Tuesday, July 23, 2013

William Crichton, S.J.. "Gulielmus Crichtonius, Societatis Jesu Presbyter"

William Crichton, a learned member of the Society of the Jesuits, who, after a life devoted to the propagation of his faith, died at Leyden, in the year 1596. Of the talents, travels, and misfortunes of this author, the following account is preserved by Dempster :

“ Gulielmus Crichtonius, Societatis Jesu presbyter eruditus et pius, quinquaginta annis religiosé in eadem sociemte transactis, perigrinando, docendo, scribendo, indefesso labore cives suos, hæresi abdieata, Catholicæ Bc. clesias unire annisus est; vir probissimae conversationis, etiam a sectariis, judicatusi Majesmtis regiæ acerrimus propugnator; quippe cum Anglus quidam ei detexisset Elisabetham Angliæ reginam velle se, quacunque ratione, e medio tollere, intercessitl et quantum fieri potuit ab incepto retmxit. Petrus Mathmus, lib. VI. Hist. Gallic. nan-an II. Eoque beneficio Regina dev-incta, cum ille, ex itinere Scotico mari interceptus, in Turrim Londinensem conjiceretur, e vestigia liberum dimisit; ultro confessa, non posse improbum ease, cui curæ esset Regig dignitas et nnimanun salus. silean t ergo perditæ haereticorum voces clamantium, a societate in principes simrios armari; cum hic Jesuita, hostium etiam confessione, longe ab eo fuerit consiiio." Ejus sunt, Excerpta ex SS. Patribus. In primam partem D. Thomas. Lib. I. Theologia Scholastica contra Sectafios. De legitimol Jacobi VI. scotiæ Regis, titulo ad Regni Anglicani successionem. Qua librm Levanli acriptai m pniculum mail, extra omnea Regi; Hhpaniw ditiorm nleguhu: Pro hispani vero in idem regni-m jure, scripta-t Roberta: Penoniur, Jmn‘tu Anglia:Casus Conscientia obiit Lugduni Galliarum, MncxvL Multis annis Collegium Lovanii Scotorum rexit .
Link (here) to Life of the Admirable Crichton.

The Voyage Of Pope Francis

Brazil continues to be the country with the largest number of Catholics, 123 million. But if half a century ago nearly all of the population was Catholic, in the following decades the percentage decline has been very stark. From 92 percent of Brazilians in 1970 to 65 percent in 2010. Vice versa there has been a substantial rise, over the same span of time, in the number of Protestants, from 5 to 22 percent. In absolute terms, while the Catholics have stood still for twenty years at a little over 120 million, in spite of the increase in the population, the Protestants are still increasing. From 26 million in 2000 they have risen to 42 million in 2010.
By "Protestants" are meant not so much the Lutheran, Calvinist, Methodist Churches, those of the "historical" stock, which make up less than a fifth of the total, but mainly the Pentecostal and Evangelical Churches, some of which - like the Universal Church of the Kingdom of God and the God is Love Pentecostal Church - were born in Brazil itself.
Over the past few decades the followers of other religions have also increased, in particular those of the Afro-Brazilian Candomblé and Umbanda. From 6 million in 2000 they have become 10 million in ten years.And those affiliated with no religion have also grown, including the agnostics and atheists. In 1970 they were fewer than one million. In 2010 15 million. All of these changes apply in a roughly equal way to both men and women, both educated and less educated. They are more pronounced in the segment of the population under the age of 50. But above all they impact the cities much more than the countryside. While in the rural areas Catholicism continues to be embraced by 78 percent of the population, the figure is only 62 percent in the cities, where the Pentecostals and Evangelicals reap the most conversions and the agnostics and atheists are on the rise. In Rio de Janeiro, the destination of the voyage of Pope Francis, Catholics are now a minority among the citizens, just 46 percent. It comes as no surprise that the pope's objective is that of infusing into the Brazilian Church - and by extension into the Churches of Latin America - the missionary vitality capable of overturning this tendency to decline.
Link (here) to Sandro Magister's full article

Father General Adolfo Nicolás Is In Brazil

Jesuit Father General Adolfo Nicolás answered questions from pilgrims at a private session after his Mass on July 15, the final day of MAGIS 2013 in Salvador, Brazil, before the pilgrims departed for experiences scattered throughout the country. One pilgrim from each delegation was selected to attend the event. At the session, Fr. Nicolás, the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, spoke mainly in Spanish, which was then translated into English by an interpreter. Fr. Nicolás began with an opening statement and dedicated the rest of the two-hour session to questions from pilgrims. One pilgrim asked Fr. Nicolás what could be offered to those youth who seem to feel no need or desire for faith and church, to which Fr. Nicolás responded, “Are we offering them what is most profound from the Gospel?” He spoke of the necessity to widen our horizons and seek encounters with other cultures and traditions, such as those facilitated by events like MAGIS. “God works in the hearts of everyone, without preference for any class, Christians or non-Christians. To live Ignatian spirituality, we need to be open to everyone with a heart. We can work together, and we can discover together what God wants for humanity.” 
Link (here)

Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J., "It Seems To Me That We Have Neen Witnessing A Steady Protestantization Of The Catholic Church"

We have reason to rejoice at the revised, much more complete readings that we now have in the Lectionary over a three-year period. When Vatican II put great stress on the role of Scripture in the Mass, and both increased and lengthened the readings, we witnessed a move away from the traditional “sermon” to the “homily.” The sermon tended to concentrate on faith, morals, explaining the Creed, whereas the homily now tends to be an “explanation” of the scriptural readings for the day. The explanation usually is in the form of a rudimentary exegesis, or it moves into biblical theology, that is, a theme from the Bible is developed, suggested by the day’s readings. Such procedures are good. We needed a return to Scripture, and that is what we have had for the past 40 years. But in the meantime, there has been, in my view, a serious neglect of instruction of the faithful in the fundamentals of the Catholic faith in a systematic way in most of our parishes. Also, 
there is little or no connection between the homilies from one Sunday to the next. As a result, more and more Catholics simply do not know what their Church teaches on such basic questions as original sin, mortal and venial sin, the Incarnation, the Trinity, heaven, hell, purgatory, the Real Presence, bodily resurrection, and so forth. Millions of Catholics are confused—and that confusion has led to division. It seems to me that we have been witnessing a steady Protestantization of the Catholic Church, in the sense that each person, on the principles of sola scriptura and private interpretation, decides for himself/herself what the Bible and the Catholic faith mean. 
There are now about 20,000 different forms of Protestantism; and we now seem to have several different forms of Catholicism, not officially but de facto.
Link (here) to the full article at HPR by Fr. Kenneth Baker, S.J.

Monday, July 22, 2013

What Has Happened Seems More Like An Unfolding

Frieberg Cathedral ex nihlo or "out of nothing"
Atheism in the ancient world was largely a product of fear, in particular, of fear of the gods. The classical religious myths told stories of the gods fighting with one another, of their envy of man, and of their arbitrarily punishing him. Likewise, the gods lived pretty loosely. The good were often punished in the stories, while the bad were rewarded. The gods, in other words, were unfair. But why be fair, if it meant nothing and had no consequences? As a result, Plato’s brothers, in the Republic, wanted to hear justice praised, whether or not reward or punishment followed for living— or not living—rightly. One way to escape this understanding of the world was to deny the validity of the gods of the city that embodied and preserved all these aberrations in the civic liturgies. A good and a justice higher than the city existed. The philosopher was more authentic than the politicians or the priests. In fact, ultimately the philosopher judged the city that rejected him. The crimes that were not punished in the city would be requited in the rivers of Tartarus. The soul was immortal. No one could escape his crimes without forgiveness and punishment. The world was not created in injustice, as it seemed just from looking at the ways men lived in any existing city. This proposal of judgment and punishment after death was Plato’s philosophic solution that saved the world from being a massive sea of injustices.
But the classical atheists, like Epicurus and Democritus, did not accept this philosophical alternative either. The ancient atheists, unlike the modern ones, were anti-city. They found what contentment they could find, not by being social, but by withdrawing from every city. They preferred a garden. There they could keep all such disturbing thoughts out of their hearing. 
If stories of gods and philosophers always ended up in causing worry, then ignore or deny both. Be happy in a very quiet and pleasant way. “Eat, drink, and be merry,” yes—but in moderation—as too much of even these pleasures could upset us. Human happiness could not care about the cosmos or the city. What went on in them only upset us if we worried about them in relation to our lives and conduct. Peace of mind depended on disregarding everything but what was immediately at hand. Modern atheism did not think it could ignore the world, especially a created world that somehow expressed or reflected a creative mind that was not of the world. 
No one could deny that the world seemed to betray some kind of intelligible order. That is why the Greeks called it a cosmos and not a chaos. The trouble with this approach, particularly with its Christian origins, was that we can imagine a world coming from nothing. 
Indeed, the Creed itself implied that the world was created ex nihilo, from nothing. In this sense, believers themselves had to think the world out of existence even to appreciate what it was.
Once we understand that the world is not, in fact, itself everlasting, we can also postulate that everything evolved by chance. Even things that seemed always to appear in a definite order or sequence could supposedly be said to be “caused” by chance. This approach seemed, perhaps, plausible up until scientists recently began to notice that the world seems to have had a finite, temporal origin. Estimates were developed based on several approaches that the cosmos is some 13 to 14 billion years old. 
Moreover, such estimates were made because the cosmos manifested certain constants within an order. All of these stable constants seem to have been operative from the beginning. What has happened seems more like an unfolding of what is already there—rather than chance—though what chance there was seemed part of the same order.
Link (here) to read the lengthy piece by Fr. James Schall, S.J. at the HPR entiled, On Thinking the World out of Existence

Sunday, July 21, 2013

St. Peter Canisius, S.J, "As The Mother Of The King Of Angels, And As The Bride And Beloved Of The King Of Heavens."

If we follow St. John Damascene, St. Athanasius, and others, are we not forced to call Mary "Queen," since her father David receives the highest praise in Scripture as a renowned king, and her Son as the King of kings and Lord of lords, reigning forever? She is Queen moreover when compared with the saints who reign like kings in the heavenly kingdom, co-heirs with Christ, the great King, placed on the same throne with Him, as the Scripture says. And as Queen she is second to none of the elect, but in dignity is raised so high above both Angels and men that nothing can be higher or holier than she, who alone has the same Son as God the Father, and who sees above her only God and Christ, and below her all creatures other than herself. The great Athanasius said clearly: Mary is not only the Mother of God, but also can be properly and truly called Queen and Lady, since in fact the Christ who was born of the Virgin Mother is God and Lord and also King. It is to this queen, therefore, that the Psalmists words are applied, 
"The Queen takes her place at Thy right hand in garments of Gold." Thus Mary is rightly called Queen, not only of heaven, but also of the heavens, as the Mother of the King of Angels, and as the Bride and beloved of the King of Heavens. 
O Mary, most august Queen and faithful Mother, to whom no one prays in vain who prays devoutly, and to whom all mortal men are bound by the enduring memory of so many benefits, again and again reverently I beseech thee to accept and be pleased with every evidence of my devotion to thee, to value the poor gift I offer according to the zeal with which it is offered, and to recommend it to thine all-powerful Son.

St. Peter Canisius, S.J. on the Blessed Virgin Mary his book is entitled, "On the Incomparable Virgin Mary, Mother of God" the excerpt is from book 15, chapter 13 
Link (here) to the St. Louis Catholic

Friday, July 19, 2013

Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J., "The Family: Monastery Of The New Dark Ages"

I gave the ordination retreat just down the way here at Arlington earlier this year to 13 seminarians. Now
there are 61 parishes in the Arlington diocese. This year they ordained 13 men to the priesthood. Last year 10. The year before last 9. In 3 years, they've got more than half of the parishes taken care of, I think they’ve got over 20 entering this year. What's the secret? Well, there's not a secret. They've got an orthodox bishop and orthodox priests and they celebrate the Mass reverently, they love the priesthood, and they’ve got a great vocation director. It's easy. In the little, tiny diocese of Fargo, North Dakota (what good can come from Fargo?), Bishop James Sullivan has 53 seminarians! So I think that the home is already, but must continue to be and grow in numbers to be the monastery of the new Dark Ages. Each family must be a monastery.
Link (here) to read the lengthy talk by Fr. Joseph Fessio, S.J. at Catholic.net

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Heroin Bust Of Regis Jesuit High Dean

Nicholas deSpoelberch
The dean of a Manhattan Catholic school was busted in Connecticut for heroin and Oxycodone possession after cops found him passed out in a car in the middle of a dead-end road, according to reports. Nicholas deSpoelberch, 35, dean of students at Regis High School on the upper East Side, was allegedly found asleep at about 10 p.m. Thursday in his 2005 Nissan Altima. An officer who inspected the vehicle parked in the town of Wilton and woke deSpoelberch said the educator had glassy eyes and was talking slowly, according to the Darien Times. DeSpoelberch, who lives in Darien, told police he was using medication and had pills not prescribed to him, according to the Darien Times. Cop searched his vehicle and found three packages of heroin, five Oxycodone pills, three Clonidine pills and drug paraphernalia — including two silver spoons and two hypodermic needles in a zippered briefcase, and a syringe under the driver’s seat — the Villager of Wilton reported. DeSpoelberch was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of drug paraphernalia and retaining prescriptions pills outside of their original container, according to the Wilton Bulletin.
Link (here) New York Daily News

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Xavier University To Cut 51 Jobs And 4 Million Dollars

Xavier University is laying off 31 employees and eliminating 20 additional, currently vacant positions in order to help balance its budget. University president Father Michael Graham announced the elimination of the 51 positions in a Tuesday email to the Xavier community. “Eliminating their positions to better secure our strategic future was a tough decision, one that I own,” Graham wrote. “I am sure that some will question whether we have compromised the Jesuit identity of Xavier University because the principle of cura personalis, the care of the person, is so very central to that tradition. I confess that I have pondered that myself. And yet, the Jesuit tradition has always sought to balance cura personalis with cura apostolica, the care and continuation of the work. It was in that balance that I made these difficult decisions.” Graham wrote in a May 30 letter that they layoffs would save $800,000 in fiscal year 2014 alone, which began July 1. The layoffs are part of $4 million in permanent cuts to the university’s budget, which will result in a balanced budget for the next year.

Link (here)

Jesuit Blessed To Become Saint Peter Faber, S.J.


One of Francis's decisions that is certainly personal is that of proceeding - as revealed in "Avvenire" by the journalist and friend of the current pope Stefania Falasca - with the canonization of the Savoyard Peter Faber, one of the founders of the Society of Jesus, now venerated as blessed.
The reasons for this intention are easy to identify in the evident analogy between the way in which Faber carried out his mission during the terrible period of crisis for the Church occasioned by the Protestant Reformation and the way in which pope Bergoglio today intends to fulfill the task of successor of Peter.
Faber, in fact, the historians recount, counter posed the witness of his own life and his insistence on a thorough internal reform of the Church to the theological controversies and to every illusion of being able to impose the authentic faith by force. And in doing so he earned the esteem of saints who nonetheless are considered seasoned champions of the Catholic Counter-Reformation, like Francis de Sales and Peter Canisius. In all probability, the canonization of Faber will take place without the usual ceremony but with a simple pontifical act that will certify the so-called canonization "equivalent." This is a procedure ordinarily used for personages who lived in past centuries and whom the pope, by virtue of his authority, decides to elevate to the rank of saint without the miracle attributed to their intercession, which is instead necessary in normal causes. This procedure has been used, for example, by Benedict XVI for Hildegard of Bingen, by John XXIII for Gregorio Barbarigo, by Pius XII for Margaret of Hungary, by Pius XI for Albert the Great.
Link (here) to Vatican Diary

St Robert Bellarmine, S.J., " For It Was Fitting That If The Son Of God Wished To Become Son Of Man He Should Be Born Only From A Virgin,"

Lodovico Carracci "The Trinity with the Dead Christ"
The first testimony is the confession of Peter from the revelation of God the Father, Matthew ch.16, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Note here that Peter asserts that Christ is the true and natural Son of God, for that is why he added ‘living’, because it is proper to living things to generate for themselves something a like in nature. And it is confirmed from other places, for in John ch.3 Christ is said to be “the only begotten Son,” Romans ch.8 he is called “proper Son,” I John ch.5 he is called “true Son,”  Colossians ch.1 and Hebrews ch.1 he is called “natural” for he is called the image or the type of the paternal hypostasis, which does not belong to adoptive sons. Again in the same place he is called a Son such that with respect to him the angels are called servants, who however are otherwise adoptive Sons of God, and indeed chiefly so. Next, Christ is accused of having preached that he was the Son of God, John19, “For we have a law and according to the law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God.” And it is certain that he was not accused of having made himself adoptive or metaphorical Son of God, for even the Jews say, “We have one Father, God,” John ch.8. And yet Christ did not dilute this accusation but as it were admitted it, and in that confession he wished 39 But if he is true, proper, only begotten, natural Son, then he is begotten of the substance of the Father; but he did not receive a part of the substance, because God is without parts, therefore he received the whole of it, therefore he is one God in number with the Father. The Transylvanian ministers and Blandrata reply that Christ is true and proper Son of God because he was conceived from the Holy Spirit, and they prove it from Luke ch.1 where it is said, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the virtue of the Most High will overshadow you, and therefore the holy thing that is born from you will be called the Son of God.” But on the contry, for even Adam, Eve, and all the angels were not born of the seed of man but are directly the work of God. How then is he called only begotten Son? Second if for this reason Christ is Son of God because he was conceived in the womb of a virgin by the work of the Holy Spirit, then he could be called the Son of the Holy Spirit; but Scripture never says this, nay on the contrary it says that the Spirit proceeds from the Son, John ch.15 and elsewhere. Third, this is not to be natural and true Son, for God did not generate Christ from his own substance in the womb of a virgin but from the substance alone of the Virgin; hence in Hebrews ch.7 Christ is said to be without father and without mother, that is, without father on earth and without mother in heaven, as all the Greeks and Latins expounded. To the place of Luke ch.1 I say with Ambrose, Gregory, Bede, Bernard that the virtue of the Most High is the Word of God which descended into the womb of the Virgin, and there put on flesh, and therefore the Son of Mary is called the Son of the Most High. It can also be said that conception from the Holy Spirit is a sign, not a cause, that Christ is called Son of God. For it was fitting that if the Son of God wished to become Son of Man he should be born only from a virgin, and if a virgin were to give birth, she should give birth only to God, as St. Bernard rightly said. Further, Jacob Palaeologus, who, although he was one of the chief doctors of the new Samosatans, at length at Rome, as we said above, was converted to the true faith, not only made no account of our argument but turned it back against us by means of this reasoning: any true Son of God cannot be true God; but Christ is true Son of God, therefore he is not true God. And this syllogism (as I have often heard from him) he used to boast was a very firm demonstration, even though I said to him that the major proposition of the syllogism is so false that the contrary is most true. For as the true son of man is true man, the true son of a lion is true lion, and in all others in like manner, so too the true Son of God must be true. 
Link (here) to the full book by St Robert Bellarmine, S.J.  entitled,  Disputations about Controversies of the Christian Faith against the Heretics of this Age, first published at Ingolstadt in 1581,1593 and republished several times thereafter.
The Latin text can be downloaded from Google books: 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

"Bix", Arrested Again!

Twenty-three people, including the new U.S. provincial supervisor of the Missionary Oblates of Mary Immaculate, were arrested Saturday after crossing the property line of a new nuclear weapons complex. The group was participating in a PeaceWorks protest at the National Security Campus, also known as the Kansas City Plant, a five-building facility where 85 percent of the non-nuclear parts for U.S. nuclear weapons will be made or procured. Line-crossers were arrested, fingerprinted, photographed and held at the Jackson County Police Department, according to a PeaceWorks Kansas City press release. All have been released. ... "When I heard Carl invited his provincial, I wanted to join into that," said Jesuit Fr. Bill Bichsel of Tacoma, Wash. "That whole sense of solidarity, I like that. Things become more alive when you're connected to the people that you're doing the action with. It makes it more vibrant and alive -- a spirit that moves." 
 Bichsel was one of two 85-year-olds arrested Saturday. When asked how many times he has been arrested at similar demonstrations, Bichsel laughed and said more than a hundred. "I think that gatherings such as this are much more powerful than a nuclear weapon," Bichsel said. "Relationships are so important in establishing our long-term struggle, our long term fight."  
The Kansas City facility is one of two newly constructed nuclear weapons plants in the United States and, according to Bichsel, is a linchpin in nuclear production. "The plant here in Kansas City represents the United States' thrust and direction into endless war, keeping us in war, keeping us in a wartime economy," Bichsel said. "Of course we're making enemies -- we're threatening everyone with guns to their head."
Link (here) to the Fishwrap

Bert Thelen 80 Year Old Jesuit Leaves The Society Of Jesus, "It Is Time For The Church To Turn Her Attention From Saving Face To Saving The Earth, From Saving Souls To Saving The Planet."

May the Grace of Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the Peace of the Holy Spirit be with you! I am writing to tell you about what may be the most important decision of my life since entering the Jesuits. With God's help, at the behest of my religious superiors and the patient support and wise encouragement of my CLC group and closest friends, I have decided to leave ordained Jesuit ministry and return to the lay state, the priesthood of the faithful bestowed on me by my Baptism nearly 80 years ago. I do this with confidence and humility, clarity and wonder, gratitude and hope, joy and sorrow. No bitterness, no recrimination, no guilt, no regrets.
Bert Thelen former Jesuit
It has been a wonderful journey, a surprising adventure, an exploration into the God Who dwells mysteriously in all of our hearts. I will always be deeply grateful to the Society of Jesus for the formation, education, companionship, and ministry it has provided, and to my family for their constant support. I can never thank God enough for the loving and loyal presence in my life of each and every one of you.
 Why am I doing this? How did I reach this decision? I will try to tell you now. That is the purpose of this letter.
For about 15 years now, as many of you have noticed, I have had a "Lover's Quarrel" with the Catholic Church. I am a cradle Catholic and grew up as Catholic as anyone can, with Priests and even Bishops in our household, and 17 years of Catholic education at St. Monica's Grade School, Milwaukee Messmer High School, and Marquette University.
I took First Vows at Oshkosh in the Society of Jesus at age 25 and was ordained at Gesu Church to the priesthood ten years later in 1968. I have served the Church as a Jesuit priest in Milwaukee, Omaha, and Pine Ridge for 45 years, including 18 years on the Province Staff culminating in my being the Wisconsin Provincial for six years and attending the 34th General Congregation in Rome. My last 14 years at Creighton and St. John's have been the best years of my life. I have truly enjoyed and flourished serving as pastor of St. John's. I cannot even put into words how graced and loved and supported I have been by the parishioners, parish staff, campus ministry, Ignatian Associates, and CLC members! It is you who have freed, inspired, and encouraged me to the New Life to which I am now saying a strong and joyful "Yes." You have done this by challenging me to be my best self as a disciple of Jesus, to proclaim boldly His Gospel of Love, and to widen the horizons of my heart to embrace the One New World we are called to serve in partnership with each other and our Triune God. It is the Risen Christ Who beckons me now toward a more universal connection with the Cosmos, the infinitely large eco-system we are all part of, the abundance and vastness of what Jesus called "the Reign of God."
Why does this "YES" to embrace the call of our cosmic inter-connectedness mean saying "NO" to ordained ministry? My answer is simple but true. All mystical traditions, as well as modern science, teach us that we humans cannot be fully ourselves without being in communion with all that exists. Lasting justice for Earth and all her inhabitants is only possible within this sacred communion of being. We need conversion – conversion from the prevailing consciousness that views reality in terms of separateness, dualism, and even hierarchy, to a new awareness of ourselves as inter-dependent partners , sharing in one Earth-Human community. In plainer words, we need to end the world view that structures reality into higher and lower, superior and inferior, dominant and subordinate, which puts God over Humanity, humans over the rest of the world, men over women, the ordained over the laity.
As Jesus commanded so succinctly, "Don't Lord it over anyone … serve one another in love." As an institution, the Church is not even close to that idea; its leadership works through domination, control, and punishment. So, following my call to serve this One World requires me to stop benefiting from the privilege, security, and prestige ordination has given me. I am doing this primarily out of the necessity and consequence of my new call, but, secondarily, as a protest against the social injustices and sinful exclusions perpetrated by a patriarchal church that refuses to consider ordination for women and marriage for same- sex couples.
I have become convinced that the Catholic Church will never give up its clerical privilege until and unless we priests (and bishops) willingly step down from our pedestals. Doing this would also put me in solidarity with my friend, Roy Bourgeois, my fellow Jesuit, Fr. Bill Brennan, the late Bernard Cooke, and many other men who have been "de-frocked" by the reigning hierarchy. It will also support the religious and lay women, former Catholics, and gay and lesbian couples marginalized by our church. I want to stand with and for them. I am, if you will, choosing to de-frock myself in order to serve God more faithfully, truly, and universally.
But why leave the Jesuits? Make no mistake about it: the Society of Jesus shares in and benefits from this patriarchal and clerical way of proceeding. We still regard ourselves as the shepherds and those to whom and with whom we minister as sheep. I discovered this painfully when the Society of Jesus decided against having Associate members. We are not prepared for co-membership or even, it seems at times, for collaboration, though we pay lip service to it. "Father knows best" remains the hallmark of our way of proceeding. I can no longer, in conscience, do that. But I still honor and love my fellow Jesuits who work from that model of power over. It is still where we all are as a company, a Society, a community of vowed religious in the Roman Catholic church. Leaving behind that companionship is not easy for me, but it is the right thing for me to do at this time in my life. When I went through a formal discernment process with my CLC group, one member whose brilliance and integrity I have always admired and whose love and loyalty to the Jesuits is beyond question, said of my decision, "You cannot NOT do this!" He had recognized God's call in me.
 A few other considerations may help clarify my path. The Church is in transition – actually in exile. In the Biblical tradition, the Egyptian, Assyrian and Babylonian captivities led to great religious reforms and the creation of renewed covenants. Think of Moses, Jeremiah, and Isaiah. I think a similar reform is happening in our Catholic faith (as well as other traditions).
We have come through far-reaching, earth-shaking evolutionary changes, and a new (Universal) Church as well as a new (One) World is emerging. My decision is a baby step in that Great Emergence, a step God is asking me to take.
Consider this. Being a Lay Catholic has sometimes been caricatured as "Pray, pay, and obey." Of course, that is a caricature, an exaggeration, a jibe. But it does point to a real problem. Recently, the hierarchical church mandated the so-called revision of the Roman Missal without consulting the People of God. It was both a foolish and a self-serving effort to increase the authority of Ordained men, damaging and even in some ways taking away the "Pray" part of "Pray, pay, and obey." No wonder more and more Catholics are worshipping elsewhere, and some enlightened priests feel compromised in their roles. I, for one, feel that this so-called renewal , though licit, is not valid. It is not pleasing to God, and I feel compromised in trying to do it.
Now, consider this. All of this liturgical, ecclesial, and religious change is located in and strongly influenced by what both science and spirituality have revealed as happening to our world, our planet, our universe.
The very earth we are rooted and grounded in, as well as the air we breathe and the water we drink, are being damaged and destroyed even beyond (some say) our capacity to survive. And, as Fr. John Surette, S.J., has so wisely observed, "Injustice for the human and destruction of Earth's ecosystem are not two separate injustices. They are one." Biocide is even more devastating than genocide, because it also kills future inhabitants of our precious Earth.
It is time. It is time to abandon our refusal to see that our very environment is central to the survival and well being of ALL earthlings. It is time for the Church to turn her attention from saving face to saving the earth, from saving souls to saving the planet. It is time to focus on the sacred bond that exists between us and the earth. It is time to join the Cosmic Christ in the Great Work of mending, repairing, nurturing, and protecting our evolving creation. It is time for a new vision of a universal Church whose all-inclusive justice and unconditional love, an expression of Christ consciousness and the work of the Holy Spirit, empowers ALL and can lead to a future that preserves the true right to life of all of God's creatures. This includes future generations who will bless us for allowing them to live, evolve, and flourish. Can't you hear them crying out, "I want to live, I want to grow, I want to be, I want to know?"
In light of all this, how can I not respond to the call both Isaiah and Jesus heard, the call of our Baptism? "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me and sent me to bring Good News to the oppressed." All creation will be freed, and all people will know the freedom and glory of the Children of God. Yes, Lord, I will go. Please send me.
And that is why I am leaving Jesuit priesthood. Since first vows I have always thought and hoped and prayed that I would live and die in this least Society of Jesus. But now, something unexpected! A real surprise! I HAVE lived and died in the Society of Jesus, but, now, nearly 80, I have been raised to new life. I am born again – into a much larger world, a much newer creation. I have greatly benefited from the spiritual freedom given in and by the Society of Jesus. I feel no longer chained, limited, bound, by the shackles of a judicial, institutional, clerical, hierarchical system. As St. Paul once reminded the early Christians, "It is for freedom that you have been set free." And as St. Peter, the first Pope, learned when he said to Jesus, "You know that I love you," love is all about surrender and servanthood.
Thank you for your attention to this self presentation. I am grateful that you have followed me in the journey described here, and I am sorry for whatever sadness, disappointment, or hurt this may have caused you. But what I have written here is my truth, and I can't not do it! If you want to discuss this with me, ask questions, or give me feedback, I welcome your response, either by letter, e-mail or phone. Please pray for me, as I do for all of you, the beloved of my heart and soul.
Yours in the Risen Christ, Bert Thelen
Link (here)

Satan’s “Optimism.”

Ilya Repin's " Get Behind Me Satan "
Jesuit Father Gerry Blaszczak analyzes Pope Francis’ frequent references to the devil in terms of the doctrine of St. Ignatius of Loyola, which emphasizes the grim work of the enemy to discourage and spread despondency among those who are attempting to live a spiritual life.  We are all familiar with the dynamic of temptation, which often has a very optimistic dimension.  The forbidden fruit promises a happiness which we are led to believe God cannot give, or refuses to give.  But everything changes once we consent, unless we have managed to deaden our consciences.  The Liar becomes the Accuser and our entanglement with sin becomes a more and more morbid preoccupation with our own negative spiritual experience.  This is hardly optimistic.  It is also why Satan appears as an angel of light, and why in a particular way, he uses the image of woman, depersonalized and debased, to falsify the way of beauty.  We need to be convinced that something that feels so good cannot possible be wrong, and so pornography becomes art, sex becomes mysticism and sodomy becomes marriage.  This is Satan’s “optimism.”
Link (here) to Mary Victrix  to read the full piece

Monday, July 15, 2013

Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J., "We Should Restrict Artificial Reproduction Of Children"

It is high time to draw a distinction between a marriage recognized by civil law and a sacramental marriage. In deciding whether to expand civil marriage to the union of two persons of the same gender, legislators should have regard not just for the well being of same sex couples and the children already part of their family units, but also for the well being of all future children who may be affected, as well as the common good of society in setting appropriate contours for legally recognized relationships. Same sex couples wanting to create their own children may in the foreseeable future be able to use only their own genetic material, precluding the possibility that such children will have a biological father and a biological mother. Whether or not we legislate for same sex marriage, we should restrict artificial reproduction of children such that they will have a biological father and a biological mother, and hopefully able to be known by them.
Link (here) to Eureka Street to read the full piece by Fr. Frank Brennan, S.J.

Fr. Michael Barber, SJ Selected By The Holy Father

Bishop Michael Barber, S.J. at the Oratory of Oxford, England
Michael Charles Barber was born in 1954 to Californians living temporarily in Salt Lake City. He is the oldest of three brothers, two of them Jesuit priests. As a young boy his early teachers, Ursuline Sisters from Santa Rosa and Dominican Sisters of San Rafael, instilled the beauty of the Catholic faith in him. He was a youngster, like many baby boomers, who made his First Communion in a parish hall because the church was still being built and spent his school days in crowded classrooms, where he was enthralled by visiting missionaries' stories of faraway lands. He would later go on to serve halfway around the world on islands that lacked luxuries but not people of faith. That's the Michael Barber, SJ selected by the Holy Father.
True to the Jesuit of tradition of serving where he was needed most, Bishop Barber was willing to set aside his own pursuits, primarily, his post-graduate studies on Cardinal John Newman, to go the people. His long service as a military chaplain in the Navy has given him the closest thing to his own parish on his résumé — an aircraft carrier, and 7,000 military personnel awaiting deployment to Iraq in the tense days before the start of the war.
A call to help build vocations has led to two stints — one at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, the most recent at St. John's Seminary in Boston — where he has not only spent time in the classroom with young men studying for the priesthood, but served as spiritual director. Many of those young priests were present at his ordination and installation as bishop.
Link (here) to The Catholic Voice

I Want To Spend My Heaven By Doing Some Good Upon The Earth.

Saint Therese of Lisieux lying in state
Yet perhaps no woman since Catherine of Siena has influenced, and continues to influence, so many human lives as this French recluse! To us believers it is another striking illustration of the truth that the grain of wheat must fall into the ground and die in order to produce fruit. It is – one may reverently say – the story of Calvary over again. The Man whose words and example have revolutionized human thought and human existence more effectively than any other, died on a Cross, executed as a public malefactor by the official representative of the most flourishing empire the world has ever known.
In the story of Saint Therese, we may perhaps call attention to the following points as helping to explain the extraordinary impression she produced. It is an interesting and probably unique fact that as death approached she foresaw and foretold the spiritual triumph that would be hers after death, and the world-wide favor she would win. 
A few of her sentences uttered from her bed of pain have become household words in Catholic circles, such as her promise to send a “Shower of Roses,” or the words inscribed on the plain wooden cross erected over her grave in Lisieux cemetery: “Je veux passer mon ciel a faire du bien sur la terre.” (‘I want to spend my Heaven by doing some good upon the earth.’)  On July 16, 1897, Therese received Viaticum from the hands of a young priest who celebrated his first Mass in the Convent Chapel, and next day she made the following prophetic announcement to her sister, Mother Agnes, “I feel that my mission is soon to begin, my mission to make the good God loved as I love Him, to teach souls my ‘little way’. I will spend my heaven in doing good upon earth. There cannot be any rest for me till the end of the world, till the angels will have said ‘time is no more’.” Events since that memorable date have proved the truth of her prophecy. The records of the “Pluie de Roses” (‘Shower of Roses’) published year after year tell how generously she has kept her word.
Link (here) to the full article by Fr. Albert Power, S.J.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Defrocked Jesuit Priest Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zarate,

In 1978 the Duchess of Alba, Spain’s richest and most titled woman, her full name is Maria del Rosario Cayetana Alfonsa Victoria Eugenia Francisca Fitz-James Stuart y de Silva and she is a duchess seven times over. scandalized the nation by marrying defrocked Jesuit priest Jesus Aguirre y Ortiz de Zarate, her former confessor. Aguirre administered the Alba estate until his death in 2001. 
Link (here) to The Telegraph

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Ex Jesuit Says He Is Married To Another Man

Former Jesuit James Nickoloff
A Barry University professor who told students he was “married” to another man was one of two theologians from Catholic colleges who spoke at a dissident homosexual conference last week. DignityUSA rejects Catholic teaching that homosexuality is “disordered” and actively affirms and promotes the homosexual lifestyle. The theme of its conference this year was "Let Justice Roll Like a River." Among the speakers was James Nickoloff, a former Jesuit who teaches theology at Barry University in Florida, a Catholic institution founded by the Adrian Dominican Sisters. According to his faculty profile, Nickoloff has taught at Boston College, the College of the Holy Cross, the Weston Jesuit School of Theology and Santa Clara University. It was at Santa Clara where Nickoloff taught a course called “The Church and Homosexuality.” According to the syllabus, required readings included Catholic teaching and a book by Richard Cleaver, Know My Name: A Gay Liberation Theology. Nickoloff shared his marital status with students in an introductory letter for a 2009 online class at Santa Clara University titled “The Church in the World.” 
Link (here) to Creative Minority Report

Repressed Memory

A child sexual abuse case involving a now-deceased El Paso priest was settled earlier this week. A suit was filed in 2011 against the New Orleans Province of the Jesuit Order and the El Paso Diocese by a former student and parishioner over an incident dating back several decades. Documents stated that the victim had repressed the memory of the abuse due to the trauma associated with it. The victim claimed that he was 8 to 12 years old when he was sexually abused by Father Alphonso Madrid when he was assigned to Sacred Heart Church and school. Madrid was assigned to Sacred Heart from 1970 to 1982, and before that, he was assigned to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the Archdiocese of San Antonio from 1966 to 1970. 
Link (here) to KFOXTV

Friday, July 12, 2013

Fr. Joseph Bracken, S.J. On St. Thomas Aquinas

Jesuit Philosopher and Theologian Joseph Bracken is our guest this week on the podcast.  He recently retired from Xavier University & was honored with an amazing tribute – Seeking Common Ground – which includes articles from John Cobb, Catherine Keller, and more.  In this episode we take a tour through Bracken’s influential career working toward common ground between religion & science, Aquinas & Whitehead, and Religious Pluralism.  I can’t tell you how much I enjoy reading and talking with Father Joe.  Off the mic he is one of the most amazing nerds I have met & in conversation he has a quick & sensitive intellect. On top of all the nerdiness you even get to hear a little inside Jesuit scoop about the new Pope Francis I. Check out Bracken’s previous visits to the podcast where we talk Trinity & Process and then my favorite – Christology!
Link (here) to Home Brewed Christianity to listen

The Foes Of Christianity

Link (here) to the Irish Monthly to read the full article.