Sunday, February 28, 2010

Sometimes Charity Needs To Begin At Home

One of the greatest attributes of the American people is their willingness to help those who are in need. The overwhelming outpouring of financial and material support to the people of Haiti is proof positive that the Graces of God does indeed dwells within us. And once again, the American people have turned their attention to the people of Chile during their struggles to recover from their earthquake.

Not only am I impressed as to how ordinary American citizens have rallied to the needs of the people of Haiti and Chile, I am pleased with the speed and the willingness of the American Government to - despite our ongoing economic depression - to provide additional financial and material support.

There is no question of the unconditional willingness of the American people and our government to come to the aid to our neighbors within our global community.

Yet, I must confess to you that my pride was tempered last night by something taking place within the community of Chicago.

Driving home last night from an unexpected pastoral call, I found myself having to take a detour home through a section of the city know as Lower Wacker Drive. For many years, the section of the city has been the gathering place for men, women and family who are homeless. In recent years, Lower Wacker Drive has seen a great influx of unemployed and homeless refugees seeking some form of sanctuary from the elements.

I can't help but wonder what form of earthquake or natural disaster occurred in their lives to deprive them of their homes. When I look at the cramped cardboard boxes being used as their shelters, I see them being trapped just like those buried alive in the rubble from homes crashing down upon in Haiti or Chile.

The only difference is that those buried alive in Haiti and Chile have international rescue teams searching for them. I wonder who is searching for those trapped in boxes on Lower Wacker Drive?

Let me make it clear that I do not in any way subscribe to the political or pastoral theory of isolationism. The Gospels clearly teaches and calls to us to our responsibilities to care, protect and uphold one another.

I guess I am very concerned that our national community and our government too often has less enthusiasm to extend the hand of charity to our own in need we extend within our global community.

Sometimes charity does need to be present as home.

I remain,

Sincerely Yours in Christ,

+James Alan Wilkowski

Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
Presiding Bishop for the Evangelical Catholic Church

February 28, 2010 - The Second Sunday of Lent

Chicago, Illinois

Monday, February 8, 2010

Saving the Independent Catholic Movement from Sexual Predators and Substandard Clergy

There is a form of "acid rain" that is beginning to fall from the sky in the form of a drizzle on the Independent Catholic Movement. The cloud from, which this drizzle emanates, has congealed from a posse of individuals completely illiterate in matters of basic Catholicism and individuals convicted in secular courts of law for sexual abuse.

These individuals - whose primary purpose is to find any valid avenue to claim Orders within historic apostolic succession in order to wear copes, cassocks and mitres - are polluting the Independent Catholic Movement with their corruption and will undermine this sacred movement from effectively serving the People of God.

When Bishop Carlos Duarte Costa continued his vocation to the priesthood after his excommunication from the Church of Rome, he wished to continue the sacramental and liturgical traditions of Catholicism with an infusion of what we today call the Liberation Theology and Social Justice and Peace. Bishop Costa wanted to see the continuation of Catholic grow and thrive within a new independent avenue. He did not wish to see this new hope devalued to the same state as Jesus found the Temple.

When I entered the Independent Catholic Movement in 1996, I did so with the belief that the potentials for service to the People of God were unlimited and that the spirit of the Second Vatican Council was alive and vibrant. While I still feel and believe in the sacred opportunities before us, my hopes have been tempered by witnessing our movement being converted into a toilet by self serving frauds who are trolling our Movement to attain some sort of social standing and to fulfill their sexual needs.

I unconditionally believe that individuals who are documented sexual predators and abusers have no rights to function as a cleric or religious. Vocations to the priesthood and religious life are sacred gifts from God and not personal entitlements. I also believe that candidates for the priesthood and religious life who have been documented as being behaviorally and/or psychologically unfit should not be permitted to enter into Order or Solemn Profession.

One of the most tragic trends I have witnessed in the past decade has been the exodus of sexual predators and abusers, along with the behaviorally and psychologically unfit and academically illiterate invading the Independent Catholic Movement in great numbers. The presence of these individuals degrades our movement.

Every once in awhile, I tend to surf the web to learn about other jurisdictions claiming to be part of the Independent Catholic Movement. While being very encouraged by a few other jurisdiction taking their vocations seriously, I was shocked by what I still find on so many jurisdictional web sites.

1. Priests, Religious and Bishops who have been convicted of sexual abuse.
2. Jurisdictions having no requirements for academic formation/training.
3. Priests, Religious and Bishops "church jumping" from one jurisdiction to another.

These are just a few examples common to so many claiming to be Independent Catholic Jurisdictions.

There are many Catholics in this country and world-wide who find themselves pastorally and sacramental orphaned for many, many reasons. And for those men, women and families - the Independent Catholic Movement may hold for them that which they seek and need. Many of these men, women and families have been hurt by previous pastoral experiences. They do not need to be exposed to the corruption rampant in so many of these jurisdictions.

They have been abused enough.

IF the Independent Catholic Movement wishes to be taken serious by the People of God, it must become serious about itself. Our movement must purge itself of those who demean and defile it. Nobody else can do it but ourselves and we must begin now before the drizzle of acid rain become a toxic tidal wide that washes us all away.

And if that should happen, we will have nobody to blame but ourselves.

Sincerely Yours in Chirst,

+James Alan Wilkowski
Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest
Chicago, Illinois

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Novena to Saint Cajetan for the Unemployed

I would like to share with you the Novena to Saint Cajetan for the Unemployed which is being celebrated at the Church of the Holy Family in Chicago. I am posting this Novena for anyone who wishes to make these prayers on behalf of the unemployed.