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Wednesday, January 10, 2007


TM Lutas

I'm reminded about a story from my in-laws family (they're Orthodox christians from Romania). Under communism, the homilies were often more than a bit 'rose' tinted. My wife's grandmother, when one of these political homilies would start, would simply open her newspaper, read, and loudly turn the pages. When admonished by the priest that one doesn't do that in church, she replied that when the priest would stop doing things that shouldn't be done in church, she would stop.

Just a thought for reflection...


First, the "teen" giving part of the homily at St. Angela's is actually a young adult and the youth minister. I have a few friends that are involved in the ministry program and play in the band, but I've personally stopped going after the 2nd mass I attend. Inviting teens into the sanctuary isn't new and I've witnessed it at OLG in La Habra during the Lifeteen masses. It concerns me since as a young adult and being friends with a good number of these people, they see nothing wrong with how the mass is conducted. They looked as if I was from Mars when I complained about it. I know Cardinal M. has his faults, but the worst my home parish in the L.A. archdiocese ever did was holding hands during the Our Father. I am still trying to find a good, orthodox parish here in this diocese. Any suggestions?


I went to St Mary's by the Sea this past Sunday. I saw people kneeling during the consecration and reception of the Eucharist. The Pastor allowed the individual to do either one. It is a bit ridiculous to have half the church standing and half kneeling, however. Something has to be done, but everyone feels their individual preference is being stepped on.



The reason for the incongruency of the half stand/half kneel complexion of St. Mary's by the Sea can be 100% attributed to the ineffective leadership of Fr. Tran and Bishop Brown...nothing was wrong with the parish's previous posture...appropriate's an Administrator and Bishop that CANNOT admit they tried to "fix" what wasn't broken...I will add to that, that beautiful Communion rails are not used for their intended purpose...instead, the "dynamic duo" insist on a single line, single phase approach to receiving the Eucharist...again, "to be consistent with liturgical norms of the Diocese of Orange..." Don't forget, certain members of the parish community (that have been reprimanded to stand for fear of reprisal) either paid or volunteer, still MUST stand or face removal from church functions such as office jobs, parish council, lectors (we now have female lectors that can hardly read...very annoying...try speaking in front of a mirror to rehearse and read the first and second readings at home, or, in front of family...I digress) and ushers, etc...Make no mistake, their are significant "misguided" power plays being made in that parish!

Oh, here's the latest...Fr. Tran, during his truncated homily of last week, is admitting to reduced collections which is of major concern...along with anticipated reduced "annual" program contributions...Phase 1 to a shut down and sale of the property to further "feather" Brown's lucrative nest? We'll see...For the 15 years I attended mass at St. Mary's under Fr. Johnson, it was "standing room only" and burgeoning collections...


Oh, one more thing...these new lectors and cantors wear blue jeans or inappropriate "altar" attire, with no apparent discussions from the "diversity oriented" Fr. Tran...cantors about a coat and tie or a dress on the altar showing respect for the Lord's presence!


I have a new theory on Bishop Brown. He's nuts. If it weren't so serious it would be funny. I mean, he is as nutty as a fruitcake! Hey Natalie, do they still have confession in your parish or are you doing "group absolutions" these days?


Here's a website of St. Angela Merici.

(the "official" website(linked from the Diocese web page) has been being "worked on for over a year" (secretary at St. Angela Merici)
Read the Jokes (tab).

One sick sick pastor

And what's this Our Lady of Peace Institute?
Zen method of prayer? Eucharistic Celebrations (would cut into St. Barbara's and Blessed Sacrament parishes)There is no info anywhere on the Diocesan Webpage (what's the big secret, B. Brown?)- but it opened in August of 06 with B. Brown and B. Luong presiding, big celebration /open house!!Food, priests, Mass- (no mention of the event in either the July or August OC Catholic or, again, on the Diocesan website)

B. Brown does NOTHING without press coverage, unless...


Sorry, forgot the links:


I'm not sure what gave you the impression that I of all people would give so-called "group absolutions." Did I not say that I do not attend mass at St. Angela's? I enjoy to attend parishes that follow the GIRM. My home parish in the L.A. archdiocese follows the GIRM which I appreciate (minus hand holding.) That wasn't meant to imply that I'm a fan of Cardinal M. by a long shot. I'm puzzled over your hostility. I am a loyal Catholic who believes in ALL the Church's teachings and to imply otherwise is wrong. Just because I happen to be friends with some people involved in the ministry at St. Angela's doesn't mean I approve of the liturgical abuses that occur there. Or did you happen to miss when I said, "It concerns me since as a young adult and being friends with a good number of these people, they see nothing wrong with how the mass is conducted. They looked as if I was from Mars when I complained about it."



Get thee to a Traditional (pre-Vat II) Latin Mass. I believe you will find a home there. Maybe if that universal indult deal actually goes through there will be more available to you. Let's pray for that to be the case. I also suggest you look into Eastern Catholic liturgies in your area (Byzantine, Maronite, Melkite, etc.). Be adventurous!

A few thoughts on the video-

First of all, I am not shocked by the sort of things I saw in the video. I have been seeing them for years in the Archdiocese of Los Angeles. I see the same sorts of things happening in AZ even though we have a decent bishop here.

I was already disgusted with the ICEL translation of the New Mass Roman Missal. The ad libbing by the priests just makes it all the worse.

If a European Catholic from the year 758 or 1458 were magically transported to a Mass in the year 1958 he would probably feel comfortable and find the liturgy to be familiar. However, during the span of one generation the liturgy has become almost unrecognizable. In the course of my own lifetime I have seen the liturgy change more than it has in last 1500 years. And, this is taking into account the various western rites and differences that existed during the Middle Ages.

What is wrong with these people? What goes on in their heads? The best explanation I have seen is contained in the book "Why Catholics Can't Sing: The Culture of Catholicism and the Triumph of Bad Taste" by Thomas Day. A chapter in that book is titled "Ego Renewal." We no longer go to Church to worship God. We go there to celebrate ourselves.



My hostility wasn't directed at you. I was trying to share my own frustration with the "state of things." Sorry if it seemed otherwise.

Jacqueline Y.

I agree with everything Patrick said, EXCEPT his call for a return to the "pre Vat II" Latin Mass. I have no problem with the indult, but I do have a problem with mere archaism, or worse yet, schism.

In addition to Day's excellent "Why Catholics Can't Sing", I wish more Catholics would read and discuss David Carlin's "The Decline and Fall of the Catholic Church in America" & Fr. Aidan Nichols' "Christendom Awake", especially the chapter entitled The Re-Enchantment of the Liturgy.


RE: "the "teen" giving part of the homily at St. Angela's is actually a young adult and the youth minister."

For information purposes:
First - adult, young adult, youth minister,teen, young man, young lady, CCD teacher,sister or NUN!!! makes no difference - NONE are allowed.
Only PRIEST or DEACON can speak the homily. Period.

Second - "inviting teens (or anyone else) into the sanctuary isn't new". The term "new" is a relative - it never happened before 1962). The fact is that it's not allowed either.

Re: Catholic Church in LA diocese - St. Peter and Paul - Wilmington and St. Peter Chanel, Hawaiian Gardens are the only 2 I'm personally aware of - anyone else know?


It's ok Aaron. I got a bit hotheaded as well and am equally frustrated over the whole matter. I suppose I was more so since my friend was featured in the video. And ftr- I was just pointing out that the "teen" was a young adult just for correctional purposes and by means to imply that being the youth minister gives him or anyone else as Anne stated the right to speak the homily. And thanks for the suggestion Patrick. Its probably time I made my way to a Latin mass. Let's all just keep praying for the Church and our Bishops. God have mercy.


Jacqueline Y:

I hope I did not sound like I am in favor of archaism or schism.

I believe it was Klaus Gamber in his book "The Reform of the Roman Liturgy" who wrote that the traditional liturgy evolved slowly and organically for centuries. And, that the current liturgy is a sudden break with the past imposed artificially from above by an elite group (academics, etc.).

Furthermore, some of the participants at Vatican II have stated that the council documents have had unintended consequences.

At this point, I hope that the traditional liturgy is allowed to exist side by side with the new liturgy. The Church already has many different forms of liturgical expression. If that is archaism, so be it.

Stephanie A. Richer

Just to clarify, the last still shot on the video shows a Mass celebrating the installation of our pastor at St. Joseph's in Santa Ana. That happened in November 2005. The Samoan woman pictured is NOT a "lay minister." Rather, she is a member of our Samoan community at St. Joe's, and it is a parish tradition on special occasions that when the bread and wine are brought up - before consecration - island leis are placed as tributes of honor around the neck of the celebrant (and co-celebrants). What you see there is the woman leaving the sanctuary after she has placed a lei on Bishop Brown.

If you'd like to debate whether that is proper with our Samoans, come to our 9:00 am Sunday Mass and look for the very large people standing about . . .

I must add, I am disappointed that the videographer went in for the close-up . . . pull back a bit and I would have been seen as one of the lectors that night, to the left of Bishop Brown (no, not on the altar but seated at the side by the ambo).


"If you'd like to debate whether that is proper with our Samoans, come to our 9:00 am Sunday Mass and look for the very large people standing about . . ."


Can you elaborate more on this comment? I do not want to draw the wrong conclusion, but correct me if I am wrong: if we do not believe that what the Samoans do at Saint Joseph's is proper when presenting the gifts, we should shut up and take it because if we complain to them we are going to suffer the consequences with them being such large people? Is that what you are getting at? Following that same logic, I think that gives Mexican, in the Diocese of Orange, the green light to dress half naked with the Aztec attire and present the gifts during the Mass. If someone dares to complain, the Mexicans can always retaliate with a drive-by shooting.

Oh, oh, I just thought about a new one. That also gives Cubans the green light to "incorporate" Santeria rituals to the Mass. If someone complaints they can always except a visit from Tony Montana (Al Pachino) and his little friend.

And for Italians we can have Tony Soprano or Guido take care of the complainers.

And for the Chinese we can always have Jackie Chang and so on and so on.

Give me a break!

Manuel Ruiz

I was present at the installation of the Pastor of Saint Joseph and I can atest to the scandalous fact that the two Samoan women who approached the most Sacred place, the Sanctuary, to place the lei on the bishop and on the pastor were half naked! If this is fine with you what you are telling me is that for you, pagan culture comes before modesty and respect for a Sacred place such as a Catholic Church.


Has someone sent this video to Rome?



What would that do? Waist $20 plus dollars for delivery charges?


Perhaps the greatest damage done by Pope Paul VI's reform of the Mass (and by the ongoing process that has outstripped it), the greatest spritual deficit, is this: we are now positively OBLIGED to talk about the liturgy.

Even those who want to preserve the liturgy and pray in the sipirt of the liturgy, and even those who make great sacrifices to remain faithful to it - all have lost something priceless, namely the inncence that accepts it as something God-given, something that comes down to man as gift from heaven.

Those of us who are defenders of the great and sacred litrugy, the classical Roman liturgy, have all become - whether in a small or big way - liturgical experts.


And finally, we have started to EVALUATE liturgy - a monstrous act? We sit in the pews and ask ourselves, was that Holy Mass, or wasn't it?

I go to church to see God and come away like a theatre critic.

And if, now and again, we have the privilege of celebrating a Holy Mass that allows us to forget, for a while, the huge historical religious catastrophe that has profoundly damaged the bridge between man and God, we cannot forget all the efforts that had to be made so that this Mass could take place, how many letters had to be written, how many sacrifies made this Holy Sacrifice possible, so that (among other things) we pray for a bishop who does not want our prayers at all and would prefer not to have his name mentioned in the Canon.

What have we lost?

The opportunity to lead a hidden religious life, days begun with a quiet Mass in a modest little neighborhood church; a life in which we learn, over decades, discreetly guided by priest, to mingle our own sacrifices with Christ's sacrifies; a Holy mass in which we ponder our own sins and the graces given to us - and nothing else: rarely is this possible any more for a Catholic aware of liturgical tradition, once the liturgy's unquestioned status has been destroyed.

--"The Heresy of Formlessness" Matin Mosebach

Stephanie A. Richer

I see there is no room for levity, with regard to my comments about taking it up with the local Samoans at St. Joseph's. But you know, if you do believe it is wrong, knowing where to address the perpetrators of such malfeasance, indeed why not go to them ratehr than rely on an anonymous Internet posting?

As for half-naked women on the altar, from the still shot you can see that her arms are exposed, and as for the bottom half, I represent that she was wearing a grass skirt that came to the tops of her knees. So, it's your call - is that half naked (or half clothed)? It is akin to wearing a sun dress on a hot day and for some, that's a scandal.


32. The liturgy makes distinctions between persons according to their liturgical function and sacred Orders, and there are liturgical laws providing for due honors to be given to civil authorities. Apart from these instances, no special honors are to be paid in the liturgy to any private persons or classes of persons, whether in the ceremonies or by external display.

Fernando Guido


The current state of affairs when it comes to the liturgy is a sad one. Anne is presenting you with an actual Constitution from the Second Vatican Council as to why what the Samoan community did at Saint Joseph’s is wrong and the only thing you can say is that we should take it up with the perpetrators. But what is the point? What would that do? They can always say, “But neither Bishop Brown nor the Pastor Father Moneypenny said anything about it, so it must be okay.” Then you might suggest we take this to the Bishop or to the pastor. But wait, before you move on that direction I can tell you that would be a dead end. Lets us remember that Saint Joseph’s in Santa Ana was the parish were the former priest Cesar Salazar was stationed at. And who is Cesar Salazar? He was the priest who admitted to be fond of watching child porn. And how did Bishop Brown handled this delicate matter? Mmmm, let us walk through Memory Lane.


Diocese breaks zero-tolerance vow

By Steven Greenhut

An Orange County Roman Catholic priest has been accused of having child-pornographic images on his computer, yet the Diocese of Orange continues to let him serve as a priest, using legalistic excuses why child porn doesn't fall under the diocese's ''zero tolerance'' policy.

The diocese doesn't want you to know who the priest is, where he is serving or whether he is anywhere near children.

According to an e-mail to a concerned church member from Fr. Michael McKiernan, who handles personnel matters for the diocese, the zero-tolerance policy refers only to those priests who have actually ''engaged in'' molestation. So having illicit photographs of sex involving men and boys on one's computer doesn't count.

When the diocese learned of the computer images, it contacted the police. A diocese official said the police didn't pursue the matter further because the porn sites could simply have been pop-up ads. The diocese sent him to psychological evaluation. That, apparently, was the end of the story, as far as the diocese was concerned.

Does that make you -- and your children -- feel safer?

The diocese continues to present itself as a model for dealing with these issues. Yet the two abuse victims who served on the diocese's abuse review panel have resigned -- both in protest of the diocese's handling of the crisis. Following the second victim's recent resignation, the diocese no longer has any abuse victims on the review board.

In a resignation e-mail to the panel's chairman, the victim wrote: ''It is with a hurtful heart and sense of disillusionment that I confirm my resignation ... . As you are aware, I have expressed significant frustration and concern over the diocese's failure to take decisive and appropriate action with respect to certain cases reviewed by the board. I was asked to serve on this board as a voice for the victims, and with the exception of a few members of the board, I feel that voice is being ignored.''

This is further evidence that the diocese is more interested in PR than action.

After the first victim/board member to resign, Joelle Casteix, complained in this column that the diocese is using the self-policing panel as a means to cover up abuses, Bishop Tod Brown criticized her in a question-and-answer piece in the July Orange County Catholic, the diocesan newspaper.

She believes the bishop's unusual public criticism of her is an attempt to intimidate victims into silence.

The bishop questioned her veracity, and said in the interview: ''I have directed that the files be searched and thorough background checks be conducted to determine whether there ever was a credible accusation made against a priest, religious or lay person ministering in our diocese.''

But in the light of the diocese's inaction with regard to a priest accused of having child-pornography images on his computer, and the resignation of the second board member, it is the bishop's credibility -- not Casteix's -- that needs examination.

Frankly, I don't think the diocese gets it about the seriousness of the abuse scandal. In that same issue of the Orange County Catholic, the diocese features a photograph and favorable write-up about Archbishop Rembert Weakland, the Milwaukee archbishop who retired from his post in disgrace after news reports revealed that he paid $450,000 in church money to keep a man quiet about an apparent former sexual relationship. (Weakland also is known for his 1988 comments: ''Not all adolescent victims are so innocent. Some can be sexually very active and aggressive and often quite streetwise.'')

What message does that send?

Bishop Brown has assured Catholics in Orange County that the diocese is free of molester priests. The diocese emphasized its proactive stance last week, after it placed on administrative leave a priest accused of molesting an Anaheim teen July 12.

Yet troubling questions remain. A former diocese employee, Fernando Guido, provided me with his detailed correspondence with the diocese and the Orange County District Attorney's office about the priest accused of having child-sex images on his computer.

Guido said he began working at Marywood Pastoral Center in August 2000. In summer 2001, he found child pornography on ''cookies'' -- stored information from past Internet use -- on a friend's laptop computer previously owned by a priest in the diocese. Guido said he brought the matter to top church officials. They took the allegations seriously enough to contact the police department. Guido said the diocese sent the accused priest to a psychological evaluation, but then has allowed him to continue serving as a priest.

From a legal standpoint, the diocese didn't do anything wrong. But from a moral standpoint, and from the standpoint of its much-vaunted zero-tolerance policy (a policy imposed on the diocese as part of a legal settlement), the diocese has behaved disgracefully.

In his letter to the DA, Guido explains his frustration: ''I am deeply disappointed at the diocese because they decided to only give him 'psychological help.' But if history can teach us anything about these types of cases, one can see that this does not help. Many of the priests who have been convicted of child molestation or rape were given psychological help at one time or another. I would have wanted to see him ... removed from any activity where he has contact with minors. I just see him as a walking time bomb.''

Guido said the diocese told him the accused priest admitted having ''sexual immaturities.'' All this time, I thought sexual immaturity referred to male teen-agers who liked to tell bawdy jokes.

Months ago, when Bishop Brown visited the Register for an Editorial Board meeting, he said the church has learned many lessons from its past handling of sexual abuse. In the past, he said, pedophilia was viewed as something that could be treated with psychological counseling, but now they know differently.

Fine. Then why hasn't the above-mentioned priest been removed from his post? Why doesn't the bishop deal seriously with the reasons two abuse victims left the abuse panel?

''Bishop Brown is saying that if someone is suspected of sexual misconduct, they are removed from active ministry immediately,'' Guido told me. ''This happened more than a year ago. If child pornography is not sexual misconduct, I don't know what is. Diocese officials need to be held accountable, especially since they present themselves as white knights cleaning up someone else's mess. [Bishop Brown] is just protecting his own. He is not looking out for the well-being of the people.''

What more can one say?

Given the way Bishop Brown handled this most delicate matter, do think he would even bother looking into issues such as the way the Samoans at Saint Joseph’s dress during Mass? Don't count on it.

Fernando Guido

Stephanie A. Richer

For the edification of readers to these comments, and for fair disclosure, please be advised that Fernando Guido is the individual to whom Fr. Cesar Salazar's laptop was sold (not directly - I believe there were two owners between Fr. Cesar and Mr. Fernando) and who first alleged that there was child pornography on the latop in 2002. Mr. Guido is also married, if I am not mistaken, to a member of SNAP.

I would join in this debate about whether a "lei minister" is proper pursuant to the GIRM (Anne's comment came after mine, so I have just read it; thus, attributing my posting as an answer to it is illogical) but not with bringing in a non sequiter like the incident which happened with Fr. Cesar. It was not the topic and Mr. Guido's posting angers me. It seems that the implication made by Mr. Guido is that St. Joseph's is rife with corruption and the hiding of pedophiles. I cannot speak for Bishop Brown, but Fr. Moneypenny is a friend of mine and my family, and I resent what appears to be an indirect - and inappropriate - slur on his character and his integrity as a priest, which I find to be exemplary.

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