Friday, November 28, 2008

Anglican Use Mass - This Weekend

An announcement from Father Ernie Davis at St. Therese Little Flower in Kansas City:

It is with great joy and gratitude that I can announce that Archbishop John J. Meyers, Ecclesiastical Delegate for the Pastoral Provision has given his approval and Bishop Robert Finn has granted faculties for me to celebrate the Anglican Use of the Roman Rite at St. Therese Little Flower Parish.

I am pleased to be able to share with you that our first celebration of the Anglican Use Mass will be the First Sunday of Advent, November 30, at 11:15 a.m.

Fr. Ernie Davis
St. Therese Little Flower Parish

5814 Euclid
Kansas City MO 64130

See more about the Anglican Use in Kansas City at Fr. Ernie's Blog.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

I'm spending the holiday with my wife's family near Seattle.

Posting will resume Monday.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Free Markets Require Virtue

Especially, "prudence, courage, justice and temperance," according to Most Rev. Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Birmingham, England.

In his homily during the 'Civic Mass' at Birmingham's Cathedral on the Feast of Christ the King, Archbishop Nichols agreed with those who say "the root causes of the financial crisis are ethical."

In an exposition reminiscent of Chesterton's observation that "When you break the big laws, you do not get freedom. You do not even get anarchy. You get the small laws,” Archbishop Nichols said,

"We have neglected the development of shared ethical values and principles to guide and shape our behaviour, believing that to be an unattainable goal and we have substituted raft after raft of regulation. Yet a society controlled only by regulation succumbs, sooner or later, to our inherent drive for self-interest. Society too needs the perspective and practice of true virtue."

He goes on to praise "virtue" over the more widely acceptable notion of "values":

"the notion of ‘values’ is a flexible and friendly one. I can establish or negotiate my own values, and they tend to accommodate to my own behaviour. But talk of virtues is more demanding for a virtue is more like a hard earned skill such as those used in the performance of music or sport."

Several years ago I worked for then-Bishop Nichols when he was an auxiliary of Westminster and experienced him as a truly generous and genuinely pastoral (in the true sense of the word) bishop. In a country where they'll bet on anything, he is currently favored (favoured?) at Paddy Power 13-8 to return to Westminster as Archbishop - way ahead of last place contender Bono at 500-1.

It is well worth reading the entire homily as Archbishop Nichols explains how each of the virtues should play in a healthy market. It's available as a word doc at the Archdiocesan website and is pasted inline below:

Preached by
at the

During recent weeks we have often heard the phrase: ‘We are living in exceptional times.’ Indeed it has become one of the Prime Minister’s most quoted remarks. And it is true that the upheavals in the world’s financial systems and the loss of confidence are producing effects that are having an impact on all of us. Job losses, companies closing down, building sites standing silent are now evident every day.

These are the circumstances in which we come to celebrate this Feast of Christ the King and this Civic Mass in which we ask God’s blessing on our endeavours, especially in public service. We will not find financial or commercial solutions here. But we should gain some insight into our situation, in the light of the truth about our human nature which this Feast expresses and which this faith makes clear.

So this morning we can ask: what have we learned about ourselves and our society while living in a time of plenty? And what can we learn about ourselves when, as now, we begin to live in a time of austerity and hardship?

Many have commented that the root causes of the financial crisis are ethical. Indeed the very term ‘credit’ comes from ‘credere’ and indicates that trust and belief are central. Commentators point out that the financial systems, while closely regulated, were lacking in clear ethical foundations. It can be put like this: a market controlled only by regulation, sooner or later, will succumb to its inherent drive for profit at all costs. Of course the profit motive is crucial; of course responsibility to investors is a significant balancing factor in risk taking. But what we have seen is that, left to itself, the financial market has no robust external frame of reference, not even a wider economic framework. It has behaved as if it exists for itself and within itself and to the benefit of those who are part of it. What the market lacked was the perspective and practice of true virtue, which builds trust and without which every human endeavour is unstable.

Perhaps the same can be said of our society at large. We have neglected the development of shared ethical values and principles to guide and shape our behaviour, believing that to be an unattainable goal and we have substituted raft after raft of regulation. Yet a society controlled only by regulation succumbs, sooner or later, to our inherent drive for self-interest. Society too needs the perspective and practice of true virtue.

The word ‘virtue’ is not one we use too often in public discourse. Indeed in general we confine such ethical talk to the private sphere. In the public domain we are hesitant to ask for more than compliance with the rules, although we do now talk more about the values which we need to promote across society, particularly those of respect and tolerance. Yet the notion of ‘values’ is a flexible and friendly one. I can establish or negotiate my own values, and they tend to accommodate to my own behaviour. But talk of virtues is more demanding for a virtue is more like a hard earned skill such as those used in the performance of music or sport. Of course, in such a performance the rules have to be observed. But the rules of the game alone have never produced a masterful performance. Only dedication, sacrifice and true skill do that. This is the arena of virtue.

The Christian faith, as expressed in the readings which we have heard this morning, is a guardian of true human virtues. Traditionally a virtue is expressed as being ‘personal capacity for action, the fruit of a series of good actions, a power for progress and perfection’.

The shepherd of the first reading is a virtuous man. He knows that his task is to care for the sheep, whatever their condition. The necessary virtues have been his practice; they are his true capacity; they contribute to progress and the wider good. He is vigilant and responsive, not to the cause of his own well-being but to that of the sheep. He will ‘keep them in view’, ‘rescue them’, ‘pasture them’, showing them where to rest, bringing back the stray, bandaging the wounded, watching over ‘the fat and healthy’. With his effort, progress is made in the well-being of all. This is the fruit of virtue.

The human virtues guarded by the Church, but of course not by the Church alone but by other faiths and many of good will, are those of prudence, courage, justice and temperance.

Prudence is the virtue by which we discern the true good in every circumstance, and the right way to achieve it. It is the opposite of rashness and carelessness. It is needed in an age of advanced technology when the presumption is that if something can be done then it should be done.

Courage is the virtue that ensures firmness in difficulties, enabling us to conquer our fear, even fear of death, and face up to hardship. It is the opposite of opportunism and evasiveness. It is needed in an age of pragmatism and cautious self-protection. Courage produces heroism.

Justice is the constant and firm will to give their due to God and to our neighbours, be they near or far. Justice towards God is the ‘virtue of religion’; towards neighbour it is the respecting of their rights and the fulfilling of my duties, promoting equality and the common good. It is the opposite of self-centredness and unrestricted profiteering. Justice towards God is needed in an age of public secularism and justice to our neighbour in an age of globalisation.

Temperance is the virtue that moderates the attraction of pleasures and provides balance in the use of created goods. It is the opposite of greed and self-indulgence. It is needed in an age of consumerism and excess.

We are in need of the practice of these virtues at all times. In times of plenty they promote generosity and philanthropy, good working practices in every enterprise and the service not just of one’s own benefit but of the common good of all. In times of austerity they lead us to a simpler life-style, to a practical relief of material poverty, to a discovery of a sense of deeper shared identity and mutual concern, to wise practical judgements about what is of lasting importance and what simply the fruit of excess.

The exercise of these virtues will make good shepherds of us all especially for those hit hardest in the months to come! And may I add that these human virtues have their true foundation in the greater, theological virtues: faith hope and love, which bind us to God and to each other.

Today’s Gospel reading also helps us in our quest to understand life in society. It affirms an ancient and unchanging truth: there is a judgement still to come. You can easily recall the scene depicted in the Gospel, and so often painted on the archways of churches: the Last Judgement, with the virtuous on one hand, the selfish and foolish on the other. And in medieval paintings there was always a bishop among the condemned. Quite often there was one of the other side, too, as if the artist was hedging his bets!

But we need to listen carefully. The criterion by which the judgement is given is quite simple: have we been merciful? Have we responded to those caught in poverty, misfortune or in the consequences of their own behaviour? If we seek the mercy of God for ourselves, then the question we are asked is: have we extended that mercy to others?

Mercy is simply understood: it is the virtue by which the application of expected rules is suspended, out of love and compassion. Mercy, like all the virtues, gets us beyond the regulations and into the true heart of our condition. Mercy enables us to start again, to make progress after failure, to receive what we don’t deserve. A family or society that is incapable of showing mercy to its weak and vulnerable is dead from within. The wooden application of regulation squeezes the life out of us, and can only be rescued or redeemed, by lives of true virtue and above all by mercy, the most precious quality of God and the one in which we rejoice today.

The vision of St Paul is that of the fulfilling of all things, all things on this earth and all things in heaven, in the final resurrection. Christ is the instigator and the first fruit of this fulfilment. In him, whom we proclaim as King, we get a glimpse of our true destiny. This is the end for which we work, accepting the call to perfection while knowing, that left to ourselves, it is beyond our achievement. But, united in a common humanity, filled by the grace of God which comes through Christ, we can do so much.

Of course the economics must be right. And we pray today for those whose responsibility this is. But so too must be the spirit in which we work together: an effort shaped by the exercise of true human virtues and inspired by the Holy Spirit of our loving and merciful God, Father of all, in whom all things will come to their fulfilment. To him be glory now and through the ages. Amen.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Unlikely Virgin Mary

It's almost impossible to journey through the Advent season without being challenged by the implications of our collective participation in a Culture of Death. After all, we are anticipating the birth of Our Savior.

Following the Annunciation, all Christians consider Him to be already with us, yet eagerly await seeing Him at His birth. John, also not yet born, is with us and testifies to his Lord by leaping in Elizabeth's womb.

If Mary lived today, and were she not without sin, her crisis pregnancy might have been terminated at any time from the Annunciation to the manger.

Even before Advent, Our Holy Father has turned to the themes of trust in God and respect for life, with Mary being the model of both. On the Feast of Christ the King he said at the Angelus:

". . .the Lord takes our good to heart, that each man and woman might have life, and especially that his "smallest" of children might join in the banquet he has prepared for all. Thus he knows not what to make of those kind of hypocrites who say "Lord, Lord" and then transgress his commandments (cf Mt 7:21). In his eternal kingdom, God welcomes those who push themselves day after day to put into practice his word. For this the Virgin Mary, the humblest of all creatures, is the greatest in his eyes and sits as Queen at the right hand of Christ the King. To her heavenly intercession let us entrust ourselves again with a child's trust, that we might realize our Christian mission in the world."

And last week he said:
"This attitude of the heart is embodied perfectly in the Virgin Mary who, on receiving the most precious gift of all, Jesus himself, offered him to the world with immense love."

Eight years ago, a very unlikely woman in a crisis pregnancy modeled the Virgin Mary to my wife and I, albeit, in "distressing disguise". She received a "most precious gift" and "offered him . . . with immense love."

See the whole story on a pretty old post I made at Godspy, excerpt:

"I had no joy. I was terrified. A woman who had carried a child for nine months, given birth to him and cared for him for three days was about to hand this precious gift out of her arms to my wife. It was a scene I didn't want to deal with.

Through tears, Sean's mother told us that she knew her son would have a good life. She was comfortable with us. Sean was in a hospital basinette, ready to be rolled out. We said our good-byes and all hugged and my wife and I started rolling Sean out.

Sean's mother jumped up in bed and looked at my wife as we were leaving. My wife went back to her and hugged her for a long time.

What meaning there was in that embrace. What a beautiful and sad thing it was. What a wonderful and difficult choice Sean's mother made for the life of her son."

From 'An Adopted Child, Closer than Blood'.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Crash Test Bodies Revealed

NBC Action News in Kansas City reported this week that some corpses donated for medical research are being used as crash test dummies:

Utilizing FOIA requests, NBC Action News obtained more than a dozen cadaver videos, and searched government databases with hundreds of pictures and thousands of pages of reports documenting whole corpse and partial cadaver testing.

The documents detail 4,010 tests funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration using full cadavers or cadaver parts since 1981.

What's more, there doesn't seem to have been any clear consent for this:

Our investigation indicated it is unlikely that the donor ever had any idea he’d be contributing to automotive safety through cadaver impact testing.

Standard release forms in willed body programs reference "use in medical education or research" but don’t mention potential use in impact tests.

The NBC report also indicates the U.S. military and NASA have used bodies donated for medical research:

NASA has used cadavers to test space craft and the Army has used cadavers in landmine explosions for tests to improve footwear design for soldiers.

The Catholic Key Blog reported a while back on the lack of consent for bodies used in the "fascinating" and "real" travelling "educational" show of young, unnamed, unconsented, flayed and playfully-posed, plastinated Chinese cadavers that wasn't such a hit at Union Station.

You'll remember the "educational" justification used by the bodies show promoters - See how the body works. Look what happens to your lungs if you smoke. See what drinking does to your liver, etc.

Visitors to bodies-type shows also gain such important "educational" insights as - What dead people look like playing checkers, riding a bicycle or kicking a soccer ball.

So here's a Swiftian suggestion for the continued, good educational benefit of used-up crash test, NASA and military cadavers. Why not plastinate them and put them on display? Valuable educational lessons could be learned - See what happens if you don't shell-out for the side-impact airbags. The importance of watching your step in minefields. Ever wonder how a body responds to sudden depressurization?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Fr. Barron on Scientism and Ecclesial Angelism

If you haven't seen or heard Father Barron of Chicago, this is a good introduction to his ministry and style. H/T to Chris Murad who posted this video which ended up on my facebook wall.

What a Catholic School Should Look Like

The Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph is in the process of developing a strategic plan to ensure the long-term viability and vitality of its Catholic schools. A final comprehensive report is due out in April. Already a draft has been proposed for one section of the study which will define what our Catholic schools should look like. This is still a draft, but provides much for contemplation:


The Bishops of the United States have stated clearly the importance of Catholic schools for the future of the Church and society. They have reminded us that Catholic schools provide “an education that no other school can supply – excellent academics imparted in the context of Catholic teaching and practice.”{1}

The following statements give a vision for Catholic schools as we hope they will be in the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph now and in the future. The strategic plan will then provide a path to the realization of this vision for all Catholic schools in the Diocese.

A. Distinctly Catholic Schools

1. Teaching in the school is based upon the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Scripture, Catholic virtues and moral values. Doctrine and tenets of the faith are well taught and deeply integrated throughout the curriculum. Doctrine and faith are evident in all aspects of school life.

2. Each school provides regular opportunities for prayer, worship and reception of the Sacraments of Eucharist and Reconciliation. Students are encouraged and assisted to develop life-long habits of prayer.

3. A vibrant faith community is present at each school and that community is connected to and relates well with the parish community.

4. Each school is an effective vehicle of evangelization and ongoing faith formation.

5. The centrality of the family is recognized. Efforts are made to evangelize parents and to support and involve them in the spiritual and academic formation of their children.

6. A clear mission that is Catholic and Christ-centered guides each school. The entire school and parish community understand the mission and work together to carry it out.

7. Graduates know and understand the teachings of the Catholic faith. Their world view is shaped by Catholic teaching and moral principles.

8. Teachers and administrators have a strong personal faith whereby they give witness to the Christian life and integrate Catholic teaching into all subject areas.

9. While maintaining a strong Catholic identity, Catholic schools welcome students of other faiths.

10. Schools across the Diocese serve a diverse population in terms of ethnicity, race, economic status, background and ability. Enrollment reflects the diversity of the parishes and local community served by the school.

11. All parishes value Catholic schools as an important ministry of the Catholic Church of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph and accept their responsibility to support Catholic school education.

12. Parishes and schools work collaboratively in a strong supportive relationship.

13. Students and their families are active and involved in their local parish.

B. Academically Excellent Schools

1. Schools provide a superior comprehensive academic program.

2. Graduates have acquired an appreciation for life-long learning. They possess the skills necessary for critical thinking, moral decision making and team work.

3. Every elementary school and high school maintains accreditation by the Missouri Nonpublic School Accrediting Association and the North Central Association. Schools are recognized in the community as academically excellent Catholic institutions with a rigorous curriculum.

4. Early childhood centers maintain accreditation by North Central Association or National Association for the Education of Young Children.

5. Learning needs of students are met through differentiated instruction, a variety of teaching strategies and creative methods. Objective measures of student growth and achievement verify this.

6. All teachers and administrators are certified, demonstrate excellence in their profession and are faith-filled role models committed to the mission of the school.

7. Up-to-date technology and current educational resources are used effectively by all teachers to enhance teaching and learning.

8. Each school has an effective school board whose members have the necessary expertise and training to provide leadership and support for the school, school administration, and pastor.

C. Fiscally Stable Schools

1. School facilities are of high quality and fully sufficient to support a superior educational program. Each school campus is safe, attractive, clean and in good repair.

2. Revenue for schools grows to improve and sustain a vision for superior education.

3. Catholic schools are affordable for parishes and parents who desire a Catholic school education for their children.

4. All parishes contribute to the financial support of diocesan Catholic schools.

5. Stewardship is well understood and practiced in local faith communities. Stewardship is far more than a means of funding ministry; it is a life changing commitment of time, talent and treasure.

6. Every school has an effective development/advancement program that complements stewardship in the local parish. Donors increase in number and in their generosity to the mission of Catholic education.

7. Every elementary school and high school maintains an enrollment capable of supporting a high quality program.

8. Teacher compensation is sufficient to attract and retain qualified, excellent teachers.

9. Every school operates with a balanced budget and practices good business management. Schools are openly accountable for use of funds.

{1} United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, “Renewing Our Commitment to Catholic Elementary and Secondary Schools in the Third Millennium”, 2005.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kmiec vs' Kmiec - Same Sex Marriage Edition

Professor Doug Kmiec continues to evolve. Last time we looked at his rapid 180 on the principal place of human life. Now same-sex marriage:

PRIOR Kmiec:

1. (Feb. 28, 2005 column)
First, there is a basic difference between private behavior and public approval of it under law. Laws teach, for better or worse, thus inviting behavior to conform. Census data reveal a dramatic increase in the number of self-identified homosexual couples. If licensing will not augment this trend, the same-sex advocates need to tell us why.

Second, we know children do best in a family with a mother and a father. Families struggling with one parent have higher rates of poverty, more juvenile crime and less educational achievement -- all real public harms. If the legion of studies demonstrating the ill consequence of divorce and the difficulty of single parenting don't apply, the same-sex advocates need to tell us why.

Third, the Netherlands' experience with civil unions and elsewhere in Europe suggests that legally widening the definition of marriage makes marriage socially insignificant. Sensing perhaps the law's indifference to their social choices, more couples -- heterosexual and homosexual -- simply cohabit.

Researcher Stanley Kurtz has concluded that "the upswing in the Dutch out-of-wedlock birthrate coincides with the enactment of gay marriage."

Catholic colleges have a special obligation to explore the veracity and incidence of these social harms in an objective manner. The law school in the nation that for years has led the way toward a better understanding of the harmful consequences of same-sex marriage is The Columbus Law School of The Catholic University of America in Washington.

2. (June 5, 2006 column)
McCain is a thoughtful man; no doubt he believes his refusal to support the federal marriage amendment is the course of "live and let live" toleration. The witness of the Catholic faith, however, finds this to be the greatest error of all.

There is nothing tolerant or moderate in ignoring legal developments that further undermine the understanding of marriage as a faithful, exclusive and lifelong union between one man and one woman, joined as husband and wife.

As the bishops of the church said: "[T]his union was established by God with its own proper laws ..., and it exists for the mutual love and support of the spouses and for the procreation and education of children. These two purposes, the unitive and the procreative, are equal and inseparable."

There is nothing extreme, controversial or hateful in Catholic teaching or the proposed amendment. To the contrary, urging the adoption of language reaffirming marriage and family in our foundational document might well be expected of someone seeking to be president of the United States.

It is certainly our Catholic calling.

3. (June 30, 2008 column)
Yes, endorse claims of created equality when the distinctions of the past have been shown to lack reason. But do not pretend to make equal that which is not (procreative and nonprocreative relationships) or find a universal right to contradict human nature itself.


In today's San Francisco Chronicle, Professor Kmiec urges The Governator to overrule the people of California and pretend to make equal that which is not. Read it here.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Sorry for the Silence

November through December is the busiest time at the paper - Lot's of special supplements.

I am working on a post on my former home state's Prop. 8 after speaking with some leaders of the 'yes' campaign today. It's relevant here in Missouri, cause the campaign for same-sex marriage here kicks off with a protest this Saturday at the Plaza.

Meanwhile, please see:

- Secondhand Smoke on the much publicized 'man' pregnant with 'his' second kid - hint - a female friend of mine says, "Just cause you can grow hairy armpits doesn't make you a man";

- Mark Shea with info on the National Religious Campaign Against Torture;

- and Barbara Nicolosi's praise for The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and a couple posts going (quite uncharacteristically for her) ballistic on 'pro-life' apologists for Obama, here and here (warning - graphic pic in the last post).

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

USCCB Statement on FOCA, Executive Orders

Following much public and private debate on how to respond as a group to possible enactment of the Freedom of Choice Act and other threats to life under the new administration and Congress, USCCB President Cardinal Francis George of Chicago issued the following statement on behalf of his brother bishops today:

STATEMENT of the President of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops

"If the Lord does not build the house, in vain do its builders labor; if the Lord does not watch over the city, in vain does the watchman keep vigil." (Psalm 127, vs. 1)

The Bishops of the Catholic Church in the United States welcome this moment of historic transition and look forward to working with President-elect Obama and the members of the new Congress for the common good of all. Because of the Church's history and the scope of her ministries in this country, we want to continue our work for economic justice and opportunity for all; our efforts to reform laws around immigration and the situation of the undocumented; our provision of better education and adequate health care for all, especially for women and children; our desire to safeguard religious freedom and foster peace at home and abroad. The Church is intent on doing good and will continue to cooperate gladly with the government and all others working for these goods.

The fundamental good is life itself, a gift from God and our parents. A good state protects the lives of all. Legal protection for those members of the human family waiting to be born in this country was removed when the Supreme Court decided Roe vs. Wade in 1973. This was bad law. The danger the Bishops see at this moment is that a bad court decision will be enshrined in bad legislation that is more radical than the 1973 Supreme Court decision itself.

In the last Congress, a Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA) was introduced that would, if brought forward in the same form today, outlaw any "interference" in providing abortion at will. It would deprive the American people in all fifty states of the freedom they now have to enact modest restraints and regulations on the abortion industry. FOCA would coerce all Americans into subsidizing and promoting abortion with their tax dollars. It would counteract any and all sincere efforts by government and others of good will to reduce the number of abortions in our country.

Parental notification and informed consent precautions would be outlawed, as would be laws banning procedures such as partial-birth abortion and protecting infants born alive after a failed abortion. Abortion clinics would be deregulated. The Hyde Amendment restricting the federal funding of abortions would be abrogated. FOCA would have lethal consequences for prenatal human life.

FOCA would have an equally destructive effect on the freedom of conscience of doctors, nurses and health care workers whose personal convictions do not permit them to cooperate in the private killing of unborn children. It would threaten Catholic health care institutions and Catholic Charities. It would be an evil law that would further divide our country, and the Church should be intent on opposing evil.

On this issue, the legal protection of the unborn, the bishops are of one mind with Catholics and others of good will. They are also pastors who have listened to women whose lives have been diminished because they believed they had no choice but to abort a baby. Abortion is a medical procedure that kills, and the psychological and spiritual consequences are written in the sorrow and depression of many women and men. The bishops are single-minded because they are, first of all, single-hearted.

The recent election was principally decided out of concern for the economy, for the loss of jobs and homes and financial security for families, here and around the world. If the election is misinterpreted ideologically as a referendum on abortion, the unity desired by President-elect Obama and all Americans at this moment of crisis will be impossible to achieve. Abortion kills not only unborn children; it destroys constitutional order and the common good, which is assured only when the life of every human being is legally protected. Aggressively pro-abortion policies, legislation and executive orders will permanently alienate tens of millions of Americans, and would be seen by many as an attack on the free exercise of their religion.

This statement is written at the request and direction of all the Bishops, who also want to thank all those in politics who work with good will to protect the lives of the most vulnerable among us. Those in public life do so, sometimes, at the cost of great sacrifice to themselves and their families; and we are grateful. We express again our great desire to work with all those who cherish the common good of our nation. The common good is not the sum total of individual desires and interests; it is achieved in the working out of a common life based upon good reason and good will for all.

Our prayers accompany President-elect Obama and his family and those who are cooperating with him to assure a smooth transition in government. Many issues demand immediate attention on the part of our elected "watchman." (Psalm 127) May God bless him and our country.

Concerns about CCHD and ACORN Funding

As the annual collection for the Catholic Campaign for Human Development approaches, several news organizations are reporting on the Campaign's past funding of ACORN. Earlier this year, CCHD suspended all funding of ACORN upon learning of a $1 million embezzlement scheme by Dale Rathke, brother of ACORN's founder Wade Rathke. ACORN leadership had hidden the embezzelment which took place in 1999-2000 from members of its own board until June of this year.

More than $1 million in grants from CCHD had been earmarked for ACORN from the 2007 collection. None of that money was delivered as all CCHD grants to ACORN were suspended when the embezzelment was discovered in June. Following more recent investigations into massive voter registration fraud by ACORN, the USCCB announced at its meeting this week that the 2007 grants are permanently barred and assured that no monies from the 2008 collection will go to ACORN.

Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph Director of Human Rights and local CCHD coordinator Jude Huntz told the Key that no CCHD money has ever been given to ACORN in this diocese.

In fact, CCHD grants in the Diocese of Kansas City - St. Joseph are allocated to organizations that directly assist the poor to raise themselves from poverty. Please see Marty Denzer's August 28 article on the very worthy beneficiaries of CCHD grants in our diocese. A further article on one of the local CCHD beneficiaries, Hispanic Outreach of St. Joseph, is in the upcoming edition of The Catholic Key.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Urgent Action Alert on Human Rights

From our new diocesan Director of the Human Rights Office, Jude Huntz:

Dear Parishes of Kansas City-St. Joseph,
Bishop Finn has asked that this announcement be placed in every bulletin throughout the diocese.

Abortion is NOT a Human Right!

This December 10th marks the 60th anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights, a very fine document praised by the Vatican. However, this year there is a push to include abortion as a fundamental right in the U.N. Declaration, a move that would cause us to withdraw our support for this document.
Abortion is not a human right, but rather a fundamental violation of the most basic human right, the right to life. What is more, this new provision would violate an essential tenet of Catholic social teaching: "Nor must one forget the contribution that every nation is required in duty to make towards a true worldwide cooperation for the common good of the whole of humanity and for future generations also." (Compendium of Social Doctrine, #166)
We urge everyone to visit this website listed below and sign the electronic petition that will be delivered to the United Nations requesting that they maintain the Declaration of Human Rights in its integrity and reject the motion to include abortion as part of the declaration. Please do so before December 10th.


Jude Huntz
Director of Human Rights
Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph

We'll have a profile of our new Human Rights Director in the next issue of The Catholic Key.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mormons, The Cardinal, Gay Marriage Roundup

Lots going on at the regular work. More thorough blogging tomorrow. For today, just a few links and thoughts:

1. Prop. 8 passed in California. It's the second time voters in California have passed a citizen initiative expressing their will that marriage be regarded as an exclusive relationship between one man and one woman. Same-sex marriage supporters will for the second time try to overturn the will of the people of California by appealing to the California Supreme Court.

More on this later, but consider the words of San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty as he protested Mormon support of Prop. 8:

"The time has come to take it out there to the people who voted for this awful thing," said San Francisco Supervisor Bevan Dufty outside the Oakland temple. "The Mormon church has had to rely on our tolerance in the past, to be able to express their beliefs. "... This is a huge mistake for them. It looks like they've forgotten some lessons."

Is that a threat? Perhaps Dufty should look up some American history about the bloody threats to Mormon religious liberty before making statements like that. Or maybe he did?

2. Lots of snarky blog comments about the effectiveness and propriety of Bishops' statements defending the primacy of life in this election. OSV has an interesting story which seems to indicate that the Catholic vote in Missouri and Pennsylvania significantly bucked the trend:

In six states Obama lost ground to Kerry's Catholic vote totals of 2004. Catholics in Missouri, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Louisiana, Minnesota, and California were less likely than Catholics in 2004 to vote for the Democratic presidential candidate. In both Missouri and Pennsylvania, Catholic bishops made statements, widely covered by the media, regarding the importance of life issues relative to other issues in the campaign. These statements potentially had an effect on the votes of Catholics in these states given Obama's voting record and support for abortion. In California voters approved a ballot proposition banning same-sex marriage that was supported by California bishops. It is not possible to isolate these potential effects with the exit poll data released so far but these are potential hypothesis to explore further. . .

The Catholic vote in Missouri may have an historical consequence. At the time of this writing McCain leads Obama in total votes in the state by just more than 5,800. The state has yet to be called for either candidate. If Obama does lose this state, one of the central reasons will be his inability to attract the support of a majority of Catholics. If Missouri is declared for McCain it will have lost its "bellwether" status. Missouri has voted for the winning candidate in every election since 1960 and no Democrat has ever been elected president without winning Missouri.

Bishop Finn also made public statements opposing an English-only law in Missouri. The Missouri Catholic Conference also joined in opposing an expansion of the gambling license in the state. Unfortunately, voters rejected the bishops' advice and overwhelmingly adopted both measures. No analysis on the effectiveness or propriety of bishops publicly opposing xenophobia or exploitation of the poor has been found.

3. Cardinal George didn't skip a breath today between recognizing the tremendously positive historic nature of Senator Obama's victory and the gross irony on which it is based:

. . .this is a moment that touches more than our history when a country that once enshrined race slavery in its very constitutional order should come to elect an African American to the presidency. . .

We can also be truly grateful that our country’s social conscience has advanced to the point that Barack Obama was not asked to renounce his racial heritage in order to be president, as, effectively, John Kennedy was asked to promise that his Catholic faith would not influence his perspective and decisions as president a generation ago. Echoes of that debate remain in the words of those who reject universal moral propositions that have been espoused by the human race throughout history, with the excuse that they are part of Catholic moral teaching. We are, perhaps, at a moment when, with the grace of God, all races are safely within the American consensus. We are not at the point, however, when Catholics, especially in public life, can be considered full partners in the American experience unless they are willing to put aside some fundamental Catholic teachings on a just moral and political order. . .

In working for the common good of our society, racial justice is one pillar of our social doctrine. Economic justice, especially for the poor both here and abroad, is another. But the Church comes also and always and everywhere with the memory, the conviction, that the Eternal Word of God became man, took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary, nine months before Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This truth is celebrated in our liturgy because it is branded into our spirit. The common good can never be adequately incarnated in any society when those waiting to be born can be legally killed at choice. If the Supreme Court’s Dred Scott decision that African Americans were other people’s property and somehow less than persons were still settled constitutional law, Mr. Obama would not be president of the United States. Today, as was the case a hundred and fifty years ago, common ground cannot be found by destroying the common good.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Bishop Finn on SOLT's 50th Anniversary

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity has turned 50 and a Mass was held at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception in Kansas City to celebrate their anniversary.

You can find out about their history and apostolate at their website, excerpt:

The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) is a Society Of Apostolic Life comprised of Priests, Brothers, Deacons, Sisters, and Laity. Our primary Apostolate is to serve the areas of deepest apostolic need. We serve in missions across the world in the following specific areas of apostolate: parishes, migrants and refugees, education, catechetics, evangelization, ecumenism, healing, drug addiction, prisons, government, military, promoting peace and justice, marriage and family life, youth, abandoned and homeless children, the poor and destitute.

Our charism (the gift that our community gives to the world) is ecclesial or family teams. When we serve at a mission, we strive to serve with our SOLT priests and brothers, SOLT Sisters, and SOLT laity, thereby witnessing how the Trinity lives, as three persons in One God. We live as three vocations in one family. The Society of Our Lady of the Most Holy Trinity (SOLT) was founded in 1958 by Fr. James Flanagan.

Of course, no prior familiarity is required to appreciate Bishop Robert W. Finn's inspiring homily at their Anniversary Mass:

Dear Father Flanagan
Father Albano and Fr. Sheehan
Dear Members of the Society: brother priests and deacons,
Cherished Religious and bold lay apostles,
Friends in Christ All,

It is a joy to welcome you here to the Cathedral and celebrate with you, in the context of the eternal sacrifice of Jesus Christ in the Mass, this grace of 50 years. It is a grace given to you by God, who has made the Society your life-long vocation. Your far-reaching missionary zeal, and the heavenly Communion of members who have already gone ahead of you, marks your holy and Catholic status within the Church and must be a cause of hope for you as you take up the next half-century.

We celebrate also a powerful grace of discernment and obedience in the mind and heart of your Founder, Father James Flanagan. With perseverance this young priest followed the impulse of our Blessed Mother’s love more than 50 years ago. Together with Fr. McHugh and the first Sisters, and with the confirmation of the holy Franciscan Father Solanus Casey, he embarked on a daring journey to model the dynamic and loving communion of the Holy Trinity through the interaction of priests, Religious and laity: all this even before the Second Vatican Council, and Lumen Gentium!

Yours is a grace granted to the Church who sees revealed in your faith and love an image of Mary, Our Lady, Daughter of the Father, Mother of the Son, Spouse of the Holy Spirit – certainly the most magnificent human heart ever created, in which dwells the fire and purity of a Triune love. Under her mantel you have received protection and contagious confidence.

Yours is a grace that has also been extended, by God’s mercy and providence, to this Diocese, where with a missionary heart you continue to serve in humility and devotion. Praise be to God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

I thank you for the witness of your zeal and for a family spirit which you bring to our local Church, and in a personal way you have extended to me on so many occasions. Well do I remember what was probably my first encounter with the Society, when after Mass we sat together for some hours on Tracy Street, hearing about the history of your Society, talking for a long time about our dreams for a new evangelization, and sharing a huge family meal – almost like Thanksgiving.

This past summer more than 25 thousand faithful from this Diocese, our neighbor to the West, and others throughout the Midwest, gathered in Royals Stadium to adore our Eucharistic Lord and lift a Global Living Rosary for peace in our world, again, an initiative of the Society. This week, I was able to visit with Fr. Sheehan, your Regional Priest Servant, about the potential expansion of your work among the poor of our Diocese. Later this month I will again have the blessing of sharing a time of prayer for Healing and Forgiveness initiated by members of the Society. I know God has directed and will continue to guide every detail of these efforts. How can I help but give thanks for the generosity and faith which you bring to the People of God here?

St. Paul exhorts and encourages us today, “Do everything without grumbling or questioning, children of God, in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation among whom you shine like lights in the world.” (Phil 2:15). We know all too well the darkness of the culture which surrounds us. Our Lord came into this darkness, under the heart of Mary. Through the Cross He pierced the cloak of sin and death. We know the cost of following Him is a share in that Cross. At the same time He supports us with co-disciples in the work of building the Kingdom, and an unconquerable hope of ultimate victory. Dear friends, you are lights for me, and welcome co-workers. I know God will use us all for His glory.

While I am very thankful for the ministry of your priests, which secures many spiritual gifts for the people – especially the Mass and Confession, I want to acknowledge briefly the unique vision of lay apostolate that I see in the Society.

Since the Council there remains much confusion in the Church about the distinctive and complementary roles of clergy, Religious and laity. Too often the laity have been misdirected to one or other degree in a confusion of ordained and baptismal priesthood. The work of the lay faithful, rather, is a mission no less than the transformation of the culture from the inside out. Yes, some lay members will serve in functions around the altar and as representatives of the institutional Church. But 97% of the lay faithful must live as leaven in the world, in every facet of the life of man.

Bishop, priest, deacon, consecrated Religious must all do their part. Without the laity bringing an active faith into every field of human endeavor the work of the Kingdom would remain incomplete, and the establishment of that civilization of life and love, about which the Gospel speaks with such hope, will be delayed. I want to say simply that, over and over again I see that SOLT gets this right! What an exciting prospect this holds, when the dignity of the lay vocation is recognized alongside the priest and Religious, without competition. In this way alone can each diverse part of the Body be acknowledged in its giftedness, and enabled to fulfill its necessary complementarity. As the Most Blessed Trinity Itself is One God - three distinct Persons, so also we sense a resemblance of this most sublime mystery in the integral unity of the members of Body of the Church.

Vital to your calling is, likewise, that deep interiority which was Mary’s. The indwelling love and fire of the Holy Trinity informs and animates your societal communion and your apostolic action. We want to love others in accord with a supernatural grace. The virtues manifested in the Incarnate Christ, the gifts of the Holy Spirit, and a powerful sense of our Divine Filiation, our freedom as the children of the Father: These are the riches that are lasting and salvific for the life of the Church. Without holiness, the energy of natural goodness would wane quickly, and it seems unlikely that mere human cleverness can move hearts that are weighed down with the cares and trials of the world.

In today’s Gospel Our Lord challenges us to take stock of our resources, to count our troops before going into battle. Let us not for a moment forget that, as members of the Church Militant, we are engaged, not against mere flesh and blood, but against “principalities and powers.” Clearly we must arm ourselves with God’s grace and holiness, a share in His very life without which we could never hope to endure.

Yours today is a Golden Grace, a steady light which has its source in Jesus Christ and which is wondrously reflected in Our Lady. It is my joy to join with you and your Founder in this Jubilee celebration. May the work of your Society continue to the Glory of the Most Holy Trinity and the help of the Church.

'Catholic Talk Live' on Anglican Use in KC

Father Ernie Davis sent along the audio above. It's an interview with him and others involved in bringing the Anglican Use to Kansas City from the Catholic Talk Live show on KEXS. Father Ernie describes, "Host John Lillis interviewed Jude and Cristen Huntz and me about conversion, St. Therese Little Flower Parish, and our hopes for the Anglican Use liturgy."

Thanks Father. And check out his blog for a new update on the Anglican Use at St. Therese.

Great Pro-life News in the Dem Caucus

Steve Ertelt at Lifenews reports that five pro-life seats were added to the Democratic Caucus in the House of Representatives. "This will be only the second time in 30 years that the number of pro-life Democrats increases instead of decreases," said Kristen Day, head of Democrats for Life America. The organization supported several pro-life candidates for House seats.

I had the pleasure of listening to the passionately pro-life and passionately Democrat Day when she spoke to participants in San Francisco at the Walk for Life West Coast. Her organization exists to:

- elect pro-life Democrats to office

- support pro-life Democrats while in an elected position

- promote a pro-life plank in the Democratic Party platform

- achieve pro-life legislation with the help of national and state pro-life democrats

- participate actively in Democratic party functions and offices

If you lean Democrat and support the pro-life cause, check them out.

An additional race pitting a Catholic Democrat underdog against an incumbent Republican is still too close to call in Virginia's 5th District Congressional race. At the moment, Democrat Tom Perriello is running 800 votes ahead of incumbent Republican Virgil Goode.

Unfortunately, if Perriello wins, he won't be adding to the number of pro-life Democrats in Congress. Perriello, the co-founder of Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good, ran as a pro-choice candidate. Go figure!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Vatican Cracks Down on 'Slackers'

Sent by my dad, from Bloomberg news, excerpt:

Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) -- For the first time in almost half a century, Vatican administration staff will clock in for work as part of a clampdown on slackers, a sign that the global financial crisis has also spread to the world's smallest state.

Timekeeping was scrapped in 1960 under Pope John XXIII. Starting Jan. 1, the practice returns. All Holy See employees will be given magnetic badges and forced to clock in and out in an effort to track their movements and ensure they're working a full day, said a Vatican spokesman who declined to be named.

``We can't afford any waste,'' Bishop Renato Boccardo, secretary of the Governatorate of Vatican City State, told La Stampa newspaper. ``There is a lot of work that needs doing, and the financial situation doesn't allow us to hire more staff.'' A spokesman confirmed the comments today.

The Vatican, located across Rome's Tiber River and home to Pope Benedict XVI, relies on earnings from $1 billion in stocks, bonds and real estate to top up donations from Catholics around the world. While the Holy See benefited in the 1990s from booming stock markets and a strong dollar, it plunged into the red in 2003 and again in 2007 because of the U.S. currency's tumble. The financial turmoil is now taking its toll as well.

I don't know how much of this report is accurate. So much coverage of the Vatican is nonsense, but I was struck by the $1 billion figure for Vatican savings. That means that the Central administrative office of a 1.13 billion member organization has managed to hold on to less than one dollar in income and earnings per capita total over the course of 2,000 years.

The United States just authorized an outlay of more than $2,000 per each of its citizens for a financial bailout on a whim.

So much for modern, know-nothing claims of Catholic wealth and hoarding.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

A Valuable Reminder

A good friend sent this along today. It's a valuable reminder for all, regardless of electoral fortunes, of Who is the true hope:

Dan and I are sending this Psalm to those whom we love on this election day. ... to remind us in whom we should trust, no matter the outcome of this election.

Ps 145 (146)
Praise the Lord, my soul;
While life lasts, I will praise the Lord;
Of him, my God, shall my songs be while I am here to sing them.
Do not put your trust in princes;
They are but men, they have no power to save.
As soon as the breath leaves his body, man goes back to the dust he belongs to;
With that, all his designs will come to nothing.
Happier the man who turns to the God of Jacob for help.
Puts no confidence but in the Lord his God, Maker of heaven and earth and sea and all they contain;
The God who keeps faith for ever,
Who redresses wrong, and gives food to the hungry
The Lord, who brings release to the prisoner,
The Lord, who gives sight to the blind,
The Lord, who comforts the burdened,
The Lord, who befriends the innoncent!
The Lord, who protects the stranger, who defends orphan and widow,
Who overturns the counsel of the wicked!
The Lord, reigning for ever,
Thy God, Sion, reigning from age to age!

Bishop Finn's Election Eve Homily

Homily for the Eve of the Election
November 3, 2008 – St. Therese North Parish
Most Reverend Robert W. Finn
Bishop of Kansas City-St. Joseph

Judges 7:1-22
Revelation 11:19; 12: 1-6, 10.
Matthew 10: 26-33

Dear friends,

Over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We will make decisions about amendments and propositions. This is a wonderful process and privilege of citizenship in a country that values the ideal of freedom.

But let us have no doubt about this: through this process we are more than participants in a democratic process. We are becoming participants in life and death. The candidates we choose do not arise merely on their own. We place them in office.

Clearly, all these leaders are imperfect men and women like ourselves. They will make decisions day by day, and many of the circumstances of war and domestic work are not able to be known until they happen. Nonetheless, when they tell us specifically what they will do and we are therefore able to foresee some of the likely consequences of their leadership we share in the responsibility of their acts. In this sense an election is about even more than physical life and death. It is also about your eternal salvation and mine. This is the first reason to pray. Pray that we will take seriously – that every other voter will take seriously – the meaning of our choices. In a country where we have made choice an absolute, we must remember that underlying every choice is a value; that flowing from every choice is a consequence; that we must give an accounting to God for what we decide.

Our Lord instructs us in the Gospel we have heard, “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul; rather, be afraid of the one who can destroy both body and soul in Gehenna.” The enormity of this election is founded, in part, on the radical determination of some who would lead our country deeper than ever before into the darkness of the culture of death. This is a path that would certainly mean the death of countless more innocent lives. As shepherd of this Diocese I am also deeply saddened by the prospect of the cost in people’s souls, the souls of those who would place a candidate’s promise of economic prosperity above the life of the most innocent of our brothers and sisters.

Most perilous is the fate of those Catholics who, with hardened hearts, decide to create for themselves, and preach to others, a false gospel that the “right” to an abortion must not be challenged, or that the humanity of the child need not be protected.

Most fraudulent are those Catholic leaders, or alliances of Catholics, that insist that the radically evil injustice of abortion need not be directly opposed, but rather, that somehow solving the dilemma of the poor in a sweeping act of charity will cause the foundation of this monstrous crime to crumble.

Why is this so terribly amiss? Because the foundation and cause of abortion is not poverty but a blind disregard for personal responsibility, a heinous denial and disrespect for human life, and an idolatrous worship of personal convenience. This is why even in the wealthy countries of Scandinavia the highest rates of abortions are followed by rampant euthanasia.

Friends, the poor do not hate their children any more or less than the rich. The poison of which abortion is the most dreadful manifestation is the sinful suffocation of selfishness, and it can and does affect all strata of society. Woe to those, particularly Catholics, who dare to try to convince us that their “choice” of a radically pro-abortion leader is within the parameters of conscience. God have mercy on those who exude freely this salve for their partisan cooperators. I fear that they will bear a greater responsibility than most. Against them will come not only the cry of millions of human lives savagely destroyed, but the souls of those they have sucked down with themselves. This is the very definition of scandal, and the reason that so many have spoken out with such urgency to announce the authentic teaching of the Church.

Part of the damage we have been promised is encapsulated in the Freedom of Choice Act, which has been held at bay the last eight years. When all the reasonable limits on abortion, gained in the last 35 years have been summarily swept away: parental notification, waiting periods, counseling and informed consent, the number of those killed will grow by more than 100,000 a year.

The Freedom of Choice Act will mark the beginning of a great persecution against religious liberty, because it will require tax payer money to be used for abortions. You and I will be faced with this legal trial: whether we should pay our taxes making us participants in the slaughter of Innocents or be liable for jail and fines.

And what of our Catholic hospitals? If we are forced to provide such destructive services under the Freedom of Choice Act, we will have to refuse. Catholic health care workers, and other men and women of good conscience, will risk losing their jobs when their conscience exception is lost and they are pressured to participate. I read a letter recently in our daily paper: The man said, “If you don’t want an abortion. Don’t have one.” Under a regime of such change, you and I will not have such an easy choice. By paying, it will become “our abortion.” Lord, have mercy on us, and on our country.

In the light of these clear and present dangers, I chose tonight’s Gospel, in part, because four times it tells us, “Don’t be afraid!” Let us not be afraid, dear flock. You are worth so much to God; more than sparrows, more than an election, more than any man can measure. Our first goal is this: we must get through tomorrow with our eternal souls intact. We know that God will take care of the rest.

A week ago, I wrote our diocese a letter hoping that it would be heard by all as a necessary call to prayer. Many of our pastors read it to their people. Some, I am sure, suffered a bit from doing so. Thank you, dear brave priests.

I also know that it wasn’t heard by all. Let us not be too hard on those who, for fear or even disagreement, have shrunk back even from the call to pray! It takes time for us to learn to carry our burdens, our obedience, our responsibility. I want you all to pray that – at the hour of greatest need – none will step back from the sacrifice that makes us most like Jesus Christ.

In the first reading, God tells Gideon that He is going to win a great victory. So that Gideon and the People of Israel don’t get too big a head, God determines to go against the hundreds of thousands of the enemy with only three hundred men. He even proceeds to choose those who are perhaps the least sophisticated of all, “those who lap up their water like dogs.” God certainly doesn’t pull any punches!

St. Paul says something similar when he announces that God chooses those whom the world considers foolish to shame the wise. (1 Cor 1:27) Dear friends, there is hope for us! God can use us – few and unsophisticated as we are to win the victory of life. God can choose “the lowly and despised of the world, those who count for nothing, to reduce to nothing those who are something.” (1 Cor 1: 28)

I pray this reading from about Gideon’s lopsided battle will remind God and us of the kind of victory He can win for His people. May He grant us this same mercy these days, all in accord with His will and plan; all for the glory of His name; all for the protection of human life.

In the second reading we have the image of Mary, the Woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet and the crown of stars on her head. Mary, we cry out to you, O Mother of life, O Empress of America, O Star of the New Evangelization, O Immaculate patroness of our Diocese and our country: Gather us under the mantel of your maternal love. Mary, Lady of the Rosary whom we have invoked so often, particularly in the last month, “Pray for us sinners!” You, O Queen and our Mother, “despise not our petitions in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, O ever-glorious and blessed Virgin.

Dear friends, over the next 24 hours, millions of Americans will go to the polls throughout our country to cast ballots for the leaders of our nation, state, and community. We are called to be participants in life and death. May God guide us to choose life. May He make us his fearless apostles, and use us to construct a civilization of life and love.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Bishop Finn on Hugh Hewitt

Hugh Hewitt has posted the transcript of his radio interview with Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn today, excerpt:

"HH: Bishop Finn, a lot of Catholics are wondering what to do tomorrow, it’s voting day. And I want you to sum it up for them, because it can’t be repeated enough how they’re supposed to approach this most important civic exercise with a sort of Catholic worldview.

RF: Well, I think that they have to see their apostolic mandate to do what they can to support human life. This slaughter’s been going on for so, so long, and it’s going to be a tough battle before us no matter what. But we can’t set it back that much more. People have to realize that they will be held accountable for these important decisions before God. I won’t know. They’ll do what they do privately. So they have to pray. They have to pray for the light of the Holy Spirit, they have to study what the candidates stand for, but also study what the Church teaches. The teaching is exceedingly clear. Don’t follow a false shepherd. Read it in the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Read it in the statements of our Holy Father’s. And they’re non-partisan. They’re not even Americans. But again and again, they hold up for us the values of life. And then pray for the fortitude on the determination to exercise this important act of patriotism in a way that expresses a virtue and a value, rather than hides behind a party.

HH: When you say they will be held accountable for their votes, do you mean that it could cost someone their eternal soul?

RF: Well, of course. I mean, the decisions that we make are important, and they have…you know, these people who get elected, they don’t just arrive all on their own. We elect them. We, you and I support them or we don’t. And so we have some participation in that. Now you know, someone wrote to me and said well, you know, I voted for Obama, I’ll repent later. And well, you know, I hope that God does change a heart if they feel that they’ve made a terrible mistake and to have to repent. But it’s much more important and vital that we make the right decision when it’s before us.

HH: Do you think, last question, Bishop Finn, thanks again for being here, if someone votes for Obama and they know they’re voting in their mind for abortion rights absolutism, could they receive, under the Church’s teaching, Communion the very next day?

RF: Well, they shouldn’t. It’s not a matter of public action, so it’s not the same scandal as a public official who places, a legislator who places a public vote in support of abortion. But no, if formal cooperation, there’s absolutely no doubt about it that if you agree with the right of abortion, you shouldn’t be, you’re in grave sin. You shouldn’t be receiving the Sacraments."

Read the whole transcript.

Hear audio of Bishop Finn on The Chris Stigall Show.

Hear audio of Bishop Finn on The Mike Gallagher Show.

New Media Catholic News

Thomas Peters at American Papist (on our blogroll) has started a new web-based Catholic news report. He's bagged a great interview for his first show - Denver Archbishop Charles Chaput.

Here's what Thomas says about the new project:

"This week I sat down for an interview with Archbishop Charles Chaput of the Archdiocese of Denver to discuss his NYT bestseller Render Unto Caesar as well as Catholic voting in this election as part of my new collaborative project AMP NEWS.

Regular AmP readers will know that Archbishop Chaput has been one of the most (if not the most) vocal bishop defenders of the unborn in the American public scene of late, despite some criticism. God bless him for it.

Archbishop Chaput, I am thrilled to say, gave me frank answers to the tough questions that are facing American Catholics this election, and it is my hope my that many people will have a chance to see this interview before they vote on Tuesday.

Embedded below are the four segments of AMP NEWS Episode One. You may also watch the entire episode as a whole right here on YouTube. We hope to continue providing quality Catholic news, interviews, and offbeat programming to you in the future!"

So go there now!

Bishop Finn on Mike Gallagher Show

Following his appearance on the Chris Stigall Show today, Kansas City - St. Joseph Bishop Robert W. Finn appeared on the Mike Gallagher Show. You can hear the full interview in the player above, excerpt:

Mike Gallagher: In good conscience, how can a Catholic vote for Senator Obama?

Bishop Finn: . . . I don't think any Catholic can in good conscience . . . In his brief career, he has collected a very consistent record of a kind of fanaticism for abortion.

Still to go - Bishop Finn's appearance on Hugh Hewitt. UPDATE: Hugh Hewitt Interview is posted.

More Bishop Finn Coverage and Mass Tonight

If you missed Bishop Finn on the Chris Stigall show this morning, you can hear the whole interview in the below post.

Bishop Finn is also talking about the election today on the Mike Gallagher Show, The Drew Mariani Show on Relevant Radio and the Hugh Hewitt Show.

Tonight, Bishop Robert Finn will celebrate Mass at St. Therese Church (7207 NW Highway 9, Kansas City, MO 64152) at 7:00 p.m. Please join him and pray that Catholics make sound moral judgments about public choices and that the leaders who are elected will help build a culture of life. The Rosary will be prayed at 6:30 p.m. to ask our country's patroness, the Immaculate Conception, for her continued help and guidance.

KCMO Interviews Bishop Finn on Election / Obama

KCMO 710's Chris Stigall interviewed Bishop Finn on the subject of the election this morning. As he has in the past, Bishop Finn emphasized the priority of life and had this to say, excerpt:

Chris Stigall: There are Catholics listening right now who are thinking strongly or are convinced that they will vote for Barack Obama. What would you say to them?

Bishop Finn: I would say, give consideration to your eternal salvation.

Listen to whole whole interview in the player above to hear why. The audio clip has a short station intro and then goes right into the interview. It's short and concise, so it's worth listening to the whole thing. You can also download the audio here.

UPDATE: Visit this link for audio of Bishop Finn's later appearance on the Mike Gallagher Show.

UPDATE 2: Hugh Hewitt interview is posted.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

More on Facebook Bishops

Earlier we had a post about Catholic bishops with Facebook fan sites and some who are themselves active members, including Little Rock Bishop Anthony Basil Taylor.

Bishop Taylor, who at this moment has 715 Facebook friends, has recently been posting his homilies as notes on Facebook in English and Spanish. So here in English and Spanish is his homily for All Souls Day:

What happens to us when we die? It’s obvious from Scripture that those who die never having committed any sins at all--babies, for instance--go straight to heaven, and those who die in a state of mortal sin go to hell. We celebrate those who are already in heaven on All Saints Day, which was yesterday. They don’t need our prayers because they’ve already arrived, but because they’ve arrived we ask them by means of prayer to intercede for us before God. On the other hand, while there’s no point in praying for those who are in hell because they’re beyond the reach of our prayers, as a practical matter we don’t know for sure who’s there…presumably Hitler and Stalin, but we don’t know it for a fact. And what about all those who do not die with the perfect innocence of a newborn babe--people like you and me? They can benefit from our prayers and that’s what today, All Soul’s Day is all about.

What happens to those who die without mortal sins but are not innocent enough to go straight to heaven? They undergo a process of purification called Purgatory to equip them eventually to participate in the perfect joy of heaven. The ideas is this: here we are, finite and limited, full of defects and venial sins and distortions of character, some the lasting damage of sins already forgiven but with interior effects not yet fully healed, on the right track but far from perfect, while heaven is everything that we are not: perfect, infinite and unlimited…such that for us to be able to enjoy fully the infinite joy of heaven, God has to do something remedy our limitations--otherwise we’d be like 3 year olds on vacation in Paris--there physically but too limited to enjoy it fully. Purgatory is the process by which God remedies all that is lacking in us and that’s where our prayers can help the dead. Just as in this life, so also in purgatory, growth and healing is much easier when you’ve got help, in this case the help of our prayers. And once they get into heaven, they’ll surely reciprocate by interceding for us--that’s what the Communion of Saints is all about--helping each other on the road to salvation!

¿Qué nos sucede cuando morimos? Es óbvio de la Biblia que los que se mueren sin haber cometido ningun pecado jamás--por ejemplo, niños--van al cielo, mientras los que se mueren en estado de pecado mortal van al infierno. Celebramos a los que ya están en el cielo en la fiesta de Todos Santos, que era ayer. No necesitan nuestras oraciones porque ya han llegado, pero porque han llegado les pedimos por medio de oraciones que intercedan por nosotros con Dios. En cambio, mientras es inútil rezar para los que están en el infierno por estar más allá del alcance de nuestras oraciones, de hecho no sabemos con seguridad quién está allá…se supone Hitler y Stalín, pero no sabemos con ciencia cierta. Y ¿qué sucede con todos aquellos que no se mueren con la inocencia perfecta de un niño de pecho…gente como tú y yo? Ellos sí pueden beneficiar de nuestras oraciones y es por eso que observamos este día de los muertos.

¿Qué sucede con aquellos que se mueren sin pecados mortales pero no bastante inocentes para ir derecho al cielo? Se pasan por un proceso de purificación llamado Purgatorio para capacitarles a participar eventualmente en el gozo perfecto del cielo. La idea es ésta: Aquí somos nosotros, finitos, limitados, llenos de defectos y pecados veniales y distorsiones del carácter, algunas el daño duradero de pecados ya perdonados pero con efectos interiores no completamente curados, en el sendero justo pero lejos de ser perfectos, mientros el cielo es todo lo que nosotros no somos: perfecto, infinito e ilimitado…así que para que nosotros disfrutáramos plenamente del gozo infinito del cielo, Dios tiene que hacer algo para remediar nuestras limitaciones--si no, seríamos como niños de 3 años de vacaciones en París--allá físicamente, tal vez, pero demasiado limitados para disfrutarlo plenamente. Purgatorio es el proceso por cual Dios remedia todo lo que falta en nosotros y es allí que nuestras oraciones pueden ayudar a los muertos. Como en esta vida, así también en purgatorio, el crecimiento y la curación son mucho más fáciles cuando se cuenta con ayuda, en este caso la ayuda de nuestras oraciones. Y una vez que ellos lleguen al cielo, seguramente corresponderán por interceder para nosotros--ese es el propósito de la Comunión de los Santos--¡ayudarnos los unos a los otros en el camino a la salvación!