Sunday, October 31, 2010

My huge public apology to the Basilica of St. Mary, Co-Cathedral of the Archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis

I knew, without doubt, that I was in a Roman Catholic church.
I visited the beautiful Basilica of St. Mary this afternoon as they were preparing the sanctuary for vespers.  I just happened to be in the neighborhood and stopped in for a prayerful visit.  I was astonished at the interior beauty of the Church.  It seemed as if candles were glowing everywhere, glittering votive and tall altar candles burned softly in all of the chapels as well as on the main altar.  Unbeknown to me, the annual icon festival in celebration of the saints and in remembrance of the dead began today... I walked in on it amidst all of its splendor.
I was literally brought to my knees, so moved by the beauty of the space.  I visited the magnificent new side shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe with its full size mosaic replica of St. Juan Diego's tilma.  The image of the Virgin is an exact replica masterfully executed in mosaic.
I spoke with a few basilica volunteers and was fortunate to meet the Liturgical Arts Director, Johan van Parys.  I congratulated Mr. van Parys for his wonderful contribution to the preservation and promotion of the sacred arts in his many years at the Basilica.  I found the Basilica and the staff to be very welcoming, warm and gracious. 
I must admit I haven't visited the Basilica for over ten years, and yet I have at times dared criticise various  aspects of their outreach and ministry - without ever witnessing anything first hand.  For that I am very sorry.  Unfortunately I have allowed myself to become embroiled in debates concerning the Basilica's vast inner city mission, liturgical celebrations, and ministry to alienated Catholics.  Most recently I insensitively jumped on the band wagon criticizing the Basilica and an artist in residence who had been suspended from her position because she disagreed with the Archbishop's DVD in defense of marriage.  Of course I believe the Rector of the Basilica, Fr. Bauer acted responsibly in suspending the artist in view of a sculpture she intended to make in protest, and I support Fr. Bauer in what must have been a very difficult decision.  On the other hand, the artist was able to accomplish her project privately, and exhibited it at a secular gallery - which is her right, of course.  End of story.
Going forward I hope to avoid rash judgements and divisive speculations regarding the diversity of parishes throughout this Archdiocese.  After all, we have an Archbishop very much in charge of doctrine, faith and morals.
I have made it my aim to pray very much for each and every person, priest and laity alike I have ever criticized on this blog.  Please pray for me that I can be faithful and persevere.
Today's first reading from Mass.  
"God overlooks the sins of men that they may repent...
For you love all things that are
and loathe nothing you have made;
for what you hated you would not have fashioned?
You rebuke offenders little by little,
warn them, and remind them of the sins
 they are committing 
that they may abandon their wickedness
and believe in you O Lord!" - Wisdom 11:22-12:2


  1. It's okay, Mr. Terry.
    It's okay.
    There is so much confusion and evil around today;
    just give yourself a break and take a deep breath (am I being too forward here??Sorry, if I am).
    It's okay.

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  3. Wow, Terry, I've never seen anyone call you "missy" before!

    The Basilica isn't my favorite church and you are correct in that they're known to be more hospitable to those who don't follow church teaching than is the Cathdral; I know this as I know an active homosexual, of the rainbow sash sort, who is a volunteer at the Basilica. Because he announces to the world that he's gay, for no apparent reason other than he wants to share that information, I can't imagine that those at the Basilica are unaware of it.

    There were crazy amounts of trick or treaters on Summit after Mass.

    We had Msgr. Callahan for Mass and he brought the seminarian who has recently been assigned to the Cathedral as his teaching parish. Msgr. is obviously doing something right as the seminary has a full house.

  4. Being from another location, I don't know anything about the controversy involving this Basilica. However, loved your description of the glowing candles and the icon celebration in honor of the saints. I wish I could have been there. I think that kind of beauty is a reflection of God's glory.
    That reading from Wisdom which you quote is beautiful; I've been thinking about that this weekend, also.
    Thanks for the lovely word picture.

  5. You're apologizing for True Charity by speaking the Truth purely based on the appearance of the building?

    Don't know these folks personally, but remember even Lucifer appears as an Angel of Light.

  6. From their parish web site:

    ********Our Parish********

    A community rooted in the Gospel of Jesus Christ; committed to the spiritual growth and social well being of the city.

    Though the Basilica building provides a landmark for the city of Minneapolis, it is through the work of our parish of activists and healers that makes us a community landmark. Through the dedication and tenacity of our volunteers and the staff at the
    Basilica, our commitment to community goes beyond the walls of our church. All of us are searching for a direction in our faith journey. At the Basilica of Saint Mary, you will find comfort and guidance.

    Learn how we've been more than a church for more than a century.

    ¿¿¿What the???

    “…All of us are searching for a direction in our faith journey…”

    Have they ever heard of Jesus ‘I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life No one comes to the Father except through Me’ Christ? They need more and better direction?

    “…our parish of activists and healers?..”

    What kind of jehovahs witness budha belly rubbing bunch of liberal Roman Protestants are running that website? God I hope they are not really in charge of things.

    You rebuke offenders little by little,
    warn them, and remind them of the sins
    they are committing
    that they may abandon their wickedness
    and believe in you O Lord!" - Wisdom 11:22-12:2

    I think we can get a dispensation from a Padre I know to rebuke them a whole lot.

    Does anybody see what is wrong with the description of themselves?

    Has America truly lost its Catholic identity?

    God bless Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre.


  7. Terry~ I have to say that your blog is my absolute favorite. And this post is a good example of why. It's not because I agree or disagree. It's because you're you. I love the sincerity and the authenticity you put out there. It's not always about whether you get it right or wrong, but that you practice thoughtful introspection and honest discernment of your thoughts and actions, which is something we should all be doing...

  8. Sounds like someone visited the Potemkin Basilica.

  9. OK, so, Terry, please help me because I'm confused:

    It's fine to shine a light into the shadows until one finds a few people in the shadows who work within those shadows who might be really nice, and then all the crap becomes OK and cozy?

    Do I have it about right?

    Please. Take a position, hold it and keep to it. If you don't, you just look wishy-washy.

    Sorry for being so harsh but that's how this post comes across.

    You know, it's OK to call a spade a spade and to admit that even in all the crap there might be a gem somewhere. You can even do that without backpedaling on your original position.

    Really. Try it some time.

  10. FWIW, Terry, I respect any man who is willing to admit he is wrong. It takes a strong heart, and a strong faith.

    Like Melody, I too very much appreciated the description of the Basilica. I wish you could have snapped a few photos.

  11. Great post and acknowledgment, Terry!

    Who are all these people who don't want sinners in their churches?

    You don't like homosexuals? I'd love to see a list of your sins. I'd bet that somebody might like to see you thrown out for some of them.

    Sounds to me like a lot of modern day Pharisees. And you know what Jesus called them in Matthew 23:

    " 13"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!... 16"Woe to you, blind guides!... 17You blind fools!... 23"Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!... 33"You snakes! You brood of vipers! How will you escape being condemned to hell?...

    "The just man sins seven times a day, it is said. Most of us aren't even close to being "just."

    You loved that mosaic of Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Basilica. I do, too. And virtually ever Hispanic that enters that church makes a special visit in front of it.

    But, that very expensive piece of art was donated to the Basilica by the Farrell family that owns the Haskell's liquor stores. They are members of the Basilica parish.

    Should the Basilica have kicked them out and refused that donation because of all the alcoholics that got drunk and committed millions of crimes on Haskells' liquor, wine and beer?

    Pray for them and pray with them and pray for yourselves at the Basilica.

  12. It's one thing to be repentant and forthright, especially if you're getting a salary from the Catholic Church and aver that you are indeed a Catholic, and it's quite a another to be something you're not.

    Quite aside as to whether it is wise to light up the gay lights on the Basilica during Gay History Month and say it was for Breast Cancer Awareness Month doesn't do much to encourage me to think anything but to think that it's business as usual.

    It's really too bad that they had to take down Lucinda Naylor's "Stations", but her presence made it too difficult to maintain the illusion, I suppose.

  13. "...Who are all these people who don't want sinners in their churches?

    You don't like homosexuals?..."

    Yes, Mr. Ray from MN, we don't like homosexuals trying to make us accept the pervert lifestyle and include it as a part of the Church community.

    It is a sickness that caused Sodom and Gomorrah to get blown to Hell along with their homo sympathizers.

    It is homosexuals that are preying on our children, not only in Church, but in schools, clubs, and so on.

    And if I am ever in a Church with no sinners, I’m changing Churches.

    I don’t walk around Church with my manhood hanging out of my pants that everyone celebrate my heterosexuality; these queers need to stop sashaying around Church and everywhere else for that matter, showing off their sick lifestyle.

    The Priest at that Basilica had no business hiring a lesbian to work on the Church.

    He should have counseled her and if she would not change her ways, not given her Holy Communion as a public sinner.

    Our Bishops and Priests need to understand we are not stupid; we can tell when someone is faking being Catholic.


  14. Pablo, your expressive diction, while your right, is entirely inappropriate, both in civil discourse and a supposed Christian forum.

  15. This weekend I was reading about St. John of Kanty and this quote particularly struck me. I believe it is timely.

    Fight all error, but do it with good humor, patience, kindness, and love. Harshness will damage your own soul and spoil the best cause.

    -Saint John of Kanty

    Praise God for our models and guides in the Saints!

  16. Dear Mr. Thom,

    That is the kind of reply my fellow parishioners got when they went to the Bishops office to complain about sex abuse in our parish (I went as a parish rep in 1980).

    Harsh and to the point communication is what got the ball rolling.

    Talk to somebody that has dark moments of the soul because of these things having happened, and ask them if harsh and to the point would have been better than the intellectual gobbley gook that happened to prolong their hurt.

    I held a young man in my arms the other day comforting him as he revealed his secret that causes him to be alcoholic and abuse drugs.

    I am taking him to a physician and to The Physician, that he may be cured.

    This blog and its owner is the only one on the planet that has the cajones to call it as it is, and allow manly discussion of a horrible evil that has befallen us. I think it is unfair to call his blog a gay blog just because he stays on subject.

    I will be on Tepeyac Hill for the Novena to Our Lady of Guadalupe this year, and you better believe I will have Mr. Nelson’s supposed picture with me as I ask the cloistered Carmelites to pray hard for him and his blog.


  17. I agree with you Pablo.

    About three or four years ago, some blogger assured us that all the pro-homosexual, dissident shenanigans was going to stop at the Basilica and that Father John Bauer was a great choice to pastor that community.

    Since then, the Basilica has been present at Gay Pride, employed a pro-homosexual artist who promoted same-sex marriage and they still frequently host speakers of questionable orthodoxy.

    Moreover, you can't get the Pastor to do his job, not even the minimal parts. No, your job isn't to run a cute tourist destination which caters to all kinds of predilections, your job is to save souls.

    I'm convinced Father Bauer is very confused about what it is he's supposed to be doing, and that's being charitable.

  18. Wow!
    I have no freakin' idea what is up with the "Basilica of St. Mary" and all the political hoo-ha.
    Believe you me, gay whatever is not my ideology nor "bag", if you will;
    but come on...
    let's get some perspective here.
    "The weeds amongst the wheat" is the present situation, folks.
    Whether you like it or not.
    And that's the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.
    He didn't mince words;
    but He did not condemn sinners who were in the midst of their conversion.
    Oh, whatever.
    I'm gonna get crucified either way.
    So be it.

  19. '"The weeds amongst the wheat" is the present situation, folks."
    Amen, Father!

  20. '"The weeds amongst the wheat"

    We all know that!

    Sometimes, we are required to 'Cut the Grass"; Saint James the Moor Slayer, The Knights Templar, the Cristeros, on and on.

    No one has come forward yet to say "Enough!" as the man that came forward said at the scouraging of Christ.

    We need someone to come forward and say "Enough!" during this time of scouraging of Christ.


  21. More like a field of weeds with zero cultivation. Perhaps it's a hemp field?

    I'm actually not sure what they're growing at the Basilica, but they don't seem to be using Catholic seeds.


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