***An Update on Altar Girls: Well, the lasses will serve the Masses which is unlikely to bolster the participation of the lads. Bishop Loverde has desired altar girls since he arrived, a point he made in a letter to a parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace (OLQP) several years ago. The timing was shrewd, just prior to the Bishop’s Lenten Appeal (BLA), as was linking it to approval for two Tridentine Masses. Traditionalists and liberals were both pleased, with some of each saying, “Guess I’ll have to contribute to the BLA this year.” We’ve polled about a third of the parishes around the diocese and here’s our tally of who will maintain the honorable tradition of male servers and who won’t. ALL BOYS: St. Lawrence, St. James, Our Lady of Angels, St. Raymond, St. Mary's (Old Town), St. John Bosco, St. John the Baptist, St. John the Beloved, St. Peter, St. Andrew, St. John the Evangelist, St. Rita. INTRODUCING GIRLS: OLQP, Good Shepherd, St. Ann, St. Mark, St. John Neumann, St. Bernadette, Blessed Sacrament, St. Anthony, St. Charles Borromeo, Christ the Redeemer. UNDECIDED as of May 10: Cathedral of St. Thomas More, Our Lady of Good Counsel, St. William of York.
Altar girls at 2006 Los Angeles Religious Education Conference. Where have all the young men gone?

***Need Catholic School Principals? Where’s the first place you advertise for orthodox applicants? National Catholic Reporter (NCR) right? Not hardly! Not if your goal is raising Catholic children in the faith. So why did the diocese run an ad in the March 10, 2006 issue of NCR? The ad copy reads: “The Catholic Schools in the Diocese of Arlington (VA) seek school administrators to serve its 44 schools and 18,000 students…..Interested candidates who are practicing Catholics with a master's degree and/or equivalent experience should send a resume.”

Now exactly what kind of “practicing” Catholic are you likely to get from advertising in a newspaper that features heretics as writers and members of the board? Dissenters from the faith, that’s who. Let’s sample a few NCR folk: Charlie Curran — ringleader of the rebellion against Humanae Vitae and cheerleader for sexual perversion; Rosemary Radford Ruether — founder of Women Church, board member of Catholics for a Free Choice, and proponent of “diverse” families [Yes, we mean Heather has two mommies.]; Sr. Joan Chittister — women’s ordination advocate and eco-feminist who regularly challenges Church authority; Sr. Theresa Kane — who publicly chastised Pope John Paul II on women’s ordination; Kathleen Kennedy Townsend — pro-abort politician. Are these the people you want forming the attitudes and beliefs of administrators who run your kids’ school? More to the point, are these the kind of principals the bishop wants? Surely not! Dr. Timothy McNiff, Superintendent of schools, should be challenged on this. Faith breeds faith; dissent breeds dissent.

***Bishop Matthew Clark of Rochester, long-time sympathizer toward homosexuality, has made public dissenter Fr. Joe Marcoux, his poster-boy for vocations. In 2003 Marcoux with two other priests signed and circulated an open letter castigating the Vatican for “vile and toxic” language about homosexuality. “We encourage a new atmosphere of openness to dialogue,” the priests wrote, “which includes the lived experience of many Catholic members. We recognize the blessings of countless homosexuals in a variety of relationships.” [Hmm… “a variety of relationships.” Is that code talk for anonymous bar hook-ups? Same-sex “marriage,” bathhouse orgies? Chicken hawks with adolescent boys? Or maybe they meant variety of positions, but we won’t go there.] Catholic World News commentator, Diogenes made some astute observations about Marcoux in his May 7 Off the Record column. “It's the chin-in-hand pose plus the ‘I love my life’ line that makes my skin crawl…. Several years ago I began to notice that the remark, ‘I love being a priest!’ nearly always set my teeth on edge…. [W]ith remarkable consistency it was uttered by gay or gay-partisan priests, and they always seemed to trade, dishonestly, on the natural assumption that the priesthood as such is inseparable from the Church the priesthood is meant to serve The dishonesty comes from the fact that, when addressed to Catholics of innocent good will, the line gives reassurance or asks forbearance where neither is warranted: ‘I hate the Church; I love being a priest. I hate the Pope; I love being a priest. I'm out to undermine Catholic doctrine I detest; I love being a priest.’ The hatred either remains unspoken or is whispered only to allies; what's offered for public admiration is the ‘love’ — and this turns out to mean not love of the Church, but love of a lifestyle.” [Yup!...a lifestyle and life view not compatible with the priesthood. Honestly…would that picture make any normal manly guy want to be a priest? Or make his mom encourage it? Maybe that’s the point.]

***Dissenters always call for dialog, but Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz warns of its dangers. Dialog can cause “mutilation or marginalizing of truth. Things can be so ordered that consensus and good feelings are the major outcomes desired in dialog, and therefore, there can be a normal human tendency to trivialize things that are relatively important for the sake of compromise and consensus…. [C]onsensus is not always a process which results in truth, any more than dialog itself always results in truth. Consequently, we can, particularly in a pluralistic society when we are very desirous of living in comity and reasonable comfort with neighbors with whom we disagree, arrive at the conclusion that certain matters are not really of any kind of earth-shaking dimensions, and really have no eternal repercussions." [Liberals want to “dialog” to make the intolerable acceptable. Dialog is rarely about issues, i.e., abortion or homosexuality. Often it’s about verbal manipulation: abortion is “choice” and sodomy is a civil right or some other buzz word to fool the masses.]

***Bishop Loverde creates disunity: If any decision is guaranteed to cause problems it’s implementing altar girls. Our sources tell us that at a recent Presbyteral Council meeting there was a blowup among the clergy. Some priests said they will exercise their option not to use girls. They were accused of disloyalty. Counter accusations against the liberal accuser followed. The priests who won’t use altar girls prudently requested that the bishop consider their decision in making parish reassignments. The bishop rejected their request saying it’s the priests’ problem. The dissension fostered will affect both unity in rectories and unity with the people in the pews. Watch the upcoming reassignments to see the treatment of priests who retain the honored tradition of altar boys.

***News Flash: Update on Fr. Altier Archbishop Harry Flynn of Minneapolis has taken the steps St. Agnes parishioners feared. One sent a sad message. “This is the email that we have all been fearing. Fr. Altier had another meeting with the Archbishop. He is officially being placed as the Chaplain for a nursing home in Hastings as of June 18. Also, Fr. Welzbacher [the pastor] is leaving St. Agnes and returning to New Market. St. Agnes is getting a new pastor, and although I am not at liberty to say who, he will not be in line with what we have come to expect from Priests at St. Agnes. Changes to our church are imminent and I expect they will not be accepted too freely. It is obvious to all that Fr. Altier is being pushed to the lowest state possible as a chastisement and St. Agnes will be changed to be in line with what the Archbishop has always wanted. Please keep all these priests in your prayers.”

***What will happen to St. Agnes? From a church management standpoint reassigning both the pastor and associate simultaneously is akin to a family having both parents killed in a traffic accident. It throws everyone off balance, and is a cruel blow. Those following this case have ample evidence to conclude that the bishop is retaliating against, not only Fr. Altier, but the pastor and the orthodox people of St. Agnes. To understand the impact of what’s happening browse the St. Agnes website at http://www.stagnes.net. See what an oasis of faith this parish is in the diocese of St. Paul. Two of the five priests being ordained this year are connected to the parish, one a parishioner, the other a graduate of the school. Look at liturgical and other weekly activities: three daily Masses, Sunday vespers, frequent confessions, novena, Benediction, Adoration, NFP classes, Legion of Mary, several choirs, etc. The only appropriate words to describe what’s happening at St. Agnes are shameful and heartbreaking.

***From Twilight before the dawn dept. To end on a positive note we report on three bishops who give us reason to hope. Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, MO is accused by NCR of an “extreme makeover” in his diocese. What the liberal rag means as a criticism lifts our hearts. One of Bishop Finn’s first acts was to erase from his diocesan paper the column of dissident Fr. Richard McBrien. Other good signs: reducing the diocesan bureaucracy, replacing the lay chancellor with a priest, beefing up the pro-life office, ending The New Wine program of lay formation, and calling for adult education with a “solid faith foundation” so the faithful can “withstand the rather constant challenges of the secular culture.” The bishop also gave the local Latin Mass group their own parish and named himself the pastor. After only one year, Bishop Finn has begun to move his diocese away from “spirit of Vatican II” dissent back into the reality of Vatican II renewal in the unbroken tradition of the faith. We wish him well.

Within a month of taking office in December 2003 Bishop Thomas Olmsted of Phoenix was on the front lines at abortion mills. Later he ordered nine priests to remove their names from an ecumenical statement that Church teachings “lead directly and indirectly to intolerance, discrimination, suffering, and even death” of homosexuals. [Yikes!] Only six of the original signers remain in active ministry. [Let’s hope the others go too!] The bishop teaches clearly on Humanae Vitae and Pope John Paul II’s Theology of the Body, encouraging the faithful to embrace the fullness of the truth on family life. He invited the Poor Clares of Perpetual Adoration to start a contemplative monastery in the area, all reasons to give thanks.

Our final kudos to Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz who gave a piece of his mind to the National Review Board after chairman Patricia Ewers urged his brother bishops to engage in “strong fraternal correction” because he won’t bend to their demands. The bishop came out swinging with a press release excoriating the hypocrisy of the board. “It is well known that some of the members of (the National Review) Board are ardent advocates of partial birth abortion, other abortions, human cloning, and other moral errors. It is understandable then how such persons could dislike the Diocese of Lincoln, which upholds the moral teaching of the Catholic Church….The Diocese of Lincoln does not see any reason for the existence of Ewers and her organization.” [Thank you, Lord, for a bishop with spine.]

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