February 2013


For a bookworm whose job often keeps him in front of a laptop, having an Amazon Prime account is like handing whiskey and car keys to a teenage boy. My latest impulsive infraction is John Zmirak’s The Bad Catholic’s Guide to the Catechism. I’m a huge fan of his other funny, irreverent, orthodox, and learned Bad Catholic guides, so I’m looking forward to devouring this one. Here’s a sample from Fr. C. John McCloskey’s review:

Question: So why insist on the Virgin Birth?

Answer: Well, most obviously because (and I don’t mean to sound like a hard-shell Baptist here) it’s in the frickn’ Bible. Clear as day. There is a long narrative explaining in painful detail how an angel appeared to Mary and told her something impossible would happen and how her fiancé Joseph reacted — by nodding at her and smiling as he slowly backed out of the room. Can’t you hear him saying to himself, “Boy, did I dodge that bullet,” as he logged on to JDate.com? …

If there’s one thing people do online, especially on blogs, it’s argue. Something about the perceived or actual anonymity of the medium makes people feisty. What they generally don’t do is argue well, i.e., use logical reasoning and argumentation. Along comes Andrew from the blog Electrogent, a site devoted to promoting manliness, with an eight-part post, “Argue Like a Man,” in which he exposes the most common logical fallacies. Count how many you use when your online temperature rises.

Proving that life often imitates a Christopher Buckley novel, fired Purcell Marian assistant principal Mike Moroski announces his run for city council:

Earlier this month, when the married Catholic made a controversy-stirring blog post in support of gay marriage, Moroski had said he was planning to run for a future City Council election.

Now, on that same blog … he declared his candidacy: “I have decided to follow my lifelong dream of running for Cincinnati City Council.”

The gay-marriage-support blog posting led to Moroski’s being terminated by the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, which requires educators and other employees to sign a contract requiring them to “act consistently in accordance with the stated philosophy and teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.” The Chuch opposes gay marriage.

Moroski, 34, lives Downtown. His blog says simply: “I love people. I also love Cincinnati, music and baseball.”

But he describes a multi-faceted campaign platform: “Tax incentives for big business, better not for profit management, education reform and a resolution to our city’s pension issue.”

Earlier this week at St. Peter in Chains Cathedral, Archbishop Dennis Schnurr of Cincinnati offered a Mass of Thanksgiving for His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI. The Catholic Telegraph has made a video the homily available via You Tube:

Here’s an excerpt of the text:

Elected pope at the age of seventy-eight, Pope Benedict XVI could not have been expected to continue the hectic schedule of worldwide travel that allowed his predecessor Pope John Paul II to log nearly 800,000 miles and visit 129 countries. But he brought his own talents and gifts to the papacy. He is a brilliant theologian and philosopher. I first met Cardinal Ratzinger over twenty years ago when I served in the General Secretariat of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and, when I traveled to Rome in 2010 to receive the pallium and again last year for the ad limina visit, Pope Benedict recalled my days as General Secretary. Though a man who enjoys his privacy, Pope Benedict XVI is unfailingly kind, hospitable, and welcoming. Ultimately, he is a very pastoral man.

Oftentimes terms such as “hardliner” or “ultra-conservative” conjure up images that fall short of reality. Pope Benedict XVI is a man of deep faith who wishes to voice the authentic teachings of Jesus and wishes, as well, to help others experience the joy (Jn. 15:11), peace (Jn. 14:27), and fullness of life (Jn. 10:10) that Jesus promises to those who live by these truths.

The local Sisters of Charity’s Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation has produced a Lenten “Care for Creation” calendar that has been circulated by a few like-minded parishes. Each day includes a recommended activity, and some of them are laugh-out-loud funny. Take a look at the recommendation for last Friday, Feb. 22:

Try a “water fast” by flushing your toilet half as often. Be mindful that many people around the world have access only to the amount of water each day that U.S. citizens use in one toilet flush.

The Office of Peace, Justice and Integrity of Creation (OPJIC, ‘natch) was founded by would-be priestess Louise Akers, who came to minor fame when Archbishop Pilarczyk barred her from teaching for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati when it was revealed she was a member of the Women’s Ordination Conference. But rest assured OPJIC has retained its founder’s spirit. The website includes a quote from notorious women’s ordination advocate Theresa Kane and an announcement that equally notorious dissident Joan Chittister will be the featured speaker at a symposium hosted by Xavier University.

Since the announcement of the papal abdication, Dr. Robert Moynihan’s reporting from Rome has provided an on-the-ground perspective. His latest issue of the Moynihan Letters, on the breaking the Pope’s ring, is a great example. Here he describes what Pope Benedict will be called and what title he retains:

He will be called “Pope Emeritus” or “Roman Pontiff Emeritus,” Father Lombardi said.

He will still dress in white, as a Pope does, in a simple, white cassock. And he will keep the title of address “His Holiness Benedict XVI.”

But the fisherman’s ring will be broken.

In the online Letters section of the Cincinnati Enquirer, a writer-student laments the departure of Xavier University theology professor Leon Chartrand, “visiting professor of Ethics, Ecology & Theology”:

I have only good things to say about Xavier University but when it comes to raise our voices about how Xavier Administration is handling their administrative decisions is that we need to speak up. Dr. Leon Chartrand is a beloved visiting Theology professor at Xavier University who has taught many Introductory Theology, as well as several 300 level theology courses. He also implemented a summer trip to Yellowstone, WY which provides three credits of philosophy and three credits of theology. The program has quadrupled since it was implemented and now Xavier is letting him go.

Xavier University is a great institution and they have an outstanding Theology Department, so things like this are unfair for him, for us students, and ultimately the institution.

Xavier University can’t be the best if they are letting the best they have – the professors – go.

Chartrand gave a talk at the nearby Redeemer Episcopal community in 2011 entitled “Re-thinking Theology in an Age of Environmental Uncertainty.” Redeemer’s bulletin announcement features a collection of his non-sequiturs, and this description of his focus, which Chartrand presumably gave them, is priceless:

He is primarily interested in understanding the phenomenological relations between lived experience and story and between mystery and meaning and how both relations inform a primordial land ethic.

Church teaching can be trashed one of two ways: 1)directly, and unabashedly like Roy Bourgeois;  or 2) though plain ambiguity. Now, with the former you usually can assign venial motives, however, with the latter it is usually too difficult to tell one way or the other. Regardless, the outcome is the same: 1) either Church teachings are interpreted by the faithful as being “nuanced” and therefore open to interpretation or as being left to one’s “personal conscience” to decide, or that the church teaching doesn’t even have an opinion on whatever issue it is that is being discussed. The faithful are left confused, and the salvation of souls takes another hit…which is why ambiguity should be avoided at all times when teaching the Faith.

With that in mind check out the following sermon from Fr. Satish Joseph, associate pastor at Immaculate Conception Church Dayton, Ohio, on the Fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time 2013:

Last December we had a very special parish council meeting. We invited three people who left the Catholic Church and three people who joined the Catholic Church to share their experience. We wanted to know why people make the decisions they make about belonging to a particular faith tradition. I soon realized that discussion like these are complex as well. I received two letters apart from the people who were present at the meeting; one from a young lesbian who feels unwelcomed in a Catholic environment and the other from a young mother who recently became Catholic but then could not reconcile her conscience with the church’s teaching on contraception. Those who were present at the meeting also shared their stories. Later when the parish council reflected on all their stories there were common strands we could identify. For one, we realized that those who had left the Catholic Church and those who joined her, were all very sincere people. Their choice was made out of a genuine conviction. But then, there is one trend that I found directly related to the three scripture readings today – a powerful experience of God. The Catholics who left the church did so because the Church could not give them what they were searching for – a God who was close and real. They found the church too rigid and ritualistic…

I would argue they didn’t find the church too rigid and ritualistic, they found the teachings of Christ too rigid and ritualistic.

Read the rest there. (Hey at least they get bonus points for using Latin in their web address!)

You’ll remember Immaculate Conception as the parish-of-choice for the Cincinnati archdiocese to host RCIA and ordination events in the Dayton area. It is also the parish that recently installed a digital, flashing neon marquee that flashes (and not too effectively I might add… the blue on black layout is only legible from the street roughly 50% of the time during daylight hours) in big letters advertising Mass…err, “Eucharistic Celebrations”: 11AM TRADITIONAL (…and by traditional they don’t mean the Mass of All Ages/TLM, they mean the one mass during the day without a guitar or drum solo.) SAT 4:30PM FOLK MASS, SUN 6PM ROCK MASS (… ah yes, the splendid liturgical diversity of the Latin Church…the Ambrosian rite, the Cathusian rite, the Dominican rite, the Mozoarabic rite…. and the Folk and Rock rites. Ugh! Is it 1993 or 2013? At least if “Folk” and “Rock” masses are still going on, do they have to advertise it to the whole world on Smithville Road?), and the propensity to utilize projector screens and Powerpoint slides in sacred worship space as well as the most up-to-date jargon/buzzwords for describing the latest parish initiatives. 

Now who knows where Fr. Joseph was going with this homily. I can tell you the liberal parishioners most certainly took it as a sly repudiation of Church teaching and walked away self-assured.  I’m not expecting fire and brim stone when it comes to issues such as homosexual acts, and the use of contraception, in fact, please no fire and brim stone, but at least explain something from the chapters of the Catechism of the Catholic Church’s Section 2. Also, no mention of the Church’s ongoing struggles against the tyrannous HHS Mandate or against gay so-called marriage.  I can’t assign any ill-motive to Fr. Joseph, however this whole thing is a cautionary tale for those entrusted with teaching the Faith, particularly as it pertains to sensitive and contemporary social/political issues.

For clarity, Fr. Satish Joseph is below with the ponytail.

We should start a betting pool on which Sister of Charity is the culprit:

(I suppose there’s no sport in offering a bonus for id’ing the vote-getting candidate.)

A Greater Cincinnati nun is accused of illegally casting a ballot for another nun who died before last November’s election, a new case of alleged vote fraud that emerged as local officials move to wrap up their investigation into election improprieties last fall.

Sister Rose Marie Hewitt, 78, died Oct. 4 after a 59-year career as a Sister of Charity that included service in schools here and across the country, as well as in various other positions in Cincinnati and Northern Kentucky.

Although her death occurred before absentee ballots had been mailed to voters throughout Hamilton County, a completed ballot was returned to the elections board in Hewitt’s name.

Officials believe the ballot was sent by another local Sister of Charity who was a friend of Hewitt and is registered at the same Delhi Township address. That person cast her own vote at her polling place on Election Day.

In a Feb. 19 letter to elections board members, county Prosecutor Joe Deters said a preliminary investigation has turned up “sufficient information … to determine that there is probable cause to believe that criminal activity has occurred.”

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This is to request the honor of the presence of Christ’s faithful, for a Solemn High Requiem Mass “In Anniversario Defunctorum” in the Traditional Roman Rite, to commemorate the passing into eternity of Paul Andrew Alexander, previously of Milford, Ohio, and the father of yours truly. The Mass is to be held on Wednesday, the 20th of February, at seven o’clock in the evening, at Old Saint Mary’s Church, 123 East Thirteenth Street, in the Over-the-Rhine district of Cincinnati.

The sacred ministers will be of the Community-in-Formation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri in Cincinnati: Father Laurence Juarez, Celebrant; Father Jon-Paul Pevak, Deacon, and Brother Adrian Hilton, Subdeacon. They will be attended by Mr Ashley Paver as Master of Ceremonies, and the Inferior Ministers of Old Saint Mary’s.

The Propers of the Mass, including the rendition at Communion of Palestrina’s “Sicut Cervus,” will be provided by the Latin Mass Community Schola of Cincinnati, under the direction of Mr John Schauble, with Mr Sean Connolly as organist.

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