Archives for November 2014

Touchstone-Vol. 21, No. 1.

Milwaukee Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hying appointed to be Bishop of Gary, IN

Bp_HyingPope Francis appointed Auxiliary Bishop Donald Hying of Milwaukee to be bishop of Gary IN. He succeeds Bishop Dale Melczek whose resignation was accepted due to reaching the age limit.

Bishop Hying, 51, a native of West Allis, Wis. was ordained a priest of the Archdiocese of Milwaukee in 1989.

He holds bachelor’s degrees in history, philosophy and theology from Marquette University, a master of divinity degree from St. Francis de Sales Seminary, and is currently completing his thesis for a doctor of ministry degree from St. Mary of the Lake Seminary, Mundelein, Illinois.

Prior to being ordained auxiliary bishop, Father Hying held a variety of pastoral and administrative assignments in the Milwaukee archdiocese. From 1994 to 1997 he was team member at La Sagrada Framilia Parroquia, Dominican Republic. He was dean of formation at St. Francis de Sales Seminary from 2005-2007 and rector of St. Francis De Sales from 2007-2011.

Pope Benedict XVI appointed him auxiliary bishop of Milwaukee in 2011. Bishop Hying is fluent in Spanish.

His installation is scheduled for scheduled for Jan. 6, 2015 at Holy Angels Cathedral.

For the USCCB News Release (Nov. 24, 2014), go to:

For Rocco Palmo’s Whispers in the Loggia summary (Nov. 24, 2014), click here.

For the Catholic Herald (Nov. 24, 2014) posting, click here.


Touchstone-Vol. 21, No. 2.

Until last year, there was a place on your website to order a copy of the Icon ‘Jesus The High Priest’ print that was created specifically for the “Year of the Priest” so many years ago. Is that print still available to order? This may sound crazy but its all I wanted for my 50th birthday. Now I’m kicking myself because I should have purchased it last year when I saw it on your website. I cannot locate a print anywhere.

Thanks you and best regards,

The Apocrypha: Is it scripture?
by Matt Slick
The Apocrypha consists of a set of books written between approximately 400 B.C. and the time of Christ. The word “apocrypha” (απόκρυφα) means “Hidden.” These books consist of 1 and 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, the Rest of Esther, the Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, (also titled Ecclesiasticus), Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Song of the Three Young Men, Susanna, Bel and the Dragon, The Additions to Daniel, The Prayer of Manasseh, and 1 and 2 Maccabees.
The Protestant Church rejects the apocrypha as being inspired, as do the Jews; but in 1546 the Roman Catholic Church officially declared some of the apocryphal books to belong to the canon of scripture. These are Tobit, Judith, 1 and 2 Maccabees, Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach (also known as Ecclesiasticus), and Baruch. The apocryphal books are written in Greek–not Hebrew (except for Ecclesiasticus, 1 Maccabees, a part of Judith, and Tobit) and contain some useful historical information.
Is the Apocrypha Scripture? Protestants deny its inspiration, but the Roman Catholic Church affirms it. In order to ascertain whether it is or isn’t, we need to look within its pages.
Not quoted in the New Testament
First of all, neither Jesus nor the apostles ever quoted from the Apocrypha. There are over 260 quotations of the Old Testament in the New Testament and not one of them is from these books. Nevertheless, a Roman Catholic might respond by saying that there are several Old Testament books that are not quoted in the New Testament, i.e., Joshua, Judges, Esther, etc. Does this mean that they aren’t inspired either? But, these books had already been accepted into the canon by the Jews–where the Apocrypha had not. The Jews recognized the Old Testament canon, and they did not include the Apocrypha in it. This is significant because of what Paul says:
“Then what advantage has the Jew? Or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 Great in every respect. First of all, that they were entrusted with the oracles of God.” (Rom. 3:1-2).
Paul tells us that the Jews were entrusted with the oracles of God. This means that they are the ones who understood what inspired Scriptures were, and they never accepted the Apocrypha.
Jesus’ references the Old Testament: from Abel to Zechariah
Jesus referenced the Jewish Old Testament canon from the beginning to the end and did not include the Apocrypha in his reference. “From the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the house of God; yes, I tell you, it shall be charged against this generation.” (Luke 11:51).
“The traditional Jewish canon was divided into three sections (Law, Prophets, Writings), and an unusual feature of the last section was the listing of Chronicles out of historical order–placing it after Ezra-Nehemiah and making it the last book of the canon. In light of this, the words of Jesus in Luke 11:50-51 reflect the settled character of the Jewish canon (with its peculiar order) already in his day. Christ uses the expression “from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah,” which appears troublesome since Zechariah was not chronologically the last martyr mentioned in the Bible (cf. Jer. 26:20-23). However, Zechariah is the last martyr of which we read in the Old Testament according to Jewish canonical order (cf. II Chron. 24:20-22), which was apparently recognized by Jesus and his hearers.”1
This means that the same Old Testament canon, according to the Jewish tradition, is arranged differently than how we have it in the Protestant Bible today. This was the arrangement to which Jesus was referring when he referenced Abel and Zechariah, the first and last people to have their blood shed–as listed in the Old Testament Jewish canon. Obviously, Jesus knew of the Apocrypha and was not including it in his reference.
Jesus references the Old Testament: The Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms
Catholics sometimes respond by saying that the Old Testament is referred to in three parts: the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. It is these writings that are sometimes said to include the Apocrypha. But this designation is not found in the Bible. On the contrary, Jesus referenced the Old Testament and designated its three parts as the Law, the Prophets, and the Psalms–not as the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings.
“Now He said to them, “These are My words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things which are written about Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” (Luke 24:44).
So we see that the designation offered by the Roman Catholics is not the same designation found in the Bible, and their argument is invalid–as their argument is incorrect. Nevertheless, even if it did say “writings,” it would not include the Apocrypha for the above-mentioned reasons.
Church Fathers
Did the Church fathers recognized the Apocrypha as being Scripture? Roman Catholics strongly appeal to Church history, but we don’t find a unanimous consensus on the Apocrypha. Jerome (340-420), who translated the Latin Vulgate which is used by the RC church, rejected the Apocrypha since he believed that the Jews recognized and established the proper canon of the Old Testament. Remember, the Christian Church built upon that recognition. Also, Josephus the famous Jewish historian of the First Century never mentioned the Apocrypha as being part of the canon either. In addition, “Early church fathers like Origen, Cyril of Jerusalem, Athanasius, and the great Roman Catholic translator Jerome spoke out against the Apocrypha.”2 So, we should not conclude that the Church fathers unanimously affirmed the Apocrypha. They didn’t.

NFPC This Week, #591 – 11/16-11/22/2014

Of Note This Week – 

Editor’s Note –
Always, but especially at this time of the year, we expressThanks_2014 gratitude to our subscribers, readers and all members of affiliated and unaffiliated Councils. You are the reason why NFPC exists and we thank you for your support.

Our office will be closed Thursday and Friday, Nov. 27 and 28. The next issue of NFPC This Week will be published the weekend of Dec. 6.

A Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving!

Council Notes from Louisville

Members of the Louisville Council began their October meeting with an extensive discussion of funeral practices in light of the New Evangelization. One member expressed a sense that a funeral home was in competition rather than cooperation with the Church. Minutes note dismay that more adult children are choosing not to have a Funeral Mass for deceased parents even though the parents went to daily Mass. Another concern was a trend in not scheduling a committal service after a cremation.

  •  Various suggestions were discussed on catechizing parishioners perhaps by using a homily for All Souls Day as an occasion to explain Catholic teachings, or suggest parishioners share wishes with families.
  •  Other suggestions involved the possibility of having a diocesan meeting and developing a document on Catholic funeral practices.
  •  Meeting with funeral directors to discuss issues.
  •  Offering a parish level meeting to discuss funeral planning and the components of the Catholic funeral service.
  •  Minutes note in light of New Evangelization efforts, being supportive and accompanying families at the time of death can be a way to invite inactive Catholics back to the church.
  •  Father Joseph Rankin was introduced as the Vicar for Hispanic Ministry. He will work in cooperation with the Office for Multicultural Ministry. Minutes note how the Latino population has increased in the archdiocese.
  •  Archbishop Kurtz talked about his participation at the Extraordinary Synod on the Family. He announced that he wrote an article for the newly revived Human Development magazine.
  •  The Chancellor announced that Archbishop received the St. Luke Award from St. Luke Institute. The award, given on Oct. 20, recognized Archbishop Kurtz for his commitment to the well-being of priests and religious throughout his priesthood and episcopal ministry [see:].
  •  In addition, the Chancellor reported that he met with Parish Council chairpersons, gave an accountability report on the Catholic Services Appeal, and explained that the archdiocese will be sending a delegation to next September’s World Meeting of Families in Philadelphia.
  •  The Vicar for Priests announced appointment of three new members to the Priest Personnel Board; Fathers John Burke, Matthew Hardesty, and Troy Overton.
  • Minutes from the Region 3 meeting revolved around then topic of vocations and sustaining seminarians. One member expressed a concern about the possibility of insufficient funds to maintain a joint parish cemetery.
  • The Southern Kentucky Missions Region discussed the article “A Catholic Approach to Climate Change.” A meeting to discuss “Pipelines, Fracking and Kentucky’s Future Beyond Fossil Fuels” was scheduled for Nov. 8. The USCCB’s Faithful Citizenship document was also discussed.

The connection between good liturgy and pastoral ministry


Msgr. Francis Mannion. Internet stock image.

Monsignor Francis Mannion, a priest of the Diocese of Salt Lake City and founder of the Mundelein Liturgical Institute at the University of St. Mary of the Lake, contends that “good” liturgy cannot be found completely in the liturgy itself. Upgrading the music, homily, or better-trained liturgical ministers won’t necessarily make liturgy more effective.

He cites Vatican II’s Constitution on Sacred Liturgy [Sacrosanctum Concilium] where it states, “The sacred liturgy does not exhaust the entire activity of the Church. Before men can come to the liturgy, they must be called to faith and to conversion” (no. 9). Msgr. Mannion added that liturgy and the Christian life live in a mutually productive and enriching relationship.

He points to three important implications to make a case for his position. For Msgr. Mannion’s essay, “The key to ‘good’ liturgy is good pastoral ministry,” from the Catholic News Agency (Nov. 13, 2014) web site, click here.


Priests’ Retirement to be a priority of Knoxville diocese’s capital campaign

E_TennesseeThe overarching theme of the just-launched Diocese of Knoxville capital campaign is “Home – Where We Worship, Teach & Serve.” A feature story in the September issue of the East Tennessee Catholic Magazine explains that the recently announced campaign will have five priorities:

  • Support the needs of parish initiatives and priorities;
  • Establish the Pope Francis Charitable Trust Fund;
  • Bolster funding for religious education and tuition assistance;
  • Priest Retirement, and
  • Support the construction of a new cathedral.

The Home campaign goal is to raise $25 million.

Fifty percent of the dollars raised are earmarked for parish priorities and eight percent for Priest Retirement. According to the feature story, the current Priest Retirement fund is currently underfunded by about $2 million. This is because of the downturn in the economy and growth in the number of diocesan priests. The diocese currently provides health care for 16 retired priests. The average age of priests in the Knoxville diocese is 54.

Vatican removes ban on ministry for Eastern Rite married priests outside their jurisdictions

The Vatican’s congregation that handles Eastern Rite Catholics has made a decision to allow married priests to carry out pastoral ministry outside geographic areas where they traditionally minister, mainly in the Middle East and Europe.

According to a report by the Catholic News Service posted on the Catholic Register (Nov. 17, 2014) web site, the prefect for the Congregation for the Oriental Churches, Cardinal Leonardo Sandri signed a decree titled Pontificia Praecepta de clero Uxorato Orientali, on June 14, that gives married clergy from Eastern Churches in communion with Rome, approval to “allow pastoral service of Eastern married clergy” and “to ordain Eastern married candidates” in their eparchies or dioceses, although they must inform the local Latin-rite bishop in writing “in order to have his opinion and any relevant information.”

According to, Vatican Insider, the Internet service of the Italian journal La Stampa, “little is going to change in Italy and other countries where there are not yet any areas of jurisdiction for Eastern rite immigrants as there are in the US, Britain and France. Only the Holy See will have the power to allow married clergy to serve within its boundaries, only in specific and exceptional cases, after it has conferred with the relevant Bishops’ Conferences.”

The Insider report notes that the move is an important sign, “as it is a step toward guaranteeing spiritual support to immigrants belonging to Eastern rite Churches who often switch to the Orthodox Church because of the lack of clergy from their own Churches in the countries they go to live in.”

For the entire Catholic Register report, click here.

For the Vatican Insider report, click here.