Monday, May 31, 2010

US court: Catholic woman must live as Orthodox Jew

Catholic couple ordered to live Hasidic lifestyle in order to be able to see husband's son, who was born to ultra-Orthodox Jewish mother

Rebecca Bitton

Published: 05.30.10, 15:33 / Israel Jewish Scene

It has been centuries since the divide between church and state has been in place but recently it seems that religion has been taking center stage in divorce courts across the United States. This time, the state has ruled that ultra-Orthodox Judaism must be followed by a pair of Catholics.

Laura Derbigney, a Hispanic Catholic woman, has been placed under court order to keep Shabbat, keep kosher and live as a Hasidic Jew. This court order was carried out in Chicago and the woman is now being told she must live an Orthodox Jewish lifestyle due to her new husband’s ex-wife who is a Hasidic Jew.

Derbigney’s husband Nelson, also a Catholic, has a son by his first wife, a seven-year old who must carry out ultra-Orthodox restrictions with his Catholic father as he has with his biological mother, and this is the reasoning behind the court’s order to have the boy’s father and new step-mother live in the ways of a Hasidic Jew.

"I truly feel it's an intrusion on my home life," Derbigney said from her attorney's office Monday, according to NBC reports. "That I have to now obey certain aspects of being kosher and following Shabbat in order for my husband and I to see his son, is wrong."

These restrictions include dietary restrictions. Despite Derbigney reportedly liking to cook Hispanic foods from her childhood, she will not be able to feed the child pork. Furthermore, the court has ordered that she is not allowed to shop at her regular supermarket and must shop from a kosher supermarket, henceforth – a supermarket, according to her interview with NBC, that is located in a different neighborhood far from her home.

Along with this, she will definitely not be able to take the boy from her new husband’s first marriage in a car on Saturdays, and for the same reason no sports will be played, no electronics will be used, as she has to follow all the laws of Shabbat.

The court order was enacted under the demands of the Hasidic Jewish ex-wife who complained to court that the last time her son visited his father he was fed non-kosher hot dogs.

Attorney Joel Brodsky, who is defending the Derbigneys and has won a similar case where religion proved to be the main concern in a custody battle, told NBC that the court’s ruling ignores the First Amendment which describes a citizen’s right to live by their own religious beliefs. Brodsky said, “Just because you're divorced, the court can't say how to live your lives or what grocery store you can go to."

Brodsky’s similar case that he won in mid February of this year coincidentally involves a Jewish ex-wife and a Hispanic Catholic father. The father, by the name of Joseph Reyes, converted to Judaism when he married his ex-wife Rebecca Reyes and returned to Catholicism when they divorced. Later, he brought their daughter Ela to a church and was afterwards sued, facing prison and fines for the church visit due to allegations that the pair decided to raise the daughter Jewish; though the father denies this.

This particular case was judged by Judge Edward Jordan, member of the Decalogue Society of Lawyers (Jewish bar association) but with the request of Brodsky, the judge was changed to Cook County Judge Goldfarb who ruled in favour of the father’s right to send their daughter to church during his visitations if he so chooses.

Does divorce court have the right to determine a child’s religious affiliation based on how a child was raised prior to the divorce? Or should the divide between state and religion be firmly upholding in divorce courts today? The age-old controversy between state and religion is presenting itself repeatedly in custody battles in 21st Century divorce courts.

On This Day

On this day of May 31 in 1911, the British liner RMS Titanic was launched from its building berth at the Port of Belfast (construction had begun on March 31, 1909). - Kendall Harmon

Egyptian court says Coptic Church must allow divorce, remarriage

From Catholic World News:

In response to today's ruling, Bishop Armiya, Secretary to Pope Shenouda, issued a statement stressing the respect of the Coptic Orthodox Church for the Egyptian judiciary and its rulings, but saying "there is no force on earth that can force the Church to violate the teachings of the Bible and Church laws, based on "What God has joined together let no man separate." He added that Islamic law allows the Copts to resort to their own laws, and the state respects the freedom of religion.

Egypt's highest court has ruled that the Coptic Orthodox Church must allow divorce and remarriage.
The Supreme Administrative Court, siding with a lower court decision, rejected an appeal by Coptic Pope Shenouda II. The court said that "the right to family formation is a constitutional right."

In Egypt all marriages must be solemnized in a religious ceremony. The court ruled that the Christians who make up 10% of the country's population have the same right to marriage and remarriage as their Muslim neighbors, and Christian churches, regardless of their religious doctrines, must allow divorced people to remarry. The decision cannot be appealed.

Coptic Church leaders have said that they will not abide by the court's order, setting up a potentially serious church-state clash.

Source(s): these links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

Medjugorje : Bishop Ratko Peric's Confirmation Sermon

Official translation now up at Diane's blog (click here).

Bishop Ratko Peric in Medjugorje - 05/29/10 (via Google translation):

"Finally a word about cima Franciscans. Thank you for your pastoral work in this parish. You are a gift to the Church Order of the Church of God. So stick to the order of the Church in this parish in the diocese, as the Church expects from you. None of the competent ecclesiastical authority is not none of you nor anyone else, authorized or charged to the Holy Mass in the church and even preached about the "apparitions" which are not confirmed. Moreover, it was confirmed that, based on professional research and bishops statement can not talk about supernatural apparitions and revelations. ( 1 Tim 1,15). If the Holy Father Pope tomorrow brings a different approach than what has been until now, we keep the attitude the Church, convinced that the "Church of the living God, pillar and stronghold of the truth" (1 Tim 1:15). So everything I do now with the responsibility of this place spoke to today affirm and expect to be adhered to church!
Let us all help the Holy Spirit!"

Ohio Priest Father Hummer Not Happy With New Mass Translation


From St. Mary Catholic Church, Chillicothe, Ohio:

Fr. Lawrence L. Hummer, Pastor

           There is much in the Catholic press these days about a revision of the translation of the Mass in English, which was recently approved by the American bishops over a protest by a minority of the bishops present. I am reminded of the idiom about “buying a pig in a poke.” The expression has been around in English since at least the 14th century and mention was made of it in the book “Five Hundredth Good Pointes of Husbandrie” by Thomas Tusser in 1580. As described there, one tried to put into a small bag a cat or small animal and try to pass it off as a small pig, saying to the buyer that if he opened the bag before he got it home, he’d surely lose the pig because it would run away, being frisky and all, and once out of the bag the buyer could lose the pig. It would not be safe to open until he got home when the buyer would discover there was no pig in the bag.
            The revision is explained as having become necessary because the Latin text of the Roman Missal has been revised and therefore a revision of the English (especially the Eucharistic Prayers I-IV, which have been in use for the U.S. since 1973) was considered in order. The Eucharistic Prayers for Masses of Reconciliation were added in 1974, and since 1985 we have been praying the prayers we are currently using, based on the 2nd Typical Edition of the Roman Missal. In 2002 the 3rd Typical Edition of the Roman Missal was approved for use by Pope John Paul II. It is that 3rd Typical Edition that is now being translated into English.

             However, the guidelines for translation have been radically changed because of the institution of a group known as Vox Clara (literally, “clear voice”), which was established by Rome to oversee all English translations of the Mass worldwide in 2002. Before this the International Committee on English in the Liturgy (ICEL) had been responsible, with considerable input from local or regional bishops of a given language group. In the case of the U.S. the earlier translation adopted what was called “dynamic equivalency” in translating these Latin texts. The intention was that they not be slavishly literal, but would capture the meaning of the Latin in suitable English expression. Anyone who has ever translated anything from one language to another knows how difficult it can be to find suitable English for foreign expressions. Imagine then the difficulty of translating Latin, which very few speak people speak within the Church (let alone without) into modern English. 

            In fact the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued a decree in 2001 called Liturgiam Auhtenticam which issued instructions for how Latin texts were to be translated into vernacular languages. This document took the authority away from the U.S. bishops and gave it to the Roman approved and staffed Vox Clara for final approval of all English language texts. The group responsible for these texts is headed by a bishop from Spain. It has some English language bishops and other members, but it remains under the firm and uncompromising hand of Rome. It’s a great mystery to me how a group of non-native English speakers passes final judgment on what our English version will be.

               Liturgiam Authenticam insists upon fidelity to the Latin text: “Every word and concept presented in an original text must be fully accounted for within a translation, even when the language into which the text is being translated must be pushed beyond its normal limits of expression to do so.”

Specifically, it discourages “inclusive language” to avoid gender-specific terms as well as language considered less offensive to groups such as Jews, where such measures depart from the literal meaning of the text. Now this document was issued by Cardinal Francis Arinze, who is from Nigeria. He became a Christian at the age of nine and a bishop at the age of 32. He was appointed to his positions in Rome by Pope John Paul II.

            Liturgiam Authenticam says further: “It is unnecessary and inappropriate to alter biblical or liturgical texts simply because some might take offense at their wording, as for example in some biblical passages that have sometimes incorrectly been criticized as depicting the Jewish people in an unfavorable light. Such misunderstandings are rightly dispelled by proper catechesis rather than by unwarranted interventions upon the text itself. If a given liturgical text is seen to require change in order to avoid misunderstandings of this nature, such a change lies within the competence of the supreme authority of the church and not of the translator.” (p. 60)  That would be true if everyone praying these texts were in possession of theological degrees. But the plain and simple fact is that most people are not that well versed in what we believe and what we don’t. The thrust of this instruction is to say the hell with anybody who wants to prevent needless sexism or chauvinism in the texts we use at Mass. God is a male and that’s the end of that! Rome has spoken; case is closed (Roma locutus est; causa finita est).

            Liturgiam Authenticam also discourages language that comes from Protestants or other non-Catholic groups: “Given the long history of the Roman Rite which developed in part around certain divisions in the practice of the faith, seen most acutely in liturgical and creedal language, translators must show great care in expressing the mysteries of the faith as understood in the Catholic tradition. As a result, traditional Catholic expression is not ordinarily rendered through language which belongs to other faith communities.” (p. 46)

            The thrust of that statement sets back ecumenism at least 50 years, so no non-Catholic language may be used. Never mind that they may be more accurate. The New Testament itself uses the word poterion (“drinking cup”) at the Last Supper, not chalice. But the revised translation insist on using the “Catholic” word “chalice,” which is really a clouding of the Scriptures, not a clarification. 

            Moreover, “The translation of pro multis as “for many” after the words of consecration has been inserted in the proposed revision as a rendering of the original biblical text, even though the expression “for all” has been used in English since the late 70’s or early 1980’s. Note the translation of pro multis in the other European languages: Spanish (por todos los hombres), Italian (per tutti), German (für Alle), and Portuguese (por todos homens). In Aramaic, the language of Jesus, the expression “for the many” signifies “for all.” Why the English revision approved by the bishops retains “for many” instead of “for all” is simply preposterous!

            The sentence in question reads: “It (my blood) will be shed you and for all so that sins may be forgiven.” In all of the other European languages including Italian (tutti) and German (fur Alle) the expression is “for all.” We have been praying “for all” since the papacy of Paul VI.  With the approved text as approved by the bishops, we are going to have to pray that Jesus shed his blood for “many” implying not for all, in conflict with most modern European languages, which translate the expression as “for all.” It seems clear that the only ox being gored is the English speaking one. For all its outward appearances it is a double standard at best, and at worst, a slap in the face at English language scholarship. 

            Traditionalists are apparently rejoicing because we are returning to “for many” as a proper translation of “pro multis.” There is some suggestion that all vernacular translations will have to return to “for many.” In the process, they all seem to miss the point that Christ shed his blood for the salvation of all. For whom did he shed it?... For all?... Or for members only?... And here we return to the turf battles of the past and the Church triumphant and to hell with all non-Catholics and non-Christians and so on. This is madness. Make way for a return to the Crusades next! With one word, the theology that has guided us since the time of the New Testament itself disappears. Note 1 Tim.2:3-5: "This is good and pleasing to God our savior, who wills everyone to be saved and to come to knowledge of the truth...there is one mediator between God and the human race, Christ Jesus, himself human, who gave himself as a ransom for all.”

            Bishop Arthur Serratelli, who was in Rome when I studied there in 1976, speaks in detail of the long, careful, scholarly, and … pastoral process of the English revision.  He notes the production of the final liturgical text is a work of immense importance.  It deserves and receives all the attention it is given.  “It is not left to the competence or preference of a few, because it is the expression of the Faith of the whole Church.”  He notes that “individuals will inevitably differ in their judgment on the quality of particular translations.”  It is in that spirit that I am offering these cautionary notes and raising certain questions, probably more out of frustration, than out of any real hope that it will change anything.

             Bishop Serratelli also notes that “liturgical language is important for the life of the Church.  Lex orandi, lex credendi (i.e. the law of those  praying is the law of those believing or we pray what we believe).  In liturgy, the words addressed to God and the words spoken to the people voice the Faith of the Church.  They are not simply the expressions of one individual in one particular place at one time in history.  The words used in liturgy also pass on the faith of the Church from one generation to the next.  For this reason, the bishops take seriously their responsibility to provide for the faithful the translations of liturgical texts that are accurate and inspiring.  Hence, the sometimes passionate discussion of words, phrases and syntax.” 

             It is precisely this issue of “passionate discussion” of the approved translations which troubles me so much because I believe the bishops have ignored important voices of dissent within their ranks, especially the recommendations of the Catholic Biblical Association, an institution the bishops use to produce the New American Bible translation of the Scriptures, the basis for all our Lectionary readings up to now. Elsewhere in the English speaking world they use the New English Bible translation. If therefore the Church wants to insist on the uniformity one English translation for all of the English speaking world, the bishops ought to explain why they allow different Lectionary readings, which, of course, are an intimate and central part of every Mass, called the Liturgy of the Word! 

            Note that the first of Bishop Serratelli’s basic explanations for the revisions is: “First, the new texts will be used in many different English-speaking countries.  Therefore, the language will not bear the cultural stamp or preference of one particular country.  This calls for certain openness on the part of all of us.” If that’s true, the bishops are going to have to explain the different Lectionaries, which in fact do, to some extent, reflect the English spoken in a specific region. That’s why we are Americans, not Brits. We ended that relationship over 200 years ago when our ancestors fought and won a war against them. One of the enduring results is that we do not speak like them, and we do not want to. Winning that war for independence gave us that right. His full remarks can be read at missal/.

            I must say the proposed translation revisions (many of them) are very troubling to me. Many of the issues are clear attempts to arrest the advanced efforts in this country to eliminate needless sexist language from the liturgy. The inconsistencies are sometimes glaring. In the Gloria, we will pray: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people (hominibus in Latin) of good will. But in the Creed, we will be required to pray “For us men (hominibus) and for our salvation….and became man (homo). Where is the consistency?  “For us” and “became human” would be perfectly acceptable and would eliminate a needless sexist barrier. And the precedent for it is set by translating hominibus as people in the Gloria. Such inconsistency on the part of the bishops at such a critical moment in the life of the praying community is painful to watch.

            One of the only voices among the bishops to garner any headlines against what they have done came from Bishop Donald Trautman, of Erie, Pa. I am proud to say he too, once studied at the University of Innsbruck as did I. Unfortunately his voice has been drowned out by the vote of the bishops in November. Bishop Trautman warned some time ago that we’ll have to grow comfortable with such unfamiliar and needless words such as “consubstantial,” “ignominy,” “oblation,” “ineffable,”(say what?)” “precursor,” “unvanquished,” and “incarnate of.” Other dandies in waiting include “suffused” “inviolate,” and “beseech.” Help!

            In the end, I’m not sure what’s in the poke. But if I’m intending to buy a pig, I usually try to make sure it’s a pig and not a skunk. The poke needs to be opened before we buy. The laity need to be asked their opinion. The clergy need to be consulted too. And maybe we’ll eventually find a pig in the poke. Right now we’re all at the mercy of the bishops. We can only hope they remember what that word (mercy) means and grant us a reprieve until they get it right.

                                    Fr. Hummer

            I actually asked some of my friends and respected colleagues what they thought and whether it should be shared with the parish. Below are some of their responses.

David Timbs teaches in Catholic schools in Australia and also studied with Fr. Hummer in Jerusalem. He is also a former Redemptorist priest. He had the following comments:

“Lawrence, I fully endorse your thoughts about publishing your views in the parish newsletter. You have spent years educating your folks theologically and biblically so I think you can take them through the concerns you have spelled out.

I share your alarm that the ICEL has been hijacked by Vox Clara. One of the principals of this group from the beginning is George Cardinal Pell, Archbishop of Sydney. George has a DPhil in Church History but is theologically illiterate. He has little sense of consultation within the Catholic community. His former Auxiliary, Mark Coleridge, is now Archbishop of Canberra, the Federal Capital (like Washington DC). Mark holds a DSS from the PBC and for a number of years was the principal English speech writer in Rome for JPII. He is clever and well connected and I am convinced he is looking forward to seeing George off to the Curia soon and his accession to Sydney and the Red Hat that comes with it. These are two fellows to keep an eye on.

Mark is the Chairman of Vox Clara and a staunch defender of the new translation arguing that it is an authentic rendering of what VAT II intended for liturgical texts. In a recent interview on the Australian website he vigorously attempted to hose down any criticism of the new translation.
The Hierarchy to a large extent has lost consciousness of the magisterial importance of the Sensus Fidelium. Because they have and are failing to listen to the internal challenges of faithful, concerned and educated Catholics I fear the drop off rate will escalate. We're down to attendance fractions in this country (Australia).”


“I think it is well-stated and very enlightening. I, like many of the brethren, can't imagine how we are supposed to educate the laity without suppressing our own repugnance of the whole matter. It's that tedious patronizing crunch of wanting them to be spared from knowing the background that can only intensify their repugnance for doing what they will be "required" to do.” – Fr. Ron Atwood, St. Francis of Assisi Church, Columbus.


“Besides the idiotic and unnecessary translation changes, what really gets me (and which you mention) is the total disregard for decentralization and collegiality. Both are major themes from Vatican II, and this is part of the effort to destroy the reform goals of the Council. As has been pointed out, the backward steps being foisted on the liturgy are all done completely divorced from expert study and the input of liturgists. Next thing you know they will be making a new translation of the Vulgate as the only official text for Catholics.” – Fr. Dave Foxen

Glenn Beck – Mormon Historian?

From RazorsKiss:

Here’s a transcript:

22:40: Glenn: “…the Dead Sea Scrolls, you know what they are? Stu, do you know what the Dead Sea Scrolls are?
Stu: Well, of course I do…
Glenn: Now, c’mon, most people don’t.
Stu: Well, I heard of them, I don’t really know
Glenn: You don’t really know. You have no idea why they were there. Sara average person doesn’t know. Any idea, take a guess on why the Dead Sea Scrolls were there, or anything else.
Sara(?): Something religious.
Glenn: Okay, good. Even though I’ve explained this on this program a couple of times, I’m glad to see that even the people that work with me don’t even listen.
So here’s what happened. When Constantine decided that he was going to cobble together an army, he did the Council of Nicea, right, Pat?
Pat: Yea.
Glenn: The Council of Nicea, and what they did is brought all of the religious figures together, all the Christians and then they said, “Ok, let’s put together the Apostles’ Creed, let’s you know, you guys do it.” So they brought all their religious scripture together, that’s when the Bible was first bound and everything else. And then they said, “Anybody that disagrees with this is a heretic and off with their head!” Well, that’s what the Dead Sea Scrolls are. The Dead Sea Scrolls are those scriptures that people had at the time that they said, “They are destroying all of this truth.” Whether it’s truth or not is up to the individual, but at that time those people thought that this was something that needed to be preserved and so they rolled up the scrolls and put them in clay pots and they put them in the back of caves where no one could find them. They were hidden scripture because everything was being destroyed that disagreed with the Council of Nicea and Constantine. That’s what those things are.” 24:37


What I’m going to do is defend Glenn Beck here on what he got right. I will repost the words and strike what is incorrect. The remainder (what is either correct or at least possibly correct) will be in blue.
All right. So here’s what happened. When Constantine decided he was going to uh… cobble together an army, um, he did the uh… Council of uh… Nicaea, right, Pat?
Council of Nicaea. Um… and what they did is brought all of the religious figures, uhh, together, all the Christians and then they said, “Ok, let’s uh, put together the Apostles’ Creed, let’s, you know, you guys do it.” So they brought all their religious scripture together, and that’s when the Bible was first bound and everything else. And then they said, “Anybody that disagrees with this is a heretic and… off with their head!” Well, that’s what the Dead Sea Scrolls are. The Dead Sea Scrolls are those scriptures that people had at the time that they said, “They are destroying all of this truth.” Whether it’s truth or not is, is up to the individual, but that… at that time those people thought that this was something that needed to be preserved and so they rolled up the scrolls and they put ‘em in clay pots and they, they put ‘em in the back of caves where no one could find them. They were hidden scripture because everything was being destroyed that disagreed with the Council of Nicaea and Constantine. That’s what those things are.
There you go. Here’s where he was spot on:
  • “All right.” Can’t argue with that.
  • “uh … um … uh” I won’t take exception to those. We all say them.
  • “right, Pat?” Pat exists, and Beck asked him a question.
  • “Council of Nicea” A real historical event.
  • “Whether it’s truth or not is, is up to the individual,” Can’t really disagree with that when you’re speaking of truth in a relative sense. Some people believe the Dead Sea Scrolls contain truth, others do not.
  • “rolled up the scrolls and … put ‘em in clay pots and … put ‘em in the back of caves where no one could find them.” While wrong about who “they” were, it’s quite possible the real folks behind the DSS did what Beck said. Could be someone else moved them around later. Could be any number of possibilities.
  • “They were hidden scripture” No problem with that.

Bishop Amos issues statement on ‘ordination’ of women
Wednesday, May 26, 2010 11:28 AM CDT
(Bishop Martin Amos issued the following statement May 25:)

 It has come to my attention that the issue of the “ordination” of women to Holy Orders has been raised in the Diocese of Davenport. With the following statement it is hoped that the position of the Roman Catholic Church is made clear.

The role of women has been held in high regard by the Church for centuries. As one example, the late Holy Father, John Paul II wrote in his 1988 apostolic letter to women entitled, “The Dignity and the Vocation of Women” (Mulieris Dignitatem): “the Church desires to give thanks to the Most Holy Trinity for the ‘mystery of woman’ and for every woman — for all that constitutes the eternal measure of her feminine dignity, for the ‘great works of God,’ which throughout human history have been accomplished in and through her” (No. 31, The absolutely vital role of women in the Church extends to all women through the example of the Virgin Mary, the Mother of Jesus Christ.

The need for the Church to respond to the “ordination” of women was addressed in an apostolic letter from Pope John Paul II dated May 22, 1994, “On Ordination to the Priesthood” (Ordinatio Sacerdotalis). Quoting Pope John Paul: “[4.] Although the teaching that priestly ordination is to be reserved to men alone has been preserved by the constant and universal Tradition of the Church and firmly taught by the Magisterium in its more recent documents, at the present time in some places it is nonetheless considered still open to debate, or the Church’s judgment that women are not to be admitted to ordination is considered to have a merely disciplinary force. Wherefore, in order that all doubt may be removed regarding a matter of great importance, a matter which pertains to the Church’s divine constitution itself, in virtue of my ministry of confirming the brethren (cf. Gospel of Luke 22:32) I declare that the Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and that this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.” (

The current decree regarding the “ordination” of women

On May 29, 2008, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a department of the Vatican, published a decree in order to protect true doctrine, to safeguard the communion and unity of the Church and to guide the consciences of the faithful regarding the “ordination” of women. The decree stated that those who attempt to confer Holy Orders on women are excommunicated, as are the women who attempt to receive Holy Orders. This includes the attempted “ordination” for a deacon, priest or bishop.

“The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, in virtue of the special faculty granted to it by the Supreme Authority of the Church (cf. Can. 30, Code of Canon Law;, in order to safeguard the nature and validity of the sacrament of Holy Orders, decreed, in the Ordinary Session of Dec. 19, 2007:

In accordance with what is disposed by Can. 1378 of the Code of Canon Law, ( he who shall have attempted to confer holy orders on a woman, as well as the woman who may have attempted to receive Holy Orders, incurs a latae sententiae excommunication, reserved to the Apostolic See.”

The phrase, “latae sententiae excommunication” means excommunication is incurred as soon as the offence is committed and by reason of the offence itself.

Purpose of Excommunication

The purpose of excommunication is always to bring the person back into communion with the Church. It is hoped that, “sustained by the grace of the Holy Spirit, those who are excommunicated discover the path to conversion and return to the unity of faith and to communion with the Church, a communion broken by their action.”

By their choice to be excommunicated, that is, to be separated from the Roman Catholic Church, they are forbidden to celebrate sacraments or sacramentals, to receive the sacraments and to exercise any function in an ecclesiastical (church) office, ministry or assignment (cf. can. 1331 §1 CIC)

How does someone who is excommunicated return to the Church?

In this case, the Holy Father reserves to himself the ability to return the person who is excommunicated back to communion with the Church.

I ask that all the people of the Diocese of Davenport prayerfully reconsider any participation in the process or advocacy of ordaining women to Holy Orders. Such participation does not foster unity in the Church and jeopardizes the communion of the faithful with each other and with God. On my part, I will continue to pray for unity throughout the Church and for those people who struggle with this issue.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Prayer For The Poor Souls

From Loved Sinner:

Prayer For The Poor Souls:
My Jesus, by the sorrows you suffered in your agony in the garden, in the scourging and crowning with thorns, in the way to Calvary, in you crucifixion and death--have mercy on the souls in purgatory, especially those who are most forsaken. Deliver them from the dire torments they endure, and admit them to your most sweet embrace in paradise.

Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be.

Eternal rest grant to them, O Lord, and let perpetual light shine upon them.

May they rest in peace.

John Finn, hero at Pearl Harbor, dies at 100

 Ex-sailor was oldest living Medal of Honor recipient

John Finn, the oldest living Medal of Honor recipient, whose modest demeanor and lifestyle belied his legendary status as an American hero, died Thursday at age 100 at a Chula Vista veterans home.

He was assigned to Naval Air Station Kaneohe Bay on Dec. 7, 1941, when he found himself firing at Japanese planes from an exposed position for more than two hours despite being hit 21 times by bomb and bullet fragments.

The longtime East County resident was credited by some with single-handedly shooting down a Japanese aircraft, but he would later say, “I can’t honestly say (for sure) I hit any, but I shot at every damn plane I could see.”

He was believed to be one of the first Americans to take up arms against the Japanese when they bombed the naval base and nearby Pearl Harbor, an attack that brought the United States into World War II.

Friends and fellow veterans said that in military circles, Finn was comparable to a rock star. People clamored for a handshake or to have a picture taken with him wherever he went. Fellow Medal of Honor recipient Tom Kelley said Finn was a big hit at a Veterans Day event in Massachusetts last year.

“He’s kind of a legend,” Kelley said. “He was a very warm person and had a phenomenal memory. He could remember everything and tell stories and not repeat himself. He made everyone who met him feel like they were the most important person in the world.”

Finn often downplayed his heroic efforts during World War II and said he was just doing his job. “I read about other guys with the medal who lost their lives or really suffered in wars, and I think about myself. I was just an uneducated man who got mad as hell one day,” he said in a 1984 interview with The San Diego Union...

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Friday, May 28, 2010

Dabbling in the occult seen taking spiritual toll on youth

By Deacon James N. Dunbar

(The Anchor) ACUSHNET, Mass. — Vampires, witches, Ouija boards, satanic rock music and dark video games — innocent fun?

“I don’t think so,” said Msgr. Gerard P. O’Connor, pastor of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet. “Some of what seems fascinating to young people is downright dangerous, and it is sinful any time one invokes the devil or believes in astrology or in psychic readings.”

He said reading about Black magic and looking for messages on Ouija boards and on Tarot Cards “are insidious evils that some young people  — even some in our Catholic schools — could become fascinated with, not realizing what could happen.”

Wicca and the many New Age practices such as Reiki, transcendental meditation and psychic divination “are being marketed as new, but they are part of old heresies and evils that have been around for a long time. But I must say they have become more prevalent today than they were 20 or 30 years ago,” Msgr. O’Connor commented.

New Age practices are characterized by an individual approach to spiritual methods and rejection of religious doctrines or dogma. Reiki involves using a life force that promotes self-healing within the body. Wicca, the largest of the neopagan religions, is a form of modern witchcraft, and centers on worshipping the triple goddess and her consort, the horned god.

The occult burst onto the entertainment scene in the early 1960s with television programs such as “Bewitched,” “I Dream of Genie,” “The Munsters” and the “Addams Family.”

As for the long-running, popular yet controversial old “Harry Potter” series and its films, Msgr. O’Connor feels they could have an adverse impact “if young people begin to admire what those present outside of a fairy tale sense.”

He quickly added, “‘The Catechism of the Catholic Church’ is our guide to the teachings of the Catholic Church, and we are speaking of sins against the First Commandment”: “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before me.”

Matthew in his Gospel says: “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve” (4:10).

The “Catechism” in No. 2116, states: “All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to unveil the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God.”

It is the consistent teaching of the Catholic Church that the devil and his angels were created good but chose of their own free will to reject God.

The Book of Revelation tells us that when the devil was cast down by the valiant Archangel Michael, “his tail swept a third of the stars from the sky” (12:4). This has been commonly interpreted in Church history as the rebellion of a third of God’s angels, who joined Lucifer in his apostasy.

“With this in mind it is important for us to realize that the fallen angels are in this for keeps” and “are deadly serious about their mission to bring us into their rebellion and thus separate us eternally from God,” said Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, president of Virginia-based Human Life International, and one of a small group of priests authorized to perform exorcisms in their  dioceses.

In a telephone interview with The Anchor, he said, “It’s clear that young people don’t have the sophistication to directly make contact with the devil, but the gateways opening up that possibility are the seductive social phenomena like Harry Potter of a decade ago and now the vampire culture, where teen-age girls are falling in love with that young man Eddie from the movie ‘Twilight,’” Father Euteneuer explained.

“For the devil the prize is our eternal, human soul, and the proliferation of many dark forces is creating a subculture of youth who are suffering the effects of occult involvement,” he said.

ouija_board“We see dabbling in New Age and Wiccan phenomena and sinful behavior like promiscuity and taking drugs are creating huge openings to let the devil in. Spending time surfing the Internet to meet people allowing themselves to be lured by them and seriously using the Ouija board are exacerbating the evils making it easier to make contacts with the devil in the occult.”

Among teen-agers the Ouija board historically marketed by Parker Brothers has long been considered merely a game for entertainment purposes. But fascinating advertisements on the Internet are designed to lure new players into the unknown. Christian faith communities have for decades understood it as a dangerous occult tool that opens the door for Satan to come in, and can lead to spiritual famine.

Dating to the mid-1800s, its name derived from the French and German word for “yes,” oui and ja, — the divination board includes letters of the alphabet, numerals one through nine, and a heart-shaped pointer on three felt legs. One or two people place their fingertips on the pointer, which is felt to move to answer questions.

Initially designed as a psychograph to read people’s minds, it has frequently been a vehicle to induce trances, séances, and attempts to contact or communicate with the dead, all expressly forbidden by Catholic teaching.

Father Euteneuer made it clear he was talking mainly about adolescents, those in their early teens, “but the cultural data does often drop into preadolescents through cartoons and what seems like innocent games. For instance, there an a Ouija board newly on the market for younger kids put out by Toys R Us,” he said.

 “What is devastating is that preadolescents are easily drawn into the occult, because they really don’t know what’s happening.”

Asked if there have been exorcisms for the young people, Father Euteneuer said, “Indeed there are exorcisms for children who are victimized by the devil. But not a lot of them. There has to be a great deal of investigation before we go that route.”

Asked what is his main message to staying clear of Satan and his works, he advised, “I say to parents and kids, stay away from things are ambiguous or have direct cultural significance. ‘Harry Potter’ involves kids and images and language and toys that they may not understand. If so, don’t become involved, don’t play with it.”

Instead, says Father Euteneuer, “use Christian images and games that are Christ centered. If we don’t, we are off into dangerous territory. And I might add, we’re off on a total waste of time if Christ is not involved.”

Two of his newest books will be out in two weeks.

The first is “Exorcism in the Militant Church.”

The second, “Demonic Abortion” talks of abortion as the work of the devil.

“The latter is about the satanic nature of the industry and the culture of death which frequently involves some very young women, “ he reported.

“Abortion is the devil’s work,” he asserted. “I’m not saying all those who seek an abortion are involved in the occult. But the industry is populated by those in the occult.”

He added, “To confront a force this strong, you need a massive amount of prayer. That’s why I like the 40 Days For Life group, because they bring us what we need where we need it.”

He predicts that in the next 10 years or so, we’ll see an explosion of occult activity … in soft-core occultism as well as what Wicca and the New Way will present.

 “These are the gateways to hard-core stuff. As society becomes more faithless, the wickedness comes and fills the vacuum,” he pointed out.

He said the problem of demonic infestation has already become, “shall we say ‘legion’ in our culture and the sheer magnitude of these demonic influences has already left us with a wounded generation of youth, many of whom will receive liberation and healing only through the priestly ministry of exorcism.”

He related a story of a young unbaptized man who sought him out at a parish in Florida saying “something had led him there.”

“But more likely it was the Spirit of God leading him to the Church for deliverance from the demon,” the priest said.

“He had immersed himself in satanic music. He admitted to doing drugs and experimenting with all kinds of occult matters that glorified Satan in overt as well as indirect ways. He was fond of violent movies and video games, basically a soulless cyber-addict,” said Father Euteneuer.

Hospitalized after a drug overdose, “in a coma on the hospital bed, he felt he was descending down a long, cold and dark corridor … felt something grab his arm and enter into his chest. From that point on he was demonized.”

Father Euteneuer contends that priests in pastoral ministry — that is, those on the front lines of the Church — will have to deal with this growing problem of occultism sooner or later, most especially among our youth, who are the prime targets of Satan’s wiles.

“Every manner of dark seduction now pervades our culture. In its soft form, we see the proliferation of filth and blasphemy cleverly packaged and sold to spiritually stunted souls as entertainment or self-help services.”

In an article published in March, Father Euteneuer noted that television shows like “Sabrina the Teenage Witch,” “Buffy the Vampire Slayer,” “Charmed,” and what he called “their popular spawn,” especially target the young generation and are followed with fanatical fervor.

“A whole generation of teen-age girls is absolutely swooning about the new vampire flick ‘Twilight’ and its sequel ‘New Moon.’ Some are going to this movie in prom dresses, fantasizing about what it would be like to fall in love with a vampire!

“This is anything but a fantasy,” said Father Euteneuer. “It is a potential gateway to grave spiritual danger for lonely, isolated kids who are ‘spiritually hungry’ enough to explore the occult.”

Father Jay Mello, chaplain at Bishop Stang High School in North Dartmouth, said “generally speaking, young students find an awkward fascination in paranormal activity and especially with some of the current films that have to do with the darker side.”

The students learn what the Catholic Church teaches and warns about the occult, “and I often meet students at several schools and some talk about the Ouija board. But I don’t see a great growth in such interests… although the greatest deceit by the devil is that he doesn’t want us to know he even exists,” he added.

“We are not doing our job to educate Catholics about Church teachings on the First Commandment, the occult and to stay away from opening the door to demonic spirits with séances, psychic readings, and the such,” contends Mary Cardoza, 46, a member of St. Francis Xavier Parish in Acushnet.

“People easily get hooked, first because they are ignorant of the fact the devils are seriously seeking lost souls, and second because they don’t believe in these spirits and argue that its just ‘stuff,’” she said.

The result is “that people of all ages, sadly including many in nursing homes, are currently enjoying séances and occult readings and visits by fortune tellers thinking sorcery is all fun and games, and not realizing such activity is sinful,” said Cardoza.

Trying to help people recognize such practices are innocuous has become something of a mini-ministry for Cardoza, a dental hygienist. It began after a lecture by Moira Noonan, author of “Ransomed From Darkness.”

For more than 20 years, Noonan was a minister in the Church of Religious Science, and taught about the New Age practices. She fell so deeply into New Age darkness that eventually she was exorcized, said Cardoza, returned to the Christian faith and her book calls for Christian preachers, teachers and laity to awaken from their enchantment and the seductions of New Age gurus and return to Christ.

Father Euteneuer cited statistics contending that Wicca is the fastest growing “religion” in the United States, with no fewer than 700,000 Internet sites for “teen-age witches.”

Recalling an exorcism he performed, “the demon screamed out from the mouth of the young woman it had possessed, ‘Lost! Lost! Lost soul!’ Ah, I countered, she was lost, but Christ found her and sent her to his Church.”

While exorcism is a pastoral and important ministry of the Church, said Father Euteneuer, “the sacrament of confession is a much more important ministry, because it pulls out the sins which are the conditions for possession,” he said.

Father Thomas J. Euteneuer, 48, a native of Detroit, Mich., was ordained a priest in 1988. He became president of Human Life International in December 2000. It is the world’s largest Pro-Life organization with affiliate associates in 80 countries worldwide. A trained exorcist, he has traveled more than a million miles in his unique service mission. 

The Beach Boys - Help Me, Ronda

The Archbishop of Canterbury’s Pentecost letter to the Anglican Communion

Church of England Archbishop Rowan Williams:

"And when a province through its formal decision-making bodies or its House of Bishops as a body declines to accept requests or advice from the consultative organs of the Communion, it is very hard (as noted in my letter to the Communion last year after the General Convention of TEC) to see how members of that province can be placed in positions where they are required to represent the Communion as a whole. This affects both our ecumenical dialogues, where our partners (as they often say to us) need to know who it is they are talking to, and our internal faith-and-order related groups.

I am therefore proposing that, while these tensions remain unresolved, members of such provinces – provinces that have formally, through their Synod or House of Bishops, adopted policies that breach any of the moratoria requested by the Instruments of Communion and recently reaffirmed by the Standing Committee and the Inter-Anglican Standing Commission on Unity, Faith and Order (IASCUFO) – should not be participants in the ecumenical dialogues in which the Communion is formally engaged. I am further proposing that members of such provinces serving on IASCUFO should for the time being have the status only of consultants rather than full members. This is simply to confirm what the Communion as a whole has come to regard as the acceptable limits of diversity in its practice...

In our dealings with other Christian communions, we do not seek to deny our diversity; but there is an obvious problem in putting forward representatives of the Communion who are consciously at odds with what the Communion has formally requested or stipulated. This does not seem fair to them or to our partners...."

Father Corapi on Humility and Respect

The Japanese ninja skirt that turns into a Coca Cola machine to ward off attackers


You've heard of hiding in plain sight.

Well, a fashion designer has come up with a more colourful way for worried women to blend into a busy street to elude a pursuer.

We've had mini-skirts, skorts, pencils and midis. Now there's the vending machine skirt.

It's definitely not the real thing, but Aya Tsukioka's skirt doubles as a disguise to make the wearer look like a Coca Cola machine.

Coke dress Aya Tsukioka's skirt aims to make the wearer look like a Coca Cola vending machine...

Ms Tsukioka, 29, unveiled her design in Tokyo by claiming she hopes it will help ease women's fear of crime.
She lifted a flap on the skirt to expose a large sheet of cloth printed with the familiar bright red Coca Cola logo.

By unfolding the sheet and stepping to the side of the street, she showed how a woman walking alone could hide behind it to outfox a potential attacker.

Coke dress Aya Tsukioka unveils her design in Tokyo. She hopes it will help ease women's fear of crime

Her deluxe model even boasts four sides for a more complete cover.

The experimental clothes designer has already sold 20 of the £400 hand-sewn vending machine skirts and it hoping to market the design worldwide.

She says the idea was inspired by a trick used by Japanese ninja assassins, who cloaked themselves in black blankets so they couldn't be seen at night.

Coke dress Tsukioka lifts a flap on the skirt to expose a large sheet of cloth printed with the familiar bright red Coca Cola logo

If the fizzy drink machine seems a little elaborate, not to mention impractical, she has also come up with the 'manhole bag' which is supposed to look like a sewer cover when you put it down so unwitting thieves walk right by without noticing it.

For children, she has a backpack that transforms into a fire hydrant.

While British women might prefer to take self-defence classes, Ms Tsukioka said: "It is just easier for Japanese to hide. Making a scene would be too embarrassing."

She admits that making the switch from skirt to vending machine might prove a little tricky "especially when your hands are shaking".

But she told the New York Times: "These ideas might strike foreigners as far-fetched, but in Japan, they can become reality."

Coke dress Tsukioka says the idea was inspired by a trick used by Japanese ninja assassins, who cloaked themselves in black blankets so they couldn't be seen at night


1921 slaying of Catholic priest gets renewed interest 
Father James E. Coyle and his sister, Marcella

May 27, 2010

By Greg Garrison

BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (RNS) The 1921 murder of the Rev. James E. Coyle on the front porch of his rectory was no ordinary slaying. Involved were the anti-Catholic Ku Klux Klan, a future Supreme Court justice and a preacher’s daughter who secretly married a Puerto Rican.

In her book “Rising Road: A True Tale of Love, Race and Religion in America,” Ohio State University law professor Sharon Davies digs deep into the Coyle’s murder—and the dark chapter of anti-Catholicism in American history.

“There are so many things about this story that are really compelling,” said Davies, who stumbled across the case while doing research for a law journal article. “When I found it, I was absolutely captivated by it. This story needed to be told. We can’t afford to forget this.”

The murder trial was historic partly because future U.S. Supreme Court Justice Hugo Black defended the accused killer, Edwin R. Stephenson, a Methodist minister and member of the Ku Klux Klan.

The Klan paid the legal expenses for Stephenson, who was acquitted by a jury that included several Klan members, including the jury foreman, Davies said.

“The Klan held enormously successful fundraising drives across Alabama to raise money for the defense,” Davies said. “They portrayed it as a Methodist minister father who shot a Catholic priest trying to steal his daughter away from her religion, to seduce his daughter into the Catholic Church.”

Stephenson, who conducted weddings at the Jefferson County Courthouse, was accused of gunning down Coyle after becoming irate over Coyle officiating at the marriage of Stephenson’s daughter, Ruth, to a Puerto Rican, Pedro Gussman.

The recent release of Davies’ book comes at the same time as a documentary highlighting the case made by Irish filmmaker Pat Shine, Coyle’s grandnephew.

As defense attorney, Black had Gussman summoned into the courtroom and questioned him about his curly hair and skin color. Lights were dimmed in the courtroom so the darkness of Gussman’s complexion would be accentuated, said an Oct. 20, 1921, newspaper account of the final day of the trial. Black won the acquittal.

“That really does illustrate, beautifully and awfully, the lengths that this future Supreme Court justice was willing to go to in defense of a killer,” Davies said. “It only worked because it exploited the bigotries of the day, anti-Catholicism and racism.”

Black joined the Klan 18 months after the trial, Davies said. He was a U.S. senator from Alabama from 1927 to 1937, and served on the U.S. Supreme Count until his death in 1971, gradually becoming one of the court’s most liberal members.

After the acquittal, Stephenson once again was a regular at the courthouse, conducting marriages. “For awhile after the trial, he was a hero,” Davies said. “He was the Klan’s champion, celebrated at Klan initiation ceremonies.”

But Stephenson never reconciled with his daughter, who divorced Gussman, moved to Chicago and died of tuberculosis in 1931 at age 28. “She was their only child,” Davies said. “I’m sure that was a grievous wound for them.”

Gussman was killed on Valentine’s Day 1934 in a hit-and-run accident steps away from where Coyle was killed, in front of St. Paul’s Cathedral. “They never found the person who hit him,” Davies said.
People don’t grasp today the level of anti-Catholic bigotry that was rampant in America at the time of Coyle’s slaying, Davies said.

State lawmakers enacted the Alabama Convent Inspection law in 1919 to authorize officials without a warrant to search convents to see whether any person found inside the convent was being “involuntarily confined” or “unlawfully held,” Davies said.

“My students laugh,” Davies said. “They can’t believe these laws existed. State legislatures were convinced they needed these laws to protect against the Catholic threat.”

There was a fear that Protestant girls would be kidnapped, forced to become Catholic nuns and held against their will, Davies said.

The Coyle case played into those fears because Ruth, as an independent-minded 18-year-old, had converted to Catholicism against her father’s will. Coyle fought the Klan’s attacks on Catholics, and federal officials at one point warned Coyle’s bishop that Coyle had been the target of death threats, Davies said.

“There were threats to burn the church to the ground,” she said. “This was a time when lectures and sermons were routinely given from pulpits ... that spewed anti-Catholicism.”

The racist impulses exploited by the young defense attorney were later curbed by Supreme Court decisions in which Black played a key role during his 34 years on the Supreme Court. He joined unanimous opinions in the 1954 Brown vs. Board of Education decision that outlawed school segregation, and the 1967 Loving vs. Virginia case that overturned Virginia’s ban on interracial marriage.

“It’s a good thing to remember where he began,” Davies said. “It gives us a greater appreciation for where he ended up. It reflected the movement of the nation.”

(Greg Garrison writes for The Birmingham News.)