Sunday, September 29, 2013

Louisiana Catholic Lawyer Loses His Faith Defending The Church

There is an impressive , yet painful , article in the Lafayette Advertiser today dealing with a Louisiana Catholic Lawyer that lost his faith after defending the Diocese of Lafayette Louisiana in their sex abuse case against a rather infamous priest. See Former Lafayette lawyer rises from the ashes of the Gilbert Gauthe case .

I think the article is well done though it is not clear if the reporter t asked various parties from the family of Federal Judge Legend Judge Politz , to the Diocese, to the Louisiana Department of Corrections to respond. Again there are many angles to this story.

The Catholic sexual abuse scandal never shook my Catholic Faith though it tore me apart in other ways. I had seen this before . When I converted to Catholicism the Diocese of Lafayette sex abuse scandal was all out in the open in vivid color in my State.  The Lafayette Diocese was the canary in the coal mine of what was to come . So my eyes were quite wide open .

After my conversion I became very involved in State wide Catholic campus ministry. That put me in contact with many ordinary Catholics lay and cleric  from the Lafayette area that had to deal with this. I suppose it is that experience and the fact that the Diocese has come back in my opinion as a very healthy Church that I knew the American Church would come back too.

Further there was the whole ethos of how we dealt and discussed  sexual abuse. I was one of those guys in college that for whatever reason my friends felt safe enough opening up too. Some of that involved sexual abuse by family members

One of those was a friend  from Baton Rouge whose mother I had met and who was very devout . She had sexually abused him for a long period . I was shocked. I never comprehended that a mother could do that to her son. But to see her you would never have a clue. In short I  came to realized that sexual abuse  was a complex and very very dark place. SO the Catholic Church became the whipping boy of society and those o of us perhaps on a very personal level that in the words of the prayers of the Catholic liturgy " that left " things done and things left undone,
. Our guilt became rage . Needless to say as to my College Friend in Baton Rouge he sent out cries for health that perhaps too many just chose to ignore.
Still there were countless victims. From the children and their parents to the lawyers on both sides perhaps that had to deal with this encounter with evil. Those scars remain.

In your prayers keep mind of Lawyer Ray Mouton. He was a part of the collateral damage.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

We Have Catholic Hermits in Diocese of Little Rock Arkansas - Two Hermits Profess Vows

I always say that Arkansas has a vibrant Catholic life that many people might not expect . I came across this interesting news . New diocesan hermits seek solitude, bound by vows Two retired Catholics profess their perpetual vows before Bishop Taylor Sept. 10 .

The article goes into the qualifications of a hermit and what they do. I find it interesting these people have been living a quiet hermit lifestyle for some time. Again this is an interesting Vocation choice for both young and old. It is also perhaps a Vocation choice for many retired single Catholics that many might not be aware . It does seem that those that think they might have a calling to religious life but can't fit into a community religious orders for a variety of reasons ( maybe some  health issues ) should explore this one.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

The Pastoral Style of Archbishop Chaput - Responds To You On Pope Francis Interview

Up in Philly Archbishop Chaput has an excellent take on the big Pope Francis Interview. See Pope Francis and ‘The Interview’ . Besides what I think is his right take on the Papal interview I was struck by exactly what Chaput himself was doing .

That was he reading a good many emails from just ordinary folks and I have doubt he was answering them.

This reminded me of some comments Chaput , who at that the time was Archbishop of Denver , made to a panel of journalists .

But see, we’re perceived as doing things we really don’t do. Sometimes that’s our own fault by our failures to communicate very well. But it’s hard to do that when you can communicate so quickly. Everybody does it. You know, all these blog sites now. It’s just amazing. How do you ever respond to all that? I personally – on the average – spend three hours a day answering mail. Most bishops probably wouldn’t do that because they just have a different pastoral style than I do. I do it for two reasons. One, I think that if I don’t answer it, it makes the church look worse because “they don’t care about me.” But secondly, I think it’s an opportunity to evangelize. But it’s hard to do. I mean, three hours a day

Three hours a DAY ! Which in Philly means he might be putting in much more time.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Retired Pope Benedict Speaks - Extensive Letter With Italian Atheist Published

We live in interesting times where we have both a Pope and a retired Pope still alive. Pope Benedict voice hit the papers today in the Italian daily La Repubblica. John Allen has the story here.

This letter was published with both retired Pope Benedict and Pope Francis 's permission.

Hopefully the major  meme will not be only  the comments on sex abuse but the other issues Benedict and Piergiorgio Odifreddi are in dialogue in.

When the English translation comes out I will post it.

Archbishop of New Orleans Orders Catholic Schools To Cancel Sunday Social and Athletic Events

In something we are starting to see more of in some areas of the country the Archbisop of New Orleans  gives the decree. The Advcote has Archbishop requiring Catholic schools to end activities on Sundays

Monday, September 23, 2013

Vatican Cajun Suprise - Pope Francis Names Bishop Shelton Fabre Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux

This morning long time Bishop of Houma-Thibodaux ( and also former Bishop of Diocese of Alexandria for many years ) Sam Jacobs stepped down and Pope Francis had a replacement ready ! That is Auxiliary Bishop of New Orleans Bishop Shelton Fabre of the Archdiocese of New Orleans. At the very least the drive will be short to  the Bishop's new digs .

Rocco Palmo has a good story up at For Houma-Thibodaux, A New Road – NOLA's Fabre Heads Next Door .

Bishop Jacobs had reached mandatory retirement age earlier this year but did not submit is resignation. I was hoping this meant that perhaps when he submit they would have a Bishop ready to go. Thankfully that appears to be the case here.

This will be a good place to look for local secular coverage of the appointment as well as pics from today's new conference.

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Being Pro NRA & Supporting University of Kansas Professor As To Anti NRA Tweet


Christians and those opposed to gay marriage are outraged that a supporter of traditional marriage at the University of Kansas was put on leave for a tweet opposing  the town's new domestic partner anti discrimination law. One aspect of the law is that it does not allow people such as bakers, photographers ,etc that have reservations about homosexual unions to be exempt from having to service gay marriage ceremonies. The City council voted this law in last week .

In response a University  of Kansas Professor tweeted :

"I have to say for those that go  and endorse such rites Lev. 20:13"

That verse of course reads as follows "If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. Their blood guiltiness is upon them."

Outragede  LGBT folks and their supporters  demanded the university take action  partly because not only they saw the tweet as offensive but it implied that violence should be visited upon those that are gay.

The university responded the professor had free speech rights  , but in their words " we expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments " Thus he was put on leave.


However I think many of us realize that :

(1) We could see that scenario very well happening
( 2) It is a violation various First Amendment values including religious liberty
( 3) Such action would hopefully  be illegal

Which brings me to what really happened at the University of Kansas and why everyone should take note.

My default position is pretty much that under our law when the Government tries to restrict gun rights they better have a pretty darn compelling reason !.

Still though I  am supporter of the Second Amendment I don't think that means we trash the First Amendment in the process. It should be recalled that  the EMOTION OUTRAGE of the moment  and not reasoning is the cause of some very bad gun control laws. Second Amendment supporters therefore that have to endure this on a regular basis should be sensitive when this happens elsewhere .

Which brings us to a certain Professor from the University of Kansas.

I get why gun owners and supporters of the NRA are outraged. It is very tempting to get our " pound of flesh " here. It feels good that he got put on leave !. However if we treat the Bill of Rights in a consistent manner we should be wary.

Over at the Pope Hat they say in part :

.... Timothy C. Caboni, vice chancellor for public affairs: “The contents of Professor Guth’s tweet were repugnant and in no way represent the views or opinions of the University of Kansas. Like all Americans, he has the right under the First Amendment to express his personal views and is protected in that regard. But it is truly disgraceful that these views were expressed in such a callous and uncaring way. We expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments.” 

 This one is fine until the last sentence. Public entities should feel free to announce that they despise and do not support the speech of their employees. But "we expect all members of the university community to engage in civil discourse and not make inflammatory and offensive comments" is vague, unprincipled, and dangerous. 

A university might conceivably strike a balance that prevents Professor Guth from shouting in the face of a colleague "I HOPE YOUR KIDS DIE BECAUSE YOU SUPPORT THE SECOND AMENDMENT," which for all I know he is planning to do next week. But they are trying to discipline him for a general statement about a political issue on social media. Universities are places for discussion of the most controversial and upsetting ideas facing us.

 Demanding "civil discourse" and forbidding "inflammatory and offensive comments" are policies that tend to mean whatever a university says they mean, and represent the government chilling debate over important issues. Organizations like the FIRE demonstrate how civility codes impede academic freedom

. It's easy to see how public universities could abuse "civility" policies to discipline speech based on disagreement with its politics if "civility" is taken uncritically as satisfying the need for discipline and harmony. In this instance "civility" is being used as justification to punish what might be described as a "liberal" view, but given the landscape of American academia, it is very unlikely that's how it will most often be used. So: KU's suspension of Guth and "review" should be brief; they are subjecting themselves to civil liability each day they suspend him. Let him encounter the judgment of the marketplace of ideas.1

 Edited to add: A commenter points out that the school says he is on administrative leave, and I describe him as being suspended. He may be getting paid, but he's being prevented from teaching.

I agree . Read it all

Thursday, September 19, 2013

People Answering Lord's Call in New Orleans - Looking at Their Current Catholic Male and Female Vocations

The Archdiocese of New Olreans had a rather nice post showing the pics and names of the people in formation for the Priesthood or religious life . The Archdiocese has ARCHDIOCESE HAS 29 AT NOTRE DAME, ST. JOSEPH SEMINARIES and further have 22 LOCAL MEN, WOMEN NOW IN RELIGIOUS FORMATION . See the article here .

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Saving The Apostle Paul From the Religious Right and Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew Archbishop of Constantinople

It seems over the heated issue of gay marriage among some Christians the need to save to the scriptures from the " religious right " is often mentioned. I see more and more some  American Christians are more explicit and wish to save the Apostle Paul from the " religious right " .

I always found this phrasing unusual. First even if you perhaps has a imperfect low Church Protestant view of Church there is still some viewpoint that you are are part of some one World Wide Christian body called the Church. So using  this American terminology seems limiting .

Further for about 1900 years there was a good bit of agreement at the very least that marriage was between a man and a woman . That included Catholic , Coptic ,  Orthodox , Protestant ,  Left , Right , Conservative, Moderate , Socialist ,. Republicans , Monarchists , and Red Communist Anglicans.

I was thinking about that today when I read a recent homily by His All Holiness Ecumenical Patriarch Bartholomew, Archbishop of Constantinople and New Rome on this subject that he did earlier this month.

The ancient Church of the East , the second of the Lung of the Church as John Paul II called it , is speaking though one of it more prominent voices on Earth currently. And gasp he is using the Apostle Paul.

It is a good reminder that we don't need to ignore a good many Christians and a Tradition that can trace it Bishops to the Apostles.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Cardinal Gibbons On The Incredible Document That Is The Constitution - Happy Constitution Day

I have been pondering what I should post for Constitution Day . Thankfully Rocco Palmo has a post on what the Great Cardinal Gibbons had to say about our Governing Document.

Early Ordained Catholic Deacon With Cancer Said Last Year of His Life Was Best - Rest In Peace Steven Santoleri

Nice story on Permanent Deacon Steven Santoleri of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia who died last week.

“I’ve known him through his family,” Bishop Thomas said. “His mother was in my parish at Our Lady of the Assumption, Strafford. He was a man of faith with tremendous energy, a Type A personality. He embodied diaconal ministry. He was not just ordained a deacon; a deacon is what he was. He drew tremendous strength from the fraternity of the men he was in formation with.” 

 Msgr. Gregory Parlante, who knew Deacon Santoleri both in his capacity as associate to the Vicar for Clergy for the archdiocesan Department of Permanent Deacons and as pastor of St. Cornelius, was unable to attend the funeral because of his own illness. But Bishop Thomas relayed a comment from Msgr. Parlante, who said, “permanent deacons are ordained into Christ the Servant; I believe Steve was ordained into Christ the Suffering Servant.” “

Steve was so grateful to the archbishop for letting him be ordained a year early,” said Deacon James T. Owens, director of the Office for Permanent Deacons. “He described the past year as the best year of his life; had he been ordained this year he would have been too ill to minister.”

Diocese of Dallas Catholic Building Boom Has Economic Impact Says Bishop

Interesting article from the Texas Catholic

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Embarrassment That Was Catholic Bishop Bruskewitz of Lincoln Nebraska

He must have been an embarrassment because it does seem despite his Diocese being one of the most successful in the country most Catholics have never heard these stats via secular or Catholic media. Thankfully his successor appears to be buidling on his leadership.

Pope Francis - The Anti Gossip Pope Strikes Again

One theme in the Pope's homilies that keep coming up over and over seems to be GOSSIP. It happened again today

I suspect since so much of the Vatican and indeed Italian press seems to operate off it at times I bet we will be hearing more.

Some Valid Criticism of Vatican and Papal Policy On Syria

William McGurn in the New York Post I think brings up some valid and fair points of discussion about Vatican and Papal policy toward Syria. See The Prez v. the Pope . These are questions I have been thinking about myself.

 We see this in papal tweets such as “War never again! Never again war” — which is curious, given that the Syrian people are already at war and have been for two years. We see it in statements such as “Never has the use of violence brought peace in its wake. War begets war, violence begets violence.” Not only is this false — wars from the American Revolution to the defeat of Japan and the invasion of Grenada have sometimes begat free societies, not more war — it makes no distinction between violence (what, say, Bashar al-Assad did when he gassed those children) and a just use of force (what we might do to stop further atrocities). 

A more realistic warning about war would be a reminder that even when successful it carries a high human price

.I think that last line is very right . At Mirrors of Justice recently there was a good excerpt from St Augustine where he reminds us that even Just wars and related actions carry a horrid price at times.

Later on he says :

  Most troubling, it’s hard not to notice that papal anti-war flurries seem to occur only when Uncle Sam enters the frame — as if Russia hasn’t been abetting war by its arms shipments to Syria, as if Iran hadn’t been sending troops as well as arms, and as if the Assad mafia hasn’t been butchering innocent Syrians for decades. In fairness to Pope Francis, on these questions he is continuing down a muddled path set by his two predecessors.

In this case I think that is the  issue no one wants to be too blunt about. That is  is the fact of Syrian Christians and fear that those could replace Assad could be far far far worse for Christians in the area. Thus certain immoral actions of the Assad regime ( use of weapons of mass destruction ) have to be weighed against other very bad alternatives.

Now this might be very legitimate.  The very well respected Mark L. Movsesian recently made a case that in the big scope of things its perfectly valid to recognize that our obligations and allegiances to other Christians in the world and in this case Syria should outweigh other concerns.

That very well might be true !

Anyway my position is muddled itself. I support the need to make sure Assad does not use chemical weapons again ( even strikes ) , but I have to admit I am not sure at this point I want him thrown out .On that point the rather 2 year constant Christian media campaign by Syrian Christians that tends to be Pro Assad has been effective .

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Gawker Brings Public Shaming Front and Center Again - Are There Downsides ? ( Pax Dickinson )

Gawker has got me thinking about the age of the internet and " public shaming " again .

I was pretty concerned when one of their properties Jezebel pretty much decided that one mistake was enough to perhaps tar High School kids for life for stupid and indeed offensive comments some made when the President was elected again. I think it was partly the scene of ADULTS taking such glee in it that made me sick to be honest.

I thought of that incident when the Zimmerman verdict was released. I observed that for a few days   a good many kids ( most minority this time the opposite of the above incident )  ) saying horrifiic stupid things that as to twitter will not so easily go away. I did not search it out  but would not be shocked if someone went through the tweets proceeded to find their real names , schools , etc and posted it somewhere. Again troubling but it is the age we live in.

We now enter the fray again via another Gawker property that being Valley Swag and this time it involves an adult.

Over at the Pope Hat there is a post that really gets to  my concerns on where we are going with this and perhaps what we are losing in the process. Like the poster I can see the problem but I have no idea of the solution.

 See Pax Dickinson: Thought Crime, Public Shaming and Thick Liberty in the Internet Age

 He makes a good point that public shaming seems to be hard wired into our DNA. As he mentioned this might be needed for small bands of hunter gatherers but once we get beyond lets say a certain number of people what is really the purpose.

LSU Gender Studies Student In Rage Over Thought of First Amendment Friendly College Campus ( Forbes )

When I went to LSU the area called Free Speech Alley was rather a bust. It was for the most part Preachers yelling at kids and some students yelling back. It kinda of got boring after you saw it a couple of times. Still I thought Free Speech Alley was a good idea and perhaps it would go back it glory days or some rather entertaining , provocative , and indeed important speech and assembly. .

Free Speech Alley was located in front of the LSU Student Union. This is an area where many students of course have occasion to visit during their day on campus.  However during all this time it never occurred to me that LSU was using Free Speech Alley as an area where for the most part a good bit of First Amendment could only happen on campus !

Now looking back this should perhaps have been obvious but it was not to me at the time. Now this works out great for LSU of course. If you have a problem with let us say how the athletic department is run it might make sense to have a protest at well I don't know the athletic department building. The use of Free Speech Alley by LSU powers that be of course helped contain such situations.

That all changed recently when the Alliance Defending Freedom group filed suit against LSU.

However some people are pretty unhappy at this idea of making the entire PUBLIC campus of LSU OK for basic First amendment freedoms. That includes Jana King who is a 19-year-old women’s and gender studies major from Ponchatoula, La. The whole fact of this makes her in her her own words to incoherently rage into her pillow.

Now Jana King did the above video which at first I thought had to be a Onion like spoof. Sadly reading her piece in the LSU student newspaper that appears not to be a the case .

 F.I.R.E President Greg Lukianoff used this video and student piece to show the major crisis crisis we have on campus as to the First amendment. See LSU's 'Free Speech' Zones Raise A Disturbing Question: Are We Losing The War?

As Lukinanoff points out this LSU's student's viewpoints are depressing common. Which is very bad because people like Jana King become people of influence later on . Including being politicos and GASP even Judges.

Now the fact that Jana King is a Gender Studies major is interesting. In my observation these folks in this and related like majors ( Queer studies etc ) seem to be on a rampage on banning speech on campus that in their view is intimidating , bullying ( a favorite ) , or even is just by saying it " VIOLENT " . At the very least they frame a good bit of speech and indeed just association as a tort of " mental distress" that is inflicted on helpless students and other victims . For instance look at the recent at TUFTS University over a Christian group on campus.

 That is dangerous because they often have people of influence and power behind them  that think that such arguments all valid to ban various first amendment freedoms. Still this problem goes across the political  spectrum . For instance LSU a few years back handled badly a situation where a student wanted to burn the American flag in how they let the outraged students stop it basically. Also no doubt there are folks on the right that also think they have a right " Not to be offended " on various other issues .

 Anyway meet Jana King. She is far too common and the virus she has infects way too many people across the demographic spectrum.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

2013 Brings Largest Class of Cathoic Seminarians Ever for Little Rock Diocese ( Arkansas )

That is 41 !!!!. See the story here.

I have  read the Arkansas Catholic for some time. Not only do they havedeveloped  culture of Vocatiosn these Catholics have a real sense of community and Catholic ID in some places where one would think it would not be easy. They don't complain they just do it !

Friday, September 6, 2013

Dear Missouri - We Can Protect the Second Amendment Without Injuring the First Amendment !

I really get the sentiment behind these laws because a few newspapers acted very badly .

 However as I said about the Louisiana law ( and this Missouri proposed law seems even worse ) this is not the way to express one's outrage. See Missouri Considering Ban on Publishing Names of Gun Owners or Concealed Carry Permit Holders and the analysis of that Eugene Volokh does of this misguided piece of legislation .

Legatus Looks At Why Fellowship of Catholic University Students Is Such An Success Story

Nice article on FOCUS that as the article points out has had a growth rate of 20-25% annually since 1998.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

50% of practicing Catholics, read the Bible at least weekly ???

Practicing Catholics is defined as someone that attends Mass at least once a month in this American Bible Society  survey.

 I have a feeling a lot were including the fact they might read the Mass Readings at Mass . HEY THATS THE BIBLE. There is also a high number of Catholic that read the King James Bible on a regualr basis.

Abita Deacon has some more results here .

In Vietnam 's Communist Party Stronghold 410 Men Sign Up For 40 Catholic Seminary Spots

WOW what a witness ! See Vinh: record applications to enter major seminary .( This Diocese has 500,000 Catholics )   They also not the number of female vocations in the article too.

They do note at the end :

  Although the high number of candidates to the priesthood is a sign of the vitality of the Vietnamese Church, Catholic leaders still want to examine closely the reasons that motivate young people to want to dedicate their life to Christ and others. Sometimes, the desire to wear the cassock is based more on "worldly ambitions" than a genuine spirit of service. This is why their motivations must be evaluated, and then adjusted, refined and purified along an educational path shaped by teachers, family, priests and other seminarians.

This is no doubt true to a certain extent. However one is struck looking a t the Vietnamese community in the USA how they have contributed a great number of vocations. Most of the ones I have me have been very holy and had an attitude of service ). The Vietnamese really do contribute so much to Holy Mother Church.

Former Roman Catholic Parish St Stanislaus In St Louis May Join Episcopal Diocese of Missouri

It has been a while since the former Roman Catholic Church St. Stanislaus Kostka in St Louis has been in the news. The Parish garnered a good bit of secular , religious , and legal headlines over the various property and Canon Law issues that were at stake in . Midwest Conservative Journal highlights a very good news article by Tim Townsend of the St Louis Dispatch on the latest development. See St. Stanislaus in discussions to join Episcopal Diocese of Missouri .

It appears that this former Roman Catholic Parish thinks being without a Bishop is slightly a problem and the Episcopal Church appears to be one of the leading contenders . The article does a good job also at looking at the other options this former Catholic Parish might have . I thought from a secular newspaper viewpoint he did a pretty good job condensing a lot of useful information in a short space.