Thursday, April 03, 2003

I just read the Synod Page of our diocese and I am not hopeful. It sounds like the Catholics who wrote the hopes and concerns for the Synod are a bunch of morons. God help us all. If the Synod does not emphasize orthodoxy and get Catholics to restore Catholicism and a Catholic culture, then we are doomed. I, for one, will be watching carefully and will keep in mind the SSPX chapel that is out east on this island.
During the Jubilee Year 2000 Bishop McHugh asked every priest in the diocese to be available for confession on one specific night. We have had this Diocesan Day of Reconciliation ever since. This is a great thing- you can go to any parish so it is easy to find a place to go and you might feel more confortable going to a place where you don't know the priest.
After posting the item about my bishop, I hope I don't have to eat my words. I just found out a new auxiliary bishop has been named-Paul Walsh. I don't know anything about this priest but hopefully he will be orthodox.

I am not at all naive about the bishops but so far, I like our bishop, he has said some good things that this diocese needs to hear. We had terrible leadership from Bishop McGann for many years and Murphy is left with the mess, but being blamed for it as well. People forget that it was McGann that transferred pedophile priests from parish to parish. It was McGann who promoted dissident priests and child molesters while ignoring, persecuting or blackballing orthodox priests. McGann also invited Richard McBrien to speak to all the priests of the diocese which speaks volumes. McGann also wanted to shut down the Prolife Office of the diocese but was convinced the prolifers would “riot”. Instead, after many years he effectively shut the office by merging it with the Office of the Family. (Murphy recently reopened the prolife office). McGann did nothing to stop a local “Catholic” college from inviting a very prominent pro-choice person from speaking on campus. He promoted many people who were anything but orthodox and did not care that the seminary was a joke. My purpose here is not to condemn a dead man, but to make it clear that this diocese has many problems that are the result of bad, unorthodox leadership. Bishop Murphy, much more inclined to orthodoxy, although just as much a part of this “hapless bench of bishops”, is being blamed for all the things that McGann created and supported. He came here at a very rough time. Bishop Murphy was officially installed September 9th, 2001, and two days later 400 of his flock were murdered by Muslim fundamentalists. It is hard to describe what it was like here with funerals going on all the time, for neighbors, classmates and friends. Someday I will try to post about that. Shortly after that, the Church scandals broke in the secular press. Then, a Catholic priest and parishioner were shot to death at a Mass by a very sick man who neglected to take his medicines. When Bishop Murphy first arrived, he was quoted as saying that if the seminary here did not operate according to the dictates of the Catholic faith, it would be shut down. Strong words that I hope he meant, because even though the seminary has improved of late, shutting it down and sending our seminarians to better seminaries would be wonderful. He also called for a diocese synod which MAY be a good thing provided it is done correctly. He also made a statement that he wants to see the salaries of Catholic school teachers, particularly at the grammar school level go up by $10,000. This would make their salaries just, and still below the public school level. The salaries for teachers in Catholic grammar school are jokes. (My sister taught at a Catholic grammar school until she was able to get a public school job thanks to a kind and wonderfully professional nun who informed her of the opening). Murphy also allowed the traditional latin Mass to be held weekly rather than monthly, while McGann reluctantly allowed the Mass to be held twice a month in run down chapels. Murphy is also inclined to support the more orthodox priests, nuns, and laity, even inviting a group of Benedictine nuns from Africa to establish a convent here. Murphy invited Fr. Benedict Groeschel to speak to all the priests, which speaks volumes. I don’t know what Murphy did or did not do in Boston, but he has certainly gained my respect here on Long Island. With this type of attention to orthodoxy, this diocese could recover from the problems of the past, and I hope we do so soon.

No more blogging until Sunday-I am going on retreat this weekend with Fr. Benedict Groeschel. Anyone interested in hearing Fr. Groeschel can go to Kellenberg High School on Sunday, April 6th at 1:00 pm. He will give 2 talks and then celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass. Admission is free and all are welcome.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

This sounds cool- from an email I received from the folks at the NY Love and Responsibility group---

Greetings from New York!

We are planning in this great city a birthday present for our Holy Father,
John Paul II, who will turn 83 this May 18th, a Sunday.

In his honor, we are organizing "Birth Day" -- a celebration to be held in
Bryant Park, located behind the New York Public Library on 42nd Street, just
one block from Times Square.

"Birth Day" is not a celebration of the Pope's birthday in particular, but
rather of birth itself. Birth Day's four-fold theme is:

1) birth is good for the person born
2) birth is good for the mother who gives birth
3) birth is good for the family the child is born into, and
4) birth is good for the world!
We will begin "Birth Day" at Noon with the celebration of Mass in the park.
Then, we'll have music, talks, activities for the whole family, and a
Guinness Record attempt for most candles on a cake. For young adults, there
will be a mixer at Bryant Park's outdoor cafe.

How can you help?

We are looking for additional organizations to join us as Birth Day
"co-marketers." We're also looking to add to our list of speakers who can
give great, short talks on the above four-fold themes. Anyone with a talent
for organizing activities for children is also be much welcomed.

Also, any financial assistance you can offer would be very much appreciated!
Donations in support of Birth Day can be made on-line at:

We encourage those of you living outside New York City to either join us for
the day...or to organize a Birth Day celebration of your own. Would you
dare try to beat our Guinness Record?

Our ultimate aim with Birth Day is to inspire an annual, widespread
celebration of birth, to be held each May the Sunday after Mother's Day,
which this May also happens to be the Pope's birthday!

Tuesday, April 01, 2003

Joseph Varacalli in Bright Promise, Failed Community Catholics and the American Public Order:

“Much of the individual success of Catholics in America, as such, has come at the expense of either abandoning or privatizing the Catholic faith, or in other cases, redefining it to mean something else, as in the case of much of what passes for ‘liberation theology’. Furthermore, such a trade-off was, in many cases, sociologically unnecessary. It was the result of ‘resentment’, that is, accepting the definitions of reality of one’s own anti-Catholic oppressors, rather than out of any (alleged) intrinsic requirement to abandon the faith (e.g., in order to become a scientist or sociologist) or extrinsic political or status consideration (e.g., in order to move into the cultural center).”
To this scholarly analysis, I could only add: Yes! Yes! Yes! Do you know how many times I have seen in writing or heard Catholic people act like they had to prove that they really did not believe what the Church taught in order to be accepted by the intelligentsia???? Many lectures I have heard or articles I have read are Catholics trying to prove themselves to unseen critics that they are not Mary-worshipping, statue-crazed, rosary-praying, abortion-hating, Jesus-believing fools. My local parish has an ongoing lecture series whose speakers have been all apologizing for the Church’s teachings rather than explaining them. This is why I am attracted to traditional Catholics, they teach, explain, live the faith without compromise, without apologies, and without fear.

Monday, March 31, 2003

Is it me or has Aerosmith gotten better with age??? It seems for rock, this band has lasted the longest while still putting out solid, blues based rock. Although I am a big fan of the Rolling Stones, Time is definitely not on their side.
Msgr. George A. Kelly spoke at the conference by the Nassau Center for Catholic Studies and made an interesting point. He said that the world (and Church) was made up of Lions and Foxes. The lions built things up, created things and took chances that involved risks. Most of the great pre-conciliar Church was built by lions. Once things are established, people become weaker, corrupt, lazy, satisfied, etc.. and the foxes come in and attack when they sense this weakness. This is what happened in the Battle for the American Church. The dissenters are the foxes who have ravaged every apostolate built by lions. In Kelly’s words the Church has become “foxy”. I am sad that he will probably not live to see the day when the next generation of lions rebuild the Church, sometimes from scratch. The so-called scandals have hopefully awoken the lions of the Church to action, rebuilding apostolates, restoring parts of our tradition, and also tearing the foxes apart.

Sunday, March 30, 2003

Just for the record, (and before Nihil Obstat notices), this blogger always puts two spaces after a period at the end of a sentence. For some reason, some of the posts get crunched together and there seems to be little space between sentences. I have no idea why this happens, I don't know code, I just type things in Word and then copy and paste them into blogger and hit publish.
The Diocese Report posts this newspaper article about John Blewett, the managing editor of the Latin Mass Magazine. This is one of my favorite magazines and they are thinking of changing their name since they about more than just the Latin Mass. I support this idea, they are a great magazine of Catholic culture, and one need not be a traditionalist to enjoy the writing.
I have caught a few glimpses of the EWTN Lenten program Peter: Icon for Lent with ArchBishop Timothy Dolan. Although I have not seen much of the program he comes across well, with a very natural style and is obviously in love with the teachings of Christ. Milwaukee is lucky to have him, and they deserve him for all they have been through.
Sister Immaculata Ryder, one of the nuns in Mother Angelica's monastery, died of cancer at the age of 47. Rest In Peace.
Saturday was a great day. First I went to the Catholic Social Thought, Social Science, and Social Policy conference at Nassau Community College. The two day conference had about 40 speakers and all the presentations were based on contributions to a major encyclopedia that will be published in about 2 years. The conference took place all day on Friday so Saturday was just a half-day, but featured some great speakers. I was able to hear Bill Donohue of the Catholic League who was, as expected, funny, absolutely right on in his analysis, and feisty. He talked about the difficulty in defending the Church from wrongdoing while many in the Church were doing so much wrong. He even said he would never be the Church’s waterboy meaning that he will never defend the bishops or priests involved in molesting children or covering it up. Unfortunately, his talk was only scheduled for 30 minutes with no time for a Q/A session. I also heard talks by Dr. Thomas Woods (The American Progressive Era) and Dr. Thomas Drolesky (Americanism Within the Catholic Church), both traditional Catholics whom I have heard before. Woods talked about the progressive era rejecting any form of dogmatic absolutism in any area of life, although many Catholics were able to take the best of the progressive ideas and apply Catholic thought to them. Drolesky, as inspiring as ever, spoke about the dangerous trend in American history, of Catholics, even some bishops, rejecting the teachings of Rome. I also heard Father Edward Krause from Gannon University talk about Social Darwinism. He spoke to me at lunch and I realized he was the host of EWTN’s Becoming Catholic, which I have not seen but will have to check out. Monsignor George A. Kelly from St. John’s University also spoke and was funny and depressing at the same time. I did not realize when I first saw the conference program that he was the author of the important book The Battle for the American Church (Revisited) . Listening to him talk of the ideological battles of the 60’s and 70’s was heart breaking, but his wonderful humor helped. Walking slowly to the podium with his cane, he said “I am so excited by that introduction I can hardly wait to hear what I have to say”. He then opened his talk with the best opening line of any I have heard: “Some time after Vatican II, the Church went to hell”. The final address was by Bishop William Murphy on “Rerum Novarum Today”. His idea was that just as the idea of a Just Wage (taking into account a person’s needs) replaced the old simple notions of wages (agreed upon value), today the international trade in the global economy should take into account the needs of the poor and the developing nations rather than simply on profit. Sounds good to me. He greeted people individually and spoke to people before he gave his presentation but unfortunately I did not get a chance to talk with him. I would have liked to thank him for making the traditional latin mass a weekly thing, even if I don’t go to it every Sunday. There were other good speakers I haven’t mentioned but the whole day was interesting, orthodox, and stimulating. I don’t take notes at these types of things so I hope what I have written is accurate. The food was good also, which is always a plus with me.
After the conference ended, I went home and was able to play with 2 of my nieces, age 1 and 3 who were visiting. Playing with blocks, the online Blues Clues safety game, and horseyback rides with 2 kids climbing on you is better than even the best academic conference any day.