Scranton, PA bishop says "no Communion" for public sinners

Feb. 27, 2009 ( - Bishop Joseph Martino, who has emerged during the past year as the American bishop most determined to call pro-abortion politicians to account, has now issued an order that in his Scranton, Pennsylvania diocese, "those whose unworthiness to receive Holy Communion is known publicly to the Church must be refused Holy Communion in order to prevent sacrilege and to prevent the Catholic in question from committing further grave sin through unworthy reception." Here's the communique to all diocesan priests...issued by the Chancellor of the Scranton diocese.

Newer local blogger on the scene

Guide for Victim Souls of the Sacred Heart.

Good content and very nicely presented. Definitely worth following. We are.

Our thanks to the Catholic Key Blog for some kind words

Our friends at The Catholic Key Blog , the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocesan newspaper internet outlet, have been very gracious in their appreciation for a little help we provided for this worthwhile source of Catholic information, analysis and commentary. We were pleased to submit a new design for the Catholic Key blog banner head. And were gratified that they liked it and are using it. The staff at the Catholic Key has been gracious and generous with their support of the Oratory and the Oratory community blog. And, we thank them. You can check it out here.

Laity invited to live the spirituality of the Institute by joining the Society of the Sacred Heart

(This information is reprinted from the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest website).
The Society of the Sacred Heart is a lay association within the spiritual family of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. Through membership in the Society of the Sacred Heart, lay faithful can participate in the spirituality of the Institute directed to expand the kingship of Our Blessed Lord in all realms of the Church and society under the patronage of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception.


The spirituality of the Institute of Christ the King stems from the writings and example of St. Benedict, St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Francis de Sales. With these patron Saints, the members of the Society of the Sacred Heart strive to live a Catholic life in an ever-growing harmony between nature, grace, faith, and culture, totally faithful to the teachings of Holy Mother Church and to the See of Peter, with an emphasis on charity toward God and our neighbor.

In this holy endeavor, the members of the Society place themselves under the spiritual direction of the priests of the Institute of Christ the King and are supported by the prayers of the priests, oblates, and seminarians of the Institute, and the Sisters Adorers of the Royal Heart of Jesus.


Members of the society work to sustain the apostolic work of the Institute of Christ the King. They also live the spirituality of the Institute and can participate in spiritual retreats and gatherings of the Institute’s family organized locally or nationally by the chaplains of the Society of the Sacred Heart. Youth events and retreats in the spirit of the Institute are offered to the families engaged in the Society of the Sacred Heart. Friends and guests are welcome at the retreats of the Society.

Interested lay faithful can become members of the Society of the Sacred Heart by contacting the Institute's apostolate nearest to them. It is possible for those who do not live near the current apostolates of the Institute to become members of the Society of the Sacred Heart. They would need, however, to attend the yearly retreat offered to all the members. More information concerning this will soon be available. In the meantime, we invite you to read the works of one of the patron saints of the Institute, Saint Francis de Sales (especially Introduction to the Devout Life), who as the Doctor of divine Charity, had a special devotion to the Heart of Jesus. Through his writings and saintly example, the infinite treasures of wisdom and grace contained in the most Sacred Heart of our Divine Savior are make readily available to us in our everyday lives in a truly extraordinary way.
This year's retreat will be held at the Shrine of Christ the King in Chicago, IL. Dates: June 12th through 14th. Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Order and Monsignor Michael Schmitz, Vicar General will preach the spiritual conferences and Francis Cardinal George will open the retreat by celebrating Solemn Benediction of the Blessed Sacxrament.

Those interested in membership should contact Canon Avis at the address or email listed to the right.

Stations of the Cross will be followed twice each Friday during Lent

Times for Stations of the Cross are:
12:00 Noon and
6:45 p.m. following Holy Mass

Ash Wednesday schedule announced

Holy Mass and distribution of Ashes on Wednesday, February 25th will be at:
12:05 p.m. (Noon) - Ashes distribution followed by Low Mass
6:30 p.m. - Ashes distribution followed by sung High Mass
Please note that these are different times than usual and that Ash Wednesday is a day of Fast and Abstinence.

Father Frank Kriski ill with prostate cancer

Our Latin Mass chaplain at Our Lady of Sorrows for three years, Father Frank Kriski, CssR has been diagnosed with cancer of the prostate. He will need all our prayers for a good recovery. Father Kriski was one of the finest priests to serve our community and we owe him much. Although after being relieved of the chaplain's duties for the Latin Mass, he took charge of an east-side parish, Father always said that he remembered his service to our group and the opportunity to celebrate the Latin Mass as one of the highlights of his priestly career. Many thanks, Father. Our prayers will be with you in your struggle.
Canon Avis this morning announced a campaign at the Oratory to collect offerings for a Spiritual Bouquet for the Holy Father. Offers will be collected at the Oratory and forwarded to Rome in aggregate with those of other ICRSP apostolates around the world.

The text of the gift is: Dear Holy Father. As a token of my love and devotion to Holy Mother Church and of my filial obedience and steadfast support for Your Holiness as Shepherd of the Universal Church, please accept this spiritual bouquet:

____Mass and Holy Commnion
____Holy Hour of Eucharistic Adoration
____Stations of the Cross
____Holy Rosary
____Litany of the Sacred Heart of Jesus
____Novena to the Infant Jesus
____Novena to Our Blessed Mother
____Novena to St. Joseph

Desiring to offer your Holiness our deepest gratitude for your spiritual paternity, we pray that God may continue to grant to Your Holiness the spiritual wisdom and strength to guide the Barque of Peter through the difficult waters of our times.

We remain,

Yours in Christ the King

You may print this page of the blog and send to Canon Avis at: 2997 Oak Street, Apt #104, Kansas City, Missouri 64108. Or you may copy and paste your offerings into an email and forward to Canon Avis at this link. Or, you may make your offering to the bouquet online at the Institute web site. Click here. This probably the most efficient way to participate.

Fr. John Rizzo in the news

Many Oratory members will remember Father John Rizzo, FSSP from his several year assignment in Maple Hill, Kansas and at the Blessed Sacrament Latin Mass Community on the Kansas side. Many will remember him as a very good priest and as confessor who cut a penitent no slack. He was also greatly appreciated for his vigorous homilies.

Father Rizzo was a priest of the SSPX for few difficult years until he ultimately split with the Society and joined the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP). He is now serving as a priest of the Fraternity in New Zealand.

He is currently in the news having been interviewed for a story in the Boston Globe about his recollections of Bishop Williamson of the SSPX whom he knew well during his seminary years. He does not recall Williamson fondly. Here's the full story from the Globe. Those of us who knew Father Rizzo when he served in our area greatly admired his hard work and fortitude during the many difficult years for traditional Catholics. We wish him well in his work.

SSPX Bishop Williamson seems to be in even bigger trouble

Bishop Willliamson, who'll you'll recall some days ago created a firestorm of criticism with his comments about Jews and the Holocaust. In the aftermath, the SSPX has renounced his statements and the incident seriously embarrassed the Holy Father after his announcement of the remission of the excommunication of the SSPX bishops.

Now events across the world are accelerating in opposition to Bishop Williamson:

1) Argentina is ready to expel Willliamson.

The most respected Argentinian daily, La Nación, reports: 
The Interior Minister [of the Argentine Republic], Florencio Randazzo, announced that the National Migrations Agency "warned Richard Nelson Williamson to abandon the country within a peremptory ten-day period, under pain of having his expulsion decreed". The order and the respective threat of expulsion are based on a technicality: the Agency affirms that Williamson has "misinformed" the true reason for his presence in Argentina, since he declares to be "an administrative employee" of the Civil Association "La Tradición", when "in fact his true activity was that of priest and director of the Lefebvrist Seminary that the Fraternity of Saint Pius X has in the city of Moreno". 
2) And now, an international arrest warrant for Bishop Williamson is possible:
A case is to be brought in the next few days in the French courts by the International League against Racism and Anti-Semitism (Licra)

This falls under the jurisdiction of the French authorities , said Licra lawyer Alain Jakubowicz to the daily newspaper "Le Figaro", as the testimony of Williamson was available throughout the country. In France, the denial of crimes against humanity since 1990 is punishable as a specific offense. Judges may put Holocaust deniers for up to one year in prison, or they can pay high fines.

Reminder: Lenten Fasting Regulations

1) Abstinence on all the Fridays of Lent, and on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. No meat may be eaten on days of abstinence. Catholics 14 years and older are bound to abstain from meat. Invalids, pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt.

2) Fast on Ash Wednesday and Good Friday. Fasting means having only one full meal to maintain one's strength. Two smaller, meatless and penitential meals (collations) are permitted according to one's needs, but they should not together equal the one full meal. Eating solid foods between meals is not permitted. Catholics from age 18 through age 59 are bound to fast. Again, invalids, pregnant and nursing mothers are exempt.

3) Friday Abstinence Outside of Lent. It should be noted that all Fridays throughout the year are designated days of penance. The Code of Canon Law states that Friday is a day of abstinence from meat throughout the year. The American Bishops have allowed us to choose a different form of penance rather than abstaining from meat, but there must be some form of penance, for this is the day we commemorate Christ's suffering and death. The bishops stress that "among the works of voluntary self-denial and personal penance...we give first place to abstinence from flesh meat". From time to time the Church has considered bringing back obligatory abstinence on all Fridays and perhaps this penitential practice will be restored.

Ash Wednesday - the Wednesday after Quinquagesima Sunday - Feb. 25th

The name dies cinerum (day of ashes) is found in the earliest existing copies of the Gregorian Sacramentary and probably dates from at least the eighth century. On this day all the faithful according to ancient custom are exhorted to approach the altar before the beginning of Mass, and there the priest, dipping his thumb into ashes previously blessed, marks the forehead -- or in case of clerics upon the place of the tonsure -- of each the sign of the cross, saying the words: "Remember man that thou art dust and unto dust thou shalt return." 

The ashes used in this ceremony are made by burning the remains of the palms blessed on the Palm Sunday of the previous year.

In earlier ages a penitential procession often followed the rite of the distribution of the ashes, but is not usually done now. Thanks to New Advent for this information. Photo from the blog's archive.

Pope chides Speaker of the House.

(CatholicCulture - Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2009) Pope Benedict XVI met on Wednesday with US Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and gently chided the American lawmaker for her support of legal abortion. Pelosi, who describes herself as an "ardent Catholic," met briefly with the Pontiff after his regular weekly public audience. The Pope regularly meets with visiting dignitaries after his Wednesday audience, and ordinarily no public statements are issued. But following his meeting with Pelosi the Vatican released this unusual public statement:
His Holiness took the opportunity to speak of the requirements of the natural moral law and the Church's consistent teaching on the dignity of human life from conception to natural death which enjoin all Catholics, and especially legislators, jurists and those responsible for the common good of society, to work in co-operation with all men and women of good will in creating a just system of laws capable of protecting human life at all stages of its development.
Should have been stronger in our opinion...but then the Holy Father is a lot smarter than we are. Cartoon by Catholic Cartoon Blog.

Update: 02/19-11:30 a.m. - Here's Ms Pelosi's version of the 15-minute meeting: 
"It is with great joy that my husband, Paul, and I met with his Holiness, Pope Benedict XVI today," Pelosi said in a statement released hours after the meeting. "In our conversation, I had the opportunity to praise the Church's leadership in fighting poverty, hunger and global warming, as well as the Holy Father's dedication to religious freedom and his upcoming trip and message to Israel. I was proud to show his Holiness a photograph of my family's papal visit in the 1950s, as well as a recent picture of our children and grandchildren."
Big differences, wouldn't you say?

JP2/Jewish Exhibit at Union Station is worth the trip

A large banner hangs on the front facade of the stately Union Station building with details of the exhibit. The exhibit opened February 4th and is titled "A Blessing To One Another: John Paul II & The Jewish People". It will continue its run through March 27th. The exhibit traces the relationship between Karol Wojtyla (Pope John Paul II) and the Jewish People from his earliest days in Poland through his Papacy. It is sponsored by Avila University and is free to the public.

Some members of the Oratory have indicated that the exhibit is worth an hour or two of your time and would be a worthwhile excursion into history. Some of the exhibit items are presented in a way that might cause a traditional Catholic a brief annoyance as they seem to be couched in a point of view that one might disagree with. But these can be taken for what they are and placed in their proper context.

It is very nice to see the image of a Roman Catholic Pope displayed on a public building. This is a surprising and rewarding sight. Avila University, Bishop Finn and the Jewish Community should be commended for this informational effort.

We'd be very pleased to publish other "reviews" of the exhibit.  Just email your thoughts.

Novena in support of the Holy Father

The priests of the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter (FSSP) are recommending and supporting a short novena to be said publicly or privately starting today, February 14th through February 22nd (the feast of the Chair of St. Peter). This novena's intention is in support of the Holy Father's courageous work with the Society of Pius X (SSPX). As you know, he has had much opposition to his initiatives and the remission of the excommunications of the Bishops of the SSPX.

Here are the prayers the Fraternity recommends:

Our Father, 3 Hail Marys, Glory Be.

V. Let us pray for our Pope Benedict.

R. May the Lord preserve him and give him life, and make him blessed upon the earth, and deliver him not up to the will of his enemies.

V. Thou art Peter,

R. And upon this Rock, I will build My Church.

V. Let us pray... Almighty and everlasting God, have mercy upon your servant, Benedict, our Sovereign Pontiff, and guide him in your goodness on the way of eternal salvation; so that, we the prompting of your grace, he may desire what pleases you and accomplish it with all his strength. Through Christ Our Lord.

R. Amen.

Holy Father concentrates on the subject of "fasting" in his yearly Lenten message

Noting that Lenten discipline is "an itinerary of more intense spiritual training" traditionally based upon prayer, fasting, and alms giving, the Holy Father dedicates this year's message to fasting, remarking that the practice "seems to have lost something of its spiritual meaning" in our time.

Both the Bible (Old and New Testaments) and the unbroken tradition of Christian living testify that fasting is "a great help to avoid sin and all that leads to it," the Pope says. He calls attention to the great Christian teachers like St. Augustine who saw fasting as a means of restoring spiritual balance to a soul stained by sin. "Since all of us are weighed down by sin and its consequences," the Pope explains, "fasting is proposed to us as an instrument to restore friendship with God."

Then there are the non-spiritual advantages also. So, our plan is to obstruct access to the fridge this year. Perhaps we'll reduce the waistline along with reduced propensity for sin.

The full story of this message along with more about the fruits of giving to the poor and hungry during Lent, can be accessed here at Catholic Culture.

Over 45,000 have signed a letter of support of Benedict XVI...and growing!

A committee organized in France has been formed to support the Holy Father in his lifting the ban of excommunication of the SSPX bishops. The supporting committee, which is listed below, includes three Bishops and also Father John Berg, Superior General of the FSSP and Monsignor Gilles Wach, Prior General of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. To our knowledge, the is the first insight into the position of the ICRSP regarding the Holy Father's actions dealing with the SSPX.

The organizers are soliciting support and signers from around the world. If you would like to add your name to this support letter, click here.

Comité de soutien ont d'ores et déjà apporté leur soutien.
(Committee that has already lent its support).

Mgr Marc AILLET, évêque de Bayonne, Lescar et Oloron
M. Pierre-Olivier ARDUIN, directeur de la commission bioéthique du diocèse de Fréjus-Toulon
Abbé Claude BARTHE, écrivain
Abbé John BERG, supérieur général de la Fraternité sacerdotale Saint-Pierre
M. Henry BONNIER, écrivain, fondateur des éditions Koutoubia
M. Christophe DICKÈS, historien et journaliste
Mgr André FORT, évêque d'Orléans
M. Christophe GEFFROY, directeur de la Nef
Père Michel LELONG, Père blanc, ancien professeur à l'Institut catholique de Paris
M. Jean-Pierre MAUGENDRE, président de Renaissance Catholique
M. John PEPINO, docteur en Grec et Latin des Pères de l'Eglise, professeur de langues anciennes et de patrologie
Mme Huguette PEROL, femme d’ambassadeur, écrivain, fondatrice du GREC
M. Luc PERRIN, historien et membre actif du GREC
Docteur Alcuin REID, professeur de liturgie, écrivain
Mgr Dominique REY, évêque de Fréjus-Toulon
M. Shawn TRIBE, responsable du New Liturgical Movement
Mgr Gilles WACH, prieur général de l'Institut du Christ-Roi Souverain Prêtre

Bishop Finn jokes about losing seminarians

In the Catholic Key blog a couple of days ago we had to chuckle a little at Bishop Finn's wry comments during his remarks at the S.O.S. Dinner (Save Our Seminarians), about the recent loss of seminarians and the prospect of losing more in the near future.
“In June we lost Doug Langner,” Bishop Finn said, “to priestly ordination. And in December we lost Angelo Bartulica to ordination.

“As God is good, we look forward to losing another two seminarians in May,” Bishop Finn said. “And the following year, if all goes according top the plan that we would pray for and hope, we’re going to lose another four seminarians to priesthood.”
So, the press is on to replace these good men and keep intact Bishop Finn's great record over the last four years of recruiting and developing persistence in his young seminarians. Our prayers are with his effort.

Mystery blogger is back in business

Anyone who blogs on traditional Catholic issues and activities in the Kansas-Missouri region owes a debt of gratitude to the Curmudgeon. For he (or she) is the one who got the whole thing going.

From the beginning, Curmudgon has remained anonymous. And we can remember in years past nearly every traddie in dinner-table and coffee-and-donuts conversation trying to figure out who was writing all this stuff about our favorite subjects to talk about. He (or she) set the level of the bar for interesting and well-researched commentary for those who followed on the Trad-Catholic/TLM blogging trail.

Curmudgeon dropped out from the blog scene for quite a while, but now HE (OR SHE) IS BACK!

Check it out at the regular place.

...Another sad testimonial about life in the Legion of Christ

This is a very sad story. Written by a former youngster under the influence of a controlling, cultish priestly order.


Not really. We've seen the church sign generator posts on KansasCatholic Blog. Well, here's something new. The bus sign generator.  We're not too clever. But it was fun to do. Make your own bus sign here. If you come up with a good one and would like to see it on this site, generate the sign and email it to:

"Rome of the West" posts some excellent suggestions for priestly organizations with a relatively short history

If there are any members or leaders of ecclesial organizations reading this blog, here's some solid advice for you:

by Mark Scott Abeln
  • Venerate your founder only after he is long dead and canonized. 
  • Choose a rule for your order that is ancient, tried, and tested, like the Rules of Augustine and Benedict. Most experiments end in failure. 
  • Court the wealthy as little as necessary. The sick and poor are the wealth of the Church. 
  • If you have to convince someone that he has a vocation to your religious order, then he does not have a vocation to your religious order. 
  • Whatever is asked of a member of an order goes at least double for the leader of the order. 
  • The purpose of an order is either the personal sanctity of its members or the service to others though charity. Period. Growth and influence are not valid ends for an order. 
  • Being able to accept criticism is a mark of humility.

De-icing system on the roof of Holy Name Cathedral suspected

The above photo shows some of the damage to the roof of the Cathedral. The Chicago Tribune reports that the investigation into the cause of the fire is focusing on a de-icing system on the roof designed to keep ice building up in the gutters of the building. (Photo:

Holy Name Cathedral in Chicago is burning

The seat of the Chicago diocese in downtown Chicago, home to Cardinal George is in flames. The historic church was built and dedicated in 1875, the same year as Old St. Patrick Oratory. For more information there is a video news report from the Chicago CBS television station.

Update: According to the Chicago Sun-Times, the fire has been extinguished and that one firefighter was injured, but not critically.

In the Catholic Key for this week Bishop Finn reports on his recent visit to Rome

The Catholic Key blog reprints Bishop Finn's column that will be published in the Key reaching most homes on Thursday. Here is a bit of the essay:
"I was privileged to be able to participate in Second Vespers at the Basilica of “St. Paul outside the walls” with Pope Benedict XVI. The Sunday celebration of Evening Prayer also came at the end of the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, and involved representatives of the Orthodox churches and some Christian denominations.

The day was historic in another way. It was exactly fifty years earlier, January 25, 1959, that Pope John XXIII, in the same basilica, announced his intention to convene the Second Vatican Ecumenical Council. A half century later, Pope Benedict is completely dedicated, as were his predecessors, to the substantive and authentic implementation of the Council. In so many ways the “ups and downs” of the last generation have begun to reach a serene equilibrium. With the next years we will see a more faithful translation of the Roman Missal. The embrace of our rich heritage in the reintroduction of the extraordinary form helps us to understand better our roots, and recapture the beauty and sanctity of the Holy Sacrifice which the Council affirmed as the “source and summit” of the whole Christian life." (The emphasis is that of the blog.)

New blogger in the midwest...and with great promise

We notice a new blogger from the St. Louis area who who has some meaty ideas. He only has one post thus far but it's a good one. We hope to see more. Here's a taste:
(Regarding Barack Obama)..."It seems to me that he has either separated his faith from his political life or simply hides his beliefs from the public. He has gone so far as to avoid public appearance at a church after his election. As if Christianity is not a social reality. He gives the appearance of being truly concerned about truth and fairness but yet he also seems ruled by secularist ideology. President Obama has not been up front on his view of human nature and his involvement with the liberation theologian Rev. Wright. What does he truly believe that transcends a select socialist and secular philosophy?"

The facts about Fr. Marcial Maciel seeing the light of day a year after his death

The facts about the founder of the Legionaries of Christ after decades of suspicion and allegation are now being acknowledged by the Legionaries. The Legionaries of Christ is a large and successful organization. It consists of a global order of priests, the Legion, which now has over 800 members and some 2,500 seminarians, and a lay community called Regnum Christi which is present in 22 Nations and has 70,000 members. This is a sad day:
From the Wikipedia profile of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado:

"In the summer of 2008 rumors began to surface in Madrid regarding a 22 year old university student thought to be the daughter of Fr. Maciel from a relationship sustained with a Spanish woman in the 1980's. A son is also said to have been born of this relationship. The details are still sketchy and the whole story promises to be as bizarre as all other chapters of the Legion's Founder's life, but faced with irrefutable evidence and fearful of another shock wave tearing at the inner fabric of the Congregation, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera and other Legionary superiors have begun going around and making some of the priests of the Legion partially aware of the facts. Among the Legionaries that know the latest revelations there is widespread outrage and a general feeling of having been duped and betrayed for so many years by Fr. Maciel and which ever members of the Legion's leadership were aware of his double life. Internally, the Legion has collapsed and is now struggling to recreate itself on the merits of its works alone, with no reference to the Founder. His name and history are being purged from the Congregation' s internal literature, his pictures are being removed from the walls of the schools and seminaries of the Legion and his writings are no longer being quoted in homilies and preaching of Legionary priests."

Update: 2/3/2009 - 2:00 p.m. CST - As of this time the LC website has not removed much if anything from "The Founder" section. And the FAQs section does not refer to this maelstrom. This could be due to slowness on behalf of the webmaster???

Update: 2/3/2009 - 7:03 p.m. CST - Mixed reports are surfacing about whether the Legionaries will repudiate their founder in spite of all the acknowledged behavior of Father Degollado. CNA has a story that quotes the spokesman of the Legionaries of Christ.

Update 2/3/2009 - 9:51 p.m. CST - The New York Times weighs-in with some new information regarding  financial shenanigans on top of everything else.

Update 2/4/2009 - 2:50 p.m. - Whispers in the Loggia blog has posted an informed backgound piece that will be interesting to all, regardless of their stake in this tragedy.

Update 2/4/2009 - 6:13 p.m. - Phil Lawler of has a good opinion piece with good suggestions for new directions by the Legion of Christ.

Update 2/5/2009 - 6:55 a.m. - From Rorate Caeli: A Mexican commentator refers to the scandal of Fr. Marcial "the last nail in the coffin of the founder of the Legionaries of Christ".

Update 2/5/2009 - 3:35 p.m. -  This letter from Fr Alvaro Corcuera, LC, is addressed to all Regnum Christi members in the wake of the recent news about Father Marcial Maciel, LC. Also,, well-known as an internet service controlled by the Legion of Christ weighs in with a story along party lines.

Update 2/5/2009 - 8:30 p.m. - Father Thomas Williams, LC, an influential representative of the Legionaries answers questions posed by Our Sunday Visitor. His answers are more direct than previous comments by official spokespersons of the LC.

From a former Legionary priest:
One year ago today (January 30th) the Founder of the Legion of Christ, our Founder – Nuestro Padre – passed away. Instead of recalling with pride and nostalgia my thirty year participation in the foundation in privileged close company of the Founder, I find myself nearly disconsolate. Outrage, grief, a deep unutterable feeling of betrayal and deception have been growing in my soul for nearly six months as bits and pieces of the truth have painfully been made known to me.

Up until very recently I defended Fr. Maciel in public and private, knowing that the very essence of my identity as a Legionary priest depended on it. Now there is nothing to defend. It has all collapsed, and with it, a lifetime of enthusiastic commitment and high idealism.

I sit here humbled and heartsick with one earnest plea for the present leadership of the Legion: please, do the right thing. For the love of God and in honor of the hundreds of men, like yourselves, that have given their lives to the Congregation, bearing the burden of a fidelity that our Founder demanded of us but was unable himself to deliver: do what is right.

Put the truth first. You owe it to us all. Tell us the whole story, tell us what our options are now and set about the reform of the Legion.

The Legion must go forward, purged of the toxins released into its bloodstream by years of machiavellian duplicity, and recreate itself solely on the merits of its works.

No more spin, no more platitudes, no more intimidation to keep the Legion’s men from thinking, questioning, seeking the truth. Step aside if need be and allow others – with clear motives and fresh eyes – to save all that is good in the Congregation and dissipate once and for all the inner culture of deceit and control. A canonical visitation conducted in rigorous transparency might yet save the Legion of Christ.

I am amazed and grateful to God that so much good has and continues to be done by a religious order that has venerated and nourished its spirit from a Founder now discovered to be the antithesis of the very spirituality and discipline he imparted to us while so brazenly and artfully occulting his other life from us.

So please, do not pretend that this is not devastating to all of us. Do not act like nothing has happened and that nothing should change. Have the basic decency to come clean with your own men and trust them enough to help you take the Legion to where it must go from here. Full disclosure is the only option. You’ve tried everything else, now, finally now, give truth a chance. You may be pleasantly surprised by the strength, resiliency and commitment of us all.

May God continue to guide us, in spite of ourselves. Peace.

Today the Church celebrates Candlemas - 40 Days after Christmas

We took a little time this morning to do a Bible search for the frequency of the times that the number 40 appears. It turns up a lot. Here're a few examples: today, the Feast of the Purification of the Blessed Mother is connected with the number 40, as it falls 40 days after the Nativity.

Genesis tells us that the deluge lasted forty days and 40 nights (7.12), and, according to Mark 1:9-13, Jesus fasted in the desert for forty days. St. Paul in his writings to the Christians in Corinth, recalls when he received 40 lashes by the Jews (2 Cor. 11.26).

Abraham implored God to save Sodom if there he would find at least 40 righteous people (but had come down to less than ten in the end), and when saved from Esau he offered 40 cows in sacrifice. In Egypt, Joseph took 40 days to embalm the body of his father. Moses was on Mount Sinai for 40 days and 40 nights, and when the tabernacle was built it took 40 silver bases to stand on. The explorers of the land of Canaan arriving to the Promised Land: it took them 40 days, but in return they had 40 years of punishment. Judge Abdon had 40 children, and the Philistine persevered for 40 days, according to Samuel (1 Sam. 17.14).

Even the great prophet Elijah remained on Mount Horeb for 40 days and 40 nights and Jonah preached repentance to the inhabitants of Nineveh for 40 days. 

(The art above is Holbein's artistic vision of The Purification).

The Feast of St. Bridgid of Ireland - February 1st

We nearly missed it. But, today is the feast of Saint Brigid of Kildare or Brigid of Ireland (sometimes spelled Brigit, Bridget, Bridgit, Bríd or Bride) (Irish: Naomh Bhríde) (c. 451–525). She was an Irish nun, abbess, and founder of several convents. She is considered one of Ireland's patron saints along with Sts. Patrick and Columba. Her feast day is today, February 1st, the traditional first day of spring in Ireland.

She is considered by many in our community to be the co-patroness of Old St. Patrick Oratory, although we don't know for sure if that's official or not. If anyone knows, please let us all know.

Her statue, in the niche on the Gospel side of the sanctuary, is original to the Oratory and after being lost for a while was returned recently to take her rightful place at Old St. Patrick.

"The Bells of St. (Patrick), ah hear they are calling..."

Parishioners arriving for 8:000 a.m. Mass this morning were greeted for the first time since the Oratory reopened with the ringing of the big bell in the north bell tower. At the 10:15 a.m. Mass the bells rang prior to Mass and also during the Consecration.

In the book "This Far By Faith" by Father Michael Coleman, archivist of the Kansas City-St. Joseph diocese it says, "in September 1962 there was a fire (at Old St. Patrick) in the vestibule and balcony area. To control the fire, firemen had to break out six of the original stained glass windows, as well as the windows in the bell towers. The glass now in these windows was installed after this fire. The bells from the bell tower were sent to St. John Seminary in the 1950s. Only one bell remains, a bell which was cracked and welded. When it rings, it is said to sound 'strange'".

Not in our opinion. It sounded great hearing the big bell calling all to Mass...just like they did 133 years ago.

Signing "FOCA Postcards" in the narthex

The Kevin Koster family  assisted by a smiling Father Avis manned the table set up in the vestible after the 8:00 a.m. Mass this morning to assist parishioners to sign and address postcards that will be mailed shortly to our congressional representatives. Cards were available after the 10:15 a.m. Mass also.

Here is the text on the card:
"At this time of serious national challenges, Americans should unite to serve the good of all, born and unborn. The Freedom of Choice Act (FOCA), the most radical and divisive pro-abortion bill ever introduced into Congress, would create a "fundamental right" to abortion that government could not limit but would have to support. FOCA would overturn many existing widely supported policies, including laws protecting parental involvement and conscience rights and those preventing partial-birth abortion and taxpayer funding of abortion."
We can only hope and pray that this nationwide effort bears good fruit.