Saturday, January 24, 2009

Will the real Roman Catholic please stand up.


Who is really Catholic?
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Today from Rome - Pope Benedict XVI Saturday revoked the 1988 excommunication of four clerics who lead a breakaway ultra- traditionalist Catholic group, the Vatican announced. The pope signed a decree lifting the excommunication of the four Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) bishops who broke with Rome over Church reforms introduced in the 1960s through the Second Vatican Council. - Source
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Reunited.
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Concerning the matter of lifting the excommunication on SSPX bishops, one blogger wrote:
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"In both Rome, and in chanceries and in the rank and file of the SSPX, people must open their hearts and not just their minds.
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It is possible for people of good will to disagree on very hard questions and still be in union."
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Fr. X
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I think I know what the blogger meant. But I have to wonder if dissidents other than those sympathetic to the SSPX would?
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What about the so-called Obama Catholics? Or the alleged statement by the President to the Holy Father in regard to abortion 'rights'; "We have to agree to disagree." Are they in union?
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What about couples who practice contraception, or are divorced and remarried? Can they be in union?
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What about homosexuals who are sexually active, or want to 'marry'? Are they in union?
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What about married priests or those who oppose celibacy requirements and keep a mistress - or a mister? Are they in union?
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What about women who claim valid ordination to the priesthood? Are they in union?
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It begs the question.
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See what I mean? Dissidents all say the same stuff, traditional or progressive. Their focus seems to be locked in on their own issues, personal ambitions and goals. It seems to me when Catholics of influence publicly enter these debates, they may not always be helping the cause they support. They may simply be adding to the confusion.
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Consider the source.
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After all, there are people in Rome who are appointed and authorised to deal with such matters. Of course that doesn't mean one is not permitted to express an opinion - but consider the source as well as the subject of those opinions. Especially since before today's events, as the excommunications are reported to be officially lifted, some bloggers had posted information claiming the excommunications had been invalid from the start - for whatever reason, and that they never included the "rank and file". Confusing, don't you agree?
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Now, on the other hand, Bishop Fellay of the SSPX came out with a statement concerning one of the 'formerly' excommunicated bishop's beliefs regarding the Nazi holocaust. I was struck by the following statement in the communique:
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"The Society of St. Pius X will not renounce its intention to bring the true Catholic faith and sacraments to Swedish Catholics who have a right to both." - Bishop Fellay
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The bishop's statement strikes me as a bit rash and raises some rather divisive issues. Had the Catholics in Sweden been offered a false Catholic faith before the SSPX came along? Were the Catholics who remained faithful to Catholic teaching as taught in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, under the pontificates of John Paul II and Benedict XVI in error? Have Catholics in Sweden been living without licit sacraments since the liturgical reforms of Vatican II? Are the Catholic bishops of Sweden heretics? Is the Chair of Peter vacant?
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As for me and my household...
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But I'm just a simple guy, I don't know much. Although I have to admit that SSPX people have always been better Catholics than I am - many may be more Catholic than the Pope, as some were wont to say. Indeed, the ordinary TLM Catholics are much more devout than I am, as is any daily Mass-goer. I know many progressive Catholics are far better Christians than myself because of their charity and generous efforts promoting the works of peace and justice. I know the Catholics who belong to groups such as Opus Dei, or religious third orders and the like, are way better than I am in the practice of virtue and piety. I also know pro-life Catholics can rightly condemn pro-choice Catholics, and other public sinners. I honestly know this.
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As St. Francis DeSales, whose feast it is today, wrote: "It is our duty to denounce as strongly as we can heretical and schismatic sects and their leaders. It is an act of charity to cry out against the wolf when he is among the sheep, wherever he is." Introduction to the Devout Life, Part III, Chp. 29 Slander.
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Nevertheless, I'll continue to listen to the Holy Father and the bishops in union with him. Please pray for me as I prepare to make my confession today.
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Thank you.

Everyone crying out: Blood on their hands!


And now it begins.
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Art: Keith Perelli "Spangled" oil, metal, paint, wood, glass, 2004-05.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Kind of like Hyacinth's candlelight suppers...


I wonder if Sheridan is invited?

The hills are alive with the sound of Nazism...



So what's the story on that wacky SSPX Bishop Williamson anyway?
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"He is an Englishman, received into the Church in 1971, immediately sought to join the London Oratory, after a few days he was asked to leave. He then went to the SSPX seminary at Econe, was ordained priest in 1976 and has spent the rest of his life denying the holocaust and denouncing the Sound of Music, inventing conspiracy theories, slagging off the Pope and appearing on Youtube. I suspect this man, who has increasingly been pedalling a sede vacantist position, will end up leading the rump of the SSPX into a complete break with Rome." - Fr. Blake

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How curious.
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Photo credit: Mass grave from Nazi concentration camp.

Always Christmas... A secret location near Wausau.

ROFLOL!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Day of prayer and penance.



For Catholics in the U.S.
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Evidently not everyone is aware that today is a day of prayer and penance in the United States. This day of prayer and penance is in reparation for violations to the dignity of the human person committed through the sinful acts of abortion. The Church asks us to pray for the reversal of laws permitting such acts and for the legal guarantee of the right to life.
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There are Catholic groups, foundations, and websites for the consolation and support of the so-called other victim of abortion, that is, those women who submit to the process. It is one of the wonderful things about the Catholic Church, providing a healing place for women who have had abortions. Repentance and forgiveness is always possible.
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The victims of abortion.
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I agree that a supportive arm is needed for someone who has committed the grave sin of abortion, murdering their own offspring. Many times these women are coerced into making such a dreadful choice because of emotional trauma and difficulties, economic circumstances, family pressure, or even a boyfriend/lover's influence. The act of abortion remains a choice however. In China, the government forces women to abort, in order to hold to their one child per family policy. Although in this country, few people if any would use that type of coercion to force a woman to abort her baby.
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Do unto others.
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Catholics have an amazing tolerance and understanding for those women, most always repentant, who had once made the choice to abort their child, or in the case of multiple abortions, killed their children. We are welcoming and affirming, and that is as it ought to be as Christians. Too bad we are not always like that with other repentant sinners who once "chose" a sinful lifestyle, although possibly with less freedom: Perhaps coerced into it due to emotional trauma or difficulties, family situations affecting psychological development, maturity and identity, or even cultural influences offering an enticing alternative lifestyle, guaranteeing acceptance, inclusion and affirmation.
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Damned if you do... damned if you don't.
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In some instances, after certain types of sinners have renounced former behaviors, and strive to live in accord with Church teaching, some claim they feel as if they remain under suspicion or labeled because of their former lifestyle. I've heard it said they sometimes feel as if they retain a sort of invisible scarlet letter in the eyes of fellow Catholics. Not infrequently they can find themselves shunned, avoided or dismissed by Catholic society, barred from Catholic employment opportunities, in addition to lost friendships from their former lifestyle; all this despite their conformity and fidelity to Catholic teaching. Many accept such treatment as a penance in their desire to sanctify their lives.
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Enduring the shame. (Hebrews 13:13)
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That said, I think the concept of penance and reparation is often lost on our culture and in our Church. I don't think people believe the consequences experienced as the result of one's sins can be a form of penance, or that exercising mercy and charity towards our neighbor is a form of reparation, especially when it involves sacrifice or suffering.
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This reminds me of another point; I think some of the effects of the sin of abortion on our society is a certain mean-spirited attitude, even cruelty, in our dealings with one another. Hating both the sin and the sinner. That can't be right.

The train has left the station.


Just some thoughts.
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In 1917, Our Lady gave this message at Fatima: "If My requests are heeded, Russia will be converted and there will be peace; if not, she will spread her errors throughout the world, causing wars and persecutions against the Church. The good will be martyred, the Holy Father will have much to suffer, various nations will be annihilated." I often refer to these words in reference to the sins of contraception and abortion. Few people today, aside from some faithful Catholics, admit to the fact that contraception was the first sin - in other words, it was widely accepted and practiced a good 10 years before legalized abortion.
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Today, statistical studies are telling us that the population of most European nations has declined to such an extent they will no longer be able to replicate themselves. The emerging population is Middle-Eastern and Islamic. In effect, these European nations may be annihilated; the French, the Germans, the Dutch, Swedes, and others may indeed die out. This is not racist conjecture, it simply means European culture, as we know it, may vanish as various nationalities die out. (I'm not bothering to link to the data - these things have been published numerous times elsewhere.)
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My point is this, the contraceptive mentality, which ushered in abortion as a contraceptive alternative, has been so ingrained in global popular culture, it seems only a miracle is able to reverse the trend. Considering the stats dealing with populations in recession, I find it interesting that the so-called third secret of Fatima was to be released no earlier than 1960; the explanation given, it would be more understandable at that time.
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As everyone knows, it was in the very early 1960's the first contraceptive pill was introduced and widely used. The pill changed sexual morality entirely. Men and women could freely use sex for recreation rather than procreation, without consequence. I believe it is no coincidence that non-reproductive homosexual sex gradually became accepted, or at least tolerated as an indirect result.
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Consciously or unconsciously, heterosexuals would come to understand the non-generative sex they engaged in was for all practical purposes, not much different from same-sex sexual relations. Thus, as any armchair cultural anthropologist can figure out, sex was an activity one could participate in for pleasure - not just reproduction - and one need not be married or straight to enjoy it. I'm not implying that people didn't engage in sex for pleasure before the pill; however, it is a fact the pill generated widespread promiscuity and a general decline in morals. I'm not unaware that couples "making love" while practising artificial contraception, may also be in love with one another. Nevertheless, straight or gay, their sexual activity is disordered. .
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Indeed the pleasure principle endures today, and more or less dominates contemporary attitudes toward sex and reproductive rights.
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Yep. That train left the station.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cat fight

Wow! The nasty comments are really flying today.
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The poor old Reverend who had the final prayer at the Inauguration is accused of racism. And poor Mrs. Obama is being roundly scorned for what she wore. Seems to me there is a lot of mean spirited stuff being thrown around the blogoshpere. (I wonder if St. Agnes, whose feast we celebrate today, shouted insults at her executioners? I have my doubts Sr. Aloysius.)
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Anyway. Recently, I mentioned to someone, "I get sick of all this religious B.S." Whenever I make statements like that, I seem to offend religious people, especially "those who are convinced of their self-righteousness." Part of what I was referring to in that outrageous statement was the use of pious platitudes like this, "Love the sinner, hate the sin." It seems to me what most people mean by that is "Love the sinner, yes, but only in some flowery, abstract state of prayer or something, in the meantime, rip him to shreds while hating the sin, and brow beat him so he knows you hate that awful sin." I know - I've done it too - that's how I know all this stuff.
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I read the following at adoration today:
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"A true disciple of Christ will never mistreat anybody. He calls wrongdoing by its name, but he corrects those at fault affectionately. If he does not, he will neither help or sanctify others. We must get along, we must understand, we must forgive, we must be fraternal. St. John of the Cross tells us to 'put love where we find no love and we will draw out love.' The advice is for any occasion..." - St. Josemaria Escriva

Detail

" The Apotheosis of Father X" T. Nelson
Crayon on paper. Detail.
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I had hoped Kinko's could scan this piece (16"x20"), but the largest item they do is 11"x17", otherwise it would have to go through a roller process, which could damage the piece. Therefore I did my own scan. This detail of a full figure, smoking a cigar, floating away in the sky with inflated balloons, is the result. (That actually happened to a priest.)

Now, for a change of pace.


The day after.

More popular than Joshua.
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What Christian denomination do some of the black celebrities belong to any way? Someone once said that in our modern age all of the ancient heresies have re-emerged, not only in New Age superstitious cults, but in various religious sects as well. It seems to me that many of the pop stars of contemporary culture are willing to embrace any cult that comes along, under the guise of a universalist form of Christianity of course, although Islam and Buddhism are popular favorites too.
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Many people, not just black people, and not just Americans either, seem to regard President Obama as something of a Messiah for the new age. Sometimes it appears to be an adulation that borders on idolatry. And there is a contingent of entertainers, perhaps blinded by the glamour of their celebrity, working to solidify this belief amongst their very impressionable, star struck fans - young and old. This could be dangerous.
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Kind of like the blind leading the blind.
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(I'm not inviting criticism of the President with this post - I'm simply a bit incredulous at what comes out of the mouths of some of his supporters.)

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rejoice today, repent tomorrow.

This just in:
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OK - for all you good Catholics, I am writing this with blood red because you are all responsible for this - you who voted for Obama. This is not a day you should be proud of.

Midway through his acceptance speech, now President Barack Obama, in firm, cool calculated words, stated the following:
" . . . and for those who choose to nurture a child . . .."
nc
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I received the above email after I posted a couple of things on the inauguration today.
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FYI: I did NOT vote for Obama.

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(Funny the Pope's message of congratulations didn't mention that.)
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That's all.

I am so worried about Oprah.

I have watched the Inauguration all day long and I have not seen Oprah. I wonder if she went into convulsions too?

This is the day the Lord has made...

Pope Benedict sends his greetings and prayers.
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Vatican City, Jan 20, 2009 / 10:31 am (CNA).- This morning Pope Benedict sent a telegram welcoming Barack Obama as the new President of the United States and assuring him of his prayers.
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The text of the telegram is below:
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On the occasion of your inauguration as the forty-fourth President of the United States of America I offer cordial good wishes, together with the assurance of my prayers that Almighty God will grant you unfailing wisdom and strength in the exercise of your high responsibilities.
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Under your leadership may the American people continue to find in their impressive religious and political heritage the spiritual values and ethical principles needed to cooperate in the building of a truly just and free society, marked by respect for the dignity, equality and rights of each of its members, especially the poor, the outcast and those who have no voice.
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At a time when so many of our brothers and sisters throughout the world yearn for liberation from the scourge of poverty, hunger and violence, I pray that you will be confirmed in your resolve to promote understanding, cooperation and peace among the nations, so that all may share in the banquet of life which God wills to set for the whole human family (cf. Isaiah 25:6-7).
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Upon you and your family, and upon all the American people, I willingly invoke the Lord’s blessings of joy and peace.
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Benedictus PP. XVI
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So let us too pray for the new President.

President Barrack Obama

Proud to be an American.
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Asked for a comment at the inauguration ceremonies, the actress Cicely Tyson responded with this Scripture; "This is the day the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice!"
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Amen.

Monday, January 19, 2009

The Inaugural

The significance of the inauguration of Barrack Obama is not lost on me.
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I am very impressed by the tributes, accolades, celebrations, speeches, and raw emotions being expressed over the inauguration of President-elect Obama. I get all of that. I can't help but be thrilled to be a witness to history; To watch a man of African-American descent, elected to our country's highest office, as he readies himself for that responsibility, to be inaugurated tomorrow at noon. I came through the 1950's and '60's - I went to Catholic school, nuns and priests marched in Selma - therefore I was pretty much educated by the Civil Rights Movement. I'm just saying. I get this.
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However, one things most Americans do not get is this: To date, since 1970, 50 million abortions have been performed in this country. That statistic means that more babies have been murdered since abortion was made a 'right' than the sum total of soldiers killed in all the wars the U.S. has ever fought in. United States citizens have chosen to murder 50 million persons since 1970. (Oprah never tells her audience to think about these things.)
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A sobering reminder as we celebrate the victory of the Civil Rights Movement in the inauguration of a black man. President Obama is the most radical pro-abortion politician in history. I think the idolotry is too much. (See, Polls show Americans believe, 'He can save us!")
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That's all.

Keep praying for Oprah.

Stalker unleashed.
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She is even starting to scare the Secret Service.

False alarm.

There is no new document on the discernment of apparitions forthcoming.
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Wasn't it just last week I posted about a soon-to-be-released-from-the-Vatican set of criteria for discerning visions, locutions, miraculous weeping images, and assorted phenomenon? So cancel that. I'm posting a note on top of my monitor, "Whenever anyone announces, 'The Vatican said this' or 'the Vatican is clamping down' or 'the Vatican is coming out with a document' - don't believe it until you see the actual documents with the authorized signatures and seals, and all of that."
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From National Catholic Register.
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"According to a Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith official who spoke with Register correspondent Edward Pentin, there is no truth to these reports. The official stated emphatically that no work is underway on a vademecum or on any other type of document regarding the question of how to handle claims of apparitions." - NCR
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No need.
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Doh! And that actually makes more sense, especially since criteria for the discernment of spirits and claims of supernatural phenomenon has really not changed much over the centuries. Scholarly theologians such as Garrigou-Lagrange, Fr. Marie Eugene, OCD, and untold others associated (or not) with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, whose names escape me right now, have pretty much codified such norms already. This is what the Church does. In fact, as recently as 1978, "Norms of the Congregation for Proceeding in Judging Alleged Apparitions and Revelations" was promulgated.
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Enough is never enough for some people.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Keep Oprah in your prayers.


Public stalker.

Catholic Schools


The heroism of women religious.
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This photo of nuns was taken at the funeral for the numerous victims who died in the tragic fire that consumed Our Lady of the Angels School in Chicago, December of 1958. The nuns proved heroic in rescuing the children who survived. Sadly, as I was told at the time, one entire class was found, dead from smoke inhalation; the trapped Sister and students seated in prayer. I read that another Sister repeatedly rolled down the flights of stairs with children clinging to her habit, to evacuate as many as possible beneath the heavy smoke.
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Those Sisters exemplified the heroic charity every School Sister in the United States daily exercised in their vocation to teach and guide Catholic students in the faith, arts, and sciences. People my age may claim all the nuns were mean or disgruntled, but that type of religious was really the exception. Most of the priests, nuns and brothers who taught school, though strict, were generous, loving, and devout men and women dedicated to their vocation and educating the young.
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Catholic schools in crises?
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That is what the NY Times says. Many are closing due to lack of enrollment. However, laity, clergy and religious alike are beginning to come together to correct that - as much as they are able to at this point. Yet I believe the bishops are the ones who really need to promote Catholic education, just as they did in the beginning. Up until a decade or so ago, the Catholic school system seemed to be an institution that was pretty much taken for granted - something that would always be there. Religious vocations may have diminished, but lay teachers took their place - albeit at much greater expense. Hence the increased cost of education - and the sad realization we may have taken the nuns for granted as well.
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A local priest reopens his school.
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I went to Mass at Holy Family parish this morning. It is a strong parish situated in St. Louis Park, Minnesota. The pastor, Fr. Thomas Dufner is a very solid, spiritual, and dynamic priest. He seems to be an excellent administrator as well. I believe he made it his personal goal to reopen Holy Family Academy, which he did, and it is prospering. While the parish is growing, it is also very active, and they need to expand and build a parish center. Which points to the obvious fact, the care of souls is Fr. Dufner's number one priority.
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He also has a crowd of altar boys who serve Sunday Mass. A church full of young families with lots of kids - who kneel and follow Mass attentively, reverently, and quietly. It is so edifying to be there early on a Sunday morning and see Father in adoration before the Blessed Sacrament two hours before Mass, one hour before he hears confessions.
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Likewise, every Saturday morning Fr. Dufner stands outside an abortion facility in Robbinsdale, Minnesota, praying the rosary with a group of other pro-life people - he has done this for years. He is also very active with the youth in his parish, and nourishes his entire flock with solid spiritual instruction and direction, while providing for fun, wholesome recreation. He is one of the most dedicated priests I have ever seen, and I think the parish loves him and supports his initiatives.
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Bishops, priests, and religious like Fr. Dufner is what the Church in the United States needs to revive Catholic identity, Catholic education, and Catholic morality in our culture.
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Photo source: Life Magazine. When I came across the photo I thought it was a photo of rows of television sets. This particular photo demonstrates why habits needed to be modified.

Cardinal Cushing, chaplain to the Kennedy's.

Cardinal Cushing of Boston, praying at the John F. Kennedy Inaugural.
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Somehow I get the impression Obama is not a religious man. It seems to me that the clerics chosen to 'speak/pray' at his Inaugural may be more political choices than religious.