Make your own free website on Tripod.com
 
VIEW FROM THE PEW
Vol 6 No. 1
Dedicated to St. Joseph By & For Santa Clara Valley Catholics
Jan/Feb, 1999
Editor - Jane Anderson
Publisher - Marc Crotty


Leave your brains at the door

By Jane Anderson and Marc S. Crotty

Something is wacky when the Church starts taking its direction from the state. Parochial school teachers can't touch their students. Pastors worry more about insurance than catechetical programs. And the final blow is when dioceses teach the faith with modern methods of crowd control.

The Renew program is just one example. Renewal of faith sounds good, but the message and the techniques used are similar to the "Delphi technique," a 1960s invention of the Rand Corp., a liberal think tank.

Most employees of large corporations have experienced this method -- in leadership, management and "team" training. "Facilitators" in the Renew program might deny any connection with a method that sounds like a spy movie, but participants have experienced it at meetings and seminars. 

John Stormer described Delphi in detail in "None Dare Call It Education" (Liberty Bell Press, P.O. Box 32, Florissant, MO 63032). He explains how educators, civic leaders, businessmen, clergy and parents are manipulated by this technique, which is a method for bringing about agreement by "developing" consensus.

Here's how it works:
 

The original technique used a series of surveys to bring about consensus. A random sample of participants would be chosen. A survey would be administered. Survey-takers would be asked to mark whether they strongly agree or disagree with a series of statements. Survey analyzers would then tally the results. The questions that 75% or more agree upon would be used as a basis for "consensus."

A month later, the participants would be surveyed again. They would be asked to rethink their positions on the questions on which 25% had not agreed. More would agree on these questions on the second round. A month later, a third survey would be done on the points still without consensus. By the third time around, it was found that consensus would be within five or six points of unanimous.

The final step would be to write up a report on the survey. The report would involve the names of experts and important citizens, so anyone disagreeing would be perceived as out-of-step or oddball. The beauty of the survey method is that there is no possibility of informed people with conflicting views influencing others.


"Live" meetings call for something a little different. But Delphi was adapted for use with groups, according to Stormer.

Here's how this works:


A group of catechism teachers, let's say, are invited to a meeting with a goal of developing "consensus" on how to teach ethics. The session starts with a general session addressed by an "expert." After the general session, there may be a "breakout" session, where small groups are formed. There may be some facilitators to "help" at these small discussions. There may be a call for a "recorder" or "secretary," and the "volunteer" may be one of these pre-selected people. The recorders from each group get together and construct a joint statement of the ideas and agreements from their groups. Then a list of "agreed upon" conclusions is presented to the entire group. The consensus might be this: "It's difficult to tell a person what to do about contraception or anything else unless you walk in her shoes. Right and wrong can be relative." There will usually be little time for additional comments or disagreements because this would allow a dissenting individual to influence the larger group. In the final report, a conservative or traditional answer may be thrown in as a kind of joke. Everyone will laugh at how impossible that approach or opinion is. This will further intimidate people who might want to suggest that Catholics should follow the teaching of the Church.


If the issue is big enough, in due time the report becomes general knowledge, the media reports it and appears to support it. If concerned citizens form special interest groups to oppose it, they will be labeled the enemies of progress or mean-spirited or un-Christian.

Stormer says that one reason this method works is that the goal of the entire process is not consensus, but the change of existing beliefs and attitudes. "That isn't difficult today," Stormer comments. "After 50 years of progressive education and the liberalization of most mainline churches and religious denominations, many people aren't sure what they believe."

Now what happens at a Renew session?

Let's check off these Delphi-type characteristics at the second Renew meeting at St. John Vianney in San Jose this fall.

The meeting opened with an expert, Fr. Paul J. Fitzgerald, S.J., discussing Scripture as the basis of faith life and also the basis of ecumenism. The presentation used male and female pronouns alternately. Fitzgerald discussed how the Bible was selected, how words were changed and parts cut out, presumably to show that any modern changes are part of this bigger picture. Father explained the shortcomings of traditions like Ignatian retreats with their emphasis on sin and confession and lack of emphasis on Bible study. He closed his observations with a quote from the musical "Godspell."

Next, the meeting featured a TV tape -- everyone trusts documentary television, and no one can talk back to it. This tape was scored with traditional sacred music, the kind no longer heard in Catholic churches, but the kind that stirs the heart and encourages trust. The tape format was rapid-fire with lots of liberal talking heads. A couple of conservatives were thrown in for "balance," but their ideas were clearly out of step with the majority of the experts. 

After the tape, the group moved on to written discussion questions, featuring queries about reading the Bible and whether or not it is easy to share faith-talk with non-Catholics. The "feel" of the questions was not about conversion but about dialogue: What matters is that people are talking, not that they are talking about Truth.

This Renew meeting contained an interesting lesson in how to handle controversy. A previous Renew session had produced some rather un-Delphi-like debate about kneeling at the Consecration. A few die-hard souls at St. John Vianney were determined to show reverence in front of the Blessed Sacrament. At the second meeting, Fr. Fitzgerald and Liturgy Director Sue Shuttinger re-opened the issue. Fitzgerald said the bishop has the teaching authority to justify not following the mandate of paragraph 21 of the General Instruction of the Roman Missal, which states that kneeling is the normal posture during the Canon. Shuttinger said that Bishop Pierre DuMaine's downtown cathedral sets the standard -- and people there don't kneel. Further discussion was not opened to the participants. 

Another example of Delphi at work:

On November 18, the diocese sponsored a visit from Vatican II expert Timothy Mullner, who holds an M.A. degree in ministry/spirituality. The Renew event was held at Saint Teresa Catholic Church in South San Jose. The meeting was opened by Sister Pat Mitchell, who worked the crowd prior to Mullner's appearance.

"What a great crowd. Give yourself a hand. We're here 35 years after the Second Vatican Council and we're still trying to figure it out. How many of you are willing to bring the Church into the next century?" Lots of applause, laughter, smiles -- the stage is set for "consensus." What jerk would want to mess up this congenial group?

Then Mullner bounces in. He is not hampered in any way by his setting. There are no religious statues or altar rails; the interior of the church looks more like a Grange hall than a church. Even "Fr. Kenny," the pastor, is wearing street clothes. 

"Shake hands with someone you don't know!" he shouts into the microphone, initiating the third "kiss of peace" this evening. "I'm excited that you are here tonight; I'm excited to be here!"

Next comes the ubiquitous tape. This documentary is called "Vatican II: The Faithful Revolution," the same program recently aired on public television. The sound bites are rapid-fire again, designed to prevent any real thinking and featuring known liberals like Fr. Andrew Greeley and the disciplined Fr. Richard Curran.

With engineering like this, who would want to rise up and risk a real discussion after the tape? Indeed, who would want to risk a simple prayer?

One final example:

Mullner actually admitted that the Delphi technique was used at the Second Vatican Council, not by name but by method. He said the bishops were polled for their opinions on issues. Each day, they would be surveyed again to iron out their differences on points of disagreement. A word-change here, a word-change there, would bring about increasingly more "consensus." Each poll produced more agreement. Finally, 96% of the bishops agreed to the final package. 

Mullner used this example to back up this message: If 96% of the bishops in the world "agreed" to the changes brought about by Vatican II, who are we to disagree? With the deck stacked like that, only the most hardy soul would raise his hand in controversy. 

How do we fight this brainwashing? Stormer recommends these six steps:
 
Know what you believe and go to meetings prepared.
If possible, ask if participants will be allowed to question and discuss any "consensus."
If a group of like-minded souls attends together, sit in different parts of the room so that you have diffuse support. This is the same technique used by Delphi facilitators.
When speaking or arguing, face the audience, not the facilitator. This is the same technique used by facilitators when heckled by a dissenter.
If necessary, issue a dissenting (not a minority) report. Try to get to the floor to get others to join you in signing it.
Enlist more dissenting support later.


There are prior steps for Catholics, of course: Pray. Go to Mass. Educate your children. Don't lose heart. Keep your head. But keep trying to change the secular approach to love, life and liturgy. 

Catholic churches do not need crowd-control techniques to teach the Word of God. If these methods are being used, beware. Don't be lured into a feel-good religion that falls outside the Body of Christ. The Church that comes to us from God through His son, nurtured by the Holy Spirit, and administered by the Pope in all its particulars is the One, True Church. Anything else is a graven image.

"Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God . . . showing mercy unto them that love me and keep my commandments." (Ex. 20: 5,6)

The Oracle of Delphi 

The "Delphi Technique" is aptly named.

Delphi was an ancient city in Greece from which the Oracle of Delphi, a priestess of the God, Apollo, issued ambiguous and vague advice, often producing grave confusion. 

For example, when King Croesus of Lydia inquired whether it would be wise for him to move against Cyrus the Great, the oracle said: "If you cross the Halys River, you will destroy a great empire." Thinking this meant, he would be victorious, Croesus attacked and met a crushing defeat. The empire he destroyed was his own. 

Beware, Holy Mother Church!

The Millennium Bug:our Tower of Babel

By D. Anderson

The whole world spoke the same computer language, using the same words. While men were migrating in the West, they came upon Silicon Valley. They said to one another, "Come, let us build ourselves a computer that will reach the mind of God, and so make a name for ourselves."

The Lord observed the computer the men had built. And the Lord said: "If now, while they are one people, all speaking the same language, they have done this, nothing will stop them from doing whatever they presume to do. Let us then go down and confuse their language.

Thus the Lord scattered a computer bug over all over the earth. It was called the Millennium Bug or Y2K.

******************

The time is January 1 in the year of our Lord, 2000. The pork roast in the microwave remains frozen. The VCR has not recorded the Rose Parade. There are no lights.

Y2K or the "millennium bug" has struck. Computers across the country have crashed. How could this happen?

The problem is caused by two digits. When computers and the mainframes attached to them were first introduced, the need for memory was paramount. To save memory, which in the early days of computers was very expensive, these computers were installed with only two digits for each year (e.g., 01/01/99). Consequently, when the year becomes 2000, computers will revert to 1900. Zing goes the (central processing unit) (CPU) of your computer.

In 1997, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan (D-NY), warned: "We have cause to fear. [Y2K] could cause everything from the failure of weapons systems, widespread disruption of business operations, the miscalculation of taxes by the Internal Revenue Service, possibly misdiagnosis or improper medical treatment because of errors in medical records, to incorrect traffic signals at street corners across the country."

Moynihan claimed it would cost hundreds of billion of dollars in the United States alone. At least double that world-wide.

Most of the concern is with mainframe computers (those big suckers that help operate the PCs in large companies and agencies.) Mainframe computers keep utilities, banks - modern life - running. Any mainframe computer at least 10 years old has the Y2K problem.

By mid-1998, approximately 50 per cent of the companies in the United States had not completed the assessment phase of their Y2K problems, much less done anything to solve the problems. This situation carries the potential for chaos. Utilities, such as electric, gas, telephones could cut off power and communication for prolonged periods. Food supplies could be interrupted. Trains, planes, buses could be grounded for extended periods of time.

What's the bottom line? It could be much ado about nothing, or nothing ado about much. According to some experts, the entire power grid could go down for 60 days or more.6 Some see whole industries nationalized. Others "don't see any evidence or likelihood of serious disruptions."

In a situation like this, it is prudent to hope for the best but prepare for the worst.

A computer is like a new shoe. The eyelets are your software, e.g., programs, servers, applications. The shoestring is your CPU - it ties everything together. If the lace snaps, or one of the eyelets break, your shoe is worthless. And so is your computer. What can you do?

For starters, you can take care of your own problems. If you have an Intel 80286 or 80386 CPU operating your PC (this information shows up when you turn your machine on), it's time to upgrade anyway. To check your CPU's affinity to the Y2K problem, check with your maker's Web site (http://www.yourcompany.com) for ways to test your CPU, software, hardware and programs. Check for updates, most of which are free.

The CPU is not the only problem, however. Software - old and new - could have embedded Y2K problems. About 84 per cent of the software being shipped today is not ready for the year 2000.

For example, Microsoft's Windows 98 had enough problems for them to offer a free 1252 KB patch to fix them. To receive this patch, click here, for the Web site and proceed from there.

It makes sense to be prepared: Stock water, nonperishable food, medical supplies, especially extra prescribed drugs in case records are lost. A generator wouldn't hurt. Even if Y2K doesn't hit, you'll be prepared for the next California earthquake.

There are a number of things parishes can do: 


The Millenium Bug may not be the end of the world, but it could be a disgruntling Purgatory. If you have a plan, you will find yourself as well-prepared as we at View from the Pew, and you shouldn't have any 
pro
b
l
e
m
s

1 Intel Support Page
 

2 Y2K: The Goof of the Century Darek Johnson
 

3 The Year 2000 Titan Warren S. Reid
 

4 The Millennium Market Ken Klein
 

5 Statement of the Experts Gary North Russ Kelly Associates, Inc.
 

6  Homelitic & Pastoral Review - Coping with the Millennium Bug: An Action Plan for Parishes
Joseph M. Esper.
12/98 pp 8-18

Get printouts of Church accounts from outside agencies;
Print out parish documents;
Print out parish forms, e.g., stationery, sacramental certificates;
Buy large amounts of needed church supplies, e.g., altar wine, hosts, candles, etc.;
Create a food supply center within the parish;
Create a household supply center for those necessities such as first aid kits, matches, detergent, gasoline (especially if you have a generator), soap, etc.;
Make security arrangements for the parish buildings. Remember 911 may not be in operation if telephone service is cut;
If pilgrimages are scheduled, schedule them before or well after Jan. 1, 2000; 
Help educate parishioners to the possible consequences of Y2K, then set up a program to help them prepare.
Magnificat missal is truly a godsend to people of faith

Many American Catholics received a special gift in the mail this Advent season -- a copy of Magnificat, the monthly missal published by Pierre-Marie Dumont. It is a beautiful missal that fits in the hand and includes morning and evening prayers, special homilies, hymns, a liturgical calendar -- all in one easy-to-read format.

Magnificat debuted in 1992 in France. The name is borrowed from the words that Our Blessed Mother spoke to St. Elizabeth: "My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has regarded the low estate of his handmaiden. (Luke 1:46-48). 

According to senior editor Romanus Cessario, O.P., " Magnificat serves the needs of every Christian believer by introducing us into authentic Christian prayer . . . We meet Christ especially at Mass. Magnificat is designed to help us follow and learn about the Mass, both on Sundays and throughout the week.. It provides the encouragement that we need to participate fully in the 'work of God' that occurs daily in the churches of the world: readings for all Masses celebrated during the month, responses spoken by the congregation during the course of each Mass, changeable as well as the ordinary prayers spoken by the priest."

The missal also offers color graphics that illustrate the season and abbreviated "offices" in the form recommended by the Church: hymns, psalms, canticles, readings, intercessions and prayers. 

The "devotion and liturgy" section in the December edition featured an article by Fr. Benedict Groeschel, C.F.R. He concludes: "Magnificat U.S. can be a road to much more profound love of Christ, of his Mother, and of his Church. 

The Christmas editorial was written by Peter John Cameron, O.P. Special Advent readings were selected by Monsignor James Turro. The color illustrations were reproductions of Georges de La Tour's "The Newborn." Future contributors will include Sr. Mary Thomas Noble, the Rev. P. Jounel, Fr. Yvon Aybram, Fr. Jean-Marie Teze and M.N. Thabut. 

A sampling: On Thursday, Dec. 17, the missal opens with the prayer for that morning, "Let Us Bless the Lord," then the hymn, "O Child of Promise, Come!" then the Canticle of Isaiah (Isaiah 40:10-17), then a reading from Isaiah 4:2, then the Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:69-79), then intercessions and finally the readings, psalm and prayers for that day's Mass. A meditation for the day, "Our Place in Genealogy," follows, then a prayer for night, a hymn for night, Psalm 16, a reading from 1 Thessalonians 5:23, the Canticle of Simeon, a blessing, a Marion antiphon and one page on the saints of today and yesterday: St. Jucicael, king; and St. Vivian, virgin.

This monthly publication is truly a God-send to people of faith. The annual subscription rate is $39.95 for

13 issues per year (one extra during Passion Week), $69.95 for two years. To inquire, write to Magnificat, P.O. Box 91, Spencerville, MD 20868-9978 or e-mail www.magnificat.net. The fax number is 301-559-5167. 


‘Praying Hands’: No one makes it alone

In the 15th century, a family with 18 children lived in a tiny village near Nuremberg, Germany. To keep food on the table, the father, a goldsmith by trade, worked almost 18 hours a day at his trade and any other paying chore he could find.Despite their seemingly hopeless condition, two of Albrecht Durer the Elder's children had a dream. They both wanted to pursue their talent for art, but they knew that their father would never be financially able to send either of them to Nuremberg to study at the art academy.After many long discussions at night in their crowded bed, the two boys worked out a pact. They would toss a coin. The loser would go down into the nearby mines and support the other brother's career at the academy. Then, when the brother who won the toss completed his studies, he would support the other brother at the academy, either from sales of his artwork or, if necessary going himself into the mines.

The boys tossed a coin on a Sunday morning after church. Albrecht Durer won the toss and went off to the academy. Albert went into the mines and for the next four years financed his brother whose work at the academy was almost an immediate sensation. Albrecht's etchings, woodcuts and oils were far better than those of his professors. By the time he graduated, he was beginning to earn considerable fees for his commissioned works.When the young artist returned to his village, the Durer family held a festive dinner on their lawn to celebrate Albrecht's triumphant homecoming. After a long meal, punctuated with music and laughter, Albrecht rose from his honored position at the head of the table to drink a toast to his beloved brother for the years of sacrifice that had enabled Albrecht to fulfil his ambition. "And now, Albert, blessed brother of mine, it is your turn. Now you can go to Nuremberg to pursue your dream, and I will take care of you."All heads turned in eager expectation to the far end of the table where Albert sat, tears streaming down his pale face, shaking his lowered head from side to side while he sobbed and repeated over and over "no, no, no, no."

Finally, Albert rose and wiped the tears from his cheeks. He glanced down the long table at the faces he loved and then, holding his hands close to his right cheek, he said softly, "No brother. I cannot go to Nuremberg. It is too late for me. Look. Look what four years in the mines have done to my hands! The bones in every finger have been smashed at least once, and lately I have been suffering from arthritis so badlly in my right hand that I cannot even hold a glass to return your toast, much less make delicate lines on parchment or canvas with a pen or brush. No, Brother. . . for me it is too late."

One day, to pay homage to Albert for all he had sacrificed, Albrecht Durer painstakingly drew his brother's abused hands with palms together and thin fingers stretched skyward. He called his powerful drawing simply "Hands," but the people of the world almost immediately opened their hearts to his great masterpiece and renamed his tribute of love "The Praying Hands." 

More than 450 years have passed. Today, Albrecht Durer's hundreds of masterful portraits, pen and silver-point sketches, watercolors, charcoals, woodcuts and copper engravings hang in the great museums of the world. But "The Praying Hands" has been reproduced more than any other of Durer's works."The Praying Hands" are a reminder that no one – no one – makes it alone.Anonymous

Contributed by Jerry Swift


Rumer Godden leaves Catholic treasury 

Rumer Godden, author of "In This House of Brede," died November 8 in England at age 90. Her best-selling novel, which was made into a movie, was the story of a dispirited businesswoman who becomes a nun. Godden lived at Stanbrook Abbey and studied religious life in minute detail to write the book, and she herself converted to Catholicism .

Godden was born Margaret Rumer Godden, the second of four sisters. She was raised in India on the banks of the Megna River, which inspired her novel, "The River." Many of her successful books evoke the sights and sounds of her adopted homeland, including "Black Narcissus," which was also made into a motion picture. Other books that reflected her experiences in India were "Chinese Puzzle," "An Episode of Sparrows, "The Greengage Summer" and "A Fugue in Time."Women in religious communities became a favorite Godden subject. In addition to "This House of Brede," she wrote "Five for Sorrow" and "Ten for Joy" on this subject. 

All three books examine the balance between the mystical aspects of religion and the submission of the individual to spiritual discipline.

Godden also wrote books for children, notably "The Diddakoi", "In Noah's Ark" and "St. Jerome and the Lion."

In her private life, Godden started out as a ballet dancer and teacher. She moved to Calcutta in 1930 to start a ballet school for Indian and English children. In spite of the fact that ethnic bigotry was rife and ballet schools were often just fronts for brothels, Godden's school, which she ran with her sister, thrived for 20 years. Her social conscience about the treatment of Indians inspired her writing, and her third novel, "Black Narcissus" about the disorientation of the European nuns in India, made her famous – and rich. But her riches were short-lived because her husband squandered their money on bad debts, and she was forced to take her two daughters and move to Kashmir, where they lived like peasants.Her second husband was James Haynes Dixon, the writer and founder of the youth hostels movement. – Dixon died in 1973. Godden is survived by her two daughters.


+ Letters to the Bishop +

Please speak out firmly on holocaust of abortion

Dear Bishop McGrath:  The View from the Pew wishes you success, happiness and good health in your time in the Diocese of San Jose.  Our prayers and best wishes are with you in the coming years, which will present a major challenge to your administrative and spiritual skills. This diocese is one of the most important in the state, sitting at the heart of a complex technical and industrial world with a diverse community of families and individuals from all over the world.That said, we plead for your active leadership and imagination in one very critical area. To our mind, this is the most important problem of our time. We speak about the continuing tragedy of abortion that has robbed the United States of more than 30 million unborn babies since 1973, when the Supreme Court ruled in the infamous Roe vs. Wade case. California, of course, leads the nation in this baby killing.

In the last election, many politicians, especially our new governor, Gray Davis, a Catholic, made a woman's "right to choose" the centerpiece of his victorious campaign. A number of other Catholic politicians also loudly advertised their pro-choice views, while pro-lifers were regularly described as extremists who want to impose their radical views on the rest of the electorate. A pro-life congressman in Northern California is as rare as a snowstorm in Death Valley.

We were delighted to see America's bishops launch an aggressive new campaign to lobby against abortion and to mobilize parishes across the country into a powerful new voting bloc against candidates who support abortion rights. This has been long overdue.

Bishop McGrath, please don't wait for instructions from the National Conference of Catholic Bishops to speak out loud and forcefully about this incredible holocaust. Insist that your pastors address this matter at least once a month from the pulpit and every day in the prayers of the faithful. Come out to local life chains and encourage all religious to join you for just a few hours on Respect Life Sunday each October. Attend the annual March for Life in Washington, D.C. and join the regular Catholic prayer vigils at local abortion mills. Please don't say: "It's not my thing."

Arrange to fund at least in some modest way the only two Catholic crisis pregnancy centers in the county. These non-profit, all volunteer groups offer loving assistance and guidance to women and their babies who have nowhere else to go. Perhaps you can use your influence with Catholic Charities or the Campaign for Human Development to send a few dollars their way. The diocese has yet to give them a cent, although it did host a small wine and cheese party many years ago. The diocese deducted expenses before turning over a small amount to the Fremont and Juan Diego Societies.

All of these activities are legal and peaceful and your presence would make a powerful contribution to the sanctity of life and would attract others to the cause.

If the oh-so-politically correct San Jose Mercury News calls you for an interview about your favorite foods and television programs or early years in Ireland, tell them only if they will publish a statement of yours on abortion. And while you're at it, write a few words about the breakdown of family life, adultery, homosexuality, divorce and the wisdom of Humanae Vitae.

Put a little spice in the Valley Catholic by writing about these same subjects at some length. It's been too much of a cheerleader for the diocese for too long. In a few years, the ball will be in your court. We hope to see you do some good spiritual things with it.
Art Brew

We apologize profusely for St. Mary’s abuses!

Dear Bishop Patrick J. McGrath:  On behalf of the concerned Catholic laity of the Diocese of San Jose, I would like to express my deepest apology for the Mass and reception you received at our parish at St. Mary's in Los Gatos. It is well-known to many of us that the entire reception was an attempt to tell you that a well-established network of pseudo-Catholic feminists are in control and that there is nothing you would dare do about it. To begin with, they made no attempt to inform the different parishes that you were coming because they only wanted key people to attend. That is why, out of nine parishes, we could not fill a small church to meet you. Then, to let you know that they have no intention of obeying Rome on the rubrics of the Mass, they brought over members of St. Lucy's Parish, who never kneel for the Consecration or any other part of the Mass. By this they demonstrated their total disrespect for Our Eucharistic Lord, the pastoral directives of the NCCB and Your Excellency. Our deepest apologies.

Our music (if you want to call it that) director uses two groups of singers to compete with each other, creating a cacophony of disharmonic noise, one in the choir loft and one in the pews. Our deepest apologies. Since when does the liturgy need a master of ceremonies to conduct the Mass like a play, as eight priests sit and watch? Since when does the church allow women to direct a bishop? Since when does the Church allow women to pass out Communion to priests? Since when does the church allow "extraordinary" ministers to pass out Communion as eight priests sit and watch? Your restraint is admirable. Our deepest apologies.Why would a bishop, who stands in the shoes of the Apostles, be given a place in the middle of a basketball court to meet his flock, instead of an elevated platform with a proper chair befitting the dignity of his office, an office that is higher than a president of even an emperor? Why would food be passed out and children be playing as we met you for the first time? You stand in the place of Christ, and I am sure Christ was not happy with the respect given Him in your name. Your reputation for friendly outreach and approachability is well-known. However, to have given you the option to approach your flock from your rightful place would have shown you the respect you deserve as a successor of the Apostles. Our deepest apologies.

St. Ambrose would not let even the Emperor of the World enter into the Holy of Holies, only the priest and the altar servers, yet these "Call to Action" (Catholic Women's Network) women treated our Holy of Holies as if it were common ground to trample under foot. Our deepest apologies.The agenda of these women is well-known, but can best be confirmed by the prayer of the faithful used in the following Sunday Mass at the same parish, where one of these same women leads the congregation in this prayer: "That there will be an increase of vocations to the priesthood, of men and women, let us pray to the Lord." Our deepest apologies. You have many friends in this diocese who wish to support you in proclaiming and preserving the truths of our faith and providing Holy Mass and the sacraments with the dignity they demand. Please be aware that these and others will attempt to surround and influence you. Please know that we will be there to support your efforts to preserve our Catholic faith.Obediently yours,Rich Salbato


+ Letters to the Editor +

Novus Ordo vs.Traditional Mass

I don't understand why you are encouraging people to attend the Novus Ordo [Mass] with this little advertisement [an ad for a parish Mass] while at the same time pointing out the errors of this liturgy in your newsletter. It would be more fitting to advertise for chapels that offer the traditional Mass.
Steve Nadolny

Editor's Reply:If it's good enough for the Pope, Novus Ordo is good enough for us.

Stravinskas’ opinion questioned

Dear Editor:  Some of the most determined and fanatical enemies of the Mass, of tradition and, ultimately, of the Faith, are those like Fr. Peter Stravinskas (editor of The Catholic Answer, who wrote in one edition that he is in not "a fan" of the Latin Mass under most circumstances and that people do not have a "right" to the traditional Mass because the Pope's indult means that he has only given it his "grudging permission" at the discretion of the local bishop ). One wonders if such a priest has any concern for souls at all, for while the lambs are scattered before his eyes in large part because of the liturgy which teaches them to disbelieve in the Real Presence, we find him embracing that liturgy and trying to spread the lie that the Traditional Rite is a defunct rite. Such untruth, such false champions, the Church does not need. 
Richard Freeman

Editor's Reply: It is always amazing how labels don't seem to work in the reform business. Fr. Stravinskas is known as a "conservative" priest, but he has stated on more than one occasion that he does not favor use of the Latin Mass. He has a right to his opinion. He offers very orthodox advice in his publication, and he isn't afraid to call a spade a spade and the Pope the pope. That's refreshing.

Renew headed for Burmuda Triangle

Dear Editor:  Bless you all. It was shear fate that I hooked onto your paper. I wish we had one in Palm Harbor, Fla. Renew is coming to our parish, and the hairs on my neck stood up. To read everything you printed confirmed my fears – now to get my pastor to read it. I am the night clean-up woman at my church. I spend a lot of time in front of the tabernacle. I pray for you all.

Editor's Reply:Download the complete "Renew" series in this issue and as reported in the May/June-July/Aug. '96 issues of View from the Pew at http://www.hooked.net/users/racox/view.htm
Distribute widely.


Another View

Any Mass you can observe, I can observe better

It never fails. Every time we have an article on the Tridentine Mass, we get letters saying we are promoting schism in the church.

Every time we do an article involving the Novus Ordo Mass we get letters saying we are two-faced, with the added caveat that the Tridentine Mass is more beautiful and more sacred.

Now we have a complaint because we advertised a Novus Ordo Mass.  Enough! We do not promote or trash Novus Ordo or Tridentine masses. We do promote going to a Mass, which is now down to about 20 percent of the Catholic population.

As a general statement, the Novus Ordo Mass is into celebration. Some have even featured balloons, clowns, dancing nymphs, women with nice legs, lay homilists discussing their marriages, etc. 

As a general statement, the Tridentine Mass is into denial, denial that the Novus Ordo is valid, denial that life on Earth is supposed to be rewarding and fun (remember Christ made wine at the wedding reception), denial that some things in modern life are not sinful and perhaps even an improvement.

As a general statement, both masses are longer than Pinocchio's nose at high lie! Liturgists are "into" the performance of the Mass. And lay people are busy choosing up sides. The result: mistrustful, bigoted believers.

Are you casting the first stone?
D. Anderson

Man bites dog; dog gets rabies

The ride to the sound of the hounds is over. The dog days of the elections are done. It’s time to dig a hole and bury them. But before we do, permit us a few observations.The people of this nation have elected – twice – a man who is perhaps the most corrupt official ever to hold the presidency:  from Travelgate, to Filegate, to Chinagate, to Troopergate. Bill Clinton has more gates than Microsoft, and he was the one who promised an administration that was going to be the most ethical ever.

Then we gave Clinton’s party, the Democrats, a victory in the ‘98 mid-term elections. True, the Republicans offered nothing. They were such stiffs, they should have asked a priest to administer the last rites. Not since the No Nothing Party has so has so much Nothing hit the news. If the spot was not already taken by the Republicans, we could start a party called, "Me Too." You want NAFTA? Me too. You want more government? Me too. You want to intervene militarily in every part of the world? Me too. You want a pork belly budget? Me too. The Republicans thought we would revolt against Clinton’s scandalous behavior and, perhaps, send a veto-proof congress to Washington. They thought wrong. "It’s the economy, stupid." For the first time since Franklin Roosevelt, a sitting president’s party has gained seats in mid-term elections.What do these elections say about us? They say we have been numbed-down and dumbed-down. We have jobs. Stocks are up. So don’t confuse our life with facts. Don’t talk about ethics. "Sex is just a private matter."Conclusions: 1) We got the best government money can buy and 2) We have the government we deserve.
D. Anderson


Father Sweeny, star in pulpit – and on TV

By Art Brew

Mother Angelica let the world in on one of San Jose's best-kept secrets when she interviewed Fr. John Sweeny of Our Lady of Peace Church on EWTN in November.

In a wide-ranging conversation, Mother Angelica offered Fr. Sweeny the opportunity to describe how an orthodox and highly successful parish is run and why thousands flock to this simple, blue-collar church in the heart of Silicon Valley.This quiet, unassuming priest, who celebrated his 50TH anniversary in the priesthood on December 20, has standing-room crowds at almost every Mass and manages to do this without clown Masses, Eucharistic ministers, altar girls, banjos or gay-pride events. There are altar rails, and Communion on the tongue is not frowned upon.

All of the priests at Our Lady of Peace are well into their 70s, have seen a lot of life and know the mission of a priest in this world. They show no reluctance to talk about abortion from the pulpit or to urge the parishioners to take part in prayer vigils for the unborn.Fr. Sweeny traced the origins of his church from a large pear orchard a couple decades ago to one of the most popular parishes in California. Hundreds of families drive long distances to attend Our Lady of Peace Masses, missions, all-night vigils and perpetual adoration. They know confessions are heard before every Mass and at any time on request, that the altar boys will wear cassocks and surplices and that the songs will be traditional hymns to Our Lady, who watches over the close-knit community of Filipinos, Vietnamese, Caucasians, Hispanics and others.The congregation is rightly proud of the beautiful 32-foot-high statue of the Blessed Mother near the front of the church, extending her arms toward one of the busiest highways in the West, Highway 101. Many motorists take a detour to get a better look at this unusual monument to Our Lady right in the middle of office buildings, shopping malls, hotels and Great America.

Mother Angelica found it amazing that Fr. Sweeny never asks for money from the congregation, only "rosary checks" made out to the Blessed Mother, who has showered her graces on the parish. This unusual funding has enabled Our Lady of Peace to construct a new family learning center and pilgrimage hall.

The secret to Fr. Sweeny's success is his deep commitment to orthodoxy. A Tridentine Mass is allowed once a month on Saturday evenings. A Norvus Ordo Latin Mass is offered the other three Saturdays. Human Life International's founder and chairman, Fr. Paul Marx, recently said, "I have visited thousands of Catholic churches in 90 countries around the world, but I have found nothing like Our Lady of Peace parish in the Diocese of San Jose."


Seton School opens California office

Seton Home Study School has opened a California office at 44751 Date St., Lancaster, 93534-3101. The phone number is 805-948-8881; fax line is 805-948-7006.

Counselor Mike Gallagher will manage the new office. Books and lesson plans will be available at this office for perusal, and some are available for purchase. Some pre-packed boxes for the elementary levels will be available for those wishing to enroll.

Anyone from California may enroll students through this office. Records will be kept here. The opening of this office is important to homeschoolers in California because the State of California prefers that students use a state institution.

J Bright Views J

St. Peter Fraternity over-crowded

Amid the worries about priestless parishes comes good news from the Priestly Fraternity of St. Peter, headquartered in Elmhurst, Penn. The seminary that started just five years ago with a handful of young men is now overcrowded. Today there are over 60 young men who are spending the seven years of prayer, study and work to become priests. In two more years, we should be seeing 10 or more of these conservative young men ordained to the priesthood per year. There are now Fraternity priests working in 18 dioceses in North America – always at the invitation of the local bishop (these priests offer only the Traditional rite Mass). The Fraternity plans a larger seminary in eastern Nebraska with the good wishes of Bishop Fabian Bruskewitz. The Fraternity needs prayers and contributions for its $9 million facility. To help, contact The Fraternity of St. Peter, P.O. Box 196, Elmhurst, PA 18416.

50 pray rosary before abortion mill

Fifty hardy souls were at a Sunnyvale abortion mill the day after Christmas to pray a 15-decade rosary for the unborn. These folks pray the rosary the last Saturday of every month after an 8 a.m. Mass at Our Lady of Peace Church in Santa Clara.

L Dim Views L

Governor denied use of cathedral

Our most recent governors, Pete Wilson and Gray Davis, are pro-abortion. Sacramento pro-lifers who protested Wilson's Inauguration in the city's cathedral were arrested for disorderly conduct. This year, Gray Davis, a Catholic, was denied use of the same cathedral to avoid problems. Progress!

To kneel or not to kneel

A new book titled Mass Confusion – the Do's and Don't's of Catholic Worship by James Akin describes the many liturgical abuses taking place in churches throughout the country and what you can do about them. One tiresome practice is having everyone stand during the Eucharistic Prayer. Kneeling, however, is required by the Church. The author points out that "the Church does not require the presence of kneelers, but it does require the practice of kneeling." The book is available from Catholic Answers, P.O. Box 17490, San Diego, CA 92177. Cost is $15.95 plus $4.95 shipping. 

Florida abortion law struck down

A Florida law that sought to ban a certain type of late-term abortion is unconstitutional and cannot be enforced, a federal judge roled in Miami in late November. The law "has the unconstitutional purpose and effect of placing a substantial obstacle in the path of women seeking an abortion prior to the fetus attaining viability," U.S. district Judge Donald Graham said. Florida doctors had previously testified that the law would make almost all abortions illegal in the state. A similar law was struck down in Arkansas because it was "too vague."So much for the argument for states' rights; so much for the lives of the helpless unborn.



January and February are the months reserved for devotions of the Holy Infancy and the Holy Family. The Chaplet of the Infant Jesus can be recited in January and the Litany of the Blessed Virgin in February. The special virtue for January is Love of Jesus; for February, humility.

The precious stone assigned to January is the garnet for constancy and to February the pearl for faith and innocense.The one pearl without price is the True Faith and the state of Grace.