The Flying Buttress: What Inquisitors' Minds Want to Know

An archive for issues of The Flying Buttress newswire, whose purpose is to comment satirically on dissent within and relating to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Cincinnati. Disclaimer: These publications are works of satirical fiction. Any similarity to persons living or dead is purely coincidental, but it all depends on what you mean by the word "is." May the Lord bless you and keep you!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Persecuted Priests: Where is Rome?

+With this issue The Flying Buttress closes its 2005-2006 season. We hope to begin Volume III this fall with another round of satire about our local chapter of the Lavender Mafia, and much more.

+In the meantime, in case you were looking forward to a carefree summer of bread and circuses, we present an article by Mary Ann Kreitzer, President of Les Femmes and founder and President of the Catholic Media Coalition. Mary Ann writes in troubling detail about good priests suffering under bad bishops:

“During the civil war many soldiers suffered such severe wounds that surgeons had to remove limbs to save lives. Eye witnesses describe piles of arms and legs outside makeshift hospitals near the battlefield. Doctors mutilated men to save their lives. But what if the surgeons wouldn't cut? Suppose they ignored infections because they feared the attitudes of those who saw men disfigured by the knife? Even worse, what if they were quacks selling snake oil cures with no concern for their patients at all? The men would die, of course, victims of lethal bacteria.

That's our plight in the Church in the United States. The patient is the bride of Christ, and her diseased limbs are the many dioceses infected with the corruption of dissent and homosexuality. The doctors are bishops and clergy. Those who cover up the rot are the quacks. They apply false remedies like touching programs and mandatory fingerprinting while covering up and enabling corruption. The true doctors are faithful priests who love the Church and want to purify her. Instead of thanking their loyal sons, bad bishops persecute and vilify them. Meanwhile the quacks and charlatans flourish.

How many ways do bad bishops punish good priests? Take your pick: exile, silencing, mandatory evaluation at pseudo-psychiatric facilities like St. Luke's, frequent reassignment, making them permanent parochial vicars with no hope of becoming pastors, marginalization, driving them out (to other dioceses or the military vicariate), whispering campaigns that designate them "mentally unstable" or "unfit for ministry," etc. The ultimate punishment, the bishop's sword of Damocles, so to speak, is suspension. It hangs over the head of a good priest who knows his "spiritual father" will use it. How many orthodox priests hear variations of the threat, "You have no idea what I can do to you!" But the good priests do know. They've seen the sword fall on their brothers.

Many orthodox priests live in fear that their bishops will remove their priestly faculties. Why? Because they are having an affair with a parishioner's wife? Because they're hoarding porno flicks in the closet? Because they're letting a homosexual buddy live in the rectory? No! Because they defend the faith vigorously against the evils of modernism and the homosexual subculture.

Recently a priest in Florida, Fr. John Pasquini, e-mailed me asking for help. He's in trouble because he wrote to a local newspaper criticizing homosexuality in the Episcopal Church. But I'll let him tell the story in his own words.

"I was assigned as a parochial vicar at St. Juliana's Church in West Palm Beach when the Episcopalian Bishops voted to consecrate an openly homosexual bishop and approve the blessing of gay marriages. I wrote an editorial arguing that this was contrary to 2000 years of Christianity, that homosexual actions are contrary to God's law, Scripture, natural law and the complimentarity of the sexes. Shortly after my editorial, the Episcopalian bishop for the region of Florida wrote a letter to the chancery arguing that my statements were harmful to ecumenism.

"Rev. Alfredo Hernandez wanted me out of his parish after this incident. His friend, the Vicar General, Charles Notabartolo, called me out of nowhere and asked me if I wanted to serve as the chaplain of St. Mary's Hospital. I knew immediately what that meant and so I challenged him on the move. He responded that my editorial letter "was way out of line." This now makes sense, since Rev. Notabartolo was accused and settled out of court a case regarding his alleged sexual advances on another priest that were rebuffed. Fr. Charles told me that I would never be a pastor in this diocese. (my emphasis)

"From there I went to an interview at St. Mary's hospital. I was kept waiting in the lobby for two hours and then drilled for one hour in [the interviewer's] office. He argued that some on the staff felt that my position on homosexual actions was troubling. What was supposed to be a formality clearly was not. I left after being informed they were intending to interview other applicants.

"At that time I knew I had no place to go. Fr. Alfredo wanted me out of his parish and St. Mary's thought I was too controversial. An interesting side issue: I once came home early from my day off and there at the dinning room table playing cards was a legendary group of pro-homosexual priests. It now all made sense!

I made inquiries at Ave Maria University, and Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., hired me in January 2004 to serve as an assistant chaplain. I will be eternally grateful to him. After a short period of time I realized that I missed being a parish priest and so asked Bishop Barbarito to find me a place. I have been at St. Jude's in Tequesta ever since. But I have clearly been "blacklisted" and "ostracized" by a strong homosexual subculture and/or pro-homosexual priests. I have applied for pastorates at least 11 times and have been turned down. I once was the only one to apply for a parish that no one wanted. The personnel board went out and asked another priest to take the parish, so that I would never be a pastor. Just recently, they gave a parish to a priest who was ordained only two years. I have given up on applying.

"This hatred echoes amongst many of the pro-homosexual agenda priests. I was giving a talk at a parish recently. Afterwards the priest came out and confronted me with the most vile and vulgar of curse words. He literally kicked me off his property, threatening to call the police if I didn't leave!"

Fr. Pasquini lives in constant fear of removal as do many of his faithful brothers around the country. Few speak out. Our readers know the pitiful saga of Fr. James Haley, removed from ministry in Arlington in 2000 for asking Bishop Paul Loverde to take action against a succession of immoral pastors with whom Haley was assigned. They included an adulterer and two porn addicts, one of whom embezzled hundreds of thousands of dollars from St. Lawrence. Fr. Haley's case remains unresolved. Fr. Joe Clark, suspended by Bishop Loverde for correcting the liturgical abuses of a permanent deacon, also remains in limbo after nearly ten months. It seems unlikely these priests will be reinstated without outside intervention.

Farther north, in the diocese of Altoona-Johnstown, Bishop Joseph Adamec has targeted at least three good priests: Fr. John Nesbella, Fr. James Foster, and Msgr. Phillip Saylor. In 2003 the "Priests Federation," an anonymous group claiming to represent 26 diocesan clergy, distributed a letter calling for the immediate suspension of Frs. Nesbella and Foster for "repeated and constant acts which threaten the unity of our community of faith," i.e., addressing the scourge of homosexuality in the diocesan clergy. This lavender cabal demanded the diocese settle all cases against homosexual abusers out of court to protect their reputations, a move designed to maintain the status quo of cover ups. They also called for seminary gatekeepers to screen out candidates unable "to serve in the church of Vatican II." It is ironic to note three years later that the demand of homosexuals to lynch two orthodox priests was carried out. Both Fr. Nesbella and Fr. Foster are gone. Fr. Nesbella's case is a little murky. He sued the diocese in civil court because he was molested by a priest as a teenager. Sadly, the suit lent justification to Adamec's suspension. Orthodox priests have little recourse. They're damned whatever they do. Unlikely to receive justice in canon law courts, they are condemned if they turn to the civil courts.

Msgr. Saylor got in trouble in 1994 for telling the truth when he testified in the trial of homosexual predator, Fr. Francis Luddy, who was convicted of abuse. Under oath, Saylor said he informed superiors of priestly pederasty in the diocese, a fact conflicting with statements of Bishop James Hogan and other Church leaders. In 1999 Adamec retaliated by imposing a precept of silence on Msgr. Saylor under threat of suspension and excommunication. Adamec told the priest he, "may not publish any writing or take part in any radio or television program without the permission of the Diocesan Bishop." Rod Dreher of The Wall Street Journal, Paul Likoudis of The Wanderer, and Catholic World Report Editor, Domenico Bettinelli, have all written about Adamec's disgraceful record in Altoona. Cases in other dioceses include Fr. Paul Weinberger in Dallas and Fr. Robert Altier in Minneapolis both of whom we wrote about last issue. (See for updates on Fr. Altier.) Other shameful cases include Fr. Andrew Dowgiert in Miami, Fr. George Parker in Norwich, and Fr. Joe Baca in Fresno.

These public cases are just the tip of the iceberg. Most persecuted priests fly under the radar screen. Their bishops deny them pastorships, forbid them to engage in media apostolates, post them to jails and nursing homes, and generally make them outcasts. In dioceses with a heavy concentration of homosexual priests persecution by their clerical brothers adds to the stress. These situations get little or no publicity and abused priests often avoid attention for fear of even greater retaliation. This contributes to the "damaging culture of silence" Fr. Jerry Pokorsky described in the August/September 2005 issue of Catholic World Report.

Faithful priests sometimes see the writing on the wall and get out. For example, Bishop Loverde hired a professional fundraising company, Community Counseling Services (CCS) at the cost of several million dollars, to run his Rooted in Faith Capital Campaign. Pastors were obliged to add to their daily duties onerous fundraising calls and meetings. Laity in each parish were identified and trained with elaborate marketing techniques to put the financial touch on fellow parishioners. Most pastors did it by the book. One administrator did not. Instead, he made a direct pulpit appeal to his people. Without all the folderol he surpassed the campaign goal at his parish proving one can raise money without paying millions to a professional fundraiser whose other clients include a broad range of dubious environmental groups. In a bureaucracy, however, it's a capital crime to deviate from the rules. Bishop Loverde transferred Father and demoted him to parochial vicar, making him the only member of his seminary class not to lead a parish except for another priest casualty who ended up leaving the priesthood altogether. Father is not currently serving in the diocese. Will he return? Who knows!

Some persecuted priests have filed recourses in Rome, but the Vatican has two speeds: slow and stop. Fr. Haley has been fighting his situation for five years with no end in sight. After ten months and a visit to Rome, Fr. Clark's case appears no nearer to resolution. As a good solid priest said recently when I expressed frustration about the many injustices to our clergy, "If the Holy See won't come to the rescue, who will?" Who indeed?

One thing is evident. Our good priests need to be as wise as serpents and gentle as doves. So do the laity. We need to protect priests by acting like Joseph during the years of plenty in Egypt. Fill the granaries when the harvest is good. Most of us only make noise when things are a mess. We need to praise good priests before they're in trouble. Does Father preach well? Tell the bishop. Are his Masses reverent? Does he offer frequent hours of Confession? Does he work untiringly for the parish? Tell the bishop. In fact, thank the bishop for assigning him to your parish. Gratitude not only builds up our good priests, but writing it down protects them from being accused of having "issues" or being "unfit for ministry."

Finally, to put persecution in perspective we need to remember Jesus' words. "If you find that the world hates you, know it has hated me before you. If you belonged to the world, it would love you as its own....Remember what I told you: no slave is greater than his master. They will harry you as they harried me....I have told you all this to keep your faith from being shaken." (John 15)

It's a tragedy when persecution comes from within, but we should expect it. Jesus was betrayed by the religious elders who viewed life, not from Yahweh's perspective, but from the world's. Even for pagans, the most acute suffering always comes from the betrayal of friends. "Et tu, Brute?" But suffering is also redemptive. It may well be the suffering of our good priests under unjust persecution that ultimately brings a deluge of grace and a new Pentecost for the Church. As Pope John Paul II wrote in Veritatis Splendor, "All Christians must be ready to give every day even at the price of suffering and great sacrifices. One needs, at times, a truly heroic determination, also in daily life, not to give in to the difficulties that push one to compromise, and to live the Gospel 'sine glosa.'"

May the wounds of our faithful, persecuted priests shine like those of our Lord after the Resurrection. On the road to Emmaus, the brothers recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. Wasn't it because they saw the holes in his hands as he offered the blessing? God will ask on judgment day to see the injuries we suffered for love of Him. Our wounds, like those of the Civil War soldiers, testify to our service. Those in the Church Militant who engage the enemy can't avoid them. Our good priests are the battalion leaders on the front lines. May they bear their wounds (especially when they're stabbed in the back) with courage and fidelity as a powerful witness to the Savior they so faithfully serve.

Marianist Mumbo-Jumbo

+This week we publish a letter from one of our original subscribers, a cantankerous, obstreperous, and vociferous defender of the Faith. His letter is in response to a May 5th Letter to the Editor in Cincinnati’s (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph, from Marianist Brother Joe Barrish of Dayton, OH.

+Br’er Barrish, it seems, considers himself quite fortunate NOT to be living in the Diocese of Arlington, VA, where Bishop Loverde has just expanded the celebration of the Tridentine Mass. Barrish claims that this “unfortunate” decision violates how Vatican II “changed or(sic) way of thinking about the Church,” because the old Mass was “an action mostly of the priest,” who “fac[ed] God, not us, and…was addressing God for us.” “The spirituality it encouraged was more personal than communal. It was ‘me and Jesus.’”

Barrish, expanding on his pious modesty and sagacious insight, goes on to instruct Bishop Loverde on the need for a proper catechesis regarding the “renewed liturgy,” the quality of the homilies preached, the theology expressed in the hymnody, and the preparedness for the proclamation of the Word. All this, sermonizes Barrish, is the obvious preference over the resurrection of a mere museum piece.

Our subscriber, who might also have inquired whether Brother Barrish was himself running for bishop, responded as follows:

“Dear Brother Barrish:

Although you are entitled to your opinions about everything, including the Catholic Church and its culture, I have to tell you that I was deeply offended and disturbed by your letter in the May 5th issue of The Catholic Telegraph. As a lifelong Catholic who was raised in the culture of the pre-Vatican II Church, I have been a personal witness to the frequently bitter divisiveness that has arisen since the close of that Council. Your attitude typifies the intolerance and triumphalism that I have seen manifested among those who cloak themselves in the supposedly superior truth and wisdom of the “spirit of Vatican II,” from which self-described spiritual and communal summit you feel compelled to correct the rest of us benighted pre-Vatican II old-timers.

Were you to read Austin Flannery’s book containing the 16 conciliar documents of Vatican II (including the Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy, which you attempt to quote), you would find very specific evidence disproving the things you state “changed” our way of thinking about the Church. For example, the 1962 Latin rite was not abolished; in fact, the Council Fathers directed quite clearly that it was to be preserved. Neither was it ordered that the vernacular was to take pride of place in the liturgy. Its use was clearly limited. The communion rail was not abolished, nor was “communion in the hand” or “communion under both species” made the norm. Those are only a few of the misconceptions people have about what Vatican II actually “directed.” Your letter will serve to further reinforce those misconceptions, because it is an unfortunate fact that many people who claim to speak in the name of (or the “spirit” of) Vatican II are not even familiar with its documents.

While you seem to be repelled by the notion of a revival of the Tridentine Mass, keep in mind that many good Catholics (especially including the younger generations) deeply revere that liturgy. In fact, as a member of a religious community, you are no doubt aware that Pope John Paul II called for a “wide and generous” use of that liturgy in his “Ecclesiae Dei.”

Your own personal reaction to the pre-Vatican II liturgy should not be seen as defining what is “right” or “wrong”, or most appropriate. While you might have felt that the old Mass was mostly an action of the priest, I myself felt very much a part of the rituals. I also remind you that the sacrificial action of the priest, the alter Christus, on our behalf is in fact the very heart of the Mass.

You also ridicule the notion of the congregation being obediently lined up in the pews like “good soldiers.” There was a time when the idea of being an obedient good soldier was considered a virtue, not a shortcoming.

I do not question the validity of the Second Vatican Council. I merely question the attitude of those who go far beyond the scope of the actual 16 documents of that council when they claim a superior understanding of what was directed in them. There is an underlying assumption that what took place in our Catholic churches prior to 1962 was somehow deficient.

Do not misunderstand my intent. I do not quarrel with the Church. How, I do take offense to your attitude: you are clearly convinced of your own superiority. I am also disappointed by the fact that Cincinnati’s archdiocesan newspaper, The Catholic Telegraph, predictably prioritizes opinions like yours, while suppressing or delaying the publication of opinions that are orthodox.

Those who prefer the Tridentine Mass – and they are numerous – are also a part of our Catholic “community.” Why is it that you, a proponent of “community,” cannot treat them with respect?

Odds and Ends

+Sign an American Family Association pledge to boycott Ford Motor Company, in response to their considerable support for militant homosexual activism.

+A liberal activist judge has ordered the city of San Diego to remove a cross from Mt. Soledad or be fined $5000 a day. Judge Gordon Thompson, Jr., ordered the cross removed because, he said, it violated the separation of church and state. For over 50 years this site has been recognized by the public as a place where war veterans, most of whom are from greater San Diego, are recognized for their service to America. Last summer 76 percent of the city's voters (197,000) approved keeping the cross. E-mail President Bush asking him to sign an executive order transferring the property to the federal government, thus taking the case out of Judge Thompson’s hands.

Illegal Alien Folktales

Chapter Eleven: Los Tres Chivitos Rudos

Once upon a time, there were three Mexican bracero goats called “gruff.” Every spring they traveled north to eat the lush sweet grass and pick lettuce for exploitive wages, in order to send money to their poor families back home. Before they could obtain employment off the books with their Anglo capitalist ruling class oppressors, however, they had to cross the rushing Rio Grande River.

There was only one way across the Rio Grande, and that was over a narrow bridge made of wooden planks. And underneath the bridge there lived a benevolence-challenged, minimally attractive, one-eyed troll. Nobody was allowed to cross the bridge without the troll’s permission.

One spring, a new and especially menacing troll appeared under the bridge: a dreaded Sensenbrenner Troll. The Sensenbrenner Troll was fiercely determined that no bracero goat would cross his bridge without the proper documentation, and said that anyone who tried it would be charged with a felony and deported. When the three bracero goats heard about this they decided to test the new Troll’s policy.

The smallest bracero goat gruff was the first to reach the bridge. When he began to cross it, the Sensenbrenner Troll suddenly appeared with a growl. “You shall not pass without a green card!" he threatened.

“See here, Mr. Troll,” snorted the goat. “I do not wish to incur a white backlash, but we bracero goats are taking over the institutional infrastructure of your American Southwest. You cannot stop us, because we are here to stay!” Then the smallest bracero goat scampered back to his family to get his bigger brother.

Soon two bracero goats gruff returned, and they both began to cross the bridge. Once again, the Sensenbrenner Troll blocked their path. “Show me your papers or face deportation!” he snarled.

The bigger brother warned, “You Anglos are old and tired. We are workers, not criminals! We are implementing La Reconquista without firing a shot! Through our love of having children, we will bury you!” And the two goats clip-clopped back to get their oldest brother.

Now all three bracero goats gruff arrived, laughing and singing a corrido, but before they could set foot (or hoof) upon the bridge, there suddenly appeared a slender man dressed all in lavender, wearing a Roman collar, and exuding the strong scent of English Leather.

The Sensenbrenner Troll popped out and immediately noticed the newcomer. “Who are you?” he demanded, eyeing him with suspicion. Que pasa, amigo! I am Agent L. - I represent the Men in Lavender,” replied the man. “We are a secret Catholic hierarchy that monitors undocumented immigrant activity in the U.S., and advocates for them when their rights are threatened. I would like to express our solidarity with these three gentlemen and engage you in constructive dialogue on their behalf.”

“Rights! Illegal aliens have no rights! They are breaking the law!” protested the Troll.

“I respectfully acknowledge that your pulchritudinally-challenged appearance may be the source of your ill-tempered outlook,” soothed Agent L, “but have you considered that enforcement-only laws would drive undocumented immigrants further into the shadows and create more elaborate smuggling networks?”

“Tell me, Agent Unctuous,” retorted the Troll, “how can the borders of our nation be secured if there is no punishment for crossing them illegally?”

“But, the earned adjustment program would bring a large number of the 11-12 million undocumented aliens out of the shadows and provide an opportunity for hard-working immigrants to earn their legal status over time,” replied Agent L. earnestly.

“You’re living in a liberal dream world, you fool!” exclaimed the Troll. “What illegal alien is going to surrender his forged social security card and driver’s license, and come forward to be subjected to health and security checks, pay thousands of dollars in fines, pay back taxes, learn English, and have to work for at least six more years to earn citizenship?”

“You surly Prop 187 xenophobic hate-monger!” shouted Agent L., in an uncharacteristic outburst. “Don’t you realize that immigrant workers are employed in low-paying jobs that do not attract sufficient U.S. workers? Agricultural workers are foreign-born, while the majority of laborers in the meatpacking and poultry industries are foreign-born. Over one-third of all dishwashers, janitors, maids, and cooks are foreign-born.”

“Commie pinko subversive!” cried the Troll, probing for flaws in his opponent’s argument. “That’s called unskilled labor! Obviously it’s a subsidy to businesses that employ unskilled workers, which drives down wages. But guess who picks up the tab for providing social services to a much larger poor and low-income population? Taxpayers!”

(While Agent L. and the Sensenbrenner Troll were thus absorbed in constructive dialogue, the three bracero goats gruff slipped unnoticed across the bridge and assimilated themselves into the ranks of the underprivileged, surfacing only to wave Mexican flags at La Raza rallies in righteous support of their brethren, and to claim food stamps and medical benefits at their local Department of Human Services.)

The Moral of the Story:

As those who go trolling for social justice causes can attest, the grass is always greener on the other side.

Odds and Ends

+Comprehensive information on immigration issues can be found at the Center for Immigration Studies and the Federation for American Immigration Reform.

+Despite all the ballyhoo, the Sensenbrenner Bill is only incidentally about illegal immigration. Its real purpose is to make the Patriot Act permanent. Perhaps this was deliberately lost in the shuffle?

Identity Theft Hits the Church

+At the request of reviled Flying Buttress Publisher Tomas de Torquemada, the Identity Theft Support Center, a national nonprofit that focuses on victim assistance and prevention education, has issued a nationwide RED ALERT. This alert specifically targets American Catholics in an attempt to warn them of a virulent new form of identity theft: subtle attempts by left-wing academics and other dissidents to replace orthodox Catholic identity with political peace-and-justice agendas and sociological behavior analysis.

+In order to increase Catholic awareness of this problem, Torquemada (whose own venerable identity was stolen in 2004 by a disgruntled Catholic in Cincinnati) recently consented to an interview with the Executive Director of the ITSC, to provide the laity with helpful information on how to protect themselves against this insidious crime. Here is the transcript of this interview:

ITSC: Tomas, tell us how you first learned of Catholic identity theft.

TdT: Last November, the (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph, our Archdiocesan newspaper, trumpeted this headline on its front page: “Respondents: skipping weekly Mass doesn’t make a bad Catholic.” The article went on to report the following results of a study which had recently appeared in the National Catholic Reporter:

  • 76% of respondents (not identified) said they could be good Catholics without fulfilling the weekly Mass obligation;
  • A majority said a good Catholic didn’t have to obey Church teaching on birth control, abortion, divorce and remarriage;
  • A celibate male clergy was least important personally to the respondents;
  • Belief in Jesus’ resurrection and helping the poor were most important;
  • And the giveaway kicker: “Dissent is not so much the result of a lack of understanding as it is a disagreement with specific teachings that lay people do not believe are central to the faith.”

ITSC: What was it about this that made you suspicious?

TdT: Aside from the last bullet point above, which attempts to slip in the real agenda – that dissent is substantiated by research - there were three clues. First clue: there was no corrective response from the left-wing Archbishop, the left-wing (O)CT staff, or anyone else in this left-wing Archdiocese reminding us about our Sunday Mass obligation (failure to observe it being a “grave sin”) or responding to any of this “data.”

Second clue: the funders of this study, an ongoing project every six years since 1987, include the following: the National Catholic Reporter (a premier mouthpiece of the “Catholic left”), the Louisville Institute of the Louisville Presbyterian Theological Seminary (home of the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance and of the typical fermented stew of leftist political agendas which may be classified as “ecufeminist”) (and whose associate director, the "Episcopal Bishop" of Kentucky, is a vociferous supporter of unrepentant sodomite "Bishop" Gene Robinson), and last but not least, Fr. Andrew Greeley (ubiquitous dissenter and third-rate mind of the first magnitude).

Third clue: interpretation of survey data is cleverly skewed so as to be susceptible to liberal bias. In addition to the last bullet point previously mentioned above, here are two of many more examples:

(1) the NCR report states, “…most American Catholics consider the teachings on a celibate priesthood, the death penalty, abortion and same-sex marriage as more optional than essential.” Yet the actual survey question was “How important are these to you?” - NOT - “Are they optional or essential?”

(2) the NCR report states, “From this overall series we conclude that Catholics distinguish basic creedal beliefs such as Jesus’ resurrection and the nature of the sacraments from specific moral teachings about sexuality or the death penalty -- they see the latter as less than central to their Catholicity.” Yet the actual survey questions did not ask which beliefs were central to one’s Catholicity. The conclusion is completely fraudulent.

ITSC: Tomas, I’m afraid you need to be more specific. How do these things involve Catholic identity theft?

TdT: That’s easy! The attempt to isolate aspects of Catholic identity and rank them completely distorts and misrepresents that identity. Moreover, the survey questions are only partially about the beliefs and practices which form our identity; cleverly mixed in with these are tangential questions about, for example, clergy requirements (which would not be a factor for the layman) and social behaviors which follow from a Catholic identity.

But what is a truly Catholic identity? It is the state of one’s soul, freed from original sin through the sacraments of the Church and the grace of God. It is those beliefs which are summarized in the Nicene Creed, as even Fr. Lawrence, Mick (or was that Mick, Lawrence?) acknowledges in his cutsie-pie liturgical catechesis bulletin inserts. It is the teachings of the Magisterium, which flesh out our beliefs to attain understanding, and holiness in daily life. It is the consecrated habit formed by the sacraments, Scriptures, sacred traditions and disciplines of the Church to ensure our salvation. It is an institutional identity composed of liturgy, music, art, architecture, vestments, language, hierarchy – all grounded in the sacred deposit of faith.

The true Catholic identity is a complex whole, an entirely complete culture centered in Christ and salvation, Divine Revelation and Apostolic Succession, majestic ritual and mystery. Though it has suffered greatly at the filthy hands of Bugnini and the liberal European Alliance which dominated Vatican II, even now it cannot be picked apart by agenda-driven bean-counters or sorted into cafeteria-style menus by the heterodox.

ITSC: How would you compare the practices of secular identity thieves with those of Catholic identity thieves?

TdT: Well, the secular world has “dumpster-divers,” those who rummage through your trash to retrieve information about you. The Church’s dumpster-divers are those who rummage through your mind, looking for an opening in which to insert doubt, disagreement and false belief. One might call them “dissent-divers.”

The secular thief also “phishes” and “pretexts,” or obtains information via spoof e-mails or phone calls while pretending to represent a legitimate company. Their Church counterparts would be theologians (moral or otherwise), mid-level diocesan bureaucrats, and the many priests and religious who are nothing more than loose cannons. It is they who abuse their sacred trust and their holy offices by dispensing fraudulent and misleading information about our faith, cleverly substituting “sincerity,” “compassion,” or “justice” for fidelity as they invite you to participate in their prestigious fraud. They are truly “phishers of men” pretending to represent the legitimate Church.

ITSC: Should the Catholic layman be aware of any other group engaged in Catholic identity theft?

TdT: First, let’s ask this: why is CARA (the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate) participating in this sleazy NCR project? Now, to answer your question, yes – locally, their activities were reported in the March 24 issue of the (Occasionally) Catholic Telegraph. The “Brueggeman Center for Dialogue” at Xavier University (known in orthodox circles as “Apostate U.”) is sponsoring a three-part series on Catholic identity. This series, according to the Telegraph, will focus on “Concerns and Hopes,” “Collaboration and Decision Making,” and “Accountability in the Church” (observe the immediate departure from “identity”).

Let’s pin the tail on this donkey immediately by noting that the Brueggeman Center appointed Sr. Joan Chittister to its Brueggeman Chair in Theology in 2001. Joan Chittister, theologian? (Bill Clinton, family man?) Let me also point out that any time you hear the word “dialogue” among the “Catholic left,” it means that a platform has been offered to those who make a career out of trashing the Church. It also means that no platform will be offered to those who wish to defend the Church. There is no “dialogue” as we would correctly define it.

True to form, “Concerns and Hopes” featured “pastoral counselor” Marie Hill, who predictably (a) reduced Catholic identity, as a faithful disciple of James Carroll, to “Jesus own catholic (sic) identity of love of God and neighbor,” and (b) portrayed fidelity to the Church as “a regression to the pre-Vatican II mentality of legalism and authoritarianism in the church (sic).”

ITSC: It doesn’t sound as though Xavier’s attempts at Catholic identity theft are as subtle as the NCR study.

TdT: No, but equally as pernicious, and a classic case of loose cannons steering the foundering ship. The Brueggeman Center is quite impressed with itself and its lofty mission, but it is merely a watering hole for an effete Dissenter’s Club, whose regularly orchestrated wailing, breast-beating and gnashing of tenured teeth marks the progressive deconstruction of our faith. And this stagnant, fetid pond is the reservoir from which the Cincinnati Archdiocese draws its ersatz Catholic sustenance, again and again.

By the way, don’t be surprised if Voice of the Faithful occupies a prominent place in the last event of this Brueggeman series.

ITSC: Finally, Tomas, what in your opinion are the consequences of successful Catholic identity theft?

TdT: The consequences of secular identity theft are well known: serious financial difficulties, or even financial ruin. However, Catholic identity theft results in something far worse: eternal ruin.

Odds and Ends

+Can you identify the author of these words, addressed to some theologians of his day? “Some among you, puffed up like bladders with the spirit of vanity strive by profane novelties to cross the boundaries fixed by the Fathers, twisting the meaning of the sacred the philosophical teaching of the rationalists, not for the profit of their hearer but to make a show of science...these men, led away by various and strange doctrines, turn the head into the tail and force the queen to serve the handmaid."

Moral Theologians Decoded

+Our readers may be familiar with the new USCCB website and documentary “Jesus Decoded,” whose purpose is to refute the lies, distortions, and misrepresentations contained in “The DaVinci Code.”

+Our sources are reporting another new, if relatively unknown development in this burgeoning cottage industry. We’re referring to a second website response to Dan Brown’s wild claims, crafted by an influential group of moral theologians from the theology departments of Xavier University and the University of Dayton. This group of theologians, known to many of their colleagues as “Magisterium II,” is calling their website “Jesus Nuanced.”

+ Magisterium II spokespersons Drs. Paul Knitter and Terrence Tilley recently issued a brief joint statement, which we quote in its entirety, defining the goals of “Jesus Nuanced”:

“The contributing scholars and theologians of “Jesus Nuanced” have a long history of professional and moral consensus on issues vital to the Church. Our latest efforts are motivated by a sincere and growing concern about the upsurge of rigid, clericalist, authoritarian, and pre-Vatican II orthodoxy in response to Dan Brown’s controversial work. We find that the views which have been presented to refute the “DaVinci Code” require balance, dialogue, and historical perspective. With that in mind, we have presented the collective work of our fellow faculty, which we trust will be judged on its own merits and met with open minds. The future of a just and sustainable Church depends upon it.”

+The Flying Buttress is pleased to outline the major controversies of “The DaVinci Code,” (DVC) each followed by the response of Magisterium II (MII):

DVC: Jesus was viewed as a man and not as God until the fourth century, when he was deified by the emperor Constantine.

MII: That the emperor Constantine convened the Council of Nicea is certainly proof enough of his extraordinary influence upon early Christianity. Those who attempt to refute this by saying that an all-powerful Roman Emperor would hardly be one to create a divine figure even more powerful than himself have missed the point: Constantine, due to a flawed relationship with his older brother in childhood, felt that he was in need of a strong Elder Brother archetype. Thus the emergence of the divine Jesus to fulfill this role. Had Constantine been closer to his mother, and more conversant with the “pagan” goddess-worship of the era, he might have been less inclined to create this vicarious patriarchal extension, and more inclined to give Mary Magdalene her proper due.

DVC: It was not Peter to whom Christ gave directions with which to establish the Christian Church. It was Mary Magdalene.

MII: All of us know that it is highly unlikely that a man would ever stop to ask for directions. In the ancient cultures of the Middle East, it would have been the women, oppressed and marginalized as they were, who performed such menial tasks. Furthermore, the Gnostic Gospel The Wise Sayings of Barrabas records that Jesus’ words of foundation could not have been delivered to Peter, for what he really said was “Upon this stock I will build my Church.” This is a clear reference to the children he had fathered with his wife, Mary Magdalene (but see below).

DVC: Jesus was not celibate, but married Mary Magdalene and produced children, whose descendants gave rise to a prominent royal family line that still survives in Europe.

MII: The Essene sect to which Jesus and Mary Magdalene belonged were in the forefront of the communal movement of the era, an alternative lifestyle which featured multiple conjugal relationships. Thus it is likely that Jesus was not only married, but married to several women, and probably sired children with all of them. The Holy Grail may therefore be more widespread in Europe than previously considered, even by such careful scholars as Dan Brown. Moreover, the true etymological meaning of the name “Merovingian,” the line of French kings said to be descendants of Jesus, is “Peace, Love and Beads,” a clear reference to the Essenes.

DVC: Mary Magdalene is to be worshipped as a goddess, and a secret society known as the Priory of Sion still keeps that truth alive today.

MII: A careful examination of “The Last Supper” reveals that the initials “CTA” can, with a little effort, be made out in the stonework at the top of the painting. These initials refer of course to Call to Action, and demonstrate not only the ancient heritage of that faithful and committed group but the intriguing possibility of Leonardo’s membership in it. This causes us to posit a strong link – perhaps a complete identity - between Call to Action and the Priory of Sion, and opens up entirely new vistas when considering their pioneering work in the empowerment of women in the Church.

DVC: The Bible was codified by a pagan Roman emperor.

MII: Readers of James Carroll’s “Constantine’s Sword” will undoubtedly understand that Constantine was “an exclusionary universalist who imposed his will on the Church.” Few are aware, however, that Constantine’s mother Helena played an even greater role, behind the scenes, in the codification of the Christian canon, by comparing the evangelists’ original manuscripts to handwritten notes on the Shroud of Turin. She was not, however, responsible for the Nicene Creed, another product of Constantine’s patriarchy, which was sneeringly referred to by Greek and Roman pagan priestesses as the “Nicene Screed.”

DVC: In DaVinci’s “Last Supper,” the figure of the Beloved Apostle John is really Mary Magdalene.

MII: In exposing this veiled truth, Dan Brown points directly to the fact that some of the Disciples may have struggled with transgender issues, thus demonstrating once again the truly radical nature of Jesus’ social mission. In fact, were one to ponder this painting while listening to the Beatles’ tune “Revolution No. 9” played backwards (ED. NOTE: This may require 33 LP/turntable technology), one would immediately be struck by the message “John is Mary,” which is clearly audible in the background.

DVC: The Church has suppressed this information for centuries, even to the extent of assassinating the descendants of Christ to keep his bloodline from continuing.

MII: When the Secret Vatican Archives are finally opened, the public will at last learn the true circumstances of Jesus’ life and mission, as well as the whereabouts of Judge Crater, Amelia Earhart, and Osama bin Laden. It is incumbent upon the present Pope to facilitate this release of information in the near future, if he wishes to preserve the credibility of the Church.

+The creators of “Jesus Nuanced” also count Fr. Richard McBrien of Notre Dame among their advisors. His endorsement, featured on the home page, characterizes their responses as “substantially faithful to the spirit of Magisterium II.”

+Finally, our readers may be curious as to why we have not included a link to the “Jesus Nuanced” website in this issue. Several computer viruses have been reported as being operative on this site, including the Melissa virus, the Love Bug virus, and the Trojan Horse Dissenter virus. With that in mind, we feel it best to advise our readers to avoid this site entirely.

Odds and Ends

+If you disagree with the USCCB, and the Cincinnati Archdiocese, about pending legislation concerning illegal aliens, has a petition for you to sign in support of the House Sensenbrenner bill rather than the Senate Specter bill. Click here.

+Read about the Dan O’Connell Society in Minneapolis, and their method of exposing the misdeeds of priests who abuse minors, here.

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Flying Buttress Alert

Pilarczyk in bed with the enemy, once again!

+We’ve aroused ourselves briefly from our long summer’s nap to inform our readers of the following notice, which appeared on a Voice of the Faithful discussion board:

For information, two of our Greater Cincinnati Coordinating Committee will meet next Wednesday, July 19 [2006], with Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. We asked for this meeting in a Pentecost letter to the AB where we asked what we could do to help him with his parishes and pastors.

We are hopeful that this will lead to continuing dialogue with both the AB and his staff, and that he will agree with a pilot project with one or more parishes where we will attempt to assist the pastor, and staff, with projects of most importance to them.

We are testing a survey where we attempt to identify skills and experience that we can utilize in this project. If successful, we will re-energize our membership, and provide a useful service to out [sic] parishes.

Wish us well,

Dick Okenfuss”

+In response to this, we’d like to ask the Archbishop a few questions:

+Your Excellency, have you somehow missed the fact that VOTF is a Trojan horse whose real mission is to perpetrate another lay investiture in the Church? Or is lay investiture just another of your sub rosa “spirit of Vatican II” initiatives?

+Your Excellency, have you somehow missed the fact that VOTF, despite its fraudulent claim to be “faithful to the Church’s teaching,” takes the outrageous claims of the “DaVinci Code” seriously? And, while feigning fidelity, disagrees with the “the exclusion of homosexuals from the priesthood”? Or does their dissent on this teaching guarantee them a free pass in all Lavender Mafia dioceses?

+Your Excellency, what “assistance” could this dangerous group possibly render to your pastors and their parishes? Are you hiding even more sex offenders in your closet?

+Your Excellency, why would you invite this subversive organization into your Archdiocese, yet refuse an offer of assistance made by the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter?

Dear Reader, spiritual malfeasance and deconstruction continues unabated in our Archdiocese. Please pray for the restoration of orthodoxy in Cincinnati.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Safe Environment Bedtime Stories

In Recognition of the Steadfast Fidelity of Father Robert Altier, The Silenced "Voice in the Desert" Church of St. Agnes, Minneapolis, MN

Chapter One: Little Red Riding Hood

Once upon a time, there lived a little Catholic girl, the prettiest creature who ever was seen. Her mother, a Certified Safe Environment trainer, and her grandmother, a Victim Abuse Investigator, doted on her endlessly. These good women had a little red riding hood made for her, complete with a training video to illustrate its safe and proper use. It suited the girl so well that everyone called her Little Red Riding Hood.

One day, her mother, having received a shipment of training bulletins, said to Little Red Riding Hood, “Go, my dear, and see how your grandmother is doing, for I hear her plate is very full investigating incidents of abuse. Take her some of these bulletins, and this stack of background checks. And don’t forget your ID card!"

Little Red Riding Hood set out immediately into the wood for grandmother’s house, which was in the next village. As she was going through the wood, she met with a Virtuous Wolf, an upstanding member of the wolf community. This community, as it turns out, had recently been flourishing due to their reintroduction into the forest by safe environmentalists.

The Virtuous Wolf had a very great mind to eat her up, but he dared not, because of some Victim Abuse Investigators working nearby in the forest. Instead, he asked her politely where she was going. The poor child, who did not know that it was dangerous to stay and talk to a Virtuous Wolf, said to him, "I am going to see my grandmother to carry her these training bulletins and this stack of background checks from my mother."

The Virtuous Wolf, glancing through the training bulletins, hit upon a clever scheme. “Did you know that I am the Regional Risk Management Coordinator for safe environment programs?” he said. “As an employee of the National Prestige Retention Group, it’s my job to get to your grandmother’s house before you, to make sure it is safe. Where does she live?”

The innocent and unsuspecting girl pointed the way, and the Virtuous Wolf, having borrowed her ID card, ran on as fast as he could. Little Red Riding Hood waited five minutes as the wolf instructed, then continued on her way.

It was not long before the Virtuous Wolf arrived at the old woman's house. He knocked at the door: tap, tap.

"Who's there?"

"Your grandchild, Little Red Riding Hood," replied the Virtuous Wolf, counterfeiting the girl’s voice. "I’ve brought you some training bulletins and a stack of background checks sent you by mother."

The grandmother, who was swamped with paperwork at her desk, cried out, "Swipe your ID through the card reader, and the latch will go up."

The Virtuous Wolf swiped the borrowed ID card and the door opened, and he immediately fell upon the good woman and ate her up. Then he took her clothes, put them on, and put her cap on his head. He grabbed a safe environment training manual, got into her bed and pulled the curtains shut.

In a few minutes, Little Red Riding Hood knocked at the door: tap, tap.

“Who’s there?” called the Virtuous Wolf, softening his voice to sound like grandmother.

"It is your grandchild Little Red Riding Hood, who has brought you some training bulletins and a stack of background checks from mother.”

“The door is open, my dear - do come in.”

The Virtuous Wolf, seeing her come in, hid himself under the bedclothes and said to her, “Put those papers on my desk, and come sit on the bed beside me. I want to show you some important training pictures.”

The innocent girl did as she was told. However, as the Virtuous Wolf showed her pictures about the Bathing Suit Rule, she was greatly amazed to see how her grandmother looked in her nightclothes. "Grandmother, what a big mouth you have!" she exclaimed.

“The better to talk about touching, my dear!”

“Grandmother! What big eyes you have!”

“The better to give you a detailed description of your private parts, my dear!”

“Grandmother! What big hands you have!”

“The better to grab you with, my dear!” cackled the Virtuous Wolf, as he ripped grandmother’s cap off his head and exposed himself. But before he gobbled the girl up, the Virtuous Wolf, stricken perhaps with a momentary pang of conscience, asked if she had any last words.

The observant girl, looking him directly in the eye, replied, “You know, you look more like a COYOTE than a wolf to me!”

The Moral of the Story:

When it comes to most”Safe Environment” programs, every good Catholic should cry “Wolf!”

Odds and Ends

+For more information on the sordid origins of safe environment programs, click here and here.

+55 Catholic Democrats in Congress recently issued a statement about “Catholic Principles.” Priests for Life has drafted a response to this, which you may read and sign here.

+The Missionaries of the Precious Blood in Dayton, OH have a small problem. It seems that one of their retired members despises the Catholic Church.

+Our Lady’s Warriors has compiled extensive information on the Renew International programs (which include “Why Catholic?”).