Monthly Archives: June 2010

Pro-Abortion Baptist and his wife Canonized by Bishop of Wheeling-Charleston, WV

Bishop Michael Bransfield wrote the following in his public statement on the death of the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-WV):

The Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston offers its most sincere condolences to the Byrd family, and we pray during this difficult time that family and loved ones will remember that Senator Byrd is now at peace with the Risen Lord and, with his late wife Erma Ora Byrd, is experiencing Perfect Joy.

Really? Not even a little time in Purgatory? Does he know something we don’t about a deathbed reception of the Sacrament of Reconciliation?

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Sex abuse crisis in Episcopal School: “Oh, if only Episcopal Laity could get married!”

This is old news, but back in October 2000, a jury awarded one of the largest lawsuit awards in the history of Charleston: $15 million to victims of sexual abuse at Porter-Gaud Episcopal School in Charleston.

Due to state caps on how much a non-profit can be sued for (where’s that for the Catholic Church?), as well as limit’s set by the school’s insurance, the actual awards were reduced–and no one seemed to be saying “Let’s bring down the Episcopal Church” over the case.

A teacher named Eddie Fischer sexually abused more than 40 students between the years of 1971 and 1982.

Flowers told the jurors they shouldn’t consider Eddie Fischer’s culpability in their deliberations. Noting Fischer pleaded guilty to an array of sex abuse charges a year and a half ago, Flowers added, “Eddie Fischer accepted responsibility. The reason we’re here today is that he’s the only one who has accepted responsibility.”

He described Eddie Fischer as “an animal” that Porter-Gaud could have “put in a cage.”

Longtime Porter-Gaud principal James Bishop Alexander committed suicide shortly before he was to be deposed in the case.

Flowers then recalled the testimony of another student, William Baker, who said he had sexual contact with Alexander when he was a child.

Flowers asked: Why didn’t Alexander stop Fischer from abusing children in 1979?

He paused. “Because (Alexander) was doing the same thing.”

Fischer was forced to resign in 1982 after a family threatened to go to the police. Later, he received a letter of apology from headmaster Berkeley Grimball. Grimball and Alexander gave Fischer a positive recommendation for a job at James Island Christian School, where he molested even more students.

Another James Island Teacher was accused of molesting teenaged girls, and an Episcopal minister from Johns Island Episcopal Church in Charleston was also charged with child molestation.

Years ago, on a forum (I think Catholic Answers), a convert said that anyone who thinks the Catholic Church is worse because of celibacy is deluding themselves. He said that, when he was growing up Episcopalian, the boys knew exactly which priests to steer clear of.

St. Teresa of Avila on the prayer of quiet, continued

“Thus when the will finds itself in this quiet, . . . it shouldn’t pay any more attention to the intellect than it would to a madman” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 31, para. 8).

Interestingly, St. Teresa de Jesus seems to hold, with C. S. Lewis later, that the will is the most important faculty of the human soul. It is what keeps the soul in motion.

“Note carefully, friends, this piece of advice which I want to give you now. You will often find that these other two faculties are of no help to you. It may come about that the soul is enjoying the highest degree of quiet, and that the understanding has soared so far aloft that what is happening to it seems not to be going on in its own house at all; it really seems to be a guest in somebody else’s house, looking for other lodgings, since its own lodging no longer satisfies it and it cannot remain there for long together. Perhaps this is only my own experience and other people do not find it so. But, speaking for myself, I sometimes long to die because I cannot cure this wandering of the mind. At other times the mind seems to be settled in its own abode and to be remaining there with the will as its companion. When all three faculties work together it is wonderful. The harmony is like that between husband and wife: if they are happy and love each other, both desire the same thing; but if the husband is unhappy in his marriage he soon begins to make the wife restless. Just so, when the will finds itself in this state of quiet, it must take no more notice of the understanding than it would of a madman, for, if it tries to draw the understanding along with it, it is bound to grow preoccupied and restless, with the result that this state of prayer will be all effort and no gain and the soul will lose what God has been giving it without any effort of its own.” (Way of Perfection, Ch. 31, para. 9).

Great Lines from _A Man for All Seasons_: On Conscience versus Peer Pressure

<blockquote>The Duke of Norfolk: Oh confound all this. I’m not a scholar, I don’t know whether the marriage was lawful or not but dammit, Thomas, look at these names! Why can’t you do as I did and come with us, for fellowship!
Sir Thomas More: And when we die, and you are sent to heaven for doing your conscience, and I am sent to hell for not doing mine, will you come with me, for fellowship?</blockquote>

Does your Party Teach You, or Do You Teach Your Party?

Today, I was in a FB discussion with a blogger who was asking, apropros to Libertarians, Rand Paul, etc., what people thought the motives of the North were in the Civil War.

I made the point that the motives of the North in waging war against the South were not the same thing as the motives of the Republican party at the time, the motives of the people, etc.

Anyway, my friend said something to the effect of “That’s not what the Republican Party teaches,” and I replied, “What Magisterial authority does the Republican Party have?”

It struck me that this particular discussion hit at a common crux of debates I have with other conservative Catholics, and a problem many Catholics have when dealing with their faith in public life.

C. S. Lewis talks of Christianity “And”–where the cause becomes just as important as the Christianity, and then eventually Christianity becomes a tool to the cause. Indeed, certain movements that were notoriously condemned by the Church were condemned for this reason. Action Francaise was not condemned by the Church for its monarchist position–that was endorsed by the Church. The Church condemned Action Francaise in the early 20th Century because its leadership at the time (which was, oddly enough, atheist) claimed that the Church was a tool of monarchy, rather than the opposite.

Well, that kind of thing happens whenever a Catholic becomes too embroiled in any political movement. That Catholic may be perfectly orthodox, or 99% right. But there comes a point at which some people stop saying “The Church teaches X . .. “and saying they support the Party because the Church teaches X, and switch to saying, “The Party teaches X. . . .” And it isn’t long before it changes from
“I support the Party because the Church teaches X, and that position is in the party platform”
to
“I support the Church because the Party teaches it, and that position is in the Catechism.

As Catholics, we are called to deal with one another charitably in matters where the Church gives us freedom to decide for ourselves. As John Paul II explains in _Veritatis Splendor_, there is a difference between negative moral laws–which are always absolute prohibitions–and positive moral laws, which give some freedom to the individual to interpret *how much* he or she will implement those laws.

When the Church gives us freedom to discern, we can discuss with one another *what* the Church teaches, and *whether* we think a particular application is appropriate.

I am not bothered by other Catholics who take positions different than mine, so long as they are honestly taking the Church’s teachings into account. It is when I see those teachings intentionally obfuscated, or else subjugated to the State or (worse) the Party, I have a problem.

So when “just war” becomes “moral war,” or even “Just war doesn’t apply to this situation,” I take issue. When I am being judged on the basis of whether I conform to “Republican Party teaching,” I take issue.

Christ and His Church always come first.

Great Lines from _A Man for All Seasons_: On the Kennedy Doctrine

The fictionalized St. Thomas More has the following statement for Nancy Pelosi, John Kerry, the Kennedys, Rudy Giuliani, Arnold Schwarzeneggar, Mitt Romney (a Mormon proponent of the Kennedy Doctrine):

I think that when statesmen forsake their own private conscience for the sake of their public duties, they lead their country by a short route to chaos.

Liberal Catholic Footprints

I can’t remember where I read this recently, so I’m just writing my own variant.
A liberal Catholic was walking along the beach with the Lord,

And, as she walked, she saw images of her life pass by.

At the end of her journey, she turned and looked back at the footprints.

“Lord,” she observed, “as I look back on these footprints representing my life, I see Your footprints walking beside mine, but I notice that at times there are only set of footprints. . . .

Why is that, during the times I was dancing for You at Mass, singing folk hymns, voting for Democrats or sending money to Notre Dame, only one set of footprints appears?”

“My Dear Child,” the Lord said,
“It was at those times I tried to throw you into the ocean, but you kept coming back out!”