Randy Engel
"The Sirico Brief" makes news again - controversial priest to address Catholic men's conference (Part II)
The transformation of Father Robert Sirico -- from "gay" activist to Paulist priest to libertarian entrepreneur extraordinaire
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By Randy Engel
April 13, 2012

Sirico's Conversion to Libertarianism

The year 1977 was a pivotal one in Robert Sirico's life. As he tells it, an unnamed friend introduced him to the world of Libertarianism. Once again, Sirico underwent another of his startling "conversions," this time from the radical pro-Communist politics of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden to the non-Christian Libertarian economics and politics of Ludwig von Mises, Friedrich Hayek, and Murray Rothbard. [1] His new philosophy now centered upon the Libertarian tenets of freedom of thought, freedom of conscience and freedom of trade.

All this, while remaining true to his overriding passion — "gay" rights. As a matter of fact, in addition to his continuing duties with the Universal Fellowship of Metropolitan Community Churches (UFMCC), Sirico became the spokesman for the newly created Libertarians for Gay Rights. [2]

In 1974, the Libertarian Party platform had called for the repeal of laws against voluntary homosexual and heterosexual behavior. It also endorsed the right of same-sex partners to marry, and the belief that adults have the right to private choice in consensual sexual activity. The Party took a stand opposed to any government attempt to dictate, prohibit, control, or encourage any private lifestyle, living arrangement or contractual relationship.

On September 26, 1977, the Los Angeles Times featured an article, "Libertarians Will Mount 1978 Gubernatorial Campaign" by Times political writer Bud Lembke, who interviewed Sirico on the Libertarian agenda.

Sirico listed five areas where Libertarians and "liberals" were in agreement: the deregulation of drug manufacture, possession and use; the decriminalization of prostitution and pornography; extending rights to homosexuals; and allowing mental patients to be free if they didn't break any law. Sirico emphasized that Libertarians have views that some things, such as sadomasochism, are morally wrong, but they don't believe government should censor them.

While in Los Angeles, before his relocation to the "gay" and Libertarian mecca of San Francisco, Sirico had returned to school. In 1978, he received an Associates Arts (A.A.) from Los Angeles City College, and in 1982 a Bachelor of Arts (B.A.) degree in English from the University of Southern California. In 1982, he attended the University of London for a semester as an exchange student. It is interesting to note that Sirico holds no advance degree in economics. In 2005, the Acton Institute's biographical page on Sirico stated that his USC degree was in economics, but the statement was later withdrawn.

Sirico Enters the Paulist Novitiate

Somewhere along the road to Libertarianism, Sirico claims he rediscovered his Catholic roots. There are several different versions of Sirico's conversion story making the rounds.

One version is that Sirico became friendly with Father John Harvey, the founder of Courage, and that this relationship reignited his interest in the priesthood. He says that Fr. Harvey encouraged his vocation and supported him in his decision to enter the seminary. This version is open to question as the late Father Harvey was on public record as opposing the entrance of any inveterate homosexual, that is, any male who is "well documented" as openly gay, to the Catholic priesthood. Fr. Harvey had no memory of Father Sirico.

In another version given by Sirico in an interview with Zenit on April 19, 2005, Sirico says that it was the authenticity of the life of Pope John Paul II that drew him back to the Church. He said he began to undergo a deep interior conversion, went to confession and his vocation of becoming a priest, a vocation he sensed as a child, was reborn. Reborn and short-lived the Paulist Fathers might later add.

In 1982, shortly after he had returned to the East Coast, Sirico applied to and was accepted as a postulant to the Paulist novitiate, and later began his studies at the Paulist House of Studies in Washington, D.C.

His acceptance by the Paulist Fathers as a candidate for the Catholic priesthood and religious life, and his subsequent ordination as Paulist priest is one of the essential points of inquiry in my "Open Letter" of February 7, 2007, to Franc Cardinal Rodé, then, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life in Rome. [3]

The Missionary Society of St. Paul the Apostle, popularly known as the Paulist Fathers is not a religious order, but a society of apostolic life, which has as its specific apostolic work the conversion of non-Catholics. The society was founded in New York in 1858 by Father Isaac Hecker, a convert to Catholicism, a former Redemptorist missionary, and the "grandfather" of contemporary Catholic "Pentecostalism." [4] Given Sirico's background as a Pentecostal Charismatic minister, it was easy to see why he was drawn to the Paulists.

Also, Paulists, like Oratorians, do not take formal vows like religious order priests such as the Jesuits or Benedictines, although some members assume the evangelical counsels by some bond (vow, oath, promise) as defined in their Constitution. The informal and loose structure of the Paulists may also have been a factor in Sirico's selection of the society.

Under the Paulist system, a candidate for Holy Orders serves one year as a postulant, two years as a seminarian, one year of internship, two more years as a seminarian, one year as a deacon, and is then ordained — a total of seven years.

Paulists Ignore Vatican Ban on Homosexuals

By 1982, the Paulists, like many religious orders and societies in the United States, had been heavily colonized by homosexual clerics and seminarians. That Sirico was an apostate and self-described "gay" man and a notorious "gay" activist, did not appear to be a stumbling block to his acceptance as a candidate for Holy Orders by the Paulists, but it should have been.

The fact is that at the time that Sirico applied for entry to the Paulists, up until his ordination seven years later in 1989, and for many years later, there was an absolute ban by the Vatican of known homosexuals from consideration as candidates to the priesthood or religious life.

This ban on homosexuals is found in the Instruction, Religiosorum institutio on the "Careful Selection And Training Of Candidates For The States Of Perfection And Sacred Orders," published by the Sacred Congregation for Religious in the Holy Office and approved by Pope John XXIII on February 2, 1961. While the Instruction was privately communicated worldwide to the superiors of Religious Communities, Societies without vows and Secular Institutes, the Congregation indicated that its contents were "a matter of public law." [5]

As the title suggests, the principle subject of the discourse is the proper vetting and training of candidates for Sacred Orders. The 1961 Instruction firmly acknowledges that chastity is the heart of religious life and the priesthood. Any candidate unable to observe ecclesiastical celibacy and practice priestly chastity, no matter what other "outstanding qualities" he possesses, is to be barred from the religious life and the priesthood. [6] Unchaste practices include a person habituated to the solitary sin, a vice to which all homosexuals are addicted. The directive further states that:
    Advancement to religious vows and ordination should be barred to those who are afflicted with evil tendencies to homosexuality or pederasty, since for them the common life and priestly ministry would constitute serious dangers. [7]
It is unclear to this day if Sirico's religious superiors requested and/or obtained the required dispensations from Rome in connection with the various canonical impediments and irregularities connected with Sirico's past life as a notorious apostate and homosexual activist.

Sirico Completes his Training and is Ordained

Following the completion of his postulancy in 1963, Sirico continued on with his seminary scholastic training at Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington, D.C. While attending classes at CUA, Sirico developed a friendship Kris Alan Mauren, a student of economics at Johns Hopkins University and the future co-founder of the Acton Institute. The two men discovered they shared common ground on religion and economics. One version of their initial meeting is that they met at a Bible study. The other version is that met at a Republican/Democratic student seminar.

It was in the spring of 1984, Sirico had an unfortunate run-in with his nemesis Rev. Ralph Johnson. Sirico was attending the Northwest Bible Conference at the Glen Acres Church in Seattle, Washington. He was unaware, however, that Johnson was the pastor of Glen Acres. When Johnson spotted Sirico in clerical garb, he went to his office, pulled out his file on Sirico and confronted him publicly with the information. The incident caused quite a stir. Johnson later recalled to this writer that Sirico said something like he knew this would happen one day. After this incident, it would not be until March 26, 2002, that Pastor Johnson would again recall Sirico's past. On this date, Johnson received a query from a reporter from Maryland concerning Sirico's homosexual background. The reporter questioned Johnson on Sirico's early involvement with young men, possibly minors. Johnson sent the reporter a copy of his file on Sirico which included information on the House of Joshua where Sirico resided after his discharge from the Navy.

In 1985, Sirico began serving his internship while residing at St. Paul's College in D.C. operated by the Paulists. He also served as a chaplain to AIDS patients at the National Institutes of Health. Two years later, after completing his Masters of Divinity program at CUA, the Paulists assigned him to St. Lawrence Church and the Newman College Center in Minneapolis, Minn. He is put in charge of the young adults program connected with the Center.

One of the talks that Sirico delivered at the Newman Center was titled "Theologians in Search of Liberation — A Critique." Sirico told his young audience, "It is my contention that a society where free minds and free markets are respected and protected is the kind of society that best promotes progress and human dignity."

On May 13, 1989, Sirico was ordained a priest of the Paulist order. Less than a year later, he would be looking for a way out of the Paulists.

The newly ordained Fr. Robert A. Sirico, C.S.P., was initially assigned to the Paulist Center in Minneapolis, but shortly thereafter, he received a transferred to the Paulist Catholic Information Center in Grand Rapids, Mich.

While at the Paulist Center, Sirico and another Paulist priest, Fr. James Fisher, presented a lecture titled "Who Was Ayn Rand?" Both priests were admirers of Ms. Rand, atheist and author of Atlas Shrugged, prophetess of the philosophy of Objectivism and "the virtue of selfishness," and the "godmother" of the Libertarian Party. It is clear from an audio tape of the Sirico-Fisher talk that Sirico's return to the Catholic Church and ordination to the priesthood did not substantially alter the Libertarian ideals he acquired during the heyday of his "gay" Libertarian Party activism in San Francisco, albeit, now with a Christian veneer.

Sirico Connects to the Atlas Economic Research Foundation

According to Sirico, during his seminary training and preparation for the priesthood he said he experienced a growing concern over the lack of training religious studies students received in fundamental economic principles, leaving them poorly equipped to understand and address today's social problems.

Many years later at a dinner talk on June 22, 2006, in San Francisco marking the 25th Anniversary of the Atlas Economic Research Foundation, Sirico recalled his first meeting with Atlas CEO Alex Chaufen in Central America shortly after his ordination:
    I remember 17 or so years ago, walking through the cobblestone streets of Guatemala, as a priest speaking to Alex Chaufen [8] and expressing to him my frustration of tendency to socialism within religious circles. The keen, riveting insight that he gave me in a few words: He said, "institutionalize yourself, recreate the process that introduced you to 'liberty.'" So, in a real

    way since the very inception of the Acton Institute, we have followed that

    advice that Alex, then John Blundell, [9] and of course, Leonard Liggio, [10]

    who is my 'godfather of liberty' as it were, have helped us to promote.

    That's why it is a personal honor and privilege to be with you tonight to celebrate this worthy event....Lord Acton said that "Liberty is the delicate fruit of mature civilizations." My friends, we have to protect, and promote, and create the environment in which this delicate fruit can flourish for the next generation. God Bless You!."
For Father Sirico, the Atlas Economic Research Foundation proved to be the goose that laid the golden egg — an open door to the corridors of power within the vast Atlas global network of "market oriented" think tanks.

In 1990, Sirico was invited to join the elite Mont Pelerin Society. In May of 2001, Universidad Francisco Marroquín awarded him an honorary doctorate in Social Sciences. He was also invited to serve on the Civic Institute in Prague, which is affiliated with Atlas. In 2004, the Acton Institute received a Templeton Freedom Prize for Excellence in Promoting Liberty, a program of the Atlas Foundation.

Sirico Wants Out of the Paulists

Less than one-year after his ordination to the priesthood, Sirico petitioned and was granted a one-year, paid sabbatical from the Paulists in order to pursue a new non-Catholic apostolate and career in economics and politics. He had considered leaving the Paulists altogether to become a diocesan priest in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, but Bishop Robert J. Rose refused to incardinate him.

Over the next few years, Sirico continued to perform minor duties at the Catholic Information Center. He was put in charge of various support groups hosted by the Catholic Center including the Grand Rapids Area Grief Resource Committee, and a support group for victims of abuse." For a short time Sirico was involved in setting up the Grand Rapids Chapter of Courage which he co-moderated, as time would allow, with Rev. James Chelich, pastor of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church in Grand Rapids.

This liberal arrangement with the Paulists left Sirico free to work at Acton and travel and lecture worldwide, but as time went on, his relationship with the order would reach the breaking point.

As a rule, the Paulists do not wear clerical garb. With the creation of the Acton Institute and his new role of President, however, Sirico switched from suit and tie to black clerics with a Roman collar. A new persona was in the making.

Sirico and Mauren Form the Acton Institute

In April 1990, Father Sirico joined with Kris Mauren, who had been working at the Westin Hotels in Hawaii to found the Acton Institute for the Study of Religion and Liberty in Grand Rapids. Seed money for the project amounting to $80,000 was provided by an unnamed Chicago philanthropist.

Sirico assumed the title of President and Mauren, that of Executive Director, and they put themselves on the Acton payroll. Ten years after the founding of the Acton, its annual budget has risen to $3,692,061 and both Sirico and Mauren were drawing salaries in excess of $100,000.

Among the foundations that contributed to the early work of the Acton Institute was the pro-abortion Scaife Family Foundations. In 1991, Acton receives $100,000 from the Sarah Scaife Foundation. Between 1995 and 1999, the Scaifes would donate $465,000 to Acton.

Another important early contributor includes the Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation founded by the Libertarian millionaire Charles G. Koch. In 1991, Acton received a grant of $10,000, and between 1993 and 2004, it received an additional $86,000 from the Koch Foundation.

It wasn't long before the list of grantees to Acton, and its list of Board of Trustees and Advisory Board members began to read like a Who's Who of industrial, free market, privatization, libertarian funding.

The Acton Institute bills itself as "one of the world's leading think tanks and educational centers" designed to "promote a free and virtuous society, and economic liberty." Although the Acton Institute is not Catholic, the main target of evangelization to the free market gospel and Calvinist world-view of prosperity and wealth are Catholic clerics and religious, Catholic seminarians, and Catholic laymen particularly high school and college students. While no priests serve on Acton's Board of Directors, there are priests who have served on its Advisory Board including Rev. John Michael Beers, Pontifical College Josephinum, Joseph Ganssle, OFM, Marian Associates, Rev. James Sadowsky, SJ, Fordham University and Rev. James V. Schall, SJ, Georgetown University.

Not surprisingly, like most "think tanks," the Acton Institute quickly became a vehicle for influencing the development of public policy and the political deliberations of political parties, especially the Republican Party, and state and national government. [11]

Father Sirico also made his presence known at the Vatican. On May 1, 1991, Pope John Paul II issued Centesimus AnnusThe Hundredth Year, an Encyclical Letter on the hundredth anniversary of Pope Leo XIII's great Encyclical on capital and labour, Rerum Novarum, promulgated on May 15, 1891.

In 1992, while on a visit to Rome, Sirico met Archbishop Francois X. Nguyen Van Thuan, the exiled former Archbishop of Saigon and President of the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. Pope John Paul II asked the archbishop to coordinate efforts for the compilation of a comprehensive study on Catholic social teaching. Archbishop Van Thuan asked Maciej Zieba, O.P., a Polish Dominican and Father Sirico and the Acton Institute for assistance with the project that was carried out in 1999-2000. The Rome project opened new doors to various Vatican congregations and influential contacts for Sirico and the Acton Institute.

Tension Builds Between Sirico and the Paulists

Between 1994 and 1995, at the very time that the Acton Institute was experiencing phenomenal financial and administrative growth and success, Sirico found himself under increased pressure from his Paulist superiors to quit or at least scale down his secular job at the Acton Institute and assume more of his priestly duties.

As push came to shove, in 1996, Sirico took another leave of absence from the Paulists and moved out of the Diocese of Grand Rapids to the notoriously "gay-friendly" Diocese of Lansing. But neither Bishop Kenneth Povish, the outgoing Bishop of Lansing, or his successor, Bishop Carl Frederick Mengeling who took office on January 25, 1996, would agree to incardinate Sirico, perhaps out of deference to the Paulists who had put Sirico through seven years of schooling and preparation for the priesthood with next to nothing in return.

It is unclear which bishop gave his approval for Sirico to move into the Diocese of Lansing, but we do know that Msgr. James A. Murray who had served as Chancellor of the diocese from 1964 to 1997 arranged for Sirico to be assigned to a rural parish staffed by an elderly priest-friend of his. Without formally assigned duties Sirico could continue to commute to the Acton Institute. He was still essentially a free agent.

Sirico Moves to Kalamazoo with Murray

On November 18, 1997, Chancellor Murray was informed that Pope John Paul II has appointed him Bishop of Kalamazoo, Mich. Murray invited Sirico to come to the Kalamazoo Diocese with him. According to Murray, this move would permit Sirico to fulfill his hope of "establishing a religious community of men committed to living the ideals of prayer, service and, of course, chaste celibacy." It would be guilding the lily, I suppose, to suggest that this was what the Paulist Fathers had offered Sirico, but he had turned his back on them. It also raises the question as to whether or not Sirico ever had a real calling to the priesthood. Or was he using his priesthood to promote his Libertarian philosophy, economic policies and ideas.

Two months later, on January 27, 1998, Bishop Murray officially took over the Diocese of Kalamazoo. Murray ordered the diocesan purchase of a large home, a former sorority house in downtown Kalamazoo, to house Sirico and his new community. In 2000, the Dick and Betsy Devos Foundation (Amway/Alticor) gave Sirico $50,000 for his St. Philip Neri House (Holy Family Oratory). Addition gifts followed in 2001 for $50,000 and $1000 in 2004 and other donations in 2006. Sirico was able to purchase the house outright. The obvious question, of course, is "Why are Dutch Calvinists funding a Catholic Oratory?"

On November 4, 1998, Bishop Murray announced that he was establishing St. Philip Neri House as a pia domus — the first step in becoming an Oratory of St. Philip Neri and a member of the worldwide Confederation of the Oratory of Saint Philip Neri. The new religious community was to be formed in the spirit of John Henry Cardinal Newman, said Murray. He also announced that he has appointed Father Robert A. Sirico as the superior of the new Oratory in formation.

Shortly after his announcement regarding the new Oratory (in formation) under the supervision of Father Sirico, Bishop Murray incardinated Father Sirico as a priest of the Kalamazoo Diocese, thus formally severing all of Sirico's ties to the Paulists.

An Oratory in Formation ..... Forever

As noted earlier, the Oratorians, like the Paulists, are not a religious order in the traditional sense. They are a society of apostolic life. Both societies have a great deal in common.

The Oratory is a confederation with no central authority. Secular (diocesan) priests and lay brothers live together in community bound together by no formal vows but only by the bond of charity in keeping with the vision of Saint Philip Neri who founded the first Oratory in Rome in 1575.

According to the Oratorian Constitution, each oratory is autonomous — rising and falling on its own merit or lack thereof. A life of prayer, preaching and the sacraments and a charism of friendship, discipleship, and stability mark the well-ordered oratory.

Each oratory or house, technically speaking, is established by the pope himself and the Holy See and has direct appeal to the Holy See in serious matters. The Congregation for Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life oversees the members of the Confederation as well as oratories in formation like the St. Philip Neri House in Kalamazoo.

As noted in the Open Letter to Cardinal Rodé, because of its loose, informal structure with a superior being elected by members, or, in the case of Sirico, by the local bishop, the Oratorians were easily colonized by the Homosexual Collective. Not surprisingly, especially in the United Kingdom and the United States, the Oratorians have suffered their share of pederasty and homosexual scandals.

On its official new 2012 website, the religious community of St. Philip Neri House is promoted as a community that offers the better of two worlds — the secular priesthood and the religious life. Members have the responsibility of building an oratory from the ground up.

As soon as Bishop Murray gave the go ahead, St. Philip Neri House was open for business. It opened its doors to seminarians from Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. Weekends of discernment at the oratory were advertised in local church bulletins to attract seminarians and those young men interested in the priesthood. Once again we see Sirico surrounding himself with young men in a home-like intimate environment, an act which goes against common sense and prudence for a man with Sirico's homosexual background.

Sirico's Travels at Home and Abroad

In November 27-29, 2000 the Acton Institute acted as joint convener of a conference on the theme of "Globalization, the Economy, and the Family," with the Pontifical Council for the Family at the Vatican.

In the United States, Father Sirico was frequently on the road giving lectures on a variety of subjects that touched upon business ethics, economics and religion.

On May 1, 2003, Sirico represented the Acton Institute at the National Day of Prayer held on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. He called upon all Americans to join together for a spiritual renewal in America.

On December 24, 2003, the Acton Institute website featured one of Sirico's secular sermons titled "The Virtue of Tolerance." Now tolerance is not a Catholic virtue, but according to Sirico, it is "because it is the underlying principle of social peace." Sirico quoted Fr. John Courtney Murray, architect of the Second Vatican Council's document on religious liberty, who held the position that the separation of church and state "is not an article of faith; it is an article of peace."

In the winter and spring of 2004, the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace released the long-awaited Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church which contains 75 documents of the Magisterium on social doctrine beginning with the writings of St. Clement of Rome, St. Augustine, and St. Thomas Aquinas and concluding with the popes of the 20th century including Pope Leo XIII and Pope John Paul II. Father Sirico, co-editor of the publication was later interviewed by Zenit News on the content and significance of the Compendium. Sirico praises Pope John Paul II for his anthropology and commitment to Personalism, which he said deepens the Catholic understanding of the social question

Pastor Johnson Warns Bishop Murray About Sirico's Past

Although Pastor Johnson knew that Sirico had been ordained a Catholic priest, it was not until November of 2004 that he learned that Sirico had been made the superior of a religious community of young men. Motivated out of concern for the moral and physical welfare of these young men, Johnson sent Bishop Murray, the Ordinary of the Diocese of Kalamazoo, background materials on Sirico.

On December 7, 2004 Johnson received a reply from Bishop Murray.

In his letter, Bishop Murray thanked Pastor Johnson for his concern about any embarrassment Robert Sirico might cause to the Catholic Church and his desire to protect the Church from scandal.

Bishop Murray explained that he first met Robert Sirico in 1996 when Sirico voluntarily took a leave of absence from the Paulists with their blessings [?], and came to the Diocese of Lansing. He said he arranged to have Sirico live in a rural rectory under the "supervision" of an old priest-friend where Sirico "lived a personal life of prayer and service appropriate to a Catholic priest."

In fact, Sirico was commuting to work in Grand Rapids and his 40 hour-a- week secular job at the Acton Institute.

Murray's letter explained that Sirico had told him of his involvement "for about three and a half years in various aspects of the gay movement," and that Sirico had "repudiated the gay life-style and returned to his Catholic roots" in 1976.

Again, Murray seemed to be woefully misinformed.

By Sirico's own public admission, he said he discovered his homosexuality at the age 13. Further, he was an active homosexual during his years in Washington State and Seattle from 1972 until well past 1976. For example, in 1977, Sirico was still going strong as head of Libertarians for Gay Rights in San Francisco.

As for Bishop Murray's use of the phrase "various aspects of the gay movement," this was another grossly misleading understatement. Homosexual archivists like Gary Atkins consider Sirico a pivotal figure in the history of the "gay" civil rights movement, and they are correct. His entrepreneurial genius united, organized, and gave purpose to the fledging "gay" Seattle community at a time when they were confused, divided, and subjected to a well-organized vice-squad. He pioneered legal gay marriages, challenged vice laws, organized and led protests and marches, preached in churches and on the radio, and built a gay infrastructure that exists for the most part to this day. His public victories in Seattle include the founding of the first "gay" church, the creation of a new "gay" theology, and a new political paradigm that shifted the debate on homosexuality from the morality of homosexual acts to the civil rights of gays and the repeal of laws against sodomy and hustling, and the obtaining of marriage licenses for and performing homosexual marriages, including his own anticipated "marriage."

Murray's further explanation that Sirico's arrest was a mistake due to "journalistic confusion" did not ring true. There is no evidence that the news reporters misrepresented the incidents of Sirico coming to the "rescue" of young homosexuals who were arrested outside a bar at 2 a.m.

Murray concluded his letter to Johnson with the statement that Sirico had repented of his past sins and reformed his life as evidenced by "his pastoral work and the integrity of his personal life. Case closed.

Not quite.

That Bishop Murray would appoint a priest with Sirico's homosexual background to oversee a house where young men come for spiritual direction was the height of imprudence. The issue of homosexuality aside, what religious qualifications did Sirico possess that made make him a candidate for the superior of a religious community. Certainly not the virtue of obedience to his superiors as clearly demonstrated by his track-record with the Paulist Fathers. Piety and Devotion to Holy Mother Church? Alas, as of 2007, the poor soul did not even know how to say the Rosary.

Sirico Brief Ends With Year 2007

The original "Sirico Brief" was posted in February 2007. An updated version has recently been posted at the U.S. Coalition for Life research library at www.uscl.info

complete with attachments and documents related to this Renew America series.

In my Open Letter of February 7, 2007, to Franc Cardinal Rodé, Prefect of the Sacred Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, I called upon the Congregation which is charged with the oversight of oratories in formation to establish an independent board of inquiry to investigate Father Sirico and St. Philip Neri House, with the goal of suppressing St. Philip Neri House and removing Father Sirico as its superior. This was and remains the ultimate purpose of posting the "Sirico Brief."

Post Script — As of January 2012, after 14 years, the Oratory of St. Philip Neri, which has recently relocated to the Diocese of Grand Rapids with Father Sirico and four followers, is still "in formation" having failed to meet the minimum number of members for official standing and admission to the Oratorian Confederation. Thus far there has been no communication from the Congregation for Religious.

NOTES:

[1]  See Thomas J. Herron, "The Trouble with Converts," Part I and Part II, Culture Wars, September 2005, Vol. 24, No. 9, and October 2005, Vol. 24, No.9 and 10 for a basic guide to Libertarian economics.

[2]  The original Libertarian Party for Gay Rights began in the United Kingdom in 1945.

[3]  A copy of the "Open Letter" text is provided in the newly updated " Sirico Brief" available at www.uscl.info research library.

[4]  Father Hecker preached in an "ecumenical" and "nonjudgmental" contemporary idiom. Many of his novel teachings, including the primacy of religious experiences over doctrine and discipline, and the idea that the Church must accommodate her teachings and discipline to the spirit of the new age in order to attract those outside the Faith were soundly condemned by Pope Leo XIII.

[5]  The 1961 Instruction Religiosorum institutio is available at http://www.supportourdiocese.com/religiosorum_institutio.htm.

[6]  Ibid.

[7]  Ibid.

[8]  Argentinean-born Alejandro Chaufen, at the time of the Sirico talk, was the CEO and President of the Atlas Foundation. He was one of the original Board Members of the Acton Institute. Chaufen wrote Christians for Freedom: Late Scholastic Economics which was published in 1986 by Ignatius Press in San Francisco. According to Thomas Herron, it purports to show that the, mainly Spanish, late scholastic theologians of the so-called Salamanca School (16th-17th century) writings on moral theology can be interpreted as endorsing free market economics. It contains an introduction by another Catholic writer who had written an endorsement of laissez-faire economics a few years before, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism, Michael Novak. Novak is a former leftist, who had dissented on Church sexual teachings, and was born again as a neocon.

[9]  John Blundell, the British economist and Director-General of the Institute of Economic Affairs, served as President of Atlas from 1987 to 1990.

[10]  Leonard P. Liggio, served as a Trustee of the Acton Institute from 1990 to 1999, and later on its Advisory Board. He is the Executive Vice-President of Atlas; President of the Mont Pelerin Society; a visiting professor of Law at the Universidad Francisco Marroquín (Francisco Marroquín University) in Guatemala City; and a libertarian Professor of Law at George Mason University. Liggio played a major role in the development of libertarian capitalism in the United States by promoting an alliance between Libertarian "Old Right" and the "New Left" in the mid-1960s.

[11]  For a detailed report on the Acton Institute and its philosophy, policies and programs see www.acton.org.

© Randy Engel

 

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Randy Engel

Randy Engel, one of the nation's top investigative reporters, began her journalistic career shortly after her graduation from the University of New York at Cortland, in 1961. A specialist in Vietnamese history and folklore, in 1963, she became the editor of The Vietnam Journal, the official publication of the Vietnam Refugee and Information Services, a national relief program in South Vietnam for war refugees and orphans based in Dayton, Ohio... (more)

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