Sunday, August 21, AD 2016



To the Patriarchs, Primates, Archbishops, Bishops
and other Local Ordinaries in Peace
and Communion with the Apostolic See.

Venerable Brethren, Health and Apostolic Benediction.

The office divinely committed to Us of feeding the Lord’s flock has especially this duty assigned to it by Christ, namely, to guard with the greatest vigilance the deposit of the faith delivered to the saints, rejecting the profane novelties of words and oppositions of knowledge falsely so called. There has never been a time when this watchfulness of the supreme pastor was not necessary to the Catholic body; for, owing to the efforts of the enemy of the human race, there have never been lacking “men speaking perverse things” (Acts xx. 30), “vain talkers and seducers” (Tit. i. 10), “erring and driving into error” (2 Tim. iii. 13). Still it must be confessed that the number of the enemies of the cross of Christ has in these last days increased exceedingly, who are striving, by arts, entirely new and full of subtlety, to destroy the vital energy of the Church, and, if they can, to overthrow utterly Christ’s kingdom itself. Wherefore We may no longer be silent, lest We should seem to fail in Our most sacred duty, and lest the kindness that, in the hope of wiser counsels, We have hitherto shown them, should be attributed to forgetfulness of Our office.

Gravity of the Situation

2. That We make no delay in this matter is rendered necessary especially by the fact that the partisans of error are to be sought not only among the Church’s open enemies; they lie hid, a thing to be deeply deplored and feared, in her very bosom and heart, and are the more mischievous, the less conspicuously they appear. We allude, Venerable Brethren, to many who belong to the Catholic laity, nay, and this is far more lamentable, to the ranks of the priesthood itself, who, feigning a love for the Church, lacking the firm protection of philosophy and theology, nay more, thoroughly imbued with the poisonous doctrines taught by the enemies of the Church, and lost to all sense of modesty, vaunt themselves as reformers of the Church; and, forming more boldly into line of attack, assail all that is most sacred in the work of Christ, not sparing even the person of the Divine Redeemer, whom, with sacrilegious daring, they reduce to a simple, mere man.

3. Though they express astonishment themselves, no one can justly be surprised that We number such men among the enemies of the Church, if, leaving out of consideration the internal disposition of soul, of which God alone is the judge, he is acquainted with their tenets, their manner of speech, their conduct. Nor indeed will he err in accounting them the most pernicious of all the adversaries of the Church. For as We have said, they put their designs for her ruin into operation not from without but from within; hence, the danger is present almost in the very veins and heart of the Church, whose injury is the more certain, the more intimate is their knowledge of her. Moreover they lay the axe not to the branches and shoots, but to the very root, that is, to the faith and its deepest fires. And having struck at this root of immortality, they proceed to disseminate poison through the whole tree, so that there is no part of Catholic truth from which they hold their hand, none that they do not strive to corrupt. Further, none is more skilful, none more astute than they, in the employment of a thousand noxious arts; for they double the parts of rationalist and Catholic, and this so craftily that they easily lead the unwary into error; and since audacity is their chief characteristic, there is no conclusion of any kind from which they shrink or which they do not thrust forward with pertinacity and assurance. To this must be added the fact, which indeed is well calculated to deceive souls, that they lead a life of the greatest activity, of assiduous and ardent application to every branch of learning, and that they possess, as a rule, a reputation for the strictest morality. Finally, and this almost destroys all hope of cure, their very doctrines have given such a bent to their minds, that they disdain all authority and brook no restraint; and relying upon a false conscience, they attempt to ascribe to a love of truth that which is in reality the result of pride and obstinacy.

Once indeed We had hopes of recalling them to a better sense, and to this end we first of all showed them kindness as Our children, then we treated them with severity, and at last We have had recourse, though with great reluctance, to public reproof. But you know, Venerable Brethren, how fruitless has been Our action. They bowed their head for a moment, but it was soon uplifted more arrogantly than ever. If it were a matter which concerned them alone, We might perhaps have overlooked it: but the security of the Catholic name is at stake. Wherefore, as to maintain it longer would be a crime, We must now break silence, in order to expose before the whole Church in their true colours those men who have assumed this bad disguise.

Division of the Encyclical

4. But since the Modernists (as they are commonly and rightly called) employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast, it will be of advantage, Venerable Brethren, to bring their teachings together here into one group, and to point out the connexion between them, and thus to pass to an examination of the sources of the errors, and to prescribe remedies for averting the evil.

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5 Responses to Pope Saint Pius X: PASCENDI DOMINICI GREGIS

  • I admittedly could only spot read this letter again as it is dense with wisdom and requires much time. It is an autopsy of modernity, and as topical today as it was over a hundred years ago. It is also for me a remarkable “coincidence” as the subject of modernity was a point of discussion with a friend just yesterday. This letter is a good reference tool and is encouraging as we see the Spirit hard at work through his servant Saint Pope Pius X. Blessimgs to all on this glorious Sumday.

  • This is amazing to read! It is as if Pius X had had a vision of Bergolio’s program for the Church and how he plans to carry
    it out with the help of the Cupich bishops he has appointed. His notion of ecumenism is so extreme that he dismisses the Catholic
    Church as founded by Christ, to wit, his intention to rehabilitate Luther. He will compromise Catholicism until it would suit the Luthers of this world.
    His dismissal of dogmatic teachings based on what Jesus has said in the Gospels, e.g., his support for Communion for the divorced and remarried.
    And, although he has not said anything quotable about homosexuality except his infamous, “Who am I to judge?”, he surrounds himself with gay friends and appoints gay sympathizers to important posts like those regarding family life. He has vowed to change the Catholic Church and the way our Faith is lived and he is doing it. He is deliberately confusing, leaving people muddled about what the Church really teaches. He advocates dialogue about subjects that have been long closed to discussion, like the ordination of women to the diaconate. That is a way of slowly persuading people that this is a fine thing to do. And his emphasis on subjective conscience, echoed by Cupich in Chicago, leads people to think that their private judgment supercedes Church teaching and authority. Thus there is a total collapse of doctrine and moral values into the vagueness of what people claim “is right for me.” Schoenborn, the Austrian cardinal who has replaced Cardinal Mueller as the de facto advisor of Begolio on theology, insists on the validity of moving forward by taking into consideration the “experience” of modern man. There is a kind of Hegelian progression in his thought where nothing is definitive or absolute, but always a movement forward to some unknown destination. Reminds me of the Chinese expression: “The Tao is in the passage rather than the path.” But we do have revelation, God’s word ot us about salvation history. We do have Jesus Christ, the Son of God made man who taught us how to live for God and who suffered, died and rose for us. He is our Redeemer. It is surely pride, as St. Pius X points out, that makes men of the Church to try and distinguish themselves with novel philosophies and theologies and to spurn ecclesiastical authority while doing so. Conservatives are not mad hatters, but can see the chaos and the confusion all this causes the Faithful. We must react in order to conserve the teaching of Christ in the Gospels, Church dogma and tradition, Christian moral values, and the sacredness of our liturgical worship. This is hard work today, indeed!

  • Thanks for publishing Donald. Great stuff. I love the clarity and directness of it all. Such a contrast to the muddled thinking our Pope who is actually being addressed with this encyclical.

  • Thank you Susan Varenne. We do stumble forward today with eyes shut to the teaching already given us. As you say …”there is a total collapse of doctrine and moral values into the vagueness of what people claim “is right for me.”
    Schoenborn,… the de facto advisor of Begolio on theology, insists on the validity of moving forward by taking into consideration the “experience” of modern man…. is also the main editor of the Catechism.
    “We must react in order to conserve the teaching of Christ in the Gospels, Church dogma and tradition, Christian moral values, and the sacredness of our liturgical worship. “

Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

Sunday, March 3, AD 2013

It was a stunning video, one full of historical and modern analogies all pointing to back to the man (Pope Benedict XVI) and the institution he ran (the Catholic Church.) The helicopter ride Pope Benedict XVI took from the Vatican to Castel Gandolfo flying over modern Rome and the ancient landmarks known the world over, such as the Coliseum and the Apian Way made for a breath taking array of images. For faithful Catholics one of the illuminating high points of watching papal transitions is the fact that the mainstream media is not always in control.

The historic images speak for themselves which must be somewhat maddening to those who have to throw their digs into the Church that Christ Himself started via Peter. NBC News anchor Brian Williams made the mainstream media’s point Friday on the lead off segment of the NBC Nightly News when he stated the Catholic Church does images well, but there is scandal behind the images we see. One could say the exact same thing about the mainstream media’s coverage of the White House and yet nary a word of that sort is heard.

Perhaps the helicopter ride of the Holy Father made many of the media’s gatekeepers cringe because those historical landmarks (the Coliseum, the Apian Way) were like many modern secular government’s landmarks, supposedly everlasting. If someone would have told the Roman power structure in Diocletian’s time that within 100 years Rome would be Christian and the empire would be gone, howls of laughter would have echoed through the Pantheon. Modern secular leaders and the often militant secular scholars whom they follow, view traditional Christianity much in the same way those in the seats of power in Rome once did, something that should have no influence or bearing on the affairs of its citizens.

Though a towering intellectual giant, Pope Benedict XVI is a simple man who never wanted to be Pope and pleaded that Pope John Paul II let him go back to Bavaria and write when then Cardinal Ratzinger reached the age of 75. His gentleness was seen in the Conclave when it was said he won many of the Third World Cardinal’s votes. It is said that he did so because he showed a kind father or grandfatherly hand when other princes of the Church were perhaps not so welcoming upon the Third World’s prelates arrival in Rome. This sort of gentleness coupled with a refusal to water down the truth made the man from Bavaria a towering figure in the history of the Church. Often the stature of towering figures grow with time, unlike our pop culture heroes whose legacy becomes all too often faded and forgotten.

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9 Responses to Pope Benedict XVI’s Helicopter Ride Full of Historical Images and Analogies

  • Dave Hartline-
    Poetic words for a “towering man.”
    You captured the man and the pulse of this moment in time.
    Thank you.

  • I am just now getting around to reading this, like it so much going to share the link with some groups to read. When I read good articles like this I think of Saint Augustine’s “City of God”. As you wrote the media will look for anything ‘black’ in the Church but not look at the ‘black’ in front of them.

  • How awesome is the Pope Emer.?

    My Mormon neighbors are sad that he resigned. (also very curious)

  • He wasn’t as prolific or as profound a thinker as John Paul, though he seems to have shared much in common with him.

  • Jon

    I would say Benedict XVI is every bit as profound a thinker as JPII was, albeit in different ways. BXVI is much better at making complex theological truths accessible to the average person than his predecessor.

  • Foxfier:
    With Pope Benedict’s resignation, surrender of his Title and Chair of Peter, and title of Vicar of Christ, Pope Benedict XVI has promised to remain the Servant of the Servants of God, the most beautiful title he holds. Realize that when Pope Benedict XVI removed himself from the Vatican, the head of the Lavender Mafia was crushed. All heads of departments in the Vatican are vacated as well, a new era of holiness and trust may be established, akin to St.Patrick driving the snakes out of Ireland. I love Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.

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  • This is a beautiful tribute to Benedict XVI and Mary De Voe’s comment puts the icing on the cake.

  • It has been amusing to listen to the secular media trying to make what they think are relevant comments on the renouncing of the papal throne by Benedict and the upcoming conclave. It reminds me of an old lesson on the art of writing. Write about things you know. They certainly sound foolish and it becomes obvious that their concerns are not ours. Pray for us, Benedict XVI as we will pray for you.

Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

Sunday, December 16, AD 2012

Sadly it often takes tragedies for religious faith to grow. It seems an unfortunate part of our fallen nature. We have been hit by a spate of tragedies as of late; in its wake we often see churches full of worshippers seeking answers where once there were but a few. Following both world wars, there existed a religious resurgence that unlike the recent tragedies did not ebb and flow. It remained constant due in large part to the horrific loses of human life.

Modernism was alive and well and condemned by the likes of Pope Pius X even before the Guns of August began in 1914. The Catholic and Protestant churches were increasingly seeing relativistic elements entering their seminaries. However unlike recent times, they were quickly addressed. Though we are gaining the upper hand, it has been 40 years since Pope Paul VI lamented that “The Smoke of Satan” had entered the Church. In my just released book; The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn, I speak about the positive events occurring within the Church, as well as those movements who aim to do us harm. In addition, the book delves into how we got into this mess in the first place.

Following World War I there was a great return to religious devotions, especially those having to do with the Blessed Mother. The events of Fatima which had occurred during the war and were being followed closely around the Catholic globe. As I mentioned in my article on the Schoenstatt Movement, the likes of Father Josef Kentenich chastised theological authorities who were giving short shrift to these devotions as well as those who dismissed popular devotions to those who recently passed away like the future Saint Therese of Lisieux (The Little Flower.) Father Kentenich reminded these scoffers that Jesus did indeed say that we must become like little children if we are to enter the Kingdom.

The well heeled of Europe and many American ex pats found their way to Paris to rebel against the religious side of the equation. On the whole, they were a gloomy lot who seemed to drown their sorrows in all matter of drink and sexual exploits which only made them more unbearable. Some even found their way to more exotic locales like Casablanca, as did the fictional Rick Blaine (Humphrey Bogart) in the epic film Casablanca.

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7 Responses to Both World Wars Were A Catalyst For Religious Growth; What Future Tragedy Will It Take For Another Revival?

  • In Spain, the Franco regime and its views led to pent-up hostility towards the Catholic church after Franco died.

    France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution and not even the numerous apparitions of Mary have been able to return the French to her former status as Eldest Daughter of the Church.

    The unification of Italy in the 19th century unleashed hostility towards the Catholic clergy, seeing them as privileged (gross oversimplification).

    Germany, Holland, Austria….others know the reason for the decline better than I do.

    In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.

  • Dave.
    Fr. John Hardon, (d.2000) gave striking warnings of a future American landscape if Catholics didn’t return to the sacraments.
    Catholics because they are the privileged members of the Body of Christ.
    Fr. Hardon; “If American Catholics do not return to the true faith, return to frequent the sacraments, then they will experience the sufferings of First century Christians.”

    The battleground is Christian America.

  • Penguins Fan wrote

    “France began slipping away from the Faith at the time of the Revolution…”

    The “slipping away” began almost a century and a half earlier, in the aftermath of the Wars of Religion in France (1562-1598) and the Thirty Years War in Germany (1618-1648) These ended in a stalemate; the Reformation gained no new territory, but it proved impossible to restore the unity of Christendom. The all but inevitable result was the growth of scepticism: both sides could not be right, but they could both be wrong. Theology, as a science (a means of knowledge) was generally viewed as discredited. It was to such people that the Pensées of Pascal were addressed.

    On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority. Nothing better illustrates the condition of the Church than that priests like the Abbé Sieyès and bishops like Talleyrand were not untypical. Acton notes that “Those among them who had been chosen by the Church itself for its supreme reward, the Cardinal’s hat—Rohan, Loménie de Brienne, Bernis, Montmorency and Talleyrand—were men notoriously of evil repute.” Maury, afterwards Cardinal and Archbishop of Paris, was a man whose character was below his talents.

  • ‘However, what price will it take for our hubris and narcissism to defer to God’s love, truth and reason?’

    Vital question. Something like pulling the plug or a ‘forty’ day or year span of character building or voices to balance the scale in culture.

    ‘In the USA, I blame the turn in popular culture as well as the Kennedys. In the 1950s, during the beginnings of the Cold War, Hollywood made many movies based on Old Testament stories. Fr. Peyton and Loretta Young made Catholic themed programs and Bishop Sheen was popular.’

    The 1960s…there was the heartwarming Dragnet episode where the little Latino boy returns the Baby Jesus to church before Christmas Eve Mass.

    The 1970s were indifferent to religion.

    Today, there is open hostility to religion from Hollywood and academia, and far too many young people eat it all up.’ –

    … to the point of Churches being locked due to the victimization.

    The violent insane seem to attack the defenseless, such as in schools, theaters, and gatherings. What provokes violent behavior are celebrated elements of the culture which have lost civility and balanced character traits of decent restraint.

    I think of some not funny comedians, the loss of board games to computer ones played alone, the gang phenomenon, the irony of the women’s liberation movement and the outrageous displays of today’s women, artisans becoming ‘artists’ of the useless, and more, and vaguely, electronic replacement of human activity/work. Mental inability and illness, loss of human care to gov. regulations and courts strangling progress.

    ‘On the eve of the Revolution, few of the middle classes went to Mass in the great towns, hardly any of the artisans. The faithful were a sincere though ill-instructed and dwindling minority.

    … a man whose character was below his talents.’ ***

    Education becoming unrelated to the character building of good judgement or virtue. Lifetimes given to learning from the inspirations and beauty of our Creator have value. So what will bring more than a temporary turn to religion in reaction to sorrowful tragedy is what M P-S wrote. Character. The culture of death is deterring religious growth and its strength of character; so maybe, simply accepting God’s gifts of Faith, Hope, and Love (in even horrible circumstances brought on by evil afoot) would serve to rebuild His recommended culture of life.

    People finding the great comfort of a more religious life, however found, will grow to see the discomfort in a solely material world and loss therein. Hunger and thirst for more works both ways.

  • I think this is a complete misreading of the past century.

    WWI saw the collapse of faith in state, royalty, race, and progress, which were the reigning beliefs in Europe. The facade of faith was slipping away, and France drifted into despair. Nihilism, drugs, and eventually existentialism did little to fill the void. Russia fell. The US won the war and retained its optimism or something like it, until the decadence of the 1920’s collapsed into the Great Depression. Germany went a different route, re-embracing race and progress in an awful way. By the end of WWII, the spirit of despair ruled most everywhere. European countries gave up their empires and gave in emotionally to the Soviets. America held together because of its devil rather than because of its god.

    There are little ripples throughout history which can make it seem like one decade is holier than another. And we are affected by (not controlled by) our culture, so I shouldn’t say that all of us within a given country move in lockstep. But the trendline for the past 100 years has been ugly. The wars led to loss of faith among millions.

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  • There are some great posts here. Yes, Penguins Fan when faith begins to slip it can fall in a hurry, much like someone climbing a mountain, a momentary slip can take the climber a great deal of time to return from where he momentarily slipped.

    Philip, Father Hardon was prophetic, he was fond of saying the modern rebellion began in the 1930s. I can’t remember exactly the date he was referring to but it had to do with a group of priests in pre- WWII (Belgium?) taking liturgical matters in their own hands. He saw the slipping away of reverance and the degree to which the sacraments were being dismissed as a harbinger of something awful to come.

    Michael Paterson Semour, yes few realize the true impact of the Reformation when it was put into the hands of men like Jean Calvin who saw to it that mystery was dismissed. In addition, Calvin saw to it that churches were closed during the week to prevent “superstitious rituals” like Marian Devotion and Eucharistic Adoration from continuing. Putting doubts in people’s minds certainly set the stage for the unholy terror that was the French Revolution. George Washington and Alexander Hamilton saw it for what it was but even thinkers like Thomas Jefferson were fooled into thinking that it was an Englightened event.

    PM, yes as I indicated in my article it is hard to believe that Hollywood helped the faith with many fantastic films, and it even had powerful messages in TV dramas as late as the 1970s. However, Father Peyton saw the troubling signs years before and tried to prevent the catastrophe which is now controlling our media culture. In the 1940s, Father Peyton believed Hollywood could evangelize the world through films, but he also knew it would also become a target of the dark side.

    Pinky, true we are responsible for our actions but wealth and prosperity have always been the tool to which the dark side lures societies going back to Sodom and Gomorrah, Nineveh, Rome etc to walk away from God. However, tragedies have sobered people up long enough to see the error of their ways. For a decade starting in the mid 1990s, Poland was ordaining half of Europe’s priests. Look at the saints France gave us after the nightmare of 1789.

    It is important to note that we will be the last man standing so to speak. The faithful will come our way because Jesus predicted that it would happen (The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church.) Let’s hope and pray that in the final showdown large segments of the populace see through the demonic disguise of the evil one.

The Schoenstatt Movement Nearly 100 Years Old

Saturday, December 15, AD 2012

I must admit a certain reticence to writing this article because I don’t think in one article I can truly do the Schoenstatt Movement justice, but the movement’s nearly 100 year old story and that of its founder Father Josef Kentenich really needs to be told. In 1914 a young German priest Father Kentenich started a movement that was so unique it took nearly 50 years before many would understand the groundbreaking effects it could have on the Church. This future saint would not only survive the suspicions of some on the theological left and right, but he would also survive Dachau. He died in 1968, the same year as another misunderstood priest, Saint Padre Pio.

When writing my just released book, The Catholic Tide Continues to Turn,  even I was stunned about the new movements that keep cropping up within the Church, even as so many have written off the Church. Indeed this is the History of the Church, when one thinks she is coming under attack by the dark side, she only grows stronger in faith due to her burgeoning movements.

However, Father Kentenich left behind an amazing outlook which every believer should emulate and a perseverance that few could imagine. In a modern world full of individuals making millions of dollars on self help, pep talks and new age “spiritual guidance,” Father Kentenich reminded everyone that Jesus is our true Spiritual Guide and His Blessed Mother the model for us all to follow.

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7 Responses to The Schoenstatt Movement Nearly 100 Years Old

  • I do not share your optimism about the Catholic Church, but I am not saying it to look for a retort. However, feel free to make one if you so desire, although I will not reply to it.

    That being said, the following is not true:

    “However, the father doesn’t really show his until the baby is placed in his arms for the first time and his paternal instincts of protection and education immediately come to the surface,”

    I loved our children and understood my place and obligations long before each of them were born and in fact, from the moment I learned of their conception was praying for them, my wife and myself. The priest was very naive, to give him the benefit of the doubt. It was not a fitting quote and I wish you would disavow it. It sounds quaint but really is harmful and demeaning to fathers. I am sure it was not intended that way. It was a naive statement of his belief in that regard.

    I delivered our first child because the OBGYN had the perception to see my devotion and my capabilites.
    Years later, that child returned that little delivery favor and, literally, saved MY life, when she was about 12 or 13. No one placed her in my arms, I held her from the moment her precious head presented itself to my waiting hands. I am grateful to Dr. Hainje for having allowed me to deliver our first daughter. The older she gets, now a mother, herself, she and her siblings are growing aware that, one day, my life will be in their hands. That daughter knows well, she will, then, hold me as I once held her. There is not a doubt in my mind that her hands will lovingly care for me, saying goodbye, as mine did welcoming her.

    For that, I do not have sufficient words to thank God.

  • Karl, I will continue to write about the Church as being our last best hope. It is not my opinion or hope. If Jesus said it, I believe it. In my writings I have delved into the good happening in the Church, as well as the continuing attacks we are under and have always been under. It is what it is. We will be the last man standing so to speak. It doesn’t mean we will not go through a tremendous trial, but the faithful will come to us, because Jesus said it would happen. He also spoke about the everlasting consequences for those who think they don’t need God.

    Perhaps you misunderstood the words of Father Kentenich, I certainly hope so for he has been one of the smartest men to come our way in a long, long time. He was not saying that men don’t spend lots of time praying and thinking about their unborn children. He was simply making the case that for us it is different than it is for the woman. God made us different for a reason, which is substantiated scientifically, medically and theologically. I would hope you would reflect on this and see the true meaning in what he was saying.

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  • The paragraph beginning with “Following World War I” needs some editing. The first two sentences contradict each other.

  • My sister is a Schoenstatt Sister of Mary and I, myself, am a Third Order Carmelite. I had not realized our two religious directions were so linked, and I appreciate your article. Mys sister, Ann, (Sister M. Anna Astell) who is a Shoenstatt sister of Mary has always had a devotion to the Little Flower and I believe she is working on a book about Teresa of Avila. My sister teaches at Notre Dame in Indiana high level theology courses although her background is in Midieval literature. She is an example of Father Kentenich’s spirituality, being very simple and childlike despite a very brilliant career and writing a number of books, one on the Eucharist which I especially liked is titled “Eating Beauty” (I designed tje cover for that book). Schoenstatt spirituality is very down to earth and family oriented and while I was called to the Carmelites, I do feel a kinship with their movement and its great devotion to our Blessed Mother. The rosary movement has been a source of love and spiritual kinship for many.

  • Thanks for your kind words Mary, so glad to read of your personal testimony regarding your sister who is a Schoenstatt Sister. Father Kentenich was such an amazing man. Greg the Obscure, sorry to contradict your editorial advice, but no they don’t.

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The U.S. Bishops Dereliction of Duty

Monday, June 21, AD 2010

Michael Voris lays down the law on those bishops that refuse to be our shepherds.

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18 Responses to The U.S. Bishops Dereliction of Duty

  • This is shameful. I really expected better from American Catholic than this.

  • I agree with ctd. Many of the accusations are unfounded; disagreeing with the bishops approach or saying they could do more does not mean they should burn in hell. But the accusation that the bishops have mostly lost their faith is scandalous and outrageous, especially as he has not one iota of proof to back that claim other than his anger, fueled by his “stb” that the bishops aren’t doing what HE wants them to.

  • Michael Voris is 100% correct. The USCCB is infiltrated with liberalism and progressivism. Righteousness and holiness come FIRST before immigration reform, studies of Islamic holy writings (yup, that’s on the USCCB web site) and all the other social justice stuff.

    We cna expect MORE icelandic volcanoes, MORE Haitian earthquakes, MORE undersea oil geysers as long as we continue on this path of destruction.

    Repent for the King of God is at hand. That’s the message that the USCCB does NOT teach. Does NOT.

  • I’m so sick of our Bishops being attacked by those using such shameful language as Mr. Voris uses against succcessors of the Apostles. No matter what they do, they’re attacked from both the left and the right. Depending on who you’re listening to, they’re either doing too much or not doing enough.

    Our Bishops are not perfect, but they’re the shepherds that Christ and His Church have given us. We don’t have to agree with everything they say or do, but we do owe them basic respect and deference. Who the hell is Mr. Voris to preach to the Bishops about their being endangered of hell? And what world does Mr. Voris live in where the Bishops are avoiding controversy and are afraid to take a stand on issues? Has he been paying attention for the last year-and-a-half?

    Maybe someone should tell Mr. S.T.B. to S.T.F.U.

  • When the laity are demanding that bishops abandon the faith and embrace sodomy and heresy they are being “prophetic”

    when the laity point out that the bishops have abandoned the faith and embraced sodomy and heresy it’s time for the stupid laity to shut up already!

    Besides, how dare he use pre-Vatican II words like “hell”! My liberal pro-everything-democrat bishop said it doesn’t exist!

  • The scandal lies in either the bishops lack of fidelity or in your choosing to attack the messenger.

  • Tito:

    He doesn’t offer a shred of evidence, and he attacks ALL of the bishops. Even assuming he’s just talking about the USCCB, he doesn’t explain why he’s angry (other than not denying communion). Indeed, the Church has been improving lately-becoming more orthodox and more dedicated to traditional liturgy. The bishops also bravely stood against Obamacare. I really don’t why he’s so angry.

    So it’s not the messenger, it’s the fact the the message lacks substance and truth. Though I have to admit, the brilliant use of the random posting of words next to him really drove home his message for him /sarcasm. 😉

  • Michael,

    When the Bishops publicly excommunicate Joe Biden, Nancy Pelosi and all the other self-described Catholic politicians who make a mockery of the faith while supporting abortion and gay marriage, then we will know that change has come to the USCCB. The Bishops weren’t brave to oppose Obama care. They were forced into by circumstance. But if they risk losing tax-exempt status by putting apostate and heretical politicians on notice, then that will be cause for celebration.

  • Michael,

    you concede the point you are trying to make when you admit that bishops are becoming more orthodox, which requires that they were previously less than fully orthodox.

    I guess speaking truth to power and exercising the prophetic role of the laity is only allowed if one is seeking to make converts to sodomy, heresy, and modernism.

    It is increasingly clear that a great many of our bishops do not believe what the church believes.

  • a) There is no such thing as “the bishops”, there are bishops. Some of these bishops are simply amazing in their orthodoxy, courage, and pastoral understanding. Some are average. Some are poor. A few are bordering on heterodox.

    b) I’m not clear how one would say “It is increasingly clear that a great many of our bishops do not believe what the church believes.” First off, I’m aware of not generally issued teaching by the US bishops which is contrary to orthodoxy. Nor am I aware of some rising tide of heterodox statements coming out from bishops. If anything what’s noteable is that many of those who caused most embarrassment in the past are gone or going: Weakland was disgraced and resigned. Mahony is retiring shortly, etc.

    c) This frustration is most frequently voiced around political concerns, yet if anything the bishops have become noteably more politically independant in the last decade. The number of bishops who spoke out against Obama’s honorary degree from Notre Dame was noteable, as was the strength of the statements surrounding the health care bill. We’ve come along way from the Bernadine era of the USCCB, much less the Catholic ghetto, when many of the bishops were active agents within the Democratic Party framework.

  • He should have made some qualifying remarks, but I think he does describe the modal type in the American episcopacy.

  • Michael Voris continues his discussion here:

    But on the USCCB web site what do we see?

    New Website Highlights Catholic Church’s Significant Role in Immigration Debate for Almost a Century

    Regional Bishops Issue Joint Statement on Migration

    West Coast Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Compares Sacred, Pious Writings

    What about righteousness, holiness, repentance and conversion? What about Jesus as King of kings and Lord of lords, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world, the Lion of the Tribe of Judah?

    Instead, we have a USCCB article entitled, “Pro-life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug for ‘Emergency Contraception’”


    Grave concern? That’s what the USCCB has? Grave concern? Whoopie-Doo! The bishops have grave concern!

    Let them do to the pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage Catholic politicians – Dem or Repub – what St. Paul did to Hymenaeus and Alexander in 1st Timothy 1:19-20. Let them put their grave concern into action. Hand the apostates and heretics over to satan exactly as St. Paul did so that they can be taught a lesson. There is clear Scriptural precedence.

    PS, the overwhelming majority of such politicians are DEM, NOT Repub no matter how much some people here may dislike the Repubs. And that’s a fact.

    Another PS, vote Constitution Party. It’s platform is closest to Church teaching.


    This whole thing is so frustrating.

  • Michael D.,


    Everyone else,

    We all know what Michael Voris is saying and to whom.

    Maybe he could have chosen less harsh words, but the point was made.

  • Ezekiel:

    No. Holiness does not necessarily mean effective administration/leadership.

    For example, John Paul II was a very holy man and did many things well. But in regards to the Legion of Christ and the sex abuse scandal, he made many mistakes.

    Maybe the bishops have made many mistakes in the past in leading their flocks, but that doesn’t mean they’re morally corrupt. I’m not saying none of the bishops are heterodox, but if you’re going to make the claim you need to rely on more than broad generalizations and start showing some evidence and some numbers.

  • A bishop’s primary duty, his obligation to Christ and the Church, is to preach the Gospel. Additionally, he is the principle teacher within his diocese and has a duty to teach. “woe to me if I do nit preach the gospel”

    If by holiness you mean utter failure to fulfill their
    obligation to Christ and the Church then we are surely being led by the holiest bishops since Henry VIII required oaths.

    If you would like to start discussing the utter moral corruption of the USCCB or individual
    bishops we can do that. But, we need only
    look at the CCHD, Garvey’s appointment to CU, and Ted Kennedy’s canonization to know exactly where the wolves stand.

    Pope Benedict is indeed slowly improving the quality and orthodoxy of our bishops, thanks be to God, but we are talking about improving from having bishops who have been openly
    practicing homosexuals and conducting of pagan rites and worship of false gods in cathedrals.

  • Paul Primavera:

    New Website Highlights Catholic Church’s Significant Role in Immigration Debate for Almost a Century

    Regional Bishops Issue Joint Statement on Migration

    Are you contending that the condition of migrants is not a moral issue of concern to the Church? The Holy See would certainly disagree. Such a position would be inconsistent with the official teachings of the Church and Sacred Scripture. Moreover, one of the documents point out that the American bishops have been involved in the issue for “almost a century.” Their alleged heterodoxy, therefore, began long before any “modernist” episcopacies.

    West Coast Catholic-Muslim Dialogue Compares Sacred, Pious Writings

    John Paul II, again in official teachings, made it clear that ecumenical dialogue is a Catholic obligation, not just an academic endeavor. Your “proof” of bishop dereliction is actually proof of obedience to the Church.

    Instead, we have a USCCB article entitled, “Pro-life Chair Voices ‘Grave Concern’ Over FDA Plan to Approve Abortion Drug for ‘Emergency Contraception’”
    Grave concern? That’s what the USCCB has? Grave concern? Whoopie-Doo! The bishops have grave concern!

    So essentially your complaint comes down to a disagreement over a choice of words? The words seem appropriate considering the audience – public leaders, not Catholics, but why should that matter?

    These type of flimsy charges are not worthy of serious consideration, but are nevertheless disrespectful of our shepherds and harmful to the body of Christ.

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  • CTD & Jay,

    When the bishops begin behaving like Catholics and bishops then they probably will garner the respect they have lost due to their cowardliness.

    Of course if you want to continue to defend the indefensible so be it.

    But while crap like this:


    continues, then I won’t hesitate to point out facts that show the incompetence of some of our shepherds.

Nuns, Habits, and Disobedience

Monday, May 17, AD 2010

I was reading Father Peter M.J. StravinskasThe Catholic Answer Book a few weeks ago and on page 173 I was surprised to read that all religious are required to wear their religious garb as a symbol of their vow of poverty.

I looked up and found in Canon Law that Father Stravinskas is absolutely and clearly correct on this:

Canon 669 §1 As a sign of their consecration and as a witness to poverty, religious are to wear the habit of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute’s own law.

§2 Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress, in accordance with canon 284.

In fact the Holy See, specifically the Sacred Congregation for Religious, routinely reject religious constitutions that do not have this requirement.

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49 Responses to Nuns, Habits, and Disobedience

  • People who do Gods work will earn eternal Life. Praise the Lord

  • Stefan,

    Only God knows who is and isn’t in Heaven, Purgatory, or Hell.

    Tim Shipe said it very eloquently.

  • When my current pastor realized that a good friend of mine is a priest who always wears his cassock or the black suit with collar, he pointedly told me that he is not required by cannon law to wear clerical clothing. He seemed to feel that he had to defend himself to me, even though I had not said anything to him about the fact that he never dresses like a priest when not at the altar. I know it may be uncomfortable for some priests in this day and age, but isn’t that part of being a priest? I believe a priest who does not wear his clerical clothing misses out on many opportunities to minister. A priest should be set apart so the people know who he is.

  • Susan,

    I believe a priest who does not wear his clerical clothing misses out on many opportunities to minister.

    I couldn’t agree more.

    We don’t want to be of this world, we want to be in this world to evangelize the culture.

    What better way than to be a witness to Christ!

  • What about Vita Consecrata? JPII doesn’t seem to be in agreement with what you claim.

  • Paul,

    JPII can say that the Koran is the sole authority in the Church and it still doesn’t make it right.

    Church teaching trumps one man’s opinion.

    ie, your argument is a straw man.

  • Let’s not be too hasty or get crazy here. JPII is not merely “one man’s opinion.”

    Amen to priests out of their clericals missing opportunities. I encountered a priest who sincerely agonized over whether wearing his collar publicly was the equivalent to ‘lording it’ over others (one can pooh-pooh the thinking, but he was truly sincerely torn and such a twisted perspective is widespread). I urged him that I loved seeing priests in the collars (and nuns in their habits) because when I saw them (even if I didn’t speak to them) I immediately felt our kinship and was strengthened in my faith and witness. To wear the collar/habit (humbly!) is to give a very special kind of witness to the world that is so desperately in need of Christ.

  • Paul,

    In Vita Consecrata, JPII writes:

    Since the habit is a sign of consecration, poverty and membership in a particular Religious family, I join the Fathers of the Synod in strongly recommending to men and women religious that they wear their proper habit, suitably adapted to the conditions of time and place.Where valid reasons of their apostolate call for it, Religious, in conformity with the norms of their Institute, may also dress in a simple and modest manner, with an appropriate symbol, in such a way that their consecration is recognizable.Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and simplicity to the nature of their vocation.

    (Article 25 – Witnesses to Christ in the World, 2nd para.)

    Where’s the disagreement?

  • Tito Edwards: “JPII can say that the Koran is the sole authority in the Church and it still doesn’t make it right.

    Correct as stated. But it’s very unclear what you are attempting to show by stating that in the current context.

    Tito Edwards: “Church teaching trumps one man’s opinion.

    And I have much the same reaction to that.

    The situation you have described is one in which we have Canon Law requiring a particular behavior, whereas the Pope subsequently and publicly requires a lesser standard.

    As far as I can tell, you think that Canon Law trumps the Pope. Why do you think that? And have you looked at what Canon Law itself says about the Pope? Canon 333 might be interesting.

  • Paul,

    You’ve provided evidence that either reinforces the post are has nothing to do with the post.

    I’m not sure what you’re attempting, but disobedience is still disobedience.

    Michael N.,

    You wrote a conflicting comment.

    You applaud disobedience and then you go around and affirm canon law.

    That’s called cognitive dissonance.

    That’s called holding to conflicting ideas simultaneously.

    You don’t make sense.

  • Phil: “Where’s the disagreement?

    For example, as quoted by the original post, Canon 339 states that “Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress”. But in Vita Consecrata, JPII requires a less specific standard: “Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and simplicity to the nature of their vocation.”

    So long as religious members abide by JPII’s request, I do not see a problem.

    I should also point out that that Father Stravinskas’ book (Volume 1, relied on by the original poster) was published in 1990, and Via Consecrata came out in 1996, so the original post likely did not take this into account.

  • Paul,

    In their environment.

    So if they are working in southern Sudan with no air conditioning it’s completely fine and understandable.

    But here in the most industrialized, most modern, and most affluent nation and society in the history of mankind, it’s called “disobedience”.

  • Why is do people think they need to tell the sisters and the nuns what they should or shouldn’t wear? Women religious are a bright spot in the church today, and they can wear whatever they want.

  • David,

    Women religious that are obedient are a bright spot in the Church today!

    Not modernist nuns.

  • Tito,

    In your black-and-white zeal for ultimatums, you are burning bridges unnecessarily.

    There was nothing conflicting in my comment. Perhaps you misread it. Nowhere do I applaud disobedience.

    Your summary (quoted below) is both condescending and insulting. In your zeal for being ‘right’, you are sinning mightily against charity. Perhaps you do not mean it to come across so offensively, but I tell you in charity and fraternity that it most certainly came across that way. Be careful, brother.

    In Christ,

    You wrote a conflicting comment….
    That’s called cognitive dissonance.
    That’s called holding to conflicting ideas simultaneously.
    You don’t make sense.

  • Michael N.,

    Amen to priests out of their clericals missing opportunities.

    What part of your statement is it that you are not applauding disobedience?

    Many liberals get upset when confronted with facts.

    You are no different.

  • Tito,
    Just as I thought. You misread my statement and then judged me unmercilessly based on YOUR mistake.
    I said “Amen to priests out of their clericals missing opportunities”. That means I was AGREEING with previous posters who had expressed sadness that priests out of their clericals were missing opportunities to witness. I then went on to illustrate my AGREEMENT with an anecdote.
    An ounce of charity would make you hesitate before jumping to such wrong conclusions and insulting people as a result.
    You then insult me even further by trying to label me a fact-averse liberal.
    Jumping to wrong conclusions…insults…accusations.
    You are not acting in Christ.
    You are enamored of this notion of ‘being right’, of being the one who knows the rules and their applications, of being unwavering in your loyalty, and in treating those whom you deem as insufficiently faithful as so many infidels to insult and dismiss.
    There is a word for that: pharisaical.
    Beware, brother. Read Matthew 23. Habits and collars are good, but only as they point to Christ. Do not neglect the weightier matters of the law, justice and mercy and good faith.
    In your words to me, you have not been just, merciful or in good faith. Be my brother…
    In Christ,

  • Michael N.,

    You need to be more careful in how you write your comments.

    And for your behavior you should know better than to be more righteous than thou with your uncharitable diatribes.

    I strongly suggest you stop commenting here at TAC because you have a history of being “misunderstood” in order to make points on your liberal agenda.

    God bless you.

  • Tito,
    So now I’m at fault for you misreading my comment?
    And, of course, no apology for the many insults you hurled at me based on your mistake.
    If I was uncharitable in my response, I beg your forgiveness. I am deeply troubled by your politicizing of the Faith and your dismissive tone with people. IMHO, you will drive many away from Christ and his Church.
    I take note that I am unwelcome at TAC by you.
    You continue to try to label me ‘liberal’ despite my correcting your misapprehension. I am sorry you’re not open to my pleas.
    In Christ,

  • Michael N.,

    I apologize and am sorry for misreading your comments.

    Yours in Christ.

  • Michael N.,

    Only Catholics drive themselves away.

    That is called free will.

    You represent those on the margins trying to reconcile your Democratic Party allegiance to your Catholic faith.

    As far as politicizing the faith.

    We are asked to be a witness to our faith.

    If you prefer to cower behind closed doors so as not to “offend” others about what you believe then so be it.

    Your the first one to have ever said that about me and I hope the last.

    But in the end, you make your own decisions not I.

  • Tito,
    Once again, you make statement based on your own mistaken guesses and perceptions.
    You are tireless in your attempt to label and dismiss.
    I have no allegiance to the Democratic Party. My allegiance is to Christ alone.
    Your insinuation that I ‘cower behind closed doors so as not to offend’ is further insult.
    Are you capable of carrying on a civil exchange?
    I am not cowering. I am engaging you in a public forum. Please stop cowering behind labels and insults and engage me charitably in Christ.
    As for “Only Catholics drive themselves away,” that is contradicted by the words of Christ himself: “It would be better for anyone who leads astray one of these little ones who believe in me, to be drowned by a millstone around his neck in the depths of the sea.”
    Not only are we responsible to nurture and spread the Faith in others, it is our singular purpose in life. We cannot control people, but we must invite and share the cause of our hope…and avoid anything that might scandalize or drive others from Christ.

  • FYI: that includes being condescending, judgmental and insulting. As the saint said, better honey than vinegar. Try a little honey from time to time.

  • Michael N.,

    That passage you are referring to is Christ warning priests, bishops, deacons, nuns, ie, religious.

    But if you feel I have sway from my little room here in Houston on an obscure blog then I am flattered that you have such a high opinion of me.

  • There were no priests, bishops, deacons, nuns, or religious at the time Jesus made his statement.
    He was specifically addressing the teachers of the law regarding children, but given the universal ‘priesthood’ of believers, it quite plainly applies to us all.
    A little room and an obscure blog notwithstanding, we all have full-time responsiblities to spread the Gospel in a true and charitable way. Whether to the public or to just our friends and families, our witness has the potential to attract or repel many from Christ.
    That is a responsibility we should take with utmost gravity.

  • Michael,

    I believe your mistaken.

    You’re falling for the liberal teaching that we are all priests.

    Like you said, Jesus was referring to those that lead us in faith.

    I’m not a priest and I do not have a calling to be one.

    Free will.

    I know that is something difficult for you to understand, but ultimately we are responsible for our own actions.

    If anything your frenetic diatribes may actually be driving out actual believers.

    Just sayin’.

  • There is a universal priesthood of all believers. When we are baptized we all receive s responsibility to spread the Faith. That is not a ‘liberal’ teaching. It is a fact of the Faith. As plain as a pikestaff.
    Do not confuse that ‘universal priesthood’ with the priestly ministry. That is a not uncommon ‘liberal’ fallacy.
    Obviously you agree with that or you wouldn’t be participating in a Catholic blog.
    Again with the condescension.
    As for free will – you seem to hide behind it in order to take no responsibility for your insults and attacks (i.e. ‘If I’m offensive in my defense of the Faith and others fall away as a result, then I’m not responsible because they’re free to do what they want.’).
    That’s devilish thinking.
    Nothing frenetic…no diatribe…but good to know you have a thesaurus!

  • Michael N.,

    You keep charging towards windmills and yet won’t learn.

    So I’ll try a different tact.

    “I love you man!”

  • Perhaps you should change your icon image so it doesn’t look so much like Don Quixote.

  • Michael N.,

    It’s pic taken from El Greco’s ‘Burial of Count Orgaz’.

    El Greco was a Greek.

    Where’s your pic?

  • So…I did skip all the other comments, but here is a question that personally pops in my head. Say I become a sister and wear a habit. I want to go swimming at my grandparents cabin with my cousins, how does that stand? That is something I am trying to discover.

  • Actually, the words of Christ found in the Gospels warning not to drive away his brethren is not merely addressed to clergy and it has not been known to be an admonition exclusive to a certain class of individuals — it has been seen as universal beginning in patristic thought up until this very century in contemporary biblical scholarship. I’m not sure how it can even be read in any other way without necessarily imposing on the text.

    My two cents.

  • Ash,

    I’m no canon lawyer, but my best guess is that’s ok to jump into something modest to swim in.


    Thanks for your opinion.

  • Ash: “Say I become a sister and wear a habit. I want to go swimming at my grandparents cabin with my cousins, how does that stand? That is something I am trying to discover.”

    Religious Orders have Rules. They also have Superiors. And a Vow of Obedience. Check them all out before jumping into the water. They’ll have the answer.

  • Paul: For example, as quoted by the original post, Canon 339 states that “Religious of a clerical institute who do not have a special habit are to wear clerical dress”. But in Vita Consecrata, JPII requires a less specific standard: “Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit should ensure that the dress of their members corresponds in dignity and simplicity to the nature of their vocation.”

    I’m not sure and not inclined to do research right now, but there seems to be a difference between “Religious of a clerical institute”(referred to in Canon Law) and “Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit” (referred to by Pope JPII)

    “Religious of a clerical institute” may mean religious or diocesan priests and deacons (clerical) and nuns (religious) who belong to an Order.

    Whereas “Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit” could mean Third Order seculars, mostly composed of lay people.

    They may be apples and oranges that can’t be compared. If so, JPII’s document does not contradict Canon Law.

  • “religious are to wear the habit of their institute, determined in accordance with the institute’s own law.”

    This may sound like a silly question, but what if the “institute” in question dropped habits back in the 60s or 70s and specifically ADOPTS secular dress (say, skirt or suit of a given color or style) as their “habit”? In a case like that, a Sister wearing secular garb, as long as it meets the rules of her order, is wearing the “habit of their institute,” whether we find it appropriate or not, so how would they be breaking canon law?

    Also — another silly question — wouldn’t a “clerical institute” be an association of CLERGY, which by definition would only apply to men? So how could nuns be affected by that requirement?

  • Marie: “Whereas “Institutes which from their origin or by provision of their Constitutions do not have a specific habit” could mean Third Order seculars, mostly composed of lay people.

    I see no reason to interpret those words in such a highly specialized and very unobvious way. It would also disregard the ordering of that text — which first covers those institutes which have a norm, and then covers what to do in the case where an institute has no norm.

    On doing some research, I have found people who clearly take the words as applying to any institute of religious, and no one who takes the words in the sense you suggest.

    Elaine Krewer: “…what if the “institute” in question dropped habits back in the 60s or 70s and specifically ADOPTS secular dress…”

    Are there any such institutes which have that in their laws, and have had such laws formally approved by Rome?

    Elaine Krewer: “…wouldn’t a “clerical institute” be an association of CLERGY, which by definition would only apply to men?

    That seems right to me. On that supposition, the first clause of Canon 669 (“Religious are to wear the habit of the institute, made according to the norm of proper law, as a sign of their consecration and as a witness of poverty.”) applies to both male and female religious, whereas the second clause (Clerical religious of an institute which does not have a proper habit are to wear clerical dress according to the norm of an. 284.)” does not indicate what applies to female religious.

    In which case, Via Consecrata would be indicating what laws would apply to both men and women religious (as the wording of Via Consecrata itself clearly specifies), in the case where there is no specified habit.

  • I looked up Canon 284 and sure enough, it refers specifically to priests. The USCCB’s rules applying Canon 284 in the United States, which have been in effect since 1999, state that:

    “Outside liturgical functions, a black suit and Roman collar are the usual attire for priests. The use of the cassock is at the discretion of the cleric. In the case of religious clerics, the determinations of their proper institutes or societies are to be observed with regard to wearing the religious habit.”

    So one could argue that a priest who does not wear the black suit and Roman collar (or the habit of his order, if he belongs to a Religious order) is disobeying Canon 284.

    Canon 284 clearly does NOT apply to women religious. The rule for them is simply to wear the “habit of their institute,” which as I explained above, could mean some modified form of secular dress.

    I’m not saying, by the way, that I APPROVE of priests or women religious running around in secular clothing.

    Personally I believe all priests should wear a Roman collar most of the time (even if just in shirt sleeves) and all nuns/Sisters should at least wear a veil or head covering, something to make it obvious who they are, and their habits should be simple and easy to care for (it doesn’t have to be a Flying Nun-type outfit). They should NOT be totally indistinguishable from secular professionals. The only exception should be for priests or religious serving in extremely hostile environments (e.g. Communist China, Sudan) where being seen in clerical or religious garb is likely to get them arrested or killed.

    However, as much as we may dislike priests and nuns in secular dress and consider them symbolic of everything that’s gone wrong with religious life, I wouldn’t play “gotcha” with canon law and jump to the conclusion that their dress is “proof” of disobedience and mortal sin.

  • Elaine,
    Amen, amen, amen to your last statement.
    Playing ‘gotcha’ is a dangerous temptation. We should not be so gleeful to catch others in transgressions and rejoice in condemning them.

  • Michael N.,

    No one is playing ‘gotcha’, unless of course if you are paranoid such as yourself, then I can see why you feel that way.

  • Elaine,
    You forgot Mexico, where I am given to understand that the federal law (if not constutution) precludes the wearing of clericals in public outside of specific liturgical, or church related, events (pilgrimages, processions, public open air Mass).

  • Kevin,

    That is one instance where the Church allows religious not to wear their religious garb.

  • I will leave the debate about Canon law to those who are Canon law lawyers.

    I know a priest who was admitted to the Harvard Business School after his ordination. He told the story about his first week at school, which ended with a large reception for all of the new students and their significant others. He said “I’m driving there and I really wanted to just turn around and get a shirt and tie like everybody else. But no, I was admitted as a priest, I’m gonna wear the blacks.” So he walks into this room with, as he put it, 1200 extroverts, and a guy immediately came up to him, exclaiming “I love it! I wish I’d thought about wearing a costume!” He explained to the guy, who became a good friend, that it wasn’t a costume.

    That was Friday. Monday was 9/11. He spent the next two weeks counseling classmates who had worked in the Twin Towers and had friends who had died there that day. And I think he wore the blacks.

  • Patrick,

    Wonderful story.

    Very providential.

  • Michael N.,

    You’re part of the problem of always apologizing for being Catholic.

    Why don’t you crawl back from whence you came and stop denigrating those that defend and uphold our beautiful Catholic faith.

    God bless and good riddance.

  • Jesus’ prayer in John 17 seems to be fitting for the situation. Pax Christi.

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A Second Victimization

Tuesday, April 20, AD 2010

Nicholas D. Kristof wrote another New York Times editorial condemning the Church. It’s not worth reading; it’s the same stuff about the Vatican is not the Church, but the real Church are the ones helping the needy (i.e. the ones doing what Kristof likes-except for obviously Mother Teresa b/c she didn’t like contraception) and the Church needs to expand its ideas on women and contraception in order to avoid the sex abuse crisis. For example

That story comes to mind as the Vatican wrestles with the consequences of a patriarchal premodern mind-set: scandal, cover-up and the clumsiest self-defense since Watergate. That’s what happens with old boys’ clubs

That’s not interesting. We’ve heard it before. What is interesting is his blog. He himself comments on the article.

One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them. Likewise, ordination of women is no guarantee of popular support: mainline Christian denominations have been ordaining women, and still losing ground to more conservative Evangelical denominations.

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9 Responses to A Second Victimization

  • Too bad he never met a Catholic who could’ve converted him.

  • Just a slight correction: Kristoff is actually an outspoken opponent of abortion, which actually makes the junk he peddled in his column all the more disappointing.

  • I don’t see what’s so objectionable about the portion you quoted. He didn’t say any of the stuff you attribute to him unless you decide to read only every other word of every other sentence.

  • restrainedradical:

    What’s objectionable is that he knows that he wants to see happen will do very little to actually make children safer-yet continues to connect it to the sex abuse scandal and admits it by saying that he knows that women can be abusers as well.

  • He admits no such thing. You inferred it, improperly. Women can be abusers and the presence of women can make children safer.

  • What is objectionable is that he wants the church to okay gravely immoral contraception and that the Church is an institution founded by men.

    My experience outside of the church ie public school system and many different Protestant denominations is that the presence of women do not make men more moral. Admitting women to ministry in Protestent cirles leads quickly to heresy.

  • restrainedradical:

    I’m pretty sure you didn’t read the column but just the quoted portion (or every other word of the quoted portion…not sure which you took the time to read). This is what he said:

    “That old boys’ club in the Vatican became as self-absorbed as other old boys’ clubs, like Lehman Brothers, with similar results. And that is the reason the Vatican is floundering today.”

    Now compare

    “One question that I’m still puzzling over is this: how much difference would it make if the Vatican did admit women as deacons, or ordain them? It’s certainly true that women can be abusers as well as men. The painful report of the Irish Commission of Inquiry last year made that clear, with accounts of nuns brutally mistreating children and in some cases raping them.”

    So we went from “Boys club is the reason” to “I’m puzzling whether it would make much of a difference.” It is proper to infer that he is admitting that the thesis advancing by his column is not true; that at the very best his thesis would be “Admitting women would help decrease the liklihood of this problem.” That’s a big difference to admit/acknowledge.

    So he’s already admitted that he doesn’t believe in the thesis he advanced, that he failed to mention in his column that women are also abusers and he failed to admit that admitting women had not helped make other denominations relevant (which is not what the column suggests).

    He then puts in the throw-away paragraph. He makes 3 assertions: it would attract more priests (which is not relevant to the crisis), that for mystical reasons women would magically produce democracy and transparency, and that women could change the Church’s teaching on contraception. it is not till the very last two words of the paragraph that he remembers what the column is about and adds “and child abuse,” suggesting that women are more against child abuse then men (which also is given no support).

    He’s not looking to child abuse. All of the goods he discusses are irrelevant or marginally connected to the issue. Combined with the doubts and stats he admitted in the first paragraph I quote, the inference is proper. He knows his connection isn’t strong but he wants to promote contraception & women priests so he does so anyway, taking advantage of the emotional reaction to child abuse in a way that he ought to apologize for.

  • Working on the issue-spotting, I see, Michael. ;-).

    The instrumentalization of abuse victims to serve as Exhibit A in the argument why the public schools, excuse me, Catholic Church needs to be radically redesigned in the author’s image, is one of the more unsavory aspects of the coverage of the scandals. I think this is an error often made in good faith; people are not that good at sorting out the differences in their sincerely held beliefs. Nevertheless, the fallacy on display is often:

    1)Abuse is bad,
    2)I think these Church teachings are bad,
    3)The correlation of bad things happening in an institution with bad teachings implies causation (regardless of what the evidence shows)

    And, of course, a similar thing happens to defenders of the Church, where the syllogism often runs:

    1) The Church is good;
    2) The liberal media is bad;
    3) Ergo, the bad liberal media is wrong when it says bad things about the good Church.

    Throw people on each side reasoning in this manner, and truth quickly becomes a casualty. I think your post is perceptive insofar as it captures the mask slipping a bit as Kristof questions the assertions he has casually made in arguing for his preferred reforms. At the same time, I am not sure this is morally blameworthy as much as it is a mental blindspot. People really aren’t that good at thinking rationally; at least not for long and not on that many topics. I usually use MSNBC and Fox News as my primary examples of that, which, for some reason, some people find only half-persuasive.

  • It might be more persuasive if you used CBS, NBC, ABC, NY Times, WAPO, CNN and MSNBC as opposed to Fox. 😉

Time For Vatican III? No!

Monday, April 5, AD 2010

Father Edward L. Beck, a Passionist Priest, and a contributor to ABC, wrote a column for ABC in which he calls for Vatican III.  I think the article is worth a fisking.

April 2, 2010 —Surely this was originally intended for April 1?

As Christians begin their celebration of the Easter season, the Catholic  church seems stuck in Good Friday. No Father, the Catholic Church is always “stuck” in Easter. Just when some would like to turn  their attention to the profound mysteries of their faith, they are  instead mystified by yet another round of horrendous sex abuse storiesmaking headlines. Yeah, totally by accident, and too bad Father doesn’t spend time mentioning how spurious this piece of tripe by the New York Times was.

Most Catholics in the United States were convinced that the issue of  sexual abuse by priests had been adequately dealt with after the last go round more than eight years ago.   I do not think this is the case.  Most Catholics in this country are still fuming about predator priests and the bishops who protected them. Many are also outraged by the ambulance chasing attorneys and the suspicion that some of the victims are merely cashing in on flimsy evidence.  There is still a lot of outrage about this whole mess. In many ways, it has been. U.S. bishops adopted strict policies of zero-tolerance after the abuse scandal exploded in 2002. Bishops are now required to comply with state laws for reporting abuse and to cooperate fully with authorities.   For the most  part the stories once again generating news in the United States concern old cases and the previous negligence of bishops to deal effectively and  justly with the crisis. New to the controversy has been the suggestion by some that the Pope himself bears responsibility for lapses. Actually such accusations have been flying around for years.  They have gotten nowhere because they lack substance.

The recent reports indicate this is not — and never has been — a distinctly American church problem.  I doubt if many Catholics in this country thought that it was. The European Catholic Church is now  experiencing what the U.S. Catholic Church did nearly a decade ago. Once reports from Pope Benedict’s native Germany emerged that boys had been abused in a church-run school there, hundreds more from other European countries came forward admitting that they too had been victims of abuse decades ago. We have not heard the last of these stories. Africa and  Latin America have yet to weigh in, but they will. Reports from those parts of the world will eventually emerge to increase the dismay of those who expected more diligence and, indeed, holiness, from religious institutions.

What is readily observable from the avalanche of reports is that the sexual abuse of minors is a systemic, worldwide problem. But it is not exclusively a Catholic or ecclesial one. True. It cuts across all faiths, institutions and family systems. Presently, however, it is the Catholic church in the spotlight, so it must take the lead in dealing with this issue in a transparent, effective and ultimately transformative way. Though its halo has been dimmed by past negligence, if only the scandal of the criminal protection afforded by bishops to predator priests had been limited to mere negligence the church can still be a beacon of light to lead the way if it now proceeds with haste and unwavering conviction. We might start by ordaining only those who believe what the Church teaches when it comes to sexual morality.  We must also understand that a fair number of the people who attack the Church on this issue are motivated much more by raw hatred of the Church than concern for the victims.  The evil from our ranks must be excised, but let us not assume we will receive plaudits from the World for doing so.

So then, what is the best way for the church to move forward? Dramatic failure requires a dramatic solution. Nothing gets the attention of the church and, perhaps the world, like a Vatican Council. Here we get to the purpose behind this article. The last one, of course, ended more than 45 years ago in 1965. While some would maintain that we have yet to fully execute the decrees of that Council, the world and the church have changed dramatically in the interim.  When has the World not been changing?  As to Vatican II, all the turmoil in the Church since that Council should cause us to hesitate before calling the next one. The current crisis in the church can serve as the impetus for once again calling together the worldwide church community in pursuit of modernization, reform and spiritual integration for a new time and world.  Always be alarmed when anyone proposes a radical step for the sake of vague terms like modernization, reform and spiritual integration.

What issues might this Council address?  The death of the Faith in Europe?  Rampant immorality?  The failure of the Novus Ordo Mass to inspire many Catholics? Many to be sure, but chief among  them could be the current crisis confronting the priesthood.  Homosexuality?  Lack of fidelity to their vows?  A desire for a life of ease? Certainly the issue of sexual abuse and the devastating toll it has taken in the church might be examined and addressed definitively, once and for all. In addition, while pedophilia and the sexual abuse of minors and priestly celibacy are not organically related, the abuse crisis has once again raised the issue of the necessity and relevancy of mandatory celibacy for diocesan priests.  How long has celibacy been bugging you Father?  Wasn’t that particular requirement spelled out clearly enough for you when you were ordained? The majority of Catholics and priests want an open discussion about this issue, but up to this point, that has not been permitted.  Rubbish.  This ” issue” isn’t even on the radarscope for most priests and laity.

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7 Responses to Time For Vatican III? No!

  • I may be wrong, but the issue of celibracy was not the culprit in my opinion..The standards for those entering the priesthood were too lax and many of those whose sexual norms were suspect were allowed into the priesthood who wanted to escape the stigma of those norms in society and a heavy price has been paid. Many of young men who aspired to enter whose views were orthodox in nature were by passed. The changes in the current young men now entering and their formation has seen a stricter approach to this issue and it is paying off. The current Pope has been stricter in ridding the Church of this scourge than any previous Pope inclding his predessor in my opinin.

  • Only reason for Vat III: REPEAL Vat II.

    Here is my crazed solution to the judas priest problem (no pun intended). Reinstitute the Inquisition. No stake, though (boo!). Blatant, relapsed abuser gets life sentence: chained to a wall in a dungeon on bread and water. Minor abuser (released with penance) is branded so all know what he is – end recividism.

  • “a defeated celibate clergy who must sometimes then minister side by side with married priests who have more
    rights and privileges than the celibate ones do”

    I guess its not enough of a right or a privilege to be a priest in Christ’s Church.

  • Thank you for highlighting “Church seems stuck on Good Friday” This is an argument I have heard for 40-50 years. Why is mystery such a stumbling block? Easter Mass Father made a comment about Christ descending into hell and one reason he did this is because he could relate to us. I thought Father has been reading secular publications, most likely he lost his point and grabbed just what made sense.

  • I think it is rather a time for mass repentance in the Church and a return to the Catholic Faith by clergy and laity alike.


    Father Beck will die soon and so will most of the “Spirit of Vatican II” crowd. We’ll be left over with malcontents and disobedient Catholics strumming their guitars and arguing with themselves in dark corners of the Internet.

  • Vatican III? I’d be thrilled if the documents of Vatican II were actually
    read and finally implemented! They plainly state that Latin is to have
    primacy of place in the celebration of the Roman rite, that gregorian
    chant is the greatest artistic treasure the Church possesses, etc., etc. .

    I’m in my 40’s, and I’ve yet to see a Novus Ordo Mass at the parish level
    that actually incorporates all of what the documents of Vatican II envisioned.

    Perhaps we can have another Council in a century or two, after we’ve
    cleaned up the wreckage inflicted on the Church by ‘professionals’
    riffing on the documents rather than reading and respecting them.

  • Some nutty suggestions here undercut the seriousness of the discussion.

5 Responses to USCCB Promoting Anti-Catholic Speaker This Weekend

  • Not a comment–a question:

    Does anyone ever call up the USCCB and just ask them what they have to say about this (or any of the other idiocies they inflict on us)?

  • Carol,

    They don’t return phone calls.

  • I know the USCCB isn’t open to the public but I emailed Cardinal George a very civil letter asking him basically “whassup with this?” Speaking of doing a yoeman’s job, he is & I have nothing but admiration for him & most of our bishops. What I cannot understand is why they don’t dissolve the USCCB & just start over. Do these people have tenure or what?

  • gb,

    I’m not sure why they don’t do a complete overhaul of the place.

    But it’s human nature to resist saying “I was wrong”. Pride then kicks in when the pressure mounts.

    In my opinion, nothing will be done.

    Just look at the pedophilia scandal.

    Nothing was done about that. Only when the media pressure became overbearing did “individual” bishops act.

    No bishop likes to be told what to do, especially from us plebians.

  • Cardinal Newman quoting St. Basil writing to the Western bishops on the onslaught of the Arian bishops:
    “The dogmas of the Fathers are despised; apostolic traditions are set to naught; the discoverers of innovations hold sway in the churches. Men have learned to be speculators instead of theologians… The aged sorrow, comparing what is with what was; more pitiable the young, as not knowing what they are deprived of”. [Ep. 90]

USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

Thursday, February 4, AD 2010

[Update at the bottom of this post]

The scandal that has engulfed the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) shows no sign in abating.

Today we learn even more incriminating facts that continue to tarnish the image of the USCCB.

In the latest RealCatholicTV.com program Michael Voris explains the deep entanglement of Democratic Party and anti-Catholic operatives that hold high positions within the USCCB.

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67 Responses to USCCB Scandal Deepens, U.S. Bishops Remain Silent

  • Pingback: Res et Explicatio for AD 2-4-2010 « The American Catholic
  • All this sounds like the attitude of the bishops about the sex scandals. “Don’t confirm; don’t deny. Maybe it will all go away”.

    The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.

  • Well, it will only make them look even worse.

    With the new media, ie, blogs, twitter, facebook, etc, the news of their lack of action will spread like wildfire.

    It’ll be interesting to see how much tap-dancing will occur and who will do the tap-dancing.

  • I guess I’m a little perplexed as to how this is in some sense a current or deepening “scandal”. It doesn’t take much dealing with most diocese with large national Catholic organizations (with the exception of some of the newer, more orthodox ones) or with the USCCB to find that a lot of their employees are left leaning politically and progressive leaning in regards to theology and liturgy. If anything, this was more pronounced 10-20 years ago than it is now.

    I think it’s generally been bad for the Church, and we’re suffered as a result, but if anything it’s a bad scene we’re gradually coming out of (it takes a long time to turn over employment) rather than a new breaking scandal of some sort.

  • It’s probably perception more than anything.

    Many of us maybe never bothered to think much, if anything, about the USCCB.

    Then when they got a bit higher visibility when they actively involved themselves with ObamaCare more Catholics took notice.

    Over time as Catholics began to look into the USCCB, what you may call something that has been there for awhile, to us is scandalous.

    So there it is.

    You probably were fortunate enough to be raised a solid Catholic as a child, then progressed to a fine Catholic university immersing yourself even more in Catholic culture. All the while you were already aware of the problems with the USCCB since age 7.

    Me, and many others like me, returned to our faith through various forms. So many of us are behind the loop, so to speak, of the many warts and issues involved in the Catholic Church in America.

    So when many of use “reverts” or “converts” find scandalous information such as an openly professed lesbian or a woman priest advocate working in high profile positions in the USCCB, we are scandalized by this.

    So those are the perceptions.

    The attitude of “well it’s always been there and besides it was worse 10-20 years ago” is understandable.

    But to me and many others its scandalous. 😐

  • Except the problem is: this report is filled with lies, misrepresentation, and logical fallacies. It does no one any good to be scandal mongers and gossipers using false information — though it seems it is all for politics (which is why Voris acting like an authority also suggests, falsely, anyone who said a Catholic could vote for Obama was wrong).

    Want to see the kind of error? Well, it is simple: Mary Kay Henry was NOT given a position by the USCCB. She was brought into talks with people representing different labor groups, and represented one such labor group. In other words, it would be like someone condemning Pope Benedict for his dialogue with Islam and saying “there is something wrong with the Vatican, it is promoting Islam.”

  • Henry K.,

    You made a lot of accusations but you haven’t offered any evidence to back any of it up.

    I respect your knowledge in your fields of study, but where is the evidence of what you propose?

  • Tito

    Voris makes all kinds of accusations and claims, and you never ask him to back it up; you just upload and attack. You never look to the sources yourself. But you want source? Ok.


    Go to that thread. Read the post. See the logical fallacies being exposed. Then read the commentary thread. In it you will see this linked: http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/usccb_clarifies_involvement_with_controversial_expert/

    And what it says is clear:

    Washington D.C., Dec 7, 2009 / 05:44 pm (CNA).- On Monday, Sr. Mary Ann Walsh, media director for the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops spoke with CNA, clarifying the role of Service Employees Union executive and gay rights activist Mary Kay Henry with the bishops’ conference.

    Sr. Walsh noted that in the past, Mary Kay Henry was chosen by the unions to take part in a dialogue with the USCCB but left in 2006.

    She was not appointed by the bishops, Sr. Walsh explained.

    So there you go, an example of distortion going on. Sure, she talked with the USCCB representing unions. Jesus, and the Catholic Church, has always had dialogue with people in such roles before; will anyone condemn Pope St Gregory the Great for meeting with Atilla the Hun? Using the loopy logic in this video, Pope St Gregory the Great was promoting Atilla’s rampage!

  • Henry K.,

    Good catch on the CNA article.

    I’ll send that link over to Mr. Voris so he can avoid making that mistake.

    (my article didn’t make that connection)

    And for your VN posting, very interesting reading.

    I’m not up to speed in many of the subjects you touch upon, but I’ll be rereading it again. Every little bit helps!

  • As I mentioned in the thread about the CCHD, the underlying theme behind these criticisms is a deep hostility toward not only the USCCB, but the bishops themselves. In this thread, we have read: “The road to hell is indeed paved with the skulls of bishops.” Tito has said that he has been scandalized – i.e., tempted to lose faith.

    Henry is right – these accusations fall apart upon further research. Catholics are being told to doubt the authenticity of the bishops’ teaching and governing office. Moreover, we are being told to question their very sincerity and faith. This is the scandal we should be afraid of.

  • When Bishops have dialogue with lesbians and gays and other members of the legions of hell, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal to criticize the Bishops.

    When Bishops take false Catholics like Representative Patrick Kennedy on the carpet for open apostasy, liberal Catholics say it’s a scandal the Bishops are using the Communion Rail politically.

    No, folks, the best liberal is the repentent liberal, and failing that, a defeated, muzzled and emasculated liberal. The only dialogue we should have with them is this: “Repent, for the Kingdom of God is at hand.”

    P.S., I’ll trust Michael Voris before I’ll trust any liberal Democrat.

  • PS, Mary Kay Henry should re-read what 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 states (NIV):

    Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.

    So why are we having dialogue with the wicked? Jesus didn’t have dialogue with them. He preached the Gospel of repentance to them. We ought to do the same.

  • Jesus didn’t have dialogue with the wicked? The Jews certainly thought he did — he was dining with sinners, indeed, drunkards; he was hanging out with the Samaritans; and he said nothing about the abuse of Roman society upon the Jews, yet affirming the faith of a non-Jewish Centurion (are you going to say he was without sin)?

    And that’s just the start of the matter.

  • Mary Ann Walsh did not participate in a women’s “ordination” ceremony. After one such event, the participants marched to where the bishops were meeting. When they didn’t go away, she appeared, met with them, received their rose bouquet, and they left. It’s the kind of thing a media relations person does.

    And her statement that a person could vote for Obama (not that they should – I certainly didn’t) matched up pretty well with an interpretation of Faithful Citizenship that many orthodox bishops accept. Of course, when you’re part of the neo-Donatist movement that thinks Cardinal George and Archbishop Wuerhl are closet leftists, none of this will satisfy you.

  • Zak,

    I caught it right before you posted your comment.

    I corrected my post to reflect this fact.

  • Henry,
    I agree with the points you’re making – one factual issue: it was Leo the Great, not Gregory the Great, who met with Atilla.

  • I agree with both Paul P. and Henry K.

    Whether it was dialogue or preaching, Jesus certainly spent time with sinners, but not to reaffirm their sinfulness but to show them the light.

  • Zak

    Oops — you are right (though I know this, I often do this same mistake when typing, for some reason — I have a few other lapses where my fingers go into automatic writing mode — an interesting phenomena and I expect many of us have examples of this)

  • Another example of what is going on: Voris says people in the hallways are found supporting Obama’s policies. Ok.

    The question is: which policies? All of them? Some of them? A couple of them? But yet by saying it in this way, it’s easy to create a false picture, and that is exactly the kind of strategy which is done for propaganda not for the exploration of truth.

  • Well hopefully they’re not supporting this:


  • I think ultimately though one needs to see that the USCCB is a political organization in addition to a religious organization. That’s fine as long as people realize it is and that it will have the problems of any organization that is political. I think Henry has pointed out such problems with some pro-life organizations.

  • Well I’m pretty sure that the USCCB is not a political organization in any legal, tax or regulatory sense of the term. But any tax exempt group is permitted (within certain constraints) to work to advance their charitable agenda via supporting and opposing relevant legislation, though not supporting or opposing political candidates. The USCCB has a reputation for generally supporting the liberal approaches to addressing Catholic concerns. To the extent this is true, it is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent. My guess is that the policy preferences expressed by the USCCB are more representative of its staffers than the bishops, and that neither the bishops nor the staffers are especially gifted at public policy, but probably think they are.

  • I think John Carr is one of the most thoughtful Catholics in America–and certainly one of the best spokesmen for Catholic social teaching. And I find it more than a little dismaying that a group of self-anointed REAL CATHOLICS are spending so much energy trying to undermine the work of the bishops of this country. This is not just unhelpful; it’s diabolical.

  • Mike,

    There is political and there is political. I think Henry points out some of the foibles of pro-life conservative organizations that are tax exempt also.

    I don’t think the USCCB generally supports liberal approaches I think it pretty much always does. Again understanding the experts that advise the body may give understanding to why they do.

  • Ron Ch.,

    Thoughtful as in promoting that more innocent children be killed?

    Yeah, and THAT’S not diabolical.

  • Phillip,
    I have not read Henry’s expose on the foibles of “pro-life conservative” organizations, but if the problem is that they are willing to support candidates who are imperfect on life issues in order to prevent the election of candidates who are abortion enthusiasts, ok, but I don’t see that as a foible. On the other hand, if they are favoring pro-choice candidates over pro-life candidates because they former are otherwise considered more conservative than the latter, then that would be worse than a foible — and I’d really appreciate knowing more about it.

  • Tito, what you are doing here is slanderous–to a good man and to the bishops whom he serves as a spokesperson. Do you happen to KNOW John Carr? Have you ever heard him talk about abortion? Do you suppose his work for peace/justice . . . and the work of our bishops through the USCCB to uplift the poor . . . has nothing at all to do with fostering respect for human life? For that matter, do you recognize any connection whatsoever between poverty/racism and abortion, or do you think it is purely coincidental that poor minority women patronize the killing clinics at such a disproportionate rate?

    Sorry, fella, John Carr is a REAL Catholic, not some Pharisee with video blog, a big mouth, and way too much time on his hands.

  • Ron Ch.,

    I’m not sure what blog you are reading, but I have never said anything such about John Carr.

    Joe H. posted a video that stated John Carr has been with an organization that promotes abortion for decades. I don’t see how you got your conclusions from this, so I’ll just chalk it up to your liberal-tainted glasses getting the better of your imagination.

    Get a hold of yourself brother.

  • Some other concerns about the CCC that I’m sure can be disproved:


  • Phillip and Ron Ch.,

    The evidence is devastating concerning the cooperation in evil that John Carr has led and been involved in.

  • American Catholic began as a healthy alternative to the consistently left-leaning Vox Nova. It seems to be reinventing itself in the spirit of the old Wanderer. That is a terrible shame, and shame on anyone here–and in the holier-than-God “orthodox” blogosphere–who casts aspersion on a man who has faithfully served the Church in the United States and its bishops for many years.

  • No, what this post is doing is highlighting a story. If any of the facts are mistaken Ron tell us precisely what facts are wrong. The USCCB has a history of allowing its staffers to associate the USCCB with some pretty unsavory groups that promote positions directly contrary to Church teaching. The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

  • Donald, a lot of the ‘facts’ have been debunked, and one glaring piece of slander removed (the picture of Sister Mary Ann Walsh). The more you dig into this, the more you see that a mountain is being made out of a molehill.

  • That sounds intereting. I can’t believe it. gochristian shoes

  • I have to say, I don’t find this video or the accusations very substantial. Everyone is entitled to their polemics, of course, and so I can see why some anti-Democrat Catholics enjoy this type of stuff. But, as Mike Petrik says above, some members of the USCCB preferring policies favored by the Democratic party to advance the common good “is not especially scandalous, but it may be imprudent.”

    Also, on a personal note, I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.

    To be clear, I think legitimate criticisms can be made of the USCCB. But these types of videos blend and muddle legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful. The problem with the Vortex, as I see it, is that it isolates and absolutizes one of many possible approaches to serving the common good, and regards any other approach as illegitimate. It seems to me that it instrumentalizes the Faith in the service of a conservative political polemic, and in the process does a disservice to the Faith and to the USCCB.

  • The USCCB needs to address this story directly and not simply play a game of hear no evil, speak no evil and see no evil.

    I don’t really see what you’re talking about. These accusations are pretty small beer in the grand scheme of things, and, as Darwin notes, there is nothing new in there. In the 1980’s, sure, the USCCB was basically co-opted by Democratic partisans. But the Vortex is basically the mirror image of it from the right; they are not raising any new questions. Most of these issues have already been addressed, are matters for prudential judgment where reasonable people can differ, and/or are inaccurate to begin with.

  • I’ll spell it our for you John Henry. They should explain why they were shoveling money into an organization that one of their staffers served as the head of. Can they even spell “conflict of interest”? Rather than attacking the people who are bringing this to light they should be ramping up their own investigation. They might also wish to explain why Carr omitted noting his involvement with the CCC from his USCCB bio. They might also explain why Tom Chabolla, associate director of CCHD programs until 2008, and who worked under Carr, took Carr’s place on the CCC board after Carr left, during a time period when the CCC became involved in pro-abortion advocacy, and whether Chabolla and Carr maintained contacts about the CCC. Chabolla since leaving the CCHD is now assistant to the President of the Service Employees International Union. Finally, perhaps they can explain why, when this all came to light, the first reaction from the CCHD was to scrub their website of all mention of ties with the CCC. This story is not going away.

  • Don,

    I get conflict of interest issue; and I get that the CCHD has had very poor oversight. I think the CCHD should be either scrapped or completely overhauled, and I’m in favor of more transparency. But I don’t think the video covers these issues very well.

    My issue is that I think the Vortex (and, really, couldn’t they find a better name?) is advancing a partisan agenda, rather than simply voicing legitimate concerns about conflict of interest or the funding of groups whose values conflict with those of the Church. For instance, the video keeps repeating the word ‘Democrat’ or ‘Democractic’ as if it’s an epithet. And some of the charges in the video are just ridiculous (implying that making the case that Catholics could have voted for Obama should disqualify someone from working for the USCCB?). In other words, as I said above, the video “blends and muddles legitimate concerns with partisan attacks in a way that I think is unhelpful.”

  • Clearly many improvements or even an overhaul of the program needs to take place. Attacking the structures of sin is a laudable activity with a positive goal. However, the problem with many (most?) secular groups that appear to be doing that sort of work is that they’re almost always trying to exchange one structure of sin for another. They are typically shells for particular political parties or have too closely aligned themselves to party interests.

    Therein lies part of the danger for third party benefactors like the USCCB. It’s one thing to work with a secular org for a shared interest even though they may not share all interests, it’s another to thing to support that org directly. What happens is that you run the real risk of becoming an integral part of a structure of sin.

    All that said, I think those ads are poorly done in substance. They smack of overblown righteous indignation, take many intellectual shortcuts, argue by assertion, use charged words that are usually quite subjective, makes unwarranted assumptions, etc. Frankly, I can’t see any difference in what is being done here than what some authentic Catholic anti-american-calvinist crusaders do. The only difference is what side of the fence their sitting on.

  • I’m not touching this story with a 39-and-a-half-foot pole. Regardless of the accuracy or inaccuracy of the reporting (and I have my doubts), the blatant guilt-by-association-and-innuendo style of the reporting left me feeling dirty after watching.

    “… I’m shocked, shocked that anyone could write an article suggesting that it was possible for Catholics to vote for Obama. That Sister Mary Ann Walsh must be way out there.”

    Yeah, tell me about it. I must be a stark-raving lefty.

  • Rick,

    Right. There are problems on both sides of the fence. There are pro-life pharisees. There are also social justice pharisees.

    Just hard to recognize one’s own as such sometimes.

  • Great comments and insights.

    About the overhaul of the CCHD – they have two overall programs, one focusing on political activity, the other focusing on business activity. The business grants are amazing – helping poor people build skills and worker-owned businesses. The political grants are a lot more tricky – often involving people with liberal mindsets – and I agree that it needs to be overhauled.

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  • Henry K, for your insights on what the Bishops knew and didn’t know, you are probably right. For your history on St. Gregory the Great meeting Atilla the Hun, you are at least a century off. It was St. Leo the Great in 451 who met with Atilla, thus delaying the destruction of Rome by 25 years……historical footnote worth noting….

  • Nate W., John Henry, Ron Ch., Jay Anderson, et al,

    You guys are building straw men arguments by attacking the messenger.

    By shining the light on the problem, you guys go ahead and savage the reputation of those doing the reporting and you all should be ashamed of yourselves.

    Granted that Mr. Voris *may* have gone over the top in some of his analysis, especially the innuendos to being a “Democrat”, but the basic story is this, the USCCB has been dealing with anti-catholic organizations for years. Just because they’ve done it in the past, doesn’t allow them a free pass, such as John Henry’s comment, ‘small potatoes’.

    If the USCCB wants to be taken more seriously they need to get their ‘allegedly’ devout Catholics like John Carr OUT of pro-abortion organizations and place Catholics without, as Jay says, a ‘conflict of interest’.

    Thank you for your comments, I’m learning a lot on how to report such news.

  • Dennis

    Yes, that was established above about Gregory/Leo. Often my fingers will mix them up when typing — but the point behind it still stands. Thankfully, I know I’m not impeccable nor infallible!

  • Tito, the guys you reference have no reason to be ashamed of themselves, anymore than does anyone who notes that other journalists & commentators occasionally make generalizations and inaccurate statements.

  • Chris,

    There is no evidence of inaccuracy.

    If Nate could name what was inaccurate instead of making things up I can see your point.

    On the rest, I understand what you’re saying.

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  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content behind encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • The liberal agenda and left-leaning “Catholics” is one reason, among others, that I dropped out of RCIA and chose not to convert to the RCC. The USCCB is only one of the problems. Out-of-control renegade priests along with their progressive laity can feel real comfy in many a parish in these United States.

    Face it, the liberals are an energetic, visible force within the Roman Catholic Church and they are not going away. They have become a cancer that is multiplying at an exponential rate. Michael Voris can’t stop it. EWTN can’t stop it. AveMaria Radio can’t stop it. Just look at the mess out in California, with all pro-gay, pro-choice bishops. They’re quite happy, comfy, and content encased in their ivory towers. And the disease has spread eastward to parishes in the Midwest, Florida, and the Northeast.

    Where’s all this “unity” that I was told existed in the “one, holy, Catholic, Apostolic” Church? It ain’t there! The current RCC barely resembles the RCC of 100 yrs. ago. So continue to have your “CHURCH” but don’t call it “holy” or “Catholic” or “Apostolic.” Those who have eyes to see will see. Those who wish to continue living in “LaLa Land” will continue to wear blinders.

  • Darlene

    So basically, you are telling me you are still a Protestant, and the reason why you didn’t convert is because you are a Protestant? Big deal.

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  • Henry,

    No, I am not a Protestant. It’s easy to assume things in a forum like this where face-to-face, in person dialogue is absent.

    Protestant evangelicalism has many problems, one of which is that they (for the most part) ignore the creeds and councils of the first millenia.

    So, I came to the conclusion that Protestantism is a schism from a schism and will continue to split and divide. Sola Scriptura is not a unifying force within Protestantism, but a disunifying force. Hope that clarifies things.

    As far as my emphatic, blunt post, I understand that it will offend Roman Catholics. Offending was not my intent. With that said, the priest with whom I had counsel was very kind, long-suffering, and understanding. Even taking into consideration my original comments, I do not judge the salvation of individual Catholics. That is God’s business.

    If I have sinned in being so bold, forgive me.

  • The USCCB website says that Mary Kay Henry was appointed to a USCCB subcommittee and the USCCB accepted the subcommittee’s findings. Why would the USCCB look to anti-Catholic “experts” like Mary Kay Henry for advice in developing policy?

    Answer: For the same reason they invited Father Thomas Reese and Diana Hayes to speak at their conference last week-end.

    Jesus had something to say about this: “No servant can serve two masters; for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon.”

  • Michael Voris is certainly human, and on rare occasions he may get his facts wrong, but taken as a whole, there is a mountain of evidence against the USCCB. A favorite liberal trick is to suggest that one flaw in the evidence damns all the evidence. I’m not fooled.

  • Nothing has been said here. Absolutely nothing.

    All of you are defending nothing and have nothing concrete to say about anything.

    The fact is you can not vote for a man who kills babies, I’d like to see you explain that when you come face to face with your creator. Can’t do it.

    The fact is, you can not give money to death programs from unsuspecting pew sitters – its illegal as well as totally against what Jesus commanded of us.

    Who cares who supports John Carr? It’s irrelevant? If the man has put any support into anti-God programs he is out.

    The Jews (many) did it wrong and so are the Catholics (many). You don’t reject the sacraments because the gatekeepers are corrupt. God said to St. Teresa of Avila “I put myself in the hands of thy enemies for your sake!” If you reject the commandments and the working of the Holy Spirit in the Church through those sacraments – then you hold man up as God.

    Don’t give money if you don’t know where the money is going. Put your money in areas you know are deserving of it. Don’t vote for the slaughter of innocence. Don’t keep quite when a priest is an idiot or a Bishop is a nutcase. Fight – and stop trying to defend your need for comfort.

    Newsflash the Church has the enemies within. Fight it – get them out – run them out of town but stop trying to give yourself an excuse to take a nap.

  • My dealings with the USCCB and the two of the organizations it sponsors and funds leads me to believe this organization is more a socialist political group than people working to live up to the Gospels. Obama and far too many of the Democrats in office are sociast with a socialist agenda. I fear that some of the Bishops may have been sucked into the false notion that socialism serves the needs of the poor. SOcialism brings the entire society down to the level of the laziest. Socialism depleats to will and ability of the society to provide for all.

  • WayneK,

    It is quite apparent in Europe today. France is turning into an economic basket case with gov’t unions striking each day preventing Sarkozy from instituting well needed reforms.

    It’s a slow creep towards totalitarianism.

  • MIchael Voris and Simon J. Rafe practice censorship of
    anyone who does not accept their messages on face value. That leads me to believe they are fake critics
    seeking to marginalize rather than serve any issue.

  • I believe they love their faith and don’t like it when bishops fail in their duty to feed their sheep.

    Instead they hide behind man-made bureaucracies hoping that difficult issues that don’t adhere to their Democratic Party Catholic leanings would just go away.

  • Archbishoip Raymond Burke was well known for “speaking out”. In an article for Time online, Amy Sullivan (Priests Spar Over What it Means to Be Catholic) alludes to the fact of his removal by the U.S. Catholic Bishops Conference. In particular, the article states that because of a “calming down” of the anti-abortion rhetoric, the president was elected. In fact, I can tell you that here in St. Louis, the archbishop who replaced Burke (Carlson) silenced the Latin rite Church (St. Francis De Sales) from speaking out against abortion from the pulpit.

  • D Paul,
    That surprises me greatly. I wonder whether the “silencing” actually referred to exhortations on who to vote for or not vote for, which is a violation of federal tax law. Under federal tax law churches and other 501(c)(3) organizations may receive contributions on a tax deductible basis only if they refrain from political or partisan behavior. Within much more relaxed constraints they normally can engage in legislative or policy behavior. Telling a congregation that it is important to vote for candidates who are opposed to abortion is fine (even if somewhat simplistic from a Catholic perspective), but a minister may not tell his congregation to vote for X or against Y, at least without losing the right to receive contributions on a tax deductible basis. I’d be very surprised if AB Carlson told the priest at SFdS that he could not speak out against abortion from the pulpit. If true, that really would be quite scandalous, and shocking given that AB Carlson is among the bishops who criticized ND for awarding pro-abort Obama an honorary degree.