July 2013


So I’m reading this highly inspirational tale of a possible saint, but definitely a person of holy life. Margaret Leo of McLean, Virginia. This girl lived her life in excruciating pain, great love, and simple faith. And after her death, miracles apparently have occurred by her intercession, which isn’t surprising except that it’s DC. 🙂

But anyway… the point is that this girl lived her life in excruciating pain. She could have died AT ANY TIME. They probably should have Confirmed her as early as possible, i.e. about age 6 or 7. But they made her wait until she was a teenager for Confirmation, and just like all the other kids in the diocese, she had to study not one year, but TWO YEARS! to receive the Sacrament!

Were they high???

Seriously, who the heck waits to give a girl Confirmation, when she obviously could use strengthened faith and gifts of the Holy Spirit? A little kid who’s in danger of death needs to be LOADED UP with Sacraments, not held back!

And Confirmation, of all sacraments, is tied to Baptism. That’s why the Eastern folks do Baptism and Confirmation all at once. Even in the West, kids used to receive Confirmation a lot younger than we do now (ie, age 6 or 7), and the Vatican has long been pressuring the US to quit turning Confirmation into a Bar Mitzvah. So it literally would have been easier to Confirm this girl (and all her classmates too) on any random day before this girl was 14.

Is there some kind of rule that people have to ACT LIKE MISERLY IDIOTS around all saints and suffering people, just to make them suffer more? Is that really who we want to be, the meanie of the story?

Argh argh argh argh argh.

Please, bishops, wake up and take care of your people. There is no reason to make sacramental prep harder for children who are sick. Without dumbing anything down, it should be a no-brainer to individualize their preparation.

And there’s no reason that any child should have to spend two years, as a teenager, studying up for something that should have been given as part of the childhood Sacraments of Initiation. Confession, Confirmation, and First Communion are a set, and kids today need the Gifts of the Holy Spirit earlier rather than later. Quit spiritually starving them and dressing them in spiritual rags. They are co-heirs who deserve to receive their rightful heritage.

When we last heard from Xavier University theology professor Adam Clark, in 2008, he was defending Obama spiritual advisor Jeremiah Wright’s racist and repugnant “Black Liberation Theology” in the pages of the Cincinnati Enquirer. (It prompted a response from your host, which the editors ran.) Last week he reappeared with an op ed to malign the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, sniffing piously that “procedural justice is not substantive justice” and dismissing the jurors’ decision as “formal legalism.” He then has the audacity — or is it just ignorance? — to close the piece with an appeal to “America’s highest ideas about civic equality and democratic inclusion,” as though the jury nullification of the mob is a path to those “ideas” (he almost certainly means ideals). Can someone refer me to a piece written by a member of XU’s theology department that is worthy of more than being stuffed up the bottom of a charcoal chimney?

One of the (few) bright spots at my undergraduate alma mater, the University of Dayton, is its Marian Research Institute under Fr. Johann Roten, S.M. Their research has always been solid and their doctrine and spirituality orthodox. The Catholic Telegraph reports that the school and institute are hosting a “Rosary Rally” this Tuesday on campus. Perhaps it’ll be a good night for a drive up north.

DAYTON, Ohio — An unusual procession dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, will travel from a hill high on the University of Dayton campus to its heart during a “Rosary Rally.”

Along the way, participants will stop at five stations to explore the major events in the public life of Jesus through the eyes of Mary with dance, music, prayer and meditation.

“When you look at the history of religion, one of the activities that attracts people the most is the pilgrimage,” said the Rev. Johann Roten, S.M., director of research and special projects for the University of Dayton’s Marian Library/International Marian Research Institute. “There is great joy in moving toward a goal and doing it in the company of other people.”

The rally begins at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 30, near the Marycrest Residence Complex. In case of rain, the event will be held in the Immaculate Conception Chapel. It’s free and open to the public and is part of the “Our Faith and Mary: A Symposium to Celebrate the Year of Faith” symposium scheduled for July 30 – Aug. 1 at the University. …

A few weeks back, we discussed the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s support for the controversial “Common Core” educational standards being peddled (or pedaled) by the Obama administration. In a new essay, scholar Anthony Esolen, with palpable frustration, urges us to be much more skeptical. Here’s an excerpt:

Which brings me to the Common Core Curriculum that is being pedaled (not peddled; the governmental foot is on the accelerator) to our schools. Apparently plenty of Catholic schools are on board, too. That is baffling. Every big “reform” of the public schools for the last sixty years has been disastrous—the expunging of any trace of religion from the classroom; the replacement of small schools with hulking institutions; the consolidation of school boards to attenuate local control and personal oversight; the abandonment of geography; the shift from history to current events; the New Math; the basal reader; comic books to amuse the poorer students in high school; the war on boys; the expansion of health class to “sex education” (what the heck is so complicated?); the corruption of the latter; teaching to standardized tests; the absurdly biased textbooks; the abandonment of any systematic study of grammar; teaching foreign languages “conversationally,” which means, in effect, illiterately; the abandonment of math-based sciences such as physics and chemistry, in favor of biology, reduced to ecology, reduced to cuddles; what on earth would make us think that anything this system produces can do us any good? Homeschoolers enjoy their signal and mortifying success largely because they see everything that is done in school and then go and do precisely the opposite.

The Population Research Institute (PRI) has released a report accusing Catholic Relief Services (CRS)of aiding population control efforts in Madagascar.

CRS says nuh uh.

The thing I find most telling is this part of PRI’s report.

Finally, we note that the head of the Catholic Relief Services Tamatave regional office, Andry Ramamonjisoa, was previously employed by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA).  As Mr. Ramamonjisoa noted, “Before this [CRS], I worked with UNFPA, mainly dealing with family planning.”

Surely this man’s history was known to the CRS-Madagascar director when he was hired and posed no obstacle to his employment. In fact, we would guess that his experience in running population control programs for the UN was probably viewed as an asset. After all, CRS was accepting funding from USAID to carry out a family planning/population control program, and it needed to convince USAID of its seriousness of purpose. What better way than to hire a UN Population Fund expert—a self-described Catholic who obviously disagrees with the Church’s teachings on the life issues—to run it?

CRS’s response is less than adequate.

There is also a reference to the previous employment of a CRS employee. Without confirming those details, we can say that all work done while in the employ of CRS is in compliance with church teaching whatever an employee’s previous affiliation.

This attitude smacks of the prevalent attitude I find in many organizations that expect money from me. “We know what we’re doing just give us your money and we’ll take it from there.”

Also PRI states that 70% of CRS money comes from the US government.

Can this be true?

CRS doesn’t even try to deny it.

For reasons unbeknownst to your host, Christian feminists and New Age guresses have turned St. Mary Magdalene, whose feast we celebrate today, into an icon and martyr/victim of “the patriarchy.” Two years ago, the Sisters of Charity of Cincinnati hosted a reflection on Mary Magdalene that involved a lot of older Catholics blessing one other. This year, i.e., today, an Episcopalian priestess will “preside” over a prayer service at the sisters’ mother house. Given this crowd’s affinity for women’s ordination, it’ll be interesting to see how many elements of the Mass are incorporated into the service. In any event, a few years ago Amy Welborn wrote a book, De-Coding Mary Magdalene, that shatters the myths that have cropped up around Mary in recent decades. Here’s an excerpt:

The heresy that some modern thinkers believe says the most about Mary Magdalene is Gnosticism. Gnosticism was a diffuse system of thought that taught, in general, that the material world was evil, and that salvation came from freeing the spirit imprisoned within the body. Christian Gnostics saw Jesus as a Gnostic teacher, and some Gnostic systems presented Mary as one of his wisest students.

The image of Mary Magdalene as repentant sinner certainly is a medieval development, but as we shall see, it is the consequence, not of a political plot, but of a not-entirely illogical conflation of Mary with other figures in the Gospels.

The logic of the conspiracy theorists is flawed, too. If the patriarchy sought to demean the Magdalene, they did a terrible job of it, for it is difficult to see a figure who inspired prayer, devotion, countless good works, and who was honored and celebrated as a saint, and who was even popularly depicted in art as preaching, as a demeaned, degraded creature. Those who espouse these theories demonstrate, every time they write a sentence, an appalling, but not surprising, ignorance of historical and cultural context.

The National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry (NFCYM), an organization closely affiliated with the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s Office of Youth and Young Adult Ministry (OYYAM) — indeed, OYYAM director Sean Reynolds has served as a trainer for NFCYM services — is at the center of a controversy concerning some of its leaders’ vocal support for same sex marriage (OY VEY!). Here’s a snippet from a column by Austin Ruse:

Yet in these days of increasing orthodoxy isn’t it at least a little bit surprising that a senior official of a Catholic organization would flaunt his dissent so publicly? Some compare Facebook to a cocktail party, others to an office water cooler. But it is even more public than that. And in this public forum, in front of his boss McCarty who is on Facebook with him, this youth ministry leader felt quite comfortable announcing his dissent from this Catholic teaching that so deeply affects children. Maybe these views are de rigueur at the NFCYM water cooler. Did they all celebrate homosexual marriage after the Prop 8 and DOMA decisions? Do they know the teachings of the Church on homosexual marriage? More importantly, how do they instruct Catholic youth on the subject?

As most archdiocesan observers know, Archbishop Schnurr staked his episcopate on youth ministry shortly after arriving here. Am I suggesting that NFCYM or OYYAM are riddled with dissent? Not necessarily. But as Ruse states, it is telling how freely some of NFCYM’s leadership vocalized its opinions. My impression of both groups is that they are liberal, bureaucratic organizations lacking a clearly recognizable Catholic identity, which creates an opportunity for mischief. (Reynolds once pitched a fit when another archdiocesan office invited a military officer to speak on just war principles.) For a glimpse of OYYAM’s bureaucratic mindset, take a look at the convoluted press release announcing a youth athletics charter in the Catholic Telegraph.

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