Monday, October 21

Todd suggests that only married Anglican and Lutheran ministers who convert may get ordained as Roman Catholic priests. Garbled, but you get it. I don't think so - after all, .014 second Google search came up with this story about a married Methodist minister who made the switch a few years back.

One also wearies of having to constantly explain every small detail of one's opinions on a blog, which is, by its nature, a short form of communication. Of course the diaconate has its own call and dignity. But the fact remains, Alex Jones was a pastor in his church, and is obviously a powerful leader. One hopes that if the call to priesthood is there, all sides are open.

Former hockey player says priest admitted abuse

The highest-ranking Boston Archdiocese official implicated in the sex scandal admitted molesting three boys more than 20 years ago, a former Boston Bruins hockey player said in sworn testimony filed Monday. The athlete, Chris Nilan, is a friend of the priest, Monsignor Frederick J. Ryan, who was vice chancellor under then-Boston Cardinal Humberto Medeiros.

Scholar claims oldest Jesus evidence

An inscription on a burial artifact that was recently discovered in Israel appears to provide the oldest archaeological evidence of Jesus Christ, according to an expert who dates it to three decades after the crucifixion. Writing in Biblical Archaeology Review, Andre Lemaire, a specialist in ancient inscriptions at France's Practical School of High Studies, says it is very probable the find is an authentic reference to Jesus of Nazareth. The archaeology magazine planned to announce the discovery at a news conference Monday. That Jesus existed is not doubted by scholars, but what the world knows about him comes almost entirely from the New Testament. No physical artifact from the first century related to Jesus has been discovered and verified. Lemaire believes that has changed, though questions remain, such as where the piece with the inscription has been for more than 19 centuries. The inscription, in the Aramaic language, appears on an empty ossuary, or limestone burial box for bones. It reads: "James, son of Joseph, brother of Jesus." Lemaire dates the object to 63 A.D.

Much more detail from the Washington Post

Lemaire said the ossuary currently contains no bones. It is about 20 inches long, made of porous limestone and slightly trapezoidal in shape. It closely resembles a flower box like those mounted in windows.Lemaire told the owner that his ossuary was "interesting," but he knew the box posed immediate and serious questions. How likely was it that the names James, Joseph and Jesus--all popular names in New Testament-era Jersalem -- referred to the family of Christ?Was the Aramaic inscription as old as the box, or had it been etched in later to enhance its value? Did the cursive lettering used in the inscription match characters used in contemporary scripts?Yet even if these questions were answered satisfactorily, scholars understood that the ossuary's mongrel pedigree would ensure that it would never acquire legitmacy among scholars:

Well, yes, we dashed across Ohio on Thursday and went to Pittsburgh. Then we went to sleep, then we got up, I spoke, and we dashed back across Ohio, and were home by 9pm.

I spoke at the Pittsburgh Diocese's "Total Catholic Religious Education Conference" on "Teaching Faith and Values through Literature." I don't think I was too terribly boring, and took the chance, among other things, to offer my anti-Pullman harangue. Had probably around 150 people in the room, I think. Had a chance to see nice people like Mike Aquilina, Mary-Louise Kurey and Johnette Benkovic.

The new, still-being rebuilt convention center in Pittsburgh is a wretched mess, requiring one to walk miles to get from one floor to another, especially if one has a stroller and must use an elevator. But they did the best with what they had, and came up with an excellent conference, with, as far as I could tell, no workshops dedicated to helping students find their Enneagram type by meditating on the mythical paradigms of 13th century MezoAmerica. I guess they don't do that in Pittsburgh.

A good piece about Alex Jones, the Pentecostal pastor who converted to Catholicism

Mr. Jones said he came into the church with no agenda. "I came here to learn and to sit and to discover all the teachings of the church. While I’m here and my eyes are adjusting to the light, I see things I can contribute, too. One thing I can contribute is my passion for Christ, my love for Him, and seek to spread that to those around me."....When he finally became Catholic, Mr. Jones said he felt that all of his wanderings were over. "Just about every convert to the church has that feeling of coming home. This is the big house and we’ve been living out in the yard in tents. So we folded our tent and came into the big house."

The article says Jones is training to be ordained a deacon. Why? Why not a priest? Perhaps it's a personal decision he's made himself, but if no one in the hierarchy is really encouraging this man to be ordained to the priesthood, it's a real shame.

A tragic, horrific story about a husband's control and murder of his wife - and the sons who watched.
From the NYTimes (LRR) one more story about the priest from Holy Angels in Chicago who's standing firm against his dismissal.

For the choir members who wear "Justice for Father John" pins on their robes — and for Father Calicott, who now drives 50 miles every Sunday to sit, in plain clothes, in the back rows at the Mass he used to celebrate — the letter from Rome offers renewed hope. Father Calicott, who was an altar boy at this South Side church and grew up in the Ida B. Wells housing project nearby, is one of five ousted priests in the Archdiocese of Chicago, and several dozen nationwide, who have filed appeals asking the Vatican to reconsider their suspensions.

At a reception after Mass, the cardinal declined to be photographed with Father Calicott, who had taken Communion from a priest at the back of the church, near his seat, rather than approach the prelate at the altar....

He returns here each Sunday, quietly unzipping his Bible from its leather case, singing along with the choir and raising his hands in prayer as someone else pours the wine, distributes the wafers and preaches the word."What I want is to get back to my ministry," said Father Calicott, who wore a gray sweater that matched his salty goatee. "I think I'm a good minister."Without providing details, Mr. Calicott acknowledged that "there was inappropriate behavior" with the teenagers in 1976, shortly after his ordination, adding, "for that I have apologized." His return to the parish in 1995 was contingent on continued counseling and a promise that he would never be alone with children.Today, Father Calicott emphasized that his situation was distinct from those of serial pedophiles like the defrocked John J. Geoghan in Boston, and said the retroactive zero-tolerance policy was akin to tightening restrictions on drunken driving, then stripping generations of their licenses. "There is intellectual dishonesty in taking today's standards and looking 20, 30, 40 years ago," he said. "Realistically, human beings make mistakes. Just throwing people away doesn't make sense, and doesn't protect children."Outside, on the parish billboard, sandwiched between the Mass schedule and a greeting for the cardinal, was the Holy Angels mantra: "Justice for Fr. John."

Connecticut priests apologize for hiding the whereabouts of an abuser

Howell, in his prepared statement to his congregation, said spending many hours in prayer and reflection in a monastic retreat outside Connecticut was helpful. He apologized for appearing to be insensitive to the victims of sexual abuse. Howell, 60, has been pastor of St. Joseph Parish since 1986.
"What I did or failed to do arose out of mistaken sense of fidelity to a person who had at one time been a brother priest," Howell said. "At no time did I anticipate that my occasional contacts with Laurence Brett would be a cause of harm to anyone. In acting out of a mistaken sense of fidelity, I made a prudential judgment that was wrong. I deeply regret this failure of prudence on my part and any harm it may have caused anyone."He also acknowledged that he had denied to a reporter that he had contact with Brett.

Our sympathies to Kathy Shaidle, who lost her mother yesterday.
23-year old pretends to be a priest for a week; no one notices anything wrong
John Paul II beatifies missionary workers in Uganda, including 2 Ugandan teens

At the end of the celebration in St. Peter's Square, the Pope thanked men and women missionaries for their selfless dedication to proclaiming the Gospel. "I am with you every day!" the Pope said. "'I am with you,' Jesus says to the pilgrim Church in the world. I am with you, young ecclesial communities in mission lands. Do not be afraid to engage in dialogue with all. Take the message of salvation to each one. Be courageous!" The Holy Father said this was precisely the testimony left by Daudi Okelo and Jildo Irwa, catechists of northern Uganda, who were brutally killed for the faith on Oct. 18, 1918. Historical sources say Daudi was 16 and Jildo was 12.

Today's feasts:

A couple of good ones:

First, it's the feast of St. Gaspar del Bufalo, founder of the Missionaries of the Precious Blood. And yes, St. Blog's has its very own Precious Blood blogger, who, of course, has a lot about St. Gaspar today.

It's also the memorial of St. Margaret Clitherow, martyred for harboring Catholic priests and having Mass said in her home. Martyred by means of a big door laid on top of her and big rocks piled on top of that. Oh, those civilized Brits.

Americanist asks, quite reasonably, what is this "test" I keep talking about?

Well, it's simple really - the test as to whether the American Catholic hierarchy means anything it says.

The thing is, that both you and I know what would happen ...

if a Catholic pastor wrote in support of a Catholic political candidate who recommended reconsideration of the legality of slavery, saying that the Church's history on the issue was "complicated."

if a Catholic pastor wrote in support of a Catholic political candidate who supported reconsideration of suffrage for women, saying that the Church's view of women through history was "complicated."

if a Catholic pastor wrote in support of a Catholic political candidate who questioned the wisdom of separation of Church and state, using the Church's historically "complicated" stance on the issue as his support.

Yes, we all know. We all know what would happen to a Catholic pastor who might support a candidate with racist, sexist or otherwise retrograde views. It just wouldn't be allowed, and any bishop, from Bruskewitz to Mahony, would step in and shut him up and use the opportunity to clarify the nature of Catholic teaching.

The test is - does this same standard to priests who say supporting the legally-sanctioned slaughter of the unborn is consistent with Catholic tradition and really folks, no big deal, cuz Jen Granholm is such a woman of conscience?


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