Commentary

And Now for the Good News

By now most of us are more than a little discouraged by all of the news concerning the sexual scandal as reported by both the secular and Catholic media. We have read and heard many stories about ‘pedophile’ priests and bishops, cover-ups by our ‘shepherds’, resignation of priests and bishops, and even a cardinal resigning over this scandal. The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) has done very little to correct the real problem. However, with every cloud there is a silver lining. Nearly a millennium ago the Church suffered because of weak and corrupt clergy, but She recovered and became even stronger. This was due to the Holy Spirit working through more active laity and holy priests resulting in the subsequent increase in the number of very holy saints during that period of time. We are now seeing similar activity by the laity as well as some of our shepherds.

The outspoken Bishop Bruskewitz recently called the USCCB - “this hapless bunch of bishops.“ The exceptions, however, give us hope. In addition to Bishop Bruskewitz, who has one of the largest orthodox seminaries in the U.S., we have Bishop Caput of Denver who has been a light for all of us. We also have Cardinal George of Chicago and Bishop William Weigand of Sacramento each taking over dioceses that had been corrupted by poor leadership. Please pray for them. They have a tremendous task ahead of them.

Another ‘star’ in the group has been South Dakota Bishop Blase Cupish who chastised from the pulpit the so-called ‘Catholic’ Senator Daschle because of Daschle’s outrageous support of the abortion industry. This courageous bishop urged his parishioners not to support the senator.

In another example of courageous priests, Monsignor Edward Kavenagh, director of the St. Patrick’s Home for Children in California, learned that the extremely pro-abortion Governor, Gray Davis, was to visit the Home on December 19. Davis was planning a media event to falsely present himself as a friend of the children. The Monsignor had other ideas. He announced to the media, “Governor Gray Davis, the champion of Planned Parenthood and the legalized killing of unborn babies, is not welcome at St. Patrick’s Home for Children today.” On January 22, 2003 Bishop Weigand announced that Davis should renounce his pro-abortion views before presenting himself for Communion again.

If we had more clergy like Bishop Cupish, Monsignor Kavanagh, and Bishop Weigand, we could end this slaughter of the unborn within an election or two. Please pray for more clergy with this kind of courage. Please pray that our ‘hapless bunch of bishops’ will acquire some backbone. Let us pray that they will not be afraid of the liberal press. Let us pray they will not be afraid to act as true shepherds.

Related to the do-as-little-as-possible bishops we have in the US, there is the large number of seminaries that have been infected by sexual disorders. As Michael Rose stated in his book Goodbye, Good Men!, these infected seminaries are dying. Give thanks for the awareness of the laity and their refusal to support or send their sons to these seminaries. In some seminaries there are not enough students to support the upkeep of the facilities, let alone the dysfunctional, homosexual staff. If we had enough capable and courageous bishops, they would be able to go in and ‘clean house’; however, we don’t. What is happening is the Holy Spirit is rebuilding the seminaries from within with the help of committed laity. That is good news, but the really good news is we have gifted lay people such as Thomas Monaghan donating his resources plus taking an active role to build Ave Maria University in southern Florida. The university will be developed on 750 acres donated by Barron Collier Companies. Surrounding the university will be the town of Ave Maria to be built on 5,000 acres jointly owned by Ave Maria University and Barron Collier. Father Joseph Fessio, S.J., has been instrumental in getting over 5,000 people, in just three months, to be founding members of a university that promises to be committed to the Magisterium of the Church.

More good news! The Legionaries are also building a new seminary in California. Maybe Notre Dame will see the handwriting on the wall and place their heretical teachers on unemployment.

Our good news regarding the pro-life movement is that the war against abortion is being won on many fronts. The number of abortuaries is being reduced with each year. They are going out of business. The number of abortions performed per year is the lowest since 1973. More and more states are passing laws to require informed consent. When women in those states are told the truth about abortion, approximately 16 percent of those considering abortion change their minds. We have a congress and president who hopefully will install supreme court justices who will respect the life of the unborn instead of illegally creating laws based upon wrong ideas, untruths and bad logic, i.e., a baby in the womb is not human. If it is not human what is it? If it isn’t human at nine months inside the womb how can it rationally be called human at eight months outside the womb?

Life Dynamics, Inc. in Denton, Texas has evidence of abortionists covering up cases of statutory rape and they have Planned Parenthood running scared. There are a number of other active strong pro-life groups such as American Life League (run by a very Catholic and courageous Judie Brown), the National Right to Life (non denominational organization with tremendous political clout), Pro-Life Action League (Joe Scheidler’s group), and Voice for the Unborn (a great pro-life newsletter from California), just to name a few. There are many, many more on the state and even county level. In addition to this there are over 3,000 crisis pregnancy centers in the United States helping unwed mothers. There are tens of thousands of sidewalk counselors handing out flyers and talking to pregnant women entering abortion clinics. Tens of thousands of rosaries and other prayers are said outside of abortuaries each Saturday morning and during the week. Most of these groups are witnessing for Christ in all kinds of weather and under all kinds of other adverse political and unsafe conditions.

There is even more good news regarding the fight to save the life of the defenseless unborn. The Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Joe Schiedler and threw out the RICO ruling against those that protest in front of abortion clinics. Of special note is that the abortion fight, with the exception of Priests for Life and a few wonderful clergy praying out in front of the abortuaries, has been largely fought by the laity. What is even more amazing is that these dedicated people praying and sidewalk counseling outside the abortuaries are not part of any organized group and, although most are Catholic, they come from all religions. Some of the non-Catholics even join in the rosary and not a few convert to Catholicism.

The other good news is the growth of the orthodox Catholic media. The number of truly orthodox Catholic magazines is growing rapidly. There are numerous national magazines and newspapers such as Crisis, The New Oxford Review, Homiletic & Pastoral Review, Lay Witness, This Rock, The Catholic World Report, The National Catholic Register, the Catalyst, and of course The Wanderer. A new magazine The Latin Mass, only a year old, promises to be a good read. It is hard to keep up with all of the new publications. In addition to these national presses there are literally hundreds of small and local publications like The Defender (published by Defenders of the Faith, Inc.) that have sprung up to combat the liturgical abuses in a local parish or diocese. Many of these publications recently formed a national coalition of orthodox Catholic groups called Catholic Media Coalition, Inc. (CMC). CMC promises to have a significant influence on the media in the near future. In Baltimore, Maryland, one member of this group called Defend Life, has an outstanding 16 page publication, supports yearly ‘Face the Truth’ demonstrations, exposes local and diocesan dissidents, sponsors various Catholic pro-life training programs, and provides other relevant information to its readers. Another member of CMC is Les Femmes, which produces a tongue-in-cheek newsletter called The Truth that exposes the non-orthodox in their northern Virginia diocese as well as other dioceses.

In addition to all of the above, there is even more good news. In a way, it is a blessing that the media has exposed the moral rot within our ‘hapless bunch of bishops’. Our faithful who love and respect our Church now know that we can not depend upon unorthodox, spineless, and do-nothing bishops. We have to take on more responsibility, if not through organized efforts as described above, at least as ad hoc groups to organize and demonstrate against offenses in the Church. These groups often make use of e-mails, faxes, and the phone to not only spread the word, but to generate a flood of protests to the offender, the offender’s superior, and if necessary the media. A good example is a proposed speech by two “Catholic” pro-abort politicians which was to be given after a Mass at historic St. Mary’s in Rockville, Maryland in commemoration of the 9/11 attack (six weeks before the election). The offending priest ignored initial calls. The information spread like a forest fire over the Internet. Flyers were made up for a protest outside of the church. Soon the phone lines were burning up into St. Mary’s as well as the diocesan office. The priest caved in within two days and the speakers were disinvited. Most of the grass roots organizations described above, such as Defenders of the Faith, Inc., have special e-mail lists to notify true Catholics of situations that require some action on the part of the faithful.

When someone mentions Catholic television, EWTN immediately comes to mind. What a wonderful source of good orthodox Catholic broadcasting! Mother Angelica is truly a living saint for whom we can all be thankful. This most holy nun literally started EWTN in a garage and it is now broadcast worldwide and included on many FM, AM, and short wave radio stations. We see the effect of EWTN when we see the attacks on the Bible and the Catholic Church in the secular television. Even the “History” channel distorts the facts concerning the Bible, the Holy Shroud, and many religious teachings. The satanic groups are becoming aware of the new “Catholic Renaissance” and are taking steps to try to combat it.

Directly related to Catholic television is the growth in Catholic radio. The Second Vatican council urged Catholics to take advantage of broadcast technologies to spread the Gospel, stating that, “all members of the Church should make a concerted effort to ensure that the means of communication are put at the service of the multiple forms of apostolate without delay and as energetically as possible” and “Catholic stations should be established where it is opportune.” There are over 1,800 religious radio stations across the United States but less than a decade ago only three of these were Catholic. As of August 2000 there were 44 full-fledged Catholic radio stations and the number has been growing ever since. The good news is that Starboard Network, a non-profit Catholic postulate, organized and run by lay men and women, is growing rapidly and helping numerous Catholic organizations in obtaining Low Power FM radio station licenses. Starboard Network itself owns four radio stations in the Wisconsin and Minnesota area. They do not own or control any of the stations that they help to obtain licenses.

Defenders of the Faith, Inc. is one of the organizations that Starboard has helped obtain a license. We hope to be operational in the Berkeley Springs, West Virginia area by September of this year. Defenders of the Faith, Inc. will be rebroadcasting transmissions from Starboard Networks - a completely orthodox Catholic radio station approved and blessed by their local diocesan bishops. We will provide more information on this in a later issue. It has been proven that radio stations, as well as television stations, have helped strengthen the faith of Catholics and have also led non-Catholics into the Church.

Most of us have been disheartened by the desecration of many of our traditional-style churches since the 1960s by so called misguided ‘progressive’ priests and bishops. Archbishop Rembert Weakland of Milwaukee oversaw the denuding of his cathedral church even after receiving in writing a warning directed to him personally by Vatican officials. New church construction often resembles gymnasiums, auditoriums, and even barns. But, now the good news! Many of the churches that were drastically altered by the modernists in the 1960s are now being restored to their former beauty. As an example, the Catholic Church in Worcester, Massachusetts that was desecrated by its bishop in 1968 was restored back to its original beauty by Daniel Reilly when he became Bishop of Worcester in 1994. Statues were brought back into the sanctuary, the tabernacle was given proper prominence and ornamentation, a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe was installed, and the original color scheme was restored. In many cases, the laity who have been cherishing sanctuary lamps, tabernacles, crucifixes, and candlesticks discarded during the initial renovation, are bringing them back to be used in the restoration of the churches.

Last, but not least, there is even more good news. This increase in Catholicism does not have the razzle-dazzle of television, radio, newsletters, protests, etc. - it is very silent and almost unnoticed. I am referring to the growing movement in Eucharistic Adoration across the United States. I have written about Perpetual Adoration several times in The Defender, but in addition to this we are seeing more Holy Hours and special extended hours of Adoration on Thursdays and Fridays. Catholics are realizing the treasure we have in Eucharistic devotion. We know that if it were not for God there would not be babies being saved at the abortion clinics; there would not be crisis pregnancy centers; there would not be clergy like Bruskewitz, Caput, Cupish, Kavenagh, and Weigand; there would not be nuns like Mother Angelica; there would not be pro-life leaders like Schiedler or sidewalk counselors like Mike, Sandy, Dick, Bill and Janet; and, there would not be writers and editors to put the orthodox newsletters together. The Eucharist is our guidance, our strength, our everything.

Jim Fritz

Ave Maria University has a Website at www.avemaria.edu. You can mail them a gift at Ave Maria College, 300 W. Forest Ave., Ypsilanti MI 48197. Note that your gift is for the new campus in Naples, Florida. You can still be part of the Founders Club.

 

 

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