VOL. 9, NO. 1
Jan/May 2006

Dear Readers:

letsprayThis issue of The Defender has a set of diverse bookends. The first article, De Facto Schism Result of Decline in Sexual Morals, provides information about the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and its bureaucracy.  Not a pretty picture of our bishops.  The end article on Catholic Teaching, Artificial Contraception, ends with another problem in the Church. Not a pretty picture of our ‘Cafeteria Catholics.’

            The first article, by Catholic Media Coalition president, Mary Ann Kreitzer, details how the U.S. bishops have become seriously entangled with big government that tends to see its citizens existing to support it. Catholic organizations consume millions of social service tax dollars in the United States. Hospitals, Catholic Charities, colleges - many receive major funding from federal and state government.  Mary Ann gives numerous well-documented examples of this.  She also describes what happens when the laity brings this concern to the attention of the bishops.  They are often treated with contempt and even punishment. (A subject of a future article is how priests who blow the whistle are punished – some severely.)  To quote Mary Ann, “One would like to believe that most U.S. bishops act as "servants of the servants of God." Unfortunately there is little to demonstrate it.  Rather, many [bishops] exhibit the worst aspects of clericalism, apparently seeing themselves as the aristocracy of the Church and the laity as serfs whose job is to "pay, pray, and obey;" not, however, to obey Church doctrine, but to obey the bishop, no matter how irresponsible or evil his actions.” 

            After reading the article, one wonders why the pope doesn’t simply fire these schismatic bishops.  An interesting interview with Father Rob Johansen on Relevant Radio supplied a good argument.  He states that the bishops are our spiritual fathers.  Father Rob compares them with our biological fathers in that replacing an errant biological father is a serious matter and is not done without attempting to resolve the problem.  The pope on occasion has replaced a bishop, but only after all other efforts have failed.  Remember, 10 of the first 12 bishops disowned our Lord, and He didn't remove them. He worked with them to bring them back to establish this imperfect, constantly striving Church in order to save souls. Mary Ann does give us some hope and some detailed suggestions of what we can do.

            Frequently, we receive e-mails from those who read our articles in the newsletter or on our website.  Recently, one such e-mail from Susan Beckworth requested information about ‘Centering Prayer’ as she was having a discussion with a local priest who advocates this type of prayer.  I sent out a plea to Catholic Media Coalition and immediately received responses from four other members which I forwarded to Susan.  She volunteered to combine the information along with her own research and produce an article for the rest of us to read.  It is very informative and included with this issue.

            We have another guest writer, Tom Phillips, who is well qualified to write a Science Debunks Evolution commentary that puts evolution and intelligent design in better perspective.  One wonders why our schools continue to teach evolution.

            Our next article, The Truth about Dialogue, categorizes our various clerics, using one bishop as an example.  The author, Gabriel Garnica, also describes the value of ‘dialogue’, or rather the lack of it, when dialogue is recommended by some of these clerics.  The best course of action after reading all of this is to pray for our clerics.  This prayer is always included in our newsletter.

            Our Modern Day Saint article describes the life and visions of Maria Faustina Kowalska.  This saint and her visions were virtually unknown until Cardinal Karol Wojtyla, after years of exhaustive work, succeeded in having the Church’s ban on Faustina's writings lifted. After becoming Pope John Paul II, he made Divine Mercy the theme of the second encyclical of his pontificate, promoted her writings, and proclaimed the Sunday after Easter ‘Divine Mercy Sunday’.

            Lastly, we have republished an article by Fred Paschall on Artificial Contraception.  Fred was our chief writer for The Defender until he passed away on April 13, 2005.  Most of his articles pertained to Catholic Teaching. He is truly missed, and we are finding out he is also irreplaceable.  We have published a book containing his teaching articles.  Feel free to contact us if you are interested in this outstanding collection of teaching articles on the faith.

Jim Fritz

CC Most Reverend Bishop Michael J. Bransfield

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