Richard Chonak: January 2004 Archives

What does he want: IVF interruptus?

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On one hand, this ruling means that more "leftover" embryos in in-vitro cases will be snuffed. On the other hand, if it could help people recognize that IVF is a bad thing in the first place, it isn't a total loss.

Donum Vitae says:

The transmission of human life is entrusted by nature to a personal and conscious act and as such is subject to the all-holy laws of God: immutable and inviolable laws which must be recognized and observed. For this reason one cannot use means and follow methods which could be licit in the transmission of the life of plants and animals."
So, buddy, as long as you don't put any embryos on deposit at the IVF bank, you can be sure your ex-wife isn't going to surprise you by taking 'em out.

We've come a long way

1983: This year, breaking celibacy was quite understandable.

TV's popular romantic lead was Richard Chamberlain in The Thorn Birds, portraying a fictional Australian priest who had an affair with a married woman. Catholics protested because ABC aired the miniseries during Holy Week, and progressive opinion pish-tushed us.

2004: This year, breaking celibacy is an actionable tort.

Archdiocese pays hefty settlement to adult children whom priest fathered in illicit relationship. Any chance we could file a counterclaim against ABC and Colleen McCullough? A responsible novelist would have made the priest an obvious villain who gets sued in the end.

[Thanks, Dom.]

Hooray for St. Thomas!

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Why, yes; my confirmation name is Aquinas, so it is my name day! Oh, thank you! Oh, you shouldn't have!

Controversy for St. Pio?


Padre Pio was the subject of some suspicion and controversy during his lifetime, and I guess it's not too surprising that there's still some occasional fuss related to him.

In 1970, Vera Calandra and her family founded the Padre Pio Centre near Reading, PA, to promote the canonization of the saintly friar who had miraculously healed her daughter in 1968. For years the Centre was the official representative of his canonization cause in the U.S., authorized by Padre Pio's Capuchin order to raise funds and distribute literature. Now that the canonization has been accomplished, it seems to make sense that the Centre could continue its work of promoting devotion to St. Pio, spreading his spirituality, and eventually develop into a shrine for those purposes, ideally with the participation of Capuchins.

That's where the catch comes in: the Padre Pio Centre remains under the direction of the Calandra family. The Diocese wants to control it; the family says their mortgage obligations won't let them turn it over; and the two sides have never reached an agreement. The Capuchins are understandably standing back from the project until the bishop and the family work it out.

Now Bp. Edward Cullen of Allentown has said Merry Christmas to the Centre by ordering them to stop the two Masses per week that he had previously allowed at the site's chapel.

Here's a local news story found in Google's cache:

Mass stopped at Padre Pio site

By Megan Wolf

[Boyerstown Area] Times Staff

The National Center for Padre Pio in Barto may no longer hold Mass, and Center officials want it back.

Effective January 1, the Rev. Edward P. Cullen, D.D., Bishop of Allentown, has directed that enrollment in the Padre Pio Association of Poor Souls be discontinued.

According to the Diocese of Allentown, a letter dated Dec. 17 was written to the officials of the Padre Pio Center, where Bishop Cullen stated the decision to withdraw permission for Mass and Sacraments was due to the Center's failure to conform to canonical mandates.

"There has never been a specific allegation of impropriety. Never," said Julie Calandra-Lineberg, vice president of the center.

In a prepared statement, the Diocese of Allentown said, "The Bishop's letter said the mandates have been repeatedly explained in meetings and correspondence between the Diocese and Center officials over the last five years."

"The Bishop has withdrawn permission for Mass and the celebration of the sacraments at the Centre, which is not a shrine and has never been recognized as such by the Catholic Church," the statement from the Diocese read.

"The former Bishop Welsh officially blessed the center and welcomed it into the Diocese, in 1991. Now, Bishop Cullen is forming a new board to give the Bishop complete control of the Center, which is a civil organization. It cannot be done, and he was told that repeatedly," she said. "We have been absolutely courteous. We cannot do that which is not legal."

The Association of Poor Souls, begun in 1992, allowed for donations to be made for members to be remembered in a Mass.

Now, the Pontifical Society for the Propagation of the Faith will assume the responsibility to fulfill the spiritual benefits to enrolled members.

New members will not be accepted.

The Center held Mass twice a month and on the first Saturday.

Officials at the Center said they hope to hold Mass in the future.

According to Calandra-Lineberg, the Bishop has 30 days to answer the Center's appeal, which is Feb. 1.

"Perhaps he should reconsider. The Bishop's directive was incorrect," she said.

In other news, the center is planning an expansion project, which will add a 22,000-square-foot museum.

The three-story museum will house a cultural education center, dedicated to the life of Padre Pio, who was canonized into sainthood in 2002.

The construction began in August and is slated to be complete by this summer.

I have to figure that the Church has resolved similar property disputes in the past, and can do so again, without resorting to the interdicts and excommunications that the U.S. bishops used in the 19th-century controversy over "lay trusteeship".

[Via Amy.]

Anglican-use Mass video being produced

This came in the mail from San Antonio's Fr. Christopher Phillips:

Many of those who have purchased a copy of The Book of Divine Worship have indicated an interest in having a video of the celebration of the Mass using the liturgy of the Anglican Use. Work has begun on the production of a DVD, and you may see a trailer of the upcoming video by going to this site:

By voting unanimously for the Born-Alive Infants Protection Act in July '03, they affirmed an important pro-life principle, that, in the words of Prof. Hadley Arkes,

the child marked for an abortion, but born alive, has a claim to the protection of the law, and that claim cannot pivot on the question of whether anyone wanted her.
Read Prof. Arkes' NR comment explaining the Act and the bizarre Federal court decision it overturned: one which denied a 20-day-old born child the right to life.

Let's talk about Rex, baby

Paul Rex writes a sensible weblog with a silly name, so it's a perfect fit for

The language manipulators are there, even at the Vatican:

A phrase in section 3 of the new apostolic letter on the liturgy says:

in French: la communauté des hommes,
in Italian: la comunità degli uomini,
in Portuguese: a comunidade dos homens,
in Spanish: la comunidad de los hombres,
in English: the whole community of men and women

Cardinal Arinze, would you kindly call your office?

Remember to pray for Fr. Groeschel

The news from the Friars is being updated most days at their web site.

Beliefnet has a page about religious board games. Can anyone recommend others?

Celebrate good times, come on!


The Reverend romance-novelist Andrew Greeley cites some studies on the attitudes of priests and tells us good news -- well, at least from our point of view:

My most recent analysis, based on survey data that I and others have gathered periodically since Vatican II, reveals a striking trend: a generation of conservative young priests is on the rise in the U.S. Church.
Now, the "I and others" in that sentence may be a little stretch: the only data he takes from his own organization's polling are 34 years old, so they reflect the "then" part of the comparison, not the "now". Young priests are decidedly different from those of 1970:
These are newly ordained men who seem in many ways intent on restoring the pre-Vatican II Church, and who, reversing the classic generational roles, define themselves in direct opposition to the liberal priests who came of age in the 1960s and 1970s.
The key, perhaps the motivating, issues of the divide are in the understanding of sex:
The divisions created by Vatican II are not new, of course. Caught up in the reform euphoria that followed the council, the lower clergy and the laity almost immediately developed a new ideology based on respect for women and for the freedom (including the sexual freedom) of the laity. On these matters, quietly or loudly, the laity and the lower clergy did resist the teachings of the Church.
The ideology of sexual liberation manifests itself in the usual hot-button issues:
The 2002 Los Angeles Times study reveals that priests of the Vatican II generation overwhelmingly support the idea that priests should be allowed to marry. In the study 80 percent of priests aged forty-six to sixty-five were in favor.... Only about half the priests under thirty-five, however, supported the idea.

The study revealed a clear divide, too, on the ordination of women. Sixty percent of priests aged fifty-six to sixty-five, and at least half of those aged forty-six to seventy-five, supported the idea, but only 36 percent of priests under forty-six did.

...[Y]ounger priests are more than twice as likely as priests aged fifty-five to sixty-five to think that birth control and masturbation are always wrong, and they are significantly more likely to think that homosexual sex and premarital sex are always wrong.

But -- and Fr. Greeley is surprised by this - in spite of the older generations' enlightened liberal views on sex, they don't seem to respect women as well as younger priests do.
And younger priests seem to have a higher general regard for women than older priests do—an attitude demonstrated most clearly in the 1994 Los Angeles Times study, in responses to questions about support for official condemnation of sexism and for better ministry to women, and concern for the situation of nuns. This attitude, which is in line with the views of the laity, explains some of the clergy's resistance to the Church's teachings on sexuality.
I suspect Father's assumption here -- aligning regard for women with moral dissent -- is off-base: he doesn't mention the influence on young priests of Pope John Paul's "theology of the body", which brings together a high regard for women and a stronger adherence to the Church's teachings on sexuality.

Ah, what will we do with these young priests? They even believe that old stuff about an ontological character imprinted by the sacrament:

[Dean] Hoge reports that half the newly ordained priests he encountered believe that a priest is fundamentally different from a layperson—that he is literally a man apart.
Good Heavens, they might even have some elan.

For Greeley, the conflict is all about power, now held by a generation of "moderate men", but soon to be ceded to those unrealistic reactionaries trying to turn back the clock to 1961: those young priests engaged in a "Restoration" -- he writes as if describing a bunch of monarchists (not that there's anything wrong with that, mind you).

The power is slipping away from Greeley's generation, the precious, precious power. We only wants it a little longer.

Pretty in pink


The Summa Mamas have relocated to new pink digs at welcome, gals!

Get over there, folks, and tell SpecialK what name she should give the baby!

Prayers for Fr. Groeschel

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Please pray for Fr. Groeschel's recovery: he was reportedly injured in an auto accident Sunday night (January 11). Dom has a little more detail.
Update (1/14/04): A letter at the friars' site has further information.

Mere Criminality

RC in DC

By the way, I'm in Washington this weekend to attend an ordination service Saturday morning at the Shrine. Three fine religious brothers, including Matthew Palkowski, OFM Cap, are to be made deacons.

Episcopal spine alert!

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Bishop Raymond Burke of La Crosse, WI -- soon to be the archbishop of St. Louis -- has decreed that pro-abortion politicians are not to be given Holy Communion.

Thank you, Bishop Burke, for "speaking truth to power": advocating legalized abortion is indeed a "manifestly grave sin".

I'll ask canonist Pete Vere to comment on legal aspects of this action.

Thanks to buddy John Griffin for sending the article.

Steve, you're gonna love this.

Fr. David Hudgins of East Lansing tells us why he has the best job in the world.

Catholic radio in your car

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Sirius Satellite Radio has announced that they've added two channels of EWTN Radio (in English and Spanish) to their line-up.

Admittedly, not everything on the Sirius schedule is family-friendly: they have a raunchy comedy channel (and are about to add a family-oriented one). And some of the talk on the talk channels isn't quite right, e.g., the gay-oriented channel.

But today Sirius is doing a Good Thing. Good doggie!


The stage show !Hero, written by Christian pop performer Ed DeGarmo, toured 20 cities in November, and plans another round this year. Christianity Today comments.

GoodForm SquareBlog

No, that's not quite right. Anyway, we've got some new neighbors.

Before Brian Finkel was convicted of 22 counts of molesting patients, he was a "pro-choice hero" who did 20,000 abortions and was proud of it:

Brian Finkel, a Phoenix, Arizona abortionist, told the Phoenix New Times in 1999: "This is my abortion machine, where I do the Lord’s work. I heal the sick with it.... Got a Tech 9 [machine pistol]. Every gynecologist needs a Tech 9, so I could have more rounds, ’cause they’re bringing me more Christians. There’s a Smith and Wesson .40 and a few rifles, for crowd control, down at the [abortuary]." He and his wife Diane aborted their first child, whom they later referred to as "Ernie the Embryo." Bruce Miller of Arizona Right to Choose has nevertheless extolled Finkel as "an unrecognized hero in our community" who hasn’t "gotten the accolades I think he should get."
I wonder what his fellow prisoners will think of him for the next 34 years.

Symptoms of 'affluenza'

This is puzzling: is it worse to be wasteful by throwing one's fridge out the window, or is it a sign of detachment from material goods? Heads up!

What? Who?

On life and living in communion with the Catholic Church.

Richard Chonak

John Schultz

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of recent entries written by Richard Chonak in January 2004.

Richard Chonak: December 2003 is the previous archive.

Richard Chonak: February 2004 is the next archive.

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