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Saturday, September 22, 2018

Father Rutler: Saint Michael the Archangel

Father George W. Rutler
The selection of Saint Michael as our parish’s patron in 1857 certainly was inspired. Who could be a better champion in “Hell’s Kitchen” than that heavenly soldier wielding the sword, as the great statue in our church shows him? As angels are pure spirit and sublime intelligence, it is tempting for mortals of flesh and limited intelligence to pretend that they are fictions, but many times in meeting strangers we may “entertain angels unawares” (Hebrews 13:2).
Michael, whose name means “no one is like God,” leads a combat that is even more violent for being spiritual and not merely political. Spiritual combat is virulent now, when virtually every social institution is confused and angry, and harshly so in the Church, which is more than a human invention and is in fact the “Body of Christ”—that is, his living presence on earth. Our Lord predicted “… that the Son of Man was destined to suffer grievously, to be rejected by the elders and the chief priests and the scribes” (Mark 8:31).
In 1776 Thomas Paine wrote contemptuously of “the summer soldier and sunshine patriot” who flees when the going gets rough. Such are those who claim to have been baptized as Soldiers of Christ but who flee from spiritual combat when they are scandalized by news of sin. There is a parallel here with what a recent book, The Coddling of the American Mind, describes as a young generation living in a cultural bubble protected from psychological discomfort. They are so cushioned from the hard facts of life that they flee into “safe spaces” when traumatized by reality.
Saint Augustine said, “In addition to the fact that I am a Christian and must give God an account of my life, I as a leader must give him an account of my stewardship as well.” Church leaders who have been chortling glad-handers cannot give a good account because they have been summer solders and sunshine patriots. When the clouds gather, and battle lines are drawn, they are unable to confront what Belloc called Satan’s “comic inversion of our old certitudes.”
It has actually been suggested that Satan is exposing the sins of men in order to discourage the faithful. But the Prince of Lies exposes nothing. He has long been the cover-up artist. The Holy Spirit does the revealing: “For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither anything hid, that shall not be known and come abroad” (Luke 8:17). 
“Saint Michael the Archangel, protect me against the ruses and temptations of Satan. I consecrate to you all the faculties of my soul, my soul itself and all its potentials. Guard well the weaknesses of my poor nature, that the many battles that I may undergo will become as many victories and the eternal glory of the Most Precious Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.”


Friday, September 21, 2018

How an Obscure Italian Hospital Became the Eye of a Global Storm

This is the story of an Italian hospital, controlled by the Vatican, and its history of corruption, graft, and bankruptcy.  Keep in mind as you read this shocking story that the Peronist on the Chair of  St. Peter has all sorts of ideas about the ills of capitalism and how capitalist countries need to follow his prescriptions for financial reform.

The Istituto Dermopatico dell'Immacolata, or IDI. (Credit: Associated Press.)
ROME - In February 2013, in his last official act as pope, Pope emeritus Benedict XVI appointed a commissioner for a small, seemingly insignificant hospital in Rome, the Immaculate Dermatological Institute (IDI).

Two years later, that same hospital was at the center of a tug-of-war between Australian Cardinal George Pell and the Vatican’s Secretary of State. Today, IDI is deepening the rift that threatens to tear apart the Church in the U.S., and to poison its relationship with Rome.
To understand what makes this hospital such a lightning rod, one needs to look at the path that led what was once a symbol of excellence in Catholic healthcare to the brink of ruin and almost $1 billion in debt.

In just three years, IDI has received three major infusions of cash from the Vatican and the Italian government, amounting to well over $70 million, and each time opinions were split between those who wished to save the institution and those ready to pull the plug.

What was once a Roman story drew global attention when the U.S.-based Papal Foundation, charged with financing the pope’s charitable initiatives, was asked by Pope Francis to help IDI with a $25 million payment. The request divided the foundation, with mostly clerics on one side supporting the pope and mostly lay people on the other skeptical of an institute many see as a poor investment at best, corrupt at worst.

Read more at Crux >>

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Did Communists Insert Sinners Into Seminaries?

This sermon is the clearest, most powerful explanation you will ever hear of evil in the world, of the corruption of the Church, and indeed, of the demonic forces which currently hold the Church captive at the highest level.



Sunday, September 16, 2018

R. R. Reno: Catholicism After 2018

Theodore McCarrick has been stripped of his status as cardinal for pursuing young men throughout his clerical career. “­Uncle Ted” liked to take his “nephews” to bed with him. The public revelations of this fact evoked outrage. It was not so much that a churchman sinned as that he did so with impunity, protected by the see-no-evil mentality and, perhaps, the complicity of those who have their own secrets to keep. The anger was further stoked by an initial wave of denials. McCarrick’s protégés—some now bishops—ran for cover, insisting they knew nothing about his misdeeds.
I was not shocked by the news. I entered the Catholic Church in 2004, two years after clerical sex abuse of adolescent boys and its cover-up were exposed in Boston. We learned that many of the bishops of the United States—perhaps nearly all during the 1960s, 1970s, and 1980s—did little to root out priests who preyed upon boys and adolescents. Men who made a habit of grooming altar boys as sexual prey were shuttled from one parish to another. Pressure was exerted to keep aggrieved parents silent. Victims were stiff-armed. Insofar as there was strenuous episcopal effort, it was devoted to keeping a festering problem secret. The recently released Pennsylvania Grand Jury report deepens our knowledge of this pattern of behavior.
The moral corruption and the failure of those in charge to deal with it properly is disheartening but, for me, ­unsurprising. From 1990 until 2010, I taught at a Jesuit University and was privy to insider gossip. The Irish philosopher William Desmond recounted some of his experiences as a young scholar visiting Fordham in the 1970s. The main debate in the Jesuit dining room concerned whether or not sodomy constituted a violation of the vow of celibacy. Some priests took the line that celibacy concerns the conjugal act, not sterile sex between men. A friend who spent time as a Jesuit novice during that slouching decade told me that novice masters regarded homo­sexual relations as healthy, even necessary for proper priestly formation. Sometimes the novice masters insisted that they be the agents of this “formation.”
The passing of the decades brought changes. I don’t think there is quite the same spirit of open experimentation abroad in the Church today, not even among Jesuits, though I may be too sanguine. Since the revelations about McCarrick, a number of younger men have recounted hair-raising stories about their experiences in corrupt seminaries, events that took place after 2002 and public outrage about clerical sexual abuse. Whether or not things have gotten better—and, again, I think they have—the past shapes the present. It wasn’t long ago that homosexual sex wasn’t just tolerated among clergy; it was protected. And it still is in some quarters, as McCarrick’s career indicates. Were it not for revelations about sex with a minor and abuse of power, he would have remained a much-feted ecclesiastical eminence. He was part of a much larger quasi secret about gay clergy that implicates even the best of men, undermining them in the way that unaddressed, openly tolerated corruption destroys the morale of any unit.
Read more at First Things >> 
 

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Father Rutler: The Axle on Which Our World Turns

Father George W. Rutler
ON the ninth of October in 1845, Blessed John Henry Newman was received into the Catholic Church by the Passionist priest Blessed Dominica Barberi. On the 150th Anniversary of that meeting of saints, to the very hour, I had the privilege of offering Mass in the little room where it took place.
 
Newman’s decision was hard, as he had devoted his life to many souls whom he would have to leave. On September 25, 1843, he preached his sermon of farewell—“The Parting of Friends"—in the church he had built. This means that next week will be its 175th anniversary. His sermon ended with lines that belong to literature as well as to piety:

And, O my brethren, O kind and affectionate hearts, O loving friends, should you know any one whose lot it has been, by writing or by word of mouth, in some degree to help you thus to act; if he has ever told you what you knew about yourselves, or what you did not know; has read to you your wants or feelings, and comforted you by the very reading; has made you feel that there was a higher life than this daily one, and a brighter world than that you see; or encouraged you, or sobered you, or opened a way to the inquiring, or soothed the perplexed; if what he has said or done has ever made you take interest in him and feel well inclined towards him; remember such a one in time to come, though you hear him not, and pray for him, that in all things he may know God's will, and at all times he may be ready to fulfil it.
   
Some years before, Newman had traveled to Italy where he entered unfamiliar churches: “I neither understood nor tried to understand the Mass service—and I did not know, or did not observe, the tabernacle Lamp—but now after tasting of the awful delight of worshipping God in His Temple, how unspeakably cold is the idea of a Temple without that Divine Presence! One is tempted to say what is the meaning, what is the use of it?”
 
Newman would later realize the effect of the Blessed Sacrament reserved for adoration, and what he said could describe our situation on 34th Street: “It is really most wonderful to see this Divine Presence looking out almost into the open streets from the various Churches . . . I never knew what worship was, as an objective fact, till I entered the Catholic Church.”
 
Ours is a restless city, and no more serene these days is this earthly part of the Holy Catholic Church. Visitors stop by hourly to look at our building, and whether known or not, the axle on which our world turns, often shakily, is that Presence with the candle burning by it.