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For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-11-30 Part II

 reading-gods-wordDrat! And double drat! And triple drat!

Drat #1: You should have picked up a copy of  Reading God’s Word a couple of weeks ago. (see Bulletin_2014-11-23, page 4, READING GOD’S WORD EVERY DAY). Had you done so, you would have had a USCCB-authorized version of the daily Mass readings for Church Year B – 2015.

If you didn’t pick up one, then you’re on your own. As of the 8:30AM Mass this morning there were only three copies remaining. Our Pastor said if you didn’t have one yet, you would have to order your own or obtain some similar publication.

Drat #2: Oh, by the way … I noticed the lady in front of me looking for a missalette this morning. There were none to be found. She looked a bit frustrated. Actually, quite a few people looked frustrated during the responsorial psalm, when they had no missalette to help them to remember the response.

If I understood our Pastor correctly, there will be no missalettes to be found any more. That’s right, the missalettes are history. Just remember to prepare for Mass by reading your copy of Reading God’s Word. Oh, you didn’t get a copy? Then, I refer you to Drat #1.

As I said, though, I might have heard Father incorrectly. After all, surely Bulletin 2014-11-23 would have informed me that there would be no more missalettes in the St. Peter’s. Wouldn’t it? —– Surprise!

Thankfully, I had in my hand, as usual, my copy of the Daily Roman Missal by the Midwest Theological Forum. Yes, I was able to read along with Father as he prayed the Collect, Gospel, Prayer over the Offerings, and the Prayer after Communion, and even Eucharistic Prayer II. Granted Father seems to have some trouble getting all the words right, but at least I was able to pray the correct words.

Drat #3: Yes, Reading God’s Word by Creative Communications for the Parish provides all the daily readings as authorized by the USCCB. The part that bothers me, though, is that our Pastor couldn’t find a Catholic company producing those readings. That’s right, Creative Communications for the Parish was founded by and run by a Protestant (Lutheran) minister: “Creative Communications for the Parish was founded by the Rev. Dr. Larry Neeb in 1977.” (See: About Creative Communications for the Parish.) So, now you know where your collection dollars are going.

Meanwhile, at St. Patrick’s today, I saw a second grandson serve his first Mass. It was a Mass in the Extraordinary Form. He new his Latin responses and he was proud of his accomplishment. My wife and I are so thankful that our grandsons have had this privilege. Our son, unfortunately, was in the generation that did not. Yet, he has made many sacrifices to ensure that his sons would reach this day.

During the Mass, I showed one of my granddaughters how to use the Daily Roman Missal – 1962 Version. She now knows her way around the missal and is able to follow the Latin almost as well as her two older brothers.

I keep in mind that the Church tells us that parents are the primary teachers. If my son and daughter-in-law are the teachers of their children, then that makes my wife and me the “grand-teachers.” God provides such great blessings.

Under the current conditions, how are the sheep of St. Peter’s going to teach their lambs?

How will the lambs learn what the Mass really is?

 

 

 

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-11-30

Thanksgiving was abundant with family, food, and most of all, giving thanks to our God and Father. He has blessed us far beyond our ability to provide thanks or return.

This week we have an early edition. Here is Bulletin_2014-11-30.

Important & Not So: To the extent that I am able to exercise the virtue of prudence, this blog attempts to discern between that which is important and that which is trivial. This week I have an example of each.

Trivial – A Small Flap over Flags: Bulletin 2014-11-30 page 4 – The Papal Flag: “I have moved the Papal flag to the Gospel side of the altar and the American flag to the choir side of the altar. People tell me that it should be the reverse, but I like the idea of having the Papal flag on the Gospel side.”

From the perspective of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), This is a non-issue:

Surprisingly to many, there are no regulations of any kind governing the display of flags in Roman Catholic Churches. Neither the Code of Canon law, nor the liturgical books of the Roman rite comment on this practice. As a result, the question of whether and how to display the American flag in a Catholic Church is left up to the judgment of the diocesan bishop, who in turn often delegates this to the discretion of the pastor.

From the perspective of the people who advised our Pastor that it should be the reverse of his decision, they can cite United States Code Title 4 Chapter 1 — The Flag, §7. Position and manner of display, para k.:

When used on a speaker’s platform, the flag, if displayed flat, should be displayed above and behind the speaker. When displayed from a staff in a church or public auditorium, the flag of the United States of America should hold the position of superior prominence, in advance of the audience, and in the position of honor at the clergyman’s or speaker’s right as he faces the audience. Any other flag [the Papal flag] so displayed should be placed on the left of the clergyman or speaker or to the right of the audience.

From my perspective, I have been a Roman Catholic all my life and I served in the military under U.S. flag for over 21 years; my only concern is that both the Papal flag and the U.S. flag be afforded the respect they deserve. As a side note, St. John the Evangelist appears to conform to the thinking of the The Bishops’ Committee on the Liturgy “…not to place the flag within the sanctuary itself …”

Important – Spiritual Toxins in the Vestibule: Now let’s consider a topic that is far more important. In this case, it would be worthwhile to do the background research yourself so that you may draw your own conclusions on where our Pastor wants to take his flock. The research assignment is on two items that Father has placed in the vestibule and recommended from the pulpit: Give Us This Day periodicals from Liturgical Press and The Little Blue Book – Advent and Christmas Seasons 2014-2015 from Little Books of the Diocese of Saginaw, Inc.

Give Us This Day – Without going into the detail of the research performed by some of our fellow parishioners, here are a couple of points to assist you in your personal research.

  • The editorial advisers of “Give Us This Day” include three priests who are dissenters to Church teaching and may even espouse heretical ideas. They are:
  •  The periodical includes reflections by Lutheran pastors as well as Catholic priests. It has a “Blessed among Us” page which features saints in addition to the editors’ choice of luminaries. One of these is Fr. Thomas Berry, a self-proclaimed “geologian,” who embraces ecological spirituality.

 The Little Blue Book – This publication first appeared in the vestibule on Thanksgiving Day. Our Pastor highly recommends it and its deceased author, Bishop Ken Untener as well. A quick look-up in Wikipedia informs us that:

In 1980, Untener was named the fourth Bishop of Saginaw. His consecration to the episcopacy immediately became embroiled in controversy, however, as area Catholics filed complaints with the Vatican about a recent workshop on sexuality Untener authorized at St. John’s Seminary. Detractors of the workshop claimed it promoted lewdness and promiscuity.

Your research on Bishop Untener will show you that controversy is only the beginning, there are also problems with his views on birth control, liturgy, and more. Bishop Untener was a dissenter to Church teaching. A quick reading of The Little Blue Book does not reveal any immediate threat to the soul, but it raises the question: Aren’t there more reputable authors producing Advent and Christmas Season reflections from which to chose?

Is a pattern emerging here? Why is our Pastor selecting materials from an array of dissenters? Where is he leading us? In the words of one our fellow parishioners:

Taking into account the above referenced evidence, what assurance do we have that this publication would be theologically, morally, and ethically consistent with the Magisterium of the Church? Further, what kind of shepherd would offer such tainted food to his sheep?

From this point forward, perhaps we should exercise great caution when we pick up free materials from the vestibule. In high school I wrote this to myself:

I’ll read a book,I’ll stop and look,I’ll give it my perusal.I’ll think its thoughts,Then think them twice,Then accept or give them my refusal.

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-11-23 – Part 2

The two visiting granddaughters are back with their parents and our house has fallen silent. With the holidays and the holy days coming, I’m sure we will see them and all the other grandchildren soon. It is truly good to be back in Virginia.

1. Meeting the Sheep in Exile: After the celebration of the Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Patrick’s, we had the opportunity to meet more of St. Peter’s sheep in exile. This was an experience that brought joy because we found great faith and charity in the heartfelt sentiments expressed by these parishioners. We also encountered the sadness of separation they experience because St. Peter’s is no longer the home and spiritual refuge that it had been for them for many years.

My wife (also a sheep in exile) and I want all of St. Peter’s sheep in exile to know that a large number of their fellow parishioners pray for them daily.

2. CCHD Collection: I don’t know about the other Masses, but there were very few envelopes for the CCHD collected at the 5:00PM Mass. I’ve heard that our Pastor made a statement concerning the CCHD collection at the 8:30AM Mass. He held in his hand a postcard that simply asked “St. Peter Parishioners – Please do your homework!” The postcard cited information available at the Reform CCHD Now Website.

Reportedly, he attempted to refute the notion that the CCHD is still having problems with providing funds for grantees in violation of CCHD guidelines. I would hope that he would take the time to read the posting Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition. It would also be worthwhile for him read the other information provided by the newly established Lepanto Institute.

3. Correction: Because we are discussing CCHD, I want to make sure that my statements are accurate. So, allow me to correct a misstatement in my post Two Points about Social Justice and Religious Progressives. John Carr was not in charge of CCHD. According to a somewhat out-of-date biography on the USCCB Website:

John Carr serves as Executive Director of the Department of Justice, Peace and Human Development at the United States Catholic Bishops’ Conference. In this role, he assists the U.S. bishops in sharing Catholic social teaching, advocating on major issues of justice and peace and building the Catholic community’s capacity to act on its social mission. The Department he leads includes the Catholic Campaign for Human Development, which is the Bishops’ anti-poverty program, and is guided by two Bishops’ Committees: Domestic Justice and Human Development and International Justice and Peace

4. Profession of Faith and Oath of Fidelity: It was brought to my attention by two of St. Peter’s Church Militants that our Pastor was rather free with his interpretation of the Gospel for the Solemnity of Our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. While Martin Luther might say that we are justified by our faith alone, some seem to be saying rather that we are justified by our [social justice] works. No matter what was said, or how it was stated, one result of the homily was that a young girl, well beyond the “age of reason,” concluded that Father had said that it is OK to miss Mass.

Having not been there, and not being a theologian or a canon lawyer, I will make two comments:

First – Please read Justification in Catholic Teaching. It’s a good starting place to learn about “justification.”

Second – Soon after his arrival at our Parish, Very Reverend Stanley J. Krempa, V.F, the Dean of Deanery IV of the Diocese of Arlington, held an installation ceremony at a 5:00PM Mass. The purpose of the ceremony was to have our new Pastor sign two documents. If my recollection is correct, the two documents were: The Profession of Faith and the Oath of Fidelity on Assuming an Office to be Exercised in the Name of the Church.

The two documents can be interpreted in many ways, yet, as noted by St. John Paul II, there is a need:

TO PROTECT THE FAITH of the Catholic Church against errors arising from certain members of the Christian faithful, especially from among those dedicated to the various disciplines of sacred theology…

The Church offers Her sheep, the Christian faithful, many forms of protection from error and spiritual abuse. One only needs to open the Code of Canon Law to Part I of Book II and read to see that the Church loves Her sheep. If you witness actions or teaching not in accordance with the Profession of Faith or the Oath of Fidelity, and your Pastor is not willing to address your grievance, perhaps you should take your grievance to the Dean who administered the Profession and the Oath. That would be the Very Reverend Stanley J. Krempa, V.F, 130 Keating Dr., Winchester, VA 22601.

 

For the Sheep in Exile – Bulletin 2014-11-23

Last evening, I attended the 5:00PM Mass at St. Peter’s. Bulletin_2014-11-23

According to my missal and every source imaginable, including the USCCB Website, this was supposed to be The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe.

And what is a “solemnity”? It has been my understanding from the Universal Norms on the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:  “Solemnities are counted among the most important days, whose celebration begins with First Vespers (Evening Prayer I) on the preceding day.”

Unfortunately, had you been at Mass with me, you would not have seen any solemnity in the liturgy. One wonders if our parish thurible has been misplaced or perhaps inadvertently discarded. I know our bells have been muted at the elevation.
The homily matched the “solemn celebration” in its lack of  awe and respect for our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe. To my recollection there were no references to that title or its significance except in prescribed prayers. As I said, it was just another day.
So, if you did attend Mass last evening at St. Peter’s or will attend there today, consider some of the spiritual reflections offered by Pope Francis: homily for Christ the King canonization Mass that seem to refer to our own sheep in exile here at St. Peter’s:

First, how Jesus brought about his kingdom:  he did so through his closeness and tenderness towards us.  He is the Shepherd, of whom the Prophet Ezekiel spoke in the First Reading (cf. 34:11-12, 15-17).  These verses are interwoven with verbs which show the care and love that the Shepherd has for his flock: to search, to look over, to gather the dispersed, to lead into pasture, to bring to rest, to seek the lost sheep, to lead back the confused, to bandage the wounded, to heal the sick, to take care of, to pasture.  All of these are fulfilled in Jesus Christ:  he is truly the “great Shepherd of the sheep and the protector of our souls” (cf. Heb 13:20; 1 Pt 2:25).

Those of us who are called to be pastors in the Church cannot stray from this example, if we do not want to become hirelings.  In this regard the People of God have an unerring sense for recognizing good shepherds and in distinguishing them from hirelings.

There is more that needs to be said about the contents in the bulletin, but two of my granddaughters are visiting and I need to spend time with them. My wife and I recently moved 2,000 miles so that we could be with them and our other eight grandchildren. God has blessed us so greatly!

Today, we will attend Mass in the Extraordinary Form at St. Patrick’s with our family. It will be the Mass for the 24th Sunday after Pentecost. Although it will not be a “solemnity” in the same sense as The Solemnity of our Lord Jesus Christ, King of the Universe, at least it will be celebrated with great reverence and awe.

Rules and Tools for Radical Pastors #1

Overview: For some time now, I have presented my views concerning the “tidal wave of change” at St. Peter’s from mixed emotional and analytical perspectives. My wife and I have both suffered personal spiritual offense in the wake of the changes imposed by our Pastor. Others in the Parish have also suffered, including those who are now the “sheep in  exile.” Consequently, my personal feelings were intermingled with a more rational analysis of “The Great Imposition of 2014.”

Although I will not refrain from voicing my personal feelings in the future, it is now time for me to examine what is being imposed on our Parish. From that examination we can learn what rules and tools are available to our Pastor as he continues “The Great Imposition.”

Background: Let it be understood that our Pastor does not walk around with a rule book for radical actions in his back pocket. Nor does he have a shed filled with tools to implement his agenda of imposition. The terms “Rules” and “Tools” are merely conceptual notions that describe the “means and methods” he has acquired and developed over time.

As a starting point for this examination, let us stipulate two well-documented points:

POINT 1: Father was closely associated with and probably a founder of Virginians Organized for Interfaith Community Engagement (VOICE), a close affiliate of the Industrial Areas Foundation (IAF). Please note that the URL for VOICE.  is “http://www.voice-iaf.org/”, clearly showing the very close affiliation with IAF. This excerpt from a 2008 Washington Post article supports this point that Fr. Grinnell was probably a founder of :

“As along as we’re isolated — congregation or church or faith community — we face our own issues without realizing that they’re much more universal,” said the Rev. Horace “Tuck” Grinnell, pastor of St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Falls Church and one of the founding clergy members.

The IAF History page confirms the alliance that Saul Alinsky  made with the Roman Catholic Church from the very beginning in 1940 by placing a Catholic bishop on its board of directors:

The Industrial Areas Foundation was established in 1940 by Saul David Alinsky and a Board of Directors that included business man Marshal Field, Roman Catholic Bishop Sheil and Kathryn Lewis, daughter of John L Lewis, President of the United Mine Workers.

With IAF and with VOICE you get Saul Alinsky. With Saul Alinsky you get his “Rules for Radicals.” Therefore, with Fr. Grinnell, in some form or fashion, you get some exposure to the Rules for Radicals. Following is a summary of the the 12 rules:

 RULE 1: “Power is not only what you have, but what the enemy thinks you have.”

Power is derived from 2 main sources – money and people. “Have-Nots” must build power from flesh and blood.

RULE 2: “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”

It results in confusion, fear and retreat. Feeling secure adds to the backbone of anyone.

RULE 3: “Whenever possible, go outside the expertise of the enemy.”

Look for ways to increase insecurity, anxiety and uncertainty.

RULE 4: “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”

If the rule is that every letter gets a reply, send 30,000 letters. You can kill them with this because no one can possibly obey all of their own rules.

RULE 5: “Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”

There is no defense. It’s irrational. It’s infuriating. It also works as a key pressure point to force the enemy into concessions.

RULE 6: “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”

They’ll keep doing it without urging and come back to do more. They’re doing their thing, and will even suggest better ones.

RULE 7: “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”

Don’t become old news.

RULE 8: “Keep the pressure on. Never let up.”

Keep trying new things to keep the opposition off balance. As the opposition masters one approach, hit them from the flank with something new.

RULE 9: “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”

Imagination and ego can dream up many more consequences than any activist.

RULE 10: “If you push a negative hard enough, it will push through and become a positive.”

Violence from the other side can win the public to your side because the public sympathizes with the underdog.

RULE 11: “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”

Never let the enemy score points because you’re caught without a solution to the problem.

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions.

 

POINT 2: The Rules for Radicals are too expansive for direct application within a parish. Consequently, they must be adapted to fit the parish context. In point of fact, one Protestant pastor did just that. The Rules for Radical Pastors is an article written by Gordon E. Simmons. The author openly testifies that his formation of the “Four organizing principles” were fashioned in accordance with the guidelines of Saul Alinsky and the IAF.

To find this article, one has to go no further than to the “http://voice-iaf.org/organizingtools” and find the topic “Training Materials.”

This makes my point: The Website of an organization probably founded by Fr. Grinnell provides “Tools” for organizing a parish according to the philosophy of Saul Alinsky.  The question that remains to be answered  is: Has Fr. Grinnell used the “Four organizing principles” of Rules for Radical Pastors at St. Peter’s?

I will discuss this in more detail later. For now, here are the principles or rules.

RULE 1: Build an organization through individual meetings

RULE 2: Build an organization by presenting a vision of where you are going and moving toward it.

RULE 3: Build an organization through leadership development.

RULE 4: Teaching happens best through an action-reflection model.

Have we seen any of this at St. Peter’s?

PHONEYS

As noted in my last post, I have taken time to take a step away from our immediate concerns at St. Peter’s. The rapidity and depth of the changes unfolding within our Parish can cause one to become mired in the details and minutia of the present and lose sight of the larger picture. With that in mind I listened to the CD Winning the Culture War by Dr. Peter Kreeft and also took some time to review my old high school Western Civilization history book . The two ventures were helpful in re-establishing mental and spiritual equilibrium.

The CD and Youtube video of Dr. Kreeft’s talk are lengthy. If you don’t take notes, you can miss some of the high points and their interrelationships. Fortunately, there are several commentaries on the talk that provide a type CliffsNotes guide. The following excerpt from The Devil plans to with the culture war by making Catholics phoneys – Peter Kreeft summarizes the seven concepts represented by the acronym P-H-O-N-E-Y-S:

  • Politicization – the tendency Americans have to confuse politics for religion. He drew awareness to the trend of defining oneself by politics instead of religion, saying, ‘We have persuaded many of them to judge their faith by the standard of ‘political correctness’ rather than vice versa.’
  • Happy Talk – the principle of happy talk raised the ante on the average ignorance-is-bliss mentality. He pointed out that Catholics must first return to being Catholic, and correct their own practices before projecting to non-Catholics. “Catholics abort, contracept, sodomize, fornicate, divorce, and sexually abuse,” he said, “at almost exactly the same rate as non-Catholics. Amid this devastation, keep them happy talking. Keep them saying ‘Peace, Peace,’ when there is no peace.” He wants Catholics to take responsibility for their behavior, make a conscious effort to change it, and to acknowledge that blame can’t be placed entirely on the secular world.
  • Organizationalism – Catholics suffer from organizationalism, causing them to regard everything—including the Church—as business ventures. This is especially bad, he noted, because people have lost sight of the role of the Church, and instead focused on the goals of business. “They must worship success, not sanctity,” he said, “and fear failure, not sin.”
  • Neo-worship – or worship of things new at the expense of the old, in particular the rejection of things “pre-Vatican II”.
  • Egalitarianism – Describing society’s misguided translation of egalitarianism, Kreeft pointed out that “sexism” has persuaded men and women to perceive each other as equal, when they should instead be considered beautifully inferior to each other. He believes in the importance of regarding men and women as separate and unequal, and in acknowledging the positive impact of the differences that define each. According to Kreeft, society’s deterioration of egalitarianism fosters “the difference between the beauty of black and the beauty of white reduced to a boring grey.”
  • Yuppydom – which is essentially selling out to the fads of the times rather than holding God as God. Yuppydom is  a generation that prides itself on not being prideful, saying, “Let them feel superior about not feeling superior, judgmental about not being judgmental.”
  • Spirituality –  in which Christians seek salvation, or at least affirmation, while recoiling at the thought of suffering—they want Christ without the cross.

Winning the Culture War

Sometimes, it’s good to take a step back and re-evaluate the situation. Many of the Lighthouse Catholic Media CD’s, found in St. Peter’s vestibule, provide an opportunity to view the larger picture. For example, the talk Winning the Culture War by Dr. Peter Kreeft provides an entertaining and insightful reflection to assist in understanding who is the author of the so-called “Culture War” and how the Church is being undermined by heresy and division. The talk is presented in a first person,  letter-form narrative by C.S. Lewis’ character – Screwtape. This new Screwtape letter helps placing the current situation at St. Peter’s into a proper perspective.

Although there aren’t enough copies of the CD for everyone reading this blog (and I try my best to avoid violating copyrights), someone was wise enough to post a video of the talk on Youtube. So, if you have the time, go to  How to Win the Culture War and learn what Screwtape is trying to do to our Church.