Showing posts with label Priests. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Priests. Show all posts

Monday, October 1, 2012

Monsignor Georges Lemaître Father of the Big Bang

The BBC has produced a wonderful half-hour radio programme about this Catholic Priest who is known as the Father of the Big Bang, describing the integration of his love of science with his faith, acknowledging him as a holy priest, a true scientist and appealing human being.

From the BBC website:
William Crawley tells the surprising story of the Catholic priest behind one of the most important scientific theories of our time.

Monsignor Georges Lemaître was both a great scientist and a deeply spiritual priest, and his work on cosmology continues to influence our best scientific accounts of the universe.

He came up with the scientific notion of The Big Bang Theory, now one of the most recognisable scientific brands in the world, Lemaitre wore his clerical collar while teaching physics, at the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium.

It was this unassuming Catholic priest in this modest centre of academia who has changed the way we look at the origins of the universe.

His story also challenges the assumption that science and religion are always in conflict.

William meets men of God, and men of science who knew Lemaitre, to explain how he was able to satisfy his ardent religious beliefs alongside his curiosity about how the world was formed, a curiosity that has radically shaped modern scientific ideas, and how his life-story also challenges the claim that science and religion are necessarily in conflict.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

The witness of the Roman collar

The following from my 40 Days for Life friends arrived in my inbox recently:
We’ve been out there every day for the last 13 days doing what we do ─ with nothing to show for it ─ except to offer up our prayers and effort to God – until today!

The Roman Collar carries deep meaning for many, almost always evoking a reaction of some sort.  It is a sign of God’s chosen ones to a pastoral ministry.  It evokes emotion, respect, and hopefully turns one’s thoughts to Jesus Christ.  Today, Father Yamid Blanco joined us on the sidewalks with two of his parishioners from St. Francis Borgia – Cedarburg.  All priests have an open invitation to join us at any time – but they are human, just like us!  Most normal people just don’t wake up and say, “I think I’ll go down to the abortion mill to pray today.”  Most people who show up down here were personally invited – me included.  To say I like having priests join us in this spiritual battle is AN UNDERSTATEMENT!  We prayed, talked, counseled and then prayed some more.  Murphy’s Law took effect and they left just before things really started happening on the sidewalks of Farwell.  Here’s what took place.

I was counseling Natasia as she left the abortion mill.  I was asking her all the usual questions – How are you doing – Are you going to be ok – How is your baby doing – all of that.  At 12:06pm, Natasia shared with me that she wasn’t going through with the abortion.  I asked her, “What changed your mind?”  She said, “I just didn’t want to go through the procedure – it kindof’ scared me.”  I said, “Well, it’s a good thing you listened to your God-given intuition – this is a dangerous place.”  Just as I was telling her about the Women’s Care Center, another pair of women walked came outside and walked right between Natasia and me, saying, “Are their services still free – even though we came here first?”  I didn’t want to be rude to Natasia, so I backed up a bit and started talking to all of them and said, “Yes, of course they are!  Free today, tomorrow, next week – get over there and see for yourself!  Why don’t all of you go over there together, right now?!” I asked them what was going on, and they too shared with me that they were going to keep their baby.  Now, I was really curious, so I asked them as well, “What made you change your mind?”  They said, “We saw that young priest when we came in.  We were raised Catholic, but don’t really go to church anymore.  He made us think about what we were about to do.”  I said, “Really?!  What did Father Yamid say to you that made you change your mind?”  She replied, “He didn’t say anything!  He was just standing there praying the rosary with the blonde lady and her kid.”  Still curious, I said, “Did Tobey, the blonde lady, say anything to you?”  She replied, “Yeah, she did, but it was mostly seeing the priest – he looked so happy.”  I then told them what parish he was at if they ever wanted to talk to him someday.  They said, “Cool, thanks!”

If you’ve ever witnessed Tobey at work down here, you know just how focused she is – an excellent sidewalk counselor.  As excellent she is, she was trumped by a man of the cloth, who did nothing more than stand there and pray with his Roman collar in full view.  I’ve always known that someday a priest would be the reason someone turned away from abortion down here at the mill – and today it happened.  All praise, honor and glory be to Jesus Christ!  Thanks, Jesus!  Thanks, Father Yamid!  Thanks, Tobey!  Thanks, Creed!  Thanks, John!  Thanks, Jim!  Thanks, Tom!  Thanks, Missionaries to the PreBorn!  That’s right!  With Christ working through only seven people today, two lives were spared!

Tobey’s love for Christ really shines through in everything she does.  Join her and 2,500 other women from all over Wisconsin at the Women of Christ conference on November 3rd, 2012.  It is always a very moving, faith-filled day.  Get your tickets early – the last few years have ALWAYS sold out! 

TWO HUNDRED ELEVEN babies have been saved from abortion – that we know of!  Here are the running totals:  133-211-1.  133 saved during the last four 40DFL campaigns, 211 total since 8.3.2010 – and one post-abortive mom saved from suicide through this ministry.

See you out there.

Through Christ,

Dan Miller
40 Days for Life

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Priest in South Africa attacked, left for dead

Father Andrew Cox, the fifty year old pastor of the parish of Constantia in the Archdiocese of Cape Town, was brutally attacked by three intruders on Sunday night as he was locking the parish premises. The attackers stabbed him, tied him up, attempted to gouge his eyes out and left him in the parish strongroom where he was discovered by his secretary on Monday morning.

He says he spent the night praying and he forgave his attackers. At one point he got hold of the knife the attackers were using against him but could not bring himself to attack his assailants.

It would appear that Father Cox is a faithful son of the Church. A google search reveals that he has recorded a talk defending Humanae Vitae as a prophetic documen inspired by the Holy Spirit and explains that opposition to contraception is integral to the Church's teaching on the dignity of human life.

Reports on the attack here and here.

Please keep this good priest in your prayers. (And his assailants too.)

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Austrian Priest resigns after Cardinal Schonborn overrules him on homosexual parish council member

LifeSiteNews reports the resignation of Father Gerhard Swierzek, the pastor of a parish in the Archdiocese of Vienna, who refused to allow an active homosexual, Florian Stangl, who is living in a legal registered partnership with another man, to sit on the parish council in the town of Stützenhofen. Stangl had received 96 out of 142 votes in the parish council elections.

Eminent canonist and blogger Dr Ed Peters wrote about the affair a little while ago in Sorting out the latest from Vienna.

Here's a little summary of the Canon Law on Parish Pastoral Councils.
Can. 536 §1. If the diocesan bishop judges it opportune after he has heard the presbyteral council, a pastoral council is to be established in each parish, over which the pastor presides and in which the Christian faithful, together with those who share in pastoral care by virtue of their office in the parish, assist in fostering pastoral activity.
               §2. A pastoral council possesses a consultative vote only and is governed by the norms established by the diocesan bishop.
That's all the Code of Canon Law says.

Some points to note.

  1. Parish Pastoral Councils are not mandated by the Code but need only be established if the diocesan bishop judges it opportune.
  2. The Pastor presides over the Council. He is in charge. This is not something that anyone - even the bishop - can change. No meetings can be held, no decisions taken, without the presence and approval of the Pastor.
  3. The role of the members of the Council is to foster pastoral activity. In other words, they are to facilitate the work of shepherding the souls in the parish which is the exclusive and proper role of the Pastor. If they are not assisting him, they are not effective members of the Pastoral Council.
  4. The Pastoral Council makes no decisions. It advises - that's what is meant by possesing a consultative vote. The Pastor consults the members, they make their advice known to the Pastor, even by voting on a subject, and then the Pastor prays about it and accepts or rejects the advice. If the members are faithful Catholics with a clear love for God and the Church, their advice should be taken very seriously.
  5. But here is the difficult part: the Pastoral Council is governed by the norms establish by the diocesan bishop. "Norms" implies law. How binding are these norms? Obviously, they cannot contradict the universal law of the Church, but can the diocesan bishop mandate the establishment of parish pastoral councils? Can he establish norms concerning appointment, election, etc? Can the bishop confer membership of a parish pastoral council on any of the faithful? Can the bishop overrule a pastor who decides that a particular person is unsuitable for membership of a parish council? I very much doubt it.
  6. Accodring to Dr Peters, membership of a Pastoral Council constitutes the holding of an Ecclesiastical Office (see Title IX of Book I of the Code of Canon Law). To hold ecclesiastical office one must be in communion with the Church as well as "suitable". Being in a sinful state does not, of itself, rupture communion with the Church, but it might well make one unsuitable if this state is publicly known.

One way to make a pastoral council ineffective is for the pastor not to attend. The council has no authority and without the pastor presiding it is rendered ineffective.

I am writing from a position of ignorance concerning the facts of this particular case but with my own experience of parish pastoral councils which has been altogether positive. I have never held elections and always appointed members. I have also asked members whom I did not consider helpful in fostering my pastoral work to stand down.

I hope Fr Swierzek had/has a good canon lawyer to advise him. On the basis of the very little known to me about this case, given that the Cardinal Archbishop had overruled his decision, I would probably advise him to simply insist that Stangl's election to the pastoral council had not been ratified by him. Since he as Pastor presides over the Council, Stangl could not therefore be considered as having been appointed as a member. The ball would then be in the Cardinal's court to either insist on Stangl's appointment or to accept the Pastor's decision. If the Cardinal were to take action against the pastor, there would be options available, from throwing in the towel (one doesn't want to spend one's priestly life fighting battles and one would hesitate before entering into a conflict with one's Cardinal Archbishop) and resigning, to having recourse against any decisions made by the Cardinal.

As Dr Peters rightly says, Pastoral Councils are new in the Church and so it will take some time to develop the law in this area.

In the meantime, I am praying for Fr Swierzek and for the Church in Austria which is in dire need of prayers. (See Pope Benedict's Chrism Mass homily in which he explicitly refers to rebellious priests in Austria.) None of us likes battles and it could be that Fr Swierzek just doesn't want to fight this one. He may have found the parish to be ungovernable.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

99.98% of Priests Are Innocent

There is not a great child abuse problem in the Church! Of course, every child abused is huge crime. Were mistakes made? Certainly. But the Church is not infiltrated by child abusers. Recently in a local paper there was a paragraph (yes, one paragraph) reporting to the sentencing of a Baptist minister who was found guilty of child abuse, but no outcry against the Baptist church was heard.

Here is an article posted yesterday at the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights commenting on the 2011 annual report on child abuse published by the US Episcopal Conference:

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the findings of the 2011 Annual Report on priestly sexual abuse that was released by the bishops’ conference; the survey was done by a Georgetown institute.

The headlines should read, “Abuse Problem Near Zero Among Priests,” but that is not what is being reported.

According to the 2011 Official Catholic Directory, there are 40,271 priests in the U.S. The report says there were 23 credible accusations of the sexual abuse of a minor made against priests for incidences last year. Of that number, 9 were deemed credible by law enforcement. Which means that 99.98% of priests nationwide had no such accusation made against them last year. Nowhere is this being reported.

Here are more data from the report that won’t appear elsewhere: almost all the offenses involve homosexuality. Indeed, 16% of the credible allegations made against priests who work in dioceses or eparchies, and 6% of religious order priests, involved pedophilia. In the former category, 82% of the alleged victims were male; in the latter, the figure is 94%. In other words, we are not talking about kids as victims, and we are not talking about females: we are talking about postpubescent males who were allegedly violated by adult males. That’s called homosexuality.

When did these alleged offenses take place? Overall, 68% took place between 1960 and 1984; 1975-1979 being the most common period (among religious order priests, 33% took place before 1960, and another 40% took place between 1960-1980). In 75% of all the cases, the accused priest is either dead or has been dismissed.

Since more than 10% of the credible allegations were found to be false or unsubstantiated, it makes one wonder how many of the total number of accusations are bogus. The bishops should commission a study of those priests whose reputations have been ruined by cash-hungry liars and their rapacious lawyers; the looters should also be studied. The Catholic League would be happy to make a generous donation.
Whilst every sympathy and assistance should be extended to the victims of abuse, now it is time to address the case of priests whose lives have been ruined by this. The bankrupting of the Church and its charitable works is unjust.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Bishop Sample shares his Vision and Program for the New Evangelisation

At the final session of the Convocation of Priests serving in the Diocese of Marquette, Bishop Alexander Sample spoke about his vision or program for the New Evangelisation. He summed it up by saying: It's the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

This is very much in line with Pope John Paul II's view: that there is no need for any new program. However, Bishop Sample highlighted two central themes that are, as it were, coming over the horizon:
  • the renewal of the Sacred Liturgy
  • the work of the New Evangelisation.

The Sacred Liturgy
Bishop Sample suggested that the new English translation of the Mass was an opportune time for the Church, for us, to set about the work of renewal and reform of the Sacred Liturgy, and that this is central to the work of the New Evangelisation.

The bishop placed himself clearly in the camp of Pope Benedict who spoke of the need for a reform of the reform long before becoming Pope. Some might say that the bishop just wants to take us back to the way things were before? The fact that he celebrates the Extraordinary Form of the Mass at the Cathedral every month has apparently created some waves. And the positioning of the Crucifix on the altar facing the celebrant has also provoked some comment. But there could be nothing further from the truth. Pope Benedict allowed a greater flourishing of the Extraordinary Form so that it would stand side by side with the Novus Ordo, that both forms might enrich one another.

It is a good time to take a step back and to examine: what has been good, what has been lost, what can we recover. "I'm following, I'm listening to Benedict XVI. I trust that the Holy Spirit guides our shepherd" Bishop Sample said.
Priests pray silently before Mass.

A forthcoming Pastoral Letter
Bishop Sample referred to a letter concerning the liturgy that he - with the help of others -  is working on. In this letter he will examine:
  • The Essence of the Liturgy
    What is the Holy Mass? We do not create Liturgy. It is what it is. It has an objective and intrinsic meaning as both
    - Sacrifice
    - Sacred Banquet (as per St Thomas Aquinas - Sacrum Convivium).
  • The Cosmic nature of the Liturgy
    Pope Benedict discussed this in his book "The Spirit of the Liturgy". The Mass has an eschatological orientation. In the Mass we celebrate and commemorate what already is but await what is to come.
The offertory
A clear understanding of these points informs the celebration of the Mass. In Pope Benedict's book "The Light of the World" the Holy Father reminds his readers that the liturgy is not the expression of the community. It is not to be tinkered with.
  • Ars celebrandi
    The Mass is the Sacramentum Caritatis.There is an art - ars - to its celebration. It should be beautiful, reflecting the beauty and greatness of God. We should appreciate the purpose and meaning of the words, gestures, vessels, the Cross on the altar, the orientation of prayer. The East is connected very much with the Cross. Our gaze - especially in the Eucharistic Prayer - must be fixed on Christ glorified on the Cross as we await his coming.

  • Sacred Music
    The renewal of the Sacred Liturgy is intimately connected with the renewal of Sacred Music and Bishop Sample will address this in his letter.

Also to be addressed are some practical points:
  • some do's and don'ts;
  • some things that need correcting;
  • not to invent options.

The bishop advised us all to re-read the GIRM (General Instruction of the Roman Missal) and the rubrics. He quoted Fr Z's blog, What Does the Prayer Really Say, and Fr Z's motto: "do the red, say the black." Chances are that if we re-read the GIRM and the rubrics, we will probably notice something that we either had not known, had forgotten or had overlooked.

We must celebrate the liturgy well. Then it will be the Church's liturgy, celebrated with beauty, prayerfully, reverently. "If we don't have the Liturgy, what do we have?"
Bishop sample offering the chalice
The New Evangelisation
Bishop Sample referred the priests to his Holy Thursday Letter.

The letter of Pope John Paul II Novo Millennio Ineunte reminded us that the program for the New Evangelisation is contained in the Gospels. But there were seven pastoral priorities:
  1. the call to holiness
  2. prayer in the Church
  3. Sunday Mass
  4. Penance/Confession
  5. the primacy of grace (not just our own efforts)
  6. listening to the Word
  7. proclaiming the Word.
As regards the call to holiness: Are we serious about prayer in our own lives? We must live what we proclaim. When he was elected bishop one of the priests of the diocese presented Bishop Sample with a poster of the movie "The Lord of the Rings" with the quotation of Frodo saying: "I wish the ring had never come to me." The bishop recalled Gandalf's reply: "So do all who live to see such times. That is not ours to decide, but ours is to do the best with the time that has been given to us."

Concerning prayer, the bishop commended the practice of the Holy Hour. "I beg you," he said, "to be men of prayer."

  1. go!
  2. preach about it.
  3. be available.
On the primacy of grace, it is less about numbers and more about fidelity. The Church is His Church. Novo Millennion Ineunte refers to the discouragement that can result with the instigation of yet another new program following on the heels of others that have either fizzled out or that have not produced results. It's not us. In other words, it's not a question of dreaming up new programs. The Lord does not want us to be successful but faithful.

Pope Benedict has established a Pontifical Council for the New Evangelisation and there is an upcoming Synod of Bishops on the New Evangelisation. Whilst we await guidance from these ecclesiastical organs, for us it is time to stop talking about the New Evangelisation and rather make it happen.

Whilts it is not about a new program we do need a strategic plan, and we need to develop it together. So perhaps there might be established a task force to focus on a diocesan plan, a strategy for the New Evangelisation, focussed on the 7 headings of NMI.

Our personal holiness really matters as priests. It makes all the difference in the Body of Christ. In the year of priests we were reminded that the effectiveness of the priestly ministry relies on the holiness of priests. If the priest is holy, the people are good. If the priest is good, the people are ok. If the priest is mediocre, God help the people!

We must be serious in our life of prayer, in our sacrifice, etc. The bishop confided to the priests that he prays and offers sacrifice for each priest in the diocese. His Friday Mass, fast, prayer, abstinence are all offered for the priests of the diocese. He asks Our Lady to pour out the Precious Blood and Water that flowed from her Son's side upon all the priests and that she would hold us close to her Immaculate Heart.

Bishop Sample also encouraged us to reach out to one another, to foster priestly friendships, to reach out to one whom we notice to be isolated, reclusive, etc. He encouraged support groups, and exhorted us to do all we can to be present at ordinations, the Chrism Mass, the funerals of our brother priests and of their parents.
Bishop Sample preaching on the feast of St Bruno
In his homily at the Mass that followed the final session, Bishop Sample, commenting on the gospel appointed for the Mass of St Bruno, encouraged us to serve the Lord with undivided hearts, to be men of hope. We are blest because we hope in the Lord, that we should teach our people to place all their hope in him.

On the previous day, Bishop Sample invited all the priests to make the following Act of Consecration after the homily:

Mary, Mother of Jesus and Queen of Peace
since Jesus from the Cross
gave you to me,
I take you as my own.

And since Jesus gave me to you,
take me as your own.
Make me docile like Jesus on the Cross,
obedient to the Father,
trusting in humility and love.

Mary, my Mother,
in imitation of the Father,
who gave His Son to you,
I too give myself to you;
to you I entrust all that I am,
all that I have
and all that I do.

Help me to surrender ever more fully to the Spirit.
Lead me deeper into the Mystery of the Cross and Resurrection
and the fullness of the Church.

As you formed the heart of Jesus by the Spirit,
form my heart to be the throne of Jesus
in His glorious coming.
As a final thought, perhaps it is worth recalling Bishop Sample's coat of arms:

You can read about it at the Bishop's Page of the Marquette diocesan website. Concerning his motto, we read the following:
For his motto, Bishop Sample uses the Latin phrase, “VULTUM CHRISTI CONTEMPLARI” (“to contemplate the face of Christ”). This theme is taken from the writings of Pope John Paul II (Novo Millennio Ineunte and Ecclesia de Eucharistia), in which the Holy Father reminded us that it is the task of the Church to make the face of Christ shine before the generations of the new millennium. The Holy Father further reflected: “Our witness, however, would be hopelessly inadequate if we ourselves had not first contemplated his face.” 
So the New Evangelisation has been at the heart of Bishop Sample's vision: that all may be led to the contemplation of the face of Christ.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Priests of Marquette Diocese gather for convocation on New Evangelisation

Father Alfred Bradley with Bishop Alexander Sample after Mass on our final morning.
From Monday 3rd to Thursday 6th October over 50 priests attended the Marquette Diocese Priests Convocation at the Four Seasons Island Resort in Pembine, Wisconsin.

The guest speaker was Redemptorist Father Alfred Bradley C.Ss.R, Director and Pastor of the Shrine of St John Neumann in Philadelphia.

The theme of the New Evangelisation is very dear to the heart of the Bishop of Marquette, the Most Reverend Alexander K. Sample. Father Bradley covered key areas of the priest's role in the New Evangelisation:

On the New Evangelisation, Father Bradley described it as
  • showing others the face of Christ (after John Paul II)
  • witnessing by our lives that God exists (after Benedict XVI)
  • showing people "the art of living" (after Benedict XVI)

Referring to the writings and sayings Pope Benedict (for whom he expressed the highest regard and admiration), he described the true problem of our times as a "Crisis of God", the absence of God which is disguised as an empty religiosity. Unfortunately, we Christians can also behave as if God does not exist.

We need to proclaim God as
  • Creator
  • Sanctifier
  • Judge (not a very popular notion).

Unltimately our work of evangelisation must be Theocentric, i.e. the basic thrust is that GOD EXISTS, and all that follows from this.

Key documents that Father Bradley referred to:

Father Bradley quoted the well-known phrase from Paul VI in Evangelii Nuntiandi n.41:
"Modern man listens more willingly to witnesses than to teachers, and if he does listen to teachers, it is because they are witnesses."
Pope Paul VI elaborated on the importance of the witness of Christians in the midst of the world:
Through this wordless witness these Christians stir up irresistible questions in the hearts of those who see how they live: Why are they like this? Why do they live in this way? What or who is it that inspires them? Why are they in our midst? Such a witness is already a silent proclamation of the Good News and a very powerful and effective one. Here we have an initial act of evangelization. (EN n.21)
On Confession: Father Bradley said that the goal of any parish mission that Redemptorists carry out is to get people to go to Confession. He quoted extensively from Pope Blessed John Paul II's Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia and the priest's role as pontifex (bridge builder), describing the Church's mission as reconciling people with God, neighbour, themselves and creation. Father Bradley reminded us of the Pontiff's comment that, from seeing sin everywhere we appear to have passed to seeing it nowhere, and that the modern notion of respect for consciences appears to exclude the duty to tell others the truth, and that priests too can fall into this trap. Father Bradley reminded the priests that it is not possible to bear witness to Christ unless they reflect his image. Therefore priests themselves must celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation, i.e. they must also go to Confession.

Father Bradley also spoke powerfully about the Eucharist and the sacrifices that have been and are made by men and women with real faith in the Eucharist. (For example the priests in Priest Block 25487 in Dachau, movie version The Ninth Day.)

Servant Leadership was also a theme that Father Bradley developed.  In oder to be servant leaders, we priests need to be people of character
  • able to make insightful, ethical, principle-centred decisions;
  • honest, trustworthy, authentic, humble;
  • leading by conscience and not by ego;
  • filled with depth of spirit and enthusiasm;
  • committed to desiring to serve something beyond oneself.
Ultimately it means to be like Christ.

Father Bradley is rightly in demand as a mission preacher. He certainly inspired the priests at the convocation by his evident devotion to the Lord, real appreciation of the mystery and wonder of the priesthood, his frank description of some of the crazy things that have gone on in the past that undermined people's faith and particularly the priesthood.

Father Bradley also used some very moving youtube movies to inspire us or that might be helpful in inspiring others:

Click on the picture to play.

And what did the Bishop say? Another post will deal Bishop Sample's inspiring address on the final morning.

Meanwhile, if you want to see priests relaxing, visit my facebook page and that of Father Ben Hasse. My photo of a bald eagle on the Menominee River seems to have caught people's attention:

The Fall colours were amazing!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Father Frank Pavone, Priests for Life and Bishop Zurek of Amarillo

OK, I will post after all, but not in such detail as the post I deleted. Apparently my original post is out there in the ether thanks to Google Reader etc.

To know what I think, just go to Dr Edward Peters' blog In the Light of the Law. He makes all the pertinent canonical comments with which I agree wholeheartedly.

Another lay person has commented on this matter too. See Diane at Te Deum Laudamus: Fr. Frank Pavone has ministry restricted to Diocese of Amarillo and Disappointment with Fr. Pavone.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Young people witnessing to their faith - and being harrassed for it

I am impressed by the lively faithfulness of the young Catholics in my parish. Those who come to Mass bear joyful witness to life and love of God. In the church it is easy - they are welcomed, their families encourage them. Out in the world, they are challenged - those who are not home schooled attend the state schools where the expression of religious practice - by and large - is not permitted due to the separation of church and state.

Our young people need to be prepared for tough times. They will face ridicule, hatred and persecution for their beliefs.

Father Zuhlsdorf (MUST READ: Young person’s account of harassment and violence at WYD) describes what some young people experienced in Madrid at the recent World Youth Day. Some people hate the Catholic Church. Catholics hate no one - they love all mankind, especially those who hate them! Young people: trust in the Lord.
Father Ray Blake (The Illiberality of a Local MP, Hatred?)is also receiving hate messages because of his faithful and compassionate teaching on marriage. Go and express your prayerful support of this good priest.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Priests Retreat with Father Benedict Groeschel

Monday to Thursday this week I participated in the Marquette diocesan priests' retreat at Marygrove Retreat Center. The food is excellent! And so were the conferences given by Father Groeschel, founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

Father is clearly ageing - he miraculously survived a serious car accident some years ago - but is full of practical wisdom. Death was mentioned in probably every one of his conferences which dealt with the topics of Faith, Hope, Trust and Charity in the life of a priest. He spoke about Purgatory (pronounced in his Jersey City accent as Poygatoyry - "if you want to know what Poygatoyry is like, go to Joysy City" he quipped) and said that he expects to spend a long time there and looks forward to meeting us there too! There's a thought - we are all likely to need Purgatory.

Father also spoke clearly on some of the madness that has occurred in the Church in recent years, particularly the catastrophe of the Blessed Sacrament having been removed in so many churches and chapels to side rooms or concealed spaces where It is hidden from view.

Another "small world" eperience occurred as Father Fidelis - Father Benedict's "carer" pictured above - and I remembered one another from when he was superior of the CFR community in London. He remembers also my brother, Father Stephen, and my sister Susan who was and is very much involved in the pro-life movement in London.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Father Z defends himself

It seems that the National Catholic Reporter is planning an attack on Fr Z, author of the informative blog What does the prayer really say.

Fr Z gives a full account of himself in his post Waiting for Zagano.

I am certainly happy to assure him of my support in prayer. The NCR is a liberal "catholic" journal that takes many an opportunity of questioning the Church's teaching as you will find by reading Fr Z's account.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Mutual Enrichment of the Ordinary Form at Father Charles Briggs' Silver Jubilee

From the Southwark Archdiocese website (reproduced here in full since it is not possible to link to individual posts):
Father Charles with Archbishop Kevin, clergy and servers after his
Jubilee Mass
Father Charles Briggs, Parish Priest of Saint Mary's, Chislehurst, and the diocesan Archivist, celebrated twenty-five years as a priest on Tuesday, 2nd August 2011, with a High Mass of Thanksgiving at St Mary's.

Father Charles was assisted by Father Timothy Finigan as deacon and Deacon John Harrison as subdeacon. Archbishop Kevn, who gave the homily, was among the large number of clergy from the diocese and beyond who were present. Eight servers competently served the High Mass, which was in the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite. At the end of Mass a Solemn Te Deum was sung in thanksgiving.

Note: Ordinary Form Mass with deacons and concelebrating priest, deacons raising the chasuble as the celebrant elevates the Host. Mass ad orientem. (My comment.)

Father Charles offered a further Mass on Saturday, 6th August, when he was joined, among others, by Provost Joseph Collins and Father Philip Glandfield
And from the Archivist's personal archive:
Father Charles is ordained by Bishop John Jukes in August 1986

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

SOLT Statement on Father Corapi

Many good Catholics have been drawn away from respect for their lawful superiors, the bishops, by Father Corapi's actions. It seems important, therefore, to read carefully the following statement from Father Gerard Sheehan solt, Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Robstown, Texas (with thanks to Diane):

July 5, 2011


From: Rev. Gerard Sheehan, solt Regional Priest Servant Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity Robstown, Texas

Fr. John A. Corapi submitted his resignation from the Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity ("SOLT") early in June. SOLT is a Society of Apostolic Life of Diocesan Right with its regional office in Robstown, Texas.

While SOLT does not typically comment publicly on personnel matters, it recognizes that Fr. John Corapi, through his ministry, has inspired thousands of faithful Catholics, many of whom continue to express their support of him. SOLT also recognizes that Fr. Corapi is now misleading these individuals through his false statements and characterizations. It is for these Catholics that SOLT, by means of this announcement, seeks to set the record straight.

A woman, well known to Fr. John Corapi, mailed SOLT a signed letter detailing allegations of Fr. Corapi's sexual activity with adult women, abuse of alcohol and drugs, improper sacramental practices, violation of his promise of poverty, and other wrongdoing.

After receiving the allegation, SOLT formed a three person fact-finding team to ensure that it handled this matter in accordance with canonical norms. The team included a priest-canonist, a psychiatrist, and a lawyer. Two were members of religious orders, and one was a lay Catholic. Two were men, and one was a woman. All three have national reputations and substantial experience in ecclesiastical processes related to priest disciplinary issues.

As the Society was engaging this team, Fr. Corapi filed a civil lawsuit against his principal accuser. He contended that she had defamed him and breached her contract. The contract, according to Corapi's lawsuit, contained a provision binding the woman to silence about him. He offered the woman $100,000 to enter this agreement.

SOLT's fact-finding team subsequently learned that Fr. Corapi may have negotiated contracts with other key witnesses that precluded them from speaking with SOLT's fact-finding team. Many of these witnesses likely had key information about the accusations being investigated and declined to answer questions and provide documents.

When the fact-finding team asked Fr. Corapi to dismiss the lawsuit, to forbear from foreclosing his mortgage, and to release her and other individuals from their contractual obligations to remain silent about him, he refused to do so and, through his canonical advocate, stated: "It is not possible for Father Corapi to answer the Commission's questions at this time."

SOLT's fact-finding team has acquired information from Fr. Corapi's e-mails, various witnesses, and public sources that, together, state that, during his years of public ministry:

He did have sexual relations and years of cohabitation (in California and Montana) with a woman known to him, when the relationship began, as a prostitute; He repeatedly abused alcohol and drugs; He has recently engaged in sexting activity with one or more women in Montana; He holds legal title to over $1 million in real estate, numerous luxury vehicles, motorcycles, an ATV, a boat dock, and several motor boats, which is a serious violation of his promise of poverty as a perpetually professed member of the Society.

SOLT has contemporaneously with the issuance of this press release directed Fr. John Corapi, under obedience, to return home to the Society’s regional office and take up residence there. It has also ordered him, again under obedience, to dismiss the lawsuit he has filed against his accuser.

SOLT's prior direction to Fr. John Corapi not to engage in any preaching or teaching, the celebration of the sacraments or other public ministry continues. Catholics should understand that SOLT does not consider Fr. John Corapi as fit for ministry.

Father Sheehan will not be available for comments as he is attending the SOLT General Chapter from July 5-23

Let us pray that this statement will bring those who are being led astray by Father Corapi back to respect the authority of his superior and that of the diocesan bishop.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Father Stefano Gobbi dies

Father Stefano Gobbi, founder of the Marian Movement for Priests and author of a book of locutions said to be messages from Our Lady to priests, died yesterday, Solemnity of Ss Peter and Paul, at 3pm, the Hour of Mercy.

Let us pray for the eternal repose of his soul.

More information at Spirit Daily.

Why priests should wear their clerical attire while travelling

A couple of weeks ago I travelled home to England for my nephew's First Holy Communion. As I boarded the flight in Chicago, the stewardess - Linda - welcomed me aboard with the words: "Good morning Father, or should it be 'Pastor'?" I replied that "Father" was indeed an appropriate title, to which she responded that she always carried her Rosary with her.

A little way into the flight, Linda came to my seat to show me her beautiful Rosary beads, each white bead hand-painted with beautiful blue designs.

Later on again, she introduced me to one of her colleagues. After a small chat and greeting, they both went off to carry out their duties. I thought that would be the end of it and settled down again to reading Newman's Development of Christian Doctrine (always good to have a little light reading when travelling!)

Some time later, Linda's colleague came by and stopped to chat. After enquiring where I was working and where I was from, she said that she is of Danish origin and how sad it is that nobody goes to Church in Denmark whereas in the US "everybody" goes to Church. She said that she was Lutheran but married to a Catholic and they had brought up their children as Catholics. I asked if she had ever considered becoming a Catholic. She had but found the prospect of giving up all that was dear to her - the memories of her First Communion and Confirmation in the Lutheran church - difficult. I had just read the following passage from Newman about true conversion being ever positive and never negative in character which I said I would write out for her and give her.
A gradual conversion from a false to a true religion, plainly, has much of the character of a continuous process, or a development, in the mind itself, even when the two religions, which are the limits of its course, are antagonists. Now let it be observed, that such a change consists in addition and increase chiefly, not in destruction. "True religion is the summit and perfection of false religion; it combines in one whatever there is of good and true separately remaining in each. And in like manner the Catholic Creed is for the most part the combination of separate truths, which heretics have divided among themselves, and err in dividing. So that, in matter of fact, if a religious mind were educated in and sincerely attached to some form of heathenism or heresy, and then were brought under the light of truth, it would be drawn off from error into the truth, not by losing what it had, but by gaining what it had not, not by being unclothed, but by being 'clothed upon,' ' that mortality may be swallowed up of life.' That same principle of faith which attached it at first to the wrong doctrine would attach it to the truth; and that portion of its original doctrine, which was to be cast off as absolutely false, would not be directly rejected, but indirectly, in the reception of the truth which is its opposite. True conversion is ever a positive, not a negative character." (quoted from Tracts for the Times, No. 85, p. 73, by Newman in Development of Christian Doctrine, 1903 edition, p. 201)
Before we arrived in London, she collected the text and said that she would probably re-enroll in RCIA in Chicago. Please keep her in your prayers.

Upon my return to Chicago, I boarded the shuttle-bus to take me to the hotel where I had left my car. The driver - a woman - looked at the paper and asked: "You are Reverend John?" to which I replied in the affirmative. "Oh, I need your blessings!" "Why?" "My life is in a mess. My husband left me two years ago and now I'm divorced." And so the conversation proceeded. She is Polish, having come to the US many years ago. She has found it hard to go to Church since her life fell apart but always has her Rosary and picture of Our Lady with her. In the fifteen minutes it took to arrive at the hotel, we were able to have a wonderful conversation and she was so happy when we parted. I was too. I have no idea how she has followed up from our conversation but I remember her now by name in prayer. (Her name is very similar to my above-mentioned nephew's grandfather so it is easy to remember.)

Had I not been wearing my clerics, none of these would have happened.

So, my brother priests, I encourage you to be visible when using these means of public transportation. You never know how the Lord might use you. And even if you face awkwardness or abuse, it is for the Lord's sake you bear it, not your own.

Pope Benedict's 60th anniversary of priestly ordination

A belated post to commemorate this auspicious anniversary. In accordance with the request from the Congration for the Clergy, Bishop Sample initiated the 60 hours of prayer before the Blessed Sacrament at St Peter Cathedral, Marquette, after the evening Mass yesterday.

Pope Benedict said yesterday:
Sixty years on from the day of my priestly ordination, I hear once again deep within me these words of Jesus that were addressed to us new priests at the end of the ordination ceremony by the Archbishop, Cardinal Faulhaber, in his slightly frail yet firm voice. According to the liturgical practice of that time, these words conferred on the newly-ordained priests the authority to forgive sins. “No longer servants, but friends”: at that moment I knew deep down that these words were no mere formality, nor were they simply a quotation from Scripture. I knew that, at that moment, the Lord himself was speaking to me in a very personal way. In baptism and confirmation he had already drawn us close to him, he had already received us into God’s family. But what was taking place now was something greater still. He calls me his friend.

His homily can be read here and there is a special page on the Vatican website.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Father Corapi is causing scandal

Briefly... in the hope that I might post more thoughtfully on the subject:
  • priests function only by faculty of their respective Ordinaries;
  • we all hope for justice in the Church;
  • sometimes the innocent suffer;
  • this applies to priests;
  • priests are ordained to a special consecration unto Christ the Head
  • Who was the Innocent Victim
  • and if we priests become innocent victims...
  • we must be prepared to embrace the suffering involved
  • and in humble obedience
  • die to ourselves
  • even while pursuing the legitimate recourses to which we have a right in Canon Law
  • no matter how slowly these may proceed
  • or how unjustly we may think we are being treated.
  • So Corapi should do the same.
  • He should die to self rather than refusing to die (as he puts it on his new website) by "resigning" his priesthood and leading people away from their pastors by the scandal that such a public defection is causing in the Church.


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