Thursday, December 30, 2004

Former Redemptorist Church in Liege

According to the town council, it has been allowed to decay inside into a deplorable condition.

My house shall be called a house of prayer

but since 1872 the Eglise Saint-Pierre in Grenoble has been turned into a museum for pagan sculpture

And what says the Franciscan conscience?

Make sure that you always get a full account and inventory of all the precious objects in a closing church. This is how one chalice was treated in France; it became a lamp stand. It goes without saying that justice demands that donated objects be returned to the original donors. But justice and the Diocesan authorities seemed to be estranged from eachother in many cases.

Truly, this was a dwelling place of God upon earth. Benediction at St-Martin des-Champs 1692.

Another view of St Martin-des-Champs; the exhibitions may have changed from these old photos but it remains an industrial museum.

My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have turned St-Martin-des-Champs, France into an industrial museum.

St Pierre, Senlis in the days as a covered market. The first use after the Revolution was for a coffee blending factory, then as a barracks before becoming an open air market.


My house shall be called a house of prayer but you have made it into an art centre. The Church of St Pierre, Senlis, France- stolen from the Church at the time of the French Revolution, served for many years as a covered market and is now an arts centre.

Yesterday was the Feast of St Thomas of Canterbury, Martyr. The location of his shrine in Canterbury Cathedral which was desecrated by King Henry VIII is known by Catholics as the big hole, so vacant and desolate does it now seem where once pilgrims thronged. Not many of the tourists in the Cathedral know of the martyrdom or its implications. And the Church of England guides won't be about to explain it.

St Florence Church

Dangerous to presume on the goodwill of the Archdiocese of Boston - given their track record to date.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Final Mass at Sacred Heart, San Franciso

Historic church closes due to alleged retrofit cost, low attendance "It's a very large, valuable corner lot, a prime spot for development." See also sad photos of the final Mass.

The motto on Archbishop O'Malley's Coat of Arms

QUODCUMQUE DIXERIT FACITE which is taken from Saint John's Gospel, Chapter 2, verse 5 and comes from the Blessed Virgin's statement at the wedding feast at Cana, "Do whatever He tells you". Since when does this include throwing a child out of Church at Christmas and calling the police.

Archdiocese drops charges dropped in church trespass

If you call the police, don't act surprised when someone gets arrested. No-one will believe you. Where would the Church be today if the first Christians had behaved like this?

"Carter said: ''I'm not worried. These decisions are made on a parish-by-parish basis. I think the right judgment was made in this case.""

Not worried; you should be. How do these people sleep at night?

Three wise men

..appear early this year

Archdiocese of Boston

Gets police to evict a 14 year old child from Catholic Church at Christmas.

St Casimir, Diocese of Toledo

Locals fight for tradition

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Archdiocese of Boston

More Christmas charity from the Archdiocese

Feast of the Holy Innocents

Please pray for all abused children and the victims of abortion. Child euthanasia has been made legal in the Netherlands this year.

Carmelites protect the Holy Family during the Flight into Egypt. The Carmelites were traditionally founded by the Prophet Elijah in Old Testament times.

Sacred Heart, Archdiocese of Boston

How easy lies the Franciscan conscience of the Archbishop of Boston, when you let the Faithful be arrested on the day that Our Lord is born ? And when you close the Church on the Feast of St Stephen, First Martyr of the Church. How far are we removed from the Franciscans who were the first to introduce the Christmas Crib.

It is a pity that St Francis is not still alive to have a conversation with the Archbishop.

And Kathleen Heck casts her long shadow over the Feast of Christmas; doing what now comes naturally, not returning calls. "Kathleen Heck, an attorney helping the archdiocese coordinate its closures, was at the church Sunday, but did not speak with reporters. She did not immediately return a call seeking comment."

God Bless Us, Every One! Tiny Tim, (see Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)

Moral bankruptcy is even worse than financial bankruptcy and that is bad enough.

Most Inspiring Person of the Year 2003

Archbishop O'Malley! What prizes is he going to win in 2005.

Saturday, December 25, 2004

The Martyrology for Christmas Day.


In the year five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine from the creation of the world, when God in the beginning created heaven and earth;
In the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven from the flood;
In the year two thousand and fifteen from the birthday of Abraham;
In the year one thousand five hundred and ten from Moses and the going forth of the people of Israel from Egypt;
In the year one thousand and thirty-two from the anointing of David as king;
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel;
In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad;
In the year seven hundred and fifty-two from the founding of the city of Rome;
In the forty-second year of the rule of Octavian Augustus;
In the sixth age of the world, when the whole world was at peace: [here the voice is raised:]
Jesus Christ, eternal God and Son of the eternal Father, being pleased to hallow the world by His most gracious coming, having been conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months having passed since His conception, having become Man, was born at Bethlehem in Juda of the Virgin Mary.

[All prostrate themselves.]
The Nativity of Our Lord Jesus Christ according to the flesh. A tolum duplex feast of the first class.
On the same day, the birthday of St. Anastasia. In the reign of Diocletian, she suffered harsh and cruel imprisonment at the hands of her husband Publius, during which she was greatly consoled and comforted by Chrysogonus, a confessor of Christ. Next, she was subjected to a long imprisonment by Florius, prefect of Illyria. At last, on the island of Palmaria, she was fastened to posts with her hands and feet stretched apart, and a fire was enkindled about her. Thus she completed her martyrdom. There had been deported to this island with her two hundred men and seventy women, who gained their martyrdom by being killed in various ways. A memory.
At Barcelona in Spain, the birthday of St. Peter Nolasco, confessor, and founder of the Order of our Lady of Ransom for the Redemption of Captives. He was noted for his virtues and miracles. His feast is celebrated on January 28.
At Rome, in the cemetery of Apronianus, St. Eugenia, virgin. She was the daughter of St. Philip the martyr. In the time of the Emperor Galhenus, she showed many signs and virtues and added holy choirs of virgins to Christ. She suffered for a long time under Nicetus, prefect of the city, and at last her throat was cut with a sword.
At Nicomedia, the sufferings of several thousand holy martyrs who on Christmas day were assembled at Mass. The Emperor Diocletian ordered the doors of the church to be shut and a fire to be prepared around the building. A tripod with incense was set before the door. Then a herald proclaimed that they who desired to escape the fire should come out and offer incense to Jupiter. When the Christians unanimously declared they would gladly die for the sake of Christ, the church was set on fire and they were burned alive. Thus, they were held worthy to be born in Heaven on the very day on which Christ was pleased to be born on earth for the salvation of the world.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Archdiocese of Boston

Last year- "Administrative costs rose to $24.2 million from $13.2 million."

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

One Church saved in Boston

Another eighty one to save. Blessed Blessed Kateri Tekawitha pray for us!

Parishes to merge in St Louis

Instead of doing something new, do something Catholic! And its hard to practice Catholicism when they are closing churches.

"People are going to have to let go of 'At St. Regis we did this, at St. Patrick we did it that way.'" Cheri said. "Well, we aren't any of those things. We're St. Elsewhere now. We have an excellent opportunity to do something new, to say, 'This is what we have to do now."

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

St Theresa's Church, Diocese of Manchester, US

Looks likely to become Melkite parish of Our Lady of the Cedars. The Melkite Church is in communion with Rome. The apparent ease of this transfer contrasts strongly with the way that Latin Mass communities are treated by many Dioceses.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Happy Feast Day December 8th


"I am the Immaculate Conception" - Our Lady to St Bernadette.

Tomorrow is the 150th Anniversary of the proclamation of the dogma of the Immaculate Conception by Pope Pius IX

"in the first instance of her conception, by a singular privilege and grace granted by God, in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the human race, was preserved exempt from all stain of original sin."

AVE maris stella, Dei Mater alma, atque semper Virgo, felix caeli porta.
HAIL, O Star of the ocean, God's own Mother blest, ever sinless Virgin, gate of heav'nly rest.

Sumens illud Ave Gabrielis ore, funda nos in pace, mutans Hevae nomen.
Taking that sweet Ave, which from Gabriel came, peace confirm within us, changing Eve's name.

Solve vincula reis, profer lumen caecis, mala nostra pelle, bona cuncta posce.
Break the sinners' fetters, make our blindness day, Chase all evils from us, for all blessings pray.

Monstra te esse matrem: sumat per te preces, qui pro nobis natus, tulit esse tuus.
Show thyself a Mother,may the Word divine born for us, thine Infant hear our prayers through thine.

Virgo singularis, inter omnes mites, nos culpis solutos, mites fac et castos.
Virgin all excelling, mildest of the mild, free from guilt preserve us, meek and undefiled.

Vitam praesta puram, iter para tutum: ut videntes Iesum, semper collaetemur.
Keep our life all spotless, make our way secure, till we find in Jesus, joy for evermore.

Sit laus Deo Patri, summo Christo decus, Spiritui Sancto, tribus honor unus. Amen.
Praise to God the Father, honor to the Son, in the Holy Spirit, be the glory one. Amen.
Treasury of Latin Hymns

Sts Peter and Paul, Portlaoise, Ireland

This comment has be repeated over and over again

"The interior of St. Peter and Pauls church, in the early stages of demolition, showing the altar and the organ loft where I blasted out the Latin Mass with the school choir. The church quickly dissappeared without any thought for the people of the town whose money built it. "

Historic church closes

Update on St Nicholas, Pittsburgh. How do you close a beautiful Church like this? (see photo)

Strange mercy!

Mary Immaculate of Lourdes, Boston The Archdiocese can't even communicate with its public relations company.

Mary Immaculate, pray for us!

Flashback 1994

The sad end to a Passionist monastery. A novena book to St Gabriel produced by the monastery states that "All the indulgences gained by a pilgrimage to the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem and the other Sacred Places in the Holy Land may be gained by a visit to St Michael's Monastery Church". The Perpetual Novena itself became say popular that ten Masses were necessary each Monday to a total congregation of 25,000 people. Oh, where has it all gone wrong?

PS This is St Gabriel on Our Lady.

Love Mary! She is loveable, faithful, constant. She will never let herself be outdone in love, but will ever remain supreme. If you are in danger, she will hasten to free you. If you are troubled, she will console you. If you are sick, she will bring you relief. If you are in need, she will help you. She does not look to see what kind of person you have been. She simply comes to a heart that wants to love her. She comes quickly and opens her merciful heart to you, embraces you and consoles and serves you. She will even be at hand to accompany you on the trip to eternity.

St. Michael's Monastery: The Early Days

More on the Passionist monastery. St Michael's Monastery was called "The mother of missionaries". "From her precincts a series of dedicated, self-sacrificing men went forth to carry the Good News to the four corners of the world."

Now, dialogue has replaced mission and Our Holy Mother the Church suffers.

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Please pray for the repose of the soul of Cardinal Joos


Cardinal Joos, a lion in the wintertime of the Church, died after celebrating the second Mass of All Souls on November 2. The papers mockingly called him a Village Cardinal; but we need such Cardinals today. Since the day of his ordination he said Mass every day; we need priests who say Mass every day. What a great number of Churches could be saved if instead of joining pastoral planning committees (dedicated to closing Churches), the priests said Mass every day. The Pope made him a Cardinal because he was such a shining example of a Parish Priest.
Here is a translation of the interview that he gave in the Belgian P-Magazine.
How much weighs the Cross of the Church?

Cardinal Joos: »We live in the desert.«

Bart Lauvrijs: »The whole lot went wrong already since 313.«

Since long ago the Church is no more about God or giving meaning. It is about Danneels’s chances on papacy. The man fits in the row between the Henin’s, the Clijsters’s and Everts’s. National celebrities on an international level. One more time we tried to speak about faith the good old fashioned way with Cardinal Joos and Bart Lauvrijs. The first, an 80-year old former university friend of the Pope, the latter a 40-year old university teacher at the Antwerp faculty of comparative religious studies.

Preparing for this interview, I recently went to Mass. It all looked still like I remembered. The priest however was a whole lot younger than the elderly man we used to get at the altar, but that relative youthfulness was amply compensated by the age of the parishioners. The Church of Flanders has become a refuge for senior citizens. The celebration of Mass is a routine bungle of a weekly duty. Cardinal Joos – also parish priest of Landskouter – remembers the time when there were whole families and villages attending Mass. Bart Lauvrijs is half his age and a child of a generation of people who consider believing naive. Time for the question overshadowing all other questions.

Why have the Flemish and the Europeans turned their back on our Holy Mother the Church at topspeed?
JOOS: You may wish to clip my answer to something I did not say – that is what the press usually do if it is not right up their street – but I will give you my answer anyway. First I want to make clear that we in Europe are not in a religious crisis. It is a philosophical crisis. We live in a time in which everyone wants to decide for himself what is good and evil. Even the most simple soul wants to set up his own pattern of values. They all are God in the depth of their minds. But people can’t do it. I can do it because I do it from my faith. From my faith I accept things. People do not accept anything anymore. They know everything better than God. I meet people telling me: You and your Church don’t understand me. Only God understands me. The only answer I have got is: I hope you are right. I am however sure that people cannot do it alone. The guidance of the Church is sorely needed.

At the same time the Church as an institute of power also makes mistakes though.
JOOS: I get angry when people look at the Church as a power. The Church is the human exteriorization of the mystical body of Christ. That means that there come directions from the Church about how to live, but that has nothing to do with power. People suspect directions coming from elsewhere. Whether it concerns the Church or the civil authorities. The people’s first concern is: how can I avoid following that directive? How can I escape this? There is no need escaping the Church. The Church lets her people go if that is what they want. And the people went away. Now we are in the desert. But from that desert again flowers will bloom.

LAUVRIJS: The lack of faith indeed is no catholic-religious problem. Talking with my muslim students from ten years ago I find the same crisis of faith. It is a general philosophical crisis. It is all material. It is all scientific. It is all consumption. The Church does not fit in that story. They don’t immediately see the use of it and so it is thrown overboard.

JOOS: For the salvation of your soul though it is very useful.

LAUVRIJS: The experience of sin for instance disappeared entirely. We cannot experience sin anymore because we made ourselves God. In a climate like this no faith can thrive.

JOOS: And the remaining tiny bit of spirituality is removed from the people by the media and filled up with folly. Since I am a cardinal everybody wants to talk with me. I only went to De Zevende Dag (television talkshow on Sunday) once. I saw that Bracke character in action there (Siegried Bracke, panel chairman). That man hears nobody out. I wonder why they invite people over there? If he would have tried that with me, I would have taught him a lesson! I don’t watch television, but what I have seen is depressing.

LAUVRIJS: The pope runs counter to that consumption- and advert-mass society mentality. He consequently keeps challenging the materialistic society. Our society thinks it just impossible that someone his age still assumes control. John Paul II stays incumbent. However ill he may be. I think that admirable. He teaches us that old people need not to be put off.
Beware! In his mind he is still fit as a fiddle.


Remains the question whether or not it would be a good thing that blind faith in a Church and her leaders is disappearing.
LAUVRIJS: The Bible does not breathe a word about a Church. It is about a flock and shepherds. Contrary to that Jesus never offered resistance against rules. One could say He was an example of a serving authority. So there were rules. The Church strives for that same serving authority. I am not saying that she always succeeds in that today. No one still denies that some things went wrong.

Although there is a difference between adopting a critical attitude towards a certain authority and what we are doing. The latter has nothing to do anymore with being critical. It is ridiculing the Catholics. What we do is befouling our own nest. We live in a society that justly tries to respect jews and muslims, but we mercilessly tread down Catholicism, our own roots.

You could see it as a form of self-mockery and emancipation of a totalitarian institution. We have renounced dictatorship, and therefor also the dictatorial way of thinking of institutions like the Vatican.
JOOS: Nonsense. The secular authorities and the press are against the Church. She is the victim of a smear campaign. Every word the Pope says is conveyed in a false way, aiming to harm the Church. A recent example is the fuss about the ban on altar girls. This text was prepared by the lower echelons of the Vatican. Long before those thesis reached the pope, that text was launched. In other words: the Pope did not even know that text existed. And what about the screaming headlines? They read: Pope wants no girls on altar! That is a damaging action. Concerning the Church reports don’t have to be correct anymore. It is even so bad, that young priests shy away from wearing the symbols of their faith. They want to look like ordinary citizens, they absolutely don’t want to be conspicuous. Maybe they don’t dare to show themselves. It does not bother me. You will not often see me without my Roman collar. I am proud to be a priest and there is nothing smear campaigns can do about it.

LAUVRIJS: I can hardly accept what you say about the emancipation of dictatorial thinking. Maybe it is true for a very small group of people who experience their faith in a different way. It is impossible that it squares with the majority of people. They like it a lot to be told how to live by commercials. That indoctrination is far stronger than what the Church does. It is brainwashing with means Rome never had at its disposal. The thesis that we have casted off the ecclesiastical yoke because we have so much freedom is just false.

Maybe we have chosen a new yoke ourselves.
LAUVRIJS: You stretch it a bit. If people don’t go to Church anymore, then it is because the values handled there are no longer in. The Church is dealing with things which became almost taboo. Being human for instance. We completely lost sight of our final goal. We are occupied by the means that enable us to be human. To formulate it easier: we are busy with food, no longer with life, but with food. Being busy with the means is easy and therefor attractive. The Church is occupied with our final goal. She is looking for the meaning of it all. That is difficult and that is why the Church is rejected. That is why we ridicule ecclesiastical institutions. They make life difficult and we are afraid of that. We push it aside to avoid confrontation.

JOOS: Now you make it very difficult for the reporter, Mister Lauvrijs. I’ll tell it in another way. What is life all about? There is an old Flemish folksong that goes like (sings): “And when we are dead the grass grows on our belly” (En als we dood zijn groeit er gras op onze buik). Which means that when we are dead it is all over. It also says: have as much fun as you can during your life. Don’t look so much to others, think about yourself. From my religion I know this is wrong. Almost all religions teach us death is not the end. Only after death we can reach the highest state of happiness. That is what it is about in the Church. She wants to guide people from this life to the next. It happens that I bury people who died in their sleep. I hear common people usually say: “He has been lucky, father; he never felt he was dying”. I don’t call that luck. I hope to be very conscious at the moment of my death. I will take the crucifix in my hands and pray. I trust I don’t simply disappear, just like that. I have that faith thanks to God and the Curch.

Do you find it hard to take that so many people go astray? Would you consider that a personal failure?
JOOS: Men are free to choose. I cannot force anyone. It is a pity less and less people believe. More than anything else I feel compassion with them. People living outside the truth and outside reality deserve my compassion. It is all I can give them.

Are they lost for eternity?
JOOS: I don’t know. That is God’s decision. Who am I to answer that?


Can’t the Curch, provided some adjustments in her policy, help and guide more people?
JOOS: Must the Church adjust? Why? Have we found another Gospel all of the sudden?

LAUVRIJS: In this time the final goal of the Church will never be accepted by the masses. Whatever the Church does, she will remain in an impasse. The message of the Church is black and white. Society wants to see all colours, except black and white. We live in a time of devaluation of values. You cannot ask the Church to follow the people to keep them in. Then she belies her own nature. The Church must stick to the message of the Gospel.

But also in the past the Church has adjusted herself to social evoluations. Maybe now Masses are celebrated in Dutch and not in Latin anymore because she doesn’t want to lose the faithful. Is it possible today to reject female priests or to abolish celibacy for the same reason?
JOOS: All those changes may not be necessary. I see traces of repair. Slowly but surely. Lay movements. That is a branch within the Church, blossoming and flourishing. Its members are no priests, but people who want to do something for their fellow men. Even if some people want it to make it appear this way, the Church is not dead.

LAUVRIJS: The Church is universal. You cannot prescribe remedies for western Europe being valid for the whole world. In Africa and Asia many people still are willing to make do with celibacy. There the Church is still in full expansion. We must see things in a broader perspective than what happens around our own church tower.

In other words: there is a net profit of souls and it is very good this way?
JOOS: That is a very wrong way of looking at it. The Church adjusts. Only she does it well thought-out and not from one day to the next.

LAUVRIJS: I don’t want to make the impression that I am against changes. The first task of the Church is to stand next to the people. That is why the crisis can also be therapeutic. Never before the Church has had such a fundamental problem as she has today. But let her calmly sink a bit farther down. The answers will come from the misery. And if it turns out that female priests are necessary to conduct the Mass in a shirt of F.C. Anderlecht, then that’s just the way it is. Rites can be easily adjusted. Whether a Mass is said in Latin or in Dutch does not alter the message a bit.
Moreover there is a difference in quantity and quality. In France they guard the message more than here. Before French parents can have their child baptized they have to take catechism lessons. So there are small, strong communities of faith. Here they baptize ceaselessly. Masse’s of faithful who actually don’t know what it is all about. The average Belgian catholic does not know his faith. And how can you love something you don’t know? Not knowing the rules you cannot enjoy a soccer game. Thinking consequently it went wrong already since 313. That year the emperor Constantine made catholicism a state religion. All of the sudden it was an obligation for political reasons. From the moment on that catholicism was no longer a free choice the whole thing became diluted. Now we reached a turning point.


Cardinal, do you refuse baptisms?
JOOS: No. The guidelines are different. I don’t always like it just as much, but I never refuse. I take the necessary time to convince people and I even say to them that it is not an obligation to have their child baptized. In Brussels only 50% of the children is baptized. Here, in the countryside, children are traditionally baptized. For one or another reason they don’t dare to do it otherwise. They simply let me talk. They think me a sympathetic old man doing his job. But what I tell them slides off over their backs just like that. They don’t know what it is all about, and they don’t want to know. Ideally young parents themselves should first live as christians for two years before having their child baptized.

LAUVRIJS: Where should they learn it? Religious instruction at school became experiental catechese. They capitalize on the experiences of the young, but juveniles have no religious experiences. This policy has failed. My secondary school pupils once wanted to discuss the Church with me. I think that always a good idea. So I invited them to write everything they associate with “Church” on the blackboard. After fifteen minutes they only wrote down one word: “rich”. That – incorrect – fact is no basis for a discussion. How can I speak about the Church with juveniles who don’t even know the basics? This ignorance can easily be translated to the civil authorities, too. Some years ago Opus Dei was put on the list of sects. If you would know that movement you won’t do that. This is a branch within the Church, existing out of intellectuals who speak out. I don’t want to defend Opus Dei, but I think calling it a sect is taking it too far.

JOOS: The authorities deliberately attack those people. It is part of the fight against the Church. Just like they would much rather see army chaplains disappear and do away with crucifixes. From their lodges they crucify the Church. And with this government the masonic lodges came to power. (Ed note: one of the principal universities in Brussels announces its connection with freemasonry on its website).

LAUVRIJS: That is also my conlusion, seeing the anti-religious policy of this government. It is the will of 4 to 5% of the population, forced upon society. You cannot even call it democratic, because – even if they don’t understand it – the great majority of the people still calls itself catholic. How many people call themselves humanist? That number is negligible.

JOOS: Politics, democracy, don’t make me laugh! Allez! Universal right to vote. What is the meaning of this?

Sorry, I lost you just now.
JOOS: It is all just magnificent, but it is a joke. On what basis do people vote? Not on the basis of contents. It is on the media value! In politics not the wisest, but the nicest guy is the boss. It makes no difference whether that man is a fool or sensible. As a consequence there are many featherbrains in politics. That, too, is a consequence of secularization. We are stuck with an electorate that has no values anymore. They are an amorphous mass, easy to manipulate by politicians. Do you think I pitch it a bit too strong? Well, in that case you might like to learn that those are not my words, but Professor Mark Elchardus’s words, a convinced humanist from Gent university. I respect the man. He considers secularization not a victory, rather a social pauperization. A proper conclusion.

As a matter of fact I think it odd that a brat of eightteen has just as much to say as a father of seven children. The first has no responsability whatsoever, whereas the second is delivering the citizens of tomorrow. I think that odd. But, all right, that is politics and that is another discussion.

The Church continues fading away, the young don’t know the basics of faith and yet you both speak of flowers in the desert and of hope for a change for the better. Is that, too, a matter of believing?
LAUVRIJS: People are peculiar beings. Once youth is persuaded of the emptiness of the society they live in, they may start looking for the Church again. A continuous state of numbness is not pleasant. That is not where people are looking for.

JOOS: In Russia this is happening in abundance. After the emptiness of communism the hunger for spirituality is enormous. There they tried to exterminate the Church. A whole generation came forth not knowing the Church and still the Church is reliving an new youth there. The plain commerce of the West will collapse, too. It is from that desert that flowers will bloom.

LAUVRIJS: I agree with that. Once the emptiness of our society persuades, people get into a crisis. Then it is left to the Church to receive them.

It sounds a bit like the Church runs off with souls at the very moment mankind is weak. Mental and emotional weak people are ideal victims for sects.
LAUVRIJS: The Church will give the young their souls back. Opposite to what many people think the Church is no unworldly organization. I even would go further. Religious sisters - people whom we don’t understand – know society around them better than the people living in it. They stand by it and observe. In the meantime they stick to the values we have forgotten during the rat race. People wanting to discover them once more only have to ask for them. That is something entirely different from making converts.

Let us look once more through the eyes of a stray youngster. What is the image the Church offers him? It is the image of an institution ceaselessly canonizing people on the basis of dubious miracles. How can any rational human being take that seriously?
LAUVRIJS: Why do you emphasize that miracle? You should look at the person behind the miracle. What has he or she done or written? How did the saints live? This is so typical for the press. Overestimating the miracle without looking at the person.

The press is not the party asking for a miracle. The Church needs that to raise one person above the other.
JOOS: My dear friend. What is wrong with having examples? When I was young we read in our colleges about christian hero’s. We respected great authors like Guido Gezelle. Those people had something to say. What do they read now? Jef Geeraerts, Hugo Claus and other skunks. Excuse me for that word. I mean: those are writings not worth for people to waste their time on, but the press praise them to the skies.

LAUVRIJS: I don’t entirely agree with that. With all due respect, Cardinal: there is a generation gap in the Church. Nobody is to blame for that. It just is there.

JOOS: I cannot deny that.

LAUVRIJS: Some more recent phenomenons are being shot off by the older leaders of the Church, because they come across like a threat, which they are not. To overcome the generation gap is one of the most important challenges to the Church. The average age of Flemish priests is 67. So the gap is not easy to bridge. Also in that sphere time has to bring on a way out.


You won’t span a bridge by lying to young people about the use of condoms. Cardinal, how do you judge the situation when a fellow-cardinal tells people in third world countries a condom is of no use to prevent Aids?
You aim at that television documentary, which I did not see – I don’t watch television – but the people from my village told me about it. As a matter of fact it doesn’t interest me, but I will answer you. Scientific publications say condoms don’t offer 100% protection against aids. I take that as true. That Cardinal probably wanted to emphasize that. Opposite I know a method offering 100% protection against that virus. It is called being chaste. Do you have to lead a chaste life in order not to get aids? No, you have to lead a chaste life to be happy. And for good measure you won’t get aids. And if you can’t help it, if you have to cheat on your wife or want sex before marriage, use your brains!

Use a condom.
JOOS: If a man thinks he is going to explode if he cannot have sex, he should rather go to a prostitute than seduce or rape a girl. If he goes to a prostitute he at least doesn’t involve innocent people in his doing.

LAUVRIJS: The Church celebrates life. Science celebrates sterility. In time there will be no more need to speak about sex. It all will happen in test tubes. I understand the usefulness of condoms and other contraceptives. The explosive growth of the world population and aids are very real problems. The Church finds it hard to cope with the condom because it detaches sex and love from each other or at least it offers the possibility of having sex without any responsability. Sex becomes purely a stimulant, whereas the Church believes that this belongs within the boundaries of a deep relationship. That is not an easy discussion. Although everyone is free to put aside the guidelines of the Church, that message is not without danger. The message of science however is neither without danger. Science diminishes sex to something technical and loveless. I also think that a detestable position.

A condom gives people time to repent and makes sure that mistakes don’t get fatal in the end.
JOOS: Repent? Absolutely not. A condom makes sure that one – unjustly – feels safe and will be ready to do more beasty things. Why are we confronted with aids? In bygone days aids did not even exist. Aids exists because we handle sex so loosely.

This kind of message is unsaleable to homosexual faithful, struggling with who they are, being shown the door by the Church.
LAUVRIJS: The Church is against homosexuality, but she is mild. Other religions are much harder.

Then it is all right.
JOOS: I am willing to sign with my blood here, that of all people who call themselves lesbian or gay, to the most five to ten percent really are gay and lesbian. All the rest just are sexually perverted people. Don’t hesitate to write that down. I demand you to write that down. And if they all come to my door to protest, I don’t care. I will not open the door. That is my conviction and I have books about that. Ne deviens pas gay, tu finiras triste (don't become gay, you end sad). That is the golden advice from a so-called homosexual who repented. Real homosexuals don’t walk about in the streets in colourful ensembles. They are people with a severe problem. And they have to learn to live with that. And if they make a mistake they will be forgiven. We should help those people, not condemn them.

Being gay and catholic is obviously impossible.
JOOS: That is not impossible, but they have to observe the decencies. As a priest I have to do that too, haven’t I? Sex must be experienced within an indissoluble marriage between a man and a woman. And nothing else. Period. Full stop. Amen and out. That is not so hard to understand, is it?

LAUVRIJS: The Church pleas for purely natural man - woman relationships. She renounces homosexuality, not the gay person.

Why does an institution which declared itself a-sexual want so badly to impose a sexual moral?
JOOS: The Church imposes nothing. She is obedient to the words of Christ and passes those words on to the people.

LAUVRIJS: The Church is neither a-sexual. For her servants she chooses an a-sexual way of living to optimize their availability for the faithful. A very honourable standpoint.

JOOS: It differs from diocese to diocese. Many catholic priests are married and have a family. You will not find them in Europe, but in countries like Egypt. So who is called to the priesthood and yet wants to marry, should try his luck there. I have no problem with married priests. I have a problem with blaming the lack of vocations to celibacy. You don’t solve anything by abolishing celibacy. Protestants have just as many problems and they have no celibacy. It is not all that easy, my young friend. We must trust in God, in the wisdom of the Church and the Gospel.

Now ye all, go in peace
JOOS: I now really have said everything. I am going to work a little.

LAUVRIJS: In the end we could talk about this for ages.

From: P-magazine
The Teaching of the Catholic Church on homosexuality; from the Catechism. 
2357 Homosexuality refers to relations between men or between women who experience an exclusive or predominant sexual attraction toward persons of the same sex... Its psychological genesis remains largely unexplained...tradition has always declared that 'homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered.' They are contrary to the natural law. They close the sexual act to the gift of life. They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.
2358 The number of men & women who have deep-seated homosexual tendencies is not negligible. They do not choose their homosexual condition; for most of them it is a trial. They must be accepted with respect, compassion and sensitivity. Every sign of unjust discrimination in their regard should be avoided. These persons are called to fulfil God's will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord's Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition.
2359 Homosexual persons are called to chastity. By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection.

Diocese of Spokane

Third Diocese goes under.

The Great European Church Sale

Supermarkets, discos, mosques. Translation to follow.

Monday, December 06, 2004

Sunday, December 05, 2004


O Mary, help us all! Here in this vale of tears!

Saturday, December 04, 2004


This year is the 1400th Anniversary of the death of Pope St Gregory the Great. How can such an important anniversary of such an important Pope have been ignored by the Catholic Church?

Please pray for confirmation candidates throughout the world, that they may maintain their Faith and practice.

Mission Church of San Miguel closed following earthquake

Pray to St Francis that a way may be found to reopen the church.

St Frances Xavier Cabrini

The vultures circle

According to Selectman Joseph Norton, who appointed the 17 member committee, there are "a hundred different interests in the property," and members have been producing "great ideas" since their first meeting on Nov. 16.

There is only one good idea; keep the Church as a Church.

My house shall be a house of prayer, but the Dominican Monastery in Louvain/ Leuven in Belgium has been turned into a luxury hotel.

Springtime Decay

Catholic maths

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Church open for only a year

already given a heritage listing.

If you believe this..

you believe anything

"Rev. Christopher Coyne, the Archdiocesan spokesperson, wrote, 'No parish was closed because of what could be realized from any future sale of its property.'"

Monday, November 29, 2004

Fountain's Abbey, Yorkshire, England


A pictures showing what is left of a monastery after an earlier devastation.

And the consequences of the curse that was put on the perpetrators.

"Of the 43 noble families implicated with the king at the time of the suppression of the monasteries, 32 are now extinct, of which 15 had become extinct within fifty years. Members of the 9 families that are not extinct have been plagued by misfortunes too numerous to list here, and cannot be said to have 'thrived' ".

For the Holy Souls in Purgatory

in the last days of November, Month of the Holy Souls

St. Gertrude Prayer

Our Lord Jesus Christ revealed the following prayer to St. Gertrude the Great. The Lord promised that each time it is said, 1,000 souls would be released from purgatory (and enter Heaven):

Eternal Father, I offer Thee the most precious Blood of Thy Divine Son, Jesus, in union with the Masses said throughout the world today, for all the holy souls in purgatory, for sinners everywhere, for sinners in the universal Church, those in my own home, and within my family. Amen.

Sunday, November 28, 2004

Bishop discusses direction of Diocese of Portland

No decisions have been taken. That's official, so you'd better believe it.

The New Evangelization Planning Committee only is a cover for the closure of churches.

Diocese of Trenton says

not to worry; Are you sitting comfortably? We're going to close your Church. Sweet and less than purely honest talk.

Thursday, November 25, 2004

Lest we forget

Suppression of English Monasteries Under Henry VIII

Henry VIII (unlike his son) died a Catholic. And all was done through intermediaries called commissioners. The Hecks of their day.

Kathleen Heck

back in the headlines. A registered Republican; an embarrassement to the Republic Party.

Marjorie Begin, another parishioner at the church, said she was impressed with Heck's accessibility and listening skills. "I think they put her on this team because they needed a soft touch, and the men are so uncommunicative," Begin said. "People talk to her because she's the only person from the archdiocese who returns phone calls. But once you talk to Kathleen Heck you're going down that road to closure."

and Mrs Tactful strikes again:
"She [the ever so tactful Heck]said this was not a church, it was just bricks and mortar," said Felicia DiFeo, 27. "I was born here. This is a church, and it's always going to be a church in my eyes." When Heck repeated something similar to parishioner Carolena Lyons, Lyons replied: "This is not just concrete, bricks, and mortar. This church was built on blood, sweat, and tears."

Lay figure to head church sale panel

This is surreal. Wait a minute, is this the same Voice of the Faithful that opposes church closings? And how would a VOTF representative want to spend the money raised?

Sunday, November 21, 2004

Eglise St Jacques, Liege

This magnificent Church used to be a Benedictine monastery which sent monks to evangelise Poland. The Pope has visited the Church and a plaque has been placed at the rear of the Church commemorating this evangelisation. But now only very few Masses take place in the Church.

Importance of Catholic Churches

The Dedication of the Temple of the Church which explains the role and importance of Catholic Churches.

Today's Feast


Today is the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the Temple. She is always shown ascending a long staircase to be accepted by the High Priest.


Flower tables instead of Altars of God. Two more desecrated altars from the flower show in the Belgian National Basilica to the Sacred Heart.

St Joseph's Home

A botched closing. The Diocese is presently raising 32 million dollars. Why can't they give St Joseph's Home some of this money to ensure that the poor will still be the welcome guests of the Order of St Francis? They have no sense of real Catholic priorities.

St Anne's Church, Waterbury

Group fights to save Church but will Diocese approve?

"We're never, never going to build another building like that," said Fern Verriker, who chairs the new Friends of St. Anne's Church. "Why can't we try to keep it alive?"

Saturday, November 20, 2004

Archdiocese of Boston

More churches may be closed - the truth finally comes out:

"Clearly, it is not reasonable to expect that the final configuration of this process will not change over time." Chancellor of the Diocese.

They have lost 8 million dollars a year in the appeal. Then by closing churches ensure that the old levels of donation will never return. But this 8 million would go a long way to covering their 10 million deficit. And my bet is that the Council will not give the planning permissions to their old properties required to raise the 28 million expected.

"And a turbulent stock market has left the archdiocese with an unfunded pension liability of $80". It would be useful to know over how many years and what is the projected spending on pensions per year. How have they become so exposed to stocks?

This is outrageous and all the laity of Boston and the whole world should be up in arms.

Spanish Missions in California

and hhow to preserve them

Commercial details

Snow White, I believe


Commerical advertising in the Basilica

Friday, November 19, 2004

Letter to the Archbishop

Sacred Heart Parish Bulletin - November 21, 2004

"There was a piece that disturbed us greatly. It was the part that you prayed that the Lord would take you in the midst of all these troubles so burdensome were they to you."


The Archdiocese of Malines/ Brussels have presided over the closure of many Churches but they did manage to open a chapel in a shopping centre. Not the ideal place to encourage undistracted devotion to Our Lord in the Most Blessed Sacrament.

How they rendered desolate an altar of God at the previous year's flower show. The sort of music that is played in health clubs was being played over the loudspeaker system of the Basilica. The Blessed Sacrament was exposed in a chapel behind one of the long curtains, but could still be seen from the exhibition space.

Where once were altars for the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass, all that remains.

What is this type of statue doing in a Catholic Church?

My house shall be a house of prayer but the Belgian National Basilica to the Sacred Heart becomes a flower festival.

Church of the Most Holy Trinity, Brussels

For those that read French a long and sad history of one of the most beautiful Churches in Brussels. However, seems that the Church may be reopening. More news soon and maybe some pictures.

George Orwell 1946

Here is a well-known verse from Ecclesiastes:
I returned and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favor to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.

Here it is in modern English:
Objective considerations of contemporary phenomena compel the conclusion that success or failure in competitive activities exhibits no tendency to be commensurate with innate capacity, but that a considerable element of the unpredictable must invariably be taken into account.

From Politics and the English Language

Diocese of Trenton

The closure of Churches becomes "a prophetic moment". Only if your language is Newspeak.

Thursday, November 18, 2004

The Legal Tangle

One Diocese contradicts another on parish ownership issue.

Diocese of Timmins

Repeat after the Bishop



Others have believed this but for the first time in history, we are told to believe it by Catholic bishops.

Franciscan University

to create a business ethics center. Only in the modern world could Franciscanism and business mix. St Francis even removed his habit before he died and accepted it back only on loan.

But some modern Franciscans could do with some courses in ethics. The Catholic Church has only ever taught morals which are transcendent as opposed to ethics which are made for a situation. The only good ethics derive from morals, contrary to what some modern politicians claim.

Seminary could have Catholics flocking to Detroit

The Seminary will offer a degree in evangelisation but qualifications are not the same as the real thing. I can have a degree in law and not be a lawyer.

My house shall be called a house of prayer but the Salesian Convent is now becoming a community centre in Brussels.

Archdiocese shows parishioner mercy

Just to show that they are such kind people.

Boston Sale of the Century

16 churches for sale worth $28m and the vultures circle.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Sunday, November 07, 2004

Can't the Archbishop of Boston

speak for himself.

"That's just inconsistent with what's gone on,' said archdiocese spokesperson Larry Rasky. 'There have been a variety of different parishes that have been slated for closing and some are less value, some are more. Reconfiguration is a process that takes into account both the limitations that the archdiocese is confronting in terms of the number of priests that are available for assignment, and financial resources available to provide service throughout the archdiocese."

See earlier posts on this PR company, whose services are sure not given for free.

Archdiocese of Boston

causes public scandal by getting a parishioner arrested.

Friday, November 05, 2004

Josephite Order

What a great history but how many of these parishes are still open? See page 32 onwards.

Archdiocese of Newark

All the parishes they have closed

How many more Churches need to be occupied?

before the Archdiocese of Boston gets the message that this whole process has been a catastrophe from beginning to end.

Ten Churches with four more occupations expected.

In the interests of justice, the closed Churches now should be reopened.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Plenary indulgence for All Souls' Day

Can be obtained for the benefit of the Poor Souls, by visiting a cemetery on All Souls' Day in a spirit of piety and devotion and praying, even mentally, for the dead.

To attain the plenary indulgence, three conditions must accompany the act of visiting the cemetery: the faithful must receive the sacrament of confession, either eight days before or after, receive Holy Communion on that day, and recite prayers for the intention of the Holy Father (one Our Father and one Hail Mary ).

Today is

All Saints' Day

Germany's Church

Cut the bureaucrats, don't close the Churches. Get away from meaningless fads and fashions and return to Catholicism.

My houses shall be called houses of prayer but now they are part of the cultural centre of Louvain/ Leuven.

My house shall be called a house of prayer

but the former Augustinian Sisters Chapel, Kapel van de Romaanse Poort (Chapel of the Roman Gate) is now used for modern art exhibitions. Cathcon learns that the former Franciscan Church in Leuven is also to be desecrated. Flanders in Belgium used to be famed worldwide as a land which could not be penetrated by the enemies of the Church.

This is the interior of the former Dominican Church in Louvain, now descrated.

My house shall be a house of prayer

but the former Dominican Church in Louvain is now a centre for performance arts.

Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption, Covington

First, they destroy the sanctuaries and then they tear down the Churches.

Sunday, October 31, 2004

Pastoral plan for Archdiocese of Sydney

We are all stakeholders now. Another archdiocese sets out on the same and unnecessary path. All this pseudo-consultation is only to cover the guilt of closing churches.

Today is the Feast of Christ the King

An excellent quote from Pope Pius XI

"The faithful, moreover, by meditating upon these truths, will gain much strength and courage, enabling them to form their lives after the true Christian ideal. If to Christ our Lord is given all power in heaven and on earth; if all men, purchased by his precious blood, are by a new right subjected to his dominion; if this power embraces all men, it must be clear that not one of our faculties is exempt from his empire. He must reign in our minds, which should assent with perfect submission and firm belief to revealed truths and to the doctrines of Christ. He must reign in our wills, which should obey the laws and precepts of God. He must reign in our hearts, which should spurn natural desires and love God above all things, and cleave to him alone. He must reign in our bodies and in our members, which should serve as instruments for the interior sanctification of our souls, or to use the words of the Apostle Paul, as instruments of justice unto God."

And just how is the Kingdom of Christ being extended by the closure of Churches?

Don't get resigned!

Get active!

Shocking state of the Catholic Church

in Ireland.

First comes the clustering, then comes the closings.

Friday, October 29, 2004

Ex-diocese voice talks leadership

Former spokesperson for Archdiocese of Boston speaks out.

"More than a year after leaving the Archdiocese of Boston as its public face during the clergy sexual abuse crisis, former church spokeswoman Donna M. Morrissey is still following church events and thinking that church leaders could be doing a better job at getting out their message. "

You can say that again. But what do you expect when the message is so confused and wrong in any case?

Long live Christ the King

Its not the faithful that are disagreeable

-its the Archdiocese.

The vicious circle of decline in the modern Church

As the Diocese of Brooklyn considers the closure of twenty five schools.

Lithuanian Church persecuted under Communists

and now the Archdiocese of Boston contunues where the Communists left off.

"Parishioners at St. Peter Lithuanian Catholic Church hope a replica of the impressive "Hill of Crosses'' Shrine in Siauliai, Lithuania, will impress the Archdiocese of Boston enough to keep their South Boston parish open. "

Thursday, October 28, 2004

Code of Canon Law

A useful resource!

Cruelty to the end

as when Archdiocese of Boston "communications office" does not return call and PR company has not been informed. Chairman of consolidation "review" panel is uncontactable and the pastor of St James does not return calls. At best it is incompetence and at worst part of a deliberate plan to keep everyone guessing. And first sign of Heck for a month and she has had her name changed to Hack.

How can the flock of Christ's faithful be treated with such contempt?

Archdiocese of Boston

The resistance grows II at Church dedicated to the Patroness of Mission, St Therese of Lisieux

Archdiocese of Boston

The resistance grows I.

A round the clock vigil at Church dedicated to St Frances Cabrini, who was the first US citizen to be raised to the altars.

During her life she founded 67 Catholic institutions. The Church is now undoing the work of saints.

Boston Churches scold archdiocese with billboard campaign

''Thou Shalt Not Close Vibrant Parishes.''

Wednesday, October 27, 2004

Reign of Christ the King

The traditional date for the Feast of Christ the King is the last sunday in October (changed in recent years to the last sunday of the Church year before advent).

How has it come to this? That a Church dedicated to Christ the King can be closed on the feast day. Read this magnificent book by Michael Davies; not long and well worth reading.

" Viva Cristo Rey!—Long Live Christ the King!".

Closing the parish of Christ the King

They have dethroned Him!

Donation in support of gay marriage

only gives opponents ammunition

Tuesday, October 26, 2004

Parishioners needed $25,000 to stop demolition

of Tranfiguration Church in Pittsburgh.

And now they are having to start all over again, but why demolish the Church in the first place.

Where Is Boston's Archbishop O'Malley?

The Archbishop goes missing (again!)

'This is not about politics; this is about defending the body of Christ from sacrilege and the Catholic Church herself from heresy. We pray that Archbishop O'Malley and every bishop will have the courage to stand up and rebuke those who perpetrate such fraudulent notions.'

Italian parishioners want their priest back

Angry protest in Italy

Priest shortage and the closure of Irish Churches

Something has gone terribly wrong when Catholics no longer want to become priests.:

"Not one new clerical student has begun studies for the priesthood this year in this large archdiocese, spread across Galway and Mayo. Indeed not one new student from the archdiocese has begun priesthood studies in the past five years. "

Archdiocese of Boston

Priests are mediators between God and the people but now we have a public relations firm mediating between priests and people.

"A public relations firm now handling press inquiries for the Archdiocese, the Rasky/Baerlein Group, did not comment as to whether the review committee would consider reversing St. Bernard's closure decision before the TAB's deadline. "

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Closure of Notre Dame, Springfield

Only sadness here

" A planned procession from Notre Dame to its 'mother church' nearby was canceled because of bad weather."

This is the website of the coalition of Boston Churches fighting closing.

R a s k y / B a e r l e i n

Their website is now working.

Apart from his company serving as a consultant to the Archdiocese of Boston, Mr Rasky was a Director of Communications for Senator Biden and is a member of the Board of Family Health Productions, which promotes the use of condoms for young people.

I think they need to give the Archdiocese a written statement that there are no conflict of interests between working for the Archdiocese and the interests of their other clients.

Catholic dioceses used to believe in Mission, then it became public relations, now they employ outside consultants, who work on several agendas simultaneously.

Wednesday, October 20, 2004

Archdiocese takes a gamble

on PR company (Rasky-Baerlein Group) that works for the gambling industry.

And! Flashback 2002.
Rasky-Baerlein Group was handling PR for the team of bankruptcy lawyers preparing the Boston Archdiocese for a possible Chapter 11 filing.

And a curious story here.

This should be the website

of the PR company hired by the Archdiocese of Boston but it is not working. PR people are not meant to promote themselves but their clients, but this is ridiculous.

This should be the website

of the PR company hired by the Archdiocese of Boston but it is not working. PR people are not meant to promote themselves but their clients, but this is ridiculous.

Archdiocese attempt to use Mass

as a bargaining chip completely fails.

Weekly Dig- the best Little Newspaper in Boston

A sympathetic article on the miracle of Our Lady of Mount Carmel

Sacred Heart, Darlinghurst, Australia

Keating lashes Sydney Archdiocese over heritage threat

See also a series of news links at the bottom of the article relating to the same issue.

Testament of sadness

woven in the form of a quilt

Archdiocese of St Louis

Two Churches and a school closing.

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

News of closing upsets parish

Shock closing of Immaculate Conception, Springfield

An independent audit is necessary of the claimed repair figures.

The power of the Hail Mary

Excellent article for the month of the Rosary

Sacred Heart, San Francisco

Closure draws crowd to Mass and some parishioners hope for miracle to preserve church. See also the pictures of the Church which the Archdiocese claims needs $8 million for a seismic refit. The Archdiocese has also closed in the last decade.

St. Benedict, Bush and Lyon streets
St. Brigid, Van Ness Avenue and Broadway
St. Edward, California Street near Laurel Street
St. Joseph, 10th and Howard streets
Holy Cross, Eddy Street near Divisadero Street

Monday, October 18, 2004

Archbishop spares two parishes

Was the decision taken by the Archbishop or his public relations company?

Fr Christopher Coyne II

More soon on the PR firm- an expensive substitute.

[He is] "working to get a successor...and supporting the (public relations) firm,' that has temporarily taken over his work since his departure. "

Fr Christopher Coyne

It is much better to preach the Gospel, which will fill Churches than to defend the indefensible Church closures, which mean the Faithful have no homes.

"I still believe (the archdiocese) needs to be reconfigured."

But for how much longer. It is the Faith that endures.

Hopefully back to normal


Resignations possible of Bishop of Fatima and Rector of the Shrine

Vatican Calls for Resignation of Fatima Bishop
and Shrine Rector

Correio da manha, the leading daily newspaper in Portugal, caused an uproar in the Catholic world when it reported in a front page article in its September 29 issue that "Rome is shocked with Fatima."

According to the newspaper, the Vatican "is critical of the prayers offered by the Dalai Lama and those of a Hindu priest in the Shrine" and has announced to the Portuguese Episcopal Conference (PEC) that they must replace the Bishop of Fatima and the Shrine Rector. If not, the paper reported, the Vatican will assume direct control of the Fatima shrine.

The newspaper went on to report that, according to informed sources, members of the Vatican curia believe that Shrine officials went too far when they recently allowed a Hindu ceremony to take place at the altar.

Fatima officials were quick to respond and held a press conference the same day that Correio da manha's story hit the newsstands. The main Portuguese wire service, Lusa, reported that "the Rector of the Shrine, Luciano Guerra, today declared his willingness to continue as leader" of the Shrine until the completion of the new basilica at Fatima, projected for 2007. Guerra denied any knowledge of pressures for his resignation from Rome, but admitted that the recent inter-religious events at the shrine had "caused some discomfort in conservative Catholic sectors."

The current controversy first erupted last October when the Bishop of Fatima, D. Serafim Ferreira e Silva and Monsignor Guerra hosted an ecumenical conference at the Shrine of Our Lady. The conference, which featured participants from diverse religious bodies, including Buddhists, Muslims and African animists, was followed by press reports of a proposed plan to transform the Fatima Shrine into an "interfaith facility."

In response to these reports, conservative and traditional Catholic groups, led by the Fatima Center, a not-for-profit organization based in the U.S. and Canada and headed by a Catholic priest, Father Nicholas Gruner, immediately organized a series of mass protests, culminating in an Open Letter of protest to Pope John Paul II and the bishops of Portugal, published in a number of major Portuguese newspapers. In addition, Father Gruner's group gathered tens of thousands of signatures from outraged Catholics on petitions against the proposed plan, on both the internet and through the mail.

"We've put out more than one and a half million pieces of literature protesting these outrages at Fatima," said Father Gruner, "including three issues of our magazine and letter packages to every bishop in the world and 60,000 priests as well as an almost constant stream of calls, letters and

Emails to the Vatican and other Church leaders."

The controversy was further inflamed this May when, in apparent defiance of the protests, Msgr. Guerra permitted a group of Hindu worshipers from Lisbon to perform a pagan ceremony on the altar of the chapel of Our Lady on the very spot where the Virgin Mary appeared between May and October 1917.

At his press conference on September 29, Rector Guerra attempted to distance himself from the May 5 Hindu ceremony which he claimed "was a little beyond his control." He announced that he would never again permit a visit of the Hindu group "in the same manner."

John Vennari, editor of the Catholic Family News, who broke the initial story last year, noted in response to Guerra's comments that "this new defensive language on the part of the Rector is very interesting in light of his published remarks last June, when he denied that any Hindu ritual ever took place at Fatima. It would appear the Rector can't quite figure out what to say."

Christopher A. Ferrara, a Catholic commentator and civil rights attorney who has written extensively on Fatima stated that "Guerra's credibility is now totally shot. First he said there would be no non-Catholic worship at the Shrine. Then, when he let it happen, he declared there was nothing wrong with it. Now he says it'll never happen again. Please!"

The day after the press conference by Shrine officials, Correio da manha published what it termed a "confirmation" of its initial story. Journalist Hernani Carvalho reported that "uneasiness [exists] in the Roman Curia because of ecumenism in Fatima, and quoted Portugal's leading Vaticanist, Aura Miguel, as saying that "Hindus are not supposed to perform celebrations in the Capelinha das Aparic√£oes, just as one is not supposed to celebrate Mass in a Buddhist temple." Ms. Miguel went on to note that "certain Church circles" are concerned by the "ambiguous explanations" offered by Msgr. Guerra in defense of the ecumenical initiatives at the Shrine.

Correio da manha reported further that it learned of correspondence between the Portuguese Nuncio and the Fatima [diocese] discussing possible new candidates for replacing the bishop of Fatima. The newspaper also reported that the Bishop of Fatima refused comment when asked about his eventual replacement, and the paper noted that "the need to hold a press conference to deny the news revealed just how nervous people are in the Sanctuary."

In a separate report in the online edition of Portugal Diario, Msgr. Januario Torgal Ferreira, Bishop of the Portuguese armed forces, was quoted as confirming that what was being attacked was the work of the Rector of the Shrine and the Bishop of Fatima, and that the attack came directly from the highest levels of the Roman curia.

To date, the Vatican has neither confirmed nor denied the reports that it is asking for the removal of Fatima's bishop and Shrine Rector Guerra.

Better not to sing for joy

When eighty other parishes are being closed.

National Catholic Reporter

Flashback 1998 Archdiocese of Philadelphia proposal to close inner city churches and schools

"I continue to believe that cluster planning is a thinly disguised plan of the archdiocese to place the burden of inevitable parish closings squarely on the shoulders of their own parishioners."

I would question the word "inevitable".