Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Controversy Surrounding Catholic Relief Services

Many people have been asking about Catholic Relief Services (CRS) and if they're an organization worth donating to.  This article can answer almost all of them.

From LifeSite News

March 26, 2015

By Matt C. Abbott

(I'd first like to commend the pro-life leaders who staged a peaceful protest at House Speaker John Boehner's office the morning of March 25. Click here to read about it. Also, Michael Hichborn, president of the Lepanto Institute, recently posted a very good open letter to Bishop Paul G. Bootkoski regarding his unjust treatment of a Catholic schoolteacher. Click here to read it.)

Over the last several years, there has been considerable controversy surrounding the Catholic Campaign for Human Development (CCHD) and Catholic Relief Services (CRS), both of which were founded by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

The focus of this particular column is CRS.

In a recent article at the website of Crisis Magazine, Stephen Phelan, director of mission communications at Human Life International, wrote (briefly excerpted; click here to read the article in its entirety):
    In trying to understand the ongoing controversy regarding 'the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States,' there are two primary ways one might err. The first would be to deny that Catholic Relief Services does an incredible amount of good in bringing aid to the poor around the world. The second would be to argue that because CRS does so much good work, good Catholics must look away when questions are raised about how some of its work is done, and with whom CRS partners to do this work....

    ...Those of us who receive CRS's fundraising pitches (this writer is a former donor) or who have visited CRS's website in the last few years are likely to see a clear identification with the Church. On the mission delivery and secular communications side of the organization, however, CRS takes a different tack: It apparently takes pride in not sharing the Gospel and in not preferentially hiring Catholics to do the Catholic charity's work, and it partners with organizations who together spend billions annually on immoral, and often coercive, means of population control....

    ....In 2013 (a typical year, percentagewise), only around 3 percent of CRS's revenue came from Catholics in the pews via the annual collection and rice bowl campaign. 70 percent of its revenue and donated services came from the federal government and another 10 percent or so came from private foundations that, while not listed in the latest published financial reports, in the past has included organizations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. The remainder primarily comes from investment revenue and other standard fundraising such as mailings and events.
The Crisis Magazine article prompted the following response from CRS:
    Stephen Phelan's March 18, 2015 Crisis Magazine article is the latest in a series of coordinated attacks by a small number of groups whose claims about CRS have proven to be misleading and inaccurate. This latest attack is more of the same, restating claims that have been addressed again and again. It is unfortunate, but not surprising, that no answer CRS provides satisfies these critics, since their goal is not to help us build up a culture of life and love, but to tear down our efforts to do so.

    Our Catholic identity is the heart of our mission, and we have implemented comprehensive processes to help ensure that we remain faithful to Catholic teaching in all our programming. We rigorously monitor and frequently review all our relationships and activities to ensure that they are faithful to Catholic teaching. If a problem does arise, we work to resolve it immediately. This includes applying policies developed by the CRS Board of Directors in consultation with the Holy See, the USCCB Committee on Doctrine, the USCCB Committee on Pro-Life Activities, the National Catholic Bioethics Center, and other leading moral theologians. Information on these policies, as well as responses to the various allegations that Mr. Phelan repeats in his article, can be found at 'CRS Upholds Catholic Teaching and Values.'

    The groups behind these allegations advocate for CRS' retreat from public engagement and even its dissolution. While these groups may have their opinions, they do not speak for the Catholic Church. CRS must follow the direction we receive from Church leaders about how to apply Catholic teaching to our work. Mr. Phelan and others are free to disagree with those leaders, but as an agency of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), we will continue to follow their guidance. We are grateful for the support of the USCCB Administrative Committee, which affirmed in a statement of support for CRS that 'The U.S. Catholic bishops stand firmly behind CRS in its commitment to promote and defend human dignity and the sacredness of every human life from the moment of conception until natural death, and at every moment in between.'
I asked Mr. Phelan to comment on the CRS statement. He wrote the following in an email to me:
    CRS' attack on our motives is predicted in the article. Why would we want to 'tear down' their ability to 'build a culture of life and love?' What a terrible thing to say. I assume there are lots of good folks at CRS who are doing their jobs the best way they know how. And as for the bishops, anyone who has known a bishop knows how busy they are and how much they have to rely on others to gather information, especially in complicated matters.

    In this case, Archbishop Coakley has been singled out since he is the president of the CRS board and has made several statements in their defense, but one can't seriously call him a weak bishop. Just look at the situation with the black mass in Oklahoma City last year, though there are several other examples – this is a strong shepherd who is not afraid to defend the faith and the faithful. I think rather that the bishops are only hearing part of the story, and have been advised to ignore those who raise concerns due to our supposed ill intentions. This is why this is public.

    So for the person who is understandably overwhelmed by all of the back and forth and doesn't know what to think, I would say that maybe the way to start to understand this is to take just one case. This takes only about ten minutes.

    Start with the disagreement over MEDiCAM, beginning just with the facts that no one denies:

    1) CRS is still a dues-paying member of MEDiCAM (source). Though not a large amount of money (around $3,000), dues are typically fungible, in that they go to an organization's general fund.

    2) CRS has had staff members on the organization's steering committee, which "concerns itself with the overall visions, strategies and policies of the organization." (source, page 7, for just one such reference) So CRS is not a mere spectator within the organization.

    3) MEDiCAM is a consortium of various organizations in Cambodia who discuss and forward a broad range of public health concerns in practice and in policy. MEDiCAM, as an organization, also consistently advocates for increased access to abortion (source, p. 19; source, p. 7; source, p. 5; hundreds more available on MEDiCAM web site), and for contraception.

    Given these undisputed facts, concerns were raised in 2012 having to do with scandal in CRS maintaining a paid membership and leadership positions in an organization that consistently promotes abortion and contraception, without challenging the problematic positions in public venues where the concerns would have to be addressed by its partners.

    Now read CRS's reply to those who raised concerns here.

    1) As to the risk of scandal, CRS says that their 'staff who participate in these associations acknowledge our differences, air our disagreements on these issues, and contribute our Catholic voice to the conversation.' Even if we grant this, one wonders what message is really sent when CRS's pro-life position is rejected by the organization, CRS's support is assumed for the public positions taken by MEDiCAM and this is not challenged by CRS in public, and CRS continues to pay dues for its membership year after year.

    2) MEDiCAM is presented in the CRS statement as a neutral setting for medical professionals and advocates who happen to disagree on some issues. But this ignores the fact that the organization itself consistently advocates for abortion and contraception. MEDiCAM is not neutral in these debates or in its policy recommendations.

    3) CRS makes a comparison: 'Catholic physicians are not prohibited from joining the American Medical Association even though there are areas of practice which violate Catholic teachings.' Of the many problems with this comparison, perhaps most obvious is that CRS, an agency of the Catholic Church and not an individual who is Catholic, is itself paying to be a member and for its staff to hold leadership positions in a group that promotes abortion and contraception. A Catholic doctor would also be well justified in abandoning an organization that consistently advocates for the destruction of unborn human life, but if she held a leadership position and her position was ignored in the organization's public statements, she would have to publicly condemn the promotion of evil and resign.

    4) CRS has still not, as far as we can find, released a public statement distancing CRS from the groups' consistent advocacy for abortion in a venue where MEDiCAM's partners would have to confront the challenge. A press release to American Catholics, only after concerns are raised, is not equivalent.

    5) Would CRS also pay to belong to an organization that does good work but promotes racism? Of course not – the scandal would be too great. CRS would immediately stop paying dues and would very publicly condemn the racist views of the organization. If the organization were dominant in terms of its influence in industry practice and national policy, CRS would try to build another such coalition, one that did not promote evils along with the good. Indeed, this is what love, truth and courage would demand.

    6) To peruse CRS's own 'complete and accurate information' on condoms and other means of HIV/AIDS prevention is to marvel at the lack of Catholicity in the materials, even if CRS often avoids (though certainly does notalways avoid) the direct promotion of condoms. But at some point a question must be asked: Where is CRS's positive case for the Church's life-giving teaching on marriage and human sexuality? With all of the "sex education" its experts are involved in, why is there not a robust and thorough presentation of the beauty of human sexuality available for all to see on CRS's web site, and which must be used for all such purposes? The honest answer will have something to do with the fact that as a government grant recipient, CRS cannot present the fullness of Church teaching on marriage and sexuality, which is why it spends so much time funding organizations that are hostile to this teaching, and participating in coalitions, negotiating for slight improvements in mind-numbing technical documents that often promote terrible things. This is not to say that CRS leadership directly opposes the Church, it is to say that CRS obviously does not have control over all the projects it funds or is aligned with, because it gets most of its money from the U.S. government.

    So, just in this one case, I ask the reader if CRS's reply on the MEDiCAM matter accurately represents the claims made by those who raised concerns, and if it sufficiently addresses the concerns. The more you check into each set of claims and compare them to CRS's statements, especially when they issue blanket denials that only raise more questions, the more you see why bishops don't know what to make of this whole matter.

    Finally, someone I respect raised a fair point regarding the question of the high incomes of CRS leadership in the Crisis article. I didn't present this well – it came across as ad hominem, and everyone I've met who knows Carolyn Woo speaks highly of her. The idea was to present a fact that puts the question of CRS's identity in stark relief: for a government-funded NGO that takes in just under a billion dollars per year, $460,000 is not unreasonable for a CEO's salary. For a Catholic charity that serves the poor, it shows a disconnect bordering on the extreme. So to defend the salary, CRS has to grant the critics' main point about the split identity of CRS, which is why CRS will not acknowledge the question. That Obama's ambassador to the Vatican has received somewhere in the neighborhood of a million dollars in deferred compensation since he left CRS – at an annual rate higher than the current CEO – is a scandal of an entirely different order, which is again why CRS won't address it, and is why they attack our motives.

    We have to pray for all involved. This scandal will not go away until the matter is brought in line with truth, which gets more difficult with every denial from CRS.
© Matt C. Abbott

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Oregon Bishop Will Not Endorse Common Core Standard.

Bishop Points to Concerns with Common Core Standards, Says He Cannot Endorse Them

Bishop Liam Cary of the Diocese of Baker in Oregon has responded to growing alarm regarding the Common Core State Standards and their impact on Catholic education.

In his “Thoughts Along the Way” column for The Diocesan Chronicle, Bishop Cary listed points of concern with the standards and remarked that he cannot endorse them.

“Catholic schools develop their own standards and design their own curriculum; they are not subject to the State of Oregon’s decision to adopt Common Core,” wrote Bishop Cary.

He explained in his column, “there are more than a few reasons to be cautious about adopting Common Core.” These concerns include the rejection of final drafts of the Common Core by the “highly regarded educators involved in drafting the standards for math and literature” and their impact on curriculum integral to Catholic education.

Bishop Cary explained further:
“[N]o one knows what standards Common Core will propose for history, health education, and social studies. These subjects treat hotly contested matters of the highest moral importance for the formation of young minds: the character of the American people, sexual development, and the nature of marriage—to say nothing of birth control, homosexuality, or abortion. Why should parents assent to the adoption of Common Core before its standards for history, health education, and social studies have even been made known? 

“As bishop I cannot endorse a program that might undermine the very values which Catholic parents expect Catholic schools to impart to their children,” he wrote in his article.

“Common Core standards have only recently been implemented in Oregon, and more time will be needed to assess their effectiveness,” Bishop Cary explained in the piece. “The Diocese of Baker, therefore, will not adopt the Common Core State Standards as a whole. Instead, we will monitor them against national testing and public high school entrance requirements and develop our own standards accordingly.”

The Cardinal Newman Society’s Deputy Director of K-12 Programs Denise Donohue noted that "This is the time of year when schools are planning new curricula for the fall, so it makes sense to undergo a review of how the standards have enhanced student learning, or not.”

Donohue continued:
In accordance with the school's mission of the integral formation and evangelization of its students, questions such as "How have standards brought students closer to becoming the person God wishes them to be?", "How have we successfully integrated standards into a Catholic worldview?", "How are the instructional shifts required by the standards fulfilling the burning questions that students have regarding the deeper meaning of life?”, and “Are these views in accordance with Church teaching?" might be starters for discussion. 

The Cardinal Newman Society’s Catholic Is Our Core initiative provides information about the controversial Common Core standards and concerns about their impact on Catholic schools and students. A brief overview of the concerns is addressed in “10 Facts Every Catholic Should Know About the Common Core”.

Catholic Education Daily is an online publication of The Cardinal Newman Society. Click here for email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

email updates and free online membership with The Cardinal Newman Society.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

Saint Joseph Litany.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Christ, have mercy. Christ, have mercy.

Lord, have mercy. Lord, have mercy.
Jesus, hear us. Jesus, graciously hear us.

God, the Father of Heaven, Have mercy on us.
God, the Son, Redeemer of the world, Have mercy on us.

God, the Holy Spirit, Have mercy on us.
Holy Trinity, One God, Have mercy on us.
Holy Mary, pray for us.
Image result for saint joseph picture
St. Joseph,

Illustrious son of David,

Light of Patriarchs,

Spouse of the Mother of God,

Chaste guardian of the Virgin,

Foster father of the Son of God,

Diligent protector of Christ,

Head of the Holy Family,

Joseph most just,

Joseph most chaste,

Joseph most prudent,

Joseph most strong,

Joseph most obedient,

Joseph most faithful,

Mirror of patience,

Lover of poverty,

Model of artisans,

Glory of home life,

Guardian of virgins,

Pillar of families,

Solace of the wretched,

Hope of the sick,

Patron of the dying,

Terror of demons,

Protector of Holy Church,

Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world:
- spare us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world:
- graciously hear us, O Lord.
Lamb of God, who take away the sins of the world:
- have mercy on us.

V. He made him the lord of his household.

R. And prince over all his possessions.

Let us pray, --- O God, in your ineffable providence you were pleased to choose Blessed Joseph to be the spouse of your most holy Mother; grant, we beg you, that we may be worthy to have him for our intercessor in heaven whom on earth we venerate as our Protector: You who live and reign forever and ever.

Saint Joseph, pray for us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Lorica of Saint Patrick

St. Patrick icon


Lorica of Saint Patrick I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
Through the strength of Christ's birth and His baptism,
Through the strength of His crucifixion and His burial,
Through the strength of His resurrection and His ascension,
Through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
Through the strength of the love of cherubim,
In obedience of angels,
In service of archangels,
In the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
In the prayers of patriarchs,
In preachings of the apostles,
In faiths of confessors,
In innocence of virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I arise today
Through the strength of heaven;
Light of the sun,
Splendor of fire,
Speed of lightning,
Swiftness of the wind,
Depth of the sea,
Stability of the earth,
Firmness of the rock.

I arise today
Through God's strength to pilot me;
God's might to uphold me,
God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me,
God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me,
God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me,
God's shield to protect me,
God's hosts to save me
From snares of the devil,
From temptations of vices,
From every one who desires me ill,
Afar and anear,
Alone or in a mulitude.
I summon today all these powers between me and evil,
Against every cruel merciless power that opposes my body and soul,
Against incantations of false prophets,
Against black laws of pagandom,
Against false laws of heretics,
Against craft of idolatry,
Against spells of women and smiths and wizards,
Against every knowledge that corrupts man's body and soul.
Christ shield me today
Against poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against wounding,
So that reward may come to me in abundance.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.

I arise today
Through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
Through a belief in the Threeness,
Through a confession of the Oneness
Of the Creator of creation

St. Patrick (ca. 377)

st patrick

Thursday, March 12, 2015

2015 Adolescent Teen Sexuality Conference at Seaside CANCELED. Videos for Adults Only

Here are some people to thank for this cancellation of a conference that saved the souls of many kids.  It's sad that the people running this "conference" for so many years had seemingly ulterior motives.

The videos below prove how behind "educators" were/are and how we all must be aware of what kind of conferences/retreats we send our children to, or support with our tax dollars.

Teens Teaching Porn to Adults: In Oregon at "Education" Conference

Guest Post Alert. Oregon Taxpayer Funded Sexuality Conference for Our Kids.

"Wink Wink: have fun, do good." Church Message at Seaside Adolescent Conference?

Seaside 2013: Teens teach porn class to adults at Oregon Adolescent Sexuality Conference. by Jim Sedlak STOPP 

 "Getting your 'Groove On' at the Adolescent Sexuality Conference in Seaside."   

Tuesday, March 10, 2015


Last week, Rorate Caeli interviewed Raymond Cardinal Burke via telephone on numerous topics. Nothing was off the table for this interview and His Eminence was incredibly generous with his time. He showed himself to be brilliant and yet filled with humility. And his care and concern for traditional Catholics must be acknowledged and appreciated.

In this wide-ranging interview, His Eminence talked about issues ripped from the news such as: Vatican officials threatening to sue bloggers; more priests coming under his authority; the dismantling of the Franciscans of the Immaculate; how traditional Catholics can save their souls in this modern world -- and get their children the sacraments in the traditional rite in the face of dissenting bishops; priestly celibacy; daily confusion from Pope Francis; and much, much more. 

All may reprint/repost this interview -- but you must credit Rorate Caeli. 


Rorate Caeli: Your Eminence, thank you very much for agreeing to this interview. As the most-read international blog for traditional Catholics, we believe this will give much hope to our readership, and to traditional-minded Catholics everywhere. For our first question: The traditional world, recently, has been stunned by the news that two officials of the Vatican have threatened to sue traditional-minded Catholic bloggers and reporters. Do you agree with this approach, and do you think we should expect to see more of this in the future?

Card. Burke: Unless the blogger has committed a calumny on someone's good name unjustly, I certainly don't think that that's the way we as Catholics should deal with these matters. I think contact should be made. I presume that the Catholic blogger is in good faith, and if there's someone in the hierarchy who is upset with him, the way to deal with it would be first to approach the person directly and try to resolve the matter in that way. Our Lord in the Gospel and St. Paul in his First Letter to the Corinthians instruct us not to take our disputes to the civil forum, that we should be able, as Catholics, to resolve these matters among ourselves. (cf. Mt. 18:15; 1 Cor. 6:1-6)


Rorate Caeli: After eight years under Pope Benedict XVI, clergy, laymen, even the media became accustomed to clarity. With so much confusion stemming from the daily statements of Pope Francis, confusion from the Synod, et cetera, is it best to focus more on the local and parish level and on the Church's tradition, rather than looking for specific guidance from Rome on issues of the day?

Card. Burke: Yes, I think that, in fact, Pope Francis himself has given that indication. For instance in his Apostolic Exhortation, Evangelii Gaudium, he says that he doesn't consider it to be a magisterial teaching. (n. 16) With someone like Pope Benedict XVI, we had a master teacher who was giving us extended catechesis on various subjects. I now say to people that, if they are experiencing some confusion from the method of teaching of Pope Francis, the important thing is to turn to the catechism and to what the Church has always taught, and to teach that, to foster it at the parish level, beginning first with the family. We can't lose our energy being frustrated over something that we think we should be receiving and we're not. Instead, we know for sure what the Church has always taught, and we need to rely on that and concentrate our attention on that.


Rorate Caeli: Speaking of that teaching and what we're hearing, you've made news lately by saying you will resist any teaching that's heterodox on marriage, and that Catholics should fight back, which gets to a whole other question we were asking about. What should be the response of faithful Catholics if there is a change in the discipline in regards to Holy Communion for divorced and remarried adulterers?

Card. Burke: I was answering a hypothetical question. Some people have tried to interpret it as an attack on Pope Francis, which it wasn't at all. It was a hypothetical question posed to me, and I simply said, "No authority can command us to act against the truth, and, at the same time, when the truth is under any kind of threat, we have to fight for it." That's what I meant when I said that. When the hypothetical question was put to me, "What if this agenda is pushed?" I said, "Well, I simply have to resist it. That's my duty."

Rorate Caeli: How can a faithful Catholic fight back? Is it in his home? Is it on a blog?

Card Burke:  I think you have to keep teaching, in your home and in your own personal life, to hold to the truth of the faith as you know it, and also to speak up about it and to make known to the Holy Father your deep concern, that in fact you cannot accept a change in the Church's discipline which would amount to a change in her teaching on the indissolubility of marriage. Here I think it's very important to address a false dichotomy that's been drawn by some who say, "Oh no, we're just changing disciplines. We're not touching the Church's doctrine." But if you change the Church's discipline with regard to access to Holy Communion by those who are living in adultery, then surely you are changing the Church's doctrine on adultery. You're saying that, in some circumstances, adultery is permissible and even good, if people can live in adultery and still receive the sacraments. That is a very serious matter, and Catholics have to insist that the Church's discipline not be changed in some way which would, in fact, weaken our teaching on one of the most fundamental truths, the truth about marriage and the family.


Rorate Caeli: Getting to something that's right in Your Eminence’s wheelhouse, how do we fulfill the promise and the mandate of Summorum Pontificum at this particular time in the Church, and what role does Canon Law play in making the traditional Latin Mass available in every parish?

Card. Burke: The law stands as it was given by Pope Benedict XVI, and it has not been changed. The document for its implementation was issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. All of that holds. All of that urges that when there is a desire for the traditional Mass among a group of the faithful, it is to be provided for them.

Rorate Caeli: Sticking to Summorum, for families whose children have never been exposed to the Novus Ordo, yet their local ordinary will not fulfill the mandates of Summorum by granting them traditional Confirmation, should those families take their children to a neighboring diocese or a personal parish like the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, FSSP, in order to have them confirmed in the traditional rite?

Card. Burke: They certainly have the right to receive the sacraments in the traditional rite, in the Extraordinary Form. If they can't receive it in their own diocese, then certainly they could ask their parish priest to give them a note that the child is ready to be confirmed, and then have them confirmed in another place where it is permitted.


Rorate Caeli: You probably know, we have been covering the disheartening and frightening accounts of the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate being dismantled over the last year. Does Your Eminence think that the commissioner, Father Volpi, has been fair? And what does Your Eminence think of Father Volpi's court mediation statement regarding the founder’s family?

Card. Burke: I really don't have the kind of direct information on which to make a judgment about the matter. I have to say that, just from an outsider's view, Father Volpi has taken some very strong actions very quickly. Seemingly, I read the story too, he had to admit that the accusation which he made against Father Stefano Manelli, the founder of the Friars of the Immaculate, and his family members, of somehow misusing the temporal goods of the Friars of the Immaculate, was not true. That's certainly a very serious matter. Many friars are leaving, and it would seem that there should be some way of dealing with the whole situation in which the order itself wouldn't collapse, because they were strong, they had a lot of vocations, and they have a great number of apostolates. That's the part that's worrisome to me.

Rorate Caeli: There are reports, and frankly we get personal reports of this, of FFI priests saying they're “fleeing,” they're “in hiding,” using those words from the current FFI under Fr. Volpi. There's also reports of bishops taking in FFI priests seeking refuge in their dioceses. Would Your Eminence encourage those other bishops to do the same?

Card. Burke: If there's a priest who desires to leave his religious community, and this a good priest, and there isn't anything contrary to the bishop accepting him, I think a good bishop would certainly accept such a priest and try to help him to become a priest in his diocese. There's a process; it takes time. The priest who is wanting to leave his religious community has to have a welcoming bishop. When a bishop is able to welcome such a priest, I think the bishop should be happy to do that, because it assists a good priest to be able to continue to exercise his priestly ministry.


Rorate Caeli: What, in Your Eminence's opinion, are good priests supposed to do who are being suppressed by their bishops? We know of many, though we're not going to name them publicly. Some have no mission whatsoever now, and they're living on donations and help from family and friends. Some find it necessary to join independent groups. What is Your Eminence's advice to those priests who simply want to live, preach and say Mass as all priests did before the Council?

Card. Burke: I would simply urge them to seek a bishop who is receptive to such priests and would try to help them, if he can, or if he can't help them directly himself, to help them find another bishop who would permit them to lead a good priestly life. That's all that one can do. Obviously, also, there is recourse to the Congregation for the Clergy. If the priest feels that he's simply being treated unjustly, then he could ask the Congregation for the Clergy to intervene.

Rorate Caeli:  There are reports that in an attempt to fix the problem we just discussed, an Apostolic Administration for traditional priests and religious may be in the works, in order to solve many of these issues facing them, in terms of living out their vocations strictly according to Summorum Pontificum. Can Your Eminence comment on where in the process that may be -- the future of an Apostolic Administration?

Card. Burke: Such a thing is possible. I'm not aware that anything is in process in that regard. Maybe it is, I just haven't heard about it. Certainly that is a possibility and would be a way of assisting these priests and the faithful who are attached to them to remain in communion with the Church.


Rorate Caeli: Now, Your Eminence may have a bias on this question, but would the Sovereign Military Order of Malta theoretically be able to function as an Apostolic Administration, giving faculties for traditional priests and religious?

Card. Burke: Well, the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem, has incardinated priests. But it did so as a sovereign military order, not as an Apostolic Administration. The Order has a Prelate, appointed by the Holy Father, who participates in the governance of the Order. He is clearly the lawful superior of any priests incardinated in the Order. Right now, we're studying the whole situation because we have requests from additional priests who wish to be incardinated in the Order. But certainly it has happened in the past, and there's no reason why it couldn't continue to happen, not in virtue of the establishment of an Apostolic Administration, but in virtue of the nature of the Order.


Rorate Caeli: We were already planning on asking this question months ago when we first started crafting these interview questions, and then the Pope was reported to have said just yesterday the issue of married priests is "on his agenda." Is priestly celibacy for western priests under serious threat with this pontificate?

Card. Burke: That would be a very serious matter because it has to do with the example of Christ Himself, and the Church has always treasured in her priests the following of Christ's example, also in His celibacy. I've heard this reported, but I haven't been able to verify it, but that would be, obviously, a very serious matter. The matter was taken up already by a world synod of bishops in the late '60s, and at that synod there was a very solid reaffirmation of the Church's teaching on clerical celibacy. I don't refer to it just as a discipline because it has to do with what from the earliest centuries the Church understood as being most fitting for her priests. It's something more than a discipline, and therefore I would think it's very difficult to conceive that there would be a change on this.


Rorate Caeli: What words of encouragement can Your Eminence give to traditional Catholics who are struggling to save their souls and the souls of their children in this modern world, and without, it sometimes seems, any help from Rome?

Card. Burke: I frequently say to those who are writing to me and are expressing such discouragement, or are asking for direction in what seems to be a very troubled situation, that when, in times like this, there seems to be some confusion in the governance of the Church, then we have, more than ever, to steep ourselves in the Church's constant teaching and to hand that on to our children and to strengthen the understanding of that teaching in our local parishes and our families. And our Lord has assured us -- He didn't tell us that there wouldn't be attacks on the Church, even from within, but He has assured us that the gates of Hell will never prevail over the Church. In other words, Satan, with his deceptions, will never finally prevail in the Church. We have to have that confidence about us and go about it with great joy and great determination, in teaching the faith, or in giving witness with apologetics to souls who don't understand the faith or who have not yet become members of the Church. We know that the gates of Hell will not prevail, but in the meantime, our way is the Way of the Cross. And when we have to suffer for the sake of what we believe, what we know to be true, we can embrace that suffering with the knowledge of the final outcome: that is, that Christ is the Victor. He is the one that ultimately overcomes all the forces of evil in the world and restores us and our world to the Father. That is the way in which I try to encourage faithful Catholics. I think it's important, too, that devout traditional Catholics get to know one another and support one another, to bear one another's burdens, as the Scripture says. We ought to be prepared to do that and be sensitive to families that might be suffering some particular difficulty in this regard, and try to be as close to one another as possible.


Rorate Caeli: Thank you. We only have a few questions left. There are some very loose reports, but from credible sources, of Francis considering calling a Third Vatican Council. Has Your Eminence heard anything about this at all?

Card. Burke:    No, not at all.


Rorate Caeli: Episcopal appointments in the United States were, on average, conservative-leaning under Benedict XVI. That was not the case everywhere. From this arises what is a clear gap with the priests and actual churchgoing faithful of the new generation that are widely conservative, attached to the true catechism, to Catholic moral law, to a reverent Sacred Liturgy. Is Your Eminence in favor of a new orientation in the naming of bishops in the United States and elsewhere? Is the current method for the selection of bishops a good one, in your view?

Card. Burke: I think it is. It involves the consultation not only of other bishops and priests in the diocese, but also the lay faithful. And there is always the possibility for individual members of the laity or groups of lay faithful to make known their concerns to the Congregation for Bishops or the Nuncio. I think that the most important thing is to let the Apostolic Nuncio know, when there's an appointment of a bishop being considered for a diocese, that there are very many faithful Catholics who  have particular needs and to express those needs.


Rorate Caeli: What's Your Eminence's main focus on work these days?

Card. Burke: My main focus is on the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, helping the Grand Master with the governance of the Order, especially in the spiritual dimension. The Order has a twofold purpose: the defense of the faith, and the care of the poor. The two things honestly go very much together. I'm helping him with questions about the structure of the Order itself in order to fulfill more effectively those two purposes, but also to deal with questions that inevitably come up in any Catholic organization with regard to doctrine and with regard to morals. That's my main focus. I am also spending time studying and writing on important questions in the Church today.


Rorate Caeli: Do you see traditional Catholics taking more of a leading role, in the future, in the restoration of the Church?

Card. Burke: I think so. I find more and more very strong Catholic families who are devoted to the traditional Mass, and I think that those families will have more and more influence in the time to come. If those families influence other families, then obviously there's a momentum that grows.

Rorate Caeli: Is there anything else that we haven't touched upon that Your Eminence would like to add?

Card. Burke: Just to encourage everyone to be devoted to the Sacred Liturgy, which is the highest expression of our Catholic faith, the highest expression of our life in God, and to be very devoted to the study of the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and to the teaching of the faith in our homes and in our local communities. The Church has suffered terribly from decades of poor catechesis, such that the faithful, children and young people, even adults, don't know their faith, and we need to address that because the two things go together. When we know our faith well, then we have a strong desire to worship in accordance with our faith, and at the same time our worship makes us desire more to know our faith. And then, obviously, all of that gets expressed in action by the charity of our lives, especially on behalf of those who are in most need.

Rorate Caeli: That leads to one last question. Your Eminence has mentioned the family in the home many times. Was John Paul II prophetic when he spoke about the Domestic Church?

Card. Burke: Oh, yes. He said that the Church comes to us by way of the family, and that's true. Christ Himself comes by way of the family. He was prophetic in the sense that he pronounced again what the Church has understood from the very beginning. That term, Domestic Church, is very ancient, and it was repeated at the Second Vatican Council. It's a very ancient terminology for the family. In that he was prophetic, in the sense that he set forth what God Himself teaches us about the family.

Rorate Caeli: That's all we have for Your Eminence. Thank you very much for your time today and for your incredible service to Holy Mother Church.
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[Original posting time: March 2, 2015, 8:00 AM GMT]

Monday, March 9, 2015

FIRST CLASS RELIC OF POPE SAINT JOHN PAUL II - At Saint Joseph Church, Salem. Wednesday, March 11th.

The first class relic of Pope Saint John Paul 11 will make an unexpected trip to Oregon.  Not even on the schedule, because of an Oregon priest's close relationship to an Order of Sister's affiliated with the Shrine, we are given this possibly once in a lifetime gift.

A vial containing the blood of Pope John Paul II -- now St. John Paul II -- Will be at St. Joseph Church, Salem. 721 Cottage St. on March 11th.  The hours are 5:30 - 6:30.  The first-class relic will be there until 11 pm. 

The blood is from the Saint John Paul II National Shrine in Washington, and is housed in an elaborate reliquary.  Many healings have been said to occur when visiting this loving Saint's relic.

The relic was given to the Knights of Columbus, which established the shrine in 2011. The shrine's website explains the design of the reliquary housing the blood:
"At the center of the reliquary is a glass ampoule that contains the Holy Father’s blood, which remains in a liquid state. Surrounding the relic is a nimbus decorated with 12 red stones representing the Twelve Apostles and with rays projecting downward. The design evokes John Paul II’s homily during the Mass dedicating the Divine Mercy Shrine on August 17, 2002. Citing the Diary of Saint Faustina, he said, “From here there must go forth ‘the spark which will prepare the world for [Jesus’] final coming.’ This spark needs to be lighted by the grace of God. This fire of mercy needs to be passed on to the world.” The late pope’s likeness is depicted just beneath the relic, and at the base of the reliquary in silver is a relief of his coat of arms. The reliquary was crafted by Wiesław Domański, a member of Saint Brother Albert Council 14332 in Lublin."

Many Catholics venerate the relics of saints as well as those related to Jesus Christ. These relics come in three classes: A first-class relic is from the body of a saint, a second-class relic is something used by a saint while a third-class relic is one that has been touched by a first-class relic, explained Father William Saunders, dean of the Notre Dame Graduate School of Christendom, on the website of the Catholic Education Resource Center.

"These relics summon us to appreciate more profoundly not only the heroic men and women, boys and girls who have served the Master so selflessly and generously, but especially the love and mercy of the Almighty who called these His followers to the bliss of unending life in His eternal kingdom," he wrote.