***Heresy on Tap is back : Since we hadn’t seen any ads in The Herald for Bill Tobin’s Continuing Christian Development Institute (CCDI) we hoped it was defunct. No such luck! Perusing parish websites, we found it’s still kicking [the faith] with courses at six locations in the diocese: five parishes (St. Charles, St. Anthony, St. Mary of Sorrows, Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. Thomas a Becket) and Missionhurst. While two of the worst teachers from the past, Anthony Tambasco and Berard Marthaler, are absent from the fall lineup, Tobin hasn’t run out of dissenters. Fr. Philip Rosato, SJ is presenting “Understanding the Sacraments” at St. Anthony’s in Falls Church. Rosato spent twenty years teaching at the Gregorian University in Rome and is now a fellow at the Woodstock Theological Center at Georgetown, a haven for modernists. (Fr. Thomas Reese, former editor of America, and eco-spirituality guru, Fr. John Haughey, are also there. Eco spirituality is the new-age, pantheistic belief that the universe is self-transcending and our neighbor. Haughey and Rosato are collaborating at Woodstock to explore the “nature of ‘catholicity’ in an academic setting,” whatever that means.)
Fr. Rosato is one more example of what’s gone wrong with the Jesuits. He was a partner in the project to trash the Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC) on its release. According to Msgr. Michael Wrenn and Kenneth Whitehead writing in Flawed Expectations, he called the catechism’s treatment of ordination “conceptually inadequate and spiritually uninspiring.” He says that “most members of the theological magisterium would not consider…female ordination and priestly celibacy… dogmatic issues but canonical ones open to further revision.” [Huh?...theological magisterium? This guy is delusional.] By setting up a counter magisterium to the real one (the pope and bishops in union with him), Rosato implies theologians like himself have authority to interpret Church teaching. Not so! He also undermines authority by claiming that in the first millennium priests were the “delegates” of the laity implying a democratic Church. [Let’s all vote on women’s ordination, birth control, etc.] There are other issues, but we don’t have space to explore them here. One thing is obvious: CCDI continues to assault the faith and the diocese is an enabler by not banning Tobin’s program from local parishes.
***While St. Anthony’s is hosting dissent in the school, contemplative prayer will be taught in the peace garden amidst the peace poles. [Check out the poles at http://lesfemmes-thetruth.org/v10_3twilight.htm] Why, you may ask, wouldn’t contemplative prayer be taught in the Church? After all, isn’t the One being contemplated Jesus Christ and isn’t He really present in the tabernacle? On the other hand, maybe our assumption is flawed: is Jesus being contemplated? Sacred poles were erected on the high places in Israel, not in honor of the true God, but in honor of Baal, Ashteroth (Baal’s wife), Molech, and other pagan gods. [Can you clarify please, Fr. Tuck? Exactly who is being contemplated amidst the poles?]
***Communion to Go? We thought we’d seen everything until a friend in Pennsylvania sent us photos she took at St. Ann’s Basilica in Scranton on July 18. They showed two priests moving through the parking lot like carhops at a Sonic distributing Communion to those sitting in cars. [No, they weren’t wearing roller skates and didn’t have trays with burgers and shakes.] In a letter to Bishop Joseph Marino our friend wrote,” This evening, I attended the 5:30 solemn Novena at St. Ann’s Basilica…. What I…witnessed was so shocking that I initially thought myself to be mistaken. However, since I continued to observe the same action repeated over and over again for the next hour-and-a-half, there is no doubt that what I saw is true…a Passionist priest was taking his ciborium from car to car, stooping to reach in the windows and giving the Blessed Sacrament to those inside the vehicles…. What does such casual and profane treatment of the Holy Eucharist teach the Faithful? Does it increase respect and devotion for the Blessed Sacrament? Does it fortify belief in the Real Presence?” [Nah, but it keeps the cars moving. Hey, this has possibilities. Let’s install church drive-thru windows. Place your order at the mike, pull up to the first window to drop your donation in the collection basket, and pick up your hosts at the second window. No fuss, no muss, no boring homily. Extraordinary Eucharistic Carhops can take care of parked cars in the lot.]
***Diverse Diocesan Music? The Herald’s lead article on June 28 celebrated music ministry in the diocese describing an eclectic group of hymns sung at various parishes on the feast of St. John the Baptist. One, we are told, was Prepare ye the way of the Lord from the 1973 musical Godspell. The reporter wrote, “No choice [of hymns] was more ‘correct’ than the other…according to Diocesan Music Coordinator Rick Gibala.” [Thanks, Rick, now that we know songs from musicals are liturgical hymns can we use Mary Magdalene’s song from Jesus Christ Superstar? Envision the congregation approaching for Communion singing…“He’s a man; he’s just a man. And I’ve had so many men before; in very many ways, He’s just one more.” How about Getting to Know You for the processional to celebrate the community.] Mr. Gibala apparently has not read Church documents on liturgical music. Vatican II gave “pride of place” to Gregorian Chant. Pope Benedict says pop music [Godspell et al] is never appropriate for liturgical celebrations. He describes such music as the “cult of the banal.” The problem is not new. The Council of Trent (1545-1563), Pope Benedict tells us, condemned “‘parody Masses’ in which the text of the Mass was set to a theme or melody that came from secular music, with the result that anyone hearing it might think he was listening to the latest ‘hit’.…Music was no longer developing out of prayer, but…was now heading away from the liturgy…becoming an end in itself… alienating the liturgy from its true nature.” The problem arose again in the 19th century when opera music invaded the sanctuary. Pope Pius X banned it from Mass. Today it isn’t opera, but pop music making a comeback. Pope Benedict disagrees with Gibala that no music is “more correct” for use in the Mass. “An authentic updating of sacred music,” says the Holy Father, “can take place only in the lineage of the great tradition of the past, of Gregorian chant and sacred polyphony." For more papal comments on sacred music visit our website and read The Spirit of the Liturgy published by Ignatius Press.
***Coffee, tea, or hormone-tainted water? Two years ago EPA-funded researchers at the University of Colorado found a number of strange “intersex” fish in Boulder Creek, downstream from Boulder’s sewage treatment plant. According to the National Catholic Register, “The main culprits [causing the changes] were…estrogens and other steroid hormones from birth-control pills and patches that ultimately ended up in the creek after being excreted in urine into the city's sewers.” [Yuck!] Biologist John Woodling told the Denver Post, “It’s the first thing I’ve seen as a scientist that really scared me.” Don’t live near Boulder? It’s happening all over the country. Life Site News reports that in June this year scientists at the University of Pittsburgh found the same anomalies in fish caught near sewer pipes in the Allegheny River. Other studies show that 85% of catfish taken from the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio rivers are sexually ambiguous. “Chemicals extracted from 25 randomly sampled fish caused growth of estrogen-sensitive breast cancer cells cultured in a laboratory, eleven of which led to aggressive cancer growth.’" [Environmentalists holler about second-hand smoke. How about protecting us from second-hand birth control drugs. N.B. This just goes to prove the church was right all along…sin kills!]
***While we’re on the subject of sin, The Les Femmes research group has been studying the problem of global warming for the past five years [okay, five minutes] and the results are in. Global warming is caused by sin. Every time a person lies, cheats, steals, fornicates, uses contraception, aborts, etc. a spiritual sink hole opens up that reaches all the way to hell. With billions of these holes created every day, the heat, sulphur, and other noxious gases from hell are sucked into our environment. Since it’s cooler up here than down there, the hot, fetid air transfers quickly to pollute the atmosphere and create global warming. The solution to the problem, therefore, is simple – stop sinning. Once all the sink holes are stopped up, the atmosphere will return to the healthy state Adam and Eve experienced in the Garden of Eden and everyone can enjoy his SUV without guilt. [Hey, our hypothesis makes as much sense as the non-scientific claptrap being promoted by Al Gore et al.]
***Should the diocese have a lobby group? We’re reviewing the 2007 legislative agenda for the Virginia Catholic Conference which is something of a head-shaker. The pro-life items are fine, but many of the recommendations begin, “[Priorities include] Increasing state funding for….” Now the state has no money of its own; so the only way to increase state funding is to increase taxes. Should the Church promote higher taxes when the rate is already usurious? Isn’t the church’s role to exhort the people of God to be generous to those in need? Charity, after all, is a personal responsibility not a state one. Is it a church function to run a lobby group? No, it’s a lay duty. The Church has the obligation to preach, teach, and engage in the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. The lay faithful have the obligation to work in the market place and lobby the halls of Congress.
Besides, many of the issues the conference promotes are more in line with political liberalism than Catholic moral theology. Let’s look at one initiative - lobbying for illegal aliens to receive in-state tuition at Virginia schools. Are Catholics morally bound to support that position? No, it is a matter of prudential judgment; good people can disagree. State schools have a limited number of openings. One can argue that it isn’t right for illegal aliens to take spots that are then denied to citizens and those who entered the country legally. Suppose, for the sake of argument, the one denied is the child of an immigrant who waited years in line and came in by the rules. Even if you support the Conference view, it is not a clear-cut moral issue that binds Catholics. So why is the diocese using our money to support issues about which we can disagree?
In addition, by equating moral absolutes like abortion with issues that are prudential matters like in-state tuition, the Conference’s legislative report gives pro-abortion politicians cover. In the senate, both Ken Cuccinelli, stalwart pro-lifer, and Toddy Puller, rabid pro-abortionist, supported the same number of Conference positions. Catholic pro-life state delegate, Bob Marshall, and Catholic pro-abort Chuck Caputo were nearly the same. The votes were flipped, of course, with Cuccinelli and Marshall favoring the moral absolutes while Puller and Caputo favored the others. The big question is how many pro-abortion politicians will use the Conference report to claim their voting records on Church positions are equal to pro-lifers? Déjà vu: it’s the seamless garment resurrected.