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May 1997 Roman Catholic Faithful, P.O. Box 109, Petersburg, IL. 62675   
 (217-632-5920)    (Fax 217-632-7054)

 


Heavenly Father, we ask Your blessing on our efforts. Show us the way to spread the Truth of the Catholic faith in the midst of error and infidelity. Fill our hearts with authentic love for our priests, bishops and all the clergy, a love that moves us to unceasing prayer for their souls and to constant exhortation to faithfully fulfill their sacred task of preaching the Whole Truth of the Catholic Faith without compromise.

Grant us wisdom in our deliberations, courage in promoting the truth, prudence in exposing error, and Charity in all the things we do. Bless our Holy Father the Pope by granting him loyalty and fidelity from the bishops and all the clergy of the church.

We ask these things through the intercession
of our Holy Mother Mary.


INDEX:
[ Editorial ] [ HLI ] [ Priest Correspondents Pot Pourri ]
[ Father Sparks ] [ Christ or Chaos ]
[ The American Chesterton Society ] [ Holy Family & Father Brennan ]
[ Catholics at St. Nicholas Parish ]
[ Human Life International Conference ] [ Masonry ]
[ Homosexuality at St. Eugene's Parish ] [ Research ]


 

Whether they realize it or not, any bishop, or priest that does not follow the disciplines of the Church as he promised to do, or allows or promotes false teaching , is indeed doing the Devil’s work. If knowing, loving and serving God is our goal in life, then anyone who tries to obscure our vision with false ideas is indeed assisting the enemy. But we must love these misguided souls and it is not an act of charity to furnish them with a pillow so that they may feel comfort with their false ideas.

We Catholics have the right and an obligation to profess our Faith and confront those who spread false teaching especially if they do this in the name of Catholicism.

The Catholic vote put Bill Clinton into office. This happened because the American Cardinals and Bishops were silent! Abortion on demand is the law of the land because of Catholic silence. This must end.

If individuals who hold positions of authority within the Church cannot or will not exercise that authority when needed, we must act.

Silence no more.

This once great country has fallen to modernism and we are spreading our lies around the world. If only those who have the Truth would proclaim it at any cost.

I am asking that you pray for Bishop Daniel Ryan of the Springfield Diocese in Illinois. Bishop Ryan is suffering and unfortunately his wounds are self-inflicted. The Springfield diocese is dying a slow death. Vocations are almost nonexistent and orthodox priests are few. RCF will be holding meetings throughout the diocese to educate the public. There have been some major developments in the Springfield Diocese. Investigations are underway and I will update you as we go along.

RCF Board members, with the help of some well known Catholics are working on a full page ad for The Wanderer and the Washington Times. These ads will announce our next major project.

We will continue to work in many dioceses as information becomes available. Everyone of you must do your part. Pray, Fast and Proclaim the Truth.

 

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RCF was present at the HLI World Conference
in St. Paul, MN. in April.
I would encourage you to support HLI in their great efforts.
Fathers Paul Marx’s book, Faithful for Life, is a must read.

Human Life International
4 Family Life
Front Royal, VA. 22630
1-800-549-LIFE
fax 540-636-7363
http://www.hli.org


A special thanks to all RCF members for their prayers
and financial contributions.

[Return to Index]


 

PRIEST CORRESPONDENTS POT POURRI
(These next two articles were written by a priest
at the request of RCF)

  1. In your last Newsletter, you quoted the labored logic of “A Detroit priest” who was living in hope that another St. Catherine of Siena would appear to drag our Catholic Church “into the information age.” Well, one woman, in the Garden of Eden, dragged us into the information age, and humanity has never recovered from that shock. This priest’s foolish statement could only imply a salient of support for the assorted dissenters who have wreaked havoc with the Catholic Church in our time.

  2. He takes issue with his correspondent, stating that “you are not right in saying that dissenting Catholics are not Catholics at all.” Before making such an apodictic statement, wouldn't you think the omniscient one would weigh his words and distinguish the subject-matter of the dissentions? We are not quarreling over situations that are open to reasonable dialogue. The problem revolves around the essentials of our divinely revealed Faith. Here, dissent equates with denial of that Faith, and the faithless have left their Father’s house. Any insistence on a sort of foolish bilocation only serves to heighten the assinity of the argument.

  3. The dear Detroit padre appears to have lost his moorings over some sad industrial experience. He talks about “industrial slavers” who threw a monkey wrench in the burgeoning economy of Nicaragua. The “greater informational flow”, the secret of this economic development, was somehow affected. Was the reference to American corporate greed such as we find in Detroit? If so, how is the Catholic Church involved?

  4. The Vietnam debacle, too, was owing to “the same reason,” exacerbated by American bombings. What a lot of blarney! We went to Vietnam to save those people from the juggernaut of avid Communism. We managed to put some nails in its coffin, but the poltroons in our midst prevented us from completing the job. Now Vietnam, China and North Korea are all driving nails in our collective coffin.

  5. Padre, don't talk such nonsense about Vietnam. I know that situation inside out, having lived with the man (two years in disguise) who became first president of South Vietnam, a fine Catholic who has all of his cerebral marbles.

  6. “Saintly Cardinal Bernardin's philosophy of “common ground initiative”, we are told, would have solved all our dissentient problems. Some of the Cardinal’s own brother-cardinals disagreed with him. They would not accept the dictum that dialogue is the sure road to truth. Certainly not when dissenters in their dialogue are bent on the complete surrender of partners to the dialogue. Even the devil can walk in Scripture gait!

  7. The worst cover-up among Catholics today is hypocritical dissent. Those who insist on re-forming the Catholic Church in their own heretical image are not mere dissenters on debatable grounds. Their agenda is nothing less than the destruction of the spiritual, doctrinal, moral patrimony of the Church. When, for example, we are told that our Church should recognize unnatural sex-lust as another proper lifestyle, we part company.

  8. The last time dissenting Catholics joined the fray, they tore the Catholic Church to pieces in England. Destruction of the Church will have little consequence to American dissenters as long as they realize their agenda. I marvel at the majority of Catholics who do not even suspect the diabolical dimension in all the loud mouthed dissent we face these days.

  9. Statistics indicate that the greater the Catholic population in a State, the less is the adversative reaction to abortion. Is this due to ignorance? I thought we were all savvy, sophisticated. Or does this spell surrender to the abortion movement, on the part of Catholics? In short, must infanticide pass the test of dialogue or dissent? Hardly, when Almighty God has thundered down: “Thou shalt not kill.” Hardly, when the one who initiated this Herodian slaughter died a bag of worms.

  10. If we live to see the end of time, shall we not be a laughable litter crawling around in the “three days of darkness” prophesied by not a few seers? Indeed, we all shall be so busy trying to keep Old Harry, the stalker, off our tails that an invitation to dissent will be regarded as sheer lunacy.

  11. St. Philip Neri could not stand anyone who was in the state of mortal sin. He was repelled by the stink of them. How would he react today if he met a teenage sexpot after a pre-birth abortion (to save the mother’s life, you know)? He probably would retch.

  12. Another priest has treated us to a book titled “As One Without Authority.” If he is talking about preachers without authority, all right. But if he is talking about properly trained priests authorized by the Church to preach the Catholic faith, the said padre is all wet, and not with holy water. The reviewer of this book reminds us that “today’s congregation is media-savvy, educated, sophisticated and demanding. They challenge us to convince rather than instruct them. “Well, if a properly trained priest, authorized to preach Catholic doctrine can not convince them, they are among those who Jesus said “do not listen to the Church” and must be regarded as outsiders. “Authority no longer lies with the preacher making authoritative pronouncements...Now it is found precisely in the interaction between congregation and the Scriptural readings.” In short, the listener has the last word. Which reminds me of those who heard Jesus only to turn away from Him.

  13. This attitude is the fruit of a decaying American democracy. Everyone is a law to himself. Take God, morality and ethics out of public life. Take down the Ten Commandments because someone who reads the Koran is offended by this expression of Christian belief. In an Islamic country, would a Christian who asserted such a preference receive toleration? Likely, he would be flogged within a inch of his life, if not beheaded. Enough is enough! Let’s show the bums in government, church, school, median and business corporations.


Springfield, IL.

In the past year Father Eugene Weitzel has had several of his articles published in The Catholic Times (The official paper of the Springfield Diocese.) Two of his articles “Give me one good reason why a women can't be a priest” Jan. 7, 1996 and “New guidelines for hearing confession of birth control use”, April 20, 1997 clearly contradict Church teaching and undermine Papal Authority.We at RCF asked a holy Priest to answer Fr. Weitzel. The following is that answer.

“I was saddened to read in the January 7, 1996 issue of your Springfield Diocesan paper, that foolish article written by Fr. Eugene Weitzel, in which he openly challenged the authority of the Holy Father, the head of our Catholic Church. "Give me one good reason why a woman can't be a priest" he asked, a haughty, arrogant presumption that so such reason exists. I could give him more than one good reason, but to no avail because he is blind to the logic of truth.

Before answering the demand of this omniscient padre, let me delimit the status of his thesis. Who is meant by "a woman." Any woman? Heaven forbid! But it would seem so. Who actually are these women who ambition our priesthood? Are they single? If so, are they respectable, if not virtuous role-models in family and society? Would they be leading sexual lives with "boy friends," in mockery of marriage? Would they be practicing lesbians? Have they had an abortion?

If married, were they wed in the Catholic Church? In marriage, have they sided with Margaret Sanger in her Planned Parenthood techniques, enjoying sex divorced from procreation as God intended it? Have they been divorced, remarried, living in sin according to the definition of Jesus?

At best, were they just average Catholics, giving God 45 minutes a week, in church, niggardly in their monetary contributions, never volunteering to serve the needs of their parish? If they had children, did they ever encourage them to serve God as priests, brothers or nuns? Did they ever go to extremes and suggest that they join the "crazies" who go all the way-to the rigors of the foreign missions? In short, how do they qualify for the priesthood?

The Pope, supreme authority in the Catholic Church, plainly has stated that Jesus clearly established his Church on a male priesthood, and that he, the Pope, has no authority to undo what Jesus did. Weitzel, that is one good reason why women are not chosen for the priesthood. But you retort: "Jesus was a man of his times." In other words, Jesus was just human. Well, for your information (since you are invincibly ignorant), Jesus was Yahweh, God Almighty, in human guise. What stupidity to think that his human intellect was immune from divine superintendence? Jesus saw his institution in vision through the centuries, down to Weitzel"s heretical reaction to the head of his Church.

In the logic of Weitzel and his ilk, every utterance or no utterance of the Pope must be infallible. But the Pope has not and can not infallibly determine the status of women(or anyone else) in Christ's Church because this is not a matter of faith or morals. This determination is the prerogative of dissidents! So the Papal determination amounts to nothing.

In support of his dogmatic determination, Weitzel treats us to a smorgasbord of Scriptural and theological delicacies. Well, any intelligent Catholic would know that all these arguments are not to the point. They have no valid bearing on the subject. They simply are not ad rem, if I must resort to the forgotten language.

The Pope is the papa of our house. If he says: "I insist on discipline in this home. I will not tolerate your shenanigans, son! Do as I say. Shape up or ship out!" Is he not within his rights? The bravest ecclesiastic in the American Catholic Church is Bishop Bruskewicz. He was sick and tired of all the hypocritical posturing in his diocese. He refused to wink at the antics of those who insisted on fashioning the Catholic Church in their own disgraceful image. So he said: Shape up or ship out! Of course, there was little point in telling them to ship out.

They were already out. Did not Jesus say: "He who is not with me is against me"? Again: " If he will not hear the Church, let him be to you as the Publican and the sinner."

If the Pope were to direct all bishops to deny characters of unsound faith access to the columns of the diocesan publications, would all the bishops consent? Or would some simply disobey, and allow Weitzel and his ilk to "bore from inside," using the Communist technique to destroy our Church? It is absolutely incredible that a diocesan paper would give space to such propaganda. The wasp is at the heart of the fig! The virus eats at the soul of the Church! And no one shudders at the almost palpable presence of the devil in our midst!

Weitzel argues that since women are now eligible for all sorts of secular employments, even as candidates for cannon fodder, they should be eligible for priesthood. Imagine a priest putting all sorts of secular vocations on a par with the priesthood of Christ! Woman's divinely determined function is the procreation and nurturing of the race. Difference of function does not equate with inequality!

I know a priest who used to go, shank's mare, to his rural church for daily Mass. He passed a large heinous, on the way. The hens, roused from slumber, used to break out in uproarious cackling. And the padre? He would scold them. "So you all can lay an egg. Well now, can any of you make an omelet?" Heavy silence would envelop the hennery. Was the padre saying he was better than the hens? No, he said he was only different.

Were the hens ambitioning human nature? No. But the padre was disturbing them. He was interfering in their lifestyle. The padre loyal to the Pope will always disturb the cockahoop hens--and sometimes, the roosters.

In the April 20th, 1997 issue of your Springfield diocesan paper, Eugene Weitzel received more space to air his unsound conclusions. He soft pedaled the birth control propaganda, which soft pedals abortion. "Invincible ignorance," he told us can exist even after "a moderately serious investigation" of the matter." If this is not sinning against the light, I don't know what is. Sex is clearly for procreation, not recreation. Many Catholics are invincibly ignorant because they feel the Church is "old fashioned," said Weitzel. So morality and the law of God must change with the fashions? This is not "invincible ignorance." It is outright surrender to evil, a grieving of the Holy Spirit, a close approach to the unforgivable sin. "God is not mocked!" Get over your fixations, padre. If such is the message you peddle to your parishioners, I hope they will be sensible enough to leave your house to you desolate.

All this semantic nonsense is the sort that caused the Greek Orthodox secession from our Petrine Catholic Church, and the Protestant secession in 16th century England. The center of Catholicity meant nothing to arrogant ecclesiastics determined, as today, on re-forming the Church in their own image. The murderers of Jesus, at the foot of his cross, would not cut his seamless garment into pieces. They left that for some of us to do.

 

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Fr. Sparks

In our October-November issue of Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam, we published Donna Steichen's brief comments about Father Richard Sparks, who spoke at the diocesan religious education conference here in Springfield, IL. Mrs. Steichen said "Sparks is a heterosexual but often speaks on homosexuality. He says most of the people he knows are homosexual." We also quoted some passages from his book. Rev. Sparks reacted with accusations of "slander and /or libel." RCF has decided to publish Mrs. Steichen's reply, and let our readers decide for themselves whether or not she libeled Sparks.

Dear Father Sparks,

Stephen Brady of Roman Catholic Faithful was so kind as to send me a copy of your Holy Thursday letter to him, in which you accuse me of "slander and/or libel" for making two brief comments about you that were quoted in an issue of the RCF publication, Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam. It moved me to listen again to the sources on which I based the remarks you found objectionable. These are tapes of two addresses you delivered at Los Angeles Archdiocesan Religious Education Congresses, specifically tape 1W from the 1994 congress ("Homosexuality: The Moral and Pastoral Minefield") and tape 2X form the 1996 congress(Walking the Christian Moral Tightrope).

I urge you to refresh your own memory by listening to them. Your objections are bewildering. Am I to understand that you believe I maligned your good name by identifying you as heterosexual? But in talk 1W, you so identified yourself. Your exact words:

"I think it's important to state up front that my orientation is predominantly heterosexual. On the Kinsey scale of zero to six, I'm probably a zero to one or two rather than a four, five or six."

Were you distressed that I said you often speak on homosexuality?

In the same talk, 1W, Sister Car Ann introduced you as an expert on the subject by virtue of your service on an advisory committee for the U. S. Bishops' Document on Human Sexuality. You then described yourself as "a moral theologian who specializes in sexuality," adding:

"I served for three years on a task force that dealt with ministry to homosexual persons, in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis-St. Paul. As Carl Ann mentioned, I had participation in this 1990 document from the U.S. bishops, and the section on homosexuality is one side of this two-sided handout that you have this morning."

Later in address 1W, you raised the subject of insurance coverage for homosexuals, explaining, "that's another moral issue I often talk on."

In context, it seemed clear that the antecedent to "another moral issue" was homosexuality. These references, I believe, justify my conclusion that you "often" speak on this subject.

My statement that "most of the people he knows are homosexual" was a bit of hyperbole, which might more exactly have been preceded with "it seems." But you cannot reasonably call it a libel, since entire thrust of the talk that evoked it was to declare that neither homosexuality or its absence is to be considered a matter for criticism or condemnation. As in the matter of your expert status, my remark was not a judgment but a conclusion, based on your statement that:

"I do have a number of gay and lesbian colleagues and friends, and over the last ten to twenty years I've been around as a number of them have done the coming-out process, getting in touch and dealing with their own sexual orientation, and certainly through pastoral encounters with parishioners and other folks, I've dealt with lay, clergy and religious dealing with their own sexual identity."

The strong impression that your acquaintances include an unusually high proportion of homosexuals was reinforced when you recounted a typical conversation with some of those friends. You said:

"I've known some fellow Paulists who, in discovering their own gay orientation, said, "Well, Dick, everybody in the Paulists is gay except you. And you may be, too, but you just don't know it!" I mean, I've heard people who, when they've come out--and by the way, don't go running around saying "the Paulist." We could do the Franciscans, or we could do the Jesuits, or we could do the, you know--. But there's a sense in which when someone does come out, and you start to find out who else is or isn't gay, you start to judge, and you sit in a room and go, "Hey, you said maybe ten percent here? Ninety-eight per cent of the people in that room were gay! I could tell!"

Somewhere along the line, you indicated that the hypothetical speaker was overestimating the percentage of homosexuals in the order. Still, reporting such a conversation as typical suggests that the actual ratio is very high among Paulists, and in other orders as well.

I maintain that the remarks to which you take exception are neither slanderous nor libelous, but amply justified by your own recorded statements, Indeed, listening to your tapes again made me wonder why you objected at all to such general and documentable statements. Your opinions and your methods seem to me far worse than those two offhand remarks indicate. Now I realize that I should have criticized them in much greater depth and with much more specificity.

For example, it is your consistent practice here to convert a questionable assumption into an instantly operative principle. You introduce a permissive or "progressive" position, make a brief reference to objections to it (from the Vatican or other conservative sources), then proceed to use the progressive presumption as though its credibility were established. One obvious case is Kinsey's claim that ten percent of the population is predominantly homosexual. You concede, in passing, that some authorities reject that figure as invalid, but we hear no more of objections. Through the rest of your talk, you continue to cite the ten percent figure as though it were true.

You use the same tactic with the assertions of homosexual advocates that Sodom was condemned for inhospitality, and/or rape, rather than for sodomy, and that Scriptural condemnations of homosexual acts were condemnations of ritual prostitution by those not homosexually oriented.

In addition, you erroneously state that Dignity did not openly oppose Church teaching until after it was expelled from Catholic institutions. Father John Harvey says that Dignity, at a September 1987 national meeting, adopted a statement that genital acts between committed same-sex couples were morally good.

In general, the people you cite as authorities range from the controversial through the heterodox to the discredited. Daniel Maguire, Charles Curran, Richard McCormick, John McNeill, Richard Woods, John Dedek, Gregory Baum, Alfred Kinsey, and Lawrence Kohlberg are not names one would expect to hear cited as authorities by an impeccable orthodox moral theologian such as, e.g., Msgr. William Smith. I could well have explained why that is true, and probably should have done so. I could also have noted, by contrast, your consistently dismissive tone in references to St. Paul and his "sin-lists," to Cardinal Ratzinger, the Vatican, and "Pope-quotes," and to Mother Teresa's self-deluding "stubbornness." At the very least, your tone suggests they are not equally credible authorities.

I have concentrated here on material from tape 1W, as more relevant than tape 2X to the matter in question. But in 2X you make the novel proposal that mortal sinners should not refrain from receiving Holy Communion until they have confessed their sins, but rather should receive first because they need it most. That is another heterodox view that I should have mentioned to RCF.

While I was not the source of the quotations (in Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam) from your book, Contemporary Christian Morality: Real Questions, Candid Responses, I recognized them from your talk 1W. All of the quotations seem to be in your own words. The only one to which I can imagine the slightest objection is that from page 78, because it does not name the specific theologians who advance the views described. It does, however, recognize their existence by mentioning "these theologians."

In conclusion, I think the article in Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam was far less harsh about you than it could have been. Even this summary omits much about your talks that RCF members would find shocking. I recommend that your replay those old tapes and be grateful you were treated so gently.

Sincerely, D.S.
Donna Steichen

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Christ or Chaos
A monthly newsletter connecting
man’s spiritual life in Christ
with his social life as a citizen.
Editor: Dr. Thomas Droleskey

Christ or Chaos
P.O. Box 428807
Cincinnati, OH  45242

In the April 1997 issue of Christ or Chaos there is an article titled IT'S TIME FOR A LITTLE GATHERING in which Dr. Droleskey suggests a possible protest of sorts to take place in Washington, D.C. in November at the NCCB conference. Dr. Droleskey needs to hear from you.

Will you join in?

The following is a small part of the article which list some demands which could be made to the bishops.

With the Vatican unwilling (yes, unwilling) to come to the assistance of priests and laity being browbeaten and persecuted by bishops and their staffs, the time has come for the laity of today to do what our fathers in the faith had done at Ephesus: to gather around the bishops when they meet as a means of demanding our right to have the true faith taught in all of its integrity. I believe that it is time for a little gathering to take place in November of this year when the bishops convene in Washington at the Omni-Shoreham Hotel for their semi-annual meeting. The purposes of this meeting are several-fold:

To prayerfully and respectfully demand the removal of those bishops who are promoting the very thing that caused our Lord to suffer in His Sacred Humanity, sin. It is mind-boggling to watch bishops attend conferences exalting sodomy! No bishop who does such a thing is in de facto communion with Christ and His Church. Oh, he might have de jure (juridical) authority. But such a man is no longer a believing Catholic.

To demand of those bishops who are slaves to the ecclesiastical bureaucracy the courage that is needed to stand up to proclaim the faith boldly, and to demand that all of their employees submit to a statement of orthodox Catholic faith.

To demand an end to the persecution of seminarians and priests who are deemed “too rigid” (that is, too committed to the unchanging truths of the splendor of Truth Incarnate).

To demand that teachers in Catholic schools and religious education programs be practicing Catholics who dissent from not one whit of what our Lord has handed down to us from the Apostles.

To demand the abolition of the International Commission on English in the Liturgy.

To demand that the right of parents to serve as principal educators of their children be respected and assisted by pastors.

To demand that the Church stop subsidizing, through Catholic Charities and the Campaign for Human Development, any and all programs that are inimical to the Cross of Christ.

To demand that the bishops mount a vigorous opposition to Bill Clinton and the Democratic Party he heads, regardless of the consequences this might have insofar as the Church’s tax-exempt status is concerned. The bishops have wasted much time issuing pastoral letters on matters of prudential judgment; it is time for them to issue letters and statements about personal morality, upon which social justice is based. They must demand that Republicans stop taking contributions from such firms, and that those Republicans stop RU-486, reverse FACE and and fetal experimentation, and stop confirming all of Clinton’s pro-abortion and pro-sodomite judicial nominees.

To demand the removal of the Papal Nuncio, Archbishop Agostino Cacciavillan, for his abject failure to come to the assistance of priests and laity who are being manhandled by the bishops.

To demonstrate to the Holy Father, who has the authority to remove any bishop he wants to at any time, that there are Catholics in this country who will no longer tolerate the lack of interest in our situation that seems to characterize many of the offices in the Holy See. As loyal sons and daughters of the Church, we are looking to him to be our spiritual father, to discipline those who are leading their flocks astray.

Naturally, we are people of prayer. We recognize that our Lord is permitting these terrible things to happen. He is permitting His mystical Body, the Church, to be racked and tortured just as He permitted His own physical Body to be racked and tortured on Calvary. The Church has gone through periods of purification of this sort before. But there have always been lay men, steeped in Eucharistic piety and Marian devotion, who have stepped forward to bring about a resurrection, if you will, of the Church in the midst of the world.

How many more souls have to be lost? How much more scandal has to be endured? How much more money has to be paid out in settlements to those who have been abused by priests and bishops? How many more vocations have to be turned away? How many more people have to endure the needless heartbreak of being browbeaten by ecclesiastical authorities because of their steadfast devotion to the fullness of the faith? How many more people are going to be reaffirmed in their sins? How many more people are going to believe that it is perfectly acceptable to vote for candidates of either major political party who support the destruction of Christ’s innocent ones in the womb? How many more people must die in Catholic hospitals by means of euthanasia? How many more children will never be exposed to the true faith in their educational programs? How much longer can the Mass be profaned?

As people of faith, we know we have to stay on board the Ship of Peter. We know God’s grace is sufficient for us to endure these problems.

But we also need to act.

A gathering in Washington this November, which would start with a candlelight vigil and Rosary rally in front of the Nunciature on Massachusetts Avenue, might be the start of the process of re-taking the Church for Christ and Him Crucified. For such an effort is vital if this country is to know the surety that comes from recognizing Christ as King.

We'll keep you posted on the response we receive to this suggestion for a little gathering in Washington.

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The American Chesterton Society

May, 10, 1997 I had the opportunity to attend an award dinner sponsored by the Chesterton Society. I had a chance to meet some real defenders of the Faith. Thank you Dr. Chuck Prezzia & Family and Mr. Peter Montion & Family for your kindness and hospitality.

Chesterton Society Award Winners

Born in Milwaukee on Sep.6, 1935, Bishop Fabian Wendelin Bruskewitz attended St. Wenceslaus parochial Catholic Elementary school in Milwaukee and then attended St. Lawrence Seminary at Mt. Calvary, Wisconsin , St. Francis Seminary in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and the Pontifical North American College and the Gregorian University in Rome. He was ordained a priest on July 17, 1960, at the Church of the Twelve Apostles by Cardinal Traglia, the Vicar General of Rome. He was named a Monsignor in 1976. In 1992 he was named the 8th Bishop of the Diocese of Lincoln, Nebraska. His Excellency, a strong champion of the pro-life cause, has been unstinting in his support of lay Catholic initiatives.

Joe Sobran received his B. A. in English from Eastern Michigan University and graduate studies in English specializing in Shakespeare. In 1972, he went to work for National Review magazine beginning what would be a 21 year stint, including 18 years as Senior Editor. From 1979-91, Mr. Sobran was a regular commentator on CBS Radio's “Spectrum” series. He is a syndicated columnist and a well-known author.

The Chesterton Society, Inc. was founded in 1989 by a group of (then) young Catholic professionals in the memory and spirit of G.K.Chesterton, an early-mid 20th century convert of Catholicism. He was named ‘Defender of the Faith’ by Pope Pius IX. The Chesterton Society, Inc. is open to all like minded individuals interested in preserving and advancing traditional Judeo-Christian values


The American Chesterton Society
4117 Pebblebrook Circle, Minneapolis, MN. 55437
ph. 612-831-3096 fax 612-831-0387
, www.chesterton.org
A $25 membership includes our lively newsletter,
“Generally Speaking.”


If you have any information or documentation concerning the L.A. Archdiocese—We need it!

[Return to Index]


The liturgy at Holy Family is in chaos. Some Sundays the Creed is eliminated; some Sundays it's the Lamb of God that gets the boot. “Be patient with the inevitable mistakes as we experiment,” directs the March 12, 1995 parish bulletin, explaining a reversal in the proscribed order for Eucharistic reception. Dissident speaker, Call to Action Father Richard McBrien, has conducted a weekend seminar at the parish. Open rebellion against the church is nurtured.

On May 7, 1995, to give a graphic example, Chris Murphy, a lay staff-member, was permitted to include an article in the Holy Family’s weekly bulletin, which he called “The Priesthood Trend.” Murphy wrote, “In the long run, I advocate a change to the priesthood that would allow men and women, celibates and married to discern if their vocation is to the priesthood.”

The same May issue carried another article, “Justice for All” in which its author, Shirl Giacomi, also a lay staff-member, confessed, “After I came to Holy Family, it was [Father] Pat Smith and Chris Murphy, two men I respected, that got my attention. The more I listened to them, the more I realized that I was a product of a male dominated Church….The institutional Church rules are inconsistent with what Jesus taught.”

If this is what the parishioners are preaching openly, the pastor will not be far behind. The same bulletin contained an article titled “The Priest,” by Father Pat Brennan, who wrote, “I personally see no solid theological grounds for mandating celibacy for priests. Neither do I find grounds for denying priesthood to women.” Father Pat Brennan, a priest at Holy Family Parish in Inverness, Illinois, has served as Director of the Office for Evangelization of the Archdiocese of Chicago, and is an engaging radio personality with a weekly half-hour show called Horizons. He is the prolific author of over a dozen books and pamphlets, and a popular lecturer at the Call to Action Annual Conferences.

Father Brennan’s weekly homilies are regularly taped. On Sunday, January 26, 1997, Father Brennan’s sermon was called “Re-Imagine Yourself with Jesus.” Father began his sermon with the true-to-life story of French Bishop Jacques Gaillot, who was removed from his pastoral duties early in 1995. Bishop Gaillot was also a fellow speaker with Father Brennan at the 1996 Call to Action Conference. Father Brennan explained that Bishop Gaillot had been disciplined by the Vatican and dismissed from his bishopric for asserting three things: that the Church is going to have to consider the ordination of married men; that he had said, “I find nothing in scriptures that shows that Jesus, at this point in time, wouldn't welcome women into the priesthood [emphasis added]; and that the Church, by contrast to society, never discriminates against people, for example, against gays and lesbians. The Vatican, although Father Brennan didn't go into it, claimed there were other reasons, as well. Gaillot had publicly endorsed use of “the abortion pill.” He had promoted the use of condoms among homosexuals and favored condom distribution in public schools. He had blessed homosexual unions, and he had publicly supported radical leftist political figures. However, it was only the above three reasons that Father Brennan chose to focus on. Father Brennan used Bishop Gaillot’s case to illustrate a point: here was a man whom life had dealt a serious blow. Although Gaillot had been removed from his diocese for upholding his convictions, he nevertheless had reexamined his life and had found “good” to do. This “good” work Gaillot does is to have created a “virtual diocese” on the Internet, from where he can communicate his rebellious opinions to the world, as opposed to merely one, small diocese in France. “I stand in admiration of the guy,” Father Brennan said. “He’s an example of a person who has hit a bump in the road….He’s gotten up…and re-imagined himself, and somehow he still wants to put [his life] at the service of God.”

This is a remarkable conclusion. The bishop is not held up as an example of hubris or arrogant hard-heartedness. Rather, the congregation is invited to see in Bishop Gaillot a man of moral courage, maintaining his opinions despite the consequences, and making the best of a bad situation.

The fact that Bishop Gaillot has brought the situation on himself, by rejecting the Church teachings he vowed to uphold, is left unconsidered. Sermons recorded over the last year and a half provide a fair sampling of Father Brennan’s Call to Action beliefs. The sermon “Faith…Our Common Ground” was delivered during the same week as the unveiling of Cardinal Bernardin’s Project Common Ground. Father began with the point that most of our church-based disagreements are over issues which are non-essential to the Faith. “In much of the infighting going on within the Catholic Church,” Father Brennan said, “ none of us is fighting, disagreeing, arguing about anything that counts. It’s rare that you hear people arguing about the Incarnation - was Christ born….no, what we quibble and argue and judge each other about are human-made, time-bound things. Human views about how the Church ought to run….Each of us in our different camp claims to have a pipeline to Jesus.”

The issues which Father Brennan described as dividing the Church were posed as questions, and included:

  • What is the role of women in the future of the Catholic Church?

  • What is the image and morale of the priesthood at this point in history?

  • What is the role of teaching theology and the opinion of the official,
    teaching Church in Rome?

  • What is the role of American bishops, up against the Papacy and up against
    the Magisterium that operates out of Rome?

“Why is it that some of us take a style or an expression of Catholicism or Christianity,” Father continued, “and hold onto it, clutch onto it, saying, ‘This is the Truth and the pieces of truth you have - aw, they’re not true….I think it’s because many of us have experienced the meaning of life through some style and expression of Catholicism.”

“…I think the intervention of Cardinal Bernardin…is, let us be respectful of each other in terms of style and expression of Faith. But let us never get polarized over or arguing about style and expression of Faith. Let us focus our energies on the Common Ground. And the Common Ground is Faith.”

The implication that Father considers the issues of female and married priesthood and the structure and teaching authority of the Church to all be mere stylistic expressions of Catholicism is peculiar. If these issues were really as non-essential to the core of the Faith as Father suggests, one must wonder why he has spent such an enormous amount of personal energy writing about, preaching about, and pushing for reforms that he feels are not very important. It is hard to believe that this is the conclusion Father Brennan would have his congregation reach.

1996’s Holy Thursday sermon was fittingly called “Priesthood,” but took a surprising turn. Father Brennan reflected on a funeral he had attended of a 48 year old priest. He noticed that he was one of the younger priests present. The funeral then took on symbolic proportions for him; it was almost like being at the funeral of the priesthood. Father referred to demographic projections and warned “Don’t presume you’ll have a male, celibate pastor with you in the future….Please realize…that parishes are going to be …reimagined…. as networks of small
groups.” If the point had not been made forcefully enough, Father quoted Thomas Sweeter, who said, “The priesthood as we know it is dead.”

Father Brennan saw nothing in this to be pessimistic about, however. “Our Church is in the middle of a Paschal mystery. …I believe that the priesthood of Jesus Christ is being reborn….Anyone who wants to be ordained a priest or anyone who really wants to work full-time for the Church, I believe is responding to a call from God.…a call to a life of leadership in the Body of Christ….we will have ordained priests in the future.” And the future priesthood, Father asserted, will accept women and married people.

In one sermon, “God’s Standard - Love,” Father Brennan spoke very beautifully about the need to develop a reflective, moral dimension to one’s being, and the mandate to use a lens of love as God’s standard against which to measure all actions. However, embedded in all this beauty was a muddle about the natural law and primacy of conscience: “How do we know what God’s will is? Thomas Aquinas said it, years ago, God has programmed into us, God has placed in us an innate sense of what’s good, an innate sense of what’s right. God’s given us within a sense of Truth. God has planted in us His will. God wants us to take the time and expend the energy, to do the thinking, the reflecting, the discerning to name what God’s will is. And when we find God’s will - what appears to be God’s will - God wants us to will it, Aquinas says. He wants us to do it; He wants us to speak it despite the cost…Aquinas and others have said, to not do this process of discerning and willing and doing and speaking is evil.”

Father never concerned himself with the problem of two discerning souls “discovering” contradictory wills of God. Perhaps it was his naïve hope that if only those two were loving enough, the contradiction might dissipate of its own accord.

The sermon “Real Life Reconciliation” was not about the Sacrament of Reconciliation, but about social reconciliation. “Reconciliation is not an empty ritual we engage in a couple of times a year as Catholics. Reconciliation is a process of problem-solving with the people in our lives…That’s what the gospel is about tonight, the real-life process of reconciliation. Jesus offers a process tonight. Jesus wants his followers to deal with relational problems.” The process involves going to other people and talking out our differences, share feelings, trying to resolve things and if that doesn’t work, to seek outside help. “More important than ritual reconciliation,” Father Brennan teaches, “[is] real-life reconciliation.”

Not satisfied merely to debunk this Sacrament, Father Brennan took the opportunity to again bring up his pet Church reform: the restructuring of the priesthood. “The binding and loosing thing - we don’t understand it real well, because we’re not familiar with Jewish culture. That language was used in the Jewish community. Binding and loosing was the power the rabbi had to exclude people from the community or to reconcile people with the community. In Mark’s gospel, Jesus take this ministry of reconciliation from the Jewish rabbi and gives it to Peter. In Matthew’s gospel, in a community that has thought through Jesus’ vision a little more, Matthew gives it to the whole community. Matthew says all of us have the power and the responsibility to engage in the ministry of reconciliation, and whatever we do in our relationships registers in heaven.”

A Corpus Christi sermon, “Why Go To Mass,” began “It’s the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ so let’s ask the question, folks - why go to Mass?”

Father developed a litany of motives to answer that question. “You know why you go to Mass?” he asked again and again, providing a rich variety of answers: we go to Mass for the greeting; we go for the penitential rite and forgiveness of God; we go to Mass to listen to scripture; we go to Mass to get meaning for life. We go to Mass to say the Creed. We go to Mass to say the prayers of the faithful which connect us to the entire globe. We go to Mass for the collection, which is about much more than giving money. We go to Mass to prepare the table. We go to Mass to praise God. “We go to Mass to either hold hands or lift hands or hold our arms - however we do it - and pray in the words Jesus gave us.” We go to Mass to wish one another “peace” in a world of anxiety. And we go to Mass “to become Holy Communion.”

It is not that Father completely ignores the Eucharistic presence or the faithful’s desire to adore and thank their Creator as a motive for participating in the Mass. However, he accomplishes the subtle redirection of the worshiper’s focus away the Eucharistic presence and places it in the community by stressing so many - and evidently all equally valid - reasons for coming to Mass. There is no hierarchy provided among the motives that draw people to church, no distinction made between more worthy and less worthy reasons.

Furthermore, the climax of Eucharistic activity, Father Brennan tells his congregation, is “to become Holy Communion….The Eucharist is an intense experience of the best of what the Church offers people: meaning, healing, forgiveness, and connection.” This is odd sermon for the Feast of Corpus Christi.

The objective Father had in developing this sermon as he did was to generate a response against the then-recent Vatican statement, “On Reserving Ordination of the Priesthood to Men Alone.” Father Brennan explained that the statement made it clear that there should be no married clergy or women clergy.

Father Brennan then warned his congregation about the upcoming priest-shortage, “I assure you that within 8-10 years there will be 1 priest for this [regional] corridor.” The people themselves as communion; a Vatican statement clearly saying there will be no women priests; and a projected priest shortage… “What does that have to do with the Feast of the Body and Blood of Christ? Right now you need a priest for Mass, but in our future, there will be no women priests, there will be no married priests, there will be very few male celibate priests, and most of us will be on canes.”

“Here’s what I want you to think about,” Father Brennan drew his three threads together. “...After everything I’ve said about the value of the Eucharist, your kids and grand kids probably will not have Mass on a regular basis if things continue as they’re going. I want you to think about that. And I want you to get into your feelings about that. You are the Body of Christ. Jesus Christ had a mouth - He talked. And often he got in trouble for talking, but he talked. You have a mouth. I’d ask you to get in touch with your thoughts and feelings about this dilemma, and if you have the courage and the time, think about writing…someone in authority who makes decisions about this situation.”

The pulpit, under Father Brennan, therefore, is not only used as a platform from which to teach what the Church teaches, but to promote a foreign ideology and foment rebellion. Some of his sermons are wonderful and profound, but there are still a significant number designed to breed a rebellious, Call To Action mentality in the congregation. An attractive, influential and pastoral priest, who is deeply concerned about, and committed to his flock, Father Pat Brennan nevertheless carries a subtle and toxic commitment to his own ill-reasoned opinions, which are injected periodically into those who love and trust him.

“I believe I speak for many [Holy Family] parishioners who are becoming increasingly aggrieved and alarmed by open acts of disobedience and rebellion towards the Catholic faith tradition and discipline,” wrote one parish member as a rebuttal to the dissident opinions published in the parish bulletin [The rebuttal article appeared on July 9, 1995]. “My question to the parish is, if Holy Family is “Christ-like,” how can we sanction disobedience?”

Father Brennan

A mailing was sent out to all of Fr. Brennan’s staff and ministry members. We got their names from church bulletins. Included in this mailing was Father’s story by Mrs. Block, CTA information, I.A.F. information and some comments on Church teaching. Father did call me and threaten legal action. We will keep you posted. We will make every effort to challenge those who undermine or contradict Church teaching!

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Catholics of St. Nicholas Parish, O’Fallon, IL

On the back page of the May issue of your parish newsletter there was an article titled “Church Reform Continues”. The article closes by stating “The referendum will be available for our signatures in coming weeks”. We at RCF would like to provide you with additional information about the “We Are Church” referendum and the groups behind it!

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Human Life International Conference
by Art J. Brew


Every Orthodox Catholic who wants nothing more than loyalty to the Holy Father and the Magisterium, faithful clergy, Masses without silly frills, sermons that address the real issues of our times, and good schooling for our children should attend at least one Human Life International conference.

This year’s program was held in Minnesota and in 1998 Houston will be the convention site.

The more than 2,000 men, women, and children who came from all parts of the world to hear superb talks on such subjects as abortion, home schooling, Planned Parenthood, contraception, Canon Law, the Jesuits, pornography, and a host of other timely subjects came away enlightened, refreshed, and inspired.

It was truly a gathering of Roman Catholic faithful.

Each time the conference is held in a new city like Bloomington, one has the good fortune to meet many of the regional pro-lifers who have quietly fought long and valiantly in the most important work of our times.

Many have toiled for years as sidewalk counselors, crisis pregnancy center volunteers, producers of newsletters, pro-life chapter heads, prayer partners, fund raisers, shelter home workers, and those myriad other activities involved in the never-ending battle against abortion.

Is there a more selfless, compassionate group of individuals in this land? What have they to gain other than the expenditure of time, money, the indifference of the media, the disdain of a local archbishop, and the hysterical ravings of the highly predictable, obscenity-shouting pro-aborts? The deeds of these right to lifers are largely unsung, their enemies are on every corner, and their rewards may not be delivered in this world because their activities and ideas are politically incorrect and embarrassing to many of their own church leaders. But somewhere their names are being indelibly recorded in the books of the Almighty. On the right side of the ledger.

This year in Minnesota, native son Fr. Marx was honored for his 50 years in the priesthood and his 35 years in the pro-life movement. Pope John Paul II accurately described this courageous servant of the Lord as “the Apostle of Life” who will receive more credit in Heaven for his work than he has on earth.

In Minneapolis continuing their tireless struggle with Father Marx and Human Life International were such people as,

  • Virginia Evers of Arizona, “the mother of the precious feet” idea;

  • Angela Stadtler, a young volunteer from Austria;

  • Chuck and Pat Pelletier, who run a successful crisis pregnancy center in Texas;

  • Professor Charles Rice and his family from Notre Dame;

  • Bob Gallagher of California whose drive to the Montreal HLI Conference several years ago was interrupted by emergency heart surgery in Utah, and his wife;

  • Daniel and Mely McGivern from far off Hawaii;

  • Sister Amadeus Klein of nearby Rochester, MN;

  • Pro-life Andy Anderson of Nevada who donned his Army uniform and walked proudly at the side of Father Marx at the opening ceremonies in St. Paul;

  • John and Sherry Finn, their daughter Kathy Miller and her baby, Clare, from southern California;

  • Theresa Bell from Canada. And many more.

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Masonry

Sun Times, Saturday, April 26, 1997 - “Masons honor Bernardin for peace efforts.” Bernardin’s sister, Elaine Addison, of Columbia, S. C. accompanied by Monsignor Ken Velo, accepted the award on Bernardin’s behalf.


The Daily Star, Oneonta, NY, Thursday, April 24, 1997 - Printed in the obituary of Donald M. Fenton. Mass of Christian Burial to be concelebrated on Friday, May 16, 1997 at 10 a.m. at Sacred Heart Church in Margaretville by the Very Rev. Robert H. Purcell, the Rev. Joseph Manerowski of St. Peter’s of Deihi and the Rev. John Burns of the Church of the Most Precious Blood, South Kortright. The Rev. Richard Niebanck of Immanuel Lutheran, Deihi, will assist. A Masonic service will be held at the church on Thursday at 7 p.m.


The New World, Chicago Archdiocese newspaper, May 9, 1997 - Shriners to honor local theologian. This year’s honoree for ecumenical service is Father Michael Place.

 


 

April 29, 1997

Mr. Thomas Sheridan
Religious Affairs Editor
The Chicago Sun-Times
401 North Wabash Ave.
Chicago, IL 60611

Dear Mr. Sheridan,

I am writing in regard to the article entitled "Masons honor Bernardin for peace efforts" (copy enclosed) which appeared under your by-line on page 15 of the Saturday, April 26, 1997, issue of The Chicago Sun Times.

Your article does not clearly state the current Church position on Freemasonry, implies that the Church's attitude toward Freemasonry has softened, and gives the general impression that Bishop Bruskewitz is somehow out of step.

The average Catholic reader will go away from the article with the impression that Freemasonry somehow is now okay because Freemasons granted the award posthumously to Cardinal Bernardin, because his sister accepted the award, and because of the presence and the comments of Monsignor Ken Velo.

It is especially regrettable and scandalous that Monsignor Velo played any part in the acceptance of this award.

It is the clear and unequivocal teaching of the Catholic Church that membership in Masonic associations is forbidden to all Catholics, and that the faithful who belong to such associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion. Local bishops may not make exceptions to this rule.

In support of these assertions, I am enclosing copies of several pages from the 1995 booklet Freemasonry: Mankind's Hidden Enemy, including the November 26, 1983, Declaration on Masonic Associations by the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.



 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 13, 1997
Contact-Stephen Brady
THE ROMAN CATHOLIC CHURCH AND FREEMASONRY ARE IRRECONCILABLE

ONEONTA, NY - On May 10, 1997, Roman Catholic Donald M. Fenton went to sleep in the Lord. The Oneonta, NY newspaper, The Daily Star, carried Donald M. Fenton's obituary (May 13, 1997). What makes Fenton's obituary remarkable is that in addition to his evident Catholic profession, it states that he was also a past Master of the Margaretville Masonic Lodge No. 389. What makes Fenton's obituary scandalous is that it divulges the family's funeral arrangements at Sacred Heart Roman Catholic Church in Margaretville, NY. Those arrangements include a Mass of Christian Burial, at which three local priests are concelebrating, a reception of friends and family on the day prior to the funeral Mass, and a Masonic service, also to be held at Sacred Heart. Freemasonry has maintained a long-standing position against the Roman Catholic Church.

In response, the Roman Catholic Office of the Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has stated unequivocally that, "The faithful, who enroll in Masonic associations are in a state of grave sin and may not receive Holy Communion." (Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger,"Declaration on Masonic Associations" November 26, 1983.) Canon Law #2335 of 1917, forbids, by name, Masonic association, and Canon #1374 of 1983, places those who have taken office in such associations under an interdict.

The heart of Donald Fenton is open before God at this moment. It will not be known on earth if, at the hour of his death, he may not have repented his fraternal collaboration with the enemies of the Church. However, while it is evident that Donald Fenton is no longer in a position to receive Holy Communion, and funeral arrangements have possibly been made for the comfort of his family, it is a tremendous scandal that a Masonic service will be held for Fenton on the property of Sacred Heart. This defies charity, and eschews common sense. Two recent studies, the six-year study of Masonry by the German bishops and the study of American Masonry by Professor William Whalen (commissioned by the Pastoral Research and Practices Committee) "both confirm; that the principles and basic rituals of Masonry embody a naturalistic religion in which active participation is incompatible with Christian faith and practice. Those who knowingly embrace such principles are committing serious sin." (Pastoral Research and Practices Committee Report). For a local priest to permit any confusion among the faithful about the admissibility of Masonic participation is to betray his own confusion.

The Roman Catholic Faithful of Oneonta, supported by the Roman Catholic Faithful, Inc. local chapters in Albany, NY and Hicksville, LI appeal to Bishop Howard J. Hubbard, prelate of the Diocese of Albany, to uphold Church teaching and to clarify these matters to the faithful. RCF further urges the faithful to protest the use of church property for Masonic services.

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THE DISCUSSION OF HOMOSEXUALITY AT ST. EUGENE’S PARISH
This article was published in the
Australian Newsletter FIDELITY.
I spoke to the editor and
we are now exchanging material.


On the front page of our parish Bulletin of 26/27 October 1996, it was announced that on the next Sunday, 3 November 1996, members of Church-Acceptance Dialogue Group would be speaking about homosexuality at all the Masses.

During a customary after-Mass cup of tea, I raised the subject with Father Hilarion Vethanayagam OMI. He told me that he too was concerned, and advised me to see Father Aldo Malavisi, OMI who was some distance away talking to other parishioners.

I asked Father Aldo what was going to be said about homosexuality. He would not tell me. I told him that I was concerned as I have three teen-age children. He said “If you’re concerned about what will be said, don’t bring them to mass next Sunday”. He then walked away.

After one of the morning Masses, I spoke to the third parish priest, Father Jim Carroll OMI. He said homosexuals will not be speaking at the Masses and there was basically, nothing to worry about.

My wife and I went to the vigil Saturday Mass, 2 November 1996, at Narangba. Father Aldo then introduced a man who, described himself, as a homosexual. He spoke from a prepared text and I taped the talk which ran for about 20 minutes.

Father Aldo did not give a homily other than to read the Archbishop’s letter on euthanasia. The homosexual man also received holy communion under both species. My wife and I noticed that he was the last to receive from the chalice.

The next day, Sunday 3 November 1996, I took my whole family to the 9 am Mass at Burpengary. Father Michael McClure gave the homily in which he traced the history of the Church-Acceptance Dialogue Group. We were told we had to accept the homosexuals because they are people, too. Their lifestyle we were told, is unique and had to be respected. We were never told that the practice of homosexuality is wrong or sinful. Nor were we told that homosexuals are called to a chaste life. Myself and others were greatly disturbed by this and after Mass a throng of people immediately formed around Father McClure challenging the message of his homily. He told me that I was not being charitable in my condemnation of homosexuality and that I had failed to be “inclusive”.


Day one of the “Dialogue”


As the bulletin had stated discussions on the subject of homosexuality were held on the next three Wednesday nights. The first Christ the King Church/Hall.

All three parish priests plus another priest were present at the first meeting. The priests did not participate openly in the proceedings of the evening.

The meeting was opened by a chairwoman telling the forty-five people present of the history of the Church-Acceptance Dialogue Group.

Then the meeting was addressed by two self-confessed homosexuals. Both basically said that after much initial struggle and confusion, they accepted themselves as gay. One of the homosexual speakers (Len) said that he studied the Bible, the Church teachings, and sought the Holy Spirit about his homosexuality. Finally, he said his conscience told him that what he was doing was morally right.

At this point several parishioners interjected saying that the teaching of the Church should be paramount, not one’s conscience and that one ought to inform himself about the teaching of the Church and one’s conscience should conform to that teaching. However, the speaker maintained that because his conscience is clear about his homosexuality, God, too, therefore accepts it. None of the priests entered this controversy. Later, I found many parishioners, like myself, were dismayed by this silence on so important an issue.

Len also said that 10% of the population is homosexual. I believe the studies show the figure is closer to 1%.

Several times I asked the chairwoman to read the short paragraph on homosexuality from the Catechism of the Catholic Church which I had with me, but this was refused.

We were broken up into groups of about 5-6 and asked to comment on a handout which spoke of a family discovering that their son was a homosexual. We were asked to write on butcher paper how we would react to it. John, one of the homosexuals was in my group. One group member said that we should “Hate the sin and love the sinner”. However, John objected to that because he said, “That’s being judgmental”.

John also said that chastity is fine for priests because they chose it, but homosexuals cannot be expected to be chaste because God had made them that way.

Towards the end of the meeting we were all handed out the booklet We are the Church, too! I informed the meeting that I had a three-page article which reviews a book, Homosexuality and the Politics of Truth which, I said, was very pertinent to the evening.

Our parish priest, Father Jim, came to me immediately and asked me for all the copies. However, I gave him only one copy. He took it back to his seat, had a look at it, and then tore it up in front of all of us. Many parishioners spoke to me about this after the meeting with great dismay and others have rung me about it.

At the end of the meeting, one of the parishioners asked what was the purpose of these meetings. One of the homosexuals answered that the purpose was to see how we would react if a homosexual couple came to our Mass one Sunday morning.

Without a doubt this discussion of homosexuality in our parish has caused confusion, anger, doubt of priests' integrity, division, confrontations and angry exchanges between priests and parishioners, and between parishioners themselves.

I should add we had none of this before. In fact, as far as the priests are concerned, we all felt they gave fine sermons, conducted Masses with solemnity and dignity, and we trusted them. Many parishioners have now changed their opinion of the priests.

Our parish has truly been shaken by this issue of homosexuality.

7 November 1996
Day two of the "Dialogue"

On the evening of 13 November 1996 we had a second meeting on homosexuality at our parish Deception Bay (Church/Hall).

This meeting was even more stormy than the one of the previous Wednesday night.

All our three parish priests were present, including again, another priest, introduced to us only as Father John. I found out later his last name, Scarrott.

Father John spoke to us about the supremacy of the conscience when making moral decisions. He emphasized that in all moral decisions the conscience takes precedence over the teachings of the Church and the Bible.

He said that if you believe that certain acts are right for you, then they are right even though the Church, the Bible and other people might disagree with you.

This prompted one man to get up and ask: "Does that make poofter-bashing okay?" Father answered, "no", because, as he said, it is not socially approved. Another parishioner asked what if in conscience, you believe it's ok to murder someone? Father refused to answer that question.

The meeting by this time was already very acrimonious. One man, not from the parish (Believed to be a homosexual) called a parishioner "an idiot". A lady-parishioner got up and demanded that he apologize for the name-calling.

Another man rose to his feet and said that the meeting was stacked with "poofters". One of the homosexuals denied it and said it was stacked with an anti-gay element. However, undoubtedly, apart from the speakers at the meeting, there were several people there who were not from the parish.

Feelings ran high and interruptions and counter-interruptions continued, as well as the name-calling. Our parish priests remained silent except for Father Jim who continuously told those who disagreed with the homosexual speakers or Father John, to "shut up".

At one point it could be said that Father Jim got violent with two parishioners. He moved to sit behind the parishioners who were objecting to some of the things that were being said and then Father started jabbing them in the ribs with a hard rolled up magazine. One of the parishioners (John Duforth, who was sitting next to his wife) left the meting after Father's repeated jabs in the ribs. He returned later.

Many parishioners saw this incident and were truly dismayed by the Father's behaviour.

The facilitator tried hard to stop the parishioners from making any comments or asking questions of the speakers. However, because so many parishioners objected to this, a few questions were to be allowed but only if the two homosexual speakers, Len and John, agreed to answer them.

Len said he did not want to answer any questions because he was not "theologically trained", as he put it.

It was then John's turn. He read out a story of a man at first a passive homosexual as a young man, who married and had several children.

He was apparently a sincere and greatly respected man, much admired by his friends. However, as a married man of many years he fell in love with another man and started to have sex with him. In this new relationship he felt security, love, and companionship that he had never felt with his wife. And so he separated from his wife and lived with this man, and truly found fulfillment in his new state.

He lived with this man for four happy years. Since then he has found other lasting and satisfying homosexual relationships (seven at the last count).

Without a doubt, in this story, the homosexual relationship was presented as superior in every way to a normal marriage.

After John read this story, some parishioners said that the story was "outrageous", etc. Others asked "What about the wife and children?"

John refused to answer any questions because as he said "It's not my story, I just read it".

The facilitator immediately asked us to break up into groups of 7-8 to discuss what was just read and write the points on butcher paper.

One person from each group (there were about six groups) then presented the findings of the group to the whole meeting.

That was the only input and discussion that was allowed. However, even here attempt was made to manipulate the outcome. Out-of-parish homosexuals or sympathizers (I believe) in some cases grabbed the butcher paper and wrote on it what they wanted the meeting to hear.

My reason for believing that is that many people dissented from their group's comments and insisted on making comments that were not recorded on the butcher paper.

Our Father Jim could be heard again telling the dissenter to "shut up".

During the entire meeting, Steve repeatedly insisted that anyone who disagreed with what was being said must leave the meeting. Father Jim did the same. One man threatened to call in police. However, no one left. At one point, Steve even proposed that those who disagreed with what was being said more to one side of the hall and have a separate meeting.

However, because of the storm of protest about lack of discussion, Steve allowed up 10 minutes at the end of the meeting.

Innuendo and gossip now surround our fine parish priests. Because of their stand on this issue of homosexuality and because they invited the homosexuals into our parish, some parishioners are saying that they are homosexuals. Some point to the fact that they choose to sit next to homosexuals at meetings and are very friendly to them (who are not even in our parish) while openly disparaging those parishioners who are critical of homosexuality.

I still believe that we are blessed with three fine priests in our parish; however, I do think they have made serious errors of judgment on this issue. I would also say that they have lost a degree of trust and respect with most parishioners. I have noticed that several people no longer come to the daily 6:30 am Mass at our Parish.

Again, I don't think it's the priests' fault. They could not predict this would turn out as it has.

14 November 1996
Day three of the "Dialogue"

At the final "Dialogue" the discussion on homosexuality was even more acrimonious than the first two.

More people attended the meeting too, about 75. The notoriety of our homosexual meeting had even reached the secular media. The previous Monday there was an article in the Brisbane's metropolitan daily, the Courier-Mail, about heated exchanges between parishioners, priests, and the homosexuals.

Parish meetings on homosexuality that seemingly condone this practice just feed the frenzy of the hostile secular media to uncover more homosexual scandals in the Church. It leads the media to hint that the Catholic Church secretly supports homosexuality but only condemns it when it's discovered in its ranks.

On this third Wednesday night, a reporter came to our meeting with a photographer. However, she was turned away at the door by the priests. A mere few weeks before there was a large article on the front page of the same paper about homosexual pedophilia allegations against a Catholic priest.

The hostility against the presenters and speakers was evident from the very beginning of the meeting. The facilitator was asked if he was Catholic. He responded: "What's that got to do with it?" Another parishioner responded "Everything. This is a Catholic parish meeting being held in a Catholic church-hall."

A woman then remarked that because of her love for the Virgin Mary she was considering joining the Catholic Church but, because she had young children she feared for their safety in a church that condoned homosexuality.

The facilitators — we had two this time, a man and a woman — protested that at this rate of interruptions they would never get through the program.

Another parishioner protested that his questions of the previous Wednesday night had not been answered. He wanted someone to state categorically that we as a group, both presenters and the parish, condemn homosexual practices. He was told that it was not the purpose of the meeting to judge anyone.

In the meantime, Father Jim again sat behind a parishioner who was interrupting and began to kick his chair and tell him to shut up and also make derogatory remarks about the parishioner's comments. The situation became almost violent when a woman started hitting Father Jim on the hand with a rolled-up magazine whenever he pointed his hand at anyone. She told him to shut up and called him names.

The facilitators had completely lost control and one woman remarked that she and her children felt safer in a pub than in a church infiltrated by homosexuals.

Another man raised the issue of conscience, that Len, a homosexual, had used to justify homosexual practice at the previous meeting.

He wanted to know how can a Catholic homosexual practice his perversion when the Church clearly condemns it. Len responded that conscience is paramount and that the act is justifiable if your conscience does not condemn it. There were seven priests at this meeting yet none rose to correct the error of this justification. Several parishioners challenged the priests about this issue after the meeting.

Another parishioner asked for moral clarification from the priests on a story that was read the previous Wednesday night. In that story, a homosexual man was presented in a favourable light for leaving his wife and children for a homosexual lover (and other lovers later) because the new relationship was more loving, meaningful and relevant to him. The priests refused to respond to this request. The facilitator said it depends on the situation.

Interruptions and name calling continued throughout the meeting so much so that Father Aldo rose from his seat and walked over to a woman demanding that she leave the meeting. She refused. The chaos continued.

Father Aldo, the parish priest, finally closed the meeting. He said that we as parishioners better realize that "this is now the teaching of the Church." He also said that these meetings have the "full approval of the Archbishop". He thanked the speakers for their most illuminating presentation. however, he said they had been unfairly treated.

He apologized to them for the rough treatment they had received from the parishioners.

Parishioners were upbraided for their lack of sensitivity and for failing to respect homosexual persons.

Parishioners were again dismayed by Father Aldo's seeming approval of homosexuals who actually practice this perversion. He never stated the Church's position on the issue. Many parishioners during the three meetings had made the point that they "love the sinner but hate the sin." They do not condemn the homosexuals but only their sin. Father Aldo completely failed to address this point. For the first time in my life I saw a priest heckled through his talk.

However, the acrimony did not cease with the closing of the meeting. It just got more personal. Several parishioners confronted Father Aldo for his seeming approval of homosexuality.

An ugly confrontation ensued between a woman and 6 - 7 pro-homosexual women. One of these women became quite hysterical and started screaming. The woman asked her "Are you a lesbian"? She responded: "Yes, I am", and ran off into the arms of the other 6 -7 women (lesbians?) to their flurry of hugs and kisses as she apparently broke down.

The drama continued in small groups as people challenged one another. All the seven priests supported homosexuality and dismissed the clear teaching of the Church on the issue as out of date, pre-Vatican II, or simply as Church bigotry.

Mistrust, anger, and division have now entered our parish at St. Eugene. It will not go away soon. It dominates our conversation after the Sunday Masses.

The biggest losers I believe are the priests. By their name-calling and general rudeness (particularly Father Jim) which was obvious to all, they have lost much of the respect they enjoyed before. By their support for what most parishioners consider an abomination, they have lost the trust they enjoyed. Friendships that have taken years to develop are now gone.

What has been achieved? In his concluding remarks Father Aldo called for new openness to homosexual people. I don't think that has been achieved. The meetings, if anything, confirmed parishioners' worst fears about the danger of homosexuality to their children and the Church. Homosexual speakers and the priests from the Dialogue Group by their lies, half truths, and refusal to answer questions have, I believe, increased the parishioners' suspicions about their motives.

Conclusion

One of our parish priests has privately admitted to a parishioner that it was a mistake to invite the homosexuals and the Dialogue Group priests into the Parish. However, more needs to be done to repair the damage.

I believe the priests should now call a public parish meeting on the issue and apologize to the parish for inviting these men to talk about homosexuality. They should then give the official Church teaching (not the Dialogue Group version) on homosexuality.

Finally, I believe, they should answer questions from parishioners where confusion has been created on such issues as the role of conscience in making moral decisions. Also, many parishioners now have great fears about homosexual (and paedophilia) infiltration of our parish.

"After this," they are asking, "what is next"?

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(FIDELITY Newsletter, March 1997)
P.O. Box 22, Ormond, VIC, 3204, Australia


 

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