“The American Legion Auxiliary is the world’s largest women’s patriotic service organization. Through its nearly 10,500 units located in every state and some foreign countries, the Auxiliary embodies the spirit of America that has prevailed through war and peace. Along with The American Legion, it solidly stands behind America and her ideals.”
While the nation discusses and debates the attacks on religious freedom, a high school junior in Florida has put her academic reputation on the line to stand up for her faith. Margeaux Graham was selected this year to participate in a prestigious 9-day leadership event in her state’s capital. The American Legion Auxiliary (ALA) of Florida has an annual “Girls State” program whereby the participants “learn how to participate in the functioning of their state’s government in preparation for their future roles as responsible adult citizens.” It is a “nonpartisan program that teaches young women responsible citizenship and love for God and Country. They are awarded 3 college credits and rare notoriety in the college application process.
Margeaux is a faithful Catholic. That is, she takes her obligation to attend Mass as just that — her obligation. When she inquired about nearby Catholic churches to plan where she would attend, she was told by the staff that the only opportunity any of the girls would have to participate in a Sunday service is to attend the “non-offensive”, non-denominational service offered for all at the conference. The event takes place at the
University of Central Florida Florida State University and the cathedral is nearby the campus. [see update] A member of the national American Legion even contacted the Auxiliary to arrange for a priest to celebrate Mass on campus, and this accommodation was denied.
So Margeaux took action herself. She wrote to the organizers declining the invitation, with firm resolve, unless she was allowed to attend Mass. This is her letter, reprinted with permission. Mind you, she is a high school junior.
TO: American Legion Auxiliary Unit #21
FROM: Margeaux Graham
RE: Girls State 2012
DATE: May 7, 2012
I am regretfully writing this letter to formally inform you that I will be unable to attend Florida Girls State in June. I am extremely honored that you found me worthy to represent American Legion Auxiliary unit #21 and am devastated that I cannot participate. I attended orientation on May 6, 2012 and was informed by [name private] that I would not be allowed to attend Mass on Sunday.
My faith is very important to me, as it has been to countless Americans. This country was founded on the principles of religious and personal freedom, the fundamental rights that either you or your loved ones fought to protect. It is disheartening that the Florida Girls State program is structured in such a way that it prohibits participation of young women who have a strong conviction for their religious practices.
The only opportunity to participate in a Sunday service is presented in a “non-offensive”, non-denominational service. As a Catholic Christian I find it offensive that I am not allowed to attend Mass and am perplexed as to how this service could accommodate the beliefs of other religious groups, such as Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, Hindus, and all Christian religions. I am disappointed to see the lack of respect for religious creed from the Florida Girls State program by limiting participants to only one religious paradigm.
Miss [name private] made it quite clear that I had to choose between my faith and Florida Girls State. I was looking forward to attending with great zeal, the knowledge, experience, and friends gained would have been invaluable. My faith has made me who I am, it has shaped me into the young woman that you chose as your delegate, for me to deny my faith would be hypocritical. Words cannot express my disappointment that the Florida Girls State program is designed to only accommodate delegates who fit into a pre-determined religious belief system or none at all.
[Update: RealCatholicTV is back online!]
Salvete TAC readers!
Here are my observations and opinions on the Catholic Church in the Internet:
1. A RealCatholicTV (RCTV) representative is reporting that they have been experiencing technical difficulties and should be up and running by Tuesday evening at the latest.
The RCTV Facebook page reports that they could be up as early as this evening!
2. Last nights Sunday Night Live on EWTN had Father Benedict Groeschel interviewing Archbishop Timothy Dolan and I have to say that the good archbishop is very impressive.
He has a strong presence and speaks well with authority. Outside of dodging a question on female altar servers, he looks to be the leading archbishop and the unofficial primate of the United States of America for the foreseeable future.
His Excellency posited that the severe drop in receiving the Sacrament of Penance may have contributed to the vocational crisis since 1968. Most of the interview though was on the recent increase in vocations though.
Another theory that His Excellency suggested was the loss of grandmothers within the home. He truly believes that grandmothers have a significant impact in passing on the faith which leads to vocations to the priesthood. But with more and more families sending their dear grandmothers to retirement “homes”, the family is losing a great advocate for vocations to the priesthood.
Cardinal’s hat within five years or less.
Well someone did.
Here is a direct quote from the video of the priest in his homily:
In his homily, Father Faber made a point of saying that Cardinal Schönborn expressly approved this celebration. Despite the fact that Gloria TV had documented liturgical abuses during the previous years, Despite international exposure and world criticism, Cardinal Schönborn stands behind the event.
The following is the complete translation of the gloria.tv video of Cardinal Schonborn’s expressly approved Unholy Mass:
On the 29th of June, the pastor of Vienna’s Cathedral, Father Toni Faber celebrated the so called Western Mass at the Danube Island Festival, for the third time. The Danube Island Festival is an annual large open air music festival in Vienna.
Updated below with still photographs.
Christoph Cardinal Schonborn has had a series of blunders these past 18 months. From his participation in a balloon Mass to criticizing a high ranking Cardinal of the Vatican. He has been verbally and personally reprimanded by the Pope himself.
Now comes this ‘Wild Western’ Mass caught on video being celebrated in Austria with his explicit approval.
You be the judge:
A Mass is celebrated in Austria with the explicit approval of Cardinal Schonborn. Shown in this Mass being celebrated in German are sacrilegious, blasphemous, and unholy desecration’s of the Holy Mass.
Tomorrow this Sunday, June 20th at 1:00pm, Houston’s Annunciation Church (1618 Texas Street, Houston, TX 77003) will be hosting the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter as they celebrate a Solemn High Mass according to the Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite.
Recently ordained Father John Rickert will be celebrating. Deacon Michael Malain will be in attendance.
For those not familiar with the parking situation at Houston’s Annunciation Church, parking will be available in the parish parking lot on Jackson Street, the street behind the church. The Houston Astros will be playing Sunday afternoon in Minute Maid Park which stands right next o Annunciation Church, but attendees at that game are not to use any of the parish parking spaces.
This is something that will be an beautiful experience for all those interested in liturgy, music, history and the worship of the risen Lord.
Please try and attend this Mass. Perhaps many of you have not had such an experience. To witness and to participate in this Mass will be one of the great spiritual experiences of your life.
A nice reminder of all the positives in the Catholic priesthood- why we need our priests, and why we can’t throw them under the bus when they fail our expectations. (hattip Domenico Bettinelli of BettNet blog).
I had a thought a while back- what if a large percentage of priests went over to the nearest abortion clinic, and just camped out there, praying a silent protest? If Catholics wanted Mass they would have to go to where the priests were; and if the authorities told the priests to move on, and the priests refused, then they would all go to jail, and so the laity would not have Eucharist. Forget about denying Communion to this or that politician- why shouldn’t the priests deny all of us Communion- except for those in prison- until we got serious about stopping abortion. The priest is not ordinarily a zealot, but when a genocide of the unwanted, unborn children gets so little notice by a very distracted society- well it would seem time for Jesus’ priests to overturn some spiritual tables outside the temples worshipping the cult of consumer choice for the life or death of innocent children.
The priest is perfectly suited for such a protest- he isn’t a businessman, he doesn’t have a wife and children depending on his securing money for the day. Yet, he is needed by every Catholic who knows his/her duty to participate in a weekly Mass- what if the priests said – “hold on a minute- you, the laity, need to fulfill some minimal requirements yourselves- you have a primary responsibility to set the temporal order straight- you can’t keep up this killing of our children on America’s Main Street- get hold of yourselves, and take care of these women and children- for God’s sake as well as your own.” The priests and bishops have had their problems- but the laity have a greater scandal to deal with- our lack of seriousness in seeing to it that all children are able to live and thrive- inside the Superpower and in all the world.