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Friday, August 31, 2018

Bishop Fenwick corresponds with an early Catholic convert

Pilot Photo Illustration/Pilot Photo/Courtesy Archdiocesan Archives
Bishop Fenwick corresponds with an early Catholic convert: In the Bishop Benedict Fenwick Papers reside four letters from a Dr. Samuel Butler of East Berkshire, Vermont, spanning 1837 through 1841. The letters discuss Butler's choice to convert to Catholicism.  It is interesting that Dr. Butler remarks, people believe whatever they read.

Thursday, August 30, 2018

What Happened?

Since Saturday, I haven't been able to post.  I guess this blog was hacked.  No matter what computer I used, the second I got on my blog, up popped a widget advertisement.  I googled how to get rid of it but did not have the time to try to fix the problem.  That's why since Saturday, the only posts I posted were forwarded information from other sources.

Today, I was going to work on fixing the problem.  But it's gone.  I don't know why, but of course, I'm happy about it.

I've so much to update: hubby's health, the country's politics, church scandals, my radio experience (yes!), but not now.  I do have a virtual life and it is calling. 

Until later........

We need the truth

We need the truth: Statements by Pope Francis and American bishops reacting to the Church's sex abuse scandal suggest they are serious about getting to the roots of what happened and doing something meaningful about it.
Pixabay CC0/Public Domain

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Brood of Vipers!

From These Stones - The Coming Home Network: To hear Marcus address this topic on our Deep in Scripture podcast, click here. I find it difficult to free my mind from the present scandal in the Church. It bombards us no matter where we look.  Click on this article to read how the religious leaders in Jesus' times were corrupt.  Corruption in the church is nothing new.  That's still no excuse.  It was an abomination then and it is now.  This article is a good commentary.

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Stealing from Thieves

This is funny--both bizarre and humorous.  While my "cloistered brothers" were at Mass, someone broke into the chaplain's office and stole their supplies of coffee, sugar, and creamer.

Well, it is a bad neighborhood.

The place is full of crooks.

But it's not funny when you considered these men save up to buy these supplies.  They are not provided.  The most anyone can earn is a dollar a day.  So these supplies are very dear.

So it's not funny, after all.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018


One of Argonauta's member's daughter is a portraitist.  She does watercolors from photos.  She specializes in children.  They are not expensive when you consider that you get a work of art.  This is intentional. Lizzy, the artist, is very social justice minded.  During college, she volunteered in Haiti.  She and her husband still work towards social justice.  Her website:    

Please read the article on Boston Voyager.  BTW, Lizzy is standing near one of her portraits that hangs in Franklin, MA, library.  The portrait is not of a child; she does everyone.  This portrait is of Clara Lodi, a board member of Franklin Public Library.  

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

My Promise


JOS 24:1-2A, 15-17, 18B

Joshua gathered together all the tribes of Israel at Shechem,
summoning their elders, their leaders,
their judges, and their officers. 
When they stood in ranks before God,
Joshua addressed all the people:
"If it does not please you to serve the LORD,
decide today whom you will serve,
the gods your fathers served beyond the River
or the gods of the Amorites in whose country you are now dwelling. 
As for me and my household, we will serve the LORD."

But the people answered,
"Far be it from us to forsake the LORD
for the service of other gods. 
For it was the LORD, our God,
who brought us and our fathers up out of the land of Egypt,
out of a state of slavery. 
He performed those great miracles before our very eyes
and protected us along our entire journey
and among the peoples through whom we passed. 
Therefore we also will serve the LORD, for he is our God."
This gathering at Shechem is a ceremony but the reasons for the ceremony are arguable.  It seems to be a pledge to Yahweh.  It also is an affirmation of previous covenants.  Either view shows the ceremony to be a supportive communal gathering.
I will serve the Lord.  This is a promise knowing that it will entail responsibility.  It will require a lifetime of faithfulness and obedience.
I will remain faithful (to the point of stupidity!) because I believe Jesus is my Savior, The Father is my Creator, and the Holy Spirit is what holds it all together.
As for me, I choose to serve the Lord.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Pennsylvania Prelate says Bishops who Hid Abuse should Resign

Pennsylvania prelate says bishops who hid abuse should resign: WASHINGTON (CNS) -- In an Aug. 16 interview with Eternal Word Television Network, Erie Bishop Lawrence T. Persico said the only way to regain the trust of the laity after decades-long claims of sexual abuse is for the bishops to resign, do penance and repent.

Sunday, August 19, 2018

Too Many Fools

At first, I loved Richard Russo's novel, Nobody's Fool.  But now that I finished it, I don't.  Oh, Russo is an excellent writer.  He had me hooked.  I stayed up late until I finished the book.  I enjoyed the deprecating zingers the characters snapped back at each other.  I thought the different scenarios the author put us through were creative. I really do recommend the book.

But I know too many Sullys.  My Dad was close to being one.  I worked with one.  My co-worker needed a set of false teeth.  He saved and saved until he had enough money.  The weekend before he was to be fitted, he gambled away his savings.  So he had no false teeth.  Isn't that something Sully would do?

Sully is the protagonist.  He's mostly unemployed.  When he works he's in construction.  I know a lot of those construction workers too.  Many are day workers, like Sully.  Sully's son loses his teaching job and starts to work alongside Sully.  The characters are very well drawn.  I either know them in real life or can imagine them easily.  The dialogue is humorous.

I'm giving this book to my friend, Joan, to enjoy.  She needs to get a grip on reality and see how the other half lives.  

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Pray for our Country

I invite you to pray with me, for our country.  We will pray a rosary every day until Oct. 7th, the Feast of our Lady of the Rosary.  Go to this site for more information:

Thursday, August 16, 2018

Cardinal issues statement for all priests to read at Mass

Mnsr. Timothy Moran

Cardinal issues statement for all priests to read at Mass: BRAINTREE -- In a statement issued Aug. 16, Cardinal Sean P. O'Malley acknowledged the pain experienced by victims of clergy abuse and calling on Catholics to respond with action and not lose hope.

Every priest needs to talk about this at their masses.  Last night on the Feast of the Assumption of Mary, Mnsr. Moran spoke of it in his opening remarks of welcome.  But his homily was on the Assumption: I thought he should have tied it into the Pennslyvania Grand Jury report, but he missed the opportunity.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Thoughts on the Report

MK Drawing

Are you surprised at Pennsylvania's Grand Jury Report?

My first thought was that Frank Keating was right.  Remember what he called the bishops?

Keating lead the National Review Board in 2002 investigating the Boston church's coverup.  He resigned.  I remembered that he said the bishops were like the mafia.

Tell me how the bishops in covering up the sex misconducts of the priests is not something the cosa nostra would do.

I'm ashamed.
I'm ashamed to be associated with these bishops and priests.  Not ashamed of my religion but ashamed of these people.
I'm ashamed to be of the same generation of many of these bishops.
I'm ashamed that the church hierarchy thinks the fault is with homosexuality and not with omertà.
I'm incensed that it exists; that it has gone on for so long.
I'm incensed at the omertà.
I want most of the bishops to resign.  I want these bishops to publically repent!  

That sexual abuse happens is inexcusable, worse in people representing the faith.  And even worse! is the coverup!!

Monday, August 13, 2018

Argonauta's Book List for 2018-19

Sept. 13-----Little Fires Everywhere by Celeste Ng

Oct. 11-----A Piece of the World by Christina Baker Kline

November 8-----The Great Alone by Kristin Hannah

December 13-----The Sun and Her Flowers by Rupi Kaur

January 10-----The Woman in the Window by A.J. Finn

February 14-----The Overstory by Richard Powers

March 14----Before We Were Yours by Lisa Wingate

April 11-----The Music Shop by Rachel Joyce

May 16-----The Radium Girls by Kate More

June 13-----Luncheon Of the Boating Party by Susan Vreeland

Summer Break

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Hospital Chaplaincy

Father Elias Ojomah
God always surprises me.  Hubby has been in Brigham and Women's Hospital, in Boston, for the last five days.  And today is Sunday.  I needed to go to Mass to pray for him.  The Mass celebrant was new to the parish. He introduced himself as Father Elias Ojomah from the Catholic chaplaincy at Brigham and Women's Hospital.

!!!!What do you think about that?  Too coincidental to be a coincidence. I talked to Father Elias afterward.  Wouldn't it be something if he visited hubby?

Saturday, August 11, 2018

My Dear Sisters

My Dear Sisters, Life of Bl. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP, Apostle to Prisoners (1832-1869 by Fr. Jean-Marie Gueullette, OP, translated by Fr. George G. Christian, OP

Author: Fr. Jean-Marie Gueullette, OP
Genre: Biography
Date Published:  Les Editionos Du Cerf,, Paris 2012.  Translated 2018 by Fr. George G. Christian, OP, New Hope Publications, New Hope Kentucky,
Number of Pages: 260 softcover
Print Price: $22.95

This 2018 translation of the recently beatified Fr. M. Jean-Joseph Lataste, OP, the spiritual father of the Dominican Sisters of Bethany, was written by the Vice-Postulator of his cause for beatification, Fr. Jean-Marie Gueullette, OP.  Gueullette tells Fr. Lataste’s life, from birth to death in a balanced and thorough account and is very much worth reading for fans of Catholic biographies, and those involved in the Catholic chaplaincies inside prisons. The author’s rendering of the intellectual and social milieu of the times adds understanding to the situations Fr. Lataste had to deal with.  Fr. Lataste was a prophet, and like all prophets, his ideas were not universally welcomed, not even by his order.  But you can’t hold down the Holy Spirit, and God’s will prevails.
Fr. Lataste was all about mercy and redemption.  He is known as the "Apostle of Prisons."  He was a French Dominican who lived in the 19th century.  As a new preacher, he was assigned to preach a retreat in a women's prison.  The women were used to sermons that condemned them for their crimes and emphasized their unworthiness.  But Pere Lataste's sermon spoke of God's love.

           My dear sisters!
           I am not sure whether you noticed: in the beginning, what I called you: My dear sisters,--
          My dear sisters!  Do you understand that? After all, what are you to me? P. 98

The women were surprised.  They came into the chapel with their heads down, disgraced women who were too ashamed to look a priest in the eyes.  But as the good friar spoke of God's love, then one by one their heads popped up.  Their expressions changed from surprise, to attentive, to hopeful, to being, oh, so very open.

Nota Bene: this is Lataste spirituality.  He tells the inmates that they are equal to nuns  and monks. Appreciating women as his sisters in Adam and in Jesus Christ, Fr. Lataste developed an idea absolutely original in the history of the Church…he ventured to formulate the notion of welcoming into religious life ex-prisoners.  God forgave them and they felt called to contemplative life. P. 232

    The community of Bethany was conceived in the heart of Fr. Lataste during adoration
     of the Blessed Sacrament in prison, while he was praying in the midst of inmates like
     a brother among his sisters and as he felt overwhelmed by the enthusiasm that
     filled the chapel
.  P.233

This is the biography Fr. Gueullette relates. Although it is a scholarly work, written by an academic, it is very readable.  You learn not only about Fr. Lataste but about his innovative idea of prisoners becoming Dominican nuns.  His spirituality is all about God’s immense love and mercy.  Fr. Gueullette meticulously researched his biography and his intellectual scholarship adds credibility to this interesting new biography.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Cyber Threat to the Country

The President Is Missing: A NovelA few days ago I spent on a visit to the hospital.  It took the whole entire day.  While there, I read a 513-page book, The President is Missing by Bill Clinton and James Patterson.  Yes, that's Bill Clinton the former president and James Patterson, the award-winning mystery writer.

The white house descriptions and the interaction between the people who surround the president, obviously are Clinton's contribution.  The suspense I give credit to Patterson.  It is a page-turner.  I didn't want to do anything else but find out what was going on in the book.

There's a real cyber threat to the country.  Everything will shut down.  Think about it, e.i., hospitals, financial institutions, etc.  The country couldn't function.  We would be open to military attack.  The story is the race to figure out how to stop it.  To complicate matters, the president is sick and his health is fading fast.

I've already said, I couldn't put the book down.  It's a page-turner.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Bat Mystery

If they make their way into a house, bats are often seen on drapes or curtains. Wade Tregaskis

He's gone.  But how did he ever get in?

Last night, hubby was watching baseball in the living room.  I was watching mysteries on PBS in another room.  Suddenly, a bat flew around the room.  I couldn't believe it!  Where did it come from?

I close the door so it wouldn't fly around the house.  I yelled for hubby.  Together we worked to get it out.  We opened the windows and try to swat it out.  It finally landed inside a window valence.  We threw the blanket over the entire window so he couldn't get out into the room.  It had no choice but to go out the window.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

New and Improved

Lectio:   Ezekiel 36: 25-27

I will sprinkle clean water upon you to cleanse you from all your impurities, and from all your idols I will cleanse you.  I will give you a new heart and place a new spirit within you, taking from your bodies your stony hearts and giving you natural hearts.  I will put my spirit within you and make you live by my statutes, careful to observe my decrees.


Ezekiel had thought the people had to repent and remain righteous if they were ever to leave Babylon.  But here Ezekiel prophesizes a new message.  God is going to gather His people and bring them back where He will purify them and remove their idols. God will give them new hearts so they can hear His Word.  Now they can obey and remain obedient, with the help of the Spirit.


This Lectio has a different and very personal meaning for me.  My non-church going husband is having open heart surgery on the feast of Saint Dominic.  (May St. Dominic intercede for me.)  So I am praying that hubby's new heart will hear God's Word.  That he will desire to get as close to God as possible, with the help of the Spirit.


St. Dominic, you are known to have much compassion.  I pray that you continue my prayers to have hubby's surgery successful.  And that this time of recuperation be an opportunity to grow in faith.


St. Dominic, ora pro mi spousa.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Father James DeAdder

My prayer group, Our Lady of Mercy, many years ago spiritually adopted Father James DeAdder.  We prayed for him, we sent greeting cards, gifts, and visited him.  I was saddened today to learn of his death.  May he rest in peace.

Father James W. DeAdder Pilot file photo

One of the four children of the late James and Alice (Browne) DeAdder, Father James W. DeAdder was born June 30, 1927 in Lawrence and grow up next door in North Andover, a son of the town's only parish, St. Michael.

He attended local schools and on graduation from high school in 1944 he entered the United States Army. During his military service he attended both the University of Maine and Norwich University in Vermont. Returning to civilian life he completed his collegiate undergraduate career at Boston College with a B.S.B.A. degree and entered St. John Seminary. He was sent to complete theological studies in Rome, living at the Pontifical North American College. He was granted a license in sacred theology from the Pontifical Gregorian University.

The rector of PNAC, the Most Rev. Martin J. O'Connor, ordained him to the priesthood in the seminary chapel on Dec. 17, 1955. Father DeAdder returned to the archdiocese and was appointed an assistant at St. Margaret of Scotland, Beverly. He returned to the Eternal City for further studies in 1957 and was granted both a Ph.D. and S.T.D., doctoral degrees respectively in philosophy and theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas -- the Angelicum.

Returning again to the archdiocese he was appointed an assistant at the Cathedral of the Holy Cross, Boston; then at St. Mary of the Annunciation, Cambridge and what would be his last parish assignment at Sacred Heart, East Boston.

In July 1964 he was appointed to the faculty of the newly created Pope John XXIII Seminary for Delayed Vocations; now Pope St. John XXIII National Seminary, Weston. He would serve at the seminary for a record 33 years, as a faculty member and as the seminary's third rector (1973-1981). In his spare time he also obtained a law degree, J.D., from Suffolk University and was a member of the Massachusetts Bar Association. On June 30, 1997 he was granted senior priest/retirement status by Cardinal Bernard Law.

He retired, initially to the family home in North Andover, and subsequently in 1999 to Regina Cleri Residence in Boston. Although retired he assisted in archdiocesan parishes among them, St. Barbara, Woburn.

Cardinal Seán P. O'Malley, OFM Cap. was to be the principal celebrant of Father DeAdder's Funeral Mass at St. Michael Church, North Andover on July 27. Msgr. Dennis F. Sheehan, Father DeAdder's successor as rector of Pope St. John Seminary and fellow faculty member with him there was to be the homilist of the Mass.

Father DeAdder's survivors include his younger siblings, all residents of North Andover, his sister, Nancy Barry and brothers Robert and Donald.

Father DeAdder was buried in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, North Andover.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Troubled Catholics

The P.S. says to share and I think it says what we are thinking.

Dear Troubled Catholics,
I have never seen so many "ordinary Catholics"-who usually never follow or hear about Church news-as deeply troubled as I have seen them in response to the recent revelations about the retired archbishop of Washington, DC.

Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was asked by the pope to resign from his membership in the College of Cardinals and ordered to live in seclusion until a canonical trial can be held to verify the validity of charges of sexual abuse and harassment made against him. After the first brave person came forward (whose accusations were found credible by the Archdiocese of New York Review Board), more and more followed. The climate of fear among many of our clergy-the fear of being punished or marginalized if they report sexual immorality among their fellow clergy or leaders-is starting to break. Cardinal McCarrick is now known as Archbishop McCarrick.

What has been so disturbing to so many people is the fact that there had been numerous warnings to various church officials that he was a homosexual predator, harassing many seminarians, priests, and young boys, for many years, but nothing had ever been done about it, and he was continually promoted. Even after a delegation of priests and lay people went to Rome to warn the Vatican about the situation, he was promoted. Even after a leading Dominican priest wrote a letter to Cardinal O'Malley, nothing was done. Even after lawsuits accusing him of homosexual sexual harassment in two of his previous dioceses had been settled with financial awards, he was still promoted. And not only that, he became a key advisor to Pope Francis and offered advice on whom to appoint as bishops in the United States!

One young Catholic mother with two boys who was open to the priesthood for them said to me that she now has grave concerns about ever having one of her sons enter the seminary, given the corruption that has been revealed.

Another said she could no longer see anyone joining the Catholic Church, due to such bad leadership. She lamented about the difficulty this presents for evangelization.

Another said that seven people from her very small, rural parish had left the parish, because sexual sin is never spoken of and there is almost an exclusive emphasis on political issues. She now fears that even more will leave.

Another said that the only way this is ever going to change is if we simply stop giving to the bishops' national collections and to our own dioceses and parishes' collections, unless they are led by bishops who are willing to call a spade a spade and govern accordingly. To this day, there are quite a number of "gay friendly" parishes in even "good dioceses," where those afflicted with homosexual temptation are not encouraged to live chaste lives or offered effective correction, but instead are confirmed in their sexual activity. It seems many bishops are afraid to tackle the local "homosexual lobbies" and choose to turn a blind eye.

This past weekend at Mass, the priest giving the sermon was more upset than I've ever seen him about the unfolding scandal. The Gospel was about how the weeds and the wheat grow up together and will only finally be separated at the judgment. It was unclear what the priest was actually saying, but we are certainly not called to "enable the weeds." And shepherds in particular have the obligation to admonish the sinner and remove from ministry those who refuse to preach the truth and who encourage others in wrong doing. Yes, we will always have sin, but as Jesus said, "whoever causes one of these little ones who believes in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened round his neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea" (Mt 18:6).

There have been a veritable deluge of articles that have appeared from highly respected lay Catholics and priests saying that "enough is enough," and we need to stop the cover-ups and get to the bottom of who is implicated in promoting men like this and covering up for them. We do.

In 2002, when the American bishops approved their "charter" that attempted to respond to the many cases of priest pedophilia that had come to light by that time, they conspicuously exempted themselves from their "zero tolerance" policy. Many priests have told me that they felt "thrown under the bus" by the bishops, who conveniently didn't adopt policies to deal with their own tolerance of immoral behavior, cover-ups that allowed the pedophilia to go on for many years, or in some cases, their own immoral behavior. Another disturbing thing about the 2002 Charter is that-despite pleas to not ignore the fact that this is primarily a homosexual scandal, since most of the victims were adolescent boys rather than true children-the bishops decided not to tackle "the elephant in the room." Could it be because they knew some of their brother bishops/cardinals were implicated, and they didn't want to face the mess of cleaning it up? Now this refusal to acknowledge the "homosexual lobby," as Pope Benedict termed it, is coming home to roost. But there's not just a huge homosexual problem in the Church; unfortunately, heterosexual sin and financial malfeasance are common in many places as well. In some countries, a significant percentage of priests are living with concubines or fathering children by vulnerable women and giving scandal to the faithful, who often know about it. This is the case in Uganda, from which I have recently returned, and in many other countries as well. In these situations, the "protection" of the priests and the frequent disregard for their victims-the women and their children-cries out for justice.

And so, once again because of the pressure of lawsuits and the press, the bishops are talking about "developing new policies" that would apply to bishops. As a colleague at Sacred Heart Seminary in Detroit, Michigan, has said: "Isn't it clear enough from the Gospel that covering up immoral behavior is itself wicked? Why do we need new policies when the teaching of Jesus and the apostles is so clear?" Can the words of the Old Testament prophets and Jesus Himself against false shepherds be any clearer or more devastating? (See Jeremiah 23:1-6; Matthew 23, etc.)

The Archbishop McCarrick case may prove to be the "straw that  broke the camel's back." It may make the bureaucratic, carefully worded, evasive statements that have come from our leaders finally address sin and repentance, instead of the mere policies and processes they typically focus on. Could it be-finally-that the revelation of the long-term sexual harassment of seminarians and priests that never stopped Archbishop McCarrick's rise in the hierarchy will be so totally repugnant that real repentance may actually start to happen? I have never prayed more for the pope and our leaders than I have in the last several years, and we all must continue to do so. More about that later.

Unfortunately, the Archbishop McCarrick case is certainly only the "tip of the iceberg." The cumulative effect of revelation after revelation of immorality in high places is devastating. First, a number of years ago, a cardinal from Austria was forced to resign over homosexual activity; then, more recently, a cardinal from Scotland resigned over sexual harassment of seminarians and priests; and then the archbishop of Guam underwent a canonical trial in Rome over the sexual abuse of minors; and now cardinals in Chile (one of whom is on the pope's Council of Cardinals that oversees reform) are under heavy suspicion for covering up homosexual abuse in their country. In fact, the whole bishops' conference of Chile, acknowledging complicity in not taking seriously reports of a bishop's cover up of sexual abuse, recently gave their resignations to the pope, and he has so far accepted several of them. The pope himself at first stubbornly backed the appointment of this bishop and dismissed the victims' pleas as "calumny" and "gossip." And before we could absorb this news, there was news of an archbishop in Australia getting a prison sentence for covering up abuse on the part of a priest. And just today, as I am writing this, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court has ordered the release of a grand jury report implicating more than 300 "predator priests" in six of the eight Pennsylvania dioceses involved in the sexual abuse of minors over many years.

Unfortunately, the rot is wide and deep and years of covering up abuse (and the concomitant reluctance to really preach the Gospel and call people to faith and repentance) and its ultimate exposure have injured the faith of millions. How shocking and tragic was it to see tens of thousands of Irish people in the streets of Dublin wildly celebrating that they could now legally kill babies!!!! Just when the Irish bishops needed to speak most strongly on fundamental moral issues, their credibility was destroyed when it was finally exposed that they had covered up abuse for decades. Satan is indeed like that wild boar Scripture talks about that rampages though the vineyard of the Lord because the hedges of protection have been destroyed (Ps 80:12-13). The corruption, ineptitude, and cowardice runs wide and deep, and its effects on the eternal salvation of millions, and the destiny of nations, is devastating.

Most recently, Cardinal Maradiaga of Honduras has seen his auxiliary bishop resign over homosexual and financial impropriety, and forty seminarians in his diocese publish a letter asking him to please root out the homosexual network in his seminary. This cardinal is Pope Francis' chief advisor, the head of his "Council of Nine" that works closely with the pope in bringing about reform in Rome, and is mentioned as a possible successor to Pope Francis.

But continual reports of ongoing financial and sexual scandals suggest reform doesn't seem to be happening. Recently, a male prostitute in Italy published the names and photos of sixty priests who frequent his services-with scarcely any comment from the shepherds. And the homosexual orgy in the apartment of a Vatican cardinal, used by his secretary, was met with a "no comment" by the Vatican press office. And then we hear also of a monsignor in the papal nuncio's office in Washington, D.C., who suddenly leaves the country and is put on trial in the Vatican for trafficking in child pornography and is given a five year prison sentence.

I didn't plan to discuss this whole situation, but it came up this summer when the thirty priests in my class at the seminary wanted to discuss Pope Francis' leadership and the McCarrick scandal. We all agreed that Pope Francis has said and done some wonderful things (I teach his Apostolic Exhortation,  The Joy of the Gospel in one of my classes), but he also has said and done some things that are confusing and seem to have led to a growth of confusion and disunity in the Church. How can German and Polish bishops approach the question of whether divorced and remarried couples can receive Communion without getting an annulment in opposite ways, and the Church still retain an ability to speak to the contemporary culture with one voice? It can't. And how long can Church officials speak about the "positive values" of "irregular relationships" until the average Catholic comes to believe that we no longer believe the words of Jesus that fornicators, adulterers, and those who actively practice homosexuality will not enter the kingdom of God unless they repent? How many still believe that there is really a hell and that, unless we repent from such serious sins before we die, we will go there? Have we ever heard from leading churchmen, even in Rome, in recent years, that adultery, fornication and homosexual relations are not only "irregular," but gravely sinful? Has the creeping "universalism" (the belief that virtually everyone will be saved) so undermined the holy fear of God and belief in His clear word, which has been transmitted faithfully all these centuries and is found intact in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, that people have become "understanding" about persisting in grave sin with no fear of God or of hell? Has false compassion and presumption on God's mercy replaced true love, which is based on truth, and the only appropriate response to God's mercy-faith and repentance?

And what are we to make of the fact that so many of those advising the pope have questionable fidelity to the truth? How can we have confidence in Cardinal Maradiaga as the head of his Council of Cardinals when he is accused of financial impropriety (which he denies); he chose an active homosexual as his auxiliary bishop; and he allowed a homosexual network to grow up in his seminary, dismissing attempts to appeal to him to clean up the mess as unsubstantiated gossip? How can we have confidence in the pope's main theological advisor, a theologian from Argentina who is most known for his book,  The Art of the Kiss , or the pope's main Italian theological advisor, who is known for his subtle dissent from the Church's teaching in the area of sexuality and who tried to insert texts in the synods on the family that pushed the document in a permissive direction? And how can we have confidence in the recently appointed head of the John Paul II Institute on Marriage and the Family-an archbishop who commissioned a mural in his former cathedral in an Italian diocese from a homosexual artist who included homo-erotic themes in the mural, including a portrait of the archbishop in an ambiguous pose?

One godly woman just asked me last night if it was OK for her to be upset with what was happening. I sadly said yes, of course it is. How can we passively endure such corruption that runs so wide and deep? It is right to make our views known. It is right and necessary. But even more so, it is necessary to pray and offer sacrifices for the Church and her leaders at this time. It is necessary to pray that genuine reform, rooted in real repentance and an embrace of all the truths of the faith, would come out of this awful situation and that the Church, more deeply purified and humbled, may shine forth with the radiance of the face of Christ. But it is going to be a long way from here to there. Grave damage has been done to the credibility of the Church, and more will leave. Grave damage has been done to many of the flock, and reparation must be made; public repentance is called for. As Pope Benedict XVI wrote when he was a young priest, the Church will have to become smaller and more purified before it can again be a light to the world. The Church is going through a radical purification under the chastising hand of God, but already we can see a remnant of fervent renewal appearing all over the world, which is a sign indeed of hope and the renewal to come.

And so, what can we do as we continue to pray for the pope and our leaders that God may give them the wisdom and courage to deal with the root of the rot and bring about a real renewal of holiness and evangelization in the Church?

We need to go about our daily lives, trying to live each day in a way pleasing to God, loving Him and loving our neighbor, including the neighbor in our own families. We need to look to ourselves, lest we fall.

We need to remember that even though we have this treasure in earthen vessels (or as some translations put it, "cracked pots"), the treasure is no less the treasure. Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater! Baby Jesus is the treasure, and He is still as present as ever and still as ready to receive all who come to Him. And the Mass! Every day, He is willing to come to us in such a special way. Let's attend daily Mass even more frequently, to offer the sacrifice of Jesus' death and resurrection to God the Father, in the power of the Holy Spirit, for the salvation of souls and the purification of the Church.

We need to remember that the Catholic Church is indeed founded by Christ and, despite all problems, has within it the fullness of the means of salvation. Where else can we go? Nowhere; this is indeed our Mother and Home, and she needs our love, our prayers, and our persevering in the way of holiness more than ever.

We need to remember that there are many truly holy and dedicated bishops and priests, and we must pray for them and support them. They need and deserve our support.

We need to remember that this isn't the first time such grave problems have beset the Church. In the fourteenth century, St. Catherine of Siena bemoaned the "stench of sin" coming from the papal court and prophesied that even the demons were disgusted by the homosexual activity he had tempted priests into and the cover up by their superiors! (See chapters 124-125 of Catherine of Siena's  The Dialogue .)

That isn't to say that we don't need to take seriously and do all we can in response to the grave scandal we are facing in our time. And yet we need to remember that all this is happening under the providence of God, and He has a plan to bring good out of it. It was even prophesied strongly in Mary's apparitions in Akita, Japan. Jesus is still Lord and will use the current grave problems to bring about good.

And finally, I'm beginning to see why the Lord has impressed on me so strongly in the past year the urgent need to heed the appeals of Our Lady of Fatima. Indeed, as Mary said, "Pray, pray very much, and make sacrifices for sinners; for many souls go to hell, because there are none to sacrifice themselves and to pray for them." Let's continue to pray and offer sacrifices for the conversion of sinners and as reparation for sin, and let's pray the rosary daily as Mary requested, for peace in the world and true renewal in the Church.
Your brother in Christ,
Ralph Martin Signature
Ralph Martin
Renewal Ministries

P.S. Please feel free to share this letter with family, friends and fellow parishioners if you think it would be helpful.

The Blood of Goats will Shatter Diamonds

                                                                        Greek bronze bust of Aristotle by  Lysippos ,                       ...