See No Hegel, Hear No Hegel
Thomas A. Droleskey
Frustration cannot even begin to describe how I felt when writing article after article for Christ or Chaos, then a printed journal, in 1999 and 2000 about the fact that then Texas Governor George W. Bush was a pro-life fraud. Although I was still associated, however tenuously, with The Wandrerer at that time, very few of those articles saw the light of day in that venerable newspaper's pages. Oh, no, it was too important to "beat Al Gore" to point out the nasty little fact that George W. Bush was little more than Bill Clinton with a Texas twang.
Undaunted, however, I kept banging out article after article, continuing to do so after George W. Bush's narrow victory in the popular vote of State of Florida that gave him enough electoral votes to defeat then Vice President Albert Arnold Gore, Jr., in the year 2000. Some of those articles will appear in the second edition of Restoring Christ as the King of All Nations. Some appeared on the Griffin Internet Syndicate website in early 2001. A variation of a theme, "The Illusion of Secular Salvation," appeared in The Latin Mass: A Journal of Catholic Culture in late-2001. These analyses continued when I started my association with The Remnant in late-2002, earning me tremendous opprobrium from people who would rather believe in the political equivalent of the tooth fairy than to face the fact that the daily carnage of the preborn is but one of the inexorable consequences of the overthrow of the Social Reign of Christ the King desired by Martin Luther and carried to its ultimate conclusions by the Freemasons and their kindred spirits in various ideological movements. I might also add that the pieces I contributed to the Seattle Catholic website between late-2002 and mid-2004 on matters pertaining to George W. Bush and the problems of Americanism were met with much disdain by "true believers" in the "conservatism" as the answer to all social ills.
Having spelled everything out any number of times over the course of fifteen years or more of writing and speaking (and campaigning for office, both for myself and for others), I decided in 2004 that enough was enough. If allegedly traditional Catholics were unwilling to look critically at George W. Bush's support for the thorough pro-abortion Senator Arlen Specter (Republican, Pennsylvania) in a primary race against a partly pro-life and partly pro-abortion challenger, Representative Patrick Toomey, then why waste any more time on pointing out the obvious? I held my fire until after the election, reminding Catholics of the true nature of President Bush's anti-life record. And I did write a few articles now and again for The Remnant's informative website on matters of politics, especially pertaining to Bush's nominations of John Roberts and Harriet Miers to serve on the Supreme Court of the United States.
The same of frustration is evident when dealing with the Modernist approach to Catholic theology that is possessed by Pope Benedict XVI. Articles have been written to explain just how his "new theology" was condemned by Pope Saint Pius X in Pascendi Domenici Gregis and by Pope Pius XII in Humani Generis. The irreconcilable nature of the conciliarist heresy of ecumenism with the authentic teaching and praxis of the Catholic Church over the course of nearly two millennia has been pointed out ad infinitum, replete with copious quotations from Pope Pius IX's Iam Vos Omnes and Pope Pius XI's Mortalium Animos. Unfortunately, however, many good Catholics have tried mightily to defend the indefensible by making it appear as though all of the ambiguities in the writings of the former Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger pose few problems for his own personal orthodoxy, replicating the "I know noooooothing!" approach of the Not-So-Right to Life Committee (also known as the National Right to Life Committee) with respect to indemnifying every single one of George W. Bush's anti-life policies. The problem is not with Joseph Ratzinger, we are told, but with theological nitwits who are looking for problems where there are none.
Pope Benedict XVI, meanwhile, has been busy advancing his Hegelian view of the Faith, using his General Audience addresses to cleverly define the term "Tradition" to encompass unprecedented novelties and innovations that have wrecked the Church in her human elements. A true disciple of the late Father Hans Urs von Balthasar, whose theology of contradiction and ambiguity was critiqued by Father Regis Scanlon, O.F.M., Cap., in the New Oxford Review in 1999, Pope Benedict has been eager to make it appear that every innovation of the past forty years is compatible with the Church's Tradition. People have forgotten that Joseph Ratzinger knows Catholic doctrine very, very well and that he has been attempting to redefine it throughout the course of his priesthood, believing that our understanding of doctrine can change over the course of time, as he noted in his Principles of Catholic Theology in 1982:
“If it is desirable to offer a diagnosis of the text [of Gaudium et Spes] as a whole, we might say that (in conjunction with the texts on religious liberty and world religions) it is a revision of the Syllabus of Pius IX, a kind of counter syllabus. . . . The one-sidedness of the position adopted by the Church under Pius IX and Pius in response to the situation created by the new phase of history inaugurated by the French Revolution was, to a large extent, corrected via facti, especially in Central Europe, but there was still no basic statement of the relationship that should exist between the Church and the world that had come into existence after 1789."
This embrace of the Hegelian notion of a change in understanding produced by a clash of ideas is at the essence of the thought of Hans Urs von Balthasar, who believed that truth could and did contradict itself. Benedict believes that the Popes of the Nineteenth Century were acting in a hasty manner by rejecting all aspects of the world as it had been shaped in the aftermath of the French Revolution. The Second Vatican Council was a "correction" of that one-sided approach, flushing down the Orwellian memory hole the infallible teaching of the Catholic Church that the State must recognize her as the true Faith. It is not for nothing that the then Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger noted in Principles of Catholic Theology that it was necessary to "raze the bastions of Catholicism." It is not for nothing that Cardinal Ratzinger told interviewer Vittorio Messori that traditional Catholics posed a grave threat for the life of the Church and that they could not be resisted strongly enough.
Even here, you see, the influence of Hegelianism. That is, Pope Benedict XVI is said to favor a "liberation" of the Mass of Tradition, well, at least for the Ecclesia Dei communities, which toe the line about refusing to criticize the Novus Ordo Missae and the various and sundry errors of conciliarism. We are supposed to be grateful for this papal desire to "liberate" the true Mass of the Roman Rite of the Catholic Church, which every priest has the right to offer without any episcopal permission, while Dario Cardinal Castrillon Hoyos, the President of Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei speaks out of both sides of his mouth about the Society of Saint Pius X. Cardinal Hoyos has said alternately in some interviews that the Society of Saint Pius X is not in schism but then revealed a different attitude when writing a letter to a bishop in India to express a sigh of relief that some seminarians who had left the bishop's diocese to study for the Society of Saint Pius X in Australia had returned to "the bosom of the Church." No contradiction there, right? Lets face it: the indult is a trap to silence Catholics about the Novus Ordo Missae and such errors as religious liberty and ecumenism. It is that simple.
The problem is not with Benedict XVI, we are told by his reflexive supporters. No, those who point out the pope's long record of support for novelties at odds with the entire patrimony of the Catholic Church are the problem. They are not giving the poor pope the benefit of the doubt, disregarding the fact that there is no doubt as to what he wants to accomplish in further cementing conciliarism's hold on the minds of bishops and priests and ordinary Catholics. Consider, for example, this telling passage from Principles of Catholic Theology concerning how to deal with Protestants:
Against this background we can now weigh the possibilities that are open to Christian ecumenism. The maximum demands on which the search for unity must certainly founder are immediately clear. On the part of the West, the maximum demand would be that the East recognize the primacy of the bishop of Rome in the full scope of the definition of 1870 and in so doing submit in practice, to a primacy such as has been accepted by the Uniat churches. On the part of the East, the maximum demand would be that the West declare the 1870 doctrine of primacy erroneous and in so doing submit, in practice, to a primacy such as has been accepted with the removal of the Filioque from the Creed and including the Marian dogmas of the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. As regards Protestantism, the maximum demand of the Catholic Church would be that the Protestant ecclesiological ministers be regarded as totally invalid and that Protestants be converted to Catholicism; the maximum demand of Protestants, on the other hand, would be that the Catholic Church accept, along with the unconditional acknowledgement of all Protestant ministries, the Protestant concept of ministry and their understanding of the Church and thus, in practice, renounce the apostolic and sacramental structure of the Church, which would mean, in practice, the conversion of Catholics to Protestantism and their acceptance of a multiplicity of distinct community structures as the historical form of the Church. While the first three maximum demands are today rather unanimously rejected by Christian consciousness, the fourth exercises a kind of fascination for it – as it were, a certain conclusiveness that makes it appear to be the real solution to the problem. This is all the more true since there is joined to it the expectation that a Parliament of Churches, a ‘truly ecumenical council’, could then harmonize this pluralism and promote a Christian unity of action. That no real union would result from this, but that its very impossibility would become a single common dogma, should convince anyone who examines the suggestion closely that such a way would not bring Church unity but only a final renunciation of it. As a result, none of the maximum solutions offers any real hope of unity.”
Excuse me? The then Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith rejects the "maximum demand of the Catholic Church" that Protestant "ministers" are illegitimate and that Protestants must be converted to the Faith. Does this mean he rejects Pope Leo XIII's Apostolicae Curae, September 15, 1896, which declared null and void Anglican "orders" and bound everyone for all times to not even put into question his infallible decree? Consider the words of Pope Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curae:
Wherefore, strictly adhering, in this matter, to the decrees of the pontiffs, our predecessors, and confirming them most fully, and, as it were, renewing them by our authority, of our own initiative and certain knowledge, we pronounce and declare that ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void. . . .
We decree that these letters and all things contained therein shall not be liable at any time to be impugned or objected to by reason of fault or any other defect whatsoever of subreption or obreption of our intention, but are and shall be always valid and in force and shall be inviolably observed both juridically and otherwise, by all of whatsoever degree and preeminence, declaring null and void anything which, in these matters, may happen to be contrariwise attempted, whether wittingly or unwittingly, by any person whatsoever, by whatsoever authority or pretext, all things to the contrary notwithstanding.
Case closed. Why, then, is the teaching of the Catholic Church that Protestant "ministers" do not have valid orders considered by Joseph Ratzinger to be simply a "maximum solution " that offers no "real hope of unity?" Was Pope Pius XI wrong when he exhorted the Protestants as follows in Mortalium Animos, January 6, 1928?
Let, therefore, the separated children draw nigh to the Apostolic See, set up in the City which Peter and Paul, the Princes of the Apostles, consecrated by their blood; to that See, We repeat, which is "the root and womb whence the Church of God springs," not with the intention and the hope that "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth" will cast aside the integrity of the faith and tolerate their errors, but, on the contrary, that they themselves submit to its teaching and government. Would that it were Our happy lot to do that which so many of Our predecessors could not, to embrace with fatherly affection those children, whose unhappy separation from Us We now bewail. Would that God our Savior, "Who will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth,"would hear us when We humbly beg that He would deign to recall all who stray to the unity of the Church! In this most important undertaking We ask and wish that others should ask the prayers of Blessed Mary the Virgin, Mother of divine grace, victorious over all heresies and Help of Christians, that She may implore for Us the speedy coming of the much hoped-for day, when all men shall hear the voice of Her divine Son, and shall be "careful to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace."
As I have noted endlessly on this site, the "maximum demand" concerning Protestants is what motivated Saints Peter Canisius and Francis de Sales, among many others, to win back Protestants to the true Church in the aftermath of the diabolically-inspired Protestant Revolt. Protestants do not have "legitimate theologies" or "legitimate liturgies" as do the Eastern rites. Each and every Protestant sect was inspired by the devil to take souls out of the Catholic Church, the true sheepfold of Christ outside of which there is no salvation, a doctrine hated by Father Martin Luther, O.S.A. There can be no "multiplicity in unity" or "unity in multiplicity" with sects that were created to divert people away from belief in the Deposit of Faith that the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity made Man in Our Lady's virginal and immaculate womb entrusted solely to the Church He founded upon the Rock of Peter, the Pope. Protestantism is founded entirely on a rejection of part of all of the true Faith. It provides, therefore, the basis for nothing other than the efforts of believing Catholics to win them back to the true Church as they reject and denounce without any reservation everything to do with Protestantism.
Alas, this authentic teaching of the Catholic Church is not held by Pope Benedict XVI. Defying the reiteration of the teaching of the Church given by Pope Pius IX in The Syllabus of Errors, 1864, that one cannot have "good hope" in the salvation of Protestants, Joseph Ratzinger wrote in Principles of Catholic Theology that Protestants should be strengthened in their false religions, thereby implying that they can be saved in those false religions:
“But we can define the required action even more clearly in terms of the above diagnosis. It means that the Catholic does not insist on the dissolution of the Protestant confessions and the demolishing of their churches but hopes, rather, that they will be strengthened in their confessions and in their ecclesial reality.”
Yes, repeating myself for the umpteenth time, it must be remembered that Pope Benedict XVI said that a Protestant syncretist, Roger Schutz, had attained "eternal joy" following his murder in August of 2005. No Purgatory for Brother Roger. Oh, no, a heretic can go straight to Heaven. No problem here, is there?
No, a Catholic does hope and pray for the abolition of all false religions just as surely as the Apostles and the missionaries sought to eradicate all false religions in whatever lands the Holy Ghost sent them to evangelize. Pope Pius IX had this to say in Iam Vos Omnes, September 13, 1868 about the "ecclesial reality" of Protestant sects in Iam Vos Omnes, September 13, 1868:
Whoever thus gives proper attention and reflection to the situation which surrounds the various religious societies, divided amongst themselves and separated from the Catholic Church - which, without interruption, from the time of Christ the Lord and of His Apostles, by means of her legitimate sacred Shepherds, has always exercised, and exercises still, the divine power conferred upon Her by the Lord - it will be easy to convince [them] that in none of these societies, and not even in all of them taken together, can in some way be seen the one and Catholic Church which Christ the Lord built, constituted, and willed to exist. Neither will it ever be able to be said that they are members and part of that Church as long as they remain visibly separated from Catholic unity. It follows that such societies, lacking that living authority established by God, which instructs men in the things of the faith and in the discipline of the customs, directing and governing them in all that concerns eternal salvation, they continuously mutate in their doctrines without that mobility and the instability they find one end. Everyone therefore can easily comprehend and fully reckon that this is absolutely in contrast with the Church instituted by Christ the Lord, in which the truth must always remain constant and never subject to change whatsoever, deposited as if it were into a warehouse, entrusted to be guarded perfectly whole. To this purpose, it has received the promise of the perpetual presence and the aid of the Holy Spirit. No one then ignores that from these dissentions [disagreements] in doctrines and opinions derive social divisions, which find their origin in these innumerable communions and which are always and increasingly diffused with grave damage[s] to the Christian and civil society.
It cannot be the case that the Popes of Tradition and the conciliar popes are correct. The immutable teaching that Our Lord left His Holy Church is what it is. It is beyond the reach of any council or any pope to even attempt to try to defy what has been defined, as Pope Pius II noted in Execrabilis, 1460:
An execrable, and in former ages unheard-of-abuse, has
sprung up in our time, namely that some people, imbued with the
spirit of rebellion, presume to appeal to a future Council, from
the Roman Pontiff, the Vicar of Jesus Christ, to whom it was said
in the person of blessed Peter: "Feed my sheep" and "Whatsoever
thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound also in Heaven"; they do
not do so because they are anxious to obtain sounder judgment,
but in order to escape the consequences of their sins, and anyone
who is not ignorant of the laws can realize how contrary this is
to the sacred canons and how detrimental to the Christian
community. Because - passing over other things which are most
manifestly opposed to this corruption - who would not find it
ridiculous when appeals are made to what does not exist and the
time of whose future existence nobody knows? The poor are
oppressed in many ways by the stronger, crimes remain unpunished,
freedom is conceded to delinquents, and all the ecclesiastical
discipline and hierarchal order is confounded.
Alas, as Father Didier Bonneterre noted in The Liturgical Movement: Roots, Radicals, Results, the Modernists believed that the election of Angelo Cardinal Roncalli to succeed Pope Pius XII in 1958 could save "ecumenism" and make it the foundation of their efforts to "update" the Church. Indeed. Thus it is that souls who live their entire lives in false religions have been reaffirmed in their errors. Thus it is that most Catholics have no idea that they have a responsibility to seek the conversion of all non-Catholics whom God puts in their life's pathways to the Catholic Church. Thus it is that truly detestable revolutionaries such as Bishop Donald Wuerl (see appendix below) get promoted when other equally detestable revolutionaries, such as the invoker of the name of the false god "allah," Theodore Cardinal McCarrick, retire in perfectly good standing after their years of crimes against souls.
Gone is the zeal of Saint Vincent Ferrer, the subject of an article on this site a month ago, who sought to convert everyone, including Jews and Mohammedans to the true Faith:
"He [St. Vincent Ferrer] converted the Jews in great numbers in the diocese of Valencia, in the kingdom of Leon, as Mariana relates. It is difficult to arrive at a figure. The most cautious of his historians give twenty-five thousand converts among the Jews... "You know," Vincent announced from the pulpit, "that we have good news. All the Jews and many of the Moors of Valladolid are converted."
There was similar news from Toledo, Huesca, Saragossa... this was after the Congress of Tortosa for the conversion of Israel, suggested to Benedict by a former rabbi, Josua Holuorqui, who had become Friar Jerome of the Holy Faith. Vincent, who took part in the Congress, collaborated in a Treatise on the Jews which served as a base for his further labors among them; in it all the proofs of the Dogma of the Incarnation were magisterially set forth. The Pope presided.
The populace were massed on the river bank; Master Vincent had taken up his stand to preach on the roof of a house surrounded by trees on the far side of the Ebro.One day he stopped suddenly in his sermon. The people were startled. "Do not be shocked by this interval," he said, "I must wait upon grace." As the crowd began to laugh, a party of Jews were seen approaching: Grace had conquered them. Of sixteen rabbis, fourteen were converted. How he loved these new children of his; he loved to remind Christians who too readily forgot the fact that Jesus and Mary were of the Jewish race . . . .
(I)n all of these places the power of God was manifested in His enabling him (St. Vincent) to work miracles and effect the conversion of an incredible number of Jews and sinners.
The Jews of Toledo, embracing the faith, changed their synagogue into a church under the name of Our Lady's. In the same city the saint entered the Jewish synagogue with a cross in his hand, and replenished with the Holy Ghost, made so moving a sermon that the Jews, who were at first surprised, all desired baptism at the end of his discourse and changed their synagogue into a church to which they gave the title of the Holy Cross.
Must it be pointed out once again that Saint Vincent Ferrer followed an anti-pope during the Great Schism before recommending the way to resolve this era of disputation amongst Catholics of good will? Yes, he, a Dominican priest who was in one of the warring camps during the Great Schism, sought the good of souls by pleading for their conversion to Catholicism. Can the same be said of the conciliarists today, content in the belief, whether conscious or not, in Hans Urs von Balthasar's Universal Salvation? Georg Hegel, call your office. You have lots of followers in the Vatican today, men who believe that the clash of competing theologies will produce a new era of "understanding" without demanding the relinquishing of "traditions" that are from the devil himself. Yes, Herr Hegel, your philosophy of clash and conflict and contradiction has prevailed, at least for the moment, as the Vatican seeks to devise a "code of conduct" with an organization devoted to the destruction of little babies in their mothers' wombs, the World Council of Churches.
The good news, however, is that this period will pass. Our Lady's Immaculate Heart will indeed triumph in the end, as I note all of the time. Catholics will continue to disagree with each other about the nature and extent of our problems--and how to deal with them--just as they did during the Great Schism. However, it is important to realize that there are problems and that we must take flight (as Saint Basil did as a lector when he separated himself from an Arian bishop) from everything to do with the rot of conciliarism--and all concessions to it (meaning, of course, the indult) to protect ourselves in the catacombs where the Faith can be taught in all of its fullness, where the good of souls and not a blind, slavish adherence to the novelties of the recent past characterizes the work of priests in the vineyard of the Vine Dresser Himself, Our Blessed Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.
Vivat Christus Rex!
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us.
Saint Joseph, pray for us.
Saints Peter and Paul, pray for us.
Saint John the Baptist, pray for us.
Saint Michael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Gabriel the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Raphael the Archangel, pray for us.
Saint Paschal Baylon, pray for us.
Saint Ubaldus, pray for us.
Saint Vincent Ferrer, pray for us.
Saint Lucy, pray for us.
Saint Agnes, pray for us.
Saint Agatha, pray for us.
Saint Bridget of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Catherine of Sweden, pray for us.
Saint Philomena, pray for us.
Saint John of the Cross, pray for us.
Saint Teresa of Avila, pray for us.
Saint Therese Lisieux, pray for us.
Saint Bernadette Soubirous, pray for us.
Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich, pray for us.
Blessed Francisco, pray for us.
Blessed Jacinta, pray for us.
Sister Lucia, pray for us.
The Longer Version of the Saint Michael the Archangel Prayer, composed by Pope Leo XIII, 1888
O glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Prince of the heavenly host, be our defense in the terrible warfare which we carry on against principalities and powers, against the rulers of this world of darkness, spirits of evil. Come to the aid of man, whom God created immortal, made in His own image and likeness, and redeemed at a great price from the tyranny of the devil. Fight this day the battle of our Lord, together with the holy angels, as already thou hast fought the leader of the proud angels, Lucifer, and his apostate host, who were powerless to resist thee, nor was there place for them any longer in heaven. That cruel, that ancient serpent, who is called the devil or Satan who seduces the whole world, was cast into the abyss with his angels. Behold this primeval enemy and slayer of men has taken courage. Transformed into an angel of light, he wanders about with all the multitude of wicked spirits, invading the earth in order to blot out the Name of God and of His Christ, to seize upon, slay, and cast into eternal perdition, souls destined for the crown of eternal glory. That wicked dragon pours out. as a most impure flood, the venom of his malice on men of depraved mind and corrupt heart, the spirit of lying, of impiety, of blasphemy, and the pestilent breath of impurity, and of every vice and iniquity. These most crafty enemies have filled and inebriated with gall and bitterness the Church, the spouse of the Immaculate Lamb, and have laid impious hands on Her most sacred possessions. In the Holy Place itself, where has been set up the See of the most holy Peter and the Chair of Truth for the light of the world, they have raised the throne of their abominable impiety with the iniquitous design that when the Pastor has been struck the sheep may be scattered. Arise then, O invincible Prince, bring help against the attacks of the lost spirits to the people of God, and give them the victory. They venerate thee as their protector and patron; in thee holy Church glories as her defense against the malicious powers of hell; to thee has God entrusted the souls of men to be established in heavenly beatitude. Oh, pray to the God of peace that He may put Satan under our feet, so far conquered that he may no longer be able to hold men in captivity and harm the Church. Offer our prayers in the sight of the Most High, so that they may quickly conciliate the mercies of the Lord; and beating down the dragon, the ancient serpent, who is the devil and Satan, do thou again make him captive in the abyss, that he may no longer seduce the nations. Amen.
Verse: Behold the Cross of the Lord; be scattered ye hostile powers.
Response: The Lion of the Tribe of Juda has conquered the root of David.
Verse: Let Thy mercies be upon us, O Lord.
Response: As we have hoped in Thee.
Verse: O Lord hear my prayer.
Response: And let my cry come unto Thee.
Verse: Let us pray. O God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, we call upon Thy holy Name, and as suppliants, we implore Thy clemency, that by the intercession of Mary, ever Virgin, immaculate and our Mother, and of the glorious Archangel Saint Michael, Thou wouldst deign to help us against Satan and all other unclean spirits, who wander about the world for the injury of the human race and the ruin of our souls.
Appendix: A Report on the Record of Bishop Donald Wuerl, the Archbishop-elect of Washington, D.C.
(published in Mothers' Watch, September, 1996)
Bishop Wuerl's "Magnificent Obsession"
In February 1988, Pittsburgh Catholics looked forward to the appointment of Donald Wuerl as the 11th Bishop of this ethnically-rich, traditionally-based community. This former "blue-collar" town had longed for a return to the roots of its Catholic heritage which was already being subtly but persistently overtaken by the modernist establishment. But instead of the situation getting better, things got worse.
In the Catholic schools and CCD programs, the message of salvation runs secondary to the "social gospel." Catechists are educated in the latest innovative theories taught by education "experts" and children, for the most part, have no foundation in authentic catechesis.
Some members of the clergy seem to regard their vocation as a nine to five. job, while other priests appear so overburdened with responsibilities and concerns about meeting financial obligations in their parishes, such as paying the diocesan tax, "Parish Share," that they have little time for evangelization. Some priests are hesitant to speak out on critically important moral issues such as abortion, contraception, pre-marital sex, adultery and homosexuality, perhaps out of fear of diocesan censure.
For years, Catholic parents have trusted that others would aid them in fostering religious education for their children and naturally turned to parochial schools for support. More and more of these same parents have come to the realization that the majority of Catholic schools are "Catholic" in name only and in fact, can be more detrimental to the spiritual lives of their children than some of the public schools!
In this age of false ecumenism, children have little concept of the major differences existing between Catholicism and other denominations and religions. In March of 1964, Pittsburgh Bishop John Wright established the Ecumenical Commission and years later, the "fruits" of this effort were manifested.
A look at the 1987-1988 CCD catalog on courses and catechists provides valuable insight into the reality of this pernicious attack on the Faith. Listed under a profile of "Master Catechists" (trainers of diocesan school teachers) were: Sr. Rita Harasiuk, RSM, a follower of the same "Creation-Centered Spirituality" promoted by former Dominican priest, Matthew Fox. Fr. Fox worked with a woman named Starhawk, a self professed witch. He was silenced by the Vatican and has since left the Church to join a Protestant denomination. On numerous occasions, Matthew Fox was a guest on "Amplify," an ecumenical radio program hosted by diocesan spokesman, Fr. Ron Lengwin.
Susan Mink included in the diocesan directory of catechists, was identified as a member of Women/Church and the National Catholic Educational Association (NCEA). Theresa Orlando, also a Women/Church member served as "consultant" for Sadlier Publishing Company, a major publisher of "religion" texts.
Sr. Marguerite Kropinak, CSJ, not only worked as a Master Catechist but also served as chaplain of the homosexual group, Dignity. She was also the National Coordinator of SIGMA (Sisters in Gay Ministry Associated). Sr. Kropinak co-authored (with Matthew Fox, Jeannine Gramick and others) A Challenge to Love -- Gay and Lesbian Catholics in the Church. She was also credited with match-making couples in Dignity. She now serves as Parish Social Ministry Director of Catholic Charities.
Rev. Garrett Dorsey, Master Catechist, is a member of the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP), an organization which openly dissents from Church teaching. Other diocesan approved Master Catechists were pastors of Protestant churches and non-Christians -- an Iman from an Islamic church, a rabbi, the chairperson from the Baha'i Spiritual Assembly and a teacher of Buddhism and Hinduism.
Catholic school students fare no better than the CCD students in being catechized in the Faith. Faulty "religion" texts subtly undermine authentic instruction with the implementation of catechesis which either deletes or distorts Catholic teachings. Scripture is frequently referred to as mythical stories. Students are taught that there was no Adam and Eve. A catechist was heard to say that "Jesus did not know He was the Son of God until after the Resurrection." As a result, Catholic youth are graduating from Pittsburgh parochial schools without the basic truths of the Church and many have lost their Faith.
The March 12, 1989, Pittsburgh Press article, "Spirituality Is His Specialty" provided a somewhat clearer insight into Bishop Wuerl. It stated that the Bishop wanted the respect of the people but didn't want them to be "intimidated by his rank," and that it bothered him when people were "too awed to laugh at his jokes." The article mentioned that Bishop Wuerl was supposedly "feared as a reputed Roman enforcer who might not care on whom he stepped...[but he has since] allayed many fears. The intelligent, energetic and engaging bishop appears, at least tentatively, to have won over many of those who were prepared to write him off as a clone from Rome." (It was the faithful who had much to fear.)
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
While winning the hearts of the liberal faction, Bishop Wuerl ran roughshod over the faithful and the parishes they and their families had built. Bishop Wuerl had managed to cut a million dollars from the operating budget his first year and his concepts for the consolidation of schools and parishes became the "model for bishops facing similar problems nationwide."
While the reporter, Ann Rodgers-Melnick, in the March 12, 1989 article enthused over the bishop's controversial closing of parishes and schools, Pittsburgh Catholics found themselves at the mercy of the diocesan machine as it moved full throttle over the heartfelt concerns of the laity who were stunned at the numerous closings and mergings of churches into "worship sites," including the financially and spiritually sound parishes.
The usual "blarney" about consultation with the laity, who for the most part saw it as a "done deal," was published in the local Catholic paper, which ranted on and on, inferring that the suffering Catholics were disobedient and causing disunity when they felt their spiritual world crumbling. Uppermost in the minds of many were concerns about the losses of Mass availability, ethnicity, and the sense of community. The allowance, by the diocese, of "polka Masses," and the parading of Catholics in ethnic costumes in the Civic Arena was apparently an attempt to show "respect" for the many heritages represented in Pittsburgh's Catholic community.
The diocese attempted to give the appearance of cooperation and harmony toward the people, but the laity felt betrayed and disillusioned by the strong-arm tactics employed under Bishop's Wuerl's rule. Many elderly Catholics were no longer able to continue their custom of attending daily Mass due to limitations set by the distance to the nearest church, since their "worship site" may or may not have a scheduled daily Mass.
Money from one parish, totaling three million dollars, donated by hard working parishioners, was confiscated by the diocese. This was only one instance of what is thought to be an enormous amount of money ending up in diocesan coffers from parish accounts and property sales. The diocese claims the money will be returned to the merged parishes, but many of Pittsburgh's Catholics do not believe that and wonder about the total sum of money taken in, diocesan-wide. Having no where else to turn, some displaced members of parishes are suing Bishop Wuerl in civil court for closing their parishes.
Other parishioners have watched helplessly as pastors spent large sums of parish money on unwelcome "renovations" such as the installation of "immersion pools" for baptisms, and the removal of tabernacles from places of prominence to hidden positions.
One pastor, a Mass celebrant for the homosexual group, Dignity, renovated his church by painting it a light lavender and draping it with banners throughout.
Going, Going, Sold!
An article in the Allegheny Bulletin (11-4-92) "Catholics to Sell or Convert Closed Churches" speculated that "closed churches may become places of business, social service centers or museums...if the parish can't use the church, the most obvious way to dispose of the property would be to sell it to a non-Catholic congregation."
The Redemptorist Order was forced to sell the historic site of St. Philomena Parish where St. John Neumann, regarded as "the Father of the Parochial School System" served as pastor from 1844-1847, "when the Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh indicated that it intended to close St. Philomena Parish, effective June 30 because of the parish's $370,000 debt to the diocese." The parish members did not owe this "debt" for expenses of the day- to-day operations of their church. They simply owed the diocesan tax.
The site was sold to the Jewish community and used for an elementary school. Obviously, the historical significance of the property had little meaning for the diocese, but the ultimate insult came when the site was used for the production of the Sharon Stone movie, "Diabolique" in the fall of 1995. The June 1996 issue of Catalyst published by the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights describes "Diabolique" as follows: "In the original film, which was released in 1954, there was no nudity, vulgarity, gore or anti-Catholicism. The latest version has it all....This just goes to show that when Hollywood addresses Catholicism in the 1990's it will go out of its way to offend Catholics. There is no other way to understand the content differences between the original and the remake of DIABOLIQUE."
Another example of the lengths the Pittsburgh diocese will go to turn a profit was the selling of St. John the Baptist Church in Lawrenceville, built in 1907. The Church is used as a "brewpub," a brewery and restaurant. Stained glass windows and support columns will remain intact and pews will be cut down and used for seating. "On the former altar, behind a 10 foot wall of clear glass, will stand stainless steel kettles used for making the beer."
This is in direct opposition to the Holy Father who has taken a strong stand against the destruction of parishes. The Pope asked "bishops to strengthen parish life in their dioceses," saying `See to it that the parish remains alive and the believers have contacts they can count on. Despite the problems caused by the lack of priests, established structures should not be destroyed if possible and smaller communities should not suffer deprivation because of centralization.'" 3
Among Church properties on Bishop Wuerl's hit list are diocesan Catholic schools. Members of Resurrection Parish took to the streets to protest the sale of their school. Protesters carried signs reading: "Czar Wuerl & Czar Kozar [pastor] Killed Catholic Education." 4
Our Sunday Visitor, which has published Bishop Wuerl's work in the past and is slated to soon publish his sex program, ironically promoted Bishop Wuerl in their newspaper as "a man who has a `magnificent obsession' with Catholic education... [January 3, 1993.]" Two other schools are also scheduled to be closed, Our Lady of Loreto and St. Pius X .
The Company Bishop Wuerl Keeps
To further illustrate the attitude of the Pittsburgh diocesan bureaucrats toward church property, consider the July 12, 1994 North Hills Record article, "Masons Receive Approval For New Headquarters in Ross," by Ben Rand. The Masonic Fund Society of Allegheny County "will build a headquarters on eight to ten acres of property owned [emphasis added] by the North Side Catholic Cemetery." The Masons (longtime enemy of the Catholic Church) wanted to relocate from their former home in the Oakland section of Pittsburgh "in an attempt to rebuild its membership...to make it more convenient for its members, but the goal is not just to move. The goal is to revitalize..." There was no mention of selling the land to the Masons, in fact, the only mention of money was a contribution..."to act as a good neighbor and to help speed approval, the Masonic Fund agreed to contribute $15,000 toward a traffic signal at Cemetery Lane and Babcock Boulevard."
Contrast this with the warning by Lincoln, Nebraska's Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz to excommunicate Catholics who do not discontinue their membership in the Masons and other organizations such as the abortion supportive "Catholics for a Free Choice."
Rather than support the courageous move by Bishop Bruskewitz, Pittsburgh diocese's chief canon lawyer, Fr. Lawrence DiNardo responded by calling it "a relatively extreme measure..." 5 Fr. DiNardo also seemed to have difficulty accepting the Primacy of the Holy Father at a session on the Catechism of the Catholic Church, September 16, 1995 when he stated: "...if a person says `I accept the teachings of the Pope, but I don't accept the teachings of my bishop,' they are not Catholic. They are in heresy. They are excommunicated by law..." He said when people say they believe in the Pope, that they `don't like what bishop so-and-so did'...I say, well then, you ain't Catholic...that's not part of our doctrine, whether you believe in the Pope. You don't need to believe in the Pope. Only Bishops need to believe in the Pope. You need to accept the teaching authority of the Bishop..." 6
The 3/31/96 article (on Bishop Bruskewitz's warning) continues in response to "Catholic legislators who support legal abortion, the [Pittsburgh] diocese has favored dialogue over damnation. `We would rather convince people of the truth of the church's position than take some more severe course of action' said the Rev. Ronald Lengwin, spokesman for the diocese, who has met with some of the politicians." 7
Bishop Wuerl as "Liberal"
When appointed as Bishop on February 11, 1988, Donald Wuerl did not want to be identified as a conservative and said: "Give me a chance to do some things and let the people decide."8 One of the "things" Bishop Wuerl decided to do was "to open the lines of communication" with the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) which is in constant opposition to the Vatican on matters such as the ordination of women, homosexuality and married clergy. APP members also signed the 1990 "Call for Reform in the Catholic Church" initiated by "Call to Action" and co-sponsored by the "Association for the Rights of Catholics in the Church, Catholics Speak Out, CORPUS, Friends of Creation Spirituality, Inc. and the Women's Ordination Conference." This document was published in the New York Times (2-28-90) and other major newspapers.
Bishop Bevilacqua, Bishop Wuerl's predecessor, said he saw "no reason for the APP to exist." This was quoted from "The Association of Pittsburgh Priests -- A Brief History" by Francis F. Brown in 1987. Fr. Brown was "instrumental in the formation of the National Federation of Priests Councils (NFPC), and in 1979 published a history of the NFPC entitled Priests in Council--Initiatives Toward a Democratic Church" (emphasis added), a Church free from Rome.
The Pittsburgh Press reported that the APP came to Bishop Wuerl's defense when he met with CORPUS, an organization of married priests in June of 1990. This meeting provoked a response from Cardinal Antonio Innocenti of the Vatican Congregation for the Clergy who said it was concerned that such a meeting "could lend legitimacy to the demand for a married priesthood." 9 The APP responded: "Just as strongly as we support Bishop Wuerl, we deplore the letter of Cardinal Innocenti....The meeting between the bishop [Wuerl] and the resigned priests is not only the American way, but the Christian way. To put it very simply-- and we mean these words -- the Vatican response is un-Christian."10
The following day, the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, said that although the letter (from the Vatican) was termed "critical" Bishop Wuerl said it was not a reprimand, just a "request for information...[a] routine piece of communication in the church."11
More Than Ministering to Homosexuals
For years, the Pittsburgh diocese's association with homosexuals has been of great concern. When the laity learned of the existence of the "Catholic" homosexual group, Dignity, and its usage of two diocesan parishes, St. Elizabeth in the Strip District and St. Pamphilus in the Beechview section, the alarm was sounded throughout the diocese. Bishop Wuerl had previously stated in regard to Dignity: "everyone who is struggling to live by the teachings of Christ and the teachings of the Catholic church is welcome in the Catholic church."12 However, Dignity had no intention of following the teachings of the Church and said so in its "Statement of Position and Purpose" which reads: "gay men and lesbian women can express their sexuality in a manner that is consonant with Christ's teaching. We believe that we can express our sexuality physically in a unitive manner [emphasis added] that is loving, life giving and life affirming..."
Again, this is contrary to the teachings of the Church which states:
Although the particular inclination of the homosexual person is not a sin, it is more or less a strong tendency toward an intrinsic evil; and thus the inclination itself must be seen as an objective disorder. Therefore, special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they should be led to believe that the living out of this orientation is a morally acceptable option. It is not ([Letter to the Bishops on the Pastoral Care of Homosexual Persons, Article 3].
In addition, the Letter (Article 17) does not permit the use of Catholic facilities for homosexual services because "...it is contradictory to the purpose for which these institutions were founded, it is misleading and often scandalous."
St. Elmo's, a bookstore owned by former Dignity president, Bill Nist, has been permitted to use exhibit tables at diocesan conferences including: a two day conference at Duquesne University (August 10-11, 1990) sponsored by Catholic Charities and the Diocesan Secretariat for Social Concerns, and the 1991 Tri-diocesan Teachers' Conference held in Monroeville.
The homosexual bookstore was also represented at the "Seventh National Congress of the Religious Formation Conference" held at the Pittsburgh Hilton Hotel, 10/10-13/91. There were approximately 650 priests and religious in attendance. Not only was St. Elmo's present, but also New Ways Ministry, another homosexual advocacy group and a woman selling feminist greeting cards.
St. Elmo's had been mentioned in the 4-12-91 Pittsburgh Catholic as an outlet for the distribution of "three cassette tapes featuring the praying of the Rosary by Bishop Donald Wuerl." News of this circulated among the laity and eventually the diocese did remove the tapes.
The co-founders of New Ways Ministry, Fr. Robert Nugent and Sr. Jeannine Gramick, conducted the "Homophobia in Religion and Society" workshop at St. Mary's Convent, Carlow College. The major part of the morning session consisted of a video portraying the plight of the "persecuted" homosexual and intimated that of all the people killed in the concentration camps by the Nazis, the homosexuals suffered the most torment. Of course, there were the usual discussion groups afterward. Sr. Gramick bragged that two-thirds of all the dioceses in the U.S. have played host to their traveling seminar.
Even though the laity attempted to convince the diocese to intervene, the conference proceeded as planned; the reason given was that "Wuerl can't cancel the seminar because it's their [the Sisters of Mercy's] property."13 Carlow's president, Sr. Grace Ann Geibel, in the March 24, 1996 Pittsburgh Press, indicated she was very pleased with Bishop Wuerl and said that he has "no inclination whatsoever to interpret his role as one of an authoritarian."14
Isn't it amazing the Bishop didn't "have" the authority to intervene in this instance, but used his authority to close St. Philomena Parish, owned by the Redemptorist Order? Was it because the diocese considers money more important than morality?
The "Fourteenth Annual Pastoral Musicians' Convention" was held 7/9-13/91 at the David Lawrence Convention Center. Not only was Dignity USA an exhibitor, but apparently influential for in the program booklet under "Anointing of the Sick" one reads: "Each hotel will have a quiet place for people who are HIV positive and concerned others to come open their hearts and journey toward wholeness through prayers and rituals."
The theme of the convention was "Singing A New Church." The program booklet says: "NPM [National Association of Pastoral Musicians] is affiliated with the United States Catholic Conference (USCC) and directs itself toward the concerns of the Roman Catholic liturgy. However, some of the NPM members are from sister Churches, especially those with liturgical concerns." Are we talking about Protestant churches? Apparently, not only are we dealing with the issue of homosexuality, but also the prospect of "singing a new church" seemingly with the cooperation of the United States Catholic Bishops! Included in the sessions were people from the "National Center for Pastoral Leadership," (formerly Time Consultants, an organization at odds with the Vatican) and priests and religious from the Pittsburgh diocese.
Listed among the master catechists for the Pittsburgh Diocese, Sr. Marguerite Kropinak's homosexual association was apparent as early as 1983 when, at the Dignity, Inc. International Convention, held in Seattle, Washington (September 2-5, 1983) she "enthused about the Dignity `hotline' which is installed not only in her convent, but in others in this country..."15 Sr. Kropinak is with the Sisters of St. Joseph, [who teach in Pittsburgh Catholic schools. ed. n.]
In the February 1991 issue of Profiles (Dignity/Pittsburgh's Newsletter), Sr. Kropinak spoke of the biennial Dignity Convention which she described as "...marked by the presence of the Holy Spirit, alive and active in the gathered community of Dignity. The Dignity Convention is a HOLY [emphasis in original] event." Far from being "holy," the sin of sodomy is listed (Catechism of the Catholic Church, pg. 457) as one of the "sins that cry to heaven," and Scripture tells how the Lord looked at homosexual activity in His destruction of Sodom and Gommorrah.
It was announced, August 1992, that Sr. Kropinak had been appointed to the position as Pittsburgh Catholic Charities' Parish Social Ministry Director and from all accounts, remains in that role. Remember, she was listed as a master catechist for the Diocese despite her close connection with homosexual groups mentioned throughout this report.
A pamphlet, obtained 4/24/95 from "Gay and Lesbian Alternative Dimensions" (GLAD) in Pittsburgh lists the following as "gay friendly" sponsoring congregations: "American Baptist, Evangelical Lutheran, Jewish, Presbyterian, Quaker, Roman Catholic [emphasis added], Unitarian and United Methodist." It states: "All sponsoring congregations are gay friendly. They do not all share the views of their stated national policies [emphasis added]. Persons who come to GLAD are affirmed for who they are and are not asked to change...GLAD offers another alternative -- a perspective that validates the spiritual journey of all gays, lesbians and bisexuals -- one that does not exclude, but affirms their sexuality as part of their spirituality."
The September, 1994 edition of Planet Queer related that "On August 8, the Corpus Christi Residence officially opened its doors as a personal care home for people with AIDS..." The Verona House, a non-profit corporation, "sponsored by the Presbyterian Association on the Aging, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Pittsburgh and four area hospitals; Allegheny General, Mercy Health System, Shadyside and West Penn" was given a long-term lease by the Pittsburgh Diocese for a building at 7165 Churchland Street for a mere $1.00 per year. While it is commendable to help sufferers of AIDS, does the Diocese also charge $1.00 per year for a lease to help other equally needy sick people? Perhaps, if instead of ignoring the major cause in the spread of AIDS (homosexual activity), diocesan authorities would promote the teachings of the Church, the incidence of this disease would dramatically decrease!
Only recently, after the public outcry of Pittsburgh Catholics, which included letters and documentation sent to the Vatican and to Courage, did the Diocese reluctantly stop the sacrilegious Dignity Masses being offered for homosexuals, lesbians and bisexuals. An anonymous Dignity coordinator said: "We have nothing negative to say about Bishop Wuerl...it was simply a matter of conflict of conscience."16 The "banning of Dignity was a sad moment for Wuerl" according to the March 24, 1996 article in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. Further, the article claims Bishop Wuerl had "started an alternative group for gay Catholics who wanted to be celibate and for eight years tried to persuade Pittsburgh's Dignity to renounce the unorthodox teachings of the national group."17
There seems to be a little discrepancy in the time element claimed by the Bishop. The January 30, 1996 issue of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette article "Diocese to Gays: No More Masses" by Ann Rodgers-Melnick says: "...in 1993, the diocese established an alternative group, Courage, for non-heterosexuals who are striving to be celibate." That was three years ago, not eight as the Bishop claims. It has been learned Dignity now uses the Lutheran Center in Oakland for its "Masses" (rumored to be offered by some 30 different diocesan priests. ed.n. ) Is this just another bond in ecumenism?
Ecumenism Replacing Catholicism
Ecumenism seems to be another pet project of Bishop Wuerl. The 7/21/89 issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic, revealed "Bishop Wuerl recently named 18 persons as diocesan representatives to Christian Associates of Southwest Pennsylvania...Christian Associates is a regional ecumenical agency serving 21 Catholic, Anglican, Eastern Orthodox and Protestant church bodies or judicatories...its primary purpose is to provide a channel of cooperation among the judicatories it serves so that common problems can be addressed effectively." But what problems?
An article in the January 23, 1989 Pittsburgh Press, "Breaking Bread -- Wuerl Wants Denominations to Share Communion," dealt with a meeting between the Bishop Wuerl and six Protestant denominations "to work with the Catholic Church toward the possibility of sharing Communion together...Wuerl stressed that local church leaders have had years of experience working together on social projects through Christian Associates. He called them to move beyond working together to worshipping together at the altar. He contrasted the theological polarization over Communion with the ritual of foot-washing, which does not divide churches."18 (Comment -- One of the first actions of the Bishop was the repeal of the ban against women in the foot-washing ritual of Holy Thursday, reversing the ban imposed by Bishop Bevilacqua. This move was greatly appreciated by Pittsburgh Women/Church.)
The succeeding issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic tried to persuade Catholics the preceeding information was not quite accurate, and quotes from a note of correction from the Pittsburgh Press said: "The decision to share communion cannot be made by the local bishops, but must come from the highest level of each church involved." 19
The April 1995 issue of Ecu-memo, (Christian Associates newsletter ) under "Ecumenical Events" says: "Ministry in the Eastern Christian Context...is the title of a new focus Pittsburgh Theological Seminary will inaugurate in its Doctor of Ministry program this May. Roman Catholic [emphasis added] and Protestant clergy are encouraged to apply. Seminary administrators anticipate the first group of participants in this new ecumenical venture will come from various regions of the United States and Canada." So, in other words, our Catholic priests will be taught "ministry" by Protestants? Wonder what effect this will have on the Mass and Sacraments? Is this a glimpse into the "future church"?
There was a lot made over Fr. Raymond Brown's address to an ecumenical gathering of 450 people, mostly clergy, from Catholic, Episcopalian, Greek Orthodox, Lutheran, Methodist, Presbyterian and non-denominational churches on April 3, 1995. While the local church considered Fr. Brown a "world-renowned biblical scholar" there are those who disagree with that assessment, especially considering Fr. Brown's doubts on scriptural accounts on the birth of Christ. Fr. John McKenzie, quoted in "The Battle for the American Church," by Msgr. George A. Kelly, said: "Brown manages to avoid saying there is no historical evidence for the Davidic descent of Jesus, for the birth in Bethlehem or the virginal conception, at the same time affording ample evidence for the perceptive reader to draw this conclusion."20 Fr. Brown, also is said to have some difficulty with the acceptance of the priesthood in the Church. And yet, Bishop Wuerl, who was in charge of priestly formation, gushed about Fr. Brown's talk: "Don't be surprised if homilies preached on Passion Sunday in various area churches have a similar ring."21
Catholic parents, it seems, are in for another rude awakening in our parochial schools as Bishop Wuerl moves steadily along in his push for ecumenism and the removal of our Catholic identity. Bishop Wuerl and leaders of two Protestant churches, signed a "covenant to cooperate on social ministries and other projects in the future" possibly with participation in parish events, and "...in one another's educational ministry...especially the enrollment of students in established schools." 22
Another source says, "The Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal bishops of Pittsburgh have signed a covenant of cooperation that could lead to joint parochial schools (emphasis added) and shared facilities." 23 An example of "shar[ing] facilities" was the recent (April 27, 1996) use of St. Paul's Roman Catholic Cathedral for the consecration of Rev. Canon Robert William Duncan as bishop coadjutor of the Episcopal Diocese. The April 4, 1996 Tribune Review said: "The procession into St. Paul's will include clergy and lay representatives from each of the 75 congregations in the diocese...thirty other Episcopal bishops are expected to attend the service."
Education: The "Magnificent Obsession"
As mentioned earlier, Our Sunday Visitor portrayed Bishop Wuerl as having a "magnificent obsession with Catholic [emphasis added] education...[he] believes we should start letting people know that we have a magnificent system of schools that has educated children well for generations, bringing them up in the faith with a solid system of values and giving them education that has served them extremely well, as evidenced in the success they have had in their lives." 24
There is no doubting that graduates of Catholic schools achieve higher academic results than some public schools, but it seems that it may well be the atmosphere of discipline and higher academic expectations that figure strongly in producing the end result. Textbooks used in Pittsburgh's Catholic schools are the same as those used by the public schools, except for "religion" texts, which are watered-down in doctrine.
Educators, many of whom are well-intentioned, have been subjected to "newchurch" philosophies which distort or play down Church teachings. Many teachers seem unaware of the ever-widening gap between authentic teachings and today's modernist concepts which attribute changes to the "spirit" of Vatican II, despite the fact that Vatican II never authorized changes in the basic teachings of the Church.
The Diocese of Pittsburgh is one of twenty-five dioceses which give credit toward catechist certification by attendance at anti-Vatican "education" conferences sponsored by the group formerly known as "Time Consultants, Inc.," and now known as the "National Center for Pastoral Leadership" (NCPL). For over twenty years, the leaders of these organizations have sponsored speakers who "regularly voice their opposition to the current policies of the most powerful religious organization in the world...[who] have been rebuked by the church or forced out of their church-related positions for their criticism of the policies of Pope John Paul II, as well as, more mainstream Catholics who share the same outlook but tend not to attack the church's doctrine so intently." 25
The NCPL's East Coast Conference for Religious Education held annually in Washington, D.C., apparently enjoys the support of the United States Catholic Conference ( USCC) of bishops. The 1990 flier said: "Time Consultants [now NCPL] has offered a variety of ministerial and professional conferences in close collaboration with dioceses, the USCC, national organizations and universities throughout the United States in the areas of religious education, liturgy, youth ministry, women in the church, and the future of the church." Many of today's religious textbook publishers and authors have been associated with these conferences of church dissenters, held in late February or the first weekend in March.
Although Bishop Wuerl was sent extensive documentation about the conferences, he continued to allow diocesan participation. In fact, the late Fr. Frank Sokol, who died in 1992 at age 45, was the diocesan Director for Religious Education, and he spoke at the 1990 East Coast Conference. This was close to a year after the documentation was sent to Bishop Wuerl, who apparently passed the material on to Sokol's office. A letter from Sokol declared: "Please be assured that the good of the whole Church and the faithful teaching of its history and tradition, guide this department in its work." The letter was dated March 17, 1989. Fr. Sokol also served on Bishop Wuerl's Catholic Vision of Love theological subcommittee.26
The Diocese of Pittsburgh hosted the "Come to the Water -- Total Catholic Education Conference," November 3-4, 1995. There was much fanfare for the event which featured Cardinal Pio Laghi ( whose name appears on at least one list as a Mason 27 ) as the keynote speaker. The diocese had lined up quite an array of orthodox speakers for the conference, but also included past participants from the NCPL (Time Consultants) lineup -- Carol Augustine, Greer Gordon, Robert McCarty, Neil Parent, and Pittsburghers -- Dr. Susan Muto, and Patrick Malloy. Sr. Elizabeth Thoman, whose expertise is "media" related, spoke to the Pittsburgh group and later addressed the "Women's Ordination Conference" the following weekend in Arlington, VA.
The diocese capitalized on the big names at the "Come to the Water Conference," but little was mentioned about the faithful Catholics who had gathered outside the Convention Center on that bitter cold November day to protest Bishop Wuerl's sex instruction program, Catholic Vision of Love. The diocese apparently sent security personnel outside the building to encourage the demonstrators to leave. When they did not leave, within "five minutes" of the warning, a squad car and "paddy wagon" arrived. A police officer told the demonstrators that "pornographic" material was reportedly being shown by them. The officer looked over the material being distributed by parents consisting of critiques concerning Catholic Vision of Love and other sex ed programs in the Pittsburgh Diocese and determined that the protesters were within their rights to be there, their "God-given rights." The policeman said, "This isn't what they [the Diocese] said was happening here. We don't belong here." He likened the situation to being called "to get a cat out of a tree." 28
Not only does Pittsburgh have National Center for Pastoral Leadership sympathizers in its midst, but enjoys the "honor" of having two members of its advisory board, here locally. Sr. Joanne Marie Andiorio, RSM -- President and CEO of Pittsburgh's Mercy Health System and founding president of the National Interfaith Healthcare Leadership Conference. (It is interesting to note, Bishop Wuerl chairs the bishops' Healthcare Committee.)
Also in the company of NCPL is Fr. Thomas Harvey, former pastor of two diocesan parishes, St. Joseph and Immaculate Conception. Father Harvey was involved with the Association of Pittsburgh Priests (APP) in its early years and is past president of Catholic Charities, USA. The October 7, 1994 issue of the Pittsburgh Catholic mentioned Fr. Harvey in two separate articles relating to his NCPL address, September 24, 1994, on the "future of ministry" and a talk he gave to local priests. He was also listed as a "Master Catechist" for the diocese (1994-95). The NCPL and the like are pushing for a "democratic" church which will in no way resemble what the faithful regards as Catholic.
Revising History and Attitudes
Through Multi-Cultural Studies
Another serious element that has invaded Catholic education is "multi-culturalism." The Pittsburgh schools immerse the students in the subject for a whole week. Some high school literature classes select books relating to "politically-correct" cultures and lifestyles -- American Indian, Afro-American, Hispanic, and other races of color. There is little, if any, reference to European cultures. It seems to reflect a reverse form of discrimination. Feminism and homosexuality are also part of multi-culturalism.
An inordinate amount of emphasis is placed on past injustices and attributed to selected peoples and religious beliefs. They do not relay the message that all cultures have experienced a form of prejudice at one time or another and that they must move on today and not be preoccupied in past iniquities. However, it seems that mult-culturalism curriculum is calculated to instill a division between races while blending religions.
No longer are Catholic missionaries portrayed as courageous messengers of Christ's salvation, but instead are regarded as bullies who set out to destroy native peoples and their cultures. Christian rituals are blended with "Native Spirituality." All religions are depicted as more or less the same.
In an "activity book" for the celebration of the 150th Anniversary of the diocese, the authors incorporated under "ecumenism," Christianity, Shinto, Taoism and Judaism with the explanation: "Catholics in Pittsburgh respect and learn [emphasis added] the religious traditions of peoples of many faiths. We pray `That all may be one during the week for Church unity...'" This booklet is clearly designed for young children, with pages to color and puzzles. Under "words to learn" are -- global, ecumenism, ministers, laity, etc. (Where are words such as Jesus, Trinity, Catholic, Mary, Rosary, Holy Father, priest, etc.?) Another page displays symbols of non-Christian religions and says: "People believe in God yet express their faith in unique and varied ways. Each symbol above represents a particular religious tradition." Shown were -- Russian Orthodox, Buddhism, Hinduism and Islam. While there are Catholic sounding words, one gets the impression that one religion is as good as another.
The Providence Heights Alpha School, operated by the Divine Providence nuns, replaced the Mass with a "Thanksgiving Liturgy," November 24, 1993, according to one parent. The "liturgy" began with a "reading and culture different from our own. The reading come[s] to us from Israel." This reading was followed by a song and then an American Indian prayer set up in responsorial fashion whereby the presider invoked: "Be with us, O Great Spirit God. Show us the way you would have us go." The students were told to face the four directions, East, South, West and North and to call on God to help them conserve the earth's resources. Everyone was to read: "May the air we breathe be purified so that life may be sustained and nurtured over the entire face of the earth." The presider responded: "My spirit is one with you, Great Spirit God. You strengthen me day and night to share my very best with my brothers and sisters. You, whom my people see in all of creation and in all people, show you[r] love for us. Help us to know, like the soaring eagle, the heights of knowledge. From the Four Directions, fill me with the four virtues of fortitude, generosity, respect and wisdom; so that I will help my brothers and sisters in Christ walk in the path of understanding and peace." This was taken from a "Lakota Prayer Tradition." (Please note how "Christ" was inserted to Christianize the Indian prayer.)
An after-school massage anyone? The above was only a sampling of the New Age activities these nuns are engaged in. Yes, the sisters of Divine Providence who run the above school also own and operate the Kearns Spirituality Center conveniently located next door to the school. Housed within the Kearns Center is Sr. Sharon Geibel, a massage therapist who "is available for individual massages " or "back and neck massages for groups." (How many hands does Sister have?) For other "touching" experiences a program entitled "Spirit Bones in Women's Bodies" offered "ritual and gentle body touch and movement." Going on next door to the school are also workshops on the "Enneagram -- A Number for Everyone" which is a New Age exploration of one's inner self in order for individuals to discover their personality number; sessions featuring an ordained minister certified as a body/mind practitioner; and still another workshop for parents of pre-school children was to include the "God within myself...the world and...my child."
A video, "Circle of the Spirit," listed in the mult-cultural catalog from the diocese (dated 2-12-93) for high school and adult audiences is described as follows:
Circle of the Spirit is a saga of two Northwestern tribes of Native Americans, the Coeur d' alene of Idaho and the Lumi of Washington State. Viewers will experience traditional native dances. Tribal members tell of the coming of the Jesuit "Blackrobes" in 1837 and the tensions that have existed between the acceptance of Christian beliefs and their traditional tribal spirituality. [However, the truth is that the Jesuits were brutalized by the pagan Indians who even ate the hearts of the "Blackrobes."]
While Bishop Wuerl tries to give the impression that he is concerned about Catholic education, parents find him to be isolated and unreachable when trying to communicate their concerns to him. There is little, if any, communication between the Bishop and Catholic parents. People outside of the diocese seem to have the impression that Pittsburgh Catholic schools are firmly rooted in the Faith. Ask informed parents who live in constant fear that Johnny or Jane may lose their faith because of Pittsburgh's Catholic schools or because of what some misguided role model might say in contradiction to the Magisterium. Because Pittsburgh's parochial schools seem to be moving toward regionalization, parents will have an even more difficult time sharing concerns with other parents. The high schools demonstrate how difficult it is to communicate. Think how it will be with other denominations sharing "joint parochial schools."
The Sex Education Bishop
Bishop Wuerl created his own sex ed program, Catholic Vision of Love which has caused quite a commotion and the diocese continues to insist that it is in keeping with the Vatican's recent statement on sex education which upholds parents as "primary educators" of their children.
The Catholic Vision of Love sex program (CVOL) will be all inclusive. A letter sent to "Principals/ Catechetical Administrators/Clergy" from Brian Keane dated January 19, 1995 states "As you are aware, a three year process has been developed, through the 1996-1997 catechetical year, in which all parishes of the diocese will be expected to integrate the Catholic Vision of Love into schools, CCD and special education programs, throughout the diocese...emphasis will be given to parish-wide awareness of the Catholic vision of love and human sexuality through scheduled courses in adult education, homilies, pre-baptismal catechesis and family programs." Further, "Diocesan support will include: 1. continuing education programs for adults; 2. ongoing certification classes for catechists teaching CVOL and 3. continuing education programs in human sexuality/ Catholic morality for priests."
Sex education is a primary focus in Pittsburgh, despite objections from faithful parents. Marriage classes showing various forms of birth control were and are taught in our "Catholic" high schools with assurances from teachers that although the school may discuss birth control with the students -- not to worry -- they also tell students what the Church teaches!
AIDS education is mandated by the state of Pennsylvania in Pittsburgh's Catholic schools, grades K-12th. Like sex education, little children are told how to make "good moral choices" when tempted to "engage in immoral or unhealthy activity." How do you explain this to children? Each grade is subjected to more and more detailed information and finally, students are given graphic descriptions of sexual intercourse, including anal and oral-genital intercourse, etc.
Adult Catholics seeking spiritual fulfillment are hard pressed to find an oasis of truth. The Adult Religious Education Speaker's Directory features the same caliber of "experts" to which our children are exposed and topics include: "Spirituality / Sexuality; Ecology / Environment; Homosexuality / AIDS; Hunger / Economy; Peace and Justice; Politics and the World; Racial Issues; Sexism; Clowning / Mime; Feminist Spirituality; Future Church; Earth Spirituality," etc.
A retreat center, Villa Marie, 29 offers feminist theologian, Madonna Kolbenschlag, H.M. for September 7, 1996. Other speakers and topics, past and future are: Fran Ferder, FSPA and Rev. John Heagle (Time Consultant speakers) on "Issues of Sexuality, Relationship and Intimacy" (4/30 - 5/2/93); Barbara Walter, HM and Elaine Wellinger, HM on "Loving Your Christed Self." (7/31-8/4/94); Elizabeth Johnson, CSJ, "The Holy Spirit, Female Imagery of God and the New Theology of Earth" (8/27/94); International Elderhostel, "Storytelling: Musical, Magical and Mysterious" (10/15-20/95) and a Guided Retreat with Barbara O'Donnell, HM and Rita Weinken, OSF on "Weaving Webs of Wisdom (7/28-8/1/96).
Catholic teaching is being cast aside as new age ideologies take over and usher in ecumenism and the idea of blending of all religions into one and the "one" religion for the world takes on various forms of occultism and body worship.
Catholics were exposed to "A Gift of Women" (5/ 16/ 1993) sponsored by the Sisters of the Holy Spirit, Martina Renewal Center. The "Centering Prayer" included these verses: "I believe in the Holy Spirit, as she moves over the waters of creation and over the earth. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the women spirit of God, who like a hen created us and gave us birth and covers us with her wings..." 30 Participants were to sing a Centering song, "Dear Sister God," by David Haas. There was also a Response -- "Women of the World" written by Martha Ann Kirk, a participant at the "Women in the Church Conference, Washington, DC in which the "goddess" was invoked. Master Catechist, Joanne Paradise gave a "Reflection -- Gift of Women." (These people are figuratively so off-balance that no amount of "centering" will bring them back, only a return to the Faith can accomplish that!)
Bishop Wuerl's, "The Teaching of Christ," an adult catechism program has been a weekly television presentation aired on local television in the Pittsburgh area. It had been fed to national cable outlets by the Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN) until it was dropped by EWTN in the fall of 1993. Supposedly, losing his spot on national TV didn't bother the bishop who preferred to concentrate on the "program's local success."
Some of those interviewed on the Bishop's program have controversial backgrounds: Sr. Maureen Crossen, listed in the Adult Religious Education Speakers' Directory with "Feminist Spirituality" as her topic; Sheila Carney, RSM who "understands Mary as a paradigm of feminist liberation, a kind of icon for NOW;" 31 Rev. Msgr. Charles O. Rice, controversial columnist for the Pittsburgh Catholic and promoter of APP priests. He also came to the defense of Sr. Kropinak in one of his columns, when she was exposed in The Wanderer; and "Rev. Timothy Fitzgerald, C.P., who speaks on "Earth Spirituality."
Dr. Susan Muto, who spoke at the 1992 East Coast Conference for Religious Education sponsored by the anti-Vatican "Time Consultants, Inc.," was also a guest on Bishop Wuerl's TV catechism program. Muto also worked with Fr. Adrian van Kaam at Duquesne University in "Formative Spirituality," an ecumenical program. Listed among publishers in the journal, "Studies in Formative Spirituality" were feminist theologians, Rosemary Radford Reuther and Monica Hellwig, dissident, Fr. Harvey Egan, as well as others involved with "Time Consultants." The journal included "special issues on Spiritual Perspectives (Jewish, Hindu, Buddhist)."
Another guest on the TV program, Dr. William Uricchio, had caused a big reaction with his "Understanding Human Sexuality" workshop at Gannon University (1/28-29/1983) because of its sexually explicit nature "complete with homosexual and heterosexual films." He was involved with "the pro-homosexual sex program called Sexual Attitudinal Restructuring [later renamed Sexual Attitudinal Reassessment]. 32 Dr. Uricchio is listed on the Catholic Vision of Love -- Human Sexuality Advisory Subcommittee.
Last, but not least, Bishop Wuerl's most recent guest on his show was former Pro-Nuncio Cardinal Pio Laghi referred to earlier in this article.
Pittsburgh Catholics are at a loss to explain the apparent cozy relationship between Bishop Wuerl and the liberal press which has featured such flattering news articles about him as -- "Spirituality Is His Specialty" (Ann Rodgers-Melnick, Pittsburgh Press, 3/12/89); "Papal Selection May Prophesy Higher Calling For Wuerl" (Ann Rodgers-Melnick, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 8/31/90); "Bishop A Whirlwind At National Conference" which refers to him as a "rising star" (Ann Rodgers-Melnick, Pittsburgh Post Gazette, 11/21/93). The latest promo (3/24/96) appeared on the front page of the Pittsburgh Post Gazett entitled "The Bishop Moves Ahead." It was subtitled "Insight -- CARDINAL VIRTUES" (emphasis added) and again was written by Ann Rodgers-Melnick. Is the press promoting Bishop Wuerl for advancement, using political tactics whereby all one needs for promotion is to get one's name out there often enough accompanied by pictures and flattering phrases?
Melnick wrote a very lengthy article and praised the Bishop in terms usually reserved for a cheap romance novel: "At 55, Wuerl is 5 feet, 11 inches tall and aesthetically thin from exercise and abstemious living. Beneath meticulously trimmed silver hair, his huge hazel eyes are the centerpiece of an expressive face. When he is not pleased, his jaw tightens and his lips become a thin grim line. But when Wuerl is happy -- and he usually is -- his broad smile can light a room." 33
The Bishop's motto is "Thy Kingdom Come, which is shorthand for 'Lord, help me today to make Your kingdom come." He "sees himself as a subcontractor for the Kingdom of God, recruiting workers and pulling out all stops to meet the deadline and specifications...the kingdom isn't a city of golden streets in the sky, but an earthly reality that people build with each act of generosity and every promise kept..." 34 Many Catholics would ask Bishop Wuerl about his "acts of generosity" toward his people as far as time spent in listening to their legitimate concerns.
As Pittsburgh area churches are being closed, parishes are struggling to meet the "Parish Share" tax and Catholic parents are desperately striving to protect their Faith and that of their children, Bishop Wuerl spends time in the company of the rich and powerful. His name frequently appears on society pages, apparently in the company of people such as "river boat magnate," John Connelly. Events, such as the "Maecenas X Gala" and "The American Irish Fund" Dinner, described as a "lavish bash" are two examples of how the Bishop spends some of his leisure time. The Tribune Review, 3/27/95 revealed that guests at the "American Irish Fund" event "paid at least $500.00 a ticket to promote peace, culture and charity in Ireland...the deepest pockets paying $5,000 - $10,000 were invited to the chi-chi [showy] private reception with guests of honor, Paul Newman and Melanie Griffith." 35
Bishop Wuerl's Forest in Israel
We can not fail to mention that Bishop Wuerl now has a complete forest named after him in Israel comprised of 5000 trees. The exact amount contributed by Bishop Wuerl is unknown. However, donations made him an eligible recipient of the "Jewish National Fund's Tree of Life Award." At a Jewish dinner held in Bishop Wuerl's honor he was referred to as " a dynamic force in the building of American-Israeli relations." Hmm, what's that saying about "not seeing the forest for the trees?"
Father Lawrence DiNardo says of the Bishop, "If there are people out there who think that Bishop Wuerl's whole goal in life was to do whatever he can to please the Holy See and move himself forward in the church...their judgment of him is mistaken..." 36
The writer of the article continues: "Wuerl understands that not every word from Rome carries the same weight and chooses his issues carefully..." 37 His brother, Wayne said: "In any given environment, there are things that are permitted, things that are not permitted and there are definite gray areas...those gray areas are where a person like Don [Bishop Wuerl] can operate." 38
Pittsburgh Catholics, struggling to maintain their Catholic Faith and identity, many believe that what Bishop Wuerl has an obsession with is not "magnificent," but a dangerous preoccupation with sex education, homosexual advocacy, multi-culturalism, ecumenism, destruction of schools and parishes, feminism, married priests, politics, money, power, and suppression of the Faith. "Woe to the shepherd who...."
The above article awas originally published in the Summer/1996 issue of Mothers' Watch newsletter.