July 2014

The head of the local group “Women Writing for (a) Change” has a guest column in the Cincinnati Enquirer about washers, dryers, and women’s ordination. Or something. Here’s a snippet:

By pure coincidence I am witnessing the Miracle of the Multiplication of the Washers and the Dryers at Lydia’s House while reading “The Expected One” by Kathleen McGowan.

The Jesus of this novel teaches The Way with his mother, Mary, as his great teacher, and with his wife, Mary Magdalene, as priestly heir and nominal leader of the new religion. Jesus, this story makes clear ( at least to my eyes) is crucified because his ministry is relational and not institutional, because The Way inspires people to trust their own moral authority and not be subject to temple politicians.

In her July 18 interview with the Cincinnati Enquirer, the new head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who describes herself as a “Northern Kentucky girl” due to her local roots, claims,

That’s one of things that I’ve heard criticisms of the Muslim community in general, that we’re not outspoken when things like [Moslem terrorist atrocities] occur. CAIR is always at the forefront in terms of issuing press releases condemning any type of inappropriate actions that are harmful to people regardless of the reason why that occurred and even more so when somebody tries to do so in the name of our faith.

Since the interview, the Moslem terrorist group the Islamic State has cleansed the ancient city of Mosul of all Christians, after giving them the choice between conversion or death. And yet a quick Google search of “CAIR,” “Mosul,” and “Christians” reveals nothing but silence from the preferred dialogue partner of the USCCB and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. (They appear to be preoccupied with bashing Israel over its war with Hamas, which is unsurprising given that CAIR operates as the terrorist organization’s U.S. branch office.) For a primer on CAIR, read my 2007 piece for Catholic Exchange.

I remember meeting Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk a half-dozen years ago, during the waning days of his episcopate. I was seated on a plane headed for Atlanta, and noticed His Excellency walking down the aisle to take his seat a few rows behind me. He stopped and furrowed his brow as if to say, “How do I know you?” We had met a few times at Catholic functions around town when I was active with local Catholic media, and I frequented Mass at St. Louis where he often was a celebrant. I reintroduced myself and he took his seat, and we picked up our conversation when we deplaned. He was off to a liturgy conference in Florida and seemed happy to be on the road and away from the demands of the chancery. When we boarded the tram that takes passengers across the airport, I noticed he wasn’t holding onto a hand-strap or pole. “Your Excellency, you’ll want to grab onto something — we’re about to get moving.” At the last second he grabbed a strap above his head and proceeded to sway back and forth like a kid on a tire-swing.

In those days, Archbishop Pilarczyk was in the midst of making a series of tough calls that put him at the center of controversy when he surely would have preferred to be elsewhere. He took a stand against the exploitative “Bodies” exhibit, barring Catholic schools from taking student there for field trips; he expressed his distaste for the University of Cincinnati’s “Sexapalooza” festival (the name should give you some indication of its theme); and he revoked the archdiocesan teaching faculties of would-be priestess Louise Akers, S.C., only to have her initiate a war against him in the press. I often wondered what made him act so boldly in the twilight of his time as the Archdiocese of Cincinnati’s ordinary. After all, this is the same man who only a few years earlier elevated vocal dissenters as pastors over our larger parishes, e.g., Harry Meyer at St. Susannah, mused aloud that the priest shortage might be the work of the Holy Spirit, likened the bishop conference’s risible guidelines on church architecture to Humanae Vitae, warned of the new translation blowing in a “liturgical winter,” and generally seemed indifferent to the living hell the Bernardin apparatchiks in his chancery and presbyterate were making for serious-minded Catholics.

So what explains it? The interview marking Archbishop Pilarczyk’s 80th birthday in the new issue of the Catholic Telegraph gives us a potential answer:

“It is much more demanding to be a Catholic Christian today than it was 10, 15, 20 years ago,” he said. “It just is.”

Flannery O’Connor famously said, “Push back against the age as hard as it pushes against you.” I think he simply thought the age was pushing sufficiently hard enough against his flock that he had to defend it — us — by … pushing back. He thought we needed help and so he gave it. And, knowing that his days as bishop were numbered, he probably figured that any heat he would take could only last so long. Good for him. No, his late-round rally doesn’t erase every misjudgment, but a strong finish is good for the soul, his and ours.

… the liturgical establishment rolls on, using the recent influx of Spanish-speaking immigrants to justify their refusal to budge from musical sensibilities they acquired in the 1980s; from the Catholic Telegraph:

The Archdiocesan Worship Office expresses a clear understanding of the need to engage Catholics in liturgy, and one strong example is its annual Laudate music workshop, which gives teens a chance to participate in voice and instrument sessions and in sessions on liturgical principles and prayer forms. Such training will serve them well as they grow into full, active parish members.

Father Louis Gasparini, Hispanic Ministry Director for the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, has this same clear understanding. “This past May, we brought to Cincinnati a group of liturgical music experts from Oregon Catholic Press. Both musicians and evangelizers, they offered attendees a beautiful concert and valuable music workshops.”

The weekend event not only provided entertainment to lift minds and hearts to God but also took the form of liturgical catechesis in the sense that it introduced participants to the idea that liturgy is more than words coming from the pulpit and the altar. It is just as much a language of ritual and music, of symbols – and yes, of physical gestures.

“We don’t want just American music with Spanish words or vice versa,” said Father Gasparini. “We need more than that. We need to explore and make liturgical experiences meaningful for both English and Spanish speaking worshipers.” Whether traditional or charismatic, the congregation plays an important part in the liturgy of the Church. There is room for each type in a shared worship environment created by both.

As I’ve observed before, I don’t recall any of my Italian forebears clamoring for arias or the tarantella during Mass when they arrived on our shores. This has more to do with multiculturalism and political correctness — and the stubbornness of the local establishment — than “charismatic” Catholicism and a warm welcome.

Check, check. Testing, 1, 2, 3. Is this thing on?

My apology for the long absence. I recently made a major career shift and the ramp-up has monopolized my time. Today is my first full day in Cincinnati since July 20. I did manage to sneak in a trip back home to Rochester, New York, and learned some good news. First, Fr. Ronald Antinarelli, the longtime priest at Our Lady of Victory-St. Joseph parish, an oasis of orthodoxy in the Diocese of Rochester, was recently elevated to pastor by Bishop Salvatore Matano “as a matter of justice.” Fr. Antinarelli had been denied that distinction by Bishop Matano’s vindictive and unmourned predecessor. Kudos to him. Also, Bishop Matano’s decision to enforce canon law restrictions that reserve the homily to the ordained appears to be going well. (His predecessor scandalously and illicitly encouraged would-be priestesses to deliver homilies.) While there have been catcalls from Rochester’s graying dissenters, the faithful have raised their voices in defense of Bishop Matano, as this letter in this morning’s Democrat & Chronicle shows:

Thank God for Bishop Salvatore Matano and his efforts to return us to orthodoxy. When I accepted the Catholic Church eight years ago, I gave her my unconditional obedience to not only what she teaches, but what is expected of me.

As Catholic women, maybe we should imitate the mother of Jesus to “do whatever he tells you.”

Also, to infer that because of celibacy a priest can’t relate to families is absurd.

St. John Paul II said to dissent from Catholic teaching is “grave error.” Either we are Catholic, or we are not. Where does your treasure lie?

It’s wonderful to see Rochester become a place of hope after so many years of despair.

One of AOCs scandalous priests has died.


God have mercy on his soul.


After the 10 AM Mass on Sunday, the University of Dayton is holding a “leavetaking ceremony” for the UD Chapel.

That’s honest, at least. Because it’s not going to be anything like itself, after this renovation.