According to the Diocese of San
Jose's official voice, the Valley
Catholic, worshipers can expect to have both RENEW and the Ministry
Institute in 1997.
RENEW will involve small-faith community worship once a week on the average
for six weeks in the fall and again for six weeks during Lent. The program
will be set up like the one begun in Newark, NJ, in 1978.
The Institute will be gearing up to teach RENEW leaders and also pastoral
and parish administrators, catechists, master catechists and deacons. Priests
will select "forward-thinking" people from their parishes to attend the
Institute and get this training.
Beginning July 1, Fr. Philip McCrillis, former pastor of Holy Spirit
Church, becomes full-time Vicar for Parish, with responsibility for
implementing the RENEW program and heading the Ministry Institute. Sister
Patricia Marie Mulpeters, PBVM, becomes Vicar for Pastoral Ministries,
responsible for catechetics and other duties.
Parishioners will be asked to join a small-faith community by fall, 1997.
Where's the harm, they will ask. Who can be against prayer, sharing,
fellowship, Scripture reading? The problem is, once you're in, you may
The hand-out materials in the Newark program included this: "As in the case
of Jesus, so in each of us, the Spirit leads us to know who we are and to
discern what is the will of God in our life" (p.10, "Empowerment by the
Spirit: Small Group Sharing Option).
In the RENEW program in Buffalo, NY, the group manual offered this: "In the
gospels Jesus is brought to spiritual maturity by means of many experiences.
One day a "wild and woolly" prophet (John the Baptist) comes out of the desert
like an unexpected spring rain. Could this be the long-awaited messiah? Jesus
wonders." (P. 80. "Religious Formation of Youth using RENEW")
In these and other materials, Christ is presented as a good ol' boy who had
his troubles just like the rest of us and didn't even know he was God.
Of course, orthodox teachers can make all the difference, but to be quite
frank, some of the people who will be in charge of training pastoral workers
at the Institute are tainted by modernism, which was declared a heresy by Pope
Pius X. Their students, who will "chair" the small-faith communities, will be
tainted with the gospel according to modernism, too -- a very worldly and
pasteurized version of Catholicism.
Also, some of the people who will be in charge of Institute training are
feminists, and feminism has come to mean its own religion. Its cold-blooded,
selfish, me-too'ism is exactly the opposite of Christ's commandment to serve
one's neighbor -- even if he's a man, especially if he's a priest.
There are other problems with RENEW. We will list them, section by section:
Parish Leadership. Anyone other than a priest running a parish is
anti-Church, which was established by Christ on Apostolic Succession. A
Pastoral Placement Board that will include the power to oust priests gives
laity the same rights as churchgoers in Protestant churches. They can tell you
what problems this has caused: Pastors keep their mouths shut to keep their
jobs. And who will police the placements of the Placement Board?
Answer: the same cliques whose jobs rely on its continued
Parish Life. The requirement that parishes share the wealth is a
step toward Marxism, which RENEW has already been accused of promulgating in
its social-justice theories in the East. Parishes already share their tithes
with charities and with the bishop. An orthodox parish should not be required
to help support the doo-dah operations run by pastoral teams.
Encouragement of multi-cultural thinking and diversity is part of Catholic
doctrine and always has been. We are all the Mystical Body of Christ. School
bi-lingualism and affirmative action are political band-aids -- and they
haven't been doing such a hot job. Let's stick with spirituality.
The idea that family-life goals would include post-abortion counseling,
wellness retreats, job counseling, etc. is a gross misreading of Church
duties. A priest is always there to assist -- but not to become -- the state's
social-service agencies. Post-abortion counseling comes under the heading of
Confession; how long would it stay there?
Parish Structure. Small-faith communities feel and sound like Quaker
meetings -- except they probably wouldn't be run with the same sense of
humility. The Society of Friends includes many nice people, but their religion
was founded by George Fox -- not by Jesus Christ.
The definition of "eucharistic community" needs some work. The Eucharistic
Community we know is the Catholic faithful, most especially the faithful in a
particular parish. It is not "The entire life and activity of all Christians."
This is the door to open communion, which is also the door to sacrilege.
Non-Catholics do not believe they are receiving the Body and Blood of Our Lord
and Savior, Whole and Entire.
The stipulation that "ad hoc" eucharistic communities may take place opens
the door to masses in the woods, homes, parks, etc. What better way to become
Protestant or a Naturalist or, finally, an Atheist?
"Resource Communities" presumably would be political-action groups like
PACT. This is moving into liberation theology, which has been condemned by
Pope John Paul II.
Parish Decision-making. Creating Church life IS the responsibility
and right of clergy only. They alone have the charism to do it. Participating
in Church life is the right of both clergy and laity. Lay people should be
encouraged to be saved and to be active in the Church for their eternal souls.
This includes prayer, fellowship and social justice, of course, but it does
not include laity taking over the functions of priests or the Church taking
over the functions of social workers, psychologists and civil government.
Lay boards making and breaking priestly appointments opens up a whole can
of worms that will lead to quick decay. Priests are there to serve up the
Truth -- not trends, not half-truths, not easy-to-swallow falsehoods. Priests
are there to administer the Sacraments. Priests are there to hear confessions
and to forgive sins -- yes, to remind us that we have sins. Priests should not
have to worry about being fired because powerful people want to reject the
hard teachings of the Church.
COMMUNION IN THE HAND
The crowd scene of Eucharistic ministers at Holy Communion is one of the
most unholy distractions in today's Mass.
Unfortunately, many of these "lay ministers" are dressed like they've just
returned from a garage sale and act as though they haven't a clue to "the
sense of the sacred". They are well-meaning but sadly out of place, especially
in those churches where there are sufficient priests to handle this most
blessed of rites.
Communion in the hand is not mentioned in a single document of the Second Vatican
Council, and it was not brought up during any of the Council debates.
There is not a single word on it in any of the sixteen documents of Vatican
There is no record of any bishop, priest, or lay person petitioning anyone
for the introduction of communion in the hand. It was started after Vatican II
by ecumenically-minded priests in the Netherlands in imitation of Protestant
practice. Instead of condemning the fad, the bishops tolerated it. For
centuries, it was considered sacrilegious for anyone but the priest to touch
the Sacred Host.
In his great Summa
Theologica, St. Thomas Acquinas wrote:
The dispensing of Christ's Body belongs to the priest for three reasons:
First, because he consecrates in the person of Christ. But as Christ
consecrated His Body at the last Supper, so also he gave it to others to be
partaken of by them. Accordingly, as the consecration of Christ's Body belongs
to the priest, so likewise does the dispensing belong to him.
Second, because the priest is the appointed intermediary between God and
the people, hence as it belongs to him to offer the people's gifts to God, so
it belongs to him to deliver the consecrated gifts to the people.
Third, because out of reverence for this sacrament, nothing touches it
but what is consecrated; hence the corporal and the chalice are consecrated,
and likewise the priest's hands for touching this sacrament. Hence, it is not
lawful for anyone else to touch It, except from necessity, for instance, if It
was to fall upon the ground or else in some other case of urgency.
The terms "lay minister" and "Eucharistic minister" are used for lay "subs,":
but the proper term is "extraordinary minister". An extraordinary minister
should be an extraordinary sight, but in these times, there's nothing
extraordinary about extraordinary ministers. They are as common as the
This is clearly a calculated abuse of Church terminology used to introduce a
novelty that has no foundation in Church history or Catholic practice.
RENEW: A CRITICAL ANALYSIS
The following is a partial reprint from The Renew Process: Strengths and
Areas for Improvement issued by the "Origins, NC Documentary Service,"
January 8, 1987. This publication was sponsored by the National Conference of
Catholic Bishops, but not necessarily endorsed by that body:
Because of the accomplishments and promise of the Renew process,
however, the committee also identified several concerns "in an effort to
improve it." Included were: a tendency toward a generic Christianity; a need
for greater balance and completeness; a need for more emphasis on the
cognitive dimensions of faith; and a need for a broader definition of the
eucharist and an emphasis on sacrifice and worship.
Some Specific Concerns About the Process
1. The tendency toward a generic Christianity. Perhaps the main cause of
concern for the critics of Renew and one of the weaknesses we recognize in the
process is the fact that basic Christian themes are presented without
sufficiently relating them to their specific form as experienced in Roman
Catholic tradition and practice. The literature does not identify, to the
extent that we think it should, what is distinctly Catholic in our faith
process. As an example, expectation 6 under "what will Renew do for the
parish," the formation in prayer, Scripture, community building, justice,
etc., does not indicate the teaching of the Church that gives meaning to the
living tradition which forms the basis for authentic Catholic renewal.
Even though the authors of Renew claim that it "has never attempted to be a
catechetical program," nonetheless there is an admission that there are
"formation and programmatic aspects of the Renew process" which provide,
directly or indirectly. both content and doctrine for participants in the
process. We must be concerned, then, about what such a pedagogical-formational
device teaches by exclusion as well as by inclusion.
2. The need for greater balance and completeness. The authors of Renew
admit certain biases in their approach to personal and parochial renewal.
"There is a bias in Renew for immanence...the emphasis is on the God who is
among us...ours is a God who has embraced our humanity in the fullest possible
way...Jesus is understood immanently in his concrete humanity and
historicity...ministry arises out of the people and belongs to the people."
"In Renew the church is more a people than an institution...a definite bias
toward the community model of church...the single most revealing element of
any theology is its ecclesiology, its understanding of God, Jesus and the
faith of a people. One's ecclesiology also reveals a theology of ministry and
a sense of mission. That is why Renew clearly commits itself to a model of
church that is a community of disciples...a model that is inclusive rather
than exclusive or elitist, and one that nurtures itself for mission rather
than for self-service."
It is our opinion that the overemphasis of these theological positions
causes the Renew process to favor certain aspects of Catholic life to the
exclusion of other equally important aspects. This results in an imbalance
which can be doctrinally misleading. The total renewal of our people requires,
in the long run and for our unity as a church, an understanding and
appreciation of the full gamut of Catholic theology and doctrine. While Renew
does not claim to offer a course in catechetics or a theological overview,
nonetheless it does state that intends "to create a 'theology,' a way of
understanding God, Jesus , church, etc., for our time." Therefore, it does
have the responsibility to offer a balanced theological perspective.
Some of the "exclusions," in our opinion, that would enrich the Renew
theological component and give it a better balance are: a clearer presentation
of the distinctive nature of the Catholic Church, not merely as a community of
faith but as a structured, hierarchical, visible, sacramental community bound
together in a tradition that includes Scripture as a font of faith but also
the authoritative development and interpretation of the doctrines of faith by
the magisterium of the church; a more balanced presentation of the models of
church which broadens considerably the sole emphasis on community; the
insistence that God's revelation, and not just personal experience, is the
norm for deeper understanding and appreciation of authentic faith.
While we applaud the strategy of Renew to call people to greater
responsibility for the mission of the church, and their consequent ministerial
roles, we are concerned that a corresponding emphasis on the sacrament of
orders is missing. Unless the necessary and unique ministerial priesthood is
constantly balance with emerging lay ministries in the church, a distorted
vision about the future of ministry can develop, and a confused ecclesiology.
3. The cognitive dimensions of faith need more emphasis. We are grateful
that Renew has developed a process which stresses the contemporary need to
touch the affective, emotional and personal faith experiences within a
supportive community of believers. At the same time, we think there is need in
the Renew process to emphasize more clearly the cognitive, intellectual
aspects of faith life. The large group experience can be used to make this
presentation. Clearer support should also be given to the need to relate
people not only to the parish, but also more effectively to the diocese and
the universal church.
We are concerned that the emphasis of Renew on personal and shared
"experience as the locus of revelation" can lead to fundamentalism and the
privatization of religious truth. Our people must always be made aware of the
basis for our faith in Jesus Christ.
We note that Renew is not just a "brief, intensive event such as a weekend
experience or retreat" -- rather it is a diocesan wide three-year process of
conversion and formation. Because of its duration and impact on the local
church, we have to be concerned about the effects it has on the orthodoxy and
orthopraxis of our people. The cognitive dimensions of faith cannot be
separated from any extended process of renewal or formation in the church if
we are to maintain our Catholic unity.
4. The eucharist needs broader definition and an emphasis on sacrifice and
worship. We note the effective way the authors of Renew relate the ordinary
things of life to eucharist, and the centrality of eucharist in Catholic
prayer. However, we have concerns about the singular emphasis in some of the
material on the communal meal, and the paraliturgical agape that can lead to
confusion about the essential nature of he eucharistic sacrifice.
What is modernism? That's easy. It's morality since the Beatles, the back
seat of a '57 Chevy and The Pill. It's marriage since dual careers, TV soaps
and no-fault divorce.
It's the Roman Catholic Church since Andrew Greeley, lay ministers, altar
girls, activist nuns, priest shortages, liturgical dancing and inclusive
Popular modernism is what happened when people decided God was dead--and
As it happens, "modernism" is not just a "lifestyle" but a philosophy
opposed to Catholic teaching. And it isn't really modern.
St. Pope Pius X wrote an encyclical called Pascendi
Gregis that appeared in English in 1907. The encyclical analyzes
modernist teaching and comes to the conclusion that it and the actions that
flow from it are heresies that poison the Church. In fact, modernism is called
"the synthesis of all heresies" because it destroys any basis for belief in
Pope Pius explains that modernists base everything on experience: the five
senses and the subconscious. For them, the sense of God and revelation from
God are synonymous.
According to modernist, Christ was just a man, for example. That's all we
can observe through our senses. But through the subconscious, Christ is
transfigured: He becomes God. By the same token, Christ is DISfigured by
faith. That is, we have to exclude everything religions say about him that is
not in keeping with his character, condition, education, time and place.
"How far this position is removed from that of Catholic teaching!" Pope
Pius laments. "Given this doctrine of experience united with that of
symbolism, every religion, even that of paganism, must be held to be
true...Indeed, modernists do not deny, but actually maintain that all
religions are true."
Modernists also believe religious truth evolves and that this evolution
takes place through the medium of individual conscience. Pope Pius calls this
doctrine "pernicious" because it makes man, not God, the key to progress in
His description of the modernist agenda could have been written yesterday:
"They wish philosophy to be reformed, especially in the ecclesiastical
seminaries...(they wish) the young men to be taught modern philosophy suited
to the times in which we live. In the Catechism, no dogmas are to be inserted
except those that have been reformed and are within the capacity of the
people. Regarding worship, they say, the number of external devotions is to be
reduced, and steps must be taken to prevent their further increase...they
insist that a share in ecclesiastical government should therefore be given to
the lower ranks of the clergy and even to the laity and there are some who,
gladly listening to the teaching of their Protestant masters, would desire the
suppression of the celibacy of the clergy."
The antidote to modernism, Pope Pius says, is strict adherence to the study
of Catholic theology, especially St. Thomas Aquinas and the scholastics. To
ensure this adherence, he says "Anyone (in Catholic universities or
seminaries) who in any way is found to be tainted with modernism is to be
excluded without compunction from these offices, whether of government or of
teaching, and those who already occupy them are to be removed. Equal diligence
and severity are to used in examining and selecting candidates for Holy
Orders. Far, far from the clergy be the love of novelty! God hateth the proud
and the obstinate mind."
Well! That Pius X, he had guts, didn't he? But his minions apparently had
less fortitude because we are still struggling with the same ol' problems. The
universities and seminaries have diverged even further from Catholic doctrine.
The word 'dogma' which simply means 'truth of the faith' has become
pejorative. Devotions in the Church have been reduced or eliminated. Laity,
especially women, have taken over, and everywhere one hears the lament: "Let
We have come full circle, and we are going around again. Michael Davies
explains the essence of the modernist controversy in his 1983 book: Partisans
of Error, St. Pius X Against the Modernists.
"True Catholic teaching is what Christ founded the Church by consecrating
His Apostles as bishops and commanding them to teach the truths that He had
taught them. The modernist claims that the...successors of the Apostles taught
these things because people already believed them. In other words, they were
no more than spokesman who articulated popular opinion."
On this view, the Magisterium--or teaching authority of the Church--came
about to systematize beliefs and is subservient to the people.
One of the manifestations of this modernist way of thinking about the
Magisterium is the number of Catholic couples who have succumbed to the
popular trends on contraception and abortion. When Pope Paul VI reiterated the
traditional teaching of the Church in Humanae
Vitae, many protested, some publicly and some in the privacy of their
own homes. But the Pope persisted in spite of the heated opposition. Davies
sums up why: "Contrary to modernist belief, the Church is not a democracy in
which the Pope derives his mandate from the people, or has the duty to
proclaim as Catholic teaching whatever a majority among them cares to
Catholic doctrine says that God is out there. He is real. He existed before
time began and will exist when time stops. He exists before anyone experiences
Him and He would exist if no one experienced Him. His Son became man and died
on the cross. Jesus' obedience unto death saved us from original sin. The
Catholic Church is His presence in time, faithful to the Truth through the
Magisterium in union with the Holy Spirit. These beliefs are what we affirm in
Catholicism isn't mandatory. No one is holding a gun to the modernists'
heads. So why don't they just drop out of the Church if they don't buy the
"It is pride," Pius X writes. It is owing to their pride that they seek to
be the reformers of others while they forget to reform themselves, and that
they are found to be utterly wanting in respect for authority, even for the
Supreme Authority. Truly there is not road which leads so directly and so
quickly to modernism as pride."
The bottom-line is: We have only a speck of time to get out act together in
this life. Eternity lasts forever. Hell will be looking back on this
experience and realizing that we sold our souls for those moments of power and
pleasure that elevated us in the eyes of the world but cost us dearly in the
eyes of God.
Modernism is the last-ditch attempt to make man the measure of all things.
Unfortunately, the yardstick falls short of Heaven.
SEND MR. SMITH TO WASHINGTON
Chuck Wojslaw is running for the U.S. Congress in the 16th Congressional
District and we would like to introduce him to you.
Chuck Wojslaw is a practicing and believing Roman Catholic who will put
Faith, Family and Country, First. He is a dedicated pro-lifer opposed to
abortion, including the gruesome 'partial birth abortion' which his opponent
supports. He is a husband and father who will defend the traditional family
against the onslaughts of pagan society.
Chuck served our country in the U.S. Navy and had a successful career as an
engineer and college professor. He retired early to run for congress. Chuck is
not a politician and is really too honest for Washington D.C., but since he
has charted his course he needs our support.
It takes money to make Chuck and his message known to voters. Checks made
payable to Wojslaw For Congress can be mailed to:
Toyon Ave., Suite F-239, San Jose, CA 95127.
Chuck can be contacted for more information at (408) 923-7775.
Abundant thanks for the (May/June 1996 'RENEW' issue) of VIEW.
This issue adds to my personal information of matters which I had been
previously ignorant--these will be carefully studied.
A California priest