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Monsignor Hilary Franco endorsed books 1 - 7 of the "Catholicism on Trial Series".
THE CONGREGATION FOR THE CLERGY.
Monsignor Franco was an official of the Congregation of the Clergy with competence for the English speaking world for 24 years (of his more than 26 in the Vatican). Mr. LeBlanc provided Monsignor Franco with books 1 - 7 of his Trial Series and asked him for his endorsement. After reading these books Monsignor Franco forthrightly gave his endorsement (see endorsement below). He even went so far as to say from the pulpit during Mass there was someone at that Mass (Mr. LeBlanc was in attendance) who had just written a wonderful series of books defending the faith that he personally read. His written endorsement, well known to a number of parishioners, had been at the beginning of each book and on this website for over a year. A parishioner told Monsignor that his endorsement, though helpful, was not the equivalent of an Imprimatur and that Mr. LeBlanc should seek to obtain an Imprimatur from a Bishop. Monsignor Franco wanted the weight of his endorsement to be appreciated so he went out of his way to provide Mr. LeBlanc with further enumeration of his work at the Vatican as an official of the Congregation and his endorsement (in bold text below).
Monsignor Franco sent an email to Mr. LeBlanc dated October 13, 2009. The Subject line of the email reads: Re: Regarding your Endorsement
Monsignor Franco stated the following in the email:
"The Congregation of the Clergy.
This Congregation examines those things which concern priests and deacons of the secular clergy with regard to their persons, pastoral ministry, matters which are in support of the exercise of these things, and in all this provides opportune assistance to the bishops.
The Congregation for the Clergy has many functions: studies, proposes and urges the means and aids by which priests strive for sanctity. This office also has charge of everything which concerns the work and discipline of the diocesan clergy. Particularly it promotes the preaching of the Word of God and the works of the apostolate and organization of catechesis, evaluates and approves pastoral and catechetical directories, fosters national and international Catechetical Congresses and indicates the opportune norms for religious instruction of children, young people and adults>
Roger, I was an official of the Congregation of the Clergy with competence for the English speaking world for 24 years (of my more than 26 in the Vatican), so you could perhaps - if you wish - use my title as former Official of the Congregation of the Clergy in the Vatican which "Promotes the preaching of the Word of God and the works of the apostolate and organization of catechesis, evaluates and approves pastoral and catechetical directories ... and indicates the opportune norms for religious instruction of children, young people and adults.
God love you, Monsignor."
Please Note: Monsignor Franco's endorsement will not be included in books 8 - 15 in the Trial Series because they are not yet complete. Mr. LeBlanc will seek endorsements from others who are qualified in the subject matter for each of these remaining books once they are comppleted.
Before his appointment to the Congregation of the Clergy he served in the Diplomatic Corps of the Vatican at the Apostolic Delegation in Washington D.C. for 2 years. He also worked directly with Bishop Sheen as his assistant for five years at the National Office for the Propagation of the Faith in New York. While in that office, he was a member of the board of the Directors of World Mission Magazine. He also served as a "Peritus" (expert) at the 2nd Vatican Council. He is a Prelate of the Holy Father, and he has contributed articles for the New Catholic Encyclopedia. Monsignor Franco is also a Judge in the Court of Appeals in the Metropolitan Tribunal for the State of New York.
Mr. LeBlanc wishes to extend his thanks and gratitude to Monsignor Franco for his endorsement which was and is as follows:
CATHOLICISM ON TRIAL SERIES - by Roger LeBlanc
Roger LeBlanc deserves to be praised for his enthusiasm in dealing with a project that has been the dream of any apologist in the history of the Church.
Trying to present Catholicism in a way that could be conducive to modern day understanding, Mr. Le Blanc uses a Perry Mason approach to defend the Catholic values of Scripture and Tradition against the so called 'scriptural experts' who use the Holy Scriptures to their own advantage giving an interpretation that most of the times risks to falsify the divine goal to teach human beings the fundamental elements necessary to reach salvation.
The "Series" could definitely be an excellent tool for every priest whose task (one of the most important ones in his ministry) is to convey to his flock the truths contained in the Scriptures complementing them with whatever we believe is part of the Church's bimillenerian Tradition. This is why I feel that Roger has purposely dedicated the "Series" to "Catholic Priests and the flock to whom they tend".
Roger LeBlanc's "Catholicism on Trial Series" is so easy to read and to follow that every lay person could benefit from it and it can actually be put in the hands of a high school student who is interested in learning more about religion.
My personal curiosity in reading the volumes stemmed mainly from two factors: one was that - having served the Church universal at the Vatican for twenty-six years of my priestly life - I was mesmerized by the approach of what the Author calls an 'International Court of Law'; the second factor had to do with the Counsel for the Defendant who happens to be Attorney Peter Sheen who 'has been given the same birth name as the well known and beloved Bishop Fulton J. Sheen'… whom I was privileged to serve for almost five years.
The volumes exude and breathe great dedication to the Church, to the Holy Father and to the Magisterium.
For all these reasons I would heartily recommend the use of these volumes to whomever loves and appreciates the contribution of Catholicism to the history of the world in the last two millennia and beyond.
Monsignor Hilary Franco
About the Author
Mr. LeBlanc is a Pontifically Certified Catechist of the Vatican authorized by the Congregation of the Clergy in Rome, even though though he is not ordained to the Priesthood. To email Mr. LeBlanc Click Here.
The Reasons for the "Trial Format" in this Series:
"Relativism", which is the denial that absolute truths exist in reason, morals, and religion, is widespread in our day. And it has produced a thriving cult of "self and ego", so it should come as no surprise that "litigation" has risen dramatically. This is what accounts for the success of shows like "Judge Judy". But what is it that really drives this new fascination with litigation? Have people become more judgmental of each other because they have turned away from God? Whatever the reasons, this is where society finds itself today, making this Trial Series perfectly suited to our times. It meets people where they are and provides a path back to moral and religious "objectivity". It's gripping, thorough, and at times explosive as we examine the source of division in Christianity and where ultimate religious authority is to be found.
In this Series, non-Catholic Christians, and others, take the Catholic Church to trial using the Bible Alone as their sole authority to contest the Authority of the Papacy and the Magisterium of the Catholic Church. But they are stunned to find themselves thoroughly silenced by Catholic Representatives who use Scripture itself as their primary source of refutation.
5 Point Approach
1. Litigious Society - People take a strong interest in litigation as "theater" - its drama accounts for the success of numerous movies and television shows based on litigation, one of the more recent being "Judge Judy."
Additionally, Pope Benedict XVI has called upon Catholics to develop new ways to educate and evangelize making this Series perfectly suited to the times in which we live. This Series is a powerful tool for Catholics who wish to respond to the proselytism of various Christian sects who use litigation tactics to draw Catholics away from the Church. The Holy Father has expressed deep concern about this problem, lamenting the loss of Catholics to other denominations not only here in the US, but in South America, the Philippines, and other nations.
On February 8, 2008, the Holy Father said to the Costa Rican Bishops, and to the Faithful:
"You have before you the task of seeking new ways to announce Christ in situations of rapid and often profound transformation. The people of Costa Rica must constantly revitalize their profound Christian roots, their vigorous religiosity, and their deep Marian devotion; may these bring the fruits of a life worthy of the disciples of Jesus. The risks of lethargic and superficial faith when it has to face such snares as the proselytism of sects and pseudo-religious groups, the multiple promises of easy and immediate well-being, but which end in disillusion and disappointment, or the spread of ideologies which, while claiming to exalt human beings, actually debase them."
2. Summa Method - Objections and Replies -- Objections come from the Plaintiff with replies from Catholic Representatives for the Defense.
3. Personalized - Like radio, the reader gets to form their own image of witnesses and attorneys. This contributes to a much greater retention than the Q & A format.
4. Non-Catholic Christians - Many non-Catholics believe that the Catholic Church cannot support - from a Scriptural perspective - either its doctrine or her claim of being founded by Jesus Christ. The series responds in a very substantial and effective manner to their objections. The Objections used in the Series are frank and cover the spectrum of real world objections to Catholicism.
5. Church On Trial - Many people have the Church "on trial" in their minds in our day. The Series meets them where they are by virtue of the title, and thus engaged removes barriers allowing for an open, but factual, discussion on Scripture in the setting of a secular court where only facts matter - when raised, proved and marshaled effectively by advocates.
There is a crisis of authority that is directly related to the problem of relativism. This Series effectively deals with this. In fact, the Holy Father named "Relativism" as the problem which has created a crisis over where ultimate moral authority rests. At the Pre-Conclave Mass on the evening before His election to the Papacy, the Holy Father said:
"We are moving towards a dictatorship of relativism which does not recognize anything as definitive and has as its highest value one's own ego and one's own desires."
Sadly, such relativist epistemology and pedagogy continues to be utilized and promoted by forces and institutions of dictatorship for the sole, devious purpose to weaken its victims, so that their institutions can supplant the Church with a totalitarianism that strips their captives of all personal liberty!
In light of this and St. Paul's counsel to meet people where they are, both personally and institutionally, the "Catholicism on Trial Series" is perfectly suited to meet the problem of religious relativism found rampant, today, in Catholic institutions, and in Christianity at large. The Series provides a path back to objectivity where ultimate moral and religious authority rests. This Series serves as a solid tool for evangelization and education by calling Christians to unite with Rome. The "Catholicism on Trial Series" is faithful to all the teachings of the Catholic Church. It will serve to educate Catholics who take a renewed interest in their faith, and it would serve to assist the Clergy and CCD and RCIA Teacher Trainers and Educators in their task of instructing, respectively, young people and those who seek entrance into the Catholic Church. And, if used as a Vatican Council II-emphasized, but long-ignored, "priority" -- in Adult Education, it would be beneficial for families as well.