Thursday, August 29, 2013

Francis Cardinal George does not speak for all Catholic jurisdictions

In recent times the Roman Catholic Archbishop for Chicago has been making his personal and ecclesial views about the GLTB community rather well known.  First let me say that as the pastoral leader of the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Chicago, he has the right and obligation to advocate the ecclesiology and pastoral positions of his jurisdiction and in doing so, I shall respect and defend his right to do so on behalf of his jurisdiction.

What I am willing to take issue with on this matter is the assertion or implication that the views being expressed by the Cardinal Archbishop for the Roman jurisdiction reflects the ecclesiology and pastoral theology of all catholic jurisdictions and of all who hold and celebrate the catholic faith – for this is not so.

As Bishop for the Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest, I respectfully wish to state that on the matter of marriage equality, the Evangelical Catholic Church long-ago advocated this matter as part of our commitment and fidelity to the precepts found in the theology of Social Justice and Peace.  In addition, the Evangelical Catholic Church also committed itself to respecting the dignity and rights of all members of the family of God in keeping with Pauline theology.

I believe that it would be right and just for me to say that our catholic jurisdiction declines to become obsessed and neurotic with the concept of “pelvic theology,” nor would I or our jurisdiction attempt to infer that our ecclesiology is binding upon members of other catholic jurisdictions.  The inference of the Cardinal Archbishop for the Roman jurisdiction that all Catholics living within the boundaries of his See and metropolitan domain are subject to his dictate is ethically unacceptable.  The inference and dynamics of authority being advocated by the Cardinal Archbishop is that all Catholics, regardless of their jurisdictional membership, are subject to the dictates of the Roman jurisdiction. This is akin to China’s view of Taiwan.   It is the political view of China that there can only be ONE China and the people of Taiwan are part of China and the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago is applying this philosophy to advocate that all Catholics can only be part of the Roman jurisdiction and that there can never be any valid celebration or expression of the catholic faith outside of it.

The public statements by the Cardinal Archbishop expressing his views and the views of his jurisdiction regarding equality and human rights has become much more that his demands for universal compliance to the ecclesiology of his jurisdiction.  It has placed an unfair burden upon other catholic jurisdiction who are perceived as to sharing his view and the views of his jurisdiction. As the Evangelical Catholic Bishop for the Diocese of the Northwest I must protect my community from this.

There are many avenues of commonality that is shared by each of the catholic jurisdictions.  Sadly on the matter of human rights and equality our two jurisdictions travel different roads.  I would recommend that as the Cardinal Archbishop of Chicago continues to speak his views and the views of his jurisdiction on this subject that he clarifies that he is speaking only for himself and his jurisdiction and not for other catholic jurisdictions.

We respectfully remind all that we are not an ecclesial Taiwan.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Congratulations Father David Verhasslet - Priest for the Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest

On Saturday, August 10th, 2013, I had the honor of celebrating the Rite of Clerical Incardination of Father David Verhasselt as a priest for the Evangelical Catholic Diocese of the Northwest at Holy Name of Jesus Evangelical Catholic Church in Ashippun Wisconsin.

Together with Fathers Peter Julian McGechie and Matthew Pozen, our concelebrated Mass was attended by a near over-flow crowd of Holy Name of Jesus parishioners, guests and members of the Verhasselt Family.

The road which brought Father David to the Evangelical Catholic Church was not a easy one and throughout this journey and transition, Father David never failed to witness his personal and priestly dignity and integrity.

Holy Names of Jesus is a catholic faith community that is strong and vibrant in spirit and faith.  I know that Father David will continue to lead and mentor this parish to its fullest potential.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Saint John the Evangelist Seminary

I am pleased to be able to share with you that the Evangelical Catholic Church has assumed the pastoral stewardship for Saint John the Evangelist Seminary and is currently reorganizing and preparing to rededicate this online program for the academic formation of candidates for the priesthood on January 1st, 2014.

This commitment to the academic formation of priests has now put the Evangelical Catholic Church and myself in the position of "putting our money where our mouth are."   I have long stated that one of the elements hindering the potential success of the Autocephalous Catholic Movement has been our collective lack of academic formation.  The Evangelical Catholic Church cannot solely depend on the incardination of priests who have studied for the priesthood and come to us with a wealth of experiences.  We must also be prepared to invest in the academic formation of candidates for the priesthood who have never participated in academic formation or for candidates who had some past experience in academic formation.

Of all of the commitments which the Evangelical Catholic Church has embraced, I believe that this mission will be one of the most important areas of work we will undertake.

I invite you to visit the new website for Saint John the Evangelist Seminary at 

To Russia, With Love via (202) 298-5735

In recent weeks we have read reports regarding the anti-Gay laws recently implemented in Russia, which has caused international human rights activists to respond with a chorus of unified voices.

Russian Sports Minister Vitaly Mutko has announced that Russian anti-LGBT Propaganda Laws will be fully enforced during the Sochi Olympics in February of 2014.

According to Minister Mutko, "No one is forbidding an athlete with non-traditional sexual orientation from coming to Sochi, but if he goes onto the street and starts propagandizing it, then of course he will be held accountable."

I wonder how the Minister and Russian LEO's will define propagandizing activities?  Would walking down a street wearing a jacket with a = symbol be regarded as propagandizing?  Would a gender common couple holding hands be in violation of their laws?  Would the simple presence of any internationally known gay or lesbian sports figure constitute an act of propagandizing?  These anti-propagandizing laws simply opens the door to the Russian authorities to make massive wholesales arrests, empowered by legislation solely aimed at profiling people based on their sexual orientation.

A tremendous number of American citizens have been voicing their objections to these laws based upon their fidelity to the concept of international human rights - but it is very difficult for bullies and oppressors of human rights to hear or even acknowledge such cries for justice.

Here in the United States, I have read suggestions that emails of protest be sent to the Russian Embassy in Washington, DC.  I don't that this would work for all someone in the Embassy has to do is press their delete button and wipe out any emails they do not wish to read.

Because I am feeling a bit empowered today with the spirit of being a nuisance - let me suggest that faxes of protests be sent to the Russian Embassy.  If their fax machine is clogged up all day with faxes of protests flooding their office, they might get the message and their budget for fax machine paper might be stretched beyond their limits. 

If one wishes to send a clear message to the Russian government just send them a fax at 202.298.5735.

And if their line is busy, please call back again.