Thursday, May 18, 2006

"St. Louis Catholic leaders raise money to honor Ritter"

See the article Report: St. Louis Catholic leaders raise money to honor Ritter from the St. Louis Business Journal.
Monsignor Richard Stika of the Archdiocese of St. Louis is fueling an effort to raise money in St. Louis to restore the childhood home of the late Cardinal Joseph Ritter.

Ritter's boyhood home in New Albany, Ind., was built in the late 19th century and is located next to his family's bakery. Ritter died in 1967 after becoming a cardinal in 1960.
Msgr. Stika, Episcopal Vicar of the Archdiocese, is a board member of the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace Foundation, which states:
The house saw a generation of Ritter children grow up to be three doctors, a nun, a businessman, and, of course, the youngest (and only Hoosier) Cardinal in Catholic church history.
[Note to Saint Louis readers—'Hoosier' here means someone from Indiana.]

The home is located in New Albany, Indiana, on the banks of the Ohio River, across from Louisville, Kentucky.

Ritter was Archbishop of Saint Louis from 1946 to 1967, and was made a Cardinal in 1961. (See Catholic-Hierarchy)

Ritter desegregated the Archdiocesan schools in 1947, against great opposition, seven years before this was mandated by the United States Supreme Court. Unlike the followers of scientific race theory, like Margaret Sanger, founder of Planned Parenthood, or her admirers, Cardinal Ritter accepted the Catholic doctrine that all races are true men, with the same aptitude for sanctity. Here he showed the virtue of liberality, required for sainthood, which unfortunately is often confused with the repugnant political ideology of liberalism.

A contemporary example of this difference in attitude is Cardinal Ritter College Prep. This new school, named in honor of the Cardinal and in keeping with his race legacy, is the first private high school built in the City of Saint Louis (or probably any urban American city) in fifty years. Even though the school has remarkably low entrance requirements—even 'F' students can be admitted—the school has a nearly 100% attendance, graduation, and college acceptance rate. However, excellent discipline is required. All students are required to take four years of mathematics, English, theology, and science. Training children to be virtuous adults is far superior than stagnating them as victims of oppression.

In 1956, the Archdiocese of Saint Louis lost territories to the new Dioceses of Jefferson City and Springfield-Cape Girardeau, both having large rural areas with low Catholic populations; these remain mission territories.

From the Ritter House website:
Without having the power to tax or having anything to sell, he managed to raise 125 million dollars in the 1950s for new construction in St. Louis. He oversaw the building of 42 new parishes, 16 high schools, and a Catholic teaching and research hospital for children.
Sadly, times of great wealth in the Church often turn out to be times of moral decline, as we have seen in Renaissance, and in the 1950s and 1960s. Cardinal Ritter was part of the reform wing of the Second Vatican Council, and is noted for being the first American bishop to say Mass in the vernacular.

The 1960s was a time of great hope within the Church. Nearly everyone thought that the Reformation would end and that the Church would grow tremendously. Instead, reform took a hellish turn; churches emptied, and millions lost their faith. Cardinal Ritter died before the "spirit" of Vatican II bore its poisonous fruit.

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