October 2012

Xavier University president Fr. Michael Graham’s decision earlier this fall to reverse course and submit to Obama’s contraceptive, sterilization, and abortafacient mandate is now being picked by the national press. Here is the AP’s coverage:

CINCINNATI (AP) – A Catholic school that drew criticism when it announced plans to halt birth-control insurance coverage is still offering it.

Xavier University has continued offering insurance that covers contraceptives. A spokeswoman says the decision to continue came after the U.S. Supreme Court in June upheld President Barack Obama’s health care legislation.

School president Michael Graham had said earlier this year that without a legal mandate, it was inconsistent for the school to cover drugs and procedures that the church opposes.

Graham remains critical of the requirement, saying religious institutions have never been asked to violate their consciences like that.

Some Xavier alumni had criticized Graham for playing politics on women’s health.

Inside Higher Ed reported Monday about Xavier’s policy, which Graham had discussed earlier in a recent Cincinnati Enquirer interview.

The story should provide local pastors with an opportunity to remind their flocks this weekend of the stakes of next Tuesday’s election, archdiocesan policy be damned.

It took over forty years, a lot of blessings on motorcycles, a priest’s death in harness, tons of plans that fell through and donors that dropped out, selling donated land to save the archdiocesan treasury, and some crazy determination, but the Catholic Campus Ministry over at Wright State finally has its own permanent chapel. It was dedicated today with great joy and solemnity by Archbishop Schnurr.

(In a more finished state than many partially-roofed churches in this diocese’s history, but still without some doors, the stained glass, and most of the decor. I think it’s some kind of church version of Murphy’s Law.)

I’ve seen church dedications before, on EWTN, but I’ve never been to one in person. After the past year and a half of reading St. Beatus’ love letter to the Church in his Commentary on the Apocalypse, I found the dedication rites to be almost unbearably beautiful and moving. I could feel the presence of God, the angels, and the members of the Church, both here and in the Church Triumphant. The late Fr. Rohmiller’s quirky presence was particularly close among his brother ex-pastors in attendance (one of whom came all the way from Ireland to attend), and the bad pastor who wasn’t present (the one who got defrocked for doing bad stuff) was a reminder of the mystery of the spotless Church being a hospital for sinners, and sometimes persecuted by her own.

In a less serious way, the celebration of the Mass had that same checkered quality while remaining spotless. There were mistakes made by those inexperienced with dedication Masses and with the layout of the new chapel, there were things that could have been improved, and there was one inadvertent breach of liturgical music regs by a musician who didn’t know better — but there was also strong teaching from the Archbishop about evangelism and salvation, and the ancient lovely prayers and gestures and chrism, and the Holy Spirit hovering over us and within us, like the incense in our lungs. So we sang, and the angels sang, and we offered ourselves along with the Lord’s perfect offering, and something sacred was dedicated to His Name. The Church is Christ’s Body, said the prayers, the Vine whose branches wrap around the whole world, and climb up the Cross into Heaven. There in that little chapel among the parking lots, dorms, and trees, I could feel how we all are grafted into that True Vine.

So yes, things are getting better. Sometimes the pilgrimage of the Church is more of a lurch, but the Lord is still leading our steps on a straight path, bringing us to places of good grass and good water where we can rest along the way, and making sure we keep heading toward our true home.

The place was crammed with visitors, but should be ample even for the crowds of Catholic students who attend. The chapel is still bare and spare (as noted above, no decor) and they even had to borrow university chairs (the pew chairs with kneelers haven’t come yet, either). But it’s got good bones to it and nice design, and it feels like a church, not a mall. Also, it’s got great acoustics, thanks to the sensible choice to have resonant wood and plaster walls and no stupid carpets on the nave floor. I do have a feeling that, come winter, Father is going to want some nice bright stencil designs on his walls (possibly even with reflective paint colors), because this rainy day got pretty dark and gloomy even with the fall leaf colors outside; but the lighting system is nice and warm, and the place seems well-built and well-insulated. I don’t agree with some of the layout and furniture choices; but nothing has been done in a way that forbids adaptation to other layouts, should they be mandated. And most of all, it’s really there. No more dreaming and planning; it’s solid now.

Fr. Burns is still accepting donations for the church furnishings and for the general needs of Catholic ministry on campus, so feel free to send him some money!

* I’ve renamed the post to convey the essence of this story.

The Dayton Daily News and the Cincinnati Enquirer report that archdiocesan chancellor Fr. Steve Angi, a priest best known for holding his arms aloft at the altar like a ballerina and, in one infamous incident, using dog excrement as a homily prop, is teaming up with a leftwing group to give Obama one last push before the election.

Here’s a snippet from the Enquirer:

A newly formed group, Parishes without Politics, welcomed Angi’s letter, saying items improperly distributed on church grounds recently include a sample Republican ballot and tickets for a rally held by Paul Ryan, GOP candidate for vice president.

“I think what we see is just an increasingly divisive political landscape,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec of Westwood, spokeswoman for the group. “The (archdiocese’s) guidelines are fantastic. As we see these guidelines not being followed, we are interested in supporting the archdiocese.”

And here’s one from the DDN:

The letter, penned by Rev. Steve Angi, the chancellor for the archdiocese, includes examples of materials recently found in Cincinnati-area parishes: voter ballot samples, a “Voter’s Guide for Serious Catholics,” and a stack of tickets to a rally for Republican Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan.

IRS regulations stipulate that all nonprofits are “absolutely prohibited” from taking part in political campaigns, making financial donations, or endorsing candidates. “But it happens every Sunday, all over the country, and probably every Saturday too,” said Richard Safire, a University of Dayton law professor. “And this issue pops up every presidential election.”

The Catholic Church has had an unusually high profile during this election because of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops’ stance opposing President Barack Obama’s mandate to provide access to birth control for employees of Catholic institutions. Also, Ryan and Democratic Vice President Joe Biden are Catholic.

A newly-formed group, Parishes without Politics, approached Angi several weeks ago with concerns that parishioners were being inundated with messages advocating for or against political candidates. “He was very receptive to our concerns,” said Deborah Rose-Milavec of Cincinnati. “We think the Cincinnati Archdiocese’s letter should be a model for bishops nationwide and the rest of the church leadership.”

Tony Stieritz, the archdiocesan director for Catholic Social Action, said it is a concern for the church, which updated its guidelines addressing politicking in 2009. “As Election Day approaches, we’ve received an increasing number of questions and concerns about appropriate materials and websites,” he said. “In addition, we are learning that some parishioners are even receiving at their homes partisan literature and phone calls from outside organizations, identifying themselves as Catholic.”

This story is twofold regarding: 1) the further spread of the traditional mass across the archdiocese and 2) a great article in the Catholic Telegraph. I just got home to find the latest copy of the Catholic Telegraph, the archdiocesan newspaper and, over the years, a source of great scandal and frustration for many faithful Catholics. A new editorship was put in place a litle less than a year ago and changes has since been made to its editorial policies, and some improvements have been noticed.

Well, today was a joyful day opening the CT. I’m sure there was some garbage in the paper, but I read a great article regarding local Catholic news (not available on the CT website, yet. UPDATE 5 NOV 2012: The Catholic Telegraph article is now online.) entitled, “Latin Mass to be celebrated at northern parishes.”  It explained how Father Marc Soellner, associated pastor of the Coldwater parish cluster, has learned the TLM and is now saying it at St. Mary’s Church in Philothea at 9am every Wednesday morning. The CT article surprisingly described the extraordinary form of the mass in a fantastic manner. Well, I don’t want to type the entire article verbatim but I will give you some of the best quotes and if it is ever available online, I will link to it.

Best Quotes:

“Pope Benedict XVI allowed for greater use of the Traditional Latin Mass in 2007.” ( I can think of many different liberal ways to describe Summorum Pontificum, but this is not one of them.)

“Pope Benedicts goal, Said Father Marc Soellner, associatte pastor of the Coldwater Cluster, is to promote the entire liturgical tradition of the Church. ‘Some may view this as a reversal of the Second Vatican Councils reform of the liturgy, but our Holy Father reminded us that the Traditional Latin Mass was never abolished, and that it could always be celebrated by any priest and he made a point of saying that it is praiseworthy for priests to celebrate this Mass today…”

“Pope Benedict stressed that both forms of the Mass, Ordinary Form, which is the Mass we have every day in our parishes, and the Traditional Latin Mass- also known as the Extradordinary Form, can uniquely and faithfully fit together in our Church to help the faithful become closer to our Risen Lord.”

“The priest and the people face the same direction.” (HELL HAS FROZEN OVER! Can anyone imagine the CT in the past not describing the traditional mass as “the priest turns his back to the people”? What a welcome change!)

For those of you scoring at home…

-Archdiocese locations of Traditional Latin Masses-

Cincinnati- Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Cincinnati- Old St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Trenton- Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church

Dayton- Holy Family Catholic Church

Philothea (Mercer County)- St. Mary’s Catholic Church

Russia (Shelby County) – St. Remy Catholic Church

It isn’t much, but hey, wasn’t it just a few years ago that the above list consisted of just two churches?

Many prayers to Father Soellner and to the Coldwater Cluster pastor Father Robert Walling for this fantastic development.

I always wishfully thought in the back of my mind that Butler-Warren counties needed the traditional mass just as much as Cincinnati or Dayton, given their size and growth relative to the other 17 counties of the Cincinnati archdiocese. Well, add the following to your brick by brick file… 

Starting Saturday November 3rd (page 4 of linked bulletin), Father Jason Bedel will now be offering the Extraordinary Form of the Mass, every Saturday morning at 8am at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church, Trenton, Ohio.  (Although the church bulletin doesn’t give this detail, I assume it is a low mass but if that is wrong someone please correct me!) All are welcome to attend.  Please pray for Father Bedel and please pray for the success of this holy endeavor.

Given the Obama campaign’s theory that female voters are motivated by abortion-related issues more than the economy, it seems Gloria Allred, that paragon of virtue, is preparing to trot this out in the hopes of hurting Romney. Well to me, as a Catholic, this sounds rather good, Romney seems to be more pro life than I thought, at lest compared to 0 who thinks that if the child survives, kill them anyway, it’s what the mother wanted after all


October surprise ?

 “As a young stake president (equivalent to a bishop in the Catholic church) Romney counseled against abortion for women under his care. He often clashed with Judy Dushku, a Mormon feminist figure and the mother of actress Eliza Dushku. Dushku has repeatedly argued that Romney was more conservative on abortion in private than he was publicly. Local Mormon leaders redrew the map of the local wards to guarantee that Romney and Dushku would never meet in what was known as the “Duskhu gerrymander, an unrequested courtesy extended to their former stake president Mitt Romney and his wife, who would never again have to be face to face with Judy Dushku while they worshipped,” Scott wrote.

In 2007, Judy Dushku recalled a published anonymous article in her feminist Mormon magazine, Exponents II, by a Mormon woman who wanted to have an abortion in 1990 when Mitt Romney was a stake president. (The article did not mention Mitt Romney by name, but Dushku later identified him.) The woman, Carrel Hilton Sheldon, has since come forward. Sheldon claims that Romney worked very hard to prevent her from having an abortion, even though her doctor (also a Mormon and past stake president) said her pregnancy might take her life. The woman ultimately had the abortion. […]

In fact, during Romney’s entire time as a Mormon leader, no one was excommunicated.”

Oh the horror, counseled against having an abortion, the monster, how could he. Hopefully he lives his faith when picking supremes


I missed this great spring post from the Egregious Twaddle blog, which features a good picture of Dayton Church Supply in the days before the bad store next door went out of business, as well as a wonderful word picture of the store’s innards.

Unfortunately, now that the block has been cleaned up, the landlords have been raising the rent, and several of the other stores on the block had to move away. Not Dayton Church Supply, though!

Three good reads on the difference between “Catholics” and “social justice Catholics”


The Egyptian

Biden and Ryan Represent Different Generations of Catholics

Generation X Catholics are steadfast in their defense of values that also correspond to the Church’s own positions on the dignity of life and the sanctity of traditional marriage. They place greater importance on the role of individual charity over government assistance. They have no memories of a parish community life in which the Murphy’s brought dinner over for the Dougherty family’s sick grandmother or bought a gift for the new baby in church because such a Catholic community had disappeared by the time they were born. As one parish priest I know put it, charity as an act of love had largely morphed into “an act of mere administration.” They see the government’s role as too often replacing the community’s.

Joe Biden’s Religion: Catholicism or Leftism?

”I accept my church’s position on abortion … I just refuse to impose that on others.”

This sounds beautiful to liberals. But it is as un-thought-through as it is un-Catholic.

Why is Mr. Biden completely comfortable with policies that “impose on others” what he understands as Catholic “social doctrine”?
He will use the government to forcefully take people’s money away and impose whatever policies he thinks Catholic social doctrine

Politicians, Catholicism, and the False Equivalence


“As Pope Pius XI put it, “Socialism … cannot be reconciled with the teachings of the Catholic Church because its concept of society itself is utterly foreign to Christian truth,” and “No one can be at the same time a good Catholic and a true socialist.”


“Obey Mandate or Scripture?” is a brochure from One More Soul, dealing with the Health and Human Services mandate.

Archbishop Schnurr gave it his imprimatur back in July. I don’t remember seeing this noted before.

It’s nicely symbolic that Bl. Kateri Tekakwitha will be canonized on Sunday. She’s one of the fruits of the Jesuit missionaries’ labor, separated in time from them by forty years, which is a generation or so. (Kateri’s mother was an Algonquin Christian, and Kateri learned her Christian faith from her, even though her mother and father died when she was still very young.)

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