Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Arms, Staffs and Pulpiteers

Here, in their first public airing, are the arms of the tenth archbishop of New York.

In keeping with tradition, a wood carving of Tim Dolan's heraldic achievement will be fixed to the of the cathedra of St Patrick's before Installation Eve.

Like most of the American bishops -- his Gotham predecessor included -- Dolan entrusted the work to Paul J. Sullivan, a permanent deacon of the diocese of Providence. Here below, the explanation of the shield, courtesy of the reverend heraldist:
By heraldic tradition the arms of the bishop, who is the “first among equals” of an ecclesiastical province, called a “Metropolitan Archbishop,” are joined, impaled, with the arms of his jurisdiction. In this case, these are the arms of the Archdiocese of New York.

These arms are composed of a silver (white) field on which is displayed a red saltair; a charge that resembles the letter “X.” This heraldic arrangement is known as a “Cross of Saint Patrick,” and by its use honor is paid to the titular patron of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral, in New York City, the cathedral-church of the Archdiocese. Upon the saltair is a silver (white) mill-sail (a wind mill), which is also seen in the seal of The City, to reflect the Dutch heritage of its founders and that the city was originally known as “New Amsterdam.” Within the areas of the field created by the saltair are seen four small red crosses, for The Gospels, emblematic of The Church’s mission to bring The Good News to those entrusted to its care.

For his personal arms, His Excellency, Archbishop Dolan continues to use the design that was adopted upon his selection to receive the fullness of Christ’s Priesthood, as a bishop, when he was appointed, ordained and installed as Auxiliary Bishop of Saint Louis and which he used during his tenure as Archbishop of Milwaukee

The Archbishop’s design is composed of a blue field on which is seen a silver (white) fess, a bar across the center of the design which is about one-third of the design. At the center of the fess is a red crown, taken from the arms of the Archdiocese of Saint Louis, the Archbishop’s home, and which he first served in Episcopal ministry. The crown is placed between two scrolls, that are described as “Proper,” or “as they appear in nature.” These scrolls are to honor His Excellency’s Baptismal patron, Saint Timothy, who was the recipient of two of Saint Paul’s Epistles.

Above the fess are two crescents; one silver (white) and one gold (yellow), and one below which is also gold. The silver crescent honors our Blessed Mother, in her title of the Immaculate Conception, patroness of the United States and the charge is taken from the arms of the Pontifical North American College, in Rome, where Archbishop Dolan studies for the priesthood and later served for seven years as Rector. The other two crescents, of gold, are taken from the Dolan family arms and honor His Excellency parents.

For his motto, Archbishop Dolan continues to use the Latin phrase, “AD QUEM IBIMUS.” By the use of these words taken from Saint John’s Gospel (John 6:68), His Excellency, Archbishop Dolan takes the words of Saint Peter as was said to Jesus, “Lord, TO WHOM SHALL WE GO.,” for truly The Lord is the way to all and eternal happiness.
Of course, that green galero is universally expected to turn to red in time... with an elector under age 80 already in town, however, don't be surprised if it takes a while longer than usual.

For the record, the last four Big Apple archbishops -- Spellman, Cooke, O'Connor and Egan -- were each elevated to the College of Cardinals at the first consistory to occur after they took office.

* * *
To close out your briefing from today's briefing, it emerged that -- in keeping with his historian's leanings -- Dolan will use at least two treasures of the New York vaults for the installation rites: one crozier belonging to Archbishop Michael Corrigan (1885-1902) and another belonging to the "Cardinal of Charity" Patrick Hayes (1919-38). Additionally, according to the planners, a pectoral cross first worn by John Hughes (1842-64) -- the city's first archbishop and visionary behind the "new" St Patrick's in Midtown -- is being sought out for #10's use over the days.

On Thursday, his 77th birthday, #9 -- i.e. Cardinal Edward Egan -- will hold a retrospective edition of his weekly "Conversation" with Sirius XM Radio's The Catholic Channel.

In a change from the usual, the program will air live from 3-4 Eastern and come not from the home-studio set up for Egan at 452 Madison, but the all-glass "Fishbowl" at the provider's studios down the street. Then, after a week's break following the installation, Dolan takes the weekly chat's reins on the 23rd... and Rob Astorino's in for the ride of his life.

The archdiocese's radio venture will have the catbird's seat for the installation itself, broadcasting from just behind the cathedral's high altar during the Mass.

And lastly, just like the Yankees' Cantor, the reader at Tuesday's Vespers service comes at the Man of the Hour's special invite: his second-grade teacher, Mercy Sr Bosco Daly, is making the trip from her native Ireland to do the honors.

On a 2007 visit to her former student in Milwaukee, Dolan interviewed Daly for his TV show during Catholic Schools Week.

Paul J. Sullivan(1)


Bye-Bye, Beer City

Keeping with the wall-to-wall of the Big One, at his ecclesial farewell on Sunday Tim Dolan said he was "leaving [his] heart" in Milwaukee.

Earlier today, Brewers' Nation returned the compliment as Irish pipers and dancers, politicians and a standing-room crowd of just folks turned out in the rotunda of City Hall to give the archbishop-elect of New York a "fond and boisterous" civil sendoff:
"I'm the one who thanks you," said Dolan, who has led the Milwaukee Archdiocese since 2002.

"You have my love, my prayers, my gratitude, not only for this occasion, but for the happy years among you."

The event, organized by Milwaukee Ald. Robert Donovan, featured a parade of city and county officials bestowing proclamations on Dolan and touting his leadership, friendship, and his support for Catholic schools, social justice and anti-violence programs.

"Your concern for the broader community transcended denominational boundaries  . . . as you worked to bring peace, justice and healing to all," Common Council President Willie Hines told Dolan.

Milwaukee County Sheriff David A. Clarke Jr., who attends Dolan's parish at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist, called him a friend and role model.

"You've been a spiritual adviser, and that's what I'll miss," said Clarke, adding he still expects the archbishop to call him every Easter and Christmas from New York, as he's done in Milwaukee.

Dolan said he would - "But it'll be collect."

Donovan presented the archbishop with a Brewers jersey - with "Dolan" and the number "1" on the back - and an I (heart) New York button, encouraging him to wear them if he had to attend a Mets or Yankees game. He also gave him a New York Police Benevolent Association card, given to him, he said, by a New York police officer, calling it "a get out of jail free" card.

In his thanks, Dolan exhibited the characteristic good humor that has endeared him to many in Milwaukee.

He said his meetings with Donovan were usually in the alderman's district office - at Derry's Pub on W. Blue Mound Road.

He spoke of Clarke's piety as he sat in the front pew at the Cathedral, "his head down in undistracted prayer - when the collection plate came by."
With the New York media well past chomping at the bit for all they can get of the Pope's "GODSEND!" to the city, it was announced earlier today that Dolan will hold a midmorning presser on Installation Day, 15 April.

Set to "hit the ground running" after his canonical possession of the nation's second-largest diocese, details of a very full public schedule for the tenth archbishop's first few weeks were promised by 1011 as they're finalized.

Atop the agenda, however, are a Holocaust memorial service at a Lutheran church on the 20th (where he'll preach) along with an interfaith seder at the Anti-Defamation League on the 22nd and, so it's said, several sit-downs with the priests of the archdiocese at St Joseph's Seminary, Dunwoodie... with barbecue, to boot.

Three weeks in, Dolan will ordain his first New York priests on 9 May -- three for the archdiocese, three for the Bronx-based Franciscan Friars of the Renewal.

* * *
On a related note, it's seemingly become common knowledge around town that, though he's yet to arrive full-time, the Appointed One has already jumped into his new pool with both feet.

Jumped in, that is, with his fingers on the dial.

Early on after the move was announced, Dolan -- long known for surprising everyone from priests' parents to grieving families, sick pewfolk, rabbis and reporters with check-in calls or visits -- reportedly requested phone-lists for the New York clergy, birthdates and ordination anniversaries included.

Among those said to have quickly heard from the incoming boss: his "brothers under a cloud."

Another Gothamite who got rung up was a proud piper -- an Irish layman who wrote the new archbishop just to say congrats, not thinking much else of it.

While at the city's St. Patrick's Day Parade, the guy saw a number he didn't recognize calling his mobile phone and, being amid the Fifth Avenue chaos, ignored it.

Only on hearing his voicemail did he realize that, at least for now, 414 is code for 452.

PHOTO: Benny Sleu/Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel


A Welcome Fit For a Tim

Today's word from Gotham: goodbye, Metropolitan Diva...

...and hello, Irish Tenor....

No joke, that: at Archbishop Timothy Dolan's request, the Cantor of Yankee Stadium Ronan Tynan will perform at the Appointed One's 15 April installation Mass in St Patrick's Cathedral.

Best known for his post-9/11 renditions of "God Bless America" during the 7th Inning Stretch at the (now-shuttered) House that Ruth Built, the South Bronx fan favorite will sing "Ave Maria" at the liturgy's offertory and "Panis Angelicus" post-Communion. Yet unlike the unforgettable 2000 performance turned in by Renee Fleming -- who performed Mozart's Exultate, Iubilate at the invite of then-Archbishop Edward Egan on his installation day -- Tynan will make his contributions from the cathedral's choir loft, shoehorned in alongside 125 choir members and a score of instrumentalists.

The announcement at this morning's pre-handover press briefing at 1011 headlined a raft of ritual, personal and historical touches in store for the two-day rites that'll see the 59 year-old Midwesterner fulfill what's long been foreseen as his destiny by taking up American Catholicism's most storied post.

The tenth archbishop of the "Capital of the World" has also specially requested the singing of the Te Deum -- the church's traditional hymn of thanksgiving -- in its easily-joinable English arrangement:

Given the Easter Wednesday timing, most of the rest of the music will be stock Resurrection-centric hymns... suffice it to say, though, the feeling 'round the Big Apple church these days just gives the context a double meaning.

What's more, an Irish blessing will be sung at the 14 April Vespers service, and two different settings of the Ecce Sacerdos Magnus are on-deck for the twin liturgies.

One hitch, however, remains: the Gotham brass are still figuring out how to make the new arrival's traditional three knocks on the cathedral's Great Bronze Doors emit a sound.

"We've tried everything," longtime archdiocesan spokesman Joe Zwilling said.

For the record, achieving the effect was considerably easier at Dolan's 2002 installation in Milwaukee -- the wooden doors to the Cathedral of St John the Evangelist yielded a memorable echo as the archbishop-elect slammed his fists against 'em.

Earlier this morning, a civic sendoff was given Dolan at Milwaukee City Hall.

Lots to type, so more soon... yet for the meanwhile, another winning raft of shots from Sam Lucero of the Green Bay Compass-News, who chronicled Sunday's final farewell liturgy in Brewerville... miles-long reception line included:


A Visit for the Legion

Good morning from Timmytown and the rollout of plans for the Main Event.

More on that soon... but in the meantime, it's emerged that Pope Benedict has ordered an Apostolic Visitation of the Legionaries of Christ.

The move was communicated to the community's superior-general, Fr Alvaro Corcuera del Rio, in a 10 March decree signed by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, SDB, the Vatican Secretary of State. In the letter, Bertone said that the inquest will be carried out by an unnamed "team of prelates."

The Decree was released earlier today by the Legion on its website and first reported by Catholic News Service.

Following recent revelations of fiscal and moral misconduct by the Legion's late founder, Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, a visitation of the community or re-examination of its charism has been called for by several leading clerics worldwide.

A favorite of Pope John Paul II, Maciel was ordered by the Holy See to live a restricted life of prayer and penance in 2006 following a years-long investigation into allegations that the founder sexually abused Legion seminarians.

More to come... as always, stay tuned.

SVILUPPO: From the Decree...
In this holy season of Lent, a time of grace and salvation, I am pleased to remember that many people benefit from the works of education and apostolate which the Legionaries of Christ carry out in various parts of the world, moved by your desire to establish Christ’s Kingdom according to the demands of justice and charity, among intellectuals, professional people and those engaged in teaching and social action.

Since this mission is of fundamental importance and is worth devoting oneself to with broadmindedness and an unsullied heart. I wish to let you as General Director know that in these delicate moments His Holiness Benedict XVI renews his solidarity with and prayers for the Legionaries of Christ, the members of Regnum Christi and those who are spiritually close to you.

The Holy Father is aware of the noble ideals that inspire you and the fortitude and prayerful spirit with which you are facing the current vicissitudes, and he encourages you to continue seeking the good of the Church and society by means of your own distinctive initiatives and institutions. In this regard, you can always count on the help of the Holy See, so that with truth and transparency, in a climate of fraternal and constructive dialogue, you will overcome the present difficulties. In this respect, the Holy Father has decided to carry out an Apostolic Visitation to the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ through a team of Prelates.
...and the response of the LC Superior:
I have thanked the Holy Father from my heart for offering us this additional help to face our present vicissitudes related to the grave facts in our father founder’s life that already were the object of the investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which were concluded in May of 2006, and those which have come to light more recently. We are deeply saddened and sorry, and we sincerely ask for forgiveness from God and from those who have been hurt through this.

Full of confidence in divine Providence and in our Mother the Church, guardian of the authentic good of her children, we are now preparing to receive the Apostolic Visitors who, over the next months, will visit us to familiarize themselves closely with the life and apostolate of the Legion of Christ.

Let us reaffirm our commitment, and lift up our prayers to God that he will grant us the grace to continue to seek the holiness to which He is calling us, and that we will be able to bring to its fullness the charism He has entrusted to us. May the Blessed Virgin Mary accompany us and lead us to love every day more her Son Jesus Christ.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Exit Interview

With "90%" of his stuff already shipped off en route to 452 Madison, Archbishop Tim Dolan celebrated his final farewell Mass yesterday in Milwaukee before presiding over one last Holy Week in Beer City and an Easter Monday departure for New York, where his installation begins the following night.

Along the way, the Appointed One -- "apprehensive" about, but already immersed in, the work ahead in the Big Apple -- gave his most extensive interview since the move was announced, appearing on Brewerland TV yesterday morning for a half-hour (fullvideo), during which he held forth about the church's failures of teaching and witness, evaluated his seven-year stint at the helm of the 850,000-member Milwaukee church and, indeed, ventured a comment on Notre Dame's commencement invitation to President Obama, which he termed a "big mistake."

"When a President dramatically disagrees with the teaching of the church on a non-negotiable issue, we've gotta be careful about giving him a public platform," Dolan said.

"There's a lot of things that President Obama does that we can find ourselves allied with and working with him on -- and we have profound respect for him, and are praying with him and for him," he added, "but on an issue that is very close to the heart of Catholic worldview -- namely, the protection of innocent life in the womb -- he has, unfortunately, taken a position that is very much at odds with the church, and to give him a platform and to honor him, I believe, sends a mixed message."

During a congratulatory call to the archbishop on the afternoon of 23 February, hours after Dolan formally received Pope Benedict's nod to head the nation's second-largest diocese, the appointee invited Obama to St Patrick's Cathedral for his 15 April installation liturgy, according to multiple reports.

While the invite's status hasn't come up since, the presence of a Commander-in-Chief -- and a Democrat, at that -- wouldn't be without precedent: President Lyndon Johnson attended the 1968 enthronement of then-Archbishop Terence Cooke, and President Bill Clinton took the cathedral's first pew for the 2000 funeral of John Cardinal O'Connor, with the Democratic and Republican nominees vying to succeed him sitting just behind.

Details of the logistics for the two-day rites will be given to members of the media at a 1011 briefing tomorrow morning.

As always, stay tuned for full coverage of the session, and everything else still to come over the next 15 Days... God knows it'll be like nothing we've seen in a long time.

PHOTO: Gregory A. Shemitz/3VPhoto


Saturday, March 28, 2009

Quote of the Day

"It is just as deadly to try to forego either of the two guides of the Spirit. When the interior testimony is neglected, we easily fall into legalism and authoritarianism; when the exterior, apostolic testimony is neglected, we fall into subjectivism and fanaticism....

"When everything is reduced to just the personal, private listening to the Spirit, the path is opened to a unstoppable process of division and subdivision, because everyone believe they are right. And the very division and multiplication of denominations and sects, often contrasting each other in their essential points, demonstrates that the same Spirit of truth in speaking cannot be in all, because otherwise he would be contradicting himself....

"We should recogonize however that there is also the opposite risk: that of making the external and public testimony of the Spirit absolute, ignoring the internal testimony that works through the conscience enlightened by grace. In other words, it is the risk of reducing the guidance of the Paraclete to only the official magisterium of the Church, thus impoverishing the variegated action of the Holy Spirit.

"In this case, the human element, organizational and institutional, can easily prevail. The passivity of the body is fostered and the doors are opened to the marginalization of the laity and the excessive clericalization of the Church.

"Even in this case, as always, we should rediscover the whole, the synthesis, that is truly 'catholic.' It is the ideal of a healthy harmony between listening to what the Spirit says to me, as an individual, and what he says to the Church as a whole and through the Church to individuals."
--Raniero Cantalamessa OFM Cap.
Preacher of the Papal Household
Lenten Reflection
27 March 2009


Friday, March 27, 2009

From Houston to South Bend, "Charitable But Vigorous Critique"

In the highest-ranking response yet to Notre Dame's choice of President Obama as its commencement speaker, the junior American cardinal -- in a rare public call-out -- "venture[d] a comment" on the dispute with a statement released this afternoon in which he termed the invite "very disappointing."

In his bi-weekly "Shepherd's Message" -- most of it dedicated to Pope Benedict's recent letter on the SSPX de-excommunications and the importance of charity in ecclesial disputes -- Cardinal Daniel DiNardo of Galveston-Houston published the following at the column's close:
In light of what I wrote above, I want to venture a comment on the recently released statement of the University of Notre Dame; that statement noted that the President has accepted an invitation to give the Commencement Address this year as well as receive an Honorary Law degree. The news release then outlines the fact that a number of other Presidents have given the Commencement Address at Notre Dame and have highlighted, in effect, the university's importance. I find the invitation very disappointing. 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 concepetion 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. 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 the Office of the President, this offer is still providing a platform and an award to a public figure who has been candid on his pro-abortion views. Particularly troubling 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.
First run in today's Texas Catholic Herald, as of press time the column had yet to appear in its usual spot on the website of the Galveston-Houston archdiocese and the paper's webpage; the above was transcripted from a print copy of the TCH obtained by Whispers.

The first-ever cardinal of the American South, DiNardo becomes chair of the US bishops' pro-life efforts in November for a three-year term.

SVILUPPO: The fulltext of DiNardo's "Message" has been posted on the TCH website.


Beneath the Dome, the Storm Continues

A week after the White House and Notre Dame announced President Obama's selection as the latter's commencement speaker, the firestorm of reaction just keeps plugging along.

With the petition protesting the choice now pushing 200,000 signatures, three bishops have now publicly panned the President's pilgrimage to South Bend; after the local ordinary, Bishop John D'Arcy, announced his boycott of the 17 May commencement on Tuesday, yesterday Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix released what had been a private note to the university president, Holy Cross Father John Jenkins.

The Phoenix prelate's original e.mail had "Saddened by your tragic decision" as its subject line; fulltext below (emphases original):
Dear Fr. Jenkins,

I am saddened and heavy of heart about your decision to invite President Obama to speak at Notre Dame University and even to receive an honorary degree.

It is a public act of disobedience to the Bishops of the United States. Our USCCB June 2004 Statement “Catholics in Political Life” states: “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.” No one could not know of the public stands and actions of the president on key issues opposed to the most vulnerable human beings.

John Paul II said, “Above, all the common outcry, which is justly made on behalf of human rights — for example, the right to health, to home, to work, to family, to culture — is false and illusory if the right to life, the most basic and fundamental right and the condition for all other personal rights, is not defended with the maximum determination.”

I pray that you come to see the grave mistake of your decision, and the way that it undercuts the Church’s proclamation of the Gospel of Life in our day.
Olmsted is just one of several US bishops understood to have quietly communicated their dissatisfaction to Jenkins over recent days.

And this morning, Bishop Gregory Aymond of Austin released a statement of his own in the diocese's weekly bulletin:
As was announced recently, the University of Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., is presenting President Barack Obama with an honorary degree and have asked him to give the commencement address.

I, along with many other Catholics, express great disappointment and sadness that a Catholic university would honor someone who is pro-choice and who holds many values contrary to our Catholic belief.

In the midst of such a sad situation, as Catholics we must continue to be pro-life and to proclaim with even greater strength the values of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic Church.

In my opinion, it is very clear that in this case the University of Notre Dame does not live up to its Catholic identity in giving this award and their leadership needs our prayerful support.
Meanwhile, reaction is running split among the university's core constituencies of students and alums....

Bob Reish, the student body president and a graduating senior, said there is a "general excitement" about Obama's visit, although he is aware there are people on both sides of the issue.

As of 2 p.m. Thursday, The Observer, the student newspaper, had received 612 letters about Obama's appearance — 313 from alumni and 299 from current students.

Seventy percent of the alumni letters opposed having Obama giving the speech, while 73 percent of student letters supported his appearance. Among the 95 seniors who wrote letters, 97 percent supported the president's invitation.

A university spokesman reiterated to the wire that South Bend has no plans to rescind the invitation.

SVILUPPO: Speaking of the reaction received by the university's student-run paper, the Observer ran the following lead editorial in today's edition:

The Observer's inbox has been inundated with letters in response to the University's invitation to the President of the United States to be the principal speaker at this year's Commencement exercises.

These letters range from expressions of utter outrage and disbelief to mild acceptance, from sheer joy to indifference. Their authors - angered alumni, American Catholics not associated with the University and students - are contributing their viewpoints to a conversation that has - in many respects - reduced itself to a circus.

Of the 612 Letters to the Editor The Observer has received as of 2 p.m. Thursday, 313 have been authored by alumni. Of those letters, 30 percent are supportive of the University's decision to invite the president and 70 percent are against.

And while more alumni have written to The Observer than students, their voice must not be lost. In fact, of the 282 letters authored by students, the breakdown is a bit different: 73 percent of students who have written Letters to the Editor are supportive of the Obama selection, while 27 percent are against it.

Looking at the senior class' response, the sentiment is even more extreme: 97 percent of seniors are supportive, 3 percent are not.

There is a clear disconnect between alumni and the student body as a whole on this issue.

This is the seniors' graduation, their last memories of Notre Dame as a student. Protestors would do well to remember this. Make your views known; healthy debate is welcomed. Photographs of aborted fetuses are not.

The fact remains: President Barack Obama will be the 2009 Commencement speaker at the University of Notre Dame, following a long-standing tradition to invite the president to speak.

University President Fr. John Jenkins has described the president's decision to come to Notre Dame as an "honor;" likewise, the White House released a statement that Obama is equally "honored" to come to campus and address the graduating class. Neither groups have indicated that plans will change.

Yet the debate rages on, and with legitimate reason. According to official University statements, the invitation of the president is not an endorsement of his views pertaining to the protection of life.

However, the question arises: Is it possible to pick and choose what to honor?

There is no such thing as a perfect speaker; all are controversial on some level, regardless of their affiliation to political party or to religion. Take, for example, President George W. Bush, the last sitting president to speak at a University Commencement. A member of the Republican Party, his stance on the death penalty sparked protests in May 2001 when he was on campus.

As it was in 2001, it remains in 2009: there is a difference between tolerance and acceptance.

The University has said it does not accept the president's views on the protection of life, but it will listen to him, it will respect him, and it will challenge him in the future.

In doing so, the Notre Dame community is in a unique position to have the ear of the president for one afternoon.

University President Emeritus Fr. Theodore Hesburgh, without a doubt one of the most influential American Catholics, a man who has fought tirelessly for civil rights in this country and to transform the University into a respected institution of higher learning, said this Friday speaking to a group of alumni, parents and friends of Notre Dame:

"No speaker who has ever come to Notre Dame has changed the University. We are who we are. But, quite often, the very fact of being here has changed the speaker."

We must continue that tradition, and show the president, and the world, what Notre Dame is; we will welcome challenges, but retain our character and retain our class in engaging with those who might disagree with us in debate. And we will give the class of 2009 the best possible send off to bring Notre Dame with them when they leave campus in May.


Bench: Conscience Rights = Human Rights

Fresh off the Mothership wire: comments from the US bishops' domestic-policy czar, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre, equating the Obama administration's intended rollback of conscience protection provisions for healthcare providers with a rollback of human rights.

Implemented after the November elections, the rules were a "midnight gift" from the Bush administration to its pro-life base.
Taking back the regulations “raises a real issue, because the statutes are intended to protect human rights – rights of conscience and rights of freedom of religion,” Bishop Murphy said. “So why should everyone be concerned about this? Because if one person's rights can be compromised, everybody's rights can be compromised.”

Bishop Murphy called it a fallacy that any government gives rights.

“There's a real problem in that kind of thinking” said Bishop Murphy. “The government did not give us rights and the government is acting wrongly if it attempts to try to regulate rights in the sense of compromising anyone's rights. All the government can do is foster and guarantee and defend rights. Otherwise it's a false government.”

Bishop Murphy also noted that it is important for lay people to be informed about conscience protection and recognize the need to make their voices heard.

“The bishops by themselves cannot do it,” said Bishop Murphy. “The lay men and women of our churches, of our parishes and dioceses across the country have to be the voices of the Catholic Church today. Their voice is stronger than ours in many instances because they are the constituents, because they vote and because the politicians know they need the votes to be re-elected.”
The comments were originally made in an extended interview Murphy gave Tuesday to CNS.

The conscience protection push has garnered heavy investment from the bench's top ranks, including a video message from the Chief, Chicago's Cardinal Francis George:


Out of Dialogue, Conversion

It went fairly low on the radar over recent days, but New Mexico has become the second American state to outlaw the death penalty after a bill banning capital punishment was signed into law last week by Gov. Bill Richardson.

A Catholic, pro-choice Democrat, the lame-duck chief -- who withdrew as President Obama's nominee to head the Commerce Department due to a Federal grand jury's investigation of his own administration at home -- wrestled with the decision and initially leaned toward a veto... yet at the end of what he called "a long personal journey" on the issue that included a visit to death row (and attending Mass just beforehand), it was the state's bishops who sold Richardson on approving the measure.

From St Louis, the intrepid Patricia Rice tells the story:

Over the years, the New Mexico House and Senate had passed a similar repeal, but they never both passed a bill the same year. And Gov. Bill Richardson was opposed.

"A repeal bill never had reached the governor's desk," said Allen Sanchez, executive director of the New Mexico Conference of Catholic Bishops and president of St. Joseph Community Health.

This winter, when Richardson was named to be secretary of Commerce, anti-death penalty advocates rejoiced. If he moved to a cabinet post, Lt. Gov. Denise Demish would become governor. She said she would sign the bill. That hope crumbled when Richardson withdrew because of an investigation of his administration.

In the midst of their disappointment, New Mexico repeal supporters pushed on, especially the Native Americans and Catholics.

"Bishop (Ricardo) Ramirez and I sat down first week of the legislative session and saw the possibility that we might get the repeal vote," Sanchez said. Ramirez is bishop of the Diocese of Las Cruces, N.M.

One of the more dramatic sessions came when relatives of murder victims testified for the repeal.

"Many victim families don't want further violence, don't want the death penalty," Ansheles said. Before she founded the coalition, her great-aunt had been murdered, and she didn't want the violence continued.

Other important testimony came from men who had languished for years on death row in several states before being exonerated.

"The exonerates who came from other states really helped," Viki Elkey, executive director of the New Mexico Coalition to Repeal the Death Penalty said. "They shared their stories of wrongful convictions showing that our criminal justice system is flawed."

When it appeared the bill might pass, the governor, who is a Catholic, asked for a dinner meeting with Santa Fe Archbishop Michael Sheehan, who invited Bishop Ramirez.

"After he met with the bishops, the governor said he would not try to influence the legislature, and if the bill got to his desk he would seriously discern the issue," Sanchez said.

The bill did pass. Under New Mexico law, a bill dies unless the governor signs it within 72 hours.

"He really wrestled with signing it," the Repeal Coalition's Elkey said. The governor was told, for instance, that in the past 20 years The Innocence Project has identified 234 imprisoned individuals exonerated nationally because of DNA testing.

"It weighed heavily on him that there is no going back, if the state executes an innocent man," Elkey said.

Two days before Richardson's deadline, Bishop William F. Murphy of Rockville Centre, N.Y., and chairman of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops' Domestic Justice and Human Development Committee, wrote Richardson saying the legislation "would help begin building a culture of life in our country."

The next day, Richardson visited the death chamber and death row in Santa Fe. He also saw the small cells where convicts who get life in prison with no parole are held.

"He saw that life in prison in that small cell could be worse that the death chamber," Elkey said. "Of course, if evidence eventually shows that they are innocent, the life sentence is reversible."

When Richardson returned to his office, he invited Ramirez and Sanchez to discuss moral and safety issues. Richardson talked to them about various points including his concern that prison guards and police would be less safe if murderers couldn't be executed, Sanchez said. They told him that police and prison guards are killed with the death penalty sentence available so it does not seem to be a deterrent. They also told him that if New Mexico repealed the death penalty he no longer would have to worry that an innocent man's blood would be on his hands, Sanchez said.

"You can get an innocent person out of prison but not out of the grave," Sanchez said. When the bishop and the conference director left the governor's office, the governor sent his staff away to decide alone.

Richardson signed HB 285 into law at 6 p.m., six hours before it would have died.

With the capital on tenterhooks awaiting Richardson's decision, Santa Fe observers reportedly knew the bill would be signed as soon as the governor entered his outer office with Ramirez at his side.

The 72 year-old prelate -- a Basilian Father who's served in Las Cruces since 1982 -- sat alongside Richardson as he signed the measure.


Thursday, March 26, 2009

The Great Gate of Gotham

In its last edition before Holy Week, today's Catholic New York pays a parting tribute to Gotham's ninth archbishop, featuring a 12-page supplement commemorating Cardinal Edward Egan's nine years in American Catholicism's hottest seat.

With farewell ads and praises from his aides, friends and public officials dotting the special section, the sign-off of the first Big Apple ordinary to leave office in life finds its high point in Egan's own exit letter -- "A 'Thank You'" -- its fulltext as follows....
Nine years ago, His Holiness, Pope John Paul II appointed me Archbishop of New York to serve what I knew to be a most extraordinary community of faith. For in the late 1980s I had been an Auxiliary Bishop to His Eminence, John Cardinal O'Connor, and his vicar for Education as well. Thus, I was able right at the outset to work out in my mind and heart what I prayerfully hoped might be accomplished during my tenure as shepherd of the People of God in the Boroughs of Manhattan, the Bronx and Staten Island, and the Counties of Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Rockland, Orange, Sullivan and Ulster.

Now that our Holy Father, Pope Benedict XVI, has accepted the resignation that I submitted to him two years ago in accordance with the norms of Canon Law, I look back over these nine wonderful years and prayerfully thank the Lord that my hopes have been fulfilled beyond all that I might have expected. Nor do I fail to understand why this is so. For as Archbishop of New York, I have been singularly blessed to work with and for the most gifted, supportive and generous men, women and children in all the world. As I step down, I wish to put in writing at least a brief word about them in our Archdiocesan newspaper, so that they might know how deep is my gratitude and how genuine is my affection in their regard.

On numerous occasions over the last nine years and at each celebration of our Bicentennial Anniversary in the 19 Vicariates of the Archdiocese, I have declared with pleasure that, in my judgment, the priests of our Archdiocese are the best in the nation, They are wise and disciplined men of God who willingly sacrifice themselves for the people whom they serve, and thus they have never ceased to be a source of both encouragement and pride for the Archbishop whom they so warmly received into their ranks nine years ago. To each of them, my sincere and heartfelt thanks.

Before my installation as Archbishop of New York in 2000, I had read several studies and reports about the excellence of the preparation of our permanent deacons and the magnificent service that they render to the Lord and His people. My experience with them in our parishes and institutions of charity, education and healthcare has confirmed all of this on countless occasions. How often I have asked at various Masses, celebrations and parish visitations: "What in the world would do we without the extraordinary blessing of our deacons!"

In the Archdiocese of New York, women and men in consecrated life enjoy an altogether unique place in the hearts of both the clergy and the laity. They have created and sustained numerous schools, hospitals, nursing homes, colleges, universities and charitable works with professional skill and manifest holiness. Over and again during my years as their Archbishop, I have asked myself if I have told them often enough how much I appreciate what they do and admire what they are.

A diocese, and an archdiocese as well, is first and foremost a community of men and women who embrace the Gospel, are made holy by the Sacraments and devotions of the Church, and do the works of justice and compassion in union with a successor of the Apostles. The largest component of that community is, of course, the laity, who in our Archdiocese are marvelously loyal, understanding and generous, as all of Greater New York saw them to be over the last nine years especially by their participation in our Bicentennial Celebration and Campaign, during the historic visit of the Holy Father to New York last April and throughout the years in which we realigned our parishes and schools. Never will I forget their incredible goodness.

We often hear and read that there is no community in the world as diverse as that in which the Archdiocese of New York lives and does its work. I have no doubt that this is true and hasten to add that it has been a singular blessing for all of the Catholic faithful. The various ethnic groups and the various religious denominations, whether Christian or Jewish, Muslim, Hindu or Buddhist, have all honored us by being our fast friends and enthusiastic collaborators in countless noble undertakings. There is no limit to the gratitude I feel toward them, and I know that the same is true of my fellow Catholics in every corner of the Archdiocese.

All of the men and women of faith and goodness mentioned above have made it possible for the Archdiocese of New York to grow and thrive in its many and varied institutions, agencies and programs. I would like to single out just a few.

Our parishes are spiritual families of faith, hope and love that have never ceased to amaze me as I visited them and prayed with them as their Archbishop. Somehow I believe that they know how deep are my esteem and affection for them. They are–and I have repeated this over and over during the last nine years–the true "center" of the Archdiocese. If they have grown stronger and closer to our Divine Lord and Savior during my tenure, nothing could make me happier.

All who know me realize how enthusiastic and uncompromising is my commitment to Catholic education on all levels. Our elementary schools, our high schools and the many institutions of Catholic higher learning that serve our community of faith have always been "the apple of my eye." They provide the best in academic training and the finest in spiritual formation to their students, and for this I shall never cease to praise and support them in any and every way that I can.

As Vicar for Education many years ago, I had the opportunity and pleasure of coming to know the excellence of our Archdiocesan Catechetical Office. Because of it, the faith is taught accurately and completely to thousands of children, youth and adults in our parishes; and its curricula, catechist formation and professional preparation for directors and coordinators of religious education are in the estimate of many, and certainly in mine, unmatched across the land. What a gift that office is for all of us in Christ!

The Archdiocese of New York counts among its most splendid achievements the extraordinary works of the over 90 agencies of Catholic Charities and numerous programs of charity in our parishes. Our elected officials and community leaders regularly and in one voice insist that they could not imagine the three Boroughs of the City of New York and the seven "Upper Counties" that we serve moving ahead as they should without the benefit of the talented and loving care of all associated with our Archdiocesan charities. Gladly do I join them in their respect and esteem.

Care for the aged, the physically impaired and the sick has always been a hallmark of the Archdiocese. Our hospitals, nursing homes and neighborhood clinics are praised and prized in every sector of the community. A plan has been developed and set in motion to make them ever more effective and ever more clearly a reflection of the Son of God Made Man who loved to comfort and cure all who came to Him afflicted in mind or body.

The Archdiocesan system for preparing young men for the priesthood includes St. Joseph's Seminary and St. John Neumann Residence and Hall in Yonkers and the "Cathedral Prep" Program in several of our Catholic high schools. The professors–priests, religious and laity–are among the most highly considered in North America; and the support staff is similarly outstanding. It is a most deeply appreciated gift from the Lord that this year we may have begun to "turn the corner" as regards priestly vocations. There were 15 young men studying for New York in our preparatory seminary, St. John Neumann Residence and Hall, last year: and there are 27 this year. There could be no more welcome news for me and my successor. For both of us have served on seminary faculties, and both pray daily and earnestly for more "laborers in the vineyard of the Lord."

All of our parishes and other Archdiocesan institutions depend greatly upon the guidance and counsel of the administrative offices of the Archdiocese to deal with such matters as finance, insurance, pensions, real estate, law and development. In my opinion, these offices are remarkable by any standard. Thanks to them, the Archdiocese is free of debt, fiscally secure, properly structured and looking forward into a bright future. I will miss working with the immensely effective staffs of these offices over the years that lie ahead.

There is much more that I could and should say. However, I fear I may have already worn out my welcome in the pages of this highly respected and growing Archdiocesan publication. Permit me to conclude by simply assuring the People of God of the Archdiocese of New York that I will never celebrate a Mass without mentioning them by name to the Lord. To have served as their bishop has been an honor and privilege beyond anything I might have ever imagined.
The cardinal marks his 77th birthday on Thursday.
* * *
With the next edition of the nation's second-largest Catholic publication set to welcome Archbishop Timothy Dolan to the Stateside church's most prominent post, today's CNY likewise provides an advance peek at the twin rites that, with the the world watching, will see the tenth archbishop take possession of the 2.5 million-member archdiocese on 14-15 April.

While the larger, better-known event will come with the 2pm installation Mass on Easter Wednesday, in reality the Appointed One formally takes the reins the night before at a Vespers with the act of canonical possession beginning at 7pm.

The beginning of the evening service will feature what'll likely be the money-shot photo of the week: a new archbishop standing dwarfed before the cathedral's Great Bronze Doors (above), banging away to herald his arrival... just this time, with a mallet.
More than 5,000 invited guests are expected to attend the rites on the two days.

Archbishop Pietro Sambi, the papal nuncio to the United States–who will read the letter of appointment from Pope Benedict XVI–will participate in both ceremonies, along with Cardinal Egan.

An expected 150 American cardinals, archbishops and bishops also will participate, along with the auxiliary bishops and priests of the archdiocese.

Those attending will include parishioners from every parish in the archdiocese, with two people per parish invited to each event. Also invited are representatives of the religious congregations serving in the archdiocese, employees of the archdiocese, and guests of Archbishop Dolan.

National, state and local political leaders have been invited, as have ecumenical and interfaith figures.

Prayers of petition will be read at each of the liturgies by representatives of the various ethnic groups in the archdiocese, with six petitions each day in a total of 12 languages.

The guests also are invited to receptions at Cathedral High School in Manhattan following each day's liturgy.

The April 14 vespers service, also known as the Rite of Canonical Possession, will open with a 6:30 p.m. procession of banners representing the 19 vicariates of the archdiocese, which will be placed behind the altar area.

Following the banners there will be a procession from the altar area to the main doors of the cathedral, which will be closed. Church officials, including the visiting cardinals and archbishops, will proceed to the doors, accompanied by Auxiliary Bishop Dennis J. Sullivan, vicar general.

Archbishop Dolan, accompanied by Cardinal Egan, will have proceeded outside the cathedral along the 51st Street terrace. When he arrives at the front doors, he will knock and the doors will be opened.

Archbishop Sambi will then present Archbishop Dolan to Cardinal Egan, who will welcome the new archbishop on behalf of the people of the archdiocese. Bishop Sullivan will then present Archbishop Dolan with a crucifix, and Msgr. Robert T. Ritchie, rector of the cathedral, will present him with holy water with which to bless himself and those in the rear of the cathedral.

When the procession returns to the sanctuary, Archbishop Sambi will read the letter of appointment after which Msgr. William J. Belford, archdiocesan chancellor, will show it to the archdiocesan board of consultors. Archbishop Dolan will then be led to the archbishop's chair, the cathedra.

The solemn vespers, which is sung evening prayer, will follow, including a homily by Archbishop Dolan.

At the April 15 Mass of Installation, a procession will begin at 1:30 p.m. with representatives of various groups, ministries and organizations of the archdiocese, as well as bishops, archbishops and cardinals. Cardinal Egan and Archbishop Dolan will be at the end of the procession.

As the procession enters the sanctuary, Archbishop Sambi, the papal nuncio, will go to the cathedra, with Archbishop Dolan sitting across from him in the sanctuary.

Archbishop Sambi will again read the letter of appointment from the pope and, as in the prior day's ceremony, Msgr. Belford will show it to the board of consultors. He will then notarize it, in an official installation proceeding.

Archbishop Dolan will then be led to the cathedra, where he will be greeted by New York's auxiliary bishops, the bishops of New York State, bishops who head other dioceses, and representatives of the clergy, religious and 20 ethnic communities of the archdiocese, as well as by representatives of other Christian faiths and of non-Christian faiths.

The Mass will follow, with a homily by Archbishop Dolan.
Speaking of repeating things, even though we don't know whose crozier he's yet chosen to use for the festivities, the Man of the Hour would be well-advised to re-run the unique gesture of acceptance (right) first made at his 2002 enthronement in Milwaukee.

Note to Gotham papers: there's your A1 shot for Thursday.

The staff of governance used that day belonged to Archbishop Frederick Xavier Katzer, who led the Beer City church from 1891 to 1903.

A historian of the American church by training, Tim Dolan's expected to employ the treasures of the New York vaults during the two days... and don't be surprised if the choices offer a key early indicator or two of which predecessor(s) he'd like to imitate.

Oh, and lest anyone be curious, a Dolan installation homily could well sound something like this.

PHOTOS: Todd Heisler/The New York Times(1); Sam Lucero/Green Bay Compass-News(3,4)



After yesterday's videotape release in Washington featuring Archbishop Raymond Burke quickly made its way 'round the chattering circles before hitting the wires, this morning the prefect of the Apostolic Signatura issued the following statement:
ROME, Italy - In response to the March 25, 2009 press conference of Mr. Randall Terry in Washington, D.C., the Most Reverend Raymond L. Burke, Archbishop Emeritus of Saint Louis and Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, issued the following statement:
“Recently, Mr. Randall Terry and some of his associates visited me in Rome and asked to videotape an interview with me to share with pro-life workers for the purpose of their encouragement. The interview was conducted on March 2, 2009.

“Sadly, Mr. Terry has used the videotape for another purpose which I find most objectionable.

“First, Mr. Terry issued a media advisory which gave the impression that I would be physically present at the press conference during which he played the videotape, when, in fact, I was in Rome.

“Second, I was never informed that the videotape would become part of a press conference.

“Third, I gave the interview as a Bishop from the United States to encourage those engaged in the respect life apostolate, not as the Prefect of the Supreme Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura.

“Fourth, I was never informed that the videotape would be used as part of a campaign of severe criticism of certain fellow bishops regarding the application of Canon 915 of the Code of Canon Law.

“If I had known what the true purpose of the interview was, I would never have agreed to participate in it.

“I am deeply sorry for the confusion and hurt which the wrong use of the videotape has caused to anyone, particularly, to my brother bishops.”

(Most Rev.) Raymond L. Burke

March 26, 2009
Speaking of Randall Terry's conduct, however, America's Michael Sean Winters attended yesterday morning's rollout of the Burke interview at DC's National Press Club, from which he reported thus:
The interview took place while Terry and others met with Vatican officials urging them to remove Washington D.C. Archbishop Donald Wuerl and Arlington Bishop Paul Loverde for their failure to deny Holy Communion to politicians because of their political stands on abortion laws.

Mr. Terry, who was introduced at the press conference as "a great warrior for life," boasted that the Vatican officials were sympathetic to his pleas. He had a copy of the document that was presented to the officials, including Archbishop Burke, which explicitly calls for the removal of Archbishop Wuerl and Bishop Loverde.... During the press conference, Terry repeatedly called them "treacherous." During the interview, Terry specifically asked Archbishop Burke about "the bishops who stepped up such as in Washington, D.C. Virginia, others…Massachusetts…[and] said that we will serve communion." Burke did not endorse Terry’s call for the bishops’ removal but neither did he say anything in their defense. It was the Vatican equivalent of throwing them under the bus.

In the course of a Q-and-A, Terry also said Boston Cardinal Sean O’Malley had "done a great disservice to the Church" for failing to excommunicate Sen. John Kerry. Terry did not, at first, object to Cardinal Edward Egan inviting candidate Obama to the Al Smith dinner, until it was pointed out to him that Obama did speak at the event. "That was very bad then," Terry concluded.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Burke v. US

Continuing the push for his preferred interpretation of Canon 915 -- i.e. the legal basis for the denial of the Eucharist to pro-choice politicians -- the church's "chief justice" Archbishop Raymond Burke was featured in a video shown this morning in Washington calling the text "completely clear" and urging its universal enforcement on public officials who support legalized abortion... or, as it was described in the conversation, "killing children."

Given in an interview with the longtime pro-life activist Randall Terry, the comments were advertised as "thunder" before their debut at the National Press Club... and now, the transcript's posted so you can judge for yourself.

Having received Burke's blessings for "what you are doing to advance the cause of life," Terry recorded the interview in early March while on a visit to Rome, during which he met with Vatican officials to call for for the removal of Stateside bishops who don't refuse Communion to public officials whose platforms conflict with church teaching, including the longtime leader of the no-ban school -- Archbishop Donald Wuerl of Washington -- who seemingly had something to say about the criticism in his column for last week's archdiocesan paper, the Catholic Standard.

On his first public journey home since becoming prefect of the Apostolic Signatura last summer, the former archbishop of St Louis will appear in the capital to keynote the annual National Catholic Prayer Breakfast.

The conservative-leaning event will take place on 8 May, three days after the installation of Burke's friend and protege, Bishop Salvatore Cordileone, in Oakland. Supreme Court Associate Justice Antonin Scalia will likewise appear at the morning nosh as a guest speaker.

In other Burke-notes, the Wisconsin-born prelate recently termed the nomination of Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius as secretary of Health and Human Services as "the source of the greatest embarrassment because she has publicly and repeatedly betrayed her Catholic faith."

A pro-choice Catholic, the Democratic gov's confirmation hearing remains unscheduled. Last year, she was publicly called upon to refrain from the Eucharist by her ordinary, Archbishop Joseph Naumann of Kansas City.


Foul Ball

With Spring Training wending through its final leg -- and not soon enough -- Baseball Season is close at hand... and the World Champions are ready and waiting to do it again.

Well, they better be.

But that aside, churchfolk in the Motor City are up in arms over the league's decision to schedule the Detroit Tigers' home opener on Good Friday afternoon:
Bill Ferris hasn't always been in church from noon to 3 p.m. on Good Friday, but he's always found a quiet place for reflection, and he's refrained from eating meat on the most somber day in the Christian calendar.

It'll be harder this year.

A devoted Tigers fan, Ferris, 34, of Troy won't miss Opening Day at Comerica Park -- even though it's on Good Friday.

"I can get around the meat thing," said Ferris, a member of St. Anastasia Catholic Church in Troy.

"I'll just stick to peanuts and popcorn because I don't think there are too many seafood options at the stadium. But I'm not sure I can find a quiet place on the concourse at Comerica."

But for some Catholics and other Christians in southeast Michigan, the Detroit Tigers’ home opener this year will be off-limits. The 1:05 p.m. game against the Texas Rangers is on April 10 — Good Friday and one of the holiest days on the Christian calendar.

That’s the day for somber reflection, personal sacrifice, church services that run from noon to 3 p.m. and a no-meat pledge, which doesn’t lend itself to downing a hot dog or two at the game.

While all 30 Major League teams are playing that day, only the Tigers are taking the field during the Christian holy hours. It's a schedule that keeps the weather and tradition in mind, said Tigers' spokesman Ron Colangelo.

"Major League Baseball has a monumental task of putting together the schedule for the entire season," he said. "Fans have come to know that our home opener is always a day game."...

Michael Ochab, 47, will miss his first opener in 20 years, choosing to attend services at St. Florian Catholic Church in Hamtramck, instead.

"It's sort of an insult for Catholics," he said. "I'm still hoping the Tigers will change the time."

The Rev. Ed Vilkauskas, pastor of St. Mary's Catholic Church in Greektown, hopes parishioners can make it to Good Friday services.

"On that day in particular, people will be contending with traffic and parking," he said. "It's going to directly keep people away."
On a related note, the brother of Tigers manager Jim Leyland is a popular priest in the clan's native diocese of Toledo -- Fr Tom Leyland was transferred out of his last pastorate in 2007 over the protests of parishioners.

The above shot, however, is taken from New Yankee Stadium in New York, which'll see its first Pinstripes hit the field come 3 April.

Built at a cost of $1.3 billion, the new field replaces the sport's best-known shrine... which also happened to be the site of the first papal Mass on the American continent, and two more to follow at that.

Still in the air, however, is whether Bob Sheppard -- the legendary announcer who's manned the booth since 1951 -- will be able to appear. A daily communicant, the Voice spent the old stadium's last season recovering from an extended illness.

Sheppard will turn 99 in October.

Audrey Tiernan/Newsday


Il Vescovo Palmetto: Ordination Day in Charleston

As previously noted, today sees the end of another longstanding Stateside vacancy as Bishop-elect Robert Guglielmone is ordained and installed as the thirteenth ordinary of Charleston and head of the 183,000-member church in South Carolina.

With just 20 Days left until his own successor takes office in the Big Apple, Cardinal Edward Egan will preside over an ordination as the apostolic administrator of New York leads the first part of the midafternoon rites in the historic Cathedral of St John the Baptist; assisting the cardinal will be Guglielmone's predecessor, now Bishop Robert Baker of Birmingham, and the ordinand's now-former ordinary, Bishop William Murphy of Rockville Centre.

The former formator, rector of Long Island's cathedral and global chaplain for scouting organizations was named to the post in January, 17 months after Baker's transfer to Northern Alabama. Like most of the South, the Charleston church -- founded in 1820, one of Stateside Catholicism's eight eldest dioceses -- is experiencing significant growth thanks to migration both from the Rust Belt and Points South; still but 4% of the Palmetto State's population, today's Catholic population there has tripled since 1980, doubling over the last decade alone.

While Baker's 1999 ordination was held in a local convention center, his successor's opted to use the much smaller cathedral, first dedicated in 1854, then rebuilt in its prior form after a fire seven years later. Then again, as broadband's a good bit more prevalent than it was a decade ago, the liturgy will be webstreamed in full beginning at 2pm Eastern (1800 GMT).

Oh, and speaking of streams, on-demand video of last week's Knoxville ordination of Bishop Rick Stika is still up and running.

Suffice it to say, the Silverlight worked like a charm.

These shores'll see one more canonical possession before Easter -- next week in Alaska, Bishop Ed Burns of Juneau will be installed a month after being ordained in his native Pittsburgh.

PHOTO: Deidre C. Mays/The New Catholic Miscellany


"Truth Over Prestige"

Before all else, buona festa to one and all on this Annunciation Day -- what should be the great ecclesial celebration for the defense of human life... and, sadly, isn't.

Responding to heavy criticism of the University of Notre Dame for its choice of President Obama as this year's commencement speaker, the Dome's ordinary -- Bishop John D'Arcy of Fort Wayne-South Bend -- released the following statement yesterday announcing his boycott of the 17 May graduation:
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.
Of last word, though, as the petition protesting the Obama invite quickly passed the 100,000 signature mark, the university was holding "firm" on its plans:
"The invitation to President Obama to be our commencement speaker should not be taken as condoning or endorsing his positions on specific issues regarding the protection of human life, including abortion and embryonic stem-cell research," said Holy Cross Father John I. Jenkins, president of the University of Notre Dame.

"Yet, we see his visit as a basis for further positive engagement," he said in a March 23 statement....

"We fully expected some criticism and have received it, though nothing more than we anticipated," said Dennis K. Brown, a spokesman for Notre Dame. "I can't foresee us rescinding the invitation."

Brown told Catholic News Service March 23 that he has heard anecdotally that most students are pleased with this year's choice of Obama as the commencement speaker and feel honored the first black U.S. president would accept Notre Dame's invitation from among the many he has received.
Meanwhile, on a related note from Hoosier Country, Bishop Gerald Gettelfinger of Evansville has announced his boycott of a local pro-life dinner given the presence of Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele.

The former lieutenant governor of Maryland -- a Catholic who once spent three years in formation for the Augustinians -- raised eyebrows with an interview in GQ earlier this month where he said that abortion is "an individual choice."

Under pressure from the party's anti-abortion base, Steele later clarified the remark.


Monday, March 23, 2009

"Lion Heart" Meets "Space Egg"

Moving quickly to fill the chair in the nation's newest cathedral, the Pope has named Auxiliary Bishop Salvatore Cordileone of San Diego as bishop of Oakland.

A veteran of the Curia -- where he followed in the footsteps of his friend, Archbishop Raymond Burke, at the Apostolic Signatura, the church's highest court -- the 52 year-old prelate succeeds Archbishop Allen Vigneron of Detroit, who was returned to his hometown in early January.

An especially outspoken supporter of California's successful Proposition 8 (the state referendum banning same-sex marriage), the star canonist who came home from Rome as an auxiliary in 2002 has become a national name in church circles both for his unstinting pro-life advocacy and, even more, his support for the Tridentine Mass -- the appointee is shown at right wearing the mantelleta, the pre-Conciliar garb of a titular bishop, before celebrating a November Requiem Mass in the "extraordinary form" for a San Diego priest.

Home to 560,000 Catholics, Cordileone will be installed as Oakland's fourth bishop on 5 May at a noon liturgy in the freshly-launched Cathedral of Christ the Light. With this morning's move, the number of vacant Stateside sees falls to five, led still by the archdiocese of St Louis, where the appointment of Burke's successor is expected within days.


Sunday, March 22, 2009

A Million Prayers, A Million Farewells

Before his 47-month pontificate's largest crowd to date, a million Africans converged on a lot outside Luanda earlier today for the climactic Mass of the Pope's weeklong trip, according to local estimates.

After seven days in Cameroon and Angola, Benedict XVI departs the latter tomorrow to return to Rome.

Here below, the fulltext homily from today's liturgy....

* * *
Dear Cardinals,
Brother Bishops and Priests,
Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

"God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have eternal life" (Jn 3:16). These words fill us with joy and hope, as we await the fulfillment of God's promises! Today it is my particular joy, as the Successor of the Apostle Peter, to celebrate this Mass with you, my brothers and sisters in Christ from throughout Angola, São Tomé and Príncipe, and so many other countries. With great affection in the Lord I greet the Catholic communities from Luanda, Bengo, Cabinda, Benguela, Huambo, Huìla, Kuàndo Kubàngo, Kunène, North Kwanza, South Kwanza, North Lunda, South Lunda, Malanje, Namibe, Moxico, Uíje and Zàire.

In a special way, I greet my brother Bishops, the members of the Inter-Regional Meeting of Bishops of Southern Africa, assembled around this altar of the Lord's sacrifice. I thank the President of CEAST, Archbishop Damião Franklin, for his kind words of welcome, and, in the person of their Pastors, I greet all the faithful in the nations of Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.

Today's first reading has a particular resonance for God's people in Angola. It is a message of hope addressed to the Chosen People in the land of their Exile, a summons to return to Jerusalem to rebuild the Lord's Temple. Its vivid description of the destruction and ruin caused by war echoes the personal experience of so many people in this country amid the terrible ravages of the civil war. How true it is that war can "destroy everything of value" (cf. 2 Chr 36:19): families, whole communities, the fruit of men's labor, the hopes which guide and sustain their lives and work! This experience is all too familiar to Africa as a whole: the destructive power of civil strife, the descent into a maelstrom of hatred and revenge, the squandering of the efforts of generations of good people. When God's word -- a word meant to build up individuals, communities and the whole human family -- is neglected, and when God's law is "ridiculed, despised, laughed at" (ibid., v. 16), the result can only be destruction and injustice: the abasement of our common humanity and the betrayal of our vocation to be sons and daughters of a merciful Father, brothers and sisters of his beloved Son.

So let us draw comfort from the consoling words which we have heard in the first reading! The call to return and rebuild God's Temple has a particular meaning for each of us. Saint Paul, the two thousandth anniversary of whose birth we celebrate this year, tells us that "we are the temple of the living God" (2 Cor 6:16). God dwells, we know, in the hearts of all who put their faith in Christ, who are reborn in Baptism and are made temples of the Holy Spirit. Even now, in the unity of the Body of Christ which is the Church, God is calling us to acknowledge the power of his presence within us, to reappropriate the gift of his love and forgiveness, and to become messengers of that merciful love within our families and communities, at school and in the workplace, in every sector of social and political life.

Here in Angola, this Sunday has been set aside as a day of prayer and sacrifice for national reconciliation. The Gospel teaches us that reconciliation, true reconciliation, can only be the fruit of conversion, a change of heart, a new way of thinking. It teaches us that only the power of God's love can change our hearts and make us triumph over the power of sin and division. When we were "dead through our sins" (Eph 2:5), his love and mercy brought us reconciliation and new life in Christ. This is the heart of the Apostle Paul's teaching, and it is important for us to remind ourselves: only God's grace can create a new heart in us! Only his love can change our "hearts of stone" (cf. Ezek 11:19) and enable us to build up, rather than tear down. Only God can make all things new!

It is to preach this message of forgiveness, hope and new life in Christ that I have come to Africa. Three days ago, in Yaoundé, I had the joy of promulgating the Instrumentum Laboris for the Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, which will be devoted to the theme: The Church in Africa in Service to Reconciliation, Justice and Peace. I ask you today, in union with all our brothers and sisters throughout Africa, to pray for this intention: that every Christian on this great continent will experience the healing touch of God's merciful love, and that the Church in Africa will become "for all, through the witness borne by its sons and daughters, a place of true reconciliation" (Ecclesia in Africa, 79).

Dear friends, this is the message that the Pope is bringing to you and your children. You have received power from the Holy Spirit to be the builders of a better tomorrow for your beloved country. In Baptism you were given the Spirit in order to be heralds of God's Kingdom of truth and life, of holiness and grace, of justice, love and peace (cf. Roman Missal, Preface of Christ the King). On the day of your Baptism you received the light of Christ. Be faithful to that gift! Be confident that the Gospel can affirm, purify and ennoble the profound human values present in your native culture and traditions: your strong families, your deep religious sense, your joyful celebration of the gift of life, your appreciation of the wisdom of the elderly and the aspirations of the young. Be grateful, then, for the light of Christ! Be grateful for those who brought it, the generations of missionaries who contributed -- and continue to contribute -- so much to this country's human and spiritual development. Be grateful for the witness of so many Christian parents, teachers, catechists, priests and religious, who made personal sacrifices in order to pass this precious treasure down to you! And take up the challenge which this great legacy sets before you. Realize that the Church, in Angola and throughout Africa, is meant to be a sign before the world of that unity to which the whole human family is called, through faith in Christ the Redeemer.

The words which Jesus speaks in today's Gospel are quite striking: He tells us that God's sentence has already been pronounced upon this world (cf. Jn 3:19ff). The light has already come into the world. Yet men preferred the darkness to the light, because their deeds were evil. How much darkness there is in so many parts of our world! Tragically, the clouds of evil have also overshadowed Africa, including this beloved nation of Angola. We think of the evil of war, the murderous fruits of tribalism and ethnic rivalry, the greed which corrupts men's hearts, enslaves the poor, and robs future generations of the resources they need to create a more equitable and just society -- a society truly and authentically African in its genius and values. And what of that insidious spirit of selfishness which closes individuals in upon themselves, breaks up families, and, by supplanting the great ideals of generosity and self-sacrifice, inevitably leads to hedonism, the escape into false utopias through drug use, sexual irresponsibility, the weakening of the marriage bond and the break-up of families, and the pressure to destroy innocent human life through abortion?

Yet the word of God is a word of unbounded hope. "God loved the world so much that he gave his only Son ... so that through him, the world might be saved" (Jn 3:16-17). God does not give up on us! He continues to lift our eyes to a future of hope, and he promises us the strength to accomplish it. As Saint Paul tells us in today's second reading, God created us in Christ Jesus "to live the good life", a life of good deeds, in accordance with his will (cf. Eph 2:10). He gave us his commandments, not as a burden, but as a source of freedom: the freedom to become men and women of wisdom, teachers of justice and peace, people who believe in others and seek their authentic good. God created us to live in the light, and to be light for the world around us! This is what Jesus tells us in today's Gospel: "The man who lives by the truth comes out into the light, so that it may be plainly seen that what he does is done in God" (Jn 3:21).

"Live", then, "by the truth!" Radiate the light of faith, hope and love in your families and communities! Be witnesses of the holy truth that sets men and women free! You know from bitter experience that, in comparison with the sudden, destructive fury of evil, the work of rebuilding is painfully slow and arduous. Living by the truth takes time, effort and perseverance: it has to begin in our own hearts, in the small daily sacrifices required if we are to be faithful to God's law, in the little acts by which we demonstrate that we love our neighbors, all our neighbors, regardless of race, ethnicity or language, and by our readiness to work with them to build together on foundations that will endure. Let your parishes become communities where the light of God's truth and the power of Christ's reconciling love are not only celebrated, but proclaimed in concrete works of charity. And do not be afraid! Even if it means being a "sign of contradiction" (Lk 2:34) in the face of hardened attitudes and a mentality that sees others as a means to be used, rather than as brothers and sisters to be loved, cherished and helped along the path of freedom, life and hope.

Let me close by addressing a special word to the young people of Angola, and to all young people throughout Africa. Dear young friends: you are the hope of your country's future, the promise of a better tomorrow! Begin today to grow in your friendship with Jesus, who is "the way, and the truth and the life" (Jn 14:6): a friendship nurtured and deepened by humble and persevering prayer. Seek his will for you by listening to his word daily, and by allowing his law to shape your lives and your relationships. In this way you will become wise and generous prophets of God's saving love. Become evangelizers of your own peers, leading them by your own example to an appreciation of the beauty and truth of the Gospel, and the hope of a future shaped by the values of God's Kingdom. The Church needs your witness! Do not be afraid to respond generously to God's call, whether it be to serve him as a priest or a religious, as a Christian parent, or in the many forms of service to others which the Church sets before you.

Dear brothers and sisters! At the end of today's first reading, Cyrus, King of Persia, inspired by God, calls the Chosen People to return to their beloved land and to rebuild the Temple of the Lord. May his words be a summons to all God's People in Angola and throughout Southern Africa: Arise! Ponde-vos a caminho! (cf. 2 Chr 36:23) Look to the future with hope, trust in God's promises, and live in his truth. In this way, you will build something destined to endure, and leave to future generations a lasting inheritance of reconciliation, justice and peace. Amen.

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At the Eucharist's close, Benedict offered the following coda at the midday Angelus:

Dear Brothers and Sisters,

At the conclusion of our Eucharistic celebration, as my Pastoral Visit to Africa comes to its close, let us now turn to Mary, the Mother of the Redeemer, to implore her loving intercession upon us, our families, and our world.

In this Angelus prayer, we recall Mary's complete "yes" to the will of God. Through Mary's obedience of faith, the Son of God came into the world to bring us forgiveness, salvation and life in abundance. By becoming a man like us in all things but sin, Christ taught us the dignity and worth of each member of the human family. He died for our sins, to gather us together into God's family.

Our prayer rises today from Angola, from Africa, and embraces the whole world. May the men and women from throughout the world who join us in our prayer, turn their eyes to Africa, to this great Continent so filled with hope, yet so thirsty for justice, for peace, for a sound and integral development that can ensure a future of progress and peace for its people.

Today I commend to your prayers the work of preparation for the coming Second Special Assembly for Africa of the Synod of Bishops, scheduled to meet in October. Inspired by faith in God and trust in Christ's promises, may the Catholics of this Continent become ever more fully a leaven of evangelical hope for all people of good will who love Africa, who are committed to the material and spiritual advancement of its children, and the spread of freedom, prosperity, justice and solidarity in the pursuit of the common good.

May Mary, Queen of Peace, continue to guide Angola's people in the task of national reconciliation following the devastating and inhuman experience of the civil war. May her prayers obtain for all Angolans the grace of authentic forgiveness, respect for others, and cooperation which alone can carry forward the immense work of rebuilding. May the Holy Mother of God, who points us to her Son, our brother, remind Christians everywhere of our duty to love our neighbor, to be peacemakers, to be the first to forgive those who have sinned against us, even as we have been forgiven.

Here in Southern Africa, let us ask our Lady in a particular way to intercede for peace, the conversion of hearts, and an end to the conflict in the neighboring Great Lakes region. May her Son, the Prince of Peace, bring healing to the suffering, consolation to those who mourn, and strength to all who carry forward the difficult process of dialogue, negotiation and the cessation of violence.

With this confidence, then, we now turn to Mary, our Mother, and, in reciting this Angelus prayer, let us pray for the peace and salvation of the whole human family.

PHOTO: Reuters