Hi, everyone, welcome to a lovely Monday Midwest weather day. I am getting a kick out of the combox discussion on the Colleen Hammond post about previous USCCB statements in favor of eventual disarmament of the American public. There is so much sloganeering in what passes for political discourse today that one can’t hold a given opinion on some issue– like the Second Amendment in this case– without being told that one then must hold a whole set of predetermined positions on other issues that have nothing to do with it. I do enjoy a chuckle when someone writes in that I am a Republican, or that I seek to advance the Bush agenda. On the other hand, I also enjoy when some, more partial to President Bush, accuse me of blaming America first or not loving my country.
The great Doctor of Charity’s feast is celebrated today. Masses at the Oratory are at 8am and 12:15pm. Because he is a principal patron of the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest, the faithful who assist at Mass are able to obtain a plenary indulgence under the usual conditions.
Remember, Institute apostolates tomorrow will also celebrate the external solemnity of St. Francis de Sales. Sunday Masses at the Oratory are at 8am (low) and 10am (high).
From The Liturgical Year:
Peaceful conqueror of souls! Pontiff beloved of God and man! we venerate thee as the perfect imitator of the sweetness and gentleness of Jesus. Having learnt of him to be meek and humble of heart, thou didst, according to His promise, possess the land. Nothing could resist thee. Heretics, however obstinate; sinners, however hardened; tepid souls, however sluggish; all yielded to the powerful charm of thy word and example…
Pray for us to Our Lord, that our charity may be ardent like thine; that the desire of perfection may be ever active within us; that we may gain that introduction to a devout Life which thou hast so admirably taught; that we may have that love of our neighbour, without which we cannot hope to love God; that we may be zealous for the salvation of souls; that we may be patient and forgive injuries, in order that we may love one another, not only in word and in tongue, but as thy great model says, in deed and in truth.
The full article is here. The results are a little confusing to me, in part because some of the answers are very similar to others within the same category, and more so because the percentages for each answer aren’t listed, only the rank (at least in the online version).
The Archdiocese plans an announcement with regard to the Alive in Christ plan on March 24.
I think it is a good idea to get feedback from the faithful. In the end, though, Catholics are looking to their Shepherd to lead the way in regaining vibrantly Catholic, Catholic schools.
Pray for the Archbishop in this difficult project.
Colleen Hammond’s blog today features a post about some prior statements by the USCCB to the effect that they favor the eventual elimination of gun ownership for anyone but the state and its agents.
Because there is no better protector of the Catholic Church, her teachings, her autonomy and her mission, than the government of the United States of America.
Thanks, Colleen, for the reminder.
What a hoot! Apparently, Saint Louis Catholic blog is the 119th most popular Catholic blog on the net (rated by number of subscribers). To those poor souls who subscribe, God bless you and keep you. Your reasons are your own.
The best part of this news– the BEST part– is that I am exactly tied with the USCCB media blog. The mind reels…can’t…formulate…suitable….comment…
Look out, Fr. Z, in about 27 years I’ll blow right by you!
All kidding aside, thank you very much for reading. It is very humbling that anyone other than my wife and probation officer take an interest. God bless.
Jeffrey Tucker of the Mises Institute has written a provocative essay on the education of our yoots sure to please, irritate, or both. His point of departure is the recent “Tiger Mom” controversy. From lewrockwell.com:
Tiger Moms and the Central Plan
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
The hottest commentary of the year appeared in the Wall Street Journal: Why Chinese Mothers are Superior by Amy Chua. The story has 7,200 comments and counting, and every other outlet including the New York Times, the Washington Post, and everyone else, including tens of thousands of bloggers. The author’s name yields more than one million Google hits.
The thesis was simple. American moms coddle their kids and protect their self-esteem; Chinese mothers, in contrast, work their kids hard, accept nothing less then excellence, and help the kid accomplish real things so that self-esteem is rooted in reality. The response was beyond belief, with mobs of angry mothers claiming that the author was essentially advocating child abuse.
I’m not entering the fray on child-raising techniques. Rather I would like to draw attention to something that seems to be lost in this debate: the institutional context that has led to the American tendency to let the kids grow like weeds.
The problem begins with public schooling itself. Teachers and parents alike tend report the widespread tendency of parents to take a strong interest in their child’s education from preschool through second grade. But after the child learns to read, more or less, and life gets busy to double-income households, the job of tending to education is left to the authorities, who give off the illusion that they are taking care of all important matters.
The child is meanwhile swimming in a world of peers and the distance between this world and the world of the parents grows, and by the time the child is in middle school, there is very little connection left between the parents and the child that would allow anything like close monitoring of educational outcomes.
Child rearing becomes a waiting game and a matter of a huge checklist. Reading: check. Basic math: check. Middle school: check. High school: check. SAT prep: check. College admission: check. Then the magic age of 18 arrives and it’s off to college, a time when parents sign huge checks and the child learns that life is a blast with few responsibilities beyond repeating on tests the blather they hear from the expert standing up front.
What about the child’s individual traits, such as strengths and weakness, talents and preferences? These are private matters, not something readily accommodated by the great system of K through 12 education, which is really a type of central plan. Most parents don’t even think twice about it but it is true: this country has an approved tract for all kids and the goal of the system is to force conformity to it. If a child is faster than the plan allows, he or she has to learn to wait. If a child is slower then the plan allows, he or she had better speed up. Each year that goes by is a marker, like a production goal in a Gosplan.
You can see it in the educational codes of every state, which have a century of accumulated cruft that reflects a slight change in educational philosophy that is written into law every ten years or so. We must have open classrooms and language experience! But no child can be left behind! Values clarification! Back to basics! The old priorities are not repealed but rather become like a layer in an old growth tree, the branches of which are a gigantic bureaucracy living off the taxpayer. But who can complain since the system is “free?”
Any child who deviates from the approved path is considered to be a problem. What if a child is ready for college at the age of 13 or 14? You can count on school administrators, counselors, teachers, pastors, and other parents to all say that it would be a disaster for the child to skip a step. Is it even allowed that a child can graduate that early?
And look at the shock and horror that has greeted the success of homeschooling: people who do this are seen as short-sighted, freaky, and even unpatriotic. Certainly they are doing the child no favors in denying him or her the glorious socialization that comes with staying with the central plan. When the homeschool child performs well, and all the data indicate that they do, this is chalked up to some exogenous factor and then ignored by the central planners.
Has this system reinforced a certain pattern of negligence among parents, the sense that there is no real need to push the child in this direction or that or otherwise insist on excellence and help the child achieve it? Certainly that is the usual path that central planning takes. When we are no longer owners of a resource, and no one in particular takes responsibility for outcomes, and the things we do to affect those outcomes don’t produce substantial results anyway, why bother?
This might be the real reason for the American tendency to approve of things the child is and does. As a culture, we’ve come to trust someone else to take on the essential responsibility of molding the next generation.
The central plan has instilled a kind of parental lethargy. We let the state take over the core responsibilities from the age of 5 through 22, and then we are shocked to discover that kids leave college without a sense of work ethic, without marketable skills, and even without the ambition to succeed in the real world. So we let them become boarders in our homes, “reverts” who specialize in Wii and Facebook updates. Growing up takes longer and longer because the machinery we have in place saps individual initiative and punishes any outlying behavior.
As for the Chinese approach, it might reflect a sense that authorities can never be trusted with the essential job of training a child for life. Long enough experience with a central plan will tend to teach that lesson. Americans are just behind the learning curve in this regard.
I won’t be so bold as to make a prediction publicly. If you see me at lunch, I’ll give you my take. If the Archdiocese loses, I doubt it’ll simply ignore the judge and do whatever it wants. In other words, after any legal recourse on appeal is complete, I doubt they will flout the decision in the same way St. Stan’s has flouted every single negative decision they have received in ecclesiastical proceedings. Different standards, perhaps.
BY VALERIE SCHREMP HAHN
ST. LOUIS • A decision on who should control St. Stanislaus Kostka Church is in the hands of a judge who is not expected to rule until at least late next month.
Lawyers presented their closing arguments in St. Louis Circuit Court on Wednesday after a trial of more than two weeks on a 2008 lawsuit by the Archdiocese of St. Louis and six former members to assert some authority over the Polish heritage church.
Judge Bryan Hettenbach provided no indication of when he will rule, although he gave lawyers until Feb. 21 to submit written briefs.
The archdiocese seeks to restore the unique structure of the church put in place at its founding 120 years ago: governance by a lay board, with a pastor appointed by the archbishop.
In 2001 and 2004, the St. Stanislaus board of directors changed the original bylaws, eliminating the authority of the archbishop. The archdiocese announced a massive legal restructuring that would transform each parish from an unincorporated association to a nonprofit corporation. St. Stanislaus parishioners were unwilling to yield control.
Ed Goldenhersh, an attorney for the archdiocese, argued Wednesday that the board had no authority to change its bylaws and that the court has the jurisdiction to enforce the 1891 agreement. “If members want to be members of a club, they have to play by the club’s rules,” he said.
The St. Stanislaus attorney, Richard Scherrer, said the church deserves independence from the archdiocese. He complained that it was the archdiocese that breached its agreement with the parish when it threatened to excommunicate board members to enforce its way.
“What it’s become is a test of wills and an issue of obedience,” Scherrer said.
Much of the evidence focused on the nonprofit structure, articles of incorporation and bylaws. But it also included emotional testimony about how the people of St. Stanislaus continue to gather under the leadership of the Rev. Marek Bozek. In 2005, the lay board named the Polish-born Bozek, then a priest in the Springfield-Cape Girardeau Diocese, usurping the archbishop’s role. Bozek was excommunicated and laicized by Pope Benedict XVI.
After court adjourned Wednesday, Bozek appeared relaxed. “Whoever loses will appeal,” he said with a smile, noting that process could take two or three years. “I will be there in the interim.”
SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES ORATORY
HIS HOLINESS, POPE BENEDICT XVI, WITH SUPERIORS
INSTITUTE OF CHRIST THE KING SOVEREIGN PRIEST
CARDINAL BURKE VISIT – FEAST OF ST. FRANCIS DE SALES –
SUPPORT THE ORATORY – CHOIR CAMP, AUGUST 2011
Dear Faithful and Friends,
PAPAL AUDIENCE WITH THE SUPERIORS OF THE INSTITUTE:
At a recent Papal Audience, the superiors of the Institute presented His Holiness with the latest news from Institute’s apostolates world-wide, a book with photographs of last year’s ordination in Florence with Cardinal Burke, Bishop Cordileone and Bishop Schneider, the new CD from the Seminary, and a beautiful chasuble, recently manufactured in Bavaria. At the same audience the parents of Monsignor Gilles Wach received blessings form His Holiness on the occasion of their sixty-five years of marriage. Monsignor Michael Schmitz was ordained to the holy priesthood in 1982 by then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger.
MORE PHOTOS FROM THE VISIT OF CARDINAL BURKE:
With his visit still fresh on our minds, please remember our pledges to offer prayers for His Eminence, and in thanksgiving for his support and encouragement of our endeavors in St. Louis.
CELEBRATING OUR PATRON, SAINT FRANCIS DE SALES:
Patron of St. Francis de Sales Oratory, Co-Patron of the Institute of Christ the King,
Patron of Writers and Journalists
Saturday, January 29: Low Masses at 8:00am, 12:15pm
External Solemnity, Sunday, January 30: 8:00am (Low Mass), 10:00am (Solemn High Mass)
A special reception in recognition of his patronage of writers and journalists will take place after 10:00am Mass on Sunday. Please join us in welcoming guests from the journalist profession!
“When did anyone hope in God and was confounded? The distrust which you ought to have of yourself is good as long as it serves as a base to the confidence you should have in God; but if it ever leads you to any discouragement, disquiet, sadness or melancholy I beg you to reject it as the temptation of temptations and never permit your spirit to argue and reply in favor of the disquiet or depression of heart to which you find yourself tending. For it is a simple and entirely certain truth that God permits many difficulties to arise in the way of those who undertake His service, but still that He never lets them fall under the burden so long as they trust in Him. Never employ your spirit to defend and support the temptation to discouragement under any pretext whatsoever, not even if it be under the specious pretext of humility. Humility, my dear daughter, refuses offices; but it is not obstinate in its refusal and when employed by those who have the right, it no longer reasons upon its own unworthiness as to that thing but believes all things, hopes all things, bears all things with charity; it is always simple, in holy humility, and a good follower of obedience; and as it never dares to think that itself can do anything so it always thinks that obedience can do everything, and as true simplicity humbly refuses charges, true humility exercises them simply.”
Letter of Saint Francis de Sales to Mother Jeanne Charlotte de Bréchard (1580-1637), one of the first three Visitandines at Annecy.
SUPPORT THE ORATORY:
Veils by Lily will be accepting orders for chapel veils after 10 am Mass on Sunday, January 30. 100% of every purchase will be donated to St. Francis de Sales Oratory. Orders may be picked up after 10 am Mass on Sunday, February 27. To view veils available for ordering, please visit: http://www.veilsbylily.com. Online orders toward this fundraiser may be placed on http://www.veilsbylily.com between 12:01 am on Saturday, January 29 and 11:59 pm on Monday, January 31. 100% of every purchase minus shipping expenses will be donated to the Oratory. Online orders will be shipped by Tuesday, February 22.
Make a charitable donation from your IRA: If you are 70 ½ or older, you are eligible to use your individual retirement account (IRA) assets to make special charitable donations without having to report the payout as income. You can contribute up to a total of $100,000 in IRA assets to a qualified charity, such as The Friends of St. Francis de Sales, Inc., or the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest. This benefit was originally set to expire in 2010, but has been extended through 2011. As a recent Wall Street Journal article http://tiny.cc/i5qm5 pointed out, the tax bill just passed by Congress resurrects an expired provision allowing special charitable donations of IRA assets for taxpayers age 70½ and older. Additionally, lawmakers have included a special rule that allows you to make an IRA gift this month (January 2011) and still have it count for last year (2010). If you are eligible, please consider making this IRA donation. As individual situations vary, please consult your tax accountant before January 31 to make this donation. Thank you for your generosity!
CHILDREN’S CHOIR CAMP:
The Institute will offer its second Children’s Choir Camp this summer. The Camp has been scheduled for August 7-12, 2011. Please contact us at 314-771-3100 or email St. Francis de Sales Oratory if you are interested in registering your child.
With my best wishes on the occasion of the feast of Saint Francis de Sales, and the assurance of my prayers,
Canon Michael K. Wiener
Rector, St. Francis de Sales Oratory