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Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Short History of the USCCB

Follow this link, and see what the USCCB says about itself.

Then read below and discover a few of the details the USCCB omitted from its own history.

To understand how the USCCB came into existence, we must first understand the spiritual background of the man who essentially provided the impetus for the foundation of the organization.

Father John J. Burke was a Paulist priest, and therein lies a tale. Whether rightly or wrongly (and here the reader should research and judge for himself) the Paulist priests have a history that is closely associated with scandal.

Fr. Isaac Hecker founded the Paulists in 1858, and Father Hecker himself was a definitely controversial figure, but a discussion of his life is outside the scope of this essay. The Paulists, like most religious orders, like to believe they were founded by an extremely holy person, a saint. And like most religious orders, they worked hard to demonstrate the sanctity of their late, great founder after he passed away in 1888.

By 1897, his biography had both been translated into French and been given quite an eye-opening foreward. For various reasons peculiar to the age, his biography became quite popular in France, and French priests were urged to take up the ideas Father Hecker was said to espouse.

Word of these ideas reached Rome.

Pope Leo XIII was so struck by them that, by January 22, 1899, he felt compelled to compose an encyclical letter, Testem Benevolentiae Nostrae, in which he condemned seven of the propositions that seemed to emanate from America – a suite of ideas Pope Leo condemned as "Americanism":

The condemned ideas:

  1. The Church should shape her teachings in accord with popular custom, relax her disciplines or omit or de-emphasize doctrines that non-Catholics find scandalous, that is, a tendency towards silence that omits or neglects Catholic doctrine;
  2. The Church should grant to the faithful the same kind of freedom in spiritual matters that the state grants in civil matters;
  3. Catholics need only adhere to infallible teachings of the Roman pontiff;
  4. License is coterminous with liberty;
  5. External spiritual guidance is not necessary;
  6. Active virtues are superior to "angelical virtues, erroneously styled passive" virtues;
  7. Religious life and vows are harmful to human perfection and/or society.

The American bishops agreed with one voice that such heretical ideas could never be found in America. Yet, despite the bishops' protestations, the ideas seem somehow rendolent of Father Hecker's "social justice" spirituality. In fact, Americanism was the first heresy in 300 years to be named after a specific geographic region.

In any case, events at home and abroad were moving forward. The mainstream Protestant churches formed the Federal Council of Churches in 1908, and many Catholics looked with a certain degree of envy upon the organization. The Federal Council seemed to have a certain amount of clout and Catholics were desirous of emulating their success.

With the start of what turned out to be World War I, Paulist Father John J. Burke decided to create a Catholic analog to the Protestant model, the National Catholic War Council (NCWC). The National Catholic War Council organized after two meetings in April/August 1917 at the Catholic University of America (CUA) in Washington DC had several purposes, for it simultaneously:

  • represented Catholic interests in the U.S. Congress,
  • addressed the needs of soldiers at home and overseas,
  • promoted the Americanization of recent immigrants, and
  • developed a Program for the Social Reconstruction of American society after the war.

If you see no particular aspect of liturgy or sacrament addressed, you would not be the first to notice.

In November 1917 the National Catholic War Council was reorganized to give the bishops more direct operational responsibility. The Knights of Columbus did most of the footwork. The council even produced a nice little handbook.

In August 1918, the War Department recognized the National Catholic War Council as part of the United War Work Campaign of 1918. It received $36 million dollars as its share of the fund drive, most of which went to the Knights of Columbus and the NCWC overseas units.

On 24 September 1919 the American bishops created the National Catholic Welfare Council (NCWC) and three months later it took over War Council work with its headquarters remaining in Washington, D.C. Bureaucracies die hard. The National Catholic War Council, which the Welfare Council had now displaced, would not finally officially dissolve as a corporation until April 30, 1931. But, back to the story of the Bishops' shiny new Welfare Council.

Pope Benedict XV died on January 22, 1922.

Cardinals O'Connell and Dougherty arrived in Rome on February 6 to help elect a new pope, only to learn that a new pope had been elected only a half hour before. As Dougherty was leaving Rome, he was handed a decree of the Consistorial Congregation, signed by Cardinal Gaetano De Lai, one of O'Connell's friends, and dated February 25. It ordered the immediate disbanding of the NCWC.

In response, the members of the administrative committee of the NCWC immediately petitioned the new Pope Pius XI to delay publication of the decree until they could make a representation in Rome.

Bishop Louis Walsh of Portland, Maine, a member of the administrative board, saw in the Consistorial Congregation's action "a dangerous underhand blow from Boston, aided by Philadelphia, who both realized at our last meeting that they could not control the Bishops of this country and they secured the two chief powers of the Consistorial Congregation, Cardinals De Lai and Del Val [sic] to suppress all common action."

Walsh hoped to enlist the support of Archbishops Curley of Baltimore and Hayes of New York in the effort to ward off the order to disband. As O'Connell told Cardinal De Lai, he regarded this circularizing of the bishops as a "plebiscite" designed:

"to annul the force of the decree. The customary maneuver demonstrates again more evidently the wisdom of the decree. Today we are in full 'Democracy, Presbyterianism, and Congregationalism.'" And now it seems more than ever that this N.C.W.C. shows more clearly that not only does it tend little by little to weaken hierarchical authority and dignity, but also wishes to put into operation the same tactics against the Consistorial [Congregation]. It is incredible that Rome does not see the danger of conceding today in order to have to concede much more tomorrow.

In Rome, the American delegation learned that the Consistorial Congregation was inclined to accept the attacks of O'Connell and Dougherty against the NCWC because of a concern about a resurgence of Americanism and an anxiety regarding the implications of such a large hierarchy meeting on an annual basis.

The Consistorial Congregation's decree, moreover, reflected tension between Gasparri, who was supporting the Americans, and those cardinals who wanted a return to the policies of Pope Pius X. Ultimately, however, the American delegation won the day.

On July 4, 1922, the Consistorial Congregation issued a new instruction. The NCWC could remain in existence, but the congregation recommended, among other things, that:

  • the meetings of the hierarchy take place less often than every year,
  • attendance at them be made voluntary,
  • decisions of the meetings not be binding or construed in any way as emanating from a plenary council, and
  • the name "council" in the title be changed to something like "committee."

Now, it is worthwhile to take notice of these restrictions. Apparently, the American bishops of the Welfare Council had begun to take on airs. The styled themselves a true council of the Church, apparently thought they could require attendance, and felt their own decisions were so important that all America's bishops were bound by them. It took a congregation of Rome to knock them off their high horse and dash their high sense of self-esteem. Does this sound like Democrats at work?

In 1922, after nearly being suppressed by both the dying Pope Benedict XV and the new Pope Pius XI, the administrative board did, indeed, change the name of the National Catholic Welfare Council to the National Catholic Welfare Conference (now the USCCB). It had 5 departments each run by a bishop:

  • Education,
  • Legislation,
  • Social Action,
  • Lay Organizations, and
  • Press and Publicity.

The "social justice" Welfare Council - now Conference - was the basis for the 1966 formation of the National Conference of Catholic Bishops (NCCB) and the United States Catholic Conference (USCC). The NCCB was responsible for internal affairs of the Church, the USCC was responsible for its external relationships.

In 2001, both organizations merged together to become what we now call the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB).

Thus concludes the short history of the USCCB, but a further word can be said.

Again, for reasons known only to itself, while the USCCB's own history of itself takes care to quote documents of Vatican II and various popes which authorized its existence, it somehow fails to make any mention of the papal documents and canon law which describe the extent of its authority.

Though we are sure this is merely an oversight which will soon be rectified, we thought it apropos to discuss the authority the USCCB wields.

Apostolos Suos Christus Dominus, authored by Pope John Paul II, not only expresses the hope that the venerable institution of Particular Councils would be revitalized (cf. No. 36), but also dealt explicitly with Episcopal Conferences, acknowledging the fact that they had been established in many countries and laying down particular norms regarding them (cf. Nos. 37-38).

The document is well worth reading, if only because it constantly reiterates a single theme:

10. At the level of particular Churches grouped together by geographic areas (by countries, regions, etc.), the Bishops in charge do not exercise pastoral care jointly with collegial acts equal to those of the College of Bishops.

11. In fact, only the faithful entrusted to the pastoral care of a particular Bishop are required to accept his judgement given in the name of Christ in matters of faith and morals, and to adhere to it with a religious assent of soul.

12. Nonetheless, this territorially based exercise of the episcopal ministry never takes on the collegial nature proper to the actions of the order of Bishops as such, which alone holds the supreme power over the whole Church. In fact, the relationship between individual Bishops and the College of Bishops is quite different from their relationship to the bodies set up for the above-mentioned joint exercise of certain pastoral tasks.

19. This provision is found explicitly in the Code of Canon Law where we read: "A diocesan Bishop in the diocese committed to him possesses all the ordinary, proper and immediate power which is required for the exercise of his pastoral office except for those cases which the law or a decree of the Supreme Pontiff reserves to the supreme authority of the Church or to some other ecclesiastical authority"

20. In other cases "the competence of individual diocesan Bishops remains intact; and neither the Conference nor its president may act in the name of all the Bishops unless each and every Bishop has given his consent".

In short, the Pope took enormous pains, indeed, almost unheard of pains, to make clear that organizations like the USCCB's authority over any particular lay Catholic is:

  • Zero
  • Nada
  • Zilch
  • Zip
  • Goose Egg
  • Empty Set
  • Non-Existent
  • Completely Absent
  • A sounding brass and tinkling cymbal signifying nothing

In short, according to the infallible ordinary Magisterium, the teaching authority of the USCCB does not exist. Fifty cents and any USCCB document would not buy a candy bar, unless the cashier didn't want to charge sales tax. The USCCB is a purely consultative body whose opinions aren't worth rust in the scales. The only person a Catholic is required to at least listen to is his own bishop.

No decree of the USCCB has any weight unless the local bishop endorses it.

And the Pope felt it necessary to knock the USCCB off its high horse by creating a document that the USCCB officially refuses to notice on its own website.

Why does this matter?

Because within the USCCB there is a fight between bishops who wish to promote the Catholic Faith and bishops who wish to promote secular "social justice." We must pray for the bishops of the USCCB, that all of them eventually gain the mind of good Catholics, or at least retire so they can be replaced by those who have such a mind.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Rent-A-Ranger

Well, everyone is asking the same question: is there a method to Barack's madness? Why does he ignore one Middle East revolution while involving US forces in another?

There seems to be no rhyme nor reason to what he's doing.
Historic US allies are thrown overboard while opportunities to assist in the overthrow of historic enemies are completely ignored.

There is a key.

We have several instances to compare:
  • The Iranian revolution
  • The Egyptian revolution
  • The Libyan revolution
  • The Syrian revolution
  • The Yemen revolution
  • The Bahrain and Saudi revolutions
Iran supports Hamas and Hezbollah, feeding arms and training into their networks. When the Iranian people rose up against the mullahs of Iran, Barack did nothing.

Mubarak, whatever his other failings, was not a fan of either Hamas or Hezbollah. He expressed deep concern over the growing strength of Hamas and worked hard to keep them from winning elections. Barack pushed hard to get Mubarak out of office.

While Gaddafi supported Barack for US President, Gaddafi was no particular friend of Hamas or Hezbollah. In recent weeks, both organizations condemned Gaddafi, voicing concern that he would begin a slaughter of their Libyan-based operatives.

Syria, on the other hand, supports Hamas and Hezbollah, feeding arms and training into their networks. Barack has vowed to leave Syria alone.

Yemen backs Hamas and Hezbollah; it serves as a key transit hub for Hamas armaments. Barack has said there should be no demonstrations against the Yemeni government.

In Bahrain, Hamas approves of Obama's policies of non-intervention. Saudi Arabia, which provides the financial support for nearly all the Wahhabi Muslim mosques throughout the world, can roll in with tanks and Obama merely bows obsequiously and stands silent.

Palestinians gave enormous amounts of cash to Obama's election campaign.
Barack gave Hamas $1.3 billion of US Taxpayer money and he wasn't just paying jizya.
Barack listened to his pastor. He's actively courting Hezbollah.

So, who stands and who falls when Barack is calling the shots?

Re-phrase the question: who does Hamas and Hezbollah want dead?

When you have the answer to that question, you have the answer to who Barack will order the US military to support, and who he will leave hanging to twist in the wind... assuming he doesn't come with rope to help the hangman himself.

As Barack himself put it, "it is our military that is being volunteered by others to carry out missions..."

Or, as a Hamas spokesman might put it, why buy an air force when you can rent one for free?
We have become mercenaries for Middle East terrorists.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pope Benedict Spouts More Private Opinion

Much as I hate to link to the National Catholic Distorter, there's no way around it this time. John Allen reports that a private theologian thinks we shouldn't be evangelizing the Jews.

The problem is, this particular private theologian is the Pope.

Now, keep in mind that - in the entire history of the Church - we have had only two Popes who have ever written books for the general public as private theologians.

Historically, a Pope writes two kinds of communications - either he writes a Church document (encyclical, papal bull, constitution, etc.) to the universal Church, in which case he is infallible, or he writes a private letter to one or more people as a private theologian, in which case he is not infallible. In the latter case, he's as likely to make a fool of himself as anyone.

Only two Popes - Pope John Paul II and Pope Benedict - have turned their hands to writing books for the general public. These books are not Church documents, they're just ways for some publishers to make money and for these two Popes to make their private theological opinions known. As if anyone cares what the opinions of a private theologian might be.

Private theological opinion is not part of the Magisterium, and it bears no more necessary weight than this post.

In this man's private theological opinion, we shouldn't be evangelizing the Jews:



"For God, who was at work in the ministry of Peter as an apostle to the Jews, was also at work in my ministry as an apostle to the Gentiles." ~Galatians 2:8


Does this mean Peter was NOT an apostle to the Jews?
Or does it mean the apostle to the Jews has decided he shouldn't do that anymore?

In the same book, he said violence has no place in Christianity.

"Violence does not build up the kingdom of God, the kingdom of humanity. On the contrary, it is a favorite instrument of the Antichrist, however idealistic its religious motivation may be," Benedict wrote. "It serves, not humanity, but inhumanity."
Hmmm... now, what are we to do with Jesus in the Temple with a whip, overturning the tables of the sellers?

Were the Popes who called for Crusade all doing the work of the anti-Christ?
Lots of people say they were.
Indeed, lots of people would say the office of the Pope is the anti-Christ, and this fruit is one example.

What do we do with the literally dozens of Catholic religious orders whose vows or training included military practice, like the Knights Hospitaller or the Knights Templar? Were the numerous Popes who approved their vows and their work all wrong? Did the orders do the work of the anti-Christ?

Was the Council of Constance, which denounced John Hus as a heretic and degraded his status so that the Emperor Sigismund could burn him at the stake, was that council in error?

We already know his opinion on condoms.

As a Pope, when he teaches as the Pope, Pope Benedict is infallible.

As a private theologian, who is teaching as any simple person might, the man Benedict does not seem to be measuring up.

We have had popes with problems in the past - Pope Honorius was even declared by the Church (though after his reign) to have been a heretic during his reign.

We have had two men simultaneously claim to be Pope, each elected by the same set of cardinals, each supported by a doctor of the Church.

It's not unusual for the Church to experience a Pope that has certain problems.
The current Pope is not nearly as bad as some we have had in the past.
But he certainly could explain himself better.

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Muslims, Jews and the CCC

Over the last few months, several people have written to me expressing concern about the way the Catechism of the Catholic Church discusses the Church's relationship with the Muslims.

Specifically, the following section is seen as problematic:

The Church and non-Christians

839 "Those who have not yet received the Gospel are related to the People of God in various ways."325

The relationship of the Church with the Jewish People. When she delves into her own mystery, the Church, the People of God in the New Covenant, discovers her link with the Jewish People,326 "the first to hear the Word of God."327 The Jewish faith, unlike other non-Christian religions, is already a response to God's revelation in the Old Covenant. To the Jews "belong the sonship, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the worship, and the promises; to them belong the patriarchs, and of their race, according to the flesh, is the Christ",328 "for the gifts and the call of God are irrevocable."329

840 And when one considers the future, God's People of the Old Covenant and the new People of God tend towards similar goals: expectation of the coming (or the return) of the Messiah. But one awaits the return of the Messiah who died and rose from the dead and is recognized as Lord and Son of God; the other awaits the coming of a Messiah, whose features remain hidden till the end of time; and the latter waiting is accompanied by the drama of not knowing or of misunderstanding Christ Jesus.

841 The Church's relationship with the Muslims. "The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day."

First, take a look at #839 and #840, the discussion of the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. It says the Jewish People were "the first to hear the Word of God." That's pretty clear - they definitely heard the Word of God.

The Jewish faith "unlike other non-Christian religions is already a response to God's covenant." Hmmm... What other non-Christian religions might that be a reference to (hint: see CCC #841)?

The Jews are already sons, already in irrevocable covenant with God. They have very similar expectations to Christians. They get two paragraphs of discussion, quite a bit more than everybody else gets.

Contrast this treatment to how the Muslims are treated in CCC #841.
Especially, notice two things about that particular article:

1) It doesn't say Muslims DO hold the faith of Abraham, it just says that THEY profess to hold the faith of Abraham. The Catechism in no way says they are correct in their allegation - it just notices that they say it, and then - with a deafening silence - fails to confirm that they are correct.

2) It also says - without being obvious about it - that Muslim theology about Jesus is completely wrong.

You'll only notice point two if you know a little something about Muslim theology (keep in mind that the Church has been dealing with Muslims, sometimes at the point of a sword, since at least 632, so She has some passing acquaintance with Muslim theology).

You see, both Christians and Muslims believe that Jesus is the Judge on the Day of Judgement.
But, of course, Muslims don't think Jesus is God while Christians know He is.

So, when CCC #841 says "together with us they adore the one merciful God, mankind's judge on the last day", the CCC affirms that Jesus is God and essentially says that the God the Muslims worship MUST be Trinitarian (or He wouldn't be God).

To put it another way, since Jesus is God, He is necessarily Judge.
Muslims believe Jesus is Judge, then insofar as they understand that He is Judge, while they may not realize it (because they aren't too bright), by saying Jesus is Judge they admit that He is God.

In short, the CCC says Muslim theology and Christology is terminally screwed up. The CCC is slamming the Muslims for being ignorant slobs, but it's doing it in the nicest possible way.

And, since it is in the CCC, this statement that Muslim Christology is WRONG is a point of Catholic doctrine - that is, all Catholics must accept and believe that Muslim theology is wrong.

Conclusion
Now, why would the CCC be so delicate in how it phrases things?

Keep in mind that in 2000 years, there have been a total of TWO(2) - count 'em, TWO - universal catechisms. The first came after the Council of Trent and served for nearly 400 years by itself. It is still considered an authoritative reference on doctrine - nothing in it is abrogated.

This new catechism will undoubtedly be in service for centuries as well. Who knows who will read it in the future or what chips may be on which shoulders when it is read? So, the newest CCC figures discretion is the better part of wisdom.

It says as many nice things as it can about non-Christian faiths. There's a lot of nice things that can be said about Jewish theology and... well... what can be said nicely about Muslim theology was said as nicely as possible, considering what theological schlubs Muslims are.

You have to be REALLY careful when you read Church documents.
They often say things in a way that is not obvious until you get into parsing the exact way a thing is said.

Monday, March 07, 2011

Seder It Ain't So

So, I'm at Mass yesterday and the FSSP priest's homily is about Catholic participation in seder meals.
He's agin' it.
And I agree with him - it's simply stupid.

The desire to participate in the seder once is, perhaps, understandable. People who don't know or understand much about their own Catholic ritual think that doing a seder meal will somehow help them understand the Mass more fully - a laudable goal. Everyone should desire to understand and participate more fully in Mass.

However, the desire to engage in the seder repeatedly, year after year, in order to somehow "more fully celebrate Easter" is so stupid as to border on dangerous. it demonstrates an abiding misunderstanding of the relationship between the seder and the Mass. It also demonstrates that modern Catholic liturgy is a thin gruel that Catholics feel the inchoate need to augment by bringing in rituals from other worship systems.

That desire for authentic ritual in itself is not sinful - it is what we are made for. But the paucity of Catholic worship which creates such a desire certainly is sinful - a glaring set of omissions. If there is any single, telling aspect of just how emasculated the Novus Ordo rite is, one need only look at the explosion of alternate ritual among Catholics since Vatican II, whether it be Judaism's seder meal, a New Age centering prayer, Hindu trantric yoga or the Wiccan wonderland. The Novus Ordo is perfectly valid, definitely licit, it's just not particularly bright. It is, to put it bluntly, a wasteland.

So, I understand where the priest is coming from - typical Catholics really shouldn't spend time at seder meals any more than they should regularly spend time at Protestant worship services. Ok. No argument there. And if that was all he had to say, I would have had no problem with it.

But that was just the beginning.


The Seder Meal is Mortal Sin?
He starts by quoting Thomas on false worship, and points out that early Christians refused to throw a pinch of incense into the fire because everyone knew it meant you thought Caesar was a god. Participation in non-Catholic ritual can be mortal sin. He points out that Thomas agreed Jewish rituals were ok for the Jews because they were looking forward to the Messiah, but such rituals would be sinful for Christians because we already know the Messiah is here.

Alright. I'm good with all that.

Then he says that participation in the seder meal constitutes false worship and, while he's not judging interior dispositions, he says it is "objectively a mortal sin." He repeats this several times.

Now, I begin to be puzzled.

How on earth do you not judge interior disposition yet still judge an action "objectively a mortal sin"?

I can see judging an action objectively evil.
I certainly agree that this particular action is objectively stupid.
But is it objectively a mortal sin?

Given that mortal sin requires fully informed consent, what is his statement - "it is objectively a mortal sin" - except a judgement of the interior disposition which generated the necessary consent?


Is Eating Dinner A Mortal Sin?
As for evil of a ritual action, doesn't context have something to do with it?

After all, we burn incensed candles before the saints, but the burning of incense to honor someone does not automatically incur the pain of mortal sin, no matter what Caesar once required.

Similarly, the popularity of "re-enactments" is well-known. Indeed, many priests of my acquaintance (including FSSP priests) have attended the local Medieval Times restaurant, where you get dinner and a floor show in which real men dress in real armor with real weapons that do real damage and they watch a joust, apparently without incurring mortal sin.

Now, keep in mind that the actors involved in this presentation really do hurt one another. A common complaint of these actors is precisely that they cannot avoid injury during the performance, but their medical coverage is so lousy that they are often paying for the injuries out of pocket.

Also, keep in mind that the Church has condemned jousts and duels (they were considered essentially the same thing) as precisely mortal sin for almost a thousand years. In 1884, She went so far as to say that any witness to a joust or duel communicated in the sin to such an extent that a Catholic doctor who was not present at the duel could not even knowingly agree beforehand to treat the patients whose wounds resulted from a duel lest he become entangled in its evil.

So, if participation in a seder meal is "objectively a mortal sin", then what about witnessing a joust? Even a faux joust? And given that we know the Messiah has come, how does a faux joust differ from a seder meal, especially - as is so often the case - a seder meal put on entirely by Catholics?

But our good priest isn't done.


When Did The Rabbinate Start?
He goes on to say rabbinic Judaism was invented in the first or second century AD after the destruction of the Temple, and that modern Judaism is no longer really Jewish, but something entirely different because the Temple sacrificial system is gone. His argument is that the destruction of the Temple "extinguished the Jewish priesthood" - I guess because the priests could no longer offer sacrifice, although he didn't really say. His point was that the Mass is the only valid "Seder meal" now. In a minor point, he said the real Jews of the first century were pro-Catholic, while "fake Jews" are anti-Catholic.

While I don't disagree with his point about the Mass being the only real Seder, and I've often pointed out that Judaism post-Temple is a substantially different way of being Jewish than Judaism pre-Temple, it is simply wrong to say that the destruction of the Temple extinguished the Jewish priesthood.

It didn't.

If it had, the Jewish priesthood would have been extinguished along with the First Temple in 586 BC, well BEFORE the Incarnation, which would create all kinds of problems for Catholic theology. From 586 BC to 515 BC - a period of roughly 70 years - the Jews had no Temple and for much of that time they weren't even allowed to live in the land of Israel.

Our priest apparently forgot about the Babylonian Exile, the destruction of the First Temple, and the ensuing interregnum which established the rabbinical system. Rabbis came into use during the Exile. The extinguishment of the Levitical priesthood did not occur as a result of the destruction of the Temple, rather, it was extinguished by Christ Himself at the Last Supper when He established the new priesthood in His blood.

The presence or absence of a Temple and it's sacrificial system has exactly NOTHING to do with the status of the Levitical priesthood. That priesthood, like the priesthood Christ established, exists because God established it. In both cases, it gives the priests the capacity to offer sacrifice, but the inability of the priests to offer sacrifice (due to, say, the lack of a Temple or the lack of elements to consecrate) does not strip either Jewish or Catholic priests of their respective priesthoods. Only God can do that.

In other words, the only way you can reach his conclusion is if you don't know the history of the rabbinate and you confuse the physical ability to offer sacrifice with the ontology of being a priest.


Conclusion

Sigh....

Catholics, don't bother with seder meals.
They're stupid.

I will reiterate the good priest's final point: If you want to participate in a Catholic seder meal, go to the Extraordinary Form of the Mass. It has all the ritual anyone could need, and infinitely more Godhead. Don't accept imitations.