Sunday, December 29, 2013

Catholic Church Shopping, Part XIV: The Sardine Can

I have attended the Sardine Can a few times. I call it such because it is inevitably packed to the rafters with a standing-room-only-crowd. It is the oldest Catholic church building in Staten Island and is located in what was once a sleepy maritime village on the southern part of the island. The village has been mostly obliterated and its original inhabitants scattered to the four winds first by a devastating brush fire in the early 1960s which displaced 500 people and destroyed 100 homes, and then by the construction of the West Shore Expressway, the Verrazano Bridge and subsequent overdevelopment. Now, one can spot a humble older house here and there, nestled in between the McMansions and endless vistas of attached townhouses. White flight from Brooklyn and the North Shore of Staten Island has made this neighborhood extremely popular and its 19th century church extremely well attended. I could just as easily call it The Death Trap, as its single small exit would make it a tomb for hundreds in the event of a fire.

In any case, it's a charming edifice, with beautiful stained glass windows, traditional Stations of the Cross and other iconography. Its congregation appears to be mostly Italian American. For some reason the parish is officially combined with a booming, opulent parish a few miles down the road. Even though this parish is always packed, one doesn't get the impression of any special fervor. No
one really sings, or genuflects, dresses appropriately or shows any interest. The back of the church is full of gossiping adults; the foyer is full of tweens and teenagers tapping away on their phones or video games. Many people flee right after Communion. The rotating cast of priests never say anything worthwhile. The sermon last Sunday was memorable though, but for all the wrong reasons.

The priest, a handsome bearded man who couldn't have been more than 40 and who spoke with a theatrical voice and articulate delivery, gave a sermon on the Gospel story of how Jesus' divine paternity was revealed to Joseph in a dream, thus convincing Joseph not to divorce Mary after he learned of her pregnancy. The centerpiece of his entire message was that Joseph had not intended to divorce Mary because he thought she was unfaithful- that would have meant that Joseph did not trust Mary and that would have made him cynical, an unthinkable fault- but that he was going to divorce her because he thought she had been raped by a Gentile during her visit to Elizabeth, which would have rendered the child non-Jewish under the Law of the time, making their marriage illegal as well. According to the priest, this compelled a devout man like Joseph to divorce Mary, as much as he no doubt didn't want to.

No trace of this fanciful construction is found in the Bible at all. It was entirely a figment of this priest's imagination. Even if it could be argued that it was so, I am at a loss as to how there is any lesson in it that would be relevant to us today. I don't know anyone who ever faulted Joseph for wanting to divorce his pregnant wife whom he never had relations. In any case, how does this story edify us or inspire us to be better Catholics? This was truly one of the most bizarre sermons I've ever heard, which was a shame since the priest was a very good orator, with a persuasive and passionate delivery.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Where crucifixes go to collect dust

The Times reports that a warehouse on the grounds of Mount Loretto is the final resting place for sacramental and liturgical objects from closed churches around the archdiocese. The article notes that it was only in 2004, when a bishop walked into a bar and noticed an object from his first church decorating the shelves of the drinking establishment, that the archdiocese thought about crafting some regulations about how to dispose of crucifixes and vestments and other holy objects that were no longer needed.
(What a poignant commentary on the short-sightedness of our hierarchy. If someone had opened their eyes to this glaring issue, we would be spared the sight of 1st degree relics being sold on ebay and Brooklyn hipsters using Catholic chalices for candy bowls.) The article also notes that this policy became especially significant when the archdiocese reneged on its 2007 promise not to sell any closed parishes to developers.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Catholic Church Shopping, Part XIII: Meh

I attended Mass today at a mid-island parish founded in 1914. The age of the church building was uncertain. It looked old from the outside, but the interior had some modern elements. Overall it was quite attractive, with beautiful stained glass windows and traditional Stations of the Cross. The mass was attended by about 200 people. About 65% seemed to be in their 60s and 70s, 25% in their middle age, with the rest a smattering of young families, which was surprising since this parish also has a school. The priest was American and quite young, perhaps no more than 35, so I was eager to hear him speak. Although it was obvious that he had faith, he really said nothing of any consequence. With tomorrow being the feast of the Immaculate Conception, he noted how Mary needed to be extremely holy in order to bear our Lord, and that we all need to let God into our hearts this Christmas season. That was it. It wasn't a  stupid sermon; it wasn't heterodox; it was just extremely disappointing. The choice of music was uninspiring, rather than banal. The parish has a Bible study and some brief hours of Eucharistic adoration and novena which are, no doubt, attended solely by senior citizens, judging by the makeup of the congregation. Still, it seemed like the church was thriving, at least by the low standards of anemic modern American Catholicism. They paid off their debt and they were able to send over $8,000 to the Filipino typhoon victims. But when all the seniors die off, who will pick up the slack?

To me, this parish is at a place where a lot of failing parishes were 20 years ago. By the numbers it is successful. A stable neighborhood has resulted in a school with enough enrollment to pay for itself. The number of parishioners are enough to sustain the parish and throw a few nice parties a year. The people are cheerful rather than spiritually fervent in any way. Then the old folks start dying off. The young people go to high school and college, move away from home and fall away from the faith. If they marry at all, they marry late and artificially limit their families. Of the few that retain the faith, they will live somewhere else. A certain percentage of the retirees start moving to New Jersey or Florida. And then all it will take will be a city social service agency placed nearby, or a few dark faces moving in, and the neighborhood will quickly "change," and this model parish will then resemble St. Peter's or Immaculate Conception or St. Mary's. We've seen it all happen before.

The Catholic Titanic

In a brutal address to representatives of Staten Island parishes, the Rev. John O'Hara, former pastor of St. Teresa's and now archdiocesan director of strategic pastoral planning, told the assembly that the Catholic Church on Staten Island would "go down faster than the Titanic" if her parishes didn't maximize efficiencies and save money by cooperating, consolidating and closing bleeding churches. Specifics seem to be unavailable at this time. Under the Cardinal's "Making All Things New" initiative, all island churches are now grouped in six clusters based upon the criteria of demography and geography. The churches in each cluster will have to figure out how to survive.

The initiative is the brainchild of a consulting firm called The Reid Group, whose representatives were present at the aforementioned meeting. The Reid Group seems to consist of a bunch of slick lawyers and accountants who have made a great living off of the carcasses of struggling Catholic dioceses nationwide. Their modus operandi seems to be to swoop in with their experts and studies and reports and figure out how to close unprofitable parishes in the nicest and most professional way possible. The employment of such a group is a stark sign that the hierarchy of this archdiocese is hopelessly blinded by a carnal mentality that only sees the problem as one of dollars and cents, and hobbled by a defeatist spirit that can only propose retreat upon retreat as the only solution.

Even the words that greet you when you visit the website of The Reid Group are negative, depressing and hopeless in the extreme: "Change is in abundance! Pick up any newspaper or magazine today and there is a good chance that you will find a news article about change. Managing change well will not alleviate loss, but will lessen some of the pain of loss." With friends like these, who needs enemies?

There was not one word in Father O'Hara's speech or in the gloomy words of The Reid Group about the spiritual aspect to our problems. We- the Church- are suffering because we have rejected the Father, abandoned Christ and lost the Spirit. The long and short of it is that with extremely few exceptions, we- the ones who still for some reason attend Mass and superficially adhere to the Church- do not live our lives like we really believe it. If we really believed,  we would not only live lives that would be an example to the world, but we would be fighting aggressively for the lost sheep of the Church. Instead, we live and think exactly like the world and we confirm the sinners in their sin with our tolerance and our silence.We are in desperate need of a revival. Who will show us the way?

Father O'Hara's Titanic metaphor was apt. This ship is going down. However, the crew of the Titanic at least tried to save the ship before it sunk; the crew at the helm of the Church have been actively punching holes in the hull of the ship, demotivating the passengers and mindlessly twiddling their thumbs for 50 years. And now our leaders and their opportunistic consultants are spending their time and our money figuring out how to merely slow the decline and let the Church die as painlessly as possible. That is not a solution. This disaster started with the priesthood; and the reaction must begin in the priesthood. But a revival of the faith isn't going to originate with men who, in the midst of this utterly unprecedented crisis, are preoccupied with amnesty legislation or who blather syrupy platitudes or tell jokes from the pulpit week after week. This spiritual revival won't originate in men who think it's a good idea to invite a female Methodist minister to preach to a Catholic congregation, such as happened today at Blessed Sacrament. We need saints who believe, really believe with all their hearts, that Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Light, and that He established the Catholic Church as His One True Church. Being animated in the spirit of the Church Militant and becoming saints is the only way this dying body of cowards, hypocrites and cultural Catholics will be resurrected. Anything less and we're left with the ice cold and degenerate social club we have today. May God send us saints, we humbly pray.

Come Rack! Come Rope!

The Advance ran an article today about the Catholic opposition to Obama's Health Care mandate, in which several Staten Island clerics are quoted making some pretty strong comments about the mandate's unconstitutional infringement on Catholic religious freedom. Monsignor Edmund J. Whalen, principal of  Farrell High School, even declares that the Church will resist the mandate "to the limit."

I have two comments:

1. In addition to pointing out how this law is a blatant and illegal violation of our constitutional rights, our bishops and priests should be preaching about why artificial contraception, the root of so many other sins, is evil. But we never hear a thing about it. In fact, the flock both overwhelmingly uses contraception and thinks it's fine. Is it any wonder they don't understand what all the fuss is about? The bishops are saying that we oppose the mandate because it forces us to violate our religion, which is true. But more to the point is the fact that opposition to artificial contraception is a part of our religious belief because artificial contraception is evil. Why is that angle ignored?

2. To what "limit" exactly is the good Monsignor referring? The exhaustion of all legal appeals, or something further? Monsignor Whalen, of course, is only a local priest. What exactly is the strategy of our leaders, the bishops, should we lose this lawsuit? Will they shrug their shoulders, tell the flock that they gave it their best shot, and then prove their loyalty to divine America by burning incense at its altar and obeying this immoral law? I pray to God that will not be the case, but we are not being told what to expect. This is a watershed moment in the history of the Church. The regime in charge of this once great land of liberty is telling us that we must betray our Faith. We simply cannot obey. The bishops must prepare us for the worst, and clearly tell our enemies that we will never cooperate with EVIL. The bishops have to tell the flock that we will therefore need to prepare ourselves for persecution that could mean the imprisonment of Catholics and the loss of our churches, but to be comforted by the fact that it is better to be an outlaw than an apostate; it is better to disobey Obama than turn our backs on Christ, and that the blood of martyrs is always the fertilizer for a stronger and purer Church than before. Michael Voris recently produced an excellent, excellent, must-watch critique of this issue and Cardinal Dolan's lack of leadership. Click here.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Latin Mass at Sacred Heart

Thanks to the heads-up from blog contributor "Anonymous", I attended a Latin Mass at Sacred Heart on a Saturday evening a few weeks ago.

Contrary to my expectations (and perhaps contrary to the hopes of those who scheduled it for 7:30 pm on a Saturday evening in October), there were about 100 people present. The Filipina ladies in mantillas that I have always seen at Latin Masses in New York City were present, kindly distributing booklets at the door to facilitate comprehension and participation. Yes, the majority of those present were senior citizens with a sprinkling of middle aged people, but there were also a surprising number of families with young children and some teenagers. In a clever move, the organizers posted signs requesting that worshippers confine themselves to the first 10 pews on either side of the aisle, thus avoiding the dispiriting sight of the usual Catholic seating arrangement (i.e. as far away from everyone else as possible). A holy silence prevailed as I entered the church, but the extraordinary atmosphere for this extraordinary Mass couldn't prevent the teenagers and some adults from doing that infuriating, bastardized form of pseudo-Catholic genuflection (slightly bend a knee and then swat away imaginary flies from in front of your face).

Father Jerome, the pastor, was the celebrant and did a wonderful job. He admitted, during his short sermon, that he had to teach himself the Latin, and so he apologized for any mispronunciations he might have made. That was a telling statement. Would a priest go to the trouble of teaching himself to say the Latin Mass just to appease a few cranks once or twice every 2 years? Or does Father Jerome believe in its spiritual value and does he plan to re-introduce the Old Mass into his parish on a more regular basis? If he can draw 100 people on a Saturday night, how many would attend at 10:30 on Sunday morning?

The Mass was beautiful and serene. The usual organist was on duty, but she played mostly Latin hymns rather than the awful, un-singable stuff she usually chooses. People sang. It was a great experience, which I hope will be repeated. The Filipina ladies were asking for names and email addresses afterwards, in order to organize supporters to agitate for more of the Latin Mass. I haven't heard from them yet, but time will tell. The Mass was a great success which I hope will be the sign of a resurgence of Tradition in our local churches.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Outdoor Masses

Interesting topic, at least to me: the pastor of St. Ann's church, Fr. Joy Mampilly, recently celebrated the Mass at South Beach, with a small part of the congregation in attendance. The occasion was to mark the 1 year anniversary of Hurricane Sandy, during which 1 of the parish's members was killed. There was really no reason to hold the Mass on the beach, except to excite emotion among the participants. In fact, the Redemptoris Sacramentum states explicitly:

Chapter V

1. The Place for the Celebration of Holy Mass
[108.] The celebration of the Eucharist is to be carried out in a sacred place, unless in a particular case necessity requires otherwise. In this case the celebration must be in a decent place. The diocesan Bishop shall be the judge for his diocese concerning this necessity, on a case-by-case basis.

There was no necessity to celebrate this Mass outdoors, such as the Pope does in the event of gigantic crowds, or as happens on the battlefield in wartime. This was done for mere dramatic effect and for sentimentality. And was permission given by the Cardinal? So what will be the result? Yet another blow against sacredness and sacramentality. Why have Mass in a church? Why even go to Mass? Let's worship God in His own great outdoors! Young women, already indoctrinated by wedding shows on basic cable to yearn for scenic outdoor weddings, will rightly ask why their priest cannot bless their marriage on the beach, or on a cruise ship, at the country club or on the top of Mount Moses, rather than in some stuffy church with all those grim statues and crucified Jesus. Will the pastor of St. Ann's church have a convincing answer?

Oddo hits back

So, the tone of this spat over Mount Manresa is starting to turn ugly and anti-clerical. Yes, the Rev. Hallinan's article in the Advance was rude and disingenuous, but Councilman Oddo, a man known for his temper, didn't have to respond with base insults. In a tweet, the Councilman called the priest arrogant, indifferent and disrespectful and accused him of "hiding behind his collar" because he hadn't returned the Councilman's phone call. Now, I agree that the Order and Father Hallinan are coming across as arrogant, indifferent and disrespectful, but 1. it's going too far to publicly describe them as such after a single phone call is not returned, and 2. I wouldn't say that anyone is hiding behind their collar. That accusation implies that Councilman Oddo would physically assault Father Hallinan if he weren't a priest. Oddo goes on to say ""It's curious why he's so invested in this sale", implying that Father Hallinan is going to benefit financially from the sale of Mount Manresa! While I think the Jesuits' actions regarding Mount Manresa can be criticized, Jim Oddo is starting to use language that sounds like Henry VIII when his annulment application was rejected. Is there more to Jim Oddo's anti-clericalism than just the Mount Manresa issue? Did some priest reprove Oddo for his immoral living arrangements?

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Put up or shut up

A very public kerfuffle has arisen between Councilman Jim Oddo and a Jesuit priest over the issue of Mount Manresa. After repeated public criticism by Oddo and other politicians, the Jesuit order finally hit back in the form of a very strongly worded -even rude- opinion article in the Advance.

In it, the Rev. Mark Hallinan, S.J., the pastor of Our Lady of Mount Carmel/ Saint Benedicta church in West Brighton, justified the actions of the Order. In response to Oddo's criticism that the Jesuits weren't being "generous", Rev. Hallinan writes that the Order has been generous for 100 years by maintaining a large and beautiful property from which neighbors freely benefited. (Two points: 1. he seems to be acknowledging that by selling the property now, the property value of neighboring homes would be harmed, and 2. it's a bit much to claim that the Order was being generous by maintaining the property for 100 years. That was the whole purpose for which you were given donations in the first place: to purchase and maintain the land and the property for the use of the people donating the money and for the use of the Church as a whole. That's like saying that if a man pays me to paint his fence, I should be regarded as "generous" for beautifying the landscape. I'm starting to understand the meaning of the word "jesuitical".)

The Rev. continues to emphasize the Order's "generosity" by listing the various social services they performed, such as letting AA meet there and providing temporary housing to 9/11 workers and Sandy victims. I find it interesting that the accomplishments for which he is most proud have nothing to do with the retreat house's mission (i.e. Catholic renewal and evangelization) but are secular in nature, a distortion of values which lies at the heart of Mount Manresa's demise. He goes on to say that the Jesuits only decided to sell the property after a "careful and lengthy discernment process", an assertion which is pure bunk, as the spokesmen for Mount Manresa were lying about the property's future and raising funds up to the moment the sale was announced. Rev. Hallinan concludes by telling Oddo and his alllies to raise $15 million dollars and to "PUT UP OR SHUT UP", an inappropriate and vile thing for a priest to say, let alone write in a public newspaper.

Does Rev. Hallinan speak for the order? Does he speak for the Order in such a vulgar and non-Christian manner? Or is he yet another priest who shouldn't be allowed near a microphone or a word processing program?

Catholic concubinage

Just an observation: the Republican and Democratic candidates running for Staten Island Borough President are both "Catholic" and are both shacking up with concubines. To those who think I'm being "mean" by calling these women "concubines", I would direct their attention to the actual definition of the word:

 con•cu•bine [kong-kyuh-bahyn, kon-]

1. a woman who cohabits with a man to whom she is not legally married, especially one regarded as socially or sexually subservient; mistress.

1250–1300; Middle English  (< Anglo-French ) < Latin concubīna,  equivalent to concub-  (variant stem of concumbere  to lie together; see con-, incumbent) + -īna  feminine suffix

Jim Oddo, the 47 year old Republican, is a product of Catholic education from elementary school to college (St. Dorothy's, Farrell and Fordham). It doesn't appear to have had any effect. He is currently shacking up with Kim Petersen, a city attorney and a long-time girlfriend who is described as a "fiancee", a term which is- I suppose- a polite but meaningless euphemism that modern society awards to concubines after a sufficient time has passed with a single man. Oddo, a conservative by reputation, attended the gay wedding of City Council speaker Christine Quinn, making his disdain for marriage quite public. Not surprising; if anyone could sympathize with the arguments of gay marriage advocates, it would be him. After all, he's a practitioner of the philosophy summed up by the motto: "If you love/lust someone enough, exchange bodily fluids with them!" If you really believe that, then there is no room in your mind or soul for Sacramental marriage.

The Democrat Louis Liedy, a 66 year old divorcé, went to public schools, but was baptized by Monsignor Joseph Farrell (the high school's namesake) and attended St. Peter's church with his family as a youth. He is currently shacking up with a Linda Schrader (and her son!) on Ward Hill. No mention of the wife he put away in the 90s.

There's a lot that can be said about this: the utter impermeability of the souls of these men- and the generations they represent- to any influence of Catholic sexual morality and teaching about marriage, despite their ostensible marination in Catholic schools and Catholic culture; the horrible catechesis they no doubt received; the disgusting fact that concubinage is so socially acceptable nowadays that it is flaunted even by aspiring politicians; the fact that these corrupt Peter Pans are seemingly unable to commit to a woman; but personally, my take on this situation is that I won't be voting for either of these moral reprobates, neither of whom deserve to be elected dog catcher. I will not choose to be represented by such men as these. Bugs Bunny will be getting at least one write-in vote for Borough President this year.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Coming Persecution...

In a scene straight out of the Spanish Civil War, a Staten Island convent full of nuns was set on fire and one Sister is currently in the hospital after jumping from a window to escape. The convent chapel was heavily damaged, as well as a hallway. A different convent building for the same order was the target of $15,000 in damage back in August. In that earlier incident, teenagers from a local, Jewish-run group home for juvenile delinquents were discovered to be the culprits. Who it was that perpetrated this more recent crime is yet to be discovered.
In my experience, when a statue is vandalized, a deranged Protestant iconoclast is usually behind it. When a church experiences senseless property damage, such as when Holy Family's large parish sign was laboriously removed and dumped in someone's yard recently, you will usually find that your run-of-the-mill lowlifes are
behind it, and you'll inevitably discover that some and perhaps all of the culprits are nominally Catholic. These kinds of attacks are nothing new. I remember having to remove swastikas and obscene stickers from my church's doors when I was a teenager. But to have someone set fire to a building full of nuns and then specifically target the altar area of the chapel leads me to wonder if the militant popular atheism and anti-clericalism of the past decade is bearing fruit and we are seeing a new era of martyrdom where the faithful will be squeezed between the official legal persecution by the Democratic 1-party regime and the physical persecution by the rage-filled and ideologized mob. Martrys of the Spanish Civil War, pray for us.

The spiritual ancestors of modern anti-Catholics express themselves.

UPDATE: 3 young men have been arrested for the crime, at least two of whom attended Catholic grade schools and high schools. 

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


American Catholic bishops are pledging to "pull out all the stops" in support of Obama's "immigration reform", i.e. amnesty, open borders and the end of the United States as we know it. How odd it is to see these constitutionally weak, timid and lazy men suddenly turn into lions when it comes to pushing amnesty. It's amazing how the approval of the liberal media acts like a magic potion upon our bishops, infusing them with the courage and energy they lack when it comes to defending the Faith, evangelizing, standing up for marriage, or disciplining heretical priests and apostate politicians. Contrast this with how they responded to gay marriage. I didn't hear anything from the pulpit about that issue or hear anything about a nationwide push to fight for marriage in the legislatures. Recall how Cardinal Dolan, the leader of our local and national Church, limited his activism on the gay marriage issue to writing a blog post and phoning in to an Albany radio show when it was already too late. Contrasts, contrasts.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Desecration of the Pulpit

As we noted in our previous post, the bishops are so passionate about giving away our country to the Third World that they are ordering priests in two dozen specially targeted dioceses to preach support for Obama's immigration reform (amnesty and open borders) on September 8th. At least one Staten Island church started the ball rolling early. On August 25th, the lily-White South Shore parish I sometimes attend witnessed a sneak preview of the bishops' upcoming nationwide indoctrination day.

On this day, the American deacon gave the homily, instead of the foreign pastor with the indecipherable accent; apparently, this message was so important that the powers-that-be really wanted to make sure we understood it (as opposed to the run-of-the-mill God stuff, which is dealt with perfunctorily in a dialect we can't comprehend). He explained that we as Catholics must support the euphemistically named "immigration reform" because 1. Pope John Paul II's Catechism declares that we must be nice to immigrants, even to "undocumented" migrants, which is what he calls illegal aliens; 2. About 50% of immigrants are Catholics; and 3. Immigrants are just great folks, who start businesses and are all-around fine people.

No one said anything. No one reacted. I imagine that the deacon could have preached the virtues of Satanism and no one in this congregation of supine, slack-jawed and practically comatose Catholics would have stirred an inch. I can't imagine that they really believed in what he said, that is, if they were forced to take a stand on it. After all, a good 90% of these people had probably fled Brooklyn and the North Shore with their tails between their legs specifically to avoid living among dark-skinned newcomers. However, it's equally as true that they'd never admit it, which is why they'd probably voice support for "immigration reform" and then flee to New Jersey or upstate NY the moment the first wave of amnestied Mexicans start moving into Tottenville.

However, one angry man did say something to the deacon afterwards. All I heard was "Preach the Gospel, not the Democratic Party platform." Took the words right out of my mouth. This issue has nothing to do with Catholicism. The Bible tells us not to mistreat the sojourner, which by no stretch of the imagination could be interpreted to mean we are obligated to legalize 20 million illegal invaders and throw open the borders for their extended families. The new Catechism enjoins "the more prosperous nations" to welcome the foreigner "to the extent they are able". To that I would say:

1. with our economy the way it is, and with the social disruption attendant with mass Third World immigration, we are not able to accommodate any more people. Sorry- the country's full and we have millions of our own unemployed and underemployed to worry about.

2. I seriously doubt that previous generations of Catholics regarded this as a moral issue. Was this mentioned in the Baltimore Catechism? The Roman Catechism of the Council of Trent? Is "maintaining borders" mentioned as a sin in any Confessor's Manual that we know of?  Remember, the ancient test of doctrine was whether it was believed always, everywhere and by everyone. Did the Catholic Church, before 1985 or so, believe that the "prosperous nations" have a duty to give citizenship to whoever hopped a fence or stayed illegally?  I think not. This is a newly invented moral crusade by leftist-influenced clerics and can be dismissed as politically motivated nonsense.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Trahison des Clercs

An interdenominational group of local leftist clerics, organized by rabble-rousing ex-Catholic "Reverend" Terry Troia, held a press conference at St. Margaret Mary church in Midland Beach to call on Congressman Michael Grimm to support amnesty legislation for illegal invaders, to repel any sort of citizenship requirements and to abolish national borders. Apparently, this is a coordinated national effort. In a lineup consisting of Catholics, Protestants, Jews and Moslems, the Executive Director of Catholic Charities for the Archdiocese blathered the usual cant about needing to establish a "welcoming society" and bring people out of the "shadows." The disgraceful Monsignor Dorney, who apparently can be corralled to represent the Church at any ecumenical circus or leftist happening, can be seen in attendance as well. 
Support for so-called "amnesty" and open borders is a glaring symptom of the mental disorder known as liberalism. It's bad enough to see it afflict an ordinary person, but to see it flare up in a Catholic priest is a disturbing sign that his Faith has taken a back seat to this insane ideology, and that he no longer has any interest in his religion or in his calling, except so far as they serve the cause of the Revolution. It is sure money that these Catholic advocates for open immigration_never_preach the hard truths of the Faith (because they probably don't believe in them) and most likely expend their passion and energy advancing causes that could be classified as secular, material and ideologically leftist. In other words, their primary loyalty is to the Democratic Party, not the Magisterium of the Church. As Christians, we are to "welcome the sojourner", a far, far different proposition from literally giving away your entire country to the endless hordes of the Third World. Committing national suicide is not a requirement for being a Catholic.
If one would argue that to be our brothers' keeper we had to somehow help the African, Asian and Latino poor in their own countries, that is an argument that could possibly be made. But to argue that Americans need to voluntarily dispossess and impoverish ourselves by letting the Third World literally take over our country is a sign that one's mind has been thoroughly rotted by liberalism. And for our weak and treasonous bishops to come out and openly advocate illegality and the surrender of our national sovereignty (how else would you describe a country without borders?) just goes to show how little respect they merit. 
To be fair, some of these clerics might just be unprincipled fools, rather than faithless leftist ideologues. They may calculate that since most immigrants are Hispanic, they must be faithful Catholics, so in the self-interest of their empty parishes, these bishops and pastors had better import a new congregation from Mexico- and fast- considering how all the Americans have abandoned the Church. Besides being despicably cynical, this theory is extremely flawed. Its lack of validity can be seen in Monsignor Dorney's empty church, as well as all the empty churches in North Shore neighborhoods that have "changed." Before they even learn English, the Hispanics are behaving like Americans, by either joining evangelical sects, living like pagans, or becoming A&P Catholics (Ashes and Palms). I know our priests don't really want to do much, but importing Hispanic congregants simply so they don't have to evangelize is not the answer.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Cardinal Dolan tells Staten Island Moslems not to lose their faith!

The following story doesn't really require extensive comment.Accompanied by Monsignor Dorney, the pastor of Good Counsel and the parish's council, Cardinal Dolan visited the Albanian mosque on Victory Blvd. where he publicly denied his Faith by saying that we worshipped the same god as the Moslems; where he prayed with infidels to this supposed common God; where he gave an extended encomium to the Moslems for holding on to their faith and maintaining their own Moslem schools in America. Then, to everyone's embarrassment, the Cardinal lost all measure and began blathering effusively about "Your love of marriage and family, your love of children and babies, your love of freedom -- religious freedom particularly-- your defense of life, your desire for harmony and unity and your care for others, your care for God's creation and your care for those who are in need." The Moslems may be gaining a new convert in the near future!

""Fight those who do not believe in Allah, nor in the latter day, nor do they prohibit what Allah and His Messenger have prohibited, nor follow the religion of truth, out of those who have been given the Book, until they pay the tax in acknowledgment of superiority and they are in a state of subjection." Koran 9:29

Is there anything this Cardinal will not do to demotivate the Faithful and appease our enemies? Is he even Catholic???? This ecumenical garbage about worshipping the same God has got to stop. We do not worship the same God as the Moslems or the Jews or any other non-Christian religion. If a person or object seems to have radically different characteristics to different people, then they are not talking about the same thing. For instance, if you and I were both looking at a cat and I described it as having fur, four legs, whiskers and a long tail, while you described it as having feathers, a beak and a a ten foot wing span, then we are not looking at the same thing. Nor are both of us right. Similarly, our God did not inspire Mohammed to write the Koran. Nor is he still keeping his Covenant with the Jewish people and planning to send a Messiah to them some day. Anyone who claims differently is not talking about our God. Our God is the True God and our Faith is the One True Faith. Why did Timothy Dolan become a priest if he doesn't believe that and isn't prepared to publicly proclaim that?

St. Francis overcame great obstacles to travel to Egypt and try to convert the Sultan.Yet, our Cardinal has himself driven across the Bridge to confirm the infidels in their error and in so doing deny his own Faith. What an example!

Giotto's "St. Francis Before the Sultan"

Thursday, June 27, 2013

June is the cruelest month

This month marks the death of two old and beloved North Shore Catholic schools: Immaculate Conception and St. Joseph's.

In what little I'd seen of Immaculate Conception, I wasn't completely surprised by that decision, even though it seemed like they had a caring teaching staff, and a large student body who really loved their school and were enthusiastic about their education. After all,  the neighborhood is considered "low-income" and the student body is predominantly, if not completely, African American and Latino, which translates into tuition assistance schemes and high non-Catholic enrollment. The school simply couldn't support itself.

I was more surprised by the closing of St. Joseph, which is in the heart of still heavily Italian Rosebank. According to the article, the school only had 170 students. According to this article, when nearby St. Mary's school closed last year, "many" of the 57% of parents who chose to keep their children in the Catholic school system chose to send them to schools in New Dorp, Dongan Hills and Oakwood, rather than send them to St. Joseph's, which is just up the street. Why?

Was it because parents suspected that St. Joseph's would be next on the chopping block? Or was there some issue with the pastor or the principal (negative, but vague, comments about both seem to fill the comments section). I noted the lack of attendance and apathy at Mass there when I went. Certain comments in the silive articles state that the pastor notified the people of the situation for years and begged for help but no one did anything. The comments also say that parents were resentful about having to help out at Bingo and at school fairs. The previous article also noted that many of the student body come from "economically disadvantaged homes." Is there an angle to the story that we're not being told? What has happened to Rosebank? Does this "close-knit" Italian community only consist of nonno and nonni these days? Have the young people fled, which is what happened to so many North Shore communities and inner-city neighborhoods all over America? Can anyone enlighten us as to what is going on at St. Joseph's and in Rosebank?

Now the Cardinal has announced that St. Joseph's, St. Mary's and Immaculate Conception will be put under the leadership of one pastor, the Rev. Victor Buebendorf, the current pastor of St. Mary's who is most known for conducting an annual ecumenical Palm Sunday service with the nearby Episcopal church. Google tells us that he has an interest in liturgical music and is, or was, a member of the Staten Island Council of Churches, specializing in interfaith dialogue. The Cardinal is acknowledges that the 3 churches "will be working together to determine their future viability" over the next year and a half, after which it is possible that one or all of them may be closed. So my question is what will this man- who couldn't save his own parish's school and whose main focus seems to be ecumenical games- do to revitalize these three parishes before the Cardinal makes his final decision on January 1, 2015? Does he have a plan? Does anyone have a plan? Or a clue?

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Mount Manresa to Mount McTownhouses. A Trust Betrayed.

It was announced that the Jesuit Order has found a buyer for the beautiful 15 acre Mount Manresa, the "birthplace of the lay retreat movement in the United States." The property has been sold for 15 million dollars to the Savo Brothers, a company which specializes in building the strip malls and gaudy McMansions which have ruined so much of Staten Island with incredibly hideous overdevelopment. To put this is perspective, the Northwestern Province of the Jesuits has agreed to pay 166 million to settle a sex abuse lawsuit. The New York Province so desperately needed this 15 million???

The faithful on Staten Island are understandably frustrated. Joseph Billotti, the long-time leader of the Rosary group at the Mount, notes that he had found a developer who would promise to save the chapel if the property had to be sold, but the Jesuits turned him down, in order to get a little more money from the Savo Brothers, I suppose. Billotti notes that through the years he had arranged for workmen and contractors to contribute labor and improvements to Mount Manresa free of charge. He also heard that religious artifacts that have been donated to Mount Manresa will either be moved to a Jesuit House in New Jersey or "bulldozed." The Rosary group, and other outraged citizens have banded together to stop the sale. Apparently, their efforts have amounted to starting a website, holding some rallies and getting 3,000 signatures on an online petition. These good (but naive) Catholics and citizens have apparently not learned the lesson of the past 50 years on Staten Island: the little people never win.

The Advance editors insultingly (but accurately) dismissed the opponents of the sale by saying that they were "several years too late and $15 million short." Easing up a bit, the editors then urged the Savo Brothers to save the chapel, suggesting its use as a "community center for plays, concerts and meetings."

That secular perspective seems to be the viewpoint of most people who have commented on the story, the majority of whom are, presumably, Catholic (this being Staten Island). They are upset that a large open space will be paved over and developed. They are upset that historic structures will be torn down. Some are even upset that buildings which hosted 9/11 first responders will be "desecrated." No one seems to be upset that the holy places of God are being bulldozed or that the Church is yet again beating a humiliating and demotivational retreat. It seems that all Staten Island Catholics are concerned about is the preservation of the property's bucolic condition. Like all native Staten Islanders, I hate townhouses and overdevelopment too, but it seems like we have our priorities a little askew.

The Jesuits and the media obliquely blame the laity for this, by saying that there's no interest in retreats anymore. I take exception to that. Since I visited Mount Manresa for an afternoon as a high school senior, I have heard nothing from them, directly to me or indirectly through my parish. Occasionally I would see a short notice of an upcoming retreat in the classified section of Catholic New York, but it is true that I had no interest in paying $100 for a weekend retreat. Surely, this wasn't the model for how they operated in their heyday? Can anyone enlighten us as to how Mount Manresa ran retreats 40 or 50 years ago? I would wager that there wasn't such a heavy financial requirement, and I would guess that parish priests were heavily involved in promoting parish retreats. In any case, in recent times the only things Mount Manresa was known for were their Zen Buddhist meditation sessions, Mandala classes, leftist speakers and other heterodox events. I would be putting my Faith at jeopardy to put in the hands of those disobedient Jesuits. The blather that was passed off as a sermon at the closing ceremony must be read to be believed.

The liars who ran the place knew, when they held their 100th anniversary gala in late 2011, that the property would be put up for sale within months. Yet one of their VIPs stated that "he hoped Mount Manresa would spend the next 100 years "offering the community what it needs." Generations of Catholics, who cultivated that property with labor and money thought they were in agreement with its Jesuit caretakers about what our community needed: a place of our own where we and our children could go for renewal and strengthening of our Catholic Faith. Let us reflect on the disingenuous wish of that VIP, when we observe the chapel and the holy grottoes being bulldozed into the ground and the statues of Jesus being smashed to pieces. The sale of Mount Manresa is nothing more than a trust betrayed.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Dolan problem

When Archbishop Timothy Dolan was appointed Archbishop of New York, everyone seemed to have an opinion on the man even before he arrived. I decided to take a wait-and-see attitude and refrained from passing judgement publicly, even when approached by a certain media outlet. After he began his reign, his public record began to invite commentary, which I offered, judging his tenure to be a mixed bag. Now, after 4 years of Dolan (how time flies!) I think we can say that this man's record has been an unmitigated disaster for the Faith in New York.

Incredibly, Dolan has a reputation as a "conservative" and for some bizarre reason was even touted as papabile at the Conclave. I suppose mere words are enough to get a man a good reputation in the Church these days for Dolan to be considered any sort of orthodox prelate, let alone worthy of sitting in the Chair of St. Peter. I am unaware of anything the man has done to warrant such popularity and esteem except for constantly guffawing and cackling like some backslapping, red-faced Irish ward heeler. No, rather he has undermined the Faith here at every turn. As evidence:
  • like several previous Cardinals here, he has been enthusiastic about playing ecumenical games by going to seders and engaging in interfaith prayer services, thereby denigrating the uniqueness of our Faith and spreading indifferentism among the Faithful. 
  • he publicly applauded the gay pride group at the openly gay parish of St. Francis Xavier in Manhattan.
  • he scandalously invited Barack Obama to the Al Smith dinner at the same time as this baby-murdering Nero was plotting to abolish religious freedom and force the Church to offer birth control to its employees.
  • worst of all, except for writing a blog post and giving an interview to an Albany radio show, he did absolutely nothing to fight against the passage of gay marriage in NY State. When it was all over, he didn't excommunicate the politicians who voted for this abomination; he didn't even say a word about it from the pulpit. He did, however, write a blog post in which he apologized to gays who might have been offended by the Church's position against gay marriage!
  • even though the Catholic school closings aren't his fault, he has come up with no alternative solution and has axed them with the alacrity of a Bolshevik Commissar. 
  • he has never spoken out about anything of consequence, or at least not in any way that would suggest to his listeners that he expects them to do anything or that he is going to do anything about it. Denounce abortion? Sure, why not? Words are cheap. Refuse Communion to pro-abortion politicians or even excommunicate them? Oh my! That would be scary! What does his new evangelization look like? Fiery preaching? Public protests? Letter-writing campaigns? A renewal of Catholic devotional life? No. We've seen felt banners with banal slogans hung from church doors. His episcopacy has been one, long, demotivational exercise in cowardice and compromise.

Now, to top it all off, pro-abortion, pro-gay marriage, pro-HHS Health Care mandate Vice President Joe Biden stopped in at St. Patrick's Cathedral on Palm Sunday and not only received a "shout-out" from the pulpit by the Cardinal but was permitted to receive Holy Communion, in defiance of Canon Law 915 and basic morality. Church Militant TV has just produced an amazing 10 minute special report on Dolan and Dolanism which is, in their definition, "subordination of the Catholic Faith to prevailing cultural mores." In addition to the things I've listed here, this segment adds persecution of Latin Mass priests to Dolan's charge-sheet. I encourage everyone to watch this explosive video.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Alert! Alert! Confession available!

Important alert! Important alert! Since Confession in this diocese is usually only offered for a few minutes a week at inconvenient times and is publicized with such muted and almost clandestine furtiveness that one would think it's a state secret, it is a significant news item that every single church in the NY Archdiocese (as well as those of Brooklyn and Rockville Centre) will be offering Confession from 3-9PM today, Monday March 25th.

I saw a full page ad in the Catholic New York announcing this event and it was also publicized on the front page of the bulletin at the church I've attended for a few Sundays. (Nothing remarkable about this place on the church-shopping front. Nothing great nor terrible. Maybe that's a good thing.) There's even a website associated with this. So bravo to the Cardinal for this initiative!

It is imperative to re-instill a conscience in a people who have lost any sense of sin, thanks to a cowardly Vatican II Church which simply stopped talking about the subject 4 decades ago. Hopefully, all the parishes will actually offer the Sacrament later today, unlike the last time I tried to avail myself of a Reconciliation Monday.

Take advantage of this very important gift. Wash away your sins before Easter. Don't buy into the lie, promulgated both by the secular culture and cowardly and/or modernist priests, that you are just fine and dandy so long as you haven't killed someone. If you have committed an unrepented mortal sin, then you are loathsome to God and will burn in Hell for eternity if you die. Are those harsh words to your ears? I'm sure they are, since you've most likely heard nothing but flattery and sentimental drivel all your lives, but it is God's truth and always has been. Examine your conscience very carefully and be purified tomorrow.