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I wish the current pope could read fellow Jesuits like Fr. Schall, Fr. Schaller (a Ratzinger Prize winner) and Fr. Samir on Islam
which they have written about so much, and maybe he, Bergoglio, will learn enough to shed his self-woven coccoon of self-deluding
political correctness and face up instead to reality...

Manchester, London, and the goals of Islam
on its own terms, Islam has a noble mission; namely, to submit the world to Allah.
This goal has been so since its beginning in the seventh century, when it seemed impossible.
But it needs to be roused up from time to time. We live in an era of such self-rousing.

by James V. Schall, S.J.
[IMG] [/IMG]
June 11, 2017

“In Islam and the Qur’an there is everything. Parts that actually speak of peace are mixed with outrageous claims that run in the opposite sense, especially with regard to those who have different beliefs. Therefore, a priori, it is not right to defend Islam as a ‘religion of peace’.

In addition, it is wrong to say that we believe in the same god. For Christians, God is love. For Muslims, this is not always the case. We can say, correctly, that both faiths believe in one god, but this is something quite different from saying that we believe in the same god.

I think, in many ways, the model of Islam is incompatible with Western values. Islam in fact is not only a religion, but unifies politics, economics, society and state.”
— Samir Khalil Samir, S. J., Interview, April 2017

A friend was just in Paris waiting to visit Notre Dame. Suddenly sirens, police, and chaos were everywhere. Another young Muslim was shot trying to knife a guard. The place could not have been more symbolic. It fleetingly recalls what happened in Santa Sofia in May 1453.

Years ago, the Archbishop of Mosul, after his church and city were destroyed, warned that the same thing would soon happen in Europe. It has begun. We now expect increasing “incidents”.

Indeed, the getting used to them follows the not being willing identify the cause. Armies and police are mostly useless in the present context. They can only react to an enemy who can act anywhere.

If, under the rubric of compassion, humanitarianism, refugees, poverty, or desperation, we bring into a society masses of people whose understanding of God and man is not ours, we can expect trouble.

The question then becomes: “Do they become like us, or do we become like them?” The incidents in London, then Manchester, then Paris, then London again are not isolated. We dare not ask: “Why are they not?”

Dealing with Islam is a function of understanding Islam.
- Islam is a book and a history. They belong together.
- It is a religion that is a politics.
- The billion and a quarter Muslims on this planet today are divided into some fifty separate, yet not so separate political entities.
- They now have no universal caliphate but would like one.
- Islam has no central authority.
- Muslims are also divided into Sunnis and Shiites, plus a few others. They often war against each other.

“What is Islam?” yields many opinions. What follows here is a “minority” opinion. It seeks to state the facts and theory that explain what is happening in our time.

“Islam vs. the world” is a better summation than “Islam’s place in the world.” Briefly, Islam has no settled “place” in the world until the world is simply Islam with no other option available. Islam is in turmoil with itself as long as what is not Islam exists and flourishes.

In its own terms, Islam has a noble mission; namely, to submit the world to Allah. This goal has been on its horizon since its beginning in the seventh century, when such an accomplishment seemed impossible. It needs to be roused up from time to time. We live in an era of its renewed self-rousing. Yet, nothing can be found in philosophy, revelation, or natural religion that can justify it. We can only explain it.

In an effort to justify its many internal contradictions before reality, Islam, at least from the eleventh century, developed a voluntarist understanding of Allah whereby anything can be justified, even the opposites of good and evil, truth and falsity. To uphold this option, no basic questioning is allowed. Force, in various forms, not reason, upholds the doctrine embodied in the Qur’an and the culture it inspires.

Voluntarism means that no objective order is found in human or natural things. Everything that we see could be otherwise. The cause of anything that happens is the ungrounded will of Allah. He is not ruled by logos, reason. Hence he is not and cannot be limited by the distinction of good and evil. If Allah were so limited, he would, in this view, not be all powerful and therefore not divine. Thus, in Muslim eyes, any effort to submit Allah to reason is a betrayal of his omnipotence. [A point well expressed by Benedict XVI early on in the Regensburg lecture, after citing Manuel II Paleologos's remark about Mohammed.

The decisive statement in this argument against violent conversion is this: not to act in accordance with reason is contrary to God's nature....For the emperor, as a Byzantine shaped by Greek philosophy, this statement is self-evident. But for Muslim teaching, God is absolutely transcendent. His will is not bound up with any of our categories, even that of rationality... Ibn Hazm [994-1064, Andalusian Muslim of Persian descent, and recognized as one of the leading thinkers in Islam's Spain-based 'Golden Age'] went so far as to state that God is not bound even by his own word, and that nothing would oblige him to reveal the truth to us. Were it God's will, we would even have to practise idolatry.

The notion that something is “contradictory” has no meaning in a voluntarist system. The planet is divided between a world of peace, that is, what is already controlled by Islam, and a world with which Islam is at war. Universal peace means nothing less than the elimination of a sphere of war; that is, the elimination of a place where Islam does not impose its law on all existing people and their cultures.

My view here is not intended to be polemic, but descriptive. It might well be wrong in various details. But it is a defense of Islam, in the sense that it is philosophically proper and necessary to state what it is; it is also a critique of why its continuing expansion is a judgment on the blindness and ineptness of those opposing it.

Given a choice, no doubt, these latter would not decide to become Muslim, even if confronted with the famous Islamic alternative that so many have faced in the past twelve centuries: death or conversion. On the other hand, they evidently do not see what their future will be if Islam succeeds, as it well might, in expanding to other areas or to the whole of the world.

In the “beginning” in Western thought, to recall both Aristotle and John’s Gospel, the world is as it is. It does not exist as the result of some human establishment. Knowing that the world exists not of ourselves, we seek to find a cause both of why it is and of why it is this way, not that way.

In Islam, the beginning and the end could be otherwise with equal grandeur. Allah could make anything the opposite of what it is. There is no stability in things since, should Allah so will it, anything could be its opposite. Nature yields not order but arbitrariness. This realization paralyzes the Muslim mind. This is why, in Islam, submission is nobler than reason.

Reason supposes that God wanted rational beings also to know Him and freely to love him. Submission presupposes that we can know nothing. Our only alternative is to accept whatever happens and bow unquestioningly because no reasons are available or possible. We have here the grandeur of complete helplessness. Our only input is to accept it — whatever it is.

The primary mission of Islam is, for its own good, to subject the rest of the world to this same view and practice. When this happens, there will be peace on earth.

As each bombing, shooting, knifing, or truck crashing incident comes along — whether in Europe, Asia, Africa, or the Americas — much of the world comprehends it as they did the previous bombing, and the knifing before that, and the incident before that. That is, they officially treat it as an individual problem of some usually “fanatical” or otherwise confused youth acting on their own.

Officials hope against hope that it was not the result of a plan, of a concerted and well-thought out invasion of their land. This fact would undermine the whole public order and the official explanation of what is happening, the nonsense of the “hate laws” that prevent people from speaking the truth about these events.

Following this pattern, people basically learn very little about why what is happening. Nothing can be learned without facing two facts that the liberal ideology of the West in particular chooses not to include.

The first is that the West insists in seeing Islam through the lenses of its own modern, liberal theories about religion, freedom, and human motivation.
- Islam is just another “religion”; we are told that it acts like other religions, even when it doesn’t. (The alternate corollary of this view in much western thought is that all other religions, especially Christianity, are composed of fanatics just like Islam).
- Few will grasp that a singular purpose can be and in fact has been pursued in Islam for centuries.

Such western theories have their own presuppositions and limitations that make it almost impossible for them to see clearly what is happening. When the so-called “terrorists” frankly explain what they are doing — namely, following what it says in their book — they are ignored because, while it fits in with the terrorists’ understanding of reality, it does not fit in with what most people in the West insist on holding.

The second element is that they cannot comprehend that the Qur’an, in the eyes of many Muslims, means just what it says it means. It is a religion that continually seeks, whether it be gradually or quickly, to conquer the world for Allah by whatever means are at hand in a given century or a given place.

Islam does not disdain gradualism if it works, as it often does. Today, we are not witnessing something new, but something being renewed in the light of a shrewd estimation by many Muslim thinkers and activists about the weakness and lack of insight on the part of those who might naturally be expected to oppose this expansion.

The much controverted statement of the 19th-century British Prime Minister, William Gladstone (1809-98), that we will have violence from Islam as long as the Qur’an is read, seems very close to the truth, both of the historical record and of the text itself.

Many want to sanitize the text by eliminating or interpreting the many passages in the Qur’an that insist on this expansion. But to follow this procedure is to change the Qur’an so that it is not the same book that it was said to be revealed to Muhammad. We either have to say that the Qur’an does not say what it says or that it does not, contrary to centuries of faithful readers, mean what it says it means.

The third alternative is to look at what many Muslims in fact did do in the light of this history: they accepted a theory of voluntarism that allows the changing of words and ideas at will so that there is no set intelligence in any revealed word.

President Trump came as close as any recent political leader in putting his finger on the problem. But even he did not state the fact that we are now witnessing moral aberrations on a regular basis in these sequential bombings.

The “aberrations”, if we must use that term, are on the side of those who cannot bring themselves to admit the facts, historical and contemporary, that the problem is within Islam itself — not just with “terrorists” who supposedly have little or nothing to do with Islam.

No doubt some recent Muslim intellectuals have dallied with nationalist or Leninist thinking, but they did not need this to justify their efforts to continue the historic Muslin effort to conquer the world for Allah.

The President wants Muslims themselves to identify such “terrorists” within their own families and communities and to get them out of their countries. It will never happen. In one sense, if we read the statistics on the estimated numbers of jihadists already in foreign countries, they already are busy at this task of expanding Islam. This is the source of the continued bombings.

The trouble is that such large numbers of young and mostly male Muslims in every Western country are not there simply because they are poor or have been expelled as unwanted from Muslim states. They are there to expand Islam itself. This is why we have bombings.

These young men and their shrewd leaders have judged that the best way to continue this expansion into hitherto difficult territory isto infiltrate it through a combination of violence and democratic/demographic use of existing laws.

The massive invasion of refugees included many bent on expanding Islam to Europe in particular. We can add the demographic dynamic of frequent birth of Muslim children in contrast to a rapid decline of birth among Europeans.

The Muslim method of expansion begins with a refusal to integrate into any new society.
- They set up their own enclaves and quickly establish their own internal laws and enforcements.
- The purpose of Muslim expansion is not to assimilate into a new nation and culture but rather to change it so that it conforms to Muslim ways.
- This keeping apart does not mean that the laws and customs of other lands cannot be used for purposes of the expansion of Islam. No classic western laws have aided Muslim expansion more than those that guarantee freedom of speech and religion, as well as those fostering diversity in a manner that makes judging the real direction of Islamic presence almost impossible.

The expansion of Islam into at least the Western world is, as far as I can see, going quite well. Its would-be opponents (and victims) are confused by what it is and by their own ideological explanations of reality, particularly religious reality.

This latter confusion could not be a more welcome thing for those Muslim thinkers and actors who are engaged in promoting this wide-spread expansion of Islam into areas of the world where it had not been previously found.

India, of course, is the one country that was formed by the refusal of its former northern Muslim provinces to stay in India. India still has, though a significant minority, one of the largest Muslim populations in the world. Muslim/Hindu struggles go back centuries.
- Muslim forces now regularly test the Philippine southern islands. China,
- Japan, Korea, and Vietnam are largely future projects for Islam.
- Malaysia and Indonesia are Muslim nations. [Indonesia, with 229 million Muslims making up 87% of its population, is the largest Muslim nation in the world.]
- Islam is active and successful in Africa.
- It has footholds in North America and looks carefully at Latin America.

Within all Muslim nations themselves we also find a struggle between a status quo establishment and the newly energized movements to return to the jihad, to the expansion of Islam.

The Saudis have been busy financing the construction of thousands of mosques and promoting other pro-Muslim academic and social entitles all over Europe and the Americas. Many Christian churches have been torn down in Muslim lands. They have been closed or abandoned in Europe and America due to the decline in the number of believers; Muslims would like to take possession of some of these abandoned edifices.

Mosques are now found almost everywhere. They are not simply built by local money or members. They are clearly part of a plan. We have been witnessing one of the most remarkable expansions of concrete Islamic presence in centuries.

Meanwhile, the project of ridding the Muslim lands in the Middle East of Christian presence has been almost completed in recent years.
- Many known and unknown Christian martyrs can be counted in these areas. This attack on Christians has been, with few exceptions, little more than noted.
- There has been minimal success or even effort to insist that the freedom provided Muslims in western countries be reciprocated in the Muslim lands. Until this demand is made a central element in western thinking and policy, no Muslim government would worry too much about it.

Is there anything that might stop this dynamic Muslim expansion? Islamic thinkers recognize that, at bottom, much of the West is governed in principle by the same voluntarist philosophy that it has accepted to justify its own incoherence. The only thing voluntarist systems recognize as binding is force. But force is relatively useless until it is seen within a system that knows how and where to use it.

Islamic leaders have every right to think that they can greatly extend the boundaries of Islam into Europe in the near future by using the democratic process made available to them in these lands.

What it would take to deter it is a twofold effort that would itself not depend on relativist/liberal ideas about religion. Yet, Christianity seems itself to be no longer exempt from these same relativist tendencies to provide any effective counter-force.

Still, what makes Islam vulnerable is what it says and believes about itself. It believes that the Qur’an is a final revelation of Allah and it does not hold itself to be bound by natural justice. These are very dubious premises. These two are the weakest and most in need of attention in dealing with Islam.

While its rapid expansion in its early years was largely by military means, Islam is capable of using less violent methods for the same end. Today we see both of these approaches skillfully employed.

The Qur’an is said to originate directly from its source in Allah.
- It claims to be the final revelation that corrects earlier revelations (Old and New Testaments).
- It specifically denies the Trinity, the Incarnation, the Cross, and the Resurrection.
- If it is true, Christianity cannot be true.

The Qur’an is said to have no human origin or input. Since this belief governs the thinking in Islam, a valid and critical edition of the Qur’an is needed. Though much reflection is found on the words and ideas of the Qur’an, it is astonishing that no critical edition exists either in the West or in Islam.

For some time now, a group of German scholars have been working on the Corpus Coranicum. This endeavor seeks to locate and publish all the earliest texts of the Qur’an, together with commentaries. The Qur’an contains within itself sources that are older than Islam, things from the Old Testament and the apocryphal gospels. The earliest texts of the Qur’an do not appear until a century after Mohammed.

Insofar as this critical edition suggests that the Qur’an is not what it claims to be, its publication will be slow (some give the date of 2025) and dangerous, if it appears at all. Fear of retaliation is always present in dealing with a critical edition that finds anything suspicious in the origins of the Qur’an.

The effort to deal with Islam as having nothing to do with violence cannot be maintained either in the texts or in the historical record. However, the problem of natural justice can be used as a tool to confront the most visible objections to Islam today, namely the killings of innocent people. Of course, this approach is open to the objection that similar things are done in the West. It just depends on what one objects to.

The numbers of those killed in jihadist type atrocities is large, but so is the record of abortion killings in the West. Islam is far more just on this score than most of the Western countries.

What is to be noted is that both justifications — jihad and abortion —rest on voluntarist principles. This means, in essence, that the primary struggle with Islam is also a struggle with ourselves about the grounds of reason.

Both in the case of a critical edition of the Qur’an and in the dealing with arbitrary killings of innocents, we need a common standard of reason. This point, of course, is what Benedict XVI pointed out in his Regensburg Lecture. The reaction of some Muslims was one of violence, which proved his point; the Western reaction was one of indifference.

But the fact is that the disorders in Islam and in the West have a common origin. Until this source is recognized, the violence in both areas will continue and grow.

Or to put it another way, violence as such is not the problem, only its external manifestation. The real issue is that Deus Logos, non Voluntas, est.(God is love, not will)

P.S. Quite 'synchronically', as Carl Jung might say, Edward Pentin had the following interview with another Jesuit who is by no means 'Bergoglian'. For some reason, however, Pentin does not bring up the fact that Fr. Henri Boulad, 86, made news earlier this year when he chose to become a Hungarian citizen last March, taking his citizenship oath at the Hungarian Parliament in Budapest. He gave up his Egyptian citizenship to become a Hungarian citizen because he "agrees with the Hungarian Government’s efforts to protect Christians and Christian values".

Boulad was born in Alexandria in 1931 into a Syrian family; his father was Syrian, his mother was Italian, and the family were Catholics who spoke French as a first language. He entered the Jesuit Order in 1950 and was ordained as a priest in 1963 in Beirut.

He acquired three doctorates and, returning to Egypt, was involved in youth education and social work, in addition to holding spiritual exercises. He organised Egypt’s CARITAS, the Roman Catholic charity, in cooperation with Saint Teresa of Calcutta. He organised refugee camps and fought to stop the genocide in Sudan and to gain the freedom of slaves. He received the Officer’s Cross of the French Order of Merit “for a life devoted solely to self-sacrifice”.

He held annual lecture tours in Europe and his speeches were often also aired on radio. In 2004, he became the head of the Jesuit College in Cairo. He regularly visited Hungary to hold lectures, and last March, when he came to Budapest to take on his new citizenship, he gave several lectures which were oversubscribed practically moments after tickets became available.

Jesuit scholar says 'seeking to defend Islam
at all costs is betraying the truth'

The Church has failed to address reality because she has fallen prey
to a leftist ideology that is destroying the West

by Edward Pentin
June 15, 2017

The Church should not defend Islam “at all costs” and seek to “exonerate it from the horrors committed every day in its name” or else “one ends up betraying the truth,” a leading Jesuit scholar of Islam has asserted.

Greek Melkite Jesuit Father Henri Boulad believes that when it comes to dealing with Islam, the Catholic Church [not the Church, but the man elected to be its leader] has succumbed to a “liberal left ideology which is destroying the West” based on the pretext of “openness, tolerance and Christian charity.”

In a June 10 interview with the Register, Father Boulad reveals that he shared these sentiments with Pope Francis in a letter he wrote to him last August, telling him that many think the Pope’s own views on Islam are “aligned with this ideology, and that, from complacency, you go from concessions to concessions, and compromises in compromises, at the expense of the truth.”

“Christians,” he wrote, “are expecting something from you other than vague and harmless declarations that may obscure reality.”

Some said the Pope took a diplomatic yet slightly firmer line on Islam when he gave an address to Al Azhar university in Cairo at the end of April.

Father Boulad, 85, an Egyptian and a relative of the Jesuit scholar of Islam, Father Samir Khalil Samir, also discusses in this interview why he believes Islamists are merely carrying out what their religion teaches, whether Islam is capable of reform, and how, despite its problems, the religion can help the Church in acting as a bulwark against secularist ideology.

Father Boulad, what evidence is there to show that Islam is inherently violent?
Here are clear statements in the Koran itself :

"Kill the unbelievers wherever you find them." Koran 2:191

"Make war on the infidels living in your neighbourhood." Koran 9:123

"When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them." Koran 9:5

"Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable." Koran 3:85

"The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them."... Koran 9:30

"Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam" Koran 5:33

"Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies." Koran 22:19

"The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them." Koran 8:65

"Muslims must not take the infidels as friends." Koran 3:28

"Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur'an." Koran 8:12

"Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels." Koran 8:60

Add to these a few samples from Muhammad’s teachings and life. Here are some quotations taken from Muslim sources:

- "I have been commanded to fight against people till they testify that there is no god but Allah, and that Muhammad is the messenger of Allah" - (Muslim 1:33)

- "Fight everyone in the way of Allah and kill those who disbelieve in Allah." (Ibn Ishaq 992). Muhammad’s life was a succession of warfare, plundering and killings… and every Muslim is invited to imitate this supreme “model”.

- Muhammad owned and traded slaves (Sahih Muslim 3901), and ordered his followers to stone women for adultery. (Muslim 4206)

- He himself beheaded 800 Jewish men and boys (Abu Dawud 4390), ordered the murder of women (Ibn Ishaq 819, 995) and killed those who insulted him. (Bukhari 56:369, 4:241)

- According to him, Jihad in the way of Allah elevates one's position in Paradise by a hundredfold. (Muslim 4645)

- In his last ten years, he ordered 65 military campaigns and raids. and killed captives taken in battle. (Ibn Ishaq 451)

- He encouraged his men to rape enslaved women, (Abu Dawood 2150, Quran 4:24), he put apostates to death, plundered and lived off the wealth of others, captured and enslaved non-Muslim people.

- After Mohammed’s death, his followers attacked and conquered the populations of 28 countries and declared holy war on the people of five major world religions.

Examples from Islamic history:

- In the first 240 years, 11 of the first 32 caliphs were murdered by fellow Muslims.

- Muslim clerics have always engaged in or condoned terrorism all along history and up till now.

- We witness daily religious violence against Hindus, Jews, Buddhists, Muslims, Christians. The converts to Christianity are beheaded.

- The victims of slave traffic done by the Arabs during almost ten centuries amount to tens of millions of people.

- Each year, thousands of Christian homes and churches are torched or bombed by Muslim mobs, and hundreds of Christians, priests, pastors, nuns and other church workers are murdered at the hands of Islamic extremists.

Their so-called justification varies, from charges of apostasy or evangelism, to purported "blasphemy" or " insulting" Islam. Innocent people have even been hacked to death by devout Muslims over cartoons. Islam is an open-ended declaration of war against non-Muslims.

Are the extremists simply being faithful to an authentic Islam in your view?
Clearly YES. Extremists are just applying what their religion teaches them to do.

Should the Pope and the Vatican shed what some view as political correctness and address Islam for what scholars and others believe it really is?
Of course. To illustrate my view, I quote here some excerpts of my personal letter to Pope Francis addressed to him last August:

It seems to me that — on the pretext of openness, tolerance and Christian charity — the Catholic Church has fallen into the trap of the liberal left ideology which is destroying the West. Anything that does not espouse this ideology is immediately stigmatized in the name of "political correctness".

Many think that a certain number of your positions are aligned with this ideology and that, from complacency, you go from concessions to concessions and compromises in compromises at the expense of the truth.

The West is in an ethical and moral debacle, both religious and spiritual. And it is not by relativizing the painful reality that these societies will be helped to emerge from their disarray. By defending at all costs Islam and seeking to exonerate it from the horrors committed every day in its name, one ends up betraying the truth.

Jesus said to us, 'the Truth will set you free.' It is because he refused any compromise on this point that he knew the fate which was his. Following him, countless Christians preferred martyrdom to compromise, as is the case in Egypt and elsewhere to this day.

In the extreme fragility of Christians — both in the West and in the East — they are expecting something from you other than vague and harmless declarations that may obscure reality. Your predecessor, Pope Benedict XVI, had the courage to take a clear and unambiguous position. His attitude has raised a lot of shields and earned him many enemies. But is not a frank confrontation healthier than a dialogue based on compromise?

When the Jewish hierarchs asked the apostles to stop announcing the Gospel, they replied: "As for us, we cannot not proclaim what we have seen and heard ..."
(Acts 4:20).

It is high time to emerge from a shameful and embarrassed silence in the face of this Islamism that attacks the West and the rest of the world. A systematically conciliatory attitude is interpreted by the majority of Muslims as a sign of fear and weakness. If Jesus said to us: Blessed are the peacemakers, he did not say to us: Blessed are the pacifists. Peace is peace at any cost, at any price. Such an attitude is a pure and simple betrayal of truth.”

[Hats off, and hurrays to fill a hundred stadiums, to the good father who wrote these hard truths to a pope who is so ideological he is now widely considered 'the leader of the global left'.]

How much is violence more of an Arabic problem, given the significantly fewer violent attacks in, for example, Indonesia, the world’s largest Muslim nation?
One can say that ‘Arabs’ are naturally violent. But the same could be said of the barbarians who conquered Europe in the past. These invaders have been progressively ‘civilized’ by the Christian faith to become what they are now. In my opinion, the religious element plays an essential role in shaping a society. The fact that Christian ‘Arabs’ are different from Muslim Arabs is a proof of the strong connection between religion and society.

Are there genuine and workable possibilities for reform of Islam and can dialogue ever be effective?
All attempts to reform Islam by liberal open-minded Muslims have tragically failed so far, and I doubt that a ‘reformed Islam’ will still remain ‘Islam’. Here are six unsuccessful attempts to reform Islam in the last two centuries:
1. Reformism in the 19th century: Afghani, Mohamed Abdo, Rashid Reda

. The Renaissance — or Nahda — in late 19th-early 20th century: Yasji, Girgi Zeidan, Taha Hussein, Salama Moussa, Tewfik el-Hakim…
3. Kemalism and the secularization of the Turkish state — Kemal Atatürk, 1923
4. The Baath and its Pan-Arabism ideology: Michel Aflaq, Bitar, George Habash and the PLO
5. Egyptian nationalism and the neutrality of the state (principle of secularism), 1919. Saad Zaghloul: "Religion is God’s affair and the State everybody’s. "
6. Reversal of the decree on 'the abrogating and abrogated'. At the instigation of Al-Azhar institution, Mahmoud Mohamed Taha was hanged in Khartoum on 18.1.1985 for wanting to give pre-eminence to the Mekkan verses of the Quran over the Medina ones inciting to war, hatred and intolerance.

The Church has often allied with Islamic countries in the past in defense of life issues. Islamic countries can also act as a filter against secularist ideas, preventing such trends as gender ideology from entering their society. How can Islam’s strengths in these areas be best promoted despite its associations with violence?
On such ethical issues, and others, the Church should ally with Muslims to fight against whatever demeans and degrades the human being. This is fertile ground for understanding between the two religions. It can also pave the way for us to denounce anything which is morally unacceptable in Islamic teaching.
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 17/06/2017 03.48]
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16/06/2017 23.11
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Utente Gold
In preparation for the next schoolyear: The poster says "Minister, let us re-establish parents' rights to educational priorities. Stop gender [ideology] in schools".

One must take heart from the fact that Family Day rallies in Italy and the anti-'marriage for all' rallies in France continue to
attract great participation at a time when all of Western Europe appears swamped in secularism...Long may they carry on, and
may their tribe increase!

Catholic parents in Rome to protest
'gender ideology' taught in schools

Italy's Constitution gives parents
rights regarding their children's education

Translated from
June 16, 2017

Tomorrow at 10:30 a.m., a ‘flashmob’ is planned before the Ministry of Public Instruction in Rome to get concrete responses from Minister Valeria Fedelli about acknowledging and recognizing the rights of parents and families regarding the education of their children on sensitive matters like sexuality and objective identity.

Fedelli is well known (apart from her questionable educational degree) as a fanatic on ‘anti-discrimination’ programs – which, in this case, means promoting ‘gender ideology’ in the schools, surreptitiously or stridently as necessary, without any indication on the part of the so-called Catholics who are in the majority in the Italian government that they are concerned in any way about an action that also contradicts what Pope Francis has said, officially at least, about gender ideology.

In recent months, cases have mounted showing that gender ideology has infiltrated into Italian schools starting with primary school pupils, thanks to extremely ideologized teachers and school officials who have shown no respect for pupils or their parents. But Fedelli cannot be made totally responsible for this, since her appointment had been heavily criticized from the beginning, and not just for her lack of educational credentials and experience, for claiming false data in her CV, and because she was clearly appointed precisely to promote gender ideology in Italian schools.

Therefore the planned flashmob will make two specific demands:
- Formalizing a normative requirement that schools must obtain an informed consent or preventive request from parents about the content of sex-education lessons; and
- Avoiding any action by education officials that will leapfrog parents in making any decisions affecting the education of their children.
Parents’ rights in this respect are guaranteed by Article 30 of the Italian Constitution, which must be upheld and respected.

Because of this constitutional provision, protesting parents are also asking that “schools would institute alternative activities for the children of parents who oppose certain educational activities on sensitive topics”, according to Massimo Gandolfini, a neurosurgeon who is the spokesman for Italy’s now-familiar ‘Family Day’ rallies in support of Catholic values,.

Gandolfini says concerned parents are demanding to be “involved and heard by school officials before they formulate new instructional plans”. It is pointed out that just as it has been possible for parents to refuse religious instruction classes for their children, it should similarly be possible for them to opt out of sex-education classes.

The flashmob organizers say that if Minister Fedelli should fail to respect the legitimate requests made by concerned parents, then they will go on to organize a nationwide protest rally as in past Family Day rallies, “because hundreds of thousands of Italian families refuse to take a step backwards”.

“We ask our people,” Gandolfini says, “to remember the next time they go to the polls to remember those who ignore our requests, those who will seek to instrumentalize us, as well as those who are standing by us in this battle”.

Gandolfini recounts in an online newspaper, In Terris, that since January this year, events have not been any comfort to Italian parents. “A few weeks ago, it was reported that a school principal in Milan had refused a mother’s request to exempt her daughter from a sex-education course organized aby LGBT associations. In Modena, a female teacher distributed to her first-grade pupils a detailed diagram of how the conjugal act is performed…”

Meanwhile, Fedelli’s initial reaction to the planned demonstration was rather ‘singular’: “I cannot understand why they would come here to demonstrate – I think they have the wrong address – as if she was not the Minister of Public Instruction, and the events alluded to did not take place in Italian schools.

Meanwhile, the other Italian ministry that has to do with education (Ministry of Education, Uniersities and Research) has said that it takes a position of "voluntary evanescence [That's a new one! Does it mean the ministry can simply ignore any requests made to it for formal action? Taking a leaf from Bergoglio, eh?] in the face of formal requests from associations and political parties (including parliamentary inquiries”.

The planned flash mob is organized by ProVita, NonSiToccaLaFamiglia (Do not touch the family!), Articolo 26, and Generazione Famiglia. The organizers have also circulated a memorandum of advice for parents.

Advice to parents who are protagonists
in the network to assert parental rights
over the education of their children

• Network with other parents, contact and get involved with parents’ associations who can provide you with mutual support and guidance. Always try to act with your fellow parents – you will be more effective and make a greater impact that way.
• When enrolling your child(ren), ask for and carefully read the Piano Triennale dell’Offerta Formativa (Triennial Plan of Formative Offering) in which each school describes its curricular, extra-curricular and educational program. Verify periodic changes. The document must be provided to you by the school.
• Also read well the Patto di Corresponsabilità Educativa (Agreement for Educational Co-Responsibility) which the school is obliged to have parents sign. Not all schools may offer this. If there are parts that you do not agree with, you are not obliged to subscribe to everything contained therein.
• In particular, check out the programs for ‘relational’ and sexual education, against discrimination and bullying, and any promotion of ‘gender ideology’ pursued by many teachers with the help of external agencies, as well as all the propositions in Comma 16 of the new law (107/15) called La Buona Scuola (the good school).
• Build alliances with school officials and teachers. Ask them for clarifications, orally or in writing, and discuss with them your educational guidelines in a collaborative way. Aggressiveness will not pay. If necessary, request for more meetings open to parents.
• Make clear that you are in favor of the school to teach against any form of discrimination and sexual parity. As parents, request that the school respect your faculty to decide and your educational responsibility towards your child(ren) on sensitive ethical issues and scientific controversies that have an impact on the child’s education.
• Extra-curricular initiatives must be understood to be optional even if they take place during school hours, and the school must get your informed consent or refusal. According to a Ministry Circular No. 4321, such a written consent or refusal must be given by a parent who is adequately informed, and who has the right to decide whether a child who is still a minor should take part or not. Unfortunately, however, this recommendation is left to the discretion of school officials on the basis of ‘school autonomy’, until the Ministry makes a public statement about Comma 16 in the new law.
• Nonetheless, the parental right over how their children are educated must be recognized with regard to all sensitive educational topics, as provided for in Article 30 of the Italian Constitution and by Article 26 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Freedom of education is an incontestable principle.
• Personally deliver your written ‘preventive informed consent, as it is always better to discuss it with a school official. In any case, make sure to be in touch with the parents’ representative in the school board.
• Propose educational initiatives that everyone can share, working positively and constructively.
In sort, let us seriously take in hand our educational responsibility for our children.

For more information, write or

As usual, problems with the Bergoglian 'magisterium' - i.e., the magisterium of the church of Bergoglio, not that of the Catholic Church - are never isolated...

‘Homoheresy’ is in the Church:
Where it comes from, where it is hidden
and how to fight it

by Benedetta Frigerio
Translated from

Last month, following the annual March for Life in Rome, Matthew McCusker, a member and supervisior at the UK-based Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, spoke at a pro-life international convention to denounce the spread of the homosexualist heresy in the Church, an ideology that not only contradicts Church teaching but also adapts wholesale the dominant mentality in the world that dismisses the idea of divine creation.

McCusker is part of a new generation of pro-life American youth who reject doctrinal compromise because they are aware that the battle being fought is eschatological and not just political. Among other things, he previously demonstrated the fallacies arrived at in the two Bergoglian family synods to the point that he was praised by Cardinal Raymond Burke for showing that “one does not have to be a conspiracy theorist to have observed all the manipulations attempted” [to drive the synodal fathers into the predetermined conclusions desired by Pope Francis]. We spoke to McCusker:

You have said that homoerotic thinking has infiltrated the Church. Can you explain that better?
Yes, I refer especially to the use of sex education programs that include contents contradicting the teachings of the Catholic Church. The most recent and shocking example is a document produced by the
Catholic Education Service (CES), an official agency of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales (CBCEW). Entitled “Made in the image of God: A challenge to the homo(sexual)- and bi(sexual)-phobic bullying in Catholic schools”, it consists of 40 pages of lesson plans developed to combat supposed sex-related bullying in Catholic schools.

It enthusiastically endorses the LGBT ideology over Church teaching. For example, it says that children must be taught to use ‘correct LGBT terminology’ in which the definitions are those provided by the LGBT movements.

Such as that “Children in Catholic schools should be taught that the word ‘trans-gender’ is ‘frequently used as a generic term to refer to all persons who do not identify themselves by the sex with which they were born or with a binary sexual system. Some trans-gender persons feel they exist not within either of the two categories of biological sex but somewhere outside being either male or female. “[ Or that ‘allies’ refers to “all non-LGBT persons who support and fight for the rights of LGBT persons”, and that among LGBTs themselves, a ‘lesbian’ is allied to a ‘trans-sexual’, etc. But besides such guidelines, the CES also provides a specific ‘sex-ed’ curriculum.

What‘s that about?
It recommends that children aged 3-7 should be taught that “there are many different family structures, and these must be respected”. These formulations ‘different family structures’ and ‘ various family forms’ are frequently used to promote homosexualism and LGBT adoptions but they are deceptive.

Yet it is the same language found in Amoris laetitia when the pope, writing about ‘same-sex unions’, says “we must recognize the great variety of family situations which can offer rules for living”.

You have denounced the CBCEW. Is that not a circumscribed case?
Unfortunately, they are not the only case. Recently, in Nashville, Tennessee, a Catholic school began a program in which children are shown explicitly sexual images and taught the many different ways of articifial contraception, without ever telling them that using these methods is a sin. When a group of parents complained to the bishop, the latter supported the school, to the point that a boy was expelled when his parents said they would not allow him to take part in these sex-ed lessons. Many bishops fail to support Catholic parents who wish to exercise their right to determine their children’s education.

How is it possible that some cardinals and bishops – who in the past would never have been expected to do so – now openly contradict the teaching of the Church and advocate an anti-Christian and anti-human ideology?
Some prelates, like the Archbishop of Westminster (London), have dissented from Church teaching on human sexuality for years. Cardinal Vincent Nichols – now president of the CBCEW – has a most disquieting record on the entire spectrum of issues that pro-life and pro-family activists have been fighting – sex education, contraception, same-sex unions and communion for adulterers.

Nichols is even weak-willed against abortionists, saying that “the value that we give to human life at its very beginnings (is) clearly… not the same we give to an adult sitting beside us”. He was against authentic sexual ethics even as early as 1996 when he was just an auxiliary bishop, giving his imprimatur to a book according to which in certain circumstances, Catholics could use artificial contraception. Yet he was promoted under both John Paul II and Benedict XVI [who made him Archbishop of Westminster after serving in Birmingham], and now, Pope Francis has given him new responsibilities. This shows that a very serious crisis [one among MANY!] has touched the very heart of the Church. Nichols is only one of so many prelates entrusted with teaching the Catholic faith even as they have openly taken positions contrary to the faith.

Do you think that such heresy has infiltrated into the Church? Why? Do you think the Church has been afflicted for some time? [Such questions! Surely, the interviewer is not naïve!]
The response that most bishops around the world had to Humanae vitae shows that back in 1968, the problem was already very serious. [Well, of course! - it was the first blossoming of the ‘spirit of Vatican II’.] The rejection of Church teaching on artificial contraception has been the root of many other problems. It is a rejection of the fact that the conjugal act is primarily meant to be procreative not just unitive, and the proper place for the act is within marriage which is intended to generate children and to educate them. The second goal of matrimony is the mutual benefit of both spouses. Rejecting the primacy of the procreative goal opens the way not just to contraception but also to homosexual practices which obviously cannot be procreative.

Yet already, during Vatican-II, prominent figures like Cardinal Leo Suenens of Belgium argued against the traditional teaching of the Church on the primary end of matrimony. All of which was reflected in Gaudium et spes which does not spell out the hierarchy of marriage goals, but rather proceeds to give a detailed explanation of the unitive goal (Par 49) before it brings up the procreative goal (Par 50).

But the roots of the crisis obviously go even deeper, to relativism which arose from evolutionary philosophies that deny the existence of a natural moral law that is unchangeable and binding.

But why has the Vatican not corrected all that?
Not only is there no correction, but it has been reinforced. Just consider that the Pontifical Council for the Family, after the publication of Amoris laetitia, unveiled its sex-education program entitled ‘The Meeting Point’. Written for schoolchildren and not for parents, it does not reflect the moral teaching of the Church, takes a secularized and secularizing attitude to expose children and minors to obscene and pornographic images.

Worse, Pope Francis has endorsed the United Nations’ so-called Sustainable Development Goals which calls on all its member states “to assure universal access to services for sexual and reproductive health and to insure universal access to abortion, contraception and sex education”. Yet as late as September 1, 2016, this pope reaffirmed in his message for the Day of Prayer for Environmental Care that he was “grateful that the nations of the world had adopted the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals in 2015” [on the very day the pope addressed the UN General Assembly, where he expressed unconditional support of the UN-SDG].

How should we combat such an ideology which already seems to be widely accepted in the Church?
The first answer must be spiritual. In Fatima, Our Lady had warned that ‘the errors of Russia’ would be disseminated in the world and cause the loss of many souls. The children of Fatima reported that that Our Lady said ‘sins of the flesh’ have brought most souls to Hell and spoke about the ways in which such sinners have grievously offended God. But she also gave us the solution: prayer and penitence. She asked specifically for the daily Rosary, for prayers to convert sinners, and reparation for the offenses to her Immaculate Heart, particularly through confession and Communion on the first Saturday of the month. She also asked that the pope consecrate Russia to her Immaculate Heart.

We must continue to pray and follow her instructions. Meanwhile, we must spread the truth about what is being taught to children in schools, so that parents may know. Because those who plan and carry out these programs try to mask the real contents of their teaching by using seemingly neutral language, such as “age-appropriate comprehensive sexual education”. But just reading what is being taught immediately shows what they really mean.

One example is the World Health Organization which in its ‘Standards for Sex Education in Europe’ considers it ‘appropriate’ to teach children from age 1-4 about ‘precocious masturbation by infants’; to introduce children between 4-6 to “relations between persons of the same sex”; and from a5 years onwards, their ‘right to abortion”.

Because of this, it is all the more concerning that in Chapter 7 of Amoris laetitia, there is a section entitled “Yes to sex education” which ignores all the serious problems arising from almost all available sex education programs. Worst of all, it fails to affirm the Church’s teaching that sex education of children should come from the parents and not from the schools. [This egregious AL Chapter 7 failing is almost always forgotten or overlooked because critics have been fixated on Chapter 8 and its permissiveness of adultery.]

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June 16, 2017 headlines

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Epitaph for the Pontifical Academy 'for Life'.

New members of Vatican 'academy for life'
have defended abortion and contraception

Avraham Steinberg has approved of abortion in some cases, while
Fr Maurizio Chiodi says artificial contraception may be permissible

Friday, 16 Jun 2017

Two more new members of the Pontifical Academy for Life hold controversial positions on bioethics. [In other words, situational ethics a la Bergoglio/Jesuitism as we see in Amoris laetitia.]

Rabbi Professor Avraham Steinberg, one of 45 ordinary members of the Pontifical Council for Life appointed this week, has argued for the permissibility of ending a pregnancy in some cases.

Steinberg told Australia’s Radio National in 2008 that an embryo has “no human status” before 40 days. After 40 days it has “a certain status of a human being, not a full status”.

As a result, Steinberg says, “Abortion is not permissible by Jewish law, but if the situation of the mother is psychologically upset to a degree that it may cause her serious trouble, then abortion may be permissible despite the fact that for the fetus’s sake, we would not allow it...So case by case, occasionally abortion might be permissible, something which is probably unheard-of in the Catholic point of view.”

When asked about eugenics, Steinberg says he approves of genetic screening for disability, so that parents can “avoid the birth of a Tay-Sachs child or of a cystic fibrosis child and so on.” He explains that this “might be looked at as a form of eugenics”, but “that is not a forbidden eugenics if you think about it carefully, because what we want is that people would be happy and able and not suffering, but once they are born, they have equal rights and one must support them.”

Steinberg also supports stem-cell research involving the destruction of embryos - something forbidden by Church teaching - on the grounds that the embryo at a few days old “is not a human being in any sense. So therefore the destruction of it is not murder in any sense.” Asked when the embryo “becomes” a human being, Steinberg replies that it must be 40 days old.

[One would think that anyone appointed to the Pontifical Academy for Life might at least be screened first on the basis of when they think human life begins, i.e., they should be able to say they believe that "life must be defended from conception - when it begins - to its natural end", as John Paul II and Benedict XVI reiterated Catholic teaching again and again, qualifying this as a non-negotiable principle. But apparently, such an oath - and principle - have been done away with in the Bergoglio/Paglia regime... Of course, the Pontifical Academy for Life has become just as degraded and unscientific as the Pontifical Academies for Sciences and for Social Sciences under Bergoglio surrogate Mons. Sanchez Sorondo. What do you expect if the pope himself subscribes and endorses the unscientific, anti-science and scientistic claims of climate catastrophism in an encyclical!]

Elsewhere in the interview, Steinberg contrasts the Jewish and Catholic ways of approaching ethics, saying: “In the Catholic approach there are a lot of dogmas that are strict, and they can’t be changed, and they can’t be modified. Whereas in Judaism, in general, there are no absolute values except for values that have to do with the belief.”

Another rabbi appointed to the academy, Fernando Szlajen, has said that the prohibition on abortion is absolute, and that the commandment “Thou shalt not kill” means we should protect human beings from the moment of conception. [God bless Rabbi Szlajen!]

Another new member, Fr Maurizio Chiodi, has questioned Church teaching on artificial contraception. According the newspaper Avvenire, which reviewed a book to which Fr Chiodi contributed, he believes that “the use of artificial birth control techniques can be moral”, and that the moral norm on responsible procreation cannot coincide with the biological observance of natural methods”. [???] ... It is not the method itself that determines the morality, but the conscience of the spouses, their sense of responsibility, their genuine willingness to open themselves to life.”

Pope Paul VI’s encyclical Humanae Vitae said that artificial contraception is “never lawful, even for the gravest reasons…it is a serious error to think that a whole married life of otherwise normal relations can justify sexual intercourse which is deliberately contraceptive and so intrinsically wrong.”

This reaffirmed the teaching of the Church, also expressed in Pius XI’s Casti Connubii, that contraception is “intrinsically vicious” and that “the Divine Majesty regards with greatest detestation this horrible crime and at times has punished it with death.”

Fr Chiodi wrote in 2008 that Humanae Vitae must be “interpreted” with “conscience” and “discernment”. [Ooooh, a Bergoglian before the term was even conceived!]

Steinberg and Fr Chiodi are not the only new members of the academy whose appointment diverges from previous expectations. Oxford Professor Nigel Biggar, an Anglican clergyman who has also joined the academy, has said he is in favor of legalized abortion up to 18 weeks.

The academy no longer requires members to sign a statement promising their allegiance to the Church’s teaching. Pope Francis has removed nearly 100 members of the academy, including John Finnis, Luke Gormally, Josef Seifert and Wolfgang Waldstein, while 17 have been added.

The membership term is five years, but it can be renewed.
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In 9 chapters illustrated with 120 photographs, some previously unpublished, the book published on the occasion of his 90th birthday, recounts the life of Jospeh Ratzigner, from his birth in the small Bavarian town of Marktl-am-Inn in 1927, to his present life of prayer as the Emeritus Pope at the Mater Ecclesiae monastery in the Vatican Gardens. The book follows the principal stages in the personal and spiritual life of this ‘simple worker in the vineyard of the Lord’ – his childhood in the Germany of the 1930s, his conscription to war service as a teenager ending up as an American POW, his vocation as priest, his brilliant academic career, his participation in the Second Vaticna Council, his appointment to be Archbishop of Munich-Freising and his elevation to cardinal one month later, his long service as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith under John Paul II, and the eight years of his Pontificate. It is an extraordinary legacy of images, memories and testimonials that bring us all the human, theological and pastoral richness of the person we know as Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI.

Lella and Beatrice both note that we have not seen any new photos of Benedict XVI since mid-May, but he is apparently well - one certainly hopes so - since there was a book presentation two days ago in Rome with Mons. Gaenswein in attendance, and no indication of anything untoward... I put the ff story together from a preview of the event in the Fondazione Vaticana website, and two separate accounts by SIR, the news agency of the Italian bishops' conference, about what Mons. Gaenswein and Fr. Lombardi said during the event.

Joseph Ratzinger:
Man, priest, theologian, Pope


“Joseph Ratzinger – Man, priest, theologian, Pope” was the theme of the assembly held Wednesday afternoon, June 14, at the Sala della Lupa of the Italian Chanber of Deputies, on the occasion of the presentation of the book “Joseph Ratzinger Benedetto XVI – Immagini di una vita”, by Italian journalists Giuseppina Buonanno e Luca Caruso (Edizioni San Paolo, 2017).

After introductory remarks by Stefano Dambruoso, chief constable of the Chamber of Deputies, and by Mons. Georg Gaenswein, the book was presented in speeches by Fr. Federico Lombardi, president of the Fondazione Vaticana Joseph Ratzinger-Benedetto XVI; by Parliament members Antonio Palmieri and Raffaello Vignali, and by the book’s authors.

In his introduction, Mons. Gaenswein said:

[He (Benedict XVI) wants to be there for the Church - to pray, to help and to give thanks, even as he prepares himself for what he has so often written and preached all his life…

Everyday, we have a little walk, which brings us to the grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes in the Vatican Gardens, while we say the rosary. It used to be a long walk, but it is much shorter now [because of the Emeritus’s problem with walking], even as his strength of heart has grown…

The presence of the Emeritus Pope is very silent, and something that so many persons are grateful for, but he is active above all in prayer. By not speaking, he speaks – silently, but, I believe, in this way he does good for many persons, he does great good for the Church and for the People of God…

The Pope read this book with great pleasure, great attention and great admiration… On his 90th birthday, it seemed like the whole world, not just Catholics, wished to make a great gift to him with all the books published to mark the occasion as expressions of affection, support, encouragement and gratitude.

The greetings and wishes that have come to him through these books have pleased him very much. This book, in particular, because it can be read with the eyes and with the mind, thanks also to many photos previously unpublished which help the reader to better appreciate the life of Joseph Ratzinger.

In his remarks, Fr. Lombardi said that the priority in the Pontificate of Benedict XVI had been “to bring men to God, at a time when God has been disappearing from man’s horizon”.

He said the book was

“a very readable biography, simple but complete, which truly covers the life of Joseph Ratzinger/Benedict XVI in a balanced and proportionate way. A completely reliable account that is illustrated with photographs, some of them rare, in addition to famous ones, in which we see the face of Joseph Ratzinger – especially his gaze, with the limpid and clear eyes of one who seeks the truth, the look he has had since he was a child and which he still has today.

The book invites us to reflect on the life of an extraordinary man and to grasp the unifying thread, the development, the meaning of his life. His development has both height and depth. He is a person who thinks and lives vividly in the depth of his thinking, from differing pertspectives.

As Pope, he governed through his ministry, seeking to lead the Church onward on the basis of an understanding of the faith that can be grasped by the contemporary mind…

He also has historical merit for confronting the crisis brought on by sexual abuses perpetrated by some ministers of the Church – from acknowledgment of Church responsibility for such offenses, to his personal encounters with some abuse victims, his commitment to obtaining justice to punish the guilty without forgetting how to forgive, and his efforts to establish a culture of care and attention to the victims…

[In his theological work], one must point out his profound study of Jesus, starting with his most famous work, Introduction to Christianity, to his JESUS OF NAZARETH trilogy that ‘accompanied’ his entire Pontificate.


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One must note that the author of the book reviewed below was recently appointed by this pope to be a consultant to the Vatican
Secretariat for Communications. His 'gospel' of unconditional mercy for sexually-disordered individuals - without ever bringing up
the specific Catholic teachings that apply to their condition - is, of course, an excellent example of communicating the un-Christian
Bergoglian dogma that goes by the name of 'mercy'...

The triumph of the therapeutic mentality:
How Fr. James Martin looks at human sexuality

One would think that the author, writing as a Catholic, would identify the specific sexual struggles
of Christians in light of the sixth commandment, and the corresponding sexual sins against chastity.
But no, they receive no attention and do not figure in this book at all.

By Eduardo Echeverria
June 16, 2017

“There is an organic connection between our spiritual life and the dogmas. Dogmas are lights along the path of faith; they illuminate it and make it secure. Conversely, if our life is upright, our intellect and heart will be open to welcome the light shed by the dogmas of faith” (CCC, no. 89).

By the therapeutic mentality I mean a subjectivist philosophy in which a feeling of well-being, feeling good about oneself, is the only, or dominant, criterion by which we measure what is acceptable or not to us. A good example of this mentality is found throughout the recent book by James Martin, SJ, Building a Bridge: How the Catholic Church and the LGBT Community can Enter into a Relationship of Respect, Compassion, and Sensitivity (New York: HarperOne, 2017; hereafter, BB).

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (no. 2357; hereafter, CCC) teaches: “Basing itself on Sacred Scripture, which presents homosexual acts as acts of grave depravity, tradition has always declared that ‘homosexual acts are intrinsically disordered’.”

Fr. Martin doesn’t cite this passage. I’ll return to this matter below. All he cites is the phrase found in CCC that the homosexual inclination is “objectively disordered” (no. 2358). After this, we see the therapeutic mentality at work in the following remark. “The phrase relates to the orientation, not the person, but it is still needlessly hurtful. Saying that one of the deepest parts of a person —the part that gives and receives love — is ‘disordered’ in itself is needlessly cruel” (BB, 46-47).

Fr. Martin doesn’t say that the problem with this term is solely with the language used that otherwise correctly describes the homosexual condition. So, let’s just change the language to describe an expression of human brokenness as a consequence of man’s fallen state.

He doesn’t consider whether the term is morally right about homosexual practice; or even whether it is, however inadequately, getting at the reality of the homosexual condition. Rather, he only considers how the term leaves one feeling about himself, hurt or abused verbally. That’s it.

It seems to me that Fr. Martin confuses how we relate to people, on the one hand, and evaluating their beliefs and practices on the other [in more common terms, judging - a word that is anathema to Bergoglio and Bergolianism, since deluded to believe they are being 'more merciful' than God, they choose instead to misuse the Ignatian verb 'discern' instead of 'judge', as if "Who am I to discern?' were any different from "Who am I to judge?". And worse, as if God himself never judges, and Jesus had not preached about the Last Judgment!]

The former relation should be ethical, honoring a person’s dignity, relating to that person in the context of “encounter, accompaniment, and friendship”(BB, 46). But the latter relation calls us to assessment, critical judgment, discerning the difference between good and evil, embracing the former and rejecting the latter (cf. Rom 12: 9; 1 Thess 5:21-22).

This distinction between relating to people and evaluating their beliefs and practices is affirmed by Vatican II: “But it is necessary to distinguish error, which always merits repudiation, and the person in error, who never loses the dignity of being a person even when he is flawed by false or inadequate religious [or moral] notions” (Gaudium et spes, no. 28).

Now, it is my contention that Fr. Martin implicitly presupposes that “same-sex” attraction is good, as in 'appropriate' to the order of creation. That is, a homosexual qua homosexual is “wonderfully made” (Ps 139), as he suggests in asking that homosexuals (and others with disordered sexuality, since this category now numbers as many as those who think they have an original deviancy from the male and female sexes willed and created by God] reflect on themselves in light of that psalm. [Ignoring, of course, that the Psalms refer to normal human beings descended from the man and woman God created in Eden, and that throughout the Old Testament, sexual deviancy is considered an abomination punished by God himself, as in the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah.]

In this connection, it follows that he [Martin] holds it to be legitimate to ground human identity in homosexual orientation, which encompasses an individual’s personal and social identity. How does Fr. Martin justify the legitimacy of this self-description — indeed, insisting on it?

The only criterion that he suggests that legitimizes it is individual experience. Individual experience becomes a supreme court for adjudicating the gospel, the teachings of the Church. This leads him to the conclusion that a person’s homosexuality is a creational given rather than being in itself inherently disordered, a sign of brokenness, an expression of man’s fallen condition.

Thus, Fr. Martin doesn’t just object to the formulation of the homosexual condition as “inherently disordered.” If that were solely it, then, he would acknowledge the distinction between the normative order of creation and the order of the fall, followed by the order of redemption.

He would acknowledge, in the words of Aidan Nichols, OP, in Christendom Awake: On Reenergizing the Church in Culture: “It is not experience we should trust but the transmutation of experience by Scripture and Tradition.”

One would then take as normative the truth that God made man, our created nature, as male and female for each other (Gen 1:27), and that this nature is savagely wounded by sin, broken, but, thanks be to God, it is redeemed in Christ through his atoning work.

Hence, homosexual practice [one of the infinite expressions of man's fallen/broken condition] is morally unacceptable, not only because such sexual acts are not open to life but also they cannot realize unity, because sexual differentiation is a fundamental prerequisite for the two-in-one-flesh union between a man and a woman.

As Robert Reilly puts it in Making Gay Okay, How Rationalizing Homosexual Behavior is Changing Everything, “only a unitive act can be generative, and only a generative act can be unitive — in that only it makes two ‘one flesh’.” This one-flesh union is not just posited by ecclesiastical law. Rather, Jesus calls us back to the law of creation (Mk 10:6-7) that grounds an inextricable nexus of permanence, twoness, and sexual differentiation for marriage.

In particular, marriage is such that it requires sexual difference, the bodily-sexual act, as a foundational prerequisite, indeed, as intrinsic to a one-flesh union of man and woman. “So then they are no longer two but one flesh” (Mk 10:8).

The key evidence for my contention is, then, that Fr. Martin nowhere presents the so-called LGBT community with the Church’s stance toward homosexuality. Except for the phrase, “respect, compassion, sensitivity” (CCC, no. 2358), being the sole basis on which he builds his position, he completely ignores the entire normative context of Christian anthropology that is the prolegomena in
- the Church’s teaching on the sixth commandment (CCC, nos, 2331-2336),
- the vocation of the human person that follows from that anthropology (nos. 2337-2347), and
- the sexual morality of man’s vocation to chastity (nos. 2348-2356).

Having ignored that normative context, he never discusses the teaching of the Church regarding the relationship between chastity and homosexual practice (CCC, no. 2357).

[Of course, once again, one must note that this is a characteristic of Bergoglianism - to ignore and/or omit whatever Scripture, Tradition and preceding Magisterium say if these would in any way undermine the laissez-faire selective morality of Bergoglianism.]

Fr. Martin might respond by saying that he informs the members of the so-called LGBT community to respect the authority of the Church’s teaching, but, he is quick to add, “not all [teachings] have equal authority” (BB, 69; also, 55). As a general principle, this is of course correct.

He adds, “Catholics must prayerfully consider what they are teaching. To do that, we are called to listen. Their teaching deserves our respect” (BB, 51). [Easy to say, words are cheap, and you do not have to mean them!] Still, you would think in a book that deals with the Church’s stance toward homosexuality, Fr. Martin would make a real effort to inform the members of the so-called LGBT community of the Church’s teaching on the sixth commandment and all its implications for sexual morality and the moral life in Christ (CCC, nos, 2331-2359).

But he never does. No, not one word in this book. ]Fr. Martin never tells them which teachings, in this connection, are binding in faith, on what grounds, and to what extent.

Why binding in faith? “Faith is the theological virtue by which we believe in God and believe all that he has said and revealed to us, and that Holy Church proposes for our belief, because he is truth itself” (CCC, 1812).

Respect doesn’t come close to what the assent of faith requires when we are speaking of teachings that are irreversible, definitive, indeed, infallible and hence possessing the highest degree of certainty — such as the teachings in CCC, nos. 2331-2359 — and which therefore require the assent of faith, meaning thereby that they should be held to be true.

Furthermore, even those truths that the Church teaches authoritatively but non-definitively require more than just respect. The assent here, too, is intrinsic to the logic of faith such that “the faithful are to accept their teaching and adhere to it with a religious assent,” which is a “religious submission of mind and will” (Lumen gentium, no. 25).

Against this background, we are not surprised that Fr. Martin never presents the members of the so-called “LGBT community” with the call to chastity, namely, “to fulfill God’s will in their lives and, if they are Christians, to unite to the sacrifice of the Lord’s Cross the difficulties they may encounter from their condition” (CCC, no. 2358).

In addition, “By the virtues of self-mastery that teach them inner freedom, at times by the support of disinterested friendship, by prayer and sacramental grace, they can and should gradually and resolutely approach Christian perfection” (CCC, no. 2359).

Yes, Fr. Martin generalizes by saying that “we are all imperfect people, struggling to do our best in the light of our individual vocations. We are all pilgrims on the way, loved sinners following the call we first heard at our baptism and that we continue to hear every day of our lives” (BB, 76). True enough.

And yet, once again, one would think that in a book about human sexuality, an author writing from a Catholic perspective would identify the specific sexual struggles of the moral life in Christ as the sixth commandment bears upon them, and the corresponding sexual sins against chastity. But no, they receive no attention; they do not figure in this book at all.

In this connection, this is not the book’s only flaw. I surmise that Fr. Martin is trying to diminish the importance of sexual sins relative to others by suggesting that all sins are equal before God, with none being worse than others. But is this true?

Isn’t there a hierarchy of sins, such as is implied in the distinction between mortal and venial sins? In short, all sins are equally covered by the atoning work of Christ, but they are not equal in all respects, and hence some sins are graver than others.

[Because Bergoglians willfully ignore anything in the deposit of faith that contradicts their own dogmas, the series of Scriptural citations in the ff paragraphs are really of no avail to Martin and his ilk!]

St. Paul tells us that the Church must not succumb to a lax attitude toward sin (see 1 Cor 5:6: “a little leaven leavens the whole lump”). He urges the believers at Corinth to take action against a man’s sexual sin (i.e., incest) by removing him from the community. The community should mourn for him rather than become inflated with pride (5:2).

As St. Paul says elsewhere in 1 Corinthians, we must “not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoice with truth” (13:6). The truth being that we in the Church are all sinners who are saved by grace: “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received in faith” (Rom 3:23-25).

Nevertheless, says St. Paul, the Church should take a stand against all sorts of sexual sin by warning the offending believers that if they continue in sexual immorality they will not inherit the Kingdom of God.

Against this Pauline background,
- we should ask Fr. Martin how he proposes to help these offending believers to be “saved” from judgment “on the day of the Lord” (1 Cor 5:5).
- What about St. Paul’s teaching that serial and unrepentant immoral sexual practices puts one at the risk of not inheriting God’s eternal kingdom (1 Cor 6:9-10; 2 Cor 12: 21; Gal 5:19-21; Rom 1:24-27; 6:19-23; Col 3:5-10; Eph 5:3-6, 4:17-19; 1 Thess 4:2-8)?

This Pauline teaching is stated clearly in CCC, no. 1861:

“Mortal sin is a radical possibility of human freedom, as is love itself. It results in the loss of charity and the privation of sanctifying grace, that is, of the state of grace.

If it is not redeemed by repentance and God’s forgiveness, it causes exclusion from Christ’s kingdom and the eternal death of hell, for our freedom has the power to make choices for ever, with no turning back.

However, although we can judge that an act is in itself a grave offense, we must entrust judgment [regarding the eternal standing] of persons to the justice and mercy of God.”

Furthermore, if sinners are called to follow their baptismal vocation throughout their lives, as Martin rightly says, how then does a person who is actively and unrepentantly engaged in same-sex practice change his life, radically reorient his whole life, put an end to sin, turn away from evil, if no one, least of all the Church, least of all Fr. Martin, calls him to interior repentance, conversion, that is, “the conversion of the heart, interior conversion” (CCC, no. 1430), and a holy life?

Moreover, how should we understand, as Fr. Martin holds, that “[we] are loved by God as [we] are”? Yes, we come to the Lord just as we are, sinners whose sins are under the mercy and justice of the Cross. Is that what Fr. Martin means? Does he understand that “Christ died for the ungodly,” and so “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:6, 8). Indeed, “when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son” (vs. 10).

Yes, God is rich in mercy (Eph 2:4). He forgave me of my sins out of love for me in Christ even while I was dead through my trespasses (Eph 2:5), even while I was still his enemy (Rom 5:10).

In this light, we can easily understand the wideness of God’s mercy, why mercy is inclusive, grounded in divine redemption, and hence neither discriminating nor relativizing — all men are sinners and are under the power of sin (see Rom 3:9-18). But “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life” (John 3: 16). The Church welcomes all sinners, none are excluded. [Believing in the Lord means, of course, following his Law, and accepting that punishment is our due if we keep breaking his Law, offending him, without converting ourselves, i.e., amending our life in reparation for our sins and trying as best we can to avoid mortal sin and the occasions of sin.]

But how shall they know that they are called by the Gospel to repentance and amendment of life, if they have not heard that call (cf. Rom 10: 14-17). But “how can they hear without someone preaching to them” (vs. 14).

Thus, when proclaiming the Father’s mercy in Christ and in the power of the Holy Spirit towards others it must be clear to them that our action is rooted in God’s prior act of mercy shown to us in and through the finished work of Christ.

“If we confess our sins he is faithful and just, and will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar and his word is not in us” (1 Jn 1: 9-10).

Pope Francis has written: “Although it sounds obvious, spiritual accompaniment must lead others ever closer to God, in whom we attain true freedom. . . . To accompany them would be counterproductive if it became a sort of therapy supporting their self-absorption and ceased to be a pilgrimage with Christ to the Father(Evangelii gaudium, nos. 169-170). [Oh good, that's one self-citation Bergoglio can rightly and rightfully make!]

Fr. Martin’s book does not tell the LGBT community the truth, indeed, the gospel truth, and hence he cannot help people avoid the danger of what Francis calls here therapeutic self-absorption.

Chiefly, spiritual accompaniment calls for conversion. As CCC teaches, “This endeavor of conversion is not just a human work. It is the movement of a ‘contrite heart’, drawn and moved by grace to respond to the merciful love of God who loved us first” (Ps 51:17; Jn 6:44; 12:32; 1 Jn 4:10).

Eduardo Echeverria is Professor of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at Sacred Heart Major Seminary in Detroit. He earned his doctorate in philosophy from the Free University in Amsterdam and his S.T.L. from the University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum) in Rome.
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Lateran corridor: Off-limits tomorrow
to any but the pope and selected ‘refugees’

Translated from
June 17, 2017

Sometimes, there are details that can tell the whole story. One of this, I believe, is something that was recounted to me and which I shall recount here in turn.

The setting is the cathedral of Rome, St. John Lateran, where, tomorrow evening, the pope will celebrate the Mass of Corpus Domini. [For the first time, celebrated by the Vatican on the Sunday following the actual Feast of Corpus Christi, which was liturgically defined to take place the Thursday after Trinity Sunday, which is the second Sunday after Pentecost. The rest of Italy has followed the post-Vatican II practice of much of the rest of the Catholic world in which the feast is celebrated instead on the Sunday following the actual Thursday commemoration.]

The Mass will be followed by the traditional procession from the Lateran Cathedral along the Via Merulana which leads to the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore, where the solemn commemoration will end with Benediction and Adoration of the Most Blessed Sacrament.

The reigning pope, unlike his predecessors since the second half of the 20th century, has participated only once in this procession. [Shortly after his election in 2013, when he notably chose to walk the entire mile-long route, instead of riding with the Eucharist on a moving platform set up as an altar, upon which the pope kneels in adoration before the Eucharist. Since then, of course, we have become accustomed to the fact that Bergoglio does not genuflect at Consecration nor does he kneel before the Blessed Sacrament, ostensibly because he suffers from sciatica, although that does not seem to bother him at all when he kneels, every Maundy Thursday, to wash the feet of selected persons, not necessarily Christians.]

The following day, Monday, June 19, the pope will once more be at his Roman cathedra to open the annual Ecclesial Convention of the Diocese of Rome, a central moment for the diocese. Bishops, clergy and laymen alike will assess what has been achieved in the past 12 months, and will launch the program for the next 12 months.

The theme for this year’s convention is: “Non lasciamoli soli! Accompagnare i genitori nell’educazione dei figli adolescenti”. (Let us not leave them alone. Accompany parents in the education of their adolescent children). The pope will give his keynote address.

Now we come to the detail. He will enter the interior garden of the Lateran complex below the apartments occupied by the catehdral’s canons, and pass into a long corridor which will lead directly to the sacristy, and then to the church itself for the ceremonies.

But we are told that signs have been put up along this corridor to prohibit priests, sisters and other laymen from standing along the corridor to greet the pope, because the occasion is now reserved exclusively for the pope to meet with selected refugees and migrants. Obviously, a planned affair, because they cannot very well enter the Lateran cloisters and the ‘papal corridor’ spontaneously and on their own.

And of course, this encounter will be well-documented for the archives of a Bergoglian ritual which is increasingly assuming the character of a senile obsession [Obsession, yes, but senile, no! Bergoglio must sincerely be convinced that indiscriminate and unconditional acceptance of all ‘migrants’, no matter how impracticable for the host governments, is a priority mission of his personal apostolate as of his pontifical ministry, along with championing climate catastrophism, promoting the UN’s anti-Catholic ‘development goals’, and moving towards ‘one world religion’ exemplified by Bergoglianism which recognizes all faiths, including lack of it, as equally valid in the eyes of God.]

Allow me to observe that perhaps – on a subject with such financial, social and even criminal consequences as indiscriminate immigration, a political policy that is dubious at both the national and international levels other than being clear wheeling-and-dealing – the Bishop of Rome and Primate of Italy who is also pope, would do well to show more prudence and equilibrium. And yet for him, the center of his attention must always be the least Christian sectors of the population. [Bergoglian advocacy of attention to the ‘peripheries’ would not be so catastrophic if it did not mean, in his pastoral practice and thinking, forgetting his own flock, the Catholics.]
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June 17, 2017 headlines


To say I am shocked is an understatement - that the man who produced and wrote the outstanding video and film series CATHOLICISM
can now says these things about Martin Luther in a fit of misplaced wrong-headed 'ecstasy'!

Looking at Luther with fresh eyes
by Bishop Robert Barron
June 17, 2017

With great profit and pleasure I’m currently reading Alec Ryrie’s new book Protestants: The Faith that Made the Modern World. Among the many texts appearing in this year of the five hundredth anniversary of the Reformation, Ryrie’s stands out for its verve, clarity, and historical sweep. In some ways, it is an answer to Brad Gregory’s The Unintended Reformation, though it lacks the intellectual depth and thoroughness of Gregory’s magisterial study.

What has so far intrigued me most of all in Ryrie’s book is his portrait of the undisputed father of the Reformation, Martin Luther.

I will confess to a certain fascination with Luther. I have been reading his books, speeches, and sermons for many years, and for about ten years, when I was professor of theology at Mundelein Seminary, I taught a graduate level course in the Christian theology of the sixteenth century, which included, naturally, lots of Luther.

Cantankerous, pious, very funny, shockingly anti-Semitic, deeply insightful, and utterly exasperating, Luther was one of the most beguiling personalities of his time. ['Beguiling'? Hardly an adjective I would associate with Luther! Nor that someone like Mons. Barron would be 'beguiled' by someo0ne like Luther! It's like saying Screwtape aka Satan is beguiling!]

And say what you want about his writings (I disagree with lots and lots of his ideas), they crackle with life and intensity, even in Latin! Though I’ve read and thought and talked about the founder of Protestantism for a long time, Ryrie has prompted me to squint at him in a fresh way.

It is obvious to everyone, Ryrie argues, that Luther was a fighter, taking on not only fellow intellectuals, but the curia, the Pope, and the Emperor himself. And it is equally clear that he bequeathed this feistiness to his followers over these past five centuries: Zwingli, Calvin, Wilberforce, Lloyd Garrison, Billy Sunday, Karl Barth, etc.

There is always something protesting about Protestantism. But to see this dimension alone is to miss the heart of the matter. For at the core of Luther’s life and theology was an overwhelming experience of grace. After years of trying in vain to please God through heroic moral and spiritual effort, Luther realized that, despite his unworthiness, he was loved by a God who had died to save him. [C'mon, Mons. Barron! That is an achievement? Are we not, as Catholics, taught that with our ABCs???]

In the famous Turmerlebnis (Tower Experience) in the Augustinian monastery in Wittenberg, Luther felt justified through the sheer mercy of God. Though many others before him had sensed this amazing grace, Luther’s passion, in Ryrie’s words, “had a reckless extravagance that set it apart and which has echoed down Protestant history.”

[No wonder Jorge Martin Bergluther preaches the 'mercy' that he does! In fact, he takes off precisely from the famous three sola's of Protestantism, the foundational principles of its doctrine of salvation - sola scriptura, sola fide, sola gratia, i.e., scripture over tradition, faith over works, and grace over merit, each intended to represent an important distinction compared with Catholic doctrine. Bergluther differs somewhat in that he is very fixated on good works (take an immigrant into your home, recycle your garbage and the like) as being more important than faith. Catholicism is, of course, distinguished by its 'et-et' principle - Scripture plus tradition and Magisterium, faith plus good works, grace plus merit, all as equivalent essentials in living life according to the Gospel.]

It is easy enough to see this ecstatic element in any number of prominent Protestant figures, from John Wesley to Friedrich Schleiermacher to John Newton. Luther was an ecstatic, and the religious movement he launched was “a love affair.” [Mons. Barron forgets that ecstasy is not limited to a fit of grace, but also to a fit of any other overpowering emotion, e.g., rage, akin to mania.]

This is why I say Ryrie has caused me to look at Luther in a new light. One of the standard matrices for understanding religion is the distinction between the mystical and the prophetic, or between the experiential and the rational.

On the standard reading, Luther would fall clearly on the latter side of this divide. He is, it would seem, the theologian of the word par excellence. And indeed, we can find throughout his writings many critiques of priestcraft, sacramentalism, and what he called Schwarmerei or pious enthusiasm.

Nevertheless, if Ryrie is right, this is to get only part, indeed a small part, of the story. At bottom, Luther was a mystic of grace, someone who had fallen completely in love — which helps enormously to explain what makes his theological ideas both so fascinating and so frustrating. People in love do and say extravagant things. So overwhelmed are they by the experience of the beloved that they are given to words such as “only” and “never” and “forever.” [Yeah, right! Luther was so 'in love' with Christ he rejected the reality of of Trans-Substantiation! What Christ did he love? In your newfound ecstasy over Luther, Mons. Barron, have you forgotten that?] If you doubt me, read any of the great romantic poets, or for that matter, listen to a teenager speak about his first crush.

After a lifetime of scrupulosity and interior struggle, Luther sensed the breakthrough of the divine grace through the mediation of the Bible. Hence, are we surprised that he would express his ecstasy in exaggerated, over the top language: “By grace alone! By faith alone! By the Scriptures alone!” [Who cares? 'Over the top' does not make Luther's conviction right in any way. Where is Logos in all this???]

I think here of a distant spiritual descendant of Martin Luther, the Nobel laureate Bob Dylan. After his conversion to evangelical Christianity, Dylan wrote a lovely song called Saving Grace, which includes the lines, “I look around this old world/ And all that I’m finding/ Is the saving grace that’s over me.” Mind you, this is the same Dylan who, just a few years earlier, had sung of “guns and sharp swords in the hands of young children” and who had pulled the masks off of “masters of war” and who had complained of “Desolation Row.”

But now — and this is the mark of the ecstatic — all that he sees is saving grace. In a more Catholic expression of the same experience, Georges Bernanos’s country priest could cry, “Toute est grace!” (Everything is grace!).

Beautiful? Poetically expressive? Spiritually evocative? Yes! But does it stand up to strict rational scrutiny? Of course not. What Ryrie’s characterization of Luther has helped me to see is how the great Solas of the Reformation can be both celebrated and legitimately criticized. [How can any rational Catholic celebrate these one-sided sola's???]

Was Luther right to express his ecstatic experience of the divine love in just this distinctive way? And was, say, the Council of Trent right in offering a sharp theological corrective to Luther’s manner of formulating the relationship between faith and works and between the Bible and reason?

I realize that it might annoy both my Catholic and Protestant friends even to pose the issue this way, but would answering “yes” to both those question perhaps show a way forward in the ecumenical conversation? [Again, Mons. Barron: what price 'ecumenism' at the cost of Catholic doctrine? Luther's expression of his 'ecstatic experience of divine love' does not make his apostasy and heresies any less wrong and sinful!]

Barron's CATHOLICISM film and video series were described as "an intimate journey, capturing 'The Catholic Thing' in all its depth and beauty. Eclectic, unique, and inspiring, Barron brings the faith to life for a new generation, in a style that is both faithful to timeless truths, while simultaneously speaking in the language of contemporary life." Let him fit his new Luthermania into that!
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June 18, 2017

[Actual solemnity was on Thursday, June 15]
At left: Two processions - Pius XII leading a Corpus Domini procession; and at Orvieto, site of a famous Eucharistic miracle. Third from right, the Eucharist portrayed in flowers on a street in Bolsena, another Eucharistic miracle site.
Across Italy, Corpus Domini is generally the occasion for the so-called 'infiorata', when the townsfolk decorate the main streets with huge tapestries or mosaics made up of fresh flowers depicting the subject of the feast.

]Basilica di San Francesco, Siena; right, the ciborium containing the Miraculous Hosts.

To mark the Solemnity of Corpus Domini today, Antonio Socci has re-posted something he wrote in 2014 to commemorate the anniversary
of the Eucharistic miracle of Siena which dates to 1730. Socci is Sienese himself.

I claim a minor personal relationship to Siena, where I spent six months in 1986 to acquire an advanced certificate in the Italian language
from the then Centro per Stranieri which has since become the Universita per Stranieri di Siena (Unistrasi). During the second part of that
advanced course, our classes were held in the cloisters adjoining the Basilica di San Francesco, so for three months, I began my day with
a visit to the church where the Miraculous Hosts are kept in the Tabernacle. The Basilica is on a small hill just outside the walls that
surround the historical center of Siena and a 15-minute walk from where I lived.

That and the fact that the family with whom I resided in Siena lived four blocks away from the Shrine of Caterina di Siena, including the
house where she was was born and raised, and that the station where I had to take the bus when I took weekend trips to places in Tuscany
not reachable by train, is right across the piazza from the Basilica di San Domenico, begun around the same time as the Basilica di San
Francesco (and also known as Basilica Cateriniana because her head and a thumb are venerated in its Capella di Santa Caterina – it’s a long
story but most of the saint’s remains are in Santa Maria sopra Minerva in Rome, where she died, while one foot is in Venice) added greatly
to my memories of that time as one of the happiest and most fruitful in my life.

At Holy Innocents today, although Corpus Domini was celebrated in the Extraordinary Form last Thursday, we observed today ‘the External
Solemnity of Corpus Domini’, complete with Eucharistic procession within the church after Mass.

The 230 Hosts of Siena
that light the world

Translated from
June 18, 2017
(Originally posted Sept. 28, 2014)

Everything took place in private on September 10, 2014. But the important news leaked through anyway, though it was largely unreported, and that is what we are reporting here.

One hundred years since the last analysis was done, it was confirmed that the Sacred Hosts kept in the Basilica di San Francesco in Siena since 1730 continue to be miraculously intact, against every natural law.

The container itself contained growths of fungus and bacteria, but none of the Hosts was affected. It is an inexplicable phenomenon because by their composition (made from ground wheat), the Hosts would have been perishable after a certain time, certainly highly vulnerable to microorganisms and fungi. But it seems that natural law does not apply to the 233 miraculous Hosts kept in the Siena basilica.

Many decades ago, an Archbishop of Siena, Tiberio Borghese, undertook a sort of test control: He sealed up some unconsecrated hosts in a container, and ten years later, a scientific committee opened the container and found only decomposed fragments and worms. This is, in fact, the natural history of organic matter – it becomes corrupted and decomposes.

And yet these consecrated Hosts in the Basilica of St. Francis in Siena, birthplace and home of St. Caterina of Siena, have been exempt from the inexorable laws of physics and chemistry. The miraculous hosts provide a wonderful concurrence in Siena of the two patrons of Italy, Francis and Catherine.

[The Basilica of San Francesco was a church begun by Franciscan monks in 1228, two years after St. Francis died, and completed in 1255. It was later enlarged in the 14th-15th centuries and the original Romanesque edifice was converted into Gothic. The current interior looks rather simple after a fire in 1655 and a restoration in 1885-1892, when many of the Baroque altars were demolished. The current neo-Gothic façade, flanked the 1763 campanile, dates to the early 20th century ].

In the various confirmed Eucharistic miracles, most of them taking place in Italy, usually the Hosts are transformed to flesh (heart muscle) and blood. But in Siena, the miracle is that the Hosts themselves have defined time and natural laws, as proof of the permanent presence of He who i9s Lord of history and of eternity.

The great T.S. Eliot wrote about human existence as ‘the point of intersection of the timeless and time”. Another poet, Eugenio Montale [1896-1981, Nobel Prize for Literature, 1975], in his secular quest for salvation sought "the threshold" leading out of the jail of everyday life, "the knot in the net" of existence, "the link that does not hold" in the chain of worldly events. And here, in the miraculous Hosts of Siena, we see the sign of the great threshold that opens up time to eternity.

It all began in 1730. It was August 14, eve of the Assumption. All the citizens of Siena were in the Cathedral (Duomo) of Siena for the First Vespers and the offering of a votive candle to the Mother of God. That is why some thieves were able to enter the Basilica of San Francesco and steal the ciborium full of consecrated Hosts. It was a shock to the city. Prayers and processions were offered in reparation for the sacrilege. Perhaps the thieves themselves experienced remorse. Three days later, on August 17, the Hosts were ‘returned’ – left in an almsbox of the nearby Shrine to Santa Maria di Provenzano.

The city celebrated. Solemn processions and acts of adoration took place in all the parishes, repeatedly. It was decided that the Hosts, though consecrated, would not be distributed but kept in their own ciborium in the tabernacle of the Basilica of St. Francis. Eventually, it became clear that with time, the Hosts had not undergone any alteration. Devoutly conserved, they remained incorrupt through the years and decades. The faithful started to think this was a miracle.

Because all throughout, the Hosts were obviously subject to organic decomposition, exposed to atmospheric agents as well as contact with different containers and with gloved hands during the periodic counts made, not to mention unavoidable movements of the containers. And yet, everytime they were examined periodically, they remained “fresh, intact, physically uncorrupted, pure, and with no signs of beginning decomposition.”

In 1914, almost two centuries later, it was decided to subject a sample of particles to scientific analysis. The final report said: “The Sacred Hosts of Siena are a classic example of perfect conservation of unleavened bread consecrated in 1730, and constitute a singular phenomenon that is palpitating in its reality of defying the natural law governing perishable organic matter. This is a unique case in the annals of science”.

In subsequenTt decades, the Hosts were transferred several times to other containers. In fact, there was another attempt to steal the Hosts in 1951. But the miracle continues. Danish writer…Joergensen, who later converted to Catholicism, called this “one of the greatest wonders of Christ on earth”.

About 20 years ago, I found myself accompanying then Cardinal Ratzinger to the Basilica of San Francesco, and I remember well his amazement and great emotion while contemplating the miraculous Hosts.

John Paul II, when he visited Siena on Sept. 14, 1980, spent some time in adoration before the Hosts, murmuring afterwards: “It is the Presence!”

Indeed, what characterizes this Eucharistic miracle in Siena is its continuity in time, a sign that clearly makes evident the permanence of Christ’s presence in the consecrated Host. It is the supernatural and extraordinary confirmation of a truth that Catholicism proclaims.

Don Divo Barsotti [1914-2006, monk, writer and founder of the Comunita degli Figli di Dio] wrote: “Some Protestant confessions do not deny the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist, but they deny that the Presence if permanent, that Jesus is only present at the moment when the Host is given and received…And this is one substantial difference in the Eucharistic doctrine of Catholicism and that of the Protestants: the Church has always taught that Christ is permanently present in the Eucharist”. [Which stems from Catholic belief that bread and wine are actually trans-substantiated into the Body and Blood of Christ at Consecration – and therefore, a consecrated Host is the Body and Blood of Christ, not merely a representation.]

In recent decades, Protestant thinking has infiltrated into the Catholic Church. Already in 1965, Paul VI, in his encyclical Mysterium fidei, warned against the false doctrines on the Eucharist that had been circulating in the Church.

One of this was precisely that Christ was no longer present in consecrated Hosts that are undistributed at Mass, an idea promptly taken up by Catho-progressivists fixated only on the horizontal dimension of the Mass. An idea that is most wrong! That is why the Council of Trent insisted on encouraging Eucharistic Adoration even outside of liturgy.

As Cardinal Avery Dulles pointed out, Mysterium fidei spoke clearly and definitively of “ the need to keep the Most Blessed Sacrament in a place of honor in the church”, and for pastors “to expose the Blessed Sacrament regularly for solemn adoration and in Eucharistic processions”.

John Paul II also sought to promote Eucharistic devotion outside Mass because it is “of inestimable value for the life of the Church”. He himself spent much time in Eucharistic adoration, and it is said that many of his best intuitions arose during such moments of prayer.

Benedict XVI was likewise a devotee of Eucharistic adoration, and during his Pontificate, many Catholic rediscovered the beauty and richness of this devotion. [Most notably, in 2005, in Cologne, he introduced Eucharistic Adoration and Benediction as the main feature of the massive youth rally held on the eve of the concluding Mass for the quadrennial World Youth Day celebration, and at other youth gatherings during his apostolic visits abroad, most notably in London and Prague. These events, characterized by a great hush, even if there were a million present as in Cologne, Sydney and Madrid, were always the most memorable events on these occasions, and even TV commentators knew better than to intrude on that silence.]

But although Eucharistic Adoration has always been part of Church Magisterium, a kind of parallel and abusive ‘magisterium’ has sown its weeds. And it seems the errors of the 1960s have come back when, as Cardinal Dulles wrote, “the faithful are being told by teachers, preachers and the so-called avant-garde, that the purpose of the Blessed Sacrament is to be received in communion, not to be adored, as if the two purposes were mutually exclusive”.

A direct result of that idea is that in many Catholic churches, the tabernacle that houses the Most Blessed Sacrament is no longer the central, most noble and most important feature in the house of God, but has been relegated to a storage room or even not found in the church at all.

And yet it is the Tabernacle with its perpetual lamp that characterizes a Catholic Church. Edith Stein, the German Jewish philosopher who became St. Teresa Benedicta of the Cross, said she converted to Catholicism because, after having visited many Protestant churches, she entered a Catholic Church and realized that “Here, there is a Presence”. She became a Carmelite nun and was later killed in Auschwitz.

The weekly parish bulletin at Holy Innocents features a Fatima-related story during this centenary year, and today the story is about a miracle I had not heard about before...

A Fatima miracle in Hiroshima

At 2:45 a.m. on August 6, 1945, a B29 bomber dparted from the island of Tinian in the Pacific Ocean to drop the first atomic bomb on Japan. At 8:15 a.m., the bomb exploded eight blocks away from the Jesuit church of Our Lady’s Assumption in Hiroshima.

A group of Jesuits were in the church, but they survived the catastrophe and the radiation that killed thousands in the following months had no effect on them. Experts were amazed that the priests had survived. Physicians who treated them after the disaster warned them that the radiation they received would produce serious lacerations as well as internal disease and an early death. But none of that happened.

One of them, Fr. Hubert Schiffer later recalled that horrible day. He said that having already celebrated hisdaily Mass, he was about to eat breakfast when there was a blinding flash of light followed by an incredible explosion. He was taken up and violently thrown about in the air – like a leaf in a gust of wind, he said. He would next open his eyes on the ground, and upon seeing the absolute devastation around him, he was shocked to realize that, although wounded, he would survive.

Perhaps even more miraculous than surviving the initial blast was that none of the Jesuits suffered any after-effects from the radiation. Fr. Schiffer himself lived another 33 years and both wrote and spoke about his experience in Hiroshima.

The group of priests firmly believed they were protected by God and the Blessed Virgin Mary due to their devotion to the message of Fatima. “We were living the message of Fatima and we prayed the Rosary every day”.

I gather Fr. Schiffer and his fellow Jesuits saved by this miracle were, in the 1940s, far from the 'obligatory' inculturation of Catholicism into local Japanese worship practices that Fr. Adolfo Nicolas (the one who preceded Abascal Sosa as Jesuit Superior-General and was only marginally less outrageous in his statements) advocated after spending more than two decades as a missionary in Japan after World War II.
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June 18, 2017 headlines


The banner headline above links to a blogpost by Edward Pentin who provides a sort of status report on the Bergoglio-generated
anarchy in current and forthcoming pastoral practices regarding communion for remarried divorcees

'Hagan lio!', he said,
and here we are in worse than 'lio'

June 18, 2017

Since the publication last year of Pope Francis’s apostolic exhortation on the family Amoris Laetitia, a “doctrinal anarchy” that was feared and predicted at the synods on the family is becoming apparent.

Belgium’s bishops have become the latest to read the exhortation as giving — under certain conditions but with an emphasis on the primacy of conscience — access to the Sacraments for some civilly remarried divorcees without an annulment.

They follow the bishops’ conferences of Malta, the Philippines and Germany, as well as some bishops from other countries who have issued similar guidelines and statements for interpreting Amoris Laetitia’s controversial Chapter 8.

By contrast, Poland’s bishops’ conference last week became the first national conference to declare that Amoris Laetitia has not changed Church doctrine on Holy Communion for the divorced and civilly remarried, and that they continue not to have access to the Sacraments as the Church considers them to be living in an objective state of adultery.

In a statement following their annual plenary meeting, the bishops said the exhortation must be read in continuity with Church teaching, especially with regards to Pope St. John Paul II’s 1981 post-synodal apostolic exhortation Familiaris Consortio. That document stated the Church was not to allow remarried divorcees to receive Holy Communion unless living as “brother and sister.”

Last year, the president of the Polish bishops’ conference, Archbishop Stanislaw Gadecki, said that giving Holy Communion could not be allowed following a period of pastoral discernment.

The Polish bishops’ position is echoed by that of Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, who has continually maintained that Amoris Laetitia should only be interpreted in line with the Church’s teaching, and that it has not changed the Church's discipline.

Asked this week by the Register about his concerns about the issue, Cardinal Müller again doubled down on adhering to what the Church has always taught and practiced.

“We should help people who find themselves in a situation of marital difficulty,” the cardinal said, “but not only with pragmatic reflections according to the spirit of the world, but according to the Holy Spirit, with the means of the sacraments and the internal and canonical conditions for the reception of Holy Communion, which necessary includes the confession of all grave sin.”

[Yes, Your Eminence, but in the Bergoglio regime, both he and his chief theological adviser, Mons. Fernandez, have said with a wink that bishops and priests ought not to worry if the CDF goes after them! And can you really believe that any cardinal, bishop or priest who does not wish to rock the Bergoglio boat at all - for careerist reasons or otherwise - would even bother to read, much less care, what the CDF thinks about anything???]

The practical implications of this doctrinal confusion are already being witnessed.

At a Mass last Sunday in an Argentine parish, Bishop Ángel José Macín of Reconquista determined that after six months of discernment, parishioners living in irregular unions or divorced and civilly remarried could be included in full and sacramental Communion.

They may have all been living chaste lives as brother and sister, but the blog Rorate Caeli reported that at no point was that mentioned, nor was any reference made to the Lord’s commandment against committing adultery.

The reality of the situation is that the members of that Argentine parish have access to the Sacraments, but that would not be the case were they in a Polish one. Thus your geographical location becomes the determining factor on whether you must adhere to traditional Church teaching and practice, or not.

“The first effect on the Church of doctrinal anarchy is division,” said Monsignor Nicola Bux, a former consulter of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith during the pontificate of Benedict XVI. This is “because of apostasy,” he added, “which is the abandonment of Catholic thought, as defined by Saint Vincent of Lerins: quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab omnibus creditur (what has been believed everywhere, always, and by all).” [Thank you, Mons. Bux, you confirm me in my use of the word APOSTASY rather than HERESY to describe Bergoglianism.]

St. Vincent was a 5th century Church father who distinguished the legitimate growth in understanding of divine revelation from the false alteration of religion and Catholic orthodox dogma.

Msgr. Bux warned that the Church “cannot change the faith and at the same time ask believers to remain faithful to it.”

Further problems relate to how priests are dealing with the ambiguity over the change in practice, with bishops reporting many incidences of deep confusion as well as issues of obedience and conscience. A few clergy have reportedly abandoned the ministry as they refuse in conscience to give Holy Communion to remarried divorcees not living in continence.

A key problem is that the Pope’s own position on this issue has been ambiguous. Although last year he backed an Argentine bishops’ directive advocating support for giving Holy Communion to some remarried divorcees and, a few months ago, wrote a letter thanking Maltese bishops for their guidelines on interpreting the document, he has yet to state an official position, despite being formally asked to do so by four cardinals. [Bergoglio has not been denounced enough, and hardly ever, by calling his refusal to answer the DUBIA nothing less than dastardly COWARDICE - it goes beyond mere jesuitistic casuistry - which is all of a piece with the COWARDICE that underlies his tender kid-gloves treatment of Islamism, and his punctilious political correctness in everything secular. In fact, one should define political correctness as both hypocrisy and cowardice.]

Cardinals Carlo Caffarra, Walter Brandmüller, Raymond Burke, and Joachim Meisner sent him a list of dubia last September - five key questions about his fundamental propositions in Amoris Laetitia to resolve confusion about his ambiguities and to determine if the document is really in continuity with the Church’s teaching.

The Pope has asked Cardinal Müller not to respond, but said in an interview that some, “as with certain responses to Amoris Laetitia, persist in seeing only white or black, when rather one ought to discern in the flow of life.” He added that these “critiques — if they’re not from an evil spirit — do help. Some types of rigorism spring from the desire to hide one’s own dissatisfaction under armor.” [Oh no, Padre Jorge! The critiques are not from an evil spirit - it is the object of these critiques which is!]

Speaking last year at a presentation, Archbishop Bruno Forte, who was special secretary during the synods on the family, shared comments the Pope made during the synod which give an indication of his approach.

“If we speak explicitly about Communion for the divorced and remarried, you do not know what a terrible mess we shall bring on ourselves,” Archbishop Forte reported the Pope as saying, reportedly adding: “So we won’t speak plainly - do it in a way that the premises are there, then I will draw out the conclusions.”

The current situation is causing widespread unease, frustration and anger. German Catholic journalist Peter Winnemöller, writing on the Austrian website Kathnet, said he found it hard to believe that this “absurd situation” is what Pope Francis means when he says he wants the decentralization of the Church.

[What else, though? Look at how he articulated his proposed 'decentralization' in Evangelii gaudium - in which he clearly said he also wished to give bishops doctrinal autonomy. In other words, Bergoglio's decentralization means destroying the very catholicity of the Church, because in making every bishop doctrinally autonomous (they already are pastorally autonomous), he is thereby enabling a multiplicity of local, .i.e., diocesan, churches that are not obliged to be in communion with Rome. Goodbye, universal Church; say hello to the independent Bergoglian diocesan churches that have now been generated by Amoris laetitia!]

The “valuable suggestions” made at the synod to strengthen the Sacrament of marriage and the family are “unfortunately being completely undermined” by the chapter and its “problematic interpretation,” Winnemöller added. This is exacerbated by the Pope “in not making a binding decision and announcement.”

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The persistent influence of Cardinal Sodano
By Phil Lawler
June 17, 2017

At the ripe old age of 94, Cardinal Roger Etchegaray — the 3rd-oldest living cardinal — has finally been replaced as vice-dean of the College of Cardinals. But Cardinal Angelo Sodano, whose own 90th birthday is coming in November, continues in his role as dean.

The vice-dean of the College of Cardinals occupies a ceremonial post. But for the dean, the position does involve certain responsibilities. Ordinarily his duties are negligible, involving little things such as presenting the Christmas greetings of the cardinals to the Pope.

But when a Pontiff dies (or resigns) the dean becomes a central figure. He presides at the funeral of the deceased Pontiff and preaches the homily, with the eyes of the world focused on him.

In the case of Cardinal Sodano that focus would be unfortunate, because his prominence would inevitably prompt commentators to recall the scandals in which the Italian cardinal was embroiled:
- his strong support for the disgraced founder of the Legion of Christ, the late Father Marcial Maciel;
- his nephew’s role in a real-estate scam that claimed support from the Vatican Secretariat of State (which Cardinal Sodano then headed).

Pope Francis has been working assiduously to clean up the Roman Curia. It would be a shame if, at his funeral, the spotlight turned toward an elderly prelate with that sort of past, giving commentators an opportunity to dredge up unwelcome old questions.

Since the new Code of Canon Law took effect in 1983, diocesan bishops have been required to submit their resignations upon reaching the age of 75. That requirement does not apply to the prelates who hold honorary posts at the Vatican, yet most have stepped down at least by their 80th birthdays.

Take for instance the office of the camerlengo, who serves as temporary head of state for the Vatican during a papal interregnum. Since the new Code took effect, that office has been held by:
- the late Cardinal Paolo Bertoli, who retired at the age of 77;
the late Cardinal Sebastiano Baggio, who died before reaching the age of 80;
- Cardinal Eduardo Martinez Somalo, who retired at 76;
- Cardinal Tarscio Bertone, who retired on his 80th birthday; and
- the incumbent, Cardinal Jean-Louis Tauran, who is 74

It’s true that the duties of the camerlengo are potentially more demanding than those of the dean (to say nothing of the vice-dean) of the College of Cardinals. Still, since 1983 the deans have followed the same pattern:
- The late Cardinal Angelo Rossi resigned as dean in 1993, a month after his 80th birthday.
- The late Cardinal Bernardin Gantin resigned as dean in 2005, 6 months after his 80th birthday.
- Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger ceased to be dean when he was elected Supreme Pontiff, at the age of 78.
- Cardinal Sodano, who celebrated his 80th birthday in November 2007, remains in office.

Cardinal Sodano has already demonstrated his staying power. He remained at the powerful post of Secretary of State until he was nearly 79. Even after Cardinal Bertone assumed the title of Secretary of State, Cardinal Sodano remained for weeks at the same desk [and for six months, he did not move out of the Secretary's official residence in the Apostolic Palace, while his new quarters at the Ethiopian College inside the Vatican was being built], forcing his successor to work out of another temporary office outside the apostolic palace [and living in the Torre San Giovanni meanwhile]. It nearly took the Jaws of Life to remove Sodano from the Vatican apartment set aside for the Secretary of State. And from all accounts he remains a powerful force behind the scenes at the Vatican.

Pope Francis has said, on more than one occasion, the Vatican officials should not look upon their jobs as personal fiefdoms. Recently the Pope raised some eyebrows by saying that Church leaders should know when to step down. Here’s a clear-cut case.

Who's the Vatican archbishop
who cruises Porta Sant'Anna for prey?

Roaming Gay Archbishop in the Vatican
June 19, 2017

Il Messaggero published on Sunday an article about an unnamed Vatican prelate, who belongs to an "important religious order", but is not able to control "his own desires in front of young men." Il Sismografo identifies the prelate as an archbishop.

According to Il Messaggero, the archbishop leaves his apartment in the late afternoon and roams around Porta Sant'Anna, the main control gate to the Vatican, where he reportedly approaches male tourists or even Italian soldiers.

Messaggero writes that the archbishop "is causing great embarrassment to the Pope", who has been informed about this months ago, but seems to have opted for a "don't judge" attitude regarding homosexuals.

There are not many archbishops in the Roman Curia who belong to a religious order. [As I do not keep track of the sub-dicastery head level functionaries in the Vatican, I don't even have a list to start a process of elimination! Mons. Paglia does not belong to a religious order, so that rules him out, and as far as I know, Mons. Ricca of IOR and Casa Santa Marta has not been made a bishop or even an archbishop (though I must admit I find his picture and message at the start of the IOR's 140-page report for 2016 quite unsettling, in view of his past, even if he is the 'prelate of the Vatican bank', i.e., its spiritual supervisor.)

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The following might well be a pendant to Edward Pentin’s blogpost from yesterday about AL…

Cardinals, collegiality and Amoris Laetitia
June 19, 2017

Collegiality did not wait to be invented by Vatican II. In the 1950s, Papa Pacelli, Pius XII, wrote to each bishop of the Catholic Church to ask (1) whether he believed in the Corporal Assumption of the Mother of God; and (2) whether he considered it opportune for the dogma to be defined. The subsequent Solemn Definition followed upon the overwhelming consensus apparent in the replies of the world-wide episcopate.

More than a year has passed since the emergence of the divisive and poorly drafted document called Amoris laetitia. In this time, many bishops and episcopal conferences [Some’, perhaps ‘ a few’, to be more accurate, certainly not ‘many!] have issued guidelines making clear that nothing has changed since S John Paul II in Familiaris consortio, and Pope Benedict XVI in Sacramentum Caritatis, reemphasised the Church's immemorial discipline: 'remarried' divorcees who will not repent of their adultery and undertake either to separate or at least to try, with the help of God's grace, to cohabit chastely, exclude themselves from the Sacraments during the time of their impenitence.

A few conferences and Bishops have issued statements understood as meaning that the thusly impenitent may, by virtue of Amoris laetitia, receive the Sacraments. Yet other conferences, such as that in England and Wales, have been manifestly unable to agree among themselves. It is clear that the Universal Episcopate is not united behind a 'German' interpretation of Amoris laetitia. Very far from it. [Perhaps this should be qualified to say that the overwhelming majority of the world’s bishops have chosen not to go on the record, i.e., not documented in words written or oral, about that they think of the controversial propositions in AL, perhaps mostly because they do not want to rock the Bergoglio boat in anyway – for careerist reasons, or otherwise – but one suspects most of them will go ahead anyway to implement the equivocal statements in AL in the way that Bergoglio has always intended them to be understood, i.e., ignoring all previous Magisterium on the matter of marriage, adultery and the sacraments, in favor of leniency for all.]

In the context of the Unity of the Una Catholica and of the collegial nature of the Universal Episcopate, cum et sub Petro, the time has surely come for this 'dialogue' to be moved to a new stage.

Manifestly, if we are to persist with the embarrassing notion that we belong to one Church with one Teaching about the Eucharist and the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, steps must be taken to move in the direction of coherence, harmony, and united witness.

The idea that someone who is excluded from the Sacraments by his own impenitent rejection of the Gospel needs only to walk across the border between Poland and Germany, or from one American diocese to another, to be welcomed enthusiastically as a communicant in good standing, is obviously a profoundly unCatholic absurdity which needs speedily to be resolved.

Indeed, if one of Bishop Lopes's Ordinariate parishes in America were geographically within a 'liberal' Cupichoid, diocese, the dissonance between the two in doctrine and discipline would be even more ludicrous.

The time has surely come for the Four Cardinals who intervened last year with their Dubia to revisit the question. [Revisit? The questions over AL – crystallized in the DUBIA – have never been taken off the table, or out of sight, since that document from Hell was first published.]

And the time for Bishops, Successors of the Apostles according to the teaching of Leo XIII and of Vatican II and not mere vicars of the Roman Pontiff, to speak with courage, clarity and unanimity. And for clergy, laity, and academics to do the same.

[And what are we to do when the man elected to lead the Church in 2013 has consistently refused to do his duty to ‘confirm his brethren in the faith’, as Jesus mandated the first Peter? Besides keeping any and all DUBIA about his statements and actions alive and well-ventilated, all we can do is to continue living our lives and fulfilling our Catholic duties according to the deposit of the faith, which we can well do, with the grace of God and the ministry of faithful bishops and priests, while ignoring the existence of a man whose acts of apostasy are inexorably mounting!]

Remember that, at the height of the Arian Crisis, it was not among the Bishops or even in Rome that the Faith was most conspicuously preserved and defended. Remember the careful and lucid teaching of Blessed John Henry Newman, beloved Patron of our English Ordinariate, on the Suspense of the Magisterium.

Parrhesia, boldness in witnessing to the Truth, a virtue which was once (only a couple of years ago ... it seems like an eternity, doesn't it?) so very incessantly on the lips of the current occupant of the Roman See, is surely still an obligation for all faithful Catholics. [It certainly is, especially when the ENEMY is not just wantonly parrhesic but also pathologically logorrheic!]

The more who speak boldly, the more difficult it will be for individuals to be put under unsympathetic pressure.
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The site right now is only in Italian, though the questionnaire for young people is in four languages.

Previewing the next Bergoglian synod
In his blogpost today, Marco Tosatti says someone pointed out to him that in the questionnaire intended by the Vatican for young Catholics
between the ages of 18-29 preparatory to the 2018 Bergoglian synod on ‘The youth, faith and vocational discernment’, that in asking the
respondent to rate the top three concerns which he thinks ought to be the priorities for the Church, the alternative about the defense
of life is formulated as follows in Italian: “Una maggiore promozione e difesa della vita fin dalla nascita, which
translates as “better promotion and defense of life from birth”, which is, of course, a major error.

But it appears the Italian questionnaire is different from the one in English, where it clearly says “Major defense of life from
to its natural end”
, not ‘from birth’ as it is in the Italian. Since the site is set up to so that the only way to see the questions
is to answer the questionnaire, I had to fill out the English questionnaire as a fictitious 25-year-old person of Indian descent living in
the Barbados. Predictably, the choices for what one thinks the priorities of the Church ought to be include ‘defense of the environment’
and something on welcoming everyone, but also, surprisingly, ‘defense of the truth’.

So I hope someone will check out the questionnaires posted in French and Spanish, as I do not wish to fill out any more fictitious forms.
Most of the questions meant to elicit demographic information I answered noncommittally, deciding to be real only about questions that
have to do with the faith and my practice of it, as well as the rather extensive questioning about one’s use of social networks
and the uses/advantages one gets from them.

(I have no use for social media as such, except to access Antonio Socci and a few other Benedict-oriented Facebook sites; I do not see the point
to Twitter; and I accidentally got a Facebook account years ago because registering was my only way to get some information I needed from
a French site, and that’s been the only use I have made of it – for access to sites I am interested in checking out - which I am shown in French
even if the originals are in English, Italian or German

Tosatti notes that the way the Italian question is formulated, it would seem that the translator [This is not the first instance,
BTW, of malicious Vatican translators screwing up Vatican documents that are meant to be official]

“considers infanticide – i.e., killing babies after they are born - to be a serious social and anthropological problem, and not the widespread practice of abortion on demand which is also touted in ‘the world’ as a necessity in order to avoid over-population of the planet. Which is what the Church had been fighting all along!”

It seems incredible, but perhaps we should become used to such ideas and stop being amazed, when, after all, the Pontifical Academy for Life now counts abortion advocates among its members.

About the synodal questionnaire itself, Tosatti tells us this is how Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, its mastermind, described it to SIR:

The decision of the General Secretariat of the Bishops’ Synod to open an Internet site and publish a questionnaire for all young people, no one excluded, responds to the need to involve them as much as possible in the synodal path that the Church is taking on the theme ‘The youth, faith, and vocational discernment’.

On the one hand, the site provides them with instruments to enable their participation to be more aware and committed. On the other hand, it gives visibility to initiatives in which they themselves are the protagonists.

The site will feature information, new knowledge, experiences and initiatives. Through the questionnaire, young people will be able to have their voice heard, their sensibility and their faith, but also their doubts and criticisms, so that this may reach their pastors, as Pope Francis asked them in the letter he wrote to start the synodal process.

The questionnaire online is different from that found in the Preparatory Document – different in purpose, different in the questions asked. It is addressed directly to young people so they may be able to share their life, their desires, their fears. The questions are designed so that the respondents are thereby able to present themselves, how they see themselves and rthe world around them, how they relate to others, including in their important life decisions.
They are asked to express what they feel about religion, faith and the Church.

The final series of questions focuses attention on their online life. At the end, the respondent is asked to say something important about himself that has not been touched upon by the questionnaire.

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On June 8, I posted a Rorate caeli blog item (See Page 578 of this thread) citing Marco Tosatti to the effect that the Brazilian-born
traditional lay movement called Heralds of the Gospel were to be the next target of Bergoglian 'mercy' a la Franciscan Friars of the
Immaculate. At that time, we were not told why they were being targeted other than perhaps the fact that Benedict XVI had praised
the movement in his LIGHT OF THE WORLD interview-book.

The other day, I started translating two items about the Heralds, but before I got around to posting them, today there are bizarre stories
purporting that the Heralds and their founders have been doing the work of the devil and even plotting Bergoglio's death... Before I get
around to those stories, let me post the earlier ones first, written before these hair-raising accusations were made public.

A guest commentary
on the 'Heralds'

Translated from
June 15, 2017

Today, we offer this space for a guest commentary on a specific topic: The Heralds of the Gospel, a movement that began in Brazil which is about to be investigated in an apostolic visitation from the Congregation supervising religious orders and associations.

This was first reported in La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, later confirmed by a plausible Vatican source. Our guest writer, who is very familiar with the affairs of the Heralds, uses the pseudonym 'Abate Faria' [after the Abbe Faria in Dumas’s The Count of Monte Cristo, a learned Italian priest imprisoned in solitary in the Chateau d’If and who encounters the protagonist Edmond Dantes in his cell when the priest attempts to escape through a tunnel that he dug. Faria not only teaches Dantes Latin and Greek and his considerable scientific knowledge but also reveals to him the existence and location of a secret treasure on the island of Monte Cristo not far from Elba.]

We are following with great interest recent developments concerning the Heralds of the Gospel, a religious institution classified as an International Association of Pontifical Right which was founded in 2001 - the first such in the third millennium - which was inspired by the teachings of the Brazilian traditionalist Plinio Corre de Oliveira (1908-1995).

[Consisting mainly of young people, this Association is established in 78 countries. Its members practice celibacy, and are entirely dedicated to apostolate, living in separate houses designated for young men and young women. Their life of recollection, study and prayer alternates with evangelizing activities in dioceses and parishes, with special emphasis placed on the formation of youth.]

This has given rise to the following thoughts:
1. If the videos are true [I had no idea at the time what these supposed videos are] – and we have no reason to doubt their authenticity – there certainly appear to have been doctrinal deviations and unacceptable exaggerations. And we are happy at the interest of the Vatican to safeguard the integrity of Catholic doctrine.

We hope the same strictness will be applied to other religious congregations and their leaders, seeing that recently, some [he obviously means the new Jesuit Superior General] have recently questioned the reliability of the Gospels “because we do not really know what Jesus said”. What about that then?

2. The same strictness should be applied to the investigation of how the various religious orders manage their financial and material assets, especially since many orders have turned into hotel chains rather than institutes of religious life. When the pope calls on ‘everyone’ to shelter refugees and homeless, why does he not set an example by demanding that all religious edifices that have been converted to hotels turn out their paying guests in order to provide free board and lodging to the homeless? And what about the dozens of financial scandals that have bedeviled many religious orders including those, like the Franciscans, who have such a long history?

3. The history of the Heralds of the Gospel is complicated by its ties to the TFP, the Brazilian Society for the Defense of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP) founded in 1960 by Correa de Oliveira to combat Liberation Theology which had been welcomed by successive conferences of the Latin American and Caribbean bishops.

Now, if the Heralds have committed deviations from the faith, then they must be sanctioned – one hopes with true justice, rather than justice dictated by other interests. But Correa de Oliveira must not be blamed, because he did have important intuitions about the unhealthy evolution of the Catholic world starting in the 1950s, and he always rejected all the doctrinal deviations and personality cult that have been cited as part of the forthcoming investigation.

4. Persons who have observed the Heralds over the past 16 years tell us that many Catholics have turned back to the Catholic Church and to healthy Catholic teaching thanks to the work and example of the Heralds. Will the Heralds and their followers now have to witness their systematic dismemberment the same way that the
Vatican did with a previously flourishing institution like the Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate?

Ultimately, who profits? The future will tell us.

The following day, the daily Italian online newspaper Il Faro di Roma (Lighthouse of Rome), published this article, almost a puff piece, about the Heralds:

Introducing the Heralds of the Gospel
Translated from
June 16, 2017

In a letter published on June 12, Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias, 77, founder and superior general of the society for apostolic life called Virgo Flos Carmeli (Virgin Flower of Carmel) and president of the lay association Arautos do Evangelho (Heralds of the Gospel), announced he was giving up his positions so that someone else among his spiritual sons “may lead our work to the perfection desired by Our Lady”.

According to Vaticanista Adnrea Tornielli, the resignation had to do with the investigation of the Heralds, ordered by the Vatican Congregation supervising religious orders, an investigation described as ‘deep-reaching and serious’, although no decision has yet been taken as to whether it will require an apostolic visitation.

Found today in 78 countries, the lay Heralds ceremonially wear a short cassock with a huge red and white cross across the breast, and knee-high boots. Similar garments are worn by their female members.

The Heralds were founded in 2001 under John Paul II, at which time they were championed by the Slovenian Cardinal Franc Rodè, who was then the head of the Congregation for the religious. Rodè is also remembered for having celebrated the funeral Mass for the notorious Fr. Marcial Maciel who had maintained two families, one in Spain and the other in Mexico, and having praised Maciel publicly even after Benedict XVI announced the disciplinary measures taken by the CDF against Maciel for his known offenses. [I really do not know if this is relevant at all to the Heralds of the Gospel, unless it is to imply – gratuitously and unfairly - that if Rodè could so publicly endorse Maciel, then it would not be surprising if the Heralds whom he championed would also turn out to be rotten!]

“Among the reasons for the investigation”, Tornielli writes in Vatican Insider, “there is said to be a kind of secret and extravagant cult to a trinity composed of Plinio Correa de Oliveria, his mother Donna Lucilia, and Mons. Clá Días himself».

Correa de Oliveira was a traditionalist Catholic thinker, considered ‘rightwing and counter-revolutionary’, who founded the TFP (Tradition, Family, Property) association which devolved after his death in 1995 into a number of associations, one of which was the Heralds of the Gospel. Many persons who left the Heralds subsequently wrote about this supposed secret cult which “goes well beyond that of a simple personality cult”. [Wikipedia says that “The spirituality of the Heralds is based on three essential points: The Eucharist, the Virgin Mary and the Pope. Their charism leads them to strive for perfection, while always searching for the element of beauty in all their daily actions.”]

In reviewing the story of the Heralds, one also comes across the figure of Mons. Emilio Pignoli, an Italian priest who was sent as a fidei donum priest from the Diocese of Cremona to Brazil, where he became Bishop of Campo Limpo, a position he held till 2008. I

“I had expressed the desire to know them, and so they invited me to spend a day at their mother house – where I saw so many good things, everything with great dignity and very proper. I had a dialog with them, at which they discussed with me the statutes of the association. I read through them and I made notes on things I thought ought to be changed. They then sent me a revised version with I sent to Mons Geraldo Macella who was in Rome at the time. He responded promptly to me, saying that the Heralds deserved to be supported.

And so, I observed the Heralds for a ‘trial period’ of five years, on the grounds that the tree will be recognized by its fruits. And it did – in abundance, which surprised me. I had signed the decree approving them as an Association of the Faithful, to which other bishops subscribed, and when all this was presented to the Holy See, then the Heralds became an Association of Pontifical Right in 2001. That was quite fast. But it has been a very beautiful path…”

The Heralds practice celibacy and are totally dedicated to their apostolate, living in separate housing for males and females. They alternate periods of meditation, study and prayer with evangelizing work in dioceses and parishes, especially working with young people. Although they do not take religious vows and remain as laypeople, they strive to practice what the Gospel teaches in all its purity. They live in male or female communities, in an atmosphere of fraternal love and discipline and an intense life of prayer and study.

They count with ‘cooperators’, defined in their statutes as “those who identify with the spirit of the Heralds, but cannot commit themselves fulltime to the Association because of their pre-existing commitments of membership in an institute of consecrated life or a society of apostolic life, or because of their family and professional duties.” The cooperators can be laymen, married or celibate, priests, deacons, religious and religious, and besides observing the precepts and duties inherent in their main calling, also strive to live in accordance with the charism and spirituality of the Heralds, devoting free time to the Association and committing to carry out certain duties.

The first articles in the Heralds’ statutes define their calling:

“This Association… was born with the purpose of being an instrument of holiness in the Church, helping its members to respond generously to an invitation to live the fullness of Christian life in the perfection of charity, striving for a more intimate unity between practical life and faith… Moreover, the Association aims at the active, knowledgeable and responsible participation of its members in the salvific mission of the Church through the apostolate to which the Lord has destined them by virtue of Baptism and Confirmation. In this way, they must work for evangelization, sanctification and instilling the Christian spirit in temporal reality”.

They are called on to strive for perfection in seeking beauty in all the acts of daily lif, even the most common. For a Herald, their site says, this invitation to perfection must not be limited only to interior acts but must be manifested in their external activity so as “to better reflect God”.

It means that the Herald must seek to invest a sacredness in his daily actions, whether alone or in public, in his evangelizing work, in his relations with others, in his participation in liturgy, in musical and artistic presentations, and in any other circumstance. This search for perfection means not just embracing the truth and practicing virtue but to do this with beauty which can be an important element in sanctification. [The classic trinity of virtue even among the Greeks has always been ‘the true, the good, and the beautiful’, each quality inherent in each other. What is true must be good and beautiful, what is good must be true and beautiful, what is beautiful must be true and good.]

The Diocese of Rome assigned the church of San Benedetto in Piscinula to the Herald of the Gospel, the first concession in the pope’s own diocese of a church and base for pastoral activity to a private lay association. [But wasn’t the Sant’Egidio Community also assigned something similar? The church of San Bartolomeo on the Isola Tiberina in Rome.] The Heralds have taken charge of animating the liturgies celebrated in their church, as well as taking care of Church decorations and priestly garments and accessories, and in welcoming pilgrims.

The site of the Heralds has since responded to Tornielli's article - a rough translation from the Portuguese is available here:
Comes now THE DAILY BEAST, living up indeed to its name, with this scare story about the Heralds that sounds like SCHLOCK form beginning to end. If one had not read about the Heralds otherwise, here they are introduced in the most dreadful terms:

This secret Catholic exorcist cult in Brazil
is making a deal with the devil

The Vatican is looking into this group which apparently
made a pact with Satan on climate change and the pope's death

by Barbie Latza Nadeau
June 18, 2017

ROME — Plinio Correa de Oliveira is almost as peculiar in death as he was in life. Dr. Plinio, as he is still known by his devout followers, was a right-wing Catholic figure who founded the ultra-conservative Tradition, Family and Property Association, known in Catholic circles as the TFP.

In the early 1960s, he famously came to Rome to protest the opening of the Second Vatican Council, which sought to modernize the Catholic Church in a changing era. He called such attempts at renewal “a point in history as sad as the death of our Lord” and handed out propaganda with similar sentiments.

In death, Dr. Plinio is said to be in close contact with Satan, who supposedly can be channeled by Brazilian exorcists. He also apparently rules the so-called afterlife to such an extent that his followers are convinced he controls climate change and is working toward the death of Pope Francis, according to Andrea Tornielli, who writes the Vatican Insider blog, and has published a series of articles outlining this saga worthy of a Dan Brown bestseller.

By getting rid of Pope Francis, some of the doctor’s followers believe, the way would be open for the Catholic Church to elect a more conservative leader in line with their more traditional practices.

After Dr. Plinio died in 1995, the TFP broke into two groups. One retains the TFP name and supports the recent claims of dubia or doubts launched against Pope Francis, which are supported by American Cardinal Raymond Burke. The other group, known as the Heralds of the Gospel, was founded by Monsignor João Scognamiglio Clá Dias and allegedly takes part in cult worship.

The extent of Plinio’s supernatural influence as proclaimed by Dias (or at least the extent to which his followers exalt him for that perceived power) is the subject of a new inquiry by the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life, according to Tornielli.

Specifically, Dr. Plinio’s followers led by Dias are said to be using rogue exorcism practices in which they actually communicate with the devil possessing people rather than chasing him out, as the standard accepted practice in Catholic exorcisms dictates.

According to Catholic sociologist Massimo Introvigne, who has studied Dr. Plinio’s life work, the Heralds of the Gospel form “a sort of secret and extravagant cult,” with its trinity composed of “Plinio Correa de Oliveira, his mother Donna Lucilia, and Monsignor Clá Días himself.”

And that sort of devil worship is understandably a problem for the Catholic Church. On June 12, Clá Dias resigned as head and founder of the Herald of Gospels, although Tornielli says he will stay on in what appears to be a consultant-like role.

Particularly damning for the cult-like group is a series of videos on the internet that show exorcisms using practices not authorized by the Catholic Church. They include purported conversations between the exorcists and the devil, which is a no-no in standard exorcism procedures. (Yes, exorcism as such remains a staple of the faith and authorized practitioners are not only recognized but recommended by Pope Francis.)

“Woe to the exorcist if he loses himself behind curious questions, which the ritual expressly forbids, or if he lets himself be led into a discussion with the devil as he is the master of lies,” Tornielli says, quoting the words of the Church’s most famous exorcist, Father Gabriele Amorth.

In one passage from a video seen by The Daily Beast, Dias asks one of his minions to read from a transcript that was purportedly jotted down by an observer at one of the rogue exorcisms encompassing what appears to be dialogue between the exorcist and Satan.

The conversation was stilted, as one might expect with the struggle for the possessed person’s soul, but the gist was that Plinio was randomly “breaking people's computers so that they can’t go on the internet” and that he is changing the climate and was “therefore the author of the climate change, and the increase of heat. It is Plinio who does everything,” according to the devil as channeled through the exorcist.

Then, the devil predicts that a meteorite will crash into the Atlantic ocean. “North America will disappear,” he warns.

The devil then turns to the fate of Pope Francis, which Tornielli was able to transcribe and translate from the somewhat distorted video. “The Vatican? It's mine, mine!” the devil says to the exorcist, according to Tornielli’s transcript. “The pope does whatever I want, he's stupid! He obeys me in everything. He is my glory, he is willing to do everything for me. He serves me.”

Then the devil, again as channeled by the exorcist for the Heralds of the Gospel, predicts that the pope will perish, not during a voyage, but at the Vatican. “The pope will die falling,” the exorcist’s transcript says quite clearly.

While much of the Heralds of the Gospel work seems, well, fanciful at best, the Vatican’s investigation is very serious. The Vatican could censure the group or strip it of the blessings of the Catholic Church, which would likely not actually stop them, but instead just push them farther underground. Or it could try to corral them back into the fold and hope they stop having sympathy for the devil.

I think I shall wait for someone like Tosatti or Sandro Magister to watch those videos and tell us what they really are about. The reply on the Heralds site says this about the video - apparently, there is only one???

It is true, however, that Mr. Tornielli came upon a great and unusual novelty: a private video, divulged out of context, and also out of date, for it is a year and a half old. Despite its belonging to the restricted use of the institution, it was obtained by illegal means, by a man with an impassioned loathing for the TFP and the Heralds – he himself being an ex-member of the TFP -, married to a woman who is an ex-member of Opus Dei, both of whom occupy a considerable amount of their time in attacking the entities to which they belonged. This was the source that the influential Mr. Tornielli turned to for his impartial information…

The video is a record of a reserved meeting of clerics, which did not imply any change in the ways of the Heralds, either in its relationship with the Sacred Hierarchy and civil society, or in the work with the very high number of adherents to the movement.

The objective of the registered encounter was, quite simply, to exchange impressions with regard to certain preternatural phenomena, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Criminal hands, yet undiscovered, resolved to divulge its contents in a malevolent and inappropriate way for a public that does not have, in its great majority, sufficient theological knowledge to make an in-depth judgement concerning its content. It was not difficult, therefore, to create confusion in their minds. On the other hand, these same hands took no interest, of course, in spreading the conclusions of these analyses

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June 19, 2017 headlines


How I wish Cardinal Caffarra had not seen fit to use Caterina of Siena's endearment for the pope - its use in this letter is completely
gratuitous, unnecessary and above all, teeth-gritting!Equally gratuitous is the reference to those who want to attribute to others the
indivisible responsibility of the Petrine munus
- it is almost a public slight to Benedict XVI. Surely it is possible to write a respectful
letter without having to seem like kowtowing - especially not to an APOSTATE BOOR who will not even acknowledge getting the letters
these cardinals think will somehow neutralize the exhortation from Hell in any way! 'Niceness' will get you nowhere with this pope! If you
disagree with him, he'll simply spit in your face.

Full text of Cardinal Caffarra's letter
asking pope for an audience

The April 25 missive was hand-delivered to the Pope
on May 6 but has received no response.

Edward Pentin
June 19, 2017

Here below is the full text of the letter, signed by Cardinal Carlo Caffarra on behalf of the four DUBIA cardinals, asking Pope Francis for an audience to discuss deep concerns over the Pope’s apostolic exhortation on the family, Amoris Laetitia.

The Holy Father has yet to acknowledge the cardinals’ written request.

“Most Holy Father,

It is with a certain trepidation that I address myself to Your Holiness, during these days of the Easter season. I do so on behalf of the Most Eminent Cardinals: Walter Brandmüller, Raymond L. Burke, Joachim Meisner, and myself.

We wish to begin by renewing our absolute dedication and our unconditional love for the Chair of Peter and for Your august person, in whom we recognize the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Jesus: the “sweet Christ on earth,” as Saint Catherine of Siena was fond of saying.

We do not share in the slightest the position of those who consider the See of Peter vacant, nor of those who want to attribute to others the indivisible responsibility of the Petrine munus. We are moved solely by the awareness of the grave responsibility arising from the munus of cardinals: to be advisers of the Successor of Peter in his sovereign ministry. And from the Sacrament of the Episcopate, which “has placed us as bishops to pasture the Church, which He has acquired with his blood” (Acts 20:28).

On September 19, 2016 we delivered to Your Holiness and to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith five dubia, asking You to resolve uncertainties and to bring clarity on some points of the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Amoris Laetitia.

Not having received any response from Your Holiness, we have reached the decision to ask You, respectfully and humbly, for an Audience, together if Your Holiness would like. We attach, as is the practice, an Audience Sheet in which we present the two points we wish to discuss with you.

Most Holy Father,
A year has now gone by since the publication of Amoris Laetitia. During this time, interpretations of some objectively ambiguous passages of the post-synodal Exhortation have publicly been given that are not divergent from, but contrary to, the permanent Magisterium of the Church.

Despite the fact that the Prefect of the Doctrine of the Faith has repeatedly declared that the doctrine of the Church has not changed, numerous statements have appeared from individual Bishops, Cardinals, and even Episcopal Conferences, approving what the Magisterium of the Church has never approved.

Not only access to the Holy Eucharist for those who objectively and publicly live in a situation of grave sin, and intend to remain in it, but also a conception of moral conscience contrary to the Tradition of the Church.

And so it is happening — how painful it is to see this! — that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta. And so on. One is reminded of the bitter observation of Blaise Pascal: “Justice on this side of the Pyrenees, injustice on the other; justice on the left bank of the river, injustice on the right bank.”

Numerous competent lay faithful, who are deeply in love with the Church and staunchly loyal to the Apostolic See, have turned to their Pastors and to Your Holiness in order to be confirmed in the Holy Doctrine concerning the three sacraments of Marriage, Confession, and the Eucharist. And in these very days, in Rome, six lay faithful, from every Continent, have presented a very well-attended study seminar with the meaningful title: “Bringing clarity.”

Faced with this grave situation, in which many Christian communities are being divided, we feel the weight of our responsibility, and our conscience impels us to ask humbly and respectfully for an Audience.

May Your Holiness remember us in Your prayers, as we pledge to remember You in ours. And we ask for the gift of Your Apostolic Blessing.

Carlo Cardinal Caffarra
Rome, April 25, 2017
Feast of Saint Mark the Evangelist

1. Request for clarification of the five points indicated by the dubia; reasons for this request.
2. Situation of confusion and disorientation, especially among pastors of souls, in primis parish priests.”

OK, so apparently, Cardinal Caffarra waited six weeks for a reply before deciding to go public with this letter. Ho-hum! And do the cardinals really think an 'apostolic blessing' from this pope would be a gift at all?

Forget the accursed 'blessing'! All you want from His Unholiness is five words - NO, YES, YES, YES, YES, to the five DUBIA, but we will never get that, will we, since he would be denying himself as his genuine answers would be YES, NO, NO, NO and NO.

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Questions about a most popular
contemporary Catholic devotion

I had not checked into Maureen Mullarkey’s blog for months, and when I did last week, not only did I find a couple of Bergoglio critiques,
as expected, but four posts in May and June about what she calls ‘the Faustina phenomenon’.

I was so struck by her observations and by information about this phenomenon that I had not previously known, that I put together
her 4 essays meaning to post it as a pertinent commentary on how myths are manufactured even in the holy business of canonization.
And to check my own ‘reception’ of the Divine Mercy cult which I had accepted - because who can argue about Divine Mercy, and because
St. Faustina and her story were so unequivocally endorsed by John Paul II - despite my misgivings about 1) the chaplet and 2) that
most pedestrian chant I first heard on an EWTN broadcast of a Divine Mercy Wednesday service, which immediately reminded me of that
gosh-awful WYD anthem that starts with “Jesus Christ, you are my life…’

But Fr. Z beat me to the punch and yesterday, he vented his own sentiments about ‘the Faustina phenomenon’ and its associated devotions.
Let me start with him and go on to Ms Mullarkey…

I’m cool towards a certain popular devotion
by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf
June 19, 2017

The often inflammatory Maureen Mullarkey has written several posts about her discomfort with the Divine Mercy devotion and chaplet.
She makes the point that I would make: I LONG for Divine Mercy. I would add that I long for it probably not knowing how much I truly need it and, were I to truly understand my need, I might quite simply die. So, praying for it can’t be bad. As a matter of fact, it is a sine qua non of my life.

That said: I can’t warm up to this devotion. I’m a convert and I took to the Rosary as if I had said it all my life. But this one… nope. And I have asked myself why for years.

“But Father! But Father!”, some of you readers are asking along with the spittle-flecked nutty libs, “If you are Catholic you HAVE TO love this! It’s just… the BEST! I mean mercy is so… soooo…. Don’t you understand how wonderful it is? It’s on EWTN!!! Do you really HATE VATICAN II?!? (‘YES! He DOES!’, shout the libs.)”

Sorry, I just can’t warm up to it. And I prefer the Sunday after Easter to be Dominica in albis, just as it has always been. Quasimodo Sunday. Does that exclude “Divine Mercy” as a focus? No, of course it doesn’t. Don’t have a spittle-flecked nutty.

What is it that puts me off this devotion? Perhaps it is that saccharin soul-annihilating chant with which the chaplet sung. Please JUST KILL ME! Perhaps it is the dreadful art that goes with it. Alas, I can’t un-see it… with it’s pastels. Perhaps it is the invasion of that dreadful art into sanctuaries, HUGE cheesy prints among the potted plants propped up near altars as if it were some equal fixture that I don’t care for.

And I even like some of that old fashioned, even sugary devotional art because – yes, it’s kinda corny – but it stems from true love. I don’t mind the sweet stuff about Our Lady of Fatima or our Guardian Angels (though I picture them as something quite different).

To obtain mercy is there something lacking in the recitation of the Rosary? Is there something missingin the devotion to the Sacred Heart? They work for me, thank you very much. They’ve worked for a loooong time.

Maureen has some choice quotes from her musings which, in part, give voice to some aspects of my lack of enthusiasm for the Divine Mercy chaplet (especially).

 As anecdotal evidence goes, there seem to be more Catholics uneasy with the Faustina engine — fueled as it is on syrup — than I had expected.
 My essay said nothing about feminized priests. It mentioned only the painting of a feminized Jesus, cloaked in a gauzy haze and drained of virility.
 Faustina’s visions conjure a feminized Jesus — a kitchen table Jesus drained of masculinity; one who feels, who talks about his feelings as a woman would. Worse, He Who spoke the universe into existence speaks to Faustina in the phrasings of a dime novel.
 Ignatius of Loyola advised his followers to steer clear of women: “All familiarity with women was to be avoided, and not less with those who are spiritual, or wish to appear so.” The militant Ignatius, a “new soldier for Christ,” grasped something that we moderns in the West dislike admitting: A feminized Church is a weak institution. It puts soft devotions ahead of the Cross.
 The words of Domenico Bartolucci (d. 2013), the last great Chapel Master of the Sistine Chapel Choir, resound more compellingly with each passing year: “Gregorian chant was born in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day.”
What Cardinal Bartolucci said of chant and polyphony applies as well to our devotions. The Jesus of our devotional life should also be manly and strong. The grand nature of the Christian claim diminishes in any devotion—however popular—that depicts a plaintive Jesus who drops by with a fail-proof recipe for redemption. And who dramatizes his feelings the way a woman might.

Mind you, I have not made a detailed study of the writings of St. Faustina, [It is about these writings that Mullarkey makes what to me are her most thought-provoking arguments] but what I have read did not keep me reading eagerly. I’m sure that there are some bits that are great and others that are not so great.

Perhaps the chaplet is more of a female thing than a male thing, I don’t know. Maureen seems to think so, and, from what I gather from her tone, she doesn’t think that that’s good for the Church as a whole. If I read her right, she thinks its popularity is a symptom of a feminized Church. Is she right?

All I know is that I don’t care to use that particular devotion. If other people want to, hey, great. I know that men seem to like reciting the Rosary with other men.

I wonder if my coolness is influenced by my old pastor and mentor the late and famed Msgr. Schuler. Maybe he steered me away from this devotion. He was right about the NeoCats and the Legion and several other things that have, over time, proven to be a bust. Schuler didn’t have time for the Divine Mercy Chaplet. The Rosary was good enough for him, as he would say. I must say, if it was good enough for him, then it’s good enough for me. “… then it’s good enough for me”, which reminds me of something…. [Fr Z goes on to propose a rousing chant for the Church Militant…]

To put it all in context, this is how I introduced Divine Mercy Sunday when I still kept up a sort of daily almanac on the Forum:

The Second Sunday of Easter, eighth day of the Octave, was earlier observed as the Sunday of St. Thomas the Apostle, commemorating his contact with the Risen Christ, but it is now Divine Mercy Sunday.
Second Sunday of Easter
Divine Mercy Sunday


Divine Mercy Sunday is based on the Catholic devotion that Saint Faustina Kowalska (1905-1938) advocated from her mystic conversations
with Jesus. He asked her to paint the vision of his Merciful Divinity being poured from his sacred heart and specifically asked for a feast
of Divine Mercy to be established on the first Sunday after Easter so mankind would take refuge in Him. The Divine Mercy devotion was
actively promoted by Pope John Paul II who, on April 30, 2000, canonized Sr. Faustina and officially designated the Sunday after Easter as
the Sunday of Divine Mercy in the General Roman Calendar. A year after establishing Divine Mercy Sunday, John Paul II re-emphasized its
message in the resurrection context of Easter: "Divine Mercy is the Easter gift that the Church receives from the risen Christ and offers
to humanity". Providentially, he died on the eve of Divine Mercy Sunday in 2005, and was beatified on Divine Mercy Sunday in 2011.

So here’s Ms. Mullarkey, and fair warning: Readers familiar with her, as well as those encountering her prose for the first time, may find themselves offended by her thoughts and her words. Be prepared for naked honesty here… BTW, I have no guarantee that anything Ms. Mullarkey writes here about St. Faustina is accurate, but I trust that as a practicing Catholic and a professional artist and writer, she is hardly likely to make false claims. Anyway, anyone is free to check out her facts.

Notes on the Faustina phenomenon
May 16, 2017

After hearing my confession, a gentle, elderly priest granted absolution and, for my penance, imposed the chaplet of Divine Mercy. I cringed. Oh, please, not that! Like the bargaining murderer in Alfred Hitchock’s I Confess, I negotiated the penance. I blurted out something about revulsion for the self-regarding jumble of Faustina’s supernatural stenography. I wanted nothing to do with the cult of Faustina and her preposterous painting commission. Please, Father, give me a different penance.

A mild man, he obliged. He rescinded the chaplet and sent me to the rosary instead. Thinking about it afterwards, I realized that it had been a mistake for me to balk. Reciting the chaplet would, indeed, have been a true penance, as irritating as a hair shirt.

Back in the confessional with the same priest some time later, I was sentenced again to a chaplet. This time I kept quiet and suffered my penalty.

The Faustina phenomenon is a scandal to me. The language of the “mercy messages” and the content of her visions—not least that gauzy, epicene Christ figure—are alien to my sense of the sacred. I shrink from the devotion, and even more from the pious industry that built and sustains it. The entire edifice leads to the unwelcome thought that canonizations, like encyclicals, have become papal products manufactured for institutional reasons apart from—in tension with, if not in contradiction to—the deposit of faith.

I believe in divine mercy, ache for it, with a whole heart. I rely on God’s pity for the fearsome reason that I believe in divine justice as well. Faustina’s visions conjure a feminized Jesus — a kitchen table Jesus drained of masculinity; one who feels, who talks about his feelings as a woman would. Worse, He Who spoke the universe into existence speaks to Faustina in the phrasings of a dime novel. Or an off-the-rack devotional tract.
Faith repels assent to Faustina’s Divine Mercy and the hackneyed astral fetish that expresses it.

The Christ Who bled His humanity out on a jagged timber is distorted, made grotesque, by the imaginings of an overwrought aspirant to sainthood — a woman who envisioned herself Jesus’s secretary “in this world and in the next.” As Jesus’s personal secretary, Faustina gained a leg up on Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.

Missing from Faustina’s Diary is all hint of that humility rightly associated with an experience of the sacred: “My sanctity and perfection is based on the close union of my will with the will of God.” (Diary 1107) What holiness is there in presumption?

The swagger continues in an unseemly ambition to best her competition in the sainthood stakes: “My Jesus, you know that from my earliest years, I have wanted to become a great saint. That is to say, I have wanted to love you with a love so great that there would be no soul who has hitherto loved you so.” (Diary 1372)

Not just a saint, but a great one—the kind that is remembered and fêted? And no other soul so loving? Not even the woman who gave birth to Him or those who walked the earth alongside Him? If this is sanctity, there is a helluva lot of chutzpah in it.

Maria Faustina Kowalska [born Helena] of the Congregation of the Sisters of Divine Mercy, experienced her visions between 1931 and her death seven years later. She was deemed delusional or unbalanced by those who knew her most intimately: her fellow nuns, her Mother Superior, and her early confessors. But once the gears of myth-making begin to turn, skepticism is ground to dust. Good sense and the gleanings of familiar observation are dismissed as ignorance or inattention. Jesus’s rebuke to the Galileans is forgotten. Persistent lust for signs and wonders overrides the Gospel warning against them.

Jesus of Nazareth hid from those who would make him king. What are we to make of a vision in which He declares Himself “King of Mercy” and commissions a portrait of Himself like any profane crowned head?

Ignatius of Loyola advised his followers to steer clear of women: “All familiarity with women was to be avoided, and not less with those who are spiritual, or wish to appear so.” The militant Ignatius, a “new soldier for Christ,” grasped something that we moderns in the West dislike admitting: A feminized Church is a weak institution. It puts soft devotions ahead of the Cross.

Faustina’s diary and
the work of her editors

May 17, 2017

Pius XII was against Faustina’s apparitions before he was for them. He first distanced the Church from them by placing her writings on the Index of Forbidden Books (Index Liborum Prohibitorum). Notwithstanding, he blessed an image of the Divine Mercy in Rome in 1956.

The Holy Office [not yet renamed Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith] under John XXIII, suppressed the writings twice, the second time in 1959. The stay against Faustina’s diary and devotion to the image of Divine Mercy lasted until 1978, the year Karol Wojtyla was elected to the papacy.

According to the 2005 Marian Press edition of the Diary, the Marian Fathers in Poland had been promoting the devotion since the 1940s. Between 1979 and 1987, the men devoted themselves to a taffy-pull on Faustina’s manuscripts in order to shape them into acceptable revelatory goods.

Were the Marians engaged in promotion during the decades of suppression? No mention is made. Editorial comment leaps from the 1940s ahead to 1979. That year marked the beginning of an aggressive lobbying effort based on re-translating, re-writing, and re-editing the original documents.

This exercise in revision was offered to the faithful as an exemplary act of clarification. John Allen, in a 2002 essay “A Saint Despite Vatican Reservations,” described it this way:

Officially, the 20-year ban is now attributed to misunderstandings created by a faulty Italian translation of the Diary, but in fact there were serious theological reservations — Faustina’s claim that Jesus had promised a complete remission of sin for certain devotional acts that only the sacraments can offer, for example, or what Vatican evaluators felt to be an excessive focus on Faustina herself.

But John Paul II was anxious to fortify Polish Catholics with another saint. When he assumed the papacy, the Berlin Wall still stood. Poland’s anti-Communist labor movement was about to emerge as Lech Walesa’s Solidarity. The nationalist note in Faustina’s visions, no help to Poland in the Thirties, was made to order for the Seventies. Jesus reportedly told her: “I have loved Poland particularly. If she obeys my will, I will raise her up in power and sanctity. From her will come forth a spark that will prepare the world for my final coming.”

With no more than three or four years of schooling, Faustina might not have known that Jesus once declared His kingdom was not of this world. It was certainly not in Poland on the eve of Hitler’s invasion and the slaughter of over five million Poles.

Making saints is a political act, inextricable from the machinery of special interests. And the process can be just as unedifying. The 640-plus pages of her writing required revision to make the prose coherent and theologically acceptable. The Marian Press phrases the rescue this way:

A rigorous, scholarly analysis of her notebooks was necessary to extract from them everything which is considered essential to her mission. This work was accomplished by an eminent and highly esteemed theologian, the Rev. Professor, Ignacy Rózycki…

In other words, the Diary‘s promoters appointed a theologian to make a silk purse out of an inadmissable sow’s ear. Think of Justice Roberts “translating” the Affordable Care Act to salvage it from its failings. Like Obama’s ACA, Faustina’s diary is an artifact of purposeful editing.

Peter Scott, writing in The Angelus, June 2010, took particular exception to the pervasive presumption in Faustina’s Diary. Self-flattery is a characteristic contrary to the unpretentiousness of any true mystic. Illustrating that lack of humility is Faustina’s claim that Jesus told her: “Now I know that it is not for the graces or gifts that you love me, but because My will is dearer to you than life. That is why I am uniting Myself with you so intimately as with no other creature.” (§707).

Fr. Scott comments: “What pride, to believe such an affirmation, let alone to assert that it came from heaven.” He continues with instances of her tendency to praise herself by means of words reportedly spoken by Jesus:

Listen to this interior locution: “Blessed pearl of My Heart, I see your love so pure, purer than that of the angels . . . . For your sake, I bless the world.” (§1061). On May 23, 1937 she describes a vision of the Holy Trinity, after which she heard a voice saying: “Tell the Superior General to count on you as the most faithful daughter in the Order.” (§1130). It is hardly surprising that Sister Faustina claimed to be exempt from the Particular and General Judgments. On February 4, 1935, she already claimed to hear this voice in her soul: “From today on, do not fear God’s judgment, for you will not be judged.” (§374).
Add to this the preposterous affirmation that the host three times jumped out of the tabernacle and placed itself in her hands (§44) so that she had to open up the tabernacle herself and place it back in.

The Church does not oblige Catholics to believe any private visions. But that wise and gracious exemption is effectively undermined once the seer is declared a saint. By now, the reveries of a minimally literate young woman with a heated imagination have been enshrined. They are barricaded against demurral by canonization and the institutionalized incentive of indulgences.

Implicit in our complaints about secular culture is recognition of the Church’s loss of credibility in the modern world. If the phenomenon of Faustina reveals anything, it is that those who speak for the Church are not all blameless in the tilt toward secularism.

Three weeks later, Mullarkey revisited the subject because of some reader reactions.

A Reader’s Complaint, Part 1
June 12, 2017
It sometimes helps to know where something is headed before you get there. So this once, let me begin where the proctors of creative writing would tell me to end.

Here goes:

When the language of prayer or religious expression is used as a tool of ideology or pragmatic advancement it becomes a profanity. Pressed into service as an instrument of institutional pride, or any other cherished good, it loses its soul. Put to profane purposes — e.g. a means to preempt questions and short-circuit conscientious doubts, or as a bribe to observe questionable devotions —I t is an impiety. Pious boilerplate sins against both truth and justice when it is wielded like a stick to beat back reason or dangled like a carrot to induce assent where none — or little — belongs.

There. Now we can get started.

Reader’s comments are always instructive. What an individual reader has seized upon as worth mentioning makes plain how a topic — some point or argument — sounds to someone else.
Responses to previous postings on the Faustina drama were revealing. Before hitting the publish button on WordPress, I braced for complaints with a second cappuccino. (Extra hot milk on the side, please.) But hardly a grumble came. Quite the opposite. As anecdotal evidence goes, there seem to be more Catholics uneasy with the Faustina engine — fueled as it is on syrup — than I had expected.

But one cavil was interesting. It came from a man who objected to something completely askance of what I had written. He scolded:

Poland is still really Catholic. They have so many priests in some areas that they send them to the United States to make room. And these aren’t your feminized priests. These are masculine men that also happen to be serious about this devotion.

My essay said nothing about feminized priests. It mentioned only the painting of a feminized Jesus, cloaked in a gauzy haze and drained of virility. Nowhere did it question the masculinity of the Polish Marians who initiated promotion of Faustina’s diary. The question must have nagged subliminally at my respondent for him to have read it into the essay.

But now that someone has raised the subject, it claims attention. Along comes a thought I had not had before. It is this: What kind of men devote themselves to playing Pygmalion to a young, unschooled, histrionic female engaged in a challenge to Thérèsa of Lisieux — a fellow consumptive —f or the laurel of redemptive suffering? What moves ordained men to expend their priesthood on grooming delusional diary entries until they can pass, teased and re-translated, as divine revelation?

Contemporary Marians are not shy about declaring themselves “the official promoters of the authentic Divine Mercy message.” That is a publicist’s identity. How far does the manufacture and advancement of a sentimental cult conform to a priestly charism? Maybe you can answer that. I do not know how.

Contemporary Marians are an enterprising order. During the tenure of John Paul II, they built the grandiose Leichen Basilica. It is an ambitious Marian shrine intended to rival the Jasna Góra Monastery in Czestochowa. Founded in 1382, the monastery is a stunning historical monument, and home of the Black Madonna, a legendary icon. As Poland’s national shrine, it has long been the traditional heart of Polish Catholicism. Now, its upstart rival, the basilica, can boast of being the largest church in Poland. To what purpose?

Funded by donations raised in the heady aftermath of Communist suppression, the basilica is understandable as a post-Soviet assertion of Polish Catholic identity. Nonetheless, the ostentation of competitive shrine-building testifies less to faith than to politics. In the end, it is a monument set on sand.

Political orders tack and bend in the wind. As the Church loses control of the moral climate, no massive building project will reestablish the old authority. Neither will a novel private devotion cobbled together to shore up institutional health.

In July, 2012, Der Spiegel reported on the Church’s rapidly declining influence on a fast-changing nation:

…Once considered the most Catholic country in Europe, the faithful are vanishing.
Some 95 percent of all Poles still say that they are Catholic. Yet loyalty to the church is waning. Even the conservative Catholic publicist Tomasz Terlikowski estimates the true number of devout Catholics at little more than 20 percent. “We Poles like to proclaim our Catholicism,” he says, but the reality looks quite different.”

[Terlikowski is more than a publicist. He is a journalist, philosopher, prolific author, and station manager of Telewizja Polska, Poland’s largest television network.]

Der Spiegel expands on that reality:

Only slightly more than 44 percent of young people say they go to church on Sundays, compared with 62 percent in 1992. Forty-two percent admit that they do not observe all religious commandments. Hardly anyone pays attention to rules about things like sexual abstinence before marriage anymore.

The article does not mention the source of its numbers. Did Der Spiegel overstate its case? It would seem not. Two years later, Matthew Day, writing from Warsaw for The Telegraph, also reported on the dramatic decline in church-going. He quoted from the Church’s own inquiry:

An official survey by the Polish Catholic church found that in the last 10 years the number attending Sunday mass has fallen by around two million, and that on average only 39 per cent of the population now attend church: the first time the figure has been below 40 per cent since 1980. The drop was described as “significant” by Father Wojciech Sadlon, director of the Catholic Church Institute of Statistics, the body that carried out the research…

Lifestyles on Sundays have changed. Faith is losing out to other ‘offers’ such as people spending time with friends and family, as well as just sitting in front of the TV as an individual. People who often came to church were motivated by an attachment to tradition and a culture given to them by their family, but this is no longer enough to sustain them and so they gradually cease to attend.

It all brings to mind François Mitterand’s Grands Projects. An architectural initiative intended to memorialize France as the consummate capitol of Europe, the gesture is fast coming to represent the capitol of Eurabia.
Ozymandias must be grinning in his grave.

Dreary apparitions (Complaints, Part 2)
June 19, 2017

Credulity is not a virtue. Nor is it a compliment to faith. Paul advised us to be always ready with a cogent answer “to every man that asketh you a reason for the hope that is in you.” (1 Peter 3:15) His words emphasize faith’s footing in rationality. The faith is to be defended in accord with reason and logic.

Admittedly, reason is chastened by its own limits. As Paul wrote to the Jewish Christians in Jerusalem: “Faith is the substance of things hoped for.” There is no acid test for “the evidence of things not seen.” But, following Paul, the search for understanding cannot — must not — be abandoned to sentimental mystification. It is to be articulated, made graspable, not wrapped in gauze. Not surrendered to consoling fictions.

Please understand, the piety of Maria Faustina Kowalska is not the issue. Neither is the merit or sincerity of Catholics who have adopted the Divine Mercy devotion. What matters is the integrity of the devotion’s promulgation and the sensibility it encourages.

An irritated reader suggests that my skepticism toward the cult of Faustina indicates . . . how to put it? . . . a deficiency in my Catholicism. She wonders why I bother. The answer is simple: Giving oxygen to credulity weakens the Church. The Divine Mercy devotion, no less than the franchise built on it, is inseparable from the content of Faustina’s imaginings. The machinery of it makes the Church’s teaching function appear incoherent —as disjointed as the culture it is commissioned to evangelize. The specter of implausibility hanging over the whole opera weakens Church authority among those most in need of trust in it.

We watch our civilization’s slow abandonment of Christianity. We witness the Church’s loosened grip on the moral climate. We mourn lessening of faith in the Real Presence. We lament the displacement of modern man’s religious impulses onto messianic environmentalism. All the while, we cast blame everywhere outside of ourselves. In that way, we make ourselves partners in underwriting faded authority with an effortless devotion rooted in improbable apparitions. It is a self-defeating subsidy.

The words of Domenico Bartolucci (d. 2013), the last great Chapel Master of the Sistine Chapel Choir, resound more compellingly with each passing year: “Gregorian chant was born in violent times, and it should be manly and strong, and not like the sweet and comforting adaptations of our own day.”

What Cardinal Bartolucci said of chant and polyphony applies as well to our devotions. The Jesus of our devotional life should also be manly and strong. The grand nature of the Christian claim diminishes in any devotion —however popular — that depicts a plaintive Jesus who drops by with a fail-proof recipe for redemption. And who dramatizes his feelings the way a woman might.

Faustina’s Jesus gossips and plays favorites. He flatters and complains. He exhibits the emotionalism women would like men to have. He confesses his feelings (“The flames of mercy are burning Me—clamoring to be spent.”) He is as overbearing and guilt-inducing as Sophie Portnoy. (“If you neglect the matter of the painting of the image and the whole work of mercy, you will have to answer for a multitude of souls on the day of judgment.”) He discards masculine reticence and whines: “Distrust on the part of souls is tearing at My insides… Even My death is not enough for them.”

A deformation intrudes on more than one Diary entry. To illustrate, on a day Faustina was lying in the infirmary, a visiting Jesuit brought Communion to the ill sisters. Thinking Faustina was the last communicant, he gave her two hosts. None was left for a novice unnoticed in the next cell. Realizing his mistake, the priest went back for another host. But he need hardly have troubled. Jesus confided to Faustina his aversion to the overlooked novice:
“I enter that heart unwillingly. You received those two Hosts, because I delayed My coming into this soul who resists My grace. My visit to such a soul is not pleasant for me.

It is a petty, miserly statement. Why would Catholics lend credence to it as coming from the incarnate God who is generosity itself? And who loves even those unworthy of divine largesse? How can we credit a Jesus who, in 1936, responds to Faustina’s prayers for the people of Russia with the same spiteful inflection and a veiled threat: “ “I cannot suffer that country any longer. Do not tie My hands, My daughter.”

What are we to think of a Jesus who commissions a portrait of himself (“painted with a brush”) to supplant the cross as the ultimate symbol of mercy? How much sustenance can a secular world, however thirsty, discover in Faustina’s fantasy life? What are the plugged-in riders on Amtrak or the crosstown bus to believe about the transcendent origin of 600-plus pages of treacle mining? How much credit should any of us lend to an unscriptural Jesus who trumps the Eucharist with his own portrait? And in exorbitant tones:

I promise that the soul that will venerate this image will not perish. . . I Myself will defend it as My own glory.

Faustina’s 'Diary' constructs a Jesus looking for payback. Recompense. (“My daughter, your love compensates me for the coldness of many.”) Is this how the Word wishes to be known by us?

The original 1934 Divine Mercy painting hangs in the Sanctuary of Divine Mercy in Lagiewniki, a suburb of Krakow. The painter Eugene Kazimirowski set to work in the manner of a police sketch artist — translating onto canvas the image in Faustina’s mind. Her mind’s eye was fixed on Saint-Sulpice-style images of the Sacred Heart, with which she was familiar. To lend verisimilitude to a patently derivative composition, Faustina’s spiritual director, Fr. Michael (Michal) Sopocko sat in for Jesus during painting sessions. In short, the painting is not a portrait of Jesus at all. It is a pastiche: part copy of 19th century religious kitsch, part portrait of the priest who got the bandwagon rolling.

I takes nothing from John Paul II's sainthood that he may have been honestly duped by the Faustina phenomenon as he would be duped later about Fr. Maciel. Sainthood obviously does not mean human perfection - and if St. Faustina's account of her visions of the Lord have brought even just one soul to eternal salvation, then she has fulfilled her apostolate, however deceptive it may have been.
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I wish we had this kind of news more often from the Ordinariates that have been the fruit so far of Benedict XVI's Anglicanorum
, the kind of genuine ecumenism that the Catholic Church should encourage. Or similarly heartening news, for that matter,
about ordinations in regular Catholic dioceses...The Ordinariate of Walsingham was, of course, the very first of the Ordinariates.

Ordinations in the Ordinariate
June 20, 2017

What a superb occasion, last Saturday! As England enjoyed ... or endured ... a flow of very hot weather from Spain, the Ordinariate happily migrated to the cool spaces of the old Spanish Embassy Chapel: St James Spanish Place.

The Sacrament of Order was solemnly administered by our dear friend Bishop Robert Byrne, who ordained Deacons for England, Scotland, and Wales (yes ... poor old Ireland is still inordinariate).

[We actually have to thank Pope Francis for Bishop Byrne because it was he who appointed him auxiliary Bishop of Birmingham in 2014 - the first Oratorian bishop in England for 140 years. Fr. Byrne was a founder of the Oxford Oratory. Oratorians are followers of St. Phillip Neri.]

This seems to me a most welcome advance on the old practice of ordinands being 'done' by the geographical diocesan Bishop of their place of residence. That could appear to suggest that they are really clergy of the diocese and that the Ordinary is just a sort of Vicar General for iffy converts.

The new arrangements make visible the fact that the Ordinariate is a totally separate jurisdiction, directly subject to the Holy See, distinct from and equal to the dioceses.

The fact that Spanish Place as an old Embassy Chapel goes back to before the Restoration of the Hierarchy, makes the point even more crisply (the same is, of course, true of our Principal Church, the old Bavarian Embassy Chapel).

And indeed, Bishop Robert's titular See, Cuncacestre, takes us right back to the glory days of the Anglo-Saxon Church. Proto-ordinariate! Memories of the sweet talent with which St Bede the Venerable married together Englishness and Romanita!

The S tJames's Choir and servers did splendidly by us. So did the blessed providers of the Repast which followed. But the biggest stars were our ten new clergy. As well as eight in Anglican Orders, two had discerned their priestly vocation as lay members of the Ordinariate ... the first such two.

I wonder how many dioceses in Northern Europe have ordained as many clerics this summer. Last Saturday offered the Catholic World a vivid picture of a Traditional jurisdiction which is really going places! Four cheers for Mgr Keith [Newton, who heads the Walsingham Ordinariate]!!

All we need now is for diocesan bishops to 'think Ordinariate' when they wonder what to with their imminently redundant churches and presbyteries. And a relaxation of the rules confining membership of the Ordinariates to those with Anglican or Methodist connctions, would help us enormously. Is it really in accordance with the New Evangelisation for us to have to turn people away?
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Is there even any awareness of
the Four Last Things in AL
(and in the minds of its authors)?

by Julia Meloni
June 20, 2017

Hell! St. Teresa of Avila told her nuns to mentally visit the inferno during life so they would not be imprisoned in it after death. St. John Vianney sighed because the saints, who were so pure, cultivated holy fear while “we, who so often offend the good God — we have no fears.”

At last month’s Rome Life Forum, Cardinal Burke recalled Fatima’s “terrifying vision of Hell, foreshadowed in the evils visited upon the world at the time.” That chilling image evokes a warning from Fr. Charles Arminjon’s The End of the Present World:

Remove the fear of eternal punishment from mankind, and the world will be filled with crime… Hell will simply happen sooner: instead of being postponed until the future life, it will be inaugurated in the midst of humanity, in the present life.

In Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis announces: “No one can be condemned forever, because that is not the logic of the Gospel!” (297). Josef Seifert warns that it’s “nearly unavoidable” to deduce in AL a denial of Hell — a fear echoed by others. Anna Silvas notes Amoris Laetitia’s “missing” lexicon of eternity: “There are no immortal souls in need of eternal salvation to be found in the document!”

But papal ghostwriter Archbishop Victor Manuel Fernandez is ebullient with joy because, as he declares in a 1995 article, “I rely firmly upon the truth that all are saved.” The author of Heal Me With Your Mouth: The Art of Kissing, Fernandez elsewhere rhapsodizes that extra-marital sex can express “ecstatic” charity and “Trinitarian richness.” [And that's the mind of the man who has been Jorge Bergoglio's one-man theological braintrust for more than a decade now!]

And in AL, Fernandez the papal ghostwriter — as Michael Pakaluk and Sandro Magister have shown — repeatedly plagiarizes his previous work. For instance, Fernandez’s 2006 declaration that “Trinitarian” love can be “realized within an objective situation of sin” is echoed in Amoris Laetitia 305.

Last September, the four cardinals submitted their dubia out of grave concern for “the true good of souls.” They’ve now published a letter from April requesting an audience with the pontiff — who has not responded.

As the months of papal non-engagement grow, Pope Francis’s maxim that “time is greater than space” feels increasingly ominous. Fernandez —whose cited and uncited work also appears in Pope Francis’s Evangelii Gaudium — has long claimed that we’re in an age of revolutionary “time.”

In his book The Francis Project, Fernandez laments that conservative “fanatics” can’t accept that the “Spirit” — which can “elude the supervision of the institution of the Church” — is leading us “toward a different phase.”
- It’s a phase where, apparently, God is “Mother” and “you should follow your conscience” and “a pope who tells us that God wants us to be happy on this earth will never ask us to be obsessed with sacrifice.”
- It’s a phase where, to quote Pope Francis, the Church isn’t “obsessed” with abortion or sexual ethics either.
- It’s a phase where, to quote Evangelii Gaudium, “time is greater than space” —where “initiating processes” in politics and the Church advances a “utopian future” with “no possibility of return”

It’s a frankly eerie “final cause”— “the greater, brighter horizon of the utopian future … which draws us to itself” (222).

So “time” and the “Spirit” are the utopia’s shining protagonists. Time lets reformers “work slowly but surely” (EG 223). Time lets each “region” seek its own “solutions” because “not all … doctrinal, moral, or pastoral issues need to be settled by … the magisterium” (AL 3). Eventually, the “Spirit … overcomes every conflict by creating a new … synthesis” (EG 230), enabling us “to see all things as he does” (AL 3).

Silvas senses here the “gnostic spirit of the cult of modernity”:

I think ‘the spirit’ to which Francis so soothingly alludes has more to do with the Geist of Herr Hegel … [which] manifests itself in the midst of contradictions and oppositions, surmounting them in a new synthesis…

We are in a world of dynamic fluidity here, of starting open-ended processes, of sowing seeds of desired change that will triumph over time. Other theorists — you have here in Italy, Gramsci and his manifesto of cultural Marxism — teach how to achieve revolution by stealth.

Hence a revolution through an “incremental change of praxis” across time. Slowly, inexorably, “region by region, bishops around the world begin to ‘interpret’ Amoris Laetitia” subversively — “to a point of no return.” Buenos Aires, Rome, San Diego, the Philippines, Malta, Germany, Belgium, and Sicily have one by one embraced Communion for those in adultery — with some areas earning direct praise and thanks from the pontiff.

The four cardinals’ April letter told Pope Francis how “painful” it is to see “that what is sin in Poland is good in Germany, that what is prohibited in the archdiocese of Philadelphia is permitted in Malta.”

Fernandez, for his part, has proudly claimed that Pope Francis goes “slowly” because he’s “aiming at reform that is irreversible.”

So eternity must yield to “time”; the Four Last Things — death, judgment, Heaven, and Hell—must be swallowed up by the sparkly worldly utopia. Silvas sees the “end game” as “a more or less indifferent permission for any who present for Holy Communion”:

And so we attain the longed-for haven of all - the inclusiveness and “mercy”: the terminal trivialization of the Eucharist, of sin and repentance, of the sacrament of Matrimony, of any belief in objective and transcendent truth, the evisceration of language, and of any stance of compunction before the living God.

A long, subversive march through the Church—synced to the “siren song” of “accompaniment,” the mellifluous music of “mercy.”

At the Rome Life Forum, Cardinal Burke preached Fatima’s prophetic message of saving souls from “mortal sin and its fruit: eternal death.” He preached prayer, penance, reparation, and Marian consecration; he preached that pastors’ “failure to teach the faith” endangers souls “mortally, in the deepest spiritual sense.”

Cardinal Caffarra starkly described the world’s present attempt to place Christ and his gospel on “trial.” He described an Evil One who utters “banalities about man,” who seduces man into sin out of sneering “contempt.”

The cardinal quoted Dostoyevsky’s Grand Inquisitor before Christ: “You judge of men too highly … they are born slaves … I swear to you that man is weaker and lower than You have ever imagined him to be!”

Cardinal Caffarra imagined Satan taunting God with an “anti-creation,” a sin-soaked hell on earth: “And man will say: it is better in the alternative creation than in your creation.”

It’s precisely what Fr. Arminjon described — Hell irrupting into the present life, Hell happening early because mankind scoffs at its eternal reality.

No happy bromides about non-condemnation can erase Christ’s fifteen warnings about Hell. No heady defense of sin, no tangled jargon on “time” and “space,” can theorize the Four Last Things out of existence.

Cardinal Burke calls us to battle for the eternal salvation of souls; Cardinal Caffarra calls us to testify for Christ and his gospel—currently on trial.

Meloni is a young writer from the Pacific Northwest with a bachelor's degree from Yale and a Master's in English from Harvard.

The old boor and the Eucharist
[Post-script to this pope's 'observance' of Corpus Domini]

June 20, 2017

So, you are an old boor [and secret Lutheran] who does not believe in Transubstantiation at all. What do you do?

1. You call the Eucharist a “humble meal”, a Protestant expression denoting there is no Transubstantiation.

2. You refuse to kneel in front of the Blessed Sacrament, because you don't kneel in front of a piece of bread.

3. You want to give communion to adulterers, because a bit of bread and wine does not do harm to anyone.

Francis is an arrogant boor, but at least in this he shows clearly a coherent thinking.

Methinks, workers in hell are digging an extra pit just for him.
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June 20, 2017 headlines

The bold banner headline above links to a lengthy piece by Steve Skojec on
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Short of a ‘road to Damascus’ conversion (‘Jorge, Jorge, why persecutest thou Me?’), there is absolutely nothing that will deflect Bergoglio
one iota from the course he has taken to demolish the Catholic Church and impose Bergoglianism as the model and prototype for the one
world religion he seeks to found. But a Damascus conversion is a singular event for which the Lord chose Saul of Tarsus – there has been
nothing like it since then – and the Lord is not likely to bestow this grace on anyone who is a potential anti-Christ. Yet the supposed Vicar
of Christ on earth is anti-Catholic in the most basic sense of 'catholic' as universal.

So we must continue to live with the revolting reality the Church has had to contend with in the past four years. The Four Cardinals,
and other cardinals, bishops and laymen, may continue to write passionately to protest Bergoglianism, and Bergoglio will continue not to
give a damn what his opponents think, say or do. But we cannot just shrug him off because his poison is bound to infiltrate throughout
the Church, whether we like it or not - it will because he is still ‘the pope’, which still counts for very much in the world.

So we protest him best by leading our lives according to the deposit of faith that continues to be intact for as long as the legacy lives on,
not just in an infinite treasury of consultable truth, but in the ministers of the Church and all the faithful who continue to uphold the one
true Church of Christ, against whom the gates of Hell will not prevail. Our Catholic faith is the antidote that protects us from

The pope’s silence is incomprehensible
[Or rather, is it all too comprehensible as a coward’s recourse]

by Riccardo Cascioli
Translated from

It is with great bitterness that we publish the letter sent two months ago to the pope by Cardinal Caffarra requesting for an audience with him by the four cardinals who sent their now famous letter on the FIVE DUBIA regarding Amoris laetitia last September 16. There was no response then. There hasn’t been any to this recent letter so far.

A pope who does not deign to acknowledge a formal communication from his cardinals, who does not respond to their letters and to their requests for an audience: I think there are no precedents for this, at least not in Church history in the past few centuries.

This silence is even more serious when one thinks of the telephone calls, letters and audiences that this pope has been vestowing spontaneously on so many persons, of every kind. It is difficult not to read the pope’s attitude toward the DUBIA cardinals as a desire to mortify and humiliate eminences who are perceived as an obstacle to the pope’s reform designs.

But the reason is incomprehensible: The pope can certainly disagree with the four cardinals and even find it difficult to digest their insistence on pointing out the incongruities in Amoris laetitia and of its multiple interpretations. But why not tell them so directly, and why appear to totally ignore their existence?

Is it because he thinks that a cardinal, any cardinal, may not entertain any questions about any papal act or statement? And because of this does not even have the right to receive an answer when he requests to meet with the pope?

Yes, we know there is the usual Hallelujah choir exalting Bergoglio and his ‘revolution’, from Cardinal Maradiaga to Alberto Melloni and Eugenio Scalfari, who do not miss a chance to ridicule the Four Cardinals and to describe them as ‘totally isolated’. But even if this were so – which is not the case at all – don’t they have the right to meet with the pope as cardinals?

The DUBIA cardinals are certainly not isolated in their position. Cardinal Caffarra, in the May 6 letter, in citing specific facts, speaks for all those in the Church who have expressed their uneasiness and disorientation – to say the least – in the past year over what is happening in the Church, exemplified in the controversial propositions of AL, which are perceived as an attack against the sacraments and the very pillars of the Catholic Church.

That the DUBIA are not limited to a handful of aged isolated cardinals is shown by the fact that on the occasion of the consistory for new cardinals next week, for the second time on such an occasion, this pope has not called for the usual ‘secret consistory’ held with all the cardinals present in Rome for the consistory for the purpose of a frank exchange of ideas on the situation of the Church including specific pressing topics thereof.

[In fact, such secret consistories – so-called because they are not open to the public or to media coverage – constitute the one occasion when the cardinals collectively and individually function as they are supposed to be: the pope’s Senate, not necessarily to ‘advise and consent’ but at least to address the pope directly and perhaps get some answers.

Considering that it was at such a secret consistory in February 2014 that Bergoglio launched via Cardinal Kasper what would end up as Amoris laetitia – at which consistory, BTW, not a few cardinals reportedly took the floor immediately to oppose the ‘Kasper proposal’ - one can only view his subsequent decision to hold no such secret assemblies after the personal fiasco for him of the two ‘family synods’ (whose results went against him on the question of communion for remarried divorcees, but which he overrode anyway in AL) as outright COWARDICE, an inability/unwillingness to personally stand up to dissent, which gives the lie yet again to all his lip service to collegiality, synodality and parrhesia (yes to all this but only if their exercise upholds his personal positions and papal agenda)…

The best adjective I can think of for him in this regard is ‘lily-livered’ – for which Merriam-Webster lists the ff synonyms: “chicken, craven, dastardly, gutless, poltroon,pusillanimous, recreant, spineless,unheroic, yellow” as opposed to “brave, courageous, daring, dauntless,doughty, fearless, gallant,greathearted, gutsy, hardy, heroic, intrepid, lionhearted, stalwart, stout, stouthearted, valiant,valorous”.]

Even this is unprecedented in recent Church history. The impression is that he wishes to avoid any confrontation with any cardinals or with all the cardinals [except, of course, those who are part of the Bergoglian court of certified sycophants].

Moreover, this dismissive [if not contemptuous] attitude of the pope towards the DUBIA cardinals contradicts much of his preaching.

Consider his recent audience with the Congregation for the Clergy when he advised that bishops must always keep close to their priests:

How many times have I heard priests complain – ‘I called my bishop – he was out and the secretary tells me he is out. I asked for an appointment, and I am told ‘His schedule is full for the next three months’. And that priest remained ignored by his bishop.

But if you, as bishop, know that your secretary has told you that a priest has asked to see you but your schedule is full, then that every day, in the evening or the following day - not any longer - call him on the phone and ask him what he wants, discuss together whether it is urgent or not… But the important thing is that the priest feels and knows he has a father who is close by. Closeness. Closeness to your priests. You cannot govern your diocese without this. You cannot help a priest to grow, to be sanctified, without your paternal nearness.

[Yet another instance of how Bergoglio always sees the mote in others’ eyes but never the enormous beam that sits astride his mind and heart.]

So if such closeness is a bishop’s duty to his priests, does the rule not apply also to a pope and his bishops???

If the dubia go unanswered,
the consequences could be catastrophic

It is dangerous to the credibility of the Church,
that what should be considered good in Germany
should be considered wrong in Poland

[Worse, it destroys the very catholicity of the Church – yet Bergoglio does not
seem to realize that his willful divisiveness is doing that, to begin with]

by Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
June 20, 2017

The Four Cardinals show no sign of giving up, and neither should they. It might at this point be useful to present a chronology of the Four Cardinals and the dubia. It goes like this.
• On 19th September 2016, four Cardinals – Caffarra, Burk, Brandmueller and Meisner – present 5 dubia or requests for clarification to the Pope concerning certain ambiguities in Amoris Laetitia.
• On 19th November 2016, having received no answer, the four Cardinals publish their dubia.
• On April 25th 2017, the four Cardinals write to the Pope asking for an audience, enclosing an “audience sheet” setting down what they wish to discuss with him.
• On June 19th 2017, the letter of the four Cardinals, which has received no response, is published.

So what is going on here? It is really very simple. The Pope does not want to answer the five dubia, all of which are simple yes or no answers. The reason for this is equally simple.
- If the Pope answers one way, he contradicts the Magisterium of his predecessors.
- If he answers another way, he effectively destroys what he has tried to do with Amoris Laetitia, that is, introduce a change of practice in the Church which per se means a change of doctrine.

So, the Pope continues to sit on the fence, trying to have it both ways, while the four Cardinals try to push him off it, one way or another, hoping, or knowing, that if forced off the fence there is only one possible way for him to jump.

Interestingly, by refusing to answer the dubia, the Pope has in a certain sense given an answer of sorts. His refusal to answer effectively means that he is not endorsing, at least not officially, the guidelines of the Maltese bishops and others. [Likewise, he is not endorsing the positions of those who choose to interpret AL as if it were, in fact and not in merely casuistic words, ‘in continuity with what the Church has always taught’. So, in what way is Bergoglio carrying out his duty as pope to be the symbol of unity in the Church and ‘to confirm his brethren in their faith’? Obviously, one cannot unify if one causes divisiveness deliberately, and it is not possible to confirm an equivocation or an ambiguity!]

What the Maltese bishops say remains a local pronouncement, not official Church teaching, even if it may have been published in the Osservatore Romano. [But don’t the bishops exercise magisterium on their own?]
[Of course, even if Episcopal magisterium must be cum Petro and sub Petro, that never stopped bishops like Cardinal Martini and most notoriously Cardinal Bergoglio (with his ‘communion for everyone’ practice in Buenos Aires) from striking out on their own – and apparently with impunity – doctrinally and pastorally!]

What the Maltese bishops teach in their guidelines can be nullified by the Pope or his successors in the Chair of Peter. [Yeah, but only God knows when! Meanwhile, the poison has started to take hold and spread.]

But here we run into the chief concern of the Four Cardinals. It is confusing, indeed more than confusing, it is intolerable, for it is dangerous to the credibility of the Church, that what should be considered good in Germany should be considered wrong in Poland. This is not Catholicism - it is rather national churches on the Anglican or Orthodox model. [QED!] If this ambiguity is allowed to continue, the consequences will be catastrophic. [They already are!]

Furthermore, it simply cannot be the case, for it has never been the case before, that one Pope can contradict the Magisterium of his predecessors. Amoris Laetitia has to be read in continuity with Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor.
[We can all say that until we are blue in the face, as Cardinal Mueller has been trying, sort of, but that does not alter the fact that, allowable or not, unthinkable as it might have been, Bergoglio has indeed contradicted his predecessors’ Magisterium.]

If AL somehow “replaces” Familiaris Consortio and Veritatis Splendor, are people like me, whose teaching in seminary was based on those two documents, now to “unlearn” them? Have they been corrected? Were they for a time only? Or were they of permanent significance? But if Amoris Laetitia is to replace the previous magisterial documents, then what may replace Amoris Laetitia twenty years from now?

As the dubia make clear, one interpretation of Amoris Laetitia strikes at the heart of Catholic moral teaching as everywhere and always understood. In a sense there can only be one answer to the dubia, and that is that the traditional teaching must stand, and that Amoris Laetitia must be read in the light of that teaching alone.

Anyone who has been reading what I have written on this subject knows by now that I stand with the four Cardinals. So do many others, Cardinals, bishops, priests, deacons and laity.

Holy Father, answer the dubia! For the good of the Church, and for the good of the papal office, please answer the dubia! [And what would we all do if he did muster the moral courage to answer the DUBIA and answer them honestly – i.e., not with the right orthodox Catholic answers? Set up a rump court somehow to declare him an apostate and a heretic?
Surely, no one expects Jorge Bergoglio, image-conscious narcissist par excellence, to say or write anything which he can technically and incontrovertibly be declared ‘in material heresy’! Does anyone doubt this will all be a futile senseless exercise of 'waiting for Ber-GODOT-glio?]

I think this most instructive post belongs here...

Who is the anti-Christ?
A test from the First Epistle of John

by Tim Capp
June 20, 2017

Right from the USCCB website from their own Bible translation is the last word on everything we are usually talking about here in the woodlands. Just ask yourself one simple question to know who is with us and who is against us as Christians. Ready?

The First Epistle of the Apostle John is an interesting, largely overlooked, epistle. It is a short, but difficult read, due to its lack of logical organization and what may seem on first sight to be contradictions. It repays careful study, however …

The Bear thinks of it like a sentry, issuing a series of challenges to test those claiming to be of the Christian family. It as an excellent examination of conscience…

In 1 John, there is first the Sin Challenge, then the Love Challenge, followed by the World Challenge.

Then there is the subject of this important message from Bear HQ: The Antichrist Challenge

Yes. The Antichrist Challenge. There are antichrists operating in the world today. There have been since the time of Christ. As long as we are in these Last Days (the period between the Incarnation and the Second Coming) there will be Antichrists.

How are we to recognize them? We would expect them to be smooth and subtle, like the father of lies. We would expect their status to be mutually promoted by their co-conspirators who have risen to the heights of power in a perverse and wicked generation.

Since Christ promised us only a cross and persecution in this world, we would expect them to speak a world-pleasing message that would gain them personal popularity, especially as they are contrasted with "outmoded" and even "harsh" previous ideas.

Are you prepared to take the God-breathed words of Holy Scripture seriously? Or chuck it into the doublespeak trash can like the new top Jesuit Fr. Arturo Sosa Abascal from Venezuela? (The words of the Randy Newman song "Political Science" keep coming to mind: South America stole our name so... What is up with South American churchmen, anyway?) The Bear will give Fr. Abascal equal time in the very next piece, never fear.

I invite you to read this Gospel passage… Let it speak to you, and listen closely, for it has more than one warning for our times.

The First Epistle of the Holy Apostle John
Chapter 2 verses 18 through 26

18 Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that the antichrist was coming, so now many antichrists have appeared. Thus we know this is the last hour.
19 They went out from us, but they were not really of our number; if they had been, they would have remained with us. Their desertion shows that none of them was of our number.
20 But you have the anointing that comes from the holy one, and you all have knowledge.
21 I write to you not because you do not know the truth but because you do, and because every lie is alien to the truth.
22 Who is the liar? Whoever denies that Jesus is the Christ. Whoever denies the Father and the Son, this is the antichrist.
23 No one who denies the Son has the Father, but whoever confesses the Son has the Father as well.
24 Let what you heard from the beginning remain in you. If what you heard from the beginning remains in you, then you will remain in the Son and in the Father.
25 And this is the promise that he made us: eternal life.
26 I write you these things about those who would deceive you.

The Apostle John had things pretty simple. Christians knew the truth. Anyone who tried to change what they knew to be the truth had gone out from among them. Of course, that is far too simple for today. Right?
[Modificato da TERESA BENEDETTA 22/06/2017 00.19]
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