Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Fr. George F. Wiltz, S.J. "Rest In Peace"


By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News
The Rev. George F. Wiltz was an ordained Jesuit priest who used his love of Cajun cooking to reach people.

The Rev. George Wiltz, a Jesuit priest and Cajun chef, stirred the roux he made for gumbo at the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas in 1999. One of his 10-person dinners once raised $3,500 at a Dallas charity auction. Father Wiltz died Friday at a New Orleans hospital of complications from gallbladder surgery. Warm and quiet, Father Wiltz made friends with people he worked with across the South, including at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas and the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas. Father Wiltz, 73, died Friday at a New Orleans hospital of complications from gallbladder surgery last week. Visitation will be at 9 a.m. today at Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in New Orleans. A funeral Mass will be at 11 a.m. today at the church. He will be buried in Jesuit Cemetery at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La. Father Wiltz perfected his culinary skills over more than 40 years as a Jesuit educator and administrator. He first tapped his cooking talent at a Jesuit seminary in Kansas, cooking for the students during holidays, when the staff was away. Father Wiltz cooked to reach people and to raise money. Once, one of his 10-person dinners raised $3,500 at a Dallas charity auction. He and another Jesuit priest, the Rev. Hacker Fagot, later wrote a cookbook, New Orleans Cooking En Famille. Mike Bourg, executive director of the Jesuit Seminary and Mission Bureau in New Orleans, said the two priests put on a wonderful cooking and spiritual show.
"Father Wiltz would get up and talk about all the imagery of food within the Bible; he went through the Old Testament and New Testament," Mr. Bourg said. "Then Father Hacker would get up and say, 'OK, let's make shrimp rémoulade.'
"It was a wonderfully light day that kind of educated people about all the wonderful messages that God gives us through food and eating together and sharing with one another."

Father Wiltz was director of Jesuit retreat houses in Louisiana, Atlanta and Lake Dallas.
The Rev. Joseph Tetlow, director of the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House in Lake Dallas, said Father Wiltz was an energetic builder.
"Out here, he built several of the buildings, because he felt that we would have more people coming if we had the space to have them," Father Tetlow said. "He was correct about that."
Father Wiltz was twice director of the Montserrat Jesuit Retreat House, for five years in the late 1970s and from October 1997 to October 2003. He was associate pastor at St. Rita Catholic Church in Dallas for about a year beginning in 1997. At the time of his death, Father Wiltz was associate pastor of Holy Name of Jesus Catholic Church in New Orleans. "It was so easy for him to get to know people," said the Rev. Donald Hawkins, the church's pastor. "People automatically liked him, and he made friends easily." Father Wiltz was born in New Orleans, where he graduated from Jesuit High School in 1952. He entered the Society of Jesus – the Jesuits – at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La., in August 1952. He received his undergraduate degree at Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala. Father Wiltz taught at Jesuit High School in Shreveport, La., before he was ordained in June 1965. He received his theology degree from St. Mary's College in Kansas. Father Wiltz had been superior of young Jesuit seminarians at Spring Hill College and Loyola University in New Orleans. He also served as president of Jesuit High School in Tampa, Fla., director of the Jesuit Seminary Fund in New Orleans and superior at Ignatius Residence, the Jesuit retirement home in New Orleans. Father Wiltz is survived by three sisters, Juanita Larmann of Pittsburgh, Marie Blanche Halley of Metairie, La., and Dolly Ann Peltier of Atlanta; and a brother, Roland Wiltz of Metairie.
Memorials may be made to the Jesuits Office of Development, 710 Baronne St., Suite B, New Orleans, La. 70113. Link (here)

"How Could They Not Know!"

This is an excerpt from a very long and extensive article on McGuire, from NPR.

As recently as 2005, the Jesuits said they had no knowledge of this. But documents suggest they did. The boy had told his parish priest about the abuse. The priest wrote the Jesuits running the school in November 1969, and Pearlman has a copy of that letter. The said the Jesuits told him they would take care of McGuire. They put McGuire on sabbatical, and he did not return to the school. But three years later, the then-teenager realized they had not done enough.
"I was walking down one of the lanes at Loyola University," he told NPR, "and ran smack dab into Father McGuire toting a little boy with him, in the ages of like 13 to 14 years old."
Documents show that McGuire had a pattern: He would persuade a family to let their teenage son intern with him, and quickly move the boy into his room. And then, according an alleged victim who asked that his name not be used, McGuire would give the boy a sexual education, using the sacred rite of confession.
"We underwent something called a 'general confession,' whereby you just lay out your sins," the alleged victim, a young man, told NPR. "And the priest will help you, talk you through it, maybe give you some guidelines for the future. And his guidelines were to teach me about sex."
He says the guidelines included naked showers, massage and pornography. Between 1999 and 2002, the young man says he traveled with McGuire every summer, Easter and Christmas, and lived with him at Canisius House, a residence with other Jesuit priests. He said he cannot understand how they did not catch on that a teenager was living with a priest.
"How could they not know? I was in his room almost all the time," the young man said. "The food was being brought in. His secretary would drop me off. How could you not know?"
Father Edward Schmidt, the provincial since 2003, says it's an excellent question.
"I can see why the public would wonder about that," he says. "But Donald McGuire just had his own way of doing things. He could sneak people around late at night. It does seem very difficult, but I can believe that no other Jesuit knew about it. Other Jesuits would have been outraged if they had known that. If anybody had seen that going on, known that was going on, he would have been denounced immediately."

Link to this unbelievable story (here)

On Muslim Dialogue, Fr Daniel A. Madigan, S.J.

This is an important piece, by an important Jesuit! Hand selected by the Curia.

Dialogue with Muslims not possible:

Vatican The Vatican is unsure “theological dialogue” is possible with Muslims following a letter signed by 138 Islamic scholars calling for shared religious values.Vatican diplomat and president of the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran , said the Vatican would respond formally to the Muslim scholars, but he raised concerns among the Muslim signers when he told French Catholic newspaper La Criox he was not sure dialogue was possible between the two faiths."With some religions, (dialogue is possible), but with Islam, no, not at this time,” Cardinal Tauran said. “Muslims do not accept the possibility of discussing the Quran, because it is written, they say, as dictated by God."With such a strict interpretation, it is difficult to discuss the content of faith," he said .Aref Ali Nayed, one of the original signers of the letter and senior adviser to the Cambridge Interfaith Program at Britain's Cambridge University divinity faculty, told Catholic News Service, the Cardinal’s words were “very disappointing indeed".“His comments have deeply discouraged Muslim scholars and annoyed many Muslim believers at the grass-roots level," Nayed said."Rather than unilaterally declaring the impossibility of theological dialogue with Muslims, Cardinal Tauran would have been wiser to ask Muslim scholars themselves as to what kind of dialogue they feel is possible, from their point of view,” he said.
Jesuit Fr Daniel A. Madigan, who serves as a consultant to the commission for
relations with Muslims at the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue
said many Christians misunderstand how Muslims view the Quran, leading to a
widespread prejudice that assumes Muslims are unwilling or incapable of
interpreting the Quran."Any act of reading is an act of interpretation: Some
Muslims read the Quran as warranting violence, while others do not interpret it
that way. Some think it requires the seclusion of women, many others
disagree."At a time when a substantial group of Muslim scholars of widely
varying persuasions is trying publicly to promote a theological dialogue with
Christians, it seems imprudent to rule out the very possibility of such an
he said.Fr Madigan said the basis for theological dialogue with
Muslims was affirmed by the Second Vatican Council in its document on relations
with other religions and in the Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, which said
Christians and Muslims "adore the one, merciful God."
SOURCEScholars troubled by Vatican official's remarks on Muslim dialogue (Catholic News Service, 31/10/07)
LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)La Croix (on-line)A Common Word (Offical Web Site)Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue
ARCHIVEIslamic scholars appeal to Pope (CathNews, 12/10/07)Pope challenges Islam on religious freedom (CathNews, 16/05/06)Australia's moderate Muslims a sign of hope, Pell says (CathNews, 19/09/06)Vatican official encourages deepening of Catholic-Muslim dialogue (CathNews, 29/05/03)1 Nov 2007 Link to original article (here)

Fr. Joseph B. Leininger, S.J. "Rest In Peace"

Leininger, Jesuit priest and teacher, He was a popular faculty member at Strake for decades

Copyright 2007 Houston Chronicle

About a year and a half ago, students lined the hallway at Houston's Strake Jesuit preparatory school and clapped as an 82-year-old Jesuit priest left his math classroom for the last time.
The Rev. Joseph B. Leininger was wearing his customary black cassock with a green Strake Jesuit windbreaker and grinned as he strode past his fans. That day, May 22, 2006, also happened to be the day he and his identical twin, Charles, another Jesuit priest who still teaches Latin in Dallas, were born in 1924. Joseph Leininger had every intention to return to tutor students at his beloved Houston campus, where he had been a fixture for 35 years. But he never made it back. He died Saturday in New Orleans as a result of complications from a heart attack he had shortly after his retirement. "He had traveled to a retreat for Catholic novices in Louisiana and he had the attack there," said Rick Rivers, Strake Jesuit's spokesman. "He was weakened, but did not want any money spent on him. He refused surgery." The popular teacher was known to use his words sparingly. At his own retirement party at the Houstonian hotel, he had to be persuaded to give a speech, school officials said. It lasted only two minutes. He did it to raise money for an endowed scholarship in his name, which he started with $100,000 of his own money in 2003, said Richard Nevle, the school's principal. The amount in the fund has more than tripled since then. The same year Leininger retired, he received the Spring Branch Education Foundation's Crystal Award for being one of the six best teachers in the Gulf Coast area. In the past, his students jokingly nicknamed him "Darth Vader," for his black attire and seemingly stern demeanor when standing outside his classroom waiting for students to arrive, Nevle recalled. But at the same time, Nevle said many of Leininger's students would return after they graduated to talk over personal problems. "They trusted him and knew he cared," Nevel said. His teaching method was to stay at the back of his classroom and turn his students into teachers, by calling them to the board to work problems and letting the other students critique the effort. Once, he had a student with a severe stuttering problem. The student's parents worried that their son could not handle being called to the front of the room. "So Leininger worked with him for a week after school, having him go to the board. Then during class, he just called the student up there and he worked the problem perfectly without a stutter," Nevle said. Teaching runs in his family; his late mother, Josephine Blessing, was a longtime teacher like his twin brother Charles. At age 17, just after graduating from Jesuit High School in New Orleans, the brothers entered the Society of Jesus to become priests. Both would later be ordained in 1953 and take their final vows in 1957. Leininger earned his bachelor's in mathematics from Spring Hill College in Mobile, Ala., in 1947; his Licentiate of Sacred Theology from St. Louis University in 1955; and a master's of education in mathematics from the University of New Mexico in 1967. He served two years as principal of the Jesuit school in Dallas, but afterward preferred to return to the classroom.
Leininger taught a total of 50 years, spending most of his career in Houston. He is also survived by a sister, Yvonne Leininger of New Orleans. Visitation followed by a Mass is scheduled for 9 a.m. today at the Holy Name of Jesus Church in New Orleans. Burial will be at St. Charles College in Grand Coteau, La. A memorial Mass is planned for 7:30 p.m. Monday at the Parsley Center at Strake Jesuit. Link (here)


From Strake's website
Fr. J. B. Leininger, SJ leaves his classroom for the last time on May 22, 2006.It is with great sadness that Fr. Daniel Lahart, SJ announced that Fr. JB Leininger, SJ passed away on Saturday morning, October 27, 2007. He was a part of the history at Strake Jesuit, and an important part of the lives of many members of the school community. Click here to view Fr. Leininger's obituary. Click here to view the video prepared for Fr. Leininger's Gala in 2006.Please keep Fr. Leininger's family in your prayers, especially his sister and twin brother, along with the other members of his family in the Society of Jesus.


Visitation: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 9:00 - 10:00 AM Holy Name of Jesus Church 6363 St. Charles Avenue New Orleans, LA 70118

Funeral Mass: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 10:00 AM Holy Name Of Jesus Church

Burial: Wednesday, October 31, 2007 St. Charles College Grand Coteau, LA Memorial Mass: Monday, November 5, 2007 7:30 PM Parsley Center Strake Jesuit College Preparatory


Saints of God, come to his aid!

Hasten to meet him, angels of the Lord!

Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord,

And let perpetual light shine upon him.

Link (here)

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

No Walter Ciszek,S.J.

Fr. Barrigan and Fr. Kelly willfully committed criminal activities in the United States. Fr. Walter Ciszek was jailed in a Totalitarian Communist Dictatorship for being Persona Christi. To compare Barrigan and Kelly to Ciszek is a false and deceptive comparison that does not elevate Barrigan and Kelly, but does however diminish Ciszek.


More info on Jesuits who died at the hand Communists (here) and NAZIs (here)
Another Jesuit goes to jail for civil disobedience
Posted by Raymond A. Schroth October 30, 2007 2:42PM
Categories: Hot Topics
In the last line of my most recent essay I asked for examples of religious leaders who spoke out boldly against torture. As if in answer to a prayer, the next email brought the news that a Jesuit, Fr. Steve Kelly, S.J., and a Franciscan priest, Fr. Louis Vitale, O. F. M., had been sentenced to five months in federal prison for a nonviolent act of civil disobedience. On Nov. 19, 2006, they knelt down at the entrance to Fort Huachuca, Arizona, while delivering a letter to the commandant denouncing methods of "interrogation training" taught at that fort. Remarkably, the news came not in an AP news release, but in a public letter addressed to all members of the American Society of Jesus and our lay partners in ministry from Rev. John P. McGarry, S.J., the provincial of the California Province, throwing the full personal and moral weight of the society behind their protest. I can imagine that some civic, religious, and educational leaders consider priests and faculty who provoke nonviolent confrontations with government authorities over moral issues an embarrassment. What will everybody say? What about our benefactors, financial contributors, alumni? Why can't these protesters quietly write letters to the editor like everyone else? Because they welcome the arrest and a public trial as a way of educating the public. They accept incarceration to demonstrate that they're willing to suffer for what they believe. Jesuits have a long history of going to prison. Saint Ignatius Loyola, our founder, was locked up by the Spanish Inquisition because some of his spiritual teaching looked suspicious.
Under Queen Elizabeth, English Jesuits -- and Irish Jesuits like Dominic Collins, whose feast is celebrated today -- were jailed, tortured, and hanged. During World War II and the Cold War, Polish-American Walter Ciszek, S.J., disappeared for years into a series of Soviet prison camps. And Fr. Daniel Berrigan, S.J., of New York, faced arrest and prison many times for his opposition to the Vietnam and other wars. I remember vividly the events of Nov. 16, 1989, when the Salvadoran army in the middle of the night broke into the Jesuit residence at the University of Central America and murdered -- blew their brains out -- six Jesuits and two women co-workers. Dan Berrigan, who was a guest professor at Loyola University New Orleans, where I was teaching journalism, organized a group of students to block the entrance to the United States Post Office in order to protest the financial and logistical aid the U. S. had given to the very same military organization that had committed the crime. One of the policemen who had come to arrest the protesters came up to Fr. Gerald Fagin, S.J., a mild mannered theologian who was Dan's religious superior, and presuming that a religious superior could not possibly agree with this radical action, asked him to tell Dan to forget it all and go home. Fr. Fagin replied that he was there to support Dan, not call him off. Link (here)

No Limits At Georgetown

Georgetown & friends
Posted by: Diogenes - Oct. 29, 2007 12:05 AM ET USA
Ah, yes. Education in the Jesuit Tradition. Facing a difficult challenge mounted by students affronted by Catholic moral teaching, the Georgetown administration musters its formidable theological resources ... and folds.
From the Georgetown Voice:
Georgetown University President John DeGioia committed last night to a fully-funded and fully-staffed resource center for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning students by fall of next year.
Fully funded, fully staffed. The advantage of training in Ignatian spirituality is that it puts you in touch with your priorities. Regarding the beneficiaries of the university's largesse, I'm not entirely certain what the "questioning students" are in doubt about, but at least they're still questioning something, which is more than can be said for those standing in loco parentis.
"We won!" [GU Pride Co-President Scott Chessare] said. "I don't think we would have believed less than two months ago that there would be so much institutional change in such a short amount of time."
You won all right. Wasn't exactly an uphill battle, though, was it, Scott?
Throughout his remarks, DeGioia stressed the importance of addressing LGBTQ issues in the context of Georgetown's Catholic identity. "At a Catholic and Jesuit university, [we] cannot advocate for policies or practices that are counter to Catholic teaching," he said. "Part of my responsibility as an administrator … is to ensure that nothing can compromise the integrity of our mission and identity."
Now that'll be a neat trick. How exactly, Mr. DeGioia, is this Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and, er, Questioning student group going to do anything whatsoever that doesn't compromise Catholic teaching? Its very existence as a "resource center" within the institution is a compromise that weakens Georgetown's Catholic character, and the ideological victory of its recognition will continue to erode that Catholic character even if the center sponsors no activity more controversial than a chess match.
Once again, when the culture wars come to the Catholic university, we see the white flag waved from the administration building before the fighting has a chance to begin. Once again, the threatened battle is a battle the administrators want to lose. Not, of course, that their exceptionally elastic notion of "our mission and identity" is wholly devoid of constraint.
"The notion of same-sex couples living in our residence halls -- no," DeGioia said. "I don't see that working out. There are limits to what we can do."
Give it time, President DeGioia, give it time. Link (here)

Monday, October 29, 2007

Catholic Culture's Review Of

The Society of Jesus was founded in 1540 by St. Ignatius Loyola. Today there are over 20,000 Jesuits serving the Church in 112 nations on six continents. This official website of the Society of Jesus in the United States provides information on the Jesuit Conference, Province Offices, vocations, and Jesuit ministries and publications. Of special note is an excellent PDF file of the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. Unfortunately, because of this Order's pervasive tendency towards liberation theology and religious indifferentism, many of the resources on the site are questionable at best. Read the full review (here) View (here)

Science, Don't Get Christianity Either.

Intelligent Design People Don't Get Theology, Either
If the theory of evolution only appeared formally and scientifically with Darwin in the 19th century, and famously continues to evolve with burgeoning discoveries and nuances in our own time (the New York Times featured an entire section dedicated to the pullulating perspectives of evolutionary theory on June 28, 2007), perhaps religion can be forgiven a certain tardiness in catching up to the swiftly accumulating evidence. To be sure, St. Augustine already had a seminal theory of seminal causes within the potency of matter in the early fifth century. Also, Pope Pius XII already stamped his basic approval on the theory in his encyclical Humani Generis in 1951. Nonetheless, events like the famous Scopes trial in Tennessee in 1925 did not put an end to the furor in evangelical religious circles, which continues unabated and debated today regarding "intelligent design" in school teaching. In any case, the subject of evolution has always awed and fascinated me—even though I played the opposition (i.e., Matthew Harrison Brady) in Inherit the Wind as a young Jesuit! In modern times, the famous French Jesuit Pierre Teilhard de Chardin (1881–1955) was the most passionate proponent of evolution in Catholic circles. He was a paleontologist and mystic/poet who saw the entire universe as striving towards ever-greater "complexity-consciousness," and thus ultimately toward its fulfillment in and through Christ, whom he termed the "Omega Point." It is an enthralling vision, although both scientists and theologians complained that he tended not to respect the methodologies of their disciplines (for more on this read my initial blog entry on this topic). Hence, his fellow Jesuit Karl Rahner wrote to vindicate him in more formal theological language in his Theological Investigations. Basically, Rahner sees matter as guided upward and outward by the creative impulse of what Christians term the Holy Spirit, who is Creator not just at some hypothetical moment of creation, but necessarily present in creation at every moment with a vivifying and ever-expansive action. Such a dynamic perspective makes God's creative involvement all the more majestic, magnificent, and personal, stretching over millions, and indeed billions of years, even as, for God, "a thousand years are like a watch in the night." Here we are very far indeed from a "watchmaker" that winds up the universe, and then goes his way, as the Deists tended to argue. Yet we are also very far from a literalism that, as Rahner remarks, does not in fact take the texts literally, but actually misreads them. For, the first chapters of the Book of Genesis were never meant to be taken as history or science, as "eyewitness" accounts, either of God or of someone impossibly "interviewing" God, but as a spiritual, theological, and mystical statement about God's relationship with the world; as an "aetiological myth," to use Rahner's phrase, that provides an explanation, based on the human author's contemporary experience, of how things must have gotten to be the way we see them. The "seven days" are not seven days (how could there be a "day" before the fourth "day" when the sun was created? So asks Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind), but stages to show how creation splendidly unfolds, directly related to God in all its panoply and detail. Of course, we must also avoid the facile and misguided efforts to find correspondences between the "days" and scientific geological ages. On the contrary, modern scriptural scholarship confirms what the Kabbalah intuited centuries ago—i.e., this first chapter of Genesis has a different source from the second.
More specifically, it is a later priestly source, whose concern was to ground the sabbath and the seven-day week in some kind of primordial validating event. In other words, God's creating the world in six days and then resting on the seventh is not the source of the sabbath observance; it is the other way around.
What I would like to suggest, however, is that mature theology is also very far from intelligent design, which I consider to be a particularly unfortunate, maladroit, and problematic notion, at least as it is commonly presented and understood. It is true that the fifth argument of St. Thomas Aquinas for the existence of God is based on the design and governance of the universe. Yet theologians themselves noted, long before Richard Dawkins, that the argument is hardly cogent, and probably better serves as a reflection (in a double sense) of faith by believers than as an effort to persuade unbelievers. In addition, according with Stephen Jay Gould's insistence on the paramount role of chance in evolution, a priest friend of mine often takes the case a seemingly irreverent step further: with all the chance, chaos, entropy, violence, waste, injustice, and randomness in the universe, the project hardly seems very intelligent! Do we imagine that God is intelligent in basically the same way that we are, just a very BIG intelligence and "super-smart"? And "design," once again, evokes the watchmaker who somehow stands outside the universe, tinkering with his schemes at some cosmic drawing board. How could God be outside of anything or stand anywhere, or take time to design anything? Read the full blog post on MSM's Discover Magazine (here)
Note the following about this blog post:
The author quotes a rogue theologian whose writing have been banned by the Roman Catholic Church. Karl Rahner was never considered a scientist and his theological insights have a lot to be desired (sorry Rahner fans). When you want to know the position of the Roman Catholic Church quote the Holy Father's Benedict and John Paul II. For Pete's sake at least quote the Catechism! By the way, why does the author compare evangelicals with Catholic's?
Real Catholic takes on creation, (here), (here) and (here)

The Modern Face Of Liberation Theology, "I Am Outside The Mainstream"

"Our job description as Christians": An interview with G. Simon Harak

Robert JensenSchool of Journalism, University of TexasAustin, TX
In the game of political word association, “Christian” almost always conjures up “conservative” and “evangelical.” Those folks -- often right-wing and fundamentalist -- have been enormously successful in equating their politics with religious faith in the contemporary United States. For the Rev. Simon Harak,S.J., faith-based politics leans in a different direction. There is a lot of compassion but little conservatism in the Christian politics of the Jesuit priest.

For example, according to Harak:

  • Justice isn’t possible in corporate capitalism.

  • Sexual morality has consumed too much of the church’s attention.

  • People all over the world are dying so that Americans can ride around comfortably in an SUV.

  • There are many different paths to God.

Harak acknowledges that such views may push him outside the political mainstream, but he contends that he’s “reading right out of the book” when it comes to Christian social teaching. Harak was an ethics professor and part-time political activist until 1999, when he resigned his teaching position at Fairfield University to work full time with Voices in the Wilderness, a Chicago-based group trying to pressure the U.S. government to lift the economic sanctions on Iraq. The author of Virtuous Passions: The Formation of Christian Character, Harak is at work on Vicious Passions: The Deformation of Christian Character. In an interview, Harak talked not only about how religion has influenced his political views but about how he thinks about the connections between faith and politics.
What do you think most people think of when they hear the phrase “religion and politics”?
With all due respect to the kind of politics we see in the “700 Club,” conservative Christians may have captured the media but they haven’t cornered the market on religious morality. In the 1970s and ‘80s, conservative folks launched themselves into the national scene more prominently, and they have dominated the notion of Christian values ever since. But what the public doesn’t see in the media is all the social justice work done by progressive Catholics and Christians.There’s a lot of talk from conservative Christians about being “biblically based.” But I can tell you that my ethics and political activism come straight from the Bible, from Jesus and the gospels. I’m taking it straight out of the book.
Where does your conception of faith and politics come from?
In the 1970s, when I entered the Jesuit order, there were a number of activists, and we would talk about Christianity and political involvement. That’s when I began to understand that nonviolence is not just in reaction -- you hit me but I won’t hit you back. It’s a commitment to work for justice so that violence is no longer necessary. I began to understand Jesus in the tradition of the prophets, and I began to see that the things that the prophets insisted on -- justice and liberation -- are very much part of my Catholic tradition.
That has led you to be quite critical of U.S. military and economic policy. Why?
We have to start by acknowledging that we are about 5 percent of the world’s population consuming about 25 percent of the world’s resources. Do we really think people in Central America, for example, are happy to see their kids starving so we can drive SUVs? If not, then we have to ask how things got to be this way. People around the world aren’t donating these resources to us; there must be some coercion involved. Once we begin asking those questions, we can talk about the strategies the United States uses -- military force, economic coercion -- to enforce that disparate structure of the allocation of goods around the world. After that, it’s hard not to become pretty radical in the quest for justice. What is justice? How do we make it real in the world?I would begin with community, our need for other human beings. We are bound to each other, and the question is how we work out those relationships.
What are the moral, spiritual, and physical requirements for people to live in community?
For me, that means following in the ways of Christ, but what that means in the concrete and how we translate that is complicated.
Is justice possible in our economic system?
Frankly, I don’t think so. You can’t love God and money. You can’t base your life on the acquisition of goods and be moral, too. You have to base your life on the fair distribution of goods, not their acquisition. The idea that everyone should have enough -- and even a little bit more than enough to provide leisure and peace -- that’s very important for humanity, and important in Catholic social teaching. But beyond that level, acquisition becomes evil. And this is a society based on acquisition.
Is the American devotion to so-called free market economics compatible with community?
The notion that we are all one people is part of the Catholic tradition, but I don’t think people realize how much that notion is being mediated through the market. I don’t think we’ve done enough homework on this. Most people don’t have time to look at how a market ideology is affecting us. But we need to understand just how much of the world is controlled by institutions like the International Monetary Fund, how much of the decision-making is based not on human concerns but on money.This is a highly individualistic culture, and we have a lot of work to do on the idea that one can truly share things, and share one’s life. Unfortunately, we’re not hearing that from the pulpits as much as we need to.
Do you describe yourself as leftist?
The liberation theology movement in Latin America has affected me, as has the Catholic Worker movement here, which has elements of liberation theology -- living simply, in a community that tries to help all its members and also goes beyond its boundaries. But I tend to avoid labels. I suppose there are certain positions I hold that could be labeled left, center, or right. But I hope that what I have is a consistent Christian position, what used to be called the “seamless garment.” But rather than labeling myself, I hope that if people hear me speak and like what they hear, they will say, “Gosh, is that what a Christian sounds like?
Your work in ethics and politics doesn’t focus on sexuality or abortion, which often seem to be central concerns of the Catholic Church. Why?
This culture tends to reduce morality from a social question to a personal thing. But with the focus on sex, it’s not just personal -- it’s reduced to the genitals of the person. It’s paralyzing to reduce morality to that. I want everyone to live sexually integrated and sexually holy lives. But we have to get our priorities straight. Can we broaden our field of what counts as immoral? If someone says “She’s an immoral woman,” folks immediately think of sexual behavior. But what if we ask the question about people who have a couple of homes and a yacht, while their brothers and sisters walk the streets looking for food -- is that immoral? That’s a question that rarely enters our minds. To make this point I have asked people, ” When we dropped the bomb on Hiroshima -- when we caused 135,000 deaths at a non-military target -- what did the U.S. Catholic bishops say?” The answer is, nothing. But what if the Enola Gay had dropped 135,000 condoms on Hiroshima? There would have a hue and cry that would not have ended to this day. It’s easy to point our finger at sexuality. But I think it takes courage and a certain willingness to lose status, to lose worldly power, to ask other kinds of moral questions, to challenge the oppressors with the power of liberation.
How did Iraq and the lifting of the sanctions become central to you?
The short answer is Jesus. The longer answer is that my folks were born in Lebanon, but grew up in the U.S., and I’ve always been interested in the Middle East. That interest increased when I became religious; this was the place where Jesus walked around. And the commitment to nonviolence led me to be concerned. So when in 1990-91 we had the Gulf War massacre, all those concerns came together.I had been working on nuclear war for a long time, and I saw that as soon as the Soviet Union collapsed we would find a new enemy, and sure enough it became the Arab peoples and Islam. So I’ve sort of followed U.S. officials’ demonizing of our so-called enemies, saying, “No, no, that’s not the right way to go.” Since the Gulf War, the killing hasn’t stopped, and I will be involved until they stop killing Iraqis. When you talk about 1 million civilians dying as a result of the siege on Iraq, you have used the term evil.
What do you mean by that?
As an ethicist, evil is one of those things I chew on. We also have this wonderfully rich tradition of the demonic in Christianity, of an evil being out to destroy humanity. Lucifer is the enemy of our human nature, a kind of active force that is against humanity, against human nature. When people are so caught up in the power and the status, so blind to the killing, this is the stuff of the demonic. When you go to Iraq and see the suffering, and then come back to the United States and hear people talk about how the policy is worth the price, it’s hard to argue you are not dealing with something demonic. How could humanity not be moved by this? I once heard a politician’s aide say, “The Iraqis have to know that if they differ with American foreign policy there are consequences.” When you get to that point, where the humanity has been occluded, it’s very helpful to have a doctrine that says there is something more than just badness going on, there’s an active force that is trying to defeat humanity. That’s where my faith is so important. I have stood at the bed of children dying in Iraq as a direct result of our policy -- by design, it’s what the sanctions are designed to do. But there is hope, in part because Jesus found a way to redeem all of that, including the people who ran away when they should have struggled and the people who perpetrated the evil.
Let’s go back to your doctrinal differences with Christian fundamentalists, who often insist that Christianity is the only way to salvation. How do you deal with that?
One of the things the Muslims say, and it’s addressed in the Koran, is that God could have made us all one community, but we are different communities so that we can vie with one another in good works.
So if we want to prove, as Christians, that we have the better path to God, then how do we do that?
More life, more liberation, more justice. If belief in God is justice in action, then let’s vie with one another, let’s show that we have the best way through acts of liberation and justice. It does say in the Bible -- and this is the bugaboo for those who believe exclusively in Christianity -- that “no one can come to the Father except through me” from the gospel of John. But I think the way to read that is that Jesus is saying, “If you want the kind of relationship with God, which I call Father, then the only way you will get it is coming through me.” But that doesn’t mean that is the only way of relating to God, in the way Jesus did. God is so wealthy and rich in spirituality that there are thousands of ways of coming to God.
You also seem very comfortable working with secular political activists.
When I first came to New York I ran into a lot of socialists, and was impressed with their commitment to a better world. There is lots of common ground. I think what is crucially important is personal relationships. People work with you and see that you come through for them, and vice versa, and you develop respect. And then people start to ask each other, “What makes you tick?” It’s a tradition in the Christian church to establish dialogue, to find connections, to see the commonality in human aspirations. The stereotype of a Catholic pacifist is of a quiet, humble person. Yet you can be sharp-edged and harsh in your public talks. I tend to look at the prophets, who were pretty vocal and strategic and extraordinarily harsh sometimes. I wish I could be as authoritatively harsh as they were. Jesus took on the hypocrites and had explosions of anger and frustration at the blindness of the religious and political leaders. I’m also trying to balance that with my role as a pastor, which requires being gentle with people.
Do you find it hard to avoid being overly pious or self-righteous?
For me, in Christianity there is a transcendence that allows, in the best of things, a kind of humor, a kind of non-ultimacy about the project you are undertaking. You realize, I’m not ultimate, the project that I’m doing is important but not ultimate. There’s only one ultimate; it’s God, and I’m not it. We have to take ourselves seriously, but not ultimately seriously. That ability to take things off the ultimate pedestal gives us a sort of breathing room and even a moment of some kind of humor.
Many secular people do not see Christianity as relevant to their lives, especially their political lives. How would you argue for that relevance?
Jesus came into one of those conquered worlds dominated by the sole superpower of its time. Rome knew what you had to do to enforce empire, just as well as this American empire today knows. There were plenty of positive things about the Roman empire -- good roads, consistent law -- just as there are plenty of positive things about this empire. But if you step out line, you get put on the cross. You read about the glory of Greece and the grandeur of Rome, but what about the people they conquered, who didn’t want to be ruled? Those are the very people to whom Jesus came, and for whom he lived and died. Remember, to be crucified, you had to be convicted of insurrection against the empire. That says a lot about our job description as Christians. Link (here)

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Sacred Heart Jesuit Center, Fire Damaged

Fire scorches Sacred Heart Jesuit Center
By Javier Erik Olvera Mercury News

Eight senior citizens were forced from their senior care rooms after an early morning blaze damaged three floors at the Sacred Heart Jesuit Center in Los Gatos. Santa Clara County firefighters contained the fire to one third-floor unit, but not before water seeped through the ceiling and walls to damage surrounding units. No one was injured in the 2 a.m. fire, but the eight residents of the damaged units were temporarily moved into open rooms at the facility, a retirement home that houses 75 men - average age 80 years old. Some of the affected residents - those who specifically suffer from medical issues and need constant care - may have to be moved to another senior care facility. "It's horrible, but this is a large place and it could have been catastrophic," said Father Al Naucke, second in charge of the Jesuit region that includes California. Investigators this afternoon were still trying to pinpoint the cause of the 2 a.m. fire as well as determine the amount of damage, which could exceed six-figures, Naucke said. He said the fire started in one unit, but officials were having translation problems interviewing the Chinese resident. Naucke said residents, who worked in various roles within the Jesuit community are "optimistic" the damage will soon be repaired and "grateful" the damage wasn't worse. Link to original article (here)

Modern Day Auschwitz

Construction company 'digs in their heels' to build the largest Planned Parenthood abortion facility
Denver, Oct 26, 2007 / 10:11 am (CNA).-

On October 24, pro-life activists met with the heads of the Weitz Company to discuss the new Planned Parenthood abortion facility that the company is contracted to build in Denver, Colorado.
In a surprising allegiance to the abortion industry, Bill Hornaday, President of The Weitz Company Rocky Mountain, has refused to reconsider building the largest abortion facility in the United States. In the private meeting, Hornaday indicated that money is not the prime motivator for building the new Planned Parenthood. "The ideals of The Weitz Company are worse than we thought," said Keith Mason, of the Keep Peace in Stapleton Project. "If they are not building this superstructure for money, are they building it out of a desire to facilitate the murder of innocent children?" Gary Meggison, Senior Vice President of The Weitz Company Rocky Mountain, is a member of the Catholic Church while neighbors of Vice President Don Gendall claim that he is a "strong Christian". "The bottom line is that followers of Christ would not be a part of this heinous business," continued Mason. "A true Christian would do what is necessary to save the lives of innocent children." The brief meeting, attended also by Senior Vice President Gary Meggison, revealed an obvious disdain for women and children. Meggison not only refused to view documents of Planned Parenthood's reported child rape cover-ups (under investigation by Kansas' and Indiana's attorneys general), but also the facts of their multi-million dollar baby killing business. "We are continuing to keep these executives in our prayers, in hope that they will not build this modern- day Auschwitz. We must pray that they do the right thing," Keith Mason, Keep Peace in Stapleton. Link to original article (here) 7. Hyperlinks subvert hierarchy.

"We Failed To Listen", Fr. Edward Schmidt, S.J.

Jesuit leader apologizes for abuse
CHICAGO (AP) - The head of the Jesuits is expressing sorrow that he hadn't done enough to prevent a member of the religious order from abusing members of the Roman Catholic church. The Rev. Edward Schmidt, head of the Chicago province of the Society of Jesus, expressed his sorrow Thursday, two days after more abuse allegations surfaced against a Chicago-area Jesuit priest. However, Schmidt declined to say whether steps are being taken to remove the convicted abuser from the priesthood.Meanwhile, a former prosecutor now advising the Jesuits said a review of the order's records turned up additional abuse allegations against the Rev. Donald McGuire. Patrick Collins said the information has been disclosed to multiple law-enforcement agencies. McGuire, 77, is accused of abusing at least five boys. He was convicted last year in Wisconsin of molesting two boys in the 1960s.Earlier this week, two Arizona brothers filed a civil lawsuit alleging McGuire, who lives in the Chicago suburb of Oak Lawn, molested the boys during confession between 1988 and 2002 in Arizona and in Chicago.The alleged victims are now 20 and 28 years old."Above all, I want to say I'm sorry. I say I'm sorry to anyone who may have been abused by Donald McGuire or any member of this province," Schmidt said Thursday. "More important, we failed to listen to those who came forward and to meet their courage in dealing with the problem that McGuire presented."Schmidt outlined actions the Jesuits are taking to protect children, including training programs and background checks of all Jesuit priests.Asked whether he had taken steps to remove McGuire from the priesthood, Schmidt said the priest was under the supervision of Wisconsin authorities and declined to comment further.Outside the Jesuits' Chicago office on Thursday, the president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests dismissed Schmidt's expression of sorrow."Apologies are empty if they are not followed by strong actions," Barbara Blaine said. "Father McGuire is free to roam the streets of Chicago and abuse any child. Their actions tell us they are not concerned about children. They are more concerned about their image." Link to original article (here)

Friday, October 26, 2007

Evangelizism, Is Not Cross Cultural Understanding

To the Himalayas and Back
$200K grant will allow Holy Cross to continue hosting summer institute
The Himalayan frontier has been a meeting place of the world’s great civilizations: India, China, and the southern portions of the silk route that linked Asia to the Mediterranean. From antiquity, the region has been a significant zone of contact, interaction, innovation and change, says Todd Lewis, professor of religious studies at the College of the Holy Cross.
Even today, the Himalayan region — including portions of Afghanistan, Pakistan, India, Nepal, and China (Tibet) — is central to the stability of the world.
To educate teachers on this critical region, Lewis is using a $199,602 award from the National Endowment for the Humanities to continue a summer institute that he launched in 2002. The program, titled “Literatures, Religions and Arts of the Himalayan Region,” brings 30 elementary and secondary school teachers from the United States and around the world to Holy Cross for a month next summer to study with Lewis and co-director Leonard van der Kuijp, professor of Tibetan and Himalayan Studies and chair of the Sanskrit and Indian Studies department at Harvard University.
About 10 scholars from the United States, Asia and Europe will join them. Mathew Schmalz, assistant professor of religious studies at Holy Cross, is among them. He will offer insight on the use of popular Indian cinema allowing the teachers to learn about Hinduism and modern South Asian history.
“We deal with the Dalai Lama, the conflict between India and Pakistan in Kashmir, and the recent Maoist civil war in Nepal that has destabilized the world’s last Hindu monarchy,” explains Lewis. “In the institute, we emphasize religion: shamanism, Hinduism, and Buddhism. Just as religion is at the center of culture and culture is what organizes civilizations, we provide rich, detailed content in this area. Building from this, we extend on this core to examine culture in many realms: language, literature, art history.”
The goal, says Lewis, is to give the teachers a rich academic experience so that their instruction in the K-12 classroom will be enhanced.
Professor van der Kuijp is one of the world’s leading Tibetologists, and Lewis is one of the few specialists on Buddhism of the lower, southern mountains of the Himalayas.
“We look at films from the region, have feasts in the Nepali, Tibetan, and Kashmiri styles, and bring to the Holy Cross program a school curriculum expert so the teachers see what books and other resources can be procured to bring the Himalayas into the classroom.”
Holy Cross staff members also train each teacher to build a Web page designed to implement new curriculum plans built from the institute’s learning experiences. These are published on the institute’s Holy Cross Web site and available to teachers worldwide.
“It might seem strange, even incongruous, that a program with this content would be held at Holy Cross, a Jesuit college,” says Lewis. “But in fact, it is not strange if you understand the Jesuits’ international traditions and Holy Cross’ mission.”
Lewis says Rev. Michael C. McFarland, S.J., president of Holy Cross, welcomes new groups each year during their visits and makes precisely this point.

“Fr. McFarland’s remarks always capture my shared sense of the Holy Cross
mission: the College is about engaging the world, seeking to understand Asia —
like the first Jesuits did, fearlessly, and where many Jesuits still serve today
— promoting cross-cultural understanding.”

There’s another reason why holding the institute at Holy Cross has special meaning.
“The teachers love being on this campus. It is, of course, attractive, but what we have gotten in the detailed evaluations from the first program in 2002 onward is that the Holy Cross community is very welcoming, our facilities are extraordinary, and our librarians and educational technology staff are exemplary in providing their expertise.” Link (here)

Fr. Paul Scalia On The "Untruth" At The College Of The Holy Cross

In amazing Catholic statement made by a Catholic priest and a
Holy Cross graduate. Fr. Scalia debunks with clear sound reasoning the "Holy Cross" two step dance with pro-abortion NARAL and Planned Parenthood. This could be the "tipping point" at Holy Cross and other Catholic colleges that vie for the championship of "Academic Freedom" at the cost of Christian liberty. First a brief bio on Fr. Scalia, then his written statement in full. Hat tip to the Curt Jestor
The biography of REV. PAUL SCALIA
Fr. Scalia is one of nine children born to Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia and his wife, Maureen, parishioners of St. Catherine of Siena Church in Great Falls. He attended Langley High School in McLean and graduated in 1992 from the College of the Holy Cross in Worchester, Mass. He applied to the Arlington Diocese and was accepted to Mount St. Mary’s Seminary in Emmitsburg, MD. After completing one year of theological studies at the Mount, Fr. Scalia was sent to Rome to study at the North American College. He was ordained a deacon Oct. 5, 1995, in St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome, and was ordained a priest for the Arlington Diocese in 1996. His assignments have included St. James, Falls Church, St. Patrick’s, Fredericksburg and he is currently a Parochial Vicar at St. Rita’s parish. Link (here)

Fr. Paul Scalia's statement on the "Junk Theology" of Holy Cross and its accepting money from Planned Parenthood and NARAL Pro-Choice America

A Response to Professor David O’Brien

Despite its profound errors and certain academic haughtiness, Professor David
O’Brien’s response to Bishop McManus still provides a valuable service. It not only
crystallizes what intellectual problems exist at Holy Cross, but also reveals how deeply
entrenched they are. Specifically, he presents well the College’s agnostic approach to
education. For him, Holy Cross plays the role of Socrates – urging students to question,
ask, and search. He gives us the image of intrepid, indefatigable investigators and neverrelenting
pursuers of…well, not the truth but questions. It is a quest for questions:
The Holy Cross community places at the center of its mission serious engagement
with "fundamental human questions" of meaning and mutual obligation. We seek
to build an intellectual and educational community centered on "fundamental
religious and philosophical questions."
Toward that end, the College offers courses in theology, including Catholic theology, religious studies, and what is now called Catholic Studies, courses engaging Catholic ideas in many disciplines. We developed a
nationally recognized first year program centered on the vocational question "how then shall we live?" As we write, the community, the entire diverse faculty, is preparing to launch a wider first year program centered on fundamental questions: they call the program Montserrat, recalling the spiritual transformation experienced by Jesuit founder St Ignatius Loyola.

Funny, it would seem wiser to build a community on answers rather than
questions. You cannot build a community on questions anymore than you can build a
house on a questionable foundation. Imagine your contractor telling you that he has
some questions about the foundation he just set for your new home. Then, deigning to
instruct you, he adds, “But the important thing is that we’re asking the questions.” So,
taking O’Brien as a fair representative of the administration, it is clear that the college’s
willingness to let the Church’s enemies use its facilities is not a lapse of judgment or an
oversight: it is part of official policy to ask questions – but not provide answers.
Professor O’Brien boasts about the “Montserrat” program. It is worth pointing
out that St. Ignatius’s experience at Montserrat would have been markedly different had
he contented himself with only questions and never actually settled on answers. It was a
Catholic, not an agnostic Ignatius that lay down his arms at the feet of the Black
Madonna and took up the beggar’s cloak. He gave his life to her because he had found
the Truth, not questions.
Leaving aside the College’s presumed Catholic identity, from a purely academic
angle it should be clear how wrong-headed this is. There is no final end, no telos – at
least not articulated – for studies at Holy Cross. It is all about questions. Are answers
ever provided? Do students graduate with a firmer grasp of the truth, or just a keen
ability to ask questions? Academics cannot exist without a confidence in the truth. A
commitment to only asking questions produces only cynics. It is the investigation of the
truth that produces liberally educated people and scholars.
Further, the Socratic method worked for Socrates because he lacked the benefit of
revealed truth and a magisterium to clarify the natural law. Presuming that Holy Cross is
a Catholic school, it cannot act as if the answers do not exist. Certainly, it can provoke
the questions, as any good teacher should. But it must also provide the answers. The
reason for this is more than merely academic. Souls are at stake. It is morally
irresponsible and simply uncharitable to boast about the questioning and remain silent
about the answers. Perhaps on Mt. St. James they do not have to deal with the
consequences of never-ending questions. But we parish priests – living amid what
Professor O’Brien calls “all those modern realities that form the web of daily existence of
lay Catholics”
– we are left to tend to the spiritual carnage of unanswered questions.
For O’Brien the Holy Cross zeal for questions is behind the hosting of NARAL
and Planned Parenthood speakers:
Hospitality to strangers is a powerful Christian tradition, and that hospitality is never conditioned by the ideas of behavior of the stranger. In an academic setting hospitality requires a willingness to listen to and perhaps learn from, not just instruct, the stranger. This statement cannot be taken seriously. After all, the stranger in question pays to use the College’s facilities. Some hospitality, that. Further, we are not talking about simply welcoming a stranger to lunch. The issue at hand is whether we should provide that stranger (a paying stranger) a forum to announce death-dealing views. Nor can we say that this stranger is entirely unknown. We know what this stranger will say, we know the stranger’s billion-dollar industry, and we know what this stranger does to the unborn. The fraudulence of the “hospitality” rhetoric is easily revealed when we consider inviting other strangers. Would O’Brien give the same approval to a conference featuring speakers from the Neo Nazis or Aryan Nation or North American Man/Boy Love Association? If so, we should have a clear declaration of that. Heck, according to O’Brien it should be celebrated
In the end, the quest for questions is just a shell game. We know that if the issue
were global warming or racism then the College would advance more answers than
questions. If Holy Cross had a strong statement against abortion and contraception, then
perhaps the rhetoric would be slightly more believable. But as it is, the proposed
dialogue and the supposedly earnest consideration of questions are hard to believe
precisely because Holy Cross has virtually no voice against these evils. Can we have an
unequivocal statement from Professor O’Brien, or from the administration, that
contraception and abortion are always and at all times wrong? To up the ante a bit, let us
require that the statement cannot use such provisional phrases as “Catholics believe that”
or “the Church teaches that” or “in our tradition.” These always keep the speaker at least
one degree removed from the teaching. It has to be the administration or Professor
O’Brien stating that truth in their own names. And if they cannot state that truth, then
they should not bother us with their rhetoric about dialogue. As it is, displaying no clear
adherence to Church’s teaching, no confidence in the truth, they bring nothing to the
dialogue with the people of NARAL and Planned Parenthood. They have no real
questions to ask except perhaps, “Will that be cash or credit?”
Rev. Paul Scalia Link (here)
Class of 1992

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Future Jesuit Movies Or Television Shows

Since Karen Hall is on strike with the other Hollywood movers and shakers, it is up to us to come up with some Jesuit story ideas for "Mainstream Media"

Survivor, Weston!
The story of three scholastics who are liturgical rebels and march to the beat of a different drummer. Their Superior is "Fr. X", he is a "Q bible" type and loves to consecrate toasted raisin bread while saying morning Mass. "Fr. X" is driven to the limits by this threesome, they wear cassocks and only speak to "Fr. X" in Latin. "Fr. X" long ago gave up Latin, and longs for a cushy gig at America Magazine.

Golden Domes
A young Jesuit named Jack, Jack is fond of wearing a cowboy hat on the sidelines and is a passionate assistant football coach at a premier Jesuit High School, but gets caught up in the national spotlight after becoming the object of a bidding war between Boston College and Notre Dame! These two college football powerhouses sees our Jesuit Jack as the solution to their football woes. Were does he end up? Watch the miniseries and you will find out.

Fessio: The Movie
This made for television movie is a bio pic about every ones favorite Jesuit, Fr. Joseph Fessio!

I hope this get the creative juices flowing, we need to give Karen some great story ideas, even though she is on strike!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

John Brown, S.J. On Ignatian Prayer

Ignatian Prayers: Introduction
Sifting through a box of books on their way to the trash bin in a Jesuit community library, I happened upon a very small prayer booklet. The pages nearly fell apart in my hands and I guessed it to have been printed in the very first part of the 20th century or earlier. It bore no copyright mark or information to aid me in discovering its origin. This tiny booklet was titled Praying the Spiritual Exercises of Saint Ignatius Loyola. I copied its contents out of fear of losing the original (which has now become like dust) and the prayers eventually made it to digital format and passed around in Jesuit circles in 2003. The author of the prayers appears to be writing as Saint Ignatius, but it is doubtful that Saint Ignatius wrote these prayers in this form. However, many of the prayers are heavily inspired by Saint Ignatius’ writings, if not taken word for word. Example: Saint Ignatius writes in the Spiritual Exercises that there are three degrees of humility. The first degree is described as, “necessary for eternal salvation; namely, that I so lower and so humble myself, as much as is possible to me, that in everything I obey the law of God, so that, even if they made me lord of all the created things in this world, nor for my own temporal life, I would not be in deliberation about breaking a Commandment, whether Divine or human, which binds me under mortal sin.” The booklet offers a coinciding prayer. “My Lord, I beseech of Thee to grant me a grace absolutely necessary for the eternal salvation of my soul. It is that I may always have sufficient humility, dependence and submission to obey in all things Thy holy law, and that I may never hesitate before an order, or break any command of Thine, or of those appointed by Thee to command me, which obliges me, under pain of mortal sin, not even if by so doing I might preserve my life or obtain possession of the whole world. May I sacrifice my life, or renounce the empire of the entire world before I willingly transgress any of Thy precepts!” That example is typical of the booklet. Also found in the booklet are prayers directly from Saint Ignatius, such as the Suscipe Domine; writings directly from the Spiritual Exercises, such as the First Principle and Foundation in the Prayer to Obtain the Grace of Understanding the True End of Man (To love God and do His will); and prayers attributed to Saint Ignatius but that likely have a different origin, such as the Anima Christi. Furthermore, I have added to the collection of “Ignatian Prayers” by including alternative wording or languages to some of the more standard parts. It is my intention to continue adding to this collection of “Ignatian Prayers” in the same manner as the booklet. I hope this collection of prayers aids those who read and pray them in the progress towards praising, reverencing and serving God, Our Lord.
John Brown, S.J. Companion of Jesus, website (here)

New Blog:

About Fr. Rob Jack's Blog (here)
Fr. Rob Jack is a priest of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, Ohio and an instructor of systematic theology at the Athenaeum of Ohio/ Mount St. Mary’s Seminary. He was ordained in 1992 and has previously served as an associate pastor and hospital chaplain. He has a Licentate in Sacred Theology from the International Marian Research Institute in Dayton, Ohio. He currently teaches courses on the Holy Trinity, Christology, Pneumatology, Mariology, Eschatology and Christian Ethics. He celebrates Sunday Mass at various parishes through the Archdiocese. He is a contributor and theological adviser for Sacred Heart Catholic Radio (AM 740).
This website serves two purposes. The first is to give his students access to notes from hs various classes as well as written articles and parish/ retreat presentations. The second is to offer reflections on the Word of God, the Catechism of the Catholic Church as well as his thoughts on events affecting the life of the Church.

North American Martyrs, Pray for us!
Filed under: Blog — admin at 8:13 am on Friday, October 19, 2007
Today is the Feast of Sts. Isaac Jogues and John De Brebeuf and their companions who were martyred by Huron and Iroquois Indians in what is now upstate New York. They gave their lives for Christ and the spread of the Gospel between 1642 and 1649. These are Jesuit priests we can be proud of.

Father, you consecrated the first beginnings of the faith in North America by
the preaching and martyrdom of Sts. John and Isaac and their companions. By the
help of their prayers, may the Christian faith continue to grow throughout the
world. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ your son, who lives and reigns
with you and the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever.

Young Fogey Interviews Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J.

My Fr. Fessio Interview

On Tuesday I taped an interview with Fr. Joe Fessio for my radio show. He's the founder of Ignatius Press, as well as Provost of Ave Maria University down in Florida. Ignatius has three new books out, two of them by Pope Benedict, and one of them about him. This is the second time he's been a guest on the show, and it's always a great half-hour of radio when he gets going.

Of course, the coolest thing about Fr. Fessio is that, in his years of formation in the Jesuits, he studied under two of the great theologians of the 20th century. Studying in France in the early 1970's, Fessio's advisor, Jesuit Fr. Henri deLubac, suggested he write his doctoral dissertation on the writings of theologian Fr. Hans Urs von Balthasar. To do this, deLubac sent him to the University of Regensburg in Germany to complete his work under the tutelage of a German professor named Fr. Josef Ratzinger. Talk about brushes with greatness! deLubac was named a Cardinal by Pope John Paul II in 1983, von Balthasar was named a Cardinal in 1988 (but sadly died the eve before the ceremony), and Ratzinger was, well, you know the story. Fessio and the other doctoral students of Professor Ratzinger formed a Schulerkreis, a "student circle" that continued to meet with their former teacher every year in a seminar setting. With the election of Ratzinger to the papacy, they assumed the meetings would stop. But as Fessio explains it, the Holy Father wanted to keep the meetings going. Last year's seminar at Castelgandolfo discussed Islam, while the seminar this past September discussed creation and evolution.

I'm in my fourth year of hosting the radio show, and I've had some well-known guests. But Fr. Fessio is certainly in the top 5 for a little diocesan radio show. Who's my "dream guest"? C'mon, is there any question? Link to post (here)

Holy Cross Pollination

The Dawn Patrol fully updates us on the subject.

Planned Parenthood's Holy Cross-pollination
News comes today from Off the Record that the College of the Holy Cross, which today openly defied its bishop by hosting a Planned Parenthood/NARAL-affiliated "Preventing Teen Pregnancy" conference, refers its students to the local Planned Parenthood abortion mill.Off the Record's Diogenes notes that the Holy Cross student-health Web site refers students to a sexually transmitted disease testing hotline that is in fact Planned Parenthood's local phone number."No, Holy Cross doesn't refer students to Planned Parenthood for abortions," Diogenese observes. Holy Cross refers students to Planned Parenthood for STD tests.

But Holy Cross does refer students to Planned Parenthood. "So tonight,"
he adds, "when Planned Parenthood representatives participate in a panel at
Holy Cross on teen pregnancy, it won't be the first point of contact. They're
already working together."
Updates on the Holy Cross situation are available on the Web site of my employer, the Cardinal Newman Society. Link (here)

Fr. Sean O Divir, "Rest In Peace"

Limerick Jesuit community in mourning
The Limerick Jesuit Community are mourning the death of one of their priests. Fr Sean O`Divir who lived at the Dooradoyle residence, passed away yesterday morning at the age of 76.Described as a man who was always available to help people, Fr O`Divir was based in the Jesuit Church on O`Connell Avenue until its recent closure.
Jesuit Fr Dermot Murray says he will be greatly missed. Link (here)

A Jesuit, Some Anglicans and Our Lady

Anglicans, Roman Catholics meet to discuss Mary, ecumenical relations
October 24, 2007 [ARCUSA]

Anglican and Roman Catholic leaders in the United States met October 18-20 in dialogue on the role of the Virgin Mary and the progress in ecumenical relations between the two churches.
The 63rd meeting of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Theological Consultation (ARCUSA) was held at Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia. It was chaired jointly by Episcopal Bishop Edwin F. Gulick, Jr. of Kentucky, and Roman Catholic Auxiliary Bishop Edward W. Clark of Los Angeles. The meeting completed work on two documents. The first was a response to the 2004 "Seattle Document" of the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission, titled "Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ." The response, which is both a commentary on the document and a meditation on the meaning of the Blessed Virgin for the faithful of the two churches, is attached below. The second task was to finish drafting a Spanish-language pastoral tool to be used to clarify the distinctions between the two churches and illustrate progress that has been made in their ecumenical relationship in recent decades. The completed text will be submitted for consideration to the U.S. Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs and the Episcopal Church's Standing Commission for Ecumenical and Interreligious Relations, as well as the relevant offices for Hispanic affairs of the two churches. This meeting closed the current phase of the dialogue between the two churches. According to the plan adopted at the Consultation's 2006 meeting, the dialogue will now meet in rounds, each to address a specific topic and include members from both sides with expertise on the question at hand. Made up of a smaller number of members from each church than in the past, each round will be flexible in length, ordinarily lasting approximately five years. The current ARCUSA members also considered the theme of the next round, and recommended "A Study of Reception as Related to Moral Teaching about Sexuality." The first meeting of the next round is foreseen to take place in 2008. Clark announced that he would not continue to serve as Roman Catholic co-chairman, and that Bishop Richard Sklba, chairman of the Bishops' Committee for Ecumenical and Interreligious Affairs, had appointed Bishop Ronald Herzog of Alexandria, Louisiana, as his successor. To commemorate the end of the current phase of the dialogue, a public event was held at Georgetown University on October 18.
The theme for the event, which took place in St. William's Chapel in Copley
Hall, was "The Contributions of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Dialogue in the
United States 1965-2007: Questions and Progress in Christian Unity." Jesuit Father Francis A.
, of Boston College, and the Rev. Dr. Ellen K. Wondra of
Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, both spoke about the achievements of the
American dialogue from their own perspective. The evening concluded with a joint
Vespers service in the chapel in memory of the late Assumptionist Father George
Tavard, a long-time member of the Consultation who died this year, and a
reception in the Hall of Cardinals in Georgetown's Healy Hall.
During the meeting, Eucharist was celebrated in both traditions in the seminary chapel. Morning Prayer and Compline were celebrated each morning and evening. The members participated in these services as allowed by the disciplines of their own churches. The Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States was established in 1965 and has ordinarily met twice each year. In addition to Gulick, the Episcopal members are Bishop Barry Howe of West Missouri, Bishop Thomas Breidenthal of Southern Ohio, the Rev. Dr. Ruth Meyers, the Rev. Dr. Robert W. Prichard, the Rev. Dr. Ellen Wondra, Dr. Marsha Dutton, and the Rev. Canon Dr. J. Robert Wright. The Rev. Richard D. Visconti represented the Episcopal Diocesan Ecumenical and Inter-religious Officers. Bishop Christopher Epting and the Rev. Dirk Reinken served as staff. Catholic members, in addition to Clark, include Auxiliary Bishop John C. Dunne of Rockville Centre, New York; Father Robert Imbelli, Ph.D; Jon Nilson, Ph.D., Joanne Pierce, Ph.D., Jesuit Father Francis A. Sullivan, Msgr. Robert Trisco, and Father Vincent Heier represented the Catholic Association of Diocesan Ecumenical and Inter-religious Officers. Paulist Father Ronald G. Roberson and Benjamin Brown served as staff. A complete list of the agreed statements released by the consultation as well as links to earlier press releases can be found on the USCCB website here.

ARCUSA Response to Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ1. The members of the Anglican-Roman Catholic Consultation in the United States of America (ARCUSA) gave sustained attention to the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) agreed statement Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ at our 60th, 61st, 62nd, and 63rd meetings, in 2006 and 2007. Our reflections at the 60th meeting were informed by the participation of biblical scholars the Most Rev. Richard Sklba and the Rt. Rev. Frederick Borsch. We, the members of this Consultation, offer the following response and informed reflection, the result of our own sustained dialogue. We hope to advance an ongoing dialogue between Roman Catholics and Episcopalians in the United States with regard to this statement and the teaching it explicates.
2. In accord with the statement, we reject any interpretation of the role of Mary that would obscure the unique mediatorship of Jesus Christ. As the document explains, Mary is the primary exemplar of those who have been elected and predestined by God to be glorified and accordingly prepared by God to be worthy of this calling. Consonant with Roman Catholic doctrine and Anglican commitment to Reformation teaching, we are in agreement that salvation comes by grace alone. Thus we appreciate the approach of Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ in considering Mary's role and status in salvation history from the standpoint of a strong doctrine of God's prevenient grace.
3. The distinction between the faith of the Church, on the one hand, and private revelations and individual devotions, on the other hand, both emphasizes the importance of common understandings and recognizes the continued diversity of devotional practice.
We concur with Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ (45-49, 66) that the liturgies of our two traditions demonstrate the meaning and significance that devotion to Mary has in each of our churches.
4. As a group, we did not find the document entirely satisfactory. Our greatest point of discussion and contention was the papal definitions of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception. We appreciate a methodology that seeks to find consensus by exploring our common roots in Scripture and the patristic church. Yet we find it also necessary to articulate explicitly our different approaches to the authority of Scripture and the development of doctrine and to explain the premises on which Roman Catholics base acceptance of these doctrines as articles of faith. As the document acknowledges, Anglicans turn to Scripture to determine what must be believed as a matter of faith: only that which can be read in Scripture or proved on the basis of Scripture can be required to be believed (MGHC 60; cf. Article VI of the Articles of Religion). While Roman Catholics acknowledge that there are no biblical texts that express the doctrines of the Assumption and the Immaculate Conception or from which they can be strictly proved, they nonetheless hold that these Marian doctrines are contained in divine revelation and that their church has arrived at such certitude that they are revealed truths as to justify their definition as dogmas of faith.
5. Both Anglicans and Roman Catholics accept that Christian revelation cannot be reduced to a series of propositions but is centered in the whole Christ-event, of which the apostles were the privileged witnesses. This witness of the apostles has been handed on through the Christian way of life, teaching, prayer, and worship. We recognize a legitimate development of doctrine in the course of the Church's life, a growth in the understanding of what has been handed on by the apostles. Thus, for instance, an element of the Christ-event witnessed by the apostles was the relationship between Jesus and his mother, and her role in his work of our redemption. As devout Christians continued to contemplate the mystery of Christ and his mother, they came to see that since Mary's Son is truly divine, it is correct to speak of her as Theotókos ("Mother of God"). This was confirmed in 431 by the Council of Ephesus, whose teachings are accepted by both Anglicans and Roman Catholics.
6. For Roman Catholics, the universal consensus of the Roman Catholic faithful (laity, theologians, and pastors) in believing a doctrine as revealed by God provides sufficient certitude that this truth is contained in revelation and can be defined as a dogma of faith. With regard to the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, Roman Catholics believe that this growth in the understanding of the faith handed down from the apostles developed in such a way that after the sixteenth century the Roman Catholic Church arrived at a universal agreement on these doctrines. In the Apostolic Constitution Munificentissimus Deus, with which Pope Pius XII defined the doctrine of the Assumption as a dogma of faith, he spelled out the reasons that led him to this decision:
The bishops from all over the world ask almost unanimously that the truth of the bodily Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary into heaven be defined as a dogma of divine and catholic faith; this truth is based on Sacred Scripture and deeply embedded in the minds of the faithful; it has received the approval of liturgical worship from the earliest times; it is perfectly in keeping with the rest of revealed truth, and has been lucidly developed and explained by the studies, the knowledge and wisdom of theologians. Considering all these reasons we deem that the moment pre-ordained in the plan of divine providence has now arrived for us to proclaim solemnly this extraordinary privilege of the Virgin Mary.
While Roman Catholics are thus required to accept these dogmas as a matter of faith, among Anglicans there is a range of beliefs about the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption, including acceptance of them.
7. In addition to wishing that Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ had provided a fuller explanation of the process by which these dogmas were defined for the Roman Catholic Church, we find it necessary to clarify the terms with which these two dogmas were defined. With regard to the definition of the Immaculate Conception (MGHC 59), the assertion that Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, preserved immune from all stain of original sin means that she never contracted the inherited guilt of original sin, and implies that she began her human existence in the state of supernatural grace. On the other hand, as a member of the human race she shared the universal need of redemption. Her redemption was accomplished, through a singular privilege of grace, by being preserved from contracting the guilt of original sin, rather than by being justified during her lifetime. Her immunity from original sin was due to the merits of Jesus Christ, the sole Redeemer of all humankind. The gift of supernatural grace with which she was endowed was essentially the same as ours, the difference being that she never lacked what we receive in baptism.
8. Anglicans may be helped by the emphasis in Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ on grace and egalitarianism. Mary is elected from all time by a sheer act of grace; her response is exemplary, and, perhaps most important, the event centers on Christ, not Mary (MGHC 54, 56). Sensitive to Anglicanism's egalitarian thrust, we are reminded again and again that Mary's role is as much exemplary as it is unique: "The holiness which is our end in Christ (cf. 1 John 3:2-3) was seen, by unmerited grace, in Mary, who is the prototype of the hope of grace for humankind as a whole" (MGHC 59). We, too, are addressed through the angel's greeting, inasmuch as we who have also been called to receive Christ, and are enabled to say yes to that call, are elect: "Mary's 'Amen' to God's 'Yes' in Christ to her is thus both unique and a model for every disciple and for the life of the Church" (MGHC 64).
9. Turning to the definition of the Assumption (MGHC 58), the phrase "having completed the course of her earthly life" is intended to leave open the question of whether Mary died. It is true that the original title of the feast was "Dormition," which suggests the description of death as a "falling asleep." However, the belief that Mary died and was then raised from the dead is not so common and consistent in the tradition as to warrant including this belief in the dogma of her Assumption. What is common in the tradition is that her complete person, both body and soul, was taken into heavenly glory. In other words, her Assumption means that she already enjoys what all Christians hope to receive at the resurrection of the body.
10. The care taken to present the Assumption as a theological affirmation rather than an assertion about her physical death (MGHC 58, note 10) addresses Anglican concerns lest Mary's exaltation be presented as a resurrection event paralleling Christ's own. Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ suggests that Mary's "whole person" being taken up into the presence of God is rather to be viewed as her "glorification," in anticipation of the Church's glorification on the last day. Like the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, the doctrine of the Assumption is grounded in Mary's election as the Mother of God. However, though one effect of baptism is to render believers sinless through the merits of Christ, as individuals we may not hope to be glorified in our whole persons, body and soul, before the general resurrection, as Mary has been. To argue that Mary here represents the Church simply proves the point: she represents us in our collective glorification as the Church in a way that is analogous to Christ's representing us as its head.
11. Another approach, consistent with the Anglican theological emphasis on the Incarnation, would be to ground the significance of the Assumption in Mary's ongoing relationship with Jesus as his mother. Indeed, to say that Mary was taken "body and soul" into heaven is to say that her whole person has been brought into the immediate presence of the Father and through the Holy Spirit reunited with her Son. The real question, then, is whether and how this understanding relates to our own salvation. Put in this way, it matters that Mary's relation to Jesus as Theotókos is eternal, because that means that the Incarnation is irrevocable, continuously in effect, and part of our common destiny.
12. Even with a fuller explanation of these dogmas, it may be that not all Anglicans will be satisfied that they can be held as matters of faith, and not all Anglicans will accept the particular papal formulation of the doctrines. Nor, as the document acknowledges, is it clear whether Anglicans would be required to accept these definitions as a condition for the restoration of full communion (MGHC 63). We appreciate the suggestion that explicit acceptance of the precise wording of the definitions might not be necessary for Anglicans, an approach parallel to that adopted in Roman Catholic dialogues with the Oriental Orthodox Churches and the Assyrian Church of the East concerning the Chalcedonian definition and with the Lutheran World Federation in the Joint Declaration on Justification (MGHC note 13). Yet further clarification is needed. What might be an acceptable diversity of belief in a reconciled church, particularly with regard to doctrines that are fruits of developments that the churches have not shared? Communion between our churches might better be understood not as uniformity in doctrinal formulations but as an embrace of difference within a common faith.
13. In conclusion, we find that Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ offers a significant contribution to our ecumenical dialogue by showing how the doctrines of the Immaculate Conception and the Assumption can be understood to be consonant with the teaching of Scripture and our common Christian traditions. ARCUSA encourages members of our churches to study Mary: Grace and Hope in Christ, to continue this dialogue in our local communities, and to share their experiences of liturgical practice and devotion to Mary. In this way, the faithful of both our churches may deepen their understanding of the faith we hold in common while also recognizing the different ways we have received and practice that faith.
October 20, 2007Virginia Theological SeminaryAlexandria, Virginia
Our Lady of Knock (here)