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Tuesday, March 08, 2011


Ed Peters

CO wrote: "Bishop Vasa is not only a very fine bishop, he has a wonderful sense of humor, is very intelligent and witty, is well-educated, and has a deep passion for the Gospel and the souls of those entrusted to his care..."......and......wait for it......he's .....a canon lawyer, dude.

Mark Brumley

Unfortunately, I don't have time right now to post much about this story. I would have a few points in re: to the article --maybe 9 or 10 points.

I went to the "reception" Mass on Sunday. Bishop Vasa gave a great homily.

Fernando Umberto Garcia de Nicaragua, Prefectus Minimus: The Jacksonian Institute

"Add tepid water. Stir up manufactured controversy. Serve over Sixties'-styled noodles" — but want nothing to do with the true food and drink of Catholic doctrine, practice, and faith."

A perfect description of Vatican II, along with its wretched Novus Ordo!

Diane Korzeniewski

Thanks for offering this Carl.

You mentioned this, and here, I will provide a link to the document. Bishop Vasa's "Giving Testimony to the Truth", called for anyone serving in roles like EMHC, catechist, etc., to live the faith by example. You can't so much as play a key on a piano or organ during Mass without reading and assenting to the "Affirmation of Personal Faith". It contains 40 points, all explained very well, and all in harmony with the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

It is never a guarantee that one bishop's document will remain with the diocese under the next bishop. Currently, the Diocese of Baker, where the more than 200 page "Pastoral Guidelines" document resides, has Bishop William Skylstad as Apostolic Administrator. I suggest saving the PDF file for reference.

I wish every diocese would put out a document like this. In fact, it's documents like this that the USCCB ought to be putting out. There is no ambiguity. "Giving Testimony to the Truth" begins on page 148 of the Pastoral Guidelines and was written in 2004.


I lived for a while in the Diocese of Lincoln, where Bishop Vasa is from (among a few more solidly orthodox bishops). It's no surprise that he's faithful to the Church's teaching. The priests I knew were all faithful and dynamic, their teachings attractive to large crowds. If someone honestly thinks solid doctrine is unattractive, coarse, judgmental, fundamentalist, or prone to reduce the size of the Church, they should go visit the Newman Centers at the University of Nebraska, Texas A&M, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, any college staffed with FOCUS missionaries, etc. They'd be amazed at the results for souls orthodoxy can have.


Sounds like a Bishop we need here in the Diocese - in the mold of Chaput, Burke, Bruskewicz, etc.


"...the piece is almost unrementingly negative—if not overtly, at least suggestively."

The culture is almost unremittingly negative to Christian faith--as traditionally understood--as well, so this is no surprise.

This morning I read Al Mohler's blog on the growing Evangelical watering down of the doctrine of Hell (Hans vB, call your office). His words relate to this lamented newspiece:

"...Western societies 'have reached the state of pluralization where choice is not just a state of affairs, it is a state of mind. Choice has become a value in itself, even a priority. To be modern is to be addicted to choice and change. Change becomes the very essence of life.' Personal choice becomes the urgency; what sociologist Peter Berger called the 'heretical imperative.' In such a context, theology undergoes rapid and repeated transformation driven by cultural currents. For millions of persons in the postmodern age, truth is a matter of personal choice –- not divine revelation. Clearly, we moderns do not choose for hell to exist.

This process of change is often invisible to those experiencing it and denied by those promoting it. As David F. Wells comments, 'The stream of historic orthodoxy that once watered the evangelical soul is now dammed by a worldliness that many fail to recognize as worldliness because of the cultural innocence with which it presents itself.'"

Mary Ann Button, OD

I reside within the Diocese of Baker and I believe I speak for ALL of the people in my parish when I say that Bishop Robert Vasa has been an inspiration to us all. He's challenged us. He's pushed us. He's been what a shepherd ought to be ... one who leads his flock ... not the other way around. Out of him have appeared other great leaders amongst the priests and laity. Bishop Vasa will be greatly missed and I'm not happy to see him go, but it seems that it's the Lord's Will that the leadership of this great and holy priest be spread to a larger flock. Maybe Northern California needs a spoonful of conservationism. We've LOVED having him as our Bishop. Thank you Bishop Vasa!


I HATE it when they quote "ex-nuns". They are invariably bad news!

Something that popped into my head regarding "flavours" of Catholics...doesn't Scripture says something about what happens when salt loses its flavour?

I love that Mark Brumley represents the middle ground. We're in good shape.

This is so much unlike the 'middle' to which Father Rosica wants the Catholic Church in Canada to reach, where Lifesite News is a bad guy and Fr. Raymond Gravel a good one.


It seems to me good to remember Bishop Vasa was installed as co-adjutor (assistant to Bishop Daniels by Daniels request and the Holy Fathers') of SRD not as leader; thus he will not be in charge until our present Bishop Daniels retires - which may be 2 yrs off. Also I think it very unchristian to insinuate that Bishop Daniels is NOT orthodox - something only God may judge. And like every other man who becomes a Bishop, our new co-adjutor is human and will have faults, which quickly will be discovered by some of the very ones who are now praising him. Let's keep our Christianity in sinc - every human person has different gifts of nature and grace from others, and thank God for the blessing not only of this new Bishop but also for the great service Bishop Daniels has done for the Church for so many years despite tremendous odds.

Carl E. Olson

Also I think it very unchristian to insinuate that Bishop Daniels is NOT orthodox - something only God may judge.

Where, exactly, did my post insinuate anything about Bishop Daniels? Also, you seem confused about the difference between judging the orthodoxy of statements and actions and the judging of the state of someone's soul. The latter is God's business; the former is something that can be done by a variety of people, including popes, bishops, priests, laity.

And like every other man who becomes a Bishop, our new co-adjutor is human and will have faults, which quickly will be discovered by some of the very ones who are now praising him.

What a bizarre statement. Do you think anyone here thinks Bishop Vasa is infallible or impeccable? You seem to have missed the entire point of my post.


"human person has different gifts of nature and grace from others"

Hey brother Sam, we believe both actual and sanctifying graces come from God, not pagan-mother-nature nor "others", whatever you meant by that I'm not sure.

I am a rather orthodox person in many ways. I dress rather orthodox, worship rather orthodox. You are free to notice that about me. It's a trait just like my eye color or being even-tempered. All traits that describe me, harmlessly and publicly. You are free to describe me by my obvious traits. Thus, it is not "unchristian to insinuate that Bishop Daniels is NOT orthodox", nor is it unchristian to insinuate he likes the rosary, or doesn't, or likes golf, or doesn't like cabbage.

No one is acting like Christ during the particular judgment here. The good man has not died and is not facing the four last things at our hands. We know this.

We throw about "that's unchristian!!!" way too much. It's a method of censoring others' actions, and ourselves, voluntarily. And censoring thoughts and words. Was Christ unchristian when he tore apart the temple during a nice, polite afternoon, and destroyed people's farmers market stalls and physically attacked bystanders?


Sorry, I should clarify that my last sentence should be understood to mean that I am thinking of him manhandling anyone in the area, moneychangers et al, who displeased him. I bet it was raucous!

Jeffrey Job

I'm guessing there are going to be some very unhappy Cath-vestites in the diocese! And of course they will not "suffer" in silence. Get in, sit down,strap in and hang on,it's going to be a wild ride. It would be funny if it weren't so tragic.

Dan Deeny

I'll let sam write for himself, but I didn't read anything about the previous bishop in your post, and the inclusion of the Baker, Oregon situation suggests that the same might be taking place in Santa Rosa, Calif.
I appreciate beginning the post with observations on word use. As it happens, just yesterday I read the Catholic Encyclopedia's entry on Adeodatus, St. Augustine's son. The comments on Augustine's concubine are despicably worded. She "buried" herself in a monastery to atone for her "sin." The entry indicates the unfortunate influence of John Calvin on the Catholic Church in our country. It didn't seem orthodox to me.


Or, in the frank words of Pope St. Gregory VII: "Quod Catholicus non habeatur qui non concordat Romanae ecclesiae" ("He cannot be accounted a Catholic who does not agree with the Roman Church.")

Somehow, someway - I'm working that quote into my blog masthead. Thanks for the quote!

Sandra Miesel

The old Catholic Encyclopedia is not always accurate. (It tells us that witches were burned at Salem, for example.) The best thing to read about St. Augustine is his own Confessions, his ancient Life, and the Peter Brown biography. Living in concubinage was not the same as marriage and not recognized by the Church. Both she and Augustine eventually recognized their situation as sinful. The Patristic Church was very stern about sin! Not only did Monica not try to get them to marry, she strongly disapproved of the poor woman, whose social status was unsatisfactory. Monica was negotiating a marriage for Augustine with a 12 year-old heiress in Italy. While waiting for puberty to hit, Augustine converted and gave up the idea of marrying.

Dan Deeny

Sandra Miesel,
Thank you for your response. Yes, "not the same as marriage," but then Augustine was not a Catholic, so perhaps it would not have been a sin for him and his concubine. I suspected that what we now call class prejudice may have played a role here. Did St. Monica justify her efforts as Christian? And why couldn't Augustine and his friend gotten married, become Christians, and given Adeodatus many brothers and sisters and many souls for the Church? Sounds naive, but was there Church custom that prevented this?
I read Peter Brown's biography, but I'll have to read it again. And I haven't read Confessions.


Well said Joe.
His record suggests that he could depart from the largely tolerant approach to church doctrine attributed to his predecessors.

I think I know what they meant to say but that is an odd construction. I would suggest that the media should have a much more tolerant approach to church doctrine, as well as the dissenters, et. al.

That would be much better than a tolerant approach to heresy, dissent and scandal wouldn't it?

Well, perhaps I am too fastidious.


Would that the Fresno diocese is blessed with an orthodox bishop. We have been waiting and praying for almost six months. I heard Bishop Vasa's interview on Catholic Answers, when he was still in Baker and was very impressed with his demeanor. I had the impression that he would not put up with any nonsense.

Ed Peters

Sandra wrote: "While waiting for puberty to hit, Augustine converted and gave up the idea of marrying."

Read that again, Sandra, slowly. :)

Lauri Friesen

Dan Deeny really has a bee in his bonnet about St. Augustine's actions regarding his concubine and their child. I think, Dan, that you should spend some time reflecting on such things as: how sin is a universal experience, not solely for Catholics and Christians; that St. Augustine gave over his entire self to the Lord, leaving nothing for the niceties of social life; that sinning will always leave chaos and heartbreak in its wake; that St. Augustine chose to ignore God's will for his life in the years that he was not a Catholic, begetting a child who was loved by God but was not necessarily God's plan for Augustine. In other words: the sins of Augustine were many and they messed up a lot of lives. Having his concubine was far more about his will for himself than God's will for him. And only God can make good come out of evil. You and the rest of us have no idea what God's response to the concubine and son were when St. Augustine took up his Christian life. I trust that it was loving and good.

Sandra Miesel

Ooops,I meant Augustine was waiting for puberty to hit his intended bride. Puberty had already hit him much earlier and entirely too hard.

As to whether pagans can sin, obviously they can. A sharp class difference is implicit in concubinage itself. Augustine's concubine may have been a freedwoman and may have had a Christian background for all we know. But marrying her would have been fatal to Augustine's career prospects. With only one child born early in the relationship and the concubine about 30 years old, she and Augustine were unlikely to have other children. (The calendar birth control method they'd been practicing was worse than useless so a fertility issue may be suspected.) When she left, the CONFESSIONS say, "she vowed to know no other man."


Sandra, great points. Aside from which, as a typical rogue, the pre-conversion Augustine wouldn't make an honest woman out of her because "why buy the cow when he gets the milk for free". Damage to his career was just a red herring: he really just had no respect for her since she had none for herself. Glad she saw the light.

Sandra Miesel

No, Brad, that's not how it worked in Late Antiquity. Augustine & concubine were in a longterm stable relationship something like common-law marriage but legal marriage was never a possibility in their situation.

Dan Deeny

Laura Friessen,
Thank you for your interesting response and your interesting advice. I will reflect on the ideas you mention. How do you know that "having his concubine was far more about his will for himself than God's will for him"?
Sandra Miesel,
Was an ordinary Aztec family sinning when they accepted the religion of the Aztec priests? Conscience? Natural Law? And why wasn't legal marriage possible for Augustine? What about Christianity?
Yes, this whole topic is fascinating for me.
Thank you.

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