Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Two Petitions about the New Translation of the Roman Missal

Here is something for you... Are you for or against the new English translation of the Roman Missal?

Two petitions are online to give you an opportunity to express your opinion.

There is a website petition that seeks a review of the new translation. It is called:

"What If We Just Said Wait"

In response to this petition, a new website was set up this morning for those who believe the translation should be enacted as soon as possible.

"We've Waited Long Enough"

You can't say I am not giving equal time to both sides of this question!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

3-Minute Retreat!

I ran across this nice little site at Loyola Press that offers a 3-Minute Retreat for busy folks using the Web. Here is the URL:

3-Minute Retreat

You can have a reminder sent to you by signing in. Hope this can be helpful for you.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Examples of the changes in the new edition of the Roman Missal

If you haven't already investigated the website discussing the new Roman Missal, take a look here.

Don't miss this section: Examples of the Priest's Parts, as well as the Congregation's Parts. It's very well done and worth a look.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Advent Homilies From the Diocesan Office of Vocations

An Advent resource:

Vocation Office Launches Internet Homily Service For Advent!

Are you looking for a new way to create a Spiritual focus for Advent? The Office of Vocations is launching a daily on-line Advent homily service called "Prepare the Way." These daily reflections, based on the Scripture readings for Mass, are intended to provide a spiritual resource for adults, young adults and teens throughout the Advent Season. Go to, and click on the "Prepare the Way" banner. You can also sign up for a daily email reminder and link for each homily. Please join us as we "Prepare the Way of the Lord" together!

Monday, November 16, 2009

Welcoming the Anglicans

There has been lots of discussion (both pro and con) about the recent Vatican announcement that an Apostolic Constitution has been created to assist traditional Anglicans in being received into full communion with the Catholic Church.

What are your thoughts about any potential problems that have to be resolved or that will be created in the future because of this outreach to the Anglican Christians?

Will this potential influx of Anglicans have any effect on the Anglican-use parishes who are under a local Catholic bishop in the areas these parishes are located?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Richmond Voiceless?

A blogger today suggested that we should rename this blog "Richmond Voiceless"... since we have heard no more from Catherine Combier-Donovan. The last several days I have thought about emailing her. I realize that a blog is easily forgotten when one has hands-on work to do in the office and elsewhere.

A major concern for me is that this blog remain relevant. People get tired of checking a blog that appears dead. I don't want this one to go the way of the others...

I simply ask that you have mercy on me also. In addition to this blog, I am writing 3 others plus a website; plus work.

I will email Ms Combier-Donovan this afternoon and invite her to continue our dialogue. In the meantime, if anyone has a subject that they would like to discuss here on this blog (preferably concerning the Diocese of Richmond), let me know...

Monday, October 12, 2009

Questions for Dialogue

Bumping these questions back to the top again!

Tabernacle Questions

1. What is the proper role and placement of the Tabernacle in the Sanctuary?

2. How do you address the perception that one of the reasons for the removal of the Tabernacle from the Sanctuary is to stop private devotions? Or to rephrase the question, could communal prayers supplant private prayers?

3. A perception exists that the physical layout of the sanctuary space is sometimes manipulated, to make the placement of the Tabernacle difficult, and also to discourage private prayers and kneeling. How would you address this concern?

4. Will the diocese of Richmond ever promote tabernacle tolerance throughout the diocese to change the present situation of tabernacle intolerance?

5. Do diocesan officials realize some of the faithful feel as if they are being segregated if they wish to pray in the presence of the Real Presence in the Tabernacle before Sunday Mass?

Questions About Christian Education

1. Catechises in our Diocese, for the most part, uses products of two publishing corporations: RCL Benziger and William H. Sadlier, Inc. In the past, the Baltimore Catechism was used throughout the U.S. to teach the Faith to the Catholic youth.

However, even a cursory review of the currently used catechetical products shows that they differ markedly in emphasis, style, and even in content, from the Baltimore Catechism.

Why was the use of the Baltimore Catechism discontinued in our Diocese, and replaced by a relationship with these two companies?

2. In addition to attending Pathways, what other means does the diocese use to confirm that the volunteer-catechists are well-informed Catholics?

3. Is there any kind of assessment they take to make sure they have a solid foundation of knowledge on the teachings of the Church?

4. How does the diocese decide on which items of Church Teachings to place emphasis? For example, how are the Teachings on Purgatory, Indulgences, Morality (i.e. artificial contraception) and other problematic Teachings addressed?

5. Are the Church's Teachings addressed consistently across the diocese from parish to parish? Or does the culture of the parish dictate which Teachings will be emphasized or taught?

Questions About the Liturgy

1. What is the Church teaching on the proper attitude (how to conduct oneself) while in the sanctuary before Mass?

2. What is the status of the motu proprio "Summorum Pontificum" in our Diocese?

3. How would you like to see the Sunday Celebrations in the Absence of a Priest (SCAP) implemented in our Diocese?

4. Why does our Office of Worship not follow the universal GIRM and its US adaptation which specify that the deacon should kneel for the consecration of the Host and Chalice whenever deacons assist at Mass?

5. Why does the Office of Worship discourage the option (given by the US Bishops to pastors) of using a crucifix during the Good Friday adoration of the cross ?

6. Is Communion in the hand the universal norm or are first communicants instructed that they are still allowed to receive on the tongue?

7. There were numerous and complicated questions about kneeling and genuflections and the absence of kneelers in the church; and whether students can be forbidden to genuflect. Please check the comments here.

General Questions about the Diocese

1. What do you think are the main strengths and challenges of this Diocese?

2. What do you think are possible solutions to the worsening priest shortage in our Diocese?

~ I don't think it wise to add any more questions for the time being; but you can continue to post them as comments in the previous article and I will save them. I hope I was able to cover most of the questions you wanted to ask. s.m. ~

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Universal Health Care Debate

From a Catholic point of view, what is the best way to approach universal health care? I expect there will be several Catholic points of view. Let's hear them.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Campaign for Human Development: Worthwhile or not?

With Anonymous' suggestion that we look into the Bishop's Campaign for Human Development and the remarks by Katie and Jim, I decided to open up an opportunity for discussion.

I realize this is a hot-button issue, so please be respectful with your remarks. I don't delete anything unless it is tasteless or attacking specific people.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cross or Crucifix on Good Friday? ~ by Catherine Combier-Donovan

Catherine Combier-Donovan, Director
Office of Worship, Catholic Diocese of Richmond

Cross or Crucifix on Good Friday?

Built of Living Stones
[1] states that on Good Friday the assembly may venerate the cross or crucifix. The GIRM[2] and the Roman Missal, however, consistently refer to the “cross” and not “crucifix” as the object of veneration. The GIRM, as we know, does not mince words when it means to be specific. The Book of Blessings specifies a corpus when erecting a cross in a church. Here too, the new GIRM is specific about there being a cross with a corpus in a church. This is different from the ritual of the Veneration of the Cross on Good Friday.

Perhaps the best way to understand why the cross is preferable to the crucifix on Good Friday is to understand the history of this devotion.

On Good Friday, it has always been the wood of the cross that we venerate. “Behold the wood of the cross, on which hung our salvation.” This has been a tradition in the church since at least the end of the 4th century, when the Spanish pilgrim Egeria wrote about celebrating Good Friday at Golgotha. She spent Holy Week in Jerusalem not too long after St. Helena's discoveries of the true cross. The cult of the cross flourished and relics of the true cross were being disseminated and venerated. Pilgrimages to sacred sites multiplied and Egeria recorded in her journals detailed descriptions of the celebration of the Adoration of the True Cross at Golgotha. Good Friday celebrations included the Adoration of the Cross in those places where fragments of the True Cross were kept, in Antioch for example, and soon spread beyond the holy places.

“Then a chair is placed for the bishop in Golgotha behind the Cross, which is now standing; the bishop duly takes his seat in the chair, and a table covered with a linen cloth is placed before him; the deacons stand round the table, and a silver-gilt casket is brought in which is the holy wood of the Cross. The casket is opened and (the wood) is taken out, and both the wood of the Cross and the title are placed upon the table.

Now, when it has been put upon the table, the bishop, as he sits, holds the extremities of the sacred wood firmly in his hands, while the deacons who stand around guard it. It is guarded thus because the custom is that the people, both faithful and catechumens, come one by one and, bowing down at the table, kiss the sacred wood and pass through. And because, I know not when, some one is said to have bitten off and stolen a portion of the sacred wood, it is thus guarded by the deacons who stand around, lest any one approaching should venture to do so again.

And as all the people pass by one by one, all bowing themselves, they touch the Cross and the title, first with their foreheads and then with their eyes; then they kiss the Cross and pass through.”

Note that in the descriptions of the Veneration of the Cross, it is the relic of the True Cross that is the object of veneration, not a crucifix. Listen closely to the language of the prayer texts used on Good Friday.

At a USCCB national meeting a few years ago, a bishop attempted to bring a vote to the floor specifying that it should be a crucifix that is venerated on Good Friday. It was promptly voted down after several of his colleagues reminded him of the venerable history and meaning of this tradition. Nevertheless, the option to use a crucifix remains. The devotion to Christ crucified appears in art in the post-medieval period. Literary evidence of the crucifix replacing the cross as object of adoration appears only in 1364.

We celebrate the Lord’s Passion with the Resurrection in mind. Veneration of the bare cross takes us from the tree to the instrument of the death of Jesus to the bare cross from which Christ is free – a powerful multivalent symbol.

[1] USCCB. Built of Living Stones: Art, Architecture and Worship. 2000, 83
[2] USCCB. General Instruction of the Roman Missal. 2002
[3] English translation of Louis Duchesne's Christian Worship (London, 1923)
[4] Patrick Regan, “Veneration of the Cross,” Worship 52 (January 1978), 8.

A response to a question is on its way!

I am sure you will be pleased to hear that I received an article today from Ms Catherine Combier-Donovan, Director of the Office of Worship of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond. Ms Combier-Donovan wrote in part:

"...I ask patience of your readers for I take time to carefully craft each one since it seems that what I write is often scrutinized to the nth degree. I also want to be sure that my responses are both orthodox and pastoral. Because I’m a liturgical historian as well as a pastoral liturgist, you’ll find that I will reflect on the past to help us understand the present. All of this to say you will not receive too many brief answers, unless it is to direct people to answers already on the Worship website or elsewhere."

The article is titled: Cross or Crucifix on Good Friday? I will place it on the blog as soon as I can.

Feel free to comment; but obviously, in a respectful manner. A question and answer format on a blog may be something unique. If it is, it is in our best interest to make certain that it can work. Thanks to you all for your questions.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Patiently waiting...

I haven't added any more articles to the blog recently because I am patiently waiting for the promised response from Ms Catherine Combier-Donovan, Director of the Office of Worship, to the question about tabernacles and their place in or near the sanctuary...

If you wish to contact her personally with your concerns, Ms Combier-Donovan's email address which can easily be found on the Contact Us page at the Office of Worship website is the following:

I look forward to hearing from her soon.

Monday, August 24, 2009

More Questions?

Add them as comments here. Try to shorten them. As you have seen, the questions can become so involved that they become difficult to use.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

DIALOGUE: A Response from Ms Combier-Donovan

Catherine Combier-Donovan <>
standing maryanna <>
Wed, Aug 19, 2009 at 9:19 AM
RE: A Request from the blog: Richmond Voices

Dear Blogmaster,

Thank you once again for the invitation to enter into dialogue with you and other members of the Diocese of Richmond. The question about the tabernacle tends to be an emotional one, so I would like my response to be prayerfully pondered and carefully crafted. Because I will be out of the country for the next two weeks, I don’t have enough time to do this well right at the moment. Rest assured, however, that I will respond when I return.

I’m sure some of my colleagues would be interested in participating in the kind of dialogue you are proposing, for we see poor communication as one of the biggest stumbling blocks to effective ministry.

In the peace of Christ,

Catherine Combier-Donovan
Office of Worship


standing maryanna []
Tuesday, August 18, 2009 8:43 PM
Catherine Combier-Donovan
A Request from the blog: Richmond Voices

Dear Ms Combier-Donovan,

Your kind response to the question about Holding Hands During The Lord's Prayer was gratefully received by the people who frequent my blog, Richmond Voices. Actually, they were quite surprised that you took the time to respond to the question. Again, I thank you for doing so.

In continuing the discussion on the blog, a question was raised about the possibility of opening a dialogue between the Lay Leadership on the Diocesan level and readers of the blog.

I am very much aware that many people on the parish level in our diocese and elsewhere have questions that have been posed to their parish leaders or to others in diocesan leadership positions about why certain changes occurred in the Liturgy or in the church building. Either the changes were not properly explained or the questions were dismissed. This has been hurtful to many people who love the Church and love their parishes.

When the question was raised about a dialogue with you and others, I thought it was a very good idea and an opportunity for this blog to be useful for our people. I also realize that even if you were agreeable to a dialogue, you might not want to use a blog for the dialogue. An alternative venue could be through a column in the Catholic Virginian.

At any rate, I want to refer you to another article that I wrote where a dialogue project could be commented on. That article is Project: Discussions and Questions for the Diocesan Lay Leadership. But first I would ask you to read the comments to the article referenced in the first paragraph above since that is where the discussion began.

It is my hope that you will consider such a dialogue with my readers; either through Richmond Voices or some other venue. There have already been several questions posed as you will see when you read the comments. I have found that those wishing to ask questions have done so in a respectful manner.

Thank you for your time. I hope to hear from you soon. God's graces and blessings are being wished for you this evening.


standing maryanna
"Richmond Voices"

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Project: Discussions and Questions for the Diocesan Lay Leadership

Perhaps it is time to start a separate article about the project that several of you have requested about contacting the lay leadership of the Diocese of Richmond to ask questions that are a concern for some of you.

This idea of a dialogue with the diocesan lay leadership was originally expressed by an anonymous poster. Mark then put the idea into perspective and added some questions of his own. Others have begun to add their remarks...

Please continue the conversation under this heading. If it suits those interested, I will again email Ms Combier-Donovan to ask her to read your remarks and encourage her to be part of this dialogue.

Let me know your wishes...

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Where Y'all From? ~ Visitors to the Blog

Thought you might like to see where visitors to Richmond Voices hale from. Here is the list for the past several days. Not counting duplicates...

Fredericksburg, VA
Wise, VA
Suffolk, VA
Norfolk, VA
Bremerton, WA
Virginia Beach, VA
Newburgh, Ontario, Canada
Podgorica, Montenegro
Glade Hill, VA
Marthaville, LA
Louisville, KY
Hudson, OH
Kanate, Ontario
Hartford, Connecticut
Marion, VA
Stockholm, Sweden
Glen Allen, VA
Mountain View, California
Chesapeake, VA
Midlothian, VA
St. Mary's, OH
Richmond, VA

Not a huge number of visitors but good enough.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Ms Catherine Combier-Donovan: Holding Hands at the Lord's Prayer

I received the following email from Catherine Combier-Donovan, Director of the Office of Worship of the Catholic Diocese of Richmond in response to the question about hand holding during the Our Father at Youth Masses, etc.

The information was too long to go into the comment box so I am giving the email its own article.

I want to thank Ms Combier-Donovan for responding to the question so completely and thoroughly.



Dear Blogmaster,

Thank you for sending me the question about holding hands during the Lord’s Prayer at youth Masses. Here is as official and complete an answer as I can give you.

It is often a practice in many American Catholic churches for everyone to hold hands during the Lord’s Prayer, sometimes snaking around the room to sure that no one is left out. The origins of it are not clear, though some have suggested that it may come from AA meetings or the home Masses of the late 60’s and early 70’s. It is a lovely sign of solidarity, especially meaningful for a group praying outside of Mass, but it is not a liturgical gesture envisioned in any rubrics.

Hand-holding becomes the only gesture demanded of everyone, one to which it is difficult to say, “No, thank you” without being considered unfriendly. Many people are not comfortable or do not wish to hold hands for personal or health reasons, yet they are forced to do so as their hands are grabbed without asking. Often when I speak of this gesture to church groups around the Diocese, the strong response is that this is their real sign of unity! But do we need that as a sign of unity? After holding hands we must break apart and turn to one another at the Sign of Peace, our sign of the community’s unity in Christ, which prepares us for the most unifying moment of all – namely the sharing in the Eucharist.

No particular gesture is mandated by the General Instruction of the Roman Missal for the assembly. While holding hands is not prohibited by either the Vatican Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, nor the USCCB Secretariat for Divine Worship, it is described nowhere. A few years ago, the US Bishops considered ruling against it, but decided not to do so since the custom was so ingrained in many parishes. The presider, however, is directed by the rubrics to pray the Lord’s Prayer with his hands extended.

The orans, the standing posture of praying with hands open and arms raised, is the oldest prayer posture of praise in the presence of God, described both in Hebrew Scripture, in the New Testament, and by the Early Fathers of the Church (see Gen 18:22 and Mk 11:25). For centuries the Virgin Mary has been portrayed in iconography with hands extended in prayer this way (see the Virgin Orans). It was the common posture until around the 9th century, when it became perceived as the posture of the ordained. Vatican II restored it as the posture for the whole Body of Christ. It connotes vulnerability, surrender, praise and supplication, and is the universal posture seen in churches around the world.

There is a very rich tradition, both scriptural and patristic, that supports the orans, while nothing other than localized American custom supports holding hands during the Lord's Prayer. There are other ways to pray this. Therefore, while some people, families in particular, may certainly hold hands, others should be free to pray in the orans, to simply pray with their own hands clasped together, or to do nothing at all other than utter the words in fervent prayer. However you pray the Lord’s Prayer at Mass, just remember to allow each person to pray it as he or she wishes, and to impose it on no one. This goes for presiders as well…

So the final answer to “is there an official Diocesan policy about holding hands at youth liturgies?” is multifaceted. Is it an official posture? No. Is it prohibited? No. May it be done? Yes. Is it obligatory? No. And this applies to all liturgies.

A word about singing the Our Father: The Sacramentary/Roman Missal provides a chanted setting (which very few people know) for this prayer and it may certainly be sung to other settings. My preference for not singing it, as noted by John Southworth, applies only to weddings, funerals, and other liturgies where there may be non-Catholic Christians. We have this prayer in our common memory. Recite it and you welcome them. Sing it and you exclude them.

Catherine Combier-Donovan
Office of Worship
Catholic Diocese of Richmond
7800 Carousel Lane
Richmond VA 23294

From: standing maryanna []
Sent: Sunday, August 02, 2009 7:06 PM
To: Worship Office
Subject: Blog question for the Office of Worship


I am the blogmaster of the blog titled, Richmond Voices that can be found at One of our readers has posed a question concerning the holding of hands during the Our Father at youth Masses.

Please take time to respond to this question since it concerns the official position of the diocese.

Here is the blog article: Official Posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies

Thanks for your time...

standing maryanna

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies?

Anonymous brought up a Liturgy question about the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies...

I am assuming that since the question has been asked, that I have permission to make a separate blog article of this question. Here is the question posed by Anonymous. I have taken the liberty to divide the one into several paragraphs for easier reading.

"...Will the Diocesan Liturgy office please give us some guidlines regarding when we are to hold hands during the liturgy and when not to hold hands. It's fine that families adopt a costum of holding hands if that's what they wish but why extend to other members of the congregation during a prayer of petition like the "Our Father"?

Having gone to many youth liturgies across the diocese, it seems that holding hands is the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies. If this is the case, where is this written? If this is not the case, then why is this either being encouraged, promoted or not being addressed. It seems to me that the posture should reflect the prayer and handholding is not really a posture of petition, it shows unity which to me further confuses since we should be united through the entire liturgy, not just the Our Father.

The adults need to start catechizing the youth about this when teaching them liturgy; otherwise, we just get one more manufactured practice that our diocese is so noted for doing. What is the official posture for the Our Father at youth liturgies?"

Do we have a reader from the Diocesan Office of Worship here? Actually, I will email the Office of Worship and see if someone can respond to this question. Others, of course, may wish to have some input also...

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teilhard, the Catholic Darwin

John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter has written an interesting article regarding comments made by Pope Benedict XVI about Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, Jesuit priest, scientist and philosopher who died in 1955. Teilhard's writings were so far ahead of his time that the Church viewed his theology with suspicion.

From the July 28, 2009 NCR article, "Pope cites Teilhardian vision of the cosmos as a 'living host'" comes the following quote:

"...Now the pontiff has also hinted at a possible new look at the undeclared patron saint of Catholic ecology, the late French Jesuit scientist and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.

Benedict's brief July 24 reference to Teilhard, praising his vision of the entire cosmos as a "living host," can be read on multiple levels -- as part of the pontiff's rapprochement with the Jesuits, or as a further instance of finding something positive to say about thinkers whose works have set off doctrinal alarms, as Benedict previously did with rebel Swiss theologian and former colleague Hans Küng."

And further on: "On the basis of his scientific work, Teilhard developed an evolutionary theology asserting that all creation is developing towards an "Omega Point," which he identified with Christ as the Logos, or "Word" of God. In that sense, Teilhard broadened the concept of salvation history to embrace not only individual persons and human culture, but the entire universe. In short order, Teilhard's thought became the obligatory point of departure for any Catholic treatment of the environment."

Read the complete article

Monday, June 22, 2009

Fewer Priests = Closed and Merged Parishes

Catholic New Service is featuring an article by Dennis Sadowski about parish closings and mergers that are taking place around the country and what it means for the parishioners of these parishes. The article is titled "When parishes close, there's more to deal with than just logistics"...

As we are certainly aware here in the Diocese of Richmond, there are rumblings and grumblings going on as to when and how the clustering of our parishes will take place. Obviously, some parishes are already sharing resources with each other, but that is only the beginning.

What happens to smaller parishes who face the uncertainty of and the possibility of being swallowed up by larger neighboring parishes? Will they lose their identity completely? Will their Catholic presence be lost in their communities? Will their outreach programs be taken over or even discontinued? Will the smaller churches be closed altogether? Are the parishioners even prepared for any of this?

Sadowski attempts to address this issue by citing research done by Charles Zech and Robert Miller in their recent book, "Listening to the People of God: Closing, Rebuilding and Revitalizing Parishes."

Zech recognizes how traumatic the closing or merging of a parish can be: "'Our parish is a family and when our parish is closed we feel like we've lost an important part of our family.' We have to treat it that way. Diocesan officials need to treat it as if there's a death in the family."

Read the article and tell us what your thoughts are about the future of our clustering parishes in the Diocese of Richmond.

Sex and the Priestly: Father Cutie Renews Celibacy Debate

Amy Sullivan has written an interesting article about the renewed celibacy debate in the latest issue of the online Time ezine. The article "Sex and the Priestly: Father Cutie Renews Celibacy Debate" can be found HERE.

Obviously, former Catholic priest Alberto Cutie and former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland have brought the celibacy debate to the forefront in recent weeks through Cutie's actions and Archbishop Weakland's memoirs.

In a quote from the article: "Although both he and Cutie have insisted they do not want to be held up as poster boys for changing the Church's celibacy requirement, their stories have added new fuel to a long-simmering debate. The Catholic Church in the U.S. has a serious priest crisis — the number of men entering the priesthood has dropped by 60% over the past four decades and the current average age of active priests is 60. Many dioceses have been forced to close parishes or import foreign priests to deal with shortages. But advocates of celibacy reform say there is a better solution: ditch the 900-year-old church law prohibiting priests from marrying or being sexually active."

Ms Sullivan gives a short history of celibacy in the Catholic Church in her article and notes the possibility of making the "rule" into a voluntary discipline, advocated by some theologians.

What say you?

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Bishop DiLorenzo: 5th Anniversary in Richmond

In the recent issue of The Catholic Virginian, you will find an article, Bishop's vision: to teach, govern and sanctify that compliments Bishop DiLorenzo on his 5th Anniversary as Bishop of the Diocese of Richmond. This issue also includes a Chronology of the first five years of his administration. Needless to say, there is nothing but positive accomplishments listed in the articles.

Even though these positive accomplishments are impressive, I feel certain that there were some rumbles from readers who felt that those five years also contained experiences that caused hurt and disappointment to persons in this diocese, especially since the styles of Bishops Sullivan and DiLorenzo are so different.

However, I would like to congratulate Bishop DiLorenzo on his 5th anniversary as our bishop and to wish for the future that his vision of teaching, governing and sanctifying our Catholic people will reach its fulfillment.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Vatican's Moderate Line on Obama Has Deep Roots ~ Excellent NCR article by John L Allen

In the May 4, 2009 edition of the National Catholic Reporter, John Allen analyzes an essay found the semi-official Vatican newspaper, L'Osservatore Romano, contributed by Giuseppe Fiorentino, a foreign affairs writer at that newspaper.

Fiorentino writes that the Vatican has taken "a moderate and conciliatory line on the Obama administration, while several U.S. bishops, buoyed by a network of pro-life activists, have been more pugnacious."

John Allen notes that there is a "glaring difference in tone between the Vatican and the most ardently pro-life circles in the American Catholic church, including a growing number of American bishops."

Why is this? Mr. Allen provides an interesting and thought provoking analysis. You can read the entire article here.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Whose Church is it????

It bothers me a lot that there is so much division/disgust/anger/recrimination/strife/etc. among Catholics these days . There seems to be little trust or caring among the different "factions" ... be they liberal, conservative, moderate, traditional or progressive.

And I add myself in being guilty of some of this also. But I also believe there is room for all of us in this Church...

Pope Benedict XVI's words spoken during his trip to France in September 2008 speak to our divided condition. Maybe we all need to take them to heart...

"No one is too many in the Church. Everyone, without exception, must be able to feel at home and never feel rejected."

Sunday, April 12, 2009

"Those who are led by the Spirit of God are children of God."

I came across an interesting CNS article from March 27, 2009, that speaks about the weekly Lenten meditation given by Capuchin Father Raniero Cantalamessa, preacher of the papal household. Fr. Cantalamessa reminds us that the Holy Spirit speaks to us individually, as well as through the Church. This important aspect of the Holy Spirit's action in our lives is something that I had not really thought much about.

According to the article: "When people forget that the Holy Spirit speaks directly to individual consciences and not only through the church, there is a risk that laypeople would be pushed to the margins of the church's life..."

Father noted: "...In other words, there is a risk of reducing the guidance of the Paraclete to only the official teaching of the church, impoverishing the varied action of the Holy Spirit. In this case the human, organizational and institutional elements prevail, the passivity of the members is encouraged and the door is opened to the marginalization of the laity and the excessive clericalization of the church."

You can read the complete Catholic News Service article, HERE.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Holy Week 2009

We follow Jesus this week as He travels the road to Calvary. As we meditate on His suffering and death on the cross, we pray in hope and thanksgiving that His Sacrifice will not have been in vain in our own lives. With our own crosses united to His, we await His Resurrection... and ours too.

After Easter, this blog will come to life again...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

A Look Back at the Bishop Williamson Affair

A very interesting article (March 18, 2009) has been featured by the British newspaper, The Catholic Herald, written by Cardinal Paul Cordes and translated from the German by Anna Arco. In his article, Cardinal Cordes takes "A look back at the Bishop Williamson affair" especially in light of the German media, political and religious reaction to the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops.

The Cardinal takes the media to task:

"Whoever experienced the vehemence of the reaction with which especially the German media and many Church leaders there responded to the lifting of the excommunications of the four Lefebvrist bishops from the vantage point of Rome found themselves confoundedly rubbing their eyes. For weeks, there were daily essays in the leading newspapers, press statements, televised news programmes and talkshows on the subject. On February 11, even DW-TV [Germany's international broadcaster] showed its interest in the topic with a report on "Old Catholics", encouraging the "Romans" to affiliate themselves with them.

Representatives of the Catholic Church used the opportunity to raise their profile. Evidently the criticism of the Pope was carefully formulated, and the regret at the behaviour of his colleagues in the Curia was emphatic.

On the other hand, clarifications and interpretations made by bishops in the spirit of communion with the Successor of St Peter were virtually ignored in editorial offices. The public reprimand which the German Chancellor delivered to the Successor of St Peter gave the journalistic court of justice a new opportunity for agitation."

Cordes notes that it was thought that Pope Benedict himself was the target of the media because he was German; but the Cardinal believes otherwise. The Office of Pope was the actual target, as it has been in other eras in our past.

What struck me in this article was a little sidelight concerning the "reality of God"... This quote is one you might also wish to comment on:

"A fundamental threat to the Church also lies in the growing blindness to the reality of God. "

I believe this is true. How can this blindness be reversed?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Some Tough Words by Bishop Fellay

Williamson Apology 'A Step in Right Direction'

The March 2, 2009 issue of
Spiegel Online International contains a new interview by Bishop Fellay concerning his fellow SSPX bishop, Richard Williamson. He readily acknowledges that Bishop Williamson has caused the Society a great deal of trouble. Despite the usual antagonism of Spiegel on this issue, you will find quite a few new facts that I haven't read in other press.

For instance:

"SPIEGEL: Will he return to his full duties?

Fellay: That is impossible under the current circumstances. He has damaged us and hurt our reputation. We have very clearly distanced ourselves. He was not ordained as a bishop for his own personal purpose but for the common good of the church, to spread the revealed truth.

SPIEGEL: So why don't you exclude Williamson from the society?

Fellay: That will happen if he denies the Holocaust again. It is probably better for everyone if he stays quiet and stays in a corner somewhere. I want him to disappear from the public eye for a good while."

The interview was conducted by Stefan Winter. To read the entire interview, look HERE.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

The Official Apology by Bishop Williamson

This Declaration from SSPX Bishop Williamson was released by the Pontifical Commission, Ecclesia Dei.


The Holy Father and my Superior, Bishop Bernard Fellay, have requested that I reconsider the remarks I made on Swedish television four months ago, because their consequences have been so heavy.

Observing these consequences I can truthfully say that I regret having made such remarks, and that if I had known beforehand the full harm and hurt to which they would give rise, especially to the Church, but also to survivors and relatives of victims of injustice under the Third Reich, I would not have made them.

On Swedish television I gave only the opinion (..."I believe"..."I believe"...) of a non-historian, an opinion formed 20 years ago on the basis of evidence then available and rarely expressed in public since. However, the events of recent weeks and the advice of senior members of the Society of St. Pius X have persuaded me of my responsibility for much distress caused. To all souls that took honest scandal from what I said before God I apologise.

As the Holy Father has said, every act of injust violence against one man hurts all mankind.

+Richard Williamson
London 26 February 2009.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

USCCB's For Your Marriage Website: 10 Cheap Dates!

If you want a chuckle or a groan, you should check out the USCCB's For Your Marriage Website and take a look at their list of Cheap Dates! Is this the way to keep a marriage alive during these depressing economic times?

How about a pillow fight! Or buying a cheap romantic gift (their suggestion is not over $20!). Or creating a home spa!! Take your pick! What are these people thinking?

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Interview of Bishop Fellay by the REMNANT, Traditional Catholic Newspaper

This interview by Brian Mershon, columnist for the Remnant, was posted on February 18, 2009 and is the most recent word from Bishop Fellay. You can find the complete interview...


~ Photo from the Remnant website ~

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some of our Weekend Visitors

Thought you might like to see where some of our weekend visitors have come from. I didn't duplicate cities or add where only United States was given.

Sestao, Pais Vasco, Spain
Norfolk, Virginia
Quezon City, Philippines
Bistrita, Bistrita-nasaud, Romania
Smithfield, Virginia
New Orleans, Louisiana
Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Lansing, Michigan
Berlin, Germany
Chesapeake, Virginia
Almere, Flevoland, Netherlands
Williamsburg, Virginia
Norfolk, Virginia
Saint Louis, Missouri
Hampton, Virginia

I am amazed! Pastor giving up his promotion!

From the Associated Press: Click for the complete story

Austria: `Katrina' pastor giving up promotion

VIENNA (AP) — A radio station says an Austrian pastor who suggested that God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of the city's sins is giving up the auxiliary bishop post the pope promoted him to.

The national broadcaster ORF said Sunday the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner made the decision because of the controversy surrounding Pope Benedict XVI's promotion of him in Linz, Austria's second largest city.

The promotion of the conservative pastor sparked an outcry among Catholics who warned it could prompt people to leave the church.

ORF quotes the 54-year-old Wagner as saying: "Regarding the fierce criticism, I am praying and after consulting the diocesan bishop I have decided to ask the Holy Father in Rome to take back my promotion as auxiliary bishop."

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Have you ever needed to get a speaker approved?

Someone passed this on to me.

A group in a parish wanted to have someone from the community to speak to the parish about a particular subject. Sorry, I'm not going to be more specific.

The parish group was told that they would need to have the potential speaker approved by the diocese. The speaker would have to fill out the diocesan form for approval of his program; as well as to submit an official invitation on the parish letterhead by the parish group, to include his CV and to obtain a letter from his pastor attesting that he was a Catholic in good standing. I'm not sure what else was needed.

I understand that this diocesan approval is to make certain that speakers faithfully teach Catholic doctrine. My question is this: Why is this approval needed even for programs that are not religious in nature; but cultural or educational? And what about a speaker who is not Catholic? It seems to me that the diocese is making it needlessly difficult for parishes to recruit speakers by forcing them to jump through hoops in order to obtain the approval.

Care to respond? If I have incorrect information, please be kind enough to supply the accurate information.

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bishop Williamson: Has he or hasn't he been removed?

This is from Reuters News Agency with a dateline of 02-08-09:

Holocaust-denier removed from Argentine seminary

Sun Feb 8, 2009 10:12pm EST

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - An ultra-traditionalist Roman Catholic bishop who has drawn sharp criticism from the Vatican and Jewish groups for denying the extent of the Holocaust was removed as the head of an Argentine seminary, a Catholic Church official said on Sunday.

Pope Benedict angered Jewish leaders and progressive Catholics last month when he lifted excommunications on the bishop, Richard Williamson, and three other traditionalists to try to heal a 20-year-old schism within the Church.

The Vatican has since ordered the bishop to publicly recant his views questioning whether the Nazis used gas chambers and the number of Jews who died.

But Williamson, who is British-born, recently told Germany's Spiegel magazine he must first review historical evidence before considering an apology.

In a statement, Father Christian Bouchacourt, the head of the Latin American chapter of the Catholic Society St. Pius X, said Williamson had been relieved as the head of the La Reja seminary on the outskirts of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires.

"Monsignor Williamson's statements do not in any way reflect the position of our congregation," it said.

The decision came hours after Pope Benedict and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who publicly criticized the pontiff for his decision to rehabilitate the bishop, spoke by telephone.
The two had a "cordial and constructive" conversation on the issue, the Vatican said.

The Vatican has been at pains since the excommunications of the four bishops were lifted on January 24 to contain damage provoked by Williamson's comments, which he made during an interview with Swedish television last month.

The Vatican has said Pope Benedict, who expressed his full solidarity with Jews, was not aware of Williamson's denial of the Holocaust when he rehabilitated the bishops.

(Writing by Kevin Gray, additional reporting by Silvia Aloisivy, editing by Vicki Allen)
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Wednesday, February 4, 2009

A Feeding Frenzy - The media is really getting out of hand...

As my readers know, I have been posting the German Spiegel Online International articles about the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops. This afternoon I received notice of another article about the fallout from the Pope's action. I am absolutely appalled at the anger and seemingly purposeful misunderstanding of the issues involved by the international media; in addition to the remarks made by Catholic clerics and others.

I don't intend to post the current article though if you wish to read it, you will find it
here. What I do want to post is an excerpt that I believe is important and one that has not been adequately covered. Here is the excerpt with my emphases:

"The slip-up involving the St. Pius bishops could not have turned into a scandal but for two, closely-related problems associated with this pontificate.

The first is the growing isolation of Benedict XVI. And the second is his trepidation when it comes to interacting with the modern world. It is a deeply conservative fundamental attitude, which repeatedly leads to "ecumenism to the right," as Johann Baptist Metz, a theologian and professor of fundamental theology, said recently in criticism of the pope.

The pope, says one member of the Curia, has surrounded himself with a team of yes-men, devoid of any critical voices. The team even shields the 81-year-old pontiff from unfavorable reports in the media. "As a rule," says the official, "he is only presented with excerpts from the international press. And in many cases, his staff members say: No, no, we cannot show him that article."

Unlike his predecessor Angelo Sodano, Cardinal Secretary of State Bertone is considered relatively apolitical. Benedict appointed the cardinal because he had shown himself to be "prudent in pastoral care," and because he was familiar with Bertone from their days serving together on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

...A conservative lobby has formed around the pope over the years, with considerable influence and abilities to manipulate policy. It includes the members of groups like Opus Dei, the Legion of Christ, the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter and the SSPX."

Is this what is happening? Does anyone want to tackle the implications of these charges?

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

More of the same from Spiegel: Vatican Admits PR disaster

This just gets worse and worse... A real firestorm!


From Spiegel Online International ~ 02/03/2009

Papal Adviser Concedes 'Management Errors'

Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is in charge of the Vatican's relations with the Jewish community, has acknowledged that mistakes were made in the decision to lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier. A German bishop has called the move "catastrophic" and is demanding an apology and now Chancellor Angela Merkel has called for greater clarity from the Vatican.

The criticism unleashed by Pope Benedict XVI's decision to
lift the excommunication of a Holocaust denier shows no sign of abating and the condemnation from his native Germany has been particularly sharp. On Tuesday, even Chancellor Angela Merkel had scathing words for the way Rome has handled the situation. However, there are signs that the Vatican is realizing just what a public relations disaster it has caused, with a leading papal adviser admitting that mistakes have been made.

Pope Benedict XVI with the Vatican Supreme Tribunal.Cardinal Walter Kasper, who is in charge of the Vatican department that deals with Jewish relations, acknowledged that the Vatican had made "management errors" with its decision to lift the excommunication of four bishops belonging to the archconservative Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX).

"I observe the debate with great concern. There were misunderstandings and management errors in the Curia," Kasper told the German service of Radio Vatican on Monday evening. He pointed to a "lack of communication in the Vatican" while laying emphasis on the fact that the four men had only been partially rehabilitated and were still suspended. The radio station is the official mouthpiece of the Curia, and Germany's Süddeutsche Zeitung described Kasper's statements as having an "official character."

The announcement on Jan. 24 that Rome was lifting the excommunication of the four reactionary bishops has provoked an international outcry in the light of recent comments made by one of the men, British-born Richard Williamson. In an interview with Swedish TV he denied that there had ever been gas chambers and claimed that "only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews" had died in Nazi concentration camps rather than the figure of 6 million accepted by historians. Holocaust denial is a crime in Germany and public prosecutors here have opened an investigation into Williamson's comments because the interview was conducted in the German city of Regensburg.

The criticism of the Vatican's decision has been particularly cutting in Germany. Chancellor Angela Merkel entered into the fray on Tuesday, demanding that the Vatican make it clear that it will not tolerate Holocaust denial. "If a decision of the Vatican gives rise to the impression that the Holocaust may be denied, this cannot be left to stand," Merkel said. "It's a matter of affirming very clearly on the part of the pope and the Vatican, that there can be no denial here," she said, adding that in her view this had "not yet been made sufficiently clear."

Merkel, who is a Lutheran, added that she usually would not judge internal decisions made within in the church but that the current debate dealt with a fundamental issue.

And even the pope's strongest supporters have been left dismayed by the decision. Cardinal Karl Lehmann, who is a highly influential figure in Germany and serves as the bishop of Mainz, has described the pope's decision to rehabilitate Williamson as "catastrophic" and said that many people were very disappointed by Benedict XVI's move. Speaking to the Südwestrundfunk radio station on Monday, Lehmann said that there should be a clear apology "from a high position."
He also berated Cardinal Dario Castrillon Hoyos, the president of the Ecclesia Dei papal commission, who had told an Italian newspaper that he had not been aware of Williamson's comments on the Holocaust. Lehmann said that there "had to be consequences for those who are responsible here."

Meanwhile, in a commentary broadcast on the station, the head of Radio Vatican's German service, Father Eberhard von Gemmingen, spoke of misunderstandings and a lack of professionalism within the Curia. "Pray for the pope and his staff," he said. "A misunderstanding and debacle like this can never be allowed to happen again."

The debacle has revealed weak communications structures within the Catholic Church, and many priests have complained about a lack of consultation. Last week Robert Zollitsch, the chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, complained: "We were not asked, we were not informed in advance," about the plans to rehabilitate the SSPX.

Archbishop of Hamburg Werner Thissen has accused the Vatican of "sloppy work," telling the Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday that this had caused a "loss of trust" in the Catholic Church.

However, there are also clergy in Germany who have leaped to the pope's defense. The archbishop of Munich and Freising, Reinhard Marx, said that Pope Benedict had been offering the hand of reconciliation to those who had split from the church. Speaking to the ZDF television channel on Monday, Marx insisted that: "Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites have no place in the Catholic Church."

Meanwhile, Cardinal Joachim Meisner, the archbishop of Cologne, also defended Benedict -- saying that it was the pope's duty to search for and restore unity within the church. "That is what the pope has done, no more, no less." The lifting of the excommunication of the four bishops is seen as the first step in a process of returning them to the Catholic fold. The SSPX broke from the Vatican in the 1980s after its founder French Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre rejected reforms made at the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, which included allowing masses to be given in languages other than Latin.

Any hopes that the SSPX will take the necessary steps toward ridding itself of its deeply traditionalist views look set to be disappointed. "We won't change our positions," one of the bishops, Bernard Tisser de Mallerais, told the Italian newspaper La Stampa on Monday. "Instead we will convert Rome."

smd -- with wire reports

Monday, February 2, 2009

Vatican's Vacation From Reality ~ Spiegel Article

Another article from the German, Spiegel Online International 02/02/2009:

Church Blasted for Controversial Appointment

One controversy is apparently not enough for the Catholic Church. In addition to ire over his decision to rehabilitate a Holocaust-denying bishop, Pope Benedict XVI has now raised hackles by promoting a priest who welcomed Hurricane Katrina as "divine retribution" for New Orleans' permissive ways.

Another week, another public relations disaster for the Catholic Church. While the furor continues swirling around the pope's decision to reinstate an ultra-conservative bishop who denies the Holocaust, the Vatican has once again raised hackles by promoting a controversial pastor to be a bishop in Austria.

On Saturday Rome announced that Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner would be auxiliary bishop in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria, a decision that has angered many within the Austrian church and beyond. The priest has a knack for inappropriate comments, writing back in 2005 in a parish newsletter that Hurricane Katrina was an act of "divine retribution" for New Orleans' permissive ways. "This was not the sinking of any city but that of a people's dream city with the 'best brothels and prettiest prostitutes,'" he wrote.

The same man warned children in 2001 against reading J.K. Rowling's Harry Potter books because the tales of a boy wizard were "spreading Satanism." Then in 2004 Wagner said that it was no coincidence that the Tsunami disaster had occurred at Christmas, inferring that it was punishment for "rich Western tourists" who had fled to "poor Thailand."

News of his planned ordination on March 22 has unleashed a storm of criticism from other Austrian clergy, with many complaining that the selection process was made without consulting them. Hans Padinger, spokesman for the Upper Austrian priests' council, told the Oberoesterreichische Rundschau newspaper he was "not very pleased" by the appointment while Franz Wild, a parish priest in Traun, said that he was "appalled" by the news. "I hope it's clear to the church that we're living in the 21st century and that it also has to live there," he told the ORF channel.

The group "We are Church," which promotes reform, predicted that the appointment could lead to people leaving the church. Liberal Catholics now fear that the pope is steering the church in an ultra-conservative direction and there is increasing concern about his leadership style. In a commentary for the Süddeutsche Zeitung, Catholic theologian Hans Küng said that the pope risked losing the trust of millions of Catholics across the world. Küng said that Pope Benedict XVI is obviously "so shielded and cut off from the real world, that he has no idea how disastrously his actions are received."

Damaged Relations with Jewish Community

The uproar over Wagner's appointment comes while the repercussions about the Vatican's decision to overturn the ex-communication of four bishops who were ordained by the founder of the archconservative Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) are still being felt. One of the bishops, British-born Richard Williamson, recently told Swedish TV that he did not believe that Jews had died in gas chambers and that only 200,000 to 300,000 Jews had perished in the Nazi concentration camps instead of the figure of six million that is accepted by mainstream historians.

The pope had hoped that re-admitting the men into the church would heal the rift with the ultra-traditionalist society, which rejects the reforms that were implemented after the Second Vatican Council in the 1960s, including the decision to allow mass to be said in languages other than Latin.
Instead, the lifting of Williamson's excommunication has severely jeopardized relations between the Vatican and the Jewish community, threatening to undo efforts by the late Pope John Paul II to build bridges between different faiths. The Israeli Minister for Religious Affairs Yitzhak Cohen told SPIEGEL that he had recommended "completely cutting off ties to a body in which Holocaust deniers and anti-Semites are members."

In Germany there is widespread astonishment that the German-born Pope Benedict XVI would give the go ahead to rehabilitate Williamson. The vice president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany, Salomon Korn told SPIEGEL that Williamson's rehabilitation was "unforgivable." "A German pope of all people ... has pardoned a Holocaust denier. And that just a few days before Holocaust Memorial Day," he said.

Italian Priest Joins in Holocaust Doubt

The Bishop of Hamburg Werner Thissen accused the Vatican of not doing enough research into the SSPX society and Williamson's views before overturning the excommunication. "Rehabilitating a Holocaust denier is always a bad decision," he told the Hamburger Abendblatt on Monday, adding that relations with Jews had been damaged.

The Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart Gebhard Fürst said in a statement: "It saddens me as a bishop and as a pastor that these actions have lead to the external and internal alienation of many believers from the church, to the loss of trust particularly of our Jewish brothers and sisters in the church as well as to a considerable breakdown in the Christian-Jewish dialogue."

The Archbishop of Vienna Christoph Schönborn was also scathing. "Whoever denies the Shoah cannot be rehabilitated to a position in the church," he told the Austrian broadcaster ORF on Sunday.

While Williamson posted a letter on his blog apologizing to the pope for the "unnecessary distress" he had caused he did not retract his comments on the Holocaust. And his does not seem to be not an isolated case within the SSPX. The head of the society in northeastern Italy, Florian Abrahamowicz, told the Tribuna di Treviso newspaper last Thursday that he knew "gas chambers existed as a means to disinfect, but I cannot say for sure if they killed anyone."

smd -- with wire reports

Photo by DPA

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Roman Catholic Womenpriests want their excommunication lifted as well...

This press release comes on the heels of the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops. I'm not surprised that this group would ask for the same treatment and concern as the SSPX received. Please be kind with your comments...


Jan. 28, 2009
From Roman Catholic Womenpriests

CONTACTS:Bridget Mary Meehan: 941-955-2313 (703) 505-0004(cell), 703-671-6712

Roman Catholic Womenpriests call on Pope Benedict to lift the decree of automatic excommunication issued on May 29, 2008 against all in our movement as a gesture of reconciliation and justice toward women in the church. As is well known, the Congregation for Bishops, instructed by the Pope, removed the excommunication of four traditionist bishops on Jan. 21, 2009. Therefore, Roman Catholic Womenpriests call on the Pope to lift the decree of excommunication against us. This gesture will be a step away from the institutional church’s treatment of women as second-class citizens. We stand firmly in the tradition of Vatican ll which declares:

"Any kind of social or cultural discrimination in basic personal rights on the grounds of sex, race, color, social conditions, language or religion, must be curbed and eradicated as incompatible with God's design." Gaudium et Spes, art. 29, 2

No priest pedophiles have been excommunicated. No bishops who were responsible for their continued placement in parishes after their pedophile history was known have been excommunicated.

Theologians who teach and support Vatican II teachings and who support women's ordination are silenced and/or excommunicated.

Women ordained as priests are excommunicated.

Priests and laity who support women priests are excommunicated. But, Priests who reject Vatican II and who deny the holocaust and who openly deny the full equality of women are "rehabilitated" after earlier excommunication?

What's wrong with this picture?

This website was created and is maintained by RCWP-USA, Inc., a California 501©3 non-profit corporation, as an educational and information service to the public. RCWP-USA promotes and supports the ordination of women and men in renewed priestly ministry in the Roman Catholic Church. This website provides information about RCWP worldwide, with special focus on RCWP in North America. Every ministry convened by a Roman Catholic Woman Priest operates separately and independently from the RCWP-USA, Inc. non-profit.

© 2009 Roman Catholic Womenpriests

Friday, January 30, 2009

A Communications Disaster

John Allen, columnist for the independent Catholic newspaper, The National Catholic Reporter, has an interesting take on the disastrous aftermath of the resolving of the excommunication issue.

The column was posted today (January 30, 2009) under the title, "The Lefebvrite case: What was the Vatican thinking?" Here are some of John Allen's quotes:

"I want to put all this on the record, because I don't want to be accused of over-simplification or partisanship when I submit the following: The way this decision was communicated was a colossal blunder, and one that's frankly difficult to either understand or excuse.

To be clear, my point has nothing to do with whether the excommunications should have been lifted in the first place. There's legitimate debate on that front, and not just due to its implications for Catholic/Jewish relations. There's also intra-Catholic discussion about what it means for the interpretation of Vatican II, and for the broader direction of the church. Instead, my argument is that even granting that the aim of restoring unity in the church justifies this step, its presentation was stunningly inept."

and again...

"Further, it's not as if the Vatican can claim to have been surprised by Jewish reaction. In September 2006, Benedict set off a similar firestorm in the Muslim world with his lecture at Regensburg, in which he quoted a 14th century Byzantine emperor to the effect that Muhammad had "brought things only evil and inhuman." Regensburg should have brought home the lesson that when the pope does something likely to cause alarm in another religious community, you have to see the train wreck coming in order to avert it."

You can read the rest of the article and what Allen's communication strategy would have been by going here.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

It's About Time! A Gag Order for Bishop Williamson

Statement of His Excellency Bernard Fellay, Superior of the Fraternity of St. Pius X

We have become aware of an interview released by Bishop Richard Williamson, a member of our Fraternity of St. Pius X, to Swedish television. In this interview, he expressed himself on historical questions, and in particular on the question of the genocide against the Jews carried out by the Nazis.

It’s clear that a Catholic bishop cannot speak with ecclesiastical authority except on questions that regard faith and morals. Our Fraternity does not claim any authority on other matters. Its mission is the propagation and restoration of authentic Catholic doctrine, expressed in the dogmas of the faith. It’s for this reason that we are known, accepted and respected in the entire world.

It’s with great sadness that we recognize the extent to which the violation of this mandate has done damage to our mission. The affirmations of Bishop Williamson do not reflect in any sense the position of our Fraternity. For this reason I have prohibited him, pending any new orders, from taking any public positions on political or historical questions.

We ask the forgiveness of the Supreme Pontiff, and of all people of good will, for the dramatic consequences of this act. Because we recognize how ill-advised these declarations were, we can only look with sadness at the way in which they have directly struck our Fraternity, discrediting its mission.

This is something we cannot accept, and we declare that we will continue to preach Catholic doctrine and to administer the sacraments of grace of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

Menzingen, January 27, 2009

~ Translation by NCR from the Italian ~

Monday, January 26, 2009

Spiegel Online International Article about the Excommunication Reversal

The English language German Spiegel Online International magazine has an interesting article written by Siobhán Dowling, with excerpts from German newspapers about the effect of the rescinding of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops, especially in the light of Catholic-Jewish Relations.

Here are a few of quotes:

"The Vatican has said that Williamson's comments on the Holocaust had no bearing on the excommunication issue. 'This act regards the lifting of the excommunications, period,' Vatican spokesman Father Federico Lombardi told reporters. 'It has nothing to do with the personal opinions of one person, which are open to criticism, but are not pertinent to this decree.'

This apparent tin ear on the part of the Vatican comes at a time when relations are already strained with the Jewish community due to moves to have the war-time Pope Pius XII, who is accused by some of having turned a blind eye to the mass deportation and murder of Jews,
named a saint.

Despite warnings that this decision to rehabilitate a Holocaust denier could damage ties between Jews and the Vatican, the Israeli government said that it would not affect the pope's planned visit to Israel in May. Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Plamor told the Associated Press that this was 'not a matter that concerns the interaction between the states.'"

You can read the entire article here: Pope Benedict 'Is Sabotaging Christian-Jewish Dialogue'

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Excommunications Lifted!

The National Catholic Reporter has an interesting article by John L. Allen, Jr. titled, "Papal Reconciliation Move Will Stir Controversy." The article discusses the lifting of the 20-year old excommunication imposed on the four bishops who were ordained as bishops by the late Swiss Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre, leader of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Pius X. This society broke with the Vatican because of their opposition to the reforms of Vatican II, especially in the areas of ecumenism and religious freedom.

Allen see serious reservations from the Jewish community because of the remarks made by one of the bishops, Bishop Richard Williamson, who recently denied the gassing of Jews in Hitler's gas chambers. The Jewish community also believes that Bishop Williamson and many in the SSPX are anti-semitic.

On the other hand, though many see the action of the lifting of the excommunications as a gesture of reconciliation, the Church's liberal wing may view the event as another example that a more traditional reading of Vatican II is being emphasized under Pope Benedict.

Go HERE for the complete article by John Allen and the many interesting comments by readers.

~ (CNS photo/Catholic Press Photo) ~

Friday, January 9, 2009

Times To Remember ~ Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy

I found an amusing quote earlier this week in Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy's autobiography, Times To Remember... It struck me because it had to do with one of my pet peeves about the length of Latin Masses back in my day. I used to get perturbed back in the day when people bragged about their priest being able to say Mass (I hesitate to say, "celebrate Mass") in twenty minutes!

Anyhow, here is the quote. The time period is 1938 and the location is Cannes, France where Rose and her family were vacationing.

"August 7
All went to church. Priest told Eunice that he was most appreciative of all the francs we give him as usually there are only the smallest coins in the collection. Says Mass very quickly. Mass and Benediction are finished in twenty-three minutes." *
(my emphases)

Twenty-three minutes??? Including Benediction??? My my...

* Publisher: Doubleday & Company, Inc.; Book Club Edition edition (1974)

Friday, January 2, 2009

Church Attendance on the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God Holy Day

The Curt Jester has an interesting article, Feast with the Least (attendance)? about Mass attendance on yesterday's holy day, the Solemnity of Mary, Mother of God. Jeff Miller, the Curt Jester himself, sees the low attendance simply gives credence for the bishops to transfer holy days to the following Sunday.

How was the attendance at your church yesterday? My parish celebrated the Vigil Mass on Wednesday (New Year's Eve) and the church was filled almost as full as on a Sunday. I was very pleased to see that.