Saturday, January 18, 2020

It has happened to me

Longtime readers will remember this post from 2016 where I talked about plans to deal with the declining Catholic population of my hometown.  This last year, I found out things had happened over the last few years.  I don't make it home much due to health difficulties and unless I ask specific questions, my parents don't volunteer much info from home as they are more interested in me.  So I discovered that plans had indeed gone forward with the construction of a new church building.  And on social media, friends from home posted pictures of one of the church buildings as Mass was being said within for the last time before demolition.  Now there is only the church in which I was baptized many years ago.  I don't know what the endgame is for that building; I assume it too will be demolished once the new building is completed.  Oh...

Judging by the architect's drawings and plans, the new church isn't terrible.  On the outside it looks more or less like a church.  The inside has many of the usual defects of a post-conciliar worship space.  Many items were saved from the church that was demolished and more will be from the other, so time will tell how it all turns out.

Saturday, September 01, 2018

Ave Maria and Francis

Hello, readers.  For those of you who keep up on Catholic news, you are no doubt aware of what's been going on with the McCarrick affair followed by the Pennsylvania grand jury report and then the Vigano memorandum and the fallout from each.  There are plenty of Catholic news sites and blogs that are following things with daily updates.  Aside from the Daily Readings in the sidebar, I would like to recommend Rod Dreher at The American Conservative.  He has been on top of things and I have been following him every day.

On August 29, in support of Pope Francis, the president of Ave Maria University James Towey issued a statement that has since been edited to remove its gratuitous comments. (Edited statement, 8/30 clarification.)  This CNA article has excerpts from the original version of the statement, which gives a taste of what was removed, specifically comments directed at Archbishop Vigano's motives and at Cardinal Burke for the dubia.  (Here is a comment that has the original version of the statement.)

Those since-removed comments had provoked a strong backlash.  One example is from the combox at a piece at One Peter Five:

Can you believe it?
This gentleman is drinking the same juice as Wuerl, McCarrick, Cupich, Maradiaga and Tobin – to cite only a few representatives of the core of corruption. His statement is not only erroneous in its essence, but
pejorative and would appear libelous.
Towey served as an assistant to George W. Bush (2002-2006) and as
Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives. Dig deep into
that and you find the pragmatist.
As President of St. Vincent’s College, Latrobe – Rembert Weakland’s
home monastic community.
And he is a Knight of Columbus – financial sponsors of “Crux.”
You don’t have to scratch too far to find what is operative with this character. He likes his security blanket.
How did Ave Maria’s search committee determine this one a match?
Another one bites the dust..

I replied with the following:

Don't be confused by the fact that AMU has had this facade of "traditional" all this time and is suddenly breaking away. Ave Maria has always been a brand that Tom Monaghan knew he could sell to Catholics if it looked good and holy. But underneath the surface, there's always been some form of scandal, from how he got AMU from MI to FL to the medical complex they tried to build next to the university funded by a major stem cell researching company.

The reply back:

Believe me, I am confused no longer. This was a bitter eye opener.

My comment wasn't very charitable towards AMU.  I have mentioned the past of AM before in comboxes when the university or the law school have been brought up and alumni have replied, saying that things have changed since Mr. Monaghan's involvement has decreased.  Taking those people at face value and reading Mr. Towey's clarification, it puts Ave Maria in the mainstream of Neo-Catholicism with its strict adherence to the ultramontanist position: fidelity to Rome above all else.  Obviously, Roman Catholics are in communion with Rome, but in the wake of the Council, it has become "Rome, right or wrong," even when the wrong seems to be the enabling of heresy and sexual depravity.

People smarter than I am are wrestling with this question.

Friday, September 16, 2016

FSSPX and a prelature

In case you missed it, the folks at Rorate Caeli ran an online poll asking the question, "If Francis offers a Prelature to Society of St Pius X (SSPX), should they accept it?"

The results:  Out of 1,093 respondents, 77% voted yes and 34% voted no.

No doubt there are a lot of people out there who think that getting the FSSPX into the formal structures of the Church will be a great boon to orthodoxy while setting aside the distractions of questions regarding schism and jurisdiction and all that.  Though I would normally agree (though I've read and agree with many who've argued a prelature according to the Opus Dei model is the wrong way of doing it), we are not presently in normal times.

After following the tragedy of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate and now reading more about the new MP dealing with women religious, it's clear enough the Holy Father and his coterie are not to be trusted.

Bishop Felley and those around him really need to consider what their options are at this point.  If they make a deal, once that bell has been rung, they won't be able to unring it by walking out if the deal goes bad.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

From the pen of Benedict XVI?

The previous pontiff, Benedict XVI, otherwise known as Joseph Ratzinger, has said and written a few things over the years since he resigned that have given me pause as they didn't match up quite with what the man had said and done when he was out and about as prefect of CDF and then pope.

Now he has reportedly said a few more things in an interview ahead of a biography soon to be released that are downright weird considering the man we thought we knew (Vox Cantoris has links to it all).

The long and the short of it for me is this: how much of what comes out of that monastery is real and how much is filtered through (or comes whole cloth from) the former pope's handlers?  Doesn't matter.  Just ignore it and move on.

Sunday, August 14, 2016

News from China II

Sandro Magister at www.chiesa has chimed in with his usual excellent work.  Aside from his usual links to the primary sources, he provides a nice summary of the latest happenings in the relationship between the ChiComs and the Holy See including this description of the genesis of the recent agreement:

That day, [Francis'] touchdown in New York on his way to Philadelphia coincided with the landing of Chinese president Xi Jinping, who was expected at the United Nations. Everything had been calculated for the two to cross paths “accidentally” at the airport and exchange a greeting. Xi was aware of this ardent desire of the pope, but in the end he let it drop and the meeting did not take place.

From that moment on, however, the secret contacts between the Vatican and Beijing underwent an acceleration. In October and then in January a delegation of six representatives of the Holy See went to the Chinese capital. And in April of this year, the two sides set up a joint working group that now seems to have come to an understanding over a point that the Vatican takes very seriously: the appointment of bishops.

Read it all for details on the excommunicated bishops of the Chinese Patriotic Catholic Association and their being brought into the fold under the deal.

Magister notes:

The example that is brought up most often is that of Vietnam, where the candidate for bishop is proposed by the Vatican but the government can veto him, and then on to other candidates until the government approves one of them.

But for China, the solution of which Cardinal Tong appears to have knowledge sees the roles reversed. The candidate will be selected and proposed to the Vatican by the Chinese episcopal conference. Only that this conference is a creature of the communist party, completely at the beck and call the regime, devoid of “underground” bishops and with one of the excommunicated eight as its president.

Let us pray for our Chinese brethren as they enter this brave new world created by the Holy Father.

Friday, August 12, 2016

It can happen to you

I have returned home from a trip. Between my home and my destination is the city where I was born, baptized, and both my parents now reside. When I was a boy, the city had three parishes and there were a number of rural/small town parishes throughout the county, but most of them were all eventually rolled up into one single team ministry that was then put together into an official parish.

It was in that city where I went to Mass on Saturday. After Mass, I was looking through the bulletin and checking out the news of the combined parish. Up in the corner on one of the inside pages was a box containing information on how parishioners could fill out a survey for a plan to build a new church and parish buildings beside the existing Catholic school building. This bit of news, a small box on an inside page, left me feeling startled and anxious.

I was of course being naive. Other cities have had parishes closed and church buildings sold or torn down. I lamented those events that came to my attention as well, especially in the cases where old and venerable examples of quality Catholic architecture and art were either sold off or simply destroyed

The information about the proposal included diocesan long-range planning that included this datum: by 2019, there would be only two priests assigned to the entire county. The proposal then asks this question: Two priests watching over a handful of church buildings across a wide rural county or two priests watching over one large parish with at most two or three buildings?

This is an old draft that I never got around to publishing.  The circumstances of my hometown's Catholic community have not chanced as far as I know for sure.  I have been told though that protests from influential parishioners have delayed matters.  The moral of the story remains relevant.  In the conversation I had about the delays, the woman with whom I was talking said that a lot of folks were not happy to be losing the churches they grew up in.  She didn't have anything to say in reply when I noted they had only themselves to blame by not having more sons and encouraging them to explore a vocation the priesthood.

News from China

In recent days, relations between the Holy See and the People's Republic of China have been in the news.  This column by Anthony Clark at Catholic World Report is as good a recap as any of recent events.  The column describes Cardinal Tong's statement, "the pope will choose from a list of proposed candidates for ordination to bishop by China’s bishops and state authorities, which would finally normalize how bishops are selected and ordained in China."

Clark quotes from the statement,

Fortunately, after working for many years on this issue, the Catholic Church has gradually gained the reconsideration of the Chinese government, which is now willing to reach an understanding with the Holy See on the question of the appointment of bishops in the Catholic Church in China and seek a mutually acceptable plan. . . . The Apostolic See has the right to choose from the recommended list the candidates it considers as most suitable and the right to reject the candidates recommended by a bishops’ conference of China and the bishops in the provinces under it.


Mr. Clark goes on to describe Cardinal Zen's reaction.  Zen, the long time opponent to any compromise, wrote a response posted by The title says it all: “My concerns over China-Holy See dialogue and repercussions on Chinese Church”

The end of Mr. Clark's column is a brief summary of  Sino-Holy See relations.

The point that stands out is Mr. Clark's comparison to Vietnam, "but it should be recalled that the Vatican’s proposed agreement with China is comparable to agreements made with communist Vietnam quite some time ago. In June of 2010, Pope Benedict XVI established a similar form of diplomatic relations with Vietnam, and the Church there has continued to flourish under a circumstance that Pope Francis is now proposing with China."

Long time readers know where I stand vis-a-vis the ChiComs.  They are not to be trusted.   Mr. Clark's comparison to Vietnam is on the surface apt due to PRChina and Vietnam being communist, but whether the Church is truly prospering there is debatable.

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Synod on the Family

From Wikipedia:

The Fourteenth Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops will take place on October 4–25, 2015, and will have a theme of "the vocation and mission of the family in the Church and in the contemporary world."

Where will I be following the goings-on in Rome?

1. Rorate Caeli:  Of course.  Where would I be without New Catholic and his collaborators when trying to keep up with Catholic news along with the always excellent commentary and spiritual fortification?

2. What's Up With The Synod:  This is a new blog set up by Hilary White for the duration of the synod where she and a few selected bloggers will be covering events in Rome.

Yesterday, talking to some blogger friends, it was suggested that we set up a war room, a place where traditionally-minded Catholic bloggers, writers and commentators can write and comment about the Synod as it is happening.

I'm looking forward to reading their work.  If you have any suggestions, please suggest in the comments.

Angels and ministers of grace defend us!

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Will the Pope Sell Out to Red China?

As with remarriage and communion, the issue of the appointment of bishops in Red China seems to be one where Francis says one thing, but his underlings do another at the expense of Benedict's past actions that Francis has claimed to support fully.  Read this from Sandro Magister and try to discern for yourself just where the Holy Father is going with relations with the PRC.

Friday, February 20, 2015

In Ukraine, what is old is new

Sandro Magister has something new at his www.chiesa website on Ukraine.  As readers may be aware, Russia has been supporting separatists in eastern Ukraine.  It has already annexed the Crimea.

The crux of Magister's article:

The fact that Bergoglio has a soft spot for Russia had already been seen with the outbreak of war in Syria, when he called for a day of prayer and fasting to oppose the armed intervention of the United States and France against the regime of Damascus, and Vladimir Putin publicly praised him.

Then there is the influence of the ecumenical factor: of the 200 million Orthodox Christians in the world, 150 million belong to the patriarchate of Moscow and “of all Rus’,” and it is therefore with Moscow above all that the pope wants to cultivate good relations.


Today the almost five million Ukrainian Catholics know very well that they are the true obstacle to the encounter between the pope of Rome and the patriarch of Moscow. But they will not agree to be sacrificed on the altar of this ecumenical dream.

Go read the rest at the link above for more background on the Roman response to events.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

The Lost Kingdom

Daily Mail
The event, which is understood to be taking place on June 19, will be a secular event and will instead feature just a simple proclamation, as well as a military procession, in front of Spanish politicians.

Palace and government spokesmen have already said no foreign dignitaries will be invited to the ceremony, largely due to the late notice given to plan the event.

Even Prince Felipe’s father, King Juan Carlos, has signalled he does not intend to be at the ceremony to see his son take over his throne.
When Juan Carlos was sworn in a king, pictured above, it was a much larger affair than what is expected from the imminent coronation of Crown Prince Felipe, pictured third from right as a young boy. The event included a mass after the coronation which is not expected to be held this time around
A low-key secular ceremony.....


There is a reason sovereigns are styled Majesty.   They are majestic, venerable.  By divine right, along with lineage, tradition, and pomp, building up legitimacy over hundreds and hundreds of years.  And now the soon-to-be King of Spain is seemingly detaching himself from the foundation of his monarchy, from the outset.  No great ceremony to demonstrate the King's majesty.  No mass to celebrate the connection between God and the King.  And the old king, who is still alive, will not be there to show the connection between the present, the future, and the past.

It sets a bad precedent.  Without those things that make a monarchy a monarchy, why have a monarchy at all?

Yes, times are hard in Spain.  And HM Juan Carlos I is said to be abdicating partly because his popularity has nose-dived from scandal, such as a hunting trip during a time when one-in-four Spaniards are unemployed.  But I think personal extravagance is one thing.  While spending some Euros on the coronation of the king is a necessary investment in the legitimacy of the monarchy.