Lovely Christmas here – I pray you are all having a very Merry as well! I’ve been visiting with some wonderful and amazing friends, I can’t begin to name them all. Let’s see, Buddy, Reggie, West, Elaine, Mary, Kriesha, Brian, Linda … Have I left anyone out?
Well, yes. But not everyone wants their name here, after all.
Separately, we’re getting there, in the Church Renovations department.
In the “content” department of this site, many people keep asking about my Homilies, which are usually a collection of handwritten notes and biblical research, and which I usually toss out once they’re done. I’ll – try to write them up, or at least post parts there and there. Here and there even. It’s not like this site is overwhelming anyone in the area of content. I tell you, life is busy, man.
Amidst it all, we have to take time for the heart of Christ – and listen in the stillness for the small cry of the child in the manger; who is God, come to earth.
Aside from all of that, Merry Christmas. :-] Vivat Jesu, hodie natus est.
Getting ready here, going over the list and checking it twice.
Lots of tensions, with so many different opinions, but it comes together well as everyone works through it. We’re a great little microcosm of the universal church, with every different opinion present at every given moment. If you really want to learn about diversity ~ be Catholic. And join the Parish!
Christmas is coming.
Lord Jesus, come swiftly and bring an end to merry Advent, that we may revel in your peace and in your rest.
The first time I ever drove to Bush, Louisiana, I was convinced I had driven to the edge of the world. Now, the drive is not only second nature, but I know the entire area like the back of my hand and can find my way in the pitch black darkness without thinking twice about it.
We do a lot of driving in these parts.
So here’s what happened. A group of us in college, or early adulthood, back in the ’80s, decided to drive up one Friday night for dinner. So we gathered, had a few drinks, and drove forever and a day until we finally arrived in the middle of nowhere and ate ourselves silly at the All You Can Eat Seafood Buffet. It was a bit salty. – but overall enjoyable. Then we drove home, which took another forever and a day, played cards because we were fairly boring and that’s what one did in those days, then all went home our separate ways – full, happy and ready for a good night’s sleep.
Years later in seminary, I drove up to meet some friends I’d met at a weekend Retreat for Engaged Couples, Billy and Cheryl, who live in Bush. Once again I I thought was driving up to the middle of nowhere. I couldn’t believe people lived way out there, had no idea where I was, and was convinced the roads had no rhyme or reason. I was intrigued that they had no Parish church but went to a little mission church nearby – St. Michael’s.
Years flew by. Masses were said, Confessions heard, weddings, funerals, baptisms; life went on.
Tick tock tick tock.
Then, I was assigned as Pastor at St. Jane de Chantal Parish. Which has a Mission Church in Bush. Which is St. Michael’s! And the rest is history.
I love the people who live out in Bush, Talisheek, Waldheim and Sun – and every area in between. I love the Mission Church out in Bush. I love the drive to and fro. In fact, being in Abita Springs I tend to think of myself as being on the southern edge of something (well, which is of course the Parish, as Abita is on the southern edge of St. Jane de Chantal Parish.) And I absolutely love living here, where the water flows right out of the ground – and downhill.
But Every one of my friends from the Southshore still acts like they’re driving to Montreal when they drive up to Abita. And I completely understand.
Three years ago we decided to start praying this Mass in Advent. From the 1962 Missal, in the Extraordinary Form, it’s a Votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary said on Saturdays during Advent, with a rich tradition going back a thousand years. It’s started during darkness, by candlelight, the sun comes up during the Mass and we’re given a vivid reminder during prayer, of Jesus Christ, the light who is coming into the world, though the Blessed Virgin Mary.
The Entrance Antiphon at the Mass begins with the phrase, “Roráte caéli désuper, et núbes plúant jústum.” Hence the Mass is known as the “Rorate” Mass (the same as we do calling Gaudete Sunday, Laetare Sunday, etc., by their respective Latin names. We seem to have dropped Quasimodo Sunday, though.)
Fr. Charles Dussuoy said the Mass this morning. l figured the photos would be better if he said the Mass and I took photos.
I’m guessing I figured wrong. On a photography note, photo size was set very small. While this is the actual size, details could have been sharper from a larger size, and overall the photos could be a bit less noisy. My skillset has grown rusty.
The Lord exalts and the Lord humbles! I was so set on the focus, the color temperature and of course the prayer, I completely forgot to look at what size pics the camera was set about to taking. C’est la vie, dans le monde d’un Prete. Ce n’est pas? Ce n’est pas facile, y tout le monde se plaint de quelque chose!
Le blois, c’est moi.
It’s a great tradition and we’re thankful to be able to observe it here with the various lots of candles and candlesticks we reuse from year to year.
The Chant – for Your Edification
For those who don’t know ~ Below is the entire Chant of Rorate Caeli. Drawing from Isaiah – as happens during Advent – we set our thoughts to the coming of Jesus Christ; He who has come into the world. He who will come again.
Roráte caéli désuper,
et núbes plúant jústum.
Ne irascáris Dómine, ne ultra memíneris iniquitátis: ecce cívitas Sáncti fácta est desérta: Síon desérta fácta est, Jerúsalem desoláta est: dómus sanctificatiónis túæ et glóriæ túæ, ubi laudavérunt te pátres nóstri.
Peccávimus, et fácti súmus tamquam immúndus nos, et cecídimus quasi fólium univérsi: et iniquitátes nóstræ quasi véntus abstulérunt nos: abscondísti faciem túam a nóbis, et allisísti nos in mánu iniquitátis nóstræ.
Víde Dómine afflictiónem pópuli túi, et mítte quem missúrus es: emítte Agnum dominatórem térræ, de Pétra desérti ad móntem fíliæ Síon: ut áuferat ípse júgum captivitátis nóstræ.
Vos testes mei, dicit Dóminus, et servus meus quem elégi; ut sciátis, et credátis mihi: ego sum, ego sum Dóminus, et non est absque me salvátor: et non est qui de manu mea éruat.
Consolámini, consolámini, pópule méus: cito véniet sálus túa: quare mæróre consúmeris, quia innovávit te dólor? Salvábo te, nóli timére, égo enim sum Dóminus Déus túus, Sánctus Israël, Redémptor túus.
Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness.
Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,
neither remember iniquity for ever:
thy holy city is a wilderness,
Sion is a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation:
our holy and our beautiful house,
where our fathers praised thee.
We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing,
and we all do fade as a leaf:
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away:
thou hast hid thy face from us:
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities.
Behold, O Lord, the affliction of thy people,
and send forth him whom thou wilt send;
send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth,
from Petra of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion:
that he may take away the yoke of our captivity.
Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord,
and my servant whom I have chosen;
that ye may know me and believe me:
I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour:
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand.
Comfort ye, comfort ye my people;
my salvation shall not tarry:
why wilt thou waste away in sadness?
why hath sorrow seized thee?
Fear not, for I will save thee:
For I am the Lord thy God,
the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.
Wouldst thou await in sadness? Or in gladness that the Redeemer has come and that we await His return?
While we’re getting back up to speed here, here’s a copy of the bulletin column for this coming Sunday. Enjoy as you finish your Christmas preparations!
As the world was merrily going about its way, the Lord was quietly preparing the path of salvation, which was all to unfold relatively quietly on the world stage, in an ancient city in a tiny country in the near middle east.
Christmas is a beautiful time to be with family and friends. Historically my favorite time of year is the Octave of Christmas – the 8 days of Christmas to New Year. They are generally relaxed, people tend to be in good moods, kids are home from school, it’s easy to socialize.
But not everyone is happy or joyful at Christmas, as of course many have lost loved ones, or have painful memories, or are experiencing Christmas alone for the first time. Also, some simply don’t get along with family members to the point of wanting nothing to do with them, and no contact with them. No family is perfect, but the ties that bind are put in place by the Lord. It’s well worth praying about any and all family situations which need healing and understanding.
Mary gives us an example to follow. Given the great news of the birth of the savior she doesn’t sit still and become isolated in a community which would not have believed her (we see later that they didn’t even believe Jesus Himself in his hometown.) Rather, she travels the 90 odd miles to visit her kinswoman who, she has heard from an angel, is pregnant. From this journey she receives confirmation that indeed what the angel has said is true. She also observes an ancient tradition where pregnant women would spend time together in prayer, quiet, in healthy and life giving environments, all for the health of the children.
Affection, wholesome and healthy surroundings, all have great effect in our lives. In 2006, the movie “Bella” was introduced. Rated PG-13, it tells the story of a young waitress who finds herself with child and becomes uncertain about many things. She’s taken in, more or less, by a family with whom she works and is shown a completely different side of life. Far from the lonely, depressing life which modern secular society presents as the norm, the family shows her that what is actually normal is forgiveness, love, affection, happiness, simplicity – even amidst all of the drama that goes along with being fully alive and human. Life itself becomes a beautiful, cherished revelation of love and forgiveness and happiness, despite the sadness and pain that occur in everyone’s lives.
So – have yourself a Merry Christmas. Forgive your enemies and families their faults and failings and learn just a little bit more – as we always do – about affection and the truth of the mysteries revealed in the birth of the savior of all mankind, who came into the world as a tiny, vulnerable child, born of a woman into a beautiful and loving situation, destined for pain, for humiliation, and the ultimate victory over death itself in glory, joy and triumph.
Red sky at morning, sailors take warning. But I’m no sailor!
I stepped into the den this morning and caught sight of this out the back window. I love the sky and praising God for the glory of His creation.
First Friday today. Feast of the Immaculate Conception tomorrow. Great days to be alive!
The Lord suffers his loved ones with many afflictions, and he most assuredly loves us. Only faith leads to triumph and victory. We need more sense of triumph in the Faith, in all humility. Jesus Christ Himself certainly experienced it and let it be widely known He is triumphant and victorious.
Put forth Your power, O Lord, we beseech You, and come, that with You as our protector we may be rescued from the impending danger of our sins; and with You as our deliverer, may we obtain our salvation.
I’ll be updating this over the next few days. For the moment, it’s mainly links and headers spelling trouble for the Church institutional – which means a good house cleaning is in order. Yes, others are doing far better than I in keeping up with all of this. My duties are different.
What do I think about it all?
The Church Institutional is a house of cards that going to be collapsing. It’s all very clear.
We’re beyond the tipping point. The continued scandals and corruption have hit pretty hard, and frankly, I’m angry
The Church has MANY, many excellent Priests and Bishops. But rot and filth do exist.
Many have risen to power on the backs of the poor. Others just work the system to rise to power. I know of one who was schooled by Cardinal McCarrick and it wasn’t pretty.
Personally, I’ve mistakenly allowed recent developments to affect almost every area of my life – it’s brought up a lot of issues from the past, and experiences in the Faith, which caused me confusion; and I’ve allowed it to affect my prayer life, and some of my actions.
I’ve shut down in ways, to pray in the confusion. And I’ve found some healing, and am giving my life over to prayer and penance, as weak-willed as I can be in that regard.
But it’s not about me is it, it’s about the salvation of souls. It’s about the Church, it’s about Jesus Christ alive in our midst, in our hearts, minds, bodies and souls; the spirit of the living God within us.
Take Me Down Memory Lane
Catholics have been through a lot the last few decades. Every generation is taught something different, efforts at continuity are mocked, and everything the current generation has been taught is now being reversed – we’re being told we’re wrong to believe in what the Church has always taught – “it’s evolving”.
RICO charges are brought by the Federal Government against organizations which engage in corrupt acts, and in which the leaders have conspired in the corruption.
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops met recently to decide if they – the bishops – should be held to the same standards of accountability to which priests are held. Of course, everyone else in the sane universe with any sense of morality also adheres to standards of human decency.
They decided not to vote on whether they should have any standards or accountability.
The Vatican intervened and asked the US Bishop to postpone their vote, which is why they decided not to vote.
The Bishops of France and Italy voted for standards of accountability – no intervention.
Cardinal Cupich and Cardinal Wuerl are on the committee – the Congregation – which instructed the Bishops not to vote, but to wait until after the Synod on Sexual Abuse in February.
Interestingly, Praedicate Evangelium (“Preach the Gospel”) – the new and major document on the reform of the governance of the church – is supposed to go into effect in February. It’s all about “synodality’, local governance (such as no Vatican interventions in national concerns,) more women in charge and more laity.
Meanwhile the laity – who are rightly angry – are being told to shut up.
Because the Vatican intervened in a national matter, they’ve exposed themselves to charges from the USA of violating diplomatic immunity in matters of national governance of the Church. It’s very non-synodal of them.
As such, they may very well be included in any forthcoming lawsuits and criminal charges. The biggest hindrance from lawsuits against the Vatican in 2010 was the argument that the Vatican did not intervene in national governance matters.
Sex abuse, racketeering, coverups. What else could happen?
Given the headlines over the years, the corruption in the Vatican is high.
Financial scandals abound – money laundering, embezzlement, huge cash transfers for personal interest.
With the Vatican intervention into national affairs, it’s all now an international matter. Which is apropos as the corruption is worldwide and it’s an international matter anyway.
International money laundering, theft, child abuse, sexual abuse, human trafficking, aiding and abetting an international organization which propagated abuse of minors and adolescents, and vulnerable adults.
And the doors to an investigation are now legally open.
Here are some links and resources in a blogroll, tumblr kind of presentation. I’m old fashioned that way.
Child/Teen/Vulnerable Adult Sexual Abuse in the USA and elsewhere
The sex abuse crisis rocking the Catholic church is on the front burner at a “momentous” U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops gathering in Baltimore. The meeting comes amid a resurging crisis that’s reached the highest levels of the U.S. church in areas including Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C.
The Pennsylvania Supreme Court released on Tuesday the highly anticipated grand jury investigation into child sexual abuse by Catholic priests in six state dioceses. The 884-page document, which has been partially redacted, is regarded as the most comprehensive report on clergy sex abusers in a single state.
Are you Sure you Want to Cancel? Action Cannot be Undone.
During a holy hour Monday morning, two survivors of clerical sexual abuse spoke to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops about their experiences, and their hopes for the future of the Church. One survivor, Luis Torres, asked the bishops to make changes to ecclesial policies and culture that might ensure that sexual abuse or coercion by anyone in the Church, including bishops, is put to an end.
November 12 BALTIMORE – The Vatican stymied a plan by America’s Catholic leaders to confront sexual abuse, insisting in a surprise directive on Monday morning that U.S. bishops postpone their efforts to hold bishops more responsible in the abuse cases that have scourged the church. Bishops attending the annual meeting of the U.S.
Vatican Cancels US Bishops’ Vote on Sex-Abuse Reform Measures The instruction to delay consideration of a new ‘Code of Conduct’ for bishops, creation of a lay-led investigative body came directly from the Holy See, Cardinal Daniel DiNardo told USCCB meeting. BALTIMORE – Cardinal Daniel DiNardo, president of the U.S.
The Vatican barred Roman Catholic bishops in the U.S. from taking action to confront sex abuse, frustrating church leaders from across the country gathered in Baltimore for their annual meeting aimed at addressing the crisis.
In 1970, Congress gifted prosecutors with the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, intended to give crime fighters a powerful weapon to take down organized crime. It became known as RICO, and at first, prosecutors were unsure what to make of it.
Dorothy Cummings McLean WASHINGTON, D.C., November 16, 2018 ( LifeSiteNews) – A class action suit has been launched against the Vatican and the American Catholic bishops, citing a federal anti-racketeering law known as RICO. Six American survivors of child sexual assault filed a civil suit on November 13 against the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) and the Holy See.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) intended to vote on two measures responding to the ongoing sex abuse crisis in its annual fall meeting, which concluded in Baltimore on Wednesday. A last-minute intervention, however, from the Vatican’s Congregation for Bishops instructed the USCCB to stand down and to await a meeting of global episcopal conference leadership convoked by Pope Francis for February.
800,000 children a year in the United States go missing, many of them being sexually trafficked through pedophilia networks where the children suffer unimaginable horrors such as Satanic ritual abuse. This number is comprised of documented cases of children gone missing, and does not include children who are born and bred into pedophilia networks and have no birth certificates, or undocumented immigrant children who come across the borders.
Vatican Diplomat in Holy See’s DC Embassy Investigated for Child Pornography Vatican announces that the senior official has been recalled to Rome after U.S. authorities cited possible ‘violation of child-pornography laws.’ A priest working in the apostolic nunciature in Washington, D.C., has been recalled to the Vatican after U.S.
The German Catholic Church was forced to confront decades of sexual abuse allegations with the presentation of a large-scale investigation at the autumn full assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference in Fulda. The scope of abuse against minors, revealed in the study presented in a press conference on Tuesday, has prompted senior clergy members to call for extensive church reforms, such as allowing bishops and priests and marry.
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) – Pope Francis’ role in Argentina’s most famous case of priestly sex abuse is coming under renewed scrutiny as he faces the greatest crisis of his papacy over the Catholic Church’s troubled legacy of cover-up and allegations he himself sided with the accused.
Cardinal George Pell, the third most senior official at the Vatican, was charged with multiple “historical” sexual assaults in his native Australia, and ordered to appear in a Melbourne court next month. Ninety minutes after the charges were announced, the Catholic archdiocese of Sydney released a statement that Pell would “return to Australia as soon as possible to clear his name.”
From Australian country towns, to schools in Ireland and cities across the US, the Catholic Church has faced an avalanche of child sexual abuse accusations in the last few decades. Recent high-profile cases and harrowing testimony given to public inquiries have kept the issue in the headlines.
DUBLIN (Reuters) – Pope Francis travels to Ireland this week for the first papal visit in almost 40 years and since a series of clerical sex abuse scandals rocked the church’s standing in a once staunchly Roman Catholic country. There have been a series of reports into allegations of abuse by priests and members of religious orders.
ROME-“Giuseppe” was born to impoverished parents outside of Verona in northern Italy with a congenital birth defect that left him deaf and mute. When it became clear that his parents could not provide for him-much less communicate with him-they brought him to the local Catholic church, which enrolled him in their Antonio Provolo Institute for deaf and mute children.
BUENOS AIRES – Hundreds of spectators stood through the chilly night in the city’s Plaza de Mayo, the iconic park in front of the Catholic cathedral and government palace, to watch a live Vatican transmission of the ascension of the Argentine pope, Francis.
How to Not Say the Right Thing
“The Pope has a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church. We’re not going down a rabbit hole on this.” Cardinal Blase Cupich
That’s a headline from the satire site Babylon Bee from a couple of weeks ago. Here’s Chicago Cardinal Blase Cupich today in an interview with Chicago’s NBC station: “The Pope has a bigger agenda. He’s got to get on with other things, of talking about the environment and protecting migrants and carrying on the work of the church.
“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. [About those claiming abuse coverup] ~~~>It’s all slander. Is that clear?” So said Pope Francis to a Chilean reporter in Santiago, on the last day of his visit to Chile in January 2018. He was responding to the victims of child sexual abuse by the Chilean Friar Fernando Karadima, something his protégé, newly-instated Bishop Juan Barros Madrid, had helped cover up in the 1980s.
“The day they bring me proof against Bishop Barros, I’ll speak. There is not one shred of proof against him. It’s all slander. Is that clear?” So said Pope Francis to a Chilean reporter in Santiago, on the last day of his visit to Chile in January 2018.
Archbishop Claims that he didn’t know that Sex with Children was a Crime
During a deposition about sex crimes against children, Archbishop Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Missouri, claimed that he couldn’t remember when he realized that a priest having sex with a child was a crime.
The Roman Catholic Church is on the verge of an internal civil war. The battleground is between those who would liberalize the traditional definition of immoral sexual behavior for its clergy, and those who want to restore the conservative values of the Catholic faith as it has been known for more than a thousand years.
Millions of American children were placed in orphanages. Some didn’t make it out alive. Posted on August 27, 2018, at 6:40 a.m. ET It was a late summer afternoon, Sally Dale recalled, when the boy was thrown through the fourth-floor window. “He kind of hit, and- ” she placed both hands palm-down before her.
Follow the Money
“He must honestly state when he first learned about the crimes committed by McCarrick, who abused his authority with seminarians and priests. In any case, the Pope learned about it from me on June 23, 2013 and continued to cover him,” Vigano wrote.
Calls on pontiff to “resign” after Ireland meeting with victims of clergy sexual abuse.
VatiLeaks, as the scandal came to be known, dragged the fusty institution into the wild WikiLeaks era. It exposed the church bureaucracy’s entrenched opposition to Benedict’s fledgling effort to carve out a legacy as a reformer against the backdrop of a global child sex abuse scandal and the continued dwindling of his flock.
Guests at the going-away party for Carlo Maria Viganò couldn’t understand why the archbishop looked so forlorn. Pope Benedict XVI had appointed Viganò ambassador to the United States, a plum post where he would settle into a stately mansion on Massachusetts Avenue, across the street from the vice president’s residence.
The code of silence in the hierarchy of the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) that has protected pedophile priests for decades is being breeched by a few courageous whistleblowing Catholic clergy. These brave men have become willing to speak the truth at great risk to their careers and even to their very lives.
Fr. Joseph Moreno was silenced with a gunshot, in 2012, after collecting evidence for 20 years about sexual assaults committed by clergy in the Buffalo, New York Diocese.
His saga began when he assisted a seminary student in raising a complaint to the RCC hierarchy regarding a pedophile sex crime that the student witnessed.
The young seminary student saw the immediate results of a priest having sexually assaulted a 6-year-old boy when the boy came out of the priest’s office.
The boy had been forced to perform oral sex on the priest. The child came out of the priest’s office with semen on his face, in his hair, and on his clothing.
The seminary student was eventually driven out of the seminary for reporting the crime to the RCC hierarchy.
Apparently, he also had evidence on how local police, judges, and politicians cooperated with the culture of sexual abuse in the Buffalo diocese. Fr. Moreno prepared a dossier and had scheduled a meeting in Washington, D.C., where he was going to deliver his evidence to Archbishop Viganò, mentioned above.
This event triggered Fr. Moreno to begin gathering evidence about Catholic clergy sex crimes when he realized that the 1992 child molestation complaint was being ignored by the RCC hierarchy.
In addition to the molestation that Fr. Moreno recorded, he compiled information about the local seminary’s program to recruit homosexual priests from Columbia, South America. The evidence he gathered would have brought the Catholic Church under severe scrutiny for covering up homosexual and pedophile activity in the priesthood.
Apparently, he also had evidence on how local police, judges, and politicians cooperated with the culture of sexual abuse in the Buffalo diocese.
Fr. Moreno prepared a dossier and had scheduled a meeting in Washington, D.C., where he was going to deliver his evidence to Archbishop Viganò, mentioned above.
Fr. Moreno never made it to Washington D.C. He was found dead in his easy chair with gunshot wounds to his head a few days before his scheduled trip.
Why did Pope Benedict XVI resign? Did you know that the controversy around Archbishop Viganò goes back to 2010 and eventually led to the production of 300 page Dossier report on money laundering and Vatican Cardinals dressed in drag?
March 26, 2018; National Catholic Reporter Pope Francis has cancelled the annual meeting of the Papal Foundation, which includes an audience with the pope in Rome. There has been a schism over a significant grant request, a grant of $25 million to fund Istituto Dermopatico dell’Immacolata (IDI), a hospital in Rome.
Matthew O’Brien publishes a really important piece in First Things today, about the dodgy connections between Cardinal Ted McCarrick and the Papal Foundation charity. I urge anyone interested in the scandal to read this. It’s vital stuff.
The saga of the Knights of Malta has been expanded with a new chapter, staged by the Grand Chancellor of the order, the German baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, in an interview in the widely read German newspaper “Bild ” on March 16.
(Image source) In our extensive summary of the toppling of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta by Rome, we examined the curious reports of an estate left by a wealthy Frenchman that should have resulted in a bequest of millions to …
Germany’s mass-selling newspaper has reported that the Grand Chancellor of the Order of Malta, Baron Albrecht Freiherr von Boeselager, accepted a 30 million Swiss franc donation ($31 million) on behalf of the Order from what Bild calls “a dubious trust” in Geneva. Boeselager denies any wrongdoing.
An Italian media outlet has reported allegations of financial mismanagement on the part of Honduran Cardinal Oscar Maradiaga, although no formal allegations or charges have been raised against the cardinal to date.
Fatima Perspectives #1219 To the surprise of absolutely no one who has paid any attention to Church affairs over the past 50 years, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick has finally been exposed to the general public as the homosexual predator he always was. The Diocese of Metuchen, where McCarrick was the bishop from 1982 to 1986, had …
Boston Roman Catholic Cardinal Bernard F Law acknowledges in videotaped deposition that he allowed priests accused of sexually abusing children, even those who admitted abuse, to return to parish ministry without informing parishioners; testified as defendant in lawsuit against Rev Paul R Shanley; says parishioners were not informed of allegations
From running on donations to becoming an international holding company, the Catholic Church’s financial past is littered with secrets. So much that author Gerald Posner wrote hundreds of pages chronicling the institution’s financial scandals in his new book, God’s Bankers.
A former president of the Vatican bank has been ordered to stand trial on charges of embezzlement and money laundering, the Vatican has said, making him the highest-ranking Holy See financial official to be indicted on charges tying him to losses of more than $61 million from real estate sales.
Here’s a theory. That’s all it is: a theory. But if I had the investigative resources, I would be looking into it. I learned this week that under John Paul II, there were three people who always showed up at the Vatican with lots of money: Father Marcial Maciel, Cardinal Bernard Law, and Archbishop Theodore McCarrick, who was made a cardinal by JP2.
John-Henry Westen ROME, February 20, 2018 ( LifeSiteNews) – Leaked documents obtained by LifeSiteNews connect the Pope himself to a new Vatican financial scandal and raise serious questions about his global reputation as the ” pope for the poor.”
Vatican prosecutors have indicted a former president of the Vatican bank and his lawyer for embezzlement and money laundering, the latest move in a long-term cleanup of the historically scandal-plagued institution.
ROME-In 2015, the Council of Europe’s financial-evaluation arm Moneyval laid down the law for the Vatican Bank, telling the rather unholy financiers who had been accused of abetting money laundering for years that it isn’t enough to just smoke out suspicious account holders and freeze assets.
Vatican prosecutors have indicted a former president of the Vatican bank and his lawyer for embezzlement and money laundering, the latest move in a long-term cleanup of the historically scandal-plagued institution.
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – The Vatican was shaken by a corruption scandal Thursday after an Italian television investigation said a former top official had been transferred against his will after complaining about irregularities in awarding contracts.
ROME – The leaders of the Sistine Chapel Choir have landed in the cross hairs of an investigation by Vatican prosecutors into possible money laundering, fraud and embezzlement. The Vatican announced that Pope Francis had authorized an “investigation into some economic-administrative aspects” of the choral ensemble, the world’s oldest.
Local mafia in southern Italy have allegedly been siphoning off state funds destined for the country’s largest migrant center since 2009. A charity run by Father Edoardo Scordio operates the center, and he was among those arrested in connection to the scheme.
ROME – The Italian authorities have arrested 46 members of the Sicilian Mafia, including top leaders in the Palermo area, as part of a sweeping international operation spanning Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. The Italian arrests were announced on Tuesday, nipping in the bud an attempt to re-establish a ruling mob council for the province.
Italy’s National Anti-Mafia Directorate (DNA) arrested 68 members of organized crime families across Italy on Wednesday, with help from Eurojust – the EU’s judicial agency – and police from Britain, the Netherlands, Serbia and Switzerland. Those arrested were members of the country’s three major crime syndicates: Sicily’s Cosa Nostra, Calabria’s ‘Ndrangheta and Apulia’s Sacra Corona Unita (SCU).
On June 28 this year, Italian police arrested a silver-haired priest, Monsignor Nunzio Scarano, in Rome. The cleric, nicknamed Monsignor Cinquecento after the €500 bills he habitually carried around with him, was charged with fraud and corruption, together with a former secret service agent and a financial broker.
The current nuncio to Washington cannot stand having been driven out of Rome. And he is reacting against his archenemy, Cardinal Bertone. He has many supporters in the curia. And the pope is getting caught in the fray
Mysterious deaths and conspiracies go hand in hand, it seems. There are always theories swirling about these strange passings that point to insidious machinations beyond our control or understanding. One very remarkable such case of conspiracy and mystery is the death of a wealthy Italian banker, whose strange demise would become embroiled with talk of mafia dealings, Vatican conspiracies, and the workings of ancient secret societies.
A Final Video
The Wild and the Wooly
It’s always worthwhile to toss in some random links here and there.
The Pope’s Audience Hall is a building designed to look exactly like a reptile. In essence, the Pope speaks to his audience from the head of a reptile. Why? When I first realized the true magnitude of what the Pope’s Audience Hall design reveals, I was shocked.
Is that it’s so freaking expensive and so freaking enjoyable.
Everyone is a photographer nowadays what with inexpensive and great cameras abounding all over the place. And frankly it doesn’t really matter what camera you buy. Timing, light, right place at the right time – all matter – and usually more than the equipment.
Take the featured image up top, if you can see it because I’m not quite sure what’s going on my theme options here. (I am such a pro.)
One of my friends who is a Francophile claims that I have some of the best images he’s ever seen of Versailles (which is of course, very polite of him.) He wished he could afford a camera like mine.
Fact is, they were all taken with a small Nikon CoolPix which I still use from time to time, and edited with iPhoto. I love the camera. It had a shutter issue a few years in and I looked it up on some Nikon forums which had all sorts of odd fixes. I got a Q-Tip and rubbed a little WD-40 on it. Works like a charm. Fits in a pocket. Photos were adjusted a bit on a MacBook.
The story is this: I had traveled to Paris, alone as Priests often do, and ended up at Versailles a few days before coming home. Standing in line in the early morning to purchase tickets, a few of us English speakers gravitated towards one another and hung out whilst we toured the place. It’s absolutely beautiful, but it’s also – short? It’s built right at ground level and while it has high ceilings it just seems smaller from the outside than it actually is. Maybe it’s because I’m from New Orleans where everything has to be raised ten feet in the air.
The group was fun, and everyone was traveling solo which made me feel less odd. One guy had a huge camera setup and was taking all kinds of photos. One girl, a true chatterbox if ever one was born, was taking everyone’s pix and asking for poses and such.
But the day was overcast, the fountains had come on for a bit then gone off. None of the pictures were very exciting, though they’re photojournalistic and carry memories. Gradually we all drifted apart. A large group of us split to catch an early Metro back to the city. Some of us went to Le Petit Trianon, which was well worth it. Then everyone else left, and I decided to stay a bit and wander around. It was a peaceful place, very pretty. Marie Antoinette was a devout Catholic, not the villainess she was made out to be, it was amazing seeing where she lived out most of her days.
Some of my friends had visited Versailles a few years before and talked about how they had brought a bottle of wine and some bread and sat in the park and picnicked, so being the romantic at heart that I am, I decided to meander over that way to see what they were talking about before I headed back to the city myself, so that I could go to Mass that evening at Notre Dame Cathedral, a few blocks from my hotel.
Suddenly – and I do mean suddenly – the clouds parted dramatically and in the heavens appeared the most glorious sight of the sun, shining over all the gardens, the trees, the statues. Crowds flooded in because, come to find out, it was the last day of the year that the fountains were going to be on. And boy were they on. I was able to walk around in the beautiful lighting and take snaps of every fountain, every statue, every building every tree with my little Nikon CoolPix. And they’re all GreatPix. It was a sheer fluke of timing.
This is an old picture of my friend Tracy when we went to Peru – taken with a Canon 35mm automatic that actually used film. The year was 2000, digital cameras were new to most people and I even brought along a leaden-pouch carrying case to bring my rolls of film back into the US and not be damaged by X-Ray machines, as one used to do.
We were hiking near Huaraz with a friend named Bill who we had met a few nights before while having dinner and far too many beers and tequila shots for any of our good. He had just come off the mountains and was sunburnt and depressed about his relationship with his girlfriend. Tracy was looking forward to meeting her boyfriend in Lima before we headed to Machu Picchu, and I was a seminarian who had decided to splurge and pay $10 a night for my own room with a private bathroom because in seminary I had to walk 50 yards to the nearest bathroom and I just had to have some sense of self. My room also had a spectacular view of Huascaran, one of the most awe-inspiring sights I’ve ever seen.
It’s a scan of the actual photo, which looks better than this. Again it’s a fluke that we ended up here because we simply got very, very lost on our little adventure and ended up finally just walking up a hill (“a hill”, hah! snort;) to find the trail. Of course no hiking trail existed because we were very very, very lost.
In the Andes, an actual civilization exists, and it is gorgeous. We walked through so many small farms and private fields we couldn’t even count them. After hours of hearing “Arriba! Arriba!” when we asked anyone where the trail was, the few people we encountered in their fields who stared at us as if we from Mars, we finally found their trail. It’s a sort of sidewalk along the side of the mountains, with a small waterway built along the side of it.
The photo’s nothing National Geographic would publish, or that most people would admire, but it’s a perfectly fine photo. Because when was the last time you were in Huaraz, on a trail way up “arriba” used by the locals, with that scenic background?
The iPhone Photo
If you’ve ever been here, this is the belfry at St. Jane de Chantal Church. It’s a photo taken with my iPhone. It’s a pretty capture and delights people. Nothing magnificent but a good time to catch a colorful sunset, with our scenic little church that I have photographed a thousand times over from every angle.
Seriously, do you even need a camera these days?
Another pic from my little Nikon. When I first got to St. Jane Parish, Hurricane Isaac hit the area (small, a category 1,) and everyone was cooped up for three days of rain, winds and squalls. The rivers flooded over the bridges and we were isolated in the little island that Abita turns into at such times (with me giving constant thanks that the water flows downhill and we’re 31 feet above sea level.) When it started letting up I got on my bike and rode down to the lake to see how things had fared.
Along the way were these Pullman cars that used to belong to a family as their weekend-vacation-getaway-place. The family has since sold them, and the railcars were moved out a few years ago.
As the rain started up again I took this picture. I like it. It shows a part of Abita that’s gone now, and one day people will probably be amazed that the Pullman cars were even there. The stuff of legends spoken of by the elders.
Life is short and you might as well enjoy when you can. This is with the Canon 5d mk ii that I bought back in 2009. I still use that fairly often and have learned to adjust it for maximum benefit. I’ve taken thousands of photos with this camera. I also owned a Canon 1DX for a time – as a university in photography training. But when push came to shove, it just wasn’t a fun camera to use and mainly good for technical shots. I sold it. Annie the chicken lady here, from the fair at St. Mary Magdalen which is shockingly and wonderfully huge.
Photos are important, even if they’re not always perfect. People need to know their story, where they came from, where they’re going. The photos that I have are (very slowly) being made into photo books, for parishioners want them, to know about the times here; the beautiful people, the wonderful works the Lord is doing here, now, in this place.
One day someone may still have one of those photobooks and be able to look at a part of the history here and give thanks for the good things the Lord has done – knowing that people have lived, suffered, struggled, and have experienced victories, tragedies, glories – everything life has to offer – all whilst being faithful to the Lord God Almighty in our tiny little church here, with a Pastor who has very poor grammar.
I did do a slight upgrade during a sale. But soon enough mirrorless will become better. It’s an investment any way you look at it. And if I can enjoy the end of an era with what I already have then why not make the most of things and enjoy it? After all, Nikon just came out with the drool-worthy D850, causing camera envy the world o’er. It’s not mirrorless. These companies aren’t about to leave their DSLR customers and their investments high and dry.
To Wrap Things Up Here
I’m going to work on my books and wait for better things to be established – because they’re currently not established enough for me to figure out.
Rumor has it Canon’s coming out with a major mirrorless thing. Of course Nikon will too. And Sony. And Fuji. And Pentax. And everyone else, and the guy down the street and everyone and anyone who makes smartphones. Who’ll be best then? Huh?
I can wait.
As always, Blessed be the Lord now and forever. Saint Francis Xavier, pray for us.
On a light-hearted note, I was talking with one of our Parishioners today about the Pints with Aquinas program. Basically, you get together over beers and discuss the thought, writings, sayings, of St. Thomas Aquinas.
One of his buddies wants to start a chapter so he looked into it and found you have to pay to start a chapter, which immediately turned him off to the idea of actually starting a chapter. “I can start my own group for free,” he said and started bandying about names. “Brews with Bernard.” “Manhattans with Martha.” “Wassail with Wenceslaus.”
The brainstorming went on until he settled on “Alcohol with Augustine” which, I thought, was hilarious. I cackled and laughed and basically proved the point that you can’t take me anywhere at times. But it does hit the nail on the head because you’re basically just getting together over alcohol and discussing holy matters of some sort.
“Pints with Aquinas” is a successful cottage industry and exposing worlds to the thought of Aquinas, which is great. But if you’re already studying and discussing Aquinas, then it’s also true that you don’t need to pay to start a program to discuss him over beers with buds. And do we really need another excuse, as Catholics, to drink? We’re not puritans, but Good Lord. At times it’s as if the hallmark of being a Catholic gentleman is booze and cigars. (That being said if Matt Fradd is working the P with A program and helping people to know Jesus – more power to him. I go full Gamaliel when it comes to the Apostolates of others; Acts 5:34-40.)
Like Broken Glass
Getting back to the point of this post and the picture above. This morning the power flicked on and off a few times, then went out for good for well over an hour, as happens out here in the woods. It led to the opening of windows and curtains all over town on this beautiful, sunny, cool fall day. I was pondering the little pile of broken glass up top as I got ready. Hopped in the shower, brushed my teeth, walking around in my towel as one does when one lives alone and the curtains are all closed.
Except the curtains weren’t closed, which I realized as I stepped away from the bathroom sink and looked directly across the hall, through the kitchen, and right into the Lutheran fellowship building next door. Those poor souls. I only pray that they weren’t in the building at that point.
But I dutifully set about to photograph this little pile of glass because it struck me as so odd.
You know how when you knock over a glass, it either breaks or it doesn’t? And when it doesn’t you breathe a sigh of relief. At other times, you drop a glass and it hits the floor in such a way that it shatters into about a zillion pieces. Well, that’s what happened with this one.
Here’s a whole glass next to the broken one. Looks like it holds about a pint.
It’s a large amount of broken glass, compared to a relatively small and lightweight whole glass. I had swept it together and had to run off. And when I came back and saw it shining in the sun, it was so beautiful; sparkling and reflecting the light from deep within.
And on this First Sunday of Advent, what came to me is that at times we appear to be whole and unstained, in great shape and all is fine and well. At other times we’re broken and shattered and spread out all over the place. Yet, even in the brokenness, we’re still beautiful in the eyes of the Lord. He sees us as beautiful, created in his image and likeness – the glory of his creation.
In His light, no matter our brokenness, woundedness, no matter what we’ve been through, we radiate his light and goodness when we simply acknowledge that He is Lord, and ask him into our hearts.
Without the sun – the light shining from within – it’s a pile of broken glass. (That admittedly I scraped up and placed onto a piece of white marble I own because I love white marble, despite the fact that no one else in these parts does. I actually use it sometimes, it’s a pastry thing.)
Let the Lord into your heart that you may glorify Him in all you do! And please pray for me, that I may do the same. I am more like a broken glass than I’d care to imagine at times, which is no doubt why the Lord has called my attention to it.
St. Thomas Aquinas, St. Agustine, Sto Monica – pray for us.