Formerly the Thinking Catholic Strategic Center
Vic Biorseth, https://www.catholicamericanthinker.com
In 1999 and 2000 I went through the entire Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP (Lay Pastoral Ministry Program,) passing all courses and receiving all A's except for one B and one C. The details of that journey will be laid out in other pages within the Catholic American Thinker website. This program was the pre-requisite program for entry into the Deaconate program in the Archdiocese of Cincinnati. The Parish Council of my church, which can be seen at Holy Cross (Lithuanian) Catholic Church in Old North Dayton, Ohio, offered to pay for my fees, books and expenses, but I turned the offer down as I was making pretty good money and didn't want to take the money and potentially "let them down" if things didn't work out. As it turned out, I'm glad I made that decision.
The whole program was an exercise in futility. My sole purpose for entering the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program was to eventually be ordained a Deacon and help out at Holy Cross. In other, more orthodox dioceses, I would have just immediately gone into the Deacon Formation program, and if I met all the requirements of the program I would have been ordained. But the particular Church of Cincinnati had this LPMP program established as a "doorkeeper" program in place to effectively filter out those of us who were too orthodox in our Catholicism. "Rigid" is the popular buzz word among those who are more heterodox in their Catholicism, and who want to see looser moral rules, sloppier doctrine and more modern and catchy liturgy.
The very first day - the opening day of the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program - was such an obvious eye opener that I'm still kicking myself for not just dropping the whole project that very day. It became THAT OBVIOUS that the whole program was geared toward an extraordinarily Liberal Feminist agenda whose goal was nothing less than a complete redefinition of "Church." (Notice I left out the word Catholic.)
We had all been notified that we were to obtain and read at least the first 14 chapters of "The Church Emerging From Vatican II: A Popular Approach to Contemporary Catholicism" by Dennis M. Doyle; Twenty Third Publications. The author, Dennis Doyle, was to be the keynote speaker and would answer questions.
I managed to read the whole book in time, but only with extensive use of a highlighter and side notes, because virtually everything in it was highly questionable, from a Roman Catholic perspective. The gist of the thing was a major push for female ordination. And, not surprisingly, so were the author's remarks. One of which was that there was "no such thing as a cafeteria Catholic," the term used by conservative Catholics to describe those who pick-and-choose among the Catholic teachings, including even elements of the Creed, that they will hold and live by.
So, the opening day of the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, when Mr. Doyle finished his remarks and asked for questions, I asked him one related to contraception. In that publicized polls openly available showed that something like half the Catholics in America practice artificial contraception, defined in Catholicism as a mortal sin, and yet they still came to Communion, and given that thousands of priests apparently had no real problem with that, and further given that there were plenty of bishops who were taking no action at all on this highly publicized situation, how then could Mr. Doyle claim that there was no such thing as cafeteria Catholicism in America?
The answer took a long time, and a whole lot of words. Mr. Doyle had studied this particular matter very hard; he had studied it and prayed about it, and consulted priests and spiritual directors, and confessors, and theologians, and prayed some more, and - finally - he had come to the "decision" that, for him, personally, regular use of artificial contraception was not a mortal sin. See?
This was an absolute confession to being a cafeteria Catholic, the very thing he denied existed. I didn't press the issue; later I would wish that I had pressed it. It seemed to me at that point to be the place where an attorney would "rest his case" the whole point having been proved beyond a reasonable doubt. But later discussions with classmates revealed that many of them, perhaps most, for all I know, agreed with Mr. Doyle's position, and STILL didn't "believe" in cafeteria Catholicism. ??? I was to continuously encounter cafeteria Catholicism among the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP students as well as among the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP faculty.
Thus I began the journey through the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program. There was a Liturgy of the Word session in the Athenaeum Chapel. This was the Chapel of Archbishop Pilarczyk; the Athenaeum was also his residence, we were given to understand. We would see him and perhaps be seated with him in the cafeteria. The Blessed Sacrament was not present in the Chapel; I asked where He was and was told He was way "over there" out of the way behind some screens.
This "liturgy" was interesting. Sr. Nancy, who would turn out to be the chief doorkeeper (meaning filter of the orthodox) for the Archbishop's Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, did the Gospel reading, although there were deacons and priests present. Another lady handled the incense. Then, this other lady gave us a highly animated, artistic, dramatic "homily" of sorts. There were all sorts of changes in facial expression and voice inflection that had to be seen; this was a "performance" in the true sense of the word. I would learn that a major theme in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course work would involve what I call showmanship aspects of ministry. Meaning, making eye contact with the congregation, and speaking with enthusiasm while performing the function of the Lector during the Mass. The whole thing seemed more appropriate to Hollywood or a stage than to any Catholic holy space.
Other pages on this topic will address specific courses of study within the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program; here I will just make a few broad-brush remarks on the whole thing. If there was one single overarching factor that contributed the most to the error taught in the Archbishop’s name and by his authority in his Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, I would say that it was the absolute embracing of the Scripture study method known as the Historical-Critical method. This "interpretation" would infect to some degree nearly every course in the program.
Historical criticism is the art - not science - that seeks to separate truth from falsehood concerning "facts" from the past. Applied to Scripture, it studies the written texts themselves, using negative argument, conjecture and a priori argument. The practitioner assumes the role of the "objective" expert examiner, which is to say the examination must not be made from a position of belief or unbelief in the material being examined. Which immediately poses a problem for someone using the method to study material that contains miracles. Such as, the Resurrection. Nevertheless, this is the method of Scripture study that was heavily emphasized throughout the coursework in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program.
I submit that many of the scholars using the historical critical method suffered from the error of the Modernist Heresy regarding the over-emphasis of natural science over theological science. Indeed, in the thoroughly Modernist view, natural science is the only science there is; everything else is something other than science. And so we see scholars seeking purely worldly and material explanations for the ephemeral, and not even recognizing what they are doing. The foregone conclusion must be that whatever miracle is to be studied cannot have happened, because material evidence for it may not be obtained. Which largely explains why it seems that those favoring the historical-critical method seem to have never met a miracle they couldn't call into question.
The fact that I didn't buy into the method right up front should have foretold problems for me in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP classes. Bottom line, all Scripture analysis is, in the end, editorial criticism, pure and simple, done on work that is thousands of years old. Editorial criticism is purely and exclusively subjective; there is and can be nothing whatsoever objective about it. It is the writing of someone being analyzed by the mind of someone else. If a modern newspaper can have multiple wildly differing criticisms of the same current book in the same issue, why would any ancient writing not be subject to the same wild variety of possible interpretation?
This pseudo-scientific approach to Scripture analysis was also coupled with a Leftist-liberal approach to culture in general and the Church in particular, and this was discernable in most Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP classes and class material. As it is in American Catholicism in general. A good example is my favorite commentary, The New Jerome Biblical Commentary, a publication with which I have a long running love-hate relationship. I love the historical and cultural insights it gives me regarding a particular Scriptural place and time; I hate the unfeeling coldness, total lack of devotion and pseudo-scientism of the scholarly authors, trying so hard to be so naturalistic and "empirical" while explaining the purely unnatural and unempirical.
Their liberalism shines through on page 1169. There they misinterpret a quote from the Vatican II document Dei Verbum regarding the inerrancy of Scripture. Dei Verbum tells us that the books of Scripture must be acknowledged as teaching, firmly, faithfully and without error; the Commentary then italicizes the following phrase to give it special emphasis the authors did not intend: "that truth which God wanted put into the sacred writings for the sake of our salvation." They failed to note the Dei Verbum footnotes attached to this instruction pointing back to the same solemn definition in Vatican I. The false implication is that there is a break here with the past, and that now Liberals are free to pick and choose among Scripture what they think God intended for our salvation. Sound like movement toward the Protestant dogma of Sola Scriptura?
Now, this particular Catholic Commentary is a firm, trusted Catholic resource that a whole lot of us depend on; you can see that the problems we're talking about are not unique to the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, but to the larger American infection that contributes if not causes many of those problems. The Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program only made me more acutely aware of the broader problem in America.
To show the extent of what we're talking about here, consider Canon 1024 which states that only a baptized male validly receives sacred ordination. That is crystal clear; it is firmly established infallibly by the Church, and is a teaching that is to be definitively held. However, when you go to page 723 of the "Code of Canon Law: A Text And Commentary" you find in the "commentary" regarding it remarks implying the sexism of the Church and providing encouragement for those working for "equal rights" to not limit their efforts to raise the consciousness of the people on this "fundamental and sensitive issue."
Gimme a break.
Will the real Catholic resource please stand up?
Where the hell are the American bishops? Or are they the ones who wrote this stuff?
But the worst of it is in what they did to the Word, in the sacred liturgy, and in the New American version, through the use of "dynamic equivalence" and feminizing of the language.
St. Jerome, I think we will all agree, did an outstanding job on the original Vulgate, using whatever sources he had at his disposal around 400 AD. Why these new guys think they can do better with the "oldest extant" copies - none of which are older than what Jerome used - to make any new version is beyond me. They imagine themselves superior to Jerome.
Consider Luke 1:28, the angel's greeting to the Blessed Virgin: "Hail, full of grace, . . . " There is a whole theology built up over the centuries around that rather unique Scriptural greeting. And what do the new experts give us? "Hail favored daughter." What the hell is that? If these "scholars" were to be true to their claimed craft then they should have been translating rather than interpreting. That is a flat out subjective interpretation that cannot be construed as a direct translation.
There are many, many other examples, many of them pointed out in multiple issues of my favorite periodical, First Things, that are equally egregious. Perhaps the worst is the interpretations that loose the connection between the opening words of Genesis and the opening words of John. These new "scholars" pay no attention whatsoever to what has been before, they just plunge ahead in their pseudo-sophisticated certainty of being right, or maybe right-on, or up-to-date.
Pseudo-scientific historical-critical methodology was hyped throughout the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course work, and the inferior translations infected almost every class to some degree.
The so-called historical critical method is only a useful tool for atheists and unbelievers. It requires the practitioner to put his faith aside, and that is something that is against our Catholic religion for us to do. Holy Scripture was written in cooperation with the Holy Spirit and it must be read in cooperation with the Holy Spirit. Anyone who merely "reads" it on his own can never rise above the level of being an amateur Scripture scholar and will never get out of it what the Holy Spirit put into it. To these new scholars, there's nothing holy about it; it's just another book. These scholars are only recognized as professional among the unbelievers; among the real Christian Scripture scholars, they are rank amateurs. They ape and mimic their heroes among all of TTRSTF4 in the hope of being accepted into SOME group of fellow scholars in which they might be recognized as professionals.
And, of course, they are recognized as highly professional in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, as they are among the majority of America's Catholic bishops.
You can see this is a broader topic than the program of the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program.
Nevertheless, I shall concentrate in future pages on the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP process because, having been through it, I have all the course material and all the "debate" material from so many confrontations with various faculty members that they turn out to be the best target, representative as they are of the larger American problems. The Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP teaches error. To say that a majority of it is heterodox teaching is not a stretch; there are parts of it that are borderline heresy.
At the completion of my studies at the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, although I seem to have won all the debates with all the professors, I lost the war; I was not invited into the Deaconate program. Protests to the good Archbishop hit a dead end with me when one of his responses indicated there was nothing particularly "heterodox" about official teaching material in a Catholic Christology class that called into question the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. That sealed it for me.
It showed me the true goal of the Archbishop of Cincinnati and his Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP institution. Some of the other fellow orthodox "rejects" from the program informed me that they had later been accepted into Deacon formation after pleading and re-pleading their case. But by that time I had determined that I would not so much as learn what this man had to teach, let alone pass it on and teach it to others. I cannot participate in so great a sin. Nor can I take an oath of obedience to a heterodox bishop who knowingly allows error to be taught in his name.
And the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program is the responsibility of Archbishop Daniel Pilarczyk, and him alone. It's his baby. And I can state categorically that proper catechesis in the Particular Church of Cincinnati is solely his responsibility.
He can claim that he personally never taught any of the error that I will lay out in the Catholic American Thinker. And perhaps he never did.
But all the erroneous Catholicism that I was taught in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program was taught in HIS name, by HIS authority, by HIS faculty, at HIS Catholic teaching institution, where he lived and took his meals.
And he can't claim that he didn't know about it, because I told him about it, and I really can't believe I'm the only one.
Lots more coming; stay tuned.
Many others have encountered elsewhere in America the same problems I encountered in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP, but few have been very public about their experiences.
An excellent related work covering the whole problem in America is the following book, which I cannot recommend highly enough. It declares, with heavy evidence, That America's priest shortage is "artificial and contrived."
Goodbye, Good Men! How Catholic Seminaries Turned Way Two Generations of Vocations from the Priesthood; Michael S. Rose; Aquinas Publications.
I believe that this book shows, in a very conservative way, the tip of an iceberg: just a very small part of a new counter-magisterium; a cabal of dissident bishops seeking to change the very nature of the Church. Like today's political Leftists, who seek to transform our Constitution into a "living, organic" guideline and thus open to infinitely broad interpretation, rather than a solidly fixed legal document that says very specific legal things, and that says nothing whatsoever regarding anything that is not specifically in it, these bishops seek to make Revelation itself infinitely modifiable.
This is something that needs to be pointed out and illuminated by somebody, and it needs to be opposed by everybody.
Sarcastic Acronym Hover-Link Footnotes: For the convenience of those readers using devices that lack a mouse, these footnotes are provided for all webpages, in case any webpage contains any hover-links. (If you don't have a mouse, you can't "hover" it over a link without clicking just to see the simple acronym interpretation. Click any footnote link to see the gory details.)SLIMC1 Secularist Liberal Intellectual Media Complex
The Brilliantly Conceived Organization of the USA; Vic Biorseth
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Respond to This Article Below The Last Comment
Date: Tue Feb 24 17:08:06 2009
From: Michael Rizzio
Location: Robstown, TX, USA
You are so right about this post-modern world that I cringe at where it is all heading. There appears to be no precedent for what is developing, and history cannot be a guide for a trend that suffers from selective amnesia.
My main concern is the lack of solidarity that exists in the remnant. We need to know who to lock arms with and far too little is being done to see that leaders are visible and that their message is broadcast far and wide.
As a former infantry officer I see the strategic side of this battle for hearts and minds as next to lost. We only have hope in the 1-25 year old demographic and that hope will fade too if they fail to see courageous witness of true Catholicism and true martyrdom.
I wish there was a draft call and a place where we could sign up for this all important final battle. Where is Spartacus?
Date: Tue Feb 24 18:20:26 2009
From: Vic Biorseth
Good question. My hope is in the 1-25 year old demographic you mentioned. Each time I begin to feel that all is lost, another of the youngsters at Church gets my attention in some really positive way. I really don’t believe that they are as liberal as most of their teachers and most of their surrounding cultural environment would have them be. Many are bucking the trend, and they give me hope.
Perhaps a Spartacus will arise from among them. Perhaps Sarah Palin may turn out to be our non-Catholic and female Spartacus in the political arena.
The first battle must be fought with our rosaries rather than our guns. Join or start a prayer group is the best advice I can give at the moment.
Never give up, and never yield on what is right and true.
Date: Wed Sep 30 11:05:26 2009
From: Catherine Garrigan
My husband was just "released" from our diocesan diaconate program....why? Too rigid. He had just completed his third year.
Your words resonate.
Date: Wed Sep 30 18:39:58 2009
From: Vic Biorseth
Welcome to the club.
Friday, October 05, 2012
As part of the ongoing effort to upgrade this whole website, upgraded this webpage to the new BB 2.0 - SBI! 3.0 release and to make use of the new reusable code features.
An earlier phase of this major conversion corrupted or adversely affected some fonts, alignments, quotes and tables in the previously published webpages. Not to worry; this phase is converting them all, one by one. Eventually, every webpage on this site will have the same look and feel as this one.
LOVE this new release!
Date: Thu Jul 24 2014
From: Vic Biorseth
Changes pursuant to changing the website URL
and name from
Thinking Catholic Strategic Center to
Catholic American Thinker.
Pulled the trigger on the 301 MOVE IT option June 1, 2014. Working my way through all the webpages. .
Never be lukewarm.
Life itself demands passion.
He who is indifferent to God has already forfeited his soul.
He who is indifferent to politics has already forfeited his liberty.
In America, religion is not mere window dressing and citizenship is not a spectator sport.
Do not allow our common destiny as a whole people to just happen without your input.
Seek the Truth; find the Way; live the Life; please God, and live forever.
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Enter ye in at the narrow gate: for wide is the gate, and
broad is the way that leadeth to destruction, and many there are who go in
thereat. How narrow is the gate, and strait is the way that leadeth to life:
and few there are that find it! Beware of false prophets, who come to you in
the clothing of sheep, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.
Jesus Christ; Matt 7:13-15
The Purpose of this grouping of links is to organize all site Cafeteria Catholic webpages in one place for easier reference.
LPMP Cafeteria Catholic Pages.
In the Cincinnati Archdiocese, the Athenaeum Of Ohio's LPMP (Lay Pastoral Ministry Program) consistently taught a do-it-yourself - let-your-conscience-be-your-guide Catholicism to future Lay Catholic Pastoral Ministers. Just think about that term for a moment. What have laymen to do with Pastoral Ministry in the Catholic Church? This was an Alinsky-Lite program of evil disinformation aimed at weakening Church authority and loosening Church doctrine in the minds of Catholic laymen.
Do our Catholic bishops promote and teach Roman Catholicism, or something less?
Cafeteria Catholicism, i.e., Pick-And-Choose Catholicism, is rampant in America, thanks to many American Catholic bishops.
(Cafeteria Catholicism 101)
My "Education" at the Athenaeum Of Ohio LPMP (Lay Pastoral Minstry Program).
The Athenaeum Of Ohio LPMP program was the required pre-requisite for entry into the Deaconate program in Archbishop Daniel E. Pylarczyk's Cincinnati Archdiocese.
(Cafeteria Catholic 1)
The hidden dissident agenda in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP teaching.
The overriding dissident agenda of Liberal Catholicism appeared sometimes mostly in teaching material, sometimes in teachers themselves, sometimes in both.
(Cafeteria Catholic 2)
A better name for the LPMP's Formation for Discipleship class: Catholic Dissent.
The Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course called Formation for Discipleship was one big long exercise in Catholic dissent, pure and simple.
(Cafeteria Catholic 3)
Moral Theology, Cincinnati Archdiocese style: This ain't your daddy's religion. Christian Ethics is the title of the course in the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP course on Catholic Moral Theology.
(Cafeteria Catholic 4)
Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP Christology Course: NOT about the Christ Who Rose Again.
This theoretically Catholic Christology course teaches about a Christ Who didn't know who he was, didn't necessarily rise again after death, but Who "teaches us valuable lessons" nonetheless.
(Cafeteria Catholic 5)
Athenaeum courses consistently taught that the early Church condoned slavery.
This teaching is clearly false. Yet the Athenaeum of Ohio LPMP program, in multiple courses, officially taught that the Church "changed" its teaching on slavery.
The "Enlightened" birthing of Historical-Critical Scripture analysis.
Historical Criticism of the most paranormal literature ever produced calls into question the "enlightenment" of the enlightened.
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