Thursday, May 25, 2006

This presentation of The Island of Dr. Moreau is brought to you by...

I am interrupting my hiatus just once because (as did most Missourians) I received my letter from the pro-death embryonic stem cell research promoters, the Missouri Coalition for Lifesaving Cures, last week, and I thought it was interesting, and perhaps useful to others, to list the organizations and individuals who are involved in peddling morally illicit research. My philosophy these last few years has been simply not to give to any medical or disease organization unless someone can confirm for me that they don't support immoral research (which means, of course, I don't give to medical or disease organizations as a rule). Those of us who care ought to be asking such questions, and ought to be sure we're not inadvertently supporting the pro-death cause. Here's the list:

Disease and Patient Advocacy Organizations
Alliance for Aging Research
Alliance For Stem Cell Research
ALS Therapy Development Foundation
American Academy of Neurology
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Neurological Surgeons
American Diabetes Association
American Liver Foundation Missouri Chapter
American Society for Cell Biology
American Society of Hematology
Children's Neurobiological Solutions Foundation
Christopher Reeve Foundation
Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research
Colon Cancer Alliance
Cure Autism Now Foundation
Cure Paralysis Now
Cystic Fibrosis Research, Inc.
Daniel Heumann Fund for Spinal Cord Research
Diabetes Research Institute Foundation, Inc.
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
FSH Society
FacioScapuloHumeral Muscular Dystrophy Society
Hereditary Disease Foundation
Hygeia Foundation, Inc. and Institute for Perinatal Loss
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Jack Orchard ALS Foundation
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation International
Lance Armstrong Foundation
The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
National Brain Tumor Foundation
National Children's Leukemia Foundation
National Council on Spinal Cord Injury
National Ovarian Cancer Coalition
National Parkinson Foundation
National Prostate Cancer Coalition
North American Spine Society/National Association of Spine Specialists
Parkinson's Action Network
The Parkinson Alliance
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Parkinson Foundation of the Heartland
Parkinson's Unity WalkProject A.L.S.
Research for Cure Stem Cell Action Network
Student Society for Stem Cell Research
Take Charge! Cure Parkinson's Inc.
United Spinal Association

Supporters hiding behind the Coalition for the Advancement of Medical Research (noted above; some of these are duplicates)
Alliance for Aging Research
Alpha-1 Foundation
American Association for Cancer Research
American Association of Neurological Surgeons/Congress of Neurological Surgeons
American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association
American College of NeuropsychopAharmacology
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
American Diabetes Association
American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)
American Gastroenterological Association
American Medical Association
American Parkinson's Disease Association Arizona Chapter
American Society for Cell Biology
American Society for Microbiology
American Society for Neural Transplantation and Repair
American Society for Reproductive Medicine
American Society of Hematology
Association of American Medical Colleges
Association of American Universities
Association of Independent Research Institutes
Association of Professors of Medicine
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals
Axion Research Foundation
Biotechnology Industry Organization
Burnham Institute
California Institute of Technology
California Research and Cures Coalition
Californians for CuresCancer Research and Prevention Foundation
Cedars-Sinai Health System
Children’s Neurobiological Solutions Foundation
Christopher Reeve Foundation
Coalition for Brain Injury Research
Columbia University Medical Center
Committee for the Advancement of Stem Cell Research
Cornell University
Duke University Medical Center
Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
Familial Dysautonomia Hope Foundation
Genetics Policy Institute
Glaucoma Research Foundation
Harvard University
Hereditary Disease Foundation
Hope for ALS

International Foundation for Anticancer Drug Discovery
International Longevity Center -- USA
International Society for Stem Cell Research
Jeffrey Modell Foundation
Johns Hopkins Medicine
Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
Massachusetts Biotechnology Council
National Alliance for Eye and Vision Research
National Association for Biomedical Research
National Coalition for Cancer Research
National Council on Spinal Cord Injury
National Health Council
National Partnership for Women and Families
National Venture Capital Association
New Jersey Association for Biomedical Research
Parkinson’s Action Network
Parkinson's Disease Foundation
Pittsburgh Development CenterProject
A.L.S.Quest for CureResearch!
AmericaResolve: The National Infertility Association
Rett Syndrome Research Foundation
Robert Packard Center for ALS Research at Johns Hopkins
Rutgers University
Sloan-Kettering Institute for Cancer Research
Society for Women's Health Research
Stanford University
Stem Cell Action Network
Stem Cell Research Foundation
Steven and Michele Kirsch Foundation
Student Society for Stem Cell Research
Take Charge! Cure Parkinson’s, Inc.
Texans for the Advancement of Medical Research
Tourette Syndrome Association, Inc.
Travis Roy Foundation
University of California System
University of Minnesota
University of Rochester Medical Center
University of Southern California
University of Wisconsin-Madison
Vanderbilt University and Medical Center
Washington University in St. Louis
WiCell Research Institute
Wisconsin Alumni Research Foundation
Wisconsin Association for Biomedical Research and Education

Medical, Research & Academic Institutions
Academy of Science of St. Louis
Axion Research Foundation
Committee for the Advancement of Stem Cell Research
Divergence, Inc.
Heartland Health
Kansas City University of Medicine and Biosciences
Midwest Research Institute
Mound City Medical Forum
St. Louis Maternity Society
Stowers Institute for Medical Research
University of Missouri
University of Minnesota
Washington University in St. Louis
Webster University

Civic, Business, Governmental & Faith Organizations
American Jewish Congress, St. Louis Chapter
B'nai B'rith St. Louis
Bridge Builders Senior Services
Center for Emerging Technologies
Central Reform CongregationCity Council of Kansas City, MO
Civic Council of Greater Kansas City
Coalition for Plant and Life Sciences (St. Louis)
Communications Workers of America Local 6377
Economic Development Corporation of Kansas City, Missouri
Edward Mallinckrodt Jr. Foundation
Ethical Action Committee of the St. Louis Ethical Society
Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce
Greater Kansas City Women's Political Caucus
Hadassah, St. Louis Chapter
Jewish Community Relations Council
Kansas City Area Life Sciences Institute Association
Metropolitan St. Louis Clergy Coalition
Missouri Biotechnology Association (MoBIO)
Missouri Chamber of Commerce and Industry
National Council of Jewish Women
National Women's Political Caucus of Metro St. Louis
Nidus Center for Scientific Enterprise
Semper Fi For Life Foundation
St. Louis Regional Chamber & Growth Association
The BioGenerator (technology transfer center)

The coalition website also contains a lengthy list of individuals in medicine, business, politics and "faith leaders" who are publicly supporting the babykillers. Know any of these folks? Are any of them Catholic?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Hiatus until June 1 (or so)

Real life is getting in the way again; I need to take some time away from the blog, attend to day-to-day matters, get some sun, etc., etc. Thus, I'm taking a hiatus until June 1 (or so) from the Cave and from Kansas Church Closings. Lots of unfinished business in both blogs I know, including picking a fight with Der Tommissar over airport security. I'm taking that post down for now and we'll start over with it fresh later--never any fun arguing over a stale post.

Why would I be a priest for Bp. Hubbard?

The news aggregator at Catholic World News picked up something that I have to comment on. It's an article from the Diocese of Albany on 10 reasons to be a priest. I almost decided not to post it, because criticizing Bp. Howard Hubbard is simply shooting fish in a barrel.

Here' are a paraphrase of the 10 reasons Hubbard gives, in story format.

1. Hubbard arranged bail for a gangster who was jailed after shooting another gangster at an inconvenient time in his own life. Doing so was a chance to empty himself to God's unconditional love.

2. Hubbard knew a 14 year old girl who was the victim of sexual abuse and an unwed mother, whose own mother had been complicit with in the arrangements. She's writing a memoir about her journey to recovery.

3. Hubbard got to counsel a politician through a "dark night of his soul" involving some sort of illicit relationship with a woman.

4. He got to know a couple of people 40 years ago, married them, baptized their children, and still keeps up with them.

5. He gave a retreat at which a lapsed Catholic nurse returned to the faith and got comfortable with the fact that God permits suffering.

6. Hubbard helped a nun quit her order and become a mommy.

7. Hubbard got to tell the family of a seminarian who had drowned about their son's death, and the mother took it well.

8. Hubbard knew a guy who became a junkie but cleaned himself up.

9. Hubbard knew a homosexual who died of AIDS, but did so in a way that minimized the fact that his lifestyle involved a sin that cried out to heaven for vengeance.

10. Hubbard was comforted during the clergy abuse scandal by a prisoner.

Hubbard's point, apparently, is that it's not just about celebrating the Mass and provising Sacraments--it's a life of ministry to other people, bringing healing and peace to their lives. He needs more "members of the ministerial priesthood" to help out in these types of situations, and he promises that those who enlist will be enriched by experiences like those above.

Um, yeah...... OK.

Now, Bishop Hubbard, can't a married man, or a single man, or a transgendered secular social worker or bail bondsman do all of the above, except perhaps certain of the things mentioned in #4?

We all know the answer to that one, don't we? No mention of the essence of the priesthood, except to minimize it. No mention of reenacting the sacrifice of Calvary on a daily basis; no mention of participating in the Bishop's mission of teaching, sanctifying or governing the visible church. A little counsel and comfort now and then is of course something we expect from a priest, but to what ultimate end in that to be directed?

Who wants to be a part of the priesthood according to Howard Hubbard?

Apparently not many.

Don't believe me?

Click here and here and here, and that's just for starters. If you Google "Hubbard" and "vocations" or "Albany" and "vocations," you'll get the picture.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Quoted in the Wanderer

Well, despite my copyright notice, Paul Likoudis did lift a significant portion of my blog for a Wanderer article. It wasn't on my Tissier de Mallerais comments, though; it was on the advance warning I gave on the National Catholic Reporter's attack on our Bishop, John Finn.

One problem, though: John Finn ain't our Bishop. A check of reveals that there's no such person among the successors of the Apostles. We are led by, and the Distorter has attacked, Robert W. Finn.

Usually a good idea to get the name of the subject of your article right, eh? Were I Mr. Likoudis, I might have also called the Chancery and others around town to get comments from real people in Kansas City and not just rely on the rants of an anonymous crackpot blogger like me. But, he knows his business, I guess.

Anyways, I'm not concerned over their use--most of the quotations were comment banter, and now Mrs. Curmudgeon can say she's married to a man who was quoted in a Catholic newspaper of national circulation suggesting that a Bishop ought to have someone burned at the stake. I would have been concerned if they had tried to use my Tissier de Mallerais post. It would have annoyed me for them to have picked that one up.

More on Bishop Donald Wuerl

Here's a quotation that would give me warm fuzzies if I were subject to the Archbishop of Washington:

The Rev. Thomas Reese, a senior fellow at Georgetown University's Woodstock Theological Center and former editor of the liberal Jesuit magazine America, called Wuerl's appointment "a vote for continuity."

"He and McCarrick are pretty much in the same place on issues, especially the one that's of most concern to Catholic Democrats on the Hill -- that they'll still be able to go to Communion," Reese said. "He's totally in line with the pope on Church teaching, but he's not going to be heavy-handed. And he's just a nice guy."

From the Washington Post. My earlier post included a link to praise for Wuerl by National Catholic Reporter editor Tom Roberts. I'm cruising the 'net looking for a positive quotation from Margaret-what's-her-name of Commonweal. Then Wuerl will have the lefty dissenter hat-trick, won't he?

I suggested on Gerald Augustinus's nice little blog, The Cafeteria is Closed, that in fact the cafeteria has reopened.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Update on St. John the Baptist, Croatian Parish, Kansas City Kansas

Over the last few days, my little post on St. John the Baptist church, the Croatian parish overlooking the West Bottoms in Kansas City, Kansas has drawn a great deal of attention from websites...Croatian websites...go figure!

Anyways, one person commented this evening on St. John the Baptist and provided a link to an old parish history (circa 1975) with a lot more information in it. If you're one of the readers who's following my soon-to-be-closed Kansas City, Kansas church tour, you might enjoy going back to that post, and also visiting the link to the Croatian history site that my commenter provided.

Thanks, Anonymous! Those of you who are plugged in to similar information about these parishes are again implored to get your two cents in.

The National Catholic Reporter mansion

In response to those who were asking me about my description of the National Catholic Reporter offices as a "mansion," I'm posting a picture or two that I took as I drove by the other day and happened to have my camera. That's exactly what it is; there are a number of old mansions on Armour Boulevard which have been converted to not-for-profit offices, and theirs is one of them.

"Mr. Fox, we'd like to hire you to tend our chickens..."

Well, it would have been very difficult for the Holy Father to have been more wrong on an appointment that we was on this one (unless perhaps he had brought Rembert Weakland out of retirement)...

...Wuerl appointed to replace McCarrick as Archbishop of Washington...

Wuerl has a
long and shameful history, which includes, among other things, public statements that suggests he'll be pimping and pandering to the pro-death crowd in Washington and attempting to silence those few Bishops in fly-over country who have the courage to insist that even those Catholics who wield secular power be subject to unambiguous moral teaching. Unlike our own Bishop Finn, Wuerl is rather highly thought of the folks at the National Catholic Reporter, which says a great deal, doesn't it?

The people of Pittsburgh have reason to rejoice; they get a new Bishop. The people of the Archdiocese of Washington....well...who really cares, outside the Beltway? Unfortunately, the Washington see has gained more prominence that it deserves, lately outshining that of Baltimore, so rest of us have to look forward to exactly the wrong kind of man in the Washington bully pulpit.

Yes, I was wrong last month in
taking comfort that such rumors are rarely true. Now it's we Midwesterners have another reason to start praying extra hard that the Pope will at least return the Washington red hat back to St. Louis where it belongs, for more reasons than one.

Mistakes will be made in the best pontificates; let's not forget Pio Nono's false start, which can probably be compared to Benedict's pandering to the Red Chinese. But let's pray that this is the last major one for a while. So far, Benedict's early episcopal appointments look a lot like John Paul's early episcopal appointments, and that's nothing to cheer about.

Sunday, May 14, 2006

Mrs. Curmudgeon's favorite quotation

Over the last few days, Mrs. Curmudgeon has been repeating this quotation, rolling her eyes, and giggling to herself:
Beste said the announcement did not surprise her. “I didn’t think he would keep a woman as a vice chancellor.
I like the next bit, too, with Sister Jean's presumption that she'd still be able to stay inside and keep the chancery populated with Distorter-reading types:

“But,” she continued, “I just presumed that I would continue with human resources. But in the course of the very brief conversation, he said he was going to hire someone else” for that job, too.
God Bless Bishop Finn. Hopefully the positive reaction he received in the wake of this article will give him the courage to keep the shakeup going, and maybe speed it up a bit.

The Tissier de Mallerais interview, Part 3

Part 3 of my comments on Steve Heiner's interview with Bp. Tissier de Mallerais of the SSPX has been indefinitely postponed, due to local news; i.e., the Finn article in the National Catholic Reporter. The doings of my own Ordinary, and change in momentum that he represents, has been quite a (positive and pleasant) distraction. Any change in momentum here, however slight, is worth dwelling upon.

When I do get back to the "Situation" (in two weeks, perhaps?), I want to focus on the reaction to that interview, especially on those particularly sympathetic to the SSPX, because I think there's a lot to be reflected upon there.

Martha's story

In the flurry of activity following the National Catholic Reporter's piece on Bishop Robert Finn, one of the longtime parishioners of Our Lady of Sorrows, who is now part of the Oratory finally established by Bishop Finn, wrote a long comment to a post on the subject on a neo-Catholic blog, but her comment was deleted due to excessive length. Indeed, her message was much too long for a blog comment. However, that message is worth reading for its own sake, and it was forwarded to me. I've obtained Martha's permission to post it here.

I originally had intended to simply share some excerpts from Martha's stream-of-consciousness email, but I think reproducing the whole thing, beginning to end, gives the reader a better sense of what it must have been like to be an ordinary pew Catholic the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese during the Sullivan and Boland eras, when the diocese, awash in "social engagement and lay empowerment" was run by those great functionaries, Beste and Noonan, who are championed by the Distorter. I haven't independently verified any of Martha's facts, and I can't say I agree with some of her opinions, e.g., that New Wine "is a good program." However, we see in her email a woman who (somehow?) didn't lose her faith as she saw the "Catholic identity" of this diocese being viciously attacked, its material patrimony discarded, and it being transformed into (if I can reuse a phrase from last week) a big-tent, non-judgmental social service agency. Enjoy the read:

Hello,This may be kinda long. I was going too do this yesterday, but life got in the way.If you have no interest in what I have to say in support of Bishop Finn, that is fine. Delete away. If you do not agree with me, that's ok too. I saw major holes and half/truths in the article. I'm not sure I will remember all I said - but I'll try.

If you want to read the article I am writing about go


It printed out to 18 pages on my printer.Ok first off, ..."'Perhaps nowhere in America has the transistion from a church focused on social engagement lay empowerment to one more concerned with Catholi identity and evangelization been more dramatic, or in some ways more wrenching, than in the Kansas City-St Joseph MO., diocese since the appointment of BIshop Robert Finn".

That is the opening line to the article by Dennis Coday. hmmmm wrenching? I'd say things in the diocese have been "wrenching" but long long before Bishop Finn came along.

In the late 80's parishes in the inner city of Kansas City were asked to make plans on combining into "clusters". The parishes would use the same priests, continue much of their individuality - but share ministries - religious ed for children, St Vincent's De Paul, merge for week day Holy Masses. The people and our two priests worked things out. Our 4 little parishes were doing well. Then the chancery said we had to make new plans because of the priest shortage not all of our parishes could remain open. We were going to have one priest to serve us. There were other "clusters" formed thoughout the innercity given the same instructions.

We had meetings and meetings. There were also meetings going on about consoilidation of the grade schools. Loads of tears, hard decisions and envolvment with all members and school parents. The decisions were presented to the chancery.

Bishop Sullivan was a very sick man by 1989. He had put his total trust into Sr Jean Beste, Sr Marion, Fr Pat Rush, George Noonan (and others) to make these decisions for him.

A large meeting was held at the former St John's Seminary for the leadership members of the churches and schools involved. ALL the churches concerned would be closed. The school committee had made their decisions - now the schools they wanted left open - could not stay open because the chancery team closed the churches attached to them. Of the churches they allowed to remain open, were to be renamed and each person from the various churches would be told where to attend - oh and your envelopes will arrive soon. The churches were closed after Christmas. The one school without a church finished out its year with an nonfunctioning church.

So, what about the stuff in the churches? Lots of altars, pews, lights, kitchens, books, vestments, you name it. Sr Jean and Sr Marion had an auction! Yes a farm auction complete with a food vendor outside. All items Blessed, nailed down were sold to the highest bidders. I only know of the Stations of the Cross from Holy Trinity going to a church for free. Some members took them down and took them to a church in Mexico were they had none. A lady bought a marble bapitsmal font to put into her yard for a birdbath! Another bought the wooden poor box to put by her door for a joke. A man bought the Altar of Missouri granite for his dining room. The stained glasses windows (which were the Joyful and Glorious mysteries of the Rosary) were sold not as a full 3 story window, but in sections - again to the highest bidder. St Jude in Oak Grove has some of the smaller windows from the choir loft. But they had to bid high. Even the marble on the sides of the walls was taken off and sold.

To top it off the auction was held on a SUNDAY! The Gospel reading for that day was the one where Jesus is in the Temple raging about the vendors and money changers. It wasn't the Gospel read that weekend in the surviving churches. We had a banner of "You have made my Father's house a den of thieves" across the lawn of the rectory next door. We protested, ladies walked back and forth in front of the church saying the rosary. Some people left the auction in disgust.

The KC Star and other weekly newpapers wrote about the closings and the auctions. Some churches from all over came on a chance to buy pews, the pipe organ or old vestments, old members came to get a piece of their former life at the church and people worshiping Satan came too. They admitted to the papers they were going to use the vestsments they bought in a Satanic rituals.

The sisters Jean and Marion were coming before the auctions to log in items. They got to St Stanislaus (a Polish church) and the members had cleaned it out. Items went back to families' homes, to priests and nursing homes. The sisters then rushed to Holy Trinity only to find members doing the same things. Trunk loads of hymn books were taken to ship to Fr Glenn Maux (spelling here sorry Fr) mission in Hati. The nuns ordered the items to be taken back into the church. Some were going to the surviving church who needed them. The sister had to unload the truck themselves.

Some of the churches closed were in bad finanical shape, but the ones that had money were willing to share and work together in our plans for fewer priests in the innercity. The church we were told to attend the roof leaked, the choir loft was unstable for people to get into, had large debt and just needed tons of repairs to the church and the rectory. So, our parish with the fixed roof, full kitchen and hall (which the other did not have - nor a bathroom) everything in decent shape was closed in favor of the other church.

This is the chancery staff that stayed in place with Bishop Boland after Bishop Sullivan retired. Bishop Sullivan came to hear confessions at the surviving church, the people had been lied to and disregarded in the whole multiyear process. Most people did not blame the Bishop for the decision, they blamed his choice of leadership and total trust in them. He was brought to tears many times.

While the inner city churches were focusing on a plan to save themselves and their communities. The diocese took over Our Lady of Sorrows from the Franciscans. They could no longer meet their monthly expenses, even as frugal as the order is. The ceiling leaked, the stained glass windows need repair, the pipe organ was unplayable, broken pews, crumbling plaster you name it was happening. Membership was way down. So in June of 1987 Fr Alexander Sinclair was assigned to Our Lady of Sorrows. Fr Sinclair began what he does at every parish he is assigned to, goes out into the neighborhood. The neighborhood has changed a great deal from when the parish was build in the 20's on that spot. Hallmark cards corporate headquarters surrounds the church, in fact they take care of the grounds. The hospitals, Truman (former General) and Children's Mercy have grown and taken many homes. Fr Sinclair went to the hotels just blocks away and struck a deal with them to allow the church van (which came from Holy Trinity) to pick up people to come to Mass, he began a youth group (the juvenile center is just a block or two away), began RCIA.

Then the Holy Father John Paul II allowed the 1962 indult Mass. People asked Bishop Sullivan for a Latin Mass in the diocese. Finally he agreed and put the Latin Mass at Our Lady of Sorrows in 1989. The Latin Mass people came, increased numbers, brought their checkbooks and talents. Sections of the roof began to get repaired, plans could be made for future repairs. The Hallmark and sounding businesses came to daily Masses. Fr Sinclair is a very social kind of priest. He began having an annual Fall Festival (OctoberFest). Food, drinks, carnival games for the kids (prizes donated by Hallmark), A St Joseph Day Table and Pasta meal. Our Lady of Sorrows became more alive each year. The OctoberFest continues to this day, giving all profits to charity.

Next priest Fr Carney brought his "fans" from his prior parish, more Latin Mass people came. The Pontifical Choir of Kansas City was kicked out of the Cathredral by Fr Pat Rush, because the Cathredral wanted to use piano, drums, guitars etc at the main 11am Mass - not the huge pipe organ and full voiced choir. So the choir came to Our Lady of Sorrows, they paid for and repaired the pipe organ, brought their fans from the Cathredral and sang for free. The Former Fatima Choir also made its home base Our Lady of Sorrows and provided music for the Latin Masses (for free) - and alternated Midnight Mass with the Pontifical choir. The parish grew and grew.

Fr Tom Wiederholt came and resumed the RCIA that Fr Carney disbanded, held more social events and involved himself more with the Latin Community. He continued to attrack members and repair the church. Now OLS no longer has a full time Pastor. We are sharing Fr James Shea from Our Lady of Perpetual Help - Redemptorist Fathers. When Bishop Boland announced his retirement, he stated he wanted to live at Our Lady of Sorrows rectory, which left no room for a priest. The is the first time in all of the more than 100 years OLS does not have a full time Pastor. I never see Bishop Boland at Mass, nor does he say any daily Masses. I see him drive into the garage and hear him upstairs when we are in the hall below for choir practice. Now the parish is back to it's 1920's glory, No leaks, no broken pews and money in the bank.

Our Lady of Sorrows and St Patrick's Oratory

Bishop Finn and the former Bishops have received loads of letters from the Latin Mass Community asking for their own church, their own priest (instead of sub priests to say the Latin Mass) for years. Also, people have written wanting the Latin Mass go away and get with the times.

Bishop Finn decided to give the Latin Mass a church and a priest. Yes, the church is Old St Pat's and 8th & Cherry. The building is in pretty bad shape. Needs new pews, Latin Mass Altar, communion rail, new heating system, window repair, tuckpointing, new floor, organ and hymn books - and I am sure a bunch more. The priest is Fr Denis Buchholz from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest - The Institute is well known for taking even burnt shells of churches and making them in their past glory for the Latin Mass. There should be some before/after pictures of their other churches. Bishop Finn went to Italy to visit their seminary to see if they would be a fit for our diocese.

Old St Pat's has not been a traditional Parish since the 50's it has been a "branch" of the Cathredral which is called an "Oratory". St Pat's had a daily Mass and one Sunday Mass. The priests, musicians and repairs were from the Cathredral (just a few blocks south and west @ 12th & Broadway). Bishops Helmsing, Cody, Sullivan, Boland and now Finn have been the "Pastors" of Old St Pat's. This in nothing new. The author makes it out to sound like the Bishop is a King taking possession. Yes, he told the Latin Mass Community "I am your Pastor" yes, I was there. But, no matter who would belong to Old St Pat's - he would be their pastor. It is called Old St Pat's because another St Patrick's was established north of the river some years ago.

To pull the Latin Community from Our Lady of Sorrows, was a decision he made, yes. But it is one that Bishops Sullivan and Boland have been asked by ROME to make for years. Bishop Finn is being obedient to the requests of both Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI. Why didn't the author mention this? I thought that Bishops were supposed to be obeient to Rome - as we are supposed to be to them?

The $250,000

The Latin Mass Community saved Our Lady of Sorrows along with Fr Sinclair of becoming another innercity church biting the dust. It you count up all the $ the Latin Mass Community has donated, the hours and hours of volunteer work on repairs since 1989 - they have contributed well over the $250,000 the Bishop is asking from OLS. The Latin Community since this past October has their own set of envelopes for St Patrick's Oratory, but they pay OLS rent to use the church for Masses, buy their own hosts, easter and other candles. They are not freeloading off OLS.

The money

Our Lady of Sorrows has $1.5 million on deposit (savings account) with the diocese. In the hole or very little in 1987 to $1.5 million now. This parish has the MOST money of any parish in the diocese. Even if they gave the money requested to St Pat's they STILL would be the parish with the most - except for the parishes having huge campaigns for building projects. The church charges non-members to use the church for wedding $1200. Two weddings a weekend. All year except New year's eve and other holy days. Yes, people even are allowed to have marriages during Lent. Members have a certain $ amount to conrtibute in their envelopes to use their own parish for a wedding. The total money is envelopes, outside donations, weddings, interest and wills. They earned about $270,000 in interest since 1990 (per office manager's report a recent parish wide meeting).

Old St Pat's is the oldest Catholic church in the area. It has huge historical value. The diocese over the years has done just enough for it to be used limited and the roof not to fall in. To learn more about St Partick's Oratory go to this site: There are pictures of the work being done at Old St Pat's and goings on in the parish.

New Wine, Adult Education

The New Wine program is like a laity program like many orders have for lay people - Oblates are ones that comes to mind. With the priest shortage, it is necessary to use lay people for some things. One priest can't do it all. It is a good program. But it hasn't been updated or reviewed since it began.

Bishop Finn is looking at the entire program HIMSELF. New Wine is a multiyear program. He wants to be sure of all the adult religious education in New Wine, RCIA are in line with Rome and be sure of the content himself. He may make changes, he may come up with an all new program. This program has been through 2 Bishops' tenure, to look over the programs does not seem out of line for a new Bishop.

Children's religious ed

I am a certified catechist for the diocese. The diocese pushes certain texts and publications, just like they do hymn books (gather). When I was at Our Lady of Peace (former St Stephen's) we chose not to use the texts the diocese wanted and meeting with our priest we selected another set. When it came time for First Confession and First Holy Communion - our kids understood more than the kids being taught by a nun all year with a nun for a principal using the diocese reccomended texts. The priest told us the difference was remarkable. The two year program for confirmation that begins @ 14/15 is a joke. My oldest son learned nothing, other than the lady conducting the class had a thing for one of the teens in the class! Great. I conducted the class for my middle son with another lady and a priest. A world of difference! And we received special permission to make it a one year program from Bishop Boland.

Bishop Finn is seeing what is happening in the school and parish level with the children as well.Shouldn't he make himself aware of what is going on in his diocese, rather that depend on the former staff who have done as they please?

The Catholic Key to the News

First off the Key is NOT a private publication. It is the organ of the Bishop to provide written communication to the people of the diocese. Parishes share what is happening with them, events, announcements etc. Each Bishop has been in control of the KEY. This is not new. Mr DeZutter is an employee of the KEY. Bishop Finn is responsible for the content of the KEY. Bishops Sullivan and Boland had off hands relationship (I guess). The comment Mr DeZutter made about the Bishop at his birthday party with his silly birthday garb - now wouldn't you think the Bishop was joking when he said "You're not going to put this picture in the Key are you?" Mr DeZutter tells it like the Bishop is censoring. Oh please.

When the Kansas City Star changes owners or Editiors doesn't it change? Wouldn't any boss of a publication want their stamp/flavor on the work? I used to work for the Federal Government. Every adminstration, things changed. That is the way it is when you get a new big boss.

The author and some of the people quoted act like there will not longer be a layman activity in the diocese. Did the Bishop bring in about 50 priests? Are the schools going to be filled with nuns? I didn't notice any difference in still needing lay persons to do many things in the parishes and schools. There will still be religious education for non catholic school kids, confirmation for teens, RCIA for adults, the poor to clothe and feed (St James Supper Club), floors to scrub, music to be played and sung for Masses (still some of us do it for FREE), youth groups on and on. I do not see the need going away or the Bishop doing away with the lay programs.

The staff who left - I was hoping that Bishop Boland was going to clean house years ago. sadly he didn't and the same ol same ol happened again.

More inner city churches closed. Churches who were told in 1990 that they were safe and wouldn't have to go through the pain as the others. Many people in the next round were refugees from the 1990 closings. Did you know there were no auctions the next time? hmmmm. My husband wrote a letter to Pope John Paul II in Polish to tell him about the auctions, the blessed items going to the highest bidder. He didn't cry about our churches being closed but about the auction and how we were all treated by our diocese. We did sent a copy in Polish to the chancery later. We have no idea if the Holy Father interveened or if they translated the letter. But nontheless - there were no auctions.

Fr Richard Carney, said the new Bishop "came with an agenda". Fr Carney used to be the Chancellor and was a priest at OLS for a while. He never said the CREED at Mass. He told me that "we are all Catholics here - we know why were are here, we don't need to say the creed". I found that very weird.

I agree that Bishop Finn has an agenda. And he should. Anyone who is taking over a job such as his has to have an agenda, a plan. He was here as co-adjunctor for visiting all the parishes he could, he lived in a parish in the city. People talked to him, gave him letters personally, had him over for dinner. He had a good idea of what was going on in the diocese before he was formally installed as Bishop.

There is another lay program in the city that began with the churches that are all now closed - it was called the Kansas City Organizing Project. They train people to become Community Leaders, to challenge the local govenment for change. This developed into the Church Community Organization. I was on the board of KCOP and a member of CCO. Sr Jean Beste was also on the board. She thought the people being upset over the closings in 1990 was silly. They should get over it. When you lose your home and are lied to - well that's kinda tough. The CCO lost almost all it churches in 1990, they went through some hard times and have come back very strong. The CCO, handled gang problems with the police and city council, worked with Jackson County to design and work on the 1/4 cent drug tax to combat drug dealers, close houses, educate youth, jail time and rehab time, getting stop signs, sewers fixed, curbs all those things people in neighborhoods in the city need. The CCO sends people out for community leadership training for a week. I got to go to a sisters convent outside Los Gatos in CA. CCO isn't just Catholic churches anymore, many other churches and community groups joined in to be a voice for the people in the neighborhoods.

I have always been a politcally and commmunity involved person. I firmly believe in challenging those in positions of power. To challenge is not to butcher as the author did of Bishop Finn. To challenge is to ask, why are you doing this or that, what made you come to your decision, what is your vision - not to tear down that person, but to find the answers you seek and see that they carry them out. You can give suggestions and comments.

This article was full of half truths, misquotes and huge omissions. If the author had given the history of what has happened, about the Holy Fathers' requests, the real story behind Our Lady of Sorrows/St Patricks Oratory - it would have been a better piece.

With what he did people are still asking why did the Bishop do this? What are the reasons behind this? What is his vision? How dare the Bishop take control of the Key! Our Lady of Sorrows will be left pennyless!

More questions and more misinformation is now out than before.

I don't know if I have all I had before. But, this is what ya get.Thanks for reading my long long response.


A tough night for the Curmudgeons

Mother's day evening was a struggle in the Curmudgeon household, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth for no good reason. The final battle of the evening was precipitated by a crack I made after taking our garbage to the curb, which garbage had sat an extra week because the garbage truck came two hours earlier than usual last Monday and I missed it.

When Mrs. Curmdugeon asked how gathering the garbage it went, I said, within the eldest's Curmudgeon's hearing, "I should have called [Eldest] out; she likes baby animals; she could have seen some baby flies."

And yes, Eldest started looking for some shoes, and cried for nigh-on twenty minutes because she couldn't go outside and see the maggots.

On Hallowed Ground

I finally figured out my problem with Mr. Culbreath's blog, On Hallowed Ground, which he writes from the pagan hills and valley of northern California (no it wasn't a substantive problem; it was just a manifestation of my technical incompetency). I wondered if he'd given up the blog; it had been many, many weeks since I'd seen anything posted.

It turns out I had a problem with my blog reader. I've got him fed properly into my blog reader now, and did some catch-up. I greatly enjoyed his most recent post, the entry for May 12, the sixth anniversary of his profession of faith at the FSSP apostolate in Sacramento.

I first read the old profession of faith and abjuration of heresy that Mr. Culbreath made in my Baltimore Book of Prayer some time ago, and thought how inadequate the current formulas are when compared alongside it. Just one reason, among many, that most of us know so many people who go through the newfangled RCIA programs and are received into the Church, only to move back to heresy and schism when the particular mood or particular person that brought them to the door of the True Church passes.

All this reminds me, also, of something I heard on Catholic Answers last week, or maybe the week before. Someone called in with a question about the status of their marriage. They had been raised Catholic, left the church as an adult, been "married" by some layman--a protestant minister or judge--and then returned. The "apologist" was asking "Were you a Catholic when you got married?"


Well, let's see.... If one is baptized in the Church, one is Catholic, no? Perhaps there's no culpability in one's being carried into schism and heresy by one's parents before the age or reason or before one's Confirmation, but one who is baptized Catholic is always Catholic (whatever they do and whatever disabilities they impose upon themselves), right? Now, then, someone who is raised Catholic, or who is received into the Church can't cease to be a part of her, and cease to be (ultimately) subject to her jurisdiction by leaving of one's volition, can one?

Point #1, if issues regarding the validity of a marriage aren't addressed prior to one's reception into communion,what are we to say about the system of formation customarily received by converts? (I know, the same thing lots of people have been saying about ever since it was introduced by Bernardin's Boyz in the USCCB and phased in across the US; it's of the Devil).

Point #2, what are we to think of the Catholic Answers people's attempt to blur the lines? And if they're not blurring them; if one can really, truly, LEAVE the Church, let's see some clear proof the the contrary (preferably something straightforward and written prior to the 1960s, when "pastoral" somehow became an antonym of "doctrinal."). If that's the case, and I'm feeling lucky, I can quit, go be a "prosperity gospel" televangelist for a few years, get rich, and come back home to the bosom of Holy Mother Church--no harm / no foul........Cool!.............Or not?

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Christ the King, Kansas City, Kansas

The current church for Christ the King , at 3024 North 53rd Street in Kansas City, Kansas, was built in 1954. It replaced an earlier church perhaps 200 yards away, which has since been converted to school use. I could not find a cornerstone or a date on the old church. Note that the new church has the "shark gill" stained glass windows that aren't visible to the congregation except when returning from Holy Communion. All and all, this one isn't much of an architectural treasure--it was big, and it was contemporary in its day. That's all I'll say.

Choir practice was going on when I was in this building (it was a Thursday a couple of weeks ago) and so I was able to round up the kids, slip inside, and take a couple of interior shots. Alas, with only the sanctuary lights on, and not enough light coming through the windows in the dying day, only one interior shot turned out.

The neighborhood is fair, as Wyandotte County goes--not a lot of ethnic character like the eastern WyCo neighborhoods feature, but not a lot of gang-land-type blight, either.

Feel free to chime in with any interesting history on this parish or this church building. As for the's being served by the same priest who's taking care of the novus ordo part of Blessed Sacrament (the rap-for-redemption crowd) and also St. Rose of Lima. Like all the other parishes in the 'Dotte, this one is theoretically eligible for the pastoral wrecking ball, but (and this is just me guessing) I doubt it's on the secret closure list that the Archbishop and his consultants must have prepared; after all, it's geographically distant from any other parish, and frankly, it's just too newfangled to be closed.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

On the Bishop and Old St. Patrick's

Reflecting on the three negative comments about Bishop Finn that I did see in my perusal of various outlets, two of them were about the Distorter's report that Bishop Finn asked their current host parish to donate $250,000 to the Old St. Patrick Oratory restoration campaign. I don't know much about the Oratory, but I know enough to address those two objections:

Objection one: Wow, how could a parish simply give away that kind of money? Won't that cause them to neglect needs of their own?
Answer one: The parish, Our Lady of Sorrows, does have that kind of money to give; although small, it is one of the oldest parishes (having its origins in Ss. Peter and Paul) and widely known to be one of the wealthiest ones. It's also one with a small, recently rehabilitated physical plant, no school, no major capital expenditures in the forseeable future, and not really that many people in the pews for the English Masses (the ones that are being largely the sort of folks who read the Distorter, I would gather, but that's not at issue here).

Objection two: It's not fair that parishioners of one parish should have to give money to support the establishment of another parish!
Answer two: Fair? First of all, what's the big deal about redistribution? When secular governments pick wealthy pockets, the Distorter partisans call it "social justice," don't they? When rich suburban parishes send money to inner-city "Catholic" churches where they carry on in newfangled, protestant-like services, it's called "supporting domestic missions," isn't it? Anyways, it doesn't sound like it was coerced, and when a parish splits in a growing area, things are handled in a similar way all the time. What makes it fair in those cases, and in this case, is that the break-away parishioners contributed, in the years before, to create the surplus. In this case, the Latin Massers dropped checks into the collection baskets at that parish for about 15 years, giving far more in regular collections than the $250,000 requested now, and despite that support, they weren't treated like regular parishioners--rather as tenants at will--the entire time they did so. Likewise, the Latin Massers contributed to the substantial rehabilitation of Our Lady of Sorrows a few years back; they've sown seeds, and they're entitled to reap some of the grain.

So anyways, nobody has any reason to think there's anything funny about the Bishop's request for Our Lady of Sorrows parish to help out on the Old St. Patrick's restoration (which request, by the way, may or may not have been fulfilled--I don't know). Nor does anybody who might otherwise be inclined to donate to the cause in conclude that they don't need your help now that they have some money from Sorrows. They do need help! They have thirty or forty years of neglect to repair, and 125 years of natural aging to address, in addition to replacing all the beautiful furnishings that were thrown out to make way for the styrofoam altar and stuff that the liturgical vandals defiled the building with in the 1970s.

Unintended Consequences

Perhaps it was considered over at the National Catholic Reporter, but dismissed as unlikely (after all doesn't everyone think like they do?): by devoting most of an issue to Bishop Finn and his programs, they're going to make Finn a hero of right-thinking Catholics everywhere, and they're going to draw attention and support to him.

So far, at least in my little world, they've done just that, and more. I may have seen three negative comments out of hundreds that have appeared in the various media outlets I've surveyed (admittedly my survey didn't include typical outlets frequented by the Commonweal reading, brie-eating, Jesus-was-a-married-Marxist crowd. Among those who pay attention to matters of Church governance, Finn's name is now certainly mentioned in the same breath as Olmstead and Chaput.

Reports from Old St. Patrick's Oratory are that website traffic has tripled since the Distorter article came online. Hopefully donations have gone up as well.

We won't know for several years what positive effect the Distorter's efforts will have on local vocations. Bishop Finn's status as one of the Distorter's nemises will surely help stop the bleeding of vocations from Kansas City into more othodox dioceses, but success in that venue depends mostly on whether the Bishop follows through on his program of re-Catholicizing the diocese and takes step to guaranty a solid, straight formation for aspiring priests. If he does that, he could even turn this diocese (like Lincoln) into a magnet for young men who have vocations that can't be realized in their whacked-out home dioceses. We'll see.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Ah HA!

My new friend (for now), Wolftracker, has tracked back a hit on his new blog, referred via my old blog, from the offices of the National Catholic Reporter. I've poked the bear!!!

More on the Bishop Finn article

This morning on the way to the office, I stopped by the National Catholic Reporter offices and picked up a few copies of the May 12 edition, in order that I could see the sidebar articles that weren't free online and the photographs. My friend, Orville Dishwater, asked me to pick up a copy for him, too; he couldn't bring himself to set foot in the place (but, oddly, he was happy to let me go in for him!).

Hmm. Not much of a mansion inside; they've given over what must have been a beautiful house to worn commercial carpet (I don't remember the color, but it must have been bright green or orange) odds and ends of decades-old office furniture, lots of awards on the wall from their fellow-travellers at the Catholic Press Association, and cheap panelling. They're trying to keep the Seventies feel alive in the building, so they can keep the seventies feeling alive in their publication, I guess? They seem to be a nervous lot, as well. I was actually pleasant (it's much easier for me in person than online) and didn't suggest at all what my sympathies were when I asked for three copies of the May 12 issue. The woman who assisted me asked if I'd read "the article" online and I said "oh, yes," and her hands shook as she gave me my change. Go figure?

Anyways, I emailed Orville that I had his copy (which I carried to him in a plain envelope, like I was smuggling contraband) and we exchanged thoughts via email. When we met on the street after work, so I could pass on the package, he, like my commenter Wolftracker below, explained to me why he thought the article was harmful. He reminded me that the Distorter was distributed in church vestibules across the United Statesto little old ladies and uncatechized high schoolers and others who didn't know any better, and that there were people who might actually pick it up, not having formed an opinion of the Bishop or the Distorter, and buy into what editor Tom Roberts and reporter Dennis Coday were selling.

From first reading the article yesterday, my thought was that it did nothing but vault the Bishop into the class of Olmstead, Chaput, Bruskewitz, Vasa, and make him a national figure--which is a good thing for Kansas City (until the Pope takes him away from us, of course).

I told Orville that I was struggling to come up with worthwhile things to say about the article; the thing really spoke for itself--the basic facts of the shakeup being true (and thanks be to God that they are) and the spin being exactly what one expected from the progressive peanut gallery (or perhaps just a little bit more). Orville suggested that one ought to spend some time and some keystrokes on it nonetheless. So I will, over the next few days. It's a shame to draw attention to the Distorter, but if in so doing we talk about what Bishop Finn is accomplishing, it's certainly worthwhile.

One final note or two for now. Being curious to see what other bloggers were saying about the piece, I did a search, and uncovered Todd of Catholic Sensibility, the professional music minister or liturgist in a big, newfangled south Kansas City parish, once again lamenting (as he contemporaneously with Finn's reshuffling) that the Bishop didn't give the Sullivan/Boland era chancery staff a year or so more to undermine and stymie him. Finally, while I may have flipped through a Distorter at some point in the last decade or two, I don't remember much about it. I was struck today by the Distorter's advertisements. Oy vay! Here I was looking for maybe a coupon from TAN or Ignatius Press, or maybe a Holy Land pilgrimage with Fr. Mitch Pacwa S.J. or a European Cathedral tour with Fr. George Rutler, but there was no such thing. Instead we had ads peddling books by Ann Rice (who I thought wrote vampire books) and Charles Curran (who I thought was the dead adulterous CBS Sunday Morning host), other ads soliciting interest in "interfaith seminaries," and another announcing a 3-day conference featuring (among others) Sister Joan Chittister called MYSTICISM EMPOWERMENT & RESISTANCE. And of course, I can't avoid just showing you this one:
You also have to love the Distorter's own article debunking of the Da Vinci Code, which includes the observations by Sister of St. Joseph Christine Schenk (director of FutureChurch, with degrees in theology and midwifery): "If Jesus was married, it wasn't to Mary of Magdala..." and "Unfortunately, our church has yet to catch up to the vision of Jesus, who loved, empowered and accepted the ministry women but was probably not married to one." [emphasis added].

More to come.

Church tour, via Rome of the West

Those of you who are tuning for my part of the Kansas City rant against the National Catholic Distorter, are just going to get there via a little detour.... St. Louis, where Marcus Scotus, takes us on a tour of St. Francis Xavier (College Church) at St. Louis University....

Wow! How come the Jesuits haven't wrecked the place entirely? Somebody in the new order of the old order fell asleep on the job if they kept this beautiful building mostly intact!


New Kansas City Catholic Blog

Well, about a week ago, another Kansas City Catholic hit the blogosphere with a new offering,

I had planned to wait a few weeks and let the man get a number of posts up before I brought him to everyone's attention, but with the NCR piece on Bishop Finn out, I'm going to jump the gun and introduce him as another Finn supporter, and a fellow who has endured the pain of being domiciled in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph for all his life, which is most of the insane years in which the same sort of people who bring us the Distorter have been using our diocese as a great big laboratory, experimenting to see if they could change the Church from our Lord's means of saving souls into a big-tent, non-judgmental social agency.

Welcome aboard, Wolftracker! I'm sure we'll agree on things 95% of the time, but we'll devote our energies on the other 5%.

Monday, May 08, 2006

It's out! The National Catholic Reporter Attack in Bishop Finn.

One of my correspondents emailed to me this evening, and I've spent the last hour reading, National Catholic Reporter's (National Catholic Distorter's) long-anticipated article criticizing Bishop Robert W. Finn's short but successful governance of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph.

The title, subtitle, and first two sentences capture the spirit of the article:

Extreme makeover: the diocese
New bishop quickly discards programs, people
By DENNIS CODAYKansas City, Mo.

Perhaps nowhere in America has the transition from a church focused on social engagement and lay empowerment to one more concerned with Catholic identity and evangelization been more dramatic, or in some ways more wrenching, than in the Kansas City-St. Joseph, Mo., diocese since the appointment of Bishop Robert Finn.

Finn has brought the diocese, for decades a model of the former category of church practice, to a screeching halt and sent it veering off in a new direction, leaving nationally heralded education programs and high-profile lay leaders and women religious with long experience abandoned and dismayed.

How happy to read the shrill hysterics of the losing side! I've dreaded the coming of this article for several weeks, but instead of it discouraging me, it's inspired hope and joy. Say what you will about some of the things Finn has written that perhaps Bishop Guiseppi Sarto may not have, and some of the things Finn hasn't done yet that Bishop Curmudgeon would have ordered the day Boland's resignation was accepted (including, but not limited to, giving the Distorter staff the choice of leaving the Diocese or removing the word "Catholic" in the name of their rag), but nobody--not even a foaming-at-the-mouth sedevacantist who thinks Finn is still a layman--can say Finn is on the wrong track if he's getting such flack from the "progressive" peanut gallery.

More comments to follow, but for now, let's leave it at this: God Bless Bishop Finn!

Where is Part 3?

Part 3 of my response to Stephen Heiner's interview with Bp. Tissier de Mallerais was only tentative for some time. I intentionally declined to read the myriad of responses to the interview on the internet before I posted my own, simply so that my reaction could be wholly my own.

Once my comments went up, I began to slog through the pages and pages of responses, from sedevacantist to neo-Catholic, and decided that there will, in fact, be a part 3 to my post, which will consist of a commentary on those responses. However, as it will take some time to pull them all together, don't look for Part 3 until some time this next weekend, at the earliest.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Copyright Notice

Just so the folks at The Wanderer know, and aren't tempted to paste almost my whole post into their newpaper, write a few paragraphs of introduction, and call it a news article, the work in this blog is Copyright 2006 by ME. If you want to use this in your newspaper, like you used my friend Ian's work on Nobis Quoque a few weeks ago, you need to send me a check for it, and you need to include the parts where I'm critical of Mr. Likoudis as well. Email me if you're interested.

Ah, it's nice to be back to a good internet connection--yesterday and this morning I was out in the countryside, where the digital satellite broadband connection was exceptionally slow due to heavy cloud cover. Now I'll go back and fix some typos, and provide links Mr. Heiner's work....

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Turning Now to the SSPX . . . (Part 2)

(Part 2 of 2 or 3)

Yes, like a true pragmatic American, corrupted by John Dewey, I'm going to scold Bp. TdeM and his confreres for being impractical. I'm only partially corrupted, though: I don’t hold that pragmatism is a principle that should ever guide a Catholic. I do, however think that pragmatism has tactical value to everyone, Catholic, heretic, or infidel.

I presumptively believe that everything Bp. TdeM says about Fr. Ratzinger's theology papers from the 1960s is correct. I will not suggest that any of the substance of what his Excellency says about the Church in the wake of the Council is wrong. Of course, some of it may be; I'm not wise enough or well-informed enough to say so for sure. I think that, in substance, the Bishop’s criticism of the orientation of Vatican II and modern Rome is directly on target—in substance. But frankly, the Bishop and the Society will never win over modern Rome--they'll never be able to DO ANYTHING about modern Rome by shouting about those errors from the outside in.

Forgive the pedestrian analogy to a business or political committee, but one cannot stand in the door of a conference room while the hopelessly misdirected committee members meet, shouting "You're WRONG WRONG WRONG!" and expect that to do any good. Turn the tables: If you were on that committee, would you be moved by such a rude interloper (even if the interloper was right)? Of course not! One can’t fire criticism into the room thinking that those inside will somehow appreciatively respond by magically finding the correct course on their own. If one wants to successfully, productively intervene with such a group, one has to smile (even if there's nothing to smile about), take a seat and join the group. And when one does sit down, one cannot expect to be handed the gavel immediately and take over as chairman. One must be patient, put up with a little nonsense, work from the committee’s status quo and treat the other members with deference (even if they don’t merit it), and without losing sight of one's objective and without compromising one's principles-- quietly, calmly, and discretely work, over time, to redirect the committee's efforts so that, when the group is moving toward the right goal, and the other members feel that the resolution and redirection is of their own making (even if it isn't).

Your Excellency, frankly, you and your most vocal confreres are now standing at the committee room door and shouting about the heresies written by Fr. Ratzinger under the influence of heady drug of 1960s progressivism, and you're shouting about the evil fruits of Vatican II. The substance of what you’re shouting is probably right, but you will not move anyone by it. You will make no progress, no progress, in restoring and rehabilitating the Church Militant by conducting yourselves in such a manner; you will only make yourself hoarse and eventually, lose your voice completely.

Yes, Fr. Ratzinger may have postulated errors some decades ago in his academic work, and no, neither John Paul's Grand Inquisitor nor the current Holy Father have formally abjured them. But what will your dwelling on that accomplish? You yourself admit that the Holy Father is not currently advancing those same errors, right? The Holy Father is not in the position of making an obstinate denial of religious Truth; he is not a heretic. One cannot expect the Pope, or any other mortal (short of perhaps our Blessed Mother or St. Joseph) to respond positively to the manner of accusations you’ve resorted to. You don’t really expect the Benedict to publicly recant errors he has presumptively long-abandoned based on the denunciation of what most Catholics view as a suspended, disobedient and presumptively excommunicated auxiliary bishop, do you? (If you answered "yes," please keep rereading the question until you answer "no". Remember that being correct in your denunciation is not enough). You're not going to change the Pope or the Curia or the pastoral orientation of the post-conciliar Church by shouting—even by shouting the truth. By being so direct and confrontational, you only raise others’ defenses and reinforce the modern status quo. You’re not going to get any closer to a position where you and your confreres can have any direct positive influence and play a more meaningful role in restoring the church and saving souls in the larger Church Militant. The statements repeated in the Remnant do nothing to advance; and in fact do much to impede, the counterrevolution.

Your Excellency, some saint whom I can't name right now once said one must speak the truth, but always sweetened with charity. This is no time to compromise any of the truths you and the Society have admirably preserved throughout the Modernist storm, but it's a time where there's a particular call for the sweetener of charity. Add some humility and prudence to your truth. It is time for you and your confreres in the Society to start measuring your words more carefully, and picking your battles more strategically, and approaching the current opportunity for reconciliation practically. This may be an opportunity for the Society to take the battle inside and to the heart of modern Rome, as it were. It’s a battle the Society and its friends can and will win, but it will never advance if by denunciations and accusations presented in such a manner as you, Bp. Williamson, and others; it will cause the open door to be slammed in your face.

Your Excellency, the finest theologian may be the worst diplomat and the worst governor. If it is not in your nature to play the role that must now be played, we suggest you remain silent and allow your Superiors, Bp. Fellay and Fr. Schmidberger, play that role, or appoint a delegate who can play that role.

As much as we all dream of a Pope who will stand at the window of the Apostolic Palace and wipe the last forty years away, we cannot expect it to happen. Vatican II will not be abrogated. God willing, it may be abandoned over decades or centuries, but it will not be abrogated. One can point out and maintain the imprudence of Vatican II and the pastoral orientation and disciplinary laxity that followed it, and one can keep the Society and its adherents inoculated against the Council, and one can even participate in moving the church "beyond" the Council and back to a traditional pastoral orientation, but one cannot make the Council go away. By attempting to do so in the same manner in which you attacked Fr. Ratzinger's forty-year old academic work in your recent Remnant interview, you and your brethren actually prolong the post-conciliar storm. By being a little more shrewd, you and your brethren can actually cause the storm to pass over more quickly and be in a better position to clean up the disorder.

So PLEASE, your Excellency, and PLEASE fellow members of the Society, recognize the latest outreach as an opportunity for a strategic reconciliation---and a strategic opportunity to infiltrate the modernist Church. Yes, protect yourselves with guarantees of autonomy and retain control of your assets, in case someone in Rome pulls a "1411" on you, but take the opportunity that may be presented to you now, measure your words carefully, and take your battle for souls to the next stage.

Turning now to the SSPX.... the Tissier de Mallerais Interview (Part 1)

(This is Part 1 of 2 or 3)

About a week ago, the Remnant published Stephen Heiner's interview of Bishop Bernard Tissier de Mallerais of the Society of St. Pius X. Mr. Heiner is an occasional correspondent, and so he was kind enough to give me a "head's up" about the upcoming interview with Bp. TdeM. Unfortunately being an amateur Catholic and a professional something else, I couldn't/didn't capitalize on the opportunity he gave and prepare commentary that was more-or-less contemporaneous with the publication of the interview.

Just as well. In the intervening week I've had a chance to reflect upon the interview some more.

Now, over the last few months, as my readers know, I've gone on and on about the neo-Catholic response to a potential reconciliation—specifically about how the Wanderer crowd and the Catholic Answers crowd are doing all they can to poison the well against the Society and keep a reconciliation from coming to pass by erecting obstacles in the path—disingenuous reports from sedevacantist circles packaged so as to reflect on the SSPX, amplification and distortion of certain sound bites carefully picked from larger, less confrontational statements by SSPX leaders, etc—obstacles that aren't necessary, and obstacles that they have no right to erect. I've come to the conclusion that the neo-Catholics' lack of charity and refusal to show any understanding of the complexity of the "Situation" (simply parroting "obedience, obedience, obedience" without really figuring out what and whom one is to obey and how many levels of disobedience are a factor in creating the Situation, and without considering what IS and what IS NOT at stake) is done in bad faith and for bad motives. Otherwise intelligent and insightful people have no excuse for not further exploring the Situation and coming to a constructive understanding of the Society's position, even if they don't ultimately agree with it. These people must have an agenda—and I wonder if it's fear that the traditionalist counterrevolution, when energized by an SSPX regularization, will make their current niche and status in the Church, at least in this country, irrelevant. Simply put, I've come to the conclusion that their irrational and uncharitable attitude towards rapprochement with the Society is based on fears that they'll lose market share.

While I've been ranting and foaming at the mouth at Paul Likoudis, Jimmy Akin, Ed Peters and Company, I've also been looking for the right opportunity to turn the tables a bit, and talk about how the SSPX, or at least certain persons on the SSPX side of the divide, are at fault in their own handling of themselves in light of a potential reconciliation, and where they will have failed if the opportunity presented by the current circumstances does not come to pass. I've wanted to do so, not in any way to lessen the culpability of the neo-Catholics, nor simply to be a curmudgeon, but in the spirit of a thoroughly unqualified mediator, to show each party where it can move towards a resolution without compromising the substance of its position. Bp. TdeM's statements in Mr. Heiner's interview, particularly, towards the end of that interview, are just such an opportunity.

Let me begin with my usual disclaimer (perhaps drawn out a bit more than usual). I am a liturgical philistine who came to the old Mass late, and slowly. I am a public school kid with typically 1970s catechesis (i.e., no catechesis), and with no formal training in theology or canon law. I am a layman and obviously not a member of the SSPX, nor am I a formal or informal adherent or member of one of their chapels. I am one of those naïve and compromising indulters. That being said, I recognize that my indult is precarious, and I would not have it now but for the actions of Abp. Lefebvre in pulling together the remnant and leading traditional Catholics in the shipwreck of the Sixties and Seventies. I also recognize that, but for the continued SSPX presence in Kansas City at St. Vincent de Paul, and at the old Jesuit seminary in St. Mary's, there would be no FSSP apostolate in Wyandotte County or at Maple Hill, and no ICRSS Oratory at Old St. Pat's. I am grateful for the perseverance and love of our Holy Mother the Church that Lefebvre and the Society priests have, and for the fruits that they have brought forth that directly benefit me and my family. I understand their hesitation to come back into a regular canonical situation, given that their brethren who did in so 1988, to form the FSSP, have been double-crossed on several occasions and (to this day) work under disabilities that are inconsistent with the promises they originally received, and given that in the wake of the Campos reconciliation, Bp. Rifan and his men seem to have been neutered and put on a leash. I would not think it outrageous if the Society said, up front, that it fully intended to go back to irregular status, assets intact, if something like Protocol 1411 were attempted against them.

However, just as any adult child recognizes the faults and shortcomings in his own ancestors, even as he gratefully enjoys what they have wrought for their progeny, I recognize the faults and shortcomings in the Society, particularly as those faults have manifested themselves in the last several months. While I have never seen or heard a statement from a responsible member of the SSPX which suggests bad faith or bad motives for their hesitation and their criticism of the status quo, I clearly see that the enemy has his great weapon, pride, at work with the Society as it is with all men. However, since pride is not a remarkable fault, being so common, it is not what I want to focus on in my criticism. Rather, I want to talk about the a basic ignorance of human nature and the basic ignorance of social forces and (yes) politics which the Society has demonstrated.

To be continued tomorrow (or maybe later tonight)....