Thursday, March 28, 2013

Fr. Malloy has gone home to the Lord

Our dear Fr. Malloy has fought his last fight. He went home to the Lord early on Wednesday morning. Readers of this blog know that he had been suffering from congestive heart failure as well as a number of other ailments natural to a man of 91.

Father's bearing of his condition was a marvelous thing to see. He was perfectly lucid right to the last, and more than once he said he was ready to go. He never complained and was amazingly cheerful. After a conversation with his Doctor he agreed to go on a respirator for a few days to see if that would help his condition, after which they would take him off, and let his body take its course. He was taken off the respirator Tuesday morning, and almost immediatly began to grow weaker.

I saw him on Tuesday night, and he was quite weak physically, but not spiritually. The nurse had something nice to him about how easy he was to work with, and I said "Boy, Father, see what a great patient you are!" He smiled and replied with good natured sarcasm, which was his standard reponse to when anyone gave him a compliment: "Yeah, sure!" He passed away about 12 hours later.


Fr Malloy came to us as pastor of Saints Peter and Paul in 2001. At that time he was 79 years old. It struck some of us as a little odd that a 79 year old would be appointed to lead one of the busiest parishes in San Francisco. Well. Little did we know!

One of his first acts as pastor was to reinstitute a weekly Holy Hour. During his pastorate the entire interior of the church was refurbished top to bottom. It was cleaned and repainted. Beautiful new carpet was installed. The wood floors were refinished, and because all that beauty needed to be seen, new lights were installed. That revealed details that had not been seen for years, and even old timers were amazed. All this while celebrating weddings, baptisms, and masses beyond count. 

I think it is fair to say that what Fr. Malloy became best known for to the wider world was his uncompromising stand against the horrific epidemic of legalized abortion and against the redefinition of marriage. Under his pastorate, Saints Peter and Paul became the pro-life and pro-family center of the Catholic Church in San Francisco, the birthplace of the Defense of Marriage movement, and the home parish of the Walk for Life West Coast. Fr. Malloy did not hesitate to call out Catholic politicians by name when their actions violated the most basic teachings of the Catholic faith. Dolores Meehan tells the story of creating the March in Defense of Marriage. Back in 2004, when Gavin Newsom’s illegally started issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, Dolores and others wanted to create a rally to show that there were San Franciscans opposed to this. She sought the advice of Bill May, the President of Catholics for the Common Good, asking “but where can I find a Church that will support it?” Bill said “Well, there’s this one priest at Saints Peter and Paul…” The rest is history. When Dolores visited Fr. Malloy to ask him about holding a Mass and Rally in Defense of marriage, she didn’t get a “well, maybe…” or an “I don’t know…” or a “well, let me think about it…” As Dolo tells it, Fr. Malloy, with Mimi the cat on his desk, just started flipping through his desk calendar looking for a date, and said “I don’t care if I go to jail!” Fr. Malloy did not follow his flock. He led it.

The response to that April, 2004 rally gave Eva and Dolores and Kelly and Lisa and all the others the courage to create the Walk for Life West Coast in 2005. In that year, Fr. Malloy became the chaplain of the Walk for Life West Coast, a position he retained until his death. In that year he received the first annual St. Gianna Molla Award for Pro-Life heroism. Because no matter what, we knew Fr. Malloy had our back. And from those beginnings, the Walk for Life is now the second largest pro-life event in the country. Someone once told me that Deacon Jeff Burns, the historian of the Archdiocese of San Francisco, was asked what was the most significant expression of Catholicism in San Francisco in recent times. He answered “It’s the Walk for Life West Coast.”

Fr. Malloy eventually became known all over the country for his sermons and writings in defense of the right to life and marriage, with praise and threats to prove it. But despite his powerful stands, almost everyone who met him, even those who disagreed, found in Fr. John a friend. With my own eyes I have seen people come into the rectory absolutely furious, and walk out a few minutes later with the words “Huh. He’s a nice guy.” When I think of Fr. Malloy I think of the Blessed John Paul II who was once addressing a group of young people about the evil of abortion. They told him “Why do say this to us? You know we don’t agree.” The Holy Father simply said “I love you too much to lie to you.” That was Fr. John's attitude as well.

Most of us will have heard of Sir Christopher Wren, the architect of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London. Many of us will be familiar with his humble tombstone in that Cathedral, on which is written “If you seek his monument, look about you.” The whole cathedral was his monument. But while it is right and proper to see the buildings of a great architect as his monument, the monument of a Priest of God is different. The monument of a priest of God is the people he has inspired to follow Jesus Christ, to imitate Jesus Christ, and to bring others to Jesus Christ.

For as St. Peter himself tells us, the Church is made of living stones. And that is Father John’s monument. The students he has taught and inspired, that is Father John’s monument. The people he brought into the faith, that is Fr. John's monument. The young men and women whom he has inspired to the religious life, that is Father John’s monument. And the 50,000 people who in January peacefully, joyfully, yet firmly marched through downtown San Francisco for the littlest among us, that is Father John’s monument.

Father, may we be worthy of the sacrifices you made for us. May we continue to fight firmly and with charity, as you taught us, for life and the family. And above all, may we fulfill your dearest wish for us, to follow Jesus Christ and to live lives that will allow us to enter into the Kingdom of Heaven. Father, we pray that you watch over us from heaven just as you always did on earth.

The services for Fr. Malloy will be on Monday, April 1, 2013 at Saints Peter and Paul Church, 666 Filbert Street in San Francisco.

9:30 AM Viewing
10:00 AM Rosary
10:30 AM Mass

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney
Fr. Malloy's secretary at Saints Peter and Paul Church


Sunday, March 24, 2013

SF Archbishop Cordileone to Stand up for Marriage & Children in Washington DC Tuesday

God Bless our good Archbishop, and be sure to read the interview with him in USA Today!

On Tuesday, March 26, as the Supreme Court begins to hear arguments on the Proposition 8 case, San Francisco’s Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone will join thousands of people at the March for Marriage in Washington DC. His Excellency is the Chairman of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops Subcommittee for the Promotion and Defense of Marriage. The march is ecumenical in the extreme: His Excellency will be joined by (among others) Brian Brown of the National Organization for Marriage; Jennifer Roback Morse of the Ruth Institute; Dr. Jim Garlow of the Skyline Wesleyan Church; Democratic New York State Senator (and Reverend) Rubén Díaz; the Reverend Bill Owens, Chairman of the Coalition of African American Pastors; and Dr. Robert George of Princeton University. The march will also be joined by openly bisexual/gay same-sex “marriage” opponents Robert Oscar Lopez and Doug Mainwaring. Among the numerous co-sponsors of the March is Manif Pour Tous à Washington DC (March for All of Washington DC), the French group which brought a million defenders of marriage into the streets of Paris in January.

March speakers will highlight the unintended consequences of same-sex “marriage” on children. In 2008, then-Bishop Cordileone appeared in the Marriage Matters to Kids video, created to support the campaign for California’s Proposition 8. In his appearance, Bishop Cordileone asked a question and made a point that is being heard more and more frequently:

“Children need a mother and a father. Children long for a mother and a father when they don’t have them. If a child grows up without one or the other how are you going to tell that child that having a father isn't important, or having a mother isn't important? By virtue of biology we need a man and a woman to bring a child into the world. It’s a logical consistency of design that a child needs a mother and a father to grow up in the best possible context.”

As noted, a number of same-sex attracted persons will be joining the march. The Archbishop’s point was echoed earlier this year by the openly bisexual author and father Robert Oscar Lopez, when he testified before the Minnesota legislature. In describing his experience of growing up in a household with two “moms” Mr. Lopez said that he loved both women who raised him very much, but he also said:

 “I could not be true to myself or my obligation to society if I did anything to encourage other children to be placed in such homes.”

Another same-sex attracted man who will be speaking at the March is Doug Mainwaring, co-founder of the National Capital Tea Party Patriots. In a March 20 article at The Public Discourse, Mr. Mainwaring opened by saying:

“In our sometimes misguided efforts to expand our freedom, selfish adults have systematically dismantled that which is most precious to children as they grow and develop. That’s why I am now speaking out against same-sex marriage. By the way, I am gay.”

Mainwaring continued: “Genderless marriage now enjoys an aura of equality and fairness, which suggests that the framers of the Fourteenth Amendment had same-sex marriages in mind as they penned their magnificent giant leap forward for humanity. While this situation is highly unlikely, those who selfishly seek additional ‘rights’ for themselves have found their justification in the penumbra they now sense surrounding legitimate civil rights.

Same-sex marriage will not expand rights and freedoms in our nation. It will not redefine marriage. It will undefine it.

This isn't the first time our society has undefined marriage. No-fault divorce, instituted all across our country, sounded like a good idea at the time. Its unintended consequence was that it changed forever the definition of marriage from a permanent relationship between spouses to a temporary one. Sadly, children became collateral damage in the selfish pursuits of adults.

Same-sex marriage will do the same, depriving children of their right to either a mom or a dad. This is not a small deal. Children are being reduced to chattel-like sources of fulfillment.”

On Tuesday, attendees will gather at the National Mall at 8:30 AM. At 9:30 they will begin marching to the Supreme Court and then will return to the Mall. At 11AM the Rally will begin. The USCCB asks all who cannot attend to join in their Prayer for the Defense of Marriage:

God our Father, we give you thanks 

for the gift of marriage: the bond of life and love, 
and the font of the family. 

The love of husband and wife enriches your Church with children,
fills the world with a multitude of spiritual fruitfulness and service,
and is the sign of the love of your Son, Jesus Christ, for his Church. 

The grace of Jesus flowed forth at Cana at the
request of the Blessed Mother. May your Son,
through the intercession of Mary, pour out upon us
a new measure of the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
as we join with all people of good will
to promote and protect the unique beauty of marriage. 

May your Holy Spirit enlighten our society
to treasure the heroic love of husband and wife,
and guide our leaders to sustain and protect
the singular place of mothers and fathers
in the lives of their children. 

Father, we ask that our prayers
be joined to those of the Virgin Mary,
that your Word may transform our service
so as to safeguard the incomparable splendor of marriage.
We ask all these things through Christ our Lord,

Saints Joachim and Anne, pray for us.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Friday, March 22, 2013

Obsessed Proposition 8 Judge Vaughn Walker in News Again

Walker, anti-Prop 8 Lawyers “Cozy Relationship.”
On Friday, March 22 the blog Patterico’s Pontifications released emails from December 2012, in which Proposition 8 Judge Vaughn Walker asked a law partner of Ted Olsen, one of the two lead attorneys opposing Proposition 8 before the Supreme Court, to get Olsen’s opinion as to whether or not Walker should attend the Proposition 8 arguments. The arguments will begin to be heard this Tuesday in Washington, DC. The emails themselves can be found at Patterico’s site. Patterico writes:

“Although the emails likely breach no ethical rules — Walker retired in 2011 — they do suggest a cozy relationship between Walker and Olson that some observers may find revealing. Walker seeks Olson’s opinion regarding attending the argument, defers to Olson’s judgment, and praises Olson’s legal skills. Walker’s demeanor in the emails is that of a well-wisher who wishes to make sure Olson’s argument is not disrupted, rather than that of an impartial former jurist. It is difficult to imagine that Walker sent a similar email to the defenders of Proposition 8, seeking their opinion as to whether it would be appropriate for him to attend. Walker and Olson’s partner have not responded to requests for comment.”

Well, one can only “reveal” something if it is hidden. Walker’s bias, bordering on obsession, was apparent from the start. In an August 13, 2010 National Review article, attorney Ed Whelan, President of the Ethics and Public Policy Center, called Judge Walker’s behavior in the Proposition 8 case “The most egregious performance ever by a federal district judge.” Mr. Whelan then supplied a long list of Walker’s actions (a list which would grow after Whelan’s article was published) in support of his assertion. Walker’s behavior was so bad that even supporters of same-sex “marriage” in the legal profession had to sit up and rub their eyes to believe what they saw.

Professor of Constitutional Law Dale Carpenter, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s ruling that the defenders of marriage lack standing to bring the case:

"What Judge Walker's ruling means is you can sponsor a proposition, direct it, research it, work for it, raise $40 million for it, get it on a ballot, successfully campaign for it and then have no ability to defend it independently in court. And then a judge maybe let you be the sole defender in a full-blown trial and then says, 'by the way, you never can defend this.' It just seems very unlikely to me the higher courts will buy that.’”

Author Jonathon Rauch, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s “radical” ruling:

 “Now, I agree with Walker that gay marriage is unlikely to cause any significant social harm and will do much good. But the judge insists that the testimony of a handful of expert witnesses in his courtroom rules out the possibility of harm so definitively as to make any attempt at caution or gradualism irrational. The evidence, he holds, is ‘beyond debate.’”

Lawyer and ethicist Jack Marshall, supporter of same-sex “marriage,” on Walker’s failure to disclose he was in a long-term same-sex relationship:

"Reluctantly, I have to agree that his disclosure, a year after his ruling, that he was in a committed relationship with a man when he was ruling on Proposition 8 alters that conclusion. Weeks ago, former federal district judge Vaughn Walker, who ruled last summer in Perry v. Schwarzenegger that California’s Proposition 8 is unconstitutional, publicly disclosed for the first time that he has been in a same-sex relationship for the past ten years. A straightforward application of the judicial ethics rules compels the conclusion that Walker should have recused himself from taking part in the Perry case."

Patterico, also a supporter of same-sex “marriage,” closes by writing:

“This blog post is a piece of journalism, breaking a story that should be of public interest regarding the conduct of a former jurist on a significant case. This site does not advocate an anti-gay rights agenda, and the proprietor of this web site is a supporter of gay marriage (although he disapproves of the imposition of gay marriage on society through judicial fiat)…..But the behavior of Walker, as revealed by these emails, creates the appearance of a partisan rather than an impartial former jurist who simply believes he issued a correct ruling. Walker was so invested in his ruling that he wanted to watch the appellate courts’ argument himself. He went out of his way to make sure that he consulted with the winning side to help them prevail in the appellate courts. Specifically, he sought to learn whether his attendance at the appellate arguments would be acceptable to the prevailing party — and when told it would not be, he deferred to the prevailing party’s media strategy. All of this, cumulatively, suggests an emotional investment in the outcome of the case. The emails are likely to reinforce the widely held perception among Prop. 8 supporters that Walker was less than impartial in his rulings during the trial.”

We repeat: bias, bordering on obsession.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

SF "40 Days for Life" must be doing something right

...if the San Francisco Board of Supervisors is considering some kind of "bubble ordinance" to restrict the free speech rights of  pro-lifers. How weak is their case? Get this from today's SFAppeal (closing paragraphs):

"Ronald Konopaski, an anti-abortion activist, attended today's Board of Supervisors meeting and criticized the proposal.

Konopaski said he has been in front of the Planned Parenthood facility for nearly 40 days and has not seen any problems.

'The sidewalk in front of Planned Parenthood is always peaceful,' he said. 'This is false, there's no harassment.'

But Beverly Upton, executive director of the Domestic Violence Consortium, said she has witnessed women harassed at a previous Planned Parenthood center in the city.

'It's a public safety issue,' she said."

That's it? Something happened some other time at a different location? Not much of a case.

SF Chronicle columnist Debra Saunders also weighed in today:

"So what does the ACLU think about Supe David Campos’ proposal to replace San Francisco’s 8-foot “bubble zone” around reproductive health clinics with a 25-foot buffer zone?

ACLU attorney Michael Rischer told me he’s not sure yet because he hasn’t seen it. When I called Campos’ office Monday, an aide told me that the supervisor doesn’t have a draft yet as it is awaiting review by the City Attorney’s office.

On the plus side, Rischer said, “It appears as though they are replacing an old bubble ordinance with a buffer ordinance. Those ordinances are very problematic and as a matter of policy the ACLU almost always opposes it.” The problem with the old law: 'It’s not enforceable most likely.'

Planned Parenthood’s Adrienne Verrilli had the same complaint."

Saunders then links to a video of a nice lady standing up (sitting down, actually) for life. Click on the link below to watch.

"By the way, here’s a video I found online showing one of the 'intimidating' anti-abortion activists.

The down side, from Rischer: 'Any law that restricts people’s right to speak freely in a public forum concerns us…. I don’t purport to know what the facts are here.' The ACLU supports both free-speech rights and the right of men and women to get health care and to get reproductive health care 'without suffering some sort of physical assault or intimidation.'

And: 'If it’s simply a few people out there that are causing real problems, our preference would be to address that much more narrowly.' In other words, if a few activists are misbehaving — and we’ve read about excesses in the pro-life community – let the city police clinics to prevent illegal behavior and let prosecutors go after any and all serious violators.

Besides, it’s already federal crime for anyone to injure, intimidate for interfer with women seeking reproductive health services. There’s a state law too.

And: 'When the board of supervisors, when the board of supervisors is considering this, that they will get the facts so that they can decide whether this is necessary.' I haven’t always agreed with Rischer, but we agree on this.

From what I’ve heard thus far, the folks in front of 1650 Valencia are exercising their free-speech rights. For my Tuesday column on San Francisco’s different standards on free speech, look here."

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, March 18, 2013

"Scam Cell": Will California Voters Learn From Proposition 71 Debacle?

It's been one of our mantras here at "A Shepherd's Voice": Are California voters having second thoughts yet about shelling out $3 billion + for immoral & unproven embryonic stem cell research, which has yet to show a single cure, while adult stem cells are curing people left and right?

Of course, the adult stem-cell success are now too many to list. And this week Lloyd Billingsley has an excellent article in City Journal about where all that $3 billion of taxpayers money went. There is only $859 million of the $3 billion left. and the $2.1 billion already spent has not cured a headache.

Scam Cell
California’s embryonic stem-cell research institute fails to deliver.
14 March 2013

"The California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the state’s controversial, $3 billion stem-cell research agency, has yet to follow recommendations from a December report by the Institute of Medicine, a division of the National Academy of Sciences. The report, which urged the agency to overhaul its board of directors, did not fully convey the magnitude of CIRM’s failure—but it did confirm that CIRM might be better described as Conflict of Interest Research Money. Almost all members of the CIRM board, investigators noted, “are interested parties with a personal or financial stake in the allocation of CIRM fundings.” In fact, CIRM directed a full 91 percent of its research funding to institutions with representatives on its governing board. Similarly, the CIRM board overruled the Institute’s own scientific reviewers, who twice rejected a proposal to fund a for-profit company on whose behalf CIRM founder Robert Klein had lobbied, and the board went ahead and gave the money to the company anyway. According to a Sacramento Bee report, “it was the first time in the board’s eight-year history that it approved an application twice rejected by reviewers....

Yet CIRM has been a scientific bust. It played no role in noteworthy medical-scientific advances of recent years, such as the construction of a new windpipe for a Colombian woman or the near-total restoration of sight for a man whose eyes sustained severe chemical damage in 1948. These were triumphs of adult stem-cell research. A ballpark figure for the number of life-saving cures and therapies CIRM has delivered is zero. But as a staffer said at a meeting of the Little Hoover Commission in 2009, CIRM was “getting money out the door,” as though this was a legitimate measure of success.

CIRM was always more about the money than the medicine. Klein cleverly wrote Prop. 71 to install himself as the institute’s chairman, and he freed it from almost all legislative oversight by requiring a 70 percent supermajority of both houses to make any structural or policy changes...”

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Pray the Novena for Marriage!

On March 26, the Supreme Court will begin to hear oral arguments on the Proposition 8 case, and on March 27 on the DOMA case. As we have said before, we are confident that when the Proposition 8 case gets before an adult court, Judge Walker's absurd ruling (and the Ninth Circuit's upholding) will be overturned. But it never hurts to pray!

Our friend Bill May, President of Catholics for the Common Good, invites all of us to join in praying this Novena for Marriage

Heavenly Father, you established marriage as a communion of life and love uniting men and women with each other and any children born from their union. Today, when the meaning of marriage is so misunderstood, and when forces seek to alter the very definition of marriage, we unite our prayers and sacrifices with those of the whole Mystical Body of Christ for the protection of marriage and family. 

Imploring the intercession of Our Lady of Guadalupe, we beg you to protect the most innocent among us, our children, from the horrific effects of the breakdown of marriage and an impoverished understanding of love and family.

Send your Holy Spirit to the attorneys presenting the case for marriage. Help them witness the truth about marriage as an integral part of Your plan for creation in ways the Justices can hear and recognize.

Open the minds and hearts of the Justices of the United States Supreme Court that they perceive the importance of marriage from the perspective of the child. Inspire them to deliberate with wisdom and prudence. 

Grant the plaintiffs peace through understanding that our love of marriage is not based on animosity, and help them to see the consequences of their actions for humanity and the common good. 

Give us the grace to reflect Your love for them despite our differences. Allow us to be instruments of your holy will with our prayers, actions, and love. Raise up vibrant Christian families and bless and protect all those who seek to evangelize culture for marriage and family.

We ask these things in Jesus’ Name. Amen. 

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy 91st Birthday, Fr. Malloy!

As all readers of this blog know, Fr. Malloy has been having kind of a tough time these past few months. 

He's quite lucid and retains his sense of humor, but now he tires very easily. It is amazing to see: he knows exactly what is happening and is prepared for anything. What a blessing and example he continues to be to we who are his sons and daughters in Christ!

Well, today he turned 91 years old, God Bless him! About a dozen of us came to visit. He wanted an ice cream cake, and that is what Katie brought him (green, for St. Patrick's Day). He enjoyed it, too, and of course he enjoyed having us around as well.  But what really made him happy (aside from Fr. Nick bringing Holy Communion, of course) was when Janet and John brought his dog Zack! Fr. Malloy loves animals, all animals, and he had really missed Zack. It's hard to tell which of the two is happier!

Happy Birthday, Fr. John!

Posted by Gibbs, your son in Christ.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Pope Francis!!!!

The Holy Spirit be with you, Holy Father!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

He's now the world's most famous seagull

He (or she) was perched on the Sistine Chapel chimney acouple minutes ago...
Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Monday, March 11, 2013

Fr. Malloy Update

Fr. Malloy sends his thanks for all your prayers. He is hanging tough with all the fluid he is retaining as a result of his chronic congestive heart failure. He has had many visitors! Tonight, in his hospital room, he was sitting up in bed and eating his dinner, and talking a little with Eva, Dolores, and Lisa, his daughters in Christ from the Walk for Life West Coast. And our wonderful shepherd, Archbishop Salvatore Cordileone, stopped by for a pastoral visit on Saturday.

Keep Fr. John in your prayers!

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Jesuits Dominate "Modernity vs. Catholicism" Course

The March 3 issue of Catholic San Francisco included an interview by reporter Rick DelVecchio with the Jesuit Fr. Paul Crowley. The subject was a spring quarter course Crowley is heading at Stanford University called “Vatican II: Catholicism Meets Modernity.” The article begins:

“Catholics’ contentiousness over Vatican II reflects not merely factionalism but a crisis of meaning at the heart of the church, said Jesuit Father Paul Crowley, Jesuit Community Professor of Religious Studies at Santa Clara University and a visiting professor at Stanford.

‘Vatican II in the last 30 years has become the issue that, for various reasons, seems to be dividing the church into various factions, and it strikes me that the real issue is not Vatican II per se but something deeper than that, something that Vatican II addresses, which is ecclesiology,’ Father Crowley said in an interview with Catholic San Francisco. ‘It’s really the very nature of the church and how we arrive at consensus as a church.’”

Fr. Crowley did not specify who constituted the “factions” to which he referred and Mr. Del Vecchio did not ask. That’s too bad, because the half hath not been told, and readers of an Archdiocesan newspaper deserve more. An quick glance at the course presenters reveals that a more accurate title would have been Modernity vs. Catholicism. While the presenters give a clear enough idea of what is meant by “modernity” and certainly represent the modern “faction,” there is simply no Catholic faction to be found. A brief description of the first six presenters:

The April 1 presenter is Jesuit Fr. Stephen Schloesser, an Associate Professor in History at (Jesuit) Loyola University of Chicago. His subject is Against Forgetting: Memory, History, and Vatican II. In 2004, as Massachusetts was debating the legalization of counterfeit marriage, Fr. Schloesser sent a lengthy letter to Massachusetts state Senator Marian Walsh. An excerpt, from the website Queering the Church: “It seems helpful to me to recall what traditional marriage is: it is a community’s legal arrangement in order to pass on property. In it, a male acquires (in the sense of owning and having sovereignty over) a female for the sake of reproducing other males who will then inherit property.”  (See Footnote 1).

The April 8 presenter is Fr. Mark Francis who served as Superior General of the international Viatorian Community of brothers and, from 2000-2012. Before that, he was Professor of Liturgy at the Catholic Theological Union in Chicago. His subject will be Reforming the Church through the Liturgy: The Constitution on the Sacred Liturgy. In a 2007 article in The Tablet, Fr. Francis wrote about Pope Benedict XVI’s support of the Extraordinary Form Mass in the "Summorum Pontificum." From Fr. Francis’ article: “In short, ‘Summorum Pontificum’ weakens the unity of the Church by failing to support the foundational insights of the Second Vatican Council.” He also asserts that the (ex) Holy Father “is not a trained liturgist.” Fr. Francis is currently Visiting Scholar at the Ignatian Center for Jesuit Education at Santa Clara.

The April 15 presenter is Professor Gary Macy, Professor of Theology at Santa Clara University and chair of the Religious Studies Department. His subject will be The Reconsideration of Orders by Vatican II. Professor Macy is a prolific writer on “the reconsideration of orders”: he is the author of “The Hidden History of Women’s Ordination”, co-author of “Women Deacons: Past Present, and Future”; and co-author of “A History of Women and Ordination.”

One of the April 22 presenters is Catherine Murphy, Associate Professor in Religious Studies at Santa Clara. Her subject will be Unexpected and Obvious: The Dei Verbum Doorway and What Lies Beyond. On March 26, 2006 Professor Murphy joined Fr. Cameron Ayers, SJ, and Professor Vincent Pizzuto at the “Alienated Catholics” forum at San Francisco’s St. Agnes Church. In her presentation, Murphy described herself as “…a Catholic lesbian Scripture scholar struggling with a faith tradition that grounds my hope and a church that poisons it.” Since the forum, Ayers has left the Catholic Church, while Pizzuto was ordained a priest in the Celtic Christian Church, and elevated to the Chair of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. As noted, The “Catholic lesbian scripture scholar” Murphy serves as Associate Professor of Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) Santa Clara University.

The April 29 presenter is the ex-Jesuit Paul Lakeland, Professor of Catholic Studies and founding Director of the Center for Catholic Studies at (Jesuit) Fairfield University. His subject is The Rediscovery of the Laity: Overcoming Baptismal Amnesia. In 2009, Lakeland was a public supporter of Connecticut’s Senate Bill 1089 which would have wrested control of parishes away from the Bishops. Anthony Picarello, General Counsel of the U.S. Conference of Bishops described SB 1089 as “blatantly unconstitutional” and said that it “targets the Catholic Church explicitly and exclusively, and attempts to use the civil law to alter Church governance.” At the time Catholic News Agency reported “The premise of the bill is remarkably similar to the 2009-2010 Voice of the Faithful Strategic Plan.” According to the VOTF website, Lakeland is on its board of advisors. In 2012, Lakeland told The Daily Beast that the U.S. Catholic Bishops position in defense of marriage is “… an argument that’s based more on fear or repugnance.”

The May 6 presenter is Professor Jerome Baggett. His subject is In the Wake of Vatican II: Institutional and Cultural Dilemmas among American Catholics. Baggett is best known for his book Sense of the Faithful: How American Catholics Live Their Faith, a survey of Bay Area parishes, including San Francisco’s Most Holy Redeemer. In a striking example of Modernity vs. Catholicism, Bagget’s survey not only found that 93% of MHR’s parishioners thought that one could be a good Catholic while committing homosexual acts (not surprising) but also that 34% thought one could be a good Catholic without believing in the real presence; and 28% without believing that Jesus Christ rose from the dead. Professor Baggett is Professor of Religion and Society at the Jesuit School of Theology of Santa Clara University, located in Berkeley.

Course head Fr. Crowley himself carries more baggage than need be enumerated here. One example : on June 9, 2011 at the 66th Annual Convention of the Catholic Theological Society of America, he served as moderator for the session “When the Saints Come Marching Out: Same-Gender Relationships as an Embodiment of Christian Holiness.” That session was convened by the already-mentioned Reverend Vincent Pizzuto, Chair of Theology and Religious Studies at the (Jesuit) University of San Francisco. The presenters were Pizzuto and the ex-Jesuit priest James Nickoloff, College of the Holy Cross. In a 2009 lecture at the (Jesuit ) Santa Clara University, Nickoloff opened by saying “In the interest of ‘full disclosure,’ let me make it clear that I write as a professional Catholic systematic theologian who is also a self-affirming gay man and legally married in Massachusetts.”

It will be noted that five of the six presenters (and Fr. Crowley himself) are professors at Jesuit Universities. The sixth, Fr. Francis, is currently a visiting scholar at a Jesuit University.

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney

Footnote 1) In his 2006 essay called 'Beyond the Land O’ Lakes: Catholic Modernity and Jesuit Hybrids', Fr. Schloesser gives the game away: “An institution in the Jesuit tradition ought to be the place that reverences culture.” But “culture” does not exist in the abstract—particular cultures do. 

Fortunately, in the same essay, Fr. Schloesser does become more specific. He writes: “The crucial problem that I see for Catholic higher education is this: on the one hand, the institutional Church has almost entirely staked its identity on gender and sexual reproduction issues; on the other hand, for mainstream contemporary culture (at least in Western Europe and North America), these same issues of gender and sexual reproduction are the way the future’s moving — in exactly the opposite way the Church represents them.”

If, for the sake of argument, we accept Fr. Schloesser’s analysis of what the Church has “staked its identity” on, it becomes obvious that the Church cannot reverence “contemporary culture.” Further, if “an institution in the Jesuit tradition” does reverence “contemporary culture” it has, as Fr. Schloesser himself says, moved “in exactly the opposite way” from the Church.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Most Holy Redeemer Parishioners Force Removal of Picture of Pope-Emeritus Benedict

From Fr. Brian Costello's pastor's message in the Most Holy Redeemer parish bulletin of March 3, 2013: 

“Two weeks ago, after Pope Benedict XVI had announced to the world that he would be resigning the office of Peter as of February 28th, I put the Pope’s picture, that usually hangs in the rectory, in the church. A handful of people told me that they would rather it not be there. They explained that the feeling was while he was Pope, as well as his time as a Cardinal, Pope Benedict had made hurtful and hateful statements regarding the LGBT Community and thus, his picture should not be placed on the altar of MHR. I was also warned, many parishioners would walk out of Sunday Mass if the picture was not removed. I spoke with a close priest friend of mine, and even though both of us were saddened by this, the wisest course, I felt, was to remove the Pope’s picture.”

Who would have thought that parishioners in a Roman Catholic church would demand the removal of a picture of the Supreme Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church? Well, we pretty much did, and back in 2007, we told you so.

Fr. Costello may not have realized it, but by putting a picture of the pope in Most Holy Redeemer Church, he was committing an inadvertent act of blasphemy. On August 28, 2007 we reviewed Fr. Donal Godfrey, SJ’s just-released book Gays and Grays: The Story of the Inclusion of the Gay Community at Most Holy Redeemer Catholic Parish. We wrote that Fr. Godfrey’s book “…shows that the authentic community-forming experience at Most Holy Redeemer Parish in San Francisco is not Catholicism, but homosexuality. Existentially, Most Holy Redeemer is not a Catholic parish. It is not a Christian parish. It is a gay parish.” We then provided evidence for this assertion. We documented where and when celebrations of homosexuality were promoted, despite being in obvious conflict with Church teaching. Further, we documented instances where the larger Church had opposed the celebration of homosexuality, and was met with direct opposition by MHR parishioners and staff.

Because the real lived religion at MHR is the celebration of homosexuality, things or persons that support this celebration will be experienced as orthodox; conversely, things or persons that assert Catholic teaching when it conflicts with the celebration of homosexuality will be experienced as blasphemous. Observe MHR’s variety of ecumenism. Like all religions, the religion at MHR is quite willing to practice ecumenism when there is nothing vital to its identity at stake. As long as that's the case, MHR is perfectly happy to accommodate other denominations.

Note the endless parade of non-Catholic and anti-Catholic speakers at Most Holy Redeemer (a situation which appears to have improved under Fr. Costello). Whatever their denomination, what they have in common is the celebration of homosexuality. Such speakers include Fr. Godfrey himself; the Reverend Vincent Pizzuto, who left the Catholic Church to be ordained in a church that performs same-sex “weddings”; Episcopal Bishop Otis Charles, who “married” another man; open lesbian Episcopal Reverend Jane Spahr who celebrates same-sex “marriages”; same-sex “married” Episcopal Reverend John Kirkely; Ora Prochovnick, past president of San Francisco’s Reform Jewish “LGBTQ” Congregation Sha’ar Zahav; the Reverend Jeff Bart, from the homosexual-founded Metropolitan Community Church--the list could be extended, but we will stop here. That practically none of the speakers are Catholic is negatively significant: it just shows that Catholicism is not the formative identity at MHR. It also shows that for MHR, one's sectarian affiliation is irrelevant--what matters is one's attitude towards the celebration of homosexuality. That is the issue on which compromises will not be made, where differences will not be tolerated, because that is the real lived religion, not Catholicism.

Because the celebration of homosexuality is the real religion, activities that would be considered blasphemous and sacrilegious in a Catholic church are not experienced as such at MHR. Note the hosting (now apparently discontinued) over a period of years of the anti-Catholic Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, or of the actually sado-masochistic groups Golden Gate Guards, Inter-Club Fund, Defenders, Exiles and others at MHR’s parish’s hall. Such activity would obviously be considered blasphemous and sacrilegious at a Catholic parish. But as we wrote in 2007: “…such events will not be experienced by the parishioners as blasphemous, because they validate the community-forming experience…” And we noted, and provided examples of, the inevitable corollary: “Indeed, at this point, what will be experienced by the parishioners as blasphemous is that which denies the value of the community-forming experience…”

All of which brings us to Fr. Costello and the picture of Pope Emeritus Benedict. The Pope, the successor to St. Peter, the Vicar of Christ on earth, who holds the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. The Holy Father, who authoritatively proclaims the teaching of the Church, and whose concern is our salvation. But one of those teachings is that homosexual acts are sinful, and, as the Catechism of the Catholic Church says: “In no way can they be condoned.” Fr. Costello wanted to put Benedict’s picture on the altar, in thanksgiving for a lifetime of work in the Church. Given the religion at MHR, as we have described it above, is it any wonder the parishioners refused to allow it?

Posted by Gibbons J. Cooney