Tuesday, March 31, 2009

St. Rita, Pray for us!

I can't help but notice that tonight, as Santa Rita's Jail is being honored by the presence of the Reverend Walter Hoye, St. Rita's Church is being dishonored by the presence of Reverend Vincent Pizzuto.

When I mentioned this to a friend, she remarked:

"And people are coming to Jesus at the former."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

"I write to my fellow watchmen on the wall"

A prison letter from Reverend Walter Hoye:

"It is Thursday, March 26th, 2009 and I am sitting on the top of the second (2nd) of fifteen (15) bunks in housing unit thirty-four (34) east of the Santa Rita jail in Dublin, California.

Here my thoughts turn towards my brothers, men of the cloth, men who are called and sanctified by God the Father. Men who are preserved as the bondservants of Jesus Christ. Men who serve as the holy burden bearers of God’s word. Men who are the watchmen on the wall. It is now in the spirit of the prophet Ezekiel, I write to my fellow watchmen on the wall.

Ezekiel’s name in Hebrew means, God makes strong, hardens. Ezekiel’s name not only describes his character, but also his assignment. Ezekiel’s divinely inspired and ordained assignment was both unpopular and unwelcomed. Ezekiel’s assignment stood against the prevailing wisdom of his day that called for the leaders of Israel to play it safe and avoid unpleasant topics of conversation..."

The entire letter is here.

And here is an excellent video interview with Reverend Hoye.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, March 30, 2009

USF Honored Same-Sex Marriage Case Attorneys

Speaking of outrages at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, here is a story from last November that that we unaccountably missed:

"USF Fundraising Event Honors Work of LGBT Rights Advocates"

Nov. 14, 2008 -- On Nov. 7, the Public Interest Law Foundation (PILF) Fifth Annual Gala Auction and Award Ceremony raised money for students to intern in the public sector, while honoring the work of Shannon Minter, legal director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights, and Therese Stewart, San Francisco's chief deputy city attorney. Minter and Stewart successfully argued before the California Supreme Court this year that same-sex couples have the right to marry.

So, while every Catholic bishop in California was doing his best to defend natural marriage, the law school of San Francisco's Catholic University was honoring those who are committed to its destruction. And this was not a "spur of the moment" thing. Note the date of the event: November 7, three days after the election. The preparations must have been going on for at least a couple of months--at the very time our Bishops had asked Catholics to volunteer for, contribute financially to, and vote for Proposition 8.

The story continues:

"The evening's highlight was the award ceremony for Minter and Stewart, who Dean Jeffrey Brand and PILF Co-Chairs Jeff Kaloustian 3L and Freeman exalted as people that make a difference."

Back on January 19, 2009 in the post "USF Update/Proposition 8", I wrote: "USF has been inactive in the fight to defend marriage in California, and that in itself is significant. That a Catholic University should declare itself neutral when every Bishop in California was in the battle for marriage and the family, over what the Holy Father has called a “non-negotiable” issue, would be bad enough, but in point of fact the Jesuits of USF are on the other side."

h/t to an outraged USF Alumnus.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Imprisoned Pastor Leads Men To God

Yesterday was visiting day at Santa Rita Jail, which is currently honored by the presence of the heroic Reverend Walter Hoye. His lovely and steadfast wife Lori, accompanied by friends and admirers, were there to see him. Mrs. Hoye reports:

"Keep the mail coming! The letters do Walter a world of good and encourage him. Walter also said the volume of mail he is receiving is a witness to the inmates and the guards. Their curiosity has opened up many conversations about 'why' Walter is in Santa Rita and has enabled him to discuss the issue of abortion with many of the men. As of Saturday, Walter has led five (5) men to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ in the last seven (7) days [one man is currently in a wheelchair]. Praise God!!"

God bless the man! Wherever he goes he does the will of the Lord!

PLEASE take a few minutes to write Walter:

Walter B. Hoye II
Santa Rita Jail
5325 Broder Blvd.
Dublin, CA 94568-3309

As many readers know, Walter is in the middle of a 40-day liquids-only fast. A friend who was there yesterday told us that he looked tired. Not only is the jail very noisy at night, but it seems that the darkness of night is when the other prisoners are most compelled to approach him with their spiritual needs. And, being Walter, he will turn no one away.


Walter never asks anything for himself, but he has asked that anyone who feels like helping donate to the Life Legal Defense Foundation, who are handling his case at no cost. Their webpage with the current state of Walter's case is here, and you can make donations by going here.

But I will ask for him. If you want to help Walter's organization, the "Issues4Life Foundation", --and I'm not asking you to do something I haven't done myself (donated $100 today)--you can do so here. We are not all as brave as Walter, but we can all help in some way.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Notre Dame UPDATE: Cardinal DiNardo Weighs In

Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston becomes the first American Cardinal to criticize Notre Dame for the scandal caused by their inivitation to Obama.

From Catholic News Agency:

"Though I can understand the desire by a university to have the prestige of a commencement address by the President of the United States, the fundamental moral issue of the inestimable worth of the human person from conception to natural death is a principle that soaks all our lives as Catholics, and all our efforts at formation, especially education at Catholic places of higher learning."

According to Cardinal DiNardo, 'the President has made clear by word and deed that he will promote abortion and will remove even those limited sanctions that control this act of violence against the human person. The Bishops of the United States published a document a few years ago asking all Catholic universities to avoid giving a platform or an award to those politicians or public figures who promote the taking of unborn human life. Even given the dignity of Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award for a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views.'

'Particularly troubling, he continues, is the Honorary Law Degree since it recognizes that the person is a 'Teacher,' in this case of the Law. I think that this decision requires charitable but vigorous critique.'"

Friday, March 27, 2009

"An identifiable and systemic homophobia pervasive throughout the Roman Catholic hierarchy"

Where would you expect that quote to come from?

Lambda? Equality California? Dignity USA?

Nope. It's from an Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco, the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto. It is part of the opening abstract of his December, 2008 essay:

"God has made it plain to them: an indictment of Rome's hermeneutic of homophobia."

You can find the essay here.

We posted in detail last week on Reverend Pizzuto's March 31 visit to St. Rita's Church in Fairfax, California. We were not aware of this essay at that time.

Reverend Pizzuto finds the Catholic Church homophobic--so much so that he left it in 2007 and had himself ordained as priest into another church--one not in communion with Rome.

This essay strengthens the questions we asked last week, and now gives them an even greater urgency:

1) Why is a priest of another religion, who publishes work attacking the Magisterium of the Catholic Church, being employed by a Catholic University?

2) Why is he being allowed in a teaching function at a Catholic parish?

When we were covering the play "Be Still and Know" (performed against the Archbishop's wishes at USF) by homosexual activist Alex Sanchez, we asserted that what we are seeing in some of our Archdiocesan institutions is an "evangelizing for homosexuality." Some people may consider that hyperbole. It is not.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

The Holy Father and Condoms: Some Responses

There have been a number of excellent resposes to the mainstream media's conventional wisdom that the Pope is out-to-lunch on this issue.

First, Uncle Di goes to work.


"'One of the world's most prestigious medical journals, the Lancet, has accused Pope Benedict XVI of distorting science in his remarks on condom use. It said the Pope's recent comments that condoms exacerbated the problem of HIV/Aids were wildly inaccurate and could have devastating consequences.'

Sounds serious. These are spectacled men in white lab coats, right? They hold test-tubes and appear with Erlenmeyer flasks beside them. It behooves us to pay attention:

'But the London-based Lancet said the Pope had 'publicly distorted scientific evidence to promote Catholic doctrine on this issue'.

It said the male latex condom was the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/Aids.

'Whether the Pope's error was due to ignorance or a deliberate attempt to manipulate science to support Catholic ideology is unclear,' said the journal.

See if I've got this right. The 'male latex condom is the single most efficient way to reduce the sexual transmission of HIV/AIDS.' Solid. That means Science is telling me that, if my son's an HIV-negative abstinent virgin, he positively REDUCES his risk of AIDS infection by abandoning abstinence and engaging in passive sexual relations with some gork who's outfitted with a condom. Well, that's what the man says, isn't it?....

Some of us can remember when AIDS was not yet a problem, back when the public health game was to get all young women on the Pill -- ostensibly to reduce pregnancy, in reality to justify the emancipated sexuality of the advocates. In that period Science (i.e., spectacled men in white lab coats grasping Erlenmeyer flasks) was droning on about the high failure rate of the condom. Condoms were ridiculed by public health advocates as a crude backwoodsy expedient that only the naive or the unscrupulous would employ. Has the science changed in the meantime? No, only the terms of flattering the People Who Count.

Take a look at the persons who really care, as opposed to persons for whom 'caring' is an ideological posture. Mother Teresa's nuns have been running AIDS hospices in Manhattan, San Francisco, and elsewhere since the 1980s. The caregivers are nuns who come mostly from third world backgrounds; their patients come mostly from first world cities. The nuns are chaste and healthy; yet it's their patients, not they, who came of age surrounded by free condoms, sex ed, and the full force of the public health propaganda machine. If the Lancet were right it should be the other way around: the little sisters would be wasting on the cots and the Manhattanites would be tending to them. Can't help but think that what the Lancet calls the 'Pope's error' is a very felix culpa. '"


Jack Smith posts an article by Carl Anderson, Supreme Knight of the Knights of Columbus, highlighting the analysis by the Harvard Center for Population and Development Studies, headed by Dr. Edward C. Green, which:

"... noted in 2004 that "There seems to be no evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa, certainly not in the five countries of present focus, that condom behavior alone can reverse the course of an HIV epidemic, no matter how high the levels attained. A recent literature review of condom promotion in resource- poor countries commissioned by UNAIDS reached a similar conclusion: 'Indeed, there are no definite examples yet of generalized epidemics that have been turned back by prevention programs based primarily on condom promotion.'"

The article quotes Dr. Green:

"This is hard for a liberal like me to admit, but yes, [the criticism of the pope is] unfair because in fact, the best evidence we have supports [the pope's] comments."


Zenit had maybe the strongest response of all:

AIDS Worker Says Africans Don't Need Condoms
Web Site Documents Catholic Approach to Pandemic

KAMPALA, Uganda, MARCH 25, 2009 (Zenit.org).- The director of an African AIDS care center is supporting Benedict XVI's words about the ineffectiveness of condoms in the struggle against the spread of the disease.

Rose Busingye, who directs Meeting Point Kampala, a center in Kampala for those suffering from AIDS, and cares for about 4,000 people a day, responded to the Pope's words and the public criticism he received. In an interview published online March 20 by Il Sussidario, Busingye said that 'those who contribute to the polemics over the Pope's statements must in reality understand that the true problem in the spread of AIDS in Africa is not condoms; talking about this would be to stop at the consequences and never go to the origin of the problem.'

'At the root of the spread of HIV,' she explained, 'there is a behavior, there is a way of being.' She added, 'And then let's not forget that the great emergency is to take care of the people who have already contracted the disease and for whom condoms are useless.'

Offering an example of the occasional lack of comprehension of the situation in Africa, Busingye spoke about a group of journalists who had come to report on the activities of Meeting Point. Seeing the condition of the HIV-positive women, they were moved. They decided to make themselves useful and do something for the women: they gave them a small box of condoms."


Because of this, she observed, the Pope's statements caused little controversy in Africa itself.

'The Pope,' Busingye emphasized, 'is doing nothing else but defending and supporting precisely that which will be useful for helping these people: affirming the meaning of life and the dignity of the human being.'

She continued: 'Those who attack him have interests to defend, but the Pope has no such interests: he is concerned about us, and he is concerned about Africa.'

'He is not the one, who is bringing mines to blow up our children, our children who become soldiers, who become amputees, without ears, without mouths, unable to swallow saliva: and what should we give them, condoms?'

'When a few years ago there was genocide in Rwanda, everyone stood by and watched. Nearby there is a tiny town, which could have been protected, and no one did anything.'

My relatives were there, and they all died in an inhumane way. No one cared, and now they are coming here with condoms.'"

Go here to see "The Change is On" video website, which showing how the Church, and Africans, are fighting AIDS.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Doctors Challenge FDA Over Adult Stem-Cell Restrictions

We've all heard how under an Obama administration the government would no longer stand in the way of scientific research. Well, maybe President Obama could have a little talk with his own FDA. Here's a press release from group of Doctors who wishes he would (emphases added):

Physician Group Opposes FDA’s Position on Adult Stem Cells

BROOMFIELD, COLO. (March 26, 2009)-The American Stem Cell Therapy Association (ASCTA) announced today the on-line publication of its mission statements and charter. The organization was formed in response to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) recent position that the adult stem cells found in everyone’s body are drugs, a position the ASCTA opposes. This physician organization is establishing laboratory guidelines that will allow doctors to bring adult stem cell therapy to their patients more quickly. These guidelines will be similar to those used by fertility specialists in In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF) labs, where many of the same cell culture techniques are used.

"Many patients are dying or suffering day by day with incurable diseases or problems that require major surgery. These patients should have access to basic adult stem cell therapy now.” stated Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. “ASCTA is establishing guidelines which will allow the safe use of the patient’s own adult stem cells under the supervision of doctors.” continued Centeno. Another ASCTA physician member, Frank Falco, M.D. stated, “The FDA’s position against someone using their own stem cells is taking it too far. We are talking about a person using their own tissue to treat a degenerative disorder or process safely without the use of medications or surgery. Although we agree that oversight and standards are necessary, this should be provided through a physician organization such as ASCTA rather than by a government agency.”

The rest of the press release is here.

H/t to our friend Don Margolis, who weighed in on the issue:

"FDA’s Stance On Your Own Stem Cells

The FDA’s stance on Adult Stem Cells taken from a patient is that it should be treated as a new drug- ie, subject to 7-10 years of clinical trials and testing for each use of it. This means 7-10 years of clinical trials for adult stem cells for heart disease. 7-10 years of clinical trials and tests for diabetes, 7-10 for spinal cord injury…you get the picture. Think about how much money and how much time it will take to get through the hurdles for each particular disease/condition. How many people will die and suffer during that time because they can’t be treated with their own cells- which are safe and have no side effects.

Adult Stem Cells- the same as Lipitor or Viagra?

Cells taken from your own body are being treated by the FDA exactly the same as Lipitor or Viagra were treated. Lipitor and Viagra have side effects (ex. Lipitor- muscle weakness, Viagra- risk of heart attack) because you are introducing a new foreign chemical into your body. Adult Stem Cells are not some mysterious concoction of chemicals brewed up after 10 years of research and development. The Adult Stem Cells are your own cells- removed from a patient so they have no side effects. They are safer than taking an aspirin.

Stem Cells- Your Own Repair System In Place

In essence, your own stem cells are already there to repair damage to the body, let the body heal itself. When you fall and scrape your knee, your body will send stem cells to heal the damage. However, sometimes for certain conditions and diseases, there aren’t enough of these stem cells to do that. Therefore, these doctors/researchers are multiplying the amount of adult stem cells and then putting them into the area that needs repair- and then they let the body’s own repair mechanisms (the adult stem cells) do what they are “born to do”- no controversy, no ethical concerns, a 3rd grader can understand this— so why shouldn’t it be available in the United States?

These American doctors are finally speaking up and I (and thousands of patients who can benefit from using their own stem cells) applaud them."

Let's pray the FDA gets out of the way!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Archbishop Burke Interviewed by Randall Terry

Slowly and inexorably, these things are coming to a head. The whole interview is a must-read, but here is one excerpt:

Mr. Terry: For the umpteenth time, I and the others are asking, under Canon 915 what should or should not be done?

Archbishop Burke: The Canon is completely clear, it is not subject in my judgment to any other interpretations. When someone is publicly and obstinately in grave sin we may not administer Holy Communion to the person. And that, basically, for two reasons: number one, to prevent the person himself or herself from committing a sacrilege, and secondly, to protect the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist. In other words, to approach, to receive our Lord in Holy Communion, when one insists on remaining in grave sin, is such a violation of the sanctity of the Holy Eucharist, so that Communion must not be given to people who are publicly, obstinately, in grave sin.

Later in the interview, responding to Mr. Terry's quesion about the "deafening silence" from many bishops on this issue, His Excellency says:

"I think simply to say: reflect upon this norm of the Church’s discipline—Canon 915—which is one of the most important canons to safeguard the greatest treasure that we have in this life, namely, the communion that we have with our Lord Jesus Christ, and His true body and His true blood; and to, in every way work so that also public witness is given to the sacredness of the Holy Eucharist."

I do believe that one of the reasons so many pro-abortion politicians are willing to receive communion, and that some priests are willing to allow it is that they simply do not believe in the Real Presence.

UPDATE: Archbishop Burke says the interview was misused by Mr. Terry. He does not retract anything he said in the interview, however.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Bishop D'Arcy to Boycott Notre Dame Commencement

Good for him! All emphases added.

"Concerning President Barack Obama speaking at Notre Dame graduation, receiving honorary law degree

March 24, 2009

On Friday, March 21, Father John Jenkins, CSC, phoned to inform me that President Obama had accepted his invitation to speak to the graduating class at Notre Dame and receive an honorary degree. We spoke shortly before the announcement was made public at the White House press briefing. It was the first time that I had been informed that Notre Dame had issued this invitation.

President Obama has recently reaffirmed, and has now placed in public policy, his long-stated unwillingness to hold human life as sacred. While claiming to separate politics from science, he has in fact separated science from ethics and has brought the American government, for the first time in history, into supporting direct destruction of innocent human life.

This will be the 25th Notre Dame graduation during my time as bishop. After much prayer, I have decided not to attend the graduation. I wish no disrespect to our president, I pray for him and wish him well. I have always revered the Office of the Presidency. But a bishop must teach the Catholic faith “in season and out of season,” and he teaches not only by his words — but by his actions.

My decision is not an attack on anyone, but is in defense of the truth about human life.

I have in mind also the statement of the U.S. Catholic Bishops in 2004. “The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions.” Indeed, the measure of any Catholic institution is not only what it stands for, but also what it will not stand for.

I have spoken with Professor Mary Ann Glendon, who is to receive the Laetare Medal. I have known her for many years and hold her in high esteem. We are both teachers, but in different ways. I have encouraged her to accept this award and take the opportunity such an award gives her to teach.

Even as I continue to ponder in prayer these events, which many have found shocking, so must Notre Dame. Indeed, as a Catholic University, Notre Dame must ask itself, if by this decision it has chosen prestige over truth.

Tomorrow, we celebrate as Catholics the moment when our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, became a child in the womb of his most holy mother. Let us ask Our Lady to intercede for the university named in her honor, that it may recommit itself to the primacy of truth over prestige."

Monday, March 23, 2009

"Be Still and Know" UPDATE

On March 20, 2009, Nick Street, the "LGBT Editor" of a website called "Religion Dispatches" wrote an informative article about the production of "Be Still and Know" at Sacred Heart High School of Atherton, and its cancellation at Most Holy Redeemer Church.

Mr. Street interviewed the director and adaptor of the play, Sacred Heart drama teacher John Loschmann. He also interviewed Alex Sanchez, the author of the book "The God Box," from which "Be Still and Know" was adapted. The article gives some background on the production, and tells us something we had not known before:

"Loschmann, who taught at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco for 15 years before he arrived at Sacred Heart in 2001, was inspired to adapt The God Box for the stage after Sanchez visited the school a year and a half ago."

So Mr. Sanchez had already visited Sacred Heart High School. From the interview:

Mr. Street: "Your visit to Sacred Heart Preparatory School was the catalyst for John Loschmann’s adapting your book for the stage. What was your impression of the school? How was your visit?"

Mr. Sanchez: "Overall my visit was awesome. The students were engaged, intelligent, and articulate. One thing I do when I visit schools is ask for a show of hands: How many of you know somebody who is gay or lesbian? Typically, 90 to 99 percent of students raise their hands. Sacred Heart was no exception."

Of course, we maintain that Mr. Sanchez's work is totally unsuitable for any Catholic institution, especially a high school. We repeat that, and we refer to the "Spirituality" page on his website. (Every page on the site has something objectionable, but since this is a Catholic website discussing what goes on in a Catholic school, spirituality is a good place to start).

The "Spirituality" page is headed with this sentence:

"If you're young and gay, it can be confusing to try to reconcile who you are with a particular religion or spirituality."

Please notice the homosexualist bias in this sentence. It is assumed as a fact that one's defining characteristic is "gayness" --that is "who you are." And if you have any "religion or spirituality," that is secondary. The job is simply to find, or create, a "particular religion or spirituality" that meets your self-definition. (No wonder Most Holy Redeemer wanted to host the play--that's exactly their project.)

And Mr. Sanchez' is only to willing to help the young reader out in this quest. The next sentence reads:

"In addition to my novel, The God Box, here are some websites to help you out:"

Mr. Sanchez thereupon links to 33 websites, every one of which, without exception, denies Catholic teaching on sexuality.

But now we learn than in addition to having a play based on his work produced at the school, he also met with the students about a year and a half ago. Why do the responsible administrators and faculty at Sacred Heart think that such a man is suitable guest and example? As we said in our first post on this subject, what we are seeing in some of our Archdiocesan institutions is an "evangelizing for homosexuality."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Walter Hoye: "Many Men are Seeking his Counsel"

Lori Hoye, the lovely wife of the Reverend Walter Hoye just sent out this email:

"I have visited Walter twice (Saturday and Sunday) and he is in good spirits and physically safe and sound. The Lord has placed him in what is known as the “Bible Corner” and at the time of my first visit on Saturday [Walter arrived at around 4:30am] Walter had already been in Bible Study with some of the men in his unit. On Sunday just prior to my visit Walter had led one man to Christ. God is truly blessing Walter’s presence in Santa Rita and many men are seeking his counsel about their lives and situations.

Walter requested prayer for Wisdom while he is in Santa Rita and Clarity from the Lord to continue to do His Will upon his release."

There is a prophet among us. Praise be to God!

Great News for Oakland

We just heard the good news. We have a new Bishop of Oakland.

From American Papist: "Sad news for San Diego, but great news for Oakland (and it doesn't necessarily put the kibosh on my hopes that he eventually gets tapped for Los Angeles):

The Vatican says Pope Benedict XVI has named a San Diego clergyman to be bishop of Oakland, California. A brief statement by the Vatican's press office Monday said that Monsignor Salvatore Joseph Cordileone has been chosen for the Bay Area diocese.Cordileone, who is 52, has been serving as an auxiliary bishop in San Diego since 2002.

He studied theology for four years at the North American College in Rome and later obtained a doctorate in canon law at Rome's Gregorian Pontifical University. (AP)Young, orthodox, bilingual - Oaklanders are lucky to have him!"

We welcome him also as a great supporter of our Walk for Life!

He is also a great defender of marriage. Here he is on the video clip from "Marriage Matters to Kids."

Sunday, March 22, 2009

USF UPDATE: Reverend Pizzuto to Speak at St. Rita's Church

This week's Catholic San Francisco newspaper included this item in the "Lenten Opportunities" section:

"Following in the Footsteps of St. Paul, A Tuesdays of Lent series at St. Rita Church, 100 Marinda Dr. in Fairfax. Soup supper at 6:15 p.m. precedes 7 p.m. . . . March 31: Pauline Christology in New Testament hymns with Vincent Pizzuto, Ph. D." (Emphasis added)

Readers of "A Shepherd's Voice" are familiar with the Reverend Pizzuto. He is Assistant Professor of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. Neither his biographical page, nor his CV page on the USF website mention that in 2007 the Reverend Pizzuto was ordained by Bishop Joseph Grenier, an ex-Catholic priest, into the "Celtic Christian Church." This is also not mentioned in the notice that was printed in Catholic San Francisco.

Why is this? Religious ordination is a pretty important step. The reason is: the Celtic Christian Church is not in communion with the Catholic Church.

That the Reverend Pizzuto was moving away from, or had already moved away from the Catholic Church was indicated in a statement he made at the "Is It Ethical to be Catholic?: Queer Perspectives" seminar held on February 12, 2006 at Most Holy Redeemer Church:

"Similar questions of ethics have also driven faithful Catholics beyond the confines of the Roman church where they might more faithfully live out their catholic faith elsewhere. And I count myself among them." (Emphasis added)

Reverend Pizzuto confirmed his alienation from the Church's teaching on sexuality in another statement he made on March 26, 2006 at the "Alienated Catholics" seminar, hosted at the (Jesuit) St. Agnes Church in San Francisco:

"Thus, despite coming up against Magisterial teachings to the contrary, the alienation which homosexual catholics experience is not rooted in that which they believe to be intrinsic to Christian tradition itself, but rather, is associated with an erroneous interpretation of tradition imposed by the teaching authorities of the church. To put it plainly, we simply disagree with the church's interpretation of Scripture and Tradition which we otherwise experience as affirming." (Emphasis added)

So: the Reverend Pizzuto was a Catholic who abandoned the faith because he disagreed with its teaching on sexuality. If that were all there was to it, one could say "fair enough," but the story does not stop there. A number of questions present themselves:

1) Why is the Reverend Pizzuto still being allowed to teach theology at a "Catholic" University? From the code of Canon Law:

Canon 833. The following are obliged personally to make a profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See:

7/ in the presence of the grand chancellor or, in his absence, in the presence of the local ordinary or their delegates, the rector of an ecclesiastical or Catholic university, when the rector’s function begins; in the presence of the rector if he is a priest or in the presence of the local ordinary or their delegates, teachers in any universities whatsoever who teach disciplines pertaining to faith or morals, when they begin their function; (Emphasis added)

The "profession of faith according to the formula approved by the Apostolic See" can be found here.

I ask: How can the Reverend Pizzuto possibly make a Profession of Faith to the Catholic Church when he has left the Catholic Church?

2) I further ask: Why is he being allowed to speak in a teaching function at St. Rita's Church? Certainly, ecumenical speakers can sometimes be welcomed at Catholic Churches, but should that welcome be extended to a person who has abandoned the Catholic faith because he quite openly disagrees with it, and has not only embraced another religion, but has been ordained as a priest in that religion?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney


1) Reverend Pizzuto's USF Biographical page.
2) Reverend Pizzuto's USF CV
3) Reverend Pizzuto's Ordination
4) The Celtic Christian Church
5) "Is it Ethical to be Catholic? Queer Perspectives" seminar
6) "Alienated Catholics" seminar

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Stop Obama At Notre Dame.

As is pretty well known by now, the University of Notre Dame has invited President Obama to be their commencement speaker on May 17. We join our brothers and sisters (and Fathers) in calling on the University to rescind it's invitation to Obama. No explanation should be necessary, but if one is needed, here it is from the "Bishops Statement on Catholics in Political Life:"

"The Catholic community and Catholic institutions should not honor those who act in defiance of our fundamental moral principles. They should not be given awards, honors or platforms which would suggest support for their actions."

The Cardinal Newman Society of Notre Dame has set up a website (notredamescandal.com) where you can ask that this invitation be rescinded. It has telephone numbers and an online petition:


We will keep this link posted on the right top pane of this blog.

Threshing Grain reports that the Notre Dame switchboards have been overwhelmed with calls opposing this invitation. Let's keep them that way.

American Papist is giving the issue full coverage

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Walter Hoye Stands for Justice, Chooses Jail

"Rev. Hoye is an African-American pastor who feels a special calling to work for the end of the genocide-by-abortion taking place in the African-American community. As part of his efforts, he stands in front of an abortion clinic in Oakland with leaflets offering abortion alternatives and a sign reading, “Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help.” In response, the Oakland City Council passed an ordinance making it a crime to approach persons entering abortion clinics to offer alternatives to abortion. Approaching women to encourage them to enter the clinic is permitted, according to City policy." --Life Legal Defense Fund.

Today, about 70 supporters stood in solidarity with Oakland Reverend Walter Hoye, as he was "resentenced" under Oakland's "Bubble Ordinance." The resentencing took place at the Alameda County Superior Court, in the courtroom of Judge Stuart Hing.

The courtroom admitted 46 spectators: 35 who were there in support of Walter, and 11 supporters of the culture of death. As usual, Walter was the calmest man in the place.

The "resentencing" hearing turned out to be the "old sentencing" hearing after a month's delay, because Walter received the exact same sentence:

• 30 days to be served in jail or as community service;
• a fine of $1,132;
• a stay-away order from the notorious Family Planning Specialists Medical Group at Second and Webster streets.

Since this exactly what Judge Hing gave Walter on February 19, what was the point of waiting another month to do the same thing? As a matter of principle Walter refused to accept the sentence at the first hearing, but apparently the judge thought that given some time to "reflect," Walter would abandon his principles.

Well, Walter did not let Judge Hing or the author's of Oakland's "Bubble Ordinance" off the hook.

Today, Walter refused community service and chose instead to serve 30 days in jail--I believe as a protest against the manifest injustice of the law. He will not ask for special or compromised treatment under an unjust law: to do so would validate the law and make him complicit in the injustice.

Today, Walter refused to pay the fine. The fine is unjust: he will not pay it. His attorney pointed out that the fine may be paid (presumably by Walter's friends) but that Walter will not be paying it.

And 30 days from today, I believe Walter will be right back doing what got him arrested in the first place. Here is his "crime":

"As women approached the door, he asked them, 'May I talk to you about alternatives to the clinic?'"--San Francisco Chronicle, March 20, 2009.

The hearing was over. Walter calmly left the courtroom with the baliffs, who showed him the utmost respect, with his head held high, to begin serving his 30 days in the county jail.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Our Prayers for Pastor Hoye

From THE VOICE magzine.com

Yesterday, March 20, 2009, Pro-life Pastor Walter Hoye of Berkeley, California, was ordered to serve 30 days in county jail by Judge Stuart Hing of the Alameda Superior Court. Hoye had been found guilty on January 15, 2009, of unlawfully approaching two persons entering an abortion clinic in Oakland.

Judge Hing had also ordered him to stay one hundred yards away from the abortion clinic for three years. However, Walter Hoye refused this term of probation and would not agree to a stay-away order. Therefore, the judge denied the defense motion to stay the sentence pending appeal. Hoye was taken into custody from the courtroom.

At a hearing on February 19, Judge Hing stated that he had not intended to impose any fine or jail time on Hoye if he would agree to stay away from the abortion clinic. After Hoye refused to agree not to offer alternatives to abortion-minded women, Judge Hing imposed a 30-day sentence and $1130 fine.Dozens in the African-American and pro-life communities from around the nation who came out in support of Pastor Hoye were outraged by the sentence.

The consensus of these leaders is that it was a travesty that Pastor Hoye was found guilty in the first place for standing in the gap for black children targeted by the abortion industry."It is absolutely incredible that in America an individual can be sentenced to jail for engaging in peaceful free speech activity on a public sidewalk," remarked Allison Aranda, Staff Counsel for Life Legal Defense Foundation. Aranda further stated, "Rev. Hoye is being singled out for particularly harsh punishment because he refused to agree not to offer help to women considering abortion.

"It is absolutely incredible that in America an individual can be sentenced to jail for engaging in peaceful free speech activity on a public sidewalk," remarked Allison Aranda, Staff Counsel for Life Legal Defense Foundation. Aranda further stated, "Rev. Hoye is being singled out for particularly harsh punishment because he refused to agree not to offer help to women considering abortion. Where is the justice in that?" Hoye is an African-American pastor who feels a special calling to work for the end of the genocide-by-abortion taking place in the African-American community. As part of his efforts, he stands in front of an abortion clinic in Oakland with leaflets offering abortion alternatives and a sign reading, "Jesus loves you and your baby. Let us help."

Thursday, March 19, 2009

More on Bishop Martino and Misericordia University

For those comimg late to this story, the provoking incident was Misericordia University's invitation of homosxual activist Keith Boykin to speak at their "Diversity Institute"

On March 3, Misericordia released this statement:

"Misericordia University is working diligently to schedule a meeting with the Bishop and his delegates so dialogue can be established among representatives of our founders and sponsors, the Religious Sisters of Mercy, university administrators, members of the Board of Trustees and the Diocese.

Misericordia University respects the Bishop’s position. The University looks forward to resolving these concerns directly with Bishop Martino."

Today, the good Bishop responded:

"Bishop Joseph F. Martino announced today that he will not meet with officials from Misericordia University until they comply with his request for a public release of specific information on how the institution teaches Catholic morality regarding sexuality and homosexuality, and how it is adhering to the four essential characteristics of a Catholic institution of higher learning.

The Bishop, in two previous statements, has asked that this information be provided to Misericordia’s alumni and the public. He has requested that the school speak precisely, naming courses, content and even catalog numbers.

The university has thus far refused to do so, instead requesting a private meeting with the Bishop.

However, the scandal that led to the Bishop’s request was a public matter. Therefore, no meeting will be held unless Misericordia complies with the request for a public release of information....

Bishop Martino also explained his obligation to address these matters. A local bishop does not merely have a 'personal position' (i.e., one which is no more valid than anyone else’s position) about the “Catholic identity” of a local Catholic college. Under the Church’s Code of Canon Law, the Bishop has a “responsibility” to evaluate and judge how all Catholic institutions in his diocese are upholding the principles of authentic Catholic identity.

In particular, it is his responsibility to ensure that institutions of higher learning which desire to call themselves Catholic are zealous in teaching Catholic faith and morals."

All emphases are added.

This is beautiful. Bishop Martino is saying, as he has said before: there is one teaching voice in the Diocese of Scarnton: the voice of the Bishop. Dialogue is acceptable, but only after the University responds to the Bishop's request--only after it accepts his authority. But he, and the university, cannot pretend that it will be a dialogue between equals.

I note that the University says it "respects" his position--but I don't believe they do. His position is that he is the Bishop, and thus the authority on anything "Catholic" in his diocese.

h/t Diane at Te Deum Laudamus!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

The Re-Sentencing of Walter Hoye

Heroic Oakland Pastor Walter Hoye is scheduled to be in court tomorrow for a re-sentencing hearing for the crime of asserting his First Amendment right to free speech.

Our friend Bill May of Catholics for the Common Good fills us in on the details:

Last month, over 100 people came to support Rev. Walter Hoye and his wife, Lori, as he faced sentencing at the Alameda County Courthouse in Oakland, CA for an unjust conviction related to his peaceful Christian witness in front of a local abortion clinic. Now, they need your support again as he goes back for re-sentencing at 2 PM on Friday, March 20.

Last month, Rev. Hoye refused to accept the terms of probation that the judge tried to impose, which included giving up his first amendment rights for 3 years within 100 yards of the clinic where he was arrested. Since then, Rev. Hoye has been back to the clinic continuing his witness while complying with all local ordinances.

In a letter following the first sentencing hearing, Reverend Hoye wrote:

"Starting at one hundred (100) feet my 1st Amendment right that assures my freedom of speech is taken away. “Harassment” is defined as “counseling” and “counseling” is defined as having a conversation, displaying a sign and/or handing out literature.

This is an unjust law that does not apply to doctors, nurses, employees and volunteers who have the consent of the abortion clinic.

Since my viewpoint on the subject of infanticide (i.e., I believe life begins at conception) is different than those who endorsed this unjust law, I do not have the consent of the abortion clinic to hold a sign, engage in conversation and hand out literature to those seeking to terminate the life of their child.

In other words, I am not a part of the “protected class” of United States citizenry as defined by the Oakland City Council.
According to Martin Luther King, Jr.’s, Tuesday, April 16th, 1963, "Letter from a Birmingham Jail” … “An unjust law is a code that a numerical or power majority group compels a minority group to obey but does not make binding on itself...."

Bill May's letter continues:

When he returns to court this week, the Judge could either propose more reasonable terms of probation or could order Rev. Hoye jailed for up to 2 years and fined up to $4,000. This case continues to draw national attention. (And international attention--it has been covered in Poland, the Netherlands, and Spain).

Rev. Hoye's crime was standing outside of an abortion clinic with the sign reading "Jesus [God] loves you and your baby. Let us help you." If you are unfamiliar with Rev. Hoye's arrest and conviction, please read the background and see a video of his activities at the abortion clinic.

This is again a time for an expression of Christian solidarity with him and the unborn. If you live in the San Francisco Bay Area, please make every effort to help pack the court house on Friday to offer silent prayer and support. Ask friends to join you.

Arrive at the court house by 1 PM to allow time to get through security. For those who are not able to fit into the court room, please remain in the hallway outside in silent prayer. Please no signs. We must be quiet, dignified, and respectful at all times. A press conference will be held after the sentencing -- probably outside of the main entrance. Just follow the crowd.

Friday, March 20, 2009, 1 PM (Re-sentencing at 2 PM)
Judge Hing's Courtroom, Department 109, 5th Floor
661 Washington Street (at 7th Street), Oakland

Six blocks from the 12th Street BART Station (Daly City-Millbrae/Richmond, SFO/Pittsburg, and Freemont/Richmond Lines)

For those who cannot make it, please pray for Walter, for his wife, Lori, and for Judge Stuart Hing.
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

The Holy Father in Africa

The Holy Father spoke out on condom use and AIDS, and, (surprise, surprise) they want to lynch him.

Here's the offending paragraph:

"It is my belief believe that the most effective presence on the front in the battle against HIV/AIDS is in fact the Catholic Church and her institutions. ... The problem of HIV/AIDS cannot be overcome with mere slogans. If the soul is lacking, if Africans do not help one another, the scourge cannot be resolved by distributing condoms; quite the contrary, we risk worsening the problem. The solution can only come through a twofold commitment: firstly, the humanisation of sexuality, in other words a spiritual and human renewal bringing a new way of behaving towards one another; and secondly, true friendship, above all with the suffering, a readiness - even through personal sacrifice - to stand by those who suffer".

Insisting on responsible behavior based on moral norms. No wonder the Culture of Death thinks the sky is falling.

Uncle Di nails their attitude, as usual

"We need to work with the reality of where these people are. These are Africans, for God's sake, not persons capable of understanding and following a moral norm. It is irresponsible of the Pope to teach otherwise."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Obama Moves Towards Despotism

The USCCB Website has a page where you can voice your opposition to the Obama Adminsitratioins attempted removal of the "conscience clause" for medical professionals who object to performing abortions and engaging in euthanasia. The USCCB Page is here.

And Cardinal George has a very powerful statement on this issue, correctly describing it as a first step towards despotism:

"On Friday afternoon, February 27, the Obama Administration placed on a federal website the news that it intends to remove a conscience protection rule for the Department of Health and Human Services. That rule is one part of the range of legal protections for health care workers—for doctors, nurses and others—who have objections in conscience to being involved in abortion and other killing procedures that are against how they live their faith in God.

As Catholic bishops and American citizens, we are deeply concerned that such an action on the government’s part would be the first step in moving our country from democracy to despotism."

You can see His Eminence's statement here:

God Wants, and Women Need, Husbands and Fathers!

As Christian men, we (I) need to remember that our response to life never affects us alone. Our choices affect others. And the refusal to take action is also an action. For most men, our proper vocation is to help a woman fulfill her vocation: family and motherhood. If we choose not to do this, it's not that everything goes on as before. The concrete result will be a real woman in the real world not receiving what God wants for her.

The following are excerpts from the article "Finding a Husband: Mission Impossible?" by Anthony Buono. The picture Mr. Buono paints cuts painfully close to home with me:

"...Specifically, we are talking about the casualties of the war on marriage and family life. It is my opinion that marriages that should be taking place are not. It's as simple as that. There are unending reasons why they are not happening (both good and bad reasons) but I believe most of those reasons are avoidable if people would make better free-will decisions ...

Men are casualties just as much as women are, unfortunately. But because men are the ones, in the end, that have to ask women on dates, and ask a woman for her hand in marriage, they can't allow excuses to "excuse" them. They have to find a way to answer their questions and solve their issues and problems, or we will continue to see marriages suffer, and marriages not happen. The dating process and marriage itself are acts of "free will". There must be more action, decision-making, choosing, and most of all, acceptance and living with decision. The abuse of free will is the sad condition of fallen human nature. That's what makes us all sinners, and why all people who marry must understand they are marrying a sinner, not a saint. But free will can never be about holding off making decisions until we know we are going to make the right decision. Knowing the outcome of an action is not a requirement to taking action. Prudence must be part of decision-making, but prudence is about taking action with right judgment, not about putting off decisions.

Marriage is definitely a decision that must be made without foreknowledge of the outcome. In other words, it is a risk. No one alive can ever know for certain that the person they marry will keep their vows or never change on them. Is that a scary reality? Yes. Is it a good reason to break up with someone or call off an engagement, or worse, end a marriage? No. An act of our free will has consequences, and life is about uncertainty. We take action in our life. That's a must. We learn from our mistakes. But we can never break our word, or run from our duties and responsibilities. This is what I believe is happening with many marriages as well as with single people. It doesn't feel right, or there is uncertainty, and these are interpreted as definite signs that no action should be taken, or that a bad decision could be made....

Men, as you have described from the experiences that have you so frustrated and concerned, seem to me to be in a crisis. Whether they know it or not, are guilty or victims, or are doing anything about it or not, they seem to be going through something that is affecting their vocation, which is affecting the vocation of others (namely, women)."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, March 16, 2009

Help "Catholics for the Common Good" Fight the Good Fight!

We just received an email from our friend Bill May, over at Catholics for the Common Good (not to be confused with the hideously misnamed "Catholics in Alliance for the Common Good," who are shills for Obama--I wonder: are they having second thoughts yet?)

CCG has been fighting the good fight on the life and marriage issues here in California since the beginning. Their most recent badge of honor was to be mischaracterized in the "Guardian UK:"

The Guardian said, “Some activists even resorted to spreading lies about the efficacy of the research. . . . Catholics for the Common Good called it "technology that is unnecessary and obsolete."

Bill responded:

As politicians and the media (led by CNN) distort the issue and mislead citizens, we stand by our statement – embryo-like stem cells can now be produced more easily, cheaply and ethically making embryo destruction no longer necessary.

Of course, anybody who knows the slightest thing about the issue knows that every single treatment using stem-cells has come from adult stem-cells, and that embryonic stem-cells have done nothing except grow into tumors. Now CCG can use YOUR help:

"The current need is for our educational effort, Catholics for the Common Good Institute, a 501(c)3 organization, for which donations are deductible for income tax purposes. Any amount will help.

Please send a donation today to:
Catholics for the Common Good Institute
P.O. Box 320038
San Francisco, CA 94132

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Excellent Vocations Page...

From the Archdiocese of New York. I guess it has been around for a while, but I had not seen it before:

"The World Needs Heroes."

They are working with the good folks over at Grassroots Films.

h/t Will Heaven

Thursday, March 12, 2009

SF Chronicle Picks Up "Be Still and Know" Story

From today's SF Chronicle:

"Church chat: San Francisco Roman Catholic Archbishop George Niederauer has stepped into another gay controversy - this time, blocking students from Sacred Heart Preparatory School in Atherton from putting on a 'gay-friendly' play at a church in the Castro.

The Atherton actors had been invited to Most Holy Redeemer Church this past Sunday to perform "Be Still and Know," which, according to the parish bulletin, 'explores the subject of homosexuality within a Christian adolescent context.'

The play had been adapted by Sacred Heart drama director John Loschmann from the novel 'The God Box' by Alex Sanchez.

Most Holy Redeemer, however, canceled the performance on orders from on high, according to Sacred Heart spokeswoman Dawna Houston. No reason was given.

Apparently unbeknownst to the archbishop, however, Sacred Heart went ahead with the play anyway, at the Jesuit-run University of San Francisco's Presentation Theater.

The archdiocese did not return our call Tuesday seeking comment."

It's was quite a week's work for the responsible faculty down at Sacred Heart of Atherton.

In about 7 days they have managed to:

• associate their school with probably the most notorious homosexual activist parish in the United States;

• provoke their Archbishop into cancelling a performance of their play at that same parish;

• and, if the Chronicle is correct, follow that by publicly defying and circumventing their Archbishop through having the play performed at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. In the subculture of homosexual activism within the Archdiocese of San Francisco, USF serves as the movement's theological and intellectual front, just as Most Holy Redeemer is its spiritual front.

As I said in my last post on this subject, if I were a parent at Sacred Heart of Atherton, I'd be asking some questions about who they are getting hooked up with, and why.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Orange County Supes Step Up For Life!!

From the AP:

OC ends Planned Parenthood contract over abortions

The Associated Press. 5:27 p.m. March 10, 2009

SANTA ANA, Calif. — The Orange County Board of Supervisors has voted to suspend a contract with Planned Parenthood to provide health education for thousands of teenagers because the nonprofit organization offers abortions.

Members of the public and the board argued passionately before the unanimous vote at Tuesday's meeting.

Planned Parenthood's curriculum includes contraception, abstinence and sexually transmitted diseases.

Local Planned Parenthood President Jon Dunn says the county's $292,000 education grant that funded the program did not go to abortions.

Dunn says the supervisor who put the item on the agenda, John Moorlach, was motivated by religious ideology and not concerned about health policies that benefit Orange County.
Information from: Los Angeles Times,

God Bless 'em--and they will take a lot of heat for this from all over the country.

Give them your support:

Chairwoman Pat Bates
(714) 834-3550

Supervisor Bill Campbell
714) 834-3330

Supervisor John Moorlach
(714) 834-3220

Supervisor Janet Nguyen
(714) 834-3110

Supervisor Chris Norby
(714) 834-3440

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Why We Love Jack Smith:


"The Catholic Key" post is here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Same-Sex "Married" Lector Reads for Students at Most Holy Redeemer

When I saw the flyer for “Be Still and Know” that was posted in the marquee of Presentation Theater at USF, I also noticed it announced that the cast and crew from Sacred Heart of Atherton were to attend Mass at Most Holy Redeemer at 10 AM on Sunday, March 8. This was prior to the performance.

Well, if it is exposure to a public repudiation of Church teaching that the school wants for its students, they went to the right place. For, according to Most Holy Redeemer’s Lector schedule for the 10AM mass on March 8, one of the Lectors was a man named Michael Vargas. This same Michael Vargas recently had a letter to the editor published in "Catholic San Francisco." The letter began:

"Archbishop Niederauer’s recent “open letter” did nothing but rub salt in the wounds for at least two members of his flock. My husband and I do not think we are alone…"

and was signed:

"Michael Vargas
Martin Bednarek
San Francisco"

Here we have two same-sex “married” men proudly asserting their contempt for Church teaching in the Archdiocesan newspaper. And one of them serves as a Lector in a "Catholic" church! Assuming that Mr. Vargas was there on schedule, one of these same men was reading scripture at Mass to the students of a Catholic High School.


But what is unthinkable in the Catholic Church is normal at MHR. Had the students attended next week, they could have received the Blessed Sacrament from a man who goes by the name of “Lisa Rae” Dummer. Dummer is scheduled to be a Eucharistic Minister at next Sunday’s 10AM Mass.

This photograph is courtesy of the Most Holy Redeemer webpage.

That’s “Lisa Rae” in the back—he’s the big guy with flowers and wearing a corset. The photo shows Dummer preparing to present the Most Holy Redeemer Young Adult Group as “debutantes” at the “2007 Transgender San Francisco Cotillion.” Even I was shocked the first time I saw this—and I’m a born-and-raised San Franciscan. A Catholic Young Adult group being escorted to a “transgender” event by one of the parish’s own Eucharistic Ministers!

Dummer is a serious “transgender” activist. He was the organizer of the 2007 Transgender Cotillion and he is the Director of the 2009 event. He is also the Board Chair of the Transgender Law Center in San Francisco, an organization which seeks to establish “equality” at the expense of sanity.


Did the responsible person at Sacred Heart of Atherton who OK'd the events at MHR know these things? The principal at Sacred Heart is a man named James Everitt--who gave $200 to the "No on Proposition 8" campaign. There is also a James Everitt listed as a lector on the MHR website. Is this the same man? As I said in my original post on this subject, I believe so, because that is the best way to account for the otherwise inexplicable Sacred Heart/MHR connection. And if this is so, then yes, Mr. Everitt does know the people at Most Holy Redeemer, and he does know what goes on there, and with this knowledge, he still thought it was a good idea for his students to visit the parish.

If I were a Sacred Heart parent, or a Superintendent of Catholic Schools I'd be asking a few questions.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

What Tolerance is NOT

News from the Trenches Editor’s note:

The following is part of a transcript of a lecture – “Rendering unto Caesar: The Catholic Political Vocation” -- delivered by Denver Archbishop Charles J. Chaput on Monday, Feb. 23, at St. Basil’s Collegiate Church on the campus of the University of Toronto, which was published on the archdiocesan web site.

This short quote from the lengthly magnificent speech of the Archbishop gives clear indicaton of what tolerance is not. (A subject dear to my heart, and so misunderstood!)

"Dishonest language leads to dishonest debate and bad laws. Here’s an example.

"We need to remember that tolerance is not (my emphasis) a Christian virtue. Charity, justice, mercy, prudence, honesty – these are Christian virtues. And obviously, in a diverse community, tolerance is an important working principle. But it’s never an end itself. In fact, tolerating grave evil within a society is itself a form of serious evil. Likewise, democratic pluralism does not mean that Catholics should be quiet in public about serious moral issues because of some misguided sense of good manners. A healthy democracy requires vigorous moral debate to survive. Real pluralism demands that people of strong beliefs will advance their convictions in the public square – peacefully, legally and respectfully, but energetically and without embarrassment. Anything less is bad citizenship and a form of theft from the public conversation.

"Here’s the fourth point. When Jesus tells the Pharisees and Herodians in the Gospel of Matthew (22:21) to “render unto the Caesar the things that are Caesar’s and to God the things that are God’s,” he sets the framework for how we should think about religion and the state even today. Caesar does have rights. We owe civil authority our respect and appropriate obedience. But that obedience is limited by what belongs to God. Caesar is not God. Only God is God, and the state is subordinate and accountable to God for its treatment of human persons, all of whom were created by God. Our job as believers is to figure out what things belong to Caesar, and what things belong to God -- and then put those things in right order in our own lives, and in our relations with others."

More News About Connecticut

Jack Smith over at "The Catholic Key" has been diligently covering the extraordinary story of Connecticut's HB 1098.

Here's his latest.

Meanwhile, the Catholic League has demanded that the two legislators behind HB 1098 be expelled:


Bill #1098 has been introduced in the Connecticut legislature by Rep. Michael Lawlor and Sen. Andrew McDonald that orders the Catholic Church to reorganize. Its express purpose is “To revise the corporate governance provisions applicable to the Roman Catholic Church and provide for the investigation of the misappropriation of funds by religious corporations.” It specifies that each parish is to elect a board of directors to run all parish functions, thus stripping the Pastor of his authority.

Catholic League president Bill Donohue responded as follows:

“The Catholic League has been deluged with phone calls, e-mails and faxes from Catholics, as well as non-Catholics, from all over Connecticut. On March 11, there will be a public hearing on this bill. Bridgeport Bishop William Lori and Hartford Bishop Henry Mansell are imploring Catholics to attend. More than that needs to be done.

“Bishop Lori is correct to say that the bill ‘is a thinly-veiled attempt to silence the Catholic Church on the important issues of the day, such as same-sex marriage.’ Indeed, it is payback: this brutal act of revenge by Lawlor and McDonald, two champions of gay marriage, is designed to muzzle the voice of the Catholic Church.

“By singling out the Catholic Church—no other religion has been targeted—Lawlor and McDonald have demonstrated that they are ethically unfit to continue as lawmakers. They have evinced a bias so strong, and so malicious, that it compromises their ability to serve the public good. They should therefore be expelled by their colleagues. Reprimand and censure suggest that the offender can be rehabilitated. It is painfully obvious in this instance that neither lawmaker is prepared to accept such a sanction. Expulsion is the only rational response. We are contacting House leader Christopher Donovan and Senate leader Martin Looney to explore this action.”




Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Adult Stem Cell Update: Blind Girl Now Sees!

From the Telegraph UK:

Two-year-old girl can see for the first time following stem cell treatment

"Two-year-old British girl Dakota Clarke can see for the first time after undergoing pioneering stem cell treatment in China.

Dakota, who was born blind, is the first British patient to undergo the new type of therapy. The £30,000 treatment, which involves stems cells taken from an umbilical cord being fed into her forehead, has allowed her to see people, objects, colours and lights around her.

Dakota suffers from Septo-Optic Dysplasia, which means the optic nerve does not develop properly, and has responded quicker than expected to the treatment. Her parents, Wilma, 28, and dad Darren, 34, are hoping she will continue to improve and have a life time of sight....

Dr Tom Liu, a stem cell specialist and director of the centre, is planning a breakthrough medical report on its work in collaboration with UCLA to be published later this year.

He said: 'We are very impressed with Dakota's progress so far and hope further tests will reveal further improvements.

'The use of stem cells taken from the umbilical chord is completely safe. As we learn more about the way these cells work our results are getting better and better.'"

Now, since cures and treatments are being documented just about daily with adult or cord-blood stem-cells, and when all the biggest names in the field (Ian Wilmot, James Thomson, etc.) have abandoned embryonics, why is President Obama funding embryonic stem-cell research?

Simple: this isn't about science. The abortion industry wants ESCR because they can use it as a "moral" justification for abortion. And our culture is so wounded by legalized abortion that anything which seems to minimize its horror will be embraced as a psychological crutch.

Pray for an end to abortion, and that these wounds may heal. And Thanks be to God for little Dakota!

h/t as always, to Mr. Don Margolis

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Too Toxic for MHR--OK For USF?

Well, well. It's too toxic for MHR (or maybe vice versa) but just right for USF.

We believe that the play "Be Still and Know," an adaption of the book "The God Box" by homosexual activist Alex Sanchez, will be performed at the Presentation Theater of the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco today. We went by there and saw a flyer advertising the event.

It had originally been scheduled to be performed at Most Holy Redeemer Church, but the parish cancelled it on orders from the Archdiocese. Our detailed post on the play can be found by going here. This begs a number of questions:

1) Did the Archdiocese approve this change of venue or not?

If yes, why? Why is it acceptable to stage a performance of the play at USF, but not at Most Holy Redeemer? Is there something about MHR that would make the play unnacceptable there?

Two possibilities suggest themselves:

a) The Archdiocese is pastorally concerned about kids from a Catholic High School performing at Most Holy Redeemer. They do not want students exposed to an environment where there is such a wholesale and blatant repudiation of Church teaching on sexuality--a repudiation which includes, but is not limited to having openly same-sex "married" and "transgendered" Eucharistic minsters, lectors, and acolytes serving at Mass. This would make sense.

b) The Archdiocese is pastorally concerned about the parishioners of MHR. They worry that a play challenging Church teaching on homosexuality presented at MHR is an occasion of sin-- like giving a bottle of liquor to an alcoholic. It may sound funny at first to anyone familiar with the history of MHR--that a high school play could be a bad influence there--but it is no joke. Our Archdiocese knows full well that anything that affrms the parishioners of MHR in their repudiation of Church teaching on sexuality must be avoided. As Catechism entry #2357 says of homosexual acts: "Under no circumstances can they be approved." On this reading, our Archdiocese is being guided by the maxim that the souls of our same-sex attracted brothers and sisters are just as important as anyone else, and that it is the duty of the Archdiocese to protect them. This also would make sense.

I think probably both of these played a part in the Archdiocesan decision to cancel the play at MHR. I'd encourage the Catholic parents of Sacred Heart of Atherton to think about both of these things.

But this leads to a further question. If there is something so unsuitable about MHR, because of it's repudiation of Church teaching on sexuality, how can USF be suitable? For on this issue USF is on the same page as MHR (a quick sample, it would take far too much space to into detail) :

• The Executive Director of University Ministry at USF, Fr. Donal Godfrey wrote the very enlightening history of MHR "Gays and Grays" (excerpts here) ; he has given homilies at MHR which are posted on the "Gay Catholic Forum" ; he has come out publicly against Proposition 8; he has marched, in his clerics, in the "Gay Pride" parade. Too get an idea of how far out Fr. Godfrey is on matters of sexuality, listen to this radio interview he gave last year at World Youth Day in Australia.

• USF and MHR co-hosted the "Queer Perspectives: Is it Ethical to Be Catholic?" seminars. Listen to the audio here and here.

• The Department of Theology and Religious Studies at USF employs the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto as an Assistant Professor (you can hear him on the first audio cllip in the preceding paragraph). The Reverend Pizzuto so disagreed with Catholic teaching on homosexuality that he left the Catholic Church in 2007 and was ordained into the "Celtic Christian Church." The Celtic Christian Church is not in communion with Rome. I actually have a certain amount of admiration for Father Pizzuto. He says what he believes, and if he can't accept Catholic teaching, he leaves the Church. Of course that means Canonically he is not allowed to teach at a Theology department in a Catholic school, but that is not his fault, but the fault of those responsible at USF.

• Tomorrow, May 9, 2009, USF's Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Research, and the USF LGBT Caucus will sponsor an address by Professor James Nickoloff. We covered the event, and did some resarch on Professor Nickoloff back in January. The post is here.


2) The other possibility is that USF is allowing this play to be performed on campus without Archdiocesan approval. This would certainly not be surprising, because it would not be the first time that the University basically told His Excellency: drop dead.

Back on June 7, 2008, we reported on the book tour of Australian former Auxiliary Bishop Geoffrey Robinson. Robinson's teachings were so at variance with those of the Church that the Vatican asked him to cancel the tour. He didn't, and before he reached California a number of California Catholic bishops, including Archbishop Niederauer, specifically and in writing denied him permission to speak in their Archdioceses. What did USF do? They ignored the instructions of His Excellency, and invited Robinson to speak at the University's notorious Lane Center for Catholic Studies and Social Thought.

It's an unfortunate fact that what goes on at “Catholic” Universities nowadays is, to a great extent, out of Archdiocesan control. I believe all that can be done by the local ordinary is to strip the university of its Catholic identity.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney