30 April 2010

The Crusader Times

Here's the link for the latest issue of The Crusader Times, the newsletter of The Atonement Academy.  If you'd like to visit the Academy website, here's the link for that.

29 April 2010

Another article over on The Anglo-Catholic

Here's the link for an article I posted on The Anglo-Catholic.

Why we hate to travel...

Cartoon by Mike Lester

27 April 2010

A few statistics...

The Vatican Information Service published this today:

VATICAN CITY, 27 APR 2010 (VIS) - The Vatican Publishing House has recently released a new edition of the Statistical Yearbook of the Church, comprising information on the main aspects of Catholic Church activity in various countries for the period 2000-2008.

Over these nine years, the Catholic presence in the world has grown from 1,045 million in 2000 to 1,166 million in 2008, an increase of 11.54 percent. Considering the statistics in detail, numbers in Africa grew by 33 percent, in Europe they remained generally stable (an increase of 1.17 percent), while in Asia they increased by 15.61 percent, in Oceania by 11.39 percent and in America by 10.93 percent. As a percentage of the total population, European Catholics represented 26.8 percent in 2000 and 24.31 percent in 2008. In America and Oceania they have remained stable, and increased slightly in Asia.

The number of bishops in the world went up from 4541 in 2000 to 5002 in 2008, an increase of 10.15 percent.

The number of priests also increased slightly over this nine-year period, passing from 405,178 in 2000 to 409,166 in 2008, an overall rise of 0.98 percent. In Africa and Asia their numbers increased (respectively, by 33.1 percent and 23.8 percent), in the Americas they remained stable, while they fell by 7 percent in Europe and 4 percent in Oceania.

The number of diocesan priests increased by 3.1 percent, going from 265,781 in 2000 to 274,007 in 2008. By contrast, the number of regular priests showed a constant decline, down by 3.04 percent to 135,159 in 2008. Of the continents, only Europe showed a clear reduction in priests: in 2000 they represented 51 percent of the world total, in 2008 just 47 percent. On the other hand, Asia and Africa together represented 17.5 percent of the world total in 2000 and 21.9 percent in 2008. The Americas slightly increased its percentage to around 30 percent of the total.

Non-ordained religious numbered 55.057 in the year 2000 and 54,641 in 2008. Comparing this data by continent, Europe showed a strong decline (down by 16.57 percent), as did Oceania (22.06 percent), the Americas remained stable, while Asia and Africa grew (respectively, by 32 percent and 10.47 percent).

Female religious are almost double the number of priests, and 14 times that of non-ordained male religious, but their numbers are falling, from 800,000 in 2000 to 740,000 in 2008. As for their geographical distribution, 41 percent reside in Europe, 27.47 percent in America, 21.77 percent in Asia and 1.28 percent in Oceania. The number of female religious has increased in the most dynamic continents: Africa (up by 21 percent) and Asia (up by 16 percent).

The Statistical Yearbook of the Church also includes information on the number of students of philosophy and theology in diocesan and religious seminaries. In global terms, their numbers increased from 110.583 in 2000 to more than 117.024 in 2008. In Africa and Asia their numbers went up, whereas Europe saw a reduction.

26 April 2010

Only in Texas...

The bluebonnets have been wonderful this year...

...except for the occasional "snake in the grass..."

24 April 2010

Easter IV - Good Shepherd Sunday

"The Good Shepherd" by Philippe de Champaigne
O God, whose Son Jesus is the good shepherd of thy people: Grant that when we hear his voice we may know him who calleth us each by name, and follow where he doth lead; who, with thee and the Holy Spirit, liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

23 April 2010

Back from a quick trip...

I just returned from a quick trip to Pennsylvania -- toured Malvern Preparatory School, and got some good ideas we can incorporate into our upcoming expansion.  Also stopped by Good Shepherd Church, Rosemont... what an exquisitely beautiful place!

20 April 2010

Give us this bread always...

[The crowd said to Jesus,] “Then what sign do you do, that we may see, and believe you? What work do you perform? Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread from heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it was not Moses who gave you the bread from heaven; my Father gives you the true bread from heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down from heaven, and gives life to the world.” They said to him, “Lord, give us this bread always.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to me shall not hunger, and he who believes in me shall never thirst.”
-St. John 6:30-35

18 April 2010

Pope Benedict XVI: Bastion of Christian Unity

A series of brief essays has been commissioned by the National Catholic Register to honor Pope Benedict XVI on the occasion of the fifth anniversary of his election. I was asked to participate, and wrote the following essay, Bastion of Christian Unity.

* * * * *

In 1983 I was a young priest, so recently ordained it seemed the chrism was still clinging to my hands, and I found myself at the dining table of the future Pope Benedict XVI.

Of course, those of us together that evening in Rome could not have known that His Eminence, Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, would become the Successor of St. Peter. We had been invited by him to celebrate the completion of our work on the Book of Divine Worship, which would be for liturgical use by the Anglicans entering the Church through the Pastoral Provision of Pope (now Venerable) John Paul II.

To those of us who are converts from Anglicanism, it is not altogether surprising that Pope Benedict XVI should have issued Anglicanorum Coetibus this past year, outlining the establishment of personal ordinariates for the purpose of preserving and nurturing an Anglican patrimony in full communion with the See of Peter.

It is the capstone to his longtime interest in helping Anglicans return to their spiritual roots in the Catholic Church. In fact, it appears to be one component in his larger purpose of bringing about Christian unity.

When we consider this generous response to Anglicans, along with his outreach to those with a particular attachment to the traditional Latin Mass through his “motu proprio” Summorum Pontificum and his constant articulation of the urgent need for the Church to follow his predecessor’s call for a New Evangelization, it is evident why there are increasing references to him as the “Pope of Christian Unity.”

Nisi Dominus ædificaverit domum, in vanum laboraverunt qui ædificant eam (Unless the Lord builds the house, they who build it work on a useless thing). During all the years of his public ministry — as a priest, a bishop, a cardinal and now as Pope — it is plain that the Holy Father has always known in whose house he labors. It is in his forthright love for the Church — the house built by the Lord — that he is at his most compelling.

Certainly, he is a brilliant scholar and a forceful writer; but it is as the Pope that he shows himself to be a papa who loves his children, and who has the paternal desire that they be united in the one house built by the Lord.

Pope Benedict XVI has the particular gift of clarifying the truth, and with that gift is his ability to help those who are seeking a fuller experience of the Christian faith to understand that the completeness of truth is to be found in the Catholic Church. In this way, he is a pontifex (bridge-builder) providing a clear way into the security of Christ’s holy Catholic Church for the growing numbers of those who recognize the uncertainty of remaining outside full communion with the See of Peter.

Our Lord was not expressing a vague hope when he prayed “Ut unum sint” (May they be one). It was a divine command, and it appears that Pope Benedict XVI is taking it as a direct and personal order from Christ himself.

17 April 2010

Get ready, L.A.

With the announcement of the archbishop's move to Los Angeles, I went back and read his most recent Pastoral Letter, You Will Be My Witnesses.  If you haven't read it yet, or if you would like to read it again, you'll find it here.

It struck me as an excellent letter the first time I read it.  Now, with the knowledge of his move, it takes on an even more prophetic flavor.  Los Angeles is getting a fine shepherd indeed.

Neighborly love...

Hmmm... well, it might not be so much a love for neighbor as it is a respect for their beliefs.  Whatever it is, I imagine they don't have too many backyard barbeques together.

(click on picture to enlarge)

15 April 2010

Happy Birthday, Holy Father!

Joseph Alois Ratzinger was born on Holy Saturday, 16 April 1927, and was baptized that same day.  Now gloriously reigning as the 265th pope, we give thanks to God for His Holiness, Benedict XVI, and pray for him on his birthday.
Watch over thy servant, O Lord, as his days increase; bless and guide him wherever he may be. Strengthen him when he stands; comfort him when discouraged or sorrowful; raise him up if he fall; and in his heart may thy peace which passeth understanding abide all the days of his life; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Old sulphur-breath is hard at work...

It's not a pleasant topic, but I wrote an article called "Absolute Hatred" over on The Anglo-Catholic blog.  You might want to take a stroll over there and have a look...

A priest serving in the Holy Land...

Fr. Firas Aridah is the parish priest of St. Joseph's in Jifna, which is located in the central West Bank, about fourteen miles north of Jerusalem.  During this past Lent, the students here at the academy raised $5,140.00 for St. Joseph's School, as a sign of our love and support for our brothers and sisters in the Holy Land.

Fr. Aridah is a faithful Catholic priest, and he raises his voice on behalf of justice for the Christians who live there in such difficult circumstances.  Here is a link to a brief video by Fr. Aridah.

10 April 2010

Victimae Paschali Laudes

I saw this on The Shrine of the Holy Whapping, and it left me almost breathless. Here's Victimae Paschali Laudes like you've never heard it before!

Wild dogs...

This piece from the website Catholic Culture is so clear, so precise, and so important, I'm putting the whole thing here for you to read.  Those who are trying to destroy the Pope, and the Church along with him, don't even pretend to have decent journalistic standards any more.  They can't succeed, but it seems that they just can't stop trying.  Psalm 59 describes them pretty well: "They go to and fro in the evening, they grin like a dog, and run about through the city.  Behold, they speak with their mouth, and swords are in their lips..."

Journalists abandon standards to attack the Pope

By Phil Lawler
April 10, 2010 10:03 AM

We're off and running once again, with another completely phony story that purports to implicate Pope Benedict XVI in the protection of abusive priests.

The "exclusive" story released by AP yesterday, which has been dutifully passed along now by scores of major media outlets, would never have seen the light of day if normal journalistic standards had been in place. Careful editors should have asked a series of probing questions, and in every case the answer to those questions would have shown that the story had no "legs."

First to repeat the bare-bones version of the story: in November 1985, then-Cardinal Ratzinger signed a letter deferring a decision on the laicization of Father Stephen Kiesle, a California priest who had been accused of molesting boys.

Now the key questions:

• Was Cardinal Ratzinger responding to the complaints of priestly pedophilia? No. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which the future Pontiff headed, did not have jurisdiction for pedophile priests until 2001. The cardinal was weighing a request for laicization of Kiesle.

• Had Oakland's Bishop John Cummins sought to laicize Kiesle as punishment for his misconduct? No. Kiesle himself asked to be released from the priesthood. The bishop supported the wayward priest's application.

• Was the request for laicization denied? No. Eventually, in 1987, the Vatican approved Kiesle's dismissal from the priesthood.

• Did Kiesle abuse children again before he was laicized? To the best of our knowledge, No. The next complaints against him arose in 2002: 15 years after he was dismissed from the priesthood.

• Did Cardinal Ratzinger's reluctance to make a quick decision mean that Kiesle remained in active ministry? No. Bishop Cummins had the authority to suspend the predator-priest, and in fact he had placed him on an extended leave of absence long before the application for laicization was entered.

• Would quicker laicization have protected children in California? No. Cardinal Ratzinger did not have the power to put Kiesle behind bars. If Kiesle had been defrocked in 1985 instead of 1987, he would have remained at large, thanks to a light sentence from the California courts. As things stood, he remained at large. He was not engaged in parish ministry and had no special access to children.

• Did the Vatican cover up evidence of Kiesle's predatory behavior? No. The civil courts of California destroyed that evidence after the priest completed a sentence of probation-- before the case ever reached Rome.

So to review: This was not a case in which a bishop wanted to discipline his priest and the Vatican official demurred. This was not a case in which a priest remained active in ministry, and the Vatican did nothing to protect the children under his pastoral care. This was not a case in which the Vatican covered up evidence of a priest's misconduct. This was a case in which a priest asked to be released from his vows, and the Vatican-- which had been flooded by such requests throughout the 1970s -- wanted to consider all such cases carefully. In short, if you're looking for evidence of a sex-abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, this case is irrelevant.

We Americans know what a sex-abuse crisis looks like. The scandal erupts when evidence emerges that bishops have protected abusive priests, kept them active in parish assignments, covered up evidence of the charges against them, and lied to their people. There is no such evidence in this or any other case involving Pope Benedict XVI.

Competent reporters, when dealing with a story that involves special expertise, seek information from experts in that field. Capable journalists following this story should have sought out canon lawyers to explain the 1985 document-- not merely relied on the highly biased testimony of civil lawyers who have lodged multiple suits against the Church. If they had understood the case, objective reporters would have recognized that they had no story. But in this case, reporters for the major media outlets are far from objective.

The New York Times-- which touched off this feeding frenzy with two error-riddled front-page reports-- seized on the latest "scoop" by AP to say that the 1985 document exemplified:
…the sort of delay that is fueling a renewed sexual abuse scandal in the church that has focused on whether the future pope moved quickly enough to remove known pedophiles from the priesthood, despite pleas from American bishops. 
Here we have a complete rewriting of history. Earlier in this decade, American newspapers exposed the sad truth that many American bishops had kept pedophile priests in active ministry. Now the Times, which played an active role in exposing that scandal, would have us believe that the American bishops were striving to rid the priesthood of the predators, and the Vatican resisted!

No, what is "fueling a renewed sexual abuse scandal" is a media frenzy. There is a scandal here, indeed, but it's not the scandal you're reading about in the mass media. The scandal is the complete collapse of journalistic standards in the handling of this story.

You can read this story in its original form here.

A Novena of Prayer for Pope Benedict XVI

This novena may begin on Divine Mercy Sunday, April 11th, and conclude on Monday, April 19th, the fifth anniversary of the Holy Father’s election.

O God, who art the Pastor and Governor of them that put their trust in thee; look down in mercy on thy servant Benedict, whom thou has chosen to be pastor and ruler of thy Church. Grant unto him, we beseech thee, a spirit of courage and right judgement, that he and all thy whole Church may be preserved and strengthened against every adversity; through Jesus Christ thy Son our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

V. Let us pray for the Holy Father, Pope Benedict.
R. May the Lord preserve him, give him a long life, make him blessed upon the earth, and not hand him over to the power of his enemies.

V. May thy hand, O Lord, be upon thy servant;
R. Whom thou hast anointed, to be a priest forever after the order of Melchisedek.

Our Father… Hail Mary… Glory Be…

09 April 2010

It's looking an awful lot like Spring...

Here are some views of the courtyard and garden between the church and the school:

Above and below: a great place to sit quietly...

Below: looking towards the pond and the outdoor shrine

The roses are just beginning to bloom...

The pyracantha has only just shed its orange berries, but now is in full bloom again...

St. Bernadette keeps vigil before Our Lady, in the shade of the Japanese maple...

Timing is everything...

The main headline on the front page of this morning's Express-News screams, "Priest named in sexual abuse lawsuit."  We're also informed that Archbishop Gomez is named as a defendent, because he tried to conceal the abuse being carried out by this priest. 

You don't see stuff like that without your heart leaping into your throat, wondering what fresh hell this could be... until you read a bit further. 

It seems this isn't a new case.  It's from a few years ago, and we'd all heard about it as it was unfolding.  The moment the allegation was brought forth, the archbishop revoked archdiocesan faculties from the priest and removed him from any work in the archdiocese.  The priest isn't an archdiocesan priest, but is a member of a religious order, and his order has also removed him from any and all priestly ministry.  The initial complaint said nothing about sexual abuse, but had to do with "interference with child custody."  The accusations of sexual abuse were made later, and as they were raised with the archdiocese, the archbishop instructed the boy's family to report everything to the local law officers in Edwards County.  The county officials stated that the archdiocese has given complete cooperation with their investigations.

No one in the archdiocese - and certainly not the archbishop - took any part in concealing anything.  Swift and decisive action was taken.  If anything is moving slowly, it's the secular legal system.

So, why the lawsuit and the screaming headline?  Could it possibly have anything to do with the archbishop's recent appointment to Los Angeles?  Could it in any way be related to the media campaign to smear the pope with something, anything?  Could it be that this stuff brings every looney-tune Catholic-hater out of the woodwork?  Nah.... d'you think?  As I said, timing is everything.

Look for more of this stuff.  Anybody can say anything, and they usually do.  If this nightmare happened to this boy - and it seems likely it did - then he deserves every bit of justice our legal system can provide.  But to accuse the archbishop of dishonesty and of organizing a cover-up is a blatant lie.  Justice has to work both ways.

But I guess when there's such a nice big stick handy, which so perfectly fits an attorney's grip, it's too tempting not to use it to beat up on that nasty ol' Church.

08 April 2010

About that L.A. appointment...

Reactions to the appointment of Archbishop Gomez as Coadjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles are many and varied.

Go here for a very important
and interesting reaction.

Today's must-read...

If you don't read another article today, read this one:

The End of History and the Last Pope

By George Neumayr

Post-Enlightenment liberalism has long regarded the Catholic Church as the last obstacle to its final triumph. The Enlightenment-era French dilettante Denis Diderot spoke of strangling the last priest with the "guts of the last king."

The ceaseless attacks on Pope Benedict XVI over the last few weeks form the most recent scene in this historical drama. Unlike Napoleon, today's forces of secularization can't imprison a pope. Well, at least not yet; Christopher Hitchens is working on this, calling for the European Union to seize Benedict's traveling papers. But they can strangle him politically and culturally. That his popularity poll numbers have apparently dipped below those of the most inane and rancid celebrities testifies to this perverse power.

The children of Diderot at the New York Times understand the secularist Enlightenment project very well. Its executive editor, Bill Keller, telegraphed this in a 2002 column.

Since he wrote the column before he was promoted to editor, he didn't bother to hide his anti-Catholic bigotry with circumspect throat-clearing. He described himself as a "collapsed Catholic" -- "well beyond lapsed." He affected a false modesty about this, saying that for this reason he claims "no voice in whom the church ordains or how it prays or what it chooses to call a sin." But of course he does claim that voice -- and thinks all should obey it.

He made it clear that he was rooting for "reforms" that would reduce Catholicism to a captive of modern liberalism: "…the struggle within the church is interesting as part of a larger struggle within the human race, between the forces of tolerance and absolutism."

Read the whole article here.

07 April 2010

He was known to them...

...in the breaking of the bread.

O God, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread: Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold him in all his redeeming work; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

06 April 2010

Precious words from the archbishop...

This sermon was preached by Archbishop Gomez at the parish a few years ago, on the occasion of our twenty-fifth anniversary.  It's good for us to remember what a faithful father-in-God he has been for us, and we pray for him as he prepares for his new and important work.

My brother Bishops, Priests, Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Today as we gather for this special celebration it is providential that we celebrate the feast of St. Benedict. We can say that he is the Patron Saint of the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI. So, we especially pray for the Holy Father and his universal ministry in the Catholic Church.

This past April Pope Benedict XVI discussed the influence St. Benedict had on Western Europe. The pope said that “with his life and work St. Benedict exercised a fundamental influence on the development of European civilization and culture” and helped Europe to emerge from the “dark night of history” that followed the fall of the Roman empire.

As you probably know, also on this very day, July 11, 1533, exactly four hundred and seventy five years ago, Pope Clement VII formally excommunicated England’s King Henry VIII for remarrying after his alleged divorce from his legitimate wife, Catherine of Aragon. He also excommunicated the Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Cranmer, and withdrew the papal nuncio from England. This day of infamy marks the day in which England formally fell out of communion with Rome.

All this occurred 475 years ago. I therefore find it rather appropriate that on the feast of St. Benedict, we are gathered together today in the name of Christ and in the name of the Catholic Church as a witness to the beautiful reality of what was once Catholic England, and now is the Pastoral Provision for the Anglican Use established by our beloved Pope John Paul II, and in the Archdiocese of San Antonio by my predecessor, Archbishop Patrick Flores who, twenty-five years ago, decided to erect this personal parish of Our Lady of the Atonement in which many of the elements of English Catholicism are preserved and given new life in the Catholic Church.

Those of you here who possess an appreciation for Church history will realize the significance of today’s Gospel as it prophecies against kings who shall persecute the faithful.

In today’s Gospel, Christ warns his followers, “You will be dragged before governors and kings for my sake.” As we celebrate this year’s Anglican Use Conference, we might remember the namesake of the most recent pastoral provision parish, that of Saint Thomas More in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Saint Thomas More, as we all know, was an English Catholic who held true to the Catholic Faith. Two years after the papal decree, Thomas More would receive a martyr’s reward for his fidelity to the Pope in Rome.

The Pastoral Provision looks back to those sorrowful days and seeks to provide a way for the children of Henry’s “Church of England” to return once more to the universal embrace of Rome. Many of you here today are converts from Anglicanism of one sort or another. Some of you are former Anglican clergy. Perhaps, you were not “dragged before governors and kings” for the sake of Christ, but some of you were persecuted.

Some of you offered up your vocations and others of you may have received harsh words from friends and family members who could not understand your decision to enter into full communion with the Catholic Church. Nonetheless, today we stand around the altar of Christ and we receive the consolation of Heaven.

In the past two years, Pope Benedict XVI has increasingly centered the Church’s attention on the mystery of the Church’s communio. Our Holy Father reminds us that we must be one in Christ and this union is ratified every time we celebrate the Holy Eucharist. Moreover, our union with one another is further realized when at each Mass, the celebrant invokes the name of the Holy Father in Rome.

Prior to being elected as Pope, Benedict XVI once wrote: “Communion with the pope is that communion with the whole, without which there is no communion with Christ. A part of Christian prayer and of the Christian act of faith is committing oneself in faith to the whole, overcoming one’s own limits. The Liturgy is not the setting up of some club, an association of friends; we receive it from the whole church, and we have to celebrate it as coming from the whole and directed toward the whole.”

Although we may share liturgical variations, we are united in the Eucharist and we celebrate our communio with one another by being in constant communion with our bishops and, ultimately, with the successor of Saint Peter.

In his recent Apostolic Visit to the United States, Pope Benedict XVI left us some challenges. One of them is the promotion of unity in the Church. In his homily at the Mass in Washington, DC, he said: “As the church in the United States gives thanks for the blessings of the past 200 years, I invite you, your families, and every parish and religious community, to trust in the power of grace to create a future of promise for God's people in this country. I ask you, in the Lord Jesus, to set aside all division and to work with joy to prepare a way for him in fidelity to his word and in constant conversion to his will. Above all, I urge you to continue to be a leaven of evangelical hope in American society, striving to bring the light and truth of the Gospel to the task of building an ever more just and free world for generations yet to come” (4/17/08).

We just heard the words of the Prophet Hosea who said:

“Let the wise man understand these words.
Let the intelligent man grasp their meaning.
For the ways of the Lord are straight,
and virtuous men walk in them”

Let us take Hosea’s words to heart today. The way of the Lord is straight. Let us recommit our lives to Christ this day and continue together along the narrow way of salvation drawn out for us by holy men and women, such as St. Benedict, Thomas More, Cardinal Newman and many others, to the gates of Heaven.

And let us share with all those who treasure the Anglican traditions the joyous conviction that the new Israel draws its life from the fullness of communion in the Word of God, in the Eucharist and with the See of Peter.

Let me finish invoking the intercession of Mary Our Blessed Mother for each one of us, for the Pastoral Provision, for the Catholic Church in the United States and for the Universal Church.

To her, Mary, Our Lady of the Atonement was dedicated this Parish, the first one of the Pastoral Provision. May she continue to accompany us in our journey of faith, hope, unity and love and for the greater glory of God. Amen.
This is today's press release from the Archdiocese of San Antonio:

Archbishop José Gomez named to be successor
to Cardinal Mahony upon his retirement
as Archbishop of Los Angeles.

The people of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles, the largest archdiocese in the United States, now know who will be the successor to Cardinal Roger M. Mahony upon his retirement. Archbishop José Gomez has been named the “coadjutor archbishop” of the Archdiocese of Los Angeles by Pope Benedict XVI, which carries with it the right of succession. As coadjutor archbishop, Archbishop Gomez will aid Cardinal Mahony in the governance of the diocese and would take his place if he is absent or impeded. The appointment was made public by the Vatican this morning at 5 a.m. San Antonio time,

The Vatican did not name a successor to Archbishop Gomez when making the announcement.

An Archdiocesan Administrator will be named on an interim basis upon Archbishop Gomez’s departure. When the new archbishop will be named is not certain, but it could take at least 6 months to a year. The Archdiocese of Los Angeles will celebrate a Mass of Welcoming at the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels on May 26th at 2 p.m. There will be a Mass of thanksgiving and farewell for Archbishop Gomez in San Antonio. Details will be announced

An archdiocesan administrator must be a priest of at least 35 years of age. While there are limitations placed on him by Church law, the administrator generally has the same responsibilities and authority as an archbishop.

Cardinal Mahony, a native Angelino, was appointed archbishop of his home diocese by Pope John Paul II in 1985. He was elevated to cardinal in 1991.

Today, as Archbishop Gomez was introduced to the Los Angeles media at a press conference, he said; “I’m very grateful to the Holy Father for giving me this opportunity to serve the Church with a mentor and leader like Cardinal Roger Mahony. I’m grateful to the Apostolic Nuncio, Archbishop Pietro Sambi, for supporting the Holy Father’s confidence in me. I will try with all my strength to earn that trust.”

Gomez also expressed sadness and gratitude as he prepares to leave San Antonio, “The people of San Antonio have a special goodness and grace that will always keep them close to me in my heart. In their patience and generosity, they taught me how to be a bishop. I will never forget them, and I will never stop thanking God for the privilege of having served them.”

05 April 2010

I can't say I'm thrilled with this news...

...word is that Archbishop Gomez is being named Co-adjutor Archbishop of Los Angeles.  He's been our archbishop for only five years, and we really don't want him to leave.

Here's the story on Whispers in the Loggia:

For the nation's approximately 30 million Hispanic Catholics, a watershed moment is expected to come as soon as tomorrow, with the appointment of one of their own as the shepherd-in-waiting of continent's largest local church.

Corroborating word given to Whispers by a church official informed of the decision, New Advent's Kevin Knight cites unnamed sources to report that Pope Benedict will name Archbishop Jose Gomez of San Antonio, 58, as coadjutor-archbishop of Los Angeles.

In the process, the native of Mexico -- the lone American bishop professed as a "numerary" (full-member) of Opus Dei -- will make history, becoming the first Hispanic prelate placed in line for a Stateside red hat.

The appointment would bring to a close several months' worth of intense consultation and speculation alike following Cardinal Roger Mahony's request for an understudy last fall. A coadjutor would first assist, then succeed the cardinal -- who turned 74 in late February -- at the helm of the 5 million member local church, its Catholic population three-quarters Latino.

Word of the impending appointment began surfacing over the weekend. Multiple calls to the LA archdiocesan spokesman made through the day remained unreturned as of press time.

Born in Monterrey and ordained for Opus Dei in 1978, Gomez served in Texas from 1987 in both Houston and San Antonio. A former executive director and president of the National Association of Hispanic Priests, in 2001 Pope John Paul II named him an auxiliary to Archbishop Charles Chaput of Denver, then rocketed him into the lone senior US post customarily held by a Latin cleric on his appointment to San Antonio in late 2004.

In the USCCB, the archbishop serves as chair of the bench's Committee on Cultural Diversity in the Church and the body's Subcommittee on the Church in Latin America; in the latter capacity, Gomez led a three-bishop delegation to quake-ravaged Haiti to assess the situation in early March.

A tech and media-savvy prelate committed to the late pontiff's vision of a New Evangelization for the church, Gomez's vision of the church was thoroughly expressed in You Will Be My Witnesses a February pastoral letter "on the Christian Mission" published on his fifth anniversary as head of the 850,000-member San Antone church.
SVILUPPO: Additional confirmation given... Official: press conference scheduled for 10am PT tomorrow at Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels.

03 April 2010

Surrexit Christus

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same, thy Son Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Exsúltet iam angélica turba cælórum...

We've sung ourselves hoarse.  Full Tenebrae on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday evenings.  Solemn Mass and Procession on Maundy Thursday, followed by the All Night Watch.  Solemn Liturgy of Good Friday with the chanted Gospel, the singing of the Solemn Collects, Veneration of the Relic of the True Cross with Reproaches, then later that evening the Stations of the Cross. 

Now, today on Holy Saturday, it's as though we're holding our breath until the Lighting of the New Fire tonight, which will signal the beginning of the Great Vigil of Easter.  Not that there's nothing going on this morning - fresh linen is being put on the High Altar, the closed triptych is being opened, the veils are being removed, flowers are being arranged.  Everything's being made ready.  And then tonight: "The Light of Christ" will be sung out by the deacon, and we begin our Passover journey to the empty tomb.

02 April 2010

Holy Saturday

O God, Creator of heaven and earth: Grant that, as the crucified body of thy dear Son was laid in the tomb and rested on this holy Sabbath, so we may await with him the coming of the third day, and rise with him to newness of life; who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Stone of the Anointing
Church of the Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem


Pilate entered the praetorium again and called Jesus, and said to him, "Are you the King of the Jews?" Jesus answered, "Do you say this of your own accord, or did others say it to you about me?" Pilate answered, "Am I a Jew? Your own nation and the chief priests have handed you over to me; what have you done?" Jesus answered, "My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight, that I might not be handed over to the Jews; but my kingship is not from the world." Pilate said to him, "So you are a king?" Jesus answered, "You say that I am a king. For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Every one who is of the truth hears my voice." Pilate said to him, "What is truth?"

After he had said this, he went out to the Jews again, and told them, "I find no crime in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover; will you have me release for you the King of the Jews?" They cried out again, "Not this man, but Barabbas!" Now Barabbas was a robber. Then Pilate took Jesus and scourged him. And the soldiers plaited a crown of thorns, and put it on his head, and arrayed him in a purple robe; they came up to him, saying, "Hail, King of the Jews!" and struck him with their hands. Pilate went out again, and said to them, "See, I am bringing him out to you, that you may know that I find no crime in him."

So Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said to them, "Behold the man!" When the chief priests and the officers saw him, they cried out, "Crucify him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Take him yourselves and crucify him, for I find no crime in him." The Jews answered him, "We have a law, and by that law he ought to die, because he has made himself the Son of God." When Pilate heard these words, he was the more afraid; he entered the praetorium again and said to Jesus, "Where are you from?" But Jesus gave no answer. Pilate therefore said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have power to release you, and power to crucify you?" Jesus answered him, "You would have no power over me unless it had been given you from above; therefore he who delivered me to you has the greater sin." Upon this Pilate sought to release him, but the Jews cried out, "If you release this man, you are not Caesar's friend; every one who makes himself a king sets himself against Caesar." When Pilate heard these words, he brought Jesus out and sat down on the judgment seat at a place called The Pavement, and in Hebrew, Gabbatha.

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover; it was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, "Behold your King!" They cried out, "Away with him, away with him, crucify him!" Pilate said to them, "Shall I crucify your King?" The chief priests answered, "We have no king but Caesar." Then he handed him over to them to be crucified.

- from the Gospel according to St. John.

Gabbatha - The Pavement

01 April 2010

"He goeth straightway to him..."

"Judas, would you betray the Son of man with a kiss?"
The Grotto of the Betrayal, Jerusalem