November 2014

Archbishop Dennis M. Schnurr of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, as quoted in the December 2014 issue of the Catholic Telegraph of Cincinnati:

“We have to be compassionate,” the Archbishop said. “Does this mean that a parent (who is a teacher-minister in an archdiocesan school) cannot attend a ceremony should one of his or her children choose to join in a same-sex union? Of course not; parents need to show their love for their children.”

Bishop Thomas J. Tobin of Providence in a 2 May 2013 pastoral letter to Rhode Island Catholics:

And because “same-sex marriages” are clearly contrary to God’s plan for the human family, and therefore objectively sinful, Catholics should examine their consciences very carefully before deciding whether or not to endorse same-sex relationships or attend same-sex ceremonies, realizing that to do so might harm their relationship with God and cause significant scandal to others.

I had the pleasure of meeting two priests from Bishop Tobin’s diocese on St. Peter’s Square before St. Francis’s midday Angelus during my Rome pilgrimage earlier this month. They are good men serving a thoughtful shepherd.

And for what it’s worth, Archbishop Schnurr’s breezy “of course not” bit is a big part of the problem with his statement, as though it’s a matter that shouldn’t trouble anyone’s conscience. That he makes statements on pressing topics so infrequently makes it all the more glaring.

Tip, CatholicBuckeye.

Mideast scholar Daniel Pipes notes additional confirmation that the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the official dialogue partner of the USCCB and the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, is a terrorist organization:

Having explained why the UAE listed CAIR on its terror manifest, we must pose a second question: Is the listing warranted? Can a Washington-based organization with ties to the Obama White House, the U.S. Congress, leading media outlets, and prestigious universities truly be an instigator of terrorism?

CAIR can rightly be so characterized. True, it does not set off bombs but, as the UAE’s foreign minister explains, “Our threshold is quite low. … We cannot accept incitement or funding.” Indeed, CAIR incites, funds, and does much more vis-à-vis terrorism:

Apologizes for terrorist groups: Challenged repeatedly to denounce Hamas and Hezbollah as terrorist groups, CAIR denounces the acts of violence but not their sponsors.

Is connected to Hamas: Hamas, designated a terrorist organization by the U.S. and many other governments, indirectly created CAIR and the two groups remain tight. Examples: in 1994, CAIR head Nihad Awad publicly declared his support for Hamas; and the Holy Land Foundation (HLF), a Hamas front group, contributed $5,000 to CAIR; in turn, CAIR exploited the 9/11 attacks to raise money for HLF; and, this past August, demonstrators at a CAIR-sponsored rally in Florida proclaimed “We are Hamas!”

Settled a lawsuit: CAIR initiated a libel lawsuit in 2004 over five statements by a group called Anti-CAIR. But two years later, CAIR settled the suit with prejudice (meaning that it cannot be reopened), implicitly acknowledging the accuracy of Anti-CAIR’s assertions, which included:

“CAIR is a terrorist supporting front organization that is partially funded by terrorists”;
“CAIR … is supported by terrorist supporting individuals, groups and countries”;
“CAIR has proven links to, and was founded by, Islamic terrorists”; and
“CAIR actively supports terrorists and terrorist supporting groups and nations.”

Includes individuals accused of terrorism: At least seven board members or staff at CAIR have been arrested, denied entry to the US, or were indicted on or pled guilty to or were convicted of terrorist charges: Siraj Wahhaj, Bassem Khafagi, Randall (“Ismail”) Royer, Ghassan Elashi, Rabih Haddad, Muthanna Al-Hanooti, and Nabil Sadoun.

Is in trouble with the law: Federal prosecutors in 2007 named CAIR (along with two other Islamic organizations) as “unindicted co-conspirators and/or joint venturers” in a criminal conspiracy to support Hamas financially. In 2008, the FBI ended contacts with CAIR because of concern with its continuing terrorist ties.

On learning of the UAE listing, CAIR called it “shocking and bizarre,” then got to work to have the Department of State protest and undo the ruling. Nothing loath, department spokesperson Jeff Rathke noted that the U.S. government, which “does not consider these organizations to be terrorist organizations,” has asked for more information about the UAE decision. The UAE minister of state for Foreign affairs replied that if organizations can show that their “approach has changed,” they are eligible to appeal “to have their names eliminated from the list.”

Pressure from the Obama administration might reverse the UAE listing. Even so, this will not undo its lasting damage. For the first time, an Islamist government has exposed the malign, terroristic quality of CAIR – a stigma CAIR can never escape.

Fr. Martin Fox reports that our very own Archbishop Schnurr is being “targeted” by the LGBT syndicate for his fidelity to Church teaching on human sexuality:

Let me amplify that. This isn’t about the Archbishop. Our Archbishop is simply being faithful to the teachings of our Lord and Savior. He is doing his job. He is being our shepherd. This is an attack on the Body of Christ as a whole, and that means every one of us.

And the Archbishop deserves to know that the faithful stand with him. When he stands up for Christ, we must stand with him!

While I don’t imagine his Excellency is fretting over this, I also don’t imagine this is going to be pleasant. Even if the efforts of the “LGBT activists” are reasonably civil (let us hope), this is not something most of us would want to endure outside our places of work, churches, or homes.

I’m not sure the Archbishop would want me to, er, organize any letter-writing, but I don’t know why you couldn’t contact him and let him know he has your prayers and support.

May he wear it as a badge of honor. We’ll be praying for him this Thanksgiving weekend.

Paragraph 1753 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church provides the following warning about the moral theory of “consequentalism”:

A good intention (for example, that of helping one’s neighbor) does not make behavior that is intrinsically disordered, such as lying and calumny, good or just. The end does not justify the means. Thus the condemnation of an innocent person cannot be justified as a legitimate means of saving the nation. On the other hand, an added bad intention (such as vainglory) makes an act evil that, in and of itself, can be good (such as almsgiving).

It came to mind when I read an op-ed on Obama’s immigration executive order last Friday in the Cincinnati Enquirer from local attorney Kenneth Craycraft Jr. And it especially came to mind this morning when I listened to Mr. Craycraft, a self-identified member of St. Andrew’s parish in Milford, elaborate on the points in his piece on Catholic radio during a sympathetic interview.

Looking for a great way to kick-off to Advent?

Look no further.

(And happy feast day, St. Cecilia parish!)

MadonellaWhen I excitedly described my Nov. 6-10 trip to Rome to my mother the other day, the first thing she told me was how she, like me, was taken by the Madonelle that adorn the street-corners and alleyways of the city.  So I thought I’d share a picture of the Madonella near my hotel and Frank Korn’s description from his indispensable book, A Catholic’s Guide to Rome: Discovering the Soul of the Eternal City:

There are also hundreds of Madonelle, statuettes of the Madonna, in niches on the fronts of buildings — especially corner buildings.  Some are simple and unadorned, others ornamental — yet always tasteful.  The best of these date from the Baroque period when they were decorated with stucco and wrought iron.  This practice goes back to medieval times.  The local Madonella was a neighborhood’s way of invoking the blessing and protection of the Virgin Mary.  When the Angelus bells ran out at eventide, votive oil lamps were placed before these miniature shrines.  These lamps helped to light Rome’s streets in the days before public electric illumination.  As late as the end of the eighteenth century, more than two thousand of these Madonelle graced the office buildings and apartment houses of Rome.  Some fifteen hundred have survived to our time, as a walk through the city, particularly the old districts, will reveal.

The entire Nov. 22-23 weekend collection for parishes in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati will go to the partisan, scandal-plagued Catholic Campaign for Human Development.

For an explanation of why Catholics should reject the CCHD, see my 2010 letter in the Cincinnati Enquirer.  Here’s an excerpt:

The standard for Catholics shouldn’t be merely to avoid funding groups that oppose our central teachings. I would hope we can take as much for granted! Rather, our standard should be to support organizations with a clearly identifiable Catholic mission or set of guiding principles. That can’t happen when CCHD recipients include highly politicized groups like the Contact Center, whose website masthead once featured the slogan “welfare reform = death,” and the Amos Project, an organization known for shaking down local businesses with unfounded charges of racism. Ditto for the scandal-plagued ACORN, which received hundreds of thousands of dollars from the CCHD even after it was exposed for various financial improprieties.

Moreover, when it comes to societal problems with a variety of legitimate Catholic solutions, e.g., how best to help the poor, the role of bishops and priests is to inform the laity of the principles they should take into the public square. It’s then up to the laity, not a bishops conference or a chancery — and certainly not the CCHD — to apply those principles to concrete situations in their communities. Part of that application is determining which local groups are worthy of support.

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