Connubii is not infallible, he reiterated, and there would be no harm in saying for once that the Church has been wrong..." (p. 124)
The vote was taken on June 24. Three questions were voted upon.
1. "Is contraception intrinsically evil?" (9 said no, 3 said yes, 3 abstained)
2. "Is contraception, as defined by the Majority Report, in basic continuity with tradition and the declarations of the Magisterium?" (9 yes, 5 no, 1 abstention)
3. "Should the magisterium speak on this question as soon as possible?" (14 yes, 1 no)
Colombo, the Pope's theologian, said, "His Holiness will never accept the proposition that contraception is not intrinsically evil." Then he added, "He [the Pope] would agree only to this: a letter to the world's bishops telling them their people are not to be disturbed. It is not necessary to disturb couples who practice contraception; close your eyes!" (p. 127)
That, I would submit, describes what has happened. H.V. was issued, but the pastoral approach was taken. Don't ask, don't tell. It is even the path that a commenter in this blog has indicated Europe follows. Give your voice over to H.V. Do what you need to do in the privacy of the marriage bed. If the commenter was correct, the precedent for this approach was set when the Papal Birth Control Commission came up with this strategy.
On June 25, the final day, Bishop Dupuy read a short pastoral document he had prepared as an introduction to the Majority Report. It said in part, "All this teaching...has in many countries produced lay and Christian family movements which have contributed powerfully to a deeper understanding of marriage and the demands of marriage union....What is to be condemned is not the regulation of conception but a selfish married life, refusing creative opening out of the family circle....As for the means that husband and wife can legitimately employ, it is their task to decide this together, without drifting into arbitrary decisions, but always taking into account the objective criteria of morality." It was approved in full after some discussion.(p. 127-128)
The work of the Papal Birth Control Commission was finished at last. The experts, the married couples, the bishops, and cardinals--all appointed by the Pope--had spoken with a nearly unanimous voice. That night as everyone shared a gala dinner together, a sense of achievement, even peace, pervaded the celebration.
"I don't think there was a doubt in any of the minds that the Pope would follow the Commission report," said Patty Crowley, "after the endorsement of all those theologians and the cardinals and bishops."...
"I felt sure the problem was settled once and for all," recalled Laurent Potvin, "and I was very optimistic. "Then my wife said, 'Laurent, don't be so excited. Don't you see Cardinal Ottaviani sitting up there?"
THE FORECLOSURE RATE IN OHIO
In an attempt to help struggling homeowners and stem the rising tide of foreclosures in Ohio, the Federal Home Loan Bank (FHLB) of Cincinnati is doling out $1.3 million in grants to neighborhood housing groups and local banks as part of its “Preserving the American Dream” program.
One out of every 375 Ohio homeowners received a foreclosure filing in July, according to the most recent data from RealtyTrac. On a year-over-year basis, bank repossessions in the state were up by 33 percent. RealtyTrac ranked Ohio as having the fifth highest foreclosure rate in the nation, based on July's figures.
Friday, September 26, 2008
CATHOLIC CHARITIES SPOKESMAN ON THE CRISIS
Market Watch has posted an article on the bailout. Rev. Larry Snyder, President of Catholic Charities USA pleads for consideration in this bailout for vulnerable children and families. He writes: "Poverty and economic inequality have been present in our communities long before this current economic crisis and no healthy economic system can co-exist with these systemic ills." He asks for four provisions in the bailout package:
* "Extend unemployment insurance"
* "Increase food stamp benefits"
* "Increase home energy benefits"
* "Protect low-income families from losing Medicaid and social service assistance"
He doesn't say where the money is to come from to do all of this.
I talked with a banker this morning. He explained the current crisis in terms even I could understand. Bottom line, it's all about sub-prime interest rates on mortgages, and the insurance institutions that guaranteed them. Think interest rates as low as 1% which were actually issued.
People who could afford a conventional mortgage for a modest family home were offered the opportunity to go for the "look at me" structure that carried a temporary interest rate below the prime rate offered to the best business credit risks. The rate hikes were built in, and when the interest rate went up to 5%, for instance, there was no hope the borrower could afford the mortgage. The crisis is being triggered by those rate hikes kicking in.
Now I understand how it has been that I've watched people like me move into houses that I couldn't afford even in my wildest dreams. Now I understand why I'm seeing abandoned housing around here, even sometimes very expensive abandoned housing. Now I understand why gated-type communities were started, but only a couple of houses were built, and those houses now sit in the middle of empty fields.
Consequences of this, according to my source, are defaulted mortgages on homes for which there are no buyers, and a tightening credit market that means there are likely to be no buyers in the near-term. There are some bargains out there, but who has the credit to grab them up?
Meanwhile mortgage brokers, even a local one, who worked with investment banks like Washington Mutual, in securing these sub-prime mortgages find themselves holding defaulted mortgages. Washington Mutual went belly up because they hold primarily these sub-prime mortgages that are in default, and don't have a diversified list of investments to help off-set the defaulting mortgages. In other words, put all of your eggs in one basket, and you are out of business when the basket starts to break.
Greed, to a large extent, has fueled it. Greed on the part of the investment bankers who have lent money at sub-prime rates with the expectation of watching their income rise with the rise in interest rates. Greed in the form of a disregard for standard credit checks, and instead loaning money on merely the word of the buyer who could claim an income of $200,000 per year on paper, while having an actual income of far less. Greed on the part of home buyers on an ego trip and willing to lie to get the glitzy digs.
There has been enough of these mortgages lent out to topple the economy. Now that banks are doing more thorough investigations into mortgage seekers' finances, there is no market for the defaulted homes. There are people who no longer qualify for the mortgage that they would have qualified for three years ago. So the sub-prime buyers who are finding themselves with an albatross around their neck when the higher rates kick in that they cannot afford, can't sell the house for what they owe on it. Now the inflated prices on all housing that has been fueled by this circus is starting to drop. Who is going to pay the bill for the construction that has been completed?
Fortunately for America, many banks did not issue sub-prime mortgages, so the direct cause of the crisis does not necessarily affect the particular bank where someone has their savings. Long term, can the foolish bring down the prudent? The banker I talked with wouldn't venture a guess.
I asked if this is the result of the attempt to salvage the economy after 9/11? The banker's first response was no, it preceded the terrorist attack, but on further reflection he acknowledged that the low interest rates became lower still after 9/11.
Meanwhile senior citizens counting on their interest income have borne the brunt of this greedfest as they saw their interest income plummet. A sound economy can't be built on future profits, whether it's the family financial strategy or the nations.
I have far more sympathy for those who counted on income from their life-long savings effort than I have for the home buyer who bought way above his means. But who is the bailout going to benefit? The hard working senior who saved his money? No, the perpetrators of the greedfest who are now crying in their crystal palaces might actually get to keep them thanks to the generous gift of Uncle Sam. Meanwhile who gets to pay their bills?
As I was listening to my banker's explanation, I couldn't help but think about the Randian economists who subscribe to the glorification of greed. The powers of evil may glitter and shine in the short run, but in the long run modesty, humility, charity, the cardinal virtues, win out. We are not supposed to invite our neighbor's envy.
Credit, which arguably propped up our economy after 9/11, would seem to be the cause of many of our financial woes going back even as far as the Great Depression when credit caused the market to crash. Credit on something that is a relatively sure income earner (a business) is one thing. Credit on something that does not earn income and has built-in obsolescence, is much riskier, and needs to be much more carefully approached from either the lender or the buyer's point of view. Taking possession of something you probably won't be able to pay for is the equivalent of stealing in the long run. Being encouraged to take it by a slick financier through your own ignorance is a shame on you, and a far greater shame on the financier who talked you into it.
Bottom line, we all need to learn to live within our means and practice prudent money management. We all need to resist the one-upsmanship that leads us to acquire stuff we can't afford in order to make ourselves appear better than our fellow man. And dammit, it's about time that people who practice those sound financial strategies stop being penalized.
Ok, now I'll turn this over to you readers who probably have your own viewpoints on this crisis.
Thursday, September 25, 2008
THE ERRORS OF LIBERTARIAN ECONOMICS
Commonweal is the last place I'd expect to find an article that I agree with, yet that is exactly what I've just found--an article on Fr. Robert Sirico in the September 26, 2008 issue.
Daniel Finn, who teaches economics and theology at St. John's University in Collegeville, has written an article on the "Libertarian Heresy: The Fundamentalism of Free-Market Theology" in which he discusses three of Sirico's premises, attempting to demonstrate why they are contrary to Catholic Social Doctrine.
He concludes with the following:
So has Fr. Sirico mixed libertarian heresy about human freedom into his Christian view of morality and law? I’ll leave that for him to reflect on. But it isn’t difficult to imagine how a person can be so committed to free markets and minimal government that he erroneously discerns an antitax message in Catholic moral theology, and thereby engages in the error biblical scholars call “eisegesis,” reading into someone else’s position what you want to find there.
Don’t get me wrong. I have no interest in squelching a much-needed debate about the proper balance of public and private action in how we fulfill our obligations to the needy. I would suggest, however, that neoconservative Catholics inquire into the influence of libertarianism on their work and, most importantly, that they make Catholic moral theology the standard for judging right-wing claims about morality in economic life-and not the other way around.
The entire article, which isn't long, deserves a read. If you read it, keep in mind that God was the originator of laws that restrain the individual in favor of others. We call them the Ten Commandments. And then there are the Beatitudes. If our social structure, including our laws and taxes, reflect these two messages from God the Father and Jesus Christ, is there any sane reason for Catholics to oppose them?
Read the article here.
THE BIRTH CONTROL COMMISSION
TURNING POINT by Robert McClory - chapter 12
This chapter concerns the second of the final three meetings held in 1966.
The last two weeks of May and the first week of June 1966 may have been the most productive--and the most tense--during the entire history of the Commission. It was during this time that the three most important papers were written and a final position began to jell....(p. 109)
Dr. John Marshall, an original Commission member who had served on its steering committee for more than two years, was told by de Reidmatten that he need not return for the final session....Marshall was one of those who had begun convinced the old doctrine was irreformable, but, he openly admitted to his colleagues, the testimony and evidence of the meetings persuaded him the doctrine could be reformed and should be reformed. Also, an official of the Holy Office, not a Commission member, was assigned by Cardinal Ottaviani to sit in at all meetings of the theologians and take notes--a practice that some found a bit threatening.
The three papers consisted of the Minority Report, the Majority Rebuttal, and the Majority Report. The Minority Report was authored primarily by John Ford which "reviewed the Church's position on birth control over the centuries, citing authorities from St. Augustine to Pope John XXIII". He then asked:
"Why cannot the Church change her answer to this central question? The Church cannot change her answer because this answer is true....It is true because the Catholic Church, instituited by Christ to show men a secure way to eternal life, could not have so wrongly erred during all those centuries of history....The Church could not have erred...even through one century, by imposing under serious obligation very grave burdens in the name of Jesus Christ, if Jesus Christ did not actually impose those burdens....If the Church could err in such a way...the faithful could not put their trust in the magisterium's presentation of moral teaching, especially in sexual matters."(pp 110-111)
Ford's offensive was not based essentially on proof from the natural law because, he admitted, such proofs do not exist. "If we could bring forward arguments which are clear and cogent based on reason alone, it would not be necessary for our Commission to exist, nor would the present state of affairs exist in the Church," he wrote.
This would appear to be the sum and substance of the opposition to barrier methods of birth control, though at the time it was made the pill was also under consideration. The sole argument for a refusal to change is that the Church cannot change.
Yet today, after 40 years of Vatican II implementation, could anyone make such a claim? The Church has changed in countless ways over the last 40 years. Those of us who were cradle Catholics prior to Vatican II struggle to still recognize the Church to which we pledged our allegiance all those years ago. Clearly the Church can and has changed.
Today the argument against birth control most often cited is that same natural law that the major opponent on the Birth Control Commission in 1960 claimed could not be substantiated. Is this rational in the face of all of the compelling reasons presented by the Birth Control Commission for a need to change? In the face of medical advances that can cure or control cancer, but which can sometimes seriously damage a fetus? Can this be rational in the face of modern medicine's alteration of nature in countless ways that have the blessing of the Church?
The Majority Rebuttal addressed
...a kind of creeping infallibility [that] had tended to blur the distinction between teachings and give almost every statement an absolute authority. They categorically denied that Casti Connubii represented infallible doctrine since the argument from reason given in the eycyclical is "vague and imprecise," and the unbroken tradition to which the Pope referred neither goes back to the apostles nor is it an expression of universal faith....
An unconditional respect for nature as if it were the voice of God fails to understand the call to take command of nature and shape it to human purposes, said the document: "The order of creation does not require that all things be left untouchable just as they are, but that they reach the ends to which they have been ordered....Churchmen have been slower than the rest of the world in clearly seeing this as man's vocation."...
Rhythm was called "deficient" because "only 60 percent of women have a regular [menstrual] cycle." The document flatly denied that approval of contraception would foster indulgent attitudes toward abortion since abortion deals with life already in existence. It was less specific about the other potential sexual deviations cited by Ford. (p. 112)
Birth Control was not approved. Today what we see is that the dire predictions attributed to approval have come to pass in any case. Could it be that these consequences are not the result of approval of contraception by the Church (which, of course, did not take place) but rather the result of reducing every discussion about sex to the mechanics of avoiding pregnancy while the possibly even more important discussion of the nature of the sexual bond has been ignored? Did lay Catholics, in finding that in the majority of situations they could not escape the necessity to control the number of births, find themselves, in reaction to the Church-imposed guilty conscience, willing to reject everything else the Church taught about sex as equally irrelevant? Did this guilt that could not be avoided or addressed undermine the marriage bond to such an extent that today Catholics divorce at the same rate as non-Catholics? And did the laity, who were told at Vatican II that they are church, inadvertently sanction by their presence the rest of the world in acceptance of birth control in all of its forms including those that are abortifacient? The Church, after all, was a major influence in Western civ. 40 years ago.
My thoughts refer again to that discussion between St. Peter and St. Paul about the need for circumcision. If an impossible demand is imposed, and the official pronouncements of the organization render the majority of its members anathema because they cannot find a way to comply, is it likely that the organization will endure? I would submit that it is only by grace that we have endured, and that the sexual abuse scandal and coverup is a direct result of reaction to Humane Vitae. It would seem that the same effort to defend the Church against error was active in both the argument against birth control and the argument for cover-up of the scandal.
The Majority Report was titled "Responsible Parenthood". It was, according to McClory
...far less polemical than either of the working papers. Since it was intended to convince the Pope, a serious effort was made to show how a change in Church teaching can be reconciled with tradition, especially with Casti Connubii: "The tradition of the Church...developed in the argument with heretics such as the Gnostics, Manicheans and later the Cathari, all of whom condemned procreation...as something evil....Consequently, this tradition...intended to protect two fundamental values: the good of procreation and the rectitude of marital intercourse...It is not surprising that in the course of centuries this tradition was always interpreted in expressions and formulas proper to the times....Nor was there maintained always a right equilibrium of all the elements....But what is of real importance is that the same values were again and again reaffirmed."(p. 113)
...the document took special care to add among the "facts" the contribution of the Crowleys and other laypeople. "Then must be considered the sense of the faithful: according to it, condemnation of a couple to a long and often heroic abstinence as a means to regulate conception, cannot be founded on the truth."
Far from suggesting that these changed conditions open the door to sexual irresponsibility, "Responsible Parenthood" took great pains to insist that sexual activity makes sense only within the context of a chaste, permanent relationship of man and wife who are open to new life, but that does not mean that every conjugal act must be so open "The morality of sexual acts between married people takes its meaning first of all...from the ordering of their actions in a fruitful married life, that is one which is practiced with responsible, generous and prudent parenthood. It does not then depend upon the direct fecundity of each and every particular act....For a conscience correctly formed, a willingness to raise a family with full acceptance of the various human and Christian responsibilities is altogether distinguished from a mentality and way of married life which in its totality is egoistically and fraternally opposed to fruitfulness." It is this latter, "contraceptive" mentality which the centuries-old tradition, most emphatically in Casti Connubi, intended to condemn, said the authors. (pp 113-114)
...no one seems to remember if a vote by all Commission members present occurred before the report was given to the cardinals and bishops in the final week. Several published reports state such a vote of the assembly was taken and the result was 52-4 in favor of the [Majority] report. All other papers produced during the course of the Commission meetings, including Ford's Minority Report and the Majority Rebuttal were viewed as working documents...(pp 114-115)
In the commission discussion that followed the issue of the three reports de Riedmatten polled the body on the question, "Is the Church in a state of doubt concerning the received teaching on the intrinsic malice of contraception?" The response was thirty-five yes and five no--to which Dr. Andre Hellegers commented, "The debates have convinced me more of the intrinsic danger in irreformable statements than in the intrinsic evil of contraception." (p. 115)
In a pastoral letter published in the Catholic Herald, Cardinal John Heenan of London
...tried to prepare his people for what might come. Notions of right and wrong continually change, he wrote, noting that at the beginning of the century English law approved the death penalty for adults convicted of forgery and for children caught stealing--crimes no one today would consider deserving of capital punishment.(p. 115)
As I recall the climate in the Church just after H.V. was promulgated, no one I knew thought the Pope could be serious in a condemnation of contraception. It was largely ignored. Perhaps this background information about the surveys taken and the results along with the general attitude of the members of the commission gives us insight into why.
I still remember the pope poster showing Pope Paul VI posed in the Uncle-Sam-pointing-finger posture and the tag line, "The pill is a no-no". The poster was thought to be humorous.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Ok, you economic experts out there...are we about to enter the NWO via an economic collapse?
I watched part of Jim Kramer's "Mad Money" tonight, and felt like I was living in Germany before the rise of Hitler.
Is it time to grab the cash out of the bank account and hide it in the sock drawer?
An article at Catholic News Service, reporting on an article in L'Osservatore Romano blames the crisis on faulty economic systems and "now-debunked economic theories". It recomends "new rules". Other news sources are talking about the greed factor being an important cause of the crisis. As listen to them, I can't help but wonder how much of a part Austrian Economics has played in the crisis, and how the laissez faire Austrian system could/would cause such a crisis. If you see it otherwise, enlighten me!
THE SEX ABUSE SCANDAL - WHERE ARE WE NOW ?
Commenting in StatesmanJournal.com, Peter C. Boulay writes:
We now know there were two stunning scandals in the American Catholic church: priests committing child sex abuse offenses and bishops illegally covering up these crimes.
The rate at which accusations of child and youth abuse were brought against priests was, by my calculations based on available figures, 74 times higher than the rate of such accusations among the American male population as a whole. As for the bishops, it appears from our present knowledge that nearly all American bishops and cardinals in charge of dioceses participated in illegal cover-ups.
All of this points to a systemic problem that still begs to be analyzed. What is there in the recruitment, education and deployment of priests, or in the mindset of the church, that could explain these two humiliating fin de siecle phenomena?
The bishops failed to report priestly abuse cases to civil authorities, as they were legally required to do in every jurisdiction in America. They re-assigned abusive priests to other positions or other dioceses where they might strike again. In some cases, they gave the abusive priests excellent recommendations as they sought to get rid of them.
The monetary damage to the American Catholic Church included huge sums, with estimates ranging from $600 million to $3 billion paid to the accusers and to the church's legal defenses, and to counsel priests. Five dioceses were bankrupt. The average payment to a credible accuser was $322,000. The collateral damage — to reputation, to faith, to loyalty — is incalculable.
EVANGELICAL-CATHOLIC ALLIANCE SPLINTERING ?
Steve Waldman comments at the Wall Street Journal website:
One of the leading myths about the 2004 election is that George W. Bush won mostly because of massive support from evangelicals.
Support of evangelicals wouldn’t have been nearly enough without his big victory among conservative Catholics and mainline Protestants. In the last few elections, we’ve seen the birth of a “Religious Conservative Alliance” that spanned different denominations, with Catholic conservatives behaving similarly to Protestant conservatives.
That may be changing. A series of new polls show that while Barack Obama has made very little headway among evangelicals – even moderate evangelicals — practicing Catholics are now distinguishing themselves from their evangelical allies.
THE BIRTH CONTROL COMMISSION
TURNING POINT by Robert McClory - chapter 11
The first four meetings of the Birth Control Commission were brief, three- or four-day affairs. The final meeting, held at the Spanish College in Rome, would last almost three months, beginning in early April 1966 and finally concluding at the end of June....periti). The real members were sixteen cardinals and bishops named by the Holy Father. Most would be attending only the final plenary meeting, and would be this new body--not the full Commission--that would make the final determination of what advice to give the Pope. It would be logical to see the hand of Cardinal Ottaviani in this unexplained procedural shift. He was well aware of the overwhelming consensus for change.... (pp 96-97)
Not everyone realized it, but the rules had changed. The Commission's members, according to the official schedule in Latin, were no longer members but "experts" (
Members of the final Commission meeting were Cardinals Ottaviani, Suenens, Heenan, Doepfner, Gracias, Shehan, and (Joseph) Lefebvre. New bishops were Colombo (the pope's theologian), Dearden (Detroit), Dupuy (France), Morris (Ireland), Pulido-Mendez (Venezuela), Zoa (Cameroon), Wojtyla (Poland - who declined to attend). Reuss and Binz continued on the commission. (p. 97)
The April sessions of the Commission focused on theology and showed how the tone had moved to "fundamental questions." Debates over the pill gave way to discussion of natural law, the limits of Church authority, and especially just what constitutes intrinsic evil. Was the prohibition against contraception an ideal which Christians should aim for but not be overly alarmed about when they fell short? Or was it an absolute...(p. 98)
In the midst of the debate, French theologian Philip Delhaye tried to offer a compromise. The reaction revealed the deep division among the theologians....
Pierre de Locht objected that applying a Church law remedy to a natural law problem would be absurd. "You can't legislate morality by just laying down some rules," he said. "It is necessary to inculcate a moral sense by emphasizing the fundamental virtues...The German Redemptorist Visser interjected that the presence of doubt is no reason to alter the obligation of an old law: "It is imprudent to toss aside the observance of a norm because of doubt alone." (p. 98)
Jesuit John Ford insisted doubt shouldn't even be discussed because on the matter of birth control there is no doubt. The magisterium has spoken; obedience is the only appropriate response.
His fellow Jesuit Joseph Fuchs disagreed, contending that such a literal line of thought would take everyone down a blind alley: "Continuity of a teaching doesn't consist in repeating what has been said before in other circumstances but in continuing to see if these earlier pronouncements actually took permanent values into account....
...Fernando Lambruschini, an official in the Roman Curia, said the bottom line is that people will not obey a law they don't understand; and that is precisely the Catholic response to the ban on contraception: the people don't get it.
The prolonged theological debates reached a kind of summit on May 6. De Riedmatten asked each of the nineteen theologians to give a six-minute presentation of his position, after which a vote would be taken on two questions: Is the doctrine of Casti Connubii irreformable? And is artificial contraception an intrinsically evil violation of the natural law? The result was no on both questions--both by 15-4 tallies. (p. 99)
The German physician Albert Gorres claimed:
the centuries-old united front against contraception was in fact a sham. Those who opposed the Vatican party line found their books and opinions censored, he said, and thus the official presentation of moral doctrine was left to timid, second-rate, and overly scrupulous maintainers of the status quo who looked for evidence to bolster foregone conclusions instead of seeking truth. A large amount of moral doctrine, Gorres asserted, comes out of a history scarred by Manicheism, patriarchalism, sexism, and blatantly erroneous assumptions about human biology. As a result, "moral theologians have justified with great confidence things which their successors today reject as outright immoral and unchristian: witch trials, tortures, burning of heretics, slavery, forceful violation of the consciences of unbelievers and heretics, suppression of colonial peoples, and...the castration of choirboys, this last over a period of centuries and with the approval of popes.(p. 100)
Gorres's sharp observations were bolstered by Canon Delhaye, who had come upon an official report of the results of a poll of the world's bishops in 1964 at the request of the Pope concerning attitudes toward contraception as the leading moral problem but were stymied on how to react. All over the world, Delhaye said bishops reported, "It used to be that people talked to their confessors knowing that they were wrong. Now they do so knowing they are right. The faithful accept other laws and see themselves as sinners when they transgress them. Here they invoke the impossibility of the law, their conscience, and God's mercy." (pp 100-101)
...it was in this context that sociologist Donald Barrett presented the findings of the Crowleys' survey, along with copies of the correspondence they had received....The letters showed that while many took heroic measures and endured great sacrifice to obey the law, others were beginning to echo what Catholics were telling the world's bishops: an unintelligible law does not oblige. (p. 101)
The thythm method also took a beating from Dr. Andre Hellegers of Baltimore, who reported that it was ineffective for many women during menopause, "precisely the time when it's most necessary." (p. 101)
The women were offered an opportunity to witness to their unique perspective:
The first to speak, J. F. Kulanday, a married nurse and administrator with the Public Health Department in New Delhi, India, explained a survey she had directed on the importance of intercourse in the lives of Indian women. "Women desire intercourse in marriage," she said. It binds the husband and wife together.(p. 102)
Patty Crowley offered her own analysis of the data she had gathered from the Christian Family Movement members.
"Is there a bad psychological effect in the use of rhythm? Almost without exception, the responses were that yes, there is.(p. 103)
"Does rhythm serve any useful purpose at all? A few say it may be useful for developing discipline. Nobody says that it fosters married love.
"Does it contribute to married unity? No. That is the inescapable conclusion of the reports we have received....In marriage a husband and wife pledge themselves to become one in mind, heart and affection. They are no longer two, but one flesh--and they must find mutual help and serve each other through intimate union of their persons and their actions; through an experience of their oneness with growing affection day by day.
"Some wonder whether God would have us cultivate such unity by using what seems to them an unnatural system....
...instead of unity and love, rhythm tends to substitute tension, dissatisfaction, frustration and disunity....
"Is rhythm unnatural? Yes--that's the conclusion of these reports.
...month after month she must say no to her husband because it is the wrong date on the calendar or the thermometer reading isn't right."...
She quoted from several of the letters to illustrate aspects of the problem: "'My husband is away on long business trips and unfortunately his company doesn't take our calendar into consideration when he has to be gone all over this country and now all over the world. He has left on trips at the wrong time of the month and arrived, all in the same month, at the wrong time of the month. This problem is detrimental to family rapport....' (pp 103-104)
Patty then drew her bottom-line conclusion: "We think it is time that this Commission recommend that the sacredness of conjugal love not be violated by thermometers and calendars." (p. 105)
If they had been concerned before, the dissenting theologians were now near panic. The push for change was approaching avalanche proportions....an angry de Lestapis told the assembly he feared a tendency to "idealize" married persons. "The couple has become a state of grace and contraception their sacrament," he said, "and the result is a sort of intoxication, a practical obliteration of the sense of God, a mystification in the psychological order, a devaluation of procereation."
Others took exception to that. Said Giacomo Perico, a theologian from the University of Milan who had been quiet during the debates, "The more I hear the confessions of good Catholics on this matter, the more I feel it necessary for the Church to change. I would dare to say my own penitents have made a contribution here." Dutch philosopher Andre van Melsen said it was clear to him that if change did not come, pastoral activity would be paralyzed; confessors would lose contact with the best Catholics, and the result would be a "ghetto Church."
Pat Crowley summed up the majority view: "I think we have agreed that the sense of the faithful is for change. No arguments were presented on the side of the status quo other than the one that Rome has spoken once and to change would undermine the magisterium. (p. 107)
The preponderance of testimony from the lay members showed that change is anticipated and great problems will arise if no change is made. If the Church fails in this, much of the progress made by the Council will be lost." (p. 107-108)
No change was made, and the progress made by the Council has been a disaster. Pastoral activity has been paralyzed, and confessors have lost contact with faithful Catholics, as was predicted. Yet it can't be denied that had Pope Paul VI chosen to change the Church's stance on birth control at that time, the abortifacient pill would have been accepted as a legitimate form of contraception.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
EUROPEAN UNION HAS CATHOLIC ORIGINS
The question has repeatedly occurred to me: what is essentially wrong with a European Union given it's similarity to the United States?
Politics is not my thing, but I see the European Union as being similar to the union of the states that make up the U.S.--independent governments joined in solidarity.
Such a viewpoint, of course, contradicts the much more common viewpoint that the European Union is the foundation of the New World Order, and the New World Order is the haven of anti-Christ. Clearly there is something here I'm not getting.
Today Zenit offers an interview with Catholic Historian Alan Fimister on the Catholic origin of the European Union, and provides some insight on what is good and what is lacking in the current European Union:
The original idea of the European Union has deep roots in Catholic social teaching, according to the author of a book on Robert Schumann, one of the founders of the institution.
Catholic historian Alan Fimister, author of "Robert Schumann: Neo-scholastic Humanism and the Unification of Europe," published by Peter Lang, affirms that Schuman's actions in 1950 to found what would later be the European Union were, to a remarkable degree, the conscious implementation of the Neo-Thomistic project of Pope Leo XIII (1878-1903).
In this interview with ZENIT, Fimister discusses the Catholic vision of the European Union's founders and what it means for a Catholic understanding of the European Union today.
Read the interview...
WHAT LOSS OF RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CAN MEAN
Communist authorities in Hanoi have threatened to take legal action against the city's archbishop unless he immediately disbands illegal prayer vigils to demand the return of former church lands, state media reported Monday.
The government campaign against Archbishop Ngo Quang Kiet escalated over the weekend, with state television calling into question his patriotism in an apparent attempt to turn public opinion against him.
State-controlled newspapers on Monday quoted a letter to Kiet from Hanoi Mayor Nguyen The Thao, accusing the cleric of instigating unrest.
"Stop your illegal acts immediately or you will be dealt with according to the law," Thao was quoted as writing. "You have a responsibility to persuade priests and parishioners to abide by the law."
Prayer is only allowed at church under Vietnamese law. The reports did not specify what form the legal action might take.
Read the article.
Monday, September 22, 2008
SIX CHEERS FOR FR. POWELL'S HOMILY
Fr. Powell has taken on the New Age in his blog linked at Spirit Daily. Like an arrow hitting the bullseye, he provides 12 questions to ask of any new spirituality that comes toddling down the garden path. My own particular favorite is this one:
5). Does this practice require me to involve myself with “spirit guides” or “energies” that lay claim to an existence apart from God as Creator?
And this one is a close second:
8). Does this practice ask me to worship other gods or make created things into idols? (e.g., some forms of meditation, yoga, healing all rest on false notions of the body/spirit relationship and require a certain amount of willful negligence of one’s Creator).
All 12 are excellent questions that zero in on the problems presented by New Age.
Dear God, would you please make a duplicate of Fr. Powell for every parish in America?!!
THE CATHOLIC VOTE IS CRITICAL
The Catholic bloc is the key swing vote in this year's election that will decide the next president of the United States - and shape our destiny in this watershed moment in history. Catholics must support Sen. John McCain....
Polls reveal many Catholics remain undecided. They are also evenly divided: Catholic conservatives back Mr. McCain; Catholic progressives champion Sen. Barack Obama. "Social justice" Catholics believe Mr. Obama is their man: In their view, he advocates the "broader teachings" of the church. He puts national health care, a cleaner environment, ending the Iraq war and devoting more resources to the poor above the "single" issue of abortion.
However, this reasoning violates church doctrine. Pope Benedict XVI has made it crystal-clear that abortion is the seminal moral challenge of our time. It is not simply a "single" issue like guns, taxes or immigration. It is equivalent to the Jewish question of the 1930s: Will we allow an entire category of people - the unborn - to be murdered because they are viewed as less than human?
Pope Benedict rightly argues that legalized abortion asserts "the law of the jungle over the rule of law"; the triumph of power, death and destruction over the weakest members of our society. Abortion abrogates the most fundamental of all rights: The right to exist in God's image and according to His divine plan. This is why the church has explicitly - and repeatedly - stated that abortion is mass murder. Catholics have a primary moral obligation to outlaw it. Abortion is state-sanctioned infanticide; abortion trumps all other concerns.
Read the entire article...
THE CATHOLIC VOTE MATTERS
SCHOOL TERRORISM AVERTED
Two teenage boys arrested Friday and accused of threatening to launch a Columbine-style attack at St. Martin de Porres Catholic High School will be arraigned at 10 a.m. today in Cuyahoga County Juvenile Court.
Authorities said the boys, both 16, had planned the attack to coincide with the anniversary of the Oct. 10 SuccessTech Academy shootings.
They have been charged with inducing panic. One boy was also charged with possession of criminal tools after police searched the boy's West Side home and found 24 bottles with cloth wicks that might have been the makings of crude bombs, said Lt. Thomas Stacho, a Cleveland police spokesman.
Read the rest...
It appears the boys were not enrolled in the school.
THE BIRTH CONTROL COMMISSION
TURNING POINT by Robert McClory - chapter 10
Following the 1965 commission meeting
The CFM [Catholic Family Movement] publication ACT stirred the waters with a series of hard-hitting articles. The most analytical written by Father Walter Imbiorski, director of the Chicago Cana Conference, presented tough questions:
* "If contraception is forbidden by the natural law, why is that in Western society only Catholics...recognize and acknowledge this prohibition?"
* "If one were to permit contraception in marriage...what kind of compelling argumentation could be developed for premarital chastity?"
* "Is frequent and continued physical expression of love in marriage truly a necessity for the fostering and deepening of love and for the good of the marriage?"
* "If a wider use of contraceptive means is ever permitted, will this do anything significant to make marriages better?"
* "Is 'how many children can I rear well?' a question that must get more attention?"
Responses to the article included the following:
Wrote a young woman, "There is nothing more artificial about any form of mechanical contraception than there is about iron lungs, artificial limbs, or synthetic larynxes and heart valves. All of these are considered perfectly legitimate means of correcting or nullifying defects in the 'natural' man....The 'natural value' to be considered here is the totality of the human being's tendency toward monogamous mating for life, including reproduction, rearing and educating offspring....At present our entire morality of marriage is a negative eleventh commandment: "Thou Shalt Not Commit Contraception.'"...(p. 87)
"The old teaching is still official," said a priest from Missouri. "And that is true no matter how much evidence we gather for a change....The fact that dedicated Catholics disobey is no excuse."
More views expressed--the Crowley's undertook a scholarly survey to look at the effects of rhythm among their members. Results included the following:
* When asked if it was "helpful" in spacing children, some 43 percent said it was, while another 21 percent found it "partly helpful."
* About 32 percent said the rhythm method did not work for them despite efforts. Among those who failed, 65 percent reported unpredictable menstrual cycles as the problem.
* Twenty percent ascribed the failure to carelessness in keeping track of the calendar, inadequate information on the mechanics of rhythm, or an overwhelming need to express love.
* A sizable 64 percent asserted that rhythm was positively helpful in some ways to their marriage.
* Some 78 percent (including therefore a great number who had found rhythm at least somewhat helpful) claimed it had also harmed their relationship due to tension, loss of spontaneity, fear of pregnancy, etc. (pp 89-90)
Comments from the 78 percent included:
"We found the practice of rhythm very frustrating, artificial, and distasteful," said a young couple married six years with two children and three miscarriages. "It removed the natural spontaneity from marriage and generally distracts from or inhibits the intimate communication which is essential."(p. 90)
"I felt like a human thermometer," wrote a woman married eighteen years with two children. "My husband and I are very close and I felt like love was put on a business schedule. Instead of 'I love you,' I began to hear, 'How's your temperature?'"
Rhythm "makes a mockery of love," wrote a couple married fourteen years with four children. "No free giving of oneself, no joy in the union. The constant reference to the chart to determine safety takes on an aura of grudging obedience to Church law, with rebellion in the heart."
Only 22 percent could cite no harmful effects.
For many in the survey, the rhythm experience produced a crisis of faith in God or, more commonly, of faith in the Church. (p. 91)
I submit that this crisis of faith in the Church impacted the sacraments, particularly the sacrament of penance.
There is nothing natural about prefacing the conjugal act with "Is this a good day?" yet that is what using the rhythm method requires. Once the initial indication that sexual intimacy is desired, reference to the calendar or the thermometer is no more natural than any other barrier method. The intention remains the same whatever barrier method is used, a temperature chart or a piece of latex. Only the mechanics change, and reducing the sexual encounter to an argument over mechanics undermines the sexual bond that is essential to keeping a marriage intact, as God would appear to have known when He invented it.
If proper credit were given to the impact of the sexual bond, an argument could be raised that this is so important to marriage that it must be saved for only that purpose and not perverted by casual sex. But we have not done that. Instead we have reduced the discussion of the sexual bond to an argument about mechanics. That has been the result of Humane Vitae.
DIVIDE AND CONQUER FINANCIALLY - UPDATE - CONNECTING THE DOTS
See yesterday's blog for the details on the costs being charged to the Portland, Maine Latin Mass group, including rent for the church. These charges appear to me to be levied with the hope of undermining the Latin Mass community in Portland.
I did a little digging to see what would turn up in the Diocese of Portland. Bolding in the following text is mine.
At the Diocesan website I found that the Bishop is Richard Malone. He was installed in March of 2004. He was prepared for the priesthood at St. John Seminary, Boston and received his Doctorate in Theology at Boston University. He was on the faculty of St. John Seminary in 1979.
He was ordained May 20th 1972 by Cardinal Humberto Medeiros.
Boston is notorious for being the center of sexual abuse. I wondered if Portland was somehow implicated in Boston's mess given what appears to me to be antipathy toward the TLM in Portland.
Randy Engel's well-documented tome THE RITE OF SODOMY: HOMOSEXUALITY AND THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH contributes the following:
The unusual numbers of criminal pederasts coming out of St. John's Seminary deserves at least a brief comment. As noted earlier on (sic) this chapter, after Cardinal O'Connell replaced all the Sulpicians priests at St. John's Seminary in 1910 with diocesan priests, the scholastic reputation and moral complexion of the seminary began to suffer. With O'Connell in Boston followed by Cardinals Cushing and Medeiros...during the late 1930s through the 1970s, St. John's began to attract an inordinate number of homosexual candidates for the priesthood.(p. 699)
Approximately 150 men turned up at the invitation only affair organized by Reeves. As [Rev. Enrique T.] Rueda has observed, not only did the [Unitarian] church provide the site for a conference on a prosecutable crime, but Reverend Robert Whentley from the national office of the Unitarian Church addressed the assembly of pederasts and pedophiles along with Father Paul Shanley, Cardinal Medeiros's representative for the Boston Archdiocese's Office for Outreach to Sexual Minorities. (p. 450-451)
When Steve Brady made his initial contact with St. Sebastian's Angels in the fall of 1999, the webmaster was Fr. John Harris, pastor of Our Lady of the Rosary in Sabattus, Maine in the Diocese of Portland under Bishop Joseph Gerry. Gerry...ordered Harris to shut down the St. Sebastian's Angels operation. Harris ignored the order....
When Harris returned from his leave of absence with a recommendation from St. Luke's [Institute in Maryland for abusive priests] that he be reinstated, Bishop Gerry awarded him a plum assignment at Our Lady of the Lakes....
...a sexual misconduct charge had surfaced against Harris. The diocese had not yet completed its investigation when Harris debarked for parts unknown....
As of September 2003, the diocese of Portland has kept Father Harris' whereabouts secret. He remains on leave of absence.
In addition to Harris, Bishop Gerry also had to deal with two other St. Sebastian's Angels from the Portland Diocese... (pp 744-745)
In 1970, when the Portuguese prelate Humberto Cardinal Medeiros replaced Cardinal Cushing as the head of the Boston Archdiocese, Shanley received permission to launch his own Roxbury Street ministry based at St. Philip's Church for wayward youth including runaways, drifters and young "gays." (p. 864)
Shanley went through three cardinals. He is currently on his fourth:
* Richard Cardinal Cushing (1944-1970)
* Humberto Cardinal Medeiros (1970-1983)
* Bernard Cardinal Law (1983-2002)
Leon J. Podles, speaking of the succession of bishops in Boston in his book SACRILEGE: SEXUAL ABUSE IN THE CATHOLIC CHURCH claims:
In Boston the predecessors were Cardinals Medeiros (against whom an accusation has been made)...(p. 156)
Speaking of the openly homosexual climate in seminaries, Podles writes:
This atmosphere was common in seminaries and continued in some at least until very recently. Christopher Schiavone, who was in St. John's Seminary in Boston in the 1980s, remembered that "some of us found refuge in a campy, secret subculture poor in genuine emotional intimacy but rich in the bitchy humor for which we gay men are 'Will & Grace' infamous. We had women's names for one another, and for some of our teachers. We trashed each other's style of dress and gossiped among ourselves about who was 'going out' with whom."(pp 323-324)
Paul Likoudis also speaks of Boston's St. John's Seminary in his book AMCHURCH COMES OUT: THE U.S. BISHOPS, PEDOPHILE SCANDALS AND THE HOMOSEXUAL AGENDA:
Another indication was the late 1990s seminary experience of Paul Sinsigalli, who graduated from the Archdiocese of Boston's St. John's Seminary in 1999... he was advised he would never be allowed to serve as a priest anywhere in the country because he held an unprogressive view about homosexual acting out in the seminary.(pp 58-59)
"I was studying at St. John's Seminary in Boston and was told that I did not have the qualities required to be a priest. They said that I lacked leadership, intellectual ability, and emotional maturity, among other things. When I asked them to explain where these traits were exhibited they merely repeated the oft heard mantra: 'It's the consensus of the faculty,' and then would not defend or cite examples..."
That would be the same seminary in which Portland's Bishop Malone was educated and the same seminary where he served on the faculty. Bishop Malone has served as Auxiliary Bishop of Boston.
All of these dots are circumstantial. They establish that there is or was a homosexual network in the Boston Archdiocese with a bleed-over into Portland. None of the persons associated with this economic burden placed on the TLM community may have any connection to that network. Or then again they might. You be the judge.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Mark Waterinckx has posted a comment in my Sept. 5 Medj blog down below. It needs better visibility than it is likely to get down there, so I'm taking the liberty of reposting his comments here:
Of course the Vatican’s commission has investigated the activities of Vlasic in Med. He was the first spiritual leader. The CDF accuses him of MANIPULATION OF THE CONSCIENCES. He was spiritual leader of the ‘seers’. Isn’t that clear enough?
The Vatican has confirmed the jurisdiction of Bishop Peric of Mostar by asking him to publish the Roman decree against Vlasic.
Vlasic has his headquarter in Med.
He writes frequently in the “Echo of Med.”
He made a nun pregnant already in 1976. The child Toni was born in Germany on Jan. 15 1977. His mother was Sr Rufina, now again Manda Kozul. I possess the original copies of the many loveletters between Vlasic and this nun in that time . He manipulated her in a diabolical way.
In a letter to the pope he called his bishop ‘satan’!
‘Seer’ Marija Pavlovic made a public statement against manipulator Vlasic
Because of disobedience to bishop Zanic he was removed from Med.(where he arrived after Zovko was put in jail by the communists) to Vitina, which parish he left for living together with Agnes Heupel, who now says ‘Our Lady of Med. is not true’
After he was accused of holding satanic séances by a sister of his own community ‘Queen of Peace’ in Chieti-Italy he was degradated from superior to a mere member by a canonical process of a church commission in Italy.
It is Vlasic who invited the charismatic leaders of the whole world to Med. and who started the now thousands of prayergroups…
In the very beginning he wrote an Italian booklet together with Fr Slavko Barbaric PRO Med.
He has told me on taperecorder in Italian how he received ‘messages’ in May 1981 from Fr Tardif and Sr Briege Mc Kenna in Rome during an international charismatic meeting one month before the start of the fraud in Med. in June 1981.
Before 1981 he held in his parish in Capljina strange ‘charismatic’ trainingssessions with youngsters(also the ‘seers???’)
He perjured 2x before his bishop.
Because Marija Pavlovic saw him sleeping together with Agnes Heupel in Italy, she left disappointed his community and married Paulo Lunetti.
Vlasic was particularly close to the 2 ofm-rebels, Ivica Vego and Ivan Prusina, who were disciplined by the church on Jan. 29 1982, and defended by the ‘Gospa’!!!
As you see, I have a big file about Vlasic and his involvement is such that he was like the ‘Rasputin of Med.’ I have many documents to prove what I’m saying.
Always available for more info
Pax et Bonum
DIVIDE FINANCIALLY AND CONQUER
Isn't the Latin Mass community an integral part of the local parish? Maybe not. The following was posted to the Angelqueen website:
Latin Mass Community to be charged $72,000 for Mass
By John Grasmeier
Since the release of Summorum Pontificum - Pope Benedict's Motu Proprio removing restrictions on celebrating the Traditional Latin Mass - many local prelates and their diocesan hirelings have gone to great lengths to make life as difficult as possible for Catholics seeking to take advantage of it. From requiring priests to sit for formal Latin language examinations before offering the TLM, to suffering difficult (and even unlawful) permission schemes, traditionalist priests and lay persons have had to suffer all types of dubiously devised obstacles laid out for them by hostile ecclesiastical chains of command.
Some who follow such matters may tend to think they've heard everything regarding these shenanigans. Others, who know better, realize that when it comes to suppressing of the immemorial rite, never think you've heard everything.
In a first (a first not only in anti-TLM hubris, but quite possibly a first in the history of Holy Church) the TLM community in the diocese of Portland Maine billed for their Mass. They are to be charged $72,000 per year, with an initial $18,000 down payment being due on or before July 1st, only a little over 2 1/2 months from the time this is being written.
The 72-grand will go toward the priest's salary and benefits, office supplies and, astoundingly, rental of the church. Should anyone think this a joke or simply too outrageous to be believed, the following is presented:
The letter confirming that church rental is included can be read at the website.
But that's not the end of the strangeness. Look at the top banner advertising a T-shirt for sale. See that pipe smoking man? Isn't that Bob Dobbs, foremost Church of the SubGenius logo, with his pipe turned to the right instead of left? Or is that supposed to be Bing Crosby? To any Discordian, it would probably bring the Bob Dobbs logo to mind, at the very least.
SARAH PALIN AND THE CATHOLIC RIGHT
It's 4:30 a.m. on Sunday morning, and I'm sitting here at my computer trying to find a Mass. I looked at Angelqueen to be sure the Latin Mass is still being said in Akron, and stumbled across this commentary from Damian Thompson for the U.K. Telegraph that someone has posted to the Angelqueen message board. It says in part:
Sarah Palin is at the centre of a furious battle behind the scenes of the US election between conservative Christian tribes who want to claim her as one of her own. "Paleocons" and "theocons" are shrieking: "She's ours!" while the Republican campaign looks on in horror, hoping they will go away....
Buchanan, a Catholic hero of the SSPX, said this week that "the lady is no neocon". But, clearly, he's worried that the Zionist lobby is getting to his girl:
"Will the neocons who tutored George W. Bush in the ideology he pursued to the ruin of his presidency do the same for Sarah Palin? Should they succeed, they will destroy her. Yet, they are moving even now to capture this princess of the right and hope of the party....
bible-prophecy.com, a leading resource for America's 10 million or so hard-line fundamentalists, is rapidly turning into a Sarah Palin fansite. That's not what the vice-presidential candidate needs to attract swing voters – but then, neither is the support of isolationist paleocons who think Jewish money will determine the result of the election....
Too Funny Someone needs to drop Mr. Thompson a line & explain that AQ is not the SSPX.
Seems to be a tossup whether this political season will be devoted to racism or to religious bigotry.
Somehow I sense another vote for Santa Claus coming up.