Jul 7, 2007

Scorecard for Kansas City Bishops

Since 1968, a scorecard that rated performance for most Kansas City Catholic Bishops would have been marked with many deficiencies, justifying grades of "D" and "F". However, almsgiving was not lost during the past 40 years as the Church continued its beautiful work for the poor. [Unfortunately, 'love' also was used by some Bishops to justify the extinction of common sense, as could be seen when examining lists of grantees and expenses receiving diocesan 'charitable' funds.]

Fortunately, the current two Bishops (Bishop Robert W. Finn and Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann) of Greater Kansas City deserve much, much better grades than most recent KC Bishops. I wish I had started to summarize their accomplishments when each Bishop took charge, but I really thought they did not have what was needed to dig the Church out of the pit of Modernism. However, the list of our current Bishops' good and faithful works gets longer and longer.

1. The Leaven and The Catholic Key diocesan newspapers are much improved. [Lots could be said in support of this conclusion--perhaps in a future post. The Key is now better than The Leaven, in my opinion.]

2. The diocesan leaderships are no longer hotbeds of dissent, even if some local parishes and 'Catholic' colleges remain bulwarks of Modernism.

3. The Bishops acknowledge and support the contributions and aspirations of traditional Catholics, even giving churches for the offering of the old Latin Mass and allowing FSSP and ICKSP priests to serve as chaplains.

4. Bishop Finn shows character, strength, and wisdom when dealing with dissenters. ['Nuff said!]

5. Archbishop Naumann seems to have taken a quieter approach in handling dissenters, but the results also seem fairly good, as diocesan Masses seem less 'experimental' than before. [Interestingly, I've observed two Kansas parishes where people were invited to kneel at the beginning of Mass where they ask God for forgiveness of their sins. I assume Archbishop Naumann is responsible for this welcome 'innovation.']

6. Archbishop Naumann and Bishop Finn are both strong pro-life supporters. Almost every week, their diocesan newspapers have an article or two on the life issues, and Archbishop Naumann usually leads a monthly rosary march to the abortion clinic in Kansas City, KS. In addition, both Bishops lead efforts to ban harvesting of stem cells from aborted infants, and Archbishop Naumann sponsored the production of a stem cell video to encourage opposition to the practice.

7. Bishop Finn has recruited the Benedictine Sisters of Mary, Queen of the Apostles, a traditional group of Catholic nuns, and is extending considerable support and encouragement to them.

8. Both Bishops recognize the evil of pornography and have organized programs to combat it.

9. Archbishop Naumann, a member of the Bishops' Committee on Marriage and Family Life, appears to recognize the great danger to the Church of the loss of over 50 percent of Catholic marriages. See my related post.

10. Archbishop Naumann has written many good columns in The Leaven that teach Catholic doctrine and that address thorny issues, such as contraception, 'free' love, and confession.

11. The two Bishops jointly sponsored the Annual Corpus Christi procession from St. Thomas More Church to Avila College, emphasizing Catholic belief in transubstantiation of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ.

12. Bishop Finn has appointed faithful stewards of Catholic teaching to key roles in his diocese.

13. Both Bishops are working very hard and successfully to get religious vocations. Bishop Finn just announced that the Missouri diocese now has 25 seminarians. He promoted a diocesan observance of 30 Days of Prayer to St. Joseph for vocations that ended when he led a pilgrimage to St. Joseph's Oratory of Mount Royal in Montreal, Quebec. [It's heartening to see Bishop Finn is not afraid to get on his knees! Photo from The Key.]

14. Archbishop Naumann recognizes the importance of serving the homeschooling community. The Savior Pastoral Center was the site of a recent homeschooling conference and Laura Berquist will promote homeschooling at a July 15 conference starting at 1:00 pm at Benedictine College in Atchison, KS.

16. Archbishop Naumann is not afraid to publicly confront Governor Kathleen Sebelius on her pro-abortion activities. [Catholic pro-lifers are still waiting for the Archbishop to publicly acknowledge that the Kansas governor has removed herself from the Catholic Church and should no longer receive Communion. See my related post.]

17. Bishop Finn and Archbishop Naumann are co-sponsoring a Global Living Rosary during May 2008 at Kauffman Stadium. Also see here.

Not everything is all right or even significantly improving, but events over the past two years indicate that the days of unopposed Modernism in Kansas City have come to an end. Moreover, there is a resurgence of faith and Catholic action that I haven't seen for a long, long time.

Vatican Finances and Vatican Radio

Yesterday (July 6, 2007), the Vatican released a summary of their financial statement for last year, and today Cardinal Sergio Sebastiani, president of the Vatican's Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, released additional financial notes.

It seems apropos to review the spending and income of the Holy See because Peter's Pence is collected at this time of the year by U.S. Catholic Churches. A surplus of 2.4 million euro was reported, and it seems the institutional activity of the Holy See cut expenses (Secretariat of State, congregations, councils, tribunals, the Synod of Bishops and various other offices). More importantly, the donations that came from Episcopal Conferences, dioceses, religious Institutes, faithful and various Entities increased from 73.9 million euro in 2005 to 86 million euro in 2006. Contributions for Peter's Pence grew to 74.6 million euro in 2006 as against the 2005 total of 46.7 million.

A major drain on Vatican resources appears to be Vatican Radio (deficit of about 23.8 million euro) and L'Osservatore Romano (deficit of 4.4 million euro), even though the Vatican Printing Office and the Vatican Television Center reported surpluses. All newspapers are struggling with the revolutions of the information world, so L'Osservatore Romano's problems are not unexpected.

The large 2006 deficit is not the first Vatican Radio deficit. In 2004, several Cardinals also questioned a large annual deficit of Vatican Radio. In addition, the 2000 financial statement also reported a large deficit for Vatican Radio, noting that the number of hours transmitted in the year were almost 24,000, and that many [2000] Jubilee events were transmitted in as many as 60 languages.

The most useful information on the large annual deficits of Vatican Radio were reported in 2006 by CNS:
Vatican Radio, which accepts no advertising, and the Vatican newspaper, which accepts very little, are traditional drains on Vatican revenues.

One day after he was appointed director of the Vatican press office, Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, who also serves as general director of Vatican Radio, told reporters the radio is working on reducing its deficit, which amounted to $29.9 million in 2005.

He said the radio was committed to reducing its staff from 395 employees to 335 by 2013, primarily by not replacing retiring workers whose jobs can be handled easily by others with the help of new technology.

As for advertising, he said the question was not only "ideological," but practical as well. Advertisers want to know how many people they will reach in a targeted geographic area, information Vatican Radio does not have for its programs broadcast in more than 40 languages around the world.
If you would like to listen to Vatican Radio, the signal is broadcast to North America on iTuner. I listened this morning to interviews with student astronomers given a chance to study at the Vatican observatory, and especially to an interview with Anita Garibaldi Hibbert, the great granddaughter of the Italian revolutionary, Giuseppe Garibaldi. Anita Garibaldi is the curator of Garibaldi 2007, a celebration of his revolutionary life.

The Risorgimento was the Italian revolution against the Papacy during the 19th century that was lead by Mazzini, Garibaldi, and Cavour -- all ardent Freemasons associated with the Carbonari. Wikipedia notes that the Carbonari (coal-burners) was "at the root of many of the outbreaks in Italy from 1820 on." The Carbonari was formed in southern Italy and was inspired by the principles of the French revolution. The controversial document, the Alta Vendita, was attributed to the Sicilian Carbonari. Wikipedia comments that the Alta Vendita details an alleged Masonic plan to infiltrate the Roman Catholic church and spread liberal ideas within it.

It was surprising (or perhaps not!) that the Vatican Radio is promoting Garibaldi's Bicentennial. In her introduction, Tracy McClure (the Vatican Radio interviewer) even called Garibaldi "one of Italy's greatest heroes." This in spite of the fact that Garibaldi was noted by his great granddaughter as getting to know many young woman and quickly forgetting them.

Frankly, I was not impressed with Vatican Radio and hope it goes "down the tube" if the stuff I listened to is typical of their programming. What I listened to showed Vatican Radio is more an enemy than a friend of the Church.

Motu Proprio in English

The Motu Proprio, Summorum Pontificum, was issued in Latin but both Whispers in the Loggia and Rorate Coeli have English versions.

I know of one Wichita diocesan priest who claims he will be one of the first priests in the U.S. to take advantage of the Motu Proprio and offer the old Latin Mass now permitted by Pope Benedict XVI. He has been training himself in the rubrics using a DVD produced by the SSPX, although there appears to be a number of other sources, especially the priests' training program developed jointly by Una Voce and the FSSP.

Deo Gratias.