Archives for November 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday (set #16)

7 Quick Takes Friday

Some random thoughts or bits of information are worthy of sharing but don’t warrant their own full post. This idea was started by Jennifer Fulwiler at Conversion Diary to address this blogging need. So, some Fridays I too participate when I have accumulated 7 worthy items. Without further ado:

— 1 —

Same sex marriage: why not? Dr. Jennifer Roback Morse gives a calm, reasoned defense of traditional marriage:

Be sure to also view parts two, three and four.

— 2 —

When was the Church that Jesus founded first called the Catholic Church? Apologist Jimmy Akin explains:

— 3 —

Charles Rice (Professor Emeritus at the University of Notre Dame Law School) recently addressed the national meeting of the Society of Catholic Social Scientists. In it, he sadly notes how history repeats itself:

For a comparable example of the rapid concentration of executive power by a legally installed regime, we have to look to Germany in 1933. Adolf Hitler was named Chancellor on January 30. He consolidated his power over the next few weeks. The decisive event was the Reichstag’s approval of the Enabling Act on March 23, 1933, by which it ceded full and irrevocable powers to Hitler. That was the point of no return. The Enabling Act received the needed two-thirds vote only because it was supported by the Catholic party, the Centre Party.

The entire article is excellent: The Catholic Church in the Obama Era.

— 4 —

A simple, honest presentation of the facts on abortion support built-in to ObamaCare and why his related “executive order” is impotent:

— 5 —

The “holy city of Rome” or “the holy Vatican City” are respectful references that you never hear in the mainstream press. Ever. Yet…   they step all over themselves every time they refer to a Muslim holy place. Why is that? To the MSM, Islam and all it holds holy is worthy of deep respect while that of Christianity is properly desecrated in the name of “art.” Father Z noticed the disparity of holy places.

— 6 —

Congresswoman Betty McCollum (D) leads the House of Representatives in the pledge of Allegiance. Notice anything missing?

— 7 —

Saturday Evening Blog Post

Elizabeth Esther kindly hosts a feature she calls The Saturday Evening Blog Post. Published monthly every first Saturday, it features the best post in the preceding month on each of a few dozen Christian blogs. The “best” entries are chosen by the authors themselves (so they should know!).

It is a great way to discover new blogs. Be sure to check-it out. My entry for last month was the Planned Parenthood.

Excellent shepherds

Bishop Wenski and his crozier

The Catholic Church has been very successful throughout the ages. It has grown and saved many souls. It has many great accomplishments. It is the largest charitable organization on the planet. It has remained true to Our Lord’s teaching while many non-Catholic Christian communities have continuously adapted their beliefs to the wishes of their flocks.

All of this, and more, has been accomplished in spite of imperfections. The definitive judgments of the extraordinary Magisterium (including when the Pope speaks ex cathedra), protected by the Holy Spirit, is infallible. Nothing else is. Throughout the ages there has been scandal and mistakes. As long as we are imperfect, this will continue. The Church instituted by Christ Himself and whose mystical body remains forever headed by Him, will always right itself and march forward.

He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” Simon Peter said in reply, “You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.” Jesus said to him in reply, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”

In recent years, the sexual concupiscence of the outside world infected our own clergy. It has been not only scandalous, but deeply shocking to Catholics. There was confusion, missteps and mistakes made in addressing the relatively small number of people involved. It is the type of sin that we can never declare completely defeated, but here in the US Church we now have layers of effective, pro-active policies in place. I wrote about this earlier in my piece on the sexual scandal.

Another modern challenge to the Church is a chipping-away of our orthodoxy. Or at least the attempt thereof. Thank God (quite literally!) that Our Lord and Savior personally setup His Church. Our faith is unchanging and the operation of the Church is not subject to popular vote. This does not stop those who would, often for personal political or sinful reasons, have us be “less Catholic.” For a number of reasons, these attitudes have taken root in some countries and in some regions of the US.

In many cases the problem is clear, but the overt actions are kept “under the radar.” For example, in some areas Catholics will commonly put political allegiance ahead of life itself in voting for pro-abortion politicians. These same areas tend to reject other Church teachings on homosexual “marriage,” the impossibility of women priests, subsidiarity, the need to go to Mass every Sunday, the need for confession and much more.

Another big problem is over-reaching in the fulfillment of Vatican II. There are many examples of this in my opinion (some of which you might disagree with). One that is being addressed is the poor ICEL translation of the Mass. In Advent 2011, Mass in English will finally use a single translation worldwide that is far more faithful to the Latin original. US Catholics will notice a lot of “changes” in the corrected Mass.

Often in the orthodoxical challenged areas (I am trying so hard not to call them liberal, progressive, non-faithful, schismatic or heretical) the viewpoints and actions are justified under “the spirit of Vatican II.” That is to say, not suggested by Vatican II at all but something they feel should have been. That is to say, Vatican II did not change the faith but should have. Tip: every time you hear “the spirit of Vatican II,” be very, very suspicious!

So, how will the Church “right itself” from this challenge? Pope Benedict’s New Evangelization initiatives will have long-term, lasting impact. Steps taken to “reform the reform” such as the corrected translation of Mass also move us in the right direction. A return to orthodoxy underway in our seminaries and religious orders will bear much good fruit in the coming decades. Better catechesis is obviously needed.

In the day-to-day life of dioceses, perhaps the most important agent for change is the episcopate – the bishop or archbishop, direct successors of the Apostles. Our extraordinary Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI has elevated soundly orthodox men to this and other crucial offices. In the short time that I have been Catholic, I have noticed quite a number of outstanding men leading their flocks back to a more solid faith, including:

  • Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz, Lincoln
  • Cardinal-designate Raymond Burke (Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura and Archbishop Emeritus of St. Louis)
  • Archbishop Charles Chaput, Denver
  • Archbishop Timothy Dolan, New York
  • Coadjutor-Archbishop Jose Gomez, Los Angeles
  • Bishop Robert Morlino, Madison
  • Archbishop John Nienstedt, Minneapolis and St. Paul
  • Bishop Thomas Olmsted, Phoenix
  • Cardinal Marc Ouellet (Prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, President of the Pontifical Commission for Latin America, Archbishop Emeritus of Quebec)
  • Bishop Robert Vasa, Oregon
  • Archbishop Thomas Wenski, Miami

These humble and faithful men boldly proclaim the truth. Their service is genuinely inspiring. If you have read about them in the mainstream media, you will find the assessment of the secular press to be far less glowing. To me, that alone proves they must be doing something right!

Coming up with the above list for this piece was not difficult because…   I keep a list. There is no particular reason for my list other than I want to remember those who have impressed me so greatly. The newest person added just last week, is The Most Reverend Robert Morlino – Bishop of Madison, Wisconsin.

Bishop Robert Morlino

Last June, Bishop Morlino assigned 3 priests from the Society of Jesus Christ to lead the parish of St. Mary’s. Their order is solidly orthodox. Reports are that many in this parish were not. I would say that Bishop Morlino is much more concerned about saving souls than not “ruffling feathers.” Some in the parish did not take this too well.

Their response almost leaves me speechless. About 40% of them actually signed an unprecedented petition to have the priests removed. They have organized a boycott of financial donations to pressure the parish – endangering their K-8 school. They even wrote letters to, in effect, report Bishop Morlino – their bishop – to the Pope via the Apostolic Nuncio in Washington. Are these people completely nuts?

Bishop Morlino responded fully, but in part said:

It grieves me to acknowledge that the reputation of three happy, holy, and hardworking priests has been seriously tarnished by rumor, gossip, and calumny (lying with the intent to damage another’s good name) by some within the parish community. Such conduct is gravely sinful, since some parishioners have been driven by fear, anger, or both, to distance themselves from their priests and even the Sacraments. This situation must cease, and charity must prevail on the part of all.

Furthermore, activities such as protest-letter-writing seminars, leafleting of motor vehicles, door-to-door canvassing for signatures on a petition, etc (that is, exerting organized political pressure on people, where the end justifies any means) is an appropriate tactic in a political campaign, but not in the communion of faith which is the Catholic Church. Groups such as “Call to Action” and “Voice of the Faithful” regularly employ such tactics against legitimate authority in the Church. Because these groups dissent from basic tenets of Catholic Doctrine and Discipline, they are not recognized as Catholic in the Diocese of Madison, much less are they able to exercise legitimate authority. It is my hope that these clarifications will prove helpful.

Read the entire letter on The Badger Catholic blog. Father Z makes good comments on this here and here. Other good coverage is at Popin’ Ain’t Easy.

God bless Bishop Morlino and all of our shepherds. The gates of the netherworld will not prevail.

Elsewhere: social justice and inequality


What the Catholic teaching of social justice is and is not should be clearly understood by all faithful Catholics. Often in the political arena, the term is used to represent goals which are actually contrary to the true Catholic meaning.

In October I wrote a piece on what social justice is and a piece on what social justice is not. A while back, Dr. Mark Hendrickson (faculty member, economist, and contributing scholar with the Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College) touched on the same issue for Catholic Exchange.

The modern left’s “social justice” strives for economic equality. It endeavors to reduce, if not erase, the gap between rich and poor by redistributing wealth. This is “justice” more akin to Marx and Lenin, not according to Moses and Jesus. It is a counterfeit of real justice, biblical justice. Modern notions of “social justice” are often wolves in sheep’s clothing.

The fundamental error of today’s “social justice” practitioners is their hostility to economic inequality, per se. “Social justice” theory fails to distinguish between economic disparities that result from unjust deeds and those that are part of the natural order of things. All Christians oppose unjust deeds, and I’ll list some economic injustices momentarily. First, though, let us understand why it isn’t necessarily unjust for some people to be richer than others:

God made us different from each other. We are unequal in aptitude, talent, skill, work ethic, priorities, etc. Inevitably, these differences result in some individuals producing and earning far more wealth than others. To the extent that those in the “social justice” crowd obsess about eliminating economic inequality, they are at war with the nature of the Creator’s creation.

The Bible doesn’t condemn economic inequality. You can’t read Proverbs without seeing that some people are poor due to their own vices. There is nothing unjust about people reaping what they sow, whether wealth or poverty.

Jesus himself didn’t condemn economic inequality. Yes, he repeatedly warned about the snares of material wealth; he exploded the comfortable conventionality of the Pharisaical tendency to regard prosperity as a badge of honor and superiority; he commanded compassion toward the poor and suffering. But he also told his disciples, “ye have the poor always with you? (Matthew 26:11), and in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25:24-30) he condemned the failure to productively use one’s God-given talents – whether many or few, exceptional or ordinary – by having a lord take money from the one who had the least and give it to him who had the most, thereby increasing economic inequality.

The Lord’s mission was to redeem us from sin, not to redistribute our property or impose an economic equality on us. In fact, the Almighty explicitly declined to undermine property rights or preach economic equality when he told the man who wanted Jesus to tell his brother to share an inheritance with him, “Man, who made me a judge or divider over you?” (Luke 12:14).

Read the whole article at Does Social Justice Allow Inequality?