Friday, February 29, 2008

CDF rules feminist-inspired baptisms invalid

I've heard of cases where the wrong formula has been used. I knew that if asked, this would be the answer. I'm afraid that many of our non-Catholic brothers and sisters in Christ are not validly baptized since their churches have adopted these strange formulas. This has a huge impact on marriages and those who hope to join the church.


Vatican City, Feb 29, 2008 / 11:19 am (CNA).- The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) issued a correction today to those who use feminist-inspired non-Trinitarian formulas for baptizing children, declaring that those baptized in this way are, in fact, not baptized.

The teachings, which were made public today, are in response to two different questions sent to the Church’s doctrinal authority. The first question is: "Is a Baptism valid if conferred with the words 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Redeemer, and of the Sanctifier', or 'I baptise you in the name of the Creator, and of the Liberator, and of the Sustainer'"?

The second question is: "Must people baptised with those formulae be baptised 'in forma absoluta'?"

As is traditionally done, the CDF responded with a simple positive or negative ruling saying, "To the first question, negative; to the second question, affirmative".

The responses, which were authorized by Pope Benedict, are also accompanied by an explanatory note that further develops the answers.

The note explains that the problem with the formulas is not that they are said in English, but that they fail to express the Catholic belief in the Holy Trinity. "Baptism conferred in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit", the note says, "obeys Jesus' command as it appears at the end of the Gospel of St. Matthew. ... The baptismal formula must be an adequate expression of Trinitarian faith, approximate formulae are unacceptable.”

The CDF also addressed the feminist origins of the improvised baptismal formulas.

"Variations to the baptismal formula - using non-biblical designations of the Divine Persons - as considered in this reply, arise from so-called feminist theology", being an attempt "to avoid using the words Father and Son which are held to be chauvinistic, substituting them with other names. Such variants, however, undermine faith in the Trinity".

The new ruling is bound to have a wide ranging impact according to the CDF.

"The response of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith constitutes an authentic doctrinal declaration, which has wide-ranging canonical and pastoral effects. Indeed, the reply implicitly affirms that people who have been baptised, or who will in the future be baptised, with the formulae in question have, in reality, not been baptised. Hence, they must them be treated for all canonical and pastoral purposes with the same juridical criteria as people whom the Code of Canon Law places in the general category of 'non- baptised'".

People who fall into the category of non-baptized cannot receive any of the other sacraments within the Catholic Church and must be baptized first.

Monday, February 25, 2008

New Window

As many of you know, we have been working on a major renovation of the parish of St. John the Baptist in Jordan. This week the stained glass window for above the altar was installed. This is the work of the son of one of our parishioners. Now if we can get the kitchen done and the other little finishing touches we'll be in good shape.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Catholic college faces legal complaints after forbidding abortion health plan

I would have thought that the faculty of a Catholic University would be happy that their school is reinforcing Catholic teaching. Sadly this does not seem to be the case

Belmont, NC, Feb 18, 2008 / 10:07 pm (CNA).- A Catholic college that made its insurance carrier drop abortion, contraceptive, and sterilization coverage from its health plan faces the threat of a lawsuit because of complaints from faculty.

A complaint against the college has also been filed with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

Deal Hudson, writing at on Friday, reported that Belmont Abbey College had asked its insurance carrier, Wellpath, to meet with faculty and staff to brief them on their insurance options.

One faculty member noticed that the coverage included voluntary sterilization, abortion, and contraception, and alerted the college administration.

The president of Belmont College asked Wellpath to remove those procedures from the plan on the grounds that they were contrary to Catholic teaching. Though the state of North Carolina requires this coverage, it offers an exemption for religious institutions.

Faculty and staff were then sent an e-mail memo explaining the coverage change and the reasons for that change.

According to, the college’s Vice President for College Relations Ken Davison explained the reasons for the change, saying, "This insurance coverage is contrary to the clear moral teaching of the Catholic Church so we will not offer nor will we subsidize these medical services. To do so would be contrary to our stated Catholic mission and identity."

Ken Davison said that eight Belmont College faculty, six men and two women, filed a complaint with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission. The complaint, filed during the Christmas break, alleged that the changes in insurance coverage were discriminatory on the basis of sex and religion. One faculty member also complained to the state’s Department of Insurance about the changes in coverage and the religious exemption.

The National Women’s Law Center on January 16 mailed a letter to the college president threatening a lawsuit on behalf of the eight faculty members. The letter demanded that the college reinstate the coverage and pay any damages and out-of-pocket costs.

No lawsuit has yet been filed. However, the college has hired legal counsel to respond to the EEOC complaint.

The president of Belmont Abbey College, Dr. William Thierfelder, wrote to faculty explaining why he did not consult with them in making the changes to the health insurance coverage.

“The teaching of the Catholic Church on this moral issue is clear. The responsibility of the College as a Catholic College sponsored by the monks of Belmont Abbey to follow Church teaching is equally clear. There was no other course of action possible if we were to operate in fidelity to our mission and to our identity as a Catholic College,” he wrote.

In the letter, President Thierfelder also said he and Abbot Placid Solari, OSB, head of Belmont Abbey, would willingly discuss the issue with anyone who was concerned.

We need to pray that Catholic institutions have the right to remain Catholic.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Crosses On Our Way

We've seen them as we travel, those little white crosses, or in some states signs, that mark the spot where someone died on our highways. We pass many of these crosses on a regular basis and, I'm afraid, most of us never really stop to think about their significance. Yet, behind each of these crosses is a story. With the driving that I do each year, I see many of these crosses. Some I see many times each week. For some of these crosses, I know part of the story. I know about the grandfather who wrecked the vehicle and their grandchild was killed in the accident. I know about the car loaded with seven passengers that was hit by a drunk driver. All seven in the car were burned. I know about the child who was riding his bicycle who was struck by a car. The stories go on and on and on.

I bring the crosses and signs up because they give us the opportunity to offer prayer. The grandfather still struggles with his involvement in the accident. He needs our prayers for comfort and peace. The mother of the child struck by a car needs our prayers as she tries to find understanding in what has taken place. Even though the accident with the seven passengers happened many years ago, people are still affected by the loss of life and future hopes. The driver of the other vehicle has to live with the consequences of his actions.

I also pass many of these crosses for which I do not know the stories. Yet, I have learned that the crosses are also calling us to prayer. I would like to challenge each of you to be attentive to the crosses on our paths. We need to take a moment to pray for the victims of the accidents that are represented. The victims include, not just those who may have been killed, but also those who survive -- the parents, the grandparents, the brothers and sisters, the children, the spouses, the families. You may not know the names, or the stories, but you shouldn't forget to offer your prayers as you pass these crosses.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Pro Life Pharmacist

I know this article is a little late, but I received a couple of e-mails yesterday that follow up.

Hi All,

It makes my blood run cold when I learn about what is going on in our country right now relative to the healthcare professions and the constitutionally guaranteed (on both federal and state levels) freedom of religious expression and liberty of conscience.

Last spring I asked your prayers for pharmacist friends of mine in Great Falls who followed their consciences and stopped filling prescriptions for contraceptive medications. The Holy Spirit has been with them, and they have suffered no significant problems (so far) once the initial bruhaha calmed down. Now there is another Montana pharmacist, John Lane, in Broadus (a city in the vicinity of Billings) who has made the same decision. (It's a small world out here -- he happens to be the cousin-in-law of my pastor at St. Mark's in Belt!) He, however, is going through much more.

Eleven people have written complaints to the Montana Board of Pharmacy about his decision, citing him for "unprofessional conduct," with one going so far as to request that his license be revoked. All of these complaints were written by people who live in different parts of the state, with 10 of the 11 living in Missoula (a university town, don't you know!), which is about 400 miles from Broadus. From that distance, none of the compainants will ever need John Lane's services themselves, so his decision has no personal bearing on them.

Regardless, John must now appear before the Montana Board of Pharmacy review panel on Wed., March 5th. He has requested that it be an open session, so that people could attend. His request was denied. He will appear in a closed session with the 11 complainants and their lawyers. He will be represented by an attorney from the Alliance Defense Fund, an organization that only takes cases that deal with religious freedoms or preservation of life.

Please pray that this man's constitutional right to run his business as he sees fit, based on his religious beliefs and his conscience will be upheld. His situation represents a growing trend in this country. South Dakota has a bill before their legislators to repeal their state's pharmacist conscience clause. Other states have talked about doing the same. And my own home state of Wisconsin has passed a law denying freedom of conscience to hospitals and doctors regarding emergency contraception.

Please remember, when people like John Lane or my Great Falls pharmacist friends, or institutions like Catholic hospitals, make policy based on their religious beliefs and their consciences, it isn't like there are no other pharmacies or hospitals for people to turn to. There are many, many more pharmacies and hospitals providing all of the contraception and abortion services than there are those that are not. This isn't about supply and demand -- it's about dictatorial control that prohibits some people's freedoms -- constitutionally guaranteed freedoms at that! This is no small thing.

At any rate, this terrible "Big Brother" injustice is happening one small, privately-owned pharmacy at a time so far in Montana. And that creates a situation of untold stress for those involved. Please pray for John Lane and his family. If you would like to send him an email of support, his email address is And please pass the request for prayers on to anyone you know who might respond with prayer support.

Thank you! Your prayers not only, I'm sure, affected the outcome of the controversy for my friends at Snyder's Drug in Great Falls, but they kept them afloat emotionally and spiritually during a very intensely stressful time for them. I'm sure that will be true for John Lane, too.

May the Lord have mercy on our country, its politicians and its judges. Just today, the first reading at Mass was from Deuteronomy: "See, I have set before you this day life and good, death and evil... therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live, loving the LORD your God, obeying His voice, and cleaving to Him... (Dt 30:15,19c-20a)

I hope all is well with all of you. I'm fine and very busy -- and blessed to have 40 Days for Life going on in Great Falls so I can participate in it. God is so good! God bless you and your loved ones!

Time for Prayer

One of the hardest things to do in the world today is take time for prayer. We often find that we are always running late. We have a lot of little things that we are doing and prayer never seems to fit in.

This year, during this season of Lent, I am trying to find more time for prayer. While I am driving around the parish, (I average 30,000-40,000 miles/year) I'm turning the radio off more often to allow time for prayer. I'm waiting until later in the day to check out the news and spending more time first thing in the morning for prayer. There are many little things that we can do to add prayer time to our lives. Maybe even just getting up earlier in the morning to pray before showering.

Have a blessed Lent :)

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The One True Faith: Good Works and Devotions

The One True Faith series by St. Michael Media looks like a good series. I've chosen a video of theirs to give you a hint

They are now recording their fourth series of 13 episodes.