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Austin parish hosting strange event – UPDATED! September 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, scandals.
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EWTN news is reporting (I know – EWTN breaks a story?) that a parish in Austin is attracting criticism for hosting a rather odd event.  I don’t know if this should be filed in the “ecumenism gone wild” series or what, but check this out:

A Catholic Church in Texas is facing criticism from concerned parishioners for hosting Jewish celebrations overseen by a rabbi who is on the board of Austin’s Planned Parenthood.

Church members have also expressed dismay at the redecoration of the parish’s sanctuary for the Jewish liturgical celebrations – which includes the Star of David being placed over the tabernacle.

EWTN News was recently contacted by parishioners from St. Louis Catholic Church in Austin, Texas, who said that a Jewish Reform congregation by the name of Temple Beth Shalom will be using church facilities to host a series of High Holy Day celebrations Sept. 4 – 18.

In a message to participants, Rabbi Alan Freedman, who serves on the board of Planned Parenthood in Austin, said that a dialogue will also be held with Fr. Larry Covington, pastor of St. Louis.

OK, I’m not sure why a Jewish temple would need or want to use a Catholic church for religious celebrations – perhaps their facility was too small, or they’re a new group that doesn’t have a temple, yet?  Further, I don’t know about the redecoration of the Sanctuary and especially the altar.  I don’t know if there is any guidance in the rubrics of the GIRM about doing something like this – I do know that prior to Vatican II, doing so would have been unthinkable.  The altar is incredibly sacred – that is where the bread and wine are transubstantiated into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.  Everything about the altar is to be holy.  I don’t know if redecorating the altar to serve a Jewish function somehow violates that consecration, but it makes me feel ill-at-ease.  I would much prefer a temporary structure have been built to allow for the Jewish ceremonies. 

Then, you have the Planned Parenthood connection.  That is awful, unacceptable.  That indicates either a severe lack of research by the parish staff or, if this Jewish rabbi’s membership on the board of Planned Parenthood (baby killers r’ us) was known, one is left aghast at how this church could have ok’d the use of their facility.  This whole thing is bizaare – why was this done?  Did the bishop approve the use of this parish for a Jewish religious service?  Is that permissible?  How on earth can this church be seen to be sanctioning the actions of a Planned Parenthood board-member by allowing such a person to use their facility?  How can a Jewish congregation be led by a Planned Parenthood board-member?  On a practical level, how can a church redecorated for Jewish holy days be used for ongoing Christian Mass celebrations?

This whole thing is bizaare.  If I were a parishioner, I’d be upset, too.  The fact that the parish has thus far refused to address these concerns publically just makes it worse.  I read some of the material on the parish website, including the pastor’s homilies, and I’d like to think that perhaps the pastor was taken unawares by this rabbi’s affiliation by Planned Parenthood, but we just don’t know. 

Truth is stranger than fiction.

UPDATE This is not the first year this parish has hosted these Jewish religious ceremonies.  They did last  year, too, and questions were raised then.  This rabbi is well known in Austin for being a Planned Parenthood board member.  True ecumenical issues aside, this pastor either didn’t know or didn’t care about the Planned Parenthood angle, although the former is really difficult to believe, since an Austin American Statesman article ran in January 2009 (9 months before the first use of this Catholic church by the Jewish group) lauding Rabbi Freedman for helping counsel women that it’s ok to get an abortion.

UPDATE 2: So I e-mailed Fr. Z on this story.  He covers it here.

Voris on Sheen and defense of the Faith September 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, Dallas Diocese, Ecumenism, General Catholic.
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I love Michael Voris – he makes my “job” easy, and I am SOOOO lazy.  He has a video relating the time he served as an altar BOY at a Mass in San Francisco, before it became completely crazy (San Fran used to be a very patriotic Navy town All-America city), celebrated by Servant of God Archbishop Fulton Sheen.  Sheen gets approached by a hippie “let’s combine Catholicism with eastern mysticism” type, and hilarity ensues:

Archbishop Fulton Sheen was is a great apologist and defender of the Faith.  May he enjoy the eternal light and splendor of the Beatific Vision.

The Russian Orthodox Church minces no words September 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Ecumenism, foolishness, General Catholic, Society.
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The Russian Orthodox Church under Patriarch Kirill appears to be done playing pointless footsie with various sects.   The Russian Orthodox Church’s primary external perlate, Metropolitan Hilarion, recently thoroughly bashed all the trends towards secularism, moral decay, liberalism, and indifferentism in many protestant churches, and had particularly harsh words for the Anglicans, in the presence of Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams, no less:

Speaking in England on September 9, the Russian Orthodox prelate in charge of ecumenical relations minced no words as he blasted developments in contemporary Anglicanism.

In the presence of Archbishop Rowan Williams of Canterbury, Metropolitan Hilarion of Volokolamsk criticized “the unrestrained liberalization of Christian values [that] continues in many communities of the Anglican world,” as well as the Church of England’s moves towards a female episcopate. He added, “It is impossible to pass silently by the liberalism and relativism which have become so characteristic of today’s Anglican theology.”

The Russian prelate warned candidly that if the Anglican communion continues to embrace liberal ideas, Orthodox-Anglican dialogue may come to an end. He argued that the most important dividing line in the Christian world today separates those who accept the authority of Church traditions and those who do not. He suggested that the more fruitful ecumenical collaboration in the future would join the efforts of those who embrace Biblical teachings and traditions, including the Orthodox, some Catholics, and Evangelicals.

Metropolitan Hilarion also spoke of “the possibility of establishing an Orthodox-Catholic alliance in Europe for defending the traditional values of Christianity. The primary aim of this alliance would be to restore a Christian soul to Europe. We should be engaged in common defense of Christian values against secularism and relativism.”

In the mealy mouthed world of ecumenical dialogue, such bold, factual statements are so unheard of, there were collective gasps heard around the world.   While the goal of Christian unity is certainly laudable, it should never be achieved at the expense of the Truth.  Far to many of those engaged in ecumenism are ready to jettison truth for a false unity.  We can only be one by accepting the Truth revealed by Christ, and that means union with the Traditional doctrine of the one Church instituted by Christ. 

Does anyone think the Metropolitan is wrong?  Is there much future for “liberal” Christianity that seeks accomodation with the culture?   I pray that the more orthodox Churches will join together and fight the decay of the culture as much as possible – I think this may be the only way to stave off a modern dark age.  And regarding the divisions within Christianity – where is the division greater, between the Orthodox Church and traditional Catholics, or between liberal and traditional Catholics?

Irish bishop spanks Kung September 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic, scandals, silliness, Society.
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Hans Kung is almost something of a shibolleth among traditional, or orthodox, Catholics.  His novel “interpretations” of Vatican II and the illusionary “spirit” of that Council have been a source of great angst among those who try to adhere to the great Tradition of the Church, and many have been convinced that Dr. Kung would be more pleased as a protestant. 

Well, the Archbishop of Meade in Ireland is having none of it.  Writing in the Irish Times (h/t Catholic Culture), Archbishop Michael Smith recalls that, as far as Vatican II is concerned, Kung wasn’t really even at the Council – he was too busy giving lectures and press conferences on what the Council “meant”.  In current day terms, we would say he was busily constructing the narrative:

Dr Hans Küng wrote what he described as an open letter to the church. It was deeply critical of Pope Benedict, those working in the Roman Curia and “subservient” bishops.It contained factual errors, eg that Pope Benedict had taken bishops of the traditionalist Pius X Society back into the church without precondition.

Running through the piece was an infallibility no pope would claim. He spoke of the betrayal by successive popes and the Curia of the “spirit” of the Vatican Council, without defining what exactly that “spirit” was.

But it is his claim to be the true interpreter of the documents of the Vatican Council that I find most difficult to accept, given the reality of his involvement with it.

Being present each day over the four years of the council, I had an opportunity of observing its workings closely. Scholars with expertise in theology, biblical studies, ecumenism etc had been appointed as “experts” to assist Council Fathers.

These were assigned to different commissions, the primary one being the Doctrine Commission. It would consider in detail proposals received from the Council Fathers, and establish reasons why some could be accepted and/or some could not.

One of those involved with the Doctrine Commission was Irish Franciscan biblical scholar Fr Alexander Kerrigan. I met him most days at the council, a kind and affable priest.

I was surprised one morning to find him visibly angry after his experience the previous evening at a commission meeting. It had followed a visit to the commission by Dr Küng, the only time Fr Kerrigan had seen him present.

Dr Küng left quickly, taking no part in the discussion. Since Dr Küng was spending a great deal of time giving lectures on the council and interviews to media, his refusal to be involved in drafting council texts was not appreciated by many….

A clear conclusion, for me at least, is that Dr Küng is less qualified than most of those present to interpret that ephemeral concept which he constantly evokes – “the spirit of the Vatican Council”.

A major theme of this pontificate is Pope Benedict’s defence of truth and morality and his robust criticism of moral relativism. In media coverage of his visit to Britain we should be mindful of ulterior motives behind campaigns to damage him.

Typically his critics reject his views as inconsistent with their agenda that morality is a matter of opinion. Rather than prejudging his visit this week we need to keep our hearts open to his key messages.

That, my dear, sweet readers, is the whole point of the “spirit of Vatican II,” an attempt to “liberate” the Body of Christ, us, from any authoritative view of morality.  Wow, and that has worked out so wonderfully over the last several decades, hasn’t it?  Look at all the wonderful fruit the diminished adherence to Christian morality has yielded – sterile marriages, divorce, devastated families, acceptance of all manner of perversion, empty churches, collapse in vocations – it’s been so very, very wonderful!  Kung would say the problems in Church and society have come about because his “spirit of Vatican II” hasn’t been adhered to strictly enough – as if more liturgical abuse and ignorance of Church doctrine on morality would somehow bring people to greater faith and more wholesome living.  How’s that working out for the protestants, Dr. Kung?  Many of the most liberal protestant churches are cratering even faster than the Catholic Church was from ~1955 – 2005 (praise God, things seem to be turning around in the Church), and are on the verge of splitting themselves into complete irrelevance. 

Dr. Kung’s worldview is old, obsolete, and discredited.  It was a fanciful dream, fueled by a sense that ecumenism could be achieved if we all just chucked some of our more problematic beliefs, we could achieve fabled Christian Unity!  But that is not how to achieve unity, that is how to come to believe in precisely nothing.   Kung and his cohorts have convinced many that, especially regarding sexual issues, it’s alot more fun, in this life at least, to believe in what you will, rather than observe Church doctrine faithfully.  I pray the Heavenly Father is infinitely merciful to him and his adherents. 

Their earthly reward has been the devastation I mentioned above. 

PS – The virtue of meekness is not my strong suit.

Exaltation of the Cross September 14, 2010

Posted by Tantumblogo in awesomeness, Basics, General Catholic.
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The Cross was at one time the symbol of ultimate human shame.  Now, it is the symbol of the most complete Victory ever won, planned by God from all time to redeem humanity from our sinfulness.  No one is worthy of the salvific action rendered by Jesus, the once for all time Sacrifice continually offered by Jesus to the Father in Heaven to atone for all the continual transgressions of the world.   The Holy Mass ties into this Sacrifice, bringing Heaven literally down to earth and changing ordinary bread and wine into the vehicle of our salvation.  Praise God!

But he was wounded for our iniquities, he was crushed for our sins: the chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray, every one hath turned aside into his own way: and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was offered because it was his own will, and he opened not his mouth: he shall be led as a sheep to the slaughter, and shall be dumb as a lamb before his shearer, and he shall not open his mouth [Is 53:5-7]