Thursday, January 08, 2004


When Chris from Maine Catholic and Beyond first asked for nominations for Catholic of the Year I suggested Mel Gibson, almost half in jest. When others listed their nominees I felt they might be better choices. When the final list of nominees was posted I checked it and read the question 3 times just to make sure and then I voted for Mel. I was stunned to see Mel in the lead, with 55% of the votes at the time. The more I thought about it the more I was convinced – Mel Gibson, of Lethal Weapon, Mad Max, Braveheart and Signs fame, had the greatest impact on the Faith during 2003. No other person stimulated such discussion about Catholicism or the Faith. Barbara Nicolosi hit the nail on the head in her interview on Godspy:

“When I was watching The Passion I thought, in this particular moment, where we're coming out of the priest sex scandal and all the rest, the Church in a slumber -we've negotiated terms with the world in every quadrant, we've just settled in. We're not leaven in the dough, we are the dough. We're mostly indistinguishable from "the world" in so many places, in every profession. All of a sudden this movie comes out.”

Mel is doing exactly what Vatican II called Catholics to do: take our faith into the modern world and act as leaven. I believe the film is doing that even though it was not released in 2003. The irony of a man who returned to the faith through the pre-conciliar Mass is not at all lost on me. It says more than anything about the state of the Church. What other Catholic was so public with their faith?? What other Catholic took the faith into their public work with such success? (Barbara Hall with her Joan of Arcadia, Maggie Gallagher, Rod Dreher, Fr. Fessio, Deal Hudson, Tom Monaghan, and Peggy Noonan are the only others that come to mind). If the question was worded differently I would have made another choice, but I believe the person with the most impact for the year was Gibson. Mel has sparked more debate on things Catholic than anything else this year and therefore I think it is right that he won this poll. The other person who should have been nominated, and I only thought of this now, was Tom Monaghan. By announcing the creation of Ave Maria University he has given hope to many that a truly Catholic University will be built. This has sparked some grumbling by the Catholic University establishment and, as Martha would say, that is a good thing.

One more comment on the Passion movie -- I think what some Catholic critics are really worried about in this movie is the public, outright, unabashed, total and traditional Catholicism in it. These types seem to me to be self-hating Catholics who do not want any type of traditional Catholicism in the public view except if it has been filtered through a politically correct lense.

Monday, January 05, 2004

Several St. Blog's parishioners have mentioned the assignment of Reg Cawcutt to a parish even after all he has said and done. Perhaps the only thing that will get him out of the priesthood for good is if he says a Mass in Latin - it seems this Church is only interesting in keeping the bad priests and not the good ones. The Secret Agent Man has a great post on this situation.
I just received the January 2004 issue of Crisis Magazine and it has the article by Danny DeBruin about his time with the Long Island Voice of the Faithful. The article is not yet online. Just as I thought the local group is tilted toward those who support dissent. Every invited speaker that the article (or the group's own website for that matter) lists is a dissenter. The article also mentions the talk given by the sex abuse survivor that I just posted. The author makes the same point I did about the group doing a good job by inviting this speaker and supporting abuse survivors. If they would just disavow dissent and support Church teachings fully, then the group would be legitimate and do good work, maybe even as good as Roman Catholic Faithful which has had real success in getting rid of bad priests and bishops.

Another point the article makes is that many of the VOF people were or are being educated by the seminary or the "Pastoral Formation Institute". This is part of the problem in this diocese - after so many years of faulty teaching being promoted by the same Bishop McGann who shuffled around abusive priests - these places are no guarantee of a good Catholic education.

One thing the article does not mention is that many Long Island Voice of the Faithful members supported Fr. Papa. This priest had porno site cookies (including child porn sites) on his computer in the rectory. In fact the group has not called for this priest to resign or to never be assigned to another parish. This is because he supported VOF. How is this priest a "priest of intregrity"??

Sunday, January 04, 2004

For the third week in a row I attended the traditional latin Mass - which is a record for me I believe. For the second week in a row there were two seminarians from the Fraternity of St. Peter assisting at the Mass. The Mass was the Most Holy Name of Jesus and the Gospel was perhaps the shortest I have ever seen:

"At that time, when eight days were fulfilled for the circumcision of the Child, His Name was called Jesus, the Name given Him by the angel before He was conceived in the womb."