Thursday, September 29, 2005
For interfaith couples who have chosen to raise their children within Judaism, problems with regard to not baptizing their children arise because traditions do not die easily. It would not be uncommon, for example, to have a relative, perhaps a grandmother or grandfather, who might be very upset that the baby is not baptized.
Got that? The problem is simply: "traditions do not die easily."
I mean, don't even consider the notion that, perhaps, grandma and/or grandpop might actually, sincerely, (albeit misguidedly) believe that Catholicism is the true faith, or that Jesus (Jesus? Who's that?) is the Messiah, or any of those charming but outmoded "traditions."
The main thing is that We All Get Along. Here. On Earth.
Yes, yes, I understand that the article was allegedly written to reassure folks that unbaptized children aren't necessarily forbidden Heaven.
Actually, I'm not worried about the kids, so much as the parents.
Along, of course, with the author of the piece.
Incidentally, did you catch the scathing, open letter by a minister and a rabbi to Archbishop Sean O'Malley?
Though we are outraged by the treatment of Father Cuenin, we offer our concerns as people of faith appealing to your conscience. Even as you have the power to remove a priest from his parish, you also have the power to reinstate Father Cuenin as pastor of Our Lady's Parish. Walter's integrity, common decency, love of God and humanity can help heal the wound inflicted by this action of the Archdiocese of Boston. Who will repair your reputation if this shameful act of vengeance is permitted to stand?
Talk about chutzpah.
Still, as outrageous as the "letter" is, it isn't really shocking. After all, what do the co-authors know about Catholic doctrine and Her hierarchical structure, other than what their Good Friend the Catholic Priest instructed them?
Wednesday, September 28, 2005
From the Newton (Massachusetts) Tab:
Hundreds, perhaps even thousands, of supporters of Rev. Walter Cuenin are expected to march this Sunday on Archbishop Sean O'Malley's residence at the Boston Chancery in protest to the removal of the popular pastor and archdiocesan critic.
Coupla problems here.
One -- duh -- the Archbishop' residence isn't at the Chancery. It's at the rectory of my parish church in the South End...at the opposite end of town. Good planning, folks!
Two? This Sunday, if history repeats itself, thousands will march all right...for several miles. In support of the right of babies to be born. The Cueninites supporters' timing couldn't be worse.
Three: Father Cuenin doesn't want, or doesn't seem to want, all the hoopla, thank-you-very-much. From the same paper (I'm nothing if not lazy in collecting links):
"Nothing is going to change the decision," Cuenin said afterward. He said he was pleased with his parishioners' support, but he did not want to encourage protest against the archdiocese.
Did somebody mention that old nag...the "influential" group once known as "Voice of the Faithful(sic)"?
From the head honcho, Jim Post, in an email letter to anybody who happens to subscribe seriously to such tripe (which is not to dis my source...she's on the list, as most people are, for laughs and to pass the stuff on to lazier people like me):
In Boston, Fr. Walter Cuenin, an outspoken and much-admired priest, has been dismissed as pastor of a parish on trumped up charges of financial impropriety.
Let's be careful, Jim. "Trumped up?" If you were taken seriously, you might get yourself in trouble for your own allegations. As it is, relax. You're not.
Sunday, September 25, 2005
So he wrote Archbishop O'Malley.
He received, in early July, from former interim Archbishop and current Vicar General Richard Lennon this reply.
Bill sent this letter, along with an explanatory note, to Lisa Wangsness of the Boston Globe. I hope she reports it and the paper prints it. As Bill put it:
"The removal of Father Cuenin was years overdue. I hope the archbishop makes it clear that a financial technicality was not the reason that Father Cuenin was removed, lest it seem that his (Father Cuenin's) unwillingness to uphold the moral teachings of the Church is of secondary importance."
Again, please remember to pray for Father Cuenin and his former parishioners.
Saturday, September 24, 2005
Friday, September 23, 2005
From "The Pastor's Corner" in this week's Our Lady, Help of Christians bulletin:
One of the hallmarks of this parish is its hospitality. We
try to welcome all people. As I often say at Christmas
and Easter “We welcome divorced and remarried,
single, never married, happily married. We welcome
gay and straight and Catholics who are devout and
Catholics who are barely holding on.” We have made a
special effort to welcome gay and lesbian persons and
their families. The parish is blessed to have many
couples, some now legally married, as members of the
community. They come on Sundays and are raising
their children in the faith. Their marriage seems to have
been a good experience for them. It doesn’t appear that
anyone’s marriage has been threatened or compromised
by the 1800 gay marriages that have already taken place
in the past year. There are, however, those who are
opposed to gay marriage including the Massachusetts
Conference of Catholic Bishops. They are encouraging
Catholics to sign a petition for an amendment that
would define marriage as a union of a man and women.
Some see this as a good way to protect marriage.
I am placing at the doors of the church the forms the
Archdiocese has sent for those who may want to sign
and register their opposition to gay marriage. But we
will not do any signing of petitions in our church as we
follow that rule for all issues. Catholics differ on these
matters and we need to respect the rights of all.
Wherever you as an individual may stand on this issue,
we must do all the we can to work for the dignity of gay
people and for the protection of their rights. They must
always feel welcome in our community.
Please pray for this priest and his parishioners. And for the Archdiocese of Boston, as long as you're at it.
P.S. The thing, darn it all, is that I didn't use any subterfuge in getting this. The parish regularly uploads its bulletin every week.
I don't know...it's almost as if Father ("call me Walter") Cuenin is deliberately baiting his superiors -- in this case, Archbishop Sean O'Malley -- for what? Attention?
It certainly isn't the first time Father Cuenin has bucked Church teaching publicly. He's known for it. It's his bleepin' trademark for Heaven's sake. Yet nobody in charge seems to stop him. Why not? It's bewildering to me because I care about him and his parishioners. Of course I do! We're supposed to care about the welfare of each other, spiritually as well as physically.
Who's taking charge of the spiritual health of Father Walter Cuenin and his flock?
By the way, you can, if you want, get the entire bulletin in PDF format, by clicking here.
(And I apologize for the long "P.S.")
Wednesday, September 21, 2005
Matthew. Creepy tax collector, turned disciple, turned apostle, turned evangelist, turned martyr, turned saint.
Maybe his conversion wasn't as spectacular as, say, Saint Paul's. There was no "blinding light," no thundering words, no drama.
Just two words: "Follow me."
But, as the priest at today's Mass reminded us, Matthew wasn't a mindless robot. In today's Gospel, (Mt 9:9-13) written by this same man, inspired by God, we learn that Matthew did more than follow Christ. He invited his fellow tax collectors and sinners to his house for a meal, to come and "sit with Jesus and His disciples."
He invited sinners like him and like me and perhaps even like you to expose themselves to God made man. And then trusted Jesus do the rest.
Frustrated with a bishop? Scandalized by his words or behavior?
We can rant. We can rave. Perhaps sometimes we should do so.
But we can also ask for Saint Matthew to intercede on this bishop's behalf.
And we can also imitate Matthew by simply leading our fellow sinners to the presence of Christ...and then trust Jesus to do the rest.
Monday, September 19, 2005
There is, of course, no obligation to believe in the miracle of San Gennaro's blood. As the article indicates, some people believe that the liquification occurs due to shaking the vial containing it, or by the warmth of the holder's hands.
(Maybe so, but it'd be kinda tough, I'm thinking, to keep up the farce for hundreds of years.
And, on the other hand, scientists have examined the vial's contents, have determined that it is, indeed, blood, and are at a loss to explain why it liquifies on certain days...and on other days, it does not.)
If the liquification is, indeed, a miracle, what does that mean to us? Why does the Lord allow such things?
I don't know. I doubt very seriously that what occurred in Naples today would move a staunch atheist into sudden conversion.
And I would hope that, were the miracles to simply stop, that the people of Naples would not lose their faith.
Maybe that's all it's really about: faith. For me, the event at Naples only seems to remind me that my faith isn't really my faith -- it's a gift from God to me. And that for the good of my soul, it seems sensible to pray that it increases. "Lord, I do believe...help me in my unbelief."
Saint Januarius, bishop and martyr: pray for us.
Sunday, September 18, 2005
"The following questions are provided as a guide for the Visitors. In drawing up their Report for the Holy See, they should follow the eleven headings indicated below. A particular question need not be addressed if the Visitors deem it to be inapplicable, although some questions -- as indicated in the text -- must always be answered. Furthermore the questions are not to be considered exhaustive. The Visitors are to use their judgement when carrying out the individual Visitations."
Out of the approximately 56 questions in the document, only 6 "must be answered." Here they are:
- Is psychological testing employed in the admissions process? If so, give full details.
- Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution?
- Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary?
- In the judgment of the Visitors, does the seminary provide adequate formation that will enable the seminarians to live celibate chastity?
- Are the seminarians capable of dialoguing, on the intellectual level, with contemporary society? Do their studies help them respond to contemporary subjectivism and, in particular, to moral relativism?
- In particular, does the seminary check for the presence of impediments or irregularities for Holy Orders (cf. CIC can. 1040-1049; CCEO can. 762-768), especially in the case of late vocations? [Kelly note: the answer to this question must be "full and detailed."]
There is little doubt in my mind that these are important questions, and certainly should be answered as unambiguously as possible.
What is vaguely troubling to me, as I've indicated before, are the questions that "need not be addressed" if the "Visitors" deem them "inapplicable."
Questions regarding faculty members dissenting from the authoritive teaching of the Church, seminarians participating in daily Mass, frequent opportunities for Adoration, frequent reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation, devotion to Our Lady...all of these and more are left to the discretion of the Visitors.
It could be, of course, and I hope it is, a reasonable directive. As in:
"Well, it's obvious to me that there's no dissent going on here, so we'll just skip this one."
It could be.
Here's the document in .pdf format. Thanks to Amy for the link.
Saturday, September 17, 2005
("you're a cynic, Kelly")
...but, by and large, I've often felt that people who "walk" for causes or wear "ribbons" for causes are pretty much saying to the world:
I Care More Than You Do.
Hey, I could be wrong. But consider this.
In the Diocese of Lansing, Michigan (my home state), Catholics are asked not to participate in this year's "CROP" walk. Why?
Because the event organizer, Church World Service, spends a portion of its money on condoms to fight HIV and AIDS in Africa.
"We don't think Catholics should be entangled with organizations that support activities contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church,'' said diocese spokesman Michael Diebold.
Makes sense to me.
So does this:
"The church has a clear position,'' said the Rev. Brendan Walsh, pastor of St. Joseph Catholic Church in Dexter. Artificial contraception "is against the natural order of how God intended man and woman to procreate,'' he said. "It's putting hand of man where hand of God belongs.''
However, this doesn't:
Still, Walsh said, his parish will participate in the walk and designate the donations for Catholic Relief Services, a charity arm of the Catholic Church that organizes disaster aid around the world.Again...can't they just get together and send a bleepin' check?
¶"Is there a clear process for removing from the seminary faculty members who dissent from the authoritative teaching of the church or whose conduct does not provide good example to future priests?"
¶"Is the seminary free from the influences of New Age and eclectic spirituality?"
¶"Do the seminarians or faculty members have concerns about the moral life of those living in the institution? (This question must be answered)."
¶"Is there evidence of homosexuality in the seminary? (This question must be answered)."
I smell a problem. If the second two questions "must be answered," that presumes that the first two are optional. And that's all wrong, in my view.
Shouldn't the issues addressed by the first two questions -- dissenting faculty members and whacko "spirituality" -- be at least of equal concern than the second two?
Thursday, September 15, 2005
The date following the Feast of the Triumph of the Cross was set by Pope Pius X. At that time, the day was called the "Feast of the Seven Sorrows of the Blessed Virgin Mary." While the name is now shortened, it is a good thing, I think, to reflect on these Seven Sorrows:
Simeon's prophecy at the Presentation
The flight into Egypt
The loss of the Child Jesus for three days
Mary meets her Son on the road to Calvary
Jesus dies on the Cross
Mary receives the dead Body of Jesus
Jesus is laid in the tomb
At the Cross her station keeping,
Stood the mournful mother weeping,
Close to Jesus to the last.
(A chaplet devotion to Our Lady of Sorrows can be found here.)
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
The feast actually commemorates two different celebrations.
First, we celebrate the finding of the True Cross by Saint Helena (mother of Constantine) in the year 320.
We also celebrate the return of the True Cross to Jerusalem in the year 627. It had been stolen by the Persians some six years earlier, and its return was, naturally, a cause of great jubilation.
At my parish Church, two huge opposing stained glass windows depict both events. The second one is my favorite...it depicts a story well worth remembering as we recall the divinely humble obedience Christ showed on the Cross we celebrate today.
It seems that, after the return of the True Cross, the Emperor Heraclius, wearing his kingly robes and regal crown, tried to carry the Cross into the temple. Instead of accomplishing this, he found himself utterly paralyzed. Seeing this, the Jerusalem Patriarch Macharios urged the Emperor to humble himself as Christ had done, by removing his imperial vesture. Heraclius did this (the window shows the Emperor in green underclothes, his royal garments piled on nearby steps) and entered the Temple with ease.
According to one account, "all the faithful desired to see the Cross of the Lord and to venerate it." The Patriarch Macharios "took the Cross onto a raised platform and lifted it on high, `exalting' it, for all to see. The people fell to their knees, bowing down before the Cross and crying out repeatedly: `Lord have mercy!'"
Since that time, the feast has been observed by the Church "in all parts of the world, for which reason it is called the `Universal Exaltation.'"
We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee,
Because by Thy Holy Cross, Thou hast redeemed the world!
Friday, September 09, 2005
I read this in a commentary on today's Gospel (Luke 6:39-42). Jesus talks about "the blind leading the blind" and asks that amazing question: "Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your eye?"
Which brings me to my own "Confessions."
I don't know about you, but I can stand just about anything from another person except a lie. I hate lies, and make no bones about it.
What makes this really weird is that I'm a great liar myself. Oh, don't get me wrong...I don't lie about "important" things (although who am I to say what's "important" or not?). It's more like a nasty habit...like using the "F" word when you blow a tire, or your cat jumps into your bowl of fresh pasta.
Mostly my lies are stupid and unnecessary. Worse, sometimes I actually feel virtuous about my lies.
For example, let's say I see a girl wearing an attractive dress. Or a guy sporting a very cool necktie.
Now I could just say to the girl, "hey, nice dress!" Or to the guy, "great tie!"
But I find myself -- often! -- "enhancing" my compliments. Rather than just offering a compliment on said dress or tie, I'm likely to embroider a bit, as in:
"I saw a movie with Meg Ryan wearing a dress really similar to yours, and you look tons better in it than she ever did."
"You know that tie you're wearing? I swear I saw that same pattern in a Brooks Brothers catalog and the model wearing it doesn't even come close to looking as good as you do right now."
Couple of problems with the above examples...in the three Meg Ryan movies I've seen, I've never even noticed what she wore. And I not only do not peruse Brooks Brothers catalogs...I don't even know if they issue them.
You're probably asking yourself one of two things:
1.) "Why am I reading this bilge?"
2) "So? What's the harm?"
I can't answer Question Number One, but I can tell certainly address Question Number Two.
The answer is, since I'm a liar myself, I tend to look for lies in others. And that's no good. It's a habit as bad as, or even worse than, lying. "It takes one to know one" might be a terrific adage, but I'm doubting its veracity. (There I go again!)
So, under the "What I Learned Today" list, is simply this...I've gotta stop with the lying. No lie is harmless, no sin benign.
Because if I don't stop, I'll never quite stop seeing flaws in others (while oblivious to my own defects.)
Thank you for reading this. Personally, I think you're the best reader since...uh, never mind. But thanks!
Thursday, September 08, 2005
Wednesday, September 07, 2005
(09-07) 18:16 PDT SACRAMENTO, (AP) --
For Assemblyman Simon Salinas — a moderate, middle-ground hugging Democrat — deciding how to vote on the gay marriage bill was a stark proposition.
"On the one hand, the people have voted for Prop. 22, they've said that marriage is between a man and a woman," Salinas, who is eyeing a run for higher office, said Wednesday. "On the other, I've always been a strong supporter of civil rights. Sometimes you just have to make unpopular decision. I just figured it was time."
Why do I get the feeling that someobody's pulling my leg, here?
Umberg, D-Anaheim, is running for Senate in Orange County and said he came to his decision after being turned off by the overblown rhetoric on both sides.
A Catholic, Umberg said he felt pressure from his church and was urged by Orange County Auxiliary Bishop Jaime Soto to oppose the bill.
Good for Bishop Soto!
"He said that the majority of my constituents do not support gay marriage, and he hoped that I would not succumb to the more extreme elements who were supporting the bill," Umberg said.
Uh...okay, Excellency, but did you tell him that it was also against Catholic teaching? What does the "majority of constituents" have to do with it?
(Although to be fair, the AP story is quoting only Umberg...not Bishop Soto.)
Ah, but here we have the real influence...
In the end, it was his 22-year-old daughter, a senior at Stanford, who made the most persuasive argument.
"She told me to think of what it meant in terms of history," he said. "It was a personal decision."
Of course! Whenever one is confronted between right and wrong, one must think of one's decision "in terms of history!"
Where in (you should forgive the term) heaven's name did I get the notion that one should think of salvation???
Give that 22-year-old Stanford student a Gold Star!
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
(However, I'm half-way convinced that God might've sent the The Big Dig to Boston for a similar reason, but that's another issue altogether.)
But what's with this?
And, even more perplexing, this?
Oremus pro invicem.
Monday, September 05, 2005
In the days following Katrina, CNN and other mainstream media are directing us to donate to the American Red Cross. That's fine...and if it were the only avenue available to us, that would be more than fine, it would be pretty much mandatory to anyone with a conscience.
Just one problem is this...
Again, if the only avenue of aid was the Red Cross, I wouldn't even post this. The Red Cross has been, in its 200+ year history, an amazing organization. Founded by Clara Barton, the Red Cross has aided literally millions of people in an incredible number of ways -- from collecting needed blood to helping victims of disasters both natural and man-made...the list goes on.
Thankfully, there are, if you prefer, other ways to give your money to help Katrina's victims. I've posted -- or rather the Summa Mamas and others have posted -- a variety of worthy groups dedicated (as I'm sure the Red Cross is!) to helping folks cope with this disaster.
So I figured I'd let you know. On the one hand I feel rather squirmy in doing this. On the other hand I don't know what else I could have done. On the third hand (yeah, yeah, I know I'm only allowed two) I wish I hadn't heard about this.
Hey, I'm human!
(Thanks -- I think! -- to Jeanne for the head's up.)
Sunday, September 04, 2005
"We will have some control of our destiny," said Tom Kyle, secretary of the Elephants in the Living Room, one of the two groups that plans to replicate some of the vigil strategies used in the Boston Archdiocese, which reversed three church closures announced in 2003.
Way to go, Boston! Sheesh.
Read the whole article if you want to, but allow me few observations.
Some other quotes of note:
[Rev. Tom]Lumpkin is among more than 300 Metro Detroit priests, nuns and parishioners in two groups who are rallying to prevent what they fear will be another round of church closings in Detroit and older suburbs.
And from the Rev. Norman Thomas:
"The greatest sacrament of all is community."
(No, I didn't make that up. Yes, I know what, or rather Who, the greatest Sacrament is.)
This one cracked me up:
[The dissident's document] questioned whether the planning was also driven by white residents' flight from the city and racism.
Huh? "White flight" began in Detroit in the late 1950s, for crying out loud! By the 1960s the city was mostly black. Where have these people been?
But the Rev. Robert B. McGrath wins the award for the most "huh?" inspiring quote:
"...the church shouldn't take away its churches simply because its parishioners are no longer there."
I've read it six times and still can't figure that one out.
It took about 15 seconds of googling Fathers Lumpkin and Thomas that led me to a group known as "Catholics for the Common Good"... which evidently packed up its toys and went home after Bush won the last election.
Saturday, September 03, 2005
Others -- on the Internet, in the mainstream media, have already done so. You know how to find them. You've probably already made your monetary donations. God bless you for this.
At services tomorrow and on days to come, I certainly hope, opportunities will be offered to contribute still more.
I've been a bit haunted, though, by the lack of one intention that, perhaps understandably in all the chaos, has been neglected: the souls of those who have died in this hurricane.
And so, yes, I'm asking you to do something for the victims of hurricane Katrina:
Arrange for Masses for the souls of the dead. Do it tomorrow, do it during the week, do it sometime soon.
Arrange for them publically, with a donation of you can. Arrange for them privately, as you certainly are able to do free of charge. ("Jesus, I offer this Mass for the souls of those who have died during the hurricane Katrina.")
Pray, offer Masses, Rosaries, and other gifts for the dead of this disaster.
Don't even consider being thanked for it here on earth. You will, I promise, be thanked and rewarded in a way neither you nor I can ever expect or imagine to be.
Do not feel obligated to broadcast your gift -- spiritually, or materially -- to this world. Just please, please, do it.
Other people -- perhaps even you -- are giving money, diapers, water, toys, food, and all those things which are really important to those who have survived. That's great. But that's not enough.
I'm asking you to give something to those who can't ask for anything. You can do this. I'm begging you to do this.
WASHINGTON -- When the Food and Drug Administration on Aug. 26 delayed its decision on whether emergency contraception pills could be purchased without a prescription, the Planned Parenthood Federation of America called it ''a terrible day for women's health."
When the FDA's top women's health advocate resigned in protest, Planned Parenthood applauded her response to what it called ''the agency's shameful failure to uphold its public health responsibility."
And the group's Massachusetts affiliate said FDA inaction adds urgency to enacting ''our own emergency contraception legislation at the state level."
But none of the public announcements mentioned that the national not-for-profit organization reaps millions of dollars in revenue by dispensing Plan B, the morning-after pill that has embroiled the FDA in controversy.
Full story here.
Friday, September 02, 2005
...and life everlasting. Amen."
If we don't believe this, we're screwed.
Believe it. It's the truth.
And don't be afraid.
"Kelly, admit it. You're scared as hell."
Okay I am. But I'm not afraid. Somehow there's a difference. It's called "trust."
Some nuggets of breathless stupidty include:
If each of us sends this e-mail out to ten more people within one day, 300 MILLION people could conceivably be contacted within the next eight days!
No. If each of us sends this junk out to ten more people within one day, each of us will have succeeded in seriously annoying ten more people.
This is imperative for everyone to participate to show the government (who is making a huge profit from us) that we are not going to stand for this!!!!
What is imperative is not to flood my mailbox with junk like this.
Now, I know you aren't dumb enough to fall for this, but in case you know somebody who is -- and you have the patience to deal with this person -- tell him or her this:
1.) It won't work. "Boycotts" organized via e-mail never have worked. Why? Because they're not organized.
2.) The "one day" aspect is absurd. If I virtuously abstain from buying gas on, say, September 5 (the date manadated on the note I just received), I'll probably buy it on September 6.
How do things like this get started, anyway?
Check them out for a list of reputable links for donations.
Thursday, September 01, 2005
"After we heard whose money it was and the situation, we were extremely glad that we made the choice to give it back," Morrone said. "We knew it was the right choice."