By Efrain Cortes
And he said to his disciples: It is impossible that scandals should not come: but woe to him through whom they come. It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones.”
(Luke 17:1, Douay-Rheims Bible ).
On April 10 2007, Archbishop Raymond Burke, of the archdiocese of St. Louis, made national headlines when he resigned from the board of a Catholic hospital for its organization of a benefit for the Cardinal Glennon Children's Medical Center. The benefit, featured singer Sheryl Crow whom Archbishop Burke described as someone who "promotes moral evils."
Such moral evils, according to, STLtoday.com, include Crow's "support of abortion rights," as well as her public support of "Missouri's Amendment 2, which protects embryonic stem cell research in the state." Also, according to, STLtoday.com, Crow "has performed at Rock 4 Choice concerts" and has "supported Claire McCaskill's senatorial campaign." McCaskill, is a Catholic politician who supports abortion rights.
Among the Archbishop's reasons for opposing the scandalous event were the following:
"I have to answer to God for the responsibilities which I have as Archbishop."
"As the shepherd of this archdiocese, I am required to address an issue that could call into question in the minds of the faithful the commitment of...the archdiocese to the cause of life."
"For me to remain silent in this situation would be the gravest scandal, because people would get the impression that their spiritual leader also thinks this is just fine."
Just two days after the Archbishop's bold defense of our Catholic moral principles, Catholic Radio WMJR 1380 in Lexington Kentucky aired a broadcast, Catholic Round Table, in which the St. Louis situation was addressed.
Allow us to have a look at the commentary which ensued:
Tom Shaugnessy: The Archbishop of St. Louis has bowed out of an event that would have Sheryl Crow, the singer, at a fundraiser at a Catholic hospital. Saying that he simply could not support somebody that is so active in promoting abortion. Mike, you and I talked a little bit about this at the office today, why don't you start us off.
Mike Allen: Well evidently, Archbishop Burke sought, I think behind the scenes, to select a different artist to invite for this and was, I think, basically rebuffed by the members of the board, and so this was what he felt like he needed to do...
I think Sheryl Crow has been such an outspoken advocate, not just for abortion rights, but for a number of what I would call...social moral causes...So...I really admire Archbishop Burke. He was on the frontlines a few years ago [on] the issue of abortion and politicians [and] presidential candidate John Kerry.
I think Archbishop Burke has sometimes been, not a lone voice in the wilderness, but has stood out even among some of the U.S. Bishops and has not always felt unanimous support among the Bishops for some of his more public stands that he's taken...that’s certainly not true for every Bishop, our own Bishop Gainer has made very strong statements himself.
So anyway, I applaud [Archbishop Burke] for this.
Joe Lerza: I also want to...kind of echo what you all said...I have my top list of church leaders I would love to meet someday, and [Archbishop Burke is] right up there at the top...[Archbishop Burke is] very, very dedicated to the magesterium, and to our faith, and [is] a true Catholic man...
Not only did he not support this fundraiser, he resigned from the board of directors...he's given up his board seat which he's had for a number of years. So it took guts to do that...this man has courage and as Catholics we are lucky to have...leaders in our church like that.
...This is a positive thing that a Catholic man is standing up. And he'll get support from people.
Tom Shaugnessy: Well, what I think is unfortunate in this situation is that a leader taking a moral stand is now viewed as controversial, and that's terribly unfortunate.
(Catholic Round Table, WMJR 1380. April 12, 2007).
Just one week after lavishing such praise and admiration upon the courageous Archbishop and expressing such undaunted catholicity via the public air waves, 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' discovered WMJR 1380 had purchased an entire pew (a cost of $2,000) for the ever-scandalous fundraiser, Evening Among Friends. A fundraiser whose Catholic-platform guests, much like Sheryl Crow, have been active supporters of what the courageous Archbishop Burke unequivocally referred to as, "moral evils."
The event, ironically enough, was attended by Joe Lerza, who as WMJR News Director, according to station General Manager, Leo Brown, "represented the station." Remaining tickets, were dispersed on the air to "lucky" WMJR listeners.
Moreover, according to a station representative, our Catholic radio station has been purchasing these tickets (through a private donor) since the event's disreputable inauguration. Thus, embroiling itself in the scandal Evening Among Friends has most deceptively wrought in the diocese of Lexington.
Now, lest anyone doubt the Lexington diocese has been besmirched by the very stain of scandal Archbishop Burke has blotted out in his beloved archdiocese, allow us to revisit some of the horrid moral evils WMJR valiantly praises the Archbishop for condemning in the St. Louis archdiocese, yet financially and promotionally supports in the Lexington diocese.
Mr. Philbin, Evening Among Friends' first Catholic-platform guest, as it has been chronicled on this website, has been a long-time practitioner of astrology. A pagan practice long condemned by holy scripture and the teaching of the Catholic Church.
In fact, section 2116 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes this and other forms of divination as practices that are to be rejected for "they contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear we owe to God alone." Yet, it was this devilish practice that, Catholic-platform guest, Regis Philbin, freely advocated at the first Evening Among Friends.
Mr. Philbin, it was further revealed on this website, had also provided financial support ($1,000) for the 2000 presidential campaign of Catholic, pro-abortion politician, Bill Bradley, a staunch partial birth abortion supporter.
As if all this were not scandalous enough, 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' further called attention to Mr. Philbin's support for the moral evil of homosexuality when he used his WHO WANTS TO BE A MILLIONAIRE platform for the advancement of the homosexual agenda.
Weeks prior to the fundraiser, however, Lexington Catholics tuned in to hear Fr. James Sichko, the event's organizer, unabashedly tout Mr. Philbin (on WMJR Catholic air waves) as a "practicing Roman Catholic" who "very much believed in his faith" and a Catholic who was "rooted in his [Catholic] faith."
As such disingenuous statements clearly attest, however, scandal (the fundraiser's veiled element) has proven to be Lexington Catholic media's best kept secret. And as we shall see, for Evening Among Friends it has become its unwavering mainstay.
One year after having immersed the Lexington diocese in such reprehensible moral evils, Evening Among Friends hosted its second annual Catholic-platform guest, Mr. Bill Cosby.
Months prior to the comic's appearance, it was uncovered on this website that Mr. Cosby had a long-standing record of financially supporting the campaigns of such radical pro-abortion politicians as, the "Reverend" Jesse Jackson, Maxine Waters, and Barbara Lee, all ardent supporters of the brutal partial birth abortion procedure. Moreover, it was revealed that Cosby had campaigned for 2000 pro-abortion presidential hopeful, Al Gore.
Loggers-on further came to learn, that Mr. Cosby had publicly advocated the moral evil of contraception to teenagers when according to, The World Entertainment News Network, Cosby "...Urged Virginia students to...stay away from unprotected sex." Cosby took it a scandalous step further, according to, News Network, when he "urged teenage girls to consider contraception." A practice which section 2370 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church defines as:
Two weeks prior to Cosby's appearance, 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' further disclosed information to WMJR detailing the existence of a pending civil suit against the comic for allegedly sexually assaulting a woman. WMJR's support for the fundraiser, however, continued unabated.
In fact, one day prior to the event, Joe Lerza, who on Catholic Round Table referred to Archbishop Burke as "...a true Catholic man" and as a man who "has courage..." for his opposition to the scandalous St. Louis fundraiser, promoted Lexington’s own scandalous fundraiser (on WMJR Catholic air waves) when making the following contradictory statements:
"I had the privilege last year of attending the first Evening Among Friends, and I'm Hoping to come again [this] weekend [for the Cosby event]."
"I Assume the same kind of frivolity will happen this weekend."
"Who knows, someday word might get out among the performers that, hey this is a gig you want to do [Evening Among Friends]."
(Diocese Live, WMJR 1380. One day prior to the Cosby event).
Mr. Lerza further urged listeners to:
"call Ticket Master, get on their website."
"Prices, I know, are reasonable." Proclaimed Mr. Lerza.
It is in light of such contradictory verbiage, that we respectfully ask, is it not Catholic media loyal Lexington Catholics look to when seeking the truth? Is it not Catholic media loyal Lexington Catholics look to when seeking a moral compass? Is it not Catholic media that has a duty, more so than secular media, to (at the very least) be objective in its reporting?
Instead, Lexington Catholic media, we deeply lament, has swept the truth underneath the moral carpet, Lexington Catholic media has allowed scandal to go unexposed and chosen to engage in expedient double-talk. All the while, luring unsuspecting Catholics into corroboration with moral evil. The same moral evil for which it praises Archbishop Raymond Burke for opposing.
Make no mistake about it fellow Catholics, when presented with the opportunity to rise to the Catholic moral occasion, unlike Archbishop Burke, Lexington Catholic media has fallen into the silence of the abyss.
Rather than imitating the example of the Archbishop it praises and denouncing Evening Among Friends for the scandalous event it knows it is, Lexington Catholic media, to our regret, issues special news announcements declaring who the next Catholic-platform guest will be.
Was this not the case with Howie Mandel, whose $5,000 contribution to a political committee was, in turn, dispersed to numerous pro-abortion politicians? In fact, as it has been revealed on this website, one such politician might just have been Kentucky Congressman Ben Chandler, who successfully defeated Senator Alice Forgy Kerr, a pro-life politician who carried the endorsement of the Kentucky Right to Life Committee for her pro-life and pro-family stance.
In spite of such an appalling conflict of interest, however, WMJR wasted no time in announcing Mandel's replacement, when it was reported on Catholic air waves that Mandel had bowed out of the event "due to the success of his show, DEAL OR NO DEAL."
Mandel's replacement, announced Joe Lerza, would be Hollywood actor and comedian, Martin Short.
As with the Regis fiasco, Father James Sichko was quick to advance Mr. Short, according to the Cross Roads, (the diocesan newspaper) as " a Catholic with a fine reputation."
Yet upon conducting a bit of research, 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' is quite confounded at what could possibly inspire such an irresponsible utterance. When not unlike every other Catholic-platform guest that has graced the Lexington Catholic dais, Mr. Short has financially supported the campaigns of pro-abortion politicians who support a diabolical array of moral evils.
For instance, Mr. Short, according to, NEWSMEAT.COM, has contributed $1,000 to the senatorial campaign of none other than, Hillary Rodham Clinton.
Now Senator Clinton, according to, On the Issues, was "recommended by Emily's List of pro-choice women (2001)." Additionally, Senator Clinton was "rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record (2003)." Also in 2003, Senator Clinton voted NO on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life. Moreover, In 2004 Senator Clinton voted NO on a criminal penalty for harming an unborn fetus during another crime.
Additionally, in January of 2005, in a speech to the NYS Family Planning Providers, Senator Clinton stated:
"Another form of family planning that should be widely available to women is Plan B, Emergency Contraception."
In fact, the following year, according to, On the Issues, Senator Clinton voted "YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education and contraceptives."
And when addressing the moral evil of homosexuality in March of 2007, according to, Cybercast News Service, Clinton told Bloomberg news:
"I do not think homosexuality is immoral."
Yet, in spite of Mr. Short's apparent financial corroboration with moral evil, Father James Sichko, a Catholic priest, recklessly proclaimed the Hollywood actor as "a Catholic with a fine reputation."
Had the responsible task of researching Mr. Short prior to publicly extending such lofty praise had been undertaken, perhaps the additional $500 contribution to the Barbara Boxer senatorial campaign might have been discovered.
Barbara Boxer, like Senator Clinton, according to, On the Issues, was "recommended by Emily's List of pro-choice women (2001)." Like Senator Clinton, Senator Boxer was "rated 100% by NARAL, indicating a pro-choice voting record (2003)." Senator Boxer further sports a voting record which is riddled with reprehensible moral evils which Holy Mother Church vehemently opposes.
Let's have a look:
NO on banning human cloning (1998).
NO on banning partial birth abortions (1999).
NO on maintaining a ban on military base abortions (2000).
NO on banning partial birth abortions except for maternal life (2003).
NO on a criminal penalty for harming an unborn fetus during another crime (2004).
YES on $100M to reduce teen pregnancy by education and contraceptives (2005).
This is the scandalous fundraiser of which Father James Sichko in his, April 15 2007, PASTOR'S PAGE remarked:
"Trust me, this is a unique form of evangelization."
Further adding insult to injury, according to a Lexington Herald Leader article, is the distinct possibility that (at least in the Cosby case) Father Sichko's St. Mark parish may have actually paid the comic for his scandalous appearance. In the article, staff writer, Frank Lockwood states:
"The church isn't saying how much it paid to bring Cosby to town, but the parish financial adviser Jim Bennett says the church could raise $100,000 by the time the comedian is through."
As we have seen, however, Raising big money has come at the expense of some perilous compromising.
Nevertheless, this is what Lexington Catholic media, to our chagrin, has financially and promotionally supported for three consecutive years.
Of greater disappointment and concern to many in the Lexington diocese, however, has been the good Bishop Gainer's support for the scandalous fundraiser.
In light of the Courageous Archbishop's stand, loyal Lexington Catholics are left bewildered at Bishop Gainer's failure to put a stop to an event that, in the words of the courageous Archbishop, has seriously called "...into question in the minds of the faithful the commitment of...the [diocese] to the cause of life."
It profoundly concerns us that many have been left with the impression, as Archbishop Burke has rightly observed, "...that their spiritual leader also thinks this is just fine."
Perhaps of utmost consideration, should be the following words by Archbishop Burke:
"I have to answer to God for the responsibilities which I have as Archbishop."
It is for these reasons, that 'AGAINST ALL HERESIES' humbly urges the good Bishop, which as Mike Allen, of Catholic Round Table has observed, "has made some very strong statements himself," to stand firm behind those statements. We urge the good Bishop to not allow his inaction on this matter to compromise the integrity with which he has spoken powerful statements such as these:
"I take this opportunity to warn Catholic politicians within this diocese who in their public careers choose to depart from church teaching regarding the inviolability of all human life."
"They [Catholic politicians] need to consider the consequences of their position for their own spiritual well-being, as well as the scandal they cause by leading others in serious moral danger."
"We are here because we want to support legislation that promotes gospel values and the church's social teachings and we want to defeat legislation that does not."
We ask the good Bishop Gainer to align himself with his unwavering brother Bishop, Archbishop Burke, and put a stop to a fundraiser born in scandal and destined to die in it. We ask the good Bishop Gainer to put a stop to an event that would have singer Natalie Cole as featured Catholic-platform guest, who like Philbin, Cosby, Mandel, and Short financially supports politicians who will enact the very legislation whose defeat the good Bishop has called for. Legislation that utterly fails to promote "gospel values and the church's social teaching."
For according to, NEWSMEAT.COM, Natalie Cole has financially supported the senatorial campaign of Carol Moseley Braun with a $1,000 political contribution.
Like Senators Clinton and Boxer, Braun, according to, On the Issues, was "recommended by Emily's List of pro-choice women (2001)." In 2004, Carol Moseley in complete opposition to "gospel values and the church's social teaching," stated:
"Abortion should always be legal."
Is this not the mother of moral evils we as Catholics oppose and strive to legislatively defeat?
Moreover, according to NEWSMEAT, Natalie Cole has financially supported the disbanded, HOLLYWOOD WOMEN'S POLITICAL COMMITTEE. A committee which, according to the, Morgan Fairchild Biography, co-organized "pro-choice marches in 1989 and 1992."
Before disbanding, the political committee "raised millions for liberal candidates for state and federal office."
Furthermore, in August of 2000 Natalie Cole, according to, BBC NEWS, performed at a fundraiser for Senatorial hopeful, Hillary Rodham Clinton. The fundraiser reportedly raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for Hillary's senate raise.
Since taking office, as we have seen, Senator Clinton has supported a long list of moral evils that stand in square opposition to "...gospel values and the church's social teachings."
Given these truths, in the words of the courageous Archbishop Burke, we implore our spiritual leader to
"[re]confirm [the Lexington diocese] in its commitment to the Gospel of Life."
For let there be no doubt, Evening Among Friends has called into question the diocese's commitment to the cause of life in the minds of the faithful, it has led unsuspecting Catholics to corroborate with moral evil, and has brought scandal unforgettable upon the Lexington diocese.
God bless fellow Catholics.
Let us pray unceasingly for those in Lexington Catholic media, Father James Sichko, and the good Bishop Gainer.
"When for economic gain, a Catholic institution associates itself with such a high profile proponent(s) of the destruction of innocent lives, members of the church...have the right to be confirmed in their commitment to the Gospel of Life."
(Archbishop Raymond Burke).