Saturday, May 31, 2014

Al Qaeda-Linked Militant Is Responsible For The Missing Fr. Dall' Oglio, S.J.

Fr. Paolo Dall'Oglio, S.J.
Father Paolo Dall'Oglio was abducted by an "Al Qaeda-linked militant" in Syria in July 2013, and was believed to still be alive.
However, according to Mid East Faces, "ISIS defector" Abu Mohammad Assuri indicates Father Paolo was shot 14 times and "killed right after his capture."
Father Paolo's death was first reported "by Tahrir Souri, a Syrian opposition website," and "was immediately confirmed by the Syrian League for Human Rights." The Syrian League for Human Rights named defector Assuri as an eyewitness to killing.  There were "at least 1,213 cases" of Christian persecution reported in Syria alone last year, where "10 percent of [the people] are Christians." Many of these "have become targets for Islamist groups who believe Christians are supporters of President Bashar al-Assad."
Link (here) to Brietbart

Jesuits Gather In Jordon

Jesuits after the Holy Fathers visit to Amman, Jordon (here) and (here)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Fr. Charles F. Suver, S.J. "The Jesuit of Iwo Jima"

Fr. Charles F. Suver, S.J. "Mass at Iwo Jima"
Jesuit Father Charles F. Suver, a native of Ellensburg and a 1924 graduate of Seattle College, celebrated Mass prior to the famed flag raising. What’s more, the idea to plant the Stars & Stripes atop the 550-foot volcano was hatched six days earlier in the priest’s shipboard cabin, 
according to the late Jesuit Father Donald Crosby’s 1993 book, “Battlefield Chaplains: Catholic Priests in World War II.” Father Suver, a Navy chaplain, was among 19 Catholic chaplains and 58 chaplains assigned to minister to the three Marine divisions that wrested Iwo Jima from the Japanese in the war’s bloodiest battle in the Pacific, 
Father Crosby said in his book. On the eve of the landing assault, the then 38-year-old chaplain gathered with friends in his cabin after supper to chat.  “One young officer in the group said that if he could take an American flag from the landing craft, perhaps someone could hoist it on top of the volcano…,” Father Crosby wrote.  “Challenged a young lieutenant, ‘Okay, you get it and I’ll get it up there.’ Not to be outdone, Suver added, ‘You get it up there and I’ll say Mass under it.’ “Six days later he would keep his promise.” But it would be a long six days. Father Crosby, who researched Marine records and contacted several hundred former chaplains in writing his book, chronicled how Father Suver and a fellow Jesuit chaplain narrowly escaped death on several occasions during the battle for Iwo Jima.
Afterwards, “both remain haunted by their memories of the struggle,” the author said. “Most important, both found that the Iwo Jima experience gave them a deepened appreciation of their vocation as Roman Catholic priests, just as it did for their non-Jesuit and non-Catholic colleagues.” 
Father Suver’s landing craft had been among the ninth wave of landing crafts to reach the shores of Iwo Jima the morning of Feb. 19. They hit the beach at 9:40 a.m., which Father Suver thought was “far too early for a priest,” Father Crosby wrote. The chaplain soon discovered his heavy Mass kit would be of no use amid the hazardous surroundings, so he planned to bury it and return for it later. His assistant, however, convinced him to leave the kit out in the open, correctly surmising that another Marine would come along and spot the priest’s name on the kit and bring it to him. The flag raising took place on Feb. 23. 
Father Crosby’s book chronicles how Father Suver celebrated Mass atop Suribachi afterwards on an altar consisting of a board laid across two empty gas drums. 
But Jesuit Father Jerry Chapdelaine, a friend of Father Suver’s, said last week from his residence at Bellarmine Prep in Tacoma that the reverse was true. Father Suver “told me the Mass was said before the raising of the flag – not after,” Father Chapdelaine said. “A lot of people got the deal wrong about the saying of the Mass…Father Suver told me (that he said to his men), ‘I’ll say Mass to you guys and then you raise that flag.’” Father Crosby’s book describes how Father Suver could hear Japanese soldiers chattering in caves nearby as he celebrated the Mass. The capture of Suribachi was a prelude to 29 more days of fierce fighting, in which the Marines suffered most of their casualties, Father Crosby wrote.  
“So many of the men (Father Suver) had seen on top of Suribachi were to ‘remain behind on Iwo.’ One of the severely injured was the brash young lieutenant who had boasted that he would put the flag on top. Tragically, he had been shot in the back before the flag raising and remained paralyzed for the rest of his life. Another Marine had carried the flag to the top.” 
After the war, Father Suver spent more than a dozen years ministering with the Jesuit Oregon Province’s Mission Band, conducting week-long spiritual renewals and other activities. He was pastor of St. Aloysius Parish in Spokane from 1958-66, and later did marriage counseling and retreat work in Seattle, then was chaplain at the Park Rose Care Center in Tacoma, residing with the Jesuit Community at Bellarmine Prep. “I remember him when I was a kid; he was on the Mission Band,” said Father Chapdelaine, who became good friends with the wartime chaplain when they resided at Jesuit residences in Portland and Tacoma. “He was one tough guy…physically strong, and he had lots of courage. But he was a very gentle man, too. “He talked about his fears (on Iwo Jima), but he (said he) didn’t think about that stuff much. He was pretty focused on what was going on. He was sensitive to the guys. 
“And he loved being a military chaplain. He told me they (the military) weren’t going to take him, that he was too old when he applied.” Father Suver died of cancer in 1993 at age 86, 
at the Bessie Burton Sullivan Skilled Nursing Residence at Seattle University. It was Easter Sunday. “He wanted to die on Good Friday – that’s what he told me,” said Father Chapdelaine, who celebrated his funeral Mass at St. Joseph Church in Seattle. “I don’t know if it was connected (to Iwo Jima) or not.”
Link (here) to

Fr. William Doyle, S.J. Chaplain Of The Battle of Ypres "They Speak His Name With Tears"

[The following letter, written by Father William Doyle a few days before he was killed during the advance of Irish troops north-east of Ypres on August 17th, 1917, is a chapter of autobiography needing the fewest possible notes in its elucidation. This Jesuit Chaplain of the Irish Province was the son of Mr. Hugh Doyle of Dalkey, co. Dublin, for many years Registrar of the Dublin Bankruptcy Court; he was forty-four years of age when he wrote this to his father, aged eighty-six.* Educated at Radcliffe by the Rosminians, William Doyle nevertheless became a Jesuit. He studied in Belgium, was ordained at Milltown Park in 1907, was Professor at Clongowes (where he founded and edited The Clongovmian) and subsequently laboured in Limerick and in Dublin. In November, 1915, the call to more strenuous service came to him, and three months later he went to the Front with the 16th Irish Division. For his bravery at Ginchy he was awarded the Military Cross, and he was afterwards commended by his Commanding Officer for the V.C., which, however, he was not to receive. As a preamble to his own letter may be quoted a line from that of a brother-chaplain, written about Father Doyle before his death : "He is a marvel. They may talk of heroes and saints—they are hardly in it!" That exclamation neither the saints nor heroes aforesaid, nor yet the eighth Urban of the scrupulous Decree, will in anywise take amiss.]

July 30th, 1917.—For the past week we have been moving steadily up to the Front. It was half-past one a.m. when our first halting-place was reached, and we marched again at three. It was the morning of July 31st,. the Feast of St. Ignatius, a day dear to every Jesuit, but doubly so to the soldier sons of the soldier Saint. Was it to be Mass or sleep ? Nature said " sleep," but grace won the day; and while the weary soldiers slumbered the Adorable Sacrifice was offered for them. As we fall into the line once more the dark clouds are lit up with red and golden flashes of light, the earth quivers with the simultaneous crash of thousands of guns—the Fourth Battle of Ypres has begun. . . . The road was a sight never to be forgotten. On one side marched our columns in close formation. On the other galloped by an endless line of ammunition waggons, extra guns hurrying up to the Front, and motor-lorries packed with stores of all kinds ; while between the two flowed back the stream of empties and ambulance after ambulance filled with wounded and dying. We marched on through the City of the Dead—Ypres, out again by the opposite gate. A welcome halt at last, with perhaps an hour or more of delay. At that moment the place for sleep did not matter two straws—a thorn-bush, the bed of a stream, anywhere would do to satisfy the longing for even a few moments of slumber after nearly two days and nights of marching without sleep. I picked out a soft spot on the ruins of a home, laid me down with a sigh of relief.
August 1st.—Morning brought a leaden sky, more rain, and no breakfast. Our cook, with the rations, had got lost during the night, so there was nothing for it but to tighten one's belt.
Sunday, August 12th —We have just got back to camp,, after (for me at least) six days and seven continuous nights on the battle-field. I shall give you the principal events of these exciting days, as I jotted them down in my notebook. (August $th.) All day I have been busy hearing the men's confessions, and giving batch after batch Holy Communion. My poor, brave boys—they are lying on the battle-field, some in a little grave dug and blessed by their chaplain, who loves them all as if they were his own children. Do you wonder that, in spite of the joy that fills my heart, many a time tears gather in my eyes as I think of those who are gone ? As the men stand lined up on parade I go from Company to Company giving a General Absolution, which I know is a big comfort to them. Then I shoulder my pack and make for the train which, this time, is to carry us part of our journey. "Top-end for Blighty, boys; bottom-end for Berlin !" I tell them as they clamber in, for they like a cheery word. "If you're in Jerryland, Father, we're with you too," shouted one big giant, and is greeted with a roar of approval.

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Reknowned Jesuit Fr. Edmund Walsh On Defense Of Christian Civilization

Fr. Edmund A Walsh, S.J. and Gen Douglas MacArthur
Fr. Edmund Walsh, S.J. was an enthusiastic supporter of Cold War militarism, praising in particular the building of the US navy's first nuclear powered submarines and giant aircraft carrier. As the strongest citadel of Christian civilization, America needed to be vigilant and well armed. Addressing graduates of the FBI academy in 1947 he declared that never before was there
"greater need for clear heads, steady hands and great hearts at the controls of human destiny, for men who walk humbly in the sight of God but keep their powder dry"
Walsh's most stridently militarist position was his justification of a peremptory nuclear first strike by the United States against the Soviet Union. Writing immediately after the outbreak of war on the Korean peninsula which he interpreted as the "final confrontation" between "two great centers of world power whose basic and irreconcilable character" was known to Soviets decades ago, Walsh argued that all states were obligated to protect their populations from attack. Preemptive attacks were morally just. The United States, for example, would have been justified in intercepting and destroying the Japanese aircraft attacking Pearl Harbor. With a "Soviet feint in some remote area of Asia or the Middle East," the U.S. defense system had better keep its eyes fixed on the Northwest and Arctic sector for a sneak surprise attack. 
If the U.S. government had "sound reason to believe (that is, had moral certitude)" that a surprise attack was being planned then President Truman was justified in "taking measures proportionate to the danger" including use of atomic bombs. 
While the results would be tragic and horrific, there was no immorality in the United States government choosing the lesser of two evils. Walsh justified military force in the abstract by pointing out that "even Christ himself did not disdain to seize the lash and drive the hypocrites out of the Temple". Writing on this same issue of the atom bomb and the Christian conscience in Total Empire he ends the book with the rather ominous sentence: "The debate is not whether we can afford to do the necessary things for the defense of Christian civilization -- but can we afford not to do them?"
Link (here) to read the full paper with citations.

The Eight Jesuits Say "We Believe That We Survived Because We Were Living The Message Of Fatima. We Lived And Prayed The Rosary Daily In That Home."

Father Hubert Shiffer was one of these eight Jesuit survivors. He was 30 when the atomic bomb exploded at Hiroshima and lived another 33 years in good health. He recounted his experiences at Hiroshima during the Eucharistic Congress held in Philadelphia (USA) in 1976. At that time, all eight members of the Jesuit community were still alive. Fr. Shiffer, on the morning of August 6, 1945, he had just finished Mass, went into the rectory and sat down at the breakfast table, and had just sliced a grapefruit, and had just put his spoon into the grapefruit when there was a bright flash of light. His first thought was that it was an explosion in the harbor (this was a major port where the Japanese refueled their submarines.) 
Then, in the words of Fr. Schiffer: "Suddenly, a terrific explosion filled the air with one bursting thunderstroke. An invisible force lifted me from the chair, hurled me through the air, shook me, battered me, whirled me 'round and round like a leaf in a gust of autumn wind." 
The next thing he remembered, he opened his eyes and he was laying on the ground. He looked around and there was NOTHING in any direction: the railroad station and buildings in all directions were leveled to the ground. The only physical harm to himself was that he could feel a few pieces of glass in the back of his neck. As far as he could tell, there was nothing else physically wrong with himself. After the conquest of the Americans, their army doctors and scientists explained to him that his body
would begin to deteriorate because of the radiation. To the doctors amazement, Fr. Schiffer's body contained no radiation or ill-effects from the bomb. Conclusion: There are no physical laws to explain why the Jesuits were untouched in the Hiroshima airblast. There is no other actual or test data where a structure such as this was not totally destroyed at this standoff distance by an atomic weapon. All who were at this range from the epicenter should have received enough radiation to be dead within at most a matter of minutes if nothing else happened to them. There is no known way to design a uranium-235 atomic bomb, which could leave such a large discrete area intact while destroying everything around it immediately outside the fireball (by shaping the
plasma). Not only did they all survive with (at most) relatively minor injuries, but they all lived well past that awful day with no radiation sickness, no loss of hearing, or any other visible long term defects or maladies. Naturally, they were interviewed numerous times (Fr. Schiffer said over 200 times) by scientists and health care people about their remarkable experience. 
The eight Jesuits say "we believe that we survived because we were living the message of Fatima. We lived and prayed the rosary daily in that home." Fr. Shiffer feels that he received a protective shield from the Blessed Mother which protected him from all radiation and ill-effects. Fr. Schiffer attributes this to devotion to the Blessed Mother, and his daily Fatima Rosary; "in that house the Holy Rosary was recited together every day." 
Of course the secular scientists are speechless and incredulous at this explanation - and they are sure there is some "real" explanation - but at the same time over 50 years later the scientists are still absolutely bamboozled when it comes to finding a plausible scenario to explain the missionary's unique escape from the hellish power of that bomb. From a scientific viewpoint, what happened to those Jesuits at Hiroshima still defies all human logic from the laws of physics as understood today (or at any time in the future). It must be concluded that some other (external) force was present whose power and/or capability to transform energy and matter as it relates to humans is beyond current comprehension; a plausibility argument for the existence of a Creator who left his "calling card" at Hiroshima. 
Link (here)

Our Hearts Were In Our Mouths

As we know, the Soviet system was not kind to religious people despite it’s founding laws. There were various periods in Soviet history when religion was actively suppressed and then loosened. As can be seen from a more detailed view from the Library of Congress here and from an interesting anti-religious point of view that defends Marxism here.  As you can see, what a constitution says and what a state does can be dramatically different. Father Ciszek, an American Jesuit, had always wanted to serve as a priest in Russia. He was ordained in 1937 and in 1938  managed to be sent to Poland. During Hitler’s aggressive World War II years the Russians and Nazis carved up Poland. Father Ciszek had reached his goal, but unfortunately the Soviets sentenced to 15 years in prison for being a “Vatican Spy.” After years in the famed Lubianka prison in Moscow, he was sent to Norilsk in Siberia where he spent his remaining prison time in various Gulags. There were several Gulag uprisings that took place in 1953. He describes a final assault at his prison by solders:

Troops mounted on trucks roared through the gate, firing as they came…..Our hearts were in our mouths….We watched some prisoners, as they were herded into groups, kill themselves by ripping their bodies open with knives.
He was released in 1953 a free man, but not free enough to chose even where he was to live. He was not allowed to leave the country, and lived for years as a Soviet citizen with limited rights. He managed to administer to Russian citizens in various cities of Siberia after his release, Norilsk being the first. Wherever he was told to live, he began his priestly duties however he could; a friendly family giving their home and risking social devaluation. He took over for another priest in a temporary hovel. He was always being watched by the MVD (Ministerstvo Vnutrennikh Del) the Interior Ministry, and regularly ordered to report for interrogations.
Link (here) to The Catholic Stand

Thursday, May 22, 2014

In 1986, I Was Baptized At The Easter Vigil By The Jesuit Joseph Nguyen

Fr. Joseph Nguyen Cong Doan, S.J.
Persecuted by the communist regime, he used the chains that robbed him of freedom to pray the rosary. Nguyen Huu Cau converted to Christ in prison. A few days ago he was released after more than 37 years in prison and a prison camp. "In 1986, I was baptized at the Easter Vigil by the Jesuit Joseph Nguyen". Cau described in an interview with Catholic News the hard fate of Vietnamese Catholics. The Jesuit priest was the one who told him about Christ in custody and taught him the catechism. 
Since then, "I have prayed the Rosary every day seven times and Stations of the Cross five times," said Nguyen Huu Cau. After futile attempts reeducation, Cau was released last 22 March. 32 years spent as the "enemy of the people" in prison and more than five years in a concentration camp. 
After his release, he said: "I thank God that He has forgiven my jailers." Due to severe torture during his detention, Nguyen Huu Cau-is now deaf and almost blind. "In prison, I've gotten to know Christ and found to faith."
Link (here) to Tancred's, The Eponymous Flower

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Here Comes General Congregation 36

Madonna Della Strada
Communication of General Congregation 36

Dear Brothers,

P .C. [Pax Christi]

Several years have passed since my election as Superior General of the Society and I have recently reached the age of 78. Reflecting on the coming years, I have reached the personal conviction that I should take the needed steps towards submitting my resignation to a General Congregation. After obtaining the initial approval of the Assistants ad providentiam and having informed his Holiness Pope Francis, I formally consulted the Assistants ad providentiam and the Provincials, as our law requires (NC 362). The result of the consultation is favorable towards the convening of a General Congregation.

After having discussed the matter with my Council, through this letter I wish to inform the whole Society that, towards the end of this year, I will convoke the 36th General Congregation, to be held during the final months of the year 2016.

Therefore, the meeting of Provincials originally scheduled for January 2015 in Yogyakarta and convoked on 12 March of this year (Circular Letter 2014/03) is canceled.

Let us ask Our Lady of the Way to place the Society with Her Son on this journey of discernment that we now begin.

Fraternally yours in the Lord,

Adolfo Nicolás, S.I.
Superior General
 Link (here)

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J. Was A Student Of Fr. Jacques Dupuis, S.J.

Fr. Jacques Dupuis, S.J.
Francis knows Amaladoss because of his long and distinguished career as a Jesuit, both as a theologian and author of hundreds of books and articles, and also as a longtime assistant at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome. Amaladoss is traveling abroad, Mudavassery said, and the theologian did not respond to emails sent to him at the Institute of Dialogue with Cultures and Religion that he heads in Chennai.
Mudavassery said he did not know of any restrictions placed on Amaladoss. But Amaladoss has pulled all speaking and writing commitments as he tries to address the Vatican’s concerns. Jesuit sources said Amaladoss told his U.S. publisher, Orbis Books, to halt work on a planned collection of his writings; Orbis officials declined to comment on the status of any project with Amaladoss.
The priest also canceled a lecture at Union Theological Seminary in New York, scheduled for April 8, titled “Is Theology in India Really Different Than Theology in the West?” A note on the seminary’s website reads: “The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith of the Vatican has forbidden Dr. Amaladoss from speaking and publishing until a process of examining his thought has been successfully completed.” “Amaladoss has asked us not to comment on the specific reasons for this cancellation, and we respect his wishes,” added Union spokesman Jeff Bridges. Investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith are conducted in secret, and targeted theologians often don’t know that they are under scrutiny until the investigation is well underway. They also typically do not know who lodges complaints or who in the CDF is conducting the investigation. Theologians have long complained that such secrecy and the limited opportunities they have to answer charges in person have led to a coercive system that reflects poorly on the Catholic hierarchy.
During the quarter century that Ratzinger ran the office under Pope John Paul II, Jesuits were often the targets of CDF probes, in part because Jesuits have a missionary focus and seek to translate traditional beliefs for modern believers and to other religious cultures.
The process of engaging cultures is especially advanced in Asia, where Christianity is a minority and where Jesuits have established a beachhead for Catholicism. But that also means that theologians working there often use nontraditional formulations to try to communicate the faith to Hindu or Buddhist audiences who have little understanding of Western views of God and Jesus. Amaladoss’ own teacher, the Belgian Jesuit Jacques Dupuis, faced a long and grueling investigation by the CDF over his views on religious pluralism. The stress of the probe, led by Ratzinger, is said by colleagues to have contributed to Dupuis’ death in 2004.
Link (here) to RNS

Friday, May 16, 2014

Obama Administration Appoints Fr. Thomas Reese, S.J. To A U.S. Commission

The White House announced yesterday the appointment of Jesuit Fr. Thomas Reese to the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom. The position is a non-paid, volunteer appointment. Reese will continue as a senior analyst and columnist for National Catholic Reporter. The commission “is an independent, bipartisan U.S. federal government commission that monitors the universal right to freedom of religion or belief abroad and makes policy recommendations to the President, Secretary of State, and Congress,” according to the commission website. [1] The commission has nine voting members. Commissioners are appointed by the president and Democratic and Republican leaders in the House and Senate.
Link (here) to the stinky Fishwrap

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

One Thing Is For Certain: Administrators At Georgetown Are Unrepentant

precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?  One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”  Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.
Link (here) to The American Catholic
precisely what Archbishop Zani has in mind when he states that CCE is “taking the issue seriously” and is “cooperating with the Society of Jesus [SJ] in this regard” is impossible to know from those phrases. Is CCE sufficiently serious enough in this issue to bring pressure upon SJ leadership in Rome to introduce the kind of changes at Georgetown that Blatty seeks? Or, lacking “hierarchic recourse,” is CCE going to communicate with SJ leadership in Rome (perhaps over a very nice lunch and glass of wine) and then place Blatty’s canonical petition in the circular file, Archbishop Zani having done what said he would do?
One thing is for certain: Administrators at Georgetown are unrepentant. According to Inside Higher Ed, a Georgetown spokeswoman, Rachel Pugh, wrote in an email that the University has received no formal correspondence from the Vatican regarding the petition, and that Georgetown’s Catholic identity “has never been stronger.”
Perhaps the petition has already been placed in the circular file.
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Barbara Marx Hubbard Inspired By The Jesuit de Chardin And Grateful To Cardinal Gerhard Müller

Laura Fox and Barbara Marx Hubbard
I Barbara Marx Hubbard am grateful to Cardinal Gerhard Müller for raising concerns about conscious evolution and its relationship to Catholic teaching. I hope his focus on this issue will stimulate many, both within the Catholic church and outside it, to deepen human understanding of conscious evolution and how we might advance our own evolutionary action for the good of the whole of Earth life. 
I am not a Catholic nor a theologian, yet I have been deeply inspired to help develop the meaning of conscious evolution through my studies of Fr. Teilhard de Chardin, S.J. Ilia Delio, John Haught, Beatrice Bruteau, Fr. Thomas Berry, David Richo, Diarmuid O’Murchu, and others. And of course, from the New Testament itself.
Now, meeting with so many women religious through LCWR, I see conscious evolution in action. They have been evolving the church and the world for hundreds of years through deep gospel living, a mystical presencing, faithfulness in serving unmet needs, solidarity with Earth, building community as “whole-makers,” risk-taking for the sake of the mission, genius for cooperative self-governance and decision making, and above all bringing love and hope for the future into the lives of millions. 
Link (here) to Fr. Z

The Success Of William Peter Blatty

Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani
Last September, William Peter Blatty, the author of The Exorcist and an alumnus of Georgetown University, sent a canonical petition to the Vatican, requesting that the Church “require that Georgetown implement Ex Corde Ecclesiae, a papal constitution governing Catholic colleges.” If that effort proved fruitless, his petition called for “the removal or suspension of top-ranked Georgetown’s right to call itself Catholic and Jesuit in any of its representations.” Many months later, Blatty and the 2,000 other men and women who signed his petition have received a response from the Congregation for Catholic Education, sparking cautious hope that the Holy See will press the Society of Jesus to address festering problems on the Washington campus.
In an April 4 letter, Archbishop Angelo Vincenzo Zani, the secretary of the Congregation for Catholic Education, stated that technical impediments prevented the department from granting the petitioners’ request for “hierarchic recourse.” But Archbishop Zani offered hope that the Vatican would pursue the matter further.
“Your communications to this dicastery in the matter of Georgetown University … constitute a well-founded complaint,” wrote Archbishop Zani. “Our congregation is taking the issue seriously and is cooperating with the Society of Jesus in this regard.” Archbishop Zani’s response fell short of Blatty’s request for a formal assessment of Georgetown’s adherence to Ex Corde Ecclesiae (Catholic Universities), St. John Paul II’s apostolic constitution that directs Catholic universities to adhere to Catholic teaching and advance the mission of the Church in their institutional culture, faculty hiring and retention, curricula and student affairs. However, Blatty remains optimistic that his ultimate goal — the revival and strengthening of Georgetown’s Catholic identity — will gain traction as the Holy See’s talks with the Society of Jesus move forward. "I am deeply gratified that the prayers of my 2,000 fellow petitioners have been answered,” Blatty told the Register.
Link (here) to the National Catholic Register

Monday, May 12, 2014

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J. Under Scrutiny Of Pope Francis' CDF

Fr. Michael Amaladoss, S.J.
The Vatican is investigating a Jesuit theologian from India for allegedly espousing unorthodox beliefs, raising new questions about whether Pope Francis — the first Jesuit pope — is in fact moving the Catholic Church in a new direction.
News of the threatened censure of the Rev. Michael Amaladoss, whose best-known book is “The Asian Jesus,” follows on the heels of a blunt warning on orthodoxy and obedience that the Vatican’s doctrinal watchdog, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, delivered to a group of nuns who represent most American sisters.
Mueller’s April 30 speech to sisters from the Leadership Conference of Women Religious was seen as an unexpected setback in negotiations over a Vatican investigation of the nuns that began a year before Francis was elected. Mueller’s hard line also seemed out of step with the new style of openness and flexibility that has marked Francis’ young papacy. Church sources say that Amaladoss, a highly regarded expert on interreligious dialogue and Christology, first came under scrutiny by Mueller’s office a year ago. They said Amaladoss believed that his initial responses to questions about his views on the uniqueness of Jesus and the Catholic Church had answered Vatican objections. But in January, Mueller’s office returned with a demand that Amaladoss write an article publicly endorsing the Vatican’s views or face silencing. For decades, that level of severe sanction was a hallmark of the hard-line treatment of theologians under Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Pope Benedict XVI.
In early April, Amaladoss met with Mueller and other officials from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and he “agreed to rework … those issues in the light of the dialogue,” the Rev. Edward Mudavassery, who oversees the Jesuits in India, wrote in an email.
“I understand it was an open and honest meeting trying to clarify objectionable issues,” Mudavassery said. “We all know that Pope Francis is a man for dialogue. It seems to me that the CDF, too, may follow this path to sort out differences because these men under the scanner are genuine and loyal to the Church and to the teachings of Jesus.” Francis reportedly knows about the investigation but does not seem overly concerned that it will end in punishing Amaladoss, according to Jesuits familiar with the case.
Francis knows Amaladoss because of his long and distinguished career as a Jesuit, both as a theologian and author of hundreds of books and articles, and also as a longtime assistant at the Jesuit headquarters in Rome.
Link (here)

The Pope Francis Clampdown On LCWR

The clampdown on the nuns began in 2012, when the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued its original doctrinal assessment after investigating the organization. Then it chastised the sisters for staying silent on some of the church’s signature issues, including birth control, euthanasia, homosexuality, and the ordination of women. Instead, in their work in schools, hospitals, and centers for the poor, they were just doing what they could to help the population, rather than acting as missionaries for the church. Their silence on the issues was interpreted as an endorsement, which was particularly annoying to the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops, which felt the sisters were undermining the status quo.
According to the doctrinal assessment of the LCWR, the sisters were “moving beyond the Church” and as such, creating “a serious source of scandal” that is incompatible with religious life. 
The nuns’ next trial of faith will be their August assembly, which will be seen as a litmus test for just how seriously they are taking the Vatican’s criticism. Their options will be to get in line with with the bishops and cardinals or break away and form their own group outside the Holy See’s jurisdiction. Francis, for his part, does not appear flexible on the topic. In several interviews, including one last September with the Jesuit magazine America, he dismissed the idea of women as equals. “I am wary of a solution that can be reduced to a kind of ‘female machismo,’ because a woman has a different make-up than a man. But what I hear about the role of women is often inspired by an ideology of machismo,” he said then. Now it is up to the nuns to flex their muscles or succumb.
Link (here)

So I tweeted “Catholic sisters teach me what it means to persevere without the benefit of institutional power.” And I added #WhatSistersMeantoMe. Framing things in that way, I thought, meant that people could show their gratitude for sisters, and read other messages of support, without being in any way negative. No need to be anti-Vatican or anti-bishop or anti-anything. Just pro-sister.
A few people commented that the Vatican’s assessment of the LCWR wasn’t intended as a critique of all U.S. sisters. Which is true. The LCWR is a kind of professional organization that often issues statements on behalf of the religious orders it represents. But that observation misses the point that the LCWR assessment came on the heels of a lengthy Vatican investigation of all women’s religious orders in this country-an “Apostolic Visitation,” to use the official term, investigating the sisters’ “quality of life.” 
In other words, it wasn’t surprising that many sisters felt beleaguered and demoralized.

The Dark Angel Worship Cancelled At Harvard

UPDATED: May 12, 2014, at 8:15 p.m.
The Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club has dropped its sponsorship of a re-enactment of a Satanic “black mass” ritual, which was scheduled to occur Monday evening at Cambridge Queen’s Head Pub. A spokesperson for the Satanic Temple, which was facilitating the black mass, said that the organization no longer plans to hold a black mass this evening.
The Harvard Extension School Cultural Studies Club originally said that it planned to relocate its reenactment of a Satanic black mass ritual, scheduled for Monday night, to an off-campus site, citing in an email that “misinterpretations about the nature of the event were harming perceptions about Harvard and adversely impacting the student community.”
The club wrote in its email around 5 p.m. that they planned for the event to be held at The Middle East nightclub in Central Square at 9 p.m. But Clay S. Fernald, the general manager of The Middle East, said Monday evening that the nightclub will not host the event, and that negotiations with the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club had fallen through.
Link (here) to The Crimson 
St. Ignatius of Loyola and the Discernment of Spirits (here)

A Jesuit Professor At Harvard On The Black Mass At Harvard

Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J.
I am the Parkman Professor of Divinity at Harvard Divinity School, Director of the Center for the Study of World Religions, and a Roman Catholic priest. On all three counts, I am concerned about the plan for a black mass hosted by the Harvard Extension Cultural Studies Club on Monday, May 12. The club explains: “Our purpose is not to denigrate any religion or faith, which would be repugnant to our educational purposes, but instead to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices. This performance is part of a larger effort to explore religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture.”
If only the organizers had said more on which “religious facets that continue to influence contemporary culture” are highlighted in the performance of a black mass. This is, after all, a practice that, as far as its murky history reveals, seems often to have included the inversion and blaspheming of Catholic sacramental practice, as well as actual worship of Satan. 
Will these dimensions be present in Monday’s enactment? And what’s next? The endeavor “to learn and experience the history of different cultural practices” might in another year lead to historical reenactments of anti-Semitic or racist ceremonies familiar from Western history or parodies that trivialize Native American heritage or other revivals of cultural and religious insult. Such events would surely raise legitimate concerns among all of us at Harvard; no one should be surprised if Catholics are concerned right now.
Link (here) to the full article Fr. Francis Xavier Clooney, S.J.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Regis University On List

Regis University
The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) released today a list of the higher education institutions under investigation for possible violations of federal law over the handling of sexual violence and harassment complaints.
Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in all education programs or activities that receive federal financial assistance. In the past, Department officials confirmed individual Title IX investigations at institutions, but today's list is the first comprehensive look at which campuses are under review by OCR for possible violations of the law's requirements around sexual violence.
"We are making this list available in an effort to bring more transparency to our enforcement work and to foster better public awareness of civil rights," Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Catherine E. Lhamon said. "We hope this increased transparency will spur community dialogue about this important issue. I also want to make it clear that a college or university's appearance on this list and being the subject of a Title IX investigation in no way indicates at this stage that the college or university is violating or has violated the law."

Regis University is the lone Jesuit university on the Ob@ma Administration list
See the list (here)

Friday, May 9, 2014

Jesuit High School Student Collapses During Basketball Game Later Dies

Jermaine Cullum
Despite the heroic efforts of two prep basketball spectators, doctors could not save the life of a Chicago teen who collapsed during a game at Riverside (Ill.) Brookfield High this past weekend. In a tragic roller coaster of emotions, 
Christ the King Jesuit College Prep sophomore Jermaine Cullum fell to the floor after converting a layup during Saturday's tournament at the suburban school, according to the Chicago Tribune. A registered nurse in the stands immediately responded to an apparent seizure, a doctor working the concession stand followed suit, and the two helped restore Cullum's pulse using CPR.
The doctor, Maurice Binns, orchestrated the efforts of paramedics in an ambulance as they rushed Cullum to Loyola University Medical Center, where he reportedly remained in critical condition the following day. However, the boy died on Monday as the result of a still unknown heart condition
Link (here) to Yahoo Sports

All Smiles

Abortionist Sue Dunlap
An alumni group committed to protecting the Catholic identity of Loyola Marymount University is calling on President David Burcham to rescind an invitation to the president of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles to speak on the Jesuit campus, according to RenewLMU’s website.
Sue Dunlap, president and CEO of Planned Parenthood Los Angeles, is scheduled to speak about “Education’s New Role in Women’s Health” as part of the TEDxLoyolaMarymountU conference taking place on campus later this month.
LMU’s School of Education is, according to RenewLMU, listed as the sponsor of the conference.  The dean of the School of Education is Professor Shane Martin, who chaired the search committee for a new dean of the College of Liberal Arts and recently selected Robbin Crabtree, who previously worked with a Planned Parenthood-sponsored clinic.
Link (here)

Abortion, John Kerry And Jim Crow

Boston College, which has invited Secretary of State John Kerry, who was a consistent proponent of legal abortion and same-sex marriage during his years in the US Senate; Holy Cross, which invited Connecticut Governor Dannel Malloy, also an advocate of legal abortion and same-sex marriage; Loyola University in Chicago, which invited White House speechwriter Jon Favreau, who has compared defense of traditional marriage to enforcement of Jim Crow laws
Link (here)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Is Conscious Evolution?

Fr. Pierre Teilhard de Chardin S.J.
The second concern the cardinal raised was the subject matter of recent LCWR assemblies, publications and programs. He said that the CDF mandate was criticized as “unsubstantiated” when it spoke of religious “moving beyond the Church or even beyond Jesus.” That is hard language that probably sounded “harsh” to many faithful religious, he said, and he emphasized that the CDF does not call into question “the eloquent, even prophetic, witness of so many faithful religious women.” However, he continued, “the issues raised in the assessment are so central and so foundational; there is no other way of discussing them except as constituting a movement away from the ecclesial center of faith in Christ Jesus the Lord.” Cardinal Müller explained that, for the last several years, the CDF has been concerned about the LCWR focusing attention on the concept of conscious evolution. He said that since Barbara Marx Hubbard addressed the 2012 LCWR assembly on the topic, every issue of the LCWR newsletter has discussed conscious evolution in some way. “We have even seen some religious institutes modify their directional statements to incorporate concepts and undeveloped terms from conscious evolution,” he added.
Apologizing for sounding blunt, the cardinal continued: “The fundamental theses of conscious evolution are opposed to Christian Revelation and, when taken unreflectively, lead almost necessarily to fundamental errors regarding the omnipotence of God, the incarnation of Christ, the reality of Original Sin, the necessity of salvation and the definitive nature of the salvific action of Christ in the Paschal Mystery.”
Cardinal Müller said he is concerned that “such an intense focus on new ideas such as conscious evolution has robbed religious of the ability truly to sentire cum Ecclesia (think with the Church and embrace its teachings).” He also expressed concern that the religious hearing and studying this topic may not discern these divergences from the faith and the LCWR does not present counterpoints that explain Church teaching.

“The assessment is concerned with positive errors of doctrine seen in the light of the LCWR’s responsibility to support a vision of religious life in harmony with that of the Church and to promote a solid doctrinal basis for religious life,”
the cardinal continued. “I am worried that the uncritical acceptance of things such as conscious evolution, seemingly without any awareness that it offers a vision of God, the cosmos and the human person divergent from or opposed to Revelation, evidences that a de facto movement beyond the Church and sound Christian faith has already occurred.”
Link (here)

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Cardinal On Fordham's Sr. Johnson, "Doctrinal Errors In That Theologian’s Writings,”

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller
The CDF prefect said that the LCWR considered one of “the more contentious aspects” of the mandate to be the need for speakers and presenters at major programs to be cleared by the apostolic delegate overseeing the reform, Archbishop J. Peter Sartain of Seattle. This aspect, he said, was not a “sanction,” but, rather, “a point of dialogue and discernment” designed to avoid speakers using an LCWR forum “to advance positions at odds with the teaching of the Church.” It also was meant to help the LCWR leaders anticipate issues of concern to the Holy See. “It saddens me to learn that you have decided to give the Outstanding Leadership Award during this year’s assembly to a theologian criticized by the bishops of the United States because of the gravity of the doctrinal errors in that theologian’s writings,” Cardinal Müller said, referring to the LCWR 2014 award going to Sister of St. Joseph Elizabeth Johnson. “This is a decision that will be seen as a rather open provocation against the Holy See and the 'Doctrinal Assessment,'” the cardinal continued. “Not only that, but it further alienates the LCWR from the [United States] bishops as well.” Had Archbishop Sartain been involved in the conversation about choosing an honoree, “he would have added an important element to the discernment,” the cardinal said. “The decision taken by the LCWR during the ongoing implementation of the 'Doctrinal Assessment' is indeed regrettable and demonstrates clearly the necessity of the mandate’s provision that speakers and presenters at major programs will be subject to approval by the delegate,Cardinal Gerhard Müller said.
Link (here) to the National Catholic Register

Bergogliano And Anti-Bergogliano Factions

This turmoil was exemplified by the monumentally lethal “Dirty War” that raged in two phases in Argentina from 1973 until 1983. By this time Bergoglio was serving amid growing controversy as the Provincial Superior of the Society of Jesus in Argentina (1973 to 1979), and then as the Rector of the Philosophical and Theological Faculty of San Miguel until 1986 when he was abruptly removed. His actions or inactions during this period are now being re-examined as he assumes papal power. Referring to the enthusiasm with which he accepted his new role, the New York Times observed that “he was less energetic when it came to standing up to Argentina’s military dictatorship during the 1970s as the country was consumed by … the Dirty War. He has been accused of knowing about abuses and failing to do enough to stop them.” “History condemns him,” declared a senior Brazilian academic. “It shows him to be opposed to all innovation in the church and above all, during the dictatorship, it shows he was very cosy with the military.” Francis rejected suggestions that he had hard-right sympathies, claiming that it was merely his “authoritarian way of making decisions” while he was head of the Argentinian Jesuits in the 1970s “that created problems” in the past. Nevertheless, such problems were substantial and the criticism he faces has been emphatic. For example, a presently serving provincial of another Latin American country and one of the most senior figures in the Society of Jesus confided his negative views in an e-mail quoted by Paul Vallely, in his new biography, Pope Francis: Untying the Knots (2013): 

Yes, I know Bergoglio. He’s a person who’s caused a lot of problems in the Society and is highly controversial in his own country … As Provincial he generated divided loyalties: some groups almost worshipped him, while others would have nothing to do with him … He left the Society of Jesus in Argentina destroyed [and] we have spent two decades trying to fix the chaos that the man left us … It will be a catastrophe for the Church to have someone like him in the Apostolic See. 

 As Vallely observes, “this constituted an extraordinary counterblast” to the acclaim that otherwise met the election of Pope Francis, but it was “far from a lone voice” from within the Jesuit order to which Bergoglio had dedicated a major part of his adult life. It is clear that great bitterness enveloped Bergoglio during his time as Provincial Superior, as Vallely’s account reveals. Regarded as a gifted and charismatic young man, Bergoglio had enjoyed a rapid ascent through the ranks to head the order at only thirty-six, just three months after taking his perpetual vows. Under his leadership the province broke up into Bergogliano and anti-Bergogliano factions, driven, Vallely argues, by two polarising forces: Vatican II and Peronism.
Link (here)